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Posts Tagged ‘bad customers’

This essay first appeared in Cliterati on August 10th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

Buyer's RemorseMost people have probably had the experience of buying something and regretting it later.  Sometimes it’s because the product is substandard, or because it was deceptively advertised and turned out not to be what the buyer expected.  Sometimes one simply gets caught up in the moment, as at an auction or while on a shopping trip with friends, and then feels differently once one is out of that situation.  And sometimes one spends the money while locked in the grip of powerful drives, like hunger or lust, and later experiences remorse over buying overpriced food products or dropping a lot of money on porn or sex workers.  In most cases, no harm is done; the buyer can simply return the unwanted item for a refund.  When the regretted purchase is an ephemeral, however (such as dinner, a show or sex), returning it simply isn’t possible; the ethical person chalks it up to experience and perhaps learns his lesson, but other, less moral types scheme to steal the money back.

Nearly every sex worker has encountered buyer’s remorse at some point in her career; dishonest workers who are better at the sale than the performance  encounter it frequently, but even the best, most conscientious whore sees it from time to time.  Part of it is the nature of male sexuality; some men lose all judgment and perspective while in the throes of desire, and do things they wouldn’t if the “big head” were fully in control.  In the worst cases they may rape, molest or otherwise violate someone; in lesser cases, they might commit career- or marriage-ending indiscretions of the sort that keep blackmailers in business.  And in the situations sex workers encounter, they simply spend more money than a more prudent man would have…which might possibly attract the attention of a wife or employer.

Even in cases where the money isn’t really an issue, some men are overcome by feelings of guilt or shame after release.  Such a client may go from enthusiastic and outgoing to withdrawn and unfriendly; the conversation which was so effortless suddenly becomes labored or ceases entirely, and an invisible wall suddenly goes up between him and his date.  In an incall situation, he will hastily dress and leave immediately; in an outcall he will try to get the escort to do the same.  Sometimes such a man will even rush for the bathroom in order to place a physical barrier between himself and the focus of his shame, or will become blatantly rude in order to drive her out all the more quickly.  A few rare outliers might even become violent and/or attempt to steal the fee back, but even among those a reaction this extreme is highly unusual:

A dominatrix and two friends accused of holding one of her clients hostage and “torturing” him have been cleared of all charges…the alleged victim [claimed he]…was held at knifepoint…forced to dance around in…women’s underwear and clean his face with a toilet brush…while being filmed.  The man claimed he had gone to the home of…Sinead Nijjer…under the impression she was willing to have sex with him for free, having twice previously paid £50 pounds for oral sex.  He told the jury that when he got to her flat…he was jumped on by two men…and…subjected to the embarrassing ordeal, which included him being forced to suck Ms Nijjer’s toes and being told his…“penis would be cut off”…[he further claimed] his captors threatened to release the video footage unless he paid them…[but] he was able to escape when he exaggerated breathing difficulties he was having and one of his alleged captors called 999…Miss Nijjer [explained] the alleged victim had come to her flat…for a [domination] session which he refused to pay for…The victim denied making up the story to cover up his embarrassment at being found by paramedics in…women’s underwear…[and] that he had faked the panic attack to get out of paying…

remorseIt doesn’t surprise me that this outlandish drama came as the result of buyer’s remorse over a fetish session; though the shame reactions I described above were often connected to vanilla dates, in my experience they were more common in kink or fetish sessions.  This should surprise no one; though vanilla sex is loaded down with culturally-inflicted shame and paid sex even more so, kink is burdened with the greatest weight of it.  And if even ordinary sex can provoke such strong rejection of the sex worker in some clients, that might be all the more true of someone who craves humiliation, but got more of it than he bargained for.

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Unfaithful Husbands pulp coverI’m a retired escort who, like you, married her favorite client.  From the beginning I made it clear that sleeping with other women was okay, but secrecy, lies, and emotional engagements were not; I also requested that any sex outside of our relationship be with professionals rather than  amateurs.  We have a very active sex life, and every few months I’ve reminded him that he could see escorts if he wished as long as he told me about it (just the fact that he did, not the details).  He’s always said that he hasn’t, but recently I accidentally  stumbled across evidence that he’s had many appointments since we’ve been together; I also found email exchanges with his ex including plans to get together.  I feel terrible for bringing this all on, but I also feel betrayed, hurt, and upset that he would lie to me.  Am I wrong for feeling this way when I gave him permission to see escorts? Is it worth talking to him about?  Am I being naive or silly? 

First of all, feelings are never “wrong” or “silly”.  Humans are emotional creatures, and can’t help what we feel; we can only control how we act upon those feelings.  Nor do I think you were being naive; in fact, quite the opposite.  As a sex worker yourself you know how men are, and you did everything you could to circumvent the possibility that he would hurt you by deception; not only did you give him permission to see others, you were even careful to re-iterate that permission a number of times.  The fact that he completely ignored your very simple and reasonable requirement – that he let you know whenever he did see another lady – is, I think, more than adequate reason to feel betrayed and hurt.  You gave him an outlet to be physical with other women, but instead he chose to act in a way that feels to you like emotional infidelity; I’m sure I would feel just as betrayed and hurt if I were in your situation.

There are several reasons why a man might cheat on his wife, and as I discussed in “Preventative Measures” only some of them can be prevented by things the wife might do (such as taking care of him at home and allowing him “strange” in controlled circumstances).  I suspect this passage applies to your husband: “if it’s the illicit nature of trysts with hookers which turns him on, that’s going to present a problem; if he craves sneaking around behind his wife’s back, he’s not likely to be satisfied with activities she attends, arranges or even simply condones.”  Think back to when he was your client; did it seem that “sneaking around” to see you turned him on?  Because that’s what his behavior seems to point to.  Only he can say whether he has emotional feelings for anyone he’s seen (like his ex), but secrecy?  Check.  Lies?  Check.  Amateurs?  Check.  It’s as though he was purposefully breaking as many of the rules you set as possible; perhaps that in itself gives him a thrill.

Two Faced ManI definitely think you need to talk to him about this; try to remain as calm and reasonable as you can manage, and explain to him how you found out and why you’re hurt.  Don’t let him derail you by accusing you of spying on him; you were acting in good faith and even if it what you did were wrong, his sins are far greater.  Also, don’t let him pretend he really believed his behavior was OK; unless he’s remarkably stupid I think it’s pretty clear that he knew he was breaking the rules.  Unfortunately, I can’t give you any advice about what happens next; there’s no way to know how he will react, what he will say, and how you will feel about his reactions.  I also can’t tell you whether it would be “right” to stay with a man who behaved like this, or whether you “should” leave him.  But I will say this:  I can virtually guarantee that this will happen again, probably repeatedly, no matter what he tells you.  So your decision about the future of the relationship needs to take that into account.

(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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Young Woman with Magnifying GlassI haven’t been an escort very long, and though I’ve screened clients by email before I just did my first phone screening.  There were several awkward pauses from the gent, like he was waiting for me to ask him something else (or maybe wanted to ask me something but couldn’t find the words).  I was friendly, but have been warned not to talk about details about sex…still, shouldn’t I go into do’s and dont’s, like I don’t do anal or BBBJ?  Or is that a no-no?  Also, is it OK to ask if they’ve seen escorts before if they don’t have references, but pass screening in every other way?

Some men are just nervous and awkward on the phone.  That’s actually a good sign; if you feel he’s sincerely nervous, he probably isn’t a cop because they won’t be (they do, however, often claim to be newbies so they don’t have to provide references).  If I were you, I’d stay away from any kind of sexual talk on the phone, even veiled references; just be friendly and cover things like when, how long a session, etc.  Most good clients won’t push you for sexual details; since both parties know what they’re there for, what’s to discuss?  Yes, it would be good if we could both be specific about what he wants and what we will or won’t do, but unfortunately that’s much too dangerous in the current legal climate.

In the long run you’ll have to decide for yourself whether references are important to you, but I suggest you start out by asking for them; other girls can often warn you away from a bad or iffy client, tell you what to expect from a marginal one, etc.  While it’s certainly true that many newbies may be excellent clients, the only way to discover that is to see them for yourself…and as I pointed out above, that carries a heightened risk of his being a lying cop.  They’re hunting us very aggressively these days, so please be careful and don’t be afraid to ask other, more experienced girls for screening advice.  Here are some basic screening suggestions, but until you get a routine you’re comfortable with it doesn’t hurt to listen to what others have to say on the issue.

(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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The only difference between an escort and, say, your sister is probably that an escort charges money.  –  Felix Clay

Rough Trade

Reporter casts violent rapist as a victim of prostitution:

…The havoc prostitution can wreak on lives played out in a London [Ontario] courtroom…when [Nelson] Martinez…was sentenced for what was described as a “callous and dangerous” attack on a sex worker…Martinez received a sentence of [merely] 38 months…[because] Justice Peter Hockin [was] impressed by Martinez’s promise to take counselling for his anger and sexual problems…[his] marriage was healthy until…Martinez turned away from his wife and children, and to pornography and prostitution…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd EverPeppr

Actually, the author of this particular article isn’t uptight; he seems accepting, though he’s a bit ill-informed about screening and seems to believe streetwalking is the norm:

…the Berlin-based Peppr app uses GPS to connect potential clients with prostitutes in their immediate area…to save prostitutes from having to pound sidewalks for customers.  It was created by…Pia Poppenreiter…after seeing sex workers out of doors on a cold night…To help make sure that its sex workers don’t become part of any human trafficking chain, Peppr interviews its advertisers over the phone before they sign them up…The company will also not work with brothels, only individuals and escort agencies…

Full of Themselves

Megalomaniac speaks for thousands of people, claiming they all want celibacy:

Massage parlors…have multiplied over the past decade, and city leaders don’t believe the boom is based on increased demand for back rubs…South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez said…“That is something I believe is exploitation of women…it’s promoting sex, and that’s not what we want in South Pasadena”…

The rest of the article lays the blame for this terrifying invasion of peaceful businesswomen on the incompetence of the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC), an organization which claims to be such an efficient investigative body that it “did what the FBI couldn’t:  uncover PROOF of a “vast network” of traffickers!”  The law which created the CAMTC contained a “sunset clause” which will expire next year, and many politicians want it to do just that; however, CAMTC director Richard McElroy warns of dire consequences if his crack team of super-massage-cops is dissolved:  “The human trafficking cartel…are [sic] praying we sunset because we are the biggest thorn in their side”…

Don’t Take My Word For It

Men just can’t let go of the pathetic fantasy of the high-income heterosexual male prostitute with gorgeous customers:

…in…Fading Gigolo…John Turturro…plays…a gentle bookstore employee who loses his part-time job…For his first trick – a passionate one-on-one with [Sharon Stone] – Fioravante earns $2,500…A string of satisfied clients follow…and the money rolls in…

Follow Your Bliss

A [Washington state cop]…involved in fighting…sex trafficking was arrested…on child porn charges…Donald Glunt…described himself on his LinkedIn page as being a training coordinator for the church-based group Hope4Justice…officials…discovered images on Glunt’s city-owned cell phone while conducting an internal administrative investigation…

Gullible’s Travels

Just when you thought fake teen drug scares couldn’t get any stupider, Ohio local news brings us beezin, in which kids rub Burt’s Bees lip balm on their eyelids…If I had to guess, I’d say beezin is probably most popular at rainbow parties after drinking hand sanitizer and butt-chugging some vodka…”The peppermint oil in the lip balm is a very strong irritant and can cause inflammation in the eye”…[said] Dr. Brett Cauthen

The scare appears to have been touched off by this parody video:

Three Steps Back

Panhandling…in Louisiana would be banned if a bill the House unanimously [approved] …gets signed into law…[sponsor] Austin Badon…proposed the bill…[in] answer to a call by [cops] to help…break up obvious patterns of prostitution…The legislation would allow for prostitutes to be “hassled by the cops,” he said…it would also apply to hitchhikers…

Above the Law 

Four French police officers are being held in custody on suspicion of raping a 34-year-old Canadian woman at their Paris headquarters…[after she met them] during a night of heavy drinking at a nearby Irish pub…

Scapegoats (TW3 #10)

Given that politicians who obsess about certain kinks are nearly always practitioners of those same kinks, what are we to make of Joe Arpaio’s crusade against zoophiliac women?

Once again, deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office have busted someone who went to Craigslist looking for sex with an animal.  This time, a 22-year-old Phoenix man went to…Craigslist seeking a male horse “on which to commit the act of fellatio”…Detectives were able to identify the poster as…Donald Waelde…

It takes a truly sick mind to vomit out the phrase “commit fellatio”, and unless I miss my guess that’s not a man but a transwoman; of course, Arizona’s pretty intolerant of them as well.

Stand-Up Guys sexy clown

Once again, Cracked demonstrates it has the smartest talent pool in journalism today:

…I feel that if an adult woman…wants to charge money for sexual services, it’s not a lot different from anyone else charging for massage services, or to be a clown at your birthday party, except the balloon animals are way more fun.  They have an ability others are interested in that they have monetized.  If that upsets you, it’s probably because you have an issue, not them.  Naturally, I’m opposed to human trafficking, sex slavery, underage prostitution, violence, and substance abuse, but I really believe a person can sell sex and not be involved in any of that, just as you can be a pot smoker and maybe not be involved in Mexican drug cartels, the beheading of civilians, organized crime, robbery, and meth-related buggery…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

At least this particular iteration of “robot hooker” idiocy recognizes the possibility that sex work is here to stay:

John Danaher…published a paper that…lays out two contrasting hypotheses: one in which robots dominate the sex industry; and another in which robot use actually leads to an increase in human sex work…The displacement hypothesis says sex robots will eventually push human sex workers out of a job…The resiliency hypothesis…[argues] that human prostitutes are here to stay…[because] humans will overwhelmingly prefer a human-on-human encounter to one with a robot…and…somewhat humorously suggests that there will be a spike in human prostitution because robots will edge people out of otherwise conventional jobs…

Yes, women turning to sex work because they can’t find any other profitable work is “humorous”.  Naturally, the first hypothesis is “supported” with nonsense about “exploitation”, “sex trafficking” and “diseases”.

Small Choice

“Sex trafficking” is caused by abortion!

The one-child policy in China has resulted in more than just forced abortions and sterilizations — it has led to massive cases of child trafficking as families attempt to buy children.  It’s also leading to international sex slavery rings and selling women as brides…

The Public Eye

SWOP [Chicago held a]…public event…called, “Understanding Sex Work and Allyship”…on…the…social misperceptions surrounding sex work, and the services that SWOP provides…including…the need for decriminalization and basic labor rights as a way of countering isolation and shame…SWOP should be respected as a union organization, and equally as fighting an important civil-rights battle…

Buried Truth Martin Ssempa

“Eat the Poo Poo” sounds like the title of a punk album:

A Ugandan pastor who has spent years calling for a stricter anti-gay law could now be charged under that very same law…Martin Ssempa is notorious for screening gay porn in church and claiming it is common for gay men to “eat the poo-poo”…Paul Kaliisa, from Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)…[suggests Ssempa] is almost “obsessed” with [gay porn].  “He moves everywhere with clips of gay men”…

Original Sin

Melissa Gira Grant has a good article about the evangelical Christian basis of “sex trafficking” hysteria, focusing especially on Sold No More (the ones who claimed a mineral show was a hotbed of “trafficking”) and Shared Hope International.  One interesting point:  Sold No More began as a “crisis pregnancy center”, one of those scams that trick women seeking abortions into anti-abortion propaganda sessions.

Dutch Threat

I’m Felicia Anna, a 27 year old prostitute from Romania working in the heart of the Red Light District in Amsterdam.  I’ve been working there now for more than 4 years, unforced, unexploited and completely on my own free will…Before I got in touch with my boyfriend, I had no idea of the stories, witch hunt and simply false facts…about my work place…and prostitution in general…most of the prostitutes don’t speak out…because they’re scarred of a pimp, or because what people are saying is true, but simply because they just don’t know what’s going on…almost nobody does anything to debunk these false stories and bring out the truth, and the people who did hardly got heard…

Race to the Bottom

What the hell is going on in Washington state?  These recent anti-whore editorials read more like something one might expect from a small-town paper in the Bible Belt than from a major newspaper in a supposedly “liberal” state.  This one urges the government to grant itself censorship powers over the internet and includes pearl-clutching sentences like “The Internet empowers pimps to post an endless stream of titillating photos of sex workers, many of whom are forced into the trade as children” (gotta love the juxtaposition of the term “sex worker” with blatant anti-agency propaganda).  Another one infantilizes women even further with prudish arsehole-clenching about “illicit ads that reduce people’s daughters to faceless bodyshots…body measurements…and suggestive pseudonyms.”  Yes, a grown woman with a university education wrote that.  A third one from Olympia quotes the usual idiocy, calls strip clubs “hotbeds of human trafficking” and cheers the enacting of a new law which “makes it a felony to coerce someone into involuntary servitude” (apparently, they’ve never heard of the 13th Amendment up there).  All I can say is, I know a lot of people who will be very disappointed when this moral panic collapses and they need to find a new way to sell papers.

Held Together With Lies (Hysteria on Parade)

This article is an odd hybrid; it admits that the majority of “trafficking” is for manual labor rather than sex, yet inflates the Bales number to 32 million, then claims that exploitative sweatshops aren’t exploitative if they’re owned and operated by “rescue” organizations. 

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #348)

Another mob-with-torches story from Los Angeles, containing this gem:

“We’ve got to swarm these girls with love,” said the Rev. Deborah Manns, who…works with police, probation officers and parents to reclaim runaway girls…”We go to parties, we go to parks, we go to malls…I will chase a girl down the street, grab her, hold her, fight her…whatever it takes to keep her from going back to the track”…where trafficking victims are often forced to sell their bodies…

Ignoring people’s choices, spying on them, tackling them and betraying them to cops is “love”.

Case Study

This Random Brothel Exposé Generator is pure brilliance.    

Worse Than I Thought (TW3 #403)

It’s really good to see Reason expressing such strong opposition to sex work criminalization lately, especially when they quote me in the process; I just wish they wouldn’t give quite so much time to the awful Dennis Hof.

Under Every Bed (All Traffick, All the Time)

The grandiosity of these delusions increases by the day:

Windie Jo Lazenko …went  to [North Dakota]…to fight the sex trafficking…that…is a direct result of the oil boom…she said…she has helped 10 trafficked girls escape the sex trade…“Some…hotels…actually have floors that are bought out by pimps…and it operates pretty much like a brothel”…

Marching Up Their Own Arses (TW3 #414)

You should’ve known that Arizona, which is trying to market itself as whore-hater central, would be the next to jump on the “escort licensing” fad:

Gov. Jan Brewer…signed sweeping legislation that…[forces]  businesses such as massage parlors and escort services that advertise online…to post their license numbers…[and] have written permission of any women they depict and have evidence they are not minors.  Cindy McCain…said the…law will help close off the state to…traffickers…[it] received unanimous support in…the…Legislature…

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The history of America’s first sex panic should give us pause before we latch onto a new cause whose benefits are likely to be minimal at best but will almost certainly put more women in jail and more cops in our lives.  –  Thaddeus Russell

R.I.P. Michael Glawogger Michael Glawogger

Acclaimed Austrian director Michael Glawogger, famed for his…documentaries on the lives of the…poor, has died while on a shoot in…Liberia after contracting malaria…Whore’s Glory (2011) examined the world’s oldest profession with portraits of working girls in Thailand, Bangladesh and Mexico…

Celebrities

one of the drivers from…Ice Road Truckers…Tim Zickuhr has been charged with…kidnapping, extortion, and coercion…[he hired a] prostitute…who goes by Snow White…[and] gave her his ATM card to withdraw her payment, but…later accused her of taking too much…[he] arranged a meeting…the next day to settle their money dispute — and he attacked, punching her in the face, and threatening to kill her if she didn’t get him the money…[he] tied her up…beat her, and…poured cold water on her…then locked her in his closet and demanded a phone number for someone who could get him the money…she gave Tim the phone number of a police officer she knew…and…he…called it, claiming he’d kill Snow White if $1,000 wasn’t delivered to him…[he then] forced [her] out his second story window…the cop met Tim and immediately arrested him…

Here We Go Again

Historian Thaddeus Russell:

…the movement against “white slavery” helped create, expand, and strengthen the police powers of an array of government agencies…[which] have imprisoned and sterilized hundreds of thousands of…prostitutes, taken their children from them, forced them onto the streets and into dependent relationships with male criminals, and made their jobs among the most dangerous in the world.  Those same government agencies also prosecuted [non-white] men for simply having intimate relations with white women; tightened restrictions on immigration; established precedents for some of the worst government violations of privacy and civil liberties in American history; and formed the basis of the modern surveillance state.  The contemporary movement against “human trafficking”…is strikingly similar…both in rhetoric and in implications for individual freedom and state power…

Well worth reading in its entirety.

The Camel’s Nose

In case you thought the government had given up on censoring the internet:

state attorney generals [sic] [are] pressuring Google to obscure sites that promote illegal activities…The gang…[want] Google to enhance content screening…and place increased “human scrutiny” on content uploaded to YouTube and Google Drive; to delist sites that sell…any…illegal materials…and to provide “swift responses” to law enforcement officials…Google, to its credit, wanted no part of the AGs’ evil schemes…and…patiently explained…it does not own or run everything on the Internet nor have a desire to be censor in chief…The…AGs aren’t satisfied, of course…they’ve threatened to pursue legal action…

Pay close attention, ladies; you know what “promote illegal activities” includes.

Maggie in the Media

Here’s a student article which quotes Ronald Weitzer, Barb Brents, Norma Jean Almodovar, SWOP Chicago and myself, but also cops and prohibitionists; it’s pretty uneven and has inaccurate graphics, but considering that the writer seemed pretty prohibitionist when she started the story it’s actually pretty even-handed.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

A…King County [Washington] sheriff’s deputy is under criminal investigation over an allegation that he helped his wife work as a prostitute…[by] using the county’s computer system to check the backgrounds of her clients…”  The investigation was apparently triggered when the moron thought he’d gain advantage in their divorce by outing her.

Old Men and Young Women

The grand-daughter of…Benito Mussolini has become caught up in [an]…underage prostitution scandal, after…her husband [was]…accused of paying for sex with teenage schoolgirls…

Rooted in Racism

The Swedish model is GOOD for women!

…three mothers [who were] stabbed and beaten…[were deported by] the police…[soon after a] similar case [in which]…nine Nigerian women…were thrown out of [their] apartment…after reporting rapes…when foreign prostitutes report violence or abuse…police investigate them and try to find reasons why they must leave Norway, said Bjorg Norli of Pro Sentret…The women…had permanent residence in Italy, and can therefore travel freely into Norway…The women thought they would get help from the police….instead, they were imprisoned…and [put] on a plane…[before finishing] treatment of [their] injuries…

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

…a woman called to report that a man she was paid to have sex with robbed her…sheriff’s deputies…[arrested] Imani K. Williams…[for] prostitution [instead]…

Uncommon Sense

In Switzerland, an oral agreement is…recognized as a binding contract…Every time a sex worker agrees with a client on the price, time, and…other terms of their exchange, a contract is made…[but] a contract…can be declared null and void is if a court decides it is immoral…[which] the country’s highest court…did around 30 years ago with prostitution.  So…even though prostitution is legal, sex workers cannot rely on the courts to uphold their legitimate employment complaints…

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (We’re Not Done Yet)

Here’s a new service called “Kitestring”.  Is it too much to ask for amateurs to at least be grateful to whores for thinking of these things?

Profit from Panic

The White House wants to blatantly expand fascism by courting an “elite group” of young billionaires:

…Patrick Gage, a 19-year-old heir to the multibillion-dollar Carlson hotel and hospitality fortune…is an industry leader in enforcing measures to combat trafficking and involuntary prostitution…Gage was among the presenters at a breakout session, titled “Combating Human Trafficking,” that attracted a notable group of his peers.  “The person two seats away from me was a Marriott,“ he said.  “And when I told her about trafficking, right away she was like, ‘Uh, yeah, I want to do that’”…

In other words, those who will never have to work a day in their lives want to ensure that the rest of us have as few options as possible besides working for their clique. Nathan Bantick

Above the Law 

A Royal Marine commando …[attacked] two…sex workers and another customer because he was unhappy with the service he received.  Nathan Bantick…was caught on a massage parlour’s CCTV…He was sentenced to 12 months after admitting assault, actual bodily harm and criminal damage, and faces being discharged from the Marines…[Bantick insisted] he hadn’t received his full 30 minutes and…threatened to hit two masseuses if they didn’t give his money back…he took out his military ID saying: “Who do you think the police are going to…believe, you or me?”…

The Birth of a Movement

As I’ve pointed out many times, the myth of French sexual tolerance is repudiated by the fact that France was the first European country to subject whores to the police, starting around the middle of the 16th century.  Here’s a long and interesting article on a police operation to spy on Parisian courtesans which ran from 1747 to 1771; the author subscribes to a couple of minor fallacies and hits a few sour notes, but it otherwise does a good job of analyzing how the demimonde appeared through the myopic spectacles of a narrow “law and order” police mentality.

Presumed Pimps

airport workers…are uniquely positioned to help rescue victims of child sex trafficking…Oakland…Airport employees…were taught how to recognize potential victims and their abusers, who take advantage of the fact that minors can fly without identification…a former sex trafficking victim…warned that abused children may deny being mistreated and are psychologically unable to escape their predators’ clutches…She told the airport workers to close their eyes and picture their own children being forced to engage in sex acts…a trafficked child might have a bar code tattoo on her neck, signaling she is owned…

With Friends Like These…

I’m sure Gena Korn really thinks she’s speaking up for sex workers by decrying due-process-free shaming tactics (and to some extent criminalization in general), but in the fifth sentence she launches into Swedish-style “what about the johns and pimps?”; she soon moves on to a false “villain or victim” dichotomy, followed immediately by “no little girl dreams of being a hooker”, “abducted into sex slavery”, childhood trauma and “selling themselves”, before concluding with praise for New York’s “diversion” program which defines all sex workers as damaged children in need of nanny-state “help”.

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #314)

Observation:  rapist subdues his victim with pepper spray.  Conclusion: sex trafficking!

…a teenage girl found naked and pepper sprayed…may have been the result of sex trafficking, police say.  The 16-year-old girl is still in the hospital after neighbors found her…she told police she had been raped…”The pepper spray looks to me, sounds to me like a buyer that has decided he’s going to take advantage of a minor he’s found,” [said] Vanessa Scott…of Love Never Fails…

“A minor that he’s found,” as though she were an inanimate object lying on the side of the road.  How can anyone take these warped perverts seriously?useful idiot Farley

Under Every Bed (TW3 #314)

This incredibly-bad article on “sex trafficking” in Montana reaches a whole new level of idiocy:

Melissa Farley…said…“Money entices, persuades and coerces a person to perform sex.  The payment does not erase the sexual violence, verbal sadism, domestic violence and rape”…Farley [pretended that only]…2 percent of female prostitutes [are escorts.  She fantasized that]…97 percent…are in the trade without a choice…performing…sex [acts] for a cheeseburger or a tank of gas…She also [imagined that] where men congregate in large numbers…human trafficking is likely present…

I was wondering when Farley would attach her medicine show to the “gypsy whores” carnival.

Sex Rays

When “Red” was a student…she worked as an exotic dancer…”I later told a history professor…I was asking for a recommendation and he asked me what I did, I thought he was a great guy…after that my grades immediately went down”…

January Q & A (TW3 #344)

Apparently this self-important little weasel realized that “anti-prostitution advocate” doesn’t quite have the cachet he craves:  “Anti-Human Trafficking Advocate Brian Bates…was outraged when he learned [an Oklahoma] prostitution bust had only resulted in traffic tickets.  ‘[If] the media doesn’t know about [these cases] they figure I’m not going to know’…says Bates…[who] is…cross referencing and checking names…

Something in the MilkP411 lily

A client post from the ECCIE board for Tennessee, dated April 16th [all sic]:  “P411 Client flips 5 High Dollar providers in Knoxville on Monday…Someone should have been screaming this on line since monday night.  Whats going on—nobody knew???  P411 Client Handle “Justin Credible”…Apparently he got caught in a sting so he helped LE catch 5 providers and an unknown number of Clients…”  The next day an escort added, “We had the same thing happen in Nashville on Monday…same account was used in both cities…

Train Wreck (TW3 #407)

Renewed Initiative Against Diseases and Poverty (RENAGAIDS), has challenged the recent raids, arrests and detention of sex workers in…Abuja…police…[were] assisted…by another NGO, the Society Against Prostitution and Child Labour in Nigeria…The executive director of RENAGAIDS, Mr. Alban Anonyuo…[said members of  the “task force”] raid sex workers to steal their phones, jewelry, money and other personal effects and most times rape them…

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #411)

Small-scale, short-lived gang sex attacks = “not credible”.  Immense ongoing global conspiracy involving millions = totally believable.

A rumour of a gang initiation in Winnipeg targeting nurses isn’t credible, police said…“Head’s [sic] up Nurses.  We just got a call from the hospital and police due to gang initiation’s [sic] this weekend looking to rape or stab nurses.  Especially ER staff”… Robert Ihme wrote in a [Facebook post] that has since been shared more than 300 times…

Rough Trade (TW3 #414) 

I’m not sure what the word “jilted” is supposed to mean in this context:

…Danford Grant…now claims the [women]…he’s accused of attacking are jilted prostitutes…Grant…attacked a massage parlor receptionist as she walked to her car…[after identifying] himself as a police officer, [he] drove her to a secluded area and raped her…he…went to a…masseuse’s home…forced his way in…and raped her.  Nine days later, Grant…grabbed [another masseuse], told her he wanted to marry her and recited her home address…[and] husband’s name…[he then] drew a folding knife and threatened to cut [her] face if she fought with him…he [then]…raped her…

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Project ROSE is a diversion program like a person who pushes ten people onto the train tracks and pulls three off is a hero.  –  Ryan Beck Turner

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

It’s especially satisfying when a vice cop is the victim:

…Denver police detective…Michael Ryan…[is under] investigation [for] solicitation of a prostitute…Ryan works in DPD’s Vice and Narcotics unit and was instrumental in the investigation that led to federal judge Edward Nottingham resigning in the face of accusations he had patronized prostitutes.  Ryan…also served on a human trafficking task force…

A False Dichotomy 

Another good essay from Belle Knox:

…The concept of the desperate exchange permeates discussions about sex work…People assume that my support for sex workers and porn is somehow invalidated because I chose to do porn for the money rather than for love.  They act as though this is some shocking victory for them because being a sex worker wasn’t my dream job…it now somehow reverts to being morally wrong, and I become another pitiable whore to be dismissed at leisure…of course I do porn for money.  It’s a job, not a summer retreat…The majority of people don’t work every day for fun; they do it because they want…something in exchange.  Do you honestly think that the people working at McDonald’s flipping burgers and responding to rude customers on a daily basis would come to work every day if they weren’t getting paid?  Moreover, do you think as a child their dream job was to do this?…

Rooted in Racism

Police in southern France have been accused of racism after asking local hotel owners to report the arrival of Eastern European guests, in a bid to crackdown on certain crimes like pimping…a national police union official [pretended]…”(It) would not violate the values of the Republic by advocating snitching…in the fight against pimping speed is essential”…French authorities have taken a hard line against the presence of Roma people from Romania and Bulgaria, repeatedly bulldozing their unsanctioned settlements and expelling them from France…

For more examples of “sex trafficking” and “the fight against prostitution” as excuses for racism and xenophobia, see here, here, here and here.

Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong

It takes a special kind of stupidity for a reporter to call for censorship:

Young girls are being sold online for sex…but not much is being done to stop…the most popular websites…Backpage.com…makes millions of dollars each month from “escort” and “body rub” listings.  Portland police…said it’s frustrating to know Backpage.com makes money off illegal activity, but if it went away, another similar site that is less cooperative with law enforcement would likely pop up…

Divided We Fall

when…Queer Strike “named and shamed” LGBTI organizations who they said were refusing to help decriminalize sex work in the [UK], the picture they gave was misleading…in most cases it simply wasn’t part of those organizations’ remits.  This is a particular issue under British charity law, which means they have to stick to their stated “charitable aims”…

Feet of Clay

I’m really pleased to see Reason doing a lot more on sex worker rights these days, and doubly glad to see “sex trafficking” in scare quotes:

…If you could put a date on when modern-day progressives fully re-inhabited the moral rigidity of their…forebears, it might be September 24, 2012.  That’s when Village Voice Media…split off…Backpage.com after a years-long, progressive-led campaign to shutter the site over claims that it facilitates “sex trafficking”.  “If street pimps go to jail for profiteering on under-age girls, should…Village Voice Media really get a pass?”  New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, the country’s most prominent progressive scold, wrote in a March 2012 column that blamed Backpage for the 2003 peddling of a 16-year-old prostitute, even though the site didn’t exist in 2003.  “Paradoxically, Village Voice began as an alternative newspaper to speak truth to power.  So it’s sad to see it accept business from pimps”…Kristof had the paradox almost exactly backward.  It is he and his fellow crusaders, not the buyers and sellers of controversial products and services, who are aggrandizing power at the expense of the little guy and mangling truth in the service of that unseemly goal…

True Colors

This title of this New Yorker article would seem to indicate a general piece about HIV in the American South, but it’s really much more about Deon Haywood, Women With a Vision and the arson which destroyed their offices on May 24th, 2012.  The responsible party was never caught, but here’s a clue:  the fire was started by piling up all the reproductive health models and posters in one room and setting them ablaze.

Think of the Children! (TW3 #23) Christy Mack

Sex rays can apparently enter one Lego construction and be randomly emitted from other Legos elsewhere, presumably via quantum tunneling:

[In January]…Christy Mack…tweeted [“Whoever builds me the best Lego creation to put in my house gets a blow job”]… The response on Twitter was enthusiastic, to say the least…Unfortunately for Mack’s fans, and toy store proprietors nationwide…the Lego challenge drew to an abrupt close…[when] lawyers for the company had contacted her, objecting to her usage of the Lego name…

Broken Record

They won’t stop until they extend the “gypsy whores” myth to every possible event:  “An undercover sting operation targeting prostitution and child sex trafficking netted five arrests in Augusta [Georgia]…because of the Masters Golf Tournament…

Another Example of Swedish “Feminism” (TW3 #36)

Who cares that a woman was stabbed?  The sadfeelz of naïve prudes are much more newsworthy!

Hookers are using…Airbnb…to turn prime Manhattan apartments into temporary brothels…One apartment…belongs to publicist Jessica Penzari…But when a hooker got slashed by a client in the…apartment over the price…Penzari got a call from cops…Airbnb put her up in the swanky InterContinental hotel in Times Square for two nights…and also paid to change her door locks, clean her apartment and replace her pillows and other belongings…Airbnb said…“we have zero tolerance for this activity”…

According to the Post, having a snack at your desk is “turning prime office space into a temporary restaurant”.

Under Every Bed

The underworld of prostitution and human trafficking is a dark one, often hidden from the public eye, but it exists in [Alabama] a lot more than one may think…”We used to be just a pass through state,” said Pat McCay with the Madison County Human Trafficking Task Force.  “They would come from Atlanta to Memphis…Now they are staying”…

The event which sparked all this portentous talk of vast criminal cartels?  A cop arrested a massage girl.  Of course the reporter has to get the usual self-important bile from a “legitimate” masseuse.

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #314) 

As the days pass with no sign of [missing 8-year-old] Relisha [Rudd], some…believe she may have been sold into a child sex trafficking operation.  They point to the wads of cash and expensive items Relisha’s mother and boyfriend flaunted on Facebook in the days following the little girl’s disappearance…Andrea Powell…of FAIR Girls…says, “There’s kids as young as 5, 6, 7.”  The average age of entry into this dark and devastating underworld is 13…Relisha RuddIn Washington, D.C. alone, the trafficking of children is a $100-million industry…

Given that the population of the Washington metro area is 5.8 million, that would make the “trafficking of children” worth over $5 billion in the US as a whole.  The level of mathematical illiteracy required to believe such a blatant absurdity constitutes a national crisis vastly greater than “sex trafficking” could ever be.

I Saw My Brain

Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, Fla…brought felony charges…in October 2013 against two girls, 12 and 14, after the suicide a month earlier of a third girl, Rebecca Sedwick…[Judd] charged the two girls, Katelyn Roman and Guadalupe Shaw, with aggravated stalking and released their names and mugshots…He made it sound like they posed an urgent risk…A month later, prosecutors dropped the charges after…failing to find evidence of [Judd’s claims]…Judd’s tendency to overdo it isn’t news to the voters who elected him…a…suspect [was shot]…68 times…he boasted of arresting a man for running an Internet pornography site out of his home…[he] took the basketball hoops out of the local jail and stopped supplying inmates with underwear…[he uses] pepper spray on detained juveniles

Micromanagement

Is there anything more worthless than an “authority’s” promise?

French investigators began taking DNA samples…from 527 male students and staff at a high school…as they searched for the assailant who raped a teenage girl on the closed campus…All those who received summonses…were warned that any refusal could land them in police custody…Authorities have promised to discard the DNA collected once a donor is eliminated as a suspect…

One Born Every Minute (TW3 #338)

A French fundamentalist priest repeatedly raped three teachers at the school he ran in…Paris during so-called exorcisms…[he] was indicted this week on charges of rape, cruelty and torture…he had first raped one teacher during an exorcism to purge her of the “evil” from a previous sexual assault…[then] used his “spiritual influence” to convince two [others]…to undergo similar exorcisms…[which included torture with] a broom, a toothbrush and scissors…Police became involved only last year when two of the women reported the rapes to authorities…[but] several years ago the…society of St. Pius X tried him in a religious hearing and sentenced him to two years in a monastery…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #343)

A strong criticism of the ethical bankruptcy of Project ROSE from academics studying “human trafficking”:

This program is ostensibly designed to “rescue” victims…of sexual exploitation, yet there is no form of victim identification at any point in the process.  Rather than attempting to assess whether someone is being coerced…they threaten the arrested person with prosecution…If sex trafficking victims/survivors do not meet the “perfect victim” criteria and are convicted, they will face mandatory minimum sentencing in Arizona’s particularly brutal prison system…It…bears little resemblance to anything that could be considered an anti-sex trafficking program…and…is a tragically absurd version of a “diversion” program.  Instead of keeping people out of the criminal justice system, it sweeps them up and funnels them in…Project ROSE is responsible for at least 100 percent more incarcerations than “diversions”…ASU social workers…are acting like colonial missionaries – they offer to “save” the sex workers they perceive as helpless and damaged, but should [they] not gratefully accept…“help,” then armed…men are at the ready – “for their own good.”

Crumbling House

We are aware of certain allegations that have surfaced…regarding Somaly’s history…We are treating these accusations with the utmost seriousness…the Foundation has recently launched an independent, third party investigation to further examine these claims …

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #349)

According to STRASS, sex workers are increasingly marginalized and insecure since the parliamentary debate on the criminalization of clients…attacks against prostitutes have increased…On the night of March 31…a Chinese prostitute was stabbed to death…“Her assailant was known to be a bad customer so she would have refused him if she had the means.  But she had been unable to work for several days, due to constant police operations targeting Chinese women, and was therefore unable to take the time to choose her customers” said a STRASS statement…The police harassment has been repeatedly denounced by Doctors of the World…

Surplus Women (TW3 #413)

Remember, three weeks ago they were saying there was no serial killer.

Two registered sex offenders have been arrested in connection with killing four women in Orange County…[targeting them] because of their ties to prostitution or escort services, and investigators suspect there are more victims yet to be identified…Franc Cano…and Steven Dean Gordon…were arrested Friday evening…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #415)

the Upper House of the German Parliament, the Bundesrat, passed a resolution calling for an objective debate…amid plans by the ruling coalition of Conservatives and Social Democrats to reform the German Prostitution Act of 2002…The Bundesrat found that debates in the public sphere and in the media were still based on prejudices, a lack of knowledge and sensationalism.  The Bundesrat particularly opposed the blanket equation of prostitution and human trafficking…[and] opposed the introduction of mandatory health checks, judging them as unreasonable and hardly expedient…

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For regular readers, this month’s guest columnist needs no introduction; Laura Lee is a sex worker and activist who lives in Scotland, but is active in the fight against criminalization both in the UK and in her native Ireland.   You can find many stories about her (and videos in which she appears) in the subject index, most of them under the subtitle “The Public Eye“.  I admire Laura for her incredible courage in coming out as a sex worker and facing down politicians both in committee rooms and on television, but for this essay she preferred to speak of the courage of others; I’d say she’s well qualified to judge that particular quality.

Laura Lee CNNIn the current debate raging about further criminalization versus decriminalization, sometimes it’s very easy to lose sight of the real people behind the statistics, those sex workers on the front lines.  This week in Perth, Scotland, some of the bravest women I have ever encountered took the stand to give evidence against a vicious rapist; their courage took my breath away.

I could summarize the circumstances surrounding the case, but I think the voices of the sex workers concerned are far more powerful.  With their kind permission, I will replicate some of the email correspondence I’ve had below, changing some personal details to maintain their privacy and right to anonymity.

Myself and a few other girls travel from Edinburgh/Glasgow up to a flat in Perth for shifts, one of girls phoned in a state.  She had let a punter in, he demanded money from her, when she said she didn’t have any, he raped her and punched her in the face very violently.  She cried through the whole attack, that was around November last year.  We begged her to report the attack to the police which she was adamant she was not going to do fearing her family would find out what she did for a living.

Early February I was working in the flat, and although there had been reports of a guy hanging around the flat all week, I’d calmed down by then and thought I was out of danger.  A punter called, he knew where the flat was and I assumed he was a regular.  He came into the flat, told me I could do things the easy way or hard way.  He had to say it twice as I couldn’t believe what I was hearing but knew I was in big trouble.

I told him I had no money (understand the other girls he raped were tiny, I body build, plus I’ve got teenagers and don’t appreciate cheek).  There was obviously a “don’t mess with me” stance which had taken over in me without my knowledge.  He threw me on the bed and spread my legs apart.  I knew he was going to rape me.  I screamed at the top of my lungs, he jumped off me and made a run for the front door, curling his fist into a ball as I ran after him to get the door shut, that was his warning to stay away as he fled.

Within 15 minutes I’d phoned the police and reported the crime.  Laura, I know what I work as makes people disgusted and they think I’m a lesser person because of that but I’m not, I’m proud, this job has supported me and my kids and given me a support system financially that a lot of single mums can only dream about.  I refuse to go to work to be abused, battered or raped.  I never signed up for that, I am proud of who I am and what I’ve achieved!!!!!

The police were lovely and very supportive, they had no clue that sex workers were even in Perth, my friend was asked by the police if she would approach other flats in Perth with the promise there would be no charges for the other girls, they were not interested in what they were doing as they wanted this lowlife caught.  After a bit of persuasion it turned out that another two girls had been attacked, anally raped and battered by the same guy which they identified.

I can’t forget what he said to me – “You can’t phone the police, you’re just a prostitute!!!!”

That will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Perth High CourtSo that’s their story.  One by one those women took the stand against the man who thought “you’re only a prostitute”.  Isn’t it time that we acknowledged that they are far from “just prostitutes”?  They are women, they are mothers, working to support their children and they deserve the full protection of the law.  The police in this case have been wonderful and very supportive of the women, and have now appointed a liaison officer so that they can report their worries in private.  He was found guilty last Tuesday, and will be sentenced on the 30th; let’s hope it’s a long, long one.

Too little, too late.  The time has come to acknowledge that whatever your moral judgment on sex work, those who work within the industry deserve to do so in safety.  Had these women not had such immense courage to go forward and report these crimes, who’s to know where it would have stopped?  We need to decriminalize sex work right now, so that every sex worker can work with others for safety, and so that the stigma and vulnerability attached to sex work can begin to be peeled away.  When this lady told me the rapist’s  words will haunt her for the rest of her life, I resolved to fight for decriminalization with a ferocity rarely tested.  That, at least, I can promise them.

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