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March 26th link roundup
* Journalist celebrity and sex trafficking hysteric Nick Kristof has been caught in a big lie in a recent column attacking Backpage.com.
* In the wake of the viral Kony 2012 video, there has a been a lot of excellent discussion about Westerners' approaches to trying to "help" the developing world, such as this piece: The White Savior Industrial Complex. While not directly about sex workers' rights, many of these issues are shared by our movement.
* Australian NGO Grey Man has been in the news again after it was exposed for faking rescues of "child sex slaves" in Thailand in order to get donations.
* Willamette Week reports on the titillating tale of how an Oregon newspaper editor, who published at least 16 anti-prostitution screeds over the years, died of a heart attack while having sex with an escort.
* A group of escorts in Madrid have made international headlines by refusing to accept banker clients until the country's banks start lending to middle-class families and small businesses again.
* The North Carolina Harm Reduction recently produced a video that discusses the violence experienced by (mostly street-based) sex workers, how these abuses are fueled by criminalization, plus tips about how to keep yourself safe.
On Reason.com: New Mexico Cop on Paid Leave While Being Investigated for Raping Sex Workers.
* To end on positive news, a report from Australia's New South Wales government is making waves by showing how legalized prostitution has led to what's being called the world's safest and healthiest sex workers.
March 19th link roundup
* First, a big congratulations to Durbar/DMSC, an amazing sex workers' rights project in India, as they celebrate their 20th anniversary.
* In heartening mainstream coverage, both AskMen.com and The Huffington Post have recently had sex worker-positive articles.
* Dr Laura Agustín wrote about a recent report from Empower, Thai sex workers: Anti-trafficking Rescues are Our Biggest Problem. Also see Empower's new video, Last Rescue in Siam. You can read more about Empower on their own web site, empowerfoundation.org.
* Progress may be coming in the Long Island serial killer(s) case: a new police chief is stepping in to give the case a fresh look.
* No matter how many hundreds of consenting adults Honolulu keeps arresting in their anti-prostitution sweeps, they just can't find any trafficking victims. Anti-sex trafficking hysterics insist that this means more arrests are needed.
* In other news, a Texas truck driver has been charged with murdering one prostitute, and is suspected of killing several others.
* Last week, Los Angeles police were conducting a huge prostitution sting. Stacey Swimme of SWOP Los Angeles had a chance to respond in this radio interview.
* Eminism offers Further thoughts on the economics of “end demand” campaigns against sex trafficking.
March 12th link roundup
* In New York, a campaign is underway to change a law that says that carrying condoms can be used against you as evidence of prostitution. Read about the issue on Human Rights Watch, or in The Atlantic.
* Amidst the fallout from Rush Limbaugh's comments on birth control being for sluts and prostitutes, The Gloss published Let’s Stop Insulting People By Comparing Them To Sex Workers (And Sluts!)
* In Edmonton, Canada, a police officer believes there is a serial killer responsible for the murders of at least 30 prostitutes in the area.
* A California teacher has been suspended after it was revealed that she has appeared in porn. Former sex workers are often fired from "straight" jobs if it comes to light that they used to be in the industry.
* "An independent lawyer appointed to represent the interests of aboriginals at the inquiry into the Robert Pickton case announced her resignation Monday, condemning the hearings for failing to listen to a marginalized people who overwhelmingly made up the serial killer's victims."
* A Canadian gay newspaper published a piece on Cambodian sex workers' rights organizing with the Women's Network for Unity.
* The Nation also recently covered sex work and sex trafficking issues in South East Asia, with a spotlight on Thailand's Empower Foundation.
March 5th link roundup
* A sad reminder of how criminalization enables violence against sex workers: New Mexico Cop on Paid Leave While Being Investigated for Raping Sex Workers.
* A mainstream Nashville news station recently asked, Prostitution Stings: Too Costly?
* Kimberly Kupps, the Florida woman prosecuted for making porn in the privacy of her own home, has taken a plea deal to put the case behind her.
* Dr Laura Agustín published Sex Trafficking: Not Inside the Business of Modern Slavery in CounterPunch.
* As LA's new condoms-in-porn laws go into effect this week, we wanted to remind you that porn performers themselves oppose these regulations. See pieces by Kimberly Kane and Lorelei Lee.
* Fashion designer Marc Jacobs is celebrating his new store in Las Vegas with a benefit shirt for SWOP Las Vegas!
February 27th link roundup
* As the new regulations of porn in Los Angeles are about to go into effect, porn star Kimberly Kane wrote This Porn Star Doesn't Think Much of the LA Condom Law in Vice Magazine.
* Reason Magazine published its thoughts on the topic in LA's Insane War on the Porn Industry.
* Massachusetts is increasing penalties for consensual adult prostitution under the guise of saving children from sex trafficking. A mainstream news article in the Boston Herald actually mentions both sides of the story, pointing out that prostitutes themselves disagree with how they are portrayed by law enforcement as inherently victims.
* Tampa police have introduced unconstitutional "Prostitution Enforcement Zones," barring entry to certain areas of the city by people who have ever been arrested on suspicion of prostitution. Police made 25 arrests during a two-day sting meant to ensnare people under the new PEZ law.
* Last but not least, there are a bunch of new events around the country in the coming month, so check out our calendar.
February 15th link roundup
* The Australian charity The Grey Man continues to get bad press for its complete faking and photoshopping of an alleged "rescue" of Thai children from sex trafficking. Read about it in The Brisbane Times and an opinion piece that gets into broader sex workers' rights issues.
* In more Australian news, Elena Jeffreys of the Scarlet Alliance wrote It's time to fund sex worker NGOs.
* Offbeat Mama, a parenting blog, published a story from a mother about escorting to support her children, and the comments are almost entirely positive.
* In medical news, Study of HIV-resistant sex workers could lead to better AIDS vaccine.
* Ottawa's "Human Lending Library," where one can "check out" a person for 20 minutes to discuss their lives, includes a stripper and a prostitute.
* Researcher Dr Laura Agustín posted an 1858 letter from a prostitute who resisted the notion of "fallen" women needing saving.
February 9th link roundup
* The San Francisco Bay Guardian published a positive piece about SWOP Bay Area, sex workers' rights, and the Google campaign.
* Two sex workers have recently discussed what coming out meant to them. See pieces from Jessie of SWOP Los Angeles about her stepfather's discovery of her blog, and Jiz Lee shares their experiences and advice in Come Out Like a Porn Star.
February 3rd link roundup
* The Village Voice continues their war on sex trafficking hysteria with The Super Bowl Prostitution Hoax, which addresses the myth that large sporting events summon a tsunami of sex trafficking and sexual slavery.
* Simi Valley, a suburb of Los Angeles, is considering passing their own mandatory condoms-on-porn laws. Porn performers themselves strongly oppose such over-regulation.
* Melissa Gira Grant discusses the problems with a new anti-prostitution scare tactic: creating a DNA database of men suspected of paying for sexual services.
January 26th link roundup
* Sex workers, queer and trans people, and civil liberties supporters are fighting Washington DC's proposal to make its temporary "prostitution-free zones" into permanent ones.
* Read testimony from the DC Trans Coalition, a link and tweet collection on SWOP-LA's blog, and a Washington Post article about the unconstitutionality of the laws.
* Researcher Dr Laura Agustín published an article in Counter Punch, The Soft Side of Imperialism: Kristof and the Rescue Industry.
* Reason Magazine's Jacob Sullum wrote about the controversy swirling around online sex work and adult advertisements: Is Backpage Responsible for Kidnapping and Rape?
* Forbes Magazine also covered the topic of Backpage.com and sex work ads this week.
* Up north, Canada's Supreme Court is set to decide who is allowed to make a Charter of Rights challenge to Canada's sex trade laws.
January 19th link roundup
* Los Angeles has now passed a law requiring condoms to be used in porn shot in the city. Performers themselves have fought against such government intervention, since multi-hour shoots with condoms are more difficult, cause friction and soreness, and can lead to chaffing that will make one's delicate skin more susceptible to contracting STIs. Some in the mainstream porn industry are considering relocating outside of LA.
* Porn performer Lorelei Lee explains the politics of the issue in her Alternet piece, Why I'm Against Government Mandated Condom Use in Porn.
* Audacia Ray posted Five Reasons Sex Workers in the US Should Care About the International AIDS Conference.
* Alternet published Melissa Gira Grant's Confiscating Condoms? The Dumbfounding Ways Police Deal With Prostitution.
* Some of My Best Moves Can Hurt You: Elle talks about self-defense and martial arts training.
* On the new Shit They Say to Sex Workers blog, a group of Australian sex workers posted a video of things people most commonly tell or ask us.
January 12th link roundup
* The big item this week is the LA City Council's preliminary approval of requiring condoms to be used in all porn shot in LA. Read news and responses on Counter Punch, LA Weekly, and XBiz. Porn performers themselves reject these efforts to "protect" them, and are generally happy with the business's current system of regular STI testing.
* An Australian NGO has been exposed for faking a "rescue" of Thai children from "sex slavery" in order to bring in money. The images of the supposedly rescued children were obtained when the group lied about their intentions by volunteering at a rural school and photographed the children of the village. See the article by journalist Andrew Drummond, and this video from Thai news (with English subtitles).
* A UK woman who was on trial for running a brothel, Sheila Farmer, wrote Life is hard enough for prostitutes without our work being criminalised: "I decided to fight the case as my tumour is now malignant and my time is running out."
* Race Talk posted three articles on January 11th in honor of Human Trafficking Awareness Day: Building Effective Anti-Trafficking Efforts: Drivers as Allies by Sienna Baskin, Human Trafficking of Immigrant Transgender Women: Hidden in the Shadows by Crystal DeBoise, and State Anti-Immigrant Laws and Human Trafficking by Ivy O. Suriyopas.
January 6th link roundup
* There is a possible new serial killer targeting sex workers, this time in Detroit. Four bodies have been recovered so far, all have been reportedly linked to ads on Backpage.com. Of course, the media focus is on blaming a web site which hosts adult ads, not the murder(s). Read a rebuttal of that mentality here.
* A Utah man who admitted to murdering two prostitutes in 2008 because he "wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone" would like to be released from prison early because he now realizes that he shouldn't have done so.
* The typically anti-sex work Huffington Post published Prostitution In Canada: Pattern Of Police Repression Makes Sex Work More Dangerous, Experts Say.
* In Toys for Tatas: Sex Workers and Charity, Catherine wrote on sex workers being criticized for donating to charities.
* The blog post for the International Union of Sex Workers discussed the Google campaign.
* Australian sex workers' rights activist Elena Jeffreys had an opinion piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald: Pay heed to those who know.
* Bobbi Starr blogged about why Porn Should Get Political.
December 29th link roundup
* The Western world is on holiday, but don't forget about the Google campaign.
* An AIDS advocacy group is trying to pass a law requiring condoms in porn in LA, despite HIV being extremely rare in mainstream porn: Mandatory Condom Law Qualifies for Ballot. Porn performers almost universally reject mandatory condom laws and prefer making their own choices.
* In Bitch Magazine, Emi Koyama writes about the simplistic mentality of the anti-trafficking movement, and a new evangelical Christian NGO openly planning to use ex-military personnel as accountability-free mercenaries in the "war on trafficking."
December 22nd link roundup
* Google is donating $11.5 million to "ending modern day slavery," three groups sharing that fund are known for their moralizing and dehumanizing anti-sex worker positions: International Justice Mission, the Polaris Project, and Not for Sale. Please see full details on our Google campaign page.
* Protests at Google offices occurred in Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. More plans coming soon!
* See a PDF of the handout the Seattle protest used, which you're free to distribute, especially in or near Google offices in your area.
* Links about the Google issue so far: SWOP Bay Area's photos and protest summary, NC Harm Reduction Coalition's re-working of our campaign page into a post on DailyKos.com, porn and adult novelty trade magazine XBiz published Sex Workers Rallying to Protest Google's Funding of Morality Groups, WebProNews posted Google 'Gives Back' To Some Dubious NGOs, and the Google campaign was mentioned on the SAFER Campus blog.
* In response to the Google donations, researcher Laura Agustín made a list of some of her posts on why sex workers reject the rescue industry.
* Around the world, sex workers commemorated December 17th, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Post-event information been posted by SWOP Chicago and SWOP Denver, and here is a snapshot and a short video clip from SWOP Bay's jazz funeral for sex workers.
* From RH Reality Check: Police Abuse of Sex Workers: A Global Reality, Widely Ignored.
* In the UK, the Home Office will start funding an "ugly mugs" (bad date/dangerous client) program to be run by the UK Network of Sex Work Projects and launched in spring 2012.
* In Cambodia, the Phnom Penh Post reports on concerns that "anti-trafficking" crackdowns on sex workers are hampering condom distribution and the fight against HIV/AIDS.
December 15th link roundup
* Google announced this week that they are making the largest-ever corporate donation to "ending modern day slavery." While fighting slavery and exploitative labor conditions is a worthy cause, Google's list of groups that will be sharing in the $11.5 million dollar fund include at least three which are known for their moralizing and dehumanizing anti-sex worker positions: International Justice Mission, the Polaris Project, and Not for Sale. SWAAY is spearheading a national response on Wednesday, December 21st with protests at Google offices around the country. See our Google campaign page for more.
* International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers is coming up on December 17. Check for local events in your area.
* The porn industry in LA may be battling a ballot initiative this coming June that would mandate condom use in porn, a measure that most porn performers oppose. The city of Los Angeles has filed suit to fight this ballot initiative.
* Jessica Land reports on the Summit on Sex Work in the South conference.
* A man on trial in LA for brutally murdering porn star Felicia Tang was found not guilty. The jury apparently believed the defense argument that Tang's "more than 300 blunt force trauma wounds throughout her body" were self-inflicted while under the influence of the drug GHB.
* Police believe they have found the remains of Shannan Gilbert. She is a possible victim of the serial killer(s) preying on sex workers in Long Island, New York.
* Sadie Lune tweeted that she is still seeking contributions for the Whore Lover anthology from cisgender (non-transgender) men.
December 7th link roundup
* International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers is coming up on December 17. Check for local events in your area, there are things happening all over the world.
* Looking for awesome holiday gifts for your favorite sex worker, ally, or curious friend? Check out SWAAY's store, and consider buying one of the recommended books on our resource page through our Amazon links (we'll get a kickback).
* Charlotte Shane wrote about why it is offensive and incorrect to joke about or insist that all sex workers are victims of childhood abuse.
* Washington State Democrats, inspired by Ashton Kutcher's campaign, are working on new legislation targeting sex work advertisements in the name of "stopping child sex trafficking."
* Tom Matlack at The Good Men Project posted Men Who Buy Sex: Male Bashing Won't Fix Sex Trafficking.
* In France, politicians are going after prostitution through the "end demand" strategy of targeting clients for arrest and punishment.
* Laura Agustín writes more on the politics of Nick Kristof's quest to be a savior in Kristof's seventh-grade sex slave, censorship and colonialism.
* A Cambodian women's empowerment project also discussed Kristof recently: Implications of insensitive media coverage of human trafficking.
December 1st link roundup
* International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers is coming up on December 17. Check for local events in your area.
* During the Canadian inquiry into serial killer Robert Pickton, who killed dozens of sex workers, it's been revealed that cops watched porn, skipped work instead of investigating missing women.
* A Fox News reporter in Massachusetts outed a local teacher as having appeared in porn movies 20 years ago.
* Matthew Greenall writes about sex worker issues and HIV in the developing world on World AIDS Day.
* Not only is The Salvation Army anti-sex worker, they also have a long track record of being anti-queer. Why You Shouldn't Donate to the Salvation Army Bell Ringers.
* Furry Girl lists the common logical fallacies deployed by anti-sex worker activists.
November 23rd link roundup
* In Vancouver, Canada, two harm reduction groups (PACE and PEERS) that work with street-based prostitutes are closing or possibly closing do to lack of funding.
* New York's state senate is still mulling over a "no condoms as evidence" bill.
* A belated hat-tip to this piece from Audacia Ray posted earlier this month: Report From 2011's Sex Worker Open University.
* The LAPD has released a sketch and currently searching for a suspect who shot and killed one transgender sex worker, and shot at another.
* Wendy Lyon writes about anti-sex worker activists' quest to discredit sex workers' rights activists as "not representative."
* Activist Jessie Nicole of SWOP-LA explains Why I Don’t Engage With Anti-Sex-Worker Advocates.
* The Conceit of Nicholas Kristof: Rescuing sex slaves as saintliness by Laura Agustín.
November 16th link roundup
* As the Backpage.com fight rages on, Michelle Chen posted Making Sex Workers Visible in the Village Voice Media Ad Controversy.
* On Bound Not Gagged, trafficking survivor Jill Brenneman speaks out: Protest Against BackPage Harms Sex Workers AND Trafficking Victims.
* In the UK, research suggests that immigration status a bigger problem for sex workers than trafficking.
* Laura Agustín writes on the mentality of people in the rescue industry: The Thrill of Rescue: trafficking, slavery and prestige.
* An inquiry in British Columbia has concluded that "RCMP officers made critical errors in their investigation of serial killer Robert Pickton that likely delayed his arrest until 2002 and let him continue murdering sex trade workers." See the article for the avalanche of errors, delays, and non-interest from the police that plagued the tragic case.
* In Toronto? Researcher Laura Agustín will be speaking at Ryerson University.
November 10th link roundup
* SWAAY's sex workers' rights billboard has concluded its run in LA. See photos and media coverage.
* The Village Voice continues their series on debunking trafficking and sex work myths with Lost Boys: New research demolishes the stereotype of the underage sex worker. See more commentary on Tits and Sass.
* In the UK, an incoming assistant police commissioner supports "alternative approaches" to the criminalization of sex workers.
* Salon.com covers the real story behind the latest anti-brothel/anti-trafficking publicity stunt by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.
* Washington DC politicians mull over further criminalizing vulnerable street-based prostitutes through the expansion of "prostitution-free zones."
* Juliana Piccillo posts photos from a memorial for murdered sex workers in Mexico City.
* This month's Karmapervs, Jiz Lee's porno fundraiser, will be benefiting SWING in Thailand.
November 1st link roundup
* SWAAY's mobile sex workers' rights billboard is running in Los Angeles during the daytime from the 1st to 8th! Check back next week for a a rundown of media coverage. Thank you to project donors!
* The St. James Infirmary, a sex worker clinic in San Francisco, is also currently running a media campaign. See a sampling of their media coverage in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
* XBiz posted an update on the case of Kimberly Kupps, the Florida woman fighting an obscenity prosecution for making porn with her husband in their home.
* SWOP New York City posted Why Are Sex Workers and Their Allies Occupying Wall Street?
* The San Francisco Bay Guardian had an interesting historical piece on a 1917 prostitute march.
* The Village Voice has responded to a full-page ad placed in the New York Times by a religious group, which accused the company of child sex slavery because they allow adult service ads.
October 27th link roundup
* Irish sex workers' rights group Turn Off The Blue Light has posted a list of the group's achievements during their first six months.
* Earlier this year, the body of former porn star Anneka Di Lorenzo was discovered by joggers in Southern California. Local media coverage has been sympathetic, and police are asking people to come forward with any information about the possible murder.
* A religious group placed a full-page ad in the New York Times attacking Backpage.com's escort ads, claiming that children are "sold for sex" on the site.
* An Assistant State Attorney General in New York has quit amid allegations that she was moonlighting as a dominatrix.
* A Houston security guard has been charged with the murders of two prostitutes, while also facing charges of sexual assault against three other prostitutes.
* The Society for the Study of Social Problems now supports the decriminalization of sex work.
* In Iceland - a feminist-run country with anti-sex worker policies - a citizen vigilante group has been posing as sex workers in order to expose men seeking to hire them.
* Atheist blogger Greta Christina wrote Sex Work and the Power of Choice, which got so much negative reaction that she further clarified her defense of sex work in a second post.
October 18th link roundup
* Last weekend, there was apparently a "National Day of Johns Arrest," where police around the country set up stings to arrest potential clients. The police netted over 200 arrests, and the campaign expected to kick off even more "sweeps."
* Toronto sex workers' rights group Maggie's is turning 25, and you're invited to the party.
* Also in Canadian news, a Vancouver public inquiry has launched to examine why the police were so slow to act on Robert Pickton, a prolific serial killer who murdered dozens of sex workers. However, many civil rights, advocacy, and First Nations groups have pulled out in protest of the government's refusal to help defray the legal expenses of being involved in the inquiry.
* A sex worker named Sarai Michaels was stabbed to death last week in Chicago, and the police have the suspect in custody. See SWOP Chicago's statement on the tragedy.
* The accused killer of porn performer Felicia Tang will go on trial next month in California.
* Jiz Lee's Karma Pervs porn fundraiser for this month will benefit wolf and wildlife protection.
October 11th link roundup
* San Francisco's St James Infirmary, which provides free health services to sex workers, is launching a media campaign on public transit. (See more information and the posters for Someone You Know is a Sex Worker.) The project is generating mainstream buzz, such as this Huffington Post piece.
* On October 16th, the St James Infirmary is having a media campaign launch party in San Francisco.
* The Baltimore Sun reported on the problem of police refusing to listen to sexual assault claims lodged by sex workers. Baltimore apparently leads the nation in the number of rape reports discarded by detectives.
* Researcher Laura Agustín shared an inspiring gallery of photos of sex workers activism around the world.
* Tits and Sass posted The Language of Selling Yourself, about how anti-sex worker activists try to shift the debate from selling a service to selling yourself.
* Porn performer Danny Wylde wrote about dating another performer in Porno Romance.
* Up north, Canadian sex workers have introduced another constitutional challenge to the country's prostitution laws, this time aimed at laws against "bawdy houses" (multiple people working together for safety).
October 3rd link roundup:
* An estimated 2000 sex workers held a protest in South Korea against the country's fairly new laws that criminalize prostitution. See a somewhat confused mainstream media video.
* Melissa Gira Grant wrote about the problems with "ending demand" and Ashton Kutcher's campaign against sex workers.
* Canada's Vancouver Sun newspaper published a rare op-ed in support of sex work.
* Researcher Laura Agustín wrote about the creepiness of poverty/sex trafficking tourism marketed at Western liberals.
* Sex Workers Outreach Project LA now has an eBay store selling buttons, t-shirts, and used clothing.
September 27th link roundup:
* A new organization for porn performers has launched, the Adult Performers' Association, "an effort to create a resource rich, supportive, educational, association for adult performers who choose to opt in, and who wish to have a voice."
* Melissa Gira Grant wrote a piece titled 'Men buy girls, not sex' and other myths of anti-prostitution moralists for the Guardian.
* A long-haul trucker has admitted to killing three prostitutes in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, and is suspected of possibly killing more.
* A lawyer has been suspended from the New York State Attorney General's Office for working as a dominatrix.
* An Iowa senator is calling for action after audits revealed at least six recipients of grants to fight human trafficking made unauthorized expenditures and incurred questionable costs.
* The New Jersey Senate panel approves a bill to spare minors from prostitution charges.
* A Wisconsin city is considering requiring escorts, massage workers, and dancers to obtain licenses. This gives the city get easy money when police find and fine anyone "escorting" without the license, without the hassles of proving in court that a suspect was engaging in other illegal acts.
* Police in New York released new information about the victims of a serial killer (or killers) in hopes of identifying them. All of the victims are believed to have been prostitutes.
* An official complaint has been filed with the American Psychology Association against anti-sex worker activist Dr Melissa Farley.
* Melissa Petro, who was fired from her teaching job a year ago after the school found out that she used to be a sex worker, wrote Studying Down: Thoughts on Sex Work, Steinem, and Self-representation.
* Long-time sex workers' rights activist Norma Jean Almodovar has written a two-part piece about the growing war on adult ads on Backpage.com.
* A Phoenix, Arizona "sacred sexuality temple" is being prosecuted for operating a house of prostitution. (The business, which also includes practices that border on practicing medicine and psychology without a license, was written about earlier this year in a local weekly paper.)
September 9th link roundup:
* Last week, the mainstream media and anti-porn activists were busy hyping a new "epidemic" of HIV in porn based on a suspected positive result out of a studio in Florida. As it turns out, several follow up HIV tests have shown the suspected HIV-carrying performer to be negative.
* Two Arizona "sacred healing temples" were raided by police this week on charges of prostitution, and over a dozen people were arrested. Whether their defense strategy of insisting that they only asked for "donations" for "healing" (rather than money for sex) will win in court remains to be seen.
* A Florida sex worker is suing the police department for use of excessive force when arresting her in 2007, which she argues has caused her permanent injuries.
September 2nd link roundup:
* The big story this week is about a possible new HIV case in the porn industry. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation and other anti-porn organizations have been excitedly hyping this rare event as proof that the porn industry is irresponsible and in the midst of an epidemic.
The Free Speech Coalition (a porn industry trade group) responds to accusations from AHF, as does Manwin, the production company at the center of the possible HIV outbreak.
* Sex workers' rights activist Jessie Nicole of SWOP LA blogged about the most common obnoxious questions she was asked while tabling at the Exxxotica adult convention.
* In a charge originally led by Ashton Kutcher (then mysterious dropped), more Attorneys General are jumping on the anti-Backpage.com bandwagon in an attempt to drive sex work ads further underground.
* A Rhode Island police officer was arrested for allegedly stealing $700 from a stripper.
August 25th link roundup:
* SWAAY's sex work billboard is still looking to find an advertising company willing to accept our design. More about who has rejected us and why is coming soon, as Epic Step looks for small and independent media companies to display our message.
* The Huffington Post publishes a rare piece questioning the hysteria and myths around sex trafficking.
* Earlier this month in Washington, DC, a police sting at a hotel arrested 74 people on prostitution-related charges.
* Laura Agustín has two great posts this week: Sex worker activism around the world: a Rights argument and Even sex-trafficked brothel workers reject raids and rescues.
Though it hasn't been updated in late 2009, this helpful breakdown compares laws around prostitution in 100 countries. Of those 100 countries, prostitution is only completely illegal in 40.
* WikiLeaks has been releasing more US embassy cables this week. See Furry Girl's blog for a summary of what some leaked documents said about sex work.
August 18th link roundup:
* SWAAY had a big success this week: we got the money together to put up the country's first sex workers' rights billboard. It should be going up in the next two weeks, and has already gotten its first small piece of media attention outside the feminist and sex blog scene.
* The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, an organization obsessed with trying to "protect" porn performers from themselves, is now gathering signatures to put mandatory barrier regulations to a vote in LA.
* In the wake of AIM's closure, and harassment from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Danny Wylde writes about the new STI testing system the porn industry is putting in place for performers.
* San Francisco's St. James Infirmary is looking for volunteers during the Folsom Street Festival.
* In sad news, Canadian sex workers' rights activist Wendy Babcock died last week. Read about her life and work on Wikipedia.
August 12th link roundup:
* Drawing on studies that many in the sexuality community have known about for years, Scientific American published a "controversial" piece that dares to suggest that viewing porn does not automatically turn men into violent abusive rapists.
* This month in stripper lawsuits, Connecticut dancers are suing their former club over shift fees.
* Tits and Sass published part two of an interview with Laura Agustín.
* A new Illinois law to help victims of forced sex trafficking serves as a double-edged sword. It's a step forward for real victims, but the law also encourages all prostitution arrestees to claim victim status, inflating trafficking numbers.
* Marty Klein takes on the privacy-violating, absurdly-named Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011.
August 2nd link roundup:
* Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher's DNA Foundation mysteriously and quietly reversed course in their campaign against escort ads, which Kutcher had loudly accused on selling child sex slaves. See coverage in Village Voice-owned Seattle Weekly, a newspaper targeted for "promoting trafficking" by Kutcher and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. As the saying goes, lies appear in headlines page one, corrections appear on page 40.
* The DNA Foundation may now be turning its erratic attention on naming and shaming clients.
* Two pieces this week about Kimberly Kupps, the Florida woman arrested for making porn in her own home: What Is "Community" in Web Obscenity Case? and an interview, The People vs. Kimberly Kupps.
* In New York, where a serial killer (or killers) preying on sex workers is still on the loose, families of the victims are doing their own investigating, including placing ads asking other sex workers for help. One family member told CNN, "I worked for a(n escort) service when I was younger. We knew we had to protect ourselves. Police were not an option."
* Charlotte at Tits and Sass interviews researcher Laura Agustín about the numbers around sex trafficking.
July 27th link roundup:
* The proposed law to make prostitution "near" schools in NYC has been signed into law. Since so much of the densely-populated city lies within 1000 feet of a school, this adds further criminalization to huge areas of NYC.
* The Free Speech Coalition is starting a new STI testing program in the wake of AIM's closure. How well it works and what porn performers think of the new system remains to be seem.
* Dr Marty Klein rebuts the Farley "study" in Disgusting, Dishonest, Damaging: Newsweek Calls YOU "The John Next Door."
* Furry Girl interviews sex work activist icon Normal Jean Almodovar about her history of organizing.
* Florida Sheriff who declared war on porn has been hit with a federal civil rights suit for harassing an atheist.
* Sex worker group blog Tits and Sass has published a top 10 anti-trafficking campaigns and top 10 anti-sex work billboards.
* A New Mexico judge has been caught on video raping a prostitute. The media is already deflecting and wondering why on earth the woman would videotape sessions with a client who had previously forced her to perform oral sex. (Smart thinking on her part!)
July 20th link roundup:
* Newsweek has joined the media panic and published a piece based on the claims of anti-sex worker activist and "researcher" Melissa Farley. (Farley focuses on hyping the tales of the most disadvantaged street-based sex workers she can find, and dismisses the rest of us as "house ni****s". Yes, she actually wrote that.) Read a response from Charlotte Shane on Tits and Sass, and a Salon article by Tracy Clark Flory.
* The president of Argentina has banned adult ads in print publications, but critics suspect it has less to do with fighting forced trafficking and more with punishing opposition newspapers.
* "Good Intentions," Bad Results: The International Impact of USA's Anti-Trafficking Efforts.
* In good news, Taiwan is hopefully headed in the right direction, and has passed a bill allowing red light districts.
* SWOP Chicago has announced the lineup for their Sex Work Film Fest, which takes place August 11-13.
July 14th link roundup:
* Sex workers' rights advocates are still responding to the anti-trafficking campaign by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore's Foundation, which so far has focused on attacking escort ads and making arguments that lump together consenting adult sex workers and trafficked child sex slaves. Yes, there have been rare cases of underage prostitution and trafficking victims found in escort ads, but does that mean the solution is driving both victims and consenting sex workers further underground? The L Magazine provides a good update, "It Takes More Than Wanting to Help to Do Good Right".
* Seattle's left wing mayor, Mike McGinn, has joined the fight against escort ads and has decreed that city money can no longer be used to advertise in the Village Voice-owned Seattle Weekly paper. Their ads were worth over $150,000 a year.
* There's a proposed bill in Congress called the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011, which includes requiring internet service providers to log everyone's internet usage, and retain those records for at least 18 months. This is yet another example of a proposed law that uses the hysteria of child porn to attack privacy rights and restrict internet use.
* Ultra conservative presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann have signed a bizarre morality pledge against gays, Sharia law, and pornography.
* A new strain gonorrhea was found in the throat of a Japanese sex worker, and is apparently immune to antibiotics.
* A Canadian city wasted $500,000 of taxpayer funds to buy a strip club just to shut it down.
* Jiz Lee's Karma Pervs porn fundraiser for the month of July benefits a burlesque artist. Link (contains nudity).
July 7th link roundup:
* The big story this month is Ashton Kutcher versus the Village Voice. The Voice's piece exposing the lies and public relations behind the Demi and Ashton Foundation has kicked off a firestorm online. Kutcher is firing back by attacking escort ads, turning his tantrum about the disproved "epidemic of underage sex slavery" into an attack on adult women who choose sex work. Read some of our favorite pieces on the matter: Charlotte Shane's If You Can’t Accept Facts, You Can’t Be An Ally and In Defense of Backpage, Maggie McNeill's Village Voice Strikes Again, Laura Agustín's Only playing stupid about sex trafficking? Pull the other one, Ashton, Amanda Brooks' backpage, ashton kutcher and prostitution, and Melissa Gira Grant's Hype, Hustle, Harm: Why Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, and the DNA Foundation Need To Stand Down.
Until they modify it to exclude critics, any tweet with the word "trafficking" is posted on the front page of demiandashton.org. Use this feature to share real information about trafficking and sex work, such as: SEX WORKERS WANT TO STOP TRAFFICKING http://bit.ly/goDVC7. See a screenshot of the campaign from Furry Girl here.
* In non-Kutcher-related news, a study in Wales dispels myths about who enters sex work and why.
* The US's PEPFAR anti-prostitution pledge, which requires anyone applying for funding to fight HIV/AIDS to denounce sex work, has been partially overturned. See the 2008 video Taking The Pledge for how this impacted sex workers.
* Secretary of State Hillary Clinton actually mentioned "sex workers" in a speech about "people-to-people diplomacy" and reaching out.
June 29th link roundup:
* Important victory! Sex Offender Registration for Sex Workers Ends in Louisiana.
* The Village Voice publishes a great piece: Real Men Get Their Facts Straight: Ashton and Demi and Sex Trafficking. The actors' talking point of an alleged "100,000-300,000 child sex slaves in America" figure boils down to just 837 average arrests of underage prostitutes yearly.
* Tits and Sass discusses details of a sting operation: Savvy Prostitutes, Romantic Johns, and Bad Police Work.
* SWAAY contributor Audacia Ray: Why sex worker rights advocates should care about the "pimping professor".
* An Alaskan man was found "not responsible" for severely beating a prostitute with a baseball bat on the grounds that he claims he was sleep walking when it happened.
* A Missouri police officer who repeatedly robbed suspected prostitutes with his field training officer is sentenced to home confinement for 6 months. The training offer is serving 25 years.
June 22nd link roundup:
* A Florida couple are being prosecuted for running a porn site from the privacy of their own home. Donate to the Kimberly Kupps Legal Defense Fund.
* The latest in police attacking sex workers: a Hawaii cop is convicted of sexual assault. He boldly complained, "I don't think she even said thank you."
* Canadian courts are still undecided on the constitutionality of certain prostitution laws, and after hearing arguments last week, a decision has still not been reached. (It will likely be months before this issue is decided.)
* A conservative lawyer opposing changes in Canada's prostitution laws insists to the court that violence against sex workers is "sad" but acceptable collateral damage in the quest to make the country adhere to his own religious beliefs.
* New zine: War on Terror & War on Trafficking: A Sex Worker Activist Confronts the Anti-Trafficking Movement.
* The BBC does a video report on Mexico's Casa Xochiquetzal, a home for elderly sex workers. (Vice Magazine covered it better a few years ago.)
* Laura Agustín writes on the UN's Palermo Protocols and the gender bias used to define whether a migrant worker is "smuggled" or "trafficked."
June 15th link roundup:
* A memorial is held for victims of the Long Island serial killer, who is targeting sex workers.
* SWAAY founder Furry Girl blogs on terminology: "Why I call them 'anti-sex worker' rather than 'anti-porn' or 'anti-prostitution,' and why you should too."
* Is California's OSHA board ignoring impassioned pleas from performers and pornographers to not mandate condoms and barriers in porn? See coverage from Danny Wylde and Mark Kernes.
* A Florida couple arrested in a police sting for running their independent porn site is charged with multiple obscenity counts.
* Jiz Lee's Karma Pervs porn fundraiser project benefits the Leather Alliance during June. Link (contains nudity).
* Canadian professor and researcher Frances Shaver publishes a report in favor of decriminalization.
* Canadian stripper and writer Wrenna Robertson on "The Healing Power of Sex Work."
* New York Magazine publishes "The Bond Between the Mothers and Sisters of the Long Island Serial Killer's Victims."
* Call for Submissions for "WhoreLover: Lovers and Partners of Sex Workers Speak."
* The Stripper Army releases its first zine/manifesta, read it online here.