The Fight to Decriminalize Sex Work Exposes Old Feminist Divides

That April, the US Congress passed FOSTA/SESTA, twin bills that stripped sex workers of the ability to advertise or seek support online by making websites criminally liable for their postings. This impoverished the community, forcing some workers back to pimps or onto streets, where they faced arrest or assault.”

In response, sex workers—both young women and longtime activists—got together and mobilized to fight for full decriminalization of their work.

The complete decriminalization of the sex trade is an approach that has gained traction in recent years, with even groups such as Amnesty International calling for “the decriminalization of all aspects of adult consensual sex work due to the foreseeable barriers that criminalization creates to the realization of the human rights of sex workers.” But as with every successful movement, there has been a backlash, led by longstanding feminist organizations that continue to assert that sex work is, to use the words of Gloria Steinem, a form of “body invasion.” Full decriminalization, no matter the studies that have been conducted, the first-hand experiences of many sex workers or people otherwise targeted with anti-prostitution laws, and the endorsements from human rights organizations, is still seen as a radical idea, and more to the point, one that some feminists believe is antithetical to the needs of women.

On Monday, some of those divisions were on display in New York City, when a coalition of organizations pulled together by the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women held a press conference and rally to push back against the planned legislation in New York (several speakers, tellingly, called it the “Pimp Protection Act”) and to call instead for what is commonly described as the Nordic, or End Demand, model—the decriminalization of sex workers, while continuing to keep the purchase of sex a crime.Image result for Sonia Ossorio sex work

“The sex trade could be coming to a neighborhood near you,” NOW-NY president Sonia Ossorio warned, as reported by Broadly. “If the wholesale legalization of the sex trade comes to New York, what would that look like? Will we have prostitution zones? Will we have an upscale one in the new Hudson Yards, or in the tried-and-tested Times Square, like when pimps hustled for customers and shot around the city looking for the next down-on-her-luck woman to lure into prostitution?”

New York Representative Carolyn Maloney echoed Ossorio: “This idea does not help or lift up or empower or protect women in any way, shape, or form. I support efforts to decriminalize prostitution, but I do not support any idea, bill, or proposal that would let pimps, johns, and the exploiters off the hook.”

Yet many sex workers and advocates argue that the Nordic model makes their work more dangerous by pushing them further underground, and that criminalizing the purchase of sex has ripple effects that make their work more ripe for violence and exploitation. As Decrim NY wrote in a statement after Monday’s rally: “The Nordic Model is criminalization, and it puts people who trade sex at increased risk of violence, economic instability, and labor exploitation.” The coalition also noted that Ramos’s and Salazar’s planned legislation would “explicitly build in protections for people trading sex, especially trafficking survivors, so they have recourse against violence and exploitation.”

Two sex workers who interrupted Monday’s press conference—with one shouting, “Listen to sex workers. Nothing about us without us”—told the Daily Beast they were there to protest the idea that sex work can never be consensual as well as the idea that all sex workers are victims.

As one of them, who uses the name SXNoir, told the Daily Beast, “It’s important for us to be here because we are consensual sex workers, and the idea that sex work can never be consensual is just wrong.”

“Just with the language that’s been used here … it’s basically painting us as victims, which is not our story,” the second woman, who identified herself as Adrienne, said. “People have that story and I think that’s valid. But that’s not my story and that’s not a lot of people’s stories, and those deserve to be heard as well.”


Image result for arrow pointing down

Image result for arrow pointing down

Image result for arrow pointing down

Sex Workers Crash NYC Protest Against Decriminalization Bill


NOW New York President Sonia Ossorio told The Daily Beast that her organization also wants to stop the arrests of sex workers, but contends that many of those advocating for decriminalization of buyers “haven’t thought it through.” She added that the primary danger to sex workers is not threat of arrest, but the job itself.

“What makes their job dangerous is when the door locks behind them, and they’re with a sex buyer, a stranger that they don’t know, who could potentially physically harm them,” she said. “The job is inherently dangerous because of the job that it is.”

Members of sex workers advocacy group Decrim NY pushed back in a press release, citing multiple human rights groups that endorse full decriminalization as the only way to prevent sex trafficking. The organization, which launched last month, helped write the New York decriminalization bill being championed by State Sens. Jessica Ramos, Julia Salazar and Brad Hoylman and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried.

“Decrim NY works to end violence, not just for sex workers but for survivors of exploitation,” the group said in a statement. “Decriminalization does not make rape, trafficking, assault or any form of violence or exploitation legal.”

The lone legislator to speak at Monday’s rally, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), said she also wants to decriminalize women in the sex trade, but argued that her colleagues’ bill would “let the pimps, the johns, and the exploiters off the hook.”

Rally participants also included members of OBJECT, a U.K.-based organization that advocates against prostitution, pornography, and “transgenderism,” as first noted by writer Melissa Gira Grant. A statement on the group’s website says it is “concerned by the dangerous impact ‘transgender’ ideology and practice has on women and children,” and that transgender acceptance is “in direct opposition to the views of feminists.”

“I’m not surprised the trans community was targeted here,” Mateo Guerrero-Tabares, a trans advocate and Decrim NY Steering Committee member, said in a statement. “We fight to decriminalize the sex trades because it is a matter of survival for our community.”

Both NOW and Maloney disavowed OBJECT’s message on Twitter. NOW spokeswoman Jean Bucaria told The Daily Beast she did not know how the group came to participate, though they were prominently featured in the crowd of supporters behind the podium.

Aboriginal women create mindfulness app in language, bringing outback meditation to the world

On a warm Alice Springs morning, Wanatjura Lewis closes her eyes, puts in some headphones and gets ready to relax and meditate.

Key points:

  • Women from the NPY Women’s Council collaborated with the team behind Smiling Mind to create the app
  • It combines the skills of traditional healers with interpreters and western mental health professionals to improve wellbeing
  • The app is being trialled in remote Central Australian schools

A woman sits in long grass with her eyes closed.

She is listening to an ancient language that is being put to a very modern use.

Teaming up with the producers behind mindfulness app Smiling Mind, women from Central Australia’s NPY Women’s Council have helped create recorded meditations in Kriol, Ngaanyatjarra and Pitjantjiatjara languages.

The aim is to help combat mental health and trauma issues in Aboriginal communities, particularly among young people.

“This is for them, our families, to learn about all of these things that will help them look after themselves and keep them healthy in body and mind,” the council’s Nyumiti Burton said through an interpreter.

Are Politicians Finally Ready to Take Sex Workers Seriously?


At the Decrim NY rally, you said that you’ve “seen sex workers on Roosevelt Avenue your entire life,” and have met with people “who want to erase the people on Roosevelt Avenue.” Could you speak a little bit about how you’ve seen sex workers treated in your community, and how that has changed over your life?

Image result for Jessica Ramos sex work
Jessica Ramos is an American politician from the state of New York. A member of the Democratic Party

Sex work has been around since the beginning of time from what we can surmise, and we’ve never been able to collectively deter people from sex work, whether it’s by choice, circumstance, or coercion. Not everybody is trafficked, and we’ll never know who’s trafficked if we keep lumping all sex workers together. By marginalizing them and casting them aside and not realizing or acknowledging that they’re our neighbors, we haven’t included them in the conversation. 

We also haven’t realized that there’s been such rampant employment and housing discrimination, especially for transgender people, but also black women, who make up 94 percent of “loitering for the purposes of prostitution” arrests. We have failed in creating economic opportunities — sincere ones. And the fact of the matter is, we need to ensure that there’s work for everybody. Ultimately, if people choose to engage in sex work, they need to be able to do it in a safe way. This is a public-health issue — safe sex. We know that decriminalizing sex work contributes to lower HIV rates and other STD rates.

It’s rare to see legislation regarding sex work that actually centers the worker’s concerns — for example, proponents of FOSTA/SESTA argued that it protected sex workers, when in reality it has forced them to conduct their work under much more dangerous conditions. How have you listened to people in the sex trades to ensure that their voices are heard? 
As a lawmaker, I can’t emphasize enough how important [it is] that we speak to all stakeholders involved, especially about controversial topics. We’ve always talked about sex work as something that is morally unsound, but government should not be in the business of deciding what is moral and what is not, but rather, protecting the well-being of residents. When we did talk to the sex workers, and we did hear these stories of how they ended up in this line of work — whether it was a coyote who helped them come to the United States and they’re repaying their debt, or they lost their job because they were undergoing their transition and were ultimately fired and had no other recourse — these are the stories that people need to know about so that we can really begin to understand the work and put forth as much economic empowerment and public-health policy as possible.

House of Delegates passes bill without updated human health water quality standards

House of Delegates passes bill without updated human health water quality standards
Rebecca McPhail, president of the WV Manufacturers Association, spoke during the West Virginia Press Association Legislative Lookahead at the Culture Center in Charleston. (Rick Barbero/The Register-Herald)

CHARLESTON — The West Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday passed a rules bill that includes a provision opposed by advocates for clean water. 

The West Virginia Legislature approves rules proposed by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Last year, the West Virginia DEP released a proposal to update about 60 water quality standards, based on recommendations the federal Environmental Protection Agency made in 2015.

The standards specify concentrations of pollutants known to have human health effects, including cancer-causing chemicals, allowed in rivers and streams. For the majority of the standards, less pollution would have been allowed in West Virginia waterways.


Ex-Ricketts campaign staffer regrets racist, anti-Semitic remarks he made online

A former staff member for Gov. Pete Ricketts’ re-election campaign said he regretted Image result for bennett bressmanposting thousands of comments to an online chatroom, including many that contained racial and homophobic slurs and anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Bennett Bressman was identified as the person behind the username “bress222” in a chatroom dedicated to fans of YouTube personality Nick Fuentes, who took part in the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left a protester dead.

“Yes, that was my profile,” said Bressman, 22, in a phone interview Monday morning. “I’m not denying it. I understand how they look really bad and are really bad on their face. I regret what I said.”

More than 3,400 posts made by Bressman were collected by Unicorn Riot, a nonprofit media organization that gathers and leaks the chat logs of white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups operating within the U.S.

Thailand’s first transgender candidate runs for prime minister

8 MAR 2019

A transgender woman who is running to be prime minister of Thailand has said she is ready to take the role – but wonders if the people are ready to accept a transgender candidate.

Pauline Ngarmpring transitioned at the age of 49, and has said she is “comfortable” and has “nothing to hide” ahead of the general election on March 24.

The trans Thai candidate said that—while she is ready for the race—she is accepting that she will likely not become prime minister on this occasion, according to the Thomas Reuters Foundation.

” alt=”” aria-hidden=”true” />Thailand’s first transgender candidate runs for prime minister: Pauline Ngarmpring

“I know having my candidacy is a symbolic gesture. I know I will not be prime minister now,” said Ngarmpring. “But we hope we will get some seats and represent LGBT people in the country. And perhaps next time, even a transgender woman will have a chance.”

Pauline Ngarmpring is running so future generations will have equality

She also said that she decided to run now for prime minister so that future generations “who may be transgender, gay, male or female” will be able to have equality.

She is putting herself forward as a candidate for prime minister with the Machachon Party, a political party that is running with human rights and equality at the fore.

“I know having my candidacy is a symbolic gesture. I know I will not be prime minister now.”

– Pauline Ngarmpring, transgender candidate

If they win enough seats, the party wants to decriminalise sex work and improve LGBT+ rights – and in particular, wants to give transgender people the right to change their gender on official documents.

Exclusive: Lawsuit says Johnson & Johnson was opioid “kingpin”

Johnson & Johnson was the “kingpin” that fueled the country’s opioid crisis, serving as a top supplier, seller and lobbyist, according to a state official leading the legal fight against the companies that helped create the crisis.Image result for Johnson opioids

Why it matters: Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, has been the main target so far in lawsuits. But court documents show attorneys general also are trying to cast a wider net, drawing more attention to J&J’s role in the global opioid market.

Driving the news: The first big trial of the opioid epidemic is set to begin in May in Oklahoma. It will set the stage for similar litigation in other states, as well as the consolidated nationwide lawsuit that has been compared to the tobacco litigation of the 1990s.


From A Friend Of The Wine Cellar.


Y’all heard of Cause Box?
I’m just doing some investigatin’…
(I ain’t about to buy these boxes AT ALL. They called one item “PETA approved” and I rolled my damn eyes.)
But I saw their latest box opening video and I had some questions, so I emailed them:

I was thinking about purchasing your spring box but I had some questions about one of the items. The bracelets you’re including from Marina De Buchi are meant to give 10% of sales to the anti human trafficking non profit A21 Campaign. However, in the wake of SESTA-FOSTA, and it being Women’s history month, I don’t want to knowingly give my money to a non profit that doesn’t respect sex workers. A21 also appears to be run by Evangelical Christians. Do they oppose the rights of queer and trans women? And/or sex workers?
I’m really hoping you’ve got some information that can change my mind.
Thank you!

They responded, essentially saying I should look into A21 myself, but then admitting they’re donating to A21 without knowledge of whether or not they support sex workers or lgbtqia rights.

Hi @LadyOfRebellion!

Thanks for reaching out! While we cannot speak on behalf of those who run this organization regarding their personal beliefs, we encourage exploring A21 as an organization and reaching out to them directly. We chose to work with Marina de Bucci because we fell in love with their high quality products, symbolism of empowerment and strength through their charmed symbols, and that every piece sold contributes 10% to fighting human trafficking through the A21 Campaign 🙂 The below is the official write-up regarding CAUSEBOX’s specific donation to A21 through our partnership with Marina De Buchi that is going directly towards A21’s Child Advocacy Center of Thailand:

Image result for CauseBox

“Slavery is the fastest growing organized crime in the world. It’s real, hidden in plain sight, and tearing at the social fabric of every nation and economic structure. But that’s why we exist— 21st century abolitionists determined to bring change. Our operational strategy, and the heart cry of our organization, is to Reach, Rescue, and Restore. We reach the vulnerable and disrupt the demand. We prevent slavery from ever happening by engaging people through events, student presentations, and education programs. We help rescue victims and seek justice against their captors. We work closely with law enforcement on the ground to support police operations, identify victims through our hotlines, assist in the prosecution of traffickers, represent survivors in court proceedings, and collaborate with governments and other NGOs to eradicate slavery at every level. We restore survivors and empower them to live independently. We work face-to-face with every person in our care based on their individual needs, providing them with access to housing, medical treatment, counseling, education, employment, and repatriation to help them reach a place of independence.”

“In partnership with the Royal Thai Police’s Thailand Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and with assistance from the FBI and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, we founded the Child Advocacy Center of Thailand (Pattaya). This facility is designed to help officers working on the ground to investigate cases against child sex offenders, child traffickers, and online crimes against children. When children are rescued they are brought here and they work with social workers so that evidence can be collected against their trafficker to be used in a court of law in Thailand or in their traffickers country of origin.”

We’re really proud to support A21 and the work they’re doing to rescue those forced into slavery! We hope this helps 🙂 Please let us know if there is anything else we may assist you with, and we hope to welcome you to the CAUSEBOX family!
Thanks for your support,

Diana Montes de Oca
CAUSEBOX Operations

Bill mandating Bible study classes in Florida public schools moves forward in the House

A House panel Thursday backed a proposal that would require public high schools to offer elective classes on religion and the Bible amid debate about whether the courses would be constitutional and religiously neutral.
Bill sponsor Kimberly Daniels, D-Jacksonville, said the classes would be objective and that students would not be forced to take them. Supporters also pointed to the historical role of the Bible, which Daniels described as the “best selling book” of all time.

“This is a public policy issue, not a worship issue,” Daniels said before the House PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee approved the measure (HB 195).


Image result for crazy christian gif

But opponents questioned the objectivity and religious neutrality, in part because the courses would not include instruction on such things as the Koran. 

“I don’t know how you can have religious neutrality if your curriculum is just focused on one holy book,” Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, said.

A known Democrat sponsors this bill. 

In 2018, Democratic Florida State Rep. Kimberly Daniels garnered national attentionfor introducing legislation that would require public schools throughout the state to prominently display the U.S. motto “In God We Trust”:

Each district school board shall adopt rules to require, in all of the schools of the district and in each building used by the district school board, the display of the state motto, “In God We Trust,” designated under s. 15.0301, in a conspicuous place.

Daniels’ bill was passed by the Florida House, but it failed to clear the Senate Education Committee. However, the “In God We Trust” requirement was later included in a spending bill signed into law by Republican governor Rick Scott in March 2018.

The focus on Daniels’ proposal prompted scrutiny of her own controversial background as a Christian pastor who preached about demonic possession, claimed that Halloween candy was “prayed over by witches,” and virulently opposed inclusiveness towards the LGBT community.

In March 2018, the website Patheos drew attention to one explosive proclamation of Daniels’ in particular, reported in an article headlined “Black Florida Lawmaker Thanks God for Slavery”:

Florida State Rep. Kimberly Daniels thanks God for slavery, claiming “if it wasn’t for slavery, I might be somewhere in Africa worshiping a tree.”

That article cited an earlier Facebook video posted by the Freedom from Religion Foundation:

The quotation is authentic. In 2008, Daniels delivered a guest sermon at the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio. The description under a YouTube video of the sermon states that it took place in October 2008. Although we were unable to verify that date, Daniels’ references to the ongoing U.S. presidential campaign could well be in keeping with it.

A short excerpt from the sermon can be viewed below:

During her sermon, Daniels addressed the issue of race and religion, encouraging the black members of the congregation to self-identify primarily as Christians rather than as African-Americans, and to eschew the liberal policies of the Democratic party (which she would represent as a member of Jacksonville City Council less than three years later, and which she currently represents in the Florida state House of Representatives).

Later, Daniels referred implicitly to the presidential candidacy of then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama, saying:

I would love to see a black president. I would love to see a black president, but not one that’s going to cost me my soul. And let me add this — my babies, my boys, they don’t have to see a black man sitting in the president’s seat to know who they are. It’s in Him that I live and move and have my very own being, and if a black man [never becomes] president, Jesus is Lord and the Greater One is [inside] me. And what black people need to do is get back what the devil has stolen from them, and stop making it worse by working with unrighteousness …

And let me say this to you — I thank God for slavery. I thank God for the crack house. If it wasn’t for the crack house … God [would never have been able] to use me [as] he can use me now. And if it wasn’t for slavery, I might be somewhere in Africa, worshipping a tree.

Daniels’ reference to “the crack house” was an allusion to her own purported past as a drug addict and sex worker. Immediately after the section of her speech in which she said “I thank God for slavery,” Daniels then made another statement that subsequently provoked outrage and allegations of anti-semitism:

And you can talk about the Holocaust, but the Jews own everything. We go through some things, but let me tell you something — when you go through, you qualify to get paid back. You don’t need the government to give it back, God will give it back.

The complete sermon, which sets Daniels’ “slavery” remarks in full context, can be viewed here. We asked Daniels’ whether there was any background to her remarks that readers ought to be aware of, and whether she stood by or retracted her view that she ‘thanks God’ for slavery but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Judge: Jail time for Florida man who attacked McDonald’s worker over straw


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man who grabbed a McDonald’s worker by the collar because he couldn’t find a straw was sentenced to 60 days in jail.

ORIGINIAL STORY: Florida man arrested for attacking McDonald’s employee over not getting a straw, police say

A Pinellas County judge also ordered 40-year-old Daniel Willis Taylor to stay away from the restaurant and the workers he attacked in an incident caught on video. Taylor was credited with the 58 days in jail he already served. He also must pay a $1,000 fine.

Authorities say Taylor became irate when he couldn’t find a straw on New Years’ Eve. The video shows him standing at the counter, screaming at 20-year-old Yasmine James before grabbing and holding onto her shirt collar. She responded by hitting him several times.

The Tampa Bay Times reports Taylor kicked another worker while being escorted out.

In unearthed audio, Tucker Carlson makes numerous misogynistic and perverted comments

During interviews on Bubba The Love Sponge, Carlson said he “love[s]” the idea of young girls sexually experimenting, used sexist terms to refer to a number of women, and defended statutory rape Image result for Tucker Carlson gif

Between 2006 and 2011, Tucker Carlson spent approximately an hour a week calling in to Bubba the Love Sponge, a popular shock jock radio program where he spoke with the hosts about a variety of cultural and political topics in sometimes-vulgar terms. During those conversations, Carlson diminished the actions of Warren Jeffs, then on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list for his involvement in arranging illegal marriages between adults and underage girls, talked about sex and young girls, and defended statutory rape.

Carlson, who was hired by Fox News in 2009, also used sexist language to talk about women, including then-co-workers at NBC and public figures. He referred to Martha Stewart’s daughter Alexis Stewart as “cunty,” called journalist Arianna Huffington a “pig,” and labeled Britney Spears and Paris Hilton “the biggest white whores in America.” He also said that women enjoy being told to “be quiet and kind of do what you’re told” and that they are “extremely primitive.”



%d bloggers like this: