Why Celebs Should Stay Out Of The Sex Work Debate

August 4, 2015

When it comes to sex work, pretty much everyone and their mother has an opinion about it. They think that they know the best way to stop it and the best way to help those in it get out. In fact, they think that they know so much about it that it is shocking the sex industry even exists!

For us here at XEscorts and for many sex workers around the world, it is just frustrating when people without a clue join the sex work debate, and with the recent #PledgeDecrim campaign from Amnesty International gaining traction, we are seeing more and more getting involved, including a lot of celebrities.

We take a look at the reasons that the celebrities should be staying out of the sex work debate, and why exactly they are getting involved in the first place.


The internet has been both good and bad when it comes to the sex work debate. It’s been good because we can now see on social media how sex workers feel about the laws that are in place, which is amazing for us because we get the facts about the matter.

However, that also means we get to see the opinions of those without a clue because they simply believe all of the “facts” and “statistics” they have thrown at them. They believe that everyone in the sex industry is in desperate need of saving, and so they will use social media to share these “facts” with others. This, in turn, builds on the ridiculous and damaging stigma that surrounds the industry.

It is something that I say a lot, but the sex industry is not how you see it in the film ‘Pretty Woman’. It isn’t that escorts and prostitutes need a white knight to come and rescue them and that, as soon as one comes along, they’ll stop. Most in the industry actually want to be there! Of course, why would we listen to those who work in the industry? Why would we mere mortals know better than celebrities? After all, they are the ones with the knowledge about the real industry and not us who are a part of it.

A huge number of celebrities got together to speak out about Amnesty International’s proposal, stating that accepting this proposal “in effect legalizes pimping, brothel owning and sex buying” and start talking about the countries have brought in more effective policies for sex work, which mainly involving further criminalisation. They gloss over the fact that decriminalisation has proven to be particularly effective in New Zealand, but that is because they are keen for us to see the error of our ways and start to follow the Nordic model which sees the client criminalised. After all, reducing the demand will eliminate sex work altogether and has been proven to create less sexual exploitation and trafficking, right?

The English Collective of Prostitutes shows just how wrong those facts are, stating that “there is no evidence that trafficking, rape and other violence has decreased in Sweden” and that there is “no reliable data demonstrating any overall decline in people selling sex”. In fact, they tell us that “recent research shows that sex workers face increased stigma and are more vulnerable to violence”, which is pretty much the opposite of what the law was supposed to do.

It’s not their place

The biggest argument for celebrities and, in fact, everyone else not getting involved in the sex work debate is that it is none of their business. Sex workers are taking to social media to tell the various celebrities, such as Lena Dunham and Kate Winslet, to “stop grandstanding about sex work” and actually let those with a clue about the industry talk about it, instead of sticking their noses where they don’t belong.

Twitter user Stoya makes a comment about those getting involved, saying “oh, you played a prostitute in a movie? I played a nurse in a porno. Does that qualify me to talk about working conditions in hospitals?” to demonstrate just how ridiculous celebrities joining this debate are being about it.

Sex worker Jane also said that “If Kate Winslet and Lena Dunham are trading sex in a criminalized environment, then they should speak out [but] the role of an advocate and an ally is to step back and let these people speak. The second Kate Winslet starts trading sex for money, she should be full voiced about it.

She goes on, making a very powerful statement that we should all take notice of: “at the end of the day, this is a proposal that impacts my life and not Lena Dunham’s. The fact that celebrities who have no stake in this and will not be impacted by it are getting the largest voice is frustrating and, frankly, dehumanizing.”

So why are they involved?

Unfortunately, the internet and social media has given people this idea that their opinion on different subjects actually matters. However, as the various sex workers point out – it doesn’t. If it doesn’t directly impact them and their lives, they shouldn’t be getting involved.

Many do it because they simply want to say “hey world, I have an opinion on something!” which is great, but honestly, everyone has their own opinions. It’s just that most know when to speak up and when to keep it quiet. Some might also be using it to make the misinformed and unaware public like them more. After all, they are the ones who stood up for sex workers!

The problem with this is that the celebrities and many others are actually speaking over sex workers. They believe their opinions on the matter are more important than the opinions of those who actually work in the industry. If anyone knows the industry, it is sex workers, so leave the talking to them.

Do you believe celebrities have a place in the sex work debate, or are they simply using it as a platform for their own morals? Let us know by joining the debate in the box below.

Lara Mills
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