“Very beautiful, how much?” a rough male voice says…
Walking through the streets of downtown Bangkok shops filled with various types of women. It doesn’t hit me right away that a group of African men sitting five feet from me are trying to negotiate a price to buy me for sex.The shock comes in a delayed way as I see looks of disgust pass over my friend’s face.
Fear grips my soul. I’m not for sale. I’m a person. I have a favorite book, hopes & dreams, a loving family, and a story.The bits of personhood that make up who I am become unattached to me the moment someone objectifies my humanity.
In Bangkok, my black skin makes me a more valuable commodity. My Thai friend informs me that I’d go for an average of 10 million baht (150,000 USD). I’m not an object to be consumed or priced.
Somehow in the 21st century, I’ve ended up on street corner stumbling across a good old-fashioned, auction-block. Shackled to the idea that man’s ever-present expectation and demand of the sexual availability of women, has now put me in the position of being objectified.With buyers ready and a price set, a few too many drops of melanin are the difference between the odds being in my favor or against me.
For a moment I feel what women in prostitution feel every day. It doesn’t matter if a woman is wearing cheap lipstick and trashy lingerie with a label as a prostitute or if, like me, she is walking down the street in a tunic top and skinny jeans. It’s simple. Bodies are not commodities. When we lose this point, we are all in danger of losing our humanity.
And this is the thing that I want the world to understand. You don’t have to “choose” to be a “sex worker”: I didn’t choose to sell my body to those men, but I couldn’t choose the context that created the demand. I can’t control that anymore than if I was a prostitute. No one can claim that prostitution is a respectable profession. Whether or not the “customers” actually respect you is a moot point. The moment someone places a price on your body you no longer possess your personhood.
The attempt to rob an individual of their humanity is wrong. It’s not because I or any other human being is inherently good, either. The only thing good found in me is the fact that God created me in His image, set apart from all other forms of life. I am a reflection of His glory and that is priceless. This is true not only for me, but for the one million prostitutes in Bangkok, Thailand, the 125,000 unborn babies aborted yesterday, and the people who desire to profit from our bodies.
Let the sanctity of life motivate you to combat all forms of evil and injustice that are perpetuated against human life. This is the beginning of the ‘loving your neighbor as yourself’ actions motivated by love for God and love for others.