Getting Screwed: Sex Workers and The Law by Alison Bass

By Alison Bass

Alison Bass weaves the genuine tales of intercourse staff with the newest learn on prostitution right into a gripping journalistic account of the way girls (and a few males) navigate a tradition that many times accepts the implicit trade of intercourse for cash, prestige, or perhaps a sturdy meal, yet imposes heavy consequences on those that make such deals particular. alongside the way in which, Bass examines why more and more middle-class white ladies decide to develop into intercourse employees and explores how prostitution has develop into a thriving within the twenty-first-century worldwide economic system. Situating her publication in American historical past extra extensively, she additionally discusses the impression of the sexual revolution, the increase of the Nevada brothels, and the transforming into struggle on intercourse trafficking after Sep 11.

Drawing on fresh experiences that convey decrease charges of violence and sexually transmitted ailments, together with HIV, in areas the place grownup prostitution is criminal and controlled, Bass makes a robust case for decriminalizing intercourse paintings. via comparisons of the effect of criminalization vs. decriminalization in different international locations, her booklet bargains options for making prostitution more secure for American intercourse staff and the groups within which they reside.

This riveting evaluate of ways U.S. anti-prostitution legislation damage the general public future health and protection of intercourse employees and different citizens—and have an effect on better societal attitudes towards women—will curiosity feminists, sociologists, legal professionals, health-care execs, and coverage makers. The ebook will also entice someone with an curiosity in American background and our society’s evolving attitudes towards sexuality and marriage.

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Extra resources for Getting Screwed: Sex Workers and The Law

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Many prostitutes, particularly those who were no longer young or pretty enough to work in the high-class brothels or saloons and had fallen to the bottom of the food chain — working out of cribs — lived in squalid quarters. An 1886 newspaper account describes the crib of a Denver, Colorado, prostitute who had killed herself: The walls and ceiling were absolutely black with smoke and dirt, excepting where old, stained newspapers had been pasted on them . . to exclude rain and melting snow. Around the walls were disposed innumerable unwashed and battered tin cooking utensils, shelves, for the most part laden with dust, old clothing, which emitted a powerful effluvium, hung from nails here and there, or tumble down chairs, a table of very rheumatic tendency, on which broken cups, plates and remains of food were scattered all over its surface.

That is where Corrine, a forty-two-year-old former schoolteacher, stripper, and sex worker who has worked for Julie on and off for eleven years, sits and fields calls from prospective customers. The three cell phones on the desk are constantly buzzing, each with a different ringtone. It is lunchtime, and the clients are hungry. Corrine, who wears her light-brown hair in long braids and looks like she would fit right in at a Woodstock-style love-in, answers one phone and says, “We have Gabriela, she’s new, a lovely South American girl, twenty-three.

The same corporations that run upscale brothels in Nevada also own restaurants, nightclubs, and hotels. Yet the actual individuals who work in this increasingly mainstreamed industry remain marginalized by social stigma and are often exploited. As freelance contractors, rather than employees, the women who work in legal brothels here and abroad have very few rights to protect themselves from labor abuses. The situation for women and men who work in the illegal sector is much worse. While antiprostitution laws have done little to stem the thriving industry in recreational sex, they exact a high price on public health and safety.

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