Daisy Nokato of Uganda, speaking on main plenary at AIDS Conference 2014. (Photo via Elena Jeffreys’ Instagram account)
The International AIDS Conference in Melbourne featured discussion of how laws criminalizing sex work hinder efforts to prevent the spread of HIV. This Reuters story covers counterproductive global laws. A study was presented that argued decriminalization could cut the rate of infection by up to a third. Chinese sex worker activist Ye Haiyan was prevented from traveling to the conference.
Porn performers aren’t the only ones getting screwed over by banks: the owner of strip clubs Scores and Penthouse Executive Club is suing Deutsche Bank for $1 million after the bank reneged on a $17 million loan when it discovered the nature of his business.
As part of its “Consolidated guidelines on HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care for key populations” (key populations being men who have sex with men, prisoners, injection drug users, sex workers, and transgender people) the WHO has announced that countries wishing to increase access for these populations need to remove the legal and social barriers preventing access, including decriminalizing sex work. “The global fight against HIV and AIDS will not be won by relegating segments of the population to the shadows,” said John Berry. The WHO was guided in forming these recommendations by the actual target populations themselves.
Cyd Nova just made a handy list for you to hand out to your future acquaintances: Nine Stereotypes Sex Workers Are Tired of Hearing About. Yes, this is a real job and no, it is never appropriate to ask someone about their abuse history. If someone actually does that, just take the list back and save it for the next person.
“What does the Swedish model get wrong?” asks this Time column, answering that it is the treatment of women as incapable of consent and the continued marginalization of sex workers. Moreover, it announces that decriminalization is actually the answer.
The Washington Post asks, “Do Dating Aps Have a Prostitution Problem?” Did the Washington Post have a slow news day problem?
A march organized by Honduran sex workers’ rights organization RedTraSex Honduras (Photo via upsidedownworld.org)
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.
Madison Young’s memoir Daddy tackles head-on the daddy issues sex workers are always accused of having. Young skillfully and responsibly presents her journey from a little girl who misses her daddy to an accomplished gallery owner, feminist erotic film producer, author, and “sex positive Tasmanian devil.” She begins by tackling the issue of consent: yours. “I cannot hear the consenting ‘yes’ seep from your lips,” she writes, “but by the simple turn of this page you will be physically consenting to this journey, this scene, between you and I.”
I remember first hearing of Young years ago when a friend quoted her now-famous line, “How many anal scenes does it take to open a feminist art space?” Young made her place in the few areas of the sex industry I have no experience with: San Francisco, the mecca of sex worker culture; pro-subbing on Kink.com; and shooting dozens of anal scenes for mainstream porn. Although our experiences are different, I found myself nodding and occasionally clapping through every interview and article of hers I read over the years.
Usually, I am eager to read sex worker memoirs because of the ways that other peoples’ stories of sex work echo and offer new perspectives on my own experiences. Madison Young’s book was different: I had no idea what it was like to be a pro-sub porn star in a full time D/S relationship, and I wanted to know.
The first thing I noticed was the beauty and honesty of the writing. Young obviously has major skills with words and relating to an audience. She promises to lay her “heart bare, simple, raw, beating, human, and emotional with truth of honesty and vulnerability, fear and heroism,” and she delivers.
If you can read this, you’re too fancy to matter. (image courtesy of The New Inquiry)
Earlier this year, The New Inquiry published this quiz, “Are You Being Sex Trafficked?” which appeared in an earlier form here on Tits and Sass. Katha Pollitt hinged part of her “Why Do So Many Leftists Want Sex Work to Be the New Normal?” essay on the imagined qualities of TNI’s writers and audience:
Of course, if you are reading the New Inquiry, chances are you’re not being sex trafficked; if you’re a sex worker, chances are you’re a grad student or a writer or maybe an activist—a highly educated woman who has other options and prefers this one. And that is where things get tricky. Because in what other area of labor would leftists look to the elite craftsman to speak for the rank and file? You might as well ask a pastry chef what it’s like to ladle out mashed potatoes in a school cafeteria. In the discourse of sex work, it seems, the subaltern does not get to speak.
The problem is not that the subaltern was not getting to speak, but that Pollitt was unable to listen because of her own ideas about how trafficking victims should present. We asked Tara, the author of the quiz, to respond.
On April 2nd I was at the Freedom Network’s Human Trafficking Conference in San Francisco speaking to a group of law enforcement and service providers about how to do outreach to people who are trafficked in to the commercial sex trade. I was there as part of a federal program designed to offer the experience and expertise of sex trafficking victims like myself with the goal of improving services to other sex trafficking victims. The other survivor presenting and I both had extensive experience as youth involved in the sex trade, as adult sex workers, and as social service providers. We spoke of our experiences with law enforcement and service providers and made recommendations to those present about how they could best provide outreach to sex trafficking victims.
At the end, the facilitator flipped through our feedback forms and laughingly told us that one person thought that our presentation hadn’t been about sex trafficking at all. Apparently there are rules for being a good victim: 1. Victims should cry 2. They should talk about horrible things done to them by criminals, but not by the police 3. They should not have opinions, and 4. If they do have opinions, they should present themselves as traumatized enough so that those opinions are easily discountable. If victims don’t behave this way, their status as victims can be called into question. [READ MORE]
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.