It’s important to note that the horrors of the Cleveland abductions had nothing to do with sex trafficking; Ariel Castro’s atrocities were his, the acts of single criminal male.
[This is also something folks would be equally wise to remember when it comes to the use of the word "sadist" in description of his acts; this has nothing to do with BDSM, neither in porn nor practice. Just as whatever religion Castro professes to prescribe to has nothing to do with that faith's real practice, any other associations, assumed or claimed, should not be accepted. Castro's inhumanity is his; to lay it at the feet of some other group, to misrepresent its origins or associations, to pretend it came from some "other" or otherwise purport false dangers, these things create panic and other actions which do not serve public safety or justice. Castro, and those like him, should be held accountable for their actions.]
Litigation for Emancipation is a GoFundMe project to raise enough funds to begin a federal court case proposed by Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education and Research Project (ESPLER). ESPLER’s legal battle aims to advance our sexual privacy rights by attacking the prostitution law of the state of California on the grounds that morality is not a basis for legislation.
Gracie Passette's insight:
In the video, you'll hear from First Amendment and constitutional rights attorney H. Louis Sirkin about the legal issues and history of prostituion involved in this case.
On Monday, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a case that will decide if recipients of government aid can be forced to oppose prostitution – or potentially any other issue as a contingency of receiving U.S. funds. The case, Alliance for Open Society International v United States Agency for International Development, arises from a controversial policy governing AIDS education, prevention, and treatment, a decade-long fight that's crossed political lines and was kicked off by Rep. Chris Smith as part of a larger conservative attempt to undermine reproductive and sexual health care. With HIV and AIDS projects facing closure if they don't adopt the government's position on sex work, it's sex workers who are paying the ultimate price.
some additional reading on items mentioned in the story:
• The Social Science Research Center at DePaul University’s study of the Chicago Police Department’s “johns” mugshots websites.
• Women With A Vision’s “No Justice” project, which ended the police practice of charging sex workers with “solicitation of a crime against nature,” which had forced them to register as sex offenders in Louisiana.
• Dr. Kumkum Roy, Director of the Women’s Studies Programme at Jawaharlal Nehru University, invited Gloria Steinem to speak on sex work during her trip to India as mentioned in my piece. She writes, after hearing Steinem and her co-panelists speak, “Ms Steinem and Ruchira Gupta of Apne Aap refuse to recognize that unionized sex workers are voicing their own opinions—these women are dismissed as puppets of pimps and brothel owners—a gross simplification in view of the sheer numbers of women across the country who have unionised in a bid to claim human rights and dignity.”
• The 2012 Chicago Reporter investigation into the staggering increase in felony arrests of sex workers, “Escorted to jail.”
• Ann Jordan, interviewed for this piece, publishes at Rights Work, a project of the American University Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, which includes a valuable Fact Checker feature for researchers, journalists, and advocates.
• The Sex Workers Project continues advocacy and research around sound sex work policy.
• The Best Practices Policy Project also continues their work on bringing the United States in alignment with recommendations on sex workers’ rights made through the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights.
It is very difficult, if not impossible, for a prostitute to seek justice for these abuses because she or he is then at risk of exposure to the law, not to mention judgment by society.
Many sex workers, especially higher-end escorts, are not forced into prostitution because of debt or drug addictions. These men and women choose sex work as their profession (a quick Google search for “sex worker interview” demonstrates the wide range of interests and situations that lead people into this line of work). The criminalization of the services they offer is founded on the opinions of those who think their personal morality should apply to everyone in this country.
Unfortunately, others involved in prostitution are not so lucky. Many are victims of physical/emotional abuse or hard drug addictions, or are forced into prostitution against their will. This type of prostitution is not consensual, and I wholeheartedly agree that those responsible for such exploitation should be punished.
This country’s taxpayers spend $200 million every year for the arrest of sex workers. Couldn’t this money be better spent preventing and persecuting those guilty of such exploitation, like sexual coercion and the trafficking of immigrants and minors?
"NSWP condemns California's Proposition #35 on the basis that the legislation is based on a dangerous conflation of sex work and human trafficking, which fails to provide a workable approach/solution to stop forced labour and other abuse, but rather serves to heighten the criminalisation and marginalisation of sex workers and those associated with them (including their families). Proposition #35 is based on unfounded claims and a significant lack of evidence and exploits a public concern over human trafficking and slavery. The definitions that are employed by the drafters of the proposition are over-reaching and explode any distinction between sex work and human trafficking."
MUMBAI: In a first of its kind move, the ministry of women and child in state launched the policy on women with a dedicated chapter on issues faced by sex workers. The policy which was launched by chief minister PrithvirajChavan last week speaks of better access to health, education and other development programmes for women.
"Besides looking at various concerns that face women, it is for the first time that the policy has also considered issues and opinions of those women who are the most marginalised and suffer exclusion," Chavan had said while addressing a gathering in Pune to launch the policy.
I've been reading Tracy Quan since before I was a sex worker, when a prequel to Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl was serialized on Salon.com, and I've been chummy with her online since 2003, when she graciously replied to my e-mails.
While the Ontario Court of Appeal’s March 26 decision to legalize brothels is a landmark ruling that will make life safer for many sex workers, it does little to support those who still work on the streets, say sex-work advocates.