Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of Zurich, Switzerland’s “sex boxes,” drive-in brothels that accommodate over a dozen sex workers. Sex work has been legal in Switzerland since the 1940s, but was largely unregulated. Previously Zurich sex workers sold themselves on the street in several neighborhoods, often climbing into clients’ cars. As can be the case even in liberal Europe, some neighbors complained about their presence. Thus, the “sex boxes” are located in an industrial area farther out from the main area of the city and customers drive to them. Keep reading »
I woke up one morning last week to my Twitter in an uproar. That’s reasonably common in my world, as many of the people I follow are marginalized and there’s a lot to be angry about. Turns out that the FBI has seized MyRedbook, a California site where masseuses and escorts could advertise for clients for free, and arrested two people, Eric Omuro and Annmarie Lanoce, in connection to “using the mail and the Internet to facilitate prostitution” as well as money laundering under several aliases.
As of right now it’s not entirely clear if those arrests were the main focus of the sting, or if there will be more upcoming. It’s terrifying to many people close to me, who used MyRedbook to advertise their erotic entertainment services because other options like Eros were too expensive or less trafficked by paying customers. We don’t really know what options sex workers who had profiles up on MyRedbook have to protect themselves from investigation. I’m among them, as I used to advertise on MyRedbook as a professional dominatrix. Keep reading »
Recently I got a chance to meet Isabel Dresler (safe for work), who I’ve taken to calling “photographer to queer porn stars.” She’s shot with some queer porn faves like Courtney Trouble, Dylan Ryan, Andre Shakti, and Siouxsie Q. We got to chatting at a shoot for the cover of the East Bay Express on the local porn scene, where Betty Blac, Jolene Parton and I helped fulfill her desire to have a photo taken while she was being smothered by breasts.
There’s an interesting combination of intimacy and high fashion that manifests under her gaze. I was curious to ask her a bit more about it, as well as why she decided to focus attention on marketing photos for sex workers. I liked how she called herself more of a scientist than an artistic photographer, investing her time in the study of her subject (which could be anything from insects to fancy homes). Everyone seems to be obsessed about the sex part of sex work, but it’s still work. As such, middle class indoor sex work often requires some practical and related investments: a decent website, a second phone, and, of course, some excellent photos.
Here’s my conversation with Dresler, after the jump: Keep reading »
The NYPD has finally agreed to ban the confiscation condoms as evidence from people they suspect of being sex workers. With similar measures having been fought for and won in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., this seems like a win for sexual health, right?
Well, sort of. The headlines I keep seeing aren’t actually accurate: “NYPD to stop seizing sex work suspects’ condoms,” “NYPD To Stop Seizing Condoms From Suspects As Evidence Of Prostitution,” etc. This sort of shoddy reporting might mean that the public thinks that condoms as evidence is an issue over and done with, when in fact there is more to do. The policy announced by NYPD Commissioner Bratton bars confiscation of condoms as arrest evidence in prostitution, prostitution in a school zone, and loitering for the purposes of prostitution cases, which is a great start. But it’s not as overarching as the mainstream media seems to think it is. Keep reading »