ATP partnered with Stanford University earlier this year to educate some of the world’s future leaders on the realities behind exploitation.
ATP, along with our close friend Samantha Summers-Rivas from RubiesLV, spent a few days at Stanford teaching two courses related to the topic.
The workshop course was titled A Comprehensive Approach to Combat Sex Trafficking and the seminar was titled Sex Trafficking: What We Fight for Today.
A lot of the open discussion involved us debunking the myths about how legalizing sex work would be a good thing.
Before you seriously consider legalizing sex work, you must do some other things.
- First and foremost, you must believe that sex is not something special, you must believe that it can become simply a transactional exchange of goods and is not a sharing of an intimate and even spiritual experience. If you believe that there is something special about sharing your body with someone else, then stop right here.
- If you believe the above, then the next step is to ask survivors how they feel about the pros and cons of sex work and legalizing it. You can’t just ask young women, but you must find the older women who survived. Make it a longitudinal study and see how they feel, if you can even find them. Many of them are already dead due to drug overdoses, suicide and murder.
- Now go ask pimps how they feel about legalizing sex work. See if it’s something they think will hurt their “business” or not.
- Stop normalizing the sexualization of women and girls. Studies show that the best strategy to reduce demand is to stop normalizing that men purchasing women is a rite of passage or an acceptable option. How do we stop normalizing purchasing women while also legalizing it?
- Be careful about quoting the Scandinavian models as evidence for success (Norway, Sweden, Finland).
- Dig deeper into the longitudinal impact of those strategies and you will find many disastrous effects.
- The U.S. is NOT Scandinavia. Unfortunately, we have many people groups in our culture that are extremely violent. The numbers below represent a macro look at the US as a whole. Feel free to go look at these same numbers for cities like Detroit, Chicago, and St. Louis.
We are happy to report that when we followed these steps at Stanford, some minds were changed.