Editor's Note: Hundreds of Ann Landers' loyal readers have requested that newspapers continue to publish her columns. These letters originally appeared in 1999.
Dear Ann Landers: A while back, you printed a letter about the dangers of prostitution. I would appreciate the opportunity to tell my side of the story. I hope you will print my letter, because your assessment was not accurate.
I am a 31-year-old woman with a bachelor's degree from a well-known university. I have been a sex worker for the past 14 years and am happy with my career. It burns me up when I read studies that say we are messed-up drug addicts who were abused as children, or that we are at risk of getting beaten up or raped by our customers.
I do not deny that streetwalking is a difficult and stressful way to make a living, but not all prostitutes are streetwalkers. I work in a brothel in Nevada and would not trade my job for any other that I know of. I perform a valuable service that is legal in most counties in this state. Every woman who works out of our house gets checked by a doctor every week.
I have met some fascinating, successful, well-educated men through my profession. Many have been clients of mine for several years. I count among them doctors, lawyers, judges, college professors, politicians and business executives. I make enough money working only two weeks each month and can use the other two weeks to pursue my writing career and work toward a Ph.D.
Ann, there's a reason prostitution is called "the world's oldest profession," and it isn't going away. Instead of fighting it, we should decriminalize it everywhere. For a woman who needs to feed her children, the threat of abuse is insignificant compared with watching her babies starve before her eyes. Legal sex work makes it possible for all women to have safer, stress-free working conditions. You should endorse it. — Magdalene at Madam Kitty's
Dear Magdalene: I caught the significance of your name choice — from the Bible yet. It is obvious that you enjoy your work, and as I have said before, there always will be a market for what you are selling.
For many years, I have been in favor of legalizing your profession and have said so. But please do not try to persuade anyone that babies would starve if their mothers did not go into prostitution. There are many other options — government assistance is the best known. I won't go down the list of others, but no woman in America needs to sell her body to make a living — unless, of course, she wants to.
Is alcohol ruining your life or the life of a loved one? "Alcoholism: How To Recognize It, How To Deal With It, How To Conquer It" can turn things around. To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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