Does that question piss you off? Good, it should! It’s offensive!
What if I told you that this young lady, her name is Katherine, was auctioning off her virginity out of financial necessity? You see, according to the report, her family’s house burnt down, and she had to leave college so that she could help support her parents and two younger sisters.This story hit a couple of days ago after the Moonlight Bunny Ranch in Reno, Nevada had a “Katherine Stone Virgin Coming Out Party”. If you didn’t hear about it, it’s understandable. It was invitation only and part of Dennis Hof’s 69th birthday party. Hof, is the owner of the brothel sponsoring the auction.
Right about now you’re probably incredibly pissed at this guy Hoff… I know I am.
You see it’s really easy to get ticked off about Dennis Hof. We can decry him as a horrific person, a pimp, somebody who profits off of others misery & loneliness; but he already admits to this. In fact, his biography is called “The art of the pimp: A love story”. He acknowledges his sliminess, relishes in the fact that he’s a bottom-dweller, earning money off of misfortune.
However, I want to expand this argument and use it as a commentary on the general state of the rest of us. While the stories and subsequent anger will most likely concentrate on Hof, a self-professed Pimp, we should also examine what this story says about everybody else. If you really read the story, absent of Hof and what he’s promoting, A 20-year-old woman, born in Chile, has no other economic alternative but to sell her virginity to pay the bills. She is getting in to this business, “the life” because she has to contribute to her family, to support her sisters—and in time, hopefully return to college.
I’ve known many young women who have turned to commercial sex out of economic necessity. So many, I’ve coined a term I call “Semi-willing-ish”. They’re not doing it because they’re willing, because they want to, they’re choosing the least, worst choice in order to survive. This story isn’t just a reflection of Hof, a pimp—but also us, uninvolved bystanders.
If Katherine’s house burned down, where is her community to help her rebuild? If her parents need economic support, where are the jobs and industry willing to take them on? If her sisters need watching, where are the local services to lend a hand in a moment of need? It’s easy to get pissed off at the pimp, but he’s not the reason that this is happening; he’s responding to supply and demand. This is happening because a young woman needs to earn a living, and there are very few opportunities available for her. This is happening because there are plenty of people willing to pay for her as a commodity.
So if you really want to make a difference, to prevent stuff like this from happening in the future, you help to build opportunity for people like Katherine. You’re working to get at-risk individuals jobs, teaching people how to read, donating legal counsel to single parents trying to get their kids back, you’re helping to write resume’s & cover letters & giving fashion & makeup advice for job interviews. If you want to make a difference you donate your time to those who are going through a rough patch so that they don’t find themselves in need of selling themselves to make ends meet. But we’re not going to do that. We’re going to get mad at the pimp, not at ourselves for dropping the ball; for standing by while a young woman auctions off her virginity so that her family, and herself can economically survive.
All over the country this story is setting the anti-trafficking community abuzz. This article and the information within will be shared & shared again. I’m sure that many people, even business owners will read it & get pissed off at what’s happening. I’m wondering if any one of these people, any single one, will e-mail her & offer her a decent-paying job so she doesn’t have to go through with it. If there is one business owner willing to do that, her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
So you’ve got to understand that I’m not saying to not be pissed off at Hof the pimp. I’m saying that he is taking advantage of a situation that we, the people, can prevent. I’m saying that we have to start taking responsibility for the situations and parameters that allow exploitative practices to occur and flourish.
Ending sex trafficking, and in-turn, promoting social justice is incredibly difficult. What must happen is to build, to develop a new way of existing that makes exploitation unnecessary. We can do it, but it’s going to take a bit more than getting pissed off at a pimp & sharing our outrage on Facebook.