Perhaps my radar is just up about these things, but I’ve noticed a recent surge in media coverage of prostitution. Here is a brief overview of what I’ve noticed. I thought I’d bring your attention to a few interesting points.
NPR just aired a series on prostitution focuses on Nashville, TN and highlights a residential rehab center for women with criminal histories of prostitution and drug addiction. The second installment was aired this morning, and the third will air on Wednesday morning. Jacki Lyden was interviewed on Tell Me More about her reflections on covering this story – an interesting listen.
Nicolas Kristof finally got it right about girls in prostitution and trafficking in America with a recent article in the NY Times.
A couple of weeks ago, Diane Rehm interviewed Rachel Lloyd about her new book, “Girls Like Us”. Rachel is the founder of GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services) in New York City, and she writes about her own experiences of being trafficked herself, sex slavery today, and about the girls she serves through GEMS.
Harry Reid, Senator of Nevada, has called for prostitution to be outlawed in Nevada, stating that it is bad for the state’s economy. Here is an excerpt from a speech he gave in February 2011:
I recently met with a group of businessmen who run data centers for technology companies. They visited Storey County to see about opening a facility there, a move that would have created desperately needed jobs.
Storey County does a lot of things right. It’s the home of the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, which is the largest of its kind in the country. But one of the businessmen in that meeting told me he simply couldn’t believe that one of the biggest businesses in the county he was considering for his new home is legal prostitution. I’ve talked to families who feel the same way – parents who don’t want their children to look out of a school bus and see a brothel. Or to live in a state with the wrong kind of red lights.
So let’s have an adult conversation about an adult subject. Nevada needs to be known as the first place for innovation and investment – not as the last place where prostitution is still legal. When the nation thinks about Nevada, it should think about the world’s newest ideas and newest careers – not about its oldest profession.
We should do everything we can to make sure the world holds Nevada in the same high regard you and I do. If we want to attract business to Nevada that puts people back to work, the time has come for us to outlaw prostitution.
Very interesting, Senator! We shall be tracking your progress in making this happen!
However, Brazil, thinking about prostitution ahead to the 2016 Olympic games, seems to have a slightly different perspective. The report suggests very mixed ideas about how to deal with the problem, and whether or not it is a problem at all. Some want to regulate it, to keep it “in the open”, as if government can control vice to protect its image! Seriously?!?
I have to say that in general, the media’s perspective is a good one – that these women (they haven’t had the guts yet to tackle male prostitution) are not outright criminals, nor are they merely victims. Have they made poor choices? Absolutely. Do they engage in other criminal vices? Likely. But does that negate our call to help? Listen to their stories of childhood abuse,and the cycle of violence that seems nearly impossible to break. Then think again.
Prostituted women have succumbed to the Accuser’s deception and have lost their true identity. We need to show love and compassion so that they can reclaim the identity that their Creator has and still does bestow on them.