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.

1

“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

Full Post

More Brilliance from Ren

YOU! Sisterhood?

She’s been treated really terribly, falsely in the name of ‘feminism.’ It is offensive to sex workers and feminists alike.

(Ren, Melissa, somebody- I’m too tech-retarded to imbed it here. You’re welcome to modify the post and get the video into it!)

Another Column from Violet Blue at SFGate

San Francisco escorts: No ordinary johns
Violet Blue gets a surprising earful on San Francisco’s challenging escort market

It’s not just that we’re home to locals who claim to have coined the term “sex work” nor that being the home of “San Francisco Values” makes us more permissive — or more gay — than anywhere else in the United States. Escorts have told me that sex work market here is … different.

It was when I was interviewing Karly Kirchner about the death of D.C. Madam Deborah Palfrey that I decided I wanted to know: Is our whorish market — bullish? Kirchner told me:

“The market for sex work in the San Francisco Bay Area is unique in some ways. In my experience, business is much slower here. In San Francisco there is an even stronger draw for secondary sex work in order to make ends meet. So you see market saturation. I would estimate that there are at least 1,000 people a day offering some form of internet-based sex work in the Bay Area. Also, in San Francisco and surrounding areas, the ratio of straight men to other people is different than in most other major cities such as Chicago, New York, Boston or Philadelphia. So the ratio of providers to consumers causes a lull in the market.

Full Article

Urgent: Oppose HR 3887 (A Proposed Revision to U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act)

Dear Friends,


Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA and the US PROStitutes Collective are asking for your help in opposing provisions in House Bill HR 3887 passed in the US House of Representatives on December 4, 2007 and now before the US Senate.

HR 3887 is part of a campaign to use justifiable concern about trafficking to promote a moralistic and dangerous crusade against prostitution, a crusade we are determined to stop.

HR 3887, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2007 would allow the Department of Justice to prosecute traffickers without having to prove fraud, force or coercion, or that the victim is a minor.  Section 221 (f)(1) would add an amendment to the discredited 1910 Mann Act so that anyone can be charged with sex trafficking and imprisoned for up to 10 years for persuading, inducing or enticing an individual to engage in prostitution or attempting to do so.  

HR 3887 is being presented as a necessity to ensure that victims get protection.  Congresswoman Carolyn B Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens), co-chair of the Congressional Human Trafficking Caucus and co-author of H.R. 3887 claimed recently that: <I style=”mso-bidi- font-style: normal”>“By eliminating the need to prove force, fraud, or coercion except to obtain enhanced penalties, prosecutors will have a more effective way to crack down on traffickers.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Sex workers and our friends and families will become easy targets and criminalized under this law just for being supportive of each other or crossing state borders, while real traffickers continue to go free.  

We know from speaking to politicians that they are being lobbied to back this legislation and that some are not aware of the issues.  Urgent action is needed.  Please send your own letter, or the enclosed form letter, to your Senator and encourage them to vote against the proposed changes in HR 3887.

The Bill is currently in the Senate Committee on Judiciary so the members of this Committee (see list below) are key to lobby.  But all Senators will vote in the end so even if you Senator is not listed, please write them now. If you don’t know who your Senator is or how to contact them please click here and follow the directions:  http://www.visi. com/juan/ congress/

Further criminalization can only isolate sex workers from our support networks and make us more vulnerable to attack.  Help us stop it.

Robin Few, SWOP-USA
912 Cole St. #202, SF, CA  94117
1-877-776-2004
info@swopusa. org
www.swopusa. org

Rachel West, US PROStitutes Collective
PO Box 14512, SF, CA  94114
(415) 626-4114
sf@crossroadswomen. net
www.prostitutescoll ective.net     

The Senate Judiciary members include: Patrick J. Leahy (Chairman, D-Vermont), Edward Kennedy (D-Mass), Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Delaware) , Herb Kohl (D- Wisconsin), Dianne Feinstein (D-California) , Russell D Feingold (D-Wisconsin) , Charles E. Schumer (D-New York), Richard J. Durbin (D-Illinois) ,  Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Maryland) , Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) Arlen Specter (Ranking member R-Pennsylvania) , Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina, John Cornyn (R-Texas), Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) .  These Senators are key at the moment because the bill is in committee, but all Senators will vote in the end.  So even if you Senator is not listed, please write them now.

More info:
<http://www.opencong ress.org/ bill/110- h3887/show>http://www.opencong ress.org/ bill/110- h3887/show

<http://www.bayswan. org/traffick/ HR3887.html

Model letter

Date

The Honorable___ _________
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Re: HR 3887 William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2007

Dear Senator_____ _________ ___ ,

As you are aware, many people are justifiably concerned about people trafficked into sweat shops, farms, the sex industry and elsewhere.  But legislation (House Bill HR 3887), currently in the Senate, will make it more difficult to investigate and prosecute serious cases involving violence and coercion while providing no extra protection to victims.  

HR3887 reauthorizes the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).  The TVPA defines sex trafficking as where “a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion. Section 221(f)(1) of HR 3887 amends the discredited Mann Act (which criminalizes the transportation of persons across state lines for the purpose of prostitution) to say that if someone ‘persuades, induces or entices’ any individual to engage in prostitution or attempts to do so, they can be charged with the new offence of ‘sex trafficking’ and be fined or imprisoned for up to ten years, or both.  No proof of ‘force, coercion and fraud’ is needed to prosecute cases.

This change is premised on the claim that all prostitution is coerced. Sex workers, like everyone, have always distinguished between the sex they consent to (for money or not) and rape.  While many may prefer another job, they also point to the fact that sex work is often better paid than most of the low-waged jobs women do.  

Claims are made that this change is necessary because of the “acute difficulty of gaining testimonial evidence of force, fraud or coercion. Many women, immigrant and not, are deterred from reporting rape and other abuse by systematic sexism and other discrimination in the criminal justice system.  Changing the law to remove the need for the victim to give evidence about the violence and coercion she experienced is a dangerous precedent.  For women working in the sex industry, fear of arrest and for immigrant women, fear of deportation, are the primary deterrent to reporting violence.  Why is this not being addressed?  

These changes will:

1)     Result in more criminal charges against sex workers who cross state borders (and even those who make work arrangements by phone or the web), against clients and anyone peripherally involved in helping someone working in the sex industry regardless of whether violence or coercion is involved.  
2)     Divert needed resources and attention away from real cases of trafficking (including in agriculture, domestic and other work) which involve coercion, force and violence.  The millions of dollars designated for the TVPA to go after violent assailants of women and children will be instead used to go after sex workers;
3)     Create an impractically large class of people under the jurisdiction of federal sex trafficking/ prostitution law enforcement, even when they consensually exchange sexual services for money. Federal charges carry higher sentences & fines, are heard in courts which are less accessible and result in less accountability to local people’s views about law enforcement priorities.  

One aim of H.R. 3887 is to compile data from every U.S. agency, international organizations and private sources so that the executive branch can prepare a comprehensive analysis of trafficking patterns. This legislative change which makes no distinction between genuine victims and those working independently in the sex industry would artificially inflate the figures and seriously distort any analysis.

Any provision for resources for trafficking victims in this law can be provided without changing the definition of trafficking to remove force and coercion.  

Trafficking is slavery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, rape, great bodily injury and extortion.  Existing laws cover all these offences and could be used to prosecute perpetrators whatever work they force people into.

Trafficking is not about prostitution but about poverty and the need people have to emigrate in the hope of improving their and their children’s lives. Instead of addressing this, trafficking legislation is primarily being used to target immigrant sex workers for deportation.  

I strongly urge you to vote against these provisions in H.R. 3887, which would dangerously undermine efforts to combat serious trafficking by conflating trafficking with prostitution.

Signature & address

If we’re happy, we’re just the exceptions

This article in New York Magazine, titled “The Affairs of Men”, attempts to explore “the trouble with sex and marriage”.

I have no doubt that most readers on Bound, Not Gagged will find the entire article interesting, to say the least. But I want to call your attention to page 5 of this lengthy piece.

The author speaks with Sven-Axel Mansson, a man who “had spent many years studying prostitutes in Sweden and argued that the desire of men for prostitutes had nothing to do with sexual “needs.” Rather, the drive is socially ordained: because men need to project their own sexual feelings onto a “dirty whore,” or because powerful men like Spitzer want to give up power for an hour or two.”

Armed with print-outs from Debauchette’s blog, the author asks Mansson “about the implicit argument in Debauchette’s writings that prostitution can be legalized, dignified.”

To which Mansson replied:

“I have a hard time from the research I’ve been doing to valorize this as a social institution … [But] I have met women who said that. Women who really think that they enjoy being prostitutes, being ‘sex workers,’ as they say. They would say, ‘I feel in command, I have determination over my life situation in a way I’ve never had it before. I’m loved by my customers.’ But these are the exceptions. They are not the main.” Had these women been given a choice, they would have chosen other things. “Because even among these women, you would find there it has a high cost. Problems with intimacy and sexuality after they quit their career. They dissociate their feelings in order to survive … The problem has been to make it whole again.”

If you have something to say in response, you can send a letter to New York Magazine at nyletters@nymag.com

You can kill sexworkers, it’s not like they are people…

Justice for None…

Just a few pics from IHRA

I was able to round up pics from a few different cameras. I know penny has more pics and video and I expect that there will be a more in-depth report about IHRA in the future. I just wanted to post a few pics and let you all know that the sex workers totaly kicked ass in Barcelona! Our booth was the most colorful and popular of them all! Our materials, posters, reports and other goodies sold like crazy. People loved that we were there to talk about sex workers’ health and rights. More of us have to be there next year!

Sex workers had two panels during the conference

SW Rights booth at 19th annual International Harm Reduction Conference in Barcelona May, 2008

Harm Reduction Principle #723: Coffee is a Legal stimulant!

Noam Chomsky & Robert Jensen: Kinkphobes

This conversation was sent to us by a reader who wished to remain anonymous, and is referred to as such throughout this post.

I feel it’s time to discuss with my fellow kinksters (and a few others who might be sympathetic) the problem of certain alleged “progressives” who freely spout kink-hating bigotry, often in the name of feminism.

One of these is Robert Jensen, a journalism professor who’s made a side career of writing propaganda for the “feminist” anti-porn movement. One of his favorite pastimes seems to be reviewing works of pornography (to whose purported pernicious effects he seems inexplicably immune) and declaiming on which elements therein are “degrading” to women. In one piece last year, for instance, he informed the world that all DPs (double penetration scenes) are “degrading.” When some women responded to him by saying that they didn’t share this feeling, he swerved by insisting that however women felt about it, he knew that men liked watching these scenes because we perceive them that way. But did he offer any evidence to support this view? Not in the least. This looks for all the world like a case of projection to me! You can see some examples of his positions on this page, which references some of his work: https://againstpornography.org/.

Another kinkphobe is Noam Chomsky. This became apparent a couple years ago when he gave an interview to Hustler magazine, only to subsequently repudiate this action after being made aware of its other contents (Chomsky is totally clueless about popular culture by his own admission), including a photo spread accompanying the interview that included spanking. Unlike Jensen, Chomsky had not previously made plain that he was impervious to reason on this subject, so I attempted to engage him in conversation, stating up front how I felt his position denies the reality and legitimacy of my sexuality. (To avoid needlessly complicating the discussion, I identified to him as a bottom, though I’m actually a switch.) He totally refused to comprehend this point, and instead tried to claim that I was “telling him what he could feel” and even that I was arrogantly presuming to speak for 3 billion women — when that’s actually what he was doing!

A while later, thanks to other people on area kinkster lists, I became aware of a case in England illustrating the ugly ways kinkphobia can manifest, in the abusive treatment of a goth couple by a bus driver. I forwarded this to Chomsky, hoping it might induce him finally to see the light. Not only did he not see the light, he refused to even acknowledge the issue of kinkphobia in his response.

It’s now apparent that Chomsky is just as thoroughly blinded by bigotry on this question as Jensen, and I’ve advised both of them that I’ll protest if they come to this area. I urge everyone reading this to do likewise.

Copied below is my most recent correspondence with Chomsky.

Anonymous wrote:
‘I’m a human pet’: The Goth teenager whose fiance walks her around on a dog lead

So, where do you stand, Dr. Chomsky? Are Dani Graves and Tasha Maltby degrading women with their lifestyle choice, by doing in public exactly the same sort of thing which, when done in public through the medium of pornography, you’ve said is degrading to women? Or are they being degraded by this bus driver’s intolerance?

For my part, I just wrote the bus company via their webform (easily accessed via http://www.arrivabus.co.uk) and urged them to take the strongest possible disciplinary measures against the bus driver concerned. (I’ll follow up with a postal letter.) I encourage you to do likewise.

Noam Chomsky replied:
You’re entirely entitled to favor material that degrades women, just as racists are entitled to favor material that degrades blacks. But I don’t have time for either category, as I’ve repeatedly tried to explain

Anonymous replied:
So, you refuse to answer my question (and, yes, I really did take that long to read your response, because I was afraid it would be just what it was). Your bigotry toward erotic bottoms like me, and toward all sex workers, will be met with protest the next time you appear in my area.

Proud To Be An Escort

From fleshbot.com, a post about a New Zealand escort who isn’t apologizing: Lisa Lewis Is An Escort (And Proud of It)

Additional article, linked in the post above, but also included here because it provides more detailed information:
Naked newsreader doing it for her son

Ashley Alexandra Durpre’s Birthday in Page Six

Ms. Dupre celebrated her 23rd birthday at Marquee in Manhattan earlier this month, and Page Six was all over the story.

‘Kristen’ Steps Out at Hot Club

Amanda Brooks on the O’Reilly Factor

Our very own Amanda Brooks, brave soul that she is, was on the O’Reilly Factor last week.

Fox News posted this announcement: Former Prostitute Publishes Internet Escort’s Handbook for Aspiring Call Girls.

Callie Simms posted a brilliant article about the show here.

Who’s Trafficked?

Another great article from Melissa Hope Ditmore Ph.D., a researcher we can really stand behind! Melissa edited The Encyclopedia of Prostitution and Sex Work.

Who’s Trafficked?
Melissa Ditmore on May 19, 2008 – 8:00am

It is already sadly evident that the U.S. government’s anti-trafficking program has devolved into a global campaign against sex work and is not working to halt trafficking. In a 2006 report critical of the program, the Government Accountability Office found that “the U.S. government has not developed a coordinated strategy to combat trafficking in persons abroad…or evaluated its programs to determine whether projects are achieving the desired outcomes.”

Now comes a plan to further ratify this failure. The Trafficking Victims’ Protection Reauthorization Act addresses the crime of trafficking in persons, which is recognized in U.S law as cases that involve force, fraud or coercion, which includes threats, intimidation, and psychological abuse. The law offers protection to workers who are most vulnerable to abuse — immigrants, people in forced labor, and minors who exchange sex for cash or goods. The bill currently before Congress, however, would expand the definition of “sex trafficking” to include cases in which no elements of force, fraud or coercion were involved.

Specifically, the House version of the TVPRA would expand U.S. laws against prostitution by re-defining most prostitution-related activities, regardless of consent, as trafficking. Human trafficking is a complex issue, but there is widespread agreement about its key distinguishing features, namely the use of force, fraud or coercion. HR 3887 throws out these cornerstones and threatens to re-define all prostitution, arguably even all sex work, as trafficking. And it would require the involvement of federal law enforcement through a broad new provision that covers actions “affecting” interstate commerce (rather than actual activities that involve the crossing of state lines, the standard trigger for bringing in the feds). Therefore, most prostitution-related activities defined as sex trafficking would fall under federal law even if no interstate commerce was involved.

Thank You, Iris de la Cruz!

Here is a New York Times article about Iris House, named for PONY co-founder Iris
de la Cruz.


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/nyregion/18divas.html?ref=nyregion

Iris House, named for Iris de la Cruz, who died of AIDS in 1991 after
working as an advocate for women with the disease, opened 15 years
ago as one of the first women-centered AIDS groups in the nation.
Financed by foundations and individuals, the organization distributes
100,000 condoms a month on neighborhood streets and provides
counseling and cooking classes to people with H.I.V. and AIDS.

New York City: Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Tracy Quan is co-hosting the following event with the Drug Policy Alliance in New York and it looks like fun.

Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

http://www.drugpolicy.org/absinthe/

The Drug Policy Alliance is throwing a cocktail bash and networking opportunity for students, young professionals, human rights activists and other movers-and-shakers on May 22, 2008 at an exclusive gallery space in SoHo. The theme is inspired by the one-year anniversary of the re-legalization of absinthe in the U.S. I hope the event will encourage people to think about the variable relationship between drugs, society and the law — and art.

Thursday the 22nd of May

six o’clock until eight o’clock

DJ Varick (Home, Guest House, Pink Elephant, Marquee)

light appetizers and open bar

21 and over only; proper ID required

~

151 Wooster Street

between Houston & Prince

B, D, F, V to Broadway/Lafayette or R, W to Prince

GET MORE INFORMATION and RSVP at
http://www.drugpolicy.org/absinthe/

This is an opportunity for plugged-in professionals to meet the people working to end the drug war. You’ll find like-minded New Yorkers at this event and learn how to come together to promote new drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights.

If you’re with PONY, SWANK, Desiree Alliance or the $pread collective, come fly the flag! Our persecution is often linked with the drug war.

You’ll also get to try absinthe (if you haven’t already). And see Flash, Cash and Trash, an exhibition by contemporary young artists on the sex, drugs and rock n roll of the 1990s.

Sincerely,

Tracy
http://www.tracyquan.net