New Year’s Eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights. – Hamilton Wright Mabie
When I was still a sweet young thing, I didn’t really understand what older people meant when they told me that time would speed up as I aged. But nowadays, when the months fly by faster than weeks seemed to in my teens, I at last understand; oh boy do I understand! And here I am writing another New Year’s Eve column despite the fact that I remember last New Year’s Eve as clearly as I remember the last 4th of July and Halloween night! A great deal has happened since then, though, and as is my custom I’m going to take this opportunity to remind you of some of it.
As I predicted, we’ve begun to see increased skepticism about the vaguely-defined concept of “human trafficking”; it’s only a little so far, and the rescue industry, the media, insecure men and governments are still heavily invested in it. But ever-larger numbers of ordinary women are turning to sex work and talking about it, more established sex workers are writing about their experiences, more journalists are accepting us as real people, more academics are confirming that what we’ve been saying all along is the truth, and that decriminalization is the solution to most problems associated with sex work. But we’re not out of the woods yet; though the lies of “trafficking” charlatans are being exposed at an increasing rate, and growing so outrageous and bizarre that they increasingly need to rely on paid shills to sell their bill of goods, sex workers all over the world must still fight fiercely against abuses perpetrated by police and NGOs who are largely bankrolled and encouraged by American prohibitionists, and even strippers are suffering increased attacks. Meanwhile, the Swedish model continues to plague the Earth, though it is being challenged by facts and beaten back in some places, and may soon lose its grip on Norway. California recently enacted a law which allows almost anyone to be classified as a “sex trafficker”, and even Australia, long at the forefront of sex worker rights, suffered its share of setbacks and prohibitionist assaults this year.
Nor is the burgeoning police state content with trying to control sex workers and our clients; food is another favorite target, as is the internet, and the number of excuses cops use to literally rob people increases all the time. Uniformed thugs of all types are being given more and broader excuses to sexually assault people, and though a few of them are punished, they nearly always get far more lenient sentences than ordinary men; sex workers, by contrast, are targeted for increased abuse by programs sold to the public as “helping” or “rescuing” them.
I opened a Twitter account just over a year ago, and now have almost a thousand followers; my article about the Cartagena scandal attracted national media attention, and helped to boost my traffic enough to reach my first million page views in October; the rate has remained so high I’ll reach 1.2 million in the next few days. That’s a good thing because the more people read my work, the more the message gets out that whores are human beings like everyone else, that the “sex trafficking” narrative is a myth, and that recognizing our work as work is the only way to help those who really are exploited and abused in it. The increasing absurdity of prohibitionists’ claims and the increasing support for decriminalization among human rights activists and the medical community shows me that we’re past the height of the “trafficking” panic, and on course for it to collapse by 2017 as I predicted last year. Perhaps by the time I write my next New Year’s Eve column we’ll be able to see more definite signs of decay, and thereby know we’re just a little closer to the day when sex workers are no more oppressed than anybody else.