The Week in Links

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.



Bangladeshi sex workers form a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club (Photo by Sony Ramany, via

Bangladeshi sex workers form a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club (Photo by Sony Ramany, via

The prostitution crackdown in the Guangdong Province of China will continue; 363 suspects have already been detained.

Strange news out of San Francisco last week as the faith-based sex workers’ outreach Solace SF was closed under allegations of fraud against founder Laura Lasky.

Canadian sex worker Celine Bisette acknowledges that Canada has done a terrific job asking the community at large how to re-write sex work laws and a terrible job asking actual sex workers how to re-write sex work laws.

This shouldn’t be a world first, but it is: a New Zealand sex worker has won a landmark sexual harassment case against her former employer, a Wellington brothel owner.

What’s not to love about Janet Mock? This is the woman that stuck it to the first tuberous vegetable to host a cable news show – Piers Morgan – in the most epic way possible. Here, Dr. Brooke Magnanti interviews Mock, amongst other things, about her sensationalized past as a sex worker.

Some Spanish feminists are pissed off about the Asociación de Profesionales del Sexo “intro to prostitution” class, offered in response to the growing number of women turning to sex work in Spain’s economic crisis. Of course, leaving inexperienced sex workers without the skills to manage the risks of their job is obviously the feminist solution.

In honor of International Sex Workers’ Rights Day this week, sex workers in Bangladesh formed a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club on Monday to realize their demands.

Contribute to this indiegogo campaign to send two members of SWOP-Phoenix and the Best Practices Policy Project to Geneva to educate the U.N. about human rights violations perpetrated by Arizona State University diversion program Project ROSE and the Phoenix police and the framing of sex workers’ rights activist Monica Jones for “manifestation of prostitution.”



Terra Barrow, Philadelphia police officer and former phone sex operator (photo via nbcphiladelphia,com)

Terra Barrow, Philadelphia police officer and former phone sex operator (photo via nbcphiladelphia,com)

Here’s another reason to not want to get out of bed in the morning—this Wednesday, the EU’s parliament voted in favor of criminalizing the purchase of sex.

Instead of following the hype about the “Duke University Porn Star”, why don’t you skip the crap and read what she has to say (in xojane, weirdly enough, which is redeeming itself for about a zillion offensive It Happened to Me pieces by giving her a venue.)

There’s no reason the GOP should be discouraged from convening the 2015 Republican Convention in Nevada by legalized prostitution, states Jeremy Lemur, a spokesman for The Resort at Sheri’s Ranch, a legal brothel in Pahrump. Lemur assured convention goers in a blog post that brothel workers could be trusted to keep secrets, and besides, they’re voters, too.

God, we just don’t even know what to make of this story: A  recently created website accused Philadelphia police officer Terra Barrows of running a phone sex business. The thing is, Philadelphia’s finest already knew about Barrow’s old side-job—in 2011, Internal Affairs’ Police Board of Inquiry chose not to punish Barrow based on a competing phone sex operator’s allegations about her moonlighting because phone sex is not “specifically enumerated as prohibited outside employment.” Though now, the Philadelphia Police Commissioner is rushing to close that loophole, since “[t]here are certain types of jobs that are just inappropriate for a police officer.” Barrow states that she got into phone sex to support her ailing father, and that she never portrayed herself as a police officer or revealed her real name while working the lines. Oh, and the reason competing PSO Donna Burns ratted on Barrow to Internal Affairs? She says the cop stole her site designs and her client database and bullied her and other competitiors by telling them she was a police officer working in Homeland Security.

Tits and Sass co-editor Caty Simon gives her take on Heather Lewis’ Notice, an autobiographical novel about a street working trauma survivor, at Emily Books.

Elle Stranger lets readers of Portland’s Thrillist know about eighteen ways to make a stripper furious. An anonymous dancer echoes Stranger’s advice to tip if you’re at the rack in the Portland Mercury, reddit reading fedora wearing comment writers are outraged in response to the very suggestion that they should be compensating people for their labor, and no one is surprised.



Chinese activist Lanlan at ICAAP 2013 in Bangkok, with Gisa Dang of Asia Catalyst interpreting

Chinese activist Lanlan at ICAAP 2013 in Bangkok, with Gisa Dang of Asia Catalyst interpreting

After the state aired a documentary on a so-called “sin city” in China, exposing the prevalence of sex work (amongst other things), support for damaging anti-vice campaigns is growing. Support for the legalization of sex work in China is also growing.

Oh, COME ON, Canada! Just ask sex workers what the best way to re-write prostitution laws is, because the stupid survey you’re offering isn’t cutting it . This survey is much better and PLEASE, PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR ANSWERS.

In more Canada news, suspended Conservative senator Patrick Brazeau is working as a day shift manager at an Ottowa strip club. He’s also known as the man who lost a charity boxing match to Justin Trudeau.

That awkward moment when the founder of an anti-trafficking organization is accused of rape, then flees the country.

This promotional video for a Sochi resort hotel includes a clip filmed in the on-premises strip club. We’ve queued it up for you.



RIP London sex worker Maria Duque-Tanjano (photo by Scotland Yard, via the Metro)

RIP London sex worker Maria Duque-Tanjano (photo courtesy of Scotland Yard, via the Metro)

Trafficking survivor Jes Richardson offers a concise, helpful critique of most ‘rescue’ operations: “When someone is rescued the power, strength, courage, and control is placed in the hands of the rescuers, rather than empowering the person being rescued.”

Here are a few “no duh” sex tips from sex worker Siouxsie Q.

This guy read Melissa Gira Grant’s new book and now he gets it: sex work is labor, period.

Also, Melissa’s first interview for that book, Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work, came out in NY Magazine. But don’t worry, she promises her interview with us will be much juicier.

Police in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan reacted to a nationally televised exposé about local sex work with raids on February 9th against 2,000 entertainment venues and the arrests of more than 60 people…with the unintended consequence of opening up a nation wide debate about legalization of the industry.

Northern Ireland’s justice committee met a real, live sex worker and it looked and felt a bit like The Crucible.

There only seems to one growth industry in the communities surrounding Zimbabwe’s diamond mines: sex work. Unfortunately, even some children have entered this market, as a means to elevate their families out of poverty.

Somebody is killing sex workers in Kenya and they have very few people to turn to for help and protection. And this isn’t the first time it’s happened.

Police in Sonoma County are rethinking the way they handle sex crimes by—you guessed it—focusing on clients.  A decoy named “Amber” was used instead of a the traditional model of a police officer posing as a john. Gee, the trial sting they ran seemed awfully similar to a legitimate prostitution ring. HMMM. The first commenter hits the nail on the head: “‘Amber’ was not a victim of human trafficking. ‘She’ was a male cop. I think police should focus on helping actual human trafficking victims rather than creating opportunities for men to commit the world’s oldest crime.”

Paris Lees says what we wish we all could say to concern trollers, in response to some of the letters she got on her Vice piece last week about escorting to get through school: “Speaking from personal experience…I doubt any sex worker appreciates your disapproval hard-on—so why don’t you just take it, like any decent whore, and shove it up your ass?”

A manhunt has been launched in London to find Robert Richard Fraser, connected to the murder of one local sex worker, Maria Duque-Tanjano, and the attack of another.

Hey, Upworthy, pick a side. First you feature videos by industry abolitionists about how all migrant sex workers are duped trafficking victims, and then you post this video by Red Light District Chicago on how, as we all know, sex workers are best positioned to stop trafficking? As the sex workers in this video state themselves: “Conflating consensual sex work and sex trafficking is a disservice to both sex trafficking victims and sex workers.”