Monday, March 17, 2008

News Bits (Monday)

This Spitzer stuff is getting so old. I'm really hungry for other sex worker news. However, it has sparked a lot of debate that needs to be discussed.

Questioning the difference between sex work and sex as intimacy.

A call for Spitzer to advocate sex worker rights. Followed by a rebuttal that believes all sex work is degrading and dehumanizing. Thanks, appreciated.

Hillary, someone who speaks about sexual trafficking, is strangely silent.

Reporters as whores. Pithy.

Valerie Bertinelli chastises Kristen for seeing a married man. If no sex worker saw married men, every sex worker would be broke. (When she met her former husband he was married to someone else.)

Cheating husbands -- better with a mistress or hired companion?

Could Spitzer be charged under the Mann Act? Ha ha!

Is the Mann Act racist?

South Dakota bill becomes laws -- if you're convicted of intentionally spreading HIV then you must register as a sex offender. There are certainly implications for sex workers, though I'm not sure this is who the bill is targeting. It certainly opens up anyone with AIDS to discrimination.

The New Age take on Spitzer and sex work. Jeesh. She needs to talk to some sacred whores.

Gender identity and sex work in Trinidad society.

Spitzer brings attention back to Vitter, who still has his position.

A real look at Internet escort work through a high-end escort. I love her honesty. And a SWOP NYC member is interviewed as well.

Kristen has already given private testimony about the Emperor's Club and Spitzer. Other girls from the agency may testify.

British ECVIP girl tells all, including clients. Sigh.

All the ways that Spitzer impressed women/feminists and all the toes he's stepped on now.

Hong Kong serial killer has killed two sex workers. Pictures included. Real nice.

Juhu Thukral weighs in with a great piece -- of course.

If we legalize prostitution, then it will become a fad. Right. Because without legalization, it doesn't exist and no one is interested in it.

Spitzer's downfall has led to the discussion of America's moral compass. Let's forget the women who are sex workers, they're doomed anyway, the important thing is that this has brought people back to God.

A Filipino woman wanted to sell her 9 yr old daughter into prostitution, was choked to death by her husband in Australia. Though I'm glad he defended the child, I can't approve of his actions. He should've just called Farley or Donna Hughes to talk to his wife.

A gruff, yet likable arugment for legalizing prostitution.

More and more children are being forced into prostitution at younger ages. They're runaways who end up terribly exploited. However, it's clear this is not a problem of some mythic "prostitution industry" but instead a problem of bad parents.

Goddamnit! Rhode Island may reconsider it's prostitution laws, which essentially decrminalize the sex worker. Thank Spitzer for that.

This is too funny. Spitzer's wandering pee-pee is actually part of a vast anti-Jewish conspiracy or something. I didn't read the whole thing. I've got other things to do.

The story behind the four people arrested for running the ECVIP.
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Saturday, March 15, 2008

News Bits (Saturday)

Catch-up edition -- Spitzer stuff mixed in.

PEPFAR is essentially approved in the Senate, anti-prostitution pledge intact.

Laura Bush tours Haiti to talk to women about AIDS. Though women are vulnerable to AIDS, she urged them not to comply with everything men want and take responsibility for their lives. How about some practical help?

Ghana premieres an AIDS-awareness radio soap opera! Very creative. I hope it makes a difference.

New sex work group forms in Dennmark.

A docmentary about sex work in Canada (not sure if I've referenced this here through another channel).

Petition the British Prime Minister to drop this Swedish model nonsense (though you must be a British citizen).

Florida police officer caught with a street worker in a city-owned car.

An overheated attempt to untangle Eliot's "motivations" when I'm betting it's the same as any other married man who sees escorts -- albeit a little more removed from his day job.

AIDS transmission, sex work and society in Ghana. ABC does not work. A reality check would.

Feminism and sex work -- can one be a feminst and sex worker?

Spitzer saw an escort in Dallas (at the Crescent Court) during a fundraising event, which nows means donors want their money back.

Elizabeth Woods examines class prejudices in the media regarding Kristen.

A calm look at why the laws around sex work need changed.

Did Spitzer use his own money or campaign funds? A big question.

The man who busted the Emperor's Club -- those four people are all but forgotten right now.

The French look at the Spitzer scandal and wonder why we're not focusing on our economic problems (or a number of others). Why indeed.

Judith Regan is eyeing Kristen for a book deal. Of course. Who else? (Someone thinks Spitzer's wife would make a great book. Maybe she can, but no one cares.)

AbeBooks creates the Hooker Prize and lists sex worker books they know about (mine is not on the list -- pout).

OMG! There are Internet escorts in Austin and business is good! Austin, the capital of Texas, who would've thought?

SWOP-USA on Twitter.

The Aussies are shaking their heads at our sexual/moral stupidity. I have to agree.

Laura Schlessinger feels no pity for wives whose husbands stray. Wonder if she's okay with sex work? Either way, I'm amused.

Veronia Monet and Melissa Gira discuss high-end escort work. Melissa Gira also weighs in here.

Hundreds of sex workers celebrated March 3 in India.

Why is sex work so demonized as form of labor and service?

A look at the anti-prostitution pledge from inside America among outreach centers. Very good article. I'm loving this site.

A booker for another high-end agency discusses the business.

The fallout in Orlando -- with an escort service that has been "under investigation" since 2005.

A humorous look at all the hand-wringing going on this week.

I can't read it, but I love the pictures on this sex worker site.

A Middle-Eastern writer happily weighs in on their standard of morals compared to ours.
All posts copyrights owned and reserved by SWOP East unless specifically stated otherwise.

Friday, March 14, 2008



Madeleine Dash, Sex Workers Action New York (SWANK), 877-776-2004 x 2

Audacia Ray, 718.554.1714
Sarah Bleviss, Sex Workers Outreach Project NYC (SWOP-NYC),
Prostitutes of New York (PONY),
Desiree Alliance,

Sex Workers Blow Spitzer a Farewell Kiss

New York, NY - In the wake of former Governor Spitzer’s resignation, sex workers and human rights advocates remain concerned about the representation and future of "Kristen" and other sex workers, who do not have the legal and social privileges that will be afforded to Mr. Spitzer. The identity of the sex worker implicated in this case has already been made public, a situation mirroring many a sex worker’s worst nightmare. "Kristen’s" exposure may entail not only bring her legal repercussions, but invasion of privacy, financial hardship and social opprobrium.

Rather than continuing to sensationalize Spitzer’s actions and those directly involved, we urge the press and the public to shift their focus to the legal climate under which sex workers operate, while respecting "Kristen’s" agency to have chosen sex work as a viable source of income. "Everyone wants to know how high her rates were, all the salacious details, but the real issue at stake here is that the hypocrisy of criminalizing sex work has been exposed! It’s a part of our society, of every society, and we need to take this opportunity to stop with the value judgments and start coming up with policies that respect the human dignity of all people, sex workers and all workers. " says Dylan Wolfe of SWANK (Sex Workers Action New York).

Former Governor Spitzer took a lead role in developing the NY State Anti-Trafficking Law as well as other initiatives that stigmatize sex workers and their clients. It is the stigma of sex work that leads many individuals like "Kristen" to keep their occupations a secret, creating further isolation and opportunities for exploitation. This same stigma compromises the safety and well-being of people like "Kristen" when their private lives become public knowledge. Sex workers are then forced to work further underground, rendering them more vulnerable to abuse, while denying them access to the basic civic participation, health and social services available to other people. "Hopefully Mr. Spitzer’s unfortunate public decline will send a message to all like him who pass laws that endanger the safety of sex workers while indulging in the service themselves," Sarah Bleviss of SWOP said, "Sex workers clearly provide them a very valuable service; it’s time for lawmakers to return the favor." Too little attention has been paid to what the repercussions of this case will be for those most directly concerned, sex workers, and more generally to the impact of laws and attitudes that marginalize them. It is time for a change.

Spitzer pushed through penalty enhancements against clients of all sex workers. Sex worker advocates fought against such provisions because these policies drive people who need help further underground. Often prostitution is wrongly conflated with trafficking and vice-versa. People are trafficked for many kinds of work, be it domestic labor, farm work or other jobs, and this kind of exploitation undoubtedly needs to be addressed. The majority of men, women and transgendered people working in sex work, however, are ’normal’ members of society who have used their own intellectual agency to decide to make a living in a sexually-oriented way. Laws, like the Mann Act (against inter-state transportation for the purposes of commercial sex), are too often used for punishing sex workers and their clients rather than those who profit from their exploitation.

Sex workers make a living in an industry with the potential for high risks and little by way of protection from abuse. The stigma surrounding our work can be lethal at its most extreme: we are often the targets of notorious serial killers, like the Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway who targeted prostitutes because he thought he "could kill as many of them as [he] wanted without getting caught." If sex work were decriminalized and legitimized as a form of paid labor like any other, or seen simply as an intimate exchange between consenting adults, the associated harms would be greatly diminished. Furthermore, sex workers could access their basic human rights and social services without fear of legal reprisal or personal upheaval. "Eliot Spitzer has represented himself to the public as a law and order man, and ironically, has been in the vanguard of further criminalizing sex workers and clients. . . However, it’s a shame that so much time, energy, and tax payer resources are being spent to criminalize consensual sex between adults. It’s time to decriminalize prostitution." says Sarah Blake of Prostitutes of New York (PONY).

Incoming Governor Paterson and other law-makers need to create policies that actually reflect the realities of their own lives and those of their constituents, including sex workers, rather than the harmful legislation of morality, whereby private matters become public scandals.

* By swopeast at 14 Mar 2008 - 4:32am
* Add new comment
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Thursday, March 13, 2008

If only I would cooperate and what happens if I don’t.

Posted on March 13, 2008 by jillbrenneman | Edit

It seems today I am evil. No surprise this happens with some consistency and despite ever changing abolitionist feminists remarkably similar. So today a few sporadic emails to SWOP East and myspace which reference my BnG post. Most of which is the usual rhetoric that I have heard many times. So I am responding to the troll named Whou indirectly, and to Jeffery Blumethal directly as his personal email contained a thinly veiled threat.

Dear Miss Brenneman

Miss Brenneman you are suffering from a mental illness that is not your fault. But you must realize the danger you cause to women and girls because of Stockholm Syndrome definition

This is the mental illness which you suffer. Again, you are not at fault for this. The Stockholm Syndrome (SS) is a psychological involuntary state in which victims of kidnapping or abuse begin to feel sympathy, emotional bonding, and solidarity for those who are abusing them or keeping them captive in oppressive situations.

The Stockholm Syndrome was named in 1973 by psychologist Nils Bejerot after the hostage victims of a Stockholm, Sweden robbery and six-day kidnapping resisted being rescued, defended their captors, and refused to testify against them. Two of the women hostages eventually became engaged to the captors.

When victims are under tremendous emotional and physical duress, they may begin to identify with their abusers or captors as a defensive mechanism. The victim develops a strategy of staying alive by keeping the captor happy and eventually sympathizes with the captor. Small acts of kindness on the part of the abuser increases the emotional bond.

Stockholm Syndrome is a common survival mechanism of

captured brides
battered women
physically and/or emotionally abused children
incest victims
cult members
concentration camp prisoners
prisoners of war
those in controlling and/or intimidating relationships
hijacked victims

that is what which you are suffering. It is not you’re fault as I believe you are telling the truth about being tortured by pimps and tricks. That is what they do and what they like. But you are affected by this so severely that you are a danger. You can not keep writing because the media likes salacious stories and will talk to you. But because you suffer from acute Stockholm Syndrome you are now a recruiter for others to prostituted and tortured as you were. You may not realize it but you want others to tortured because you were and because it arouses you because it is how you learned to be loved. It has happened to many in the past so you can be forgiven but you can not continue talking publicly until after many years of therapy. For the safety of others I am telling you to stop as you can and will not be allowed to cause harm to thousands of women and girls for the sake of your unfortunate battle with Stockholm Syndrome. Raleigh, NC is not so hard to make the price too high for you to continue. Your illness is understandable as is your pain but it has turned you into a sexploitation recruiter making your torture porn and prostitution seem glamorous. Please stop yourself so that others do not have to help you get there.

Jeffery Blumenthal MSW

No Jeffery, I am not suffering Stockholm Syndrome and personally I find it annoying that you enclosed the definition in your letter as you apparently feel this would be a revelation to me. What impresses me is your effort to impose your clinical diagnosis of me in an effort to advance a political agenda. I don’t owe you or anyone a detailed response to an unfounded and baseless diagnosis. You do however leave openings for discussion.

I am not the perfect victim Jeffery. I am not your stereotype sex worker that either has to be saved from herself or rendered evil and a danger to society. I digress for a moment because your post brings to mind the Genesis song “Mama” but various posts all day have brought musical references to mind. Shrug. Back to topic. Yes, I have the classic history of childhood abuse that likely fills your stereotype. Yes, I was tortured. Yes I was a sex worker. So in your belief and that of others such as “Whou”, I have a duty to open my soul to the world. You create a dynamic in which I have a duty to re-live over and over the trauma I suffered in some of my experiences in sex work and that those should be public experiences to be debated for their veracity, for their effect on me, for their value in “warning others” and in the case of the neo abolitionist anti trafficking types of the Spitzer, Melissa Farley, Donna Hughes ilk, for value in using my experiences as the template for all sex workers. Veracity being determined by virtue of whether I am speaking from the abolitionist perspective. Effect on me as a cookie cutter mold to impose upon all sex workers. Duty as a mandated survivor to warn all those who may be at risk regardless of whether or not I continue to be torn apart in that process as by virtue of suffering I should become a martyr. The answer to that is no. My value as an activist, as a woman, as a human being, does not go up if I become a martyr for the cause. Feminism does not gain when women are destroyed for a macro level war to protect all women. And much to the likely surprise of many who oppose the idea of a survivor of sexual abuse, rape and torture, I am capable not only of finding healing without patronizing correspondence of a stranger but further, I am capable of being able to determine the propriety of my activism and of my life. As to your psych assessment of me. Remind me again. Who are you? We’ve never met……………… perhaps MSW type since you don’t know me, that means you don’t know me and thus you are projecting upon me your fantasies of victims of sexual violence and how they should respond.

This thing that you have Jeffery and others about my alleged recruiting of others into the sex industry. Anything to back up those assertions? Even my “pro prostitution, pro porn” friends and allies would likely advise you that I am not an outspoken proponent of sex work. I’m an advocate of sex worker human and labor rights and of harm reduction. That is a far cry from recruiting others into coerced participation in BDSM. Which for the record, neither I, nor any sex worker or sex worker rights activist that I have ever known has advocated coerced participation in sex work. We are actually strongly opposed to coercion. We do however do something as evil as say get together to send condoms to sex workers in Chile

Perhaps Jeffery, Whou, others,, you can’t get off on the fantasy of me advocating sex worker rights rather than hearing the story of my exploitation and thus I am not fulfilling your needs and given you obviously view me as a cookie cutter whore apparently if I can’t fulfill your expectations I better shut up and get out? It seems that I like my sex worker and sex worker rights allies am not some iconic idol, I’m just a woman, just an individual, one who happens to believe in human rights for sex workers despite my past making me the potential posterchild for the CATW magazine’s year end issue. Despite having been a sex worker, I can think for myself, choose to do so and advocate for others to have the same rights.

As far as the sublime threat about my speaking to the media and the use of where I live as part of the subliminal threat. Nice try but it’s been done. It’s on my myspace profile that I live in Raleigh. It isn’t exactly a secret. So Magnum MSW, Whou and others, you will have to find someone else to sell your pitch about being the perfect victim and the duties that go along with it. If I want to march to the beat of a drummer I can listen to Mick Fleetwood or Jim Dispirito. But it is never again going to be to the likes of Farley, Hughes or their true believers Blumenthal or someone as creative as to use the name Whou. Doesn’t Ric Flair have a copyright on that? No wait, I think Ric Flair is Wooooo,,

Filed under: Academia, Activism, Allies, Assholes, Clients, Conferences, Economics, End Demand, Ethics, Faith, Farley, Featured Bloggers, Feminism, Harassment of Sex Workers, Injustice, Larry Flynt, Law Enforcement, Legal, Liveblog, Media, Media Allies, PEPFAR, Penguins, Politicians, Politics, Pop Culture, Sex Worker Bloggers, Sex Worker Rights, Sexual Assault, Social Media | No Comments »
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News Bits (Thursday)

I wish Spitzer would disappear so I'd have something interesting to read.

PEPFAR vote in the Senate today (I think, the article wasn't clear).

Condom use in Rwanda and the problems leading to a lack of use. Thanks for the link, Jill M.

How the police blackmail Ukrainian sex workers. Much like American police!

High school student activists. We need to do something like this in America (but not with minors).

Veronica Monet and Melissa Gira add some perspetive to things.

The effects of the anti-prostitution pledge on Zambian women.

Apparently, Spitzer saw a girl in Dallas too. Your resident Dallas escort (formerly) answered a few questions...ahem.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

News Bits (Wednesday)

It's like all-Spizter all the time on Google Alert land right now. Best coverage: Bound, not Gagged (link on yesterday's post).

Illegal commercial sex seems to be spreading AIDS in Bali, mostly because the government refuses to do anything intelligent about it. Sounds familiar.

Congress must resist "ideological extremes" when it comes to reauthorizing PEPFAR. Tom Lantos is fondly mentioned.

Already, Toldeo escort services are feeling the fallout from Spizter.

Reason Magazine gets it.

Just in 2008 -- the US discovers CraigsList Erotic Services section and now realize there are even more escort out there!

Note to Wonkette: we talk like this because you people prosecute us. If everything were decriminalized there would be no need for code words. Duh.

A call to legalize prostitution in DC, using Nevada as a model. I'll pass. (Why won't Huffington Post get a sex worker to weigh in?)

Another journalist who gets it.

Santa Cruz sting operation. The one thing that gets me is the photo of $1 bills. How insulting.

Infidelity rarely has to do with the spouse.

Serious opposition to the proposed co-op brothel in Vancouver.
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

WHAT ABOUT KRISTEN? New York Sex Worker Organizations Respond to Spitzer Scandal

WHAT ABOUT KRISTEN? New York Sex Worker Organizations Respond to Spitzer Scandal
Posted on March 11, 2008 by staceyswimme



Shakti Ziller, Sex Workers Action New York (SWANK), 877-776-2004 x 2
Audacia Ray, 718.554.1714
Sarah Bleviss, Sex Workers Outreach Project NYC (SWOP-NYC),
Prostitutes of New York (PONY),
Desiree Alliance,

WHAT ABOUT KRISTEN? New York Sex Worker Organizations Respond to Spitzer Scandal

New York, NY - In the last few days, Governor Eliot Spitzer has publicly admitted to being associated with an escort agency and is considering resignation. As sex worker advocates, we are concerned about the representation and fate of “Kristen” and sex workers who are being thrust into the spotlight because of the investigation into the Governor. We also share the widespread concern for Governor Spitzer’s family.

Sex worker organizations urge the press and the public to focus on the violation of sex workers rights and the need to change these laws and policies, rather than simply on the story of one individual who has purchased sexual services.

“Nobody is talking about the impact of this story on ‘Kristen’ and other women, men and trans people who are currently working in the sex industry,” Shakti Ziller of SWANK in NYC added, “Prostitutes disproportionately face punitive action after arrest as compared to clients. Whether or not she will face prison time, “Kristen” has been dragged into the spotlight and will be subjected to public humiliation. Shouldn’t the police emphasis be on catching perpetrators of violent crime and protecting sex workers - not exposing adults who are consenting to a transaction? All she did was try to make a living.”

“Governor Spitzer ran on a platform of being a different kind of politician and then portrayed an inaccurate image of himself. Being involved with the services of sex workers is a very common thing, if all forms of consensual sex work were decriminalized for adults involved in a consensual transaction, sex workers could access the services they need,” says Dylan Wolfe of SWANK (Sex Workers Action New York).

Governor Spitzer took a lead role in developing the NY State Anti-Trafficking Law. Over the objections of advocates who worked directly with victims of human trafficking and with sex workers, Governor Spitzer pushed through penalty enhancements against clients of all sex workers. Sex worker advocates fought against such provisions because these policies drive people who need help further underground.

“Spitzer has stood up for workers’ rights in certain capacities, but has not followed through with meeting the real needs of sex workers,” Audacia Ray, author of Naked on the Internet, noted, “It would be great if the government could use money towards services, not punitive measures.”

The press has picked up on the relationship that inter-state trafficking laws (under the Mann Act) have to this case. This connection illustrates a point that sex worker advocates have been making for a long time: Laws against inter-state transportation for the purposes of commercial sex are too often used for punishing people working as sex workers and those who work with and patronize them.

The exposure of Randall Tobias last year as a customer of an escort agency, Senator Vitter’s rumored association with sex workers and now this recent news of Governor Spitzer, the corruption and hypocrisy inherently associated with prohibiting consensual prostitution are again being brought to light. Shaming these men will do nothing to improve the nature of the sex industry and the deeply-rooted corruption that is associated with the prohibition of prostitution.

“The criminalization of prostitution breeds this type of hypocrisy and makes our politicians (and other public figures) vulnerable,” says Carol Leigh of Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA. “This vulnerability exists until our society recognizes that consensual sexual behavior is private and these private acts should no longer be criminalized.”

“Many of our clients are politicians, judges, lawyers and even police,” Monica S., 26 of Brooklyn said. “It’s odd that they spend so much effort putting us into jail, but then turn around and give us their money in exchange for sex. Why do they think they won’t get caught breaking the laws that they make?”

The commentary on, a Wall-Street news site, says about Wall-street’s anti-Spitzer reaction to the ‘Client 9′ story: “‘There is a God’ was the first thought on Wall Street. The next thought is, ‘Please don’t let it be revealed that I’m Lucky Number 7.’”

# # # #

Filed under: Allies, Audacia Ray, Clients, Ethics, Human Rights, Injustice, Legal, Media, Politicians, Politics, Press Release, Prohibition, Sex Worker Bloggers, Sex Worker Rights, Spitzer, The Biz, Vitter, trafficking | No Comments »
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