I’m not sure how we got onto the subject but today in work I learned that there was a brothel in the next street from my office. I couldn’t quite believe it as I’d never noticed. At lunch time I went out to have a look. Next door to the place where most Fridays I get my sausage and bacon bap there is a building with blacked-out windows and the word nineteen on the sign. I had no idea! Now I’m going to be so curious, watching out for anyone going in and out. Obviously I knew there must have been brothels in Cardiff and I’ve seen prostitutes but I never knew I was walking past such a business every day. I didn’t realise it would be in amongst offices and café’s on an average street.
We were talking about prostitution and whether it should be legalised, after all it is an age old business. If someone wants to sell their body, wouldn’t it be better if they could do so in a safe environment?
Personally, I tend to disagree. The main reason being I cannot see why anyone would want to sell their body for money voluntarily. I imagine situations that may make someone feel they need to do it. There are situations where people are forced to do it. Are there many prostitutes who would do the job given any other option?
Say I’m wrong and it actually is an enjoyable profession. The money is good and if legalised would be far safer and less seedier. Are there any politicians who would be prepared to stand up and defend the industry and condone what goes on? Would they put their neck on the line and protect the vulnerable? It’s not illegal in other countries. From what little I know it’s illegal in the UK but a blind eye is turned. What is the point in having a law if it’s going to be ignored? When we first moved to Cardiff we were out late watching a film and when we were driving back near Cardiff prison I saw a few prostitutes walking the streets. I couldn’t believe it; I’d never seen anything like that where I’m from. It’s a main road where police must travel back and forth on a regular basis. They were in no way being discreet. I think I was most shocked by the location, I imagined the red light district to be in some obscure place in old docklands; no one would be accidentally passing by. I did not imagine such a zone less than 5 minutes from the city centre, right by housing and main roads.
My colleague mentioned the other end of the spectrum the high-class escorts and the TV series – Secret Diary of a Call Girl. I’ve also watched that series and it portrays a young woman who enjoys her job and can’t see herself doing anything else. She has a good lifestyle and makes good money. I’m inclined to think that the TV show doesn’t really show the reality of the situation and doesn’t reflect accurately many, if at all any people who actually work in that industry. Sure, they may be some people who are paid very well and may be able to say that it is the job for them. But that has to be the minority really?
What would we do for money, for how much money? Would I sleep with someone for a million pounds? The answer is probably yes, get it over and done with and I would enjoy every last penny. I think even my boyfriend Jon would go along with that idea! Would I sleep with 100 people for a million pound? My answer is no, I don’t think I could. I would be afraid of the mental health impact that would have on me. We have sex for free with the people we love, sometimes with people we don’t love but the thought of doing it 100 times doesn’t appeal to me.
Prostitution and escorting is often featured in women’s magazines. Usually the story will be about someone who did it just to fund their education and now they have a fabulous job and are able to support themselves without the burden of debt. Another story is usually about someone who just offers company and gets to travel to exotic places around the world and is showered with beautiful gifts. That doesn’t sound too bad to me? Is it the persons involved responsibility of whether they can handle it?
Can you take being bought? We all provide a service in our jobs, my service is administration and customer service and I’m paid what that service is worth. Would I feel any worse about myself (not that anyone would pay for it!) if I sold my companionship instead?
The other thing I thought about was what a legalised brothel would be like; obviously there would be strict security, stringent rules for the customers and proper working hours and rates. They would probably need a health and safety officer – can you imagine the risk assessment? Would you fill in an accident form to report if you got pregnant? I just can’t imagine the sale of sex being out and out legal and acceptable.
When I picture a prostitute in my mind, I think of poor women who have had a hard life. They don’t have support and family around them able to get them through the bad times. From bad circumstances they have decided they will go through with a job just to get by as a simple solution or because they are desperate. As an every day job I imagine they either mentally numb themselves to the reality of the situation or they take drugs to do the same thing. When you’ve had enough, how do you move on? How can you get yourself a different job if your previous work experience includes ‘sex worker’?
But then what it comes back to is…isn’t it just an easy way to make money, is it really a crime? A crime needs a victim and if the person committing the crime is the also the victim then I’m confused!