The Week in Links

Monica Jones addresses a crowd of her supporters before her court date today: "Because you walk a certain way, because you look a certain way they can arrest you for manifestation...We will not tolerate the profiling of trans women of color." (Photo via SWOP-Phoenix's twitter account)

Monica Jones addresses a crowd of her supporters before her court date today: “Because you walk a certain way, because you look a certain way they can arrest you for manifestation…We will not tolerate the profiling of trans women of color.” (Photo via SWOP-Phoenix’s twitter account)

Monica Jones’ latest court date is today. Jones, an Arizona State University student, was targeted for arrest after she attended a SWOP-Phoenix protest against an oppressive diversion program, Project ROSE, backed by her own social work program. She was set up on charges of “manifesting prostitution”, but the ACLU constitutionally challenged her case at her last court date on March  14th. Check out SWOP-Phoenix’s twitter feed throughout the day to follow events, and view this Tits and Sass interview with Monica, as well as this interview with SWOP Phoenix activist Jaclyn Moskal-Dairman, to get more background on her case. Read up on more positive social work interventions with student sex workers in this piece we posted earlier this afternoon. UPDATE: At 4:30 PM, SWOP-Phoenix tweeted, “Judge unjustly rules Monica guilty. The fight for trans and sex worker rights continues.” Monica stated, “I’m facing 30 days in jail, this shows how unjust the justice system is. Because I was out there walkingThe only thing that needs to be changed is the system. If they come for me in the morning they’re coming for you in at nightAs an African American and as a woman, the justice system has failed me.”

The Somaly Mam Foundation has launched an independent investigation into claims that Mam lied abouut sex trafficking. Allegations that Mam lied about her own experiences and coached others to lie about theirs have dogged the Foundation for a couple of years.

Ruth Jacobs on the All-Party Parliamentary Group’s report on sex work entitled “Shifting the Burden”: the Swedish model is a failure, the Merseyside model is not, criminalizing client will not prevent human trafficking. She draws from from her own experiences: “Women in the sex trade who are injecting drug users are the worst hit by their sex purchase ban. No harm reduction (condoms, lubrication etc.) for sex workers or drug users (needle exchanges) is provided in Sweden as it is erroneously believed to encourage sex work and drug use. That was me, an intravenous drug user who sold sex, and I am the same person I was back then and I am the same as other women selling sex and shooting up their drugs, and I will fight for those women. They matter to me, and they should matter to every person who cares about human rights and every person who claims they want to end violence against women. And if you don’t care about the women in the sex trade like me who shoot up drugs, if you care at all about human rights and are against violence against women, then you should be against the Swedish model, which is violence against women.” [READ MORE]

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Claudette, Swiss intersex sex worker and grandfather, immortalized by Malika Gaudin Delrieu's photography: "I have the sex of the angels, why would I be ashamed of it?" (Photo by Malika Gaudin Delrieu via the Huffington Post)

Claudette, Swiss intersex sex worker and grandfather, immortalized by Malika Gaudin Delrieu’s photography: “I have the sex of the angels, why would I be ashamed of it?” (Photo by Malika Gaudin Delrieu via the Huffington Post)

Amnesty International will be debating their policy on sex work this weekend at their annual meeting in Chicago. (You can sign this petition supporting an Amnesty policy change in favor of decriminalization here.) Unfortunately, the only article we could find on the event is littered with quotes like this one: “ “Virtually all people who prostitute themselves were first prostituted as children…,” [Illinois Attorney General Lisa] Madigan said.” Hmm, wanna cite a source for that, Ms. Attorney General?

Katha Pollitt takes vengeance on our friend Melissa Gira Grant for daring to criticize her valorization of Lean In feminism by lambasting Grant’s new book, asking, “Why Do So Many Leftists Want Sex Work To Be The New Normal?” Maybe because they’re actually listening to us sex workers? (And there aren’t quite so many of them—as far as we’re aware, sex work is still criminalized in the U.S.) Pollitt also managed to very mistakenly characterize Tara Burns’ piece for The New Inquiry as the work of someone too privileged to speak for “the women at the heart of this debate: those who are enslaved and coerced—illegal immigrants, young girls, runaways and throwaways.”

Speaking of Melissa, this subtly whorephobic Telegraph interviewer sure is frightened of her: “Melissa Gira Grant can be quite scary…her fist strikes the table. Every interviewer she has spoken to…has asked her how she became a sex worker—and she’s angry about it. ‘Why do you want to know?” she demands, blue eyes icy with rage. “Why is this important to you?’ ” Those ex-sex workers demanding their right to privacy—they’re terrifying!

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is spending $398,213 on a project studying whether paying male Mexican sex workers for being free of sexually transmitted diseases will increase condom use. Ummm, the results of this research are pretty inevitable, aren’t they?

HuffPo profiled photographer Malika Gaudin Delrieu’s work on Claudette, proud intersex sex worker and senior citizen.

Vice Magazine made us roll our eyes with a piece entitled “Young Native Girls Are Being Sacrificed To The Canadian Sex Trade.” Mmmm, smells like white savior complex. Noticeably absent are quotes from Indigenous sex workers’ rights activists like Naomi Sayers or Jessica Danforth.

Today is the last day to take this Red Umbrella Fund survey on funding for sex worker organizations. The RUF plans to use the survey’s results to advocate for more and better funding opportunities for sex workers’ groups and networks.

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The Devil's Auction, J. Gurney & Son (studio), part of the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs

The Devil’s Auction, J. Gurney & Son (studio), part of the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs

The Ohio State University has made a slew of classic images from the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance From Burlesque to Clubs available online. Let us take inspiration for future outfits from it.

Bad boys! Whatcha gon, whatcha gon, whatcha gon do? That awkward moment when the chief of police gets arrested for soliciting a prostitute.

Strip club regulations are so weird. San Diego police raided a strip club to check for “business permits and work cards.” The raid concludes with police officers taking invasive photographs of the dancers. So, what are the dancers going to do? They’re going to sue their asses, that’s what. And a second club has come forward to complain about the SPD’s tactics.

Tits and Sass contributor Tara Burns helps New Inquiry readers figure out if they’ve been sex trafficked in this handy dandy quiz.  So glad we can further simplify the choice/coercion dichotomy in time for April 1st!

Ex-call girl/madam Maggie Mcneill eviscerates the Urban Institute “study” on prostitution in the Washington Post: “Lies, Damned Lies, And Sex Work Statistics.”

People Magazine profiles Rajib Boy, a Kolkatan sex worker’s son selected to participate in a Manchester United soccer training camp in England: “I am not ashamed of being a sex worker’s son…[My mother] is my main source of inspiration.” The article goes into how Indian sex workers’ rights organization Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee coaches local Kolkatan children and holds a soccer tournament every two years with children participating from over fifty different red light districts around the country.

A former basketball coach accused of sex trafficking was freed after a month in jail because prosecutors concluded he had been entrapped by police. Gee, some of us wish we had that defense available to us when we were arrested by undercover cops posing as clients!

Wah wah. Honolulu police can’t have sex with prostitutes anymore after all.

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Belle Kmox

Haters gonna hate. Belle Knox, via her Tumblr.

The 58th meeting of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women took place in New York over the last two weeks, and on Wednesday hosted a sex work panel, “Sex Work is Work: Making the case for the promotion of health and economic rights of sex workers.” It was sponsored by the American Jewish World Service (which published this pamphlet on sex workers’ rights last year), the Urgent Action Fund for Women, and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.

It seems the recent outing of Duke student Belle Knox has revealed that porn workers are REAL PEOPLE, just like you and me! They come from a variety of backgrounds and have mixed feelings about their work, just like you and me! Knox has taken this whole ordeal in stride, appearing in front of America’s panel of Certified Pearl Clutchers—the ladies of  The View. She wrote this column for XOJane, in which she opines that, yes, one can be a sex worker, a kinkster AND a feminist.  And now other porn performers are talking, too: talking about how hard it is to talk about working in porn.

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Monica Jones stands to thank her supporters around the country. (Photo via Janet Mock's and SWOP-Phoenix's twitter accounts)

Monica Jones stands to thank her supporters around the country. (Photo via Janet Mock’s and SWOP-Phoenix’s twitter accounts)

Sex workers’ rights activist and social work student Monica Jones was due to defend herself in court today after cops set her up on charges of “manifesting prostitution” when they targeted her for attending a SWOP-Phoenix protest against oppressive Arizona State University social work school diversion program Project ROSE. However, the trial was postponed until April 11th due to a constitutional challenge brought by the ACLU. Dozens of Monica’s supporters packed the courtroom, and Monica stated, “We will be back with twice as many people.” Read more about the story in Melissa Gira Grant’s RH Reality Check piece or this Truth Out piece,or watch this MSNBC interview with Monica. Of course, you could always look back on Tits and Sass’ own interview with Monica, and our interview with SWOP-Phoenix member Jaclyn Moskal-Dairman about Project ROSE. We stand with Monica Jones!

The media collectively wrung its hands all week over Belle Knox, the Duke University Porn Star. Responses ranged from columnists tut-tutting over the “troubled young woman” to outright whorephobia. Then of course there were the oh-so-sensitive pieces about her family’s response to her outting, e.g., “Welcome home, daddy, I’m a porn star!”

Stoya tells the New York Times that there’s a lot people can learn about privacy from porn performers: “Maybe it would be easier to navigate the dissolving boundaries between public and private spaces if we all had a variety of names with which to signal the aspects of ourselves currently on display.”

Then the New York Times lost any brownie points it earned with us via Stoya’s op-ed by running a long piece on a Justice Department study on the sex industry that used to word “pimp” repeatedly, compared sex work to cancer, and claimed that $150 an hour is “the common going rate for prostitution.”

Indian sex worker activists asked candidates for all forty-two seats in the upcoming elections to agree to their demands for sex work to be listed in the labor department’s list of professions, for offending sections of the Anti-Trafficking Act to be abolished, and for the government to recognize an autonomous board of sex workers. Otherwise, sixty-five thousand registered Indian sex workers will not be voting for them.

Ten officers with guns and bulletproof vests raided San Diego strip club Cheetahs in quite a show of force for a routine permits check. They took photographs of all the dancers, even going so far as to take a photo of each of their tattoos, leaving the club workers feeling violated.

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