Baby, wanna party with a persistent seller?

June 28, 2007

The writer George Orwell would have enjoyed this one. He understood the awesome power of words. It turns out Britain is thinking of removing the term “prostitute” from criminal statutes because – I’m not making this up – it carries too much stigma.

Aiming to find new words for the world’s oldest profession, a new bill refers simply to persons who sell sex persistently, which is defined as twice or more in three months. “It’s been around since 1824, so it was a bit outdated. It just wasn’t really helpful to label people,” a Justice Ministry spokeswoman said.

This worries me. If we’re going to knock out words for being old, there go Shakespeare, the King James Version of the Bible, and, well, a few other noted works. Readers, please use Post a Comment to propose other trendy new names for old crimes.

More Oddly Enough Blogpersistent200.jpg

A prostitute wears a creation of the Daspu Spring/Summer 2007-2008 collection show in Rio de Janeiro May 22, 2007. Daspu is a fashion house founded and run by prostitutes whose designs have become the talk of Brazil’s fashion industry. REUTERS/Bruno Domingos

10 comments

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It’s not murder…it’s “person reduction”.

It’s not theft…it’s “borrowing without intent to return”.

It’s not drug use…it’s “artificially enhancing one’s mood”.

It’s not car theft…it’s “involuntary automobile transfer”.

Posted by K | Report as abusive

It’s not bank robbery, it’s “getting a loan without signing as many official papers as you probably should.”

Posted by Robert Basler | Report as abusive

It’s not counterfeiting, it’s “paying homage to past Presidents in an inappropriate way.”

Posted by Robert Basler | Report as abusive

Actually, the meaning of “prostitute” is nebulous enough that “sex worker” is probably more accurate in many cases.

For instance, is a phone sex operator a prostitute? Is a stripper who gives nude lap dances? Is a dominatrix who doesn’t have sex with her clients? In most common-law countries, none of them are legally prostitutes, since precedent is that the worker has to have physical contact with clients’ genitalia in order to be legally considered a prostitute.

So you have this grey area where the police aren’t sure if someone can be charged with prostitution or not.

Posted by Charlene | Report as abusive

It’s not kidnapping, it’s “assembling a captive audience.”

It’s not tax fraud, it’s “unilateral capital reallocation.”

It’s not voter fraud, it’s “the overly-enthusiastic exercise of a civic responsibility.”

Its not violating the pooper scooper law, its renegade composting.

It’s not torture, it’s “extreme interrogation techniques.”

Oh, wait, that one’s for real …

It’s not rape, it’s “extremely selfish self gratification.”

It’s not hacking, it’s “sneaking in through the back door.”

It’s not speeding, it’s “getting there faster.”

It’s not piracy, it’s “previewing the full version for a unspecified amount of time.”

It’s not poaching, it’s “an early harvest of wildlife.”

Posted by Lady Weasel | Report as abusive

Thanks, Charlene.

Posted by Shawn Hendricks | Report as abusive

I still like Terry Pratchett’s “ladies of negotiable affection” best.

Posted by Emmy | Report as abusive

I think that they should change the names od everithing, people should always have somthing to talk about during cofee…

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UmNome

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I think that Brazil has the right idea – I don’t see what the problem is with the oldest profession, as long as the girls doing it do it by choice and not through some organised crime syndicate