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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on March 23rd; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

The Vestal Virgins were among the most important people in classical Roman society; they were charged with keeping the sacred fires burning, and accorded numerous privileges in return.  One of the greatest of these was that their persons were sacrosanct; in other words, no person could touch them without their permission, upon penalty of death.  That meant no one at all, not even high state officials; a Vestal could not be touched even if she were convicted of the greatest crime of which she could be accused, that of breaking her vows by having sex or allowing the sacred fires to go out.  Because these offenses were believed to anger the gods and thus risk the safety of all Rome, the penalty for them was death; but since nobody could touch them to administer the sentence there was only one way carry it out:  the dishonored priestess was buried alive.  In order to avoid breaking another law against burialVestal Condemned to Death (attributed to Pietro Saja, about 1800) within the city, the tomb was provided with a candle and a small quantity of food and water in order to establish the legal fiction that it was a “habitable room” rather than a sepulcher, and the unlucky woman was thus left to a lingering death by slow suffocation to preserve the illusion of piety which would have been shattered by spilling her blood.

Whores are in many ways the diametric opposites of the Vestals:  we are as far from virgins as it’s possible to be, are stigmatized and rejected by our societies rather than being honored by them, and are responsible for banking men’s sexual fires rather than keeping actual ones burning.  But in the past few decades, there has arisen a legal doctrine which represents all women as helpless, pure and sacred; we are supposed to be delicate flowers who are irremediably damaged by the evil lusts of brutal men, from whom the Sacred State must “protect” us.  Harlots sin against that precept by being strong, self-willed beings who deal with men on equal ground and make a living from male lust rather than being “ruined” by it as the catechism claims we should be.  We must therefore be punished, but since Holy Writ has declared us blameless victims how can that be accomplished?  The answer, as it was for the Vestals, is slow suffocation…though in this case economic and social rather than literal.

The tomb disguised as a “habitable room” into which prohibitionists want sex workers sealed is called the “Swedish model”; just as the Vestals’ persons technically remained inviolate, so women under this abominable regime are not technically criminalized.  Our meager provisions consist of the fact that we can, on paper, carry out our work unhindered.  But just as the Vestal was prevented by the earth above her “room” from getting any more food, water or air, so Swedish prohibition attempts to starve and suffocate their victims by persecuting their clients, getting them evicted from their homes, hounding them with police surveillance, denying them social benefits and even stealing their children.  Swedish proponents even go so far as to proclaim that sex workers are “decriminalized”…just as the Romans could say that the condemned Vestals had not been directly executed.

In all of Roman history, only ten Vestals were ever condemned to this horrible fate.  But unfortunately for the mad totalitarian dreams of the prohibitionists, there are millions of whores in the world; it would be absolutely impossible for them to ever entomb all of us, no matter how fervently they might wish to do so.  In order to advance their scheme to extinguish as many of us as possible, they must find and close up every possible gap through which economic sustenance might flow, and that means eliminating our means of attracting and contacting clients.  Increased police surveillance could drive street workers into the dark, dangerous places where the Pure and Holy need not see them, but street work has always been a minority of all sex work and that’s even more true now thanks to the internet (which allows incredibly cheap advertising with greater reach than even the most expensive venues had twenty years ago).  Banning escort advertising has no effect whatsoever; there is no way to stop people from hiding commercial sex adverts within other, unbanned forms, and almost no way to stop buyers living under such a censorship regime from accessing websites hosted outside its jurisdiction.  This utterly infuriates the prohibitionists, who are well aware of sex workers and clients conducting our business right under their noses; they have therefore embarked upon an all-out effort to destroy its most visible manifestations, no matter what the costs in human rights.  Irish prohibitionists have proposed giving police the power to steal sex workers’ phone numbers in order to convert them into traps for clients.  Scottish prohibitionists, defeated in their attempt to impose the Swedish model, are trying to drum up support for advertising censorship by demonizing clients.  And American prohibitionists are willing to totally destroy the internet as we know it:

…members of Congress have asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute Backpage.com for its role in prostitution and sex trafficking or to recommend legislation that would make prosecution possible…[they claim] that…tens of thousands of children are sold for sex…every year…Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 protects websites from liability for content posted by a third party. That means a website can’t be prosecuted when someone posts an illegal ad on their website…

Vestal Condemned to DeathWere websites to be held liable for third-party content, they would have no choice but to shut it down.  All of it.  Amazon reviews, YouTube videos, comments on websites, free hosting of sites like mine on larger entities like WordPress…all gone, wiped out overnight.  If you think this only applies to American websites, guess again; a large fraction of the internet’s backbone is on American soil, and the US government has given itself the power to shut down any website in any country which it decides has violated some US law, through the simple expedient of shutting down traffic to it at the point it passes through the US.  And while the article above restricts its language to “children”, others are more honest about the politicians’ intent:

…proposed legislation…would allow for federal felony charges to be brought against operators of web sites that fuel the illicit sex trade through commercial ads…Under the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act, individuals would face felony charges for promoting an advertisement…that…facilitates any of numerous crimes against children and adults in the sex trade, including…pimping and prostitution.  The legislation would also allow federal authorities to shut down advertisements…

What these megalomaniacs seek is nothing less than the power to shut down any escort’s ad and to prosecute the website that carries it; even websites outside the US could be attacked as described above.  There is probably very little danger of the Roasting the Pig By Burning Down the House Act going through, or of it withstanding a challenge even if it did; US judges have repeatedly proven themselves wiser than politicians by striking such laws down every time they’ve been tried.  But the fact that they do keep trying is a measure of their hatred and disdain for the women they wish to suffocate in the name of “protecting” our sacred bodies from “violation” by consensual sex.

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If you believe that selling sex means selling women, you believe that a woman’s value equals her capacity to have sex.  -  Kate Heartfield

The Slave-Whore Fantasy Timothy Jay Vafeades

Yet another example of what  real sex slavery looks like:

A Utah truck driver kept sex slaves in his semitrailer for months at a time while he traveled the country, filing down their teeth, forcing them to alter their appearance and beating them until they nearly passed out…The charges against [Timothy Jay Vafeades] include kidnapping, [Mann Act violations] and possession of child pornography, and could bring a life sentence if he is convicted…

Sisters in Arms

When I miscarried at 22 weeks in 1994, the cops weren’t even informed, much less involved.  If that happened today, it might be very different (especially if I weren’t white).  This detailed article on the Rennie Gibbs case touches on other, similar travesties, but also establishes the case as part of the pattern of willful incompetence perpetrated by Steven Hayne, Mississippi prosecutors’ go-to medical examiner for over 20 years because he was willing to declare just about anything a murder without the slightest scrap of valid scientific basis.  Veteran Agitator readers will no doubt remember Hayne, whom Radley Balko wrote about many times.

Surplus Women

Prohibitionists use a young woman’s murder as an excuse to deny her agency and talk about short skirts:

A…nonprofit that works with sex workers is holding a candlelight vigil for a 21-year-old woman whose naked body was found last week on a conveyor belt inside an Anaheim [California] trash-sorting facility…No Boundaries International…said they had frequent contact with Jarrae Nykkole Estepp in Oklahoma City in 2012, when she was featured in several videos…on…JohnTV.com…Detectives believe the woman was probably [murdered, then] dumped in a garbage bin and…delivered to the plant by a trash truck…

See No Evil

Graphic illustrations of child molestation in a vintage book have landed librarians in…Sweden in…trouble with police…I Last Och Lust…contains illustrations…to show how sexuality has been depicted historically…head librarian [Anna-Karin Axelsson said]…”We cannot go back and clean up history…that’s not what libraries are meant to do”…the title [will now] be kept for…research only…

Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do BarkFree To Be You and Me

On March 11, 1974, ABC aired Marlo Thomas’ “Free to Be…You and Me” — a musical program celebrating gender-free children…and…[envisioning] a world…[of] non-gendered human persons…But, after 40 years of gender activism, boys and girls show few signs of liking to do the same things.  From the earliest age, boys show a distinct preference for active outdoor play…with…clearly defined winners and losers…[while] girls…are more drawn to imaginative theatrical games…the…preferences…hold cross-culturally and even cross-species…ignoring differences between boys and girls can be just as damaging as creating differences where none exist…

Above the Law 

Another week, another rapist cop:

A San Jose [California] police officer has been arrested and charged with raping a woman…after she had argued with her husband…  Geoffrey Graves…and three other…officers responded to a [domestic violence call]…the woman…[said] she wanted to spend the night at a hotel…Graves…[followed her] to her room…and…[forcibly] raped her…Police Chief Larry Esquivel called the case…”an isolated incident”…

It’s so very isolated that I have another one right here:

Sheriff’s deputies arrested [an]…Irwindale police sergeant on suspicion of sexually assaulting a woman…David Paul Fraijo…stopped [a newspaper carrier on her route, then groped and orally raped her]…the [resulting] lawsuit…was [settled] in January…for $400,000…Fraijo faces a maximum penalty of life in…prison…

Some cops don’t even “isolate” their attentions to one woman at a time:

A U.S. Border Patrol agent [who raped] three undocumented immigrants was found dead in his Texas home, likely by his own hand…a…woman…told officials that [Esteban Manzanares] had attacked her, her 14-year-old daughter, and another 14-year-old girl…She and [her daughter] had been raped and left for dead…[Manzanares tied up the other girl in his home] until he finished his shift…then returned…raped her, and committed suicide…

An Example to the West 

Megan Schmidt-Sane and Meena Seshu respond to rescue industry types:

In a CNN piece…last year…Jane Wells and John-Keith Wasson…blatantly ignore the voices of sex workers…As representatives of two of the largest sex worker rights organizations in India and Uganda, we hope to ensure that [their] voices…are heard…Wells and Wasson…cite imaginary statistics…[and] falsely state that a “small percentage of voluntary sex workers” are somehow condemning a vast number of women into sexual slavery…

Broken Record

The latest gypsy whore tale is among the funniest yet:  “High school tournament season in Des Moines…[has] a dark side…human trafficking victimizes over 25 million…worldwide each year…The state of Iowa is not immune to this crime…”  Yes, 4% of the world’s population has been “sex trafficked” since the hysteria started, many at high school football games.

Pull the String!

Turns out Ed Wood made a few commercials in the late ‘40s, before he embarked on his movie career; note that these are generic so the local sponsor could insert a card for his specific business.  Look for Wood himself as the magician in the last one.

King of the Hill

Two for one!

…the film Chosen…was produced by Shared Hope International…and portrays true experiences of two young All American girls who were lured into sex trafficking…Oregon and Washington along the Interstate 5 corridor leads the nation in the number of victims…

Lying Down With Dogs (TW3 #44)

A group of Tunisian sex workers have demanded to be allowed to return to work, 18 months after their brothel in the coastal town of Sousse was attacked by Salafists and closed down.  A delegation …[presented] a petition signed by 120 women calling for their brothel…to be allowed to reopen…

Skin To Skin

The Netherlands is known for its social subsidies on everything from education to housing, but it’s also subsidizing sex for the disabled…While there is no direct “sex grant” per se…benefits…can be spent however they like…social workers, caretakers and affected individuals are calling for increased access to sex services for citizens with disabilities…

First They Came for the Hookers… (TW3 #322) Reema Bajaj

The spectacle of lawyers censuring other lawyers for lying probably exceeds safe levels of irony for a public facility:

The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to a three-year suspension for a solo lawyer who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of prostitution and failed to disclose her illegal work history on her bar application.  Reema Nicki Bajaj…was suspended [for not mentioning sex work she did to put herself through law school]…in response to a question about jobs she held in the last 10 years…

Wise Investment (TW3 #335)

An agreement has been reached with the City of Vancouver and the provincial and federal governments to pay $50,000 to each of 11 families whose relatives were victimized by serial killer Robert Pickton…The civil suit was launched last May by the children of four women whose remains…were found on  Pickton’s…farm after his arrest in 2002.  Other families had since joined…The lawsuit claimed police…failed to warn women on the Downtown Eastside that a serial killer may have been on the loose…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes

Jerry Barnett…of…Sex & Censorship, said he was “delighted” with the turnout at the “Don’t Censor Me!” protest…against the Stop Porn Culture conference, including representatives from the English Collective of Prostitutes, the Sex Worker Open University and Queer Strike campaign groups…Stop Porn Culture [leaders]…Gail Dines and…Julie Bindel…aim…to expand the “antipornography feminist movement” in the U.K…Dines and Bindel appeared outside…to debate with the…crowd…for about 15 minutes…

Catastrophic Consequences (TW3 #406)

Police carried out inspections of Edinburgh’s…saunas hours before a new system came into force that is likely to make brothel raids more difficult…police will [now] need a warrant to search premises…Margo MacDonald MSP said…”Last year’s raids have backfired badly on the police…There was a successful policy in place for 30 years, but now the women have less protection and police will have less access to intelligence.  Trust has been shattered”…

Gingerbread House (All Traffick, All the Time) arrested teen girl

If a sex worker doesn’t see herself as a victim, the state must victimize her to prove her wrong:

A [Florida] bill…was temporarily postponed after senators determined that placing human trafficking victims in a locked facility is not a good idea…The…bill…was created by the House Healthy Families Subcommittee, where…[its sponsor] said…[it] was designed to break young trafficking victims away from former lives…“So many of [them] don’t see themselves as victims”…

An earlier version of the story informs us that “Florida [has] the third-highest rate of child sex-trafficking in the country.  Jacksonville is third in the state…

Traffic Jam (All Traffick, All the Time)

More busybodies who want to help cops brutalize and cage women:

…three St. Louis area women…are developing a website of hotel room photographs that can be accessed by police…hoping to track down…victims of sex trafficking…and their pimps…millions of [sex workers post]…pictures of [themselves in] their rooms [in their Backpage ads]…the website is in initial development and needs about $200,000 in funding.  When it is ready, images…will be cataloged by hotel name, city and date taken and possibly made searchable by room color or other basic decor…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #408)

The European Parliament recently recommended that its member states should criminalise sex work.  This has prompted 26 Danish researchers to sign a protest letter against the proposal, as they believe that…politicians have ignored the majority of the research in this field, including reports from the UN, WHO and Human Rights Watch, who all recommend a decriminalisation of sex work…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #409)

The ACLU actually did something for sex workers for a change:

Dozens of supporters packed the courtroom…in support of…activist Monica Jones…[whose] lawyer filed a motion to challenge [the law] on constitutional grounds, resulting in the trial being postponed until April 11th.  Ms. Jones [stated], “We will be back with twice as many people”…Sex Workers’ Outreach Project (SWOP) of Phoenix is continuing to build momentum for Monica Jones’ case with the support of the ACLU motion…

The Public Eye (TW3 #410)

Noah Berlatsky proves himself a valuable ally to sex workers with another good article in The Atlantic, this one using the hubbub surrounding Belle Knox to launch a sensible and well-informed discussion of student sex workers which also quotes Melissa Gira Grant and regular reader Christina Parreira.

Whither Canada?

The Canadian government’s consultation on prostitution laws ended on Monday, but it hardly seems likely to have much influence over politicians, who have already decided to pursue some form of criminalization instead of listening to the sensible advice of sex workers, human rights advocates and even many criminologists.  By the public discourse, one would think the New Zealand model didn’t even exist; editorials like that in the Globe and Mail pretend that the only two legislative models in the world are the Dutch and Swedish modelsdisguised cop (which criminalize either some or all sales of sex, respectively).  And though a sizeable fraction of the members of the Liberal Party (whose past leader Pierre Trudeau famously said, “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation”) support decriminalization, a motion to adopt that as official policy was pulled in the name of political expediency.  So though most of the Canadian media oppose blanket criminalization (even under its fake-moustache Swedish disguise), only the Ottawa Citizen has come out in favor of full decriminalization:

…supporters of the Nordic model…say [prostitution] is a commodity sale [that] is inherently objectifying and exploitative…A woman who believes she is freely choosing her job…is a victim whether she knows it or not…that same notion underpins many of the world’s most sexist ideas — including the idea…that rape is a property crime.  We in Canada don’t generally talk about rape that way any more, but we still use that language when we talk about prostitution.  We use phrases like “selling her body” or even “selling herself” — rather than “selling sex”…We don’t say that a hairstylist “sells her hands” or that a doctor “sells herself”…a woman’s value as a human being has nothing to do with whom she chooses to have sex with or how often or what conditions she imposes on that choice…sex is merely the service she sells…

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The Swedish model, in its mission to eradicate sex work, is by definition an unapologetic mission to eradicate sex workers.  -  Nine

A War for PeaceUkraine is Not a Brothel

a new documentary screening at the Venice Film Festival has revealed that Femen was founded and is controlled by a manUkraine is not a Brothel…by…Kitty Green, has “outed” Victor Svyatski as the mastermind behind the group.  Mr Syvatski is known as a “consultant” …[but]…“It’s his movement and he hand-picked the…prettiest girls because…[they] get on the front page… that became…the way they sold the brand,” [Green] says… “These girls are weak,” [Syvatski] says in the film…“They show submissiveness, spinelessness…and many other factors which prevent them from becoming political activists”…

Harm Magnification

PEERS Victoria Resource Society quietly closed the doors to its drop-in centre and shut down its most incremental program…PEERS will continue its daytime and nighttime outreach services, but only 10 per cent of its current 515 clientele have been matched with service providers…executive director Marion Little…says the decision …[is] due to the…new [British Columbia] provincial integrated case management system…[which requires] many more administrative steps…clients…would now be required to issue a full name and social insurance number just to access services…“we were losing so much staff time to administrative roles…we could…no longer afford our own services,” said Little…

Elephant in the Parlor

OK, now this politician/hooker story is news:

An investigation into a fire that gutted the home of a former escort…[focused on]…Sutter County District Attorney Carl Adams…Sarah Garibay…showed police text messages from Adams saying he was jealous of her other lovers…Yet she said she does not believe Adams set fire to her home…“Someone is trying to smear him and they’re using my name to do it”…

Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark

Their next study will attempt to determine if water is really wet:

…married men are more likely than women to have extramarital affairs, as well as to seduce someone else’s partnerNew research published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin…suggests men’s ability to resist temptation is no stronger or weaker than that of the ladies.  But it gets overridden more often because of the intensity of men’s desire…

Stand-Up GuysDave Barry

In a column on humorist Dave Barry’s surprising depth and wisdom, Lucy Steigerwald quotes a 1994 interview he gave to Reason magazine:

…I saw one of these real-life cop drama shows…[where] the whole show consisted of this [undercover cop entrapping]…prostitutes…Meanwhile…the other cops, these fat men with walkie-talkies, are laughing…because…they are about to enforce the law and protect society…This poor woman–I don’t know whether she’s feeding her drug habit or feeding her kids or whatever.  And the cops are so proud of themselves…It just made me sick to see this.  To treat these people who are trying to make a living…this way, and to be proud of it…we’re all supposed to watch this and feel good about it.  It’s just disgusting…

Confined and Controlled

St. Louis [Missouri]…Alderman Jeffrey Boyd…posted this tweet…“A constituent suggested legalizing…Brothels What do you think?”  The woman who made that suggestion said she wanted to be taken seriously and offered it as a way to protect women in her community.  “These are human beings, and you can do something to help them,” said Joyce Glaspy…[she] conceded that most folks in St. Louis won’t agree with her, but said a brothel would provide security for these women and get them off the streets…

Whatever They Need To Say

In Bangladesh, as in the Netherlands, “morality” is being used as an excuse to evict sex workers so developers and their government cronies can profit:

…“If anybody thinks that these evictions took place out of some moral issues and that we are doing some criminal activities, then they are wrong…[it was] to grab our land”…[said] Joya Shikder…of the Sex Workers Network…“Usually after evicting, the government hands over Tk10,000 and a sewing machine…in the name of rehabilitation…the department does not even bother to know whether we can sew or not”…

Worse Than I Thought

The cancer keeps spreading:  “[Virginia state] Sen. Mark Obenshain…wants to make human trafficking a standalone felony offense…add offenders engaging in commercial sex with a minor to the sex offender registry and extend asset forfeiture laws to human trafficking…” Saving in the Name of Scrub

Dirty Laundry

This excellent article about Ruhama’s efforts to persecute Irish sex workers was transcribed (in English) from the print edition of Rabble by the Spanish-language blog El Estante de la Citi:

…According to [Ruhama]…it’s “prostituted women” and never “work”…they’re [not] very concerned with trafficking…when it’s young Asian men…[sitting] in weed growhouses…but they’re not having sex so it doesn’t matter right?  They believe all sex workers are abused and…only Ruhama…can represent [them]…Ruhama…[says] prostitution is…violence against women and the Swedish law has been great at reducing prostitution and trafficking…[but] the Swedish government admitted…that they actually hadn’t a clue how much prostitution there was…and the Swedish police have reported that trafficking has grown significantly since that…law was brought in…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #42)

Dr. Graham Ellison continues his fight against the imposition of the Swedish disease on Northern Ireland:

…Dr Graham Ellison…is working on a research project on sex work regulations in Berlin, Manchester, Prague and Belfast…one of his co-researchers is Dr Susan Dodillet…[who says] Sweden’s sex purchase law has made sex workers more vulnerable…like Dr Ellison, she favours…decriminalising prostitution…in 2002 new [German] laws put the sex trade almost on a par with other work.  One exception…is that the unemployed cannot be penalised for refusing [sex] work…However, prostitutes can claim  unemployment  and sickness benefit and brothel owners must provide the same…rights as other employers…Dr Ellision added…”a senior officer in the Berlin Kriminalpolizei who [investigates] organised crime…was emphatic that trafficking for sexual exploitation [is] not a significant problem.  Generally, the more you criminalise something the more you drive it underground and into the hands of gangsters”…

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #43)

Laws and interventions aimed at reducing human trafficking by targeting commercial sex workers can…actually endanger their health and result in human rights violations, experts say…Part of the problem…is that anti-trafficking programmes often take the form of “raid and rescue” missions…[which] invade privacy and…scatter…networks of sex workers who, in some cases, had implemented successful sex worker-led health programming…“rescue raids of sex establishments have exacerbated violence against sex workers and compromised their safety,” say the World Health Organization  (WHO) and the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cakemany many rules

Four exotic dancers are suing Fantasy Gentlemen’s Club in Grand Junction, Colo., claiming the club’s owner violated…minimum-wage laws…Fantasy…took such a large cut of…tips that dancers sometimes made less than $7.25 per hour…“The case is fundamentally one of…exploiting workers that are vulnerable because of the stigma that’s attached to what they do,” Mari Newman, the [dancers’] attorney [said]…Kevin Eardly, the owner of the club…characterized the suit as a shakedown by a group of disgruntled strippers…

Absolute Corruption

Fran Keller and her husband Dan…are each serving 48 years on multiple sexual abuse charges…“We were supposed to have buried children…or flown them to Vegas, California and Japan…we had an airstrip in back of the house, dinosaurs and sharks in the pool.  It was just so farfetched that I had no idea anyone could believe such stories.”  The Kellers were caught up in the 1980s-era hysteria surrounding satanic [sic] ritual abuse…popularized on daytime talk shows [and] lurid paperbacks…Nearly two dozen years after their conviction, [they] have filed a Writ of Habeus Corpus that could lead to the end of their prison sentences…

Theatrics

Fraudulent recruitment, debt bondage, abusive conditions, threatening workers with deportation…but it’s never called “trafficking” when politically-connected companies do it:

…twice this summer…more than 150 Jamaican guest workers who clean luxury Florida hotels and condos walked off the job…They…borrowed to pay recruitment fees of $2,000 to $2,500, counting on promises of full-time work and good housing.  But…the cleaning company packed as many as 15 people into unfurnished two-bedroom apartments, for…as much as $5,000 a month.  Charges for rent and required extras like $70 for a T-shirt “uniform” reduced the workers’ net pay to subminimum levels, sometimes even zero, and…paychecks repeatedly bounced…Guest workers…are tied by law to the employer who sponsored their visas, which means that if they are found too “difficult” for any reason — including asking that their rights be respected — the employer can…deport them and blacklist them from receiving future work visas…

MonstersIslan Nettles

Islan Nettles was out…with friends when a group of young men…learned she was a transgender woman and began taunting and maliciously beating her—right in front of a police precinct in Harlem…[the 21-year-old] was punched in the face, knocked to the ground and beaten until she lost consciousness…she…fell into a coma…[and later] died…Nettles’ alleged assailant, Paris Wilson, was booked on a misdemeanor assault charge and freed on $2,000 bail…Nettles’ death was officially ruled a murder…[but] Wilson has not yet been arraigned on any murder charges…

Somewhere in the Middle

The mainstream media touted another bogus client study last week; this one used a single Backpage ad placed twice in each city, and thus (unsurprisingly) generated wildly-varying figures for their “estimate” of the fraction of men who buy sex.  The design presumes that all clients use Backpage and that all men will respond to a generic ad for one particular type worded by ignorant amateurs; it’s like counting the pigeons near one statue at some random time and using it to estimate the number of all birds in the whole city.  The academic behind this is the ethically-retarded Dominique Sepowitz of Arizona State, who has a history of reporting her survey subjects to the cops; her department is also involved in “Project ROSE”, which entraps streetwalkers and then offers them a “choice” of jail or Bible-based brainwashing.  And who funded this bogus “study”?  Try the Phoenix Police Department, Arizona State’s “Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention”, and Asstoon & Dumi’s THORN.  In other words, it’s about as trustworthy and reliable as anything from Melissa Farley or the Schapiro Group.

What a Week! (TW3 #322)

As bad as things are in the US, at least sex workers aren’t executed here:

Kim Jong-un’s ex-girlfriend was among a dozen well-known North Korean performers who were executed by firing squad…Hyon Song-wol…a singer with the Unhasu Orchestra, was among those arrested on August 17 for [selling pornographic videos of themselves]…All 12 were machine-gunned three days later, with other members of North Korea’s most famous pop groups and their immediate families forced to watch.  The onlookers were then sent to prison camps…

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine

Here’s a good introduction to the horrors of the Swedish model by Nine of Feminist Ire, illustrated by the way the policies led to Petite Jasmine’s death:

…Prohibitionist campaigners…portray Sweden’s stance on sex work as progressive, and assert that sex workers themselves are not targeted…They’re painted as victims to be pitied and rescued…[but] as with religion-cloaked homophobia, this distinction makes little difference to those on the receiving end…Police stake out sex workers’ homes and workplaces, clandestinely film them, and subject them to invasive searches.  Sex workers are often forced to testify in court, but have the rights of neither victim nor accused…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #329)

imaginary trafficking victimA film by three students in Plymouth is being used nationally to teach people about child sexual exploitation…the film…is the fictional story of…a 13-year-old sex trafficking victim, who is kidnapped and forced into prostitution after being groomed online”…UK authorities have little choice but to use a film about fictional “sex trafficking” victims, because they can’t seem to find any real ones.

Opting Out

Parliamentary servers have registered tens of thousands of attempts to access porn every month with over 100,000 attempts last November alone…A…spokesperson said…the figures may have been enlarged by “automatic links” and “pop up” windows.  “We are not going to restrict Parliamentarians’ ability to carry out research,” they added.

But restricting the citizens’ ability to carry out similar “research” is A-OK.

King of the Hill (TW3 #335)

According to Homeland Security, Texas is the second largest human trafficking state…” Because third place ain’t good enough for Texas!

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The quick blow job is for [affluent white women’s] husbands…So in your mind it doesn’t affect you, but the wrong mouth on your husband’s dick could affect you.  -  Deon Haywood

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

He went home; she’s locked in a cage.

An on-duty Oregon State Police detective was caught…with a prostitute in a bush…Richard Narvaez, 50…was placed on suspended leave without pay…cited and released, the…woman…was arrested on probation violation warrants and on suspicion of public indecency and prostitution…

A Working System

Note the bottleneck effect:

Armed robbers posing as clients…have launched a series of raids on brothels [in Sydney], targeting eight premises in the past three weeks…one of the gang enters…to book a…session…then…[is] joined by up to three others armed with guns or knives…Police…believe the number of attacks might be even greater because [unlicensed] brothels were reluctant to report crimes…

Crime Against Society (August Updates)UNeasy Street

Women With A Vision responds to anti-whore propaganda:

The Times-Picayune’s…articles…dubbed “Uneasy Street”, are an…example of…[sensationalism]…that leads to increased criminalization of marginalized communities…The video…claims that once sun sets…“An even darker world emerges”…There is a darker side to Tulane Avenue.  But it’s not the one shown.  It’s the stories of mothers, daughters, friends, and wives struggling to survive in a city that has offered them little resources.  It’s women dealing with substance abuse or addiction.  It’s women who cannot be hired by traditional employers simply because they are transgender.  It’s the women who have been too busy struggling to be able to get a formal education to make them employable.  It’s the stories of human beings, worthy of dignity, respect, and far more than this series of articles has afforded them…

See “The Public Eye” for an interview with WWAV’s director, Deon Haywood.

Oops

Tumi Megalane, 32, of Tshwane, South Africa, said she had the shock of her life when she found her boyfriend [Ronny Mokoena], who is a pastor, at a brothel….[then] learned that he was married…the pastor told his wife that Megalane was a prophet, who was helping him with spiritual guidance.

Surplus Women

A…37-year-old [Detroit woman]…is in critical condition after she was discovered beaten…burned and possibly sexually assaulted…less than 24 hours before and…a mile away…a 22-year-old woman was discovered in the same condition…Both women are prostitutes…

A third woman was found in the same condition a few days later, on August 3rd.  Interestingly, Fox News did not feel compelled to identify the victims as sex workers in the headline, and the New York Daily News doesn’t mention the third victim’s profession at all.goofy chick in money

TANSTAAFL

a trio of Bay Area teens [Nazario Cruz and Jose Urias, both 19, and an underage girl]…posed as a young woman whose fantasy was to have sex while rolling around in…cash…When the victims would arrive…the suspects…would rob themThree robberies have been confirmed so far…One of the victims allegedly stole $2,000…from his job in order to roll around with the fictitious woman…

The Immunity Syndrome

American hypocrisy says it’s fine to pay people not to have sex:

2010 study in Malawi, supported by the…Gates Foundation, shows…conditional cash transfers successfully reduced sexual activity amongst teenagers…Mississippi…[resembles] Malawi…in its high rate of teenage sex and pregnancy…partly…[because] sex education in Mississippi is oriented around abstinence…Can we pay Mississippi teenagers to stop having sex…And to have safe sex if they do?…

Above the Law

Police forces are being ordered to face up to corruption by officers who commit sexual offences against vulnerable women and young people…169 officers…are under investigation for predatory sexual behaviour…ranging from rape to voyeurism…the former partner of…[one] who was jailed last year…speaks out against his actions

That cops rape women, especially sex workers, isn’t news because it happens constantly; such stories only become newsworthy when the cops are held accountable to some degree, as in this item from Cape Town: “A…police captain will appear in…court…for allegedly raping a prostitute…[she] managed to escape from [his] vehicle and took down the registration number…pseudo sex traffick

The Widening Gyre

Another bizarre “sex trafficking” rumor debunked by Snopes:

In August 2013 [a] warning about sex traffickers with Slavic…accents posing as door-to-door booksellers was spread via social media sites such as Facebook …The story was false.  That there are ”pushy” door-to-door book and magazine sellers about doesn’t mean those vendors are looking for children to abduct…into the sex trade, nor is it suspicious that such salespeople might ask…questions about children in the area.  The latter is simply a…sales technique for locating potential customers for children’s books, and being ”pushy” is hardly an unusual quality for those who engage in…door-to-door sales…

Snopes reports that the story appeared in Gilbert, Arizona, Winona, Minnesota and all over Missouri.  The company running the sales program believes the rumor started in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; since that’s a suburb of Tulsa, this should surprise nobody.

Wise Investment (TW3 #31)

Do politicians really just not get it?

…a federal judge ruled [that a New Jersey law]…conflicts with federal law and likely is unconstitutional as well…[the] law…[would have penalized] anyone who knowingly publishes or disseminates any ad for a commercial sex act that includes the depiction of a minor.  The law was challenged…by Backpage.com…[which] notes that federal courts in Tennessee and Washington have issued permanent injunctions against similar laws in those states…

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #131)

New evidence [demonstrates]…that Japan’s…army directly managed Asian women for sexual slavery, dealing a fresh blow to Tokyo’s denials of responsibility…a diary that a Korean manager of Japanese brothels wrote…between August 1942 and December 1944…shows that the Japanese army received revenue-related reports from military brothels, examined the bodies of sex slaves and regulated the relocations of sexual entertainment facilities…[Professor] Park Han-yong…[said] “This diary is a historical record that shows the Japanese military…[was] involved in the forced mobilisation of Korean women for sexual slavery”…

Under Every Bed

If real freedoms weren’t being endangered by these yokels, this absurd language and looking-glass logic would be hilarious:

Human flesh is being sold for sex…and it’s happening online…”It was a rarity to see a prostitution case anywhere in North Dakota.  Now, my agents are telling me they’re beginning to see it with some regularity,” says…Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.  There’s no way to tell exactly how many people are involved in human trafficking.  The best estimates say about 100,000 children may be victims in the U.S.  And…there’s no reason to believe it’s not happening here…

Dwayne Jones
Monsters

Dwayne Jones was relentlessly teased in high school for being effeminate until he dropped out.  His father not only kicked him out…at…14 but also helped jeering neighbors push the youngster from the rough Jamaican slum where he grew up.  [On July 22nd Dwayne, now 16]…was…beaten, stabbed, shot and run over by a car when he showed up at a street party dressed as a woman…

The Public Eye (TW3 #318)

Here’s another interview with Carol Leigh, this time in a small but mainstream publication; the more interviews like this Americans see, the harder it will be for the prohibitionists to spread lies about us.  And here’s one in Tits and Sass with Deon Haywood of Women With a Vision, talking about activism, human rights and whorearchy.

Which I Doubt

Remember how I’ve said that prosecutors ignore women’s statements that they don’t have pimps so they can repackage ordinary hooking as “sex trafficking”?

The Brooklyn DA…[told] prosecutors…not to make written records of early interviews with sex-trafficking victims…so the information could be withheld from defense attorneys…“When these girls first come in, they often deny they have been hit or pimped.  We were told not to write down those statements,” a law-enforcement source said…

Israel Opera Traviata
Marie Duplessis

Dr. Laura Agustín on imagery of the “fallen woman” in La Traviata, a topic she has discussed more generally before:  “…Violetta always has a scene on the floor to drive home her moral abjection…People who fall get back up right away; if they can’t, they are too injured.  In Violetta’s case the injury is moral…

Sold Out

A gay therapist explains “Why Queers Should Care About Sex Offenders”:

…sex offenders are referred to as participating in deviant sexual behavior, having deviant sexual fantasies, and being inherently “deviant” themselves…The same methods historically used by the government to imprison and pathologize homosexuality and gender variation are being used today to justify the extreme marginalization, lifetime institutionalization, and oppression of people who have violated sex laws…[including] public nudity, [urination or] masturbation, peeping, photographing or videotaping without consent, consensual sex with a 17-year-old, sexting, and downloading unlawful pornography…At one point, the idea of the predatory, untamable homosexual was…widely held…the very fact that a man…[desired] another man was reason enough to criminalize his existence…While mainstream…perception of queer people is shifting, it affirms monogamous sex between married…gay and lesbian adults.  Gender variation and other forms of sexual desire and behavior…still face condemnation…

To really drive the point home, read the comment thread as well.

Puppet Show (TW3 #329)

Laura Lee explains why Ruhama shill Rachel Moran could never have been a Dublin sex worker:

…Moran and I worked in Dublin at the same time, the early nineties.  I worked in the same brothels, for the same escort agencies and had regular contact…with the same women, she says she stood on street corners with.  One of those…is now a prominent activist…[who swears]…that she has never set eyes on Moran until her book launch…Moran…should know…[the names of brothel owners, but doesn’t; she] says that in seven years of sex work she never met one client who showed her a shred of empathy or kindness.  That’s incredible.  Because in all of my time there, I met some lovely guys…the language employed by Moran…is literally like she is reading from a script…a…co-activist…confirmed that Ruhama…offered her money to “turn” and campaign for their side.  In fact, they offered her a book deal and a tour too, exactly as Moran has now…

The activist Laura speaks of (who prefers to remain anonymous) also told me the same thing over a year ago.

Across the Pond (TW3 #330)

Anyone who actually professes to believe that laws can make a major city “brothel-free” should be disqualified from office on grounds of stupidity:

…officials are putting together “exit” services to help the dozens of sex workers who face having their place of work closed down…Edinburgh’s decades-old policy of licensing saunas…appears to be coming to an end.  A police raid in June led to seven individuals being charged with brothel-keeping and living off immoral earnings…A local newspaper…[quoted] one prostitute…[as] saying:  “I just can’t get my head around why they want to close us.  The police could end up putting women at risk of getting raped, or murdered like in Ipswich”…

Don’t be afraid, unnamed sex worker; Ipswitch claims to have “eradicated” street prostitution!

More than 220 teenagers…at risk of slipping into the dangerous world of the sex trade have had their lives rescued since the launch of Ipswich’s prostitution strategy…street prostitution and kerb crawling has been eradicated from the town…however off-street prostitution and sexual exploitation remains an issue…

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #10In truth, of course, they’ve merely pushed it so far underground that the danger has been increased even more, which is the only thing prohibition ever accomplishes.

Broken Record (TW3 #332)

It’s even worse than I suspected; the victims of the Sturgis “sting” were entrapped by “age-regressed photographs of women who now are adults”.  The state has charged people with imaginary crimes against nonexistent people for years, but this kind of pseudoscientific quackery is a new low.

Mumbo Jumbo

“Trafficking” mythology gets more farfetched all the time; embedded in this mixture of agency denial porn, arse-backward bootlicking and cheerleading for bullshit “safe harbor” laws is the claim that many of the underage sex workers arrested in the vast “Innocence Lost” boondoggle “may also be charged for possessing the cocktail of drugs that traffickers use to create dependency and compliance in the children they sell.”  This is the first I’ve heard of this magical mind-control philter, but I’m sure it won’t be the last.

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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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Can relationships with different sexual histories really last?  Say for example one partner has had over 50 partners while the other one has had 2 or 3, or one only having experience with oral/vaginal and the other everything under the rainbow?  Are such relationships very likely to fail, or are they just like any other relationship?

hot and coldNumber of partners is completely immaterial unless one of the partners uses it to make trouble.  Usually, it’s worse if the woman has had more sexual partners than the man, but I’ve also seen women who will use a man’s relative promiscuity as an excuse to fight.  I’ve also seen many relationships with HUGE disparities work out just fine.  As with anything else, if two people are really compatible it’s just not an issue; if they aren’t, anything can trigger arguments.  It’s certainly true, however, that a person used to a lot of variety in activities might get bored if his partner is strictly the missionary-in-the-dark type and refuses to adapt.

I recently started a new, high-paying job, but I won’t get my first paycheck until next month and I have a lot of bills that can’t wait.  So I am thinking about posting on Backpage and escorting for a short while.  However, I don’t have a car and I’m not sure how much to ask in Dallas (is $200 an hour too much?)  Also, how can I protect myself from undercover cops?

If you’ve never hooked before, you need to be extremely careful.  $200 is typical for Dallas, so that’s OK; having men come to your location (incall) is actually helpful for avoiding cops because they generally prefer to have their targets come to them.  Of course, that still means you need to set yourself up in a hotel room first, unless you really want strangers knowing where you live (which I would not advise).  The alternative is either a taxi or getting a ride from someone you can trust to know what you’re doing.  You’ll need someone like that anyway; it’s not safe to be alone with a strange man without someone knowing where you are, what you’re doing, when he got there and when he’s supposed to leave (or when you got there and plan to leave).  If you don’t want to trust a friend, you might consider doing a few jobs for an agency instead of placing an ad yourself so that they can monitor you.  But if you do place an ad, please keep it tasteful; a lot of “sexy” talk attracts both sleazy guys and cops, and you don’t need either of those.  You didn’t mention health protection, but I cannot possibly stress enough that you absolutely MUST use condoms, no matter how much extra he offers you to skip them.  Finally, please read my post about screening and follow the advice in it.  Good luck!

What’s the difference between prostitution and escorting?  I have come across several high-end escort websites and I notice that all of these beautiful women have a disclaimer on the front page stating that payment is only for time and companionship, usually followed by “This is not an offer of prostitution!”  Does this mean I am safe from the law?  Is it legal to pay money for time and companionship services?

French cops with prostitutesThere is no difference between escorting and prostitution; though some escorts may claim differently, escorting is simply one of many types of prostitution.  The disclaimer you’re referring to is practically omnipresent on escort websites, and the protection is gives them is worth exactly what it cost for them to put it there: zero.  It’s just like the various formulae they imagine will reveal a cop in a sting:  “If you don’t take the money in your hand, they can’t arrest you,” or “cops aren’t allowed to take their clothes off,” or “cops can’t touch the girl,” or “cops have to answer truthfully if one asks if they’re cops.”  None of these things are true; they’re the equivalent of magical charms whispered by the superstitious before going into danger.  If a cop wants to arrest a woman he will, no matter what she says, does, doesn’t say, doesn’t do or writes on her website; even if the cops really had such rules (which they don’t), they would simply lie and claim the woman said or did whatever was needed to arrest her, or that they (the cops) didn’t do whatever it was they weren’t supposed to do.

So though the answer to your question is technically “yes” (it is indeed legal to pay for time and companionship), in actuality if you respond to a fake escort ad you will be arrested no matter what you didn’t say to the disguised policewoman.  The way to avoid this is to only make appointments with known escorts who either have good reviews or are recommended to you by friends; that way you know that the lady is a reputable businesswoman rather than bait to trick you into jail.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Who needs misogynists when you describe women engaged in sex work as “objects” whose humanity “can be forgotten”?  -  Maddie Collier

R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen

The greatest special-effects artist of all time has passed away at the age of 92.  His movies are among my all-time favorites, and no digital creature has ever entertained me as much as Ray’s masterful puppetry still does.  And even though he’s been retired for 32 years, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that the world will be just a little less magical without him.

Bad Girls

[An] unnamed 14-year-old used his iPad to find…Dareka R. Brooks through a website used for sexual hookups…believing [her] to be a sex worker, [he] invited her to his…home, [where she]…pepper-sprayed the boy and made off with his piggy bank and the…iPadBrooks was tracked down a short time later…and arrested after she used the iPad…Brooks was charged with armed robbery…[but] the…boy will not face charges for solicitation.

I suspect the cops’ “kindness” means the boy’s family is well-connected.

Halfway Whores

Dr. Laura Agustín on “Good-time girls and other non-professionals taking money for sex“:

Formalised money-sex exchanges get the attention and conflict…lots of other exchanges are ignored, a line is drawn between commercial and non-commercial sex.  But that line is imaginary.  Many people who expect to be compensated for their company will never call themselves sex workers or escorts…

Lack of Evidence

A Colorado woman was convicted of prostitution for answering a personal ad; after trying to talk her into having sex in a parking lot, a disguised cop “shoved a fistful of cash in front of her face and issued a command: ‘TAKE IT!’…Moments later, the car was surrounded [by] ‘Guns and guys in black with masks on’…the prosecution focused on the word ‘roses’ in the Craigslist ad…”  Maybe if this sort of thing starts to happen more often, amateurs will start to wake up to the fact that anti-whore laws harm everyone.

William ColemanMy Body, My Choice (Holiday Leftovers)

[For] five years…[William Coleman has been] force-fed…Starving himself…is the only way he has to…protest his conviction.  Not eating is his only available free speech act…He and his lawyer have gone to court to stop the force-feedings, but a judge ruled against him in March…Coleman is…[not at] Guantánamo…where a mass hunger strike of 100 prisoners has brought…force-feeding to American newspapers, if not American consciences…but…in Connecticut…Guantánamo is not an anomaly.  Prisoners…are routinely and systematically force-fed every day…force-feedings…are considered torture by most of the world’s medical and governing bodies…yet most media outlets continue to portray feeding tube use as a “complex ethical debate.”  It’s not.  Competent prisoners go on hunger strike because they have something to say and no other way to say it.  Prison officials choose not to hear — and silence them with tubes…

Check Your Premises

A Hialeah [Florida] police sergeant…Tomas Muñoz…has been suspended with pay after being…charged with cocaine possession and carrying drug paraphernalia…he told reporters…“I met a girl — she happens to have a pimp, and we fell in love…And he doesn’t let her be free.  This came about because he set the whole thing up.”

He “doesn’t let her be free”, except to fuck cops.  For free.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

American’s mathematical illiteracy goes clear up to the White House, whose spokesman recently claimed that almost 4% of school-age American girls have become “child sex slaves” since the beginning of the panic a decade ago.  Also of note:  since the government was unable to shut down Backpage via unconstitutional censorship demands, it is now claiming that it intentionally gave up trying.

The Proper Study

Another step in the right direction:

Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group) have announced…a new journal devoted to the study of pornography.  Porn Studies, to be edited by Professor Feona Attwood of Middlesex University and Dr Clarissa Smith of the University of Sunderland, will be the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to critically explore those cultural products and services designated as pornographic and their cultural, economic, historical, institutional, legal and social contextsSaradha

One Born Every Minute

Thousands of sex workers in Sonagachi have lost their lifelong savings…in Ponzi schemes…”about [30 million rupees] has been lost”…[said] Bharati [of Durbar Mahila Samanaya Committee]…Till 2004-05…sex workers [only] deposited their earnings and took loans…[at] Usha Bank…but…7-8 agents [who] were sacked by [the] Bank…continued to operate in the red light area.  “Sex workers were easily trapped because the agents were well known to them or were their relatives…” [said a bank officer]…Bharati says, “We…repeatedly issued warnings…But you can’t stop anyone…hell bent to invest her hard earned money in schemes promising much higher returns.”  The Durbar has recently launched a massive awareness programme…

Workers’ Paradise vs. Gold Diggers

 …Dongguan…has a population of about 7 million and a reputation as the Chinese capital of sex…Between 500,000 and 800,000 people – some 10 per cent of Dongguan’s migrant population – are in some way employed in the world’s oldest profession…[including] 300,000 sex workers…[but] authorities are now…trying to push prostitution off Dongguan’s streets with a crackdown…

Where Are the Protests?

Note that the word “trafficking” is entirely absent:

A company within Sweden’s home care services…mistreated migrant workers by making false promises about work conditions…Hassan…said that his official job offer stated that he would be employed full-time by…TPS Vårdteam…with a monthly wage of 26,500 kronor ($4,000)…”In the beginning I didn’t get any work at all…Then I had to work seven days a week….[for] only…8,000 kronor per month”…the company had not paid in any taxes at all for Hassan…

End demand for home health care!

Obfuscation via Dysphemisms

Tulsa, Oklahoma’s sleazy war on whores reaches a new level of evil:

Tulsa police have…charged 23 individuals under a state law that permits a felony to be filed when a person suspected of prostitution is arrested within 1,000 feet of a church or school.  “It’s just a nightmare,” said defense attorney, Charles Kania…a “scarlet letter on their foreheads that follows them forever”…The felony charges are part of a stepped-up effort by police to get tough on prostitution…Sgt. Todd Evans said…”Most of Tulsa is within a thousand feet of a church or school”…[and] police have sometimes opted to book individuals under another statute that makes it a felony to utilize a computer to violate any state law…

Active Blessing
All the Difference

Active Blessing Uganda…[promised that children] would get an education and live a better life…instead [they were] denied basic rights and exploited…76 children, aged between four and 16 years, have been rescued from the alleged human traffickers…the children are malnourished…do domestic work…in return for food and when they fall sick…are not cared for…the parents [were]…always prevented…from visiting…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (TW3 #49)

On May 22, the American Psychiatric Association will release the…DSM-5…[practicing psychotherapist] Gary Greenberg, one of the book’s biggest critics, claims these disorders aren’t real — they’re invented…The Book of Woe: The Making of the DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry is his exposé of the business behind the creation of the new manual…

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn (TW3 #137)

A powerful statement from Filipino sex workers:

…Being poor in the Philippines…means…no matter how much you believe things to be wrong you must believe it to be right when the rich, your master (amo)…[says] so…That…[is] why it was not difficult for the feminist (abolitionists) to appropriate our voices and to start…speaking for themselves in our name…For years, we could only stand , mouths gagged, as we watched our new “amos” build their careers speaking for other underprivileged and “mindless” women in their list who they claim do not have the ability to speak for themselves…We…do not understand the arrogance by which they have anointed themselves our saviors…what we want is save ourselves from them instead…we really do not care about  “patriarchy”, “commodification” and other words they spew.  Those matters don’t bring food on our table nor pay for our rent.  All we are interested in is work undisturbed…It is time to tell the world that only sex workers [can] speak for sex workers…

Held Together With Lies (TW3 #316)Eurotrafficking

Wendy Lyon does her usual thorough job ripping apart a bogus study:

Last month saw the publication of the EU’s first Trafficking in Human Beings report, which…is (properly) littered with disclaimers…Unfortunately…the press release…[went] for the handy soundbite…so we’ve been deluged with headlines like “Human trafficking increased by 18%” when…the report doesn’t show it did any such thing…if all the statistics were accepted as readily as the “18% increase” has been, it would be a little bit inconvenient for some…Contrary to what we’re constantly told by the anti-trafficking movement, the most recent figures make it hard to discern any link between trafficking and the legal status of sex work.  The Dutch rate is very high, but the Cyprus rate is higher – and Cyprus has much stricter laws than the Netherlands…Romania, where sex work itself is illegal, is nearly as high.  Hungary (legal), Portugal (legal) and Lithuania (illegal) are tied for last.  Austria and Germany are also relatively low – in fact, Germany and Sweden are tied, at 0.8 per 100,000.  And the German rate has remained more or less constant over the three years surveyed, while Sweden’s has quadrupled…But sex workers’ rights advocates shouldn’t leap on those figures, either, because truthfully the whole report is pretty hopelessly undermined by its methodological weaknesses…

Monsters

Sometime…[in] April, an Ohio transgender woman was…stabbed repeatedly and then tied to a concrete block and cast into a pond.  She was left with no clothes below the waist, perhaps to shame her…But…insensitive stories by the local press…[wrote] about [her] as if she were a bizarre spectacle, not a victimized human being…the Cleveland Plain Dealer…used a mugshot of [Cemia] Acoff instead of the other readily available photos…the [headline which now reads]…“Oddly dressed body found in Olmsted Township identified,” originally said “oddly dressed man,” (you can see it in the url; it was changed after readers and activists protested)…the story [also] refers to her as Carl Acoff (her birth name) and uses a male pronoun...[a follow-up] story…details what she was wearing…lists old petty “crimes”…[and refers to the] hormones [she was carrying as] “dangerous drugs”…

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #317)

Maddie Collier’s response to Rakhi “pop stars cause sex trafficking” Kumar is well worth reading in its entirety, but here’s a sample:

…The anti-sex trafficking cause is already thick with moral panic, misinformation, and ill-informed, PR-boosting celebrity activists, and you’re cluttering the already-diminished discourse with further nonsense….[which spawns] attitudes and policies that actively harm sex workers.  You are ignoring the freely-available  perspectives and requests of real-life sex workers because they interfere with your romantic notion of the Prostituted Woman as a forlorn, passive victim who needs to be saved.  If you engage with sex workers before you form a view on what’s oppressing them, you might find that criminalisation and stigma are higher-priority concerns than mythical drug-dealing pimps wielding persuasive charm and Beyoncé’s hotpants…

Anatomy of a Boondoggle (TW3 #317)

The newest excuse for police rape of sex workers is that Asian massage parlors are “sophisticated”:

…an undercover police officer…[repeatedly paid for sex] over five months…in a fight against prostitution and human trafficking.  Officers say such methods led to…[their raiding] two businesses [and] arresting…four alleged prostitutes and two alleged pimps.  But the methods…were criticized…by legal…experts and women’s advocates as excessive, unnecessary and misapplied…prostitutes can be arrested and charged in Indiana as soon as an agreement to pay for a sex act is made…Plus…if the women indeed had been…working…against their will, the sex acts they performed on the officer only contributed to their humiliation, exploitation and degradation…Aaron Dietz, head of the…Task Force…which conducted the nine-month sting, said…the sophisticated nature of the prostitution ring required officers to take more extreme measures…Dietz and others wanted to emphasize that it was not a pleasurable experience for the officer, but entirely necessary.  “No one…really wants to go into these…It’s something that’s ethically and morally very trying, so I’d do anything to keep guys out of there.”

You’d do anything?  Then how about advocating for decriminalization, you fucking filthy liar?

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The truth doesn’t have a sound bite.  -  Hadil Habiba

A Whore in the Bedroom

While working as a high-class escort for nine years, Rebecca Dakin saw hundreds of married men turn to her to fulfill sexual needs not being met by their wives.  In 2009, she…became an infidelity counselor, using her experience…to teach women about how to satisfy their husbands…Dakin says that the number one reason men look outside of their relationships for sex is because they’re not getting enough of it at home…other reasons…include…feeling bored by the sex they receive…or feeling hesitant to share their intimate desires and fantasies with their spouse…

November Book Reviews

Thaddeus Russell lectures on A Renegade History of the United States at the recent New Hampshire Liberty Forum:

Barbie

The pathetic losers who believe young girls can perform complex calculations in their heads are at it again, informing us that if Barbie were both alive and life-sized she wouldn’t have room for intestines.  That’s ironic, because it’s obvious that doofuses who obsess about plastic dolls have no room in their heads for comprehending that the smaller any animal is, the more slender its proportions tend to be, and that kids don’t actually notice this kind of stuff in any case.

Real People

It’s surprising that this article on Bay Area sex workers (including Kitty Stryker and Siouxsie Q) who cater to the tech sector appeared on CNN, of all places; the phrase “human trafficking” occurs only once, in a very short passage about a vice cop.  Maybe a few people over there are starting to wake up (or just seeing the writing on the wall).  The same holds true in the next item:

Feminine Pragmatism

The anti-whore rhetoric in this New York Times piece about Afghan sex workers is minimal, and the word “trafficking” entirely absent:

…Mazar…is…Afghanistan’s unofficial capital of prostitution…[this is] partly [due]…to the city’s culture, which is considerably more forgiving of vice than is the rest of the country.  Alcohol, though still illegal, can be found without too much trouble.  Women…can be seen socializing with men in…public parks, a rare sight even in Kabul…In recent years, the city’s economy has flourished as its proximity to Central Asia and its relative peace and stability have transformed it into a trading hub…The sex trade has [always] existed in one form or another…even under the ultraconservative rule of the Taliban.  But officials here say the rapid spread of mobile technology has made the business easier to manage and harder to detect…Women…host clients in a series of apartments…The point of contact is typically a man who orchestrates the meet-ups by cellphone.  This has made the business tough to infiltrate for those police officials eager to crack down…[sex workers] are almost always impoverished and typically divorced or widowed, struggling to support a family…they risk death if they are discovered…

The Pro-Rape Coalition

Kamlesh VaswaniThe Supreme Court [of India] sought response from the government on a plea to block and ban porn sites on the internet, particularly those showing child pornography…The petition filed by Indore-based advocate Kamlesh Vaswani said watching obscene videos is not an offence but it is one of the major causes for crime against women…”  As we know, this is the exact opposite of the truth.

Where Are the Victims?

Even the police state seems unable to explain what legitimate public interest is served by jailing a 69-year-old quadriplegic polio victim who breathes through a ventilator for the “crime” of having sexual feelings.  In 2011 he was “convicted” of helping sex workers find safe clients by running a screening service, and apparently the terms of his probation demand he not be sexual in any way; unsurprisingly, he has been caught violating that condition twice so far.

We Told You So

…As part of a legal settlement, Tennessee-based Stop Child Trafficking Now…will agree to follow a list of requirements if it returns to Missouri…some of the stipulations include [detailing] how donated funds will be spent in the Kansas City area…[and] an accurate depiction of the organization’s accomplishments.  A 41 Action News investigation…followed the money trail and fact-checked some of SCTNow’s bold claims made on its website…hundreds of thousands of dollars [went] to fund private “special operatives” teams to gather undercover intelligence about child sex trafficking…[but] when pressed for more details, SCTNow could not point to a single case in the country where information lead to an arrest or prosecution…

Divided We Fall

The Gambia introduced…new laws…criminalising male prostitution [and] cross-dressing…Any man or boy who solicits, is “attired in the fashion of a woman” in a public place or who “practises sodomy as a means of livelihood or as a profession” now faces a hefty fine and jail term of up to five years…

Where’s the outcry from picket-fence gay activists? {sound of crickets}  I reckon they don’t want to be soil their newfound respectability by speaking up for drag hookers any more.prohibition beer raid

Change a Few Words

Dr. Laura Agustín on how all prohibitionism is the same:

…outlawing activities accomplishes only one thing…It tells citizens that government has decided something is Wrong…Sending A Message is the principle …behind the Swedish state’s…law against buying sex, and…behind all the [others]…who want the law for their countries.  Everyone wants to be seen to be Taking a Stand against immoral behaviour.  Try bringing evidence into the conversation and you will quickly learn how irrelevant it is; you can find Swedish promoters themselves saying things like We know it doesn’t work but we want to be in the forefront of Gender Justice…Any other claim about what prohibitionist laws achieve when they outlaw social activities like sex, drinking and drugs is not supported by evidence.  That’s because, after the law is passed and the message is sent, individuals deal with prohibition deviously…So buyers and sellers of drugs, alcohol and sex become creative, some of them maintaining a disapproving stance in public at the same time…

This is, of course, why self-reporting about paying for sex has become so absurdly inaccurate.

The Immunity Syndrome

A new Ohio law bans teachers from discussing “any gateway sexual activity or health message that encourages students to experiment with sexual activity” and allows parents to sue for “damages” if they claim a teacher has done so.  What exactly are “gateway sexual activities”, you ask?  The law doesn’t say, but we know that in Tennessee they include hand-holding.

An Example to the West

Add Latin America to the list of regions that do sex work activism more effectively than the US:

A new study, designed and carried out by the network of female sex workers in Latin America and Caribbean (REDTRASEX), has documented legislation that affects sex work – as well as detailing what this means in practice…independent sex work is not prohibited in any of the countries studied.  What is criminalized…is proxenetism (or ‘pimping’) and…“immoral” behaviours or disturbances to the peace or public order are applied in relation to sex work.  Furthermore…confusing sex workers…with trafficked persons…silences the legitimate voices of sex workers and actually blocks discussions on how to end human trafficking.  This creates a framework of legitimacy for police repression and state violence…[and] results in a culture of secrecy around sex work, increasing stigma and the vulnerability of sex workers…

The study is available in Spanish, and I’ll provide the English translation as soon as it’s available.

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (TW3 #14)

Gloria Steinem is at it again, now in collusion with rescue industry NGO Apne Aap:  “On April 18, human rights activists Gloria Steinem and Ruchira Gupta will kick off a two-day symposium at Smith College, ‘Trafficking Sex: Politics, Policy, Personhood’…”  Note the unintentional irony of prohibitionists borrowing the term “personhood” from their anti-abortion rights soulmates.

Held Together With Lies (TW3 #28)

Chicken Licken and company meet Foxy LoxyDespite a total lack of evidence (“[trafficking] convictions [declined] 13 percent”), Chicken Licken and other overly-excitable barnyard fowl ordered EU member states “to get a move on with adopting tough new rules against human trafficking or face sanctions as a first report on the problem showed ‘modern-day slavery’ worsening”.  Obviously math isn’t the typical politician’s strong suit, but one would think even they could comprehend that the larger estimates might have something to do with the fact that they “[broadened] the definition of the crime” two years ago; now they’re claiming “the trafficking business is second-only in illegal activity to the weapons trade”, up from the equally-bogus assertion that it was third.  Anyone want to take bets on whether it will rise to first before the hysteria collapses?

Wise Investment (TW3 #31)

Texas lawmakers…[want to criminalize] advertisements soliciting prostitution…‘the Backpage Bill’…would make it a felony to buy such advertising and might press Backpage.com to get out of the business.”  It will do nothing of the kind and these politicians know it.  But because they don’t pay the cost of defending tyrannical and patently-unconstitutional laws, they’re perfectly happy to buy votes from control freaks at taxpayer expense.

Lack of Evidence (TW3 #41)

The news that “San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has agreed to make a ban on using condoms as evidence of prostitution permanent” is good (though as a policy rather than a law it could be revoked at a moment’s notice), but dig Gascón’s bizarre and Orwellian claim around mid-article that criminalization and police harassment of women are for our “protection”.

Uncharted Seas

we’ve been hearing it for yearsGay marriage is a slippery slope!  A gateway drug!  If we legalize it, then what’s next?  Legalized polygamy?  We can only hope…let’s not forget that the fight doesn’t end with same-sex marriage…Legalized polygamy in the United States is…constitutional, feminist, and sex-positive…we really can make our own choices.  We just might choose things people don’t like…Arguments about whether a woman’s consensual sexual and romantic choices are “healthy” should have no bearing on the legal process…It’s condescending, not supportive, to minimize them as mere “victims” without considering the possibility that some of them have simply made a different choice…

A Working System (TW3 #136)

A Sydney madam has been found guilty of keeping young Malaysian students in sexual servitude…Chee Mei Wong, 39, forced the six young women to work up to 20 hours a day in the Diamonds brothel…and ordered them to perform unusual sex acts against their will so they could pay ”debts”…

Something Rotten in Sweden (TW3 #138)ugly end demand propaganda

More on the ugly campaign of disinformation currently being waged by “End Demand Illinois”:

…Who are the organizers of this campaign trying to communicate with?  My suspicion is…people who already have a soft analysis of prostitution gleaned from watching 20/20…or true crime TV shows about sex trafficking busts…who is going to step up and be “in favor” of “modern day slavery” or “sex trafficking?” …I really want to know what it’s going to take for people to actually think about how complicated the sex trade is, and that it’s not all the same, and that ads that make us all the victims of overwhelming violence don’t do anything to actually improve our circumstances…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (TW3 #313)

Remember, prostitution was recently re-confirmed as legal in India, but brothels are still illegal; it’s therefore a simple matter for cops to redefine a business as a “ring”, label women of 20 to 25 as “girls”, call their arrest a “rescue” and describe imprisonment under psychological torture as “rehabilitation”.  That way the money from the US and NGOs keeps rolling in.

The Story Behind the Story

Fox 2000…[is] adapting Go the Fuck to Sleep for the big screen…the bedtime-story parody, written by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Ricardo Cortés, has become something of a viral hit…It is unclear how the filmmakers plan to turn what is essentially a nursery rhyme with one punchline…into an entire feature- length film…

I hope this proves lucrative for Ricardo and also opens more doors for him.

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The supposition that all women…engaged in sex work…are the victims of trafficking and under the control of criminal gangmasters is, at best, delusional.  -  Paul Maginn and Graham Ellison

ViagraBetween the Ears

Dr. Marty Klein explains that it isn’t only women who are ill-served by the medicalization of sexual dysfunction:

As a sex therapist, I see men…who…describe themselves as having…erectile dysfunction.  I say, “So, you don’t get erect when you want to.  Let’s call it that.”  Conceptualizing their situation as ED is frequently part of the problem.  They think their penis is suffering some pathology; more often, the pathology is in their expectations…I ask these men lots…of questions…and…we [often] discover that their uncooperative penis is actually behaving in an understandable, fairly reasonable way…Sometimes Viagra is part of the problem—it reinforces the idea that there’s something wrong with their penis…but if there isn’t…Viagra can’t fix it…

What the Hell Were You Thinking?

Judgy Bitch asks why it’s OK to advise people on how to protect themselves from robbery or worse while travelling (“Pay attention to how you are dressed, Don’t be drunk, Don’t flash your valuables, Keep an eye on who is watching you, Travel with friends, Use your body language to let predators know you are not easy prey [and] If you sense a problem, get the hell out of there”), but giving the exact same advice to young women is “victim blaming”.  Because obviously it’s far more important to sacrifice naïve young women on the altar of feminist politics than to actually help them protect themselves in the real world.

Neither Cold nor Hot

It’s sometimes amusing to watch the debutantes at Jezebel getting the vapors over sex work; this article by Madeleine Davies about sex workers coming to North Dakota in order to fill the woman shortage caused by an oil boom can’t make up its mind whether the men are “Neanderthals” and “criminals”, or the helpless victims of scarlet women “filtering in from across the country to profit off the needs of the desperate male residents.”

Feminine Pragmatism

Lindsay LohanYou’d almost think gossip reporters were historical ignoramuses who didn’t know that up until a century ago, the professions of actress and whore were indistinguishable:

Desperate for money, troubled actress Lindsay Lohan is…working as a professional escort, [said] her father…and other insiders…“The dates last for days, and the guys pay for everything…as well as jewelry and other gifts”… One of Lindsay’s most high profile clients is…Prince Haji Abdul Azim [of Brunei]…and wealthy…painter Domingo Zapata reportedly supported…[her] for months…

It’s That Time Again

Super Bowl time, that is; this year it’s in New Orleans, and though the “authorities” haven’t quite learned not to humiliate themselves with ludicrous “gypsy whore” fantasies, you may have noticed there was a lot less hype about it than before:

…The NOPD…[arrested] two suspected prostitutes and their alleged pimp, while also rescuing [the] 4-year-old…son of one of the suspected prostitutes…Detectives say the group placed ads on…backpage.com, which…is expected to be buzzing with sex solicitation during the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras…[State] Trooper Melissa Matey…said…”We do know those human trafficking cells are attracted to those large scale events, where…there’s gonna be a lot of tourists and…a lot of money to be made”…

I literally laughed out loud at “human trafficking cells”; apparently hookers are equated with terrorists and revolutionaries now.

Don’t Buy It (TW3 #6)

In reference to the “gypsy whores” myth, the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women asked, “What’s the Cost of a Rumour?”  In the case of the London Olympics, we can now provide an answer:

Scare-mongering over an outbreak of sex trafficking during the Olympics resulted in half a million pounds being wasted…London Assembly Member…Andrew Boff said that just four cases of trafficking were discovered last year – despite an extra £500,000 being diverted to police…“a huge amount of time, money and resources was poured into this search, which turned out to be nothing more than tilting at windmills”…

The Sky is Falling!

Seekingarrangement.com has a clever advertising department; every so often they come out with a “press release” which announces that “more coeds than ever” are signing up as sugar babies.  Of course, the only thing vaguely “new” about this is they’re doing it on a website, but people like to pretend otherwise.  At least these two examples are refreshingly free of moral censure.

The Immunity Syndrome

Alabama state Rep. Patricia Todd…is trying yet again to delete a particularly idiotic provision of Alabama’s sex education law…[which] requires…classes to teach…that gay sex…is a “criminal offense”…[though] that law was invalidated in 2003 by…Lawrence vs. Texas

Another Small Victory (TW3 #18)

Supreme Court buildingMany sex worker rights activists seem to have misunderstood the implications of the news that “the Supreme Court has agreed to review a First Amendment dispute over whether the United States can force private health organizations to denounce prostitution as a condition to get AIDS funding”; had the Supreme Court refused to hear the government’s appeal, the lower court’s ruling overturning the pledge would have stood.  And while it’s certainly possible that the SCOTUS may leave the ruling intact or even expand it by striking down the ban for international organizations as well (which the first ruling did not), neither outcome is likely considering that this court has firmly established itself as the handmaiden and apologist for the excesses of the executive and legislative branches.  One very odd aspect of the linked article is that the call for total decriminalization by WHO and other UN agencies is described as “support[ing] lesser penalties for prostitution”, which is rather like describing the eradication of smallpox as “lessening the symptoms of the disease”.

Whorearchy

Here’s another woman who does not see herself as supporting state control of women’s lives, bodies and choices:

…I recently told my hairdresser that I was a go-go dancer and she replied by telling me that she would have totally stripped if she were my age but that she “didn’t have the body for it”…Even people at…the club where I primarily work…will put money on my platform as if it’s going to get them a lap dance or something…I’m not trying to be condescending towards strippers…but I…take pride in the fact that while strippers are ultimately hired to give guys boners, I was at least semi-hired for my talent…I don’t deny…that it takes some level of sexuality to be a successful club dancer, but there’s a big difference between wearing a push-up bra…and shoving my tits in some grandpa’s face…

For one who’s “not trying to be condescending”, she sure does a good job.

True Colors

Women With A Vision has purchased a new building to replace the office destroyed by arson, but it’s going to need “massive repairs” and renovation; that’s going to be very expensive, so please consider contributing to further their work in helping poor and marginalized women, including sex workers.Sarah Tressler

First They Came For the Hookers…

News on two of the ladies from this column who were fired for past sex work:

…Sarah Tressler…[lost] her reporting gig at the Houston Chronicle after…[being] exposed…[as the blogger] “Angry Stripper”…[but] she just landed a new job at The San Antonio Express-News as a breaking news reporter…Stacie HalasStacie Halas, a California…teacher who was fired for her porn star past [and recently lost her appeal] was [also]…offered a new job…[by] Dennis Hof of…[the] Moonlite Bunny Ranch…

Even if Halas is interested in going back to sex work she could do a lot better as an independent escort than by allowing herself to be exploited by Hof or others like him.

Prudish Pedants (TW3 #37)

A federal judge in California thinks it’s a wise use of public funds to lock up a 61-year-old filmmaker for four years for the “crime” of grossing out a cherry-picked group of a dozen people in Los Angeles.  Future law students will marvel at the self-destructive absurdity of our era.

An Example To the West (TW3 #39)

In September, I reported that a Korean whore had submitted a constitutional challenge to her country’s prostitution law; it has now been accepted:

…Judge Oh Won-chan…filed the case with the Constitutional Court after accepting a petition from a 41-year-old prostitute on trial for violating the law…the judge’s request doesn’t question the part of the law that punishes buyers of sex.  “We don’t punish a woman acting as a concubine or a wife for hire,” Oh said…[he] also questioned the effectiveness of the law, saying authorities should focus on punishing brothel owners and pimps…

Let’s hope the Korean government doesn’t respond with Swedish-style legislation, which only makes the struggle for rights more difficult.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #42)

Criminologist Graham Ellison has written another excellent editorial against criminalization in Northern Ireland, this time with the help of Dr. Paul Maginn of the University of Western Australia:

…The…proposals…are…premised more on ideological and religious beliefs…than a concrete evidence-base…History tells us that prohibition is an ineffective policy remedy…a few simple facts…dispel the stereotypes about sex work…only an exceptionally small proportion [are street workers]…there is no evidence to suggest that sex workers’ drug dependency is greater than the general population…[they] come from all manner of social class and educational backgrounds…the majority…are there because…the pay is…better than what they could get in other occupations…If Lord Morrow is sincere about his intentions to help womenPaying For It in French involved in ‘prostitution’, he should consider decriminalisation.

Book Reviews (October 2012)

The French edition of Chester Brown’s Paying For It has been chosen by the Angoulême International Comics Festival as an official selection, which will undoubtedly give it more well-deserved attention.  Congratulations, Chester!

Election Day (TW3 #45)

A judge has granted a preliminary injunction against the narrow portion of California’s tyrannical CASE Act which was challenged by the EFF and ACLU:

…Prop 35 is…beset with problems.  The biggest was its requirement that registrants turn over a list of all their Internet identifiers and service providers to law enforcement…the court found that there was a clear chilling effect on speech because registrants would have to disclose their identity either before they speak, or within 24 hours after speaking somewhere online…Allowing the government to monitor and record a wide swath of innocent Internet activity…is a dangerous trend that can easily expand, as law enforcement’s inevitable thirst for information fails to be quenched…

Unfortunately, there is as yet no organized challenge against the aspects of the law which criminalize a wide variety of normal sexual behaviors and virtually any association with sex workers.

Tyranny By Consensus (TW3 #51)

A leading adult film producer has launched a lawsuit against Los Angeles County over a…measure requiring porn actors to wear condoms, saying the law infringes on first amendment rights and was driving the industry out of Southern California.  Vivid Entertainment, which was joined in the lawsuit by porn stars Kayden Kross and Logan Pierce, claims the mandate was both an unconstitutional prior restraint on freedom of expression and a financial burden that studios could not bear…lead plaintiffs’ attorney Paul Cambria said…it was not economically feasible to digitally remove the condoms in post-production because the studios were competing with rivals elsewhere who had no such restrictions.

It’s interesting that the lawsuit doesn’t bring up the very real physical harm condoms can inflict on actresses under porn-filming conditions.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #52)

Those who wish to inflict the Swedish model on England and Wales have set up a fake “consultation” on the matter which is designed to trick the unwary into providing them ammunition via leading questions and outright lies about decriminalization.  The survey is referred to as a “call for evidence”, but as Laura Agustín points out this is “a misnomer as they are just asking for opinions and feelings – no evidence at all.”  Go ahead and respond to the survey (it’s fairly short), but follow Aspasia’s example by phrasing your answers carefully, since most are of the “have you stopped beating your wife?” variety.  The deadline is February 4th at 16:00 GMT.

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There is nothing holy nor sacred to those who have abandoned God and reason in order to follow their perverse desires.  -  François Rabelais, Gargantua (chapter 31)

feeling sickFair warning:  what you’re about to read may make you feel ill.  Writing it made me feel both queasy and dirty; I put it off for as long as I could, but I wanted to get done with it completely – including the posting and indexing – early enough so that I could be sure of regaining my appetite by dinnertime.  I probably don’t need to tell regular readers that I’m made of pretty stern stuff; my husband is only one of the many who have described me as “hard as nails”.  But the minds of some people are so wholly vile and disgusting that reading about their loathsome behavior, their indefensible motivations and their twisted rationalizations makes me feel as though I have been hurled into a tank full of raw sewage and leaves my heart pounding and my hands shaking.  The people to whom I refer are sexual predators, those subhuman monsters who are so completely devoid of even the most basic human decency and moral scruples that they think nothing of using other human beings to satisfy their perverted sexual needs, inflicting grievous physical and emotional harm on their victims and sometimes scarring them for life.  Worse still, these revolting vermin form associations with other like-minded scum, pooling their resources and cunning so as to more effectively snare unsuspecting victims.  It would be bad enough to merely know that these freaks existed, but to see them defended, excused and even glorified in a major newspaper is almost more than I can bear:

…“This is Lushous,” she said in a soft, seductive voice.  “You want to come see me today?”  The client had found her on backpage.com, where she promoted herself as a busty woman…eager for company…“For half an hour, it’s just $40, baby.  Tell me what you want to do.”  Lushous wanted to use handcuffs.  She was actually an undercover…cop.  If the man on the phone actually came…he’d be walking right into the department’s latest sting operation…Sharing Room 241 with her was another undercover officer with a nickname, a square-jawed, blue-eyed cop known as Pretty Boy.  He pored through a stack of printed Web ads…[and] called each one.  “Are you doing out-calls today, sweetie?”  They had arranged the room so it would seem like they were just lonely travelers.  Pretty Boy hung a crushed black suit on the rod and placed a used bar of Old Spice deodorant near the sink.  He ditched his uniform for a T-shirt and blue jeans but kept on his wedding ring.  Lushous ruffled the sheets on the queen-size bed.  She had lozenges to keep her voice smooth.  She placed a package of condoms on the side table…In 242, about six officers were on hand to help with arrests and the paperwork.  In 247, there were two female officers to attract men looking for a woman not of Lushous’s type.  Lushous is curvy and black; the two other female officers are white and thin…In 248, a detective posted $10 ads in the adult-services section of backpage.com…“Hello, my name is…” he began typing, trying to dream up a seductive name for the colleague next door.  He then tapped out, “B-R-A-N-D-I”…Ten minutes later, Brandi’s phone started to ring.  “…Am I busy? No…Yes, those are my pictures.”  After she hung up, the man texted her, “Are you affiliated with law enforcement?”  She rolled her eyes.  Every caller asked this question, under the common delusion…that a cop was legally obligated to say yes.  “No,’’ she texted back.  “Are you?”…

cop fetishI think that’s enough to give you the idea; the cops’ sociopathy is made even more revolting by the reporter’s glowing, fetishized praise, almost as loving and lurid as a Nick Kristof description of the tortures inflicted upon imaginary teenage girls.  But in spite of themselves, the yellow hack and the blue swine managed to produce one paragraph that was true, though not in the way they meant it:  “For police officials, prostitution is not victimless crime…Sex workers are prone to being raped and robbed. Some are victims of sex trafficking. The men who visit them are sometimes assaulted…”  That’s all true, but the victimizers – those doing most of that raping, robbing, assaulting and abduction into coercion and captivity – are the police, and they do it with the support of the government and many of the more ignorant and deluded members of the public.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go take a shower.

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