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Some Feminists Are Wrongfully Fighting Against Sex Workers

Some Feminists Are Wrongfully Fighting Against Sex Workers | Escorts |

Many people who think sex workers are exploited — perhaps even most of them — have positive intentions. But, as Melissa Gira Grant explains in an excellent Reason must-read, the war on sex workers is a war on women that "has actual prisoners and a body count" and is " waged by women who will not hesitate to use their opponents' corpses as political props but refuse to listen to them while they are still alive and still here to fight."


Grant explains how most laws against "sexual exploitation" are too vague to actually be enforceable, and how we can't combat real sex trafficking unless we stop victimizing all sex workers. The consequences are too "life shattering" to ignore:


In Louisiana some women arrested for prostitution have been charged under a 200-year-old statute prohibiting "crimes against nature." Those charged-disproportionately black women and transgender women-end up on the state sex-offender registry. In Texas a third prostitution arrest counts as an automatic felony. Women's prisons are so overloaded that the state is rethinking the law to cut costs. In Chicago police post mug shots of all those arrested for solicitation online, a shaming campaign intended to target men who buy sex. But researchers at DePaul University found that 10 percent of the photos are of trans women who were wrongly gendered as men by cops and arrested as "johns." A prostitution charge will haunt these women throughout the interlocking bureaucracies of their lives: filling out job applications, signing kids up for day care, renting apartments, qualifying for loans, requesting passports or visas.


Grant spends much of her piece lambasting feminists for perpetuating the concept that all sex workers are victims. "This war is spearheaded and defended largely by other women: a coalition of feminists, conservatives, and even some human rights activists who subject sex workers to poverty, violence, and imprisonment-all in the name of defending women's rights," she writes, continuing:


How have we arrived at this point, that in the name of "protecting" women, or even ensuring their "rights," feminists are eager to take away their jobs and health care? Ramos, Steinem, and their allies deliberately conflate sex work and what they now call "sex trafficking" for their own reasons, not to advance the rights of sex workers. The result is-or should be-an international scandal.


Read the rest of her piece for more on why last year's anti-Backpage protests hurt sex workers, how actual people in the sex trade are ignored by the people supposedly championing for them, and why oversimplified portrayals of trafficking can have "devastating consequences."

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UBC med student launching GPS-enabled SMS panic alert pilot project for sex trade workers...

UBC med student launching GPS-enabled SMS panic alert pilot project for sex trade workers... | Escorts |

A University of British Columbia student has launched an online fundraiser for a pilot project to provide 100 sex trade workers in Vancouver’s downtown eastside with a GPS-enabled panic button that would send a text message to summon help.


While the panic button idea isn’t new – some alarm companies offer panic-button devices, hikers can get GPS devices that send alerts if they find themselves lost or in trouble and there are many other similar applications – second year medical student Isabel Chen is proposing to use GPS-enabled texting technology to create a mobile safety net for sex workers.


Once the panic button is pressed, it would send a text message alert to a specified phone number, giving the user’s GPS coordinates.


Chen said unlike personal safety devices that have an always-on tracking system, the solution she and fellow students Kyle Ragins, a MD candidate at Yale University and Vanessa Forro, a Master’s of Public Health candidate at Case Western, are proposing safeguards the user’s anonymity and only shares their whereabouts when the alarm is triggered.


“With a senior’s button or other panic alarms monitored by an alarm company, somebody always has tabs on you,” said Chen. “These devices are unique in that they are only activated when you want to activate them.


“We figured out a way to keep it low cost and relatively low tech and still preserve a woman’s sense of anonymity rather than having to give over her coordinates to the police or a private company,” said Chen, who did her undergrad degree in cultural anthropology and a Master’s of Public Health at Yale University, with her master’s thesis focusing on intimate partner homicide.


It was that subject that prompted Chen and her collaborators to come up with the idea for a safety device for sex workers in Vancouver’s downtown eastside.


“A recent study in Vancouver showed that sex workers who operate out of brothels – where safety measures such as panic buttons are available – are significantly safer than those working on the street,” the students wrote in their funding proposal Keep-Safe on, where they are trying to raise $5,500 to launch the pilot project. “Our proposal is to use existing GPS and cellular technology to create a panic button system that would allow sex workers with mobile locations to call for help and improve their safety.”


Chen proposes to first buy and test five sample devices such as GPS-enabled watches or pagers, at $60 a pop, using focus groups to help determine the one best suited to the task.


The proposal projects a budget of $5,000 for 100 devices, which would be distributed to sex trade workers in the Downtown Eastside. According to the proposal, the pilot project would work in conjunction with a community organization, which would get the calls for help and pass them on to the Vancouver police.


“It comes up in a text alert,” Chen said of the panic call. “The devices can range from watches to very small pagers.

“You can pre-record a voice message only to be used for certain situations - along the lines of ‘I’m in a bad situation and my coordinates are in this text.’ It can be a text or a voice message and it can also go to a variety of numbers.”


Chen said the the operating costs for the devices would be very low, with a $5 SIM card credit covering the text messages for an extended period.


“Hypothetically talking about a watch sample, it just needs to be charged maybe once every two weeks and it has to have a $5 SIM card. There is a per text charge of five or 10 cents a text – you wouldn’t use up the $5 very quickly when you are only using it to send alarms,” said Chen.

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Regular clients of sex workers want real love, affection

Regular clients of sex workers want real love, affection | Escorts |

London: While it is commonly believed that men who pay for sex are attempting to avoid emotional commitment, a new study has found that men who become regular clients of sex workers often develop feelings of romance and love.


“In recent years, we have come to see a gradual normalization of independent escort prostitution, where sexual encounters have come to resemble quasi-dating relationships,” stated study author Christine Milrod.


“Our study shows that regular clients of a particular sex provider often come to experience feelings of deep affection, which can progress into an authentic love story,” Milrod said.


In this new study, Milrod and co-author Ronald Weitzer analyzed 2,442 postings on an online discussion board from a sex provider review site where more than a million clients of sex workers read and post about their experiences.


Approximately one-third included a discussion about emotional intimacy between sex workers and their clients, many of whom expressed a desire to grow their relationships beyond the physical level in the form of sharing private feelings and mutual love.


“These relationships follow a conventionally romantic script that normalizes the liaison and destigmatizes both provider and client,” stated Milrod.


“The study shows that this kind of normalization may manifest itself in a merger of finances, families and finally monogamous partnerships – the provider is no longer just a supplier of the girlfriend experience, but a real-life romantic partner,” Milrod added.


The study is published in a recent edition of Men and Masculinities, a SAGE journal.

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A Good Year for Red Umbrellas: Advances in Sex Workers Rights in 2012

A Good Year for Red Umbrellas: Advances in Sex Workers Rights in 2012 | Escorts |

All activists have good years, bad years and the rare great one. For sex worker rights activists 2012 was a great year.


In July, the Global Commission on HIV and the Law recommended that countries repeal laws against sex work to encourage safe working conditions and access to effective HIV and health services and commodities for sex workers and clients.  


It also warned against mandatory testing for HIV and criminalization of HIV transmission. Later in the year the United Nations Development Programme released another important document, ‘Sex Work and the Law in Asia and the Pacific’. It maps the laws and policies that affect sex workers’ human rights and health in 48 countries and also recommends removal of laws against selling, buying and brokering commercial sex.


In July, the 2012 International AIDS Conference attracted up to 25,000 delegates to Washington DC, but because sex workers are prohibited from entering the United States an alternative conference hub for sex workers was held in Kolkata. Sex workers and their allies in Kolkata attended conference sessions, held a street march and produced a film and some sessions were interactive with Washington. Ironically sex worker activism being divided like this may have meant that AIDS 2012 was particularly successful for sex workers because so much attention was focused on the discriminatory and counterproductive policies of the USA on sex work, as Melissa Ditmore explained to Forbes magazine.  


The Red Umbrella Fund was launched to strengthen the sex worker rights movement through sex worker-led organisations. The fund says that sex workers will ‘act as majority stake holders in deciding how funds are allocated.’ The Global Fund for HIV, Aids and Malaria has also taken steps toward ensuring more funding for sex workers.


Throughout the year we saw a steady stream of good news from countries. We saw discussions about legalizing sex work countries in places as diverse as Rwanda and Fiji. (See PRLI Twitter for news of sex work law reform globally). In the United States,  Human Rights Watch came out against police confiscating condoms as evidence of prostitution with measurable success. Sex workers challenged mandatory testing in Macedonia, the US, Greece, and Australia. Court cases as well as legislatures continued to make important differences to sex workers lives. We saw more evidence of this from Canada and South Africa where courts have overturned sex work laws and recognised  some sex workers rights. (See Pivotlegal Twitter for news on court cases.) In India, the Supreme Court moved to ensure that sex workers and their children can access the same services and benefits as other citizens.


Sex worker groups grew stronger all over the world, including in Africa where there is a new regional network as well as national groups in many countries. (Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Malawi). Sex workers are now routinely invited to conferences about issues that affect them and they made a big impression at the Association for Women’s Rights in Development Forum (AWID) conference this year.


Of course like most things in life sex workers rights in 2012 can be seen as a glass half full or half empty. Oppression and violence continues.


Criminalization of clients or ‘the Swedish Model’ has been taken up by more countries (including Ireland and Scotland,). Sex workers continue to complain that sensationalism and myths about trafficking drives bad laws and violent ‘raids and rescues’ —often bycorrupt or abusive organisations. Calls for abolition of sex work through law enforcement sometimes seems to be increasing among governments, large media interests, powerful interest groups and celebrities alike. We have just heard that the European Women’s Lobby has added their voice to that call. Although sex workers groups have limited power to challenge those demanding stronger state action against sex work, 2012 saw some success in working with academics who are also questioning the discourses that define sex work as trafficking/exploitation.


PEPFAR, the Presidents Emergency Plan for Aids Relief, appears on both sides of my 2012 ledger. By preventing U.S. money going to sex workers, the PEPFAR anti-prostitution pledge has done enormous damage. Hopefully it will be overturned in court in 2013. At the same time, PEPFAR has saved millions of lives, including sex workers’, with Anti Retroviral Treatment for HIV.


Although there are some good results about HIV prevention in some places sex workers remain very vulnerable to HIV in many places.Worrying spikes in HIV and STI persist as well as issues such as significant numbers of sex workers not collecting HIV results. This reminds us that stigma, poverty, criminalization and abuse continue to form powerful barriers to access to services.   


The year ended on a bright note with an activists meeting in Sydney to discuss decriminalization of sex work. That takes us into 2013 with confidence that the sex workers rights movement will continue to build on its successes and lessons and be ‘part of the solution.’    

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Humanizing escorts...

On Jan. 4, a lively crowd of about 100 attended the Magnet SF opening of Escort: The Classic Beauty of Male Sex Workers in San Francisco.The show serves as a month-long exhibition of photographs taken by Tom Schmidt, and as a launch party for Schmidt's new book featuring many of the photos.


Schmidt, a member of the Radical Faeries, is also known by his Faery name, Dot. The event raised funds for St. James Infirmary, a South of Market medical clinic that provides health services for sex workers and their partners.


According to director Steve Gibson, Magnet is the perfect venue for the Escort opening. "Magnet promotes the health and well-being of gay men in San Francisco," Gibson told the B.A.R. during the party. "We believe that the health of the community means creating opportunities for gay men to come together to share their common experiences." Magnet services includes providing STD and HIV testing.


The men in Schmidt's photos debunk the stereotype of the sleazy, burnt-out gay male street hustler. These men are vibrant and healthy in appearance. Some of the models are nude in the photos, while others could be posing for a fashion magazine. One photo features gay porn star Antonio Biaggi elegantly draped in a long, flowing cape. In another photo, two lovely young men, possibly a couple, stand together nude. One has his hand wrapped around the other, while the second touches his partner's cheek. They're kissing each other gently.


Cyd Nova, an FTM transgender, poses in a pair of shorts with his fists displayed. An activist for sex workers' rights and health care, Nova looks more like a prizefighter than an escort. Nova currently serves as the Harm Reduction Coordinator at St. James Infirmary.


"My intent was not to sexualize them," Schmidt said at the event. "I wanted to show escorts who were real people. They can be sexy and beautiful. They're not what you expect. They're not completely defined by escorting. They're students, activists, software engineers, artists, uncles, and brothers."

For Starchild, a longtime bisexual-identified escort and occasional political candidate, participating in Escort was a chance to break down barriers.

"We're still socially marginalized by law," he said to theB.A.R. as he sipped a glass of wine. "It's good to see positive representation of us in the community."


Escort: The Classic Beauty of Male Sex Workers in San Francisco is on display through Jan. at Magnet SF, 4122 18th St., SF. The Escort book is available at or

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DC Sex Workers Prepare for Huge Influx of Inauguration Partiers

DC Sex Workers Prepare for Huge Influx of Inauguration Partiers | Escorts |

If you require the services of a stripper or dominatrix over inauguration weekend, be prepared to pay extra.

When Steve Baker talks about the inauguration, he gets a little giddy. For the company he works at, Hire Party Strippers, which does exactly what its name suggests for clients in the Washington DC area, inauguration weekend means a big boost in business.


"Oh my God, it's bananas," says Baker, describing the interest he's had so far. Hire Party Strippers does about double the business on inauguration weekend, during which he can boost rates about 25 percent. This means $650 to $700 for "two girl fantasy shows"; $350 for one girl; and $300 for one male stripper, though demand is never as high for men as women. "It's going to be really, really busy," Baker says. "We have a lot of people coming [to DC] from out of town, and they want to have adult entertainment in their rooms. It's crazy."


Strippers, escorts, dominatrices, and even sugar babies looking for sugar daddies are planning for a jam-packed — and potentially quite lucrative — weekend across the greater DC area. Despite the inauguration party scene shaping up to be much quieter this year than Barack Obama's first in 2009, it doesn't sound like anyone is planning to cut back on erotic recreation — from the tourists looking to party in DC that weekend, to the locals craving sex-themed merriment while their city is overwhelmed by outsiders.


Baker doesn't have a lot of clients on the books yet, but knows he will once the Friday before the inauguration rolls around. "People call me last minute saying, 'hey hey hey, can you send some girls out?'" Hire Party Stripper will ensure entertainers are on-call in anticipation of this "high volume" weekend.


One escort I talked with via email lamented that she wouldn't be in DC around the inauguration, but expected most of the business for escorts to come from areas surrounding the city. "My educated guess would be that it gets busy in the OTHER parts of town so clients don't have to fight the crowds. Like for example, I always schedule work in NYC during the XMas tree lighting at the Rockefeller center, but I go to the SOUTH end of Manhattan because I know the locals or clients won't want to be anywhere near the Rockefeller Center," she explained. "If I were to be here inauguration weekend, I bet Arlington will be hopping — or Tysons."


One dominatrix located in DC who goes by Bella Bliss and also leadsworkshops for couples who want to learn how to spank each other without feeling pain (among other things) also sees heightened interest in her services around inauguration time, simply because having more people around equates to more business.


"I definitely see more people who I wouldn't normally see," she told me by phone. "More girls will come out of the woodwork sometimes, and be kind of brave and ask about things to do with their girlfriends — play around and learn techniques." She may charge 25 to 50 percent more for a session at her studio, and would double the rates for an "outcall" because she doesn't do those often and people tend to flake.


Bella regularly hosts swingers' parties, and has one planned for the Saturday before the inauguration that she expects to be of a scale on par with major party nights like New Year's and Halloween. These parties — which serve as mixers where people can meet each other, not the giant orgy you're probably picturing — have themes like "Monica Lewinsky" or "Deep Throat" or some other "naughty connotation," Bella says, "so people will come festive, dressed in patriotic things, like naughty Capitol Hill outfits." The parties are for club members only, but members can bring guests. "A lot of our members have friends that come from out of town so they'll bring their friends," Bella explains. "They usually bring like one, three, five couples at a time." She expects anywhere from 100 to 200 people at the pre-inauguration event, which is roughly 50 to 100 percent more than the event's usual headcount.


Meanwhile, is readying its servers for a big traffic spike the week leading up to the inauguration. The site, which sets up sugar daddies with sugar babies (meaning, yes, there is financial incentive for the babies to get involved), experienced a 34.37 percent increase in visits from people in DC along with a 5.43 percent increase in new members in the week leading up to the 2009 inauguration.


The site tends to see traffic spikes in regions hosting major political events — Tampa area traffic increased 25.9 percent during the Republican National Convention, for instance — while Republican events generate 11 percent more traffic on average than Democratic ones. This may be because more sugar daddies identify as Republican (42.1 percent) than Democratic (34.9 percent). However, this is not true of the site's sugar babies, who skew Democratic. SeekingArrangement CEO Brandon Wade seems to see this as proof of the site's ability to foster bipartisan connections. "It's okay that the two people don't tend to share the same political alignments," he told me. "That seems to work perfectly fine with our memberships."


Sugar daddies tend not to be looking for dates for the big inaugural balls, but rather to dine at fancy restaurants, or meet for drinks at the hotel where the sugar daddy is staying. "Since many of these individuals are important political figures, they generally desire privacy," SeekingArrangement's spokesperson explained. (Also, roughly 40 percent of registered sugar daddies are married, so there's that.) High profile individuals who haven't been careful with their "arrangements" have been exposed in the past. "We had a situation where a very wealthy DuPont heir used the website in a way that I would not recommend and he ended up being blackmailed in a relatively public manner," Wade recalls. (He's referring to Stephen Dent — read about that scandal here.)


While Wade's team works overtime to approve new members as quickly as possible (they have to make sure sure sugar babies' photos don't appear on escort sites, and things like that) Bella is thinking about what to wear to her big swingers' soiree. "I'm not a real red-white-and-blue kind of girl so I'm going to have to piece together an outfit," she says. "I usually do crazy outfits based on what's in my closet. I might do a scarf — use it as a top or a skirt."


Hopefully, this inauguration will be slightly warmer than the last one.


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Japan’s sex industry to slash prices to the bone in 2013

Japan’s sex industry to slash prices to the bone in 2013 | Escorts |

Adult-entertainment clubs to cut prices to encourage more turnover

With a recent boost in Japan’s stock prices giving hope for an economic recovery in 2013, Tokyo Sports (Jan. 8) figures that might translate into a rise in business for adult-entertainment clubs.


The tabloid turns to Akira Ikoma, the editor of a monthly guide to men’s entertainment called Ore no Tabi (My Trip), for an inside scoop on industry trends.


“Even with hope of an economic recovery, economizing on the part of patrons will continue,” says the editor.


Ikoma predicts three themes will unfold in the coming year: free club visits, the sharing of sex workers, and an environmentally friendly attitude.


In the first case, Ikoma says discounts for volume business will be encouraged. “For example, if three guys go into a fuzoku club,” says the editor, referring to a sex shop, “one guy will be on the house. Also, if a customer uses a particula club four times, one trip will not be charged.


“They key for the clubs is to keep customers coming,” he says. “Allowing female employees to sit around with nothing to do is to be avoided.”


The sharing of sex workers, similar to the practice utilized for apartments or cars, will be another factor.


“For some popular girls it is tough to get a reservation,” continues Ikoma. “Customers interested in coming to a club for a particular girl will be given the option of sharing her with another customer.”


The concept is friendly to light wallets. The editor estimates that a customer will outlay 15,000 yen for 60 minutes if going solo, yet that figure would drop to 10,000 yen over that same period if in tandem.


The third trend will be the development of an environmentally friendly business plan. “Services at soaplands will be cut,” says Ikoma, referring to erotic bathhouses, “This will include the use of a mat and ofuro (bath), and time periods will be shortened. Of course, that will mean a drop in prices.”

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Sugar daddy site: It’s better than sex work!

Sugar daddy site: It’s better than sex work! | Escorts | wants you to know that you'll make more as a sugar baby than a prostitute

Ever wondered which is more lucrative, being a prostitute or a sugar baby?


Well,, the dating site for those seeking “Mutually Beneficial Relationships®,” has decided to answer that question — in a completely scientific and unbiased way, I’m sure.


In a new report, the company has determined that “in order for a prostitute to earn as much as a Sugar Baby, she would need to put in 25x the effort, and put herself at a serious risk of personal safety and mental and physical health,” according to a press release. Seeking Arrangements makes the following calculations: “The average Sugar Baby dates one to three men annually, receiving an average yearly allowance of approximately $36,000. If a prostitute makes on average $250 per transaction, she would have to have sex with presumably 100 men, performing over 144 sexual transactions.”


OK, where do we start? There’s the simple problem of grouping together all forms of prostitution — or all forms of prostitution that don’t take place on — when the services, transaction fees, forms of payment, workers, clientele and associated threat of violence can vary greatly. Then there’s the fact that the sugar baby income is based on not only cash handed over but expenses paid (which could include expensive dinners sat through with pretty undesirable company). Calculating the cost/benefit of such things is more complicated, and individual, than Seeking Arrangements suggests — and maybe, just maybe, better trusted to more objective researchers.


Sarah Elspeth Patterson, founding organizer of Persist Health Project, a health organization supporting sex workers, takes issue with the report’s claim that “having sex with strangers puts a prostitute at a great risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or infection.” Patterson explains, “Having sex with strangers does not put people in the sex trade at any greater risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or infection than the general population” — although having a greater number of partners in general does increase the associated STI risk – and she notes that prostitutes are often very familiar with safer sex practices as their jobs depend on it. And in response to the press release’s claim that sex workers are at greater risk of violence, Patterson argues that “harmful laws expose sex trade workers to victimization, through both sexual and physical violence, as well as the institutional violence of being afraid to talk to medical professions about their experience or report an assault to the police.”


But to the real point of Seeking Arrangement’s press release: The company is attempting to not-so-subtly distance itself from the vast spectrum of sex-for-money services that we sometimes call prostitution. The press release email’s subject line? “Sugar Babies are Not Whores.” It certainly isn’t the first time the company’s tried this, but it is perhaps its most blatant attempt at marketing itself for these recessionary times. (Next, I fully expect to see Seeking Arrangements showing up at college job fairs.) Patterson isn’t surprised by the attempt to banish the p-word: ”The term ‘prostitution’ is very historically loaded and the behaviors that fall within that category are varied and diverse,” she says. “Being involved in sexual exchange for money, goods or services is very specific to the person who is engaging in it and can only truly be defined by their individual experience.”

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Why ‘robot sex’ could be the next big thing

The first day of any year, beliefs notwithstanding, prompts varied thoughts and plans for the future.


Well, Wired Magazine somehow pre-empted that with a pre-Christmas article titled “Better Than Human: Why Robots Will-And Must-Take Our Jobs”.


The gist of the article was that robots are getting smarter and increasingly performing many functions humans thought impossible. One of the photographs accompanying the article was interesting.


A fully-dressed young man stands, hands cupped behind his head. Facing him is a nude robotic woman. Her left arm is pulling his head towards her face, as if for a kiss. Her left leg is raised, knee to the navel.


Interestingly, no caption accompanied the photograph. The article made no reference to the scene that depicts lovers who can’t wait for a bed ready to get busy in a back alley.


Last May, futurist Ian Yeoman and sexologist Michelle Mars, both associated with Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand said: “Robot sex is safer sex, free from the constraints, precautions and uncertainties of the real deal.” They also envision sex robots playing a role in tourism.


In an article titled “Robots, Men and Sex Tourism” published in journal Futures, the researchers depicts a sex club in Amsterdam named Yub-Yum. It’s the year 2050.


Amsterdam is known for many things. A famous one is that sex workers — to be exact women though there are men too — engage in legal business. In Yub-Yum, however, there are no women.


Instead, androids “of sexual gods and goddesses of different ethnicities, body shapes, ages, languages and sexual features” abound. For about 10,000 Euro, the scantly-clad smorgasbord of human replicas will provide “all-inclusive services,” including “massages, lap dances and intercourse.”


Myriad problems with the sex androids scenario exist. There are the laws.


Then, men don’t visit prostitutes just for sex. The reasons are myriad.


Women, too, don’t engage in prostitution just for pleasure.


Sex androids, therefore, will just be superfluous. As the Wired article noted, functions robots can perform better than humans exist.


That that includes matters sexual is a dubious proposition.

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The War on Sex Workers

The War on Sex Workers | Escorts |
An unholy alliance of feminists, cops, and conservatives hurts women in the name of defending their rights. 

On August 30, a 19-year-old woman in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was arrested after a prospective client called 911 on her. He claimed she raised her fee for services after their initial online contact. The cops took her away in handcuffs.

There’s nothing particularly unusual about this story, which initially appeared on It’s one of dozens you can find every day in police blotters and local newspapers around the country, often accompanied by mug shots.


No women’s rights organization compiles comprehensive data on how many people are arrested, tried, convicted, and incarcerated for prostitution-related charges. But their names and photos are lodged in search engines in perpetuity, no matter the outcome of their cases. 


The consequences of such arrests can be life shattering. In Louisiana some women arrested for prostitution have been charged under a 200-year-old statute prohibiting “crimes against nature.” Those charged—disproportionately black women and transgender women—end up on the state sex-offender registry. In Texas a third prostitution arrest counts as an automatic felony. Women’s prisons are so overloaded that the state is rethinking the law to cut costs. In Chicago police post mug shots of all those arrested for solicitation online, a shaming campaign intended to target men who buy sex. But researchers at DePaul University found that 10 percent of the photos are of trans women who were wrongly gendered as men by cops and arrested as “johns.” A prostitution charge will haunt these women throughout the interlocking bureaucracies of their lives: filling out job applications, signing kids up for day care, renting apartments, qualifying for loans, requesting passports or visas.


Not all people who do sex work are women, but women disproportionately suffer the stigma, discrimination, and violence against sex workers. The result is a war on women that is nearly imperceptible, unless you are involved in the sex trade yourself. This war is spearheaded and defended largely by other women: a coalition of feminists, conservatives, and even some human rights activists who subject sex workers to poverty, violence, and imprisonment—all in the name of defending women’s rights. 


Off Craigslist and Onto the Streets


A woman dressed from head to toe in khaki was trying to corral the few dozen people who showed up to picket in front of the New York offices of The Village Voice. Her eyes shaded from the blazing June sun by a safari-style brimmed hat, Norma Ramos pointed toward the entrance of the venerable alternative weekly with one hand, gripping a hand-printed placard in the other. It read, in deliberately uneven letters: “The TRUTH behind $2 MILLION PER MONTH by hosting sex trafficking ads.”


Ramos is the executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW). According to promotional copy from the speaker’s bureau that represents her, Ramos is at the forefront of “one of the most ignored and tragic social justice issues that affects our world.” She takes credit (with some exaggeration) for shutting down Craigslist’s “Erotic Services” listings, where anyone with an email address used to be able to post an ad offering sexual services to anyone with an Internet connection. After the demise of Erotic Services, which followed years of lobbying by law enforcement agencies and the National Association of Attorneys General, many sex workers opted for Craigslist’s main competitor,, which saw a tremendous spike in new sex work ads. (The site, once owned by Village Voice Media, was recently split from the alt-weekly side of the business, partly due to the controversy over its content.)


Ramos’ Craigslist fight, like the Backpage campaign that followed, drove up the cost of doing business for some sex workers. After opponents used the media and congressional hearings to dubiously link Craigslist to violence and exploitation in the sex trade, Craigslist began charging $5 per post for its Erotic Services ads, arguing that credit card numbers would help police locate advertisers who had been victimized. For sex workers who could not afford the fees, the next best choice was to take on the additional physical and legal risks of soliciting on the streets. All the buzz threw a spotlight on both sites, giving cops an excuse to step up stings that put Craigslist and Backpage advertisers in jail. Now Ramos is agitating for an encore.


Two months before the demonstration outside the Voice, feminist icon Gloria Steinem held court in the brothels of India as part of a humanitarian junket sponsored by the NoVo Foundation, one of the largest private women’s charities in the United States. NoVo’s money is Warren Buffett’s money: $1 billion, transferred by the second wealthiest American to his son Peter, who chairs the effort along with his wife, Jennifer. Steinem accompanied Peter and Jennifer Buffett on a tour of Sonagachi, Calcutta’s biggest red light district. Steinem came away from her visit with an astounding proposal: What would really benefit the women who worked there—whom she described to the Calcutta Telegraph as “prostituted,” characterizing their condition as “slavery”—would be to end sexual health services and peer education programs in brothels, programs that have been recognized by the United States Agency for International Development as best-practices HIV/AIDS interventions. Steinem described the women leading those health and education programs as “traffickers” and those who support them “the trafficking lobby.” 


How have we arrived at this point, that in the name of “protecting” women, or even ensuring their “rights,” feminists are eager to take away their jobs and health care? Ramos, Steinem, and their allies deliberately conflate sex work and what they now call “sex trafficking” for their own reasons, not to advance the rights of sex workers. The result is—or should be—an international scandal.


How Sex Work Became “Sexual Exploitation”


Feminist fights over prostitution and pornography are old news. But anti−sex work feminism has come a long way from the magazine store picket lines of the 1970s and the campus anti-porn revivals of the 1990s. “Pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice,” wrote feminist author and activist Robin Morgan in 1980. She is still around today, hosting a radio show on D.C.’s 1580 AM for the Women’s Media Center. “Prostitution is paid rape,” claims Melissa Farley, who has been fighting against sex workers since the 1990s and now produces reports for anti-prostitution organizations such as Demand Abolition. While these women once focused on ending sexual “objectification” in magazines and red light districts, today they are waging a global war that pits one class of women against another.


One architect of this shift is attorney Jessica Neuwirth, a founder of the women’s rights organization Equality Now. In a 2008 interview with Barnard College sociologist Elizabeth Bernstein, Neuwirth described the change as a move away from “an earlier wave of consciousness about exploitation that took both pornography and prostitution almost together as a kind of commercial sexual exploitation of women.” The rewrite was necessary, Bernstein explained in the journal Theory and Society, because the outright prohibition of porn and prostitution was not popular, putting feminists at odds with liberal allies such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “They got battered down by ACLU types,” Neuwirth told Bernstein. “By re-situating these issues in terms of the ‘traffic in women’ overseas and as a violation of international commitments to women’s human rights,” Bernstein explained, “they were able to wage the same sexual battles unopposed.”


These battles were now being fought in the name of combating “sexual exploitation,” “sex trafficking,” and “sex slavery.” The activism has shifted to the realm of international law. In 2000 anti−sex work feminists attempted to push their redefinition of sex work into the U.N. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. Norma Ramos and her allies wanted the protocol, which is intended to formally define trafficking across U.N. programs and to promote collaboration among U.N. member states in order to protect the rights of people who are trafficked, to define all prostitution as “trafficking.” According to the Paulo Longo Research Initiative scholar Jo Doezema’s 2010 book Sex Slaves and Discourse Masters, sex workers were supported by the U.N. special rapporteur on violence against women, who rejected the prostitution/trafficking equivalence. Sex workers also opposed the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women’s substitute proposal, which described commercial sex as “sexual exploitation.”

CATW went on a media offensive, seeking to discredit their opponents, even enlisting Sen. Jesse Helms to the cause. It worked. The protocol was approved and is now signed by 117 countries, defining sex for pay as “sexual exploitation.” The protocol has given feminists legal and moral cover to target sex work under the banner of fighting trafficking. 

“People have been very successful in using this term sexual exploitation in pushing legislation,” says Ann Jordan, former director of the Program on Human Trafficking and Forced Labor at American University’s Washington College of Law and an attorney who has defended the rights of trafficked persons. “Many of the people they talk to never ask them what they mean by it.” But while sex work opponents have been successful in passing laws against “sexual exploitation,” Jordan says, “they are not enforceable because no one knows what this means.”


On the domestic front, anti−sex work activists scored one of their biggest wins with the 2005 reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPRA). TVPRA earmarked $50 million for law enforcement agencies to “develop and execute programs targeted at reducing male demand and to investigate and prosecute buyers of commercial sex acts.” Although ostensibly aimed at supporting victims of forced labor, TVPRA provides money for efforts to discourage men from hiring sex workers, including quasi-legal and legal activities such as escorting, pornography, stripping, and phone sex, as well as for investigating the people they attempt to hire. Although nearly all prostitution-related law in the United States is made at the state or municipal level, redefining prostitution as trafficking provides a rationale for federal action against the sex trade.


Meanwhile, legislators in many states have responded to the demands of feminist activists by boosting penalties for prostitution-related offenses and prioritizing enforcement. “Think about it,” Jordan says. “If you are a politician on the state or national level, and someone comes to you and says, ‘There are these horrible men who are holding these innocent little virgins, and all you need to do is put money into law enforcement,’ ” you will want to act. Stepping up vice enforcement allows legislators to avoid the far more complicated steps necessary to support people who have been trafficked or to meaningfully address immigration and labor policies that drive people to migrate illegally or accept dubious work offers when few legal options are available. Tackling problems such as those, Jordan says, “doesn’t allow you to go around and say you are ‘saving sex slaves.’ ” The prohibitionist approach means “you don’t actually have to deal with the people at the edges of society.”


What happens when people in the sex trade—the people these laws supposedly are meant to protect—push back? Anti-trafficking activists often respond by denying their existence. At the June anti-Backpage protest, I watched Norma Ramos’ staff distribute fliers to passers-by cautioning them against the very term sex work, a phrase that “completely masks the physical, psychological, and sexual violence inflicted on prostituted persons,” although they had to acknowledge “it is a term that women in prostitution themselves use and prefer.” 


If this semantic debate seems a bit arcane for placards and fliers, the purpose was revealed 15 feet further down the sidewalk, where members of the Sex Workers Outreach Project New York (SWOP-NYC), a volunteer-based, grassroots group dedicated to improving the lives of sex workers, held a quiet counter-protest. SWOP members—current and former sex workers among them—greeted New Yorkers on their way through Greenwich Village with smiles and fliers, inviting them to throw their support behind the people who had real expertise on the sex industry. That day the police repeatedly instructed SWOP members to stay half a block away from Ramos’ people. They made no such demands of Ramos.


Feminists, Cops, and Conservatives


An article in the August issue of Marie Claire follows Andrea Powell, executive director of Free Aware Inspired Restored (FAIR) Girls, as she trolls Backpage for classified sex ads she suspects were placed by or for minors: “Putting in an earbud and picking up her pink-and-black Kate Spade-encased iPhone to dial a local police officer, Powell says urgently, ‘We have to report her now.’ ” But when the cops set up a sting operation against the advertiser, the story continues, “she said she was in fact an adult—and didn’t want help from the police or anyone else.” 


Some activists view calling the cops to “rescue” people from the sex trade as the model of a successful human rights intervention. They don’t count their victories by the number of people they help; they count them by arrests.


These tactics are part of a rise in what Elizabeth Bern­stein calls “carceral feminism”; Harvard law professor Janet Halley calls it “governance feminism.” Feminists once offered a powerful critique of the criminal justice system, but that argument has faded as they have found power within it. Not surprisingly, they have found conservative allies along the way.


In redefining sex work as an issue of bad men doing bad things to enslaved young women, anti-prostitution activists have recast themselves as liberators instead of scolds, while simultaneously making their message more attractive to the social conservatives who have at times distrusted them. The conservative Heritage Foundation has taken up the cause of “fighting sex trafficking,” though mostly as a way to beat up on the Obama administration and the United Nations for not adopting even more punitive policy. The Protect Innocence Initiative, a partnership between the anti-prostitution Shared Hope International and the American Center for Law & Justice (the right’s answer to the ACLU), gave a presentation at the Values Voters Summit in Washington last September touting the 40 bills it has persuaded state legislators to introduce since December 2011. The title: “Can You Protect Your Children From the Commercial Sex Industry?” Shared Hope International’s director, former Rep. Linda Smith (R-Wash.), explained to the Values Voters audience that they should “put this issue in its proper position” alongside the anti-abortion cause.


Donna M. Hughes, a professor of women’s studies at the University of Rhode Island, who praised George W. Bush for “put[ting] the fight against the global sex trade on par with the campaign for democracy in Iraq and the war on terrorism,” is another conservative-friendly voice in the anti−sex work chorus. Hughes banged her own curious “women’s rights” drum in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in a 2004 Washington Post op-ed, co-written with second-wave feminist Phyllis Chesler, in which the duo criticized feminists for not seeing that conservatives “could be better allies on some issues than the liberal left has been.”


Sex workers bear the brunt of this coalition’s preference for using law enforcement to protect women’s rights. Increased penalties for “sex trafficking,” supported by such groups as the National Organization for Women New York (NOW-NYC) and the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE) have led to high-profile sting operations, such as a January 2012 bust in New York snaring a reported “200 johns” and seized many of their vehicles prior to arraignment. But demanding cops protect women by “going after the johns” doesn’t exempt sex workers from arrest. A 2012 examination of prostitution-related felonies in Chicago conducted by the Chicago Reporter revealed that of 1,266 convictions during the past four years, 97 percent of the charges were made against sex workers, with a 68 percent increase between 2008 and 2011. This is during the same years that CAASE lobbied for the Illinois Safe Children Act, meant to end the arrest of who the bill describes as “prostituted persons” and to instead target “traffickers” and buyers through wiretaps and stings. Since the Act’s passage in 2010, only three buyers have been charged with a felony. These feminist-supported, headline-grabbing stunts subject young women to the humiliation of jail, legal procedures, and tracking through various law enforcement databases, sometimes for the rest of their lives.


“It’s fascinating that women who claim to be feminists” are so willing to use the law in this way, says Ann Jordan. Supporting anti-prostitution enforcement requires them to call in the muscle of “all these institutions that have oppressed women forever,” she notes. “But they are willing to use the law to coerce a particular kind of behavior from women.”


As a staff attorney at the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center, Melissa Broudo deals with the aftermath of crackdowns like the one in New York last winter. Broudo is one of the few lawyers who works to vacate the sentences of people who have been trafficked and who have been convicted of prostitution charges. “The hardest piece I’ve dealt with,” Broudo says, “is trying to represent individuals who don’t fit the model. They aren’t a 12-year-old girl, or whatever the portrayal is. Men can be trafficked. Trans women and trans men can be trafficked, and are trafficked. Older women can be trafficked. I have clients who fall within all different categories, but they [don’t match the conventional] picture of trafficking.”


Oversimplified portrayals of trafficking can have devastating consequences for those who are trafficked. “When I am vacating prior convictions for survivors,” say Broudo, “I view it as a legal hurdle if it’s someone who isn’t a cisgender [nontransgender] female minor at the time. And it shouldn’t be that way.” Broudo concedes that “you need people to understand that trafficking exists.” But she adds that “awareness isn’t enough, and awareness campaigns can have negative consequences. When somebody like [New York Times columnist] Nicholas Kristof writes an article about shutting down Backpage or applauding law enforcement efforts, it creates this picture that the answer is criminalization and punishment, and then people think we need to arrest more people, and that’s incredibly detrimental. And unfortunately, when there is more money and a mandate for arrests, that will often result in sex workers who may or may not have been forced into sex work being arrested.”


Sex-worker activists have long voiced this concern, not to protect the sex industry (as anti-prostitution campaigners claim) but to protect themselves from the violence of arrest and the violence that results from widespread social stigma and discrimination. Defenders of sex workers’ rights want to stop those arrests, while the feminists who should be their natural allies are pushing for more.


‘Sack of Bones on Gilgo Beach’


Between 2010 and 2011, the remains of 10 people, many identified as sex workers, were found on Long Island’s Gilgo Beach. New York sex workers, including SWOP members, responded by reaching out to the families of the victims, attending vigils, and providing support to one another. Networks such as these are strong among sex workers, who cannot rely on cops, courts, or other institutions most people can turn to in times of crisis.


NOW-NYC’s response to these murders, still unsolved, came in a letter from its president, Sonia Ossorio, to the New York Daily News. Against the backdrop of NOW’s campaign to increase stings and raids in the sex trade, Ossorio complained that the paper was out of bounds for running a column questioning the public good in keeping prostitution illegal. She closed her letter by invoking the murdered women who “ended up as sacks of bones on Gilgo Beach.” For Ossorio, these women’s deaths are a justification for prohibition rather than a wake-up call to the dangers that prohibition creates.


It is not sex work that exposes sex workers to violence; it is our willingness to abandon sex workers to violence in an attempt to control their behavior. Prohibition makes prostitution more dangerous than it would otherwise be by pushing it underground and stripping sex workers of legal protection. The fight over that policy is about more than just strains between generations of feminism. It is about an unholy marriage of feminism with the conservatism and police power that many feminists claim to stand against. 


Advocates for sex workers are making some headway in calling that alliance to account. In 2011, for the first time, sex-worker activists participated in the U.N. Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights (UPR), a review of all member states’ human rights records conducted each four years. It was also the first year that the U.S. government’s record on human rights was up for U.N. review.


Activist Darby Hickey, a transgender woman who has been involved in the sex trade and is currently an analyst at the Best Practices Policy Project, which defends sex worker rights, participated in the U.N. evaluation. Its findings reinforced what sex workers have been reporting for decades: American sex workers are vulnerable to discrimination and violence not simply because of their work but because of the ways institutions exclude and harm them. The United States signed on to UPR recommendations that “no one should face violence or discrimination in access to public services based on sexual orientation or their status as a person in prostitution.”


“Now we’ll see what they do with that,” Hickey says, “and what steps they take to address violence from law enforcement and systemic violence.” When it comes to criminalization and the prison system, Hickey says, “there’s a general recognition that we’re going in the wrong direction, but around prostitution it’s going in the opposite direction, where people are saying, ‘Arrest more people; increase penalties.’ ” Just as the war on drugs is in many ways a war on black people, Hickey says, the war on prostitution is a war on sex workers.


If we are going to call attacks on reproductive and sexual rights a “war on women,” then let’s talk about a war on women that has actual prisoners and a body count. It’s a war on the women engaged in sex work, waged by women who will not hesitate to use their opponents’ corpses as political props but refuse to listen to them while they are still alive and still here to fight. 

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Happy International Fetish Day!!!

It's International Fetish day 

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OpEdNews Quicklink: A national sex strike! Spain's 'high-class hookers refuse to sleep with bankers until they open up credit lines to cash-

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Spain's high-class escorts are refusing to have sex with the nation's bankers - until they open up credit lines to cash-strapped families and firms.
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Banning prostitution a way to control women’s sexuality...

Banning prostitution a way to control women’s sexuality... | Escorts |

The recent decision by the Danish government to not proceed witheffectively banning prostitutionshould be welcomed by anyone who values women’s autonomy and equality.


From the beginnings of human history, people have tried to control women’s sexuality. Laws designed to restrict women’s sexuality can be found in many cultures: laws forcing women to wear veils, headscarves or burkas; laws disallowing women to wear make-up or to go out in public without a male family member; laws forcing women to undergo virginity tests or to hide away when they are menstruating; laws restricting women’s access to birth control or abortion; and laws restricting women from earning money from sex.


All of these laws and regulations have one thing in common: namely, the attempt to remove a woman’s freedom of choice over her own body and own sexuality.


Those who want to make women’s sex work illegal try to argue that they are doing it for women’s own good. But that is the same assertion made by those who require women to wear headscarves, undergo virginity tests or not go out in public without a male family member.


These laws too are purportedly designed for a woman’s “own good”. It does not, however, take great powers of perception to see that making it illegal for women to not wear headscarves or go out alone are little more than ways of controlling women and their sexuality. But if it is obvious that these laws are merely methods of controlling women’s sexuality, then it should equally be obvious that making it illegal for women to earn money from sex is also merely a method of controlling women’s sexuality.


One thing that has made it difficult for some people to see this is that many of the groups who are trying to make sex work illegal in Denmark are women’s advocacy groups. This gives the impression that outlawing sex work must be for women’s own good.


This is because it would seem that women’s advocacy groups would naturally want what is best for women. The problem, however, is that one does not need to be a man to oppress a woman. Women can also oppress women.


The well-known anthropologist Mary Douglas has shown how women in certain cultures use cultural rules surrounding menstruation – for example, being confined during menstruation – to oppress other women and to attempt to limit a rival female’s sexual behaviour.


Could it be that those women who are trying to stop other women from engaging in prostitution are doing the same thing? It seems clear that many women, even in Denmark, do not like the idea of their partners having sex with other women.


Prostitutes are clearly women who are sexually available for any man, including the partners of the women who want to make prostitution illegal. A woman attempting to make other women’s prostitution illegal can thus easily be seen as an attempt to limit a rival female’s sexual behaviour.


Of course in the Danish case, the groups who are advocating to make prostitution illegal are trying to make the buying of sex illegal, not the selling of sex. In this case it might give the appearance that it is the customer of the sex worker who is being controlled rather than the prostitute herself.


But this is neither here nor there; for in the wider picture, the result is the same: namely, the outlawing of prostitution. Indeed, outlawing the buying rather than the selling of sex looks very much like a cover-up. That is, it is an attempt to hide the fact that the ban is merely one more attempt to control a woman’s right to decide her own sexuality.


The expected reply to this is to point out how women prostitutes are often exploited and abused by both their employers and customers, how illegal immigrants are sometimes coerced into prostitution with threats of turning them over to the authorities, and so on. Consequently, the argument goes, outlawing prostitution would save those in prostitution from this sort of treatment.


The difficulty with this reply, however, is that none of these problems are problems with prostitution in itself. Rather, they are problems stemming from the government’s inconsistent treatment of prostitutes and the marginalisation of prostitution as a legitimate profession.


Thus, in Denmark it is legal to be a prostitute, and prostitutes, like anyone else, are expected to pay taxes. Yet prostitutes are not entitled to protection under employment legislation or to unemployment benefits. Not only is this inconsistent, but it sends the clear message to everyone (including those who would exploit prostitutes) that prostitutes are looked down upon by the authorities and not deemed to be worthy of society’s full protection. It is no wonder then that those involved in crime move in to take advantage of prostitutes.


What has created the criminal environment that often surrounds prostitution is therefore not the nature of the profession, but rather a lack of government protection for those in the profession. The same thing could happen with any profession.


Thus, were taxi drivers or hairstylists looked down upon by the authorities and denied legal protection or unemployment benefits, criminals would quickly move in to take advantage of the situation and exploit them. The answer, then, would not be to make the purchase of a taxi ride or a haircut illegal, but rather to give taxi drivers or hairstylists the same respect and legal protections as anybody else. In the same way, the answer is not to make the purchasing of prostitution illegal, but rather for the government to afford prostitutes the same respect and legal safeguards as any other workers. 


In her recent New Year’s address PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt said that freedom, equality, and safety were the fundamental values upon which the Danish community is built. If this is true, then the government should uphold these values in their treatment of prostitutes.


Prostitutes should have the freedom to pursue their authorised profession, equality with other workers, and the safety provided by the full protection of the employment laws.

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Doc on Edmonton's sex trade workers now on National Film Board of Canada site

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An unflinching feature documentary on Edmonton's sex trade workers is now available on the National Film Board of Canada's website.


"Who Cares," by Gemini Award-winning filmmaker Rosie Dransfeld, can be purchased via Download to Own and Video on Demand at


Told in cinema verite-style, the film profiles several prostitutes facing addiction and violence in the neighbourhood where Dransfeld lives.


Cameras also capture the sex trade workers as they gather at a local pub to discuss their lives and dreams.


Anchoring the film is footage of an officer working for an RCMP Project Kare task force, which collects DNA samples from prostitutes and probes the unsolved murders of women.


"Who Cares," produced for the NFB by Bonnie Thompson, had its world premiere at Hot Docs in Toronto. It has since screened in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Edmonton.


On the NFB site, the film is priced at $2.95 for Video on Demand, $9.95 for regular download and $14.95 for HD download.

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Brazilian sex worker’s group offers prostitutes English lessons ahead of World Cup

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Cida Vieira, president of the Association of Prostitutes in the city of Belo Horizonte, said Tuesday that 20 have already signed up for the courses and she expects at least 300 of the group's 4,000 members to follow suit...


Prostitutes in one of Brazil's biggest cities are beginning to sign up for free English classes ahead of this year's Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup.


Cida Vieira, president of the Association of Prostitutes in the city of Belo Horizonte, said Tuesday that 20 have already signed up for the courses and she expects at least 300 of the group's 4,000 members to follow suit. The association is organizing the classes and seeking volunteer teachers.


“I don't think we will have problems persuading English teachers to provide services for free,” she said. “We already have several volunteer psychologists and doctors helping us.”


She said classes are expected to begin in March and last up to eight months.

“It will be important for the girls who will be able to use English to let their clients know what they are charging and learn about what turns them on,” Ms. Vieira said by telephone.


“And for the same reasons we are also thinking of offering free French and Italian classes,” she added.


Prostitution is legal in Brazil.


Belo Horizonte's 62,000-seat Mineirao Stadium will host three matches of the Confederations Cup and six games of the World Cup.

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Kinkchester: Manchester bondage lovers forced to hit out against BDSM being dismissed as 'mental illness'

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Dominants, submissives and bondage obsessives, across Manchester have less than 24 hours to support a storm whipped up over the classification of their kinky bedroom habits as a mental illness.

An e-petition has been lodged against the Department of Health, arguing Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, or Sadism and Masochism (BDSM) is a sexuality, not a deficiency.

The International Classification of Diseases lists fetishism and sadomasochism as psychiatric illnesses, much to the chagrin of the BDSM community.

A late flurry of support from Manchester’s community of kinksters, usually referred to as ‘Kinkchester’, could be decisive – the BDSM scene here is second only to London’s in the UK.

BDSM has risen in prominence recently, with erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey – the fastest-selling paperback ever – heavily featuring submission and domination.

The exposure has made BDSM more acceptable than ever before, something organised ‘munches’ and kinky club nights held regularly across Manchester are testament to.

Munches refer to non-sexual social gatherings of BDSM fans – designed so more withdrawn people with exacting and unusual sexual tastes can meet like-minded individuals easily.

They began in California when some BDSM lovers met at a Santa Clara burger restaurant – leading the group to be called ‘burger munch’.

Manchester Munch – the oldest of its kind in Britain – turns 15 in February and meet on the second Saturday of each month at FAB Cafe in Portland Street.

They welcome interest from ‘general kinksters’ – of any gender, age, kink or sexual orientation – and their organiser, Cleric, is a self-confessed dominant BDSM enthusiast.

“I have set about making it the friendliest, most community-oriented kink event in the North West,” said Cleric.

“We pride ourselves on providing a warm welcome if you are new or a little nervous.”

They even have a ‘munch etiquette’, which demands participants do not treat meetings like play parties – BDSM orgies – and, somewhat cryptically, are ‘excellent to each other’.

Greater Manchester also boasts munches in Oldham, Rusholme and Bolton, with the latter’s next meeting set for January 20 at the Star and Garter pub.

Peter Rossi, who runs alternative group Manchester Spanko Munch, who mostly cater for sadomasochists, said: “Munches are a great way to meet like-minded people in a bar lounge environment.

“No play, just making new friends.”

Such gentle undertones do not reflect the entire BDSM community, however, which in Manchester alone has a sordid, sinister underbelly.

Firstly, and comparatively innocently, the club Alter Ego hosts frequent ‘lash’ nights, the next of which is this Friday.

That night has a Roman theme – and the lash team promise sexy slave girls, photographers to catch revellers in their ‘perverted finery’ and a ‘play’ area for people to create their own entertainment.

Meanwhile, a BDSM blogger, Flique the Switch, crudely asks in a post why Stockport has no organised munch as ‘surely enough pervs live there’.

A Manchester Munch twitter follower, Drew Heller, highlights the nasty side to BDSM with this self-description: “Sadist. Tea drinker. Has a penchant for sex, violence and armadillos. Fucktards and hypocrites fuck off.”

Users of Informed Consent – the UK’s chief BDSM forum – hardly come across as shy and retiring either.

A Manchester girl, Jessica Hexy Sub, reveals the submissive desires suggested in her name by saying she wants to be a ‘daddy’s little girl’.

Most sinisterly, the New Manchester Dungeon auctions off kinky, leather-clad women for online bondage lovers to salivate over, posting mobile numbers for people to ring for private appointments.

One available ‘mistress’, Salome Sin, lists among her favourite activities sissy slut training, puppy play, sploshing, spanking, humiliation and toilet training.

These latest BDSM practices – in particular those involving whips and restraints – stem from the gay leather movement which grew after the Second World War.

In the 1980s, the internet caused an explosion of interest in BDSM, with curious minds exposed to a more readily available, diverse and experimental porn industry.

Now, in this generation set to be synonymous with the Fifty Shades trilogy, BDSM is gaining more support.

Risqué high street retailer Ann Summers reported sales up 60 percent in Manchester last year, with their stocks of lingerie, erotic fancy dress and mainstream sex toys supplemented by whips, restraints, handcuffs and blindfolds.

Ebay also proves a kinkster’s paradise, stocking gags, penis rings and, most intriguingly, a £19.99 Fifty Shades start-up kit, which includes bondage rope, nipple teasers, jiggle balls, silver handcuffs and a red flogger.

The e-petition will close at 8am tomorrow morning. Were it to succeed, left-field carnal desires would acquire even more credibility.

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Council of State to OK fines for street prostitutes and customers?

Council of State to OK fines for street prostitutes and customers? | Escorts |
In recent months police in the Alhambra district of the capital have been clamping down hard on street prostitution and issuing the women with fines for the nuisance they cause in the neighbourhood.

May Brussels police officers fine street prostitutes and their customers on the streets of Brussels?


The prostitutes are not taking the matter lying down and together with several social organisations filed a complaint with the Council of State, Belgium's highest administrative court.


An official at the Council of State, whose job it is to examine the matter, is now recommending that the Council's judges throw out the complaint. He believes that the complaint is unfounded and favours a ruling in favour of the city authorities.


The official's recommendation is not binding, but the Council does usually follow his advice. The Council will take its decision at a later time.


The Mayor of Brussels, Freddy Thielemans (Francophone socialist), believes the new fines are a good idea. He points to the 30% drop in the amount of prostitution in the area.

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The Woman Who Trains Dogs to Have Sex with Humans...

The Woman Who Trains Dogs to Have Sex with Humans... | Escorts |

Meet Anna, a Ukrainian prostitute who is originally from Odessa but currently lives and thrives in the sex-for-money business in Holland. After I met her in an online porn chatroom, she started telling me all sorts of things about her life—like how she had got to Holland, what makes Russian clients worse than others, and why adorable puppies live in her cottage in Rotterdam.

VICE: Anna, how did you get into prostitution?
Anna: I've been working as a prostitute for over 30 years now. For the first 15 years I worked in Ukraine and then I migrated to Holland. Soon after we got married, my husband caught me in bed with another man. Realizing I was prone to this sort of behavior, he decided to use my body to further his own career. So I began to get intimate with his bosses and later with his business partners.  

Did you earn money this way?
It was my husband who got the money—I never laid eyes on it. His career development was rapid. I'm not with him any more, but to this day he's still involved in the illegal gun and petroleum trades. He’s a very well-to-do person in Ukraine.

When did you guys break up?
As soon as I left for Holland. The owner of the brothel I work for now used to have a stake in my ex-husband’s business. They exchanged me for the guy's part of my ex-husband's company.

So your husband sold you into sex slavery?
Yes, I suppose so, though I have no idea how much my value would be in Pound Sterling. I do know they both benefited greatly from this exchange. That's how my husband began signing arms contracts with the Arabs. And to think it all began as a joke. I had already had sex with my future owner and he had taken me to the East several times, as his escort. He let a throng of Arabs have sex with me—and they tend to like kinky sex, mostly anal. I also love it.

I didn't mind being traded, either. My husband got absorbed in his business and could hardly find any time to spend with me. My parents were aware of the situation and they stood by him. Friends of mine didn’t care much, they supported that decision too, some even joined our brothel later on.

It seems the women you work with are all of a certain age.
Yes, our club employs women who are from 40 to 57 years old. The owner says that adolescents cause too much trouble – we lack in morality, we never refuse and we are much more experienced.

How did you manage to immigrate? I would imagine writing down on your VISA application that you were intending to practice prostitution could have created some problems.
I had a VISA back then but now I’m a Dutch national. The procedure wasn’t really a big deal, we have powerful clients with ties everywhere. Also, prostitution in Holland is not illegal.

What are your duties?
The average client of our club is a VIP, lots are from television. It's fun to get to see what they are all worth. We have reckless four-hour, 16-people orgies. Sometimes I’m hired as a “bitch.” I have to stand on all fours and let dogs fuck me. I'm up for anything except for scat, which is just as well since my boss doesn't let clients do that any more.


I don't really know what to say.
I can give the job up any time I want, but I don’t intend to—I enjoy it. Sex with animals, BDSM, gang bangs, anything goes—I just like fucking.


About the dogs, where do you get them from? Do they live in the club? Are they especially trained to have sex with people?
There are special dog farms in many countries that train dogs to do just that. I know at least two of the kind in Russia. I personally work as a trainer in such farms in Germany, Belgium, and Sweden. They employ me to help the dogs get used to the human female. After about half a year of concentrated effort, the dogs fuck like devils and I love it. Of course these special dogs aren't cheap at all. I also have two dogs living in my cottage and they have never fucked with other dogs, only with humans. Often the clients will bring dogs of their own, these are of course trained dogs, too.

They bring the dogs to the brothel?
No, only talks and presentations take place in our club. The rest happens at the clients’. They all are well-heeled and have huge houses. There are dog enclosures and special basements for BDSM. They look like the basements Gestapo used to torture people in.

Do you ever work with Russians in Holland?
I don’t choose the clients, my boss does. But yes, former compatriots do visit. They are the worst when it comes to private parties. They always demand I do everything, even drink from a glass they have pissed in, for example. Of course they pay loads of money, even more than we ask.

Have you ever wished to become a mother?
I have children with my ex-husband, but they are all adults now with lives of their own. They work with my ex-husband, too. We get on well. They know that I live in the house with the dogs and visit me from time to time. My ex-husband visits me when he happens to be in the area as well.

Do you have any advice to pass on to Ukrainian women who are thinking of taking up prostitution?
I’ll advise them to keep cautious, be aware of their rights. Otherwise they are likely to be sold to Arabs as slaves. I’ve seen this happen a lot. Thank God my husband and my boss haven't let that happen to me.

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Ex-Madam plans to open new brothel ... just for disabled customers

Ex-Madam plans to open new brothel ... just for disabled customers | Escorts |

Becky Adams says "Everyone deserves to experience and enjoy sexual contact"

A former madam is coming out of retirement to open the UK’s first brothel reserved exclusively for DISABLED clients.

Becky Adams, 44, plans to spend £50,000 on the establishment, which she hopes will become the first of its kind in the world when it opens in 2014.

She said: “People have the same sexual urges whether they’re disabled or not. Everyone deserves to experience and enjoy sexual contact.


“A soldier who comes home from war disabled doesn’t stop being a normal, healthy person with normal, healthy needs. For many, disability can get in the way of fulfilling those needs. It can be very frustrating and painful.


“Our new brothel will be kitted out with ramps and hoists for wheelchair access, just like any other service for disabled people.”


The two-roomed establishment, called Para Doxies from the old English word for prostitues, will be sufficient for two sex workers, carers and staff to assist clients with their day-to-day needs, says Becky.


And, she adds, the brothel will provide transport to collect clients and take them home afterwards.


Becky said: “There’s nothing illegal about spending disability living allowance or benefit money on sexual services and the brothel will not be run to make money, it will be organised on a strictly not-for-profit basis."


It is currently legal to buy and sell sexual services in the United Kingdom but illegal to involve any third party, such as pimp or brothel madam, in the transaction.


Becky argues the Para Doxies team will simply "educate and facilitate disabled people in their sexuality, with third parties acting as aides, performing functions disabled clients themselves cannot".


Former madam Becky currently runs Para Doxies as a TLC Trust-supported, not-for-profit, telephone-based service where volunteers assist people with disabilities or their carers to source trust worthy, reliable sex workers, enablers or body-workers.


As part of the service she offers help from a "legal team" who can advise people wanting to use the service on all aspects of UK law and European Human Rights law and how it affects the provision of sexual services for people with disabilities and those caring for them.


And Becky, who ran illegal brothels in the Home Counties for 20 years before retiring in 2010, said she receives around 12 enquiries a week from disabled and vulnerable people looking to solicit from trusted sex workers.


One person she is supporting is cerebal palsy sufferer Chris Fulton.


Chris, 29, from Worcester, last week urged the Government to do more to help disabled people pay for prostitutes.


Mr Fulton, who also has muscular dystrophy, wants the government to adopt a Dutch-style grant scheme.


In Holland disabled people can receive public money in order to pay for sexual relations up to 12 times a year.


But lobby group Disabled Rights UK said pushing for a new system which would make it easier for disabled people to use public money to pay for sex was not considered a priority.


Becky, who recently published her memoir Madam - Prostitutes, Punters & Puppets, expects most of the new brothel’s clients will be referred from charities and advocacy groups, such as the TLC Trust, which has created links between disabled people and sex workers for the past 13 years.


She said: “Some people will think this is wrong. Sex work polarises opinion. Disability is also an old taboo. Sex workers and disabled people are alike in that they are both vulnerable and have very little voice in society. No-one ever listens to them.


"Add benefits and state support to the mix, and this becomes the biggest taboo imaginable."

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