The World’s Oldest Profession

Really?  We have all heard this before.  It is usually offered as an excuse when someone is arrested for solicitation of a prostitute or to explain how it is a victimless crime; two consenting adults…..But let’s really dig deeper into that old saying.  If you think about it, when have you ever heard of a young person carving out their future career plans, who actually considers prostitution?  

Humor me here. You could work for yourself, be your own boss, make your own hours, wear what you want, work under the table and not pay taxes.  Although all of that sounds appealing, is that really the job benefits of prostitution? For the majority of us, the job description of a prostitute is what we see on TV, the movies or maybe something we have personally seen walking on a major street.  We can’t forget the well known movie, Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts.  Why then is it that the woman looks dirty, tired, malnourished, strung out on drugs, etc.?  Disclaimer, when I use the example of a woman, make no mistake this “oldest profession” doesn’t discriminate.  This job will take girls, boys, men, women, it makes no difference.

If you have learned anything from Selah Freedom, you have learned by now that prostituted people have largely been abused since they were young children, often come from broken homes and have run away to escape their abuse.  It is believed through research and interviews of victims they were only on the streets an average of two weeks before they were recruited to start selling themselves sexually and became under the control of a pimp. It is a game of manipulation that keeps them in this vicious cycle with drugs, threats and violence as the pimp’s weapon.  And to take it a step further, the “Johns” are often times more violent than the pimps; “Johns” acting out their sex fantasies, frustrations and hatred on the prostitute.

So let’s be real.  It is the World’s Oldest Abuse Story.  People who know me have heard me say this before and this is one time I don’t mind repeating myself.  This was my “light bulb moment” when I looked harder at the old saying, it was the world’s oldest profession.  To my chagrin, I was a 27-year law enforcement officer when I finally wised up.  

But it’s not too late.  It is our mission with the Selah Way Foundation’s Protection Initiative to spread the word.  Our goal,  is to reach every law enforcement agency in our country to help police officers have that “light bulb moment.”  If we can get our fellow law enforcement officers to understand the root cause as to why someone is being prostituted, we can finally put an end to prostitution and put Selah Freedom and Selah Way Foundation out of business.

Join me next time when I talk about what that looks like when a law enforcement agency understandswhat human trafficking really looks like and the permanent changes they can make.

- Former Captain Cori Stannish (now retired), Sarasota Police Department

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