Many believe that all women involved in prostitution are desperate for rescue and that being rescued always and inevitably leads to a better life for women and their families. Myra M. F. sent us a link to this poster, made by brothel workers in Thailand, begs for an end to attempts to rescue them. Laura Agustin, who took this picture (and blogged about it here), writes:
This poster comes from the EMPOWER centre in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where brothel workers gathered to discuss recent raids and rescue operations. On the left they have written a list of reasons why they do not wish to be rescued by police, ngo or charity workers.
The text (as transcribed by Agustin):
• We lose our savings and our belongings.
• We are locked up.
• We are interrogated by many people.
• They force us to be witnesses.
• We are held until the court case.
• We are held till deportation.
• We are forced re-training.
• We are not given compensation by anybody.
• Our family must borrow money to survive while we wait.
• Our family is in a panic.
• We are anxious for our family.
• Strangers visit our village telling people about us.
• The village and the soldiers cause our family problems.
• Our family has to pay ‘fines’ or bribes to the soldiers.
• We are sent home.
• Military abuses and no work continues at home.
• My family has a debt.
• We must find a way back to Thailand to start again.
Many activists in the U.S. similarly argue that the policing of prostitution, ostensibly to “protect” women,” serves to criminalize them (and not so much their johns) and ultimately makes their lives more difficult and dangerous than they would be otherwise. (See, for example, Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics or COYOTE.)