Friday, April 17, 2015

Trade Secrets: Working the Street

Post reproduced from Trade Secrets: Health and Safety in the Sex Industry which was published in BC, Canada in 2009. All advice given in these posts comes from sex industry workers who shared their experience and knowledge for this guide.

The Naked Truth will feature one section from the guide each week. This week's post is from Chapter One: Our Workspaces

Note from Trina: If any of the information you see is outdated, please comment below or send me an email so that I can correct the information. I will also update each section on the Trade Secrets blog as I go.

Working the Streets

“I like working the street because I can turn down customers if I want and I don’t have to give any of my money to anyone else.”

Our street-based workplaces can include motels/hotels, behind the dumpster, behind and in stores or businesses, by the jail, in a field, homes of clients, bar bathrooms, bar stools (in public), the sheriff’s office, vehicles, alleys, and street corners, among other places.

Stigma and stereotypes about sex work are usually focused on those of us who are street-based because we are the most visible population of sex workers. However, street sex workers are estimated to make up only 10 - 20 percent of sex industry workers overall.

Getting Along With Others
In neighbourhoods where there is more street-based sex work taking place, residents and business owners sometimes attempt to “clean up” the neighbourhood by forcing us out. They do this in a number of ways – from taking down license plates of johns to verbally and even physically attacking us.

Here are some ways to reduce conflicts with other community members when we’re working the streets.

  • Don’t pick a corner close to a school. Students and parents are around during the day and if you are too visible, they will complain. This will result in police action and maybe even a court-imposed "no go zone" order, which will force you to find another spot to stand. Any regular clients you have met won't be able to find you and you will have to start building a clientele all over again. UPDATE: Currently, in Canada, sex workers are prohibited from working or communicating near schools, playgrounds, day-care centres.
  • If you can, whenever possible take your customer somewhere indoors. This is safer for you as he will be less likely to harm you. It also means residents won't see the physical sex act. People offended by public sex acts will usually call the police.
  • Clients often approach people who are not sex workers in neighborhoods where sex work occurs because they can't tell who is a sex worker and who isn't. Criminalization has meant that sex workers must try to blend in to avoid detection. Dressing up would allow consumers to be sure who is who, however it could make sex workers more visible to police. One worker suggests a middle ground to try to stabilize this issue. She chooses to wear something nice, but not over the top.
  • If you mostly work in cars, try not to park in the same spot over and over. This will concentrate residual mess (condoms, needles) in one area and lead to complaints from residents or business owners. Always try to keep areas where you work free of debris to prevent police action
  • Attempt to build relationships with community members that you see often, by saying hello with a smile, or making small talk. Eventually, your neighbours will know you as a person and be more likely to take their concerns to you, rather than the police.Being a street-based sex worker is the most dangerous area of the industry because of our visibility and the subsequent police repression. Some of the risks include getting arrested or having to give favours to avoid arrest, being left stranded far from home, being set-up and robbed, getting raped and/or beat up and even killed, being isolated from help if we’re in danger, getting sick from working out in the cold, and even freezing to death.

Because of the laws around sex work in Canada, street-based sex workers try to avoid being arrested or having their clients arrested by working in dark, isolated areas. This makes us vulnerable to violent predators. John Lowman, a criminology professor at Simon Fraser University, estimates from his research that street-based sex workers are more likely to be murdered than any other person in Canada (Dr. John Lowman, Paul Dillon, "Life On The Streets in Dangerous," Surrey Leader, 17 May 1998).

Safety Tactics

Here are some safety suggestions from and for street-based workers:

Before Work

  • Dress nicely. You will be treated better and feel good about yourself.
  • Dress warmly.
  • Don’t wear anything around your neck that can be used to strangle or drag you, such as necklaces, scarves, etc.
  • Wear shoes you can run in, or that you can slip off easily.
  • Carry a whistle. While some prefer to carry weapons, such as mace, such things can be turned against you. A whistle is safe, small, compact, legal and loud.
  • Pick up an ugly trick list before working. (Bad Date Sheet, Red Light Alert, Ugly Mug, etc.)

Where You Work

  • Try to work in well-lit areas near a phone.
  • Carry a charged cell phone. Even if you don’t have a plan, you can make a call to 911 from any cell phone as long as it’s charged.
  • Carry change for the phone.
  • Work with friends, if possible. If you have to work alone, carry a piece of chalk with you to write down the license plate of your next client on the sidewalk or wall where you are standing. Always casually tell a client you have been seen leaving in their car and are expected back at a certain time.
  • Have a spotter.
  • Make friends with the other workers around you so you can watch each other’s backs.
  • Make friends with the beat cops in your neighbourhood, if possible. They’ll watch out for you more and take it more seriously if someone assaults you.

Before Getting In A Car

  • Always stand back a little when the customer first pulls up.
  • Familiarize yourself with types and makes of cars. And try to remember plate numbers.
  • Ensure the client is alone in the vehicle. A panel van or other large vehicle where the interior is not visible could hide predators.
  • Make sure there is a door handle on your door before you get in. Don’t get into cars that the driver has control over the locks.
  • If the car is a mess, don’t get in.
  • Make sure there is no gun, knife, rope, tape, or other weapon before you get in.
  • Look at the customer and check his level of sobriety and emotional state. Is he agitated? Does he appear drunk? High on drugs? Mentally ill? Be sure of his mental state before entering the vehicle.
  • Communication for the purposes of purchasing sex is illegal so do not talk about service or money through the car window or before entering the car. Get into the car but keep one foot on the ground outside the car while you negotiate what you will do and for how much. This way you have a better chance for escape if you are unwilling to accept the type of work the customer desires or the amount of money he is willing to pay.

Once In A Car (or at service location, if walking)

  • Once terms are negotiated and you are in the car, continue to evaluate his emotional state. If you are unsure for any reason, plan your escape for as soon as the vehicle stops.
  • If you have a cell phone, call someone or pretend to call someone as soon as you make the date and report where you’re going and something about your date that would help identify him. It may deter him from any ulterior motives.
  • If you have a cell phone, record the license plate number in your phone or text it to a friend.

During the Date

  • Tell the customer where you want to do the date and choose an area you are familiar with.
  • Envision an escape route in case you need one. If it's winter, see where you could hide under the snow.
  • Whenever possible, take the customer somewhere inside. Preferably to a place where there are other people and even better if they are people you know. A client is far less likely to attack you if he knows there are other people around. Being indoors gives you somewhere to clean up after, as well.
  • Don’t rip off the clients – they may take it out on you or other workers.
  • Watch to make sure the client does not remove the condom without your knowledge.

If A Client Becomes Aggressive or Violent

  • Tell him your name and try to humanize yourself by talking about your children or your life.
  • You could also say you are HIV positive, but this tactic might cause more anger.
  • Run into traffic and wave people down.
  • If you have to run away through snow, cover your tracks. A worker in Prince George recommends getting on top of the snow and rolling so there are no tracks, then hide until the predator is gone.

After the Date

  • Do not accept a ‘ride back’ to your corner. Whenever possible, exit the vehicle immediately after the session is over to prevent any further risk at the hands of a client.
  • Share information with other sex workers. If you have had a bad experience with a client, pass the details on to organizations that have a direct connection to bad date reporting.

Supplies for the Street

  • Zip-lock Baggies, in case you have to work in a car or schoolyard. This way you can take the condom and wrapper back and dispose of it in a way that respects the community.
  • Wet naps - so you can clean a little if you are working in a car or outside.
  • Mints - fresh breath always makes us feel better and is nice for the clients.
  • Condoms.
  • Lube.
  • Lipstick.
  • Sex toy - some clients will want no contact and just want to masturbate in front of you. If you have a toy, you can put on a show and the job will go a little faster.
  • Cell phone.

What Not To Bring

  • Never carry a weapon because it can be turned on you. Don’t give them something they can use against you.
  • Do not carry your ID or any other items of personal value. If the client wants to rob you, you won't be worried about letting him have your purse.

About Trade Secrets

Trade Secrets is a collaborative project that was contributed to by diverse members of the sex industry and their community.

Some of this information may be outdated. Please feel free to comment below the relevant posts and information you'd like to add or update. Your help is appreciated.

Thank you for your commitment to supporting health and safety in the sex industry.

In Solidarity,

Trina Ricketts (Annie)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Date With The Tickler #facesofprostitution

Hard Working Farmboy 
Make Me Sweat!
Guest Post by Andrew Sorfleet

He had long, dark brown hair. Curly, almost ringlets. John Lennon glasses. A formal black winter coat. Like you might expect in Toronto. It was 1992. He was young. Maybe 23 or 24.

One thing all my friends know about me, is that I am extremely ticklish. Go-into-convulsions-punch-you-in-the-nose ticklish. Do so at your own peril.

Consent was very clear. 1 hour. $200. Tickling.

I don't know about other whores, but for me, the standard 40-minute hour includes 10 minutes of uncomfortable conversation before we move to get undressed. 1/2 hour massage and we get to the punchline. And everyone's happy!

I lived in an illegal suite in a commercial building at the corner of Bathurst and Dupont Streets. Lucky for me, the washroom was just outside my suite door. I had plumbing for a shower stall and for photography and kitchen sinks. But no toilet. It used to be a business that made dentures. Many young artists lived in similar studio spaces at that time.

I installed a key-wind doorbell and a peephole in my steel door, and reversed the hinges so it opened out. That makes it harder for police to kick in.

He arrived with a black leather briefcase. As agreed, I got undressed and made myself comfortable on my futon. He opened his briefcase and pulled out four black soft cloth straps and proceeded to tie my hands and feet to the futon frame.

I've been tied up before. So I was a little anxious about the tickling, but not alarmed.

Then, he pulled out an alarm clock and set it for 1 hour. I was beginning to wonder what I got myself into!

Next, he pulled out a pair of black nylon socks, and proceeded to put them on my feet.

Then he pulled out a goose feather and a comb.

He started very gently at first. Enjoying as he awakened each nerve in my feet with the lightest of touches. As my giggles grew to minor jolts and contortions, his efforts accelerated, eventually switching from feather to comb to fingers. Moving from sole, to each individual toe. He knew his craft.

Unable to withdraw, due to my restraints, my laughter became almost painful. And then, he relented.

Just long enough for me to calm, believing my torturer had succumbed mercy, as I shouted no, no, no.

Then, slowly -- deliberately -- he removed the nylon socks.

Oh Noooo! I cried. Already laughing, tears streaming down my face.

And then, with relish he showed no mercy. No no no I cried in a falsetto voice. Tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks.

I thought I could take it no more. But a deal, is a deal. $200!!

Then -- he seemed to take mercy on me. He relented. I calmed down. Sighed. Sighed again. Then, I looked at the clock. Oh No!

Next, he eyed my ribs.

First, came the feather... But, it wasn't long until fingers. And for a moment, I was in love, as my tormentor attacked and retreated as I laughed until I hurt deep in my abdomen.

My hands were strapped above my head. With worry, I looked at the clock, realizing that -- armpits still exposed -- my trial was not yet over.

It was like he read my mind. Glee in his eyes.

He knew all along. How long an hour is. Fuck!

I laughed and I laughed and I laughed until it hurt so much and I could laugh no more. And I giggled and sighed and giggled some more. Then the alarm went off.

He untied the soft cloth straps. I was speechless. Thoroughly exhausted. Finally.

It was over. I wanted to kiss him. So badly. Thank him in some way. It made me so very horny!

But, unfortunately... He was very sexy! He packed up his briefcase. And left. Leaving me very hard for my next client.

I knew a few other guys who advertised in the NOW. They all had seen "The Tickler." I don't think any of them are quite as ticklish as i am though.

I never saw him again. Unfortunately. I fantasized about kissing him many times. He taught me something about myself. About limits and restraints. I grew from that experience. I should have paid him!

Conquering Helplessness in the Wake of the Cindy Gladue Case

By Annie Temple

That feeling you get when you learn about something so horrific, so mind-fucking, so unbelievably unjustifiable, that you don't understand how it could have happened.

It may not be your first feeling. No. Your first feeling is probably RAGE. Overpowering RAGE that pumps out of your body in cataclysmic waves. Your brain attempts to process the absurdity, but it cannot be processed. Who did this? How did this happen? Who is to blame?

In the case of Cindy Gladue, fault belongs with more than the people who made the foul decision to acquit the man who murdered her. Fault lies in a system where indigenous sex workers are ignored, made into the "other," silenced, violenced, erased.

How we see, or rather don't see, indigenous sex workers is the problem. Our collective apathy is the problem. What Cindy Gladue's case declares like a blaring siren is that people like her don't matter.

But, you might say, she matters to me.

In the words of Naomi Sayers on Kwe Today"Our bodies are not terra nullius." Our bodies are not empty. 

"Some people say the Crown and the police failed her. But the system is doing what it was always designed to do… get rid of the Indian problem. Some say that there are legal tests and cases that would support the Crown’s case. Reducing her death down to abstract legal tests is violence. The violence that she experienced does not exist in isolation from all the other systems policing her life as an Indigenous woman and as sex worker. The system is violent."
And so, your first feeling, if you are like me, is rage. Rage at a system that is violent.

But there is often another feeling that comes after and with the rage. A feeling that sickens your soul. It takes your breath away and leaves you feeling nauseous and vulnerable.

The feeling I am talking about is helplessness.

Helplessness comes from a place of knowledge. The knowledge that what you are seeing is not just a glitch, a one time aberration of all that is right and good. No, you feel helpless because you know it is much much bigger than that. Naomi drives the point home in one simple sentence:

"If it doesn't shock you, you will understand when an Indigenous woman dies a violent death, it is “just business as usual.”"
But it is NOT "business as usual" if you've read this far. For you, this is so deeply wrong on so many levels you might burst.

You wonder, What can I do to make this right? How can one person, ME, impact such a deeply entrenched system of violence that erases the rights of indigenous women, especially sex workers?

It seems out of your range of control. You feel helpless.

I, too, struggle with the overwhelming-ness of it all. I, too, have had to dig deep, asking myself...AM I HELPLESS?

This is what I learned. I am not helpless.

You are not helpless. There is much you can do. You have the power to make an incredible impact. I will tell you how.

Start with some of the concrete things you can do, like write a letter to the authorities to express your outrage. Or sign a petition. Attend protests. Educate yourself about the issue.

When you've done those things, the simple things, then you will be ready to do the harder stuff.

Because now, you must use your voice. You must speak to your people about Cindy Gladue. Talk about the Highway of Tears and the missing and murdered indigenous women of Canada. Express your outrage one person at a time. Update your social media status with your outrage.

And when you see or hear someone else expressing the same outrage, support them publicly. Tell them, "I agree with you. I won't take it anymore."

At first, you may be uncomfortable speaking out. How do you bring up such atrocities over dinner with friends?

You can do it. You MUST do it. Teach your children about privilege and classism. Teach them about colonization. Teach your friends and family by example.

Educate your people. It is the most important thing you can do. Speak out. Let our collective outrage be the impetus for change.

If you see or hear violence against indigenous women, especially sex workers, speak out. If you can prevent violence, do it. You have the power.

We all do.

Conquer your helplessness now because it is urgent. Lives will be lost. Dignity will be denied. Until and unless we all speak out for our sisters, the terror will continue.

#SpeakOut #NoMoreStolenSisters

Saturday, April 11, 2015

What is a SWERF?

Editorial by Annie Temple

SWERF stands for Sex Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminist. 

You know her. She calls herself a feminist and her life work revolves around eliminating sex work jobs. 

She thinks men should all be ashamed for being men (naturally visual beings). 

The name explains itself, but it is interesting to note that the SWERF mentality IS slowly dying like causes steeped in hatred usually do. 

How To Identify If You Are a SWERF

Perhaps you are wondering if YOU are a SWERF. Perhaps you hang around with people in the rescue industry, or you have a good friend who has been saying a lot of things about "prostituted women" lately. 

Perhaps you have been CALLED a SWERF and you're wondering if it is true, and you really are a SWERF. Well, I'm here to tell you how to identify if you are, indeed, a SWERF.  

You are a SWERF if you call yourself a "feminist" AND you:
  • Say that all sex workers are victims.
  • Insist on calling sex workers “prostituted women” even though sex workers have asked you not to
  • Refuse to call sex workers "sex workers."
  • Ignore the fact that men and transgender people are sex workers too.
  • Consider men to be oppressing women when they pay for adult consensual sex.
  • Blame female sex workers who serve male clients for “perpetuating rape.” In other words, “slut shaming.” In other words, misrepresenting consensual sex between heterosexual adults as rape.
  • Hate women who show their bodies to men (especially for money).
  • Hate women who were born with male genitalia (You are also known as TERF – Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist).
  • Think that women who work in sex work have no agency, cannot think for themselves, nor speak for themselves.
  • Think that women who work in sex work are weak and oppressed despite that many sex workers cite feeling empowered and having control in their work as top reasons for choosing sex work.
  • Have a job in which your income depends upon fundraising dollars and grant applications based on fudged figures and junk science that you use to paint sex workers as trafficking victims in need of rescue. (You work in the *Rescue Industry.*)
  • Oppress (silence / ignore / demean / deny agency to) women in the name of feminism.
  • Think that you do not do any of the things above, but you still consider sex work to be paid rape and you champion the cause to eliminate sex work, even if it means sex workers are eliminated in the process. (My apologies to non-SWERFs for being so blunt, but I get a bit angry on this subject.)

After reading the above list, if you realize that you are indeed a SWERF, here is what I suggest.

Go to a mirror. Look at yourself. Take a good, long look. Point into the mirror so that you are pointing straight at yourself and sing (to this tune): "STOP in the name of love. Before you stay a SWERF. Think it o-o-over. Think it o-o-over." (Full lyrics at the bottom of this post.)

The above exercise will: a) bring joy and love into your life; b) help you to lighten up a little (you don't have to be a militant man-destroyer all the time); and c) allow you to use that brilliant mind of yours to recognize that there is a very good reason for the phrase "Nothing about us without us." You are ethically obliged to let sex workers determine what they need and get it for themselves.

Once you realize this, you will begin your transformation from SWERF to ally. Send me an email and ask me how you can be an ally of sex workers. I will tell you straight up, concrete ways that respect the agency and dignity of sex workers how you can help increase health and safety in the sex industry. 

It's not rocket science. We have the knowledge and the science to back it. We can teach you what you need to know. But first you gotta resign from the SWERF camp.

Your SWERF friends might suddenly reject you and everything you stand for. If that happens, you will know from experience how their hate oppresses people. Fortunately, your conscience will be clear because you will no longer be one of the oppressors.

"Stop! In The Name Of Love"
(Before you stay a SWERF)

Lady, Lady
I'm aware of where you go
Holding protest signs outside my door
I watch you walk down the street
Chanting that I am a piece of meat
But this time before you plug your ears
Leaving me silenced and hurt
(Think it over) Haven't you now learned the truth?
(Think it over) I don't need to speak through you.

Stop! In the name of love
Before you stay a SWERF
Stop! In the name of love
Before you stay a SWERF
Think it over
Think it over

You say you stand
For human rights
So why do you
Ignore my voice?
I'm not trying to steal your boyfriend
I just want to pay my mortgage
But this time before you spout the lies
And use your governmental ties
(Think it over) I know what is best for me.
(Think it over) Why don't you go save the bees?

Stop! In the name of love
Before you stay a SWERF
Stop! In the name of love
Before you stay a SWERF
Think it over
Think it over

I've tried so hard, hard to be patient
Hoping you'd stop this exploitation
Religious right and you are together
Don't be an oppressive fool forever

Stop! In the name of love
Before you stay a SWERF
Stop! In the name of love
Before you stay a SWERF
Stop! In the name of love
Before you stay a SWERF

Lady, think it over
Think it over, lady
Ooh, think it over lady...

What do you think? Did I cover all things SWERF? What am I missing? Please share your comments below. 

Sexy Christmas Costume for Sale

Words from the seller:

I have no use for it any more as I have been out of the industry for a number of years.

It comes with: 
  • a very long Santa hat, 
  • bra (size C cup), 
  • panties, 
  • skirt, 
  • little jacket, 
  • leggings and 
  • a bag to put it all in. 
It no longer has the neck piece but it would be super easy to make another. It looks super cute on. The skirt flares out when you twirl, and it looks fantastic under black lights. 

Asking $200

Contact blackkitty [at] 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Yellow Pages Shuts Out Escorts; Massage, Adult Entertainment Will Be Next

From Triple X:

As of March 31, Yellow Pages will no longer provide on-line advertising under the heading "escort services."

In a registered letter sent to customers last week, Yellow Pages stated the company will also stop providing print advertising for escort services as of May 1.

The reason for the immediate cancellation of escort advertising contracts is Canada's new anti-prostitution laws enacted in Dec. 2014. According to Yellow Pages, Article 286.4 "makes knowingly advertising an offer to provide sexual services an indictable offence punishable by imprisonment."

In addition, "Yellow Pages will evaluate all businesses under non-registered Massage, Adult Entertainment and similar headings on a case-by-case basis, and remove those that do not comply with the legislation."

This decision by Yellow Pages affects scores of triple-x businesses throughout B.C., who rely on business directories to attract good clientele.

"This is counter-productive," says Andrew Sorfleet, president of Triple-X. "Yellow Pages businesses are some of the safest places to work. These businesses do everything by the book. They pay their taxes, they are insured, they have city business licences and security systems.

"No where do these ads say that these businesses are selling sex. This is a very narrow and inaccurate interpretation of the law."

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Bust-A-Move Fundraiser Dance Party to Help PACE Society Move

From: PACE Society:

We need to "bust-a-move", both literally and figuratively. 

Our building has been sold to developers, so we need to relocate. As you know, moving requires money and this is why we are throwing one last party in our current space to help us raise money to make our new home extra special. 

Join PACE for a rare opportunity to party in the DTES.

Friday April 24
@ PACE Society
49 W Cordova Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Wine & Beer plus non-alcoholic beverages available 
  • Super cool people & 1990’s Dance Music
  • Don’t be shy. Dress down, dress-up, just be ready to “bust-a- move”

Accessibility Info:
Unfortunately our entire space is not wheelchair accessible. Our washroom is wheelchair accessible and designated all genders.