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Posts Tagged ‘escort review sites’

I am a mid level ($250/hr) escort in a large US city and have been in the business for a dozen or more years, and I’ve never seen so many clients assume they can have sex without a condom.  It used to be if they even asked for bareback I wouldn’t even see them; now that request is more than half the people I speak with, and a good percentage think they can just hop on bareback without even asking.  Is it because I am older?  One guy said he assumed I would be OK with it because I can’t get pregnant (which isn’t even correct).  Haven’t these idiots heard of STIs?  Also, what is the definition of GFE?  A good portion of men now seem think it means BBFS.  That has never been my definition of those letters.

It’s not because you’re older; it’s because of the government’s war on us.  The increase in stings and persecution of clients has made some guys either stop seeing escorts for a while, or stick with girls they already know and trust, or turn to higher-priced girls with a bigger web presence.  That means a lot of the semi-pros and low-priced full-timers don’t get the business they did only a few years ago, and some of them have (understandably) become more desperate because of that.  Some are lowering prices, others are relaxing screening, and some are doing bareback to catch the foolish guys others are turning away.  Also, with the demise of Backpage, a lot of the budget providers who advertised there don’t know where to turn & can’t afford more expensive ad sites like Eros or Slixa; a lot of the guys who were able to find “anything goes” semi-pros on Backpage are also flooding into other ad sites & they don’t know the rules.  So the whole market is in chaos, and mid-range providers like you are forced to deal with stupid yo-yos who think “STI” is a government agency.

I’ve been in the business since the ‘90s, and I can state categorically that GFE does not and never has meant “bareback”; it has always meant a style that’s more relaxed & friendly, with conversation, kissing & cuddling.  In fact, I remember arguing on hooker boards around 2010 with guys who were trying to claim it meant some checklist of activities (which it doesn’t & never has), but even then everyone understood it did not mean bareback.  I’m not sure where the idea that it does came from, but this is the second time recently I’ve heard this; the other was on Twitter, where someone quoted from an idiot cop’s claim to a court that GFE and PSE both mean “bareback”.  My only guess is that over the past decade some group of really dumb hobbyists, probably on a “bros before hos” site like TER, intentionally decided to try to shift the meaning of GFE (because they’re stupid and think with the wrong head), and now that their site has been shut down due to FOSTA they’re spilling out into the general community and can only be stopped from their filthy habits by scrupulous professionals like us. 

(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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This has been a very cleverly designed campaign to end the commercial sex industry.  –  Billie McIntire

Where Are the Victims?

As usual, not even an allegation that he exploited anyone:

An American man has been arrested in a sting operation for allegedly running a online brothel service matching men in northern Thailand with Myanmar sex workers across the border…Kenneth Viggo Albertsen…is behind a website and Facebook page called “Burmese Border Chicks for Hire” that sold sex with Myanmar women for 6,500 baht ($200).  The business brought women to meet clients on the Thai side of the border in Mae Sai, and also offered to “guide” men into Myanmar for sex services…

A Procrustean Bed

Let’s hope this is the start of a new trend:

After just a few years in operation, Delaware’s Human Trafficking Court is shutting down. The court’s rise and fall…shines a light on how trending problems lead to stupid policy…a 2016 report from the Delaware Criminal Justice Council, which found less than a third of people who started the…program actually completed it and that there was “little evidence to suggest the defendants of this court are the subjects” of sex-trafficking enterprises…[delusional prohibitionists] argue that “free will is an illusion”…and they insist the definition of sex-trafficking victim should be expanded to include anyone who exchanges sexual services for money…But…many arrested on prostitution charges didn’t want to declare themselves victims, name names of “traffickers,” enter a months-long state-run “treatment” program, or even leave prostitution in the first place.  And those that were open to state aid with starting a new life could find themselves presented not with practical assistance but things like yoga classes and group counseling

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Because “brothel”:

A husband and wife team who charged clients €200 an hour for sex with them at their Ennis home have escaped jail.  Spanish national, David Navaro…and his Brazilian born wife, Celia Galan…arrived into Ireland from Barcelona in 2015 and a surveillance operation by Gardai was mounted outside the couple’s Ennis home in July 2016 as a result of Garda suspicions that there was a brothel being operated from their home…[since] both have no previous convictions [the] judge…fine[d] each €600…

Little Tin Gods

For those who think Arpaio, Judd & Dart are anomalies:

…[sheriffs have] enormous power…over the lives of local residents. The scope of their dominion varies slightly by county, but is almost always wide-reaching.  Like other police officers, sheriffs can arrest you, serve you a warrant, write you a traffic ticket.  But, depending on the county, they also perform countless other duties, including overseeing discretionary funds, patrolling highways, investigating crimes, and evicting tenants…in most places, sheriffs are also responsible for managing the local jails.  This is particularly important because jails have functionally replaced mental health facilities in America…The extent of a sheriff’s power can [be]…dangerous.  In some California counties, the sheriff even moonlights as the county coroner, an example of how sheriffs’ power obliterates any hope of accountability by the public…the only thing that could really limit the power of the sheriff is the voter.  But that’s not really how it plays out on the ground…As Professor Casey LaFrance told the New Yorker’s Rachel Aviv, “Once you become the sheriff, you’re likely to remain the sheriff until you retire or die”…

Drawing Lines

Most of this is fairly elementary, but it’s always nice to see this kind of point:

…Alison Bass…said it was interesting that other forms of sex work, such as stripping, pornography and being a mistress in exchange for money and power were legal, while sex work involving a straightforward transaction was not.  “What’s the difference between Donald Sterling, the former owner of the Yankee Clippers, who spent millions of dollars on his much younger mistress—bought her a car, an apartment, all this stuff…and someone who has a more straightforward transaction for an evening or an hour? There’s really no difference, but one is legal, perfectly legal, and one is not”…

Prudesville 

If you think the choice of target had nothing to do with the neighboring county’s crusade against them, you haven’t been paying attention:

Police from the southern King County town of Pacific arrested two men…who allegedly confessed to setting fire to a bikini barista stand.  The men, both 19, were booked into King County Jail…and reportedly called themselves “stupid”…about 2:54 a.m. at the Cowgirls Espresso stand…[cops] arrived to find “a large cloud of smoke”…and the smell of gasoline…the south side of the building was damaged.  An Auburn [cop] had already detained two men nearby from a reported car vandalism incident and…they also admitted to setting the Cowgirls blaze…

He Said, She Said (#448) 

Another abusive asshole tries to hide his violence behind BDSM:

Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, has long [pretended to] be…a…champion of women’s rights, and recently he has become an outspoken figure in the #MeToo movement…Now Schneiderman is facing a reckoning of his own…four women with whom he has had romantic relationships or encounters…accuse Schneiderman of having subjected them to nonconsensual physical violence.  All have been reluctant to speak out, fearing reprisal.  But two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, have talked to The New Yorker on the record, because they feel that doing so could protect other women.  They allege that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent…both…sought medical attention after having been slapped hard across the ear and face, and also choked.  Selvaratnam says that Schneiderman warned her he could have her followed and her phones tapped, and both say that he threatened to kill them if they broke up with him…

Naturally, actual kinky people are appalled:

…Mistress Matisse called any non-negotiated encounter “ABUSE. End of story”…Ronan Farrow, co-author of the New Yorker story that first revealed the allegations…[said] the accusers made clear “that this was not role-playing…It wasn’t in a gray area at all”…Jillian Keenan, author of the BDSM memoir Sex with Shakespeare…[wrote] “Just as sex without consent is rape, kink without consent doesn’t exist – that’s assault”…

Send In the Clowns 

Dare I hope for a return of “creepy clown” hysteria?

A 19-year-old was arrested…for stabbing her boyfriend not long after she said men should only be used as “human sacrifices”.  Zoe Adams reportedly dressed up as a clown and put a pillow over Kieran Bewick’s face as they were intimate one night. Then she stabbed him five times with a 10-inch knife…Adams described the incident, which resulted in Bewick, 17, having a collapsed lung, as an “overreaction”…She allegedly took pictures after the incident with the caption “Murder is like a bag of chips: you can’t stop after just one”…

A Broker in Pillage (#750)

Government is just a word for the things we choose to do together:

Anthonia Nwaorie says she knew travelers entering the United States with more than $10,000 in cash are legally required to report that fact to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  But the Texas nurse, who was born in Nigeria and became a U.S. citizen in 1994, says she did not realize the same obligation applies to people leaving the United States.  That mistake cost her $41,377, most of which was earmarked for a medical clinic she planned to build in her native country…Because the Justice Department declined to pursue civil forfeiture of the money, CBP was required to return it.  Yet the agency has refused to do so unless Nwaorie signs a waiver forgoing interest on the money, renouncing any legal claims in connection with the seizure, assuming responsibility for claims by third parties, and promising to reimburse the government for any expenses it incurs while enforcing the agreement.  That demand is illegal and unconstitutional, according to a federal class action lawsuit that the Institute for Justice filed…on behalf of Nwaorie and other travelers who have found themselves in the same situation…

Original Sin (#803)

We’re seeing more and more of this in mainstream papers:

…anti-trafficking NGOs…are staunchly religious, and those religious views can have damaging effects…Billie McIntire, a psychotherapist and educator at the Colorado School for Family Therapy, as well as a former sex worker…says that the anti-trafficking movement has been intentionally co-opted by religious institutions, who police prostitution and infringe on the rights of sex workers, using anti-trafficking rhetoric as a ploy to gain sympathy, more members, more money and more ammunition against consensual commercial erotic services…McIntire blasts anti-trafficking organizations that have joined up with movements like Fight the New Drug (an anti-pornography initiative), and have lobbied against national bills to decriminalize prostitution…

Crying for Nanny (#809)

This is even scarier post-FOSTA:

…“Some of the facts of our cases are going to show that not only did some of these hotel facilities or truck stops turn a blind eye, but they actually facilitated the trafficking of these individuals,” attorney Annie McAdams said…“We’re here to disrupt the status quo of the industry”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#810)

License plate readers are a menace to civil rights:

Maryland State Police vehicles have their on-board computer connected to the automatic license plate readers in their patrol cars. These computers are set to flag…out-of-state vehicles with owners that have concealed carry permits…The [cop] can…stop the vehicle and challenge the driver to produce his concealed weapon, for which he has a legal permit IN ANOTHER STATE.  If the driver is found to have a concealed firearm…he has violated Maryland State firearms law.  The person will be arrested and there is a three year minimum sentence.  Having a concealed carry permit in another state [is also claimed as] probable cause for…a search of the…vehicle…IF YOU ARE LEGALLY CARRYING CONCEALED FROM ANOTHER STATE, DO NOT EVEN DRIVE THROUGH MARYLAND. AND IF YOU HAVE A PERMIT FROM ANOTHER STATE, EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT CARRYING, EXPECT TO BE STOPPED…

To Molest and Rape (#817) 

Another pig uses a traumatized woman’s fear as leverage:

…a [cop] in Apex, North Carolina has been accused of coercing a domestic violence survivor into an affair while working on her case…Worth Brown kissed Julia Allgrove against her will after she called police after her estranged and abusive husband repeatedly violated a restraining order she’d taken out to protect herself and their two small children.  A relationship between the victim and the detective developed…he said her husband’s case would be dropped if the relationship was ever revealed…and…that she could lose custody of her children…

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If you’re not supporting the way people are surviving, you’re not supporting their survival.  –  Kate D’Adamo

Here We Go Again 

As I’ve been saying for the past 14 years:

The notion that prostitution…is a form of slavery…[is] a reprise of the Progressive Era [hysteria]…of the early 20th century, when a burgeoning national media, led by McClure’s magazine, established the “white slave trade” as an urgent and widespread peril facing the nation.  The ensuing moral crusade led to “formal responses on both the local and federal levels, including the election of anti-trafficking candidates to governmental office; the proliferation of commissions to study white slavery and vice…the formation of special vice units…the passage of…legislation [such] as the Mann Act…and the expansion of the Bureau of Investigations [the precursor to the FBI]”…according to Gretchen Soderlund, author of Sex Trafficking, Scandal, and the Transformation of Journalism… “White slavery was largely a cultural myth for understanding sex work,” wrote social-work researcher Nicole Bromfield…“White slavery”…linked a moral crusade with the vilification of immigrants — especially nonwhite immigrants — who were painted as pimps and slavers.  Women of color who did sex work were dismissed as “voluntary” prostitutes, unworthy of redemption or rescue.  As for white women, their innocence might be presumed but their consent was considered irrelevant…

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

Men are impersonating [cops] and using the broad powers of the job to sexually assault women…[because cops], too, have a long track record of committing sexual violence against women…experts say…not enough police departments are taking the issue seriously.  “It’s so troubling when we hear about these cases,” said Alex Vitale, author of The End of Policing, which includes a chapter about sex work…“a significant proportion of [sex workers] have had interactions with police that involved demands for sex or other kinds of abuse, so sex workers are going to be particularly wary to challenge a [cop]”…

Banishment

Actually, I think this is a good thing; the more people are subjected to this evil tyranny, the more will realize that nobody should be:

…[Politicians] have long justified sex offender registries as a way to notify people about potentially dangerous neighbors or acquaintances, while critics say they fail to prevent crime and create a class of social outcasts.  Over the years, several states have expanded their registries to add [people convicted] of other crimes, including kidnapping, assault, and murder.  Tennessee added animal abuse.  Utah added white collar crimes.  A few states considered but abandoned plans for hate crime and domestic abuse registries.  At least five states publicly display methamphetamine producers.  But Kansas went furthest, adding an array of lesser drug crimes; roughly 4,600 people in the state are now registered as drug offenders…[pigs pretend] that the registry helps keep track of people who may commit new offenses and cautions the public to avoid potentially dangerous areas and individuals…Kansas legislature is currently considering a bill proposed by the state’s sentencing commission that would remove drug offenders from the registry.  “It is a drain on resources with no science, studies, or data to justify it,” defense lawyer Jennifer Roth told [politicians] at an early February hearing…

Under Every Bed

This is just the same old “interstate highway” nonsense, but the fact that it’s Alabama makes it even funnier:

A multi-billion-dollar industry is taking east Alabama by storm…“It’s a $150 billion worldwide industry…the target age is 12-14″…[hebephilic fantasist] Maryhelen Kirkpatrick said…“Because you all are so close to Atlanta there ’s a lot of trafficking that happens here”…easy interstate access provides a hot spot for predators in our area to lure victims away…“These…kids have no idea who they are talking to until it’s too late,” Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes said…“Sex trafficking is a huge issue that is getting bigger, bigger, and bigger almost by the day”…

Doesn’t Hughes sound like he’s wanking and about to jizz on himself? “It’s getting bigger…BIGGER…BIGGER…oooh yeah!”

If Men Were Angels 

“Pastors” are nearly as bad as cops:

“Sexual immorality” was the reason cited when longtime Pastor Ken Engelking resigned in January from Morning Star Community Church in Salem [Oregon].  Four women had come forward…with allegations against Engelking, two other former church staff members and a member of an affiliated church…the women chronicled accusations of an abusive, adulterous relationship involving Engelking, and sexual assault and rape by three other men over more than 20 years, including as recently as 2010…the women said they were silenced by Nelson and other church leaders, pressured to not report what happened to them or do anything that could tarnish Morning Star’s image…the…church board [included a cop and a politician]…

Censor Chic

Though this isn’t awful, every article Wired prints about sex work contains an inexcusable amount of misinformation:

While some sex-work directory sites do still exist online, the 2014 federal takedown of popular web hub RedBook [sic] hastened a shift that was already in the offing: sex workers taking their marketing into their own hands via social media..But…all of it is strictly against platforms’ rules regarding sexual content, which are loosely based on United States prostitution law.  And…workers’ accounts are often shut down without warning or explanation, even when their content never ventures into explicit territory.  So they’re feeling more than a little betrayed by the platforms they feel they helped create…

Some sites still exist”?  MyRedBook (not “Redbook”) spoken of without mentioning Rentboy, Backpage or TRB?  Platform rules based on “prostitution law”?  WTF, Wired?  Could you, like, talk to some sex workers before making the moronic assertion that Instagram is “the only place to connect” with good clients?

Guest Columnist:  Andrea Werhun 

Another peek at Andrea and her book, Modern Whore:

Former escort Andrea Werhun, 28, says she was determined to destigmatise sex work, and show that it is a job like any other.  The Canadian writer recounts sleeping with obese, unattractive and foul-smelling clients, taking part in a threesome and being raped on the job…She even says she actively enjoyed having sex with an 80-year-old man.  “It’s a reasonable option for a certain kind of person, especially if you have strong boundaries…If you’re just desperate for the money, it could eat you alive.”  Werhun, whose book contains a practical “how-to” guide for would-be escorts, says she thought it was “important to show the full picture” and recount her worst encounters as well as the best…

I think it’s hilarious how much amateurs fixate on our clients’ attractiveness, then have the nerve to talk about “objectification” and similar nonsense.

Fallen Idol (#792)

More allegations of sexual abuse in the porn industry:

Porn actors Leigh Raven and Riley Nixon have released a more than hour-long YouTube video detailing two different incidents of alleged abuse on adult sets.  They say both events took place during shoots with the male performer Rico Strong, and for a director known as Just Dave.  Their accusations include misleading booking practices, excessive face-slapping and choking, and boundary violations.  In Raven’s case, the shoot in question took place earlier in the week of March 6.  Raven says she has filed a police report and undergone a medical evaluation…Nixon’s allegation concerns a shoot that happened in early January; she came forward with her account only in response to Raven’s claims, which were initially aired in a cryptic tweet on [March 8th]…

Lack of Evidence (#805)

Two months.  That’s all it took for San Francisco to figure out a way to harass sex workers that gets around its “policy”:

San Francisco District Attorney [and former police chief] George Gascón is asking new Mayor Mark Farrell to let him install a Human Trafficking Unit in his office, a proposal that gained the support of a key women’s group in the city…“While a 2017 study…found that 58 percent of all defendants in federal human trafficking cases operated as part of an organized criminal group, San Francisco has not identified, investigated or prosecuted any criminal organizations involved in human trafficking,” said Gascón’s proposal.  A trafficking unit would help the D.A.’s office “more effectively identify and prosecute…traffickers, and disrupt criminal organizations that drive trafficking”…

For those who still don’t get it, I present these translations from the Porcish:  “sex trafficking” = “sex work”; “criminal organizations” = “sex workers who know each other in any capacity”; “women’s group” = “authoritarians with vaginas”.

Not So Easy

A stripper lays some inconvenient truths on New Orleans:

Since 2015’s Halloween strip club raids, the count of such clubs in the Vieux Carre in New Orleans has gone from 23 to 14…Adverse zoning, contact and distance laws, discriminatory legislation by age and gender, undercover surveillance and overt police raiding are part of a feedback loop that entrenches itself in the public imagination, spurred on by the concept of “trafficking”…used as a euphemism for “prostitution”…[which] was extrapolated into any gesture or conversation “lewd” enough to be construed as an “ask”. No actual sex acts were documented, no “victims of trafficking” or underage workers were found.  The ATC charged the clubs for women touching their own bodies…[the state has hired] adultbusinesslaw.com …backed by Christian Right activist organizations, this firm’s sole purpose is to eradicate adult businesses…The “secondary negative effects” method has been shown, over and over, to be rife with un-empirical data and unethical ways of collecting it, yet it continues to re-emerge…Bergthold’s cases, when they reach federal court, are routinely thrown out for violating the First (and often the Fifth and Fourteenth) amendment.  Meanwhile, his targets are buckling under the time and money involved in defending against his bottomlessly funded attacks…

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Now is the moment for celebrities to give up the fantasy of saving “Jane Doe” and do the hard work of seeing and listening to people in the sex trades as fully formed, complex individuals who have actual names.  –  Alana Massey

Here We Go Again 

Here’s an interesting biography of Anthony Comstock, the deeply-deranged, self-loathing pervert behind the previous American crusade against “obscenity” and “pornography”.  Given that we’re currently deeply immersed in a very similar crusade (though driven this time by many pathological prudes rather than one), this two-year-old article might offer some insights which could prove useful…though I think it’s fascinating how moderns writing about such things (another example is “white slavery” hysteria) in smug or condemnatory tones never seem able to connect the Victorian campaigns to their modern counterparts.

Wise Investment 

Everyone harmed by prostitution laws needs to keep suing over them:

SWARM and ECP congratulate the three [UK] women who last week won in court the right not to reveal their criminal convictions for prostitution to prospective employers.  The women have multiple convictions for soliciting or loitering under the Street Offences Act, and their records will be amended to filter out these convictions…ECP and SWARM …[insist] that criminal records for prostitution should be fully expunged.  Under [this] court ruling the police will still have access to the information that someone has been convicted for soliciting…

Wise Investment (#428)

Evil laws and policies cause tremendous harm; here’s what happens when they’re repealed:

Increasing understanding of the mistakes of the past—and the violent impacts of taking action based on moral or ideological assumptions about sex workers and their lives—has changed the way sex work is viewed and monitored in Vancouver…police created a sex work enforcement guidelines policy, which clearly stated that adult consensual sex work would no longer be a priority…The City of Vancouver also adopted a policy of non-enforcement through their sex work response guidelines, which states explicitly that sex work is not a bylaw violation…The net result…has been de facto decriminalization of sex work in the city of Vancouver…Not only are crimes against sex workers being reported more often…but…there have been no murders of sex workers in Vancouver since 2009…

The Puritan Recrudescence

Though the silly notion that ejaculation saps a man’s vitality is a very old one, the even sillier “porn as abuse” belief is of recent vintage:

The [manager of the] Kansas City Royals [forced players to attend] a [propaganda session] for minor-league players…[organized by] anti-porn group “Fight the New Drug“…[which pretends] it is not religiously affiliated…general manager Dayton Moore is [obsessed with] the issue, and [though] the [supposed] goal is for players to be zeroed in on their performance for games…Moore [has in the past vomited out a lot of nonsense to reporters such as]…“pornography…what that does to the minds of players and the distractions, and how that leads to…abuse of women”…

The notion that healthy, physically-active young men can simply be ordered to be asexual was first imposed on the military by politicians, but now appears to be spreading.

Agony Aunt (#666) 

“Dear Prudence” gives good advice to a gay man whose lover has a sugar mama:

You don’t seem to have much of an issue with the arrangement qua arrangement if you’ve met her several times, enjoyed her company, and taken money from her yourself.  Your jealousy isn’t centered around the connection your boyfriend shares with his patron; it’s that his job requires significant emotional and romantic output on his part, and you want to make some space in your relationship where the two of you connect on a romantic rather than a merely domestic level…it’s very much worth talking about, especially if you make it clear that you’re not trying to discourage him from continuing with his patronage and that you support his work…

Pyrrhic Victory (#691) 

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

After the prosecution of a California doctor revealed the FBI’s ties to a Best Buy Geek Squad computer repair facility in Kentucky, new documents released to EFF show that the relationship goes back years.  The records also confirm that the FBI has paid Geek Squad employees as informants…The relationship potentially circumvents computer owners’ Fourth Amendment rights.  The documents…show that Best Buy officials have enjoyed a particularly close relationship with the agency for at least 10 years…Geek Squad employees were financially rewarded for finding child pornography.  Such a bounty would likely encourage Geek Squad employees to actively sweep for suspicious content…

Elephant in the Parlor (#815)  

Powerful men never learn that whores aren’t afraid of them:

…Trump’s lawyer is trying to silence adult-film star Stormy Daniels, obtaining a secret restraining order in a private arbitration proceeding and warning that she will face penalties if she publicly discusses a relationship with the president…The new pressure on Daniels…comes a day after she filed a lawsuit in a Los Angeles court alleging that a nondisclosure agreement she made to keep quiet about an “intimate” relationship with Trump is invalid because he never signed it…[the] lawsuit says that Trump attorney Michael Cohen — who brokered the agreement…during the presidential campaign — attempted to “intimidate” [Daniels] and “shut her up” by initiating what it calls a “bogus arbitration proceeding” against her in Los Angeles on Feb. 27…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Teen Vogue and now Allure…it’s so heartening to see so many women’s fashion & beauty magazines recognizing that they owe their very existence to whores, and speaking up:

…FOSTA…[and] SESTA …target websites…that enable people in the sex trades to do their work safely and independently…[in a celeb-heavy PSA with Seth Meyers, Amy Schumer, and others] Schumer calls [Section 230] a “stupid loophole” [in the Communications  Decency Act]…Both those in the sex trade and those with any understanding of free online expression consider this so-called “stupid loophole” a “core pillar of Internet freedom” and the “most important law in Internet history.” The bills that would alter it have been roundly condemned by advocates for trafficking victims and survivors of trafficking, as well as by those willingly in the industry who would be at greater risk for exploitation in the absence of online platforms that allow them to share information…the PSA [is]…based [on]…the premise…that right this second and in your own hometown, it is totally possible to go online and buy a child for sexual slavery — that it’s “as easy as ordering a pizza,” according to Schumer.  I put this claim to the test…via a set of searches on Backpage that have likely landed me on an FBI watch list.  Not one lousy “kid”, “minor”, “teen”, or “child” was available for purchase.  Meanwhile, Domino’s is at my house within 21 minutes of me placing an order…It is almost as if perpetrators of human trafficking aren’t really all that likely to advertise using photos of shackled minors…

Morality Lessons (#819) 

Moral panic + censorship = profit:

Rhode Island has joined a host of other states in considering an irrational measure to regulate online porn by charging consumers a $20 access fee.  But the Rhode Island bill actually beats others like it in terrible and unconstitutional requirements…the Rhode Island bill wouldn’t just block overtly sexual content but anything deemed “patently offensive,” too–even though there’s no clear definition of this term…It would also require devices to automatically block “any hub that facilitates prostitution”—again, not a legal or well-defined category of content…device makers would also have to “ensure that all child pornography and revenge pornography is inaccessible” on their products…If it were that easy to stop the spread of child porn, companies would be doing it already…

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I’m an experienced sex worker who started out years ago on the street, and in more recent years escorting for an agency.  Now I’m back in school, working to change my previously-difficult life for the better, and I’d like to shift from working for an agency to working independently; do you have any advice for me?

The internet has enabled sex workers to advertise much more easily and cheaply than ever before, without the help of third parties such as escort services or brothels.  Of course, that means having to do the work of advertising and answering messages oneself, but it also means saving the agency fee and setting your own hours and the like.  My suggestion is that you spend some time looking at the escort advertising resources in your city; one good way to find them is to Google “escorts [your city]” and look at what sites come up.  Eros, Slixa, Cityvibe and others are pure advertising malls, and there are also many local review boards which allow advertising as well as putting you in touch with other sex workers in your area.  You’re also going to want to start a Twitter account under your stage name so as to follow and interact with other sex workers; by looking at other sex workers’ ads and Twitter feeds, you’ll be able to see how they market themselves, and shape your own marketing accordingly.  Don’t try to call too much attention to being new on the indy scene; besides the fact that you aren’t actually inexperienced, cops and their busybody stooges now use “new in town” type ads to ensnare careless clients, and you don’t want the good guys who will be your best clients to be scared off by thinking you’re a filthy pig jerking off to the thought of busting him and ruining his life.  I also suggest you take some time perusing my “mentoring” tag; while I’m sure you have the actual work down by now, the essays in that tag contain a lot of advice and links which may help you shift to doing your own advertising and screening.  Finally, I suggest you try to find out which activist and social organizations such as SWOP may exist in your area; as you already know, this work can be very isolating, and being able to socialize with other sex workers in real life will not only help you to learn more about our trade, but also give you the emotional support you’ll need as you embark on this new stage of your career and life.

(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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Last week, a long-time client of Laura’s asked if I’d publish this tribute to her today, the day of her funeral.  And how could I not?  This text was approved by her daughter Cat prior to publication.

Today is the funeral of Laura Lee, “Ant” (Antoinette) to her friends, but I can’t be there celebrating her full but short life and grieving at her unexpected death.  Yes, I am one of those, a client, who has another life which made it impossible for me to attend.  I have no one to share my grief with, other than other sex workers, clients, allies and academics who knew Laura; they have been an immense help.  It has been a hard few days for me and I am sure I am not alone.  I have known Laura for twelve years, and online even longer than that.  She was a moderator on the forum call Punternet…yes, that so-called “patriarchal” review site so beloved by the antis had real life sex workers as moderators.  The first time I met Laura was in Edinburgh, and after our appointment she asked me back to accompany her on a midnight Edinburgh ghost walk tour.  I did, and that was the start of a long relationship.  Little did I know she was fascinated in ghosts, and only days before she left us she was staying in a haunted coach house.

During the next few years I would meet Laura wherever our paths crossed, often in Edinburgh or London, and once a coincidental meeting in Carlisle where we both happened to be working at the same time.  One year I took the plunge and invited her to come to Glastonbury music festival with me; I already had a ticket, but her ticket was a late booking on the Glastonbury ticket resale, and the only tickets available included coach transfer.  So, I drove there on Wednesday and set up camp; she arrived by coach the next day.  I met her on Thursday afternoon and we spent the rest of the day looking around and eventually making our way back to the small tent, soaking wet from the rain which had started.  We didn’t mind; we were together for the weekend.  There were no showers, and the loos at Glastonbury are diabolical stinking holes in a tank; wet wipes and cider become the currency of the festival.  The privacy in a small tent sited within a foot of other tents is virtually non-existent; three middle aged men nearby were discussing the moans of ecstasy they had heard during the night.  We would lie together listening to the requests for Ketamine and the inflation of balloons throughout the night.

She loved the Green Fields area and the Healing Fields, the Hippy area Laura called it, where there are various massages available, Yoga and Tarot card readings.  Having a wicked sense of humour, she went up to one young police officer and asked him about the laws on opening a massage tent and would it be alright if she supplied extra services.  The poor man flushed and stammered with embarrassment, eventually saying he would have to ask a superior.  Laura was supportive of all harm reduction initiatives and spent time talking with the helpers at a drug help tent.  Here they would advise people on safe drug use and they would spend the night and early hours touring the stone circle area handing out water and helping anyone in distress.  She was impressed by the care they gave.  The Green Fields area and especially the Peace Garden were a quiet safe space where one could sit and contemplate; it’s where we lay in the sun and I told her I loved her.  I felt so embarrassed after saying this, but no she said it was sweet and a lovely thing to have said.

Laura’s determination to come with me to Glastonbury was revealed next year, after she broke her ankle and damaged her knee in a fall in the bath tub a few weeks before the festival.  Her whole leg was placed in plaster all the way up to her crotch.  I was sure she would not come, but she did; luckily, we had upgraded to glamping and were sleeping in a bed, with showers and flush loos.  I was over the moon when she told me she hadn’t even contemplated not coming.  The only downside of the location of our yurt was the hill up to the campsite; pushing Laura up the wet grass in the wheel chair was punishing and very challenging work at the end of a long night.  But it was an amazing festival, and people were always ready whenever we needed help in the mud, or faced a steep hill.  We had hospitality tickets that year, so we celebrity spotted in the area between the Pyramid and Other stage; Laura was in her element being photographed with Paolo Nutini.

We managed five Glastonburys, two T in the parks, TRNSMT in Glasgow and even did the small Pilton party together last year.  From there Laura has a selfie of herself with Michael Eavis.  The great highlights of Glastonbury for her were Dolly Parton and Adele; she also valued her meeting with the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell (a vocal supporter of sex workers rights who knew of Laura) at the Left Field stage.  Taking an out-sex worker with a public profile and those unmistakable long black curls to such a public event has its risks; she had appeared on many chat shows and on TV shows such as Sex on Wheels which featured disabled people’s sexual needs and had been aired several times.  Generally, the reaction to her was positive, with women coming up to be photographed with her.  One time after Glastonbury at Bristol airport she was hugged and thanked for all she was doing.  During that last festival she was spotted by another sex worker and ended up giving advice and help.  Of course there were downsides too, such as the Irish doctor at our glamping site who recognised Laura and started making loud audible snide comments.  Last year we spotted a woman who just kept glaring angrily at Laura without saying anything.  Thankfully the glamping area had grown large, so we didn’t have to see either of them again.  Laura would outwardly laugh these slights off, but I knew it hurt her and put a damper on the late evenings sitting around the brazier in Love Fields.

The Greenfields area of Glastonbury had a debating and lecture area, and this is where she met Ruby Wax giving a talk on mental health, which was a personal issue for Laura, though when I was with her I very rarely saw it.  She was so pleased to have the opportunity to speak with Ruby and get her autograph.  She worked hard promoting sex worker rights, even while we were enjoying ourselves at festivals; there were always emails or phone calls for help or for an interview, and she tried to fit these in when she could.  She took every opportunity to promote sex worker rights, to the extent of questioning those working on the Glasgow Sexual Health stand at the TRNSMT festival about their attitudes toward sex workers.

Outside of her work Laura tried to fit in speaking engagements, TV debates and protest marches where ever she could, along with actively working with different campaign groups and building relationships with the Belfast Reclaim the Night, feminist organisations and Repeal the 8th.  This often cost her money for hotels and travel, and importantly her time when she could have been working.  Campaigning is not cheap, with the costs increasing, and her earnings reduced, her stress levels increased with bills needing payment.  This spiral was having on effect on her health and made me very aware that allies must step up and help by donating money unconditionally to activists.  Not just money for a specific court case or cause, but money for the travel, accommodation and the loss of income from not being able to work on those days.

I loved Laura and I believe she had affections for me, often sharing with me aspects of her life, and sometimes having petty arguments like married couples.  I loved her forthrightness and the way she picked me up on my occasional tactlessness.  I greatly miss her; her death has left a hole in my heart and life.  I bitterly regret not attending the Beyond the Gaze event in Manchester where Laura received a standing ovation for her speech.

May Laura continue to haunt the lives of those who fight against total decriminalisation of sex work.

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