Major Sociological Association Supports Decriminalizing Prostitution

The Society for the Study of Social Problems accepted a resolution supporting the decriminalization of prostitution written by Jenny Heineman, co-coordinator of the Sex Workers’ Outeach Project-Las Vegas (SWOP-LV),  plus they honored  SWOP-LV at a banquet in Aug. 2011 for the organization’s social justice advocacy.  Here’s a link to the resolution:  http://www.sssp1.org/index.cfm/pageid/1516#R3 .

I appreciate how the resolution addresses human trafficking without conflating all sex work with trafficking or using this issue to promote the harmful laws against sex workers.  This shows how being anti-slavery and anti-trafficking doesn’t have to mean being anti-sex work.

33 charged in the massive raids of the Sedona Temple and the Phoenix Goddess Temple

Dear BnG community.  These raids have hit us hard in Arizona, and we are devastated for the loss of the Temples.  Please stay with us as we will be putting out much more information, calls to action, and ways that you can get involved.  To begin, won’t you please go to http://goddessbless.org and sign their petition?  And will you or your organization consider signing on to this letter of support?
love and rage,
Surgeon
For Immediate Release9/17/2011, Tucson AZ

September 7th, 2011 Yavapai County and Maricopa County Sherrifs raided the Sedona and Phoenix Goddess Temples and arrested eighteen people.  A SWAT Team descended on the two temples detaining practitioners at gunpoint.  To date thirty-three  people have been charged, and the temples are being investigated as brothels.  Temple practitioners were paraded in front of the waiting media, and their mug shots and legal names publicized.

Both Temples hold legal status as churches, and no minors, weapons, or drugs were found on the premises of either Temple.  Tracy Elise, the founder and High Priestess of both Temples is still in jail along with 7 other people and her bail is set at an astonishingly high half a million dollars.

These arrests came after six months of undercover operations by the Yavapai County and Maricopa County Police Departments.  It is the largest sex work related bust in Arizona since 2008, when the Desert Divas prostitution ring was busted, with over 100 people charged, including phone operators and photographers.  There were no minors found in that investigation either.

We believe that these arrests, and all other arrests of consenting adults engaged in healing or sexual practices equate to a modern day witch hunt.   In many cases, the money being spent by the police force to arrest, intimidate, and establish undercover sting operations is coming from large scale anti-trafficking campaigns intended to target child prostitution.  Instead, the money donated by a public horrified by images of young children in cages, and sensationalized stories of sexual slavery is diverted into operations like the so called “Operation Goddess Temple.”

In press conferences, Police spokesmen say that Temple practitioners were engaging in acts of prostitution under the guise of religion.  We say that the Arizona Police are using valuable funds, and unnecessary force to arrest consenting adults under the guise of protecting citizens and saving children.

Whether one believes in the validity of Tantra or sexual healing practices as a religion, it is not the charge of the government to legislate morality.  Sex is legal in this society.  Criminalizing prostitution, massage, and healing sexual practices bears all the injustice and inefficacy of prohibition, sodomy laws, and religious intolerance.

We demand the immediate release of all those arrested in affiliation with the Phoenix and Sedona Temples.  We demand an end to police raids for non-violent crimes.  We demand an end to the persecution of practitioners of sexual healing, and the decriminalization of prostitution.

To support the Goddess Temple directly, please visit http://goddessbless.org
To take action and support decriminalization, please visit http://swop-tucson.org

Sincerely,
SWOP-Tucson (Sex Workers’ Outreach Project, Tucson chapter)

For further information, or to speak directly to a spokesperson from SWOP-Tucson for press or media, please email info@swop-tucson.org

Dutch government wants their cut from sex workers

From the Huffington Post:

Nobody knows exactly how many prostitutes there are or how many of them pay tax, since legal ones are registered as one-women businesses, not brothels. But an Amsterdam-chartered study in October estimated there are slightly fewer than 8,000 prostitutes of all kinds in the city, and 3,000 working behind windows. An industry think-tank called the SOR Institute believes around 40 percent of window prostitutes already pay some income tax.

“It’s more all the time – though of course there are some sex workers who refuse,” says Mariska Majoor, a former prostitute who now runs an information center in the district.

“Their attitude is, we are stigmatized, made to feel that we are not part of society, we have trouble in getting a bank account – why should we pay taxes?”

Full Story Here

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.

Continue reading

National US health care plan, what does ‘public option’ mean?

Thank you to Melora from SWOP-Boston for putting this all together.

Primary Source: TIME magazine
Secondary Sources: wikipedia.org, healthreform.gov, nytimes.com, various google searches (checking search lists for irregularities, will only site every source used upon request)

Note:

If you do not fall under one of the categories below, you will experience no change in coverage or costs. For the purposes of the following, Medicare means both Medicare, and Medicaid.

Have questions? Ask!

Have opinions? Dare to debate.

Effective 2010:

  • Uninsured with pre-existing condition receive immediate coverage (though i have not yet put together HOW – it depends on a plethora of factors that vary from one individual to another including income, employment, and geographic.
  • Uninsured and age 26 or younger are now approved to be covered by their parents’ insurance
  • Insurers no longer allowed to deny care to a patient who becomes sick (currently private companies are able to suspend coverage of individuals who develop certain illnesses, despite having paid their premiums)
  • Insurers no longer allowed to end coverage after a patient reaches a certain age (many companies will not cover you if you live past 80, for example)
  • Insurers no longer allowed to deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions
  • Employers of small businesses to receive tax credits if they purchase insurance plans for their employees.
  • Medicare prescription drug beneficiaries receive $250 as a stipend when they hit the doughnut hole.
  • What is the doughnut hole? A rule in medicare part D prescription drug coverage that states that once Medicare has paid $2,700 in prescription drug coverage for an individual, they are then on their own to cover the full cost of prescription medications until they have reached $6,154 in prescription drug expenses.

Effective 2011:

  • Insurers required to spend 80% of premiums collected on medical services.
  • Medicare Prescription Drug Beneficiaries receive 50% the cost of prescriptions while in the doughnut hole.

Effective 2013:

  • Medicare taxes on unearned income increase for individuals earning $200,000+/yr or families earning $250,000+

Effective 2014:

  • Everyone must either be insured or pay a fine, whichever is less expensive. (the way the government will know whether you are insured is by making demonstrating proof of coverage a part of filing taxes.)
  • Families earning less than four times the federal poverty level ($22,000 x 4 = $88,000) receive subsidies to help them cover the cost of insurance
  • Public healthcare options provided by states (similar to the insurance already available in Massachusetts) become available to anyone in the country who does not have insurance coverage via either their parents, their employer, or medicare.
  • Insurers officially banned from denying anyone with a pre-existing condition
  • Insurers limited in their abilities to price coverage based on pre-existing conditions
  • Employers of 50 or more people must provide coverage to their employees or pay a fine, whichever is less expensive.

Effective 2018:

  • Insurers that bill individuals $10,200+ or families $27,500+ annually are subject to a 40% excise tax

Effective 2020:

  • The doughnut hole is eliminated.

A small bit about forcing people to have insurance:

  • The costs will be low (in MA current costs are about $25/month), and you get help if your family makes less than $88,000/yr.
  • This process does effectively ensure that public option healthcare can remain affordable and available to those of us who are dying and need it, and helps support emergency care, which is the most expensive and the most used by the uninsured who wait until they’re on their death beds to seek medical assistance.
  • You’ll be impressed how affordable it is for people as poor as us.

public option health insurance will bill on a scale according to income, not health status. private insurers will not be allowed to base prices on a patient’s medical status either. that was the main reason sited for why they pushed this bill so fast: so many people right now are sick and dying because they can’t afford health care.
however, there’s no way to know now what the exact numbers are yet, and this makes people uneasy. when it comes to costs, it’s still a couple years before the public option will be available, and each state will have its own variables that it has to grapple with in constructing their public option. While MA’s successful and extremely affordable public option healthcare (which began in 2006) will likely be a model for other states, it’s impossible to predict whether other states will be as generous with their benefits as MA.
this is an exact quote from TIME, which I take at face value based on the fact that the magazine is right wing and therefore has no motives to make the healthcare bill look good. the sources cited for the article from which i quote directly are the Congressional Budget Office, US Census Beaureau, Kaisser Family Foundation, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and Commonwealth Fund:

if you [have a pre-existing condition and] plan to buy your own coverage, you will be able to get it from any insurer selling in your area, and you will pay the same as anyone else in your age group. insurers won’t be able to place annual or lifetime limits on your coverage, and regulations will limit your out of pocket spending. 36% of Americans were turned down or charged higher premiums because of pre-existing conditions in 2007.

Again, thank you to Melora of SWOP Boston for putting this all together for us, and for helping make it easily digestable, and for Time Magazine for being such a great source of information.

So, what are your thoughts, now that we can understand it?  For or against, call or email your congressman and senators and let them know!  Personally I’m for it now.  I think it could go a lot farther, but this is way better than what we currently have!!

update (3/29/10 8:20PM PST): fixed up the bit about forcing people to have insurance and costs, the original was by me (Tara) and this new update is by Melora, because she’s so much smarter then I am about this stuff!

update (3/3/10 2:20PM PST): Some of this may be incorrect, we are working on resolving these issues.. sorry! a 2,000+ page document boiled down to something someone can understand is hard!!!

update (3/30/10 5:48PM PST): Ok, apparently nobody knows what’s up with the above $$ part, so take all of the stuff like this with a grain of salt, a HUGE grain of salt.  If and when congress/senate ever make up their minds, then we’ll know.  Right now that’s the big debate they are fighting over, so if  you feel it should be one way or another, now is the time to contact our congress and senate.  The rest of the article stands as fact for now.

They’re funny things, Accidents. You never have them till you’re having them.

A month ago, I was riding my Empowerment Vehicle (motorcycle) home from a friends house at 2AM one Sunday night.  I had a lapse in judgement, and ended up flying over the motorcycle, landing on pavement, sliding across an exit ramp, and landing in the bushes.  This obviously wasn’t planned, or wanted.  I have no health insurance, and it hasn’t been overly pleasant.  I’m temporarily in a wheelchair, and will be for another month it looks like.

These life accidents happen to all of us at one time or another. I’m blessed to have many good close friends who care about me, and are doing their best to help me navigate life from a disabled perspective.  And I’ve been lucky enough to put a positive spin on this, and see it as a great learning experience about experiencing life on 4 wheels instead of 2.  But I want to talk about savings (or the lack there of).

It’s the loss of income that’s really sucked.  I haven’t been able to work much at all! Provided there are no more unexpected expenses that rise up, it looks like I’ll pull through this ok financially, and end up with a manageable debt of about 5-6 thousand.

I know that I’m really blessed in this way, I’ve had many friends who have gone thru unexpected life changes that have altered their income, and raised there expenses and are still trying to recover.  It doesn’t take much.  For me it was about 30 seconds all told, and will lead to 2 months of wheelchair time, and lots of asking for help, and lots of brand new expenses!

This has made me think about how to save and plan for these events.  They WILL happen in your life, they happen to all of us in different degrees, but how we manage to plan ahead for these, and how we handle them when they come up make a world of difference.

Lots of Financial experts(cause I was off searching about this) will say we need 3 months of living expenses (but they really want us to have 6!) in a Money Market or Savings account just lying about, and banks give you huge deals and love  you WAY more when you are able to have that kind of money it turns out.  For me three months is only about $3,500.00 or so all told (I live cheaply), but even this is a big number to have laying about!

Financial experts seem to always come across like we can easily come up with this kind of money, but so many of us already live directly off of our income, and have no wiggle room.  But even if we can only put 10% of a single call a week away, it will add up.  The hardest part, is deciding what constitutes an emergency to go spend that money.  For me, it’s the new motorcycle protective gear, so I can go feel empowered and graduate once again from 4 wheels to 2.

P.S. If you can tell the author of the title of this post, you’ll know one of the smartest people I know in all the world!!

Legalizing Las Vegas Brothels

My knee-jerk reaction to this news is: so the state is suffering. They decide they want to make money off the backs of sex workers? How is this not exploitative? I also want to know exactly how they plan on taxing one business but not other businesses as Nevada is known for being a business-friendly state, tax-wise. (Corrections or elightenment on Nevada’s business-tax law are welcome.)

Caring about sex workers does not mean registering and regulating us to within an inch of our lives. I’ve tried to work in Vegas strip clubs recently – not good. All they care about is getting their house fee and selling alcohol (even if you don’t really want to drink). A Vegas, casino-sponsored brothel? I can’t imagine the situation being any better.

Of course I support decriminalization. But that doesn’t put money into the state coffers, nor directly into the pockets of casino owners – which is really the crux of the matter. They don’t care about the dangers criminalized street workers face, the exploitation of the local agency girls or the arrest-risk independent escorts have to handle. They simply see a way of making money – off the backs of female sex workers — and magically, somehow brothels are supposed to be good for women. (I can only assume that transgendered and male sex workers are not part of this discussion at all.)

Brothel-work does indeed work for many women. And I have no doubt a lot sex workers would welcome casino-sponsored brothels in Las Vegas. I do not want to close down that option for sex workers because it is an option. My concern is that these brothels will become the one and only answer for sex work in Vegas – leading to rampant arrest and abuse of all other unregulated sex workers. Brothel work or no work – that’s not a choice and smacks of coercion to me.

Incidentally, love how Melissa Farley manages not to offer any sort of answer to the problem of criminalizing prostitution other than maintaining the status quo. Way to protect the rights of sex workers, Farley.

More news reading:
original Las Vegas Sun piece
an editiorial piece

LA is dead! Off to Bellas?((scared!))

Ack!  Sitting up late in my hotel room in Vegas..kicking myself because I had signed up for the “adventure” of trying out brothel life by way of Madam Bella who presented to us at the Chicago Desiree conference.  I knew it wasn’t going to be the ideal situation, but hey, it was only 10 days right?

Vegas is 6 hours from LA.  and 6 hours from Wells, Nevada.

I am sort of homeless and playing travelling hooker just to ease my mind of ending fighting relationship with a boyfriend I had sugarmama’d (meaning somewhat non consensually) for the last year.  My emotions are already in turmoil.  And then I read Amanda Brooks’ blog on her experience at Bellas. Terrified.

Is it too late to turn back? to give up?  Yes.  Unfortunately.  It is.  Bellas was my one hope in dark shithole of LA escort market and I had planned this trip based on the fact that I have fallen short of my monthly expense minimum because of my credit card debt and it has caused me to be constantly frantic about money, fighting with the boyfriend over money, taking bigger risks in sex work, GETTING ARRESTED.  Yes, I also must somehow raise money for my legal fund, as I recently get charged with prostitution in the city of LA in May of this year.  Need to pay for the lawyer to fly down for the pre-trial conference (where we will plead NOT GUILTY) on September 5th.

I have subletted my apartment for the month, because of going to Mexico for 2 weeks made it impossible to pay rent, so in many ways, I cannot go back.

I just got into a wicked screaming fight with my ex/boyfriend…finally got him to move out and finally he returned his key to my house…He was blaming me again for irregular bumps on his penis.

I swear the amount of fights with partners where you have to scream to defend yourself against the title of reigning Ms.Disesase is tiring enough to make you give up sex work forever…It doesn’t matter how much you get tested, or how many barriers you use, you can still catch things, break condoms and/or flaw so in an unsupportive partner’s eyes (8 out of 10) you can still be blamed if ANYTHING happens.

I’ve decided to STOP PAYING ALL MY CREDIT CARD BILLS!  Another liberating but scary thing, and start work on something called Debt Settlement, which is something you might hear about on the radio.  If you have debt and it has become your PIMP like me, then you should consider it.  You pay 40% of your total debt with the help of a lawyer, but your credit rating tanks for a year and then you have to buy something called Credit Repair…

I am in the heart of where I’ve had the worst times in sex work–Las Vegas.  I tried casino cruising after Desiree 1 and had no luck.  I tried being a stripper here many many times, when I was in my supple 20s, and didn’t make $1000s a day like the girls next to me.  I HATE VEGAS.  If I don’t go to Wells, where will I go?

Part of me wants to chicken out of the ranch idea and just pay for an Eros visiting ad for a couple of weeks.  But then, I HATE VEGAS and it is 105 degrees out here.  My Comfort Inn is exactly that right now.  I am terrified of giving up my space, my peace, my sanity.

I burned out on stripped clubs because of the repetitive conversations and the repetitive music and stage fees and rules and endless bullshit.  Stripclubs in San Francisco are defacto brothels anyway, just like in Thailand, everyone knows that sex happens in the club and after the club but the local government is paid by club lawyers to turn a blind eye to labor and human rights violations.  But perhaps all that will be changing in San Francisco very shortly, and perhaps I will return there to be a whore.  I burned out on stripclubs because people who were endlessly profiting off of your sexual labor could give a flying shit about you.

I wanted to go to the brothel to experience being legal.  Having experienced jail and being an illegal for so many years, I thought it might be a refreshing experience.  But Amanda Brooks and I are very different people.  So there is a chance I could have a good experience.  But, from her blog, it doesn’t sound like she made a lot of money for the amount of work required.  All I remember reading was “how sore I was” and “the bell was ringing every 5 minutes.”

I have done a lot of hard sex work and have been hardened by the hustle in LA (where most of the money made is by upselling and bait and switch agency work).  You simply can’t make enough money to survive by being honest, using your real picture and posting your actual price.  My honest escort work is supplemental to my agency hustle.  This is why a lot of independent girls try to work in LA and hate it.  You have to be a hustler and willing to not care about most of the people you see in order to make it. In fact, many of the girls who do agency work are anti-prostitution sex worker perpetrators who, together with their drivers love to bully money out of all the “perverts who call them.”  I don’t feel that way about my clients, and actually make my money in de-escalating the suprise of the agency scam and the usually keep me even though they didn’t expect me and tip me another $100 even tho they didn’t expect to do that either…(upsell defined: I am the Jiffy Lube of escorting, go in thinking you’ll spend $39.99, leave with a bill of $300 🙂

You have to be willing to drive long hours in traffic, sometimes at the crack of dawn, sometimes for no shows.  Maybe Bellas wouldn’t seem so bad to agency work in LA.   I have had crackheads and multiple other druggies in motels, alcoholics sloshing around in drool like Nicholas Cage, recently released felons with fake credit cards and more at the low end of my client list.  Because of the hustle I do as an agency girl, I have been told off, insulted, kicked out of mansions and had countless doors slammed in my face–and that has hardened me to not feel guilty about the way I make my money.  This is not to say that there isn’t a high end of the typical $3-400/hr escort, getting paid just to talk to business men, record execs in boutique hotels on sunset strip and more..but LA is dead right now and the money is just not there.  I used to have an “agent” who had a system of spamming craigslist for me.  But, craigslist seems to be on to that game and craigslist is also the favorite tool of sting operations nationwide, and exactly how I fell into the trap that got me busted.

I just got back from an amazing experience singing and doing art work in Mexico City.  I never finished blogging about it for this page, but i did do so on my personal blog.

Will I make it to Bellas or chicken out of the ranch??

check out my fate in a couple of days, because at this moment, I feel like turning back.

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

Live on Blog Talk Radio XBN: Sex Worker Rights Broadcast Network 5PM Eastern Saturday 3.29.08

XBN Sex Worker Voices, Sex Worker Viewpoints, Sex Worker Rights

Please join XBN at www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast

Listener Call in number 646.200.3136

Join sex workers and sex worker rights activists in media created and driven by us!

Upcoming Guests

Guest Carol Leigh! Carol Leigh AKA Scarlot Harlot Unrepentant Whore published by Last Gasp Carol Leigh,

3/31/2008
6:00 PM
60 Minutes [171865]

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network

Guest to be determined

4/1/2008
8:00 PM
60 Minutes [171963]

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Guest to be determined

4/2/2008
6:00 PM
60 Minutes [171963]

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network

Guest: Renegade Evolution Profile of a Henchwoman: Often over generalized as a bit of a clockwork apocalypse, heartless capitalist and generally ruthless scum, the terrifying truth is RenEv is a stripper, Internet porn performer, sex workers rights


Everyone 4/3/2008
9:30 PM
60 Minutes [171948]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Guest: Melissa Gira Bio: http://www.melissagira.com
ht Unpacking the Wired story on tech & sex work: http://www.wired.comht — and adding more on how sex workers internationally use technology in advocacy for human rights. internet, jill brenneman XBN, Melissa Gira, sex work, sex workers, sex workers outreach project, swop, swopeast Politics Progressive
Mature 4/4/2008
3:00 PM
60 Minutes

All previous shows are available for playback or download at www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast

Previous Guests include:

Veronica Monet

Constance Sisk

Stacey from Desiree Alliance

Maxine Doogan

Amanda Brooks

And a live call in show after a Presentation by Jill Brenneman at William & Mary, this program hosted by Amanda Brooks, features many live calls from the presentation audience from the Brenneman presentation who stayed and joined XBN’s live broadcast which was being simulcast over the auditorium. This presentation was in response to the significant protest and backlash against the organizers and supporters of the Sex Worker’s Art Show Appearance at William & Mary and protests against the Sex Workers Art Show themselves. As the show demonstrates there is a lot of support for the Sex Workers Art Show at William and Mary.

Many outstanding guests are being scheduled, please watch for updates! If you would like to be a guest on this revolutionary project bringing sex workers voices to the media please contact www.swopeast.org

If you are a sex worker or sex worker rights musician and would like to make your music available to XBN, please contact us as we are in need of both theme music and would love to feature and credit sex worker and sex worker rights musicians.

XBN: Sex Worker Voices, Sex Worker Viewpoints, Sex Worker Rights

Many Thanks to The Naked Heroes for letting us use their awesome music on XBN! Please check them out and support them!!! http://www.myspace.com/thenakedheroes

Add XBN: The SWOP East Broadcast Network to your blog or website by inserting this code. <a href=”http://www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast”><img id=”btn180×60″ border=”0″ alt=”Listen to swopeast on internet talk radio” src=”http://www.blogtalkradio.com/img/180×60_wht.gif”/></a>

Reaching the media, Sex Workers Against Rape

We’ve briefly touched on this as a topic in various forums but never really gone forward with it.   This is a hard topic but one I honestly believe we have to put forward.  The media couches our movement, our efforts at social justice behind the myth that we are a very small fringe of all sex workers that both have not suffered violence but also are rich, affluent, spoiled brats making way too much money or in denial about what we have and do deal with and suffer.

We advocate fighting oppression, fighting violence, fighting discrimination, fighting coercion, yet this is missed by the media and very well played by the prohibitionists as exclusively their domain.  We are repeatedly blown off with these ridiculous terms as “pro trafficking”.  No one is pro trafficking other than traffickers and I don’t know anyone who is pro trafficking.  Is there anyone in our movement that wants someone coerced into the sex industry?  Is there anyone in our movement that wants to see a sex worker raped, assaulted, or harmed?  No.  Those are the very issues we are fighting against.  While our reasons for fighting for social justice for sex workers are many, I have never been part of a more inclusive, more united, more willing to be respectful of diversity group of people in my life than the sex worker rights movement.

Thus my thoughts whether popular or unpopular within our movement here they are.

We have to speak out against violence that we suffer, that we have suffered.  Obviously no one should be expected, forced, anticipated or even remotely pushed into outing their past suffering.  But those that are able and willing to do so.  We need to.  It is easy for reporters to slot audiences against us when they are able to portray us in the light of the never victimized high priced escort.  And yes there are many of them and yes their voices are just as important as anyone’s.   I’m not denying the importance of the voices of sex workers that were never harmed.  We all have very important voices.  But some of us are victim/survivor, however one self defines of various forms of harm.  We need to present this part of our movement too.  When a victim/survivor of trauma from our movement comes forward and says yes, I suffered this in the sex industry, or as a child, or both, we become much more accessible to people who would otherwise miss us and flock to those put forward by the prohibitionists.  That some of us come forward and say yes, these things that were very wrong happened to me in the sex industry which is why I advocate for sex worker rights, these things that were very wrong happened to me in the sex industry, as a child, whatever, BUT prohibitionist/end demand ideologies only make things worse, people have a much harder time dismissing us.  Or putting us into the slots that the prohibitionists so want us to be in.

I am the one in six childhood abuse survivors, I suffered violence in the sex industry, BUT, I advocate sex worker rights.  I do it by choice, I am aware of the various other ideologies, I’m not brainwashed by some monolithic pro porn movement as critics charge,  I’m not rich, I live paycheck to paycheck, worry about bills, am happy when I come home from work and the dog hasn’t gone potty on the floor,  in other words I’m human.  Just like 20/20’s viewers.  I don’t want to be glamorized, pitied, studied, or rescued.  I left the sex industry in 1995 because I chose to.  Not because I was running from it, not to beat an addiction, but because I wanted to do something else.  The same reason I have left many other jobs.  The same reason others leave their jobs.

When I did need help, when I was facing violence and coercion in the sex industry, none of the current anti trafficking measures would have applied or helped, I couldn’t go the cops or the justice system because in the US being a prostitute is illegal,  the clients getting arrested,,, so what???  Great so the whole thing which was underground in the first place just moves farther underground.  Not to mention I went into the sex industry for a reason.  To make money to survive.  I didn’t need the clients arrested because they were clients, I was there to make money to eat, to live, there was a need for the clients.   I needed the ones arrested that beat the shit out of me, or raped me, or forced me to do things without my consent.  I needed them arrested for rape, for assault, not on some minor misdemeanor that they could wash away with a visit to “John School” in some lame ass plea bargain.  I needed labor and human rights so that an abusive, sadistic pimp, didn’t have criminalization to use against me to keep under control.  As long as the whole thing is illegal the cops were more his allies than they ever could have been mine as I was more afraid of being arrested, or worse, being blown off because I was a prostitute and sent back to him to face a very angry pimp.  I needed human rights.  Not more than the rest of the world should get, but not less either.  Perhaps what people don’t like about the sex worker rights movement is that we want to determine our own course.  We don’t want to be rescued, or be research guinea pigs, or stereotyped.  We are individuals and human beings.  We are hugely diverse.

But we are fighting for social justice, we are fighting against oppression, we are fighting for human, civil and labor rights for reasons and those are often being missed by the media or the messages are being hijacked by the prohibitionists and their misguided conflagrations and stereotypes.  Prohibitionist researchers who were never sex workers and know little about them other than their 2 hour interviews with loaded questions slanted for desired results.  I’ve been to the big prohibitionist conferences and the biggest topics tend to be the number of stars of the hotel rating, how disappointing the eggs were at the continental breakfast or that their hotel suites had bad color schemes.  I’ve been to their conferences and been given the list of prohibited words, phrases and ideologies that will be stricken from the record if used and/or lead to expulsion from the conference.  These are some of the reasons I left that movement in 2002.  I’ve never seen that kind of garbage at sex worker rights meetings conferences, events, even if those same events are nothing more than a meeting at an unheated, poorly lit space that some other org is letting us borrow, with no meal service other than what we bring for ourselves, but we are there because we are working on issues, social change and fighting oppression.  Not because we are being funded by the USDOJ to stay in Washington DC Hotels after having to suffer the “indignity” of flying in coach because the Government wouldn’t agree to pay first class as some of the suffering prohibitionists did in 2002.

I’ve never known a more passionate, tolerant, empathetic, and authentic group of people than I have met in the sex worker rights movement.  There is a great amount of humanity in our movement.  Let’s make sure media sees that.   Yes I suffered in the sex industry and as a child.  But I want to choose my own path, my own career choices, and determine the propriety of my own experiences not have them reframed as some prohibitionist based projects would do for me.  We don’t need to be rescued, we need fucking rights and the people who best know this are the sex workers themselves, not the politicians, not the researchers, not the media.  But we have to be heard and people have to see us as three dimensional human beings and sometimes that means risking exposing our vulnerabilities.  For those who can do so we should.  Let Diane Sawyer argue with the sex worker who says yes I was harmed in the sex industry BUT I don’t want SAGE to rescue me, I want the same rights as Diane has as my path to not being harmed by my industry just as she shouldn’t be harmed in hers.

 

Awesome interview at Feministe

Holly interviews Sienna Baskin from Sex Workers Project.

The barebacking thing is slightly different, because its about a client asking for an experience that could be physically unsafe for the sex worker. My experience has shown me that this is very unusual. Sex workers who have access to safe sex stuff—and the power to use it—universally do. Even in very poor countries, where sex workers are really working to put food in their mouths, if they have unrestricted access to condoms, they are enforcing their use, educating their clients, and really leading the fight against HIV/AIDS.

$1 Million to Kristen to Pose in Hustler (If she accepts)

I think she should ask for more personally. $1 million seems so 1990’s. Come on Larry, airline tickets are getting pricey with the cost of oil these days. Apparently Penthouse wants her as well. I hope she’s got a reputable and reliable talent agent handling this for her. She deserves way more than they are offering. Kristen- CALL US FIRST! We got your back girl.

She’s not thrilled that her topless photos are being used without her permission. I hope she’s got good lawyers. In general, I just hope that she’s got positive, supportive people around her who are encouraging her to think clearly and make smart decisions right now. There are many people clamoring to use her to their advantage and it’s socially acceptable because she’s just a whore.

Kristen,

I say let your Whore Flag Fly, honey! You have been the most interesting thing that most people in this country have looked at since Justin Timberlake exposed Janet Jackson’s nipple at the Super Bowl. YOU ARE WORTH WAY MORE THAN $1 MILLION

How much did Jennifer Lopez get for pics of her babies in People? $4-6 million? For BABIES. Has Jennifer Lopez ever been the hottest single topic of discussion in political, social and entertainment circles the way that you have this week? No!

You’re talking about having photos taken so that every guy who’s been jerking off to the teaser photos of you floating around the web this week will run out and buy the magazines.

You are worth big bucks woman! Nothing sells better than sex- nothing. But making them wait for it is definitely smart, and you can probably give some pretty valuable interviews without having to take your clothes off and maximize the total number of media outlets paying for your time.

OWN IT! Be proud. What is there left to lose? There are a great many of us who admire you and sympathize with what you’re going through. We’re concerned that you’re in a vulnerable situation because of the nature of this publicity. But we know that you can come through this ahead and we’re cheering for you!

We know lots of smart and successful women in the adult entertainment industry who can lend advice and support should you need it. BoundNotGagged.com is the way to find us

Warmly,
Karly and All of Us at BnG

If only I would cooperate and what happens if I don’t.

It seems today I am evil.  No surprise this happens with some consistency and despite ever changing abolitionist feminists remarkably similar.  So today a few sporadic emails to SWOP East and myspace which reference my BnG post. Most of which is the usual rhetoric that I have heard many times. So I am responding to the troll named Whou indirectly, and to Jeffery Blumethal directly as his personal email contained a thinly veiled threat.

Dear Miss Brenneman

Miss Brenneman you are suffering from a mental illness that is not your fault. But you must realize the danger you cause to women and girls because of Stockholm Syndrome definition

This is the mental illness which you suffer. Again, you are not at fault for this. The Stockholm Syndrome (SS) is a psychological involuntary state in which victims of kidnapping or abuse begin to feel sympathy, emotional bonding, and solidarity for those who are abusing them or keeping them captive in oppressive situations.

The Stockholm Syndrome was named in 1973 by psychologist Nils Bejerot after the hostage victims of a Stockholm, Sweden robbery and six-day kidnapping resisted being rescued, defended their captors, and refused to testify against them. Two of the women hostages eventually became engaged to the captors.

When victims are under tremendous emotional and physical duress, they may begin to identify with their abusers or captors as a defensive mechanism. The victim develops a strategy of staying alive by keeping the captor happy and eventually sympathizes with the captor. Small acts of kindness on the part of the abuser increases the emotional bond.

Stockholm Syndrome is a common survival mechanism of

captured brides
battered women
physically and/or emotionally abused children
incest victims
prostitutes
cult members
concentration camp prisoners
prisoners of war
those in controlling and/or intimidating relationships
hijacked victims
hostages..

that is what which you are suffering. It is not you’re fault as I believe you are telling the truth about being tortured by pimps and tricks. That is what they do and what they like. But you are affected by this so severely that you are a danger. You can not keep writing because the media likes salacious stories and will talk to you. But because you suffer from acute Stockholm Syndrome you are now a recruiter for others to prostituted and tortured as you were. You may not realize it but you want others to tortured because you were and because it arouses you because it is how you learned to be loved. It has happened to many in the past so you can be forgiven but you can not continue talking publicly until after many years of therapy. For the safety of others I am telling you to stop as you can and will not be allowed to cause harm to thousands of women and girls for the sake of your unfortunate battle with Stockholm Syndrome. Raleigh, NC is not so hard to make the price too high for you to continue. Your illness is understandable as is your pain but it has turned you into a sexploitation recruiter making your torture porn and prostitution seem glamorous. Please stop yourself so that others do not have to help you get there.

Jeffery Blumenthal MSW

 

No Jeffery, I am not suffering Stockholm Syndrome and personally I find it annoying that you enclosed the definition in your letter as you apparently feel this would be a revelation to me. What impresses me is your effort to impose your clinical diagnosis of me in an effort to advance a political agenda. I don’t owe you or anyone a detailed response to an unfounded and baseless diagnosis. You do however leave openings for discussion.

I am not the perfect victim Jeffery. I am not your stereotype sex worker that either has to be saved from herself or rendered evil and a danger to society. I digress for a moment because your post brings to mind the Genesis song “Mama” but various posts all day have brought musical references to mind. Shrug. Back to topic. Yes, I have the classic history of childhood abuse that likely fills your stereotype. Yes, I was tortured. Yes I was a sex worker. So in your belief and that of others such as “Whou”, I have a duty to open my soul to the world. You create a dynamic in which I have a duty to re-live over and over the trauma I suffered in some of my experiences in sex work and that those should be public experiences to be debated for their veracity, for their effect on me, for their value in “warning others” and in the case of the neo abolitionist anti trafficking types of the Spitzer, Melissa Farley, Donna Hughes ilk, for value in using my experiences as the template for all sex workers. Veracity being determined by virtue of whether I am speaking from the abolitionist perspective. Effect on me as a cookie cutter mold to impose upon all sex workers. Duty as a mandated survivor to warn all those who may be at risk regardless of whether or not I continue to be torn apart in that process as by virtue of suffering I should become a martyr. The answer to that is no. My value as an activist, as a woman, as a human being, does not go up if I become a martyr for the cause. Feminism does not gain when women are destroyed for a macro level war to protect all women. And much to the likely surprise of many who oppose the idea of a survivor of sexual abuse, rape and torture, I am capable not only of finding healing without patronizing correspondence of a stranger but further, I am capable of being able to determine the propriety of my activism and of my life. As to your psych assessment of me. Remind me again. Who are you? We’ve never met……………… perhaps MSW type since you don’t know me, that means you don’t know me and thus you are projecting upon me your fantasies of victims of sexual violence and how they should respond.

This thing that you have Jeffery and others about my alleged recruiting of others into the sex industry. Anything to back up those assertions? Even my “pro prostitution, pro porn” friends and allies would likely advise you that I am not an outspoken proponent of sex work. I’m an advocate of sex worker human and labor rights and of harm reduction. That is a far cry from recruiting others into coerced participation in BDSM. Which for the record, neither I, nor any sex worker or sex worker rights activist that I have ever known has advocated coerced participation in sex work. We are actually strongly opposed to coercion. We do however do something as evil as say get together to send condoms to sex workers in Chile

Perhaps Jeffery, Whou, others,, you can’t get off on the fantasy of me advocating sex worker rights rather than hearing the story of my exploitation and thus I am not fulfilling your needs and given you obviously view me as a cookie cutter whore apparently if I can’t fulfill your expectations I better shut up and get out? It seems that I like my sex worker and sex worker rights allies am not some iconic idol, I’m just a woman, just an individual, one who happens to believe in human rights for sex workers despite my past making me the potential posterchild for the CATW magazine’s year end issue. Despite having been a sex worker, I can think for myself, choose to do so and advocate for others to have the same rights.

As far as the sublime threat about my speaking to the media and the use of where I live as part of the subliminal threat. Nice try but it’s been done. It’s on my myspace profile that I live in Raleigh. It isn’t exactly a secret. So Magnum MSW, Whou and others, you will have to find someone else to sell your pitch about being the perfect victim and the duties that go along with it. If I want to march to the beat of a drummer I can listen to Mick Fleetwood or Jim Dispirito. But it is never again going to be to the likes of Farley, Hughes or their true believers Blumenthal or someone as creative as to use the name Whou. Doesn’t Ric Flair have a copyright on that? No wait, I think Ric Flair is Wooooo,,

A Former Sex Worker’s Thoughts About Eliot Spitzer,

A Former Sex Worker’s Thoughts About Eliot Spitzer, 

 I’m Jill Brenneman,  Project Coordinator, of  Sex Worker’s Outreach Project, SWOP-East  www.swopeast.org a chapter of Sex Worker’s Outreach Project USA www.swopusa.org and a member of the Desiree Alliance www.desireealliance.org

 It is 3AM, thoughts about Eliot Spitzer and the related farce are rolling in my head.  So I blog.  Here are my thoughts.

Eliot Spitzer is a farce, Eliot Spitzer is a disgrace.  Of course I’m speaking from a perspective far different than that of many of the political types in Albany.  I’m speaking different perspective than the faux moralist conservatives who are haughtily demanding his resignation for disgracing the office by hiring the services of a sex worker.  People who immediately feel the office has suffered a massive disgrace because Spitzer involved himself with someone viewed as socially low as a prostitute, a sex worker, a whore, as all the self righteous types want to place themselves above.  Well dear moralists, dear political pundits, dear high and mighty virtuous types, you are likely missing much of the bigger picture. 

Let me clarify some of it from the view of a former sex worker.  To me Spitzer’s disgrace isn’t about reducing the credibility of his lofty office of Governor.  If reduction of the credibility of his office is considered the greatest of his transgressions he is being viewed by people with priorities that are askew.   In his passion for self advancement Eliot “fought prostitution”, Eliot took a tough stance on “human trafficking”.  Or at least used his power to orchestrate his various battles against crime, at various times that crime being prostitution, used his office and a faux concern for victims of human trafficking to work on that issue from the same perspective of the anti trafficking czar, Randall Tobias, who, resigned for,,,,  um, hiring sex workers….   But who was looking?  Thus he had the formulas to push his career.  So what if a sex worker, no pun intended, got screwed in that process.  So what, if when one examines the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, of which Spitzer was an advocate of, turns out being a worldwide failure leading to deaths throughout the world because it denies funding for HIV prevention among other things for sex workers, as any form of assistance to working sex workers only adds to the problem of prostitution, thus better to sacrifice some people now for the greater glorious war on prostitution.  Great for Eliot, his career advanced.  Until he was caught and then everyone piled on with the condemnation, the Republicans, who forget their own politicians problems with similar issues, the politicos worried about the image of the office from Democrats rushing to get away before they be associated with him. 

Who gets lost once again?  The sex workers.  In the frenzy to finger point, to dig up whatever graphic details possible of what kind of sex Spitzer may have had for tabloidesque gossip, the impact of his farce is missed. 

I’m a former sex worker.  I still have many sex worker friends that are dear to me.  Ones who both face all the risks of being a sex worker, but also fight for sex worker rights in public.   They are at risk from the very policies of men like Spitzer.  Eliot could have done something groundbreaking.  He could have been a governor that dared to advocate for sex worker human rights.  But he didn’t.  Eliot persecuted sex workers.  He made it easier for sex workers to be exploited, to be violated, to be stigmatized, to face discrimination, to face rape, assault and other crimes.  My sex work experience while not entirely in the genre I’m about to discuss nonetheless a great deal of it was.  Facing homelessness, unable to get find a job, I was a soft target for a sadistic pimp.  Granted the average pimp isn’t like the one I had but nonetheless, there he was.  He ran an escort service that provided escorts at high prices to clients that wanted what most escorts wouldn’t do.  I was a paid submissive.  Well sort of paid,,,, criminalization of sex work tends to eliminate labor rights or going to the police, the Attorney General, the State, to have my labor rights enforced, thus the pimp got a huge percentage of the money.  This pimp was good at convincing me to go with him.  He promised a position as an actress.  I would role play.  My “interview” was at the pimp’s “studio” which was a dungeon.  My role.  I was an “actress” playing the part of “willing submissive” to men who hired women that they could hurt.  I wasn’t Elisha Cuthbert in Captivity daring to fight back in the face of torture.  I got the idea very quickly from my “audition” which was a practice session with the various equipment in the “studio” which was nothing more than a dungeon that fighting back wasn’t an option.  Neither was running away, because run to where?   Tell who?  The police?  The police who are the enforcers for the offices of attorney general’s such as Spitzer.  So I played the part.  Paid submissive.  Clients, many wealthy, many powerful, and no I won’t divulge names, paid to enact their fantasies of torture with me as the “willing victim”.  I got the money, well sort of, thus I must have been willing.  Do I oppose consenting BDSM?  No.  But consent is crucial, and the lack of the ability to give or deny consent was a huge problem for me.  The Spitzer’s of the world made none of it easier.

People would and have asked, why didn’t I just run away?  Run where?  If I had family or friends to go to I would have gone.  I didn’t.  Run to the police?  The police view prostitutes as criminals.  Plus the pimp wasn’t stupid.  He knew to exploit the concept that as a prostitute I was the scourge of society, the disgraceful woman, worse, I let men do what most prostitutes wouldn’t.  He made it clear what the likely reaction of the police would have been.  Go to social service agencies?  Most don’t take prostitutes, because prostitutes are considered criminals.  Go to a rape crisis center?  Same answer.  And please, this revelation about my past isn’t a pity party for Jill Brenneman.  That’s not the idea.  Nor what I’m driving at.  I don’t need or want pity.  What I want, need and advocate for is not the Quixote type venture that Spitzer alleged to support in his support for the misguided anti trafficking policies of the Bush Administration and it’s conservative and neo faux sensitive anti trafficking feminist types like Donna Hughes and Janice Raymond.  What I needed then and what sex workers need now are human and labor rights. 

What are those?  A brief excerpt from Sex Workers Outreach Project East Statement on Sex Worker Human Rights,

 
• Decriminalization of all aspects of sex work involving consenting adults.
• The right to form and join professional associations or unions.
• The right to work on the same basis as other independent contractors and employers and to receive the same benefits as other self-employed or contracted workers.
• No taxation without such rights and representation.
• Advocating sex worker rights to be free from coercion, violence, sexual abuse, child labor, rape and racism.
• Legal support for sex workers who want to sue those who exploit their labor.
• The right to travel across national boundaries and obtain work permits wherever we live.
• Clean and safe places to work.
• The right to choose whether to work on our own or co-operatively with other sex workers.
• The absolute right to say no.
• Access to health clinics where we do not feel stigmatized.
• Re-training programs for sex workers who want to leave the industry.
• An end to social attitudes which stigmatize those who are or have been sex workers.
• Working to end child sexual tourism 

Was Eliot Spitzer working toward human, civil and labor rights for sex workers in his campaigns against prostitution or to end human trafficking?  No.  He was working to advance his career.  At the expense of many.  Did he care until he was caught?  No.  Does he care about sex workers now?  I doubt it.  Only in how much they reveal.  Had Eliot Spitzer taken a sex worker rights approach his transgression would have been between himself and his wife and family and how much they knew and accepted with his hiring of sex workers.  Could it still be betrayal of his family if he was open about ending criminalization and advocating sex worker rights?  If he promised monogamy to his wife, then absolutely.  She is yet another victim of Eliot Spitzer as are his daughters.  How much are they and will they suffer for his hypocrisy?  Far more than he will.  He will likely resign his post in lieu of ending criminal charges and end up as some talk show host or on the lecture circuit teaching others how to avoid  the downfall that he suffered.
 

Am I opposed to the sex industry despite the difficulties I faced in a significant duration of my tenure in the sex trade?  No.  Opposing it is absurd.  There will always be a sex industry.  My experiences are my own and are not indicative of those of many if not most sex workers.  My goals come from a statement that I heard that I only wish at 3 AM  I could find the author to give due credit.  Taking away rights won’t stop the wrongs.  Thus I advocate strongly for sex worker rights.  I wonder how much different my life would be today if the above listed rights were commonplace and accepted.  I wonder how much different so many lives would be.  Different in a positive way rather than in jail cells through the actions of false public saviors like Spitzer or even more so, different in a way that meant being alive rather than deceased from serial killers because society cares so little about sex workers, from disease, because hypocritical and misguided legislation as the type that Spitzer advocated such as TVPRA caused. 

Spitzer Good for Wall Street

The Dow has risen faster today than it has since 2003. They’re all quite happy Spizter got his comeuppance.

Thanks to Chris and Elizabeth at SITPS for hosting a very interesting forum!

sex work forum banner

 

Summary Statement, Special Forum on Sex Work, Trafficking and Human Rights

With the participation of over a dozen prominent sex worker advocates, researchers and writers, we’ve had a very productive week! If you’re into numbers, during the forum we had about 4,000 visits from nearly 3,500 unique visitors for a total of nearly 10,500 page views. While the forum officially ends today, the forum topics will remain on the site and active so we can continue the conversations as we like.

The forum addressed a range of topics from labor rights to immigration, and from variations in individual experiences in sex work to the way that consumers in the sex industry are understood. We think that the following are some of the most important points to emerge from the discussions:

  • Sex work must be destigmatized and ultimately decriminalized in order to protect sex workers, their clients, and their communities.
  • Negative attitudes toward sexual freedom itself are part of the problem and need to be addressed at the individual and cultural levels.
  • Sex work meets the economic needs of the people who perform it and meets social, sexual, educational, and emotional needs of those who consume it. The problems with sex work lie not in the work itself but in the cultural stigma surrounding it, and in the exploitive economic systems that sex work, along with most work, is performed.
  • There is a huge divergence between the reality of “human trafficking” and the portrayal of it by media and political figures. This divergence includes hugely inflated numbers based on studies with flawed methodology; an over-emphasis on “sex slavery” at the expense of more common labor exploitation, like manufacturing of consumer goods and domestic help; and a paternalistic view of sex workers and migrant workers in general as the “other.”
  • U.S. anti-trafficking policies actually make it harder to find and help real victims because resources are diverted to antiprostitution efforts, which do not help the majority of real trafficking victims. Those efforts also interfere with public health projects in other countries by refusing USAID money to any group that does not actively work against prostitution.
  • Human trafficking needs to be understood in the context of international (and intra-national) labor migration patterns and in the context of global inequality. Much of what we call trafficking begins as voluntary migration from one economically depressed area to a less depressed area. Barriers to legal migration make those workers vulnerable to other human rights abuses.
  • Politicians and media personalities scapegoat sex workers and their clients in such a way as to direct attention away from larger social and economic problems like poverty, consumer culture, racism, sexism, and the growing gap between the wealthy and everybody else.
  • Sex workers are not a homogeneous group and they should not be treated as one.
  • Research that relies on poor methodology needs to be publicly criticized. Policy should be directed by reliable, valid research.
  • Academic researchers, activists, sex workers, and consumers need to talk to each other and listen to each other. And policy makers need to listen to all of them!

Police to target call girls here for Super Bowl

“Super Bowl gatherings likely to draw prostitutes”

Karina Bland
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 18, 2008 12:00 AM

People come to the Super Bowl looking for a good time. High-class call girls are known to travel the glittering circuit of sporting events, hoping to be the ones to provide it.But Valley police plan to spoil those kinds of party plans.Anytime there is an event of the magnitude of Super Bowl XLII, with its glitzy parties and large events, prostitutes arrive in hopes of cashing in on the crowds, Sgt. Joel Tranter of the Phoenix Police Department said Thursday. He said that working with the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and other law-enforcement agencies, Phoenix police will step up enforcement efforts aimed at prostitution, beginning Saturday.

That’s FBI as in Federal, US as in Federal and other law enforcement agencies as in Federal money. There’s big money going into this- a whole lot more than is going into economic relief for American families for instance.

“Do not come to Phoenix to set up shop to run prostitution,” Tranter warned.

Most Super Bowl cities report solicitation increases during game week.

Of course they report an increase in solicitation- they increase the efforts to find it!!!

Police will respond to print and Internet advertisements for sexual services as well as patrol for prostitution activity.

Pickpockets also are attracted to large events, Tranter said.

Officers will go undercover at hotels and parties, and Tranter cautioned that people answering ads for sexual services could find themselves in the company of a police officer.

I love how they throw the pickpocket comment in for good measure, to let us know that they actually do fight real crime when they’re not busy jerking off to escort advertisements on the internets on our dime.

Earlier this month, Phoenix police raided a Mesa hotel and broke up a child-prostitution ring involving two 15-year-olds, a 17-year-old and a girl who had just turned 18. One was from Oregon and the other three were from California.

Police were told they came to Phoenix because there was too much heat from authorities in Las Vegas.

But more than likely, Tranter said, the ring also moved to the Valley to work the upcoming Super Bowl. Pimps can sometimes get double the money for underage girls.

I’d like to know what happened to those girls. It’s really unbelievable that they’d start the story out with “high class call girls” and end it with “underage girls.” What is actually being done for the underage girls who get ‘busted?’

Don’t call it slavery

The Sex Workers Project had a letter published in the San Francisco Chronicle. For your reading enjoyment…

Don’t call it slavery

Editor – Regarding Joel Brinkley’s “Enslaved, by definition,” Jan. 13:
Finally someone has noticed that the deliberate conflation of
prostitution and human trafficking hurts everyone involved.

The reality is even worse than Brinkley’s admirable column suggests.
Pending House reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act
wrongly calls all prostitution “sex trafficking” and makes “inducement
into prostitution” a federal crime. It would also force the Justice
Department to stretch its resources for fighting child sexual
exploitation to cover adult “victims,” meaning prostitutes, whether or
not they see themselves as victims. And many do not.

Our clients who want to leave the business are looking for job training,
housing and other services and choices, not for “rescue.” Trafficking is
a gross human rights abuse that must be stopped, but the administration
needs to understand that not all trafficking victims are prostitutes and
not all prostitutes are slaves.

SIENNA BASKIN Sex Workers Project Urban Justice Center New York”

Sienna Baskin
Equal Justice Works Fellow
Sex Workers Project
Urban Justice Center
p/646-602-5695
www.sexworkersproject.org

Who Is The War on Sex Trafficking Serving?

Reason has just published a fantastic interview with Laura Agustin, jumping off from her new book Sex at the Margins:

reason: So there is an attempt to conflate the terms prostitution and trafficking?

Agustín: There is a definite effort to conflate the terms in a stream of feminism I call “fundamentalist feminism.” These feminists believe there is a single definition of Woman, and that sexual experience is key to a woman’s life, soul, self-definition. This particular group has tried to say that prostitution is not only by definition exploitation but is trafficking. It’s bizarre but they are maintaining that.

reason video on trafficking

A follow-up video is now up at the New York Times, asking, is the “war on trafficking” a war on women? Reason Senior Editor Kerry Howley points out what sex worker rights advocates have been saying about prostitution for decades: that we are not “selling our bodies,” that poverty drives prostitution, and that for many people, prostitution is one of very few options for escaping oppressive families, nations, governments.