A message to us from Melissa Farley

Please forward this statement to the bloggers attacking my research, thanks.

Melissa Farley has never taken a ” federal antiprostitution oath” whatever that is. Her research was supported 70% by Prostitution Research & Education and 30% by the Trafficking in Persons Office of the US State Dept. No agency has influenced Farley’s findings or her conclusions, including the US government. Farley’s opinions are her own.

The challenge Melissa Farley offers Desiree Alliance and COYOTE and the Nevada pimps is: do you think that we should listen to the vast majority of women who want to GET OUT of prostitution? Carol Leigh of COYOTE said in a public debate with Farley in Berkeley a couple of years ago that “100%” of the women she knows in prostitution want to get out. Farley doesn’t use wild numbers like Leigh’s. Her numbers are more conservative and based on careful research: 89% of women in 9 countries and 81% of women in the Nevada legal brothels – all of whom told Farley they wanted to immediately escape prostitution. Do their voices register at all with Desiree Alliance? These are the women who don’t have access to a computer or for that matter a safe place to spend the night away from predators.

What is Desiree Alliance doing to help women get out? What are the UNLV faculty and their students doing to help women get out of prostitution?

42 Responses

  1. Miss Farley,
    You are a snake in sheep’s clothing. You are a set back to the sex worker rights movement. Your research is as flawed as your personality. People from all over the world, esp. New Zealand have plenty to say about the lies of your research. You are the thorn in the side of all sex workers. You do not want to help sex workers you want to destroy them. The work you do harms all women. Wake up you poor students and followers of Farley, she is a drone for the Bush Administration. The only reason Farley didn’t sign that anti prostitution oath is because she didn’t have too. I’ll see ya in the streets Farley, you can find me on the right side with the rest of the hookers.
    Robyn

  2. That is so bizarre that Farley has been fixated on that statement, that all the people I know in sex work want to get out eventually. The point I was making (and it was quite apparent) was that for most sex workers this is a temporary choice, and most look towards other options in the future. And some sex workers do look at this as a long term career, but even they want to retire eventually, so…all the sex workers I know want to stop eventually. That was my point.

    Sex work doesn’t have to be the ultimate career goal for us to assert our right to do it! Obviously.

    I recall past examples of her statistics in which she asks sex workers a question about getting out of prostitution, and she comes up with a high figure. This is part of her ammunition against sex work…but she should step back from her middle class presumptions and understand survival strategies and also notice that most workers (not just sex workers) look towards better work options than they have. Certainly, in my state, where prostitution is illegal, it is much more dangerous, and that certainly contributes to looking towards other options. Duh.

    Farley uses this desire to find other options eventually as an indictment against sex work, and that is the point I was making during this debate. It’s funny that she uses my hyperbole as a critique. Manipulative, for sure…

  3. Hahahah! She said “research!”

  4. I love the way Farley conflates sex worker rights groups with “Nevada pimps”. McCarthyist much?

  5. People in all occupations retire eventually. Even Melissa Farley will retire someday, shall we make clinical psychology illegal?

    The issues for sex workers leaving the industry are far more complex than putting them in jail to make them stop being bad girls.

    For sex workers to leave the industry, they need to either get other work at a living wage or retire.

    To get other work at a living wage one must:
    1. Live in a city that has living-wage jobs available
    2. Have skills/qualifications that make you eligible for such a job
    3. Have access to education and training to acquire necessary job skills
    4. Have no prior prostitution-related arrests
    5. Have appropriate clothing and transportation to get to and from such a job

    To retire one must:
    1. Have an avenue for earning money
    2. Be able to save some of that money
    3. Know what to do with that money ie: how to pay taxes, how to make smart investments
    4. Save enough money to support them and their responsibilities for the rest of their lives

    There are absolutely some workers who wish to find other work. Keeping prostitution illegal is the first obvious conflict in helping them transition, since their arrest record will keep them from being eligible for other employment. Living in a city with available living-wage jobs is not a reality for many Americans. Many sex workers who have intentions of leaving the industry are currently putting themselves through school with their sex work money so that they will have the skills and qualifications necessary to acquire other work. Sex work also makes it possible to fund transportation and clothing costs that are necessary for living-wage work.

    Others, like me, don’t necessarily want to leave the industry, but we know that retirement will come at some point. In order to retire, we need serious support in handling our finances. The most important thing for retirement in #1- we have to be able to make enough money to live on plus put some away. Trying to put us out of work directly undermines our efforts to be financially independent.

    Sex workers’ rights organizations offer resources to people in both categories- those who are leaving the business soon and those who are leaving the business eventually. Many of us flock to these organizations because among these people we can truly be ourselves, we can be sincere about our work and the joys and disappointments associated with it. We are not being judged, or labeled. We are among our peers.

    The organizations that you’ve mentioned are run by sex workers, for sex workers. None of these organizations are aiming to prevent people from getting out of the business if they wish to and they are certainly not preventing other organizations (like Jody’s) from assisting other people to get out of the business.

    Have you ever stopped to understand that it is in the best interest for all of us for those who wish to be out to get out? I’ve never encountered any sex worker who felt that another person should be forced to stay in the business. Just because we’re saying that we don’t want sex workers and their clients to go to jail does not mean that we don’t want them to be able to stop working in the sex industry when they choose to.

    The point is CHOICE. People should neither be forced to stay in, nor leave sex work. There should not be laws that limit consensual entrance and/or exit out of sex work.

    We are NOT trying to keep you from providing services to women who need help getting out.

    We want you to stop attacking us. We want you to acknowledge that your claims about the sex industry are not universally true, that putting us in jail is not actually helping women who are in abusive situations, that the police do not make life better for women, that the abuse of some women does not mean that sex is demeaning to ALL women- that prohibition of consensual sex does not and never has worked to prevent abuse.

  6. To poverty pimp Melissa Farley,
    Where did you get these numbers?
    “: 89% of women in 9 countries and 81% of women in the Nevada legal brothels,,”

    How many actual women did you talk to in 9 countires?
    I know you didn’t talk to all the brothel workers in Nevada. I know several and they’ve never heard of you. Your poverty pimping mind keeps asking the wrong questions.
    The question is: What are you doing to support my right to work in the business on my terms?

  7. …must not be questioned….and must not engage us directly….

  8. […] Who We Are ← A message to us from Melissa Farley […]

  9. Oh, my flawed namesake, Melissa.

    I invite you to spend time with the outstanding sex worker rights activists working all over the world for our right to be free of violence and coercion. The fierce workers from Ecuador, from Cambodia, from Bangladesh, from Thailand, from Turkey, from Argentina, and yes, from San Francisco — you left town? no wonder — are as committed to making the world safe, just, and equitable for all as you claim to be. The thing is, they do it — they actually succeed! They do it without scads of government funding. They do it without having to bow to law enforcement. They do it when it is unpopular and dangerous and they do it better than you, frankly.

    When you beg the world to expose the truth of the conditions of the sex industry, why act surprised when we will not suffer your lies, too?

  10. Dear Ms. Farley,

    Thank you for your response to our blog. While you excluded SWOP from your statement I would like to answer a few of your questions directly and also ask a few of my own.
    “Melissa Farley has never taken a ” federal antiprostitution oath” whatever that is. Her research was supported 70% by Prostitution Research & Education and 30% by the Trafficking in Persons Office of the US State Dept. No agency has influenced Farley’s findings or her conclusions, including the US government. Farley’s opinions are her own.”
    That you don’t even know what the Federal Anti Prostitution Oath is a devastating statement to those you are representing who want to get out. I would strongly advocate you research this Anti Prostitution Oath under TVPRA and USaid as it is killing many of the very people worldwide that are in line with your views and want to get out but lack the resources and ability to do so and also lack the street outreach and resources that existed for them prior to this oath’s implementation in 2005. As a prostitution expert it is quite an astonishing statement that you are unaware of such major Federal legislation that is so strongly opposed throughout the rest of the world. Legislation that is seen as imperialistic, first world lack of cognizance of the realities faced by the remainder of the world and as lethal to sex workers and empowering to the pimps, traffickers and customers that you oppose.
    • Certainly the pimps and customers benefit by the lack of funding for agencies worldwide as a result of this oath as many customers prefer not to wear a condom and speaking from first person experience working with Chilean outreach organizations Angelina Lina and Margen, agencies which can no longer provide condoms or safe sexual practices education to sex workers, this anti prostitution oath is literally killing the women, children and transgendered they were once able to assist with funding from the United States.
    • The termination of funding caused the collapse of sex worker organizations and drop in centers in Cambodia. These drop in centers gave women a place to shower, to rest, to collaborate with each other and find strength in group to work toward whatever goals they wished, whether to assist each other in safety, in identifying dangerous customers, traffickers, education or even in discussion and assistance to each other to get out when they were able and chose to do so.
    • As a result of this anti prostitution oath sex workers worldwide are more isolated, more vulnerable and more exposed to harm, which is a traffickers and predators dream come true. It is much easier to harm another person that is isolated and alone than with peer and agency support.
    Thus as an expert in the field of prostitution I am dismayed to find that you aren’t aware of this legislation. When you signed your paperwork as a recipient of funding there would be a clause which you agree to use this funding in compliance with federal law thus your lack of knowledge does not change the fact that you agreed to the oath whether deliberately or unknowingly by virtue of not reading the fine print. Had you listened to a wide spectrum of current and former sex workers rather than selecting those most likely to support the end result of your studies you would have known about this anti prostitution oath. However, we are all human beings and each of us makes mistakes, therefore this is a very timely and opportune moment for you to broaden your contact with all in prostitution and all who have gotten out, and to enhance your expertise by listening to the views and work of organizations and activists previously excluded from your worldview. A subject matter expert is someone who knows a subject in it’s entirety to the best of their abilities. Now that you are aware I am confident that you will research this oath, see the global harm it has caused and become more willing to extend the scope of your work and research to ensure that those that want to get out worldwide remain alive until they are able to do so.
    Melissa Farley asks “The challenge Melissa Farley offers Desiree Alliance and COYOTE and the Nevada pimps is: do you think that we should listen to the vast majority of women who want to GET OUT of prostitution? “
    As a member of Desiree Alliance and Executive Director of SWOP East, I can state unequivocally that we do listen to the women who want to get out. I have personally assisted many women who wanted to get out as an advocate for them in SWOP East. SWOP East, which is a member of Desiree Alliance, has volunteers which are also on our board at a homeless shelter called Cabrini House in Minneapolis, MN, that being Gayle Thomas, and I have worked with her on many occasions on housing assistance for those wanting to leave prostitution. Another SWOP East Board Member, Lucy Spina, provides psychological counseling through a collaboration with Northwest Youth and Family Services in Shoreview, MN to sex workers who want to get out or want any kind of psychological support. I personally have done many speaking presentations with homeless sex workers in shelters discussing how I got out, listening to their wishes, hopes and effort both to get out and whatever else they chose, as I also respected that they were the expert in their lives and was not there to advocate anything to them other than what they chose. I too can be considered an expert in prostitution through actual personal experience as a trafficking victim, as a sex worker, and as an activist. Only I choose to listen to all view points and allow the individual to be the expert in their own lives and work to facilitate their process rather than impose my own upon them. I also remain in contact with exit organizations and have referred many sex workers wanting to get out to them. Any sex worker that wants to get out should have every opportunity to do so and every resource to assist them. I have never met a sex worker rights activist that felt otherwise. It should also be noted that in 2006 a version of my experiences in the sex industry including getting out was published in Gloria Steinem’s Enslaved: True Stories of Modern Day Slavery. Thus I too act as a voice for those harmed in the sex industry and those who wish to get out. Only my scope is not limited to that one topic as all sex workers are human beings and it is imperative to me to support everyone’s human, civil and labor rights. I am certain that now you are aware of Desiree Alliance and SWOP’s commitment to similar goals that it will assist you in working with all organizations and viewpoints to achieve similar goals.
    Melissa Farley asks “Carol Leigh of COYOTE said in a public debate with Farley in Berkeley a couple of years ago that “100%” of the women she knows in prostitution want to get out. Farley doesn’t use wild numbers like Leigh’s. Her numbers are more conservative and based on careful research: 89% of women in 9 countries and 81% of women in the Nevada legal brothels – all of whom told Farley they wanted to immediately escape prostitution. Do their voices register at all with Desiree Alliance”
    If you read the core values of SWOP East, core values based upon those of IUSW, remembering that SWOP East is a member of Desiree Alliance, the following principles are our core values
    • Decriminalization of all aspects of sex work involving consenting adults.
    • The right to form and join professional associations or unions.
    • The right to work on the same basis as other independent contractors and employers and to receive the same benefits as other self-employed or contracted workers.
    • No taxation without such rights and representation.
    • Advocating sex worker rights to be free from coercion, violence, sexual abuse, child labor, rape and racism.
    • Legal support for sex workers who want to sue those who exploit their labor.
    • The right to travel across national boundaries and obtain work permits wherever we live.
    • Clean and safe places to work.
    • The right to choose whether to work on our own or co-operatively with other sex workers.
    • The absolute right to say no.
    • Access to health clinics where we do not feel stigmatized.
    • Re-training programs for sex workers who want to leave the industry.
    • An end to social attitudes which stigmatize those who are or have been sex workers.
    • Working to end child sexual tourism
    This document and it’s related sex worker human rights statement authored by Ayoola Silvera and I, on the SWOP East website, http://www.swopeast.org does listen to those who want to get out. We also do more than just listen to their wishes, we advocate for and provide through collaborative efforts resources for them to do just that. We also have a collaborative project based on our own webspace at http://www.humantraffickinged.org or http://www.thestormproject.com authored by Makini Chisholm Straker, a med student at Brown University, to assist health care providers in recognizing trafficking victims as well as sex workers that are harmed in the industry offering recognition and assistance education. I personally have presented to many organizations including the University of Minnesota Program in Human Rights in Medicine on this very topic and released a video which was available for four years on this topic until the master copy was damaged beyond recovery. So I can state without question their voices do register with Desiree Alliance and SWOP.

    SWOP East has been outspokenly critical of the Nevada Brothel system and opposes legalization instead supporting decriminalization for the very reasons illustrated by the failures of the Nevada brothel system.
    Melissa Farley states “ These are the women who don’t have access to a computer or for that matter a safe place to spend the night away from predators

    SWOP East has a collaborative project with Chilean agencies Margen and Angelina Lina which is a very short time from launching, this project is called Pledging Action. It is a project which will provide condoms to outreach organizations in Santiago, Chile, who will get the condoms to the sex workers. In meeting with them one of the most dominant concerns they had was that while internet is widely available through internet café’s in Chile at very low prices, the sex workers do not know how to use a computer and need assistance in that very basic skill. But that is unavailable due to the US Aid anti prostitution oath of which you are unaware. There ability to access the internet after learning computer skills could be established by ending TVPRA and the US Anti Prostitution Oath, restoring funding as examples to both Angelina Lina and Margen to provide this service and also to SWOP East to send qualified educators on the internet to Chile and other countries and even in the United States. Only right now we can not provide this service because we work with all sex workers, those wanting to get out and those wanting to remain and refuse to deny services to those choosing or unable to leave sex work. Their lives are as valuable to us as those wanting to leave. Every life is valuable. If they had internet skills they could access information on how to leave prostitution if they choose to and even have access to your work in the event you have it translated at some point into Spanish. SWOP East as an expert translator from English to Spanish or reverse named Beatriz Mercado who works at very reasonable rates because she cares more about the people than about receiving first world rates for her work. Given your funding access I am certain you would want to assist women in Spanish speaking countries in exiting the sex industry and I am happy to refer you to her so that you can begin to offer your expertise to those not literate in English.
    Melissa Farley writes: What is Desiree Alliance doing to help women get out? What are the UNLV faculty and their students doing to help women get out of prostitution?
    See above for what Desiree Alliance is doing to help women get out. I can not speak for UNLV faculty as I have no contact with them. I can state however that UNLV students are planning a day called International Day of No Prostitution Las Vegas 2007. And while I personally do not endorse or support this event and found it to be woefully counter productive after my own experiences with it in 2002 as a participant, I do however allow the UNLV students to post information about this event on my blog http://www.myspace.com/jillbrenneman unedited and at their will without fear of censorship or moderation despite my opposition to this event. I’m confident not that you are aware of our efforts that you will support Desiree Alliance and SWOP in the December 17th event International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers and offer reciprocal courtesy on your blog to our event as we are both committed to assisting those who want to leave prostitution and fighting violence against all in the sex industry.

    Ms. Farley, thank you for your thoughtful letter and outstanding questions and for affording me the opportunity to answer them and present information that may not have been known to activists outside the sex worker rights movement. I am confident that now we have found common ground that you will be most willing to join us in uniting in the fight for those who want to exit the industry and for the human, civil and labor rights off all sex workers and that you will agree the anti prostitution pledge is lethal legislation and join us in opposing it. I am confident that this opportunity while probably somewhat painful has proven to be an outstanding opportunity for you to broaden your scope of expertise in your work on behalf of those in prostituton.

    This blog event provides a prime opportunity for you to broaden your scope of expertise and join a larger group of activists and subject matter experts as we can join together on mutual goals to work toward social justice. It is now up to you to choose or decline this outstanding opportunity.

    Jill Brenneman
    Executive Director
    SWOP East

  11. My apologies about the formatting issues regarding my response to Melissa Farley. The formatting for some reason did not carry through from the software I wrote it in to the blog.

  12. is this from Farley’s press agent or something, or from Farley herself? (I’m a little curious to know why she’s referring to herself in the third person.)

    so here we are with this statistic – 89% of women in 9 countries and 81% of women in the Nevada legal brothels – all of whom told Farley they wanted to immediately escape prostitution.

    I want to get my hands on the book, so I can come closer to deciding for myself about it. However, I’m very interested to know how she phrased the question, and exactly how the answer was phrased in return –

    “honey, ” with compassionate hand coming to rest on shoulder, “do you want to get out of prostitution immediately? you can tell me.”

    or “so, if you could get out of the life, would you?”

    or “would you rather be doing something else?”

    and if so, what? I wonder if there is any sort of consensus or usual answer to that.

    I’d be interested in reading the actual texts of the answers. There are so many possibilities.

    “Oh, my god, Dr. Farley, I thought you’d never ask! I’ll go get my stuff! where are we going?”

    or

    “well, yeah, but I got mouths to feed…what do you have in mind?”

    or

    “yeah, sure, I guess…”

    Further, I’m very interested in what kind of answers she got from the 11% of respondents who did not say they wanted out immediately.

    “No, I want out tomorrow, or maybe next week sometime…”

    or

    “what? and leave showbiz? why would I want to quit? I’m on topadaworld!”

    or

    “well, I thought about it, but there’s no way I can support a family on what I could make in the straight world.”

    or

    “eh. one job’s the same as another.”

    or stuff I haven’t even imagined yet.

    I read in “Sisterhood is Powerful” the other day that back in 1950 in China, the government closed all the brothels and “re-educated” the women who worked there for more “appropriate” jobs. I wonder if anyone tracked their post-brothel lives.

  13. Maxine, what is with this term, poverty pimp? Are you saying Farley wants women to stay in poverty so she can write more reports and books about them? Cause that is just kind of crazy talk.

    You ask about the number of women who were interviewed. I believe the number of women in the 9 country study was around 800 or 900, but you can check it for yourself. The details are on Farley’s site at http;//www.prostitutionresearch.com. I believe the number of women in legal brothels in Nevada was 45, which I also believe is more than Brents an Hausbeck managed to interview.

    But seriously, how many women do you need to tell you that their lives are sheer hell and they would appreciate some better options, before you believe them?

    Personally, if one woman tells me she wants out, I want to help her. So should you, so should the city of Las Vegas, so should the state of Nevada.

    Help the women who want out! Can’t we agree on that?!!!

  14. Yes, we can all agree to help the women who want out.

    Farley’s 9 country study sampled women from homeless shelters, hospitals, police stations, and drop-in centers. Generally speaking, the women who are found in such places are already in need of serious help – of course the picture that emerges will be bleak – just as if she only sampled independent, happy call-girls, which would result in an overly optimistic picture. Her methods in the 9-country study do not result in a representative sample of ALL sex workers, therefore the results cannot be generalized to ALL sex workers.

  15. […] to Add: A message to us from Melissa Farley from Bound, Not Gagged (sex worker activist […]

  16. Are you fucking kidding me?

    You want to only study people who live in happy San Francisco or Manhattan upscale happy hooker co-ops?

    Honey that sample is so small I cannot even locate it with the help of google maps.

    You want to sample only happy hookers, you go for it. do the questionnaire, publish the results, we’ll all evaluate it.

    You got a study of happy hookers? We’re all waiting here with baited breath. Do let us know what your data is.

    We’re waiting.

    Still waiting….

  17. “But seriously, how women do you need to tell you that their lives are sheer hell and they would appreciate some better options, before you believe them?”

    I’ve never disbelieved any woman’s story. We do not deny that there are some instances where women are abused in sex work, just like there are some instances where women are abused in marriages.

    What has not been proven and never will be, is that putting me or my clients jail is going to make life any better for those women.

    I have supported individual women at different points in different situations. I’ve helped women make reports of sexual assault, including a woman who worked at a print shop who was sexually harassed by her employer. I’ve taken care of women when they’ve relapsed into drug abuse and need a safe place to get clean and food to eat. I’ve taught women how to practice the safest possible sex with any partner.

    I could go on. I am a compassionate feminist woman with a large community of many different kinds of women in my life. I am often approached when people or their friends are in need because I can be trusted to hear them out without judging them, without telling them that they are damaged because they’re whores and without trying to limit their choices.

    When friends transition out of the biz I don’t make them feel bad about it or challenge their reasons- likewise, they do not try to tell me that I need to get out or project their issues/decisions on to me. This is how healthy, productive relationships work- we support each other and trust each other to make good decisions for ourselves without being threatened by the personal choices made by others.

    Women need more choices, not less.

  18. Meanwhile, the slow, dehumanizing, inexorable grind of john on prostitute goes on and on tonight. Men keep paying their $350 a plus tips, and smacking women, calling them bitches and whores, degrading them, sticking themselves in places they never paid for, making it clear that they rule, you suck.

    That is all going on right now, while you type happily away at your keyboard, feeling like th e beacon of sexual freedom of liberty and light, not giving a crap about the women actually sucking the misogyist’s dicks right now.

  19. wow Josie. Are you drunk or something? Re-read what I wrote. I was saying that the methods Farley used (sampling from drop in centers, police retention centers, hospitals) are not any better than using methods that only sample happy hookers (which by they way, I could find a sample that is larger than the 45 Farley used in the brothel book).

    Why don’t you at least attempt to understand what I am saying?

  20. Karly, I believe you 100%

    Congratulations to you in helping people out of “the life.” I completely agree with you when you say:

    “Women need more choices, not less.”

    I think we may differ when we present the the option of sex work as a good choice.

    I personally think it is a very bad choice. I think it is a lose lose-lose situation for women.

    I think it is a win win situation for johns and pimps.

    I think women get screwed and lied to and completely messed up when they “choose” sex work thinking it is a normal job choice. It’s not a normal job choice and they are going to be crapped on for the rest of their life if they “choose” it.

  21. Thank you Josie. I do feel like at the core we have very similar values. Your post here makes me feel like you really heard me. Even if this is the case just for this one post, I think we’ve made progress!

    You’re fully entitled to believe that sex work is not a good choice. Since you feel that way, you know that it would definitely not be a good choice for you. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a good choice for some.

    For some to make that choice does not mean that you should have to make that choice, or that your choice is any less valid. Prohibition limits choices, rather than allowing women to have more choices.

    You know the old adage “If you disagree with abortion- don’t have one.” These are very personal intimate choices that we all make for different reasons.

    We have to respect each other’s right to make those choices for ourselves.

    If we don’t respect women’s right to choose, how can we expect the rest of the world to?

    I very much want to continue doing sex work. It works for me, it doesn’t work for everybody.

    I am disgusted with any act of sexual abuse and want to be available to confront and end violence against women. I should not have to sacrifice my right to choose to be a sex worker in order to join forces with you and Jody to assist those who don’t want to be sex workers.

    We really are on the same team here. Our conversations over the past day clearly demonstrate that we are all very passionate and invested in this issue. When we are passionate and invested, our responses can appear abrasive and hostile and can make us focus on our conflicts rather than our common goals.

    I am sincere when I say that I believe that by joining forces we will maximize the impact that we have on women’s lives- without compromising each other’s right to choose in all sexual matters.

  22. Why does research have to be all or nothing? Josie asks about doing research with the happy hooker myth people. First there is no such thing. That is rad fem jargon. Second for an accurate study, Farley would have to interview people from all aspects of the sex industry not just those likely to respond favorably to her questions.

    This isn’t algebra where X is know but we have to solve for it by plugging numbers to make the equation work.

    How about a fair study. It would be a very beneficial process to have a study that includes everyone. Not just selected groups.

    I could do a study of right wing types, republicans and evangelical conservatives and get a 90 percent plus support rating for President Bush and his policies too. But would that be an accurate study of the realities of the views of society on Bush? No. It would be slanted.

    Farley claiming to be an expert in the field of prostitution yet stating she doesn’t know about the anti prostitution Oath. Lethal legislation isnt even known about by the prostitution expert? Even though her ally Nikki Craft claims to have challenged this very concept starting in 2002?

  23. Jill, I am hereby BEGGING you to organize and honest study of prostitution in Nevada. Find a psychologist or sociolgist or even a damn criminologist, and give them every contact you have. The footnotes in Farley’s book could be the starting point for ANY study on the subject. There need to be MORE, many MORE studies.

    Heck, Brents and Hausebeck have been studying this for 10 years, hook up with them, see what the data really says! Dig in and LOOK FOR YOURSELF!

    The pimps of Nevada are literally getting away with murder because NO ONE IS STUDYING THEM. Is that O.K. with you?

    But don’t kid yourself. The men who are making millions off women in Nevada are not happy about people who show up to “study” them. So it take a fairly strong set of nerves to go up against them. It will not necessarily be easy to see what is really going on with prostitution in Nevada, but eventually you will. And then we can talk about the best way to mitigate the harms.

  24. Speaking of Brents and Hausebeck, does anyone know what is up with their long-awaited book?

  25. Melissa asked about what’s being done to help NEVADA prostitutes. Not what’s going on in Cambodia or Chicago. The book is about NEVADA prostitution folks – read the title of the book at least. All these claims about “false” interviews are interesting. Myself and other women I know were interviewed for this research. Not one of us was “led” into any answers other than our own. She would read back our words to us to make sure they were truly our own and there was no misquoting. When I would offer up different women with vastly different backgrounds, experiences, and views to her – she’d interviewed anyone from any view, background or experiences. She did not only interview women to support her own agenda – but listened to what everyone had to say. However, I know I have offered myself and other women in and retired from the sex industry to some of the other researchers besides Farley – only to be completely ignored. I was clearly “disinvited” to last years convention in Vegas despite the fact I’ve not only a retired sex worker – but I’ve been helping women who ASK me for help in exiting the sex industry for 20 years now across the USA, Canada and in other countries. I’ve also set up three alternative sentencing programs that got women out of prison sentences – and instead got them counseling and job training and allowed them to keep their children. I’ve written books and articles on this subject – and even had many many articles and even two documentaries done on me and my work. Yet I was told in no uncertain terms that I was not welcome at last year’s convention. I don’t call that “open” to “working together” on this side of the fence folks. There’s not one woman who was interviewed for Melissa’s work that has ever said she was misquoted or taken out of context even. Yet everyone keeps saying her research is “false” and “misleading”. I’m the only international program director I know of that works with both men and women from any area of the sex industry who seeks support when deciding to exit it – and yet I’ve received no offers of support in the way of time, money, volunteer efforts – not even so much as licking a stamp to a letter to a woman who is writing me from prison from the women on this board criticizing me or Melissa’s work and research. Kathleen Mitchell has done amazing and extensive work to help serve the needs of prostitutes to get off the streets, out of prison, away from pimps, and off drugs. She’s worked with women in the prison and with the Dignity Program in Arizona. She wrote me a letter in 1989 from prison asking me for help in changing her life. Not only did she change her own life – but she’s helped countless thousands of other prostitutes to led better lives today and live rather then be another statistic or body at the morgue. Yet I have women like on this site trying to claim I”m an “anti-prostitution” person. Melissa or myself are not the enemy here nor are we the causes of the problems with the sex industry today. Focusing on attacking us – only stops you from getting off your ass and doing something to help others who are suffering and need help in this arena. Let me ask you something – for all the attacks on this site – how much money has been raised for services for prostitutes who may have been arrested, beaten, raped, or even trafficked? What letters have you written to one in prison today? Every day I write letters to women who have been arrested or who are in jail on prostitution related charges offering support for whatever they are going through. Last week I helped a women get into treatment with a severe meth problem. Over the weekend I helped a woman write a resume for a job interview because she wants to quit escorting. She didn’t get the job and tried to commit suicide. I talked to her for hours last night because she’s scared and hates escorting but doesn’t know what else to do because she has a brain tumor and she’s bipolar. I got a call today from a woman whose pimp came over and cleaned her out of all her money and all the food in the house. I went over there and helped her change the locks, get a TRO and took her to the market. I spent my cable bill money buying her food because I’m worried she’ll let him back in if she’s hungry. And then I come on here to see all this snarling and attacking and nothing getting done. I read above that “something is getting done in SF”. That’s funny because last month I helped a woman fly in here from SF to see a specialist because she’s still fucked up emotionally from being turned out by the Mitchell Brothers. Yeah all those years ago and she’s still fucked up. There’s women out there right now who need serious help and women like me and Melissa are trying to do something for them. But at least we’re trying to do something constructive. If you don’t like it – shut the fuck up and go on about your biz and at least leave us alone to continue trying to help women who tell us no one else is trying to do anything for them when they write or call.

  26. “Men keep paying their $350 a plus tips, and smacking women, calling them bitches and whores, degrading them, sticking themselves in places they never paid for, making it clear that they rule, you suck.”

    Gee, sounds a lot like some of my work nights, maybe I am more typical than I thought. But I don’t feel as if they rule, or I suck, frankly, unless I am actually sucking. And I pretty much get paid for all the sticking, but…

    Still in it by choice. And yep, it paid for a computer.

  27. “If you don’t like it – shut the fuck up and go on about your biz and at least leave us alone to continue trying to help women who tell us no one else is trying to do anything for them when they write or call.”

    Jody, you came, here, remember? And sure enough, some of us help people out too.

  28. I encurage you, josie and jody, to make yourselves of the work being done by The Sex Workers Project: http://www.sexworkersproject.org/publications/

  29. And one last thing, if you are going to base a career on studying sex workers/prostituted women….

    STUDY all of them. The unhappy ones, the indifferent ones, the content ones, the happy ones, those forced in, those in by choice, if you know your stats will be spread over the WHOLE of the industry, well, study the whole of the industry…from the streetwalker to the indie female porn director to the stripper to the professional dominatrix.

    Then you have more credibility when applying your studies to Sex Work, or those who agree with you doing the same.

  30. Jody: “I was clearly “disinvited” to last years convention in Vegas”

    Can you explain this statement? Who did you communicate with regarding the conference?

    The conference in Las Vegas was an internal organizing meeting for sex workers and allies who support alternatives to criminalization of workers and their clients.

    Throughout the planning we were always very clear that our screening process was in place to ensure that sex workers attending the conference would not have to deal with disruption and harassment from anti-sex work activists. For sex workers to attend in-person meetings is a huge risk and it takes courage. We did not want to risk the privacy and safety of people who were current workers at the time of the conference, but I don’t recall having to turn very many people away from attending.

    You’ve been welcome here at BoundNotGagged.com

    If you can say that you’re sincerely interested in working with us to support women who want to get out of the business without expecting us to denounce sex work and force our members to repent for their sexual choices, then the Desiree Alliance would be thrilled to meet with you to strategize about how we can collaborate.

    With the treatment that sex workers get from society and the very serious threat of incarceration, we will not apologize for strictly screening participants at our events.

  31. Stacey: I thank you and DA tremendously for all of your efforts.

  32. Oh! Thank you Jessica!

    Desiree Alliance is a whole bunch of compassionate, dedicated individuals and various sex worker rights advocacy groups with a broad range of functions. Our achievements are rooted in our commitment to leadership from sex workers.

    We have many talented volunteers who contribute their time to this cause because they are committed to making the world a safer place for sex workers. We are so blessed to have our team together and it’s good for all of us to hear that our work is appreciated. I am personally very grateful to our crew!

    Thanks again Jessica!

  33. […] 19th, 2007 This post, along with the comments, offers an intriguing snapshot of some opinions on either side of the […]

  34. FARLEY! HELP ME!

    I went to college, but was totally exploited by federal student loans! Now I live with a pimp called debt. It forces me to pay it with threats of taking away everything I have!

    I worked a normal job, but I was trapped! I couldn’t get out, up, or around it! Nor could I pay my bills without dependence on others. It was getting to the point where I would be forced shack up just so that I could afford some shelter!

    I went to trade school, but I felt so degraded working side by side with all those brutish men hitting on me! You should have heard the things that they said, Ms. Farley. It was terrible. I felt so degraded.

    I got my real estate license, but I can’t work because of my criminal record! I can’t do much about it, and it prevents me from from finding a nine-to-five that I can grind out my existence in when I…..

    Oh, man. It’s 4:08. I am gonna be late for my meditation class.

    Thank God for Sex Work.

  35. Are most or all of the people who are telling Farley that they want to get out of prostitution also telling her that they want to be persecuted for working in prostitution or that they think prostitution should be criminalized?
    I realize that there are people in prostitution who would ideally prefer to be doing something else, but that’s true of people in various occupations and just because some people wish to exit prostitution doesn’t mean they support the criminalization of prostitution. I feel that Farley exploits sex workers to promote her prohibitionist agenda and words cannot express how disgusting that is.

  36. I presume (perhaps erroneously) that she’s ultimately pushing for the Swedish model.

    the question is,

    1) if that can’t or won’t be implemented, what’s Farley’s next best option in the meantime, and is that in the better interest of the people she’s purporting to represent than some other possible option

    2)…well, we’ll get there if/when we get there, problems with the Swedish model even assuming it -would- be implemented anywhere in the U.S, much less universally.

  37. So, Farley presents herself as an expert on prostitution and trafficking, but says she knows nothing about the U.S. anti-prostitution oath? This doesn’t make sense. How could an expert on prostitution and trafficking know nothing about this major gag order?

  38. I advocate for prostitutes not going to jail over prostitution charges – that’s why I’ve set up alternative sentencing progams in different states in the USA and Canada over the last 20 years. I run a support group for those leaving the sex industry. Anyone who wants support contacts us for it. No one has ever gone in and “made” anyone quit sex work. I’m also a retired madam and escort myself. When I heard about the convention last year – I was told by some of the organizers that I wasn’t “welcome” to attend because they “suspected” I was against prostitution. Since I’d never talked to anyone on the phone before or knew them – I don’t know how they arrived at this false characterization of me. I’m just as against women going to jail, being raped by cops, abused by the system, etc., as the next person. It’s why I’ve even been helping Jeanne Palfrey’s attorney with her defense. You can read one of her motions where information I gave her attorney was used to help her case. So yes I believe some in this group jump to a lot of false assumptions about others – because it’s been done to me before now at last year’s convention and even now over Melissa’s book.

  39. >That is so bizarre that Farley has been fixated on that statement, that all the people I know in sex work want to get out eventually. The point I was making (and it was quite apparent) was that for most sex workers this is a temporary choice, and most look towards other options in the future. And some sex workers do look at this as a long term career, but even they want to retire eventually, so…all the sex workers I know want to stop eventually. That was my point.>

    Well, yah, I mean, I think -most- people’s goal is to stop working -eventually.- Not everyone– my grandpa worked (in his post-retirement, more-desired job, mind) till the day he died, and i think that’s how he wanted it–but most people.

    I expected her to sound more “serious” than that, somehow. It’s bizarre.

  40. Jody:
    “When I heard about the convention last year – I was told by some of the organizers that I wasn’t “welcome” to attend because they “suspected” I was against prostitution.”

    Who are ‘some of the organizers?’ Did you actually submit a registration application? Did you receive a formal email stating that your application was rejected?

    Are you at all interested in our offers of making peace and working together? Do you still not understand that we fully support efforts to assist those who wish to leave the business?

    Our organizing efforts, our desire to live free from police harassment and brutality, our desire to be able to live and work privately, our desire to build community with other workers through blogs, conferences, meetings. etc- NONE of these things compromise the efforts of Sex Workers Anonymous. Nobody here is interested in preventing SW Anon from carrying out their work. In fact, we want to support your work.

    Are you willing to acknowledge that we are not the enemy?

  41. Jody,
    the issue is being arrested, not not going to jail or creating alternatives to going to jail. The issue is equal protection under the law. Are you willing to stand with workers and demand and end that law enforcement stop enforcing the prostitution laws?

  42. I spent my weekend meditating and reading Marc Anderson’s text All The Power: Revolution Without Illusion. I’ve been preparing a post that is not yet complete, but I want to second Stacey’s statement of intent about those on both sides working together. We need each other. We need to investigate how we can respectfully combine our resources and efforts.

    To strip it down to the most simplistic ideal: We want to see less brutality in the treatment of women. How can we work together to achieve that goal?

    Sorry for being so gender-specific, but this is an appeal to those who explicitly classify their work as being helpful to women.

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