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It can range from prostitution, escort services, exotic dancers, webcam models, adult film actors, phone sex operators, and purveyors of sex toys. In , there was an estimated one million people working as prostitutes in the United States, and that is just one category of sex work.
They are everywhere. She is the year-old college student who can only pay for tuition by performing as webcam girl. He is the year-old who enjoys helping women feel comfortable about articulating their desires. She is the single mom whose divorce left her broke, so she turned her massage business into a sensual one. Their livelihood is illegal so they are denied equal protection under the law.
They are more likely to be exploited because they cannot report violence to officials, without potentially incriminating themselves. It also empowers negative opinions, based on the fact it is deemed wrong and illegal, which then drives other issues like housing discrimination. Also a survivor of sex trafficking, LeMoon has written about what it is like to approach sex worker rights from both lenses. According to LeMoon, the way these workers are treated bleeds into every area of their lives, far beyond their safety and relationship to the police.
Sometimes doctors can be judgmental, if, for example, a client comes in with chlamydia twice in one year. Another common problem is doctors only addressing sexually transmitted diseases, and not mental health. The federal definition of sex trafficking involves force, coercion, or a person being under the age of But many anti-trafficking groups conflate consensual prostitution with trafficking, simply because they are against prostitution. This means commercial sex will exist within a sort of legal limbo, where it still is not legal, but is no longer punishable.
Bass said that when sex work is criminalized, clients and workers are fearful of getting arrested, which means there is not always enough time to negotiate safe sex.