The San Francisco Bay Guardian profiles this year’s Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival, focusing on contributions by festival co-founder Carol Leigh/Scarlot Harlot, Mariko Passion, James Darling, Siouxsie Q, Juba Kalamka, Courtney Trouble, Amber Dawn, and Rhiannon Argo.
Toro Hashimoto, mayor of Osaka, outraged pretty much everyone this Monday when he stated publicly that the sexual services of enslaved Chinese and Korean ‘comfort women’ during WWII were a wartime necessity for the Japanese army. He also told reporters that there was no clear evidence that the Japanese military coerced women into service, which any historian can tell you is blatantly false. “Anyone can understand that the system of comfort women was necessary to provide respite for a group of high-strung, rough and tumble crowd of men braving their lives under a storm of bullets,” Hashimoto said. Oh, well, boys will be boys and rape will be rape, right? Mr. Hashimoto then went on to suggest that U.S. servicemen in Okinawa should “make more use” of the local sex industry to “relieve the sexual energy of the Marines,” which may or may not be a good idea but is unlikely to be taken seriously considering the source. Local Okinawan women’s orgs have demanded an apology from the mayor, feeling that his comments express the misogynist racism mainlanders harbor against Okinawans.
Even anti-trafficking activists oppose using condoms as evidence of prostitution.
A Virginia woman answering what she believed to be an online dating ad was recently arrested for prostitution: “She says he [the undercover police officer] shoved a fistful of cash in front of her face and issued a command: ‘TAKE IT!'”
The Human Rights Watch reports that police in China frequently beat, torture and arbitrarily detain suspected sex workers, often with little or no evidence that they engaged in prostitution. Condoms as evidence of prostitution are a favored tactic of the Chinese police, and sex workers are often arrested with no evidence against them besides the fact that they were carrying condoms. Raids on brothels are timed, often occurring a few days ahead of politically sensitive events or whenever someone in government orders an anti-pornography campaign to please the leadership, and it’s during these periods that police officers demand steep bribes or sex, torture sex workers to coerce confessions, or lock them up for as long as two years without trial. Those who wish to see if their eyes can remain dry after reading the Human Rights Watch study on this can find it here.
The New Zealand Herald profiled one such Chinese crackdown on the notoriously thriving sex trade in the city of Dongguan.
A North Queensland motel has won a legal battle against a sex worker who successfully sued for discrimination after being told she could not work as a prostitute on the premises.
Career focused social media site LinkedIn has forbidden escort and massage advertisements, even in countries in which prostitution is legal. Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof is quoted retorting: ““If it’s OK to do that, is it OK to drop Dairy Queen too because it serves too much fat and calories? Is LinkedIn going to be the moral arbiter, and drop Coca-Cola or anybody who works for a cigarette company?” Dr. Brooke Magnanti also takes issue with the site’s policy in her column in the Telegraph. She points out that “escorts who want to use LinkedIn as a business opportunity will continue to do so. They will just employ code words and careful screening – as they already do on virtually every other social network in the world.”
Indiana undercover police received handjobs from migrant Chinese incall workers before they arrested them. Veteran sex workers’ rights activist Norma Jean Almovdar is quoted in the article on the story: ” “Doesn’t that make the taxpayer (the one) paying for sex…Then the taxpayer is the john, right?’ ”
Tulsa police have resorted to a never before used felony statute in their efforts to “get tough” on sex workers. Prosecutors charged 23 individuals under a state law that permits a felony to be filed when a person suspected of prostitution is arrested within 1,000 feet of a church or school. Melissa Farley is quoted being not at all helpful by suggesting that they arrest sex workers’ clients under this statute instead.
Hazlitt features an essay on the cultural implications of the phenomenon of Western born Desi porn stars taking leading roles in Bollywood films.
The Durbar Mahila Samanaya Committee reports that 40 to 50 % of sex workers in Kolkata’s red light district have lost their life savings investing in Ponzi scheme like chit funds.
George Flint, the director of the Nevada Brothel Association, whines about the bad economy and independent escorts putting legal brothels out of business. But why would any escort choose to give 50% of her earnings to a brothel when she can keep her all her profits working for herself? And he summarizes a client’s rationale for seeing an independent escort over a brothel worker quite well himself: ““Instead of paying $400 for a room at a brothel, these guys can now go out and get the same service for a third of the money.”
Scarlet Alliance member Rebecca Davies explains in multiple news venues why a West Australian bill proposing legalization of prostitution along with mandatory condom use, mandatory sexual health testing, and police control of the industry endangers sex workers’ rights.
The brouhaha over the use of University of New Hampshire student money to fund a talk by Kitty Stryker and UNH student sex workers on sex workers’ rights continues.
An alleged victim of human trafficking told an Ottawa court that she helped another friend get into escorting after she was rescued(?) by police.
Swedish news site the Local continues its trend of positive sex work reporting by profiling a Nuremberg sex workers’ advice center’s course for sex industry professionals on how to cater to the needs of disabled clients.
The Commission for Gender Equality launched its position paper on sex work today, calling for the decriminalisation of prostitution in South Africa.
As Saskatoon laws banning alcohol in strip clubs begin to loosen, the province’s police pay closer attention to the Hells Angels.
In this week’s installment of trafficking hysteria, the Dominican Republic is making a lot of noise about getting tough on trafficking by arresting clients and third parties in the sex industry, since prostitution is legal in the Republic but making money off the sexual services of another person is not. Jacqueline Montero, president of Dominican sex workers’ rights org Movement of Women United, says any crackdown will deprive poor women of income they need to survive: ‘‘This is a witch hunt against us.’’