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Pulling in the sex punters

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This is the letter to the editor published in The Guardian on 2008 November 21

The government, spurred on by those feminists Cari Mitchell mentions (Letters, Novemnber 17), has announced new laws on prostitution. This obsession with sex work as uniquely degrading obscures more widespread exploitation.

In Julie Bindelʼs article (‘Marriage is a form of prostitution’, G2, November 12) lesbian feminist Sheila Jeffreys says prostitution is a “massive industry where the profits are not going to the women”. Name an industry where the profits go to the workers, especially the women!

And compare the wages. While few sex workers make good money, even those at the bottom earn more than they would in most other jobs. Womenʼs hourly wages range from a minimum £5.73 (less for young and undocumented workers) to an average £11.67. The cheapest trick pays more, and it takes far less than an hour. Should we stick to low wages to satisfy Ms Bindelʼs moralistic prejudices?

Lesbian women have compaigned for years for sexual choices. This includes immigrants who come here to lead lesbian lives and find their way to the sex industry to survive and send money to families back home. Why are influential lesbians telling those with least - gay and straight - what to do with our bodies?

Virginia Woolf considered that “to sell a brain is worse than to sell a body”. While we earn an honest penny on our backs, academics and journalists make money of our backs. We call it pimping.

~ Paola Bellini Wages Due Lesbians, London