dec 17 in hk

Today I’m spending the day with Zi Teng in Hong Kong. This is a pre-scheduled post, I likely won’t write about today’s events for a while (as usual).

Today is December 17, The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (IDEVASW). For the history behind this relatively-new memorial day, please go to the official Dec 17 website, part of SWOP-USA.

I’ve written about Dec 17 here (my fave) and here. I’ve written about the shame, silence and death foisted upon American sex workers without our consent. Deborah Palfrey was a Dec 17 memorial victim and perfect example of how shame kills. I’ve written about survivors (that piece is offline right now) and some other scattered thoughts around Dec 17.

It’s just a calendar date, but the real meaning behind it is never too far from the front of anyone’s mind. Not if you’re a sex worker. Especially not if you’re in a criminalized country. Within the first five minutes of telling my mother I had decided to become an escort, she was predicting my death (actually, she predicted my dead body being found in a ditch, not the moment of death). I say this not to make fun of my mother — because I’m not — but that violence against sex workers is so endemic that it’s as an enduring stereotype as high heels and short skirts. This desperately needs to change. No sex worker I know considers violence part of the job description.

Sex worker deaths aren’t something that “happens”, it’s something that someone does.

terrorism is obviously a priority

Reading news about the presidential-pardon applications crossing Bush’s desk (he does not seem inclined to make many pardons right now), one caught my attention. It seems John Walker Lindh, who was picked up a few years ago fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan, wants a pardon. He’s serving a 20yr prison sentence.

Deborah Jeane Palfrey (aka The DC Madam), was facing a possible maximum sentence of 55 years when she was killed/committed suicide (take your pick). She, of course, ran an escort agency/fantasy-sex service/prostitution ring (take your pick). Article-writers covering the story said she realistically faced anywhere between 4-15 years in prison.

All this over $2 million in income she paid taxes on, with a stable of consensual employees and a very consenting clientele.

And Lindh wants a pardon because his prison sentence is obviously a bit much for him. Perhaps he feels like the victim of a miscarriage of justice.