I understand why many (if not most) sex workers don’t wish to speak with the press and don’t feel like answering people who want to know stuff about their lives, sometimes to a level that gets rather personal. Many of us went through hell and back on several occasions, many suffered physical and psychological abuse while doing our jobs, we’ve been insulted, mistreated, stigmatised and, depending on where we live or work, imprisoned and made to feel like we are the scum of the earth. Others had it easier and life treated them decently. Education, living standards, ethnic group appurtenance and laws have a lot do to with how safe we feel and are, how society treats its vulnerable members, how much dignity we are able to nurture and hold, the quality of life and, among others, what real chances of survival and earning we have. Granted, what constitutes as main media has not yet earned its reputation for writing about sex workers in a respectful, objective, free-from-judgement manner (1) and do its fact-checking with the same level of rigorosity
Rather than patronising sex workers with criminal and police laws, they should be protected from exploitative brothel operators by using the trade law in Germany, says Dr. Monika Frommel, emeritus criminal law professor and co-editor of the legal journal Neue Kriminalpolitik. Why do politicians fail yet again to adequately regulate prostitution during this legislative period? The goal of a reform should be to control brothel operators as effectively as possible. But instead, a draft bill has been created that will achieve the opposite: the strict and bureaucratic monitoring of sex workers. Brothel operators, on the other hand, have little to be afraid of. Instead of “protection” from exploitation, the draft bill, modified several times and unlikely to draw a consensus, includes the duty to register and undergo health checks for those individually engaging in this line of work (it was once called “Bockschein”). Health authorities are supposed to be responsible for those health checks but they can neither provide comprehensive advice nor offer affordable HIV prevention. If one dictates mandatory health checks carrying potential sanctions anyway, one creates an entirely useless Normenfalle [lit.
New Zealand is the best place in the world to be a prostitute thanks to its robust laws, according an organisation which represents the nation’s sex workers. For almost a decade and a half, sex workers in New Zealand have been protected by the Prostitution Reform Act 2003, which sought to decriminalise prostitution. #NewZealand ‘best country to work as a #sexwork-er’, says New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective http://t.co/3p33nphju0 pic.twitter.com/DaETw9NdCv — Research Project GER (@photogroffee) May 23, 2015 It’s not pot luck that New Zealand prostitutes have it better, says news.com.au website. It can all be traced to a single piece of legislation that passed through parliament in 2003 — the Prostitution Reform Act. The decision 12 years ago to decriminalise sex work meant it became legal to work in managed brothels without a size limit, work for yourself, work from home, work from the street or work from the web. Janelle Fawkes from the Scarlett Alliance Sex Workers Association said it was time the rest of the country caught up. “Decriminalisation is recognised by the United Nations Secretary General, United Nations
STRASS (Strass Syndicat du travail sexuel), the Syndicate of Sex Workers in France, made a call for proposal for workshops for the international meeting of sex workers that will take place in Lyon between 31st of May and 2nd of June this year. They are actively looking for suggestions from sex workers from all over the world, although many of these suggestions will probably come from European countries as a result of the established education systems and citizenship. These meetings intend to address sex workers from all industries – their needs, the current socio-political environments in their own countries but also at a broader level, from the street level service providers to the adult film industry, webcam operators and everyone in between. The workshop proposals will be the basis of the program of the meeting; you must share your ideas before April 30 at: firstname.lastname@example.org (the submission date has passed for these workshops, but ideas, proposals and justice seeking is as relevant as ever, even if your particular case is not going to be addressed this time). “If we receive
By Felicia Anna According to Jojanneke [Dutch journalist] it’s all misery in the prostitution. 70% would be forced, she claimed, a source has yet to been found. Yes, someone from the Public Prosecution Office would have said it, but how come nobody can find it than, if they know it so well? With her documentary Jojanneke wants to show the misery in prostitution. No surprise there, after all, she was already convinced even before her documentary that 80% was forced, so that’s what she’ll be looking for. Of course she claims to have searched for the ‘happy hooker’, a lady that does it out of her own free will. She didn’t find it, she claims. Strangely enough I’m really not that hard to find. And neither are the many other girls I personally know, friends, colleagues I’ve worked with for years, even girls I hate. In fact, it seems nobody I know has talked with Jojanneke, which begs the question: who did she talk to? It should come as no surprise that Jojanneke talked with the people that have had a bad experience in
KVA & Associates is a legal practice in Australia providing legal advice to the adult entertainment and sex work industry (Twitter). Lisa Ann is an American porn star, also an advocate (2010) of the Free Speech Coalition, which opposes the passage and enforcement of obscenity laws and many censorship laws but, ironically, not the “anti-piracy” laws. In a Youtube videoclip Lisa makes the case that is a clear difference between a “hooker” and a “porn star” and suggests that sex workers who make their living from escorting don’t share the same dignity and health-conscious ethics as those who work in the adult film industry. She goes on using pejorative terms regarding sex workers in the escorting industry, such as “weird ranch on mattresses” when they have sex in exchange for money (just like adult film actors also do) and catching “staph infections” while doing so, because – she implies – escorts can’t have the same standards as the adult film industry actors when it comes to performing. KVA & Associates wrote an open letter to Lisa’s rather-ignorant video rant on their blog, making a
A few days back, you could read in the UK’s Metro (and other newspapers) that one in nine men has paid to have sex and that they “tend to be” IT professionals between 25 and 34. Why you shouldn’t trust newspapers in general and tabloids in particular, despite them citing as their source of information a respected research journal (in this case, the Sexually Transmitted Infections journal – STI journal)? Allow me, please. In the past 30 years, the typical printed news business model hasn’t quite done that well in terms of quality journalism. In fact, one could easily point out the striking resemblance between these and what’s now Vice and The Huffington Post magazines: a mixture of trash tabloid shock-content and cheap content strategy where the title is meant to “hook-and-sell” and where only about 25% of their content is actually newsworthy and with solid information to back some of their ridiculous claims up. Even businesses that are well known for respecting the deontology of their industry with all the responsibility that arises from a influential role where you
The Nordic Model has been causing a lot of stir in Europe, and for the good reasons, we must say. There have been public meetings in several countries and campaigning against this amendment from various NGO’s supporting the sex workers’ rights, including sex workers themselves, particularly in the UK and US. “Today, a growing consensus around the world claims the sex trade perpetuates male violence against women, and so customers should be held as criminals. On the contrary, it’s decriminalizing prostitution that could make women—in and outside the sex industry—safer.” In a landmark win, the amendment to criminalise sex workers’ clients was defeated in the House of Commons with John McDonnell MP making a very good argumentation against the clause (watch video here). Hong Kong wasn’t far away and stories about sex workers being abused and neglected by the society and the Government – because of bad legislation, stigma and lack of understanding – surfaced and made the news. In the light of the recent events and campaigns, Sex Workers Outreach Project, a USA based social justice network dedicated to
“Researchers have released what’s being called the first national report on the sex industry in Canada—and some of its findings may surprise you. The working paper, whose lead author is Cecilia Benoit of the University of Victoria, will be discussed at an international symposium in Ottawa on September 22 and 23. It’s based on five studies undertaken in St. John’s, Montréal, Kitchener, Fort McMurray, Calgary, and Victoria. “Based on our study, many of the people linked to Canada’s sex industry—workers and their intimate partners, managers and clients—have much in common with other Canadians. By and large, they are Canadian-born, Caucasian, in their 30s or 40s with a high school diploma and some form of post-secondary education or training,” the report states. Here’s 17 interesting findings from the paper. All figures correspond to study participants only. The median income is $39,500 for sex workers, $42,000 for managers, and $60,000 for sex buyers. The average age of sex workers’ first sale was 26 years old, and the median age of sex buyers’ first purchase was 25 years old. 29 percent of sex
New London Metropolitan University research finds that decriminalising sex work and the people involved and making it easier for all migrants to become and remain documented would improve sex workers’ lives and working conditions and enable them to exercise their rights more fully. In an environment of increasing labour migration, ever more restrictive immigration policy and an increasingly globalised capitalism that favours ‘flexible’, and low paid, workers, migrants have come to form the majority of those who sell sex. Debates (PDF) on migration and the sex industry are often characterised by an ethnicist anti-migrant discourse, by an almost exclusive focus on women, as well as by a marked emphasis on trafficking and exploitation. In the UK, the Home Office is promoting new prostitution strategies aimed at reducing the exploitation of women by criminalising clients and by introducing potentially arbitrary ways of disrupting or closing down commercial sex premises. By gathering the life histories of migrant women, men and transgendered people working in the UK sex industry the research provides an evidence-based analysis which can contribute to the elaboration of more
Is prostitution anti-feminist? The sex work debate in Germany shows no signs of abating and prominent feminists like Chantal Louis of Emma magazine have spearheaded a campaign against it. But that’s only one side of the argument. Some sex workers in Germany argue the merits of their profession. Fabienne (aka Lady Velvet Steel) and Kristina Marlen, both in their mid-30s, have been working in the sex industry for more than five years, as a classical dominatrix and a tantric dominatrix respectively. Both are active in the German Trade Association for Erotic and Sexual Services. How did you enter the profession? Lady Velvet Steel: I was involved in BDSM for a long time previously. The bar where I was working shut down and I needed money to get through the winter. So I started working professionally. Before that I used to work in a workshop for plastic models – breathing toxic fumes for €5.50 an hour! I felt much more prostituted then than I do now. Kristina Marlen: I trained as a physical therapist. But I didn’t want to exclude my
“Sex work” is such a catch-all term that it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what it means. It can be voluntary or involuntary. It can mean anything from pole dancing to stripping to prostitution to therapy. With a term so hard to pin down, forming an opinion about the definition becomes equally complex. The 11 films on this list walk outside the boundaries of the industry and show us just how vast and diverse the world surrounding this occupation can be. The majority of sex workers aren’t fantastical bleached-blond porn starlets with larger-than-life boob jobs: They’re real working people who get frustrated with the constraints of their various jobs, lifestyles and microeconomies, just like everyone else. And despite sex-positive feminism’s tense efforts at wishing away the ugly parts, there are indeed many sex workers who are unwillingly trapped in prostitution as well. What’s special about all of these documentaries is the way they manage to balance the pretty and the painful, the hopeful with the badass. Whichever way you currently lean when it comes to the often-divisive politics that surround sex
Sexuality and Social Justice Toolkit toolkit is developed managed by members of the Sexuality, Poverty and Law Programme at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) and was designed in consultation with our partners and friends of the Programme. It builds on the strong tradition of work on Sexuality and Development at IDS and on the experience and knowledge of IDS staff and partners. There is deep concern at the number of people who are excluded from the process and benefits of development because of their sexuality. Activists and development professionals, amongst others, face great challenges in engaging with political and legal processes to bring about positive social change. The toolkit was developed under the auspices of IDS’s Sexuality, Poverty and Law Programme. The toolkit provides guidance, supported by up-to-date case studies, on the ways in which activists, lawyers, donor agencies and NGOs, amongst others, can use policy and the law to challenge exclusion and marginalisation related to sexuality. It breaks down legal jargon and outlines the key aspects of policy-making and legal processes in an accessible format. It also provides
Sex is no stranger to the Internet, and yet sex workers — including porn actors, escorts and webcam models — continue to face unique hostility in the digital age. In addition to stigma, negativity and “rescue” efforts, many sex workers face discrimination from online services that most of us use without thinking twice. For example, Amazon has allegedly deleted sex workers’ Wish Lists, while Chase Bank recently began canceling non-criminal sex workers’ accounts. Read the entire article on Mashable.