Home The Week in Links The Week In Links-May 24th

The Week In Links-May 24th

South African sex workers march for decriminalization. (Photo by Gallo Images)
South African sex workers march for decriminalization. (Photo by Gallo Images)

The Gender Commission for Equality’s report last week supporting the decriminalization of prostitution has been covered in a variety of venues, from Sowetan Live to All AfricaSABC News and an editorial in favor of the idea in the Star. South African sex workers welcomed the GCE’s call, with sex worker run orgs SWEAT and Sisonke leading the way. “The levels of abuse that are currently being experienced and the waste of state resources that could be diverted into programmes to assist sex workers are currently being spent to prosecute and persecute them,” said SWEAT director Sally Shackleton. Sisonke Movement of Sex Workers’ spokesperson, Snowy Mampa, declared, “Sex workers are harassed by the police. They detain us for no reason, rape and rob us of our money.”

The Scarlet Alliance is continuing their campaign for sex work to be fully decriminalized in Western Australia, in response to the probable reintroduction of the 2011 Prostitution Bill, which would restrict full service sex workers’ rights via a rigid licensing scheme.

Elsewhere in Australia, a bill to decriminalize sex work in Southern Australia is currently before Parliament. In addition to decriminalization of sex work itself, the bill would make it illegal to discriminate against current or former sex workers, would offer a ‘clean slate’ to any workers with convictions, and would remove currents laws against living off the earnings of a sex worker.

In Queensland, a motel owner (who is “not a prude”) has won an appeal against a sex worker who successfully took a discrimination case against her last year after she was banned from staying or working out of her motel. The appeal comes as a disappointment to many Australian sex workers, as the original ruling was an important precedent in their ability to formally challenge discrimination based on occupation.

12 people were shot dead in a Baghdad brothel on May 14th by unidentified gunmen.

Vice Magazine interviews Rachel Wotton about Touching Base, an organization she co-founded that brings together sex workers and people with physical disabilities.

The feminist antiporn group Stop Porn Culture has sponsored a petition on iPetitions.com in an attempt to change the editorial board and title of Routledge’s forthcoming white paper publication, Porn Studies. Constance Penley, co-editor of The Feminist Porn Book, is quoted in the story criticizing the petition and invoking academic freedom.

SF Weekly concludes that “Aroused”, a new documentary on porn performers, offers more of the same hackneyed perspectives on the topic, with the filmmaker speaking for the workers and wringing her hands about the state of their souls.

“You are now no longer oppressed,” General Sun Ro announced to a band of girls and women whom his police team had ‘rescued’ from a brothel in Phonm Penh.  They are free now, and if they’re over 18, they can choose which rehabilitation center they’ll be incarcerated in.

N+1 offers an insightful meditation on the filming of Kink.com’s Public Disgrace series.

Reports are coming in of banks (known worldwide for their rigorous codes of ethics, and reluctance to accept large sums of money purely for the purposes of profit-making) refusing to hold accounts for or grant loans to US adult entertainment performers for “moral reasons.”

The Rumpus features an interview with former teen sex worker and sex work anthology editor David Henry Sterry, and also provides him with a venue to interview two contributors to his new book Johns, Marks, Tricks, and Chickenhawks: Sex Professionals Writing on Life, Love and Money: Annie Sprinkle and Sam Benjamin.

In this month’s “Stupid People Discuss Sex Work, Have Terrible Ideas” segment, New York City mayoral candidates were given the chance to brainstorm how to “punish” the clients of sex workers, with many favoring a public name-and-shame approach. Given the number of politicians who are themselves clients, this strikes us as somewhat nonstrategic, but hey, who are we to argue with the minds responsible for “The John Hour”?

CNN’s Global Public Square blog posted a nuanced argument against the anti-prostitution loyalty pledge by Rebecca Schliefer of Human Rights Watch and Darby Hickey of the Best Practices Policy Project.

The Pentagon announced that an Army sergeant in charge of sexual assault prevention at Ft. Hood is under investigation for sexual assault. The investigation focuses on accusations that the soldier forced a subordinate into a “prostitution ring” and sexually assaulted two others. It appears the mainstream media still need to learn the difference between voluntary sex work and rape.

Elie Nahas, who was convicted of running a prostitution ring in Cannes in 2007, made the mind boggling claim that escorts in Cannes can make $40,000 dollars a night.

A Colorado woman was booked with attempted murder and three other women were booked with battery of a police officer when the group allegedly tried to fight their way out of a prostitution sting in Metairie, Louisiana. The account of the incident in this article leaves the officer looking suspiciously squeaky clean. We’d bet anything these women were provoked by police brutality.

University of New Brunswick political science professor Leslie Jeffries argues that use of the term “sex work” rather than pejorative synonyms is key to humanizing workers in the profession.

Dominican Republic justice minister Francisco Dominguez’s warning last week that johns who seek sex partners in brothels and the streets will be caught and booked has angered the sex workers of the red light district of Centro de Los Heroes. “What we’ll have to do in a couple of days will be to go out and rob and kill people, because imagine, we can’t do nothing else. I will not let my children starve,” one worker vowed.

Two women were arrested for “loitering with the intent to commit prostitution” at a Burbank hotel after officers reportedly discovered incriminating text messages, condoms and oils in their possession

The New Zealand Herald hosted an online question and answer session for the general public with New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective (NZPC) national coordinator Catherine Healy, available to read here.



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