I have a dark secret. I hate ironing, hate it with a passion, although I always loved the smell of it, the feel of hot, freshly ironed, clothes. I suppose it’s a fond memory of childhood,of watching my mother lift the items, one by one, out of the red plastic laundry basket and placing the freshly ironed items on a table. In due course I was taught the secrets of successful ironing and I iron well. The problem is I just hate it.
My partner offered to have a go but, it is not gender stereotyping to say that men just can’t iron and, well, we can’t afford to burn holes in shirts at the rate of two a week. So I’ve found a lady to do my ironing for me, a middle aged woman from Eastern Europe. She seems to love ironing and does a really good job. I think it’s money well spent.
Then last week I read this article in the Huffington Post and am worried I might be colluding in trafficking. According to author Gabriella Apicella the signs of coercion in sex workers include: they work for money and they would leave immediately if their financial circumstances allowed. Then I thought about my ironing lady. She irons for me, and others, because she needs to earn a living. She would not iron for me for free even though she happily does so for her husband and two teenage sons. I have no doubt that, if her Lottery numbers come up on Saturday, I will be looking for someone else this time next week. So, on the Apicella analysis, I am assisting in coercion and exploitation. Should I turn myself in?.
You might think I’m being facetious but I’m not. What I am doing is show that if you apply some of the abolitionist arguments about sex work to other jobs they are shown up for the nonsense they are. There is little logic in the article. There are others better placed than me to rebut it in detail so I will leave that to them. I will just add that if she really thinks that respect for women is contagious in Sweden she hasn’t read some of the things about the treatment of rape victims that I have.
My ironing lady is coming again on Friday. I must remember to watch her closely for the tell-tale signs of trafficking.
PS Alex Bryce, the national Co-Ordinator of Ugly Mugs has written a detailed refutation of Apicella’s nonsense here. As he mentions in the article both he and an active sex worker were at the film launch last week but not allowed to speak. In the weird world of the abolitionists sex workers who disagree with them are silenced . Then people like Apicella complain about sex workers being …..silenced!