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Posts Tagged ‘brothels’

This essay first appeared in Cliterati on April 27th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

Though it’s wrapped in layers of feminist and “anti-crime” rhetoric, the truth is that the war on whores (whether in its pure form or disguised as concern over “sex trafficking”) is “deeply rooted in Protestant Christianity’s obsession with ‘pure and pious womanhood’, and even when there is no Christian group involved in a prohibitionist scheme the same themes of sin and degradation echo through their rhetoric, even if translated for a non-Christian audience.”  One of the most telling examples of this can be seen in prohibitionist adoption of the “hate the sin, love the sinner” doctrine:  we are repeatedly told that prohibitionists only want to help sex workers, to “rescue” us from “objectification” and “degradation”, to “save” us from our own choices.  As Furry Girl put it:

They support us!  They acknowledge our choices!  They see us as real people!  And they can’t wait to show their loving solidarity with us by putting us in jail, taking away our income, and making our jobs as dangerous as possible…They see nothing odd about trying to have it both ways:  being the heroic would-be saviors of the fallen with one hand, and with the other, the cause of the fallen’s increasing unhappiness.  They’re the abusive boyfriend who brings you flowers after giving you a black eye…

KKK cross-burningI’ve written before on the necessity of ceding not one inch of ground to the prohibitionists, and this is a perfect example of what I mean by that; by allowing them to pretend that they care about us when their every behavior screams the exact opposite, we allow them to dictate the narrative and define the rules.  It is absolutely vital that prohibitionism be called what it is: a jihad against sex workers.  Prohibitionists seek nothing less than the total annihilation of our kind; if we were a race, the term would be “genocide”.  Nobody would accept the input of avowed Nazis on matters pertaining to Jews, nor to KKK members on issues involving black people, but until prohibitionists are widely recognized as the sex worker equivalent to those hate groups, they will continue to be given voices in the public debates about our lives and livelihoods on the grounds that they are “concerned” about us.  Here’s an example from Scotland:

A prostitute savagely beaten and raped…says a police clampdown is putting more working girls at risk.  Sarah…was working in a flat in Perth when serial rapist Graeme Bell attacked her after arriving for a pre–booked appointment…Sarah…said she feels angry that girls working in a flat with others risk being accused of running brothels…the situation is more dangerous since Edinburgh Council stripped the city’s saunas of their licences…she said…“I do not understand why Edinburgh has scrapped its tolerance”…

But Sarah, the police have explained why they effectively destroyed the sauna system; it was to “help potential victims”, apparently by destroying their livelihoods.  Here’s a similar example from the United States, where those who want to “help” sex workers are not satisfied with merely making it impossible to work legally:

…[Under a new] California…bill, anyone convicted of [agreeing to pay for sex]…would be required to receive jail time regardless of whether the Court believed [it]…appropriate…the bill calls for convicted customers to spend “not less than 48 hours of continuous confinement [in the county jail], nor more than six months” on a first offense, as well as a fine of one thousand dollars [half of which goes into police coffers]…The bill doesn’t even try to explain why…the 48 hour time frame is necessary or how it was arrived at…the bill gives law enforcement a direct and inappropriate incentive to entrap people since they would get at least $500 a head…for every person convicted…This [may] deter those customers who are otherwise law-abiding…but not…a violent felon…Having more committed criminals…in the client pool…only makes sense if one believes that the best way to “protect” sex workers is to make their jobs as dangerous as possible…

And in Arizona, prohibitionists don’t even bother with making new laws; they simply ignore whichever constitutional rights of sex workers impede their efforts to “save” us:

…Project ROSE strikes me as a ghastly cross between a Crisis Pregnancy Center and a 12 step program, with police and prosecutorial force behind it…They are really trying to claim that handcuffing people and taking them to a location where they are not permitted to leave is not an arrest?  They are really trying to claim that being “assessed for eligibility” by cops is not an interrogation?  They are seriously acting like…suspects being required to make incriminating statements about themselves and a deal with prosecutors to avoid being charged and put in jail is somehow fine and that all the above can happen without the suspects being advised that they can talk to a lawyer first?  Project ROSE [claims that women]…are “never arrested” by snatching them off the street and handcuffing them for “manifesting prostitution” or whatever…if this is such a helpful program, [what’s wrong] with simply allowing…suspects caught up in it to…talk to a lawyer of their own choosing about whether or not this is the right thing for them before they agree to it?…Why are you so afraid of diligent defense attorneys snooping around your program, Project ROSE?…

woman tortured by InquisitionPeople who truly want to help others don’t subject them to arrest and coercion; they don’t evict them from their homes or workplaces, don’t try to steal their income and don’t put bounties on the heads of those who provide that income.  Prohibitionists want to “save” sex workers like the Inquisition wanted to “save” heretics:  preventing them from “sinning” by any means necessary, even if it means they end up tortured, locked in dungeons or dead.

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It’s much harder to usurp someone’s voice when she’s out there saying you’re wrong.  –  Maggie McNeill

Rough Trade Charles Oliver

A [Chicago area] man accused of raping eight [sex workers] was sentenced…to 36 years in prison.  Charles Oliver…forced the women to perform acts to which they had not agreed [and] often videotaped…In one video, Oliver…could be heard saying, “I don’t have to listen to you.  I paid you”…Oliver also stole women’s IDs and threatened to expose them as prostitutes if they reported what he had done…Oliver…[has] herpes and [raped the women without]…condoms…Prosecutors also played recorded jailhouse phone calls where Oliver is heard saying…”I should have killed them it would have been easier”…

Maggie in the Media

Noah Berlatsky quoted me and other activists in his Salon piece about how sex workers are using social media to attract attention to our cause.  As a result of that piece, I was interviewed on the Between the Synapse radio show on Thursday.  I apologize for quoting myself in the epigram, but this quote proved very popular on Twitter.

Surplus Women

Police in Italy believe that a murdered prostitute…could have been the victim of a serial killer…Andrea Cristina Zamfir, was…naked except for her shoes and…bound with tape to an iron bar in a position similar to crucifixion…a year ago [another] prostitute was found in the same place and in a similar state…though…still alive…

Presents, Presents, Presents! The Herring and the Brine

This week I received two music CDs:  The Herring and the Brine from Dave Curran of Inspireland, and Whirlygig from a reader whose screen name I don’t know; please email me so I can thank you properly!

Harm Magnification (The Beat Goes On)

They just can’t let it go:

Montreal…is considered a hub for…human trafficking, with police saying women and teenaged girls are brought into the city and forced into…sexual slavery…Mayor Denis Coderre said he wanted the crack down [sic] on massage parlours…Stella Outreach Worker Robin Maynard…[said] “The negative effects of arresting women in the sex industry have been widely documented”…

Above the Law

Cops don’t only rape adult women:

A…Colville [Washington] Police Officer has been arrested…and charged with Rape of a Child…the…victim…[said] she was “very fearful…since [rapist Scott] Arms was a police officer”…the girl…[finally] came forward…because she found out Arms was quitting his job in Colville and was going to be in [her home town] more often…Arms told  investigators…she…[made] these allegations…”Because she has a crush on me”…

Nor only females:

A [Minnesota] sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to 33 years in prison for sexually abusing several boys on a fishing trip.  Aaron Heuer…admitted he inappropriately touched four boys, ages 8 to 10, while volunteering as a fishing guide…Heuer threatened to throw the boys into the lake if they told…

Oscillation

First the once-respected Southern Poverty Law Center pronounced pickup artists a “hate group”, then branded everyone (including women) who doesn’t want to be groped by government thugs a “far-right homophobe”.  Then “…the SPLC tried its hand at painting anarcho-capitalists as a rising new threat through a convoluted chain of logic that somehow sought to link voluntaryists to the Patriot movement…now the scaremonger group cautions that some people who oppose Common Core education standards are right-wing extremists…Tasha Yar seduces Data

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Sure, I’d have sex with an android; their money’s as good as anyone else’s:

…nearly one-in-five people [polled] said they were “willing to have sex with an android”…11 percent [said] they want a robot child similar to David in the movie A.I…41 percent said…the concept of sexual intimacy with a robot is “creepy” and an additional 14 percent said they don’t think robots should be used in such a manner.  Nearly one-fifth of pet owners said they would replace a cherished animal with a robot…

First They Came for the Hookers… (TW3 #27)

The Texas Third Court of Appeals has upheld a punitive $5 tax levied on anyone who patronizes a strip club in Texas…ruling that the fee was not an occupation tax, a violation of free speech, or an unfair assault on live nude entertainment…The court went on to explicitly cite the alleged “secondary effects” and “social harms” brought by adult entertainment venues as a justification…Funds extorted from strip clubs and their patrons will go to pay for programs for sexual assault victims, under the nonsensical theory that the mere existence of strip clubs drives up rape…”The primary purpose of the sexually-oriented-business tax is…to discourage this type of business activity altogether…”

Follow Your Bliss (TW3 #44)

A TSA Supervisor was arrested at Kennedy Airport…Vernon Lythcott …[raped] two 15-year-old girls…[in] the Dominican Republic [after luring them]…from the beach into a van [with promises of] money and gifts…Lythcott and two other men [also] forced one of the girls [into] a room where they all sexually assaulted her…

No Other Option (TW3 #132) Scarlet Harem logo

In the US, this business would be violently suppressed and its customers and workers shamed, robbed and caged:  “A brothel is showing other businesses how to…provide disability access on the Sunshine Coast…Scarlet Harem…will receive an award…from the Sunshine Coast Access Advisory Network for going above and beyond in providing accessibility and customer service…

The End of the Beginning

Sharie Keil…is…at the forefront of a growing fight against sex offender registries, a shame-free alliance of offenders and their families, supported by researchers and some advocates who helped pass stringent…laws in the first place.  They…claim…a steady patter of legal and legislative victories…[mostly] limited to…juvenile offenders …but [Keil]…wants to abolish the…registry altogether…

Which I Doubt

On top of the other flaws it’s just a policy, rescindable at a moment’s notice:

The New York Police Department will no longer confiscate…condoms …as evidence of prostitution…[but will] continue to seize condoms…in sex-trafficking and promotion of prostitution cases…Civil rights groups and advocates for sex workers…argue that…police may continue to seize condoms from sex workers and teen runaways under the pretense of investigating pimps and traffickers…

Micromanagement

The free market provides a defense to a particularly nasty tool of the fascist panopticon:

…Erase deletes 99.5% of DNA left behind.  Replace obfuscates the remaining .5%…Don’t let DNA spill your secrets.  Protect your image and be invisible.  Spend the night somewhere you shouldn’t have?  Erase your mistake and be invisible…Exercising your freedom of speech?  Be invisible and never get tracked…

Counterfeit Comfort (TW3 #330)Jeremy & Christine Moody

If you’re a fan of “sex offender” registration, meet your bedfellows:

A couple who…[murdered] a registered sex offender and his wife…were sentenced to life in prison…Initially, Jeremy and Christine Moody apologized…and asked for a 30-year sentence so they could see their children and grow old together.  But after…[the] Judge…handed down the maximum punishment, they…showed how they really felt.  “See you perverts later,” Jeremy Moody shouted at [his victim’s] family…”That’s what child molesters get.”  And…Christine Moody…told reporters: “Killing that pedophile was the best day of my life”…

Cuckoo Advertising

A recent email from a listserv for sex researchers:

In my role as Chief Science Officer for AshleyMadison, I’m looking to pay sexologists…to represent/interpret academic infidelities research — without bias — to the media.  You would be commenting on affairs/cheating research by other academics, or by our own AshleyMadison surveys…You do not have to say that AshleyMadison is paying you.  You simply speak as a sexologist…

I was pleased to see that one of the researchers immediately answered with an email on Ashley Madison’s deceptive practices.

Policing for Profit

400 cops to arrest 19 masseuses.  Need I mention the motive?

Sixteen women and two men accused of running a Bay Area prostitution operation…have been arrested.  One suspect…remains at large…There are 111 counts against the group including pimping, pandering, and tax evasion…The massive sweep involved some 400 law enforcement officers in 6 counties…[who] seized cash, drugs, weapons, cars, assets, and marijuana…

Broken Record (TW3 #338)

With just under three months…until the Glasgow [Commonwealth Games] begins, a strategy designed to tackle sex trafficking and prostitution is being put in place…High-profile sporting events, such as the World Cup and the Olympics, have historically resulted in a spike in sex crimes…and…human trafficking…

No, they haven’t, “historically” or otherwise.

Cops and Robbers Kim Lengle

Another example of Dateline’s revolting practice of luring men to be fodder for their televised Roman circus:

A…TV news producer slapped NBC with a lawsuit…claiming her Dateline boss used her as “sexual bait” to lure targets for a hidden-camera series about drug-related prostitution, sex trafficking & sadomasochism.  Kimberly Lengle…[says] Dan Slepian…criticized [her] for not dressing provocatively enough and even asked why she didn’t have any nude photos…to send to men looking for…sexual playthings…Slepian threatened her job when she didn’t…[post] her photo in response to a Craigslist ad by a sexual deviant looking for a “human punching bag”…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #405)

[German] sex workers…are asking…politicians not to put obstacles in the way of…their profession…[Johanna Weber of the sex workers’ professional association said] “Many politicians…are working on a problem that does not exist as such…so…90 percent of women we represent…are worse off under these changes…in New Zealand…prostitutes have all the rights of workers.  And fears that the country would be a hotbed of international human trafficking did not materialize…a pure policy of prohibition couldn’t win a flower pot in Germany…so [prohibitionists] say they want to do something good for the oh-so-poor prostitutes instead.  I would recommend politicians go to a brothel and ask who would like to be taken out of there…we do not want to be rescued…”

Under Every Bed (TW3 #418)

Remember, the “authorities” even admit there isn’t a shred of proof for any of this; much of it seems to be the product of one woman’s BDSM fantasies:

…where there are men and money, there are prostitutes.  And…some reports estimate that about 70 percent of “prostitutes” are actually human trafficking victims…it’s no secret that human trafficking victims are being bought and sold every day in…the oil-rich Bakken region of North Dakota…Windie Jo Lazenko is…investigating rumors of rampant human trafficking in the state…[including] visits to…hotels where entire floors have been purchased by pimps…state law enforcement officials [say]…the…human trafficking epidemic could be helped by national efforts

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #419)

Lawheads amazed that their barricades did not magically abolish the need to earn money for bills and food:

Residents of [Cincinnati] worry that a recent crackdown on streetwalkers…has rerouted prostitution problems to their [neighborhood].  Cincinnati police recently set up barricades in hopes of cutting back on johns cruising the streets…”Instantly we’ve seen an increase in streetwalker prostitution,” Pete Witte said…

Little Boxes (TW3 #419) Elizabeth Raine

Given that she lies like a rug about her education and weight, the back-out was totally predictable:

…Elizabeth Raine…launched an online auction for her virginity…[which] concluded on May 7…at $801,000.  However, Raine backed out…She claims to have biology and engineering bachelor’s degrees and to be in school to finish a combined Masters and PhD program.  She expressed her concern that the auction might kick her out of college…Raine listed her height as 5’10” and her weight at 130 pounds

Property of the State

Dr. Brooke Magnanti on efforts to control women using pregnancy as an excuse:

…in Utah, a woman was charged with…felony child endangerment after accusations that she used meth while pregnant.  The police  report wrote…”Being that her child was only 39 weeks gestational age, it was surmised that the use of methamphetamine caused [her] to go into labour”…39 weeks is considered full term and a large proportion of women experience the start of labour at that stage…Meanwhile in Alabama, a state Supreme Court decision ruled  that a mother could be convicted of endangerment for testing positive for cocaine use during pregnancy, even though her child was born healthy…a…new law in Tennessee went against the recommendations of many major medical associations…drug tests for some substances are unreliable after a surprisingly short time…so…false accusations of endangerment could easily be made by others, and considering the high rate of miscarriage that occurs naturally, how would police know the difference?…

Of course, the cops don’t care; in fact, the lack of definitive proof is a feature rather than a bug for those who make and enforce these laws.

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Molli Desi is one of the small number of Devadasi (sacred prostitutes of India) still remaining; she and Rani Desi, a Nagarvadhu (high priestess) now live in London and are active on Twitter, which is how I got to know them.  A few years ago Molli was trapped in one of the rescue industry’s many “rescue centers”, but eventually escaped; I asked if she would share the story on my blog and she graciously consented to do so.

Molli DesiI wish to give special thanks to the Nagarvadhu for helping me with this article, which is a translation from an account written in my mother language.  In this short a space I cannot tell the whole truth about all rescue projects, but I think I can expose how structurally and institutionally dangerous most rescue centres are in much of South Asia.  Furthermore, I will suggest that many donors from the West deliberately ignore these risks to detained women and girls so as to pursue their self-serving agendas.  I do not use the terms women and girls lightly; women and girls are often conflated by the NGOs, so that women of 23+ or married women of 16 will be referred to as girls; female identity in India is far more complex than any simple consideration of age.

It seems so strange to me that organisations that condemn the excesses of closed brothels will in turn exercise the same powers over those they claim to rescue; of course most girls are not rescued from closed brothels, but rather are taken from domestic labour or other sex work environments such as bars, clubs or rooms.  After “rescue” they are detained in facilities (sometimes called orphanages, shelter homes or rehab centres) where sexual and other abuse is commonplace; these detention centres are supposed to be inspected by the Government, but there is very little accountability so they foster and encourage a culture of impunity among the organisations that run them.  I wish to share my story because I think it very important that people understand the motivations and practices of these organizations; my experience is not unusual, and was a direct consequence the power that “rescuers” exercise over detained women and girls.  I have changed names and some details so as to protect myself and others.

I do not know my date of birth; I do know I was taken from the arms of a dying woman who told the people around her my name just before she died.  One man claimed to be my uncle and wanted to take me away, but one Devadasi lady knew he was really a miscreant and refused to let him take me.  Eventually I was taken to a nice orphanage, and while I was growing up there I was told that my mother and father were migrant workers who had been killed in a bus crash, so no one could trace my real extended family.  In India this made me a social outcast, but my time in the orphanage was a happy one.  I had many “sisters”, was successful at school and had a talent for classical dance and singing; however, I was also aware that was socially suspect and that I would not be considered suitable for marriage by most “respectable” families because I was an orphan.

In India, marriage is the institution in which patriarchal power is reproduced, and its implementation and policing is delegated to older women; married women in particular support marriage, as it is the means by which they exercise male-delegated power over their son’s wives.  It was common practice for the sons of respectable families to target orphan teen girls when they went to college and to have affairs with these girls with promises of marriage.  Once the boy graduated, his family would arrange a marriage to a respectable girl and the orphan girl would be disowned.  Such young women would then only be able to make a marriage to a low-caste man, and then only with a promise of dowry; if the dowry was considered insufficient the husband and his family might even torture the wife, and sometimes kill her.  Orphan girls fully understand that we need to find alternatives to marriage if we want to escape such subjugation.  Some girls focus on getting skills or higher education; others develop dancing or even gymnastics.  Others do sex work rather than marry or take dangerous work in a garment factory or domestic service.  However, in India an unmarried woman is not considered fully human, so anyone who refuses to marry is considered a dangerous rebel.

As I got older, I began to spend time with a small group of girls and young women who sold sex in various residential hotels; I was attracted to them because they worked as a group and lived a freer life, coming and going as they pleased.  Two of my good friends from the orphanage worked with these women, and when we were not at school and they were not working we would arrange outings and gatherings.  Because they worked as a group they could negotiate with the owners of the residential hotels for better rooms to meet their clients and for less cost.  If any residential hotel owner caused a serious problem or assaulted any member of the group, they would set fire to his rubbish bins or his car and send a note to say next time they would burn the hotel.  They had money that could use for clothes and telephones but mostly they saved their money in the bank for when they would rent their own apartment.  If men eve teased them in the street they would shout back and even throw stones at them, whereas most girls would run away.    I admired their self-assurance, but I did not do sex work myself at this time because I did not feel confident enough.

sex workers detained in raidOne evening before Ramadan I was visiting my two girl-friends at a residential hotel where they working when suddenly there was a commotion from the lobby.  One friend looked out of the door and then closed and quickly locked the door; she told us the police were in the hotel. We were all terrified because the police will often rape women and take their money.  The police went from door to door shouting for everyone to come out; we could hear the screams of the women and girls.  I hid one of our phones and most of the money in a condom inside my vagina; it was very painful but I knew we would lose it all if I didn’t.  We then went outside into the hall, where two policemen shouted at us to come into the reception area; eventually there were about twelve women and girls surrounded by more than twenty police and NGO workers (only two of them were women).  A police sergeant made us line up and he took everyone’s phone and money, except for what I had hidden; if he asked a question and didn’t like the answer he got, he would hit the woman in the face.  After a few minutes the police inspector left, and the NGO workers said all young women and girls would have to go with them for safe custody; only women who could prove they were over 20 or had a magistrate permission certificate to be a prostitute could stay.  Eventually the NGO workers took me, my two friends and another young woman; we were chosen because we were the smallest and the police said they knew the other women were well known prostitutes who were definitely over 18.  The police then took the women who were allowed to stay, and in exchange for sex they could have their telephones back.

We told the NGO workers that I was not a prostitute, but was only visiting my friends; also, a police officer said that I did not look like a prostitute because I was wearing blue jeans and not Salwaar Kameez like the others.  However, the NGO workers said I was at risk of being trafficked by my friends, so I must go to “safe custody”.  There were five NGO workers; they took photographs of us (it’s not unknown for TV journalists to be invited to watch these “rescues”) and then took us outside to their minibus.  I tried to run away in the street, but one NGO woman grabbed my long hair and slammed me into the side of the minibus.  A crowd gathered as I was fighting back and during the chaos the other young woman managed to run away, but the NGO woman was much bigger than me so eventually my friends and I were pushed into the minibus.  All the way to detention the woman hit me and called me very bad names.

In tomorrow’s conclusion, Molli describes the rescue center and tells how she eventually escaped.

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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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I have to laugh when I hear people say: “Oh, I’ve never met a sex-worker before” and I have to say, chances are you have, you just don’t know it.  –  Valerie Scott

Bad Girls Andrea Alvira

Men:  Pay your hookers!  Ladies:  Get the damned money up front!

A 19-year-old…prostitute choked a [Florida] man to death after he tried to stiff her out of money he owed her for sexual services…Andrea Alvira…[chased] Brandon Day, 22…into a yard, where she dropped him by hitting him in the neck. She got on top of Day’s chest and forced her knees into his throat, suffocating him…

Grow the Hell Up!

Politicians, cops and naïve, whiny women are a dangerous combination:

…Rebecca McHood of [Mesa, Arizona] said she belongs to “a community of women who have been affected by pornography and sex addiction of their spouses…”I have five close friends whose husbands or ex-husbands have frequented [massage] parlors…I have seen the effects [sic] this has on their families, including the effects of divorce”…Lynnette Greybull…said she has found a website that lists 36 Mesa sex shops masquerading as massage parlors.  “They have a page…of acronyms…[detailing] what they’re able to do to these women…it’s very disgusting and perverted…These establishments are fake businesses…that…sell women.”

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

You know the oft-repeated lie that a third of teen runaways are approached by a “pimp” within 48 hours (when in reality, 84% of teen sex workers literally never meet a pimp)?  Well, it’s down to 45 minutes now:

Last year, King County’s Committee to End Homelessness issued a fact sheet that [stated]…“76 percent of unaccompanied minors [are] approached by either a known gang member or pimp in less than 45 minutes”…“That study has been altered, revised and bastardized beyond recognition,” says…Captain Eric Sano…“The actual study was from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  They say that one in three teens will be recruited by an exploiter.  In 2009 we…put a very youthful female member of the department [in a park in disguise] and within 45 minutes she was approached by two members of the Westside Street Mobb”…

It’s a good sign when a claim is too ridiculous even for cops and reporters.

Forward and Backward (TW3 #4)

An unusually-sensible attitude for a politician:

…I have decided to implement [activists’] recommendations…by introducing a bill to repeal “prostitution free zones” in D.C…transgender women…[say cops] regularly view and treat them as criminals…The prostitution free zones reinforce this bias…it is also critical that police officers help someone who is assaulted or raped, even if they were involved in sex work.  MPD is responsible for the safety of everyone, including sex workers…

Above the Law  

…Cleveland police officer Gregory Jones [was found] guilty of raping and kidnapping a woman…Prosecutor Jesse Canonico said…’He was a rapist masquerading as a police officer’…”  According to Canonico, cops and rapists are two mutually exclusive things!  Obviously he’s never been to New York:

Yonkers police officer Alex Della Donna…arrested…Sonia L. Gomez…[and] coerced her into having [sex] with him at least a half-dozen times…continually [reminding her] that drug charges…might be reinstated if she didn’t continue…[the rapes] ended only after Gomez’s husband threatened to tell departmental higher-ups…

Or California:  “…West Sacramento Police officer…Sergio Alvarez was convicted of…numerous counts of aggravated assault and rape…and…[given] a 205-years-to-life sentence…he raped women while on the job, sometimes even in his patrol car…”  Or even Utah:

…police officer Jeremy Rose has been charged with 15 offenses in the collection of thousands of photos of a teenage girl in various stages of undress…Rose convinced a then-15-year-old…to pose semi-nude for photos he said he would sell for her on the Internet…he also allegedly hid a camera in the girl’s bedroom to record video of her dressing and undressing…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #21)

Note the moronic “people can be sold repeatedly” canard:

[California] officials say gangs have become more involved in human trafficking because people can be repeatedly sold for profit, unlike drugs and guns…The legislature is considering a…bill…[to classify] human trafficking…as “gang activities”…Sentences for gang-related crimes are usually stiffer…

Feet of Clay (TW3 #22)

Following in the illustrious footsteps of Lauren Hersh:

An assistant district attorney was verbally berated and banished from a Bronx judge’s courtroom after failing to reveal evidence that would have freed a man held at Rikers Island on bogus rape charges…“This is an utter and complete disgrace — not just for you, but for your office in general”…Judge John Wilson told…Megan Teesdale before dismissing the case…The defendant, Segundo Marquez, had been held…for more than eight months awaiting trial…

Above the Law (TW3 #28) Jeffrey Holmes

A…Kansas City police officer who was accused of forcing two women to have sex with him was found guilty of acceding to corruption…and sentenced…to 15 days in jail…” When a non-cop does the same thing it’s called “rape” and gets more than 2 weeks in jail.

The Public Eye

In this interview with Valerie Scott (one of the plaintiffs in Bedford vs. Canada) she touches on the landmark case and the Swedish model; however, the more interesting part for me is her discussion of pre-internet sex work in Canada, sex work ethics, myths about sex work and “pimps” and the absurdity of trying to suppress the trade.

Where Are the Protests? (TW3 #48)

The…son of a peasant farmer from…China has been in custody since being found in a…Dublin…grow house with an estimated €1 million worth of cannabis…Fergal Kavanagh…said his client…[was] imprisoned in the grow-house by traffickers…[and] should be released pending a full investigation into his case…

Caring Professionals

Another nursing home ignites controversy by hiring sex workers for residents:

The elderly residents of a Long Island nursing home…[attended a male] striptease in the facility’s rec room, a new lawsuit claims.  The son of one resident, 85-year-old Bernice Youngblood, was shocked when he…found a picture of his mom stuffing dollar bills — which are supposed to be locked away in her commissary account — into a dancer’s briefs…“Plaintiff Bernice Youngblood was placed in apprehension of imminent, offensive, physical harm, as she was confused and bewildered as to why a muscular, almost nude man, was approaching her and placing his body and limbs, over [her],” the suit states…Youngblood’s attorneys argue she “lacks the mental and physical capacity” to protect herself…

Photo4by6.jpgUnless Mrs. Youngblood is unquestionably suffering from dementia, it sounds more to me like her son is just revolted by the idea that his mother might enjoy male strippers and might actually exert a little control over her surroundings instead of existing as a passive, passionless vegetable under others’ “care”.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #321)

Government officials in Phoenix are violating the law by compelling [sex workers]…to participate in a program administered by religious groups, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says…the program, Project ROSE, clearly violates the First Amendment…those arrested…are forcibly taken to Bethany Bible Church…in handcuffs…[and] given the option to avoid criminal prosecution by participating in a sectarian program.  “Phoenix is essentially telling criminal suspects that they can go to church or go to jail,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn…

Shame, Shame (TW3 #348)

[Congresswoman] Jackie Speier…has apparently decided to introduce a federal “revenge porn” bill, which is being drafted, in part, by Prof. Mary Anne Franks, who has flat out admitted that her goal is to undermine Section 230 protections for websites…to make…third parties — like “Google, any website, Verizon… face liability”…[she claims] she’s not seeking to undermine Section 230 in any way…[because it] has never protected sites from liability of federal crimes — just civil infractions and state crimes.  So her goal is to make the amorphous concept of “revenge porn” a “federal crime” thereby suddenly making third-party websites liable…this effort is fraught with dangerous consequences and potential First Amendment problems…

Subtle Pimping (TW3 #403)

You’ve got to love the way she makes it sound as though it were her idea:

University of Colorado sociology professor Patti Adler has axed the prostitution skit…that led administrators to pull her from the classroom last semester…[she] cited difficulty with consent forms and worries among participants after the…skit drew national attention…In the end, Adler canceled the controversial skit and invited local sex workers to her class…Adler interviewed the sex workers…and then allowed the students to ask…questions…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #405)

More on the German politicians who want to make life harder for whores:

…the Union [Party] wants to impose stricter controls on brothels and threaten clients with punishment.  The police and other authorities may also get the power to raid brothels without concrete suspicion, [sponsor] Thomas Strobl…said…clients should not be able to “make excuses” [if police declare that] a…prostitute has “obvious signs of ill-treatment”…the Union also wants [to reward] foreign prostitutes with…residence [if they agree to testify against]… “their tormentors” …presently, foreign forced prostitutes…do not report to the police because they…fear deportation…I Am Jennie

Drawing Lines

Former porn actress Jennifer Ketcham incoherently argues that the best way for porn actors to fight for decriminalization is to draw an artificial line between themselves and other whores.  Or something.

…Porn…advocates…are quick to distinguish between pornography and prostitution, and…it is way more okay to be a porn star than it is to be a prostitute…porn stars…[should] drop the label of “sex worker” and adopt the title of “adult film actor”…[to sever] it from the morally-loaded concept and illegality of prostitution…by drawing imaginary lines between sex work performed on camera and sex work performed behind closed doors, porn (unintentionally) debases the majority of sex workers…

The Sky is Falling! (TW3 #413)

Regarding the last line: what the hell does she think prostitution is?

…Équipe d’Action…has…[filed] legal proceedings against a “sugar daddy” dating site, which they accuse of operating a disguised prostitution racket.  The existence of such sites in France…[was ignored until] the arrival of the US site Seeking Arrangement…If the complaint is upheld in court it could change the definition of prostitution in France…Angela Jacob Bermudo, a spokeswoman for the French Seeking Arrangement site…[said] “Seeking Arrangement is not prostitution…For many girls, this is a viable option to be able to concentrate on their studies without the financial burden”…

Deafening Silence (TW3 #413)

Chinese officials violently suppress a city’s major industry, then wonder why its economy dies:

Prostitution was once rife in Dongguan…Local analysts estimated there were more than 250,000 prostitutes at its peak, and that the business generated about 50 billion yuan (HK$63 billion) a year…But…in February…authorities started a campaign to wipe out prostitution…hotel managers estimate…up to 70 per cent of prostitutes had left the city.  “The crackdown may not kill us, but it will kill [the nearby town of] Changping and then the city itself.  Without our xiaojie [whores], Changping is going to be a ghost town”…Many people working in the city’s retail and service sectors – from taxi drivers to snack sellers, landlords to restaurant bosses – grumble that their business has suffered since the…raids began…At the New South China Mall, the largest shopping centre in the world when it opened in 2005 with more than 2,000 shops, at least half the stores are vacant…

Whither Canada? (TW3 #413) 

In Canada, articles like the ones below and at right appear in the mainstream media:

…more than 300 of our fellow Canadian and international academics and researchers expressed their profound concern that the federal government is blatantly ignoring a large body of scientific evidence…that criminalization of any aspect of sex work, including the purchasing of sex, has overwhelmingly negative [effects]…banning the purchasing of sex is not scientifically grounded and sorely misguided by moral judgment of sex workers as victims.  In fact, evidence strongly suggests that this approach would recreate the same social and health-related harms of current criminalization regime…there is no evidence that criminalizing the purchasing of sex reduces or eliminates prostitution…

Whither Canada? (TW3 #414) 

Boo fucking hoo:

The person who runs Saskatoon’s “john school” is disappointed because he hasn’t had any participants since the start of this year.  Albert Brown…said that since the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the country’s anti-prostitution laws last year, his class has been empty…

Synopsis of the rest of the article: “Dirty, dirty, filthy, diseased whores!”

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For a model that is supposed to help prostitutes…[the Swedish model] shows them remarkably little respect.  –  Mishka Gora

Rough Trade Danford Grant on video

Accused rapist says it wasn’t rape because his victims were only whores:

Danford Grant, a prominent Seattle lawyer…is charged with six counts of rape, one count of attempted rape and one count of burglary for allegedly attacking multiple women at massage clinics…Grant’s lawyers claim Jie Shao, owner of Carnation Massage:  “deleted all the footage that recorded what really occurred…to destroy what was evidence of prostitution, not rape or attempted rape”…attorney…Richard Hansen…has repeatedly put…responsibility …on the…victims…saying…“a lot of these…(massage businesses) were advertising on Backpage…that should tell you something”…

The Lesser of Two Evils

An excellent Christian argument against criminalization of sex work, especially via the Swedish model:

…To criminalise male purchasers while simultaneously exonerating female vendors…is a violation of natural justice…this…“denial of consent”…fails to understand the motivation of women who…prefer prostitution to the alternative…the duplicity and irrationality of wanting to eliminate prostitution…while simultaneously denying the moral agency of prostitutes…is mind-boggling.  The contortions of the mind needed to support this feminist narrative have…also led to…prostitutes [being treated]…like children incapable of taking responsibility for their actions…[while] male clients…are…“sex offenders”…along with rapists and child abusers…According to Dr Melissa Farley, upon whose dubious “research” seemingly every justification of the Swedish model is based, they are “predators”…For Christians, promiscuity has [always] been the defining aspect of prostitution…medieval canonists agreed that although it was wrong for a prostitute to practice her trade, there was no wrongdoing in her receipt of money for her services…It is…hypocritical and inconsistent to criminalise only this one form of promiscuity…It is not…criminal…for a woman to have a different sexual partner each night…nor…for a man to buy his mistress an apartment, clothing, etc…integrity would demand…prohibition [of sex work] apply to all illicit sex…Such a prohibition…was ludicrous in Catholic medieval Europe, and…even more so in a modern western democracy…

Actually, This is Good News

The more sex workers are treated as other professionals are, the better:

Prostitutes could be sued for breaching the Consumer Guarantees Act, the same as any other service provider, a law professor says.  A man who tried to sue a prostitute for compensation and damages  had his claim dismissed…But…Professor Cynthia Hawes said prostitutes were…no less accountable than other service providers…”if you’ve made a contract with somebody there could be a case.  A contract of prostitution is not unlawful in itself”…

Maggie in the Media

On Wednesday I was a guest on the Inspireland podcast; you can listen to it at that link or download it on iTunes.

Parable white slave girl

For April Fools’ Day, Jenny Heineman wrote a satire entitled “It Happened To Me:  I Read And Believed Nick Kristof”:

Despite ample warnings about the prevalence of con men seeking to prey on easily malleable puppets like me…I almost became the victim of a murky, seedy, dark, sex trafficking ring operated by equally murky, seedy, dark (-skinned) men…prostitution…is never a victimless crime…all fact-based evidence to the contrary should be deeply scrutinized…Furthermore, prostitution and sex trafficking are synonyms because if you disagree…you’re a pedophile…

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

A [Connecticut] woman faces prostitution charges after…she reported being robbed by a man who responded to her ad…Nikoletta Herman…became nervous about the way he was acting…changed her mind and…the man got upset, assaulted her and stole her cellphone…

Marching Up Their Own Arses

The newest anti-whore fad:  using “licensing” to jack up prostitution fines:

…Wausau [Wisconsin] Police Chief Jeff Hardel [wants]…an escort license…ordinance [which] would impose fines in the $2,000 to $5,000 dollar range, and [require] licensed escorts to be fingerprinted, pass background checks, and file a…business plan.

Full of Themselves (Updates Galore)

Massage parlors are victims of licensing as well:

…Minneapolis will require massage businesses to be licensed…to prevent sex trafficking…With cooperation from…victims, prosecutors are…working to drive down the demand…through aggressive prosecuting of “johns.”  The city also has conducted training sessions to educate hotel and motel owners and employees to recognize, report and stop sex trafficking…

coffee crack pipe
To paraphrase one line from the article, “The new law is intended to make Minneapolis a safe police state to call home.”

Gullible’s Travels

Coffee smoking is a dangerous new trend that could be going viral among teens…But the side effects can be dangerous. People have reported trouble breathing, dizziness, vomiting and even hallucinations.”

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

violence and assault against sex workers by the police…has come under the scanner of the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission…Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) filed a complaint…on behalf of the sex workers…”Women have been beaten up just for standing on the road, or while walking towards the bus stop…Women have been…compelled to pay money, failing which they are threatened that false cases will be filed against them,” Professor Rajendra Y J of PUCL said…

The Prudish Giant (TW3 #9)

PayPal is at it again; here’s a letter sent out on Monday by the crowd-funding platform Patreon (which lets patrons pledge a set amount to an artist for every new work created) to artists who create “adult” material:

…we had to change your custom URL and set your Patreon page to “private”…users must [now] have a specific link to view your page, as it no longer appears in our search results.  We got a notice from Paypal this morning that they were shutting down their entire integration with Patreon because of “adult content” on our site!  As you can imagine, this would be detrimental to creators – hundreds of thousands of dollars were to be “frozen” unless we flagged all adult content pages, made them private, and removed Paypal functionality from their individual pages…We have already emailed your patrons who signed up to become your patron through Paypal, and we have asked them to switch over to a credit card.  No action is needed on your part, however, if you would like to email your patrons as well, that could be helpful in converting patrons from Paypal to credit card…

Above the Law 

Kansas jailer Kenneth Reese “has been arrested, accused of sex crimes against jail inmates”; the first allegation a year ago didn’t go anywhere, but a second accusation seems to have tipped the balance.  Meanwhile, in Louisiana, “Richland Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Dewey Allen has been arrested on charges of sexual battery and malfeasance…

Held Together With Lies

Emily J does a splendid job of ripping apart prohibitionist nonsense:

…here are the basic numbers of their claims:  140 girls & women in Ottawa right now are trafficked sex slaves…[each makes] $260 000 – $280 000…on average…[at] $200/Hour average price…$260 000 per year at $200/hour…[is] 1300 sessions in a year…if each one works 365 days per year, they earn $712 per day…[and] 3.56 clients per day, every single day…that’s 498 unique men seeing trafficked girls in Ottawa…[and] 182,000 sessions per year…[which would mean] 65% of all men in Ottawa have had sex with a trafficked sex slave…

Number Puzzle

The invaluable Wendy Lyon debunks another bogus “trafficking” study:

There’s been much in the Irish media…about a new report on sex workers’ clients…You’d need a pretty small population size for 58 [respondents] to…tell us anything about clients as a class – and the authors can hardly claim simultaneously that the population size is small enough, and that it spends €250m a year…if the respondents amounted to even 10% of the sex-buying population of Ireland, that would still require them to pay an average of €431,034 per year for sex…the…survey…asks…Have you ever changed your mind and walked away because the person seemed…a list of options follows, including “scared”, “controlled”, “unwilling”, “unhappy” and “too young”…a client who…walked out of an appointment with an independent escort who was in a bad mood…[was] recorded as having encountered a sex worker who he believed was exploited or trafficked.  This…is a gigantic leap that undermines whatever credibility this survey might otherwise have had…

Under Every Bed

This collection of single sentences  about the “sex trafficking problem” in Boise, Idaho (population 200,000; known chiefly for lumber and potatoes) is not actually organized into a coherent article; apparently, its “writer” is a dual devotee of the “sex trafficking” cult and the Hemingway software.  The gems found therein include (multiple sic):  “a child is taken in…they’re used not only for prostitution but also in gang organized crimes”; “victims…go through a ‘moral development’ period…in order to stay safe they must go along with their captures”; and “investigators…believe that a major problem stems from the Internet…‘where kids play online’”.

Bottleneck (TW3 #324)

This breathless article from the Canberra Times is clearly intended as an attack on decriminalization in New South Wales:  it spouts “sex trafficking” nonsense; quotes cops, politicians and an NGO named “Brothel Busters”; and does not quote any sex worker organizations at all.  But like many prohibitionist screeds about the “failure” of legal sex work regimes, it ignores a vital point:  the women it discusses are only victims because they are specifically excluded from working legally via some legal bottleneck, in this case the inability to get visas for sex work.  Naturally, Scarlet Alliance has repeatedly warned the government about this exact issue.

Bootlickers (TW3 #326) 

Because surely there are scads of women who think escort to barista is a good career move:

[Sheriff's Sgt. Darrell L. O'Neill] was charged…with felony promoting prostitution…for allegedly tipping off bikini baristas in exchange for sexual favors…[cops claim] Java Juggs stands hire young women who have worked as strippers and escorts and “essentially operate as drive-through strip clubs or brothels”…

Innocence Never Had

Another useless public policy based upon the absurd notion of magical “pimp” mind control powers:

[Los Angeles] officials are exploring a plan to require more…training for foster parents and group home workers to help them recognize …signs that children and teens under their care may be victims of sex trafficking…pimps sometimes recruit underage sex workers from group homes…Rachel Thomas, a sex trafficking survivor [said]…”There’s a grooming process…with recognizable signs.”

The Punitive Mindset (TW3 #352) 

Campaigners fighting the Ministry of Justice over a ban on books being sent to prisoners…threatened to take their battle to the courts…Geoffrey Robertson QC, who has offered his services for free, said…justice secretary Chris Grayling [is] acting “unlawfully and irrationally”…to inflict “cruel and unusual punishment” on literate prisoners.  “Grayling is not a lawyer, he is a politician who seems to think he is above the law,” said Robertson…”He has no power to impose additional punishment on prisoners over and above that which is imposed by the courts.  The action has nothing to do with prison security or any other legitimate purpose”…Grayling [pretends]…”the arrival of thousands of unknown parcels in our prisons each day”…would undermine the…battle against drugs…

R.I.P. Andrew Hunter

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #410)

Sex workers from across the UK and rest of Europe crammed into a select committee room in the House of Commons to argue against plans to change prostitution laws that would criminalise clients…

Whither Canada? 

Canadian prohibitionist is sad because he can no longer force sex workers traumatized by arrest to listen to his “rescue” sales pitch:

A prostitute rescue program…is now on hold because police are no longer laying prostitution charges in Saskatoon, says…Don Meikle…once an arrest was made “we would be sitting at the police station waiting for them…It’s…very disappointing…It’s taken away that crisis that quite often created change”…

The rest of the article is littered with words like “combating prostitution” and the program is praised by a pro-Swedish model prohibitionist group.

Delightful Conversation

Go back and look at the text below the second picture on yesterday’s column (which I actually posted on March 8th) before reading this:

…[Miranda Barbour] made up the claim that she killed more than 20 people and is drawing on the escapades of television serial killer “Dexter,” her sister said…”She takes a lot of truths and puts the lie in the middle so when people…see all these truths…they believe the lie”…Ashley Dean said Elytte Barbour loved the TV show Dexter and suggested that her sister…”is using descriptions from the show”…

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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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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on February 16th; I have modified it slightly for time references and to fit the format of this blog.

Bedford victoryAs you probably know unless you’ve been living in a cave, three months ago the Supreme Court of Canada overturned the laws which made the legal activity of selling sex much more difficult and dangerous, just as similar laws in the UK, India, parts of Australia and many other countries do.  As I wrote in “What Next?” just two weeks after the decision, “there is nothing in it to prevent the imposition of American-style criminalization”:

Were this the United States, you can bet the legislature’s immediate response would be criminalization. However, it’s a little different in Canada…[which] has since the late 1960s maintained a [relatively] strong tradition…that “the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation”…On the other hand, the government has heavily invested its…case in neofeminist rhetoric, and recently adopted the Swedish model as its official position; several MPs have released long-winded “explanations” of the “fact” that women are permanent victims who shouldn’t be allowed to choose sex work.  There is little likelihood that a system proven to increase violence and stigmatization of sex workers would pass muster under Bedford, yet at the same time it would be rather embarrassing for the government to push for the direct criminalization of sex workers after proclaiming us too weak to avoid being controlled by morally-superior clients and “pimps”…

Once politicians started returning to work after the holidays, they immediately began to issue the predictable torrent of nonsense and panic-mongering.  The chief font of this flow of sewage has been Justice Minister Peter MacKay, who emitted the ludicrous (but typical) claim that Canada would become “a haven for sex tourism” (despite the fact that New Zealand and New South Wales have not), and the even more absurd statement that the sex industry is more complicated than the medical industry; he then pontificated on the “significant harms flowing from the sex trade” (ignoring the court’s finding that the laws he supports are the cause of those harms) and delivered a pitch for the abominable Swedish model (which, as pointed out above, could not possibly stand under the Bedford decision because it’s at least as harmful as the laws that were overturned, if not more so).  He also boasted that the new laws would be ready “well before” the court’s December 20th deadline.

Say NO to the Nordic Model in CanadaBut outside of Conservative Party enclaves, evangelical Christian churches and anti-sex feminist cults, there just isn’t much support in Canada for the puritanical pretense that consensual sex magically becomes violent and sinful merely because money overtly changes hands.  Young Liberals in British Columbia are pushing for their party to officially adopt a pro-decriminalization stance and have castigated Justin Trudeau and other party leaders who seem ready to get in the Swedish bed with the Conservatives.  The Vancouver City Council has “unanimously passed a motion to accept recommendations intended to increase safety and services for sex workers”.  British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta are all declining to pursue ordinary prostitution charges, and Newfoundland has had virtually no new cases since the Himel decision in 2010.  Newspapers routinely print sex worker-friendly articles, and editorials like this one are typical:

You’d think the sky was falling with all of the misconceptions circulating concerning the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision striking down our prostitution laws.  No, the Supreme Court has not legalized prostitution…[which] was [already] legal…No, sex trade workers will not be flocking to your neighbourhood any more than they already have…They are already in many neighbourhoods…[seeing] clients in the warmth of their homes, apartments, condominiums and hotel/motel rooms…albeit illegally…because the use of any home, apartment or even a hotel room on a frequent basis for the purposes of prostitution violates the brothel prohibition.  No, the Supreme Court decision won’t increase the number of sex trade workers…Does anyone think…[they] decide to get into the business after a thorough study of the criminal law and the legal risks of prosecution?…No, the decision won’t increase the incidence of sex slaves and human trafficking…attempting to enforce a moral code by criminalizing prostitution, or the activities surrounding it, is a waste of resources…

There’s still no way to tell how long and winding a road Canada will have to traverse before it reaches the inevitable conclusion that Canadian courts, sex worker rights activists, the UN and organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are correct in saying decriminalization is the only moral and effective model for sex work; it may be mere months, or years, or decades, and the way may be littered with the corpses of failed attempts to re-criminalize it before the busybodies eventually give up.  But unlike the UK (which seems to be going in circles) or the US (which is insanely marching in the wrong direction), the Canadians at least seem to be on the right course.

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