Call for papers!Postgraduate Sex Work Conference26th March 2018Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne
Northumbria University is hosting the Annual Sex Work Research Hub Postgraduate Sex Work Conference.
This conference is free of charge and includes lunch!
Submit your 300 word abstract by 31st January 2018 to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Include: the title of your paper, your name, institution and level of study
Registration is open to all PGRs; early stage researchers, research active practitioners, sex workers and Sex Work Research Hub members.
Registration info to follow shortly!
This event is hosted by the Sex Work Research Hub
Joint Statement expressing serious concerns about police and UK Border Agency actions targeting migrant sex worker
We are writing to express our serious concerns about a number of joint UK Border Agency and police operations targeting migrant sex workers which took place during the week commencing 17th October, the week during which Anti-Slavery Day, 18th October 2016, is marked.
On Thursday 20th October in Soho and Chinatown, London, six premises were raided and closed as part of Operation Lanhydrock, carried out by the Metropolitan Police and UK Border Agency. These raids led to protests by sex worker rights organisations outside the Home Office. Photos were taken during the raids, including of the earnings seized from the sex workers. No charges for trafficking were brought but 26 people were arrested for "immigration offences" including four Chinese women who have been detained awaiting deportation. The English Collective of Prostitutes was contacted by some women impacted who report that they were terrified.
In Leeds on the evening of 21st October, UK Border Agency accompanied by West Yorkshire Police attended the managed area in Leeds targeting migrant women, removing six women and detaining them in Yarlswood Immigration Removal Centre. Basis Sex Work Project who have visited them report that five women remain there in great distress.
The Beyond the Gaze project reaches it's half way point (ends sept 2018) and has collected a monumental amount of data. We have a customer survey of over 1300 respondents and also a survey on sex workers that work online with over 600 responses. This, in addition to interviews with 60 sex workers, over 55 police informants and a survey of support projects, explores working practices, safety and regulation within the online sector. Rosie continues to take forward the netreach activities with Basis Yorkshire and develop good practice guidelines & safety info with NUM, sex worker advisers and our practitioners forum. There will be dissemination events in 2018 which will be widely advertised.
By Maggie O'Neill
Colleagues will know that I have used walking as a (participatory, sensory, arts based) method for some years now and may be interested in a walk that I undertook with Open Clasp Theatre (an award wining women's theatre company based in Newcastle), a woman's direct access hostel and Faye. I was invited to run a walk-shop as part of Open clasp's week long workshop in the hostel. The link to the article by Catrina McHugh, Faye and myself is below.
Walking with Faye from direct access hostel to special place in the city: walking, body&image space. A visual essay tandfonline.com
More walks to follow with Rosie Campbell, Shelley Stoops and Nick Mai in the U.K
Here is the link to my walk with Kerry Porth in Vancouver at the missing women's memorial walk in honour of missing and dead women many of whom were sex workers.
By Allan Tyler
This spring, a chapter I have written about sex work appears in a book called – rather provocatively – Mad or Bad?: A Critical Approach to Counselling and Forensic Psychology (Vossler, Havard, Pike, Barker & Raabe, 2017). The book itself aims to deal with some of the topics that have been stigmatised and/or have remained unfamiliar to counsellors, forensic psychologists, and other helping professionals in the past. Importantly, sex and sexuality are addressed critically from a number of standpoints. My contribution aims to examine a diversity of experiences selling sex and challenge assumptions about sex work, including why and how sex work is framed in contexts of mental health and crime.
A bit about me: I didn’t start out as a sex work researcher and came into the field rather naively. Very naively. Until 2007, almost all of my (professional) research was related to body image and commercial applications of how our clothing fits. But none of us are Just Workers, and part of my own story was my migration from farm-country Canada and my concomitant migration into big-city London’s queer scene/s in the early-to-mid 90s. What I had observed and learned about men’s bodies and how gay and bi men used their bodies was another education entirely. After more than a dozen years of reading magazines with columns (and then pages) of ads placed by men labelled ‘Escorts’ and ‘Masseurs’, it was those experiences – or lack thereof – that prompted me to ask the rather loose question, ‘What exactly is going on here?’
by Katy Pilcher
Erotic dance is one of the most contentious issues in feminist debates today and a source of fascination in media representations, yet little is known about those who perform erotic dance for women customers, or the experiences of these spectators themselves. Through vivid ethnographies of a lesbian leisure venue and a male strip show, Erotic Performance and Spectatorship examines the gender and sexual politics of erotic dance, simultaneously relating these to debates about sex work more widely. Drawing on insights gleaned through participant observation within erotic dance spaces; interviews with dancers, customers and management; together with a photo-elicitation venture with a dancer, this book subverts previous assumptions that only women perform erotic dance and only men spectate, and develops the debate beyond assumptions that erotic dance is either straightforwardly degrading or empowering.
Queer Muslim Sex Worker is a groundbreaking podcast documentary about the real life of a young, genderfluid Londoner.
Through a series of interviews across a year of Maryam’s life, the podcast tells her real story as she speaks candidly about her gender, sexuality, Muslim identity, and demonstrates on-air how she interacts with clients via online messaging for sex work.
Maryam (not her real name) is from London, of Pakistani heritage and is highly involved in her local mosque.
Through the 42-minute podcast, listeners will follow Maryam’s incredible true story as she navigates her identities, meets new clients, and comes out as queer.
The podcast looks at how Maryam’s identities intersect and shape who she is, while letting Maryam tell her story in her own words.
“I’m from an immigrant, Pakistani, Muslim family. I am a queer, gender fluid sex worker who’s currently in a relationship with a woman and I am very involved with my mosque life,” Maryam says in the podcast.
“I will think sometimes, this is f***ing insane - half an hour ago I was scissoring my girlfriend, and the next minute I’m at the mosque translating a religious sermon against gay marriage.”
An independently-funded project, the podcast is produced and presented by journalist Amy Ashenden (formerly LGBTQ Correspondent at the Evening Standard, now Senior Video Reporter at the Mirror Online), who produced the viral documentary The Gay Word in 2015.
Producer and presenter Amy Ashenden said: “This podcast tells such a unique story, I’m really excited for its release.
“The interviews took place across a year so you’ll see how much Maryam’s life and identity change over the course of the documentary.
“Maryam’s story is extraordinary but it’s also her real, everyday life, and she tells it so candidly and articulately in a way I’ve never come across before. I hope people can learn a lot from her story and that it will make listeners rethink what it means to be queer or Muslim.
“I was very careful to ensure the documentary took an intersectional approach and that Maryam was telling her story in her own words and not misrepresented. I wanted to avoid simplifying the narrative or putting her into boxes, as that would erase the fascinating intersections of her identity. Retaining Maryam’s anonymity was also really important.”
The documentary is available with RSS so subscribe now wherever you listen to podcasts, including iTunes, audioBoom and TuneIn. Why not leave a review on iTunes? You can also follow Queer Podcasts on Twitter.
Read more about the documentary on the Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/queer-muslim-sex-worker-maryam-london-pakistani-mosque-lesbian-relationship-science-experiment-a7714901.html …
Many thanks to Amy Ashenden for this post!
‘Decriminalising sex work is the only way to ensure sex workers have access to justice – and New Zealand has proved that it works’
by Lynzi Armstrong
This article also appeared in The Independent
Sex work laws are currently under debate in several parts of the world, and there are divergent views regarding which approach best protects sex worker’s rights and supports their access to justice.
While some advocate for a legislative framework which would criminalise clients of sex workers, sex worker-led organisations disagree, arguing that this approach places sex workers in danger. Instead, they are calling for decriminalisation – an approach which has been in place in New Zealand since 2003. However, myths abound regarding New Zealand’s model, including unsubstantiated claims that the sex industry has expanded, that pimps are emboldened, and that trafficking is rife. But, what do we really know about New Zealand’s policy of decriminalisation and how it impacts sex workers?
The passing of the Prostitution Reform Act followed years of work by New Zealand’s sex worker organisation – the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. The purpose was to minimise harm, and so the law change not only removed legislation which criminalised sex work, but also afforded rights to sex workers.
Image credits: Lisa Bretherik
Many thanks to Amber Wilson from Basis Yorkshire for sending us these photos!
You do not know this and you probably never will, but I am a sex worker. Men and sometimes women pay to have sex with me. Most would call me a prostitute, but calling me a prostitute is the real immorality in my choice to sell sex. It is a word that means I should be ashamed, a word that robs me of my rationality, a word that infers that you did not provide for me and failed as a mother. Well you did not. I am not ashamed of what I do and the choices I have made. I enjoy selling sex and I have made a rational, well thought out, individual, eye-opening, intelligent choice. Large sections of society lambast the choice I have made. My sanity, my intelligence, and the love I have for myself, my self-respect, my childhood, and my dignity is consistently, called into question and contested. If you knew what I did, you would probably be disappointed in me and feel like you have failed at parenting me. I do not want to put you in that position so I will probably never tell you. Coming to terms with my life as a sex worker would most likely cause you to battle emotionally over the love you feel for me with the disappointment and shame replacing it. I do not feel shame, but I do not want to put you in that position. You raised me to respect others, so I respect you enough to spare you this struggle.
You should know that it is because you raised me with positive values that I made this choice. You taught me to care for myself, so I know how to respect my body. I own it, and I decide how I will share it. You taught me to have a good work ethic, so I know how to take my job seriously and professionally. I am dedicated to providing a good service and enlightened enough to know my own boundaries. You taught me to strive to be the best I can be, so I take joy in knowing that I am good at having sex for money and I enjoy providing this service. You taught me to care for others and to help people whenever I can. I know therefore how to remain non-judgmental with clients of all body shapes and sizes, or with clients who have specific sexual interests, or those who wish to share with me their daily struggles. You taught me to be compassionate at all times and to appreciate positive relationships, so I know how to provide a caring service to my clients whilst never feeling that I have compromised my self-integrity. You taught me to do the things I love most in life and be proud of them, so that is exactly what I do.
You gave me the most amazing gift as a parent: you empowered me with the knowledge that I could make my own decisions as long as I was happy with them. It is because of you that I was able to make this choice by being informed, sensible, and fulfilled.