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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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'Nothing for us without us': sex workers the decision-makers in new fund

'Nothing for us without us': sex workers the decision-makers in new fund | Escorts |

The Red Umbrella Fund is the first global grant-making mechanism to give sex workers influence over initiatives

The Red Umbrella Fund is governed by sex workers, who sit alongside donor representatives on the committees that oversee its work.

"Save us from saviours" is the piercing refrain of a growing human rights movement demanding that sex workers be recognised as more than victims to be rescued or strategic populations to be targeted for public health campaigns. It's likely to strike a nerve among some in the traditional aid and development industry, often criticised for top-down, paternalistic projects.


"Sex workers are discriminated against and their human rights unrecognised around the world, even where sex work isn't illegal," says Nadia van der Linde, co-ordinator of the Red Umbrella Fund, the first global grant-making mechanism set up to give sex workers more control of projects that directly concern them. "Even when they stand up for themselves, it's very hard for them to find support."


The fund, which was launched in April 2012, and will announce this month who will receive its first grants, grew out of a multi-year collaboration between sex worker organisations and interested donors, who first met five years ago to discuss campaigns to curb human trafficking.


Embracing a philosophy of "nothing for us without us", the innovative fund is governed by sex workers, who sit alongside donor representatives on the committees that oversee and manage its work.


Ruth Morgan Thomas, global co-ordinator of the Network of Sex Work Projects and a member of the fund's international steering committee, says it offers a "unique opportunity" for sex workers to guide both overall strategy and specific decisions on where grant money goes.


This year it will fund a range of activities, from tackling everyday violence faced by sex workers, including from police, to building the general capacity of sex worker-led human rights initiatives.


Figuring out how to increase the participation of sex workers without making it too expensive or cumbersome for them will be a top priority, says Van der Linde, who points to other peer-led grant-making initiatives, like the HIV Young Leaders Fund, as examples to learn from. "There's not many of us out there but it's a very interesting area."


After grants are announced, organisers will go back to groups and help them develop work plans, budgets and ways to measure and monitor success in their programmes. "We really want to sit with them and discuss in more detail what they want to achieve and how to measure that," Van der Linde says. "How can we establish monitoring and evaluation systems that are peer-led?"


Attracting new money will also be key, Van der Linde says. Though supported by a diverse group of donors – including billionaire philanthropist George Soros's Open Society Foundations (OSF) and UK NGO Comic Relief – there is certainly room for the fund to grow from its initial budget of €700,000 (£570,000).


"This can be a hard field in which to fund," OSF's Shari Turitz said in March. "To know who's who and where the good leadership is within a population group that is often so marginalised, you have to be quite close to the ground and listening to groups."


It can also be difficult, she said, for donors to access good information about sex work and human rights. "The field of sexual rights is quite divided and political. Being part of a group of funders speaking with a unified voice can be a safe haven for donors interested in exploring how to best support the human rights of sex workers. Many … only hear the perspective of those who support a criminal or punitive approach."


Ultimately the goal is also to influence other donors and philanthropists to adjust their own strategies, Van der Linde says. Most mainstream development funding for sex worker groups is earmarked for HIV programmes, and while many organisations do work in this area, she's quick to stress their needs go beyond it.


In particular, she says, funding is "out of balance" with that for anti-trafficking efforts, which often target the sex trade and have been criticised by some activists for riding roughshod over the rights of sex workers, migrants and others affected. The Anti-Trafficking Review, a journal published by a coalition of human rights groups, dedicated itsinaugural edition to the lack of accountability in such campaigns.


Forceful law-and-order strategies that focus on raiding brothels and rescuing those inside, along with anti-trafficking legislation focused on shutting down the sex trade, come under particularly heated criticism. Such efforts, say opponents, risk harming the very people they aim to help by driving them further underground and away from prevention, care and support services. Human rights abuses including "forced rescues" and arbitrary detentions of sex workers have been documented by groups in Cambodia (pdf), Thailand (pdf) and India.


"The need [for sex workers] to stand out, to have their rights as persons recognised, is greater now because of this anti-trafficking focus," Van der Linde says. "Many donors may not be aware of the negative consequences of some of these activities."

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“China can’t duck the issue of prostitution”

“China can’t duck the issue of prostitution” | Escorts |

RNW’s Love Matters project is dedicated to issues around sexual rights. It aims to take an open, honest and non-judgemental “Dutch” approach to sex and sexuality.

There are various grass roots organisations active in China dealing with sexual health and the rights of sexual minorities, but there’s little attention for such issues in the mainstream media. RNW’s China desk maintains a blog focusing on Love Matters topics. This recent article on prostitution by prominent Chinese Professor and sexologist Li Yinhe attracted almost 700,000 views and hundreds of reactions and shares.


“China can’t duck the issue of prostitution”
Three decades after China began to introduce reforms and open up, prostitution has become rampant. It’s become an issue that Chinese society will have to tackle, say some Chinese sociologists. Here are five proposals to solve the problems relating to prostitution, and a discussion of the pros and cons of each proposal.


1. Introducing legislation to criminalise and stamp out prostitution. This policy is destined to fail simply because, among other reasons, there aren’t enough police officers in the country to enforce the law. The legislation would cause social ills even more serious than prostitution itself. History has shown that it’s impossible to stamp out prostitution. If the law were to be tabled, it would violate people’s privacy and ignore their physiological needs and desires.


2. Partially criminalising prostitution, for instance, by making it an offence to solicit and loiter for the purpose of prostitution. This is the current practice in Great Britain, but it allows some prostitutes and their customers to get away with the law. So this legislation would be biased when laws should apply to everyone.


3. Legalising and regulating prostitution. The main argument in favour of this is to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. But legalising prostitution does not help curb the spread of STDs. Furthermore, it would lead to other problems, such as making prostitution a legalised industry, turning many short-term sex workers into long-term employees. Also, the law would grant too much power to the police. Since they would issue licenses, they could prevent women from changing professions and blackmail them if they tried to do so.


4. Establishing “red light districts” to make it easier for the police to control prostitutes. There are two downsides to this policy. First of all, residents would protest against the establishment of a red light district in their neighbour rhood. Secondly, if prostitution were controlled by the police in certain areas, illegal prostitution would move to other areas. This would lead to a chaotic situation in which prostitution would be legal in certain areas and illegal in others.


5. Decriminalising consensual sexual activities between adults, regardless of whether money is involved or not. The advantage of this policy is that the police could focus on fighting other types of crimes, rather than wasting time and energy on dealing with prostitution. They could find their customers in massage salons, adult bookshops and brothels. They could also start sex clubs, making it easier for customers to find them.


Generally speaking, the fifth option is the best one by far. Decriminalising prostitution would mean accepting a reality that many people, particularly conservatives, would like to deny. Free and consensual sexual relationships are obviously the ideal, but in reality there are many paid and involuntary sexual relationships between the sexes. In these relationships, women play the following three roles.


Type 1: Prostitute. She sustains a short-term relationship of exchange with clients, without marrying her clients.


Type 2: Concubine. She does not have a source of income and is therefore economically dependent on the man with whom she has a sexual relationship. She is not married to him.


Type 3: Wife. She does not have a source of income and is dependent on the man economically. She is married to the man.


There is no fundamental difference between the three types of women. Therefore, it would be illogical and even unjust to punish one or two of the three types. Nobody in their right mind would think wives who are dependent on their husband should be prosecuted. Following the same reasoning, the other two types should also not be prosecuted.


Moral choice
Society tends to believes that only free and consensual sexual relationships are morally just. However, people are free to live according to their own moral standards. If people choose to have an immoral lifestyle, they should not be punished by the law, regardless of how morally wrong they might be. The fundamental principle of modern legislation is that laws should not be based on the moral standards of a minority. As long as an individual’s immoral acts do not do harm other people, he or she should not be subject to prosecution.


The only effective means to curb the problems associated with prostitution is the increasing emancipation of women and to make prostitution socially unacceptable rather than criminal. To conclude, we should not duck the issue of prostitution and the people involved. We should approach the issue in a systematic fashion to find a comprehensive solution.

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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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A very special blonde from Bucharest - PunterPress - Escorts News

A very special blonde from Bucharest - PunterPress - Escorts News | Escorts |

I am open- minded and adventurous and like the taste of new experiences. I can please beyond ones wildest dreams. I like real gentleman who like the company of a real woman.Elegance, style and distinction are the words which describe me perfectly, physically and mentally..

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

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

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

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

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'

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

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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Transgender Hookers?

Someone posed a question in a search engine that brought them to my blog. It was about “why so many transgenders become hookers.”


I can’t speak for the numbers of trans people who become prostitutes. I don’t know if there are more trans prostitutes per capita than born-female prostitutes per capita. But I have been doing some research on the question, and two reasons stand out: Gender discrimination, and financial needs related to the expensive costs of transitioning.


I’ve been reading a thesis called A Comparative Study of Adult Transgender and Female Prostitution, by Elizabeth Schepel, from May 2011.

On Page 12 of her paper, Elizabeth says this:


While transsexual behavior exists on a spectrum (ranging from occasional cross-dressing to attempting to pass in public through cross dressing, name changes, and surgeries or hormone injections) Boles & Elifson (1994) indicated that fully committed transsexuals often turn to prostitution for economic survival when unable to locate or maintain employment due to gender discrimination. Others are led into prostitution for the financial incentives, because maintaining a feminine appearance through hormone injections and plastic surgeries is expensive (Howe et al., 2008, Leichtentritt and Davidson-Arad, 2004; Sausa et al., 2007).”


Taking this to a personal level: Elizabeth also points to the need of some trans people to be desired as women, which I can relate to. I went through a stage when I very much wanted men to desire me, putting myself in some risky situations. No, not prostitution, though men have offered me money for sex — which I declined. I confess, though, that I considered prostitution both as a means to fulfill my need to be desired and for financial reasons. But I do have a good job in an environment where I face next-to-no gender discrimination.  (To digress for a moment: The kindness and acceptance of my colleagues has saved me in more ways than one, yes? Moral of the story: The ripple effects of  kindness are myriad.)


Having said this, I know a lot of trans people, and only one of them reported that she engaged in prostitution once upon a time. Many, though, including me, have met lots of guys through online dating sites. There is no lack of men interested in trans people — but, sadly, few of them are thinking in terms of true love. Many men see trans women as exotic sex objects, particularly pre-op (or non-op) trans women. The guys like that “something extra.”


In my journeys, I discovered something else: it pays more and is safer to be a dominatrix. (No, to answer your first question, I have never been a pro domina.) Most dominas do not engage in sexual relations with their clients. It’s, umm, strictly role-playing . . .

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Hugh Hefner's latest marriage: don't hate the player, hate the game...

Hugh Hefner's latest marriage: don't hate the player, hate the game... | Escorts |
Instead of tearing Crystal Harris down for marrying Hugh Hefner, Dr Brooke Magnanti asks why older women are still underrepresented in positions of money and power. And why are cougars still the exception rather than the rule?

Wasn't it Henry Kissinger who once claimed that power was the ultimate aphrodisiac? Apart from giving possibly far too much insight into seduction techniques in the world of Realpolitik, one can't help seeing a certain connection when learning of Hugh Hefner's recent marriage to his former runaway bride, Crystal Harris.


Former Playmate Harris, who jilted Hugh back in 2011, has put aside their differences (and, some will sneer, 60-year age difference) to finally seal the deal. No doubt the naysayers will be coming out in their droves to accuse Harris of gold digging and make erectile dysfunction jokes;some already are.

With four Hefner offsprings already in the queue, though, one can't imagine Harris's cut of the Playboy pie - no pun intended - is going to amount to a controlling interest.


The attraction of a partner who has experience and seeming wisdom is a huge draw when you're young. Some people want to grow up together; others want a partner who's already a grownup. As well as the lifestyle Hef offers, you can bet he's got some great stories… and I'll bet they don't just spend their time doing what rabbits do, but having actual conversations and all, just like any other couple.


The fact that there are inequalities in all kinds of relationships is not in doubt. And the union of aged tycoon and pneumatic bride is a well-worn cliche: Douglas and Zeta Jones (age difference 25 years), Trump and Knauss (24 years), Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn (35 years).


As for the older woman/younger man arrangement, those are a bit rarer in the wild, women with cash and power in their later years being somewhat thinner on the ground. This leaves us, in this post-Demi and Ashton age, with fictional cougar-led pairings like Harold and Maude (age difference 60 years) and Lord Of The Rings's Arwen and Aragorn to look to (a snip at 2680 years, you go elf!)


I have to confess here to some experience with… well, differences in experience. First I dated someone twice my age when I was a student. Were there power inequalities in the relationship? To me at the time, no: we were both students, albeit he was a postgrad and I wasn't (yet). Were there financial inequalities? No. He was poor as dirt. Were there experience inequalities? You betcha, and that's exactly what I was attracted to. He'd lived in Europe and drank whisky and was a million miles away from the kind of towheaded cowtown football players I'd dated at school, the ones who may have had BMWs bought and paid for by Mummy and Daddy but couldn't have pointed to Milan on a map, much less known where to find the best cotoletta.


And oh yes, I married a poorer, younger man. Not 60 years younger mind - I'd be waiting until 2051 to make that particular arrangement legal - but just young enough for us to joke about the fact that he still gets carded for buying booze, whereas I have always looked approximately 42. Even as a teenager.


We can only speculate about what happens in the private relationship of Mr and Mrs Hefner - so let's accept the fact that a woman who has worked to become sexually appealing to a wide range of men, and thus no doubt has her choice of mainstream suitors, has selected the one that is most appealing to her. If it makes you uncomfortable, don't hate the player, hate the game.


Instead of tearing her down for making her choice, let's ask why older women are still underrepresented in positions of money and power. Why cougars and MILFs are still the exception rather than the rule. Now if only we lived in a world where the young studs of the land were queuing up for a piece of Hilary Clinton...

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Ethical silence...

IN a time where everything is up for discussion and argument, silence is an underrated virtue. Better still, we claim to appreciate silence as long as we are given the platforms to talk as much as we want.


Living in a passive-aggressive Asian society, this means a lot of teeth-gritting by those who listen to us in politeness and irritation.


A few years ago, I wrote of what someone told me is a Sufi practice: before speaking, ask, "Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?"


A friend wailed in response, "But in that case, I will have nothing to say!" I really wish she got the point.


This past year, I have been fortunate and unfortunate to be surrounded by nice and not-so-nice people who should know better. I tell myself the less nice are God's gifts to make me a better person, especially when patience wears thin.


When we forget that we are given two ears, two eyes and only one mouth – this means that we have allowed our egos to get the better of us.


In other words – we should listen and observe, and use our brains before we speak. Even reflect for a few days if necessary before initiating speech.

This is a difficult and necessary practice.


A few months ago in Indonesia, I was brought to a brothel area estimated to contain about 400 sex workers. Although the brothels in that area agreed that no one under 18 years of age should be allowed to work there, I saw girls on the brink of 18 and who might well be under the age of majority, beneath the makeup and adult clothes.


It was tiring and frustrating to see well-meaning do-gooders enter the brothels to "help", only to hurt the women with the most inconsiderate questions.


A volunteers, a human rights activist and student, asked me in front of one of the sex workers who was carrying her little girl, "Who is the girl's father?" She pointed at the child as she directed the question.


The sex worker was silent. I was furious. When I returned the following week, I discovered from the sex worker that her daughter was attending a kindergarten nearby and understood basic English.


Later, as we got to know each other better, she revealed that she had decided to accept an offer to live as someone's mistress so that her daughter need not continue living with the stigma of being "a prostitute's daughter".

This was not the only time when this happened.

Not long after the incident, a foreign intern who spoke the local language visited the brothels for the first time.


When asked how her visit went, she said that she met one of the sex workers who was expecting and asked, "Do you know who the father is?"

The woman answered no.


The intern did not stop there. She went on to ask, "Do you care?"


What else could the expecting sex worker say, and even if she knew, how was the father's identity any of the intern's business?


Also, how can anyone assume that a woman expecting a child could not care for the father's identity, especially when she is responsible for raising the child alone?


I know of persons who may respond, "But if she knows, she could do something about it."


To which I ask, does one invite a guest into a home or offer monetary help, without first preparing a cheque or a bed?


Unexpectedly, the woman and I became acquaintances for a brief time when she discovered I was running a yoga class for sex workers. Despite that she was due in less than a month, she insisted on turning up for class. I finally caved in and arranged a separate class to teach her very gentle yoga.


After a couple of private sessions, she told me that she was looking for peace and was terrified as this was her first child. Thankfully, she was taking a break from work – it appeared that one of the other sex workers, who attended church on Sundays, offered partial financial help.


This would enable her to rest until she delivered her child, after which she would return to sex work.


We hear and repeat to each other very often that how we behave in the little things, defines how we behave intuitively in the big things that matter.

When we deal with the sick or abused, it is easy for us to ask questions out of curiosity or mindlessly tell the very victims who suffer that "everything will be all right".


This, despite the knowledge that no one can predict the future.


Bitterly, meeting sex workers who sleep with physically and sexually abusive clients, and watching how well-meaning volunteers and interns behave, has taught me that even the well-educated among us are not exempted from hurtful behaviour.


Book education is not learning, until we learn how to observe and listen. Only then, can discourse exist.

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Magnet for sex, drugs and rock & roll

Magnet for sex, drugs and rock & roll | Escorts |

Forget Australia's mining boom. The nation's strong economy, high currency and wages have made us a magnet for sex, drugs and rock and roll.


Foreign sex workers, drug smugglers and global rock acts are all targeting Australia to cash in on an economy growing at 3.1 per cent when other developed nations are struggling to expand at all.


The alternative boom has emerged as Australian average full-time wages hit about $70,000 a year, and with the Australian dollar trading stubbornly above parity with the US dollar for the past two years.


That has made Australia even more profitable for fly-in and fly-out rock acts and prostitutes, and especially for drug traffickers who are taking bigger risks with the hope of windfall profits.


"Offshore organised crime syndicates perceive Australia to have a robust economy and to have been less affected by the global financial crisis than other jurisdictions," said Paul Jevtovic, the Australian Crime Commission's executive director of intervention and prevention.


Drug profits

Australian police made 69,500 illicit drug busts in the year to June 30, 2012, the highest in a decade, and have made record arrests in the first six months of this financial year.


In recent months, police have intercepted drugs hidden in a 20-tonne steamroller and heavy machinery, in a large wooden altar, and they have broken up a drug ring involving smugglers in Australia, Japan and Vietnam.


One of the biggest smuggling operations was a failed bid to bring in more than 200 kilograms of cocaine across the Pacific Ocean from Ecuador on a 13-metre yacht, found grounded on a small atoll in Tonga with a dead crewman aboard.


Australian police, who work closely with the US Drug Enforcement Administration and authorities throughout Asia and the South Pacific, said the high prices paid in Australia and the strong dollar all helped make the country attractive for smugglers.


Crime statistics show why some are willing to risk up to 20 years in prison.

The Australian Crime Commission, which examines trends and works closely with police agencies, said heroin and MDMA, also known as ecstasy, sell for about eight times more in Australia than in Britain and the United States, although Australia is a much smaller market.


Crime Commission data given to Reuters shows a kilogram of cocaine is worth about $US2,400 in Colombia, $US12,500 in Mexico, and $US33,000 in the United States.


The same kilogram of cocaine is worth more than $200,000 in Australia.


Rock revival

Once a remote destination for big rock acts, Australia has been flooded with talent over the past year and faces a steady stream of musicians, including heritage acts, in 2013.


The strong dollar has made Australia the ideal place to perform for musicians wanting to make money at a time when touring rather than album sales is the main driver of income, with many acts charging a premium in a cashed-up economy.


In the first half of 2013, Australia will see tours by Bruce Springsteen, Pink, Guns N'Roses, Ringo Starr, ZZ Top, Thin Lizzy, the Steve Miller Band, Deep Purple, Santana, Status Quo, Robert Plant, Neil Young, Carole King, Paul Simon and Kiss.


The high ticket prices have upset some fans, who question why an artist like Springsteen charges more than $200 for a premium ticket in Australia, when the same ticket to the same show in Connecticut in October cost $US90.


"You can't tell me it costs more than double per head to stage a concert here in Australia," said music fan Robin Pash, who has just returned from the United States, where he saw Springsteen and a series of acts for what would be considered bargain prices.


Entertainment journalist Jonathon Moran, however, said the higher prices reflected the higher cost in Australia, although Australia's strong dollar did make it more attractive to perform downunder.


"More people want to come here, and Australian audiences are comparatively well off and can afford the tickets," Moran, from a News Limited newspaper, said.


Sex and the boom

Sex workers are also cashing in on the boom, particularly in remote mining towns, where the world's oldest profession is the latest to adopt fly-in, fly-out work practices. And more overseas sex workers are heading for Australia.


A 2012 report for the NSW government found a marked rise in the number of female sex workers from Thailand, South Korea and China since 2006, with 53 per cent of sex workers from Asia and a further 13.5 per cent from other non-English-speaking countries.


The report, by the University of New South Wales, found a median hourly rate of $150 for sex services in Sydney, although sex workers can charge double that in remote mining towns full of cashed-up men.


In the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, the Red House brothel, which has operated since 1934, advertises services starting at $300 an hour.


Proprietor Bruna Meyers said women in her establishment earned as much as $4000 a week at a busy time, or about three times the average full-time Australian wage.


"The girls who come here are mainly from over east. They come in, sometimes for two or three weeks at a time. Some are just girls who are travelling around the world," Meyers said.

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