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Posts Tagged ‘activism’

The Best Part

Screenshot_2016-05-26-22-35-30On Tuesday morning I picked up a rental car in Anaheim and drove for almost four hours to Fresno, where I did a photo shoot with Rick Horowitz which I hope will be the first of several I do for my nude photo project.  I then stayed the night at his home, where I shared a delicious dinner and hours of lovely conversation with him and his wife.  The next morning I set out for the long drive back to Los Angeles (specifically, Long Beach Airport) for my flight back to Seattle, and as I was leaving Rick said, “That was a really long way to drive for photos.”  I replied, “I could’ve gotten the photos in Seattle; I drove here for the experience.”

I’ll be reaching the half-century mark pretty soon, and I’ve met a lot of people in that time.  I’ve talked with them, argued with them, loved them, and fought with them.  I’ve hired them to do jobs and been hired by them; I’ve fucked them, been fucked over by them, played with them and feared them.  I’ve learned from them, taught them, helped and been helped by them, ignored them, missed them and avoided them and done many other things far too numerous to list.  And for the majority of my adult life, I’ve made my living by interacting directly with them on a one-on-one basis.  And as time has gone by, I’ve grown to realize that the most enjoyable, rewarding and memorable moments of my life have always involved other people.  Nor do I mean exciting, cinematic adventures in which I happened to have companions; I just mean conversations, shared meals and other simple one-on-one interactions.  As I sit here writing I can open the vault of memory and find a wealth of experiences from months, years and decades in the past; I can see their faces, hear their voices and even tell you where we were and what we talked about.  Some of the people with whom I had these treasured interactions are still dear friends, and some I haven’t seen in many years; many of them were with people I met only once, and whose names I have long forgotten.  And many others fall somewhere between those two extremes.

I’ve said many times that the most rewarding part of my book tour in 2014 was the human interaction; just to present one single example, I spent last weekend at the home of a friend I made on that tour.  And though the past year has been very difficult for me, the one thing that has helped me through it most was the support of my friends.  I look forward to shared meals like some people do to rock concerts and enjoy conversations like some people do Hollywood blockbusters.  You know how some people think it’s perfectly reasonable to wait for days in line to see a movie, concert or parade, or to be among the first in the door at a sale?  Well, I think it’s reasonable to travel long distances to visit friends.  And that has only become more true as I’ve grown older.

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I could be a slave to the banks for the rest of my life, or I can spend a few years doing this and I could be free.  –  JohannaVillage Voice 5-18-16

Gorged With Meaning

Yes, this is yet another article on student sex workers; what makes it interesting is its “so what?” tone and emphasis on facts over hysteria.  It concentrates on NYU, but it does mention other schools, most notably “Oregon’s Portland State University…the only college in America with a student sex worker outreach program…no one involved [is] permitted to speak publicly…[by order of] the university’s administration…”  The article also quotes veteran activist Norma Jan Almodovar (much to the chagrin of some snotty youngsters who were still in diapers when Norma was already doing activism).

First They Came for the Hookers…

Regulations on sex work are never intended to “protect” the workers, no matter what politicians claim:

Dancers in Mumbai are apprehensive about new laws that…limit dancers’ ability to earn a decent wage…Varsha Kale…of the bar girls’ union…[says] they have been treated like children and ignored.  The new laws dictate a number of restrictions…[including a] 3 feet high railing separating the dance floor from the seating area [with] at least 5 feet between the railing and the customers…Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis admitted…that the state’s intention…was to ensure that dance bars do not survive.  The new laws also state that dancers must receive a fixed salary and will not be able to directly receive tips…This is a step backwards for dancers, who fought hard to end fixed salaries nearly 20 years ago…

The Lion and the Ox

In the US media, “sex trafficking” is now just a dysphemism for “sex work”:

Fifteen men from 6 different states will likely be prosecuted after being arrested during an undercover sex trafficking mission…by the Portland Police Bureau’s Sex Trafficking Unit.  The mission focused on addressing online sex trafficking…The…15 men contacted undercover police officers to arrange payment for sexual acts…

Try not to laugh too hard at self-important cops calling their pathetic little deception a “mission” as though they were the A-Team or something.

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit:

…the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management…mission is…allegedly…preparing for and responding to terrorism and natural disasters, so it’s…a joke that its officials are concerning themselves with catching unlicensed massage therapists and people engaging in prostitution…[they] and police…took down four women…all Asian Americans in their early 40s…Each was charged with one count of unlicensed practice of massage therapy.  One of the women was also charged with one count of prostitution…

Backwards into the Future (#334)

Which is to say, the second country in the entire world:

South Africa may become the first African country to decriminalize sex work.  If it does, it will be one of a handful of countries that have fully decriminalized sex work (including New Zealand and New South Wales in Australia)…Currently only Senegal makes some provision for legal sex work and subjects it to regulation…

Opting Out

But it’s not a surveillance measure, no sirree!  Because THE CHILDREN!!!

The [United Kingdom] is going to force…all sites that contain pornographic material…to verify that their users are over 18, forcing them to register their age and potentially even their credit card details…[domestic] sites that don’t comply with the ruling could be banned from advertising or even shut down entirely…the blocks [will] apply…to any [sites] that…would get an 18 rating if they were classified formally…Free speech campaigners and civil liberties experts have repeatedly criticised the Government’s plans…but the Government has repeatedly cited [bogus] research about the availability of porn to children and the damage that it can do…

Cops and Robbers

How barbaric!  This is TOTALLY different from what American cops do:

During the night of 17th to 18th of May, Viacheslav Datsik and his supporters illegally raided a brothel…in St Petersburg where 10 sex workers were working…He broke down the door and under the threat of beating the women working there he forced them to undress completely, and then took them to the police naked.  He managed to carry out an attack on a similar establishment in central St Petersburg, but he was detained by the brothel’s security guards and was taken to the police station.  Datsik has a huge criminal background…and…has been imprisoned several times.  He is a former member of the ultranationalist Slavic Union…and…[intends] to run for the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg.  If elected, he has promised he will promote laws against sex work.  Datsik believes the penalty for sex work in Russia should be forced labour…Datsik filmed…the…raids and shared these videos with the media…In the past [Datsik has] threatened and raped several sex workers…

The Public Eye (#511)

Here’s a glimpse at the return of the Sex Workers’ Opera:

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#618)

Politicians the world over promise the same evil, impossible things, and stupid people just keep believing them:

Prostitution is heavily frowned upon in [Indonesia but]…there is no specific law that penalises it, with people only facing legal action when acts are associated with other crimes.  The fact that the legal status of prostitution remains a grey area has helped commercial sex to become a big business in cities such as Jakarta and Surabaya…In a bid to stop the flesh trade, Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa vowed in February that by 2019 Indonesia will be free from prostitution and all the red-light districts in the country will be shut down…Days after the announcement, Jakarta’s oldest red-light district, called Kalijodo, was demolished.  But that does not seem to have put the brakes on the sex industry.  Many workers from there seem to have just moved, or gone online

Paint By Numbers (#625)

Given the exploitation of “rescued” sex workers in garment-industry sweatshops, the use of fashion shows to promote “sex trafficking” hysteria is particularly loathsome:

During a fashion show..High School senior Hannah Rezabek will showcase a black couture number handcrafted by noted fashion designer Korto Momolu….her outfit…reinforces how a human-trafficking victim feels “tied” to the streets, as reflected by the struggles of victims, even when rescued, to break free from the grip of pimps and prostitution…Rezabek is among 30 students who will serve as models for the Unchained Fashion Show — a different sort of runway event whose message runs far deeper than the latest prints and hottest summer colors…

Monsters (#632) 

Police in Maryland said they have arrested two people in the slaying of…Keyonna Blakeney…Arbra Arnie Bethea, 17…and Keith Christopher Renier, 21…[were charged] with murder…armed robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery…Bethea has been charged as an adult…

What Were You All Waiting For? (#638)

Mike Crawford is one of the most eloquent male voices on sex worker rights, and I predict we’ll be hearing a lot more from him:

It seems that after the recent New York Times piece on sex work, those who seek to completely prohibit commercial sexual exchange are concerned they no longer have a stranglehold on the dialogue about sex workers’ lives.  Over the past few days, there have been three pieces attempting to undermine the Times’ article: one from a radical feminist, one from the bastion of journalistic integrity that is the NY Post (written by a correspondent whose primary focus is religion, no less) and then today’s from a representative of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW.)  Today’s piece is a simple continuation of the others; it’s a disjointed combination of appeals to emotion, anecdotal evidence meant to discredit actual studies, flawed statistics, frequently told lies, obfuscation, a blithe dismissal of reality, and an absolute refusal to engage in the core of the argument for the decriminalization of sex work: harm reduction…

To Molest and Rape

I wrote yesterday’s column on Tuesday night, and the very next morning I had another example:

A Walker County [Georgia] deputy was arrested…[fired] because…he sexually assaulted a woman while transporting her from one hospital to another…Wesley Holland…[orally raped the prisoner but Sheriff Steve] Wilson…is [trying to pretend it was] consensual [so as to minimize the deputy’s punishment while pretending to take it seriously]…

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If you criminalise buying sex, the prostitute knows she becomes the evidence.  –  Brooke Magnanti

Whore Madonnas

South Africa is another country with awesome sex worker activists:

Mothers for the Future is an initiative of the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT).  It provides support groups, outreach and home visits.  Mothers discuss difficulties such as domestic violence, child grants, and the challenges that they face when their children are targeted as a result of their mother’s work.  Duduzile Dlamini, the programme coordinator, says that some mothers even have their children taken away from them by social services and that their children, like their mothers, are criminalised…Porcia, who is a member of Mothers for the Future, has two children and…makes donations to the church from the money that she earns as a sex worker.  Sometimes she is arrested on a Friday night and kept at the police station for the whole weekend.  Her children are then at home alone and without any food…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Guys, please do your research, and let the pigs hunt each other:

Dayton Police arrested ten men for solicitation….[including] Todd Pultz of the North Hampton Police Department…“if you are sworn to uphold the law the last thing you want to do is break it, especially in this fashion” [oinked a spokespig]…“These women have sex hundreds of times–that’s hundreds of men that could be infected and take it back to their family”…

“Especially in this fashion”, as opposed to acceptable crimes like robbery, rape, mayhem and murder.

Droit du Seigneur 

Sometimes “authorities” prefer to rape vulnerable men instead:

An East Arkansas judge accused of trading sex with defendants in exchange for reduced sentences is resigning after…sexually explicit photos [were] recovered from his computer…District Judge Joe Boeckmann was…accused of having sex with defendants…[and] demanding [they] take sexually explicit photos…the photos also depicted evidence the young men had been paddled and…the judge…was instructed not to destroy the paddle depicted in the photos…investigators believe…the judge’s sexual misconduct extended to more than 30 years ago to his time as a deputy prosecuting attorney…in…one scenario…Boeckmann took [a young man] to the courthouse after hours, forced him to strip inside the district courtroom, put him in handcuffs and took naked pictures of him in the courtroom.  The man said Boeckmann paid him $50 and told him “case dismissed” at the conclusion of the photo shoot…

See No Evil

All censorship seems this futile and ridiculous to me:

…New regulations mean that live-streaming sites must monitor all their output round-the-clock to ensure nothing untoward is going on, keeping an eye out for any “erotic” banana-eating…wearing stockings and suspenders while hosting a live stream is now also forbidden.  The move is the authorities’ latest attempt to clamp down on “inappropriate and erotic” online content…that “harms social morality”…such sites are attracting more and more users in China…News of the banana ban has prompted thousands of users to chime in on Chinese social media…”How do they decide what’s provocative when eating a banana?”…”Can male live-streamers still eat them?”…”They will all start eating cucumbers, and if that’s no good, yams”…

Above the Law  

Anyone who actually believes that a rape is worse if a cop commits it “in uniform”, “on duty” or “on police property” is part of the problem:  “A [Newark, New Jersey cop] was charged with sexually assaulting a woman on police property…Kenneth Gaulette…[raped] the…woman…Nov. 29, 2015…”  And that problem is far more extensive than “authorities” want you to know:

The young victim of a [rapist cop]…in Kern County, California, has settled a civil lawsuit for $1m, marking the second violent misconduct case the beleaguered sheriff’s office has settled in just five days…a Guardian investigation…identified law enforcement in the county as the deadliest in the US and revealed a program of attempted cash payoffs to vulnerable women who had been [raped] by Kern County deputies…Gabriel Lopez in March 2013…forced the young woman to strip naked…and then [raped] her [mere hours after arresting her] boyfriend at the same house…another…young woman Lopez was convicted of [raping] accepted a cash payment of $5,000 from the sheriff’s office…

Hall of Shame

Outing a famous non-prohibitionist client just to make money?  Instant ticket to my Hall of Shame:

While the debate over the UK gagging order preventing publication of the identity of an A-list actor who allegedly slept with an escort continues, Sydney-based sex worker Amanda Goff said…Helen Wood, the prostitute who claims she was paid $380 for sexual services with the British thespian, “committed the number one crime…An escort never talks about names…It has ruined someone’s life…The details she gave to the press about what they did in bed is appalling.  Why would she do that?  How can she sleep at night?”…

The Schizoid State

If a woman under 18 chooses to be a whore she’s automatically a victim because she’s a “child”, but if she helps someone else to do it she’s a “criminal” because she’s old enough to know better.  Yet she still can’t be named because she’s a “child”. Got that?

Toronto police say they have charged a 17-year-old girl after a 16-year-old girl was forced into the sex trade last year.  [Cops] allege the suspect…introduced the victim to two men, who told her she could make a lot of money working for them…Police allege the victim was “controlled through intimidation and threats,” and forced to work in the sex trade.  The 17-year-old suspect allegedly took photos of the victim in various states of undress and posted them on backpage.com…She cannot be identified per the terms of the Youth Criminal Justice Act…

The Widening Gyre

Fact: woman with drug problem goes missing.  Conclusion: sex trafficking!

For the last six months, Michael Fusaro, 33, has repeatedly traversed a shadowy criminal underworld, all in the hopes of finding his 27-year-old sister, Jamie Nastali…Fusaro was convinced his sister…was being held by human traffickers based on one of the last conversations he had with her late last year.  Nastali, who Fusaro acknowledges has a drug problem, called him with a cloak-and-dagger story of being kidnapped and taken to San Diego…[on May 7th] his sister…was [arrested and jailed]…for drug and identity theft charges…Fusaro said he believes there may also be a prostitution charge…[but] no prostitution offense shows up on her booking record…[prohibitionist] Dianne Amato…said…“One of the biggest misconceptions is that women who are 24, 25, 26 years old are adults”…

Obviously the belief that adult women are not adults is “feminist”.

Sexual Predators (#449)

Police chief decides to destroy a few lives to give bored cops some fun:

…Terre Haute [Indiana] Police…Chief Ed Tompkins…[used a] sting…[to arrest five people as] “a way to give the detectives something different to do other than work property crimes, arsons and burglaries”…The objective of Operation Back Page to Front Page was…to…make an arrest.  Detecting human trafficking was also a goal…

Repeat Offenders (#563) bra drive

Why do prohibitionists who want to “rescue” sex workers invariably push them into menial garment-related work?

University of Georgia students…Emily Wilhoit…and Joshua Dunn…to support their first annual bra drive for Free The Girls.  The…drive…brought in 1,239 bras…Free The Girls is a nonprofit organization based out of Denver, whose mission is to “provide jobs to survivors of sex trafficking in developing countries by helping them set up micro enterprises selling bras”…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

This would’ve been better without her moral signalling at the beginning, but still:

The rationale for making prostitution illegal while protecting the filming and selling of pornography as protected speech under the First Amendment eludes me.  Morally I’m opposed to both, but criminalizing one and not the other hurts people more than it helps and lacks intellectual cohesion.  But who cares what I think?  The question is, what do the candidates think?  While Americans have been fixated on the surreal primary contests between Republican and Democratic gladiators, a huge international movement has been heating up that touches upon the lives of millions and millions of people and involves billions and billions of dollars…Next month the board of Amnesty International is slated to approve its final policy in support of the full decriminalization of consensual sex work…And Amnesty is not alone; other groups, including the World Health Organization, Human Rights Watch and the Open Society Foundation, are on board…

Eternal Vigilance (#587)

Decriminalization in New South Wales is safe for now:

The Baird government has rejected a call to more strictly regulate brothels through licensing and a specialist police unit, arguing it would recriminalise prostitution and put the health of sex workers at risk…A government response…rejects the inquiry’s call for a special police unit, similar to that which exists in Victoria, to be created to ensure brothels are licensed, comply with planning laws and don’t have foreign nationals working in violation of their visas.  The licensing of brothel managers has also been rejected on the advice of NSW Health.  Minister for Better Regulation, Victor Dominello, said: “Introducing a licensing regime for brothels may drive more operators underground, which could adversely affect the health and protection of sex workers. The evidence from other jurisdictions is that licensing simply doesn’t work”…

The Course of a Disease (#606) 

My friend Brooke Magnanti schools politicians on their latest attempt to persecute adults for wanting sex:

The criminalisation of payment for sex would dissuade sex workers from reporting violence against them, Brooke Magnanti…has told a group of MPs…looking into the way prostitution is dealt with in legislation…Magnanti appeared alongside Paris Lees, a journalist and equality campaigner who has also previously been a sex worker.  Both were critical of the witnesses the select committee had called to question as part of the inquiry. “Of the four sex workers you’ve spoken [to] face to face, three of us aren’t doing it any more…Who are the people who should have been asked here instead of us?  People from the Sex Worker Open University, people from the English Collective of Prostitutes, current sex workers.  They weren’t asked because me and Paris come with great media platforms, we bring attention, so you can tick a box and say we spoke to some ex-sex workers”…Both witnesses…warned against trusting reduced crime statistics from countries such as Sweden and Northern Ireland…“Part of the problem with statistics being currently produced by Sweden is they don’t have statistics [from] before the law came into place,” Magnanti said…“When you look at the countries most affected by trafficking such as India, Cambodia, which also have very strong sex worker-led organisations, the percentage of people who are actively trafficked are comfortably under 5%”…

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When the day at last comes that we win our right to live and work free from state violence, you will know that you helped that happen.  –  “Luck Has Nothing To Do With It

red umbrellas by daylightToday is Friday the 13th, which as longtime readers know is the day I ask non-sex workers to speak up for us.  Some years have as many as three of these special Fridays, but this is the only one this year; if you need suggestions on what to say, I suggest you consult this column I wrote for the occasion way back in 2012.  And if you do write something, please let me know and I’ll add a link to it below (and tweet it as well).  I do, however, recognize that some people simply can’t stick their heads above the parapet enough to write or speak openly about this, despite the fact that it’s quickly becoming more socially acceptable to do so; if you’re in that position, you can still help by donating money, something sex worker rights organizations are always in need of.  There are such organizations in every country; since I firmly believe that charity begins at home, I urge you to donate to help sex workers in your own land first.  In the US, SWOP can always use help, and I recently called attention to SWOP Behind Bars, which accepts donations of books for incarcerated sex workers.  I don’t understand why she felt the need to adopt such a critical tone, but Melinda Chateauvert published a good list of sex worker organizations in need of all the funding they can get, and Red Light Legal is down to the last few days in its attempt to raise $15,000 to provide legal assistance to sex workers.  Of course, there are plenty of individual sex workers you could assist, such as the heroic Heather Saul, who took out a serial killer who would otherwise have killed many other women.  And if you can’t think of anyone else, you could always send me a little something via PayPal.  It doesn’t so much matter what you do today, as long as you do something to promote sex worker rights; write, speak, donate, spread the word or all of the above.  And I’m going to try to spend as much time as possible retweeting today, so if you write something or have a sex worker fund you want promoted, please mention me on Twitter so I can promote it for you!

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Society creates a massive demand for sex work, then stigmatizes the people who take jobs in the field.  –  Mark Shrayber

Whore Madonnas Finley Fawn

Another woman’s child abducted by the state because of her work:

Finley Fawn…brought eight character witnesses and a mountain of paperwork to her initial custody hearing to prove [that she is not abusive but] courts have sided with her ex-husband in [claiming] that Fawn has allowed her son too much awareness of her job…Fawn…is…a cam model…Before hearing any witnesses, and with only Fawn’s Twitter introduced into evidence, the woman presiding over the case reportedly said that anything more than her ex’s testimony was superfluous.  Before Fawn even had a chance to speak…the judge…made up her mind…getting her child back on the same terms as before — joint custody — would cost more than $100,000…that Fawn doesn’t have…Fawn isn’t alone…Take the case of Tanaha Koontz, whose children were taken away from her and given to her ex despite numerous instances of domestic violence, two arrests, and a kidnapping…

Tanaha is a friend, and wrote one of my first guest columns on this subject.

All in the Family

Some sex workers’ mothers really do love unconditionally:

…My mother emailed me to say she had discovered that I was doing sex work…she…didn’t yell at me, or talk over me, or dictate to me what I should or shouldn’t be doing.  She listened.  She…never told me to quit.  She never told me I had made a bad decision.  She never asked me how I could be a feminist and a sex worker.  She made space for me and my experiences, and she gave me advice or sympathy when I asked.  So I found myself reaching out to her more often, grateful for her analysis and her wit.  Now, I consider her one of my closest friends…

Life Imitates Artifice

Wannabe “pimp” calls radio show & regurgitates popular “pimp” myths, probably while wanking; ignoramuses swallow every particle of the vomit:

…a former pimp talks about his victims and the sex trade…He doesn’t want to share his name, but he will share his [masturbatory fantasy].  He [fantasizes about being] a former pimp.  A sex trafficker who spent nearly a dozen years convincing young women in Massachusetts to sell their bodies and give him the money…He [imagines finding] victims at tanning salons, gyms, bars, and nightclubs…He [fantasizes] that…he had 16 girls working for him…and they’d turn trick after trick…Now, years later [he masturbates] as he thinks about [it]…Parents, he says, hold the key to protecting young girls from men like him.  “Fathers…have to show their daughters that I’m the man you want to find in life. I’m the man you want to marry.”

As our wanker switches from a pimp fantasy to an incest fantasy, fade to black.

Check Your Premises

Cops are so disconnected from reality that they think stalking, raiding and arresting sex workers and their clients will “build a positive relationship” with us:

…Calgary [cops charged]…27 people…[a spokesman vomited that] the goal was to reduce illegal activity and connect with sex trade workers to “build a positive relationship and provide any resources they may need to assist them in leaving the sex trade”…The charges were related to…communicating with any person for the purpose of obtaining sexual services, along with seven summonses for traffic-related offences.  Nineteen warrants for unrelated criminal code charges were also executed…

The Last Shall Be First 

More of this, please:

Public officials of a conservative enclave in Dallas almost unanimously repudiated an anti-transgender “bathroom” ordinance in a local battle that may help turn the corner on the discussion in Texas…Mayor Jim…Pruitt’s measure would have forced transgender individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate.  Businesses and individuals who didn’t comply faced fines of up to $500.  Pruitt launched the proposal in response to Target’s…policy of allowing people to use the bathroom and changing facilities they believe is appropriate for them.  But he ultimately couldn’t find a single colleague to second his motion for a vote, despite using all the best scare tactics…

An Example To the West

Leaders from sex-work led organizations came together…in Kampala to pave way for a stronger and sustainable network for all Ugandan…sex workers’ organizations.  The sex work fraternity is one of the fast growing civil rights movement in Uganda…many coalitions have come up but breakdown after a short period of action…this time they are ready to disregard  all the past differences and create a solid network to make sure the sex workers voices are heard out there…

Down Under (#40)

This sounds good until one gets down to the “end demand” poison:

Street-based sex work in St Kilda is here to stay, say local police, and heavy-handed enforcement is of no use to anyone.  In 2012, St Kilda’s constabulary boasted of a plan to drive prostitution off the streets within four years, using a policy of banning notices, patrols and undercover stings.  But street-based sex work, which is illegal in Victoria, endures.  And St Kilda police Senior Sergeant Mark Denton said that wasn’t likely to change…So instead of going after the workers, policing is now focused on the client side.  Police have the power to issue banning notices stopping someone from visiting an area for 72 hours if they have a reasonable suspicious that person was attempting to solicit a sex worker…

Dutch Threat 

A prohibitionist’s notion of “helping” sex workers:

PROUD, the [Dutch] association of sex workers…sent an urgent letter to the Minister of Justice and the Mayor of Amsterdam on a serious matter…the family of [a trafficking] victim was informed of her work in prostitution without her knowledge…[after] explicitly [stating] that her family [should under] no circumstances be informed of her career…she worked voluntarily in prostitution, but was exploited by an employer. The victim is currently considering withdrawing her complaint as a result of these events…This case should be a reason to ask serious questions to the responsible people and services on their methods and motives…

An Example to the West (#316) RedTraSex in Honduras

In the US, we’re barely even tolerated, much less listened to:

Honduran sex workers have offered a proposal for reforming the country’s treatment of their profession that they hope will lead to them “being treated as human beings by police officers, health employees and society in general,” [said] Regina Barahona…of…RedTraSex…The text takes a human rights perspective on sex work, focusing on health, security and justice for those who work in the field…Barahona insisted that much of the violence sex workers currently face comes from police officers, not clients…

Broken Record (#318)

Politicians just can’t stop beating this dead horse:

Kentucky’s attorney general is warning Derby-goers to be proactive in the fight against human trafficking…Andy Beshear [fantasized that]…individuals use large sporting events, such as the Kentucky Derby, to traffic children and adults for sex…Beshear urged Louisville businesses and derby-goers to [spy on customers]…Beshear said signs of possible signs of human trafficking include [all the usual bullshit]…

Bait and Switch

Why bother looking for actual sex-trafficking victims when cops can just pretend to be them and reap the same rewards?

A new sex-trafficking law in Georgia clarifies that undercover cops totally count as minors for purposes of handing out 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentences…House Bill (HB) 770 says that it shall be no defense to charges of sex trafficking of a minor that no such minor actually existed…an undercover cop posing as a pretty 17-year-old girl could friend a young man on Facebook (a tactic cops frequently use in these kind of stings), start chatting with him, and mention that she needs to make money and isn’t averse to porn or prostitution but needs help getting started.  If the mark offers to help in any way, even just offering a ride or an introduction to someone else who could help her, he will be eligible to receive a minimum of 10 years in prison and up to 20 years, plus a $100,000 fine.  Prosecutors can invoke asset forfeiture to take even more from him, and add another “human trafficking” arrest to their press releases…many of the men cops target with these kinds of stings are only in their late teens or early 20s themselves…One 2014 study by the anti-trafficking organization Shared Hope International found that 50-60 percent of police efforts aimed at stopping “child sex trafficking”…involved no actual victims or minors at all…If there are really as many minor sex-trafficking victims out there as advocates, cops, and politicians would have us believe, how can they justify spending half of their time and money pretending to be victims rather than saving them?…

A Procrustean Bed (#600)

Politician’s brains are so tiny and narrow, thy can only conceive of humans existing in two states, like light switches:

The California Senate…passed legislation that would remove mandatory minimum jail sentences for repeat prostitution offenses.  Under current state law, a second conviction guarantees at least 45 days in jail, which increases to a minimum 90-day sentence for a third offense and beyond.  The court can also restrict an individual’s driving privileges for up to six months if the act occurs within 1,000 feet of a private residence…Bill Monning…said the current “tough-on-crime” approach does not deter prostitution and merely discourages victims of human trafficking and those who engage in sex work as a means of survival from participating in diversion and drug treatment programs…It comes amid a renewed interest in human trafficking this legislative session, as lawmakers debate whether prostitutes are criminals or victims…

Crying for Nanny (#623)

How many more such decisions will it take before judges start fining these lawyers for filing nuisance lawsuits?

In a victory for Backpage, a federal appellate court…rejected [soi-disant] sex-trafficking victims’ request to reconsider a decision dismissing their lawsuit…The move leaves in place an earlier ruling, which said the teens could not proceed with their case due to the federal Communications Decency Act.  That law says that companies offering interactive online platforms are immune from liability for activity by their users…

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Diary #306

NY Times magazine cover 5-8-16 Those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter and didn’t see Sunday’s New York Times Magazine may have missed this, so I’ll share it here.  What you’re seeing, my friends, is history being made; the staunchly-prohibitionist Times not only published a good, solid, respectful article on the sex worker rights movement, but also featured portraits of 36 real sex workers on the damned cover.  And not headless stereotypes dressed in garish clothing, fishnets & sky-high heels leaning into car windows at night, either; real people (including male & trans sex workers) of a variety of body types, dressed in normal clothing.  THIS is what prostitutes look like, y’all.  Some of you may recognize some of these faces, and if you don’t there’s a key in that link above (where you’ll also find a slideshow featuring portraits of 24 sex workers, including me).  Endza Adair (top left in white dress) wrote yesterday’s guest column, Kristen DiAngelo (between Mistress Matisse & me) is the writer/producer of American Courtesans, Savannah Sly (second row, far right) is the president of SWOP-USA…and those are just the ones y’all have heard me mention before.  Matisse worked with writer Emily Bazelon since the autumn (and appeared on this radio show with her yesterday), and Savannah organized photo shoots all over the country to create this article; to the Times‘ credit, it invested a lot of time and money in this, and it shows.  The sex worker rights movement is on the rise.  We’re tired of being relegated to the shadows, tired of being spoken over and misrepresented, tired of being treated as criminals, victims, mindless children or a social disease.  The watershed moment is past; though many probably can’t see it yet, all the people who actually think about things instead of believing some scripture without proof now recognize that prohibition in general, and prohibition of private sexual behavior in particular, are evil and destructive to society.  Anti-whore laws will die, and decriminalization will come.  It won’t happen in the next few years; it may not even happen in my lifetime.  But it will happen, and the history books will show 2015-16 as the turning point.  And I’m very proud to have played a small part in it.

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My dear friend Endza is wise beyond her years, as brave as she is beautiful, and far more together than I was at her age (in those long-ago and far-off times of the 1980s, Best Beloved).  You may be interested in following her (NSFW) Twitter feed or reading her “lackadaisically updated” blog, and she appeared with me (and many other sex workers) yesterday on the cover of the New York Times magazine (top row, first on the left).  Oh, and I have a dinner date with her a week from today; eat your hearts out, boys and girls.

I am that annoying girl sitting in the front row of class who knows the answer to every question the professor asks.  I am also that girl who had just finished washing the cum out of my hair before I got to school (I will never understand porn’s obsession with cumming on my face).  For me that is an unremarkable day.  I have no problem with carrying the labels of honor student and porn model; to me, they fit together like two of the many puzzle pieces that make up who I am.  It is the rest of the world that demands these two labels be a contradiction.  When I am at school I am allowed the label of “brilliant”.  I am nerd who adores learning just a little bit too much.  Yet, soon as I speak out in my public persona, as soon as it is mentioned that I am both a sex worker and a student. I become “a whore pretending to be an intellectual”.  Every ounce of my intelligence is degraded by what I choose to do for work; people cannot seem to believe that I can be both intelligent and happy in this world.

Yet, I am very happy with what I do.  I have an amazing job that celebrates my sexuality, facilitates me have amazing sex, and supports me in getting my degree.  Sex and learning, that sounds like the perfect life to me.  It is the stigma that makes these two worlds hard to coexist in.  One day I am in San Francisco surrounded by a whirlwind of makeup artists, costumes, sex, and cameras; the next I am two states away sitting in a classroom, my hair hidden under a hat hoping no one will recognize me.  You see, I have plans, plans that involve a grad school degree in medical neuroscience.  If I was outed it could put all of my academic plans in jeopardy.   Society is constantly trying to take away the autonomy of sex workers; I am fearful that someone may take it upon themselves to decide that just because I enjoy sex, it means I can’t handle a rigorous academic program.

And that is one of the best-case scenarios if I am discovered.  Belle Knox, a lovely porn star who attended Duke University, received death threats when one of her friends let her secret slip; people were so offended by a porn star going to college they felt the need to threaten physical violence.  I can’t even begin to understand the logic behind their threats; don’t sex workers deserve an education just as much as anyone else?  As a result, I take measures to make sure I am not discovered.  I look remarkably different without makeup or curly hair and that’s before I hide under baggy clothing.  I do my best not to make any close friends at school, because I know I will have to lie to each and every one of them.

Now this is the point where most people ask me why I don’t just quit?  Find a job that is less stigmatized and prioritize my academics?  This is because I am stubborn.  Porn is my chosen profession.  I am a consenting, autonomous adult and my right to chose a job will not be taken away from me.  Every time someone tells me I should quit, my resolve grows stronger.  I love my job, and I am good at it.  I refuse to let society’s opinion of my life change my behavior.  I am a 23-year-old honor student who is managing to not only support herself but also follow her academic dreams.  I adore my life.  So here I am.  I am just stubborn enough to stand and defiantly tell the world that it needs to change its opinion because I am not changing anything about my life.

Endza

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