Update on Every Ho I Know Says So!

Hi everyone,

It’s been 5 months since Beef Jerky and I released the video Every Ho I Know on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTdBXLCo1Qk. We have had so much positive feedback on the YouTube thread, through conversation and emails… it’s been really amazing! The video is an important and FREE resource for many people.

Every Ho has been screened at sex worker gatherings, community events, university student events and also in university classrooms, anti-violence against women conferences, and will likely be screened at upcoming festivals in 2011 like Trigger Fest in Toronto, RheD symposium in Melbourne, San Francisco Art and Film Fest, Sex Worker Open University in London, Entzaubert Queer DIY Fest in Berlin, Ladyfest in Bellingham, at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit. People are listening to sex workers talk about how they’d like to be respected and heard! Yay!

Let me thank the participating sex workers again for opening their hearts and putting themselves at risk by being so out about their work, their challenges, and their lives.

This is an update on what’s next for this project. Right now, Beef Jerky and I are:

*providing closed-captioning for the video in English, German, Spanish and French so that it is more widely accessible and available to sex workers around the world. If you have contacts for doing additional languages, let us know!

*building a website where sex workers can upload additional videos from anywhere in the world. If your advice didn’t make the first cut of the video, or we had to edit you down, or we didn’t have time to interview you, we are hoping to upload more and bigger clips to this site. We hope to have this site up by the end of May 2011! Then we hope you will encourage all your sex worker friends to submit video! (And anonymity will be possible!)

-funding ourselves! We are collecting screening fees where ever possible and selling DVD copies of the film to funded student groups and university libraries and professors, as well as clinic/social service providers. If you are connected to any group like this, please put me in touch with them. NO VIDEO LIKE THIS exists. Wouldn’t it be amazing if people could find it in their university library, community centre, or trans or women or queer group resource library? We will continue to leave it on YouTube so it is FREE but we also want to collect funds where we can.

If we can collect sufficient funds, the goal is to share out proceeds. Right now, our major unavoidable costs are DVD printing and mailing and web hosting. We hope to pay the DVD cover designer and the webworker, and then hopefully pay contributors. (All of whom are sex workers who volunteered their time.) We will see what happens, fingers crossed.

In the meantime, if you want to share thoughts, ideas, or anything at all on this project, please be in touch.

 

Whorelicious hugs,

xxx
Lusty

 

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Posted: April 27th, 2011 under Creative Resistance, Sex Worker Organizing, Whore Love - No Comments.

zine on being a good ally to sex workers

Last year my friend Sunny made this awesome zine called Ho Lover that I give out whenever I can. I hope it is useful to you. He has recently updated the resources section so I thought I would make it available here. (With his permission, of course!)

HO LOVER zine layout

I hope it is useful to you. Print it out and leave it laying around where ever you hear people making whorephobic comments.

xxx
Lusty

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Posted: April 27th, 2011 under Creative Resistance, Sex Worker Organizing, Whore Love - No Comments.

No Simple Solutions: State Violence and the Sex Trades

I received this statement (reposted below) from my friend Jessica Yee at the Native Youth Sexual Health Network. I am so very excited to see this group forming and speaking out.

This is a critical conversation we need to be having with people who are concerned with juvenile involvement with the sex trades, especially the involvement of young people of colour and youth Aboriginal people.

xxx
Lusty

The Native Youth Sexual Health Network is proud to be a member and contributor of the Collective that has just put out this statement (stay tuned for more statements and work coming from our Collective soon!)

As a collective of radical women and queer people of color and Indigenous people who identify as sex workers, people in the sex trades, people doing what we have to do to survive, and people who have been trafficked into sex work and other forms of labor, we wanted to respond to Rinku Sen’s recent Colorlines blog post The Complexities of Sex Trafficking, and Some Simple Solutions because, for us, there are no simple solutions to the complex circumstances that inform our lives. Simplified responses do not do justice to our lived realities, or to the systemic conditions that inform them. While we appreciate Sen’s distinction between trade and trafficking, unfortunately this distinction is not made within the laws currently being promoted to respond to harms experienced by people in the sex trades. In fact we believe that in all too many cases these laws increase harm to the very people they  intend to help

As young people and adults with experience in the sex trades who are directly impacted by current responses to prostitution and trafficking, we recently came together as an affiliate of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence to think more deeply about how to respond to the wave of legislation, funding, and conversation about sex work and trafficking in a way that represents our truths and realities. We are deeply rooted in INCITE!’s analysis of state violence as integrally connected to interpersonal violence, and its commitment to community-based solutions to violence that do not rely on law enforcement, which is in and of itself a source of systemic and widespread violence against women and transgender people of color. Indeed, a ground-breaking youth-led participatory research project conducted by the Young Women’s Empowerment Project, to which Sen refers in a comment addressing responses to her piece, found police and social services to be the primary sources of harm experienced by young people with experience in the sex trades.

Like Sen, we oppose and resist any and all forms of violence, including but not limited to: coercion, extortion, violence by police and other law enforcement agents, structural economic, gender- and sexuality-based violence, and racial violence against all people, including people in the sex trades. Such violence also includes the denial of affordable housing, health care, and access to living wage employment. We also challenge those in both the anti-trafficking and sex workers’ rights movements who claim to speak on our behalf, and those who use our lives and experiences to advance their own agendas without recognizing our leadership.

We know that each of our experiences of the sex trades are unique, and there are no one-size fits all solutions. We are members of families and communities struggling to survive and make the best possible choices given the options available to us. For many of us, the truth about the sex trade is somewhere between a completely empowered experience of the sex trade, which requires only decriminalization to eliminate harms, and a completely harmful experience of the sex trade which negatively presumes all of us to be victims in need of “rescue.”

The Safe Harbor Act, along with initiatives like it that Lloyd and others are promoting across the country, are NOT simple or solutions for most of us. First, they don’t stop arrests of young people for prostitution-related offenses, or the police abuses of young people in the sex trades that, including police trading sex in exchange for promises of dropping charges. They also don’t stop arrests of young people in the sex trades that involve “charging up,” i.e. charging young people with weapons or drug-related offenses which may be easier to prove. Second, while they may stop criminal prosecutions of young people for prostitution-related offenses, these laws do not eliminate detention and punishment of young people involved in the sex trades, they just shift young people from the jurisdiction of the criminal courts to family court systems, where they can remain entangled until the age of 21. And, in the end, only a very narrow group of people can benefit from these laws.

For example, in order for the Safe Harbor Act to benefit a young person, they must be under 16 and arrested for the first time and must never have been in family court before.  Young people between the ages of 16-18 continue to be charged in adult court. Even those under 16 who can meet the Act’s criteria must still convince a judge that they are a “victim” of a “severe form of trafficking” – a hurdle that both Sen and Lloyd acknowledge is almost impossible for young girls of color.  This is also a problem because most young people’s stories do not fit into a neat box.  A National Institutes of Justice funded study by researchers at John Jay College in New York City found that only 8% of young people involved in the sex trades in New York City had been forced into prostitution by a “pimp,” and only 10% currently worked with one. The same study found that 16% of girls and 6% of boys trading sex were coerced, but the vast majority of girls (84%) engaged in the sex trades in New York City had never come into contact with a “pimp.” When young people can’t respond to police and prosecutors’ pressure to give up a “pimp” they never had  they get punished  by law enforcement and service providers alike, and find themselves back on the delinquency and detention track.  Even when the Safe Harbor Act (and other laws like it) is found to apply to a young person, they must still follow the rules a family court judge sees fit, which can involve attending a court-mandated program like GEMS, many of which enforce Christianity on participants. Additionally, for young people for whom no such services are available, including LGBTQQ young people and young men in the sex trades, such legislation offers little or no relief whatsoever.

In fact, current ways of thinking about trafficking and the sex trade make LGBTQ youth invisible. The 2007 study Lesbian, Gay, and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness found that, of the estimated 1.6 million homeless young people in the United States, between 20 and 40%, or approximately half a million, identify as LGB or T.  Research also reveals that LGBTQ teens are more likely to remain homeless because they also experience homophobia and transphobia in foster care, shelters, and from service providers. A recent study, Hidden Injustice documented the systemic homophobia and transphobia LGBTQ youth experience in family and juvenile courts and in service provision, and the increased rates and lengths of detention they experience as a result. For these reasons, many LGBTQ homeless youth stay on the streets because they feel safer there.  Once homeless, LGBTQ youth, and particularly LGBTQ youth of color are also at increased risk of profiling and police abuse in the context of “qualify of life” enforcement. They are also likely to become involved in the sex trades and street economies as a means of survival. Yet young men and transgender women, including those who are coerced into the sex trades,  are denied access to programs such as GEMS, remain invisible as “victims” in the eyes of law enforcement, judges, and service providers.   Additionally demands for increased penalties for prostitution-related offenses expose young people, including LGBTQ youth, who work in non-exploitative peer networks, to significant jail time for sharing resources and engaging in practices aimed at increasing safety and survival.  They also drive the entire industry further underground, and the young people we reach further away from help.

As we work to develop a comprehensive statement that centers the voices of Indigenous people, people in the sex trades, and radical women and queer people of color, we call on movements for racial justice, civil rights, reproductive justice, LGBTQQ rights, immigrant justice, and those struggling against racial profiling, police brutality and abuse, criminalization and mass incarceration to develop responses that reflect the complexities of our lives and experiences. Most importantly, there are no simple answers.

- an INCITE! affiliate and collective of radical women  of color, queer people of color, and Indigenous people who identify as people in the sex trades

 

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Posted: April 22nd, 2011 under Anti-racism, Creative Resistance, Indigenous Rights, Police violence, Trafficking, Violence - No Comments.

Tits and Sass: One Big Service Piece

Some rad people have started a new sex worker blog, please go check it out! It’s called Tits and Sass! It’s funny! Smart! Touching! Political! All the good stuff. The lovely Bettie interviewed me via Skype for a post there, if you want to read more background on how our video Every Ho I Know got made.

xxx Lusty

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Posted: March 16th, 2011 under Media, Uncategorized, Whore Love - No Comments.

DIY Resource on touring as a sex worker in Australia

I worked as a sex worker in different states in Australia for about a year. I managed to do it, and do it well, by the grace of a few lovely and talented sex workers who taught me the ropes. As a result, my philosophy on sharing information on working safely and successfully in providing sex services is to share, for free, whatever information I have.

Sadly the reality is that sometimes I am inundated with requests and questions from people wanting to get into the business. I am flattered you asked me for my advice! But I will tell you that what you think is a simple question – is not. People contact me, I think, because they can see that I am a professional, community-minded, and that I love what I do. All these things are true. However! This means that I have a lot of information and knowledge and so when you ask me a question, I just can’t do you justice by giving you a simple answer. Selling sex services might look like a simple process – advertise, book, fuck – but it is skilled work that takes some thinking and planning. So please keep this in mind if you send me a request, and please  - write me back, tell me how it went, continue to share information, and at the very least – I love me a thank you.

Over the past year I have offered a very DIY workshop called Working It Down Under: Escorting in Australia a few times. I recommend a trip to Oz to anyone who wants a sunshine holiday and the opportunity to work in a decriminalized environment (in only some Australian states). Of course, there are some limitations, some of which are discussed on the handout below.

Legally things are changing over there, especially in Western Australia. Also sex workers are embroiled in constant fights with city councils to keep brothels firmly on the agenda during elections. Australian and migrant sex workers down under are very well organized to fight back against the moral crusade to keep laws on our bodies.

All this to say that my caveat is that some of the information on this handout I made back in July 2010 might be inaccurate or a bit misleading (since I couldn’t give the whole story), I hope it gives you all a taste of what to expect. I highly recommend going on over to Scarlet Alliance to get the whole 411 on what’s happening now, and of course, to make friends with some of the smartest, sluttiest and most empowered hookers I know.

Page 1: Working It Down Under handout

Working It Down Under - Page 2Working It Down Under - Page 3

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Posted: January 9th, 2011 under Selling Sex: Biz Talk, Whore Love - No Comments.