Posts Tagged ‘Real Men’

Americans have been taught to treat the state like a god, to equate its many acts of evil…with the greater good of a plan that none of us asked to be a part of.  –  Brittney Cooper

R.I.P. Madame Claude

Fernande Grudet, who under the name Madame Claude operated a deluxe [escort service] in Paris in the 1960s and ’70s…died on [December 26th] in Nice…She was 92…“Two things in life sell,” she once said. “Food and sex. And I was not meant to be a chef”…Ms. Grudet zeroed in on “failed models and actresses, the ones who just missed the cut,” [said] high-society columnist Taki Theodoracopulos…Only one in 20 candidates made the grade.  Requirements included beauty — plastic surgery could be arranged — poise and a familiarity with history, literature and current events.  Also, talent in bed…assessed by…male acquaintances who took candidates for a trial run and reported back to her…Many of her “Claude girls” went on to find success in film, fashion or business.  Quite a few married rich clients…[her clients] included John F. Kennedy, the shah of Iran, Muammar el-Qaddafi, Gianni Agnelli, Moshe Dayan, Marc Chagall, Rex Harrison and King Hussein of Jordan…

Here We Go Again

Maybe someone should tell them the AJWS supports decrim?

…the National Council of Jewish Women…and its members are…still trying to end…sex trafficking, just as their foremothers had done…Liz Robbins…[of] the New York Times…[wrote] a piece…last year about a human trafficking court in Queens…Lori Cohen…learned about the “white slave trade” in the 1890s to 1930s, which resulted in the trafficking of thousands of young Jewish women from Eastern European shtetls to the Americas on false promises of marriage or employment.  In 1910, she discovered, an estimated 900 Jewish women were sold for sex in Philadelphia…

For those who don’t realize: literally no reputable historian believes the “white slave trade” was anything other than a moral panic.

Real Men Support Sex Worker Rights

What’s that, Asstoon?  “Real men don’t buy girls”, you say?  Oh, my:

Ashton Kutcher…was seen last week ducking out of a Thai massage parlour…women employed at the Ancient Therapy Massage Parlour in LA offer sexual favours after a massage.  There is no suggestion Ashton…engaged in any of these acts.  But our investigator visited the shop later and was offered sexual favours…

Is there a single male prohibitionist who doesn’t enjoy whatever he crusades to deny to others?

Sales Pitch

Remember, kids, the Swedish model eliminates “human trafficking”!

…98 cases of suspected human trafficking have been brought to the southern regional police division’s attention in 2015 – up by 700 percent on the year before when 14 incidents were reported…Most of the cases involve people driving others across the Öresund bridge connecting Denmark to Sweden…While some are believed to be the victims of organized smugglers taking advantage of vulnerable people and charging copious amounts of money for fake travel documents, others are helped by friends or relatives – who could also be charged with human trafficking…


I find this essay somewhat myopic and disorganized, not to mention needlessly clannish and sectarian; however, at its core it contains the important truth that America’s fascist statism is indeed a religion:

We all saw Sandra Bland’s penultimate moments, being bullied and violated for failure to signal a lane change…before threatening to “light her up” with his taser, he never really gave a reason for pulling her over.  It is probable that he didn’t have one, other than the making of revenue…one of the young Black [Lives Matter] activists…spoke to me of the stress of her first arrest, of the feelings of disempowerment at having the state be in control of your body, of the feelings of disorientation and lack of concept of time in a jail cell, of the feelings of hopelessness such conditions induce…Because grand jury proceedings are secret, we have no idea what happened to Sandra Bland.  And if Waller County has [its] way, we never will…no police department in America is worthy of trust, or of the benefit of the doubt.  Sandra Bland’s death is just one more worm at the rotten core of the theology of one bad apple.  It is a theology and not merely an ideology because Americans have been taught to treat the state like a god…It is amazing how comfortable we are nailing innocent bodies to the cross of the unjust American imperialist justice system…

Saving Them From Themselves

Don’t be fooled; the only reason cops aren’t charging these kids is because their numbers are so great it would cause an uproar:

…Michigan…state police, after uncovering “a massive sexting scandal” involving “200 nude and semi-nude pictures” of female high school students…are not planning to charge the teenagers with producing, possessing, and distributing child pornography, offenses that carry penalties of up to four years in prison per image….[and] registration as a sex offender…Sgt. Jason Wickstrom…said that when some of the girls’ parents demanded criminal charges against the boys, “I told them, ‘We could go after these boys, but then your daughter is going to be charged too.’ That is the way that it would have to be”…

Surplus Women 

Daria Pionko…was found [severely injured] in…Leeds in the early hours [of] December 23…Police…were called to the scene by a friend of the woman, who reported the attack.  She was taken to Leeds General Infirmary by ambulance but was pronounced dead a short time later…Detective Superintendent Simon Atkinson…said:  “We are treating this woman’s death as murder and a full investigation has been launched…the victim was a sex worker and the incident has taken place in the managed [red light] area”…a 38-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident…but [police] insist they are keeping an open mind about the case.

The Last Shall Be First Chris Christie bloviating

Anti-trans people just can’t get their minds out of the toilet:

Republican presidential wannabe Chris Christie may have just come up with the single weirdest argument I’ve heard about where transgender kids should go to the bathroom…”I don’t think we should be making life more confusing for our children…Think about those kids in Los Angeles who…had their entire district closed because of a threat.  Think about what they felt like the next day when they went back to school.  Did they feel completely comfortable, did they feel like they were safe?…every place in America is a potential target for terrorism…children learn better, grow up better, mature better when they live in a safe and secure and loving environment…we want our kids not to have to decide which bathroom they get to go in…And not to be subject to the embarrassment that could come with going in a bathroom where somebody maybe doesn’t agree that they should be in there or not,” Christie said.  So trans kids shouldn’t get to pick which bathrooms they use because they might be embarrassed, and also TERRORISM TERRORISM TERRORISM TERRORISM TERRORISM.  Um…thanks for the thoughts, Governor…

A Procrustean Bed (#339)

Sacramento classifies women as passive objects without agency, then pretends it doesn’t:

…An acronym for “Reducing Sexually Exploited & Trafficked”, RESET is a diversion court that allows adult sex workers to exchange misdemeanor criminal charges for programs that, if completed, dismiss the charges…the program created an incentive [for cops] to keep it supplied with participants…Prostitution arrests in the county…[steeply increased] last year…a 45-percent increase over 2013…RESET requires participants to plead guilty before they can participate, which irks advocates at the Urban Justice Center and Sex Workers Outreach Project.  But court officers [pretend] the guilty plea [sends a message]…Unlike an earlier version that [more obviously exploited sex workers by charging] participants $250 a pop…RESET is free and doesn’t require participants to say they were trafficked, which can be a sticking point for sex workers who don’t want victimhood thrust upon them…

Their “reward” for completing the program?  A “free” cup of coffee.  I am not making this up.

The Punitive Mindset (#414) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire…and the law firm Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson…filed a federal lawsuit on…behalf of a prisoner’s mother and three-year-old son challenging the constitutionality of a mail policy…that prohibits prisoners from receiving greeting cards, picture postcards, and drawings in the mail.  This policy violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution…The policy applies to all “drawings” or “other depictions”, all “greeting cards”, and all “postcards from particular locations or featuring any type of printed design, picture, or depiction.”  The ban includes Christmas cards, as well as prayer cards with pre-printed images often sent to individual prisoners by religious organizations…[prison officials pretend that] the new policy was put in place to prevent drugs like Suboxone from being smuggled into the state’s prisons through the mail…

Welcome To Our World (#439)

Recognize the rhetoric?

…[Russian] MP Yelena Mizulina, known for her staunch [anti-abortion] stance, has proposed…a law that would equate intermediary services in surrogacy to human trafficking and punish it with 10 years in prison…The senator emphasized that the only people who would face punishment under her bill were…those who arrange the process of surrogate childbirth and receive money for their services.  Surrogate children, their biological parents and women who give birth will all be treated as crime victims…“We are calling to put the commercial component of this phenomenon under strict control,” she emphasized. “As soon as the services of surrogate mothers became available in Europe, criminal groups immediately appeared there and started recruiting women from Hungary, Moldova and the UKThis is a scary form of human trafficking and one of the obvious threats to mankind“…The future bill isn’t Mizulina’s first attempt to introduce surrogacy regulation in Russia.  In April 2014, she prepared another draft that banned hired surrogate mothers [and] made it obligatory for biological parents to get an agreement from a special medical commission…and…[perform] the necessary medical procedures…in state-owned clinics…

Under Every Bed (#520) 

Nobody would believe North Dakota was a “hub”, so now they’re calling it a “funnel”:

…Under a “john school” law that takes effect Friday, judges can sentence those convicted of hiring someone for sex to attend an offender [re-]education program to [be forced to endure propaganda] about the [mythical] harmful effects of the commercial sex industry.  It was among a raft of bills…aimed at curbing sex trafficking in North Dakota, where an oil boom has attracted pimps hoping to cash in on a thriving economy full of male workers flush with disposable income…Sen. Mac Schneider [bloviated]…“If there was no demand for the illicit services offered by sex traffickers…there would be no sex trafficking here”…The concept for North Dakota’s john school came from the Offenders Prostitution Program run by the St. Paul, Minn.-based [rescue industry] group Breaking Free…Terry Forliti, a [shill]…who works as systems analyst for Breaking Free…said…“North Dakota has been a huge funnel for sex trafficking for years”…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

This isn’t the first time the Open Society Foundation has backed sex worker rights, but it is (to my knowledge) the first time it has openly backed an anti-criminalization campaign:

George Soros, the billionaire investor…is supporting a campaign by…Sex Workers Alliance Ireland against [the Swedish model]…he…[has long funded] campaigns on issues like immigration reform and drug legalisation…[including] an estimated $80 million on the cannabis legalisation effort over a 20 year period…the Soros-chaired Open Society Foundation…has long supported organisations…that are governed by sex workers, like the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe and the Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network…

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Kristof is the sort of acute observer who, upon witnessing plantation slavery, decides that farming must be abolished.  –  Jacob Sullum

Amnesty At Last

The biggest story of the year so far is that Amnesty International has at long last come out in support of absolute decriminalization of sex work, as sex workers ourselves have wanted for decades.  Amnesty has a tremendous amount of clout; this will strongly affect small countries, and even in big countries like the US some politicians may now begin to doubt the wisdom of backing laws that allow the cops to persecute adults for consensual sex.  It will also undermine the prohibitionists’ arguments; they can no longer pretend that their views are common-sense and mainstream.  To me the most important lines in the document are these:

…the need for states to not only review and repeal laws that make sex workers vulnerable to human rights violations, but also refrain from enacting such laws…the harm reduction principle…Recognizing and respecting the agency of sex workers to articulate their own experiences and define the most appropriate solutions to ensure their own welfare and safety…the evidence from Amnesty International’s and external research on the lived experiences of sex workers, and on the human rights impact of various criminal law and regulatory approaches to sex work…

A Procrustean Bed

Super-ally Elizabeth N Brown again:

A four-part series from Capital News Service (CNS) looks at human trafficking in Maryland…[and] contends that “Maryland has some of the lightest penalties in the nation for human trafficking of adults”…yet a bill to enhance criminal penalties…recently failed to pass…it was a rare moment of legislative sanity on this issue…advocates for the increased penalties claim that sex trafficking of adults is a mere misdemeanor in Maryland…[but they] aren’t really talking about human trafficking.  They’re talking about prostitution.  Which they want felony punishments for…”misdemeanor human trafficking” is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.  And what does this category entail?…driving a sex worker to a job…letting a sex worker work from your…building…taking money from a sex worker for any reason…

Profound Mental Disabilities

A man in Orlando is suing a local dominatrix, accusing her of taking more than $500,000 and his house…Judith Gumbrecht…[offers]…“financial slavery”…[and] former client Alex Abrams…[alleges]  Gumbrecht took more than $500,000 after he added her name to his financial accounts, and took ownership of his 1,450-square-foot townhome…the lawsuit accuses Gumbrecht of exploitation of an elderly person, theft, and unjust enrichment…Abrams’ attorney, Brian Mark, claims Abrams suffers from clinical depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and said this affected his decision when adding Gumbrecht to his bank accounts and signing a deed…to transfer his home to her.  Abrams met Gumbrecht after he divorced his wife of 32 years about four years ago…“She went with him to the doctor when he was diagnosed. She was fully aware,” [said] Mark…”When you’re in that professional relationship with them, you cannot exploit them”…

If Gumbrecht really did know that Abrams was demented, it was both unethical and unwise for her to take this kind of advantage.  However, I must point out that A) if she had married him this deal would be a great deal harder to break; and B) it’s amazing how often a submissive’s supposed mental incapacity is used as the excuse for a legal attack on a dominant.  Also, was Abrams suddenly & miraculously cured of his Alzheimer’s, so that his actions now are assumed to be lucid, while his previous actions are not?

Real Men Support Sex Worker Rights (#4)extra-stupid kristof

I really, really love it when Jacob Sullum tears into Nick Kristof:

Kristof says some…teenagers are exploited by pimps who take out…ads…on Backpage.com…He mentions two examples…[but] wisely does not include the source who claimed to have been advertised on Backpage before it existed…Kristof…is condemning Backpage because some of its customers are criminals.  Would he apply similar logic to the carmakers that produce getaway vehicles, the sporting goods stores that sell baseball bats occasionally used in vicious beatings, and the cellphone companies that help terrorists communicate with each other?  Probably not…it’s clear (as usual) that Kristof’s concern is not underage prostitution or coerced prostitution but prostitution in general…by [his] reasoning, alcohol should be prohibited because of the parallel underground market serving minors, all sexually explicit material should be banned because some of it involves children, and housework for pay should be forbidden because rich Saudis have been known to beat domestic workers and hold them against their will…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

An 87-year-old man is fighting allegations he was soliciting a prostitute when he approached an undercover officer during a police sting [in Grand Rapids Michigan]…police and prosecutors say this is likely the oldest person ever charged with this crime.  Howard Arthur Klein…claimed he thought the woman he spoke to was someone he knew from church.  Nevertheless, Klein faces a maximum of 93 days in…jail if convicted…[though he] has no previous criminal record…he has pleaded not guilty…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#316)

Lone man on a crusade manages to censor adult content on the internet by circumventing a court order.  Sound familiar?

…[An] Indian lawyer’s formal request for a nationwide ban on access to 857 specific pornographic websites was rejected by the country’s Supreme Court but appears to have been enacted by the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi…Kamlesh Vaswani, a lawyer who failed to persuade the Supreme Court to block online pornography, gave thanks…to [the] Prime Minister…for [ignoring]…the Supreme Court…Vaswani [said]…“pornography…is worse than Hitler, worse than AIDS, cancer or any other epidemic…It is more catastrophic than nuclear holocaust, and it must be stopped”…

Traffic Circle

It’s becoming possible for mainstream journalists to question central tenets of the “sex trafficking” religion:

…Researchers agree that labor trafficking is the leading form of human trafficking, but sex trafficking is the focus of more federal prosecutions…In 2012, the Department of Justice successfully prosecuted 138 traffickers, with 76 percent of the cases predominantly sex trafficking and 24 percent predominantly labor trafficking…

Checklist (#345)

Now useful idiots don’t even need to dial a phone to snitch!

Anyone with a smartphone can do their part in the fight against human trafficking thanks to…The GPS-based app…called Redlight Traffic.  It’s a free download designed to help police [persecute sex workers]…Greater Seattle is [pretended] to be one of the worst areas in America when it comes to human trafficking.  Police [fantasize] hundreds of children are worked every day in King County…Amin and Jessica Haq…say…their app…has helped rescue 25 children from sex traffickers…

Proof of that last statement? Oh wait, there is none, because you’re lying.

Number Puzzle (#349)brothel ad

Ah, so “flat rate” isn’t actually flat rate; no wonder the girls like it!

In [Germany]…”flat-rate”…brothels…are a familiar sight, there are at least six in Berlin alone…On an average day, six or seven girls will be working, with the numbers rising to nine or ten at weekends.  Some of them may have sex up to 20 times per shift…The women are able to refuse a customer if he is particularly unpleasant or aggressive but it’s rare.  Once in the bedroom, “extras” are negotiated by the women, who keep 100% of any further money that changes hands.  Not much is off limits, with the exception of unprotected sex…the flat-rate model works from a financial perspective because men over-estimate how many times they can have sex…From the women’s perspective, he says the guaranteed daily pay is the main lure.  Of the entrance fee, 49 euros goes to the club and 50 euros to the women…

An Example to the West (#412) 

Imagine the NOW going to bat for sex workers like this:

The National Network of Sex Workers (NNSW) and women’s rights organisations in India have expressed outrage over…Swati Maliwal calling sex work…akin to “rape” and calling for its “eradication”.  “We call on her to immediately withdraw her statement and tender an unconditional apology to the all women in sex work,”…[said] Meena Saraswathi Seshu…At a national consultation on Human Trafficking…Maliwal equated prostitution with rape and said, “It is a ‘blot’ on society which needs to be eradicated with [more violence from] the state”…

License to Rape (#502)

Charnesia Corley was…detained by [Houston] police for allegedly running a stop sign…the deputy…asked her to step out of the vehicle after “smelling what he believed to be marijuana.”  However, during a search of Corley’s vehicle, without her consent, no illegal plants were found…a…female deputy…then stripped [Corley] down in public and forcefully penetrated [her]…“I bend over and she proceeds to try to force her hand inside of me.  I tell her, ‘Ma’am, No. You cannot do this’,” Corley explained.  Corley maintains that at no time did she ever consent to be raped by deputies…

Dutch Threat (#504)

“Politicians lie” = “the sky is blue”.

Warner ten Kate, the public prosecutor [for] human trafficking in Holland…claimed there was…research that showed that 70% of the prostitutes were forced in Holland…during [a radio] interview…Kate was specifically asked about the 70% and…claimed [it came] from…research done by…Erasmus University…[but the] University never did any such research…the Sneep case [cited by Kate] also doesn’t say 70% is forced, but claims it’s 50 to 85%…Warner [says he wants]…to “stop talking about numbers”…[but] this whole debate started because he…and the police keep mentioning numbers which are pure bullshit

Acting and Activism (#559)

A group of 20 academics in the fields of law, medicine, anthropology, sociology and other fields, some of whose names have appeared on this blog before, wrote a letter to Amnesty International in support of decriminalization:

AI’s general policy is to be wary of criminal law regulating gender and sexuality…We focus on two specific issues: 1) why existing credible research supports the rejection of the so-called Nordic model…and 2) why rigorous studies on the relationship between human trafficking and the sex sector supports total decriminalization.  In particular we note empirically and analytically sound research that debunks the Nordic model and refutes claims that legalization or decriminalization of sex work will “increase” the risk of trafficking into the sex sector…

And in The Nation, Melissa Gira Grants writes:

Using the criminal law to control sex work means police are pitted against sex workers, and sex workers can pay the price with their lives…as has also been documented by Amnesty—and others, like Human Rights Watch, UNAIDS, and the World Health Organization, all of whom support the decriminalization of sex work, a stance also backed by recent research in the medical journal The Lancet.  Sex workers’ own rights groups, such as the 237 organizations in 71 countries under the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, report the same from their own experience: Criminal laws only add to the challenges…that many sex workers already face…Amnesty’s sex work proposal has drawn the ire of campaigners who support the [Swedish model]…precisely because it illustrates how these laws, marketed as compassionate towards sex workers, have exposed them to danger.  They argue for more criminalization at a time when on most other issues, the public is turning away from using the police and prisons as a solution…

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Nothing can be more surely established by a larger experience than that a Government which interferes with any trade injures that trade.  –  Walter Bagehot

Seven updates to previous columns from the fourth week of 2012.

All Shapes and Sizes (September 8th, 2010)

In this column I mentioned Peyronie’s Syndrome, which causes penile deformity; according to this January 23rd article from Science Now a more effective therapy may be on the horizon:

…A new study in rats shows that lacing a penis graft with adult stem cells yields better healing and sexual function…Men with penis injuries, deformities, or severe Peyronie’s disease…sometimes need surgery to reconstruct their genitalia and restore their sexual function.  Many receive a graft made of their own tissue, cadaver tissue, or pig intestines, but the surgery can cause complications, including erectile dysfunction.  Wayne Hellstrom, a urologic surgeon at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans…wanted…a surgical intervention with fewer side effects.  So he teamed up with colleagues in California and China [to seed] pig intestine grafts with adult stem cells taken from fat tissue in rats…the researchers…found that rats with stem cell-laden grafts had less scarring and better erectile responses…than did those with stem cell-free grafts.  The rodents’ erections were comparable in rigidity, blood flow, and response time to those in the…control rats…The results…suggest that lacing the grafts with stem cells enhances blood flow and boosts the production of molecules that make and maintain erections, all of which makes for a better penis reconstruction…Hellstrom and colleagues plan to test the method in primates next and then eventually in people.  “Peyronie’s affects 3% to 9% of adult males and causes a lot of psychological distress,” Hellstrom says.  “If we can improve what we have now, it seems like the logical thing to do.”

The Red Umbrella (December 17th, 2010)

As we’ve discussed many, many times in the past, violence from the police [and] bad customers…is all too common a part of the lives of prostitutes, most especially streetwalkers; too many men…consider whores to be disposable, “non-persons” against whom assault, robbery or rape is permissible.  A large part of the reason for this is the suppression of our trade; the laws criminalizing our profession allow weak-minded men…to convince themselves that since we are “criminals” we don’t deserve to be treated like human beings, and the attitude of both the law and the police makes it difficult to impossible for…prostitutes to even be heard by the police much less have crimes against us investigated.”  This story from the January 10th Orlando Sentinel  demonstrates the first part of my statement and provides a welcome exception to the latter part; too bad Juarez will never recognize the poetic justice of the date he was arrested:

…Ernesto Juarez, 32, is facing several charges in a Dec. 17 attack, including sexual battery with a deadly weapon…[he] admitted to attacking, raping or attempting to rape five prostitutes…[but] detectives have yet to charge him in four of the cases.  One of his alleged victims…told [reporters] about her dangerous encounter…Juarez…picked her up on the afternoon of Dec. 10…agreed to pay her $40…and said he was going to take her to his house…[but when he] head[ed] into a secluded area and stopped at a metal gate, the woman became suspicious…[he] got out…went around to her side of the vehicle and pulled off his pants…[but when she asked for her] money, he punched her in the face…[then] pulled her outside and continued hitting her…[she got free and] crawled under the truck, grabbed ahold of the frame and held on as he tugged on her legs…[eventually she got] away…and [ran] to a nearby business screaming for help…A week [later] the property owner noticed Juarez’s pickup parked in the same [spot]…[he] found Juarez [raping] another prostitute in the front seat and called police…Juarez managed to drive away but didn’t get far…he first denied hurting the woman…but later changed his story and described how he had beaten and raped several prostitutes beginning in September.  [He claimed] he would “lose control” when the prostitutes asked him for money up front, because he viewed it as a sign of “disrespect”…Juarez is being held without bail at the Orange County Jail.

One wonders if he “loses control” when cashiers expect him to pay before taking groceries from a store, or if he just reserves his indignation for women he thinks won’t call the cops.

Real Men Support Sex Worker Rights (April 22nd, 2011)

In this January 26th essay in Reason, Jacob Sullum demonstrates his balls not only by opposing the popular campaign against Backpage and criticizing Forbes columnist Daniel Fisher (who ruined his own attack on Backpage’s critics with a mealy-mouthed anti-whore statement), but also by standing up for our rights and slamming Nicholas Kristof as one of the perpetuators of the system which exposes us to harm:

…Fisher hastens to add, “I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with trying to shut down the vigorous market for human flesh.”  Well, I am saying that, if…he means the exchange of sex for money.  It makes as much sense to ban prostitution because some prostitutes are forced…as it does to ban agriculture because farms have been known to use slaves…prohibition forces…prostitutes to work in dangerous conditions, picking up customers on the street or covertly connecting with them online, and makes it harder for them to seek legal remedies when they are cheated or abused.  These hazards, similar to those seen in black markets for drugs and gambling, are not inherent to the business of selling sex; they are inherent to the policy of using force to suppress peaceful commerce.  Since these dangers are entirely predictable, prohibitionists like Kristof should be reflecting on their role in perpetuating them, instead of making scapegoats out of businesses that run classified ads.

I strongly urge you to read the whole thing!

Full of Themselves (June 7th, 2011)

I always find it fascinating when women in professions which are only barely different from prostitution (such as stripping or domination) or historically connected to prostitution (such as acting and massage) get all holier-than-thou, proclaiming themselves ‘better’ than we are…

Would you believe…competition pole dancers trying to distance themselves from strippers?

Three Russian pole dancers…applied for visas to travel to the United States…they were told that it was best not to mention…that…[they were] in a pole dancing competition…the visa authorities decided to do some poking around…on…Facebook…[and discovered] they weren’t just tourists…their visas were…canceled…[and they] were subjected to an humiliating…grilling by three federal agents…Any other dance competition would have been above suspicion, but since it was pole dancing, they immediately [made] the stripper connection and…presumed that the competition was just window dressing for human trafficking, prostitution and illegal stripping!  This sad lack of comprehension is unfortunately still a reality and we have a long way to go before the stripper association is dislodged from people’s minds.  As of now the stereotype that people still have about pole dancing prevents them from viewing it as the legitimate art form that requires creativity and imagination and a sport that requires tremendous skill, athletic ability and great strength.

Because, you know, when a stripper does it to make a living it isn’t “legitimate” and requires no creativity, imagination, skill or athletic ability.  The writer doesn’t criticize the whole “sex workers are trafficked” nonsense; she’s only irate because the dancers were confused with “common” strippers.

Forward and Backward (November 22nd, 2011)

Remember those “prostitution-free zones” that enable Washington, DC cops to arrest people for “looking like prostitutes”, and how they’re trying to make them permanent?  Well, a coalition of civil rights advocates and transsexuals (who suffer disproportionately because cops assume they’re all drag streetwalkers) are fighting it, and the DC attorney general reluctantly agreed with them.  According to the January 24th Washington Post:

The D.C. attorney general’s office said…that the District’s temporary “prostitution-free zones” are probably unconstitutional, raising fresh doubts about a bill…that would broaden the zones and make them permanent…In [such] areas…police can make arrests for up to 24 consecutive days if two or more people congregate in public…and ignore dispersal orders…Council member Yvette Alexander…has introduced a bill that would empower police to make the zones permanent.  But [assistant AG Ariel] Waldman and Assistant Police Chief Peter New­sham expressed broad reservations about the bill…The statements…and…concerns from social service and gay rights activists, present fresh hurdles for Alexander’s efforts to combat prostitution…

When a politician says something is “probably unconstitutional”, it really means “this is so obviously unconstitutional we haven’t a snowball’s chance in Hell of slipping it past the civil libertarians without raising a huge stink.”

Legal Is as Legal Does (December 14th, 2011)

Yet another example of the dangers of legalization, in this case laws which presume hookers are so stupid we need Nanny to “protect” us from big bad pimps (unless they have a government license, of course):

A young prostitute was caught out in a covert operation called Operation Heatwave after she and three other prostitutes went to visit clients who turned out to be undercover police.  Aimee Louise Roy, 21, went to a hotel…with three other sex workers on October 23 to meet clients…[who were secretly] police and the group was arrested.  Roy was charged with knowingly participating in providing prostitution…If she was acting on her own, she wouldn’t have been in trouble.  There are two forms of legal sex work in Queensland – sole operators (private work) where a single sex worker works alone and sex work conducted in a licensed brothel…Magistrate Matthew McLaughlin noted the law was designed to catch out “pimps” and told Roy if she wanted to keep up that line of work she should do it through a licensed premises.

The story also demonstrates that pigs are pigs and will inevitably use whatever loophole the law gives them to harass and victimize whores.

The More the Better (January 9th, 2012)

The “gentrification” of Nevada brothels continues:

…a legal brothel near Reno [Nevada is]…taking the world’s oldest profession into the modern age of luxury recreation, featuring a cabaret…a fully equipped spa, and 10 deluxe suites.  “We see this as the Ritz-Carlton of brothels,” [said] Lance Gilman, co-owner of the Mustang Ranch Resort…[which] seeks to earn 40 percent of its revenue from goods and services unrelated to private time with the ladies…It costs nothing to stay at the resort [but] guests have to pay at least one of the women to accompany them around the Ranch at all times…Gilman and [his wife Susan] Austin said they were inspired by Walt Disney, who famously took his children to a shabby carnival and imagined building what would become the world’s first theme park — Disneyland.  “Most brothels are basically trailer parks in isolated places and there’s nothing to do once you get there other than have sex,” Gilman said…

This is great news; 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.  Of course,

…That’s not good news to people like Anne Bissell…[a] former prostitute…[whose self-appointed] mission is to deglamorize the…sex industry, which she believes to be full of what are not victimless crimes.  “The sex industry has hijacked so many terms, like freedom of choice…It used to be the definition of an empowered woman was a doctor or lawyer.  Now it’s a stripper or prostitute…”

This incredibly stupid statement has become very popular among prohibitionists; I wonder what looking-glass world they’re living in?  Because in this one, legally barring women from certain jobs is a restriction of choice, and the government and media paint sex workers as powerless victims.

One Year Ago Today

February Updates (Part One)” features items about a hooker accused of spreading HIV, a former madam pandering to popular prohibitionist myths and an Anglican priest fighting for strippers’ rights.

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The history of persecution is a history of endeavors to cheat nature, to make water run up hill, to twist a rope of sand.  –  Ralph Waldo Emerson

This seems to be the month for twosies, ‘cause our first selection today is an update to the same column as our last item yesterday:

Welcome To Our World (January 20th)

The Wall Street Journal isn’t exactly known for publishing neofeminist rants, but the April 23rd  issue carried this rather bizarre manifesto which demands that fraternities be banned in order to “protect” helpless, fawn-like coeds:

The Greek system is dedicated to quelling young men’s anxiety about submitting themselves to four years of sissy-pants book learning by providing them with a variety of he-man activities: drinking, drugging, ESPN watching and the sexual mistreatment of women.  A 2007 National Institute of Justice study found that about one in five women are victims of sexual assault in college; almost all of those incidents go unreported.  It also noted that fraternity men—who tend to drink more heavily and frequently than nonmembers—are more likely to perpetrate sexual assault than nonfraternity men, according to previous studies.  Over a quarter of sexual-assault victims who were incapacitated reported that the assailant was a fraternity member.  It is against this boorish cartel that 16 Yale students and recent alumni asserted themselves in a Title IX complaint brought against the institution last month—a complaint that could cost the university $500 million in federal funds.  The claim concerns both the ways that sexual assaults are handled by the university and also the effect that various fraternity “pranks” have had on its female students…If you want to improve women’s lives on campus, if you want to give them a fair shot at living and learning as freely as men, the first thing you could do is close down the fraternities.  The Yale complaint may finally do what no amount of female outrage and violation has accomplished.  It just might shut them down for good.

As is typical of such neofeminist punditry, the author indulges in the sort of slurs that, if made by a male against women, would rightfully be called “misogynistic”.  And unsurprisingly, she demands blatantly unfair treatment in the name of “fairness”.  Sex workers are, unfortunately, used to these tactics; the questionable “studies” making exaggerated claims, the steamrolling of individual rights in order to protect adult women from their own sexual choices or to keep them from getting their feelings hurt, etc.  Interestingly, Jezebel writer Margaret Hartmann recognized this garbage for what it is, and wrote an article saying so; perhaps she’ll write an anti-prohibitionist column one day.

March Miscellanea – Backlash (March 22nd)

At the end of this sub-column I wrote, “I’m sure the police were only beating women up for their own good, to save them from those evil traffickers.  Or are whores still “dangerous criminals” in South Africa as we are in Florida?  It’s hard to keep track these days.”  Well, apparently the South African police have made up their minds:  we’re dangerous criminals.  Here’s the article from the April 30th Johannesburg Times:

Investigating officers this week revealed that their inquiries could uncover the identities of more wealthy clients killed in grubby hotels and guest lodges over the past six months…The infamous strip where the bodies were found…is characterised by overcrowded and dilapidated apartment blocks and rundown guest lodges and hotels…police dockets showed that all of the victims – believed to have been poisoned by [a] syndicate [of prostitutes] – were married and either owned their own businesses or headed up relatively large firms operating in the province…The bodies of five of the victims, who had already been buried after it was presumed that they had died of natural causes, [will] be exhumed; the police [will] conduct DNA and toxicology tests and other forensic procedures on the victims; and evidence in the police’s possession has led them to believe that all six men were carrying large sums of cash at the time they were allegedly poisoned…

Apparently, the South African police believe that it’s much more convenient to blame these murder-robberies on a gang of hookers than on regular gangsters (perhaps using fake prostitutes as bait); after all, chasing after real criminals rather than unarmed women could be dangerous.

They Just Don’t Get It (April 12th)

The Keystone Kops of suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania never seem to get tired of bullying whores.  Indeed, it seems that lies and trickery aren’t enough for them any longer, so they’ve graduated to employing the same Gestapo tactics which have become so common in serving drug warrants:  namely, smashing people’s doors in without warning in the middle of the night and pointing loaded weapons at terrified children.  Here’s the April 28th story from WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh:

Police from Moon Township were surprised by what they found — a woman and her kids — when they used a search warrant in connection with a prostitution case that involves a retired Pittsburgh police detective…police were looking for evidence in the case against Talib Kevin Ghafoor when they went to an address on Collins Avenue…early Thursday morning.  “Right now, she’s got her front door and back door smashed in,” said Harvey Moore, the father of a woman who lives in that home.  Moore told Channel 4 Action News that the woman and her children — ages 15, 5 and 4 — were asleep when a team that included SWAT members and state troopers approached the building and entered through the front and rear doors.

“The Pennsylvania State Police surrounded the house, and before they could knock and announce their identity, a person up on the third floor was looking out the window, and they felt their positions were compromised, so they conducted a forced entry into the house,” Moon Township Police Chief Leo McCarthy said.  The woman’s father said the family has been living there since February and was confused and startled when police arrived.  “She claims that, about a month ago, she switched homes with Mr. Ghafoor,” McCarthy told Channel 4 Action News.  “In other words, I’ll live in your house, you live in my house.”  McCarthy said Allegheny County records led police to the home, which he said is still registered to Ghafoor and has not been sold to the woman.  He said Ghafoor still had some of his belongings inside, which were seized…

You haven’t heard the best part yet; Ghafoor was arrested over a month ago and is scheduled for a hearing this week, so they could easily have served him with a warrant at that time at no taxpayer cost and with no danger to bystanders.  Of course, that wouldn’t have allowed them to play sadistic cops-and-robbers games with automatic weapons.  Still, the question remains…who did these buffoons expect to find in the house that led them to believe they would need a SWAT team?  An elite team of armed assault strumpets, perhaps?  I wonder if Pittsburgh area cops have been communicating with those from Johannesburg?

Real Men Support Sex Worker Rights (April 22nd)

“Deep Geek” produces a semi-regular podcast called “Talk Geek To Me” in which he often advocates for unpopular causes (including sex worker rights) and sometimes even reads my column aloud.  This week, his podcast consists of a 25.5 minute editorial touching on such subjects as the assassination of Osama bin Laden, the two-party system, socialism and sex worker rights.  He asked me to call attention to it and I’m happy to do so.

Whores In the News – Escorts.com Raided by FBI (October 29th)

Since the FBI raid in October the fortunes of Escorts.com have steadily declined; many clients and escorts abandoned their accounts immediately and many others continued to use them, but much more warily.  Before the end of last year girls started complaining about a plethora of fake reviews (obviously posted by pigs trying to establish themselves as “hobbyists”), then a couple of months after that the site deleted reviews altogether.  Finally, I just heard at about 9 AM today that the site will be closing as of May 31st.  My theory is that the management was forced to cooperate with the disease infesting it, but found legal loopholes so as to prevent their being used to trick their customers.  First they shut down ALL reviews in order to stop fake ones, then closed entirely to prevent the placing of entrapment ads (such as you’ll see mentioned in my May 10th column).  One final attempt at trickery:  A notice in red on the notice page states, “You must provide us with your full name and mailing address if you want a refund check.”  Please, ladies, don’t be stupid; if you provide that information your check will come with a free visit from the local constabulary, either immediately or after they use you as a Judas goat for the next few months.

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Men who don’t like girls with brains don’t like girls.  –  Mignon McLaughlin

Last Saturday (April 16th) we talked about Demi Moore’s ridiculous and insulting new campaign to convince people that “real men” don’t hire prostitutes (whom she of course equates with “trafficked child sex slaves”).  So it would follow that in Moore’s mind, “real men” don’t support women’s right to do what we like with our own bodies, which frankly sounds like some kind of retro male-chauvinist propaganda to me.  I’ve got news for you, Demi; all heterosexual men buy sex, including your boy-toy.  Some actually pay cash, others pay for it in varying concrete or abstract ways, but they ALL pay and you very well know it unless you’re a lot stupider than I thought you were.  Only weak, pathetic little bullies need to try to restrict women’s sexual choices in order to feel like “real men”, but truly real men (the kind without scare quotes) aren’t threatened by sexually aware women; they are secure enough in their masculinity to recognize women have the right to control our own bodies and to decide whom we want to bestow our favors upon and for what reason.  In short, only insecure sissies want to suppress women’s right to sexual self-determination; real men support the right of women to make our own sexual choices, including the decision to engage in sex work if we are so inclined.

In the current climate of misandrist hysteria, every man is considered a potential rapist, child molester or “sex trafficker”, so it’s not surprising when spineless men line up to be counted among the ranks of the politically correct whore-bashers.  It’s one thing for a woman to support sex worker rights because we’re not under a permanent cloud of suspicion, but these days it takes some serious balls for a man to stand up, demand rights for sex workers, and actually sign his real name to the thing.  So whenever I find such an essay online I like to call attention to it because such men deserve our thanks; I found one such, written by Newsday editor Daniel Akst, in the Boston Herald of April 14th, and I’ve reproduced it here in its entirety because I feel I have no right to cut it:

Remember Chandra Levy?  How about Natalee Holloway?  Nothing is more effective at triggering a media frenzy than the disappearance of an attractive young white woman.  That’s what happened when Levy, a Washington intern, vanished in 2001 and Holloway disappeared in Aruba four years later.  Sadly, things are different when the woman has accepted money for sex.  Police have so far found the bodies of four young white women, all prostitutes, in scrubby dunes on the beaches of New York’s Long Island (five and possibly six more sets of remains are unidentified).  The women had been missing for months or even years.

It’s hard to see what change in law might save someone from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  But some of the Gilgo Beach deaths might well have been averted if we could just get over the idea that laws against prostitution make the world a better place for women.  Prostitution is distasteful to many people, of course, but that is no justification for laws against it, since on that basis Brussels sprouts and loud neckties might also be banned.  The difference is that prostitution is supposedly harmful, and so the government bars people from trading sex for money.  Yet the worst thing about prostitution is the risk of violence and abuse to which prostitutes are subjected by the very laws that drive the trade underground.  In our eagerness to legislate virtue, we are endangering the lives of women.

It’s been said that prostitution degrades women.  But it’s even more degrading to suggest women need society to make such choices for them — or to force prostitution into the shadows, where women are excluded from the protection of the law and subject to exploitation.  Many people take the illegality of prostitution for granted, but the United States (aside from Nevada) is one of the few Western nations that make it a crime.  And selling sex for money is safer in a regulated setting, as reported by women in legal brothels — in Nevada, the Netherlands and Australia — that have screening, surveillance and alarm systems.  “Sex workers can be victimized anywhere,” says Ronald Weitzer, a George Washington University sociologist who has studied the subject, “but in general they are less vulnerable where their work has been decriminalized and where they no longer operate in a clandestine manner.”

It’s too late for the women found in the dunes.  But their deaths can inspire us to save others by decriminalizing what they did for money, no matter how much we may disapprove of it.

Mr. Akst’s central argument that prohibitionist laws create most of our danger is one that sex worker rights advocates constantly make, and his point that patronizing laws are far more degrading than prostitution could ever be should seem very familiar to regular readers of this blog.  I experienced such a wonderful feeling on reading this editorial that, were Mr. Akst’s office within easy driving distance, I would have hastened there and given him a big kiss (a sisterly one, Mrs. Akst; I promise!) But since he’s half a continent away I settled for just sending him a thank-you email.  Maybe that’s something we should all do; whenever you see an article which supports decriminalization like this one does, take the time to locate the email address of its author and send him a short, sincere “thank you”.  Since we know damned well that our enemies will be hurling vitriol at such authors for daring to support whores’ rights, I think they would like to know that we’re out there reading as well and appreciate someone having the courage to speak up on our behalf.

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