Mix Racism, Classism, and Vigilantism and Get the “Ho Patrol.”

There is so much utter FAIL about this story I’m not sure where to begin.

These women reference the recession and the resultant budget cuts as the reason why their local police force has been cut, but they utterly fail to recognize that the woman they’re so intent on persecuting are suffering from the recession as well.

Desperate times call for desperate measures–and when millions are unable to find jobs–sex work is one thing many women turn to, to provide for themselves and their families.

Instead, these nosy vigilantes believe that the recession is the only reason they’re not in jail, rather than the recession being what put these women on the street in the first place.

Rather than handing out condoms, pamphlets from local centers that offer job assistance, low-cost health care, rather than founding a group for local women to pull together resources and do something, rather than anything else, they choose the Ho Patrol.

I wonder if they realize the influx of sex workers being arrested will take even more from their city’s coffers?

Or that legalizing prostitution would not only get the women off the street, but function as another source of revenue for the city?

Of course, because this is the blogosphere, the obvious must always be stated: by all means, call the police when violence occurs. I’m not defending violence, or railing against self-defense. But I’m not talking about the violence. They’re not really, either–they don’t fancy themselves “the assault patrol.” Rather, they center their focus on sex work, and the people who engage in it. Ergo, that is the centerpiece of this post.

Take this quote:

“But sometimes confrontations between the Watch Owls and the prostitutes get dicey. One prostitute, who asked not to be named, told ABC News that she had already made $200 the night we spoke to her and wanted to make more that night. She added that other women on the street are not pleased with the Watch Owls’ efforts.”

How, exactly, is it “dicey” that the women are not pleased that these busybodies are snapping photos and following them around? For one, this is piss poor writing. This paragraph makes no sense. But it is obvious what the writer is attempting to do: frame the sex workers as threatening figures, and the “ho patrol” as not only do-gooders, but do-gooders that are under attack.

Take this quote, thrown in as an aside:

“To date, there have been no violent confrontations. In fact, the Watch Owls said they have tried to connect hookers with social assistance programs.”

“In fact.” In fact, the nosy neighbors, after stalking women, they tried to play White Knight! I’m assuming that they failed, since the writer says they “tried” to help, rather than “they did and do help.” But their “help” was rejected. Gee, I wonder why?

The photo gallery on this article just makes me sick. It shows, among other things, their “proof” and their “techniques” for “repelling” prostitutes. Their “proof” which are photos, consist mostly of photographs of women of color dressed up and walking down the street. Because WOC in sexy clothing have to be sex workers, right?

These do-gooders pour cooking grease around their homes to “repel” sex workers. Like they’re fucking pests, rather than human beings.

And really, COOKING GREASE?! What the ever-loving FUCK?!

The racism and dehumanization of poor women of color and sex workers is just disgusting.

*note: The article I took the quotes from has disappeared. Here is that link, and here is the search results that pop up when I looked for it. It is the first result that shows up in the search. I apologize for any confusion.


About Brittany-Ann
Brittany-Ann is a proud, self-identified feminist with fictional tendencies. She currently writes for LouisvilleKY.com and moderates at My Fault I'm Female. She smokes camels, reads Dumas, and navigates a conservative state as "one of them darn liberals."

6 Responses to Mix Racism, Classism, and Vigilantism and Get the “Ho Patrol.”

  1. Marc L says:

    I have respect for the law – and will uphold the law even if I disagree with it. Thus, I would readily turn in a sex worker, while at the same time, work to improve the economic statuses of women and gender equality.

    That said, for the majority of the people who are engaging in these crackdowns, the purpose isn’t to uphold the law, but rather, because of a lack of compassion and a sheer misplaced hatred for those who are less fortunate than they are. Add that to a culture in which sex workers are dehumanized — seen only as accessories for the pleasure of others, or as a bother to the community, and it’s the perfect recipe for slut slamming and misogyny. Then again, that’s what happens when you’re poor and uneducated. You mistrust others. You do not see things from a different perspective. So, as much as it is an issue of poverty for the sex workers, it is also an issue of poverty for those who are mistreating them.

    Fight against prostitution if they must, but do so because it is their duty to uphold the law, not out of sexism and misogyny. They say far-left activism and the upholding of the law don’t mix, but approach this with a bit more compassion and we can do this. NGOs that deal with sex workers of the Global South have been doing this for years.

    • Brittany-Ann says:

      Everyone must work within the bounds of the law–and I don’t doubt that some of the women are sex workers–one such woman was interviewed. However, they’re making a lot of assumptions based off race and dress–most of their photos in the gallery are of young women of color, dressed in stylish, “sexy” clothing and heels. Those race, class, and age-based assumptions are wrong–calling the police on them based off those assumptions is even more so.

      That said, I believe you are right about their motives. It is absolutely out of a lack of compassion and empathy. It’s sickening. Of all the things they could be doing, they choose this.

  2. Cooking grease?!? Did they at least give some kind of reason (note: I’m not asking for a *good* reason, just some kind of reasoning at all) why cooking grease would ward off prostitutes? I think I’d honestly like to hear that one…

    • Brittany-Ann says:

      No, there’s no explanation given. It’s stated in such a matter-of-fact manner, as if the writer expects us to nod and agree that, of course cooking grease repels sex workers.

      It’s one WTF after another with this group.

      • The picture showed a woman pouring it on a low wall by the sidewalk. Maybe it’s supposed to discourage people from sitting on it? That’s the only reasoning I can come up with that makes any bit of sense. It seems like it would mostly just stink and attract insects/animals.

  3. UNBELIEVABLE!!! I wonder if these self-righteous Watch Owls understand how few bad decisions, or how brief a run of really bad luck, it would take for one of them to be One of Them. I won’t even comment on their homemade Sex Worker Repellant, or the disgusting example of profound ignorance they’re setting for their own families. That this can happen, now, when so many families are struggling is simply stunning.

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