The Week in Links

Cards handed out by the MPD in Washington, D.C.

Cards handed out by the MPD in Washington, DC

In Washington, D.C., police make an effort to make sure sex workers know that condoms (in whatever quantity) are not admissible evidence.

The Network of Sex Work Projects has put together a short film about the damage anti-sex work anti-traffickers do: Collateral Damage: Sex Workers and the Anti-Trafficking Campaigns.

Very bad news about Jill Brenneman’s health problems; there’s a fundraiser up to help her.

Sex workers in the Dolly district of Surabaya, Indonesia, protested the mayor’s efforts to push them out to the very last day, whether they left sex work or left Surabaya:

Authorities are offering each of the estimated 1,400 prostitutes around 5 million rupiah ($420) and training in new professions that are expected to replace prostitution there, such as baking or handicrafts.

…“I am not going to accept the government offer because I really need this work,” said Mawar, who gave only one name, sitting on a faded old sofa inside a club in Dolly.

Sounds a lot like Kristof’s non-solution for sex workers.

Brazilian sex workers played a friendly game of football against evangelical Christians. Unsatisfyingly, this report gives no final score.



A march organized by Honduran sex workers' rights organization RedTraSex Honduras (Photo via

A march organized by Honduran sex workers’ rights organization RedTraSex Honduras (Photo via

Honduran sex workers marched for recognition and protection, protesting the murder of sixteen Honduran sex workers since September of last year.

Canadian sex workers keep it cute: “Jesus had love for Duke Ellington too!”: Tabatha Southey’s cute-but-cogent rebuttal of the current debate around the Nordic model is a must read. Vanessa D’Alessio puts Canadian Justice Minister Peter MacKay on the Bad Date list after elaborating on measures workers take to keep themselves safe and the way the proposed Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act undermines these measures.

Who needs a shelter when you can suck dick for cash? Tits and Sass contributor Tara Burns asks in this post for Vice on surviving foster care through survival sex work.

Lawyers say China’s police-run “custody and education” system for sex workers are the same as re-education labor camps and call for their abolition.

File under The Many Ways To Pole Dance. No, seriously, folks, this video made our week.

In a blow to the grand tradition of dinner dates, a Florida man was arrested after agreeing to an undercover cop’s proposed exchange of a blowjob for salad.

Republicans are casing Kansas City as a potential site for the 2016 RNC and one strip club covered up its sign in hopes of not offending their delicate sensibilities.

Clumsy rewording in Rhode Island bill 2602 does more than equate sex trafficking with sex work: it also equates carpooling with sex workers to trafficking, punishable by the same penalties.

This week in “nope:” A Long Island City strip club offers free lap dances to dads on Father’s Day.




image via Bénédicte DESRUS Photography/Facebook

If you can get past the tone (sex workers “submit” to this lifestyle and “are often diseased”) this article about a retirement home for Mexico City sex workers is fascinating and the book is probably much better (it’s “non-patronizing or glorifying,” unlike the article, which is just the former) .

More discussion of Somaly Mam: Melissa Gira Grant at the New York Times elaborates on the damage done by Mam, more here on the dubious ethics of “donor bait”, even more about the repercussions, Jesse Walker looks at Kristof’s personal investment in believing and promoting Somaly Mam’s lies, and Margaret Walker demands a better explanation from Kristof. Remember when Kristof wrote:

“Mr. Obama and the Democrats who favor labor standards in trade agreements mean well, for they intend to fight back at oppressive sweatshops abroad. But while it shocks Americans to hear it, the central challenge in the poorest countries is not that sweatshops exploit too many people, but that they don’t exploit enough.”

In Canada, new antiprostitution legislation has been introduced to replace that which was struck down in the Bedford decision. So far, it looks like it would be unconstitutional in similar ways. “Bill C-36, dubbed the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, brings the so-called Nordic model to Canada. It introduces a new prohibition—the purchase of sexual services, and communication that surrounds it.” International Business Times and the National Post refute the so-called benefits of the Nordic Model, while polls show most Canadians still know very little about the sex industry or the various legal options being considered.

Meanwhile, “Justin Trudeau! You’re our only hope!” We’ve been saying you’d better come around.

Over 1,000 Indonesian sex workers protested plans to close down one of Southeast Asia’s biggest red light districts.

There’s a secret strip club in Manhattan and the Times is on it. We’re disappointed the story doesn’t talk about the city’s tradition of private lap dance clubs, especially Lou Posner’s Hot Lap Dance Club.

Brazil is cracking down on sex workers, and it’s getting really ugly. 100 sex workers were illegally arrested, robbed, and sexually assaulted in Rio on May 23rd.

Romeo Miller (FKA Lil’ Romeo) will star in “urban stripper dramaChocolate City.


screencap from Our Better World's video about Madam's School For Sex Workers

screencap from Our Better World’s video about Madam’s School For Sex Workers

Sex workers in Mumbai are starting a school for sex workers, run by sex workers.

Somaly Mam steps down a week after Newsweek officially revealed what inquiring journalists had long known: Mam fabricated her past as a trafficked woman and paid other women and girls to tell juicy lies to the public. Newsweek covered Mam’s resignation as well, but Anne Elizabeth Moore asks the questions Newsweek skipped over at Salon.

Siouxsie Q wrote about the California condoms bill for SF Weekly, while Bianca Jarvis thinks that Truvada (pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV) might be the future for condomless porn. Are serious liver problems really more appealing than condoms?

Sex workers protested the auction house Strauss & Co after an employee commented that the murder charges against Zwelethu Mthethwa, who is about to go on trial for murdering a 23 year-old sex worker, could really increase the value of his art. Strauss & Co kept it classy with a belated apology.




Ava Talley, trans and sex workers’ rights activist and performer in Mariko Passion’s Whorrific Cabaret

Donate before June 8th to Tits and Sass contributor Mariko Passion’s Whoriffic Cabaret at the Hollywood Fringe Festival on June 16th. Read trans and sex workers’ rights activist Ava Talley’s tribute to Mariko’s work and the upcoming festival here:

“Sex/Love workers of all persuasions will have the opportunity to showcase their talents at Whorrific Cabaret, a musical storytelling event that has been produced by Mariko Passion many times in different spaces, which aims to bring together sex and love workers, allies and clients who have talent and an opinion. This cabaret happens June 16th, 5:30pm at Three Clubs in Hollywood and is part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival: an annual, uncurated, open-access, community-derived event celebrating freedom of expression and collaboration in the performing arts community.”

AB 1576, the bill requiring condom use for all porn productions shot in CA, passed the CA appropriations committee. The concept of “forced consent” was repeatedly invoked. ‘“I don’t know what that means and how that can exist, but in what other industry would we accept forced consent as a concept?” an attorney from Mind Geek asked.’ Not to be all Inigo Montoya, but I do not think that means what they think it means.

Really tragic: Alyssa Funke, a young porn performer, killed herself after cyberbullying from ex-high school classmates about her sex work.

This Newsweek profile on Somaly Mam is a rebuttal to every hysterical trafficking narrative ever. She auditioned girls to be the faces of fictional trauma-narratives, and fabricated her own past. “‘If your goal is fundraising, you actually have an incentive to pull out the most gory story,’ Papi explains, ‘and so we get completely false realities of the world.’” Between this and the study on youth sex workers the popular trafficking narrative is taking some blows. [READ MORE]

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