Sex Workers Challenge Manipulative Research

For Immediate Release
Media Contact:
http://www.BoundNotGagged.com
BoundNotGagged@gmail.com

Outraged by the latest ‘research’  targeting them, sex workers organize to challenge the unsubstantiated (and federally funded) claims by ‘an academic run amok.’ The sex workers of Desiree Alliance (see DesireeAlliance.org) are presenting an online press conference to challenge a recent self-published diatribe by anti-porn, anti-prostitution zealot, Melissa Farley which targets Nevada’s legal prostitution industry and claims that legal commercial adult sex promotes human trafficking.


In conjunction with the sex worker blogsite, BoundNotGagged.com, sex industry workers, including prostitutes, escorts, exotic dancers and pornography performers will be holding this virtual press conference on Monday, September 17th, 5pm PST.

“Something like this, a self-published effort, would be of little concern except for the moralists’ lust for this type of thing. It’s constructed as a tool to limit sex workers’ options in the name of saving them,” says Robyn Few, founder of SWOP-USA, a member organization of Desiree Alliance.

“For decades prostitutes’ rights advocates have advocated for decriminalization and have been quite vocal about the limitations of the legal rubric on Nevada,” says Ginger, a former escort. “But at least you’re safe, safe from the cops and from the threat of arrest. Farley feigns concern for our safety but she only accepts us if we are victimized. Basically she’s one of the victimizers.”

 “We’ve heard claims about Farley’s deceptive ‘research’’ methods from allies around the world, so we expected as much from her report, but now that she’s federally funded, we thought it might be time to discuss our research on her research,” says Carol Leigh, director of BAYSWAN, Bay Area Sex Worker Advocacy Network in San Francisco.


“Women’s experiences working in the sex industry are far more complex and varied than Melissa Farley’s research or Bob Herbert’s column suggest,” says Lynn Comella, assistant professor in Women’s Studies at UNLV.  “If you start with the premise that prostitution is inherently harmful and dangerous to women, it is not difficult to find examples to support this premise, and to ignore those examples that do not.”

Crystal Jackson, graduate student and researcher on sex work at UNLV, and Desiree Alliance member, agrees that this issue is far more complex than the publicity surrounding it allows. “Women have many different reasons for entering the industry. It is important to hear all voices of those involved. By only focusing on the research funded by the U.S. Administration, and ignoring other research, you are automatically taking a biased view. The anti-prostitution oath required in order to receive federal funding predetermines the conclusions of any research undertaken by agencies that receive that federal funding, and thus, diverse voices are not heard.”

The virtual press conference will give media outlets an opportunity to access people who actually work in the adult industry, to hear first-hand accounts of the real experiences that people working in the sex industry have. “Farley is just one example of researchers who use flawed research methods to misrepresent and discredit women working in the sex industry,” said Linda Gomez, online escort and sex industry researcher, “Sex workers have no avenues for recourse or public arenas to debate this misinformation.”

“BoundNotGagged.com was developed by the Desiree Alliance as an on-line resource for sex workers to respond publicly to distorted facts presented by people such as Farley,” says Stacey Swimme, a member of the Desiree Alliance. “We had to create a safe space for sex workers to speak for themselves without fear of legal retaliation. They are the real experts on the sex industry, but criminal laws and social ostracism keep their voices muted.” Initially created in early 2007 in response to the Deborah Jeane Palfrey “DC Madam” scandals that rocked Washington, DC, the site has evolved into a space where politically-savvy sex workers go to comment on current events that affect their work. BoundNotGagged.com will continue to grow as a resource for journalists who wish to interview and quote people working in the sex industry. In-person and telephone interviews can be arranged by contacting Sue Lewis at the number above.


The Desiree Alliance is a coalition of sex workers, advocates and academic allies who work to promote civil, labor and human rights for people working in the sex industry. More information can be found at http://www.DesireeAlliance.org

Who: Sex Workers: Prostitutes, Escorts, Exotic Dancers, Porn Performers and more
What: Virtual Press Conference on federally funded “research’ targeting Nevada’s Legal Sex Industry
When: Monday, September 17, 2007 5pm PST
Where: http://www.BoundNotGagged.com
Why: To challenge misinformation spread by Farley and the Nevada Coalition Against Trafficking
Contact:
http://www.BoundNotGagged.com
BoundNotGagged@gmail.com

9 Responses

  1. My Three Main Issues with Farley:

    Melissa Farley and her often quoted and used 90% statistic for sex workers:

    This statistic was drawn from Farley’s interviews with San Francisco street workers and a few select brothels. However, she and others use this statistic to represent all sex workers in all forms of sex work, from stripping to pornography to all forms of prostitution at all levels. The exact context in which the statistic was formulated are never or rarely mentioned.

    Farley’s use of the pornographic images of women in her work, without the consent of the women, nor with the required legal documentation on file.

    Farley uses pornographic images of women on her blog and elsewhere, under the banner of fair use, without their faces blocked or blurred. Unlike pornographers who are obligated to have proof of age and consent on file due to law 2257, Farley has no such documentation, and does not bother to ask the women in the images for their consent, or how they feel on the pornography issue, and most certainly without payment or other such considerations. In fact, she does not even seem to attempt to ask them, or the companies with the rights to the images, if this is “okay”. This is not only wholly inconsiderate, it is technically illegal.

    Ignoring of those who do not agree with/ support her views:

    Farley is seemingly loathe to debate against those who do not share her stance on the sex industry. She will ignore direct questions and concerns of those whom disagree with her, even if fielded by women in the sex industry themselves, and engages in distraction tactics in order to avoid actual debate.

  2. Not willing to debate dissenters? It sounds like she’s making Andrea Dworkin happy.

    As an academic, a feminist, and (gasp) a sex worker, I have never been able to fathom how those women, Farley and Dworkin, could claim such commitment to the protection of women without listening to the voices of the very women they claim to protect.

  3. From what I hear she goes around the world falsifying statistics, misrepresenting herself as a supporter of sex worker rights…no really! Anyone have any info on that?

  4. I know for a fact that SWEAT of S. Africa was extremely upset when she misrepresented herself to them as a friend of Carol Leigh’s and Coyote’s. I am sure you could write to them and they’d tell you all about it. Maybe even do a search on her name on their website:
    http://www.sweat.org.za/

  5. I wish you the very best of success with this online press conference, and have posted a good deal about it on my own website. My hat is off to each of you for having the courage to speak out about these issues.

  6. Did someone tell you this was an online press conference? Sorry. It’s a group smear campaign of a researchers work because certain folks don’t like her conclusions.

  7. joise: actually, we don’t like her slanted results and tactics. there is a difference.

  8. […] but to deny that there are problems with prostitution in this state is ludicrous. Check out Bound and Gagged for responses to Farley’s book from actual sex workers. Its pretty good stuff. Related […]

  9. […] excellent related links here, here, here, here, and here. Best quote of the bunch: “Slut does not = stripper does not = hooker does […]

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