What is authority?

A couple months ago a very popular “self-improvement” blogger wrote a post that mentioned prostitutes in Vegas. Although he knows it’s illegal in Vegas, he was under the impression (like most people) that the laws weren’t enforced much. He toyed with the idea of interviewing a prostitute and posting the interview on his blog. He was sure it would get a lot of Digg hits. And that’s the important thing.

I’m sure he wouldn’t have offered to pay for her time (What? Pay for anything with a sex worker? Doesn’t that incriminate you?), but would happily pick her brain for as long as it took him to run through his questions (most of which she’s probably tired of answering), just so he could get a lot of Digg hits and bring lots of traffic to his blog. Hopefully some of that traffic would click on his AdSense ads and affiliate links and bring him some money. That’s the really important thing.

This isn’t to pick on him specifically. There’s nothing out of the ordinary here at all. What made me stop and think is that he’s hailed as an “authority” on anything he writes about and would get quoted all over the Web. (He’s considered an “authority” on his own life and personal experiments. One day I also hope to be considered an expert on myself.) His one sex worker interview would make it onto all sorts of Web sites and blogs and be linked to ad-nausem. Because he’s an “authority.”

Bound, not Gagged, however, is clearly chopped liver.

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Prostitution and Terrorism

Google the phrase prostitution and terrorism (with or without quotes). It’s amazing what comes up. One rabid Congressional candidate tries to link porn, prostitution and drug use to terrorism. There’s also a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at prostitution and terrorism in the US.

I’m waiting for a propaganda poster that says “When you jerk off alone, you jerk off with Osama bin Laden.”

Tangled Trafficking Laws

Young Sook Kim, a cook of about 60, was swept up in a raid on a massage parlor and detained for a month at the Regional Correctional Center in Albuquerque. She was transferred to a privately run detention center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she died due to a stunning lack of care.

Though I have no information about this particular massage parlor raid, I have no doubt she was picked up not only as a presumed sex worker but also as a presumed sexual trafficking victim.

And simple immigration cases can end badly (Kim’s case is reported here too).

Contrast rabid law enforcement for immigrants and over-enthusiastic hunts for sexual trafficking victims with this story of authorities routinely ignoring trafficked US teens. Although more cases of teenage exploitation are being prosecuted, there is still a lack of care and support for trafficked teens. They also seem to get far less media attention (and grant money) than immigrants.

And contrast all this with the recent attempts to clamp down on sexual trafficking laws and create trafficking victims out of all sex workers. I think few of us are strong enough to withstand such “care.”

None of this is news. Well, it was, but I forgot that I wanted to post it. So now it’s just food for thought.

Negative Consequences of Swedish Prostitution Legislation

Some have lauded the Swedish legislation which criminalizes paying for sexual services as excellent legislation, but SANS, a sex workers’ rights organization in Sweden, says otherwise.  I think that we need to listen to the voices of the actual workers rather than just the government and the sex work prohibitionists.  Those who laud this legislation do so without any regard for what the sex workers say about it or how it endangers workers in prostitution.   Here is a link to the SANS website, which addresses the negative consequences of this legislation:

http://www.sans.nu/engelska/consequences.htm

Also, it has been reported that this legislation drastically decreased prositution in Sweden, but there are sex workers who have disputed this claim, saying that prostitution hasn’t decreased, but rather has gone further underground and become more clandestine.

Bound Not Gagged International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers Event

Today is December 17, which means that it is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.  There are events going on in various localities to protest violence against sex workers and advocate for public policies that reduce such violence rather than encourage it.  We can do the same on Bound Not Gagged, and blog against violence.  Let’s devote today to doing that.  Of course, we can write about what our hearts and minds say to, but here are some ideas of things to reflect on and post about:

-personal experience with violence in the sex industry

-advocating for public policies that effectively reduce violence against sex workers, rather than prohibitionist policies

-research and the media’s portrayal of violence against sex workers

-recaps of today’s events and photos

-remember sex workers who we lost due to violence

-reflect on what this day means to you

SWOP East Int. Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers Two Part online event

**Please Distribute Widely**

 

For Immediate Release                              Media Contact: swopeast@gmail.com

December 13, 2007                                               

                                                             
Sex Workers Outreach Project East

International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Two-Part Online Event

1) Repository for International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers Projects/Pictures/Events …and…

2) Live Online Vigil

Who: Sex Workers Outreach Project East Two-Part Online Event

What: Repository for International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers Projects and Live Online Vigil 

When: Repository begins Saturday, December 15th, 5:00 PM EST and continues through Monday;

Live Online Vigil Monday, December 17th, 5 – 11 PM Eastern (2-8 PM Pacific)

Where: http://www.swopeast.blogspot.com/

Beginning Saturday, December 15th, at 5:00 PM EST, the swopeast.blogspot.com will be available for posting pictures, events, comments, summaries, reactions, etc., to events related to the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Please post any comments or artifacts that you’d like to share and visit our blogspot to view happenings related to the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers from around the world.

On Monday, December 17th, beginning at 5:00 PM until 11:00 PM EST SWOP East will be holding a Live Online Vigil. Please join our virtual community to share your stories, mourn our sisters and brothers, and work toward a space where this violence is no longer tolerated.  

For questions or more information contact swopeast@gmail.com

 

Help! Contact your Senator

TVPRA 2007/11 passed the house Tuesday. Below is the link for anyone who has the time to read it in in its entirety. The sections relating to the sex industry clearly conflate all sex work with sex trafficking and the consequences for all workers in our industry I believe could be quite horrific. I believe the passage of the TVPRA 2007/11 through the house should be considered an emergency and all workers and allies should mobilize before the legislation gets to the Senate for a vote.
I want to know if the porn industry has had any concerns with this legislation. In reading the legislation , I believe sex workers who work on camera have every reason to be as concerned as the sex workers who work “off camera.”
The most troubling aspect of this legislation is that not only does it conflate all sex work with sex trafficking but also that for the way our industry operates, where workers are frequently crossing borders to work, be it national or international, the potential for massive arrests and long periods of prison time are very distressing. Note, up to 10 years for the worker and up to 30 years for the support staff.
Any body else feeling this?

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:h3887rh.txt.pdf

Lisa Roellig
Erotic Service Providers Union