Archive for the 'youth/exploited minors/underage prostitution' Category

08
Jul
16

EVAPORATE like clouds over Mt.Fuji

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Rising up from za water eburi 15 minetsu!

 My family reunion has completed to my relief and I am now able to eat healthy vegetarian foods and travel Japan on my own agenda once again. My mom who seems to live to antagonize me is off on her own to visit her hometown where she has promised to get her family record showing my Japanese lineage which is required to apply for a Nikkei Heritage visa.  This is an amazing program that allows people of up to 3rd generation Japanese ancestry to stay and work in Japan with the same rights as any other Japanese citizen. An employment sponsor is not even needed to apply for this visa in contrast to other Japanese visas and if I had my own family they also would be able to move here for up to 3 years!  While the Nikkei Heritage Visa program is packaged to look like a way for people to regain knowledge of their culture and language, the true intention of the Japanese government in creating the program was to get cheaper labor from Peru and Brazil where there are many 2nd and 3rd generation Japanese children of immigrants.

The existence of this is yet another miracle that has landed in my path for me after arriving in Japan (this info discovered via meeting the right local people who have been super helpful and encouraging).  

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one of these girls is not a legal Japanese citizen….YET

I had planned to try to work illegally as a tourist as people often have to do to stay in the U.S. and other countries but it didn’t take much applying to some jobs and reading some wanted ads that i saw that I was up against a big obstacle not having the correct visa to work in Japan.  I had somewhat of a lead to work as a hostess in an empty and tiny karaoke bar in Roppongi Tokyo but I knew that that was never going to support my survival as every time the owner called me in to meet or work it would have no customers and 3 bored ladies sitting at the bar. A familiar scene from my stripclub working days.  I have evolved past having to do jobs that disintegrate my brain cells staring at a wall for an employer’s sake but I knew I was an undocumented worker and wasn’t in a position to be too picky.  Reverting back to a mind numbing sex work job was not something I wanted to do ever again, illegal citizen or not.  I had successfully done two Tantra sessions with two different clients in Tokyo already so I knew that there were other better options for me.The U.S greatly prospers off of the backs of the labor of undocumented citizens so it seems to be somewhat easier to jump through loopholes and get paid in cash to make your income in the states.  Even surviving off of an illegal sole proprietorship like selling CDs or food out of a shopping cart is an option that many undocumented folks have used to not only survive but prosper in the U.S. Illegal food vending is never done in Japan. Even buskers don’t get tipped in hats but can only sell CDs instead because no one gets tipped in Japan!  In my worst fears of moving to Japan, I imagined having to beg for change using my singing bowl like a monk.  Luckily, it’s not going to come to that for me but I really had no idea how I would survive here just that I had many skills, a couple college degrees, strong will and great hope for the best. Things have indeed manifested miraculously for me since I got here so naturally I am not worried at all about whether I will successfully attain my heritage visa.  It shall be done!

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smelled like sweat and funk in the visitation room so by day2 i came prepared

NO WEED IN JAPAN

Before leaving for Japan, friends had told me that getting weed was near impossible and that if I did eventually find it, it would be $70 per gram, over 4 times the price I pay in the U.S.  This was the source of much anxiety as I was smoking more than ever in the stressful months leading to my move to Japan. I had been a daily user of cannabis for about 20 years prior to now. I left LA and flew to Seattle where it had been recreationally legal since about 2014. I continued my habit but knew that my days of access were numbered. I had a bit of a mental breakdown and walked into a dispensary in tears and incorrigible fear of my future move only to be relieved by Mary Jane as my usual medicine when I felt this way.  I had tried to cut back to prepare my mind at this time but there was so much anxiety in coming to Japan for me that i found it so hard to be stronger than my then current dependence.  If you look back in this blog, you can see that Mary Jane has been a way for me to sooth my PTSD, depression and anxiety for years but most times admittedly its been a recreational drug not really a medicine which is often debated by pro mj advocates.  I flew to Alaska and Vancouver Canada where it was also legal. It was in Vancouver that I was held for an hour in this passage thru to Tokyo because 3 years ago in 2013, I had been caught with a small pipe driving thru the border in which the Canadian government detained me for 4 hrs, read my journal out loud to me, examined parts of my FB and this blog and searched my car and person. I was searched and held for about 3 more hours on the U.S side, my little pipe confiscated and I was again traumatized by the treatment of state authorities for doing something minor and clearly harmless to others. So I know all about the detriments of marijuana dependence and it has indeed affected my life in punitive ways. I did make it to Tokyo this time on a rescheduled flight with no charge due to their reexamination of my 2013 case in 2016 which caused me to miss my flight to Tokyo. I wasnt even planning to visit Vancouver but ironically because there were no more flights to Japan I was able to see Vancouver for the first time since I was not admitted trying to visit before. I made sure to visit a legal dispensary there and get enough edibles to knock me out on my upcoming flight.  I also snuck in a few (10?) odorless candies hidden in some real sweet smelling candies because my dependence told me despite all that I had been thru with Canadian immigration I probably wasn’t strong enough to be sober in Japan yet.  I was willing to risk it because it was such a personal amount.  Therefore, I have even identified as an addict because I have never been able to not use for longer than 2 months in 20 years and my repeated risk taking for the substance is a classic definition of an addict straight from any drug addiction pamphlet you can find.

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The US bombed the original castles and destroyed the Japanese economy by making the hemp crop used to make rope and parachute cords illegal and couching it into an anti drug campaign that Japanese believe is justified to this day

Today Japan has some of the strictest anti-cannabis laws in the world.  Punishment for possession is a maximum 5 years behind bars and illicit growers face 7-year sentences. Annually around 2000 people fall foul of these laws – their names splashed on the nightly news and their careers ruined forever. The same prohibition that dishes out these punishments also bans research into medical marijuana, forcing Japanese scientists overseas to conduct their studies.” 

It was actually the US that made cannabis illegal in Japan creating the Cannabis Control Act in 1948 in an attempt to further handicap the Japanese economy and military because it was in abundant use, widely grown to make sturdy rope and parchute cords for the military. I saw full of the workers who built the samurai castles in Japan and they were wearing probably hemp rope sandals and possibly using hemp rope to build the amazing castles in Japan destroyed by bombs of the US during WWII.

Our initial 20 minute visit was pretty bleak. V had been scared to think by the prosecutor that she was going to go to Japanese prison for a long long time.  It was an emotional visit so I felt an urgent need to put out a youtube video to try fo get some US politicians who would advocate for V, a CA medical marijuana patient and US citizen so she wouldn’t have to go to Japanese prison! There had to be something we could do to help, wasn’t serving 2 months punishment enough for the Japanese government, not to mention holding detainees is an expense to any government! Her friend Lady Y and I didn’t think the Japanese government would waste their money on someone who had personal cannabis not intent to sell but then I thought of Guantamo Bay and how our government has held prisoners there for almost a decade without a trial. So the worst is always possible as well as the best.

The next day she had spoken to a more upbeat prosecutor who talked about deporting her, letting her make phone calls, use her laptop and even smoke a cigarette in his car! This was a 360 change from the day before. We also drove to speak to her lawyer and he had said he thinks she will 99% be deported.

Since arriving in Japan, things have been anundant for me friendship and career wise. Ive landed some Tantra clients, made lots of friends, realized my dream of living and working in Japan, am doing better financially than I ever have in my life before because I got an overseas freelance writing gig, so somehow the need to medicate disappeared. Fears and anxiety evaporated like clouds over Mt. Fuji. I was even able to endure a family reunion without numbing myself because any of their opinions would also evaporate like clouds over Mt.Fuji and seem so minor to all the miracles Id already manifested here. I was no longer addicted and I had broken thru the fear and economic glass ceiling and opinions and judgments of my bio family that had held me down for so long in the U.S. Helping advocate for Victoria whom Id never met off of Facebook seemed like my karmic duty as a fellow sex worker and stoner. I knew that it could have easily been me in Japanese jail for something like that so any time and expense required to work on this was given easily for a fellow comrade.。。。Rising up from za water eburi 15 minetsu!

18
Aug
09

a call to the community..answered?

I have a new roommate.  She recently turned 18 and ran away to my house.  4 years ago she was in my 9th grade classroom and since I have remained in touch with those kids who have remained in touch with me, P and I were able to support each other in this time of mutual crisis.  She just left a 1 BR apartment shared with 2 families and 3 or 4 kids under 13.  Being in a living room all to herself is probably a luxury.  She has 2 jobs (that actually PAY the rent) and a high school diploma which is already worlds ahead of what my ex-boyfriend came into the equation with.  I have kept in touch with her peripherally through text message updates and perhaps annual outings.  She and I had a connection since she was a 9th grader because within a week of meeting me, she told me she was bisexual and that she wanted to be a stripper.  I NEVER told her that I was a sex worker, or that I had spent 3 years as a stripper and never revealed to her or any of my students that I had done sex work.  I gave her a book.
Lily Burana’s  “Strip City” books_feature-11413because it was comprehensive rights based, realistic and entertaining, and, my dad had given it to me, so it seemed appropriate.  Knowledge is power for everyone, especially those that have the intention of getting into the sex industry at a young age.  She never did become a teen prostitute, or an unwed mother or chola gangstress.  She was always  a leader, a cheerleader, a model undocumented student citizen who would probably never on her own be able to afford college as long as she would have to pay International student tuition for her college educaiton and have no access to Federal Student Aid…

We are not romantically involved in any way.  In fact, it’s been quite interesting for me all this week.  In the same week that I had re-entered the high school classroom, this time as an unpaid volunteer and tutored a few students she called me wanting to move out of her house.  Since I am on the verge of not paying my rent next month, it could NOT have come at a better time.  It would be refreshing to live here and have the other person PAY RENT for once.  Really Refreshing.

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Mommy Fiercest, Nina Hartley and me! 3 generations of sex worker leadership (okay, me and Mommy are only 5 years apart, but I think I aged like 20 years running SWOP-LA

In the week of my big meltdown, another Phoenix rose from the ashes that was SWOP-LA.  She goes by Mommy Fiercest and I met her doing outreach in Mexico City at the AIDS International madness conference.  I don’t remember of course, because that conference would bring EASILY 100 individuals to your booth EACH DAY.  She joined SWOP-LA and has slowly been participating in various events with me as I drove myself to burn out..The handover was simple and beautiful.  Like a president changing office.  Ha.  Almost.  But it’s really been quite smooth and i am so relieved to hand over the keys.  It will be a true measure of my success if she takes it makes it bigger than I did.  Or if we get some grant money to pay people to make it bigger and more present than I ever could self funding it with my prostitution.

I am back to unplugging the laptop and webcamming with callers in private in my room.   P shows no interest in sex work and in the last 4 years that I have known her has tamed down quite a bit as far as her outward sexuality as she has gotten older.  You would think that that would be the first place that the average undocumented female worker would go.  But I guess that’s my warped perception.  So how do you change over from being a open whore in your face artist back to a reserved responsible adult role model trying to educate a young person.  You don’t.  Why?  Because she is 18 now and she’s not my student, she’s my roomate!

We have a very pure relationship actually.  I tried to be very compartmentalized while I was a teacher.  I was very serious about my work.  I ran a Gay-Straight Alliance in a South Central and it went over fine for the most part, no fear.  I never would imagine being attracted to my students nor did I talk to them in detail about my personal life.  That was the golden boundary for most teachers to stay sane: your personal life, especially sex life is to be ignored as if it did not exist.  You don’t need to go there with them.  period.  Just smile and say you are a virgin.  and leave it at that.  In fact, when I was teaching, I politically chose to identify as GAY and be the GAY TEACHER because I wanted to appear somewhat off limits, and “asexual” to most students, especially the young men I was trying to teach about sexism, homophobia and misogyny.   I didn’t even like the word BISEXUAL because it had the word SEXUAL in it every time you uttered it, and that, suprisingly is NOT my main objective every moment with everybody, despite the whore that I know that I am.  When teaching high school, I felt and perhaps still feel that the more ASEXUAL you are the MORE POWER YOU HAVE.  Not like creepy or like the asexual chemistry teacher who was too unattractive and unkempt even to hire a provider type of way, but asexual in a secret file but still there way, like with most politicians, but not as hypocritical.   Because unlike with adult men, SEXUALITY is NOT a bargaining chip that wins you access or privileges.  With your young male students, its the other way around and I wasn’t interested in abusing my power with anyone in ways that it had been abused with me.   With young male students, the power dynamic of sexual advantage is very much there for them already with the girls that they are actually or just talking about “deflowering” or making babies with.  As a female adult in their lives, I had the thankful advantage of being exempt from that realm of teen sex drama, because I had already gone through it once, thank you.

I brought a student in to the office for repeatedly calling me “sexy” instead of my name and used his harassment, and other student’s essays about homophobia and date rape as the basis of my Master’s inquiry paper.  In some strange way, escorting has just been this ongoing and continuous exploration of male privilege and where the seeds of that first begin to grow.  It is something that I have probably been exploring my whole healing life…

So living with P these days, being an all out urban geisha and web cam mistress during the day in my home office, it’s been interesting.  I have to learn to recompartmentalize again.  I am fortunate that I have found amazing women to help me in my struggle, to answer the call to lead without having to be nagged or pushed to do so.  I am old enough to be her parent, who would have had her when I was 17 and was now struggling to support us with my dying sex work jobs.  But instead she is helping me.  In ways that my partner could not even do after 2 years.  Crazy isn’t it?  And this happens to me because I am that overcaring mentor and open door give you my cell phone number type of teacher sometimes.  It paid off this time.

A university singing/speaking gig was cancelled in new york.  That would have given me a $1000 to pay rent AND travel and visit friends I haven’t seen, have some paid art R&R inspiration alone time…but NO.  CANCELLED.  So I started to work on generating new material to send all the other campuses that I haven’t even started to talk to yet.  I got that gig from this blog, I think.  I haven’t even really begun any publicity on myself as a touring artist.  I guess running SWOP and being in the relationship for the last 2 years were more than enough for me to deal with.  But I guess I had to do all that.  I’ve been thinking so much about my life process lately…

I have been finding hope and value working in the adult school classroom because students are motivated, diligent, QUIET, and there is no lesson planning.  You are proctoring, mentoring, managing and motivating.  That’s the job.  Lots of correcting and filing.  It’s everything that being a day school teacher is minus the hard parts.  It even pays more.  So I’ve been excited to report to my therapist taht things are looking up.  I even showed up on time for the first time in 5 weeks today.

25
Oct
08

prop k on AP video

This is the prop k disguise I’ve been using, although I’m pretty sure you can tell its still me.  I’ve just been coming out the press on prop K simultaneously, knowing that San Francisco is the home to my extended Chinese family and many other people who have no idea what I do.  This interview isn’t the worse that it could be. Kamala Harris, the district attorney of San Francisco says,”It’s not going to be like pretty woman.”  Hahahahahaha.  Almost every sex worker/feminist I know HATES that movie and it’s attempt to represent the desires of prostitutes.

12
Nov
07

HELLO KITTY HAS NO MOUTH and Pimpin Ain’t Eazy

“Happy Endings, American Dreams” photomedia series by Mariko Passion, copyright 2007.

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The director of Girl Fest, Hawaii takes a stab at feminist critique of the We, Asian Sex Workers postcard seen in the post BELOW this one, which depicts one of the images that I did as part of the “Happy Endings, American Dreams” photomedia series above that I displayed on the ar+space gallery walls.

“…Notice how this girl on the flyer is made to be or at least look underage, wearing a Hello Kitty jacket– a popular youth logo. Keep in mind, Hello Kitty has NO mouth to speak for herself. This girl is sitting on a bed in a brothel. Below her are the credit card logos of visa and mastercard with the words “BUY FINE ART” in caps. This flyer is not only promoting the pimping and selling of young girls, it is COMPLETELY racist, perpetuation the hyper-sexual underage exotification of Asian women and girls.

To be clear, Girl Fest and I have been working for the rights and protections and services of women and girls with no economic option but to have their bodies sold for sex to survive. We want to get them out of the industry and help them heal. However, WE ARE COMPLETELY ANTI-PIMP and JOHN. We are firmly against the legalization and decriminalization of prostitution. This SWOP/APLE Pimp Lobby is subversively anti-woman, under the guise of the arcane term “Harm Reduction.”

Kathryn Xian and Girl Fest Hawaii (www.girlfesthawaii.org) which also ran a Girl Fest San Francisco the SAME week as the Sex Worker Film Festival and the WE, ASW art show represent the anti-prostitution position that believes that women and girls in sex work are not capable of self determination and that sex worker rights feminists are and should be called out for the PIMPS that they are. She uses Melissa Farley as her source for credible information on why prostitution is harmful. Farley believes that ALL sex work is forced prostitution/rape, all women in prostitution have been prostituted and are unable to consent due to their post traumatic stress disorder, and all male clients are rapists and need to be cured of their insatiable, morose desires.

So, Kathryn showed up at one of our University of Hawaii speaking gigs and called me and the rest of the APLE (Arresting Prostitutes is Legal Exploitation) a bunch of pimps, accused us of taking money from ‘the pimps’, and implying that we make underage girls lapdance at our lapdance fundraisers from SWOP. She was just waiting to throw her accusations at the end of our (Carol Leigh, Stacy Swimme and I’s) presentation, upon which she kept saying,”Hello Kitty has NO MOUTH, Mariko! She CAN’T speak for herself!!” and then in classic high school fight style, she stormed out saying “JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE A QUEER ASIAN FEMALE DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN’T BE A PIMP, MARIKO!! See you on Monday!” …leaving us to deconstruct her accusations without her….

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Before Kathryn’s beautiful illustration/performance of the unreasonable hostility anti-prostitution feminists embody when dealing with sex worker activists in feminist spaces like the Women’s Studies Coalition Meeting of the University, she had sent the above analysis in email blast to all the local feminist organizations. I was honored to have been the subject of her deeper examination. That, after all is the POINT of making GOOD ART. If I have made you THINK, (re)think, re-examine and converse about MY work–then I’ve done my job as a post-porn modernist (as Annie Sprinkle might say) artist.  Success!

and now for some thoughts, STRAIGHT FROM THE KITTY’S MOUTH:

First off, calling me a pimp is CRAZY! Not because I have not perhaps technically participated in what could be considered as pimping (I ran a failed escort agency, which never never profited off of prostitution, it was more like an expensive experiment in advertising debt) believe me, so I’m apt to think it wasn’t pimping). PIMP is a an amorphous, ambiguous, misused and misunderstood term that has a pop culture definition (big hat, feather, gold grill, cane..a Black man usually) and a LEGAL defintion (profiting off the avails of prostitution) which makes an escort agent, a stripclub manager, a boyfriend/partner/husband ALL technically able to call themselves pimps. Then there’s the pop culture def which is like the N WORD in that it’s used just as much in songs and movies but has been so far removed from what it originally was that it’s lost it’s meaning because of cultural appropriation and bastardization.  Just like with many racially weighted and charged words, like the N word.

What do people MEAN when they say the word PIMP? And what does it mean to call a SEX WORKER ACTIVIST a PIMP? And to say that in some way, we are being PAID by pimps is even more ridiculous, cuz if any of you know the rules of the game: REAL PIMPS GIVE THEIR MONEY TO NO ONE, especially not to [NO BITCH.]

Pimps and self determined, independent, outspoken prostitutes like myself and the rest of the activists on the speaking tour with me, would certainly not work together financially. We WISH we got funding for our activist efforts by other donors besides OUR CLIENTS. At best, in some situations, like with Pam from APLE who did street outreach for years in Waikiki to girls who DID have stereo typical pimps who wreaked stereotypical violence on their workers, the activists and outreach workers who worked on giving the sex workers some sense of POWER, LOVE AND FREE CONDOMS were at best, tolerated.

Hello Kitty was born and created in Japan in 1976, and is “made in China” these days, making her half Chinese and half Japanese and 31, JUST LIKE ME!! The girl in the image is made to imitate the many, many, faceless, long, black haired, shamed, trafficked Asian sex slave that she thinks I really am in that photo.

To be clear, I have been working on giving Hello Kitty a mouth my entire sex work activist career of 9+ years. In this sense, HK stands for the voices of Asian women’s sexuality, Asian feminism, Queer Asian women even. On a more personal note, I do IDENTIFY with Hello Kitty because of her childlike sexuality, it’s true. But that has always been a part of my specifically very hyper sexual, hyper ethnic style of art making and performance art; ever since I was known as the asian****… If Hello Kitty is the voice of Asian women, Asian sex workers, Asian culture then, in every way, with the work that I do, I try to give HK a MOUTH to speak for herself. We, ASW was a group show, not a solo exhibition and it featured the MOUTHS of many many Asian women from Bangladesh to Chicago, and it seems to me that anti-prostitution events like Girl Fest might do the opposite of allowing the Hello Kittys of the world to speak for hersel[ves].

13
Aug
07

We, Asian Sex Workers San Francisco 2007:: BIG SUCCESS.

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**CLICK HERE TO SEE
a COOL VIDEO from the show**




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