An Argument for Decriminalizing Prostitution

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I’d like to think my home state of Oregon is forward-thinking enough to consider finally decriminalizing prostitution between two consenting adults who conduct their business in private.

Sex Work is NOT Human Trafficking

Guided under the assumption that child prostitution is not a normal or healthy behavior, the law should assume that any underage individuals engaging in sex work are at worst, a potential victim of trafficking or at best, in need of resources not currently available to them.

In these cases, no crime shall be committed on the part of the minor in question. Instead of creating a criminal record that could potentially limit their future opportunities as an adult, I propose that we offer them assistance in the form of counseling, housing, education and a safe, healthy environment if necessary until they reach adulthood.

I firmly support the current prohibition on activities such as pimping, pandering and trafficking of humans. I do not propose any changes to existing laws regarding these exploitative behaviors and believe they should generally be punished harshly.

Just as laws exist to protect underage individuals from abuse, the model I propose would focus on helping minors engaged in sex work and providing alternatives rather than treating them as criminals.

Every effort should be placed upon determining whether or not they are being abused, exploited or trafficked. The best way to keep children safe from those who exploit them is to incarcerate them and place their victims in safe environments.

Working Together to Help Victims

Speaking personally as someone who has been active in the sex trade for nearly a decade, I can say with the utmost certainty that if I were to encounter a victim of human trafficking in any situation whatsoever, I would not hesitate to report this suspicion to law enforcement.

This is how most responsible adults react when they see a child in need who is being neglected or abused and while I face the very real risk of facing legal actions against myself because of my occupation, this does not personally outweigh the potential harm of remaining silent in such a situation.

However, I know that I don’t speak for all sex workers when I say that. In fact, I cannot rightly blame them for fearing legal trouble themselves. How we can justify this predicament, I really fail to understand.

The changes I envision would allow legitimate adult sex workers to be allies in the fight against illegal human trafficking and would allow for full cooperation in any investigations of those suspected to engage in it.

Removing Shame and Stigma for Victims

I argue that this would also benefit those young victims by gradually shifting public perception of sex work and attempting to eventually remove any shame or negative feelings about sex itself without in any way disrespecting the crime that has been committed against them.

I think this is an important psychological benefit for all victims of trafficking. We should emphasize that the crime is their freedom being taken from them and NOT the actual sex or other acts which take place as a result of that.

This allows them to heal more meaningfully once they are removed from their dangerous situation because they do not have to wrestle with feelings of wrongdoing and I believe it’s of the utmost importance to actively put emphasis on this so that society begins to rethink the shaming and negativity directed towards those in the sex industry, both underage and adult.

Promoting a Huge Shift in Public Perception

A convincing and strong example of such a shift is the public opinion of and attitude towards cigarette smoking which has taken place in my own lifetime.

In the 27 years I’ve spent on this planet, I have seen the state of Oregon transform from a place where you could be seated in a smoking section in a family restaurant to one that prohibits smoking outdoors at public transit stations and legally requires you are at least ten feet from a building when smoking tobacco.

The effect is more pronounced when you take into consideration just a decade or two prior to my own birth, my grandparents remember smoking on airplanes and even my parents remember when their High School had a smoking lounge for Seniors.

Once a completely commonplace habit that was regarded as socially acceptable, cigarette smokers are now almost stigmatized and shamed for their habit.

Speaking as someone who smokes, I cannot say that I believe stigmatizing a group of people for having a defect is something I encourage as a general principle.

However, the fact remains that the harmful effects of cigarette smoking are hard to deny and the decline in smoking rates over the past decade or so cannot be viewed as negative in any sense.

If this is possible to do, I believe that the same can be done to de-stigmatize sex work while establishing clear boundaries between what is legitimate and what is exploitative.

Backpage Is NOT to Blame

I also see this as being a valuable opportunity to fundamentally change the way that law enforcement can work in cooperation with controversial sites which allow the advertising of escort services, such as

Rather than putting legal pressure on such businesses to cease allowing such ads, we can instead relieve them of the constant need to worry about protecting themselves and enter into more of a partnership in which everyone can focus their energies on concern for the actual victims and suspected victims posting ads through their service.

Already, charges a fee for posting escorting ads and they require a credit or debit card that is issued to an actual person (in other words, prepaid gift cards are not accepted) which means that in the case of any suspected illegal activity, there is a name attached to the transaction taking place to advertise said activity.

Update: In July of 2015, major credit card companies including VISA and Mastercard began blocking payments for ads posted to as a result of increasing pressure from sheriff Tom Dart out of Chicago. He happens to be the same anti-sex trafficking “activist” whose campaigns were responsible for removing their Erotic Services section as well.

If Backpage and similar sites followed in the footsteps of Craigslist and did away with their adult services section, this information would be harder to obtain by other means and would leave us further in the dark should there arise any suspicion of trafficking or other illegal and exploitative activity within the sex industry.

I’m Only Asking for One Change

The changes I propose would also be strictly limited to sex work taking place in privately owned residences and street walking would continue to be prohibited. I think we can all agree that this type of work, legal or otherwise, should be conducted in private among consenting adults. I believe these elements of the law are sound and should remain in place.

I don’t want much to change at the end of the day from the way things are now and I don’t want to change any existing laws about human trafficking, pimping, outdoor soliciting and I certainly do NOT want to legalize brothels like some counties in Nevada allow either.

All that I want is for adults who make informed decisions to engage in sex work as a means to support themselves (and many already do, myself included) to be treated with basic human respect and accepted as allies in the fight against trafficking and other serious issues that we could all stand to gain so much from.

Tips for Choosing a Custom Essay Writing Service

Students have a great deal of writing assignments in college. Thesis statements, persuasive essays, argumentative essays and research papers are only a handful of the types of papers you will write at school.

With all this writing, you will most likely want to check out a professional essay service like CustomWritings.

Custom Writings hires freelance essay writers for this main purpose. They will be able to write your papers and have them to you before they are due. However, there are different types of writing services out there. Below are some tips you can follow to choose the right essay writing service.

Avoid Cheap Deals

Saving money is something that students try to do. But, the obvious thing is that if students are looking for quality custom papers, they can’t expect to get them cheap. Visiting academic writing agencies comparison sites will help you determine the average market prices as well as the variety of services you have available to you. Although you don’t want to go with a service that has overpriced offers, it’s suggested that you do go with one that charges average prices.

Look at the Company’s Online Ratings

Prior to putting in any orders, you should seek out comments and ratings that other students left about the company. Positive comments are a good indication that the company is reliable and offers quality services. However, if you find comments about the company being late on delivering or plagiarizing, you might want to search out another company.

Reliability and Time

Although you probably won’t have any problems with the company being meticulous with revisions or time management, you should still be clear on some things such as if the writer will be able to handle your precise directions and if you have any customization requests. You want your paper to be believable, reliable and to-be-emulated essay.

View their Samples

Check through all their samples on various topics and subjects. You will want to be able to see if their style of writing will fit you or not. Also, you should talk with the company to decide if the writer will be versed enough in your specific topic and if they have already handled work that is similar to what you are looking for.

Most importantly, you want to have a vision of how you want your finished essay to look like. If your vision is an outstanding essay, make that clear with the writer. If you have no idea what type of finished essay you need, you can also talk with the writer about that since they will be experienced in essay writing and will know what professors are looking for and what will provide you with the best mark.

Investing in professional essay writing services is not just investing in your future, but your overall academic success. Therefore, it should be your main goal to find a quality writing service that has your overall goals and success in mind.

The Top 4 People I Admire Most

I want to share with you the four people who I admire and respect more than anyone else. Well, at least outside of my own sphere of personal contacts and people I know well.

To me, all four of these people are celebrities and I consider myself a fangirl of each.

Since I was a kid, I always enjoyed being a nearly psychotic fan of someone I really liked for one reason or another. It makes me feel good to latch onto strangers who manage to put stuff out into the world which resonates with me on some level.

I always have to be extreme about everything I do and feel, and being a fan is certainly no exception.

A few quick little factoids before I introduce you to these insanely unique and amazing people.

First, they are all people who I discovered via the internet. They would never be found on a list with each other for any other reason; they all do totally different things and none of them are very related.

The reason they are all right here on this list is because of one thing which links them together in my mind: they are everything I love in people. Mind you, I generally hate people.

Just bear with me here…

Gary Vaynerchuk

I discovered Gary Vaynerchuk mostly by chance and thanks to StumbleUpon. I suppose since I did tell them what I’m interested in, we can’t attribute the encounter entirely to chance, can we?

Gary is probably the most “mainstream” of these celebrities. He’s been a guest on Ellen and has been featured in every big business and tech publication that comes to mind, including Mashable, Techcrunch, Bloomberg, NY Times and tons of others.

StumbleUpon sent me to a video of him. He was just this regular looking guy talking in front of a camera and the first thing about him which really got my attention was his obvious confidence and the passionate volume of his frenzied voice.

As I listened to him sort of ramble about social media and the importance of authenticity, I slowly began to realize how awesome the shit he was saying was and how every word he spoke rang absolutely true in my mind. I was hooked instantly.

So who is Gary Vaynerchuck and what is he all about? Well, I think of him as a brilliant entrepreneur and storyteller first and foremost. He helped grow his father’s family business (a liquor store) into a multi million dollar enterprise and launched a sort of video blog called WineLibrary TV way back in 1997 or some shit.

From there, he saw the massive potential of using the web and later social media to grow his business even further and eventually went on to start his own digital media marketing startup which today is VaynerMedia.

Using clever content marketing in favor of traditional media such as advertisements, his agency works with brands like Nilla to create highly effective social media marketing campaigns which produce tangible results. In the case of Nilla, the campaign created by Gary’s company boosted their sales by something like 12% after over a decade of stagnant sales.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of awesomeness that is Gary freakin’ Vaynerchuk. The man is about as genuine and real as anyone in sales has ever been, which counts for a lot in my book.

Plus, he swears freely and never flinches when he drops an F bomb during an interview with a serious media outlet, which I’ll admit makes him stupidly cool to me all on its own.

I’ve included just a few of his videos here for you to see him in action. Trust me, my words come nowhere close to doing him justice. Just watch one of them please. You can thank me later.

Caliban Darklock

Caliban Darklock has the noble distinction of being the only one in this list who has actually spoken with me, on more than one occasion. In fact, back when I first joined the Warrior Forum several years ago, he was one of the very first people who exchanged private messages with me there and who cared enough to be friendly towards me and I immediately liked him.

He’s a serious badass, you’ve been warned.

His advice on business has the same quality of sincerity and sensibility that Gary’s does and I really can’t say I’ve encountered many people in life who I consider more fearless than myself, but I think Caliban is one of them. He is literally unafraid of being himself at all times, on his own terms.

I pride myself on not giving a shit about the opinions of most people, but I have often read things Caliban has said publicly that I’m not brave enough to say myself.

He is the ONLY reason that I visit Facebook, which has never been a platform I can say I’m particularly fond of. I go there only to read his stuff (and play the occasional game while I’m there) and on the rare occasion when he goes on a blackout for a week or two, I immediately begin hating Facebook again and stop visiting there as often.

Okay, I also love the make up and the fact that he can make videos of himself saying really awesome shit even when he’s drunk on Sailor Jerry’s Rum. He’s also an amazing storyteller, you should go check out his products and buy them ALL RIGHT NOW. You can thank me later, once again.

Also, I recommend following him on Facebook unless you are too lame. If that’s the case, just leave my blog now please.

WAX (Rapper)

Oddly enough, StumbleUpon introduced me to more than one of the four people in this list. What are the odds, right?

Several years ago now, I clicked the Stumble button and it took me to a video. I’m not exactly a huge fan of videos most of the time. I usually find them annoying and have to be in the right mood for them.

Oh, and they have to be something I find interesting or entertaining to begin with of course. I often just click the button again when I see it start to load something from Youtube or another video site.

Thank the stars that I didn’t hit it again before the Youtube page loaded the video (in the playlist above) that shows a young man driving around in his car, rapping his heart out to the perfect beat almost non-stop for nearly an entire five full minutes.

After the first two minutes, my jaw had pretty much hit the floor and I was glued to the screen. I literally couldn’t stop watching and listening to him spit rhymes more clever than my ears had ever heard.

When the video was over, I just sat there in total awe of this raw rampage of lyrical talent that had just showed up out of fucking nowhere and interrupted whatever I had been distracted with at that moment.

I was like, “who the hell is this kid and why have I never heard of him before now?!” I didn’t understand how it was possible.

Needless to say, I was an instant fan from that day on.

Almost as if I had discovered him at just the right point in time, he visited Portland (my home city) shortly after I became aware of him and I was fortunate enough to be one among a small crowd of no more than twenty people who were cool enough to see him perform at the Roseland Theatre downtown.

I admire Wax because his style is truly unique. I first heard him rap better than most “artists” played on the radio, but when I saw him live he also busted out a guitar for a couple of his songs and started, like, singing.

I was like, “hey, wait a second! I thought he was a rapper…”

He’s much more than a rapper. He scored a record deal with Def Jam, but eventually left because the executives leaning over his shoulder kept trying to cramp his style.

Their loss, I have to say. You can’t put him or his music into a box, he’s way too real for that. I love it that he is able to be an indie artist and that his fans love him and support him. That’s how I believe the world should work.

I have bought tickets to two more of his Portland shows since then and on both occasions, something came up that kept me from making it there. I am still trying to get over that…I’m convinced fate is at work here somehow.

Jes Baker

Before you make assumptions, I’d like to make sure everyone knows that I’m not including Jes Baker on this list just because I feel obligated to include at least one woman.

In fact, guess how I “stumbled upon” her? Yep, you guessed it. One day I landed on a blog post of hers and read some poetry she shared by another author, and I was pretty moved by what both of them had to say.

So who is she and why is she awesome? Well, she is a well known advocate of what she calls “body love” and in my mind is one of the leaders of what many refer to as the “Fat Acceptance Movement.”

Basically, she says that being fat is fine and in no way has any bearing on how physically beautiful you are. She’s 100% right about that too.

The work Jes does for women (and men) all over the world who struggle with their weight (myself among them) is truly inspiring and the reason I admire her so much is that she is standing up for a group of people who are harshly criticized, bullied and even hated by much of society.

Her notion that being fat is just fine defies current popular opinions about weight and body image and she simply refuses to feel negatively about her own body simply because the rest of the world hasn’t evolved far enough to see their own shortsightedness yet.

I am not the type of person who feels genuinely jealous of others very often at all, but I do envy Jes because she knows who she is fighting for and has successfully started a movement to change the world, rather than giving in and changing herself in the ways it wants her to.

I wish I could say the same for myself, but I’m not there yet. Maybe it’s because we are the same age that I feel jealous of her, I guess I feel like she’s accomplished more in her time here and is doing more meaningful things than I am.

Last year, I flew all the way to Tucson to attend her first annual Body Love Conference, which you need to buy tickets for. Read a post or two from her blog so that you see for yourself why she is the ideal hero for any girl or woman who has ever been told that she’s fat and thought less of herself afterward.


The Easiest Way to Write a Book

the easiest way to write a bookI don’t care if you are the author of several published books or just a savvy entrepreneur looking for an extra source of passive income — in either case, you have (however guiltily) wondered at some point, “what is the easiest way to write a book?”

Admit it. Don’t let it make you feel dirty, no one is any better than anyone else who has shared that same thought.

You might think it feels like some form of cheating. At least it tricks you into feeling shame because you assume that what you are asking for is a shortcut to writing a fantastic book that no one can put down until they have made the captivating journey from cover to cover.

But ask the jury for a verdict on this one instead of jumping to conclusions. Are you really asking for a shortcut or are you asking an honest question about the most efficient method of writing a book?

Stop Worrying About Writing a Book

I don’t care what preconceived notions you have come to this post with as far as gaining prestige as an author, landing a big publishing deal or becoming the next Shakespeare. The fact of the matter is that you should really stop concerning yourself with writing a book because anyone can write a book that totally sucks. There is nothing special about that.

What you should actually be trying to figure out is how to tell your story. The one that is every bit as unique to you as your fingerprints.

This is the truly amazing feat because you are literally the only person capable of doing that. Only you know all the parts to your story and only you can pass it on for others to hear if you choose to.

There is more than one way to skin a cat, while we’re on that topic. A book is only one of many forms that a story can take. Stories are told through more mediums than I can list here.

They can be spoken out loud or told to live listeners. They can be acted out on a stage or add the missing lyrics to an otherwise perfect song.

Your whole life and the story of your journey is the landscape picture on the front of the box of a 1,000 piece puzzle. The pieces are each a small sticky note that ends in mid-sentence. You simply need to figure out where each one starts and ends.

The Easiest Way to Write a Book

Here’s the answer the question. What is the easiest way to write a book? Not just for you or me but for anyone, regardless of skill or experience or talent?

The easiest way to write a book is to not write one at all. The second easiest way is to fill a few pages, put your name on it and not care at all about the words on those pages.

You won’t feel better by doing either of these things. If you do, this blog isn’t for you.

The next easiest way to write a book?

Is to not think, not put off, not be afraid, not critique, not make excuses for, not settle, not imitate and to just simply write it. Your story. Exactly the way you think the thoughts with no filter and no regard for whether another soul will even be able to decipher a word of it.

Only when you write it all out the way it exists in your mind will you have the raw material needed for what will later become a book.

This is the part that you want to believe is easier than it seems. The part that feels like the hard work.

The Write Way is the Only Way

Honestly, it is the  hard work. But it’s also incredibly easy if you follow the instructions on the bottle.

Write the book and do nothing at all while you are writing it. Don’t interrupt yourself, not even once.

The words you use are tempered into the story that can later be sent out into the world in the form of a book, almost as an insignificant afterthought.

You don’t even have to do that part at all if you don’t care to. Have someone else do the parts you have no desire for. Worry about it all once you hold the same story in your hands that you carry in your heart. Live your life, tell your story. It can all become a book later.