It’s been 25 years since Pretty Woman was released,and even though it’s still one of the most beloved romantic comedies ever, it presents a ridiculously sunny idea of what it’s like to sell sex. Vivian, the prostitute played by Julia Roberts, meets a cute john (Richard Gere), eats some strawberries, goes on a shopping spree, and ultimately ends up with the john, who happens to be a rich and charming guy who buys her necklaces and takes her to the opera.
“I love romantic comedies,” says Marian Hatcher, a sex trafficking survivor who now works as a project manager at the Cook County Sheriff’s office. “Before I was prostituted, raped, beaten, kidnapped, and incarcerated as a result of prostitution, I looked at it as a romantic comedy.” But soon enough, she says, the movie “became an ugly reality.”
“There is nothing pretty about prostitution,” Hatcher says. “Nothing pretty about…
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