sex work

Caroline's picture

More on how to protest against Jacqui Smith’s proposals

Further to my post yesterday, I have some more information from the IUSW on how to protest against Jacqui Smith's proposals:

The second reading of the new bill is now on MONDAY THE 12TH.

We must get as many MPs as is possible to speak out against the governments proposals.

This is a draft letter from the IUSW.

Please will everyone concerned with this industry send this to your MP. If you need help finding out who your local MP is IM me and I will give you details. [or check out this site]

Clients can of course change the begining to something appropriate such as concerned member of the public.

This is urgent please do this asap.

Caroline's picture

Jacqui Smith and the New Prostitution Laws in the UK

carolineAs I'm sure you'll be aware, the UK's Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is proposing to change the law on prostitution. Councils would be given more power to close down brothels, clients would be "named and shamed" and  sex with someone "controlled" for another's gain would be outlawed.

It's not a good move, let's face it. Throwing women out into the street and denying workers the right to a safe environment to work in (and this is a Labour government?!), fostering a climate of fear, don't get me started on "naming and shaming..." This is bad news, quite simply. How bad? Read more.

Elizabeth's picture

Bettie Page, unforgettable: 1923-2008

It is Sex Work Awareness Month and on the day that Bettie Page has died I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for the life of a woman whose work is iconic not only for its imagery but also for its lasting impact on generations of women and men who look at porn differently because of who she was. Her life was not an easy one after her modeling career and much of that difficulty is not-so-indirectly linked to the stigma attached to the kind of work she did. 

The New York Times had her obituary-of-record today, and ended with a moving wish on Page's part:

Elizabeth's picture

Help make December "Sex Work Awareness" month!

Originally posted on Best Sex Bloggers


red umbrella with text "only rights can stop the wrongs"We are exactly 9 days away from December 17, International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers. I’d love to suggest that we dub December “Sex Work Awareness Month,” and spend as much of our blogging time in December focusing on the violence and stigmatization that sex workers face, and also on the good that sex workers do in the world. And just as there is much of the former, there is also a great deal of the latter.

At Sex In The Public Square this month Rebecca Deos told her story about being outed as an escort, and discussed the harm done emotionally and financially not just to herself but to her husband and kids, and she also talked about how the experience brought them together as a family. We also posted a brief piece about the Women’s Institute Lady’s Guide to Brothels. We’ll be posting more this month about legislation in the UK that will increase the stigma on sex work rather than decrease it and about the banning of “extreme” pornography in the UK. And of course we’ll certainly be highlighting the December 17 events.

Sex work is a pretty common theme at Sex in the Public Square, and there are sex worker blogs that address the issues of sex workers in their own voices and with great power and eloquence. But equally important is the support that comes when people who are not necessarily sex workers speak up on their behalf. Not to talk over sex workers’ own voices but to support them by adding many more. Audacia Ray, in a post on Bound, Not Gagged, wrote about the Sex Work Awereness fundraising calendar project:

The vast majority of the people who posed for the calendar and are buying the calendar are not sex workers, but they are expressing solidarity with sex workers and putting their faces, names, and dollars on the lines to support the efforts of a sex worker advocacy organization. And this is a great thing.

I posed in that calendar along with some pretty amazing writers. I’d like to ask you each to consider adding your voices to ours by helping to promote Sex Work Awareness this month. Here are some ways you can help:

Elizabeth's picture

Rebecca Deos Tells Her Story

Since interviewing Lisa Chavez last April and following the fallout of her being outed as a phone sex worker, and inviting Liz Derrington to tell her part of that same story, I have come to know an increasing number of outed sex workers. One of them, Rebecca Deos, is an amazing woman who traveled from North Carolina to join us at the Sex Work Awareness fund-raising party where we launched our 2009 NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar. (For a $20 donation to SWA you can support sex worker advocacy and have a calendar yourself!)

Rebecca told me about living with her husband and kids in a small town in Florida and about being outed as an escort. The impact of that outing was profound. As Rebecca and I talked I found myself wishing other people could hear her story. In that conversation and in emails since, we've discussed her telling her story here. She maintains her own web site but was hesitant to use it to tell her story because she didn't want to appear to be portraying herself as a victim there. It is her personal and professional site. She was looking for a place with an analytical bent, and she was also looking for a place that might be able to put her story in a context that would be helpful to others. I was flattered when she said she thought that Sex In The Public Square was such a place.

Rebecca tells her story below below. Look for her to appear more around SITPS. We're even discussing a forum for outed sex workers and their allies to share information, resources and support. Rebecca would be the lead moderator. We are also considering a "speaking out" series where people can share stories about how the stigmatization of sexual expression or sexual identities have affected them personally. If you have such a story you'd like to share, please contact Elizabeth by using this contact form.

Click here to read Rebecca's Story in her own words

Elizabeth's picture

Sensible women exploring best practices in brothels

Jean and Shirley of the Hampsire Women's Insitute What happens when the women of the Hampshire Women's Institute decide to take a clear-headed look at prostitution to figure out what makes for "best practices" in brothel prostitution? You get the UK's Channel 4 program, A WI Lady's Guide to Brothels, which describes itself like this:  Click here to read more.

Elizabeth's picture

Yet another reason to help us support Sex Work Awareness

Sex Work Awareness helps sex workers and their allies challenge the way that the mainstream media outlets and prohibitionist writers tell their stories and report on the issues that most directly affect them. Here is a very recent example:

In reaction to the ABC News Ashely Dupre Exclusive Megan at Jezebel wrote this piece applauding recent changes to prostitution law in the UK that will criminalize the buying of sexual services and increase reliance on shaming techniques to try to inhibit demand for prostitution thus increasing the stigma attached to sex work. The new rules troublingly conflate trafficking with prostitution and make it less likely that clients will report suspicions that a worker has been trafficked. The Jezebel piece is full of assumptions about prostitutes, and these are the same assumptions - often fueled by methodologically problematic and heavily biased research - that are used to justify policy changes whose unintended consequences are likely to make things more dangerous, not less dangerous, for women. 

Elizabeth Wood by Stacie Joy Organizations like Sex Work Awareness help sex workers be heard more often, in more places, and with more impact. We need those voices desperately. Help us support Sex Work Awareness by making a $20 donation, for which you will receive our lovely NYC Sex Blogger Calendar. (I'm December -->)

Your entire donation goes directly to SWA because of the generous sponsors who covered the entire cost of producing the calendar.

NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar - $20 (US)

NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar - $20 (Canada)

NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar - $20 (Overseas)

All calendar photos by Stacie Joy .

Elizabeth's picture

Sex Blogger Calendar Officially Launched!

And support Sex Work Awareness with your purchase!

calendar coverIt's official: The 2009 Sex Blogger Calendar has officially launched! And if success can be measured by crowd size, we had a spectacularly successful launch party on Friday. And I understand that in just a few hours we raised nearly $2000 for Sex Work Awareness.

My only regret about the party? So many wonderful people and not nearly enough time -- or space! -- to talk to so many of them. I especially regret that, while I was called to join in a group photo with Candida Royale - a woman whose work I have admired for years - that I never had a chance to say more than a brief hello. In addition to being a pioneer in woman-produced porn, Candida and her companies, Femme Productions and Natural Contours, helped sponsor the calendar. And I don't think I even said "thank you" in person! How did I let that happen?!? Click here to read more about the party, the sponsors and the calendar.

Chris's picture

The History of Sex Slavery Hysteria

It's Election Day 2008 and I'm sitting in the Berkeley hills, looking across the Bay at San Francisco. My stomach is filled with butterflies edging, occasionally trying to edge itself into outright nausea at the thought of what's at stake today. It's not just the decision of Obama vs. McCain. That's deadly important, but here in California, there's a lot of very important stuff happening too. On the state level, they're fighting the battle over Proposition 8, which would undo the State Supreme Court's decision to make same-sex marriage legal, and Proposition 4, your standard parental-notification for abortion law. The airwaves have been filled with ads for and against, and the result of either is just impossible to forecast right now. And then, right across the Bay that's outside my window, there's Prop. K, a city ordinance that would decriminalize prostitution within the City and County of San Francisco.

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