The CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corp) News Sunday interview with Victor Malarek about his book "The Johns, Sex for Sale and the Men Who Buy It" highlights the dynamics of an industry, much of it run by organized crime. What he talks about has been talked about for years by women who are regularly dismissed as sex negative or prudes.
Malarek rejects the notion that the prostitutes are the problem and holds men involved in any way (other than when they are prostituted) responsible instead. He rightfully points out that this industry is not about sexual needs, it is about power and control.
This is what men are buying. Money gives them the feeling that they have the right to act out their need for power and control. When we understand this reality we can begin to focus on primary prevention of the harm done through sex trafficking, both international and domestic.
It's important to note that Malarek, when he posed as a John, could buy not only the right to rape children, he could buy the right to film those rapes. The idea many people cling to that buying porn is never linked to systemic exploitation and violence is false.
Here's part 1 of the interview.
Here's part 2:
He says we have to talk to children, boys especially, about more than sex, we have to talk to them about the need for equality and dignity. Harm elimination, not harm reduction.
I agree. Linking achieving a belief in genuine equality to the reduction in gendered violence is an important part of primary prevention and was an important part of the training I attended last week. If someone truly believes another person is equal they will not treat them unequally.
The problem with harm reduction strategies is this requires harm tolerance. That's something I can never support.
I believe that if we are dedicated to harm elimination we can see that harm eliminated.
The only way for Johns to know that they are not harming someone or contributing to overt harm is to stop funding this industry. Because, as I wrote shortly after I started blogging, the Johns are the fuel of systematic violence against children and women. Johns therefore need to be accountable for their part in this harm.
Ignorance about this harm is not a valid excuse.
When all harm is eliminated then I'll listen to those who believe that prostitution can be done without harm.
H/T: Feminist Law Professors