UK

Caroline's picture

Sex workers and the media

Here's an interesting blog I've found via Dolly. Rebecca Dakin, author of The Girlfriend Experience, is blogging about getting "back into 'normal life' after a whirlwind exciting 9 years of escorting". She wrote it, in her words, "to educate people about the infamous 'girlfriend experience' and challenge peoples views on escorting". So, what's interesting - she's been writing about how the media have portrayed her and her book. She writes,
I was trying to understand why I have been so upset about newspapers printing stuff that's in the book. The thing is I wrote the book to try and show people that there was so much more to escorting than what people think, which is that men only pay for sex. Since the press want to just discuss and print all the graphic sex making me out to be a convent girl and sex crazed loon that became a hooker, it's a little frustrating to say the least. Because the things they printed are taken out of context it doesn't really achieve what I wanted it to achieve. I'm trying my best to think that any publicity is good publicity but I'm having second thoughts (no good now I know!) now as to whether I have done the right thing by putting my face and name to it.
Check out the "I went from convent girl to to hooker" story in the News of the World and file under typical. It's a new blog, so you can catch up very quickly. Do be sure to read her posts News of the World... and More Press.

Caroline's picture

Sex Traffic at Institute of Contemporary Arts in London

via Laura Agustín.

SEX TRAFFIC at London’s ICA - Institute of Contemporary Arts
http://www.ica.org.uk/Sex%20Traffic+19176.twl

11 March 2009 - 1900 / 7pm

The media and NGOs have raised awareness of sex trafficking in recent years, but does it serve the interests of migrant sex workers to suggest they have been trafficked, or does it collude in their criminalisation and deportation? Should our priority be to give migrant women in the sex industry more control over their own lives, or to stop the traffic?

Speakers: Laura María Agustín, author of Sex at the Margins and a former educator working with expatriate sex workers; Georgina Perry, service manager for Open Doors, an NHS initiative which deliver outreach and clinical support to sex workers in east London; Catherine Stephens, sex worker; Jon Birch, inspector, Metropolitan Police Clubs and Vice Unit. Chair: Libby Brooks, deputy Comment editor, The Guardian.

Nash Room.  Book here  £10 / £9 Concessions / £8 ICA Members

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

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

Feminist researchers challenge UK anti-prostitution Big Brothel project

We are advocates here for solid research on sex work, especially on working conditions across the many sectors of the sex industry. It is especially galling when bad research, often bad enough to be called "research"-in-quotes, gets passed off to support public policies that make working conditions more dangerous (e.g., driving sectors of sex work further under ground or making it harder to report crimes or workplace dangers). 

Recently the UK has been taken by a storm of anti-prostitution "research" that is being used to support policies that would criminalize the purchase of sex. There was Melissa Farley in Scotland "studying" men who purchase sex (we debunked that here) and now there is the Poppy Project's "Big Brothel" investigation by Julie Bindel and Helen Atkins, purporting to look at the workings of establishments where women sell sex to men. I am glad that a growing number of well-organized feminist researchers are publicly challenging these projects. They clearly highlight the ethical and methodological flaws in the studies and the sensationalistic ways that they overgeneralize from flawed findings. It seems sometimes that the anti-prostitution "researchers" are so disgusted by their topic that they can't take it seriously. Below is a summary provided by the UK researchers who are most actively challenging this kind of work and who need the support of everyone who takes sex workers seriously.

Click here to read more.

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.

 

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