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Posts Tagged ‘Skin To Skin’

Morality cannot be determined by genitals.  –  Masruchah

Here We Go Again

“The Inside of the White Slave Traffic”, from 1913.  Enjoy, and marvel at how little the “sex trafficking” narrative has changed in a century.

Terminology

Here’s a glossary of the many types of sex workers in 1920s Berlin, including streetwalking dominatrices with extremely specific specializations:

The very first thing foreigners noticed in Berlin was its thousands of prostitutes, on the streets, in hotel lobbies, and seated at cafés and clubs.  How many women made their living selling sex in Berlin during the Golden Twenties is impossible to calculate, but estimates range from a low of 5,000 to the oft-published figure of 120,000 (not including the city’s estimated 35,000 male prostitutes).  It all depended on one’s definition of the term…Altogether there were seventeen distinct varieties…

License to Rape

A New Orleans police officer who was…booked with forcible rape was indicted…on additional sex crimes…Desmond Pratt Sr., a longtime homicide detective, was indicted on one count of sexual battery of a 15-year-old in 2001 and one count of carnal knowledge of a juvenile in 1997 or 1998…

Acting and Activism

Rape for ProfitHere’s actress Jada Pinkett Smith’s entry into the clueless celebrity division of “sex trafficking” fandom:  “Rape for Profit”, a “documentary” based on the premise that “there is a growing problem in major U.S. cities where girls as young as 12 years old are bought and sold as many as 15 times a night to service the desires of men.  Experience the shocking truth and follow several heroes as they fight this modern-day slavery and stop the next generation of buyers…” Yes, this was released in 2013, not 1913; I know it’s hard to tell.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

You’ve got to admire his chutzpah:

The…mayor [of Salvador Mazza, Argentina]…Carlos Villalba…was arrested…during a raid on a brothel as part of a case investigating human trafficking…[protestors] demanding that the mayor resign…threw eggs at the building where the town officials were meeting, and even traded blows with a group of municipal employees…the mayor said he believed he was at a family home…not in a brothel…

Lack of Evidence (April Updates)

A plan by the Education Agency of Prabumulih, South Sumatra, to include virginity tests as part of its high school admission requirements has drawn the ire of legislators and education experts, who say that such an exam is a violation of personal space and an obstruction to a student’s right to an education.  H.M. Rasyid, the chief of Prabumulih’s Education Agency…[said] increasing instances of premarital sex and prostitution among female students prompted the move…

Public Service Announcement

Michael Brooks sextingKansas City FBI agents have scrutinized allegations that an online relationship led to Councilman Michael Brooks being blackmailed into getting city tax dollars for a community event that never occurred…Brooks is a married father of four and a Baptist minister…[who] went to the FBI to report…[that a] woman he was involved with tried to extort $60,000 from him…[after] they…exchanged lurid pictures…

Nasty Words

Regular readers know that I dislike grotesque euphemisms for genitalia and sex acts, but love the history of language; apparently the latter is stronger than the former, because I thought y’all might appreciate these two charts of slang terms for both male and female genitalia over the past 800 years.  The Timeglider platform takes a bit of getting used to, but I figured it out in a few minutes so I’m sure you can as well.

Big Sister

Emasculated Icelandic journalist is absolutely shocked to discover that prohibition of consensual behavior doesn’t work any better in Iceland than it does anywhere else; he goes to a “champagne club” and pays for a stripper, then when he leaves claims to have been “flooded with a range of emotions from disgust, anger and shame, but they settle at simply feeling sullied.”  Retired call girl and blogger tells him that he isn’t fooling anyone but his neofeminist overlords, and maybe not even them.

Girls, Girls, Girls!

San Francisco’s celebrated, unionized and worker-owned peep show the Lusty Lady will close its doors…on September 2nd…due to a lease dispute…the group had negotiated a lower rent…months ago.  A new lease was signed and notarized by the co-op but not immediately returned by the landlord.  After a few months paying the lower rent, the landlord apparently reneged and went back to the higher rent, which the club didn’t have room for in their budget.  The landlord put off new negotiations until [August 19th, then]…notified [them that] they had to be out…[in] two weeks…”if someone out there has a miracle up their butt” they are encouraged to reach out to the Lusties at LustyLadyPR@gmail.com

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #11)German sex box

Zurich…unveiled a sex drive-in which local authorities say will enable them to keep closer tabs on prostitution…the nine so-called “sex boxes” are located in a former industrial zone…[and] will be open daily from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am, and only to drivers, who must be alone in their vehicle if they want to pass the gate…they will have to follow a marked route along which up to 40 prostitutes will be stationed.  Once they have negotiated a rate, they will drive to one of the…boxes…[which] will be equipped with alarms, allowing the prostitutes to make rapid contact with police if they are in danger…Zurich has spared no effort to encourage the prostitutes and their clients to leave the city centre and use the new site, making it as pleasant as possible…To avoid putting off clients, city authorities said they had no plans to install video surveillance or deploy police at the site permanently.  Social workers and security guards will be on hand, however…

Older press releases say most local hookers support the plan; as Laura Agustín points out, however, any attempt at regulation creates some bottleneck:

…whenever this sort of plan arises…numerous street workers simply refuse to transfer their activities to the regulated zones, which are always far away from bustling areas if not in downright deserted ones.  Instead, they move into some other commercial/residential neighbourhood, where the cycle begins again…

An Example To the West (TW3 #39)

over…100…teenage boys…whose mothers are [sex workers]…will be part of 14 [soccer] teams [in Kolkata]…the winners of the tournament, organised by DMSC, will receive soccer-related gear.  Surojit Bhattacharya and Bishwajit Nandi, two children of sex workers left August 2 for Poznan, Poland to represent India in the Homeless World Cup that began August 10…

So Close and Yet So Far

I don’t know if anyone at the American Jewish World Service read my critique of Ruth Messinger’s statements about sex work and “trafficking”, but they’ve prepared a splendid document called “Sex Worker Rights: (Almost) Everything You Wanted To Know But Were Afraid To Ask”, in which neither I nor several other activists could find a single fault (and believe me, we were looking).  Bravo, AJWS; welcome to the ranks of true allies!

Backwards Into the Future (TW3 #41)

Malawian lawyers recognize “avails” laws as relics of the “white slavery” hysteria; why can’t American ones get that?

…no provision in the Malawi Penal Code criminalises the selling of sexual services…yet…some police officers in Malawi appear to be operating under the assumption that sex work is illegal…based on an interpretation of [a] section…which prohibits a woman from living on the earnings of prostitution…The [law]…can be traced back to 1912…[and] unsubstantiated allegations of women being trafficked to colonies for the purpose of prostitution…

Tyranny By Consensus (TW3 #51)condoms

There has been a development in the porn industry’s lawsuit to overturn the Los Angeles “condoms in porn” law:

…Judge Pregerson has decided that condoms in porn do not violate the First Amendment…[but] much of Measure B does violate the Constitution…he has…[removed] the County’s ability to [charge a fee for,] suspend or revoke [a filming] permit…[or] conduct warrantless searches of producers…a fine or criminal penalties could not be imposed without a judicial hearing.  The Court also…[found] that Measure B does not define adult films sufficiently since…activities such as kissing…could possibly transmit disease…

Skin To Skin

Tauriq Moosa on sex workers and the disabled:

…sex workers’ services shouldn’t only be recognised in the light of people with disabilities, but people with, say, psychological hangups, and so on…This doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with people who choose sex workers because they “can’t get” anyone without paying for it – just as people don’t “resort” to online dating…seeking out sex workers is nothing to be ashamed of; it’s not wrong, or indicative of being a failure, deviant or a slightly off human being. However we find fulfilment, as long as we are not harming others, shouldn’t be an issue and we should celebrate that there are people, like sex workers, helping and facilitating this…

The End of the Beginning

The North Carolina law banning registered sex offenders from commercial social networking sites…that children can use is unconstitutional because it’s vague and violates free speech, the state Court of Appeals ruled…unanimously in vacating the additional felony conviction of a registered offender…[who] created a profile…on Facebook…

A War for Peace (TW3 #321)Amina doesn't need dimocracy

First she had no last name, then we were told it was “Tyler”; now as the Topless Tunisian announces she’s leaving Femen, I think we’re at last getting the real one:

Amina Sboui…was arrested in Kairouan [on] May 19…after she tagged the word FEMEN on the wall of a cemetery.  The group then held several protests to support her…but now that she’s been released after more than two months in prison, Amina has decided to leave FEMEN, calling it “Islamophobic”…[she also said] “I do not know the movement’s sources of funding.  I repeatedly asked Inna [Shevchenko]…but she refused to give clear answers…What if it was Israel that funded it?”…

Ad Absurdum

I find the repeated usage of the word “victim” herein to be especially grating:

Kaitlyn Hunt…was arrested again…Under the conditions of a pretrial court order, Hunt was forbidden from contacting the victim…[and] was offered a plea deal to lesser, nonsexual charges…[but] the state attorney’s office withdrew that offer…following allegations that Hunt repeatedly met with the victim and sent sexually explicit photos via the Internet…

More Harm Than Good

Given that Sam Woolfe believes that sex workers are dominated by “pimps, drug dealers and traffickers”, that we’re diseased and too stupid to care for our own health, that our work is “degrading”, and that legalization increases “sex trafficking”, one has to wonder what the “legalization” he advocates would look like.  And given that he apparently had the time and inclination to fill his head with bogus studies and made-up statistics, one is at a total loss to understand why he wasn’t able to locate the readily-available debunking of the garbage he spouts in this asinine article, or to simply consult with someone who actually knows something about the subject before writing it.

Cuckoo Advertising
Ashley Madison 36 hours of bullshit

Ashley Madison is at it again, and the credulous media are still swallowing their ads as “press releases”.  This time it’s ABC-TV’s Good Morning America show, opening wide for the claim that the average woman who joins the site is in bed with some “lucky” dude about 36 hours after joining; hiding in that comparatively-minor assertion’s shadow is the whopper that 40% of the site’s members are female (though in all fairness, we don’t know how Ashley Madison defines the words “member” and “female”).

But Brandon Wade of Seeking Arrangement is not to be outdone; he wrote a “press release” touting the claim that 40,000 of the aspiring sugar babies on his site are teachers, and got the Daily Caller to buy it…thus plugging into the teacher fantasies of many a would-be sugar daddy, of whom there are undoubtedly more than a few among the Caller’s readers.

Zurvivor (TW3 #334)

Alexis Wright…doesn’t have to answer questions from prosecutors at the trial of alleged client…Donald Hill…Justice Roland Cole ruled Wright didn’t have to testify after her attorney argued her testimony could open her up to prosecution on new charges, including federal crimes and perjury…

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We only have so many criminal justice dollars, and we need to apply them…toward the areas where we’re afraid of the perpetrators…We’re not afraid of prostitutes. We’re just mad at them.  –  John Whitmire

R.I.P. Virginia Johnson

Virginia JohnsonThe female half of Masters and Johnson, the pioneering sex researchers, has died at the age of 88 (Dr. Masters died in 2001).  Though she never got a degree, Johnson’s intelligence, insight and willingness to speak candidly about the female sexual experience allowed the duo to accomplish what Masters’ academic credentials alone could never have: a thorough exploration of the sexual responses of both men and women, with a strong emphasis on direct measurement rather than the omnipresent questionnaires of most latter-day sex research.  Johnson’s importance to sexology cannot be overstated; it is not an exaggeration to say that modern women, in large part, are indebted to her for their current ability to openly discuss sex and sexual needs.

Bad Girls

How much of this story about the “Starlet Bandits” (a gang of hookers turned bank robbers) is true, and how much a combination of moral panic, journalistic exaggeration and Tarantinoesque tale-telling from a pimp who wanted to be a star?  There’s no way to tell, but I won’t be at all surprised to see it presented as a movie in about seven years.

Reading Between the Lines

Yet another “Operation Cross-Country” has resulted in the persecution of many hundreds of American sex workers.  The FBI is crowing that it “rescued 105 child sex-trafficking victims” and arrested “150 pimps”, but in reality the young women claimed to be “rescued” were also arrested, as demonstrated by this video released by the FBI itself.  As in the last couple of raids, officials are hiding the number of adult hookers busted in this vast boondoggle; however, if the proportions are the same as in the last case for which full figures are available, there were almost 1200 of them.  Even the identities of the so-called “pimps” (most likely male sex workers, drivers, etc) and “rescued children” (some of whom might actually be the children of the arrested women) are in question because the FBI plays fast and loose with the facts.  Consider that in the initial press release it was claimed that the youngest “victim” was 9 and another was so happy to be “rescued” she consented to an interview; later it came out that the youngest was 13 and the interviewee was actually an informant who has been working with them for years.  I suggest you judge the veracity of the other claims by that measure.

Real People

Cathryn Berarovich, a sex worker who writes a column for The Gloss, interviews a streetwalker who has recently gone indoors via online advertising.  Not only is the interview itself quite interesting, so is the story of how Cathryn met her.Tizzy Wall

What the Hell Were You Thinking?

Tizzy Wall (one of my pals from the Desiree conference) recently published “Safety Tips from Sex Workers”, in which she teaches amateurs how to use some of our screening tricks to keep safe:

Although meeting someone at a bar is not necessarily any safer, removing the ability to judge someone’s mannerisms and demeanor can understandably make the less tech-savvy nervous.  Who knows if that hottie on Grindr is going to turn out to be scary?  Even common dating sites like OkCupid host their fair share of creeps who can put the bravest of romance-seekers on high alert…Thankfully, the web offers a bevy of nifty little options that allow us to vet someone before a face-to-face meeting.  You may not be able to screen just like a sex worker, but you can still get some use out of their tools.  This may be the one (and only) time you find a sex worker giving tips rather than collecting them, so take note of these hard-earned harm-preventative measures that anyone can use…

Peeping Toms

…In…at least a dozen cases since 2011…[the Baton Rouge] Sheriff’s Office…used [Louisiana’s anti-sodomy law, which was struck down by Lawrence vs. Texas a decade ago]…to ensnare men who merely discussed or agreed to have consensual sex with an undercover agent…District Attorney Hillar Moore III said his office refused to prosecute…the cases…a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman…denied that investigators had been misapplying the…law [because it] remains among the state’s criminal statutes…Peter Renn, an attorney with Lambda Legal…said the pattern…suggests authorities are using the stings as a means to harass gay men…“This is basically like the police putting up a sign that says ‘Please sue me’”…

The Mote and the Beam

You know that quote that says insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results?

Kirkland police served a search warrant against the infamous online ad company backpage.com, seeking information about its alleged promotion of prostitution…at the Motel 6 in north Kirkland…State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced…he and 49 attorneys general are asking Congress to give them the power to fight online ads promoting prostitution…

Say, Bob, how’d it turn out last time y’all tried that?  Oh, yeah, the State of Washington admitted it knew trying to hold websites responsible for third-party content was unconstitutional.  But hey, the $200,000 the judge made y’all pay Backpage didn’t come out of your pocket, so it’s no big deal to you, right?

Law of the Instrument (TW3 #25)

Another case of “human trafficking” meaning whatever the “authorities” want it to mean:  “Two men who were arrested…in connection to a large marijuana growing operation are now facing human trafficking charges…the pair brought a 15-year-old runaway girl from Southern California to their grow location [and] sexually assaulted her…”  She was not forced to work in any way; in other words, this is a case of abduction and rape.  Remember this next time you see “trafficking” statistics.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (TW3 #35)

Spongebob upsetMorality in Media’s campaign to get men’s magazines banned from military property has failed, sort of.  While the Department of Defense stated categorically that “the department’s Resale Activities Board of Review previously…concluded those magazines do not meet the definition of sexually explicit material under the [Military Honor and Decency Act of 1996], and are permissible for sale”.  However, Army and Air Force Exchange stores have announced they will no longer sell them:

…the decision…was not based on morality, but merely because the magazines were not selling, as people now get their pornography online…AAFES said it was permanently removing 891 magazines from its stock, including SpongeBob Comics and the Home Buyers Guide…to…create 33% more space in the stores to sell items such as DVDs and video games…

There is no word on whether the separately-run Naval Exchange stores are planning to do the same; SpongeBob was not available for comment.

King of the Hill

Cleveland obviously couldn’t stand Toledo claiming to be the biggest “sex trafficking hub” in the region:  “Ohio is a major pipeline for human trafficking, taking young, lost girls and turning them into sex slaves…the average age is now 12 for entry into this dark world…”  I just love the expression “turning them into sex slaves”; it sounds so science fictional.

Down Under (TW3 #40)

The predictable result of the years-long “crackdown” on street work in St. Kilda:

Members of the Victorian sex industry are calling on the state government to decriminalise street-based sex work after the death of a woman in St Kilda…Tracy Connelly, a 40-year-old sex worker known professionally as Kelly, was murdered in daylight…on July 21…Police said she had severe face and upper-body injuries and had suffered a “horrific” death…Janelle Fawkes…of…Scarlett [sic] Alliance, said by decriminalising street-based sex work, workers would look to police as protector rather than prosecutor, and thus feel safe to speak out when threatened or assaulted…

Follow Your Bliss (TW3 #44)Larry Kobielnik

As previously explained, “The TSA attracts criminals and those with personality disorders that exaggerate control and sociopathic tendencies…”:

A former [Florida] police officer kidnapped a woman at gunpoint and raped her while he held her captive for several hours…Larry Kobielnik, 37…an officer with the [TSA] for 11 years…offered the 30-year-old a ride…then pulled out a handgun and a police badge, placed the woman in handcuffs and told her she was under arrest…[he then] drove her…to a house…where he raped her…he [eventually] fell asleep, allowing her to escape and record his car’s license plate number…

The Public Eye (TW3 #49)

Here’s an interview with Kristen DiAngelo about her film, American Courtesans; it was screened at Desiree, but for some reason it was scheduled last in the evening (after two other movies I didn’t want to see), so I was not able to attend.  The interview doesn’t cover any new ground for readers of this blog, but note the venue (MSN) and the positive attitude of the interviewer.  Given some previous pro-decriminalization stuff from the Gates Foundation, perhaps Microsoft may eventually develop into a real ally.

Skin To Skin

Since prostitution is already legal in Spain, I’m guessing this campaign wants to ensure that no ridiculous “pimping” laws can be used to harass organizations which connect sex workers with disabled clients:

A Catalan organization which helps provide disabled people with sexual relations is pushing for “disability” prostitutes to become legal in Spain…Jaume Girbau…is…the engine behind Sex Asistent Catalunya…[which] wants the…government to…make sexual assistants legal as they already are in many countries across Europe, including Germany, Switzerland, Holland and Denmark.  Some of these countries pay for the services with public funds…The group is already putting together the teaching material with the aim of offering those interested inEscape from the White Savior Industrial Complex professional training a…university degree…

FarmVille (TW3 #138)

Escape from the White-Savior Industrial Complex”  is a simple parody of Nicholas Kristof’s Half the Sky FaceBook game, designed and programmed by a recovering Kristof groupie.  Can you help Radhika escape “rescue”?

Coming and Going (TW3 #311)

You know that Texas “diversion” program that’s supposed to be so bloody wonderful?  One of things it does is teaches the women to blame themselves for the state’s criminalization of consensual behavior.

Dutch Threat

Amsterdam city council can continue with its policy of reducing the number of brothel owners in its red light district, the government’s highest advisory body…said…The city council began cleaning up the red light district in 2008 and has now introduced new zoning laws which make it possible to evict brothel owners who are uncooperative.  The aim is to reclaim one of the oldest and most picturesque parts of the city by encouraging exclusive shops to open there…62 red light windows will have to close…

Credit Where Credit is DuePat Robertson

Pat Robertson seems to be slowly going sane:

…Pat Robertson said on his show…that he believes transgender people are real, and that there’s “no sin” associated with that.  While Robertson’s entire comment isn’t perfect, it’s still surprisingly positive… “There are men who are in a woman’s body… it’s very rare but it’s true, or women that are in men’s bodies, and they want a sex change…I don’t think there’s any sin associated with that.  I don’t condemn somebody for doing that.”

An Example to the West (TW3 #316)

Nicaraguan sex workers have…set up an office to assist in protection from abuse, violence and discrimination…Prostitution is illegal in Nicaragua but authorities often turn a blind eye to it…Retrasex is part of a Latin American and Caribbean network of 1,000 affiliates…[which] is fighting to change the vocabulary used by media and official institutions to…the term “sex workers.”  The organization also seeks to influence social, health and education policy, as well as push for rights…

Celebrity

Steph Wilcock, another of my friends from Desiree, has unveiled her “Sex Workers Speakeasy” project, “the aim of [which] is to allow current and former sex workers a platform from which to express our experiences of working in an industry besieged by blame, discrimination, prejudice, and stigma.”  It will consist of very short videos like the one at this link, which Steph made of me just before we went to the after-party on Thursday night; if you’re a sex worker who’d like to participate, Steph explains how following the video.

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Be the sort of victim people want, swallow the crap about not really choosing sex work, tell a few stories about bad clients and pray with the fervor of a convert at the altar of end demand and all the support you want is there, on their terms.  –  Jemima

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine

Petite JasmineA Swedish sex worker rights activist was stabbed to death by her ex-husband on Thursday.  Swedish “feminists” pretend to care so very much for sex workers that they’re willing to destroy our lives to “save” us from imaginary “degradation”; selling sex is not illegal, but if a sex worker dares to speak openly about her choice she will be punished in many ways other than imprisonment, such as by expulsion, eviction, police harassment and more:

Several years ago she lost custody of her children as she was considered to be an unfit parent due to being a sex worker.  The children were placed with their father regardless of him being abusive towards Jasmine.  They told her she didn’t know what was good for her and that she was “romantisizing” prostitution, they said she lacked insight and didn’t realise sex work was a form of self-harm.  He threatened and stalked her on numerous occasions, she was never offered any protection…

Activist Jemima pointed out that “Jasmine could have been listened too, could have had custody of her kids, could have been flying off to international conferences and doing TV shows, instead of being prepared for burial, all she had to do was lie…be good little puppets who trot out the party line like defendants at a Stalin era Russian show trial and then the doors of rape crisis centers, domestic refuges and conferences open wide to you…

Third Party

Another refutation of the myth that the presence of a camera magically protects sex workers from arrest:  “Phoenix police arrested seven people at…a self-serve porn studio allegedly used to front a prostitution business…William James Hartwell…and six women were arrested during a raid on the studio…[after] a six-month investigation…

Another Example of Swedish “Feminism”

This was a real banner week for Swedish “feminists”; besides enabling the murder of a sex worker, we also got this:

A professor in law at Stockholm University has called for legislation prohibiting parents from drinking alcohol in the company of their children.  “It is a parent’s responsibility to be sober when they are with their children,” said Professor Madeleine Leijonhufvud…She compared the offence to minor assault which…carries a penalty of up to six months imprisonment.  While the proposal is aimed at “everyday drunkenness” it in effect suggests that parents would not be able to share a glass of wine at dinner.  “If you have a sick child and need to drive them to hospital then you can’t drink wine”…

Perhaps Sweden should just confiscate all children at birth and raise them in crèches?  But then, of course, people would stop having them.  And the feminists want even criticism of their tyrannical insanity to be criminal: “the Nordic Council of Ministers…[suggested]…the government…take action against…‘anti-feminist attitudes’…expressed in public…Heavy Hand of Justice by Kevin Moore

Saving Them From Themselves

A 15-year-old Florida girl was arrested…for shooting and possessing a photo of another teen girl engaged in oral sex with a teen boy…She was charged with a felony child porn count.  “The two girls were friends, and one of them was dating the guy,” Detective William Lindsey [said]…”Possession of child pornography is [a crime] no matter what age they are… If she had taken a picture of herself in sexual conduct, she could be charged with child pornography”…

Wholesale Hypocrisy (TW3 #25)

The rather dull-witted and credulous Bonnie Erbe seems to genuinely believe in mathematically and sociologically impossible nonsense, but more shocking is her support for censorship despite her pretense of being a journalist:

…The Internet…provides an almost unfettered platform for…pimps to find, track and enslave girls and women in sex trafficking…local and federal authorities seem powerless to ban the sale of commercial sex online.  Nor do they seem able to keep up with and control the horrendous amount of trafficking the Internet generates…experts point mainly to laws that predate the Internet and define places where criminal commercial sex acts take places as “houses of prostitution” or “brothels.”  Today, no such places exist.  Pimps — mainly men — find customers online and direct them to meet prostitutes, who work out of different motels or apartments or sometimes even their own homes…[in] a New Mexico case…two men…were [cleared of] running “an extensive multistate, online prostitution ring”…after a judge ruled that…their website did not constitute a house of prostitution, though it was used to recruit prostitutes and promote prostitution…It would seem easy to amend anti-prostitution laws to include a ban on websites for procuring commercial sex…

Because when governments ban things, they magically vanish!

Shift in the Wind

Those who were surprised at seeing an anti-criminalization article in The National Review must not remember that A) many “conservatives” at least claim to be for smaller government, and B) the magazine’s founder, William F. Buckley, was a vocal opponent of drug criminalization.

…the proscription of prostitution…continues to be a mystery to me.  Sex remains one of the few things that a free person may give away gratis but which he is forbidden from selling.  It is perfectly legal to sleep around in the United States — subsidized and panegyrized, even — and, as the growing parade of octogenarian billionaires’ wives demonstrates, it is both permissible and socially acceptable to sleep with someone in pursuit of regular material comfort…While the laws surrounding the issue remain such a dizzy and irrational mess, drawing a clear moral line through the morass remains nigh on impossible…To broach this topic in polite company is to invite someone…to parrot the banal old line that “nobody grows up wanting to be a prostitute.”  At best, this is a red herring.  Certainly, few people grow up wishing to be prostitutes.  But there are an awful lot of careers that escape the dreams of children…It is no accident that prostitution, which was almost uniformly legal in the United States from the period of colonization up until the start of the 20th century, was banned in almost every state within the same five-year period during which the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union managed to convince the nation that alcohol should be constitutionally outlawed…

Of course the comments are full of Puritans and trafficking fetishists, but there are a surprising number of truth-tellers there as well.Eliot Spitzer

Legitimate Outrage

Eliot Spitzer said he hopes he has changed since he was caught in a prostitution scandal that led to his resignation, as he attempts to revive his political career with a run for New York City comptroller.  “I think the public will have to ask itself the question, ‘can we forgive him?’  I’ve asked for the forgiveness, I hope the public says ‘yes,’ based upon the record I have, based upon qualities I can bring to the office,” Spitzer told reporters…

Politicians are usually forgiven; those whose lives they destroy, not so much.

The Naked Anthropologist

Though New Scientist published only a very small part of what Dr. Laura Agustín says was a much, much longer interview, it’s still good to see mainstream magazines presenting her views and debunking the “sex trafficking” hysteria and anti-whore tyranny.

Unclean Situation

You know how the Magdalene Laundry orders (through their modern front, Ruhama) like to pretend that sex work is “human trafficking”

Despite being funded by the HSE annually, including over €126,000 last year, St Patrick’s Guild informed the Adoption Authority last week that it no longer has the resources to staff the organisation.  The agency, run by the Religious Sisters of Charity, had been accredited by the Adoption Authority to assist adopted people and natural parents through tracing, counselling and mediating…Between 1947 and 1967, St Patrick’s Guild…arranged for the export of 572 “illegitimate” children from Ireland to the US for adoption…Despite the agency’s admitted involvement in facilitating illegal adoptions, the Adoption Authority again reiterated its stance that it will not inspect the files to ascertain the extent of the agency’s involvement in such activity…

In other words, the nuns abducted children from their Irish mothers and sold them to Americans; if that’s not “human trafficking”, I don’t know what is.Laetitia Rebord

Skin To Skin (TW3 #313)

The New York Times seems unable to write about sex work without dysphemisms like “so-called”:

…in France…disabled people struggle to have a sex life.  But their desires are often disregarded, and while prostitution is legal here, soliciting potential clients and serving as an intermediary between prostitutes and clients are not.  The issue of sexual surrogates came up in March, after the National Ethics Committee…issued a report criticizing the practice as the “unethical use of the human body for commercial purposes”…but…some legislators and associations of disabled people are demanding the legalization of sexual surrogates.  “Prostitution is a fake debate; the goals are different,” said Pascale Ribes…[of] the Disabilities and Sexualities Group, an association defending sexual surrogates in France.  “Sexual assistance is about allowing a disabled person who can’t access sexuality in a satisfying way to reconnect with the body”…

Advice to disabilities advocates: foolish reinforcement of whorearchy is not the way to go about winning your right to employ sex workers.

Flush Criminalization

More sophomoric “humor” from New York “authorities” working assiduously to destroy as many people’s lives as possible:

Police shut down…12 massage parlors…for alleged prostitution…arresting owners, managers and workers.  The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office is investigating whether workers were “victims of human trafficking, being manipulated or held against their will”…and whether a central organization was controlling…the operations.  According to DA Charles Hynes, all of the women…gave very similar stories about having children in Asia they needed to support.  NYPD Commissioner was typically…tone-deaf in his assessment of the case.  “We know people in Bay Ridge have back pain…but we don’t think that’s enough to sustain 19 massage parlors”…

That the DA seems to perceive the fantasy of a huge “sex trafficking” conspiracy as more credible than the simple fact that most sex workers have children to support, speaks volumes about his warped view of humanity.

Still a Child

This is no more ridiculous than defining a minimum age above that of majority for any other legal activity, such as drinking or sex work:  “Somalia…has set the minimum age at 40 for anyone intending to practice as a journalist in the country…

True Colors (TW3 #327)

Authorities in southern China have left…Ye Haiyan…homeless…Guangdong security agents abandoned her on the side of the road with her boyfriend…and 14-year-old daughter…”Zhongshan does not welcome you; Guangzhou does not welcome you either. I will break your legs if I ever see you again in Zhongshan,” one of the security agents said…

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Feminism still feels like someone rescuing me from the patriarchy so that I may be told what to do by “sisters” who need to get their opinions out of my knickers.  –  Sarah Woolley

Lack of Evidence

The Fourth District Court of Appeal…deemed West Palm Beach’s “loitering with intent to commit prostitution” ordinance unconstitutional…[because it was] “overbroad and vague”   It… cited a 1993 Florida Supreme Court ruling [striking down]…a similar law [in Tampa for discriminating]…against previously convicted prostitutes.  [The earlier decision stated that]…“All Florida citizens enjoy the inherent right to window shop, saunter down a sidewalk, and wave to friends and passerby with no fear of arrest”…

Meanwhile, in California, “Two women suspected of loitering with the intent to commit prostitution were arrested at a Burbank hotel…after officers reportedly discovered incriminating text messages, condoms and oils in their possession…

Check Your Premises

…Baltimore City police officer [Lamin Manneh]…and his…wife [Marissa Braun were]…charged with human trafficking…19-year-old [Braun was caught in a sting]…and…investigators charged the pair with human trafficking because Braun looked so young…”  You read that correctly; she’s been charged with “trafficking” herself.RedTraSex street art

Feminine Pragmatism

Justice minister Francisco Dominguez’s warning…that…men…who seek [paid] sex…will be…[prosecuted] has roiled [Dominican] workers… “There are customers who’ve called us to tell us that they won’t come”…said Carla Matos…who…said she had to become a prostitute…to raise her children…”What we’ll have to do in a couple of days will be to go out and rob and kill people, because imagine, we can’t do nothing else.  I will not let my children starve,” [Jennifer] Paniagua said.

The Prudish Giant

From the “progressive” Huffington Post:

Not only is “prostitution” a tagged skill you can select on LinkedIn, there are actually escorts who advertise their services [there]…[but] LinkedIn…now explicitly bans escorts from using the site…The new user agreement states that you must not:  “Create profiles or provide content that promotes escort services or prostitution” even if [they are] legal where you live…Not only can you list “prostitution” as a skill, you can list a whole lot of other unsavory skills like “rape,” “shoplifting,” “gangs,” “manslaughter,” and “drug trafficking”…

Yes, the writer did seriously equate consensual sex with rape and murder.  Dr. Brooke Magnanti comments on the absurdity and futility of the whole thing.

An Angel of Mercy

Shona Langley, a street sex worker support officer, and Charlotte Crossland, a harm reduction nurse…[work for] the Harm Reduction project…[in] Lancashire…twice a week…they load their van with…condoms, panic alarms, needles and bank note checker pens, while Charlotte offers Hepatitis B and other vaccinations…[and] treatment for minor health issues…Shona said:  “We don’t judge.  We are not here to criticise or bully them into stopping what they do”…

Scapegoats

[David Beckman of Illinois]…faces a charge of misdemeanor animal cruelty after police said he sexually abused his pet peacock…police learned the bird died while they were investigating Beckman about an alleged case of indecent solicitation of a child…

jelly wrestlingObjectification Overruled

Feminists at Cambridge University lead such privileged, unchallenging lives that they imagine jelly wrestling (girls grappling in gelatin in front of male spectators) has “a significant role to play in the degradation and abuse of women,” and imagine they’ve won a great victory for womankind via a petition which caused the event to be cancelled.  Sarah Woolley explains why this is pure bollocks:

…”objectification” is a herd word used by women who can rarely recall the name of their last waitress…If a person sees a woman arse-deep in jelly and regards her as subhuman because of it, then that shit is on them…it takes more than nudity to cancel out a man’s regard for a woman as a human being.  There will be misogynists in any crowd but –newsflash- a true woman hater will dehumanise you no matter how you behave or what you wear…Cambridge feminists …[are affiliated] with Object…a group known for lobbying against sex worker rights and for spreading irresponsible misinformation -particularly the fantasy that the Olympics would usher in an “explosion of prostitution.”  Also on the list is “Smash Miss Contest”  who “set off stink bombs”…at beauty pageants…

Worms in the Apple

New York City’s wallowing in the “end demand” sewer produced this grotesque display of political pandering:

…mayoral candidates…argued for tougher penalties.  Joseph J. Lhota…[called] for “a john list every day in the newspaper”…Adolfo Carrión Jr…went further, saying he would publish their license plate numbers…the moderator…took note of Edward I. Koch’s controversial directive…to read the names of convicted male customers on air…Christine C. Quinn…said she disagreed with publicizing the names…[but] favored an “incredibly effective” program in Brooklyn…that forces “johns” to sit through a program intended to deter bad behavior…

And no, “john schools” are not “incredibly effective”.

Finding What Isn’t There

police admit they do not know the scale of trafficking in Victoria’s illegal brothels and cannot say how many…there are.  The cloak of anonymity and secrecy surrounding the industry makes it hard for police to investigate, Senior Sergeant Marilynn Ross told [a parliamentary] inquiry…”we suspect that in a small number of…licensed brothels human trafficking is occurring…on a…larger scale”…

Translation:  “There’s no evidence whatsoever and the real experts say otherwise, but this makes a perfect excuse to ask for more power to stick our noses into people’s private business.”

Whorearchy (TW3 #19)

Prostitutes helped clean up the streets of Murcia, Spain, in an effort to draw attention to…[a] proposed bylaw…aimed at curbing prostitution and sexual exploitation [which] would damage [their] livelihood…”We’ve spoken with neighbors and local business owners and…they’ve told us that there’s no problem as long as we follow some of the requests that they’ve made, such as sticking to a timetable and keeping the streets clean…That’s why we decided to hold a clean-up day.  We wanted to show that we…want to get on well with everyone”…

Worse Than I ThoughtTraffic in Souls

As I predicted, the cancer of incredibly-broad “sex trafficking” laws based on the CASE Act is spreading, now to Pennsylvania:

House Bill 663, which was unanimously passed 195-0…expands what the state considers “commercial sex acts” and raises the crime of buying or selling people for sex work from a third-degree to a…first-degree felony.  Under the new bill, the definition of commercial sex includes being forced to perform “any sexual activity…in which anything of value is given…or received”…

The bill’s sponsor complains that the “current law is vague”, but what he actually means is that it isn’t vague enough.

So Close and Yet So Far

Another would-be ally misses the bus by not bothering to check with sex workers first; though she makes several very good arguments against criminalization and recognizes from the title on that sex work is work, she also overestimates the role of pimps and the prevalence of street work, accepts the false “sex trafficking” dichotomy, supports regulation and licensing and ends by undermining her own argument with the typical mealy-mouthed disclaimer, “I am not endorsing the act of selling sex.”

Schadenfreude (TW3 #43)

Another rescue industry icon is exposed as a con artist:

Cecilia Flores-Oebanda has…become the face of the Philippines anti-trafficking movement…but now she is fighting a battle that could truly ruin her.  Fraud allegations made by Philippine investigators threaten to destroy her reputation and the anti-trafficking organization she’s run for more than two decades…

Nonetheless, the credulous CNN reporters spends about 95% of the story lauding her and repeating her bullshit stories, apparently forgetting about that word “fraud”.

Across the Pond (TW3 #45)

Scottish local governments seem unusually resistant to anti-sex business hype:

The owners of an over-21s nightclub in Inverness have been issued a licence to introduce lap dancing…Rhoda Grant…said…“The commodification of woman in society is damaging and I would have hoped the objections raised by the Highland Violence Against Women Strategy Group would have been listened to”…

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #131)Toru Hashimoto

A perfect demonstration of how the “sex trafficking” paradigm confuses those whose minds it pollutes:

…Osaka Mayor…Toru Hashimoto…told reporters…that Japan’s wartime sex slave system… “were necessary in order to provide relaxation for those brave soldiers who had been in the line of fire”…Hours later [he said]…he’d…told [U.S. military brass] that…there were legal facilities for releasing sexual energy, and that unless soldiers in Okinawa made more use of similar facilities, it would be difficult to control the sexual energy of the marines…

The media have conflated two totally different statements.  What Hashimoto said about military personnel needing whores is true and every experienced commander knows it, no matter what political crap the Pentagon may emit.  But that isn’t the same as his disgusting rationalization of the enslavement of the comfort women, who were neither professional sex workers nor volunteers.

Skin To Skin

A centre in Nuremberg is offering a course to sex industry professionals on how to cater to the sexual needs of disabled clients.  Those who complete training successfully attain a certificate in “sexual accompaniment and assistance”…

Comfort Zone

It’s great to see ever-larger numbers of academics openly declaring that the “trafficking” narrative is largely an excuse for restricting migration:

“anti-trafficking”…essentialises gender and childhood, it confuses and obfuscates, and…it…acts against the interests of many that it purports to serve…the state is directly and inescapably the source of vulnerability…those formally excluded are given…the right NOT to enter, to be protected from movement.  The [victim of “trafficking”]…is supposed to return home.  Indeed the narrative is that she wants to return home, and part of her innocence and victimhood is that she never wanted to move in the first place…immigration controls are claimed to be a mechanism of protection for migrants, rather than a mechanism of oppression…

And here’s a UN official on bogus data and bad definitions:

…data is often taken from methodologies that are not…estimates…media…have often reported that 79% of trafficking is for sexual exploitation, based on the “Global Report on Trafficking in Persons” by UNODC…[but] the data is of victims identified by state authorities and of convicted traffickers…The internationally recognized definition of human trafficking states the purpose of human trafficking is for exploitation…yet [it] is…equated with sex work or irregular…migration…as a result…data on trafficked persons almost exclusively focused on women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation…

Cops and Condoms (TW3 #313)

If we’re honest, many of us do see condoms as robbing us of pleasure, stealing some excitement and spontaneity…and dulling the intensity of sexuality…These factors are the primary reasons that still only 60 percent of teenagers claim to use condoms…[and] usage declines as people grow older.  The number one reason…is the reduction of pleasure…[but] criticism of the condom opens one to…demonization…Bill Gates’…plans to make a condom that “is felt to enhance pleasure”…came under ideological fireGawker called the argument that condoms reduce sensitivity one for “creeps” and “pervs,” while Popular Science reacted by concluding “men are idiots.”  Salon likened any criticism of the condom’s detrimental effect on sexuality to “whining“…

The Naked Anthropologist (TW3 #314)

The Proper Study (TW3 #319)

The feminist antiporn group Stop Porn Culture has sponsored a petition…to change the editorial board and title of Routledge’s forthcoming…publicationPorn Studies…Constance Penley…co-editor of The Feminist Porn Book…[said] “[The petition] reveals a total lack of understanding about academic freedom, academic integrity and the nature of scholarship…and…how desperate the antiporn people are to prevent any research being done that might not support their ideological position”…

Somewhere in the Middle

St. John’s, Newfoundland has just over 200,000 people, which means fewer than 100,000 males.  The escort interviewed for this article (“Iris”) says there are about 30 escorts working there full-time, and doing such good business travelling girls are stopping in as well.  Now, ask yourself:  is it credible that only about 14,000 of those men have ever paid, that the majority of those who did are now regulars and that those working girls are doing well on an average of 1 client per day?  Or is it more likely that the claim few men ever pay for sex is completely absurd?  As Iris said, “We wouldn’t be doing this well if your husbands and boyfriends and friends weren’t coming to see us.  It’s that simple.”

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Sex workers have very special qualities.  They are skilled at giving pleasure in whatever way is required.  –  Tuppy Owens

All Shapes and Sizes

Why don’t journalists actually read what they’re writing about?

…In a study of 105 heterosexual Australian women, flaccid penis size, height, and shoulder-to-hip ratio all affected the women’s attractiveness ratings of life-size, computer-generated male figures…The penis effect was so strong that that the study’s authors…[theorized] that it may have driven the evolution of bigger penises in humans…Shoulder-to-hip ratio mattered the most, while both penis size and height mattered about the same amount…there were diminishing returns for everything.  That is, how much more attractiveness the figures gained for added height, penis size and shoulder-to-hip ratio decreased as those traits increased.  So the attractiveness difference between at 6’1″ man and a 6’2″ man is less than the difference between a 5’1″ man and a 5’2″ man.  For penis size, the dropoff in attractiveness gains started at about 7.6 centimeters, or three inches…

In other words, the study doesn’t show that most women are attracted to really big cocks; it shows that they tend to find really small ones unattractive, which isn’t at all the same thing.  And BTB, the theory that the comparatively-large human penis is a product of artificial selection is not remotely new; it’s also probable that the same process resulted in human women having prominent tits when we aren’t pregnant or nursing.

License To Rape

A small-town North Carolina cop raped a 13-year-old girl while on duty, and the town hired him without any…screening after he had raped an 11-year-old…Jaymin Lenwood Murphy was sentenced in December 2010 to 41 years in prison for sexual offenses against the two girls…The [13-year-old, who is suing the town]…says that Murphy “threatened her mother and herself with jail” so she “was too terrified…to report it to anyone”…

A War for Peace

Femen demonstrates how deeply it cares about women by physically attacking them at work:

I’ve previously pointed out Femen’s deep hypocrisy in claiming that it’s noble for a woman to use her sexuality for politics, but not as a means of earning a living.  But it’s actually worse than that:  “Each new recruit…has to show off her breasts to audition for the role…each member’s salary allegedly comes to around $1,000…”  In other words, they’re paid for using their sexuality; they’re sex workers dedicated to stopping other women from doing sex work.

Against Their Will

Yesterday, Pak Kret police found the bodies of two girls floating near a pier in front of Kredtrakarn Protection and Occupational Development Center…the…girls…reportedly attempted to escape the Center by swimming across the Chao Phraya River…”  What this story does not make clear is that this was actually a prison for girls “rescued” from sex work, which explains why they were desperate to escape despite the absurd claims of “authorities”.

The Crumbling Dam

Joyce Arthur of FIRST shows what an anti-criminalization article by a non-sex worker should look like:

Within the next year, our Supreme Court may very well strike down Canada’s prostitution laws as unconstitutional because they place sex workers at risk of violence and abuse.  Are we ready for full decriminalization?  Or will society’s fear of the legal vacuum lead to a panicked rush to pass new legislation to criminalize or control sex work?  Most people know little or nothing about actual sex workers…because they’ve been fed negative and false stereotypes from movies and TV, sensationalistic news stories, “do-gooder” organizations that purport to rescue trafficked sex slaves, and various self-appointed “experts” whose views are informed mostly by shoddy research and propaganda.  The true experts on sex work have been speaking out more and more, however, and people are finally starting to listen to them…

The Course of a Disease

The Swedish rot reaches South America:

…the Argentine Congress started discussing…[a bill] to penalize anyone who buys sex…regardless of whether the person providing the sex is a consenting adult…No one would contest that actual sex trafficking is a problem in Argentina and that something should be done about it…

SexWorker Open UniversityJust call me nobody, then.  Coercion into commercial sex is rare everywhere, and the rare individuals who are so victimized aren’t helped by wrongheaded “something should be done” legislation.  Meanwhile, half a world away, the Scottish Trade Union Conference decided to screw a sex worker outreach event called “Sex Worker Open University” by cancelling the facilities it had agreed to provide at (almost literally) the last minute:

…the Scottish Trades Union conference…issued this statement:  “…the specific title of the event…was…“The Scottish Context:  Opposing Criminalisation of Clients”…a number of individuals and organisations contacted us to ask why we were taking this view…[which] is diametrically opposed to the position STUC…reached as a consequence of its democratic process…”  This suggests that a public meeting was somehow hidden, or that SWOU attempted to keep this information private…If a LGBTQ group wants to hold an event and homophobic groups phone to complain will they cancel the booking?  If a Muslim group hosts [an] event and…Islamaphobes demonstrate will the STUC refuse to offer support and solidarity?  Will their position always be with the oppressors rather than the oppressed?…[and] why does the STUC have a position that is against the best interests of the workers?  They say it was democratically reached but it was not voted for by the full membership, nor were the workers who would be effected consulted…

A False Dichotomy (TW3 #8)

Runaway maids are turning to prostitution in order to support themselves during their illegal stay in…Sharjah…518 prostitution cases and 10 human trafficking cases were recorded…[in the emirate]…in 2012.  Absconding maids topped the prostitution cases…[but] some…came to the country on a visit visa…to work illegally in the sex worker industry…

Handy Figures (TW3 #17)

As I’ve pointed out before, the tendency of recent studies to “find” that impossibly-low numbers of men hire whores has a lot more to do with social stigma and poor question phrasing than with reality; the General Social Survey‘s claim that only 14% of American men have ever paid for sex could only be true if the number of sex workers were a tenth what it is and we each only had two clients per week!  But though I respectfully disagree with Dr. Milrod about that survey’s data being credible, I have no respect for those who technically agree with me not because of logic or experience, but because the finding contradicts “trafficking” dogma!

Naked Truth

Laura Lee in the Independent on why the Swedish model is a bad idea:

…Rhoda Grant…is pushing…this measure because she believes that prostitution is…inherently harmful and dangerous.  I know from years of experience that for the vast majority of sex workers…that simply isn’t true…they made an informed choice to enter the industry and enjoy their work…Grant [stated] in…Glasgow Evening Times  [that] “People that use prostitutes are people who would rape and abuse.”  Not only is that statement false, it is also offensive in the extreme to every client I have ever met…the solution to the protection of those in the sex industry is complete decriminalisation …any further criminalisation of the sex industry will cost lives.

The Young and the Brainless

Judgy Bitch’s excellent take on the “teen girl pimp” case:

…some newbie traffickers scouted and groomed vulnerable girls on social media sites, lured them to a rough part of town, stripped them naked, took nude photos and then blackmailed the young victims into working as escorts.  And then took their money.  The girls who resisted were physically beaten.  The traffickers?  Two fifteen year old girls, and one sixteen year old girl…It doesn’t appear that any men, let alone black men, were involved on the pimping side of the equation in Ottawa, but that hasn’t stopped the media from trying to associate any instance of pimping with black men…and…who stepped in to help the girls being victimized?  Who took a stand and put a stop to what was going on?…Yeah, that would be the johns.  Men called up an escort service, looking for sex in exchange for money, and when they realized the girls were desperately underage and deeply emotionally upset, they intervened.  In [two cases] the john drove the young girl home…In a third case, the john flat out refused to have sexual contact with someone who was clearly a minor…

Mark LancasterOne Born Every Minute (TW3 #51)

Remember Mark Lancaster, the guy who tried to trick naïve coeds into having sex with him as a supposed “audition” for a sugar daddy referral service?  He’s being charged with…wait for it…”sex trafficking”.  Add that to your list of bizarre uses for this ever-expanding umbrella term.

Skin To Skin

It’s wonderful to see so many articles arguing that disabled people have the right to see sex workers  even if prohibitionists are upset by the idea:

A forthcoming Channel 4 documentary, Can Have Sex Will Have Sex…has been labelled “controversial“, but many mothers call the sex and disability helpline, which I run, worried that their disabled son is physically unable to masturbate and desperately needs an outlet…I really love the idea of sex workers giving disabled people the chance to be touched in a non-medical way, perhaps for the first time in their lives, to be held in a warm pair of arms and have their sexual dreams respected and lived out.

Number Puzzle

Another prohibitionist screed masquerading as reasoned argument is debunked by Feminist Ire:

In early March…the Huffington Post published…“Debunking The Myths: Why Legalising Prostitution Is A Terrible Idea”…by Jacqui Hunt, London director of Equality Now…despite its title, its scope is not limited to legalisation:  she believes decriminalisation is an equally bad idea.  At first glance, her article looks fairly reasonable and well researched, citing studies from various countries in which sex work has been legalised or decriminalised…[but] the ways in which…her claims have been made…undermine her credibility…because the primary source for her observations on New Zealand reveals a markedly different picture from the one she has chosen to paint, I’m given to feel that all of her claims ought to be thoroughly investigated…

Lack of Evidence (TW3 #314)

Clay Nikiforuk, the young woman harassed by US customs officials because they thought she was an escort, appears to “get it”:

There’s no doubt in my mind that one reason my story gained the attention it did was that it screamed “sexy” at every juncture…But another reason…is that…when bad things start happening to innocent, educated white people, they could happen to anyone — or rather, other privileged people…when sex and sexuality are criminalized, people are made illegal and their rights made moot…If I were a sex worker, I might have “deserved” the treatment I received, or my detainment might have “made sense.”  If I were from a minority group or were not as educated in the English language, my story might not have provoked the shock and outrage that it did.  And rather than receiving the reaction “That should never happen to anyone,” often the reaction I still get is “That should never have happened to you”…

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere! (TW3 #314)

What a sane, agenda-free sex work study looks like:

Migrant prostitutes…are in the sex trade for the money…research…in New Zealand has found…Catherine Healy…said…”The findings suggests there are no signs that migrant sex workers here are victims of trafficking” [despite US claims]…

57%: On student, work or visitor visa
86%: From Asia
26%: Came to New Zealand “to study”
35%: Knew someone living here
76%: Did sex work to pay household bills
5%: Could not refuse clients and did not have access to their passports

In other words, only 5% of migrant whores (themselves a minority of the sex worker population) could be described as “coerced” in any valid way.

Terrilyn MonetteThe Widening Gyre (TW3 #314)

All over Lakeview, you’ll find signs asking people to be on the lookout for missing teacher Terrilyn Monette…[rumors claim] that the Russian Mafia moved into New Orleans shortly before the Super Bowl…to abduct women for human trafficking…NOPD…is trying to squelch the rumor…

If the NOPD didn’t want a stupid “sex trafficking” panic, it shouldn’t have participated in spreading one.

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We are simply sisters, mothers, neighbors and friends. We shop where you shop, we vote where you vote and we pay taxes like the rest of you.  –  Kristen DiAngelo

Cops and Condoms

…Bill Gates has…[offered] a $100,000 grant…to…develop “the next generation of condom”.  Though condoms are the most reliable…method to protect against pregnancy and STIs, it doesn’t take your ex-boyfriend to tell you how much they kind of suck (oh, and will he tell you).  So the foundation is requesting proposals for a…condom that “significantly preserves or enhances pleasure, in order to improve…regular use”…

Advice for Clients

Amanda Brooks published her own set of tips for clients; I think it’s worthwhile for a gentleman to read as many of these as he comes across, because every woman is different and may include something others didn’t think important.

Lying Down With Dogs

Ask yourself once again:  Is this really the company you want the US to keep?

Egyptian prosecutors ordered the detention of 17 women and a Lebanese man…[for]…commercial phone sex…security forces raided [their] office…and confiscated phones and computer devices…Investigations showed “gang members” recruited female university students through job ads in newspapers and then agreed with them to perform acts “that run contrary to morality”…

Sales Pitch

Sweden says its “model” has reduced prostitution and deters clients:  “[A] newspaper…published an advert about a fictional 19-year-old [sex worker]…Over the weekend, the phone had 130 missed calls and seven texts.  After a week, the number had grown to 287 calls and 57 texts…[a] local police [spokesman claimed]…the callers were more curious than interested in buying sex…”  What a pathetic rationalization!  Here’s the real attitude of Swedes toward the law:

Down Under

Can you imagine American cops contradicting a prohibitionist politician’s lies?

Police say they’ve seen no evidence to back up [a New Zealand] MP’s claims that girls as young as 13 are working as prostitutes in south Auckland…Asenati Lole-Taylor says there is “growing prevalence” of underage girls selling sex…and she’s backing a bill to ban all street prostitution and confine sex work to brothels…[she also claims] she has witnessed police dealing with young prostitutes …That was news to police Area Commander…Chris de Wattignar.  “It’s not something that police have seen ourselves.  We also work with a number of agencies and community partners in the Otara town centre and that’s certainly not the information we have”…

Decentralization

The US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has [issued] regulations on…Bitcoin…there’s been zero regulation…[so far, because that] would essentially admit that it’s legitimate…The nature of Bitcoin makes it untraceable so unless firms are coaxed into cooperation, it’s hard to imagine the regulations being enforced.Anastasia Volochkova

Droit du Seigneur

A former Bolshoi ballet dancer has called the acclaimed company a ‘giant brothel’…Anastasia Volochkova claimed that female dancers were forced to sleep with wealthy patrons…

September Q & A

Though the main Wikipedia entry for “Prostitution” is an unusable (and uncorrectable) mess due to aggressive sabotage by neofeminists, there is a new article on “Migrant Sex Work”  which is comprehensive, fact-based and non-judgmental and includes citations from many good writers like Laura Agustín, Elizabeth Bernstein, Pardis Mahdavi, Nick Mai and Rhacel Parrenas.  Here’s hoping the author is able to keep control of it.

Thought Experiment

Charlotte Shane’s “’Getting Away’ With Hating It:  Consent in the Context of Sex Work” is a brilliant exploration of how the weakness of the concept of “enthusiastic consent” (now being pushed by the “rape culture” folks) is demonstrated by sex work.  This is definitely a must-read, especially for my male readers, as it looks at an area of female sexual psychology most men seem to have difficulty understanding.  Even the comment thread is worth your time, especially the reactions to a Good Men Project writer who apparently thinks it’s only OK to pay a whore if she doesn’t need the job and is only doing it as a hobby or something.

The More the Better

The Australian Woman’s Weekly published “When Sex is Your Day Job”, an interview with five sex workers (including Rachel Wotton) about prejudice, sex work myths, discrimination and sex as a human right.  What a difference from the United States!

Above the Law

…New Jersey [prison guard]… Juan R. Stevens, 50, was charged with…sexual assault and…criminal restraint…Stevens would call…escorts…[and tell them]  he was a police officer in order to intimidate them into having sex with him for free…

AminaA War for Peace (TW3 #11)

For once, I agree with a Femen leader’s analysis; too bad they don’t see it also applies to sex work:

A 19-year-old Tunisian activist who was threatened with death by stoning after posting topless pictures of herself online has reportedly been admitted to a psychiatric hospital.  The woman, known only as Amina, posted the photographs…to the Femen-Tunisian Facebook page…Amina’s aunt claimed…”She had decided to kill herself and so posted nude pictures of herself online.”  [Femen leader Inna] Shevchenko described the move as “a typical way of reacting to a woman’s demand to be free – they say she’s gone crazy or is being too emotional”…

Whorearchy

A…Mexican politician who…[appeared] in a…lingerie video is taking legal action against political rivals who claim she was [an] “escort girl.”  Giselle Arellano says the…accusations resulted in her failing to win the nomination of Mexico’s conservative National Action Party (PAN)…She wants the election annulled on the grounds that she was “slandered” by her rivals…Arellano…resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she has done stints as a model and also runs a small company that offers “concierge services” to visitors.  She was running for a seat in the Zacatecas State Legislature that is reserved for Mexicans who emigrate abroad…

Besides conventional services, Black Rose Services plans bachelor parties and group excursions to strip clubs and only takes clients by referral.

Bogeymen

Microsoft recently sponsored a “hackathon” based on the theme “combating human trafficking”, and a story on the ever-credulous NPR reports that one of the entries is a smartphone app that middle-class teenage girls who are suddenly “trafficked” by surprise (presumably by “pimps” leaping out at them from bushes) can use to surreptitiously “connect with resources, like a hotline number or a chat room where they can get help.  ‘One of the requirements of this project was to make it covert, so it’s not easily detectable…and [that] it’s for girls ages 11 to 21.’  So the app, which they call Blossom, is disguised to look like it’s just about fun for teens…”  Because captives would certainly be allowed to keep their phones, and university-age adult women are interested in the same sorts of games as 11-year-olds.

Bottleneck

“Authorities” not only refuse to recognize the damage licensing laws do, but often insist on congratulating themselves that they’re “helping” sex workers:

Saskatoon’s new adult services licensing bylaw…gives police new…powers to keep a closer watch on a large part of the sex industry…Anyone advertising sexual services…is now required to get a licence from the city…This is…taking part of the sex trade out of the shadows to protect vulnerable women, police and city officials say…”Prostitution is not against the law.  If a person is working at a hotel and communicating in a private place, then they are not committing a criminal offence”…

And that obviously wouldn’t do, so they had to find a way to make it into one.  For our own good, of course.

King of the Hill

North Carolina’s entry into the “trafficking hub” competition is especially hilarious for its claim that rural areas with low populations are “attractive” to those in the “sex trafficking trade”:

…On Eagles Wings Ministries plans to [build]…a haven for girls involved in the sex-trafficking trade…Gaston County provides a location that’s close enough to Charlotte to help girls there, but far enough away to keep traffickers at bay…North Carolina has become a hotspot for human trafficking…[due to] major highways and interstates, transient populations and large rural areas…

Book Reviews (October 2012)

Two of the authors of books from this column (Rob Arthur of You Will Die and Laura Agustín of Sex at the Margins) were interviewed on the subject of what inspired them to write those books; I think you’ll find their answers illuminating.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #50)Eden poster

It’s a very hopeful sign when a review of a movie based in “trafficking” myth can conclude with this passage:  “Eden…[is] not a documentary, it isn’t entertainment, and…[it] sure as heck isn’t art.  It’s just a message, screaming on and on at people who agreed with the point before they bought a ticket.”

The Public Eye (TW3 #131)

More on the escort from American Courtesans who was arrested after complaining to police about a stalker:

Last month Lora LePoudre, who goes by the escort pseudonym Hilary Holiday, was arrested by the Eden Prairie Police department in Minnesota following an anonymous tip off by a neighbor and a subsequent sting operation…Neighbors in her family-friendly condo complex [said] they were thankful police had arrested her…

As you may remember, there was no “complaint” except from Hilary herself; the reporter also cherry-picks neighbors, spews inanities like “family-friendly” and misquotes Kristen DiAngelo as saying escorts are “very different” from other sex workers, when actually she said there was a difference between free and coerced prostitution.

Skin To Skin

…The head of the Essonne department…Jerome Guedj…called for allowing sex surrogates…as part of regular social services…[noting] that [they]…are permitted in some other European countries…But…[removed] the term…just ahead of the vote…after coming under criticism for opening the door to legalized prostitution…a national ethics council…ruled that authorizing sex surrogates would essentially “merchandise the human body”…

But while France says it’s OK to neglect disabled folks in order to “send a message” to dirty whores, New Zealand sees stories like this one:

I hired a sex worker for my late 93-year-old father.  He had dementia and lived in a nursing home when he said to me, “You’ll need to find me a woman”…I took his request seriously [because]…I’m a disability support worker and I’ve seen how an individual’s sexuality needs to be considered…Touching Base put me in contact with…the person they thought most suitable:  ‘Emma’…After time with Emma, my father’s well-being and consequently his behaviour improved…He wasn’t as agitated.  He didn’t obsess over things like he used to.  He was serene, happy and relaxed…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (TW3 #139)

The Indian government has now completely reversed its sneaky criminalization attempt:  “Sex workers and women’s rights activists across India have welcomed the…move to drop the word ‘prostitution’…from the amended…Penal Code.  The new formulation targets sexual exploitation and not adult consensual sex work…

Dutch Threat

What could possibly go wrong?

There is considerable sympathy among Dutch MPs for moves to get tougher on people who visit prostitutes and don’t report suspected exploitation or abuse…The senate…is currently considering legislation that would force prostitutes to sign up to an official register.  Clients who fail to check if a girl is registered, could face prosecution…[some] want to go further and say clients should be prosecuted for failing to report to the authorities if they suspect a woman may be being abused or forced to work as a prostitute…

King of the Hill (TW3 #312)

Oregon is really ramping up the hysteria; between two different stories on the same legislative/cop antics we are told that “trafficking happens in small towns” to 9-year-olds, that “80 children are victims of sex trafficking each year”  in Portland, that prosecutors want to use “racketeering laws” to prosecute whoever a girl names as her “pimp” after being jailed indefinitely (for her own good, of course), and that “men looking to buy sex from minors describe the victims they want to order.” All this on the word of unnamed women who present no evidence; you know, kind of like witch trials.

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Humanity has a bad track record of selectively appealing to authority to justify our biases.  –  Andrea Castillo

R.I.P. Harry Reems

Harry ReemsHarry Reems, the first male porn star, died of pancreatic cancer on Tuesday (March 19th) at the age of 65.  For his role in Deep Throat, Reems was convicted in 1976 of “conspiracy to transport obscene material across state lines”, and though that sentence was overturned a year later the stress of the trial drove him to start drinking; he spent the late ‘80s as a homeless alcoholic before sobering up in 1989, then getting married and going into real estate a year later.  Unlike his co-star Linda Lovelace, however, he never regretted his choices or blamed porn for his troubles, and went by his stage name (his birth name was Herbert Streicher) until the end.

Bad Girls

I left out the very rarest, but worst type:  “[Houma, Louisiana] police arrested 15 men…alleging they solicited a prostitute through [Backpage]…one of [two] prostitutes…[was] issued a summons…[but] the other…was not arrested [because she] agreed to be a part of the sting…”  There is absolutely no lower life-form in the whoring ecosystem than a person who collaborates with cops to ensnare others in order to save his or her own worthless hide.

Dr. Schrödinger and His Amazing Pussycat

Andrea Castillo’s “When Science Looks Like Religion” explores the territory discussed in Monday’s comment thread:  When people blindly accept scientific findings which reinforce their irrational beliefs while rejecting equally-valid results which contradict those beliefs, the result is not science but religion.  The last part is doubly germane:  it describes Norwegian social scientists’ knee-jerk denial of all data which contradicts their cultic social constructionism.

micro-drug-dogSecret Squirrel

A new low in intra-family spying:

…Suspicious moms and dads are hiring trained drug detection dogs to sniff out their kids’ drug stash…the RK Agency…[charges] $350…[to] “discreetly perform a thorough inspection of your entire property”…Jeffrey Gardere, a child psychologist …[told] the Today Show… “I don’t know if you can [have a relationship with your kids] if you’re bringing in drug-sniffing dogs”…

Size Matters

According to this post from Dr. Annie Sprinkle, Tracy Elise of Phoenix Goddess Temple has been “deemed…’incompetent’ to go to trial…she will be sent to psych ward and forced to take psychiatric drugs for about 15 months until she’s ‘competent’…I feel that if…sex workers…criticise Tracy Elise…we are in a way colluding with the [police]…and…contributing to the problem, which is exactly what the ‘sex negative society’…wants us to do…”  I totally agree.

The Last Shall Be First

[Arizona] legislators…are attempting to pass legislation that forces transgender people to only use public restrooms…associated with the gender…on their birth certificate…in response to a [Phoenix] …bill…which prohibits gender identity discrimination in public accommodations…

Lupercalia

Dr. Brooke Magnanti on the lessons we can learn from Pompeii:

…women in Ancient Rome [married] sometimes as young as 14…[but] were permitted to own land and houses and have jobs.  Women of the upper classes were educated to a high standard…It’s well known that Pompeii…boasted a large sex industry…and…open attitudes about sexuality and prostitution didn’t hold back other women from achieving

And if you just can’t get enough of Brooke, here’s a short but wide-ranging interview with her in The Age.Rong Chen

A Broker in Pillage

Once again, the British government displays its dedication to literally robbing sex workers of their life savings:

A Chinese brothel madam and her husband have been ordered to pay back £125,000 within six months or she will face another jail sentence and he will join her…Rong Chen…and her husband Jason Hinton…only [have] £125,000 of realisable assets…[namely] their marital home in…Worcestershire, which…will have to be sold or remortgaged…

Note the weird euphemism “pay back”, implying that the money is refunded to customers; in reality it is split between the police, court and Inland Revenue.

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

If politicians’ minds weren’t befuddled by prohibitionist idiocy, they wouldn’t be so confused by wholly predictable outcomes like this:

…Jakarta…has tried…to offer sex workers ways to escape the sex industry…[for] example…sex workers…[given] a dressmaking course…did not return to their villages…but rather…to their old lives in Jakarta…the income from sewing was just too far below sex work…A high ranking health official…[said] it would be better to legalize prostitution; closing Kramat Tunggak would result in the dispersion of prostitution sites to several unidentified locations — making health checkups impossible…Surabaya…is still trying to phase out Dolly, East Java’s famed prostitution site…

But as this second article from the same newspaper explains, closing Dolly would be an economic disaster:

…Dolly…consists of at least 300 brothels…employing thousands of prostitutes…[plus] numerous supporting businesses — clinics, mini markets, sexual enhancement medicine vendors, parking lots, banks, rented houses, Internet cafes, small restaurants…University of Indonesia economist Lana Soelistianingsih said that…economic transactions triggered by prostitution [alone] could contribute around Rp 1.5 trillion to Surabaya’s gross domestic product…

Oscillation

Family Research Council…fellow Pat Fagan…claims that Eisenstadt v. Baird, the 1972 case that overturned a Massachusetts law banning the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried people, may rank “as the single most destructive decision in the history of the Court”…because it effectively meant that “single people have the right to engage in sexual intercourse…Society never gave young people that right, functioning societies don’t do that, they stop it, they punish it, they corral people, they shame people, they do whatever”…

Fokkens twinsReal People (TW3 #21)

…Amsterdam’s oldest prostitutes have retired after more than 50 years each in the business.  Louise and Martine Fokkens, 70, have decided they are too old…Louise…says arthritis now makes some sexual positions “too painful”…and Martine…admits she finds it hard to attract punters – though one elderly man still has his weekly sadomasochism session…The pair were the subject last year of a documentary Meet The Fokkens and they have written a book called The Ladies Of Amsterdam

First They Came for the Hookers…

As I pointed out recently, Nevada isn’t remotely pro-whore:  “Two [Nevada] state Senators introduced bills…[to] regulate strip clubs…Mark Manendo…wants to charge …a $10 per customer fee…[to fund] programs related to domestic violence…Barbara Cegavske…would ban anyone less than 21-years-old from performing…

The Public Eye

Caty Simon of Tits and Sass interviews well-known activist Audacia Ray on the Red Umbrella Project, speaking to the media, condom criminalization, the Long Island Killer and why sex workers need to ally with harm reduction and anti-drug war activists.

Monkey Business

Baboons have been observed keeping dogs as pets:

Birth of a Movement (TW3 #39)

French sex workers continue to push back against increased criminalization:

10 years ago, the Internal Security Act (LSI) penalized public solicitation, including so-called “passive solicitation”…[this] has reinforced the isolation of sex workers, relegating them to more remote places where they are…more prone to violence…since the introduction of the LSI, “the conduct of the police deteriorated sharply.  Their attitude is less respectful and humiliation increased…their protective function…has virtually disappeared and [they are]…most often perceived as strictly punitive”…Médecins du Monde demand the immediate repeal of the offense of soliciting…[and] rejects any proposal to penalize customers…

Women’s Rights Minister Najat Belkacem responded in a typically clueless manner; though she promised repeal of the law, she also made the absurd claim that “90% of [sex workers] are victims of human trafficking” and refused to back down on her scheme to impose the Swedish model.

King of the Hill

Portland, Oregon’s bid for the “largest trafficking hub” title isn’t a new one, but now they’re claiming that this is “proven” not only by highways, but by rivers:

…Portland [has]…one of the largest sex industries of any U.S. city…human trafficking…is a growing problem in Oregon due in part to the traffic permitted by Interstates 5 and I-84 [and] the Willamette and Columbia rivers…the problem [is] one that’s inextricably linked to gangs…“When people think of prostitution, their first instinct is a girl walking on the street,” [police spokesman Pete] Simpson says.  “They’re not thinking about the fact that she’s being traded as a commodity, sold as a product”…The change [in strategy] humanizes the victims…

Simpson robs women of agency, then claims he’s “humanizing” whores who were already human before he turned them into things to be acted upon.  It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.An Intimate Life

Accredited Whores

Charlotte Shane’s review of An Intimate Life: Sex, Love, and My Journey As A Surrogate Partner, the memoirs of sex surrogate Cheryl Greene (of The Sessions fame), covers much the same ground as my column, and that’s a good thing; the more of us there are speaking out against these artificial lines drawn between types of sex work, the more people will finally get it.

Like a Horse and Carriage

I’m glad to see that others are recognizing that “marriage equality” applies just as well to polygamy as it does to same-sex marriage, and are making good arguments for it:

I’m in favor of leaving marriage to the religious institutions, and registering households in whatever configuration people want to live.  If a same-gender couple, or a heterosexual couple, or an elderly couple who can’t have children, or any couple want to be responsible to and for each other, let them.  If three people want to be responsible to and for each other, let them.  If a gay man and his female best friend want to be responsible to and for each other, let them.  Let’s stop worrying about who is screwing who, and just make it easier for people to be responsible in their relationships.

Still More Mentoring

SWOP-NOLA posted these “Client Screening Tips and Helpful Links from a New Orleans Provider”; I already mentioned a few of these, but she provides many more I didn’t know about.

The Joy of Juxtaposition

One would never know that these claims have been repeatedly debunked:

The Georgia attorney general and other law enforcement officials kicked off a public awareness campaign…[which] bears the slogan “Georgia’s not buying it” and includes a [commercial] featuring professional athletes…”We’ll continue to go after the pimps and rescue the victims, but we know that the only way to truly eradicate this evil is by ending the demand,” Attorney General Sam Olens said…It is a problem throughout Georgia, in both urban areas and in small towns and rural areas…

Georgia is indeed “buying it”, wholesale.  I’m sure millions in federal grants and an excuse to further erode civil rights have nothing to do with all this.

Skin To Skin

An Australian sex therapist argues that disability insurance should cover the hiring of sex workers:

Sexual expression is a fundamental part of being human…Decades of research have uncovered the many benefits of sex, which include physical health, quality of life, psychological well-being and sexual self-esteem.  Unfortunately, because of social taboos and hypocrisy…barriers are created to stop people from fully realising these benefits…Some people with disabilities have limited opportunities for sexual relationships because they lack privacy and are dependent on others…Maggie in Albany

Comfort Zone

The video of the Albany Law School symposium is now available!  If you don’t have the time or inclination to watch the whole thing (4 hours), my part runs from minute 170 to 185.

An Ounce of Prevention (TW3 #310)

Earlier this month, doctors announced that a baby had been cured of…HIV…Now…it appears that 14 adults have…been successfully treated…70 people…[received] combination antiretroviral therapy (cART)…much sooner than…normal…[because] all [were] diagnosed…early…they…stuck to the [regimen] for an average of three years…[but then] stopped…for various reasons…Normally, HIV will return when patients stop taking their ARVs.  But this time…14…patients…were functionally cured…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #311)

Apparently, the proposed legislative reform in South Australia isn’t quite decriminalization (though it’s a lot closer to it than anything we’ll see in the US anytime soon):  “…it makes special provisions for sex work such as special licensing, laws about safe sex and possibly restrictions on location…once a ‘reform’ law has been passed the chances of getting better legislation in the near future drop to zero.  So many people feel it’s better to stay with a bad situation and hope to get good reform rather than settle for an unsatisfactory ‘improvement’…

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It’s…extremely patronizing…to say someone’s conscious choice of work is degrading.  –  Jon Millward

Eric Jason CampbellLicense To Rape

A [Mt. Pleasant] Texas police officer pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14-years-old…Eric Jason Campbell, 41, has been sentenced to 50 years in prison.  He will also be required to register as a sex offender when he is released…

Saving Them From Themselves

A Massachusetts DA helpfully explains why it’s a good thing his office persecutes teenagers for “sexting”:

…”We do not have any exceptions…for kids who are really in love, for girls who wanted to do it and for guys who promised they wouldn’t share it…” [Robert] Kinzer said.  “A nude photo of [a minor’s] exposed genitalia is child pornography…When they start sharing photos like this, we are going to start charging people with the manufacturing, dissemination and possession of child pornography, and they’re going to…face [prosecution]…You’re going to lose jobs and relationships, and you’ll spend the rest of your life as a registered sex offender”…

Tyranny By Consensus

Since LA County officials have not leaped at the opportunity to waste millions of dollars policing porn shoots to enforce his private condom crusade, Michael Weinstein is now trying to force the city to establish its own redundant health department, which Weinstein presumably believes would be more easily pressured into dancing to his tune:

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced…a new ballot measure …[for] an all-new City of L.A. Public Health Department…AHF has urged Dr. Jonathan Fielding, Los Angeles County’s Public Health director, to shut down non-condom porn shoots…[but] Fielding…hasn’t…despite AHF-led letter and phone campaigns.  And it is well known that officials at the county Public Health Department are opposed to their agency enforcing Measure B…

Big Sister

In this column I wrote, “Prostitution and stripping are already illegal, and it seems that porn will be next, followed by censorship of print media and the internet.”  Yes, I do get tired of being right all the time:

The government is considering…internet filters, such as those used to block China off…to stop Icelanders downloading or viewing pornography on the internet…Ogmundur Jonasson, Iceland’s interior minister, is drafting legislation to stop the access of online pornographic images and videos…”violent pornography…has…very harmful effects on young people and can have a clear link to incidences of violent crime,” he said.

In reality, the evidence suggests exactly the opposite, but since Iceland already has the highest rape rate in Europe I guess they figure a few more raped women are just extra eggs for the totalitarian neofeminist omelette.Sex at Dawn  The story quotes the ubiquitous Gail Dines, who also used the occasion to get her name in print in the UK as well.

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received a copy of Sex at Dawn  (which people have been trying to get me to read for years) from Eddie JC.  Thank you, Eddie!

That’s the Ticket!

One would think that the Comic Relief organization could tell the difference between actual statistics and the absurd claims of a “pathological liar” comedy routine, but apparently not:  “75% of women working in prostitution started before they were 18, and most of them feel trapped and would leave if only they could find a way.  The UK is a major destination country for trafficked young people…

The Course of a Disease

…Dublin City Council…rejected calls to support the Turn Off The Red-light campaign.  Amendments passed removed the proposal to criminalise the purchase of sex, and changed the report on Swedish evidence to hearsay.”  The national crusade still rolls on, but this local rejection of the Swedish rot shows that not everyone in Ireland is asleep at the wheel.

FarmVille

On March 4, a new game on Facebook, inspired by the book Half the Sky…will be introduced, with a focus on raising awareness of issues like female genital mutilation and child prostitution…The central character, an Indian woman named Radhika, faces various challenges with the assistance of players, who can help out with donations of virtual goods, for example.  The players can then make equivalent real-world donations to seven nonprofit organizations woven into the game…As her empowerment grows, Radhika moves across the globe to Kenya, Vietnam and Afghanistan…Players who reach the final level learn about sex trafficking in the United States and can donate to an organization in New York called GEMS

Because it’s really important to simplify complex issues and make them fun so that wise, benevolent white people will be tempted to manage the lives of helpless, childlike brown ones.

Little Boxes

A bill that could send women to prison for going topless in public appears set for approval by the North Carolina legislature…[it] would amend the state’s indecent exposure law to expand the legal definition of “private parts” to…include “the nipple, or any portion of the areola, [of] the female breast.”  Depending on whether such exposure is judged to be “for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire,” the woman could be charged with a felony, punishable by up to six months in prison…More mundane exposure would be a misdemeanor, meriting up to 30 days in jail.  “Incidental” exposure by breastfeeding mothers would remain exempt…Rayne Brown…[said] her constituents are concerned about topless rallies promoting women’s equality…

Shift in the Wind

Another fun promotional video from the Sex Worker Freedom Festival last July:

Childish Things (TW3 #33)

Dr. Paul Maginn has published another appeal for sanity, stating that “various parts of the world appear to be suffering from a mix of moral panic and ideological myopia” on the issue of sex work.  Though brief, the article debunks lies about “sex trafficking”, “dirty whores”, “end demand” and “negative secondary effects”, and includes quotes from Drs. Laura Agustín and Brooke Magnanti.

Obfuscation Via Dysphemisms

Oklahoma “authorities” seem even more enchanted with the notion of “human trafficking” than most Americans:

…Clarence F. Holden, 25, of Fort Smith [Arkansas] faces felony counts of human trafficking and procuring for prostitution…Officers arrested Holden and two other people…after the Vice Unit responded to an Internet post…for “a massage with a ‘happy ending’ ” for $150…Destiny Hope Niles, 24, also of Fort Smith – told police Holden keeps her money, car keys and credit card and threatened her physically…

Consider that even though this sort of petty manipulation is what passes for “trafficking” to American cops, they still can’t come up with anything like the hysterical claims.

The Public Eye

just like Mommy4 Things You Should Know About Women Who Strip” by Jennifer Ward doesn’t break any new ground for readers of this blog, but as far as I’m concerned we can’t have enough articles explaining that sex workers and our clients are “a lot more diverse than people assume them to be.”  In the same vein, three porn actors answered questions at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri:  “Lance Hart…Tori Black and James Deen answered questions as a part of a Sex Week panel event…the purpose of the panel was to foster dialogue about aspects of the porn industry that are not typically discussed, such as sexual health…

Something Rotten in Sweden (TW3 #44)

Though this article perpetuates the increasingly-common lie that the Swedish model is “decriminalization”, it at least tells the truth about the damage to sex workers caused by “end demand” campaigns:

…the “End Demand Illinois” campaign…asks that johns…become the law’s targets…[and] is working to make johns, pimps and traffickers more accountable, but it’s also sought to…stop treating prostitution as a felony.  Right now, if a sex worker is hit with two misdemeanor charges related to prostitution in Illinois, the second charge is upgraded to a felony…Last fall The Chicago Reporterfound that prostitution-related felonies are being levied almost exclusively against sex workers…Rachel Lovell, a researcher at Case Western University…co-authored a paper that criticized End Demand Illinois.  It argued that stiffer penalties against johns actually end up hurting female sex workers.  “The philosophy and the overarching theme of the End Demand movement is that all women in prostitution are victims,” Lovell said…it’s important to distinguish between the different ways one can be a sex worker…“To say if we increase penalties for men they will just stop buying…[is] too simplistic…”

All the Difference

Indian sex workers have powerfully resisted “sex trafficking” hysteria, and have convinced many “authorities” that they are not passive victims.  Unfortunately, the rescue industry will lose money and power if it has nobody to “rescue”, and so has increasingly turned its attentions toward abducting sex workers’ children, defending the practice with propaganda films:

Not Today…[is] a feature-length film that sheds light on the modern-day sex trafficking industry that consumes the Dalit class in India…”The world needs to understand that slavery still exists, that even today young children are bought and sold like cattle, that little girls are forced into the dark illicit sex trade, that young boys and girls are coerced to beg in the streets and bring their proceeds back to line the pockets of thugs who abuse them at night,” said the film’s executive producer, Matthew Cork…

Deep Inside infographicDrama Queens (TW3 #48)

Though I’d love to see a methodologically-sound study of 10,000 whores, 10,000 porn actors is a good start.  Click on the picture (and again to enlarge), then read Jon Millward’s article and Brooke Magnanti’s interview with him.

Get Out of the 19th Century Often? (TW3 #136)

A proposed prostitution ban met with opposition at an Atlanta City Council work session…Community leaders, church pastors and advocates against sex trafficking said the ban was harshly targeting victims of the sex trade…Chad Brock of the ACLU said they might consider challenging the ordinance if it becomes law…”Instead of pairing you up with the social services you need, they’re telling you to go away,” Brock said. “We don’t believe that’s going to help any sex worker rehabilitating themselves”…

Unclean Situation

As expected, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has issued a less mealy-mouthed follow-up to his previous pseudo-apology to the victims of the Magdalene laundries, but as blogger Bock the Robber asked,

Where is the apology from the nuns who ran these slave labour camps?  Where is the apology from the NSPCC (now the ISPCC), employers of the feared and unsupervised cruelty men who consigned so many children and young women to this slavery…Where is the apology from the Legion of Mary, whose members…[facilitated] the incarceration of people they disapproved of?  Where is the apology from the Roman Catholic church on behalf of all those parish priests who ripped children from the heart of their families because of some warped and perverted view of sexuality?…What an extraordinary society it was that deputised an assortment of self-serving busybodies…and continues to give…such power to clerics and self-appointed meddlers…

On the same day, the Telegraph carried a moving article by Samantha Long about her birth-mother, who was an inmate of one of the laundries.

Skin To Skin

This article about sex work with the disabled covers some good ground, but unfortunately also gives a platform to those who think real people’s needs should be subordinate to “messages” and sacrificed to the impossible quest for an unreachable Utopia:

…The sexual needs of people with disabilities are under the spotlight like never before after the release of…The Sessions…last month, ex-staff from a care home…[said] they had allowed sex workers into the home at the request of disabled residents…and…Becky Adams…plans to open the first brothel…for disabled clients in the UK…[but others see] the use of sex workers as a potentially harmful development.  “It’s like the world telling you that disabled people are so unsexy that the only way they can have sex is to pay for it…What disabled people need is full and equal rights. An inclusive society, which doesn’t create barriers”…

Caring Professionals

On the same day my column appeared, Robin Hustle published the similarly-themed (though broader) “What Prostitutes, Nurses and Nannies Have in Common”.  The Jezebel commentariat is predictably split between the narcissistic, the wholly clueless, and nurses who are Terribly OffendedTM at being compared to whores.

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This essay first appeared on Cliterati on January 27th; I have modified it only slightly so as to fit the format of this blog.  I figured it might be a good idea to republish at least some of my Cliterati essays here so they can be discovered by future readers in the index.

Harlow rhesus monkeyFew people would deny the importance of skin-to-skin contact in the psychological, emotional and even physical health of the newborn infant; study after study since Harlow’s seminal work with Rhesus monkeys in the 1950s have demonstrated that even if all of a baby’s physical needs are met clinically and dispassionately, it will not thrive in the same way as one whose bare flesh is pressed against that of its mother.  Indeed, in some cases an infant deprived of this contact will actually sicken and lose weight.  As time goes on, the need becomes less critical; adults can survive without it for much longer periods than babies, and some people manage to go years without touching the naked skin of another person.  But though an adult deprived of such contact is not likely to die, the effect can still be quite harmful; despite the denials of prudes and others who wish to control sexuality, physical intimacy with others is indeed a basic human need, and denying people the right to obtain it from consenting partners is a cruelty verging on barbarism.

In some countries, these statements would be wholly uncontroversial and it would be difficult to find a health professional, lay person or even politician who disagreed with them.  But in others (especially the United States and United Kingdom) the idea of sex as more closely akin to food, sleep and shelter than to television watching is a politically unpopular one, and I won’t be at all surprised to see comments insisting that sex is no more vital to health than candy.  I’m afraid I must politely disagree with them in advance; even in my private life I’ve seen too many examples of the erratic behavior of men long deprived of sex to ignore it, and as a sex worker I was privileged to be a regular witness to the profound restorative effects of simple human touch.  The power was demonstrated to me most dramatically after Hurricane Katrina, when the male population in New Orleans outnumbered the female by a substantial margin and many a client was willing to pay me just to hold and touch him gently, without anything a literal-minded person would describe as “sex”.

For most healthy, socially-adept adults – especially women – the distinction is at best an academic one, because they have little or no trouble securing voluntary sex partners on a regular (or at least occasional) basis.  But this is not so for everyone; some people (a highly disproportionate fraction of them male) have a great deal of trouble attracting partners willing to give them sex for the usual “socially acceptable” reasons such as love, lust, gratitude or even pity, leaving them unable to obtain it except by purchase.  And if a society criminalizes that option (or creates so many impediments to commercial sex that it might as well be illegal), even that route is closed to the man who is too afraid of the police or social censure to take the risk.

wheelchair guy with chickBecause of the movie The Sessions and the news of retired madam Becky Adams’ plan to open a brothel for the disabled, the topic of sex work and disability is a trending one right now; I’ve probably seen more articles on the subject in the last two months than I had in the preceding two years.  And while I think this is an extremely important subject, I’ve written about it elsewhere and there are some very good charities (and in some countries, even government agencies) working diligently to raise public consciousness on the matter so that the skeptical can be helped to recognize that disabled people have the same need for intimacy as everyone else.  What I’d like to call your attention to now is a fact that may seem obvious, yet tends to get lost in the shuffle whenever the topic comes up for discussion:  not all disabilities are physical.  In my first essay on the subject over two years ago, I primarily discussed physical disabilities such as paralysis, blindness, cerebral palsy and even extreme obesity.  But in the months that followed the majority of men who wrote to thank me for speaking up for them, either in the comments or via email, suffered from “invisible” disabilities such as autism, stuttering, schizophrenia or even crippling social anxiety.  Like those with more obvious problems they found it difficult or even impossible to interact with women in the way most men take for granted, and as a result relied on sex workers for that contact.  A number of them asked my advice in finding the right sex worker for their needs, and one corresponded with me about his plans to travel to Nevada to lose his virginity in a legal brothel, and shared his joy with me afterward.

If someone were to seriously argue that it was wrong to pay for food, and that the restaurant business was by its very nature exploitative and demeaning, we would dismiss him as a crank or a lunatic; if a politician were to propose laws against the buying and selling of shelter, clothing, entertainment, medical care or other needs he would be ridiculed in the press and his chances for re-election would be seriously in doubt.  Yet sex workers are attacked thus every day; our agency is denied, our clients and employees are demonized, our profession is ridiculed and the very real social value of our work is dismissed.  And though we ourselves are the chief victims of this persecution, we should never forget that there are others as well: those people who rely upon us to provide a basic human need which, if not strictly necessary for mere biological survival, is nonetheless vital to make life worthwhile.

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