Privilege? What privilege?

Since there’s a good fire going already, thought I’d toss a little fuel on it.

I’m sick of the constant privilege argument on here. For starters, it’s unnecessarily divisive. For another, it’s just stupid.

A lot of people on here toss around the word “privilege” based on their own stereotypes of what privilege supposedly looks like. It would be funny except it’s used to bash other sex workers.

But it’s also incredibly counter-productive. If a sex worker has some amount of privilege, isn’t it better that she (or he) uses their advantages to try and help others? If they’re supposedly privileged and isolated from the negatives of sex work, it would be much easier for them to simply live in their own happy world and ignore the larger problems. After all, those aren’t their problems.

This isn’t to say everyone should be thankful when those with privilege come down off Mt. Olympus to help the common folk — there’s no need. What is needed is an awareness that those with relative privilege are in the best position to help others simply because that’s how life works. If you have the luxury of a social consciousness/time/energy/money, why not put it to use?

Taking in the broader picture, we all need to realize that the privilege argument doesn’t concern the outside world much. I see this every day in my Google Alerts. It’s wasted energy here.

To most of the outside world, we’re all AIDS-infested, criminal crack whores anyway.

New Zealand Decrim: Act helps health and safety of sex workers, report says

Hon Lianne Dalziel
Minister of Commerce, Minister for Food Safety,
Associate Minister of Justice, MP for Christchurch East

23 May 2008
Media Statement

Act helps health and safety of sex workers, report says

Associate Justice Minister Lianne Dalziel today welcomed a report which shows the Prostitution Reform Act (PRA) 2003 has had a positive effect on the health and safety of sex workers and has not led to a predicted increase in their numbers.

The Prostitution Law Reform Committee, chaired by former Police Assistant Commissioner Paul Fitzharris, was asked to report within five years of the decriminalisation of prostitution to assess the impact of the law change on the human rights, welfare, and occupational health and safety of sex workers, and the ban on the use of young people in prostitution.

Lianne Dalziel thanked the Committee for its work and said the report was valuable in putting balance and evidence into the debate around the decriminalisation of prostitution.

“The report indicates that the numbers have remained more or less the same since the Act came into force and that most sex workers are better off under the PRA than they were previously, which was the intention of the Act.

“There’s no evidence of increased numbers of people being used in underage prostitution. In fact, the PRA has raised awareness of the problem,” Lianne Dalziel said.

“The PRA has had a marked effect in safeguarding the rights of sex workers. Removing the taint of illegality has empowered sex workers by reducing the opportunity for coercion and exploitation.”

The report says many of the perceptions held about the sex industry are based on stereotypes and a lack of information.

Lianne Dalziel said the report shatters several myths with the following findings:
* Coercion is not widespread.
* Sex workers are more likely to be the victims of crime, rather than offenders.
* The links between crime and prostitution are tenuous and the report found no evidence of a specific link between them. The link between under-aged prostitutes and youth gangs is often a case of underage people hanging around with friends who happen to be in youth gangs.
* The reasons people joined and stayed in the sex industry are complex, however money was the main reason.
* Fewer than 17 per cent said they are working to support drug or alcohol use, although when broken down by sector street-based sex workers are more likely to report needing to pay for drugs or alcohol (45 per cent).
* The perceived scale of a ‘problem’ in a community can be directly linked to the amount and tone of media coverage it gets.
* Much of the reporting on the numbers of sex workers and underage involvement in prostitution has been exaggerated.
* There is no link in New Zealand between the sex industry and human trafficking.

Lianne Dalziel said the government would consider the report’s recommendations. The Committee doesn’t think any further review of the operation of the PRA is necessary until 2018, 15 years after its enactment.

The other committee members are: Catherine Hannan, a Sister of Compassion; Debbie Baker of Streetreach, a confidential support service for those involved in prostitution; Matt Soeberg who has a background in public health policy; Sue Piper, a former Wellington City Councillor and chair of the Local Government Commission; Karen Ritchie, of the New Zealand Aids Foundation; Mary Brennan, a sexuality consultant and former brothel manager; Dr Sue Crengle, a specialist in General Practice and in Public Health Medicine; Catherine Healy, the National Coordinator of the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective; Lisa Waimarie, representing the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective; Dr Jan Jordan, a senior lecturer in Criminology at Victoria University of Wellington; and two former members: Alan Bell and Susan Martin, both who represented ECPAT NZ, a community organisation that works to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

The report is available on the Ministry of Justice website: http://www.justice.govt.nz

Media Contacts:
Elspeth McIntyre, Press Secretary, ph 04 471 9397 cell 021 227 9397
All Lianne Dalziel’s media statements and speeches are at http://www.beehive.govt.nz/lianne+dalziel

Paul Fitzharris, Chair of the PRLC, ph 03 573 6863 cell 0274 718 470

Pulling Back the Sheets: Sex, Work and Social Justice Register Now!

~Desiree Alliance Presents~
In partnership with BAYSWAN, Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA, SWANK, H.I.P.S. Different Avenues, COYOTE, Best Practices Policy Project, $pread Magazine, St. James Infirmary, Harm Reduction Coalition, PONY, SWOP-Chicago, SWOP-Las Vegas, SWOP-Los Angeles, SWOP- Northern California, SWOP-Arizona, SWOP-Portland, & SWOP-EAST

“Pulling Back the Sheets: Sex, Work and Social Justice”

July 16-20, 2008 Chicago, IL

REGISTER NOW!

The Desiree Alliance is a diverse, volunteer-based, sex worker-led network of organizations, communities and individuals across the US working in harm reduction, direct services, political advocacy and health services for sex workers. We provide leadership development and create space for sex workers and supporters to come together to advocate for human, labor and civil rights for all workers in the sex industry.

This convergence will create space for dialogue between hundreds of sex workers and their allies to share their personal experience and skills, identify workers’ most pressing needs, share training and networking skills for developing solutions, and to collaborate on strategies for social and political change on local, state, national and international levels.

Some of the scheduled workshops include:
  • Safety for Sex Workers Through personal Privacy – Legal and relatively simple ways for working and living out of harms way”

  • “Tantra: How it can uplift the plight and struggle of sex workers and clientele”

  • “Self marketing and self branding: How to run a profitable (and more safe) sex worker business”

  • “Safety 411”

  • Falling Through All the Cracks: Young adult transgender sex workers”

  • Challenging Discrimination Among Sex Workers: Reconstructing ‘sex work’”

  • Bad Date Line: How to start, run + maintain a dam good project”

  • Sex Workers Against Rape”

  • Sex Workers Rights and Direct Services in Urban Los Angeles”

  • Adult Entertainer’s Guide to Disabled Customers – 2008 Edition”

  • We, Asian Sex Workers”

Conference registration fees are $150 if you register by June 10th, and $200 if you register between June 10th and July 10th. All participants must register no later than July 10th. Fees include registration materials, admission to the opening reception, breakfast and lunch Thur-Sat, admission to the after party on Sat and brunch on Sunday. To register for the conference visitour site and submit theregistrant screening form. After you submit this form, a registration packet and payment information will be sent to you.

For more information on registration scholarships, contact: Liz Copl at hdfemme@gmail.com
If you have registration questions please contact:
tara@birl.org.

The Desiree Alliance is a diverse, volunteer-based, sex worker-led network of organizations, communities and individuals across the US working in harm reduction, direct services, political advocacy and health services for sex workers. We provide leadership development and create space for sex workers and supporters to come together to advocate for human, labor and civil rights for all workers in the sex industry.

www.desireealliance.org
Desiree Alliance is a Project of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (SEE), a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

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“Happy?”

Okay, so I wasn’t going to say anything other than what I’d said in comments on the “If we’re happy” post, but you know…I feel I have to.  Why?  I get tired of the assertion we don’t care about (insert person or groups of people X here.)

And perhaps it’s true, maybe not every case or issue is discussed here on B’n’G…but I’m not so sure every issue has to be, after all, we have other things going on in life, and frankly…all bad news all the time is soul crushing…and it doesn’t mean a whole lot of issues for all sex workers, even the not happy ones, are not discussed by those who write here elsewhere. 

In fact, if you want an insane amout of sex worker news, please, do take a gander here.

I know for a fact Jill has blogged her behind off about a whole lot of sex worker issues, and not just those facing ‘high class’ workers either. 

I know I’ve made just a few posts about all kinds of bullshit

I think many of us have, here and elsewhere.  But sometimes, we need to…breathe. 

Palfrey’s death is no more or less tragic than any sex workers, but seeing such a firey, tough lady like that go out the way she did?  I think it stunned us all…a lot.

And I think it is unfair to say we only care about “happy hookers” and only write about them. 

My 2 cents.

Sex workers aligning with drug dealers to threaten Polar Bears and Eagles

CNN has uncovered treachery and skulduggery at a level I have never even considered. From the vast wisdom of the Ted Turner creation known as CNN is an article about how drug dealers and prostitutes are threatening wildlife refuges.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/05/23/neglected.refuges.ap/index.html

One would have to assume sex workers are behind this heinous plot against polar bears, wolves, eagles and other protected species seeking refuge from multinational corporations, corrupt governments and global warming.  Personally I think Renegade Evolution is behind this sex worker attack on polar bears and bald eagles.  If one reads many of the rad fem blogs everything else is her fault.

One can only imagine what CNN will uncover next.

Photographers/Videographers Needed for 2008 Desiree Alliance Conference

We are still looking for house photographers and videographers for this year’s Desiree Alliance conference July 16-21 in Chicago. If you are interested, please apply here.

All applicants will still need to register for the conference as well. Deadline for applications is May 31. We will notify you before June 15 if you have been chosen for the position.

William Rockwell Posts about NPR Experience

NPR: “Behind Closed Doors”

I was hosted recently by Michel Martin on “Tell Me More,” a program on National Public Radio. Juhu Thukral from the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center and Annie Lobert, the founder of Hookers for Jesus also participated. The segment is titled Behind Closed Doors: The Reality of Prostitution, a bit gimmicky, it’s true, but, hey, it’s not like they needed my opinion…

I had several problems with the interview. I had long, drawn-out series of conversations with the NPR folks about “legal” issues surrounding my use of a pseudonym, and, in the end, they decided to broadcast that I was going solely by William because I was “in fear of arrest.” The most disturbing point being that NPR failed to credit the organization I was representing, Sex Workers Action New York (SWANK). This went down as both the Sex Workers Project and Hookers for Jesus were represented in a strong way. I guess sex workers currently working in the business are too busy in the alleyways shooting up, so how could they be organized, right? I tried to make up for it by referencing SWANK quite a few times.

The next bits are mostly my fault: I compared the reproductive right of abortion in poor economic circumstances, which I called a “choice among limited choices,” to the “choice” of doing sex work. Not the happiest of comparisons

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