Maxine Doogan of the Erotic Service Providers Union posted about the legislation over Bay Area Indymedia. Lisa Roellig, also of ESPU, has this to say over at Bound, Not Gagged:
TVPRA 2007/11 passed the house Tuesday. Below is the link for anyone who has the time to read it in in its entirety. The sections relating to the sex industry clearly conflate all sex work with sex trafficking and the consequences for all workers in our industry I believe could be quite horrific. I believe the passage of the TVPRA 2007/11 through the house should be considered an emergency and all workers and allies should mobilize before the legislation gets to the Senate for a vote.Roellig raises an interesting question about how this affects the porn industry and porn industry workers, since porn models often travel internationally for the purpose of having sex on camera. Under present American legal interpretation, hiring somebody to act in a porn movie is considered distinct from prostitution under the legal precedent established by California v. Freeman; however, this decision is not binding outside of California (even though porn is shot in quite a few other US States) and is not binding on the Federal government. Hence, the Federal government could very well use this legislation to come down on porn production involving an international cast. (I've also heard some suggestions about attempting to apply Lawrence v. Texas to commercial sexual encounters, but as of yet, this is an entirely untested approach.)
I want to know if the porn industry has had any concerns with this legislation. In reading the legislation, I believe sex workers who work on camera have every reason to be as concerned as the sex workers who work “off camera.”
The most troubling aspect of this legislation is that not only does it conflate all sex work with sex trafficking but also that for the way our industry operates, where workers are frequently crossing borders to work, be it national or international, the potential for massive arrests and long periods of prison time are very distressing. Note, up to 10 years for the worker and up to 30 years for the support staff.
Anybody else feeling this?
The area of international anti-trafficking legislation is an area where "porn lobby" groups like the Free Speech Coalition have been really asleep at the wheel and needs to be more on top of.
Writing one's Senators and asking them to remove the "sex tourism" section and similar sections of the bill as harmful toward sex workers and criminalizing legal, consensual behavior might be worthwhile, though considering the sexual conservatism of most politicians and the overwrought rhetoric of prostitution abolitionists, changing politicians minds on the subject is a long shot. But then again, hearing more "I support sex workers, oppose the criminalization of consensual adult behaviors, and, BTW, I vote" messages from their constituency might just plant a seed.
Oh, and one other thing struck me about this legislation – about a month ago, I was listening to a story about problems in Iraq with Blackwater mercenaries, about how they were guilty of outright war crimes, but nobody in the US government can figure out their legal status, that is, whether they're under jurisdiction of Iraqi or US military or civilian law. Yet, when it comes to the simple act of buying sex, something that's legal in much of the world, suddenly sweeping international jurisdiction is real easy to come up with!