Target: A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc
Goal: Stop TV show in which sex workers are trapped and forced to listen to a shaming lecture.
An A&E show that revolves around lecturing and shaming sex workers after trapping them under false pretenses is currently being planned for airing on the network. The program, called 8 Minutes, stars a former police officer and current pastor who claims to be able to convince sex workers to leave the profession with a single eight-minute speech.
This speech will be given to these individuals, presumably mostly or all women, after they are lured into a hotel room thinking that they’re going to see a client. Instead, they will find themselves with cameras shoved in their faces, trapped with this man and some current police officers who will stand by “in case things escalate.” The former cop, Kevin Brown, believes that by doing this, he’s “rescuing” sex workers from themselves.
This television show will only serve to perpetuation harmful myths about sex workers. While many of these people are forced into it through human trafficking, there are many more who choose this work, whether it’s because they need the money or because they simply love doing it. Offering sex workers a chance to live in a halfway house so that they can get some minimum wage job that would earn them far less than prostitution would is no solution.
Furthermore, you can’t say that these women are voluntarily giving up sex work if you’re trapping them in a room with actual cops who are supposed to arrest prostitutes. The situation is completely coercive.
This show is nothing more than a feel-good illusion for a guy who can pretend he’s “saving” sex workers when most of what he’s doing is exposing them to the danger of arrest so that he can give them a patronizing lecture that they’ve likely heard many times already. Anti-human trafficking organizations and law enforcement alike have condemned this show and its gross shaming tactics. By signing this petition, you’ll add your voice to those who demand that sex workers be treated like human beings.
Dear Ms. Dubuc,
Your network A&E is planning on airing a show titled 8 Minutes in which a cop-turned-pastor traps sex workers in a hotel room and gives them an eight-minute lecture about why they should leave their work behind. The entire premise is incredibly condescending and offensive to sex workers. It treats them as though they’d never considered leaving sex work and gives the impression that all their problems would be solved if they were put into a halfway house program that would get them a minimum wage job.
Anti-trafficking organizations have condemned this show already with a letter to your network, and law enforcement agencies do not support the premise. All this show will do is shame frightened sex workers who are trapped in a room with cops and spread the idea that all sex workers need to be rescued from themselves. Not all sex workers are in the same situation, but they are all human and deserve respect. Please cancel this show before it airs.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: msmornington via Flickr