anonymous asked:

What do voluntary sex workers such as yourself do to help victims and survivors of sex trafficking?

Obviously there’s not a single universal answer, as “voluntary” sex workers are not a hivemind, nor is there a clear cut binary between voluntary workers and people being trafficked, coerced or exploited (since the legal definitions of trafficking cover all of those words and more).  

But, as I’ve said more than a few times before, the interests of coerced people in the sex trades and those who are there by choice (insofar as one makes choices about working in a capitalist society) are not opposing interests – far from it. 

What are the things that people who are being trafficked need?

1. The ability to escape their abusers and protect themselves from them.

2.  The ability to do so without fear of arrest, whether for selling sex or having other charges or threats of deportation leveraged against them, without fearing or facing police violence.

3. The ability to rent accommodation, care for their children, and support their families without putting the people around them at risk for criminal charges – to be full members of their community, able to participate as much as anyone else, regardless of their sex work status.

4. The ability to seek other work, in or out of the sex trades, without the fear that their past trading sex will haunt them and lose them civilian jobs stretching on indefinitely into the future.  

Now, say it with me, class: How do we go about achieving all of those things for people who have been coerced into trading sex?

Decriminalization. 

Decriminalization of the trade of sex means that the people harming sex workers, whether they are violent clients or exploitative bosses or abusive partners, can face consequences for those actions, and more importantly, that their victims can take legal action to protect themselves without being caught in the crossfire as criminals.

Decriminalization of the trade of sex means the end of backdoor criminalization of sex workers – the end of making it a crime to rent or do non-sexual business with us, to provide support services to us, or to be supported by us.   

Decriminalization is a vital part of ending the stigma of whorephobia, making sex workers, voluntary or not, less of a target, and making it less likely (and potentially even illegal!) to fire someone from a job just because they have at some point traded sex. 

And these reforms are far more important (again, I must sound like a broken record) for people who are not trading sex because they dreamed of being a lady of the night when they were little girls (and other such straw prozzies). Sex workers with privilege can defend themselves – we can avoid violent cops and dangerous clients, we can create a closet for ourselves that protects our families and communities from the consequences of whorephobia, we can make believable resumes that cover up our jobs if and when we try to leave sex work. We need these reforms, but people being trafficked need them an awful lot more desperately. When sex workers advocate for our rights, we are advocating for the rights of everyone who trades sex under any circumstances. Our needs are not competing needs.

So, anonymous, what are you doing to help people trafficked into trading sex? 

reason.com
Teen Recruits Friend for Sex Work With Her, Gets Slapped With Federal Sex-Trafficking Charges
Oregon teens and former cheerleading squadmates work in prostitution together. Now one faces years of federal prison.

In the latest example of anti-trafficking laws destroying futures rather than saving lives, we have two Oregon teens, one of whom is expected to be sentenced to four years in federal prison, after which she can’t access FAFSA or expect most jobs to hire her. 


Here’s another case exposing who really gets targeted under U.S. sex trafficking statutes. Far from the cartoonishly evil kingpins or sociopathic perverts of political lore, it’s people like Oregon resident Julie Haner, who as a 19-year-old drove her 17-year-old friend across state lines so they could both make money via sex work. Haner and the girl has previously attended high-school together and been on the same cheerleading squad.

In April 2014, Haner was indicted on federal sex-trafficking charges, along with 30-year-old Konrod Steven Mason. After reaching out to her former classmate on Facebook, Haner and Mason had driven the 17-year-old from northern Oregon, where they all lived, to a motel in nearby Vancouver, Washington, about 30 minutes away. There Haner and the girl allegedly engaged in prostitution. Later the threesome moved on to Portland and eventually Eugene, Oregon, according to federal court documents. Ultimately the young women performed sex acts for money on at least two occasions, prosecutors say.

The teen, whom police discovered via an “escort” ad posted on Backpage.com, was not a captive, nor forced into performing sex acts for money. After Portland, she had returned to her home in Lake Oswego, then chose to re-join Haner and Mason

tumblingisforcheer asked:

Hello! I have a question and I hope it doesn't come off as rude. I'm trying to learn as much as I can about every side of the argument over legalizing prostitution, because I know that there are people in sex work who are not trafficking victims, but I also know that trafficking is huge (I almost ended up trapped in it). What would you tell someone about the pros of legalization and the added safety thereof, and the also-important safety of trafficking victims? Thank you for your time xx

tThe important thing you need to understand about this issue is that the needs of “voluntary” sex workers and the needs of coerced and trafficked people in the sex trades are not opposing needs.  

Sex workers and those who are trafficked or otherwise coerced into trading sex benefit from the same programs and legal models.  It’s not a question of supporting sex workers at the expense of the trafficked, or balancing the needs of the latter against the safety of the former.  

Decriminalization (not legalization, legalization is not helpful, you can read more about the difference here and here) benefits everyone who trades sex in two primary ways: 

1) Making sure that we are as free as possible to make the best, safest decisions for ourselves when trading sex, rather than being forced into working in a less safe or less lucrative fashion in order to satisfy arbitrary state mandates (eg: Jenny SexWorker wants to team up with her friend and share an apartment for incalls, because they can save on rent, and keep one another safe, but the legalization model where they live means that this would be a brothel and illegal, so they both have to work alone, see more clients in order to meet their needs, and work without protection instead). Fundamentally, there is nothing inherently wrong with consenting to sex for material gain, and each person is their own best arbiter of when, with whom and why they do or do not consent to sex.  Criminalizing certain reasons for consenting to sex is in direct conflict with that. 

2) Criminalization in all of its forms (whether straight up, legalization, or end demand) isolates people who trade sex from society, allowing us to contribute with our labor and the value we create with it, but not to reap any of the benefits of doing so – criminalization makes all of us unable to seek help when we are being harmed, unable to participate economically (since it’s a crime to rent to us or to do business with us, unable to form relationships (parent children, support partners, etc) without putting those people in danger of legal consequences as well, unable to move on from sex work to other forms of work if we need or want to (by giving us criminal records, and by entrenching whorephobia that means that even without arrest, people are reluctant to hire us or take our skillsets seriously, and that should we get a job without disclosing our sex work past, we are always at risk for losing it without warning).  

Now, when you think about those things, who stands to benefit more from decriminalization (and suffer worse under our current systems): some semi-mythical “Happy Hooker” who works because it’s fulfilling to her, and is not in particularly desperate need of financial support, who can choose to avoid sex work if it becomes too dangerous or difficult for her resources?  or someone who is not working of their own accord, whether literally forced to do so by another person, or who simply does not have any other options that will meet their needs? Because this “Happy Hooker” has resources to protect her safety – she has the energy and the social capital to evade law enforcement, to hire a lawyer if she runs into trouble, to rely on the support of something or someone else if sex work is cracked down upon.   When abolitionists champion forms of criminalization (including end demand) in the name of those who do not choose to trade sex, they’re hurting worst the very people whom they claim to care the most about.  

If your top priority is the safety of people being coerced, trafficked or exploited in the sex industry, then “voluntary” sex workers are your allies, not your enemies.  tumblingisforcheer 

thepetitionsite.com
petition: Protect Sex Workers: Repeal Alaska's Failed "Anti-Sex Trafficking" Law!
Adult consensual sex workers are being criminalized by an Alaskan law that turns their safety measures into felonies. (31388 signatures on petition)

Alaska’s definition of “trafficking” is broad and includes all prostitution. Instead of focusing on tackling coercive situations and the exploitation of minors, Alaska’s law defines trafficking broadly, as anything that “institutes or aids prostitution” and in specific ways that target women working together.

Under federal law, sex trafficking involves force, fraud, or coercion, but under Alaska’s new law all prostitution is sex trafficking.

In its first few years, the law was used exclusively against sex workers who were charged with prostitution of themselves in the very same cases they were charged wtih sex traffciking. One woman was even charged with trafficking herself! The law negatively affects sex workers and threatens our ability to keep safe.

On August 14, Amber Batts will be sentenced to 4 to 10 years in prison for providing safety services to sex workers, including a safe work environment and extensive screening of new clients.

For my recent graduate research at the University of Alaska, I surveyed 40 people with recent experience in Alaska’s sex trade. More than a quarter said they had been sexually assaulted by a police officer, and when they tried to report to police that they had been the victim or witness of a crime they were turned away more than half of the time and threatened with arrest about a third of the time. Now when people in Alaska’s sex trade try to report a crime – like sex trafficking – they don’t just worry about being arrested for prostitution, they have to consider that they could be charged with multiple counts of felony sex trafficking.

Amnesty International just joined Human Rights Watch, the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, the United Nations Development Programme, UN Women and UNAIDS in recommending protecting the human rights of sex workers by decriminalizing every aspect of adult consensual sex work. It’s time for Alaska to, at the least, stop making safety a jail sentence for women in the sex trade.

Please sign the petition to demand Alaska repeal its anti-sex trafficking law! 

anonymous asked:

Sweden, which has criminalized prostitution, has one tenth of the number of trafficked women that Germany has. Demand for prostitutes comes from somewhere you know. If you want to support trafficked sex workers--criminalize prostitution, the pimps and johns involved. This is empirically proven.

So empirically proven that you had to come anonymously come to my blog without even one source?

You’re wrong.

You’re wrong.

You’re wrong.

You’re wrong, and the consequences are literally deadly for sex workers.

You’re wrong, and you’re actively encouraging an HIV/AIDS pandemic.

If we ignore the evidence for the structural inequalities of sex, race, and class in prostitution and if we ignore the clear statements of women who tell us that they want to escape prostitution, then we end up in a postmodern neverland where liberal theory unanchored to material reality frames prostitution as a problem of sexual choice, workers’ rights or sex trafficking as an immigration problem. Prostitution is the international business of sexual exploitation. Describing the strategic focus on sex buyers, a Swedish detective said, “trafficking is a business, we try to destroy the market.” Yes.
—  Melissa Farley, “Prostitution, Liberalism, and Slavery”.

anonymous asked:

I know you've probably gotten hundreds of these but what's your take on legalizing full service sex work bringing an increase to human trafficking?

There is no evidence from a methodologically sound source that suggests that decriminalizing sex work increases human trafficking.  

What we don’t need surveys to determine, however, is that under decriminalization, people being forced, coerced and exploited in the sex trades don’t need to fear being arrested for selling sex in the course of trying to fix their situation, and can’t have the threat of arrest held over them by those doing the exploiting. Given that sex worker led surveys show that in some cases, police are twelve times more likely to be violent towards sex workers than clients are, protecting everyone who trades sex (for whatever reason) from arrest seems like a pretty high priority. 

“My parents sold me for $800 when I was 9 years old. A family in Johor bought me to work on their rubber plantations. It was difficult work for a child. And once I even got injured. But they didn’t give me proper medical care so my leg never healed properly.

By the time I was 11, I couldn’t take it anymore because they beat me. So I ran away. I knew that if I followed the railway track, it would lead back to Singapore. So I walked along the track and managed to find my way home. After that, my parents returned the $800 to get back my birth certificate.

But they were still poor so they sold me again - for $880 this time. I was sold to a temple in Malaysia. I did cooking and cleaning at the temple… But there was trouble at the temple and eventually I had to leave when I was 17. Again I found my way back to Singapore.

When I got home, I opened a business tailoring clothes. I was never trained but I’d seen the tailors working in the streets and figured it out. I had lots of business.

That’s how I met my husband. He came to the shop one day to tailor a jacket and later he asked me out…

I suppose my childhood was quite hard. My reading and writing is not so good because I couldn’t go to school all those years. And there were some hardships. But now I have a good life. I have three grown children and my husband is always with me. We are very happy.”

anonymous asked:

i've seen you and other sex worker rights advocates mention problems with the organization "the polaris project," but i've only ever heard great things about them in other contexts. i've even been told in my job to use the polaris project as a resource for information, but i don't want to support them if they are problematic and harmful to sex workers! so i was wondering if you could explain a little bit more about what makes them harmful?? thank you so much! xx

In brief:

The Polaris Project continually use fabricated and unreliable statistics, and they do so in order to pursue the passage of laws that are really damaging to sex workers, that focus on ending demand and police contact and arrest as the first point of “rescue” for sex workers. They eat up a huge amount of grant money, and do not at all prioritize hiring sex workers or ex sex workers for paying positions in their organization.  

They don’t speak for sex workers (or for victims of trafficking, frankly), they speak over them. 

Macedonia museum staff guilty of trafficking artefacts

A former director of Macedonia’s national museum and six other people have been found guilty of trafficking 162 ancient artefacts, a Macedonian court said Friday.

Pero Josifovski, who used to head the museum in the capital, Skopje, was jailed for seven years and eight months, while his accomplices – five of whom were also museum staff – received prison sentences ranging from one to seven years.

All seven accused were found guilty of stealing “cultural artefacts of great importance belonging to the state” and of “abuse of power”, the court in Skopje said in a statement. Read more.

Smuggling? Trafficking? Does it Matter? Yes!

Despite sensational headlines, smuggling and trafficking of persons are not synonymous. Smugglers help willing clients who are looking to cross borders undetected for payment. Traffickers move people against their will or by deceiving them, and exploit them.

When major media use these terms incorrectly or interchangeably, they blur the circumstances and choices that refugees and migrants make and create flawed perceptions that result in unsuitable responses to irregular migration.

Read more

m.wsbt.com
Lansing girl, 17, gets prison for sex-trafficking ring | Home - WSBT.com

She deserved a better lawyer.

Change the way we treat underage survival sex workers, NOW.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A 17-year-old Lansing girl has been sentenced to spend four to 20 years in prison for what authorities say was her role in a sex-trafficking ring mostly involving girls between 14 and 18 years old.

The teen was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty last month to human trafficking and transporting of a female for prostitution last month.

The Lansing State Journal reports witnesses testified earlier that the defendant was mostly responsible for taking photos of girls, posting them online and scheduling customers. Court documents say the defendant also recruited girls at a juvenile center and on the street.

The Associated Press isn’t naming the defendant because of her age.

This week, a report from the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (#OIOS), indicated that “peacekeepers” working in Haiti were guilty of raping #Haitian
women at an alarming rate. The report also indicated that a large number of the victims were underage.

According to the report, there were 231 people in#Haiti who claimed they were sexually violated by UN #peacekeepers, and were forced to perform sexual acts in exchange for food and supplies that were intended as relief packages. “For rural women, hunger, lack of shelter, baby care items, medication and household items were frequently cited as the ‘triggering need,‘” the report said, adding that UN workers coaxed women and girls into sexual activities with “church shoes, cell phones, laptops and perfume, as well as money.” “In cases of non-payment, some women withheld the badges of peacekeepers and threatened to reveal their infidelity via social media,” the report said

This is not the first time that #UN workers have been accused of these types of crimes. After the UN has entered areas like Cambodia, Mozambique, Bosnia, Sudan and Kosovo, there was an explosion of sex #trafficking and numerous reports of abuse. Just this year, the UN was caught attempting to cover-up the fact that their workers had raped starving and homeless boys in the Central African Republic.

There are almost too many cases to list in which high-profile public figures or organizations were accused in pedophilia or human trafficking cases. However, they almost always dodge any prosecution or public scrutiny due to their control of the legal system and media.There have been many cases in recent history where establishment figures have been caught up in child prostitution rings but quickly had the story swept under the rug.

#HumanTrafficking is an industry of the ruling class, it always has been. Your average blue-collar, white-collar people aren’t buying slaves, and they certainly aren’t selling them either! This is still very much a part of western culture, even companies with major government contracts have been accused of organizing full-scale slave rings. (thefreethoughtproject.com)
#WakeUpHumanity ✨🌎💫
Rp @tukro #4biddenknowledge

Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry released the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report, which measures and grades the efforts governments are making around the world to crack down on human trafficking. Thailand and Malaysia are among 23 countries to receive the lowest ranking, putting them on par with Iran, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Zimbabwe. Where does your country rank? 

Sex work vs migrating to work in the sex industry under whatever conditions possible vs coercion/ rape

I see a lot of people say this and I’ve been guilty of it too: that sex trafficking is not sex work, it is rape.  In the current legal climate, and more importantly, in the current global conversation about sex trafficking, where definitions of “trafficked” have changed from “illegally move across borders” to “anyone who sells sex” it’s hard to talk about this stuff accurately, even harder when there’re groups of people waiting to use anything negative you say against you in their endless and endlessly tedious quest to put you out of existence, BUT!  let’s try. 

A lot of sex workers who are described as “sex trafficked” are still actually sex workers.  They were sex workers prior to migration, they were aware that they would be doing sex work after migration, and they agreed to do sex work after migration. Coercion may or may not be an element here: some people engaged in moving laborers across borders do use coercion at the destination and some don’t.  This gets even more confusing when you remember that a woman was arrested for “trafficking” herself when she exchanged sex for a tattoo This case is an example: http://zeenews.india.com/news/north-east/thai-woman-among-eight-held-in-siliguri-sex-racket_1499750.html 

They’re using the language of trafficking here, but it must be the old definition, as the women obviously have freedom of movement. 

On the other hand, the man who kidnapped 12 women and kept them locked in his house and raped and abused them?  That’s definitely rape.  If he was transporting them all to hotels and accepting money in exchange for sex with them, that fits all definitions of trafficking and is rape. Are they sex workers?  Was Jaycee Dugard a sex worker?  We didn’t use this language as much when she was found, and I doubt it would have been used: too stigmatising of the already traumatised pretty white girl. Was Elizabeth Smart sex trafficked, or raped and abused? 

__________________

Many people who are trafficked for nonsexual labour (domestic or agricultural) are kept imprisoned and unarguably coerced and abused, but there’s no salaciousness to that narrative, nothing titillating. I mean they’re poor and brown, right?  who cares.

Cold-blooded reptile smugglers feel the heat: Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Agents break up international animal trafficking ring

Nathaniel Swanson thought that he had it all figured out. His Everett, Washington reptile store provided the perfect cover. His contacts in China were trustworthy and reliable. His customers were discreet. He had a system, a ring of effective black market animal traffickers that brought him hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal profit. But one moment of laziness on the part of his Hong Kong partners, one alert delivery service package handler, and timely intervention by the Fish and Wildlife Service’s special agents brought his ring down. His illegal wildlife trafficking activities cost him a year of time in prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fines and penalties.  

Wood turtles, threatened in the United States, were among the reptiles sent to China by Swanson’s smuggling ring. Credit: Colin Osborn/USFWS

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