Las Vegas

The Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where Stephen Paddock murdered 58 people on October 1. Photo courtesy of James Marvin Phelps.

As a Vegas resident and sex worker for nearly a decade, the massacre there hits close to home. Too close, actually, as knowledge of the shooter’s proclivities for erotic services surface. In fact, my first response to images of the shooter was, “He looks familiar.” I chalked it up to the fact that every white cis dude looks like Stephen Paddock. But now, I’m not so sure I didn’t see him around. And while I cannot claim that I ever saw Paddock as a client myself, I am familiar with the terrain of the Vegas sex industry and wouldn’t be surprised if the two of us crossed paths.

The fact that the Las Vegas shooter was a client of sex workers is meaningful, but not for the reasons that most civilians think.  [READ MORE]

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Another day, another pole fail. (Photo by Flickr user K J Payne)

Another day, another pole fail. (Photo by Flickr user kyle92)

former stripper was in a car accident involving a pole which created the most unnecessary and  painful reading experience of the week.

Sex workers that are refugees have special needs and concerns. This editorial argues that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) needs to work harder to reach the sex working refugee committee.

Thousands of sex workers gathered in Seoul to protest the Special Law on Prostitution and the human rights and safety violations it allows:

“The police take photos of the naked bodies of female sex workers during a crackdown. Since condoms are used as a major source of evidence, women who are being apprehended sometimes swallow them,” Kang said.

Woman sacked by the Dutch central bank over her second job as…Wait, what?

Indian actress Charmi Kaur plays a sex worker in her latest film, Jyothilakhsmi, and some people are less than thrilled about it.

Eren, at Muslimah Media Watch, parses recent reports of an Arab sex worker finding Muslim clients by offering nikah mut’ah, or temporary marriage, and the Orientalism behind the “Muslim girl gone bad” fetishes:

So it seems that “bad” Muslim girls are not only hot and liberated, but they fit with the overall assumption that everything “exotic” should be up for Western consumption.

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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.

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Behold that jubilant smile, and that everpresent, oh-so-stylin' riding crop. Terri Jean Bedford is a woman who knew she was going to win. Along with the two other sex worker plaintiffs of Bedford v. Canada, Amy Lebovitch and Valerie Scott, Bedford won the day today when the Canadian Supreme Court struck down Canada's anti-prostitution laws. Looks like Canadian sex workers have a lot of decriminalized whipping to do. (Photo by Jack Boland/QMI Agency Files, via northumberlandtoday.com)

Behold that jubilant smile, and that ever present leather jacket and the oh-so-stylin’ riding crop. Terri Jean Bedford is a woman who knew she was going to win. Along with the two other sex worker plaintiffs of Bedford v. Canada, Amy Lebovitch and Valerie Scott, Bedford won the day today when the Canadian Supreme Court struck down Canada’s anti-prostitution laws. Looks like Canadian sex workers have a lot of decriminalized whipping to do. (Photo by Jack Boland/QMI Agency Files, via northumberlandtoday.com)

What a triumphant end to this week of International Day to End Violence Against Sex Work: today, the Canadian Supreme Court struck down the country’s prostitution related laws in a unanimous decision on Bedford vs. Canada, calling all three statutes—prohibiting brothels, living on the avails of prostitution, and communicating in public with clients—over-broad and “grossly disproportionate.” A resounding, grateful shout out is due to the eponymous Terri-Jean Bedford, Amy Lebovitch and Valerie Scott, the three sex workers who began this court challenge in the Ontario court system. However, this victory is not unmitigated—the court gave Parliament a one-year grace period to redraft a legislative scheme on full service sex work that could be judged constitutional. In the meantime, Canada’s anti-prostitution laws are still in effect. But, if twelve months from today, the federal government has not redrawn the laws to address the Supreme Court’s concern that they are too arbitrary, vague, and excessive, full service sex workers will be free to legally practice their trade; hire drivers, bodyguards, and accountants; and screen their clients as they see fit.

Here’s more on the story from the Business Insider; the Toronto Star; BBC News; a Globe and Mail op-ed expressing worry about the fact that the court’s decision, is in a way, “an open invitation to Parliament to write new criminal laws”; another Globe and Mail editorial on the ruling’s implications re: the right to self-defense; an Ottawa Sun piece on local sex workers’ reactions to the decision, quoting a representative of Canadian sex workers’ rights organization POWER; a Herald News article on the comments of staff at Stepping Stone, a Halifax support and outreach organization for sex workers, after they heard the news while celebrating their Christmas party; a CBC News blog round up of twitter reactions to the ruling; a Vancouver Sun profile of how Pivot Legal Society, an organization which was instrumental in this landmark victory, is taking the good tidings; and an op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen on how the decision represents Canada’s movement towards more progressive politics.

Oh, wow, so much coverage this week 0n movement actions around the world for International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers on December 17th: here’s a video and an article on the protest in Kenya, in which sex workers marched along with members of the GLBT community, demanding an end to violence against both groups; the L.A. Times on vigils in Los Angeles and New York, along with a summary of violence against sex workers throughout the year; Best of New Orleans on SWOP-NOLA’s December 17th second line parade through the French Quarter;  SWOP-LV’s press release on their event in the Las Vegas Sun; a radio interview with SWOP-Denver members (about three quarters through the audio file); the Times Colonist on Victoria, BC sex workers’ rights organization PEERS’ march (though they call it “Red Umbrella Day”);  HuffPo on SWOP events throughout the U.S., with a slide show of photos of some of this year’s sex worker murder victims; a piece in the Bristol Post on  Avon and Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner marking the occasion by publicly supporting the Ugly Mugs scheme, Naharnet on a protest in Skopke, Macedonia; Turkey’s Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Organization’s statement for the day; Rabble with statements from sex workers’ rights organizations Zi Teng, EMPOWER, the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, and Maggie’s on the issue, plus a lament for non gender normative Indonesian migrant sex worker murder victim Rosa Ribut; a speech by sex worker activist Gina de Vries at the San Francisco event, urging the movement to center the voices of trans sex workers of color; and finally, an Australia Broadcasting Company radio interview with sex worker activists Jane Green and Ryan Cole at the Melbourne protest: “Don’t call me darling. That’s patronizing.”

Whew. We’re overwhelmed. And oh-so-delighted.

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This will be me someday! Or not. (Image from Prowess Pole Fitness)

This will be me someday! Or not.
(Image from Prowess Pole Fitness)

For the right type of woman, sex work is contagious. Maybe she can’t resist stripping after finding out a friend is doing it, or maybe, if she’s like me, all it takes is one article about an upscale escort to render it a personal life goal. I think of myself as relatively well-rounded in the sex industry because I’ve worked on webcam, in a sensual massage incall, done fetish sessions, and (obviously) prostituted. But there are still some things I haven’t done and want to try. I asked around a little and apparently I’m not the only one with a burning curiosity to explore more aspects of the field. Welcome to our new Tits and Sass column, My Sex Work Bucket List.

1) Work in a ritzy Australian brothel. This one’s all on you, Satisfaction. I guess it’s true that those glamorous TV shows make innocent girls want to become escorts. (Innocent, already-escorting-but-not-in-Australia girls.)

2) Strip. It’s insane to me that I’ve never done this. I almost feel like escorting without having stripped first is like smoking crack before even eating a pot brownie. (I say that as someone who has actually smoked crack, and yes, the experience is exactly like escorting! Just kidding; crack is more fun. I’ve also never eaten a pot brownie but I’m open to the idea.) [READ MORE]

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