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Posts Tagged ‘screening’

Claudia Christophe is a Chicago-based escort currently on hiatus until 2019.  Nonetheless, she has returned to blogging on her own blog, The Claudia Chronicles, here on WordPress and she may very reluctantly return to Twitter later this year.  Previously, she has been an active participant with SWOP-Chicago under a different identity and remains an ardent sex workers’ rights activist in her own way.

Not one second, not one dime.

Let me make something very clear at the start:  I’m not interested in “not all” protestations.  I’m not interested in “No True Scotsmen” objections.  I’m not interested in catering to willful stupidity.  If we’re all on the same page, let’s proceed.

Sex workers need to screen Potential Feminist Allies (PFAs) the way escorts screen potential clients.  Why?  For the same reason escorts screen potential clients:  to make sure that those who will be sharing intimate space with us won’t violate us in said space.  In the case of the sex workers’ rights movement, that intimate space is the movement itself.  Thanks to the tireless, too often thankless, and overall, unpaid efforts of the worldwide sex workers’ rights movement, our voices and diverse experiences within the sex industry are being listened to with increasing respect.  But in the public sphere, that is the media and halls of power, we’re still drowned out by the voices of mainstream feminists who outright hate us or, at the very least, pity us as eternal victims.  It is the latter group of feminist allies that we have to guard against as the former will never be our allies.

It is tempting to accept help from our “sisters” in the feminist movement if they show even the slightest inkling of sympathy for us; it is equally tempting to lend support to a feminist event, even though there’s no hint that such sisterly support will be reciprocal.  But we have to make sure that the support is for sex work itself and not, ostensibly, just for the sex worker; that is how we get monstrosities like the Nordic Model and all its equally gross mutations.  Feminists who can only support sex workers when we talk about bad clients (because it reaffirms their belief that deep down all of us actually hate sex work and can’t wait to be violently rescued), or feminists who only support us because of similar reproductive organs (excluding male, trans and nonbinary workers), are not allies at all; they are the feminists who will inevitably turn on us as soon as it becomes inconvenient to stand with us.

The way we need to screen these PFAs is not a one-to-one analogy to client screening, but it’s close enough.  Let’s start with real-world identification:  Who are they, individual supporters or an organization?  At this point with a client, I would require employment information for verification but in the case of PFAs, I need references:  what background research did they do to make their decision to support the sex workers’ rights movement?  And how have they cast their votes regarding sex work and the law?  Have they consistently voted for politicians and propositions that promote carceral solutions?  Will they continue to vote for these politicians in the future because they subscribe to a “lesser evil” mentality in the voting booth?  Have they donated money to organizations that promote sex trafficking propaganda and an obviously biased exclusion of dissenting and highly nuanced sex worker voices?  Just like verifying references, employment information, checking for previous violent interpersonal actions, and IDs upon meeting, these would-be allies need to prove that our standards for safeguarding our autonomy are ones they will support also.

I, and many other escorts, have a requirement to meet clients in public first, with a few exceptions.  PFAs all need to meet us in public; we are not the “side-chick”, okay?  If we’re invited to participate in a function, we can’t let them hide our presence and thus lessen the impact of the invitation.  If an organization has come to the conclusion that their previous stance on sex workers’ rights was flawed, then the organization needs to publicly amend that stance at the same or greater volume as previous statements on the subject.  This is especially important if said organization ever promoted legislation and policies that have been proven harmful to sex workers:

This is extremely important if the PFA is a politician or other policymaker or influencer.  PFAs, whether individual or organizational, must take responsibility for any past harm they committed against us before we extend our hand in friendship, and nothing less than this.

And then there’s the money aspect.  The obvious screening analogy to this is the deposit:  would-be allies need to put their money where their mouths are before an alliance is solidified.  This is especially important with any famous, wealthy feminist celebrity who might decide, even for a brief moment, that openly supporting sex workers’ rights will be great publicity.  Oh, so Famous Actress made a statement with a half-hearted support for the movement?  Let’s contain our excitement until it’s backed up with cash or other valuable resources (like writers’ rooms!) that Ms. Actress has access to and we don’t.  If supporting our movement becomes unpopular again for whatever reason, at least let’s not expend our precious resources of time, money, energy, attention, etc., on a fair-weather friend.  Maxine Doogan brought up a similar point in this YouTube video where she called out Hollywood hypocrites who make money off portraying us for a substantial paycheck on-screen, while pleading with politicians off-screen to incarcerate us “for our own good”.  For individuals who aren’t wealthy but are new supporters to the cause, well, time is money and we’ll gladly tell you how best to spend it.  Goddess knows that the coffers of the sex workers’ rights movement are sorely in need of filling.

Harsh?  I don’t think so; this is merely the minimum we should expect.  I have a feeling that there may be an upsurge in new feminist support for the sex workers’ rights movement coming soon, but I also fear that it could be very superficial.  In other words, they might offer just enough support to lull sex worker activists into thinking we have more people on our side than ever before until, as I wrote earlier, it suddenly becomes inconvenient to stand with us…until Ms. Privileged Feminist with the large checkbook and larger voting bloc threatens to withdraw support from her feminist organization of choice for their support of sex workers’ rights.  It’s very important to make sure ally participation in our movement doesn’t become a “trend” with a shelf life shorter than an Instastory.

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Only Time

I’ve heard of escorts pricing individual acts, but have no idea how the prices are communicated to the client without possibly exposing yourself in front of an undercover cop.  I don’t think a handjob should be priced the same as anal considering the disparity in risk and effort between the two.

In general, it’s a really bad idea for an escort to charge for anything other than time, though most escorts have a lower social rate for dates without private time (in other words conducted completely in public such as dinner or drinks).  It’s true that BDSM and fetish are generally priced a little lower than full service, which I personally think is stupid; dommes take a long time to learn their craft and they need to invest a great deal more energy and imagination in a session than GFE escorts like me have to.  Furthermore, they need a lot of expensive specialized equipment in addition to the lingerie, makeup, beauty costs, condoms, lube, etc that escorts need.  So they should charge more than regular escorts, not less!  But I digress; other than the disparities I mentioned, no escort I know charges a la carte, or if she does she doesn’t tell me.  Flat-rate pricing generally operates in the sex worker’s favor anyway; would you really want to have to give a refund if a client pays for full service, but then climaxes while you’re warming him up with mouth or hands?  Because I sure wouldn’t.  If you feel a particular menu item is more effort than you want to expend, either don’t offer it at all or only offer it to regulars you like.

As for cops, I’ve said this many times but it bears repeating:  You cannot actually protect yourself from a cop trying to trick you, because cops lie; if you let one in your door or go in his door, you will be arrested no matter what you say or do.  He will simply claim you said whatever the local DA requires to press charges on you.  The only way to be safe from a cop is to detect him before you meet him or even talk very much.  If you meet him, you’re going for a ride no matter what you said or didn’t say, so proper screening is your best safeguard.

(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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I’m trying to join a site that requires a reference; could you provide that for me?

Unless you’re someone I’ve actually met in person and know to be a sex worker, the answer is “absolutely not”.  Ditto if you’re a client I haven’t actually had a full-rate appointment with.  The reason should be obvious: the entire point of references for joining sex worker sites is to provide some measure of trust.  If I’m a trusted member of a site and I give a reference for a lady or gent I’ve met and feel reasonably good about, that says something about that person.  But if I just give references for people who haven’t actually done anything to earn that vouch, I’m deliberately cutting at the webwork of trust such sites rely upon and sabotaging the system; that’s an ethical nightmare which could allow any number of awful and even dangerous people behind the walls.

Now, it’s absolutely true that all a cop needs to do to infiltrate an escort board is to talk somebody into seeing him, then using her as a reference to see someone else, and after he does that a few times getting them to vouch for him (maybe even writing a few reviews for good measure).  That’s morally reprehensible behavior; it’s serial consent violation for the purpose of destroying a community, ruining lives and wrecking careers, which puts it on the same moral level as rape even if the individual women who were tricked don’t realize it.  Of course, cops (being moral retards) have no aversion to rape and other vile, thoroughly loathsome violations of the most basic human decency; they are, however, subject to limitations imposed by time, money and their own stupidity, and therefore tend to prefer low-hanging fruit to that which can only be harvested via years of sleazy spying and exploitation.  With a few notable exceptions like the violation of Seattle’s The Review Board, cops prefer to capture and parade the largest number of victims possible in front of the reporters’ cameras for the least possible effort, and that means when they bother trying to infiltrate sites at all they generally do it in the quickest, easiest way possible.  And you’ve got to admit that if it worked, getting a fake vouch from a well-respected escort would be a helluva lot quicker than the months-long process of actually behaving like a decent paying customer for long enough to worm his way in.  Of course, most well-respected escorts are going to answer this question in exactly the same way as I did back in the first sentence, though without the explanation.  Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s very likely that the person who asked me this question is a real sex worker, but I don’t know that for a fact.  And the stakes are much too high for me to gamble them on a guess.

(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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I’ve begun to notice lately that I’m seeing a lot more gentlemen who have either never seen an escort before, or did so such a long time ago that they no longer have references; a lot of them are very, very nervous due to all the pogroms and client persecution, and some are even confused by the propaganda.  So though they’d like to see a lady, they’re worried about being tricked by evil thugs and having their lives destroyed, and some are concerned that the propaganda might even be true (if exaggerated).  And so they go on the internet looking for answers, and find yours truly; they often read my writings and take comfort in the straight talk I dispense, and even if they don’t do that they can recognize that I am a well-established lady who’s been doing this for half a lifetime, and I’m certainly not any kind of scam artist or bait in a police trap.  And so they contact me; sometimes they’re so nervous they want to pay my social rate to meet for an hour in public first, and that’s just fine.  In fact, such a meetup can serve as a screening for a gent without references; another way I screen first-timers is to simply collect payment in advance so there’s no exchange at the time of our meeting.  And after they see me, my referral can open other doors for them.  I’m really glad for this rather unexpected side-effect of my relative fame; if I can help gentlemen in need, that’s a really wonderful feeling for me.  It’s also a testament to the power of social media; guys who read my blog long enough or follow me on Twitter feel as though they know me, and a lot of the nervousness associated with meeting a sex worker for the first time is bypassed.

Speaking of social media, it seems as though half of everybody now knows that Lorelei Rivers and I have a standing Doctor Who date every Sunday night, so we’ve decided to regularly tweet cheesecake pictures taken at the time.  We’ve even started getting gifts specifically geared to the event; one gentleman paid for our dinner this past Sunday, and an extremely generous gentleman even got Lorelei a new TV set specifically to improve our viewing experience!  So thanks very much to those gents for those gifts, and it goes without saying that we welcome more such!  But one thing we won’t welcome is people trying to make appointments with us during our special time, so please don’t ask; we will, however, welcome duo requests for most other times during the week.  Seriously, guys, the team of Rivers & McNeill is one that will rock you like you’ve never been rocked before; you should deeply consider booking us together.  It’s an experience so out of this world it almost qualifies to be a fantasy adventure show of its own! 

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Getting Started

I am a 24-year old in the US who has been interested in becoming an escort for a while, but I don’t know how to get started.   How does one screen clients to make sure they aren’t dangerous (including cops)?  I see your escort booking form asks for occupation & references, but what if they don’t have them?  When is the appropriate time to talk about what sexual acts they are looking for?  Where is the best place to start advertising?  I just wish I had a step by step guideline.  I wrote to a girl who’s highly reviewed in my area, but the response came from a guy in another state who said he is her “persona management.”  He said that he books her clients, a woman does the screening and, they spend over $3000 per month on advertising for her.  If I were to join they would take a percentage but I would be responsible for getting to all of my appointments.  Have you ever heard of people doing this?

First, absolutely DO NOT make any deals with people you’ve never met.  While there are still agencies, they’re going the way of the dodo in most markets and as a former service owner myself I’m telling you that you don’t need them (especially ones that try to hard sell you from the get-go with fancy talk of thousands of dollars a month in advertising).  Frankly, this sounds to me like a scam, especially since you’re an unproven quantity at this point.  The best thing for you to do (especially now that Backpage is kinda crippled) is to find your local escort boards and join.  If you have a little seed money, it’s a good idea to get some professional pictures right away; if you don’t, find a friend you can trust who takes decent pictures to do your first ones, then after you get a couple of gigs you can hire a pro.  You definitely want to make sure you like the work before you invest too much.  As for screening, references are the best way to go for a beginner; as you go on you’ll talk to other girls and learn more tricks, including whitelists like Date-check and blacklists like Verify Him.  It’s not a good idea to talk explicitly about sexual acts up front; this is partly because of cops, but also because some guys just want to jerk off while talking to you and you don’t want to give them free wanking material.  Please check out my Mentoring tag, and the “Mentoring” section of my FAQ page; there’s a lot of stuff there and I think you’ll find many of the posts useful (including a number of them on screening).  But probably the best all-around advice I can give you is to buy and read Amanda Brooks’ Internet Escorts Handbook; it’s a small investment and you’ll get a lot out of it.

(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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The only thing [cops]…do is…sweep everyone up in antiprostitution policing, and then somehow assert that this is being done in the name of combating human trafficking.  –  Kate Mogulescu

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

How long can this scam go on?

A married doctor who romped with an escort in hospital can treat patients again – after claiming cycling has helped him quit his sex addiction.  Father-of-two Dr Rupert Pemsel…had sex with the prostitute…But when she blackmailed him for £10,000 he came clean to the General Medical Council (GMC) and last March was suspended for “deplorable and morally reprehensible” misconduct.  Now he has been given the green light by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service to retrain as a family GP after claiming he has turned his life around…

ozzy-gives-the-birdThe UK media has a bizarre fondness for kindergarten words like “romp” and for obsessing about whether someone in a news story has spawned or not.  But the idea that doctors fucking whores is even remotely out of the ordinary is hilarious; when I was working in New Orleans, probably 20% of my income came from MDs.  Still, the main story here is the way privileged men use “sex addiction” as an excuse when they get caught, a fact not lost on the Ozzman:

Ozzy Osbourne has backtracked on claims he was suffering from sex addiction, which he made in the aftermath of an affair last year…“I’m in a fucking rock band, aren’t I?…There have always been groupies.  I just got caught, didn’t I?…I don’t think I’m a fucking sex addict”…

You’re absolutely right, Ozzy, because there is no such fucking thing as a sex addict.  As my friend Brooke Magnanti once put it, he might as well have claimed he was Father Christmas.

Monsters 

Australian police practice “NHI” as well:

…During the 1980s and 1990s, the Australian authorities now say, gangs of teenagers in Sydney hunted gay men for sport, sometimes forcing them off the cliffs to their deaths.  But the police, many of whom had a reputation for hostility toward gay men, often carried out perfunctory investigations that overlooked the possibility of homicide…Now the police in New South Wales…are reviewing the deaths of 88 men between 1976 and 2000 to determine whether they should be classified as anti-gay hate crimes…

Imagine the Sky

Here’s an interesting article on regulated brothels in 19th-century St. Petersburg.  As in France and Italy, sex workers were confined to specific brothels in an attempt to control them, and as in the US the writer clings doggedly to the myth that laws and cops were in place to “help” us, and just can’t imagine why so many women refused to submit to this “protection”.

Stupor Bowl

Have you noticed we’ve heard almost nothing about “Super Bowl sex trafficking” this year?  Even Sports Illustrated, not exactly known for hard-hitting investigatie journalism, is calling it a debunked myth and quoting those who oppose it (though, alas, no sex workers):

…The Global Alliance Against Traffic In Women makes the case that by focusing on the sex trade, authorities are taking resources that could be used to investigate [actual crimes]…there are signs that the Super Bowl Sex-Trafficking Myth might be splintering.  Minal Davis, the special adviser to the [Houston] mayor on human trafficking, believes that the “sensationalistic” approach at previous Super Bowls “hurts the messaging” and minimizes the severity…

Worse Than I Thought (#433)

I’m honestly surprised the “forced sex trafficking abortions” trope didn’t catch on:

Any woman seeking an abortion in South Dakota would have to be given the name and telephone number of an [anti-sex worker] organization…under a measure introduced…[by] Dan Kaiser…[who pretends] the idea is…an educational measure that might help get women out of dangerous and violent situations…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#563)

The biggest problem with these stupid “like Uber for sex workers” apps is that their developers don’t bother to consult any actual sex workers while developing them:

A new app…aims to make it easier and safer for sex workers to meet their clients…While sex work is legal in some Australian states, there are a number of risks for both parties.  Rendevu hopes to solve that problem.  Developer Reuben Coppa said sex workers could list themselves on the application list, show when they were working, what type of appointments they were taking and their price points…Both clients and escorts can write and read reviews about their experience.  The app also tracks location and requires credit card details…[to] guarantee the amount of the booking…So far, traffic on the app has been high but the number of bookings has been fewer than expected — there have been about 100 since the launch…

O, Canada! (#617)

Canadian prohibitionists are trying desperately to whip up “sex trafficking” hysteria there to US levels:

…in the densely populated Greater Toronto Area…girls are recruited at school by young males and taken to local motels or condominiums, where they engage in sex work.  Most continue to live at home…[prohibitionist] Katarina MacLeod [parrots,] “You have these guys making regular girls feel special, buying them things and taking them shopping…[The men] know exactly how to build dependence…Girls as young as 13 are getting recruited in”…

The More the Better (#667) 

The law is an ass, and so is this judge:

Claims that First Lady Melania Trump worked as a high-end…escort before she married businessman, billionaire and now President Donald Trump will be argued over in a Maryland court…[after] a Montgomery County judge ruled that Melania Trump’s $150 million defamation lawsuit against a Clarksburg blogger will continue to trial, saying the blog posts implied she acted as a prostitute…”The court believes most people, when they hear the words ‘high-end escort’ that describes a prostitute.  There could be no more defamatory statement than to call a woman a prostitute”…

Fuck you. Judge Sharon Burrell; there are far worse things a woman can be than a prostitute, such as a hypocritical and prudish politician.

The Crumbling Dam (#668)

Alas, Seattle “officials” think harm reduction principles only apply to drug use:

Officials in Seattle…approved the nation’s first “safe-injection” sites for users of heroin and other illegal drugs, calling the move a drastic but necessary response to an epidemic of addiction that is claiming tens of thousands of lives each year.  The sites — which offer addicts clean needles, medical supervision and quick access to drugs that reverse the effects of an overdose — have long been popular in Europe.  Now, with the U.S. death toll rising, the idea is gaining traction in a number of American cities, including Boston, New York City and Ithaca, N.Y.  While [prohibitionists] say the sites promote illegal drug use, supporters say they can keep people alive and steer them toward treatment…

The War Goes On 

Here’s a constantly-updated spreadsheet of sex worker advertising sites; I can’t speak for its contents, but the more resources for sex workers impacted by the censorship of Backpage, the better.

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Are there alternate screening methods aside from P411?  I’ve heard horror stories about the site’s actual discretion.  A hobbyist can get verified if a P411 girl recommends him, but the catch-22 is getting seen in the first place.  I visited two newbie friendly FBSM-only providers (they used LinkedIn for screening, which I felt was risky).  The first one seemed offended when I asked about referrals, and the second was willing to help, but didn’t know how to use TER whitelist or otherwise offer a referral.  How should I proceed?

As I’ve written in the past, there are indeed some well-known problems with P411, but most of those have been schemes to entrap and harm sex workers rather than clients.  Certainly, being on a whitelist like P411 or Date Check can expedite matters, but if you’re nervous about such lists you don’t have to use them; referrals are one of the most commonly-used and widely-accepted methods of screening, and they don’t require an intermediary at all.  You’ve already completed the first step by seeing two providers; some full-service escorts may not accept references from FBSM ladies, but I don’t think that’s the norm.  All you need to do now is find an escort you like and provide her with the names, email addresses & phone numbers of the ladies you’ve already seen.  If she doesn’t accept them (because she doesn’t know them, or excludes FBSM providers or whatever) you’ll need to try someone else, but I think you’ll be able to find someone pretty quickly.  If possible, try to pick a lady who’s well-established and has been around for a while; once you can give one or two strong names as references, you shouldn’t have any more problems as long as you are generous, behave like a gentleman and otherwise act in such a way that escorts won’t have any qualms about vouching for you to our sisters.

(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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