Among all the world’s races, some obscure Bedouin tribes possibly apart, Americans are the most prone to misinformation. This is not the consequence of any special preference for mendacity, although at the higher levels of their public administration that tendency is impressive. It is rather that so much of what they themselves believe is wrong. - John Kenneth Galbraith
Stories about the facts behind popular American lies.
Conjuration (May 9th, 2011)
Politicians are always inventing imaginary victims of the moral panic du jour, but they’re usually more subtle about it than these cops from Tennessee:
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), Coffee County is one of four major locations across the state for human sex trafficking. However, not a single report from the Tullahoma Police Department…indicates any human sex trafficking incidents. The TBI report released in June suggests that [the four] counties each have more than 100 cases…during the past two years. The numbers were gathered from an anonymous… survey the bureau distributed to law enforcement agencies…although the Tullahoma Police Department and Coffee County Sheriff’s Department were listed as survey participants, officials aren’t sure who – if anyone – received the e-mailed survey. “We’re unaware that anyone from this office participated…” said Police Chief Paul Blackwell. “We haven’t found any record that indicates Tullahoma has even one case of human sex trafficking.”
Blackwell suggests it’s highly possible that some agencies interpreted the definition…as something else…“Historically, we have not had anything within the past two years that gives any indication of…trafficking”…TBI Director Mark Gwyn…calls human sex trafficking “sexual slavery at its worst” and went on to explain that “…traffickers are difficult for law enforcement to investigate and a challenge to prosecute” and calls for harsher penalties for the crime. “Human trafficking and sex slavery in Tennessee is more common that [sic] previously believed possible…children are moved from city to city in the state and sold as prostitutes. Tennessee, simply because of its geographical position to Atlanta and the large number of interstates that cross the state, is conducive to a traveling business. Many times those promoting prostitution transport the child victims to large entertainment events or sporting venues where people are traveling through or visiting the state…The report states human sex trafficking is often confused with prostitution…
Hmm, I wonder why human trafficking is often confused with prostitution? Because the two are purposefully conflated by prohibitionists, maybe? Or could it be because while there really aren’t many “sex slaves” anywhere (much less in Tennessee), people like Mr. Gwyn encourage those under them to conjure victims out of thin air? When one realizes that Tennessee “authorities” imagine there can be hundreds of “trafficking victims” in their state (rather than <50 coerced underage prostitutes as statistics indicate), one can understand how those devoid of critical thinking skills can believe there are 300,000 of them in the country. Two final points: notice the thoroughly-discredited “sporting event sex slaves” myth and Tennessee’s entry in the “largest center of human trafficking” contest.
Dirty Whores (June 24th, 2011)
As I explained in this column, “95-97% of STDs are spread by the good, ‘clean’ members of the general population who can legally screw anybody they like without even the most cursory or sporadic health checks,” and promiscuous non-prostitutes have a venereal disease rate twice that of streetwalkers. Here’s a Daily Mail article from July 18th reporting on the newest threat to public health…the over-50 crowd:
…For the past few years the Health Protection Agency…has been warning about the staggering rise in STIs among baby-boomers. Its latest figures show chlamydia infections have increased by…138 per cent since 2001. Genital herpes is up…142 per cent in ten years, while gonorrhoea is up…14 per cent since 2001. Cases of genital warts…have risen by 62 per cent in the past ten years…and the diseases themselves are becoming more ferocious. Just last week, Swedish scientists announced the discovery of a strain of gonorrhoea that had become resistant to antibiotics. Of course, in numbers, infections among young adults and men who have sex with men are still far greater. But by putting our heads in the sand about this new, rapidly growing group, we are risking the health of a generation…
These older adults were in secure, stable relationships during the Eighties - their first sexual experiences were in the relatively safe years before HIV…even existed…[because of] the Pill…this generation felt free to experiment…[but have never] been the target of public-health campaigns to warn them of the dangers. Indeed, some patients are almost affronted when I suggest they always use a condom…But STIs do not discriminate between 16 or 60-year-olds - we all need to be much more careful.
Note that unlike Americans, British authorities admit that sex workers are not an important vector of STIs. Perhaps we sex workers should start spreading propaganda about “dirty amateurs” and insisting that y’all undergo weekly “health checks”. Not that we’d do it if we could, but it would be a lot closer to reality than the “dirty whore” myth.
Against Their Will (July 23rd, 2011)
South Korean prostitutes are battling for their rights, and many are willing to commit suicide rather than be “rescued” by cops doing the bidding of the American government; the following is edited from a July 6th MSNBC story whose Korean writer is weirdly obsessed with the word “pimp”, no doubt due to ingestion of toxic levels of American propaganda:
The…prostitutes of Yeongdeungpo start the day as if preparing for a siege, stocking their brothels with flammable liquid…large, red-lettered signs warn police that they’re willing to die to protect their livelihoods. “We can turn on the gas and light the flames,” said…47-year-old…Sohn. ”We know that we don’t have much chance of winning … but we’re ready to die fighting.” Nearly seven years after tough laws began driving thousands of South Korean prostitutes out of business, the sex workers of the Yeongdeungpo red-light district in Seoul are fighting back, spurred by what they say is an unprecedented campaign of police harassment. Since April they’ve staged large, sometimes violent, protests…which…have been unusual in their size, organization and fury…at a recent protest, about 20 topless women covered in body and face paint doused themselves in flammable liquid and had to be restrained from setting themselves on fire.
“We are the people who eat, sleep and live here. Where can we move?” prostitute Jang Se-hee said in an interview inside a large tent where sex workers were discussing how to resist police. The 36-year-old Jang…said her earnings have plunged from as much as $9,200 a month to about $3,700 since police began harrying the brothels in April…Many brothels have suspended business because of the crackdown. Signs in those still open show their occupants’ defiance: ”We will die here,” they read, or “I will pour fuel on my body and die gloriously”…Prostitution was banned in South Korea in 1961, but police rarely enforced the law…About 259,000 people, 70 percent of them male customers, have been arrested since the new laws took effect in 2004. Nearly 4,000 prostitutes have left their brothels, while 1,800 remain, and seven of the country’s 35 major red-light districts have disappeared, according to police records…South Korea runs nine support centers offering vocational training and psychological counseling to former prostitutes where they can work for a monthly salary of about $460 to $920, according to government officials. Many women, however, find it hard to adjust to new lives and to resist the better pay of sex work. Despite the social stigma, they drop out of the centers and return to prostitution.
Why on Earth would a woman prefer to make $9200/month working for herself than $920/month working for the government? It’s just unfathomable! The story tries to blame the new crackdowns on a 2002 brothel fire, but that’s a contemptible lie for American readers; the truth is that Korean prostitutes are being harassed, hounded, impoverished, driven from their neighborhoods and deprived of their livelihoods to satisfy American ideas of “morality”, as explained in this July 21st article from The Chosunilbo:
The U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report 2011 published on Monday depicts South Korea as a “source, transit, and destination country for men and women subjected to forced prostitution and forced labor.” But…experts say some of the allegations are unfounded. South Korea is in Tier 1, which groups countries that fully comply with the international minimum standards…[but] many foreigners who come to South Korea for jobs or marriage, are actually forced into prostitution or labor, the report says…it says South Korean women are also forced into prostitution in the U.S., Canada, Japan, and Australia, as well as at home. [It] claims an increasing number of teenagers in South Korea suffer sexual exploitation, more than 95 percent of which is arranged online [and] South Korean men are still clients of child prostitutes in Southeast Asia…But an official with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said, “The number of brothels has dropped as a result of consistent crackdowns in red-light districts under a special law in 2004. We protect sex trafficking victims through nationwide counseling centers and other support facilities”…The report recognizes the South Korean government’s anti-trafficking efforts but accuses it of failing to enforce laws strictly or mete out stern punishment…
In other words, the United States has pressured South Korea to close down brothels and imprison more people, and as a result women are being harassed literally to death. How long will this madness continue before other large countries demand the U.S. stop interfering in the affairs of smaller sovereign nations, especially when that interference results in grievous human rights abuses?
One Year Ago Today
The second part of “The Only Working Girl in New Orleans”, which tells of the only time I was ever arrested.