Tara Burns

 

(Via HIPS' Facebook page)

(Via HIPS’ Facebook page, courtesy of HIPS)

HIPS is seeking donations for their new stationary space! HIPS’ mobile outreach program, now over 20 years old, is expanding into a brick-and-mortar location which will offer medical, mental health, and drug treatment services as well as their usual harm reduction, advocacy, and community services.

A new take on a tired trend: in this new “John school,” unfortunate clients read poetry and look at art by sex workers as part of a process of viewing them as victims exploited human beings.

The latest entry in the growing file of Strippers’ Court Cases finds that yes, pregnant strippers can be sexy and thus pregnancy is not viable grounds for termination. Heya! Read the opinion here.

Sex worker activists and advocates from SWOP, Desiree Alliance, and Best Practices Policy Project are in Switzerland at the UN Human Rights Council, to present a report on the US’s failure to protect sex workers’ human rights.

In the least nuanced or ethical argument for End Demand yet, someone at the Zimbabwe National Aids Council suggested End Demand as a way to curb the spread of HIV.  Rich men spread HIV, apparently, and

The best way is to stop these men from paying for sex first. From there on we will work with the sex workers by empowering them through various initiatives that stop them from visiting beer outlets.

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The late Shannon Williams. (Photo via the GoFundMe page for Williams’ memorial, courtesy of Kristina Dolgin)

Shannon Williams, co-chair of SWOP-USA,  St. James Infirmary volunteer and Whorespeak activist, died this week after unexpectedly being diagnosed with a brain tumor.  There is a fund for her three children here. Williams became briefly notorious after being arrested in 2003 for prostitution while working as a high school teacher in Berkeley. She was a sex worker activist for over twenty years, and helped found SWOP, the largest sex workers’ rights organization  in America.

A cop in Arkansas was recently fired after he blew the whistle by revealing his department had a policy of sleeping with sex workers, then arresting them.  We need rescue from who, now?

Sex workers and activists in Sonagachhi, India held a candlelit vigil to protest police and government inaction after an escort was strangled by a client earlier this month.

These are probably my favorite two articles yet about my lawsuit against Casa Diablo: In These Times amply covers the labor issue while Tits and Sass contributor Tara Burns gives it the most detailed coverage yet,  including discussion of the sexual harassment charges, over at Vice. Both work in a few good meat puns.

Lubunca, the sex worker argot of the queer red light spaces in Turkey is being adopted by another marginalized Turkish group that has long overlapped with the brothels and bathhouses: the mainstream LGBT community.  The trendiness of Lubunca with civilian LGBT people, however, is destroying its utility for queer and gay-for-pay sex workers.

In advance of the Super Bowl, the Arizona Republic published a story about how anti-trafficking organizations pushed for the use of  “sex trafficking” instead of “prostitution.” Our ol’ pal Dr. Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, whom some of you may remember from her role as head of Project ROSE, the coercive Arizona State University social work school diversion program for sex workers, offers her two cents:

A victim should also be considered trafficked even if she is no longer actively controlled by someone, she said.

Instead, she said, women can be forced into prostitution by their life situation. She referred to it as ‘trafficked by circumstances.’

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A graphic Amanda Brooks made to illustrate the devastation abusive client Percy Lawayne Isgitt wreaked on her and Jill Brenneman. (Image via Amanda Brooks' blogs, courtesy of Amanda Brooks.)

A graphic Amanda Brooks made to illustrate the devastation abusive client Percy Lawayne Isgitt wreaked on her and Jill Brenneman. (Image via Amanda Brooks’ blogs, courtesy of Amanda Brooks)

You can contribute to longtime sex worker activists Jill Brenneman and Amanda Brooks to help them pay their medical expenses using the email abrooks2014@hush.com through Giftrocket. Brenneman and Brooks were abused and terrorized by a client over a span of two and a half years—they discussed their devastating story with Tits and Sass co-editors Caty and Josephine earlier this week.

Amber Batts is suffering the results of Alaska’s new anti-trafficking laws, which have resulted in her being charged with eight counts of felony sex trafficking for running an escorting agency. She’s been offered a plea bargain which would require her to register as a sex offender for life even after serving 10 to 25 years in prison.  Batt’s best chance against the conviction that would ruin her life is a good lawyer, but her lawyer just quit because she was unable to pay. Donate to her legal fund at crowdrise.

Mistress Anja, a pro-domme in Singapore, talks about how she got into her work and why she stays in it (because it’s a job that pays extremely well, spoiler).

Melinda Chateauvert, Savannah Sly, and Tits and Sass’s own Maggie Mcmuffin are interviewed in this article about Seattle SWOP’s symposium for December 17th, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Melissa Petro and Tits and Sass contributor Tara Burns wrote powerfully about the themes of the day, Petro for Al Jazeera and Burns for Vice. Missy Wilkinson also did a write up of SWOP-NOLA’s December 17th march in New Orleans for Gambit.

First the Swedish model and now mandatory testing: bill C-36 has passed in Canada and one public health organization there is advocating legalization, regulation, and mandatory testing, all for sex workers’ own good of course. The Canadian Public Health Association has taken the stance that legalization and regulation would create the safest climate for sex workers, allowing for the creation of

conditions that enable sex workers to access necessary health services and sexual health education initiatives to promote safer sex practices.

Although the CPHA’s paper outlining its stance uses some good language, it also has some baffling misstatements, claiming that sex workers have a higher instance of HIV and sti infection, for one. A higher instance than whom is left unsaid, but for the most part we have much lower rates of infection than the civilian population.

The Guardian asks how exactly Canada’s laws on prostitution managed to make a full 180 in one year.

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Tits and Sass contributor Peech promotes a fundraiser to cover the cost of funerals for young murdered strippers Tjisha Ball and Angelia  Mangum. (Screenshot of twitter feed.)

Tits and Sass contributor Peech promotes a fundraiser to cover the cost of funerals for young murdered strippers Tjisha Ball and Angelia Mangum. (Screenshot of twitter feed.)

Please donate to and share this fundraiser for a memorial for Angelia and Tjhisha, two young strippers who were murdered and left by the side of a road last week to very little outrage or coverage.

This fundraiser to support Miss Major, Black trans woman elder and sex workers’ rights proponent, to recoup her losses after her house burned down recently, is also worthy of everyone’s attention.

The first national study of sex workers has destabilized many of the arguments being used in favor of C-36 (which is in the report stage); at Maclean’s, Rachel Browne interviews the researchers behind the study. After decades of research and then this particular five year study, Cecilia Benoit (half of the husband and wife research team behind the study) says, “I realized just how similar they were to us.” It’s amazing how, despite existing apart from human society in a rarefied bubble, we still manage to be so similar to them, isn’t it?

Seventeen facts from the report.

In the wake of a documentary about underage sex workers in Malaysia, critics are saying it’s wrong to call them sex workers: not because of issues of consent or trafficking, but because there isn’t enough of a sex industry in Malaysia to warrant calling anyone in it a worker.  That happens in Thailand.  Oh.

Greg Lundgren’s movie CHAT looks like it will either be appalling or amazing: a one camera, one take film about a cam girl, unfortunately from the point of view of her clients (who cares about them) and even more unfortunately, facing an unknown future: CHAT has “only screened once before, and no one really knows if it will screen again.”  I hope it does.

File under nauseating: councils in New South Wales have been left with “no other choice” but to hire middle aged men to sleep with workers in unlicensed brothels, all as a part of busting the operations.  Though New South Wales has decriminalized sex work, a loophole regarding local council regulations renders this legal.

Noah Berlatsky reemphasizes what Daniele Watts’ arrest has highlighted: the racist and racialized stereotyping of black women’s sexuality is toxic to black women, sex workers, and sex working black women.

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(Christy Mack’s dogs, who miss her. Photo via Mack’s Instagram)


Christy Mack, who was brutally beaten by her ex-boyfriend last week, inspiring this week’s series on domestic violence, now has a fund to help cover medical and recovery expenses.  Donate if you can, and share!

Vice’s food column this week features an entertaining interview with lesbian stripper and sugar baby Jacq.

Ruth Jacobs does a brief interview with Tara Burns on writing.

Brooke Magnanti, formerly Belle de Jour of book and Showtime fame, explores what decriminalization would look like for the UK.  Safer, for one, allowing workers to work together and share flats without being charged with pimping or trafficking.  She also brilliantly and succinctly illuminates the economic fallacies of the Swedish model:

The economic arguments are rarely taken into account by those who support the ‘Swedish model’ (or End Demand). By mistaking services for products, they imagine fewer customers would result in fewer sex workers. But this is unrealistic – the assumption that the number of clients and the number of prostitutes is necessarily linked is in itself faulty. If fewer people ate at fast food outlets, would the minimum wage workers there be better off without having to do anything else? Exactly.

In nearly the same vein, the Daily Beast tells us why it’s time to legalize prostitution.  Their reasons are all solid, but would apply more to decriminalization, an option many people apparently don’t understand is both different and better than legalization.

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