Nothing can be more surely established by a larger experience than that a Government which interferes with any trade injures that trade. - Walter Bagehot
Seven updates to previous columns from the fourth week of 2012.
All Shapes and Sizes (September 8th, 2010)
In this column I mentioned Peyronie’s Syndrome, which causes penile deformity; according to this January 23rd article from Science Now a more effective therapy may be on the horizon:
…A new study in rats shows that lacing a penis graft with adult stem cells yields better healing and sexual function…Men with penis injuries, deformities, or severe Peyronie’s disease…sometimes need surgery to reconstruct their genitalia and restore their sexual function. Many receive a graft made of their own tissue, cadaver tissue, or pig intestines, but the surgery can cause complications, including erectile dysfunction. Wayne Hellstrom, a urologic surgeon at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans…wanted…a surgical intervention with fewer side effects. So he teamed up with colleagues in California and China [to seed] pig intestine grafts with adult stem cells taken from fat tissue in rats…the researchers…found that rats with stem cell-laden grafts had less scarring and better erectile responses…than did those with stem cell-free grafts. The rodents’ erections were comparable in rigidity, blood flow, and response time to those in the…control rats…The results…suggest that lacing the grafts with stem cells enhances blood flow and boosts the production of molecules that make and maintain erections, all of which makes for a better penis reconstruction…Hellstrom and colleagues plan to test the method in primates next and then eventually in people. ”Peyronie’s affects 3% to 9% of adult males and causes a lot of psychological distress,” Hellstrom says. ”If we can improve what we have now, it seems like the logical thing to do.”
The Red Umbrella (December 17th, 2010)
“As we’ve discussed many, many times in the past, violence from the police [and] bad customers…is all too common a part of the lives of prostitutes, most especially streetwalkers; too many men…consider whores to be disposable, “non-persons” against whom assault, robbery or rape is permissible. A large part of the reason for this is the suppression of our trade; the laws criminalizing our profession allow weak-minded men…to convince themselves that since we are “criminals” we don’t deserve to be treated like human beings, and the attitude of both the law and the police makes it difficult to impossible for…prostitutes to even be heard by the police much less have crimes against us investigated.” This story from the January 10th Orlando Sentinel demonstrates the first part of my statement and provides a welcome exception to the latter part; too bad Juarez will never recognize the poetic justice of the date he was arrested:
…Ernesto Juarez, 32, is facing several charges in a Dec. 17 attack, including sexual battery with a deadly weapon…[he] admitted to attacking, raping or attempting to rape five prostitutes…[but] detectives have yet to charge him in four of the cases. One of his alleged victims…told [reporters] about her dangerous encounter…Juarez…picked her up on the afternoon of Dec. 10…agreed to pay her $40…and said he was going to take her to his house…[but when he] head[ed] into a secluded area and stopped at a metal gate, the woman became suspicious…[he] got out…went around to her side of the vehicle and pulled off his pants…[but when she asked for her] money, he punched her in the face…[then] pulled her outside and continued hitting her…[she got free and] crawled under the truck, grabbed ahold of the frame and held on as he tugged on her legs…[eventually she got] away…and [ran] to a nearby business screaming for help…A week [later] the property owner noticed Juarez’s pickup parked in the same [spot]…[he] found Juarez [raping] another prostitute in the front seat and called police…Juarez managed to drive away but didn’t get far…he first denied hurting the woman…but later changed his story and described how he had beaten and raped several prostitutes beginning in September. [He claimed] he would “lose control” when the prostitutes asked him for money up front, because he viewed it as a sign of “disrespect”…Juarez is being held without bail at the Orange County Jail.
One wonders if he “loses control” when cashiers expect him to pay before taking groceries from a store, or if he just reserves his indignation for women he thinks won’t call the cops.
Real Men Support Sex Worker Rights (April 22nd, 2011)
In this January 26th essay in Reason, Jacob Sullum demonstrates his balls not only by opposing the popular campaign against Backpage and criticizing Forbes columnist Daniel Fisher (who ruined his own attack on Backpage’s critics with a mealy-mouthed anti-whore statement), but also by standing up for our rights and slamming Nicholas Kristof as one of the perpetuators of the system which exposes us to harm:
…Fisher hastens to add, “I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with trying to shut down the vigorous market for human flesh.” Well, I am saying that, if…he means the exchange of sex for money. It makes as much sense to ban prostitution because some prostitutes are forced…as it does to ban agriculture because farms have been known to use slaves…prohibition forces…prostitutes to work in dangerous conditions, picking up customers on the street or covertly connecting with them online, and makes it harder for them to seek legal remedies when they are cheated or abused. These hazards, similar to those seen in black markets for drugs and gambling, are not inherent to the business of selling sex; they are inherent to the policy of using force to suppress peaceful commerce. Since these dangers are entirely predictable, prohibitionists like Kristof should be reflecting on their role in perpetuating them, instead of making scapegoats out of businesses that run classified ads.
I strongly urge you to read the whole thing!
Full of Themselves (June 7th, 2011)
“I always find it fascinating when women in professions which are only barely different from prostitution (such as stripping or domination) or historically connected to prostitution (such as acting and massage) get all holier-than-thou, proclaiming themselves ‘better’ than we are…”
Would you believe…competition pole dancers trying to distance themselves from strippers?
Three Russian pole dancers…applied for visas to travel to the United States…they were told that it was best not to mention…that…[they were] in a pole dancing competition…the visa authorities decided to do some poking around…on…Facebook…[and discovered] they weren’t just tourists…their visas were…canceled…[and they] were subjected to an humiliating…grilling by three federal agents…Any other dance competition would have been above suspicion, but since it was pole dancing, they immediately [made] the stripper connection and…presumed that the competition was just window dressing for human trafficking, prostitution and illegal stripping! This sad lack of comprehension is unfortunately still a reality and we have a long way to go before the stripper association is dislodged from people’s minds. As of now the stereotype that people still have about pole dancing prevents them from viewing it as the legitimate art form that requires creativity and imagination and a sport that requires tremendous skill, athletic ability and great strength.
Because, you know, when a stripper does it to make a living it isn’t “legitimate” and requires no creativity, imagination, skill or athletic ability. The writer doesn’t criticize the whole “sex workers are trafficked” nonsense; she’s only irate because the dancers were confused with “common” strippers.
Forward and Backward (November 22nd, 2011)
Remember those “prostitution-free zones” that enable Washington, DC cops to arrest people for “looking like prostitutes”, and how they’re trying to make them permanent? Well, a coalition of civil rights advocates and transsexuals (who suffer disproportionately because cops assume they’re all drag streetwalkers) are fighting it, and the DC attorney general reluctantly agreed with them. According to the January 24th Washington Post:
The D.C. attorney general’s office said…that the District’s temporary “prostitution-free zones” are probably unconstitutional, raising fresh doubts about a bill…that would broaden the zones and make them permanent…In [such] areas…police can make arrests for up to 24 consecutive days if two or more people congregate in public…and ignore dispersal orders…Council member Yvette Alexander…has introduced a bill that would empower police to make the zones permanent. But [assistant AG Ariel] Waldman and Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham expressed broad reservations about the bill…The statements…and…concerns from social service and gay rights activists, present fresh hurdles for Alexander’s efforts to combat prostitution…
When a politician says something is “probably unconstitutional”, it really means “this is so obviously unconstitutional we haven’t a snowball’s chance in Hell of slipping it past the civil libertarians without raising a huge stink.”
Legal Is as Legal Does (December 14th, 2011)
Yet another example of the dangers of legalization, in this case laws which presume hookers are so stupid we need Nanny to “protect” us from big bad pimps (unless they have a government license, of course):
A young prostitute was caught out in a covert operation called Operation Heatwave after she and three other prostitutes went to visit clients who turned out to be undercover police. Aimee Louise Roy, 21, went to a hotel…with three other sex workers on October 23 to meet clients…[who were secretly] police and the group was arrested. Roy was charged with knowingly participating in providing prostitution…If she was acting on her own, she wouldn’t have been in trouble. There are two forms of legal sex work in Queensland – sole operators (private work) where a single sex worker works alone and sex work conducted in a licensed brothel…Magistrate Matthew McLaughlin noted the law was designed to catch out “pimps” and told Roy if she wanted to keep up that line of work she should do it through a licensed premises.
The story also demonstrates that pigs are pigs and will inevitably use whatever loophole the law gives them to harass and victimize whores.
The More the Better (January 9th, 2012)
…a legal brothel near Reno [Nevada is]…taking the world’s oldest profession into the modern age of luxury recreation, featuring a cabaret…a fully equipped spa, and 10 deluxe suites. “We see this as the Ritz-Carlton of brothels,” [said] Lance Gilman, co-owner of the Mustang Ranch Resort…[which] seeks to earn 40 percent of its revenue from goods and services unrelated to private time with the ladies…It costs nothing to stay at the resort [but] guests have to pay at least one of the women to accompany them around the Ranch at all times…Gilman and [his wife Susan] Austin said they were inspired by Walt Disney, who famously took his children to a shabby carnival and imagined building what would become the world’s first theme park — Disneyland. “Most brothels are basically trailer parks in isolated places and there’s nothing to do once you get there other than have sex,” Gilman said…
This is great news; it was after Vegas casinos started “gentrifying” in the ‘80s that people from other states dropped their prejudices against gambling, and now casinos are everywhere in the US. Of course,
…That’s not good news to people like Anne Bissell…[a] former prostitute…[whose self-appointed] mission is to deglamorize the…sex industry, which she believes to be full of what are not victimless crimes. “The sex industry has hijacked so many terms, like freedom of choice…It used to be the definition of an empowered woman was a doctor or lawyer. Now it’s a stripper or prostitute…”
This incredibly stupid statement has become very popular among prohibitionists; I wonder what looking-glass world they’re living in? Because in this one, legally barring women from certain jobs is a restriction of choice, and the government and media paint sex workers as powerless victims.
One Year Ago Today
“February Updates (Part One)” features items about a hooker accused of spreading HIV, a former madam pandering to popular prohibitionist myths and an Anglican priest fighting for strippers’ rights.