BILLINGS- If there are no buyers of prostitution, there is no business.
That’s one of the messages on Thursday night from a man who has worked on helping women overcome the pain and exploitation.
Peter Qualliotine talked about ending commercial sexual exploitation, at the Billings Public Library’s Royal C. Johnson Community Room.
He is co-founder of the Organization for Prostitution Survivors based in Seattle.
He says many prostitutes start as teens who are abused and are vulnerable to pimps and their customers.
Qualliotine has also worked with men who have been convicted of buying sex.
“It’s called a trick because he’s paying for the illusion of consent,” Qualliotine said. “He’s paying for the illusion that she wants to be with him and the reality is it’s probably one of the last things she wants to do. But for some reason, she needs to get this money. And so if we are serious once again about gender equality, we need to approach this from the demand side, from those who have the power to make a real choice about whether this is going to happen or not.”
The Yellowstone County Area Human Trafficking Task Force sponsored tonight’s talk.