A blog for those walking away from a life of sex work and for
the families of those not fortunate enough to walk away.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Governor Christie, Cindy McCain discuss sex trafficking

I just came from a one-hour talk given by Governor Christie of New Jersey held by the McCain Institute in advance of the Super Bowl. A thinly veiled attempt to cover sex trafficking, it soon became clear it was a bid to conjoin McCain and Christie in their attempts to reorient the Republican Party. It wasn't long before the Obama-bashing started.

I attend these events for a few reasons. First, to network with others who work helping women in the sex industry. Next, I attend to keep my eye on legislation, because this is where I find our sneaky politicians, in the "helping guise" of passing legislation to "protect" victims, often make prostitution a felony. How can it possibly help to further criminalize sex workers? Who in their right mind would put the scarlet F for felony on any sex worker?

However, today Christie made some interesting points. He talked about the sexploitation found on backpage.com, which is home to many women who, many believe, are trafficked. He said that while they have first amendment rights (and New Jersey lost that battle), we have first amendment rights to publicly shame them for their actions. So there's that.

While I stay out of the political fray, we must ensure that we don't let legislators pass more draconian prostitution laws in the guise of "helping." Here is what I walked away with after talking to some of those at today's event who work to prevent sex trafficking.
  1. Until a few years ago when big wigs got involved and politicized trafficking, no one gave a hoot about women in the sex industry. Some seem to use the issue as a great way to get a sound bite. 
  2. The bulk of most trafficking efforts are aimed at victims under the age of 18. One minister I spoke with basically ignored me when I said that women 18 and over are also victims, many now as one law enforcement official opined, "Stockholm survivors." The bulk of resources in Arizona now go to those under 18, it appears. What makes it magically different when you turn 18?
  3. Denominations who work in helping women escape seem not to play well with other denominations. Why does that not surprise me?
  4. Super Bowl? Christie spoke of the problems associated surrounding major sports events and ties to trafficking. Here's a news flash: Women and girls are trafficked year round. The Super Bowl makes no difference in their lives; it's just another location for them to be exploited.
All in all, it was an hour or so well spent.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Great New Video Out About Sex Work.

This is a very well-produced video about the sex industry that I think you will find interesting. More than one of these women tells my story. Take time to watch it; it's amazing. Think if we could spread this powerful message in this engaging way. Kudos to CASH.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Complex Post Traumatic Disorder and Healing for Sex Workers

Finally, the study of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, defined as trauma that is repeated over a period of time, is including sex workers. This recent post by the the US Department of Veterans Affairs includes "prostitution brothels" in its list of traumatic situations.

I'm a child of the Vietnam era and I've long watched my Vietnam Veteran brothers in recovery struggle with their recovery from PTSD. I've also maintained, and hoped I haven't offended them, that working in the sex industry in any country can be as traumatic as battle. The enemy is different but the results are profoundly similar: A lifetime of fear, distrust and misplaced anger.

I've also been thinking in the past few years as so many veterans return from the Gulf Wars, especially female veterans, that recovering sex workers and veterans have much in common in their healing from PTSD. These are simply my thoughts this beautiful morning.

We are cancelling our monthly meetings to go to an on-line format since most of our calls come from outside the Phoenix area. Stay tuned for more updates.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Meeting of ex-sex workers Thursday night

If you have exited or are trying to exit the sex industry, join us Thursday, February 7 at 7:30 p.m. at 6060 N. 7th Avenue in the Activities Center at Bethany Bible Church. We'll be meeting with families and those seeking exit from the sex industry. Our support group is not affiliated with the church.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Together AZ Recovery Magazine Publishes My Article, Leaving the Life

Together AZ published my article in its January edition. The article, called "Leaving the Life," details the process universal to many sex workers who try to exit the industry. Exit is not always a linear event and in fact, looks much like the models shown above.

I would be happy to speak to your organization about this important topic. Offering support in a calm, non-judgmental and unemotional manner can help sex workers in their attempts to exit the industry.

Feel free to contact me at becauseshematters at gmail.com.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Because She Matters Gets a Mention on The Daily Beast

If you're not familiar with Melissa Petro, hop on over to this link to view her take on her outing and subsequent forced leave of her teaching job because of her past as a sex worker.

Melissa eloquently describes the difficulty of leaving the sex industry. It is a shame when our schools struggle to find teachers who are appropriate role models that Melissa was forced to resign. She is a wonderful writer and activist and I believe God will ultimately guide her to maximum usefulness.

She mentions Because She Matters in her recent post.