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Posts Tagged ‘Change a Few Words’

I think I just wasted my time doing all these other jobs before I did sex work.  I should have been doing it a long time before.  –  Mai Jantawhite slave girl

It Looks Good On Paper

Another bullshit story touting bullshit “safe harbor” laws that allow “perfect victims” to expunge their records of prostitution charges after going through the hell that is the US “justice” system:

…states have dramatically changed laws…to distinguish between voluntary prostitution and the trafficking of women and girls…Before the new laws, states primarily dealt with the sex trade by charging sex workers, usually women, with prostitution.  Many of those laws remain on the books, but states are supplementing them with “safe harbor” laws that protect minors—and sometimes adults—who can prove they were coerced into selling sex…

There’s so much wrong in this one short section: the organized crime myth; agency denial; the pretense that only “many” prostitution laws remain (they all do); the pretense that “safe harbor” laws protect anyone; the reversal of the burden of proof…it’s truly staggering that people can’t see this for what it is.

The Punitive Mindset

Authoritarians think people can simply be ordered to be asexual:

…Sexuality in prison is a controversial topic, and the rare studies that explore the subject focus mostly on the impact of conjugal visits or on the same-sex relationships that develop behind bars.  The general consensus, though, is that helping inmates relieve sexual tensions can actually lead to a reduction in violence and prison rape.  Still, many governments around the world have refused to offer prisoners the “privilege” to watch racy content.  French judge Nina Califano, author of Sexualité, Incarcérée (Sexuality, Imprisoned), [says]…”Sexuality is a basic need that doesn’t go away when you are incarcerated”…[she] argues that allowing inmates to cater to their basic sexual needs — through erotic visual stimulation and masturbation — does more than calm inmates who are behind bars; it is also an important part of ensuring [they]…can later be reintegrated into society…

Change a Few Words

All prohibition is the same, so any move away from it affects all types:

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) appeared set to call on governments to end the criminalization of drug use and possession…but in a dramatic turn of events withdrew a briefing paper under pressure from…the U.S. government.  More than 1.5 million drug arrests are made every year in the U.S. – the overwhelming majority for possession only.  Roughly two dozen countries, and dozens of U.S. cities and states, have taken steps toward decriminalization of drug use and possession.  “There is simply no good basis in science, health or ethics for bringing someone into the criminal justice system solely for drug possession,” [said Ethan] Nadelmann [of the Drug Policy Alliance].  “This will hopefully help accelerate the global trend toward ending the criminalization of drugs”…

St. James Infirmary

This fundraiser for the St. James Infirmary met and surpassed its goal in only a few days, but they’re such an important organization that I’m not going to miss giving it a mention and ask that you consider helping out.

Comfort Zone (#320)

Sometimes the attempt to hide migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative is especially apparent:

The International Organization for Migration (IOM)…called on governments to more closely monitor sex trafficking and lend specialized assistance to the 1.5 million refugees expected to enter the European Union this year, warning of a surge in sexual assault against women being smuggled across the Mediterranean Sea from West Africa…

Perquisites (#340) 

Dear Dave Zirin: please STFU and stop trying to get free pussy from feminists by parroting their nonsense:

In revelations that the University of Louisville basketball program may have paid a…madam to supply recruits with strippers and sex, the reactions have congregated into two camps: moralizers and cynics.  The moralizers are bleating that this scandal has forever tarnished the innocent joys of amateurism…the cynics…[are] fashionably bored by all of this.  They shrug, saying that these kinds of things happen everywhere…But both of these reactions miss the most urgent issue—the NCAA’s political economy of misogyny…

An Example To the West (#343) Not Drowning - Waving

The writer hasn’t got much of a sense of history; not so long ago, a substantial fraction of the bars in the US were owned by sex workers:

The stereotype of trafficked Asian women exploited by sex tourists means that few people in the west expect Thai sex workers to be at the forefront of a radical push for sex workers’ rights, but…Can Do bar represents just that…it…is the only bar in Thailand, if not the world, that is owned and run by a collective of sex workers, and designed to model exemplary working conditions in the industry…[Liz] Hilton explains.  “One day a group of sex workers here in Chiang Mai said, ‘Actually the government doesn’t get it, nobody understands what we’re talking about, we’re going to have to build it ourselves, we can’t wait anymore.’  And so they pooled their money and raised a million baht [almost $30,000] between them all and created the bar”…

Secret Squirrel (#344)

I’ve written about this issue before, but this is a new low:

Halloween…is a totally subversive day, proving to kids that however much they are supervised the rest of the year, they obviously don’t need it.  They can go out with their friends, roam the neighborhood and have a great time.  So, naturally, this rebellion must be squashed.  Enter…child tracking devices that are pitching parents on the necessity of electronically monitoring their kids’ spoooooooky journey to…the neighbor’s homes. AireLive’s press release promises that its livestreaming capacity will allow “kids to communicate with their parents in real time should any questions arise.  Parents can view the livestream and assess the situation should a teen ever be in need of assistance.”  Nooooooo!  The whole idea is that if “questions” arise, kids should solve them on their own…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#440)

As Leona Hameed once wrote, “Sex work under ‘legalisation’ is still…conceived of as a crime for which the law makes allowances“.

…The ECP and [MSP Jean] Urquhart are campaigning for decriminalisation.  This is not – as has been suggested in countless media reports – legalisation.  Insisting on clarification isn’t petty quibbling.  The models are so distinct that when York Union…changed the title of its debate to “This House believes the legalisation of prostitution would be a disaster”, both sides thought they were arguing in favour of the motion…The York mix-up wasn’t unique.  Since Amnesty released its draft proposal for the decriminalisation of sex work, countless articles have conflated the terms, inaccurately holding up Germany and the Netherlands as examples of “decriminalisation gone wrong”…under legalisation, sex work is controlled by the government and is legal only under certain state-specified conditions.  Decriminalisation involves the removal of all prostitution-specific laws, although sex workers and sex work businesses must still operate within the laws of the land, as must any businesses…

Surplus Women (#550) 

I’m honestly not sure why the writer chose to link this woman’s death those of a serial killer’s victims merely because they happened in the same town:

The body draped over the fence was so bruised and mangled, passerby thought it was a Halloween decoration…Rebecca Cade, a 31-year-old resident of Chillicothe, Ohio…is the seventh Chillicothe woman found dead or missing in the past 16 months—a staggering number for a town of just 21,000 residents.  Then there’s the media coverage of Cade’s murder.  As news spread of the grisly discovery, websites across the nation used Cade’s own mugshot from a previous arrest to illustrate articles about her death—a confusing and ethically murky editorial decision that strikes at the heart of why women like Cade become victims at all…Donnie Couchenuer Jr., 27, was charged with murder and is currently in jail awaiting trial.  But it was Cade’s mugshot that dotted the digital landscape all week long…

Challenge (#559)

California legislators heard from a diverse range of voices about human trafficking and prostitution in America.  The proceedings before the Assembly Public Safety Committee provided a rare chance for people with divergent viewpoints…to come together and have their say.  And then something even more rare happened: some California politicians even seemed to come away with new perspective…Fox News Sacramento reported on the hearing with the headline “Some Suggest Legalizing Prostitution Would Put an End to Sex Trafficking“, noting the “odd mix of legislators, policy wonks, (and) sex workers” in the room…Actually, sex work and human rights advocates tend to focus on decriminalization, not legalization, of prostitution…Nonetheless, the Fox article presents an atypically nuanced perspective on prostitution…It goes on to note that “many adult sex workers say they won’t be able to protect a child, or show her how to stay safe on the streets, for fear of being arrested as a trafficker”…

Innocence Never Had (#574)

Even when authoritarians do something right, they can’t resist warping it into something wrong:

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced Wednesday that his department will immediately stop arresting children on prostitution charges.  “They are child victims and survivors of rape,” McDonnell wrote in a letter to his employees.  “We must remember that children cannot consent to sex under any circumstance.”

No, no, fucking no.  Young adults are not “children”, and the notion that they “cannot” consent is a legal fiction, not a reality.  The article goes on to delineate that these young people will still be coerced into “help” by cops, such as by confining them in the foster care system many of them fled in the first place.  At the end, the story quotes a prohibitionist named Withelma Pettigrew as saying “Labels are a big deal.” I agree, and labeling young adults as “children” and passive “victims” both demeans and infantilizes them.

Celebrities (#580)

The phrase “sanctimonious bullshit” comes to mind:

Dennis Hof is not paying the 2 hookers who cavorted with Lamar Odom at the Love Ranch brothel, because he now believes they may have had something to do with Lamar doing drugs at the facility…The…deal with Hof was to split the $75k Lamar paid — so they were to get $37,500 which they would equally divide.  But now Hof says…”They will not answer questions about Lamar or possible drug use while he was here.  I’m suspicious”…

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Why is it so hard for us to see how profoundly a $100 billion illegal market in anything, even in popcorn or “My Little Pony” toys, would distort a society?  –  Danielle Allen

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality Dr Blakemore

So how would Dr. Blakemore react to an amateur physician injuring someone through incompetence?

A female GP who left her businessman lover covered in bleeding welts following a caning session has been cleared of assault.  The sex life of Elvira Blakemore, 41 and James Austin, a 57-year-old businessman, culminated in a trial…the couple began to experiment sexually after Dr Blakemore was said to have been interested in the fantasies portrayed in the film, 50 Shades of Grey…At the heart of the case was whether the caning amounted to assault or was, as the GP insisted, purely consensual…On one occasion, Mr Austin told the court, she hit him with the cane after he had passed out on their bed.  “She was violently hitting me with the cane very many times on the back.  There was a cut on my cheek also, but she just kept going and by the end there was blood on the bed,” he said…

Forward and Backward

The fact that “prostitution-free zones” are unconstitutional never deters politicians:

Police in North Carolina could soon have the authority to designate “public safety zones” and ban citizens arrested for certain crimes within those areas from returning for up to a year.  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officials are flirting with the plan, which was tried with limited success in other cities and briefly used to target prostitution in Charlotte a decade ago…The plan…would allow police commanders to designate a section of the city as a “public safety zone” in response to specific crimes and aggressively police that area.  Anyone arrested for one of the targeted crimes inside the safety zone would face a one-year ban…

Change a Few Words

Need I point out that the War on Whores is the same?

…The drug war is a perfect example of the breakdown of the rule of law and the knock-on effects of such a breakdown.  Our drug laws are fundamentally unenforceable, and this distorts the judicial system, including by producing prosecutorial overload, which is a driver of low homicide clearance rates, which beget a culture of increasing violence, which puts more fathers of young children behind bars or under the ground, makes it harder for children in poor, urban areas to walk to school safely, and forces on those children a choice between the culture of the schools, inside the rule of law, and the culture of the streets, outside the rule of law…

The Sky is Falling!

Radhika’s clutching her pearls so hard she’s about to break them:

…Porn is no longer shocking.  It has become normalised to the point where young children are getting their first sex education lessons via RedTube.  Recent studies show that pupils as young as 11 watch pornography…The consequences have been severe.  These porn videos showed a one-sided, male perspective of sex – with overly-eager girls and absolutely no emphasis on female pleasure.  A number of my peers now have sexual issues they directly relate to porn, such as struggling to orgasm, hating pubic hair and needing “stimulants” such as rough sex in order to come.  As scientists have previously suggested, many can also struggle with intimacy…While girls of my generation would watch porn simply to learn what third base was, now a new generation of girls is watching it for career advice…

Buried Truth Donny Pauling

Vociferous opposition to anything sexual should be considered strong evidence of an attraction to it:

[Porn prohibitionist] Donny Pauling Jr. pleaded no contest…to four felony sex charges involving two minors, a plea deal that would send him to state prison for six years…Pauling, 41, acting as his own attorney, admitted to oral copulation and having sexual intercourse with a victim 14 years old in 2012, continuing into 2014…Pauling also must register as a sexual offender for life…A former Chico-based pornography producer, Pauling had said he found God and traveled to churches around the country as an anti-pornography activist…

Innocence Never Had

Prax(us)…will shutter its doors this December.  The nonprofit set itself apart from the army of Christian anti-sex-trafficking organizations that demand participants be abstinent and sober, by focusing specifically on homeless youth in exploitative situations and offering individuals support without judgement.  Prax(us) didn’t require youth be sober.  It didn’t require them to work with law enforcement.  It didn’t stigmatize youth for criminal activities or participating in sex-work…encouraged clients to reduce harm by learning about and practicing safer drug use and safer sex.  Staff handed out condoms, dental dams and lube, and referred clients to the local syringe exchange where they could trade dirty needles for clean ones…Refusing to turn away active sex workers limited the amount of money Prax(us) could get from government grants.  Foundations preferred money that went to clear-cut human trafficking cases — not services for sex workers who don’t feel exploited…

Femme Fatale (#409)

Since neither medical episodes nor deaths suffered at Nevada’s brothels are publicly available statistics, how often does it actually happen?  And what are the protocols for when they occur?…We interviewed employees at three of Nevada’s 20-plus legal brothels, all of whom denied that anyone has ever had a medical episode at their establishments…Bella Cummins, owner of Bella’s Hacienda Ranch…[claimed] the prostitutes are all so good at their jobs, no John so much as passes out…However, according to one Swiss report, seven customers died while visiting brothels between 2004 and 2014.  And that’s just in Switzerland.  An American Heart Association report found that 93 percent of married men who died of sudden death during sex did so due to extra-marital sex in unfamiliar settings—both of which increase stress levels…

Stupor Bowl (#424)

The Bay Area tries desperately to cash in on the “gypsy whore” myth before it collapses completely:

Preparation for Super Bowl 50 has been well underway for more than a year and includes a massive collaboration amongst local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and the FBI as criminals engaged in human trafficking are anticipated to take advantage…officials are certain federal and local agencies must work together to crack down on pimps and Johns while assisting victims.  For the ninth year, the FBI is setting up a human trafficking operation center while bringing in additional agents and intelligence analysts specifically in response to the Super Bowl…In previous host cities, there’s been “an increase in activity with respect to…sex trafficking and the exploitation of juveniles and minors around the Super Bowl”…[FBI agent Bertram] Fairries [lied]…

Dysphemisms Galore (#565)

Amber Batts, convicted as a “sex trafficker” for running exactly the same kind of business I did, has sent a letter to supporters from prison:

I have lost much through this ordeal, but the one thing I cannot ever replace is time…I am…unable to call my family or friends unless there is an expensive phone account set up and prepaid…I ran an escort agency…but I was more than that person.  I was a mom and a friend.  I paid my bills, my taxes, I was a wife, I had hobbies…I will continue to have hope as I live what feels like a surreal nightmare at times…

New Excuse (#568)

I love Liz Brown, and I mean that in whatever way she finds most appealing:

…the tough-on-crime approach to sex-trafficking is about arresting as many people as possible and wresting as many assets as possible from them, not legitimately helping sex trafficking victims (legitimately helping people means paying attention to what they actually need, not threatening them with arrest if they don’t testify against others or sending them to church-run “prostitution diversion” camps or giving them bags filled with socks and toiletries and calling it a day.) Just look at the language used by Marinus Analytics, a company getting lots of attention for using big data analysis to aid in human trafficking investigations. In its intro, Marinus promises to help cops and prosecutors “focus your attention to high value criminal targets” and “track the highest value criminal targets in less time.”  The assets that can be seized are the prize, the teens selling sex are just convenient cover…

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The inevitable and terrifying end result of giving legal rights to fetuses [is] a woman…legally reduced to being nothing more than a vessel incubating a future ward of the state.  –  Maya Dusenbery

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

An Indianapolis police chaplain was arrested on multiple prostitution charges after he told a prostitute [who] he was…police [arrested a sex worker]…and…she told [them] that the day before “Bob from Noblesville showed me his shiny IMPD officer badge and told me he was a chaplain”…police determined “Bob from Noblesville” was actually…Chaplain Bishop John Robert Fiers…

The Mote and the Beam

The stupid, it burns!

The [Georgia] trial lawyer who wants to [profit from] sex trafficking through civil litigation said his phone hasn’t stopped ringing since he announced his plan late last year…David Boone, president and founder of Civil Lawyers Against World Sex Slavery, known as CLAWS…[said] “We’re really tried to take a business approach to this”…Boone [pretends he can sue] those who pay for sex as well as those who allow the business to exist…He said his research shows the “sex slave” industry is a $9.5 billion business in the United States, exploiting primarily girls starting at the age of 13 who are lured in or kidnapped.  Most die within seven years from drug overdoses, AIDS or murder.  Atlanta has become a hub for the trade largely as a side-effect of having one of the world’s busiest airports…

Schadenfreude 

Yet another rescue industry “hero” is revealed as an opportunistic fraud:

…Vednita Carter…started Breaking Free…nearly 20 years ago, vowing to help women and girls free themselves from prostitution…[by convincing them that] they were victims of abuse and sexual exploitation.  In recent years [“sex trafficking” hysteria] won [the organization] more funding and expanded its [hunger for money]…Carter…was named a CNN News Hero and the Bush Foundation gave Breaking Free an award…but…a group of former employees…wrote a letter in April to government agencies that have funded or worked with Breaking Free, detailing concerns about how victims were being treated and served, its adherence to laws and regulations, alleged “misuse of funds, property, and services and employment of family members,” and “staff misconduct and lack of training”…

Harm Magnification (The Beat Goes On)

Prostitutes have…accused police of trying to “ghettoise” them…after [it was] revealed that Gwent Police were planning a “managed” sex zone…One working girl feared that forcing them into designated zones could lead to more being raped and murdered.  “They tend to put these areas in out-of-the-way places in the back of commercial and industrial sites where there are rough roads and the lighting is poor, and access in and out is abysmal,” Michelle said…anti-prohibition DARE editorial

Change a Few Words

Drug Abuse Resistance Education, better known as DARE, has spent decades telling schoolchildren…to “Just Say No” to marijuana.  For a few hours [on July 27th], however, they appeared to just say yes to legalization.  [Journalist] Christopher Ingraham…found a strange re-post on the DARE website…which originally ran in the Columbus Dispatch…[and contained] a full-throated endorsement of marijuana legalization by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) speaker Carlis McDerment…Ingraham contacted DARE for clarification and [they immediately removed the article]…

Above the Law 

Ever notice that cops “state” or “explain” their versions of events, but the rest of us merely “claim”?

A Garda forced a prostitute to perform a sexual act on him in order to have her laptop computer returned to her after it had been seized in a raid…Almost half (48.7%) [of sex workers surveyed] said they had garda clients and 2.7% said they had [been forced to] provide…”free or discounted” sexual services to officers…The purpose of the survey, by…Uglymugs.ie, was to establish how sex workers viewed policing in Ireland given plans to introduce new laws which will effectively criminalise the entire sex trade…

Sex Work is Work

Guess what, Mr. Huckabee? If “prostitutes, pimps [and] drug dealers” weren’t criminalized, we’d easily be able to contribute to your system:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said…that if elected President he would increase the money going into Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement funds by…”[transforming] the process by which we fund [them]…the money paid at consumption is paid by everybody — including illegals, prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, all the people who are freeloading off the system”…The line was met with thunderous applause…

Scrambled Eggs (#311)

I’m sure everyone who dies while waiting for a kidney is happy to go to his grave to prevent people from making their own decisions about what to do with their bodies:

Last year in the United States, more than 4,000 people died while…waiting…for a new kidney.  An additional 3,600…left the list when they became too sick for a transplant…In every country that does transplants — except one — patients have two legal ways to get a new kidney.  One is to have a friend or relative…donate a kidney.  The other is to get on the waiting list for a deceased donor.  In America, the average time on that list varies from 3 years to 10…Patients can’t even get on the list until they are about to start dialysis, and the average life span of someone who starts dialysis is only 5 to 10 years…And the longer a patient spends on dialysis before getting a transplant, the greater the chances of complications and death with a new kidney…[but] in Iran…people wait to donate a kidney.  That’s because donors are paid…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes

Hey Cosmo, are you ready to speak out for decrim yet?

Several major retailers have agreed to censor…Cosmopolitan behind blinders, after facing pressure from a campaign led by the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, the man who founded the company that owns the publication.  Victoria Hearst…began a campaign…called Cosmo Harms Minors, which…eventually [wants] shops to be banned from selling the magazine to anyone under the age of 18…

Sex RaysOur Lady of the Pillar

Spain’s Guardia Civil police force will no longer accept donations from a brothel in Navarra, even if the money is put towards a good cause…The unusual funding arrangement came to light…when the citizen group Observatory Against Corruption filed a complaint …The money was used to throw a celebration dedicated to Our Lady of the Pillar, the patron saint of the Guardia Civil…

Choke Point 

Could be worth looking into for non-porn sex workers as well:

Major U.S. banks have closed or denied banking accounts to individuals working in the adult industry…the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC) is now offering…financial services offered by First Entertainment Credit Union…which…was first established as the credit union for Warner Bros. Studios in 1967 but now extends membership to many entertainment industry organizations, including the Free Speech Coalition…Services offered to APAC members will include checking and savings accounts, financial planning, home and auto loans, as well as business account services…For more information on becoming a member…visit the APAC website or email apac.information@gmail.com.

Property of the State 

Another abomination from Alabama:

A woman imprisoned in an Alabama jail wants an abortion…but her request…was denied…and…the state is attempting to strip her of her parental rights over a “child” that is not actually a born child yet and arguing that if she doesn’t have parental rights, she has no right to terminate the pregnancy…the state is arguing that since this woman has “endangered” her fetus by using drugs, it should now effectively become a ward of the state, and therefore the state can do anything it wants—including forcing her to carry it to term against her will…

Acting and Activism (#559)

My friend Savannah Sly on the Hollywood response to Amnesty:

These famous voices are…out of touch with the reality of sex work…[they] are connected to anti-trafficking organizations, which…fail to illustrate to these celebrities…that criminalization actually makes [things]…worse.  For some reason, celebrities are held up as just being wiser than the rest of us because they’re famous…Who are [Americans] going to trust, this seemingly familiar person they’ve seen on TV a lot or a bunch of social pariahs?…

And while the Guardian has long provided a platform to vehement prohibitionists, it did allow this one from Molly Smith to slip through:

…by prioritising the supposed “eradication” of the sex industry, [the Swedish model empowers] police…to harass, evict and deport migrant sex workers…Amnesty found that sex workers in Norway were routinely evicted by the police…“a number of migrant sex workers were violently attacked and raped…They reported the incident to the police…they returned to their apartment to find the police have removed all their money and electronic equipment.  Four days [later] they were forcibly evicted.”  It’s hard to believe that those Hollywood signatories read this and thought:  “Brilliant, the police evicting migrant women when they report rape sounds like the feminist solution to prostitution; we should support the legal model where this occurs.”  But that is what appears to have happened – unless they signed up to attack Amnesty over a document they had not read…

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A hidden sexual scourge is revealed.  Sex considered consensual by its participants is redefined as coercion.  A newly discovered predator…exhibits impulses far outside erotic and moral norms, yet rare as he must be, his numbers are inexplicably mounting.  There is a cry for vigilance and prosecution.  –  Judith Levine

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Cops can commit murder, mayhem and rape and still keep their jobs, but if they look for consensual sex…”The sheriff of Bossier Parish has fired one of his deputies…[who was] charged with solicitation of prostitution…Deputy Larry Harrell…was arrested in Shreveport…

Saving Them From Themselves

A 17-year-old who sent her boyfriend intimate photographs has been left shattered after police decided to charge him for possession of child pornography.  Alison (not her real name), who is four months away from being 18, says she’s been traumatised by the way that she and her partner Peter, 22, (also not his real name) have been treated by police, the stress of which has forced them both out of education…people aged 16 and 17 can legally consent to sex but can get into trouble for making “child pornography” if they possess and share images of their own lawful sexual activities…Alison and her mother are now calling for a change in the law to protect consenting couples from getting into distressing legal situations like this…”I feel my consent has been total violated by the people who are supposed to be protecting children…I chose to send pictures of myself to Peter.  I did NOT choose for all those detectives, solicitors and goodness knows who else to see them…”

Surplus Women Shukan Jitsuwa 5-14-15

The violent death of a sex worker in Japan:

Last month…police found the body of Manae Noguchi, 18, buried on a farm in Shibayama, Narita City…police have arrested four suspects…The victim was last seen getting into a rented car in Chiba City…at around 10:00 p.m. on April 19.  It was later determined that the occupants of the vehicle were the four suspects…an anonymous…tip…indicated Noguchi had run up a large amount of debt…

…and Hungary:

The Association of Hungarian Sex Workers (SZEXE)…condemns the victim-blaming articles and reports published in the media that followed the death of Nancy, a Hungarian sex worker who was murdered in…Budapest..the media focused on assumed client of Nancy instead of examining state regulation that coerces sex workers into isolation, exile and personal stigmatization, police violence…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

When a respected scientist starts spouting nonsense terms, it’s time to put him out to pasture:

A leading psychologist has warned that young men are facing a crisis of masculinity due to excessive use of video games and pornography.  Psychologist and professor emeritus at Stanford University Phillip Zimbardo…spoke about the results of his study, an in-depth look into the lives of 20,000 young men and their relationships with video games and pornography…Zimbardo says there is a “crisis” amongst young men, a high number of whom are experiencing a “new form of addiction” to excessive use of pornography and video games…

Change a Few Words

Siouxsie Q on the really newsworthy question about sex work in Silicon Valley:

Why are many tech platforms so inhospitable to sex workers?  Payment processors like Pay Pal and WePay are notorious for shutting down the accounts of sex workers and even seizing their funds.  Facebook has booted hundreds of sex workers, including myself, from its platform with the adoption if its “real name policy;” and both the Apple and the Android app stores prohibit adult content of any kind.  Venture capitalists have been willing to go toe-to-toe with lawmakers to obtain legal wiggle room for companies like Uber and AirBnB, that dance the razor’s edge of legality…They argue that…though these services may be technically illegal at the moment, they perpetuate victimless crimes — peer-to-peer transactions that benefit both the buyer and the seller — and therefore the laws need be changed to catch up with the innovation.  The same argument could be made of…sex work…though technically illegal, it is a peer-to-peer transaction that often perpetuates a victimless crime.  But no headstrong venture capitalist or idealistic design team has stepped up to innovate the oldest profession…

An Example To the West

Phnom Penh sex workers and rights advocates met…to denounce police brutality and corruption, and called on the government to establish a zone where sex workers can operate in safety.  The plea was made during a press conference led by NGO Women’s Network for Unity (WNU), which was attended by around 100 sex workers, who complained police often sought bribes or sexual services…prior to the introduction of a 2008 law intended to combat human trafficking, brothels operated openly.  But…the law heralded a brutal crackdown that saw women and girls…mistreated and stigmatised by officials…researchers found that the heavy-handed response of authorities…forced sex workers into more precarious settings for their work, placing them in greater danger of rape and sexual assault…

The Widening Gyre Walking Prey

It’s everywhere! It’s everywhere!

A woman who was lured into commercial sex when she was 14 brought a warning to Charleston parents…Just about any unhappy teen can be enticed in the same way, according to Holly Austin Smith, who…[wrote] Walking Prey: How America’s Youth Are Vulnerable to Sex Slavery…At the same time as Smith was speaking in Charleston, S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson was giving a similar message to a Rotary Club in Mount Pleasant.  “Trafficking is far more nefarious than what you see in Hollywood,” Wilson said…He [made up]…a story of a woman…who was blackmailed into sex trafficking…For two years she was trafficked over and over and over again…[while] living under her parents’ roof and they did not realize she was being trafficked…Wilson has been tirelessly [pretending]…that sex trafficking is a major threat in South Carolina.  Yet the arrests on trafficking charges have been relatively few since the state passed its law in 2012…

Shift in the Wind

Imagine if big foundations started giving grants for sex worker advocacy:

The health and safety of sex workers…[is] yet another example of how marginalized populations are often left out of essential public policy discussions…due to the social stigma of sex work, people are generally more comfortable avoiding the issue…the issue of sex-worker rights is still taboo among some of the leading [philanthropic] foundations.  But if these foundations recognized how sex work is connected to other issues that funders are working on—like over-incarceration, homelessness, and poverty—the work they do could be more effective…The safety of sex workers…would also be greatly improved by decriminalization.  Because of criminalization, sex workers are at greater danger for physical and sexual violence, because perpetrators know they are unlikely to come forward to police.  With decriminalization, more sex workers could report the violence they experience, making the community safer for everyone…

The Public Eye

a…special edition of [of TMI (Too Much Information) Storytelling] called Sex Worker Diaries…kicks off the weeklong San Francisco Bay Area Sex Worker Film And Arts Festival, which features lives performances, film screenings, workshops, and panels throughout the East Bay and San Francisco…the festival…showcases a diverse range of artistic projects rooted in celebrating, supporting, and accurately portraying people involved in the sex work industry.  The goal is to push back against the ongoing criminalization and stigmatization of sex work — by providing a platform for marginalized workers in a highly misunderstood profession to share their stories and show audiences they aren’t helpless victims…

Welcome To Our World (#450)

Henry…Rayhons’s ordeal was not the first example of overzealous protection of the supposedly defenseless and asexual aged, nor will it be the last.  In 2009, a Massachusetts bill sought to amend the state’s child pornography law to include the disabled and people over sixty among those statutorily unable to consent to posing nude or performing sexually before a camera…The bill’s lead sponsor, thirty-eight-year-old…Kathi-Anne Reinstein—also author of a proposal to make the Fluffernutter the state sandwich—told the Boston Herald that advocates had informed her “elder exploitation and pornography [were] on the rise.”  She called her bill (which, thankfully, failed) a “no-brainer.”  This assessment, I commented at the time, was indisputable…

Public Property (#506)

Men urged to control uppity women by choking off their income:

…a Dallas anti-[sex worker] group is telling men to stop paying women for sex…New Friends New Life…is asking men to stop buying sex and patronizing strip clubs.  It also plans to create an emblem for businesses to display to show they don’t fund business meetings at strip clubs…experts say…the average age of a girl first sold into prostitution is 13…it will take time for attitudes to change about…strip clubs…some of the women who work there aren’t there of their own volition and are barred from leaving…Chris Kleinert said…“No father, when their daughter’s born, says ‘Wow, I can’t wait for her to be violated 10,000 times by the time she’s 21 years old’,”…

Just for comparison:  I’ve had roughly 5000 in my entire career.

Broken Record (#536) 

That so many people could believe in such lunacy explains a lot about the world:

…Houston is…a major hub for human slavery and sex trafficking in the United States.  For years, this intersection of business and widespread prostitution has provided a boon to sex traffickers in Houston every year.  However, the difference this year is a coalition of anti-human trafficking organizations who have joined with city law enforcement and conference organizers to combat the widespread sex trafficking that usually occurs during this event…OTC conference staff have been trained in identifying suspicious sex trafficking activities, law enforcement set up  prostitution stings, and volunteers hit the city streets to raise awareness…the majority of sex victims brought in to service the convention is between the ages of 12 to 14 years old…OTC also warned conference attendees against participating in sex slavery…

Yes, they’re essentially saying that their silly chanting and rattle-shaking scared away the demonic “pimps”.

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If the causal link between coercion and victimhood is the reason why prostitution is harmful and should be banned…this can be argued to be the case with most…professions on earth.  –  Phuong-Mai Nguyen

Old Men and Young Women

Why are people surprised that old men still have sex drives?

At adult cabarets across Costa Rica, entertainers…are noticing an interesting demographic trend:  With greater frequency, men old enough to be their grandfathers are among their admirers.  Such was the conclusion presented by Paula Ruiz Guevara, an investigative journalist from national newspaper La Prensa Libre…Through statistical research, field investigations and interviews with psychologists, social workers, prostitutes, and sociologists, Ms. Guevara’s work paints an interesting portrait of an aging population whose appetite for sexual commerce has not diminished…

See No Evil 

Anyone who sees 15 years in prison for consensual sex as anything other than a tyrannical abomination should himself be locked up:

A couple found guilty of having sex on a public beach in Florida face 15 years behind bars…Elissa Alvarez, 20, and Jose Caballero, 40, were charged with lewd and lascivious exhibition…The couple claimed they were not actually having sex…Both Caballero and Alvarez will now have to register as sex offenders because the crime happened in front of children.  The couple were arrested July 20, 2014, after witnesses recorded video of the couple grinding on the beach and called 911 to complain…Assistant State Attorney Anthony Dafonseca said…it was important to prosecute Alvarez and Caballero to let the public know such behavior wouldn’t be tolerated…

Repeat Offenders 

Why is it that nuns who want to “rescue” sex workers invariably push them into menial garment-related work, like laundering or sewing?

…at the shelter, known as Casa Ruth…[a “rescued” sex worker from] Nigeria…shares a tidy apartment…with a half-dozen other women…They work together in a sewing cooperative run by the shelter called Newhope…”They can make money not with their bodies, but through their creativity,” said Sister Rita Giaretta…Dozens of safe houses run by Catholic nuns have sprung up in recent years…

Change a Few Words killer pot

Prohibitionists of all types are willing to believe any “statistics”, no matter how stupid and obviously false, which seem to support their schemes:

“Marijuana candies, sold on the street as ‘Uncle Tweety’s Chewy Flipper’ and ‘Gummy Satans’ are taking the country by storm.” That’s the breathless opening sentence of a news story posted on the website of D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), the infamous anti-drug organization that sends police into schools to teach kids about the dangers of drug use.  After I called to inquire about it, D.A.R.E. removed the story immediately without commenting…topkeasnews.com [the story’s original source] is a satire website…D.A.R.E. still receives funding from the Justice Department, the Department of State and numerous other government agencies and corporations.  For the past month, that funding has been used to spread the message that marijuana is a “third world drug” that causes teen pregnancies and leads to “primal aggression,” and to promote demonstrably false claims about people killed by marijuana edibles…

Above the Law 

A CBS News investigation has found sexual misconduct in the ranks of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is “significantly” higher than other federal law enforcement agencies…In April, one agent in Arizona was indicted for sexually assaulting a 5-year-old child…Between 2012 and 2014…there [were]…more than 35 sexual misconduct cases against agents…in the last six years, at least 21 customs or border patrol agents have been indicted or pleaded guilty to sexual offenses…ranging from sexual assault, to possession of child pornography and child molestation…

Full of Themselves (#418)

OH MY GOD PEOPLE CAN TOUCH OTHER PEOPLE WITHOUT EXPLICIT GOVERNMENT PERMISSION!  THE HORROR!!!

…Kansas is one of just five states in the nation that do not regulate the massage therapy industry.  While most states require masseuses to pass background checks, attend accredited massage schools or obtain certain certification…massage therapists in Kansas go completely unchecked.  Such was the case with Chen Li, 50, and Guihong Xiao, 45, who were arrested Tuesday after an investigation into allegations that sex crimes were occurring at their business…Li, charged with felony promoting the sale of sexual relations and aggravated human trafficking, and Xiao, charged with felony promotion, misdemeanor selling of sexual relations and two counts of aggravated human trafficking, have been down this road before…AMTA Kansas lobbyist Stuart Little said if Kansas regulated its massage industry, and if a background check were required to own a massage business or perform massage therapy, Li and Xiao may have been prevented from setting up shop again…

New Excuse

Another blatant example of the War on Whores as replacement for the moribund War on Drugs:  “Drug agents…raided a [Charlotte, North Carolina] massage parlor, arresting two women accused in a prostitution sting…

Backwards into the Future (#439)

This Vietnamese academic, unlike her Western counterparts, stopped being a prohibitionist when confronted with facts:

…To a certain extent, all of us are coerced into doing what we are doing, since none of us is 100 percent free to do what we individually want.  Freedom is never absolute, and as members of a society, we all have to sacrifice, compromise, or adjust ourselves to suit the situation…criminalizing prostitution creates double incrimination…30 percent of exotic dancers and 24 percent of street-based sex workers who had been raped identified a police officer as the rapist.  Up to 17 percent of sex workers interviewed reported sexual harassment and abuse, including rape, by police.  They had been forced to strip or engage in other sexual conduct while in police detention…we also need to accept the fact that…Many of them choose this profession voluntarily because it fits their life style and personality, or because it is economically efficient, without any pressure.  In the last few months, I have been part of a volunteer group helping to deliver tea and coffee to sex workers in the Red Light District of Amsterdam.  I started the job with the idea that all these people are victims, and I could not be more wrong…Sex work is exactly that, work.  And what well-intended people should do is to protect those who are forced to enter the industry, and support those who are the boss of their life, regardless of who they choose to be…silly beliefs about sex work

All Wet

Buried deep in this prohibitionist screed are these truly dumb statements:  “A recent poll by Red C found that 88% of Irish men have never paid for sex. It also showed three out of four Irish adults believe women who sell sex have
experienced abuse from sex buyers…” First we have the usual ridiculously-low client number I’ve already debunked, but it’s followed by a statement about what ignorant people in the general public believe to be true about a subject in which they have no experience; it’s a bit like taking a poll of what people believe to be true about the stars an quoting it as though it were astronomical fact.

Marching Up Their Own Arses (#533)

Sex worker activists have forced the vile 8 Minutes off the air:

Sex workers who were filmed for A&E’s 8 Minutes, which says it provides resources for women who want to get out of sex work, allege that the production lied to them…they wanted help getting out of sex work, and were never given any of the promised assistance.  When reached, a representative for the network said the show is no longer on the air and, thus, they have no comment…

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 The left-right divide might be a division between social identities based on class or region or race or gender, but it is certainly not a clash between different political ideas.  –  Crispin Sartwell

Reading Between the Lines

FBI myth: crack experts at hunting dangerous criminals.  FBI truth: lazy pickers of low-hanging fruit:  “…The Grand Junction [Colorado] Police Department…and the Federal Bureau of Investigation gathered evidence at [four] massage parlors…on possible human trafficking and prostitution…”  Here’s the FBI press release; note that they’ve realized huge numbers of sex worker arrests make them look bad, so they only provide figures for underage workers arrested (under the  euphemism “recovered”) and men (probably mostly male sex workers) accused of being “pimps”.  If the proportions hold from previous operations, over 2000 adult sex workers were arrested in all.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

This is especially hilarious given the location:  “Authorities…say they’ve arrested…Phoenix police officer…John Geroulis…as part of a multi-agency undercover operation targeting human trafficking and prostitution…the 25-year veteran suddenly retired [the next morning].”  But this one is even more so:

A sheriff’s deputy and SWAT team member in Washington state was arrested…Darrion Holiwell…physically abused his wife and promoted her as an escort on…backpage.com.  He is also charged with using and distributing steroids, and with stealing thousands of pounds of brass and bullets from the police firing range and selling them to gun shops…

It Looks Good On Paper

I get that the writer is a “feminist” rather than a journalist, but surely the New York Daily News has editors qualified to recognize an incoherent mess when they see it:

The world is awaiting the return of nearly 300 Nigerian girls abducted from their school…girls as young as 14…are a familiar sight in the sex trade.  Demand is so great that traffickers not only import women from abroad, but target…American kids…Brianna [was]…kidnapped…by a school janitor at the age of 9, she was sold to a pimp…The bill she is championing creates the crime of…buying a child for sex…

Change a Few Words

Note how little you’d have to change in this excerpt from the first draft of Radley Balko’s book to make it about the war on whores:

…Nixonians…pushed the idea that drug use was connected to crime…They took their…absurd estimate of heroin addicts…multiplied it by another absurd figure—the amount of money the administration estimated the typical heroin junkie spent each year to get high…then capped off the equation with a third faulty assumption: that heroin addicts steal all of the money…The resulting figures, which seemed to increase with each reiteration of them, were several times larger than the total amount of property stolen in the entire country…Nixon’s top aides themselves didn’t believe their own bull…They were knowingly lying to bring the country along on a drug war.  The press jumped in with sensational stories to help dehumanize the drug offenders…

Pick a Color

It’s such a pleasure to see someone admit this in the mainstream media:

…the left-right axis…is conceptually confused, ideologically tendentious, and…infested by contradictions…the idea that…political and economic power…can be pulled apart and set against each other…is…obviously false, because hierarchies tend to coincide…  corporate capitalism has always completely depended on state power, and the basic practical thrust of left statism has always been annexation of the economyThe…robber-baron period is often held to have been…[eventually]  constrained…by the state [but] the…procedures employed by [industrialists]…depended fundamentally on state sponsorship and state violence…in the so-called Progressive Era…specific cartels and fortunes were compromised, [but] the consolidation…continued, as…government became the central bank…and the modern bureaucratic corporation emerged…the…spectrum stretches from authoritarianism on…one end to authoritarianism on the other, with authoritarianism…between…Instead of left and right, we should be thinking about vertical versus horizontal arrangements of power and wealth.

Yellow Fever Pimp City

Jezebel swallows the “trafficking town” myth like a big, slimy…

In an extensive investigative series called Pimp City: A Journey to the Center of the Sex Slave Trade, Fusion explores Tenancingo, Mexico, a town that makes virtually its entire living from sex trafficking…According to the documentary…”women are actually a commodity to be used over and over and over again…a pimp can make half a million dollars a year with three women working for him, each seeing an average of 20 clients a day, each for 15 minutes”…

In case you didn’t know, Fusion is a site attempting to position itself as the sleaziest organ in the yellow corpus, like an unfunny Weekly World News.

Number Puzzle

…the Dutch National Rapporteur Human Trafficking...recommends…to register individuals as victims more frequently, regardless of if there is an indication of actual trafficking…she acts as if the false positives …are not a big deal…we’re making reports…of situations that have nothing to do with human trafficking, which is making our data completely meaningless…only 2% of the so-called victims want help…[laws] make it impossible for…a sex worker to arrange [travel or visa] for…yourself, but if you get help then that’s called trafficking…Having a guard is seen as suspect, having lots of friends, too, and also having few friends…[even] if an agent…“feels” that it’s trafficking…that’s [enough]…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #312)

…mayor…Tri Rismaharini…announced the closure of the “Dolly” prostitution complex in [Surabaya]…hundreds of prostitutes and others who said their livelihoods depend on the sex trade blocked streets…in protest…The government plans to provide $425 to each of about 1,500 sex workers to help them start a new life…

Sex workers have defiantly vowed the district will remain open despite the edict.

Under Every Bed 

One day, we’re going to look back on all this and laugh.  All of us, that is, except people rotting for decades in prison on bogus “sex trafficking” charges.

…”The truckers…of Montana have partnered with us to put…human trafficking awareness posters on their trucks,” said…Attorney General Tim Fox. “The truckers move all across the country, they’re in…a lot of places that human trafficking might take place…We’ve had…young girls…trafficked out of Montana…and…into Montana.  Even right here in Billings…because…we’re…in the intersection of I-90 and I-94″…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #318) Manon Lescaut

I welcome ugly bandwagon-jumping like this because it hastens the day when the public is utterly sick of “sex trafficking” nonsense:

There are few things in opera more depressing than watching great singers struggling in the face of an obstructive and pretentious production.  Yet alas that is the case with the Royal Opera’s first presentation of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut for more than 30 years.  Jonathan Kent…opts for a contemporary setting in which wide-eyed Manon arrives – from eastern Europe? – with her pimp of a brother at a sleazy casino and becomes the fluffy mistress of a banker.  He forces her into soft porn…and then kicks her into sex-traffic hell…Puccini creates an atmosphere of lush melancholy romance, but Kent can interpret it all only in terms of today’s headlines…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #318)

It’s time once again for the pompous, asinine, methodology-free “Washington is the World’s Daddy” report (AKA the “Trafficking in Persons” Report), in which the US State Department presumes to judge and rank how every other country “deals with” an imaginary problem defined into existence by American prudishness and “analyzed” chiefly by how closely that country apes American anti-whore brutality.  Canadian prohibitionists are happy to cite the report this year in order to shore up their criminalization crusade, but New Zealand has no such agenda and therefore told Uncle Sam where he could stick his demeaning “report card”:

…The US State Department Trafficking in Persons 2014 Report…criticised New Zealand’s lack of a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, and recommended New Zealand’s legal framework be expanded to prohibit and punish all forms of human trafficking…The report [included evidence-free accusations]…of…children…subjected to street prostitution…[and infantilized Asian] women…at risk of coerced…prostitution…[Immigration Minister Michael] Woodhouse said all allegations of human trafficking were investigated, but none had resulted in substantiated evidence…

The Naked Emperor (TW3 #324)

In which danah boyd takes a few more steps toward the light:

…journalists and the public reify a Hollywood narrative of what trafficking is supposed to look like — innocent young girl abducted from happy, healthy, not impoverished home with loving parents and then forced into sexual acts by a cruel older man…the…reality…is much darker and implicates many more people in power…many youth…are not pimped…[they] begin trading sex for basic services — food, shelter, protection…when it comes to minors, most anti-trafficking advocates and government actors argue that it’s all trafficking.  Except when that label’s not convenient…

Magic Formulae

Most of this vile article glorifies the FBI’s pogrom against consenting adults under the guise of “fighting sex trafficking”, but this section needs to be pasted to the foreheads of every whore who believes in magic formulae:

…At least two of the women inquired…whether the supposed client was in fact a police officer…[one] woman…“did a cop check” on the officer and then said, “Okay, I just want to make sure you‘‍re not a cop.”  Undercover detectives agreed to a price…and exchanged the money — usually it had to be placed on a bedside table or television, as the women refused to handle the money directly.  The detectives then signaled for back-up, and detectives and agents swarmed the room…

Absolute Corruption (TW3 #326)

Jesse Friedman…filed a defamation suit against Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice for knowingly publishing false and defamatory statements in a report summarizing her review of Friedman’s 1988 conviction…In one example, DA Rice made the entirely fabricated claim that Jesse Friedman “wrote, possessed and distributed” shocking pornography involving incest, bestiality, and child rape while he was in prison.  The DA provided as proof a printout of a series of…stories…[from] the Internet, written by and credited to someone else, whose email address appears at the bottom with an invitation to contact her.  As the DA was well aware, Jesse Friedman was incarcerated at a maximum-security prison, and had no access to the Internet…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (All Traffick, All the Time)

How low can they go?  “[Cop] Adam Kavanaugh…said…'[a sex worker] is a person who has been victimized and probably raped at age 8 if not earlier’…

Whither Canada? (TW3 #423)

While I’m happy to see political conservatives calling for decriminalization, I have to wonder why Tom Flanagan can’t see the moral panic is already well underway:

…Perhaps the most alarming thing about Bill C-36 is its potential to reunite the coalition of radical feminists, social conservatives, and law-enforcement authorities that gave us the triple moral panic of the 1980s over imaginary sexual abuse of children…I hope we’re not seeing a new moral panic over prostitution, but the signs are worrisome.  Conservative MPs are talking darkly about pimps in schoolyards.  The Minister of Justice has started to create a new class of folk devils by calling the customers of prostitutes “perverts”…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #424) 

I do keep telling you so.World Cup 2014 logo

…The World Cup is supposed to be good for sex workers’ wallets…But…sex workers aren’t having an easy time of things at Brazil 2014…with sex workers allegedly pushed out of their usual haunts by police looking to crack down…it’s…more difficult for the workers to find clients.  And when they do, the…crowd isn’t quite as imagined.  “They came here all dirty, thinking we are obligated to go out with them…They…get drunk and won’t spend money with us,” [one sex worker] said…

Feminine Pragmatism (TW3 #425) 

Matthias Lehmann, who studied Korean sex workers’ situations for several years, has some choice words for that “sex working grandmothers” story:

…Lucy Williamson…leaves out the police almost entirely…and…fails to mention the…[government’s offer] to pay…rewards of up to one hundred million won (US$98,000) for tip-offs about prostitution activities…Williamson also omits that…South Korea’s constitutional court is mulling over the constitutionality of the country’s anti-prostitution law…

Cooties

Note the weird dehumanization of sex workers by calling them “networks”:

Swedish police have issued warnings that it’s increasingly common for prostitutes to rent apartments for work…”The better the hotel personnel get in seeing prostitution, the more unwilling these networks are to stay in the hotels” [said creepy cop Simon] Häggström [who] added that the number of rented apartments where prostitution occurs is minimal, but still “tragic”…

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Fuck you, Gawker and your puritanical bullshit.  –  Lynsie Lee

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

If you think 100,000 “child sex slaves” in the US is ridiculous, how about in a country with ¼ the population?  “There are over 100,000 women working as sex slaves in Turkey, of which half are children, a non-governmental organization has revealed…”  This is supposedly an “estimate” of the number of streetwalkers (compare with 70,000 in the US), all of whom are said to be “victims of the ‘prostitution mafia’.”

Elephant in the Parlor

Benny Johnson from BuzzFeed…messaged me, asking…about…an innocent yet charming flirtation I had…with…mayor [Cory Booker] at the beginning of the year… the [resulting]…article…was cute and, to me, satirical…[then] calls and emails start pouring in from reporters.  It was surreal.  How could something so simple be seen as a scandal?  Oh wait, I’m a stripper and nude model (how dare someone flirt with my kind!)…Gawker released a story…[implying] that…anybody I associate with is a bad person, especially men…strippers, or anyone in the adult industry, are real people, with real lives and real human relationships.  What we do for income doesn’t mean we are doing those things 24 hours a day.Doctor Mordrid  Accountants don’t sit at home with calculators at the dinner table, nor do proctologists go around sticking their fingers in people’s butts at the grocery store…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

A reader called Daz sent me a DVD I’ve been curious about for some time: Doctor Mordrid starring Jeffrey Combs, which was originally meant to be an adaptation of Marvel’s supernatural superhero Doctor Strange.  Thank you, Daz!

Change a Few Words

The Silk Road, a Web based black market for…narcotics…and other illicit goods, has been shut down by the FBI, and its alleged mastermind, Ross William Ulbricht, has been arrested…I can’t help but conclude…that the world is actually going to be a more dangerous place in [its] absence…The FBI…[wrote] “the site has sought to make conducting illegal transactions…as easy and frictionless as shopping…at mainstream e-commerce websites”…compared to the epidemic violence that has characterized the drug trade for the entirety of the War on Drugs…that…[seems] like a relative utopia…[and] successor sites…are…already up and running

The Profumo Affair

Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies, the friends who became household names when the Profumo affair was exposed in 1963, are no longer even on speaking terms…[and have] not seen [one another] for three decades…Rice-Davies has leant her support to Lloyd Webber in the making of Stephen Ward, a stage show about the society osteopath who also played a pivotal role in the scandal…

First They Came for the Hookers…

Politicians want to protect the “good” women of Saskatoon from sex rays:

A new…proposal would isolate…strip clubs in industrial areas…City administration is recommending a 160-metre separation for adult entertainment venues from residential neighbourhoods, schools, parks, childcare centres, preschools…recreational facilities…[and] other adult entertainment venues…”You don’t [get] more street crime because of strip clubs,” said Mariana Valvarde, a professor of criminology at the University of Toronto…”It’s a myth”…Saskatoon’s proposed bylaw would [also] require [strippers] to be licensed…

But wait, it gets even stupider:

…Saskatchewan…does NOT allow nudity in a business that serves alcohol…[and] this is NOT changing…[the government’s own website states] “full frontal nudity will continue to be prohibited”…[only] wet t-shirt contests and striptease without nudity will be allowed…[but] the public AND the media…are reacting as though the opposite is the case…

Coming Out

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #26)

Another way the Swedish model harms sex workers:

A plan to protect Oslo prostitutes…has been dropped after [officials] ruled it would violate people’s privacy…Bjørg Norli, director of Prosentret, said…”The problem is that buying sex in Norway is illegal.  We would have been keeping a register of criminals, which the police would have been able to demand access to”…

Whatever They Need To Say

It isn’t only in Bangladesh that whores are evicted so fascists can profit:

…Sex workers from three flats in Soho were evicted…after police issued enforcement notices on landlords warning they could be prosecuted if they were found to be allowing “immoral activities”…On [October 9th] sex workers and activists…gathered outside the offices of Soho Estates, one of the main property owners in the area, and called for them to “stand up” to police.  “Soho has always been one of the safest places in the country for women to work”…said Niki Adams from the English Collective of Prostitutes…Members of the local Soho Society said the character of Soho was under threat from developers…Blue is the Warmest Colour

The Notorious Badge (TW3 #32)

I’ve got news for you, Léa

When it awarded the Palme d’Or to Blue Is the Warmest Colour, the Cannes Film Festival jury took the unusual step of sharing the prize between its director Abdellatif Kechiche, and its two principal actresses Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos…but…the actresses were apparently unhappy with the director’s methods…Seydoux [said] “We had fake pussies on…I don’t make love on screen…it was kind of humiliating sometimes, I was feeling like a prostitute”…

Due Consideration

Alicia Beltran found herself handcuffed, shackled…and detained in an inpatient drug treatment facility for being honest about a medical history that included past dependency on prescription painkillers. The State of Wisconsin provided an attorney for her fetus, but not for her.  Without evidence of harm to either herself or the fetus, Alicia was made a ward of the state, all her rights and liberties suspended – including her right to have an abortion if that had been what she wanted…

Peeping Toms (TW3 #311)

The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal of a lower court ruling striking down Virginia’s anti-sodomy law…Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli…responded…[by] alleging that ‘nearly 90 sexual predators’ could be dropped from a registry of sex offenders…”  Too bad it isn’t more.

Dr. Schrödinger and His Amazing Pussycat (TW3 #312)

Jean-Baptiste de LamarckJean-Baptiste Lamarck was an 18th-century biologist who believed that characteristics acquired within an individual creature’s lifetime could be passed to its descendants; this was among the first steps toward evolutionary theory, but was disproved about a century ago.  However, certain political cults (such as Soviet communism) still clung to it long afterward as a pseudoscientific means of supporting their beliefs, and apparently Swedish state neofeminism is among them:

Around the world, women are on average shorter than men.  Purely biological evidence suggests that it should be the opposite…if women generally were larger risks associated with childbirth would…decrease…New theories suggest that the imbalance of power and discrimination underlie the size differences…we unconsciously give boys more food than girls, making the size difference between the sexes…persist over generations…

If this were true, the size difference would have vanished by the late 20th century in Western countries, where food has not generally been scarce in generations.  But it must please neofeminists tremendously to believe that if not for “Patriarchy”, women would be bigger and stronger than men.

The End of the Beginning

As…governments have imposed…restrictions on where sex offenders can live or even set foot, members of this highly stigmatized group…have formed associations…to [argue]…that indiscriminate laws…are unconstitutional and ineffective…“I find it very offensive that…sex offenders are trying to defeat the measures we have put in place to protect children,” said Nina Salarno Ashford …with Crime Victims United.  “They created their own issues…somebody was assaulted, in many cases a child”…[prosecutor] Susan Kang Schroeder…[said] “The pro-sex-offender lobby likes to bandy about percentages, as if even 1 percent is acceptable”…

The dysphemisms and lies should seem familiar.  Crime Victims United are vengeful badge-lickers who support mass incarceration and the abrogation of rights of the accused; the pretense that public urination, prostitution and sex while teenage are forms of “assault” is typical for them, as is pretending most “victims” are children.  And branding those fighting for human rights “The pro-sex offender lobby” is right out of the prohibitionist playbook.

Above the Law (TW3 #325)

new studies confirm previous findings that most of those who commit sexual abuse in detention are corrections staff, not inmates.  That is true in all types of detention facilities, but especially in juvenile facilities…[where] victims of sexual misconduct by staff members were more likely to report eleven or more instances of abuse than a single, isolated occurrence…

Ad Absurdum

Kaitlyn Hunt…entered no contest pleas to…misdemeanor battery and felony interference with child custody…[she will] remain in jail until December 20, followed by three years of felony supervision…she will not be branded a convicted felon or registered sex offender and can ask for her case to be sealed or expunged…

Matthew Lyons
Be Careful Who You Rape

And if she really had been a hooker, that would have made it OK?

…21-year-old Matthew E. Lyons approached [a] woman…[bird-watching] in a [Florida] gazebo…Lyons repeatedly complimented the woman…[when she said] she was not interested…in…sex…Lyons…threw [her] to the floor…and pulled off her shorts and underwear…[but fled after he] was unable to pull on a condom…Lyons admitted meeting with the woman but said he thought she was a prostitute…

Policing for Profit

Several communities in [Wisconsin want]…to increase the fines for…prostitution…Police are backing an ordinance that would make the fines more than $2600…Police are hopeful increasing the fine by more than 1300% will serve as a deterrent…”  Obviously, they hope nothing of the kind; it would cut into their profits.  Meanwhile, in Florida:

Police in [Sunrise]…have hit upon a surefire way to make millions.  They sell cocaine.  [Cops] and their army of informants lure big-money drug buyers…from [all over the Western Hemisphere]…then bust the buyers and seize their cash and cars…the…money…fuels huge overtime payments for the undercover officers…and cash rewards for the confidential informants…one femme fatale informant  [made] more than $800,000 over the past five years…Last year, the city raked in $2 million…the year before…twice that…

Cuckoo Advertising (Extra Edition)

Credulous reporters keep giving away ad space:

…“The World’s Largest Sugar Daddy Dating Website” says it has recorded a 50 percent jump in average daily sign-ups since the start of the government shutdown…“We usually have a lull in September and October,” Seeking Arrangement’s public relations manager Jennifer Gwynn told NPR…“Half of the new members are single moms, so we’re thinking that it’s tied directly to the government shutdown, since programs like WIC…have been stalled”…

Just Call Me Nobody

Lest you forget:  “pimp” is copese for husband, driver, landlord, roommate, service owner, bodyguard, phone operator, parent…

…Lindsey Roberson, a [North Carolina] assistant district attorney, said…if [whores] complete certain mandated steps, the charges will be dropped…they [must] accept responsibility, go through trauma counseling, a vocational assessment, and – if needed – substance abuse treatment…Thom Goolsby…said [his] new law makes North Carolina the “toughest state in the union on pimps and johns”…

So women are infantilized and brainwashed and men are “hammered”.Cathy Reisenwitz

A Procrustean Bed (TW3 #339)

Cathy Reisenwitz on New York’s “trafficking” court:

…the policy…is a paternalistic perception that strips women of agency in an attempt to protect them from their own choices. “Saving” sex workers, after arresting and arraigning them, will not accomplish the court’s goals…special courts fail to recognize the people who are not hurting themselves or anyone else, but are criminals only by law…sex workers are potentially human trafficking’s most effective foes, as they are ideally situated to identify sex slavery and alert the authorities. Or they would be if they did not risk arrest and prosecution for doing so…

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #339)

Another good article about Equality Now from Melissa Gira Grant:

It’s not something you expect to hear from a women’s rights group:  our prostitutes are better than yours.  But that’s the tone struck by Equality Now in their new campaign against United Nations recommendations that sex work be decriminalized. Claiming that the UN “ignores survivors of prostitution,” Equality Now and their allied anti-prostitution organizations have offered their own experts who have worked in the sex trade – who all also happen to agree with them that prostitution must remain illegal…despite evidence that illegality is dangerous, and despite even sex workers’ own demands.  This is why you will find a former prosecutor…now leading this ostensibly human rights campaign…

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The truth doesn’t have a sound bite.  –  Hadil Habiba

A Whore in the Bedroom

While working as a high-class escort for nine years, Rebecca Dakin saw hundreds of married men turn to her to fulfill sexual needs not being met by their wives.  In 2009, she…became an infidelity counselor, using her experience…to teach women about how to satisfy their husbands…Dakin says that the number one reason men look outside of their relationships for sex is because they’re not getting enough of it at home…other reasons…include…feeling bored by the sex they receive…or feeling hesitant to share their intimate desires and fantasies with their spouse…

November Book Reviews

Thaddeus Russell lectures on A Renegade History of the United States at the recent New Hampshire Liberty Forum:

Barbie

The pathetic losers who believe young girls can perform complex calculations in their heads are at it again, informing us that if Barbie were both alive and life-sized she wouldn’t have room for intestines.  That’s ironic, because it’s obvious that doofuses who obsess about plastic dolls have no room in their heads for comprehending that the smaller any animal is, the more slender its proportions tend to be, and that kids don’t actually notice this kind of stuff in any case.

Real People

It’s surprising that this article on Bay Area sex workers (including Kitty Stryker and Siouxsie Q) who cater to the tech sector appeared on CNN, of all places; the phrase “human trafficking” occurs only once, in a very short passage about a vice cop.  Maybe a few people over there are starting to wake up (or just seeing the writing on the wall).  The same holds true in the next item:

Feminine Pragmatism

The anti-whore rhetoric in this New York Times piece about Afghan sex workers is minimal, and the word “trafficking” entirely absent:

…Mazar…is…Afghanistan’s unofficial capital of prostitution…[this is] partly [due]…to the city’s culture, which is considerably more forgiving of vice than is the rest of the country.  Alcohol, though still illegal, can be found without too much trouble.  Women…can be seen socializing with men in…public parks, a rare sight even in Kabul…In recent years, the city’s economy has flourished as its proximity to Central Asia and its relative peace and stability have transformed it into a trading hub…The sex trade has [always] existed in one form or another…even under the ultraconservative rule of the Taliban.  But officials here say the rapid spread of mobile technology has made the business easier to manage and harder to detect…Women…host clients in a series of apartments…The point of contact is typically a man who orchestrates the meet-ups by cellphone.  This has made the business tough to infiltrate for those police officials eager to crack down…[sex workers] are almost always impoverished and typically divorced or widowed, struggling to support a family…they risk death if they are discovered…

The Pro-Rape Coalition

Kamlesh VaswaniThe Supreme Court [of India] sought response from the government on a plea to block and ban porn sites on the internet, particularly those showing child pornography…The petition filed by Indore-based advocate Kamlesh Vaswani said watching obscene videos is not an offence but it is one of the major causes for crime against women…”  As we know, this is the exact opposite of the truth.

Where Are the Victims?

Even the police state seems unable to explain what legitimate public interest is served by jailing a 69-year-old quadriplegic polio victim who breathes through a ventilator for the “crime” of having sexual feelings.  In 2011 he was “convicted” of helping sex workers find safe clients by running a screening service, and apparently the terms of his probation demand he not be sexual in any way; unsurprisingly, he has been caught violating that condition twice so far.

We Told You So

…As part of a legal settlement, Tennessee-based Stop Child Trafficking Now…will agree to follow a list of requirements if it returns to Missouri…some of the stipulations include [detailing] how donated funds will be spent in the Kansas City area…[and] an accurate depiction of the organization’s accomplishments.  A 41 Action News investigation…followed the money trail and fact-checked some of SCTNow’s bold claims made on its website…hundreds of thousands of dollars [went] to fund private “special operatives” teams to gather undercover intelligence about child sex trafficking…[but] when pressed for more details, SCTNow could not point to a single case in the country where information lead to an arrest or prosecution…

Divided We Fall

The Gambia introduced…new laws…criminalising male prostitution [and] cross-dressing…Any man or boy who solicits, is “attired in the fashion of a woman” in a public place or who “practises sodomy as a means of livelihood or as a profession” now faces a hefty fine and jail term of up to five years…

Where’s the outcry from picket-fence gay activists? {sound of crickets}  I reckon they don’t want to be soil their newfound respectability by speaking up for drag hookers any more.prohibition beer raid

Change a Few Words

Dr. Laura Agustín on how all prohibitionism is the same:

…outlawing activities accomplishes only one thing…It tells citizens that government has decided something is Wrong…Sending A Message is the principle …behind the Swedish state’s…law against buying sex, and…behind all the [others]…who want the law for their countries.  Everyone wants to be seen to be Taking a Stand against immoral behaviour.  Try bringing evidence into the conversation and you will quickly learn how irrelevant it is; you can find Swedish promoters themselves saying things like We know it doesn’t work but we want to be in the forefront of Gender Justice…Any other claim about what prohibitionist laws achieve when they outlaw social activities like sex, drinking and drugs is not supported by evidence.  That’s because, after the law is passed and the message is sent, individuals deal with prohibition deviously…So buyers and sellers of drugs, alcohol and sex become creative, some of them maintaining a disapproving stance in public at the same time…

This is, of course, why self-reporting about paying for sex has become so absurdly inaccurate.

The Immunity Syndrome

A new Ohio law bans teachers from discussing “any gateway sexual activity or health message that encourages students to experiment with sexual activity” and allows parents to sue for “damages” if they claim a teacher has done so.  What exactly are “gateway sexual activities”, you ask?  The law doesn’t say, but we know that in Tennessee they include hand-holding.

An Example to the West

Add Latin America to the list of regions that do sex work activism more effectively than the US:

A new study, designed and carried out by the network of female sex workers in Latin America and Caribbean (REDTRASEX), has documented legislation that affects sex work – as well as detailing what this means in practice…independent sex work is not prohibited in any of the countries studied.  What is criminalized…is proxenetism (or ‘pimping’) and…“immoral” behaviours or disturbances to the peace or public order are applied in relation to sex work.  Furthermore…confusing sex workers…with trafficked persons…silences the legitimate voices of sex workers and actually blocks discussions on how to end human trafficking.  This creates a framework of legitimacy for police repression and state violence…[and] results in a culture of secrecy around sex work, increasing stigma and the vulnerability of sex workers…

The study is available in Spanish, and I’ll provide the English translation as soon as it’s available.

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (TW3 #14)

Gloria Steinem is at it again, now in collusion with rescue industry NGO Apne Aap:  “On April 18, human rights activists Gloria Steinem and Ruchira Gupta will kick off a two-day symposium at Smith College, ‘Trafficking Sex: Politics, Policy, Personhood’…”  Note the unintentional irony of prohibitionists borrowing the term “personhood” from their anti-abortion rights soulmates.

Held Together With Lies (TW3 #28)

Chicken Licken and company meet Foxy LoxyDespite a total lack of evidence (“[trafficking] convictions [declined] 13 percent”), Chicken Licken and other overly-excitable barnyard fowl ordered EU member states “to get a move on with adopting tough new rules against human trafficking or face sanctions as a first report on the problem showed ‘modern-day slavery’ worsening”.  Obviously math isn’t the typical politician’s strong suit, but one would think even they could comprehend that the larger estimates might have something to do with the fact that they “[broadened] the definition of the crime” two years ago; now they’re claiming “the trafficking business is second-only in illegal activity to the weapons trade”, up from the equally-bogus assertion that it was third.  Anyone want to take bets on whether it will rise to first before the hysteria collapses?

Wise Investment (TW3 #31)

Texas lawmakers…[want to criminalize] advertisements soliciting prostitution…‘the Backpage Bill’…would make it a felony to buy such advertising and might press Backpage.com to get out of the business.”  It will do nothing of the kind and these politicians know it.  But because they don’t pay the cost of defending tyrannical and patently-unconstitutional laws, they’re perfectly happy to buy votes from control freaks at taxpayer expense.

Lack of Evidence (TW3 #41)

The news that “San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has agreed to make a ban on using condoms as evidence of prostitution permanent” is good (though as a policy rather than a law it could be revoked at a moment’s notice), but dig Gascón’s bizarre and Orwellian claim around mid-article that criminalization and police harassment of women are for our “protection”.

Uncharted Seas

we’ve been hearing it for yearsGay marriage is a slippery slope!  A gateway drug!  If we legalize it, then what’s next?  Legalized polygamy?  We can only hope…let’s not forget that the fight doesn’t end with same-sex marriage…Legalized polygamy in the United States is…constitutional, feminist, and sex-positive…we really can make our own choices.  We just might choose things people don’t like…Arguments about whether a woman’s consensual sexual and romantic choices are “healthy” should have no bearing on the legal process…It’s condescending, not supportive, to minimize them as mere “victims” without considering the possibility that some of them have simply made a different choice…

A Working System (TW3 #136)

A Sydney madam has been found guilty of keeping young Malaysian students in sexual servitude…Chee Mei Wong, 39, forced the six young women to work up to 20 hours a day in the Diamonds brothel…and ordered them to perform unusual sex acts against their will so they could pay ”debts”…

Something Rotten in Sweden (TW3 #138)ugly end demand propaganda

More on the ugly campaign of disinformation currently being waged by “End Demand Illinois”:

…Who are the organizers of this campaign trying to communicate with?  My suspicion is…people who already have a soft analysis of prostitution gleaned from watching 20/20…or true crime TV shows about sex trafficking busts…who is going to step up and be “in favor” of “modern day slavery” or “sex trafficking?” …I really want to know what it’s going to take for people to actually think about how complicated the sex trade is, and that it’s not all the same, and that ads that make us all the victims of overwhelming violence don’t do anything to actually improve our circumstances…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (TW3 #313)

Remember, prostitution was recently re-confirmed as legal in India, but brothels are still illegal; it’s therefore a simple matter for cops to redefine a business as a “ring”, label women of 20 to 25 as “girls”, call their arrest a “rescue” and describe imprisonment under psychological torture as “rehabilitation”.  That way the money from the US and NGOs keeps rolling in.

The Story Behind the Story

Fox 2000…[is] adapting Go the Fuck to Sleep for the big screen…the bedtime-story parody, written by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Ricardo Cortés, has become something of a viral hit…It is unclear how the filmmakers plan to turn what is essentially a nursery rhyme with one punchline…into an entire feature- length film…

I hope this proves lucrative for Ricardo and also opens more doors for him.

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Sex workers have a special place in society that is never rewarded or recognised.  –  Derek Freedman

No Other Option

Vrbas wheelchair basketball clubMy Cliterati article for last Sunday was “Skin To Skin”, a strong criticism of the cruelty of denying commercial sex to men who can’t experience physical intimacy in any other way; the very next day an English council provided a perfect example of that cruelty by announcing an “investigation” of a nursing home which allowed residents to hire sex workers, and I explained what was wrong with that in this week’s essay, “Caring Professionals”.  Then there was this item from Bosnia:

Members of a…wheelchair basketball club are launching a campaign to legalize prostitution…to help disabled people “achieve their right to love.”  Marinko Umicevic, president of the club Vrbas, said Wednesday that Bosnia had to catch up with 21st century Europe, where…some people with disabilities “even get state subsidies to pay for sex.”  Umicevic said some of his players had never had sex and legalizing the sex trade would help people like them achieve their basic rights…

Something Rotten in Sweden

Prostitution stings are disgusting no matter how they’re justified, but there’s something particularly vile about using “sex trafficking” as an excuse and then arresting hookers as well:

A multi-agency prostitution sting conducted earlier this month on behalf of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month has netted the arrests of…46 [people]…most for misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution…[but] five [for] women alleged to have posted sex ads…Sen. Leticia Van de Putte…[says] she intends to propose…a bill that would pave the way for victims of human trafficking to sue websites that make money off prostitution ads…

Senator Van de Putte could save the state of Texas a lot of money by simply researching the fate of similar ideas.

Decentralization

Bitcoin has become so popular, and its value has risen so much against that of national currencies, that Bloomberg is concerned that “virtual money could undermine the role of central banks”, which as Reason explains is exactly the point.  The end of governments’ ability to directly meddle with the world economy can’t possibly come soon enough to suit me.

Dirty Whores

Dr Derek Freedman told the Irish Sun:  “People from all strands of society use prostitutes from time to time.  It ranges from [politicians], the clergy, the judiciary to people who are socially deprived, physically disabled and people who may be regarded as unattractive and may not be able to meet people”…while people often feel anxious about contracting infections after visiting a prostitute, he believes that “you’re probably safer with a professional than with a gifted amateur”…he added:  “What we forget is that often sex workers give great comfort to people who are lonely”…Other Dreams of Freedom

Déjà Vu

When even Christians are starting to see this, “trafficking” hysteria’s days are numbered:

…In her new book Other Dreams of Freedom, Yvonne Zimmerman, a professor of Christian Ethics, argues that the theoretical basis of US government anti-trafficking efforts derives directly from Protestant theology and traditional ideas of what she calls “sexually pure and pious womanhood”.  Zimmerman challenges this basis for anti-trafficking efforts, saying that it ends up limiting the freedom of trafficked people, especially women, by conceiving of their “rescue” as them ending up in traditional, heterosexual marriages – or at least refraining from sexual relations outside of marriage…

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (We’re Not Done Yet)

A big improvement on the phone “app” described previously:

…a team [of students]…has invented a mobile panic button for street…sex…workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.  A voice or text message is first recorded onto a SIM card, which is inserted into a GPS-enabled device such as a pager…Pressing a button…activates the GPS and sends an emergency message and GPS location to a contact who can get help.  Because the GPS is not activated until the device is activated, the anonymity of the user is preserved…Once prototype devices are ordered, the three students will hold focus groups to determine which type of device is more useful…[then] will launch a six-month pilot project by giving devices to 100 women…The group is currently holding a fundraising initiative online…$8,140 [will] cover…the entire pilot project…

Change a Few Words

Arch-prohibitionist Paul Chabot helpfully explains not only that prohibitionism really works, but that all prohibitions are equally valid:  “When asked…why we keep marijuana illegal, Chabot responded:  “Why do we keep heroin, LSD, prostitution, child pornography illegal?’”  As Matthew Feeney points out, “Comparing marijuana to child pornography is a great way to insult millions of people by comparing them to pedophiles.  Chabot is a free gift to those of us who would like to see drugs legalized.”  And of course, the same goes for prostitution.

The More the Better (TW3 #4)

Sheri's RanchOn Monday I received a press release from Sheri’s Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada, a brothel resort on 20 acres (8 hectares) with a swimming pool, spa and tennis court which actively markets itself to couples as well as single men.  It’s now added “Sheri’s Playland”, a group of bungalows fitted out like movie sets so clients can enact any of six different sexual fantasies with working girls.  As I’ve said before, this is a very positive trend; “it was after Vegas casinos started ‘gentrifying’ in the ‘80s that people from other states dropped their prejudices against gambling, and now casinos are everywhere in the US.”

The Course of a Disease

Sex workers fight an attempt to impose the Swedish model on Indonesia:

Prostitutes and activists…are calling on the government not to prosecute men who pay for sex…The chairwoman of Yogyakarta Women’s Sex Workers Association (P3SY)…said…that [client] criminalization…would decrease the bargaining power and income of sex workers…[and] drive prostitution further underground…[hindering] HIV/AIDS education and mitigation programs…arresting customers would lead to the closure of brothels…and force sex workers to seek customers on the streets…Ignatius Praptoharjono of the Atma Jaya Catholic University’s HIV/AIDS Research Center in Jakarta…cited the cases of Sweden, Canada and other Asia-Pacific nations, where a crackdown on [clients] led to the decline of red-light districts and reduced fees…forcing sex workers to charge less and work more.  “Such a regulation will not protect women, but instead expose them to even higher risk,” [he] said…

Bullies With Badges

Heroic cops display their courage and fortitude by saving the helpless citizens of Connecticut from the menace of a 71-year-old whore: “an undercover cop…met her inside a room…[after] Sygun Liebhart placed a backpage.com ad…

Little Boxes (TW3 #25)

Forcing massage parlors to close at 10 PM is the latest anti-whore fad:

…a new [Florida] bill…would ban massage establishments from operating between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m…to crack down on human trafficking and sexual exploitation…[it] also would make it illegal for massage establishments to allow anybody to live on the premises…the Florida State Massage Therapy Association questioned the hours restriction…[because] there are legitimate late-night clients including airline pilots and theatrical performers…[bill sponsor Dave] Kerner, a former…police officer, said…late-night massage establishments are a “hotbed” of illicit sexual activity…

Anyone who actually uses the phrase “illicit sexual activity” with a straight face should be barred from public office as a delusional busybody.

I Swear To God

Here’s another article on the PEPFAR “anti-prostitution pledge”, the efforts to overturn it and the importance of doing so from a health perspective, a human rights perspective and a free speech perspective.  It really is beginning to seem like now that the gay rights culture war has essentially been won, many activists are starting to at last turn their attention toward the persecution of sex workers.

Shift in the Wind

Here’s a cute little promo video made at the Sex Worker Freedom Festival, the parallel AIDS conference held in Kolkata last summer by sex workers who were excluded from the US:

False Target

My fellow hot smart chick Amy Alkon wrote this week about that Jezebel favorite, social constructionist and penis apologist Hugo Schwyzer; his latest absurd claim (one which I called him to task about on Twitter a few months ago) is that older men are only attracted to young women because of “social construction”, and that before the advent of television guys were lining up to date old hags (presumably when they weren’t burning them as witches).  In the process Amy discusses the evolutionary basis of lust, debunks the “rape is asexual” myth and quotes good sense from Dr. Gad Saad.

Bottleneck

The story of New York City’s “cabaret card”, an artificial bottleneck imposed on nightclub performers from 1926-1966, is an excellent example of why prostitution licensing doesn’t work; the corruption such a system engenders and the destructive consequences to individuals are virtually the same.

Dirty Laundry

A divorced couple involved in running a brothel in north Dublin have avoided jail with fines and suspended sentences…Judge Mary Ellen Ring…ordered [Istvan Zeffer] to pay €1,000 to prostitute-support group Ruhama…Bernadette Kiss…is to pay €3,000…”  Ruhama is the new frontTom the Dancing Bug 1-31-13 for the orders of nuns who ran the Magdalene laundries which enslaved whores and many other women; calling them a “prostitute support group” is equivalent to referring to the Nazis as a “Jewish support group”.

King of the Hill

Most of this story is the typical credulous stenography of an evangelical “rescue” organization’s claims, but this passage stood out:  “The United States is the No. 1 destination for human sexual trafficking, with Oklahoma near the top of the most-active state list, the State Department reports…”  As you probably know, the State Department “reports” nothing of the kind.

Change of Heart (TW3 #41)

Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills…threw out 46 of the 59 counts against the alleged co-conspirator in the high-profile Kennebunk prostitution case, setting the stage for another appeal to the state’s highest court.  Mills’ decision…dealt prosecutors a…blow hours before opening arguments…were expected to begin…jury selection…[has already taken four days though] Mills said…it has never taken her longer than one day to seat a jury in her 19 years on the Superior Court…[charges were dropped after defense attorney Daniel] Lilley [argued]…that the notion that Maine privacy laws protect individuals engaged in criminal activity is “ludicrous.”  The invasion of privacy charges are tied to the fact that the alleged sexual interactions…were videotaped without the [clients] knowing…the defense…is [also] free to pursue its…argument that Strong was the subject of police retaliation…

We Told You So (TW3 #131)

Slowly but surely, the press is waking up:

The sad tale of a prostitute being held captive in Chattanooga highlights a problem that appears overstated…it is the only one ever reported, according to area police.  Meanwhile, a 2011 report co-produced by Vanderbilt University and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation estimated there were more than 100 cases of human sex trafficking in Hamilton County.  The study is, apparently, based on erroneous surveys and severely lacking in verifiable facts…

First They Came for the Hookers… (TW3 #132)

More “stripper licensing” idiocy, complete with “sex trafficking” nonsense:

…officials in Moorhead, Minn., are expected to pass an anti-prostitution measure requiring erotic dancers, nude models and adult escorts to obtain licenses and submit to background checks…North Dakota counterparts across the Red River in Fargo and West Fargo are pushing similar ordinances and the regional approach will attempt to stem “a fairly prominent problem here” with prostitution trafficking between their cities and the oil fields…[police hope] the regulations will reduce “a huge problem of runaways and minors trafficked into the sex trade”…adult entertainers would likely have to pay $150 to $250, carry a photo ID and divulge their real names, aliases and criminal histories.  Background checks revealing prostitution or drug convictions would disqualify applicants from receiving permits…

Pompous “authorities” just love creating bottlenecks that turn businesswomen into criminals, don’t they?

Due Consideration

It never takes control freaks very long to prove my points:

A…lawmaker in New Mexico introduced a bill…that would…require victims of rape to carry their pregnancies to term…as evidence for a sexual assault trial.  House Bill 206, introduced by state Rep. Cathrynn Brown…would charge…[violators]…with a third-degree felony for “tampering with evidence”…

The bill is unlikely to pass, but only due to partisanism rather than because it’s a total abomination.

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How can people reasonably be expected to conform their behavior to the law when it is impossible for them to figure out what actions it proscribes until after they’ve been arrested and prosecuted?  –  Jacob Sullum

mega-brothelWhat a Week!

It looks like prohibitionists are getting more desperate:

A car bomb was defused in…[the] parking lot…[of]  Paradise, one of Spain’s largest legal brothels…masked men sped up to the brothel in two cars.  A man got out of one…and shouted he was leaving behind a car with a bomb in the back…it took a bomb squad several hours to deactivate the device…Town Mayor Sonia Martinez said she would take action to try and close Paradise, because it “seriously damages the image of the town”…

Welcome To Our World

This is exactly why most whores in legalization regimes refuse to register:

…In a piece titled, “The gun owner next door: What you don’t know about the weapons in your neighborhood“, the [New York] Journal News [published] the names and addresses of local residents who are licensed to own handguns…[in] Westchester [and] Rockland…counties…The article includes an interactive map

Nor is this the only lesson the anti-gun crowd could learn from sex work legalization regimes; those who have studied them could explain to Sarah O’Leary that when the police are allowed to “regulate” something, corruption and abuse are the inevitable results:

…It’s unrealistic to think we can get the estimated 300 million guns off the streets…Lawful gun owners…are not the ones who endanger the masses of us.  The ones who use massive amounts of ammo against innocents do…If we used law enforcement venues…to regulate gun owners’ access to ammunition, we would greatly limit the unstable person determined to commit mass murder…Require gun owners to log on to a centralized government website to order their ammo, then pick it up at their local police stations…the only places where anyone can legally buy ammunition. Put limits on how much ammunition can be purchased at any given time, and over any given period…

The density of ignorance in this article is truly mind-boggling.  O’Leary imagines “mass murderers” use more ammo in a spree than target shooters use in an afternoon, that police are incorruptible, that a centralized database is a good thing (see article directly above) and that people can’t make their own ammo; in fact her level of ignorance approaches that of sex work prohibitionists, and that’s staggering indeed.

Backward, Turn Backward

In the profoundly perverse minds of “trafficking” fanatics, teaching someone to keep herself safe or work more efficiently is a “crime”:

…Police say 25-year-old Emilie Cook negotiated a $500 deal for herself and the teen to have sex with…an undercover cop.  “[She]…was instructing a 16-year-old runaway on how to conduct prostitution,” said Trooper Melissa Matey with Louisiana State Police.  “The 16-year-old has been taken into custody, and…[Cook] has been booked in the Orleans Parish Prison for trafficking children for sexual purposes…state police is [sic] anticipating more arrests and this case is ongoing…”

Note the pretense that this simple example of mentoring is part of some larger criminal conspiracy.Potential Prostitutes

The Scarlet Letter

A new and revolting twist on “involuntary porn” extortion sites:

Potential Prostitutes  is only the latest sleazy site to wed personal photos to public humiliation…any woman may be be anonymously tagged as a prostitute…in a browsable “offender” database seeded with mugshots of convicted prostitutes.  Entries may be removed by those listed…[for] a hefty removal fee.  Along with Predators Watch, a nearly-identical sister site…it’s part of a growing fad for shakedowns that exploit public records, police mugshots, compromising Facebook photos and other embarrassing personal information…the sites were registered to a P.O. Box in Stockholm, Sweden, in the last few weeks…Its Twitter feed consists only of a burst of links to prostitution stings and scandals from early November.  Status People reports that only 6 percent of its followers are “good”, the rest being fake or inactive accounts…[Ken White of Popehat] writes that…”Courts are still determining application of Section 230 to extortion sites, [but] even the most generous application…wouldn’t apply if…the purveyors of the site were themselves the ones populating it with pictures under the guise of users doing it…Moreover, Section 230 is not a defense to criminal charges. Extortion is a…federal crime…[and if] the site makes deliberately false statements…to extort money, it…may [constitute] fraud…”

Backwards into the Future

Consider how closely this statement from a third-world militocracy resembles American anti-whore rhetoric:

Burma’s new quasi-civilian government has vowed to improve its record on tackling human trafficking…police chief Yam Len Mun…noted that Burma has already moved from tier three to tier two in the [US Trafficking in Persons] report…he said…the first priority for next year should be to educate workers in every factory in the country about the dangers of human trafficking.  Other…measures…include setting up telephone hotlines in border towns…and…[setting] up rehabilitation camps for trafficked workers who have been rescued…

The Mote and the Beam

The US Senate asking someone else to be a “responsible global citizen” is unbelievable hypocrisy, its ignorance is shocking and its embrace of “sex trafficking” is just sad.  But its sending the demand to the wrong corporation is totally hilarious:

The Senate passed a resolution…that calls on the newspaper Village Voice “to act as a responsible global citizen” by taking down its “adult entertainment” section of its classified advertising website…“The numbers are rising, in part because it has become frighteningly simple to order a child prostitute on the Internet…” Sen. Mark Kirk…said…“Just a few clicks on this site easily enables ‘johns’ to purchase children for sex.  Law enforcement believes that the existence of Backpage encourages the recruitment of victims for sexual exploitation because it allows traffickers to operate out of sight from police patrols”…Kirk said that experts estimate that each year as many as 300,000 children are at risk of commercial sexual exploitation in the United States and cited cases where those prosecuted for such crimes have used Backpage.com to advertise…“The profit-first mentality at Village Voice Media, which prioritizes the rights of pimps, not children, must end.”

Size Matters

The Mystic Mother of the Phoenix Goddess Temple was arrested again after investigators said they found her posting ads on backpage.com seeking sex in exchange for cash “donations.”  Tracy Elise, 51, was re-arrested on December 13, fifteen months after her initial arrest for running a suspected brothel.  Elise insists her church was misunderstood because it combines spirituality and sexuality…Prosecutors argue that the Goddess Temple was a ruse for prostitution and even though religion was discussed…that doesn’t change the fact that money was expected after sex…

Posting a new Backpage ad while awaiting trial for prostitution is such an incredibly bad idea, I must assume either the cops are lying or Elise is trying to create a test case.

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Treasury of Great RecipesI receivedjelly babies two extraordinarily generous gifts this week: from Juan Iglesias, a copy of Vincent Price’s highly-regarded 1965 cookbook A Treasury of Great Recipes; and from Dr. Brooke Magnanti,  over a kilogram of jelly babies plus several packets of Parma violets.  Thanks so very much to both of you!
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Change a Few Words

It’s gratifying when others see the resemblance between decriminalization of drugs and prostitution:  “Now that a couple of states have made it clear that pot is legal within their own borders, it looks like the momentum has shifted on drugs…Perhaps now is a good time to start directing some attention to another prohibition, and that is prostitution…”  While the author buys into “sex trafficking” hysteria and the “dirty whore” myth, he nonetheless recognizes that criminalization creates most of the problems, and that is a good sign for the future.

The Course of a Disease

Though England fought off the Labour Party’s last attempt to persecute sex workers and clients by imposing the tyrannical Swedish Model, the misogynistic puritans who run the party are at it again:  “The government is coming under increasing pressure to…follow…Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland…[in imposing] the so-called Nordic model…

Feet of Clay

Kristof’s awfulness is becoming so obvious, even the ignorant (such as someone who writes without a hint of sarcasm, “Paul Krugman is right about everything“) recognize him for what he is:

Nick Kristof travels the globe rescuing sex workers by getting them arrested and then attempting to find them jobs in sweatshops…His writing always features morally unambiguous black-and-white heroes and villains.  The heroes are frequently rescuing helpless maidens.  Kristof declines to see complexity in every great crisis he tackles, and largely refuses to acknowledge that money and American “intervention” are frequentlySanta on the moon, courtesy of C. Andrew…the cause of [them]…Kristof’s reliance on anecdote and personal narratives above all else…lead him to deeply stupid conclusions…

The Young and the Brainless

It’s for their own good!  “[On Christmas Day] police arrested three men, 53 women and 16 transvestites for engaging in prostitution across Bangkok…to suppress human trafficking issues during the New Year holidays.  All suspects will be sent to local police stations for further prosecution.”

Metaupdates

Counterfeit Comfort (TW3 #16)

You may remember that when New York wanted to unconstitutionally punish people who had already served their sentences, it simply applied political pressure to get private corporations to do its dirty work for it:

New York State has teamed up with several major online game services to purge another 2,100 accounts held by registered sex offenders…New York’s Electronic Securing and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP) requires convicted sex offenders to register all of their email addresses, screen names and other online identities with the state.  That information is passed along to sites and services so they can show predators to the door…

Obviously, there’s no possible way guys caught pissing in public or having sex with their girlfriends could ever start new anonymous accounts and not tell Big Brother about it.

Capricious Lusts (TW3 #37)

While Hollywood figures are lining up to climb on the “sex trafficking” bandwagon, Bollywood figures are beginning to support decriminalization:

…Legalising prostitution in India would be a step…to bettering…conditions…Prohibiting all activities related to prostitution…does not seem to be curbing the booming sex trade…Prostitution has been in existence since organised society came into being, and…these women provide services to all existing societies even today.thought police poster  Isn’t it time we give…[them] the respect and dignity they deserve?…

See No Evil (TW3 #51)

…a Montreal jury acquitted  special-effects artist Rémy Couture of “corrupting morals” by creating gory photographs and short films…The government said his images were obscene…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #51)

Another judge acquits “trafficking” witch hunt victims due to a total lack of evidence:

A federal judge…overturned the convictions of three men on sex-trafficking charges…based on the government’s failure to prove the men were part of a single, overarching conspiracy…[and] because the government failed to turn over [to the defendants]…documents [which] showed contradictions in the testimony of the government’s principal witness…The [alleged] victim testified…that she was used as a prostitute…starting at age 12.  But…new evidence…suggests…[she] lied about her age…[and was actually] 18 or 19…

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #51)

I’ll bet those pearl-clutching Welsh academics didn’t expect this:

…Former madam Becky Adams, who is taking part in a Swansea University project examining youngsters in the sex trade, said that the market was almost flooded with people trying to pay their way through university…“The market is almost flooded with them…An hour used to be £150 in the 90s and now you can find an hour for £70 or £80.  That is a result of supply and demand because there are so many more people at it.  And you cannot just blame the Eastern Europeans…”

This Week in 2010 and 2011

Beside the original “Presents” post and my previous columns for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, this week also featured two columns about whore goddesses, a response to criticism from another activist, a biography of the Madame de Pompadour, a deconstruction of the ridiculous claims of “social scientists”, a report on Google’s support of anti-whore activism and my answers to reader questions on vaginal looseness, sluts, P411, anal sex, penis size and talking to children about prostitutes.

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