Home The Week in Links Week In Links–March 22

Week In Links–March 22

Strass (Union of Sex Workers) protests the passive solicitation law in Pigalle Square in Paris on March 16th, 2013--photo by Zaer Belkalaï, courtesy of demotix.com
Strass (Union of Sex Workers) protests the passive solicitation law in Pigalle Square in Paris on March 16th, 2013–photo by Zaer Belkalaï, courtesy of demotix.com

Renowned 70s porn star Harry Reems died this Tuesday.

Apparently, you can tell a lot about a state or country by the porn it favors. The state of Kentucky has an unexpected fondness for hentai, and Britain is into girls who can squirt. Russia has a thing for Sasha Grey.

Tomorrow there is a book release party for HERE. by Lindsey Kugler at the Independent Publishing Resource Center in Portland, OR. HERE. is a “mini-memoir” about Lindsey Kugler’s experience working as a social worker and for MyFreeCams.

Dr Brooke Magnanti takes on lies, damned lies, and prostitution statistics in a Guardian article this week.

Wilmington, North Carolina police officers get drunk and arrest escorts. Good times.

A bill has been introduced to the South Australian parliament which would decriminalize all forms of sex work,  based on the New Zealand model.

African trafficking survivors fleeing from Italy to Ireland find that the government is unwilling to grant them asylum.

The fact that a Brooklyn sex trafficking survivor is escorting now apparently invalidates what she suffered before, according to the prosecution, who want to drop her case.

A badly translated article reports on sex workers, sex worker org Strass (Union of Sex Workers) and NGOs demonstrating in Paris against a new French law which forbids the “passive solicitation” of clients, a category of behavior which includes women standing in “areas known for prostitution” in “revealing clothing.” Sex worker blogger False Consciousness tweets, “Which women d’you think get targeted through this Being Female In Public law? Off the top off your head. Which women?” Our first guesses included women of color, working class women, trans* women, and migrant women.

Julia Stiles talks about how she prepped for her role as the titular Blue, the escort she plays on her web series, by talking to escorts and their…handlers? “They don’t really call them pimps,” Stiles confides. Where are these escorting pimps/handlers/managers whom Stiles spoke to? I’ve never met or heard of any.

Annie Sprinkle wrote in defense of Tracy Elise and the 39 other Tantric workers arrested in a prostitution sting on The Phoenix Goddess Temple in Arizona. Elise is being forced to take psychiatric drugs as she awaits her court date—she has been judged incompetent to stand trial and is being incarcerated in a psychiatric ward for fifteen months, which is how long we suppose the Arizona court feels it takes to regain one’s sanity.

The Jakarta Post explains how Surabayan sex working district Dolly economically enriches the area around it. Another article in the same paper has officials in Jakarta and Surabaya discovering once again that training sex workers in dressmaking to allow them to leave the business is useless, as textile work doesn’t pay enough to make such a transition worthwhile. 

A Mexican politician called  for the election she ran in to be annulled; she claims that “misogynistic” rumors that she worked as an escort made it impossible for her to compete in equal circumstances.

The EU didn’t defeat a call for continent-wide censorship of sexual content, as was reported in most news outlets. Rather, the measure was passed and then hidden within a larger resolution. Thankfully, this sort of resolution isn’t legally binding…yet. Cliterati explains with reference to Wired and CNet. The Telegraph reports on the EU voting on another non-binding resolution to establish “independent regulation bodies with the aim of controlling the media and advertising industry and a mandate to impose effective sanctions on companies and individuals promoting the sexualisation of girls.” Whatever that means.

A report authored by various local activist groups on the problem of the missing women of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside calls for the decriminalization of sex work, heroin, and cocaine, among 36 other recommendations. The report is entitled  “ ‘Wouldn’t Piss On Them If They Were on Fire’: How Discrimination Against Sex Workers, Drug Users and Aboriginal Women Enabled a Serial Killer.”

A sex trafficking victim’s advocate tells us that any girl with tattoos who wears “provocative clothes” must be a sex slave.

Maggie Mcneill writes of a Dallas News item, Dallas officials are trying to push their “prostitution diversion” scheme on the rest of Texas as a replacement for locking women up.  While any move away from incarceration is good news, the motivation is a desire to save money rather than a recognition that criminalization of consensual adult behavior is wrong; whores are still regarded as “criminals” to be “rehabilitated”, and all are assumed to be miserable victims who want out of sex work.” Mother Jones magazine, which really should know better, sings the project’s praises while painting the most condescending picture of street sex workers we’ve read in weeks. Betrayed by the left? Must be a Friday. Meanwhile, SWOP protested Tucson’s Project Raise, a similar project that gives sex workers the non-choice of arrest or diversion into the system for forced “rehabilitation”.

A bizarre anti-prostitution demonstration in California had participants sitting on mattresses in the street while wearing torn clothing.

The New York Times profiles yet another movie made to cash in on sex trafficking hysteria. The reviewer seems to feel cheated by the lack of nudity and sexual content in the film.

An opinion piece in a business journal exhorts companies to make sure their employees aren’t clients of sex workers — er, participants in sexual exploitation. It’s called “corporate sexual responsibility.”

Two men arrested for prostitution in Dubai are charged with “inciting others to commit a sin” and “breaching public modesty,” among other things.

The Houston disease of stripper tax is spreading to Las Vegas. Rather than go over how offensive the implications of this are one more time, I’ll refer you to Bubbles’ brilliant piece, Pole Tax Not Genius.

 Jennifer J Reed unpacks new proposed Nevada sex trafficking legislation that looks like Prop 35: The Vegas Version.

The Indian Ministry of Women and Children launched its new policy on women with a chapter dedicated to issues faced by sex workers, trans* people, and their children, asking for protection from violence and exploitation, access to property rights, housing rights, and the relaxation of norms of verification for accessing various welfare programs. The document also calls from the ultimate decriminalization of prostitution.

The Village Voice interviewed Sean Van Sant of rentboy.com on the rash of recent deaths in the gay porn industry. He recommends group health insurance and labor rights, and talks about representing rentboy.com at the Desiree Alliance Conference.

Links we  missed for International Sex Workers’ Rights Day: In Conducive Chronicle, yet another essay for the occasion on how abolitionist feminists only violate sex workers’ rights with their paternalism and their rescue industry. Sex worker-run Sierra Leonean NGO The Movement for Vulnerability and Empowerment held a protest calling for the government to legalize prostitution and stop police harassment of sex workers.

Finally, here are some gorgeous photos of a sex workers’ rally in Kolkata on International Women’s Day.


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