No oppression is so heavy or lasting as that which is inflicted by the perversion and exorbitance of legal authority. - Joseph Addison
We’re halfway through the year already! Here’s a new item followed by eight updates and four metaupdates.
Feeding On Their Own
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (one of the goons behind the toothless threats against Backpage and a major promoter of the “gypsy whores” myth) has accused Google (which gave $11 million to anti-whore groups) of failing to enable Abbot’s snooping. I’m not really concerned with the conflict itself; I’m just glad to see two supporters of trafficking hysteria at each other’s throats. Maybe Abbott will be too busy fighting Google to persecute as many consenting adults as usual, and if this costs Google a lot of money they’ll have less to give to prohibitionists this year. Let’s hope this becomes a trend; perhaps Martha Coakley will sue CNN next.
Reading Between the Lines (November 11th, 2010)
The last time the FBI diverted federal funds to conduct local prostitution busts under the guise of “fighting sex trafficking” I had a full report to dissect, but this time they’re playing coy; though press releases for “Operation Cross-Country 6” crow about the “rescue” of 79 “children” and the arrest of 104 “pimps”, no mention is made of the hundreds of adult women who were no doubt arrested as well (over 800 of them if the proportions are similar to those of the last raid). As for those “children”: most underage whores are about 17 so the majority of these probably are as well, though we’re only told they were “as young as” 13 (which would be true if only one was). Statistically, 66 of these “child sex slaves” have never even met a pimp, so where did 104 “pimps” come from? The answer is that most of them are probably male or transgender prostitutes, cast as “pimps” to fit the narrative. I’ll write more on this when more complete data becomes available, but in the meantime here’s an analysis of local reports compiled by the ever-thorough Emi Koyama.
Hooters, Japanese Style (December 15th, 2010)
…police…arrested five employees affiliated with a restaurant chain that features female staff members in revealing clothing. Nikkan Gendai…sees the bust as another example of the demise of another popular form of salaryman entertainment…Attired in bikinis that expose their midriffs, the girls perform dance routines…and shake their hips as they take food orders…“After these girls get off work, they’ll attract stalkers,” says lawyer Toshi Okabayashi…“Since this type of employment could also develop into a hotbed for prostitution, the police cannot overlook these places.” The lawyer adds that these recent arrests are intended to set an example…
I’m not sure why the police should be concerned with “hotbeds of prostitution” when the trade is essentially legal in Japan; that “set an example” bit is chilling.
Check Your Premises (March 10th, 2011)
Another man convicted of “child pornography” for taking photos of a woman with whom he was legally having sex:
…Marshall Hollins had a 17-year-old girlfriend…perfectly legal in Illinois, where the age of consent for sex is 17. Yet because Hollins took pictures…he was convicted of three child pornography offenses and sentenced to eight years in prison…the Illinois Supreme Court rejected Hollins’…arguments…While 17 might be old enough to have sex, the court said, allowing the event to be photographed entails additional risks that arguably require another year’s worth of maturity and wisdom…dissenting Justice Anne M. Burke noted…that…”all five photographs…are extreme closeups of the couples’ genitals,” including neither faces nor “visible identifying marks such as scars or tattoos”…
So in the American mind, the “risk” of creating an unidentifiable “dirty” picture outweighs that of creating a human life.
Surplus Women (September 27th, 2011)
This rather bizarre item from The Sun presents a sympathetic view of an accused serial killer, but dismisses the three Winnipeg sex workers he may have murdered in a single phrase. Well, at least it doesn’t dwell in lurid and loving detail on the women’s profession as an equivalent American article would.
Bell, Hook and Kettle (December 6th, 2011)
Though the Salvation Army claims that whores are all “victims” who need rescue, it apparently feels differently about homosexuals:
…In talking to…Serena Ryan and Pete Dillon on their Salt and Pepper radio show [audio here]…Major Andrew Craibe, a media relations director for one of the [Salvation Army’s] Australian branches, had this exchange with the hosts:
Ryan: According to the Salvation Army, [gay people] deserve death. How do you respond to that, as part of your doctrine?
Craibe: Well, that’s a part of our belief system.
Ryan: So we should die.
Craibe: You know, we have an alignment to the Scriptures, but that’s our belief.
The doctrine they’re referring to is…the Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine, which borrows heavily from Romans 1:18-32…the Salvation Army has officially distanced itself from Craibe’s remarks…
The Course of a Disease (February 16th, 2012)
Norway should rip up a law that criminalizes sex buyers, Oslo’s social affairs chief believes, as a new report shows a marked rise in violence against prostitutes…Anniken Hauglie [said]…”The reality is that the law has made it more difficult for women…It’s our political responsibility to take this feedback seriously”…the Pro Sentret report indicates that the law has…made prostitutes much more susceptible to violence at the hands of their clients as the sex trade moves further underground…Many of the women also said the new law had scared off many of their more reliable customers, while troublesome and violent clients were relatively undeterred…
The fact that the ban hasn’t decreased prostitution may also help: “In 2011, the number of prostitutes…rose by 28 percent compared to the previous year, according to…Pro Sentret, the country’s official help centre for prostitutes…”
…Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the [French] women’s rights minister…said in an interview that she would be organising a conference of experts on how to contain the sex-trade and human-trafficking… “Since the 19th century and…Josephine Butler, Britain and France have been the core countries in the international mobilisation against prostitution. I really hope that these common roots are still alive”…
I hope so, too; though Josephine Butler was against prostitution personally and promoted the idea of whores as “victims”, she also opposed the idea of using laws to control or “abolish” it.
Yellow Fever (June 18th, 2012)
If you thought 20 clients a night was a bit hard to believe, and 35 a night wholly absurd, how do you feel about 50?
Tamara Vandermoon…ran away when she was 12, the same age she turned her first trick…before she knew it she was prostituting herself up to 50 times a night, the money going to her pimp or to feed [her] drug habit…When it comes to child and adolescent sex-trafficking in the United States, the FBI ranks Minneapolis-St. Paul among the top 13…With its tangle of highways…its year-round sporting events and frequent conventions, millions pass through on any given day…many teens who wind up in the sex trade are runaways targeted by men who coerce or threaten them through physical or psychological abuse…
It would be hard to imagine a more ludicrous collection of myths and fallacies in one short article. Besides the turgid client count there’s the ridiculous belief that a large number of highways constitutes evidence that a city is a “sex trafficking” hub, the myth that sporting events attract whores and the lie that most teen whores are recruited by “pimps”, and that’s just in the first six bite-sized paragraphs (before it descends into badge-licking, “trafficking” platitudes and “end demand” rhetoric). I almost feel I should stand up and applaud.
My Favorite TV Dramas (June 27th, 2012)
Star Trek actor William Shatner…[appeared on] the BBC show Have I Got News for You…When he mispronounced the town’s name, guest panellist Charlie Brooker said he had made it sound “deeply sexual” and Shatner replied: “The place is laced with prostitution.” [Paul Crabb, Former Mayor of Ilfracombe] emailed Shatner’s agents: “As Captain James T Kirk, Mr Shatner has been to places where no man has gone before, however, [this]…clearly shows he has never been [here]. If he came, we could show him that there is no prostitution in Ilfracombe”…In an email…Shatner replied that prostitution “commonly means sex for something of value…I would be hard pressed to believe that sex was not being had in Ilfracombe for something of value, perhaps a lengthy marriage, children or a valuable career. In any event, my apologies for having singled out Ilfracombe as a potential haven for prostitution…”
N.B: With 10,840 people, Ilfracombe might have as many as 15 whores.
A new Louisiana law requires sex offenders…to state their criminal status on their Facebook or other social networking page…[it] builds upon existing sex offender registration laws, in which the offender must notify immediate neighbors and a school district of his or her residency near them…The law states that…[a registrant] “shall include in his profile…an indication that he is a sex offender or child predator and shall include notice of the crime for which he was convicted, the jurisdiction of conviction, a description of his physical characteristics… and his residential address”…
In other words, he’s “required” to provide lunatics with detailed instructions to make it easier to murder him. No doubt other states will follow Louisiana’s lead, despite the fact that onerous sex offender notification requirements are known to increase the risk of re-offense by socially isolating the registrant.
…A Manhattan judge signed…Anna Gristina’s $250,000 bond package, clearing the way for her to be released with an ankle bracelet…Gristina, 44, is a mother of four who tends to rescued pigs…but prosecutors say she also was the madam of an upscale sex service for 15 years…Gristina has said she was merely starting a matchmaking service, not peddling prostitutes…
Tracy Quan published an interesting article on Gristina’s defense which points out, as I have before, that the line between matchmaking and “pandering” is a purely arbitrary one.
Dr. Kimberly Hoang was not satisfied with merely publishing the truth about Vietnamese sex workers in her dissertation; she also gave an interview to Vietnamese media:
…Dr Kimberly Kay Hoang…[said] “Most people assume that women engaging in the sex industry do so because they are kidnapped, forced, or coerced into sex work…However, few studies have been able to furnish empirical evidence to support these claims…Legalizing this work would provide women with the same legal rights as other working people”…
As part of the process of licensing what will be Australia’s largest brothel, Urbis think tank did a study on the effects of brothels on neighborhoods. Its findings?
There is not a definitive relationship between the opening and expansion of…brothels and any increase in crime.
There is no proven correlation between decreases in property value and the location of sex premises in an area.
There is no evidence that anti-social behaviour in inner city areas can be attributed to the clients or staff of sex premises.
So, sex industry premises, much like other contentious uses such as funeral parlours, can cause a level of discomfort for some members of the community. At the same time, the sex industry has a role to play in the social and economic vibrancy of cities and sex premises are a legal and legitimate land use.
One Year Ago Today
“June Q & A” defines my own terms “archeofeminism” and “neofeminism”, discusses the Indonesian “Obedient Wives Club” and offers assistance to a man who has difficulty achieving orgasm with a partner.