A ‘John,’ who admits to frequently hiring prostitutes online, says a new King County effort to target men buying sex is ‘fruitless.’
Satterberg argues men like Chris perpetuate a culture of abuse in which most women are trapped in a cycle of exploitation.
Monson disputes that, arguing many sex workers seem to be willing and happy participants. He says legalizing prostitution would end many of the problems that exist.
Chris agrees and he challenges Satterberg’s contention most of the women selling sex are doing it against their own will.
“There are plenty of women that are doing it of their own accord and I would say they are the majority … if I had to put figures on it, I would say 10 percent or less of the women who are advertised on the Internet are in a bad situation and being controlled,” he tells Dori.
Chris says he is a successful businessman who chooses to focus on his work, rather than building relationships.
“It’s just more convenient to pay a woman for her adult time and companionship,” he says. “If you think about taking a woman who’s not being paid for sex and dating her … you’re just spending money in other areas is what you’re doing. (You’re) trying to entertain them to a point where you can have an intimate relationship or they decide to have an intimate relationship with you.”
Chris says he hires a woman through ads on Backpage.com about four times a month, paying anywhere from $100 to $500 for their services. He argues he rarely, if ever, sees any signs of abuse or control by a pimp, as Satterberg contends.
“When I’m looking online at the ads, it’s pretty easy to differentiate the girls who are in that type of situation because they look the part,” he says. “They’re what I would call trashy. They look, well, used, if I could use that expression. They just don’t look good in the pictures they post and sometimes you’ll see they have bruises and they look like they’ve been using drugs – that kind of thing,” he says.
“That’s why I think this should be legal,” Dori responds. “I think what you describe is it’s a choice you should be free to make, especially if the women are making the choice to sell sex of their own free will.”
Satterberg and many others strongly disagree.
“It says it’s OK for men to feel entitled to sexual gratification at the expense of a woman for money,” Satterberg told Dori. “What it does is since the legal market can’t meet it, it increases the number of pimps out there supplying. It increases the number of men who think that this is their right because they’ve got $100 to do whatever they want to do to this woman, and the woman is still caught in this living hell.”
The new initiative includes targeting ‘Johns’ like Chris with warnings and educational ads popping up online when they enter certain prostitution-related search terms.
“I would tell him that effort is fruitless,” Chris says. “There’s a community of guys like me, we’re called hobbyists. And we have forums, online forums. These law enforcement are going to be outed and I really doubt this program is going to work, just like a lot of their programs don’t work.”
Chris says while the new enforcement might make him more cautious, it ultimately won’t stop him from continuing to hire women online.
“I’m sure I won’t change my habits for long and I think what I’m doing is just fine. I think what the girls are doing just fine and I don’t think the program is going to work.”