The Week in Links—August 29th

by Red on August 29, 2014 · 6 comments

in The Week in Links



Marcia Powell, RIP (Photo by Gary Millard, 2008, courtesy of SWOP-Phoenix)

Marcia Powell, RIP (Photo by Gary Millard, 2008, courtesy of SWOP-Phoenix)

The often brutal side effects of Truvada, or PrEP, as well as general lack of adherence to medical standards, may be the undoing of widespread PrEP use. Studies have shown the prophylactic may be too flawed to work, in fact, “a public health disaster in the making.”

A Brazilian sex worker has been forced into hiding after speaking out against a brutal and illegal police raid on May 23rd of this year.  The worker and her family have received threats; there is a campaign to raise funds to help them here.

After being arrested for prostitution, Marcia Powell was left in a cage in the Arizona sun and she died later that same day. PJ Starr’s documentary, currently in funding stages on IndieGogo, tells her story, and examines the sex work and prison policies that caused her death.

One of the prizes for donating is I Was a Teenage Prostitute, which, despite/because of the salacious title, looks amazing.

In a glorious paradox, Susan Pattonthe “Princeton Mom” who urged young female coeds to go to Princeton to get a husbandis currently outraged by another Princeton alumni who used the alumni listserv to advertise her documentary on sugar babies and daddies.  The commentary her hypocrisy inspired is maybe the best part:

“Susan, you, of all people, have a problem with this? I mean, shit, you’re the one telling us not to give away the milk for free while simultaneously harping on our youth and attractiveness to men as our primary assets in finding a husband who will (hopefully) support us (financially) for life,” wrote one alum. “I swear, you can’t write this stuff.”

I can’t.  Maybe Curtis Sittenfeld.

The UN is urging Botswana to legalize prostitution as a part of the global war on HIV. The Minister of Labor and Home Affairs agreed, saying it’s time sex workers were acknowledged as existing. (!)

Switzerland’s “drive in sex boxes” (no, really, that’s what they’re being called) have been declared a success a year after operation. In return for a small tax, sex workers working in the boxes have access to:

on-site social workers and security (and no pimps). . .  Onsite amenities include a panic button in each “box,” laundry, showers and a cafe, the Agence France-Presse reports.

The good people of Pleck, believing themselves plagued by a prostitution problem, could find their solution in Zurich’s approach… but judging by their tone they probably won’t, instead seeing ticketing and then banning sex workers as a much better solution.

The South African Sex Workers Project, a mobile outreach project in Johannesburg, reports seeing a drop in the level of HIV/AIDS infections among sex workers compared to other cities as well as an increase in the number of workers who report using condoms, despite the higher prices men try to pay for unprotected sex.

Sex workers in Geelong, Australia, be wary!  Police in Geelong have decided it’s time to be stern in response to reports of illegal brothels operating in the area:”We’re also making sure that the courts are aware of it, the tax department is aware of it and, if there’s an immigration issue, that they also are informed.” Let’s hope the police don’t do too much damage. 

The Geelong police may have it wrong, however, at least on the tax front: even illegal sex workers are registered and pay taxes, as Sharon Jennings explains.

Notes from May’s Geneva Global Fund conference are up at NWSP.

Sex workers from across the Caribbean will be attending a sex worker advocacy conference in October hosted in Guyana by Guyana Sex Worker Coalition and Caribbean Sex Worker Coalition.  The conference will teach advocacy skills as well as set up more organizations and train them in local law and workers’ rights.

For those who like academic prose, this looks great: “The Paradox of Neoliberalism: Migrant Korean Sex Workers in the United States and ‘Sex Trafficking,”an article following Korean migrant sex workers and the [negative] influence of neoliberal immigration and anti-trafficking policies on their lives.

Cities in Germany are fighting a losing battle against keeping prostitution and brothels out of their limits; not only the mega-brothels but smaller independent businesses are winning court cases over their right to operate in the area, though some of the brothels are actually losing interest in staying.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Matthias Lehmann August 29, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Just a note regarding the passage in the very last paragraph saying that “some of the brothels are actually losing interest in staying”. In the particular case mentioned, the operator of the massage parlour in question and her attorney had always maintained that no sexual services had been offered at the premises. Elsewhere, it may well be true, however, that operators lose interest, or they simply run out of means to pursue their business plans as they try to satisfy arbitrary requirements to gain the necessary permits.


Caty Simon August 30, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Thank you for the correction!


Matthias Lehmann September 1, 2014 at 6:48 am

There’s a somewhat amusing update to the story.

For several months, questions were raised over the construction of a nudist club (FKK-Club) in East Dachau, Bavaria, which will include rooms where sex workers can offer sexual services. It has now come to light that local Conservative politicians and elected representatives from the Christian Social Union (CSU) are in fact involved in its construction.

Black is the new Red


Lindsay August 29, 2014 at 7:28 pm

So we are suddenly taking the AHF and Michael Weinstein agenda at face-value?

AHF’s campaign is centered around worries about folks not adhering to the PrEP drug regiment (1 pill a day), and then thinking they are protected when they are not. They cite scientific studies that support their findings. They cite studies that talk about adherence being an issue for folks, which is true. We already know this- we’ve seen it with the original birth control pill- it doesn’t work for everyone, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make it an option for people until other methods are available.

FDA and CDC endorse PrEP as effective, and multiple studied have proved the point. The fact remains, any safe and effective strategy in helping people at risk to avert infection should be promoted. We should promote people learning all their options and advocating for them to be the experts in their lives and health.

There is plenty of other data on this, T+S, and lets consider the source….


Caty Simon August 30, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Thanks for the correction on this! I absolutely agree with you about promoting learning all the options and people being the experts on their own lives and health. Why is AHF so focused on this idea of non-adherence?
My personal worry about PrEP is that the liver side effects take out a huge segment of the population who could really use this treatment–mainly, IDUs who are at risk of Hep C or already have Hep C.


Lindsay September 5, 2014 at 4:36 pm

AHF is using whatever means they can to continue their shaming messages around condom-less sex. Sure, side effects of any substance should be considered, and IDUs and other at risk individuals should have access unbiased information to make the decision to take a medication themselves. I am happy to provide more information.


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