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The Week In Links—April 11

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.”

The Week In Links—June 28th

Deeply ironic image of a protester on her way into the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality in Ireland to debate the criminalization of payment for sex. (Photo by Eric Luke/The Irish Times)
Deeply ironic image of a protester on her way into the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality in Ireland to debate the criminalization of payment for sex. (Photo by Eric Luke/The Irish Times)

Registration for the Desiree Alliance Conference is still open with hotel room discounts until July 7th.

Tensions over escorting simmer in rural Australian towns, where touring sex workers follow the market that transient miners create, even after the Queensland Supreme Court upheld a ruling that allows hotel owners to refuse accommodations to sex workers.

Beijing police rejected the ruling of a Guangdong court in southern China stating that “happy ending” massages are legal.

Kenyan activists have raised the alarm over increasing attacks targeting gay men, male sex workers and transgender women after three brutal assaults, all within the span of several weeks.

Scotland’s bill to criminalize clients of sex workers seems to have failed. No official coverage on that yet, but MSP Rhoda Grant, the proposed law’s main backer, issued a statement on her web site today about how disappointed she was, which was then taken down. Diligent sex workers’ rights activists kept screenshots, however. [Update—Scottish sex workers’ rights org SCOT-PEP issued a press release announcing the defeat of Grant’s bill.-ed.]

Ireland will pay several hundred former residents of Catholic-run Magdalene laundries at least 34.5 million euros ($45 million) to compensate them for years of unpaid labor and human rights abuses, the government announced Wednesday, following a decade-long campaign by laundry survivors.

Meanwhile, The Irish Times reports that a law criminalizing payment for sex has been recommended by the Oireachtas Committee on Justice. Tellingly, the article quotes a representative of Ruhama, one of the organizations behind the Magdalene Laundries, in which countless sex workers were incarcerated and abused, as being in favor of the bill.

Apparently, “rescuing” sex workers against their will is something honeymooning couples can enjoy together now.

Courtney Trouble, progressive porn maker extraordinaire, asked quirky indie actress Ellen Page what she thought of feminist porn, and she responded with a rousing endorsement. We personally have always wanted Ellen Page’s approval.

The Week In Links–May 3rd

Albert Yau from the org Midnight Blue joins a May Day rally in Hong Kong to promote the rights of male sex workers. (photo by Ernest Kao)
Albert Yau from the org Midnight Blue joins a May Day rally in Hong Kong to promote the rights of male sex workers. (photo by Ernest Kao)

Sex workers from Kolkata took to the streets for May Day, demanding legalization and changes to the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act. Mexican sex workers also held a march in Mexico City.

Several prominent sex worker organisations have been denied permission to intervene in the Supreme Court Bedford v. Canada appeal on June 13th. In a press statement from Maggie’s, Stella and POWER, Canadian sex worker coalition spokesperson and Stella director Émilie Laliberté  stated that “The Supreme Court of Canada’s unwillingness to take the voices and perspectives of sex workers into account — in a hearing on laws with a major impact on their safety and dignity — is incomprehensible to us.”

A MSNBC op ed piece illustrates the Obama administration’s folly in defending the PEPFAR anti-prostitution pledge before the Supreme Court by profiling the reduction in HIV rates one Nairobi clinic created by offering sex workers free STD treatment and condoms and encouraging them to unite to enforce condom use with their clients. Meanwhile, NGOs anxiously await the Court’s ruling on whether to abolish the pledge on 1st Amendment grounds.

In this month’s installment of white-slavery hysteria, an 18 year old Colorado woman reported missing in February has been found living unharmed in California, but family members are continuing to claim that she has been coerced into sex work. Although police who interviewed Ms Furlong have stated that she is living in Venice Beach of her own free-will, her parents remain convinced that she is a “a scared victim of trafficking,” and have requested police assistance to return her to Colorado. These concerns have been backed by the National Women’s Coalition Against Violence & Exploitation, who argue that trafficking victims are often “coerced to believe their families are bad”.  Ms Furlong herself has stated that “everybody can leave me alone because I’ve been fine and I am fine.” Here’s hoping everybody does just that.

The Week in Links: March 9

The third chapter of the Valencia film (based on Michelle Tea’s 2000 memoir) is now in post-production, and the filmmakers are asking for donations to help them complete the project. We’re especially excited to see this chapter of the film hit the screen—not only does it cover Michelle’s return to sex work, it stars Tits and Sass’s very own Kat!

We highly recommend this piece from The Nation that talks about the sex trade in Thailand and the damage done by conflating consensual sex work with human trafficking.

We also highly recommend you check out this girl shaking her ass to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

Vince Neil of Motley Crue announced that he’ll be opening a new strip club in Vegas in about two weeks. The club is Neil’s “dream come true,” he says, and will feature “edgier” dancers with more tattoos, and rock’n’roll rather than “that house, generic strip club music.” The club will be called Girls, Girls, Girls, just like the Motley Crue hit that readers named the “best stripper anthem of all time.”

A Los Angeles city ordinance mandating condoms in porn took effect this week. Some people predict the industry will relocate  to Nevada as a consequence. Though the porn community nearly unanimously disproves of the new law, Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, explains why he supports it.

Meanwhile, sex work advocates in New York City are fighting for the right to carry condoms without possession of them being used to justify arrest.

An Edmonton police sergeant is investigating the unsolved murders of “at least 30 women,” many of them sex workers, and the disappearance of several dozen more. Some of the bodies were discovered as early as the 1970s, and police believe a serial killer may be responsible.

The Week In Links—March 14

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.