You need to hear this. (Available for a week, today’s edition of Outlook, it’s the last 10 minutes you need to listen to.)

It is a programme that was on the World Service this morning discussing the real life effects in Nevada, USA of legalised prostitution.

When next you wonder whether actually it would be OK to legalise prostitution, think of Jong Kim’s (sp?) story. She was a young woman living her life in Texas. She met a man who became her boyfriend and in due course he asked her to travel with him to meet his parents. Happy, dreaming of a bright future, she agreed. He took her to Nevada:

He sold me, to someone here in Nevada. And he said “You know what, she has a naturalisation paper, she wasn’t born here, destroy her documents and she is an immigrant.” And that’s what they did. In illegal and legal brothels, I didn’t sleep on a bed, I slept on a mat in a storage unit. I thought I was crazy, I thought I was in a nightmare, I wanted to wake up. My trafficker said “I own you now, you are my slave”, that’s exactly what he said.

Trafficking shouldn’t exist but it does because legal brothels support it. So if you’re against trafficking then you should be against brothels, whether legal or illegal. My trafficker made me work 12 escort services here in Las Vegas but, you know what, the customers didn’t know the difference.

I was commanded to pretend to be a thirteen-year-old girl that was Japanese, even though I was Korean. The next day I got to be Hawaian, the next day I got to be Latino, the next day I got to be a mixed girl. Whatever the johns wanted. And you know what? The majority of them were married and I asked them “Are you happy with your wife?” – he said yes – “Then why are you here with me?” He said “Because I wanted to hear what a chink felt like.” That’s what he said to me.

People ask me have I tried running away, did I try fighting back? I can’t raise my arm any more because I tried. But yet people look at me as a failure because after you’ve been beat down so many times trying to get over the fence, you stop. You become that little animal in a cage, that when that door opens you just sit there and wait for your master to say – “Now you can come out.”

It’s been 10 years since I’ve been involved in a legal brothel forcefully and, you know what, when I have to meet new people I’m afraid… I lost ten years of my life that I can never get it back.

Think of her life, when even ten years on she is afraid. She looks over her shoulder. She is afraid to tell people about the life she was forced into. She is also physically disabled (or “crippled” as one charmer put it, when rejecting her suggestion that they go out on a date) because of the injury she suffered – her trafficker broke her shoulder – when she was caught trying to escape. The traffickers, powerful people involved in organised crime, have never to this day been prosecuted for what they did to her.

Also, Melissa Farley has written a book detailing her own findings when researching the legal brothels of Nevada, including interviews with both workers and employers. Reclusive Leftist has more on that. This Guardian article also worth a read (“It’s like you sign a contract to be raped“).

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