Local law enforcement allegedly carried out a prostitution sting in Jackson, Tennessee, arresting at least one local sex worker in the early morning hours of Friday, Dec. 3. We have reason to believe the sting may have started as early as Thursday, Dec. 2, and could still be going on right now, as of 2:15 p.m. Central Time, Sunday, Dec. 5. Law enforcement allegedly solicited sex workers via the online sex trading platform Skip The Games, posing as legitimate patrons only to arrest at least two women for prostitution (presumably T.C.A. § 39-13-513).
Through our sources, we’ve confirmed that at least one local sex worker attempted to use the sex-trading website Skip The Games to turn a trick in the early morning hours of Friday, Dec. 3. When the sex worker arrived at the client’s residence — it was probably a hotel, though the grapevine didn’t confirm where it happened, exactly — law enforcement arrested them; shortly thereafter, they were booked into the Madison County Criminal Justice Center (CJC) with a prostitution charge.
No official reports of this sex-working sting have been published by local law enforcement as of Sunday, Dec. 5. Multiple women have recently been booked into the Madison County Criminal Justice Center (CJC) with prostitution charges, as mugshots from local news outlet WBBJ show. Owing thanks to the “inside scoop” we received through the grapevine, we’re certain that law enforcement has, in fact, carried out some type of sex-worker sting this weekend.
Whether true or not, we here at Tennessee Harm Reduction don’t support the criminalization of sex work. Web-based platforms for trading sex work such as Skip The Games give sex workers the agency to market themselves, reducing their exposure to serious harms such as violence, sexually transmitted diseases, and abusive clients.
When law enforcement agencies engage in anti-sex-work campaigns via web-based sex trading platforms like Skip The Games, they take away sex workers’ agency to market themselves. Without such websites — such as Backpage, which was taken down in April 2018 after Congress passed controversial legislation (SESTA/FOSTA) into law — sex workers face serious challenges:
- They struggle to screen clients, let alone find them in the first place
- Sex workers are often forced back into street-based sex work — “street prostitution,” in other words
- Upon being pushed back into the street, sex workers are forced to compete with 100% street-based sex workers, potentially resulting in violence or other harmful outcomes
- Most importantly, sex workers face much greater risks of being trafficked — isn’t that what law enforcement should be fighting, rather than fucking with independent sex workers who’re just trying to do their jobs — just trying to get by?
If you’re tired of sex workers being criminalized, consider joining Tennessee Sex Workers’ Union, another group of ours.