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In daily speech, we tend to use epithets freely until they're called out. I want to encourage the Daily Kos community -- a group of people who usually do a pretty good job of not allowing hate speech to appear on their site -- to think for a moment about the way they dehumanize prostitutes.

Commonly, Wall Street bankers are called "whores" because they lied, cheated, took the money, and ran. This metaphor is an insult to prostitutes, who -- as a function of their profession -- aren't stealing, lying, cheating, or overtly harming anyone.

A popular caricature is the prostitute that makes this a deliberate career choice -- no doubt those people exist, but they are not the overwhelming majority of prostitutes. Most prostitutes are forced into their trade by abuse, homelessness, other economic double binds, or duress. That, and because they didn't turn to crimes of violence or property in order to eat.

Please to consider who is committing the crimes when acts of prostitution take place.

Of 100 prostituted women interviewed in Vancouver, Canada:
• 82% reported childhood sexual abuse, by an average of four different
abusers
• 72% reported childhood physical abuse by a parent or caregiver 90% had
been physically assaulted in prostitution
• 78% had been raped in prostitution
• 75% had suffered injuries in prostitution
• 67% had pornography made of them

...68% of prostitutes interviewed in 9 countries met the criteria for a clinical
diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Under usual circumstances, the people at Daily Kos would be rallying to support such a group. And it isn't just sexism -- it's classism. Young men commonly get forced into prostitution, as well.

Some, even in this country, are sold into sexual slavery. The most common sources of sex slaves are Thailand, China, Nigeria, Albania, Bulgaria, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, and the most common destinations for victims of human trafficking are Thailand, Japan, Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Turkey and the US. And yes, the sex trade is alive and well today in the United States.

Life expectancy for prostitutes is low -- 5 to 7 years after entering the profession, and on the average, a prositute will not live past his or her early thirties.

If a prostitute moves in next door, the proper action is not derision. If he or she does not need your help, at least be kind.

Originally posted to rb137 on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 09:11 AM PDT.

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