Murder as an occupational hazard

I wrote this piece – Murder as an Occupational Hazard – in 2007 when 5 women’s bodies were found in Atlantic City, NJ.  I really wanted to stress how misogyny plays a role in serial killers who target women. Certainly, there are other “vulnerable populations” that these killers could target: runaways, drug dealers on the street, the elderly, the disabled, male prostitutes, etc. — but all too often the common denominator is gender, and profession, although clearly a factor, is secondary.

Recently, the bodies of 10 female sex workers were discovered in NY. Hopefully, it will spur more debate about legalizing (or not) prostitution, a culture that ‘permits’ gender-based violence, devaluing people (for whatever reason), impunity, and making heroes out of serial killers. I just want to add that in this discussion/debate, people need to address the prostitution of minors (johns that use them) and sexual trafficking.

Lust murder: Prostitutes as victims of throwaway capitalism

This is David Rosen’s take:

Many of the female victims of these horrendous murder sprees have been prostitutes. They tend to be young women in their 20s, lost to their birth families and community, and often on drugs. They seem like lost souls who have nothing left but their bodies to sell. They are throwaway living commodities of capitalism.

Getting away with murder on Long Island

This is Nancy Goldstein’s take:

It’s not yet clear whether one killer or multiple killers are responsible. No suspects have surfaced. But that’s not what makes this story really tragic. Some of those 10 people might be alive today if it hadn’t been for the lackluster response of law enforcement and the press coverage of the case — much of it sensationalist and dehumanizing — all because of the first victims’ sex-worker status.

3 comments on “Murder as an occupational hazard

  1. Walter Ellis says:

    My name is Walter Ellis, an AFRICAN AMERICAN who believe and can confirm that most AFRICAN AMERICANS cannot receive justice especially in San Bernardino and Riverside, the most racist judicial system in CALIFORNIA. It has been my contention that when AFRICAN AMERICANS make complaints Federal agencies and the Judicial System most times fail to investigate.
    In my opinion it is a miscarriage of justice to allow the JUDICIAL SYSTEM to be basterized in order that Judges such as John Pacheco, Chris Willmon can continue to support the discriminatory, unlawful employee treatment practiced by SCHNEIDER NATIONAL CARRIERS INC., a company that has such influence over these judges that they rule in favor of SNI, at times when other judges have ruled in my favor on the same case.
    The judge, who threatened a young mother with loss of custody if she complained to his court, and her child was then beaten to death by the father, slapped a $640 sanction on a children’s advocate who is leading his recall. – See more at:
    This is the same Judge who has since 2009, joined with:
    SCHNEIDER / John M. Pacheco v Ellis Case # CIVDS 906-308
    We will not find justice at the hands of corrupt judges. (See YouTube videos) Judge to Judge on Illegal Payments to Judges / Evil Triangle of Court Corruption / Richard fine / DR. Shirley Moore slush funds /SBX 211. To end this title wave of corruption in our country must start with the corrupt judges. We cannot bring evidence of corruption to corrupt judges. Los Angeles Superior Court judges are illegally and unconstitutionally taking 50,000.00 each for a total of 23 million per year.
    A major investigation should take place in the interest of JUSTICE. Please contact:
    Walter L. Ellis see:
    Lake Elsinore, CA 951 805-1156

  2. miss j says:

    Thanks for commenting, Stephen. I think there is evidence that legalizing prostitution can help – although I think Australia decriminalized it and still has problems. As I mentioned trafficking and minors have to be dealt with (with or w/o decriminalization). And, misogyny has be overcome before we see less gender-based violence overall.

  3. I think it’s clear from many studies that there is an overwhelming case for the decriminalisation of sex work. Those of us from outside the USA who, while we have not achieved decriminalsation yet, have at least more libertarian regimes in place, look to the US as the example of the systemic and ubiquitous failure of sex work laws. How on earth you manage the criminal justice resources, Lord knows, given that so many of you shoot each other.

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