The following article is condensed from the book The Lonely Sex Tourist in which John Kane attempts to describe a more complex picture than just abuse of children and slavery of women. It tells John’s experience with a Dominican Republic woman, not kidnapped not abused.
One of the greatest – and, yes, deliberate – myths about sex work is that sex workers are subject to constant danger and violence from their customers. If you disagree, tell me why people claim to be “rescuing” prostitutes? This writer has been to lots of places and met lots of sex workers and I am still waiting to find sex workers who provide any indication of fear or danger from their customers. A basic question to ask is:
Why do so many sex workers seem happy about sex work?
I suggest that the UN and the US Department of State and other similar organizations all have managers who sit behind a desk. They make claims about a horrible life of sex workers, thus establishing the need for the governments mission, while collecting reports from other people who also sit behind a desk. What they can NOT do is be an honest customer / friend of prostitutes because that will make them a bad person in no position to learn the truth. The money involved in paying employees like this can turn the true into a lie.
That’s not me. Please understand that without some attempt to show that sex workers experience a difficult life – perpetrated by men – there would be no justification for a War on Sex. Religious and feminist influences must provide some basis for their developed country to return to colonial practices in their effort to irradicate prostitution. They need a victim for first world countries to rally around.
Here is a story of a type of prostitute you are not likely to hear about anywhere else. I loved this woman! I truly did, although I was able to get over it. For the sake of anonymity, I will call her Chica. She worked at the La Passion bar in Sosua, Dominican Republic – but not for long. Check the internet and you will find that Sosua is one of many places around the world with a reputation for sex work.
Here is Chica’s story.
She came by bus from Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. Sosua is a on the opposite side of the Island. We had some long talks and I got to know her intimately. She came from a large family and was one of the oldest of several children, but her mother died when she was a teenager. Her father remarried to a woman with several children of her own. Chica’s stepmother was protective of her own children first and with so many children there was no help for Chica. She entered nursing school but, under those circumstances, every penny was a struggle.
Chica was in her second year of nursing school, but she shared a room with another woman who let her obligations to share the rent fall way behind. Her roommate was unable to bring her rent up to date and her answer was to steal clothes and anything of value from Chica and left Chica helpless under the circumstance. Frankly this is not an unusual story among poorer people struggling to get ahead.
I once asked Peter, the owner of La Passions, how he was able to have such nice women working for him. At that time, I was an innocent about these things probably not unlike many other people who read or see the stories about trafficking and pimps, etc. I kiddingly asked peter when another truck would swing around so he can pick out a few hot chicks. Then I got serious and asked again, where does he get the very nice dancers whom I met at his bar. That was many years ago and yet I still remember Peter’s answer word for word.
“I just run a small ad on the other side of the island and they start showing up on the bus.” So, there you have it. The closest thing to pimps or traffickers in the DR are bus drivers.
Chica had a big personality. It wasn’t long before tourists in Sosua would come by La Passion in the afternoon, pay a steep price to take Chica to dinner, dancing, and to bed – and bring her back the next morning. This is called a bar fine in Thailand. As I recall now, years later, she was only there for a few months. By then she had made enough money to get back in school again. I had her phone number. Once when I rode my motorcycle to Santo Domingo, I gave a call and we met for a pleasurable afternoon. I wish I still had her phone number. I would like to hear if she is a nurse. I have met several sex workers who either were working toward being nurses or were nurses fulltime. I think the aptitude for nursing and the best sex workers is the same.
Before she left Sosua, I thought a lot about how I could be her sugar daddy. I could move to Santo Domingo, rent a nicer apartment than she could afford, pay for her school, and protect her – in exchange for our sexual relationship, of course, because she was very good at sex too. But it didn’t happen. I think back 20 years later of how that would have changed the course of my life if I had done that.
I was shocked when I heard from Chica for the last time. I had not be in touch with her for several years, not once since I traveled to Santo Domingo to see her. Out of the blue I got an email with pictures, beautiful wedding pictures. She was in a white dress with a very nice looking man about her age. His parents were pictures too. She married a man from Europe, Spain or Italy. She has a family now that maybe one she can depend on. I cried. This too is real life. That man and his parents are the lucky ones.
Think, if you will, of the steady flow of stories about sex trafficking and sex work in internet media. The common narrative is that of abuse of women, possibly including kidnapping, deception, children, and violence. NGOs can afford to produce very professional blogs and send a steady stream of emails all asking for money. Usually, every one of these has a sad story of an abused child, and helpless women – real tearjerkers – to get a donation.
I wish they could all meet Chica.
And think again, please. What life’s experience seems more likely, that carefully structured sales pitch to get you donation, or a college student who has fallen on hard times and makes her own decision to do something which can solve her financial problems in a few months, like Chica. She does it on the other side of an island where no one is likely to know her. She may even discover she is very good at this new job and so she may fall back on prostitution again when her circumstances warrant it. She is probably a great nurse and a respected member of the community.
If you continue to read these articles you will soon hear about another nurse, this time in the United States. I met her by seeing her ad in Back Page and it is a story everyone should learn about.