The Irish Times for 13 April carries a piece about Rachel Moran, a former Irish prostitute and her book which details Moran’s experiences in prostitution (see http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/the-myth-of-the-happy-hooker-1.1358702?page=1. For my review of Moran’s book please visit http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/4075228-paid-for-my-journey-into-prostitution-by-rachel-moran).
Moran’s experiences as a street prostitute and, later an escort has lead the author to advocate that Ireland and other nations introduce the Swedish model under which people who pay for sex are criminalised while prostitutes are offered assistance to leave the trade. In Moran’s view men who purchase sex are abusing women and take positive delight in doing so. Abuse is by it’s very nature unacceptable and those who buy women’s bodies should be named and shamed.
Having just read Moran’s book I was unsurprised by what she says in the above mentioned article in the Irish Times. However the comments from those who are either (or have been engaged) in the sex industry which follow on from the article are of interest. Other prostitutes and those with knowledge of the industry question Moran’s perspective that prostitution is necessarily exploitative. She is accused by one lady in particular of misrepresenting the effectiveness of the Swedish Law on Prostitution in preventing the trade. The commenter further contends that in contrast to what Moran states the Swedish approach makes the lives of prostitutes harder than was the case prior to the introduction of the legislation.
In my short story, The First Time we meet Becky a young student who enters the world of prostitution as an escort in order to pay off her credit card bill. The psychological effects of working in the sex industry on both Becky and her fellow escort and Friend Julie are examined as are the ladies interactions with their clients. No doubt Rachel Moran would see the fictional Becky as being exploited by Mike, the first man who purchases her services as an escort. However Mike does not threaten Becky either verbally or physically. In fact Julie informs her friend that there are clients “much worse than Mike Carter” and goes on to describe an encounter with a client who wanted her to pretend to be his teenage daughter.
Moran has understandably been deeply traumatised by her participation in prostitution, however whether she can speak on behalf of all prostitutes is, to my mind a debatable question as is exemplified by the comments generated in response to the above article and memoirs of other prostitutes which do not paint the same picture as Moran. Whatever one’s views on the issue of prostitution I’d recommend reading Moran’s book. As it provides a fascinating portrayal from one lady’s perspective on the oldest profession.