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In a previous post (actually a cross post) Laura Agustin references inaccuracies written by Kajsa Ekis Ekman in her book Varat och varan. You can read Laura’s response “HERE” .
In the same book this anti sex work feminist makes some accusations about myself, especially in relation to the IUSW (International Union of Sex workers).
Ekmen made claims that I run the IUSW. I do not. I never have run the IUSW or even had a position of authority within that organisation other than briefly to hold the position of treasurer when a separate IUSW bank account was opened.
Ekman claims that I am an escort agency owner/manager and therefore my membership invalidates the IUSW as a representative union for sex workers. I am however not an agency owner or even manager. The IUSW is not as far as I know run by people holding any such positions within the sex industry. She has no proof that it is or that I am an owner/manager other than some early naive press interviews with myself and some misinformed blogging and accusations made against me by anti sex work campaigners.
If Ekman had bothered to do her research fully, perhaps interviewed myself or others or read articles written by myself then she would have been in a position to report the truth about myself and my relationship with both the IUSW and the IUSW GMB sex workers branch. The IUSW and the IUSW London GMB branch are two separate organisations. The fact that I am an activist who writes about sex work and who campaigns for sex workers rights, often under the IUSW banner, does not imply that I either run the organisation or even have any influence. It simply suggests that I support the aims and objectives of that organisation
I will however make the following statement that I hope people like Ekman will read.
Firstly I am not an escort agency owner or manager. I am and always have been an independent (although I have worked occasionally through escort agencies) gay male escort. My civil partner owns and runs an escort agency. I have always been very open about this. The confusion that arose at the beginning of my campaign work I accept was my fault. But those early mistakes have since been corrected many times.
I first became involved in sex worker rights after a court case when my partner was arrested for living off immoral earnings. As his life partner I was also arrested and charged with the same offence. Arresting partners and charging them with that offence was then very common.
The subsequent publicity both during the case and afterwards (we won the case) meant that I was presented in the press as an agency owner. When I first started speaking publicly therefore it was easier to get attention from the press by speaking alongside or even for my civil partner.
I have spoken in a previous “article” about the problems that anyone who is out in this business has to face. The stigma and intrusion into your personal life does not just affect you personally but also your family and friends. I therefore offer no apology that it took time before I felt confident enough to be totally open about who I am and what I do.
Secondly the IUSW and the IUSW GMB branch are two very different and independent organisations with separate constitutions and rules governing them.
The GMB sex worker branch is organised and run by the GMB under GMB rules and constitution.
The IUSW is an independent organisation which advocates for sex worker rights and governed by its own constitution and rules. I am no longer on the IUSW list, (there is no formal membership). So therefore I really no longer am truly part of the IUSW. I remain a GMB member however just like thousands of other UK citizens. Membership of he GMB is governed by the GMB not the IUSW so to blame the IUSW for GMB membership rules is wrong.
In conclusion I second comments made by Laura in her response to Ekman where she suggests that unionisation is only one form of representation and organisation open to sex workers. That said, trades union representation in my opinion is important because it legitimises sex work as labour. As a sex worker I reject all claims made by anti sex work (who are also in my view anti human rights) groups that sex work is not legitimate labour but rather coerced and abusive exploitation. Coerced and forced labour exists in all forms of labour but is not exclusive to sex work. To claim that it is is in itself a human rights abuse because it legitimises state persecution of sex workers.
I will not make any further public announcement to refute claims made by anti sex work campaigners about who I am or about my work as a sex worker. Personally I don’t especially care about being called names or having untruths told about me by anti sex work campaigners. I take it as being part of the job as an activist. I object however when untruths about me are used to dismiss sex workers voices.
If anti sex work campaigners want to write about me there is plenty of up to date information on this blog or very soon on my own personal blog. Better still speak to me personally or email me at email@example.com