Archive for February, 2011

No question is so difficult to answer as that to which the answer is obvious. –  George Bernard Shaw

My monthly dip into the electronic mailbag for questions from my readers.

Maggie, I live in (an American city), do you know someone who works here?  I don’t know how to find someone like you.  Can you tell me how?

Most of the escorts I’ve known personally lived in New Orleans, and because there’s a fairly high turnover in our profession I probably couldn’t help you directly even for that city.  I can give you some general pointers, though.  You can always go to the phone book for an escort service, but nowadays unless you’re in a rush you’re probably better off going to the internet.  Eros Guide is a popular escort advertising site, but it’s mostly limited to larger urban areas so if you’re not in one of those it’s not very much good.  If you Google “escorts” and the name of your city you’ll see ads for escort service sites there, and of course there’s Backpage; the disadvantage of that site is that, though some quality girls advertise there, there are also a large percentage of part-timers and very low-end escorts.  Your best option if you’re patient is probably a hooker board; there are a number of large ones such as The Erotic Review, Big Doggie and ECCIE which vary in popularity in different parts of the United States, plus a whole host of smaller regional ones.  Besides the escort ads, there are also customer-generated reviews of most of the girls which will give you an idea what to expect from them.

The disadvantage of both escort boards and Backpage is that cops can find them just like you can, and can create fake escort ads on Backpage or fake client profiles on the boards in order to further their usual sleazy attempts to victimize hookers and/or customers.  Big Doggie was the subject of a major sting a few years ago and Montgomery County, Maryland infested TER last year, so use caution and only contact established escorts with a number of reviews.

Would you please give us a few pointers on how to perform oral sex on a man?

I think I can do this without being pornographic; at least I’ll give it a try!  The problem most women have with fellatio lies in the unconscious assumptions they make about it, and if you correct those mistaken assumptions you’ll be well on your way to a professional performance with very little instruction from me or anyone else.  The two most important things to remember are: 1) Your mouth is not a vagina; and 2) A man’s penis is analogous to a woman’s clitoris.

The first one may seem obvious, but it’s apparently not; I’ve done enough couple calls and two-girl calls to see a lot of really amateurish blow jobs.  Now, I have heard many guys say “there is no such thing as a bad blow job,” and though I believe them I also recognize that there’s a vast spectrum of experience between “not bad” and “fantastic” and if you didn’t want to be closer to the “fantastic” end you wouldn’t have asked the question.  Though both mouth and vulva have lips, only those on the face have the power of volitional movement, and the vagina has neither tongue nor teeth (legends of vagina dentata notwithstanding).  From a mechanical standpoint and psychological considerations aside, if you aren’t using your lips, tongue and (very gently) teeth you might as well just be doing cowgirl.

Most of my readers probably knew about the second factor as well, but let’s look at what it really means from a practical standpoint.  All fetuses have a “sex button” which, if exposed to testosterone, develops into a penis.  But from a neurological standpoint, this development is a lot like blowing up a balloon; the number of nerves doesn’t change, they’re just stretched over a larger area.  Compared to the clitoris, the nerve density in the shaft of a man’s penis is actually pretty low; the area of highest comparable nerve density is in the glans penis, or “head”.

Given these facts I think you can figure out for yourself what’s wrong with the typical woman’s technique.  She uses her mouth as though it were a mobile vagina, forgetting she has lips, a tongue and teeth (the latter often to her male companion’s great chagrin), and she spends most of her time stimulating the least sensitive part of the penis.  Start by concentrating on the “head”, using the lips and tongue, and paying attention to his reactions; do more of whatever gets a good reaction and less of whatever gets little reaction.  The well-known bobbing motion is good later in the process, but it’s a mid-game maneuver rather than the whole thing as many women seem to believe.  Don’t worry about deep throat or other fancy maneuvers; you can learn those later.  Concentration on using the right part of your anatomy on the right part of his is at least 80% of the secret.

Why do so many more escorts kiss nowadays?  It used to be pretty rare.

There are also more who will do Greek and more who will allow unprotected oral sex to completion.  We started to see that in the last decade as escort review sites became steadily more common; many escorts wanted something which would set them apart from the competition.  But the trend really took off just over two years ago when the economy went belly-up; a lot of part-timers lost their regular jobs and therefore needed to bring in more money from hooking, and a lot of amateurs who had never before directly asked for cash flooded into Craigslist and Backpage. The amateurs had no sense of appropriate professional conduct and the part-timers were desperate to make up the difference from their lost jobs, and so they started to offer things which, while not extremely dangerous like unprotected intercourse, were nonetheless more personal and “edgy” than what had been the norm even as recently as 2007.  And once that happened even many full-time professional escorts were forced to change their policies in order to remain competitive.  The good news is that (judging by the chatter on hooker boards) there is still almost universal censure of the rare, desperate whore who will offer bareback full service; let’s hope it stays that way.

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Straight Man:  Why do you keep snapping your fingers?
Comedian:  To keep the elephants away.
Straight Man:  But there aren’t any elephants within a thousand miles!
Comedian:  See how well it works?

I really wish this silly bit of business, which was probably already old when vaudeville was young, was merely a joke; unfortunately, this sort of idiocy is foisted on the citizenry regularly by “authorities” desperate to justify their existence and prove their omniscience.  Whenever some sort of disaster (like the “Y2K bug” or the “swine flu pandemic”) predicted by government officials fails to materialize, you can bet that their response will not be sheepishness or apology but rather self-congratulation; they’ll explain that the reason the sky didn’t fall was because of the hysterical prediction and the ludicrously expensive and vastly-overblown “precautions” it inspired.  Just as airlines now refer to all arrival and departure estimates as “on time” no matter how long they were actually delayed, so government agencies claim to have been correct no matter what the actual outcome of their predictions.

The most recent example of this was, of course, the prophecy that an army of gypsy harlots tens of thousands strong would descend upon the Dallas area for Super Bowl Week like a swarm of marauding locusts, consuming every teenage girl in its path and leaving the entire area awash in venereal disease and the crime which police love to claim “inevitably follows” prostitution like cops after doughnuts.  Sensible people like yours truly tried to explain that these predictions are made for every major sporting event nowadays and literally never come true, but obviously the “authorities” ignored that because the truth didn’t provide an excuse for tightening the government’s grip a few notches.  And since vast efforts were made and millions of dollars spent to chase bogeymen, officials couldn’t very well admit they were wrong; so, we get this bold-faced lie on the Texas Attorney General’s website instead:  North Texas Law Enforcement, Attorney General’s Office Prevent Human Trafficking Surge At 2011 Super Bowl:

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today announced the preliminary results of a joint local, state and federal law enforcement effort to crack down on human trafficking during the 2011 Super Bowl…a total of 133 arrests.

…“Thanks to a coordinated enforcement, public education, and deterrence effort, Texas-based law enforcement officials were prepared to respond if we encountered human trafficking victims – or the ruthless criminals who trafficked them,” Attorney General Abbott said.  “By working proactively to prepare for the nation’s most high-profile sporting event, Texas was uniquely positioned to crack down on traffickers and provide much-needed help to their victims.”

Sexually exploited human trafficking victims are effectively forced into committing a crime – which means that they are both victims and offenders.  In one case, the Attorney General’s Special Investigations Unit and Grapevine police officers arrested a female and charged her with prostitution.  After she was released from custody, the woman told the Attorney General’s Special Investigations Unit that she was a sex trafficking victim and identified her trafficker.  On February 11, Dallas police officers and NTTTF members successfully located and arrested Joshua Andrews, 39, and charged him with Trafficking in Persons.  Andrews, a suspected gang member, was taken into custody at the Dallas County Jail.  The NTTTF connected the woman with crime victim advocates to help her recover from her trafficker’s abuse.

Sixteen members of the Texas congressional delegation commended the State’s human trafficking prevention efforts surrounding the 2011 NFL Super Bowl in Arlington.  In a letter to Attorney General Abbott, the congressional members said:  “As you know, domestic minor sex trafficking impacts the lives of thousands of American children each year in states across the country, including Texas.  Your efforts in Texas are an example of what can and should be done to protect children at risk for and victimized by sexual exploitation”…

Wow, what a circle-jerk.  If these “officials” got any more exuberant in their praise and congratulations of each other, it would be a homosexual orgy (which I’m sure violates some sort of law in Texas).  Even with an undefined, open-ended time period (we’re told the “operations” went “through Super Bowl Sunday” but not when they began) the best they could do was 133 arrests, not all of them for prostitution, in the ENTIRE Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Considering that we’ve already been told 23 prostitution arrests is typical for five days in Dallas, we can guess that 22 over 2½ weeks isn’t unusual for smaller Arlington; let’s go out on a limb and imagine 23 arrests in Fort Worth and 24 in all the other suburbs (Grand Prairie, Irving, etc) put together and that gives us roughly 92 prostitution arrests in the entire Metroplex that week.  Add 41 unspecified “other” arrests (which an ambitious police department could easily manage in one raid) and we get 133 without even breaking a sweat.  And of all that, how many alleged “human traffickers”?  One.  And how do we know he’s a “trafficker”?  Why, on the testimony of an arrested streetwalker who had a choice of going to jail as a “criminal” or to a shelter as a “victim”, of course!  Does anyone else detect a faintly Swedish odor on these proceedings?

But just in case anyone else has the rudimentary math skills necessary to work this out as I did, Attorney General Abbot tells us that it would have been worse had thousands of cops and millions of dollars not been dedicated to this boondoggle.

Taxpayer:  Why did you spend all that money and devote all that manpower to harass prostitutes?
Greg Abbott:  To keep the human traffickers away.
Taxpayer:  But human traffickers don’t follow major sporting events!
Greg Abbott:  See how well it works?

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Simply put, commission of what the Legislature determines as an immoral act, even if consensual and private, is an injury against society itself.  –  Judge Chet Traylor, in the majority opinion for State vs. Smith (2000)

In my column of August 17th I wrote about Louisiana’s tyrannical “Crime Against Nature” law and the New Orleans Police Department’s evil game of charging prostitutes under this law so they can be persecuted for at least a decade by inclusion on “sex offender” registries. Since escorts can usually afford lawyers to arrange plea bargains to avoid the “sex offender” status, those convicted under the law are nearly all streetwalkers and the overwhelming majority of them are black or transsexual. The column also discussed Women With a Vision (WWAV), an organization whose “No Justice Project” is dedicated to overturning the convictions of these women so they can begin the process of reclaiming the lives destroyed by the so-called “justice” system.  Well, on February 17th regular reader Joyce sent me a link to this story which appeared in the Times-Picayune the day before:

People who must register as sex offenders because they were convicted of engaging in oral or anal sex for money filed a lawsuit against state officials last night [February 15th], arguing the requirement is unconstitutional and discriminatory.  Only in Louisiana can people convicted of selling their bodies be required to register as a sex offender, according to the lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights…The registration requirement only affects people prosecuted under the state’s “crime against nature by solicitation” law, which is used when a person is accused of engaging in oral or anal sex in exchange for money.  People accused of prostitution, which includes any sex act, are not required to register…

The lawsuit was filed anonymously, but describes the difficulty the plaintiffs have experienced obtaining work and finding housing because they are registered sex offenders.  In Louisiana, the driver’s license of a registered sex offender is inscribed with those words in bright orange letters…[they also] appear in a state database and must notify neighbors of their legal status…attorneys for the plaintiffs said the registration requirement erects “insurmountable barriers” to people who are trying to restart their lives.  In New Orleans, nearly 40 percent of the people registered as sex offenders are on the registry because of a “crime against nature” conviction.  The label…often keeps people from being able to access drug treatment or domestic violence services, said Deon Haywood, director of Women With A Vision…”The toll it takes is devastating,” Haywood said about the registration requirements.  “They did what they did to survive and put food on the table.”

Louisiana is the only state that has separate laws depending on what kind of sex acts a prostitute engages in…The Legislature in the last session changed the penalties for “crime against nature by solicitation” to make the first offense a misdemeanor, which matches the potential sentence for first-offense prostitution.  Previously, a first conviction of “crime against nature” was a felony.  But while a person convicted of prostitution is not required to register as a sex offender, a defendant convicted repeatedly of “crime against nature by solicitation” would have to…plus, people who were convicted…before last year, when the law was changed, still must remain on Louisiana’s sex offender registry…all of the other offenses that require registration…involve some kind of force, coercion, or exploitation of a minor…[such as] rape, aggravated kidnapping of a child or prostitution of a person under 17.

I’m not sure what their chances of winning are; Louisiana has a long history of aggressively repelling all challenges to its 205-year-old sodomy law.  Even after Lawrence vs. Texas struck down all such laws in the United States in June of 2003, the state doggedly held onto its “crime against nature” statute unchanged for a year until a judge specifically invalidated portions of it, leaving intact provisions for prosecuting homosexual groups and those “promoting prostitution”.  Also, Louisiana is the only state to have (since 1982) a separate law criminalizing “Crime Against Nature by Solicitation”, and since this law only applies to prostitutes it remained unaffected by  Lawrence vs. Texas despite being clearly rooted in the same unconstitutional and discriminatory motivations.  However, this is the first challenge in federal court, which could make a big difference.

A week ago yesterday (February 18th) I called Lorie Seruntine, my contact at WWAV, to ask what part the organization had played in organizing the lawsuit (since the news story doesn’t really make it clear), and she explained that WWAV had contacted the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Loyola University Law Clinic and presented the requests for help they had received from the many women involved in the No Justice Project; the case is thus the culmination of about two years of work by WWAV on behalf of these severely oppressed women.  Lorie told me that everyone in the program, both staff and members of the community, is very excited about the case and the attention it has attracted in the national media.  She furthermore let me know that a long-anticipated revamp of the WWAV website had been completed and asked me to provide a link; observant readers may have noticed its appearance in the “Resources” box in the right-hand column last Friday.

Of course the filing of the case is only the beginning of the fight, and WWAV, the attorneys and the plaintiffs have a long and arduous fight ahead.  But regardless of the outcome of the case, you can be sure that WWAV will continue to fight the good fight; Lorie assured me that the organization has developed other strategies toward defeating this terrible law in the event that the court continues the long Louisiana tradition of allowing the government to invade people’s bedrooms and dictate their private activities.

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Regular readers know that once per month I publish little tales of heroic whores; if you like this one you might also enjoy the others linked here.

Deputy Leclerc pulled his coat closer about him against the icy wind of early Ventôse; how he hated this time of year!  It used to be that the beastly weather was made more bearable by the anticipation of Carnival, but the National Assembly had banned it as indecent and the subsequent governments had continued the prohibition, so there was absolutely nothing to ameliorate Leclerc’s misery.  Ah, well, c’est la vie; perhaps someday when the chaos had settled and all corrupt elements had been purged from society, the celebration might be allowed again.  He shrugged inwardly; it was best not to think too much about such things, so he turned his attention to avoiding the deeper puddles and quickened his pace a little.

“Why in such a hurry, Monsieur?” came a sweet voice from a doorway nearby.  “Surely you have a few minutes to tarry with me?”  The whore was both young and beautiful, and though her winter clothes disguised her figure somewhat he did not think he would be disappointed when the rest of her charms were revealed.  Well, why not?  His spirits were in need of lifting, and he could blame any delay on the weather.

Her room was small but comfortable, and though her fee was high for a streetwalker she was clearly no ordinary fille de joie; he mused that in less egalitarian times she might’ve made a courtesan.  She certainly had the manners for it, inviting him to remove his boots and warm his feet by the fire while she got him a large mug of bouillon.  She then sat with him while he sipped the hot, flavorful broth, making small talk about all manner of subjects while he enjoyed the music of her voice and grunted a response now and again just to keep her going.  He soon felt a pleasant drowsiness overcome him, and since he was warm and comfortable and in no hurry to return to the winter outside he did not fight it, but instead drifted into sleep.

He awoke some time later on his back in a dimly-lit room; he felt dizzy, nauseated and weak and it took him several minutes to realize that he had no idea what was going on.  He tried to get up and immediately regretted it, then an unfamiliar feminine voice said “I would advise you to lie still for a while, Deputy Leclerc.  The embrace of the poppy is not so easily escaped by one unused to her caresses.”

A wave of nausea engulfed him as he jerked his head toward the voice, which tutted and then asked “Why do men never listen?” as he proceeded to be violently ill on the dirt floor.  When the sickness had subsided he lay back on the straw mat and the strange woman sat down beside him, cleaning his mouth with a wet flannel and feeling his forehead with a soft, warm hand.

“Who are you?  Where am I?  What is going on here?” he croaked, without waiting for any answers.  “Do you know who I am?”

“But of course we know, Deputy Leclerc, which is exactly why you have been brought here.  I am your nurse, here to ensure that you are well for your trial in the morning.”

Trial?  He asked incredulously; “By what authority do you presume to put a deputy of the National Convention on trial?”

“Why, by the same authority that we all presumed to storm the Bastille and set up our own government, namely the natural right of all men and women to liberty and equality.”

“The National Convention is the duly elected government of the Republic, and only the Committee of Public Safety has the right to administer justice!”

“In the opinions of many, the Convention lost its mandate to govern women when it sent our champion, Madame De Gouges, to the guillotine.”

“Many?  What many?” he scoffed.

“You will see in the morning,” she said, and would not elaborate further.

Leclerc did not sleep well, though neither his nurse nor his accommodations could be faulted for that.  No, it was the reference to Olympe de Gouges which worried him.  Could he be in the hands of the remnants of the Girondist party?  If so, his time on Earth was nearly over; he did not think they would be as averse to bloodshed now as they had been in the past.  He tried to engage his nurse in conversation, to no avail; she had apparently said all she wished to say and showed admirable restraint thereafter.

But the morning eventually came, and his nurse was replaced by a woman who presented a basin and ewer and bade him make himself presentable, followed by another who brought him a generous breakfast.  Soon after he was finished the door was opened and Leclerc wondered if he might not be suffering some aftereffect of the opium with which the whore had drugged him, because into the room came two tall women dressed as Amazon warriors!  He started to laugh but it soon died in his throat because their spears were quite real and the scowls on their faces quite serious.  They ushered him out of the room and though he considered making a break for it he realized that he had no idea where he was and no way of knowing the way to the exit.

In a few moments he realized he must be in some portion of the Carrières de Paris which had been renovated to include rooms and at least one large chamber into which he was now led; the rough walls of the former mine were covered with decorative hangings and the space was ringed with wooden benches crowded with spectators.  A jury box lay on his right, and directly ahead of him a judge’s bench and witness stand.  All of the seats were already occupied; he was the last participant to arrive.  He was astonished to note that he was the only normally-dressed person there; everyone else, from judge to prosecutor to jurors to spectators, were all arrayed in colorful costumes far more suited to a Carnival celebration than to a courtroom.  And as he surveyed the scene, he noticed something far more disquieting; every single masked face he could see was that of a woman.

The trial was like a nightmare; he heard his own voice pleading not guilty to the charges, saw himself standing and sitting and answering as he was bidden, listened to the women in their outlandish attire give evidence against him, and heard the damning recitation of his misdeeds against humanity in general and women in particular not merely for the past few years, but stretching back through his whole debauched life.  And as the testimony unfolded a common thread became apparent to him, revealed by the nature of the charges and the details of the witnesses’ accounts:  Every one of them was a whore.  He fancied that he recognized the judge and prosecutor beneath their masks as well-known courtesans, and it was not too difficult to guess that jurors and spectators were all demimondaines as well.  He realized now that he had misinterpreted the nurse’s calling Olympe de Gouges “our champion”; before she had become an advocate for the rights of women, a Girondist sympathizer and an outspoken critic of the increasingly-common executions, the noted writer had been a courtesan.  The demimonde apparently considered her one of its own, and the judge honored the great lady’s aversion to violence by sentencing Leclerc to a peaceful death by overdose of opium.

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I was…trying to create a voice for women who had actually been in prostitution within a framework that was largely made up of activists who hadn’t and who didn’t particularly want the opinions of those who had. –  Jill Brenneman

This is the conclusion of an interview which started Monday; if you have not read it please go back and read that part first, but be warned that the first two parts are the most graphic, disturbing narrative I have yet published or am likely to publish again, and I must caution sensitive readers to consider carefully before proceeding.  Today’s installment also contains one intense passage, but if you’ve read the others you should be able to handle this one.

Maggie: So due to Christine Stark’s resignation, you found yourself in charge of Escape immediately after you embraced harm reduction; what happened next?

Jill: Less than a month after International Day of No Prostitution, I sent a public press release and also modified the Escape website to advise that we were now modifying the existing operational model and bylaws to make harm reduction a major component in our ideology and services.  Christine resigned entirely from the organization and the radical feminist and anti-trafficking communities were quick and very strong in their condemnation of adding harm reduction.  They demanded my termination or resignation and there was an abundance of criticism, hate mail, a death threat and efforts to get me dropped from scheduled speaking events.  I reached out to the sex worker rights movement, and though I expected a very negative response given my activism over the previous 3 years the response I actually got was supportive, warm and open.  That same month Christine and I and another member of Escape fulfilled a contractual obligation to make a presentation in Washington, DC at a Justice Department, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention conference.  When I arrived, the moderators spoke to me about what they had been told about my “conversion to pro-prostitution” and gave me a list of topics and words that were banned; it said “harm reduction” was a banned topic, “sex worker” a banned term.  I still used both in the first breakout session and was advised immediately afterward that my input had been excluded from the record and that my services were not needed for the remainder of the event.  I was fine with that, and I flew back to Minnesota, brought in new members with a harm reduction and/or sex worker rights viewpoint and refused to sign the anti-prostitution oath attached to a $10,000 grant offer (which cost us the grant).  In 2006, what had once been Escape officially became an autonomous chapter of SWOP called SWOP East.

Maggie: What amazes me is how incredibly ignorant the “antis” are, and how much they want to remain ignorant; most activists have been directly affected by whatever it is they’re trying to fight (people who join MADD have usually lost love ones to drunk drivers, etc), but it seems most of these anti-prostitution crusaders don’t have even secondhand knowledge of sex work.  Their opposition appears to be entirely academic and based on fallacies and lies.  Would you say that’s a fair statement?

Jill: I would say it is entirely fair.  For the most part they are ultra second wave feminists who have taken it to an extreme.  It’s like their goal is to impose their ideology onto the world from an angle of a political tyrant.  Dissent is not tolerated.  They are easily threatened by activists with actual experience in the sex industry; they view them as damaged, unreliable and essentially good only for doing the footwork in whatever battle they are wrapped up in.  Donna Hughes used to whine about how taking on the issue of prostitution had so harmed her career and how we, meaning those who had been prostitutes, didn’t appreciate it.  Nikki Craft said she hated prostitutes.  Others said they wished they had been prostitutes because they would have the experience without being fucked up like we were and have their academic credentials for credibility.  Of all the former sex workers I did activism with on the anti side in the late ‘90s, all but one have left or have been driven out of the anti movement.  Most gravitated to sex worker rights or harm reduction or left activism on the issue entirely.

The antis encourage lies, which they call “re-framing experiences”, to make their point.  As difficult and extreme as my experiences were, they wanted me to re-frame them, meaning add things that didn’t happen to make it worse.

Maggie: Eventually, you returned to sex work, but this time as a consenting adult in charge of your own life.  Obviously that happened after you broke with the antis, but what inspired you to go back to a type of work that must’ve had some terrible associations in your mind?

Jill: I returned to sex work in 2009.  Just a month prior, desperate for a job after the flight attendant job ended with the airline going bankrupt, I accepted a position as a valet parking attendant for a local hospital.  It was 3/10 of a mile run for each customer’s car in the parking deck.  At 43 years old, I lasted 9 days running roughly 8 miles a day before seriously injuring both knees on a misstep from a curb to the pavement.  Both knees required surgery and long rehab, and the workers comp carrier paid $106 dollars a week which didn’t even cover the rent.  Needing money and having very limited options I met with a local escort service that agreed to market me as 34 rather than 43 and I started taking outcall clients.  My years of counseling had paid off as had my time in the sex worker rights movement, because I found that I could set boundaries with the clients and that it wasn’t as it had been with Bruce.  I wasn’t a slave this time.  I couldn’t care less how the clients felt.  The deal usually was one climax or one hour, with very few exceptions; I found that I had no stomach for the longer sessions that some wanted even though it was more money.  Sometimes I had to catch myself as falling into the slave mode still wasn’t that far a jump from the present moment.  But it worked, although I often felt dejected that I was a prostitute in my 40’s.  Somehow I’d envisioned a different picture for my 40’s.

The true challenge came in July of last year when I was violently raped and assaulted by a client whose full time job was as a Federal Air Marshal.  Being handcuffed again, having someone hold a trashbag over my head until I stopped resisting and being forced to swallow the used condom as his point to fully ensure that I understood that he was alpha.  The rape set me reeling emotionally, and the past flooded back.  A few days later I flew to Vegas for the Desiree Alliance Convention but was non-participating; I was emotionally lost and mentally affected by the concussion he had inflicted.  Rather than attend breakout sessions or speeches by my friends and colleagues, I was lost in flashbacks and had difficulty determining reality and separating the present from the past.  I became suicidal and spent time getting prescription meds from my psychiatrist faxed to a pharmacy in Vegas.  I think a close friend that I was sharing a room with realized how far over the edge I was because despite my protestations they wouldn’t let me be alone.

Maggie: From your writings I can see that by September at least that depression had turned into anger.

Jill: After I physically recovered I felt a strong sense of rage.  It fully struck me when the escort service called me and asked me if I would consider a date with the air marshal again even though I had told them what he did.  They said he praised me and offered more money to have me again.  I was powerless to do anything to him because he was law enforcement, I am a prostitute and as such, I likely would be the criminal to the police.  I had no evidence because he made me swallow the condom.  But ultimately my anger is at abolitionists who fight so hard to keep prostitution criminalized.  Criminalization denied me any hope of justice and protected a rapist from prosecution just as it had when I was a runaway teen.  Their criminalization efforts and their faux rescue ideology are as much to blame for the rape as the rapist himself; criminalization gave him a blank check to do what he wanted to.  It reminded me just how easy it was for a client to reset the clock and turn me back into a slave captive to his violence, with the alleged rescue/feminist abolitionist movement cheering the whole process as saving innocents.  All of us doing sex work remain in danger because of criminalization and because of the “work” of the abolitionist movement.  I realized on the flight back from Vegas how easily anyone at the convention, any one of my sex worker friends and allies, could be quickly reduced to where I had been without recourse, with no legal protection and with an alleged anti-trafficking movement helping enforce the victimization.

While I’m still doing sex work because I need the money and lack other options, my sense of safety is compromised.  I’m haunted by the fact that it happened before and can easily happen again.  I realize how close I still am to being the devastated teenager lying on a cold cement floor unable to move from the pain of violent rapes and physical and sexual assaults, yet chained to that floor for the visual stimulation of a predator.  I feel like those same chains are still there, they still rattle, only now they are invisible, they are instead criminalization.  That criminalization is advanced by academic activists who have never been on that floor and are doing their “work” not because they care about saving anyone but because it advances their careers and gives them an ideology in which they can claim moral superiority and starve their “enemies” of human rights…enemies who are sex workers trying to make a living.

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More harm emotionally was done to me by rad fem activists than any pimp. –  Jill Brenneman

This is a continuation of an interview which started Monday; if you have not read it please go back and read that part first, but be warned that the first two parts are the most graphic, disturbing narrative I have yet published or am likely to publish again, and I must caution sensitive readers to consider carefully before proceeding.  Today’s installment begins after Jill escaped her pimp through serendipity and took the cheapest flight she could find, to Las Vegas.

Maggie: So, after finding yourself suddenly free, what next?  Did you get a regular job, seek out help from a charity, or what?

Jill: When I got to Vegas, I found a fleabag hotel to stay in, and after faking a diploma through some creative cut and paste I got a job at Denny’s as a waitress.  Eventually, I started cocktail waitressing at Rio and made much better money and was able to get a car and an apartment.  Both jobs thought I was a really good employee; I did what I was told, worked really hard, never questioned anything.  I tended to approach jobs as I had been taught by Bruce:  Shut up, do what I was told, do it fast, without question etc.  So ultimately what broke me is partially what saved me. It took years to regain the fire in my personality, but eventually I got my GED and then a job as a flight attendant with Southwest, which worked really well to ease my paranoia because every day I was someplace different.  As a flight attendant for the first couple of years you don’t ever really know where you will be going from day to day, so neither would anyone else.  My efforts at dating were terrible; I couldn’t trust men or get by my fear of them, so I tended to make every guy I dated into a bad guy even if he wasn’t.  In 1996 I entered a program called Council for Prostitution Alternatives in Portland and had a really awesome counselor and finally started talking about what had happened.  Even though Council for Prostitution Alternatives ceased operations, I continued counseling steadily and am still doing it as there are still issues to work on, plus I need the meds for depression and PTSD.

Maggie: So between 1984 and 1996 you just tried to deal with your trauma alone?

Jill: Except for 3 counseling sessions after a 1994 suicide attempt, yes I tried to deal with it entirely alone.  For years I was truly terrified of Bruce finding me, to the point that I had contingency plans for someone to take my dog if I disappeared for more than 2 days without notice.  For a long time I really expected that his finding me was destiny and essentially thought of how I would surrender if he did.  So much of me for so many years partially believed that I was wrong to have escaped and that I should have stayed, waited for him to come back or tried to bail him out.  I know it sounds fucked up but I really struggled with whether I should have escaped and whether I brought bad karmic destiny on myself for doing it.  I didn’t tell anybody any of this until 1996 when I opened up to a friend in Portland.  Initially it had started as an interview as she was doing a website for a runaway teen shelter and had seen my posts on AOL challenging some asshole who said that all runaway teens were just spoiled brats that didn’t want to take direction and just wanted drugs.  I unloaded on him on that message board.  She read it, contacted me and asked if I would agree to an interview.  I found that she and I were similar emotionally and then had an even bigger shock that we had some similar experiences although hers were as an adult and related to a former boyfriend.  I finally made the breakthrough of realizing someone else had been broken as easily as I had, which ultimately was also really painful because it hurt me that someone as kind and empathetic and really cool had to suffer that.  She was far more advanced on the internet that I was so she searched the country for prostitution based programs and contacted one in Washington, DC called HIPS, which ironically directed her back to Portland and the Council for Prostitution Alternatives as HIPS felt I was going to need extensive counseling and CPA was highly regarded for their counseling program.

Maggie: Your mixed feelings don’t sound fucked up to me; his conditioning of you was extremely thorough and effective and your mind adapted as it had to in order to stay intact.  I’m astonished that you survived as long as you did without any outside help!

Jill: I survived as long as I did because it is hard to die.  I developed a reputation for my fearlessness and bravado for many years, but it wasn’t fearlessness or bravado, it was a death wish.

Maggie: But eventually you were drawn into the prohibitionist movement; did you first get involved with them through the Council for Prostitution Alternatives?

Melissa Farley, who says women are too stupid to decide for ourselves what we’re allowed to do with our own bodies.

Jill:  I was peripherally involved in the anti prostitution movement from 1997 to 1998 largely via posts on listservs, including the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW).  I wasn’t really doing much activism, more trying to create a voice for women who had actually been in prostitution within a framework that was largely made up of activists who hadn’t and who didn’t particularly want the opinions of those who had.  I had already run into steep conflicts with Nikki Craft and Melissa Farley; both felt I was an infiltrator from the “pro prostitution” movement or the CIA.  On CATW I and others wrote about our experiences in prostitution, and we tended to argue with Donna Hughes and the other academic members of CATW about their inaccurate and demeaning perceptions of prostitutes.  So CATW made a decision that those of us who had been in prostitution would be removed from the listserv and put on one specifically for us; their feeling was that an international listserv on trafficking wasn’t the place for survivors to discuss our experiences.  I balked very strongly at this; I felt CATW and specifically Donna Hughes were a farce not interested in trafficking or prostitution but only in advancing their careers, and I went public with it.

In late 1998, I accepted a position on the advisory board of the Women’s Recovery Center for Prostitution Resources in St. Paul, which was an exit program for those who wanted to leave the sex industry.  Then in 2001 I was invited to join Escape: The Prostitution Prevention Project, which was based in the Twin Cities.  In April 2001, I did my first speaking presentation, and this led to many other speaking events as Escape had become well known.  My role was largely to speak about my past; my colleague Christine Stark (who founded the organization) did the feminist/political side of the presentation.  Christine was very staunchly anti-prostitution using a very Andrea Dworkin-based approach.  In 2002, Christine and a collective of feminist activists in San Francisco created a protest called “International Day of No Prostitution”.  When Chris initially explained the concept to me I understood it to be a symbolic day to create awareness of violence in prostitution and a call to prostitution clients to end violence against prostitutes.  I had no further input into the event and it became an outlandish protest that went worldwide.  I felt it was academic and out of touch, and went to extremes like calling for the rescue of animals from “systems of prostitution”.

Escape got a lot of criticism from sex workers about the event, and I was chosen to respond to them but I heard what they were saying and it made sense to me.  Rather than challenge their views as I was expected to do, I heard their point and made no response.  At the height of the protest against International Day of No Prostitution, Christine Stark abruptly resigned as Executive Director of Escape, which left me in charge.  At the same time, the Sexual Violence Center in Minneapolis was seeking to expand its harm reduction-based services to offer them to prostitutes in need, so we agreed on a trade.  Escape had no office, just a phone and a fax; Sexual Violence Center would give Escape office space at their facility, access to a 24 hour crisis line run by Sexual Violence Center, legal advocacy for sex workers and a no-cost harm reduction-based counseling program for sex workers.  In return I gave my knowledge because no one on their staff had direct involvement in prostitution and they felt they weren’t qualified and thus reached out to me to fill that role.  As part of that process I went through their crisis counselor certification class (which was 40 hours of training) and became a certified crisis counselor in Minnesota.

To be concluded tomorrow.

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The only sense from me that seemed to interest him was pain. –  Jill Brenneman

This is a continuation of an interview which started yesterday; if you have not read it please go back and read that part first.  As I said yesterday, the first two parts are the most graphic, disturbing narrative I have yet published or am likely to publish again, and I must caution sensitive readers to consider carefully before proceeding.

Maggie: So were the clients just as bad as he was?

Jill: The clients tended to be less violent or sadistic than he was.  There were a variety of fetishes, of roleplays involving rape, torture, sometimes faking death.  Sometimes he gave me stims because after multiple clients in a day I often was in a daze and was struggling to remain attached to the present and coherent.  Eventually I started doing some outcall work, even occasional streetwalking on really cold nights ostensibly to remind me of where I would be without him.

Maggie: How did that “loyalty test” you spoke of earlier happen?  Was it a kind of trick to make you paranoid of anyone who offered to help?

Jill: One night I was brought to a client named Brian by one of Bruce’s friends, a guy named Chuck.  Brian invited me in, told me he just wanted to talk.  I mostly listened as he talked about wanting to understand what makes a girl do what I’m doing, then he asked me a question.  He said he knew who Bruce was, that he was a terrible man who was obviously hurting me.  He could see the bruises on my wrists and ankles, he saw some of the scars.  He told me, if I agreed, he would hire me again the next night and help me get away from Bruce.  I didn’t agree at the outset but he sold me on it and I agreed.

The next night I was dropped off at Brian’s house as promised.  Brian invited me in, this time inviting me upstairs to the living room; when I got there I saw Bruce, Chuck and some other men there.  Bruce said to me “you know what you’ve done, don’t you”.  I agreed that I did know.  He told me to strip, to get on my knees.  He threw a dog collar at me and told me to put it on so tight I couldn’t breathe.  I came as close to that as the collar would go, then he handcuffed me and left me kneeling for a long time while the guys talked about my betrayal, about how I was going to spend my last few hours alive.  They took me to Brian’s dungeon and every man got to do everything he wanted to.  For a while I was gagged because apparently they were realistic in realizing it was impossible to not scream.  Midway through the night Bruce took me to the bathroom, told me to get in the bath tub, that they’d had it with my bullshit.  He reminded me of the contract, that I was his slave and that I had to do whatever I was told.  He took the handcuffs off, then put a gun in my mouth and told me to grab it and pull the trigger.  The guys were impressed that I didn’t hesitate and didn’t try to turn it on one of them.  When I pulled the trigger nothing happened and the gun was taken away.  By then I was crying, but not for the reason they thought; I was crying because there wasn’t a bullet.  It wasn’t death that scared me, it was living through more.

The night was hours more torture which included hanging me by my neck, which damaged my larynx to an extent that is still obvious today.  It never fully healed correctly.  When the night was finally over I was left in the bathroom chained to the sink.  Everything hurt to such an extent it was virtually impossible to move.  I knew I was bleeding from either my vagina or rectum or both but didn’t care and couldn’t move enough to look.  They left me there for a couple of days, aside from kicking at me to see if I’d move or taunting me with water to drink…I didn’t work again for over a week until enough of the bruises had disappeared.

Maggie: So obviously, Bruce was a sexual sadist of an extreme kind; it seems that torturing and breaking you was really his primary motivation, and the money was only secondary.

Jill: Yes, I agree with that.  I don’t know that specifically as he never said it straight out.  And clearly money was important and I was bringing him a lot of it.  I was very young and clients could essentially do almost anything they wanted to with me and I would do almost anything the client wanted.  I didn’t have any say in the matter.  I believe Bruce found a way to make a great deal of money and indulge his motivation.  I think his sadism went to such an extreme that it kept getting harder and harder for him to be fulfilled.  He talked often about how hot he felt it was when I got a certain look in my eyes.  It’s hard to describe this in writing.  The look was essentially that I wasn’t there anymore emotionally.  That he had caused so much pain and so much degradation that it didn’t matter who did what anymore.  He took great pride in demonstrating to his friends and other men what he could do to me, how easily he could make me say anything he wanted.  Our cover story, that he came up with, was that I was a college freshman that was studying “women’s lib” until I had met him.  Now I was his slave and he was proud to demonstrate that to other men.

Maggie: Since you were so totally broken, how in the world did you ever get away from him?

Jill: All the violence, degradation and shame had left me totally compliant.  I also knew I had no place to go if I did get away; I had no one to call and I was terrified of the police as I had some awful cop clients.  So I finally only escaped his control through a fluke.  One day just a little before my 18th birthday I was locked in the closet like usual, naked, handcuffed.  I heard a ruckus, heard Bruce explaining to somebody that his girlfriend who was Goth and into BDSM and fantasy was in the closet, heard him showing my fake ID that said I was 19.  Then some cops opened the closet; they took off the blindfold and handcuffs, and told me to go put some clothes on then they would speak to me.  I actually asked Bruce what he wanted me to put on, but they told me not to worry about that, just get dressed.  I came back down stairs and they asked me what I was doing in the closet like that.  I stuck to the story that I was 19 and it was just a bondage fantasy with my boyfriend.  They explained to me that my boyfriend was being arrested on an outstanding warrant.  I asked weakly for a female officer.  They told me if I wanted to speak to a female officer there were plenty of them down at the station and asked if it was worth it to me to get arrested also just to talk to a female officer.  I realized then that the cops thought I was going to try to defend him; I don’t know what I was going to do, but I backed off on the request.  They explained the process for me to bail him out and took him.  I was terrified and had no idea whether this was real or just another loyalty test.  So I went back in the closet and waited a long time.  Still nothing.  I had reached a point where I really had to pee.  I wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom at will, only when I was told to, and Bruce checked the toilet often to see if it was wet so I didn’t dare to use the toilet.  So I went outside, then realized I had locked myself out of the house.  I could only get into the garage, so I sat with the dog for a few minutes.  The dog, Rocky, was a pit bull and would likely have attacked anyone but Bruce and I, so Bruce kept some money hidden in the garage.  So I took the hidden money and fled out of fear Bruce would come back at any point; I let Rocky go out of the garage so he could find food and water in case Bruce really was arrested. I got a cab to Burbank Airport (by this time we had relocated to LA and were living in Pasadena), then went to the ticket counter and got a $29 one-way ticket to Vegas that departed in 40 minutes.  Literally 1.5 hours later, I was in another state and suddenly free, but I was terrified that Bruce was going to find me and much of me felt worse for escaping.  Now I had to watch over my shoulder and I had very little money, no idea where to go or how to rebuild my life and myself.

That is my escape.  No dramatic rescue.  No rescuing exit organization.   I got away for no other reason than I had to pee and didn’t think to leave the door unlocked to get back in.

Maggie: It’s almost impossible to imagine a person being that broken and yet eventually recovering, but you did it and I can’t even begin to tell you how much that impresses me.  I’m a strong person, but compared to you I’m a spoiled whiny-baby.

Jill: Eventually I came back from it.  I learned from it.  In some ways I don’t regret it because over time I learned about oppression, about understanding the suffering of other people.  I grew up in a very conservative family until they threw me out at 14.  I wouldn’t likely have learned about tolerance, about empathy, about diversity without the experiences I went through.

To be continued…

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All of us doing sex work remain in danger because of criminalization and because of the “work” of the abolitionist movement. –  Jill Brenneman

Regular readers have seen me refer to Jill Brenneman on several occasions before, and she commented extensively on my February 7th column as I had hoped she might.  You see, Jill is what many prohibitionists like to claim we all are:  a woman who was forced into prostitution in her teens by a brutal pimp.  But though she participated in the prohibitionist movement herself for several years (and really, who could blame her?) she was open-minded enough to see the truth and reason in the arguments for decriminalization and intellectually honest enough to be repulsed by the lies and misrepresentation rampant among the prohibitionists.  She thus became an outspoken advocate for sex worker rights, and her unique perspective makes her the one person whose opinion on the “sex trafficking” issue I most respect.  After the aforementioned column appeared Amanda Brooks suggested I interview Jill, and I thought that was a fantastic idea so I contacted her and she generously agreed.  The interview was conducted mostly via email on February 11th-13th and completed by telephone on the 13th, and though Jill suggested I edit it down I have done this as little as possible because I wanted her to be free to tell her story in her own words.  At first I was hesitant to ask direct questions, but she assured me that nothing I asked would faze her and that was absolutely true.

Jill is the same age as I am, 44, and has a rather raspy voice due to the throat injury she mentions in tomorrow’s portion of the interview.  Her parents threw her out of her New England home in May of 1981 after she told a school counselor she had been sexually abused, and over the next couple of months she hitchhiked her way to Cincinnati.  It was there on July 3rd that she had her ill-fated meeting with the freak who did his level best to destroy her, the sadistic pimp named Bruce.  The next four days will not be enjoyable reading; the first two parts are the most graphic, disturbing narrative I have yet published or am likely to publish again, and I must caution sensitive readers to consider carefully before proceeding.  The interview is quite long, but Jill and I both feel that it’s important to show the ugly side of the world of prostitution as well as its attractive side; our opponents are liars, but we are not.  If we hide facts which might make us look bad we are no better than the prohibitionists, and the suppressed information would then become a weapon in their hands.  The truth shines light into dark places inhabited by filth like Bruce; and Jill understands, as we hope most people will one day, that only decriminalization will grant free whores the power to help the law to uncover these monsters and liberate the girls they victimize.

Maggie: Would you explain, in as much or little detail as you feel comfortable with, how you became entrapped by a pimp?

Jill: It was a rainy day, I was hiding from the rain.  I was homeless, hungry, dirty, totally alone.  This really attractive man came up to the table, bought me lunch, told me about his entertainment agency, about his skyscraper headquarters, how he only hired the most beautiful women in the world.  I told him I looked awful, he said he could see me through the runaway teen veneer.  Which got me to open up to him why I ran away, that I had no one to call because it was more a throwaway than a runaway situation.  He offered me an audition at his headquarters.  I asked him if it was prostitution, he got pissed and walked away saying I wasn’t professional like he had believed because it was a really stupid question.  I caught up to him, begged him for another chance.  He agreed on the condition that I didn’t ask any more questions.  We got to his car, he was the total gentleman opening the door for me, etc.  When I got in the car he told me that because his agency was so popular and famous there were always corporate spies trying to get in thus I would have to be blindfolded.  The idea scared me but I was fourteen, with no other options other than to go back inside the mall or sit outside in the rain.  So I agreed.  He gave me a hat and sunglasses to cover the blindfold.  As we were driving I could hear the road sounds weren’t matching his narrative of the drive.  He was describing driving into a major city, the sounds all sounded like we had gone to a more rural area.  Which we had, we went to northern Kentucky.  When we finally stopped, I heard him click a garage door opener.  He explained it was to get into the parking deck.  We got out and he explained how we were going to go downstairs to his office.  I could hear the garage door closing, could smell the basement.  I knew it was all wrong and started to shake and cry.  He saw the tears coming out from beneath the blindfold and he went nuts shouting professionals don’t cry unless they don’t get the gig.  I still had a chance but was going to have to strip to my underwear and do bikini pics.  I hesitated for a second and he leveled me with a slap in the face.  I was shocked at how hard he had hit me.  He told me to get the fuck up and strip like he told me to, then he brought me up some stairs onto a stage of sorts and told me to put my hands over my head.  He put them in some kind of leather straps and dropped the floor out from under me.  He let me hang for a while, probably 10 minutes or so.  It really hurt a lot to hang like that.  He told me I could have the job or I could hang there until I died and he would dump me in the river.  Who was going to care if they found me?  No one was even looking.  I agreed without hesitation.  He whipped me a lot of times, he shoved things inside me then let me down and raped me.  He gave me a contract to sign which said that I was his slave, that I would do anything he said, would never break the contract, never try to gain freedom.   I didn’t read it that closely as he told me to sign and I signed.  He brought me to a closet, handcuffed me, blindfolded me and told me not to make a sound and not to move and that he would be back later to start my training and that if I went to the bathroom in the closet I would pay a huge price.

Maggie: What a horrible, horrible thing; obviously you were intelligent enough to know from the beginning that something was wrong, but the voices of hunger and desperation drowned out those of intuition and reason.

Jill: I knew the whole situation was wrong as soon as he said I had to be blindfolded.  But I wanted to work, wanted a place to sleep at night, a place to take a shower, food etc.  I was sleeping in cemeteries.  So I was really desperate when I got into the car with him.

Maggie: Was his treatment of you consistently horrible or did he mess with your head even more by rewarding you when you were “good”?

Jill: Constantly horrible.  There weren’t any times where he did the mindfuck thing of telling me I had done something good or that anything deserved a reward.  If anything I think he was repulsed by the idea of any kind of reward for me.  My sole purpose was to be hurt physically, sexually and emotionally, often to the farthest lengths possible either to fulfill his need for sadism or to bring in more money from clients.  He owned me, I was a slave, that was reinforced every day.  The only sense from me that seemed to interest him was pain.

The only affection scenarios I ever saw from him were when we role-played that we were boyfriend/girlfriend in case the police started asking questions, or if I was in the ER things like that where we had to pretend to be a couple.  We role-played those until they were second nature.  I never tried to escape even when I had plenty of opportunity, like when he would take me to the mall to get clothes, shoes, get my hair colored.  I tried to escape once and it was a loyalty test to see if I would.  Needless to say it was really bad, so bad that I was totally unwilling to do anything to risk the amount of pain of the escape night ever again.  My thoughts weren’t ever about trying to escape again but often were on why he wouldn’t just kill me and that I was a coward for not being able to endure the pain of the process I would have to live through before he finally did end my life.

Maggie: If he didn’t ever use reward, the punishment he subjected you to must’ve been horrific to break you down so much you didn’t even try to escape.

Jill: After the first 2 or so days in the closet, Bruce abruptly pulled me out, told me we were going to start my training.  He took me to another room which was his dungeon.  I couldn’t even conceptualize what most of the equipment was.  I hadn’t ever seen anything like it.  He laid out the first rule:  If I screamed even once no matter how much it hurt and made it possible for anyone to hear me, that he would throw me in the Ohio River as promised.  He also told me not to try to tell him to stop, not to beg him to stop, no matter how much it hurt because I had no right to speak first and beyond that my only role in life was to please him and the clients.  How I felt had no relevance and eventually he would train me on the right time to beg and the right methods so that it was sexy for the client.  Right now we were just going to learn what everything was.  He had equipment for suspension bondage, for water bondage, for asphyxiation.  There were huge dildos.  It became such a blur of torture that the daily rapes became largely a non-issue to me.  The sex was the least of my traumas.  His favorite was like a crucifix but lying flat rather than standing upright.  The idea was to bind my hands and feet then use some kind of winch to pull it so tight I could actually feel the cartilage between my ribs.  With his weight on top of me I literally couldn’t breathe, which got him off in a minute every time.  We spent weeks training until he felt I was finally ready to take clients.

To be continued…

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You can only be young once. But you can always be immature. –  Dave Barry

I’ve said it many times before; the most common request escort service operators get is “as young as possible,” and because of it most whores tend to lie about their ages.  And since in many countries prostitution is either illegal or legalized (i.e. technically legal but strangled and crippled by arbitrary laws), there is no way for a man to be sure whether the prostitute he hires is of legal age even if she looks as though she is, or underage even if she looks as though she isn’t.  Are there some men who would hire a girl even knowing full well she was underage?  Of course there are, just like there are some men who are willing to receive stolen goods, take bribes, use illegal drugs or otherwise step outside the bounds of legality even though they are otherwise not disposed toward criminality.  But if prostitution were treated as a normal trade only those men who really wanted to break the law would pursue underage whores, and the law could be reasonably sure that anyone caught with an illegally young hooker had done it on purpose.

Two wealthy and prominent men, one in Italy (where prostitution is legalized and restricted) and one in Arizona (where prostitution is criminalized) have recently been accused of consorting with underage prostitutes.  You would probably have to have been lost in the Amazon Basin for the past year not to have heard about Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s girl troubles, but they’ve recently grown worse: He’s been indicted on “child” prostitution charges for allegedly hiring a Moroccan dancer for sex when she was still 17.  Working in his favor:  Both he and the girl deny having had sex at all.  Working against him:  All three members of the tribunal are female.  The following is paraphrased from a February 15th article on Huffington Post :

The 74-year-old Italian premier, Silvio Berlusconi, was ordered Tuesday to stand trial on charges he paid a 17-year-old Moroccan girl for sex, and then used his influence to cover it up.  Berlusconi has called the allegations “groundless” and dismissed the case as a “farce,” accusing prosecutors of seeking to oust him from power.  The trial is set to begin April 6 before a panel of three female judges.  The indictment alleges Berlusconi paid for sex with the girl, who goes by the name Ruby, then used his influence to get her out of police custody when she was detained in connection with an unrelated theft of €3000.  Prosecutors claim Berlusconi called police the night of May 27-28, 2010 because he feared his relationship with the girl would be revealed, while the defense claims that Berlusconi intervened because he believed Ruby was Hosni Mubarak’s niece and was trying to prevent a diplomatic incident.  Both Berlusconi and the now 18-year-old nightclub dancer deny having had sex together.  In an interview on one of Berlusconi’s television stations Ruby said that she told the premier she was a 24-year-old Egyptian and that he gave her €7,000 the evening they met, and later jewelry.

Judge Cristina Di Censo handed down the indictment for immediate trial as prosecutors requested; this is only done in cases of overwhelming evidence and skips a preliminary hearing that alone can take nearly a year.  The child prostitution charge carries a possible prison term of six months to three years, but the abuse of influence charge carries a sentence of four to 12 years and if Berlusconi is sentenced to more than five, he would be barred from ever again holding public office.  The trial will follow the resumption of three other criminal cases involving Berlusconi’s business dealings, creating a legal mess as various parties try to schedule hearings amid Berlusconi’s commitments as head of government.  At the same time, a weakened Berlusconi will face the challenge of keeping coalition partners happy and attempting to repair his international reputation.

Most Italians have been tolerant of Berlusconi’s scandals, but last weekend more than a million women attended a protest against what they called his “denigrating treatment of women.”  And when his estranged wife Veronica Lario announced she was divorcing him in 2009, she cited his involvement with young women and promotion of starlets to lawmakers.  She also issued a plea to his friends to help him, saying “My husband is sick.”  However, Berlusconi has proven adept at riding out other legal charges in the past and may do so again.

Though there might be some kind of hard evidence for the “abuse of influence” charge, I’m not quite sure how the prosecutors intend to prove a prostitution charge when both parties claim not to have even had sex.  Here in the United States, however, grocery magnate Michael C. Gilliland may have a more difficult time of it considering the present climate of hysteria about “sex predators” and “child sex trafficking”; this story is paraphrased from one which appeared in the Arizona Republic on February 13th:

Sunflower Farmers Market founder and CEO Michael C. Gilliland has resigned from the company after being arrested Thursday (February 10th) in Phoenix on suspicion of felony child prostitution.  Phoenix Police Sergeant Steve Martos said Gilliland, 52, went to the hotel expecting to pay for sex with a person who had identified herself as an underage girl he had met online; the arrest was part of a weeklong operation that netted seven other arrests.  According to a company news release Gilliland told Sunflower he is not guilty and that he expects to be exonerated, and the company’s new acting CEO, Chris S. Sherrell, said “Sunflower appreciates the respect that Mr. Gilliland has shown for the company by his [resignation], so that his personal affairs will not affect the company.”

Note that there was no actual underage girl involved here, only an imaginary one, but I’m sure the trafficking fanatics will still claim it as evidence of 300,000 “trafficked children”.  If the charges turn out to be true, Gilliland acted not only criminally but carelessly; after all, it’s not like he couldn’t afford to hire a well-reviewed professional escort.  If prostitution were legal, would he have risked everything to push the age barrier by a few years?  Possibly, but we’ll never know.

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Overload the police with victimless crimes and other minutiae and eventually only creeps and bullies remain cops. –  Rick Gaber

Four short articles about whores and cops drawn from friends’ blogs and correspondent tips.

Get Out of the 19th Century Often?

In Brandy Devereaux’s column of February 10th she called attention to this story from WLBT in Jackson, Mississippi in which the reporters interviewed “Major” Nick Clark of the Hinds County sheriff’s office (I guess a captain isn’t good enough to handle all the crime in the big booming metropolis of Jackson, population 175,000).  Apparently, Colonel Clark is jealous of the big cities’ claims of being major hubs of “human trafficking”, but since neither the Super Bowl nor the Olympics are scheduled to come to Jackson any time soon he has to content himself with the Dixie National Rodeo.  He can’t use the internet too well, though, or he might’ve discovered that claims of prostitution booms at sporting events have been repeatedly debunked.  But his computer illiteracy is unsurprising given his 19th-century views:

“Yeah, unfortunately, they follow the internet, too, and they realize, they’ve got a lot of extra people in town and being the bloodsuckers that they are, they prey on innocent, unsuspecting people and try to find a way to ply their wares,” Clark said.

Apparently, the old Victorian “whore as monster” rhetoric is alive and well in Mississippi, at least in the brain of Brigadier Clark, who obviously hasn’t read the memo that we’re all trafficked victims now.  I guess Field Marshall Clark believes that all the poor, innocent, unsuspecting Christian men of Jackson would never have cheated on their wives if those wanton vampire hussies hadn’t bewitched them.  Hmm, on second thought maybe Grand High Warlord Clark is stuck in the 17th century rather than the 19th.

A Fate Worse Than Death

Apparently February 10th was the day to report on Neo-Victorian attitudes in the American South; Dave’s Sex Hysteria blog for that day featured the news that Georgia apparently believes that prostitution is a fate worse than death, because a proposed law makes patronizing a prostitute below the age of 18 a crime worse than murder.  And what makes this even more bizarre is that the age of consent in Georgia is 16; maybe this legislator’s been reading too much Schapiro Group propaganda.  But wait, there’s more!  Apparently, the people behind this bill have either been talking to Operation Broken Silence or the Surrey Police, because the bill grants the state the power to loot the property of “traffickers”…which are defined so loosely and vaguely that even a whore’s husband could be prosecuted for it.  This of course creates a tremendous financial incentive for anyone and everyone associated with a hooker to be charged with “trafficking” so the government can rob them.  Thus, as usual, voluntary adult prostitutes are persecuted and the real bad guys driven further underground to thrive in the dark.

Big Deal

I’m always fascinated at how big a brouhaha amateurs raise when they “discover” some aspect of harlotry which has existed for years.  Brandy called my attention to this one as well, in her column of February 11th; apparently, some naïve French people are up in arms about a new escort service called Loue Une Petite Amie (literally “Rent a Girlfriend”).  The author of this article excitedly expostulates, “Loue Une Petite Amie…actually allows guys to rent female companions, legally!  The French website assures its clients they have nothing to fear from the law, because this isn’t actually prostitution, but a simple case of renting a person…which apparently isn’t illegal in France.”  It ain’t illegal in the United States either, Bubba; that’s what an escort service is, and you’ll see the phone books are full of them.  It only becomes that bugaboo “prostitution” if the escort offers her client sex for money (or accepts his offer of money for sex), and since smart escorts never do that the police just lie about it.   But in France, prostitution isn’t even illegal, though “living off the avails” is so escort services have to dodge the busybody law by playing dumb just like they do in the States.  In other words, there’s no story here, folks; calm down and go back to your regularly-scheduled moral panic.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Members of the ruling class believe they have the right to all the pleasures forbidden to the citizenry; laws are for the “little people”, and cops may violate them at will.  Oh, sure, those who get caught on camera beating the living hell out of reporters, motorists and women sometimes lose their jobs, but anything less than murder is generally covered up and vice laws are flaunted as a matter of course.  But once in a while somebody in internal affairs gets a bit out of line and forgets he’s supposed to cover up for his “brother officers”; when that happens the responsibility for excuse-making and hand-slapping passes on to higher levels, sometimes all the way to city hall.  That’s what’s going on right now in Raleigh, North Carolina, in this story reported in Sex Hysteria on the 10th; a bunch of cops had sex with a streetwalker and were caught by a hidden camera, triggering internal affairs to act and thereby necessitating a cover-up involving police brass, the district attorney and even the mayor’s office.  How much you want to bet the internal affairs officers end up being punished more severely (after an appropriate excuse is invented, of course) than the cops they caught?  After all, screwing whores is the privilege of cops, but embarrassing politicians is a capital offense.

And lest you think it’s limited to the East Coast, here’s a report of a similar incident from Bakersfield, California thanks to regular reader Joyce.  This cop was a solo sleazebag who according to the police chief “…became interested in prostitution enforcement and has a record of conducting enforcement on prostitutes.”  Any normal person could guess that a male cop who is “interested in prostitution enforcement” either has ulterior motives or serious issues, and should therefore be kept as far from hookers as possible.  Unfortunately, police departments aren’t staffed with normal people and therefore he was given exactly what he wanted, a chance to rape streetwalkers by threatening to run them in.  This has been going on since August, until one of the women he threatened  decided to take her chances by reporting him.  It’s unlikely any of his victims will come forward, but maybe they’ll decide to make an example of him and charge him with “human trafficking” instead of just “disorderly conduct”.

And in New Orleans, a cop was just convicted on Tuesday of kidnapping and attempting to rape a prostitute; she testified that he actually did rape her, but since the defense was allowed to repeatedly refer to her as a whore and as “trash” in addition to badgering her into confused testimony the jury was too unsure to hand down a life sentence.  Well, at least he’ll get a total of 15-90 years, and it’s poetic justice that one of the tactics the prosecutor used to establish him as a sexual deviate was that he had condoms in the trunk of his police car.  I’ll bet that shoe is rather tight on your big foot, isn’t it “officer”?

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