Tag Archives: Poison Pompadour

A Migrant Trans Sex Worker’s Murder Has Set Off Protests Around the World

Anna Smith, this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent, reports from Vancouver… Anna is a director of the Triple-X Workers Solidarity Association of British Columbia. She has strong views.


One of several Vanesa Campos demonstrations held in Paris

Vanesa Campos was a sex worker from Peru who was working in France to support her family in Peru, after the death of her father.

She was shot to death by five men in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris this summer. The men were trying to rob her client, a crime they had already committed numerous times.

The police in Paris are currently more concerned to catch men who see sex workers than catching robbers. The ‘johns’ have become easy targets due to France’s new ‘client’ law, because they are afraid to report robberies to the police, in case they are implicated.

But the five men who shot Vanesa have now been apprehended and are awaiting trial.

Vanesa’s death has sparked international protests – in London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, in Latin America and in Vancouver.

I spoke with Guillaume Roy, the French Consul in Vancouver, on Friday to express my sadness that a cultured country like France is trying to abolish prostitution. Well, actually, he is the Deputy Consul, but a consul is still a consul.

The new ‘client’ law in France means that the clients of sex workers are arrested if they try to obtain the services of a sex worker. The sex workers are not arrested but treated as ‘ victims’ of these evil men who want to compensate them for sex (or for simply spending time with the worker, which is often the case).

Prosecuting the clients is known as ‘the Nordic Model’, because it originated in Sweden.

Anna Smith (left) and Poison Pompadour at Vancouver demo

The workers in Sweden are not arrested. Instead, they are forced to participate in psychological counselling, evicted from their apartments, forfeit their property (dwelling place) and have their children removed from their custody. 

They are then ‘re-educated’ on how to integrate with ‘normal society’, which is absurd because I think most sex workers already know how to do that. I would argue that they are helping society to function, by relaxing men and helping them to relax and cope with stresses of modern life.

Politicians in many countries in Europe and in England and Canada are trying to introduce ‘the Nordic Model’. The Nordic Model makes working conditions much more dangerous for sex workers because they are then forced into working in more clandestine situations: outdoors in parks and alleyways and in isolated industrial areas. 

Also, due to the Nordic Model, more and more newspapers and internet services like Craigslist and Backpage are afraid of prosecution so no longer carry the contact info for sex workers, making them unable to negotiate with or select  customers prior to meeting them in person.

Besides, calling the law ‘The Nordic Model’ is misleading and sounds ridiculous.

I like to call it ‘The Nordic Method’ so it sounds like some archaic type of birth control.

In Vancouver last Friday, the Vanesa Campos protest demo was organised by Poison Pompadour and myself. After our demo, Poison Pompadour took all the protest people for cocoa and coffee at a nearby cafe. Then the two of us went for a beer and hamburgers.

French Deputy Consul, Guillaume Roy, accepts a list of the Vancouver protesters’ demands about Parisian safety

I marvelled that the French Deputy Consul had come into the hallway outside the consulate to speak with us. He was alone, unencumbered by secretaries.

There was only the Sikh security guard who normally waits at a little table outside the Consulate door. The Deputy Consul listened patiently as we explained why we were there and took our petition in his hands. The Sikh security guard took a group photo of us, with my phone.

“Well,” Poison Pompadour said to me: “Imagine how boring the things he normally has to do are as Deputy Consul. Talking with French tourists who tell him: I have lost my camera…. It is not every day he has twenty sex workers come to his office.“

… CONTINUED HERE

A group photo of protesters, as shakily taken by the French Consulate’s security guard in Vancouver

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Filed under Crime, France, prostitution, Sex

Vancouver: sex workers, policemen and memories of a comedy show with a boa

Anna Smith with two cops in Vancouver

Anna Smith sandwiched by two cops in Vancouver

I woke up this morning to an e-mail from Anna Smith in Vancouver. She is this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent. It said:

“For some reason I have been surrounded by police for the last few weeks.”

She attached a photograph of herself flanked by two policemen.

“It was a couple of weeks ago,” she told me. “They reprimanded me for wearing socks with sandals and being seen in public with terrible hair. Other than that I get along fine with the local cops. It’s the Swedish ones that annoy me. It’s strange. Lately it seems that I’ve been more interested in the police than they have ever  been with me.”

She added:

“I’ve been battling Swedish policemen and The University Women’s Club.”

Sure enough, there was a link to an article in the Georgia Straight, the local equivalent of our Time Out what’s on magazine.

The article carried a picture of Anna with a lady called Poison Pompadour and reported:

“They wanted to hear a visiting Swedish cop who has busted more than a thousand guys for going out on dates with prostitutes.

“Detective Simon Haggstrom was in Vancouver to deliver a lecture, and so Anna Smith and Poison Pompadour were eager to attend.

Anna (right) with placard - Straight article

Anna (right) with placard

“Smith is a director with the Triple-X Workers’ Solidarity Association of British Columbia, a group that seeks to legalize prostitution, while Pompadour is a French sex worker.

“As Smith recalled, the two of them came with placards, one of which was critical of the so-called Nordic model of prostitution, which criminalizes the purchase of sexual services.”

Two years ago, a law was passed which made the buying of sexual services illegal in Canada. Apparently because of their placard which read MAKE COOKIES NOT ARRESTS, Anna and Poison Pompadour were barred from entering the Orpheum Annex. That was where the niftily named ‘International Approaches to Prostitution: Sweden, Germany and Canada’ was being held.

Anna also sent me a copy of a letter she wrote to her mother in 1999.

“It includes,” she told me, “two interesting photos of my last comedy performance, seventeen years ago. I seem to do a comedy show about once decade, unless you count the sex education lectures I do twice a year.

“These are hour-long autobiographical streams of consciousness that are pure comedy. The students pay hundreds of dollars for a weekend workshop with me and a variable dozen other sex specialists. At the end of the hour the students are allowed to ask questions, but only for a few minutes. I get sad at the ending because there are always a few students left disappointed with their hands held up. At the end, the students all clap warmly, their faces beaming. The lady in charge then whisks me and the other speaker out of the room as if we are stars… then the whole room sighs sadly… knowing they will be lucky if they ever see us again.”

And the photos from 1999?

“It was a benefit show at the University of Victoria, to send a Russian prostitute and her cat home to St Petersburg. She was trapped in northern British Columbia.

“I was supposed to be doing the show as half of a double bill, with a punk band. But, at the last minute, the punk band cancelled because their mothers wouldn’t let them do a show with/for sex workers. So I had to do the show alone, and I was thinking, Those little chickenshits… Some punk band you are…

Her letter to her mother reads:

Anna Smith’s 1999 letter to her mother

Anna Smith wearing onion bag belted on a veil

“Here I am making a triumphant return to comedy after an eleven year interlude! I’m doing the character of the 10,000 year old hooker who has crawled out of a dumpster in Vancouver. I used the name Simone de Boudoir.

“The top picture shows the start of my show. I was very full of stage fright before I went on and then the students put my music in backwards, so it’s lucky I’m an experienced performer and got through the rough start.

“I’m wearing an onion bag belted on a veil (white blob) under my hat and a green suede fringed skirt under my dress and a boa made of fishing line and fruits.

“(In the bottom picture) Here I am waving goodbye to 200 cheering people at the end of my show. The lady beside me is called Danya – she organised the event. With the money raised, they sent home a woman from Russia called Irina, who was brought here on false hopes by a man she thought was her ‘pen-pal’. (She thought it was a romance but afterwards she found out she’d been advertised in the Buy & Sell.)

“Anyway, the GAATW (Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women) raised the money for her to go home.”

So that rounds things off nicely.

Though I would like to know more about Anna’s line: “Lately it seems that I’ve been more interested in the police.”

annasmith1999comedycut

 

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Filed under Canada, Comedy, Culture, Humor, Humour, Sex