by Furry Girl
I'm late to mentioning the recent murders of sex workers in Long Island. Honestly, sometimes I just don't have the spare emotional bandwidth to write about profoundly depressing things.
Audacia Ray sums up the Long Island situation on The Red Umbrella Project with a call to action that has been circulating widely in the last couple of weeks, which I'm re-posting here as a reminder/signal booster:
In the week leading up to December 17, 2010 – the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers – the remains of four women who were killed while doing sex work were discovered on a beach in Long Island. Over the past two weeks, the remains of six more bodies have been found in the same area. Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer has requested that anyone involved in the sex industry who may have information about the disappearance of colleagues come forward and share this information with the police. But there remains a rather large barrier: prostitution is criminalized, and sex workers have no guarantee that we will be protected from prosecution if we step forward. Therefore, we are calling for amnesty for all prostitution related offenses in Suffolk County until the killer is apprehended.
If you are a sex worker or an ally of sex workers, please contact the office of the Suffolk County Police Commissioner and District Attorney and make this request. The Police Commissioner has been speaking publicly about this issue, but the DA has the ultimate authority to grant amnesty. We especially need people who live in the New York City / Long Island area, especially Suffolk county, to make calls and send emails. In your request, you can feel free to personalize with information about your experiences or feelings about these cases.
Here is a sample letter, which can be emailed to SCPDINFO@suffolkcountyny.gov and email@example.com:
Dear Commissioner Dormer and District Attorney Spota,
I am a sex worker / ally to sex workers who lives in Suffolk County / the greater New York City area and I am writing to express concerns my community has about the lack of protection police are offering to sex workers. During this time of extreme anxiety following the discovery of the remains of at least 10 people, it is important for you to extend goodwill to our community.
We appreciate that you have invited sex workers to come forward with information that may help in the investigation of these crimes, but we are requesting that you formally establish amnesty for prostitution related offenses until the killer has been apprehended. Declaring amnesty would go a long way in demonstrating that the police are serious about prioritizing the lives of sex workers.
Organizational affiliation (if any)
Sample phone script - you can call (631) 852-2677 (SCPD) and (631) 852 – 2575 (DA’s Homicide Bureau):
Hello, I am a sex worker / ally to sex workers who lives in Suffolk County / the greater New York City area. I am calling to request that DA Spota formally establish amnesty for prostitution related offenses until the serial killer is apprehended. If the police motto is to protect and serve, you must work harder to extend this to sex workers.
The precedent: In 2006, when the “Suffolk Strangler” case was developing in Ipswich, England, the police department responded positively for a demand for amnesty put forth by the English Collective of Prostitutes. While the homicide investigations were underway, British police didn’t arrest sex workers. Here is a piece about the request, and a follow up piece in which Assistant Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer is quoted saying, “The welfare of the prostitutes working in Suffolk is my priority at this time.” Let’s put pressure on the nearer Suffolk county to respond similarly.
[Edited to add: I sent my own email after posting this, incorporating a suggestion from Sequoia Redd: asking for the amnesty for both sex workers and their clients.]
Furry Girl: a good time not yet had by all.
- I operate SWAAY.org, an accessible sex workers' rights site that educates the general public about our lives and our issues.
- I've been vegan for 14 years because I don't believe in exploiting and killing others for my own petty amusements.
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New to my blog? Some favorite posts
- "You have no right to dislike feminism after all it's done for you!"
- "You misrepresent true feminism by focusing on the bad feminists. They're not real feminists anyway!"
- An argument for more sex workers to be out?
- Degrading, violent desires
- Do you have what it takes to be an empowered sex worker?
- Feminism is the shitty relationship you had in your early 20s
- Feminist porn isn't a branch of sex workers' rights, it's an obstacle
- How are we branding sex workers rights in the US? (Let's focus more on *worker*, less on *sex*!)
- How to do your homework on trafficking, "rescue", and the affected communities
- Let's stop pretending that "objectification" is a thing that exists
- Musings on ethical porn and the red herrings of "feminist porn" and "violent porn"
- My call for a "working" class uprising against inaccessible discourse and the over-representation of dabblers
- Sex trafficking is the new crack: manufactured "epidemics" as political tools
- The common logical fallacies deployed by anti-sex worker activists
- Things I've gained from being a sex worker: an anti-paternalistic perspective
- Vigilantism and 'crushing bastards': in praise of anger, hatred, and taking joy in the smiting of one's enemies
- Want to play BINGO with the antis?
- Watch out for psuedoscience: my long-time nemeses of concern trolling and "teaching the controversy"
- What do I mean when I say "sex worker"? Why I'm against an overly-broad definition
- Why I call them "anti-sex worker" rather than "anti-porn" or "anti-prostitution," and why you should too
Favorite sex/ho blogs
- Amanda Brooks
- Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers
- Belle de Jour
- Born Whore
- Bound, Not Gagged
- Dan Savage on SLOG
- Danny Wylde
- Jiz Lee
- Laura Agustín
- Lux Nightmare [2006-2007]
- Maggie McNeill
- Our Porn, Ourselves
- Sequoia Redd
- Serpent Libertine
- Sexonomics by Brooke Magnanti
- Shit They Say to Sex Workers
- Stuff Sex Workers Eat