[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
From Laura Agustin’s Border Thinking
Men and football: the assumption that these make a super-volatile combination that will lead to violence against women is everywhere, yet there is no real research backing it up. It feels intuitive, something like Oh my god, they get so worked up and nationalistic at those matches, they scream and take off their shirts, and look at how some hooligans bash each other, and they get so drunk they don’t know what they’re doing. Okay, but the connexion with sex is? Some think that these activities involve a rise in testosterone, which could mean fans become rapacious about wanting to have sex, and in their blind fervour go racing off to fuck anything in sight. Or, correlations have been made between drinking alcohol in heavy quantities and becoming aggressive – for some people, not all – but the aggression usually comes in the form of fighting amongst other drinking men. Or is the idea that some general amoral, violent side rises up via the enthusiasm for sport in a way that makes fans want to grab women? Sometimes the assumption is just that when bunches of guys get together they are liable to run amok. The World Cup is feared to bring out the worst in its fans.
It’s muddled thinking, however. Stag parties, in which groups of men ritualistically drink and whoop it up together, often have a sexual element, but that usually consists of …
Read the rest at Border Thinking
Taking the Crime out of Sex Work
Thursday May 13, 2010
Decriminalisation of New Zealand’s sex industry has resulted in safer, healthier sex workers, a new book by University of Otago, Christchurch, researcher Gillian Abel shows.
Since decriminalisation seven years ago sex workers are more empowered to insist on safe sex, Abel’s book “Taking the crime out of sex work – New Zealand sex workers’ fight for decriminalisation’’ shows.
Abel is a senior lecturer at the University of Otago, Christchurch’s Public Health and General Practice department.
She edited the book with Lisa Fitzgerald (a former Otago University, Christchurch, health promotion lecturer) and Catherine Healy (with Aline Taylor).
They interviewed 772 sex workers for the book. Continue reading
PostDateIcon Thursday, 18 March 2010 16:23 | Print
If you agree to have sex with a sex worker in Italy and for some reason you change your mind and refuse to pay for the services received, you can be charged with rape.
The Cassation Court has upheld a sentence against a sex worker’s client who refused to pay for the sexual services received.
The man will serve a four year prison sentence in addition to paying the sex worker 2000 Euros in damages.
Ms. Pia Covre, President of the Committee for the Civil Rights of Prostitutes (CDCP) expressed satisfaction at the sentence. She said that having sex with a commercial worker without paying for the services received is equivalent to sexual violence.
The Cassation Court has now made it clear that the oral contract between a sex worker and a client must be respected because it is legally binding, Ms. Covre said.
She noted that the ruling is a step towards recognition of an activity which if carried out freely, should be recognized as legal work.
Ms. Covre said that for a long time, many clients of sex workers have been refusing to pay for their services, but it was difficult in the past to convince sex workers to report their clients to the police.
She appreciated the fact that sex workers are now reporting such cases to the police in order to seek justice. This is a sign that sex workers are increasingly becoming aware of their rights and are determined to make sure that they are not violated, Ms. Covre said.
By Stephen Ogongo
See original at Africa News