re: influencers, a closing word.

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Salamon Alapitvany (salamon@ns.tiszanet.hu)
Thu, 22 Oct 1998 01:14:42 -0700


Dear Victoria,

This is just a note to assure you of my good will and regard for your
efforts to work against abuse in prostitution.

While it is obvious we might disagree about terms and strategy, I have no
interest in dealing unfairly with you as an individual. I am greatly
concerned by personal attacks that mitigate against reasoned debate and
cloud issues with unnecessary hostility.

My concern regarding dependent children is reflected in some legislation
that permits prosecution of dependent children over eighteen and in some
instances under that age. These prosecutions are almost non-existent,
however this threat of prosecution is more often used to remove young
children from their sex worker mothers by social workers so they can be
protected from possible prosecution. That prosecutions are almost
non-existent doesn't mean that the State doesn't define children as pimps
it just means that by the grace and favour of the state they are not
prosecuted. Children and other benign people associated with sex workers
should not be prejudicially treated, and present legal pimp definitions are
prejudicial.

Pimp is a legal term that is also loaded with considerable other baggage
which is what makes it so problematic. When we seek to redefine a term that
has such loaded opprobrium, we undertake a task that is demonstrative of
the problem. If the law says dependent children and other benign people can
be pimps and then others say that their definition does not allow for
dependent child pimps we have a serious problem, which usage is legitimate
and which is understood by which audiences.

By UK law I was certainly a pimp at 18, when at University my mother
continued to help me financially from the proceeds of her sex work, this is
fact it is not spurious argument. It is possible that from the age of legal
accountability at 14 years, that I could have been prosecuted and certainly
this issue was presented to my mother as a reason that I could be taken
into protective institutional care to prevent any fear of my prosecution.
This is also historical fact, and was an impact of pimping law on my life
as a child. If the legally defined pimp includes benign people in a
undeserved and prejudicial way you are returned to my statement: "You have
either got to go with this and say I was a pimp and other children
dependent or otherwise are pimps or we have to say that this definition is
inadequate... " I don't read this as an ultimatum but as logical
conclusion of the argument regarding the impact of pimp as a legal
definition.

If the UK has one definition of pimp, and Hungary has another, and popular
culture in various places have other definitions, and then you have another
definition, and then we try to rework the definition to exclude people who
shouldn't be included but meet the various legal criteria, I believe we
have clearly demonstrated part of the problem. If we agree that children
and other benign people should not be defined as pimps, it must be a
problem if other people use the word without appropriate amendment, and how
do we address this issue ? We must first declare the word in its common
usage to be problematic.

My solution is to replace pimp with a form that allows benign and
non-abusive associates of sex workers and others to be appropriately
identified and excluded from any prejudicial consideration. I make no
attempt to represent any group as positive, but it is possible that such
associates do exist, my main concern is that non-abusive and benign
associates should not be subjected to identification as pimps.

I am also concerned that pimp has now apparently become an interchangeable
term with trafficker in your discourse. A trafficker by accepted definition
must resort to coercion and/or deceit to achieve their objective. I have
never known Carol Leigh to ever countenance the use of force or deception
as legitimate and the suggestion that she seeks to support certain
traffickers is in contradiction to her declared agenda. I have found Carol
to be an excellent resource and capable advocate for equitable treatment
for anyone in sex work.

I believe that the recent exchanges have presented a clear and compelling
case on both sides regarding the use of Pimp. As such I will now leave the
arena and seek alternative avenues of consideration, my apologies to
Jacquie, with whom I agree it is time to move on.

Best regards to all

John

Salamon Alapitvany and Ildiko K Memorial Civil Rights Institute

Working for peace and equitable justice for all marginalised people
Seeking to include sex workers within civil society without discrimination
Believing in change through consensus not repression.

Pf.1152, Balastya 6764, Hungary. Tel/Fax +36 62 278314.


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