'Sex work is real work': Teen Vogue slammed for promoting prostitution to vulnerable young women and girls
In the article, Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng talks about decriminalizing sex work and prostitution all over the world and cites global efforts being made to ensure that women involved have better labor rights
Teen Vogue has been slammed for "promoting prostitution" after they published an article which seems to advertise and promote sex work as "real work" to its audience which comprises mostly of girls between the ages of 12 and 18.
The article's headline reads "Why Sex Work Is Real Work" and had originally been published in April but received a lot of attention and criticism after Teen Vogue decided to promote the story again on its social media this week. In the article, Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng talks about decriminalizing sex work and prostitution all over the world and also cites global efforts being made to ensure that the women involved have better labor rights.
She shared that the continued criminalization of sex work "is a form of violence by governments and contributes to the high level of stigma and discrimination" around prostitution. Many parts of Mofokeng's article come across like an advertisement for sex work and a potential career path for young girls rather than an argument for decriminalization. There was very little information about the extreme situations and circumstances which lead young girls to take up prostitution.
Mofokeng also shared with teen readers that many people frequently "misunderstand" what sex work really is and wrote that "sex-worker services" can include "companionship, intimacy, nonsexual role-playing, dancing, escorting and stripping". She further shared how relationships which start off sexual can "evolve into emotional and psychological bonding". The article stated that the idea of "purchasing intimacy" can be an affirmation for people who are in need of "human connection, friendship and emotional support".
This excerpt seems to be promoting and advertising prostitution as a caring profession which helps to serve people in need. Mofokeng also compares her work to a medical doctor who is giving advice and treatment for sex-related problems and argued that she isn't criminalized for her work and so sex workers shouldn't be either.
Many fans and followers took to social media to slam the publication for promoting such content to vulnerable young girls. One angry fan shared, "Why is a teen magazine promoting prostitution to their 13-year-old readers?" Another wrote, "@FBI @CIA This company is promoting prostitution as a real job to minors..." A third added, "This is just pure ignorance to the massive problem which is human trafficking. How many of these workers are forced into this line of 'work' as you call it? Yet you think they want their 'work' to be legal? When they are being forced into it? Really?!"