Friday, 21 March 2008

Escorting - Freedom of Companionship

Knights Templar, protecting the innocent on their way to the Holy land...The Picture is of a Knight Templar, and refers to "Crusade". The emblem of the knights Templar also reminds me of that most English of symbols, the St George's Cross.

I'm on a bit of a Historic trip for this post.

With all the political skirmishes around the subject going on in England, I have been tempted for months to write about the (out)law-making efforts around Companionship, Prostitution and trafficking. But I am no good at political pamphlets so I'll poke some semi-serious fun at the end of the epistel.

The current UK government (possibly in its final term) seems on a Crusade against those who seek "companionship and whatever else occurs between consenting Adults." One way the UK might try to stop Pay-for-Play (P4P) is to try and penalize those who pay.
The lastest from the solicitor general to be found here and the resulting disucssion on Punternet

Firstly, I am not really qualified to comment as I have never been "on the street" nor have I visited parlours. That just is not my kind of scene, and I would not be comfortable meeting a girl in those circumstances. However, I will not condemn those who work there.

But let me make no bones about it (bones? pun? nah): Forced or coerced providers should be avoided, and trafficked or otherwise forced girls need help. Preventing girls to go on the "street scene", helping those with a drug-problem, and clamping down on dodgy parlours/providers are all laudable missions. I will not dispute that.
But there is existing legislation in place for that already.

I am also of the opinion that Human trafficking is despicable, and any attempt to eradicate it is a good idea. In that I agree.

Where I disagree is that paid-for time-and-companionship is the major cause of trafficking.

I recall two high-profile and dramatic news-events related to human trafficking in Britain: The illegal immigrants that suffocated in a truck while trying to get into Britain, and the cockle fishers who died on a beach.
In both cases the people involved were very much tangible victims of human trafficking, but in none of these cases did the reports mention a clear link to prostitution, forced or otherwise. The victims of those trafficking incidents were far removed from the kind of persons I tend to meet for companionship.

My main point would be: Prostitution, and even the worst kind of 'parlour exploitation' (I'm sure it does happen, but on what scale?) does not seem to be a major cause of human trafficking. A renewed (criminal) focus on Prostitution with the excuse of preventing human trafficking does not make sense to me.

And the battle against human trafficking, in my opinion does not need to be fought at the expense of those who provide a clean an honest (above board!) service. The Ladies in this business, or at least the ones I meet, are all self-employed and tax-paying members of the community. They seem to have normal lives, normal personalities, and I have never seen signs of the stereotypical drug problems. The Ladies I meet all see Escorting as a convenient way to earn (extra) money, and some are at least partly in it for the thrill.

In earlier posts, I have expressed my preference for a certain type of Lady, TRL. But it is clear from the various websites, notably in the cash-rich London area, that there are many foreign girls in Britain who are "on the game". The tend to be aspiring models, students, translators, hairdressers, some are even college-educated but prefer to try their luck this way.
And some of those might even be illigal aliens. But even for those, I would question how many are here out of free-will, and how many are "forced".
And even the ones that are possibly here against their will do not need additional legislation. An increased law-enforment effort would probably be sufficient to discourage most of them.

A more rigorous clampdown on the business of Companionship, notably making it illegal to "purchase" services, will only drive the bad apples, those with truly criminal intent, further underground where they will probably cause even more harm.

History seems to teach us there will always be a degree of "cash for company" in any society. There is a reason why it is The Oldest Profession. And it will exist in the 21st Century, as this article from the US clearly shows.

The uphill Battle

Uphill? Exactly where is this train going anyway ? well, to some brave ppl who Do stand up for their cause!For those who want to point out the disadvantages of the proposed legislation, it will be difficult to "speak up" for the discreet business of "Escorting".
Not everybody involved in this activity will want to stand up and "be counted". I for one, value my own anonymity and getting "outed" could seriously damage my job-prospects. And many of the Ladies I've seen, although they operate their business in full view of HMCR, they would not want to be "outed at the school gates". Some actually are moms and schoolteachers.

This means the counter-crusade to keep the business of "companionship" fully legal, is an uphill battle, fought from the "moral low ground". Not Easy.

Therefore, it is all the more important that the society we live in remains one of "respect" for other points of view. Freedom of Speech and the ability to criticizer the government remain of foremost importance. Our society can only progress through criticism and Freedom of Expression is one of the fundamental prerogatives to that.

This is not the only threat to a peaceful society... Whether we like what we hear or not:
Feminists, moral crusaders, cartoonists, metric-martyrs, religious zealots and left wing extremists, all of those Must (sometimes unfortunately?) be allowed to have their say, and they must be allowed to dress in any (un-)revealing way they like.

It is not a coincidence that some defense of free speech came from adult-oriented circles, like Larry Flint vs Jerry Fallwell. It is ironic but significant that someone like Flint, out to make a hard buck from horny males and defenseless girls, and out to cause offense with great deal of conservatives, actually stood up to defend one of the most Basic Human Rights: Free Speech.

I will not go all dramatic with references to Magna Carta (1215), The bill of Rights (1689) and that other Declaration in a break-away colony (1776).
I would argue that Nations who were once capable of Great Feats like those should not show small-mindedness in preventing one person to pay the bills for another in an agreement of mutual consent.

However, these events in France (1789) are too nice to pass up, if only becasue to the nice graphic images. It seems the defense of some of the basic Freedoms, may well be the other role of the Adult Industry in society.

Classic Painting by Delacroix.
(Footnote: Oh hell, I am an Engineer, an Anorak. I suck at political pamphlets).

Free Speech CoalitionI will now try to leave the politics to others, and I'll just concentrate on my frollicks.

But To conclude on a light, colorful and slightly artistic note: Via a link at Beverly's I found this site dedicated to free-speech (with, admittedly, a distinct adult take on it). And it holds some of the coolest banners I've seen on the topic.

I am now off to nick some (all) of their banners and splash them all over my blog. I can appreciate some primary colors and some good old patriotism. Here is a sample with a nice historic ring on it:

Free Speech Coalition - The sweet Irony to have The Adult Industry defend Basic Human Rights!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ptr,

This is off topic, but . . .

Tag, you're it!

http://chevalierdallas.wordpress.com/2008/03/31/six-words/

Chevalier

Ptr_leeds said...

Thanks Chev.
Hard work it was.