Neither is true.
Escort Ireland is an advertising service specifically for the sex industry, no more, no less.
Another one was “Dublin Diary” that emerged, relatively briefly to take up the slack when “In Dublin” (as I recall) ceased sex industry advertising for a period in 1989 or so.
The guy who owned “Dublin Diary” became a friend (even though I never had reason to advertise). He is one of the ridiculously few people who has ever been in my house, much less met anything akin to a family member. But he and the late father of my son (who lived in Sussex) were close enough to spend a week fishing together.
He was a nice guy, a former jockey, a pocket sized version of Brian Kennedy who’s main fault was an inability to keep it in his pants around the numerous available women (we are talking “leisure activity” not “sex industry” here). This fault cost him his marriage, but never affected me in the least. Sexually we appeared to be totally immune to each other, and besides, a close friend who was crazy about him would have killed me, slowly and inventively.
He often came to take my dog for a walk if he was nearby (I used bring my dog in the car to work, mostly because “or else”. The amount of sausages and other treats he got from the women I don’t blame him, and it was after dark and perfectly safe for him to wait in the car, but he did love his walks).
He was a nice guy. Years later, in a totally legitimate business, he morphed into a slimey, patronizing little git I would not wipe my feet with, but when he owned “Dublin Diary” he was a nice, if sexually and emotionally hapless guy.
Was he a client? No…no way would he have had the time or energy.
Anyway, Escort Ireland is the same kind of business, and no more “right” or “wrong” in it’s own right than “Dublin Diary” was.
Subjectively, I avoid all dealings with “Escort Ireland” because the business seems to be moonlighting as a trailer for DSM V and I am not very good with social headfeck. This is, however, neither a criminal offence on their part, nor a symptom of involvement with organised crime. (In case you have never met any people connected with organised crime, however psychopathic and morally bankrupt they tend to be down to earth and pragmatic to go with that. The paranoia and histrionics behind the scenes of “Escort Ireland” would not be tolerated for a minute.)
Because advertising sex work is now unlawful in Ireland, “Escort Ireland” have a total monopoly, and say what you will, control is a more addictive substance than heroin and “Escort-Ireland” have been hooked a very long time. They provide a good, but over priced, advertising service that sex workers want and need with a lot of free fringe benefits in terms of information and safety. On the downside they have, and create, the opportunity for far too much control over every aspect of the Irish sex industry, that is pathological rather than criminal, and regularly crosses too many psychological, logistical and structural lines.
I think the monopoly held by Escort-Ireland needs to be broken, for the wellbeing of *ALL* including Audrey Campbell, who needs to GET PAST IT for her own psychological and emotional well being. Money and control isn’t everything. She is as dependent on “Escort-Ireland” and the control that goes with it as any junkie, as are many of the longstanding staff.
One small problem, you cannot get the monopolies commission to sort it out (an obvious first choice) as long as sex work advertising is illegal in Ireland, and “Escort-Ireland” do not have a monopoly on sex industry advertising in the UK where they operate from to circumvent the law.
Another personal issue I have with “Escort-Ireland” is that they have created, and maintain, an entirely mythological culture of the “Elite Escort”, for valid marketing reasons that is pretentious guff and so snobbish it makes my eyes water.
Criminalise THAT by all means, what the heck, make it capital (somebody will figure out how to hang ’em if they have to) but DO NOT restrict that purge to the sex industry, when so many other areas of our lives are just as bad and worse.
Is pretentious snobbery harmful or morally wrong? Who knows, lets meet up and debate that some time, as long as you are buying. One thing is certain, it is hardly unusual or abnormal.
Meanwhile until pretentious snobbery is legislated against as a serious crime I have a perfect right to avoid it like the plague and condemn it wherever I find it for the sake of my personal serenity and the contents of my stomach.
Politically I have a big problem, as “Escort-Ireland” rather transparently partially rebrand themselves as an NGO running an “Uglymugs” scheme.
Don’t get me wrong, “Uglymugs” schemes are excellent and essential but should never, EVER be in private hands whether or not those private hands have a record of covertly prioritising and excluding people based on compliance. I would have just as many kittens if Ruhama ever run Uglymugs for remarkably similar reasons.
I gets worse, the person tasked with running “Uglymugs” is the same person tasked with running “Escort-Ireland” opposition to “Turn Off the Red Light”. It is so simple to prove this that a 5 year old could do it. She systematically said and did whatever it took to pick everybody’s brains, including mine. I am happy to vouch that everything she says is remarkably accurate and well researched.
The problem is that, in tandem with that she systematically worked at cutting sex workers and former sex workers out of self representation in a remarkably similar way to Ruhama since 1993, but faster and more efficiently. We were “diverted” from attempting to attend relevant academic conferences, “finessed” out of too much unity and self advocacy and press contacts. The result is that the entire sex industry in Ireland is now represented by a young women who has remodelled herself as a kind of first cross between Sarah Benson of Ruhama and myself with the occasional token sex worker “Escort-Ireland” has a firm hold upon trotted out for variety (Reminding you of anything?).
I am happy to confirm that the difference is that, unlike Ruhama (and HOW) this young woman is trotting out pretty solid facts and truth with a good ethical bias.
So what is my problem?
This young woman is establishing herself as the spokesperson and excluding sex worker self advocates with the inevitable end result that it wouldn’t take a full 30 minutes to dismiss every word she speaks of the truth, any honest sex worker or former sex worker could and would tell you, as being exclusive to the “pimp lobby” (visions of the Gresham redone in leopard and purple) , and “prove” sex workers are the “voiceless” for whom “Turn Off the Red Light” are speaking (in reality they certainly are not!).
…and she has already saved “Turn Off the Red Light” the trouble of excluding sex workers and former sex worker from speaking for themselves.
See this (first section):
Every word she says about sex work and “Turn Off the Red Light” is true. Want to make the truth go away?
Point out she is backed by and paid by Escort Ireland and the inconvenient truth vanishes.
If nobody else would speak she would be “doing her best” and fair play to her, but, behind the scenes she has pulled every trick in the book to exclude anyone but herself.
She is already aware that the acknowledged best way to alienate an Irish public is to “instruct” them in a stridently UK accent as she does. (NB this is not a “right” thing, or a “wrong” thing, it is just a “reality” thing that PR, and advertising routinely have the sense to accept and work with. You may not like it, it may not suit you, but ignoring it is a surefire way to throw the fight…why do that? )
So what is the Craic?
I don’t know, “Escort-Ireland” portray paranoia exceptionally well.
My guess is that apart from the obvious fact that long term “Escort-Ireland” staff would not (and SHOULD NOT, they are actual people with mortgages, credit cards, families etc who have, thus far broken no laws and done nothing exceptionally harmful) be too enthusiastic about losing their jobs with nowhere to go in mass-unemployed, austerity Britain because of an asinine and irrational change in Irish law which, in places seems targeted directly at them, it is all about being addicted to control.
Addiction is an irrational state that sends all logic, conscience and reason out of the window at the first chance of the supply being cut off. Very few people indeed would react any better, but that does not mean we should support and encourage it at the expense of ordinary, decent sexworkers.
Let me show you how it works at the coal face.
When asked (face to face) which area of London she lived in (as part of a conversation about street markets, not a fishing expedition) the young woman who is now establishing herself as the primary spokesperson of sex workers in Ireland reacted as if I had asked for her Visa card number and security code. I mention this so that you realise she is, reflexively, over sensitive to issues of identity and location. I am quite sure I have no idea what her real name is and I never will have.
When the Stormont Justice Committee decided it would teach me a lesson if they published my full private address and ex-directory phone numbers in their report this same person, who routinely goes ballistic if anyone deemed to be “Escort-Ireland compliant” is exposed in the slightest way did not say one single word.
This is not about me on any personal level, if they had released any of her personal details in the same way, even that illusive real name, I would be going ballistic, not because I like or approve of her in any way, but because THEY SHOULD NEVER DO THAT TO ANYONE, and same rules apply whether I like and approve of the person or not…
…of course, the publication of my private details did make it a lot easier to discourage sex workers from coming forward and speaking for themselves.
I don’t matter, I am a big girl, the evildoer usually winds up slinking off with a bloody nose wishing they had done something else that day sooner or later, but a sex industry where all resources and support, even the most basic, are dependent on compliance with “Escort-Ireland” by any other name is just as bad as a sex industry where all resources and support, even the most basic, are dependent upon compliance with “Turn Off the Red Light” .
It really is as simple as that…
As a Footnote 15 September 2014:
Just as a footnote.
This is *GOOD NEWS* in terms of protecting some form of marketing alternative for sex workers to the more sinister underground elements I mentioned above.
(Remember this, written about a year ago: Explosive!!! )
But you have to ask yourself how badly “Turn of the Red Light” wanted to hand a near total monopoly of the Irish sex industry to Escort Ireland, meanwhile asking yourself also how much vested interest Escort Ireland have left in fighting the Nordic model that will give them a near total monopoly over some aspects of the Irish sex industry.
Incidentally the worst and most brutish elements of the Romanian Mafia have control of the organized elements of sex work in Spain (where, thankfully, most aspects of independent sex work seem to be effectively legal Prostitution in Spain – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia so that the workers have plenty of alternative to compliance, as they would not have under Nordic Style legislation in Ireland).
On the whole, I think I should have stuck with my first thought:
My profound apologies for the mistake I made in forming any degree of affiliation with Escort Ireland, but it remains as true now as it did then that sex workers and their families will remain many times safer and better off under the control of Escort Ireland than under the control of Ruhama and Turn Off the Red Light.
My only interest will ever be in the safety and well being of sex workers.
I suppose the short version is that “Turn Off the Red Light” have forced Escort Ireland, that WAS just a normal range, ruthless commercial venture into permanent affiliation with international organized crime. and not even the *nicer* end of it, giving the bulk of indoors sex workers no real option but go along with that.
I am sure *THAT* will work.