And I take money from them to do it, whether in person or on the internet.
But I am a sex worker, because I titillate males and females. I may even cause an orgasm or two. Or deny them, whichever I chose to do. Freely and consentually.
And those that come to me for my 'services' do so consentually, knowing what I do, and that it is done with safety in mind and I only go as far as they want me to. A mutual agreement. Sex and money combined, without me taking my clothes off.
Yet, there are those that do take their clothes off. They are cam girls, strippers, escorts, prostitutes, and yes, even some Domme's have sex with boys or girls. The majority of them do so with consent as well, with or without a whip in hand.
All of us advertise in one way, shape or form. Whether through magazines, websites, facebook, twitter and so on, we find a way to get our names out there. To promote our business. What we all enjoy doing.
Recently the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the federal prostitution laws, which meant that it is no longer a crime in Canada to sell sex for money. That was in part due to pressure from a number of the sex workers that fought against the vagueness in the Criminal Code. The federal government has 12 months to pull up their pants and clean up their act regarding prostitution, but I know they will be challenged with logic instead of vague 'can't do it because I say so' crap. It's not going to be easy because it has to deal with morals. Morals I might add that are based on more religious views on women in general. In short, we are second class and need to be 'protected from evil'. *rolls eyes*
After that brief win, sex workers rejoiced, only to now be harrassed on another level by local police departments, in a 'growing concern' of human trafficking. From a Police Media Release, dated Jan 28:
"police services across Canada participated in a two-day operation focusing on the growing concern that women and youth are being forced to participate in the sex trade.
Operation Northern Spotlight involved over 30 police services on January 22 and 23, 2014 and was centered around hotels and motels on major thoroughfares in 30 cities and towns across the country. Over 330 women, some as young as 15 years of age, were interviewed. Police found some were being forced to perform sexual acts, multiple times a day, for paying male customers.
Although the Criminal Code section refers to this activity as “Human Trafficking,” the public may better understand this issue as “sex slavery.” Although many of the women appear to be making their own decisions to participate for financial gain, investigators found several women and youths were being forced to perform sex acts through threats of violence, physical intimidation, drug dependency and other forms of coercion. Part, or all, of the proceeds from the sexual encounters were kept by their adult male controller or pimp.
Police Services will continue to monitor any incidents of “forced participation” in hopes of assisting any woman involved in the sex trade business against her will."
I know some prostitutes. I have a growing number adding me to their Twitter accounts based on probably me venting about the harrassment of women. By police and governments, as well as individuals who look down on us because we charge money for something that they probably want for free, and feel entitled to berate us because of the financial barrier.
Sex workers have always been looked down upon. But why exactly is what I keep asking. I have yet to be provided with a logical answer, except for jealousy, and those too broke to afford a woman's services for pleasure anyways. So we are called whores and sluts because we enjoy what we do. There is no sympathy when a prostitute gets killed or harmed..slut-shaming has taken its toll on women. And I'm tired of hearing it.
I get that some pimps can be bad, but they also serve as protection for their girls if they are smart - afterall it is their bread and butter they would be beating up. I get that some johns can kick the crap out of a woman and rape her. Women are recruited into the sex industry against their will and drugged to keep them from escaping. There are those risks involved in the trade. This is what government agencies need to focus on. Not individuals who WANT and choose to fuck or slap an ass for money!
There are just as many risks involved in sleeping alone in a basement apartment and forgetting to lock a window...and getting raped. Or being robbed as I walk alone at night after a late night at work because I have bills to pay and the company I work for will pay me for the extra hours I put in. There is always a risk in anything we do, because the opportunity will be there for an asshat to take advantage of. So saying that sex work is dangerous is a moot point. Walking across the street in Halifax on any given day will get you hit by a car. Just thought I'd throw that out there.
On the other side of the border, 'news reports' (I use the term very loosely) have suggested that upwards of 100,000 prostitutes will be flocking to the Super Bowl. Um..if 100,000 prostitutes are flocking to the Super Bowl, wouldn't they actually be those that attend it? Since hotels are expensive (and limited), tickets surely aren't cheap, neither are flights, and well...after all that cost, who has the money to pay for sex? Let alone have the girls try to afford the costs in the hopes of getting some work. Yet the hype is there, year after year, with no clear statistics to confirm it. Media hype to further draw negative attention to the industry.
The US Congress is now going after Twitter to shut down thousands of sites because call girls, prostitutes, Pro-Dommes, etc., tweet their services. Yes, according to Twitter's TOS, we are breaking the rules by doing something illegal. However, in Canada, it's NOT illegal to advertise my services or an escort agency's services. Yet, because the US government are prudish, I and thousands of others trying to promote our business are at risk of being shut down, worldwide.
Frankly, I'd rather Twitter take it upon themselves to slap my hand than a government that I'm not living under do it. If Twitter doesn't enforce their own rules, then really..leave us alone. Technically, since I am in Canada..what I do is NOT illegal nor is it unlawful. Sooo....the US Congress is still going to shut me down? This will have serious implications and set a precedence of much worse to come.
International law is a pain. Actually, laws in general can be a pain. Especially when they conflict from country to country. And that's where the headaches begin. Ok..there's more headaches whenever government tries to get involved in people's personal freedoms and lives, but we won't go there today. But still, where will they draw the line in their fight against a lost cause?
Prostitution has been around for thousands of years. It will not go away, no matter how hard some tight-assed fundamentalists try to get rid of it. People are sexual. And the days of waiting until marriage to have sex are over. We are having sex. How many politicians use our services yet bitch about how wrong it is? Get over it and accept the changes. And there is nothing wrong with us charging money for what we do. The increase in exposing slut-shaming is a good sign that attitudes are changing, because it challenges those to actually think for themselves instead of sticking with ridiculous so called morals.
Women are protecting themselves thanks to technology. We talk to clients online and get a feel for them before meeting. We have security, backup calls, etc to protect ourselves from that one freak that would attack us. We negotiate firm prices in writing so there isn't a mix up in communications, and do what we can to do our work safely and enjoyably. Advertising online certainly has helped increase work for all of us. Of course, some will not report this additional income on their taxes, but if it was regulated...you can bet that they would be.
Yes, there is the dark side, but trying to shut sex work down completely is not the answer. Infighting online between different aspects of sex work certainly weakens our cause. I've been guilty of that for sure, but clarifying what we all do CAN cut that out. We, as sex workers, need to ban together to come up with ways to keep us all safe to do what we do, and work with government agencies to help cut down on the human trafficking. Regulate, not strangulate.
They say there is strength in numbers, and perhaps if all of us, prostitutes, escorts, cam girls, Dommes and whoever else work together to prevent governments from shutting us all down, prostitution and sex workers in general won't be looked down upon as much as it has. Personally, I have talked to a number of people in my community about what I do, and they have changed their viewpoint about sex workers substantially. Bitching at each other only drags us all down, so we should work towards building each other up...so that those outside the sex industry treat us better. Otherwise, we are all whores..and not in the good whorish way either. Develop and strengthen the sisterhood, otherwise we will all go down together, one by one. And that is just so wrong as women are stronger than most give us credit for. Can you see a man try to give birth? I rest my case ladies. Besides, if we all disappeared, what would the male populace do with themselves?
So yeah, I'm a sex worker. And proud of what I do, as well as proud of other sex workers; no matter how they choose to do their work. It took me a while to come around, but, it only takes one to create change. I just happen to be a small part of the wave that is happening to slowly gain momentum. People like Terri-Jean Bedford and Valerie Scott are leading that wave. Who else is going to join that?