Marriot Hotels Sexist?

It’s bad enough they cooperate with traumatic prostitution busts; but they also seemed to blame a kidnapped, raped woman (and her kidnapped children) for her rape/kidnapping. Marriot then blames their insurance company for the unfortunate wording in their defense.

Don’t stay at Marriots if you’re female.

The Myth of Criminalizing Prostitution

Robert Arthur, author of the cartoon and blog post sent me the link and asked me to post it here. He examines how criminalizing prostitution does not protect the worker in any way, inspired by the reactions because Markoff found his victim through CraigsList.

Pye Jacobsson on the realities of the “Swedish Model”

Very interesting, and decidedly unfeminist. And criminal!!

Help get tranny-alert.com taken down!

Via gudbuytjane.livejournal.com, reposted from feministing

Call for action: www.tranny-alert.com
From http://www.tranny-alert.com . This is not just appropriative or transphobic, it directly threatens the safety and privacy of trans women:

Our site cannot survive without your submissions!
Spot a tranny or suspected tranny around town? See a hot tranny mess? Observe a guidette in New Jersey with tranny style? Notice trannies on TV/Radio/Billboards? Find yourself at a Lady Gaga concert? WE WANT TO KNOW!

Remember, if you spot a tranny: snap your fingers, snap a pic, and e-mail those photos to: mayday@tranny-alert.com !

In light of the murders of trans women such as Gwen Araujo, Angie Zapata and others, it is indefensible to run a website that requests readers submit photos of trans women (or people they’ve read as trans women) without their consent and publicly out them. This site threatens the safety of every person they post a photo of. Please spread the word and take action.

Please contact http://www.tranny-alert.com and let them know this is NOT okay.
The site appears to be hosted via Blogger, so please enter a complaint against their hate speech and endangerment of the lives of trans women.
Please Twitter about it with the #trannyalertfail hash tag.
Please send complaints about their Facebook page .

ETA: To enter a complaint at Blogger, follow this link: http://help.blogger.com/bin/request.py?contact_type=hate_speech&blog_URL=http://trannyalert.blogspot.com/ (Thanks queersubversion!)

ETA2: TrannyAlert’s response on Twitter : “Wow people really need to get a fucking sense of humor.”

ETA3: If you have access please post about this on LJ trans communities, as this account isn’t a member of any of them (and will have to wait for approval to post, etc.).

– gudbuytjane

You can go here, http://tinyurl.com/n34flk

to file a direct complaint to Blogger against this blog, you can also do it as many times as you like so please try to do it as much as you can so as to draw attention! Thanks!

Harm reduction and Human Rights (both) for Sex Work Plenary

I know some activists going to a harm-reduction conference called CLAT5 in Porto (Portugal) in the near future, where I’m to give a plenary talk at the opening session. The description of the conference in English: ‘Our aims for this event are to rethink – in a transnational way – the future of harm reduction and to question the actual (current) consensus about its policies and practices of intervention. For this we will stimulate a critical discussion based on the concepts and practices linked with harm reduction and also bring to the debate issues of human rights, South-North and East-West inequalities and social dialogue among key actors.’

I understand some people in the harm-reduction field don’t think sex work should be there and that it was a close thing whether any plenary speaker would address it. And I know that some people don’t like harm reduction as a way of thinking about sex work.  To put this in context, the conference has 6 streams:

1 Drugs on the Street
2 Parties: Pleasures Management and Risks Reduction
3 Alcohol and Harm Reduction
4 Sex: Pleasures, Risks and Sexual Work
5 Other addictions
6 Human Rights and Penal Control

There are five panels addressing sex/sex work and several good activists will speak, mixed with outreach/academic folk. Sex-work activists have gone to other harm-reduction conferences, of course, but here I’m to talk about human rights AND harm reduction, which feels challenging because they are both theoretical frames for thinking about the issues. And since globalisation is another of the event’s keywords I can talk about trafficking and anti-demand politics as well, but I’d rather not just spout a string of platitudes. Any ideas or tips from past experience?

Thanks, Laura

Laura María Agustín  Border Thinking

Donna Hughes and Criminalizing Prostitution

Posted on behalf of B.

In her May 2, 2009 email, Professor Donna Hughes claims that criminalizing prostitution in Rhode Island will some how help victims of sex trafficking in the state. Despite what she says, Professor Hughes’ position amounts to a claim that the best way to help the victims of the crime of slavery is to spend large amounts of public money to arrest the very small number of victims of this serious crime and the much larger number of women who are not victims of any crime. This proposition makes no sense, violates any sense of justice and fairness and won’t work.

Arresting the victims of a serious crime so we can, in theory, get at the real criminals is just not an answer to anything. By making the victims criminals themselves, we would only strengthen the hold that the slavers have on them by increasing the victims’ fear of identifying themselves as victims to the police or anyone else. It will make the victims less talkative, not more talkative, since they will fear criminal punishment and deportation.

If Professor Hughes’ theory were correct, Rhode Island would be the sex trafficking capital of the US, and there would be no sex trafficking anywhere else in the country, except the two counties in Nevada where prostitution is legal. Obviously, this is not the case. Continue reading

NY State Condom Legistlation CALL TO ACTION

The No Condoms Bill is before the Assembly for a vote and we urgently need you to call, email and fax your Assembymembers and let them know they should vote FOR bill A3856. It could come to a vote today or early next week! Thank you for all your support thus far!

If you could take a moment to:

· Look up your Assemblymember, either by where you live, where your organization is located, or both! Call the Assembly Public Information Office a: 518-455-4218, or you can use your zipcode to search on this site: www.votesmart.org.

· Call their Albany office. Attached is a list of talking points.

· Fax their Albany office with a memo of support – attached is the one we are sending today you can use as a model.

· Email them directly with a letter of support (CC ahardikar@urbanjustice.org if you can!)

Phone Talking Points

Memo in Support from SW

You should do this before Wed. June 10th, 2009 But the sooner the better!

Thank you Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center! We love all of your work on this!

Rhode Island getting closer to outlawing indoor sex work.

Today is a busy day for Sex Worker Rights.  With news of Craigslist(only in the US) canceling the Erotic Services section, we’ve had a flurry of press calls.  Plus Rhode Island (the only state where indoor prostitution is legal) just had the house pass H5044 Sub A, the vote was 62 to 8, and this is the 4th year they’ve tried it, and it’s gotten way farther (it’s never even got out of committee before).  If you care about this issue, especially if you are in Rhode Island, PLEASE CALL a state senator in RI, by filling out the bottom form at this page: http://www.sec.state.ri.us/vic/ to track down who your senator is. (Yes they make it complicated, so that you WON’T talk to them, prove them wrong!)

Posting Petitions on “Bound Not Gagged”

Change.org posts petitions online that people can sign onto electronically, and it would be great if we could also do this on “Bound Not Gagged.”  We could post petitions to decriminalize prostitution, to support or oppose specific pieces of legislation, and related to additional issues we’re concerned about.  Here is a link to what I’m referring to:  http://www.change.org/actions .  What do people think about setting up something like this on “Bound Not Gagged?”  Would it be possible?

Urgent: Masseuse Advertising on Craig’s List Murdered

This is extremely important to know about, especially for sex workers traveling to Boston to meet clients.  This murder is possibly linked to another attempted armed robbery in a Boston hotel room:  http://www1. whdh.com/ news/articles/ local/BO110496/ .   Please circulate widely.

May 8th: Video Advocacy Training for Sex Worker Organizing & Advocacy

Via The Sex Workers Empowerment Project — a video advocacy training in partnership with WITNESS,  for sex worker rights’ advocates will be held on May 8th in New York City.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
(video from WITNESS training with sex worker advocates in Macedonia)

The Sex Workers Empowerment Project (SWEP) and $pread Magazine are working with WITNESS to put together a full-day training on video advocacy, specifically for sex worker organizing and advocacy. This training will provide participants with a range of effective strategies for using video in their human rights documentation and advocacy, including a basic overview of filming and video editing. The training focuses on three types of projects:

(1) Setting up a “cop watch” program: Includes effectively utilizing video to present to UN treaty bodies in order to pressure responsible parties to take action to stop abuse by police.

(2) Incorporating video in legislative advocacy: Includes streaming video on the internet as part of advocacy campaigns and presenting focused, action-oriented video to key decision makers.

(3) Story-telling documentary: using video as a grassroots educational tool or as a fundraising tool. Continue reading

Social Justice and Peace Conference/Exhibition May 1

Below is information I received about a social justice and peace conference/exhibition.  Since we promote justice and peace for sex workers,  it would be great if sex workers’ rights activists could attend and participate.  One of the suggested topics is sex trafficking, so perhaps somebody could put together a presentation about sex workers’ rights approaches to human trafficking and how sex workers are being incacerated and subject to human rights abuses by law enforcement under the guise of fighting sex trafficking.  However, there are a variety of topics we can present about.  The topic ideas are very open.  The event will take place at the University of Texas-Pan American, which is located in the Rio Grande Valley on the U.S./Mexico border.  Here is the information I received: 

SOCIAL JUSTICE and PEACE CONFERENCE/EXHIBITION Conceptualizing In/Justice: Images/Voices of Resistance MAY 1st, 2009 CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS, EXHIBITIONS, POETRY & MUSIC Submissions due APRIL 1st, 2009 The UTPA Department of Criminal Justice is sponsoring an event to promote social justice and peace. The goal of this conference/exhibition is to engage the students, the community and the faculty in a dialogue about social problems that affect our lives locally, regionally, and globally. Not only do we want to raise social consciousness, we want to provide an avenue for discussing solutions to these problems. The purpose of this conference is to provide a safe space for dialogue and protest. Activists and campus organizations are invited to share their struggles, as well as their visions for a better future, including solutions we can implement as individuals. The Conference/Exhibition makes a call for artwork, poetry, music, photo-documentaries, documentaries, posters, presentations and other alternative forms of artistic expression. Please submit an abstract of 150 words or less. Provide the title, contact information, and affiliation if any. Please email to justiceconference@gmail.com or resendiz@utpa.edu Conference Date: May 1st, 2009 Deadline for Submissions: April 1st, 2009 Suggested Topics: Human Rights, Civil Rights, Immigration Rights and Violations, Labor Rights Inequalities, Discrimination, Racism, Classism, Sexism, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues Dehumanization, Exploitation, Torture, Sex Crimes and Sex Trafficking Environmental Justice and Pollution, Animal Rights Health, Education, Elderly Issues, Disabilities Economic Justice, Poverty, Class struggles, Protest Movements Imperialism, War, War on Drugs, Violation of Peace Treaties Religious Tolerance, Spirituality, Empowerment Peace and Legal Discourse, Criminal Justice and Peace-Making Criminology Border Issues, Militarization of the Border Prisons and Detention Centers Other Related Topics Welcome!

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

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

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   

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

MTV Anti Trafficking and MTV NO exit discussion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks

Simon

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

Hi Simon,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changing from within or not?

So I went to a Sex Trafficking panel led by the interfaith group at UCSC. The panel was comprised of a nun, a man, and a cop from the San Jose Police Department, whose position is being in charge of the human trafficking cases for the south bay counties, to include Santa Cruz and Monterrey.

It was as expected, they came from the all sex workers are victims, and one of them thought all porn == objectification, and that leads to sex trafficking (her logic is beyond me).

I was the only one trying to separate the 2 things (Sex and Sexuality) from Slavery and trafficking.

I was happy when the Cop said, there is a very miniscule amount of sex trafficking happening in this area. He also said he’s working on a case against 2 men who trafficked 2 women from Nevada to come work as sex workers. I’m not against these people, I’m glad they are fighting to end slavery. I just wish they would explore their sexuality, and come to respect sex workers, and not see us as victims.

Also tonight in Santa Cruz, the city council was voting on banning sitting on public park benches for more than an hour, and also sitting on the sidewalk, and a host of other things aimed at eradicating the less desirables from downtown in an effort to increase public safety.

These events have made me re-evaluate the best way for organizational change. Is it smart to work from outside, and try to lobby the city council to understand sitting on park benches is not bad, or that sex work is actual work, or that sex and porn is different than (and does not lead to) sexual trafficking?

Or is it smarter to try and work from the inside, to get into the government, to get on the city council, to get in with the Human Trafficking police organizations, and change from within?

I feel like I’m at a crossroads in my personal life, to see where I want my direction to go. I’m very dedicated to human rights work, and to sex workers rights, but how best can I affect social change, for my friends, brothers, sisters and be allies to others?

Perhaps the very last of my Social Change through Non-Violent Communication class tomorrow night can help me come to some sort of conclusion. I pose the question:

How best to affect social change for our movement?

Press Conference: Protest Prostitution Charges against Activist

It would be great if the folks in the San Francisco Bay area could show up to court in support of Shelly Resnick, who was charged with prostitution.  Here is the press release:  
For Immediate Release: Jan 24, 2009
Event: Press Conference: San Francisco Transsexual Activist Falsely
Accused of Prostitution
Location: 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco Hall of Justice
Date: Monday January 26, 2009
Time: 8:30 am
Contact:  Acire4SWOP@gmail.com

In an act of harassment by the San Francisco Police Department, Shelly
Resnick was falsely charged  with solicitation of prostitution. Later, the District Attorney trumped up the charges and claimed that Shelly engaged in the actual act of prostitution.

 “These charges are completely false.” states Shelly as no such act took
place. Shelly strongly disputes the content of the police report as
patently false. “This is harassment and discrimination.”
 
Shelly was set up on a police sting. She did not solicit and nor did she
agree to any act of prostitution, but she was cited anyway.

“The police have no evidence of these charges. In fact they claimed to
have an audio recording which they say they are unable to locate,” says

Acire Roche of Sex Worker Outreach Project.
Sex Worker Outreach Project joins Shelly in support at her hearing,
protesting this discrimination and misconduct. “Ms. Resnick filed a
complaint with Office of Citizen Complaints on November 19th.

One thing Obama can ignore in his first week in office

(In light of the continuing debates about how US sex workers understand trafficking, I’m crossposting this from my personal blog.)

Nicholas Kristof has been issuing ad-hoc Presidential guidance on the sex trade for years now. The archive of his editorial column in the New York Times serves as a record of his proposals. In 2004, he “bought the freedom” of two women working in brothels in Poipet, Cambodia with the intention of returning them to their villages. Kristof wasn’t prosecuted under US law for the purchase of sex slaves – he wrote of this sale as an “emancipation,” and in 2005, he was back in Poipet to check up on the women. One had returned to prostitution, prompting Kristof to offer another round of recommendations to President Bush, pleading with him to commit the United States to a New Abolitionism.

Now he’s back with his 2009 agenda, delivered like the others, as a kicker to his column. In it, he asks that the Obama administration pressure the Cambodian government to bust more brothels, on the premise that the risk of going to jail for selling sex will hurt brothel owners’ profits and will protect more women from abuse and violence. Yet such stings and raids are already the centerpiece of a disastrous crackdown on Cambodian prostitution. The Bush administration has supported the raids of Cambodian brothels for at least as long as Kristof has been demanding they step up a fight they are already in – and losing.

It was under threat of sanctions from the United States that prostitution was outlawed in Cambodia. The resulting government-sponsored raids on brothels did not lead to a great improvement in the lives of women and girls. Instead, the same police tasked with “liberating” women from Cambodia’s brothels have been accused by human rights groups of abusing these same women.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

In a video made by members of the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW), one survivor of what was called a “rehabilitation center” relates the story of being gang raped by six members of the police force: “They raped me from one after the other… the last one didn’t use condom because I got only five condoms. I told him that I have HIV but he was not believe me. He said if I had HIV, would have scar on body, not so smooth.” Another woman survivor describes her time in the Koh Kor rehabilitation center. It sits on the same island that was once home to a Khmer Rouge prison and execution camp. She explains that when she asked questions about why she had been taken in against her will, and what was wrong with what she was doing, she was repeatedly beaten by her captors – the police. These are the people – the police, and the government officials who have operated brothels in a network of corruption – that Kristof would like us to trust to combat violence.

Setting a human rights agenda for the United States will be an enormous challenge for Barack Obama and his incoming administration, with a host of failed Bush campaigns to contend with. His handling of so-called “sex slavery” will be but one. When considering how he ought to proceed, to undo damage done, and to improve human rights around the globe, Obama should look not to Kristof and his urgent cries, but to those women who are currently imprisoned and violated by the people who were supposed to “save” them. To endorse brutal, violent raids and “rehabilitation” as a solution to the brutality and violence of coerced prostitution ignores the evidence that raids do nothing to discourage abusive conditions — they perpetuate them.

New Report Examines the Use of Raids to Fight Trafficking in Persons

On Friday, January 9th, The Sex Workers Project, at the Urban Justice Center in New York City, released a new report, Kicking Down the Door, that analyzes the use of “rescue” raids in the fight against human trafficking.

The report “summarizes findings from interviews with 46 people with experience of such raids, including service providers who have worked with hundreds of trafficking victims, law enforcement personnel, and 15 immigrant women who have been trafficked,” and “concludes that so-called “rescue” raids are not an effective way to stop trafficking in persons and in fact can be counter-productive.”

From PlanetWire.org:

WASHINGTON DC, Jan. 9 – Law enforcement raids designed to rescue victims of human trafficking may do more harm than good for the victims and are ineffective or even counter-productive in curbing the practice, a coalition of advocates for sex workers said today. They urged President-elect Obama to adopt a rights-based approach to the problem.

The Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center, a New York-based coalition of service providers, researchers, advocates, donors and sex workers, released a report analyzing the experiences of 46 people involved in such raids during 2007 and 2008.

“The findings suggest that vice raids are an ineffective means of locating and identifying trafficked persons,” said Dr. Melissa Ditmore, primary author of the study, during an audio news conference announcing the release. “They are often accompanied by violations of human rights of the trafficked persons and sex workers and are therefore counterproductive to their own goals.”

Kicking Down the Door concludes with a lengthy list of recommendations for the US government, law enforcement personnel, and service providers. For some of us, these recommendations are common sense, but most of us also know that common sense isn’t really the cornerstone of policies involving sex work.

The Sex Workers Project (SWP) provides legal services and legal training, and engages in documentation and policy advocacy, for sex workers. Using a harm reduction and human rights model, we protect the rights and safety of sex workers who by choice, circumstance, or coercion remain in the industry. They released two previous reports, Revolving Door and Behind Closed Doors, which examined street-based sex work and indoor sex work in New York City, respectively.

Sex Workers: Once again, what’s best for us?

As you may or not may be aware, under the auspices of a woman named Jacqui Smith, the UK is considering a law that will criminalize the purchase of sexual services, namely, men who participate in, as they call it in the UK, “kerb crawling” (street based work). As usual, the evidence Smith is basing her proposal off of is questionable, but the proposed law is there none the less.

A blogger and ally Caroline, who is in the UK, has written extensively about the downsides of this law, and what very real consequences and potential consequences it has on sex workers of all kinds within the UK, she was even given quest posts at the UK based the F-Word and a US blog, Feministe!

The responses to her posts were, how shall I say, typical, and the reaction to her stance on the matter, equally so. Both Caroline and sex workers who bothered to participate were bogged down by generally radical leaning feminists with countless issues not necessarily germane to the legal issue at hand, shouted down as “unthinking”, “idiots”, or “happy hookers”…

I have to ask, to those of you who have met me and what not, do I generally come across as Teeheeeheee I can by Prada woo-hoo happy? Do most sex workers? Umm, no. Yet this is, consistently, how any who disagree with the pervading theme of repression of sex workers are written off and thusly discounted.

But as usual, those of us who oppose Swedish-like models, even considering the troublesome evidence that has shown such models to be far from perfect and the words of actual sex workers, as is typical, we are a tiny minority who truly know nothing about our business and do not care about all the poor trafficked women and girls. Which is bullshit, and I note, these people so concerned, from feminist anti sex work people to world governments, find it far more easy to criminalize the people who buy sex and attempt to play (often unwanted) savior to the people who sell it than to actually go after criminal organizations that deal in trafficking or take on the underlying causes, such as lack of education, poverty, drug abused, and lack of other job opportunities that face people who are unwillingly involved in prostitution…but apparently that is too hard and too messy…it’s easier to play Capitan save a ho.

I’ve also noted, in this particular latest round and in countless others, the apparent need of these people to demonize any and all sex worker outreach/activist programs which do not tout a 100% exit / prohibition stance. Currently, the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) and International Union of Sexworkers (IUSW) are under attack by supporters of the proposed UK law. The same sorts of tactics have been used against SWOP, COYOTE, the Scarlet Alliance, and countless other Sex Worker Organizations in the past.

And while all the smoke and mud about happy hookers and how sex worker orgs don’t really care about sex workers and what about the poor trafficked women and girls (no mention of the transwomen, men and boys, for that matter) rages on one simple thing remains fact: a law which will affect countless sex workers adversely is poised to go on the books in the UK, with, best as I can tell, no input from any sex workers and no real ear to the objections of any sex workers…

So once again, we have people building law and political prestige on our backs.

Now, I am not in the UK, nor are most of you, but that doesn’t mean this should not matter to us. Sex Workers in the UK are sex workers, just like us, and just as the UK looked to Sweden for inspiration, there is no guarantee where ever you are might not look to the UK for the same thing…

So yes, if you find this as annoying and patronizing and seriously ill advised as I do?

Say something, because if we don’t, nobody else will.

I’ve already said a few things

And why yes, please feel free to redistribute at will…