This article by E. Benjamin Skinner is interesting.
It makes a good point – estimates say that 90% of slavery has little or nothing to do with pro[stit]ution. Often, we tend to forget that. When I talk about a distant relative of mine who was trafficked, people automatically assume that the relative is a “she” and that this “she” was sold into a br[oth]el. It would not have been any less depressing, of course, but the truth of the matter is that the person in question is male, and was trafficked across several countries for the purpose of being enslaved at a construction site.
German police saved the day before he was brought to his destination, and he got off easy. Well, unless you count a life-threatening trek across a marsh in sub-zero temperatures, that is.
Skinner says that: “Pr[os]titution is always degrading, and it is often brutal — but it is not always slavery.” I agree with the last part of that statement, and the middle, but the first needs a closer look. Always degrading? Depends on who’s looking and participating, I would wager. It is degrading from the position of the mainstream, if only because we continuously allow “wh[or]es” to be defined and treated as not-quite-human beings.
His later point is very spot-on, however: “Equating the scourge of slavery with run-of-the-mill, non-coerced pr[ost]itution is not only misleading, it will weaken the world’s efforts to end real forced labor and human trafficking.” *ding ding ding ding ding ding ding*
Of course, we might argue as to what “non-coerced” truly means. Some people will say that the minute that money enters the equation, coercion also enters. Frankly, I disagree, but I welcome dissenting opinions on the matter regardless.