Concerns for Sex Workers Amid Serial Killer Investigation

Sex workers are being advised to use the buddy system so that someone knows where they are.
Tuesday, Apr 12, 2011 | Updated 3:12 PM EDTBy Chris Glorioso

The investigation into a suspected serial killer who may have preyed on prostitutes, dumping their bodies near beaches on Long Island, has spawned new warnings for sex workers who advertise online.

Police have yet to identify all the victims, or even say whether the latest six sets of remains are linked to the first four found last December.

But the first four bodies were identified as young women who all posted sex ads on Craigslist. And that has advocates for sex workers making extra efforts to counsel the women on best practices to avoid violent clients. Continue reading

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Legal prostitution would be safer

By Daniel Akst
Thursday, April 14, 2011 – Updated 2 days ago

Remember Chandra Levy? How about Natalee Holloway? Nothing is more effective at triggering a media frenzy than the disappearance of an attractive young white woman. That’s what happened when Levy, a Washington intern, vanished in 2001 and Holloway disappeared in Aruba four years later. Sadly, things are different when the woman has accepted money for sex.

Police have so far found the bodies of four young white women, all prostitutes, in scrubby dunes on the beaches of New York’s Long Island (five and possibly six more sets of remains are unidentified). The women had been missing for months or even years.

It’s hard to see what change in law might save someone from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But some of the Gilgo Beach deaths might well have been averted if Continue reading

SWOP Las Vegas denounces Senator Reid’s call to eliminate Nevada brothels

The Sex Workers Outreach Project, Las Vegas denounces Senator Reid’s call to close down the legal prostitution businesses in Nevada . This move would put over a thousand people out of a job in the hopes of possibly attracting new businesses to Nevada who allegedly stay away because of the brothels.

“To begin with, it’s just insanity in this economy to even suggest putting so many people out of work,” said Susan Lopez, founder of SWOP Las Vegas . “Where will these women go for jobs once their livelihoods are destroyed? Does Senator Reid honestly believe that it will be easy for prostitutes to find jobs in those businesses he hopes to attract? Does he really wish to destroy these peoples’ lives in this way? This is just political posturing on the backs of real, working women with real livelihoods at stake. Will Senator Reid promise to hire all the women who will be put out of their jobs at equivalent wage rates?”

“ Nevada ’s brothels are safer places than the streets for selling sex,” said Dr. Barb Brents, sociology professor at UNLV. “Brothels can actually help fight trafficking. Furthermore, prostitution still exists in the 49 states where prostitution is illegal. Outlawing brothels will send hundreds of women into the already huge black market, where safety, labor rights, and access to services will become issues.”

Tessa Joy, a Nevada brothel worker and voter, says, “Harry Reid needs to listen to the voices of the sex workers who depend on their jobs in the Nevada brothel system to make a living; to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. As somebody who claims to be so concerned about creating more jobs in Nevada , it’s very hypocritical for Harry Reid to try to put more of us out of work for making a legitimate living. This is going to take away the only legal way that sex workers in prostitution can work in the United States and the results will be tragic in terms of both our livelihoods and our safety. I’ve never tried to put Harry Reid out of work, so he has no business trying to put me out of work either.”

Brothels bring in much-needed revenue to the rural counties in which they operate, helping to fund public services such as firefighters, police, schools and more. Lopez says, “Scapegoating the brothels as being responsible for the bad economy is both disingenuous and dangerous. There is no guarantee other businesses will move to Nevada even if the brothels are eliminated, and if these businesses have issues with prostitution, who is to say they won’t have issues with gambling as well? Are the casinos next on Harry’s chopping block?”

Lisa Mellott, co-director of SWOP Las Vegas and social justice activist, says, “It’s ironic that Senator Reid would single out the brothels as keeping businesses away. Las Vegas ’s entire economy is based on being an adult playground. Wouldn’t that keep those same businesses away?”

“Contrary to Senator Reid’s sentiment that the brothels are a throw-back to the Wild West, Nevada prostitution policy is more in step with the rest of the world than the rest of the US . Other countries across the globe are increasingly decriminalizing prostitution, as it allows the state to more easily address harms and grant sex workers rights,” says Dr. Brents.

Jenny Heineman, a co-director of SWOP Las Vegas and a Nevada resident who voted for Reid, is outraged at his proposition to “take away [her] sisters’ jobs.” She says, “I am a tax payer, a PhD student at UNLV, a sex worker, and an advocate for human rights. As my representative, I demand that he turns his attention to the real inequities suffered by Nevadans: namely the lack of revenue to support our education system. Stop screwing us for free!”

SWOP Las Vegas will fight for the rights of brothels to operate here in Nevada- the only place in America where women truly have the right to legally choose sex work.

Sex workers, governments and UN join hands to boost AIDS response in Asia-Pacific region

PATTAYA, Thailand, 15 October 2010 – At the first-ever Asia-Pacific consultation on HIV and sex work, sex workers, government officials and United Nations participants emphasized the need for urgent action to increase focus and positioning of sex work within HIV responses in the region.

Close to 150 delegates from eight countries (China, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Thailand) met in Pattaya, Thailand, to form partnerships and review policies and laws that keep sex workers from accessing HIV services and sexual and reproductive health services.

“Sex work interventions must be central to scaling up the HIV response, and listening to sex workers is crucial,” said Jan Beagle, Deputy Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) who spoke at the consultation. “Sex workers experience firsthand the effects of laws and harmful enforcement practices that violate their human rights and hamper progress on HIV,” he said. Continue reading

Jo Weldon

04/03/2010

Jo Weldon by Ed BarnasJo Weldon has been a fixture of New York nightlife for many years. Her latest project, The Burlesque Handbook from HarperCollins /ItBooks, is available as a pre-order on Amazon and due out June 1. She is the headmistress and founder of the New York School of Burlesque and has taught and performed around the world. She has toured with The Sex Workers Art Show, been on the road with hair bands and recently co-produced the first evening of “W.O.(e)R.D., Women of experience Read Downtown,” with Heather Litteer. She is a dedicated blogger, primarily about burlesque but information, advice and opinion about related topics, from pasties to politics, sneak into everything she writes. She is universally liked, globally respected and one of the world’s most skilled tassel twirlers. A conversation with Jo can begin on one subject and meander through dozens until you’ve lost half your day. Here, we present a few choice snippets on feminism, domestication, rock dudes and, of course, burlesque. Continue reading

Karen Slack confident in singing Violetta in Sacramento Opera’s ‘La Traviata’

By Edward Ortiz
eortiz@sacbee.com
Published: Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 1I
Last Modified: Monday, Feb. 22, 2010 – 9:59 am

RANDALL BENTON rbenton@sacbee.com "I love this character," says Karen Slack, who sings the role of Violetta in the Sacramento Opera's "La Traviata." "I think of Violetta as a real woman. She's the most real character I've ever had to play."

As she walks across the bare stage of the Community Center Theater during a photo shoot, soprano Karen Slack exudes unwavering confidence and regal sensuality.

Those are two attributes Slack will bring to the Sacramento Opera production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata.” In the production, which opens Friday, Slack will sing the most famous courtesan role in the operatic repertoire – Violetta.

The role is a demanding one for a soprano. It calls for sensitive acting that conveys a woman living outside societal norms. And it demands a versatile singer, who can sing lyrically in one act, powerfully and darkly in another.

“I love this character,” said Slack. “I think of Violetta as a real woman. She’s the most real character I’ve ever had to play.” Continue reading

Transgender porn star shares story (Buck Angel)

By David Burt
Contributing Reporter
Published Monday, February 15, 2010

Charlie Croom/Photography Editor. Buck Angel, a transgender porn star, said at a Pierson Master’s Tea that he “wasn’t hiding anymore” after his sex change.

Despite receiving an anonymous threat before his visit, Buck Angel, a female-to-male transgender porn star, spoke at a Master’s Tea as part of Sex Week at Yale on Saturday.

Angel shared his life story with an audience of about 50 students at the Pierson College master’s house. He emphasized the importance of self-acceptance and urged people not to submit to the labels society assigns them. Some students said they disagree with his participation in pornography, while others said they enjoyed his message.

Angel grew up in Southern California as a girl who enjoyed sports and often hung out with the boys, he said; both his family and his neighbors treated him like a boy. Continue reading