As the past week unfolded, one could not help but notice that several sex work bloggers had taken down their blogs, removed posts, or indicated they would not be writing for a bit. The sudden attention, while a boon to advocates and for blog stats, was a bane to many who just wished to go about their business quietly.
Those that have chosen to lay low, really cannot be blamed for their sudden concern and caution. Reading the News Bits from SWOP East for the past few weeks certainly gives the impression we are amidst one of those periodic spasms of law enforcement activity that climax with a series of high profile arrests. One can only hope we have reached the point where our societal protectors have become exhausted and spent, and now turn, slumber and snore their way through their dreams of judicial heroism, while the rest of us get back to reality.
Yet, even if the prosecutors and police still have in them a youthful excitement and stamina over their pursuit of sex workers, their attention should not be the primary worry of any sex worker or sex work blogger. Reality is, while the legal environment in the United States remains stupidly and perversely interested in what consenting adults do behind closed doors, unless a sex worker does things to draw attention to his or herself, our vaunted Police Forces have more important things to worry about. Keep in mind that the investigation into Eliot Spitzer’s liaison with Kristen was not initially about prostitution, but over misuse of funds. Nothing pisses the Government off more than some one messing with money it thinks it should have.
As far as the more annoying attentions of the News Media, much like a child with acute ADHD, they fixate on what the story is of the moment, as only what is new and exciting they can sell as “news”. What happened last week is old, and no longer what matters to them. They are already off looking for the next shiny trinket that grabs their eye.
Yet, this blog is on the record for encouraging the adoption of, and being somewhat frustrated by, rather simple and easy steps seemingly few Sex Workers on-line have taken to ensure their own safety and security. All Sex Workers, be they dancers, performers, or companions, even those where sex work is legal, are likely to have to deal with a stalker or fixated individual at some point. An obsessed on-line troll can spawn into a creature whose constant harassment may force you to change your life. This does not have to be the case.
Emilie Dice, author of the Compartments blog, has two self-contained pages that every Sex Worker should read. The first, on Anonymous Blogging, outlines the basic tactics Sex Work bloggers should take and recommends some tools to use in order to ensure their on-line privacy. The second, “Hooker 101: Screening Johns” is valuable not just for safety reasons, but as Emilie makes clear, it is not cost-effective (i.e., it wastes money) to spend time on those who are not serious about your time.
There are several other sites, articles, and books that address these topics, to greater and lesser degrees of detail. However, these two pages provide in clear, direct words, the reasons why these steps are necessary, and how to accomplish them. They are worth through and repeated reads.
Emilie has several more articles on her site that also discuss other issues around sex work, a few of which some Sex Workers may find offensive or object to. Emilie remains somewhat controversial with many bloggers. Her honest, and sometimes angry writing, coupled with unapologetic and assertive positions that clearly are at odds with and challenge the behavior and beliefs of many clients, providers, and advocates, has not won her many friends. Yet she has remained steadfast in sharing what saw and experienced, and is upfront that she speaks for no one except herself. Her story is one that poignant and powerful. Regardless over how you feel about her blog’s point of view, the information she has provided is of very high quality and value.