Why Punter Shaming Just Doesn’t Work
October 1, 2015
Over the years there have been many different methods to try and put an end to sex work completely, and yet despite all of this the world’s oldest profession is still going strong. Since the attacks on the sex workers themselves haven’t made a difference to the industry, people are instead deciding that we need to do is instead focus on the clients of sex workers and stop them from seeing them. After all, if you get rid of the demand, the supply goes too… right?
We know that isn’t how it works, and yet people are still trying to stop the sex industry in any way that they can. Many just don’t like the idea of consenting adults having sex if money has changed hands, while others have bought into the stigma that is readily spread by the media and believe that all sex workers are victims desperately in need of rescue from the dangerous clients they must force themselves to sleep with every single day.
Here at Escort England we know that the reality is very different, and that trying to shame Johns just isn’t going to work. We take a look at why it won’t work and what needs to be done instead.
Restricting something doesn’t always work
We have seen so many cases throughout history where the higher ups have decided that they need to stop something, whether it is the drinking of alcohol, certain behaviours, or paying for sex. Most of the time, the restrictions they put in are designed to stop the demand for the product. After all, if you stop the demand then the supply will fizzle out and everyone will live the way that you want them to, right?
That isn’t how it works. Take a look at prohibition in America! They tried to stop people from drinking alcohol by making its creation and sale illegal. All that happened was a lot of people looking for the product elsewhere, instead of following the nicely laid-out plan the government had.
It is the same with a number of other things because if you tell someone they can’t have something, it just makes them want it more. Making it illegal and against the law simply encourages them, and they will work all that harder to get what they want. They will be more cautious, sure, but they will still do it. It’s like putting a big and beautiful red button in front of someone and telling them not to push it. What do you expect them to do? Restricting the selling of sex hasn’t work, so why would the buying of sex?
Most clients aren’t doing anything wrong
One of the biggest problems that the clients of sex workers face is the stigma. The stigma is one of the biggest dangers that people involved in the industry face, as it changes the way people look at you. For sex workers, they are seen as victims desperately in need of saving, while clients are seen as vile scum taking advantage of the weak, or only seeing escorts because they can’t meet people in real life.
The first part ties heavily into the stigma that sex workers are all women in need of rescue. People tend to forget that not only are sex workers not all women, but that many of them choose to join the sex industry because it gives them such freedom. So clients are actually not taking advantage and simply want to spend time with them.
The other stigma suggests that these men wouldn’t be able to go out on the pull successfully, and that they are poor unfortunate souls with no clue about how to really talk to a woman. Many believe that the solution is for them to just take a long shower, wash themselves, and then go on a night out and impress.
The stigma ignores the fact that actually a lot of clients go to escorts for a very specific purpose. They might be seeking a domination relationship with an escort, or they may simply want the kind of companionship an escort can provide without the complications that come with traditional relationships. Is there really anything bad about that?
It puts sex workers at risk
Of course, the main reason that punter shaming just doesn’t work is because of the huge amount of risks it puts into an industry that already has so many other dangers to face. Places like Sweden boast proudly that the number of sex workers have reduced now that they are criminalising the client, but when you take the time to look at the statistics they are using you can easily call bullshit, as they don’t actually have any from before the Swedish model was put in place!
In reality, the number of sex workers isn’t going down. However, what is happening is that sex workers are taking more risks when choosing their clients, all because the punter shaming is making the good and decent Johns feel like they are criminals. They might stop seeing escorts simply because they don’t want to be penalised for something that really isn’t wrong, but the bad and dangerous clients won’t.
Escorts will take on clients quickly so that they don’t get caught, and this puts them at risk. The bad clients can then take advantage of this, which is why shaming the clients is the wrong thing to do. Why are we making the good, honest clients of escorts feel bad for what is basically paid sex between consenting adults? Okay, so some people might not like the fact that some sex is paid for, but putting in measures like this makes the entire thing a lot more dangerous for everyone involved.
Honestly, I find the idea of criminalising the clients of sex workers ridiculous. Instead of trying to make the jobs of sex workers harder, we should be working to help them. Let them know that we support them, instead of forcing them to hide away in case the law changes.. but what do you think? Are there more reasons that John shaming doesn’t work that you want to share? Let us know in the comments below or on the Escort England forum.
Since then she has gained a fine reputation with her blogs on sex advice, sexual health and amusing news stories from around the globe. She is also a campaigner for the rights of sex workers from all over the world.
In her spare time, Lara keeps herself active by going running, and is something of a film buff. She also loves to go travelling.