back to article Have hordes of sex workers snubbed the Commonwealth games?

Is it possible that somewhere out there is a lost tribe of sex workers, condemned forever to wander the globe in search of work and pay? We only ask because the latest alarming reports from the Commonwealth Games in Delhi warn of some 40,000 sex workers about to descend on the event. Indian NGO Impulse NGO Network seem to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Exploiting Sex Workers

    All "advocacy" organizations economically benefit from the "problem" and its continence, and thus have a build-in conflict of interest. You see the results all of the time in advocacy groups inflation of the magnitude of "the problem". In the specific case of exploited sex workers, the advocacy groups make money off of the problem through their fund raising efforts, and have a direct financial incentive to make the problem to be as large and widespread as possible. It's not that the advocates are wrong or bad people, its just that when you have structural financial incentives in anything, those incentives do have influence over time.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Pressure Group Pressure Group?

      Perhaps we need a pressure group to raise awareness of the dangers posed by pressure groups.

      And we could have articles in the tabloids about the rising number of moral panics, and the damage being done to our children and society by such fear mongering.

      It would be great to have experts warn that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

      Turning sensationalism on itself, and then getting people to actually stop and think about this stuff, could be a bit like a kind of memetic inoculation against hysteria. So here's my plan:-

      1. Start and fuel a moral panic about moral panics.

      2. Point out the absurdity of mass hysteria about mass hysteria.

      3. ?????

      4. SANITY!

  2. Tim #3


    Does anyone else think that 40000 would be one amazing razzle stack?

  3. Anonymous John

    40,000 sex workers?

    That's about 100 for every spectator at Delhi.

  4. Ian 62

    Stadiums are empty...

    Plenty of space at the empty stadiums (stadia?) when they do turn up. No need to worry.

  5. Ben Tasker

    Why would you pay?

    Think about it, there's 300,000 people arrived to watch Event A. Some of these will almost certainly be female (single or otherwise), so why would you pay for it when there's a reasonable probability that you could pull in the pub or club?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Most fan groups took their bicycles with them to do some cycling too.

  6. ShaggyDoggy

    Sex workers

    oh you mean "prostitutes"

    come on Reg - "sex workers" is so PC

    1. Anonymous Coward


      isn't a sex worker what you call a spermatozoa?

      If an office worker is called such because (s)he works in an office, then where does a sex worker work? In a sex?

      If you're so committed to this concept you would call them Intercourse Room workers.

      Gentlemen, you can't have sex here, this is the Intercourse Room.

      Sorry I'll shut up now.

  7. Bluenose
    Paris Hilton

    40,000 extra

    It is important to bear in mind that these are "extra" and add to the existing number so I have some simple questions:

    How do you get them into the country? South Africa was a nightmare travelwise with expensive flights and the issues of actually landing them :)

    Where do you keep them, is there a sudden upsurge in demands for commercial buildings (as the hotels are normally all booked out)? If so please let me know so I can invest in a commercial property portfolio.

    How do you feed them? 40K additional people eat an awful lot of food. Do the police look for an increase in the number of Tesco equivalent home delivery lorries?

    I think these so called advocacy groups (and Boris Johnson) are typical of their ilk (which included politicians) in that they come up with these number but fail to apply real world scenarios to them to determine whether the number is reasonable or not. To infiltrate 40K women in to any country would need massive resources and time to achieve. On that basis I would suggest that Boris send out his spies to keep watch on the grocery home delivery lorries now as the criminals will already by bringing these people in now (not sure what they are going to do for the next 2 years though).

    Paris because she could not even infiltrate Japan and she is not a sex worker.

    1. Captain DaFt


      If such a group actually exits that can pull off these logistics, somebody needs to be recruiting them for covert military operations! (Let's substitute soldier for sex worker and see what I mean!)

      Think about it, 40,000 soldiers slipped into a country and nobody notices?

      All of them bivouacked near/in a major metropolitan area and nobody notices?

      All of them perform their assigned mission, then depart and nobody notices?

      Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?

      1. Intractable Potsherd
        Black Helicopters

        Spot on observations!

        However, you are applying logic to a purely emotional "statistic" which allows other people to get coverage in the media.

        Alternatively, you are correct - black helicopters either way.

  8. Andy Miller

    Lost in Translation

    I think they may be referring to tabloid journalists.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton


      You can get paid work masturbating?

      Paris, onanist's choice

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Do You Also Say Froderick?

    'Sex workers'. You mean prostitutes. Giving these people a legitimate sounding job title somewhat defeats the object of trying to protect, and hopefully remove, them from the exploitation they are subjected to.

    Or maybe by applying this absurd title helps us to more comfortably bury our heads and pretend they're doing because they want to.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "prostitutes" and "sex workers"

      I think there are two problems with the term "prostitutes". Firstly, there are some people, such as those working as escorts and masseuses, who might not like to call themselves that, even if other people do. Secondly, there are some people, such as strippers and porn actors, who almost nobody would call "prostitutes", though they are "sex workers", probably.

    2. Circadian

      As a good little sub...

      ...may I call you Master, Norman? Then it becomes clear why you would have no need of prostitutes.

    3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      "Because they want to."

      I suppose the % of individuals engaged in voluntary sex work depends on the local attitude towards it. Sex work is quasi-legal here in Edmonton. You can register an escort agency, declare you income as taxable, receive the government mandated benefits and be protected by the police the same as any other citizen.

      Thanks to this more liberal attitude, I do indeed know some individuals (of both genders) who have chosen to enter the sex trade. It’s quite lucrative for them; in each case these are individuals who have given up other careers for the sex trade. Frankly, they make far more money doing what they do now than they did as dental hygienists, lab techs in an environmental testing facility or low paid civil servants.

      I believe that there are plenty of places in this world where sex work leads inexorably towards the exploitation of the most vulnerable. Funnily enough, I think that upon closer examination each and every one of those places are areas of the world where ex work has been outlawed and it’s practitioners socially reviled. Nothing will ever eliminate sex work. No law, no crackdown of enforcement, no social stigma.

      With that in mind, if you want to protect sex workers then legalise the trade and afford sex workers all the rights and freedoms that any regular member of society has. Allow them to form guilds, establish clean and safe working environments and provide them full protection under and benefits under the law.

      If you want to get into moral arguments about it, then I have only this to ask: who are you to tell anyone of any gender what they may or may not do with their bodies? What gives you the right? How have you achieved such moral superiority? Maybe if you devoted half the effort you expend ostracising legitimate hard working people into actually finding and defeating the reasons that some people are so poorly off they might not feel they have any other choices than sex work/drugs/what-have-you the world might become a better place.

      Sex work does not automatically correlate with exploitation. It does however have a much higher chance of said correlation in a backwards, repressive society.

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        Oh, dear, Trevor ...

        ... You are doing it again - bringing clear thought and moral analysis to a situation. When will you ever learn ...

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          @Intractable Potsherd

          I apologise. I honestly am trying to learn this lesson. Much effort has been expended of late to learn exactly this! I have that nasty bug where "OMG, SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET" causes me to post things. Sadly, this causes me to post a great many things. I keep forgetting that the Internet is a great big gong show /about/ being as wrong as humanly possible. Truthiness before truth, gut instinct before logic.

          Hatred and prejudice before compassion and understanding.

          The overwhelming negativity of El Reg commenters as regards a lot of topics is slowly hardening my heart and making me lose hope, compassion and possibly the will to live. I still think some of the smartest people on the internet hang out here…but I begin to understand that “smart” seems to correlate directly with “stuck-up” in far too many cases. “Stuck-up” is sadly often cognate with “stubborn” and “unwilling to even consider to opposing views” and thus you get really smart people who think everyone else is retarded and utterly refuse to consider any opinion or idea they didn’t have first. (Listening does not mean being converted to someone else’s point of view, it is merely the concession that there may be multiple simultaneously valid opinions about a given subject. Sadly, this is apparently a highly unfavoured view.)

          Attempting logic and reason against such a backdrop is madness. On the other hand, my fiancée is home now; she is an excellent distraction from Internet commenting. Additionally, I have tossed El Reg into an RSS reader that allows me to do all sorts of neat things that scrape the site and reformat it. The most critical is that it removes that “post a comment!” links at the bottom of the article.

          This is spanktabulous because it means that if I think an article is worth commenting on, I have to actually bust out a web browser and navigate there manually. It took me about a week of off and on coding to write a scraper, but I have removed the whole “Impulse commenting” bit. If you were to look at my commenting history, it probably crashed through the floor about two weeks ago.

          Sadly, it’s a bit like a drug; you have to weak yourself off slowly. Cold turkey is just too hard for some people. (Like me!) Thus, articles that I have a very strong opinion about (like this one) are ones I do actually take the time to bust out into a browser and comment on.

          You’re right however; it’s probably daft to participate even on a reduced level. Logic and clear thought have no place on the internet. In fact, I shouldn’t be writing this comment. I should be finishing my last four El Reg articles and/or fixing some widget at work that has decided to implode. Being productive > commentacular pointlessness on them thar intertubes!

  10. Graham Marsden

    Could this be...

    ... the reason for the lack of spectators at many events?

    They're all too busy being entertained by the thousands of sex workers....

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Which is why it must be stopped

      And with good counselling and support, the 40,000 sex workers could be reformed and fill half a stadium, the other half of the stadium would fill up easy enough.

      1. Graham Marsden

        @"with good counselling and support"

        Or just pay them by the hour...

  11. Red Bren


    "The Metropolitan Police are sceptical, urging vigilance, accompanied by a sense of proportion"

    That isn't the usual ranting we have come to expect from plod. What have you done with the real Metroplitan Police?

  12. /\/\j17

    El Reg, Could You Confirm...

    Are these the SAME 40,000 sex works attending all of these sporting events?

  13. Anonymous Coward

    this article has helped keep 40,000.........

    almost Destitute Journalists in work on yet another quiet news day....

    (maybe it was a deliberate mass plagiaristic-typo-thing, Destitute to Prostitute, then omit the 'journo/Media' Whores (leave the whores bit in to spice it up a bit) ;p and you then have a fairly accurate number of bods descending-(more spicing it up) on the various events)

    cos its the only way they can blow their own trumpet

    .....and get paid for it ;)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real problem

    is the 40k politicians and pressure groups inventing new problems to crack down on when the money and other resources could have been put to actual beneficial use elsewhere. But then, you can only fix a real problem once. An invented problem keeps on popping up everywhere.

    The economics of inventing 40k phantom trafficked prossies to be cracked down upon make much more sense than the economics of 40k prossies looking for 400k uninterested tricks. Carry on government.

  15. MattW

    It's obvious...

    Moonlighting athletes.

  16. Cunningly Linguistic

    How do they know?

    Is the "sex worker" occupation now on their passports?

  17. ShaggyDoggy


    Put the prostutites in the arena instead of the athletes.

    Suddenly, all seats taken !!

  18. Ken 16 Silver badge

    How many did Newport get for the Ryder Cup?

    Tiger Woods, a captive market...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Liking the idea that the collective noun for sex workers is a horde.

    // "Face exploitation and abuse" made me think of Paris for some reason...

  20. LawLessLessLaw

    Boris is absolutely correct

    * Major sporting events are often linked to an upsurge in demand for prostitution

    which is what this article does

    * demand for prostitution ... fuels human trafficking.

    easy to verify

    * he's determined "to crack down on prostitution and human trafficking in the run-up to the London 2012 Games".

    who wouldn't be

    It's cheap political talk

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Magic Rocks

    "When this increase did not materialise the answer was simple. As Sheila Coates, a Director with South Essex Rape and Crisis Centre explained: "In Vancouver it looks like it wasn’t as big a problem as anticipated because they planned for it and planned it out.""

    Sounds like my magic rock.

    I've got a magic rock to keep tigers away. Since I got my magic rock, not even one, single tiger has turned up, or been seen anywhere within miles of where I live. That's how effective it is.

    How many of these advocacy groups, related projects, and the like, are actually magic rocks?

    1. Intractable Potsherd

      Obviously ...

      ... related to my elephant-proof pyjamas. Never had an elephant in my bedroom since I bought them.

  22. Mike Bell

    Prostitute or Sex Worker?

    A prostitute does not necessarily sell sex. Look it up. El Reg is not being politically correct; just accurate.

    1. Jane Fae

      Politically correct?

      Thanks. For the record, i use the term beause it is what many - but no, not all - sex workers seem to prefer.

      Partly becaue there are serious negatve connotations with the p-word, as it finds is way into language pejoratively in the sense of "to prostitute oneself", and also because of the now abolished offence of "common prostitution".

      Second, because not everyone presumed to be turning up at these games, trafficked or otherwise, would be necessarily there as a "prostitute"...which does have current legal definition which includes oneor other forms of penetrative sex.

      Someone providing "extras" in a massage parlour is a sex worker but not technically a prostitute. A dominatrix - at least in the UK - may be a sex worker but probably is not a prostitute.

      And so on.

      Overall, though, my touchstone is courtesy. I don't believe the law should proscribe against using particular words or phrases. I emand the right to be tactless, insulting or offensive. But in general, i really don't believe i should be any of those.

      If people who do sex work prefernot to be referred to as prostitutes, i consider it common courtesy not to refer to them as such - and the fact that i have the privilege of writing for a widely-read site makes that courtesy more, not less, necessary.

      I mean otherwise, i might start suggesting that some IT workers were prostituting their talents...and then where would we be? :)


  23. Anonymous Coward

    Trafficked or touring?

    The article, and probably those punting (sic) the issue, never made clear, but how many of these 40,000 sex workers were expected to be trafficked, and how many would be turning up of their own entreprenuerial volition? Or do they just assert that ALL sex workers are victims really...?

  24. william henderson 1

    will do wonders for

    the long jump and high jump, never mind the tripple jump.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a thought

    If you were a foreign prostitute working illegally in a western European country and you were arrested, would you say:

    a. "I overstayed my tourist visa and chose to continue to work as a prostitute, as I had previously worked in my home country"


    b. "I was trafficked and forced to work as a prostitute against my will. I am innocent and need asylum"

  26. Anonymous Coward

    "40,000 just happens to be the magic number..."

    I for one welcome our 40000 sex worker overlords, and underlords, and sidelords, and behindlords, and...

  27. Tom 35

    If I was a sex worker...

    I would not bother with sporting events, I'd head for the big political and religious conventions, much better chance of customers looking for some fun away from home.

  28. VulcanV5
    Paris Hilton

    Trotter's Totty

    "Sex work expert Henry Trotter agreed, noting that most World Cup fans weren’t interested in paid sex."

    WTF is this? The legal defence rehearsed by some sad plonker who trawls red light districts in search of quick relief?????

    Ah well, that's a new one to add to The Big List of Epithets, as in: 'A right Henry Trotter he is."

    PS: sod the dictionary definition quoted earlier by El Reg pedants, a prostitute is one who trades sex for commercial gain. 'Sex worker' can be some pimply yoof working behind the counter of a dirty book shop (well, if there are still any.) Or some pimply yoof organising an Ann Summers party for fat illiterate retards breeding for Britain on a Council estate.

    El Reg's insistence on calling a spade an excavation implement is as inexplicable as it is depressing, and almost as tragic as that Jacobean revenge play written by John Ford 350 years ago entitled "Tis Pity She's A Sex Worker".

    * Paris, because she's a JCB.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Blindingly Obvious

    You're all missing the point. There's an athlete on steroids somewhere who takes 40,000 sex workers with him everywhere he goes.

  30. ShaggyDoggy

    Sex workers / prostitutes

    Look, if it's sexual and they are getting paid for it, that's prostituting yourself. End.

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