Sex workers: the biggest losers at the World Cup (SA)

Written by Doreen Gaura
Thursday, 02 September 2010

While many are still coming down from the excitement of the World Cup, Zodwa Sangweni* is one South African who was disappointed by how the much-hyped event turned out. A sex worker in Johannesburg, Sangweni said despite predictions that sex business would be booming, the World Cup season was actually a bust.

“We didn’t work well, there was no money,” she said. “Maybe for those who work in hotels but for us on the streets, we didn’t get any business.”

Ahead of the global sporting spectacle – which has a reputation for off-the-pitch debauchery – many were speculating that the real winners of the event would be sex workers. An influx of as many as 40,000 sex workers was anticipated, mostly from Zimbabwe, but also from as far away as Russia. Continue reading

Syria: Dancing for Their Lives

Dancing for Their Lives
Making an undercover visit to an Iraqi expat nightclub in Syria, where the refugee crisis’s illicit economy is on full display.
BY DEBORAH AMOS | MARCH 9, 2010

Um Nour checked her watch. It was close to midnight and my guide to the Iraqi refugee underworld in Damascus wanted to get to the nightclub so she could start making money. I had failed the dress test, attempting to camouflage myself in an alluring outfit and eliciting only a pursed-lips stare, but Um Nour’s transformation was remarkable. I would not have recognized her on the street. On the many daytime occasions we had met during my reporting trips to Damascus in 2008, she dressed in baggy track pants, black hair tied back in a ponytail, her face lined and tired. This time, her long black hair was shiny and brushed with thick bangs that framed her face. She wore a tight-fitting black T-shirt sprinkled with sequins and black stretch pants tightly cinched at the waist. Her lipstick was deep red, her eyeliner heavy and black. She wore two rhinestone rings, her stubby fingers extended by fake red nails curled around an expensive cell phone. Continue reading

Claim: Blackwater Billed US for ‘Morale Welfare Recreation’ Provided by Prostitute

Two former employees have accused Blackwater Worldwide of defrauding the government for years with phony billing, including charging for a prostitute, alcohol and spa trips.
February 11, 2010 |

The world’s oldest profession may have been subsidized by the US government during the war on terror.

“Two former employees of Blackwater Worldwide have accused the private security contractor of defrauding the government for years with phony billing, including charging for a prostitute, alcohol and spa trips,” Carol D. Leonnig reports for the Washington Post.

The article continues, “In newly unsealed court records, a husband and wife who once worked for Blackwater said they had personal knowledge of the company falsifying invoices, double-billing federal agencies and charging the government 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

Obama Says No to Creating Jobs through Legalizing Drugs, Gambling or Prostitution

December 04, 2009 1:48 PM

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports:

As President Obama prepares to formally announce ideas on Tuesday for a new jobs bill, one thing that won’t be on the list to spur job growth: legalizing prostitution, gambling, drugs and non-violent crime.

Prompted by a rather bizarre question from a Sophomore at Lehigh Carbon Community College who wanted to know – based on his criminology course studies – if the President has considered legalizing prostitution, some drugs, and releasing non-violent offenders to stimulate the economy, the President answered with an unequivocal no.

“I appreciate the boldness of your question,” Mr. Obama said during his Allentown, PA jobs town hall, “That will not be my job strategy.”

The president praised the student for “doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing,” in college by “thinking in new ways about things.”

“Part of what you’re supposed to do in college is question conventional wisdom.” Obama said.

This isn’t the first time the President has fielded questions like this. During a “virtual town hall” in March, Mr. Obama had to face the highest ranking question voted on by an online audience, whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy and job creation.

The President’s answer, no. “I don’t think that is a good strategy to grow our economy.”

Mr. Obama is anticipated to announce his real choices to stimulate the economy on Tuesday during a major address in Washington, D.C.

-Sunlen Miller

See original at ABC

Prostitution in Georgian London: Harlot’s progress

Oct 15th 2009
From The Economist print edition

The Secret History of Georgian London: How the Wages of Sin Shaped the Capital. By Dan Cruickshank. Random House: 688 pages; £25. Buy from Amazon.co.uk

"Connoisseurs" by Thomas Rowlandson

"Connoisseurs" by Thomas Rowlandson

AS MANY as one in five young women were prostitutes in 18th-century London. The Covent Garden that tourists frequent today was the centre of a vast sex trade strewn across hundreds of brothels and so-called coffee houses. Fornication in public was common and even children were routinely treated for venereal disease. A German visitor observed a nation that had overstepped all others “in immorality and addiction to debauchery”.

English society expected, even encouraged, men to pay for sex. Prejudice barred women from all but menial jobs. Prostitution at least offered financial independence: a typical harlot could earn in a month what a tradesman or clerk would earn in a year. For a few beautiful and savvy women, the gamble paid off. Lavinia Fenton, a child prostitute, married a duke. But most prostitutes were destined for disease, despair and early death. Continue reading

Thai Sex Workers: APNSW Press Release for French Press

APNSW responds to the Mitterand story:

It has come to our attention that there is still continuing debate around the issue of the French Culture Minister,
Frédéric Mitterrand, and his admission that he paid for sex with male sex workers in Thailand. We have seen attacks on him from both the left and the right of French politics- attacks which we see as both homophobic and anti-sex worker.

Worse we see the racist, orientalist views of the elites on both sides of French politics who construct Thai sex workers as somehow “backward” and unable to choose what we do. In Thailand all male sex workers are referred to by the term “Nong” which means boy. We are not duped under age boys forced into “sexual slavery.” We are people in a poor country exercising our choices to live and earn money to support ourselves, our family and our country. Continue reading

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