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March 10, 2008

Tom Vannah Chastises Adam Cohen And NoPornNorthampton For Efforts Directed Towards Valley Advocate, Adam Cohen Responds

Last Tuesday on the Vannah and Collins show on WHMP, Chris Collins made mention of the effort being orchestrated by Adam Cohen and NoPornNorthampton to pressure the Valley Advocate to stop accepting the sex ads that are ubiquitous in alt weeklies across the nation. Tom Vannah reacted to this on the show [mp3 here], chastising Adam Cohen and cohorts as "self serving" and "white privileged yuppies".

Northamptonist sent an email to Adam requesting his response to these comments, as well as asking him to "talk about what you would like to accomplish with these efforts, and why."

Adam's response via email:

"As you know, I have asked Mr. Vannah to correct the characterization of our position on WHMP's website. [Ed.: I was not aware] Personal ads have never been a concern of NoPornNorthampton. Our concern lies with commercial sex enterprises, especially escort prostitution and strip clubs, which we have shown to be miserable and dangerous jobs for most of their female employees, with strong ties to sex trafficking. While a few women may choose this life in a truly voluntary fashion, the reality for most is a history of sexual and/or child abuse, separation from their family and/or country, and poverty. Addictions to drugs or alcohol are common. They are routinely lied to, coerced, abused, threatened, and blackmailed (e.g. 'I'll hurt your family back in the Ukraine if you don't cooperate').

When a "progressive" outlet like the Advocate runs ads for commercial sex enterprises, it not only publicizes them but legitimizes them. It also put a big dent in the Advocate's moral authority. If the Advocate truly wants to be a friend to underdogs, it needs to side with them over pimps and other callous businesspeople.

Sweden's successful experience with combating prostitution is worth studying. Not only have they improved conditions for a badly oppressed group of women, their campaign has produced benefits in other areas. Quoting Marie De Santis, director of the Women's Justice Center/Centro de Justicia Para Mujeres, "Sweden's law enforcement community has found that the prostitution legislation benefits them in dealing with all sex crimes, particularly in enabling them to virtually wipe out the element of organized crime that plagues other countries where prostitution has been legalized or regulated." (http://nopornnorthampton.org/2007/10/08/swedens-dramatic-success-in-ameliorating-prostitution.aspx )

Prostitution is not a "victimless" crime, nor should it been seen in isolation from other criminal activity. A business that cares about women and the community should not seek profits from prostitution."
UPDATE:: Adam Cohen has added a fuller response to Vannah here.

LABELS: media, valley advocate, no porn northampton

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