Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Where are they?

I have been reading some articles about prostitution out there in the world and yes it includes the United States. For folks who do not understand what the word prostitution means: it means selling your body(intercourse or other sexual behaviors for money or other tangible goals like drugs. There have been statistics on arrest numbers of prostitutes (female and males) and arrests upon johns (people who buy sex) in some states. No one knows the exact number of prostitutes in United States because there has been no tracking. And WHO would want to come up and say "Yeah I'm a prostitute" for even a census survey? Anyway, I was reading this article "how the Dutch protect their prostitutes," "Prostitution in the United States- The Statistics" and even Wikipedia's article on prositution. Only one thing kept popping up in my mind while surveying those articles and others.

Where are the deaf prostitutes?!

DON'T tell me that they don't exist. Don't say "pooh, there are no deaf women or men selling their bodies for money or drugs." I have seen a legless prostitute in a wheelchair (and don't tell me she wasn't a prostitute, she was out there in 20 degrees in an outfit made of only a bra, panties and fishnet dress you can see through) with some other women barely clad. I worked with a mentally ill and deaf client who sold her body for drugs down in a city back in the east coast. What I had learned from her, I could see how it would be easy. I mean, if a deaf woman that barely graduated from high school, living on SSI and craving drugs to forget what she had experienced in childhood (rape by father and then sent into a foster home where she was continuingly raped by someone that should not have even been accepted as a foster parent.)

I read that after communism fell in Russia, many deaf women and men started to sell their bodies in purpose to survive in the chaos. There is noticeable postitution among the deaf population in Africa. HIV/AIDS is very common there in Africa, especially in the vulnerable numbers of women, children and disabled. I am sure some of you have read that men would have sex with children, in the belief that HIV can be "cured"by having intercourse with a virgin child or woman. Hell, I could read articles about deaf women or men going into prostitution in other countries but not here? Is it a taboo to talk about prostitution? Is it something that one shouldn't talk or even think about; the possibility of *gasp* a DEAF person being a prostitute? I read in several reports that disabled children are easier to be taken advantage of by adults for molestion. That goes for drugs... Hell, 1 in 7 deaf uses drugs. 1 in 10 hearing uses drugs. Do math. So, isn't that a potential possbility that there ARE deaf prostitutes out there here in the United States? Are there any services working with those on protecting themselves, STDS prevention, financial management, confidence development and the possibility of leaving prostitution for good? If there are, I would LIKE to know!

I have a deaf friend who is open about herself being a prostitute. She experienced horrible unspeakable incidents throughout her childhood and adolescence, that after she told me of her experiences, I had nightmares for nights afterwards. Not many organizations would take her in because she is not "mental retarded enough", "not mentally ill enough," and/or "not eligible for services." So the vicious cycle continues for her. After I spoke with her about writing this post, she said, "Tell people, don't stick your nose up at us, what are we supposed to do? Slap a happy face on our faces, live in neighborhoods where a woman couldn't walk at night without being assaulted, and survive on ramen noodles rest of our lives? YOU don't know. If you don't know what is going in our lives, then you have NO right to judge us. Screw you all!" What can I say to that? She is right.


Lejon said...


If that friend of yours is in despirate of finding a place where she can get full support and professional help. Please have her feel free to check out this agency that I work for here in eastern Massachusetts.

We have a website that you and she would like take a look into.

We would take any deaf individuals who are mentally retarded, mentally ill, drug addicts and alcoholics. No, we do not combine all type of individuals under the same roof. They're all made sure to live in proper residentials that fit with their needs.

I hope this would help.


Jules said...

I will glady give her your message, thro I will know her questions (since she already popped those questions at me when I suggested some organizations in MD.) Let me recall what questions will be.
1. How soon can one find out if she is eligible for services? (she applied for services in states and she was put on a waiting list that took 1-2 years and then found out she was turned down because "she doesn't live in the state that the services are provided."
2. She will not leave while her mother is still alive. so How would there be a guarantee there'd be services still available for her right after her mother passes away?
I cannot say more because other questions she'd ask would identify her to the deaf community here.
The bottom line is: It's not "easy to solve." I care for her and worry about other deaf prostitutes. I'm saying that if folks are going to be vicious toward them just because they are "whores" and ignoring WHY they had to go on this path, it will not go away.
Thank you very much, Lejon for the suggestion! I will send her the link. If she is interested and ready, she can contact that organization.

Anonymous said...

Many years ago I met a young deaf woman who got into prostitution. Guess who was her pimp? Her aunt whom she was living with. She was told by this relative to prostitute herself so she can pay for her room and board. Even though she was nonchalant, it was unclear to me if her actions were entirely voluntary as she has limited education.


Lejon said...

Your friend has the right to say those things which you've mentioned and I support and respect her 100%. Whenever she's ready, she can contact this organization at anytime. We're not going anywhere! ;)

I've been doing this for the last 5 years as a direct care counselor and I'm a loyal to my job. Working with people who are in the need of having some sorts of attention and support is what makes me feel special. I'm sure you feel the same way since you're a human service worker.

I even have a very few friends who I used to hangout with years ago and now some of them are my clients. Sticky situation right there, eh? But that doesn't stop me from working with them.

I wish your friend the best of luck and she will be in my thoughts.


Lantana said...

Well being a "deaf prostitute" isn't much worse than being a deaf peddler -- and their abc cards, etc. These deaf peddlers also had "pimps" who became rich recruiting young people to work for them. How did these young peddlers break away? Did they need therapy and professional help?

What say you?

Jules said...

Thanks, Lantana. That's a good question. I hadn't seen a 'deaf' peddler since oh... now as I get to think about it, I feel OLD. That would be in either 91 or 92. Are they still around? That's an excellent question in which I would like to research and write in the future articles. I didn't even know there are "pimps" for deaf peddlers or is that a tongue-in-cheek joke?

About those young peddlers, I would like to know where you have seen them and if there have been reports about them.

If there ARE pimps making young people selling ABC cards, I would be somewhat surprised because wouldn't that be less money compared to prostitution?
Excellent questions! Thanks for giving me an idea what to write in the future!

jere said...

I've not seen any deaf peddlers for a while. Actually, in the last couple years I did meet a deaf guy at a Walmart trying to hock something. He came up from Houston to an Oklahoma Walmart to beg for money. I think there are less of them now because of the massive exposure the got several years ago. I think that potential "revenue" dried up. I don't think it took professional help necessarily, but I would like to think there are more opportunities and societal enlightenment than a few years ago. My head is not so far in the clouds to know there needs to be a lot more improvement.