Home The Week in Links The Week In Links—January 17

The Week In Links—January 17

Bryan Saunders' "Extreme Makeover: Fuck Mattress Edition" (inadvertently?) improved labor conditions for street sex workers while it lasted (Photo via the Daily Dot)
Bryan Saunders’ “Extreme Makeover: Fuck Mattress Edition” (inadvertently?) improved labor conditions for street sex workers while it lasted (Photo via the Daily Dot)

Myanmar began a debate around decriminalizing sex work. The founder of the Sex Workers in Myanmar network (SWIM), Thuza Win, hopes the law will be changed before the 2015 general elections.

Research by University of Michigan economics professor Raj Arunachalam conducted among Mexican and Ecuadoran brothel workers and street sex workers found that beautiful sex workers make more money.  In others news, the sky is blue. (The interesting thing about the study, though, is that each subject’s beauty was measured by other sex workers.)

Tennessee artist Bryan Saunders revamped the decrepit mattress street sex workers used to entertain clients at a local park. He called the project EXTREME MAKEOVER: FUCK MATTRESS EDITION, and provided new sheets, a comforter, an array of condoms, new panties, and a trash can for the location. Slixa points out that the project’s value as a harm reduction and workplace safety measure outweighs its artistic merits. Apparently, after seven days, some of the panties were missing, all of the chocolate flavored condoms were.gone, and the flowers placed on the site were trampled on. It’d be great if someone had the bright idea to replenish the supplies and extend this undertaking to other outdoor sex trade venues.

Acclaimed queer sex worker author Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore reviews Mindy Chateauvert’s new book, Sex Workers Unite: A History of the Movement from Stonewall to Slutwalk for SFGate. (Stay tuned for Tits and Sass’ own review of Sex Workers Unite as soon as we get our review copy in the mail.)

Chinese gay rights groups are calling for Southern Television Guangdong to publicly apologize for using hidden camera footage of an undercover reporter meeting with a male sex worker.

Strip club owners unite to fight sex trafficking? We’d rather hear more about strippers fighting trafficking, thanks. Remember, sex workers themselves are most effective at combating this problem. Anyway, the strip club owners’ tactics sounds like more of the same: further surveillance of their employees.

“Feminist” hashtag #realjobsnotblowjobs made its debut on twitter this week. @ThatSabineGirl said it best when she tweeted in response, “bcos it’s feminist to slut shame women while you’re saying they’re forced into sex work against their will, apparently.” Hurray for consistently whorephobic internet feminism and its discontents.

A trans sex worker, Marco Noé López Castillo, was found strangled to death in San Pedro Sula, a Honduran red light district, recently. Nine killings of sex workers have occurred in the district since early December.

On Monday night, the English Collective of Prostitutes attended went to a meeting organized by the Metropolitan Police to “update the community on…why these [Soho brothel] raids took place…” The Collective related on their Facebook page that the sex workers at the meeting spoke out forcefully about the police abuse and civil rights violations they suffered during the raids. The police attempted to justify their actions as drug enforcement, but sex workers who testified at the hearings on the raids pointed out that nothing about drugs was mentioned in court. The Soho residents who attended the meeting seemed supportive of the Collective and unconvinced by the police’s feeble arguments.

A story we missed last week in the Guardian–Romanian street sex workers in turf wars over London territory. Plenty of ye olde trafficking hysteria and not so thinly veiled xenophobia here.

SWOP-Phoenix teamed up with the Best Practices Policy Project to send a report to the Human Rights Committee for consideration during the review of how the United States has fared in meeting its obligations to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The report described civil rights violations in Phoenix such as vague laws in the Phoenix’s criminal code–a person commits a crime if they are in public, within public view, or in a motor vehicle, and they “manifest an intent to commit … prostitution,” even if no exchange of sex for money occurs–and due process violations resulting from Project ROSE’s mass police “sweeps,” in which arrestees are handcuffed and transported via police car to the Project ROSE center and faced with prosecutors, with no opportunity to speak to a defense attorney, even if they request one. Keep an eye out for our upcoming interview with Monica Jones for more on this story.

Here’s a review of the food at Portland’s newly opened second vegan strip club, the Black Cauldron.  Sadly, the reviewer perpetuates the myth of the stripper as empowered independent contractor.

A bill to legalize sex work is making its way through Bolivian legislature. The bill was initiated by sex workers’ rights organization Organización de Trabajadoras Nocturnas de Bolivia. MP Saul Garabito states that the legislation’s aim is “recognizing sex work as an alternative means of livelihood for those who exercise it freely and voluntarily” and preventing ”the physical, psychological abuse and discrimination” suffered by sex workers at the hands of police and employers.

A new Spanish phenomenon–sex worker labor cooperatives.

Our own contributor Mariko Passion appears in this Reason video on how legalizing/decriminalizing sex work fights sex trafficking. Reason seems to conflate Dennis Hof’s (?) cause with the sex workers’ rights movement’s, though.

Edinburgh can’t afford to ban its sauna sex trade.

Miami Beach’s only strip club had its business license pulled for six months amid accusations that a thirteen year old girl was forced to dance there and do full service sex work. The club owner thinks the shutdown has more to do with his decade-long battle with City Hall to overturn its ban on alcohol in fully nude clubs.

Another story we missed last month–an Australian psychologist writes about the motivations of the growing market of women who purchase sexual services in the Sydney Morning Herald.

A video was posted of the horrifying vigilante attack on a Peruvian brothel we covered last week.

Sign this petition to get Cyntoia Brown–a teen survival sex worker who was tried as an adult and sentenced to life for killing a possibly violent client–a new trial.

The Guyana Sex Worker Coalition airs its grievances re: sex workers’ lack of access to social and medical services.

Here’s a profile of a Portland professional cuddler. Our “What Is Sex Work?” tag seems appropriate here.

Tories’ call for more research on prostitution-laws could be stalling tactic,” the Metro’s headline reads. (It could be a stalling tactic?) In an interview last week with Montreal’s La Presse, Justice Minister Peter MacKay said he wants to study international laws on prostitution, especially the Swedish model of criminalizing sex workers’ clients. Shudder. The thing is, Parliament has already already extensively studied — and the Conservative government rejected — any legal reform that would relax a tough-on-crime approach to prostitution. Meanwhile, the British Columbia Liberals proposed a resolution for the party’s next national convention aimed at ensuring sex workers are legally able to run a “safe and successful business,” which would be licensed to safeguard employees, employers and clients and taxed just like “any other commercial enterprise.”

AMNewYork interviews a former cop on his new career as a stripper: “[M]y people and communication skills being on the street [as a cop] absolutely rolled over into dealing with drunk bachelorette parties.”

Now that the bawdy house law has been struck down, Toronto area strip clubs are tentatively planning to attach brothel wings to their operations.

For the thousandth time: no, sex trafficking and sporting events are not linked.

French sex workers’ rights organization Strass demonstrated with LGBT groups against the homophobic far-right Catholic Civitas movement.


  1. I’m thinking the flowers might not have gotten trampled if they had been planted behind or to the side of the mattress instead of right in front of the only pathway to it.

    Ewww…the Hof. Why is he being given screen-time instead of more sex workers?


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