The Good News and the Bad News About The NM Ruling

  • The good news about this ruling from New Mexico Supreme Court is that these two website owners will go free and not have to suffer going to jail for prostitution which ought not be criminal.
  • The bad news is that it lets the majority of the adult prostitution websites  that  mainly female providers use for advertizing are owned  primarily by male customers  to go unchecked.  Its a problem for us female providers that we are not in control of our own image and advertizing.  Due to the criminalization of our first amendment rights to free speech, we don’t have the right to negotiate for our own labor and safe work conditions.  And since male customers have more access to all kinds of resources like financial backing and technology, they’ve managed to take complete control of all the websites we rely on to advertize and thereby dominate our economy.
  • These websites dictate the terms of our speech by allowing or disallowing us to advertize ourselves as providing the kinds of services we prefer and who we prefer see as clients or not as well as what kinds of rates we charge.  This violates our principals of having the right to refuse service-the right to say no.  These websites attract and support groups of male customers who coordinate the review system of our mainly female service providers by which they threaten us with bad reviews to force us to provide the kinds of services they want at the rates they want.  Or they write fake reviews to blacklist us from being able to get any work at all.
  • The solution is to decriminalize prostitution so that we can tell the truth about who we are so as to restore our right to say yes in the kinds of services we provide as a protected right.  Too customers must be able to tell the truth about what kinds of service they’d like and have that respected as protected right too.
  • But male customers must be barred from dominating our work; we must ban male customers from being in charge our advertizing on any terms in any capacity.
  • NM high court issues setback in prostitution case

    By RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press
    Updated 1:10 pm, Wednesday, February 6, 2013
    Robert Gorence, attorney for former University of New Mexico president F. Chris Garcia, talks to reporters outside the New Mexico Supreme Court chambers in Santa Fe, Wednesday Feb. 6, 2013. The state’s high court denied Wednesday prosecutors’ requests to overturn a lower court’s ruling that nothing in state law made a website linked to Garcia and retired Fairleigh Dickinson University physics professor David C. Flory illegal. Prosecutors said the website was promoting prostitution. Photo: Russell Contreras

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court dealt a blow Wednesday to the prosecution’s case against two aging college professors accused of helping run an online prostitution ring, and denied a request to overturn a lower court’s ruling that nothing in state law made the website illegal.

The state’s high court ruled without comment to deny a request by the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office to allow them to continue with a case that has drawn national attention and highlighted what some online experts say are New Mexico’s outdated anti-prostitution laws.

A state judge in June ruled that the website “Southwest Companions” — which was linked to former University of New Mexico president F. Chris Garcia and retired Fairleigh Dickinson University physics professor David C. Flory — violated no laws.

Both were arrested by Albuquerque police in June 2011 on charges of promoting prostitution after a yearlong police investigation into an alleged multistate operation where prostitutes and patrons could meet.

But District Judge Stan Whitaker found that an online message board could not be a house of prostitution under state law.

Prosecutors then took the functional equivalent of an appeal — an extraordinary writ — to the New Mexico Supreme Court. They said Whitaker had exceeded his authority in requiring the grand jury to be informed of the ruling, and they said his decision relied on facts not in evidence.

During arguments Wednesday, Michael Fricke, deputy district attorney for Bernalillo County, said he believed that the Internet “was a place” and therefore the website and its owners could be prosecuted under the state’s narrowly defined anti-prostitution laws.

Attorneys Teri Duncan, who represents Flory, countered that the state laws were clear and that the website didn’t fall into that category.

“Looking at the language of the statute, it’s clear that the place of prosecution … is intended to be a physical place,” she said.

New Mexico Supreme Court Judge Richard Bosson hinted that he agreed.

“The Legislature hasn’t looked at this in 30 years,” he said. “Maybe they should.”

State lawmakers are considering a proposal that could strengthen state law to include online prostitution websites.

Experts said that decades-old laws in New Mexico and other states make it difficult for authorities and prosecutors to go after prostitution-linked websites because the laws don’t necessarily outlaw the practice in cyberspace.

Fricke said prosecutors will reevaluate the case to decide if they could seek other charges.

Garcia’s attorney, Robert Gorence, said his client was “joyous” after learning of the high court’s decision.

“He’s been factually innocent from the very beginning,” Gorence said. “This has caused him great anguish.”

___

Follow Russell Contreras at http://twitter.com/russcontreras

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/NM-high-court-issues-setback-in-prostitution-case-4256156.php#ixzz2KAG6NzVS

 

http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/NM-high-court-issues-setback-in-prostitution-case-4256156.php#src=fb

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Proof of Feminst Women’s Violence Against Prostitutes

I have to challenge the women who promote the idea that they are not directly involved in violence against prostitutes.  Regardless of if  they believe that we’re all poor women of color and that’s why we work as prostitutes, we still  must  hold them accountable for the policies of criminalization of our occupation, the basis of violence, of which they support.  Since the author below has made such false and misleading statements in this article, I challenged her and other like her to face the reality of their role in the cycle of violence against our class that she and her heroes are actually responsible for.

There is no feminist war on sex workers

| February 4, 2013

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/feminist-current/2013/02/there-no-feminist-war-sex-workers

The author states that her heroes in life like Gloria Steinem, are not for arresting prostitutes because they see us as victims.  The author’s point, in this article, is to dispute another article by Melissa Gira Grant, who states that the feminist are actually in bed with the police and religious extremists who are actively bringing the violence to us prostitutes.

The War on Sex Workers

An unholy alliance of feminists, cops, and conservatives hurts women in the name of defending their rights.

http://reason.com/archives/2013/01/21/the-war-on-sex-workers/singlepage

 

Ms Murphy’s statement that we, the pro sex worker activists, are making up stories about how she and other women who say they’re about ending violence against us are really about continuing to criminalize prostitutes which is clearly a form of violence that has to be exposed.

Being arrested is a form of violence,

being put out of work is a form of economic violence,

having the police have sexual contact with us in the course of a prostitution sting operation and then arrest us for prostitution is a form of violence,

being forced into those shame based sex negative diversion programs or risk being prosecuted is a form of coercion-a form of violence,

being sentenced to give our labor for free in performing community service hours for prostitution convictions is a form of violence..

Not having access to our free speech, our first amendment right to negotiate for our own labor and safe work condition is a form of violence!

Not having the right to equal protection under the law because our occupation is criminalized is a form of violence.

My response to this author is this:

 

Dear Ms M. I wish to respond to your statement, “It is both unproductive and dishonest to claim that feminists advocate to criminalize prostituted women, as one of the few things feminists and those who advocate to end violence against prostitutes can agree on is that decriminalizing prostituted women is key.”
I have the ballot argument that Gloria Steinem signed to opposing San Francisco’s 2008 Proposition K that would have decriminalized prostitution. Would you like to see it? I also have a photo of fake researcher Melissa Farley holding a ‘no on prop k’ sign. Too, you are aware that an Ontario Superior Court Judge could only give little weight to her testimony because of her political position? There is plenty of evidence that your heroes have actively supported the continued criminalization of prostitution, my occupation, thereby supporting the war on the whores. I look forward to you response.

 

Here is the PDF of Gloria Steinem’s support in opposing the San Francisco 2008 ballot measure Proposition K that was printed in the voter information guide.  Prop K would have stopped arresting prostitutes and thereby stopping the primary violence against prostitutes.  She also notes in this statement that she opposed Berkeley’s Measure Q, a similar effort to stop the criminalization of prostitutes. She like others who’s names are listed in the documents, have continued to use their  class privilege to perch and preach from their Ivory towers the  very policies that are their preferred weapon of violence against prostitutes-Criminalization, incarceration, jail, shame bases sex negative psychological counseling.

CON Doc page 2

 

And here are other ballot arguments opposing ending the criminalization of prostitution signed by others who say they’re against violence.  7 paid opposed

 

 

Here is a photo of the fake researcher campaigning against Prop K.   Melissa Farley one of the leading American Feminist Scholars leading the push to criminalize all sex commerce on the grounds that prostitution is a form of personal violence that violates the personhood and human rights of “prostituted women,” was disqualified as a expert witness by an Ontario Superior Court Judge Himel who stated that: “Dr. Farley’s choice of language is at times inflammatory and detracts from her conclusions. . . Dr. Farley stated during cross-examination that some of her opinions on prostitution were formed prior to her research. . . For these reasons, I assign less weight to Dr. Farley’s evidence.”

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Fake Researcher with campaign sign.

Fake Researcher with campaign sign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Feminist Idea of Equality?

 

Equal protection comes in many forms.  One form is when we are victims of violence we, like anyone else have access to the Victims Compensation Fund as it’s called here in California.

How ever, California State regulation  649.56 states that victims can and are precluded from access the fund if those injuries occurred in the course of working as a prostitute.

http://www.vcgcb.ca.gov/law/regs.aspx

 

California State regulation  649.56. Involvement in the Qualifying Crime of Prostitution:

Involvement in the events leading to the qualifying crime of prostitution by the victim may be found if the victim was:

 

*  Engaged in activity related to prostitution.

*  The qualifying crime occurred as a direct result of the activity related to prostitution.

 

Activity related to prostitution includes, but is not limited to the following:

 

*  Soliciting or participating in the solicitation of an act of prostitution.

*  Purchasing or participating in the purchase of an act of prostitution.

*  Engaging in an act of prostitution.

*  Pimping as defined in California Penal Code, section 266h.<http://calvcpmanual.vcgcb.ca.gov/Codes/pc266h.txt>

*  Pandering as defined in California Penal Code, section 266i.<http://calvcpmanual.vcgcb.ca.gov/Codes/pc266i.txt>

 

Where are is the outrage from those women who claim to be against violence when prostitutes, who they consider only as victims, are denied access to the Victims Compensation Fund?

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Changing Course on the 40th Anniversary of Roe v Wade

In response to this article Oscar Buzz: How to Survive a Plague, and the History of Sex Workers with ACT UP  http://blogs.poz.com/melissaditmore/2013/01/oscar_buzz_how_to_su.html

 

I’ve had loads of a success in getting labor, political and LGBT political groups support for our agenda on the west coast.  I recently got our local LGBT political club to pass a resolution calling on our state legislators to enact anti discrimination legislation on our behalf  because one of my friend who was raped in her home was denied access to the state victim’s compensation fund because she and her assailant were association with a particular sw chat board.   Last year I got several political groups to pass a resolution calling for our congressional members to removal of the anti prostitution oath from the international AIDS funding when it comes for renewal in 2013.

 

We can move our issues much easier on a policy level and have wider effect than just hunkering down in the access to HIV because we’re dirty little whores who need protection.  This approach re-stigmatizes us same as it did/still does for members of the LGBT community despite gaining federal protections  in housing, employment and education for those who are HIV positive under the American Disabilities Act which was one of the demands that the HIV community.

 

 

The value in learning about the ACT UP history is about learning about its tactics and its militancy not its specific message. Coalition building about HIV has not born out much capital or currency because we, sw rights activists, are asking others to stand up for our right to provide protected services and be acknowledged as the leaders in providing safe services.  They don’t think we have any right to provide service and don’t want us in leadership because they’re afraid of us.  Too, its counter productive to have Network of Sex Worker Projects   http://www.nswp.org/news-story/nswp-response-pepfar-guidance-2012#.UQFMJHBHRNo.twitter

 

calling on the  US government to acknowledge us prostitutes as key stakeholders in crafting HIV delivery policy and then demand that LGBT coalition build with us because we’re all dirty little whores which isn’t even born out in the documentation.  There are particular populations within the prostitute nation like queer youth, transgender and people of color that are most likely to be termed by police as ‘no humans involved’ and face risk of violence including contracting HIV.

Too, long time established sex industry workers are increasingly facing the race to the bottom when long time customers who had been happy to receive protected services are now demanding unprotected services and pay lower rates for it on a daily basis. And yes we need to position everybody at the center of their own safety as being respected as priority #1 but nobody cares what color, our age or what gender we are as we’re ALL getting our asses kicked out here.

 

When the public hears that a bunch of craigslist hookers’ bodies are found in the next neighborhood over, they just shrug their shoulders with indifference, a form of violence.   When the anti prostituionist/traffickers hear that we’re forced to give blow jobs to the same cop that arrests us and then trafficked us into  their shame based sex negative diversion programs under the guise of delivering us service while they use our condoms as evidence of our crime of work,  they all jump up and down with glee.  They rejoices because they’re going to get to profit  again off our denigrated state because we are after all just dirty little whores.

 

So what I’m saying is that the HIV angle isn’t working as a viable means  in coalition building,  accessing funding for HIV prevention isn’t working as a means to moving our rights based movement forward, so stop using it.  I watched a youtube video recently about violence and made by the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDyNGg8gXcM

They do a great job mapping out the problem and short term solution but fail to link to the larger fight for recognition of equal protection under the law or to the larger civil rights movement let alone our own prostitution rights movement.

 

So its on us, the prostitutes rights movement to come together to retool our rhetoric to become strategic in our actions to gain access to the halls of enfranchisement to finally get treated with the respect we deserve.  Demanding anti discrimination protections and inclusive policies as a means for gaining access to equal protection is some of the low hanging fruit that’s waiting for us to pick it.  We’d be better served by learning how the LGBT, Black Civil Rights movement and labor rights movement resists oppression instead of following in the  failed foot steps of the women’s  rights movement that bet it all and lost on the ‘safe and legal access to abortion’.  Just take stock of where that movement is now.

 

It’s the 40th anniversary of Roe V Wade and legalized abortion in our nation has never been less legal and less accessible and less safe.

 

I’m visiting New York City again this winter and would love a chance to discuss these and other observations with activists.

 

1.25.2013

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UCLA Syposium-Dec. 2009

I could have written the outcome of this symposium before I attended it, but I wanted to be fair and give the organizers the benefit of the doubt. Too, I was holding out hope that something good for the adult film performers would come out of it. But given the pre conference phone conversation I was in on, I could see the lack of common ground, at least on my part. They too must have been concerned as they did discuss the idea of having a mole amongst them in that conversation. I was assured that actual performers would be there and that actual numbers of infections would be used and neither happened. I didn’t know then, but would soon find out, that some members of this group had been organizing around for this legislative power grab for 3 years! Apparently this self described ‘think tank’ crafted this legislation with actual performers participation at the beginning, but not for the last two years ago. It seemed at least one former performer, a male, would participate. He was part of the press conference and stating that he had contracted HIV during the course of performing in adult films because he didn’t use condoms in his out of country shoots, thus violating the porn valley’s STI prevention protocol.

The host for the symposium was the UCLA Reproductive Health Interest Group’s subcommittee on Adult Film Industry, a sector of the school’s public health program so UCLA students where aloud to attend. The rest of the cast of characters reads like the who’s who of the AID’s testing industrial complex with the main players being from the Los Angles City and County; Los Angles Department of Pubic Health and AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Nevada State Health Division STD Control Program Office of Health Statistics and Surveillance sent two women of whom I sat next to in the opening plenary. They couldn’t tell me if the local Nevada county sheriff departments receive and/or hold actual copies of licensed prostitutes’ sexually transmitted disease tests results. (Some form of documentation of health status has to be held somewhere before legal work in the legal brothels can commence). A current brothel worker friend of my mine pays mandatory fees from $60 to $120 a week for these test.

There were a few of us from San Francisco; the Saint James Infirmary and the SF Department of Public Health STD Program. A San Francisco gay porn producer who already mandates condoms in film shoots was the only actual currently working member from the bay besides moi. My guess is that he was extended an invitation only because he’s been dealing with a California Occupational Safety and Health who issued violations to his company. Cal-OSH is slated to be the enforcer of the proposed legislation, will mandate condom use by amending current labor law, was not present. Also not present where any other actual currently working Adult Film Industry performers, producers, agents, distributors, etc. Also not present nor invited was AIM, the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation, the primary provider of STD screening for the AFI founded by a former female porn star. Two smaller clinics, both male run, where in attendance, apparently AIM’s competition. Adult film performers pay AIM $130 for an STD screening and they also sign a waver to have those results available to the producers who too pay to access the performers’ test results. I was invited by members of the student hosting group out of concern for the lack of worker organizing around this legislation. I co-moderated one of the four break out sessions titled ‘Empowering Performers to Advocacy’ and the organizers assigned who would attend which session!
The half day event started off with an announcement by a UCLA professor public health program Paula Tavro, who warned that this was an invitation only event and campus police had been alerted to assist with the removal of anyone who had not been invited or caused a disruption.

The opening plenary was a tough sell. I tried to listen and understand the slide presentation by the LC county health department about the actual numbers of STD infections but I had so many questions and apparently so did everyone else. I did finally get a question of Michael Wienstein, the ED of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, who spoke after his lawyer, a lobbyist Rand Martin, who went on and on about how difficult it is to get legislative sponsorship in Sacramento. They’d been rejected by the republicans because anything that encourages safe sex encourages sex and the republicans don’t want to encourage sex. Apparently legislatures didn’t want to deal with anything like this topic because as they told him, it had a ‘yuk’ factor. Also they encouraged the group to take a public health stance to justify this legislation but this legislation was about worker safety on the job and the industry didn’t initiate it. His goal was to get the legislation introduced and into a public hearing and shame anyone who dare disagree.

Wienstein clarified a question about the legislation’s mandating condoms for all scenes that involved ‘penetration sex acst’. He said that Cal OSH could issue wavers to producers who asked for them. Scenes involving oral for example could be granted a kind of exception because according to his organization, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, oral sex in low risk for HIV transmission. He thought these kinds of details ought to be left up to the regulating body which he thought should be county health departments but Cal OSHA already has jurisdiction over blood born pathogens on the job. He thought producers ought to be charged with felonies if a transmission occurred but the legislation says ‘subject to civil, criminal and administrative penalties’. Cal OSH has administrative fines they can impose already. My questions, since I was sitting next to the Nevada State brothel sex surveillance ladies, focused on the legislation precluding folks with HIV from performing in film like they do in the Nevada brothels. And he said yes. I asked him if he realized that unprotected sex acts did occur in the brothels even though state law mandates condoms. He disagreed with me and then the professor stated that no disruptions would be tolerated. Wienstine had just stated that oral sex was low risk transmission for HIV. The next question was about the privacy of workers’ medical records which was one of Wienstien stated was one of their primary criticism of AIM but he blew that question off too.

It seemed that this gathering was just a formality for the already written legislation. There goal was to get more warm bodies to do the hard leg work of political organizing. And too it was important to me to hear from the horse’s mouth, the head of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation their belief that HIV transmission is so low (but not non existent) with oral sex that they proliferated this belief to the point that workings prostitutes, (like me), exotic dancers, web cam performers, phone sex operators are constantly being pestered by clients to exchange body fluids; bare back blow jobs was nauseating to say the least.

True story: in the weeks leading up to this symposium, I had participated in a phone conference with this group, whom I wasn’t made aware of their exact position on the sex industry in general. Most of the conversation revolved around how to get and handle the media. I barley got off the phone with them when I received a phone call from a regular but infrequent client who asked me for a ‘rb-bbbj’. I asked him to explain exactly what he wanted since he was a regular and I knew he wasn’t a cop. He replied that ‘Rb’ stands for redbook.com, a client generated website that discusses in detail and rates erotic service providers’ looks, services and surroundings. The ‘bbbj’ part stood for bare back blow job, oral sex without a condom. I told him I could not exchanging bodily fluids as it wasn’t safe and I encouraged him not to do it either and if he had he ought to get tested right away. But he was focused on finding someone who’d do it. I hung up knowing that he’d go down the list and find the person who needed the money and she’ll say yes.

So why is it that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation gets away with taking the position that oral sex without a condom is okay because it’s low risk for HIV transmission, but the LA county Department of Public Health was using all STD infection rates to justify their legislation mandating condoms? How is it that they don’t take responsibility for how this position negatively impacts the whole sex industry like prostitutes and exotic dancers on a day to day basis? They choosing to ignore some basics like prostitutes and exotic dancers individually make up a much larger groups than the estimated 2000 adult film performers, the majority of which are female too. And the former are being solicited for unsafe sex acts, sex acts that are criminal to negotiate with or without a condom. In fact, condoms are collected and used as evidence in prostitution arrests and prosecutions. Here all these group supporting this legislation and getting themselves paid by giving out condoms and conducting STD screenings then the condoms are they’ve given away are used as evidence of crime. They have creditability issues.

So the standard has to be that everyone has to have equal access to equal protection. Everybody has to have the right to say yes and right to say no. Yes to sex for money and no to unprotected sex and/or no to sex for money and yes to unprotected sex. Its unacceptable that these AIDS advocacy groups state that HIV transmission via unprotected oral sex is not high risk behavior and then creates legislation taking away everyone’s right to negotiate what’s safe on their job while furthering stigmatizing us to not be included in the crafting of legislation.

This legislation that they put forth regarding adult film performers was even generated by actual currently working performers sets a dangerous precedent . It’s un acceptable that they ignore the effects of their current policies on the heath and safety of the majority of sex industry workers; prostitutes who are put in a position to choose between working unsafely or not working at all while mandating condom use for adult film performers who aren’t beating down their door for their help! As the proponent of Proposition K, a San Francisco ballot measure qualified by a signature collection drive to stop the enforcement of the prostitution laws, our main goal was gain access to our right to say yes to sex and no to unprotected sex.

End part I

Part II
Given that the majority of the people at this symposium were male and gay male…The break out session on ‘Empowering the Performer to Advocacy’ which are primarily women…

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