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Posts Tagged ‘Social Autoimmune Disorder’

Every decision I’ve ever made, including the decision to be a prostitute, is linked to a desire to be free.  –  Gabriela Leite

R.I.P. Gabriela Leite

Gabriela LeiteSex worker rights activist Gabriela Leite died of cancer on October 10th at the age of 62.  She organized the first Brazilian whores’ convention in 1987, then in 1992 founded a rights NGO named Davida; in 2010 she ran for the Brazilian congress (as depicted in the documentary A Kiss for Gabriela).  Though she lost the election she won tremendous respect, and a bill to eliminate the contradictory provisions in Brazilian prostitution law was recently named in her honor.  She was one of the greats, and will be sorely missed in the sex worker rights community.

Social Autoimmune Disorder

Police in Florida have begun…recording license plate information from cars that drive through areas frequented by sex workers and sending a letter to that individual’s home…[including] a close-up image of the license plate and…reminders about the potential for sexually transmitted diseases…Authorities speaking to the media seemed to assume that someone’s mere presence near illegal activity presumes their guilt…

An Educated Idiot

Charlotte Shane’s scathing review of Sudhir Venkatesh’s new book Floating City levels many of the same criticisms I and others have already made against the duplicitous sociologist (such as his total ignorance of the history of sex work, his dreadfully-low “estimates” of our income, etc).  But it also contains many telling observations about his character flaws:

…when one of his subjects is assaulted, and her co-worker asks that he not report it:  “I stood there, frustrated…What should I do?  Go along with them or call the damn police like a normal person?  I didn’t want to get sucked into their criminal value structure and end up doing the wrong thing.”  This alarming response encapsulates…[his] problem.  The desire to avoid arrest after suffering a brutal assault is a sensible one…but Venkatesh can’t wrap his head around it…he is “normal” and they are deviants…his responses are the right ones and theirs are not…Venkatesh clings to the notion that sex work is inherently, unavoidably risky, regardless of the legal and cultural circumstances…when the issue of…legalization…is raised, it’s only to dismiss it…

Not An Addiction (May Updates)rat with Oreos

Crypto-moralists are once again trying to pretend that fatty foods are addictive, but as Jacob Sullum points out:

…the study’s findings could just as truthfully be summarized… “Research Shows That Heroin and Cocaine Are No More Addictive Than Oreos.”  Putting it that way would have raised some interesting questions about the purportedly irresistible power of these drugs, which supposedly justifies using force to stop people from consuming them.  But the researchers are not interested in casting doubt on the empirical basis for the War on Drugs…they are trying to build an empirical basis for the War on Fat…if the neurological effects of Oreos make them impossible to resist, how is it that most people manage to resist them, consuming them in moderation or not at all?…

Dirty Amateurs

Whether the infection is biological or technological, it’s always the same:

…Symantec…found…that hackers…target…religious sites at a much higher rate:  “…religious and ideological sites…have triple the average number of threats per infected site than adult/pornographic sites.  We hypothesize that this is because pornographic website owners…have a vested interest in keeping their sites malware-free – it’s not good for repeat business”…

Dominating the News

Ex-vice madam Natalie Rowe has had her home raided by police days before she will make new claims about her relationship with Chancellor George Osborne…12…officers…with a battering ram burst into her London flat…[at] dawn…claiming they were acting on a tip-off…no drugs were found in the two-hour search…“WHY did one officer involved in the raid ask me whether I was about to publish my memoirs and WHY did a police inspector tell me I’d be opening a ‘whole can of worms’ if I complained?”…

Meanwhile, in Japan, “Yuka Fujisawa was arrested…for…sticking needles in gentlemen’s genitals for money…Fujisawa’s ‘needle play’ was performed on consenting adults, so her arrest is purely for the act of drawing blood without a medical license…

Elephant in the Parlor

Beleaguered former…MLA Mike Allen has received a rare note of support…from the Alberta Sex Workers.  Mr. Allen was one of 13 men caught in a St. Paul, Minnesota-area sting in July…He…could face up to a year in prison and a $3,000 fine.  “Alberta sex workers wish to assure MLA Mike Allen…that his activities…would be lawful, private and welcome in Alberta…sex workers in Mr. Allen’s riding…want him to continue as their MLA.  We feel he made a mistake taking his business out of Alberta to puritan…Minnesota, but sex workers in his constituency are still pleased to have an MLA who values the services they offer”…Christian Adamek

Moloch

How many more kids have to be sacrificed on this loathsome altar?  “A popular 15-year-old student has committed suicide after he reportedly faced expulsion and being placed on the sex offenders’ register simply for streaking at a high school football  game.  Christian Adamek, from Huntsville, Alabama,  hanged himself on October 2, a week after he was arrested…

Full of Themselves (TW3 #4)

I hope this keeps happening, so pole dancers will be forced to stand with sex workers rather than pretending they’re different:  “…Swansea University [banned its]…Pole Fitness Society…[saying] ‘Pole fitness and pole dancing are a direct spin off from lap dancing…Everyone knows where it comes from…and that pole dancing is…specifically designed to sexually excite the watcher’…”  Swansea has a long history of pearl-clutching over sex work.

The Course of a Disease

The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe has come up with a “tool kit” containing “information, ideas and resources…to help sex worker rights…organisations and activists…challenge…[the] Swedish model.”  You can view and download the tool kit and its associated worksheets here, or visit the ICRSE website to download one individual section at a time.

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (TW3 #7)

This short interview with Dr. Heidi Hoefinger on her book Sex, Love and Money in Cambodia supports everything I always say about Asian bar girls, but the comments are illustrative of the deep state of denial in which “trafficking” fanatics exist:  among them are the claim that a woman who spent ten years living among her subjects is “naïve” and the astonishing assertion that literally 99.99% of whores are coerced.

Above the Law

A [California] Sheriff’s Department deputy…sexually assaulted a [woman] he…pulled over…[he offered to] let [her] go in exchange for sex…[but when she] declined …he [forced her anyway]…”  The unedited original is almost incomprehensible for all the “alleged” and “unknown male” and passive voice; it even describes forcible rape as “sexual contact occurred”.  And in Kentucky, “A sexual assault lawsuit has been filed against…Sheriff Rick Clemons…‘I’m upset.  I’m very offended.  I’m actually shocked’, said Clemons…”  Cry me a fucking river.Rupert Everett

Stand-Up Guys

Rupert Everett is supporting a campaign against proposals…to criminalise sex workers’ clients.  The actor, who participated in sex work as a younger man is making a [TV] programme on the subject.  He has signed an open letter by the English Collective of Prostitutes and Queer Strike…journalist Cary Gee and a whole range of activist groups…have all added their names too…Former New Zealand MP Tim Barnett, who sponsored the…Act which decriminalised prostitution, described the…way…[end demand] laws were used…“Half of those arrested were transgender sex workers who were identified as men”…

Greeks Bearing Gifts

The noisome fruit of the “mandatory prosecution” tree:

…In an incident back in April, Joel Darvell, 36, allegedly choked his wife while drunk, causing his son to tackle him…Darvell allegedly pistol-whipped his son and then fired a .45 caliber round into the wall of their home.  No injuries were sustained.  Darvell was charged with assault…but [his] wife and children…refused to testify…Judge Michael Evans…[had them] dragged away…[to] jail…where they were held in cuffs and shackles…John Hays, who is representing Darvell’s wife…said…“The prosecutor wants to put the defendant in prison for over 20 years, and (his family members) really do not want that”…After 48 hours…the 13-year-old girl…broke…and…agreed to testify against her father.  The son and mother…were made to agree…as well…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #28)

Everyday Whorephobia interviews Morgane Merteuil of STRASS about the especially-revolting French version of the Swedish model:

…The law also proposes to fight…[advertising] websites…all the help…[for exploited migrants] is conditional on stopping sexwork…[and] working with  an “agreed organization”; of course…sexworkers rights [groups] won’t be [among] them…if students do sexwork, it is because they don’t have the consciousness that this is “prostitution”; so the solution is to add lessons about the “objectification of the body” at school…

Schadenfreude (TW3 #43)Meas Ratha

Somaly Mam has been caught in yet another huge lie:

…in January 1998, Ms. Mam was propelled…into the international media spotlight largely owing to the harrowing on-camera testimony of the young Meas Ratha…[who supposedly had] been promised a job as a waitress in Phnom Penh, but wound up a captive in a brothel…Sixteen years [later]…Ms. Ratha—now 32 years old and married—said her testimony…was fabricated and scripted for her by Ms. Mam…Ratha…said that she did not want to cause trouble for Ms. Mam’s NGO, which had provided an education for her, but that she could no longer continue a lie that had followed her for half her life…the fabrication of Ms. Ratha’s sex slave story is only the latest incident of false information to emerge from Ms. Mam and her organizations…

And how exactly does Somaly Mam “help” sex workers?

…Estée Lauder…has opened the Somaly Mam Beauty Salon…providing survivors of sexual slavery and human trafficking with…education and vocational training…in high-touch beauty services in hair care, makeup application and nail treatments…

Well, I guess it’s better than putting them to work in her fashion industry sponsors’ sweatshops.

Us and Them

These abuses always start with stigmatized groups, but never stop there:

[UK] police are to get the power to restrict the freedom of anyone they suspect of being a sex offender, even if the person has never been convicted of a crime…This can include limiting internet use, stopping the person from being alone with a child under 16 and preventing travel abroad.  Anyone breaching the so-called Sexual Risk Order, which lasts for at least two years, could be jailed for up to five years…

Unmentionables

WH Smith shut down its website…after it was revealed that a search for the term “daddy” brought up hardcore pornographic  ebooks featuring bondage and humiliation alongside stories for children.  At least 60 pornographic ebooks…could also be found on Amazon, Waterstones and Barnes & Noble…WH Smith apologised to customers and said the “explosion” of self-publishing had left book retailers exposed to pornographic content…

They weren’t “exposed” to shit; they just had a poor website design and are passing the buck.Jerry Brown masturbatory gesture

The Punitive Mindset (TW3 #337)

The governor of California pretends prison inmates don’t have sex with each other:

…Jerry Brown…vetoed a bill a that would have…required…condoms [to be] available in every California prison.  Supporters…argued that [this] would help reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among inmates, who have higher rates of HIV/AIDS…Brown…noted that family visitors are already allowed to bring condoms for…overnight visits…

Policing for Profit (TW3 #341)

A money-making venture to lure…drug buyers into Sunrise [Florida] to purchase cocaine from police has been halted…Mayor Michael Ryan…lay blame…on the [newspaper story exposing the racket]…Ryan did not express concerns about…[the busts taking place] in such public locations as parking lots and family restaurants…

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #341)

Another UN agency has reaffirmed…support of sex workers in response to Equality Now’s anti-sex worker campaign…This leaves Equality Now starkly on the fringes of the global women’s movement, as organisations as authoritative as UN Women…assert…that sex work is work, not trafficking.  The statement…also…[backs] safe workplaces – which come with decriminalisation – and the right to self-determination, including the right to stay in sex work…[this] precludes…the “Swedish model”…supported by Equality Now…which tries to drive sex workers from sex work (against their consent) through making it intolerably dangerous…

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Sex workers consider the promotion of the Swedish model and other forms of criminalization not just part of an ongoing “debate” on sex work, but a matter of life and death.  –  Melissa Gira Grant

John Wesley HawkinsLicense To Rape

A West Virginia sheriff raped a teenager and sodomized her with a cucumber, threatened to kill her if she told, and subjected at least five other women to forced sex, at least once in a courthouse…Brittany Mae Keene sued Barbour County Sheriff John Wesley Hawkins and the Barbour County Commission…[who] essentially let Hawkins conduct a reign of sexual terror against women in his custody…”  Hawkins’ victims ranged in age from 16 to 19.

Cops and Condoms (February Updates)

A [Polish] prostitute with HIV has been arrested for…having unprotected sex with clients [although]…she knew she was HIV positive…Fellow sex workers tipped off cops about the woman over fears that her actions would give prostitutes a bad [name].  But officers only arrested her after two of her clients came forward and admitted they had tested positive for HIV…

Election Day (February Updates)

Kristin Davis is running for office again, this time for New York City comptroller against her old client Eliot Spitzer.  She was interviewed in The National Review  by Charles Cooke (himself an advocate of legalization), and though she claims to be a libertarian she also seems to be advocating the sort of avails and bawdy house laws which may soon be struck down in Canada because they endanger sex workers.  Every time she opens her mouth, she reaffirms her membership in my Hall of Shame.

Subtle Pimping

LupaThe law doesn’t care if you profit from sex workers, as long as you don’t have any direct contact or actually help us in any way.  In a new French video game players manipulate a cartoonish, stereotyped streetwalker who must make $150,000 to “escape her pimp” by performing fake orgasm sounds into a microphone and avoiding hazards like cops and STDs (no skill involved in the latter because whores are just stupid victims of fate).  The writer of the linked review also profits by using various prohibitionist tropes to save himself the effort of original thought.

Public Service Announcement

Anthony Weiner found himself caught in another sexting scandal…like the one that destroyed his congressional career, but…won’t drop out of the race for mayor of New York…Weiner admitted sending a woman sexually explicit photos and messages…more than a year after he resigned from the House in disgrace for the same sort of behavior…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (July Updates)

Another example of cops’ filthy efforts to subvert the means by which sex workers attract business and keep ourselves safe:  “…a Long Island couple [was arrested for]…running an international escort service called Aphrodite Companions…Vincent and Melissa Lombardo…are currently being held without bond…the only basis…was…postings on…The Erotic Review…Jeremy Moody

Counterfeit Comfort

A South Carolina man targeted a sex offender at random, killed him and his wife and later told deputies he planned to kill others on the state’s sex registry…Jeremy Moody and his wife, Christine, were arrested and charged with murder…Moody only knew 59-year-old Charles Parker in passing, but came to the mechanic’s…home…with plans to kill him…Surveillance cameras outside Parker’s home showed Moody and his wife driving up…and popping the hood on their car as if it wasn’t working…Gretchen Parker wasn’t specifically targeted, but was killed because she was in the house…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

UCLA researchers say sex addiction does not appear to be a disorder…Nicole Prause and her colleagues monitored…volunteers’ brains while showing them erotic images.  “If they indeed suffer from hypersexuality…their brain response to visual sexual stimuli could be expected to be higher, in much the same way that the brains of cocaine addicts have been shown to react to images of the drug”…Prause…thinks that so-called sex rehabs should be examined…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Unlearning LibertyTwo readers sent presents for my thirdAbsolutely Mad anniversary (they arrived while I was in Las Vegas, so I didn’t know about them until after I got home last Sunday):  Kevin Wilson sent Unlearning Liberty, and Krulac sent Absolutely Mad and Blak and Blu.  Thanks so very much to both of you!

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A Broker in Pillage

Make a note of this one, because you won’t often see a judge side with a sex worker against cops:

A federal judge has ruled that Nebraska cops must return over $1 million confiscated at a traffic stop from a woman who saved the money $1 at a time during her 15 year career as an exotic dancer…Tara Mishra, 33…began putting aside her earnings when she started dancing at age 18…to start her business and get out of…stripping…State troopers confiscated the money in March 2012 when they pulled over Rajesh and Marina Dheri…[who] had been given the cash so they could buy a nightclub in New Jersey.  Mishra would own half of the business and the Dheris would own the other half…police did not find any evidence of drug activity…and…analysis found only trace elements of illegal drugs on the cash…[the judge] ordered that Mishra receive cash or a check in the value of $1,074,000 with interest.

Welcome To Our World (TW3 #15)

Another supposed “victim” is caged to force her cooperation in the state’s ugly little morality play:  “[An Illinois] woman who claims she was forced to work as a prostitute for her boyfriend remains held…without…bail because she is considered a flight risk and might not return to testify in her boyfriend’s trial…

End Demand

Though the story is somewhat amusing, note that “end demand” policies turn innocent whores into unwilling Judas goats:  “A man caught with a prostitute in his car told police she was there to show him where to buy tomatoes…officers found the [known sex worker] sitting inside Muhammad Ikhlaq’s car while he withdrew £20 from a cash machine, which he said was to pay for tomatoes…

Unclean Situation

The Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, and Good Shepherd Sisters will not apologise to survivors of the Magdalene laundries…Neither will [they] make a financial contribution to the Government’s reparations scheme…Co-operation voluntarily given does not compel the nuns in any legal sense.  Their negative response invalidates the Government’s assertion that survivors are being afforded restorative justice.  There is no justice without the nuns’ apologyPrint and/or financial reparation…the orders expect an amnesty for gross human rights violations…

Lest you forget, these same orders still receive tremendous amounts of aid and political support from the Irish government for their anti-whore scheme Ruhama.

No Friend of Ours

Just in case you think it’s only Las Vegas “authorities” who hate whores so much they’re willing to make themselves look like idiots by parroting ludicrous prohibitionist drivel, here’s an unusually-ridiculous example from Reno:

An increasing number of the young women…began working as prostitutes while in their teens.  They are manipulated by men who control every aspect of their lives…Some girls are branded – or tattooed – with their pimp’s name…others are forced to perform while their children are held ransom, usually at gunpoint…Girls as young as 11 are being exploited…the average age…is 14…Since 2002, the FBI and local law enforcement agencies have rescued about 100 children identified as possible victims of juvenile sex trafficking…That number does not include the adult women being trafficked, which experts say would be impossible to produce because many women don’t acknowledge that they are under the control of a pimp…[Ron] Chalmers heads the…[police division] that focuses on these types of crimes…about 10 years ago, the women arrested…were generally in their 30s to 40s [and] were drug addicts, he said.  But today, the prostitution demographics are completely different…They’re much younger than they used to be, he said…”A significant number of what we see, 80 to 90%, are being exploited – forced into the lifestyle”…

You may remember that the claims made in the “Satanic Panic” similarly became much more extreme, bizarre and demonstrably false as the hysteria drew closer to the point of implosion.  That last bit is more than just Maslow’s Hammer at work; it’s an example of the incredible mathematical and sociological illiteracy of hysterics.  Whenever a person tells you there’s been a major demographic shift in any human behavior in only one decade – from nearly nothing to “80 or 90%” –  it’s a safe bet the speaker is an imbecile who is incapable of considering even rudimentary thought experiments like “where did all the old ones go?”  We see the same principle at work under the Swedish model, which claims to have dramatically decreased the number of men who have ever paid for sex.

Banishment

The sex workers in the Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (SNapCO), the Atlanta group which defeated the proposal to banish arrested sex workers from the city, need to get control of their “allies”; not only is the group supporting involuntary diversion programs, its spokeswoman Misty Novitch is belching up the “average debut at thirteen” myth for the media.

It Looks Good On Paper (TW3 #311)

Yet another religiously-based “diversion program” chock full of prohibitionist rhetoric which claims to “help” streetwalkers while refusing to question the justice of the laws by which cops repeatedly victimize them:  “Prostituted women” were all sexually abused as children, pimps give us drugs to control us, blah blah blah blah blah…sauna raid

Across the Pond (TW3 #324)

Council bosses have [suspended] half a dozen [Edinburgh sauna] licences following a string of police raids…[in] a radical shift from the typically pragmatic approach to prostitution which…[kept] sex workers safer and off the streets…Peter Donoghue, 69, a former sauna operator…said:  “It was a lot of nonsense. Some girls have worked at the saunas for ten or 12 years. They’ll simply work for escort agencies instead. We’re going to appeal, but I don’t believe we have a chance”…

Hussies

Save the children and the poor, innocent men from evil harlots!

[Kenyan] women…accused commercial sex workers of invading the town and “stealing” their men…[they] are planning to drive the twilight girls out claiming they are spreading sexually transmitted diseases.  The women said the sex workers have taken their men and they are left cold and lonely on their marital beds…sex workers who dress scantily have created a brothel…where secondary school and university students go for cheap sex instead of concentrating on their studies…even primary school children have fallen into the traps…

Rubbing Elbows

A 17-year-old journalism intern’s impressions of the Desiree Conference:

I was a bit timid about the idea of going into a conference that was specifically about sex, but my passion against human trafficking led me to go…with…my mom…When I entered…I was…greeted by a woman with such a cheerful presence and smile, that it put me off guard.  In fact, this was the common air of everyone there:  happiness.  Everywhere I looked I found people wearing bright colors, hugging, laughing, and enjoying themselves.  I initially thought that at a Sex Worker’s Conference that it was going to be the exact opposite.  I was expecting victims — people just out of the Taken film, tears that warned of a gruesome past, and consoling. There was none of that in sight.  The media and society has always presented the sex industry as this taboo area…where [the] only people who were in this profession were forced to be…

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine (TW3 #329)

Caty Simon of Tits and Sass interviewed Kemal Ayrikotu of the Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association on the cultural background to the murder of Dora Oezer; Ayrikotu discusses the lack of rights for both sex workers and transgenders, and criticizes LGBT activists who wish to stress that Dora was a transwoman while ignoring that she was a whore (despite the two being nearly synonymous in Turkey).  Meanwhile, Melissa Gira Grant wrote on the protests for both Dora and Jasmine:  “If you passed by the Turkish or Swedish consulates in New York on [July 19th], you may have seen…sex workers and their supporters holding red umbrellas…the…action accompanied rallies in 36 cities and on four continents…demanding an end to the stigma and violence against sex workers’ communities…

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Moralists…always ignore the unpalatable truth that sex work is not oppression…but…opportunity.  –  Douglas Fox

Science!

If drought turns women into whores, what disaster turns them into politicians?

Several [congresscritters claim]…that climate change…could…drive poor women to “transactional sex”…The resolution, from Rep. Barbara Lee…and a dozen other Democrats, says…”[F]ood insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health”…

“Vulnerable to sex work” may be an even more agency-annihilating phrase than “prostituted woman”.

Amazingly Stupid Statements

In another fine example of a pro-sex worker article by a non-sex worker, Clementine Ford debunks five amazingly stupid anti-whore arguments:

…a number of [recent] conversations around sex work, autonomy and feminism…trotted out the tired idea that sex work degrades and harms all women…I have a number of [sex worker] friends and acquaintances…and I’m tired of seeing their lives denigrated because of how they choose to make money…Demonising sex workers under the guise of “helping” them is simply a way of expressing puritanical snobbery…[and] relies more on myths and prejudices than any real knowledge…

This one by Jane Gilmore didn’t get nearly as much press, but it’s also very good.Alannah MacTiernan

Social Autoimmune Disorder

Western Australia’s war on whores continues:  “The City of Vincent is considering a high-tech surveillance system that captures…licence plate information to help track kerb crawlers…mayor Alannah MacTiernan said…statistics proved more needed to be done to stamp out street prostitution and protect residents…she…also wants to name and shame people convicted of soliciting…”  Obviously, there is no actual crime in Vincent.

A False Dichotomy

Douglas Fox of Harlot’s Parlour, on the flexibility of sex work:

…Sex work…is one of the few areas…that allows the worker a wide variety of choices in how…where…and when they work.  It…provides a relatively good [cash]…return…for those…with few choices or…who need to make money quickly and anonymously…This…is…why sex work survives and flourishes no matter how [persecuted it is]…

Law of the Instrument

This article starts by claiming that “Police have a growing fear about the spread of human trafficking” due to “the growth of gambling in Maryland”.  But the text (which reads more like a Salvation Army screed than a news item) is about the cops “rescuing” a hooker by deceiving her, arresting her and abducting her children so she can be “saved from selling her body.”  After reading that, I feel I need to wash my eyeballs.

Moloch

Harsh public registration laws often punish youth sex offenders for life and do little to protect public safety, Human Rights Watch said in…Raised on the Registry: The Irreparable Harm of Placing Children on Sex Offender Registries in the US…the laws…[make] them targets for harassment, humiliation, and even violence…[and] severely restrict where, and with whom [they] may live, work, attend school, or even spend time…Human Rights Watch interviewed 281 youth sex offenders, whose median age at offense was 15, across 20 states, as well as hundreds of offenders’ family members, defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges, law enforcement officials, experts on the topic, and victims of child-on-child sexual assault…Numerous studies estimate the recidivism rate among children who commit sexual offenses to be between 4 and 10 percent, compared with a 13 percent rate for adult sex offenders and a national rate of 45 percent for all crimes…

Above the Law

Monica Contreras went to family court with her 2-year-old daughter in August 2011….on a routine divorce case”, but as she was leaving the Las Vegas courtroom Ron Fox, a bailiff-like cop called a “marshal”, ordered her into an anteroom (supposedly for a “drug search”) and groped her.  She went back into the courtroom and complained to the presiding official, Patricia Donninger, who literally ignored her; Fox then had her arrested for “false allegations made against a police officer.”  Nothing was done until the video below was discovered and publicized by KLAS-TV; Fox was fired but is suing to get his job back, and Donninger is being investigated.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, a cop named Aravanh Lakmany was sentenced to only two years in jail after pleading guilty to “extortion by threat and three counts of solicitation of prostitutes,” thus escaping a much longer sentence and sex offender registration for raping three whores.

Traffic Jam

Another fourth-rate playwright capitalizes on human trafficking; this one apparently thinks it’s “edgy” or profound to refer to sex workers as “roadkill”:

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents Roadkill, an immersive, theatrical event spotlighting the global issue of sex trafficking. Based on real-life experiences, the American premiere of Cora Bissett’s chilling production…[allows] audience members…to witness firsthand the brutal realities behind the newspaper headlines…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #25)

I’m shocked, SHOCKED I say, to discover that the “Trafficking in Persons Report” is nothing but a political tool:

…the United States may have been giving special treatment to major powers China, Russia, and India…[and] let even Uzbekistan off the hook…because of the repressive nation’s cooperation in getting supplies to American troops in Afghanistan…Iraq and Thailand too have seen their potential ranking downgrades delayed while Vietnam has won a premature ranking boost…due to strategic considerations…legislators and ex-state officials charged at a U.S. congressional hearing…

Broken Record

This story is noteworthy in that the quoted cop, while still buying the “gypsy whores” myth, only exaggerates the coercion rate by a factor of about 5 instead of the typical 45 or 50:

…beneath the pageantry, sport and spectacle, Kentucky Derby time is also the darkest hour for victims of human trafficking.  “We have high rates,” said Gretchen Hunt…[of] the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs…the phenomenon…accompanies other major sporting events in the United States, an influx of men willing to pay for sex.  Sgt. Andre Bottoms, of the Louisville…Police…estimates about ten percent of hundreds of prostitutes in Louisville this week are being forced or coerced…Carol Leigh

The Public Eye

Caty Simon of Tits and Sass continues a string of good interviews, this time with veteran activist Carol Leigh (AKA Scarlot Harlot), originator of the term “sex worker”.  Carol speaks about the growth of activism, trafficking hysteria, neofeminism and whore art.

The Birth of a Movement (TW3 #39)

Remember, prostitution is supposedly legal in France:

For the past five years, Lyon has enforced bylaws prohibiting the parking of prostitutes’ trucks in much of the city, forcing them into the Gerland industrial district.  The city has now issued orders to prohibit this as well, but the girls stayed…Karen, their spokeswoman, reaffirmed that they would not leave despite “unprecedented” police operations:  “We are forced to stay.  There was nowhere to go.  When you try to move to other parts of Greater Lyon…you are immediately driven out by the police.”  Since March 19, the…police have patrolled the area three to four times a week…to enforce the bylaw…and…discourage the clients…the mayor says she is not seeking “the eradication of prostitution” in Gerland…[but claims she has had] a “flood” of complaint letters from local businesses…the police are also continuing to use the offense of passive soliciting to “identify trafficking networks and pimps”…[despite the fact that] the Senate repealed the offense on March 29…

Across the Pond (TW3 #45)

This article on Edinburgh’s saunas (tolerated brothels) is fairly respectful; the only people quoted are sex workers (including advocate Laura Lee) and a punter, the dysphemisms are kept to a bare minimum, sex work is recognized as work and the threat posed by Rhoda Grant’s attempt to impose the Swedish model is mentioned.

An Example to the West (TW3 #49)

Sex workers…demanded representation in all policy making bodies…dealing with them.  “People who make laws don’t know anything about our issues, concerns and why we do this work.  So, policy making bodies must have our representatives,” said a participant from Ajmer…[they] also…rooted for self regulatory boards like Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) in Kolkata and Ashodhaya in Mysore to check violence in sex work and trafficking…

Also in India, a government official stated that “There should be no pre-condition that sex workers must give up their profession to get social benefits…

The Immunity Syndrome (TW3 #50)Lars and Lisa

a sex-education book…in Berlin elementary schools has some parents up in armsWo kommst du her? [“Where Do You Come From?”]…is recommended for ages 5 and up [and] shows a couple…in various stages of arousal.  In one illustration, Lisa puts a condom on Lars’ erect penis…The text also veers toward the explicit.  “When it’s so good that it can’t get any better, Lisa and Lars have an orgasm,” it reads. And…”The vagina and penis feel nice and tingly and warm”…Parents began to complain…but the school did nothing…until it was reported in the local press…

Something Rotten in Sweden (TW3 #135)

Local news station “discovers” a practice which has existed for over 15 years; pearl-clutching, dysphemisms and political opportunism ensue:

People like to read reviews online before buying a car or reserving a hotel room.  But one website, http://www.eccie.net…allows users to review the services of local prostitutes…the idea that you can review prostitutes has a lot of people concerned…Jenny Ford…[of] ACH Child and Family Services…says people posting on sites like this often use kinky sex and prostitution as a cover up for sex trafficking…State Senator Leticia Van De Putte…[has] filed…a bill that go [sic] after the people using them…

Awakening

Those of you who followed the #whenantisattack hashtag on Twitter back on March 3rd know the sort of abuse sex workers have to put up with; because of her prominence Dr. Brooke Magnanti gets more (and more severe) than most of us, and after a particularly nasty barrage last Saturday she wrote this essay on why it’s so very important that even angry perverts not be censored by “hate speech” laws.

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #314)

I wonder how many other cases of “sex trafficking” are exactly the same:

A missing 18-year-old Aurora [Colorado] woman [named Raven Cassidy Furlong]…was found…[after] police received a tip that she was sighted in Venice Beach…at tryouts for American Ninja Warrior…Furlong was taken to the police station [but released] once they ascertained she was in California of her own free will…Her family believes she was coerced into saying she’s OK.  “We know what Raven gave was a canned speech…They’ve been coerced to believe their families are bad, this is common in human trafficking,” [said] Shelley Shaffer, Director of the National Women’s Coalition Against Violence & Exploitation…

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t need to be “coerced” into wanting to escape from parents who infantilized me and were willing to use armed thugs to force me to live with them.Raymond Buys

Monsters

Three “gay and effeminate” teens have died after being starved, tortured and killed at a camp that promised to turn them into “men”…Raymond Buys, 15 [died]…in April 2011…just 10 weeks [after he entered] the Echo Wild Game Rangers training course in South Africa in perfect health…Buys was severely malnourished, dehydrated, his arm was broken in two places and there were burns and wounds all over his body…Alex De Koker, 49, and employee Michael Erasmus, 20, are on trial for charges of murder, child abuse and neglect…[tentmate] Gerhard Oostuizen, 19, claims Buys was chained to his bed every night…refused permission to visit the toilet…forced to eat his own faeces…beaten with planks, hosepipes and sticks…[and tased while] tied…to a chair naked with his head covered in a pillowcase…Eric Calitz, 18, and Nicolaas Van Der Walt, 19, had both died after being enrolled at the…camp four years earlier…Calitz…died of…seizure, dehydration and [cerebral hemorrhage, and] Van Der Walt…appeared to have been choked with a seatbelt.  In 2009, De Koker was handed a suspended sentence over Calitz but escaped charges for…Van Der Walt, and the camp was allowed to continue…

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #317)

You know a moral panic is nearing collapse when it becomes a default bogeyman:  “The state representative behind Tennessee’s “ag-gag” bill compared Humane Society…investigations to human trafficking of 17-year-old women

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When petty people get into power they consider themselves unexcelled in the world.  –  Chinese proverb

People who crave power are never satisfied with merely holding it; in order for their perversion to be satisfied they must wield it against others, preferably with destructive results, and when there are no more or less legitimate targets they simply attack peaceful non-criminals, never concerning themselves with whether their targets are actually hurting anyone.  The mere violation of an arbitrary rule is held to be sufficient grounds for persecution, often at great expense to the state and citizens, because the state’s authority must go unquestioned, no matter how inoffensive the target or how great the damage done by the exertion of such authority.

New Orleans’ Nasty Little “Sex Offender” Game (August 17th, 2010)

Regular readers know that prostitutes in Louisiana are routinely charged with the ludicrously-named “Crime Against Nature” felony in addition to simple prostitution, but while it’s generally dropped as part of a plea deal with white middle-class escorts like me it tends to stick for poor (especially black or transsexual) streetwalkers, who are then committed to the “sex offender” registry for decades (40% of Orleans Parish “sex offenders” are there for this non-crime).  In my column of February 26th I reported on a federal challenge (Doe vs. Jindal) to this law and mentioned that WWAV had other strategies for defeating it besides the court case.  Well, I can now tell you what I was asked to withhold in February:  One of those strategies was a legislative one, and it bore fruit Thursday (June 30th) as Governor Bobby Jindal signed a law reducing “solicitation for crime against nature” to a misdemeanor, thus removing the registration requirement.  The litigation must continue because everyone previously convicted is still classified as a felon, but considering the new law I think there’s a good chance the case will succeed and those who were victimized by the arbitrary pronouncements of little tin gods in the police and prosecutor’s offices will soon have a chance at a normal life again.  Congratulations to WWAV and its allies for this monumental victory over a two-century-old injustice!

Something Rotten in Sweden (November 13th, 2010)

Montgomery County, Maryland claims to be so concerned about the welfare of prostitutes that it is willing to infantilize us, construct elaborate and expensive schemes to violate our civil rights and those of our clients, and waste thousands of man-hours (and untold funds) in cruising hooker sites and writing libelous propaganda filled with weird rationalizations, distorted information and blatant lies.  But lest my readers believe this sick hatred is directed only at whores, I present this story which demonstrates that Montgomery County is committed to the suppression of all victimless crimes, no matter how small:

You can make a fortune selling parking spots outside the US Open, but don’t even dream of setting up a lemonade stand.  A county inspector ordered…kids to shut down the stand…and after they allegedly ignored a couple of warnings, the inspector fined their parents $500…Jennifer Hughes, the director of permitting for the county, says it’s technically illegal to run even the smallest lemonade stand…but inspectors usually don’t go looking for them.  She said this one was unusually large.  Hughes also says they’ve warned all kinds of other vendors they couldn’t operate near the US Open because of concerns about traffic and safety…What’s funny is that the county has given scores of other neighbors permits to let golf fans park on their front lawns.  The permits cost almost $300, but prices per car run as much as $60 a day.  And some neighbors are reportedly raking in tens of thousands of dollars…

The bad publicity of course resulted in the county backpedaling on the stand and waiving the fine, which demonstrates exactly why sex workers and those who support us need to keep calling attention to the rampant abuses committed against us by the police, such as in the following item:

Social Autoimmune Disorder (January 12th, 2011)

In this article I pointed out that societies, like individual creatures, sometimes develop disorders in which “the systems which were meant to protect society from invaders or other troublesome organisms are instead turned against some of its own systems, sometimes even vital systems.”  The column mentioned the new and legally troubling trend of police violating the First Amendment by charging the owners of escort websites for “facilitating prostitution” via escort ads on their sites, despite the fact that “courts around the country have held that advertisements posted on a host website are merely ‘republished’ material, with the host having no responsibility for the ads’ contents.”  This form of persecution has been tried before and failed, but police don’t care because:  1) it isn’t their money they’re wasting; 2) though the website owner will prevail, it will cost him a great deal and inflict tremendous suffering, which is what the police enjoy most; and 3) they may be able to trick or frighten some escorts and clients into revealing themselves.  The most recent example appears in this June 20th story from KOB-TV in Albuquerque, New Mexico:

New Jersey…physics professor David Flory thought he had a fool-proof operation.  Access to his website, “Southwest Companions,” was highly restricted.  Officials said only clients that were verified by prostitutes could gain access…”Once you became a trusted member you had access to reviews of the girls…where they would actually write reviews of the girls they’ve slept with, what acts they would commit, how much their pricing,” [APD Lt. William] Roseman said.  Six months ago, a prostitute working with Flory gave investigators a tip [which] investigators used…to become a trusted member [sic] of the website…prostitutes worked with police to make sure Flory believed the agents were trustworthy clients.  After six months of undercover work, investigators got trusted status and were able to access all the information on the site.  Then agents got a tip that Flory was headed to New Mexico on website business.  “We had enough information to do the…warrants…so we began tracking him once he arrived in New Mexico and…Sunday…he was having coffee at a Starbucks when the two detectives walked behind him,” Roseman stated.  As police arrested Flory, they saw that he was logged online to his site, “Southwest Companion,” [sic] on his phone.  “He told us that he wanted a secure site for people to ‘hobby’ that they did not have to worry about law enforcement.  So he intentionally set this up as a site to have prostitution occur without the fear of law enforcement taking over,” Roseman explained.

According to police, most of the 1,400 clients are from New Mexico, mainly the Albuquerque and Santa Fe areas.  Police said they are working to identify those clients and their names could be made public through court documents related to the case.  Officials are telling those who used prostitutes through the site to come forward before authorities knock at their homes or work.  Investigators said 200 of the prostitutes linked to the site are from Albuquerque.  Many of them charged a minimum of $250.00 for sex acts.  Florey [sic] is being held on $100,000 cash only or surety bond.

Professor David Flory

Regular readers have seen enough of these stories by now to recognize the typical features, such as the phrasing of ordinary actions as nefarious:  “what acts they would commit” rather than “what services they offered” (as in the phrase, “she committed manicure on my hands”), and even better “he intentionally set this up” (as opposed to most people, who set up their websites by accident).  Then there’s the reporter’s gloating over others’ misfortunes (see the first line) and the cops’ masturbatory bragging about their “investigation” and the downplaying of the bullying and deception used to further it; the story claims “a prostitute working with Flory” (i.e. advertising on the site) “gave investigators a tip” (i.e. she was arrested and interrogated in a back room, then threatened with having her kids taken away and other monstrous violations until she agreed to act as a Judas goat).  And of course there’s the typical cop strutting and throwing around empty threats, the weird passive-voice constructions like “have prostitution occur”, and the goofy puritanisms such as “used prostitutes” and “charged for sex acts”.  But the last and most important feature of just about every online story about a prostitution bust these days is the comment thread, featuring a few vulgar responses from cretins about “selling our bodies”, “spreading disease”, “forced by pimps”, etc…and many, many more from citizens wondering why public funds are wasted in pursuit of misdemeanors while loose-cannon cops are free to go around shooting people in the back (and bragging about it on the internet) without fear of repercussions for their crimes.

In the second half of the June 28th episode of Out FM, Liz Coplen of SWOP and Jill McCracken of SWWB discuss the Flory Case at length.

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The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization. –  Ralph Waldo Emerson

An autoimmune disease is one in which the body’s protective systems turn from attacking pathogens and other invaders to attack some portion of its own tissues instead.  As you might expect, most such disorders are fatal; what you may not realize is that women are disproportionately affected.  Women are ten times as likely as men to be affected by such disorders; about 75% of those with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus and 85% of those with multiple sclerosis are female, and autoimmune diseases are among the leading causes of death for all women below the age of 65.  The bodies of societies sometimes also develop such syndromes; the systems which were meant to protect society from invaders or other troublesome organisms are instead turned against some of its own systems, sometimes even vital systems.  And just as in biological autoimmune disorders, those who are affected most are usually women.  I don’t think I need to give many examples of this; the witch hysteria of the 16th and 17th centuries is one, as is the wholesale rape practiced by armies in African civil wars.  But the one I wish to concentrate on today is the continuing persecution of prostitutes in England and the United States, despite the obvious social function we serve.

This social autoimmune disorder has been prevalent in modern cultures since it first evolved in the late 19th century, but many countries, including some who suffered from very advanced cases of it, have recovered or at least acknowledged they had a problem and sought treatment for it.  Taiwan, for example, long permitted prostitution but in the ‘90s caved in to US pressure and the influence of American “rescue groups” and descended into a particularly acute case of repression; fortunately Taiwan’s prostitutes were well-organized and refused to kowtow to American-style prohibition.  They formed the Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters to fight the new persecution, and Taiwan will legalize prostitution in November of this year.  While the proposed system of red-light districts and permits allows for far more abuse than decriminalization, it’s vastly superior to the pathological American system or the deeply sick English system.

As I reported on January 3rd, “the Association of Chief Police Officers has called for a debate over prostitution laws so as to change them to protect prostitutes from violence.  While some local jurisdictions in England (such as Liverpool and  Merseyside) have adopted a progressive approach to reducing violence by tolerating prostitution, others (such as Blackpool and Bradford) prefer American-style antics which endanger women by forcing them onto the street; decriminalization (or at least law reform) would put an end to such irresponsible and asinine behavior by prohibiting it from above.”  The term “American-style antics” was not chosen lightly; remember this article in which we read about the Detroit police seizing people’s cars for the “crime” of parking near a club they suspected of “facilitating prostitution”?  Well, Bradford police are now doing something similar:  taking the license plate numbers of cars parked in the red-light district, looking them up in the database and then sending out letters accusing them of “kerb crawling”, i.e. trolling for streetwalkers.  And while the letters do not constitute official criminal charges, they are sent indiscriminately to the owner’s home or work address (if a company car) and remain on public record unless the victim wins a lawsuit to have them removed.  In other words, the accused are assumed guilty until proven innocent…because they legally parked in a place the police decided was “suspicious”.  While the Detroit police department’s stealing cars and holding them for ransom constitutes sheer Chinese banditry, it is surpassed in evil by Bradford’s quiet, cheap Orwellian surveillance resulting in a permanent cloud of publicly-recorded suspicion.

Meanwhile, here in the Colonies, the FBI has apparently decided to attempt to trump numerous court decisions by threatening escort advertising websites with charges of “facilitating prostitution” and “money laundering”; according to an article posted on the website of the Adult Video Network on Saturday (January 8th):

This year’s Arthur Schwartz Legal Seminar featured some of the country’s top First Amendment attorneys giving attendees the low-down on the latest threats facing the adult industry, as well as some of the victories scored over the past year.  [The first speaker was]… Paul Cambria [a prominent 1st amendment attorney who]…warned of a new threat: Targeting websites that accept ads for adult services.  Cambria spoke specifically of the recent bust of Escorts.com, whose offices were raided by over 100 Philadelphia police and FBI agents in October, although no federal indictments have yet been issued, and Cambria’s own sources have indicated that the Justice Department has no interest in the case.  “It’s really new [legal] ground,” Cambria said of the raid, observing that courts around the country have held that advertisements posted on a host website are merely “republished” material, with the host having no responsibility for the ads’ contents.  However, he noted, the FBI has taken the position that allowing such ads to be posted on the sites amounts to “facilitating prostitution,” and that the web host could be charged with criminal facilitation and even money laundering—both very serious federal felonies.

The article then goes on to discuss the ongoing attempts by rubber fetishists to force the entire porn industry to cater to their peculiar perversion:

Porn actress, AHF style

Attorney Karen Tynan, who represents the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM) spoke next, summarizing the several meetings held by Cal/OSHA regarding forcing adult producers to force their performers to use “barrier protections” (condoms, dental dams, goggles, face shields) during sex scenes. She traced the beginnings of the controversy…and spoke of the pressures put on the Los Angeles Department of Public Health by such groups as the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the Pink Cross Foundation and the UCLA Reproductive Health Interest Group.  Tynan noted that Cal/OSHA has never won a court case against a company not following state health regulations, and urged performers and producers to get involved in the issue and attend the Cal/OSHA meetings, the next one scheduled for February 8 in Oakland.  “You can have a voice in these meetings,” she stated.

[Seminar moderator Jeffrey] Douglas added that the fight is on two fronts: Free Speech is attempting to create workable health regulations for the industry, since the current ones were developed for high-risk hospital personnel, as well as to help companies push back against OSHA inspectors who, he said, will cheat and lie to get the “cooperation” they want.

So while other countries work to eliminate this “social autoimmune disorder”, the countries which pioneered the concept of civil rights – England and the United States – prefer to wallow in sickness.  In the UK there is hope if reformist forces win out over those who almost succeeded in establishing the Swedish Model there last year, but in the US governments not only refuse to fight the prohibitionist disease but actually cater to groups either inside or outside the government who want to hasten its progress.

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