The legal brothels of Nevada: An interview with Julie Bindel

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The legalization of prostitution is something that is often promoted as a way to make the industry ‘safer’ for women, a concept that is challenged by feminists who believe that prostitution can never be safe and exists in opposition of the goal of creating a feminist and egalitarian society.

Meghan Murphy interviews feminist journalist Julie Bindel, who participated in the making of a documentary called “Love for Sale: a journey to the legal brothels of Nevada” which aired in November 2011 on BBC Leeds. Julie also wrote a corresponding article about her experiences in Nevada for the London Times.

This interview took place on November 20, 2011 and originally aired on Vancouver Co-op Radio.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • Chris

    This was a great interview, and it reminded me of an article Ms Bindel wrote a couple years ago about the new Prime Minister of Iceland banning strip clubs (and trying to generally shut down the sex industry.) I was impressed by her insistence on describing the move for legalization as legalizing pimping, nor prostitution. I also applaud and agree with her comparison of prostitution to the slave trade.

    What I thought was most interesting, however, was the response to your question about the few women who “choose” prostitution.

    She mentioned the very, very few women working in specific circumstances, who never encountered abuse, or rape, or pimps, and she said “good luck to you”. I then re-listened to the segment and I realized she started her statement by saying “made enough money … to buy a second second home in the countryside or by the seaside…”. Are you serious? She did go on to argue why women with such privilege shouldn’t be allowed to impede the implementation of laws to protect women.

    I would go further. The male pimps, or sex slavers, are the main problem, but any woman benefitting from prostitution is just as guilty as the men. She is a collaborator who is profiting from the abuse and suffering of others. Her exalted position is not one to be admired, but condemned. Her country home is bought and paid for by the blood of others who weren’t quite so “lucky”. If she speaks out to actually defend prostitution, then this is even worse.

    Women actually running “escort services” or “prostitution rings” (or whatever you might call them) should also be treated the same. They are pimps and should be punished the same as any men. The fact that they may have been abused or exploited previously is no excuse, just as a serial killer can not be excused because of previous abuse. We can express empathy, and condemn such abuse, and try to stop it, but it can never be allowed to justify the abuse of another.

    Finally, I would just like to say get yourself on iTunes. There’s millions of people using it, but more importantly, it would be nice if a young person searching for a feminist podcast could actually find one! 🙂