PW readers sound off.
Regarding Nina Sachdev's column about the delayed response to the violence at South Philadelphia High School:
Regarding Tara Murtha’s column about Craigslist shutting down their adult section:
This column is marred by muddled thinking. Staying at the Marriott is not “contributing to the economic supply chain that makes money off trafficked victims” because such hotels only offer porn featuring “contract stars” who are paid quite handsomely by big companies like Vivid—not trafficking victims at all. Boycotting Marriott because some fly-by-night producers are using forced labor would be like not patronizing Ten Thousand Villages to protest some big box store’s selling slave-made Persian rugs.
Voluntary sex work needn’t be “inconvenient” for anti-trafficking activists, so long as they focus on the actual problem—which is not prostitution but kidnapping and slavery, regardless of what kind of work people are forced into. In this light, the reform Murtha advocates is a half-measure. A criminal record follows all prostitutes, not just those who were forced into it. To help all those who want to get out of it, reformers should be campaigning for total repeal of prostitution laws, not just an exemption for trafficking victims. And I can’t imagine why Murtha even honors the attorneys generals’ grandstanding with the moniker of “liberalism,” knee-jerk or otherwise. It’s really plain, old-fashioned sweep-it-under-the-rug moralism. Victorians used trafficking as an excuse to persecute sex workers too—they called it “white slavery”—same as today’s puritans. Nothing even pseudoprogressive about it.
ERIC HAMELL via email
A conscience? For years, ad revenues have been accepted by your paper and your alt-weekly competitor from the Asian massage parlors, all of which engage in trafficking. That is why I laugh at any article you publish concerning social issues. Take all the ads you want from the transvestites, college-girls-looking-for-extra-money, etc., they made a conscious decision to do this and I sincerely doubt any are doing it against their will but many are probably in active addiction. At least take a stand on the massage parlors because if you don’t you are complicit in their continued exploitation of women brought to this country under false pretenses.
RAY via philadelphiaweekly.com