Posts Tagged ‘sex industry’

Learning how to be Human

In prostitution, Rebecca Mott, trafficking, trauma on 2012/07/05 at 9:32 pm
rebecca mott, survivors connect network, human trafficking, prostitution, sex work, sexual slavery, ptsd, trauma, dehumanization, dissociation, torture

But there was a part of me … that was reaching for another life – that found it loved Phillip K Dick. I found his universe made sense of my prostituted soul.

Another brave, honest post from extraordinary survivor writer Rebecca Mott.  Here’s an excerpt:

I, like most exited women who were in the sex trade long-term – I am slowly finding what it is to be human.

When exited women speak of trauma – they speak of be utterly lost to how humans communicate, lost to the simple routines of being human, lost to be outside the role of appearing human.

It is trauma that is embedded in us – and we have learnt to be like a human, but only as androids are in a Phillip K Dick short story.

I learnt to be human by copying.

It is why I love films, it is why I read fiction, it is why I love to be in a crowd – it is why I am watcher.

I can repeat the actions of what I think it must be to be human – but more often than not, I do so without emotion or able to stop the emptiness inside in me.

I have no idea what it is to be unique – for by copying and being the role that pleases, I have no idea if I am any more than an empty shell.

With the logical side of my brain, I know I am more than a copy, more than a role – but there is always the constant fear that I still am nothing but what makes others feel makes me human.

Many years ago I read or had read to me by a punter –  ”Do Androids Dream of Sheep”.

At the time, it was the beginning of a small voice saying you are more than a role.

Read the rest of this powerful piece at Rebecca’s blog

Can You Really Know & Truly Believe?

In sex work, trafficking, trauma on 2012/07/04 at 7:19 am

survivors connect, call girl, rebecca mott, ptsd, prostitution, trafficking, sex work

Rebecca Mott’s clear unsparing voice describes how it feels to be in prostitution.  She will move you.  Here’s an excerpt from her blog

Do not have pity for me – I am lucky I have exited and I am finding my way back to my humanity – save your anger, grief and desire to make a change for the millions of the prostituted being tortured as you read this.

I will reach into my pain, into the places I had to block out to keep some sanity or the will to live.

I want to write for you to know who those men really were – write to say what being tortured means. Write to the place where you so lose that you could be human – that you forget what being human is.

I want to write into the rotten heart of what it is to be prostituted. I want to write to free my prostituted self, I want to write for freedom for me and all my prostituted Sisters.

To understand and be on the road to destroying male violence, we must see through the eyes and hearts of exited women – these women know and feel and understand the cynical nature of male violence. We know how it is pre-planned, how it is seen as a non-event, how violence to the prostituted is just leisure – nothing more nothing less.

Listen and truly hear our agony, our rage, our ways make deep connections – and used us as teachers to understand male violence and dismissive attitudes to all women and children.

I shall use a few common ways of how I was torture, how normal it became for me – to show that it the structure of the sex trade that must be destroyed.

I was gang-raped often – for any or no reason, because it was exciting for punters to push their boundaries with a whore, because it was branded as punishment for made up reasons, because I was classed as the whore who did not care or feel pain.

Read the rest of the article at  Rebecca’s blog

When Survivors Speak Out, Online Pimps and Johns/Punters Attack

In Dublin Call Girl, prostitution, sex work, trafficking on 2012/05/10 at 5:32 am

dublin call girl, survivors connect network, stalking, harassment, sex industry, sex work, prostitution, blogging, interactivity, pain, trauma, ptsd

Dublin Call Girl writes  about the toll of online stalking and hate.  Sex industry pimps’ and buyers’ viciousness online makes it tough for prostitution/trafficking survivors to speak out.  Here’s an excerpt:

I’m not stopping this because of the ridiculous amount of anonymous internet punter abuse I have received. I’m not stopping it because they hurt me, or scared me (like the threats to ‘out me’, heh), or anything else. They did do those things, but I’m perfectly capable of not letting some dick or dick-ess control my actions or how I feel about myself. I’m becoming okay with myself. I kind of like myself. So there.

But you know what, it is shit. It’s horrible to read such vile and personalised things. You practically spill your entire heart out and you get some dickhead punter getting off on hurting me, or scaring me, or upsetting me. I have to read them before I delete them you see. If someone is particularly unpleasant repeatedly I can ban them and they just end up in spam and then self delete, but I’d really prefer to just have let it all out so you could see all of it. Punters and others that used to be in my life are not going to be fully out of my life while I’m still online as this person that I was. I know it’s ‘me’ but it’s a certain part of ‘me’ that I’m supposed to be getting away from. The internet is the problem here, the anonymity, the speed of it, the paranoia and the interactivity.

I’m stopping writing this because it’s just too interactive. My heart would break to stop people from sharing whatever they want to say to me about their own experiences, so I didn’t want to just take off commenting entirely, but then it’s still too interactive. The interactivity of it is creating another weird secret world again, and I’m trying not to have a secret world. I am communicating with people here all the time, but it’s secret communication to the rest of my world.  I am talking about issues about prostitution constantly. It’s in my head constantly. People who have been involved or are involved in the industry are also leaving messages. I always respond to them, I have time for everyone. My therapist says that it and the stuff I went through previous to it, is all consuming. And it is. Because I’m finally dealing with it. Writing this definitely helped get things out and get them out exactly how I wanted them to be out, but I think it’s over now. I’m always thinking about if a punter has left a stupid comment, or if any of my escort names have been discovered, or what I’ll write about next, and if I should delete that last one because it was too much emotional exposure etc. I did not realise at all how popular it would get. I had no idea. I was completely shocked by it. For nearly the whole month of February it got 1000 views a day. It freaked me out and amazed me at the same time. What is also amazing about it is how far it has travelled around the world. My favourite feminist blogger, Nine Deuce, likes it :). Discovering that was a very proud moment.

Read more at Dublin Call Girl’s blog

Survivors Must Lead the Anti-Trafficking Movement

In prostitution, sex work, Stella Marr, trauma on 2012/05/09 at 4:41 am
survivors connect network, stella marr, human trafficking, exploitation, feminism, sex work, sex positive, recovery, ptsd, trauma, women, demand abolition, swanee hunt

All for one and one for all

Survivors Connect Network, an international online network of trafficking/prostitution survivors, now has 44 members from seven different countries. It’s been recognized that the absence of survivor leaders in most major anti-trafficking NGOs has created a void. Survivor knowledge and insight is essential. With survivor leadership the movement’s success would be inevitable.   Demand Abolition recently set an example by inviting seven survivors to participate in their Arresting Demand colloquium May 3rd and 4th in Boston. We are extraordinarily grateful.

An exciting example of collaboration among survivor groups involves the Bedford case. Sister survivors in the Aboriginal Women’s Action NetworkEducating VoicesLaCLES, and SexTrade101 have been valiantly educating the public about the harms of the Bedford ruling — which upholds the criminalization of prostitutes on the street — who are almost always crime victims- while it empowers and legitimizes their predators, the male and female pimps who own brothels and escort services.

So we survivors recently voted to issue a statement against the Bedford decision. Dozens of us joining our voices in political action is a big deal. Here’s the statement:

We the members of Survivors Connect Network stand with the women of the Aboriginal Women’s Action NetworkSexTrade101La Concertation des Luttes Contre L’Exploitation Sexuelle (CLES), and Educating Voices. We are sad and shocked by the Bedford ruling. It’s especially troubling that this decision upholds the criminalization of prostitutes selling sex on the street, as these women are almost always traumatized crime victims who need support not arrest. Meanwhile the ruling empowers the male and female pimps who terrorize and exploit women in prostitution by making it legal to own brothels or escort services.

Researchers have found the women in prostitution suffer from the same levels of trauma symptoms as the victims of state-sponsored torture. It forever changes how we face the world. After going through trafficking/prostitution everything you do is an act of will — you must summon and form a new self from your fragments. And yet as the survivors of torture or trafficking/prostitution rebuild our selves and find our voice, we can develop extraordinary abilities to connect with, inspire, and understand others.

Nelson Mandela exemplifies this type of rebirth. Most everyone understands that Mandela’s experiencesof being held 27 years in a prison infamous for torture make him unique. When he was finally released few denied the vast injustice done to him. No one expected him to act like everyone else. Instead South Africa and the world stepped back, and waited to see how this extraordinary man would transform the terrible wrongs he’d been through — they gave him a chance to bring something new into being.

As more trafficking/prostitution survivors speak out, the public will recognize we’re people society has wronged. They’ll understand we’ve been changed by the pain and harshness we’ve experienced. At present public denial of the sex industry’s violence and prostitute-blaming forces many of us into hiding. But as more survivors lead, we’ll be empowered to bring something new and beautiful into being.

Brilliant Prostitution Survivor Writer & Artist Christine Stark

In Christine Stark, prostitution, trafficking on 2012/04/25 at 1:56 am

lambda literary, christine stark, dissociative identity disorder, human trafficking, sexual abuse

Sister survivor Christine Stark is an extraordinary writer, poet and visual artist.  Her new novel, Nickels A Tale of Dissociation, has been nominated for the finalists for the 24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards, 2011.

In a recent interview with the Bozeman Times Chris discusses what it means to be a survivor:

This is a book most immediately for and about abuse survivors, but it should not be limited to that audience in the same way that, say, James Baldwin should not be limited to gay, African American readers. Everyone can relate to the protagonist because although some of her experiences are specific, there are universal themes in the book, including love and joy and play. A lot of writing and activist work around sexual exploitation wants to focus on just the miserable, abusive aspects of the victims/survivors’ lives, but I feel that does a great disservice. It removes agency from those being hurt, and it can stereotype survivors, reducing them to one-dimensional victims such that “victim” becomes everything about them, thus stripping them of their full humanity.

Nickels is an honest portrayal of someone who must fight like hell just to live; but also, at the same time, takes risk to love and be responsible for a mess that was not her own doing but that she cannot escape. That is one of the most unjust things about abuse: the abused must live with, to one degree or another, the ramifications of the abuser’s actions. She cannot be absolved of responsibility, by spending X number of months in a prison, or visiting a religious leader, or doing penance in some other way. The aftereffects are always present, always causing tremendous pain and confusion and distancing, and often poverty, homelessness, depression, and more abuse. There is always hope, and many do get away and heal, but thanks to Post Traumatic Stress, the past becomes present, often at the most misopportune times. Characters and people do heal, so that the trauma lessens and becomes manageable, but it does not happen overnight. Healing occurs over years, and many of those years are very difficult and painful and confusing.

Read more

Nevada’s Legal Brothels Are Coercive Too

In Aboriginal Women's Action Network, prostitution, sex work, SexTrade101, Stella Marr on 2012/04/22 at 12:29 am

human trafficking, prostitution, stella marr, surviors connect, martha nussbaum, rachel lloyd, sex work, sex industry, feminism, sex positive, nevada brothel

Survivors Connect member Stella Marr participated in a  New York Times “Room for Debate” entitled “Does Legalizing Prostitution Make it Safer,”  alongside Rachel LloydChika Unigwe, Max WaltmanNorma Ramos & Martha Nussbaum.

Here’s what she said:

Well-meaning people who’ve never been commercially sexually exploited often think that legal brothels will protect the women in prostitution from pimps and violent johns. They are mistaken.

In the 10 years I worked in New York City’s sex industry, where the pimps were part of organized crime and could follow through on any threat, I met many women who’d experienced Nevada‘s legal brothels. They all preferred the New York sex industry.

Women who worked in Nevada’s legal brothels said they were like prisons where you have to turn tricks. Rimmed with high-security fencing and an electronic gate, they can look like a detention camp. The women live in lockdown conditions and can’t leave the premises unless they’re accompanied by a male pimp. Living and working in cramped, dark rooms, they’re on call 24 hours a day. This is what happens when the law protects people who profit from commercial sexual exploitation. It’s the ideal business model. It’s the best way to get a woman to turn as many tricks as possible.

Most of the women I knew in the brothels and escort services, had a history of trauma and abuse. I was homeless at the time I entered the life and, had multiple sclerosis. That vulnerability makes them even more easily victimized by pimps. And pimps don’t stop being pimps when you legalize what they do. If we legalize brothels we’ll only be giving these predators more power, while we help them protect their cash.

As the prostitution survivor and activist Natasha Falle has said, “Where there’s high-track prostitutes, escorts, strippers and masseuses; there’s pimp violence.”

Read the full debate here.

The Sneaky Language of the Sex Industry Lobby

In Dublin Call Girl, sex work on 2012/02/26 at 4:21 am

dublin call girl, secret diary of a dublin call girl, language, sex industry lobby, pimps, sex work, sex worker, prostitution, feminism, sex positive feminism, human trafficking

The already legendary Dublin Call Girl has written a great post where she takes apart the ways a man from the sex industry lobby attacks her blog. She reveals the darkness of the sex industry, as well as the many ways the sex industry lobby tries to silence and intimidate survivors who speak out.    This commenter tries to link to pimp organizations, but he claims he’s a ‘sex worker.’  Of course, he blames her for any abuse she’s received.  Let’s put this in perspective.  Dublin Call Girl just started her blog a few months ago.  It’s a blog.  She doesn’t have a lot of political power, she’s just sharing her experiences.  But already sex industry supporters are targeted her with a viciousness.   Here’s an excerpt from her blog:

I received this comment earlier and let it become public just to show people how persuasive his argument could be interpreted. This will be the only pro sex work lobby comment that I’ll let hang around, I just wanted to show you how they will use language that seems to be about caring and support and all the rest, but all that shite only applies to right kind of hooker, the Belle du jours of the world. The one that wants to be there. The pro sex work lobby doesn’t care about the majority of prostitutes (who are pimped, trafficked, abused, drug addicted, poverty stricken). They only care about the happy ones. And if you’re not happy, well it’s your own fault, you really should have joined an organisation or gotten pepper spray, so enjoy that PTSD you’re going through, cos it’s all of your own doing.

Check out his complete and utter lack of compassion (or any evidence that he even read anything that I had written). I also love how he tried to link to a load of pimp organisations.

Below is the comment, and further below is my reply.

‘You certainly may not have enjoyed the chance to join a sex work academy like (deleted) or whore movement like (deleted) in order to learn the trix of the trade and prevent against abusive people. I believe the more society is condemning us and politics is fighting prostitution and safe workplaces where younger workers can learn from older ones or the madam, the more it will be unlikely to have support in cases of emergency or be empowered. Then more and more girls, boys or transsexuals again may follow your sad trait.

First of all you did not follow the principle prostitute rule to ‘not work when you not want to’. So possibly you made yourself unconsciously a victim or even attracted attackers or ‘ugly mugs’ as we call them.

Click here to read more of this fabulous post.

The Opposition: The Sex Industry’s Supporters Uncovered

In Angel K, prostitution, sex work, trafficking, trauma on 2012/02/14 at 9:39 am

angel k sex industry prostitution feminism sex worker sex positive

Angel K has a great new post up on her blog discussing what what we survivors encounter when we dare to speak out.  Here’s an excerpt:

It’s important to me to give voice to the reality of the extreme violence meted out against women from the sex industry. When I was pimped that was physical. Now it is verbal, but painful nonetheless.
He doesn’t even know you but he hates you and he wants you to die. Too familiar to me, a scenario acted out daily with brutality against the prostituted. The fact that you continue to survive, that you continue to have some spirit, is a personal insult to these people. It enrages them.
Articulate? No. Well informed judgment? Maybe not. Verbal abuse and aggression to the extreme.
And me? Should I be silenced by such abuse, slink off in shame at who I am and what I’ve gone through, give them what they want and shut up and die? What these people wrote confirms everything I know to be true about supporters of the sex industry

Red Light

In Choice, Chong Kim, prostitution on 2012/02/12 at 2:23 am

human trafficking sex worker sex industry prostitution survivor chong kim

An amazing poem from gifted survivor Chong Kim’s blog Face of Tears.  We’ve all been to the place she describes.  To read her is always to remember that we’re not alone.

Here’s an excerpt:

I stare at my hands, covered in black and blue.

Gripping onto the floor, trying to hold myself up,

As he’s cannibalizing my body.

I close my eyes, tears fall among the drips of my eyeliner,

I pray for death,

No redemption for me.

No one perceives me as a prisoner,

I am just a clown performing for predators.

Over and over I am raped,

Silent victim, because I have no voice.

How did I get here?

Yeah, I chose this life because I have nothing better to do

Then to choose misery . . .

(Copyright © 2012 Chong Kim, All Rights Reserved)

Read the complete poem here.

The film Eden, co-written and based on the life story of Chong Kim, is premiering at the 2012 South by Southwest Arts Festival!

How a Holocaust Survivor Helps Prostitution Survivors

In sex work, Stella Marr, trauma on 2012/02/11 at 3:49 am
Primo Levi sex industry

My Hero

Primo Levi is amazing.  Many trafficking/prostitution survivors I know read him again and again.  We need him and somehow we find our way to him.

Primo (he will always be ‘first’ to me) has been necessary for my intellectual survival.  I’m not drawing any direct parallels between the concentration camp and what I experienced in prostitution (though in many ways it was an underground Gulag), but Primo defines the denial of evil and how evil molds and changes the people it preys upon better than anyone I’ve ever read.

I’m so thankful to him, for his amazing clarity, honesty and courage.  For having the guts to write the truth, when it wasn’t what people wanted to hear.  For going beyond his outrage, pain, and despair, to examine ( like the scientist he was) what happens to people  when they’re subjected to unfathomable violence, fear, loss and pain.

From the Drowned and the Saved:

“The well-known euphemisms (‘final solution,’ ‘special treatment,’ the very term Einsatzkommando literally ‘prompt-employment unit, disguised a frightful reality) were used not only to deceive the victims and prevent a defensive reaction on their part, they were also meant, within the limits of the possible, to prevent public opinion, and those sections of the army not directly involved, from finding out what was happening in all the territories occupied by the Third Reich.” “The entire history of the brief “millennial Reich” can be read as a war against memory, an Orwellian falsification of memory, falsification of reality, negation of reality.

All Hitler’s biographers … agree on the flight from reality which marked his last years, especially beginning with the first Russian winter. He had forbidden and denied his subjects any access to the truth, contaminating their morality and their memory; but, to a degree which gradually increased, attaining complete paranoia in the Bunker, he barred the path of truth to himself as well. Like all gamblers, he erected around himself a stage set of superstitious lies and in which he ended up believing with the same fanatical faith that he demanded from every German. His collapse was not only a salvation for mankind but also a demonstration of the price to be paid when one dismembers the truth.”

The falsification Levi describes above reminds me a lot of the many lies and euphemisms society and the sex industry use to hide the degradation and violence of prostitution.  These untruths dehumanize the prostituted class.


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