Savage Love Letter of the Day: Reader Advice Round-up by Dan Savage • Aug 10, 2017 PWP doesn't want young guys feeling trapped in survival prostitution (cause it's dangerous, icky, coerced by their poverty, etc?). He could make survival prostitution a little more safe and less icky if he were a responsible consumer of said services. And, after a hook-up or three, make suggestions to the sex worker how to improve their life (fewer, better, more generous clients; get treatment for medical, mental and drug problems; avail themselves of social services, etc). The 18-22 year old on the streets, if they were kicked out of their home, probably doesn't have great life skills and obviously doesn't have the support most of us do to secure a mailing address, references, and medical care. The LW could help with those. Even more so, the 14-17 year old sex worker—although paying for their services is far more problematic, legally and morally. But you could take them out for lunch and give them $50 as you talk about your very different lives.

UPDATE: The first commenter today was right to chastise me for posting the above without comment. I wasn't endorsing this letter writer's comments, just allowing a reader to have their say after I had said mine. But for the record: Paying a minor for sex isn't legally and morally "problematic," it is legally and morally impermissible. As for sex workers of legal age, some people come to sex work from a place of desperation—that is, some engage in sex work because their circumstances left them feeling as if they had no other choice. Most potential clients I hear from—men and women—don't want to employ a sex worker who has been coerced into doing sex work either by another person or by their personal circumstances. But whatever brought someone to sex work, all sex workers should be treated with compassion—and contra this letter writer, not all sex workers will welcome suggestions on how they can improve their lives.

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