Another look at the revolting television program we first examined last December from Alana Massey at New Republic
Instead of finding a client, though, the women find Kevin Brown, a cop/pastor who is enjoying a second career in “rescuing” sex workers after spending 20 years in law enforcement. When Brown confronts them, a hidden camera crew flanks him, along with former sex workers whom he has “rescued,” and law enforcement officers, who are standing by in case things escalate.
The show’s title refers to the eight minutes that Brown claims it takes him to talk a woman out of doing sex work. It is an ambush that eerily mirrors the vulgar fantasies that play out in so many hypothetical scenarios that anti-trafficking advocates recount as if they were fact. “He doesn’t pull any punches in his shock therapy,” producer Tom Forman told Entertainment Weekly, apparently unaware of the irony of subjecting sex workers to rhetorical shock therapy when purporting to remove them from coercive situations.
The belief that a strange man in a hotel room can make a more convincing case for quitting sex work than the endless social messages and legal statutes condemning workers is the height of arrogance. The mistake that so many people make—and, in turn, the mistake that 8 Minutes makes—when they implore sex workers to quit: they emphasize leaving sex work while ignoring the very real economic consequences.