Letter to Gazette: “Urges Valley Advocate to stop running escort ads”

Today’s Daily Hampshire Gazette publishes a letter to the editor from NoPornNorthampton’s Adam Cohen. Links have been added to the text below for the convenience of the reader. The Gazette (a daily) and the Valley Advocate (an alternative weekly) are owned by the same company, Newspapers of New England, and serve similar regions in Western Massachusetts.

Urges Valley Advocate to stop running escort ads

To the editor:

The Gazette writes of past suffering in its Oct. 26 editorial, “Slavery’s unfinished story,” but you can find present-day exploitation in the Gazette’s sister publication – the Valley Advocate – and its massage/escort advertising section. Many of these ads appear to involve prostitution.

As Joe Parker writes for Prostitution Research & Education, “Real sexual relationships are not hard to find. There are plenty of adults of both sexes who are willing to have sex if someone treats them well, and asks. But there lies the problem. Some people do not want an equal, sharing relationship. They do not want to be nice. They do not want to ask. They like the power involved in buying a human being who can be made to do almost anything.”

The results? As reported by the Chicago Tribune in April 2008, a comprehensive 2004 mortality study, conducted by the American Journal of Epidemiology, shows that workplace homicide rates for women working in prostitution are 51 times that of the next most dangerous occupation for women (which is working in a liquor store) and the average age of death of the women studied was 34.

In one study, 75 percent of women in escort prostitution had attempted suicide and prostituted women comprised 15 percent of all completed suicides reported by hospitals.

In an interview on WHMP radio in March 2008, Valley Advocate editor Tom Vannah argued that most prostituted women freely choose their “job,” but the reality is that most feel trapped by poverty, abuse, addiction and coercion. The harm, trauma and despair are all too evident. It’s time for the Advocate to exit the escort business. More information on the subject is available on the Internet.

Adam Cohen


See also:

Our Poster to the Valley Advocate: “Stand up for women! Drop your Massage/Escort ads”

Not For Sale Media Project; Downloadable Posters

Cincinnati: Coalition asks CityBeat to stop allowing promotion of prostitution through advertising

Orlando Weekly Drops Adult-Services Ads in Wake of Police Sting; “Operation Weekly Shame”

Orlando Sentinel: “Weekly’s publisher: Arrests are payback” (10/23/07)
“When the video comes out, it will be telling because our officers tell them about specific sex acts they perform for money and ask how they can get that across better to their clientele,” Zambouros said…

“First Amendment rights do not protect anyone from committing a crime,” he said.

The Village Voice Earns $80,000/Month from Prostitution, Sex Trafficking and other Adult Ads (explicit language)
[Manny, a former pimp,] says it’s not difficult for a pimp to recruit his harem.

“You don’t have to tie a girl up — you just keep her high.”

MSNBC Investigates Human Trafficking and Prostitution in the US; Valley Advocate Advertises “Foreign Fantasies” Where “Everything Goes”

Puncturing Alan Dershowitz’s Delusions about Prostitution
Levitt and Sudhir Venkatesh analyzed arrest records and sexual transactions in Chicago. Far from earning a thousand dollars an hour, prostitutes typically receive $25-30 per hour. The risks of getting a disease are high–condoms are used in only a quarter of tricks. The average prostitute experiences one violent assault a month…

Ask the Valley Advocate’s New Owner to Drop the Sex Ads

Belltown Messenger: “Greed, Lust and Ink”

“New York Press No Longer Marketing Arm for Prostitution/Trafficking”

Another Victory for NOW-NYC: New York Magazine Drops Sex Ads
One would think that this would be exactly the kind of exploitation the [Village] Voice would revel in exposing. But because the Voice is free, it apparently needs the revenue brought in by, this week, 10 pages of these ads.

And so its press release yammers on about how our freedoms are “under attack by the Bush administration,” and makes NOW sound like the Taliban, and finally trots out the same pathetic excuse New York once made: “If there is evidence that any advertiser in our pages engaged in…sex slavery…” Blah blah blah.

It’s hard to be part of the solution, when you’re part of the problem.

November 13-14 Symposium in Philadelphia: Trafficking in Sex and Labor