Based on my limited, anecdotal research, I would have to assume yes. But remember that REMEDY is about house dommes and subs, not a collective of independent self-employed sex workers. And remember that the house is in New York City, where rents are spectacularly high, where commercial BDSM inhabits the legal grey area (pun unintentional and grumbled against) of fantasy and role play only as long as the local precinct feels like turning a blind eye. Honestly, the raids on dungeons sometimes seem as scheduled as the re-emergence of cicadas — the law comes out, loudly, just before some big election and then disappears just as suddenly.
The inspiration for the REMEDY dungeon set was a establishment in a commercial building in midtown Manhattan. It was sprawling and shabby, and you really couldn’t hear what was going on more than a room or two away. That said, the danger of working there was systemic, not isolated to one establishment or another, and I wouldn’t even say the owner or management was ultimately to blame. Unlike some parts of Europe, America is not only sex-negative, it’s sex-worker-toxic. Whether you’re a call girl or a cam girl, if you call the police to report danger you are every bit as likely, if not more likely, to face repercussions and stigma than any client or subscriber is. Hell, I figured this out when I was in single digits watching episodes of Night Court, seeing Judge Harold T. Stone sentencing one street hooker after another to “$50 and time served” while Dan Fielding pelted them with clever sexual slurs and simultaneously tried to cop a feel. Women here are taught, both directly and through observation, that if we go into sex work and end up in an unsafe situation, there is nowhere we can turn and it’s our fault if anything happens to us. Is it any wonder then that dungeon security would only be as good as the manager working that shift, who’s probably just as afraid to be sent up the river as anyone else in the place? And, if I may extrapolate, is it any wonder that the occasional client may choose to take advantage of his apparent carte blanche?
I never intended to use REMEDY as a political tool. I just wanted to tell a story. But after talking with heros of sex worker rights and champions of all aspects of sexual freedom, from Sabrina Morgan to Nina Hartley, I’m starting to see how my story is evidence of how unnecessary, systemic, sexual stigmatization almost guarantees that women get hurt, whether they do sex work or just exist. In other words, if I had been taught as a child that the law would protect me against violence no matter what, my film may have had a happier ending.