Okay, too many horrifying things happening.
A&E Completely Misunderstands the Reality of Sex Workers
The headline doesn't explain the problem, so here it is. A&E is launching a show run by a former cop/pastor in which he tricks sex workers into showing up and then accosts them with cameras and police and spends eight minutes talking them out of being sex workers.
He says he does this because it works, but OF COURSE a sex worker who is doing something made illegal by the state is going to tell you what to want to hear when someone traps you in a room with cameras and FUCKING POLICE.
This is wrong on so many levels. I haven't talked much about sex work on this blog because I don't feel I'm educated enough on the subject to speak on what is a complex issue, but I know this is wrong. This is coercion and exploitation. You're treating sex workers as spectacles so you can make money and go "look at me, aren't I a great person, saving these people from themselves!"
Alana Massey explains better:
The show’s title refers to the eight minutes that Brown claims it takes him to talk a woman out of doing sex work. It is an ambush that eerily mirrors the vulgar fantasies that play out in so many hypothetical scenarios that anti-trafficking advocates recount as if they were fact. “He doesn’t pull any punches in his shock therapy,” producer Tom Forman told Entertainment Weekly, apparently unaware of the irony of subjecting sex workers to rhetorical shock therapy when purporting to remove them from coercive situations.
This treats sex workers as though they've never even considered leaving or doing something else, and seems to entirely ignore the reality that many sex workers don't have the option of leaving because of violent pimps, poverty, or that other sex workers actually like what they do and don't want to stop.
What does this fuckoff think the people (I'm guessing it's going to be 100% women) he "confronts" are going to do after "leaving" sex work? Does his eight-minute speech include some version of the words "I am going to give you all the money necessary to go to school including whatever housing and medical and childcare needs you might have"? Because if not, they're probably all going to go right back to sex work. Especially the ones that, news flash, WANT TO BE SEX WORKERS.
This entire show is a terrible idea. Anti-trafficking organizations are against it. Even the police won't support it. All this will do is spread harmful myths, misinformation, and dehumanization of sex workers. Fuck all of this.
Stay tuned for the link to the ForceChange petition I'll be writing on this bullshit.