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Ladies of the night have jumped on the pop a cap in GTA bandwagon by demanding that "all parents and all gamers boycott Grand Theft Auto", GameSpot reports.

That's the call emanating from the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) USA website, which says that "as concerned parents ourselves, we wish to inform other parents of the potential danger extremely violent video games pose to children".

And possibly to prostitutes, too. Although SWOP declares itself to be firmly against censorship, the blurb continues: "In the interest of furthering sex worker's human and civil rights to life and personal safety, we object to any media which represents sex workers as legitimate targets of violence, rape and murder."

The "potential danger" to kids is explained in a paper entitled "Video Game Violence and Public Policy", written by David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and the Family. It's all pretty standard stuff, noting:

  1. Children are more likely to imitate the actions of a character with whom they identify. In violent video games the player is often required to take the point of view of the shooter or perpetrator.
  2. Video games by their very nature require active participation rather than passive observation.
  3. Repetition increases learning. Video games involve a great deal of repetition. If the games are violent, then the effect is a behavioural rehearsal for violent activity.

As GameSpot notes, in GTA, players "can solicit 'services' from prostitutes by driving their cars slowly near them. No sexual acts are in clear visible view, but during the 'transaction' the player regains health and loses money. Though the player cannot actively rape prostitutes in the game, a possible rape is alluded to once during the storyline of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The prostitutes, like every other character, are also subject to homicide at the hands of the protagonist".

SWOP is, in its own words, "dedicated to improving the lives of sex-industry workers and to the promotion of a safe working environment for the industry". It's also surprisingly self-righteous. Check out this posting (NSFW) on the "San Francisco Bay Area Adult Entertainment Guide" my red book - which provoked SWOP's Lady Aster to declare: "I am disgusted," before launching into: "This should be offensive on any number of grounds, but most blatantly for the unreconstructed racism in evidence. Tis just my opinion, but I thought 'racism is evil' is something we might have figured out by the anointed one's 21st century."

Hmmmm. Offensive? Possibly. Racist? Well, really, isn't this PC gone a little bit mad? Mind you, we agree about GTA and are glad to see SWOP has hopped into bed with Hillary Clinton for a bit of mutual massaging of family values. ®

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