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Archive for the ‘Call types’ Category

Every so often, a sex worker or client who has been caught by the trickery of predatory cops asks me for a recommendation to a sex-worker-friendly criminal defense attorney, and usually I’ve been able to help them.  But recently, I decided that rather than doing this piecemeal, it would make more sense to compile a list.  I realize that this process will probably take some time, but it will never be finished if I don’t at least start, so for the past week on Twitter I’ve been asking for attorneys willing to take such cases to send me their contact info.  If you are such an attorney, you can submit the info in the comments below or by replying to my tweets, but the best way would be to send me an email by clicking this linkHere’s the page so far; even if you see there’s already a name in your state please don’t hesitate to submit your name as well; the more we have, the better.  And if you’re not a lawyer yourself but know one who belongs on the list, please ask that person to send their contact details to me!

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Ghost

On July 6th, Dan Savage asked sex worker Twitter for help with this question:

A lot of people answered, but most of the responses were quite short.  Below I’ve reprinted mine and three others I found notable, but if you’re interested there are more in Dan’s own column on the question.

Me: Sending flowers or similar forms of approach would be a VERY bad idea.  What he should do is search her stage name for a new ad; if there is one, he can attempt contact that way & see what happens.  If he can’t locate an ad, he should just assume she’s retired and move on.

Savannah Sly:  As a criminalized population, sex workers frequently change phone numbers, emails, etc.  I would advise seeing if she’s advertising online anywhere, and reaching out by the means she outlines in her ad.  I would not advise reaching out in person, or sending anything to her house.  Also, sometimes sex workers ghost.  Our jobs are stressful due to stigma and criminalization, our lives are complex.  Sometimes we ghost without notice, because anxiety runs high in our community.  Be patient, look online, be professional during outreach regardless of past intimacy.  Lastly, sometimes we actually disappear.  As in, violent crimes are committed against us.  If you suspect this, I’d advise reaching out to sex worker groups in your area (or as close as you can find) to tell them you’re concerned.  Then step back, and let the community ask around.

Mistress Matisse: OK just to be different: I’m going to go a different way from all the other advice has been given here. Now, all of the other advice IS very good advice and you will not go wrong by taking it.  However, if you would like to make one attempt – and only one – to contact this lady, here is what you might do.  Go to the store and buy a very generic “thinking of you” card.  Or a blank one.  Nothing romantic!  Write in the card something like this: “Dear X, I see that we’ve fallen out of contact, and I just want to say goodbye and wish you well.  I’ve always thought highly of you and enjoyed our time together.  If you ever want to contact me again for any reason, please don’t hesitate, my number is…”  NOTHING ELSE.  Don’t say anything about sex, don’t say anything about money, don’t say anything about love, basically don’t say anything that would sound bad if read out loud in court.  Do that and do nothing else.  If she wants to get in touch with you, she will.  One time and one time only.  Or, take the safer route and follow the advice of my colleagues.  Plenty of other ladies to meet and enjoy in the world.  I’m sure that’s what she would want you to do, meet someone else.

Anjel:  If she has an email or some other form of contact info, trying to send a feeler email out that way would be ok. But she has every right to end the business relationship without explanation.  No one can know how damaging and intrusive getting flowers might feel to her.  She honestly could have lost that phone number and lost all old contact info though.  But if she wants her old clients to find her she would have given them another way to contact her.  If there isn’t another way, accept that it’s over and be grateful for the experience.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Just in case you missed the news, I’ve got an article on how to hire a sex professional in the new print edition of Reason, and I think y’all should show your support by picking one up!  But if you have neither subscription nor newsstand handy, here it is online.  A sample to get you started: 

Despite being a common activity, buying sexual services can be intimidating.  As with all black market transactions, there is an element of risk and uncertainty caused by prohibition.  Maybe you’re considering buying sex but are unsure how to proceed.  Or maybe you’ve done it in the past but are nervous in the current climate of aggressive “end demand” stings and “john shaming”—complete with names and pictures in the news.  Either way, you’ve come to the right place: Hiring an escort is neither difficult nor dangerous as long as one exercises patience, diligence, and good manners.

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I’d like to see you frequently, but that would add up pretty fast.  Do you give discounts for regular clients?

Every independent sex professional in the world has heard the line, “if you give me a discount I’ll be a regular”, and every pro in the world who’s heard it more than once (which is to say, everyone who’s been doing it for more than a month or so) rolls her eyes when she hears it.  Would you walk into any other business and make such an offer?  Of course you wouldn’t, because everybody including you knows it’s bullshit.  That’s not how volume discounts work, as anyone who’s ever been to a place like Sam’s or Costco understands; the way to get a lower price per unit is to buy a larger package deal up front.  Want a “regular client” discount from your favorite provider?  Offer to pay her up front for x number of sessions, and ask how much of a discount she’d give you for that.  Yes, it requires you to trust she’ll make good once you fork over the cash…just like you want her to trust that you’ll make good on your promise of regularity.  I can’t promise that any given sex worker will actually make such a deal, and I’m not telling you that some might not grant your request for a lower price after you’ve been seeing them for a while.  What I am telling you is that nobody is going to give a total stranger a discount merely on his say-so that he’ll be back, because we aren’t stupid.

As for me personally, I offer two kinds of package deals.  Since my hourly rate decreases the more hours you buy, I’m willing to sell a block of time for the multi-hour rate and then let you divide it up as you like (incall only; we’d need to work out a slightly higher price if you expect me to drive somewhere every time).  So, you could pay me up-front for a 16-hour gig and then take it as 8 two-hour sessions or 4 dinner dates; I’d even let you break it into 16 one-hour sessions, but I’d expect an extra tip for that much prep time  (remember, I only have to get pretty once per date, so 16 one-hour sessions is a LOT more prep time in all than one 16-hour session).  The other way to do it is a sugar-type arrangement wherein you pay me every month and I give you a agreed-upon amount of time every week.  The reason I’m willing to make these deals is simple:  regular clients are far less work and stress (no screening, no uncertainty or time-wasting back-and-forth initial-contact dance), and I like the comfort and certainty of prepaid appointments (so I naturally want to encourage them).  Again, I can’t promise that other ladies will be as generous, or that they’ll even make such a deal in the first place.  But the number willing to make such a deal is bound to be dramatically higher than the number who will respond well to a no-skin-in-the-game “if you give me a discount I’ll be a regular”, because the latter number is approximately zero.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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It’s been over a year since I wrote a new story, but this one has been slowly growing in my head since late autumn of 2014, and it finally came forth week before last.  I’m just going to tease you with the beginning; if you want a copy, you can either buy it on Kindle or get a PDF copy by becoming a patron of my blog.  If you’re already a patron, you should’ve received a copy one week ago today; if you didn’t, please let me know.

Dane retrieved his knife from the body of the dog and began to carve as many choice cuts from the carcass of the wild cow as he thought he could eat before they spoiled; it wasn’t that much, but he figured he’d be in Korneg within a few days anyhow, and then he could buy all the food he wanted with the gold & furs he’d taken from that trader he ambushed last week.  The job was easier than he had expected; he congratulated himself on having had the good sense to let the dog pack do most of the work of butchery before he started picking them off from the top of the ruined tower.  He knew they’d be back soon, once hunger overcame fear of the rifle; still, half a dozen precious rounds were a good trade for an equal number of big, thick steaks.  It had been a long time since he’d had beef, since that excellent roast in Westover; maybe he should’ve stayed there longer.  But Dane was a cautious man, and he figured it probably wasn’t wise to stay in any city after he’d killed, even though she was just a whore; sooner or later the local warlord’s peacekeepers would’ve figured out which of the transients currently in town had done it, and his career would’ve come to an abrupt halt at the end of a rope.  Or something both much worse and much slower, if the harlots’ guild had caught him first.

Still, it had been a good stay while it lasted, and a profitable one; besides the rifle and ammo belt, some fairly-new boots and a little gold, he’d managed to steal a good horse on the way out.  That put Korneg within reach; though he was a strong walker, no human could outrun a hungry wild dog pack.  And since it was high time he left the Valley, that was now a necessity rather than just a preference.  He’d heard talk of Korneg for years…of its wealth, of the succulence of its foods, of the impregnability of its walls…and of the powerful queen who ruled it.  He had always wanted to see it for himself, but though Dane was no coward, he was also no fool; he knew that no matter how soft its beds or its women, he could not stay in Korneg long before his way of life put a price on his head.  Still, it guarded the only known safe pass to the Cities of the East, and that meant he had little choice but to visit it if he wished to remain free and alive.

The next few days were unremarkable except for the rain, but even that was a blessing because it meant plenty of water for both him and the horse in a season when good water was usually a concern.  It also meant he’d be that much harder to follow, in the event some bounty hunter had picked up his trail.  So all in all, he was in an unusually good mood when on the next clear day he spotted the stone pillars marking the edge of Korneg’s territory, despite the fact that they made him vaguely uneasy.  They were unlike anything he’d ever seen in his three decades of life:  five times as tall as a man they were, carved in the likeness of two huge serpents which coiled around and around until they ended in heads whose baleful eyes stared down at him, glinting like purple gems in the early afternoon sun.  It was obvious that they were intended as a show of power, and the display was a successful one; even in the heart of Ghezhel, mightiest city of the Valley, there were no comparable monuments.  There was an engraved tablet at the foot of the one on the right, but that was of no help to Dane since he had never learned to read.  However, the road beyond was well-built and well-maintained; he knew he couldn’t be more than a few days from the city wall, and he might even reach a trading post before nightfall.  So he set aside his disquiet and rode on, steadfastly resisting the gnawing urge to look back to see if the stone guardians were watching him…

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If you accept money from someone that he gives due to sexual interest in you, then you are a whore and everything else is just semantics.  –  “Whorearchy

Two weeks ago I published “Out of the Woodwork“, in which I wrote, “since the guys who used to use Backpage now don’t know where to go, they’re inflicting their ham-handed ‘Hey sexy’ and untutored ‘qv avail?’ texts on sex workers who aren’t used to dealing with that (and in my case, lack the patience).”  I’ve also taken to Twitter to mock some of the more ridiculous approaches I’ve received.  And though I’ve only been attacked once because of it (by a racist troll whose first text was so vile I felt as though I needed a shower, and whom I instantly muted so I wouldn’t accidentally see more), I still feel it’s important to make my position very clear, both for my friends and readers who did use Backpage, and for the general readership.  Though my attitude about whorearchy is well-known and I often roll my eyes at snobbery and express my disgust for sex workers who try to draw artificial lines between themselves and others, I still feel it’s important in these difficult times to assure all of my sisters that we are in this together.  I have nothing but respect for Backpage ladies’ amazing patience and ability to find gold by sifting through junk; they’re like those people who can go to yard sales and thrift stores and find all the valuable antiques.  I have neither the skill nor the patience to do it.  I don’t think any kind of sex worker is “better” than any other kind; we’re all sisters, we all do the same type of work, and authoritarians & prudes hate us all equally.  But the skill set is different for every market segment, and I simply don’t have the skill set for PSE, street work, professional-level domination, Backpage work, casino work, or many other types; truth be told, I’m not very good at phone sex either, and as I’ve pointed out in the past, nobody would ever pay to see me dance with my clothes on.   What I am very good at is GFE and courtesan-style companionship, dates that are just as likely to involve chatting, hand-holding, intellectual discussion, counseling and/or teaching as they are kissing, sucking and fucking.  Some friends of mine tell me they don’t see how I can do GFE; either they find it emotionally draining, or too intimate, or else they just can’t keep a conversation going with a quiet guy without making him feel they’re talking at him rather than to him.  But it comes so naturally to me, I think I could even do it in a drunken stupor.  Sex workers each have our own abilities and aptitudes, and we gravitate to those forms of sex work which suit us best.  And that doesn’t make any of us “better” or “higher” or more “legitimate” than others, nor more immune to the growing power of the Moral Climate Monitors who want us all either unemployed or “rescued” into re-education camps.

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Skye is a sex worker who’s been reading my blog almost since the beginning; I knew that her primary means of advertising was Backpage, so when she asked me to give her space to discuss it I immediately agreed.

On April 6th of this year, the federal government committed an act of violence against millions of sex workers worldwide, for no other reason than the fact that these individuals engaged in consensual sex for reasons the government didn’t like (reasons such as keeping a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, and food in their mouths).  That violence took the form of shutting down Backpage, an advertising site used by sex workers such as myself.  On April 6th, I lost my means of support; being able to advertise my business on Backpage allowed me to meet my financial needs, and even kept me from having to go on welfare benefits.  Backpage was where most of my clients found me.  I’m currently 48 years old; I started sex work when I was 41, back in 2011, and work exclusively for myself.  Hardly the stereotype of the “under-aged girl” controlled by some nefarious pimp, right?  Yet this was the excuse used by the government to shut down my advertising—that Backpage was pimping out “trafficked young girls”.  Except that it wasn’t.  Not at all.

Let me backtrack to before 2011, when I worked “straight jobs”, or what’s normally called “regular work” by those not in the sex trade.  Even though I went to college, I’ve never been able to obtain a job worthy of my education; this means I was stuck doing low-paying work for most of my adult life.  Before sex work, I got up at 5 AM every morning, and many times didn’t get home until 8 PM, and I still barely made ends meet.  When I finally lost that job, meager as it was, I placed an ad on Backpage, and the rest is history.  For the past seven years, I’ve done work that did not require a resumé, or experience, or references, or the endless filling out of job applications, or the endless waiting for potential employers to contact me.  I simply put up an ad, and that was it.  In fact, I got a client the very same day, and had cash in my hand by the evening.  No fuss, no muss.  No, it’s not what’s considered “respectable work” by society, but “respectability” is for those who can afford it, not for people who live in the real world of having to pay rent and bills like I do.  Not that it was always easy; I am not a rich woman by any means, because sometimes I didn’t get clients when I needed them.  But I met my basic needs.

I represent the majority of people who used Backpage, people who were just consenting adults advertising a service.  “Traffickers” who used Backpage were a tiny minority, because any trafficker foolish enough to advertise on Backpage usually got caught, eventually, because their mere presence online alerted authorities to their existence.  The Backpage company cooperated completely with those investigations, but since no good deed ever goes unpunished, those same authorities turned around and charged them in turn.  However, it’s important to note that the owners of Backpage, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, are NOT being charged with “sex trafficking” at all, contrary to the media hype, only with boring, mundane things like “facilitating prostitution” and “money laundering”, which aren’t nearly as exciting.  Furthermore, Lacey and Larkin are wealthy males who will most likely receive very little jail time, if any, and they’re currently out on bail, and their case won’t go to trial until January 15, 2020.  Plenty of time for their expensive team of lawyers to help them beat the rap and settle out of court.

Meanwhile, it’s advertisers like myself who are truly being hurt by Backpage’s shutdown, not Lacey and Larkin.  Backpage wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was ideal for those wished to work part time or occasionally, who wanted to keep a certain degree of anonymity, who lived in areas not served very well by other websites.  It was ideal for more marginalized people who don’t fit well on pricier, “high-end” ad venues.  I’m fortunate in that I have enough money saved that I won’t face immediate eviction from my apartment, but spring and summer are normally the busiest time of the year for me, and I haven’t gotten the clients recently that I’d normally get; I don’t know what will happen to me in the next few months.  It’s even worse for those living week to week, or have children to support; many of these women have already become homeless, or ironically, have had to turn to pimps to find clients.  Yes, the shutting down of Backpage has actually increased “sex trafficking”.  And, thanks to the increased difficulty of getting clients since the shutdown, many desperate women are endangering their health and that of others by offering sex without a condom, or else they haven’t been able to refuse potential predators and are now dead or missing.  All thanks to the government, media, and various “anti-trafficking” NGOs who’ve demonized a simple advertising site over the past decade, one that actually helped to find “traffickers” more quickly than if their victims were being forced onto the street (as they are now).  Who exactly is being served here?  Certainly neither consensual nor coerced sex workers.  And if I had my way, the government would be forced to pay us for the trouble it caused.

As an anonymous sex worker, I’m thankful for intrepid activists and journalists like Laura Agustín, Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Kate D’Adamo, Maxine Doogan, Maggie McNeill, Audacia Ray, Liara Roux, and others too numerous to mention for speaking truth to power in a way that I can’t.  They’re a few drops of integrity in an ocean of malice and indifference.

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