Home The Week in Links The Week In Links—August 1

The Week In Links—August 1

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Catwoman annual #2, via pennyredful’s Instagram

For sex worker comics fans disappointed by Sex Criminals, Capes and Whips made this highly comprehensive and excellently illustrated run-down of Catwoman’s canonical career as a sex worker (with links to her backstory for those unfamiliar), covering almost 20 years and discussing the differing styles of writing, illustration, and approaches to sex work taken by the various authors in charge of her story.

Bay Area sex workers are calling for decriminalization with a strength and energy fueled by the closure of MyRedbook and the loss of safe advertising and screening space.

Melissa Gira Grant and Stoya have a thoughtful conversation with Dazed Digital about sex work, safety, and the way sex workers are silenced and spoken over; watch out for Stoya’s referencing of Tits and Sass.

Like Canadian sex workers, Scottish sex workers are being kept out of discussions of Nordic-style legislation.  SCOT-PEP is protesting their recent exclusion from a meeting:

A sex worker called Cat said: “It’s outrageous to hold a meeting to discuss sex work and to specifically exclude sex workers and sex worker-led organisations.”

Ms Grant said: “The planned meeting is for those who support the principles of criminalising the purchase of sex and as SCOT-PEP have publicly stated their opposition to this, their inclusion wouldn’t be appropriate at this time.

Is that so?

Taking a very different tack, the mayor of Bogota met with Bogota sex workers Wednesday as a part of his ongoing effort to include marginalized populations in conversations that affect them.

Offering corroboration to last month’s piece by David Henry Sterry, “Why Prostitution Can Make More Sense Than Working At Walmart,” Lara Michelle agrees: yes, working in the sex industry can make more sense than working at Walmart.

The Trafficking in Persons report (TIP report) system is not working in Thailand, and hasn’t been for a very long time.  By contrast, the International Labour Organisation has a new strategy which, by not focusing exclusively on trafficking and instead focusing on labor issues, appears much more promising.

Two trans women sex workers were murdered in Guyana by the ex-boyfriend of a friend of theirs, who later died after setting himself on fire. (The article misgenders them but pictures and references in letters to the editor indicate that they were trans.) These murders are part of an ongoing culture of violence targeting both LGBT and sex worker communities in Guyana.

After months of being closed, most of Dongguan’s entertainment venues are back open, with 1134 saunas, karaoke bars, and foot spas running.  1552 people have been punished so far. The Chinese government’s crackdown on sex workers in the southern city of Dongguan is ongoing.

South African sex workers are asking to be represented in the Northern Cape’s District AIDS Council to better address some of the issues they face.  One sex worker and peer health educator with SWEAT and the Sisonke Sex Workers Movement said, “As peer educators, our role is to educate about human rights, and advantages and disadvantages of being in the (sex work) industry itself but we are not welcomed…The police think we are here to promote sex work but we are not.”

Sex work activists are calling for a boycott of next year’s International Congress on Aids in Asia and the Pacific, taking place in Bangladesh, in response to the eviction of thousands of sex workers and their families from Tangail.

Among its other safety benefits, research shows that decriminalization could prevent 33-46% of HIV infections among female sex workersRedOrbit concurs:

…the study shows that decriminalisation of sex work would have the single greatest effect on the course of HIV epidemics across all settings studied, and could avert at least a third of HIV infections among sex workers and their clients in the next decade, through its immediate and sustained effect on violence, policing, and safer work environments.

Lord Fowler, former health secretary of England, agrees, supporting decriminalization as part of the fight against HIV.  Even the Washington Post wants in on the news while Slate goes maybe a little too far and declares it time to legalize prostitution. Uh, actually we prefer decriminalization rather than the “right” to live under draconic government regulation.

Hundreds of people were tear-gassed in Suribaya while protesting the closure and forced eviction of sex workers from the Dolly district.  Over 1000 sex workers work in Dolly, with countless businesses and industries fueled by their incomes and labor.  While intent on closing Dolly, Suribaya mayor Rismaharini has not offered a comprehensive plan to address the problem of HIV.

A recently published study finds that over half the sex workers in four Indian states don’t try to report abuse, unsurprising when police comprise 12% of the abusers.

Milo, a trans man and former sex worker, writes about his past doing sex work for The Toast.

Rolling Stone goes inside Brazil’s most notorious brothel and, despite the lurid tones of the headline, comes out with an intelligent and in-depth piece on Brazilian sex workers, sex work policy, and the hysteria blown up by the manipulations of anti-trafficking NGOs.

The Foxy Merkins, which opened last week at Newfest, is a buddy comedy about two homeless lesbian sex workers trying to make it in Manhattan.

The Sydney Morning Herald tut-tuts over the prospect of young jobseekers being turned off the dole after six months, speculating that they may turn to “crime or sex work,” the two being apparently comparably unfortunate despite prostitution being decriminalized in New South Wales.


  1. Why is decriminalization preferable to making prostitution legal???? That sounds confusing…. If it is legal then isn’t it decriminalised by default? My understanding is that decriminalizing doesn’t make it legal it’s just not considered a criminal offense. I find it odd that it’s somehow too far too have support for the legalization of prostitution.

    • The decriminalization model when it comes to prostitution means something different–as in New Zealand and parts of Australia, it just means that sex work is treated like any other business/profession. Whereas legalization often means sex workers are forced to live under hyperregulation–as in Nevada, where brothel employees aren’t allowed to leave the brothels during their 3 week shifts lest they be suspected of “soliciting” simply by virtue of being in the town, so that the brothels can squeeze them by charging them high prices for basic necessities like laundry, and they’re also forced to deal with a whole host of other ridiculous laws which exploit their labor and mainly benefit rich male brothel owners.


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