McKenna takes ‘The Client List’ and Lifetime to task

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna recently penned an op-ed piece for Huffington Post that calls out the Lifetime Television channel’s hit television show “The Client List” for glorifying prostitution.

“This portrayal of prostitution as rewarding and honorable is a stark departure from a reality in which prostitutes overwhelmingly don’t find their work glamorous,” McKenna writes, noting that human trafficking is a common component in the sex industry. “Human trafficking victims do not enjoy the liberties central to our republic. We don’t serve those victims by glamorizing their struggles and making it easier, through the Internet, for pimps and johns to find new victims.”

McKenna currently serves as the state’s attorney general, and he is president of the National Association of Attorneys General.

The Lifetime Television show in question tells the fictional story of a Texas single-mother turned sex worker who operates out of a massage therapy office. The men who use her services appear amicable and attractive – and their tips are generous enough to help her support her family.

Lifetime also recently aired an “America’s Most Wanted” episode devoted entirely to sex trafficking.

McKenna’s opinion piece has sparked a debate among Huffpo readers about poverty, legalizing and regulating sex work, and methods for combating sex trafficking.

The Columbian has written stories about human trafficking in our area. According to a 2011 article: “In Clark County, police estimate about 50 children are being sold for sex, compared with 150 to 200 in Portland. Those estimates could be lower than the reality, police said, because many victims don’t self-report.”

What do you think of McKenna’s op-ed? What about the show itself? Is it a harmless guilty pleasure, or does it, in McKenna’s words, sell “a false bill of goods by some in the entertainment industry that there is something romantic about prostitution”?

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or or or

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