sex workers

Dog Whistling for Whores “Changing Dominant Narratives on Sex Work”?

Dog Whistling for Whores “Changing Dominant Narratives on Sex Work”?

After 17 years of watching local, state, national and international laws passed recriminalizing us as sex traffickers, reclassifying us a felons eligible for long prison sentences with high fines and fees the Open Society Foundation is funding a two year grant proposal ‘changing the dominant narratives.’ Grantees are supposed to ‘demonstrate sex worker leadership or partnership on an equal footing in all phases of the project’ as per the eligibility criteria requirement. It certainly wasn’t a sex worker who dreamed up this grant.

The dominant narratives originally came out of a American sex negative shame based think tank! The dominant narrative was then legislated into law by an American White House and a United Nations which sits on American soil. The dominant narrative became fake news thanks to the American media who never once questioned the fake research it quoted over and over again. That dominant narrative and its policies spread across the globe while Open Society and the rest of society sat by and watched for years but now they want European whores to change the narrative.

It’s like Open Society is blind to the fact that everyone’s economic circumstances have been so negatively impacted by all the different forms of criminalization. Sex worker leaders are supposed to transcend all that and be equal to non sex workers? Be in partnership as leaders? How do sex workers get to be leaders in the first place? Like we’re supposed to organically get into leadership and then groups like OS decide how to use our capital to do what? Change the dominant narrative? Why doesn’t OS just hire a mediawhore and advertising firm to craft the new narrative, and perhaps consult a worker led focus group to design it? Accountability and open participation for prostitutes requires special considerations since our civic, economic and cultural lives are not on par with those who are not criminalized. I’m wondering who OS consulted with to dream up this grant.

We’ve been fighting back against the police state with little help from Open Society or other groups for decades, fighting from the trenches using our meager earnings from prostitution all this time. Our leaders lose momentum when we have to choose between financial survival or advocacy. Even Margo St. James was forced to abdicate the political and social capital she helped gain for us because she could no longer afford to fund it out of her own pocket. $50,000 for two years to overseas groups will not change our debilitating circumstance here in America where the dominant narrative started or anywhere else.

I am after all highly motivated since I am a criminalized prostitute. Changing the laws and the discourse has not been that hard once recourses have been brought to bare. What has proven way more challenging is how to eat, how to pay and maintain housing and other basic necessities. I have to decide everyday if I have enough uncompensated labor available continue to meet with decision makers, educate media, and empower other whores like me to speak out to keep the momentum moving forward. Minute by minute, I have to decide if I can spend the money on transportation to make a meeting that will fortify our allies or inspire a sister to take action or food. OS should also just cut a check every sexworker leader on the planet for $100,000 in cash just to demonstrate its commitment partnership for starters.

OS grant leaves out American prostitutes!
OS’s recent video (https://twitter.com/opensociety/status/870709923587305473), on International Whore’s Day and how criminalization is a barrier to accessing health care is the agenda of the HIV lobby who too has been slow get to involved in challenging all the false and misleading information created by the anti prostitution lobby that created the anti trafficking lobby and subsequent narrative. The access to health care narrative has only led to re stigmatizing us as dirty little whores in contrast to OS’s grant offer to predominantly white European countries who already have universal healthcare! Restricting financial support to only these counties will lead to the usual infighting pits: intersectionality enough on sexual orientation, race, gender, class against un and under paid whores who are forced to be ‘privileged’ and demagogue themselves to fulfill grant requirements instead of engaging the long term solidarity that has to take place to meet the challenges long after the grant runs out.

The whorenation deserves more and must demand more and not settle for this continued token approach from billion dollar foundations. The whorenation should boycott this application process altogether and not act in desperation. We’ve been here a long and time and we’re going to be here after their money runs out. Foundations should speak to us personally so they can get into alignment with who we really are and avail themselves to more realistic grant proposals.

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The Vernacular of Vixens

Last week The Daily Dot ran a story about a Twitter campaign petitioning the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook to rename prostitutes as sex workers in their 2015 annual update. The AP Stylebook, for those who may not know, is the essential go-to writing manual for journalists, freelance writers, editors, professionals and students. It provides fundamental guidelines for spelling, language, punctuation, usage and journalistic style, along with constantly changing common use slang.

I am more than a bit perplexed by the idea that we need to be renamed. Who is suggesting this? The Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) USA, Mamacash and Soros Foundation? Mamacash, the only granter to ‘sex workers’ in the US of A, demands that recipients of their monies be ‘sex worker led’. According to SWOP’s overbroad definition, legal sector sex workers include but are not limited to strippers or dominatrixes. It seem that by supporting the replacement of use of the term prostitute, they’re supporting non prostitutes to rename us prostitutes a clear act of colonialism.

The term sex worker obscures the underprivileged illegally working prostitutes. Is it appropriate for actual prostitutes to be renamed by privileged legal sector workers such as exotic dancers and fetish models? The Soros Foundation too seems to be supporting this change when they haven’t lifted a finger to help us get out from underneath the train-wreck of being renamed sex trafficked victims by the UN and DoJ, and subsequently journalists who read the AP Stylebook.

Basically, I am concerned that non-working non-prostitutes are calling for this change in the AP Stylebook when they don’t understand the legal consequences of ignoring the fact that ‘sex work’ is considered ‘prostitution’. Prostitution is not only illegal, it is often considered a component of ‘sex trafficking’. The press perpetuates the public perception of that reality by the vernacular they use in reporting on prostitution.

As an activist and working prostitute, I would say that reporting on my industry leaves a lot to be desired. Pun intended! I spend a lot of my unpaid time educating journalists and asking people like Soros and Mamacash for financial support. My experience convinces me renaming us won’t change my legal status. Changing what name we are called in the public spheres won’t enfranchise us. It won’t bring us equal protection under the law.

The term prostitute is completely appropriate to use especially when reporting on arrests for prostitution, which is what the press usually reports when it comes to our community. It is not like reporters go out of their way to cover our fundraisers, or events like they often used to prior to California’s Red Light Abatement Act of 1914, or the Alaskan ‘Line’ being shut down in the 1950s. Old newspapers frequently covered brothels and prostitutes philanthropic events at a time when we were treated as any other (legal) valuable members of society.

Now-a- days those of us who are ‘out’ get hit up by young journalists who want to follow us around for a few days to give the ‘day in the life of…’ feel to their piece. Exposing ourselves doesn’t really do anything for us. It doesn’t make us more money. It doesn’t make us safer. It actually makes us more likely to be arrested for or discriminated against- not for sex work but for prostitution. In fact, since these requests are often unpaid and may introduce unwelcome attention, it usually costs us to participate in that style of expose. It is important, however, to report on prostitution arrests so we all know what is going on.

So consider this: If arrested it is not going work to say we’ve been arrested as ‘sex workers’. Telling judge and jury you were just ‘sex working’ will not clear charges. Changing vernacular without changing the law does not get us out of being criminalized.

Changing our name may allow some to feel like they’ve done something for the cause. It’s one of the those feel-good neoliberal moves that we’ve recently seen, for example in being called ‘victims’, as in ‘sex trafficked victim’, and how now we are being provided ‘much needed services’ when in fact we’re being forced to give our time for free to attend yoga classes and/or unqualified ‘peer-to-peer’ based substandard mandatory counseling to get out of going to jail.

Another problem when journalists write about prostitution arrests is they often use real names. Using our real names without our permission, causes harm. It puts targets on our backs so all the creeps, both within and outside of law enforcement, can find us for a ‘free sample’. Using our real names exposes us – and our families – via Google searches to landlords, employers, education systems, child custody challengers and financial lenders who can line up to take a swipe at us because we’re named to be in association with (not sex work) prostitution, which illegal.

Currently the trend is on reporting sex trafficking. Would it behoove journalists to be more accurate in their reporting on prostitution by stopping calling all of us victims of sex trafficking? Just because the police blotter or the yearly FBI press release renames us as victims doesn’t mean reporters should repeat these inaccuracies, or infantise us by conflating all acts of prostitution with child abuse. Statistics about us in press releases by self appointed experts are often presented out of context. This lack of critical thinking misleads the public and policy makers. In this way reporters play a role in getting the public to go along with the proposed bad policy du jour being brought by the politicians under the guise of rescuing sex trafficked victims. The fact is that we’re all going to jail for (not sex work) prostitution. We’re all having criminal cases being adjudicated in criminal court for? Prostitution. Renaming prostitution as sex work, especially during the current trend in stacking trafficking with prostitution, is more complicated than mere politically correct etiquette.

Ironically, the renaming campaign is being led by SWOP USA. Their founder the late Robyn Few, came to me after her arrest, enthusiastic to start some kind of sex worker group, she asked my input. I told her about the Sex Worker Outreach Project in Australia where prostitution is decriminalized. My friend Rachel W. was an outreach worker there distributing condoms and safe sex information kits. Robyn immediately liked the name, saying she would use it. I encouraged her to contact Rachel W. for permission to associate and share mission, though she never officially aligned with the Australian network. For SWOP USA to say they want to rename prostitutes as sex workers seems highly suspect. I’ve yet to hear current U.S. members actually publicly identify as actual working prostitutes. For legal sector workers like strippers, fetish models, or even former prostitutes, to want to rename of group of active workers they don’t globally identify with is not entirely okay.

I’m not opposed to the term sex worker, but until all workers gain access to their individual and collective voices via decriminalization of prostitution, this effort will create more false reporting.

Lastly prostitution isn’t just a legal term. Prostitution is a part of each era of history. The terms prostitute and prostitution predate adult film performers, pornography, webcam and phone sex performers, lingerie or fetish models, doms, subs, burlesque and pole dancers, strippers, the gamut of diverse erotic service providers. The term prostitute has historic value. Some of us are able and willing to stand in pride as being part of this valuable occupation. We accept – embrace even – what we truly are, and what as prostitutes we have to offer.

Maxine Doogan and M. Dante

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We Don’t Need Rescuing, Not Even By Organized Labor

A great article Labor Intensive: In Defense of Sex Work is an anonymous angry rant along the lines of ‘we sex workers are tired and we’re not going to take it anymore’! Its got some great analogies like this one in talking about how simulated violence in adult films isn’t real violence but how the response to a recent adult film performer is blamed for actual domestic violence acts she suffers; ‘We wouldn’t blame a stuntman, after all, for getting hit by a car in real life just because he sometimes gets hit by a car during work hours.’

When discussing our position in the current climate of extremist capitalism, they say ‘We understand that our work is negotiated in different, complex ways and in the context of the most oppressive economic system the world has ever known’. As a prostitute, I am proud to be associated with that statement.

Its good to know that some of us are well aware of our precarious position and demand to be fully enfranchised in the economy. However the authors’ critique of the broad based criticism we all receive for working in the oldest profession seems to not quit demonstrate how its up to the collective ‘us’ to grasp and then leverage the common economies matter to us as a means to organize ourselves. Oh well, I imagine we’ll get there someday.

I do love how the authors take on everything and every body. My favorite line is ‘We make this world turn, and we make this world cum. Respect us’. Lets make that a tag line or # for a good long while!

With all that said, it seems they’re waiting on the labor movement to organize us when in fact that’s not how organized labor works, at least not in Amerika. The authors ask ‘how about the labor movement stop ignoring the oldest profession, and start organizing us? That’s a fair question for those who haven’t spent any time with us in organized labor. It is often the misconception that labor happens like everything else happens to us. Its worth our time to learn about the history of organizing labor and our own sex workers rights struggles in addition to learning what it would take to organize the sex worker rights movement into organized labor.

carharts1

My experience in organizing sex industry workers and organizing with organized labor is that you have to show up and do it face to face. Its cannot be done over a blog. Organizing labor style means you have to show up for your own issues because you have issues. You have to be willing to show up and stand in solidarity with others who might be from different social/economic/race/gender/sexual orientation back grounds or who might be doing different types of sex worker than what you might consider…safe or politically correct….but who share your issues.

The authors also call for allies to be in solidarity with sexworkers ‘for union representation, free speech, improved working conditions and decriminalization’ but the fact is sex workers in general lack a significant amount of solidarity amongst ourselves in these areas too. Given the authors own feelings of ‘fear of reprisals’ if their identities were known for writing this article, I would say that solidarity has a long way to go within the sw rights movement. And given that solidarity is a prerequisite to unionizing; gaining access to our right to negotiate for our own labor and safe work conditions and decrim, we need to be finding a way to be in discussions with each other that would be productive towards these ends.

Having said that, I’m concerned about our ability to come together upon reading recently public critiques of sex worker rights activists by other sex worker rights activist. There is a great need for face to face space to create real solidarity amongst ourselves. Coming together ought to be prefaced with different types of trainings. Some of the much needed trainings would be labor specific like exercises to inform each other of the economy that matters to us. But before we get to that point, we need to get some violence de-escalation training. We could use some non violent communication training. We could use some respectful confrontation training and some conflict resolution training with the goal of standing in solidarity with each others work publicly, not to fortify the currently existing fiefdoms.

I love that the authors of this article are using the labor word, but writing it is no replacement for action. A good place to start to practice solidarity is to find other workers at your nearest labor rally who too are in struggle for their rights and join them.

And finally get some training! If we all had what it takes to change our status in this world, we’d not be in the situation we’re in so get some training-any training then make yourself and your skills available to your nearest sex worker, sex worker rights activist and sex worker rights based organization.

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Mutual AID

Wow, I just saw a non sex worker tell the 2 presenters who led the sex worker panel at the Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair that they cannot call themselves Gender Dentata as they were putting forwards ideas of names for their newly forming group. They are currently calling themselves Vagina Dentata. http://bayareaanarchistbookfair.wordpress.com/2014-program-schedule/

The non sex worker said that vagina was too exclusive a term and went on to say that because they were white women, they couldn’t be leaders in the movement. Let us first acknowledge how brave these white women were to identify themselves and secondly out themselves in a public space as outlaw anarchist sex workers. Thirdly; to travel to the bay and lead a sex worker panel. They were told they weren’t good enough to name themselves or had any right to organize.

I cannot think of anything that would have been more antithetical to say at an anarchist book fair!
In my mind, these 2 women are already leaders in our movement and rightfully so.

This same non sex worker, who identified herself as being in association with the San Francisco Sex Worker Film Festival as her cred, spoke all about Prop 35 and how scary it was now that its passed because our friends can be arrested as sex traffickers. This struck me as odd because our group was the statewide opposition and we couldn’t get enough people to respond to all the voters’ requests for information during that election no matter how many times I asked people in our industry to do so. Apparently there are degrees of comfort in being ‘out’ even for non sex workers who support sex workers.

I totally support former and non-sex workers speaking out for the rights and well-being of sex workers as allies. I just have a huge problem when individuals of this group dismiss the voices of actual prostitutes when advocating for ourselves about what to call ourselves, in what manner we advocate for ourselves, what rights we advocate for and telling us our skin and gender aren’t the right ones. I believe there are studies that say most prostitutes are white and women so I am not sure why the 2 presenters were being dissuaded for standing up. I believe more people of color are in jails but that doesn’t mean white women in the sex industry don’t get arrested, or don’t go to jail or get fucked for free less. To say that only people of color who are non gender conforming are the only one’s who can stand up for sex worker rights is counter productive. These oppression qualifiers that non sex workers have put on our movement are counter productive. Its a type of red hearing or is it oppression/privilege baiting? This behavior is really akin to being a counter organizer.

But back to the other related topic, the Freedom Network U.S.A. conference being held in San Francisco March 31 from 8 to 10 pm at the downtown Hilton. When I asked them who was going to be on the panel, they listed off the usual suspects except not any actual direct service providers who’ve “had their lives directly impacted by the anti trafficking policies and laws”. So I offered to connect them with actual women who’ve been arrested for prostitution under the guise of being rescued as sex trafficked victims. They’ve not responded to me.

Only one speaker I saw on their list, before it was removed from the fb page event, identifies as a actual working sw, which is great but I didn’t see anyone who’s been arrested for prostitution under the guise of being arrested for being a sex trafficked victim.

So this begs the question, why would an anti trafficking group invite non prostitutes to lead such a ‘dialog’? I mean, isn’t that what their types do everyday anyway? And why do they need to come to San Francisco to host their $315 a person tariff (at a hotel that took Local 2 years to get a collectively bargained contract)?

I too find it really essential to expand the dialogue about the human, civil and labor rights violations that are occurring under the guise of fighting trafficking. I’m glad to see that others like Veg Vix are taking issue with former and non-sex workers who treat policies like criminalization of us as if that don’t matter. It makes me wonder what polices are good enough? What skin color is the right color? What gender is the right gender?

I can see the Freedom Network U.S.A. is not addressing the harms of policies that conflate all prostitution with trafficking: http://freedomnetworkusa.org/more-penalties-for-prostitution-wont-help-victims-of-human-trafficking/. Freedom Network U.S.A. is only stating that more penalties for prostitution won’t help victims while ignoring one of our key values: including actual workers being affected by the policies.

Any anti-trafficking groups that seriously wanted to address the harms of policies and rhetoric conflating all prostitution with trafficking would put decrim including our customers in their legislative packages, training sessions and raising awareness campaigns and they’re not. None of them have called me up to say, ‘hey we’re going to visit legislators in your state to talk to them about trafficking, wanna come along?’ Have they called you?

They haven’t showed that kind of respect because they don’t really want us in the room with them at legislator visiting time. But who they do want at their high priced Hilton Hotel Conference? Those who lack the political will and skill to hold them accountable for their hollow policy.

Veg Vix said “Though the sex workers’ rights movement has been at the forefront of addressing the harms of such misguided and oppressive policies for years, the movement shouldn’t have to do this alone and it can be very powerful when some anti-trafficking groups also denounce such harms.” And I agree but denouncing these harms isn’t good enough.

Anti trafficking/prostitution have to join prostitutes activist to be demanding decrim as the primary means to reducing these harms. It has to be stated clearly on their websites not just whispered at conferences or assumed. Its especially essential that anti trafficking/prostitution groups take this step because the anti trafficking policy was created primarily as an anti prostitution policy and we ought not let them get away from that fact. Freedom Network USA’s funding, just like the funding for all the other anti trafficking/prostitution orgs are at our expense, or at least those of us who are still working.

They should be made to take responsibility for invading us when they repeat as in brow beat us with their ideas of us in public, in the media, on our chat boards, text messages, advertising spaces and our work spaces. (California passed a law that mandates sex worker spaces post state sanctioned anti trafficking/prostitution baby girl being abducted eyes photos). Not to mention that special surveillance we, (those of us who are actual workers) are all under here in California thanks to the illegal use of the sting boxes and the tracking systems the silicon valley partners have installed for the them on us. These are all ways current workers’ human, civil and labor rights are being violated every single day.

I believe in aligning on common ground. Building alliances could strengthen our movement overall and is important for ending such oppressive policies against sex workers under the guise of fighting trafficking. It’s really essential that anti-trafficking groups have at the top of their list complete decriminalization across the board to even be considered allies, as a starter. And with so many non prostitutes on this NOG’s panel, I am concerned about having the sw rights movement looking like its been co-oped. They’re going to be able to say, “we had a sex worker panel” and while never actually have done anything for us.

Co-oping us is part of their agenda. I wonder what form the carrot will take. What will they put forward towards this end? What monies or positions or projects will they offer whom?

If they were really concerned, they would have invited the actual women who have had their lives directly negatively impacted by the anti trafficking/prostitution laws and they didn’t.

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Lusty Lady Theater Closes

The closing of the Lusty Lady is a huge loss both to the local and international erotic service provider communities.

It was the only hourly waged and unionized sex worker business in the America.

While the rest of the strip clubs in San Francisco or the state for that matter, have sustained class action lawsuits on behalf the dancers for wage and hour violations, the Lusty managed to pay a legal wage. This guaranteed wage afforded many new comers to the sex industry to explore their sexual expression for pay in a supportive environment.

That’s something the other strip clubs cannot say. All the other clubs in San Francisco have instituted the old pay to work schemes where dancers have to figure out daily if not hourly how they are going to come up with enough money to pay the management for the right to come back to work the next day.

I’ve worked with gals over the years who were sexually and economically harassed by the strip club management. One young gal I worked with at an underground brothel said she had been pulled off stage after her set by her manager and dragged into the backroom and forced to perform oral sex on him in exchange for not paying the illegal stage fee.

Its really important for new comers in our industry to get support, coaching and mentorship to explore sex for pay on our own terms and the Lusty was one of those few places that offered that low impact entry level sex work. You could get that kind of help from one of the few underground brothel or dungeons that still dot the bay area if you are lucky but they rarely take on the totally inexperienced like the Lustie did. Likewise, the Lusty provide long term employment for experienced workers as well.

Despite the theater’s one of kind unique sexual experience, the closing always seems to be imminent with the yearly negotiations over the rent with the landlord. Too, the internet and the surrounding competition from other clubs couldn’t be converted into any financial benefit for them. I remember Daisy Anarchy trying to mobilize the Lusties to help unionize the surrounding clubs. Clearly it was in their own best interests to bring up the work conditions in the nearby businesses since many of the Lusties worked in these other clubs already or would be working in them eventually. But their focus always seemed to be on their own internal struggles.

For all of the obstacles, the Lusty had major political clout and earned media of which they hardly ever spend or used. I remember crashing one of their membership meetings to get their support for Prop K. I couldn’t figure out if they were more shocked that Prop K had made it to the ballot or that I called for the yays and the nays myself to get their endorsement! It was really hard to get any conversations going with them about how much support and help they had to exchange at their fingertips. It seems they never knew the powers our city commissioners, politicos or their own union had to offer them. I always wondered if they could have taken steps to have their location designated as a historical landmark which would have opened up much needed dispensation but I could never get anyone at the theater to return my calls.

Many labor groups like the Coalition for Union Women, have supported our erotic service providers organizing with resolutions and political access. The Lusties were in the unique position to call upon the means for real impact organizing resources for the whole sex industry. Their union SEIU 1021, a public sector union, was the one of the most powerful unions as unions go in the city and the region.

The closing of the Lusty holds lessons for the labor movement and the rest of the nouveau fast moving sex industry; if you don’t take steps to organize yourself and those around you and share the love as we say, then you are surely to loose what you have.

The larger labor movement has been in steep decline with the local, national and international public sector workers under attack by these same land barons extremist capitalist types who now own our elected national government which no longer serves us.

Despite these recent losses and even though the sex industry is comprised of illegally working independent contractors, we can still come together to organize and collectively bargain new social contracts for ourselves, former sex workers and those that will come after us. There are still resources. We just have to show up and do our part. We know that by doing so all sex trade workers and everyone else on the planet will be lifted up. Now is the time to come together no matter what form of sex work you do and get into mutual aid.

Your Sister in Sexual Solidarity,
Maxine

SOIBHAN BROOKS AND GRED WALSTON – INTERVIEW BY MAXINE DOOGAN (courtesy KPFA Women’s Magazine): Former “Lusty Lady” Soibhan Brooks and attorney Greg Walston are interviewed on Martin Luther King Day 2006 about racism as a factor in the sex industry during the time that the Lusty Ladies Peepshow unionized and how this discrimination is being fought through the court system. Part 1
Part 2

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Lessons On Legalization From Copenhagen

 

Lessons On Legalization From Copenhagen

 

 

 Opinion | Inhumane and illogical treatment of us sex workers

Susanne Møller

February 17, 2013 – 07:00

http://cphpost.dk/commentary/opinion/opinion-inhumane-and-illogical-treatment-us-sex-workers

 

 

The above opinion piece written from a sex worker perspective which is to live under the oppressive and ineffective legalization of prostitution scheme imposed on them in 1999, offers specific directions of change from an actual worker prospective.

 

Its always best to hear from actual workers whose dignity is being impacted by laws that are sold to the public in the name of  ‘public decency’.

 

The author states: ‘….we’re not allowed to enter into binding contracts. This is a major hindrance that would help alleviate many of the practical problems that instead wind up turning into cases of human trafficking. Such is often the case with many foreign sex workers. They get help to come to Denmark, and then once they get here they wind up disagreeing with their handlers about what the deal was.’

 

This statement is instructive as to what prostitutes actually want.

The prostitutes who work in Denmark want to hire support staff and have the contracts between them be binding.  That means the contracts between workers/workers and/or support staff, or handlers as she calls them, has to be in writing and has to be enforced.

 

Every organized worker understands that having a contract, collectively bargained or not, is one thing but having it enforced is another.  Your contract is only as good as your ability to enforce it on your job and all erotic laborers ought to have both the backing of public and government support when enforcing the contracts on their job.  If we’re ripped off by a customer or support person, then we must have recourse the likes of which we see in Germany’s legalization of prostitution law passed in 2002 whereby prospective customers who make appointments and don’t show up can be made to hand over the money for the lost wages in court.

 

But going to court involves going public and in this case going public to get restitution risks being exposed publically as a prostitute and that would bring unintended consequences of being harassed, extorted, a target for violence, and discrimination.  Because our class of worker, across the globe, has suffered such negative stigma for so long, its important that access to legal protections be indentured in all legalization schemes.  Specific anti-discrimination laws for our class have to be enacted whereby workers and our larger community members who are in association with us can pursue contact enforcement, a form of equal protection laws, without the fear of loosing our housing, employment, education, nor threaten our child custody arrangements or other financial relationships.  Our privacy has to be respected.  Our personal and professional privacy has to be highly regarded as society value that comes with civil and criminal sanctions if violated.

 

And for those who are obsessed with exploitation in our industry, this is your opportunity to take note of how these demand from actual workers would empower all on a whole different level.  Having different kinds of incentives to leverage mutually beneficial contracts to help all parties fulfill their contract instead of focusing unduly on criminalizing one party so heavily as to completely disenfranchise the other disadvantaged party from engaging in a grievance process would open up new self- determined options and transparency, a public treasure.

 

To those of us who’ve worked in the sex industry for so many years with ‘gentle women’s agreements’ would do well to think about what it would be like to actually write down our agreements as to empower our class in a whole different way.

 

I know that if the public could see our verbal contracts in writing and how it is that we’ve been working together all these decades, they’d have to stop with their moral panic and instead have to start paying attention to their own exploitive work contracts and work conditions.

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Thanks James or John or whatever- But No Thanks

Thank James or John or whatever- But No Thanks

 

It pains me to no end  to read a rare op-ed supporting prostitutes’ right only hear the usual neo liberal dribble that passes for support of our right to negotiate for our own labor and work conditions.

 

http://www.mndaily.com/2013/02/11/prostitution-should-be-legal#.URkviGNWVz4.facebook

Prostitution should be legal

Laws criminalizing adult prostitution need to be re-examined.

By James Castle  February 11, 2013

 

Yes prostitution laws need to be examined and it would be good to ask those of us who’ve been on the front of lines working as prostitutes and the prostitutes rights movement what we think.

 

But since you didn’t ask, I’m going to tell you anyway because you need to have your archaic ideas that legalization equals enfranchisement abolished.

 

Its interesting that you look to Australia for justification for legalizing my profession as a means to expose better work conditions and end stigma for me and my kind.  If you’d bother to read any of the blogs or become informed by actual Australian prostitutes or sex workers as they call themselves, you’d understand that 20 years of decriminalization and legalization hasn’t ended the negative stigma against our class there so why do you think buying a licenses to work as a prostitute will end bad work conditions and end stigma here?

Being made to buy a license for the right to work won’t be a welcome news to many of us because we  don’t necessarily want to expose our work conditions because many of us work from our homes, we work in tandem with other workers, we hire reception help and security drivers and we don’t want have our situations disrupted by  exposing us to our neighbors and city fathers who’d rather see us zoned out of sight without regard  for our health and safety.  One has only to look to what legalization of abortion has done to American women’s reproductive options are now 40 years after Roe v Wade where that service is only legal and ‘safe’ in 17 states.

Too its contradictory  that buying a licenses for the right to work would be affordable for the likes of us who you’ve described as ‘…indigent’  and unable to ‘consent to being prostitutes;’  because we’re all ‘..coerced into prostitution in order to escape economic detriment…’.  Well if this is true then how are we expected to afford to buy  licenses of  any sorts to gain access to the right to work?

It seems you really haven’t thought this threw very well.  Why don’t you call me and we can talk.

 

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