Senate Considers Another Bill That Will Harm Sex Workers



Senator Warren you say? This ought to be a fun comment section to watch!


How many actual "human traffickers" are there? How many children are being brought into the sex trade with an American nexus (ie, here in America or by Americans overseas)? Sex Trafficking is beginning to sound like checking your apple for hidden razor blades territory.


3 They’re from Asia up here.

Down south the rest stops are full of guys looking to suck dick and signs saying to be on the lookout not for terrorist activity, but for suspicious male/female pairings in transit.

I assume that if in Texas you’re being told to keep an eye out for trafficked children it’s a problem.


@2: It's 99% media hysteria.

There have been recent busts in the Seattle where law enforcement threw the term "sex trafficking" around to the local media, but no such charges were ever filed and all the women involved were working on their own accord.

There have been at least two women who worked the media circuit with horrific stories of having been trafficked, including the subject of the documentary "Back to Eden", and were later revealed to be frauds.

With so few instances of actual sex-trafficking to point to, anti-sex activists and over-funded law enforcement have steadily expanded the definition to include any exchange of sex for money (marriage not withstanding) based on the assertion that women can't consent to sex if there's money involved.

In Seattle, they've renamed the crime of patronizing a prostitute to "sexual exploitation", making it difficult for those men to find work. But since they've adopted the "Nordic model" where only the men are arrested, no one gives a shit that they are criminalizing consensual sex.

And Seattle has created a new law called "promoting prostitution" that is so vaguely worded that Dan Savage could conceivably be arrested for advising his fans to patronize a prostitute.

As far as I'm aware, Katie Herzog and Elizabeth Nolan Brown (at Reason) are the only people doing any critical reporting. Everyone else has drank the koolaid.


@2. There are quite a few women in the sex worker trade that qualify as “trafficked”.

They might be adults, they might seem autonomous in their decision making, but the trauma of doing sex work out of necessity is not something that leaves them stable or even functional most times. Which is why there’s a high rate of drug use that pairs with prostitution. A close friend who does therapy and trauma work with sex workers tells me how fucked up these girls are inside.

It can be a legit, healthy way for some to make a a sex positive, safe, supportive environment. But a lack of that is only a small part of the problem with the trade. The big problem is that some sex workers would rather be doing anything but sex work, but can’t, or can’t see a way out, or won’t be let out.


"A close friend who does therapy and trauma work with sex workers tells me how fucked up these girls are inside. "

Sounds like the "friend" has real issues with ethics if they choose to gossip about sessions with outsiders. This statement is alarming.


Another day, another lazy and completely one-sided report from Katie Herzog on prostitution. Seriously, Katie Herzog, is this reporting or advocacy? Did you talk to anyone, anyone at all, to find out why those who support this bill support it?


Muffy: There are a lot people who would rather have a different job, and even more who would like to have any job at all.


So, what I'm trying to wrap my head around is that we're going through this #metoo moment, where we are looking at all the ways women have been regarded as nothing but sex objects. Actresses, for instance, obliged to exchange everything from endurance of harassment to the casting couch in exchange for roles. We rightly decry this.

But how is this any different from sex work? If a woman trades sex for a work position or a woman trades sex for money, what, exactly, is the difference here? In both cases they consent to the transaction.

Shouldn't we rather be focused more on, I dunno, treating women as intelligent individuals with, get this, fully fledged personalities? And as fully deserving of opportunities to achieve their hopes and dreams without having to let some wannabe Donald Trump sweat and grind all over them?

You can't have it both ways. If the women of me too are to be believed, they were forced by men wielding economic or social power over them to endure a whole range of indignities. These were, in many cases, women of wealth and power with resources far beyond that of almost every escort out there.

But when it comes to prostitution, we are expected to believe that these are all women who are just freely exercising their right to work in the profession of their choosing?

Prostitution or #metoo. Pick one. It's either degrading or it's not.


@6 There's nothing wrong with a therapist speaking in general terms about trends he or she sees in practice.


To lay back and smugly assert that sex trafficking simply does not exist because of non-reasons is kind of a weird side to take, but whatever.

Fact is, police bust up sex trafficking rings everyday. Just yesterday in Baltimore they arrested a bunch of guys who had been grooming dozens of minors and sending them across state lines for prostitution.

I am not trying to say that it is the defining problem of our time, but do you really think that suddenly, in our entire history as a species, people have just stopped exploiting women and children?


@10. Thanks. Seemed obvious, but sometimes you have to hold peoples hands.

@8. Yeah, sure. I’ve had jobs that I hate. But are those jobs traumatizing an integral part of their health and mental well being and ability to form good relationships?Probably not. Poor comparison.


@9 consent. The difference is consent. Some women consent to being prostitutes while others are forced into it, and others don’t want to but do it by their own accord because they feel they have no other choice. You will find the same range of experiences in the entertainment industry — some women freely trade sex for status while others are coerced or have their careers destroyed if they resist.

Point is there are a range of experiences in both instances and each individual case should be evaluated on its own terms. We don’t have to pick one or the other, unless one of those choices is “consent.”


metoo is also about being listened to, understood, and believed. Individuals within sex work, such as MistressMatisse, do not receive those benefits.

@10, however, it remains difficult to reconcile your quote re: 'general statements and trends' with 'a close friend, who happens to be a therapist that works with sex workers, tells me how fucked up they are.'

The local Rescue Industry is working toward increasing the stigma of sex workers using the same tracts that worked to define homosexuality as a mental disorder and disease within statutes and DSM of the APA. They financially benefit from all stings and arrests. They have a goal to build pressure on this marginalized group.

This is the point of the article.


I'm a huge fan of Katie Herzog, but I do think @7 is correct in this instance. These bills aren't bad on their face - a perspective from someone who supports these bills would be useful.

@9 interesting comparison. I don't know if I'm willing to get on that level presently. We'll see.

@10 Therapists have therapists.


Chase shut down my merchant account in 2014.
This is blatant discrimination that is not only tolerated but promoted in america.


@13 I have a real problem with consent being our only guiding principle in sexual relationships when there's a big asymmetry of power between the partners.

I might, for instance, "consent" to allow a cop to search my car when I'm pulled over, even having been told by the ACLU that I don't have to. I might do it because I'm scared or intimidated. What if the cop threatens me with jail, knowing that he doesn't have anything on me? Are you cool with a cop manipulating me into giving formal consent that way? Because I'm not.

@14 I'd say Mistress Matisse has a pretty decent platform. I think I understand her position. I have done sex work myself (years and years ago and not very much, true). I am happy to listen to her experience, or yours, or anyone else's. That doesn't necessarily mean I will reach the same conclusions. Disagreement is not disrespect.

I hope that I have expressed my opinions in such a way as to respect the people with whom I disagree.

I also, personally, do not find it useful to attribute malice to people whose goals I oppose. The debate and eventual consensus (hopefully) on issues like these absolutely requires that we approach them trusting that everyone participating in the discussion is working towards the common good.


@17, "I have a real problem with consent being our only guiding principle in sexual relationships when there's a big asymmetry of power between the partners."

Well said.


@17, you have described an agreement between two people that you, as an outside and unaffected 3rd party, have not consented to, so you are uncomfortable. The law enforcement example is compelling. Law enforcement can legally lie, carry weapons, and possess a myriad of tools to jail almost anyone based on suspicion and predilection. But the Constitution provides certain rights such as the right against the seizure of personal property, searches that are unreasonable, and, especially, due process. Those rights are not enjoyed by sex workers, who are consistently erased by the very groups that say are providing support.

Mistress Matisse has built a social media platform with her own sweat and tears and with the help of no one. She does not have a relationship with, or to, either Senators Warren or Rubio. Even the district attorneys in her own communities have refused to listen to her or the concerns of sex workers in general. In fact, both DA's have accepted money from a 3rd party NGO based in Cambridge to influence the very policies that impact her and the communities she speaks to frequently.

The issue is rights. Legal identities and labor rights. Personal recognition and self-determination within statutes. Monica Lewinsky in 2018 remains committed to not being labeled a victim for the decision she made as an adult. Her victimization came about when outside parties exploited her to preserve the office of the POTUS.

You pointed to an asymmetry of powers as your concern. Wouldn't legal identities, workplace rights, and access to a network of capable health care professionals provide for that balance? The only empowerment provided under the current system (The Seattle Model? LOL) is to the very organizations that repeat the same damaging policy mistakes and profit from the fabricated stories of their success.


Another excellent article by Ms. Hertzog.
I pretty much limit my readying about sex work in The Stranger to Katie articles and Upside comments. They seem to be the only voices that aren't on the take. Too many people are profiting for getting involved in the sex lives of others.
If I understand correct, we now need permission from Mr. Satterberg to consent sex. It's no longer good enough that the two adults make that choice. Does he come on the first date too?

Is there some place we can get a note of approval from Dan in advance before the cops knock down the door and start arresting people? Does Dan place limits on our sexual consent, say "you can have sex with this person between these hours on these days for this long, but if you plan to make any changes to my plan you will need to return for additional approval."
That's the problem with police and prosecutors allowing adults to have consensual sex. Once they give the serfs permission for that, who knows what else they ask for!