'Erotic Service Providers Union' Launches Petition Drive... Against MSNBC?!

As an editor at NewsBusters, I get tons of email pitches from PR flacks on all kinds of stuff, most of which has absolutely no relation to what we write about here at NB. But when I saw this subject line in my inbox -- 16k Join Erotic Service Providers Union in Petition Demanding MSBNC Cancel Show Exploiting Sex Workers-- I knew there just might be something bloggable here. 

Yes, it turns out a group calling itself the Erotic Service Providers Union has launched a petition drive blasting MSNBC from the Left for a weekend program that it charges unfairly conflates prostitutes who are in the business of their own free will versus those who are the victims of human trafficking.

You cannot make this stuff up. Apparently to this group, MSNBC is far too conservative when it comes to sex.

Here's the full text of the press release as it appeared in my inbox, with the exception that I've redacted the contact info: 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, July 27, 2015
CONTACT: Yasmina D******, 407-9**-****, yasmina@f*********.com

Petition Demands MSNBC Cancel Show Exploiting Sex Workers

***http://www.thepetitionsite.com/253/968/118/***

A Care2 petition accuses the show of unfairly portraying and harming sex workers and sex trafficking victims

A Care2 petition asking MSNBC to cancel the show “Sex Slaves in America,” which critics say unfairly portrays and exploits sex workers, has gathered over 16,000 signatures.

VIEW THE CARE2 PETITION HERE: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/253/968/118/

The series has been on air since 2013, but is facing renewed pressure from activists, sex workers, and organizations who advocate on behalf of sex workers and trafficking victims.

“MSNBC would do well to stop conflating prostitution and human trafficking,” says Care2 petition author Maxine Doogan, an organizer for the Erotic Service Providers Union. “As a major media outlet, it has acted irresponsibly by sensationalizing and promoting criminalization as a means to profit off of the violation of constitutional rights which harms the lives of so many sex workers.”

The petition comes on the heels of an open letter to MSNBC producers asking them to cancel the show. The letter was signed by the Sex Workers Project, the New York Anti-Trafficking Network, Freedom Network, Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive, and Florrie Burke, a human rights advocate.

The petition slams MSNBC for conflating human trafficking and voluntary sex work and for depicting arrest and criminalization as a solution to issues that are nuanced and complex.

“The show appears to peddle the criminalization of women who are sensationalized as victims under the guise of rescuing them,” Doogan writes. “Criminalization of the sex trade simply encourages violence, abuse, discrimination in housing, employment, education, child custody and access to financial instruments. Showing these types of possibly unconstitutional raids and arrests positions MSNBC to become a party to profiting off the criminalization of its reality show stars.”

For more information, or for interviews with Maxine Doogan of the Erotic Service Providers Union, please contact Yasmina D****** at (407) 9**-**** or by email at yasmina@f**************.com.

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Care2 (www.Care2.com) is a community of 30 million standing together for good. People are making world-changing impact with Care2, starting petitions and supporting each other’s campaigns to help individuals, animals and the environment. A pioneer of online advocacy since 1998, Care2 is a B Corporation, or social enterprise, using the power of business as a force for good.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.