Sex Workers: Once again, what’s best for us?

As you may or not may be aware, under the auspices of a woman named Jacqui Smith, the UK is considering a law that will criminalize the purchase of sexual services, namely, men who participate in, as they call it in the UK, “kerb crawling” (street based work). As usual, the evidence Smith is basing her proposal off of is questionable, but the proposed law is there none the less.

A blogger and ally Caroline, who is in the UK, has written extensively about the downsides of this law, and what very real consequences and potential consequences it has on sex workers of all kinds within the UK, she was even given quest posts at the UK based the F-Word and a US blog, Feministe!

The responses to her posts were, how shall I say, typical, and the reaction to her stance on the matter, equally so. Both Caroline and sex workers who bothered to participate were bogged down by generally radical leaning feminists with countless issues not necessarily germane to the legal issue at hand, shouted down as “unthinking”, “idiots”, or “happy hookers”…

I have to ask, to those of you who have met me and what not, do I generally come across as Teeheeeheee I can by Prada woo-hoo happy? Do most sex workers? Umm, no. Yet this is, consistently, how any who disagree with the pervading theme of repression of sex workers are written off and thusly discounted.

But as usual, those of us who oppose Swedish-like models, even considering the troublesome evidence that has shown such models to be far from perfect and the words of actual sex workers, as is typical, we are a tiny minority who truly know nothing about our business and do not care about all the poor trafficked women and girls. Which is bullshit, and I note, these people so concerned, from feminist anti sex work people to world governments, find it far more easy to criminalize the people who buy sex and attempt to play (often unwanted) savior to the people who sell it than to actually go after criminal organizations that deal in trafficking or take on the underlying causes, such as lack of education, poverty, drug abused, and lack of other job opportunities that face people who are unwillingly involved in prostitution…but apparently that is too hard and too messy…it’s easier to play Capitan save a ho.

I’ve also noted, in this particular latest round and in countless others, the apparent need of these people to demonize any and all sex worker outreach/activist programs which do not tout a 100% exit / prohibition stance. Currently, the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) and International Union of Sexworkers (IUSW) are under attack by supporters of the proposed UK law. The same sorts of tactics have been used against SWOP, COYOTE, the Scarlet Alliance, and countless other Sex Worker Organizations in the past.

And while all the smoke and mud about happy hookers and how sex worker orgs don’t really care about sex workers and what about the poor trafficked women and girls (no mention of the transwomen, men and boys, for that matter) rages on one simple thing remains fact: a law which will affect countless sex workers adversely is poised to go on the books in the UK, with, best as I can tell, no input from any sex workers and no real ear to the objections of any sex workers…

So once again, we have people building law and political prestige on our backs.

Now, I am not in the UK, nor are most of you, but that doesn’t mean this should not matter to us. Sex Workers in the UK are sex workers, just like us, and just as the UK looked to Sweden for inspiration, there is no guarantee where ever you are might not look to the UK for the same thing…

So yes, if you find this as annoying and patronizing and seriously ill advised as I do?

Say something, because if we don’t, nobody else will.

I’ve already said a few things

And why yes, please feel free to redistribute at will…

14 Responses

  1. Thanks for posting this. It’s very interesting discussion as goes through the whole gambit of discourse. Got to love those Brits, strong arguers for sure.

    What we as the sex worker rights movement in the US have to address is unionization. It’s foundational and we have to spend some time on it. We can blog all day, we can go to meetings and hearings day in and day out and be in pressure groups with our isolated selves which will only get so far.

    We’ve got to have solidarity on the issues of who’s the boss as its’ the basis upon which all sex industry workers are discredited no matter what service we provide.

    I was recently maligned just like Douglas Fox in another blog related to the last posting on this blog. I responded by telling the haters that their mischaracterization of me and my encounters with law enforcement is another example of how they are only interested in silencing actual sex industry workers’ first hand accounts of corruption. Their attempts to assassinate my character sends a clear message to all women and sex workers that the anti porn/prostitution haters are in bed with the dominate white male culture who use criminalization as a means debase our worker centered voices and are therefore not the people to go if one’s been a victim or a witness of rape, robbery, theft, coercion, assault and murder.

    I would much rather spend time writing and reading with sex industry folks articulating positions on who’s boss in the sex industry and how the imposition of capitalist and their interpretation of how trade union models as the excuse to usurp our voice in efforts to silence us and how we’re going to rid ourselves their oppression.

  2. Well, ladies and gents!

    I have just had the Radical Feminist Stalinistic Banishment Procedure thrown at me twice in one month!

    Over at the Liberal Conspiracy blog they told me that I am “hereby ignored” because I asked this simple set of questions over and over again:

    “When the brothels shut down after the “End Demand” laws are in effect, what happens to the sex workers who work there? When the kerb-crawling is banished, what happens to the street workers?”

    I guess that got too close to the bone with them. I hope those UK rad-flees get what they deserve and their “victorian schoolmarm” law fail to pass. I truly do.

  3. We all need to be contributing to the IUSW’s call for funding.
    I don’t know about anyone else, but I want the right to work in the UK and I want the option of working for an establishment.

    And good on you Susan. Banished twice? You must be doing something right. They only hate you when your right.

  4. Heh, I see your ban and raise you with getting called a Cultural Imperialist!

  5. No thanks, Ren. I’ve had enough punishment evening.

  6. . . . punishment for one evening.

  7. But seriously, if they keep it up with the Stalinist crap, people will see through it. Some elements of the mainstream media over there are already skeptical.

    Just keep acting like a bunch of douchbags, ladies.

  8. [...] post is called Sex Workers: Once again, what’s best for us? and is quite informative. (So is the whole blog for that [...]

  9. I’ll see your ban and raise you having to have police protection to do a speech because of their death threats and be called a delusional liar.

  10. Well I guess you win the bet, Jill. I can’t compete with death threats.

  11. Nikki, Melissa and a few other prohibitionists have a special set of feelings for me ;)

  12. one of the key’s to farley, hughes and many others like them is that they need things to “be what’s right for us” and his has to be a contradiction to most of what we believe. Without the contradiction they aren’t experts. If they agree with us than they lose their place as all knowing experts. What is best for us from their perspective is that which is best for them, which is status quo under which they are experts, they have the funding,

  13. maxine – Just to clarify – you haven’t been kicked off the blog, you’re more than welcome to rejoin the debate; I’m just saying that personal abuse will be deleted, that’s all, not any and every contribution you make.

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