Listen to me, not the prostitute. I said: Listen to ME!

Published: November 2, 2011

The question of UK aid linkage concerns me because of what I’ve always taken as an issue basic to activist politics: representation. Who speaks for whom? Why should people in London be accredited as honorary consuls for movements thousands of miles away? Against the interwoven obstacles of distance, borders, money, and power, how can those movements make their voices heard?

The borders are psychological, not just political, and there’s as much silence in LA as London.

Mention “prostitution” in Los Angeles and you’re likely to hear of local hero Ashton Kutcher, who campaigns against any form of sex work as human trafficking. (On the other coast, he tried to get American Airlines to pull its advertising from the Village Voice because the latter ran ads for sex work: “Hey @AmericanAir are you aware that you are advertising on a site that supports the Sale of Human Beings (slavery)?”, ran a barrage of tweets.)

Meanwhile, when a sex workers’ rights project called SWAAY (Sex Work Activists, Allies, and You) tried to buy space around LA for a text-only billboard contending that consensual sex work is not the same as trafficking or slavery, nobody would sell. “Any variation of the group’s message was banned by Clear Channel, CBS, Lamar, Regency, Van Wagner, Avant Outdoor, LA Transit Authority, and Outdoor Solutions.” This week, instead, the group is running a mobile billboard, travelling the Los Angeles streets. (Trafficking in sex? No. Sex in traffic.)

It’s not as though those big communications companies are averse to controversial subjects — prostitution included. Clear Channel already runs this sensational anti-sex-work billboard, warning johns that the morally sterling LAPD will get them:

Full text of article available at link below –

Leave a Reply