We may not be living through the same circumstances as the generation who survived the great depression but that does not mean that times aren’t tough. For those who were already in a shaky circumstance before the recession hit, these precarious times have meant disaster in many cases. Basic subsistence needs like food, shelter, clothing are something many are desperate to obtain.
A woman in Florida allegedly offered sex in exchange to two double cheeseburgers from the dollar menu at Mcdonald’s and forty dollars.
Christine Faith Baker, 47, was walking on a Southwest Florida street last Friday when she was approached by a detective working in the Manatee County Sheriff Office’s special investigations division, according to a sheriff’s office report.
After the undercover detective invited Baker into his car and the talk turned to sex, she said her fee would be two double cheeseburgers from the dollar menu at McDonald’s, the report states.
The detective bought the burgers for $2.75 and then Baker told him that he could also tip her $40 for her services, according to the report. After Baker gave the detective directions to a vacant lot, Baker was arrested by other agents and charged with prostitution, the report states. [source]
If the above story was reportedly accurately, what happened looks like a case of entrapment to me. I also think it’s worth noting that a woman who asks for food as a form of payment is clearly hungry and desperate, making the decision to arrest her was cruel. It seems to me that what she may have needed was help and jail for any length of time is not going to help her.
I don’t know Baker’s situation so I won’t say that she doesn’t enjoy what she does but I do believe it takes a certain form of desperation to ask for food in exchange of sex. Hunger happens across North America and many times it is absolutely invisible. I am aware of it in my neighborhood each time I scoot past the soup kitchen. The truth is, our next door neighbor could be hungry and we would never know. Because food is a necessity in life, when people get desperate enough, they will do anything to get it. Whatever crime they may commit is not their fault but ours. The fact that food is a commodity and beyond the means of so many is absolutely criminal.
I cannot help but wonder what detective was thinking as he reached into his wallet to pay for those burgers. Is this really the best use of our resources? Does saddling this woman with a criminal record for prostitution for being hungry serve society in any way? She may have gotten some food into her system but now her problems will increase because if she didn’t have a criminal record before, she does now. Times are hard for educated people with no criminal record, I cannot imagine what life will be like now for Baker.
I absolutely believe in the decriminalization of prostitution. Women who are in the life and want out need to be given aid to make the necessary changes but also believe in supporting the women who choose to do this for a living. There should never be a circumstance where a woman does not have absolutely autonomy over her body and that includes the right to sell it, if that is what she chooses to do. The only way to ensure that women who are sex workers are making the choice is to ensure that there are no outside pressures influencing their decisions. Criminalizing prostitution is not going to eradicate it. You would think after years of trying the same strategy that socially we would all buy a vowel and get clue. The only way to accurately reduce prostitution is to provide opportunities to women and to finally tackle our patriarchal society. The problem does not begin with women like Baker who are simply trying to survive, but with men who believe it is fine to turn women into cum receptacles for their personal pleasure.