A 1996 San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution recommended
prostitution be decriminalized but it was later derailed, according to
Doogan, by an alliance of politicians and dance club operators. Clubs
profit by charging erotic service providers (ESPs) hundreds of dollars
in stage fees, a “pay to work” scenarios the Doogan says is illegal.
“In the early 90s, there was a big-ass street scene,” says Doogan,
who’s part of the Harvey Milk Club. “It was a blast. It was some fun
ass shit-some real hos!” But a quality-of-life crackdown during
Willie Brown’s years pushed ESPs off the street-possession of a
condom can now be used as evidence in court.
Doogan formed the
Erotic Service Providers Union in 2004 “to unite all erotic laborers:
porn prostitutes, massage parlor workers, exotic dancers [and] webcam
girls,” but it hasn’t been an easy task. Doogan hopes this initiative,
with its clear language, will be the start of a new worker-centered
dialogue that’s not “shame-based” and moves the discourse beyond abuse
and drug addiction.
“I’ve been an ESP for nineteen years, and I
hope to be one for nineteen more,” Doogan tells us. “We are using the
petition drive as a means to organize people… Never again do I want
to have a conversation about the morality of my job.”
Petition To Decriminalize Prostitution in San Francisco (Erotic Service Providers Union)
Legalization Sucks (2005, directed by Maxine Doogan)
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