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

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SA: Blow for rights

Zweli Mokgata
Thursday, 17 Mar 2011

Sex workers are protected by one law but can be prosecuted under another.

After a recent court ruling, sex workers now enjoy protection under the Labour Relations Act. However, they can still be prosecuted under the Sexual Offences Act for plying their trade.

The case that brought about this situation is related to a 2006 incident involving a sex worker referred to as “Kylie” who alleged that she was unfairly dismissed by the owner of the brothel where she worked.

In October last year Judge Dennis Davis of the labour appeal court , citing the constitutional right to fair labour practice, found that the council for conciliation, mediation & arbitration (CCMA) could indeed hear Kylie’s grievance, which led to an undisclosed settlement. Continue reading

India: Sex workers rue discrimination against their children

New Delhi, March 5, DHNS:

Sex workers in the country who are forced to live with ostracism have demanded a key legislative change to allow their children pursue higher studies using their mothers’ income.

According to the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (ITPA), 1960, if anybody above 18 years uses the earnings of a sex-worker, he or she can be prosecuted. If the children of sex workers use their mothers’ income, long hand of law can catch them.

“How many children start earning at 18? Why this bias against us when we strive to study and make a living against all social hurdles,” rues Parvati, daughter of a Kolkata-based commercial sex worker. 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.

NV: Reid takes on Old West, says time to ban brothels

By SANDRA CHEREB, Associated Press – Tue Feb 22, 5:27 pm ET

CARSON CITY, Nev. – U.S. Sen. Harry Reid took aim at the world’s oldest profession Tuesday, telling state lawmakers the time has come to have an adult conversation about Nevada’s legal sex trade if the state hopes to succeed in the 21st century.

The Democratic Senate majority leader made the comments before a joint session of the Legislature as brothel owners and lobbyists — and working girls from the rural establishments — looked on from the gallery.

In his autobiography, Reid, a Mormon, wrote about growing up in the mining hamlet of Searchlight, Nev., and learning to swim in the pool at a bordello. His mother took in laundry from the 13 brothels around town.

But when the nation thinks about Nevada, Reid said, “it should think about the world’s newest ideas and newest careers — not about its oldest profession.”

He received a smattering of applause when he first suggested Nevada outlaw bordellos. By the time he finished with the topic, his remarks were met with silence from the representatives of a state whose identity is woven tightly with gambling, alcohol, quick marriages and prostitution.

Reid, who won re-election to a fifth term in November, focused his speech on job creation efforts in a state facing record joblessness, bankruptcies and foreclosures in the wake of the Great Recession.

“We’ve recovered in the past and we’ll recover in the future,” he said. “We’ve met crisis before and we’ve prevailed. Winning is what we do. Winning is what we have to do.”

Reid drew applause when he said he would work to reform education and pledged to do “everything I can to help ease the burden on state and local school districts.” He also spoke against the state’s term limit, which he called “destructive,” and urged lawmakers to have voters consider a repeal.

Reid also touted renewable energy, saying “the future of our economy depends on it and so does the future of our environment and our national security.” He also gave a nod to tourism, saying it “will always be Nevada’s biggest industry, but it can’t be our only one.”

But when it comes to attracting businesses, Reid said, “parents don’t want their children to look out of a school bus and see a brothel. Or live in a state with the wrong kind of red lights.”

“So let’s have an adult conversation about an adult subject,” he said.

Brooke Taylor, a prostitute at Bunny Ranch east of Carson City, called Reid’s speech “offensive” and said Reid should be proud of the way the state’s brothels regulate the sex industry.

“We’re the first ones to do it right,” Taylor said.

The infamous Mustang Ranch east of Reno was licensed as Nevada’s first legal brothel in the early 1970s. Brothels now operate in outlying areas around the state, paying local jurisdictions assorted fees that can be a significant portion of their budgets. They are outlawed in five counties, however, including those encompassing Las Vegas and Reno.

Speaking with reporters afterward, Reid was asked why he was bringing up brothels now. He grew impatient with reporters’ incessant questions about prostitution — a small fraction of his speech — and at one point suggested, “It seems to me you guys should get a new life.”

Former state archivist Guy Rocha said this was the first time he has heard a U.S. senator ask the Legislature to act on the issue.

“I don’t see how brothels are undermining the economy,” Rocha said.

Two years ago, brothel owners supported a bill to impose a $5 tax on sex acts, but the measure died in committee.
___
Associated Press writer Michelle Rindels in Carson City contributed to this report.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110222/ap_on_bi_ge/us_nevada_legislature_reid

Canada: Prostitution laws struck down by Ont. court

September 28, 2010, By CBC News

An Ontario court has thrown out key provisions of Canada’s anti-prostitution laws in response to a constitutional challenge by a Toronto dominatrix and two prostitutes in 2009.

Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice ruled Tuesday the Criminal Code provisions relating to prostitution contribute to the danger faced by sex-trade workers.

In her ruling, Justice Susan Himel said it now falls to Parliament to “fashion corrective action.”

“It is my view that in the meantime these unconstitutional provisions should be of no force and effect, particularly given the seriousness of the charter violations,” Himel wrote. Continue reading

AU: Attorney General challenges anti-prostitution lobby

Thursday, 17 June 2010
Prostitution will always be around and it is impossible to police a blanket ban, Attorney General tells community forum

By Anthony Barich

WA Attorney General Christian Porter has turned the debate on legalising brothels on its head, challenging anti-prostitution advocates to come up with a better solution than his planned legislation to restrict brothels to “entertainment zones”.

While conceding prostitution is “morally objectionable”, a blanket law criminalising it is unenforceable and legislation that permits it in specific zones is the only feasible solution, Mr Porter told a community forum in Belmont on 8 June.

“I do believe that you have to have some kind of level of prostitution which is permitted, strictly regulated for the health and safety of the people in it, because of the fact that it has always existed and because of the fact that we have not been successful over successive decades in stopping it, notwithstanding a law which says it shouldn’t exist anywhere,” Mr Porter told a forum of over 100 at Belmont’s RSL Club. Continue reading

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