My late brother used to work in a part of HMRC that dealt with the black economy. They would raid restaurants, hairdressers, nail bars, and similar business where there were cash payments – either as tips, or for the whole service. And they also raided brothels. Remarkably, a few people still run these from their own actual mortgaged home, meaning if they don’t pay up when HMRC challenges them they can take the house instead.
They would watch the place covertly for a few weeks and get an idea of how many punters a day went there. From this, they’d work out what the place was turning over; the charge for a one-hour visit has been about £200 for the last 25 years, which tells you the supply is increasing rather than staying static. Then they’d raid it.
Starting with the front of house person, everyone would be asked, How did you get this job? and Do you consider yourself to be employed or self-employed? This is of course to establish who owes the unpaid employer’s NI.
The actual working girls couldn’t usually remember exactly how they’d got the job, because it was so long ago. Typically they did tours of duty. They made north of £100,000 in a six to eight month tour. About a third went to the house as commission plus they paid rent for a room. It wasn’t unusual to clear £75,000 for themselves in that time. Living it up in London, they might spend half of that, and they took the rest home to Latvia, or wherever. Then they got a new haircut, had some new photos done, and came back as a “new” girl after a rest.
After five or six years of this they would have £400,000 to £500,000 in the bank. And that’s why they kept coming back again and again. He interviewed one who was 32 and had been doing this for 13 years. She owned holiday property outright in Majorca and Cyprus.
He asked several of them if they had a typical customer. The point was to understand what the typical customer spent. The answer was no. Their customers were old, young, rich or poor but mostly middle-income and much less prosperous than themselves; thin, fat, ugly, good-looking.
They are not paying me to f***, one explained. they are paying me to f*** off, afterwards.
None was trafficked. All were volunteers. They chose London because most had some rudimentary English. The fact that the women kept coming back and doing this again and again, and that the market has not tolerated any price rise in 25 years, tells you there is an ample supply versus the demand.
It suits JB to pretend that no such women exist, of course. But in the real world, I am not sure who was exploiting whom.
JB is exploiting feminism.
In the US a Hawaiian vacation is normal for working girls who actually pay strip club owners for stage time. Their dates typically start at $200 for minimums but quickly go to $1000 for typical. On the street, poorer providers go for less but include a large number of Trans workers. Not sure about the pimp situation in that many claim to be free lancers, the Honolulu downtown seems filled with those who might have pimps.
Meanwhile in Nevada the legal brothels remain with most workers seemingly happy with the routine. Street trade in Las Vegas is active except that ripoffs are common; a limo ride to a brothel is safer.
Who likes the situation? I suspect most simply view it as a necessary evil. Properly regulated would be my choice with an emphasis on proper. Truth is the government really doesn’t care, just wants it not to be an issue.
I’d suspect your late brother only raided quite a limited subset of London brothels – few prostitutes can earn even close to 100k in 6 months.
The top few % earn that or more, but most in the top 50% probably take home in the 40-80k / year. (My info may be out of date, I’ve not spoke to someone who’d knowledgeable on these things since 2019)
If any are interested in a real world view of London brothels, they could watch this 15 min Youtube: “Sex for Sale: Inside a British Brothel – BBC News”. It shows the insides of Londons most well known brothel, run by an x copper, where the hourly rate has been in the 120 – 150 / hour range for at least the past 10 years. The main Escort featured in that (Louise), a very articulate lady as comes across in the video, has posted dozens of times to JB on twitter, though JB apparently never listens for some reason.
The bottom 50% of prostitutes work from home, in cheap hotels , on the streets, or in establishments much less posh than the one featured in the above video.
And possibly over 10% of UK prostitutes are trafficked. The BBC just released a documentary on the subject just a couple of weeks back. Search iPlayer for “Sex Slaves Next Door” I’ve not watched it myself as it’s apparently very distressing, but it’s said to paint a convincing picture.
There’s not a single mention of adult women’s own responsibility not to have sexual intercourse with strangers for money in here. Ms Bindel’s fanatical obsession with hating men and treating women like infants is de rigeur at this point. The vast majority of modern prostitutes are not trafficked little lambs from the Far East, but greedy and foolish young women raking in thousands a month from ‘sugar daddies’. It is not 1974 anymore.
It’s a good point. Prostitution could be ended globally tomorrow if women simply said Right, I will not sell sex any longer.
Have we tried that?
Unrealistic, as for some the money/disaster aid or healthcare is essential for survival, if it is all you have to sell to eat where is your option, to say no I will not sell sex in exchange for food or aid or healthcare? I do not like the comments after articles on or around these topics they are all point scoring and not addressing the issue of should anyone feel OK about either treating or being treated like an object? I like men and find it sad that they are so vulnerable ……
In the same circumstances, men can’t sell sex. So they do something else to get by instead. Why don’t women do whatever that is?
Genuine question: Is prostitution worse than a job shovelling shit in the sewers? Or endless days of mind-numbing medium? Just looking for the objective measures to define the boundaries of exploitation.
YES, it is much worse. I have worked many really unpleasant menial jobs – they are honorable work.
Working in a sewer – being a mortician, gutting fish on a processor ship, cleaning incontinent old people – these are honorable work. You do valuable work for an honest buck.
Prostitution is dishonoring your self for a buck. I know many are forced into it by life, and many fall into it for reasons of every sort, and one cannot judge as life is exceedingly harsh on the fringes..
But the truth is sex is an intimate act that ultimately is designed, by our million years history, and every human society, to be between a couple who have made a bond between them. To legitimize ‘Sex Work’ as we hear some Universities do, as a way for students to make money – that is evil. No woman will ever think of herself the same, and neither will the man she later marries – it is not good, it cannot be undone, you will have changed who you are for ever.
As a man I could not imagine paying a woman to submit (as I know it is not her wish to do paid sex, but is only for the money) her most intimate self unwillingly – as that is to demean her. The Johns are also mostly going to be betraying some woman who is bonded to them
It is an UN-honorable work. I have been around a great many people severely damaged by life, and these are the ones mostly who fall into prostitution. I do not judge them as their circumstances are their oun, and likely were pretty bad – but I do condemn the industry.
1) Shouldn’t women be writing the responses. As a man, you should only talk about male prostitution.
2) Some of the issues you raise are subjective, more than objective.
3) Sometimes you’ve confused cause and consequence – where you should be condemning the existence of money, or lack of UBI?
Not arguing a view of the subject, just arguing the quality of your arguments.
I think what would be interesting is having UBI for every human being, and seeing what happens to prostitution participation as the rate rises from £0 per month. I think it’ll be a non-linear shape, and never fall to zero. At a high enough level, it’ll start to be asymptotic… and so will participation in many other areas of human activity.
“As a man you should only talk about male prostitution….” cripes. I’m Irish, does that mean I don’t get to have an opinion about Hoegarden and have to stick to Guinness. I’m straight, does that mean I don’t get to appreciate Oscar Wilde….wait, he’s Irish, so….erm…………. I’m 5’9″ so I must not have an opinion on short angry blokes like Hitler or Napoleon…due to the fact they might have been angry about being short instead of being just diseased in both body and soul. I’m White (well mostly a ruddy shade of pink …. see being Irish above)… so I can’t have a thought or express a thought about slavery in all it’s evil myriad forms, both now and throughout history, despite Dublin being a centre for slavery for hundreds of years in the first millenium. Yep, I’m a bloke (that’s a man) so I can’t have a thought or an opinion about how other men can demean and abuse women, and how women can fall through society and have to sell their bodies for enough cash to exist. Prostitution is not Pretty Woman. Grow up.
The important thing to remember is that you can only discuss things from the angle most immediately relevant to your own identity characteristics, but also you have to be objective rather than subjective. What could be simpler?
Lol, so presumably as a man you were only asking whether it’s male prostitution that’s worse than shovelling shit? I know what I’d prefer to do.
I’ve given you an uptick for the general drift of your statement BUT If every Yoomun Bean is on UBI where is the money coming from?????
As a human being you should be concerned for the well being of all other human beings – not just those who are same as me or you.
How many British tax payers will agree to their government contributing to Universal Basic Income of the citizens of Myanmar (say)?
Fair play mate.
Not everyone equates sex with intimacy! Just follow the hookup culture of today where no money is exchanged, but a lot of sex may be exchanged. Sex here is equated with entertainment. And this is what an average punter seeks when paying for sex.
The difference here is that the hookup culture has two eager partners who seek physical release. Prostitutes require money which is their living and just go through the motions. Also they often get beaten up after the fact.
Do you think all marriages have two eager partners? Partners get beaten up in marriages too!
You didn’t bring marriage into your comment.
What I am saying is being beaten up is not exclusive to postitution.
“No woman will ever think of herself the same, and neither will the man she later marries – it is not good,” – How could you know that? Of course there are broken people on both sides of the activity, but many enjoy the work and the freedom that comes with money. Many do marry and are quite successful in their second life. Self esteem is possible for the people who were quite aware of their unsanctioned lifestyle. It’s just a pity that we will never have the ability to fix the broken people. But that is life itself.
me too. A friend and I both respectable middle class stypes , a male and a female going to work on the bus one day had a long conversation about buying and selling sex, neither of us could imagine doing either. The people nearest to us on the bus listened opened mouthed to our conversation as we were both wearing clerical collars on our way to work as prison Chaplains.
If you consult studies that survey people who voluntarily chose sex work, you’d find they tend to report slightly higher job satisfaction than those working at entry level jobs in retail or care work. So presumeably much better than working in a sewer.
But there is no objective measure that would fully “define the boundaries of exploitation”. The adverse consequences Galeti Tavas lays out are real, or at least probably correspond to how many people expereince it. Though like you say its a subjective view. From my reading of Gospels Christ was less negative on the matter, and I’m not sure its correct that selling oneself fundamentally changes “who you are for ever”. See Matt 15:11 . Also, several early church Fathers, including St Augustine himsels, argued for tolerating brothels in Christian cities.
Though maybe Augustine would think differently in light of modern trafficking. Personally I agree that your UBI idea (together with better anti coercion enforcement) be a good way to reduce prostiution with out hurting economically vulnerable women & other sex sellers. Hopefully by the time we’re ready for UBI, sex robots will be much better and cheaper, or there is some other solution for those punters who cant experience the joy of sex any other way.
Despite your efforts Ms Bindel prostitution is not going to disappear no matter how many columns you write.
Legalising prostitution is only the start… an incomplete solution.
Undoubtedly, all the problems you list need to be addressed but that’s even less likely to happen if the practice is forced underground.
Also, for once Ms Bindel, please assume the women involved possess agency.
Nah. A woman’s body is her own unless she uses it to gratify men. It’s then Julie’s body and the woman will do as she’s told.
She’d stand a better chance of bringing people around to her way of thinking if she didn’t make everything a criticism of men and how evil they are.
She also ignores facts that don’t fit with her narrative. For instance, it’s become almost commonplace for a young woman to pay her way through university and pay off student loans either by signing up as a sugar baby or obtaining an OnlyFans account.
Why is that admirable my education was free and I still believe that all education should be free ?
Not all governments can afford that luxury for its citizens. Never judge others by your own standards.
Education has always been free. Tutoring from a learned person may have some costs. The tutor (professor) may do the effort gratis, but most receive compensation that comes from somewhere.
Yes, plenty of lower middle class people barely making ends meet must love the idea of sponsoring kids from richer families going fir their full paid “studies” courses
But the reality of today is that it isn’t free, it must be paid for, and many young women at university are earning considerable money by selling their services. What’s more, most don’t consider it improper or demeaning, they consider it empowering.
Who are we to pass judgement.
More power to your elbow Julie.
I heard a paper in the 90s from sociologist Gus Brannigan. He pointed out a number of issues, including these:
1. Legislation is always about who is the victim and who is the perpetrator. It rotates, often with conflicting view embodied in state, federal, or local levels.
2. Most sex is survival sex – a girl – often underaged – selling herself for a few nights of food and housing. Particularly common among runaways.
3. You can license sex work – for instance, requiring prostitutes to be of age, have regular checkups, use condoms, and so forth. However, there will always be an enforcement issue – underage girls, women with disease, and – as the present article points out – clients successfully demanding sex without condoms. Licensing just won’t end illegal prostitution.
He didn’t note, but I do, that the sex trade on the Barbary Coast of San Francisco only wound down when they cracked down on human trafficking.
The person who buys another’s body is the true criminal, and should be treated as such. Criminalizing the buyer and only the buyer would possibly put an end to trafficking. The girls/women are always victims. Do they have agency? No one wants to sell their bodies, unless it is the only option they can see. Are there rare women who actually choose this life? Of course. But we are talking about the majority of abused and battered young girls who end up as prostitutes or forced into trafficking. I deeply admire the author for taking this on and hope that money/time/energy can be directed to helping women find real, meaningful work.
Since when has making anything illegal done anything other than drive it underground and into the hands of organised crime?
Men know and accept that they must pay for female company, whether it’s just a coffee date, a dinner date, or a steady girlfriend or wife, so paying explicitly for sex is not that different from accepted society norms.
In addition, some women want to make a living selling sex, they always have and always will. Right or wrong, and regardless of the long term emotional and personal cost, they see it as an easy and quick way to pay their bills.
As a result, making prostitution illegal is a lost cause and always will be. Better to face reality, legalize and control prostitution to make it a safe and healthy endeavour.
Both the buyer and seller of sexual services are demeaned by the encounter as they are both objectified and depersonalised by the exchange.
Using prostituting women is an enslaving of both parties. When conducted in other contexts, and not necessarily for coin, but for power in the ego realm, the same sorrow applies it seems to me. It’s all pervasive perversion to one degree or another. Perfect grounds for disease of all kinds to manifest.
Such transacting does not really ‘give’ anything beyond easy detached pragmatic degradation of sex for mere coin. Both parties are divorced, defamed, diminished in such activities from their truer selves – but of course they ‘work’ and rationalise because they are stressed being caught up in all fittings of ‘getting ahead’. Such ignorance is not bliss of course.
Doing such low-grade intercourse allows for the worst of behaviour and condemns each to fates that are naturally potentiated by such base physicality. Easy satisfaction, like fast food for example, has very high costs – immediately or long-term, likely both. It’s good or briefly enjoyable to feel lusty but hey, caution!
The social realm requires agile yet fast Law to be at the ready. Hopefully it (the Law) is deeply nuanced yet focused on the crime where one or many are threatened or hurt. We all need help at times. Why? For growth not as physical beings alone, but as spiritual beings having a challenging human experience in this ‘world of Forms’.