In her article “In sex trade debate, everything old is new again” (Ideas, March 11), S. I. Rosenbaum describes the debate between the “abolitionist” and “sex worker” movements. The sex field is a multibillion-dollar industry that preys on the most vulnerable in our communities. As service providers who for 15 years have been caring for commercially sexually exploited girls throughout Eastern Massachusetts, we know that the average age they enter the sex industry is the same as the national average: 14 years old — middle school. They are lured, coerced, or forced in by exploiters, and sometimes they remain trapped into adulthood.
Almost everyone — adult or child — who has spent time in this industry describes violence, degradation, trauma, and fear. This is — again, for almost everyone — as far from empowerment or a “choice” as one can be. Whether a very small percentage of women find “sex work” empowering or valuable, it is clear that the sex industry harms. It is not the oldest profession — it is the oldest oppression.