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the importance of having your experience counted
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The conflation of consensual sexual labor with human trafficking is exactly why more conversations and information needs to be shared.  If we stay silent, others speak for us.  This is why I have shifted my focus to activism, writing and public speaking.  

Contrary to what some may think-from the typical salacious news reporting (certainly most of it is not worthy of being called journalism...), people do listen, and can differentiate, between the various perspectives and experiences of those that work in the sex trades.  I currently sit on a human trafficking coalition, and have found people to be quite open to hearing what I have to include in the conversation.  My input has been influential in stopping a proposal for a city ordinance requiring dancers and other adult entertainers to get a license to work, as well as our coalition refusing to sign on to a letter pressuring Backpage to shut it's adult classified section.  Part of those successes have been because I work with an amazing, forward thinking group of people that are focused on helping those that are exploited, NOT a moral agenda.  Many anti-trafficking groups are using the hot button issue of HT to push their own morals though, including (as if you fellas haven't felt/seen this already...) the vilification of male sexuality.  As this issue continues to get attention, the picture painted of clients is one of co-conspirator in the trafficking game, one that is as true as saying that all persons working in the sex trades are being trafficked.  

Workers have been organizing around civil, labor, and human rights for the sex industry for years, but clients and consumers have been absent from much of this conversation.  We are at a critical time when those that are on the purchasing end can either get involved, or suffer the consequences of that silence.  I know that there are men out there that think about this issues, and are mindful in their choices, but I know there are a number of men out there that prefer not to think about it...or think it isn't a relevant issue for "them".  The campaigns we create will aim to increase the conversations across the board.

What and how will we disseminate that information?  The same way anything else gets shared in our communities, and through many of the same channels.  Message boards, social networking, YouTube, etc.  We have already created one PSA about the importance of including sex workers and sex workers rights groups in the anti-trafficking efforts, and I'm sure we will create one (or more) regarding consumer awareness.  

As it stands, we are getting ready to launch an anonymous survey about awareness and reporting of human trafficking for all the sex trades (porn, strip clubs, escorts, BDSM, tantra, phone sex, adult modeling, etc....), and this will include the workers themselves, management and owners that make decisions/hire/fire employees, supplemental staff-drivers/bouncers/waitresses/etc., and consumers/clients.  After that data is gathered, we will be creating industry standard protocols for awareness and reporting, and possibly creating our own reporting hotline that is insulated from government and LE entanglements.  We will of course announce that survey through proper channels here, social networks, etc. and it will be important for as many people to weigh in on that survey as possible.  So that is one thing you can do...

The other is that we need more clients telling their stories about how and why they hire sexual labor. Workers or ex-workers can tell second hand accounts about what clients tell us, but it's not the same as clients coming forward and speaking for themselves.  Yes, yes...discretion...yes...  How can you share that information without compromising your own livelihood?  If you want to tell your story, contact me...we can brainstorm ideas on how you can get your perspectives out there while also protecting yourself and your home life.        

Anti-trafficking groups are looking to shift the penalties to the consumers, thinking that if they increase the risk, that business will drop and trafficking will end.  This hugely flawed theory shows the lack of understanding about what creates human trafficking (people in vulnerable positions, usually at the margins of society), and the real reasons behind why people choose to buy and sell sexual labor.  

While this latest Safe Harbor bill is not aimed at all consumers, only consumers of trafficked and underage, but how long will it be before the next bill is introduced?  Our input, those that are working, have worked or hire workers can help shape those future events if we keep pushing to have our input included.  I know not everyone can do that directly, but there are ways to do things indirectly, even if it's just giving donations to sex workers rights groups...

In solidarity,

Megan

ps-I did not proof read for grammar, etc.  Hopefully this all makes sense as I have to get to some other tasks...

 

Posted By: zguy8
I applaud your efforts Megan - but I'm curious. How exactly are you trying to get real information out in this polictcally charged atmosphere? Politically correct liberals seem to be just as adamant as conservative religious puritans on this issue. Both equate human trafficking with prostitution and want nothing less than to "stamp out the scourge". In Ohio, even lap dances in strip clubs are legally defined to be prostitution. I find almost no one even wants to discuss any distinctions. Tough environment for a consumer awareness campaign. So tell us, if you will, what you're doing and what you think any of us can do.

Latest updates make it a felony for a client, either knowingly or unknowingly, to purchase sex from a minor.  This is a particular heads up to the guys that are in to the barely legal niche...

How many are concerned about making sure the companion you are spending time with is of age?  If so, what types of things do you think about when trying to verify age of your potential companion?

Anyone ever walked away from someone they suspected was not 18 or older?

Feel free to pm me or email if you prefer to give a more private response.

xoM

tallslim264723 reads

there are very few ads that feature girls that are in their mid twenties, much less under 21. I am excluding the obvious fake ads run on backpage and other sites where the BS posters usually list the age as 20 something. Unless it becomes illegal to see a provider who is 35 or older, in this region that is, then I don't see much of an issue in this area with underage girls being in the hobby. I am sure it happens but it is not evident by the ads I view.

Anyone who knowingly sees a underage girl should be charged with a felony, actaully I don't understand why all child predators are not simply executed, what value do these people have to society anyway. People are so afraid of making judgements on anything or anyone and it has stripped the society at large of its ability to separate what is accepatable and tolerable and what is not based on traditional norms of the western world.

Those who unknowingly fall into a situation fall into a different category, though they could be judged on their behavior before and during the encounter. Those who look for the "barely legal" types are to a certain extent asking for trouble, but if that person viewed the idea of being with a girl that wasn't of age as abhorrent then I can respect their preference.

I'd have a hard time thinking that a hobbyist who found himself in a situation where the girl he meets at the door is underage wouldn't have some sort of tell-tale sign that it might be the case. Obviously the mannerisms of the girl, for those who have been in the hobby a while, I think we know the standard meeting with a legit of age provider. Aside from behavior of the girl, does she have a computer in the vicinity, in the room. I don't think I have ever saw a girl who didn't have one in the room. I would assume that a pimp or whatever would not permit the captive victim to access a computer or even a phone. All things to consider, if it doesn't feel right then you should just leave.

Before the meeting there are only a few things you can really do to vouch for age. Years worth of reviews would be one. Is there really anything else? I mean pictures are great, you can judge the age by those, especially if reviews say they are accurate. But what if a guy shows up to meet a girl who in her pics looked of age and it turns out to be another person who might happen to be underage. Then one has to trust their instincts and if it smells bad take your leave.

I have never had a hobby date where I thought the girl was underage but there was one where I had a bad feeling about it being something shady. In this happenstance I took my leave before anything besides conversation took place, even after handing over the donation. I don't want no part of seeing a girl in this hobby who is in it against her will regardless of her age, a girl can be of legal age and still be in it against her will.

Since I have pretty much made it a rule to avoid any agency who is advertising a girl who is from a foreign country, not sure if the situation where I took my leave was one where there was anything was out of the ordinary, but some things that transpired made me a bit uneasy as it was not what I was used to.

To be clear-workers of any age can be trafficked.  Also, a recent study by John Jay University in NY shed light on the fact that not all underage workers are being pimped/trafficked/controlled by others all the time also...  Some youth, especially runaways, turn to the sex trade as survival of their own accord.  This is usually found in street economies, in larger metropolitan areas.  I bring it up only to make a distinction that buying sex from an underage worker does not mean they have a trafficker, but the person buying the sex from them is seen as the trafficker (as they also would be even if the person was being trafficked by a pimp...both pimp and consumer, and anyone else involved in the exploitation, would be charged as a trafficker).

And FYI-the safe harbor law will also include sex offender registration for the rest of that person's life besides the felony...  Sen. Fedor is not messing around with this.

I appreciate your thoughts, and the time it took to write them.  Right now I'm working with a few other sex workers rights activists on creating a consumer based campaign re: human trafficking awareness.  We need participation from those that hire sexual labor of any kind (legal or not) in order to make realistic and relevant suggestions to the community about how to spot trafficking, how to make informed choices, and what to do if you come across suspected trafficking.  Our general distrust of LE and the government usually has us policing ourselves, and hesitant to report anything that is not blatantly abusive/violent to authorities.  Also, many anti-trafficking NGO's do not have a grasp on our industry as a whole (as they only see trafficked victims) so full understanding of how to go about (or not) getting to the bottom of this issue.

Please consider that persons being trafficked are not always going to have easily identifiable signs they are under duress.  When you are being told to come back with xxx dollars or you will get the shit kicked out of you, or you will be forced to sleep out in the cold that night, people learn very quickly how to "make pretty" for the client to get the money.

The "having a computer in the room" thought is interesting...but I'm not sure how true it is.  There are reports of girls being trained how to post their own ads by their pimps...you have to remember that some of these girls think these men & women controlling them ~love~ them, and after awhile can be conditioned to not have to use constant force or threats to get them to comply.  None the less there are some things that *might* show signs of *possible* trafficking, but often times those same possible indicators can be for other reasons as well.  I will post a working list of possible indicators soon, as we are almost done putting an approved list together for the sex work community.

And agreed-when in doubt, leave...is a good rule for everyone to live by.  But if there is a suspicion of trafficking, that also needs to be acted upon.  A few of us are hoping to create some safe reporting options for our community to contact when things like that arise.

Thanks again for your thoughts~

xoM

 

Posted By: tallslim26
there are very few ads that feature girls that are in their mid twenties, much less under 21. I am excluding the obvious fake ads run on backpage and other sites where the BS posters usually list the age as 20 something. Unless it becomes illegal to see a provider who is 35 or older, in this region that is, then I don't see much of an issue in this area with underage girls being in the hobby. I am sure it happens but it is not evident by the ads I view.

Anyone who knowingly sees a underage girl should be charged with a felony, actaully I don't understand why all child predators are not simply executed, what value do these people have to society anyway. People are so afraid of making judgements on anything or anyone and it has stripped the society at large of its ability to separate what is accepatable and tolerable and what is not based on traditional norms of the western world.

Those who unknowingly fall into a situation fall into a different category, though they could be judged on their behavior before and during the encounter. Those who look for the "barely legal" types are to a certain extent asking for trouble, but if that person viewed the idea of being with a girl that wasn't of age as abhorrent then I can respect their preference.

I'd have a hard time thinking that a hobbyist who found himself in a situation where the girl he meets at the door is underage wouldn't have some sort of tell-tale sign that it might be the case. Obviously the mannerisms of the girl, for those who have been in the hobby a while, I think we know the standard meeting with a legit of age provider. Aside from behavior of the girl, does she have a computer in the vicinity, in the room. I don't think I have ever saw a girl who didn't have one in the room. I would assume that a pimp or whatever would not permit the captive victim to access a computer or even a phone. All things to consider, if it doesn't feel right then you should just leave.

Before the meeting there are only a few things you can really do to vouch for age. Years worth of reviews would be one. Is there really anything else? I mean pictures are great, you can judge the age by those, especially if reviews say they are accurate. But what if a guy shows up to meet a girl who in her pics looked of age and it turns out to be another person who might happen to be underage. Then one has to trust their instincts and if it smells bad take your leave.

I have never had a hobby date where I thought the girl was underage but there was one where I had a bad feeling about it being something shady. In this happenstance I took my leave before anything besides conversation took place, even after handing over the donation. I don't want no part of seeing a girl in this hobby who is in it against her will regardless of her age, a girl can be of legal age and still be in it against her will.

Since I have pretty much made it a rule to avoid any agency who is advertising a girl who is from a foreign country, not sure if the situation where I took my leave was one where there was anything was out of the ordinary, but some things that transpired made me a bit uneasy as it was not what I was used to.

zguy84065 reads

I applaud your efforts Megan - but I'm curious. How exactly are you trying to get real information out in this polictcally charged atmosphere? Politically correct liberals seem to be just as adamant as conservative religious puritans on this issue. Both equate human trafficking with prostitution and want nothing less than to "stamp out the scourge". In Ohio, even lap dances in strip clubs are legally defined to be prostitution. I find almost no one even wants to discuss any distinctions. Tough environment for a consumer awareness campaign. So tell us, if you will, what you're doing and what you think any of us can do.

The conflation of consensual sexual labor with human trafficking is exactly why more conversations and information needs to be shared.  If we stay silent, others speak for us.  This is why I have shifted my focus to activism, writing and public speaking.  

Contrary to what some may think-from the typical salacious news reporting (certainly most of it is not worthy of being called journalism...), people do listen, and can differentiate, between the various perspectives and experiences of those that work in the sex trades.  I currently sit on a human trafficking coalition, and have found people to be quite open to hearing what I have to include in the conversation.  My input has been influential in stopping a proposal for a city ordinance requiring dancers and other adult entertainers to get a license to work, as well as our coalition refusing to sign on to a letter pressuring Backpage to shut it's adult classified section.  Part of those successes have been because I work with an amazing, forward thinking group of people that are focused on helping those that are exploited, NOT a moral agenda.  Many anti-trafficking groups are using the hot button issue of HT to push their own morals though, including (as if you fellas haven't felt/seen this already...) the vilification of male sexuality.  As this issue continues to get attention, the picture painted of clients is one of co-conspirator in the trafficking game, one that is as true as saying that all persons working in the sex trades are being trafficked.  

Workers have been organizing around civil, labor, and human rights for the sex industry for years, but clients and consumers have been absent from much of this conversation.  We are at a critical time when those that are on the purchasing end can either get involved, or suffer the consequences of that silence.  I know that there are men out there that think about this issues, and are mindful in their choices, but I know there are a number of men out there that prefer not to think about it...or think it isn't a relevant issue for "them".  The campaigns we create will aim to increase the conversations across the board.

What and how will we disseminate that information?  The same way anything else gets shared in our communities, and through many of the same channels.  Message boards, social networking, YouTube, etc.  We have already created one PSA about the importance of including sex workers and sex workers rights groups in the anti-trafficking efforts, and I'm sure we will create one (or more) regarding consumer awareness.  

As it stands, we are getting ready to launch an anonymous survey about awareness and reporting of human trafficking for all the sex trades (porn, strip clubs, escorts, BDSM, tantra, phone sex, adult modeling, etc....), and this will include the workers themselves, management and owners that make decisions/hire/fire employees, supplemental staff-drivers/bouncers/waitresses/etc., and consumers/clients.  After that data is gathered, we will be creating industry standard protocols for awareness and reporting, and possibly creating our own reporting hotline that is insulated from government and LE entanglements.  We will of course announce that survey through proper channels here, social networks, etc. and it will be important for as many people to weigh in on that survey as possible.  So that is one thing you can do...

The other is that we need more clients telling their stories about how and why they hire sexual labor. Workers or ex-workers can tell second hand accounts about what clients tell us, but it's not the same as clients coming forward and speaking for themselves.  Yes, yes...discretion...yes...  How can you share that information without compromising your own livelihood?  If you want to tell your story, contact me...we can brainstorm ideas on how you can get your perspectives out there while also protecting yourself and your home life.        

Anti-trafficking groups are looking to shift the penalties to the consumers, thinking that if they increase the risk, that business will drop and trafficking will end.  This hugely flawed theory shows the lack of understanding about what creates human trafficking (people in vulnerable positions, usually at the margins of society), and the real reasons behind why people choose to buy and sell sexual labor.  

While this latest Safe Harbor bill is not aimed at all consumers, only consumers of trafficked and underage, but how long will it be before the next bill is introduced?  Our input, those that are working, have worked or hire workers can help shape those future events if we keep pushing to have our input included.  I know not everyone can do that directly, but there are ways to do things indirectly, even if it's just giving donations to sex workers rights groups...

In solidarity,

Megan

ps-I did not proof read for grammar, etc.  Hopefully this all makes sense as I have to get to some other tasks...

 

Posted By: zguy8
I applaud your efforts Megan - but I'm curious. How exactly are you trying to get real information out in this polictcally charged atmosphere? Politically correct liberals seem to be just as adamant as conservative religious puritans on this issue. Both equate human trafficking with prostitution and want nothing less than to "stamp out the scourge". In Ohio, even lap dances in strip clubs are legally defined to be prostitution. I find almost no one even wants to discuss any distinctions. Tough environment for a consumer awareness campaign. So tell us, if you will, what you're doing and what you think any of us can do.

zguy84466 reads

You sound like an amazing lady Megan! And your (unproofread) grammer was flawless. I hope I can speak for a large number of men involved in this community in wishing you godspeed and lots of success in your difficult endeavor. Of course I'll watch for your survey. Unfortunately, I am not able to offer public testimony about my experiences in the hobby or my reasons for participating. If you come up with other ideas for how customers can help you, please let me know.

For those interested in talking about their perspectives.  David Henry Sterry just posted this on a FB group I follow-

Submission Request: We have just sold the sequel to Hos, Hookers, Call Girls & Rent Boys, which ended up on the front cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review. The new book is called Johns, Marks, Tricks & Chickenhawks, it's all writings by sex workers about their clients, as well as clients writing about their sex workers. We’re looking for writing that’s any length, as long as it's great. The deadline is July 15, we pay up to $50 depending on who you are & what your piece is. I myself am the author of 13 books, the first of which is Chicken, about when I was a 17 year old hustler, ho, industrial sex technician (my preferred term) which has been translated into ten languages, & is being made into a movie even as we speak. We're more interesting in the head & the heart than the groin, although inevitably they usually come into play at some point. Thanks, David, sterryhead@gmail.com. 310-463-2068 ps If you know anyone you think would be appropriate, please pass it on. We're also looking for stories from sex workers and their clients that could sit next to each other in the book. pss contributors can use their own name, or a pen name.

Posted By: zguy8
You sound like an amazing lady Megan! And your (unproofread) grammer was flawless. I hope I can speak for a large number of men involved in this community in wishing you godspeed and lots of success in your difficult endeavor. Of course I'll watch for your survey. Unfortunately, I am not able to offer public testimony about my experiences in the hobby or my reasons for participating. If you come up with other ideas for how customers can help you, please let me know.

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