The Week in Links

Viktoria (2014)

Viktoria (2014)

Viktoria, a new film about migrant sex workers in Switzerland, is out now in that country.  Switzerland attracts sex workers from Hungary, although prejudices against the Roma—a group many of the migrants belong to—color their reception.

Jordan Flaherty, interviewed on this site about his reporting on Project ROSE, has a new story out about how Alaska’s sex trafficking laws are used against those they ostensibly protect: “Some of them appear to be charged with trafficking themselves.” The accompanying television segment is here.

The Canadian take on the End Demand/Swedish model, C-36,  passed in the Senate on Tuesday despite testimony from Canadian sex workers that it would only endanger them further.  It is now one step away from becoming law.

In the UK, the amendment to the Modern Slavery Bill which would have implemented the End Demand model was defeated, bringing UK sex workers closer to decriminalization.

Kate McGrew, the sex worker contestant on Irish reality show Connected, says she is not a prostitute, she’s a sex worker, and pointed out the stigma attached to the word “prostitute” as well as the negative repercussions of the Turn Off the Red Light campaign, which seeks to implement the Swedish model in Northern Ireland.

After hearing horror stories from disabled clients, Trish St. John began Sensual Solutions, a Vancouver escort agency that works with disabled people.

Here’s yet another lawsuit over the employee rights’ of strippers has hit, this time involving the Queens, New York club Scandals. [READ MORE]

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Trick or treat, smell my feet! Then pay me for the privilege.

Trick or treat, smell my feet! Then pay me for the privilege.

Darren Vann, the man accused of targeting sex workers and killing seven women in Indiana, says he messed up by killing his last victim, Afrikka Hardy in Hammond instead of Gary. (True remorse.) S.E. Smith asks how a convicted sex offender was able to murder at least seven women over the past few decades. Gary Ridgeway could answer that for her. And our own Tits and Sass contributor, Peechington Marie, explains how Vann’s sex worker victims are stigmatized and erased by the media because they don’t fit the good victim profile on the Ebony Magazine site.

Olga Galkina, a St. Petersburg lawmaker, has drafted a bill that would give clients a choice between fines or arrest if they’re caught seeing sex workers, with the fines and jail time increasing if they know the person was forced into sex work, and best of all, an option that would forgive and forget the infraction if the client marries the sex worker.  Galkina says that she favors legalization of prostitution and is using this bill to start a public conversation on the issue.

File this one under Civilians Being Obnoxious Idiots About Sex Work: two former New School students have started the world’s first “poetry brothel,” where:

….writers could present their work in a more vibrant, visceral setting. They would dress up, invent alter egos, and sell not their bodies but their poems.

A 19-yearr-old Chinese backpacker is looking for generous “temporary boyfriends” to fund her travels: they pay for her trips to their cities and her expenses while there and in return “they get a whole night with me, my undivided attention, and a chance to show themselves off in the company of a truly beautiful girl.”  Haters say if she was getting cash rather than a trip we would all know what to call her, but I think we already do: thrifty.

A former police officer who abused his power in order to force sex workers to have sex with him has been sentenced to 25 years in jail.

Strippers at Sapphire Gentleman’s Club is Las Vegas won  legal recognition of their employee status on Thursday, and the case is now back in the District Court to decide how much the approximately 6,500 dancers who work there are owed.

Siouxsie Q. talks about Facebook’s short lived legal name policy and the reality that pseudonyms keep us safe.

CNN goes inside the world of a feminist stripper and hears that “it’s hot and empowering.” Sex workers the world over who’ve been trying to break free of that word cringe in unison.

In the wake of her rebirth and the creation of her new anti-trafficking organization Somaly Mam breaks her silence to defend herself. Some things are too good to last. [READ MORE]

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Courtney Love tweets about the strip club bet which marks her reconciliation with Dave Grohl. (Screencap of Courtney Love’s twitter feed.)

As of this posting,  Tits and Sass contributor Peechington Marie’s fundraiser to allay funeral costs for the families of young murdered Black strippers Tjisha Ball and Angelia Mangum is closing in two hours. Contribute and make those two hours count!

Courtney Love and Dave Grohl buried the hatchet and made a bet about who could get the most strippers at Scores.  (A source reports that Grohl is an excellent tipper!) Though Love left early, she’s not letting the bet go.  She can have me for free.

Mixed martial arts fighter and noted batterer of women War Machine (Jonathan Koppenhaver) hung himself with his bed sheet in jail and…survived.

Belle Knox has nothing but high praise for the Law and Order: SVU episode that borrows her story.

A new city ordinance in Oakland allows the city to evict people suspected of being sex workers, and requires their landlords do the same.

In fact—when it comes to sex work, at least—a tenant does not need to have committed any crime to be evicted for that crime. “The crime solicited need not actually be committed for solicitation to occur,” the amended bill now reads.

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 aswopchicagostylebook2Help Tits and Sass contributor Peechington Marie’s fundraiser to offset funeral costs for murdered young Black strippers Tjisha Ball and Angelia Mangum meet its goal in its final week.

The Daily Dot covers an online campaign to have the AP style book replace “prostitute” with “sex worker.” Want more on this? You’re in luck, as Tits and Sass will be running a series on sex worker nomenclature, including posts debating the merits of “prostitute” vs. “sex worker.”

Monica Jones is still fighting her case in court over a year after being arrested and funneled into her own school’s diversion program, but the flaws in Project ROSE are becoming more apparent and more public.

Government officials and social workers need to come to terms with the fact that the victim/criminal binary simply doesn’t fit the majority of underage sex workers, points out Elizabeth Nolan Brown.

There are more male sex workers in England than the government thinks!  Which is not surprising as government stats have a male sex worker population of 0.

Another Christian anti-trafficking organization is using sex workers as labor for their tacky little products, and the products as a metaphor for the reformed sex workers’ transformation from something no one wants into something beautiful.  Such empathy!  Wow.

The Daily Mail appears to be having a slow news week, as Amanda Goff hugging a football player she ran into at brunch was judged newsworthy. (Amanda Goff made headlines earlier this year after outing herself and writing a book about her work as an escort, to much handwringing over the psychic damage this revelation will do to her children).

Trans sex workers in Pattaya, Thailand are being targeted by the police as part of an across-the-board morality drive:

Officials in Pattaya say they need to be seen to be doing something to scrub up the city’s reputation before the army is tempted to intervene in ways which local officials say might be bad for business.

More on the five year study that resulted in its researchers having the revelation, “Sex workers! they’re a lot like us!” Still, as fatuous as that comment was, the study is a nice respite in a week dominated by anti-trafficking organizations: its findings show that most sex workers are not coerced.

Backing this up is yet another report from Operation North Star: police officers in Regina also found that sex workers were working because they wanted to (despite the police interviewers’ apparent inability to accept that fact.) Guess it’s just that hard to accept an escort’s word at face value.
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(Screenshot of Association of Club Executives newsletter.)

Mayang Prasetyo, a trans woman sex worker, was killed by her boyfriend in Australia (trigger warning: article describes a brutal, perverse murder).  The Courier Mail used some unconscionably unfeeling headlines in relating the murder, and is being called on it.

Oregon lobbyists are working with strippers and social workers to come up with legislation that will offer protections to strippers, reinforcing their labor rights given that, in Oregon as in so many other places, strippers are illegally classified as independent contractors. Mary Emily O’Hara notes:

Though the panel won’t finalize the bill until later in the year, everyone seemed to agree on one thing: if you’re going to work as a stripper, some sort of basic education that clarifies rules around touching, employee status, and other workplace protections is desperately needed.

The Association of Club Executives was way less than thrilled by O’Hara’s article, as you can see from the screen shot above, taken from their newsletter. “Empowerment Enterprises”! That’s some beautiful cheek.

The Cambodian government is also proposing to enforce the labor rights of workers in entertainment venues, including sex workers.

A recent study of sex workers over 40 in India found their circumstances to be very distressed, often exacerbated by the Devadesi system.

Another sex worker is on reality tv: Former stripper Courtney Lapresi is on Master Chef, and the response to this from contestants and critics has been even more negative than Irish response to sex worker Kate McGrew on Connected. Naysayers theorize that Lapresi might exchange sexual favors in exchange for winning. As Esmerelda Murray reports, Lapresi herself is framing stripping as an embarrassing and regrettable decision she made while she was broke.  What’s embarrassing and regrettable is that, after making it on to a cooking show, she felt she had anything in her past to apologize for. Badly done, Master Chef.

Several cases of male violence after rejection made the news this week, only one involving a sex worker (progress?): An English sex worker was attacked on the outskirts of Manchester after attempting to keep walking and ignore a man who wanted her attention.

A days-long trafficking investigation/sting across Canada, which interviewed over 300 sex workers, resulted in 9 arrests, although police in Edmonton, for example insist that they got a very guarded feel from many of the women.  You don’t say.

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