Farley / HARMS OF PROSTITUTION
Investigating emotional distress in women who were prostituted primarily in clubs, brothels, and windows, Vanwesenbeeck found that 90% of the women reported “extreme nervousness”.
Just as we know that violent men from all social classes batter women, so we also know that the difference between pimps who terrorize women on the street and pimps in business suits who terrorize women in gentlemen’s clubs is a difference in class only, not a difference in woman hating. Generally, it is class prejudice to assume that street prostitution is far worse than what is called high-class escort prostitution. Boyer, Chapman, & Marshall (1993) suggested that women in indoor prostitution (such as strip clubs, massage brothels, and pornography) had less control of the conditions of their lives and probably faced greater risks of exploitation, enslavement, and physical harm than women pros- tituting on the street. Some women have said that they felt safer in street prostitution as compared to brothels (in the United States and in NZ) where they were not permitted to reject customers. They explained that on the street they could refuse dangerous- appearing or intoxicated customers. On the street, they reported, friends could make a show of writing down the john’s car license plate number, which they considered a deterrent to customer vio- lence. A john could be easily traced using such methods, whereas a brothel customer’s identity would likely be protected by the brothel owners, making it difficult to prosecute him for violent behavior.
Women in brothels or clubs are not encouraged to complain about violence to pimps/owners. Sometimes, they are fired for these protests, even after being raped. In 2000, a dancer in San Francisco was raped in a private booth at the Mitchell Brothers strip club. When she complained to the owners about the rape, they fired her. Promoting an atmosphere that winked conspirato- rially at sexual exploitation, harassment, and violence, the club had distributed advertisements that told customers, “What you do on your side of the curtain is your little secret” (Sward, 2000). In 2004, a woman prostituting at a Nevada brothel filed civil law- suits against a john who assaulted her and against pimp Dennis Hof because he failed to call police and because the panic button in her room was not working (Associated Press, 2004)
Brothel owners and advocates of escort prostitution are well aware of the dangers of these kinds of prostitution, although they