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    2008: Oct-Dec

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27th December   

Update: Losing Tolerance...

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Amsterdam's nutter mayor talks about closing down the red lights
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in the Netherlands...Netherlands less friendly to sex workers

Amsterdam red light area Half of Amsterdam's prostitute windows must be closed, the mayor has told The Times.

The Continent's most open red-light district, which sprawls over Amsterdam's historic canal district, will be reduced to two main streets under a dramatic downsizing plan drawn up by Job Cohen, the city's mayor.

Cohen, who is also closing a fifth of the city's cannabis cafés and a number of sex clubs. He claims that he wants Amsterdam to become better known for its art, chamber music and museums rather than as a hotspot for sex and drugs.

There are currently more than 400 of the distinctive neon-lit prostitute windows from where scantily clad women beckon passers-by and about 70 coffee shops selling ready-rolled cannabis joints.

The tolerance, which we in Amsterdam are proud of, is not the same as indifference, said Cohen, the former Rector of Maastricht University, who resigned as the Deputy Justice Minister in Wim Kok's Labour Government to become mayor of the city in 2001.

The prostitutes' union, the Red Thread, has accused Cohen of using a crackdown on criminal activity as an excuse to close the windows and reverse years of tolerance. It has been drawn up at the same time as the Government is taking a tougher line on soft drugs, banning the sale of magic mushrooms and forcing the closure of all coffee shops near schools, as the Netherlands rethinks its anything-goes attitudes.

The union argues that the prostitute windows are much safer because women can deal with clients directly without having to rely on pimps.

 

25th December   

Limp Excuse...

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Russian shoots sex shop saleswoman over failure of impotence tablets
Link Here

Russia flag A man shot and wounded a saleswoman in a Russian sex shop after the impotence tablets he bought failed to have the desired effect.

The man walked into the Intim shop in a Moscow suburb and demanded a refund for the tablets he had bought there a day earlier.

He shot the shop assistant with a pistol when she refused to give him back his money.

 

22nd December   

Update: Unsafe Decision...

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Judge ends sex worker's constitutional challenge
Link Here

Canada flag A former sex worker says she is very disappointed that a judge has rejected her bid to pursue a constitutional challenge against Canada's prostitution laws.

Sheryl Kiselbach told the Georgia Straight that she worked in the sex trade for 30 years. Kiselbach, a violence-prevention coordinator with the Prostitution, Alternatives, Counselling & Education Society, claimed that the laws criminalizing sex workers increase their exposure to violence.

On December 15, British Caledonia Supreme Court justice William Ehrcke ruled that Kiselbach and a group of current and former sex workers—the Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society—do not qualify for public interest standing to challenge Criminal Code prohibitions on soliciting sex in public, keeping a common bawdy house, and transporting someone to a common bawdy house.

The impugned laws do not presently cause Ms. Kiselbach to work in unsafe conditions because she is not currently engaged in sex work, Ehrcke wrote in his decision.

The plaintiffs applied for a judicial declaration that the laws violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees of freedom of expression, freedom of association, security of the person, and equality. Ehrcke's ruling nullifies a six-week trial, which was scheduled to start on February 2.

The decision cited a three-part legal test to gain public-interest standing for a constitutional challenge: the litigant must demonstrate a genuine interest in the validity of the legislation ; the matter must be a serious constitutional issue ; and there must be no other reasonable and effective way to bring the matter before the court.

Ehrcke upheld the Crown's contention that there are other ways to address the constitutionality of prostitution laws, noting that an active sex worker has launched a charter challenge in Ontario.

Kiselbach said that the plaintiffs are ready to continue their fight: Me and my coworkers say, ‘We'll just open up a bawdy house, we'll get busted, and we'll challenge them.

 

16th December   

Update: Maggie's Back...

Beijing red light nightlife re-opens
Link Here  full story: Nightlife in China...Sexy nightlife in China (except for the Olympics)

Maggies Bar One of the most famous symbols of prostitution in Beijing has reopened in another signal that the city's bustling vice industry has roared back to life following an Olympic crackdown.

Maggie's and another bar in Beijing's diplomatic quarter that used to fill nightly with Chinese and foreign prostitutes reopened this week after having been closed since before the August Games.

Maggie's doors opened again on Monday, staff there said, and the bar was crowded this week with its usual assortment of Mongolian working girls flirting with foreign men.

The two venues were among the countless casualties of a Beijing police crackdown aimed at preventing the city's rollicking sex industry from tarnishing the August Olympics.

The campaign saw hostess bars and dodgy massage centres around the city closed for months, and many of the city's street-walkers cleared away. However, vice establishments have been reopening recently and street-walkers have been sighted again as the security grip ebbs.

Prostitutes had said during the clean-up operation that many sex workers had been driven out of Beijing by police and some of the foreign ones deported.

Basically stamped out during the puritanical Mao Zedong era, prostitution flourishes in today's more open China, with estimates of the country's sex workers ranging as high as 10 million or more.

Sex workers ply their trade with virtual impunity in bars, massage spas, karaoke parlours and the barber shops that are found in many Beijing back alleys and which have nothing to do with haircuts.

 

13th December   

Update: Essence of Amsterdam Under Threat...

Working girls and rights groups to oppose the closing of Amsterdam brothels
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in the Netherlands...Netherlands less friendly to sex workers

Amsterdam red light area Many prostitutes are seeing red over the planned closure of many of the brothels.

Many of the girls are from Eastern Europe while others are native Dutch.

We will fight this attack on our livelihood, we will use legal means, we have a right to make a living and we don't want to be crowded into a reduced number of brothels or forced out remarked one working girl in the area that identified herself as Annia.

Already a number of civil rights and liberal groups are planning to support the working girls in their fight to oppose the closures. This has to do with Bible-bashers in government a reference to the Christian Democrat party that are part of Holland's ruling coalition. This is an assault on modern values and has nothing to do with cleaning up the city one activist commented.

We will oppose this and offer all assistance to the women affected by this regressive plan. We know the girls of De Wallen and we are aware of their inner strength. Many people oppose this, some are also worried about Amsterdam's tourist industry going up in smoke.

Some tourists are concerned as well I've been coming here for years and if this place get's closed down it will be a pity, look at drab, boring Britain: do you want to become like that? asks Ian, a tourist from Leeds in the UK.

A 'offee drinker with the glazed eyes said: This is an attack on the very essence of Amsterdam, and the essence of being Dutch.

 

13th December   

Free is Not Cheap Enough...

The Czech Republic sees a decline in sex tourism
Link Here

Big Sister logo Sex is free at Big Sister, which calls itself the world's biggest Internet brothel, but that is not cheap enough for some men. Customers get the cut rate in return for signing a form that allows the brothel to film their trysts.

Even with this financial incentive, Big Sister's marketing manager, Carl Borowitz, lamented that the global financial crisis had diminished the number of sex tourists in Prague.

Sex is a steady demand, because everyone needs it, and it used to be taboo, which made a service like ours all the more attractive, said Borowitz. But the problem today is that there is too much competition, too many free pornography sites, and people are thinking twice before making impulse purchases, including paying for sex.

Big Sister is not the only brothel suffering the effects of a battered global economy, brothel owners in Europe and the United States say belt-tightening caused by the global financial crisis is undermining a once-lucrative industry.

Egbert Krumeich, manager of Artemis, the largest brothel in Berlin, said the recession had helped dent revenue by 20% in November, usually peak season for the sex trade. In Reno, Nevada, the multi-million-dollar Mustang Ranch recently laid off 30% of its staff.

Big Sister is not struggling as much as some; its revenue is largely derived from the $48 monthly fee each of the company's 10,000 clients pay for access to its website. But Borowitz said Big Sister hoped to offset a 15 per cent drop in revenue over the past quarter by expanding into the United States. Big Sister also produces cable TV shows that air in Italy and Britain, as well as DVDs.

In the Czech Republic, where prostitution operates in a grey zone, the sex industry is big business, generating nearly $650 million in annual revenues, 60% of which is derived from foreign visitors, according to Mag Consulting, a tourism research company in Prague.

Dozens of cheap flights to Prague have also ensured a steady flow of bachelor parties. In 2005, an average of 30 flights arrived in Prague every day from Britain alone, a figure analysts said has dropped by a third.

The strength of the Czech crown against the euro, lower spending power and competition from even lower-cost sex capitals like Riga, Latvia, and Krakow, Poland, were threatening one of the country's thriving sectors, said Jaromir Beranek, director of Mag.

Many Czechs are more than happy to see Prague shrug off its reputation as one of the world's top-20 sex destinations, but some in the hotel industry are so alarmed by the drop in tourists that they are lobbying the government to legalize the trade.

Jiri Gajdosik, manager of Le Palais, one of Prague's top hotels, argues that regulating prostitution would help attract business by making prostitution safer: We must ensure that the city loses its bad reputation of a city where foreigners are afraid that they will be robbed.

The Czech government is considering passing legislation by the end of this year that would require the Czech Republic's estimated 10,000 prostitutes to register with local authorities. Not everyone is enthusiastic, including the prostitutes themselves, who warn that being issued prostitution identification cards would further stigmatize them.

 

12th December   

Show's Over...

Mayor to close show bars in Philippines Mandaue City
Link Here

Philippines flag The Mandaue City government in Cebu will close down all clubs and bars that stage lewd shows.

We will give them (establishments) the time (to reformat). After that, I will no longer sign their permits, Mayor Jonas Cortes said.

He said he received reports that various bars and night spots in Mandaue continue to hold lewd shows.

 

11th December   

Update: Dutch Go Mean Minded...

Another country to propose jail for buying sex
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in the Netherlands...Netherlands less friendly to sex workers

Amsterdam red light area Visiting illegal prostitutes will be punishable by up to six months in jail if cabinet plans to reform the law on prostitution go through.

In addition, all companies involved in the sex industry – from escort bureaus and sex theatres to massage salons – will have to get an official licence to operate. At the moment only brothels require licences.

Local councils will also be able to say where and if sex companies can be situated.

The proposals, drawn up by home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst and injustice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin, have been circulated to police, justice ministry officials, the tax office and other interested parties for their comments.

The proposal does not include a rise in the minimum age for prostitutes from 18 to 21, but this still may be an option, the ministers said.

 

10th December   

Supreme Court Theatre...

Dutch strip joints on a par with theatres for tax purposes
Link Here

Netherlands The Dutch Supreme Court has decided sex shows should be thought of as theatre – at least when it comes to taxes.

The Netherlands' highest court has ruled that a peep show owner is eligible to pay sales tax at a lower rate because his services are a form of theatre. The government argued that they were simply strip shows – and thus taxed at a higher rate.

The sex show owner, whose identity has not been released, is now expected to be repaid thousands of euros in taxes.

 

9th December   

Rights Not Rescue...

Johannesburg sex workers
Link Here

South Africa flag Prostitutes in Johannesburg are fighting to be recognised as professionals who have the same rights as other workers.

A Johannesburg branch of Sisonke, an organisation that advocates for the legalisation of prostitution, was launched in Hillbrow.

Wearing white vests with Sex workers demand rights not rescue written on them the women lamented the constant harassment by the police and discrimination from the community.

The police demand sex and assault us if we refuse. Hospital staff refuse to treat us, said the head of the Johannesburg branch, Busi Dhlomo. He said legalising prostitution would ensure that prostitutes were protected from exploitation and change the public's negative perception of the sex trade. It would also improve the living and working conditions of prostitutes and allow them to be respected like any other person.

 

9th December   

Fun in Singapore...

P4P at Orchard Towers
Link Here

Singapore flag Orchard Towers is a noted freelance sex worker mall venue in Singapore.

The going rate depends on negotiation skills but is in the range SG$100-SG$200 (£45-£90)

Drinks at the Ipanema Club, first bar on your right as you come up the escalator - and THE place to be at Orchard Toward - are expensive. A Jack Daniels and coke runs you SG$15 (£7).

But none of the girls work for the bar, everyone's freelancing, so nobody ever bugs you for drinks. Good live music too.

The girls come in all shapes, colours, types, etc. A goodly number of Vietnamese and some Thai. Lots Chinese girls and of course Filipinas.

There are 4 official red light areas in Singapore but somehow Orchard Towers is not one of them.

By day Orchard Towers is a traditional shopping mall. The shops close at 7ish and make way for the bars to open from 8pm. The bars are slow starting and generally offer happy hours to get things going. A glass of beer is then about SG$5 (£2.50). Bars will hit their peak at about 11pm.

 

8th December   

GoGo Goers Gone...

Bangkok's bars suffering from a lack of customers
Link Here

Thai bar The go-go bars are empty and sex is on sale at half price as Bangkok's infamous red light districts suffer from a blockade of the capital's airports.

It's high season, but now it's like low season, said Nan, a scantily-clad hostess at one deserted nightspot in the Thai capital's famous Patpong area.

Although anti-government protesters have ended an eight-day siege of Bangkok's airports, the effect of Thailand's ongoing political chaos on the tourism industry is devastating.

Sex tourism is no exception. Patpong depends on foreigners to keep afloat, but as the 350,000 air travellers stranded by the airport closures rush to leave Thailand, replacements are not coming in.

Now Thailand has a problem -- no customers, said Lam, a man who works for Nan's bar, luring tourists in off the streets by posing as a friendly Thai offering unsolicited advice on good places to go.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is not optimistic. The group expects incoming travellers in 2009 to be half the 14.8 million the kingdom saw last year, with word of the protests causing tourists considering a trip to Thailand to book elsewhere.

The airport closures also hurt Bangkok's other entertainment options, such as the famous ladyboy cabaret shows.

The shutdown of the airports seriously affected our business, said Nipon Boonmasuwaran, sales and marketing manager of the Calypso show in Bangkok, where flamboyantly-dressed transvestites lip-sync and dance to famous tunes. Our guests have dropped 90% -- we have less than 50 guests in our 350-seat theatre, Nipon said. [strange, they would have had 500 guests before then]

 

7th December   

Update: Netherlands Half Free...

Amsterdam plan to close half the red light windows
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in the Netherlands...Netherlands less friendly to sex workers

Amsterdam red light area Amsterdam authorities say they are to halve the number of brothels and marijuana shops in the city's red light district and surrounding area.

The city announced plans to clean up the area a year ago and since then 109 sex windows , from which prostitutes attract customers, have been closed. The new measures aim to reduce the number of windows to 243 from 482 last year, a city spokesman said.

Amsterdam also wants to close half of the 76 cannabis shops in the city centre.

The deputy mayor of Amsterdam Lodewijk Asscher told Reuters: We can still have sex and drugs but in a way that shows the city is in control.

The 800-year-old red light district needs to diversify and showcase the city's history,  Asscher said: This is a nice, old part of town. We can attract different groups of tourists. You should be able to have a beer at the old church square, watch fashion, and visit Chinatown .

 

27th November   

Navel Gazing...

Sex workers speak against Nordic nutters who want remove prostitution from MEP's hotels
Link Here

EU flag A new morality restriction being put up for proposal by the European Parliament would forbid any MEP from staying at a hotel that maintains contacts with prostitutes.

The Sex Workers Interest Organisation (SIO) in Denmark has condemned the move by the EU, saying that it stigmatizes prostitutes.

The SIO has called on all European sex workers to boycott any politician who supports the policy at next year's European Parliament elections.

One sex worker named Sue told Politiken: The hotels are where we work. We can't do it in backyards or in cars. The proposal will force many out into the streets.

Soren Sondergaard of the People's Movement Against the EU defended his position by saying that his proposal is neither for nor against prostitution ...BUT... that he is primarily concerned about protecting the women. If you're just a little bit internationally founded and don't just sit around fiddling with your navel, you'd know that lots of women are kept as slaves and have no free choice in what they do. If the Sex Workers Organisation can't see that, they're a really bad union, Politiken quoted the left-wing Sondergaard as saying.

 

20th November   

John Mark...

Brothel offers free entry in return for advertising tattoo
Link Here

Pascha A brothel reputed to be the largest in Europe has been overwhelmed with interest after offering free entry for life to customers who have its name tattooed on their arm.

The manager of Pascha, which houses more than 120 prostitutes across its 12 stories, did not expect any takers when he put up posters advertising the tongue-in-cheek promotion.

But more than 40 men have already come forward to have the name inked onto their arm in large blue letters, and the brothel's tattoo artist is having to work extra shifts to keep up with demand.

Men who have the tattoo will save the brothel's £4 (€5) entry fee for life and get discounts on other services like lap dances, but will still have to pay for their time with the prostitutes who are self-employed and independent from the brothel.

 

16th November   

Police Dildos...

Philippines police go on a sex toy raiding spree
Link Here

Philippines flag Sex toys amounting to P10,000 were seized during a series of police raids in several stalls in Manila's Quiapo and Sta. Cruz districts.

The raids were in response to Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim's directive to intensify the campaign against illegal sex toys being sold in the city, said Superintendent Romulo Sapitula, of Manila Police: My men will continue to monitor the area and we will conduct relentless operations to prevent the proliferation of the sex toys.

Among the items seized were sex rings, sex dolls and dildos.

Police had been receiving information that sex toys, along with fake Viagra pills, are being sold openly in the areas.

 

15th November   

Hidey Holes...

Malaysian police whinge about prostitution in Perak
Link Here

Malaysia flag Police in the Malaysian state of Perak want the state government to either stop issuing entertainment licences to errant operators or tighten the rules in a move to combat prostitution.

The only way for us to keep these activities under control is by getting the state government to intervene. We need them to help us by revoking entertainment licences given to notorious operators or by tightening the rules and monitoring the outlets closely, Perak police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Zulkifli Abdullah told reporters.

He also urged the state government to make it mandatory for karaoke operators to use glass windows in each of their karaoke rooms at their outlets: It would be easier for us to keep watch on what is going on behind the walls in the rooms. There are operators who even have special cubicles to hide their guest relations officers or prostitutes during our raids.

DCP Zulkifli said that the appeal to the state government comes in the wake of the 18% rise in arrests made on foreigners engaged in vice activities across the state this year: We arrested a total of 987 foreigners, mostly from China, some from Indonesia, Vietnam and other countries, in 305 raids conducted from January to October this year.

 

13th November   

Unsuitably Dutch...

Netherlands council bans sex shop
Link Here

Netherlands Elly Verkaik, owner of the only sex shop on the Dutch island of Texel, has been told to close her shop on December 1 because it does not fit in with the council's planning policy.

The shop has only been open for a month.

A council spokesman told the paper that anyone is allowed to open a shop and only then does the council decide if it is suitable.

Verkaik said council policy is ridiculous and is to appeal against the decision.

 

6th November   

Offsite: Planning for Prostitution...

Antwerp council renovates its red light area
Link Here

Schipperskwartie The area, traditionally known as Het Schipperskwartier, edges on part of the Antwerp docks and has always attracted a certain amount of prostitution. The area was, however, what could be described as typical European mixed use, with lots of people living in street apartments or housing and with all the trappings of community living - cinemas and gyms, schools, grocers, the butcher, the baker and a number of prostitutes.

Research into prostitution revealed that there were about 280 "window prostitutes" spread over 13 streets, living in generally extremely bad conditions.

All council departments were brought together to determine a future strategy. This resulted in four principles being adopted for the redevelopment of the precinct:

  • Prostitution must not cause trouble in the precinct
  • The criminal element must be dealt with
  • The prostitutes' position should not be interfered with
  • The precinct should be renovated.

The police progressively charged all those involved and closed down their activities and, gradually the area emptied out.

The planning department determined that a triangular area in the heart of the precinct, bordered by three streets, could accommodate all the prostitutes spread out over 13 streets. A new policy was drawn up limiting window prostitution to this specific area and drawing up minimum standards for their "homes". The three streets were pedestrianised, thus removing the vehicle problems.

...Read full article

 

4th November   

Updated: Brothel Creepers...

Utrecht to introduce camera surveillance for brothels
Link Here

Netherlands Utrecht plans to clean up prostitution in the city after strong indications that most women are forced into working the streets.

Camera surveillance will be introduced to show whether women are put under pressure and brothels will have to apply for licences. Police, the courts and health care workers will exchange more information in the future.

Utrecht does not want to go as far as Amsterdam and Alkmaar, where many red light area premises have been closed.

Update:

Based on article from enews20.com

One by one, authorities in cities across the country are stepping up their efforts to regulate, scrutinize and generally clean up the country's sex business.

This week the mayors of the cities of Alkmaar and Utrecht followed moves by Amsterdam in 2007 to toughen regulation and reduce the ability of the sex trade to act as cover for and cause of other illegal activities.

The mayor of Utrecht, Aleid Wolfsen, announced that the entire area of Zandpad in the city would be placed under CCTV surveillance.

Prostitution itself is legal in the Netherlands, with companies operating brothels being required to obtain a licence before they can open for business.

Brothels are required to list individual sex workers as employees. It is a bureaucratic procedure, which doesn't provide the authorities with information on whether or not the women were employed voluntarily.

This is why Wolfsen wants to change the law, requiring individual prostitutes to apply for a licence themselves.

Utrecht will also make it easier for prostitutes to report crimes and criminals to the police and get help, Wolfsen said.

The Mayor of Alkmaar Piet Bruinoge announced that the city would not be renewing the license of the JE Nool company, which operates 95 out of the 125 brothels in Alkmaar's Achterdam Street. Authorities in Alkmaar, north of Amsterdam, said that JE Nool did not fulfill the terms of the 2003 law, known as BIBOB.

The city of Alkmaar says it has no intention of closing down the prostitution zone entirely: If brothels observe Dutch law, they will be given a licence .

Alkmaar police have now been authorized to stop passers-by in the prostitution zone, and perform so-called random preventive searches for weapons or hard drugs.

Utrecht authorities have also said they will use the law in their own red-light districts.

 

4th November   

Brazil Nutters...

Nutters don't like government giving good advice to sex workers
Link Here

Brazil The Brazilian government has been asked to tone down a website that offers tips to prostitutes.

The profession is legal in Brazil but nutter groups have objected to the labour ministry's suggestions to sex workers, saying that they overstep the mark.

The site advises prostitutes to demonstrate an ability to perform erotic fantasies, seduce with affectionate nicknames and demonstrate a capacity to communicate in a foreign language.

It also offers advice on condom use with customers and information about sexually transmitted diseases.

A labour ministry spokeswoman said: The information was created with the help of non-governmental organisations and the prostitutes themselves.

Law professor Luiz Flavio Gomes told O Globo: What is on the site gives the impression of an apology for sexual exploitation.

 

2nd November   

Reprehensible Ban on Condoms...

Israeli authorities cause rise in AIDS and STIs
Link Here

Israel flag Owners of Tel Aviv "massage parlors" (a euphemism for brothels) forbid prostitutes working in them to use condoms because in a police raid they would be evidence that the establishment is for paid sex.

A Health Ministry spokeswoman says that an increase in sexually transmitted diseases has been registered recently among prostitutes and their clients.

Revital, 33, who has been working in such parlors for the last four years, tells Haaretz: I live in fear of police raids and don't even have basic protection. Some clients bring their own and then it's all right. Sometimes I hide condoms in my bra or in paper but it always involves fear - either from the owner who might catch me or from not using the condom .

Dozens of these outfits are spread in industrial areas in the central region and south Tel Aviv. Many of them have a legal business license but provide illegal sexual services. The sign at the entrance says massage parlor but the addition of the word spa indicates sexual services.

The prostitutes tell callers that they give a regular massage, but in the end provide release in the [client's] underpants. Everyone understands that this is no ordinary spa, she says. The women are supposed to provide only a massage but there are always 'extras' - the men always suggest sex in addition to the massage, she says.

Both the man and woman are naked, he is allowed to touch and stroke her and the massage includes sexual relief. Afterward, if the client wants 'extras' [Revital's term for fellatio and sexual intercourse] he can offer more money and the woman can agree.

The brothel operators say they provide only massages but they are the ones making a profit while we're taking the risks, says Revital.

Nikita runs a successful massage parlor in the central region. She blames the police: I'm angry that the women can't use condoms. I see how stressed they are. They cannot protect themselves .

But due to repeat police raids Nikita says she cannot keep condoms on the premises. Condoms are evidence and cause for opening a criminal investigation for running a brothel. So my girls have to hide them on their person. Most of the women desperately need the money and neglect their health, although getting sick could be much worse for them.

A police spokesman said that the police enforce the law. We investigate brothel ads and open cases for offenses related to prostitution, women-trafficking, pimping and running brothels.

 

2nd November   

Punishing Protests...

Taiwan working girls protest in front of Government building
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in Taiwan...Campaigning for legal prostitution in Taiwan

Taiwan flag A group of Taiwan streetwalkers and prostitutes' rights activists demonstrated in front of the Executive Yuan building, appealing for the abolishment of a regulation that punishes streetwalkers.

A spokeswoman for the Taipei-based Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters (COSWAS) said the group organized the demonstration to highlight its appeal because a consensus conference commissioned by the Executive Yuan will take place in November to discuss whether prostitutes should be exempt from punishment.

Taiwan's legal system only punishes prostitutes, not their patrons, and mainly targets women who walk the streets looking for customers rather than women who work in bars or clubs.

For years, the COSWAS and other prostitutes' rights activists have been pushing for the scrapping of Article 80 of the Social Order Management Act which mandates punitive measures for the prostitutes.

At a time when the world is engulfed in serious financial turmoil and credit crunch, the COSWAS spokeswoman said, domestic jobless rates are skyrocketing, adding to the economic harships for underprivileged families.

Noting that the some 100,000 sex workers in Taiwan face a constant struggle to support themselves and their families, she added that the government should abolish the unfair law and legalize prostitution.

If the sex trade were to be legalized, better management could be introduced to provide better protection for sex workers, most of whom are socially underprivileged, she added.

 

30th October   

Arson Lights Up the Video Parlour Trade...

What goes on in Japanese private video parlours
Link Here

Japan flag In the early hours of Oct. 1, a fire broke out at an Osaka video parlor, killing 15 people and injuring nearly a dozen others. A man has been arrested for arson and murder. The issue has highlighted such video parlours in the Japanese press.

So what goes on at private video parlors?

Private video parlors include small, usually one-person cubicles for viewing in individual privacy on the premises.

Cubicle charges are usually based on 15-minute, 30-minute or one-hour increments. Charges vary, but in major cities rates run between ¥500 and ¥1,000 per hour.

Adult videos constitute up to 90% of the selection at most private video parlors. The nonadult fare often includes Hollywood action films, Chinese martial arts films and Japanese anime. Most customers are men.

A typical private booth will have a large, comfortable chair that, in some cases, can be extended into a bed. A TV set with DVD player, VHS recorder and remote control are always present, and most cubicles have earphones. There are also tissues and wet towels.

The more upscale private parlors are similar in design to the more upscale Net cafes and karaoke rooms, and offer similar services, including refreshment areas with free soft drinks, coffee and tea, and light snacks. A visitor can usually bring food and drinks into a private booth.

Do private video parlors provide sexual services?

Some places do. In recent years, a growing number of establishments have started offering female customer service representatives, women who knock on the door while the customer is watching a video and for a fee offer a variety of sexual services.

In a study of Japan's underground economy published last year, economist Takashi Kadokura noted the rates for such services range between ¥2,000 and ¥5,000 on average, about 10% of the cost of a "soapland" sex parlor and a third of the cost of a visit to a "fashion health" sexual massage establishment.

The advantage to the women, Kadokura said, is that they keep half or more of their pay, and the quick turnover of customers ensures high profits for both the women and the establishments.

In addition, police warn that men who use private video booths run the risk of being secretly filmed, as some establishments have been caught selling videos of customers to magazines and video production companies that target the gay community.

Osaka police have submitted a bill to the prefectural assembly that would ban the operation of establishments that introduce customers to women and establishments providing sexual services. The bill is expected to be debated later this year.

 

29th October   

Update: No Fun in Seoul...

South Korean police target corporate brothels
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in South Korea...South Korea criminalises prostitution

South Korea flag Police are cracking down on large-scale, corporate-like brothels previously thriving in southern Seoul.

Gangnam Police Station said it has detained more than 120 pimps, prostitutes and customers after raids on 18 brothels over the last month.

It's the tip of the iceberg, a Gangnam police officer said: We will pursue them until brothels in our precinct disappear completely.

Police have been under fire for being lenient on large-scale brothels in Gangnam, believed to have maintained close ties with law enforcement officers, while they are harsh toward smaller brothel operators in other areas. In response, police launched a large-scale investigation into what they call corporate-level brothels.

According to investigators, a luxury brothel in Samseong-dong they raided made full use of a 10-story building, hiring more than 200 employees, including about 100 prostitutes.

It was open exclusively to membership holders to avoid traps set by police, an investigator said: In addition, it served only alcohol and other `sound' services to customers whose background have not yet been identified. Prostitution was offered exclusively to familiar visitors in secret rooms.

Meanwhile, a group of sex workers hosted a press conference in central Seoul, Monday, on behalf of an estimated 2,500 prostitutes nationwide to call on the government to abolish what they call a too rigorous anti-prostitution law.

Due to the police crackdown, we were unable to make money over the past month, a prostitute said: What we want from the government is not subsidies or any support but their recognition of us as a legal labor engaging in the prostitution industry.

 

23rd October   

I'll Tell Your Dad about You!...

Ukraine has idea to repress its sex trade
Link Here

Ukraine flag In an attempt to restrict growing prostitution, Ukrainian law enforcers have adopted a new method of writing unpleasant notes to the parents of those arrested in connection with the sex trade, the Sehodnia newspaper reported.

The letter-writing campaign is aimed to repress the trade by bringing parental pressure to bear on prostitutes, said Aleksey Lazarenko, an internal ministry spokesman.

We inform the parents their daughter was arrested at the moment she was selling her body, Lazarenko said: As soon as the parents of one girl found out how their daughter was earning a living, there was such a scandal in the household, that (the prostitute) had no quiet at home for an entire week, and she quit the business.

The programme has had a wide-reaching effect on the prostitution industry nationwide by reducing dramatically numbers of prostitutes on the street, as most feared rows with their parents more than police, according to the report.

Prostitution is technically illegal in Ukraine but laws against it are rarely enforced by poorly-paid police. Economic hardship and limited career options for women have pushed tens of thousands of Ukrainian women to sell sex.

Ukraine's government has declared the situation a national disgrace but nonetheless low-cost streetwalkers and bordellos are a common feature not just of all major Ukrainian cities, but most small towns and even some remote villages.

 

20th October   

No Legal Standing for Sex Workers...

Canadian government tries to wriggle out of prostitution safety challenge
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Canada flag A group of sex workers from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside who are challenging Canada's prostitution laws could lose their case in B.C. Supreme Court this week, months before a trial is even set to begin.

Lawyers with the federal Department of Injustice plan to argue that former sex worker Sheryl Kiselbach and about 50 current and former sex trade workers in the Downtown Eastside - all of whom do not want to be identified in the case - do not meet the legal requirements to bring such a challenge before the court.

If people don't speak out, nothing gets changed, Kiselbach said in a phone interview. Kiselbach says in a statement of claim she was threatened, raped and assaulted while working in the sex trade, and that Canada's laws forced her to work without the proper safety precautions.

Justice William Ehrcke must decide whether Kiselbach, or the group of about 50 unidentified sex workers represented by the Downtown Eastside Workers United Against Violence Society, should be granted standing to bring the case forward.

In a 47-page motion filed last Friday, the Department of Injustice said Kiselbach should not have standing in the case because she is no longer active in the sex trade and therefore does not face the threat of being charged under the laws.

Katrina Pacey of Pivot Legal LLP and Joseph Arvay, the two lawyers who are handling the plaintiff's case, said they firmly believe this case needs to go ahead in B.C., and that the women named as plaintiffs should be granted standing to bring it forward.

Arvay said: The government's argument that the Court should recognize as plaintiffs only those sex workers who are presently active in sex work or who are presently facing an actual prosecution is neither sound law or good policy.

Kiselbach has been charged and convicted of prostitution-related offences before leaving the sex trade in 2001, and now works at the Prostitution Alternatives Counselling and Education Society (PACE).

 

19th October   

Ideas for Sex Tourism...

Ukraine makes its pitch as an up 'n' coming location
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Ukraine flag A nationwide women's organization in Ukraine has risen to publicise their country as a location for sex tourism. A nutter organisation, FEMEN, has started on a nationwide roasdshow of a 50­person, awareness raising campaign.

The women members have condemned the entire tourism management of Ukraine, for making it one of the crudest sex destinations in the world. This is insulting to us [women] and it harms the country's image since we're increasingly becoming a country of destination for tourists whose sole purpose is to have sex with our women, complained Anna Hutsol, the leader of FEMEN.

Hutsol also points out that Ukraine women are faced with several embarrassing questionnaires and situations in other countries as well as in getting visas for travelling abroad.

The huge bevy of splendid beauties and the variety in sexual extravagance is what that pulls in the maximum of the crowd to the destination. Named and renamed as sex destination, Ukraine abounds in opportunities ready to be explored sexually at any hour.

Besides the nutter organizations, the government is also taking a keen eye on improving the social and moral status of the country. The government officials as well as the media are also seeking out ways to stop the sexual rampant in the country.

However, government officials reveal that it is quite difficult to count tourists coming to have sex in the country. The growing amount of sex tourists entering Ukraine has not escaped us, but it is very difficult to measure their numbers, said Andriy Shenin, an expert at the state tourism administration. The government also records a plethoric rate of prostitution that is visibly prevalent in Ukraine.

Referring to the growing rate of prostitution as a form of legal profession, Anna Hutsol says Most women I spoke with are ashamed and do this out of poverty but some also do it out of material desire. The immensely low-paying stipends and the rising unemployment amongst the graduates have led these young and fresh graduates to seek the toughest way of easy income. [talk of advertising what you are trying to ban!]

 

15th October   

Traffic in Souls...

Ludicrously inflated trafficking statistics isn't a phenomenon limited to the modern age.
Link Here

Perils of the New Land DVD Sex sells, filmmakers learned early on, and when the subject is immigrant Swedish girls forced into prostitution, you've struck box-office gold.

Traffic in Souls takes its inspiration from lurid tabloid headlines decrying the exploitation of young women new to New York. By some counts, the papers reported, as many as 50,000 a year were kidnapped and disappeared into white slavery.

It seems that ludicrously inflated trafficking statistics isn't a phenomenon limited to the modern age.

Traffic in Souls was shot on location in New York during the silent era. George Loane Tucker's 1913 film was made for $25,000, a high price for 1913, and its success helped establish Universal Pictures. It's now available for the first time on DVD.

It opens as the vice ring picks up two unsuspecting Swedish girls, fresh off the boat and done up in braids and bonnets. After being escorted to the Swedish Employment Agency, they're held hostage in what turns out to be a den of iniquity.

The plot focuses on a determined shop girl named Mary (Jane Gail), and her efforts to save her sister who's a victim of the prostitution ring. With her cop sweetheart (Matt Moore), Mary begins her own investigation and finds that William Trubus, (William Walsh), a respected society luminary and philanthropist who runs the International Purity and Reform League, isn't so pure after all.

Not surprisingly for this genre, the league is actually a front for the prostitution ring. Using a device that's the brainchild of her inventor father, Mary gets the evidence that puts the villain behind bars.

Traffic in Souls is no masterpiece, but it's never dull. Only near the end do things get wildly cinematic, with a chase up to the roof, complete with shootout and a gruesome view of a plunging body.

 

14th October   

Escorted to Jail...

Miserable Queensland target escort girls
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Queensland flag The Queensland Government has accepted recommendations by the miserable Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) to crack down on prostitution escort services.

Advertisements for legitimate social escorts will have to make it clear that they are non-sexual to distinguish from prostitution.

There will be legislation to seize the assets of anyone involved in illegal prostitution and phone numbers will be deactivated if they are used by illegal businesses.

But legal sole operators will in future be allowed to have an employee to act as a receptionist or driver.

Police Minister Judy Spence says there will also be a new offence called carrying on the business of prostitution. We might have the employer living in New South Wales or another state and operating women in Queensland. We've even seen what we believe is employers operating from New Zealand. So this new offence will allow police a lot more capacity to bring those people to Queensland to face our laws.

 

14th October   

Prostitution = Trafficking...

European baptists believe in any old nonsense
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EBF logo The European Baptist Federation's anti-trafficking group is working on a handbook that will give congregations across Europe ideas on how best to eradicate prostitution.

European Baptists at September's EBF Council session in Portugal reaffirmed their commitment to reducing demand for prostitutes among men supposedly in a bid to tackle the number of men, women and children being trafficked and sold into the illegal sex trade.

Sven-Gunnar Liden, Swedish Baptist pastor and chairman of the EBF anti-trafficking working group, said that human trafficking destroys women, children and men through ruthless exploitation and is a major topic for Europe's churches.

He welcomed new legislation in Sweden that makes it illegal to solicit services from prostitutes and called on Baptist churches in Europe and in the Middle East to mark Oct. 18 as a day of prayer for the Gospel of Jesus Christ might release its healing and liberating powers against human trafficking.

The National Council of Churches in Sweden has announced plans to intensify its efforts against human trafficking when the country takes over the EU presidency in 2009.

 

11th October   

A Touch Too Much Class...

Sydney high class brothel closes
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A Touch of Class web page After nearly 40 years of serving the local community, Sydney's most famous brothel, A Touch of Class, has shut up shop.

Politicians, judges and the late media magnate Kerry Packer were, reportedly, among those who frequented "Toucha", as it was fondly known.

Now the brothel, which operated out of three Victorian terraces in an unassuming residential street, is up for auction. The manager, Peter Lazaris, blamed competition from a rapidly proliferating number of cheaper establishments. He declined to comment on whether a raid by tax investigators had also played a role.

While the fixtures and fittings – including Roman fountains, crushed velvet furnishings and themed rooms complete with silk sheets and ensuite spa baths – are not included in the package, the bricks and mortar come replete with decades of colourful history.

The brothel, which could fetch more than A$6m (£2.3m), also featured in a 2006 Australian film, Candy , starring the late Heath Ledger.

 

9th October   

Sex Tourist Euros...

Prostitute images on Euro bank notes
Link Here

Ukraine flag Altered Euro banknotes embellished with images of prostitutes are being used to discourage Ukrainian women from getting caught up in the sex trade.

The images have been produced as part of a campaign to prevent women from the former Soviet state from seeking to work illegally in the EU. They show women obviously prostitutes leaning against the grand examples of European architecture that have been printed on the currency's bills.

Messages warning about the real price of seeking blackmarket employment abroad are printed across the top of the “fake” notes.

Prostitution is widespread in the Ukraine, which is home to more than 12,000 sex workers. The rise of sex tourism, fuelled by wealthy visitors from the US and the EU, sparked demonstrations from students in the capital Kiev this summer.

 

6th October   

Street Walking Miles...

Dutch town to reward prostitutes leaving their trade
Link Here

Amsterdam red light window Prostitutes in the Dutch city of Eindhoven are to be awarded "credits" in return for good behaviour under a new scheme to encourage them to abandon the oldest profession.

The prostitutes will receive so-called "street miles" that they can use to acquire free designer clothes or furniture, provided they take up an offer by the city council to take steps leading to a career change and a safer lifestyle.

We needed to come up with incentives that these women might latch on to, said Veronique Beurskens of Eindhoven council, who is leading a drive to rid the city of street prostitution.

Eindhoven's designated sex work zone is due to close by 2011. Amsterdam and other Dutch cities are slowly shutting down their red light districts, but Eindhoven is unusual in pioneering material incentives to tempt women into thinking about an economic alternative to prostitution. The city will fund assertiveness classes to help sex workers sever ties with their pimps, as well as workshops, advice and courses on how to find new jobs.

For every step they take to get out of their trade, they'll get vouchers that they can cash in to go shopping. They will be assigned a coach, whose first job will be to help them muster enough courage to stand up for themselves and break free from the trade, said Ms Beurskens.

The council is also trying out several more outlandish ideas put forward by art students from the Eindhoven Design College. Some of the "dames", as they are known locally, have already been given a makeover involving designer clothes to boost their self-confidence. Another scheme in the pipeline is the creation of a fashion label conceived by the prostitutes themselves.

This has worked well in Amsterdam, where the women have launched their own label and can make money from it. We have plenty of designers at the college who could show them how to get started and teach them about clothes-making, said Ms Beurskens.

But the initiative has been lampooned in the Dutch media, where some commentators have dubbed it the "whore miles" scheme. The plan is also receiving a lukewarm welcome among some prostitutes.

This is fine if they actually want to move on to something else but some might not want to, said Metje Blaak from Red Thread, the Dutch Prostitutes' Union: At the end of the day, this is a step towards making street prostitution illegal, and what will happen to the women then?

 

6th October   

No Prostitution Day...

Nuns close down Philippines bars for a day
Link Here

Philippines flag The Association of Barangay Council had passed a resolution asking owners of girlie bars to close their establishments in observance of the International Day of No Prostitution on Sunday.

Thus, on Sunday night, the red light district of Cagayan de Oro was empty of sex workers.

Sunday's activity culminated in a torch parade led by officials of Barangay Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City.

At least even for one night there is no prostitution and all respect the International Day of No Prostitution, said Eleony Monding, chairman of Tingog Sa Kasanag (TiSaKa). Tisaka, a non-government organization (NGO) helping sex workers in the city, was in the forefront in the campaign along with the Religious of Good Shepherd (RGS) nuns.

Monding said they have no exact number as to how many sex workers are plying their trade in the city. Most of these sex workers work freelance and very hard to track down, she said.

 

3rd October   

Brutal in Bulgaria...

Beware of Sofia clip joints and gangland warfare
Link Here

Bulgaria flag The US State Department is advising Americans in Bulgaria to stay away from the capital's strip clubs, where two bombings and a shooting hurt several people recently.

The violence was blamed on turf wars between rival criminal gangs, according to an Associated Press report.

The US Embassy in Sofia issued a security alert Tuesday saying the city's gentlemen's clubs should be avoided.

Earlier this year, the embassy issued a crime report that mentioned several incidents of club patrons being roughed up after refusing to pay outrageous fees for drinks and private dances in Sofia's strip clubs.

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