OpinionMeister

Friday, May 06, 2005

Job Training With a Difference

The Associated Press reports on a one-day job development course given in San Francisco for "sex workers." Link.
The 25 students in jeans and T-shirts could have been in any career that requires hustle. The classes, covering topics such as effective marketing, stress reduction and legal issues, could have been part of any professional development seminar.

But this was "Whore College," and any illusion it was just another corporate how-to for young go-getters abruptly ended at the sex toy display and was stripped away for good during a graphic demonstration that put a whole new twist on the concept of hands-on training.

"We are still illegal," instructor Kimberlee Cline said before her 20-minute demonstration. "If we want to be treated as business professionals, we need to act ethically within the industry." [...]

By light of day, the women and men of the night swapped tips, argued over personal grooming choices and heard from others considered experts in their field. Many of the attendees said they were motivated as much by the networking opportunity and doing what they could to normalize the world's oldest profession as furthering their education. During Cline's workshop, for example, some in the audience skimmed magazines and chatted despite the carnal knowledge unfolding in front of them.

Participants who stuck it out for the whole day received diplomas certifying them as G.S.W's — graduates in sex work. [...]

The more shadowy aspects of the profession were covered in the curriculum. Lawyer Erin Crane explained that accepting money for a specific sex act could land someone in jail, but she repeated several times she couldn't advise anyone on how to break the law.

Students practiced using assertive screaming for self-defense and they were told how to assess dangerous situations, and how to break free from an assailant's grasp.

The parts about safety should have been worth taking the day off without pay. I cannot imagine the profession ever gaining respectability, but I think it should gain non-criminal status.

How can this legal situation be justified: If A gives B money to have sex with him, it is a crime. If A gives B money to have sex with C, while A films it, it is the legal "adult entertainment" industry. Soliciting on the street is a public nuisance, and it should be prosecuted as something like "disturbing the peace." However, the prostitution itself, if practiced away from the public view, is an act between consenting adults and should be legal. If a minor is involved, it should still be criminal. These women are in a very dangerous occupation, and they deserve the police protection that only comes with legal businesses.

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