Tuesday, May 25, 2010
by Pat Brown
If you are anywhere near my age of 54, you graduated high school in the the '70s, and you will remember Donna Summer's disco hit, Bad Girls, a great dance song that you couldn't get out of your head. The lyrics focused on girls who got into street prostitution; this is pretty much the only kind of prostitution many of us were familiar with, girls in hot pants, net stockings and high heels leaning in cars on "The Corner."
talking about the sad girls
talking about the bad girls, yeah
Friday night and the strip is hot
sun's gone down and they're about to trot
spirit's high and they look hot
do you wanna get down
now don't you ask yourself, who they are?
like everybody else, they wanna be a star
Now you and me, we are both the same
but you call yourself by different names
now you mama won't like it when she finds out
her girl is out at night
We pretty much figured, as the words in the song impart, hookers are "bad" girls who get some kind of cheap thrill out of dressing up, strutting up and down the street, and getting a lot of attention, filling an emotional void that they can't satisfy legally. The girls want to be important just like the rest of us, but they picked a bad avenue to achieve celebrity, and over time, they become damaged goods.
Today we recognize that many of these young girls are runaways and drug users who ply their trade out of necessity and desperation, becoming the pawns of pimps and johns, men who use these girls to serve their sexual needs and to make money off of their overused bodies. The girls end up on the very short end of the stick, abused emotionally and physically, losing their lives to the streets and sometimes simply losing their lives.
We also have become more familiar with human trafficking, where girls, many underage, and young naive women mostly from impoverished backgrounds, are lured to the United States with promises of legitimate jobs. When they arrive, either illegally across the border - or legally, but their procurers confiscate their passports - they can't return home or get regular employment. They are imprisoned in houses of sexual slavery, never able to earn enough money to buy their freedom, incapable of paying off "money owed" for their travel expenses. They can't go to the authorities because they have no legal status or because they are locked up in brothels and can't escape.
Most middle class families don't worry that their daughters will get caught up in a sex ring or end up working the streets. Their girls come from decent homes, are well educated, and would never get involved in prostitution.
This is a false belief. Many girls with much going for them get lured into the sex trade or walk into it with eyes wide open. How does this happen and why?
Every parent should understand what draws girls into selling themselves and the lifestyle that comes with it. They must be willing to see the signs that their child is prostituting herself. Before they send their daughters out into the world alone, they need to sit down with them to ensure these girls understand that any benefits of the "bad girl" life are dwarfed by its dangers.
Some girls, like Lauren, play the game until it's no longer fulfilling, the money doesn't make up for the soul-destroying life, and they get out. Other girls get old in the business and lose their ability to function in normal life any more. This is not a happy ending.
These "soft" prostitution venues attract young girls who would never put themselves out on the street. Sex in this country has been reduced to an amusement or sport; it's not much of a leap to get money for something one gives away for free in repeated hookups with relative stranger. Being paid for sex doesn't seem all that terrible or immoral.
We all need to stop pretending those adult services offered on Craigslist, in the yellow pages, and on the Internet are anything but prostitution; that businessmen with big wallets and a gaggle of girls is anything but a front for the sex trade. We need to save our young women from "The Life" that is really not much of a life at all.Tweet