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Do you support sex workers in their fight for their rights?
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 6:32 pm 
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'It is a world of self-delusion': Male and female phone sex workers share intimate details about their jobs and their clients as they pose in their own homes for gritty picture series
By Carly Stern
28 August 2015

One photographer has revealed an intimate look inside the world of phone sex operators, spotlighting the real faces and stories of people who stimulate strangers with their voices.

British photographer Phillip Toledano, 46, shot and interviewed 26 of these men and women, offering a look inside their homes along with some of their stories and perspectives on the industry. Phillip, who currently lives in New York, recently discussed his inspiration for the fascinating series, which appears in his photography book, Phonesex, with the Huffington Post.

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Learning experience: Photographer Phillip Toledano shot phone sex operators like Andrea in their homes. Andrea described how eye-opening it was to get into phone sex, saying: 'Tuning into men's voices, instead of getting caught up on their looks, was the same as a person suddenly going blind, only to find their other senses enhanced. I learned to listen to men in a deeper way. My job behooved me to reach beyond the little mind games, straight into their pants and grasp them by the balls. I think if all women did phone sex before they lost their virginity, they would make much better choices'

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Roleplay: 'I have a naturally high voice. I'm also immature and submissive. The voice I use on the phone is somewhat a representation of those qualities. There's one specific voice tone I use when pretending to be sexually aroused. Imagine a Catholic school girl getting de-virginized by her history teacher,' said this woman

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Serving her customers: Quince never thought she would work in the phone sex industry - though she did work with phones for a long time. As a customer service rep, customers would always comment on her 'sexy voice'. She said: 'I thought I was being professional, not sexy. [Phone sex] work is customer service. It's just your customers leave with more than a smile'

'There is a contract that exists between phone sex operators and the people who call,' he explained. 'It is a contract of self-delusion. The caller agrees to pretend that he (or she) is calling a young, beautiful girl, and the phone sex operator willingly plays the part.'

He told the Huffington Post that he came up with the idea for the photo series after creating a similar illusion himself. When his mother died, Philip began caring for his father, who has Alzheimer's. Because his father suffers from memory loss, he would often ask where Philip's mother was. Instead of having to give him the awful news that she had died over and over again, he began telling him that she was on vacation in Paris. 'My father and I kind of lived in this illusion that I had created and we participated in that lie together, he said. 'One day [my dad] was looking through a magazine and found ads for phone sex and realized it was exactly the same thing as what I was doing with my father. Two people agree to participate in an illusion together.'

In his photo series, Philip obliterates that illusion. The phone sex operators are shot at home, going about their daily lives. None of their homes are luxurious, and many are messy. Some have kids. Others have pets. In most cases, operators are unlikely to look the way their customers picture them to be. A few are fit but others are heavy. They are both old and young. One woman he shot is even in a wheelchair. And their stories can be surprising, too. While some described strange, funny, and even disgusting phone calls, others admit they've learned a lot by working in their industry, including how to listen to people 'in a deeper way'.

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[i]Guy time: Derek has fun at his job and is a master at creating sound effects. To make it sound like a bed rocking, for example, he might knocking the headboard against the wall or knock a chair against a table. 'Some clients like to hear the sound of your d*** slapping against the phone. This can be done by actually slapping the d*** against the phone, or tapping your two fingers against the mouthpiece,' he said. He also has sounds effects to simulate oral sex, explaining: 'A juicy peach makes the best sound effect ever'


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Fantasy girl: Ariel said: 'To the caller, when I first answer, I am the inanimate Barbie. They do not know what I look like, who I am or how I feel. They can only imagine. It is my job to indulge their fantasies, to convince them that I am not a doll. I am their dream turned real. I view every question the caller asks me as a command for me to transform. If they ask if I am blonde, I become a blonde... I respond to every sound the caller makes with an affirmation, I encourage them, I breathe life into the fantasy, I carve the doll out of flesh'

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A peek inside: Temma said that she got into phone sex because she thought, 'Why not get paid for talking dirty, instead of doing it for free?' She explained that it gives her a self-esteem boost to know that guys are looking at her photos and want to talk to her. She also likes to fulfill their fantasies and paint pictures in their minds

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Strong connection: Robin said she gets a lot of weird calls, but the ones she remembers most are from people who 'touched my heart'. She said: 'There was Jonny in Boston. He and his wife were trying to get pregnant. He was calling from a fertility clinic because the magazines he was given weren't working for him. He ended up calling regularly even after his daughter was born'

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Going the extra mile: Trenall said one of her most memorable calls came from someone with a feces fetish, for which she played right along - and then some: 'I cracked him up. He was laughing so hard, he had to hang up because he couldn't get back into our fantasy'

Source: Daily Mail UK

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 11:11 pm 
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Raid of Rentboy.com by Homeland Security stirs anger
By TOM HAYS
September 27, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) -- Starting with the name, there was never anything discreet about the website Rentboy.com.

The successful site operated for nearly 20 years in an open and racy way, with male escorts paying for ads to attract new - mainly male - customers. That came to an abrupt end last month when federal agents raided Rentboy's Manhattan offices and arrested chief executive Jeffrey Hurant and six others on charges of promoting prostitution.

The takedown of the popular website was led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, prompting protests accusing federal authorities of anti-gay bias and raising questions about why they would single out Rentboy when other escort websites, gay and straight, continue to do business. "Surely the Department of Homeland Security has more pressing concerns than to fritter away precious time and resources on something that shouldn't even be criminalized in the first place," said Human Rights Watch's Graeme Reid, echoing the sentiments by the American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups.

Federal authorities brought the case using a broad statute barring travel to commit or promote a crime. They say the investigation is ongoing and expected to result in additional charges. Hurant, who's out on bail, has denied any wrongdoing. His attorneys declined further comment.

The origins of the case haven't been made public. But even without knowing the specifics, Homeland Security's involvement is appropriate, said Serina Vash, a former federal prosecutor and executive of the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement at New York University School of Law. Part of the agency's mission is "to secure cyberspace," Vash said. "It was in their interest to not let this go any further."

But more than a month after the arrests, the absence of any allegations that Rentboy was of a menace to society beyond simple prostitution - human trafficking, exploiting minors, money laundering - has stirred anger and fear in the gay community. "It's scared a lot of people and also baffled them, that Homeland Security does this," said William Dobbs, a gay activist who organized a rally outside federal court in Brooklyn by protesters demanding the Rentboy case be thrown out.

A few dozen demonstrators chanted "Keep your laws off my body" and "Sex work is real work." Some suggested the case could become a "digital Stonewall" for sex workers, a reference to the 1969 police raid on the Greenwich Village bar that hastened the gay rights movement.

A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which participated in the investigation along with the New York Police Department and other agencies, said in a statement that "any insinuation that a specific population was targeted is categorically false."

Prosecutors allege Rentboy was the equivalent of an online brothel, and what it called escorts were actually prostitutes. They say part of the proof were in the explicit ads that featured nude photos, listings of all manner of physical attributes and pricing options ranging from $150 an hour to $3,500 for a weekend.

Still, the prosecution stands out if only because the vast majority of prostitution cases are handled by local authorities. The only comparable federal case to Rentboy came last year, when the FBI shut down a lesser-known sex website based in California, MyRedBook.com, and arrested operator Eric Omuro on prostitution charges. But the MyRedBook case differs because prosecutors accused Omuro of allowing ads for child prostitution and also charged him with money laundering. He was sentenced in May to 13 months in prison.

Hurant, 50, may have partly been a victim of his own success. At the time of his arrest, Rentboy had thousands of advertisers paying up to $300 a month, 500,000 visitors a day and revenues of $10 million in the past five years. The business hosted parties and an annual awards show for escorts called the Hookies. In interviews, he insisted "there is no place on this website where somebody says I'll have sex for money because that is against the law," but also boasted about wanting "to keep the oldest profession in the world up to date with all the latest technology."

Before its troubles, Rentboy "was the best game in town" for escorts who wanted a safe way to find clients willing to pay for companionship, said one escort who advertised on the site and gave his name only as J.A., fearing fallout from the investigation. The 50-year-old New Jersey resident has been an escort for 15 years and put some of his income toward graduate school. He said even though he can still use other escort sites, he sees larger societal issues at play. "A large segment of the gay community acknowledges being a porn actor or being an escort as a legitimate job in a way that the straight community does not," he said. "That's why the gay community feels attacked by this."

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:40 pm 
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Amsterdam sanctions new brothel to be run by sex workers themselves
November 19, 2015

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Amsterdam red light district brothel - One of the buildings earmarked to become a brothel. Photo: Amsterdam.nl

Amsterdam is to press ahead with plans to sanction a new brothel in the city’s red light district which will be run by sex workers themselves.

Mayor Eberhard van der Laan commissioned a feasibility study earlier this year and the project can now go ahead, the Parool says on Thursday. The council said a ‘socially-aware’ consortium of parties with ‘property expertise’ has been found to buy the four properties where the brothel will be located but did not give further details.

Enough women who would like to work in the brothel have also come forward, the paper says. The properties have a combined 15 windows and are currently owned by the city council’s property arm Stadsgoed NV. According to the Parool earlier this year, it bought the buildings from red light district lynchpin Charles Geerts in 2007 for a reported €25m after refusing to grant him a licence to operate brothels.

‘If the experiment is a success, the Eigen Raam (own window) project will make a substantial contribution to a safe and professional Amsterdam prostitution sector,’ the council statement said. The council will not be involved in running the business which will operate as a foundation, the statement stressed. Van der Laan also said that 40 of the 83 brothel windows in the district which had been scheduled for closure will remain open after all.

The city has already bought up red light properties containing 126 windows but the new coalition council agreed last year to reduce the budget for reducing the sex industry presence.

Source: Dutch News.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:04 pm 
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Broke Russian sugar daddies dump their sex kitten mistresses and go back to their wives because oil slump means they can no longer afford their five-star lifestyles

By Will Stewart
3 March 2016

Glamorous, high-maintenance Russian mistresses are being dumped by their married lovers hit by the economic crisis because they are no longer able to financially support them

Kept women, known as 'soderzhanki' who advertise on sugar daddy websites in Moscow, are waving goodbye to their life of luxury as their philandering sponsors’ money runs out. The secret mistresses are being forced to work and losing out on their gilded lifestyle of clandestine trysts in five-star luxury hotels.

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Mistress: Russia's kept women - known as 'soderzhanki' - are losing their main source of income as their rich sugar daddies are hit by the economic crisis. Pictured, former hairdresser Maria Kapshukova is one of the women losing out on her income

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Pout: The women are losing their five-star lives and instead are finding themselves being forced into work. Thousands of wannabe mistresses post images of themselves on websites advertising their services

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Strike a pose: Maria (pictured), from Ukraine, also runs a video blog for women hoping to find a rich man to look after them. But the women are finding that their line of work is rapidly disappearing

Soderzhanka Marina told MailOnline how she relied on money from her plastics' tycoon lover to raise her two children from her previous marriage. Marina, 35, said: 'I consider myself to be a valuable part of my man's portfolio, as I provide him with high-quality relations, including sex, and never cause him trouble. 'I am pretty and he is proud to show me off to his friends during skiing holidays. I speak English and Italian, and in my dictionary there are no words like "bad mood" or "marry me". But my sponsor cannot afford to keep me any more - and now I need money.'

Marina, who wouldn't be photographed, explained her monthly allowance of 220,000 roubles (£2,000) was 'modest' by Moscow standards, where her soderzhanki friends could earn three times more in cash and presents. Yet it was still six times the salary she could earn by going back to her job at a nursery school now.

Marina is one of thousands of would-be mistresses to openly post provocative images on websites to lure in future sponsors. Some pose in thigh-high leather boots and underwear, while others advertising themselves to successful businessmen opt for a more sophisticated look. Some are amazingly direct about what they seek from such an arrangement, which has flourished in Russia despite the renaissance of the Orthodox Church with its strict beliefs on the sanctity of marriage since the fall of communism.

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Beauty: Karina 20, a brunette from Moscow, says she is 'sexy, without bad habits, and is looking for her king. Thousands of women are posting provocative images on websites to lure in sponsors as competition hots up

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Expectations: Karina wants a sponsor interested in 'long term relations' and says she expects to travel. A Moscow-based psychologist and sexologist said the last time business was so bad for the women was during the 2009 economic crisis

The soderzhanki phenomenon is similar to the sugar daddy trend seen recently in the West, but perhaps carries more obligations on the man to provide an apartment and travel.

Inna Roizman, a Moscow-based psychologist and sexologist, said those hoping to become soderzhanki face tough competition because the oil price crash and sanctions on Vladimir Putin had caused the Rouble to drop and had a knock on effect on the country's businessmen. Dwindling funds have forced two-timing businessmen to choose between their wives and their secret lovers, and they are overwhelmingly opting for their spouses, it is claimed. 'I had six women coming to see me last week saying their men left them and stopped paying them allowances,' Ms Roizman said. She said the last time she saw so many clients who had been dumped by their lovers was during the 2009 economic crisis when soderzhanki were dumped in their droves. 'I have clients calling me from France, Germany, Britain and Sweden,' she said. 'Many of them feel the impact of the global financial slowdown - but it seems only Russia that has this soderzhanki social phenomenon. 'I think this is a very Russian characteristic in the new crisis, to see these women re-surfacing in search for new sources of income. I am sure that there are no all-Russia statistics for how many women lost this kind of "employment" since the beginning of the crisis, because dumped women are not seen as economic indicators.'

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Phenomenon: As the Rouble dwindles, businessmen are being forced to choose between their wives and their mistresses - and the wives are coming out on top. Pictured, Maria, 19, from Novosibirsk, who makes it clear she is not ready for a man who wants to make her his second or third lover

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Advert: Tatiana describes herself as 'beautiful' and says she is interested in sports and 'looks after herself'

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Interests: Another woman, calling herself Lady Vi, from Moscow, wants a 'long term' sponsor and says she is 'interested in oral and classical sex'

Advertisements on websites offering relationships out of wedlock seldom state the monthly allowance sought by the woman, yet it is implied that this is part of the deal. In one 20-year-old 'Alyona', from Novosibirsk, in Siberia, bluntly states: 'I'm into dancing, gym, love active leisure, very sociable, good fun - looking for a sponsor.' The 5ft 4in brunette reveals she weighs 8st 7lbs, and has big breasts and blue eyes.

Another calling herself Lady Vi, from Moscow, wants a 'long term' sponsor and says she has brown hair, hazel eyes and is 'interested in oral and classical sex'. Oksana, 23, also from Moscow, says she has a sense of humour, is a keen sportswoman and a 'good girl'. She promises her would-be sponsor she is 'easy going' and 'won't be f****** your brain'. She stresses she is 'not high-maintenance'.

Karina, 20, a brunette from Moscow, is looking for 'her king' and describes herself as 'a girl with Asian beauty' who is 'sexy' and has 'no bad habits'. She wants a long-term sponsor and expects to travel with him.

Natalia, 25, from the town of Naro-Fominsk, describes herself as blonde, blue-eyed and slim. Her sponsor must be 'a serious man for regular meetings', not just a one-night stand. 'I have a three-year-old child,' she wrote. 'I'm raising him on my own, so am sorry but I won't be able to travel. 'Currently I need support and I am ready to help you with what I can. I'm an ordinary, kind girl, enjoying new encounters and being social.'

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Measurements: Alyona reveals she is 5ft 4" tall, weighs 54 kg, and is a big-busted brunette with blue eyes

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Provocative: Alyona, 20, from Novosibirsk, in Siberia, states bluntly: 'I'm into dancing, gym, love active leisure, very sociable, good fun - looking for a sponsor'

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Website: Thousands of would-be mistresses post images on websites like this to lure in sponsors, but they are facing increasingly tough competition as the economic crisis takes its toll on their businessman market

Maria, 19, from Novosibirsk, is an 'unparalleled, athletic, gracious, neat, humane, lively, sensible girl... looking for a mature companion who can make all of my dreams come true'. She makes it clear she is 'not ready' for a man who wants to make her 'his second or third lover'. Her potential sponsor should be aware that she 'loves travelling around the world - and this requires significant expenses'. She is prepared to move from Siberia to Moscow or St Petersburg if she finds the right sponsor.

Another, Lana Smirnova said she has left her job and regularly goes to yoga and Italian classes, which her sponsor will be expected to pay for. And she revealed some of the more unusual things she's been asked to do in the bedroom, perhaps as a warning to men with similar tastes not to contact her. 'There are real perverts sometimes,' she wrote. 'They ask you to do things, no normal man would ask for. For example, one insisted on being kicked in his groin area, not simply with a bare foot but with high heels.' Some men take a soderzhanki because his wife 'cannot fulfil her matrimonial obligations, say, for medical reasons', Lana said. The wife, 'if she is wise, will encourage her husband to find someone', she added.

One Russian news outlet highlighted the difference between a soderzhanki's expectations in 2014, before the economic crisis, and now.

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Homely: Oksana says she has a sense of humour and likes sports. She describes herself as a 'good girl'

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'Easy going': Oksana said she 'won't be f***ing your brain' and stresses she is 'not high maintenance'

Then they travelled to the Maldives, had a car and apartment bought for them and could expect a monthly allowance of at least £1,400. Now, they might get a holiday to Turkey, could have their taxi fares paid for and are provided with a tiny rented one-bedroom apartment. Their monthly allowance has also fallen to around £400.

Perhaps more interesting is that in 2014, men sought the most beautiful women, while those facing financial troubles now are looking for 'communication and care'. Newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets said the economic downturn has caused men to retreat to traditional family values. 'Men who flattered themselves by providing for their lovers - from gorgeous socialites to affordable migrants - are now trying to keep their main family at a decent level,' one article read. 'Family psychologists forecast the drop in oil prices causes a total return of men to their families.'

Former hairdresser Maria Kapshukova from Ukraine runs a video blog for provincial Cinderellas dreaming of improving their lives by taking a sponsor. She urges them not to fall in love with their male provider and 'always be gorgeous, for example spend money on yourself even if you don't have any'.

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Kept: Maria, 19, warns her potential sponsor she loves travelling the world - and that this requires 'significant expenses'. However, she is prepared to move from Siberia to Moscow or St Petersburg for the right man

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Stylish: Lady Vi wants a long term sponsor. She is one of many women hoping to earn an income as a mistress

'And because no man will voluntarily give a girl anything, it is necessary to know how to unwind them,' she said. Clever soderzhanki should enroll in business or financial classes to demonstrate that they understand what their sponsors do for work, she said. 'Keep magazines with stock quotes and books on economics open in your bedroom,' she urged.

A guide giving tips to men interested in taking a mistress stresses the loveless and soulless nature of these arrangements and urges them to drive a hard bargain in the new climate. 'The easiest way to analyse the market is placing an advert with your payment and living conditions stated,' it reads. 'The replies you get will put everything in its place. 'If your demand is not fulfilled, gradually increase the payment or living conditions. And the results will not disappoint you.' Men are further urged: 'Try to be as cynical as possible when assessing candidates. 'Remember, the foundation of these relationships is your needs and readiness for a long-term arrangement based on money. It's not an affair or love. Ideally, you need a contract. Don't rent or register the apartment in the name of the woman.

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Jet-setter: Elina, 33, from Moscow, wants a sponsor who is ready for 'travelling together', implying that she might accompany him discreetly on business trips

'Fear of being kicked out of the apartment for not fulfilling contract obligations will discipline even the most carefree ladies. 'Installing a video buzzer which will register the video on a hard disk should avoid the temptation of your soderzhanki to use your rented apartment for side encounters.'

As for Marina, who lives near a big tank factory, her hunt for a new sponsor is not going well. 'My former sponsor ran his own plastics company,' she said. 'He is an entrepreneur, a self-made man who suffered a hit because of the crisis. 'I must find an equivalent replacement because I need to support my children, and so far it proves to be hard.' She concluded glumly: 'Perhaps my best hope is to look for a job as an official in the military plant.'

Source: Daily Mail UK.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:56 pm 
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Belgian sex workers trade union criticises street prostitution linked to new police regulations in Saint Josse
By Oscar Schneider
9 March 2016

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The Belgian sex workers trade union on Tuesday criticised the increase in street prostitution in Saint Josse in conjunction with the closure of districts at 11 pm, as per new police regulations which come into force at the beginning of April.

Since March 1st, the date on which these regulations were initially intended to come into force, the police are carrying out awareness-raising amongst the prostitute community. The union reiterates that street prostitution is dangerous for prostitutes. “As many different leaflets have been handed out, the majority of women of the night preferred to stick to the new working hours,” observed Maxime Maes, a representative of the group. “As their districts close early, they are on the game in advance of the curfew. This increases street prostitution. Often they leave by car with their clients.

Having learned of the rise in street prostitution, women of the night now driven away from Yser, have also started to come in.” The trade union, moreover, notes the difficulties with competition between prostitutes used to working in the daytime and those working at night, who tend to be younger but who now wish to start work earlier.”

Pauline Goeminne, the spokeswomen for the mayor Emir Kir, is unable either to confirm or contradict whether there is currently a rise in street prostitution, “Street prostitution is not a new phenomenon in Saint-Josse.”

Prostitution is also evident in cafes. These practices are monitored. There is evidence already that the regulations are being properly applied and that, during the week, there is very little prostitution. It will take longer for the regulations to be properly implemented at the weekend.

Source: Belga via Brussels Times

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:56 pm 
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German Cabinet OKs prostitution bill requiring condom use
By GEIR MOULSON
23 March 2016

BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's Cabinet on Wednesday approved legislation meant to better control prostitution and make life safer for sex workers, a bill that includes making the use of condoms obligatory.

Legislation in 2002 that legalized prostitution gave sex workers social benefits but led to an explosion of unregulated brothels, prompting calls for tighter controls. The new bill, which still requires parliamentary approval, calls for stricter regulation of such establishments and those who operate them. Businesses will require an official permit that will depend on what the government calls "the reliability of the operator," and people who have been convicted of offenses such as people smuggling, blackmail or fraud won't get permits.

Operators will be forbidden from giving sex workers orders on the "the nature and scale of sexual services," while sex workers will have to register and receive health advice at least every two years. The legislation foresees fines of up to 50,000 euros ($56,000) for violations. It is to take effect in July 2017, a delay that the government said is meant to give local authorities time to put in place the new procedures. "The aim of this bill is to improve the situation of prostitutes and improve their protection against exploitation, violence and smuggling," government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

However, a union representing German police already has said it's unreasonable to expect anyone to check whether customers at a brothel are using condoms. Cornelia Moehring, a senior lawmaker with the opposition Left Party, said many sex workers will balk at registering because of the fear of social stigma - "so they will continue working illegally and really lose any protection." "Obligatory condom use can't be checked and is a pure illusion," she added.

Frank Kempe, a spokesman for the ministry for women and families, conceded that verifying condom use would be difficult. But he said it is important to "set a standard" that backs up sex workers demanding their use.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 4:05 am 
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Italian city fines prostitutes for sexy clothes and flirty looks
24 March 2016

Prostitutes are known for their skimpy outfits and provocative demeanor, but an Italian coastal city has had enough, and is now going to fine them for their attire and flirty behaviour.

Scantily-clad prostitutes in Salerno will now face fines of up to €500 for 'violating urban decorum', a move ushered in by mayor Enzo Napoli following a spike in the number of sex workers in the city centre. There have also been some cases of sexual encounters with with clients taking place al fresco in the city's squares.

The fines are also a way of trying to deter prostitutes, a spokesperson for Salerno council told The Local. “Unfortunately, you can't fine somebody for the intention to prostitute – which makes it difficult to counteract the phenomenon,” a spokesperson for Salerno council told The Local. "Instead, we are encouraging police to fine indiscreet and brazen prostitutes for violating urban decorum."

By encouraging the scantily dressed women to cover up, it is hoped that they will become less attractive to clients and be less visible to citizens and tourists. “The recent rise in prostitution has come just as we are expecting our annual influx of foreign visitors, so it's important that we act to protect the reputation of our town,” the spokesperson added.

In Italy – prostitution is not illegal, but pimping, soliciting and brothels all are - meaning street prostitution creates a headache for law enforcement authorities. In the past, other towns have brought in creative measures to help them crack down on prostitutes such as banning miniskirts and forcing them to wear high visability jackets. Other cities, such as Rome, have created 'tolerance zones' by setting aside areas of the city where street prostitutes can work without fear of police intervention.

Source: The Local Italy.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2016 7:30 pm 
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Californians reject condoms in porn ballot measure Proposition 60
By Matt Pressberg
November 9, 2016

California voters decided not to get the state involved in enforcing the use of condoms on porn shoots, rejecting Proposition 60, according to adult industry trade organization Free Speech Coalition.

The ballot measure, which would have mandated the use of condoms on adult films shot in the state, was defeated by a 46-54 percentage vote. The proposition, introduced and backed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and its president, Michael Weinstein, would have required porn actors to wear condoms during scenes filmed in California. To help enforce it, the proposed law contained a provision in which any California citizen could sue if he observed a film shot without visible latex. That whistleblower would be entitled to a share of the damages if he prevailed in court – even if he did not suffer any harm.

Adult performers such as Chanel Preston, the president of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, believe that provision would have only incentivized people looking for a reason to harass porn actors. “This leaves us open to crazy anti-porn zealots,” she said in an interview earlier this year. “People trying to shut down the industry.”

The proposition received a yes vote in only four California counties, all in the southern part of the state. It holds a 3 percent lead in Los Angeles County, the state’s most populous – and home to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation – with 80 percent of the vote counted. Proposition 60’s defeat was a big victory for Preston and others in the adult film industry who traveled to hearings and organized in opposition to the ballot measure.

Source: The Wrap via SFGate

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:07 pm 
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Sex workers protest in Paris against penalising clients
8 April 2017

Paris (AFP) -- Sex workers protested in central Paris on Saturday, marking the first anniversary of a French law which made it illegal for their clients to pay for sex.

The protesters, mostly young women but including some men, held up banners saying "Stop the fines, our aggressors, AIDS, repression and hypocrisy not our clients". The law, which can see fines of up to 3,750 euros imposed, was an attempt to criminalise customers rather than sex workers. Many of the demonstrators wore white masks or make-up and carried placards which read "Sexwork is work".

The march began in the Place Pigalle, in an area long-known for prostitution, with participants chanting slogans including "clients penalised, whores murdered". Prostitution is legal in France, though soliciting or running a brothel are not.

The law criminalising the clients of sex workers has led to a reduction in the numbers seeking prostitutes, especially on the streets, Tim Leicester of the Doctors of the World group told AFP. However "fewer clients say less income, difficulties in choosing clients, which means more unprotected sex and more acts of violence, " he added, dubbing the law ""a failure."

All European countries penalise pimping, but on April 6, 2016 France joined a group of countries, including Britain and Sweden which punish the clients of prostitutes. Sweden in 1999 became the first country in the world to make it illegal to pay for sex, in a bid to lower demand.

Source: AFP

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:42 am 
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Scepticism as German law to protect prostitutes takes effect
By Wiebke Doerdrechter
1 July 2017

Hamburg (dpa) – Leila, a 26-year-old from Bulgaria, earns her living as a prostitute in a bordello near the city of Hamburg's world-famous red-light Reeperbahn area, where on Saturday new regulations aimed at protecting sex workers from coercion and exploitation take effect.

But Leila is sceptical. "I do think it good that we are to be better protected," she says. "But the new regulations will achieve just the opposite."

Like Leila, others in the "oldest profession" are upset about the regulations going into place across Germany. Among the regulations, sex workers are to register with authorities, thereby losing their anonymity. Also, prostitutes must undergo regular health check consultations. As to specific sex practices, condoms are now required by law, and such things as a "gangbang party" and the "flat rate" are banned.

"I don't have a registered address in Germany, and so I can't register with the authorities," she said, noting this is the case for many women in the industry. "If we are caught without the registration papers, we face being fined. This scares us," Leila said, adding that she is now thinking of moving to a more remote area of Hamburg.

The scepticism among the sex workers stands in contrast to what appear to be the sensible aims of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs to provide sex workers with greater self-determination and protect them from being coerced into prostitution and exploitation. With the new compulsory registration, the sex workers would have to register by name, address and with a photograph, and carry the papers with them.

An association called Dona Carmen, which works to protect the rights of prostitutes, has filed suit against the new law in the country's constitutional court in Karlsruhe. Sex workers were being "subjected to a system of demeaning controls" and "robbed of their basic rights," the association alleges.

Back on the Reeperbahn, a sex customer named Thomas is sceptical. Thomas, 52, regularly goes to "gangbang parties" where a prostitute has sex with several men. "I ask myself, why?" he says about the bans on this and the so-called "flatrate" practice. He insists that at the parties he attends there is no coercion. Now, the electrician predicts, the parties won't disappear - they'll simply move to private apartments under the guise of being a "pornography film shooting."

Thorsten Eitner, operator of the Pink Palace on the Reeperbahn, says he cannot yet say specifically what might change in his establishment. What is certain is that he will post a sign on the door about the mandatory use of condoms.

Lada Jana, who operates a dominatrix studio, says the new regulations came as "a shock" to her. The mother of two, she points out that in the future she must go to the obligatory health check consultations, even though she does not engage in sex with her clients. "This is discriminatory," she complains. In addition, she must now meet new building code regulations for her studio, such as separate toilets for her and her clients. "We know that many prostitutes shy away from revealing their activity to the authorities, because they fear becoming socially ostracised," says Marcel Schweitzer, spokesman for Hamburg's Social Welfare Office.

As a result, during the legislation draft process, the city had spoken out against introducing the compulsory registration. All the same, Hamburg will also be holding the obligatory health consultations with sex workers from October on.

Source: dpa

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:58 am 
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Bikini baristas sue Washington city over dress code law
By GENE JOHNSON
September 11, 2017

SEATTLE (AP) -- Seven bikini baristas and the owner of a chain of the coffee stands called "Hillbilly Hotties" sued the city of Everett, Washington, on Monday, saying two recently passed ordinances banning bare skin violate their right to free expression.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, says the ordinances passed by the Everett City Council deny bikini-stand employees the ability to communicate through their attire, are vague and confusing, and unlawfully target women. "Just like Starbucks with green aprons, UPS with brown trucks and outfits, and Hooter's with short-orange shorts, the baristas' attire evokes a message at work," the lawsuit says, adding that such messages include "freedom, empowerment, openness, acceptance, approachability, vulnerability and individuality."

One of Everett's new laws requires the workers to wear a minimum of tank tops and shorts. It specifically applies to employees at "quick service" restaurants, which also include fast food and food trucks. The other redefined the city's lewd conduct ordinance and created a new crime of facilitating lewd conduct. Both ordinances took effect early this month.

The city cited "a proliferation of crimes of a sexual nature occurring at bikini barista stands throughout the city" in adopting the measures. "Employees and owners of barista stands where this conduct occurs are making large sums of money from overtly sexual, lewd conduct, and prostitution," the city declared in one of the measures. A spokeswoman said the city had no comment on the lawsuit.

Everett and Snohomish County, where it's located north of Seattle, have had a troubled history with the shops, which in some cases have operated as drive-thru strip clubs or even brothels. A former Snohomish County sheriff's sergeant pleaded guilty to helping launder money from a prostitution operation run out of some of the roadside stands and was sentenced to one year in jail. The proprietor of another chain, the Grab-N-Go espresso huts, was convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor after he employed a 16-year-old girl at his stands. Prosecutors said his business model relied on the baristas performing lewd shows.

But Jovanna Edge, who runs five Hillbilly Hotties stands, including two in Everett, said the city's new laws are unnecessary. A few years ago, she said, she gave Everett police permission to log in and view surveillance video of her stands so they can observe what's happening in real time. "I don't want to hide anything from them," Edge said Monday. "Everybody needs to follow the rules, to not step out of the box and take their clothes off for people. That's a way to keep them honest." Since the laws took effect, she said, "I have people who are threatening to quit because they're not making any money."

Among the allegations in the lawsuit is that the laws' definitions of what skin must be covered up are confusing. The dress code for baristas refers to the "upper and lower body," stomach, and back below the shoulder blades, among other areas. "The length of a common woman's shirt is often short enough that stretching or bending would reveal part of her back or stomach," the lawsuit says.

The other measure bans "an exposure of more than one-half of the part of the female breast located below the top of the areola." "To properly enforce the citywide ordinance, a police officer must determine the location of the 'top of a woman's areola,' which can only be seen by exposing the breast," the complaint says. "This would subject women to humiliating and offensive searches."

Source: AP

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