One of the most dangerous aspects of our work is the swarm of moral, political and legal authorities…who treat us like children and victims and, when we won’t behave like children and victims, criminalize us in a manner that sometimes leads to fatal exchanges. – Fleur de Lit
Though I’m tempted to gloat, real people are being endangered here; furthermore, the hackers’ professed motives are horrific:
Data stolen by hackers from AshleyMadison.com, the online cheating site that claims 37 million users, has been posted online…The breach was confirmed in a statement from Avid Life Media Inc…the company said it would offer all users the ability to fully delete their personal information from the site — an option that was previously only available for a fee…the hackers, who identify as “The Impact Team,” got a hold of “sensitive internal data” not only for AshleyMadison, but also for other hookup sites owned by the company, Cougar Life…and Established Men… which promises to connect “young, beautiful women with successful men”…The Impact Team is threatening to expose all customer records unless Avid Life Media takes AshleyMadison and Established Men offline “permanently in all forms”…
The hackers described Ashley Madison as “a “prostitution/human trafficking website for rich men to pay for sex” and added, “too bad for those men, they’re cheating dirtbags and deserve no such discretion“.
Against Their Will
A 23-year-old woman’s pregnancy has blown the lid off a prostitution racket allegedly being run in an Ulhasnagar rehabilitation centre, which is supposed to be a safe home for women rescued from prostitution…no men, except for those who may be working at the centre, are allowed in…Senior police inspector Dhananjay Dhopavkar of Hill Line police station said, “What can we do? This centre has no security. The women living there have been freely moving in and out of the place”…Dhopavkar added that the centre has been allowing sex workers to continue engaging in prostitution while living there…
A man aged 91 has confessed to the murder of a prostitute outside a Soho nightclub nearly 70 years ago. The British expat walked into a police station near his home in Canada to admit to the killing in 1946 after he had been diagnosed with cancer. He said he had shot the woman…after she had cheated him out of money…detectives scoured through old files of the unsolved murders…and the…man picked out a picture of…Margaret Cook…It is thought to be the longest gap between a crime and a confession in British criminal history.
Divided We Fall
Much more of this, please:
…Gay culture has a long history of sex work, from 1950s “hustle” bars where “straight” guys paid a commission to the bartender in order to hook up with gay johns, to 1990s go-go bars where queer dancers were often there to display their wares to potential clients…Gay literature celebrated sex work in the ’80s and ’90s…Plenty of gay men have written memoirs of their sex work…A disproportionate number of trans and queer youth…have done sex work for survival…[yet] at a time when we should be decriminalizing sex work, there’s a movement in the LGBT world to pretend sex work doesn’t exist, isn’t a queer and trans issue, isn’t something we’ve historically embraced…It’s time the LGBT community get behind legalization of sex work and embrace rather than distance ourselves from the unique role LGBT people have historically played in the sex industry. Legalization actually makes a safer world for the women and men who do sex work, and it destigmatizes something as old as time. Yes, especially now, in this new age of marriage equality and post-gay parenting and our happy white-picket-fence lives, there’s a need for us to stand up for the least-protected class of people, LGBT sex workers, and demand their rights now, too.
Another paint-by-numbers “sex trafficking” tall tale:
…the Twin Cities metro area is among the nations’ 13 largest centers for child prostitution with Minneapolis as the home base of a large domestic prostitution ring…More than 50 percent of all domestic prostitution victims are classified as runaway youth...living on the street…in almost all cases, youth are not choosing this life. Traffickers/pimps recruit youth who may…be struggling…One…group of concerned citizens has been meeting and praying about…A Christian-based, safe housing facility focused on girls ages 12-18 with equine therapy…ranch residents will get guidance to realize their deep value and potential through the love of Jesus Christ…as they heal and transition into permanent housing…“We’ve heard that Highway 2 is a corridor to Duluth for sex trafficking – from the reservations to the ports and to the oil fields,” said [a prohibitionist]. “We often don’t think it’s here in our own town but it is”…“If…men…would understand that if they stopped using [girls] the problem would go away. They need to realize the feeders into sex trafficking, like porn”…
Hey, Gay Inc: if prostitution weren’t criminalized, transwomen couldn’t be arrested for being profiled as prostitutes:
…Meagan Taylor was…visiting Des Moines with a friend who is also transgender, and they were staying at a hotel…where…police showed up at their hotel room….[after the staff called the cops on] “two males dressed as females…[because the] staff was worried about possible prostitution activity”…[the pig stole her hormone pills and] charged [her] with possession of prescription drugs without a prescription…Taylor could be there for months…There is…no good reason for a 22-year-old nonviolent person like Taylor to be locked up indefinitely…the real offense is a private business calling police on paying guests because they didn’t conform to gender stereotypes…
Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#318)
People are starting to recognize the “Trafficking in Persons” report as a political weapon:
…the State Department is preparing to certify that Malaysia has made significant strides in fighting human trafficking — upgrading it to a Tier 2 “watch list”. The timing couldn’t be better for the Malaysian government, which is eager to join the Obama administration’s landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive trade deal…that aims to unite nearly 40 percent of the world’s GDP into one free-trade zone…[but] anti-trafficking campaigners say that no real progress has been made. “Human trafficking and forced labor are as bad as ever here,” [said] Charles Santiago, a member of the Malaysian parliament…But in order for Malaysia to join the trade deal, it is crucial that its status be upgraded…legislation…[prohibits negotiation] with countries that have been designated Tier 3…”If we get Tier 2, it will be a blatant display of American hypocrisy…they might as well throw the entire TIP in the trash”…
Of course, Malaysia’s problem isn’t SEX “trafficking”, so it’s all good.
Kudos to Margaret Corvid for being willing to eat crow with a good heart:
New sex worker writers often justify their sex work with respectability politics. I did it. I fucked up with my very first piece, in a big venue, the Guardian, contrasting my sex work to that of hypothetical trafficked workers, so-called “miserable slaves”. Even after taking feedback about that mistake, it took me a while to quit using my own favorable personal circumstances to make sex work more palatable to my readers. I think that I did it because I was intoxicated with the power of my writing, and I thought my experience was important. Guess what—sometimes it’s not…
Uncommon Sense (#420)
German politicians are determined to wreck their fairly-decent sex work system:
A proposed law reform would require Germany’s sex workers to carry licenses at all times. It would mandate their clients wear condoms. And it would authorize police to check up on these things without notice…“News travel fast, especially in small towns and villages,” said Undine de Riviere, a sex worker and spokeswoman of the Professional Association of Erotic and Sexual Services…“Many sex workers only work part-time. It would be a big problem if their main employer would know about it. You can imagine what the parents of their children’s friends would think”…
Lack of Evidence (#439)
I did tell you so:
In a trend bristling with public-health implications, Sacramento sex workers are forgoing condoms because they fear they can be arrested for possessing them, say activists and clinic workers. “We have a huge epidemic of sex workers who are not using protection because of the police activity,” said Kristen DiAngelo, who heads up a local branch of the Sex Workers Outreach Project…multiple street workers relayed similar tales of intimidation: cops emptying their purses and photographing condoms as evidence, and even poking holes in their rubbers before handing them back while laughing…
The Public Eye (#549)
Funny, but I started sex work at 30 because “I wanted my body to belong to me again”. Still, it’s good to see basically-positive articles on sex workers appearing in Cosmo.
First They Came for the Hookers… (#555)
Notice how bad laws often follow fads?
…if a controversial bill dubbed the “stripper registry,” is revived…all exotic dancers in Pennsylvania would be required to pay a $50 registration fee with the Department of State. Dancers would need to provide full name, aliases, place and date of birth, height, weight, hair color, eye color, home address, telephone number, place of employment, a copy of their photo identification and a separate passport-sized photograph of themselves. It also would require dancers to report whether they were victims of sex trafficking or had been convicted of a crime. Other provisions in the bill would limit alcohol sales and ban lap dances in clubs. Amid a flurry of public criticism, the legislation, originally intended as an anti-sex-trafficking bill, was…shelved — for now…
…I always know sex workers are in for a jolly good ride when an influential abolitionist invokes Pretty Woman…Tom Dart did just that when he persuaded Mastercard and Visa to stop allowing their credit cards to be used…for adult service ads on…Backpage…”We cannot turn a blind eye…and pretend this is some twisted Pretty Woman situation,” Dart told CNN…I am struggling to imagine what “a twisted Pretty Woman situation” looks like, so I’ll just say that the several dozen sex workers I know personally and professionally – and all those I’ve encountered in online forums and communities and at conferences – generally understand, because we do sex work and don’t just watch it on TV, that it isn’t like Pretty Woman. In fact, it isn’t like it’s depicted in most films, songs, photographs, paintings or any other media, including some documentaries…
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