Tag Archives: Craigslist

To disclose or not to disclose that is the question…..

I always wanted to give the women a chance to answer the questions and allegations that were being asked and reported by the newspapers and the television stations.  It is difficult for someone to come forward to speak out, especially in the Asian culture.

DanielleThis is “Danielle”.  Actually “Danielle” is not her real name.  Danielle is actually the name of one of my college roommates.  (I changed the names of all the women in my film to women who I had as roommates at the ultra-Catholic Providence College, but that is another story)  When I was making the film I wanted to give the women a voice while not “outing” them.  Many of these women have children.

A few weeks ago the Providence Journal ran a story about a woman who was working through craigslist and was attacked by a customer.  The majority of this story reported how she did not want her name published.  I will not put a link to the story, because I do not want to spread the woman’s name even more, but here is a link to Waking Vixen a blog by Audacia Ray.  In this blog, the article is reprinted and names redacted.

Now the Providence Journal is the biggest and only paper in Rhode Island.  They set the agenda for RI.  They have obviously taken the position that they want to publish names of women, how can I work with them to get the message out that the women in the spas are not victims while protecting the identity of the women?

Today I met with one of the reporters who has been following the progress of the legislation.  I brought “Danielle” who gave an interview with the understanding that her name would not be printed.  Before “Danielle” began the interview, she was told that the story would probably not be printed because she did not want to give her name.  She was told that the only paper that could do that was the Washington Post or the NY Times, and that was for political insiders.  I sat there thinking it was ironic that newspapers could protect the identity of politicians but not prostitutes.  “Danielle” gave the interview anyway, and gave an incredible in depth interview on her own life and the workings of the spas.  She said she would consider allowing her name to be released, because she hopes that her truth will allow people to reconsider changing the law.

Before the interview I had “Danielle” dictate a letter to me that I can read when I testify at the next hearing on the bill.  I hope that her letter will  help a human face on the issue.  I will post the letter in my next blog.

Sad day for civil liberties

Today was a double blow to the rights of sex workers, or any one who believes in civil liberties.  Today Craig’s List announced they will be removing the “Erotic Service’s” section of their listings.  I believe they have good intentions, but as the saying goes, good intentions line the pathway to hell.

I know the pressure craigslist must have been under to make this decision, but they should have not buckled under.  Who knows how this will effect the industry.  I thought it was a bad move when they began charging and requiring a credit card and phone number to post an ad.  The reason I didn’t agree with that step was I thought that the site in its former capacity gave the woman or worker the tools to control their own ads.  When they made the first change they might have made it too difficult for some of the workers to post ads, and forced some of the women or workers out on to the street.  Now that they have removed the “erotic section” who knows what will happen.  They say they will put an “adult services” section in its place and have every ad reviewed by an employee, but how can you know what that employees adgenda is?

Also in today’s news, Rhode Island took the first step in creating a law to make prostitution illegal in the state.  It is reported as “closing the loophole” and I always found that interesting.  I don’t know how you say it is a loophole when you don’t have a law?  Or is it a loophole that it is illegal to smoke inside but not outside?  Is it a loophole when you can drink in your house and not on the sidewalk?  I always get a kick out of that tag “loophole”.

I actually tried to watch the vote, but as usual I was running a little late, and they rushed the bill through.  I heard them pass it on the radio.  You could hear the speaker of the House say “Every one in your seats, we are going to lock the board.”  Not much debate happened.  I don’t know what the chances are of it actually getting put on the Senate calendar, but I am going to write to everyone in the Senate and ask them to vote against the bill.  When you look at the reaction of the local residents on the radio and on the projo blog, most don’t want it to pass.  We will see what happens.

If you live in Rhode Island, please contact your senator.  Here is a list of their email addresses.

Guest blog by “Chris” from Happy Endings?

In response to more raids “Chris” has written this, and I am including it in my blog.  It is titled “What I know, What I don’t know.”

I know that human trafficking is wrong and any one involved in trafficking humans should be punished.


I don’t know why, since the mid-nineties the FBI, IRS, ICE, state and local police have spent millions of dollars and man hours investigating the Asian businesses in Rhode Island and no one has been charged or found guilty with human trafficking.


I know that there has never been a report of guns, drugs, or violence in any of RI’s Asian businesses.


I don’t know why it takes ten police men to raid Asian businesses in RI (with out the help of translators), while the raids were under the guise of “Helping the women”.


I know that there has never been a crime committed or charged against any of the women in the Asian businesses in RI.  I know the customers have never filed complaints with the police about being robbed, and the workers have never filed any complaints against the customers.


I don’t know why a private transaction between two consenting adults, where no client or provider has complained of crime, would be investigated.


I know that since 1982 there has been no law in Rhode Island against indoor prostitution.


I don’t know how hundreds of Asian women were arrested for the crime of prostitution, prosecuted for the crime, and the lawyers were allowed to profit, while pleading women guilty to breaking a law that didn’t exist.


I know 48 states have laws against prostitution, where both the client and service provider are breaking the law, but the service providers are arrested at a 10 to 1 ratio to the clients.


I don’t know why in 14 years of raiding Asian businesses in RI, not one customer has been arrested, humiliated, and ridiculed by police, yet the service providers are subjected to arrest, humiliation, and ridicule, and even have had their names printed in the paper.


I know that “massage” occurs in strip clubs in Rhode Island.


I don’t know why women in Asian businesses were singled out to be arrested for “massage with out a license”?


I know if you look in Craig list you will find escorts and adult ads from providers of all nationalities and ethnic groups.


I don’t know why only the Asian businesses have been targeted by police, media, and politicians.


I know statistics on human trafficking shows the majority of the victims are young Caucasian women.


I don’t know why Human trafficking has been linked to RI’s Asian businesses, when in 14 years of investigating no link has been proven, and the women in the Asian businesses are between 30 and 50 years old and Asian, not fitting the profile of human trafficking victims.


I know there is a bill pending in the RI’s legislation to re-criminalize prostitution.


I don’t know how this bill will help any woman who engages in sex work for a living.


I know there is safety in numbers, and the women working together in Asian businesses are and have not been murdered, robbed, or beaten.


I don’t know why the focus has been put on the Asian businesses in RI, when independent providers have been victims of “The Craig list Killer” and Jeffery Mailhot.


I know if we criminalize prostitution we are not helping the women or men who participate in this private exchange between consenting adults.


I know that legalizing prostitution would mandate health checks, regulation, and tax revenue.


I don’t know why we would criminalize an activity that exists in every corner of the world, driving the industry underground and making it unsafe for all those involved.


I know if sex work was legal, we could use the regulations to make sure all the participants were willing and of legal age, driving out human traffickers.


I don’t know why we would change the prostitution law to help the women, when not one woman in the Asian businesses has asked for help.


I know that sex work is the world’s oldest profession, and no law will eradicate its existence.


I don’t know why we don’t spend the same effort and money to go after the reasons women are in sex work and not the women.


I know that money is the ultimate pimp, and as long as it is financially beneficial, prostitution will exist.  

Craigslist Killer hits in RI

After all the debate about prostitution being legal in Rhode Island, the Craigslist Killer has struck in our state.  I think this shows that we need to keep prostitution safe, and regulate it.  If you notice, there has never been any violence, murder, or robbery in any of the Asian massage parlors.  That is because there are usually 4-6 women working together, and there is safety in numbers.  A man wouldn’t be able to rob or kill a worker there because she is protected.  If we change the law, the women will be forced to work independently, and we will probably have more news about people like the Craigslist Killer and Jeffery Mailhot who killed a bunch of women working in the streets of Woonsocket back in 2004.