Well, look at what we have here, another conference in London ON. But it is not just any conference (you know the typical boring conference). No, it is the 2014 All Our Sisters Forum. I am kind of sad I am missing this conference, as my friend told me about it earlier this year. I almost submitted a proposal to present but it did not fit into my schedule.
Last week, I was asked to help promote it (for free—meaning unpaid labour). When I was approached, I already knew what was going to be asked of me. So I started researching the event prior to even receiving the email with the details on this event.
The All Our Sisters Forum website can be accessed here. On their site, it states the following:
Together, through our national network and events, we focus on safe, sustainable housing for women coast to coast. Through dialogue, research, events and lived experience, we promote security of housing and safe communities for all women in Canada.
The reason this conference caught my eye was due to the fact that it advertised as addressing topics including, “safe housing, violence, human trafficking, addiction, sex work, poverty and other issues related to homelessness among women.” (Source). This event has been on my radar for a while now. So when I was asked to help promote this event it was mentioned because my blog posts and tweets related to the topic of sex work.
Learning to help out issues, events, or other such stuff has been a battle for me. I have to be conscientious of time and energy—if I offer to do anything for free, it is because I want to and it is because I see that what I am being asked to do will have some real benefit to others. Yet, when I was looking over the topics to be discussed relating to sex work at this event, there was only one presentation that mentioned sex work (and talking about the grey area between sex work and human trafficking—no, there is no grey area because sex work isn’t trafficking) and then I noticed another presentation that mentioned human trafficking. My heart dropped to the bottom of my stomach. The name listed on the presentation was the name of the same woman who was interview by the London Free Press and dragged my best friend’s suicide through the dirt for her own anti-sex work agenda. You can read that article here. Specifically, the article reads:
“The hardest part is losing them,” she said, referencing a girl who hung herself three months ago. “Her stage name was Alex, but I want to say her real name out loud – it’s Michelle – because she was a real person,” said Stacey.”
There were two things my best friend taught me when I first arrived at the club we worked at, “Trust no one” and “Mind your own business” (I wrote this in my personal journal dated October 21, 2007).
“Stacey” is lying in this article about my best friend’s suicide and her claim to help her. I am extremely angry with the politicization of my best friend’s suicide to fulfill an anti-sex work agenda. Did she not consider what type of effects this would have on my friend’s family or friends? This is in print media. What if my friend’s son starts searching for answers about his mother? Does anyone have any respect for the dead anymore? My friend wasn’t lying when she said everyone always talked about her…even after her death.
When I used to write about my best friend, I never used to talk about her working as a dancer in the industry. In fact, I kept that very private. However, when I read this article and “Stacy” is quoted as saying both her real name/stage name, I knew I had to step in and let the truth be known. The real truth. I frequently read about the anti-human traffickers and anti-sex workers creating lies and falsifying stories to their benefit (such as in this example of a well-known anti-human trafficking activist). You can even google “human trafficking lies” and a shit load of links will appear discussing the myths and lies that the anti-human traffickers tell to help garner support for their cause (or access the millions of dollars being poured into anti-human trafficking efforts). But, I didn’t think it could ever happen to me or so close to home.
So how do I know she is lying?
Well for one, she gets the date wrong of my best friend’s suicide.
Two, she said she tried to help her and save her. My best friend hated her because well… she hated her (I worked with her and my friend at the same club). Her claim that she tried to help my best friend also suggests there is human trafficking at the club she worked at–there was none. Another lie.
And the circuit she talks about in the article I quoted above, I’ve worked the same circuit–I have never seen human trafficking occurring on this circuit. Sure I’ve seen movement from one club to another but not human trafficking. I mean, aren’t adults allowed to determine when and where they can work, sex work or not?
Finally, she was not allowed anywhere near the club. In fact, she was fired and told not to come back to the premises (as told to me from a DJ who used to work at the club and who I worked with while she worked there). This is also proven by the fact that she did not work at the club for a long time (yeah, I stopped working there in 2010 and still have friends who work there that I visited with until I moved in April 2014—and yes, I will probably, meaning very likely, visit again in the future lol).
I stand by my word: yes, she is a liar.
I really wish I could have attended this conference and in particular, “Stacey’s” presentation–just like how she attended the past only two sex work related events in London ON including the one I spoke earlier this year, where she left immediately after my presentation (probably because she recognized me and if she brought up the same old “But I was trafficked” line like she did at the 2012 sex work event, I would have called her out on her lies). She spoke on opening day and it is entertaining that the presentations for that day are under the heading, “Connecting to ‘the edge’: Speaking Truth.” “Stacey” obviously didn’t mind her own business and on the advice of my best friend, clearly, you can’t trust her.
Related post: Caught in human trafficking lies