The sex trade includes pornography, erotic dance, phone sex, and probably some things I’ve never heard of. But our focus today is prostitution in many but not all of its varieties. Prostitution mainly involves men paying women for sex. There are a lot of male and transsexual prostitutes too. And there are some female customers, too. But in the overwhelming majority of cases prostitutes, male or female, service the sexual desires of men.
What is it
Some consider the commodification of sexual services inherently wrong, something that ought to be abolished outright. Others claim that prostitution is a legitimate form of commerce and that changing its legal status would reduce or eliminate most harms to sex workers. So in a just society, are there any conditions under which buying and selling sex are morally acceptable? Does the sex trade inevitably involve coercion of some kind, or can becoming a sex worker ever be a free, fully autonomous choice? John and Ken explore the complexities of the world's oldest profession with novelist, columnist, and former sex worker Tracy Quan, author of the best-selling Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl. This program was recorded live at the Public Radio Program Directors Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.