2016 Sex Work Year in Review 2016

M. Dante Philadelphia

Nihil de nobis, sine nobis

SUCCESSES  Community Allied Effort To Stop The Violence on December 17th at Thomas Paine Plaza! Kensington serial attacker and killer caught in Delaware County in December! Timothy Keller meeting with me on behalf of Representative Sims! ePGN Press Thanks To Tim Cwiek! Multiple successful  fundraisers making a real difference in the lives of sex workers in need. Educational Outreach. Community Action. We did good! 

BACKSTORY My 2003 Goddard College BA Senior Study is a discussion on feminism, commercial sexuality, forced prostitution, and trafficking. My project was inspired by the Millennial  Tribunals on behalf of the Korean Comfort Women. Part One of Two is available on Academia dot edu. Part Two is under a privacy lock with authorization by written request and response, and in person review required.

DO YOU KNOW?  I  am federally defined as a former victim of U.S. domestic minor sex trafficking. As the result of domestic violence I was a homeless / transient youth and young adult in the mid 1980s-mid 1990s.  I have thirty (30) years exposure to, and understanding of survival sex, sex work and sex trafficking. 

All last year – and currently  –  I am recording and contributing to informative podcast discussions, along with being interviewed behind the scenes for blog and media articles,  assisting with content for posts, speeches, discussions and panels, educational surveys and classes. I am considered an experiential expert on sex work and sex trafficking. Thanks Ethan and Zach Trio for the amazing recordings and contributions to the breadth and depth of the discussion, and also your contributions to Philadelphia’s December 17th.

A sample of the community adult education discussions Ethan Zach and I have been working on is available to listen to here. The attached conversation is on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and some of the differences in defining what constitute acts of violence against women, the boundaries of consent, and conflation in defining prostitution, violence against prostitutes, and human trafficking.

32004915746_9f8258f574_o Ethan and Zach Trio

Sex Education is  – or at least was – a facet of my focus. Between 2011 – 2014 I contributed to the following sexual education programs:

  • Community College of Philadelphia (CCP). Over three years I co-hosted sexual and communication workshops as a psychology elective called, Fundamentals of Communication and Kindness (FUCK). This class interactive workshop allowed students to discuss dynamics and definitions of challenging contemporary issues in open room discussions including date rape, BDSM and other hard topics.
  • Regain that Feeling with Dr. Mitch Tepper: Surviving a serious injury or illness, or living with a chronic condition, brings a host of physical changes, emotional responses, and relationship challenges. Disabilities do not prevent the ABILITY to share intimacy, and function in conventional or surrogate relationships.

2012 into 2013 My return to the sex industry after a near ten year hiatus from the commercial trade started out as fun! I returned to sessions, along with publishing and presenting  – for pay –  adult sex education, social commentary and pop cultural coverage of industry events. I had a popular column on SLIXA both Late Night and Under Cover, though selected to  have it taken down when I came out as a sex trade survivor. Those flashy monikers of mine kept confusing the conversation. Now all writing = One name. One narrative. 

2014 The hot topics turned legal and legislative  as new laws challenged  professional rights and personal privacy for those in the sex trade, either as consensual adult workers or as former trafficking survivors involved in both sides of the industry. The independent escort industry is infiltrated by academics, activists, cops, media and new non-profits.

 2015 through 2016  The fun is done. Seriously done.  The last two years proved busier than imaginable due to national task force raids across the country, Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE), End Demand, abolition bias media perspectives, and a definite push towards justice and rescue-based punitive and social services. Sex work is now completely conflated with HIV Policy, transgender rights,  sexual addiction and recovery treatments, trauma based rehabilitation services, LGBT youth services, faith based rescue,  faith based drop in shelters, street based prostitution, rescue conversion therapy, social and economically marginalized minority and migrant needs, heroin focused drug rehabilitation and harm reduction, prison reform and re-entry, expungement and lack of expungement for prostitutes, diversion, LEAD, sex trafficking of minors, human trafficking in general, and other extremely serious topics – all of which added confusion to conversations and efforts to reach out on important issues specific to current consensual adult sex work.

Sex work used to be a polite, euphemistic way to say: escorting, prostituting, strip club dancing, dominance and submission in the dungeons, pornographic film work, cam girl work or massage parlour type services with or without happy ending. It used to be sort of a public secret. An option full or part time for those who needed the money or just liked the work for whatever reasons. Now it is none of that. Sex work seems to have become a divisive class and cultural battlefield like abortion and birth control, only there was no mention of it in any of the presidential debates, and there is no mention of it as a platform political discussion

INNER INDUSTRY ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
How did 2016 define commercial sexual lifestyle and privacy?

Maxine Doogan and The Erotic Service Providers Legal Educational Research Project

  • ESPLERP v Gascon is the one legal challenge taking that on in the United States. The March 2016  motion to dismiss opened the door to the 9th Circuit where we will see if Lawrence v Texas and Reliable offer enough similarities for ESPLERP v Gascon to have impact on our right to commercial sexual freedom. Best of  luck to The Erotic Service Providers Legal, Educational, Research Project. For updates and information visit: http://esplerp.org/case3-esplerp-vs-gascon/

POLICY SAMPLE: Under the guise of “rescuing” trafficked victims, human trafficking legislation has to date too often relied upon, or been an accomplice to, the continued criminalization of our labor as prostitutes; clearly in violation of our Constitutional Rights. Although state statutes often classify erotic service providers as victims and specifically define what constitutes victimized behavior, they fail to recognize the agency of erotic service providers or our clients, and fail to provide equal protection under the law for members of our community. Labeling us as victims effectively perpetuates the state’s law enforcement approach toward our community, since the presence of a “victim” implicitly assumes the existence of corresponding “perpetrators” who must be brought to justice.

PRINCIPLES TO GUIDE LEGISLATION AFFECTING OUR COMMUNITY 1) “Our Bodies, Our Rights” ­ Consenting adults have the right to be free from state criminalization of their sex lives, whether or not the exchange of money or any other consideration is involved. 2) “Nothing About Us, Without Us” ­ When it comes to laws affecting people involved in the sex industry, the voices of those stakeholders themselves must be heard front and center in the debate, and the attitudes of “othering” us and denying our independent volition and agency must be excised from the legislative process. 3) “Individual Privacy, Institutional Transparency” ­ Any legislation that affects our community must protect our privacy and guarantee that government agencies and government­ funded non­profit service providers operate transparently and are held accountable for treating people humanely, non­-coercively, and with integrity, dignity and respect.

CEASE Demand

CEASE is stylized after the 1999 Kvinnofrid Law, most easily understood in popular mainstream press as the Nordic Model . The Nordic Model finds all forms of female prostitution to be an act of violent exploitation, and currently arrests sex-buyers (who those who oppose  consensual adult sex work (CASW) define as “johns”) in an effort to put sex workers out of business by – theoretically – “ending demand”. The current  U.S. effort towards the Nordic Model  relies heavily on interdisciplinary penal and social services for mainstream societal re/habilitation based on the Massachusetts Interagency Human Trafficking Task Force Policy of 2013.

In NO END IN SIGHT: WHY THE “END DEMAND” MOVEMENT IS THE WRONG FOCUS FOR EFFORTS TO ELIMINATE HUMAN TRAFFICKING Stephanie Berger explains “End Demand”   in Vol. iv of the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender:  “Efforts to end the demand for prostitution are based on an endorsement of longstanding feminist theories that conflate sex work with trafficking and view sex work as inherently harmful and exploitive. These theories have been influenced by ongoing feminist debates that have played an important role in shaping international law. These debates can largely be divided into arguments made by two camps of feminists: abolitionists and pro-work advocates. As Prabha Kotiswaran articulates: Abolitionists adopting a sexual subordination approach are against the commodification of sex and view sex work as a paradigmatic form of violence against women, embodying gender inequality. For them, sex workers are victims and lack agency in the context of pervasive institutional violence. Sex work advocates . . . are agnostic to the commodification of sex per se and, while cognizant of the circumstances under which women take to it, view sex workers as agents with some ability to negotiate within the sex industry. Thus, their emphasis is on protecting and promoting the rights of sex workers. Kotiswaran calls this latter approach the “work position.” This Article advocates against End Demand strategies through the lens of acceptance of the work position as the best approach to addressing the harms of sex work while respecting women’s agency.”

As a woman with thirty years exposure and experience with the criminalized sex industries, I have to admit there were – and are – a lot of problems in the world of prostitution. Truly. However, what End Demand forgets to consider in their aggressive effort to make the Johns find Jesus are people like me —  the women who have been – and are – in that paradigm.

All across the country – and the globe – sex workers are being researched and/or re-educated by law enforcement assisted diversion (LEAD) programs,  academic institutions, faith based organizations, NGOs and newly forming agencies  all aiming to save the exploited. Has this helped; or has all this aggressive rescue actually added additional exploitation of those who are already  disadvantaged? As someone who has lived this story, I believe sex trade survivors and sex workers are being caught in an unwelcome cultural crossfire, along with being excluded from the legal and legislative process, support services and funding for new opportunities and industries. Sadly, over the last few years I have found that  many groups who want to “save the slaves”, will not listen to the perspectives of those who know it first hand, nor do they offer long term, realistic  exit strategies or financing of new opportunities for sex workers or former sex trafficking victims who came before the trend became so “IN Demand” before End Demand. I personally believe that even when it was bad, the sex industry offered more opportunity for personal empowerment than the current situation. It seems Americans all want to start new rescue oriented orphanages and empowerment programs in Africa, South East Asia and India, though won’t contribute to those same types of programs here in the States with the inclusion of sex trade survivors, sex workers looking to exit or sex workers content being sex workers, though also interested in helping out or participating for whatever reasons may inspire us.

The ESPLER Project’s Maxine Doogan commented in an interview with SWOP-Seattle:

“We need to educate legislators at the local, state and national level and demand that they enact the Obama administration statement that was included in the 2010 Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights, “We agree that no one should face violence or discrimination in access to public services based on sexual orientation or their status as a person in prostitution” 

Prostitutes who want to work – or openly admit they have worked –  deserve a voice in the discussion without discrimination or condemnation. End Demand only allows us a voice on our own social media. We – the victims and workers –  are not  invited to be civilly or legislatively engaged in the process of determining what to do about prostitution.  

2016 NEW Sex Work Support Systems in Response to End Demand’s Impact

  • COYOTEri and Professor Elena Shih, Brown University. Leading the nation in sex worker inclusion in the trafficking narrative, Elena Shih is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University and Faculty Fellow at Brown’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. During Fall 2016, Shih holds a visiting faculty fellowship at Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. Shih’s book manuscript in progress, “Fair Trade Freedom: Moral and Political Economies of Human Trafficking Rescue in China, Thailand and the U.S.,” is a multi-sited and global ethnography based off 40 months of fieldwork on efforts to combat human trafficking in Beijing, Bangkok and Los Angeles. Drawing on fieldwork as a participant action researcher with faith-based and secular social movement organizations–ranging from grassroots evangelical Christian missionary projects, to sex worker rights cooperatives, to the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking–her dissertation explores the mobilization of rights and morality in between the state and the market in the contemporary movement against human trafficking.
  • Sex with Strangers Podcast. Awesome work! Thanks Chris Sowas for Episode 26 of his podcast: sexwithstrangersshow.   image1Mainstream discussions of the sex industry have mostly revolved around human trafficking. In this episode we explore why that narrative is misleading and harmful. The interviews featured here were recorded in Nebraska, Rhode Island, Alaska, California, and Illinois. Guests include Terra Burns (Community United for Safety and Protection), Maxine Doogan (the Erotic Service Providers Legal, Educational and Research Project), Bella Robinson (COYOTE RI), Monica Peterson and Rex Hamaker (University of Denver’s Human Trafficking Center), Hannah Marshall (Brown University), and Erin Black (The Sexual A-Team). Articles discussed in this episode include The Banks’ War on Porn Stars by Richard Abowitz and Marlow Stern, The Case for Decriminalizing Prostitution by German Lopez, Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler’s Why You Should be Wary About Statistics on ‘Modern Slavery’ and ‘Trafficking’ and The Biggest Pinocchios of 2015, Should Prostitution be a Crime? by Emily Bazelon. Also check out Bazelon’s follow-up concerning Amnesty International’s Policy on State Obligations to Respect, Protect and Fulfill the Human Rights of Sex Workers.

  • SWOP-USA for the inception of Swop Behind Bars (SBB): Creating Community for Incarcerated Sex Workers. 
  • Do you know? There are more than 200,000 women currently behind bars in the U.S., and that number is on the rise. In fact, women are the fastest growing segment of the prison population in the country, and the rate of incarceration for women has been growing nearly twice as fast as that of men since 1985, according to the ACLU, and account for about 7% of the total prison population in the U.S.  The fastest growing population behind bars is black women. Prostitution is one of the few crimes where women are arrested more frequently than men, but prostitution alone does not explain the growing numbers of Black, Latino, and trans women behind bars. If we are going to make reforms to crimes based on morality, we need to consider laws that disproportionately affect women, such as the prohibition of sex work.
  • COYOTE_ri and Board Member of The ESPLER Project’s  Bella Robinson  – as mentioned – has lead the national effort  in educational outreach as a result of her affiliation with Brown University’s Professor Elena Shih.

ALSO –

  • COYOTE_ri and ALL WOMEN COUNT/USPROS Collective in New Hampshire to support Representative Edwards’ DECRIM effort H.B. 1614

As a result of the 2016  H.B. 1614 fail,  Representative Elizabeth Edwards, a Democrat from Manchester, New Hampshire, wants to create a study committee to look into decriminalizing sex work. She knows it’s controversial, but  she’s been convinced by research from organizations such as Amnesty International (AI),  and data on  the New Zealand Model, decriminalization would make it safer for those in the sex worker trade.

“My goal,” said Rep. Edwards, “ is to educate people about these issues and to get them to see sex workers as human beings, and to realize that this practice of arresting people and throwing them in jail … is not a real solution,” she said. “And in fact it is very expensive and makes everything worse.”

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HISTORIC: Bella Robinson, Rep. Edwards, Rachel West and Phoebe Jones in N.H. for  1614

COYOTEri: NH Rep  Edwards was the first US legislator that had the courage to bring sex worker rights to the table, and bring forth a bill, NH HB 1614.  Let me note that it was her first year in office, and that NH representatives are only paid 100 dollars a year.

Edwards had read Amnesty International’s report and she immediately understood that she needed to do something to promote the health and safety of sex workers. Edwards contacted several US sex workers organizations including All Women Count, COYOTE, US PROStitutes Collective (USPROS), The ESPLER Project (ESPLERP) and Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP), to discuss “the issues sex workers are currently faced with”, and she invited us to testify  in the committee hearings.

COYOTEri asks to be sure to include here: A New Hampshire (NH) state trooper testified that  only 3 people are currently in  NH prison for prostitution related charges, and that NH had only made 500 prostitution arrests over the past fifteen (15) years..   They stated that they opposed HB1614 because they thought it would bring crime to NH.  Of course they did not present any evidence that this could happen.  COYOTEri countered these concerns by testifying about evidence from New Zealand that showed that when they decriminalized prostitution that they just about rid the sex industry of exploitation.  Not only has NZ not had 1 sex trafficking case since they implemented decrim in 2003, NZ sex workers report having better relationships with the police, and report that they now feel safe reporting violence to the police.  NZ 5 year government review also showed that there was no increase in the number of sex workers and they found a decrim allowed for a labor approach.  There was no testimony that supported the state had a legitimate interest or reason to keep consensual adult prostitution criminalized.

On the first committee vote, HB1614 was voted to go to intern study which means the bill would have been studied for the rest of the year and then it would have been reintroduced in 2017. However two  weeks later Edwards was informed that they had lost the paperwork before it had made its way to the clerk’s office, so they took another vote without Edwards being present and voted to kill the bill. When Edwards defended HB1614 to the house, she explained the events, and she argued that voting NO would mean that the health and safety of sex workers didn’t deserve any future discussion or consideration.

New Hampshire continues to prove that the “Porcupine Push”  or “PorcFest”  “Free State Project” opens the door for important new dialog as opposed to cyclical two party political rhetoric on human rights and quality of life for all people, including sex workers and those exploring sexual lifestyles including gender.

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PHILADELPHIA & HARRISBURG:
Happenings Here in Pennsylvania

REVEREND BEVERLY DALE and CHURCH CHAT ON SURVIVAL SEX, SEX WORK AND SEX TRAFFICKING. A Private Enlightenment Discussion at  LANCASTER SEMINARY

The Reverend Beverly Dale writes: The graduate seminary students at Lancaster Theological Seminary were given insights into the world of sex work by Ms. Dante in the spring of 2016 in a class on religion and sexuality taught by the Rev Dr Beverly Dale. In her presentation Ms. Dante  first shared her personal story of the family disruptions and betrayal that resulted in living on the streets. As a homeless youth she found support and solace from others in similar circumstances as well as an income engaging in sex-for-hire. Ms. Dante who, against all odds, attended college and completed both her bachelors and masters degrees focused her thesis on sex work. Using both her academic and personal insights she discussed the ways personal relationships develop between clients and workers and ways sex workers stay safe. She noted the negative impact of over-zealous efforts to prevent human trafficking that is putting the lives of sex workers at risk, who, although engaging in consensual activities now run the danger of being charged as being sex traffickers. She shared information of the lack of accountable political oversight and the financial forces operating to create this more dangerous environment. In addition, there is a paucity of resources that would help youth and sex workers to find other gainful employment. Her knowledge, both personal and academic, revealed this misunderstood world to the students in a way that brought sensitivity and  concern for the well-being of   sex workers and highlighted the injustices endemic to their world. This presentation by Ms. Dante was noted as one of the highlights of the semester by the seminarians.

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DORNSIFE CENTER FOR COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS SIDE BY SIDE COMMUNITY BASED LEARNING AS SUGGESTED BY PEC CAREER COUNSEL

During the spring semester I participated as a community member in a Side by Side (SBS) class called, PHILADELPHIA STORIES: Contemporary African American Authors Who Call Philadelphia Home, as taught by  Professor Gabriella Ibieta, PhD, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature in the Department of English and Philosophy at Drexel University.

As multi-generational, multicultural, students and community members, we explored the literary and poetic works of Yolanda Wisher, Lorene Carey, Major Jackson, M K Asante, Ayana Mathis, Elijah Anderson, and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. We completed the semester with a group powerpoint where four of us were assigned to share our combined Philadelphia story within the frame of the writers with whom we most identified. Our final product is available via Power Point. Email me if you are interested in seeing it!

OUR SHARED PHILADELPHIA STORY!

COMMON THREADS: A Compare Contrast of the Works of Ayana Mathis, Major Jackson and the Philadelphia Mural Art Program.

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Thank You Professor Ibieta For An Amazingly  Connective Philadelphia Story.

Dornsife Center Writers Room: As a result of the SBS class, I am blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in an anthology publication and live reading event at the  Dornsife Center Writers Room under the directorship of Rachel Wenrick and Kirsten Kaschock. So fabulous to be involved.

Thanks to a super successful Crowdrise, ESPLERP board member and sexworksolidarity star Elle traveled east,  and  together we went to LABOR SCHOOL! Recommended by The ESPLER Project’s Maxine Doogan  we are learning how  – as marginalized and disadvantaged – members of a now criminalized industry – to communicate and negotiate in accordance with formal systems of labor and academia.  

  • Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit (SFS) 16 in affiliation with the Woodhull Freedom Foundation.

Thanks to inner community allied support, I traveled for a second year to Alexandria, Virginia as a volunteer for the Woodhull Foundation Sexual Freedom Summit aka SFS 16.

In September made press in the Philadelphia Gay News (ePGN) which led to my meeting with Timothy Keller and Kali at  Representative Brian Sims office where we discussed:

  • The lack of confidential agency for sex trade survivors or sex workers in need of advice or support services as far as counsel, medical, legal, housing, anything.
  • The lack of inclusion in city or state legislation and law affecting trade survivors and workers for example: Safe Harbor and Act 105.
  • The lack of inclusion of sex trade survivors or sex workers in December 10th Pennsylvania’s International Human Rights Day.
  • The lack of city or state acknowledgement of December 17th: International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers despite annual murders and cyclical cold cases.
  • Lack of 9-1-1- response to need based situations in the Frankford-Kensington section of the city, especially during a time when a serial killer was on the loose.
  • The need to address violent crimes against sex workers and trans, along with the possibility of seeing violent crimes against sex workers and trans defined as “hate crimes” similar to the British Merseyside Model.
  • The potential short and long term need for sex workers and trans friendly support services as far as emergency or acute need benefits, temporary and/or permanent housing,  legal assistance, and medical  access in Philadelphia and Pittsburg. A model similar to HIPS, D.C. (Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive) is what I suggested to Mr. Keller as a potential option here in Pennsylvania.
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M. Dante at the 182nd

Last week, state Rep. Brian K. Sims (D-182nd Dist.), an openly gay lawmaker, indicated he’d meet with Dante. Sims’ office issued this statement: “Violence in any form inflicted upon any person is reprehensible. This is especially true of those perpetrators who target marginalized communities that find it difficult or impossible to access legal recourse or protection. Of course, we’d welcome any conversations or proposals which aim to reduce this issue.”

Dante hopes to meet with Sims shortly, to ask him personally to sponsor a Dec. 17 resolution.

“I look forward to the opportunity to speak with him,” she said. “My feeling is that he has welcomed one-on-one discussion on the needs of Pennsylvania’s marginalized populations, including sex workers and trans people. We may have different perspectives and different approaches but we all want the same outcome, which is to end the violence.”

Though Representative Sims did not meet with me, he did proactively  assign Timothy Keller and admin support Kali to meet with me to discuss the article, and the issues.  Mr. Keller spent a season researching the issues I brought to their attention, and – after finding authentic points of consideration – agree to give the matters thought to  reconvene in 2017.

I understand Representative Sims office also met this year with Eris Vayle and other dancers concerned about House Bill 262, a state registry for dancers at strip clubs.

Thank you ePGN and the office of Representative Brian Sims for being  the first to meet halfway on these “controversial” political talking points!
For reference Rep. Sims’ Committees and Caucuses are: Policy Committee Philadelphia County Delegation Homeless Caucus LGBT Equality Caucus PA SAFE Caucus Women’s Health Caucus

  • Thank you to Click Save Photography Kensington for the gift of  amazing new photographic portraits as result of the ePGN article, and also for coming out to December 17th and Thomas Paine Plaza to photograph the event.
  • The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) / Lisa L. Thompson

Re: VERIZON FIOS teen porn title on-demand: Ten Star Teens

Opposing Bed Fellows Fighting The Same Fight? YES! So, though, normally we would be on opposite sides of the debate, I reached out to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) after almost a year of failed effort in getting teen porn titles off Verizon FIOS in Pennsylvania. And we were successful! Or should I say, THEY were successful.

Congratulations and good work, Lisa L. Thompson, for dedicated championing against teen titles on-demand!

So – Sadly  – Yes: NCOSE  does support H.B. 262. I have explained to them  twice now why this endangers the welfare of workers – and family of workers –  in the legal industry, and hope they will consider the breadth and depth of the discussion to be inclusive of legal workers constitutional and human rights. I know this is probably futile, but we try, right?

  • Center for HIV Policy and Law announced: The Constitution Should Protect Sex Work: CHLP recently signed onto Lambda Legal’s amicus brief in a case in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging a decision that did not look at the facts of whether a prostitution law in California actually promotes public health. The brief argues that not only does the law not promote public health, but criminalizing sex work actually has a detrimental impact on public health. This Lambda Legal blog post from October 12, 2016 further explains their position of seeing “no constitutionally adequate basis to criminalize sex solely because one consenting adult pays another.”
  • Eris Vayle and M. Dante on Sex with Timaree podcast 264 where we discuss violence against sex workers, attacks on women in Kensington, community alliances to address violence against sex workers and trans, December 17th, LOVE and why we ARE like snowflakes. Tune in! Turn on! Episode 264: http://wp.me/p851bz-5E

Philadelphia NoirCon published my 1996 creative non fiction short story, Fear is Contagious, based on an actual  Bala Cynwyd sex worker attack and murder; along with publishing  SKIN, a poetic tribute to the darkly inspiring art and literary publications of German artist Heide Hatry. 

November

  • All Women Count, USPROS Collective, Legal Action for Women, and the  Women’s Global Strike Movement: GREAT WORK NINA, RACHEL and PHOEBE!

Nina Lopez led a PENN discussion introduced by Rachel West about the challenges women in countries like Haiti, India, Ireland, Peru, Thailand and the UK face in supporting their families,  and why their growing movements for change are calling for the decriminalization of prostitution. Rachel West and Phoebe Jones were also involved, along with contributing to public awareness and educational outreach on the L.A. serial murder of hundreds of African American women with the Grim Sleeper project.

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All Women Count
  • We also look forward to allied advocacy in the form of multi county court appearances on behalf of PA prostitutes,  and issues related to arrests and  child custody.
  • CROWDRISE for HIPS, DC (Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive): Thank you to everyone who donated to the Birthday Benefit for HIPS, DC!
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Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive

We raised 500.00, and that was matched at the holidays, so we – basically – raised around a grand, helping HIPS with their 24 hour emergency hotline AND a BRAND NEW VAN! ThX Vesta Zeneca for stepping up to suggest 2017 allied efforts for education via PARTIES. YaY!

  • First Person Arts in affiliation with WHYY Presented Sex for Sale: True Stories from the World’s Oldest Profession. Really good effort. Thanks for sharing.

https://dec17philly.com/2016/11/12/sex-for-sale-true-stories-from-the-worlds-oldest-profession/

December

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DECEMBER 17th International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

WE REMEMBERED PHILADELPHIA MURDER VICTIMS: Maya Young and  Ricky Morgan.

CEREMONY WAS  DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF NHI COLD CASE: Donna Gentile

PHILLY’S GOT: Community Allied Efforts to Stop the Violence. THANK YOU to everyone who braved the storm to add some light and love to the day, including though not limited to:  All Women Count, The Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders, ELS, Erotic Service Providers Union, ESPLER Project, Food Not Bombs, New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance, Philadelphia Red Umbrella Alliance, Project SAFE, Sex with Timaree,  SWOP Behind Bars, SWOP USA, US Prostitutes Collective  and  our amazingly supportive, awesome local community allies.  Thank you CEASE FIRE PA for your email acknowledgment. Thank you to Zucker Arts Studio West Philadelphia for Lady Liberty Crying.  Thank you to Kelsey Wet for the amazing political puppetry art. Thank you Eris Vayle for the flyer. Thank you Click Save Photography Kensington for the photos. Ethan Zach Trio for the recording. Sex with Timaree for the podcast. D and P for the Word Press Upgrade. David for a lot all the time. Thank you to the Reverend Beverly Dale for dedicated on-going efforts to bridge the divide between the spiritual communities and the sex work communities. You are angel, and we love you.

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NJRUA: Not only for coming out, but also for supporting the event. Respect. Deep. Always.

NJRUA speaking on the 10th Anniversary of the Black Horse Pike Motel Murders.
NJRUA speaking on the 10th Anniversary of the Black Horse Pike Motel Murders.

A VERY SPECIAL THANKS TO ELICIA GONZALES, who we all know from her former work with GALAEI and ongoing SEXx with Dr. Timaree Schmit. Elicia, you  really stepped up to bridge divides.

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Donna Gentile: A Philly Runaway and NHI / Cold Case Prostitute Murder Believed Killed By  San Diego Police

A Moment of Silence.

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The Good The Bad and The Sad of December 21st

  • DECEMBER 21st: Congratulations to the Delaware County District Attorney’s office for the capture of the Kensington Sport Killer that had been hunting women on the streets of Frankford / Kensington in Philadelphia County, along with outside areas.
  • DECEMBER 21st we also found out thanks to the New York Daily News that a  prostituted teenager from Philadelphia was strangled and  lit on fire in New Jersey.
  • DECEMBER 21st became a day of national mourning when transgender sex worker and artist Diane Hemingway committed suicide by  shooting  herself in Jonathan Dickinson State Park in California.

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2016 MOST BIZARRE SEX WORK / SEX TRAFFICKING STORY

The Pizza-Gate Conspiracy Theory Surrounding Monica Petersen’s Death in Haiti

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Monica Petersen in a false Facebook image

Despite my best effort, I don’t even know how to explain this one.

Yea. I don’t even know anymore. I really don’t.

Condolences for the family of Monica Petersen. We are sorry for your loss, and the chaos surrounding her mysterious death.

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2016 CONCLUDING THOUGHTS:

COMMUNITIES WORKING TOGETHER CAN STOP  VIOLENCE. PLEASE – CHOOSE TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION. – light & love  M.