Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April 22nd, 2015

When sex workers or former sex workers write as academics, their voices can’t be reduced solely to sex.  –  Noah Berlatsky

The Proper Study

Noah Berlatsky on sex workers conducting our own research:

Melissa Gira Grant…is not alone; there are many sex workers and former sex workers who research and analyze sex work from an analytical perspective.  Author, media consultant, and former sex worker Maggie McNeill, for example, discusses common myths about human trafficking…The Red Umbrella Project, a peer-led sex worker advocacy organization, conducted a study of New York City trafficking courts that found police were disproportionately targeting black sex workers and using racial profiling to make arrests…Tara Burns…researched Alaska’s trafficking laws while working toward her Master’s in social justice…Christina Parreira…has continued to work as a sex worker while also pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology…she has…interviewed other workers about how they understand their work…dropbox logo

Saving Them From Themselves

Missouri law enforcement is serving cloud-storage site Dropbox with a search warrant for an account used by area teens suspected of sexting…after school officials heard rumors that students were sharing nude photos via phones and Dropbox…cops interviewed students and seized some of their cell phones.  And what did they find?  No pics.  But…with just a little more privacy infringement, they’re certain they can turn up some nude teen photos…

King of the Hill

Two for one!  “Michigan ranks No. 2 for human trafficking sex trade behind only Nevada…

If Men Were Angels

A chiropractor in…Iowa…has had his license pulled after being accused of trading services for sex with clients and for performing exorcisms…Dr. Charles Manuel voluntarily surrendered his license after the Iowa Board of Chiropractic accused him of unethical conduct…The board also stated that Manuel had instructed some of his patients to stop taking their prescribed medications…

Schadenfreude (#434) 

Voice of America has followed the party line on “sex trafficking” thus far, so it’s nice to see them publishing an interview with super ally Anne Elizabeth Moore:

The garment industry, because there are so few employment options for women, creates this sense of an almost economic imperative..in the U.S. we talk a lot about how horrible it is for women and the sex industry in Cambodia, and how they all are trafficked.  And all the reports are about quoting Somaly Mam, who of course…spent a lot of time talking about how everyone that she worked with in her various foundations was a victim of sex trafficking, when you actually talk to the people that live in her shelters, and/or sought assistance from her, or even people who were…involved in…anti-trafficking organizations elsewhere, what you discover is actually that most of them are not victims of trafficking.  Most of them identified as people who were working either in the sex industry or another industry.  And the opportunity provided to them by the anti-trafficking organizations was simply better than their continued labor in that industry…

Served Cold

Utah based Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) has attracted a great deal of attention since it was first endorsed by Glenn Beck…This new addition to the already crowded field of anti-trafficking organisations “us[es] cutting-edge computer technology…[to] go into the darkest corners of the world to…liberate enslaved children and dismantle the criminal networks.”  It is this type of language that identifies OUR as yet another disturbing example of a “raid-and-rescue” organisation…these interventions represent the latest version of the “white man’s burden”…OUR takes things one step further by sending, essentially, gun-toting vigilantes to foreign countries in the pursuit of “hope and freedom” for enslaved children…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#445) clogs

It would be hard to imagine a more unintentionally-revealing example of mental masturbation than this attempt to entangle the supposed morality of overpriced clogs with welfare-state propaganda and dangerously-prudish Sweden’s wholly-undeserved reputation for sexiness:

Blixt’s wooden shoes are not just “hasbeens’ because of the retro style – it’s also a comeback of retro Swedish sexiness – not the stereotype, but rather the truth.  Outdated stereotypes of Sweden as overly sexualized have reigned for too long.   “I think it’s a misunderstanding,” Blixt remarks. “Sex is one thing, and a naked body is something else; it’s natural.”  When Blixt talks about sexy shoes, she’s speaking of classic Swedish values.  In other words: au natural…Made only with natural materials in good work situations, the shoes are sustainable, durable, and handmade…“We are actually raised to be creative in Sweden, and it’s easy to start a company here with our free education, access to social security, funding and young people who dare to think big,” Blixt reflects. “People learn to dare and believe in their ideas, and that is our hope for the future”…

The smugness is so thick one could cut it with a knife.

Guinea Pigs 

Another software package designed to sell whores out to the cops:

Rescue Forensics claims it “archives massive quantities of data from classified advertisement sites specializing in commercial sex ads.”  It gathers a lot of text, and even more nude and semi-nude photos.  Then it turns all that over to the cops…what Rescue Forensics appears to be selling is just one more tool to help cops track people engaged in sex work through their online activities…there’s a good chance that if you’ve placed an ad online in the last two years for escorting, massage, BDSM, stripping, private modeling, nude housekeeping, selling your underwear, or any other permutation of the various sexual services people can put on offer, Rescue Forensics has a copy.  And because Rescue Forensics has a copy, so do their users in law enforcement…for Dalton, the fight against trafficking isn’t just about finding the people Rescue Forensics believes are “exploited”:  It’s about abolition…Dalton was a policy advisor to Shared Hope International…Dalton himself acknowledges what they’ve built isn’t enough to identify someone who has been trafficked into sex work, and that there’s no way to tell from an ad if someone is forced or coerced…Dalton still stands to profit from a product that can’t make that distinction, placed in the hands of law enforcement officers who…routinely…harass and arrest sex workers…

Worse Than I Thought (#525)

Bad laws never die, even if they appear to have been staked and beheaded:

U.S. Senators…reached a deal on legislation addressing human trafficking.  Passage of the “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act”…had been delayed for several weeks due to a partisan dispute over abortion funding for trafficking victims.  CBS News explains the complicated compromise, which ultimately does not allow funds allocated under the bill to go toward abortions…there’s still a chance that political maneuvering could doom the legislation…if Republicans force a vote on controversial amendments concerning immigration and other issues…

Precedent

There’s a saying in American politics:  As California goes, so goes the nation.  If that’s true, we may be at the start of a nationwide fight to decriminalize sex work.  The Erotic Service Provider Legal, Education, and Research Project (ESPLERP) filed a federal lawsuit on March 4 that seeks to overturn the criminalization of prostitution in California by arguing that the ban is unconstitutional…because it hinders sex workers’ rights to participate in private and consensual activities…If the lawsuit is successful, California could become the tipping point for the decriminalization of sex work nationwide…the decriminalization argument will acquire powerful legal precedent in the most populous state in the country…it could move the conversation forward even if it fails…The state will almost certainly use trumped-up concerns over human trafficking to put the lawsuit to rest…But…nearly 40 million people live in California.  To even put this issue on the political radar of that many people is a revolutionary act…

Read Full Post »