Thoughts on rescues, rescuers and realities

Perhaps a thought to ponder for those opposed to sex worker rights

Scenario: Difficult economy. Someone loses his or her job outside the sex industry. While sex work may not be their first choice, living on 200 dollars a week unemployment isn’t feasible. After months of searching, the person begins sex work of whatever type they do.

Radical feminist analysis addresses sex work as bought and sold rape. As patriarchal oppression. Every form of sex work is considered under radical feminist ideology as a system of prostitution. If bills are not being paid, if rent can’t be paid, if food can’t be bought, perhaps the radical feminist analysis can’t be a priority. Perhaps sacrilege to radical feminists. Perhaps radical feminists have the best of intentions and truly want to end violence and oppression. However, regardless of this, hunger, homelessness, or the proximity to it, those are oppressive also. Eliminating sex work does what in that scenario? While perhaps it will prevent a rape, or prevent someone that feels various sex acts are degrading to keep from having to do them. Except they don’t have the income that they would have had with sex work as a possibility. Sex work may not be their first choice. But it is an option that beats being homeless in the winter. Or really beats homelessness at any time of year.

Homelessness in itself is oppression. Anyone disagreeing should try a month homeless. Probably often there is a better chance of being raped while homeless than raped as a sex worker.

How about arrest? Restorative justice? How does the unemployed person doing sex work whether by choice or by lack of other choice benefit from being arrested? Perhaps some environments are forgiving of previous arrests and convictions on job applications? Perhaps universities are? However, with 9 percent unemployment and 100 applicants for a dry cleaner counter representative job for $9.00 an hour. That previous arrest doesn’t enhance the resume. The “exit program” that will help the woman in prostitution get out? Get a job etc. Even if those programs are successful on some scale in some major cities. Reality is that most of the country doesn’t have access to them. Arrest means jail, means another obstacle to getting a job.

Perhaps, despite some feminists stating arrest is often the first step in the recovery process. How? Fact is. It isn’t. Decriminalization may not solve all problems but it doesn’t add them like the status quo does. Law enforcement, feminists, conservatives fought to block Prop K and keep the status quo. Had Prop K passed, the person in the scenario above would at least not have one more obstacle. Now, they not only face the issues in the scenario above, but if they do sex work and get arrested, the process of leaving sex work only becomes more difficult. Blocking Prop K didn’t make it easier for women to exit the sex industry. It added an obstacle to survival. Perhaps some will say they’d rather be homeless and hungry in the winter than have sex with men for pay. Than that can be their choice. The sex worker rights movement isn’t endorsing forcing anyone to do sex work.

Rescue based ideology. There is certainly a place for rescuing trafficking victims. And important place. But it needs to stay in it’s place. Arresting the sex worker and leaving her with a criminal conviction actually reduces options for her, reduces her rights, her freedom, and ironically makes her more a target for traffickers and predators. Less choices mean higher risk. Not the reverse. Law enforcement, knock yourself out in rescuing actual trafficking victims and bringing rapists, traffickers, kidnappers etc, to justice. But that process shouldn’t be encompassing of those that are not trafficked or taking away the rights of all the sex workers, whether choice, lack thereof, or someplace in between. Rescue people that need to be rescued. Don’t assume everyone needs to be rescued or wants to be. Adding a criminal record to a sex worker doesn’t rescue anyone. It disenfranchises and oppressed most of those that are supposedly part of the rescue.

Swedish Model…. Arresting the clients to catch the rapist in the net. Still, what about the woman in the above scenario? Take away the clients and you take away the income and we are back to the homeless and hungry scenario. The predator rapist/kidnapper is going to A.. be more likely to hire a sex worker then commit the crime as part of that scenario. Or B. exploit the more vulnerable, say homeless person, the person who can’t go to the police and expect much if any help because they are considered a criminal by the cops for being a prostitute………

Prostitution is bought and sold rape…… Yes, agreed. Some of the time. But not the majority of it. Much of the time prostitution is sex with some male client that is mindless day at work, forgotten, marginally remembered. Sounds like most other jobs. Perhaps many of the macro level academics like Hughes and Farley go to work every day and feel each day is empowering and important. The vast majority of us in any job go to work to earn a living. Perhaps we should rescue the rape victim only? The one who is raped. And let her decide if she was raped rather than applying vast construct saying she was through feminist analysis.

Finally the police as rescuers? If someone has to worry that they are going to be arrested to be rescued, or if they have been arrested for earning a living and now lack the options of getting the non sex work job. The police aren’t allies. If they are raped but have that arrest and/or conviction for sex work, their alleged rescuers and the justice system are far less likely to be support and much more likely to be obstacles to survival.

Perhaps rescue those that need to be rescued. Let the rest earn a living. Instead of macro level branding of all sex work clients as rapists and victimizer, perhaps focus on the actual rapist and victimizers and use the resources wisely rather than scattershot as a blanket?

Amazing concept is that so many of the supposed backward and alleged third world countries have figured this out and decrim sex work. Many of us that have gone to these supposedly backward countries with decrim have come back with huge questions about how advanced we really are. Or how backward……..

42 Responses

  1. So much applause and WORD. It seems to me that a lot of the “sex work = rape” argument takes away the agency of the woman. What, it’s not at all possible to choose to be a sex worker? (“oh, they’re brainwashed by the patriarchy!!” bloody hell…)

    Also, men aren’t the only consumers of sex work. What about women consumers? Does that make them agents of oppression too?

    It’s decriminalised and regulated in Australia, with different states having different policies (mainly on things like advertising and frequency of health checks). It’s amazing how DIFFERENT the respect given to sex workers in Australia vs America is. Heck, even BANGLADESH (traditional Muslim country) has decriminalised sex work – the sex workers were fed up with police raids taking away their livelihood and demanded protection!

  2. One thing people forget is that in this world of iffy straight employment, a felony conviction puts an end to normal straight career ambitions.

    Even if it was years ago, even if the arrest was racially motivated, even if you’ve “paid your debt” and just want to get on with your life. There are lots of other applicants who aren’t ex-felons, and with modern computer technology a background check is just a mouse click away. If your black, it’s a great excuse not to hire you even if the real reason is the amount of melanin in your skin.

    It’s really unfortunate if you have some sort of college degree paid for with student loans. Even though your degree might be close to useless now, those loans still need to be paid off.

    Of course, I’m a true believer in the concept of liberty, and suspicious of “do gooders” who are mostly motivated by a ridiculous bronze age religion rather than something realistic or sensible (yes, even the feminists, whether they know it or believe it or not).

    So to me, it should be a non-issue how a person wants to make a living so long as they aren’t actually harming someone. I just mention the above because it happens to be true.

  3. Oh, by the way, I know prostitution is usually a misdemeanor, but in the specific case above, the original conviction was for something else when the lady in question was young and foolish. It never goes away though, or at least it hasn’t yet.

  4. Wonderful piece!

  5. ‘Prostitution is bought and sold rape…… Yes, agreed. Some of the time. But not the majority of it. Much of the time prostitution is sex with some male client that is mindless day at work, forgotten, marginally remembered. Sounds like most other jobs’

    This is simply a lie.

    I believe there are people here who are part of the pro sex work movement because they are passionate about the rights of those involved. I believe there are others who are there simply to promote self interest; some of whom are in the tiny minority of those who can legitimately call themselves sex workers who view the experience as having positives and the rest being bandwagon jumpers who are either woefully misinformed and/or hoping to make a name for themselves or score a book deal. There are also a percentage of people who have to dissociate from the realities of what they are doing to survive.
    I also believe that some people are lying or massaging the truth because the truth does not fit with general agenda. This does a disservice to all.

    Some radical feminists are a holier than thou pain in the arse, don’t get me wrong. But I have to tell you that the majority of us – those with whom i have had contact over the years – are working really hard toward some of the same ends that you are: safety, education and awareness raising, making sure women are heard and able to access services etc etc.. We just don’t believe that putting a sticking plaster on a gaping wound is the answer.

    I have some questions for you. In your opinion:

    What is the percentage of women involved in prostitution who experienced trauma prior to entry?
    What is the percentage of women who have addictions issues?
    What percentage of women would actively choose to be involved in prostitution because they like it and would rather do that than another job?
    What percentage of women would rather exit prostitution?
    What percentage of women have to dissociate to survive and continue in prostitution?
    What percentage of women have experienced violence during their involvement in prostitution?
    What percentage will barely remember their involvement in prostitution when they exit because it’s just like any other job?
    From your scenarios above, what percentage of those who might become involved in prostitution will feel much other than revulsion toward the men who buy a part of them?

    I’d appreciate an honest answer (which i know can only be a guesstimate). I can also give you my estimations based on pretty extensive experience of knowing and working with people involved in prostitution, should you ask.

  6. Thisisasham asked, “What is the percentage of women involved in prostitution who experienced trauma prior to entry?
    “What is the percentage of women who have addictions issues?
    What percentage of women would actively choose to be involved in prostitution because they like it and would rather do that than another job?
    What percentage of women would rather exit prostitution?
    What percentage of women have to dissociate to survive and continue in prostitution?
    What percentage of women have experienced violence during their involvement in prostitution?
    What percentage will barely remember their involvement in prostitution when they exit because it’s just like any other job?
    From your scenarios above, what percentage of those who might become involved in prostitution will feel much other than revulsion toward the men who buy a part of them?”

    None of these questions jusify arresting and imprisoning sex workers. We’re not saying that prostitution is a wonderful experience for everybody, but that doesn’t mean they should be incarcerated for it. In terms of your question about violence, the criminalization of prostitution encourages violence. It’s not the sole cause of violence, but it does encourage violence. I’m in the process of researching this issue and comparing violence rates in New Zealand, where prostitution is decriminalized, to other systems of prostitution. I’m finding much higher violence rates in other systems. For example, a report out of New Zealand found that 10 percent of sex workers interviewed experienced violence or theft with the past year. This report looked at both street and indoor prostitution, and the percentage I provided is the overall percentage. I compared this to a report out of the U.K, where street prostitution is illegal and indoor prostitution is legal if the sex worker is working alone, but brothels are illegal. The report out of the U.K. found a much higher rather of violence (37 percent overall) in a six month period. That’s over 3 times the rate of violence and theft that sex workers in New Zealand’s decriminalized system reported. Also, a report out of Miami, where prostitution is illegal, found that 51 percent of street based sex workers reported expriencing violence or theft within a 12 month period. This is more than twice the percentage of street based workers in New Zealand’s decriminalized system of prostitution who reported experiencing violence or theft over a 12 month period. Thus, though decriminalization isn’t a guarantee of safety because we’re never guaranteed to be perfectly safe in this world no matter what industry we’re in, decriminalization yields much lower rates of violence and theft than criminalization.
    in terms of your question about what percentage of women wish to exit prostitution (even though some sex workers are men), criminalizing prostitution wastes reources that could be used toward addresing the needs of people in prostitution who wish to exit. Melissa Farley listed various things that sex workers said they needed to exit prostitution, such as child care for their children, safe houses, and vocational training. Yet, the anti-prostitution policies that she and others are promoting divert resources away from the very things she and her team of researchers said people need to help them exit prostitution when wishing to do so. Also, having prostitution on one’s permenant record makes it harder to find jobs outside of prostitution and rent housing.

  7. Here is the report on New Zealand I was referring to, and if you scroll down to Table 11, you can see violence and theft rates among various categories. In case anybody is wondering how I came up with the 10 percent figure from this report (which I referred to in my previous post), I averaged all the percentages together from each of the categories of violence (both verbal and physicial) and theft listed in the column of the chart which states overall rates of violence and theft between street and indoor workers combined.
    Here is a link:

    http://www.justice.govt.nz/prostitution-law-review-committee/publications/plrc-report/chapter-4.html

  8. >>This is simply a lie.>>

    No it isn’t a lie. Your radical feminism doesn’t inherently give you the authority to determine for others whether they have been victimized and whether or not they are victim survivors or working at sex work. I have been both. The trafficking victim that was very badly abused by horrible predators AND later the sex worker that is doing it because she needs the money and because other options aren’t there. The sex worker that is not currently, even though I had been in a different situation in the past, being raped, hurt, violated, etc. I know the difference. I lived the two experiences and am fully cognizant of the differences. Where do you come off saying it’s a lie? Your radical feminism gives you insight into people you don’t know? Gives you the place to determine for me, for others how to interpret their lives? No it doesn’t.

    My insights are first hand. Not theoretical, not from study, not from college courses, but from actual experience in years of both sexual slavery and in sex work. They are not the same.

    I am not straight. Thus I am not a sex worker because I care about sex with men. Not interested in sex with men however, giving one the blow job, or having sex with one, doesn’t make him the rapist, doesn’t make him the torturer. I have been raped, tortured, held against my will for many many many months. There is a huge difference and I absolutely balk at feminism telling me or another woman that they it and feminists through feminism know what I don’t through sociology vs experience.

  9. Thisisasham asked, “What is the percentage of women involved in prostitution who experienced trauma prior to entry?

    I would guess significant. However, the majority of women that I call friends in many environments, both in and never having been involved in sex work have experienced trauma in their lives. But because they are for examples, 1. a flight attendant, 2. a police officer, 3, a tech support rep, 4 a salesperson for home improvements, none of them are asked if they suffered trauma prior to entry. Nor are their career places now based upon that. I know that each of them in this paragraph have suffered sexual violence of some sort in the straight jobs referenced in this paragraph. Stopping sexual violence is of paramount importance. Isolating the issue to sex work isn’t going to solve it. Not to mention are the sexual assualt’s the women suffered in straight jobs less important because they are outside the construct of sex work? NO. It is horrible to be victimized regardless and we should be fighting the oppression. One of those tools is pragmatism. Something often missed by radical feminism

    “What is the percentage of women who have addictions issues?

    Probably high. But not by any stretch across the board. Nor is it inherently just limited to the sex industry. The issue is money is often more quickly available from sex work than other jobs, thus someone with chem dependency is more apt to end up in the sex industry than many other professions. However, wasting resources fighting to end the sex industry when dealing with the addiction would have tangible and real world chance for success while ending the sex industry is a monumental challenge that will never be completed. What happens to all those that need help via harm reduction now? Worthy of sacrifice for the pursuit of social change? NO.

    What percentage of women would actively choose to be involved in prostitution because they like it and would rather do that than another job?

    Irrelevant. How many women would choose any different job over their current one? This is elitist as hell thinking the job at McDonalds is so much better than sex work or that they will feel the sense of reward that say Farley as an academic feels just because they leave sex work. And leave sex work means having something reasonable to leave to. It isn’t just leave sex work and a panacea happens at the next job.

    What percentage of women would rather exit prostitution?

    Depends on circumstance. Absolutely not the 90 plus percent of Farley’s studies. Farleys studies are biased research. 90 plus percent of the people she studied wanted out of the the sex industry. Not a sampling of the whole, instead a sampling of those very apt to want out. How many POW’s want out of the military at the time of being the POW or recovering from the trauma. How many women working at the dry cleaners on a hot humid day want out? Trying to bait with the cliche stats doesn’t fly. I was a rad fem activist for many years. I know and worked in activism with many rad fems and know where they got the stats, the rhetoric,

    What percentage of women have to dissociate to survive and continue in prostitution?

    Significant. However the same women that get sexually harassed, sexually assaulted at non sex work jobs have an equally high rate of disassociation. The problem is infliction of trauma. Taking away rights of sex workers doesn’t stop any trauma. It enhances it.

    What percentage of women have experienced violence during their involvement in prostitution?

    Huge. But status quo with it’s criminalization and the police as enemies there to arrest, a biased justice system against prostitutes make the risk of violence much higher. Lack of recourse and support in the event of being victimized is a huge problem. And the status quo or the use of law enforcement to end the sex industry while denying rights doesn’t improve anything.

    What percentage will barely remember their involvement in prostitution when they exit because it’s just like any other job?

    Statistics aren’t particularly important to those suffering or have suffered. Do you think that when I was being raped or tortured by a pimp or his sadistic fuck clients that I would have felt better being given a statistic? No. Stats for for those who have time for to study them. This is real to most of us. Not statistical. My suffering in the sex industry isn’t a fucking statistic to be studied to me. Perhaps it is to someone on the outside. How many of those suffering the violence or having suffered the violence give a shit about the spreadsheet stats?

    From your scenarios above, what percentage of those who might become involved in prostitution will feel much other than revulsion toward the men who buy a part of them?”

    Well, given the option of sleeping in my car, being homeless, being hungry tends to worry me far more than the revulsion I’ll feel toward the men. Homelessness and hunger tend to be repulsive as hell to me. However as an adult woman I will determine what I feel more revulsion for and make the choices. I don’t need someone who views this all as an Excel spreadsheet to make the choice for me.I also feel revulsion at the sexually harassing pricks at my last full time job, two of which who actually raped a colleague. This was at a home improvement company, not in the sex industry. I am more repulsed at rapists and sexual predators that the average client that pays for sex and isn’t a rapist.

  10. >>I can also give you my estimations based on pretty extensive experience of knowing and working with people involved in prostitution, should you ask.>>

    It is great that you work with these women. I absolutely respect the work that you are doing. There should be more social services for the women suffering the horrible violence in the world and it is a great thing that people care and are working with them. I was in a rad fem program called council for prostitution alternatives in 1996 97 and 98 and absolutely adore my counselor and the women who worked there. Many if not most were inspirational doing very important work to help oppressed people. They were an inspiration for me to do the same type of work.

    However, radical feminists tend to view sex worker rights/harm reduction people as the enemy or feel that they have the monopoly on who is trying to help women in need and fight oppression and patriarchy. You don’t. Just because we see things differently does not mean we aren’t committed to ending the same horrors. Perhaps because my experience wasn’t from a college degree but instead from actual extended life experience my perspective is different and I am far more inclined to harm reduction because social change often is too far away when one is suffering now. Doesn’t mean I am a liar, that I am placing some poltical agenda first,

    On band aids, there is a need to fight for the end of things that cause injury. There is also a huge need for band aids. Ask the person bleeding out if they prefer a band aid or resources being diverted from band aids to ending the cause. If you are suffering right now, you often are amenable to help that works right now. Some of us prefer to focus the effort on those needing help right now. And we have very valid reasons.

    I was a rad fem, a rad fem activist that did presentations at the same conferences with Farley, with Hughes, I know the ideology, I know the statistics too. Saving lives right now is more important to me than feminism. All too many times too much is sacrificed at the altar of radical feminism and all too much is misprioritized with feminism being the paramount. It isn’t. The women in need are. Feminism is an ideology, a path toward something better. But it is a room in the house of social change and social improvement. It isn’t the only way, the only path, and those of us that left the room or were never in it aren’t inherently evil anymore than one sect of christianity or christian has the only path to heaven.

    Your fight is misplaced. If you feel that calling me a liar is some victory against oppression, you are way off base in your priorities. You don’t even know me and judged me based on your feminism. While you know what you are talking about via helping other women, you are basing your feelings on me, on many others here on a global macro. Have you been in our movement? Have you been in our shoes? Probably not.

    peace

  11. This is copiously long, sorry,

    I believe there are people here who are part of the pro sex work movement because they are passionate about the rights of those involved. I believe there are others who are there simply to promote self interest;

    This is true to any group of people, any movement toward any version of social change. Radical feminism is certainly not exempt. Perhaps you have better verbalized why I left radical feminism better than I have ever seen or been able to. I couldn’t accept the actions of those there simply to promote their self interest or the self interest of feminism as a doctrine over the lives of so many others.

    What is now SWOP East, which operates legally as Project Prosper, was once on the cusp of a financial grant to provide services to a much larger group of women. On the cusp of financial support to do this, to even employ part time people to raise enough money to build a sustaining program to assist those in the sex industry, whether that was to exit, to cope with trauma suffered, to have someone to talk to, someone to assist with basic needs such as a resume, advocacy for access to shelters and services. This was terminated by radical feminists. In 2002 Project Prosper, which at the time was still operating under the name Escape the Prostitution Prevention Project, which was internationally known for it’s radical feminist social change stances, including the creation of the 2002 International Day of No Prostitution. In 2002, I gave a speaking presentation to members of the Minneapolis Sexual Violence Center. This was by no means a pro sex work speech. I detailed life as a captive in the sex industry asking for understanding toward providing services for women in the sex industry. While Sexual Violence Center was a harm reduction project, they felt they could not provide the level of services to women in the sex industry without those that had been in or still were in the sex industry as a part of the program. They brought Escape the Prostitution Prevention Project in even though at the time we weren’t even aware of the existence of harm reduction and worked from an abolitionist perspective because they felt they lacked the experience in the sex industry that we had. They had us conduct multiple training on the sex industry, went through their crisis counselor training program so that I could legally provide confidential crisis counseling as a certified crisis counselor under the supervision of Masters Level counselors and supervisors. Escape Aka: Project Prosper, began to offer 24 hour crisis counseling, legal advocacy, access to shelters, we got an office and a telephone number for the first time. Women needing help both to exit and to deal with various situations in the sex industry were getting crisis services. There was a low threshold to qualify for services, essentially if you showed up you could access them, and no limit on them, meaning you could see a counselor as many times as you needed to, see a legal advocate as many times as you needed. Even drop by for support and a warm place in the brutal Minneapolis winter.

    It however was deemed by the Bush Administration and heavily by radical feminists that harm reduction was collaboration with the enemy and that the whole focus had to be on social change to end the sex industry. The TVPRA gag order came into play. The harm reduction people were removed from Sexual Violence Center as funding would be lost under the new Bush/feminist TVPRA policies unless a switch to abolitionist/sex work abstinence based exclusive policies were made the only operating protocols. Escape the Prostitution Prevention Project was given a choice. Terminate direct services to anyone in the sex industry unless they were not in the sex industry and committed to abstinence from the sex industry. This divided the program as radical feminists wanted to focus on end prostitution exclusive education and terminate the direct services. Sexual Violence Center was forced by TVPRA to terminate all of it’s direct service program except the rad fem education. Clients were all dropped without notice. Which was considered a great victory by radical feminists as they had driven the harm reduction people out of the SVC. Without funding, without an office, without a telephone number and with a huge public and private effort by radical feminists who were outraged by the insertion of harm reduction counseling into an anti prostitution organization, Escape the Prostitution Prevention Project collapsed. Ultimately the collapse was cheered publicly and privately and supported by a great deal of public, private, and personal lobbying, threats by radical feminists including many of the big names like Farley, Hughes. Craft.

    The women who needed the services, whether to leave the sex industry or to survive the harsh conditions in Minnesota, all lost the program. But radical feminists had their victory. Want proof? I”ll post the links as all of this is archived via waybackmachine.org who archives virtually all websites and has since 1996.

    All the political intrigue, the campaign to replace me at Escape because I had committed the huge act of treason of bringing harm reduction into an anti prostitution organization. The big thing about replacing me with Evelina Giobbe who was a committed anti prostitution advocate that had founded WHISPER. She had also caused it’s collapse by sexually assaulting female clients and staff. But that was forgiven by radical feminists because she was radical feminist and certainly by their definition she was far better a choice than I was because I agreed with SVC’s harm reduction people that we should and did provide services both to those exiting the sex industry and to those and wouldn’t, couldn’t, didn’t want to, weren’t ready to, whatever. Only those that were ready to exit now or had exited were deemed by the feminist powers that be as valid to receive services. Providing them to anyone else was deemed as betrayal of feminism, betrayal of women in prostitution, and more importantly a threat to funding under the gag order of Bush, Donna Hughes and the TVPRA.

    There was no plan to dismantle the radical feminist base of Escape/Prosper. Just to provide harm reduction based services to those that needed them, feminist based services to those who needed them, exit services to those who needed them. But the victory to the feminists wasn’t about providing services. It was political in defeating their harm reduction enemies. I didn’t even know what harm reduction was nor had I ever heard of it when I went into Sexual Violence Center to do the first presentation and it was months and multiple unplanned encounters between myself and SVC management at unrelated events sponsored by MCAP, PRIDE, etc, both abolitionist orgs that lead to the collaboration. SVC’s staff didn’t recruit me to lure me into some harm reduction ideology or as alleged, to destroy a feminist organization. They allied with me because they felt I and Escape could offer something that they felt unqualified for because they did not have any sex industry experience. The idea was to expand services to sex workers, to prostituted women, and to all in between. But that… wasn’t good enough for radical feminists who fueled by TVPRA, fueled by their need to win some war that the rest of us didn’t even know existed against enemies. Who lost? Everyone that was depending on services.

    The women needing services were priority to those of us doing direct services. The politics was the priority to the feminists who took great pride in the destruction of Escape all because of inclusion of harm reduction, the use of the term risk reduction on the website and the Farley, Hughes type activism in collaboration with the Bush Administration and TVPRA that suffocated Escape, it’s clients, and millions of people in the sex industry worldwide.

    If there is the typical cliché rad fem response of saying I am detailing my past for self congratulation. That is bullshit. I’m detailing it because it’s history and it chronicles how feminism was prioritized over the women that feminism claims are so important, those in prostitution. Great job to those rad feminists that won their war.

    I was a rad fem even during all of this. I believed the ideology, had many rad feminist friends. Even bought the “pro prostitution, pro porn” myths and bullshit because I knew only the radical feminist view. I had no idea when I brought harm reduction into Escape that there was any politics involved. It made sense to accept someone where they were, to let the individual be the expert in their own lives and to offer support and services to them that they self determined they needed and were appropriate. The deal with SVC was that I would accept the person I was the advocate counselor for where they were at. That was heresy.

    There are plenty of radical feminist anti prostitution types out for themselves or to sacrifice all at the altar of radical feminism for the sake of the ideology.

    Spring forward, 8 plus years of TVPRA. No band aids so say the feminists. Just end the oppression……… Perhaps the equation 15316454870 women victimized in the sex industry per year, 456749878463 suffered violence prior to entry, 5457464331 are chemically dependent. 15316454870/456749878463X5457464331 to the second power divided by 152.6 minus one sex industry equals 0 victimized. Just add the -1 sex industry and all of those other numbers become 0… Wow, that simple. Just an excel formula. No band aids, no condoms, just some arithmetic and those willing to wage war on all those pro porn, pro prostitution people and some feminist education for all of us wayward souls that either never learned it, forgot it, misunderstood it,,,,,,,,

    Some of whom are in the tiny minority of those who can legitimately call themselves sex workers who view the experience as having positives and the rest being bandwagon jumpers who are either woefully misinformed and/or hoping to make a name for themselves or score a book deal.

    Give me a break… Given the enormous amount of women in the sex industry there are far more than that view it as work, view it as the way they pay their bills, feed their families, and even perhaps see the occasional positive than there are sex slaves trafficked, tortured, etc. Radical feminism tends to include even Hooters Girls as enslaved in systems of prostitution. Thus, all the Hooters Girls, all the porn actresses, all the exotic dancers, phone sex workers, escorts, prostitutes make up just a tiny majority while the rest don’t see it as work, as income or even have any positive experiences, ever,, All the rest in other words, a huge majority see themselves as enslaved with zero positive moments?

    Bandwagon jumpers that are woefully misinformed? What is your context?

    Hoping to make a name for themselves and scoring a book deal? I can tell you from first person experience, there was a much bigger name, book deals and movie rights offers, not to mention paid speaking gigs, paid conference presentations, when I was a rad fem. While those were never the basis of any decision for me, they dried up entirely upon leaving radical feminism. Entirely.

    Never wrote a book despite many offers. Refused to allow a movie production company the rights to go forward because they wanted to dumb down the violence and amp up the fake and non existent rescuer characters because the real experiences were fucking horrible and my feeling was if a movie was going to be made, it should present those horrors realistically and not insert a fake rescuing character because they didn’t exist and likely still don’t for others. People need to see reality of violence women suffer in the sex industry, not a dumbed down version or a fake rescue. Rescue was a fluke and not a rescue, just circumstance. Sorry, but the fame and fortune are available on the abolitionist side. Those of us seeking to save lives via condoms, counseling, coffee and blankets in the cold. There is no glamour there. Not even money to pay to ship the condoms to Chile….

    On money,,, Speaking fees for rad fems. Dworkin got 10k for a speech, Farley is getting a significant percentage of that when speaking. I often got 250 to 600 dollars a speech as a rad fem speaker. As a harm reduction/sex worker rights speaker, umm, zero. Perhaps gas money, and reimbursement for hotels, airfare, sometimes, not always, but the speaking gig honorariums are in huge majority confined to the anti prostitution activists. If I wanted money, a book deal, etc, and was willing to sell out for self interest, I’d go back to advocating radical feminist abolitionist ideology.

    There are also a percentage of people who have to dissociate from the realities of what they are doing to survive.

    Yes there are. But arresting them, taking away their income with nothing to replace it, denying them the right to agency of their thought process, beliefs, and bodies, and certainly all the human, civil and labor rights that are denied to them by abolitionist US/rad femesque and law enforcement isn’t doing anything to prevent disassociation.

    Disassociation comes largely from suffering violence and oppression. It isn’t inherently the sex with men that causes the disassociation, it is the violence and oppression. Denying the right to unionize, to have legal rights to safe working environments do nothing to benefit anyone psychologically.

    The reality is that I could have escaped from a trafficking predatorial sadistic fuck pimp and the awful men he referred me to without consent a lot quicker if I didn’t fear arrest, didn’t fear the justice system. You don’t figure the predator pimp knew that I had no rights, that I was by virtue of prostitution likely to be viewed as a criminal by police and justice officials and thus I was more likely and in reality much easier a target? And exploited as a result? Please don’t under estimate the predators. TVPRA, the opposition to band aids, the opposition to decrim and the harm those cause, they are gift wrapped presents to predators. The Green River Killer. Gary Ridgeway. …. He illustrated quite graphically why he chose prostitutes. Decrim sure as shit wouldn’t have made it worse.

    Victims of the Green River Killer,,,,, They don’t seem to matter to radical feminists who oppose the vigils to remember them and the other victims of violence in sex work because the day is called International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Which radical feminists largely ignore or even oppose because of who the organizers are and the term sex worker in the title. Well that’s a great reason to not raise awareness or honor those who died in the sex industry by a horrible killer,,, because you might be seen with the enemy sex worker rights people, or worse have them “given credibility” by the presence of radical feminists. Please,,,

    As Director of SWOP East, I approached radical feminists year after year, to support IDEVSW, even if by adding their names to memorials to the victims. 2 in four years agreed. 2. Aside from the vitriolic responses condemning the day, condemning me for allegedly dirtying the name of victim/survivors with my presence regardless of my words or actions or my own brush with predators not so different from Gary Ridgeway. Even those who were polite in their rejection. Because they couldn’t take part in the event because of the words “sex worker” or because it may give the wrong impression about support for pro prostitution orgs,,,,,,, Or because they knew from previous experience association with me, the heretic that supposedly betrayed radical feminist activism/activists on the issue meant a tirade of problems for them…..

    However, isn’t the reason of IDEVSW a memorial? A plea for awareness of violence and to end it? For an movement that is supposedly glamorizing the sex industry, glossing over the violence,,,,, Strange that it is the sex worker rights movement who’s biggest event of the year is IDEVSW.

    Newsflash radical feminists. Creating awareness to end violence, memorizing those who lost their lives to it, fighting to end it. That is way more important than your self created war against a non existent “pro porn, pro prostitution” movement and those you feel are in it that are falsely associated with traffickers, falsely associated with predators, with rich, iconish corporate thugs like Larry Flynt and Hefner.

    For all the bullshit over the years thrown at me and others by feminists convinced that I know and am paid by Flynt and Hefner. I don’t know either of them. They don’t know me, they sure as hell don’t pay me, I despise both of them as much as any other predator and they have nothing to do with my activism.

    I also believe that some people are lying or massaging the truth because the truth does not fit with general agenda. This does a disservice to all.

    Perhaps they are but no movement is immune to that. Seeing both sides up close. There are far more rad feminists doing that shit than sex worker rights activists.

    Some radical feminists are a holier than thou pain in the arse, don’t get me wrong.

    There are pain in the arses in every movement but perhaps opposing their bullshit even if they are in your movement is worth at least some of the bandwidth that is expended on what is believed to be the war against pro prostitution forces. Given most of those felt to be the enemy aren’t. Fanatics of any sort do no movement any good. I have no patience for fanatics of any stripe including those who claim to be on my side. Sometimes you have to stand up against your own side to fight for ethics and against abuses. Fanatics poison any movement. Although realistically I can see why people do not want to address the issues of the pain in the ass radical feminists. The price is enormous and history seems to lead to excommunication.

    But I have to tell you that the majority of us – those with whom i have had contact over the years – are working really hard toward some of the same ends that you are: safety, education and awareness raising, making sure women are heard and able to access services etc etc.

    Agreed. I know a lot of radical feminists that are doing just this. A lot of people that are identified as anti prostitution that are doing just what you say. No question. I would love to work with most of them on anything we can achieve common ground on and despite many who believe the opposite there is a lot of common ground. And far more work to be done toward education, awareness raising, making sure women are heard and able to access services than there are those who are working toward it on any side. If these issues are truly going to be addressed they take all of us and require finding common ground, prioritizing the most important things and leaving egos and beliefs behind when necessary to work together to deal with enormous issues. Ones that most of us should be able to agree on are often huge even life threatening to so many women.

    There should be people providing exit services, providing services to those victimized in the sex industry, toward counseling, toward understanding the macro level of how their oppression is connected to global oppression and how there is a great deal of abuse in the sex industry. Not only do I not oppose those I advocate them. Perhaps fighting the oppression is more important than the politics, or feminist litmus tests and fear that finding common ground is a bad political move? I don’t know any sex worker rights activist that is opposed to safety, education, awareness raising, making sure that women’s voices are heard and ability to access services. Those are many of the things we are fighting for also. I know they are things that I am fighting for. Unfortunately, so much has been lost because so many feminists want to wage war against sex worker rights activist or at best ostracize them far more than they want the goals referenced above.

    Why can’t we find common ground, respect the differences and do the work that is most important?

    . We just don’t believe that putting a sticking plaster on a gaping wound is the answer.

    I wish I had a name to address you with. I have to admit hating a discourse construct without even having a name real, assumed, or otherwise.

    There is nothing wrong with to end the cause of the wound. Wanting to eliminate the cause because there are so many wounded and the wounds are so horrible. And brutally difficult to be on the frontline seeing the awful wounds and essentially having little or zero power to stop them. It is very understandable where the desire comes from to feel anger and want to end all that causes the wounds. But like a hospital, using the wound analogy, there have to be those that do plaster the gaping wound because the wounded is hemorrhaging from the gaping wound now. They should go together not in opposition as both are critical. I can’t fathom why trying to stop or slow the bleeding and initiate healing right now while the battle is on to fight the cause of the wounds is waged should be in opposition to each other. Regardless of how much we hate the infliction of wounds, hate those that cause them, there has to be people that focus first on the wounded. And recognition of those that are actually causing the wounds as the specific to eliminate. It is often easy to lash out wanting to strike at those causing the wounds at the first person that can be blamed. Those of us that are looking to stop the bleeding today and individually have to be there as much as those fighting for macro level social change. This dynamic isn’t questioned in a hospital, isn’t questioned in drug rehab, isn’t questioned in DV, SA,, there have to triages and triage workers. Yet when the dynamic is the sex industry being triage is viewed as collaboration with the enemy, as supportive of the terrible evil that causes the wounds. That isn’t fair, it isn’t realistic and it is woefully counter productive.

    Why can’t there be tolerance of different approaches. There is no one answer, no one path toward constructive solutions.

  12. Sorry, for some reason the italics of quotes responded to failed and I have no way to edit it to fix it. Please note there are quoted statements with responses in the above posts that will make this a bit confusing.

  13. The police are not social workers and any “exit” program that relies on arrest to outreach workers is complicit in what happens to women when law enforcement comes through the door.

    Now I have some questions for you, radical feminist…

    When did the police and the police state, which is racist, sexist, brutal and has incarcerated a whole generation of young people of color become the solution to radical feminists? When did I.C.E. and Homeland Security and the State Department become your solution to trafficking? The same I.C.E. and Homeland Security that terrorizes immigrant men, women and children, seperates familes and puts children in detention centers before deporting them. When did the radical feminists come to the conclusion that it was okay to send in armed bodies of men to rescue prostitutes? You call yourselves radical. There is nothing radical in the idea of putting more poor women and primarily poor women of color in jail or detention centers.

    Thisisasham asks,

    “What is the percentage of women involved in prostitution who experienced trauma prior to entry?
    What is the percentage of women who have addictions issues?
    What percentage of women would actively choose to be involved in prostitution because they like it and would rather do that than another job?
    What percentage of women would rather exit prostitution?
    What percentage of women have to dissociate to survive and continue in prostitution?
    What percentage of women have experienced violence during their involvement in prostitution?
    What percentage will barely remember their involvement in prostitution when they exit because it’s just like any other job?
    From your scenarios above, what percentage of those who might become involved in prostitution will feel much other than revulsion toward the men who buy a part of them?”

    Give me a fucking break. I wish you could be recued for being such an idiot.

  14. Check this out…

    http://www.sagesf.org/html/survivor_resources_harm.htm

    SAGE on harm reduction, SAGE on how criminalization, stigmatization etc, harm people…….

    SAGE on the need to plug the wound instead of just ending the cause of the wound.

    Seems harm reduction, among other things are ok with SAGE when they do it and ok to radical femninists when they do it. But it is pro prostitution, pro sexual slavery, collaboration with oppressors, and all that shit when someone other than them does it…

    SAGE who was one of the outspoken critics of Project Prosper’s inclusion of harm reduction. Sorry memory of Norma Hotaling, you have my respect for many important things you did to help women, but you also were a major component in the collapse of Project Prosper in 2003 which terminated harm reduction based services and left many that had previously gotten counseling, legal advocacy, crisis lines, left them with nothing because of the evil of harm reduction and the need to focus everything on ending demand.

    How is the information SAGE advances on their own harm reduction website somehow safe and valid while the rest of us are evil

    Why is it there is the warm fuzzy populist harm reduction, accept you where you are at on the survivor section of the site, but then go to the finance and calls for action to support TVPRA which defunds harm reduction programs that accept people where they are at rather than telling them you can’t do sex work, have to leave immediately or nada for you.

    wow………
    Their

  15. Jill, thank you for taking the time to write your incredibly powerful and thought-provoking comments. Thisisascam had no business calling you a liar. Just because this person has a different perspective on prostitution than you doesn’t mean your lying. By calling you a liar, Thisisascam addressed the exact same “holier than though ” attitude that he or she acknowleged some radical feminists express.
    In terms of comments about statistics, I agree that when you can speak from experience, that can be more powerful than numbers, and the numbers may seem insignificant to you. However, I see statistics as about more than just numbers. They’re also about people’s experiences. I’ve been the statistics I go by are based on self-reports by sex workers. When interpreting statistics, it’s important to question the methodology and the sample of people they were derived from because there is overgeneralizing of statistics and some questionable statistics out there. For example, the statistics from the U.S. government about the number of people being trafficked is being widely cited in the media and by prohibitionists, but a report by the U.S. Government Accountabilty Office questioned these statistics, saying they were derived by one person who didn’t document his methodology. That is, he didn’t document how he came up with these statistics. In terms of overgeneralization, Melissa Farley and her team of researchers interviewed a very specific segment of sex workers, but she generalizes these findings to sex workers as a whole.
    However, I think that statistics can be a very powerful tool to support us in our advocacy for decriminlization. As I mentioned in a previous post, statistics derived by self-reports from sex workers indicate that decriminalization does decrease violence and challenges claims by prostitution prohibitionists that prositution is by it’s very nature violent. If that were true, then rates of violence would be the same regardless of the legal status of prostitution. However, that is not the case. As I mentioned, the report out of New Zealand where prostitution is decriminalized found that sex workers reported much lower rates of violence and theft than reports out of Miami and the UK found, where the prostitution laws are very different than in New Zealand. I posted a link to the New Zealand report in a previous message on this thread, but here is a link the report out of the UK:

    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/reprint/322/7285/524.pdf

    Here’s a link to the abstract of the report out of Miami:

    http://vaw.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/10/4/357

    It’s important to note that each of these reports I mention focus only on client violence, which is the most common form (though not the only type). Though I have experience working in the sex industry and I can speak from my experiences, I realize that not everybody in the sex industry had the same experiences that I’ve had, which is why I find it so important to listen to and read about other people’s experiences, and see what the macro level trends are, such as how the legal status of prostitution affects levels of violence and theft as well as sex workes ‘ agency overall.

  16. New book just out and must read. It gives some insight to how the current rhetoric was created by the feminist nazis: the idea of arresting people for their own good.

    http://www.sweat.org.za/

    “Selling Sex in Cape Town”

    We saw, in Proposition K, first hand, women stand up, and say out loud that arresting prostitutes and trafficking our asses into the criminal system was the good thing and the best we can do.

    if the walk like Nazis, talk like Nazis, act like Nazis, they must be Nazis.

    One of the most important acts we can do, is to bring our worker voices to the center of anything that has to do with us. And Unionization is the way to do that. Having the war on the whore profiteers define what ‘harm’ is for us and then get themselves paid to ‘deliver services’ based on their violent ideas is the violation of our human rights.

  17. my comments on this topic: >One thing people forget is that in this world of iffy straight employment, a felony conviction puts an end to normal straight career ambitions.<

    If a worker is afraid of applying for education, employment, benefits, access to legal rights, equal protection under the law because of an arrest/conviction, then that worker has been effectively discriminated against and we as a society are culpable for that harm as well.

  18. I think one of the things that so pisses me off is the endless focus on spreadsheet matrix and percentages. The answer for so many people to everything is X percent of people want to leave the sex industry today, X percent have been raped, X percent feel repusled by the men,,,,,,

    Damn it!!!! This is life and life isn’t a spreadsheet. The whole thing about don’t unionize because 91.547 percent of people in Farley’s study want out right now. Screw Farley and her study. Maybe her stats are important to Washington DC as they need stats to quantify grants, maybe it is important to academics and students to have numbers to study, maybe it is important to Non Profits so they can report the number of people assisted and quantify their results and financial needs.

    None of that shit means anything when you are the one homeless, or the one arrested,

    Damn anti prostitution people listen to this…. No matter the percent of women wanting to escape, being arrested, fear of arrest only make getting out harder and reduce options for life outside the sex industry.

    Statistics may be important. I’m sure there are many thousands who have important needs for homicide statistics. BUT. does it matter to the homicide victim what their percentage is? Or all the Excel spreadsheets that are created to study homicide? Dead is dead.

  19. >>From your scenarios above, what percentage of those who might become involved in prostitution will feel much other than revulsion toward the men who buy a part of them?>>

    But the scenario above has to do with being homeless and hungry. And those two feelings will always outweigh revulsion for the clients. Basic human needs, food, shelter, warmth, those always become dominant when they are denied. When there is time to contemplate feelings for the clients that comes after the stomach is full, there is shelter and someone isn’t freezing.

    I can answer this in first person. I’m not even straight. Sex with men holds little to zero appeal to me. But I am not going to feel revulsion at every fucking man that pays me for sex. It may not be my choice of how to make money, may not be the way I choose to earn a living, but it sure as hell beats starving. Damn, I have been raped, and a lot worse. I have been given multiple experiences of reasons to feel revulsion of some men and I do. Some of the clients I met were awful, horrible, evil, disgusting men. Most were just some unknown guy that paid me for some sex act, and left. I never knew his name, couldn’t pick him out of a lineup or even recognize him in a supermarket checkout line. I don’t remember him, don’t feel revulsion, the whole event between him and I was meaningless. What mattered was the money I made so I can pay the rent. Sure if he rapes me that changes it. But not all clients are rapists or abusers, or violent. Bad news rad feminists but most are just men. Largely indistinguishable. My memory isn’t revulsion it is forgotten, nothing more than same person different face.

    Which airline passengers when I was a flight attendant do I remember? Mostly the really awful ones. Maybe the occasional really nice one, or the one that had a very specific situation. All the rest just go by unnoticed.

    Whether feminsts want to accept this or not, most clients are that way too. Just customers in a stream of customers, nothing out of the ordinary and when the business is transacted and complete both forget each other.

  20. >>From your scenarios above, what percentage of those who might become involved in prostitution will feel much other than revulsion toward the men who buy a part of them?>>

    The quote above was from one of Jill’s threads, but I’m not sure who initially wrote the question, so I don’t know whom to attribute it to. However, I’ll answer the question. I feel much more revulsion toward radical feminists and people who promote anti-sex workers laws under the guise of protecting sex workers than I feel toward my clients. I also feel more revulsion toward the attitude that men buy a part of us than I do toward the clients who pay for my services. We don’t sell any part of ourselves. We sell services and entertainment. We’re human beings making a living, so I feel much more revulsion toward the people who try to get free services from us than those who pay for our services. I speak from experience as somebody who worked live webcam and had various people coming into my chatroom and telling me what to do for free. I found that revulsive and disrespectful, not the customers who payed. Fortunately, I found a great webcam company that doesn’t require cam in free chat, so the quality of my clientele has improved greatly and I no long have people pressuring me to do my job for free. Doing my job for free doesn’t pay my bills and living expenses. If anybody is interested in more info. about webcam, please let me know by posting a reply and I can make recommendations about which companies to work for and stay away from. I think sex workers need to be resources to each other, and whenever possible, I use my experiences to help sex workers know what they will be getting into because I believe it is important to be informed.

  21. >>>>From your scenarios above, what percentage of those who might become involved in prostitution will feel much other than revulsion toward the men who buy a part of them?>>>>

    That quote is from thisisasham,

  22. sexworkeradvocate,

    Thank you for your look at the stats. It answers a LOT of the questions that gets thrown at us here. I appreciate your work in looking at all the numbers.

    And I agree with you too — it is extremely disrespectful of us as sex WORKERS to try and get services for free. Paying for our offered services is not anymore disrespectful than when I pay for service professionals to take care of my various needs.

    XX

  23. Believe it or not Sexworkeradvocate I am actually a stats junkie. I find them very interesting, fascinating and fun to see, to work with, to watch. To the point that often play and have even written a couple of business sim games that are entirely based on stats, spreadsheets etc.

    I think my frustration comes because radical feminists come in and use them as deflections from questions they can’t answer, they use them as some indicator that they are an expert and the rest of us are mindless self serving morons.

    Her answer to the homeless/hungry scenario, the radical feminist I mean, was to throw a bunch of questions about statistics. What is the percent of women that want to leave immediately? Knowing fuil well her answer is Farley’s stat of 90 something percent, disregarding all of us in that process. That Farley knows by virtue of her studies and her statistical results. Studies that are biased and unrepresentative of the topic we are discussing here. It is blatantly disrespectful on the part of the radical feminist poster. I of course being the free speech junkie support and agree with her right to post and her right to post what she wants. But it sets me off nonetheless. She might as well have started off by calling me a liar then referring to questions on the collapse of the auto industry. It isn’t the stats that bother me, it is that they are misused by radical feminists as trumping all of our existences, our knowledge, our experiences with the rote recitation of their knowledge of their studies.

    My frustration with the radical feminist poster in this thread is that like so many others before her, she didn’t come to share, or to speak, she came to ask questions, to quiz knowing the answers she feels are correct. We aren’t study objects for rad fems. They are forcing stats that don’t even apply to our movement and acting as if they are the experts in our movement and that we are stupid or have hidden pro predator agendas. Which none of us are either.

    That’s my peeve about it

  24. Distracting us with challenges to collect stats about those issues that will not move our issue forward is what a boss would do.

    In the book “Selling Sex in Cape Town”, they have lots of stats and they give detailed ethical methods of collection, some thing the nazi haters have yet to do to have their ‘ numbers’ to be deemed creditable.

  25. Thisisascam wrote:

    >>>I’d appreciate an honest answer (which i know can only be a guesstimate). I can also give you my estimations based on pretty extensive experience of knowing and working with people involved in prostitution, should you ask.>>>

    Sorry, Scam, but I don’t play craps with loaded dice. But if it’ll make you feel better, I’ll tattoo “90%” on my ass for ya.

  26. To maxine doogan:

    Hmm, in the above case the lady in question had managed to land a nice corporate job. I was so proud, but she was petrified about what a background check would turn up. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn into the permanent job we had hoped for. We don’t think it was a background check, but I’m not sure how we’d know for sure. I know that a few of the other jobs she applied for since have checked her references, because I get phone calls from potential employers now and then.

    So, she isn’t afraid, but we live in a state where legal discrimination against ex-cons is routine. For example, she couldn’t vote in the last election, even though she really wanted to. She is in the lengthy, bureacratic process of getting those rights restored, but as the ACLU says, “Applying for restoration does NOT
    seal or expunge a former felon’s criminal record.”

  27. Jill, thank you for your responses. I’m heading out and won’t be around properly til tomorrow (sun) but would love to have a discussion with you. Very much appreciate your candour and am sorry that you had such negative experiences.

  28. Can’t argue with being out in the sun :)

    I would love to have a discussion with you also. My hope is this can be a situation where we have constructive discourse and can agree to disagree, respect differences of opinion and keep the point of civil discourse and avoid letting it devolve into personality rather than discussing the important issues that are important to both of us. I am certainly willing to do my part to have constructive and civil dialogue. My hope is that you will be too..

  29. paul wrote: She is in the lengthy, bureacratic process of getting those rights restored, but as the ACLU says, “Applying for restoration does NOT
    seal or expunge a former felon’s criminal record.”

    Exactly, hater nazi feminst advocate for the criminalization of prostitution in by doing so create multi barriers in terms of limiting, (the mostly female) worker mobility. That would include but not limited economic mobility for current and former sex industry workers, who attempt to transcend these barriers that other ‘women’ fix for them in the name of equality.

    When speaking last year to group of would be lawyers, one intern for the public defenders office told how she assisted men in accessing the ‘clean slate program’, a local program to remove convictions of which diversion programs like SAGE qualify as, a conviction on one’s record. These men had been trapped in criminal system for prostitution charges. She noted that no women, primarily the prostitutes themselves, had not come forward to take part in this program. And that is another example of how nazi feminsts’ agenda to criminalize prostitution has effected women in a more detrimental way.
    Way to go Nazi fems! On behalf of the majority of female sex industry workers: Thanks allot.

  30. Thisisasham, I’m sorry for the typo in your screen name in one of my previous posts. I accidently wrote “Thisisascam.” An innocent mistake…Anyway, it was kind of you to apologize to Jill for the bad experiences she had, but I felt that you should have also apologized for calling her a liar. I’m not one to demand apologies, so please don’t apologize just because I think you should. Only apologize if you mean it. Jill and I both expressed why it was malicious and elitist for you to call her a liar. I have no problem with you coming onto this board and engaging in constructive discussions with us, but constructive is the key word here. Also, please take the time to educate yourself about the issues before jumping to conclusions. If you’re going to ask questions because you’re interested in learning or interested in getting our perspectives, that’s fine, but if you ask questions just to “show us up” and to find out whether we’ll give the answers that you decide are the “right” answers, they that’s uncalled for.

  31. Jill, I totally get what you’re saying about how prohibitionists will sometimes misuse statistics to promote the criminalization of prostitution. An example of this is when people use the statistic that 92 percent of people in prostitution want to get out in order to justify criminalizing prostitution. Whether people ideally want to work in prostitution or not should have nothing to do with the legal status. There are various nonsexual industries that people generally don’t ideally want to work in, but that doesn’t mean the workers in those industries should be arrested or fined, and the same goes for prostitution. Even if 92 percent of people in prostitution don’t ideally want to be in the industry, that doesn’t mean they want to be arrested for their work; that doesn’t mean they want their work to be criminalized; and that doesn’t mean they want their clients to be criminalized just for being clients (even though they should be able to report abusive clients without incriminating themselves in the process). The point is that this statistic doesn’t justify criminalizing prostitution, and criminalizing prostitution wastes resources that could be used to help those 92 percent of people exit if that number is accurate. I say “if” because I’ve seen different statistics on this topic. However, regardless of the statistics on this topic, sex workers do not deserve to be forcibly handcuffed and forced into jail cages no matter how they feel about working in prostitution.

  32. To maxine doogan:

    I’ll never understand how people who know anything about the American “Justice” system can pretend that it helps people. I mean, the mean spirited right wingers whose philosophy is basically, “Lock ‘em up, throw away the key and no second chances” are honest about the system. It’s designed to harm people, to extract vengance.

    I’ll never understand how feminists can think it’s good for women to be pulled into this system. I guess my only thought is that these are mostly upper-class and upper-middle-class women who still see cops as “mister friendly policeman” and who’ve never had to worry about being dragged off to jail on some pretext.

  33. Hello again. I’m certainly willing to have a civil discourse. It’s not always easy for me to rein in the obnoxious child part of me but i can do it :)

    I get angry and frustrated, as I’m sure you do, when I see what feels like attacks on people who do good work and have their aims mis-represented. The interwebs make it easier to vent the spleen too. Can I say also, with reference to my sticking plaster comment, that I meant that in a context of harm reduction without the vital – as I see it – wider frawework of commercial sexual expoitation political and legal strategies and education and awareness raising on the issues. There have to be services which meet immediate support needs.

    But onto ways forward. Can I ask, what would be your ideal in terms of services available, education and awareness raising strategies etc? Where do you see our possibilities for common ground and where do think the twain shall simply never meet?

  34. Paul, you bring up a very, very excellent point here.

    There is a connection between the arrest of prostitutes and alleged prostitutes and the Prison Industrial Complex. For example, Sean Bell, a Queens man shot by the police 50 times, would still be alive today if those police had not been at the scene investigating alleged prostitution.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Bell

    Perhaps the sex worker rights movement might benefit from allying with people concerned about this too:

    http://www.prisonsucks.com/

    http://criticalresist.live.radicaldesigns.org/article.php?preview=1&cache=0&id=58

    http://www.thetalkingdrum.com/prison.html

  35. I totally understand that the American public has been under the influence of the extreme right wing, as in the Taliban for some time now. The call themselves ‘abolitionist’, but really they are exterminators, in the Nazi sense of the word and they advocate for the concentration camps: locking us up until we manufacture abuse stories to justify our existence. I feel as though I’ve been traumatized by just having them in my near vicinity.

    Anyway, what’s really interesting to me in reading, “Selling Sex in Cape Town”, is how the Nazi feminist and the pro prostitution academics go at each other in something called the ‘Parlermo Protocol’. Its just such a mistake to think that any faction of the pro prostitution rights movement can win in any venue by ourselves. Good on us when we put forward all the effort to try, but…we’ve got to stop organizing in this vacuum. Some of us organize like our lives depend on it , because it does and some don’t, because it doesn’t.

    We need some of those Obama sized infomercials, the one’s that play on the public’s soft side. You know the one’s where big tobacco companies made it an act of freedom for women and got us to women to smoke. A media strategy in combination with focused asks, to the right people with long term commitments to back it up. Though our movement has made some small gains that few benefit from politically, they have yet to hit that critical mass boiling point that only union organizing can bring and sustain. Only then will see a new day and a new era.

  36. to thisisasham:

    Aren’t you asking the wrong questions to the wrong people? This blog isn’t “poverty pimps r us”.

    Why don’t you go ask your questions to on the blog of people who’ve been arrested and forced into concentration camp jails and forced fake pychycological services also known as ‘pee counseling’ provided by the unqualified who just want profit off the criminalization of prostitution and migrations. Of which it sounds like you quality.

    I’m sure you can state your common ground is based on what you’ve read here on this blog or just confine it to this topic.

  37. Thisisasham wrote:
    “Can I ask, what would be your ideal in terms of services available, education and awareness raising strategies etc? Where do you see our possibilities for common ground and where do think the twain shall simply never meet?”

    I don’t think it has to be an either/or thing. Exit services can exist simultaneously with harm reduction programs and groups advocating for the decriminalization of prostitution. I support providing noncoercive exit services to people who need and want these services, but I don’t support coercing people into such services by threatening them with jail time and prostitution on their permenant record if they refuse such services or default on them.
    However, I think it’s important to address the issues on a structural level rather than just an individual level. It is important to structurally, address issues that are getting people into prostitution who wish to be out of the industry. These are structural issues affecting people in various industries, not only prostitution, so it is important not to otherize sex workers.

  38. >>>Can I ask, what would be your ideal in terms of services available, education and awareness raising strategies etc? Where do you see our possibilities for common ground and where do think the twain shall simply never meet?>>>

    Until you support the total and complete decriminalization of prostitution for both sex workers and their clients, there will be no common ground. All sex worker activism is based upon that prime premise.

  39. >>Hello again. I’m certainly willing to have a civil discourse. It’s not always easy for me to rein in the obnoxious child part of me but i can do it :)>>

    Civil discourse makes me happy. When we can achieve so much more. Everyone involved is passionate, there are a lot of similarities and common ground that we can find.

    >>I get angry and frustrated, as I’m sure you do, when I see what feels like attacks on people who do good work and have their aims mis-represented. >>

    Agreed, the same thing happens on this side of the spectrum. And so much time and bandwidth is lost as a result.

    >>But onto ways forward. Can I ask, what would be your ideal in terms of services available, education and awareness raising strategies etc? Where do you see our possibilities for common ground and where do think the twain shall simply never meet?>>

    For the sake of saving space I”ll use a link. I wrote a piece in 2006 about sex worker human rights.

    http://www.swopeast.org/?q=node/10 I

    t is essentially where I stand on the issues.

    >>Can I ask, what would be your ideal in terms of services available, education and awareness raising strategies etc? Where do you see our possibilities for common ground and where do think the twain shall simply never meet?”>>

    My ideal is provide services to those who need them and those who choose to participate in them. Make the services easy to access, respectful that the recipients of the services are each unique human beings with unique needs and worldviews and respect them. Provide the services that the individual needs and that they choose without forcing them or parts of them on those that for whatever reason don’t want or need them.

    I absolutely agree there should be consciousness raising, education, and services and that those have to come from differing perspectives to meet differing needs. The important thing is the provision of services to those in need, to fight oppression, to stop and restrain those that are oppressors, predators from oppressing and preying on those that they can. Let’s work toward reducing the environments which make anyone more vulnerable to harm. I say reduce because I don’t believe we can ever eliminate them. We can work toward eliminating them but realistically to me… it is extremely unlikely we can end them.

    Most of us in activism are genuinely trying to improve lives of others. With positive and constructive intent. Obviously there are predators and people who are pursuing their own best interests in any movement. Perhaps nature of the human species.

    There is a tremendous amount of oppression, of violence, of exploitation in the sex industry. Social constructs worldwide create huge vulnerabilities to those harms. It shouldn’t be a difficult thing to see that most of us from most positions are trying to create positive change.

    I think most of us can agree, arresting sex workers, prostituted women, however we define, and my belief is that there are both sex workers and prostituted people, that arrest, criminalization serve nothing constructive and create a tremendous amount of harm. We should be able to reach common ground on this.

    We all agree, other than the predators themselves, that rape, violence, exploitation etc, are terrible. No one that truly advocates the rights of people in the sex industry from any perspective is endorsing or supportive of those harms. We all want rapists, those who commit crimes against people in the sex industry stopped, we want them to face justice for their crimes and to reduce the number of people victimized by these crimes to the absolute lowest possible number.

    >>where do think the twain shall simply never meet?”>>

    I don’t believe there is a point where we can’t meet. If there is than what is really the goal? This has to be bigger than placing our view of how to advance and achieve positive social change. Perhaps meeting has to mean accepting diversity, accepting that not everything is going to happen according to our vision, our worldview, and that the goals aren’t individual to our visions of the pursuit of them. None of us are perfect ,neither are our worldviews or our we arrive at making the world a better place. We may have the best of intentions but we are going to have to find a place where our best of intentions respect others best intentions.

    Possiblities for common ground have to be everywhere if we are to succeed. Otherwise what is the goal? To prove our way is the right way or to work toward the actual goals of reducing, ending and preventing all the harm that we all know exists. If my goal is to prove I am the one with the best and right answers than I don’t belong in activism because it can’t be about me if it is a cause for social change. Social is all of us including those that don’t agree with us. I don’t want suffering, harm and exploitation to come to anyone. Shared views or widely divergent. I personally will come to the table to find common ground to make constructive social change happen. I am more than willing to put aside my need to be right, my ego and to respect others both similar and different from me to reach the important goals that are so important. All I ask is others do the same with me so that we can focus on what is important rather than on ourselves or each other.

  40. I love this song by Sheryl Crow. I think it speaks volumes to focusing on what is important and finding common ground.

    “Out Of Our Heads”

    If you feel you wanna fight me
    There’s a chain around your mind
    When something is holding you tightly
    What is real is so hard to find

    Losing babies to genocide
    Oh where’s the meaning in that plight
    Can’t you see that we’ve really bought into
    Every word they proclaimed and every lie, oh

    If we could only get out of our heads, out of our heads
    And into our hearts
    If we could only get out of our heads, out of our heads
    And into our hearts

    Someone’s feeding on your anger
    Someone’s been whispering in your ear
    You’ve seen his face before
    You’ve been played before
    These aren’t the words you need to hear

    Through the dawn of darkness blindly
    You have blood upon your hands
    All the world will treat you kindly
    But only the heart can understand, oh understand

    If we could only get out of our heads, out of our heads
    And into our hearts
    Children of Abraham lay down your fears, swallow your
    Tears and look to your heart

    If we could only get out of our heads, out of our heads
    And into our hearts
    Children of Abraham lay down your fears, swallow your
    Tears and look to your heart

    Every man is his own prophet
    Oh every prophet just a man
    I say all the women stand up, say yes to themselves
    Teach your children best you can

    Let every man bow to the best in himself
    We’re not killing any more
    We’re the wisest ones, everybody listen
    ‘Cause you can’t fight this feeling any more, oh anymore

    If we could only get out of our heads, out of our heads
    And into our hearts
    Children of Abraham lay down your fears, swallow your
    Tears and look to your heart

    If we could only get out of our heads, out of our heads
    And into our hearts
    Children of Abraham lay down your fears, swallow your
    Tears and look to your heart

    [ http://www.azlyrics.com ]

  41. Thisisasham:
    “I get angry and frustrated, as I’m sure you do, when I see what feels like attacks on people who do good work and have their aims mis-represented.”

    This is what radical feminists have been doing to us. For example, various radical feminists have tried to discredit us and our cause by saying that we’re just a bunch of women who’ve had wonderful experiences in the sex industry and promote an overly romtacized image of prostitution. If prostitution is a form of rape, as radical feminists have asserted, then how can anybody in prostitution have a wonderful experience with it? I don’t agree with the claim that prostitution is in and of itself a form of rape and I find that to be a very dangerous position, but I’m just pointing out the contradictions on the radical feminist claims. Maybe, what I’m critiquing is an extreme point of view that not all radical feminists share.
    Also, speaking of misinformation, when people say that we’ve had nothing but wonderful experiences in prostitution, that’s major misinformation, as Jill expressed. Various sex workers’ rights advocates have experienced incarceration and violence in prostitution, and the fear that they would incrimate themselves and not be taken seriously if they report the violence. When I say violence, I’m not only referring to violence by clients and pimps, but also violence by certain law enforcement officials who are enforcing the anti-prostitution laws. We’re not promoting any “Pretty Women” myth as some of radical feminists and their supporters say, but we’re promoting the rights, well-being, and safety of sex workers. Our position is that no matter why somebody works in the sex industry or how much they enjoy or don’t enjoy it, they don’t deserve to be persecuted. They don’t deserve to by forcibly handcuffed, forced to live in jail cages, subject to housing and job discrimination, or subject to the violence that criminalizing prostitution encourages.
    Thisisasham, if you’re interested in fighting against the spread of misinformation against people who are trying to do good things, you need to start within your own radical feminist movement because the radical feminists are promoting major misinformation about us to promote thier own agendas, or perhaps, maybe some radical feminists are well-intended but they have just been misinformed by other radical feminists.

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