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[ASP] FAQ (2/4)

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Archive-name: alt-sex/prostitution/issues
Posting-Frequency: bi-weekly (monthly to *.answers)
Last-modified: 08/25/97

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
***** Welcome to Alt.Sex.Prostitution! *****

Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
file.  This is Part 2 of 4 parts.

Part 1:  General information about the newsgroup and the
         World Sex Guide.
Part 2:  Questions and information about prostitution
         in general, plus information on fighting spam.
Part 3:  List of organizations that support prostitution
         or prostitutes or are working to decriminalize
Part 4:  Suggested reading list on prostitution and
         prostitutes' rights.

****** What about all of the Spam on A.S.P?

This FAQ used to have a section about fighting Spam, but the situation
has changed significantly, making it almost impossible for an individual
to do anything about Spam.  The new situation is:

[1] Both the spammers and the spam fighters have gotten much better at it.

[2] The spammers now punish those who complain.  You may get thousands of
    emails, or even have the next spam look like it came from you!

At this point, the best taht you can do is to sit back and watch: big
changes in the War On Spam are coming soon.

***** Where Is Prostitution Legal?

It is hard to summarize this because the legal status can be
complicated.  In regions where prostitution is "legal," it is often
only a small portion of prostitution activities that are allowed, and
much or even most of it may remain criminalized.  In some countries
prostitution itself may be technically legal, but virtually all forms
of practicing it are not (such as Italy and England).  In other
countries it may be technically illegal, but widely tolerated (such as
Thailand and Japan).  Even in places where prostitution is "legal,"
the restrictions on it may be such that the majority of prostitution
in that area still occurs illegally.  The World Sex Guide gives some
details where available, but the information is incomplete and
knowledgeable reports are always welcome.

In North America:  Prostitution is illegal in all of the U.S.A. except
in Nevada, where licensed brothels are legal in counties that do not
include the major cities (it is not legal in Las Vegas itself).  In
Canada, prostitution itself is legal, set at the federal level.  It is
illegal, however, to communicate in public (i.e. solicit), to work for
or own or patronize a brothel, or to live off the avails or procure
for the purpose of prostitution.  In short, this means that only
independents who take calls at home (not on a cell phone), and then go
on an outcall, are not breaking any laws.  (For more information on
the legal situation in Canada, check the web site for SWAV, the Sex
Workerís Alliance of Vancouver, at
<>.)  In Mexico, prostitution
is legal in special "zones of tolerance."  Cab drivers always know
where these are located.

Elsewhere (a sampling):  At least some forms of prostitution are legal
in many continental European countries such as France, Germany,
Switzerland, Scandinavia, and the Netherlands (where they even have a
union).  In England it is technically legal but it is not legal to
solicit or to advertise, nor is it legal to run a brothel.  Itís legal
in much of Australia, in Singapore, and in several South American
countries including Brazil and Venezuela.

If you are in an area where prostitution is illegal and you have any
doubts as to whether the person you are dealing with might be a law
enforcement officer, think with the big head instead of the little one
and walk away from the situation.

***** What Is the Difference between "Legalizing"
      and "Decriminalizing" Prostitution?

Although there is no official definition of legalized or
decriminalized prostitution, most references use the term
"legalization" to refer to any system that specifically allows some
prostitution.  Many (or most) societies that allow legal prostitution
do so by giving the state control over the lives and businesses of
those who work as prostitutes.  Legalization often includes special
taxes for prostitutes, restricting prostitutes to working in brothels
or in certain zones, licenses, registration of prostitutes and
government records of individual prostitutes, and health checks which
have historically been used to control and stigmatize prostitutes.

Prostitutes' rights organizations (e.g., COYOTE, North American Task
Force on Prostitution) use the term "decriminalization" to mean the
removal of laws against prostitution, in whole or in part.
Decriminalization is usually used to refer to total decriminalization,
that is, the total repeal of laws against consensual adult sexual
activity, in both commercial and non-commercial contexts.  In
decriminalized systems, prostitution businesses would be regulated
through civil codes (including business and labor codes, standard
zoning regulations, occupational health and safety codes, etc.) just
as they are applied to any other businesses, so that prostitutes and
clients could conduct business either in brothels or through private
arrangements if they choose.  Existing criminal laws targeting abuse,
coercion, etc., would also be applied in cases of violence or
exploitation if associated with prostitution.

A well-researched paper on the legal issues regarding prostitution can
be found at <>.  Itís 200Kb
in size and takes a few minutes to load.

The World Charter of the International Committee for Prostitutesí
Rights calls for decriminalization of all aspects of adult
prostitution resulting from individual decision, stating that there
should be no special law which implies systematic zoning of
prostitution, and that prostitutes should have the freedom to choose
their place of work and residence and provide their services under
conditions determined by themselves and no one else.

***** What Is the Risk of Catching HIV from Prostitutes?

A medical doctor who is a regular contributor to this newsgroup has
compiled a review of the medical literature on this subject, entitled
"Prevalence Of HIV In Sex Workers And Risk To Customers: A Brief
Review."  The entire report can be found on the World Sex Guide at
<>.  The
concluding paragraph is as follows:

"The results of these studies are fairly consistent and indicate the
following:  Outside of East Africa, the prevalence of HIV in sex
workers is generally only a few percent, and not significantly
different than the HIV incidence in the population as a whole.  While
prostitution per se is not a significant risk factor for acquiring HIV
infection, i.v. drug use is, and a significant proportion of sex
workers are also i.v. drug users.  Men who use prostitutes do have a
higher risk of acquiring HIV, but only if they have other STDs, or
engage in other high risk behaviors (e.g., anal sex without a condom).
If you have no STDs, use a condom, and avoid sex workers with needle
marks in the arms, your risk is probably no greater than your risk of
getting AIDS from your girlfriend or mistress.  If you have a history
of STDs, don't use a condom, and use sex workers who are known i.v.
drug users...good luck!"

These conclusions there are consistent with those found in the other
references on HIV in the bibliography in Part 4 of this FAQ.  For
information on safe sex see the Safer Sex Page at

***** What Is the Risk of Catching Another STD from Prostitutes?

Fairly small if you use a Condom.  You should use a condom at all
times, including when you recieve Oral Sex.  You should avoid
giving a prostitute Oral Sex.  You may not like this advice, but
you are taking a big risk if you go unprotected.  In any case, if
you frequent prostitutes, get regular checkups from a Doctor.
Tell your doctor that you are engaging in behaviour that "puts you
at risk for Sexually Transmitted Disease".  You don't have to give
him any more details, but he needs to know this much.

***** Isnít Prostitution a Degrading
      and Demeaning Activity?

There is nothing inherently degrading about consensual (non-coerced)
adult sexual activity just because money is exchanged.  It would
depend on the people and circumstances involved.  "Degrading" is in
the eye of the beholder.  Some sex workers feel they are subjecting
themselves to "voluntary rape," and some enjoy their work.  For many
it is probably "just a job," as many other jobs are.

One particularly good answer to this question comes from Norma Jean
Almodovar in her book "Cop to Call Girl: Why I Left the LAPD to Make
an Honest Living as a Beverly Hills Prostitute":

"That really depends on the individual involved or how one views sex.
It was not degrading to me because I think that sex is a positive,
nurturing act, and whether it is given out of love or rendered as a
service, as long as it is consensual it is still positive.  I cannot
fathom how one could think that making another human being feel good
for a fee could be degrading or demeaning unless it is degrading to
make other people feel good."

Sex worker and writer Veronica Monet wrote that "the popular feminist
view that a woman is degraded by a paid sex act with a man is in
itself inherently sexist.  If a woman can be degraded by sex, then she
is a piece of property which loses value with use.  A human being
never loses value by engaging in a productive, profitable, and
pleasurable act."

***** Are There Any Organizations that Support
      Prostitution/Prostitutes or Are Working
      to Decriminalize Prostitution?

Yes, there are many such organizations and groups around the world,
and they are deserving of your support.  A list of these organizations
is in Part 3 of this FAQ so those without web access can obtain it.
It can also be found at the excellent web site run by one of these
organizations, COYOTE/Seattle (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics),
located at:

Also check out the Prostitutesí Education Network web site located at:

At this highly recommended site you will find (among other things) the
complete text of the Final Report (1996) of the government-sponsored
San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution, which recommends that the
city repeal all laws against prostitution and not enforce any state
laws against prostitution.

***** Are There Any Suggested Readings on
      Prostitution and Prostitutes' Rights?

Yes.  These are listed in Part 4 of this FAQ (and also at the
COYOTE/Seattle web site listed above).  You will also find interesting
readings at the other web sites mentioned in this FAQ.

Remember, always treat your sex worker with respect!

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