the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.”

When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.”

“Women who sell their bodies” used to be the go-to word combination that triggered my gag reflex right into action. But “hooker-rescuing cop-turned-pastor” was introduced to my life this week and has transformed my once-tranquil apartment into Lane Champagne’s Extreme Vomitorium. The man with this heinous career trajectory is Kevin Brown and he’s starring in a new reality show tentatively titled 8 Minutes after its premise: He has eight minutes to convince sex workers to leave behind their whoring ways. Those who leave sex work are given free training in the second career of their choice and those who decline are sent on their merry way with Brown’s best wishes for a good earning season. HAHA, just kidding, none of that last sentence is true because whorephobia is pernicious and Earth has actually been Hell along!

Of all the professions to produce potential sex work interventionists, law enforcement and clergy are at the very top of the Unsuitable list. Behind those two are literally every single other profession, because sex work interventions are vile exercises in the hatred and shaming of sex working individuals and shouldn’t exist. And it certainly shouldn’t exist as a spectacle on cable television. There is a Change.org petition to get A&E to shut that shit down, you should sign it. Let’s also take out a Backpage ad in every possible city warning local sex workers to be prepared for lurking reality show cameras.

Producer Tom Forman (the man behind the legally and ethically challenged Kid Nation) told Entertainment Weekly that the show was inspired by an LA Times article about Brown’s rescue missions. That story opens with another cop-turned-resucuer showing up to a woman’s outcall and doing this:

Reese reaches into the pocket of his tan cargo shorts and pulls out a latex condom. There’s a phone number scribbled on one side in black marker. He hands it to her.

He asks if she sees the phone number.

She examines the packet but ignores the question. She presses him for the money.

“I’m not really here for a date,” Reese says. “I’m here to offer you help.”

They rescue this one woman (on the night the reporter is along!), despite having been on 60 previous missions without anyone taking up their offer. She didn’t get career training; she got a one-way ticket home on a Greyhound. And lo, from this massive service to women a reality show was born, one with a 50/50 success rate according to Forman, who also told EW “Sometimes they turn and leave, but that’s the case when trying to save prostitutes.”

Leaving aside the fact that Brown is sentient diarrhea more than he’s an actual person, I’ve broken down the reasons the very concept of the show is a bad idea for two primary types of sex worker that Brown targets: people who don’t want to leave sex work and people who do. [READ MORE]

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photo via Reluctant Femme

photo via Reluctant Femme

This Wednesday, December 17th is the International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers. You can read about its history here. We’ve gathered a list of U.S.-based events for our readers. Here is the list maintained by SWOP. Here’s a list for events in Europe and Central Asia.

This list is organized alphabetically by city. All events are on Wednesday, December 17, unless noted. If we’ve missed one in your area, please alert us in the comments and we’ll add it. [READ MORE]

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Would this sculpture be considered banned pornography in the UK? (image via Flickr user urbanadventures)

Would this sculpture be considered banned pornography in the UK? (image via Flickr user urbanadventures)

Have you heard about the new regulations on porn made in the United Kingdom? You know, the oddly specific rules that have banned pissing and whipping and squirting and jazz hands and weird mustaches? They’ve at least inspired the coolest protest ever.  Three words: MASS FACE SITTING.

Speaking of dumb laws in the UK, Britain’s established its first “prostitution free zone” in Hull County. Problem is, according to Vice Magazine, is that initiative just won’t work. Yet just down the street Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson vows to keep sex workers protected.

Maple syrup. Hockey. Cute accents. Canada has a lot of awesome stuff, including a corps of like-minded activists calling for the repeal of the country’s most recent cruddy prostitution bill, C-36.  Even Premier Kathleen Wynne (Ontario) voiced her concern, stating the law is unconstitutional and will do little to keep sex workers safe. Further, local police departments have complained that they have received no instruction or directives on how to enforce the new law. One Edmonton police officer called the law “useless.”

This is a really terrible idea:

A&E has greenlit a provocative new reality series in which a man tries to convince prostitutes to quit their jobs. EW has learned exclusively that the network has ordered eight episodes of 8 Minutes (working title), a series featuring cop-turned-pastor Kevin Brown surprising escorts in hotel rooms and offering to rescue them from a life of trading sex for cash. In each episode, Brown has eight minutes to make his case.

This is still a terrible headline that was changed from “Autopsy suggests dead hooker was fleeing Long Island killer” to “Autopsy finds no drugs in dead hooker’s system, suggests she was frantically running from Long Island serial killer.”

[READ MORE]

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ajennytinI usually regret the rare moments in which I’m prevailed on to cut whorephobes a break. My empathetic nature is almost always taken advantage of in these instances and I’m left feeling as if I’ve been had. As compensation, I exude coolness in interactions with potential whorephobes. It’s come to be the most significant way I protect intimacy and privacy—the first casualties of publicly decrying the treatment of sex workers. So it is with great delicacy that I attempt compassion here in my review of Ryan Roenfeld’s Tin Horn Gamblers and Dirty Prostitutes: Vice in 19th Century Council Bluffs.

I picked up THGDP because I am myself a product of the vast prairie at the heart of the Bible Belt. I grew up in Omaha, NE, a sort of twin city to Council Bluffs, the city of Roenfeld’s historical analysis. I began my sex work career in these cities, too, almost a decade ago. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to read all about my “dirty” sisters in vice, my lewd and despicable ancestors. I must sadly report, though, that the heroic and counter-cultural debauchery of my sisters and brothers are only briefly alluded to in the thin pages of THGDP, their humanity watered down to arrest records and salacious anecdote. Big surprise.

First, a brief note on the word “dirty,” as the title so lovingly refers to us. At one point in my life or another, I’ve been one or more of the following: a dirty hippie, a dirty bum, a dirty lesbian, a dirty heathen, a dirty drug user, and, of course, a dirty prostitute. I’m clearly a connoisseur of the unclean. It’s worth mentioning, too, that somehow the adjective “dirty” has always stung more than the noun following it, namely because “dirty” conjures up specific, visceral images about the body, about my body. I’m not the first to point out that images of perceived dirtiness have historically invoked distinctions between good bodies and bad ones. I guess I just had higher expectations for someone who calls himself a historian.

[READ MORE]

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Melbourne sex workers rally for Monica Jones

Monica Jones was barred from entering Australia for the last three weeks of her student placement and ultimately deported back to the United States.  Eloise Brook at the Guardian wrote an intelligent and pointed response, asking how a social work student becomes a national threat.

Gloria Steinem’s latest move, signing the open letter to the AP Stylebook, shows that her politics remain firmly in the abolitionist camp.  Steinem crossed the line from “dated” to “damaging” this spring with her writing for the New York Times on Indian escorts and her baseless claims that funding for condoms and sexual health actually went to pimps and traffickers.

This strange Cosmo interview with three anonymous sex workers purports to show “What It’s Really Like to Be a Sex Worker,” although the straight-out-of Farley talking points responses of the third woman, who is, excuse you, a survivor of prostitution, make it sound like she’s actually Rachel Moran.

The UK just banned certain acts, including face-sitting and golden showers, from being depicted in porn.  The acts themselves remain legal, but filming them is not.

The Safe Harbour Outreach Project has written a letter to Newfoundland premier Paul Davis, requesting that he postpone implementation of C-36 because of the inevitable danger it places sex workers in.

[READ MORE]

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