The Morning After

I got up this morning intending to catch up on all of the posts and comments that I didn’t get to last night. To my surprise I came across Melissa Farley’s letter to us in my mailbox. I received it in a strange sort of round about way, I’m not sure why it wasn’t just sent directly to me or to the blog administrators. Anyway, I was bummed that I didn’t receive it last night so that it could be posted for our live bloggers to see, so I posted it this morning in hopes that maybe there would be some folks awake early enough on the East Coast to post some responses.

To my delight, we had some heavy-hitters from the West Coast all over it practically the moment that it was live. You’ve got to love it when you see RF, MD and SH finding common cause!

September 17th-18th our blog had more traffic than it’s ever had. It’s thrilling to see that sex worker’s voices are being heard by a growing audience. We owe so much of this growth to our contributing authors and all the bloggers who linked to us and encouraged their readers to “listen to sex workers.” Thanks to everybody who contributed their time and energy!

The debate around legal prostitution and trafficking in Nevada was still getting coverage in Las Vegas  as late as Monday, September 17th.

We sent out a press release  about the live blog event, but we eren’t that surprised that we didn’t get any mainstream media coverage, considering that the release went out pretty last minute.

Meanwhile, another politician announces resignation after being caught in a prostitution scandal.

Barb Brents reviewed Melissa Farley’s new book and Iamcuriousblue provided some discussion about her methodology.

We got some great comments from sex workers in different places.

Stephanie comments:

I believe that Melissa Farley is motivated by compassion towards sex workers, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s played a pivotal role in hurting many of us around the globe. I even wrote her a somewhat lengthy e-mail several years ago (before I realized that she was irrational and too blinded by anger to truly care about our well being). I started the letter by praising her for her efforts in helping women who want out, to escape their bad situations. I have always believed it was a noble cause to assist women needing help to improve their lives. It is unfortunate that she got so caught up in her anger towards all sex work that she lost sight of what she started out doing- helping women.

We were joined by two of Farley’s supporters, Jody Williams and Josie. They kept the debate interesting and we thank them for their participation. I hope that these conversations will evolve into cooperative problem-solving. I strongly encourage readers to check out all of the comments sections.

We also inspired the creation of a new blog! (Or is it just coincidence that the blog was created yesterday?) I came across it while checking out SkyBabe’s blog.

This morning we were mentioned over at Reno and Its Discontents as well as at the $pread Magazine Blog

And finally, Renegade Evolution breaks it down feminist expat style.

Thanks again to everybody who participated! More live blogging to come!

In solidarity,

Stacey

A message to us from Melissa Farley

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

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

Continue reading

Outstanding!!!!

Our live blog was wonderful!!!! Thank you everyone who participated. It is important that all of our opinions be heard! Thank you for your efforts in raising awareness for social justice for sex workers!

Jill Brenneman

Farley’s methodology

(To start out with, I just wanted to thank Stacey Swimme for the inviting me to have the privilege of guest blogging here.)

The scientific reliability of Farley’s findings are open to question. Its something she’s been called on before in this critique by sociologist Ronald Weitzer (2005):

What about Farley’s own research procedures? Much is left opaque. In one study, Farley and Barkan (1998) interviewed street prostitutes in San Francisco. No indication is given of the breadth or diversity of their sample, or the method of approaching people on the street. In another study, Farley, Baral, Kiremire, and Sizgin (1998) interviewed workers in several countries: In Turkey, they interviewed 50 women who were brought to a hospital by the police for the purpose of venereal disease control; in Zambia, they interviewed 117 women at an organization that offers support services to prostitutes; in Thailand, respondents were interviewed on the street, in a beauty parlor, and in an organization offering support services; in South Africa, people were interviewed on the street, in brothels, and at a drop-in center. No information is provided as to how these locations were selected, or whether alternative locations were rejected for some reason. We know that people accessed at agencies providing services are likely to be particularly distressed. Finally, though Farley lists the topics covered in the interviews, none of the actual questions is presented. It is especially important to know the exact wording of questions, especially on this topic, because question wording may skew the answers.

Continue reading

Photographs

The cover of Melissa’s book depicts a brothel that looks to the uninitiated viewer like a photograph of a prison, and like others must be, I was horrified to think that brothels actually had fences like that to keep women inside. But the closer I looked, the more I realized that the placement of the barbed wire actually looks like it is meant to keep people out rather than in. Which would, of course, make more sense to someone who lives in Las Vegas and has friends who’ve worked in the brothels. Imagine the peeping toms that must come along! I know if I were working at a brothel, I wouldn’t want the possibility of someone peeping into my wndow to see what I might be up to at any given time, so I think I would like the security such a fence offered for my protection.

But below I have pasted a photograph of a fence around an actual prison. The barbed wire part, you’ll notice, is facing inwards– to prevent people from getting out. That makes much more sense to me.

Continue reading

What are we doing to help women get out of prostitution?

by Robyn Few

Melissa Farley wants to know, ‘What is Desiree Alliance doing to help women get out? What are the UNLV faculty and their students doing to help women get out of prostitution?” That is always the question asked by the prohibitionist.

Well Miss Farley, what makes you think that is our focus. There are tons of non-profit and governmental agencies focused on saving women from prostitution and they are funded. Unfortunately, there are very few agencies that focus on the sex workers who have chosen to work in the sex industry and support improving conditions in their workplace. Billions of dollars are wasted trying to abate prostitution in this country while zero dollars are spent enforcing labor laws in the sex industry workplace.

Continue reading

Law Enforcement Abuse against Sex Workers

With all the writing and talking that prohibitionists do about how bad prostitution is and how prostitution should be criminalized, I never noticed any of them say anything about how some cops use the prohibitionist policies they (the prohibitionists) promote to get away with abusing sex workers. For example, some cops have extorted free sexual favors out of prostitutes by saying they would arrest them for prostitution if they refused to give them free sexual favors. Of course, it’s not like the prostitutes could simply go and report this abuse to law enforcement. For one thing, law enforcement officials are perpetrating the abuse in such cases. For another thing, under the criminalization of prostitution, prostitutes cannot report abuse by cops or anybody else without incriminating themselves in the process. This is not equal protection under the law.

Continue reading