trafficking

Republican Senator John Isakson urges the Senate to pass the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act in March. (Screenshot of Youtube video released by Isaskson)

Republican Senator John Isakson urges the Senate to pass the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act in March. (Screenshot of Youtube video released by Isaskson)

On Wednesday,the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 [S. 178] passed through the Senate by a unanimous vote of 99-to-0. It is being celebrated as a heroic example of bipartisan cooperation for humanitarian advancement. However, if the bill continues to pass through the House, it will be delivering its system of protection over tapped wires, via an increasingly militarized police force.

Introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), the majority whip, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 is nothing short of a carceral mandate. Its primary function is to allocate funds and special privileges to law enforcement and immigration control and to legitimize the adoption of new surveillance technologies, purportedly in order to combat child exploitation.

Democratic opponents delayed the bill in committee for six weeks, debating over whether fines collected from criminal offenders could go towards funding abortion services for trafficking survivors. They argued that Republican lawmakers were trying to throw an anti-abortion rider into the bill, extending the Hyde Amendment of 1976 (which prohibited federal funding of abortion), to apply to non-taxpayer funds. To break the stalemate, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) put pressure on Democrats to pass the bill by asserting that until the legislation has gone through the Senate, he would not schedule the confirmation of Loretta Lynch, the first black woman to be nominated for Attorney General.

On Tuesday, given much pressure on both sides to move the bill along, a compromise was reached in which a separate pool of money would be created for survivor health services, in addition to money collected from criminal offenders for non-health-related services. The fund stream for survivor health services would already be covered by the Hyde Amendment, and thus could not be used for abortions for trafficking survivors. However, the language of the bill as it was passed ensures that the Hyde Amendment’s reach will not extend further to private funding.

While Democrats in support of reproductive justice and civil liberties have been vocal on the legislation’s language about abortion, they have paid less attention to the ways in which this bill also promotes the militarization of police, expands the carceral system, and funds the use of wiretapping and other surveillance technologies by immigration control, with little transparency or oversight. The amended legislation contains some benevolent provisions for increasing victim compensation and funding social services for survivors of human trafficking. However, in addition to these victim-centered services, there is a clear law-enforcement-centered strategy in the bill for addressing human trafficking, which prioritizes the expansion of funding for law enforcement and immigration control.

[READ MORE]

{ 2 comments }

T&S contributor Kenya Golden makes looking fantastic look easy. Happy #Blackout day!

T&S contributor Kenya Golden makes looking fantastic look easy. Happy #Blackout day!

The publication of the $pread book is spawning so many articles about that dearly beloved magazine!  This week we’ve got one in the The Atlantic featuring a thoughtful interview with Rachel Aimee and Eliyanna Kaiser.

Community activists in Toronto are organizing in an effort to protect sex workers, injection drug users, and homeless people, from the usual brutal street clean-up efforts which accompany such public spectacles.

For sex work history fans, this article and interview on illicit sex and sex work during Ottoman and French rule of Algeria is fascinating!

Nearly one quarter of UK university students have considered doing sex work, while 5% actually do or have done sex work. Austerity cuts, rising tuition, general social moral laxness, may all play a part, although the chorus of anxious articles spawned by the study mainly blame high tuition.

One student said she is “always on her guard” when with clients.  The article treats this as if that’s somehow unique to sex workers and not just, you know, part of the experience of having sex with strangers while female.

Shouldn’t student sex workers be supported instead of stigmatised?” asks this article, quite reasonably.

You haven’t seen handwringing until you’ve read this article about the hitherto unbemoaned threat of global warming: it will force women to become sex workers. [READ MORE]

{ 0 comments }

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 8.31.09 PM

Samuel Pepys (photo by Glyn Thomas)

Brooke Magnanti’s “deranged Samuel Pepys” of an ex-boyfriend actually kept his own diary where he talked about her sex work: so much for his claims that she made it all up, inspired by dead sex workers she saw in the morgue.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown explains why the lay-feminist should also be glad that the Senate trafficking bill is currently dead.  Why do we need another bill for things that are already illegal? Brown points out that

Federal law already prohibits a wide range of conduct related to human trafficking, slavery, and child sexual exploitation. It’s against the law to “recruit” or “entice” anyone for forced sex or labor, or any person under 18 years old for commercial sexual activity. “Harboring,” “transporting,” or in any way “obtaining” them is also illegal. So is “providing” or “benefiting from” them. Additionally, all 50 states have laws specifically criminalizing human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of minors.

Jon Stewart should maybe read more of Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s work.

And more on the stalled bill.

Monica Jones spoke at the UN in Geneva about the need for increased action to protect the human rights of sex workers.

The South Carolina Supreme Court awarded workers’ comp to a dancer who was shot on stage and had previously had her claim denied by a lower court.

Carol Leigh writes about the damage that anti-trafficking campaigns do to sex workers for Open Democracy.

San Diego non-profits Via International and Women’s Empowerment International are teaming up to offer micro-loans to Tijuana sex workers.

The LGBT community in Indonesia, already doubly marginalized through homophobia and the stigma of sex work many in the community engage in to survive, now has to deal with an unofficial fatwa.

[READ MORE]

{ 1 comment }

it's white and gold bitches

Breaking! Sex workers use internet, get sucked into popular memes! And it is unquestionably gold.

Contribute to the fundraiser to help porn performer Cytherea get back on her feet after being the victim of sexual assault during a traumatic home invasion here.

Jiz Lee will be guest editing a future issue of the Porn Studies journal on Porn and Labor. They’re soliciting submissions from now until July.

Wired explored the impact of the MyRedBook raid on Bay Area sex workers.

The Philadelphia murder trial of a woman who gave illicit butt injections continues. Her attorney sounds like a prize:

In questioning Saunders and King, Rudenstein stressed that they sought out Windslowe and the injections.
“What happened to the rope?” Rudenstein asked Saunders.
“What rope?” she replied.
“The rope she tied you down with to do this to you,” he said.

The online market for sex and sexualized services is growing, and it has nothing to do with the Superbowl or any other sporting events, as this Arizona State University study discovers.

Three California massage parlors were raided on suspicion of trafficking and then, though no evidence of trafficking was found, they were shut down anyway because of poor record keeping, especially around workers’ compensation. This incident once again raises the question:  is this about protecting vulnerable people, or shutting down sex businesses?

An assault in the West End of Vancouver has police warning sex workers to be on alert for

Mark Stacy Spelrem, 45…wanted in connection to the assaults. He’s described as a white male, 5-feet-11 with a slim build, with short dyed blond-orange hair “that is spiked at the front and balding at the back.”

[READ MORE]

{ 4 comments }

Lux ATL (Photo via her Facebook)

Lux ATL (Photo via her Facebook, courtesy of Lux ATL)

Tits and Sass contributor and Mastodon video vixen Lux ATL was featured in Atlanta alt-weekly Creative Loafing‘s Lust List last week.

This VICE UK opinion piece takes abolitionist Julie Bindel to task for her use of the term “pimp lobby” to dismiss sex workers fighting for their rights.

The largest study ever done on trafficking survivors finds that people who’ve been trafficked for sex (and the Reuters article doesn’t specify what that means, an important oversight given the very flexible definitions of sex trafficking) have much better mental health overall than survivors of other forms of trafficking.

In another brilliant move which distracts attention from actual human rights and labor abuses in strip clubs in order to refocus attention on the mythical specter of strip club trafficking, the US state of Indiana is debating making birth certificates and proof of US residence requirements for working as a stripper. Apparently…

Up until now, the state has not required the performers to show documents typically required at other workplaces.

Oh yes.  All those pizza places, movie theaters, coffee shops, and daycares, all requiring a birth certificate.

Strip club owners would have to take photos of each stripper and job applicant, and keep them on file for at least three years.

That sounds safe and not at all open to abuse.

City Paper links to Seattle SWOP’s struggles against the proposed End Demand legislation, and then, inexplicably, rather than talking to a sex worker about sex work, they interview Dan Savage.  There were no members of Seattle SWOP available, perhaps? They were all in Olympia that day and couldn’t take the call?

[READ MORE]

{ 0 comments }