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Playing the Whore

The Work of Sex Work

By Melissa Gira Grant
13-minute read
Audio available
Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work by Melissa Gira Grant

Playing The Whore (2014) busts the myths still surrounding the topic of sex work and explores how and why society continues to shame the chosen profession of the sexually liberated. Unfortunately, society’s attitudes and laws often endanger, rather than protect, those who work in the sex industry. Discover why that is and why it’s time to change our perspective on one of the oldest professions in the world.

  • Sexually liberated people tired of being judged
  • Conservative people curious about the opinion of a sex worker
  • Social workers looking for a different perspective

Melissa Gira Grant is a writer, journalist and former exotic dancer. She advocates for human rights, especially the rights of sex workers, and does voluntary work for gender equality organizations and sex work groups. Her articles have been published in The New York Times and The Guardian.

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Playing the Whore

The Work of Sex Work

By Melissa Gira Grant
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work by Melissa Gira Grant
Synopsis

Playing The Whore (2014) busts the myths still surrounding the topic of sex work and explores how and why society continues to shame the chosen profession of the sexually liberated. Unfortunately, society’s attitudes and laws often endanger, rather than protect, those who work in the sex industry. Discover why that is and why it’s time to change our perspective on one of the oldest professions in the world.

Key idea 1 of 8

Rather than protecting prostitutes, the police often make a sex worker’s life more dangerous.

Society often sees things as black and white. It’s often assumed, for instance, that the police will work to keep all people safe from harm and that all prostitutes are criminals. But reality is rarely so clear-cut.

Often, the work of police ends up making the lives of prostitutes less safe.

According to a 2003 survey by the Sex Worker’s Project, an organization that offers legal and social support for sex workers, over two-thirds of sex workers in New York City are harassed by police, usually on a daily basis.

On top of that, 30 percent of sex workers have received violent threats from police officers and most feel that they can’t depend on the police to help them out when clients become violent.

For example, after a prostitute was gang-raped, the police refused to investigate and, due to her profession, didn’t consider her worthy of protection.

This attitude results in many emergency phone calls from prostitutes being ignored by police, and, as a result, many sex workers have simply given up trying to call for help.

And the statistics on the mistreatment of sex workers by police only get worse from there.

In 2005, the Sex Worker’s Project found that 14 percent of the interviewed prostitutes in New York City were victims of police violence. Further, 16 percent reported that police officers had attempted to initiate sexual activity.

These problems aren’t restricted to New York City.

In West Bengal, a survey of 21,000 sex workers revealed that the overwhelming amount of violent attacks on prostitutes were committed by the police, not clients.

This debunks one of the most common myths of prostitution: that clients present the greatest risk. In actuality, the police often pose much more of a threat.

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