Her crime? Sex work in New Orleans

By: Jordan Flaherty, Contributing Writer
Posted: Monday, January 18, 2010 10:43 am
(Special to The Louisiana Weekly from ColorLines Magazine)

Tabitha has been working as a prostitute in New Orleans since she was 13. Now 30 years old, she can often be found working on a corner just outside of the French Quarter. A small and slight white woman, she has battled both drug addiction and illness and struggles every day to find a meal or a place to stay for the night.

These days, Tabitha, who asked that her real name not be used in this story, has yet another burden: a stamp printed on her driver’s license labels her a sex offender. Her crime? Sex work.

New Orleans city police and the district attorney’s office are using a state law written for child molesters to charge hundreds of sex workers like Tabitha as sex offenders. The law, which dates back to 1805, makes it a crime against nature to engage in “unnatural copulation”-a term New Orleans cops and the district attorney’s office have interpreted to mean anal or oral sex. Sex workers convicted of breaking this law are charged with felonies, issued longer jail sentences and forced to register as sex offenders. They must also carry a driver’s license with the label “sex offender” printed on it. Continue reading

Thailand: 57 alleged prostitutes rounded up in Phuket Town

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

PHUKET TOWN: A team of provincial civil defense officials and volunteer police on Sunday night raided three well-known entertainment venues, in the heart of Phuket Town, suspected of serving as fronts for prostitution.

A spokesperson from the Phuket Provincial Office Public Relations Bureau said the raids were ordered by Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop following complaints from local residents that the three venues – two massage parlors and a nightclub – were actually fronts for prostitution.

A total of 57 alleged female prostitutes, including at least one Burmese girl under the age of 18, were rounded up by the special task force led by Phuket Deputy Governor (Palad) Chaiwat Tephee, Phuket Provincial Defense Office head Wirote Suwanwong, and volunteer police. Continue reading

Details Exclusive: Meet America’s First Legal Male Prostitute

Former Marine “Markus” auditioned at Nevada’s Shady Lady Ranch for a chance to sell his body. He got the job, but at what price?

By Ian Daly
January 13, 2010

Today, a 25 year old from Los Angeles (by way of Alabama) will become the first legal male prostitute in this country’s history. “Markus” (his working name) was fresh off the Greyhound bus yesterday when he granted Details an exclusive first interview in a cottage at the Shady Lady Ranch brothel, two-and-a-half-hours northwest of Las Vegas. His story is about to become a national sensation. Read on to find out why.

Q: So you’d rather be called a gigolo than a prostitute.
A: I think for a male, if you want to be successful in this type of venture, you’re not a prostitute. You’re a surrogate lover. You encompass everything that’s required of you—not only emotionally, physically—but psychologically. Because women are wired differently. They’re much more sensitive creatures. You actually have to enjoy what you do. You can’t necessarily say, “Oh, it’s just a job.” You actually have to say it’s a passion. I think it’s the same situation as with anything that happens when you break apart a social institution. There has to be some kind of change in terminology to Continue reading

Country’s first legal gigolo starts work in Nevada

By Oskar Garcia
Associated Press Writer / January 22, 2010

This undated photo provided by OC Modeling of Chatsworth, Calif. shows "Markus" Nevada's first male prostitute. A brothel in an isolated Nevada town has hired the state's first male prostitute, a muscular college dropout who abandoned a brief stint as a porn actor in Los Angeles to become the only legal gigolo in the United States. (AP Photo/OC Modeling)

BEATTY, Nev.—A brothel in a Nevada desert town has hired the state’s first male prostitute, a muscular college dropout who abandoned a brief stint as a porn actor in Los Angeles to become the only legal gigolo in the United States.

The Shady Lady Ranch successfully won state and county approval to clear the way for the “prostidude,” as Nevada’s newest sex worker is already being called. After a slow first week on the job, his first appointments are scheduled for this weekend.

The male prostitute — known as “Markus” — has quickly become the center of attention in Nevada’s brothel industry.

He has been criticized by female counterparts for not being willing to have sex with men. And he created a dustup after telling Details Magazine that his pioneering role in the sex business was “just the same” as civil rights icon Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus. Not surprisingly, he has been forbidden from doing interviews after the remarks. Continue reading

Thailand: Police Crackdown On Foreign Operated Sex Bars

PATTAYA: — Informed sources from several police divisions have told the Pattaya Times that a very serious crackdown will begin next month to catch foreign business people who are financial backers of gay bars, beer bars and a go-gos where there is sex for sale in Pattaya.

These bars charge a “bar fine” to the customer and let the employee leave for the night or a “short time” usually about two to three hours. It is suspected that many of these rendezvous are sexually related, police said. Police investigations will determine who pays the bills and gets the profits. If the person is a foreigner then their visa will be revoked and they will be expelled from the Kingdom. If it is a Thai they will be arrested if sex is for sale. There is much concern about organized crime in the nightlife venues, said one official. Continue reading

India: Neither Victims Nor Voiceless: Sex Workers Speaking for Themselves

By Audacia Ray, RH Reality Check.
Posted January 12, 2010.

Painting a portrait of people in the sex industry as victims without voices only perpetuates their disempowerment.

Since becoming a part of the U.S. sex worker rights movement five years ago, talking about contentious issues concerning bodies, labor, money, and rights has very much become my calling. In the past year alone, I’ve been quoted on CNN about the value of virginity, talked about South Carolina’s Governor Mark Sanford on WNYC’s The Takeaway, and admonished the Boston Herald for its slurs toward sex workers. Suffice to say, I give my opinion freely and often loudly.

I thought I knew a lot about sex work, rights, and organizing when, in September, I set off for two weeks in India with my colleague Khushbu Srivastava, Program Officer for Asia at the International Women’s Health Coalition. But as much as I am accustomed to being an “expert,” I quickly realized that I knew next to nothing about the nuances of Indian culture and the dynamics of the local struggle for sexual rights and reproductive health. While there are many things that I learned Continue reading

U.S. travel ban on HIV/AIDS ends Monday

By Tony Romm – 01/04/10 09:12 AM ET

A 22-year-old immigration ban preventing those with HIV/AIDS from entering the United States ended on Monday.

President Barack Obama announced he would eliminate that ban in October, a step he said could “encourage people to get tested and get treatment.”

Until this morning, the United States was only one of about 12 countries to even impose such a travel ban, established in the 1980s when fears about HIV/AIDS were most intense.

“We talk about reducing the stigma of this disease, yet we’ve treated a visitor living with it as a threat,” Obama said in May, according to CNN. “If we want to be the global leader in combating HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it.”

The move arrives as the United States prepares to host the World Aids Conference in 2012. The previous travel ban would have severely complicated the White House’s ability to participate in the annual forum.

Source:
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/74157-us-travel-ban-on-hivaids-ends-monday