6. Prostitution

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
1

Witnesses who testified before the Commission and individuals who submitted statements reported several connections between pornography and prostitution. One such connection was the use of pornography as instructional manuals for prostitutes. For example, a former prostitute testified:

One of the very first commonalities we discovered as a group, we were all introduced to prostitution through pornography; there were no exceptions in our group, and we were all under eighteen. Pornography was our textbook, we learned the tricks of the trade by men exposing us to pornography and us trying to mimic what we saw. I could not stress enough what a huge influence we feel this was.[913]

Another connection was the use of pornographic films by pimps to blackmail the participants:

I was the main woman of a pimp who filmed sexual acts almost every night in our home. The dope man, who supplied us with cocaine for free in exchange for these arranged orgies, was a really freaky man who would do anything. They arranged to have women, who I assumed were forced to be there, have sex with dogs and filmed those acts. There were stacks of films all over the house, which my pimp used to blackmail people with.[914]

Yet another connection was the use of magazines to stimulate the clientele:

When I worked at massage studios, the owners had subscriptions to Playboy, Penthouse, Penthouse Forum and the like. These magazines were arranged in the waiting area of most of the massage places which I worked in. If a girl was not inside with a trick, she was expected to sit out front with the men who were waiting or who were undecided and to look at the magazines with them in order to get them titillated. They used the soft porn to help them work up the courage to try the acts described in the magazine with the prostitutes at the massage studio.[915]

Women who are or who have been prostitutes identified pornography as a significant factor in prostitution. These individuals reported that pornography was not only used and made of them while engaged in acts of prostitution, but they stated that pornography is used to perpetuate the concept that women are accustomed to being placed in the role of a prostitute.

I am speaking for a group of women, we all live in Minneapolis and we all are former prostitutes. All of us feel very strongly about the relationship between pornography and prostitution. Many of us wanted to testify at this hearing but are unable because of the consequences of being identified as a former whore. This is absolutely incredible to me that prostitution is seen as a victimless activity and that many women are rightly terrified of breaking their silence, fearing harassment to themselves and families and loss of their jobs.

We have started to meet together to make sense of the abuse we have experienced in prostitution and how pornography endorses and legitimizes that abuse.[916]

Notes

  1. Public hearings before Minneapolis City Council, Session II, (Dec. 1983), p. 70.
  2. Id., p. 79.
  3. Id., p. 77.
  4. Id.