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Advocate: ‘Saved on the Strip’ is wrong to assume all hookers need saving

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Former escort and Hookers for Jesus founder Annie Lobert
Discovery Communications

Former prostitute Annie Lobert’s TV show Hookers: Saved on the Strip comes packaged with the staged drama, overacting and ridiculous sensationalism of reality television, but offers the promise of redemption for prostitutes wanting out of the violent and “exploitative” life of sex work. A worthwhile endeavor, some might say.

Details

Hookers: Saved on the Strip
Investigation Discovery channel, Wednesdays, 10 p.m.
International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
December 17, 6 p.m., Erotic Heritage Museum

But not everybody believes sex workers need to be saved, including sex workers themselves—men and women from varied backgrounds and social classes who say they like what they’re doing and that they’d rather see an end to the abuse and discrimination than the occupation. Many of them will emerge across the globe in vigils and marches on December 17, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Locally, supporters will meet for a vigil at the Erotic Heritage Museum, then march down Las Vegas Boulevard carrying red umbrellas.

“We hate the fact that abuse happens in the sex industry,” says Susan Lopez, co-founder of Desiree Alliance and founder of the Las Vegas chapter of the Sex Workers Outreach Project. “We envision a day when all sex work is without violence. The reason violence exists is because it is illegal. As of now, you can’t do anything about it. You can’t say, ‘Hey, my pimp beat me up,’ because you’d get arrested. There is also this [belief] throughout the ages that it’s impossible to rape a prostitute.”

Lopez has not seen Saved on the Strip and supports Lobert’s relationship with the people who want or need help leaving the life, but she disagrees with Lobert’s Hookers for Jesus definition of prostitution that focuses on sex trafficking and exploitation. “There are many ways to operate in the industry that are not exploitative,” Lopez says. “You can’t blanket an entire industry as bad and exploitative because it has to do with sex.”

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Kristen Peterson

Kristen Peterson joined the Las Vegas Sun in 1998 as a general assignment reporter. In 2003, she turned her focus ...

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