sex work

arvan's picture

Coming soon - Porn: The Musical

A new musical is being put together in Los Angeles that focuses on the Adult Film industry that flourishes in the San Fernando Valley.  A theater group from NYC, The Civilians and L.A.’s Center Theatre Group (recently transferred 9 to 5 to Broadway) have joined forces to create and produce the show in Los Angeles.

According to the CTG, the show “will explore the real-life stories of the people who work in California’s pornography industry.”

The initial phase of the project has “the creative team [going] behind the scenes and learn[ing] about the human side of this business, looking at the work and lives of directors, performers, producers, crew — everyone with a story to tell.”

Members of both theater groups have begun canvassing the valley for interesting stories. The Civilians use what they call an investigative approach to theater — that is taking real-life stories and interpreting them for the stage. (Steve Javors, XBIZ)

arvan's picture

Indian sex workers fight back with karate

Sex workers in India have had enough and are fighting back - literally.  The world's oldest profession is still illegal in many countries.  This leaves sex workers vulneralbe to attack from customers and police. 

There is a vast difference between the lives and daily existences of voluntary sex workers and those that are forced into sex work.  I choose to support the rights of consenting sex workers to make that choice.  I also support the rights of the human beings trapped in sex work to a life of dignity and equality.  I want people trapped in poverty to have other choices besides sex work to begin with and a way out for those seeking it.  Even those inside involuntary sex work deserve health care, freedom from persecution and violence and the protection from police from the crimes committed against them.

Jason Overdorf reports in The Global Post on the change in strategy for sex workers in Chennai, India. 

arvan's picture

L.A. County backtracks on reports of porn HIV cases

Yesterday, I drew attention to the smear campaigns and disinformation swirling around the recent news of an Adult Entertainment performer (aka porn star) who recently tested positive for HIV.  Ernest Greene, who served as the source and catalyst for yesterday's post, has followed up with some more facts about the flat-out lies told by those seeking to distort this story for their own purposes.

Today's LA Times reports that LA County officials simply made up stories of the existence of 16 previously unreported Adult Industry performers whom had tested positive for HIV.  

"We have no information on these individuals," said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county's health officer. "All we have is the number from AIM."

arvan's picture

$pread Call For Submissions - Issue 5.2

(Over at $pread Magazine, they are looking for writers to contribute to the next issue)Please circulate widely! All questions, pitches, and finished pieces should be sent to contribute at spreadmagazine dot org *Hot Topic: What about the children!? (200-300 words)*What about *your* kids in relation to the work you do? Ever worked while pregnant? Did you enter the biz to support your kids, or leave it when they were born? Please include your location (city and state) and whatever name you'd like us to print.  *Consumer Report: Stripper heels (100 words per)*We're looking for pointed, possibly humorous, product reviews of stripper footwear. Please provide one-to-two sentences per product and be specific about its usefulness, or its incompatibility, in relation to your line of work. Items should be identified by brand and style name. *Positions: Coming out (400 words)*Is coming out to friends, family, or the public worth it? *Reviews (400-600 words)* Like to review a recent piece of sex-work related culture? Please let us know. Reviews should be between 400 and 600 words, but inquire before writing to make sure we haven't already covered your particular selection. *News Reports (500-1,000 words):*Reports should cover current sex worker-related news and events from across the globe. If possible, please include photos with your report.  *Scene Report (500 words)*Where do you work? Send us a description of your local workplace (e.g., brothel, club, parlor, dungeon, or street corner) and tell us about the venue where you work and how it compares to other locales. Past scene reports covered the New York street scene in the Village and escorting in Orange County, CA. Please include both personal and more industry-wide perspectives of your region.

Clarisse Thorn's picture

"Happy Endings?" Asian massage parlor documentary :: Friday, June 12, 7PM :: Benefit screening for Sex Workers Outreach Project


an intriguing exploration of the Asian massage parlor industry in Providence, RI


"HAPPY ENDINGS?" documentary and discussion

in support of SWOP-Chicago

presented by Clarisse Thorn

and hosted by the Leather Archives & Museum


Friday, June 12, 7PM

Leather Archives & Museum

6418 N. Greenview

Chicago, IL 60626

(773) 761-9200

$5-10 suggested donation to SWOP-Chicago

Rhode Island: the only state where prostitution is decriminalized. It had been over 25 years since five prostitutes sued the state of Rhode Island for selective prosecution and prostitution laws were removed from the books when documentarians Tara Hurley and Nick Marcoux turned their cameras on the underbelly of "The Renaissance City".

Watch the drama unfold in Asian massage parlors across Providence as Mayor David Ciccilline pushes to close the prostitution "loophole". Follow Heather, a Korean immigrant, over two years as she manages the massage parlor. Learn about the women who work in the spas. Hear from the police who arrest them. Watch the fight for and against the legislation. The film includes subtitled interviews with Korean women who work in the spas, clients who frequent the spas, police, politicians from 1980 and today, local news footage, local radio call-in shows, and "voiced" reviews from internet escort review boards. Read more, watch the trailer, and see clips from the film at the "Happy Endings?" official website.

Just recently -- May 2009 -- prostitution is in the process of being criminalized again in Rhode Island. Come out, watch the documentary, and talk about it afterwards. What do you think about sex work? Is the change in Rhode Island law fair or unfair? Delicious snacks will be served, and discussion will follow!

This is a benefit for the Sex Workers Outreach Project, and we're requesting a $5-10 donation from attendees.


To learn more about the Chicago chapter of the Sex Workers Outreach Project, visit their website!

Thanks to our host the Leather Archives and Museum: preserving the history of alternative sexuality!

Screening facilitated by Clarisse Thorn, sex-positive activist and curator of the Sex+++ Film Series.


Official Website


Friday, June 12, 7PM

6418 N. Greenview

$5-10 suggested donation


arvan's picture

S.W.I.R.L. (Sex Workers Internet Radio Library)

An Internet radio station used to run interviews, commentary and news from the perspective of sex workers.  It is gone now, but thankfully, the audio archives are still around.  I recommend you swing by and listen in for some very informative, honest and compelling audio. 

SWIRL was originally a 24/7 web stream created by sound artist Judy Dunaway, Ph.D. as part of her dissertation in music composition. She consulted a number of sex worker artists and activists about the development of the webcast, including Melissa Ditmore Ph.D.(Sex Worker Project of the Urban Justice Center), Annie Sprinkle Ph.D. , Carol Leigh (Bayswan/PENET), Anna Regina and Joe Gallant (Black Mirror Productions). The webcast ran from January 2007 until May 2008. In May 2008, for economic and other practical reasons, the decision was made to end the audio stream and switch SWIRL to an audio archive format. The audio archive was launched in August 2008.

The podcasts are divided into some basic categories:

- Interviews -

- Panel Discussions -

- Speeches -

- Music -

- Field Recordings -

- Stories & Poetry -

- Performance Art -

- PSAs -

arvan's picture

SOUTH AFRICA: Decriminalizing sex work only half the battle

Photo: Julius Mwelu/IRIN
Should sex work be legalized?

JOHANNESBURG, (IRIN) - Proposals to decriminalize sex work in South Africa have been moved back to the front burner after the newly installed premier of the country's richest province, Gauteng, remarked that the issue should be addressed "objectively and with an open mind". A review of the current legislation is underway.

The Sexual Offences Act of 1957 prohibits all sex work, and any activity associated with it - keeping or participating in the management of a brothel, procuring someone to become a sex worker, soliciting or selling sex, and living off the earnings of a sex worker - is a criminal offence. The Act was amended 50 years later to make buying sexual services a criminal offence.

Enforcement of the sweeping law is extremely difficult; the police generally use municipal by-laws that target street-based sex workers under the guise of being a "public nuisance", leading to claims of police harassment, while the authorities ignore thousands of classified adverts for sexual services in daily newspapers and elsewhere.

arvan's picture

Sex workers don't need to be rescued

People will believe and accept an unusually dramatic story over and above the banal day-to-day reality of paying your rent or mortgage through sex work. (Getty Images: Sean Garnsworthy, file photo)

Organisations that capitalise on the suffering of the people they are supposedly helping can learn a great deal from the recent Salvation Army apology, writes Scarlet Alliance president Elena Jeffreys.(ABC News)

"An advertisement has run in the Sydney Telegraph this morning... certainly has offended those working within this particular segment within their community. The very last thing that we would want to do is to distance ourselves from any person in need and so as a direct result we pulled the ad from our public media," Major Philip Maxwell of the Salvation Army told a horde of media gathered in the Salvation Army cafe on Albion Street, Surry Hills.

Sex workers had spent several hours negotiating for an apology, and had a strong presence at the launch, holding red umbrellas and signs including "Salvo's Pimping Sex Workers", "We don't need to be rescued - We Need RIGHTS", and my favourite, "Salvo's = Ugly Mug".

The offensiveness of the ad comes from the stereotypes and stigma it perpetuates. The ad speaks about a male sex worker who is 'saved' by the Salvation Army. The stereotype is simple. Sex workers are victims of an immoral world, the Salvation Army are our liberators. Readers' first thoughts are "Yes a sex worker is saved by a religious charity, all is right in the world".

It is always more plausible to understand sex workers as victims than it is to understand us as intelligent, articulate and community-minded.

arvan's picture

Taking the Pledge: How USAID & PEPFAR abandon sex workers

Taking the Pledge is a 13-minute film featuring sex workers from Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Mali, Thailand and more! They describe the problems created by the 'anti-prostitution pledge' required to receive USAID and PEPFAR funds.

In English, Khmer, Thai, French, Portuguese and Bengali, with English subtitles. Watch in full-screen mode to read the subtitles.

Produced by the Network of Sex Work Projects.

Erin Siegal shot the interviews and edited the film.

arvan's picture

Sex Workers, Resistance, and the Media Panel at NYC Grassroots Media Conference 5/30

This final announcement just posted over at Bound Not Gagged, by Audacia Ray

If you are a sex worker or an ally in NYC tomorrow, make you way over here.  Guest speakers include Audacia Ray, Megan Andelloux and Monica Shores. 

Spread the word, make a difference!

Join us at the 6th Annual Conference:HOPE to ACTION
Saturday, May 30, 2009

9am-6pm: Hunter College, 68th St & Lexington Ave

Registration is now open — save cash, register early! 

Sex Workers, Resistance, and the Media panel/workshop

Sex workers are frequently maligned and misrepresented in the mainstream media, where stories are most often about scandals, busts, violence, health and safety risks, exploitation, legislation, and moral judgment. This panel of present and former sex workers who are activists and media makers will address the ways we are represented in mainstream media and what sex workers and their allies can do to challenge and remake the way we are perceived. We will present media projects created by sex workers and discuss challenges encountered in the process of distribution and building an audience for our work. The workshop will conclude with making a short PSA video about how sex workers and allies can work together.

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