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Lecture 8

HIST 3010 Lecture 8: Notes 04.20.17

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Vanderbilt University
HIST 3010

WEEK 14 OPEN QUESTIONS TH 4/20 "US PROSTITUTES COLLECTIVE" (279-289) IN SEX WORK.** WENDY MCELROY, A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO PORNOGRAPHY, "A COYOTE MEETING."** "US PROSTITUTES COLLECTIVE" (279-289) IN SEX WORK.** • U.S. PROS is national network of women who work in sex industry and other women who support them and want the abolition of laws against prostitute women • Part of International Prostitutes Collective (IPC) and sister organization of English Collective of Prostitutes (EPC) • Not legalization or decriminalization • See legalization or decriminalization as another form of oppression and control that the government takes over the working women • Working women in Nevada and Eros Centers of West Germany have no control over working conditions, hours, tips, how many clients they see, and have to register with the police even though sex work is legalized, it’s just another form of oppression HOW WE BEGAN • Expansion of New York Prostitutes Collective (NYP) that began as group of black sex workers and other black women who supported their goals • Organized with City University campus for increased student grants, rights to welfare and student grants, and campus childcare • Helped sex workers with police watch teams, volunteer lawyers, students, and members of PONY and ourselves to help sex workers when Democratic Convention in New York City and Mayor Koch cracked down on sex workers U.N. MID-DECADE CONFERENCE ON WOMEN • Found that COYOTE supported U.N. resolution on trafficking that would have made it difficult for woman with record of prostitution to cross an international border • U.S PROS wanted clause that would allow sex workers and children not to be treated as criminals • COYOTE attacked U.S PROS and called them “dressed like whore but weren’t really prostitute women” and U.S. PROS couldn’t expect black/immigrant women to come out in this environment and speak on their behalf • Still got their clause included in official U.N. resolution by consensus vote • No longer have political relationship with COYOTE WHO ARE PROSTITUTE WOMEN? • Is anyone who wants to be economically independent • Mostly single mothers with children to support, women on welfare, women working to support elderly relatives, women who don’t want to be stuck with low- income jobs, women and juveniles refusing to be raped or abused at home, secretaries or office workers wanting to supplement their income, etc. • Could be any woman • The right of a sex worker is the right of all women • Accused of propagating rape and violence against women • Openly says they worked to overturn anti-porn ordinance because it would have forced working conditions and safety of sex workers to go underground and become more dangerous RACISM AND POLICE ILLEGALITY • Fight for immediate civil rights of sex workers and against tremendous levels of violence that sex workers face because what they do is illegal • Law enforcement is racist, most prostitutes are white but mostly black ones are in jail • Often beaten and forced to have sex with police officers before being illegally arrested off the street • Money taken to abuse and arrest these women would be better spent on assisting them with childcare, housing, health care, academic scholarships, etc. STREET SWEEPS • Street sweeps never get rid of prostitution, just force it underground • Face a lot of violence from police officers NEW ENTRAPMENT LAW • Allows police officer to initiate a proposition and if woman agrees, she can be arrested • Will affect black women the most because law enforcement is selective and racist LEGAL ACTION FOR WOMEN (LAW) • U.S. PROS organized LAW in San Francisco to help women challenge police and court practices • Help women plead not guilty and win their cases • Helped any woman who can’t afford legal services FIGHTING VIGILANTES • Police protect vigilantes who harass prostitutes • U.S. PROS pickets against City Hall support of vigilantes • 95% of residents interviewed were on U.S. PROS side THE SOUTH SIDE SLAYER AND OTHER SERIAL MURDERS • Serial killer in South Central Los Angeles killing mostly black sex workers • Police did not notify public of serial killer until 10 women were dead • Vigils outside of police station, met with police, had press demand action for murders • Murderers who kill sex workers will eventually move on to kill any woman • Police, media, elected officials, and civic leaders slow to respond to murders, as if sex worker life was not important to cause much of a stir • Killer of black sex workers gets less attention than killer of white sex worker THE GREEN RIVER MURDERS • In Seattle between 45 and 105 women killed over 4 years • Most work in sex industry and most were black • IPC organized vigils and picketed the murders • Local and national outcry is lacking as is response from organized feminist groups TAKE BACK THE NIGHT • Revived Take Back the Night Coalition • Focused to help women of color • Protest violence and deaths of black sex workers as well as against violence against immigrant and refugee women INTERNATIONAL ACTION PROTESTING THE SOUTH SIDE SLAYINGS • Protest with vigils and die-ins against poor government handling of South Side Slayings • Demanded investigation of the way the murders were being investigated • In LA, members of Take Back the Night Coalition and Black Coalition FBSM and others stood with mock coffins and flowers to symbolize bodies of women • See demands of non-prostitute women as imposing the way they want U.S PROS to organize without taking into consideration the risks involved for them and their families • Can’t ignore the problem that their illegality causes, need to find common ground with other women so that they can organize together WENDY MCELROY, A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO PORNOGRAPHY, "A COYOTE MEETING."** • Say that they are the only national sex worker’s rights organization • Two extremes where p
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