Medical Survey of Human Trafficking Victims

I’ve been asked to pass this along. The survey looks at medical care recieved by victims of human trafficking in the US during the time they were trafficked. It recognizes both sex and labor trafficking. The survey is available in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole.

The intro letter:

Hello,

I am an emergency medicine physician (currently at Columbia-NY Presbyterian, but still affiliated with Mount Sinai Medical Center) in NYC, conducting an anonymous survey of human trafficking survivors. The survey was designed with Dr. Susie Baldwin and the aim is learn more about survivors’ experiences with healthcare providers, while they were being trafficked, so that we can educate providers about this patient population in an evidence-based fashion. Participating survivors, so far, are recruited via community based and not-for-profit organizations, and receive a $10 gift card upon completion of the survey.

We hope your organization would like to participate; please reply if you’d like more information on how your organization can get involved!

Thank you for your consideration,

Makini Chisolm-Straker, MD
Department of Emergency Medicine
Columbia – NY Presbyterian Hospital
and
Mount Sinai School of Medicine

If you want to discuss the survey’s language or focus, please talk to Makini Chisolm-Straker.

The survey’s website, HumanTraffickingED and the survey page.

The point is for victims of trafficking to give input. If you know victims of trafficking, pass this along to them. Pass this along to any org you know who works with trafficking victims.

Prop 35 — California

Posted on behalf of Maxine Doogan:
Our group’s ballot argument was picked to represent the no on California
Proposition 35. It will be printed in the voter information guide.
If prop 35 passes in our state, you can bet this bait and switch ballot
measure brought to us by the same old extremist who’s real goal is to
exterminate the sex industry at any cost.

Prop 35 uses the same old junk science to target our intimate, domestic
and economic relationship to now be called traffickers and have to
register as sex offenders with 70% of the fines going to the anti
prostitution non profits who now call themselves trafficked victims. The
other 30% goes to the cops. These failed policies of ballot box budgeting
has bankrupted our state.

Apparently, the California State Attorney Generals office has a report on
human trafficking that is being compiled via working groups with 100
people from law enforcement, state social service providers and non
profits. http://oag.ca.gov/human-trafficking

So why didn’t the proponents wait for the report before they paid 1.6
million dollars to bring this overreaching salacious ballot measure
before the voters?

Lots of these kinds of questions have to asked and answered in the public
sphere.

Your help is needed now! Inform your selves and speak out about the many
way prop 35 will further criminalize our industry, target the innocent and
completely erode any opportunities to help victims because it relies on
their failed practice of alienating the community most effected by their
abusive practices.
Stop prop 35

Continue reading

International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers Event in Raleigh-Durham Chapel Hill

Thank you to the NC Harm Reduction Coalition and many others for making this happen. Sex Workers Without Borders is thrilled to be part of this important event in the Triangle. International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, 2011
What: A discussion with special guest Jill Brenneman- child sex-trafficking survivor (and later, consenting adult sex worker), sexual assault crisis counselor, & advocate for harm reduction & sex work decriminalization with Sex Workers Without Borders

When: Saturday, December 17th, 2011 from 5-7 PM

Where: Internationalist Books & Community Center, 405 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Who

http://www.facebook.com/events/253967284662740/

http://sexworkerswithoutborders.org/category/swwb-events/

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-owh_aRRO92I/TuJJskxY2QI/AAAAAAAAAIc/0hrtvMys8Ak/s1600/umbrella-2_vectorized.jpg

Dr. Oz’s Segment about Child Sex Trafficking

Did anybody see the segment on the Dr. Oz show about child sex trafficking? If so, what did you think? Here’s a link to the segment: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/lisa-ling-sex-trafficking-america  . I blogged about it here: http://veganvixen1.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/dr-ozs-segment-on-child-sex-trafficking/ .

Newsweek Article Bashing Sex Work Clients

I’m surprised this hasn’t been brought up on BNG yet, but many of you may be aware of the Newsweek article titled “The John Next Door” bashing our clients and focused on Melissa Farley’s input.
Though several pages of comments were posted (many of which very critical of the article), only the most recent page of comments now appears, so many excellent comments are no longer visible.
Considering that, I provided a forum on my blog where people can comment along with at link to the article: http://veganvixen1.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/newsweek-article-bashing-sex-work-clients/ .

Village Voice vs. Demi & Ashton

Late Tuesday evening ( June 28th) a story entitled “Real Men Get Their Facts Straight” by Martin Cizmar, Ellis Conklin and Kristen Hinman, appeared on the Village Voice media website; it uses the widely and justly ridiculed Ashton Kutcher/Demi Moore anti-prostitution ad campaign as a springboard for examining the fantastically exaggerated claims of “child sex trafficking” fetishists.

First, the story compares the widely-touted “100,000-300,000 trafficked children” myth I debunked back in January with the police arrest records of the 37 largest American cities and found that in the past decade there were only 8263 juveniles arrested for prostitution among them, an average of 827 per year (roughly 22 per city per year).  Even if one assumes that these cities together have only half of the underage prostitutes in the U.S., that still gives us fewer than 1700 per year.  Ask yourself:  Even considering the incompetence of police departments, which is more believable: that police catch roughly 5% of underage prostitutes per year (by my estimate), or that they catch only 0.27% per year?

The article then moves on to the 2001 Estes & Weiner study, the original source of the fabulous number; as I reported in my column of April 2nd, the study “guesstimated (by questionable methodology) that ‘as many as 100,000-300,000 children and youth [of both sexes] are at risk for sexual exploitation’ of one kind or another…this guess is for BOTH sexes, for ‘children and youth’ (not just children), and most importantly represents those at risk of some form of ‘exploitation’, not currently involved in one specific form (sex trafficking).”  That “questionable methodology” (such as including all runaways, female gang members, transgender youth and those living within a short drive of the Mexican or Canadian borders as automatically “at risk”) was criticized in the Village Voice article by the University of New Hampshire’s Dr. David Finkelhor, who said “As far as I’m concerned, [the University of Pennsylvania study] has no scientific credibility to it…That figure was in a report that was never really subjected to any kind of peer review.  It wasn’t published in any scientific journal…Initially, [Estes and Weiner] claimed that [100,000 to 300,000] was the number of children [engaged in prostitution].  It took quite a bit of pressure to get them to add the qualifier [at risk].”  Professor Steve Doig of Arizona State said the “study cannot be relied upon as authoritative…I do not see the evidence necessary to confirm that there are hundreds of thousands of [child prostitutes].”  He also said, “Many of the numbers and assumptions in these charts are based on earlier, smaller-scale studies done by other researchers, studies which have their own methodological limitations.  I won’t call it ‘garbage in, garbage out.’  But combining various approximations and guesstimates done under a variety of conditions doesn’t magically produce a solid number.  The resulting number is no better than the fuzziest part of the equation.”  And when pressed by the reporters, Estes himself admitted, “Kids who are kidnapped and sold into slavery—that number would be very small…We’re talking about a few hundred people.”

Not that any of this bothers Maggie Neilson, Ashton & Demi’s “celebrity charity consultant”; she told the reporter “I don’t frankly care if the number is 200,000, 500,000, or a million, or 100,000—it needs to be addressed.  While I absolutely agree there’s a need for better data, the people who want to spend all day bitching about the methodologies used I’m not very interested in.”  Presumably it would still “need to be addressed” if the number were 827, so why not just say 827?  Because, of course, that wouldn’t justify pouring millions down police department and NGO toilets instead of spending it on programs to help actual underage prostitutes (as opposed to phantom multitudes of “trafficked children”):  as the article explains, “…though Congress has spent hundreds of millions in tax-generated money to fight human trafficking, it has yet to spend a penny to shelter and counsel those boys and girls in America who are, in fact, underage prostitutes.  In March of this year…[two senators] introduced legislation to fund six shelters with $15 million in grants.  The shelters would provide beds, counseling, clothing, case work, and legal services.  If enacted, this legislation would be the first of its kind…[it] has yet to clear the Senate or the House.”

The article ends with a clear indictment of government attitudes in prohibitionist regimes and an equally-clear statement that sex work is work:  “The lack of shelter and counseling for underage prostitutes—while prohibitionists take in millions in government funding—is only one indication of the worldwide campaign of hostility directed at working women.”  Village Voice recently told a group of sex worker rights activists that they are behind us, and that this is only beginning of a campaign for decriminalization; this could at last be the public voice we’ve needed for so long, and I eagerly await the next salvo fired in defense of whores.

Human Trafficking Program in Chicago

One of my regular readers in the Chicago area forwarded this to me.  SWOP Chicago is involved, and some points we often make are on the agenda so those who will be in Chicago in two weeks may be interested.

THURSDAY April 14
6:30-8:30pm
Human Trafficking: Strategies and Solutions
*Featuring our own Serpent Libertine!

http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/_programsevents/_upcomingevents/_2011/_human%20Trafficking/apr14.html

Human trafficking, for sex, for other forms of labor, or any purpose of involuntary servitude, is an exploitative practice that is prevalent in countries all around the globe, including the United States.

Activists and scholars fervently debate the definition of trafficking, moral distinctions that are often made between labor and sex work, various understandings of victimhood, and questions about the intent and success rate of “rescue operations.” In addition, there are complexities of migration to consider and debates about the relationship between forced labor and the global economy.

Join us for an evening of discussion and education. Scholars and activists working to end trafficking will discuss their strategies and positions. Hull-House history and Jane Addams’ relationship with the movement to end “white slavery” will be highlighted.

Panelists represent the following organizations:
Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation
The International Organization for Adolescents
National Immigrant Justice Center at the Heartland Alliance
Sex Workers Outreach Project Chicago

Kristin Davis May Run for Mayor if Spitzer Enters the Race

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
25 March 2011
press@manhattanmadam.com
Contact: 917-791-0445

EX-MADAM WILL RUN FOR MAYOR IF SPITZER THROWS HIS BLACK SOCKS IN THE RING

To mark the third anniversary of her arrest Ex-Madam Kristin Davis who supplied high priced call girls for former Governor Eliot Spitzer said she will jump in the 2013 New York City Mayor’s Race if the former Governor, now a CNN talk show host makes a bid.

Davis filed 18,000 signatures to get on the ballot last year, participated in the televised debate between Democrat Andrew Cuomo and Republican Carl Paladino last year and got nearly 30,000 votes in the race for Governor running on a libertarian platform.

“If Spitzer throws his black socks in the ring I may have to throw in my lacy brassiere” said Davis who once ran the most successful high end escort service in US history.

“I had pretty much decided to focus on the sex trafficking issue and not to run for public office again,” said Davis. “I am working to take the GOLD program, put forward by an advocacy group in Miami to combat sex trafficking nationwide.” Davis kicked off Hope House, a New York based non profit to fight the conscription of women into prostitution last month.

“The women who worked for me chose to be sex workers,” said Davis. “80% of the women working as escorts are doing so against their will,” said Davis. “Until prostitution is decriminalized we must provide an escape from this life for thousands of young women”.

“Running for Governor was great fun and very educational but I decided to pursue advocacy activity and some entrepreneurial efforts in legal industries,” said the ex Hedge Fund Vice president. “The one thing that could probably get me off the bench is a Mayor candidacy by Eliot Spitzer. I’d have to look at it. The opportunity to expose the inequality in our Justice system may be too great”.

Jill Brenneman Interviewed by Maggie McNeill

Regular readers of Bound, Not Gagged need no introduction to Jill Brenneman, a regular contributor to this blog with a unique perspective on sex worker rights.  You see, Jill is what many prohibitionists like to claim we all are:  a woman who was forced into prostitution in her teens by a brutal pimp.  But though she participated in the prohibitionist movement herself for several years (and really, who could blame her?) she was open-minded enough to see the truth and reason in the arguments for decriminalization and intellectually honest enough to be repulsed by the lies and misrepresentation rampant among the prohibitionists.  She thus became an outspoken advocate for sex worker rights, and the one person whose opinion on the “sex trafficking” issue I most respect.

After Jill commented extensively on my February 7th column Amanda Brooks suggested I interview her, and I thought that was a fantastic idea so I contacted Jill and she generously agreed.  The interview was conducted mostly via email on February 11th-13th and completed by telephone on the 13th, and though Jill suggested I edit it down I have done this as little as possible because I wanted her to be free to tell her story in her own words.  Jill has read over the completed interview twice and has approved it for presentation in The Honest Courtesan in four parts, from February 21st to February 24th.  I feel I must warn you that it is not light reading; the first two parts are the most graphic, disturbing narrative I have yet published or am likely to publish again, and I must caution sensitive readers to consider carefully before proceeding.  The interview is quite long, but Jill and I both feel that it’s important to show the ugly side of the world of prostitution as well as its attractive side; our opponents are liars, but we are not.  If we hide facts which might make us look bad we are no better than the prohibitionists, and the suppressed information would then become a weapon in their hands.  The truth shines light into dark places inhabited by filth who exploit women and Jill understands, as we hope most people will one day, that only decriminalization will grant free whores the power to help the law to uncover these monsters and liberate the girls they victimize.

Sex Workers WANT to Stop Traffficking

UN goodwill ambassador on trafficking not ambassadorial

David Henry Sterry has interviewed me about my run-in with Mira Sorvino in Egypt in the Huffington Post – aimed at US audiences. Trafficking campaigners publish continuously in the HP, so this is a small good thing.

A Conversation With the Naked Anthropologist About Sex Trafficking

No one seems to oversee the behaviour of these UN goodwill ambassadors at all. Sorvino’s goodwill ambassador for trafficking for UNODC – drugs and crime – and both her present and ex-bosses were present in Egypt when she behaved like this, so perhaps they are simply glad to be associated with celebrities, no matter how they behave.

The BBC World Debate that was the cause of my being there was broadcast worldwide a few weekends ago. Eventually they will upload it to their website and I will advise.

Laura Agustín

The Naked Anthropologist

Sex Work Issues — SE Asia and China

Here are two videos I found today via Facebook. Compare and contrast:

http://www.lauraagustin.com/migrant-sex-workers-in-china-massage-parlours-hair-salons-hotel-rooms (though this one is from 2007, the scene is still the same)

Child Sex Trafficking Victim in Prison

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

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

Adult Services Gone

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

Two articles:
briefly on CNET

slightly longer article

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

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

change.org petition for a verified adult industry provider section

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

please VOTE, TWEET, FACEBOOK!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking at the Schapiro Group “Scientific” Survey

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

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

Continue reading

CraigsList: Future Thinking

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

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

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

Continue reading

Singapore, the US, CraigsList, Sex Trafficking and WTF

(This was originally posted at SWOP-East’s blog here.)

Singapore is a tiny country in SE Asia one day ahead of the US. The US is a big country known the world over for many things. The two countries actually have an ongoing and amiable relationship. Their militaries, finance sectors and tourism are intertwined. Each country also has relationships with other countries, of course. It’s just one relationship among many for both countries.

The US is well-known for criminalizing prostitution nation-wide (the exceptions being the 30ish legal brothels in Nevada — not much of an exception). While prostitution itself is criminalized at the local and state levels, there are plenty of federal laws regarding prostitution: when the arrangements cross state lines, when a minor is involved, when money crosses state lines and a few variations on these themes.

Singapore has a more tolerant view of prostitution. It has a licensed red-light district (Geylang and a street in Chinatown) and local hotspots known for easy pickings if you’re looking for a sex worker. To be honest, the entire island is a prostitution hotspot. The predominant Chinese culture and other Asian cultures in Singapore all have a wide-open view of prostitution. Prostitution is ingrained in the male Asian culture. Singapore is not really a sex-tourism destination because it’s considered way too expensive. The vast majority of the business is supported by locals, not tourists. (Which is why the vast majority of the business occurs in non-tourist areas.) Recently it was discovered that online prostitution exists in Singapore too!

Continue reading

New York State Allows Trafficking Survivors to Vacate Prostitution Convictions

On June 15, 2010 the New York State senate passed a bill that, effective as soon as Governor Paterson signs it, enables survivors of human trafficking to vacate their convictions for prostitution-related offenses. This amendment to New York State Criminal Procedure Law grants those who were trafficked into commercial sex the opportunity to start over with a clean slate.

The Sex Workers Project (SWP) worked closely with Assembly Member Richard Gottfried to draft and introduce the bill in April 2009, which is also sponsored by Senator Thomas Duane. Supporters include the New York City Bar Association, the New York Anti-Trafficking Network, and Sex Workers Action New York.

The new legislation empowers survivors of trafficking by allowing them to move on with their lives, and function in society without the stigma of past exploitation. Survivors have a better chance of escaping re-victimization or further coercion when they do not have criminal records that often prevent them from obtaining work, getting stable housing, and adjusting their immigration status.

Who does this affect?

Over the past eight years the Sex Workers Project (SWP), a legal advocacy and services organization housed by the Urban Justice Center, has given legal assistance to many people who are in the sex industry by choice, circumstance, or coercion. As they assisted survivors of trafficking in accessing their rights and attaining safety, security, and a better future, it became clear that there was a need for a legal remedy that would allow survivors to move forward with their lives.

One client, “Carmen,” was trafficked from Mexico, and was beaten, abused and forced to do prostitution. She was arrested over 10 times during this nightmare, but her fear of the police made it impossible to inform law enforcement that she was being exploited by a third party. “Stacey” is a United States citizen who was trafficked into prostitution as a teen when she ran from an abusive home. She recovered with help from service providers, but has had trouble getting a job because of her prostitution conviction. As a result of the passage of the vacating prostitution convictions legislation, Carmen will no longer be blocked from immigration status because of her prostitution record, and Stacey will no longer have to inform potential employers of her record.

Why is this good?

People who are coerced into the sex industry and are then convicted of prostitution are handed a raw deal. In addition to being survivors of abuse and coercion, they saddled with lifelong stigma by the criminal justice system. With a prostitution conviction on their records, survivors of sex trafficking have a difficult time moving forward. This is not justice; it is harmful to survivors and can lead to re-victimization if they are unable to secure legal status in the United States and in the workforce.

The passage of this bill has shown us that it is possible for sex workers rights advocates to have their say, and that there are state legislators who will listen to our concerns. This gives us hope for changing a system that so often institutionalizes violence and discrimination against sex workers.

What’s next and what can I do about it?

If you live in New York State, this is a really great opportunity to make your Assembly and Senate representatives’ acquaintance. Send your representatives a letter (feel free to use the sample text below or write your own).

  • Find out who your Assembly member and Senator are here. Call or write to them to express your thanks!
  • To make it even easier, we’ve set up a form you can submit. Sign a “Thank you” petition on Change.org – which will automatically be sent to your representatives –  here.

There is, of course, more work to be done. There is another bill making its way through the legislature right now that, if passed, will stop police and prosecutors from using possession of condoms as evidence that people are engaging or intending to engage in prostitution. Right now in New York people who are profiled as prostitutes, very often trans women, often have their condoms confiscated as evidence of prostitution. In addition to thanking your representatives, you should urge them to support New York State Bill A10893/S01289A.

Sample letter:

Dear ______ ,

Thank you for voting in favor of New York State Bill A7670/S04429, which enables survivors of human trafficking to vacate their convictions for prostitution-related offenses.

I live in your district and I support the human rights of people who are in the sex industry by choice, circumstance, or coercion. The reasons a woman, transgender woman, man, or transgender man may enter and continue to be in the sex industry are complex and are often tied to economic instability and inequalities faced by women and LGBT people.

As you know, an advocate’s work is never done. Currently, bills A10893/S01289A are making their way through the legislature. If passed, this bill will stop police and prosecutors from using possession of condoms as evidence that people are engaging or intending to engage in prostitution. This practice affects public health initiatives promoting condom use and distributing condoms to at-risk populations. Please support this bill and remove the fear of carrying condoms among our most vulnerable populations.

Sincerely,

NAME

Address

I’m not a New Yorker. How can I advocate against harmful policies in my state?

Ask most people about government and they tend to talk about their federal representatives, the White House, or maybe their Mayor. But the state government may have the most significant impacts on our daily lives, particularly in the realm of criminal justice. Although the process from bill to law varies widely state to state, there are some common strategies sex worker advocates can take.

  • Familiarize yourself with the current laws that affect sex workers.
    • Criminal Law– find out what crimes sex workers are arrested and convicted for – it could include prostitution, solicitation, loitering, or others. Talk to sex workers in your community who have been arrested and ask them about their experiences with the law.
    • Civil Law – find out if sex workers can be evicted from their homes, denied custody of their children, or lose their jobs.
    • Exotic dancers, pro-dommes, porn actors, and others – Find out if there are laws that discriminate against these workers.
    • Ask a friendly lawyer for help!
  • Look for current bills that make changes to these laws – for better or worse. Try a search on your state’s legislative webpage for key words like “prostitution.”
  • Make allies – research local organizations that may be allied with your goals. Try LGBT orgs, public health orgs, harm reduction orgs, civil rights orgs. These organizations may have legislative advocacy staff that can help you get oriented.
  • Develop your platform. Think small – look for concrete objectives that can be accomplished with adjustments to the law. Any of these New York bills could be used as “model legislation” to make similar changes in your state. Your platform may include opposing bad bills that increase penalties for sex work.
  • Research your local representatives. Identify potential allies and opposition to sex workers rights.
  • Write, call, and meet with your legislator once you have a clear ask (“I would like to ask for your support on bill XXXXX” or “I have an idea for a piece of legislation that would accomplish…”). Assume they know nothing about sex work and may be surprised to hear from a sex worker/ally constituent.
  • Register to vote, and vote in local elections!

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!”

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