Re: Influencers

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Altink s.m. (s.m.altink@ipr.nl)
Wed, 7 Oct 1998 10:43:11 +0200


Hello John Davies,

This issue has been subject to a long standing, still undecided debate.
I'll try to give you some of the results we have come up with.

Pimp: we only talk about pimps when it concerns individuals who use force
or are violent. In other cases we are talking about partners, sometimes
business-partners.
But this is where the first problem arises: a woman who is working might
call her partner a business -associate, but afterwards a pimp.

Then there are people who rent out rooms to prostitute, or who operate a
brothel. Popular opinion would call them pimps, but that is incorrect. We
call them 'exploitanten'. It is a Dutch word that for a foreigner may have
the connotation of exploiting, but it does not have it in the Netherlands
and Germany. The word exploitanten is neutral and refers to entrepeneurs in
and outside prostitution. People who have a joint where you can have
pancakes, people who own some attractions on funfairs are also called
exploitanten.
We always stress in our negatiations that there are good and bad
exploitants. The bad ones are the ones who extort money from sexworkers and
who have them work under 'exploitative conditions'. There are also some
exploitanten who act as a pimp on a personal level with some of the women
or men.

The chief criterium to distinguish between good and bad 'expliotanten' is
the respect for a sexworkers' sexual, psychological and physical integrity.
As in other non-sex business an exploitant should see to maintainance of
this respect during working hours.

 As sexual harassment is liable for punishment in for example an office, so
it should be in a brothel. When is a person considered to be a victim of
sexual harassment:
1. When he/she has a sexual contact with a person he/she doesn't like: so
prostitutes should be able to select their own clients.
2. When a person is forced to perform a sexual he/she doesn't like. So
sexworkers are their own agents in deciding which acts to perform or not.
3. When a person is forced to have sex at a time or against conditions
he/she doesn't want. So a sexworker should be his/her own agent in choosing
the time and conditions.

So this means it is all right just to rent out rooms, as long as the
exploitant does not interfere with the contacts with clients.
Now, there is a problem: in most brothels women work on a fifty-fifty
basis. That means the exploitant gets 50- or even 60% of the money a client
spends. So this exploitant has a financial interest in how long a sexworker
works, how many clients she takes and the price of the services she
renders. We think this percentage-system should be - excusez le mot- be
abolished for this reason.
 Our stand is: as long as a person has a financial interest in the amount
of work a sexworker performs and the time she/he invests in sexwork, there
is the danger of abuse or 'pimping'.
This can also occur when a bookkeeper who does administrative jobs for
sexworkers, is dependent on a certain amount of sexworkers who make a
certain amount of money. We have seen a few incidents in which bookkeepers
were disappointed when a woman wanted to quit, because that was harmful for
'bookkeeping business'. In much the same vein: doctors who visit brothels
to do medical check-ups on sexworkers, should not have a financial interest
in the amount of sexworkers that come for treatment. They should come in
and do their job and be paid for their time, without making extra money on
the selling of medicines and payment of individual prostitutes.
Unfortunately we have seen incidents of medical doctors who prescribed
medicines to perfectly healthy women, just to make some extra money on the
side.In another case a doctor turned a blind eye to abusive conditions
because he got paid for every individual who worked under those abusive
conditions. To our disappointment we have seen there is thin line between
servicing and a subtle way of abuse or 'pimping' .

So servicing prostitutes by outsiders is all right, provided the services
rendered are not dependent on the nature of the sexwork, the amount of
sexwork, and the amount of sexworkers.
That is why I am also very curious about your plan for servicing migrant
sexworkers in Greece. Similar plans have been concocted here in the
Netherlands, but have always been discarded as not feasible or liable for
abuse.
Please email it. Unfortunately I cannot offer you information in English in
return. All information we have in English will shortly appear on the
Website of the Red Thread
which is still under 'construction'.

sietske altink

----------
> Van: John Davies <Tanya@tesco.net>
> Aan: Multiple recipients of list <stop-traffic@solar.cini.utk.edu>
> Onderwerp: Re: Influencers
> Datum: dinsdag 6 oktober 1998 14:45
>
> This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
>
> ------=_NextPart_000_0019_01BDF12D.06306860
> Content-Type: text/plain;
> charset="iso-8859-1"
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
>
> Dear List,
>
> I have arrived late to the discussion regarding the exchange about =
> pimps, however I believe that the exchange shows the inadequacies of the
=
> language used in the sex work discourse.
>
> I have been greatly concerned that we are unable to effectively =
> distinguish between various managerial participants in sex work and =
> specifically we are unable to separate the individuals involved as =
> beneficial, benign, or abusive to other participants in sex work.
>
> I have met sex work managers who were very exploitative and abusive, I =
> have met others who have been very supportive and generous. I don't =
> think pimp would be a good description of either, even if it is used to =
> self-identitfy. I worked for several years before and while at =
> University in catering and I met similar sorts of managers there.=20
>
> I believe that sex work's exclusion from basic labour law protection =
> allows abusive managers to continue in their abuse and to engage in more
=
> brutal exploitation than if labour law was applicable. These abuses =
> should be acknowleged and then confronted, however I find the appellant =
> Pimp not very useful when trying to address the issue.
>
> I don't think Pimp is a good description when it can apply to someone's =
> partner, mother, manager, agent, etc.. It makes any discourse strain =
> under the burden of its opprobrium and as such can easily prevent =
> effective discourse.
>
> I believe that Cheryl Overs has supplied us with an excellent generic =
> title with the word "influencers" , and I believe manager or agent would
=
> also suffice as both allow for qualification by such prefixs as abusive,
=
> exploitative, or excellent.
>
> I believe Pimp lends itself too easily to rhetoric, and by allowing =
> offence to be genuinely taken or imagined it appears to be a hinderance =
> to the debate. I realise that there is a move within North America and =
> parts of Europe to reclaim the use of such words as prostitute, whore =
> and pimp, but I find such reclaimation to be a minefield when applied =
> unevenly to a wider audience that extends beyond the reclaimers.
>
> In conclusion, I do not believe that Pimp is a very useful word in the =
> debate around abuse in the sex work environment and I would encourage =
> everyone to consider alternatives.
>
> Best regards
>
> John Davies
>
>
>
> ------=_NextPart_000_0019_01BDF12D.06306860
> Content-Type: text/html;
> charset="iso-8859-1"
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
>
> <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD W3 HTML//EN">
> <HTML>
> <HEAD>
>
> <META content=3Dtext/html;charset=3Diso-8859-1 =
> http-equiv=3DContent-Type>
> <META content=3D'"MSHTML 4.72.3110.7"' name=3DGENERATOR>
> </HEAD>
> <BODY bgColor=3D#ffffff>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2>Dear List,</FONT></DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2>I have arrived late to the discussion regarding the =
> exchange=20
> about pimps, however I believe that the exchange shows the inadequacies =
> of the=20
> language used in the sex work discourse.</FONT></DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2>I have been greatly concerned that we are unable
to=20
> effectively distinguish between various managerial participants in sex =
> work and=20
> specifically we are unable to separate the individuals involved as =
> beneficial,=20
> benign, or abusive to other participants in sex work.</FONT></DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2>I have met sex work managers who were very =
> exploitative and=20
> abusive, I have met others who have been very supportive and generous. I
=
> don't=20
> think pimp would be a good description of either, even if it is used
to=20
> self-identitfy. I worked for several years before and while at =
> University in=20
> catering and I met similar sorts of managers there. </FONT></DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2>I believe that sex work's exclusion from basic =
> labour law=20
> protection allows abusive managers to continue in their abuse and to =
> engage in=20
> more brutal exploitation than if labour law was applicable. These abuses
=
> should=20
> be acknowleged and then confronted, however I find the appellant Pimp =
> not very=20
> useful when trying to address the issue.</FONT></DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2>I don't think Pimp is a good description when it can
=
> apply to=20
> someone's partner, mother, manager, agent, etc.. It makes any discourse =
> strain=20
> under the burden of its opprobrium and as such can easily prevent =
> effective=20
> discourse.</FONT></DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2>I believe that Cheryl Overs has supplied us with an =
> excellent=20
> generic title with the word &quot;influencers&quot; , and I believe =
> manager or=20
> agent would also suffice as both allow for qualification by such prefixs
=
> as=20
> abusive, exploitative, or excellent.</FONT></DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2>I believe Pimp lends itself too easily to rhetoric, =
> and by=20
> allowing offence to be genuinely taken or imagined it appears to be a =
> hinderance=20
> to the debate. I realise that there is a move within North America and =
> parts of=20
> Europe to reclaim the use of such words as prostitute, whore and pimp, =
> but I=20
> find such reclaimation to be a minefield when applied unevenly to a =
> wider=20
> audience that extends beyond the reclaimers.</FONT></DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2>In conclusion, I do not believe that Pimp is a very =
> useful=20
> word in the debate around abuse in the sex work environment and I
would=20
> encourage everyone to consider alternatives.</FONT></DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2>Best regards</FONT></DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2>John Davies</FONT></DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
> <DIV><FONT size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV></BODY></HTML>
>
> ------=_NextPart_000_0019_01BDF12D.06306860--
From penet@bayswan.org Wed Oct 7 15:31:00 1998
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Date: Wed, 7 Oct 1998 12:36:43 -0800
To: stop-traffic@SOLAR.RTD.UTK.EDU
From: Carol Leigh <penet@bayswan.org>
Subject: Re: Influencers

>Hello John Davies,
>
>This issue has been subject to a long standing, still undecided debate.
>I'll try to give you some of the results we have come up with.
>
>Pimp: we only talk about pimps when it concerns individuals who use force
>or are violent. In other cases we are talking about partners, sometimes
>business-partners.

One of the problems that concerns me about the use of the term is that,
given the problematic aspect of anti-pimping legislation, using the word
pimp as a negative without mentioning the adverse way the anti-pimping laws
effect prostitutes tacitly supports the anti-pimping laws. This may be
more of an issue in more criminalized systems than the Netherlands?

On my local front, my allies at Exotic Dancers' Alliance are asking that
pimping laws be used against strip club owners who are pushing dancers
toward prostitution through demanding $100 - $200 a day to work at strip
clubs. Although the EDA supports decriminalization and is opposed to
anti-pimping laws, they have decided that they want to use whatever is
available to get recourse. It hasn't worked, however, for many reasons
including that the police are paid off by the owners and won't use the laws
against them anyway. There are other avenues for recourse, like labor
laws, but the labor laws are weak in this area. Most recently the dancers
have decided that they need to change state laws regarding commissions in
the sex industry. It seems that various conditions and industries are
regulated separately.

>Then there are people who rent out rooms to prostitute, or who operate a
>brothel. Popular opinion would call them pimps, but that is incorrect. We
>call them 'exploitanten'. It is a Dutch word that for a foreigner may have
>the connotation of exploiting, but it does not have it in the Netherlands
>and Germany. The word exploitanten is neutral and refers to entrepeneurs in
>and outside prostitution.

Exploitation also has (at least) two meanings in English, one being the
above, and another with a more negative connotation.

People who have a joint where you can have
>pancakes, people who own some attractions on funfairs are also called
>exploitanten.
>We always stress in our negatiations that there are good and bad
>exploitants. The bad ones are the ones who extort money from sexworkers and
>who have them work under 'exploitative conditions'. There are also some
>exploitanten who act as a pimp on a personal level with some of the women
>or men.

I would not object so much to use of the word pimp as a negative if the
anti-pimping laws were not so problematic for prostitutes. I know in the
Netherlands, they have similiar laws, but I don't know how often they are
used, and I hear there is an effort to change the laws in order to regulate
businesses.

>The chief criterium to distinguish between good and bad 'expliotanten' is
>the respect for a sexworkers' sexual, psychological and physical integrity.
>As in other non-sex business an exploitant should see to maintainance of
>this respect during working hours.

What do you think about the laws re: owners who employ workers who may be
forced by others, etc. This has also come up around clients in questions of
ethics. How does and could legislation best work around these issues?

> As sexual harassment is liable for punishment in for example an office, so
>it should be in a brothel. When is a person considered to be a victim of
>sexual harassment:
>1. When he/she has a sexual contact with a person he/she doesn't like: so
>prostitutes should be able to select their own clients.

What about discrimination issues in this regard?

>2. When a person is forced to perform a sexual he/she doesn't like. So
>sexworkers are their own agents in deciding which acts to perform or not.
>3. When a person is forced to have sex at a time or against conditions
>he/she doesn't want. So a sexworker should be his/her own agent in choosing
>the time and conditions.

>So this means it is all right just to rent out rooms, as long as the
>exploitant does not interfere with the contacts with clients.
>Now, there is a problem: in most brothels women work on a fifty-fifty
>basis. That means the exploitant gets 50- or even 60% of the money a client
>spends.

I would think that that is a very important frontier re: labor regulations.
50% seems like too much. Are there precidents anywhere for regulating
commission amounts. There are in the US for other aspects of commissions.

 So this exploitant has a financial interest in how long a sexworker
>works, how many clients she takes and the price of the services she
>renders. We think this percentage-system should be - excusez le mot- be
>abolished for this reason.

> Our stand is: as long as a person has a financial interest in the amount
>of work a sexworker performs and the time she/he invests in sexwork, there
>is the danger of abuse or 'pimping'.

But I would think that some financial interest is reasonable? What about
regualtion of percentages. Although I don't like a licensed system for
reasons currently demonstrated in Taiwan (ie the workers had their licenses
pulled and are suffering greatly, denied international travel, etc.) in
Taiwan the owners were limited to thirty percent and the dates were 15
minutes long....if I remember correctly...

 They should come in
>and do their job and be paid for their time, without making extra money on
>the selling of medicines and payment of individual prostitutes.
>Unfortunately we have seen incidents of medical doctors who prescribed
>medicines to perfectly healthy women, just to make some extra money on the
>side.In another case a doctor turned a blind eye to abusive conditions
>because he got paid for every individual who worked under those abusive
>conditions. To our disappointment we have seen there is thin line between
>servicing and a subtle way of abuse or 'pimping' .

This would be the same for any severley marginalized population, I would
imagine. The word pimping would be stigmatizing the sex industry, then...

>So servicing prostitutes by outsiders is all right, provided the services
>rendered are not dependent on the nature of the sexwork, the amount of
>sexwork, and the amount of sexworkers.

I don't understand what types of relationships would be outside the above.
Is this related to current efforts to regulate third party management in
the Netherlands? If I recall, several years agao there were efforts in
that direction, but sex workers withdrew support because of problematic
regulations? What options are proposed in this new context?

Carol Leigh
Prostitutes' Education Network
http://www.bayswan.org/penet.html


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