An open letter extravaganza began this week when Sinead O’Connor wrote to Miley Cyrus, warning her that the music industry “will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its[sic] what YOU wanted.. and when you end up in rehab as a result of being prostituted, ‘they’ will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body and you will find yourself very alone.” Oh, Sinead, please don’t use the word “prostitute” and all that anti rhetoric—all we want is to keep listening to I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, admiring your bravery for disclosing your Magdalene Laundry trauma. Amanda Palmer joined the fray, writing an open letter on her blog to Sinead, in which she maintains that there should be “room for Miley to rip a page out of stripper culture and run around like a maniac for however long she wants to.” Right, go ahead, Miley, please feel free to keep appropriating Black sex worker culture. Shut up, Amanda Palmer (this should really be said more often.) Autostraddle posited that all this would start a never ending sequence of offensive open letters. O’Connor then wrote a second and a third open letter to Cyrus in which she expostulated further about “acting like a prostitute and calling it feminism,” and how such behavior engenders mental illness (?).
Gabriela Leite, veteran sex workers’ rights activist and founder of Brazilian sex workers’ rights organization Davida, died of cancer yesterday, October tenth, at the age of sixty two.
Tracy Clark-Flory rants in Salon about why she didn’t want her husband to get a lap dance at his bachelor party (but, hey, she’s cool, she’s spent so much time writing about porn!) In the process, she reveals more about her own dysfunctions than any problem with strippers.
Ottawa police officer Sgt. Rohan Beebakhee is under fire in court for meeting with escorts, giving them his card, and saying things like: “I’m just here to let you know, should you have a bad date, or you find yourself in a bad situation, I don’t want you to be hesitant about calling police.”
The World Health organization published a new document informing government agencies and NGOs that sex worker led programs are a fundamental part of the fight against HIV. Sex workers themselves have known for ages how important peer-led projects are, but it’s nice to see it affirmed by mainstream organizations.
In related news, Kenya’s Medical Research Institute states that gay men working in the sex trade need to be included in the country’s HIV prevention strategy. Men who have sex with men are often prevented from accessing HIV testing and medication, and consensual sexual activity between men is illegal under Kenyan law and carries a maximum penalty of fourteen years’ imprisonment.
Cathy Reisenwitz critiques New York’s new prostitution and trafficking courts in Reason. Her op-ed also discusses recent FBI trafficking stings, and there’s a choice quote included from an FBI special agent’s press conference which makes the agency’s agenda of stripping sex workers’ agency abundantly clear: “The FBI is part of the apparatus in place to protect people, sometimes even from their own poor choices.”
In reference to the closing of Edinburgh’s saunas, Vicky Allan writes in a Scotland Herald op-ed that one thing much worse than a world full of super brothels is a world in which sex work is driven underground. At this point, though, we’re pretty tired of feminists prefacing pro-sex workers’ rights sentiments by going on about how uncomfortable they are with sex work. This isn’t about your comfort.
Strip club Rick’s Cabaret banned Giants watching at the club, because their recent string of losses soured customers’ moods.
Socialist PM Maud Olivier, writer of a new proposal for the French government to fine clients of sex workers, acts like she invented the Swedish model. The Local interviewed a spokeswoman for French sex workers’ rights organization STRASS, who explains how the law would further endanger sex workers.
Melissa Gira Grant decimates the rationale behind Equality Now’s campaign against UN recommendations to decriminalize prostitution: “[W]ould pro-criminalization advocates like [Rachel] Moran apply the same argument to lesbians, insisting that the UN first listen to former lesbians who have since rejected sex with women before defending lesbians’ rights?…What would Equality Now make of the International Labor Organization…and their decision, when they found poor working conditions in Cambodian garment factories, to step-up inspections with the support of garment workers’ unions and rights groups, rather than demand we outlaw all garment work?” Her piece also connects this issue to another item we covered in the Week In Links previously—Lauren Hersh, the star prosecutor in Equality Now’s battle against Backpage’s escort ads, who recently resigned over allegations that she sat on evidence that could have freed two prisoners eleven months earlier, is also a key figure in this Equality Now project.
Norway’s sex workers tell their government that taxation without a pension, healthcare, and protection is bogus.
The English Collective of Prostitutes, led by Niki Adams, and other sex workers in London’s Soho, dressed in carnival masks and negligees, (and actor Rupert Everett, among others) protested evictions closing down flats, unique businesses, and markets in favor of luxury hotels, decisions they feel threaten their safety and the unique nature of the area. Sex workers from three local flats were evicted late on Tuesday after police issued enforcement notices on landlords warning they could be prosecuted if they were found to be allowing “immoral activities”.
Speaking of the English Collective of Prostitutes, please sign their petition to decriminalize prostitution and thwart proposals to criminalize sex workers’ clients throughout Britain and Europe. For once, some trade unions and LGBTQ organizations are standing with them as allies in this fight, but they need your support as well.
Fifty years after the JFK assassination, seventy five year old Nancy Myer reminisces about her days as Tammi True, the headline stripper at Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club. The Dallas Morning News profiles the first screening of “True Tales,” a movie Myers made about those bygone days.
Here’s another article on how Nevada’s brothels are struggling in the Toronto Star. Industry insiders blame the fact that Nevada was hit particularly hard by the recession, competition from online escorts, and decreased patronage by truckers squeezed by fuel costs. We had to wince a little at the fact that dropping values allowed Denis Hoff to buy up five additional brothels.
Abigail Fox tells her cam girl story—from the initial money high to sex worker burnout—in Refinery 29.
In the face of lawsuits from the victim’s families, The Vancouver Police Department and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police filed statements of defense regarding how they handled the case of street sex worker killer Roger Pickton. A high-profile public inquiry last year identified a long list of the forces’ failures and concluded that, had the victims not been poor, drug-addicted sex workers, the police would have done more to investigate what happened to them.
Occupy.com covered the growing to decriminalize sex work in Asia, with a bit too much reference to trafficking for our comfort, but with shoutouts to many area sex workers’ rights organizations and the shadow HIV conference in Kolkata in 2012.
Neighbors ask for the police’s help in shutting down three illegal brothels in the Australian town of Maroondah. In the Australian state of Victoria, brothels are legal, but only under strict government regulation.