Video: Combatting the Craigslist hysteria

Attorneys general in 17 states are hounding Craigslist, scapegoating the people who earn their living by advertising there and using the trafficking argument as an excuse for their own shameless pandering. We hate when that happens!

Sienna rocks!

Sienna Baskin, attorney with the Sex Workers Project, went on The Alyona Show Thursday to clarify things.  In this video, Baskin talks about a new law that actually helps trafficking victims.  She spoke about how laws against prostitution hurt sex workers,  and explained some of  the problems associated with legalization. (Why we prefer to advocate decriminalization!)

Also great to see Alyona Minkovski’s thoughtful response to the political fog surrounding Craigslist! Watch the video here.


Radio: Sex Work Matters 2:30pm Saturday

Melissa Ditmore will be on Catskill Review of Books Saturday, August 7, talking about her newest co-edited anthology Sex Work Matters.  (Of course it does!)

The interview will be streaming live and podcast on Radio Catskill WJFF 90.5FM from 2:30 -3:00pm New York Time.  That’s 7:30 pm GMT.

Click here if you want to listen in another time zone.

Listen here or download after the broadcast here.

~ Catskill Review of Books with Ian Williams ~
2:30 every Saturday on WJFF 90.5 Fm

Free event: Thursday evening Aug 5, 7-10pm

Free event. Come to Audacia Ray’s monthly storytelling series, starring PONY member Veronica Vera!

When: Thurs Aug 5, reading from 8 -10 pm, doors at 7 pm
Where: Happy Ending, 302 Broome Street (between Forsyth and Eldridge) in Manhattan


This month’s theme is Well Seasoned, also featuring: Lauren Wissot, Chelsea G Summers, Michael Pollack, and E.V. Fleurima, aka Ckiara Rose.

Veronica Vera‘s multi-faceted career began with several years on Wall Street. Later she began to earn an honest living through $ex.  She has been one of  PONY’s most dedicated  coordinators and a role model for thousands of New Yorkers.

Veronica is also the founder of Miss Vera’s Finishing School for Boys Who Want to Be Girls and author of two brilliant books about how to cross-dress with style and integrity.

Visit Veronica here.  Follow her on Twitter. Learn about the Red Umbrella Diaries here.

Admission is free, but your drinks tab will help PROS Network (Providers and Resources Offering Services to sex workers.)

Event is 21 and over, due to NY state drinking laws. Our government thinks you are old enough to lose a body part for your country at 18, but won’t let you order a glass of chardonnay until you are 21. Or sell non-violent access to your body at any age – hello?! But those are the rules.

“Cachez ces putes”

Prostitutes demonstrating in Lyon

Sex workers in Lyon, France are going up against City Hall.

The City of Lyon has been pushing prostitutes into less-traveled areas of the town, a dangerous policy we experience (and oppose) in cities all over the world.   According to Cabiria, it’s a game called “hide the whores” or (if you want to practice your French) “cachez ces putes.”  Some background:

“on May 17, 2010, the prostitutes of Gerland united collectively to oppose the methods that push them further into precarious situations.  The collective of prostitutes published an open letter in the press alerting all the elected officials of the central City Hall about the consequences of this policy.  The women invited the elected officials to work together to find real solutions, concrete and livable, respectful of their rights, to correct the problems that sharing space and their presence seems to raise.” (Read the rest here.)

The collective asked us all to circulate and sign this petition – available for download here in English. French version of the petition is here and Spanish here.

Lyon is important to us.   In 1975, 150 prostitutes occupied a local church and caught the attention of the international media.  The occupation of St-Nizier inspired church occupations in Paris, Marseilles and elsewhere.  Prostitutes in other countries heard about the strike and formed new organisations.

Earlier this year,  Australian sex workers commemorated the 35th anniversary of the Lyon strike, drawing attention to the ugly violence which ended the occupation: the women were assaulted with police clubs.

The Lyon protest was a turning point.  It put prostitutes on the political map and changed the way we thought about ourselves.   (PONY came into existence almost a year later.)   Read what Nicolette Burows from Scarlet Alliance, Australia says about the streetwalkers who gave birth to a global movement.

Prostitutes occupy a French church in 1975

In 2010,  a lot of the issues bothering sex workers in 1975 remain.  Our ability to organize and communicate has improved though, and local groups are less isolated.  We’re also more diverse.   In 1975, the French collective saw this as a women’s rights issue.  We evolved into a movement for human rights, with transgender and male sex workers playing a central role.

Cabiria’s petition came to us via the International Union of Sex Workers.  We urge you to print the PDF, collect signatures, scan your signed petition, and send it as a PDF to cabiria[at]

Any questions about how to do this? Contact