Michael's picture

Science and Responsibility: A response to Margaret Brooks and Donna Hughes

Margaret Brooks and Donna Hughes of Citizens Against Trafficking (CAT) criticise our lettter to the Rhode Island legislature of July 31st raising concerns about proposed criminalisation of sex work. . In their article "International Sex Radicals Campaign to Keep Prostitution Decriminalized in Rhode Island" they claim the presence of an international conspiracy.

Michael's picture

Rhode Island: The next step

In writing our letter to the Rhode Island legislature in July of this year, we were forced to depart from our usual position of building and bridging communities by the political realities. Nor was it easy for us to explain to the politicians how the bills` supporters conflated and generalised information from one sector of a highly diversified activity without appearing to privilege the indoor market.

As it so happened, our decision to send a letter from the academic community was reasonably effective. Predictably we were attacked by the extreme right wing as perverts and pedophiles.  We now need to move on to the planned second stage, a letter from the rest of the community involved in sex work, and also an opportunity for those who were unable to sign the first letter.

Chris's picture

Grit TV: Why Prop 8 Won

I highly recommend this episode of Grit TV for insights on the recent defeat for same-sex marriage rights in California via the passage of Proposition 8. The election results have produced a lot of anger and heat, and the conversation here manages to bring some light to what is a much more complex issue than is shown in most media or activism.

Michael's picture

UK Government backs down on sex work legislation

The House of Lords has been debating the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill. This is a government Bill that proposed amongst other measures to replace the words 'common prostitute' with 'every person', create a new offence of persistent loitering, and provide for mandatory 'rehabilitation', with a penalty of 72 hours detention. These provisions (except the first) were vigorously opposed by sex workers and their allies as well as many affected groups like probabtion officers.


When this was sent to committee, a number of private member's amendments were tabled.


1. To remove all provisions except the 'common prostitute' one.


2. To insert a new clause exempting two women with or without a maid from the definition of Brothel.


3. To make the purchase of sexual services a criminal offence as in Sweden.


Amber Rhea's picture

Take Action Today! PEPFAR Reauthorization- End the Pledge!

I'm reposting this important alert from Bound, Not Gagged. I promise I'll have my own real, original post up here soon!

We need your help again! Members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HCFA) will gather this Wednesday, February 27, to make amendments (”known as markup”) to the PEPFAR reauthorization draft bill prepared by Congressman Berman, Acting Chairman. We must urge committee members who support the Chairman’s bill to attend the entire markup and keep the pressure on all HCFA members to support the bill. Please call members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs TODAY.As you know, the Chairman’s draft bill makes several critical improvements to U.S.-funded HIV prevention policy in order to better address the real-life needs of women and girls. It strikes the ideologically-driven requirement that 33% of prevention funds be spent on abstinence-until-marriage programs, removes the anti-prostitution pledge, and emphasizes the integration of HIV and AIDS programs with family planning programs. However, these hard-fought, life-saving provisions are in jeopardy. A small yet vocal opposition is ready to make amendments during markup that would roll back the advancements in the Chairman’s bill. Your phone calls will help ensure that these vital improvements to prevention policy remain in the bill during committee markup.

Take action NOW!

kerwynk's picture

Problems with anti-trafficking legislation

I originally posted this in response to Audacia's interview on WNYC, but (upon request) am also posting a modified version as a new topic. To wit:

One of the main concerns I have with the anti-trafficking legislation is that it encourages policing activities that are actually counter-productive for the overwhelming majority of sex workers. But understanding why this is true requires that one have a realistic understanding as to the diversity of working conditions within the sex biz. 

Elizabeth's picture

Congress Kills Matthew Shepard Bill by attaching it to Military Funding Bill

How to kill the Matthew Shepard Act without really trying:

The Matthew Shepard Act passed the House of Representatives pretty easily, but it was in trouble at the Senate. The Senate's solution? Insert it into a Pentagon funding bill. (Yes, they really did this.) That got enough Republican suport to allow the bill to pass in the Senate. Here's the catch: Now, the combined bill can't get past the House. Two reasons: Conservative Republicans don't like the hate crimes provision and liberal Democrats don't like the military spending bill:

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., was widely supported by Democrats and some moderate Senate Republicans. But because it was attached to a major defense policy bill that would have authorized more money for the Iraq war, many anti-war Democrats said they would oppose it.

''We don't have the votes,'' said one House Democratic aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because conference negotiations on the defense bill were ongoing. ''We're about 40 votes short, not four or six.''

So, they dropped the hate crimes provision in order to pass the spending bill.

Perversely, today I'm headed down to DC. Fortunately I'll be with teachers and union leadership folks and not with politicians.

Click here to read the New York Times story .

Elizabeth's picture

Town Hall: ENDA: - Where are we now? How do we get to full inclusion?

HRC is holding a Town Hall meeting to discuss ENDA

From their announcement:

The House of Representatives recently passed it's version of ENDA. ENDA has generated tremendous controversy due to the decision made by House leadership to remove gender identity from the bill, and HRC's ultimate position to back passage of this bill. This town hall will address HRC's position, the current status of the legislation, and will provide an opportunity to discuss strategies to pass a fully inclusive employment non-discrimination bill, protecting the entire GLBT community. Come hear many perspectives regarding ENDA's recent journey through the House of Representatives and participate in a discussion about the next steps to pass a fully inclusive version of ENDA.

Wednesday, December 5

Elizabeth's picture

Which best describes your position on ENDA?

* Lets get a passable bill through even if it doesn't include gender identity. We can address that in the next round.\n* I wouldn't support an ENDA that doesn't include gender expression/gender identity.\n* I would vote for ENDA even without gender identity but the full House ought to have to vote on the inclusion of gender identity.\n* I'm opposed to ENDA in the first place.\n

Elizabeth's picture

ENDA: A sacrifice on the table?

HRC is announcing that tomorrow, Wednesday November 7, the House is scheduled to vote on ENDA.

Please call Tammy Baldwin and urge her to offer her amendment and not to withdraw it. Then call your representative and urge that person to support her amendment.

If representatives are given the chance to avoid going on record about gender identity they'll take it. I, for one, don't want them to have that chance.

Click here to find contact information for your congressperson or use the Speak Out!! section on the left.

Oh, and happy election day.


UPDATE 10:00pm NOV 6: This is not such good news as it first appeared. This is the notation from GovTrack.us about the schedule debate and vote:

Last Action:
Nov 5, 2007: Rules Committee Resolution H. Res. 793 Reported to House. Rule provides for consideration of H.R. 3685 with 1 hour of general debate. Previous question shall be considered as ordered without intervening motions except motion to recommit with or without instructions. Measure will be considered read. Specified amendments are in order. All points of order against consideration of the bill are waived except those arising under clause 9 or 10 of rule XXI.

So, maybe one of you can help decipher this but I read this to mean that the "previous question" (a yes or no vote on the bill as presented) will be considered without any other motions (e.g., amendments) except motions to send it back to committee.

This makes it sound like Tammy Baldwin's amendment will not be offered.

Tune in tomorrow to see what the debate sounds like.

Meanwhile, expect an ENDA without gender identity included. In other words, expect a largely ineffective ENDA that reflects the needs of elite gays, lesbians and bisexuals but does not meet the needs of most of us.

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