The Grand Theft Auto franchise is getting attacked from all angles. Joining the ranks of politicians, policemen, and attorneys in their crusade to see the game lifted from shelves are the nation's sex workers. On its Web site, the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA is asking parents to assist them in calling for a ban of Take-Two Interactive's controversial game.
Citing a 2001 document from the National Institute on Media and the Family's David Walsh, SWOP is calling "on all parents and all gamers to boycott Grand Theft Auto."
The organization quotes various points from Walsh's paper, including, "Children are more likely to imitate a character with whom they identify with. In violent video games the player is often required to take the point of view of the shooter or perpetrator."
Though the organization admits to being "adamantly opposed to any and all forms of censorship," as concerned parents themselves, they "wish to inform other parents of the potential danger extremely violent video games pose to children." Likewise, in the interest of promoting the rights of sex workers, the organization is opposed to the depiction of the rape and murder of prostitutes.
In the games, 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.
According to its Web site, SWOP USA is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of sex-industry workers and to the promotion of a safe working environment for the industry.