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The Voiceless Speak: Looking Behind the Sex Trade

My Body My Business from CVC on Vimeo.

What causes persons to get involved in sex work? Is the need to have sex so great that persons turn to sex work? Are sex workers nymphomaniacs? Sex Work[ers] are probably not as understood as we believe. The reasons or motivations are varied:
1.Economic Hardships
4.Lack of skills [employment]
5.Sexual abuse [and related self esteem issues]

It is easy to cast aspersions on those who are engaged in the trade until one has walked in the shoes of a sex worker. It is easy to believe that those so engaged have no moral compass. As you listen to the stories of these sex workers, you understand better the inner conflicts they must arduously work at resolving every day; not to mention the daily fights against stigma, violence, law enforcers, religion (which brings with it a set of stigma and discrimination of its own), vulnerability to HIV and AIDS and other STI and many others.

While government remains resolute in its laws against sex workers, the irony is that their trade contributes immensely to the tourism industry and the number of stay over and returning visitors who come to Jamaica to "feel a'right". In a research conducted by Professor Ian Boxill it was suggested that the prevalence of HIV and AIDS in Jamaica and Bahamas may be linked to a burgeoning sex-tourism industry (because those are the two most popular tourist destinations in the region).Though Boxill's research is not conclusive and remain suggestion, the anecdotal evidence will perhaps suggest to us that government's heavy reliance on tourism will continue to create a market for sex work[ers] and those who manage the industry. The question is, is it a reasonable trade off in light of the economic advantage for both government and the imagined] thousands of mouths that are fed as a result?

I do have my issue with part of the message of the video. And that is the echoing of the words of the theme song: "My body, my business". That may not necessarily be true. As Carol Webster, PhD Research Student (Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies), University of Leeds would have us know, the body is that which we use to negotiate time, space and other bodies. Each body is part of an archive of experiences and relatedness. My point is we all are connected and what one does with one's body affects another. If one contracts HIV, many others are affected and possibly infected. Because we realise that my body is not only my business, safe sex public service announcements exist. Therefore, the body needs to be properly managed and negotiated as time, space and other bodies are negotiated. Let me hasten to add that this does not in any speak to a person's right and/or choice to engage in sex work for whatever reason.

The video raises many other issues that perhaps are best told by those who live it and so those issues wont be mentioned herein. Have a look - a listen. Roll a spliff; sip on some merlot, sauvignon, pinot noir or any other wine; roll over in the after-glow of sex; say a prayer; while you think about what you have seen and how it impacts THEM, ME, YOU - US.


  1. Would a better economy result in less prostitutes? They along with homosexuals have been discriminated and classified as dogs or mere rats and a menace to society, but until you have been in their position you won't understand the Why's and the How's of their life.
    Reading, watching and listening to their story would give one a greater respect for them.

  2. Damion, I could not have put what you have said better. Until we have walked in their shoes, we are not in a position to posture as if we have any idea of their realities. I have come to respect the humanity of everyone, bar none... I was touched by the video and from your feed back, I can tell you were too.


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