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The recent article by Amanda Brookes on how she believes sex work activists discriminate against the majority of sex workers.
and Elronds response here on Harlots has prompted me to write of my opinions formed through my involvement in activism here in the UK.

Firstly you have to understand a little of the history of sex worker activism. Sex worker activism evolved along side other civil liberty struggles in the late sixties and early seventies. The movement was initially not only part of the mainstream feminist movement but also associated with the various workers movements and the socialist, Marxist, revolutionary politics of that time. It was an extraordinary time of renaissance for radical politics of the left on many levels.
The groups that now represent sex workers today emerged from this left wing/Marxist mix of radical intellectuals. The leaders of those groups are therefore not surprisingly influenced by the radial, leftist thinking of that period.

With this history it is not surprising that there is a reluctance to include mainstream sex workers who have little interest in the great political struggle against capitalism which the established luminaries within the sex worker rights movement perceive sex work to be a part of. Instead these groups, understandably, prefer to remain exclusive advocacy groups and to concentrate on promoting sex worker groups (migrant and street workers) that they can patronise with little fear of that group challenging them. Similarly anti sex work groups and governments also prefer to concentrate their attention on those same migrant sex workers and street sex workers. The majority of sex workers therefore feel they are excluded from the debate. They feel ignored. Recently Cath Stephens from the IUSW to her credit has challenged this perception and has spoken very eloquently of the issues facing all sex workers but her voice is still a minority voice in a media obsessed with trafficking and street workers and many activists who scream privilege at any sex worker who does not fit the classic stereotype of survivalist sex worker.
The established sex worker rights groups may publicly wish to offer leadership to mainstream sex workers but only on terms limited by their often narrow political ideology which is often at odds with the reality of main stream sex workers experiences and desires.

It has taken me some time to realise the entrenched opposition that exists to sex workers like myself and others who demand to be heard with a voice that often challenges the established orthodoxy. I was to put it bluntly bullied when I first became an activist for the IUSW. I would not wish anyone to ever have to endure the hatred from some within the movement that I had to face. It was only my stubbornness and bloody mindedness that made me stay within (in my case the IUSW) sex worker activism and fight for my right to be heard. I am very aware however that I am still not accepted by some and that I still remain for a few a hate figure.
I had to fight for my right to be heard and to offer an alternative view based on my twelve years experiences within the sex industry. Most sex workers wanting to get involved in mainstream activism within the established groups would not have my tenacity.

Thankfully independent sex worker voices are now being heard and slowly things are beginning to change as the influence of the old guard becomes less relevant. I know for example that the IUSW is trying to change and that there are those within the IUSW who valiantly are trying to push for new faces and new voices to be heard. There remains however a fear of allowing the unknown into the inner circle. The IUSW activism list for example is now a closed list to which you have to be invited to join.
One of the reasons I left the activism list was because the IUSW refused to open itself to membership. This example explains I think some of the fear activism groups have.

Like all sex worker activism groups the IUSW is perpetually short of funding as well as being low on members. I offered the solution of encouraging sex workers to become members of the IUSW with voting rights for a small monthly fee (minimum £3.50).
The elected leadership strongly argued against this on the grounds that it would exclude minority sex workers such as street workers and migrant workers.
I replied that Street workers and Migrant workers are probably the last group of sex workers to become involved in any organisation for numerous but obvious reasons. To use this excuse, I argued, to stop your organisation becoming a populist organisation with paying members who will put money in the bank that will allow you to mount campaigns that will help all sex workers, including those minority groups, is bewildering. The reaction and arguments used to abort my enthusiasm to turn the IUSW into a populist movement explains so much about the mentality of those groups and why they exclude the majority of sex workers.
To become a populist organisation, I realised, would be to allow voices to be heard and potentially new leaders to emerge who would not adhere to the established orthodoxy. In short I realised that it is fear that prevents established activist groups from going out there and welcoming sex workers.

The other uncomfortable reality that some within the IUSW and other activist groups hate is that the sex workers who would be the most interested in supporting activism financially are the very sex workers they would want to exclude for political reasons. Independent and successful sex workers, agency/ brothel owners and successful agency/brothel workers. In short those who have succeeded as business people in the sex industry are also the very people some in activism rant against as being privileged and not representative.

So I now jokingly refer to the established activist groups and their leaders as the ” in crowd” (there are a few exceptions thankfully who are not). If you doubt this look at those with positions of authority within activism and I doubt you will find many who do not share a common political ideology or who do not share the same language and adherence to political correctness (not that political correctness is always wrong). I was once told there that there is no sex worker clique by someone who I now realise is a member of that very clique.

Now as a much happier outsider I view it all with a certain amusement. It does still annoy me when figures such the elected president of my own IUSW/GMB branch attacks me personally in public (“READ HERE”. )) but I try mostly to ignore them and him. I am sure that things will change. I have a strong suspicion (which I hope will come true) that a populist sex worker movement will soon emerge which will allow different sex worker voices to be heard and who will force the established sex worker groups to share their knowledge and their contacts within the media and government nationally and world wide. The future for sex worker activism is good. We are a wonderfully diverse group of individuals who have so much to offer. We all have different politics, come from different backgrounds and have different experiences. It is really a huge loss to the established groups that they choose to ignore us and exclude us which is why I believe that the future of sex worker activism will be ours not theirs.

I would add that the ECP and the IUSW are (despite my criticism) good advocacy groups and deserve our support. This is simply my explanation based upon my experience of why they discourage so many mainstream sex workers from becoming involved, often with out realising that they do so. And why some sex workers are actually scared to become involved when they read some of the viscous stuff written by some who hold positions of authority.

About Douglas Fox

26 comments on “ARE YOU ONE OF THE IN CROWD?

  1. peter schevtschenko
    11 January, 2011

    are sex work activist groups any different from other political groups? there are always cliques within groups and outsiders often feel they have to prove themselves before being accepted,they then become part of that clique!

  2. Douglas Fox
    11 January, 2011

    Yes and No.

    Yes all groups have cliques, that is just human nature.

    I think that the point being made is that sex worker activism groups often complain that sex workers pay them little attention. On the other hand there are sex workers who really want to be involved but are actively discouraged, even ignored.
    This is not about learning how to be an activist ( and yes there are skills involved that you learn over time ) but about the sharing of skills and knowledge.
    Sharing information is vital but it is not always an easy thing to encourage.
    I think the debate started by Amanda is about the exclusion of sex workers from their fight by people (and every praise to them) who have historically developed the skills and contacts but who now choose to only share those skills with like minded individuals. Fine if your running a club but not so good when you claim to speak for an industry as diverse and as complex as the sex industry.
    I think the problem in a nut shell is that activism has become stuck in a time capsule while around them, the industry if you like, has moved on.
    Activism groups have to understand that sex workers have many voices and many political allegiances and many experiences. Our diversity is our strength but instead it is being made our weakness.

  3. Amanda
    11 January, 2011

    Since your piece focused on issues in the UK, I can’t comment on a lot of it (and it’s not quite the same situation as in the US — naturally). But…

    “Activism groups have to understand that sex workers have many voices and many political allegiances and many experiences. Our diversity is our strength but instead it is being made our weakness.”

    THIS needs to be emblazoned on every activist’s website. This is brilliant and very, very true. With permission, I’ll be repeating it.


  4. John
    12 January, 2011

    As Thierry also felt the need to mention me and my GMB membership status did he also consider whether he was abusing his position of trust by divulging confidential information about who is a member and who isn’t.

    Anyone visiting the IUSW site and downloading the membership form would be lead to believe that the
    organisation is confidential, however Thierry. IUSW president has proved he’s not fit for the position when he discusses member status with whomever he fancies. I was not impressed !!! Oh and whilst were on the subject of this, if Thierry is so obsessed with getting rid of managers from the GMB/IUSW roll call then why doesn’t he get rid of the academic members who have never done any sex work in their lives but who use it as a rung up the ladder for their CV

    CT Escorts
    Newcastle Upon Tyne

  5. Douglas Fox
    12 January, 2011

    Hi Amanda,..

    Yep feel free to quote as you wish.

    Re John’s comment.

    Yes I agree that sadly such as the IUSW/GMB branch president perhaps represents the sort of in crowd activism that frightens sex workers from becoming involved. If you don’t tick his collection of boxes on what a sex worker is or agree with his politics then he will not be interested in representing you. In fact he probably thinks of you as of his enemy.

  6. Pingback: What’s the Buzz? « The Honest Courtesan

  7. Kelly James
    16 January, 2011

    Thank you for clarifying the origins of the ultra pc left wing mentality so prevalent in sex worker activism. I suspected as much but you confirmed a lot for me and gave me some good info as well!

    Re “The sex work debate—a response to Jess Edwards”, it was published on a forum called “International Socialism”. As a pure laissez faire capitalist, that tells me everything I need to know :-( if I were you I wouldn’t worry too much about it.


  8. Douglas Fox
    16 January, 2011

    Hi Kelly,

    Thank you. I am very positive about the future. I think some within established activism are realising that THEY are missing out by excluding people or by making activism difficult, some sort of exclusive club. It’s not. Activism is for everyone who is a sex worker.

    I often tell sex workers who say that they are not interested in politics that the very fact that you are a sex worker makes you political. You have made a choice to challenge the morality of those in power which makes you a revolutionary of sorts. You just need some confidence and someone/group to allow you a voice and a safe way to become involved.

    Re the lefties. I admire what they did. They had the guts to start the movement but now they have to realise that sex workers are a varied lot and that they do not have some exclusive right to talk to or for us without consultation.

    Sex work activism should be inclusive not exclusive.

    I am not the only one. Read the honest courtesan (the link is in a previous comment) and you will see that lots of sex workers share this same concern. Things are changing.

  9. Douglas Fox
    16 January, 2011


    Sorry Kelly, just realised who you are.

    Would you like a link on Harlots?


    • Kelly James
      22 January, 2011

      Douglas – yes of course, and will reciprocate with the same :-)


  10. Amanda
    16 January, 2011

    Douglas — You have expressed, once again, what I believe.

    “I think some within established activism are realising that THEY are missing out by excluding people or by making activism difficult, some sort of exclusive club. It’s not. Activism is for everyone who is a sex worker.

    I often tell sex workers who say that they are not interested in politics that the very fact that you are a sex worker makes you political. You have made a choice to challenge the morality of those in power which makes you a revolutionary of sorts. You just need some confidence and someone/group to allow you a voice and a safe way to become involved.”

    Yes. I’ve said this to activists (deaf ears) and to non-activist sex workers — who just tend to shy away from the issue. I wish to give them more confidence.


  11. Douglas Fox
    17 January, 2011

    Hi Amanda,

    This lack of confidence is because they think that if they sign up as activists it means they have to out themselves and appear on radio and television.
    This is why I was annoyed with the IUSW.
    Give people a means to show commitment I argued and they will. By being a member of something you show support and commitment, you feel involved without outing yourself.
    I suggested that the IUSW model itself on Amnesty International.

    As a member AI you have voting rights and you could vote on policies and attend meetings and agm’s. You could set up local groups where you could meet friends and request support and assistance from the main activist centre.
    At these groups you could learn about what is happening locally and internationally. You could choose your level of commitment and by being a part of something with a voice in that organisation you would not feel ignored. Sex workers could do something very similar.

    Activist groups need money. They want the industry to provide that money. Who is going to give money however to any organisation that speaks for them yet ignores them? Life is not like that.

    Anti groups have a wealth of funding, often from governments. That money buys them access. Unless sex worker groups here in Europe and the USA (two examples I know a little about) stop acting like 1950s communists cells and instead start acting like human rights groups representing a million pound/dollar industry, then the anti’s will always have the upper hand.

  12. Luca
    18 January, 2011

    Hello everyone

    I rarely write on blogs as i think it is so difficult to express nuanced opinion but here is my view on the topic.

    I think Douglas, that there is a huge difference between the escorts blogs you make a link to, explaining how they felt excluded by the more radical activist sex worker movement ( who has you say has been fighting for the last 30 years ) and you, who has been perceived ( rightly or so, not my place to say ) as an agency owner and not a sex worker. Not someone actually using his body and sex to work, but those of others. I am not saying if its the reality or not. But it is the reason why there has been struggles in the IUSW.

    One of the reason sex worker’s organisation like IUSW are not taking seriously is because IUSW is representing agency owners’ interests. How difficult is it to understand that? State feminists and politicians / abolitionists / Guardian writers see sex workers as victims, exploited by pimps and then who are they confronted to when talking to the sex worker union : an agency owner !
    How much credibility does that give them ?

    Of course there is a difference between mainstream sex workers and more left wing / radical members. From all my years involved in sex worker activism in many countries, the women i ve seen in demos , actions , standing up in front of cops …were not succesful business women , but mostly transwomen / street workers. Look at the sex worker movement internationally, it s the same. It s the people who are more at risks who fights again their oppression.

    Why arent most succesful sex workers joining the movement ? Because they also dont have the same relationship to activism. It is a great thing that you are putting that article about Hackney strip club. People who joined the dancers at their demo in front of the Town hall were not the “mainstream sex workers” It was the usual “in crowd” , members of Xtalk , ECP and other radical queer groups that care enough to go stand with other workers.
    As a fellow Amnesty International member, as an activist i believe in solidarity. I am not in a Union or doing activism just to protect my interests but because i believe i should stand for and fight for any other stigmatised, marginalised groups. I am still waiting for your ” normal / successful” escort to show solidarity with any other groups. They are not “excluded” from the activists groups. The truth is most of them just never really cared to join to start with.

    Please dont play the victim in that affair. I believe your voice need to be heard as much as any other one. But why using a Union to do so ? Wouldnt it be more productive to create a Brothel owner and agency owner activist group? At least you would be sure to have people sharing your ideological view of the industry.

    Finally, concerning “academics” in the Union or sex workers groups…. I thought it would be obvious but i guess it isnt. What makes you think those people have no first hand knowledge of the industry. Without outing anyone, is it too difficult to imagine that many women worked in the sex industry before or whilst going to University ?

    I hope as much as all you that sex workers rights will be recognised, but the truth is that we can not all work together and we might just have to accept that. Many “succesful sex workers / escorts” refuse to be put in the same category as “street workers”, they’ re not “whores”, they are ” alternative service providers” they say. Many workers will refuse to be in the same group as bosses.
    I would find impossible to work with someone identifying as a ” pure laissez faire capitalist”.
    Just because we sell sex ( for those of us who do ) doesnt mean we have the same beliefs and goals.

    • Kelly James
      22 January, 2011


      Douglas has already done a fine job of exemplifying the pure absurdity of your argument.

      As I’m still working to understand the politics of sex work activism here in the US I’m not going to claim any understanding whatsoever of such in the UK, so I’ll keep my input to that which applies to me.

      As I’ve said before – no matter what else we may or may not be we are all sex workers. To be successful as activists we need to set aside our differences and work towards a common goal – decriminalization.

      Why is it that we can’t all work together again? As a pure laissez faire capitalist, I have no issue working towards a common goal with someone who identifies as a socialist. So where do the problems of working together really lie?

      My 13 years of experience as a sex worker gives me the right to my voice, thank you very much. I hate to break it to you my dear especially in such non academic terminology, but I ain’t goin’ nowhere.


  13. Douglas Fox
    18 January, 2011

    Hi Luca,

    You have summed up the beautifully the reason why so many mainstream sex workers feel they are not welcome.

    1. I have made it quite clear that I have worked( for going on 12 years now) as a gay male sex worker, in your terms that is selling my body for sexual services to a client.
    I understand that I made a mistake when I first became involved in activism by identifying as a manager. I have however written about the reasons why I did this. So I am not going over old ground now.

    2. I don’t and most sex workers I believe don’t, make the distinctions you make between sex workers. Managers of sex workers and those who sell services are often one and the same thing. We all sell sex and all make money from selling sex. We are all, what ever our role within the industry, stigmatised and persecuted (to varying levels) by the law. In my opinion we have more to gain working together than we have working in separate groups divided by politics o rby the jobs that we do within sex work.

    3. Guardian writers, politicians etc of course want sex workers to be divided. It is in their interests to present one group of sex workers as exploiters and abusers and anther group as victims. My role as an activist is to tell them that they are wrong. Activists like yourself simply tell them that they are right. When people like myself read your words they think NO I don’t want to be involved in a group that puts political rhetoric, that I don’t agree with, above the struggle for justice.

    4. I did not mention academics in the IUSW GMB branch. I do however understand the argument of the person who did mention it. When activists like yourself tell other activists they are not welcome and then those people who work in the industry, in what ever role, see academics (some who have worked and some who have not) welcomed and accepted, then they of course think that something is very wrong. Those people would argue that if any group should be excluded from a sex workers union then it should be academics who do use us, that is sex workers, as a stepping stone in their academic careers. Personally I think we need academics but you have to understand others anger, an anger that people like yourself fuel.

    5. The GMB make the rules re who should be a member or no of the IUSW/GMB branch. If you are in the union then it is the duty of all members, but especially elected members, to defend all of branch members regardless of the job they do. If you cannot accept a diverse membership then should you really be in that union. Again when, what you call mainstream sex workers read union branch officials joining in the witch hunt against fellow activists and branch members they think, with justification, this is not for me.

    6. You repeatedly say that you want managers and brothel owners to go off and do their own activism and form their own associations. In a decriminalised world then possibly it may be something to consider but I see little point. Sex workers in my political view are all self employed and sex work is entrepreneurial, whither on the streets or working from some fancy apartment in London charging £1000 an hour. We all have the same basic interests.

    As things stand however what you are really saying is that you want sex workers (regardless of what job they do) who do not share your politics to be excluded.
    This is the problem that has now come to the fore not only on this forum but on several others.

    As I explained in my article, few would be as determined as myself to stick with a group where part of that group made it quite clear that you were not welcome. I stuck with it however because I wanted the voice of mainstream sex workers to be heard and I believed passionately in the ideals expressed by the IUSW.

    As you have said the group of sex workers that you identify with (to their credit) started organisations/groups etc and you now have the information/contacts and positions of authority that makes your voices predominant within the debate. Rightly or wrongly mainstream sex workers now want to be involved. Our involvement, because we are free thinkers/capitalists etc etc rather than socialists/Marxists etc would change the direction of activism. I understand because of this why you and people like you don’t want mainstream sex workers involved. You have made these reasons very clear in your comment.

    For my part I don’t care what the politics of a sex worker activists is. We all want decriminalisation.( The left in my view do not and never have had any right to claim any moral high ground re human/civil rights.) So I am happy to work with anyone. I even walked in the May day march in London last year. The problem it seems, and you have said it, is that you and your colleagues are not willing to work with anyone who does not share your political views.

    That is going to become an increasingly important issue sadly within activism and one our enemies will exploit. But your “in crowd” group made that choice to exclude, not what you refer to as the mainstream.

  14. John
    18 January, 2011


    Douglas has indeed worked as a sex worker for a number of years and has his own website. Something Thierry knows only too well but which serves his purpose to ignore.

    Do you condone Thierry discussing peoples IUSW member status in public. It’s supposed to be confidential

    My point and I stress again it was my point about academics seems to have gone way over your head. There have been academic members of the union who have never been sex workers so my point was whether non sex workers have an acceptability factor with Thierry because managers obviously don’t. Just to clarify one thing…… Escort agency owners are not sex worker managers. They are people employed by a sex worker to gain them employment within the sex industry. The escorts pay me not the other way around so how does that make me their manager. It actually makes them my manager.

  15. Luca
    18 January, 2011

    Hello again,

    John: i dont see how personal behaviours of any individuals is meaningful to the debate. Should we talk about the fact that the IUSW branch secretary hasnt called a meeting for 9 months ? Is that relevant to the debate? I doubt it.
    About academic and other non-sex workers in the union. Fair enough. The union should be workers.

    And i dont doubt Douglas has worked / still work as a sex worker but he joined the union identifying as a manager. His mistake , has he said.

    What really blows my mind is : why all this majority of sex workers, who feel silenced by the radical minority, don’t actually do something about it ? Is is that difficult to create a new lobby / activsit group ? When i wanted to join a sex worker activist group, i approached ECP then realised they were women only. Did i start complaining about how excluded i felt as a male sex worker? How unfair and un-representative their group was? No i try to join another group and, not finding one that i fitted in, created my own. It was very easy to do and any serious person willing to change things can do the same. It took me lots of personal time, which meant refusing clients and working much less. Which i guess doesnt really fit in with a pure capitalist approach.

    Douglas, you obviously have great easiness in writing. ( i dont , it took me 3 hours to write the first comment ). So i wont go points by points into what you said.

    What strikes me the most is the nov-lang you are using. Sex workers was a term created by prostitutes to take distance with the stigma and reclaim their social status as workers. The only person i know who pretends a “sex worker” is anyone working in the sex industry is you. If we were to talk about the film industry , we would never say that everyone there is an actor. The driver of Angelina Jolie is a driver. Her maid is a maid. When and how did my driver and maid become sex workers? This is highly manipulative language and is dishonest and not respectful of the struggles of sex workers of the past 30 years.

    Managers /owners : i am completely against stereotyping categories of people and i believe some of the agency owners are doing the best they can to provide acceptable working conditions. A quick browse on sex workers blog will however show anyone that there is a difference of interest between sex workers and people making a profit of their work through management. This is the only reason i think the Union should be for sex workers only and not agency owners and managers. Don’t make this into some out of touch-extremist-left-wing political ideology. ECP for example do have cases of brothel owners prosecuted, and fight for them, but they would never in their word ” let the owners take leadership” in their group. They have beenthere for 30 years and are the main sex worker organisation.

    Pimps and whores, is the idea the general public has of the sex industry. You pretend that the Union is feeding that dichotomy by excluding bosses. I say you are weakening the movement by not accepting that Union is not your place. Have you really no idea how damaging it has been for the Union to decide to accept bosses ? What an object of ridicule it has become for feminists of all boards? You say that “average” sex workers wont join the union because of its radical politics. I say lots of sex workers left the union because of its “decision” to include managers and owners. How is the IUSW going by the way ? Not very healthily from where i stand. Do you feel you might have any responsibility in this ?

    The sex worker movement started in the streets, not in the comfortable virtual realities of the blogosphere. Who stood up for rights? Not your middle class ( or high-class ) escorts. Yes times are changing and i would welcome any sex workers that is ready to fight for every sex workers right. Not just complaining on a blog. When IUSW decided to accept bosses, i left. To be honest i only had been there for a month. I then co-organised the Sex worker Open University which brought 200 people together, and allowed many sex workers to get involved in activism. I did it with almost no funding, workshops were free. All this was possible because i believed in solidarity with other sex workers, whatever their class. We all share the same stigma. Another person who left the Union then created X-talk who is now an important voice in the debate around sex work and trafficking. You might sneer at those people and voices and called us the “in-crowd” but we are actually the people who put our time and energy where our heart is.

    Again i will really appreciate when middle class / a-political sex workers join the movement, go to meeting and demos or write to Mps , but it is still something i have not seen often yet.

    ( btw i am a middle class independent sex worker )
    ( btw bis, i ll stop posting now cos i think i heard your points , you heard mine , and i hate how time consuming blogging is !)

    All the best to all of you.

    • John
      18 January, 2011

      Gosh Luna that must have been 4 hours out of your day.

      My righteous right ethics may not be right but neither us your loony left policies but at least I’m willing to discuss and meet in the middle. You lot disseminate anyones writing or personality when it doesn’t suit your cause. How dare your lord and master quote me in an article when he knows nothing about me. I’ve met him once and I was nothing but pleasant to him but he thinks it’s acceptable to ridicule me for running an escort agency. How very dare he !

  16. Douglas Fox
    18 January, 2011

    Luca how many “managers” are in the sex workers branch? As a member did I (even at the very beginning when I identified for good reason at that time as a manager) ever have a position of authority in the branch?

    The GMB make the rules and the IUSW/GMB branch have to abide by those rules or go create a separate union where definitions of which workers can join can be decided by a majority of members. Or perhaps if a majority does not agree with you, you can again leave and create yet another group until you eventually have a group where everyone agrees with you. Or you manipulate votes by making sure that you get like minded people to join and attend meetings?Sensible I suppose but not Representative of sex workers in the UK who are a very diverse group.

    The historical reality re events at the IUSW/GMB branch was that yourself and your colleagues targeted myself because I did not agree with what you were doing/saying.
    Because you did not like what happened re the majority you and your friends/cliques left to create you own groups to suit your political agenda. Fine but not my fault or the GMBs.

    The IUSW/GMB branch was not/is not some exclusive cell. It was created to give all sex workers (and we obviously will never agree on definitions) union representation.

    I would argue that myself and Catherine Stephens and others within the IUSW created a new and positive awareness of the IUSW within the industry, the media, government and more importantly the public. For once sex workers knew who the IUSW were, previously unless you were in a clique in London you had no idea that the IUSW or the IUSW/GMB branch existed. I am very proud of the part I played in doing that. I am also very proud that I recruited members to the branch. The fact they did not stay is no reflection on me.

    Feminsist groups/blogs etc of course attacked me. I was a public face. Out there speaking and bloging and doing interviews, fighting for all sex workers. They had a duty to attack me. I was the enemy. You and others within activism however weaken our movement when you attack your fellow sex worker activists. You should support everyone. But that is not going to happen sadly is it.

    Even now that I have left the IUSW activist list to concentrate on this blog and in developing an activist role that offers people like myself a voice within this debate I am still targeted by those on the left which is I think a sad reflection on the priorities of some activists.

    I have said that a new group/s representing sex workers will evolve. It takes time. The points being made on this and other blogs is that we genuinely are starting from scratch. People like yourself have a heritage of activism (and give you credit for that) to call on.

  17. Luca
    18 January, 2011

    I merely responded to your blog and comments. If you feel this is an attack, you really need to shrug that victim mentality. We cant have a debate if we start claiming ” i am attacked” when someone disagree. Having said that, we can not have a debate when we dont use the same words to describe a common reality.
    good luck with your blog.

    • John
      18 January, 2011

      Luna……. Union membership of the GMB/Iusw branch is supposed to be confidential. That is the essence of argument. Can you not see that for gods sake

  18. John
    18 January, 2011

    From the IUSW site

    Why is membership so open?
    GMB policy is that membership is open to people at all levels of the workforce, including managerial, auxiliary and support staff*.

    That’s one of the reasons the IUSW and the GMB branch are open to everyone who works in the sex industry and adult entertainment – a really diverse group. More important than our differences are the things which bring us together. We all live with stigma. We all experience social exclusion. We all face vulnerability. Many of us are criminalised. The GMB offers union representation to enable us to organise and demand the same rights as those taken for granted by workers in other industries.

    The primary difficulty we face is not our work itself, but the conditions in which we work. Criminalisation forms an integral part in creating those conditions – decriminalisation would provide us with the freedom to decide how to work – independently, in co-operatives or for other people.

    Selling sexual services is legal, but street prostitution, brothel keeping and controlling for gain are criminalised. Street-based sex workers are made more vulnerable by the criminalisation of their work and clients. Under current law, if two sex workers share premises, the person whose name is on the lease can be prosecuted as a brothel keeper. If someone arranges appointments and negotiates fees on behalf of a sex worker, they can be convicted of controlling for gain, regardless of whether they are honest and fair or exploitative and coercive. Our legal definition of trafficking is so loose that anyone knowingly giving a sex worker a lift to work, even if they are not being paid to do so, is potentially at risk of prosecution.

    It makes no sense to campaign for decriminalisation but exclude from that campaign the very people who are most at risk of prosecution. People who work in the sex industry can tell the difference between those offering safe, fair and honest working conditions and those who coerce, exploit and abuse us.

    So, working in solidarity, we resist attempts to divide us: we campaign for everyone in the sex industry to have the same human, civil and labour rights as other citizens, the same protection of the law as other citizens and for our inclusion in decisions which will affect our rights and safety.

  19. John
    18 January, 2011

    So Luna …. By excluding a manager you are making them a victim of discrimination from within their own organisation. Douglas, however is primarily a sex worker as Thierry knows fine well and so do you and so by continuing to keep this manager argument alive you’re the perpetrators of victimisation.

  20. Luca
    19 January, 2011

    you might have missed the last sentence where i say ” i ll stop posting now cos i think i heard your points , you heard mine ”

    Btw lovely to mock a foreign person for their difficulties in writing in a foreign language. Very classy. And how inclusive.


    • John
      19 January, 2011

      Actually Luna you mocked yourself by telling us it took you 3 hours to write the first reply and as that was longer in wondered if it took you 4 hours this time. You are a touchy soul my dear. It’s a shame the rest of us don’t take the stuff you and your peers say about us quite to heart as you do

  21. Douglas Fox
    19 January, 2011

    Well anyone who did not understand the arguments going on within activism then they should do so now.

    My last comment on this is:

    Luca asks, why do (what he refers to)you middle class sex workers etc not just go and start your own groups?

    My answer is:

    As he and I agree the established groups here in the UK (and I expect the same situation in the USA/Canada etc) have taken 30/40 years to get where they are now.
    The mainstream sex workers would prefer not to have to struggle for 40 years to create organisations etc when already established groups, such as the IUSW could, if it wanted, provide them with a focus which they could become involved in as activists and support financially.

    In my opinion groups like the IUSW are missing out in so much support. Allowing the continued infighting between the leftists and free thinkers to wage on eternally which frightens prospective supporters is not good and nor, in my opinion is withdrawing into an exclusive advocacy group.

    I do agree with Luca however that people on my side of the fence have to learn to work collectively if we are to encourage groups like the IUSW to open up and be something truly exciting. Thats a challenge that we on our side will have to work on over the coming months.

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This entry was posted on 11 January, 2011 by in Uncategorized.

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