Where I’ve been featured
In 2017, there were a total of 545 cases of human trafficking in the U.S.; 467 were in the sex industry, and 14 cases involved young adults. In comparison, the authorities arrested & charged 28,490 people for prostitution in 2017. Of those arrested, 11,124 were men, and 17,366 were women. Many of my peers in the industry are cis heterosexual men or part of the LGBTQ community. Men in the industry tend to make less money than women, but no attention is paid to the exploitation they face as workers by prohibitionists. Despite men already going to prison (which prohibitionists insist is the real solution to this) the “demand” and the industry are still here, it’s just more dangerous because of criminalization.
Also in 2017, police arrested and charged 185 young adults with prostitution. Police alternatively charge sex workers with vagrancy, curfew and loitering, suspicion, drug possession, and other charges. The vast majority of these teens are terrified of police and don’t want to end up in juvie or the foster care system. Many teens in abusive households or with poor families end up homeless and on the streets. To survive they usually enter into relationships for housing, or enter the sex or drug trade.
Immigrants have it a lot worse. There’s a human trafficking visa called the T visa. In 2017, only 672 people were able to get it. Yet in 2017 ICE ERO (ERO is the division that raids and forcibly deports people) did 143,470 arrests, and 226,119 deportations. Police notoriously don’t always charge sex workers with prostitution, many are charged with loitering, and both of these charges are misdemeanors. ICE can claim they are deporting you for criminal charges.
Criminalization is not only about punishment and policing, but it’s also about how society reinforces criminalization. Sending police to monitor, mediate, or control people is inherently a violent act. People have to justify doing this, by being told these people are different from the rest of society. Law enforcement has endangered the health of sex workers by using condoms as evidence for prostitution and sodomy laws. Yang Song, a Queens massage worker was harassed and died during an NYPD Vice Raid. While I was protesting with Red Canary Song against Peter Koo’s crackdown on massage parlor workers, the NYPD vice division was lecturing the public and politicians claiming that “human trafficking is prostitution.” Prohibitionists often talk about the power imbalance of buyers and sellers in a criminalized market, but they don’t talk about the power imbalance between a cop (an agent of the state) and a criminalized person.
-Continued at CityLimits
Interviewed for MarketPlace
I took ownership of ‘alien’ before I took ownership of the word ‘whore’.
For all my life I fought for control over myself and I thought the only way to do that was to fit a perfect mold of what society wanted. Many people of color will grow up striving to be a model minority, to be the exception to the disrespectable. Everyone wants to be “good”, to be “respectable”. The crushing double standards that citizens had of immigrants, men had of women, white people had of people of color, and many others controlled me exactly the way I was fighting to not be. Respectability politics created a caste system I could never win against. By adhering to respectability politics and holding others to those standards, I was perpetuating the ‘blame the victim’ mentality.
One of the greatest perks of having light skin is the ability to change race very easily. I went to LA and pursued a career as an adult model. I spent about eight months there and in those eight months I experimented a lot with my looks. The simplest things like getting a haircut or going out into the sun more, getting my hair straightened, made all the difference in how I was perceived and treated by the world.
I'm Hispanic with very light brown skin, my parents are both Hispanic but my mother is more light-skinned and my father's more brown skin. They're very strict so I was not allowed out of the house which is why my skin is so light. But after moving out on my own I was able to make changes I would have otherwise not been allowed to.