moving past the backpage shutdown

Welp, that was inevitable.

When I was touring a few months ago, and Carl Ferrer, the CEO of Backpage, was arrested, I had about $800 of credit in my account. I started spending and not replenishing because I knew BP wouldn’t last much longer. As of today, I have less than $200 in my account. I have no way of getting that money back, that I know of, but at least it’s still there and it’s not very much, really.

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Since I often read things and want to comment but don’t, here are my comments. A lot of these links came from Tits and Sass since I no longer bother with my Google Alerts.

escort photo documentary

While the story is somewhat unique, the pictures of Eden working are completely recognizable to any touring hourly escort. Locales may differ, there may be a lack of cigarettes and wigs, but everything else is very, very true. Escort work really can be this boring and mundane. Just like stripping. Just like data entry. Just like anything.

Hong Kong escorts and review board exploitation

I remember when I went to HK. I was never on the site because it wasn’t a good fit for me. I was: too old, Western, English-speaker, outcall-only, had much higher rates than the local girls. I had no idea it developed into the terror it has. (TER is probably kicking itself for not figuring out the bad review scam Sex141 pulls.)

HK girls work in limbo. Sex work is partially decriminalized and partially illegal, depending on what, where and how. While the laws seem clearly defined on the surface, sex workers face almost as much police harassment as US sex workers. My firm belief is that anytime there is an illegal aspect to sex work, the workers will suffer. The public and police will exploit the illegal aspects as far as they can, nullifying any legality. This is why sex work has to be completely decriminalized across the board. No exceptions.

Because of this half-and-half system, they have no recourse against Sex141. Because of the market and the laws, the girls are regularly ripped off: unlike sex workers in the rest of the world, they’re afraid of getting the money upfront because the client will run away or call them a ripoff (I did not have that problem with the clients I had in HK — different market). They’re stuck with abusive clients and there is no legal recourse for them. After the murders in 2008, all the one-woman brothels had CCTVs installed and the images of bad clients are regularly printed out and circulated but there is no way to make sure every sex worker has that info. They have problems with clients every day, just like US sex workers.

This is not to say that the girls don’t want to work there because they do. It’s far safer than China and the money is better. The problem, as always, is illegality. The only solution, as always, is full decriminalization.

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seriously (fixin’ to get ready to) travel

I know I’ve been MIA for the past couple weeks. Got serious about traveling and so had to make some changes in order to be on the road for the next several months. All my stuff is stored in Texas (including my car) and mail and bills are as taken care of as possible. My system isn’t perfect, but it’s better than it was a few months ago. I’m in Dallas taking care of a few more things, like replacing my luggage that the USPS lost when I mailed it in for repairs (next time: FedEx).

There’s a conference in Toledo where I’m co-presenting a paper about labor violations in the Nevada brothel system (yes, it’s focusing on one particular brothel but it’s not named in the paper and won’t be named here – ahem). That’s the week of my 34th birthday! That takes care of the first week of October. After that…probably wandering around the US for a bit. There are people I would like to see in Chicago and DC, if nothing else. Then out again. I’m looking hard at Asia right now. There are a lot of things attracting me and there are a lot of places to go and see on that side of the world. It should occupy my interest for a while.

No plans are set in stone and I don’t have dates until I have tickets in hand. I Twitter when I’m traveling and post stuff in my Personal Updates column to the right.

So there you go: The Plan — such as it is. For once, my silence has not meant anything negative, just busy and pre-occupied (and minimal Internet access).

making the trip – day 1

After making a wrong turn into Utah, I get on the right highway and have the drive to Wells almost completely by myself the whole way. It is quite beautiful. I understand the attraction the American West has had for artists.

Thanks to my 3hour detour, I’m too late to get into the doctor today, so early tomorrow morning I will go and have my medical tests and business paperwork done. Also, I’ll get to check out the local Wal-Mart and pick up everything I forgot to bring with me – as usual. When I get back to the brothel, I begin my training. I won’t get clearance until Friday. Which leads to me being sort of quarantined – I can’t be in the same room or interact with customers until I’m declared medically sound. I’m amused. It does mean I don’t have to worry about my appearance for another day or so.

the brothel

The brothel itself does have a trailer look in its design, but it does not seem to be built off a house trailer (grew up in East Texas, I’ve seen a few). It’s one story, sort of an I or H shape and freshly painted a red-clay color. It’s not glamorous, but it is roomy, clean and effort has been made to make it appealing. There are several interior renovations going on as well. I take that as a good sign.

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