An interesting exchange posted at Sex Worker Problems raises what seems like an imminently testable research question into whether or not sex-work legalization increases or decreases worker safety. First, here's the post
I am a dancer. Yes, though I may face social stigma as well, my cash flow is at least legal, so I couldn't even imagine the terror of possibly facing legal issues to earn my income. Out of curiosity... is the issue of illegality daunting/frustrating/scary? --- Much love and respect. This blog is amazing.
Thank you so much! The issue of illegality IS really daunting and scary. There are of course all kinds of resources for sex workers to do their best to screen clients, but yeah, the likelihood that a cop or a serial killer might be the next person you meet is… well it’s not high, really, but it’s much higher than it is in a lot of other occupations.
Source: Sex Worker Problems
And now here's the research question. Two questions, really. Ok, actually maybe a whole series.
First, what are the assault, robbery, on the job harassment, and law-enforcement-action rates against dancers vs. otherwise comparable non-dance customer-contact employees (wait staff, bartenders, greeters, etc.) in "strip clubs?"
Next, what are the assault, robbery, harassment, and law-enforcement-action rates against dancers vs. otherwise comparable non-dance customer-contact employees in non-"stripper" bars and nightclubs?
In both these cases, above, both indicated professions are legal. (The comparisons would be even more informative if data could also be gathered in areas where dancing is not legal.)
Next question, slightly further afield:
What are the assault, robbery, harassment, and law-enforcement-action rates against "escort" sex workers vs. otherwise comparable non-dance customer-contact workers who work in similar circumstances (e.g. massage therapists, housecleaners, or even legal "strip-o-gram" delivery persons.)
Offhand my guess would be that in all cases where both sets of professions are legal rates will be fairly similar. My further guess would be that in all cases where one set of professions is legal but the other is not, workers in the non-legal arena are subject to considerably greater jeopardy.
I'm... pretty sure the results would not be prediction-defying. It's also entirely possible that the research has already been done.
Still, considering the rather incessant drumbeat about the relative perils of legalized vs. non-legal sex work it would be nice to have some solid data to base actual policy on.