La Madre Tonantsin. Copyright © Collette Crutcher, 1992. Mural at Instituto Pro Musica de California, 7 X 32 feet, 16th Street at Sanchez, San Francisco.

Legalize prostitution? Hell no

Melanie Thompson on legalization of prostitution: “Thousands of us, mostly black and brown girls like me, are bought by men with money, like New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft or Wall Street financier Jeffrey Epstein, but also your neighbor. Black women and girls represent about 7% of the U.S. population, yet by some measures are more than half […]

Journey From Sex Work Advocate to Survivor Leader

May 25, 2017 Taina Bien-Aime interviews Nomonde Mihlali (“Mickey”) Meji in Cape Town You have an extensive presence on the Internet as a “sex work” advocate but you now have joined the abolitionist organization Embrace Dignity. What was your journey? During my time on the street, one of my main concerns was police harassment. I needed […]

IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Was an Escort for Eight Years, Believing It Would Empower Me, and It Didn’t

Sex work is a relentless game of pandering to male narcissism. As a sex worker, it is literally your job to make a man feel special, superior, and satisfied as if he is the only being on the planet. This aspect of the job really leaves no room for the self. There is no space to explore or identify or evolve any aspect of your own being, because there is no room for you in the equation.

Naked truths

‘Would you like to stay for another dance?” I ask sweetly. He looks me up and down in grim appraisal, makes a miserable face and says,”Not if that was your best effort.” In the same sugary tone I tell him that maybe if he wasn’t so repulsive then girls might want to get a bit […]

I Had Sex With A Sugar Daddy to Help Pay My Tuition, And Here’s Why I Wouldn’t Do it Again Stories about women seeking richer, older men to pay their university tuition in exchange for sex are becoming more and more common. From the United States to the U.K., “sugar daddies” and “sugar babies” are becoming a reasonable option for women looking to not only exercise control over their own bodies, but also fund […]

Can I tell you something about the ‘happy hookers’

Here in New Zealand, in the legal brothels, we have the same ‘happy hookers’ who claim being ’empowered’ ‘sex workers’ enacting ‘free choice’ and ‘agency’ as is buzzing all over the world. These women are not actually liars, but they aren’t saying what you think they are saying either. Their words have been manipulated by […]

An Open Letter to the ‘Good’ Punter

If you like sex, this is not a letter to you. If you like women, this is not a letter to you. If you’ve somehow put these things together and decided they give you the right to buy what you like, this is a letter to you. If you’re a misogynistic bastard who gets off […]

The Prostitution Stops Rape Fallacy

The first time I was arrested because of prostitution, on Benburb Street in 1991, I had a conversation with the arresting officer that I have never forgotten. I’d heard one of the older women talk about how we prevented rape, and, sadly, I’d latched onto that as some kind of validation, some kind of evidence […]

Survivor-informed policies and programs

For the past fifteen years I have worked side by side with survivors of prostitution and trafficking. Without a doubt, survivors are people whose voices should be heard and whose unique perspectives on their experiences should be respected. It is disheartening to read other contributions to this blog and to discover that pimp-controlled organizations are […]

Sex Work – There Is No Such Thing

I’ve heard a few people recently referring to women who work as prostitutes, in pornography and as strippers, as sex workers. This, I have to say absolutely riles me. Why does it? I am sure some people will have not the slightest idea with what could be wrong with the term sex work. Considering that […]

Pimps Will Be Pimps (Part 2 of 2)

James Baldwin wrote, “The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim: she has become a threat.” I had no idea how threatening my voice was until I started to make it heard. None of us trafficking and prostitution survivors did, until we started to write […]