S-WATCH.org take two.

So I opened up S-WATCH.org again.

It’s not the vision I have for an org yet. See this post. Right now it is a typical discussion forum type style board. A place to discuss questions, issues, answers in regards to sex work for anyone who cares to comment about the industry. It’s not a hooker board, it’s not set up for advertising or looking for an escort. It’s a place for the public to interview and ask questions of actual sex workers. It’s a place to bring together news stories and comments into one place. It’s not a place to act like a child and say stupid shit like “Oh yea? Well you’re just a WHORE!” when we may disagree with you.

Take a look, you’ll see what I mean.

Eventually I want to work the vision in but not until I get my panel together so mine is not the only input.

http://s-watch.org/index.php

 

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THIS!

Had to reprint it here:

While we are on this general topic, I would like to point out a closely related, widespread myth, namely urban legend that the average age of entry into sex work is 13 years.

By definition of average that means that if the ages of all beginning sex workers are summed and then that sum is divided by the total number of beginners, the resulting number would be 13.  Even a small bit of reflection reveals this figure to be absurd.

This implies that for everyone who starts sex work at age 14, another will start at age 12.  If someone begins sex work at the advanced age of 18, then someone else begins at the age of 8, or 5 begin at the age of 12.  Do no sex workers begin in their late 20s or 30s?  How many people under the age of 13 would it take to balance them, so as to average out to 13?  A lot.

The police should be finding great numbers of sex workers under the age of 13.  But that hardly ever happens.  If you Google “prostitution” and “arrested”, you will see that the average age is in the late 20s or early 30s.  If these people have been doing sex work since they were 13, how come they only start getting arrested about 15 years later?  Are 13-year-olds better at evading the authorities than 30-year-olds?  If a cop sees a 30-year-old hooker and a 10-year-old hooker, which one is he going to investigate?

I understand the newspapers are not going to publish the name of a minor involved in sex work, but they will publish the fact that a minor has been found doing sex work.

The article alluded to a study that said 800 underage sex workers were found in the USA.  I am assuming that “underage” means under 18.  So there is no way to tell how many of those 800 were under 13 (I suspect not many).  Regardless, there are far more than 800 sex workers in the USA.  One article in Wikipedia says there are 23 full time sex workers in the USA for every 100,000 people.  That comes out to a little over 70,000 full time sex workers.  Since it is unlikely that all do it full time, there are even more if you include part-timers.  If the average starting age really were 13, the police should be encountering vast numbers of elementary school sex workers.  Obviously they aren’t. – By user name cypriot.

Here is the link to the story where I found the above in the comments. The above emphasis is my own. Made me laugh. Might I also say that “Sanctimonious American Fuckwit” has now been added to my vocabulary as an insult I will find a way to use someday. You’ll have to read the other comments also to see where that came from.

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Hindsight. A teen runaway story.

This isn’t going to be easy. Please keep in mind that this was about 25 years ago. Amid the current hysteria hype lies questions. Should we continue to make people aware of the child/teenage prostitution problem? Should we donate to awareness campaigns or to actual shelters? Can we truly end the bullshit? As long as we continue to have sorry excuses for parents out in the world and teenagers who think that life would be better on the streets rather than home, I highly doubt it. Not all teen runaways turn to prostitution because some man forced them to. Here is my humble story. It’s not special, it’s typical from what I remember of other runaways I had met during that time.

Looking back, I ran away from home because I was a selfish little twit. My parents didn’t understand me, they were to strict, they didn’t like my friends, whine whine whine. A friend of mine said “Hey, I’m going to Houston to live with my brother. Want to come?” What the hell, I went. Grand new adventure and all that.

Fast forward two weeks (or thereabouts). His prickhead of a brother got tired of supporting his little lazy ass and some chick he didn’t know who was obviously a runaway. Out into the streets we go. Lost him. Said he was going to go try and find us a place to stay, left me at the mall, and I never saw him again.

I hung out at the mall for days, weeks. I didn’t know where else to go. Time was broken down into when the mall opened, when the food court filled up, when it got crowded after people got off of work, and when it closed. I could tell it was the weekend by the amount of younger kids showing up during the day.

Eventually security ran me off. I mean come on, same girl, same clothes, all the freaking time. Let me tell you, it’s not easy trying to wash your clothes and your armpits so you don’t smell too bad in a bathroom sink. I bothered their shoppers by asking for handouts and I’d watch what people threw away at the food court to see what I could grab when no one was looking. I can’t even begin to tell you how much candy and snacks I shoplifted.

So some of you at this point are probably thinking I should have went to the police. Yea right. The cops as far as I knew, would arrest me or worse – send me home to parents who I believe would have been pissed at me. I was more afraid of that than living on the streets (remember, teenage thinking here. Not always rational.)

I didn’t go back after security made me leave (still afraid of cops) so I walked. And walked, and walked. I discovered a part of town where there were other bums, young and old. There was a titty bar in the neighborhood, and I can’t remember exactly how I met this one woman who worked there but she took pity on me I guess. She let me shower and get cleaned up at her place and told me she thought she might could get me a job at the place where she worked (I had learned to tell people I was 18 by this point). She did. It didn’t last long at all though. We had given her manager a story about why I didn’t have an ID but eventually he made me leave when I couldn’t ever produce one. He also fired her. That was the end of that relationship.

Back on the streets. Met a man who had seen me dance and he offered me a hot shower, a bed to sleep on, and a meal. I was too stupid to realize or think to ask what it might cost me. Honestly at that point I didn’t care. I smelled bad, I was hungry, and my little cardboard pallet didn’t allow a good nights sleep.

Was he a pimp? I didn’t think so. He was a middle aged man with a kind face. He frequently traveled to Houston on business and stayed at nice hotels. He sat next to me on the bed and made small talk. I was so grateful for what he had done for me but there was only one thing I had that was of any worth in which to show him my appreciation. So yes, I had sex with him. Perhaps it is what he expected all along, perhaps not, but I’m the one who took the initiative. This was the beginning of giving men what they wanted in exchange for something I needed.

“Chuck” (because I can’t remember his real name) was not always around. Weeks would go by without me seeing him and the money he gave me didn’t last long enough until he came back. So I solicited, generally within a block of or so of the titty bar. I tried to hit up the guys who looked like they may have been from out of town in the hopes that they had a motel room I could sleep in and take a shower. Didn’t always work so there were a few backseat encounters. I couldn’t get a room of my own, no ID remember?

It all ended when me and a few other people were in a 7-11 at night and the clerk got scared. Next think I know I’m up against a wall being patted down by a cop, handcuffed, and thrown into the backseat of a cop car. Parents were called, I was picked up by them, and the rest is fairly normal. (No they weren’t pissed, they were happy I was okay)

Now I know that this story is full of holes, I can’t remember timelines, and there are even some parts that I tried to fill in but am still very vague on. 25 years ago, teenage brain in survival mode. What do you expect?

Looking back on what I do remember and what would have helped? A safe house. A house where I felt safe, that had a bed, a shower, and food. A place where others in my situation also went so that I could feel not so alone. Knowledge of where that shelter was. Non-judgmental social workers – not the religious types – that went around and posted fliers advertising places I could go for my immediate needs. I didn’t care about counseling or mentoring or services other than what I mentioned. I didn’t care that these people thought they could “save” me. My long term goal was my next meal. Offer me that without looking down your nose at me. (In a teenagers mind, one of the last things I wanted was to be lectured.)

I remember being bored and going by the electronics sections of stores to watch television. I didn’t care if it was news, sports, or soaps on the television – it was something to do. Commercials advertising the nearest safe house would have helped, the anti-trafficking campaigns – not so much. If “Chuck” hadn’t of helped me out I would be dead from tetanus from scraping my fingers on a rusted can of half eaten chili found by a dumpster.

Is this story the exception or the rule? I don’t know. Is JillB’s story the exception or the rule? I don’t know that either. I met many other street kids who were in the same situation and were not picked up by violent pimps. I also know JillB who was picked up by a violent pimp who used her as a sex slave. Both situations do exist. What JillB and I have in common is that we were both street kids. She started out (left home) for different reasons than I did and her fate ended up being much different than mine. However, we both got hungry, cold, and were alone which helped set us on our (albeit different) paths.

Awareness is great and all, but it didn’t feed me or give me something besides cardboard to sleep on. Building a shelter in Austin wouldn’t have done diddley for me either as I would have no way to get there (aside from trying to hitch hike. Yea, can’t see that not turning out bad. Nor would I have left my -by then – comfort zone.) I’m not saying that whatever “Chuck” was thinking in his head was right at the time either. As far as he knew I was 18 though obviously vulnerable due to my situation. Did he take advantage of me or did I take advantage of him?

Answers aren’t easy, solutions aren’t either. Perhaps my story will make you think, perhaps you will read and forget. Either way, there it is.

*You can read about JillB here  and view the follow up questions and answers here or see http://sexworkerswithoutborders.org/

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Dirt swept under a rug is still dirt.

By now, you have probably heard of the bitch fight between Village Voice (who owns backpage.com and Ashton Kutcher). They are going at it via Twitter and VV blogs and news. I’m not really going to get into what the discussion was about and all that shiznit. You can read about it on Maggies Blog, Village Voice, Amanda Brooks, and pretty much all over.

Here is a sentence I want you to look at and think about. It comes from a Seattle Police Department Memo that Ashton Kutcher posted here.

“In 2011 alone, SPD detectives have uncovered four documented cases of child prostitution openly advertised on the Backpage.com website.”

Knee jerk reaction – OMG those POOR BABIES!!! Being ADVERTISED for SALE! HOW can backpage.com LIVE with themselves??

What do I say? GOOD! THANK GOD those four children were FOUND! Because what if backpage went the way of Craigslist? What? Since they are no longer found on an open free to browse website they just disappear? They never existed? So child prostitution, sex slavery, human trafficking will cease to exist because we can’t find them anymore? Really? I’d like to live in  your world but it’s not reality.

Yes, think of the children. Think of the instances that children are found and rescued BECAUSE of backpage.com and similar venues. Because if those children weren’t found, where would they be now?

 

 

 

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And now a WTF moment…

Ok all you omnipotent neofem and trafficking fanatics. Can you really claim to know just by looking that the woman in the picture is only 16 years old? Really? Be honest here…

From EOnline!

Hollywood has seen its fair share of odd couplings, but this one is so out there even the newlyweds know it’s a little weird.

Doug Hutchison, a character actor best known for roles in The Green MileLost and The X-Files, married aspiring pop star Courtney Alexis Stodden on May 20 in Las Vegas.

He is 51. She is 16.

Is there something fishy about it? In an exclusive statement to E! News, the couple insists there’s not.

With Stodden, a former beauty pageant queen (she was in the running for Miss Teen Washington USA last year), trying to position herself as a potential pop star, you might think there’s more to the story than middle-age actor marrying pretty teenager (and that’s a lot of story, itself). However, the newlyweds tell us they’re just mad about each other.

“We’re aware that our vast age difference is extremely controversial,” the couple said through their spokeswoman.

“But we’re very much in love and want to get the message out there that true love can be ageless.”

What do you think?

Read more: http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b248227_green_mile_actor_51_marries_16-year-old.html#ixzz1QCYpzfMQ

 

Here are some more pictures just in case you think it’s the angle or the lighting.

 

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ProCo-Op

aka “Brandy’s Brilliant Idea #265”.

I have a love/hate relationship with the stereotypical brothel. On the one hand, I think they are great for safety and security of both the prostitute and client and the general public. If a woman were allowed to work in a designated place that the people who seek their services know about, street prostitution (including the danger and nuiscance problems) could be basically eliminated. The clients, instead of cruising neighborhoods looking for nookie, would just go to the brothel. Prostitutes would then know where to find the clients. Vice Versa applies also. Any prostitute caught plying her trade on the street outside of this district (aka in somebody’s neighborhood) could be fined or ticketed or whatever for loitering, vagrancy, etc so it would behoove them to move it to where it is allowed. Moving it indoors where there is safety in numbers and security in the form of well.. bodyguards will help to keep the less than honest set ups (muggings, beatings, etc) from occurring.

Many escorts don’t like the idea of being a brothel girl. Can’t blame them, particularly if we look to the Nevada brothels as an example. Cattle call my ass. I am not standing up in some line up so some dude can ‘inspect’ me and compare me to others on sight. Nor do I want to live someplace for nine days in a row, I have a family to take care of. I do know why Nevada does this though. The state will come down hard on the brothel itself (not the prostitute) if there is a case of an STD being traced back to them. So a prostitute gets tested and to ensure that she stays disease free, she has to stay only at the brothel lest she go out on the town and gets infected unknowingly before coming back to work the next day (after she tests negative and before she gets re-tested). So whereas it sucks, I know the reasoning behind it. Same goes with giving the brothel half of a girls earnings. The brothel pays all the bills (electric, water, alcohol, laundry, wages for ancillary staff, business license, property taxes, county taxes, decor, maintenance, the list goes on). Seriously, that is a HUGE chunk of change right there. I would hate to have to pay the monthly utilities associated with it *shudder*.

What I suggest when I say brothel is NOT what you probably picture. Therefore I’m going to use the term “proco-op”. For todays discussion I’m not going to include streetwalkers insomuch as I am going to discuss escorts. Average independent escorts (not the high dollar hotties or agency girls).

Issue: From my experience with internet independent escorting (and the experience of my peers), currently we work from our homes, the clients homes, hotels, or private apartments. I hate to work from my home because sometimes I don’t know if the client is going to have stalker potential, plus I just don’t want him knowing my real life address. I don’t want to go to his home because he may have hidden cameras, his buddies hiding out in the closet, and other cases where there may be potential for violent behavior because he is in his comfort zone. I don’t like to work from hotels/motels, they are commonly used in sting operations, management gets skittish and will call cops if they even just suspect something fishy is going on, and there are families there vacationing with their kids running around sometimes. That one is just a personal peeve of mine. Plus the fact that if something bad happens to you (the escort) you may not be found for 24 hours when hotel management comes knocking wanting you to pay for another day or when maid service gets around to you and decides to ignore the do not disturb tag hanging on your doorknob. I prefer private apartments out of the above but you can still run into association with real life persona since in most cases that is what you use to fill out the lease. It’s also the upkeep of the apartment with associated bills, not disturbing the neighbors, etc. It holds risks that are inherent with many of the above mentioned faults.

Now with a proco-op, you arrange your date like you normally would – via the internet, do your screening, all that stuff but the place that you meet for your date would be the proco-op. Neutral ground, client won’t know where you live, you won’t be in clients comfort zone. There will be security (should panic buttons be installed?) and there will be other people there who know what is going on and could care less (no little kids running around with mommy and daddy). Sorry the proco-op does have bills to pay so yes there would have to be a charge for the room (how much and what rate would have to be determined). No stings would be set up (because we are talking like if this would be allowed). So basically it’s your typical internet independent arrangement except you have neutral ground to conduct your business on if you so choose. For those who have an arrangement that they are comfortable with, whether it be a house, apartment, a known safe hotel – there shouldn’t be a requirement that you HAVE to use the proco-op. It’s there for people who don’t have it and I’d rather they use it than be in an unsafe place including a dark alley or back seat of a dam car next to a school yard in the middle of the day.

So what about for guys who feel the itch and want to just show up at the proco-op sans a date? Well, as us ladies know, there are times when we have slow days and wish we had appointments. We can troll online looking for clients and sit by our phone in our house/hotel/whatever OR these ladies can come hang out at the proco-op and troll online and wait by the phone AND wait to see if any clients sans dates come in. So picture escorts who are waiting for calls hanging around a lobby/living area, kicking back and bullshitting, and a client comes through the door because he has been on the road and hasn’t had time himself to see who is available online. NO cattle call inspections. Ick. Client just goes into the lobby and starts chatting it up. Here is where it can get tricky. I would think there would need to be rules and time limits. Like client can’t just hang out all day and waste time and the ladies can’t be cock-blocking. We would also have to let the client know that there will be no guarantee of a lady seeing him. All ladies have the right to say no and stand by that decision for whatever reason. There will be no “you have to say yes to whoever walks in”, oh hell no.

But these rules and guidelines for cases like this need to be decided by the escorts and management and come to an agreement that works for everybody. The main purpose of a proco-op is not to have a drop in service, it’s to have a neutral and safe ground.

Regulating: I think there needs to be a proco-op regulating agency. It should be left up to the cities (with the cooperation of a proco-op agency) as to how to address these places. Zoning laws and restrictions similar to any other adult sexually oriented business should probably be handled by the city commission. (Remember I’m not talking about independent ladies who are working out of their own place and not disturbing anyone). JCAHO is a regulating agency for hospitals and medical clinics. There are certain standards that a facility has to meet in regards to its building, employees, and services in order to be accredited by JCAHO. JCAHO then publishes and has a list of places that have met their standards and are JCAHO certified. This lets the public know basically where the best medical facilities are at due to their stringent guidelines. Almost all medical facilities want to be certified by JCAHO, both because of the status it gives them and because patients (who are in the know about this kind of thing) want to go there, along with some other benefits from insurance agencies and government which doesn’t really apply here but anyway…

A proco-op AGENCY (not facility) would have the right to set standards and guidelines when it comes to things such as cleanliness, independent escort qualifications (over the age of 18, not pimped kind of thing), and whatever other guidelines an escort panel comes up with. The agency would also have the authority to inspect these places applying for certification and publish a list of the places who meet and pass inspections, letting the buyer beware so to speak.

AND now I’m going to let you people in on a little not so secret secret AND I’m going to piss some of you off. I know this has been a long post so you can stop reading right here, especially if you are going to get pissy.

I am not trying to regulate the industry. My ideas for S-WATCH and ProCo-OP are my attempts to satisfy all parties, letting the adult voluntary escorts do what they do whether they want to be a part of these crazy ideas of mine or not AND by attempting to appease concerns brought about by the general public. That’s it. Our current laws are not doing SHIT to eradicate prostitution, if anything with this economy, it is becoming more widespread and I foresee it getting worse as those that do and those that don’t continue to butt heads in a wasted effort for control. You can’t eradicate, you must educate.

Clients for the most part are stupid when it comes to prostitution. Sorry, not all, but a large portion. In my area we have backpage.com and we have a discussion board. The discussion board is your best bet for finding adult voluntary providers because it is a self policed area. In other words, ladies who are rip offs and bait and switches and men who are assholes are called out and exposed. This helps you to avoid making the same mistakes. Yet surprisingly to me, many guys don’t know about it and continue to take risks by calling people from backpage and even craigslist. We talk about going after the ‘demand’ side of prostitution, then you need to EDUCATE the demand side and not through this John School bullshit. You really think John Schools stop or hinder the purchasing of services? Or could it be that they have learned to be more careful to not get caught? Human nature being what it is, I believe the latter. Plus you are putting sex workers out of jobs, which is probably your plan, but we still need to eat because I don’t see you driving up to deliver my meals now that I can’t get a client (and there still aren’t any normal jobs available that fit my needs).

So if you want to end demand for underage and pimped out women, educate the clients on who the adult voluntary women are. Stop going after the adult voluntary ladies (because now LE will know who they are) and concentrate on the prostitutes who aren’t. Want to stop illegal brothels, let an agency publish where the legal ones are. If you don’t know you can’t do the right thing. What is the number one thing that has hindered the spread of HIV and AIDS? It certainly wasn’t outlawing sex, it was EDUCATING people about the risks, the use of condoms, and the need to be careful.

Are there problems inherent in my ideas? You betcha! I can’t think of everything, there are problems I can’t foresee, there are issues I don’t know about. I won’t do it by myself, although I will start it by putting forth these ideas and welcoming feedback just to get somebody’s ball rolling. I need your input and thoughts.

So give it to me baby!

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Mythbusting – It’s happening all over

And yet another article which blows the prohibitionist claims out of the water. It’s what actual sex-workers (off street) have been saying all along:

Study finds prostitution now a career choice for many women in Wales

They found:

  • – More than three-quarters of those questioned had qualifications including GCSEs, A-levels  and even a law degree
    – The majority had come into the sex trade from “respectable” careers – including one woman who had been a senior manager in a private sector business
    – None had been trafficked or coerced – with many quoting high wages, flexible working hours and job satisfaction as their reasons for going into the trade
    – The majority were working independently by advertising on the internet, some of whom said they were doing it “for fun”

The startling results explode the myth of men and women trapped in a dangerous trade by controlling pimps, financial insecurity and a downward spiral of drug and alcohol abuse.

Startling? Hardly.

But researchers said many of the sex workers they spoke to were complacent about the risks of the job, such as violence and sexually transmitted diseases.

Complacent? Or realistic? Yes, we know that there are risks to the job just as there are risks at any other job, although different kinds of risks, risks none-the-less. Do not confuse complacency with risk assessment however. If you are “schocked” or “startled” at your perceptions of prostitution not being what they really are then you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that violence and STD’s occur less often than what you imagine either.

“These women definitely don’t want to be saved – they have made a choice and we have to respect that choice – Government policy needs to recognise that the sex industry has been around for ever and it’s not going to go anywhere.

(My emphasis there)

She said the rise in people joining the sex trade could be due to the anonymity of the internet and the influence of TV shows like ITV’s Secret Diary of a Call Girl, which stars Billie Piper as a high-end escort living in London and earning thousands.

Or, gee. Could it be that to some women it is very practical and makes sense? I can now make my child’s school play, I can be home to help them with homework, I am less stressed which makes me happier and my children happier, I have more time to pursue things that interest me, and/or I’m paying my bills without the need of government assistance.

The article continues with the dangers faced by women who are choosing to work from the internet and the fact that they hide this from friends and family. The article fails to put two and two together however:

She said efforts by the  Labour Government to eradicate the industry led to many former brothel workers branching out on their own, accounting for the sharp rise in internet-based sex workers.

“When they stopped women working together in twos and threes and decided to start putting brothel clients on the sex offenders’ register if they were caught, many women fled to the internet because it was the only way that everybody wasn’t  going to get nicked,” she said.

The reason the job is dangerous and prone to violence is that we are not allowed to work together. The government, for the sake of showing that they don’t condone prostitution, has forced women to work alone and in secret.

“We used to have days where the girls could all go to the GUM (genito-urinary medicine) clinic to get health checks, counselling and exit strategies for those who wanted to leave, now it is much more dangerous. But there are websites like Safe that have been set up by escorts to  give advice to ladies and boys entering the industry, as well as buddy systems where if you are new to a town you can buddy up with someone else, so it is improving.”

So what was so wrong with that? Having a system for safety, counselling, and exit strategies if wanted? Oh, that’s right, the government again doesn’t want to be seen as condoning consensual sex transactions in general so as a strategy we have to take away services that might help hookers. To hell with allowing the protection of our citizens, we have an image to hold on to.
Read More http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2011/06/19/study-finds-prostitution-now-a-career-choice-for-many-women-in-wales-91466-28900994/2/#ixzz1PjTGcmsy

 

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