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The Devil's Auction, J. Gurney & Son (studio), part of the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs

The Devil’s Auction, J. Gurney & Son (studio), part of the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs

The Ohio State University has made a slew of classic images from the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance From Burlesque to Clubs available online. Let us take inspiration for future outfits from it.

Bad boys! Whatcha gon, whatcha gon, whatcha gon do? That awkward moment when the chief of police gets arrested for soliciting a prostitute.

Strip club regulations are so weird. San Diego police raided a strip club to check for “business permits and work cards.” The raid concludes with police officers taking invasive photographs of the dancers. So, what are the dancers going to do? They’re going to sue their asses, that’s what. And a second club has come forward to complain about the SPD’s tactics.

Tits and Sass contributor Tara Burns helps New Inquiry readers figure out if they’ve been sex trafficked in this handy dandy quiz.  So glad we can further simplify the choice/coercion dichotomy in time for April 1st!

Ex-call girl/madam Maggie Mcneill eviscerates the Urban Institute “study” on prostitution in the Washington Post: “Lies, Damned Lies, And Sex Work Statistics.”

People Magazine profiles Rajib Boy, a Kolkatan sex worker’s son selected to participate in a Manchester United soccer training camp in England: “I am not ashamed of being a sex worker’s son…[My mother] is my main source of inspiration.” The article goes into how Indian sex workers’ rights organization Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee coaches local Kolkatan children and holds a soccer tournament every two years with children participating from over fifty different red light districts around the country.

A former basketball coach accused of sex trafficking was freed after a month in jail because prosecutors concluded he had been entrapped by police. Gee, some of us wish we had that defense available to us when we were arrested by undercover cops posing as clients!

Wah wah. Honolulu police can’t have sex with prostitutes anymore after all.

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Portland's vegan eatery turned strip club, Casa Diablo (Google street view)

Portland’s vegan eatery turned strip club, Casa Diablo (Google street view)

Equality Now and other abolitionist groups campaigned against the UN’s recommendation to decriminalize sex work. Don’t read the articles linked unless you have a strong stomach. Melissa Gira Grant documented a particularly exasperating twitter exchange with Equality Now’s Rachel Moran on her blog, in which Moran claimed that “‘sex workers’ don’t exist.” Scott Long also provides some valuable context.

The New York Times belatedly discovers camming. Sadly, the article feels the need to quote Kathryn Griffin. Luckily, Sienna Baskin of the Sex Workers Project is also on hand to lend some perspective.

Stoya gives her two cents about the Great Porn Condom Debate in Vice Magazine.

The law firm of Outten and Golden LLP just filed a lawsuit on behalf of dancers against the strip clubs New York Dolls, Flashdancers and Private Eyes. Dancers who have worked at these clubs and want to join the lawsuit should call Outten and Golden at 212-245-1000.

Of course you want to know how weird government regulations led to Portland’s vegan strip club.

Sex workers created a twitter phenomenon this week with the hashtag #banfreebies, satirizing societal attitudes about sex work by flipping them around and using them to moralize against non-transactional sex: “Freebies think being a freebie is empowering or it’s their choice. But that’s just false consciousness.”

African sex workers’ rights group SWEAT alerted local police that a group of about thirty five children, aged nine to twelve, were being kept in a brothel in Guateng.  But when the police finally decided to act on the report they went to the wrong house. By the time they figured out this blunder and went to the correct address, there were no children on site.

New York will establish a special court for sex trafficking and prostitution. Perhaps the court will offer better options than incarceration, but Lori Adorable responds on her tumblr, saying, “Providing more social services for individuals in the sex industry who are there by force, coercion, or choice would be fabulous, but that’s not what happening here…You mean to say that the criminal (in)justice system will FORCE those in the sex industry into treatment, rehab, and other lines of work while denying them any agency they do have. Doesn’t sound so compassionate anymore, does it? Sounds more like the fascist, racist ‘social hygiene’ shit that it is.”

A stripping history is apparently no obstacle to a security clearance.

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Terri-Jean Bedford

Terri-Jean Bedford, right, carries her signature riding crop while walking with sex workers’ rights advocate Valerie Scott in front of Ontario Superior Court in Toronto on Tuesday, October 6, 2009. They are two of the three women at the center of the Bedford v. Canada case, which challenges the constitutionality of prostitution related Canadian laws. Hearings for the case began yesterday morning in Canada’ Supreme Court. (Photo by The Canadian Press/Darren Calabrese)

Yesterday hearings on Bedford v. Canada, a case challenging the constitutionality of  laws that ban “bawdy houses”, “communication for the purposes of prostitution”, and “living off the avails of prostitution”, began in Canada’s Supreme Court. Sex workers and their supporters took to the streets in several Canadian cities last Saturday to call for the decriminalization of prostitution in anticipation of the hearings. Viviane Namaste, a professor at Concordia University’s Simone de Beauvoir Institute, spoke as an official intervenor, explaining that the current laws can actually result in an increase in violence against sex workers. Osgoode Hall law professor Alan Young, leading the court challenge, urged the court to set aside moral considerations and stick to the core legal issues. Young is representing the three women at the center of the case: retired dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford, former sex worker Valerie Scott and Vancouver sex worker Amy Lebovitch. Several groups spent the day rallying on the steps of the Supreme Court, where more than 100 people showed up to express their opinions. On one side, supporters of sex workers formed a small sea of red umbrellas as Bedford held court in a folding chair, in a leather jacket and carrying a riding crop, stating, “This is going to be the day of reckoning here in Ottawa.” Valerie Scott also addressed the crowd:“Sex work has always been a legal occupation in Canada. The bawdy house law prohibits us from working indoors. But the communicating law prevents us from working outdoors. This puts us in an impossible situation. We cannot respect the dictates of one law without violating the dictates of another.”

In honor of the occasion, several pro-sex work op eds appeared in Canadian papers this week: Huffington Post Canada offered one by Nikki Thomas of Sex Professionals of Canada detailing why the End Demand/Swedish model system of criminalizing clients is a bad idea. The Star published a piece by Catherine Healy of the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective lauding New Zealand’s decriminalization of sex work and one by feminist professor Angela Campbell supporting the case against Canada’s prostitution laws. The Tyee posted an excerpt of ex-street sex worker Amber Dawn’s autobiography, How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir, which tells the story of the beginning of the Canadian movement supporting decriminalization.

A Tulsa area street sex worker faces charges of resisting arrest, assault and battery on a police officer, and public intoxication complaints in addition to her prostitution charge, after she kicked one of her arresting officers in the groin.  Can’t think of much to say in this case beyond offering our fond congratulations.

AB 67, Nevada’s Prop 35 anti-trafficking copycat bill, was signed into law this week. SWOP Las Vegas and other orgs such as ACLU Nevada voiced concerns about the potential for violating human rights and wasting limited resources ensnaring innocent people as sex traffickers given the bill’s overly broad definitions and removal of certain defenses for the accused.

In a federal class action lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights and co-counsel, a settlement with Louisiana was finalized that will remove from the sex offender registry approximately 700 individuals who had been required to register solely because of a Crime Against Nature by Solicitation (CANS) conviction, usually earned through a street sex work conviction. Deon Haywood, of Louisiana sex workers’ rights org Women with a Vision, is quoted in the article.

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Dear Tits & Sass,

I’m an independent escort suddenly finding herself in transition after advertising on Backpage for a couple of years. I’ve been pretty successful with it all this time, but that world has its obvious financial and professional limitations, and I’d like to surpass them. It’s become clear to me as of late that it’s time for me to move on; I’m just not sure where!

Ideally, I want to SEO the shit out of my website and operate independently from it, but it still needs work, so it doesn’t currently serve me as a major asset. In the meantime, I am curious about alternatives that are similar to Backpage’s style but do without so much…notoriety. Cityvibe looks even worse, and Eros has not worked great for me in the past. I live in a small, popular city in my region, but it is not a major one, so I wonder how much traffic any other escort ad sites even receive here. Might you have any suggestions about advertising mediums/strategies? Are all of these sites pretty much the same?

Sincerely,
Bumping Up from Backpage [READ MORE]

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On Dec. 20 the Senate passed Senate Resolution 439: “A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that Village Voice Media Holdings, LLC should eliminate the ‘adult entertainment’ section of the classified advertising website Backpage.com.”

I am clearly weeks late responding to this. This happened in the flurry of holidays, travel, and the Sandy Hook shooting media storm. It was also on the heels of December 17 so most of the sex work activist community was burned out and exhausted. Though not necessarily intentional, the highly unfortunate timeline of events is important to note.

In immediate practical terms, this doesn’t mean much. A simple resolution only expresses nonbinding positions of the Senate. No one is required to do anything is response. But the implications are disturbing.

The growing campaign against Backpage is a continuation of the same work that successfully shut down the Adult Services section of Craigslist. The same bad logic, false dataflawed principlesineffective solutions and racist bullshit apply.

The Village Voice, which up until recently was part of the same subsidiary group as Backpage, declared in 2011 that “the Craigslist beat-down was absurdist theater.” Remember the debacle when Ashton Kutcher declared himself a spokesman for the anti-trafficking movement? If you don’t – here are some reminders. It was a perfect illustration of the absurdist theater that the Voice pinpointed.

But they have responded very differently to the campaign to shut down Backpage.

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