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Upcoming events and current media coverage relating to sex work and sex workers.

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Park Street gangrape: TMC MP accuses woman of being sex worker »

Mississippi authorities work on leads in stripper case »

The stripper fighting for life after falling off balcony while attempting tricky lap dance move »

Brothel worker stole cash from boss »

Licensing hearing for Consett lap dance club »

Stripper Assaulted Two Strangers as part of a Performance Art Piece »

'P.O.P.' Documentary Strips Down Stripper Stereotypes »

Brazilian sex worker’s group offers prostitutes English lessons ahead of World Cup »

Texas Legislator Proposes Stripper Licensing »

Stripper: Club Manager Demanded Sexual Favors »

Former Glasgow lap-dancing club in hot water for keeping inadequate finance records »

Stripper who fell from balcony at Christie's Cabaret dies »

Tamworth lap dance club owner faces arrest over alleged licence breaches »

Lap dancing club Red Velvet in Consett has drinks licence revoked »

Stripper says Brooklyn Net Andray Blatche watched alleged sexual assault at hotel »

Girl, 16, 'chose' to be stripper, defence argues »

Sex worker murdered »

Adult Entertainment Industry Files Suit Challenging Measure B »

SASOD welcomes police arrests in killing of gay sex worker; reiterates need for law reform »

Consett lap dancing club may be closed down »

Ex-stripper defiant over ruling she was self-employed »

Playboy Fined in U.K. for Failing to Block Children From Hardcore Pornography »

California middle school teacher, who appeared in pornography, loses appeal »

Houston Chronicle reporter fired for stripper gig lands new journalism job »

Murdered sex worker for burial today »

Cops detain man over sex worker’s murder »

The lap dancer quashed by the MOO impediment »

2 Girls + 1 Cup lands producer 4 years jail. But why? »

Sex worker accused of pawning niece »

16-yr-old sex worker duped by ‘client’, undergoes tubectomy »

Israel: Anti-pornography party drops out of elections »

Sex worker bags six-year jail term for killing client »

Lapdancing survey costs £118,000 and finds schools and striptease clubs don't mix »

Sex worker battered in street »


Studying Sex Workers

Delegates to AIDS 2012 were given the opportunity to listen to the latest research on sex workers, their behaviors, and risk of acquiring HIV. Among the topics discussed by a July 25 panel of experts were the barriers to testing for sex workers, the nature of their work environments, and responses to stop the harrassment of sex workers by government or third-party forces, including religious and feminist groups.

The short session also served to debunk some myths about the sex worker population. For instance, Swadhin Mondal and Indrani Gupta of the Institute of Economic Growth in Delhi, India, conducted a survey of sex workers to learn whether sex workers were being pushed to engage in sex without condoms in exchange for more money from prospective clients. But, according to Mondal, 72 percent of sex workers in the study were consistent condom users, particularly those who were brothel-based sex workers. In addition, the study seemed to indicate that sex workers received higher premiums for engaging in safe sex with regular clients.

The session also looked at the infrastructure for providing services in certain countries with respect to sex workers, particularly the work of community service organizations and local task forces. One study, from Ukraine, found that non-governmental organizations that contract with local pharmacies to provide medications, condoms and syringes to sex workers and intravenous drug users seem to be effective in reaching marginalized populations an connecting them with appropriate resources to avoid contracting HIV.

Read more here

The Olympic sex trafficking myth

How real is the link between sex trafficking and international sporting events like the upcoming London Summer Olympics? It has been reported that large-scale sporting events cause a surge in sex trafficking. But some who advocate on behalf of sex trafficking victims say that over-exaggerated claims have led to increased policing and sex worker crackdowns that may be driving trafficking further underground.

In this episode of The Stream, we discuss the relationship between trafficking and sporting events with Annalee Lepp of the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women. We also speak with Darby Hickey (@DarbyBPPP), policy analyst with the Best Practices Policy Project and Joanna Ewart-James, programme co-ordinator with Anti-Slavery International (@anti_slavery).

Watch videos here

The Olympics is drawing nearer, and soon the finest physical specimens humanity has to offer will be prancing all over London in tightly fitting Lycra, grunting, moaning, and turning us on. The athletes won't be the only people inspiring ogling—if the screams of the tabloids are to be believed, one unfortunate side-effect of the Olympic circus will be an increase in the number of women trafficked into London to satiate the desires of millions of slavering, rutting sport fans.

London's police have been given a £500,000 budget to crack down on sex-trafficking, and so far their approach has been to raid brothels and throw their weight around, arresting people and scaring the crap out of anyone they find working there.

Believe it or not, many sex workers are not the biggest fans of this solution to a sex-trafficking problem that, they say, doesn’t even exist. The Stop the Arrests campaign was founded to call bullshit on the media hype about Olympics sex-trafficking, and the police response to it. I convinced French sex worker Luca, who is supporting the campaign, to take some time out from his busy schedule of erotic massaging, escorting, and domination, to have a chat with me.

Read more here

Two quintessential cliches of New York City street life are heading into more trouble with the law: yellow cabs and prostitutes. To combat the sex trade, the city is pursuing pimps via taxi. But some civil rights advocates fear the measure targets the wrong kind of traffic.

The newly signed legislation aims to punish cab drivers who abet prostitution, with a focus on those who “knowingly engage in a business of transporting individuals to patrons for purposes of prostitution, procuring and/or soliciting patrons for the prostitution, and receiving proceeds from such business in collaboration with traffickers and pimps.” The law imposes new criminal penalties, including fines or the loss of a license, for various forms of "promoting prostitution" while using the taxi.  It also mandates trainings to inform drivers about the legal consequences of “facilitating sex trafficking” and about social services available to trafficking victims. The evidence of cabbies’ involvement in the sex trade is anecdotal at best—there was recently a high-profile trafficking case in which livery cab drivers were nabbed in connection with a “brothel on wheels.” But the ubiquity of taxis, popularity of paid sex services, and lack of parking space in the city has apparently led lawmakers to focus on yellow cabs as a critical link in the crusade against trafficking.

The reality of sex work in the city involves far more than dramatic stereotypes of pimps, johns and their drivers. First, advocates for sex workers point out that prostitutes are not necessarily trafficking victims, and that the language of the legislation threatens to blur the line between voluntary prostitution and trafficking, which generally involves coercion and economic exploitation.

Kate D’Adamo, an organizer with Sex Workers Outreach Project New York City (SWOP-NYC) and Sex Workers Action New York (SWANK), said in a correspondence with In These Times that the legislation “inappropriately conflates all prostitution with human trafficking” by focusing on the vaguely defined “promotion of prostitution” by drivers, rather than drawing a clear distinction between coerced and non-coerced commercial sex. “Criminalization of the people around sex workers and trafficked persons alike will do nothing to support trafficked persons,” she added, “and will only further marginalize those populations.”

The legislation has generated a flurry of controversy. WNYC reported that even Mayor Michael Bloomberg initially worried that cab drivers would be pressured to profile women based on the way they dressed, steering clear of anyone resembling the “hooker” typology or, as the Mayor delicately put it, a lady “dressed in a ‘sporty way.’”

Throughout history, laws that are supposed to "protect" women have pushed prostitutes to the margins of cities and the social order itself.

We're told that being a prostitute will mark a woman for life. Yet after several millennia of practice, lawmakers and social reformers still struggle to identify what a sex worker looks like.

You know,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said (in a June 15 appearance on WOR's perfectly named "The John Gambling Show") when asked what might go wrong with a bill that could penalize taxi drivers who knowingly transport people in the sex trade, “if I were a young lady and I dressed in a ‘sporty way’ -- or however you want to phrase it, and there's nothing wrong with that -- I would not want somebody thinking that I’m a prostitute.”

Has Mayor Stop-and-Frisk given pause on an issue of criminal profiling? Even the reliably hooker-baiting New York Post came out swinging against the bill, citing a protest held by women bartenders, who “aren't hookers – they just look like they can be!” concerned that cab drivers would leave them stranded for fear of getting stung.

The intention of this bill, according to proponents like New York City Council Speaker (and mayoral hopeful) Christine Quinn, is to make it undesirable for taxi and livery drivers in the city to risk any involvement in what they call “sex trafficking.” But the bill doesn't actually say that: it hits taxi and livery drivers with a $10,000 fine and the revocation of their license if they “knowingly allow” their vehicle to be “used for the purpose of promoting prostitution.”

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