Friday, November 19, 2010
Outfit of the Day
It was almost a moment of exoticization. My reaction to seeing her, and then another and another - in the frigid evening air - booty shorts, heels, no jacket. I remember thinking, "isn't it a little cold for those?" Not once considering the fact that she was not at all out of place, but right on the track. Their corner is one without a traffic signal, which means you have to know exactly where to look if you want to encounter them. Every day since then, I've glanced, at just about that block, to see if I could catch a quick glimpse. To see if maybe I could see who else is watching or perhaps partaking of their time. Obviously not the police, since they are usually congregating a few blocks ahead of the action. Devoting their attention to more important matters. And periodically I will fall into deep thought about what I'd do, the ways in which I'd react - spring into action - should I be crossing their block and one of these women suddenly become distressed. The scene leaves me quite mixed emotional.
On one hand, as an advocate of sex work (prostitution falling under that category), I would not call for the harrassment of these women, but rather their protection. However, without sex work being recognized under the law, with it in fact being a violation of the law, I'm guessing the only protection that these women are receiving is from the police patrols ability to look the other way as business is conducted. On the other hand, with Oakland being a huge player in human trafficking, specifically the trafficking of children, when it comes to street prostitution, police involvement is vital. When it comes to street prostitution as a business, it is not the workers who are profiting, but their pimps/captures/abusers.
As I am gearing up to exit the community, I feel an urge to act.