Happy Endings?

Posted on behalf of Maxine Doogan

Its¹ Not Easy Productions LLC
Happy Endings?

Contact: Tara Hurley
Tel. 401.490.5815 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cell. 401.265.2890
Email: happyenddoc@gmail.com
WWW.HAPPYENDINGSDOCUMENTARY.COM

WORLD PREMIER OF ³HAPPY ENDINGS?² @ CINEKINK NEW YORK

February 6, 2009: ³Happy Endings?² a documentary film on Rhode Island¹s Asian massage parlors, will be making its world premier at CineKink, February 28,
2009 @
2:30 pm.

³Happy Endings?² follows the life of ³Heather² over three years as she works in a massage parlor, while the Rhode Island legislators debate over the ³loophole² in a law that allows prostitution behind closed doors.

This film features interviews with many of Rhode Island¹s notables:
Providence Mayor
David Cicilline, Dennis Roberts (Attorney General 1978 -1984), Steve Brown (ACLU), Stephen Brown (Providence Phoenix) Donna Hughes (University of RI, Human Trafficking Expert) Senator Rhoda Perry, Representative Joanne Giannini, The Providence Police Department, The Family Life Center, D.A.R.E. (Direct Action for
Equality) and local residents.

Founded in 2003, CineKink features a specially-selected program of films and videos that celebrate and explore a wide diversity of sexuality, with offerings drawn from both Hollywood and beyond. Works presented by CineKink range from documentary to drama, camp comedy to hot porn, mildly spicy to quite explicit – and everything in between.

In addition to screenings, the annual festival also includes a short film competition, audience choice awards, presentations, parties and a gala kick-off fundraiser, all followed by a national screening tour.

###

If you would like more information about ³Happy Endings?² or to schedule an interview with Tara Hurley please call (401)265-2890 or email happyenddoc@gmail.com.
For more information about Cinekink please contact Lisa Vandever at
(917)609-5928 or
press2009@cinekink.com

This is with whom the prohibitionists wish to entrust sex workers’ lives

And they say they are trying to protect sex workers from violence?

Does anyone have an update on Michigan 2L?

Michigan 2L

I posted this at Christmas, and it probably didn’t get a lot of views because of the holidays, but I feel this is extremely improtant to follow up on. Does anyone know anything else about this case?

She is a law student at UM, Ann Arbor, and she posted an ad on craigslist. The ad was answered by one of her professors, making for an awkward moment for both. They both decided to go through with the appt, and he wanted to experiment with spanking. He ended up beating the shit out of her, and she was able to get away. She went to the cops to report assault (she was bruised and couldn’t see out of one eye), and the cops told her that they could arrest both of them for prostitution or she could just go away and forget it.

Modern-Day Witch Hunt

Prostitution is now apparently a federal crime

Art by Norma Jean Almodovar

Art by Norma Jean Almodovar

Remember when we were all discussing the silly idea that the House had come up with in their version of the TVPRA? The one that proposed that the FBI should be fighting prostitution as it is “synonymous with trafficking”? Well, turns out that legislation never needed to be passed. The FBI is currently fighting prostitution in a nation-wide sweep under the guise of fighting child prostitution. It is a modern-day witch-hunt. How many consenting adult women’s lives have been ruined by these costly and ineffective arrests?

…some 17 FBI agents and plainclothes officers were struggling to arrest two kicking and screaming young women…

Seventeen to two??

…one of the women screamed at the top of her lungs, then rolled around on the floor hyperventilating…

Wow.

…the FBI, Boston police, and State Police said they were at the hotel conducting an undercover investigation as part of “Operation Cross Country,” a nationwide initiative of the US Justice Department aimed at cracking down on child prostitution…

Didn’t the Justice Department come out against the demands of the House version?

“Generally, these things can be investigated and taken down quietly, but sometimes circumstances outside our control occur,” said Russell Kleber, a spokesman for the FBI’s Boston office, adding that the arrests were “aimed at combating sex trafficking of children.”

The goal of the sweeps, being conducted in over 30 cities, is to target pimps, rescue juveniles, and gather intelligence, according to law enforcement officials.

The Boston sting led to the arrests of five women, ages 19 to 33, who allegedly showed up at the Marriott after agreeing to provide sex for up to $300 an hour to undercover officers. The officers had responded to advertisements posted on the Craigslist website, according to Boston police reports.

Apparently as of last October they had arrested 600 adult prostitutes in this “sweep”.  According to a report from 1987 (quoted in this article– I have a copy of the actual paper if anyone wants one), it cost police about $2000 per arrest. That’s $1.2 million 1987 dollars. Extrapolate that to today’s dosh, and then add in how much more the FBI officers presumably make than the local and state police, and you’ve got a hefty sum of cash being spent on arresting adults engaging in consensual activity. Shouldn’t they be investigating other things? Like terrorism or fraud, perhaps?

This “sweep” is clearly a modern-day witch hunt, persecuting women.  The house seems to have gotten their way. Will this continue under Obama?

Meanwhile, working folks, beware of Craigslist. They’re out to get you.

Let’s Talk About Sex Baby! (And keep talking and talking and talking…)

“Sex in America: Can the Conversation Change?” hosted by the New York Open Center and the Huffington Post

This was really just the tip of the iceberg in trying to cover the many conversations about sexuality that need to be happening. With only two hours, it was impossible to really dig deeper into the nuances. I did my best to take down direct quotes or at least summarize them with accuracy. Here’s my report-back, if others who attended would like to add to it, please do!

The chair of the forum, Esther Perel, opened with comments about why she organized the panel and introductions:

When I first imagined this evening I saw it as a townhall meeting that could look at sexuality as a serious discussion and not just obscenity or sanctimony. Social conversations, not chit-chat between two people but discourse among society.

Later during the forum she added in more of her perspective:

As a couple’s therapist for 25 years I’ve noticed that couples never talk about sex.

What about sexual knowledge for therapists? Some of the assumptions:
• Sex is a metaphor of the relationship: sex problems are always a reflection of other problems in the relationship.
• Love and desire do relate but don’t necessarily conflict. Desire needs novelty and unexpected unpredictable surprise.
• Good intimacy makes for god sex: communicate better, you want to be together more. No! Sometimes you communicate better and resent each other less but it doesn’t turn you on!
• The notion that passion fades- that it should be tame and unlasting. The only thing you’re allowed to be really passionate about in America is work.

People used to be afraid of sin, now they’re afraid of dysfunction.

Sex is not something you do, it’s a way of being in the world. People have always done it, but that doesn’t mean it’s always been good.

Since readers here have been interested in how sex work would be covered at this forum, I’ll get to that right up front: it wasn’t covered. As has been stated by many participants, including sex workers, the forum was not about sex work per se. Some topics of porn consumption did come up. A comment was made from an audience member in response to a point that Amy Sohn had made about women’s sexuality being “on display” and pornography was used as an example. Of course many of us who are both SW and feminist identified had lots to say on this and other topics, but the time constraints and diverse range of topics made it impossible.

Speaking of diversity, the strongest critique that folks at dinner had post-forum was that there was a serious lack of racial and cultural diversity. There were two male and two female presenters, however no representation of transgender people. The conversation seemed to focus pretty deeply on partnered, committed sexual relationships much more than looking at a broad spectrum of sexuality and gender.

Continue reading

February 23, 2009: Protest Prostitution Charges against San Francisco Transgender Activist

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   

San Francisco Transsexual Activist Falsely Accused of Having Sex with SFPD Officer-
Suspected Prop. K Retaliation
Location: 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco Hall of Justice
Date: Monday February 23, 2009
Time: 8:30 am
Contact: Acire          Acire4SWOP@gmail.com
San Francisco, California, February 23, 2009   In an act of harassment by the San Francisco Police Department, Shelly Resnick was falsely charged, and given a Citation on for “Solicitation to Engage in the Act of Prostitution” on November 12, 2009. On January 7, the District Attorney took it a step beyond the claims of the arresting officers and officially filed charges against Shelly for “Engaging in the act of Prostitution” alleging that Shelly engaged in prostitution with an SFPD Officer.
“These charges are completely false.” states Shelly as no such act took place. Shelly strongly disputes the content of the police report as patently false. “This is harassment and discrimination.” Shelly has been speaking with local attorneys and activists who suggest that Shelly was likely a direct target after her extensive work on the campaign for Prop K. Shelly was set up on a police sting. She did not solicit and nor did she agree to any act of prostitution, but she was cited anyway.
“The police have no evidence to support these charges” says Acire Roche of Sex Worker Outreach Project.” In the police report, SFPD claim that the day after the election, an allegedly unidentified person sent an “anonymous complaint” saying that Shelly was sending text messages to random phone numbers asking for sexual services. “This is absurd,” says Acire, “This did not occur, and of course SFPD has absolutely no record or evidence of this.” Sex Worker Outreach Project joins Shelly in support at her hearing, protesting this discrimination and misconduct. “Ms. Resnick filed a complaint with Office of Citizen Complaints on November 19th. SWOP and Ms. Resnick will resist these false charges and vows to bring to light this misconduct and discrimination by the SFPD.”
SWOP-USA in conjunction with BAYSWAN and other Bay Area transsexual and sexworker organizations, will be conducting a peaceful protest in the front of the Courthouse.

Sex in America: Can The Conversation Change?

This Huffington Post article  by Cory Silverberg includes references to BoundnotGagged, Audacia Ray and me in a section called

Sex and Money

We desperately need more critical, and less politically charged, conversations about the intersection of sex and money in America. Ironically (I think it’s irony) individuals who have the most grassroots experience of this, those who pay for sex and those who get paid for sex, tend to have the least amount of influence on public discourse about sex and money. That’s changing, thanks in part to sex worker run projects like Bound, Not Gagged, writers like Audacia Ray and academics like Laura Agustin. But there’s still a ways to go.

They are holding an event called Sex in America: Can the Conversation Change? Maybe some of you could participate in New York:

Cory Silverberg will join Esther Perel, Amy Sohn, Leonore Tiefer and Ian Kerner for a conversation called “Sex in America: Can The Conversation Change?” The symposium is co-sponsored by the Huffington Post and Open Center and will take place in New York City on Friday, February 20th. Click here to register.

I originally said this was to be online, and it’s not, so I apologise. Someone should do such a thing online.

I’m not an academic, by the way, in the sense of being employed by any academic institution.  I just do and write academic things amongst others – for the record.

Laura Agustín, Border Thinking

Shout to the east coast prostitute nation!!

posted on behalf of Maxine Doogan

RebLaw 2009 will be hosted at The Yale Law School from Friday, February 20 – Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sex Sells, But Should We Sell Sex?

http://islandia.law.yale.edu/reblaw/panels.htm

This panel will examine prostitution, the world¹s oldest profession, addressing the social and legal issues that surround it, including various legal approaches to prostitution, such as prohibition, legalization, and decriminalization. By taking a worker safety and public health perspective to the issue of prostitution, and focusing on the human rights and dignity of sex workers, the panelists will shed light on legal approaches that disenfranchise, endanger, and force underground those who through choice or circumstance labor in the sex industry. The panel will discuss the need for legal change to best protect the human rights and dignity of sex workers as well as the public.

* Sienna Baskin, Equal Justice Works Fellow, Sex Workers Project ­ Urban Justice Center
* Maxine Doogan, President and Founder, Erotic Service Providers Union
(ESPU)
* Veronica Monet, Certified Sexologist and Sex Educator, Author, and Radio Show Host
* Andrea Ritchie, Director, Sex Workers Project ­ Urban Justice Center

Saturday, February 21, 2009
3:00-4:30 pm Round 4

At Yale Law School

Maxine Doogan
http://espu-ca.org/wp/

SWOP 2009 U.S LEGAL GUIDE::Call for Community Expertise!

CALL FOR COMMUNITY EXPERTISE:

Do you have personal experience in the justice system that you would share as part of SWOP’S 2009 Legal Resource Guide?  We are looking for short 2-500 word articles and quotes to publish in this years updated resource guide which will have lists of recommended lawyers and legal resources and be distributed to all chapters and during outreach events.  Possible articles/topics that may be included:

  • If there were 3-5 things I could tell other sex workers about getting arrested, going to court, choosing a lawyer, etc.
  • What to expect after getting busted
  • Common mistakes that get people arrested
  • Using a public defender
  • My experience with diversion programs
  • Sexual harassment and assault from Law Enforcement
  • Words from a sex worker parent
  • I fought for my rights…and WON.

We seek to cover a broad range of predicaments that our community members feel comfortable sharing (pen name or anonymous is ok) as part of this guide.  Ideally we would like to touch on 647b (solicitation of prostitution) type of charges, BDSM related arrests, exotic dancer legal resources, and a section of resources for parents.  Regional chapter members who would like to contribute by calling your local area law offices and assessing if are in line with SWOP’s mission and should be listed in our resource guide is also needed.  If you don’t have a copy of the last 2007 Legal Guide, go to http://www.swopusa.org and download a copy or email one of us and we will send it to you.  Please send mariko.passion@gmail your words of wisdom (informal is ok).  This project is being edited by Tara Sawyer and Mariko Passion, but this is truly a community resource that is written BY and FOR all members of our network in the U.S.

Pledging ACtion Condoms for Chile

In the past 1.5 years a tremendous amount of condoms have been raised. Today I got a commitment for more as soon as she has the resources to purchase them from a former anti activist who is supportive of our work in man ways. I don’t disclose who she is and break her confidentiality. No she isn’t me talking in a hypothetical.

We have a huge amount of them here in North Carolina. I believe there are many also in Tuscon? Forgive me if Tuscon has shipped. Lives can be saved in Santiago and Viña del Mar Chile if we can get the condoms there. It is the last month of summer there, soon it will be fall and then winter for them.

I know times are difficult for all of us and totally understand if many if not most can help with the costs to ship these. Any help, any donation no matter how small is appreciated and gets some condoms to Chile. I would like to believe that every condom has a chance to save a life. If you can contribute any amount please contact me, Jill McCracken or Amanda Brooks.

Unionized Sex industry workers made history at the World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil Jan. 27- Feb. 1 2009

Posted on behalf of Maxine Doogan

Unionized Sex industry workers made history at the World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil Jan. 27Feb. 1 2009. The special trade unionization of the sex industry forum was sponsored in part by India’s sex worker union, Karnataka and the International Commission for Labor Rights. The public forums featured presentations and discussions by trade union representatives from South Africa, Nigeria and Germany that support organizing sex industry workers as well as actual organized prostitutes from Bolivia, Brazil, USA and the host country India.

The meeting culminated in prostitute Carmen Lucia Paz making a statement to the Final Assembly on Labour and Globalization that trade unions and allies in social movements must recognize sex work as such, calling for solidarity to end harassment, discrimination and forced labor through the guarantees of the International Labor Organization’s Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. Those trade unions should support sex workers in challenging the laws that undermine sex worker organizing — through criminal, civil or other means. Historic on all accounts.

Gautam Mody, Secretary of India’s New Trade Union Initiative of which Karnataka is officially affiliated, addressed sex worker participants. Mody stated that unionization comes when workers face their bosses. For sex industry workers those bosses present themselves in many tiers; direct and indirect. South Africa’s Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce presented newly released research of Cape Town’s sex industry. Prostitutes rights organizers hailed this new study documented in the book, “Selling Sex in Cape Town” by Chandre Gould as new standard for researchers when targeting the sex industry. The study discredits claims by anti prostitution and migration groups that Cape Town is the originator and a destination place for forced labor in the sex industry. The study also disproves statements that disproportionately high numbers of under aged workers dominate the sex industry instead sighting very few incidences of underage workers have actually occurred in Cape Town.

Other distinguished sex work centered acts by NOG’s such as Brazil’s Davida presented on how they were able to create their own funding for HIV services after tuning down 40 million dollars in 2005 from the United States Agency for International Development in which required NGO’s who received the funding to not discusses rights when delivering condoms to prostitutes. Brazil considers prostitutes partners in its successful fight against new HIV infections. Davida produces a clothing line and a fashion show by and for prostitutes. Prostitution is not illegal in Brazil.

The president of Organización Nacional de Activistas por la Emancipación de la Mujer of Bolivia told first hand accounts of how a mob shut down work locations for many prostitutes which resulted in the sex workers going on a hunger strike and sewing their mouths shut. Violence by police drove many workers into seeking protection from the church, only to be turned away by the nuns. Prostitution is not illegal in Bolivia.

But hope was found in the innovative perspective from South Africa’s Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union which stated that sex workers would be included in this union as are other informal sector worker including children. Nigeria’s Labor Congress already recognizes sex work as work. Germany’s public section union, Ver.di presented on a study of sex workers from 2002 and has now made provision to include prostitutes who want to be come members. Prostitutes don’t have to say they are prostitutes in order to join nor do they have to submit to mandatory testing.

Other unionized prostitute groups like Argentina’s, Spain, Netherlands, Southeast Asia where not represented as some were other important leaders of Karnataka, the host sex worker union, who were unable to take part in this international organizing event because they were unable to qualify for visas. Two leaders have criminal charges pending; one stemming from working in a brothel and other from protesting the forced rescue of brothel workers by police who beat them and held the women captive in shelters. Prostitution is not illegal in India. Also not in attendance was England’s International Sex Worker Union as members are currently embroiled in opposing legislation that’s would further violate sex industry workers’ human, labor and civil rights.

Maxine Doogan

Erotic Service Providers Union

http://espu-ca.org/wp/

Feb. 09.09

MTV Anti Trafficking and MTV NO exit discussion.

Below is an email from the MTV Exit campaign, which is a Anti-Trafficking organization. MTV NO Exit is a campaign by sex workers that are part of the APNSW (Asia Pacific Network of Sex Work projects). Let’s be VERY CLEAR: Those of us fighting for Sex Worker Rights, are totally against slavery, and coercion. The problem is, that most of the anti-trafficking campaigns treat sex workers as victims, and as you can see below in Cambodia, the anti-trafficking laws treat all sex work as sex trafficking. This is our main point of contention. We have agency, we aren’t victims, and we do freely choose this work.

**************** Email from MTV to NO Exit ****************

Your methods and reasoning here concerns me. It is very clear what the aims and objectives of the MTV EXIT Campaign are. We are an anti-human trafficking campaign that focuses on raising awareness of human trafficking only. That is it. Our messages come in the form of safe migration advice, general awareness of what human trafficking is, and finally, how communities and individuals can have an impact on the issue.

As far as USAID is concerned, the change in administration does not actually change the way we work, I’m not sure why you think it would.

I’m also not sure how you think “promoting human rights for sex workers” actually fits in with an anti-trafficking campaign?

I urge you to watch our documentaries, in paticular the programme called Traffic, which was produced for the Asia-Pacific:

http://www.mtvexit.org/eng/video/lucy_traf_wmp.html

In it you will see we are educating our audience about 3 forms of trafficking: labour trafficking, domestic servitude, and sex trafficking.

Firstly, we are not planning to produce another documentary like this. Secondly, even if we were then inserting a “message of non-trafficked sex workers” into this programme would be the same as inserting a message about non-trafficked domestic workers or non-trafficked workers in other industries where individuals are trafficked. Apart from diluting our message, including messages for these non-trafficked workers (regardless of type of work) just does not make sense.

Please can you clarify something. Is APNSW claiming that unless MTV EXIT — an anti-trafficking campaign that has educated millions of people about the issue since its launch in 2004 — starts to campaign for the promotion of human rights for sex workers, then your network will continue to campaign against us?

Thanks

Simon

****************** NO Exit’s Response *********************

Hi Simon,

We understand that the MTV Exit campaign is focused on anti-trafficking and raising awareness about anti-trafficking. What we do not understand is how you can honestly try to rationalize differentiating between sex workers and the anti-trafficking policies, which your campaign encourages and represents, as they directly effect sex workers. Anti-trafficking and sex workers human rights are interlinked as sex workers across Asia have their human rights violated on a daily basis in the name of “combating trafficking” Many of these human rights violators are listed on your website as sources for further information or for referral.

When you were in Cambodia and met with us the sex workers asked you for a brief time on your video to voice their issues you said no for 2 reasons. 1. It was short notice. And 2. Your USAID contract would not allow you to do so. We took reason 2 as meaning that if the contractual obligations changed, that you would be willing to include sex workers like you said you wished you could.

Promoting human rights for sex workers fits in with your campaign in Cambodia because of the vast amount human rights violations that are a direct result on the Law on Trafficking in Person and Sexual Exploitation. It would be irresponsible for MTV to not fully inform their viewers of the entire situation, especially human rights issues directly related to the cause endorsed by campaign. This disclusion would allow people to draw the conclusion that you are not concerned about the human rights violations.

I have watched all of you MTV Exit youtube videos, and was frankly offended by the way you portray women who are trafficked or at risk of trafficking as brainless twits with no common sense and no agency. The sarcasm attempted in these videos falls dead on the eyes of an informed viewer, and comes off as insensitive and derogatory. Beyond that, we have never questioned the purpose of your campaign, just the way you went about achieving it. We don’t believe that it meets the objectives you set of raising awareness whilst not buying into the debate on whether all sex work is trafficking.

Including the message of all sex workers does make sense because trafficking laws, such as the one in Cambodia, do not distinguish between sex workers and trafficking victims and therefore make all sex work illegal. Unlike labor trafficking laws which do not outlaw all other forms of professional employment. We do not believe that campaigns such as MTV Exit can be separated from the fact that it is seen as part of an anti-trafficking movement that has an agenda to criminalize all sex work. You told us this was not your intention which why our solution is to include the voices of non-trafficked sex workers.

Finally, APNSW and our member groups never asked you to start a new campaign, we asked to be included in your current one. If MTV Exit continues to promote the broader anti-prostitution/ anti-trafficking campaigns then we will continue to oppose MTV Exit as part of our larger campaign against the anti-prostitution movement.

Politics can’t be any dirtier a job than the one I’m already in.

Stormy Daniels, a Sex Worker, is thinking about running for US Senate, in a battle against David Vitter of DC Madam fame.

Here is a little video about it:

Clancy Dubos said “You need someone better than a Sex Worker” And Stormy says “Politics can’t be any dirtier a job than the one I’m already in.”.

Clancy, come meet a sex worker or two, they are definitely good enough!

Stormy, I’ll help make phone calls to voters if you decide to really run!

Stripper Set on Fire Outside Club

Does anyone out in LA know if any sort of fund has been set up to help this woman or her family (if she has any?)

How to Be an Ally to Sex Workers

  “How to Be an Ally to Sex Workers” by SWOP-Chicago

1) Don’t Assume. Don’t assume you know why a person is in the sex industry. We’re not all trafficked or victims of abuse. Some people make a choice to enter this industry because they enjoy it, others may be struggling for money and have less of a choice.

2) Be Discreet and respect personal boundaries. If you know a sex worker, it’s OK to engage in conversation in dialogue with them in private, but respect their privacy surrounding their work in public settings.  Don’t ask personal questions such as “does your family know what you do?” If a sex worker is not “out” to their friends, family, or co-workers, it’s not your place to tell everyone what they do.

3) Don’t Judge. Know your own prejudices and realize that not everyone shares the same opinions as you. Whether you think sex work is a dangerous and exploitative profession or not is irrelevant compared to the actual experiences of the person who works in the industry. It’s not your place to pass judgment on how another person earns the money they need to survive.

4) Watch You Language. Cracking jokes or using derogatory terms such as “hooker”, “whore”, “slut”, or “ho” is not acceptable. While some sex workers have “taken back” these words and use them among themselves, they are usually used to demean sex workers when spoken by outsiders.

5) Address Your Bias Against Sex Workers. If you have a underlying fear that all sex workers are bad people and full of diseases, then perhaps these are issues within yourself that you need to address.  In fact, the majority of sex workers practice safer sex than their peers and get tested regularly.

6) Don’t Play Rescuer. Not all sex workers are trying to get out of the industry or in need of help. Ask them what they need, but not everyone is looking for “Captain Save-A-Ho” or the “Pretty Woman” ending.

7) If you are a client or patron of sex workers, be respectful of boundaries. You’re buying a service, not a person. Don’t ask for real names, call at all hours of the day/night, or think that your favorite sex worker is going to enter into a relationship with you off the clock.

8) Do Your Own Research. Most mainstream media is biased against sex workers and the statistics you read in the news about the sex industry are usually inaccurate. Be critical of what you read or hear and educate yourself on who exactly is transmitting diseases or being trafficked.

9) Respect that Sex Work is Real Work. There’s a set of professional skills involved and it’s not necessarily an industry that everyone can enter into. Don’t tell someone to get a “real job” when they already have one that suits them just fine.

10) Just because someone is a sex worker doesn’t mean they will have sex with you. No matter what are of the sex industry that someone works in, don’t assume that they are horny and willing to have sex with anyone at any time.

11) Be Supportive and Share Resources. If you know of someone who is new to the industry or in an abusive situation with an employer, by all means offer advice and support without being condescending. Some people do enter into the sex industry without educating themselves about what they are getting into and may need help. Despite the situation, calling the police is usually never a good option. Try to find other organizations that are sensitive to the needs of sex workers by contacting the organizations listed below.

12) As you learn the above things, stand up for sex workers when conversations happen.  Share your personal stories if you so choose.  Don’t let the stigma, bigotry and shame around sex work continue.  Remember it’s important that sex workers be allowed to speak for themselves and for allies to not speak for sex workers but to speak with sex workers.

Realize that sex work transcends ‘visible’ notions of race, gender, class, sexuality, education, and identities; sex workers are your sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, lovers, and friends. Respect them!

Get Active! Contact your local SWOP Chapter to find out what you can do or form your own in the city you live in.

This list was composed by the members and allies of Sex Workers Outreach Project-Chicago. Visit us on the web at www.swop-chicago. org

Other Resources-

www.swop-usa. org
www.desireealliance .org
www.boundnotgagged. com

Call for Applications: Speak Up! Media Training for the Empowered Sex Worker

Along with some former $pread Magazine staff members, I’m the co-founder of Sex Work Awareness, an organization that works toward the destigmatization of sex workers. Our work is partly focused on creating better information and resources about sex workers for the public and for journalists. Our online project Sex Work 101 is the tip of that iceberg. Sex Work 101 has been dormant for a while, but I’ve got some content for it now and will be updating it once a week. Last week I posted an answer to the question Does the average sex worker practice safe sex?

Public education is just one part of the work of Sex Work Awareness. We also aim to train sex workers to safely respond to media requests, craft a message, and make their own media products. To that end, we’ve created a workshop: Speak Up! Media Training for the Empowered Sex Worker (click to read more about it and download a PDF of the application form).

I’ve taught several versions of this workshop over the past few years, but I’ve never gotten the chance to teach a day-long version of it. On Saturday, April 18th, my co-facilitator Eliyanna Kaiser and I will be doing just that here in New York. The workshop will cover topics like when to say no to media, outness, crafting your message, interview techniques, and basic skills for creating text, video, and audio.

This is a day-long seminar in which meals will be provided. The workshop is limited to ten participants on the basis of a submitted application; each participant will receive a Flip camera and a $50 stipend. Only self-identified current and former sex workers are invited to apply, to ensure that all feel comfortable during the seminar. The workshop is lead by two English speakers, so participants must be fluent in English.

I know lots of people will be bummed that the workshop isn’t in (fill in place). We can’t offer to cover travel for anyone coming from outside NYC, but we have a limited amount of space to put people up if theydecide to shoulder travel costs. We are planning on traveling to other cities eventually, so if you are not in the New York City area but are interested in participating in a future workshop, please get in touch. We have limited time and resources, so if you truly want us to come to your city to do this workshop, your community needs to be invested in helping make it happen.

This workshop is financially made possible by the fundraising efforts of the Sex Blogger Calendar and the generous support of all our sponsors, especially Njoy. I know $20 for a calendar doesn’t seem like much (and now they’re actually on sale for $10 each), but it has made a huge difference for the ten sex workers and former sex workers who will be able to attend this workshop and get the training and support they need to seriously kick ass.

Deadline for applications is March 10th, and we’ll inform people of acceptance on March 17th. Please circulate this widely!

Thoughts on rescues, rescuers and realities

Perhaps a thought to ponder for those opposed to sex worker rights

Scenario: Difficult economy. Someone loses his or her job outside the sex industry. While sex work may not be their first choice, living on 200 dollars a week unemployment isn’t feasible. After months of searching, the person begins sex work of whatever type they do.

Radical feminist analysis addresses sex work as bought and sold rape. As patriarchal oppression. Every form of sex work is considered under radical feminist ideology as a system of prostitution. If bills are not being paid, if rent can’t be paid, if food can’t be bought, perhaps the radical feminist analysis can’t be a priority. Perhaps sacrilege to radical feminists. Perhaps radical feminists have the best of intentions and truly want to end violence and oppression. However, regardless of this, hunger, homelessness, or the proximity to it, those are oppressive also. Eliminating sex work does what in that scenario? While perhaps it will prevent a rape, or prevent someone that feels various sex acts are degrading to keep from having to do them. Except they don’t have the income that they would have had with sex work as a possibility. Sex work may not be their first choice. But it is an option that beats being homeless in the winter. Or really beats homelessness at any time of year.

Homelessness in itself is oppression. Anyone disagreeing should try a month homeless. Probably often there is a better chance of being raped while homeless than raped as a sex worker.

How about arrest? Restorative justice? How does the unemployed person doing sex work whether by choice or by lack of other choice benefit from being arrested? Perhaps some environments are forgiving of previous arrests and convictions on job applications? Perhaps universities are? However, with 9 percent unemployment and 100 applicants for a dry cleaner counter representative job for $9.00 an hour. That previous arrest doesn’t enhance the resume. The “exit program” that will help the woman in prostitution get out? Get a job etc. Even if those programs are successful on some scale in some major cities. Reality is that most of the country doesn’t have access to them. Arrest means jail, means another obstacle to getting a job.

Perhaps, despite some feminists stating arrest is often the first step in the recovery process. How? Fact is. It isn’t. Decriminalization may not solve all problems but it doesn’t add them like the status quo does. Law enforcement, feminists, conservatives fought to block Prop K and keep the status quo. Had Prop K passed, the person in the scenario above would at least not have one more obstacle. Now, they not only face the issues in the scenario above, but if they do sex work and get arrested, the process of leaving sex work only becomes more difficult. Blocking Prop K didn’t make it easier for women to exit the sex industry. It added an obstacle to survival. Perhaps some will say they’d rather be homeless and hungry in the winter than have sex with men for pay. Than that can be their choice. The sex worker rights movement isn’t endorsing forcing anyone to do sex work.

Rescue based ideology. There is certainly a place for rescuing trafficking victims. And important place. But it needs to stay in it’s place. Arresting the sex worker and leaving her with a criminal conviction actually reduces options for her, reduces her rights, her freedom, and ironically makes her more a target for traffickers and predators. Less choices mean higher risk. Not the reverse. Law enforcement, knock yourself out in rescuing actual trafficking victims and bringing rapists, traffickers, kidnappers etc, to justice. But that process shouldn’t be encompassing of those that are not trafficked or taking away the rights of all the sex workers, whether choice, lack thereof, or someplace in between. Rescue people that need to be rescued. Don’t assume everyone needs to be rescued or wants to be. Adding a criminal record to a sex worker doesn’t rescue anyone. It disenfranchises and oppressed most of those that are supposedly part of the rescue.

Swedish Model…. Arresting the clients to catch the rapist in the net. Still, what about the woman in the above scenario? Take away the clients and you take away the income and we are back to the homeless and hungry scenario. The predator rapist/kidnapper is going to A.. be more likely to hire a sex worker then commit the crime as part of that scenario. Or B. exploit the more vulnerable, say homeless person, the person who can’t go to the police and expect much if any help because they are considered a criminal by the cops for being a prostitute………

Prostitution is bought and sold rape…… Yes, agreed. Some of the time. But not the majority of it. Much of the time prostitution is sex with some male client that is mindless day at work, forgotten, marginally remembered. Sounds like most other jobs. Perhaps many of the macro level academics like Hughes and Farley go to work every day and feel each day is empowering and important. The vast majority of us in any job go to work to earn a living. Perhaps we should rescue the rape victim only? The one who is raped. And let her decide if she was raped rather than applying vast construct saying she was through feminist analysis.

Finally the police as rescuers? If someone has to worry that they are going to be arrested to be rescued, or if they have been arrested for earning a living and now lack the options of getting the non sex work job. The police aren’t allies. If they are raped but have that arrest and/or conviction for sex work, their alleged rescuers and the justice system are far less likely to be support and much more likely to be obstacles to survival.

Perhaps rescue those that need to be rescued. Let the rest earn a living. Instead of macro level branding of all sex work clients as rapists and victimizer, perhaps focus on the actual rapist and victimizers and use the resources wisely rather than scattershot as a blanket?

Amazing concept is that so many of the supposed backward and alleged third world countries have figured this out and decrim sex work. Many of us that have gone to these supposedly backward countries with decrim have come back with huge questions about how advanced we really are. Or how backward……..