Arrests, Health Questions, Gonorrhea, & Sex Trafficking and the Superbowl in NOLA

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Again, if you’re receiving this email, it’s because either you’ve expressed interest in SWOP-NOLA, or you just plain rock and I thought you might be interested. If I’ve made a mistake and you actually don’t rock and you’re not interested, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

In this Update:

NOPD Arrests 11 in Prostitution Sting
Ask a Healthcare Professional
Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea and CBJs (Covered Blow Jobs)
New Orleans Human Trafficking Conference, October 24 and 27
Lafayette and Beyond

NOPD Arrests 11 in Prostitution Sting

NOPD arrested 11 people on charges of prostitution after a three day sting in New Orleans East. Read the article here: NOPD Arrest 11 in Prostitution Sting.

Also: Gretna Couple Accused of Running Brothel

On the bright side, it seems (so far) that the NOLA.com commenters are not supportive of these arrests. One commenter (on the Gretna “brothel” article) writes:

Why was this a crime? A contract between consenting adults to provide personal services and the whole affair was kept away from children and sensitive adults until the authorities went to a low of trouble to publicity expose the enterprise. There will always be a demand and there will always be a supply, the government can only cause the price to rise and to add an element of danger to the situation by allowing violent criminals to run the exchange.

Well, that’s what we’ve been trying to tell everyone!!

Ask a Healthcare Professional

Do you have questions about safe sex, STDs, or are you unsure if something you’ve heard is a myth or a fact? We’re meeting with a health professional who has worked with female and male prison inmates (including transgender) and is a supporter of sex workers’ rights. She has volunteered to answer your questions honestly and without judgement. So ask away! You can either email your questions to swop.nola@gmail.com (Contact Form here), or you can ask anonymously by commenting at the bottom of this page. Also, we’re still collecting law questions, so keep sending them!

Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea and CBJs (Covered Blow Jobs)

New, antibiotic-resistant strains of Gonorrhea are on the rise.

according to the Centers for Disease Control, some men “do not have symptoms at all” and “Most women do not have any symptoms. Even when a woman has symptoms, they are often mild and can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection.” Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious health problems, and to prevent transmission (of both the regular old Gonorrhea and the newer, fiercer, antibiotic-resistant type) the use of condoms for oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse is recommended.

Jezebel.com covered the topic in an article titled “Rethinking the Blow Job: Condoms or Gonorrhea? Take Your Pick.

New Orleans Human Trafficking Conference, October 24 and 27

The New Orleans Human Trafficking Working Group is holding its conference on October 24 and 27 at Loyola University. It’s free, but you have to register at their website. I’ve signed up; if anyone would like to join me, please do!!

It’s titled “Preventing Human Trafficking at the Super Bowl and Beyond: A Conference to Mobilize the New Orleans Community to Prevent and End Trafficking in our Midst,” and it is highly likely that most of the attention will be focused on sex trafficking, despite the fact that the forced or coerced (usually manual) labor of undocumented immigrants is the most common form of human trafficking.

There’s a lot of talk about sex trafficking and the Superbowl. The claim that the Superbowl (or other major sporting event) is a “magnet” for sex trafficking (forced prostitution of underage girls) is a popular one, it is ultimately inaccurate. Some even assert that it’s simply a scare tactic used to rally the public and local law enforcement against prostitution in general:

“It’s a myth that’s been playing to sell-out crowds for more than a decade. But there’s been trouble at the box office in recent years. No one gets too excited about garden-variety prostitution anymore. As a culture-war wedge, it’s so 1912. So promoters of the panic have changed their advertising. Instead of adult harlots, the siege now consists of underage girls.”

Last year,The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women published a paper dispelling the myth of increased sex trafficking during the Superbowl. You can read it here:

What’s the Cost of a Rumor? A guide to Sorting Out the Myths and Facts About Sex Trafficking and Sporting Events

“As a global anti-trafficking organisation, GAATW is concerned that international sporting events are being linked with increases in trafficking for prostitution, without evidence. This has been promoted most heavily by prostitution abolitionist groups, who argue that large numbers of men automatically results in a greater demand for commercial sex which can only be met through trafficking women into prostitution. …Linking trafficking and sex work in this way has resulted in ‘collateral damage’ that is negatively impacting some of the groups who are affected by anti-trafficking policies, particularly sex workers.”

(GAATW is a group that works “to ensure that the human rights of all migrating women are respected and protected by authorities and agencies…(and) promotes rights of women migrant workers and trafficked persons and believes that ensuring safe migration and fair work places should be at the core of all anti-trafficking efforts.”)

Remember the claim that the highest number of domestic abuse incidents occured on Superbowl Sunday? We now know that’s a myth, or inaccurate at best (futureswithoutviolence.org). These rumors persist because of stereotypes and sensationalism, and lack of knowledge, and they overshadow the REAL problems, which need REAL solutions. Spread the truth, not a rumor!

While we of course do not support sex trafficking, attempts to rescue sex trafficking victims often broadly target sex work in general, and relatively few trafficked minors are helped. In the FBI’s Operation Cross Country 2008, 47 juveniles were “recovered,” but 518 adult prostitutes were also arrested. That operation was considered a success. There are better ways to help trafficked minors that do not include arresting 11 adults for every one child.

Lafayette and Beyond

There’s been some interest expressed in helping out in the Lafayette area. This is great news! Let’s take this thing all over Louisiana–hell, we could conquer the Gulf Coast! If you’re in Houma, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, or anywhere relatively close (or not, whatever) and you want to help, you are welcome, so get in touch!

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