Tagged: sex work

the UN on decrim

ii.)                 The decriminalisation of sex work makes sex workers more vulnerable

We are unaware of any research that would support the claim made by Equality Now above.  In fact, the opposite has been found not only in the robust work and wide consultation of various UN bodies, but in the public health literature.

In a review in New Zealand five years after the implementation of legislation on decriminalisation of sex work, sex workers reported that their working conditions and well-being had improved, that they felt safer, and that they were more likely to report abuse to the police.[3] Researchers also found that sex workers were generally practicing safer sex and that there was no increase in the number of sex workers in the industry – a popular public fear associated with decriminalisation.[4] Elsewhere, in a study in Australia, data showed better coverage of health promotion programmes for sex workers in a city that had a decriminalised legal framework as compared to cities with a legalised or criminalised framework.[5]

These findings are in line with many other studies that show that stigmatised populations are protected, valued and respected if human rights-based laws are applied, and not the criminal law.

iii.)               UN bodies did not listen to sex workers in their recommendations.

A multitude of sex workers – including many from  Africa –  participated in the Global Commission on HIV and the Law’s deliberations which resulted in the report:  HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights and Health.  Their voices were documented in a variety of media and forums, and were captured with precision in the various reports produced by the Commission.  Detailed submissions from Africa sex workers – also available online[6] – described how the criminal law on sex work in Africa have led to large-scale human rights abuses, torture and maltreatment of sex workers and their clients.

from Response to the misguided petition by Equality Now and allies attacking sex worker human rights and the decriminalisation of sex work

New Zealand and Australia have low rates (lower than Sweden, for one!) of trafficking and abuse, but both work with a decriminalised legal framework.

“MISERY to MINISTRY: Kathryn Griffin’s Prostitution Rehab in Texas”

Instead of catering to mainstream rhetoric, Griffin could be using her platform to talk about the dire lack of social services for sex workers outside of prison, due to criminalisation and social stigma – and use her spotlight to bring the public a far more nuanced look at the sex trade.

There are many unhappy workers in the sex industry, just as there are many unhappy workers in many other kinds of work, and criminalisation only serves to exacerbate the level of exploitation and violence in this market; nevertheless, sex workers demand the same human rights and labour rights as all other people. Moral reform lectures, delivered to prison inmates, are not the best use of state resources when many other preventative social services are direly needed.

Ugh prohibitionists

Ok, sex work exists because men are willing to pay for sex and sexxii services.  If they weren’t, there wouldn’t be a sex industry.  I mean sure, you might have the odd escort here or there, but in general women don’t have the disposable income for it.  I’m not sure when anyone claimed otherwise.

And because your moral and ethical system sets more of a value on sex-as-intimate-and-integral-to-self than on food service doesn’t mean that all women share your views, and it doesn’t make either view wrong.

But we do live in a world where ideals need to coexist with life, and I’m not sure where you get off saying that someone who decides to work fifteen hours a week because night childcare is cheaper and easier to come by, and it frees up her days and gives her money for food and rent—where you get off saying that this person is a clueless tool of the patriarchy.  Compromise is inevitable, unless you have a lot of money, and if you do, did it come from a morally unimpeachable source?

Do you think you and your friends are the only people who know about classism and feminism? Activism is great but to focus on it exclusively is a surefire way to burnout, and more importantly, people have concrete and immediate needs. No, sex workers don’t have more agency than waitresses, but we do often have more money and free time, which translates into a kind of economic power that can compensate for being marginalized and endangered.  And if you think that sex workers don’t consider these things… you’re wrong.

Not all sex workers are as privileged as I am, many don’t like it (I don’t like it) but to write us all off as tools of the patriarchy is both shortsighted and unhelpful.  Do you think sex workers don’t work to help each other and end sex trafficking?  Does the fact that we sell sex mean that we have nothing of value to say—do you think sex workers don’t want to eliminate poverty and coercion and abuse?  Are you really that shortsighted?  Do you really live in a world where everything is so cut and dry, that selling sex makes us so stupid and useless that we have absolutely nothing of value to contribute to activism or even dialogue?

a law passed in New York state in 2010 allows women who can prove they were coerced to have prostitution convictions wiped from their records

EarthLink – U.S. News

CICERO, Ill. (AP) — Cops in the Chicago area call it a track, a stretch of street known for its steady sex trade.

Elsewhere, a law passed in New York state in 2010 allows women who can prove they were coerced to have prostitution convictions wiped from their records – a move that advocates say allows them more options for housing and employment.

And in California, voters recently passed Proposition 35, which increases prison terms for human traffickers, as well as fines, which also are to be used to pay for services for victims.

It’s progress, experts say. Yet a question often persists: Who is really a victim?

“We’ve got this idea of an ideal victim – someone who is physically locked in a room, chained up . and who makes no money,” says Catherine Longkumer, a Chicago attorney who works with victims of trafficking to help them get their lives back together.

Certainly that classic example of the locked-up trafficking victim exists on our shores, too.

But others, she says, are forced into prostitution with more subtle, yet equally paralyzing coercion. While it’s not always obvious to the outside world, intimidation and drug addiction become tools for control.

“The reality is that traffickers are very smart,” Longkumer says. “You can use a lot of psychological coercion to keep a person bonded, things like threats, or ‘If you try to leave, you’ll be deported, or your family will be harmed.’”

But the matter of victimhood can get even murkier than that.

Bridgette Carr, a trafficking expert and clinical professor of law at the University of Michigan, sees it all the time. She is director of the law school’s human trafficking clinic, where students get credit for representing clients, many of them teens and young women who are trying to break free from traffickers and start new lives.

But can people be “victims” if they sell their bodies for sex – and keep some of that money or trade it for drugs? Are they victims if a pimp provides cellphones, buys them clothes, or even cars, or places to stay? In some instances, a prostitute might even have children with her pimp.

ok emphasis mine.

basically I think anything that helps sex workers get backup options is potentially helpful bc it is hard to quit after having no paper trail and whatever else—it’s hard to get a job, it’s hard to get an apartment, &c&c&c

but the language is whatever and also look at the first paragraph I quoted like the incentive to claim trafficking status is pretty strong.  There’s much more leniency for people who claim they’re trafficked than those who don’t.  and there is a vision of the perfect trafficking victim, as that one person says.

I mean what does coercion look like?  does it look like needing to pay your bills and feed your kids, does it look like poverty? if sex work gets you better money and hours to take care of yourself, is that a problem? isn’t the real problem violence and vulnerability and lack of access to legal protections, all indemic in a trade driven underground and out of sight? like what if you could be like “this guy is an abusive asshole & a pimp” and not worry about being thrown in jail yourself? how do you protect the most vulnerable, I mean is this it?

The Curious Case of Nashville’s Frail Sisterhood

Syphilis and gonorrhea, infections spread through sexual contact, were almost as dangerous to Civil War soldiers as combat. At least 8.2 percent of Union troops would be infected with one or the other before war’s end—nearly half the battle-injury rate of 17.5 percent, even without accounting for those who contracted a disease and didn’t know it or didn’t mention it—and the treatments (most involved mercury), when they worked, could sideline a man for weeks.

Union officials in Nashville, certain the city’s ladies of the night were responsible for the sexual plague, hit upon what seemed like the simplest solution: If they couldn’t stop soldiers from visiting local prostitutes, local prostitutes could simply be made non-local.

In the first days of July 1863, Rosecrans issued an order to George Spalding, provost marshal of Nashville, to “without loss of time seize and transport to Louisville all prostitutes found in the city or known to be here.

The Curious Case of Nashville’s Frail Sisterhood

quoting from Caty

“Media handling of these incidents reproduces stigma with variation according to local conditions. The mainstream Swedish press did not mention that Eva-Maree was an escort, because to do so would have seemed to blame her and blacken her name. In the case of a series of murders in Ipswich, England, the media’s relentless talk of prostitutes led the victims’ parents to request they use the term sex workers. A number of dead women on Long Island, NY, were discussed as almost “interchangeable – lost souls who were gone, in a sense, long before they actually disappeared” (Robert Kolker, New York Times, 29 June 2013). A woman murdered recently near Melbourne, Australia, was called “St Kilda prostitute” rather than “sex worker” or even, simply, “woman”, in a place where the concept of sex work is actually on its bumpy way to normalization. I’m talking here about the mainstream, whose online articles are reproduced over and over online, hammering in the clichés.

Editors who append photos to articles on the sex industry use archetypes: women leaning into car windows, sitting on bar stools, standing amidst traffic — legs, stockings and high heels highlighted. Editors do this not because they are too lazy to find other pictures but to show, before you read a word, what the articles are really about: women whose uniform is the outward sign of an inner stain. Similarly, when writers and editors use the clichéd language of a “secret world,” “dark underbelly,” “stolen childhoods,” “seedy streets,” and “forbidden fruit,” they are not simply being sensationalist but pointing to the stigma: Here’s what this news is really about – the disgusting and dangerous but also eternal and thrilling world of whores.”

Last time I’ll quote from this article, promise—”Prostitution Law and the Death of Whores” by Laura Agustin in Jacobin

This is what I enjoy about following her on Facebook—no lurid language in a media story about sex work goes unchallenged

I also really like this part:

Abolitionists talk continuously about prostitution as violence against women, set up projects to rescue sex workers and ignore the dysfunctionality of much that is conceived as “rehabilitation.” Contemporary abolitionism focuses largely on the rescue of women said to be victims of trafficking, targeting the mobile and migrant women I mentioned earlier, who are now completely disappeared in a narrative of female victimhood. Although much of this goes on under a feminist banner, colonialist maternalism describes it better.

(via marginalutilite)

stripping killed my work ethic: xohate

Stripping Killed My Work Ethic

So here’s the thing.  I joke about my lack of a worth ethic all the time, because it’s true, my work ethic died out around march when I started wanting to rip my own throat out from sheer misery for real.  But the “easy money” I make stripping had absolutely nothing to do with the death of my work ethic, largely because

it’s not easy money.

It can be a LOT of money, in a short amount of time—and it can also be nothing.  There have been more nights than I care to share with you where I left with under 30$.  For five hours work.  That’s minimum wage after the taxes got taken out.

I don’t really understand posts like this because they gloss over what the job really is: You’re emotionally managing drunk men who think that self control is boring, in your underwear, in a bar, while the bar management and staff bleed you dry because the whole point of owning a strip club is to use the dancers to pad paying employees a living wage and to use their naked bodies to sell alcohol.  That’s it!  That’s the point!  That’s a post for a different day but believe me when I tell you it’s not easy money.  The onlyreason to do it is how much money it usually is.  And the hours, the hours are great  (except for when I had 8am russian, that was awful).

And fuck the editor/whoever came up with that clickbait of a title because her actual point, that she did what everyone encourages us strippers to do and got a degree and realized that the world doesn’t value her education or professional experience, she’ll still make better money naked—that’s glossed over and almost obscured, in the few comments I did read no one had acknowledged that.  And when you’ve gone into debt for a degree the lure of a job that can get you back out of debt is pretty strong: here I am, after all. I’ve paid back 3k on my loans and they aren’t even due yet.

and this:

We had a bartender on the bus with us, and she looked to be my age or a little younger.  As I sat there during the long drive, I was thinking to myself about how lucky she was — she was probably going to bring home at least $250 in tips!  I figured with roughly 50 people on the bus, if everyone contributed $5 for her being there, she was making a killing.

As a stripper she should just know better.  This is just rude.  If everyone in the bar gave me ONE dollar per song I’m on stage for every song, I would make 60-200 a set, five times a night.  I wouldn’t even need to hustle lap dances.  It would RULE!  Do you know how many people actually tip the naked girl on stage a set?  like 1-5. 10 on a weekend night if you’re lucky.  Even people actually at the stage don’t tip.  The odds of everyone on her stupid trip tipping even a couple of dollars are just ridiculously low.

I’ve written about it before and I’ll never get tired of writing about it but the ways that emotional labour is undervalued, and the ways that emotional labour is of necessity made invisible

(bc if you allowed the effort that goes into nannying, waitressing, caregiving, stripping, and escorting to show people wouldn’t pay as much, everyone wants their service with a smile, to feel like they are special to their server, and to feel like there’s an emotional connection, from the escort’s client to the mom who wants to feel like her nanny cares about her kid)

are all tied together and backed up by the fact that emotional labour/the service industry is not seen as the province of “skilled” workers (white men, and then white women) and then seen as not “real” work involving “real” effort or skill so it doesn’t need to be quantified and rewarded with like respect and its corollary, money.