trafficking

April Brogan (image via @brogan_rebecca)

April Brogan (image via @brogan_rebecca)

Melissa Gira Grant’s story about April Brogan’s death from withdrawal complications while in jail is a heartbreaking look at how little regard the justice system has for sex worker lives. Our Caty is quoted on the double stigma drug-using sex workers face.

A woman running an underground brothel in Germany has been busted; her workers, undocumented Chinese migrants, will be deported.

A new Cambodian study reiterates what the Lancet already proved: further marginalization and criminalization of sex workers, even in the guise of ending trafficking, only puts us more at risk.

Sex workers don’t owe you any answers” is a sharp, smart, and sadly necessary reminder by Alana Massey that we do not, in fact, owe you answers.  Not to friends, not to teachers, and definitely not to sad little clovers on the internet:

“The best thing sex work taught me was that men will take every opportunity to demand things they feel entitled to,” Bruiser told me in a direct message on Twitter. “I literally owe them exactly nothing.”

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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.

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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]

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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.

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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.”

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