Sigh. Anyone feel like helping out over at “Hope for the Lost”?

Sigh. Anyone feel like helping out over at “Hope for the Lost”? The following is Victor Malarek’s response to Pye Jacobssen’s video criticizing the Swedish Model. He wrote “The Natashas” and “The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men who Buy it”.

“The pro-prostitution organizations…which are basically individuals used as fronts by the sex industry (which is only interested in making huge amounts of money), will come out of the woodwork and vociferously attack any group that fights legalization and decriminalization of the flesh trade.

The arguments put forward by the pro-prostitution groups are specious and full of lies and propaganda. The fact is that wherever legalization has been implemented, it has led to a monumental failure in all aspects of the so-called trade. It has always led to more and more women trafficked, and has not led to an improvement in the condition of women ensnared in the trade.

The pro-prostitution groups’ position against trafficking is a ruse. Their attempts to separate trafficking from legalization are a divide and conquer tactic…they know full well that huge numbers of trafficked women make up the trade. To see how bad the situation is where legalization has been implemented, read ‘The Johns’ and what has happened in Amsterdam! Moreover, the legal and illegal brothels in several Australian states which have legalized are filled with Southeast Asian women. These women do not speak English, they don’t have any money. They don’t have the business acumen to set themselves as business contractors.

It is interesting that in ALL my talks in Canada, the U.S., Australia, Britain, Ireland, Copenhagen, Madrid, Helsinki, Kiev…reps from the pro-prostitution orgs come out in force to take me on, and after my speech, not a peep! Because they know I know B.S. when I hear it and can challenge their claims with ease.

My issue here is one of social justice for the vast majority of women who are forced into the sex trade fiasco…not the minority of twits who yell and scream on behalf of the sex industry!”

You can go here to comment: http://www.hopeforthesold.com/author-victor-malarek-responds-to-swedish-sex-workers-statements/

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New Hobbyist Blog

I’ve been following this guy’s blog, Sexhobbyist.com, for a little while and he seems to divide his time fairly evenly between escorts and strippers.   There’s an insightful interview with an escort in it this week.  I think he should be added the Hobbyists Blogs list.  I like it when clients use the head located on top of their necks.

“Happy?”

Okay, so I wasn’t going to say anything other than what I’d said in comments on the “If we’re happy” post, but you know…I feel I have to.  Why?  I get tired of the assertion we don’t care about (insert person or groups of people X here.)

And perhaps it’s true, maybe not every case or issue is discussed here on B’n’G…but I’m not so sure every issue has to be, after all, we have other things going on in life, and frankly…all bad news all the time is soul crushing…and it doesn’t mean a whole lot of issues for all sex workers, even the not happy ones, are not discussed by those who write here elsewhere. 

In fact, if you want an insane amout of sex worker news, please, do take a gander here.

I know for a fact Jill has blogged her behind off about a whole lot of sex worker issues, and not just those facing ‘high class’ workers either. 

I know I’ve made just a few posts about all kinds of bullshit

I think many of us have, here and elsewhere.  But sometimes, we need to…breathe. 

Palfrey’s death is no more or less tragic than any sex workers, but seeing such a firey, tough lady like that go out the way she did?  I think it stunned us all…a lot.

And I think it is unfair to say we only care about “happy hookers” and only write about them. 

My 2 cents.

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network on Blog Talk Radio

Here is the latest updated program listing. All shows available at www.xxbn.net www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast Times listed are Eastern time. All programing subject to change. All previous programs are archived, please check for great guests. Thank you to Liz Berlin of Rusted Root and The Naked Heroes for their music for our programs. Listener call number 646.200.3136

  [172657]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Desiree Alliance The Desiree Alliance is a diverse, volunteer-based, sex worker-led network of organizations, communities and individuals across the US working in harm reduction, direct services, political advocacy and health services for sex workers. We provide leadership and create space for sex workers and supporters to come together to advocate for human, labour and civil rights for all workers in the sex industry.
Politics Progressive
Adults Only
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 pxrn performer, sex workers rights advocate
Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/3/2008
6:30 PM
60 Minutes
  [172663]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Discussing the alleged “The Pimp Lobby” Maxine Doogan, Jill Brenneman and other guests..
Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/4/2008
12:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [171948]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Melissa Gira Bio: http://www.melissagira.com​ht Unpacking the Wired story on tech & sex work: http://www.wired.com​ht — and adding more on how sex workers internationally use technology in advocacy for human rights.   Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/4/2008
3:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [172226]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Gracie Passette Gracie Passette is a sex worker, though no longer working directly with clients in the flesh; she now uses media to work with the issues of sexuality.   Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/5/2008
10:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173836]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network SerpentLibertine
SerpentLibertine is a veteran sex worker and activist with Sex Worker’s Outreach Project-Chicago. She has worked in many facets of the sex industry as a dominatrix, escort, masseuse, and madam, as well as behind the camera doing castin, camera, and sound on shoots. She is currently creating sex worker made videos and podcasts for her new project, Red Light District Chicago and helping organize the Desiree Alliance Conference in Chicago in Summer of 2008. You can also visit her blog at http://www.sexpr Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/6/2008
3:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173589]
XBN Swopeast Broadcast Network
Queen of the Sky the Most Famous Blog-Fired Flight Attendant”
Politics Progressive
Everyone
4/7/2008
4:30 PM
60 Minutes
  [171042]
XBN Special Guest Der Gregor
Der Gregor- FEMINISM UNMODIFIED Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/7/2008
11:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173109]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network Bill Nelson
Bill Nelson Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/8/2008
9:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173858]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
The Naked Heroes, time to be determined Politics Progressive
Everyone
4/10/2008
9:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173647]
TBD
TBD Politics Progressive
Everyone
4/22/2008
10:00 PM
60 Minutes

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>

Melissa Farley Words v Actions: Ethics or Not?

Melissa Farley has taken a stand opposing Governor Spitzer’s hiring of the escort Kristen. Does she deserve to be congratulated for doing the right thing and criticizing Spitzer’s hypocrisy of spearheading a campaign against prostitution while hiring escorts despite the fact that until his arrest he was advocating similar political strategy as her? Was there any risk in her doing so? Not really. One would have to assume that she like many of her allies in the anti trafficking movement feel betrayed by Spitzer’s. Her other actions contradict her integrity.

There has been a large outcry against the public outing of Kristen by the media. Rightfully so. Her outing was an abysmal example of the lack of integrity of many media outlets. The media’s outing of Kristen is disgusting. Their blatant misuse of the pictures from her myspace page are jaw dropping in their lack of integrity. Especially given many of the media outlets were supposed to be ones that operated at a higher standard. That professed themselves to be above the level of tabloid shit like the National Enquirer.

Those that stand behind Melissa Farley and Nikki Craft need to consider that the actions of these two anti trafficking, abolitionist activists are as an egregious breach of the rights of a sex worker or worse, if the pictures depicted on their websites are as they described, victims of human trafficking and coerced torture as they are presented by Farley and Craft. Both Farley’s Prostitution Research and Education http://www.prostitutionresearch.com “trafficking jamming” blog and Nikki Craft’s ACLU, “Always Causing Legal Unrest” show porn pics of women in bondage. Pictures that it can easily be speculated are without the consent of the women being photographed as neither Farley nor Craft have ever responded to requests to prove consent to use the image or even if the women are of legal age. While lack of response is not inherently guilt, it is hard to fathom a reason why either “anti trafficking activist” would not be outspoken if they had acquired consent of the women depicted. Farley’s is more graphic and after outspoken criticism from sex worker rights activists and from Farley’s statement apparently survivors of rape, she put a disclaimer rather than having any viewer including those under 18 be ambushed by a picture of which any pornography site would be held accountable under law to have warnings about adult content, illegality of underage viewing and full consent of the actresses depicted. Farley’s explanation of placing the disclaimer on what had been a blatant image as soon as one hit the blog page ”

In response to comments by survivors of torture and other sexual abuse, we have placed a warning and additional link to the photograph of kink.com torture. Traffick Jamming visitors can now choose if and when they look at the photographs.

Her disclaimer reads ”

WARNING If you open the red torture photo link directly below this paragraph, you will see two photographs of people being tortured. One is the widely-circulated photograph of a hooded figure with electrical wires of man being tortured at Abu Ghraib. At the same link, you will also see a photograph of a woman being tortured. This photograph of torture is from the website kink.com. The woman’s face is masked and unrecognizable and she has on a thong that covers her genitals. Her breasts are concealed here. She is shackled by the ankles and hung with her arms tied to the wall over her head. The woman is being electrically tortured by someone off-camera with what looks like a cattle prod. All you can see is his arm with the cattle prod. There is also what appears to be an electrical outlet or battery in front of her. Click Here to view photo. I have not enabled the link from here to the pictures. This blog is taking extensive traffic and given these pictures are in very high probability without consent, they are as exploitative as the news media. Showing a naked woman being tortured with captions describing the action without the consent of the woman in the picture…………. Sorry, if you want to find this you can look yourself. My goal is to make a point, not to direct a high traffic load to pictures that I believe are being used in a manner that is a horrendously egregious breach of privacy and law that is being overlooked because it is done by the alleged freedom fighters for trafficking victims as Farley and Craft self portray.

Outspoken self proclaimed radical feminist “Pony” in response to the disclaimer states

Please DO look at the photographs, which are not owned by the people depicted, but by the torturers. As long as the only people who see these and others like them are the torturers and torture and pornography consumers, women haters, abusers and traffickers win, because ordinary people will not see what pornography is really about.

Whether Pony is speaking for herself or on behalf of inside knowledge of Farley apparently not having consent to use the photo of the women being tortured. She advocates that one look at the photos. Pony who in other posts advises that she does not “frequent pro porn blogs” has no problem viewing the kind of porn she condemns if it is on an anti porn site and encourages others to follow despite her opposition to these very types of images. Despite by her belief Farley does not even have consent to use the picture which if this were on a non anti porn website one would very likely see very outspoken criticism from Farley, Craft, Pony.   If the pictures are owned by torturers, not the people depicted, this even by Pony’s admission and her ally Farley is using pics owned by torturers and Pony is advocating one look at these pics.  Hmmmm,  seems like an odd contradiction.  Farley and Pony come from a school of thought which considers giving condoms to working sex workers collaborating with traffickers and pimps.  Thus what does that make a feminist using stolen pictures without the consent of the persons depicted, taken by photographers identified by Farley and Pony as torturers without even a safeguard to protect minors or compliance with 2257 which deems the pictures legally assumed to be without consent and of minors.  That is feminist?  By what standard?

So, back to the hypocrisy issue. Farley jumped on the bandwagon with her betrayed colleagues. Sex worker rights activists have condemned the hypocrisy of a leader in a fight, Spitzer, against sex work by consenting adults with clients hiring escorts while hiring the very people he is persecuting. Sex worker rights activists also oppose human trafficking and coercion. That is not a stance owned by just the “anti trafficking movement”. The suggestion that a sex worker rights movement would be pro trafficking is absurd. The idea behind a movement for the rights of a population is exactly that. Rights. Right to consent among other things.

Including the right to consent to the use of your pictures. Farley in her blog opines about the porn actresses who later wished to have their images removed and had to go to litigation and attempt to force these images to be removed via legal action after various website owners would not grant the wishes of the actresses. As a sex worker rights activist, as Executive Director of SWOP East, I can state firmly that we advocate strongly for the right of consent to the use of images and the right to terminate consent both of which being held by the actress portrayed at all times. If the actress wishes the pictures to be removed they should be removed. An empowered sex worker rights movement would have a much greater chance of having this kind of protection built into contracts with website owners and legal remedy for damages in the event of contractual breach. Farley wants this right except when it applies to websites owned by Farley and Craft. Then she wants what Spitzer wanted. To be above the law.

So my questions are to anti trafficking/radical feminist/abolitionist activists. If you oppose the outing of Kristen and the blatant misuse of her pictures without her consent, one would assume then that you would also want these protections for the actresses in the pictures of websites owned by Farley and Craft. Otherwise, once again we have a hypocrisy issue.

If Farley wants credit for condemning Spitzer perhaps her actions should speak more loudly than her words and the pics should be removed. Not to mention perhaps a mea culpa. If her allies want her condemnation of Spitzer to be more than words perhaps they should consider the step of condemning two of their own engaging in their own ethical transgressions.

Prostitution 2.0

A very interesting article on a techie website describes for laymen how to find an escort online:

A Girlfriend Experience Is Just A Click Away

The controversy surrounding New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has shed light (a red light) on a number of underground activities. Besides government corruption and the sex trade in general, Spitzer’s use of the Internet to connect with prostitutes is exposing a huge industry with which people may not be familiar.

Or even know exists.

The online escort/call girl/”model”/prostitute scene isn’t so hard to find, though. Just use Google. If the organic results don’t fit what you’re looking for, AdWords can help, too.

The truth is, investigating this scene is much like investigating the adult entertainment scene. The breadth, depth, and scope of prostitution available via online booking is staggering, indicating that just like the online porn industry, sex trade is not just a huge industry, but one that employs cutting edge marketing techniques, and one that apparently is thriving.

……………….

An Open Sex Market

It would be impossible to explore every website offering some kind of escort service, and many of them seem to have shut down since the revelation about Governor Eliot, including the Emperor’s Club website he used. But perusing some of them reveals details that would be mundane if talking about any other business.

When people think of prostitution, they generally think of street-walkers with cash-only policies. The 21st Century, though, brings change to the world’s oldest profession, too. Visitations can be booked with cash or credit. There is often a registration process for potential clients, or a requirement that the client participate in a screening process.

…………………

A Virtual Smorgasbord

Call Girls SmorgasbordGovernor Spitzer obviously had a certain taste: prostitutes he could take to Washington on important visits that didn’t look like a prostitute and could provide him confidence that she would exercise her right to remain silent. There are more expensive women than $4,300 for two hours, but he is a government employee at the end of the day.

If money is no object, a fat-walleted client can choose from a menu of women on sites similar to the Emperor’s Club, some with the same diamond-rating system. A seven-diamond lady, if paying by credit card, will run about $3,600 per hour. If paying by cash, a client can get a $600 per hour discount. If he wants to weed out the less expensive, less exclusive women, he can run a more specific search for [high class call girls] or [high class escorts] and Google will bring him back what he is looking for, thanks to some good SEO and SEM.

Interestingly, he notes that many sites have shut down since the scandal broke. I have been hearing through the grapevine that many women have taken their sites down until the dust settles. I tend to think they are wise in doing so, as there has been a veritable media feeding frenzy on working ladies.

I wonder what the projected implications are for the online advertisers?

Even more interesting than the article itself are the comments that follow.

Some choice bits:

From a guest

We use the internet as an alternative to walking the streets or turning over a huge percentage of our earnings to agencies and pimps. For the most part, it is safe. Every once in a while you hear of a girl getting hurt by a john, but not very often. A threat that is much more real is that of a pimp posing as a customer, making an appointment, then coming to rob and rape you. So most of us working girls (the smart ones anyway) refuse to see black guys….. seeing that this is the most reliable way of avoiding pimps. And yes, it works. Maybe we are losing out on the “good” black guys out there, but with such a disproportionate ratio of good vs bad, it’s an acceptable loss.

……………..

No girl grows up thinking she wants to be a prostitute. We end up here because we have no other (viable) way to earn a living. We have no education and no skills…. so what else are we going to do? We use our bodies instead of our minds. We all have secondary reasons as well. Some girls have kids to support, some have drug addictions, some are co-dependant on an abusive boyfriend. But NO girl does this because she likes it.

……………..

There is much much more to say about internet prostitution, but I could go on and on. In closing, I may be a prostitute…. but judge not lest ye be judged. Just as you are more than your job, I too am more than mine.

From the author of the article, Jason Lee Miller:

I saw on Discovery Channel a few years back researchers studying the brain via imaging and via the chemicals that were released. They concluded something kind of astonishing: creativity, sexuality, and spirituality all seemed to come from the same area of the brain…or that while one of these three things were active, the same area of the brain lit up.

……………………

All that, and my conspiratorial side doesn’t buy it that the feds targeted Spitzer by accident. Of all the dirty politicians and all the call-girls around Washington, why Spitzer? Probably b/c he was gumming up the works with all that justice…

But you didn’t hear that from me. 🙂 And I can’t prove a word of it. Just riffing, like I said.

Update 10:17 PM Funny I said that there at the end…read this before something mysterious and tragic happens to this guy:

http://www.gregpalast.com/elliot-spitzer-gets-nailed/  

Maybe there’s more to this than the press is letting us know.

[SWOP-LV’s comment: very interesting article by Greg Palast]

From another guest:

Keep it stigmatized.  Keep it illegal.  The whole mess is degrading to women as well as society as a whole.

From the Courtesan Connection

Feed The Need to Read – Two Blogs of Note

Bound, Not Gagged, the activist group blog of the Desiree Alliance, has over the past year become the hub of on-line Sex Worker Advocacy in the United States. Demure and deferential it is not. Posts on Bound, Not Gagged (often referred to as “BnG”) are passionate, strong, and at times, unapologetically angry peals against abuse, injustice and ignorance about Sex Work and Sex Workers. This is a blog by people demanding and working to create change, and not willing to wait another generation for it to come about. Discussion and debate are lively on BnG, and honestly, not always thoughtful about the full impact and import of the positions staked out, a fault of many idealists and advocates and some very famous and influential people. BnG though is not a one-dimensional rant limited to politics and news of the latest outrage, it often carries notices and invitations to events and conferences such as the Desiree Alliance’s “Pulling Back the Sheets: Sex, Work and Social Justice” Conference scheduled for July in Chicago. While BnG is USA-centric in much of its writing and point of view, it has repeatedly highlighted and brought attention to the actions and activism of Sex Workers in other countries, and has not shied away from reporting on the abuse and difficulties they face as well. For anyone with an interest in Sex Work, it has become a must read. Informally, the Twitter posts of many of the contributors to BnG often act as a shadow blog to BnG, carrying on many of the discussions in a near real-time format that can be equally engaging.

Of course Bound, Not Gagged and Sex Worker organizations could not accomplish much with out good information, and one of the best news hounds of this community has turned out to be Amanda Brooks. Posting News Bits on the off-the-main-site-SWOP-East blog, Amanda serves up a daily digest of the news of note culled from her own web searches and Google Alerts. But this is not just dry headlines – her summaries are often targeted commentary on the hypocrisy, absurdity, and sheer idiocy of those that report on and act against sex workers with out doing any research or looking beyond what reinforces their own biases and assumptions. This lady will not go quietly into the night. Indeed, much like Napoleon conquered Europe on four hours of sleep a night, noting the time stamp on her News Bits has me wondering if General Brooks is training some stiletto-heeled Valkyries she will unleash as the Vanguard of the Sex Work Revolution & Empire. Don’t forget she is a Texan, and while their speech may have a slow musical drawl to it, they are not really known for their patience, as that fellow in the White House has clearly taught us. Regardless of any future need to prepare your own personal bomb-shelter, SWOP-East is not limited to what Amanda shares, and there is interesting and valuable commentary and updates on the main SWOP-East Blog from their extraordinarily literate and prolific staff and other contributors. Along with many of the other sites and blogs of organizations and individuals in Sex Work, these blogs are an excellent way to keep updated on news and issues that are relevant to the lives and actions of Sex Workers and other interested individuals.

Scary Sex Blogging

Is blogging about sex scary to people? Perhaps so. I guess throwing sex work and politics into the mix is even more horrifying–maybe unthinkable.

I can understand a desire not to go into the sexual arena because of moral issues. But scary? Really? Blows my mind.

Two Days in Sex:Tech Heaven

Cory Silverberg at About.com: Sexuality talks about our presentation at Sex:Tech!

Sex and Politics

There wasn’t a lot of open political debate at the conference, and the shared political agenda was about doing more help youth protect themselves from STDs/HIV Politics emerged more in the spaces between people working in different environments: The freedoms enjoyed by individuals running their own sites or blogs who didn’t have to worry about insurance, investors, or boards of directors getting in between them and their target audience; the privilege of the relatively well funded organizations or government agencies, the ones who get paid for their work, probably own homes, and weren’t paying for their own hotel rooms; the differences between organizations for youth and those by youth. None of these differences prevented attendees from connecting, but that may in part be because the differences were generally kept under wraps.

The most overtly political presentation at the conference was a fascinating talk given by two sex work activists who presented on a blog project called Bound Not Gagged. The project, which is a group blog by and for sex workers developed out of a frustration with the medias portrayal of sex work and sex work issues, and fear that coming out as a sex worker can make you a target for arrest or prosecution. The blog, which I’m now an avid reader of, collects the opinions and voices of sex workers on a variety of topics. They have also done some exciting things using online collaboration and actively dealing with the media through their blog.

While the Bound Not Gagged presentation used sex work as an example, it was just as relevant to questions people working with youth need to be asking about tech tools:

  • How can technology give disempowered and disenfranchised people a voice?
  • Can technology stretch the limits of anonymity to allow us to hear from those we serve who might not otherwise speak up?
  • What role can technology play in shifting the public discourse on youth and sexuality?

Thanks for the link Cory!

Speak for yourself: Letters from Working Girls and Letters from Johns

Amber Rhea discussing social media on Download Squad:

We often hear that social media is enabling us to see a more complete picture of who people are, and in some cases this may be true; but how often do we, instead, see a more truncated version of who a person is, because they feel like they have to self-censor? As anyone who’s been blogging for a while will tell you, the reality of it has a lot more sticky nuance than the idyllic concept. What about the places where one’s life intersects with the lives of others? How much is okay to share about another person without his or her consent? Even for those who blog pseudonymously, these are constant questions whose answers may vary from day to day — especially when sex is involved.

(This column both acknowledges the existence of sex, and explores the ways sex and sexuality relate to and are enhanced by the internet. If you’re offended by such content, don’t take the jump.)

Thanks for the link Amber!

Who were those hot bitches talking about BoundNotGagged.com at SF State?

stacey and melissa at sex tech small
photo by Audacia Ray

Attendees at Sex::Tech– The Inaugural STD/HIV Prevention Conference focusing on Youth and Technology- were all abuzz about the “sex work blog thing” before our panel even happened. Or so Melissa and I were told at the post-conference happy hour. (Yes, despite missing many of the workshops, I did manage to make it to both of the cocktail parties!) “What does this have to do with youth and HIV/AIDS prevention?” “Why are they presenting at this conference for prevention educators?” After our presentation, people were stopping us in the halls to tell us how great and informative our presentation was! I certainly observed a furrowed brow or two when I looked out into the audience, but in general I think that our message was clear.

Sex workers have everything to do with sexual health education and disease prevention. We are a huge part of the solution. Our presentation was the first time that many educators learned about the PEPFAR provisions that limit health and education funding to agencies that serve sex workers. It was the first time that many people learned of the hypocrisy with which such policies are implemented and of the exposure of Randall Tobias, former Deputy Secretary of State who said that “it was just like ordering pizza” when he’d “call up and have the gals come by for a massage.” This is the birth point of BnG.

So we told them how the blog started. We told them about long, teary, angry all-hours-of-the-night phone calls that Melissa and I shared while as sex workers we were sitting in our own isolated worlds watching the media tell our stories through the lens of the “DC Madam Scandal.” That we desperately needed a space to respond and share our own opinions, to tell of our own exploits and scandals and to confront the stigma and harassment that we experienced with every twisted, slanted and salacious ‘hookers-to-the-elite’ story emailed out over our various list-serves. We told them that we didn’t really expect anybody besides our friends to read it, so we set out. But then Melissa actually talked to the DC Madam and the story suddenly felt accessible to us. Web-based radio shows and other bloggers were actually interviewing Jeane Palfrey, ABC News interviewed us about our first Blog-Scandal-Viewing party where sex workers got together and watched ‘Taking the Pledge’ along with the 20/20 fluff piece about the ‘Madam’s phone list.’ People were actually listening to us! Bloggers were linking to us and lurkers were stopping by regularly to see what those crazy hookers were talking about this week.

But the more we talked out in the open, the less crazy and foreign we seemed to people!

The conversations bounced around, lots of people came by to hate on us, which only sparked a whole bunch of new people coming to stand in solidarity with us! Once we found our collective voice we began using it to confront enemies on all sides. We held a virtual rally to support the actions in Philadelphia to oppose the reinstatement of Judge Deni who tolerates sexual violence against sex workers. Just a few weeks earlier we had our biggest day ever (9/18/07 with over 2,100 hits!!!) when we held a virtual press conference to confront Melissa Farley and her not-peer-reviewed research that conflates prostitution with trafficking…

…leading us back to how the blog started… US policy… the conflation of forced labor with consensual sex… the trafficking smoke-screen used to distract Americans from their own responsibility for the demand for cheap labor and to hide the corporate-driven severe exploitation occurring in many labor markets… pledges that prevent us from giving away condoms… the divide-and-conquer tactics that keep feminists busy fighting against women so that the anti-choice forces can focus on attacking Roe v. Wade… the horrible things said about us in the media… in ‘journalism’… in blogs…in living rooms…

People die when sex workers are silenced and stigmatized.

BnG exists because sex workers are the solution, and despite the gag orders that bind us, we will never be silent!!!

We made lots of new friends at the conference and got to meet up with some folks we already knew. Have to send a shout out to Guy and Nikol at the Midwest Teen Sex Show!! Thank you to all the people who attended and asked great questions about sex work at the end. We welcome all service providers and agencies to use this blog as a resource to get info, ask questions or just come hang out with hot, sexy, politically-minded people of all genders!

Thank you Melissa for putting together the power point and being our amazing messing-around-under-the-covers goddess!

In solidarity,

Stacey