I was very disappointed to see two very one-sided articles in the Hackney Citizen recently on the subject of the proposed ‘nil’ policy by Hackney Council on sex establishments in the borough.
These two articles did not put forward any statistics or views supporting the idea that sex establishments should be regulated more than they are at present and that they are not just harmless fun.
That [working in one of these establishments] is a tough life rather than a glamorous lifestyle is indicated by the experiences of Elena, whose experiences were featured in a Guardian article a couple of years ago entitled, ‘I was an object not a person’. Elena articulately describes how the branch of the chain she worked for treated their workers.
There is also the wider social impact to be thought of. How the availability of women in our society as sexual objects in pornographic films & magazines, lads’ magazines, lap dancing and prostitution shapes men’s view of women’s worth and how it shapes women’s thoughts on their own worth. I know that both men and women are involved in the sex industry, but it is clear that the sex industry is made up of many more girls and women than it is of boys and men and that the gross of the sex industry is led by men to attract men.
Women, whether in prostitution, pornography, lap dancing clubs or the soon-to-be opened Playboy Club are just pawns in a business run for men by men. In the end they have to do what the customer (mainly men) want, with nobody really concerned about the psychological and physiological impact it has on the workers or the impact on society as a whole.
With regards to the caution put out in the article published last November that closure of sex establishments will see them go underground, this should not be a reason to not do anything about them. If we followed this logic not only should we legalise drugs but also guns, as both are (more or less widely) available despite having been made illegal. The point of a policy as the one proposed by the council is that of taking a stand and drawing a line.