An Open Letter to the A&E Television Network

Dear A&E Television Network:
We were appalled to hear about your upcoming “reality” television series entitled “8 Minutes,” in which police-officer-turned-minister, Kevin Brown, deploys deceptive tactics to lure sex workers into a hotel room and then tries to convince them to leave their profession.
The concept and implementation of the show are troubling for a number of reasons. First, its deception treats these women as if they are not full human beings, worthy of respect and the right to make their own fully-informed decisions. You cannot have secured their consent to be filmed prior to luring them into the rooms, and this poses several ethical and legal concerns, while treating them like meat for mass consumption by TV audiences.
Second, you are literally putting their lives in danger. If they are being trafficked, this entire situation places them in danger of violence and abuse from those who are trafficking them. Not only that, but you are engaging them in an unwanted situation, and therefore your show is abusive in its own way. You are coercing these women into a situation they did not ask for, which is a form of trafficking for the purpose of television entertainment. Shame on you.
Third, you are assuming that you know what is best for a community of people in which you do not work, are not a peer, and about which you have made gross assumptions. Not all sex workers are being trafficked and many choose this profession of their own free will. You have no right to enforce your own moral superiority on people’s lives in order to act as a rescuer. They did not ask to be rescued.
As a non-profit that works diligently to provide respect, resources, and relationships to sex workers and other adult entertainers, we ask that you reconsider airing this show and pull it from your line up. If you are interested in helping the lives of sex workers, we suggest you consider supporting the many organizations already in place and doing this work in a respectful, healthy way, with the consent of the sex workers.
The Cupcake Girls