“Prostituted” is a pejorative term that is used by those who do not believe in the ability of sex workers to consent. It assumes that women or others working in the sex trade have no agency, and are being controlled. It is commonly used in faith-based or anti-sex worker discussions as a way of removing our voice.
John is a sexist and derogatory slang term for our clients. We refer to clients as client, and do not ever refer to them as “trafficker” or “exploiter” unless we are speaking primarily about force, fraud or coercion.
As defined in California penal code 266h (b), any person who, knowing another person is a prostitute, lives or derives support or maintenance in whole or in part from the earnings or proceeds of the person’s prostitution. This includes our intimate, domestic and commercial relationships.
“Consensual Sex Work”
We avoid saying “consensual sex work” as it is redundant. Sex work is consensual sexual labor. Non-consensual sexual labor is sex trafficking.
“Commercial Sex Industry”
We avoid the phrase because it is both redundant (the sex industry already means there is money or compensation), and can be used to exclude criminalized sexual labor like prostitution, or exclude survival sex workers who may be trading sex for housing and food.
Exploitation over-broad and often stigmatizing term. Instead, we ask that you use more specific terms such as coercion or extortion. Groups that are opposed to sex worker rights often use “exploitation” as a catch-all for all sex work, regardless of consent, ownership or working conditions. Similarly, areas and locations where sex work takes takes place should not be called ‘exploitation hubs’
Additional Resources: https://esplerp.org/policy-agenda-2022