Note to anti-prostitutionists: Sex worker movements are nothing to sneer at

[Article by Laura Agustin in response to a book written by Swedish anti-prostitution propagandist Kajsa Ekis Ekmans]

Ordinarily I avoid ideological debates, but this time I had to chime in, because the author of a nutty Swedish book actually lied about me in it. I don’t mean she distorted my ideas – that is conventional amongst feminists who feel they are engaged in a battle to the death about prostitution. No, this was a lie about me and my life: she described me as an employee of the Network for Sex Work Projects, and the company publishing her book didn’t get anyone to check her facts – even about living people, which is reprehensible. Since I am independent with a highly precarious income, and because my opinions are only my own, I could not allow the lie to go uncontested.

The book’s an attack on two activities: commercial sex and surrogate motherhood. The drivel about me is a very small part of the book, which also provides an egregiously selective and ideologically driven version of the history of sex worker rights movements. I decided to use the publishing opportunity to provide a more honest, if still very brief, version, complete with links to the evidence – probably the first such thing published in Sweden. The original book title can’t be translated exactly but means something like Being and Being a Product – the idea of commodification. Continue reading

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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

Spain breaks up male-prostitute trafficking gang

August 31, 2010 – 8:58am
By DANIEL WOOLLS
Associated Press Writer

MADRID (AP) – Spanish police say that for the first time they have broken up a human-trafficking gang that brought men to the country to work as prostitutes, providing them with Viagra, cocaine and other stimulant drugs to be available for sex with other men 24 hours a day.

Authorities arrested 14 people, mainly Brazilians, on suspicion of running the organization and another 17 alleged prostitutes for being in Spain illegally, the National Police said in a statement Tuesday.

Police inspector Jose Nieto said the case involving the Brazilians was the first in which Spanish authorities dismantled a ring in which traffickers brought in men, rather than women, to toil as sex workers. Continue reading

World Cup Avoids Flood Of Sex Workers

by Anders Kelto
July 6, 2010

In South Africa, many feared there would be a huge influx of sex workers to
profit off the tourists gathered for the soccer fest. But for the most part
the fears seem to have been unfounded.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. Im Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

And Im Robert Siegel.

When the World Cup kicked off several weeks ago, it was widely reported that thousands of prostitutes would flock to the country’s nine host cities. And many feared that international traffickers would try to cash-in on the huge influx of tourists by importing sex workers. Well, that hasnt happened nearly as much as anticipated.

Anders Kelto has our report from Cape Town.

(Soundbite of conversations and music)

ANDERS KELTO: In the heart of Cape Town’s central business district is Long Street, a late night destination for those seeking a taste of South African nightlife. Music thumps from the dozens of bars and clubs that line the street, as a never-ending stream of taxis crawls along the road. And like many cities, visitors here are enticed to enter some of the area’s seedier establishments and to pay for sex. Continue reading

Inquiry into sex trafficking in Scotland wants to hear from men who use prostitutes

Jun 30 2010 By Annie Brown

AN inquiry into sex trafficking in Scotland is asking punters who use prostitutes to talk to them – in secret.

Baroness Helena Kennedy, who is heading the probe, said men who buy sex can help build a realistic picture of the extent of the trade.

Kennedy said: “I want to hear from these men. I need to hear directly from people who have experiences of trafficking.

“I think if you want to have a proper sense of the problem, it is better to hear from witnesses themselves directly.

“It might be they are men who have used prostitutes and they have had an experience where they have been with a woman who was clearly coerced into prostitution.

“We need help to understand the scope of the problem but those who can do that are often the very people who, through shame or fear, don’t want to step forward. Continue reading

SOCCER/FOOTBALL LEGEND: 40,000 prostitutes enter the country hosting the FIFA World Cup.

Soccer/Football Legends Revealed #4

This is the fourth in a series of examinations of soccer/football-related legends and whether they are true or false.

Let’s begin!

SOCCER/FOOTBALL LEGEND: 40,000 prostitutes enter the country hosting the FIFA World Cup.

STATUS: False

Let me know if this sounds familiar to you. A country is worried about “the invasion of ’sex-workers,’ who are expected to flood the country next year to cater for male soccer fans” while “The event’s organisers are expecting at least 40,000 prostitutes to descend” on the country to meet demand.

If you said that that sounds like discussions surrounding this year’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa, you would basically be correct. Those quotes generally do describe the mood in South Africa regarding the influx of prostitutes via trafficking rings (to get such large numbers of incoming prostitutes, trafficking rings involving forced prostitution would have to be involved). However, those quotes are actually from five years ago, in an article by Tony Paterson for The Independent in reference to how Germany was going to handle the “invasion” of prostitutes to the 2006 FIFA World Cup that was held in Germany.

But if you look at an article last month Continue reading

SA Report:Trafficking focus takes light off other issues

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA Jun 21 2010 16:22

Claims exaggerating the danger of human trafficking during the Soccer World Cup have resulted in the sidelining of other important social issues, the University of the Witwatersrand’s forced migration studies programme has found.

Programme director Professor Loren Landau said that despite “alarming” radio and television advertisements, there had been little evidence suggesting high volumes of human trafficking in South and southern Africa.

“Nor does local or comparative evidence indicate that a major sporting event is likely to increase these volumes,” he said in a statement. Continue reading

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