This website was archived on July 21, 2019. It is frozen in time on that date.

Sonya Mann's active website is Sonya, Supposedly.

Leave Johns Alone! (Because Criminalizing Any Part Of Sex Work Is Harmful)

sex work is real work
I don’t think the activists will mind this photo being republished.

I just emailed The Marshall Project. If/when they respond, I’ll add their reply at the end.¬†Update:¬†scroll to the bottom for editor-in-chief Bill Keller’s response.

Dear Marshall Project,

As a monthly donator to The Marshall Project and a former escort, I was profoundly disappointed to see Rachel Moran’s policy suggestions presented so credulously, with nothing more than an offhand mention of other sex workers’ passionate advocacy in favor of true decriminalization. It is especially galling given that this is your first dedicated coverage of sex work. The conflation of sex work — which is undertaken by adults absent coercion — with sex trafficking is lazy. It does a disservice to sex workers and victims of trafficking alike.

I understand that this is a complex issue and people have many different viewpoints. However, I find it troubling that you chose to devote attention to one woman’s self-sensationalized experience rather than the broad international movement that encompasses sex-industry laborers across the globe. It’s telling that you didn’t report on Amnesty International’s recommendation that sex work be decriminalized, and yet Moran’s book tour merits an article. I am sorry that Moran had horrible experiences as a prostitute, but I find it reprehensible that she has the hubris to assume that her experiences are universal.

As a future resource, Open Society Foundations has a good primer on this topic.

Sonya Mann

decriminalize sex work
Thank you, SWAAY!

Bill Keller replied: “We anticipated, when we decided to do the Q&A with Rachel Moran, that it would provoke some strong responses. It was not meant to be our last word on the subject. We will be engaging the issue with our own reporting, and we will invite people with contrary views to make their case.” Then he invited me to write about my own, obviously vehement perspective — we’ll see if anything comes of it.

Update: The Marshall Project published my (lengthened) response. More on that here.

“Most sex workers do it for the reason that anyone does any job: they need money to live or to support their family. Punishing consenting participants in an exchange of money and pleasure does nothing but limit the economic options of someone who likely had few to begin with.”

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