This presentation was given at the 2018 Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Global Summit hosted by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. (EndExploitationSummit.com)
Melinda Tankard Reist
Writer, Speaker, and Advocate
Defenders of the sex industry claim that prostitution is ‘just work’, a ‘job like any other’, ‘the oldest profession’ – and that flipping hamburgers at Macca’s would be worse. In this perspective, women in the industry are re-framed as ‘erotic entrepreneurs’ and pimps as ‘managers’.
Is prostitution ‘work’? Is it a ‘job like any other’? And is it consistent with belief in the common good, human flourishing and the dignity of the individual.
It is through the first-hand accounts of women who were in the sex industry and have now left it, that we clearly see that prostitution cannot be considered work. The intensely personal accounts expose a multi-billion-dollar sexual exploitation industry built upon the backs of the bodies of real women and girls. How should we respond to these accounts, both to prevent more vulnerable women and girls from entering the trade and to help more leave it?
Melinda Tankard Reist is an author, speaker, media commentator, blogger and advocate for women and girls. She is best known for her work addressing sexualisation, objectification, harms of pornography, sexual exploitation, trafficking and violence against women.
Melinda is author/editor of five books including Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls (Spinifex Press, 2009), now in its 9th printing, Big Porn Inc: Exposing the harms of the global pornography industry (Spinifex Press, 2011, co-edited with Dr Abigail Bray) and her new release Prostitution Narratives: Stories of survival in the sex trade. (Spinifex Press, 2016, co-edited with Dr. Caroline Norma)
An opinion writer, Melinda is also a regular on morning television and has appeared on ABC’s Q&A and The Gruen Sessions as well as many other TV and radio programs.
Melinda is co-founder of the grassroots campaigning movement, Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation, exposing corporations, advertisers and marketers who objectify women and sexualize girls to sell products and services. An ambassador for World Vision Australia, Compassion Australia and the Raise Foundation, Melinda is named in the Who’s Who of Australian Women and the World Who’s Who of Women.