Against the ‘Spas’

Alert readers will note that in all the essays I’ve written about the controversy over prostitution in Rhode Island, I’ve never said it was a ‘victimless crime’. I’ve tried to make that distinction that opposing the arrest of prostitutes does not mean there’s no harm to the practitioners and the community in the proliferation of ‘spas’ and ‘clubs’ in our state.

It is rather from the perspective of harm reduction that I argue against making prostitution a crime. I think that putting people outside the law drives them further from help. Also, these laws have not helped victims in other states as far as I can see. I hope I’m wrong, good friends tell me that arrest is the first step to rescue. I’ll be happy to see that, if it happens.

I’ve been working on an essay called, ‘The Chinese Laundry, the Irish Maid’ about work stereotypes. Yes, in America my great-grandmother actually was an Irish maid, my grandfather was an Irish cop, my friend’s father actually did run a Chinese laundry. For immigrants the natural course of action is to start off in an occupation where you are accepted. Usually this is not brain surgeon, unless you are an Indian doctor.

I’m not against hard work. I’ve cleaned plenty of toilets in my life, for minimum wage. There’s no shame in that.

But what happens when a woman faces hard labor at less than a living wage on one hand, and constant recruitment to a less ethical, but high paying life on the other? What happens when the marketing of minority women as ‘exotic’ colors the perception of honest, hard working women who happen to be the targeted race?

Racialicious has an essay that says it so well. It’s not about prostitution, but the ‘dating sites’ that offer Asian women. It’s not safe for work, it’s angry and passionate and cuts through the nonsense and racism with a bright sword of truth.

So just go to the source, and read it firsthand.

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