For those that saw me at the conference, you most likely were handed a card about my new project, AIT Research, which has been about 2 years in the making and has finally come to fruition. This was originally a partnership between myself and a few activist friends who wanted to develop our own nationwide research survey on human trafficking in the sex trades. Since then, one of our original partners has dropped out of the project, but along with SWOP-Michigan’s Crysta Heart, we’ve created a platform to promote and develop sex worker led research that we hope will uncover some “truths” about our industry, as opposed to much of the biased research about the industry that comes from outsiders.
Our first AIT research project, The Erotic Labor Market Survey, or “ELMS” focuses on human trafficking in the various erotic labor/sex industries and was launched last week. With this survey, we hope to gain more accurate stats on how often trafficking occurs in the industry and whether or not workers, clients, and staff of industry establishments are properly educated on how to respond to trafficking situations when they are confronted with them. This project was our own direct response to the trafficking PSA that we created in 2012. One of the conversations that came out the the writing process of that video was that we create a survey for not just sex workers, but for clients and other industry personnel (staff at strip clubs/escort services/porn companies, etc.) on whether or not the can identify a trafficking victim and how they would respond if they did come across one. As we stated in that video, WE are the ones most likely to come into contact with individuals in coercive situations, yet because of the wall between us and most anti-trafficking organizations and efforts, there is little knowledge and education being done about what to do about it.
At my vintage living blog, Things Your Grandmother Knew, I’ve written about the tendency to romanticize the past, but I recently read two blog posts discussing vintage fashion in terms of “the vintage girl being the new feminist” and thought it was time to discuss the subject from a more feminist angle…
Are you a former call girl or sex worker? Are you proud of your past? Did you have a positive experience? Is your life completely different now? Do you think you came out of the experience a stronger person? Are you open about your past and want to share your story?
If you were a part of this secret society, then we want to hear your story!
Gracie Passette's insight:
I can only imagine how horrible this will be *shudder*, but...
Wherever we find evidence of human culture, we find evidence of prostitution. When the earliest known human societies emerged in the fertile crescent of Mesopotamia, the sex trade evolved alongside temples, customs, markets and laws. Beginning in the third millennium B.C, the Sumerians, the first major inhabitants of ancient Mesopotamia, worshiped the goddess Ishtar, a deity that would remain a constant throughout Mesopotamia’s Babylonian and Assyrian empires. Ishtar was the goddess of love and war, symbolized by the planet Venus, and was born anew as a maiden every morning only to become a ‘whore’ every evening – the etymology of the word lying in the Indo-European root meaning ‘desire.’
Sex workers have always been treated with great disdain in Philippine society. To call a woman a prostitute (puta) or the daughter or son of a prostitute (anak ng puta) would perhaps be the gravest insult you can throw on any Filipino...
Most of us, sex workers, have gone through this process of acculturation in our lives. We have learned to accept that speaking up and being listened to is a privilege that the poor and the powerless are not entitled to. It does not help that we are forced to hide who we are since the society in which we live has ostracized us. That should make it easy for anyone to understand why it was not difficult for the feminist (abolitionists) to appropriate our voices and to start speaking for us. Society has made us invisible so to have women of power speak for us was a blessing or so we thought. It was not a blessing. It was exploitation. They were not speaking for us, they were speaking for themselves in our name. They have assumed the role of the “amos” and again we whimpered in silence as they robbed us of our voices. Most Filipinos, the poor and the powerless, when faced by a desperate situation there is nothing they could do about would most often take the fatalistic way out. They would say “leave it to fate” (bahala na). And “bahala na”, it was for us.
For years, we could only stand , mouths gagged, as we watched our new “amos” build their careers speaking for other underprivileged and “mindless” women in their list who they claim do not have the ability to speak for themselves. We are on top of that list.
Gracie Passette's insight:
May they recover from the typhoon quickly & resume the fight!
Most of Storyville, the red-light district that existed along Basin Street near the French Quarter between 1897 and 1917, was torn down to make way for the Iberville public housing development before World War II. However, most of Iberville’s large brick buildings are now being demolished, allowing archaeologists and other scholars to take another look at Storyville’s history.
The district of bars and brothels took its name from Alderman Sidney Story, sponsor of an 1897 ordinance that limited prostitution to the area between North Robertson and Basin streets, and from Iberville to St. Louis streets.
In “Sex and Sex Work from and anarcha-feminist perspective”, Leticia looks at the theoretical background to the debate between those who argue for decriminalisation and those who “see sex work (or even sex in general) as violence against women”. She argues that because sex is commodified, sex workers should be treated in the same way as others who engage in exploitative labour.
When researchers taught capuchin monkeys how to use money, it didn’t take long for one of the male monkeys to offer a female one of the coins in exchange for sex. Prostitution is often called “the world’s oldest profession” with good reason; it is a form of exchange that predates the human species, and has even been observed among chimpanzees. Males tend to want sex much more frequently than most females are willing to accommodate, and where a demand exists it is inevitable that some individuals will choose to meet it for a price. But because sex has traditionally been viewed as sacred, magical or otherwise special because of its ability to produce life, it has always been an area authoritarians felt especially compelled to enact restrictions upon; the fact that most of the sellers were female and most of the buyers male1 probably also had a lot to do with it, especially in pre-modern times when virtually all political power was concentrated in the hands of the client class. We no longer live in a time when power depends upon gender, nor one in which coitus runs an uncontrollable risk of creating unwanted offspring, yet our laws regarding prostitution are still solidly anchored in the era when those conditions prevailed
Gracie Passette's insight:
The lead essay on what will be a series or debate at Cato Unbound.
Pissed off about how condoms are used as evidence of prostitution in New York? ***If you live in New York State, fill out this form to send the postcards above to your elected representatives.*** Full...
Gracie Passette's insight:
While NY did the right thing, these thoughts & images are important to remember. It's still happening elsewhere...
Sex Work Matters - Kindle edition by Melissa Hope Ditmore, Antonia Levy, Alys Willman.
Sex Work Matters brings together sex workers, scholars and activists to present pioneering essays on the economics and sociology of sex work. From insights by sex workers on how they handle money, intimate relationships and daily harassment by the police, to the experience of male and transgender sex work, this fascinating and original book offers new theoretical frameworks for understanding the sex industry.
A draft law that goes before the French parliament this week – and which has a good chance of passing in some form – will introduce a €1,500 (£1,250) fine, rising to €3,000 at the second offence, for prostitutes’ clients. Paradoxically, the proposed law would also make it easier for women, or men, to offer their bodies for sale on the streets. It would increase state funds to help prostitutes seek different lives. It would make it easier for foreign prostitutes to denounce traffickers and remain legally in France.
Supporters say this is a long overdue attempt to end the hypocrisies and contradictions surrounding prostitution in France. At present, prostitution is illegal in principle, but it is not illegal to be a prostitute. It is illegal to run a brothel or to be a pimp or to solicit even “passively” in public. It is not illegal to sell your body – or “buy” someone else’s.
Costa Rica News - For anyone that was in downtown over the past weekend you did not need to head to the Del Rey Hotel to see scantily clad women. However this was not to promote sex tourism or prostitution in Costa Rica.
After we published an article a few days ago entitled “Sex in CR & 10 Benefits of Dating a Prostitute“. It hit a nerve with many readers and although the benefits at the end were meant as pretty much a joke we had some responses to the article including the one below. We will always try to allow other views and wanted to run this as seen in the eyes of one of our readers.
You’d expect the story of a young woman crawling out of abject poverty and an exploitative dead-end career into a professional well-respected vocation to be heralded with praise. But this story does not end well. The woman, having spent years putting a dark past behind her, is once again punished and ultimately ridiculed — kicked back into the dirt from whence she came.
Because if you were once involved in the sex industry you can never be a teacher. In fact, that pretty much means that you are never qualified to do any work beside sex work.
It’s not the sex industry that is the problem. It’s our inability to separate it from real life and real people.
Well, that’s pretty much what Warner Todd Huston said at Wizbang...
Whatever his problem is, the truth is that Huston really is the ignorant one. Because while he is busy mocking those women and their work, his longest diatribe is on how these women won’t qualify for the insurance subsidies
Gracie Passette's insight:
Facts about Obamacare for sex workers ~ and others.