Donna Hughes and the anti rights activists victory in Rhode Island

Recently URI Professor Donna Hughes lead a successful campaign to criminalize indoor sex workers in Rhode Island. She and her allies championed this in the legislature as their great David Vs. Goliath battle and a resounding victory for women and trafficking victims.

However, this “victory” in actuality means that both consenting legal adult sex workers and trafficking victims are now subject to arrest where they weren’t before. Leading to a few thoughts.

1. The fear of arrest places the police and legal system out of reach for sex workers that were victimized by a crime.
2. How is the sex worker that was doing sex work to earn a living better off with an arrest and criminal record? How does this enhance her ability to get a job outside the sex industry? The anti rights activists so staunchly proclaim to be working toward giving options to sex workers wanting to leave the industry. Yet when does an arrest/criminal record enhance a job search? Never.

3. The non consenting trafficking victim now has to worry about being arrested and somehow being able to convince the police and justice system that she is a victim of trafficking in order to escape her trafficker. How often, realistically, are the police going to be open to that explanation? How often are the police going to ignore the trafficking victim’s arguments that they are a trafficking victim because they get an easy collar and the D.A gets an easy conviction?

Finally, Donna and her anti rights activist allies in Rhode Island portrayed their struggle as David vs. Goliath. With their cause and it’s activists being David. In reality, Donna Hughes and her anti rights activist allies had the support of the police in their efforts, the backing of the US Government via the abysmal Trafficking Victim’s Protection Act, and a mislead public pumped up on the fear mongering of Hughes, CAT and their allies. Meanwhile the alleged “Goliath” is an indoor based prostitute trying to earn a living in a society that virtually no one argues stigmatizes prostitutes.

Donna Hughes, CAT and their victory protect no one. They instead have done a great deal of harm. The only victory here is for the activist profiles of Donna Hughes and her allies as they can place a “victory” on their CV’s. Apparently their victory at the expense of many ruined lives is some morally superior fast track to them? To me it’s just corrupt opportunistic activist/academic career advancement for Ms. Hughes and her allies at a horrible price for many that are allegedly being protected, but instead pay a high price for the theatrics of Donna Hughes and her allies.

9 Responses

  1. I think everyone, including Ms. Hughes, realizes that this had absolutely nothing to do with trafficking. That was merely a ruse to get prostitution criminalized in RI, which has been her goal all along.

  2. I frankly cannot understand why Rhode Island politicians supported this thing at all. Because of this, the state loses millions of dollars a year. They’ve already lost money since the law was passed, because the out-of-state clients won’t come anymore, now that they’ve been criminalized. Why should they bother making the trip, now?

    And this will be a rather Pyrrhic victory for Ms. Hughes. Rhode Island law enforcement isn’t going to arrest one pimp when they can arrest several prostitutes; no matter what “option” they supposedly have under the law.

  3. It’s obvious that Hughes and her buddies hate sex workers. They hate men too. Doesn’t leave too many people out there in the world to like.

    Alexa called Hughes an abuser (on her blog). That’s exactly what she is. These laws she’s helping to create are only used to abuse female sex workers (by and large).

    XX

  4. Donna Hughes is an opportunist and a pimp.

    In the mid nineties when WHISPER had funding and SAGE was on the rise, Donna was all about “prostituted women” and survivors.

    When Clinton was impeached, she was suddenly vitriolically opposed to Clinton and her activism was to protect women from him and his alleged pro prostitution allies.

    About 3 minutes after Bush declared Osama Bin Laden Wanted Dead or Alive and War on Terror, Donna was suddenly a renowned expert on Islamic fundamentalism’s threats to women.

    Then when the money came for the War on Trafficking via TVPRA and alliance with Bush Administration, Donna was all about that,

    I figure as soon as health care either passes or fails she’ll pick a side and make that her latest crusade to “protect women”

    She is to feminism and women what Rush Limbaugh is to politics. An opportunistic charlatan advancing her career

  5. Thanks for laying out her career, Jill. Hughes’ career is the work of a whore in the worst sense of the word. Though people might call you and me and everyone here “whores” — we’re nothing like Hughes. We merely offer sexual entertainment for money.

    XX

  6. Hughes is the pimp that she portrays others as. Except she gains when women get arrested and have no options. By her own admission. From the National Review, a direct quote from Donna Hughes

    ” I thought we had lost. Those were the depressing years. During the late 1990s, almost all the media stories were about how empowering prostitution was, how much money the women made, how pimps were disappearing, how women were independent businesswomen, and how women in India were forming unions and collectives to fight for their rights as sex workers. The utopian vision that prostitution could be turned into a form of legitimate work for women by empowering victims and organizing unions ruled in all U.N. meetings, feminist conferences, and a number of government offices. Now that was depressing!

    Slowly that is changing. Media stories are increasingly describing prostitution rings in which women and girls are beaten, raped, and enslaved. That may sound more depressing, but to me it is much better”

  7. Eeewww.

    Thanks for sharing Jill. She is revolting no matter what she does.

    XX

  8. Ms. Hughes, if you are reading this blog (and we all know you do), know this:

    Do you think because you passed a law in Rhode Island that somehow sex worker empowerment is going to disappear? In your dreams. Attitudes toward sex workers have changed dramatically in the past decade, in spite of all the neo-con propaganda that you and others have been pushing. You’ve won legal battles again sex workers, but ultimately you’re going to lose the war.

    It’s no different from the gay movement, Ms. Hughes. Legal battles against gays have been won, but social attitudes towards gays have irreversibly changed in the past twenty years.

  9. Donna’s idea of the perfect game of Monopoly is when every Chance or Community Chest card is Go Directly to Jail.

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