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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.’