Home News The Week In Links–June 21st

The Week In Links–June 21st

Image via The Guardian
Image via The Guardian

Anmar, an Argentinian trade union for sex workers, launched this fantastic graffiti campaign to combat stigma and stereotypes around prostitution.

This week’s biggest news story was the US Supreme Court striking down the anti-prostituion pledge 6 to 2. Melissa Gira Grant’s take for The Nation is our first pick for detailed coverage, but you can also read more at  The New Yorker, MSNBC, the IEDE, The Economist, and The Christian Science Monitor.

The FBI gamed P411, a screening website used by escorts to confirm that certain clients are safe and not abusive, to arrest 22 adult women because: trafficking.

Speaking of which, the US downgraded China and Russia to the lowest possible tier on their master list of countries with too much trafficking. The lesson here is for those countries to start arresting more voluntarily working prostitutes, I guess?

In Canada, lawyers highlighted the importance of bad date lists, the flipside of sites like P411, in their arguments against existing prostitution laws. If you’re looking for a breakdown of the elements at play in the current Canada court case, check out this extensive Autostraddle piece or this video, or this one.

Nikki Thomas points out that Canada’s courts display more willingness to listen to sex workers than do prohibitionist women’s groups.

At Forbes, Tim Worstall takes on the ever-timely issue of bad research and sex trafficking scare-mongering.

New York state’s senate passed a bill that would keep welfare recipients from spending their funds on strip clubs.

Routledge is planning to launch a new academic journal devoted to studies on pornography. Brace yourself for a shock—Gail Dines is pissed about it.

Badass MSP Jean Urquhart has joined the voices speaking against Rhoda Grant’s bill to further criminalize prostitution in Scotland.

A sugar dating site insisted it was “critical” that they target Alabama college students with billboard advertising.

Warning: everything about this story of a Vermont massage parlor bust is likely to infuriate you. (Sample: “the two customers who confessed to paying for sex will be witnesses in the case […] and therefore will not be charged.”) Although the fact that women working there basically told authorities to fuck off with their “offers of assistance” is pretty fantastic.

If you have the stomach for it, you can read about the trial of a California man accused of raping and killing four prostitutes.

Prostitutes in Okinawa, Japan regularly turn down the area’s many US military men, who have a history of being brutally violent.

In West Australia, a woman complained of being repeatedly harassed by police who suspected her of being a street worker. While obviously siding with her, we have to respectfully disagree that because she wears suits, the “last thing” she looks like is “a prostitute.”

Lucky Australian sex workers can claim condoms, lube, lingerie, and other work materials as tax deductions.

The Scarlet Alliance is encouraging Australia to allow sex workers from outside of the country temporary work visas.

Through the fees of student workers, the UK university system could be earning £355m a year from the sex industry. You’re welcome!

And then as if to prove the point, Scotland’s Herald spoke with an activist who started work while at uni.

Meanwhile, The Economist claims British sex workers are struggling to make a living, with many lowering their rates due to increased competition and parsimonious clients.

An impressively honest, heartbreaking article details the way that hatred of sex workers intersects with homophobia in Tanzania creating a climate of extreme abuse and rape by police, as well as denial of services from healthcare providers. You can read more about the research behind the coverage here.

Police in Livingstone, Zambia are warning away sex workers who want to capitalize on the upcoming United Nations World Tourism general assembly.

A Cape Town visual artist has been arrested for the murder of a prostitute.

In Brazil, prostitutes organized to offer each other free English classes in preparation for the World Cup in 2014, while in India, sex workers are trying to raise money to send the sons of red-light district women to the Homeless World Cup.

Do most sex workers use condoms for oral sex? Discuss.

Satin Dolls, AKA the Bada Bing, mourned James Gandolfini this week.

A Vancouver strip club switched to a gourmet locavore menu and saw its food sales double.


  1. U.S. Supreme Court and the Anti-Prostitution Pledge: Ladies, do you know something we don’t? 🙂

    “6-2 decision (with Justices Scalia and Thomas dissenting, AND JUSTICE KAGAN RECUSED)”

  2. To be fair to the US military personnel stationed in Okinawa, Japan is a strange and still very closed country that aggressively despises foreigners (the ‘gaijin’). It’s not uncommon for rumours to do the rounds like “HIV comes from the gaijin”, for people to refuse to speak in Japanese to a gaijin because Japanese is for Japanese people (even if the Japanese person doesn’t speak English, which is often, leaving no language for communication), for stripclub/nightclub/karaoke/bar bouncers to proclaim in loud and clumsy English “Japanese Only!”, or for Japanese teenagers to make ape sounds when a foreigner walks past. Or at least, this is the Okinawa I saw earlier this year.

    So, when I see something like… Okinawan prostitutes won’t see US Servicemen because they’re violent, well, maybe that’s true, and maybe that’s not true. I’ll grant it’s plausible though, given that the US Military still doesn’t take sex-related crimes seriously. But it could also be just another part of Japan’s deep seated hatred of foreigners boiling over again.

    However, the article isn’t thorough in how it forms its view. The journalist, what, looked at a Japanese newspaper, then asked one brothel owner, and that’s it? It’s a serious topic, and it deserves a more careful research than that.

    Also, just thought you should know, the link for the Okinawa article is broken; it’s missing s hyphen.

    • Maybe it’s because the link was broken, but it doesn’t sound like you read the article. There are tons of first person quotes within the piece, including one from a prostitute, so I’m not sure why you’re trying to cast aspersions on the journalist’s work.

      But yeah, it’s probably those “closed” Japanese sex workers being xenophobic rather than the US military—which has a proven history of many recent sexual assaults and rapes—actually being a threat to their well-being.

    • So basically you don’t think Japanese sex workers are assaulted and killed (which would make them a lucky exception among sex workers worldwide) by the Nice White People because some Japanese kid called you an ape. Yo, I wonder why he would do that.

      The violence is well-documented. Try again.

  3. P411 did a work verify on the potential client (which is what most screening services do) Then he got “OKs” from others to bolster his legitimacy by “meet and greeting” I feel as if P411 really screwed up on this one but there is plenty of blame to go around. The ladies who met with the under cover then “OK’d him when it was just a coffee meet up are also on shaky ground. Sadly 22 people have to deal with arrest now. But let this be a warning…You have to do your OWN screening and never rely on one source. You need to check, double check and triple check. Never let someone else carry the burden of your freedom or safety.

    As to trafficking… yeah thats just a red herring.


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