This Saturday 2pm ~09/05! Sex Worker Solidarity Action in Boystown!

In light of the recent raid on RentBoy and in solidarity across the country, sex workers and allies here in Chicago say; ENOUGH!

We are tired of being marginalized and criminalized and having our choices taken from us. It is time to make our voices heard, and our points clear. Decriminalize sex work and sex workers. May the string of recent events (Rentboy raid, Backpage Credit Card Scandal, closure of MyRedBook) bring the community together in a supportive, cohesive way.

Join us this Saturday! We’ll be meeting at the Center on Halsted (3656 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60613) @ 2pm to make signs (in the community area right inside). We’re marching from there @ 3pm up and down the historic stretch of Halsted St in Boystown to Belmont Ave, distributing literature & info & showing our support of all sex workers.

Please share & repost & invite your friends! All workers, allies, friends, & family of all ages are most welcome.

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Facebook Link: http://on.fb.me/1LWkEeF

Avoiding Bad Management Across the Adult Entertainment Industry

The Big, Bad-Ass Guide to Spotting and Avoiding Bad-Ass Management While Working in the Adult Entertainment Industry

Compiled by SWOP members from across the U.S., this guide includes advice on:

  • questions to ask
  • bad signs to look for
  • standard business practice
  • and other resources

for the sex trade broadly, as well as for specifically for:

  • Strip Club Work
  • Web-Cam/Phone-Sex work
  • Adult Film/Pornography
  • Modeling
  • Escort Agency Work
  • Brothel Work
  • Massage Parlor Work
  • Dungeon Work
  • Street-work/Informal Management.

This hand-out is based on our  collective experiences and should help workers who choose to work for a third party avoid ending up in an exploitative or dangerous situation.

SWOP-Chicago meeting Wednesday, August 25- “Transitioning Out: Exit Strategy for Sex Workers”

Please join SWOP-Chicago this Wednesday for our bi-monthly open meeting at Howard Brown Clinic on the north side.

With the end of summer upon us, our discussion topic and skill-share will be about recognizing when to walk away from being a sex-worker, and how to successfully start over.
“Transitioning Out : Exit Strategy for Sex Workers”  will be an informal workshop for anyone who has been thinking about, or already decided to leave sex work and restart on a new career path.
Topics will be ranging from updating our resumes, forming and keeping realistic goals, proper financial savings and the importance of emotional support during this lifestyle change.
…come ready to learn or bring your knowledge to share! Open to current or former sex workers of all genders.


Date- Wednesday, August 25
Time- 7:00-9:00pm
Location- Howard Brown Health Center
4025 N. Sheridan Rd.
Chicago, IL 60613
Howard Brown is accessible off the Red line Sheridan stop and #80 Irving Park bus. Metered street parking (sometimes) available.
Any questions please email sexworkchicago@gmail.com

How To Be An Ally to Sex Workers

1) Don’t Assume. Don’t assume you know why a person is in the sex industry. We’re not all trafficked or victims of abuse. Some people make a choice to enter this industry because they enjoy it, others may be struggling for money and have less of a choice.

2) Be Discreet and Respect Personal Boundaries. If you know a sex worker, it’s OK to engage in conversation in dialogue with them in private, but respect their privacy surrounding their work in public settings.  Don’t ask personal questions such as “does your family know what you do?” If a sex worker is not “out” to their friends, family, or co-workers, it’s not your place to tell everyone what they do.

3) Don’t Judge. Know your own prejudices and realize that not everyone shares the same opinions as you. Whether you think sex work is a dangerous and exploitative profession or not is irrelevant compared to the actual experiences of the person who works in the industry. It’s not your place to pass judgment on how another person earns the money they need to survive.

4) Watch Your Language. Cracking jokes or using derogatory terms such as “hooker”, “whore”, “slut”, or “ho” is not acceptable. While some sex workers have “taken back” these words and use them among themselves, they are usually used to demean sex workers when spoken by outsiders.

5) Address Your Prejudices. If you have a deep bias or underlying fear that all sex workers are bad people and/or full of diseases, then perhaps these are issues within yourself that you need to address.  In fact, the majority of sex workers practice safer sex than their peers and get tested regularly.

6) Don’t Play Rescuer. Not all sex workers are trying to get out of the industry or in need of help. Ask them what they need, but not everyone is looking for “Captain Save-A-Ho” or the “Pretty Woman” ending.

7) If you are a client or patron of sex workers, be respectful of boundaries. You’re buying a service, not a person. Don’t ask for real names, call at all hours of the day/night, or think that your favorite sex worker is going to enter into a relationship with you off the clock.

8) Do Your Own Research. Most mainstream media is biased against sex workers and the statistics you read in the news about the sex industry are usually inaccurate. Be critical of what you read or hear and educate yourself on who exactly is transmitting diseases or being trafficked.

9) Respect that Sex Work is Real Work. There’s a set of professional skills involved and it’s not necessarily an industry that everyone can enter into. Don’t tell someone to get a “real job” when they already have one that suits them just fine.

10) Just because someone is a sex worker doesn’t mean they will have sex with you. No matter what area of the sex industry that someone works in, don’t assume that they are promiscuous and willing to have sex with anyone at any time.

11) Be Supportive and Share Resources. If you know of someone who is new to the industry or in an abusive situation with an employer, by all means offer advice and support without being condescending. Some people do enter into the sex industry without educating themselves about what they are getting into and may need help. Despite the situation, calling the police is usually never a good option. Try to find other organizations that are sensitive to the needs of sex workers.

12) As you learn the above things, stand up for sex workers when conversations happen.  Share your personal stories if you so choose.  Don’t let the stigma, bigotry and shame around sex work continue.  Remember it’s important that sex workers be allowed to speak for themselves and for allies to not speak for sex workers but to speak with sex workers.

Realize that sex work transcends ‘visible’ notions of race, gender, class, sexuality, education, and identities; sex workers are your sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, lovers, neighbors, and friends. Respect them!

Get Active! Contact your local SWOP Chapter to find out what you can do or form your own in the city you live in.

This list composed by the members and allies of Sex Workers Outreach Project-Chicago. Visit us on the web at www.swop-chicago.org

Other Resources-

www.swop-usa.org
www.desireealliance.org
www.boundnotgagged.com

CLEARLY They’re Unhappy

Thanks to Amber L. Rhea for the CNN article link. Crossposted at La Libertine’s Salon.

Wow. I just read this amazing statistic that said nearly half of all respondents in a survey would leave their industry in the next three years if they had an alternative. IF THEY HAD AN ALTERNATIVE!

What horrible industry do these poor dears want to leave? Should we assemble an extraction team? Maybe criminalize the industry so that they can leave via a jail sentence? What does this say about others who DO NOT want to leave this craphole of a job? They must be brainwashed, early childhood trauma surrounding the workings of the industry. Maybe it’s even worse: they’re propping up the status quo of the exploitation of this industry. I mean, how could they think differently if nearly HALF of their colleagues want out? Surely, they must be crazy. SURELY they must be out of their minds to want to continue work that others find less than satisfying, frustrating and dehumanizing. Their clients must be horrendous and demanding, imagine it!

Must be prostitution, right? I mean, that’s what Farley (who would convert 49% to 90% using some sort of unholy radical magic), Dines, Jensen, et. al. have people thinking.

No. It’s the medical industry:

(CNN) — Nearly half the respondents in a survey of U.S. primary care physicians said that they would seriously consider getting out of the medical business within the next three years if they had an alternative.

If you read Farley’s site and the opinions spewed by her other colleagues and by the ignorant public, you’d swear prostitutes were the only ones who ever want to leave their industry and who may, yes, be desperate to. There are a whole bunch of people who feel trapped by their legal professions. They have family or themselves to support and especially for doctors who make a helluva lot more money than most, a lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to. But unlike many, especially, street prostitutes, doctors have:

1. A college education*
2. Investments, if they were smart
3. A clean arrest record (most likely)

Doctors don’t have to worry about, “what do I put on my resume to explain what I’ve been doing for the past x years” the way sex workers do. Their profession isn’t criminalized and despite the criticism of doctors, it is NOT stigmatized. And yet, half but NOT ALL doctors want out.

And the doctors who stay in, who would call them “delusional” or “brainwashed” because they find satisfaction in their jobs? Who may, yes, encourage others who have the talents to be a doctor to become one!

But it’s only those poor, poor sex workers who hate their jobs, want out or are crazy if they don’t.

*EDIT: Yes, many people, including prostitutes have college educations but most people stop at a baccalaureate. And it’s getting more expensive. Docs, on the other hand, have advanced, professional degrees. BIG difference!