1: One Rule
Sighing I picked up my coffee cup, bringing it to my lips only to look down to be disappointed; empty. I got up from my kitchen stool and walked over to where the coffee grinds are only to be disappointed again when seeing it empty. Right.... I was supposed to go grocery shopping yesterday which means no coffee and now only a few granola bars. Well that’s a great start to the day.
I had been writing transcripts all night into this morning from my interviews from the sex workers in the city who I’ve found wanted to talk. I am currently enrolled as a postgraduate student looking into the connection with sex working, sex trafficking and policies implemented by the city; which means any data gathering is all interviews and writing up the transcripts that takes all day long. But if I could make a difference and help girls like Sar- no don’t go there don’t think about her just stop.
I sighed again walking over to my laptop to save my work then started packing my work up to head over to campus. I had a meeting with my dissertation supervisor to go over what I have been finding out with my study and what I need to do. I knew that it was going to go badly; he gave me one rule and I broke it last night... and he knows it. Grabbing my keys and bags I head out to lock the door, already ready for the day to end.
“One rule I gave you ONE rule that you said you were going to follow Serenity! ONE RULE! And I come into the office seeing the transcripts and notes you made to find out that you BROKE it. What the hell were you thinking!” Professor Wilde exclaimed to me.
Professor Wilde was the lead academic in the department of gender at the university and has specialized in sex work for over 20 years. He had just moved from Nevada to come to California to work with the city as they debated legalisation of sex work. If there was one word to describe him it would be conflicting; he has a brilliant mind travelling all across the world to look at the different sex working models and its effects on the countries. But there was something about him I couldn’t place, but then again, we study a tough topic so it’s not like we can be normal.“Well do you have anything to say as to why you made such a reckless decision that could have gotten you seriously hurt? Repeat back what that rule is.” He demanded making me realize that I had once again lost myself in my own inner monologue.
I wasn’t sure where to begin; I had overstepped and got overly invested. I was with a top academic and policy helper and here I was barely keeping my mind on track; just refusing to think and acting instead. I wanted to fight, I was done thinking and waiting for the next person to get hurt.
“I know, the only rule was to stay on the north side of the city where the working girls are mostly independent and where there are police cruising to watch out for dangerous Johns and Pimps. But when I was there last week the girls that talked to me said that towards the south side there are reports that a new system is coming in place. A new pimp is recruiting women in hopes that the proposed bill to legalise sex work in the city will be passed. Wouldn’t talking to those girls to see who really wanted to be there and identify those who have been trafficked important to gather? I know there is no simple answer but if finding out why the girls stay while they know a dangerous man is coming to possibly start ownership over them be important to understand, not to mention it should be important for the police and city to know if someone is going to start an ownership brothel.”
I was breathless after rushing that answer out, I needed him to understand where I was coming from. But watching him shuffle in his chair, told me he didn’t care for excuse he just cared I followed his rules.
“Your right it’s not a simple answer. There are plenty of reasons, as you should know, as to why a woman finds herself in those situations. In the north side, there are women without pimps those who find themselves in the work for their own accord. But the south, that’s the most dangerous you can go with possible pimps running the place and now the possibility of them trafficking women AND YOU GO THERE. Did you think of any consequences, I could have woken up to finding out your dead or that you could have gotten them killed. I am a reflection of you, so you going out against orders represents me doing that. You can’t go around thinking that there aren’t consequences to your study by talking to everyone Serenity.” He said back to me while leaning back in her chair slamming his laptop closed.
I twirled my thumb ring harshly seeing just how mad I had gotten him.
Technically for my dissertation I was supposed to stay only on the North side; where I would gather a biographically interview with the working girls. Asking them about their life story, how they came to be in the sex working field, how policies affect them and their own ideas. And to clarify what the professor said, the north side is where the girls are independent as the police up there crack down on any pimps who can be force them to work. Due to there not being Pimps, the University and police department felt they could allow me to go there and ask for interview without worrying that I would get in trouble. Yet Professor Wilde was adamant that I was not to go to the South side and talk to anyone there since it was sketchier.
“I know you’re right” He raised his eyebrow at me while cocking his head knowing I wasn’t going to give up, “I just, I just want to be sure I’m gathering as much as I can. I want to be knowing that I’m talking to each other these women so that they know they are important no matter what anyone says or the city. How can I say I am getting the correct data for the future policies protecting them while ignoring the most dangerous and imposed part? What good would the data be with that gap since it will be only focusing on the ones that are deemed safer With this law coming in place we need to know all the effects and what to do to stop any possible trafficking.”
Professor Wilde just studied me as I finished. His grey eyes searching my face for the possible chance that I will listen to what he is telling me and not go off against his rules again. He fixed his tie sighing before he was fairly able to respond back to me.
“If the pimps and traffickers are going to make a big comeback then the police will take care of it, hell maybe even the MC Riders will. Though they haven’t been looking around so I doubt they even care; maybe they may end up taking part. If you go there again I will not be able to trust you and will pull the plug on this.” His eyes pinned me to the seat as he told me that, his exterior getting cold.
“The MC? As in the motorcycle club?” I have seen the bikers go by but the only knowledge I had of them was well Sons of Anarchy and don’t judge me for that, it never came up in classes or where I grew up.
“Yes, but we aren’t focusing on that. We are focusing on whether you understand that you will not be going down there again while it is being uncertain.” He sounded exhausted that this conversation was still going on, that even though this was his job to talk to me about my student this was just something he hated discussing.
I sighed running my hands through my hair, I couldn’t get him any more upset or he really would make a call and stop this study. I just wanted him to see that my intentions were the right ones to follow or at least let me continue without having to watch every breath I take letting me take the necessary liberties.
“I won’t go down to where the pimps could be, I am sorry, I shouldn’t have broken your trust.” I said back with a small smile, I knew he must be under a lot of pressure with my study and me going rouge probably made his day hell so I needed to act nice.
“I understand wanting to go smashing through the injustices of the world but you can’t break off again and get yourself hurt or them if you won’t consider your safety. You going there will just make things worse. Now go enjoy the day before you lock yourself up for data analyses.” He said getting up from his desk walking to open the door as his phone rang.
“Started? I already am locking myself up for transcripts.” I smiled and walked out the door glad that he didn’t give any form of punishment.
But as I was walking out of the criminology building I couldn’t help but still be torn. I knew the professor was right, I could be endangering myself (though I don’t care too much, I am pilled in student loans so eh) but the girls I care about.
If pimps are coming in with the hope of legalization then someone needs to be watching out to ensure the rights of those workers will be a priority. If no one cares to know what is happening in the south side then fuck it, I’ll just have to be crafty... I’ll get enough data for a report to keep the city officials liable for what happens. How, not sure but I’ll find out.
Truth is I am winging this completely, I am over thinking I just want to act.