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

Yes on K is the Christian thing to do

by LEA BROWN

Why would a Christian minister support Proposition K, the November ballot initiative that would decriminalize prostitution in San Francisco?

There are many reasons. Prop. K would allow sex workers to organize for their rights and safety. It would enable them to report abuse in the industry without fear of prosecution. It would improve their chances of maintaining their health by lessening the stigma that prevents many from seeking the health care services they need. And it would do all this while still allowing law enforcement officials to investigate and prosecute human traffickers.

TODAY! Meditation remembrance for the DC Madame…and keeping it together.

Hey lovers,

Deborah Jeane Palfrey.  I can’t stop thinking about her. Her death cut me deeper than I ever could have imagined.

Her death has been heavy on the hearts of many a sex worker, indicative as it is of this juggernaut of a system that could grind us into nothing if we get caught up.  For me, I think her death translates into real fear.  A fear that is about fighting the good fight, and still going down.  If we manage to survive and thrive in a crazy industry; if we live ethically as sex workers and use all our faculties to operate our businesses and maintain what we believe is right, we still might end up dead.  Ms. Palfrey was a resourceful woman.  A woman connected, perhaps dangerously, to big players in the government.  And she got royally fucked. Someone, somewhere said, we’re going to bring her down.  We’re going to make an example of this one.  And they didn’t stop until she was swinging from a rope.

“Upon news of her death there was no shortage of those who suggested Jeane Palfrey had been killed by cloaked enemies in the government. They miss the point.

Jeane Palfrey of course had been killed by her government. She’d been unfairly ground down and hounded to death by shameless prosecutors and disinterested robed judges in our judicial branch.”

(Bill Keisling, Yardbirds.com )

I regret deeply now that I, we, did not do something more concrete to support her in her struggle.  It is a bare and unpleasant truth that the moment a sex worker comes under legal fire, s/he becomes untouchable.  Abandoned by clients, friends, etc…how did Palfrey end up in her mother’s home?  Why wasn’t she staying with me?  Where were her friends?  Where was her support network?

This blog was begun as a response to her original arrest.  She has, inadvertently, been an enormous catalyst in the sex workers rights movement.  And now she’s dead.

What the fuck.

There will be no procession, fanfare, or jazz funeral for the DC Madame.  Ain’t no crying in the streets for her, except by us, invisibly.  But I want to hold her up in this moment.

All the friends in Barcelona right now, doing the good work at the International harm reduction assoc. conference are making me remember that we are making progress.  Lateral steps toward a more just system.  And I want to thank Deborah Jeane Palfrey for her part in that.  As a contentious figure, a frustrating spin doctor, or a hero.   Whichever.

So today, beginning at midnight GMT (6pm Central, 4pm Pacific) for 24 hours we’re holding a conscious meditation, vigil, or remembrance of Ms. Deborah Jeane.  Light a candle, say some words, or sit in silent meditation with us.  We’ll be sitting for 1 hour at midnight pacific time (8am GMT) and consciously holding her, and what her death means for all of us,  in our thoughts all day.

Please join us!

thinking of you, with love and respect.

Surgeon and Faffs the Jackal

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>

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,,

Former Governor of MN, Jesse Ventura and Prostitution

I’m not a fan of legalizing prostitution.  I advocate decrim.  But I was a resident of Minnesota during the Ventura years as Governor.  While Governor Ventura advocated legalization, and I am a decrim advocate, I respect that he unlike Spitzer and so many of the politicos had the courage to be straight about his feelings about sex work.

Ventura statements on prostitution

In one of his books, Ventura mentions a visit to a prostitute near Reno, Nevada and he admitted to visiting brothels in the Philippines while serving in the military. Ventura has publicly stated that prostitution should be legal, since it will exist in any case, and legal controls protecting the health of clients and workers are needed.[16] He said “I voted in hopes to make prostitution legal once, and I’d do it again in a second”.[17] He admitted to trading a belt made of gun cartridge cases in exchange for 10 dollars plus the services of a prostitute in Nevada during his younger days.

I also appreciated his views on opposing fundamentalists

Ventura states “But I do have a problem with the people who think they have some right to try to impose their beliefs on others. I hate what the fundamentalist fanatics are doing to our country. It seems as though, if everybody doesn’t accept their version of reality, that somehow invalidates it for them. Everybody must believe the same things they do. That’s what I find weak and destructive.”[22]Ventura endorsed equal rights for religious minorities, as well as people who don’t believe in God, by declaring July 4, 2002, “Indivisible Day” through this proclamation:

“WHEREAS: The unique feature of this nation at its founding was its establishment of a secular Constitution that separated government from religion – something never done before; and WHEREAS: Our secular Constitution has enabled people of all worldviews to coexist in harmony, undivided by sectarian strife; and WHEREAS: President James Madison made clear the importance of maintaining this harmony when he said, “The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the endless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries”; and WHEREAS: The diversity of our people requires mutual respect and equal protection for all our citizens, including minority groups, if we are to remain “One nation, indivisible”; and WHEREAS: It is the unfettered diversity of ideas and worldviews that have made our nation the strongest and most productive in the world; and WHEREAS: Eternal vigilance must be maintained to guard against those who seek to stifle ideas, establish a narrow orthodoxy, and divide our nation along arbitrary lines of race, ethnicity, and religious belief or nonbelief. NOW, THEREFORE, I, JESSE VENTURA, Governor of Minnesota, do hereby proclaim that Thursday, July 4, 2002 shall be observed as: INDIVISIBLE DAY In the State Of Minnesota.”
 
And the Iraq war.
 

Ventura is serving as an advisory board member for a new group called Operation Truth, a non-profit organization set up “to give voice to troops who served in Iraq.” “The current use of the National Guard is wrong….These are men who did not sign up to go occupy foreign nations”.[27]

He had his gaffes, wasn’t always PC, had some rough moments.  But he was straight forward and wasn’t a farce faux crusader like Spitzer, Tobias and their ilk.

Anti Prostitution Group Commits Violence On Sex Worker At UC Berkeley Performance

East Bay | Education & Student Activism | Labor & Workers | Womyn

 

Anti Prostitution Group Commits Violence On Sex Worker At UC Berkeley Performance

by Maxine Doogan
Sunday Nov 11th, 2007 10:29 PM

“My Real Name” was a One New Earth Production performance by Students and Artist Fighting to End Human Slavery. Sponsored by the UC Berkeley Ethics Studies and promoted by the SAGE Project violent scene after violent scene was played out against streetbased prostitutes. This play actually turned out to be a propaganda piece conflating incest, rape, domestic violence, economic disparity, homelessness, drug addiction with the occupation of prostitution by depicting graphic sexually violent images and reenactments.

<!–

–> Anti Prostitution Group Commits Violence On Sex Worker At UC Berkeley Performance
By Maxine Doogan

11/09/07

An altercation involving Maxine Doogan of the Erotic Service Providers Union, followed a performance sponsored by U C Berkeley Ethic Department at UC Berkeley Worth Ryder Gallery on Nov. 9th 2007 which resulted in the U C Berkeley Police issuing a 7 day stay away order to Ms Doogan, Lisa Roelillg one other companion.

“My Real Name” was a One New Earth Production performance by Students and Artist Fighting to End Human Slavery. Sponsored by the UC Berkeley Ethics Studies and promoted by the SAGE Project violent scene after violent scene was played out against streetbased prostitutes. This play actually turned out to be a propaganda piece conflating incest, rape, domestic violence, economic disparity, homelessness, drug addiction with the occupation of prostitution by depicting graphic sexually violent images and reenactments.

The producer had stated that this performance was meant to be interactive and invited audience members to interact with the people depicting the violence during the performance. It was unclear if the people relating the violence were actors or the actual people who had experienced the violence originally. The producer also said a discussion about trafficking in the sex industry would follow the performance.
Many people walked out before the end as did Doogan, who returned at the conclusion expecting to find a discussion under way but instead found her comrade, Lisa Roellig, a former streetbased worker surrounded by anti prostitution activist, like researcher Melissa Farley, who recently called for the closing of the legal brothels in Nevada.

Roellig, an ex-streetbased worker and Doogan attempted to converse with the producer about her relationship to the issues raised in the performance. The producer responded by yelled and waved her arms saying she didn’t believe in the comodification of women and that no discussion was going to take place. However a loud discussion ensued between all parties with the producer stating that Doogan ‘sucked the dicks of corporate America’ and was ‘a white and privileged’. Another anti prostitutionist, also a former streetbased worker, stated that all prostitutes are dogs, and used physical intimidation to push Doogan out the door while evoking the name of blood of Jesus Christ. Doogan responded by leaving the building and calling the anti prostitution group “poverty pimps”. Annie Fukushima, U C Berkeley Doctorial Candidate, threatened to call the cops and Doogan encouraged her to do so.

Doogan, Roellig and the third person made statements to the police that Doogan had been physically assaulted. UC Berkeley Campus Officer Sanchez only wanted to know if the women who called the police were women of color. All three women were issued 7 day stay away orders.

Said Roellig, “While they were privileged enough to call in the cops because two women show up to question their view of our lives, I was not ever privileged enough to call the cops when I was raped, assaulted or robbed on the street because I was a criminalized worker. These women are outspoken on their abolitionists views and are advocates of the continuation of the States oppressive laws that control our bodies, our economies and most important make us easy targets for police abuse and corruption”

Please call, write or email the Berkeley Police Department and tell them to receive the report of battery on Maxine Doogan. And the UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Department because it failed in its commitment to be understanding of the deep multiple meanings of racial diversity in the Americas in the area of prostitution when they sponsored the performance and facilitated racial violence against sex industry workers.

Office Of The Chief Of Police

Victoria Harrison, Associate Vice Chancellor/Chief
(510) 642-1133
vlh [at] berkeley.edu
Mitch Celaya, Assistant Chief
(510) 643-9597
mjc [at] berkeley.edu
Jennifer Woods, Executive Assistant
(510) 643-7500
jwoods [at] berkeley.edu
Adan Tejada, Administrative Lt.
(510) 642-3679

Andrew Tucker, Administrative Sgt.
(510) 642-1157
atucker [at] berkeley.edu
Jennifer Sakai, Training Officer
(510) 642-1135
jvargas [at] berkeley.edu

Department of Ethnic Studies 506 Barrows Hall #2570, Berkeley, CA 94720-2570. (510) 643-0796 (510) 642-6456 [Fax] Email: ethnicst [at] berkeley.edu
Beatriz Manz Chair and Professor

Graduate Group Staff
Ethnic Studies Graduate Group Staff
Name Position Phone Number E-mail Address
Francisca Cazares Student Affairs Officer (510) 642-6643 fcazares [at] berkeley.edu

Ethnic Studies Graduate Group Advisors
Ethnic Studies Graduate Group Advisors
Name Position Phone Number E-mail Address
Laura Perez
Graduate Advisor (510) 643-1584 leperez [at] berkeley.edu
Sau-ling Wong
Advisor for GSI Affairs (510) 642-6195 slwong [at] berkeley.edu
Francisca Cázares Student Affairs Officer (510) 642-6643 fcazares [at] berkeley.edu

Melissa Farley, comparing actions and alliances to her words

Farley has published more than 25 peer-reviewed publications on sexual violence, prostitution and trafficking. She has spoken with a thousand women, men, and the transgendered in prostitution in 10 countries on 5 continents. She talks about the psychological harm of prostitution, her expertise based upon interviewing 1,000 women men and transgendered prostitutes. Ms. Farley presents herself as a strong advocate for prostitutes. Perhaps she is. But there are also actions and alliances from her past which challenge the credibility of her understanding of the psychology of prostitutes. In 1996 Ms. Farley along with Nikki Craft wrote “Why I Made The Choice to Become a Prostitute“. Perhaps they felt it was comical and amusing to insult the intelligence of prostitutes, to imply that prostitutes are motivated by sexual desires for their step fathers, even comparing prostitutes to being grade A ground beef and the cow simultaneously. Many women that identify as survivors of prostitution have written to Ms. Farley stating their concerns about this piece. These women in prostitution’s viewpoints were ignored or perhaps not pertinent because she was not studying them or already had. Why would a researcher with more than 25 peer-reviewed publications on sexual violence, prostitution and trafficking feel that such a piece below, after being reviewed by survivors of prostitution, sex workers, advocates of sex workers and strongly opposed continue to stand behind such a condescending and insulting literary publication?

Ms. Farley maintains a strong alliance to activist Nikki Craft, sharing publication credits, by Craft’s definition being close colleagues of thirty years. Ms. Craft in her website Always Causing Legal Unrest advocates the firebombing of porn stores, promising to publish the pictures of porn stores that have been the target of radical feminist arsonists guaranteeing confidentiality. While they and others oppose pornography, is arson a valid method of opposition? What if there were people inside? Whether they be employees, customers, even porn actresses themselves, do they deserve to be injured or killed in a firebombing? Is it ethical to publicize this type of action guaranteeing the confidentiality of the criminal? Would that confidentiality extend even if there were deaths? It does not state otherwise in the Always Causing Legal Unrest website which Ms. Craft owns, Nikki Craft and other radical feminists support through their publication of literary works upon. See “One Hot Shot, Burn Baby Burn, Madison Wisconsin Porn Shop Burning and further states in red “WANTED ONE HOT Shot! Large Detailed (!) Picture of Porn Shop Burning! The website proclaims “There are visitors to the ACLU website who have hot fantasies about burning porn stores down. If you have any pictures let us know and we’ll post them on this site for your viewing enjoyment. Privacy will be Protected”

Chilean Sex Worker Rights Advocate and SWOP East Latin America’s advisory board member Beatriz Mercado stated upon reading “Why I Made the Choice to Become A Prostitute” that she could not believe women would write such a piece instead expecting that kind of mockery and vitriol towards prostitutes be the work of junior high school boys. Instead, much to Beatriz’ shock it is the work of a prostitution expert who proudly states her understanding of the psychology of women in prostitution and her ally.

Ms. Farley in her recent study in Nevada stated “30% of her funding was from the Trafficking in Persons Office of the US State Dept” which if the case represents an important question of whether the US State Department is aware they are giving grant money to researchers collaborating openly with an activist advocating felony criminal actions that could easily lead to serious injury or death openly proclaiming she would obstruct justice in the event her invitation to arsonists is taken at face value.

These are important facts to consider when pondering the expertise, ethical basis and independence of the studies

Nikki Craft and Melissa Farley

co-authored the following article

I became a prostitute because . . .

1. I saw Pretty Baby and it reminded me of my stepfather and I thought I could get paid for it.

2. I saw Pretty Woman and I liked the clothes.

3. I saw a Demi Moore movie and I thought, Wow, what an easy and fun way to make a million dollars.

4. I like getting fucked by the football team, the fraternity brothers, and law students at graduation parties. I realized that gang rape could be a transcendental experience.

5. I figured that laying on my back and getting fucked by hundreds of men, and getting on my knees and sucking thousands of dicks, was the most profound empowerment a woman could have.

6. My vocational counselor and I discussed a whole lot of possibilities: doctor, lawyer, women’s-studies teacher, legal secretary. I was offered a four-year scholarship at Stanford, but frankly, prostitution seemed the most rewarding job option available.

7. I worship the goddess and she told me, “Fuck mankind.” I misunderstood her spiritual message and found myself in lifetime sexual servitude instead.

8. I came to appreciate the depth of Hugh Hefner’s, Larry Flynt’s, and Bob Guccione’s understanding of my sexuality.

9. My boyfriend wanted me to do it. He said that being part of a stable of whores who worked for him could help me learn how to get along with other women.

10. My father wanted me to do it.

11. I met a nice man on alt.sex.prostitution.

12. Camille Paglia told me it was the feminist thing to do.

13. I felt coerced by my landlord, the day-care center, the utility companies, the grocer, my dealer and my plastic surgeons to pay my bills every month.

14. I didn’t want to work at Red Lobster.

15. I wanted to be treated like a lady.

16. I went to COYOTE’s Halloween extravaganza, the Hookers’ Ball, and found out just how glamorous prostitution could be.

17. It’s complicated, but I thought that working in the sex industry would increase my self-esteem. It’s sort of like saying to the world, “I am the best Grade A ground beef” and being the cow.

18. And then, ya know, even though it all sounded really good, and selling fucks and blow jobs sounded really empowering, I realized that talking about it and writing books defending it would be even more empowering.

I left my heart…

It is hard to concentrate. The constant speakeasy that tours around in a rented mini-van, occasionally spilling onto the steps of city hall and federal buildings, keeps the discussions simultaneously focused and insane. How this group manages to throw issues around the weight of my luggage without flinching is an art we refine over time. Each year, to be specific.

These women are amazing. Amazing and lovely and tough and articulate and thoughtful and driven and sexy. Late and loud and sometimes even cruel, but damn are they sexy. I am honored to be a sister. I am proud to be a sex worker.

Loyalty and Lust

Feature Blogger Veronica Monet on the ethics of disclosure in the trial of alleged DC Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey.

Recently, I was soundly rebuffed by a group of angry Fraternity brothers during my lecture at a respected university in California. Their gripe? They were upset that I revealed that I had a few clerics for clients – ministers and rabbis in fact. I did not expect the reaction I got. I mistakenly thought they would be concerned to know that men who aggressively condemn sex outside of marriage were also frequenting prostitutes while they were married. This blatant hypocrisy was of no concern. However, the idea that I would talk about the hypocrisy WAS cause for concern and outrage.

This illustrates the double standard which is applied to clients in EVERY respect. It is as if they are considered to be the people who are “worthy” of protection and coddling – while the vilified sex worker is “asking for it.” Archaic beliefs come oozing out of the cracks at times like these and one old fashioned but still popular thought is that “poor men” can’t help themselves but those “evil sluts and whores” need to be punished for “tempting” the men. As long as the dominant culture promotes and protects the sexual double standard, our efforts to claim our rights will be impeded.

It amazes me that in this decade, we are still faced with the same sexual double standard which haunted our fore-mothers. But even more infuriating is the fact that many people – both men and women seem to believe that silence is a badge of honor. I know most of us learn to lie about the truth while we are being reared in dysfunctional families. Don’t ask, don’t tell applies to every facet of family life. This is why it is so easy to molest one’s own children and beat one’s spouse.

Our culture condemns “snitching” more than it condemns crime. In fact, a rapper recently interviewed on television proudly announced that he would NOT report a serial killer if he was living next door to him – because it violates his code of ethics: “never snitch.” Since when did reporting murder qualify as “snitching?” I thought the concept of “snitching” was akin to “honor among thieves.” But don’t you have to be a co-perpetrator to qualify as a “snitch.” Whatever, I find the whole business of bullying victims into silence revolting.

Of course an argument could be made that sex workers and their clients are co-conspirators in the crime of prostitution. And that might be one reason so many people are perturbed at the thought of a prostitute revealing who her clients are. But I think the issue runs deeper than that. One of the facts of life which makes prostitution available to clients while criminalizing the prostitute, is the knowledge that the prostitute will feel too fearful, shameful or otherwise disenfranchised to defend her/himself if a client turns state’s evidence.

But sex workers should not simply adhere to a given “code” because it has been an historical tradition. We should question everything. Why keep the clients’ secrets? Well, first and foremost it is good for business. If we can be trusted, we will obtain more clients and more money. That makes sense. Secondly, for those of us who care about our client’s welfare, it feels good and brings a great deal of “job satisfaction” to know you are adding to the well-being of others (your clients) and just maybe the world (sex is a great way to contribute to health and peace!). Certainly the ethic of confidentiality fits nicely into this idea of making the world a better place and practicing our profession with pride and integrity.

But the “code of silence” can be a form of collusion with the power structure and as political activists, we are driven by a higher calling than the blind loyalty extracted from the masses for membership in churches, corporations, clubs, gangs and even law enforcement. We must examine each situation for its individual merits and keep our priorities for human rights for sex workers foremost in mind.

Jean Palfrey, known as the DC Madam, has been the focus of many discussions about the ethics of confidentiality. Since the DC Madam did NOT reveal names until now, she has shown amazing restraint. I asked a journalist how long he would sit in jail to protect his sources – 30 days? 60 days? 90 days? One year? He choked of course, because few reporters are willing to spend one hour in jail to protect a source. Palfrey spent One and a half Years in prison and said nothing. It is only now that she risks being homeless and penniless that she is sending a powerful message to our nation’s capitol – back off or go down with me. I think that is not only fair but carries with it a political significance which is encouraging. If the “good ole boy network” realizes that we will NOT keep their secrets if they attempt to completely destroy us – perhaps they will think twice about attempting to annihilate us. And although that falls far short of our ultimate goal of decriminalization, it DOES open a door for dialog. No longer can the current power structure pretend that we don’t have enough pride in ourselves and our work to stand up for our right to be free, to make a living and to own property. These are simple human rights but nevertheless rights we still don’t have.

Once you have lost your ability to make money from your clients as Palfrey did over two years ago, the incentive to keep their secrets is severely diminished. Still most of us, her included, don’t rush to tell all. We have carefully built habits of secrecy which are hard to break and for good reason. One incentive I have to safeguard the secrets of my clients is that I value my life. Some of my clients are powerful and connected and might not take kindly to my indiscretions. But if I were so unfortunate as to find myself in Palfrey’s shoes, I would fight back with everything I have because there would be nothing else to lose.

When did self-preservation become a crime? Well, it isn’t if you are already powerful. But disenfranchised peoples have been consistently trained away from that most primal impulse. There should be no shame in fighting to survive. And if we are smart, we will use this moment in history to move forward with power and purpose for ALL the rights we sex workers are owed – not just mere survival.

dissociation, divination, and the booty duty

There is a vicious cycle, a debate, between sex worker and anti-porn feminists about the culture of ‘use’ and ‘abuse.’ I’d like to address this debate from a completely different perspective than it is usually discussed, at least in my experience. I’d like to discuss ‘use’ from the perspective of a western woman of color, and also a faith perspective.

Firstly, there is a tendency, I believe in many segments of society to avoid pain at any cost. We live in a culture firmly and completely afraid of pain, death, and dying. We are so privileged that we have lost much of our visceral connection to the experience of pain. Look at the way in which we drug women in labor, as though their pain were ‘uncivilized.’ It is the quiet hush of polite society, and we relegate our paroxysms of ecstacy and pain into sterilized hospital rooms, bedrooms, and the underground. Drugs, gambling, religious trances, and sex. We flirt with these things, desperate for the unity that these experiences offer.

This is the world that those of us in the sex industry inhabit, and if we are to survive within it, we learn to understand our role in it. This necrophobic culture needs us to hold this place.

Make no mistake. There is a healthy and healing way to do sex work.

As a woman of color, as most women, most people of color, most queers, differently abled folks, etc have experienced, we are not born into a world free of pain. Use and abuses of power are around us all the time.

Doing sex work can be many things. It can be a compulsion, an addiction, a healing process. It can be pleasant, emotional, profoundly life changing. Each experience is unique, and each whore is unique. There are some people perfectly suited to do this work with love, and without dissociation, or the abandonment of the self. I believe that I am one of those people. But we are NOT ABLE to create a culture of education, of colletive knowledge about how to protect yourself spiritually and emotionally in this work. We are forced into anonymity and amnesia.

Spiritual development in my belief system is a process of experiencing the world, faith, and the tools to process what occurs. Pain, death and dying are all a part of this. We must create a framework to process pain and abuse. Most women experience it at some point in their lives regardless of whether they choose to do sex work or not.

Prostitution is not inherently harmful. It can be the most beautiful, healing, divine, present, and prayerful way to live a life. Or it can be harmful, confusing, debilitating. But prostitution is only part of a much larger discussion, and the more we shy away from sex, from paroxysms of ecstacy and pain, from blood, the cunt, and the body, the more we create a culture in which sex workers are abused, and in which prostitution becomes shameful and compulsive. Sex is a natural human expression.

The sex industry fills a void.

Prohibition does not engender abstinence.

The sacred is not always painless, deathless, or clean.

thinking of you,

Surgeon

Posted by: surgeonscofflaw