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2018

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Facebook should only allow good friends...

Texas woman sues Facebook for not preventing her from being lured into prostitution


Link Here 4th October 2018
Full story: FOSTA US Internet Censorship Law...Wide ranging internet cesnorship law targetting sex workers
The recent Fosta law in the US forces internet companies to censor anything to do with legal, adult and consensual sex work. It holds them liable for abetting sex traffickers even when they can't possibly distinguish the trafficking from the legal sex work. The only solution is therefore to ban the use of their platforms for any personal hook ups. So indeed adult sex work websites have been duly cleansed from the US internet.

But now a woman is claiming that Facebook facilitated trafficking when of course its nigh on impossible for Facebook to detect such use of their networking systems. But of course that's no excuse under the FOSTA.

According to a new lawsuit by an unnamed woman in Houston, Texas, Facebook's morally bankrupt corporate culture for permitting a sex trafficker to force her into prostitution after beating and raping her. She claims Facebook should be held responsible when a user on the social media platform sexually exploits another Facebook user. The lawsuit says that Facebook should have warned the woman, who was 15 years old at the time she was victimized, that its platform could be used by sex traffickers to recruit and groom victims, including children.

The lawsuit also names Backpage.com, which according to a Reuters report , hosted pictures of the woman taken by the man who victimized her after he uploaded them to the site.

The classified advertising site Backpage has already been shut down by federal prosecutors in April of this year.

 

 

Politics and sex work...

How Anti-Sex Work Legislation Bolsters the Racist State


Link Here 4th August 2018
Alan suggests an article that urges decriminalisation and trade union organization for sex workers. He comments:

It attributes support to both Corbyn and McDonnell. There were some noises to the opposite effect about Corbyn a few weeks ago, but I've been aware of McD's support for sex workers since I worked in the neighbouring constituency (Bozza's now) 15-20 years ago.

See article from novaramedia.com by Ava Caradonna

 

 

A hard sell...

Leeds red light district scheme is on the brink of collapse


Link Here 26th July 2018
Full story: Tolerance Zones in the UK...A few local councils expeirement with tolerance zones for sex workers
Britain's first legal red light district is on the brink of collapse ahead of a key meeting as neighbours claim that there has been a surge in drug-taking and public sex

The project in Leeds was designed to protect vulnerable women from violence by regulating prostitution.

A key architect of the scheme admitted it is on the brink of collapse. Executive councillor Mark Dobson told the Telegraph: Unless the scheme is seen to work, it will fail -- and it is failing.

The zone in Holbeck was created four years ago with the aim of stopping sex trafficking and violence and combatting sexually transmitted diseases by regulating the sex trade. Men can buy sex between 8pm and 6am without the women being arrested, and a map of the district is available online. The project in Leeds was designed to protect vulnerable women from violence by regulating prostitution The project in Leeds was designed to protect vulnerable women from violence by regulating prostitution

Last year it was revealed that the number of rapes and sex assaults reported to police have increased in the red light district. Rapes reported to police in the Beeston and Holbeck Ward -- covering a wider area than the red light zone -- were 13 in 2012, 15 in 2013 and 22 in 2014. Sex assaults reported to police are currently more than double the number before the zone was introduced.

 

 

Commented: Sneering at men just for wanting to get laid...

Feminist and religious moralist MPs call for the internet censorship of anything to do with sex work


Link Here 8th July 2018
A campaign group of anti-sex works MPs comprising of feminists and religious moralists have just published a biased campaign document claiming all the usual bogies about trafficking, organised crime and so on.

The group misleadingly calls itself the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade, as if it was an official committee of parliament. It is not, it is just a self appointed campaign group with no attempt to include MPs independent of the campaign nor to represent the wider views of Parliament.

Of course sex workers are definitely not party to the report., and in fact have been protesting against the report to highlight its lack of independence and representation of sex worker input.

A roughly 200-strong collection of sex workers and activists came out to Parliament Square on Wednesday to make their case, with banners such as "Decriminalise sex work, for safety's sake."

The report titled Behind Closed Doors targets technology based tools used by modern sex workers, such as pop-up brothels using Airbnb, and internet platforms like Vivastreet and Adultwork, claimed to be the most significant enablers of sex-work and sex trafficking.

The Labour MP Sarah Champion iused the report to call for internet censorship along the lines of the US FOSTA internet censorship. By making internet platforms liable to penalties for content posted by their users, they end up censoring and blocking large swathes of related content just in case something prohibited gets through. In America the law makers specifically prohibit material that aids sex trafficking, but because there is no obvious way of checking whether an advert is for a legal sex worker or for a trafficked sex worker, then the companies have to take down the legal stuff too. In fact the effects are so wide spread that even dating services have been taken down just in case traffickers are lurking somewhere amongst the dating couples.

But the campaigners don't stop there, comments to the media suggests a push for the UK to adopt The Nordic Model, a legal framework in which the selling of sexual services is legal but the purchase of those services is criminalised. The model has been largely panned by sex workers, activists and researchers as ineffective and unsafe.

Furthermore in light of the publicity for the report, Jeremy Corbyn was asked by Sky's Sophy Ridge about the subject and he came out in favour of the #Nordic model model of criminalising men buying sex.

So, as usual from the 'progressive' left are enjoying a good sneer at men, and will happily see them imprisoned and fined just for wanting to get laid.

Comment: Disappointed by Corbyn

8th July 2018. Thanks to Alan

I'm disappointed to hear Jeremy Corbyn apparently backing the Nordic Model. In the past, he has favoured decriminalisation, to loud squeals from the pointless and reliably mouthy Jess Phillips. John McDonnell, by contrast, has always been on the side of sex workers.

I am baffled by the behaviour of nominally Labour politicians who prattle about sex work while ignoring sex workers. I can't imagine Champion or Phillips spouting about railways without talking to the RMT and ASLEF or about higher education without consultation with the UCU. I think the organizations representing sex workers should hammer this point home at every opportunity.

 

 

Offsite Article: Buffet Club...


Link Here 10th June 2018
What it's like to go to an underground sex club in Camden

See article from metro.co.uk

 

 

Updated: The Sex Business...

21, 22, 23 May on Channel 5 at 10pm


Link Here 26th May 2018
A new documentary on the porn industry, featuring interviews with well-known British adult performers Ashley Ryder and Kiki Minaj, airs on Channel 5 over 3 nights, Monday to Wednesday at 10pm.

If the advance previews of The Sex Business are any indication, both Ryder and Minaj speak in generally positive terms about their experiences working in porn.

The first episode is titled Porn Stars , while parts two and three are called Working From Home and Working the Streets , and focus on the escort business and street prostitution, respectively.

Update: A few complaints

26th May 2018. See  article from thesun.co.uk

Channel 5's The Sex Business featured full romps, a close-up of a male climax, violent S&M and street hookers using drugs. Channel 5's The Sex Business featured hookers, prostitutes and a dominatrix. Other scenes were too explicit to describe in a family newspaper.

Three 10pm episodes looked at the lives of porn stars, home-based hookers and street prostitutes.

The episode about the escorts earned 15 complaints to Ofcom whilst the porn episode scored 21.

 

 

Commented: Sham Inquiry from the self-appointed partisan UK Parliamentary Group on Prostitution...

The MPs should jail themselves for causing prostitution by legislating for crap economic prospects for people


Link Here 24th May 2018
A self-appointed group of MPs, that got together for the sole purpose of lobbying for the criminalisation of sex workers' clients, conduct Inquiry and recommend the criminalisation of clients! No surprise there then.

Cari Mitchell, spokeswoman for the English Collective of Prostitutes, commented:

Criminalisation, whether of sex workers or clients, drives prostitution further underground, increasing stigma, discrimination and the risk of violence.

In Ireland, reported incidences of violent crime against sex workers have risen by almost 50%. In France, a two-year evaluation of the law found 42% of sex workers are more exposed to violence and 38% have found it increasingly hard to demand use of condom. In Norway, despite claims that sex workers have been decriminalised, forced evictions, prosecutions and increased stigma are prevalent with migrant workers particularly targeted. One sex worker explained:

Before we did not go far with the customer: we would go to a car park nearby. But now the customer wants to go somewhere isolated because they are afraid. I don't like it. There is more risk that something bad happens.

As for Sweden, the poster child for laws criminalising clients: 63% of sex workers said the law has created more prejudice; plus, there is no convincing empirical evidence that the law has resulted in a decline in sex work in Sweden, which was the law's principal ambition.

The other "revelation" from the APPG is that there has been an increase in prostitution. Ms Mitchell commented:

Blaming the internet for a prostitution "boom" puts the APPG in the same camp as Ian Duncan Smith, who notably attributed the increase in people going to food banks on growing " awareness " of food banks.

If the APPG is truly interested in reducing prostitution why isn't their headline recommendation the abolition of benefit sanctions, directly linked with the rise in prostitution, especially on the street? It seems the APPG is more taken with the sensationalised, sexed-up story of pop-up brothels. Sex workers feel exploited and not by prostitution.

If well-meaning MPs want to save women from sex work then take action against zero-hour contracts, low wages and exploitative bosses in the jobs that are the alternatives to prostitution. Support sex workers like we hope you support other workers fighting to improve pay and conditions.

As for the proposal to clamp down on online advertising, evidence from the US shows that such laws (SESTA and FOSTA) make it harder for the police to identify violence.

Why did this Inquiry even need to happen? The prestigious cross-party Home Affairs Committee did a comprehensive Inquiry and recommended that sex workers on the street and working together in premises be decriminalised.

Decriminalisation isn't perfect -- we are all going to have to put our shoulder to the wheel if we want to win a fairer and more humane society, but it removes a grave injustice suffered daily by sex workers. Thousands of cis and trans women a year are arrested, given prostitute cautions, are victims of criminal charges or civil orders and are suffering other grievous abuse and being denied protection. Decriminalisation as introduced in New Zealand has improved sex workers' working conditions and made it easier for those who want to get out, to do so. Over 90% of sex workers said they had additional employment, legal, health and safety rights (including 64.8% who said they found it easier to refuse clients -- a key marker of exploitation).

Finally, on trafficking. Until there is a public apology for the fabricated statistics  that claimed that 80% of sex workers are victims of trafficking, why should anyone believe this APPG's figures? Research from the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women found that criminalising sex workers' clients does not reduce sex work or trafficking. Instead, it infringes on sex workers' rights and obstructs anti-trafficking efforts.

Offsite Comment: Wrong to suggest criminalising the buying of sex

22nd May 2018. See article from metro.co.uk by Miranda Kane

Good to see a supportive opinion piece in the Metro:

Another day, another flurry of media and morality where the world is convinced sex trafficking is around every corner.

This time it's courtesy of a group of self appointed MPs who make up the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade.

Spoilers 203 none of them are, or ever have been, actual sex workers. (As far as I know.)

...Read the full article from metro.co.uk

Comment: Agency deniers

24th May 2018. From Alan

Great article by the Metro journalist.

What baffles me is the way this shower of politicians, many of whom self-define as feminists, want to deny agency to women, as do many feminist journalists e.g. Bennett, Ellen, Moore, Bindel (who’s so rabid a rad fem that when I first encountered her I thought the piece was a satirical parody). Zoe Williams in the Graun, to her credit, did collaborate with Pandora Blake, but in the main they seem quite oblivious to reason. Confront them with, say, Max M’s lady friend who continued to work as a pro submissive, and occasional dome, after getting her Ph.D. and the silly buggers just ignore the evidence.

 

 

Offsite Article: Another US bill is set to target the adult consensual sex industry in the name of trafficking...


Link Here 26th April 2018
Many large banks currently refuse accounts for adult industry businesses. The new legislation will allow the Treasury Department to place additional pressure in banks to refuse loans and accounts for adult businesses.

See article from avn.com

 

 

Fine words and not so fine actions...

Police claim that they are turning a blind eye to brothel based sex workers but the English Collective of Prostitutes say that this is simply not true


Link Here 18th April 2018

A policeman speaking on the Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC 1 has said that brothels are being given the green light by police and that they should not be raided if sex workers are safe and there through their own free will.

National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) Lead for Prostitution & Sex Working, Assistant Chief Constable Dan Vajzovic, said that their priority is to keep these people safe and crack down on those who use their position to exploit the vulnerable. He said:

Enforcement alone has proven to be an inadequate response to prostitution. Officers will now consider a range of factors, including the safety of those sex workers involved, before deciding on whether prosecution is the most appropriate response to an offence.

One brothel owner, himself a former police officer, says that he is aware that he could be arrested but he is so confident that he will not be that he has even called police himself about two of the women working in his premises.

The latest NPCC guidance, which is distributed to police forces across England and Wales, says that officers should take a victim centred approach to sex workers treating them not as offenders per se but people who may become victims of crime for whom police services have a responsibility to protect. It stresses that police should avoid inappropriate tactical responses as these can have lasting harmful impacts on relationships between the Police, local outreach and support networks and individual sex workers.

Fine words from the police but the English Collective of Prostitutes point out that that the policeman is speaking bollox. Laura Watson, ECP spokeswoman commented:

Hundreds of sex workers a year are arrested, raided, prosecuted and imprisoned. Brothel-keeping laws are most commonly used against women working together in premises for safety. This forces people to choose between working alone or breaking the law. At a time when unemployment, benefit cuts and sanctions, lowering wages, increased homelessness, and debt are forcing more women, particularly mothers, into prostitution, why are the police persecuting and criminalising women trying to earn a living.

Criminalisation devastates lives. Women lose their income; can lose their home and their savings etc. The threat of criminalisation means sex workers can't report violence without fear of arrest, and for those of us who are migrant, deportation .

Why has there been no protest about this from politicians or even from those feminists who put themselves forward as experts. As the woman interviewed by Victoria Derbyshire said: I would say to these feminists . . . how dare you tell me what I can and cannot do and what my rights are as a woman; call yourself a feminist?

 

 

Offsite Article: Scrubbed clean: why a certain kind of sex is vanishing from the internet...


Link Here 2nd April 2018
A US government effort to fight online sex trafficking has cleansed many sites of personal ads and consensual eroticism, in a shift advocates say amounts to dangerous censorship. By Erin McCormick in San Francisco

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Sex workers worry about UK adoption of new US internet censorship law...


Link Here 1st April 2018
As is already happening in the US, vital websites for sex workers could be shut down by laws supposedly aimed at curbing trafficking. By Dulcie Lee

See article from prostitutescollective.net

 

 

Offsite Article: Temporary respite from danger...


Link Here 19th March 2018
The dangerous myth of the pop-up brothel. By Dulcie Lee

See article from prostitutescollective.net

 

 

Offsite Article: If sex workers can't advertise online, it forces them on to the street...


Link Here 7th March 2018
The war on pop-up brothels criminalises one of the ways sex workers try to stay safe, and leads to more being harmed. By Molly Smith

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Pop-up censors...

Politicians, censors and campaigners scent blood in getting Facebook and Google to censor their pet peeves, in this case pop-up brothels


Link Here 5th March 2018

Google and Facebook accused of supposedly profiting from pop-up brothels and sex clubs sweeping Britain

Ministers are reportedly considering new laws to make internet giants liable when sex workers use their sites to organise business.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) are supporting the propaganda and claim Google and Facebook are making profits from sex trafficking, according to the Times.

Pop up sex clubs have been discovered in Cornwall, Cambridge, Swindon and holiday cottages in the Peak District. Will Kerr, the NCA's 'head of vulnerabilities', claimed:

People are using the internet and social media sites to enable sexual exploitation and trafficking. It is clear that the internet platforms which host and make a profit out of this type of material need to do more to identify and stop these forms of exploitation.

Government figures want internet giants like Facebook to be held accountable, eying new US laws that are set to overturn more than 20 years of blanket immunity for sites for content posted by users. It will make firms liable if they knowingly assist, support or facilitate content that leads to trafficking.

Downing Street and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said they are looking at whether and how to replicate the action in the UK.

 

 

View from the Oxfam lynch mob...

Catherine Bennett spewing about the Nordic model - again!


Link Here 19th February 2018

Have a look - if you can tolerate it - at Catherine Bennett's latest outpouring of whorephobic, misandric bile in the Observer. The silly moo completely denies agency to sex workers.

It's as if Max Mosley's friend with the Ph.D. continuing as professional submissive - presumably as a rational choice because it yields more dosh for shorter hours than organic chemistry - passes over her head.

What is a purportedly liberal newspaper doing employing this squalid authoritarian?

See  Catherine Bennett's article: If paying for sex is wrong in Haiti, why do we still tolerate it in the UK. From theguardian.com

 

 

Updated: Plastic container deposit charges...

Sex doll company sets up test drive sessions at its Tyneside warehouse


Link Here 26th January 2018
Lovedoll UK, a major retailer of life-like sex dolls, has launched a try before you buy service in a warehouse on an industrial park in Gateshead, Tyneside.

Customers can try out realistic sex dolls worth up to £2,000 at the company's warehouse, in sessions costing £100-an-hour.

Lovedoll UK owner Graham admitted that the try before you buy service is a precursor to a sex doll brothel akin to the Lumidolls venue in Barcelona, Spain.

We're offering the service to bring in more customers and convince those customers who are on the fence [about buying a sex doll], he said.

Lovedoll UK has already faced resistance from call girls working in Gateshead, in Tyne and Wear. Graham said sex workers are afraid his company will steal their jobs. He said:

I have spoken to escort services before about bringing sex dolls into brothels -- but they are scared. I don't know why they are, it may just require more of a vision than they have.

Graham allows clients to take his sex dolls into a room containing a double bed, lube and condoms for testing and inspection. Customers using the service must provide their contact details and pay in advance.

Update: Inevitably the miserable local council claims you can't play with a doll without a licence

24th January 2018. See  article from bbc.com

A business selling adult sex dolls is being investigated over rmiserable concerns it could be operating without council permission.

Gateshead Council said it was investigating whether a sex establishment licence is required.

Such a licence covers premises selling sex videos, or venues where explicit films are shown to members of the public, and those where sexual entertainment such as pole dancing and strip shows take place. Shops selling sex toys have not generally been required to get licences, though occasionally councils have tried to claim that licences were required.

Gateshead Council said:

We are currently trying to establish the facts so that all of the relevant services and agencies can be involved and an informed decision can be made about what action, if any, the council can take.

 

 

The Stazi Police State of Redbridge in London...

Is proposing to criminalise people hanging around, sex workers, their customers and anyone caught spitting or insulting anyone


Link Here 21st January 2018
Redbridge Council has organised a consultations on an extreme set of repressive measures, totally out of all proportion with the reported problem:

Following the recent Fairness Commission undertaken by Redbridge Council, Prostitution was identified as a local issue. As part of the local response to prostitution, a Scrutiny Working Group was convened to look at Routes Out of Prostitution.

The working group found that many of the complaints received by the Council are in relation to the reluctance of residents to visit certain areas of the borough as they have been approached by those attempting to purchase sex. The associated noise, sex litter and the widespread use of stickers on street furniture and elsewhere have also been raised as concerns by residents.

Therefore, one of the recommendations made by the working group was to introduce a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which will cover the whole of the Borough.

At present the burden of proof required to arrest, charge and get a criminal justice outcome in court for kerb crawlers means that specialist Police resources are required. The PSPO will instead enable Police and Council officers to fine (2£100) individuals they believe are buying sex. This will have an immediate impact on the perpetrator whilst keeping officers out on the street maintaining a strong enforcement presence. The overall aim of the PSPO is to reduce antisocial behaviour and improve public spaces across the borough.

The Order will last for a period of three years unless revoked by the Council. We are engaging with residents to see if they support the proposed PSPO.

The proposed measures in the PSPO are:
  • No person shall be verbally abusive to any person or behave in a way which causes or is likely to cause harassment alarm or distress to another person.
  • No person shall urinate, defecate, spit or leave litter in a public place. This includes the doorway or alcove of any premises to which the public has access.
  • No persons shall gather in groups of two or more whilst engaging in nuisance or criminal behaviour. This will not apply to persons waiting for a scheduled bus at a designated bus stop unless they are engaging in nuisance or criminal behaviour.
  • No person shall post stickers which advertise prostitution'
  • No person shall attempt to buy sexual services from another person

Have you say about the council's proposals at consultations.redbridge.gov.uk , it's very easy to register your approval or not and is not limited to residents.

The deadline for responses is Sunday 11 March.

Sex workers have their say

21st January 2018. See  article from prostitutescollective.net

Redbridge Council have launched a consultation on a proposed policy to extend Public Spaces Protection Orders to the whole borough. This would give them the power to fine people £100 for prostitution related activities and ban people from areas during particular times of the days using civil injunctions.

Please protest by filling in the consultation here .

Points to consider are:

  • Why are the council promoting further crackdowns which undermine safety instead of looking at what makes sex workers vulnerable to violence? Senior police officers at the time of the tragic murder of Marianna Popa in Redbridge in 2012, voiced concerns that "operations to tackle the trade are 'counterproductive' and likely to put the lives of women at risk ".
  • Civil orders, such as Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs), Acceptable Behaviour Contracts, Criminal Behaviour Orders, community protection notices, Public Spaces Protection Orders and dispersal notices rely on police discretion and hearsay evidence and require a lower standard of proof. Yet breach of a civil order is a criminal offence and can carry a hefty fine and even a prison sentence.
  • Police, council workers and Community Support Officers can all issue the fine if they have reason to believe a person has committed an offence. The evidence they need is extremely vague e.g. they have to be "satisfied that the effect, or likely effect, of the activities is, or is likely to be of a persistent or continuing nature and these activities are unreasonable".
  • Allowing unelected officials to fine people based on their own discretion is dangerous. It encourages discrimination, particularly sexism, racism, classism. Women of colour, immigrant and trans women are most likely to be targeted .
  • Despite claiming sex workers are 'largely there under force and should be treated as a victim' the consultation is not just about fining clients. It asks for feedback on the idea of fining people committing "any prostitution related anti-social behaviour in public spaces throughout the borough."
  • They are targeting people "gathering in groups of two or more whilst engaging in nuisance or criminal behaviour" which puts sex workers wishing to work with others for safety at risk. Who's to say what is a nuisance? The consultation also asks about more punitive measures like Civil Injunctions which could force sex workers out of the areas they live and have developed safety networks.
  • Concern about the "number of sex workers" in the area would be better addressed by measures to reduce poverty, homelessness and low wages. Does the council pay a living wage to its employees? Does it only issue contracts to companies that also pay a living wage? Has it looked at the impact of benefit sanctions, the benefit cap and other cuts on people in the borough and taken measures to address this? The council doesn't offer any concrete help to sex workers in the news article, in the consultation or in the proposed PSPO. There is no 'carrot' in their "carrot and stick approach", just more money for the council and fewer spaces that sex workers can exist in.
  • These measures are disproportionate to the resident's original complaints of litter, commercial stickers, and some people being approached by people wishing to buy sex. Bins and other resources could be used to address these problems. The council are using the complaints as an excuse to gain wide-ranging punitive powers.

 


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