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We call on the Government of Canada to join with global leaders, community, researchers and legal experts in rejecting criminalization regimes, including those that criminalize the purchase of sexual services, and instead support the decriminalization of sex work…as scientifically-grounded and necessary to ensuring the safety, health, and human rights of sex workers.  -  The Gender & Sexual Health Initiative

Maggie in the Media

Here’s an interview with me on the Euvoluntary Exchange podcast, and a guest column I did for Radley Balko’s blog at the Washington Post.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do Steve Smith

The Robbinsdale [Minnesota] police chief resigned from his position…after…he was arrested in a prostitution sting…ten people were arrested…including…Steven Smith…

The Scarlet Letter

Richmond, California’s…police department…plans to…post…photos of men arrested in prostitution stings to Facebook and Twitter…even though these men might not ever be convicted of any crime…

And Speaking of Victim Blaming…

It’s blessedly absent from this story:

Two…thugs bound and gagged a prostitute after robbing her — thinking that she wouldn’t call the police.  Jason Barton…and John Coulter…were joined by David Coulter from Northern Ireland, in a sickening attack on the 27-year-old Polish woman…[who] was found in her flat after her muffled cries for help were heard.  She pleaded with the tower block caretaker not to call the police but he ignored her protests…the vile trio…[was] found guilty… Book of Legendary Lands

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received Playing the Whore and The Book of Legendary Lands from Korhomme and The Pink Panther Classic Cartoon Collection from Gumdeo.  Thank you both so much!

The Sky is Falling!

The arrival of…Seeking Arrangement…has caused…consternation in France…40,000 French “sugar babies” have already signed up…“Seeking Arrangement takes advantage of the financial misery of students.  The site hides violence against women in beautiful wrapping paper,” said Anne-Cecile Mailfert…[of] Osez le Feminisme…“We hope lawmakers will [ban] websites when they…adopt…the law criminalizing the purchasing of sex”…

Thou Shalt Not

Because prohibition always works so well:

Leading doctors have called for a ban on cigarette sales to those born after 2000 in a programme of “progressive prohibition”…They urged the British Medical Association to lobby for a complete ban on the sale of cigarettes to anyone born in this century…

Above the Law 

Maryland Transit Administration Officer Martez Johnson…[gave a woman] a ride…after an MTA bus hit her car about 3 a.m. March 13…Martez walked the woman to the front door of her home…[then] forced his way inside…pushed her onto her couch and raped her…After he left, she called 911…Earlier this week, a Baltimore City police officer was charged…[with buying sex from] a 14-year-old girl advertising prostitution services online…

Finding What Isn’t There

In science, theories change to fit facts.  In politics, facts change to fit beliefs:

…a law designed to catch human traffickers…has netted few charges and even fewer convictions in Canada, anti-trafficking advocates complain.  There have been [only] 35…convictions since new laws…came into effect in 2005…MP Joy Smith…says more charges and convictions [must be created]…Jennifer Mann, a…Crown attorney, said…it’s…under-reported…But…John Ferguson, a retired RCMP superintendent, says the lack of convictions…may indicate that it is not that widespread…

Only one man is willing to accept that women have agency; all the women interviewed insist that childlike women are “controlled” by evil men.

An Example To the West (TW3 #39) Rajib Boy

The impoverished son of a sex worker in Calcutta…has been selected to participate in a Manchester United soccer training camp…Rajib Boy, 16…will head to the U.K. in April…amid hopes that the sport will liberate them both from poverty…”I am not ashamed of being a sex worker’s son…She is my main source of inspiration.  But I want to take her out of the red-light district as early as possible”…

Buried Truth

[Illinois] State Rep. Keith Farnham stepped down…after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided his home and his state office [for child porn]…Farnham…has…co-sponsored two laws cracking down child pornography [including] one…stiffening penalties for its possession…

Prudish Pedants (TW3 #133)

A federal appeals court…upheld the convictions of…fetish filmmaker…Ira Isaacs…A three-judge panel of the…9th Circuit Court of Appeals…rejected Isaacs’ arguments that the lower court…abused its discretion by excluding [his] proposed expert testimony.  Defense attorney Roger Jon Diamond said he would discuss with Isaacs whether to file a petition for rehearing before the full 11-judge appeals panel…

The Proper Study (TW3 #319)

Porn Studies has released its first issue:

…In the introduction…editors-in-chief – Feona Attwood…and Clarissa Smith…write:  “Recent years have seen a resurgence of public discussions (and scares) about…pornography-related topics, perhaps most notably the expansions of pornography across the internet, its putative links to rape and sexual violence, and erotic life-styling or the oft-cited ‘sexualisation of culture’”…

Predictably, Gail Dines used the occasion to bark at the moon.

FearusOscillation (TW3 #321)

You’ve probably seen this image floating around the internet, and since it contains the address of a long-abandoned website someone bought that domain in order to debunk the image.  The nutshell version: in the original 1979 survey, students were given a five-point range from “always” to “never”, and this chart counts all responses except “never” as a “yes” response.  It certainly changes one’s impression to know that the “yes” percentages are actually four different gradations of agreement added together, doesn’t it?

Unmentionables

Chase Paymentech…told Lovability founder Tiffany Gaines…that the company considers it a “reputational risk” to handle online payments for condoms, which it classifies as an “adult-oriented product”…Gaines…created Lovability with the goal of making it less awkward for women to buy condoms

Micromanagement

Dr. Feelsad wants DNA surveillance of sex workers because of his sadfeelz:

…DNA…can be a powerful tool in combating human trafficking, according to forensic scientist Timothy Palmbach…[who] set out…to…develop…a DNA database of victims and at-risk persons…Palmbach ventured to a number of places, including Costa Rica, Nepal and Djibouti to see if he could successfully identify and obtain DNA samples from victims and possible perpetrators…in Costa Rica…police asked for help investigating a hotel known for sex tourism… he eventually found himself alone with a 14-year-old girl…[who would have charged him] $400 an hour…Palmbach [said] “I really almost started to cry…I just saw the depravity of the situation and how much it’s all driven by money and demand”…

O, Canada! (TW3 #405)

More harassment of legal sex workers in Canada:

…CEASE, the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation…[is harassing sex workers with offensive] texts…Any sex worker with a phone number listed in the Edmonton…Backpage.com has likely received one of [the]…messages…Project Backpage [is] a new collaboration between the University of Alberta, Chrysalis Network…and CEASE…Because the sex industry has mostly moved from the streets to the Internet, [rescue industry] groups are finding it more difficult to [annoy] women…Susan Davis…[of] the West Coast Cooperative of Sex Industry Professionals…takes the view that the texting tactic is a preferable alternative to police raids and sting operations, such as Operation Spotlight…

ritual shaming
Deafening Silence (TW3 #407) 

China aims to prove it can be at least as stupid and brutal as the US when it comes to destroying businesses and hurting the economy through liberal use of cops and dysphemisms:

The vice crackdown that began in Dongguan last month has resulted in the arrest of more than 850 suspects and will expand across Guangdong before it wraps up in May…the three-month campaign against the illegal sex trade has already led to the break-up of more than 60 criminal gangs…[and] cost more than 3,000 hotels, saunas and massage parlours their licences…In addition, some 854 websites and more than 96,000 public instant-messaging accounts have been closed for promoting sex services online…

Imaginary Crises (TW3 #410)

Articles like this give me hope that we’ll eventually start seeing similar ones about “sex trafficking” hysteria:

The nation’s largest and most influential anti-sexual-violence organization is rejecting the idea that culture — as opposed to the actions of individuals — is responsible for rape…Recently, rape-culture theory has migrated from the lonely corners of the feminist blogosphere into the mainstream.  In January, the White House  asserted that we need to combat campus rape by “[changing] a culture of passivity and tolerance in this country, which too often allows this type of violence to persist.”  Tolerance for rape?  Rape is a horrific crime, and rapists are despised…there’s no evidence that it’s considered a cultural norm…Rape-culture theory is doing little to help victims, but its power to poison the minds of young women and lead to hostile environments for innocent males is immense…But now…RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)…repudiates the rhetoric…and…is especially critical of the idea that we need to focus on teaching men not to rape…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #410)

A poll…shows that over half the population of the UK is opposed to the criminalisation of prostitution.  Only three in ten nationwide were in favour.  In London it was only one in four…The exact wording for the poll was:  Currently in the UK under certain circumstances, it is legal for men and women to pay for sex.  There are some people that wish to make it illegal for the user to pay for sex.  Do you think such a criminalisation is a good idea or not?…51% agreed that “No, paying for sex should not be criminalized.”  31% agreed that “Yes, it should be illegal to pay for sex.”  The other 18% had no opinion.  There was little difference between the sexes with 53% of men and 49% of women opposing criminalisation.  Under a third of both sexes were in favour…

To Protect and Serve (TW3 #411)

25 exotic dancers filed suit against the [San Diego Police] Department for violating their civil rights…during a routine permit inspection…10 unidentified officers detained the dancers under no stated suspicion and began photographing…[them] against their will for roughly one hour…

Whither Canada? Joy Smith

It’s good to see real information in the public discussion of sex work in Canada:

The Conservatives say they are listening to all the submissions they receive before they draw up Canada’s new prostitution law…But the…government [is using] a report by Conservative MP Joy Smith, titled The Tipping Point, as the intellectual underpinning for…the so-called Nordic model…The problem is much of the research cited in The Tipping Point is highly selective — ignoring truths that are inconvenient or cast the Swedish model in a poor light…The…report contends that countries like New Zealand that have decriminalized…have seen a dramatic increase in sexual exploitation and violence.  But anyone who reads the Prostitution Law Review Committee report assessing New Zealand’s legislation comes away with a very different impression…

And here’s one from the Ottawa Citizen:

…In Canada, we’ve been sold a false dilemma that presents only the possibility of a “Nordic”…regime or…“Dutch” approach…But Canadian sex workers…know that New Zealand’s model…merits much closer consideration…Sex workers in New Zealand are now covered by labour laws…the Prostitution Reform Act has not resulted in any growth of the sex industry or increase in number of sex workers, nor has the sky fallen.  The Prostitution Law Review Committee…found that there has been a marked improvement in employment conditions and a decrease in violence…

And an open letter signed by 300 academics:

We…are profoundly concerned that the Government…is considering …new legislation to criminalize the purchasing of sex.  The proposed legislation is not scientifically grounded and evidence strongly suggests that it would recreate the same…harms of current criminalization.  We join other sex worker, research, and legal experts across the country and urge the Government of Canada to follow the Supreme Court…decision and support decriminalization of sex work as a critical evidence-based approach to ensuring the safety, health, and human rights of sex workers…

Surplus Women (TW3 #412)

What if…Orange County [California is] dealing with a serial killer preying on prostitutes?…Orange County…formed a multi-agency task force when homeless men were being fatally stabbed over a few months…but [are] not doing so now when the victims [are] female prostitutes…Are cops making a judgment call on which type of victims are worthy of their attention?  Anaheim Police Lt. Tim Schmidt…[says] “We don’t have the evidence to say they’re connected”…of the cases involving missing persons Kianna Jackson, Josephine Vargas…Martha Anaya…Tina Hoang and Jarrae Estepp…[rescue industry figure] Lois Lee…of Children of the Night…[says] “It’s just a high-risk job”…

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After breaking down doors and waving…guns around, it’s gratifying [for cops]…to pacify terrified slaves by tasering them.  -  Joyce Arthur

Recognition

An elderly Italian man got a rather unwelcome surprise when he ordered an escort – and his…40-year-old son’s South American girlfriend…arrived at his house…the pair declined to take the encounter further and swiftly parted ways.  The man [decided]…to tell his son…prompting a bitter fight between the pair…the son [sued] his father for injuries…Barbie and Lammily

Barbie

While whitebread feminists wet themselves over the newest version of “Happy To Be Me”, Virginia Postrel isn’t having any of it:

…All right-thinking people  seem convinced that Barbie instills in her pre-school fans a false and remarkably detailed standard of beauty.  Hence the widespread  praise for Lammily, the latest anti-Barbie concept doll.  A crowd-funded project from artist Nickolay Lamm (the source of her ungainly moniker), Lammily is based on the average proportions for a 19-year-old…[but] the average 19-year-old female American stands 5 feet 4 inches tall.  She has a 33.6-inch waist and…weighs 150 pounds…If Lammily were true to life…she’d have rolls of fat, not a firm plastic tummy…Celebrating one version of average as “normal” and “realistic” implicitly stigmatizes everyone who doesn’t meet that standard.  Barbie doesn’t pretend to do that; Lammily does…

A Narrow View

This NPR article on diversion programs is full of the usual “sex trafficking” nonsense and dishonest platitudes about the programs’ effectiveness, but one section was especially troubling:

…Judge Pratt says that initially her treatment-focused approach…improved the ability to prosecute the traffickers.  But…a lot of the boys…were becoming pimps.  “The foster care system and juvenile justice system is creating both sides of this market, the suppliers and the goods,” she says…

Her revolting dehumanization of girls as “goods” is bad enough, but her willful mischaracterization of young male sex workers as “pimps” in order to prop up the vile “pimps and hos” myth is utterly reprehensible.

To Protect and Serve (August Updates)

San Diego cops use “sex trafficking” as an excuse to send a SWAT team to a strip club:

A manager at Cheetahs strip club says his dancers felt violated by police who photographed them almost nude…10 officers swarmed the building with guns and bulletproof vests, interrupting business for a couple of hours…to make sure all 30 dancers had proper permits and were in compliance…

Don’t Take My Word For It

Male delusions about sex work start extra-early in Sweden:  “Swedish police have received a report that three underage boys [as young as ten] speaking bad German tried to sell sex to women at a busy commuter hub in central Sweden…

Not for Everybody

Though Meg Munoz had a very bad time as a sex worker and for a while supported prohibition, she eventually recognized the harm it creates:

…Poorly conducted, [biased]…research needs to stop being used as the foundation for fundraising…the refusal to have sex work acknowledged as real work…has all but halted any civil discourse…Allowing moral biases to dictate policy is dangerous for those who are there by choice and force…

Above the Law Deon Nunlee

No, you lying asshole, it’s exactly what police officers do, which is why this is the second most common subtitle on the blog:

…while police responded to [a] domestic violence call, one of the officers allegedly took the woman into an upstairs bedroom and sexually assaulted her…Deon Nunlee has been charged…Detroit Police Chief James Craig said…“This is an anomaly.  This is not what our police officers do”…

In fact, here’s another in the same city:Geoffrey Townsend

A former Detroit police officer who was convicted of criminal sexual conduct involving participants in his boot camp for misbehaving teens is being sued by two of the victims…Geoffrey Townsend…began making unwelcome sexual advances [eventually culminating in rape when one]…victim was 13 years old…and…the…[other] 16…

And it’s not limited to the US, eitherScott Andrew Terry

[Durham, Ontario police Constable Scott Andrew Terry] sexually exploited [a 16-year-old girl] …with whom he first came into contact after she was busted for shoplifting in May of 2000.  Instead of filing charges…he…[offered] her a rental room in his house…[then] began making advances which…escalated to nude photos, sexual touching and eventually rape…“in exchange for the rent”…

First They Came for the Hookers… 

This dumb story about dumb strip-club restrictions in Chicago is, as you might expect, mostly just dumb.  But these comments from anti-whore zealot Bob Fioretti venture into a higher realm of dumbness:  “we have an underlying social problem.  Between 15,000 and 25,000 women a day engage in prostitution…in this city.  That underground activity undermines us a city — a world-class city…”  I’ll bet you didn’t know we were so dangerous, or that roughly 4% of the adult female population of Chicago were whores.

Higher Education (TW3 #23)

Unlike the last time we saw this, these teachers are actually qualified:

An enterprising association of sex workers in Barcelona has angered some of Spain’s most prominent feminists by offering an “intro to prostitution” course…at a cost of €45…the four-hour intensive course for aspiring sex workers was held last month by the Asociación de Profesionales del Sexo…Lidia Falcón…[who] has spent years fighting to have prostitution [criminalized] in Spain…said…the problem with the course lies in its underlying suggestion that some women are working in the profession out of their own free will…

So Falcón wants the course banned because it blatantly disproves her lies.

Imagination Pinned Down

Though the social climate which led to the Satanic Panic had been building for years, it was the McMartin Preschool hysteria that really launched it.  Now that it’s a generation in the past, even media outlets like the New York Times which fully embrace “sex trafficking” hysteria recognize its earlier incarnation for what it was.  Here’s a good retrospective called “McMartin Preschool: Anatomy of a Panic”; watch it with the current hysteria in mind and note the many parallels.

The Widening Gyre

If “authorities” don’t want stupid myths about women being abducted spreading around, they sure have a strange way of showing it:

[A rumor] warns of attempts to abduct women and girls in broad daylight at crowded shopping centers.  It warns that a new gang initiation requires members to kidnap, rape and beat womenBig Pimp and then dump them in parking lots.  For years, authorities have tried to keep such messages from spreading, debunking their claims as urban myths…

To clarify:  Women being abducted by gangs for quick rape = “right up there with Bigfoot”, but women abducted by gangs for years of captivity and sexual slavery = 100% credible.

South of the Border

In Mexico, a respected advocate is arrested as a “pimp” for helping sex workers organize:

…the recent arrest of Alejandra Gil…[is due to] new legislation, which…conflates sex work with human trafficking…Gil has worked tirelessly for the human rights of sex workers for many years…Laws and policies that target “third parties” under the premise of “protecting” sex workers, increase our vulnerability to abuse and exploitation, and create real barriers for sex workers organising…

Bottleneck

Considering that more than 90% of whores prefer to work illegally than submit to licensing, how well do you think this colossally stupid Italian law will work?

…prostitution will be permitted in private houses, subject to certain conditions, including the use of condoms…the draft law, which was presented…by…Maria Spillabotte…includes the issuance of a licence, stating that the holder is free of sexually transmitted diseases and confirming that a payment has been made…of €6,000 for a full-time licence or half that amount for part-time work…Prostitutes will also be required to get a certificate of mental fitness.  “This is a fundamental way of getting women away from coercion,” says Spillabotte.  “During an interview, the specialist will be able to tell if the girl is being forced into prostitution or if it is her free choice”…

That Old Black Magic

Patrick RockThe Sharjah Police…arrested an Arab woman and a man for forcing women into prostitution and engaging in black magic…

Buried Truth

When a politician obsesses about “protecting children from porn”, this is usually the reason:  “A senior aide to David Cameron resigned…the day before being arrested on allegations relating to child abuse images.  Patrick Rock…was involved in drawing up the government’s policy for…online pornography filters…

Between the Ears (TW3 #133)

This article on “Why Viagra Ruined Sex Work” quotes a few ladies whose names regular readers may recognize:

…“I wouldn’t say ED drugs are the worst thing, but they are really annoying,” laughed…Jolene Parton…“it…makes it harder for the client to come.”  Anna Gristina…dubbed [it]…“The working girl’s worst nightmare come true…It went from wham-bam, thank you ma’am,’ to ‘Oh my god, can you just finish, man’”…Amanda Brooks…says…men become obsessed with having an erection at the expense of any enjoyment for anyone…

It Looks Good On Paper (TW3 #311)

Texas joins the states arresting people to force them into “diversion” programs:  “The Corpus Christi Police…conducted a ‘Jane Sting’…in conjunction with the Red Cord Diversion Program…all six arrested persons were signed up to participate…rather than have criminal charges immediately applied.”  Yes, they actually referred to sex workers as “janes”.

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #315)

Joyce Arthur hits it out of the park with this satire:

In a bold move aimed at protecting workers from exploitation while on the job, the government today passed a new law that criminalizes most employers and customers…Law and Order Minister Punter MacCunny…pointed out that 95 per cent of people hate their jobs and want out, according to a new government-commissioned study…Police welcomed the new law, which gives them sweeping new enforcement powers to target the huge increase in organized crime.  According to Det. Sgt. Billy Clubber, head of the RCMP’s new Slave Save Squad, “We’ll be cracking down on slavery rings, basically any place where workers are bribed with wages to provide services”…The law now designates employers and customers as “pimps” and “johns,” respectively…

Long Spoon (TW3 #351)

Reason’s video on condom criminalization specifically refers to the Human Rights Watch report condemning the practice in New Orleans:

Ladies of the Night

Saith Dr. Brooke Magnanti in The Telegraph:

It’s an unusual move to go from policy and social commentary to fiction, especially as the stories cover a range of genres from romance to crime to sci-fi.  And yet it works.  The eye for detail that fans of Maggie’s non-fiction writing appreciate is well played here.  She invents worlds with ease and populates them with thought-provoking, yet never two-dimensional, women and men.  If you love plots with twists, she has them to spare.  (If you’re not into twists, or women who aren’t always whiter than white, probably best to stay away.)  And the cover art by acclaimed cartoonist and Louis Riel author Chester Brown is wonderful.

She also reviews Daddy by Madison Young and Playing the Whore by Melissa Gira Grant.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #410)

Sex columnist Suzi Godson presents “10 Things You Need to Know Before You Support the Swedish Model of Sex Work” in response to the new push by UK prohibitionists.  It’s not anything new for readers of this blog, but it’s possible ammo for online discussions you may get involved in.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #410)

Dominique Roe-Sepowitz answers the many criticisms of Project ROSE by denying them to Christian Post after refusing interviews with mainstream reporters.  And if you imagine the denials are substantive or backed by facts, think again:  her entire rationale for cooperating with cops to railroad people and deny them lawyers is, “sex-work…is against the law.”  Meanwhile, in last week’s other installment of “Traffic Jam”, a demonstration of the motivation behind the fakery:

A study of advertising placed during the recent Super Bowl in New Jersey suggests the volume of sex trafficking that will occur when the event comes to Arizona in 2015 will likely exceed the ability of any one law enforcement agency to address.  Phoenix Police Lt. James Gallagher, who co-authored the study…said law enforcement must coordinate to combat sex trafficking during major events…

In other words, “give us more money and power!”  Here’s a Storify of the fun several of us had with this mess last Saturday.

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It [is] very easy for government ministers…to talk around “we will stop trafficking”, as a code for “we will stop immigration and protect your white land”.  -  Belinda Brooks-Gordon

Bad Girls Emily Wyatt

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

A prostitute and heroin addict desperate for money has been jailed for…stealing from her clients.  Emily Ruth Tequilla Wyatt…conned one…into leaving his flat…so she could break in and steal a…television…Just days before, she had stole [sic] £40 and a CD off another customer who had refused to pay her…

But Emily’s amateurish efforts aren’t remotely in the same class as these:

…Subhanna Beyah, AKA Crystal…was arrested and charged with ripping off 13 men and making off with $1,281,769 in jewelry, guns, cash, and property including a Cadillac Escalade.  Two other women — 25-year-old Johninna Miller and 27-year-old Keshia Clark — were arrested…and have subsequently bonded out.  Ryan Elkins, the daughter of a police chief…is on the lam…

The Swedish Pimpocracy

A man on trial in…Sweden for allegedly raping a woman…has been freed because he “wasn’t aware” she was drunk…The…woman [said] the last thing she remembers…is falling asleep in the man’s apartment with her clothes on before waking up the following afternoon…locked in a room…Tests later revealed the woman’s blood alcohol-level was…more than ten times the legal limit in Sweden…Prosecutor Stefan Lind plans to appeal the verdict…

Bell, Hook and Kettle

Young boys were locked in a cage for days on end…at [Australian] Salvation Army homes in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s…and the…leadership…failed to discipline or remove the perpetrators…a Royal Commission…will focus on the alleged abuse inflicted by…Lawrence Wilson, Russell Walker, Victor Bennett, John McIver and Donald Schultz on boys aged from about six to about 17…”The boys were frequently punched…thrown on the ground with force, hit with straps until they developed welts or bled,” [Commission member Simeon] Beckett said.  They were repeatedly anally raped and forced to undertake oral sex on their house parents.  They were also abused by other boys…[those] who complained were often disbelieved and severely punished…

See also “Dirty Laundry” below.

Not To Be Taken Internally

Tits and Sass discusses a Vice documentary on “butt shots” from non-doctors, and interviews two medical professionals about them.  There’s a link to the 17-minute documentary there if you’re interested.

The Course of a Disease

An interview with Dr. Jay Levy on his research demonstrating the violence caused by the Swedish model:

Above the Law

This week’s first rapist cop hails from Dallas:  “…La’Cori Johnson was on duty when he stopped a woman and…told [her] she had a warrant out for her arrest…he…then drove his patrol car to a dead end…[forced] the woman…to perform oral sex on him [then raped] her…the woman said she [complied]…because she was afraid of going to jail….”  And the second from the Orlando, Florida area:

A Florida sheriff’s deputy has been arrested after a woman alleged that he groped her…[her] boyfriend flagged the deputy, Matthew Donnelly, down when he noticed that [she] had passed out [from drinking]…Donnelly placed the boyfriend into the back of his squad car and then went to [assault] the victim…[saying he] would let the…boyfriend go so long as she didn’t tell anyone about the groping…The victim’s DNA was found [in the car]…even though there is no evidence that [she] was ever in [it]…Donnelly’s dashboard camera was turned off for 22 minutes during the encounter…

The Widening Gyre

In my mind, the “King of the Hill” rhetoric here is secondary to the hilarious image of truckers moving pallets full of passive, immobile “women and children” (confined in dog crates, perhaps?) via forklift in busy, crowded truck stops without anyone noticing.  Anyone who’s ever placed an ad on Eros will also find this description of it extremely funny:

…Law enforcement across the country have pinpointed the internet as the number one ruler for the buying and selling of children and women…Sex trafficking is…thriving on websites such as backpage.com, eros.com and myred.com [sic], where they hide under disguises such as massage…anyone can post an advertisement, making it extremely easy to sell underage girls…Central Missouri is a major hub for truck stops, which makes it easy for sex traffickers to buy and sell women and children.  Truck stops are close to main interstates,  making it a dream scenario…traffickers can load their trucks with women and children without their feet ever touching the ground…The Department of Justice has identified St. Louis as one of the top 20 human trafficking jurisdictions in the country…

Obfuscation Via Dysphemisms

Tulsa, OK cops just love “sex trafficking” rhetoric, because it allows them to pretend to be heroes while destroying real people’s lives:

…an increasing number of suspected sex traffickers have found themselves…hauled into Tulsa federal court.  Prosecuting such crimes “is a big priority in our district,” said Danny Williams Sr., U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma. “We’re really being aggressive about it”…

Blah blah pimps, blah blah Super Bowl, blah blah “drugs can only be sold once”.

Dirty Laundry

Nuns’ treatment of children at a residential care home was “bordering on the psychotic”, Northern Ireland’s Historical Abuse Inquiry has been told.  Sisters of Nazareth nuns thumped and kicked children…[a] former resident described the home as a “hell-hole” and likened it to a concentration camp…[another] told the inquiry that…children who wet the bed were forced to…have a bath in Jeyes Fluid…Jeyes Fluid

Other forms of abuse included “Separation of brothers and sisters, not even telling them if they were in the same home…Locking in cupboards…Humiliating children for bed wetting, forcing them to stand with the sheets on their heads…Forced farm labouring or working in the laundry instead of going to school…Removal of Christmas presents and other personal items…Calling children by numbers rather than names…[forcing sick children] to eat their own vomit…and lack of medical attention…

With Friends Like These…

Another article about the institutionalized insanity of encouraging cops to use condoms as “evidence of prostitution”; unfortunately, it’s liberally sprinkled with prohibitionist vomit like this:  “The New York City sex industry isn’t glamorous.  It’s dark, seedy, lurid, and the sex work that the women and, to a lesser degree, men engage in carries the risk of danger, disease, sexual violence, and abduction…the average age of a prostitute in the United States [is] between the ages of 12-14 years old” Not the average debut; the average age at present.

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #131)

The new chairman of Japan’s national broadcaster is facing calls for his resignation after defending Japan’s use of wartime sex slaves…Katsuto Momii…said brothels were “common” in all countries involved in the war, and described as “puzzling” criticism of Japan’s enslavement of up to 200,000 mainly Korean, Chinese and Filipino women…”Can we say there were none in Germany or France?  It was everywhere in Europe…it was a reality of those times…”

Sure, we’ve all heard of those French brothels with thousands of Belgian slaves, and British brothels with Irish slaves.  It was everywhere!

Tyranny By Consensus (TW3 #138)

A judge has struck down a ballot measure that would [have forced] the city of Los Angeles to launch its own health department separate from the county’s…[ruling] that the measure…would conflict with state law…and would “impermissibly interfere with essential government functions.”  The measure was spearheaded by the…AIDS Healthcare Foundation…

Profound Ignorance (TW3 #310) prohibition beer raid

Another pompous ignoramus uses a thoroughly-debunked study to pretend that sex work magically ignores all economic laws:

…experts with knowledge of prostitution…say a loosening of legislation could have the effect of enabling sex traffickers, while also increasing demand for paid sex…criminologist Michael Down…pointed to…[the Neumayer, Cho & Dreher study]…Down…said…relaxation of prostitution laws could [give]…criminal elements…a “very strong incentive” to increase recruitment and coercion of young women…

Try this instead: “Down said repeal of Prohibition could give criminal elements a ‘very strong incentive’ to increase bootlegging and rum-running…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #312)

Imagine an American politician saying this:

Prostitutes are heroines to their families because they can feed their families on their own; therefore, it would be inhumane to close down brothels…Widya Kandi Susanti, the regent of Kendal, Central Java, said…Widya said that prostitutes in Kendal were regularly offered sewing courses…but after a few months they decided to return to the business of selling sex…

Challenge

A sex-worker rights group…is teaming up with a high-profile First Amendment lawyer…to launch a legal strategy aimed at overthrowing the laws against prostitution.  It’s a bold and unprecedented effort to get the federal courts to agree that sex work is protected by the Constitutional right to privacy – but…H. Louis Sirkin…who helped overturn a Texas law banning the sale of sex toys and defended the rights of a Cincinnati museum to display the works of Robert Mapplethorpe, [said] both society and the courts are moving in the direction of protecting sexual privacy – and that consensual, commercial sex between adults falls into that…

Between the Ears (TW3 #334)

I predict many dudes who use this will later find their glasses mysteriously broken or lost:

It was only a matter of time before the voyeuristic world of Google Glass collided with sex. “Sex with Google Glass”…lets you watch — and record — yourself having sex from all angles and even “see what your partner can see”…it…can be synced up to a…device…to control lighting, music and even lessons from the Kama Sutra…In case you are particularly proud of your performance, the app can also record a video… Sunday Life 1-26-14

O, Canada! (Hysteria On Parade) 

Police say they’re posing as johns and visiting sex workers in a bid to find the hidden victims of human trafficking — especially underage girls.  But one Ottawa escort and a local advocate for sex-trade workers say they’re making the women suspicious and scared not safer…when the woman opens the door to [the lying cop], she finds several more…on her doorstep…they are also visiting spas and massage parlours…[outing the workers] to bystanders and…[asking] for personal information…Inspector Paul Johnston said that…police…just want to ask if they’re OK and let them know help is available…

No, they “just” want to send the message to sex workers, “We know who and where you are and we can bust you for brothelkeeping any time we like.”

Welcome To Our World (TW3 #345)

If this woman has any decency, she’ll mail every check back to him and inform the prosecutor of that fact via email each time:  “…A judge ruled that [sperm donor] William Marotta must pay child support, even though he…signed documents waiving his parental rights…[because] Kansas law [demands]…a licensed physician must be involved in an artificial insemination process…Marotta…[plans] to appeal…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #345)

Germany’s ladies of the night are refusing to be pushed into the shadows in the national sex debate…One of the ruling parties is now trying to pour cold water on the trade…And the prostitutes…are not happy…they…are determined to be a part of the national conversation, instead of watching others have the debate for them…The message coming out of [their] new union…is that preconceived notions and stereotypes that make up the public discourse on prostitution are wrong…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #404)

ICRSE condemns…the European Parliament Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee on their decision to support the criminalisation of clients”; the letter is available for download as a template.  Meanwhile

An expert on prostitution laws…has said the “Nordic Model”…is “extremely dangerous”.  Dr Belinda Brooks-Gordon…said…”There is no reason to criminalise prostitution clients when you cannot show demonstrable harm.  In fact all the evidence is in the other direction”…She said criminalising the purchase of sex…makes both clients and sex workers less likely to report violence and that it leads to other levels of underground criminality…there is no evidence supporting the Swedish model and…”Norway only introduced it because they were terrified people would come over the border…So they did it as a prophylactic measure…and then actually found it to be unworkable and a nightmare”…In New Zealand, research showed that decriminalisation (not legalisation), which allowed women to work together in small groups, helped improve trust in police and decrease violence…

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What would it mean to think of sex workers not as traitors to feminism but as feminist forebears?  -  Mattilda Sycamore

The Swedish Pimpocracy

A…man facing rape charges is free after…claiming in a [Swedish] court…that the woman’s screams of protest were simply part of a violent sex game.  “I recognized [from other girls] the way she said no as a part of the sex”…[he] said…the two met…through a common acquaintance and he invited her back for a drink…”I expressed very clearly that I didn’t want to, so there was no way he could misunderstand me,” the woman told investigators…however…the man became more aggressive as her protests increased…he covered her nose and mouth so she couldn’t breathe and slapped her in the face…[she fled] under the pretense of taking a shower following the incident…Witnesses…encountered her lightly clothed and sobbing…

Meanwhile, a retired Swedish prosecutor explains why the Julian Assange situation should never have occurred, and says “the prosecutor-general should…rescind the decision to reopen the investigation, rescind the arraignment ruling, and rescind the arrest warrant.

Aggressive Ignorance

While bogus “trafficking” studies by hired researchers are misleading and dangerous, those performed by “trafficking” fetishists themselves are just plain hilarious.  This one from the Imagine Foundation studied online sex work ads for three months in order to reach the exciting and important conclusion that hotels tend to be clustered along busy highways.In Bed with Susie Bright   I’ll bet you’d never have guessed.

Maggie in the Media

Last Wednesday afternoon I spoke to Susie Bright for her podcast In Bed With Susie Bright, and the show is now available; individual episodes cost $5.95, but are free with a subscription.

A Procrustean Bed

A [Louisiana] panel vowed…to pursue the johns…and…create courts dedicated to human trafficking …“We want to make Louisiana the gold standard in protecting our children (by) dealing with this scourge that can easily destroy a society,” said…Gerald Long…Valarie Hodges…said officials need to dispel the notion that prostitution is a victimless crime.  For every act of prostitution, she said, there is a victim…

The idea that prostitution can “easily destroy a society” is beyond hilarious.

The Enlightenment Police

A French court…convicted a young woman for wearing a full-face Islamic veil in public and threw out her bid to have the…ban  declared unconstitutional.  Cassandra Belin, 20, was also convicted of insulting and threatening three police officers at the time of her arrest, which sparked two days of rioting…in July, 2013.  She was given a one-month suspended prison sentence for the clash with the police and a 150-euro ($200) fine for wearing the veil…

I’ve often pointed out that controlling what Muslimahs do with their bodies is exactly the same as controlling what whores do with ours, and Julie Billaud & Julie Castro agree with me:  “The interest of studying veiled women and prostitutes together lies primarily in the fact that their bodies…have been identified by the state as problematic and, therefore, as requiring political intervention…” Willie Greer

Above the Law

One rapist cop from Tennessee:

A…deputy has been terminated after handcuffing a woman and forcing her to perform oral sex on him…Willie Marshay Greer…was…charged with aggravated rape and official misconduct.  Greer reportedly stopped [the] woman for speeding…[and used the threat of] arrest [to extort sex]…

And another from California:

A woman who was shown on camera tumbling out of a moving LAPD squad car last year said she fell out…to avoid being sexually assaulted by her arresting officer…Kim Nguyen, a 27-year-old pharmacist, says she was handcuffed…when [he]…began opening her legs.  [After the fall] Nguyen…spent two weeks in the hospital [with] her jaw…wired shut [and] lost all of her teeth…

An Example To the West (TW3 #14)

In 2011, the Hyundai Research Institute published the findings of a survey commissioned by the Hanteo National Union of Sex Workers.  It examined “the changes in public opinions…after the enactment of the Anti-Trade Sex Law” in South Korea based on [telephone] interviews with 1,000 adults from different age groups and all walks of life…The report…has now been translated into English

Stand-Up Guys

Here are two audio files featuring male allies; in the first Christopher Ryan (Sex At Dawn) interviews Thaddeus Russell (A Renegade History of the US), and in the second Zander-Dexter Falcon debates a prohibitionist on Canadian radio.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #29)

Thanks to “gang” rhetoric, “sex trafficking” is becoming a new excuse for locking up young black men:

Twenty-four street-gang members…have been indicted on charges of conspiring to run an interstate prostitution ring…in San Diego, Arizona and New Jersey…At a national “Players Ball,” one of the defendants received an award as pimp of the year.  Pimps…have a liking for chalices and scepters, known as Pimp Cups and Pimp Sticks…[and] “often” have removable dental “grills” made of gold and costing thousands of dollars…the U.S. attorney is seeking forfeiture of such trophies…Of the 60 sex-trafficking victims [arrested], 11 were minors…Some…were “branded” with tattoos of gang monikers, bar codes or the name of their pimp…[they were recruited with] rap videos on YouTube…

Worse Than I Thought

Kudos to Reason TV for doing a short documentary on how horrible California’s “anti-trafficking” CASE Act is, and for interviewing sex workers about how criminalization increases exploitation.  Unfortunately, they also interviewed the superlatively awful Dennis Hof, who as usual used the opportunity to spread lies about independent sex workers (in this case, that we’re diseased) in order to argue for imposition of the Nevada system which enriches and empowers people like him.  I’ve spoken to video producer Zach Weissmueller, though, and asked for his help in getting Reason more on board with (libertarian) decriminalization rather than (crony-capitalist) Nevada-style legalization. Proposition 35 ad

King of the Hill

It’s always deeply satisfying to catch a “trafficking” lie in the process of expanding; in September we were told that Tampa ranked third in Florida for “sex trafficking”, but now they’re claiming it’s third in the whole country.  I suggest they discuss this with Miami and Toledo.

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #131)

Despite a decreasing prevalence of HIV/AIDS among…sex workers [in Myanmar], health workers say the stigma…and…harsh laws…are undermining sex workers’ access to HIV-related services…Even possessing a condom could be used as circumstantial evidence of prostitution until 2011…most of the public are unaware of the directive…[banning the practice, and fear] carrying…condoms because they could be targeted as sex workers…karaoke bars and massage parlours…frequently change locations due to harassment by police…[and] managers…deny health workers access…for fear of prosecution…

Checklist

These self-appointed “trafficking experts” claim they can identify “sex traffickers” (in South Dakota.  Seriously.)  But after all the “abduction” and “Stockholm syndrome” mythology, it still comes down to harassing women: “it may be easier to determine whether someone is a trafficking victim, than it is to figure out a trafficker.”  The “signs” include staying out late and having a generous boyfriend.

Pimping the Pimp Annie Lobert

Community leaders and law enforcement…presented a…documentary [on]…sex trafficking in Nevada… Trafficked No More…[compiles] true…sex trafficking cases and their impact on…prostitution of children…One person who knows firsthand the damage the underground sex industry can do is Annie Lobert…of…Hookers for Jesus…

Long-time readers will remember we’ve seen Liars for Jesus before.

Lying Down With Dogs (TW3 #324)

More clueless anti-whore pomposity from Zambia:

…a plan of reforming sex workers…is something that [they] should have…embraced…However, the…sex workers…refused to relocate to their respective villages where financial help…could have been accorded to them.  Some of [them] even attended meetings that were organised to help them reform only to demand money instead of assistance in form of material and equipment…sex workers…should have taken advantage of this noble gesture…the sex workers were not looking beyond their noses.  To them it was about here and now…

Bad Girls (TW3 #331)

A club boss has told a court of the moment he was kidnapped by three lapdancers and their manager – with the women wearing ”miniskirts, stilettos and Daisy Duke shorts”.  Curtis Woodman was outside his work premises…when the women and two men drove up in two BMWs…the group ”surrounded him” before bundling him into one of the vehicles and driving off.  It is alleged that Mr Woodman…was…robbed of £60 cash and his £4,650 Brietling watch…[and] forced to transfer £4,800 into the bank account of the lapdancers’ manager, Charlotte Devaney…The women believed he owed them more than £42,000 for work they carried out at his pop-up nightclub during the Cheltenham Festival in March 2012…he had received calls demanding the money…for months…

The Public Eye (TW3 #340)

Laura Lee’s ill-treatment while giving testimony to a parliamentary committee in Northern Ireland:

Traffic Jam (TW3 #343)

the Best Practices Policy Project worked with SWOP-PHX to send a report to the Human Rights Committee for consideration during the review of how the United States has fared in meeting its obligations to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights…The submission describes…mass police “sweeps,” arresting scores of…people the police profile as sex workers.  Arrestees are handcuffed and transported…to the Project ROSE center, where they…have no opportunity to speak to a defense attorney…even if they request one…

Rhinoceros (TW3 #344)

There are a lot of sleazy strip club owners, but licking badges and using “sex trafficking” hysteria to sic the pigs on rival strip clubs and massage parlors is a new low.  I first introduced COAST in the titular item, but this article tells you more about them than you really want to know.  Caution: You’ll probably feel like you need to need to shower after reading this.

Shame, Shame

The author of this internet article, Iman Idiot, thinks internet censorship and expanding the “sex offender” registry are good things:

…Now, Israel has become the first country in the world to make revenge porn illegal…anyone found guilty of uploading sexually explicit content…without the consent…of the person being portrayed can expect to be designated as a sex offender, and may be punished up to five years in jail…Brazil introduced a bill in October to ban [it but]…only two [American] states have passed legislation…to stop it:  New Jersey and California…Project ROSE warning

Traffic Jam (TW3 #347) 

Remember how that article about Project ROSE was censored by Al Jazeera?  Here’s an interview with reporter Jordan Flaherty about both the censorship and the unethical practices of the project itself.

Subtle Pimping (TW3 #351)

Patricia Adler, the University of Colorado…professor…who was  forced to retire over a controversial prostitution lecture, has decided to return to the campus…[after] an executive committee …allowed [her] to resume teaching the course…provided [she] gets consent from all the students to go ahead with the [whore stereotype] skit…

I have been informed that SWOP Denver has contacted Adler to offer real information in place of the nonsense she’s been teaching; we’ll see how that turns out.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #351)

A new review of Sex Workers Unite says that it…

…jettisons the tired generalizations about erotic labor (and laborers), and instead places sex workers at the center of recent movements for social justice.  Author Melinda Chateauvert  reminds us that those who rioted against police violence and control…in the late ’60s (marking the beginning of the gay liberation movement) were…”sex workers, transgender people, hustlers, tricks, drug users, and drug sellers”…Similarly, [she] points out that sex workers were routinely engaging in conversations about the messy intersections of sex, desire, intimacy, love and (im)propriety long before feminism…

Cops and Robbers

Peru sex worker attackAfter a graphic video showing a vigilante group meting out violent punishment to sex workers in Cajamarca [Peru] made international headlines, authorities…told press that the violent raids conducted by the so-called Cajamarca Committee for Urban Patrols represented a serious infringement on the rights of the women they attacked…”  Unfortunately, the statement soon degenerates into “sex trafficking” nonsense, ignoring the fact that violent “rescue” raids by “authorities” are even worse.

Bootlickers (TW3 #401)

Since the cops are just inventing these “charges” anyway, it’s up to them whether they “cease”:

…Everett [Washington]…officials…deemed the Hillbilly Hotties coffee stand…a chronic-nuisance property…and…[demanded] that alleged prostitution, indecent exposure and violations of city adult-entertainment codes…cease…the stand owner won’t hire baristas who have criminal history and that employees who break the rules will be fired…

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Lip Service

I’ve a couple of newbie questions about blowjobs.  First of all, any tips about making one intense enough to make the guy come?  My boyfriend says they feel great, but not intense enough to trigger an orgasm (and yes, I do also use hands).  Considering what he likes in handjobs, I’m probably moving too slow, but moving faster tends to lead to teeth.  Secondly, while boyfriend and I don’t use condoms for oral sex, we have an open relationship and I’m beginning to consider acting on it – which would mean condoms for oral with any new partner.  How can you really make a covered blowjob work?

variant of Is This the Right Angle Professor by Gil Elvgren (1948)I think I can answer your question without getting pornographic; at least, I’m going to try!  So you’ll have to pardon me if I keep this as dry and technical as possible.  I already published another column on this which you may find useful, but I feel I need to add a few things to answer your specific questions.  Keep in mind these are general suggestions; all men are different, and their response to fellatio covers a pretty wide spectrum.  Some men are so turned on by it that it takes very little to trigger an orgasm (I’ve met some who are immediately sent over the edge by eye contact), while others usually can’t orgasm from oral sex alone (this is often due to past experience with a girlfriend who made his life miserable if he came in her mouth).  But the suggestions below apply to perhaps 70% of men.

As I said in the other column, the biggest mistake women make is using their mouths like vaginas.  Enthusiasm is good, but most guys need more than just up and down; you can do that better with your hand.  Use your tongue and lips, and remember the glans (the “head”) is the most sensitive part.  Also, unless the guy has some kind of problem with it, there’s no reason your hands have to be idle; they can help immensely, especially when he’s getting very close.  Furthermore, there’s no reason you have to concentrate solely on the penis itself; most men also like oral stimulation of the testicles and scrotum (though some are too sensitive and find it painful).  The part of the perineum (the “taint”) directly behind the scrotum is also extremely responsive to oral stimulation while you use your hand on the penis, or finger stimulation while your mouth is on the penis.  I found that even men who stubbornly refused to go over from pure fellatio often lost control when I used either of those combinations, especially the former; you can usually be more vigorous when using your mouth on the perineum than when using it directly on the genitals.

Lifestyles Ultra-Sensitive non-lubricatedCondoms present several problems, some for the man and some for you.  First, there’s the lubricant; most condoms are lubricated and most lubricant contains the spermicide nonoxynol-9.  This substance has a numbing side effect in many people; on your lips and tongue that’s merely annoying, but on his penis it may make your job much harder.  The lube also tastes pretty nasty, and adding flavors just creates flavored nastiness.  The best condoms for blow jobs are therefore unlubricated and thin, so as to eliminate as many of the negative factors as possible.  Even with the best condoms, you may find most of the subtle lip and tongue maneuvers pretty useless; if that’s the case you need to rely more heavily on stimulating the testicles and perineum with your mouth while using your hand on the shaft, as described above.  Don’t avoid the traditional sucking entirely in these cases, but if you rely heavily on it you’re going to get sore and tired long before he’s close unless he’s really easy to bring off.  If the condom seems to be interfering, it’s best to let your hand do the majority of the heavy lifting while your mouth works on uncovered areas, then go for the traditional posture once you sense he’s getting close.

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

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The violence of a john does not diminish the role of the state in making a prostitute more vulnerable to that violence.  –  Beverley McLachlin and other justices of the Canadian Supreme Court

R.I.P. Al Goldstein Al Goldstein

Al Goldstein, the gleefully-controversial publisher of Screw magazine, died on December 19th after a long illness and an even longer decline in fortunes; he was 77.  Screw debuted in 1968 as a sort of déclassé foil to Playboy, and Goldstein was arrested many times on obscenity charges; my very first memorable exposure to anti-sex feminism was an episode of the Tomorrow show in which a neofeminist dumped a shredded copy of Screw on his head (I was 12 or 13 at the time).  The New York Times obit is excellent, and worth your time; though his name is less well-known than those of the more successful and mainstream porn magnates, Goldstein was a lot more influential than you may realize and is remembered quite fondly by many in both the sex and publishing industries.

Another Example of Swedish “Feminism”

[A] nude named Juno, painted by baroque artist G E Schröder, had hung in the guest dining room for some 30 years before deputy speaker Susanne Eberstein [ordered it removed]…”It is…a feminist issue.  It’s tiresome (looking at) a bare-breasted woman when I sit at public dinners with foreign guests.  I think it feels a little hard to sit there with men who look at us women”…Eberstein explained.

Secret Squirrel

The DriveSafe device can be inserted into the onboard diagnostics port of any non-hybrid/electric car made after 1996…[and] communicates via Bluetooth with the Esurance smart phone app.  Parents can then fine-tune what their kids’ phones can do.  “Customize block lists so they can’t tweet but can still access navigation apps and receive calls from you,” Esurance suggests.  Or simply disable texting…it also tracks every aspect of a teen’s drive:  how fast they went, how quickly they accelerated, how hard they braked, and where they went…

Against Their Will

Kamalabai Pani…of Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP)…in India…[recalled a] raid on…May 20th, 2005…[which] came on the heels of VAMP’s sister organization Sampada Grameen Mahila Sanstha (SANGRAM) turning down funds from USAID [because of the “anti-prostitution pledge”]…“The police…dragged [sex workers] off by the hair…[they] were beaten and dragged to the vans”…The raid was timed during a school holiday.  “It was May and the schools were on vacation, so [girls visiting] their mothers [could be arrested and represented as “trafficking victims”]…a smear campaign [was then] launched against SANGRAM…claiming that USAID had terminated [their] funding…because they were traffickers and had tried to “thwart rescue efforts”…The raid…was initiated by…Restore International, a Christian NGO under the leadership of Greg Malstead…[who later] continued to harass the sex worker community…detail from Juno by G E Schröder

The Crumbling Dam

The City of Vancouver [BC] is looking to repeal an anachronistic 1923 bylaw that requires club managers to…not allow a ‘prostitute or person of evil repute’ to enter…

Follow Your Bliss

American missionary Daniel Johnson…was arrested…in relation to sex crimes committed in the U.S. and…is now accused of raping five boys…between the ages of 11 and 15 at an orphanage in [Phnom Penh]…

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #137)

Beijing has heralded this year’s decision to abolish re-education through labour (RTL) camps…But human rights groups say…thousands of people are still…held in a parallel system known as “custody and education”, overseen by public security officials rather than judges.  Unlike prisoners…the detainees [most of them sex workers, are used as slave labor and] must pay living costs and take compulsory tests for sexually transmitted diseases…

Flush Criminalization

Scott Greenfield on the effects Kathleen Rice’s ugly “end demand” campaign:

…our Protestant ethic condemns the sale of sex and vilifies those engaged in it, regardless of whether it fits within the paradigm of loose, evil women or victims of evil sex trafficking…the latter…gave Kathleen Rice the perfect opportunity to…score points…But…as Newsday reports, it wasn’t the johns, but Rice’s prosecutions,  getting flushed…So far, there have been six guilty pleas and five dismissals.  Not a very good average, given that Rice gets to cherry pick her prosecutions.  In fact, it’s a total disaster.  But…these accused johns…[were] publicly humiliated by the arrest, the detention…Rice’s poster, the cost of hiring a lawyer and appearing in court over and over…[at least one’s] wife is divorcing him…Most people, including those who cling dearly to their Puritanism, don’t think breaking up families is an appropriate goal of the legal system…But…as long as there is that lie in small print at the bottom…Rice…gets all the benefits of public adoration with none of the responsibility for destroying the lives of the innocent…

Opting Out

I really wish I didn’t have to say “I told you so” quite so often.

Pornography filters used by major internet service providers are blocking websites offering sex education and advice on sexual health and porn addiction…[while] failing to block hardcore porn-hosting sites…Among the sites…blocked as “pornographic” was BishUK.com, an award-winning…sex education site…Edinburgh Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse CentreSexual Health Scotland,  Doncaster Domestic Abuse Helpline, and Reducing The Risk, [another]…domestic abuse…site…

Not to mention EFF, Blogspot, Boing Boing and the site you’re reading now.  However, you can get around this:

A Google Chrome…extension…[called] “Go Away Cameron”…will allow UK internet users to visit any site they want, bypassing government restrictions…The creator of the…extension,…@nubela, said that…the add-on simply picks up the government block and bypasses it…

The Punitive Mindset (TW3 #337) Chris Grayling as Scrooge

For the first time this Christmas, people in [UK] prison will not be able to receive parcels from their loved ones under petty and mean new rules introduced by the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.  The new rules…forbid prisoners from receiving any items in the post unless there are exceptional circumstances…families are prevented from sending in basic items…such as cards, paper…pens…books…magazines…clothes and underwear…Instead people in prison are now forced to pay for these items out of their meagre prison wages to private companies who make a profit from selling goods to prisoners…

Imaginary Evils

A new article by Dr. Nick Mai on “sex trafficking” in the UK:

The moral panic on the supposed prevalence of trafficking in the global sex industry rests on a lie:  that the majority of sex workers are trafficked.  In fact, the opposite is true.  However, on the basis of this fiction, the dangerous abolitionist campaigns in favour of the criminalisation of clients…are gaining ground in several EU countries  …our research [found] that…only…about 6% of female interviewees …felt that they had been deceived and forced into selling sex…Most …thought their rights could be more asserted and their vulnerability reduced by decriminalising sex work…All…thought that restrictive migration policies and…criminalization…make people more likely to take risks and accept undignified and dangerous working conditions…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #342)

Following a series of articles in…The Guardian, ICRSE and many sex workers organisations, academics and allies have signed a letter demanding…fairer representation [of] the debate on criminalisation of clients.  To this date, the letter [has] not been published…”  The letter corrects both (unintentional?) errors on the part of the Guardian itself and (deliberate) misstatements of fact in Swedish model propaganda, and was signed by many whose names you may recognize.

Crumbling House

Pierre Fallavier, who…advised [Somaly Mam’s organization] Afesip between 1999 and 2007, wrote…that from the beginning of his relationship with the organization, [staff raised] concerns…that [victim narratives]…disseminated by Afesip [were] “exaggerated”…Fallavier said…“[I] find it unfair to point solely at Afesip for fabricating stories…This…is the approach that all major international NGOs use…They take bits and parts of the life stories of different beneficiaries and make up a ‘typical’ sob story…they are unapologetic, and…it is well known to anyone working in that sector…This is marketing…and it is only with extreme stories that they will get people to give the cash they need”…

Perverse Incentives banner

Unbound

The debate on Cato Unbound is drawing to a close; in all, I had four essays (plus an upcoming conclusion which will appear Monday or Tuesday), neofeminist prohibitionist Dianne Post had four, researcher Ronald Weitzer had three and “sex trafficking” NGO rep Steven Wagner had only the one.  If you haven’t read the entire issue yet, why not take advantage of the holiday lull to catch up before my conclusion next week?

Under Every Bed (TW3 #349)

The latest installment in Al Jazeera’s rapid descent into “trafficking” hysteria:

…Most victims of [sex] trafficking…in Spain come from Brazil, China, Nigeria, Paraguay and Romania, according to the police, who estimate the number of victims in the country at 12,000 and the earnings of the sex trafficking rings…at 5mn euros ($6mn) a day…”they don’t tend to recognise that they are victims,” said Paula Mandillo…with Mujer Emancipada…The first European Commission  report on human trafficking in Europe…put the number of victims between 2008 and 2010 at 23,632…Spain had the second-highest number of victims…in the European Union, after Italy…sex trafficking rings often use babies…to coerce [victims] into forced prostitution…[so] authorities…are…carrying out DNA tests on women and children at border posts, to verify that they are related…

If Spain has 12,000 “victims” and it’s second after Italy with 12,001, that gives the two countries together 24,001 of the total 23,632 victims.  Obviously math skills are not a requirement for either police work or reporting.

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #351)

Look for a full column on the Canadian Supreme Court’s landmark decision week after next; I’m waiting to see if any politicians will open their mouths to insert their feet.  But in the meantime, here are three standout pieces on the subject.  First, one of the lawyers on the case expressed her opinion on one politician’s call for the Swedish model:

Elin Sigurdson…[said] “asymetrical criminalization…isn’t consistent” with the…ruling…”The same issue of danger and jeopardy will persist when one of the parties rather than the other is criminalized…it couldn’t be upheld under this decision…because you’re going to find the exact same problems persisting”…

Then Dr. Brooke Magnanti weighed in:

…Already, the decision is being decried by the losing side with complaints of how dangerous it would be for Canada to become “the next Amsterdam.”  On the one hand this is true:  the Dutch system does not work.  I have a friend who is an escort in the Netherlands and her home is regularly raided by police who accuse her of running an unlicensed brothel, even though she’s an independent escort who works alone…sex workers would prefer to not work in a country like the Netherlands…and certainly not in the dangerous and misguided setup endorsed by Sweden…most sex workers advocate for full decriminalization—as seen in the laws of New Zealand and New South Wales, Australia—as the best way to ensure minimum abuses and maximum access to rights…This is a view also supported by the WHO, UNAIDS, and other international aid agencies…Will Canada’s government craft a model of decriminalization, or something else, in the year until the new ruling takes effect?…

And on that last point, from Australia:Nikki Thomas, Terri-Jean Bedford and Valerie Scott

…The Swedish model…works to silence any alternatives to the narrative trope of pitiful victim in need of rescue…[it makes] big claims about ending prostitution…but the research does not back this up…and…sex workers [are] further stigmatized…sex workers…can guide our social policies towards best practice…Can we hear their voices ringing loud and clear?

Catastrophic Consequences

Because “bottleneck effect” is not in the lawhead vocabulary:

Health chiefs in Edinburgh want a network of tightly-regulated brothels to replace…[the] saunas…NHS Lothian revealed the plan during discussions with police and other agencies…Police Scotland are determined to close down Edinburgh’s saunas despite warnings that it will drive the sex trade underground and increase crime and sexually-transmitted diseases…A terse email from an unnamed NHS official said:  “Sauna owners are speaking to us about condoms and they are suggesting Police Scotland are insisting that ‘no items of a sexual nature will be permitted on the premises’…This will cause us big problems in terms of public health.”  Police Scotland replied…[that their] “aim is to stop the saunas being used for criminality – i.e. brothel keeping and other illegal activities”…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on October 27th; I have modified it slightly for time references and to fit the format of this blog.

Nearly three years ago I wrote an essay entitled “Social Autoimmune Disorder”, in which I compared modern society’s persecution of sex workers to a disease “in which the body’s protective systems turn from attacking pathogens and other invaders to attack some portion of its own tissues instead”:

The bodies of societies sometimes also develop such syndromes; the systems which were meant to protect society from invaders or other troublesome organisms are instead turned against some of its own systems, sometimes even vital systems.  And just as in biological autoimmune disorders, those who are affected most are usually women…one…[example] is the continuing persecution of prostitutes in England and the United States, despite the obvious social function we serve…

macrophages killing cancer cellIn the past few decades police, especially in the United States and countries over which it has a powerful influence, have gone from primarily fighting those who harm the body of society (violent criminals) to primarily attacking the body itself (ordinary citizens accused of violating any of the countless laws against nonviolent, consensual behavior).  And when these infected police departments attack the mechanisms society has evolved to channel its libido, the metaphor folds back upon itself:  the figurative disease may result in the spread of literal disease.

Many of the persistent myths about sex work are exactly the opposite of the truth.  For example, prohibitionists often claim that pornography and stripping increase “violence against women”, when in fact the prevalence of rape, child molestation, domestic violence and other social ills decreases with the increased availability of, and decreased stigma against, porn and other forms of sex work.  Another looking-glass claim is that whores spread disease; in fact, the incidence of every kind of sexually-transmitted infection in developed nations is much higher in the sexually-active portion of the general population than it is among prostitutes, and only 3-5% of all STIs can be traced to either side of a paid sex transaction…which is to say that over 95% of them come from unpaid sex.  The reasons for this should be obvious: sex workers have a vested interest in keeping ourselves clean and we enter into relations calculatedly rather than in the heat of passion or as the result of inebriation, so we scrupulously use condoms while a great many amateurs (especially those under 25 and above 50) do not.

In a sanely-run world, sex workers would be held up as examples of how to have an active sex life while protecting oneself from the potential dangers thereof…but no part of this world is sanely-run.  Instead, sex workers are widely stigmatized where we aren’t outright criminalized, and the tools we use to protect ourselves are labeled “prostitution paraphernalia” in the diseased minds of the police.  In many places (including most of the United States), cops steal sex workers’ condoms and represent them as “evidence of prostitution”; the obvious effect of this is to discourage the use of condoms among everyone likely to be harassed by police, professional or not, thus resulting in a public health nightmare.  Unfortunately, the concept of harm reduction is completely alien to those who are obsessed with conformity, “law and order”, arbitrary rules and “sending messages”; they are wholly unable to recognize that their precious laws pose a clear and present danger to society, and therefore endeavor to enforce compliance even when the facts are directly before them.

sauna raidNor is this self-destructive behavior limited to countries where it is well-established by precedent; even in places where officials have by some miracle been made to see the wisdom of harm reduction policies, the police can be counted on to act in ways which endanger everyone unless they are forcibly restrained from doing so.  Scotland provides a perfect example: until recently, the country had eight different police forces; but when they were all brought under one umbrella, prohibitionist fanatics from Glasgow got in control,  and in only a few short months have done their level best to wreck the system of tolerated brothels which has kept Edinburgh sex workers safe for decades.  But in late October, they unveiled their crowning idiocy:

…Police chiefs [sent]…a letter…[asking] the city council to add new conditions to licences, including that “no items of a sexual nature will be permitted on the premises”…[HIV group the Terrence Higgins Trust and sex worker organisation Scot-Pep savaged the proposal, which they said would ruin decades of sexual health education]…A recent report by the World Health Organisation…read: “Condoms should never be considered to be evidence of sex work, either in official laws or through unofficial law-enforcement practices, and condoms should never be confiscated from sex workers”…[and] MSP Margo MacDonald said…“this…makes the police look…rather amateurish”…

The police, who were obviously unprepared for such strong resistance, backpedaled furiously:  “Police Scotland does not advocate the banning of condoms…at no point do the recommendations make reference to the banning of condoms…”  Pull the other one, gents; only the hopelessly gullible could believe that you didn’t intend the purposefully-vague “items of a sexual nature” to include condoms.  Fortunately, the council proved somewhat less credulous than they might have been, only allowing themselves to be bullied out of cancelling the licenses of six out of the thirteen saunas; the other seven were renewed without the foolish and dangerous restrictions demanded by the police.  It seems unlikely that this will deter their attempts to harass sex workers into hiding for very long, however; remember that the violent raids to which the saunas were subjected in recent months came despite the fact that their licenses were duly renewed last year.  Unless the burgeoning power of police to victimize peaceful people is radically amputated, it must eventually result in catastrophic consequences for any society so afflicted…and as I have warned many times before, though such consequences always start with sex workers or other marginalized groups, they never end with us.

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Lawmakers and judges toss years, even decades, around as though the sentences were Frisbees floating on a leisurely summer breeze. - Norm Pattis

Imaginary Victims

Sarah KruzanCalifornia Gov. Jerry Brown has decided…not to [deny]…parole to Sara Kruzan…[who] was 17 when she was sentenced to die in prison for the 1994 shooting death of George Gilbert Howard…[who had] sexually abused her and…groomed her since she was 11 to work for him as a child prostitute…”  Long-time readers may remember that prohibitionists have never spoken as much as a word in Kruzan’s behalf, despite their supposed wish to “rescue children” from “pimps”.

Lack of Evidence

When will amateurs learn that the War on Whores affects them as well?

[A judge ruled] New York City can be sued for false arrest and malicious prosecution…[for] targeting and entrapping gay men at video stores…[Robert] Pinter and an undercover officer agreed to leave a video store and have sex in a nearby car.  On the way out the door, the undercover allegedly added he would perform a sex act for $50.  Pinter…remained silent but continued walking with the undercover until he was arrested…for prostitution.

And in Dallas:

…police opened fire on [David Blair] as he stood in his doorway…after he rebuffed their interrogation efforts during an operation to apprehend call girls and johns…After nearly being shot to death, Blair was arrested for aggravated assault on a police officer…[but] released after several hours…“I guess I wasn’t supposed to tell them to get the light out of my face,” Blair said…

That’s the first time I’ve ever heard streetwalkers referred to as “call girls”.

January Q & A

The only thing “sordid” and “seedy” about this is the way cops and the media collaborate to destroy lives, and the only “notable name” is that of Brian Bates, the soi-disant “Video Vigilante”, who is bizarrely referred to as an “anti-prostitution advocate” because the reporter is too ignorant to use the word “advocate” properly.

Secret Squirrel

AT&T…[is introducing] a…GPS-tracking…watch-like thingie…called FiLIP…[which alerts] when your child enters or leaves a designated area…[the ad says] “FiLIP…[helps] kids be kids again”…Right.  And the Invisible Fence collar…let my dog be a dog…I can get an iPhone Spy Stick, to be plugged into a USB port while he sleeps…or…Mobile Spy, software that would let me follow…his online activity and geographical location…[or] an innocent-looking iPhone Dock Camera that…surreptitiously [records audio and] video in his room…[In ZDNet’s survey of]  parental espionage…82 percent…agreed…that …“It is a parent’s right to ‘violate’ their child’s notion of ‘privacy’”…

Imaginary CrisesChristina Hoff Sommers

Christina Hoff Sommers…explains that the study often cited as the origin of the “one in five” factoid is an online survey…[which] employed such a broad definition that…”attempted forced kissing” qualified as sexual assault.  The Bureau of Justice Statistics…tells a different and more plausible story…During…1995-2002…there were six rapes or sexual assaults per thousand per year…about one victim in forty students.  Other DOJ statistics show that the overall rape rate…since 1995…has decreased by about 60 percent…

Follow the Leader

Clark Bianco pointed out this example of the state punishing citizens for following its lead: “a [Connecticut] couple faces charges after a 9-year-old girl in their care was punished with an electric shock collar used to discipline barking dogs”, but “a [South Dakota] police chief…is defending an officer’s [tasing] an 8-year-old girl…

Saving Them From Themselves

San Diego police say criminal charges will be filed in a sexting ring involving dozens of students…there’s no hacking or coercion…The girls sent out the naked pics themselves…

Surplus Women

A U.S. Marine has been referred for trial by court-martial…on charges of killing a visiting Las Vegas prostitute who was last seen alive outside a bar in…Waikiki…Master Sergeant Nathaniel Cosby is charged…in the death of 29-year-old Ivanice “Ivy” Harris…Messiah of Evil

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Thanks very much to Celos for sending me Messiah of Evil, which was our Halloween night movie this year!

Rhinoceros

His motive is obvious, but this is still freakish:

…authorities and human trafficking experts believe dozens of girls and boys are being brought to St. Louis to be offered for sale during the World Series…Michael Ocello owns several [strip] clubs and founded…Club Operators Against Sex Trafficking [COAST].  He has the backing of ICE and Homeland security…[and] has earned credibility with law enforcement…Ocello printed 10,000 baseball cards that will be handed out by his employees this weekend…the back details signs of human trafficking and a number to call…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

“Trafficking” as an excuse for surveillance again:  “…a button inside a police car…[releases] a [GPS tracker bug] that shoots out and sticks to the car in front…They can track and pinpoint [the target] vehicle…‘This is an important tactic for the police…rescuing little girls from human trafficking’…

Above the LawX-Ray of woman's chest

Business as usual in a police state:

…Diana Hardy…and her boyfriend, Mark McKoy, were…pulled over by [New York State] Trooper Robert Baird, who claimed that they were speeding and that the car was reported stolen…After two “sexualized” pat downs, Baird…illegally searched the…van…and…found personal lubricant, a sex toy, condoms and a half-full package of balloons from a child’s birthday party, and immediately accused Hardy of hiding drugs in a body cavity…“He seemed to become enraged and handcuffed [her], demanding to know why she ‘needed lube,’ crudely asking if McKoy was ‘really that big’ and stating that he had a ‘gut feeling’ [she] was smuggling drugs inside her body”…She was hauled to the barracks, shackled to a wall and strip-searched three times…[then] wept through a body-cavity search, but even though a doctor also failed to find proof, [Baird]…demanded an X-ray…[which] showed [she] had no contraband in her body…The couple were finally released after they paid to have their van towed to the police barracks…

Meanwhile, on the opposite coast:

A…[California] police officer is currently under investigation after…raping a trans woman…the cop stopped her while she was walking to a friend’s house…he…groped her and asked if she was a “nasty shemale”…then forced her to perform oral sex and raped her…[she] was able to retrieve and turn in a [used] condom…[for] DNA test…

Much Ado About Nothing

White House official fired for mocking his masters.  Same government official hires whores.  Media pretends this is somehow shocking:  “…well-known National Security Council staffer Jofi Joseph…was the man behind @NatSecWonk…and…follow-up reports claim Joseph may also have been writing as @DCHobbyist…a regular patron of Washington’s sex worker scene…

Above the Law (TW3 #47)

Britain’s most senior police officer has said he cannot be sure that [cops] are not still getting involved in sexual relationships with partners who do not know their real identities.  Eleven women are taking legal action against the Metropolitan police over claims that they were duped into relationships…with undercover officers…ITPA as Mahishasur

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #48)

Indian sex workers protest another attempt to impose the horrible Swedish model:

[In] the Puja [at]…Sonagachi…this year…Mahishasur was depicted as…embodying the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act. And Goddess Durga  was shown ripping the demon-legislation apart with her trident…[a new amendment]…criminalises clients visiting brothels…[which] is tantamount to depriving sex workers of their livelihood. “Moreover, it will lead to more and more harassment by the police,” says [Bharati De of DMSC]…

The Camel’s Nose (TW3 #137)

This zombie legislation just won’t stay dead:  “The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which [requires] private companies to share customer information with the NSA and others in the name of cybersecurity, is back on the legislative agenda…

Here We Go Again (Extra Edition)

This academic’s massive blind spot about “sex trafficking” hysteria is fascinating; she walks all around that elephant in the room, yet can’t see it.  Furthermore, the details about how the “white slavery” panic fueled the growth of the FBI are interesting.

Uncommon Sense (Extra Edition)

Zurich…provided…a suite of 30 drive-in wooden booths in a non-residential neighborhood, where surveillance could keep pimps out…[The city thinks] they work…[but] organizations working with prostitutes…say…the…boxes attract new arrivals rather than…street veterans…[who] have…just gone elsewhere…Switzerland’s Salvation Army has recommended that the city allow prostitutes back onto the old red light district…Cornelia Zürrer Ritter…of the SA…[said]…gave…up [the facility] because they “earned less money there and found the working conditions inhumane”…

Imaginary Evils

Theresa May, the UK Home Secretary…[has launched] her attack on “modern day slavery”…a tiresome, over-emotive phrase which functions as political speak for human trafficking…[she] has made much of the need for increasingly harsh sentences for traffickers.  But, as highlighted by Anti-Slavery International, this focus is a red herring.  Its position is that the UK should improve its response to victims, primarily by taking a more robust approach against victim criminalization…

Furthermore, as Tim Worstall explains:

…a new report…shows…that while the problem is real it’s small.  United Kingdom Estimated number enslaved 4,200 – 4,600…But…who can forget Dennis MacShane telling the House of Commons that there are 25,000 slaves just in the sex industry [or]…Julie Bindel and…the Poppy Project insisting that there are vast tribes of women held as sex slaves…

And even that 4200 is hyperinflated.Alicia Beltran

Due Consideration (TW3 #341)

Finally, mainstream coverage of the vile mistreatment of Alicia Beltran:

…[at] 12 weeks pregnant, she [went] to a…clinic…for a…checkup…[she] admitted a past struggle with…Percocet…but [had been self-administering] Suboxone…to treat Percocet dependency…in decreasing doses…[with the] last dose a few days before her…visit…the physician’s assistant recommended she renew…use of Suboxone under a doctor’s supervision.  After Beltran declined…she was asked to take a drug test, which was negative for all…except Suboxone.  Two weeks later, a social worker visited Beltran…and told her that she needed to continue Suboxone treatment…Beltran…again declined.  Two days later, [cops dragged her to]…a…judge [who] ordered her to spend 90 days in a drug treatment center…

Yes, the state chained and caged her because she wouldn’t take drugs.

Torture Chamber

A powerful argument against draconian sentences:

…The dead…are a howling wound deafening those left behind.  Locking a killer away for a lifetime doesn’t silence that howling…it merely creates eddies of despair, whirlpools that swirl and draw down…the spirits of the condemned, their loved ones, and…the rest of us.  Revenge isn’t justice, it is just revenge…locking people up doesn’t bring back the dead, it doesn’t repay money stolen, it doesn’t repair the psyche of all the folks we calls victims.  Prison is a confession of failure, both for society and for the individuals who demand long sentences without end for those who transgress…our love of prisons…[is] a celebration of a moral cancer…

Us and Them (TW3 #342)

For those who think my use of the word “pogrom” is too strong to describe police persecution of whores and clients: “60 people were arrested…as part of ‘Operation Off the Streets 2’, a cleansing initiative…men and women have been busted for everything…from street level prostitution to…Internet and hotel arrangements in Northwest D.C…”  A “cleansing initiative”; like “ethnic cleansing”.

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #342)

APNSW anti-sweatshop logoThe APNSW held a workshop last week, and several media outlets were on hand to interview sex workers and activists (including Melissa Ditmore and Cheryl Overs) about prohibitionist myths, the rescue industry and Equality Now’s attempt to negate the voices of thousands of sex workers. Regular readers won’t find anything surprising here, but it’s important to note the rising number of articles debunking “trafficking” mythology and publicizing both sex workers’ calls for decriminalization and the fact that several UN agencies support that policy.

Buried But Not Dead

More pearl-clutching about young pop-stars from a bunch of middle-aged ones who can’t compete with them any more, and “feminists” who never could.  It’s at least 2000 words too long and rife with inane buzzwords like “pornographic object”, “misogyny” and “sexualization”, but it’s mildly amusing in a train-wreck sort of way.

Across the Pond (TW3 #343)

As expected, six were closed:  “Seven of Edinburgh’s saunas have had their licences renewed…in the face of police objections…items of a sexual nature can be permitted on the premises — rejecting a principal objection by the police…[who later] denied this…meant condoms should be banned from the saunas…

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Every decision I’ve ever made, including the decision to be a prostitute, is linked to a desire to be free.  -  Gabriela Leite

R.I.P. Gabriela Leite

Gabriela LeiteSex worker rights activist Gabriela Leite died of cancer on October 10th at the age of 62.  She organized the first Brazilian whores’ convention in 1987, then in 1992 founded a rights NGO named Davida; in 2010 she ran for the Brazilian congress (as depicted in the documentary A Kiss for Gabriela).  Though she lost the election she won tremendous respect, and a bill to eliminate the contradictory provisions in Brazilian prostitution law was recently named in her honor.  She was one of the greats, and will be sorely missed in the sex worker rights community.

Social Autoimmune Disorder

Police in Florida have begun…recording license plate information from cars that drive through areas frequented by sex workers and sending a letter to that individual’s home…[including] a close-up image of the license plate and…reminders about the potential for sexually transmitted diseases…Authorities speaking to the media seemed to assume that someone’s mere presence near illegal activity presumes their guilt…

An Educated Idiot

Charlotte Shane’s scathing review of Sudhir Venkatesh’s new book Floating City levels many of the same criticisms I and others have already made against the duplicitous sociologist (such as his total ignorance of the history of sex work, his dreadfully-low “estimates” of our income, etc).  But it also contains many telling observations about his character flaws:

…when one of his subjects is assaulted, and her co-worker asks that he not report it:  “I stood there, frustrated…What should I do?  Go along with them or call the damn police like a normal person?  I didn’t want to get sucked into their criminal value structure and end up doing the wrong thing.”  This alarming response encapsulates…[his] problem.  The desire to avoid arrest after suffering a brutal assault is a sensible one…but Venkatesh can’t wrap his head around it…he is “normal” and they are deviants…his responses are the right ones and theirs are not…Venkatesh clings to the notion that sex work is inherently, unavoidably risky, regardless of the legal and cultural circumstances…when the issue of…legalization…is raised, it’s only to dismiss it…

Not An Addiction (May Updates)rat with Oreos

Crypto-moralists are once again trying to pretend that fatty foods are addictive, but as Jacob Sullum points out:

…the study’s findings could just as truthfully be summarized… “Research Shows That Heroin and Cocaine Are No More Addictive Than Oreos.”  Putting it that way would have raised some interesting questions about the purportedly irresistible power of these drugs, which supposedly justifies using force to stop people from consuming them.  But the researchers are not interested in casting doubt on the empirical basis for the War on Drugs…they are trying to build an empirical basis for the War on Fat…if the neurological effects of Oreos make them impossible to resist, how is it that most people manage to resist them, consuming them in moderation or not at all?…

Dirty Amateurs

Whether the infection is biological or technological, it’s always the same:

…Symantec…found…that hackers…target…religious sites at a much higher rate:  “…religious and ideological sites…have triple the average number of threats per infected site than adult/pornographic sites.  We hypothesize that this is because pornographic website owners…have a vested interest in keeping their sites malware-free – it’s not good for repeat business”…

Dominating the News

Ex-vice madam Natalie Rowe has had her home raided by police days before she will make new claims about her relationship with Chancellor George Osborne…12…officers…with a battering ram burst into her London flat…[at] dawn…claiming they were acting on a tip-off…no drugs were found in the two-hour search…“WHY did one officer involved in the raid ask me whether I was about to publish my memoirs and WHY did a police inspector tell me I’d be opening a ‘whole can of worms’ if I complained?”…

Meanwhile, in Japan, “Yuka Fujisawa was arrested…for…sticking needles in gentlemen’s genitals for money…Fujisawa’s ‘needle play’ was performed on consenting adults, so her arrest is purely for the act of drawing blood without a medical license…

Elephant in the Parlor

Beleaguered former…MLA Mike Allen has received a rare note of support…from the Alberta Sex Workers.  Mr. Allen was one of 13 men caught in a St. Paul, Minnesota-area sting in July…He…could face up to a year in prison and a $3,000 fine.  “Alberta sex workers wish to assure MLA Mike Allen…that his activities…would be lawful, private and welcome in Alberta…sex workers in Mr. Allen’s riding…want him to continue as their MLA.  We feel he made a mistake taking his business out of Alberta to puritan…Minnesota, but sex workers in his constituency are still pleased to have an MLA who values the services they offer”…Christian Adamek

Moloch

How many more kids have to be sacrificed on this loathsome altar?  “A popular 15-year-old student has committed suicide after he reportedly faced expulsion and being placed on the sex offenders’ register simply for streaking at a high school football  game.  Christian Adamek, from Huntsville, Alabama,  hanged himself on October 2, a week after he was arrested…

Full of Themselves (TW3 #4)

I hope this keeps happening, so pole dancers will be forced to stand with sex workers rather than pretending they’re different:  “…Swansea University [banned its]…Pole Fitness Society…[saying] ‘Pole fitness and pole dancing are a direct spin off from lap dancing…Everyone knows where it comes from…and that pole dancing is…specifically designed to sexually excite the watcher’…”  Swansea has a long history of pearl-clutching over sex work.

The Course of a Disease

The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe has come up with a “tool kit” containing “information, ideas and resources…to help sex worker rights…organisations and activists…challenge…[the] Swedish model.”  You can view and download the tool kit and its associated worksheets here, or visit the ICRSE website to download one individual section at a time.

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (TW3 #7)

This short interview with Dr. Heidi Hoefinger on her book Sex, Love and Money in Cambodia supports everything I always say about Asian bar girls, but the comments are illustrative of the deep state of denial in which “trafficking” fanatics exist:  among them are the claim that a woman who spent ten years living among her subjects is “naïve” and the astonishing assertion that literally 99.99% of whores are coerced.

Above the Law

A [California] Sheriff’s Department deputy…sexually assaulted a [woman] he…pulled over…[he offered to] let [her] go in exchange for sex…[but when she] declined …he [forced her anyway]…”  The unedited original is almost incomprehensible for all the “alleged” and “unknown male” and passive voice; it even describes forcible rape as “sexual contact occurred”.  And in Kentucky, “A sexual assault lawsuit has been filed against…Sheriff Rick Clemons…‘I’m upset.  I’m very offended.  I’m actually shocked’, said Clemons…”  Cry me a fucking river.Rupert Everett

Stand-Up Guys

Rupert Everett is supporting a campaign against proposals…to criminalise sex workers’ clients.  The actor, who participated in sex work as a younger man is making a [TV] programme on the subject.  He has signed an open letter by the English Collective of Prostitutes and Queer Strike…journalist Cary Gee and a whole range of activist groups…have all added their names too…Former New Zealand MP Tim Barnett, who sponsored the…Act which decriminalised prostitution, described the…way…[end demand] laws were used…“Half of those arrested were transgender sex workers who were identified as men”…

Greeks Bearing Gifts

The noisome fruit of the “mandatory prosecution” tree:

…In an incident back in April, Joel Darvell, 36, allegedly choked his wife while drunk, causing his son to tackle him…Darvell allegedly pistol-whipped his son and then fired a .45 caliber round into the wall of their home.  No injuries were sustained.  Darvell was charged with assault…but [his] wife and children…refused to testify…Judge Michael Evans…[had them] dragged away…[to] jail…where they were held in cuffs and shackles…John Hays, who is representing Darvell’s wife…said…“The prosecutor wants to put the defendant in prison for over 20 years, and (his family members) really do not want that”…After 48 hours…the 13-year-old girl…broke…and…agreed to testify against her father.  The son and mother…were made to agree…as well…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #28)

Everyday Whorephobia interviews Morgane Merteuil of STRASS about the especially-revolting French version of the Swedish model:

…The law also proposes to fight…[advertising] websites…all the help…[for exploited migrants] is conditional on stopping sexwork…[and] working with  an “agreed organization”; of course…sexworkers rights [groups] won’t be [among] them…if students do sexwork, it is because they don’t have the consciousness that this is “prostitution”; so the solution is to add lessons about the “objectification of the body” at school…

Schadenfreude (TW3 #43)Meas Ratha

Somaly Mam has been caught in yet another huge lie:

…in January 1998, Ms. Mam was propelled…into the international media spotlight largely owing to the harrowing on-camera testimony of the young Meas Ratha…[who supposedly had] been promised a job as a waitress in Phnom Penh, but wound up a captive in a brothel…Sixteen years [later]…Ms. Ratha—now 32 years old and married—said her testimony…was fabricated and scripted for her by Ms. Mam…Ratha…said that she did not want to cause trouble for Ms. Mam’s NGO, which had provided an education for her, but that she could no longer continue a lie that had followed her for half her life…the fabrication of Ms. Ratha’s sex slave story is only the latest incident of false information to emerge from Ms. Mam and her organizations…

And how exactly does Somaly Mam “help” sex workers?

…Estée Lauder…has opened the Somaly Mam Beauty Salon…providing survivors of sexual slavery and human trafficking with…education and vocational training…in high-touch beauty services in hair care, makeup application and nail treatments…

Well, I guess it’s better than putting them to work in her fashion industry sponsors’ sweatshops.

Us and Them

These abuses always start with stigmatized groups, but never stop there:

[UK] police are to get the power to restrict the freedom of anyone they suspect of being a sex offender, even if the person has never been convicted of a crime…This can include limiting internet use, stopping the person from being alone with a child under 16 and preventing travel abroad.  Anyone breaching the so-called Sexual Risk Order, which lasts for at least two years, could be jailed for up to five years…

Unmentionables

WH Smith shut down its website…after it was revealed that a search for the term “daddy” brought up hardcore pornographic ebooks featuring bondage and humiliation alongside stories for children.  At least 60 pornographic ebooks…could also be found on Amazon, Waterstones and Barnes & Noble…WH Smith apologised to customers and said the “explosion” of self-publishing had left book retailers exposed to pornographic content…

They weren’t “exposed” to shit; they just had a poor website design and are passing the buck.Jerry Brown masturbatory gesture

The Punitive Mindset (TW3 #337)

The governor of California pretends prison inmates don’t have sex with each other:

…Jerry Brown…vetoed a bill a that would have…required…condoms [to be] available in every California prison.  Supporters…argued that [this] would help reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among inmates, who have higher rates of HIV/AIDS…Brown…noted that family visitors are already allowed to bring condoms for…overnight visits…

Policing for Profit (TW3 #341)

A money-making venture to lure…drug buyers into Sunrise [Florida] to purchase cocaine from police has been halted…Mayor Michael Ryan…lay blame…on the [newspaper story exposing the racket]…Ryan did not express concerns about…[the busts taking place] in such public locations as parking lots and family restaurants…

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #341)

Another UN agency has reaffirmed…support of sex workers in response to Equality Now’s anti-sex worker campaign…This leaves Equality Now starkly on the fringes of the global women’s movement, as organisations as authoritative as UN Women…assert…that sex work is work, not trafficking.  The statement…also…[backs] safe workplaces – which come with decriminalisation – and the right to self-determination, including the right to stay in sex work…[this] precludes…the “Swedish model”…supported by Equality Now…which tries to drive sex workers from sex work (against their consent) through making it intolerably dangerous…

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When I stop loving her it will open the floodgates of resentment.
-  Owen Morris

tipsterEvery so often I’ll get an anonymous email out of the blue with a PDF or other such attachment, and some brief explanation of what it is I’m looking at; the sender is always careful to cover his identity, and in each case the account from which the correspondence originated is a temporary one which is deleted as soon as the source is sure that I’ve got what he sent and understand what it is.  It’s happened three times so far; the first two were in the summer of last year, and I shared the revelations they contained in the columns “Tangled Web” and “Show and Tell”.  But this time was different:  though the first two exposed hidden information on people I do not like, this time it involved someone I like very much.  At first, I had no idea what I was looking at; the sender was even more reticent than in the previous cases, and promised only that I would find the attachment “interesting”.  But as I scanned down the first page, the name “Brooke” leaped out at me and I realized I was reading an excerpt from the diary of Mr. George Owen Morris, ex-boyfriend of my friend Brooke Magnanti, who is currently suing her for libel and defamation of character.  A quick search for passages she has previously shared on her own blog (he gave her a copy of the diary in 2005) confirmed that this was indeed the same document.

Obviously, I was not about to publish the thing or even read any further (just what I had already seen on the first page felt uncomfortably like spying on her) without asking her how she felt about it; she replied “I’m a bit at a loss to explain how it came out, but I think if I trust anyone to comment on it, it’s you…When he gave it to me in 2005 it was specifically because he wanted me to read it, so it can hardly be considered ‘confidential’ now can it.”  I suspect my informant is someone inside some solicitor’s office, or perhaps at the Daily Mail (which has given Mr. Morris a platform for his bizarre allegations), but it hardly matters; what is important is the rather unflattering picture it paints of its author.  Now, there are a few important points to consider before we go any further.  First, I cannot be sure how much of the original text this represents; it is forty-six pages long and covers the period from late August to mid-December, 2004, but starts and ends so abruptly it seems likely to be a fragment of a longer work.  Second, the document was provided to me as a PDF composed of a series of what are obviously optical scans of typewritten or printed pages upon which the font changes a number of times; though Morris does make reference at one point to typing the diary, I do not actually know that all of the original was typed.  Furthermore, since I suspect most people are pretty careless about spelling and grammar in personal writing, I will correct any mistakes in the excerpts I include.  Third, though this was ostensibly a private diary, Morris apparently entertained plans to publish it or otherwise make the material known even while writing it, so everything must be viewed with that in mind.

I’ve uploaded the entire excerpt, so you can read it if you like; however, there are only a few points that I think are of major importance with regard to the ridiculous claims Morris makes in his lawsuit.  The first and most astonishing of these is the allegation that Brooke was never actually an escort, that she merely made it all up for her blog and books, and that he would “never knowingly sleep with a prostitute”.  But the diary makes it abundantly clear that not only was he knowingly sleeping with one (“she said that I would always think of her as a whore, I tried to tell her I didn’t but deep down was again upset by her escorting”), but that the thought was making him crazy enough to spy on her and actually go through her trash looking for used condoms:

Took her to work and came back to do the horrible check, still really surprised to feel so nervous and sick.  The two…condoms from the handbag were back in the box, I was so happy!  But I checked again and found that three of the ones that were in the box were gone.  Went to the rubbish and found one unopened one!??  What does this mean.  Missing condoms surely mean she is having johns but not if they are turning up opened.  On her table I found a bank slip dated the 28th.  It showed that a Jason had met her [and] paid her 400 pounds…

When he first made the incredible statements to the Mail at the beginning of August I was at a loss to understand what he might be thinking, but having read the diary I now realize that this might be the end result of a decade of rationalizations which were clearly well underway by the summer of 2004.  It is certainly possible that Morris eventually convinced himself of its truth just as “survivors” convince themselves of the verity of their outlandish tales, but it is equally possible that it is merely a poorly-considered plan for the revenge he admits to contemplating against her and another of her boyfriends:

I had got myself quite worked up over Brooke…and was thinking about when and how I would drop them both in it.  Not if, but when.  And I realized that the press turning up to see Nick could be quite a subtle revenge.  If he doesn’t realize she has written about him it could be quite a shock…

Another thing the diary makes clear is that the other major allegation of Morris’ suit – that his known association with an infamous harlot ruined his career and has somehow kept him from gainful employment since – is merely the latest and most extreme manifestation of a pattern of blaming Brooke for his troubles which permeates the diary.  Now, I am not by any means suggesting that Brooke was not partially to blame for the collapse of their relationship, but as the saying goes it takes two to tango; Morris repeatedly depicts himself as a blameless martyr under the spell of the “schizophrenic” and “autistic” Brooke, and as a virile, wise paladin sought by many women who could surely solve all of her problems if she would only give herself completely to him.  He also states, “she complains that I have no job when she herself lost me my previous two”, but does not explain how this was supposed to have occurred other than a later allusion to arguments on the phone  that he appears to have conducted without leaving the office.

I’m not sure what light his pronounced tendency for projection might shed upon the current proceedings; he repeatedly accuses her of jealousy, spying and refusing to accept responsibility for her own problems…while at the same time admitting to jealousy and spying and blaming her for all of his problems.  And then there are the hints at a violent temper:  “it was a dangerous game to play me off against Nick, people would get hurt” and “The fact that she began to double-lock the door for the first time…indicates…she really doesn’t know me; does she really think I couldn’t smash my way in?!

ledgerBut the most striking character flaw which the diary revealed to me was Morris’ disturbing tendency to keep a mental balance sheet in which he apparently kept track of not only how many favors each performed for the other, but how much money each spent.  Now, I understand that many younger people have been raised with the rather odd idea that women should pay equally or at least semi-equally in relationships, but this goes far beyond that; from the first page to the last disturbingly exact sums of money are mentioned over and over and over again, interspersed with much-too-descriptive accounts of the great sex he was getting from her for free even though (as we have established) he knew she was an escort.  And I can’t help but link this in my mind to the absurd sum for which he has asked in his suit…an amount which, incidentally, is larger than any ever awarded in a Scottish defamation case, ever.  I’m not sure what other claims Morris may decide to make as the case progresses over the coming months, but I’m glad my mystery correspondent has enabled me to ensure that a refutation of it from Morris’ own pen is readily available on a server residing outside the reach of Britain’s daffy libel laws.

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