The Week in Links

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The Week In Links—August 9th

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Elle, from her martial arts training

WNYC did a segment on transgender and sex worker self-defense training with Daisey Lopez and Sempai Elena, “THE self-defense instructor for New York sex workers.”

We Got This: A Zine about Screening, Safe Calls & Buddy Systems For Safer Indoor Sex Work” has been released by Born Whore/Juliet November. It’s a PDF pamphlet that compiles a lot of valuable safety information.

Eliot Spitzer made life harder for sex workers and is remorseless about it, Melissa Gira Grant reminds us.

Sydney Leathers went HAM on the male ego (and talks about being a sugar baby) in this astonishing piece for XOJane.

Gnarly concern trolling in the wake of the murders of sex workers: “Show me a child who deserves to grow up a heroin addicted street sex worker. No one gets to choose their parents.” Thankfully Tracy Connelly’s actual family speaks here, and her partner here.

The Week in Links—February 6th

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(Via Kitty Stryker’s Twitter feed)

 

Rashida Jones replied (respectfully!) to Kitty Stryker‘s post earlier this week on Tits and Sass, and the two engaged in brief dialogue.

Thailand is amping up arrests of sex workers in an attempt to appear to be compliant with US regulations on trafficking.

SWOP-Seattle has written an open letter to lawmakers, asking them to stop bills that would enact the End Demand model in Seattle. You can sign the letter here.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have developed software that supposedly mines escort ads for information that can suggest the worker is being trafficked:

Traffic Jam gives police a rapid way to sort sex ads, spotting indirect language that may suggest sex trafficking, or grouping ads with similar language that may have been written by the same person.

A trafficking sting last weekend in Illinois resulted in the arrest of nearly 600 clients and 23 “so-called traffickers.” Given the ever-growing breadth of what that word is coming to encompass, one must wonder: were they pimps, boyfriends, coworkers sharing a space, or family members living off a sex worker’s income? Money and effort well spent?

No. And there is no rise in sex trafficking during sporting events, even Polaris and the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women agrees.   This myth conflates sex workers with trafficking victims and encourages serious misuse of funds and time, like the Cook County trafficking sting in Illinois last weekend noted above.

For the first time in the 102 year history of the Alaskan Legislature, there’s an actual advocate for sex workers present: Tits and Sass contributor and longtime activist Terra Burns is in Juneau, educating the legislators on the effects of their laws on real live women.

“They really target things that people in the sex industry do to increase their own safety,” Burns said. “Things like working indoors or working together or even buying condoms for each other.”

She adds that Alaska’s well-intended legislation has unintended consequences.

“I think it shows they are more likely to victimize workers themselves than they are to protect the workers,” she said.

Despite ostensibly having heard or at least read what Terra has to say, Berta Gardner, the bill’s sponsor, says

“My bill does not affect sex workers — it affects victims of sex trafficking,” says Gardner. “It doesn’t touch sex workers who are voluntary sex workers in any way, shape, or form.”

And Terra is using social media to raise money for her efforts! The ability of sex workers’ to use social media will never not be news, apparently.

Also?  Strippers age. Mic follows the true life stories of real women who get older, and how they deal with it.

The Week In Links—March 13th

Sen. John Cornyn
Meet Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the man who introduced a controversial human trafficking bill. Democrats blocked the bill because of a hidden anti-abortion provision.

Crowdfunding website GoFundMe.com mysteriously changed its terms of service and then canceled ESPLERP’s fundraising campaign to challenge the constitutionality of the state of California’s prostitution laws. Very peculiar:

Although GiveForward and GoFundMe both prohibit crowdfunding campaigns for sexually explicit materials, that hasn’t stopped both platforms from hosting ethically ambiguous fundraising campaigns. Last fall, GoFundMe hosted a fundraising campaign for Darren Wilson’s legal bills after he was accused of shooting unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. GiveForward also caught flak for hosting a crowdfunding campaign for the MMA fighter War Machine, who is alleged to have brutally beat and raped his ex-girlfriend, adult performer Christy Mack. (The site later removed the campaign page.)

ESPLERP is one of the candidates for the $10,000 People’s Momentum Award.  Vote for them here.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown gives a comprehensive breakdown of the new and massive Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act which neatly solves the problem of what to do with returning veterans by:

Establish[ing] the “Human Exploitation Rescue Operative (HERO) Child Rescue Corps.” In the HERO Corps, “the returning military heroes of the United States are trained and hired to investigate crimes of child exploitation in order to target predators and rescue children from sexual abuse and slavery.”

Oh yeah, sounds safe and well thought out. It would also create an incentive for police and prosecutors by funneling the fines for those found guilty of trafficking or other illicit sexual conduct back into the fund from which police and prosecutors are paid.

Law makers in Montana are having trouble deciphering between when a sex worker is a victim and when she is not. (Here’s a hint: she might not always be a victim, but she is definitely never a criminal.)

Get your tickets, pack your bags! Milan’s 2015 Expo World Fair is set to begin in May. It will supposedly attract so many sex workers, 15,000 of them to be precise, that the locals have started the calling the event the “Sexpo.”

The Week In Links—January 23

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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.’

The Week In Links— February 22

 

Deep Inside: A Study of 10,000 Porn Stars and Their Careers purports to reveal “the truth about what the average performer looks like, what they do on film, and how their role has evolved over the last forty years”, using information gathered from The Internet Adult Film Database (and without talking to any actual sex workers, conveniently).

In New Zealand, a bill that would ban street-based prostitution in parts of Auckland is currently before a parliamentary committee. If passed, the bill would give police powers of arrest, the power to stop and search vehicles, and would allow fines of up to $2000 for street workers and their clients. The bill has been lobbied for aggressively by unhappy local residents and conservative community organisations. The New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective opposes the bill, saying it “makes a scapegoat of street-based sex workers and would leave them more vulnerable to violence.”  In a submission to the committee, one street-based worker commented “This is my life.  Please don’t make it any harder on me.  I’m only trying to get by.” Sex work (including street work) was fully decriminalized in New Zealand in 2003.

Melissa Gira Grant reliably produces more brilliant work–this time, a piece on the history of sex work in the US and the forces that conspired to criminalize it.

The Indian government has decided not to recriminalize sex work, by not defining voluntary sex workers above the age of 18 years as victims of trafficking in their new definition of the criminal offense.