Sex Workers

No justice, no piece

This weekend's Sex Worker Film and Arts Fest whores itself for social change


SEX Speaking as a media professional who has been subject the past month to her PR push for this year's Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival (Sat/18-May 26), let me tell you that Carol "Scarlet Harlot" Leigh will stop at nothing to raise awareness about sex worker's rights.Read more »

Girl Scouts versus Scott Weiner versus Naked Sword: Here's your week in sexy events


There are few things that San Franciscans love more than Thin Mints, and local Girl Scouts found out what those were on Sunday when a troop conviniently posted up in front of the deceased Diesel store at Castro and Market. The whippersnappers paid witness not only to another nude-y demonstration against the city's new ban on public nudity, but also to said demonstration's infiltration by dapper members (ahem) of local porn outfit Naked Sword [as Castro Biscuit reported.] They're making a send-up of the nudity ban starring an ambitious politician, surname: Cox. Wink. Read more »

City to cease using condoms as evidence in prostitution cases


The San Francisco Police Department announced today that they will stop using condoms as evidence in prostitution cases.Read more »

Fierce, forceful, amazing: remembering Robyn Few


Robyn Few, innovative sex worker revolutionary and a part of the soul of San Francisco, passed away Sept. 13. 

Robyn was a mother, a grandmother, and a wife. She was a leader. She died in her hometown of Paducah, KY after a long battle with cancer.Read more »

Democrats and sex workers

The Proposition 35 endorsement puts sex workers and their families at risk


OPINION The California State Democratic Party and Senator Barbara Boxer have let the sex workers of California down. They need to be taken to task for endorsing Proposition 35 without ever hearing the opposition. No more bragging rights to that big-tent democracy.Read more »

Caught in the FBI's net

A nationwide hunt for sexually exploited children wound up catching a few youth — and a lot more adult sex workers


The mission: Rescuing sexually exploited children. Who can argue with that?

From June 20 through June 23, the FBI and local police departments and district attorney's offices throughout the United States were engaged in Operation Cross Country, three days of stings targeting pimps for arrest.

According to the FBI, the mission was successful. "Nationwide, 79 children were rescued and 104 pimps were arrested for various state and local charges," a press statement released the following week reads.Read more »

Bringing the heat


On June 13, more than 400 people, mainly from law enforcement and non-profits, gathered for a conference in downtown Oakland’s Marriott Hotel. Outside, a group of angry protesters gave impassioned speeches before trying to enter the hotel. The complex set of issues involved? The conference was organized to discuss tactics for arresting and charging child sex traffickers, but the protesters said that the conference would do nothing but further the state’s harmful impact on the lives of sex workers.Read more »

The sex worker struggle

From Google to Whorespeak: SF's activists fight a complex, uphill battle but keep the dream of decriminalization alive


Google has come under fire in the past year for everything from privacy policies to censorship. But in December, some Bay Area residents were protesting the tech giant for a very different reason. The group that marched in front of the company's San Francisco office was angry over the company's donation to organizations fighting human trafficking.

The flyers declared, "Google: Please fund non-judgmental services for sex workers, NOT the morality crusaders that dehumanize us!"Read more »

High whore holy day: A San Francisco tradition turns nine


It was Saturday, December 17. A jazz funeral was being held for victims of violence against sex workers at the Center for Sex and Culture. Post-event, its message was still resonating in its attendees. “The holiday was beautiful," sex activist and post-porn star Annie Sprinkle told the Guardian about the ninth year of the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers that she helped to found. 

The tradition goes back to 2003, when hundreds of sex workers and their allies came together on the steps of San Francisco’s City Hall. Gary Ridgeway, Seattle’s “Green River Killer,” had just been convicted, having confessed to murdering 90 women over 20 years before he was caught. Prostitutes, he said, "were easy to pick up without being noticed...I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught.” Read more »

Period piece: The San Francisco prostitute march of 1917


One morning in January 1917, 300 prostitutes marched into the church of their biggest detractor, Reverend Paul J. Smith. They were ready to show the anti-vice crusader what they were made of. The women were organizing in the face of what had become a decades-long dwindling of their rights, spearheaded by the reverend himself.

The world’s oldest profession flourished in brothels all over the city during the Gold Rush, thanks to all those lonely 49ers. But sex work has never been uncontroversial -- and the local practice quickly accumulated its own critics.

Read more »