Political Lobbying by Citizens Against Trafficking

Citizens Against Trafficking is giving political advice to Rhode Island residents on which politicians to vote for.  Of course, politicians who supported their poisonous and totally harmful legislation that ended decriminalization of prostitution in Rhode Island.   Below is an excerpt from the Citizens Against Trafficking website

Citizens Against Trafficking encourages constituents to vote for incumbents who supported the bills last year banning minors from working in the adult entertainment industry, against sex trafficking, forced labor and indoor prostitution and candidates who pledge continued support of these efforts.

The spin on this is mind numbing.  They start off by discussing the Rhode Island law now bans minors from working in the adult industry.  Statutory rape laws were always in place and prior to this legislation that CAT is so proud of, sex workers could go to the authorities if they felt a youth was being harmed in the industry.  Now they can not do that because they would have to self incriminate that they are sex workers.

CAT doesn’t mention their plank causes the arrest of adult sex workers and minors.  Now that it is illegal both are criminalized by this action.  CAT feels this legislation will stop trafficking in Rhode Island, but human trafficking happens in every state regardless of the fact that it is criminalized everywhere except a few counties in Nevada.

CAT feels their work stops forced labor.  How?  Is this preventing sweatshops from existing?  Is this going to make someone using forced labor stop?  It doesn’t in the other 49 states.

They do accurately state it bans indoor prostitution.  But then we need to ask the question of why.  Why are we banning indoor prostitution?  Shouldn’t the focus be on ending forced labor, human trafficking, etc rather than stings against consenting adults?  Ostensibly this protects minors and forced trafficking victims.  Yet both will be arrested under the provisions of this legislation.

If you live in Rhode Island these are the two candidates that are endorsed by the prohibitionists Representative Amy G Rice District 72 and Paul Marandola candidate for District 7.  These representatives voted for legislation that causes the suffering and harm of both prostitutes and trafficking victims.

Child Sex Trafficking Victim in Prison

This has recently come to my attention. A child prostitute (i.e. sex trafficking victim) killed her pimp when she was 16. She was sentenced to life in prison for killing her exploiter. She’s now 31. Has anyone heard of this case before?

A website about Sara Kruzan: http://www.freesarakruzan.org/

So where is the answer anti trafficking gurus?

So after my recent violent rape by a trick I wrote to the anti trafficking gurus, Farley, Hughes, and Hughes minion Melanie Shapiro.  They were so convinced criminalizing indoor prostitution in Rhode Island would stop this kind of activity.  Well, gurus of anti trafficking.  I live in North Carolina where it has always been criminalized.  Not only wasn’t I protected, but instead I was raped by a Federal Air Marshall who knew he could get away with it because of criminalization.  For me to turn him in means turning myself in.

I thought I was supposed to be safe with criminalization in place oh Gurus of Anti Trafficking.  I even wrote to each of you asking your thoughts.  And what a surprise.  Not a single one of you wrote back to me.   Not that I expected you to, but nonetheless, especially Donna Hughes, since we were friends at one time, I wondered if you would drop politics for a moment.  No you didn’t.

Criminalization creates rape of prostitutes, it creates assault of prostitutes, it creates the death of prostitutes.  Better have the minions get the bowl of water ready so you can wash your hands of your deeds Gurus of Anti Trafficking.  You are pathetic opportunists who could care less about trafficked women.  It’s a gig for you.  Have any of you been a prostitute?

Cowards.

Bad Rehab- APNSW Karaoke

This is a brilliant new video from Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers:
http://blip.tv/file/4138226


A simple petition, plese sign and pass around

Dear Friends,

Our friend and ally in San Francisco, Hillary McQuie, harm reduction advocate, made this petition to support sex workers rights efforts and to address the scapegoating of craigslist. I hope you can sign it and pass it around.

http://humantrafficking.change.org/petitions/view/end_human_trafficking-_support_sexworker_self-efficacy_2?share_source=invite-page_em&ue=sei

Change.org Petition Supporting Sex Workers

Here is a link to a change.org petition supportive of sex workers, and addressing the CL issue as well as sex workers being able to advertise:

http://humantrafficking.change.org/petitions/view/end_human_trafficking-_support_sexworker_self-efficacy_2

Adult Services Gone

Craigslist confirmed in the hearing before Congress that it had removed the Adult Services section permanently from US CL (and assuming Adult Gigs will stay down too). Nothing was said about the international Erotic Services section.

Two articles:
briefly on CNET

slightly longer article

There are other articles but none that I’ve found have looked at the hearings in any sincere or deeply-informed manner.

Also odd: I placed a new ad in a new international city and had to give my email address to create an account. This is not SOP for international ads. Worrisome.

Sex Workers Stop Traffick

Media Statement
For Immediate Release
####

Contact:
Sex Workers Outreach Project
http://www.SWOPUSA.org
877-776-2004 x 2
info@swopusa.org

Sex Workers Stop Traffick

Sex Workers Outreach Project USA, a social justice and anti-violence project by and for sex workers, decries trafficking and demands protections for workers.
In the debate regarding the coercive shutdown of the Craigslist adult services sections the voices of sex workers have been conspicuously overlooked. Trafficking is not sex work. Real traffickers and child abusers must be stopped. Sex workers are in a unique position to help end trafficking, if our perspectives are taken into account.

Based on our extensive knowledge and experience with the sex industry, SWOP calls on elected officials and members of law enforcement to pursue a sane and effective approach to ending trafficking.

The conflation of consensual sex work with rape is a disservice to both victims of trafficking and to sex workers. Persecuting consenting adults for exchanging sex for money is a waste of precious resources that could better be used providing services and legal protections for minors and others who have been abused.

Trafficking and child sexual abuse are not sex work. Real traffickers must be stopped. Sex workers need health and labor protections to keep them safe while working and the ability to report crimes to the police if they are violated.

Sex workers and our clients are part of the solution- not the problem- to identify and root out real abuses. Sex workers and our clients are best situated to recognize suspicious or illegitimate activity on the Internet. The criminal status of some sex work is a barrier to helping law enforcement tap into this vital resource.

Since sex workers are not afforded equal legal protection from sexual assault and theft, we self-police by monitoring and identifying predators, work cooperatively to create safe workspaces and advise each other in safety methods that are critical to survival. Nobody is better situated to speak to the real problems and respective solutions for this community than sex workers.

SWOP demands that the voices of sex workers be included in all discussions of issues related to the commercial sex industry, particularly when the venues in which we communicate and keep each other safe are concerned. Purported rights groups, such as Change.org, have ignored sex worker voices while wrongfully vilifying Craigslist as a cause of- rather than an ally in stopping- trafficking. The continued silencing of sex workers, the trend to shut down the spaces where we communicate and the disregard of our expert knowledge demonstrate clearly that these efforts are more about stomping out sex for sale in general than in protecting those who are actually abused.

####

Photo by Xtalk in April 2009 in cooperation with ECP and Sex worker Open University- London

change.org petition for a verified adult industry provider section

change.org is mobilizing 2 petitions: one to stop CL’s erotic svcs sec WORLDWIDE and one to go after Backpage.com ( take action by telling Village Voice Media it’s time to stop profiting from child sex trafficking now).  I CREATED THE PETITION AND IT IS LIVE!

please VOTE, TWEET, FACEBOOK!

www.change.org/petitions/view/demand_a_verified_adult_provider_section_to_stop_sex_trafficking_and_exploitation?te=npe

ARE YOU REALLY INTERESTED IN STANDING UP AGAINST PIMPS, PREVENTING EXPLOITATION OF MINORS and PREVENTING ANOTHER CRAIGSLIST KILLER TO PREY ON ADULT INDUSTRY WORKERS?

My name is Mariko Passion.  I am an adult industry worker of 13 years, over the age of 18 and I am not being forced or coerced to do any work with anyone or for anyone.  I am not being held against my well.  In other words: I am not a sex trafficking victim.  I am an advertiser on backpage.com and was a former erotic services provider on Craigslist.com. before the appearance of the Craigslist killer when things became more difficult to advertise.  I feel compelled to make this video to put a face to those that do this work and hope that I can urge you to TRULY TAKE A STAND to help those of us that are often victims of violence because we are pushed underground, forced to be ashamed and secretive about what we do and often feel that the police will not want to help us when we are victims of rape, robbery or as we saw in the Philip Markoff case: murder.

The SOLUTION to combating violence and exploitation in our industry is not to eliminate advertising sources.  Many adult providers who are NOT in human trafficking situations are also mothers, part time workers, students in college, artists, persons who would otherwise be homeless or stuck in domestic violence situations and many many other things.  Eliminating craigslist adult services and and moving onto eliminating ads in  backpage, where many of us have now advertise will hurt the last bastion of income revenue many of us.

I am proposing that advertising outlets that wish to run adult industry ads be required to create a VERIFIED ADULT PROVIDER SECTION in their newspapers or websites.  This is very similar to the 2257 laws that the porn industry uses to combat claims of and actually stop the employment of underage performers in their videos.  It is also a system that is already in place by other more upscale adult provider websites like Eros.com

To advertise in this section MUST BE AFFORDABLE.  Every adult provider who comes into the advertising office to verify themselves is actually making a small contribution to STOPPING TRAFFICKING by supporting a simple verification system that helps to prevent exploitation by a 3rd party.  This system makes the adult voluntary workers and papers like LA Weekly, backpage, or others MORE responsible to the realities of possible exploitation that may exist in our work.

A VERIFIED ADULT PROVIDER SECTION will give verified adult providers ad space at a discounted rate that is competitive with craigslist/backpage rates per week about $35-45/week, which actually will create INDEPENDENCE from agencies or pimps that have more credit cards or capital to invest in full page buyouts of weekly papers, postcard littering campaigns on sidewalks or billboard trucks driving up and down streets.  THIS IS HOW A VERIFIED ADULT PROVIDER SECTION WILL TAKE A STAND AGAINST PIMPS AND AGENCIES.

A VERIFIED ADULT PROVIDER SECTION will ALSO be beneficial to the customers of such ads.  There will be no mistaking a A VERIFIED ADULT PROVIDER as a trafficked person or minor.  There will also be the added assurance for the client that the provider is only allowed to represent their own image in the ads that they run.

A VERIFIED ADULT PROVIDER verifies that they are over 18 with government issued ID, are not being held against their will, are not being forced to exchange services by a third party, are entering agreements with clientele from ads willingly, AND are using REAL pictures and representing their own advertising and business decisions as listed in any ads with said publication.  They must come into the media outlet office and sign a written agreement.

Information gathered from VERIFIED ADULT PROVIDER will not contain any more information about the provider than their age and that they are not trafficked.  It shall not be used to gather information to be used against the adult providers.  NO questions in the verification process will be used to incriminate workers in any way.  They are simply verifying that they are over 18 and advertising on their own will.  It is a TRUE effort from media publications to help adult worker safety.   It is an effort to create a REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE to the strategies currently being used by the moral majority as the solution.

In response to the offline question about using Craigslist for work

I used Craigslist for maybe 2 weeks.  The experience was vapid.  Cheap clients who seemed to have no idea of how things worked, many new clients who “just had questions”.  Which totally pissed me off.  “I’m just browsing” works in retail stores, not when calling escorts.  While I fully endorse Craigslist re-opening the adult section.  I personally was very underwhelmed by the response.

I went to work for an agency instead.

For the General Public: When does sex work become rape?

This post is intended far more for the general public than for those who usually read it.  It is not a post seeking sympathy.  I”m using personal experience to illustrate a point.

Recently I went to work for an outcall escort agency.  The agency does the screening of the clients with the idea being a date is supposed to be safe and not with a police officer.  I drive to meet the client, get there, get the money everything seems fine.  The session is 1 hour or 1 climax whichever comes first.  Rules are preset about how far I am willing to go.  First he want’s a massage.  Then oral sex.   Only he isn’t able to get the response from his body that he is hoping for.  This goes on, and on, until my jaw is literally locking.  Finally he pulled away and I made the comment that maybe this just wasn’t working.  He disagreed said he knew it could work and said he just needed a drink to relax.  Asked me if I wanted one?  No, thank you I’m fine………  I give him the speech about not drinking and driving as a personal policy.  While he is getting his drink I notice framed on the wall is his graduation from training as a FAM.  Federal Air Marshall.  I think, great, this guy is quasi law enforcement.  But until this point it was still sex work.  I still owed him a few more minutes and had no issue with trying again.  He drank his drink and in one quick move had me down, handcuffed and had a trashbag over my head.  When he first handcuffed me, I thought shit, he’s a cop.  The trash bag told me different.

He hit me over and over in the head telling me to stop fighting and to give in and let him have what he paid for.  He didn’t pay for what he took.  While oral sex didn’t arouse him anal did.  He made repeated points about his hatred of condoms and that I was going to see what it felt like to have plastic over my head.  Which was an odd twist of words given we were talking about different “heads”.   He hit me in the head a bunch more times until I agreed to swallow the condom.  I was too disoriented from what was diagnosed at the ER as a moderate concussion/post concussion syndrome.   I went to the Desiree Alliance conference in Vegas a few days after this incident.  For those who spent any time with me it was likely apparent I was suffering the effects of concussion.  Along with re-activated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

When did it become rape rather than sex work.  When he forced me to do something I hadn’t agreed to.  People have argued with me that prostitutes can’t be raped, and that this kind of thing is an occupational hazard.  I say that totally wrong.  I don’t give blanket permission by virtue of being paid.  Certainly I didn’t agree to the trashbag, to the 10 plus blows to the head, or the anal sex which was never supposed to be part of the deal.  Without a doubt, swallowing the condom wasn’t.

Now that I’ve give the background.  Yes, prostitutes can be raped, we do get raped and we need full decriminalization so that we can go to the police rather than fear them.  Or be raped by them and their law enforcement colleagues.  The prohibitionists who allegedly want to end human trafficking by virtue of making it as illegal and hard as possible to do sex work.  The method doesn’t work.  How many trafficking victims are rescued vs. the number of prostitutes that are arrested, that are raped, assaulted.  Not to mention, in my case, facing another set of worries with the swallowed condom.  Although first HIV test was negative.

So general public, think before you sign documents like this one We need to move in the other direction.  Bring full decriminalization which brings it above the surface.  We need sex work to be regarded as work and abuses tackled like abuses in any other industry.  There are many of us who need the money we make in sex work and don’t have other choices.  This client gave me my eighth concussion in my life time.  He should have been arrested for multiple infractions.  If I went to the police, the likely arrestee would be me.

As soon as I no longer consented, it became rape.  That I’m a prostitute doesn’t matter.  Please don’t support things that make it harder for sex workers and trafficking victims.  Obscurity doesn’t solve the problem it only makes it occult.

We can and do get raped and it hurts us just as much as it hurts anyone else.  Rape should never be an occupational hazard.

Looking at the Schapiro Group “Scientific” Survey

This survey was done in the fall of 2009, several months after CraigsList changed the Erotic Services section to Adult Services so that it could begin charging for ads and handing over the information to authorities if requested. Remember, this was in response to a huge national campaign accusing CraigsList of being a haven for underage prostitutes. It stands to reason that men who want the simplicity of paying for sex with an underage girl would look to CraigsList. The media did all the advertising work necessary for both sides of the possible exploitation equation (pimps and clients). Not to mention that since CraigsList was getting a lot of media attention, lots of people were perusing the Adult Services section, regardless of age preferences.

Their study finds that 23% of men in Georgia have tried to buy sex in one month. This is probably true. The usual self-reporting surveys in the US yield numbers of 6-15%, which any sex worker can tell you is artificially low. Quite honestly, the vast majority of clients are not on CraigsList, which means the percentage of clients could be even higher than 23%. They have to be to support the number of sex workers out there. The vast majority of these unnoticed interactions are between adults, not teens.

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Today (September 10th) is Suicide Prevention Day.

My first friend that committed suicide was when I was in my early teens. He was an amazing person, and at the time I knew nothing of suicide prevention, I didn’t know how rough of a time he was going through; he was a few years older than I was, and he had family issues like so many of us do.  His dad went out that night to get beer for them, he laid down one of those blue tarps in the living room, put a shotgun in his mouth and waited for his dad to come home.  Dad walks in the door says”Fuck you, dad” and pulls the trigger, never to be heard from again.
Since then more of my friends and loved ones have gone the short route in their lives, and it hurts worse every time.
My first friend that committed suicide wasn’t a sex worker, but we probably all know a sex worker that has at least thought about it.  I know several, some very near and dear to my heart.  Sometimes all it takes to prevent someone is LISTEN, more on how to listen here. You don’t even have to hear to listen.  Sometimes a HUG, an I love you, or a phone call can make all the difference in the world.
If you are interested in learning more about suicide, and how you may be able to prevent it both in yourself and in others, TALK ABOUT IT!  Don’t be afraid to talk loudly and proudly about suicide.  Whenever an opportunity comes up. Be not afraid!  Learn about some of the warning signs to suicide, and things you can do to help.
Resources:
If you’ve been through a suicide in your life, I recommend the Survivors of Suicide Project in Second life.
Also of course,  you can call one of the many sex worker hotlines, such as SWOP-USA’s at 877-776-2004, they are not trained suicide prevention operators but can help direct you to suicide prevention resources.

Traffickers Remain in Business

Dear State Attorney Generals and colleagues such as Melissa Farley, Donna M. Hughes,

While you run around patting yourselves on the back for shutting down the so called “Wal Mart of Human Trafficking” you may want to ponder the harm you have done.  Just how stupid do you figure traffickers are?  Closing one website is supposed to stop them?  Give me a break.  Craigslist was just the latest one you choose to crucify for the benefit of your resumes.  The traffickers have plenty of other outlets.

Let me clue you in on what you did.  When I was a trafficking victim and the calls didn’t come in, I ended up working the street.  Try working a Cincinnati street in December.   Perhaps some activists shut down a publication back then.    Who paid the ultimate price?  The prostitute not the trafficker.

You want to rescue trafficking victims.  Start at the bus station.   Find out where the runaway teens are and there are your potential US trafficking victims.  Build trust with them, build programs that get them off the street and back to school.  It isn’t flashy, doesn’t generate the big headlines but it would cut into the supply of traffickers.  You have to give potential trafficking victims a place to go, shelter, health care, job skills, or the traffickers will always win. Stop criminalizing prostitution because you drive the prostitutes farther underground.  If you want the trafficking victim or the prostitute to trust the cop, take away the criminalization.  No one is going to go to someone that will arrest them for help.   But then again stopping trafficking isn’t really the point is it?  Point is career advancement.

I was a trafficking victim and let me tell you something.  He would have laughed at your closedown of Craigslist.  Just move me to the street until he finds a new venue.   What do you figure faux care about trafficking victim types?  You figure Bruce the pimp would have just had a going out of business sale, put me at half price than 70 percent off and closed?   He would have beaten the shit out of me because the money wouldn’t be coming in until he found a new venue.

This shut down of craigslist is a total farce perpetrated by faux rescuers that are nothing but publicity pimps looking for the shiny light.

CraigsList: Future Thinking

Assuming that CraigsList Adult Services stay down, where will everyone go? Granted, the majority of those in the business in the US aren’t advertising on CL anymore. But now civilians are enjoying the thrill of discovering what’s been online for the past 10-15 years and are publicly speculating what sites advertisers will flock to.

On the one hand, other advertising sites have been obvious all this time if you know how to use Google. The current public attention might help some girls get a little extra business in what I know is a sagging economy and a seasonally slow time of year (beginning of school). On the other hand, I’m very worried by the attention thrown at other sites. The motivation for this current state of affairs goes far beyond the usual cat-and-mouse game played by local cops. The anti-trafficking Nazis have one possible victory with CraigsList and probably feel ready to go stomping on any other site adult sex workers use.

Because it’s about ending prostitution. It’s not about helping victims.

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