The outing epidemic

How can i get you off...

It happened again a sex worker preemptively outed herself. This time it was the twitter sensation “TeleEroticist” a phone sex operator who with a popular twitter feed where she was both witty and interesting detailing her work as a PSO. Some dude who knew her in her real life decided he was going to out her and  he took steps. She outed herself as a preemptive strike.  Bell De Jour the blogger turned novelist, turned subject of a Showtime TV series about hooking was finally forced to out herself when an ex decided he was going to out her. It sucks, this is just the latest example. It’s an epidemic. I don’t know a escort that hasn’t at least been threatened with being outed.  Some run scared, go underground and come back with a new name persona so they can keep working in peace but they always look over their shoulder. Some do what TeleEroticist an Belle De Jour did and out themselves before some douche bag can do it for them.

Some power hungry, or angry dude always seems to be at the bottom of it though sometimes its some power hungry angry chick though that’s not as common. Someone who feels powerless or slighted or out of control. they try to assert some kind of control over a sex worker, they want to frighten her, hurt her, ruin her.  Its prevalent, constant and always there. Hobbyist, client, friend, lover,  someone you trusted at some point or someone who went out of their way to dig out your real identity. Its an epidemic.

Look out for the whores!

There’s this big fear among men who fuck hookers that the escorts will blackmail them. This fear is stoked in the fire of the message board grunt, scratch, locker room culture. It’s whispered about in private groups of whore mongers “watch out for the whores, they all want to blackmail you” its posted about on private men boards. its grown from a little seedling into a giant oak. And though i’m sure there have been occasions where some unscrupulous hooker blackmailed someone (usually someone famous or notable so it makes the papers) its not common, it almost never happens, its rare. but if you read the men’s board you’d think it was happening several times a day to just about everyone who’s ever thought about fucking a whore.

In contrast, almost every escort i know has dealt with some form of being outed. From handling general threats from anonymous emails, to dealing with admins and hosting companies in attempts to get  their info removed from websites dedicated to outing sex workers, to hiring lawyers, getting TROs, moving to other states or paying for family reconciliation therapy after their family receives a plain brown paper envelope with print outs detailing their life as a sex worker. It happens way more then it should. I myself have had my dealings with this situation which is on going. It’s an epidemic.

I don’t see this stopping anytime soon. as long as escorting is stigmatized it will continue. As long as there are angry people misdirecting their rage at whores it will continue. As long as we as a group are forced to live and work underground and off the grid it will continue.

TeleEroticist chose to take control and out herself. I applaud and support her decision to do so but it sucks she had to make that choice. Being a legal sex worker she will have to deal with the fall out in a different way then if she was an illegal sex worker and also had to worry about being arrested for what she does along with the stigma of being branded a whore, for talking to men on the phone about sex.  And from what i hear…. shes rather good at it.

Vetting

Information is power

What is vetting?

Websters says vetting is: b : to evaluate for possible approval or acceptance <vet the candidates for a position>

How does vetting work in the escort world. Well escorts get vetted by potential clients. They read our websites, they read out reviews, they read our blogs, our twitter our board posts. some potential clients go over everything we’ve ever said with a fine tooth comb. they even are encouraged by other whore mongers to  message people who have written reviews about us to ask for information what was not included in the review. we get vetted up one side and down the other so potential clients can make what they feel is an informed decision before they purchase a tasty hour or more of our time.

The info is out there for them to review, go over,  assess. Okay,  I’m cool with that. I think just as many people cross you off their list as put you on when they vet you and try to determine if you are a good fit for them.

Escorts verify clients, we dont necessarily “vet” them. We want to know two things. 1. are they safe. 2. are they who they are telling me they are. However we do vet other escorts. We don’t do it to see if they are someone we want to spend an hour of intimate time with but to determine if we want to accept them as a referring provider.

This is something that doesn’t get discussed often because its a hot button issue and is more likely to be talked about in smaller personal groups of friends within the business.  However it should be part of the larger conversation on ways to stay safe as an escort.

The reference system is one way we stay safe. Not everyone participates in it, no one is required to give you a reference you are not required to give one to anyone else but its a widely accepted practice. A professional courtesy you give both your client and you colleagues.

Who ...are....you....

Whose reference you accept matters. Often you are given a ref of a lady you know, you’veheard of, or may even be a friend. Great that makes it easy. However there are times when you have never heard of the name you are given. You need to vet the reference.  You need to research her, read her site, blog, twitter, does she even have those things? Does anyone you know, know her? Heard of her? Is she known for being risky? Does she have a back channel rep for not screening, is she “managed” yeah thats not so thinly veiled code for pimped. All information you should take into consideration when deciding if you should accept a reference. Just like all money isn’t good money, all references are not golden.

If a provider gets arrested and makes the papers and you get her as a ref from a client you might wanna pass on that and find a different way to screen your potential client. Hell,  if that were me id be “unavailable” to that specific client… yanno  forever.  Then  I’m  very stringent. Not everyone is. If a escort starts telling everyone how she screens in a public forum it might make her process easier to get around and you would want to weight her ref  accordingly. It makes her an easier target for being busted and possibly flipped.

Shady people try to get around screening, they really try to get around refs. There have been instances where “fake providers” were made up with that sole purpose in mind. So vetting your ref is important, even if its  just to weed out the ass hats who think they are smarter then you, let alone those that wish to take away your freedom and have resources that your average douche-bag doesn’t have.

So vet and weight the info. Do your research, your homework or whatever you wanna call it. Its important, it will keep you breathing, it will keep you free and yeah its time consuming but its worth it. Call it the cost of doing business, invest in making yourself a part of escort only forums, so you can easily share information with your colleagues. Just as other trades have business associations escorts do to be a part of them.

Not the fun kind

I recently was given a reference from a client for a girl i knew to have been popped on more then a few occasions,  she often chose not to screen. I could not accept her as a ref. Shes a really nice girl and actually i like her a lot as a person. However her being a nice person won’t keep my ass out of jail and when you work in a business that’s is against the law you need to do everything you can to .. here i go again… to minimize your risk. Taking that nice girl as a reference wasn’t going to minimize my personal risk.

One way to do that is to vet your reference…

Trade Secrets

Miss Barbara knows how to screen

An escort screening her clients is the number one thing she can do to stay safe in this often risky business. You MUST know who you will be opening the door to. Its an imperative, it will keep you free and it will keep you alive. Devising a screening process and staying on top of that process and keeping it current and relevant is something every escort must do and those that don’t will eventually end up in jail, hurt, or dead.

Screening is important. I will shout from the roof tops and often have how important it is to screen. I will also be just as vocal and just as passionate about how you do NOT give the “how” of screening techniques to non escorts. How you do not make that very important process available to just anyone. The HOW of screening, the specifics of what we do to verify and know who it is that will cross our door is a trade secret. Its a complicated process and there’s the 100 ways to skin a cat element as well as geographical concerns among many other nuances that need to be taken in to account. Its information we trade among each other and do not give to people who are outside the trade. Its generally accepted that this is need to know information. There are private message boards, Yahoo groups, Google groups national and local boards that have ladies sections, escort only sections, where people who have been in the business a while can share what they’ve learned and pass that knowledge on to others who might need it. Where the prying eyes of shady people and government agencies don’t have free rein . They are closed forums you often have to prove your legitimacy as an escort to gain access to them and they are closed for a very real reason. To keep people safe.

Not a bracelet you want to wear

Once you tell someone how you do something you then have opened up a way for them to get around that process and get around it they will and they have. Your process becomes obsolete, it no longer keeps you safe and you rely on that process to keep you out of jail and to keep you breathing. Your screening process is your number one defense. Your greatest risk management tool. Which is why i was so very upset when i came across a link to a blog on twitter. A blog that detailed screening techniques of escorts.

At  the recent sex workers conference which was held in Vegas there was a panel on screening. Though i didn’t  attend the conference many people i know did and many people i know helped plan the event. People put in a lot of hard work and still others got a lot out of going to the event. The moderator of this particular panel after the conference put up a blog post with the notes from the conference detailing some specific escort screening techniques as well as the full audio of the panel in question.I don’t know who the panel speakers were i only recognised one name of one current respected working escort. The moderator was himself not an escort. It wasn’t just about escort screening but also touched on other areas of legal sex work and screening for them.

Now i have issue with the blog post itself, as there is so much bad info mixed in with the screening techniques that it not only does harm one way but other ways as well and if it was posted  in private escort only form i would have spoke up about the bad info and detailed why i felt it wasn’t viable and not to be relied on but it was public  and not private forum where this trade info was posted and my main concern was to try to reason with the blog owner to take the info down or edit out the escort screening techniques specifics.

No Daddys needed

The blog owner decide to leave it it. This person who is NOT an escort decided he said with the input of some other people to leave the information available  to all who wished to find it including LE, creepy douchebags who like to hurt women and blacklisted clients.

I suppose this person doesn’t field requests from law enforcement who try to  book appointments and want to take people to jail. I suppose this person doesn’t have to field requests from angry men who think escorts are easy prey  and targets  because what they do is illegal and they think they can get away with robbing us,  harming us and even killing us. But i do, my colleagues do, we do on a daily basis

On my website anyone can see what I ask my potential clients to provide, someone might think  based on that they can tell how i screen but that wouldn’t be the case. Telling someone what info you need  and detailing to  someone what you do with that information are two very different things!  We need screening to be a bit mystified for the general population. Its a trade secret, it needs to remain a trade secret or it puts all of us in danger.

Is it a chance you wish to take?

Is this another case of someone who is not an escort knowing whats best for escorts? Possibly, I mean were to stupid to know our business and whats best for us… right? We need someone who is not in the business to tell us whats best for us. I don’t believe this person has malicious intentions but they are not self identified  as an escort, they do not live it and breath it on the daily. They do not invite strangers into their room to fuck them for money, so they do NOT Know . Hobbyist and clients often think they know all about what its like to be an escort but they don’t they know what its like to be a client. bloggers know knows what its like to be a blogger and though we can all empathise and educate our selves to be as clear as we can about areas of sex work that are not specific to us when you start to think you know whats best for another sex workers area of expertise and actively do something to further YOUR agenda on the matter then you have crossed the damn line. A line has definitely been crossed here.

I get email from new girls to the business regularly and i always do my best to help them out if i can. I’m not the only one who does this.  Many long time working girls when approached personally will share what they know.  We reference other girls into private groups, just as we reference our clients to other girls. We help them them get listed with screening services , websites and forums. We give back but we do it privately because if you think Law Enforcement doesn’t have its finger on the pulse or that creepy motherfuckers dont scour the net for ways to get round the process we put into place you would be dead… ass…wrong. They do.

Are you willing to put someones life at risk because you think you know whats best for escorts and how they handle their business? Because that’s what we’re talking about here. Are you ready to be responsible for a working girl losing her freedom, her kids, her livelihood because YOU know whats best for her. Its not a bloggers ass on the line… its mine, its my colleagues its the hundreds of working girls who go out there every day and do the best they can to manage their risk so they can come home from work and enjoy their lives.

Sometimes you have to take a stand

I thought long and hard before i decided to write this, i know not everyone will agree with me and that there is a small faction of escorts out there that think that putting this out there helps people get access to info they need and it does. It also arms those that wish to do those very same people harm with a way to do it.  I know that info about screening has been leaked other places but this was information that was shared at a sex workers conference where it was supposed to be a safe place for sex workers and its now up on a fully search-able, googleable, indexed public blog and it was put up there by a panel moderator. I cant believe the short sightedness of this terrible decision. I’m floored by the irresponsibility of the whole thing. This isn’t keeping sex workers safe and its just plain wrong. I cant just stand by and be silent and let this pass. Remaining silent on the subject is the same as supporting it and i fully strongly and 100% do not support providing non escorts the details of how we as a group screen our clients to remain safe.

I’m not linking the blog because my readers are vast and this isn’t a closed forum but if you are a sex worker and don’t already know of which blog I’m speaking about email me jenny@goodtimejnny.com and i will mail you the link.

Hostess doesn’t tell you how they make Twinkies because its a TRADE SECRET  but if the Hostess Twinkies recipe was to be decimated to the bakery community at large the end result would never be that a women lost her freedom or ended up murdered in a strange cities hotel room.

Update: 8/5/10 The blog owner of the blog in question sent me an email asking for a couple days to try to work this out and im hopeful that it can be.

Everything starts with a strong determination.

A donut without a hole, is a Danish

Sometimes is not easy being the ball. I’m not wired to let things go and its never easy for me not to give a shit. I’m working to change that. Today i need to try twice as hard to crawl out of the crab barrel before the other crabs pull me back down.

What kinds of causes am I making right now? “What actions am I taking? The answers to these questions are what will determine my future.

Don’t think i dont know that I’m blowing your mind