Archive for March 22nd, 2011

Those who suppress freedom always do so in the name of law and order. –  John V. Linsday

Another collection of short articles of interest to harlots and those who love us.

Make Up Your Damned Mind!

In my column of March 10th I pointed out the absurd contradictions inherent in the conflict of the traditional police rationales for persecuting whores (we’re evil criminals who seduce virtuous men, spread disease and attract crime) and the politically correct “trafficking” view (we’re helpless, innocent and morally incompetent victims of evil men).  But it’s rare to see those contradictions displayed as explicitly as in this article from WINK-TV in Florida, posted on the same day my column appeared:

Deputies arrest a female body builder who goes by the name “Miss Sparkle” during a prostitution sting.  They say it’s part of a continuing effort to crack down on what many don’t realize is a dangerous crime.  Miss Sparkle, otherwise known as Rhonda Lee Quaresma is a bodybuilder from Toronto, and according to her website, a business woman.  Deputies say she’s taken on another role recently in Lee County, as a prostitute.

They say, “Miss Sparkle” was arrested after she offered to perform a sex act on an undercover deputy.  A crime Lt. Chris Reeves with the vice-narcotics unit calls a big problem for many reasons.  Lt. Reeves says, “Bonita Springs is one of the areas we get a lot of calls from, people’s husbands, daughters, wives that are not working the streets that have to walk to get groceries are getting solicited for sex from these Johns that are roaming the area.  So to try to cut down on what Reeves calls dangerous behavior, the sheriff’s office turns both to the streets, massage parlors, and online to websites which feature ads for escorts.

He says, “People think it’s a victimless crime, however when they are taking HIV, hepatitis home to their spouses or their significant others, that’s a big crisis.”  Reeves says some of the prostitutes are victims of human trafficking.  “A lot of them are beaten and abused.  A lot of these are young girls that have gotten hooked on drugs,” A far cry from the glamorous or “sparkly” lifestyle some portray.

I honestly don’t know if I could’ve written a better parody of journalistic credulity and police stupidity and self-contradiction than this incompetently-written mess.  It begins by characterizing escorts as “dangerous criminals” (I’ll bet you didn’t realize we go around shooting into crowds and throwing grenades into kindergartens) without explanation, then quickly switches to the “public nuisance” excuse with a particularly inept and unintentionally hilarious example which is clearly intended to give the impression that an upscale escort was working as a streetwalker. This runaway clown-car then visits the old “diseased whore” myth before doing an abrupt about-face into trafficking fetishism, detouring slightly to the “drug addict” stereotype and then closing with a sentence fragment accusing the real experts of lying.  I almost feel as though I should stand up and clap.


South African police have apparently decided to teach prostitutes a lesson for daring to speak up for their rights in several public events held on March 3rd, thus unwittingly proving the veracity of the protesters’ grievances.  This article appeared in Sangonet on March 10th:

A significant police backlash is being felt by sex workers around the country following human rights events for the International Sex Worker Rights Day on March 3rd.

In Johannesburg, Sisonke Sex Worker Movement [SSWM] national coordinator, Kholi Buthelezi, had her hands full with sex workers calling her for help…27…were arrested and released with a [300 rands, about $44 US] fine in Germiston, while in the City sex workers were harassed and one was assaulted.  Buthelezi [also] witnessed a police reservist soliciting a bribe from a sex worker – and took a picture of the culprit with her phone…

In Limpopo…[the SSWM]…and partner organisation, Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme (TVEP) assisted a sex worker who was whipped on the stomach by police officers…she would not go to the hospital… because she was afraid of being deported.  The march in Limpopo [on March 3rd] had to be cancelled because the Musina Local Municipality took away permission…less than 24 hours before the march was expected to start.  No reasons [were given]…and the…police…threatened…[the protesters] with arrest and detention should they deliver the memorandum that sex workers had prepared…[which] demanded that…[police] take complaints from sex workers seriously…

The Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) will be following up all cases and working with our legal advice partners in Johannesburg and Limpopo to ensure that the police officers responsible for the incidences will be harshly disciplined. But, says Mickey Meji “Until sex work is decriminalised, we will be dealing with the impunity of the police. The law with regard to sex work must be changed so that sex workers are safe and no aspect of their work should be criminalised.”

I’m sure the police were only beating women up for their own good, to save them from those evil traffickers.  Or are whores still “dangerous criminals” in South Africa as we are in Florida?  It’s hard to keep track these days.

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea

On a number of occasions we’ve compared decriminalization (the official recognition that women have the natural right to have sex with whomever we wish for whatever reason we wish, even if money is exchanged) with legalization (the subjugation of prostitutes with arbitrary and often contradictory bureaucratic restrictions so as to enable governments to exploit us).  Many well-meaning people think prostitution should be “legalized and heavily regulated”, often under the excuse of “protecting” the women.  One common type of regulation, “living off the avails” laws, make it illegal for any adult other than a prostitute herself to receive a substantial portion of his support from her; such laws are widely touted as measures to “protect” whores from “pimps” (and indeed are sometimes referred to by their supporters as “anti-pimping laws”), but actually make it illegal for her to be married, to hire employees or to support relatives over 18 (such as elderly parents or university-age children).  Here’s a story from the Deccan Herald of March 5th about efforts by Indian prostitutes to overturn this and other “protective” laws:

According to the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA), 1960, if anybody above 18 years uses the earnings of a sex-worker, he or she can be prosecuted.  If the children of sex workers use their mothers’ income, long hand of law can catch them.  “How many children start earning at 18?  Why this bias against us when we strive to study and make a living against all social hurdles,” rues Parvati, daughter of a [Calcutta]-based commercial sex worker.

Last week, sex workers aided by young advocates from Lawyers’ Collective met members of Parliament…to build up support…[for] changes in the ITP Act that criminalises sex workers’ earnings on which their children are dependent…According to an estimate made by the Union Health Ministry, there are approximately [1.25 million] self-identified commercial sex workers who were contacted as a part of the HIV prevention programme. “The number can be more as many don’t declare their status upfront,” said Tripti Tandon from Lawyer’s Collective.

Having sex in exchange for money is not an offence in the law.  But everything around this transaction has been criminalised under the ITPA.  Brothels are illegal as is sex work in hotels, rooms, lodges, streets and nearly all other premises.  In the absence of a designated place, sex workers have to solicit business on the streets or gesturing from other conspicuous sites.  But this, too, is punishable with imprisonment for six months and  a penalty.  An NGO, representing sex workers filed a [motion] in…July, challenging five clauses in the ITPA. The case is yet to be heard.  The…clauses they challenged include criminalisation of brothels, criminalising the earnings of sex workers, prostitution around a notified public place, soliciting and the power given to a magistrate to evict sex-workers from their home and forbidding their re-entry.

That’s right, in India the child of a woman pursuing a legal profession can be prosecuted if he doesn’t move away from home and support himself on his 18th birthday, and the prostitute herself can be evicted from her own property for a number of reasons.  You might think about that next time you’re tempted to support “heavy regulation” of prostitution in the United States.

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