Slattery didn't realize the value of the photos. "I was just going to, like, shellac them to a van or something." — "Master of Markets" by Anne Ford
Market Insider Tip
Re "Master of Markets" by Anne Ford, July 31
A reminder—Wolff's/Rosemont is... closed for one weekend only, 8/9 and 8/10. They're open every Sat. and Sun. after that through the end of October. Sats. are very good, but Suns. are the big day!
Sex Workers/Sex Slaves
While July 18th's Straight Dope column presented an informative history of prostitution policies within the United States, I was concerned by some of the assumptions and conclusions that Mr. Adams drew.
Mr. Adams concluded, without citing any evidence, that prostitution is generally a business transaction conducted between two consenting adults. Unfortunately, the issues accompanying prostitution in the United States reveal a much more complex reality.
Most experts estimate the average age of entry into prostitution in the U.S. is somewhere between 11-13 years old. For comparison, the age of consent in Illinois is 17. If you are purchasing sex in this country, the probability is high that you are purchasing it from a minor.
The next problem is the assumption that both parties are freely consenting. Consent revolves around the concept of choice—that a person is presented with a wide variety of viable options and makes an informed decision about which one is best for them. But how does this "choice" play out for the estimated 100,000 to 300,000 youth in the sex trade in the United States? Or for a woman who is being pimped by her boyfriend or husband? Or for someone surviving due to homelessness or limited economic options? Or a woman feeding some type of addiction? Or with the untold numbers of women who are trafficked both from foreign countries and forced into prostitution in the United States under threats of violence by pimps and traffickers? If prostitution is truly a choice, then why did a study find that 92% of women in prostitution want to leave it immediately?
The proposal Mr. Adams makes, that prostitution should be legal, is based on the common assumption that prostitution is a victimless crime. This too is far from the truth. Individuals in the sex trade face a wide array of abuse from pimps and johns. One study of found that 82% of the prostituted individuals surveyed had been physically assaulted and 83% had been threatened with a deadly weapon. Another study of women in prostitution found that 78% of those interviewed were raped an average of 16 times a year by their pimps and another 33 times a year by their johns. All of these facts are underscored by the FBI estimate that after entering into prostitution, the average life expectancy drops to just 7 years.
Every country that has legalized prostitution have seen their international sex trafficking rates, especially their rates of children, skyrocket. Even Amsterdam is closing down 1/3 of its brothel windows due to organized crime and concerns about human trafficking. Instead of advocating for legalization, Adams should look to the only country that has successfully reduced the number of sexually exploited individuals: Sweden. Sweden has labeled prostitution a violent crime against women and instead of arresting and criminalizing those selling sex they offer women supportive services and target the demand through higher criminal fines. Impressed by the success of the model, Finland, Norway, South Korea, and the United Kingdom are all looking into implementing the Swedish model.
I can only hope that Mr. Adams will put as much effort into researching his assumptions as he does his history next time.
Cecil Adams replies:
Your letter is based on your misconstruing of a single sentence in my column. I never concluded that prostitution is "generally a business transaction conducted between two consenting adults"; I said that what consenting adults do, even if money is involved, is no business of the state. Prostitution involving children or coercion is a different matter. No doubt many street prostitutes are abused by pimps and johns; similarly, many wives are abused by their husbands. It doesn't follow that marriage ought to be a crime.
A Tragedy and a Threat
Re "Murder on the Base" by Kari Lydersen, July 3
In addition to the tragedy of this situation, it is evident the military is not responding properly to these instances. My wife was on base for training when this murder took place, and no one was notified through any channel that it even took place. My wife and other classmates were walking across areas of this base alone and at night. It really angers me that there was no notice to other potential victims on base.
The Battle of the Wristbands
For some reason this year Lollapalooza placed its trust in flimsy pieces of cloth and tiny plastic clasps to hold them in place around attendee's wrists. I was surprised that they opted against those nearly indestructible synthetic button wristbands that seem to be omnipresent at similar festivals and many concerts. At the wristband pickup Thursday, I handed in my hard Gold Ticket and extended my arm. Some guy no older than 20 nonchalantly placed one around my skinny wrist and tried to tighten it. After a few attempts, it finally gave in and cinched.
Come Friday, entrance was not a problem; the ticket takers were more concerned with getting the other 74,999 people actual wristbands and I was quickly waved through. Inside, coupled with sweat, and general wear and tear, the cinch quickly lost its hold and I had to continuously adjust it tighter as to stop its falling off.
Saturday was a completely different story. I arrived late and they were screening the wristbands more heavily. One quick tug from a Lollapalooza employee on mine and it nearly ripped off. I tried to explain the situation, but I was quickly sent to a side table. Here, I was told I needed to get my Gold Ticket and return for admittance. "Fine," I said, and I was back on the el for another two hours, home and back downtown. Back at the same table, I was told my Gold Ticket didn't mean a thing and I must go to the box office and talk with them. "Fine," I said again, and as I walk up to the customer service line, I see at least five other people with the exact same problem. Lollapalooza had placed a $205 ticket in a $0.01 piece of fabric.
And there was no changing it. My hard Gold Ticket didn't make a difference. Another person's ticket, printed additionally "just in case," didn't make a difference either, regardless of the fact that he had his credit card and state ID matching the numbers and name on the ticket and his broken wristband in hand. All of us had our broken wristbands and we were simply asking for a replacement, or even just an explanation. After only a minute or two, security was called and threatened to arrest us if we didn't disperse immediately. Jack McCarty, who titled himself "Director of Operations," said that they "[could] not replace any wristband that had been lost, stolen, or tampered with," even citing the 8.5 x 11-inch sign that hung above the tent. It only said "lost or stolen" and failed to mention anything about defective materials.
The fact that they themselves had placed a broken wristband around my wrist, claimed it to be all right, then later denied me entry contingent on that broken wristband still boggles my mind.