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Posts Tagged ‘escort services’

How can an escort be successful and completely avoid the hobbyists and their review system?  I usually attract the gentlemanly type who won’t kiss and tell, and after my first few interactions with hobbyists, I’m utterly shocked by their entitlement and crude behavior.  Since Eros and Slixa do authentication (so clients can be reasonably sure I’m real), is there any point to an escort putting up with hobbyist garbage?

The Courtesan and the Old Man by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1530)Most clients will respect a lady’s request not to be reviewed, and that is reinforced with time because an escort without reviews will tend to be avoided by the sort of men who are most invested in the review culture.  The best clients know that a large fraction of reviews are bullshit anyway, and will judge for themselves based on an escort’s website, the length of time she’s been around, and perhaps even non-review conversations on the boards.  As you correctly point out, there are other means of authentication, and if you’ve made it up until now without allowing reviews I don’t think there’s a need to start.  One thing you might do is get to know a few of the other escorts in your area who don’t allow reviews; a good reference from one of them would help you to know that a gentleman can be trusted to be gentlemanly.

I am just beginning in the escort industry and trying to find out which are the best agencies to work for in my area.  Also, do you know what agencies would be looking for as far as interviewing – things to be sure to mention or avoid, dress, etc? 

Though working for a reputable agency used to be a good deal, it has become much less so now that the internet makes self-advertising so easy.  And remember, this is advice from a former escort service owner!  Take a look at the “Mentoring” section of “Previously Asked Questions” and read the linked entries; it may help you to make up your mind, and most of the advice there will be useful no matter which route you take.  In the interest of providing a complete answer, though, I asked a friend who lives in your area if there were any good agencies, and here is what she wrote:

I would dissuade her from working for an agency.  Besides the cost factor, clients seem to be shifting away from agencies;  they are also becoming more and more targets of LE due to the “trafficking” hysteria (remember, to target an escort service police must arrest the escorts first).  I would tell any woman entering the business to consider finding a mentor, and working independently; it just seems to me to be safer at the present time.

Arrest of a Prostitute by the Police by Jules DavidWhat she said about client shifts and cop targeting is dead on; since agency owners can be branded “pimps” and “traffickers”, they attract a lot of attention these days from cops looking for heads to mount on the wall.  Though working independently is by no means safe from cop depredation, it may indeed be safer than working for an agency (especially if you’ve got a friend who will check you in and out).

If, however, you still prefer to work for an agency, interviewing is really not all that different from what you’d do for any other job interview:  dress nicely but not fancily, be friendly, answer the interviewer’s questions honestly and be prepared to provide whatever information they need; you’ll probably be asked to sign a disclaimer.  I preferred to weed my applicants on the phone and in the interview, but it may be that they’re using online forms nowadays.  If you’re attractive and present yourself well, it shouldn’t be difficult to get them to take you on; the real test comes later, because just like any company they’re going to rely most heavily on employees who are dependable and make the company the most money (in this case, by high customer satisfaction).  Girls who are easy to contact, professional and make the clients happy will get the most calls; those who are the opposite will find their phones ringing less and less.

(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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In reality, what’s degrading is not sex work itself, but the language [prohibitionists use] to describe it.  -  Joyce Arthur

The Red Umbrella Red Umbrella

This coming Tuesday is The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, and Siouxsie Q has compiled a list of events (some of which will be held tomorrow).  Take a look, and please consider participating if you live in any of these cities.

Down Under

[A court ruled that] a [New Zealand] man who promised to financially support a prostitute…won’t be able to get back $500,000 he gave her…He…met…[her] at a massage parlour in…late 2007…and suggested…that he would support her financially…[if] she…[gave] up work…[he paid her] $5000 a month and…lavished her with money, travel and various gifts…

Droit du Seigneur

A D.C. police officer is being investigated for allegedly “pimping” teenage girls…Linwood Barnhill, 47, was found with a girl who had been reported missing…Neighbors [said] they would often see young girls going in and out of his apartment…this investigation is not connected to the…arrest of another D.C. police officer on child porn charges.  In that case, officer Marc Washington…went to the home of a 15-year-old girl…ordered her to remove her clothing and took photos of her…

And in Arizona:  “A Maricopa County juvenile probation officer is accused of running an illegal massage business ‘providing acts of prostitution’…apartment resident Ashley Martinez [said] ‘It could be bringing in pedophiles…and my kids could be getting caught into that’…”  The jaw-droppingly stupid quote from the imbecilic neighbor was too good to omit.

Wise Investment

Apparently, American courts hate oil companies more than whores:

BP has…been forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to businesses that filed damage claims after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster – even though they weren’t really affected…the court-appointed [supervisor] has confirmed he approved a $173,000 payout to an “adult escort service” that BP said was filed with unsigned and undated financial documents…The company contested the escort service payment…but lost before a court-appointed appeals panel…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (October Updates)

As police go on strike in Argentina’s second largest city…the people have…[looted] every supermarket…the governor of Cordoba…claims that the police strike is a direct result of his decision to close 140 brothels…which had provided a steady income stream to a large number of corrupt officers…

Elytte & Miranda Barbour
Where Are the Protests?

A [newlywed] couple…lured a man to his death with an ad on…Craigslist…because they wanted to kill someone together…Elytte Barbour told officers…that he and his wife, Miranda…[lured] Troy LaFerrara…[with an escort] posting…Elytte [said]…Miranda…regularly…made anywhere from $50 to $850 by meeting with men for such activities as having dinner together or walking around a mall.  The ads she placed…all said upfront that sex was not part of the deal…”She is not a prostitute…she…meets with them and has delightful conversation”…

I’m sure that conversation is wholly delightful.  Somebody want to tell Elytte the Simpleton that the majority of American escort ads say “upfront” that no sex is involved?  NB:  This is the second time we’ve seen a deranged hooker expecting people to believe she truly doesn’t have sex with clients.

A False Dichotomy (TW3 #8)

Panicked policy reactions to human trafficking and an over-emphasis on the issue of sex trafficking can cause more harm than good…trafficking expert…Pardis Mahdavi said…“Policies are made as a knee-jerk reaction based on moral panic…People like to put distance between themselves and the sex industry, whereas…the domestic workers who clean our homes, the nannies who care for our children, the people who pick the tomatoes that we eat, these are often people who are involved in forced labour…over ninety percent of trafficking is not in the sex industry, it’s forced labour…”

Finding What Isn’t There

A peek inside the mind of a bureaucrat:

…Of the 50,000 T-visas that have been offered over the last 10 years, the government has issued only 6,206 of the little-known visas meant to protect victims of human trafficking and their family members…despite the fact that between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year…those who apply…have to be willing to testify against the traffickers…and…are not allowed to work while waiting for the visa, which can take a year or more…

Of course the estimate can’t possibly be wrong, and asking people to live without income for a year is perfectly reasonable.  The FBI claims “authorities would assist victims, even if there is not a trafficker who can be prosecuted,” but that’s clearly bullshit; the whole “trafficking” narrative depends on producing “traffickers”.Elizabeth Romero

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #314)

Observable fact:  14-year-old girl runs away with her 19-year-old boyfriend.  Conclusion:  a giant worldwide conspiracy selling infants for snuff sex:

The search for Elizabeth Romero and her alleged kidnapper Edwardo Fabian Flores Rosales continues…officials believe that the duo have already crossed the border into Mexico…Some people believe that she is voluntarily…with the 19-year-old man she met on the internet…others believe that…[she] could…be the victim of sex trafficking…Children as young as infants are…wrangled up from every corner of the globe and herded from one master to the next…as sex slaves until they are “used up”…which usually ends in their murders…the scenario of this 14-year-old girl being a willing runaway is far easier to stomach than the idea of her being sold for unimaginable sex acts and then killed…

It’s hard to see how this lurid fantasy can be called “unimaginable” when the author is clearly able to imagine it.

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #315)

Another good article from Joyce Arthur, this on language used by the media.  While I myself use some of the terms she advises against, that’s only in an informal and personal context; I think she is correct in advising use of more neutral terms in mainstream articles.

Monsters

A [New York] attorney…argued that his defendant’s hefty sentence  for murdering a transgender woman should be reserved for someone who kills “certain classes of individuals”…Rasheen Everett was convicted of the 2010 murder of Amanda Gonzalez-Andujar, a transgender prostitute…but…defense attorney John Scarpa…argued…”Shouldn’t that [sentence] be reserved for people who are guilty of killing certain classes of individuals?…Who is the victim in this case?  Is the victim a person in the higher end of the community?”…Justice Richard Buchter…[replied] “This court believes every human life in sacred…It’s not easy living as a transgender, and I commend the family for supporting her”…

Dysphemisms Galore

Still not dark enoughThere’s probably an entire research paper on the Jungian implications of yellow journalists describing anything to do with sex as “dark”:  “Korea has long been criticized for its lax control over its…entertainer visa…exploited by human traffickers to smuggle foreign women into the country to do sex work.  Authorities…promised to strengthen monitoring of the seedy establishments where the women have been forced to sell sex…”  The evidence presented for this supposed epidemic of “trafficking”?  US government propaganda and a supposed phone call from one anonymous informant who claims to have been a “victim”.

An Example to the West (TW3 #324)

The Bolivian Parliament is preparing a new law to regulate and recognize sex work…This is the result of an initiative by Organización de Trabajadoras Nocturnas (OTN)…to prevent “the physical and psychological abuse and discrimination” suffered by sex workers from police and nightclub owners…

Safe Targets (TW3 #332)

That’ll show them dirty photographers!  See the last line for the police motive.

Authorities have shut down Hong Kong’s largest prostitution website…sex141.com…was believed to have been controlled by a criminal syndicate, which police say they have now broken up.  “When they knew there were sex workers coming to Hong Kong, the syndicate would arrange a make-up service and photographers,” a police spokesman [said]…While prostitution is legal in Hong Kong, soliciting and living off the earnings of prostitutes are against the law…114 people have been arrested, which includes 78 prostitutes…arrested on such charges as overstaying or violating the conditions of their visitor visa.  Police also said about HK$15 million ($1.93 million) worth of assets related to the group had been frozen…

Under Every Bed (TW3 #333)

I know real people are endangered by this idiocy, but I just can’t help laughing every time “authorities” pretend that North Dakota is a “sex trafficking hub”:

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp has introduced legislation…to crack down on sex trafficking, which experts fear is on the rise in…North Dakota due to the large influx of men coming to work in the state’s western oil patch…”North Dakota could be ground zero for this type of behavior,” Heitkamp…said…

The only thing that keeps me from adding that claim to “King of the Hill” is that they use qualifiers like “fear” and “could be” rather than stating it as a “fact”.

Whatever They Need To Say (TW3 #341)

New excuses for another Soho pogrom:

Hundreds of police officers launched a massive Soho swoop on premises allegedly linked to rape, sex trafficking and muggings…22 people were arrested in the raids on…premises suspected of being…fronts for handling stolen goods…a dozen women…were taken to safe locations where they will be questioned.  Police believe that some were trafficked into the country and forced into prostitution…The English Collective of Prostitutes…condemned the raids saying some “immigrant women were taken into custody on the pretext that they may be victims of trafficking, despite their protestations that they were not…police are raiding premises where women are working together safely…with friends…most of the women…have now lost their livelihood”…corrected graffiti

More from the West End Extra:

Nikki Adams from the ECP…[called] it…an “out­rageous fabrication”, adding: “At least two of those women I know well and they’ve been in the UK for years and speak perfect English and come to all our meetings…People fear that the evictions are aimed at making way for large-scale development”…

A press release from Sex Worker Open University added, “The media presence included Sky news, BBC and the Evening Standard.  It would seem that ‘victims’ of sex work need to be publicly humiliated and shamed…in order to be properly saved from their work…”

Little Boxes (TW3 #343)

It’s not a “front for prostitution”, it is prostitution.  However, note the equation of sex with rape; cops and prosecutors imagine everyone to be as twisted and evil as they are:

…For $60, customers at the Snuggle House can spend an hour hugging, cuddling and spooning with professional snugglers…but Madison officials suspect the business is a front for prostitution and…fear snuggling could lead to sexual assault…police have talked…about conducting a sting…and city attorneys are drafting a new ordinance to regulate snuggling.  “There’s no way that (sexual assault) will not happen”…city attorney Jennifer Zilavy said.  “No offense…but I don’t know any man who wants to just snuggle”…

Imaginary Evils (TW3 #348)

More from Frank Furedi on the myth of “modern slavery”:

…promoters of this urban legend about modern-day slavery [argue] that what is really significant about this hitherto unrecognised crime is not what can be seen by the naked eye but rather the often “invisible” problem of mental enslavement.  These are slaves who are not physically chained into a life of servitude, but rather are wrapped up in “emotional chains” by their psychologically manipulative captors.  [A term like] “brainwashed”…can transform even normal features of human life – such as being in an unpleasant relationship or feeling pressured to do something – into something…criminal…Such an exercise in rhetorical acrobatics allows campaigners to expand the number of “invisible slaves”…

And yes, he does mention Kevin Bales’ “30 million slaves”.

Number Puzzle (TW3 #349)

The American media would have you believe Alice Schwarzer’s revolting demand for imposition of the Swedish model on Germany has widespread support, but here’s a more typical German view of her:

Alice Schwarzer is an enemy of freedom.  She is condescending, she’s manipulative, she does not tolerate contradiction and therefore has no sense of what makes people, in all their contradictions, essentially human…She loves to divide the world into good and evil, victim and perpetrator…she has a Manichean world view, especially with regard to human sexuality…this…leads to very unpleasant consequences in the debate about prostitution…in [her mind] there is no room for autonomous, free men and…women…who decide…what they want…

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I have been considering going into escorting for quite a while now, but I’m not very sexually experienced; I’m 24 but I’ve only ever been with one guy.  I know agencies often accept girls without experience, but I’m sure they assume the women have at least unpaid sexual experience; do you think I’m too inexperienced to even consider this type of work?

Young Virgin AutoSodomized by Her Own Chastity by Salvador Dali (1954)Every escort has to start somewhere; I mean the first time she does it, she must be inexperienced.  But as you say, she usually has some non-commercial experience.  I’m not saying you have to be a slut or anything, but if you’ve only ever been with one guy, sex work may not be right for you.  Now, there are a few caveats:  this has nothing to do with the clients, because some guys really like an inexperienced girl.  And I know nothing about your sexuality; it may be that getting paid for sex really turns you on (I know it does me).  But if that isn’t the case, you may want to explore sex with at least a few more guys before getting into sex work; not only will it help you to map out what you like and what you don’t like (which is vital for setting your boundaries), it will also give you a better sense of the way different men tend to act during sex.  That will help keep you safe by helping you learn to anticipate things that can go wrong, and to recognize behavior that’s outside the pale.  The more you know, the more you can stay in control of the situation, and that’s necessary both for your safety and for the client’s pleasure.

I’m in my early twenties and sexually active, but very unfulfilled because I’m very repressed.  Can you tell me how to go about freeing myself from these inhibitions so when I find a great woman, I won’t be too hung up to have a good sexual relationship?

It’s very difficult to help another person ease his own inner repressions; paradoxically, we all tend to hold on to the things that hold us back!  I think the best thing for you is to read as many different things as you can from as many different people as you can, so as to be exposed to the wide variety of different preferences, viewpoints, etc.  This won’t smash your inhibitions, but what it will do is to show you that A) you’re not alone in feeling the things you feel, and B) that there are people out there with much more extreme desires than you have (whatever those might be).  Once you begin to realize that your needs aren’t “weird” or “bad”, you’ll find that the repression tends to just fall away on its own.  For example, when I was in high school over 30 years ago, one simply didn’t talk about bisexuality; it was a shameful thing to be hidden or at most joked about, but not seriously discussed.  But as I met other bisexual women it began to seem more and more normal to me, and by the late ‘90s I was totally “out” about it.  Furthermore, it’s not at all abnormal for people your age to feel unfulfilled by sex; it’s hyped as being this magical experience, but in actuality (as with most things) one has to learn to appreciate it.  And very often, it takes until one’s late twenties or early thirties to do that, and to really feel comfortable in one’s sexual skin.

(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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I have been seeing professionals for several years, mostly through an Asian escort service.  I really enjoyed some of the girls, but they travel a lot so sometimes none of the girls I like  are available, and it’s always hit or miss with someone new.  Plus, though I love Asian ladies I also like variety, so I decided to try some independent escorts, and boy has it been a flaky and unreliable experience.  I registered with P411, picked only well-reviewed providers, etc, yet nothing has gone right.  The first independent I tried cancelled twice at the last minute for ridiculous reasons, then we finally connected and the service was excellent…but when I tried to reschedule she flaked again.  So I tried another girl; this one didn’t answer when I tried to confirm on the day of the appointment as she had requested.  The next one double-scheduled and called me 15 minutes before the appointment trying to reschedule; a fourth one made an appointment but wouldn’t confirm, then told me to “Fuck off” when I emailed to ask if we were still on for that day.  What am I doing wrong?  I never had this trouble with the agency.

flaky womanIt’s strange that you’ve had so many bad experiences, so I think you need to look at what the unifying factor might be.  Were all of these girls very young?  Because young girls are often quite poor at what hobbyists call “TKB” (taking care of business).  Also, you said they were all well-reviewed; did any of their reviews mention this flakiness?  Because if they didn’t, it may be that you’re somehow doing something to encourage this sort of behavior without realizing it.  I suggest you try looking at ladies who have been around a bit longer; if you still have similar problems with escorts who have been in the business for years, it’s definitely something you’re doing that did not affect you when you were dealing with the agency, but causes problems with independent escorts, such as some sort of screening issue that’s making them nervous.

PostscriptThis reader later wrote back and confirmed that all of the girls were indeed young, and he suspected that his preference for early appointments might be part of the problem if these girls enjoyed staying out late.  He said he would try more mature escorts.

I’ve been seeing an escort I’m extremely attracted to, but all three sessions I’ve had with her were very substandard because she has this rush-rush attitude; by the third time I was so stressed by it I couldn’t even get hard for her.  Yet for some reason, I feel compelled to go to her.  What should I do?

If she’s rushing you and it isn’t working out, you definitely need to see someone else.  I think you’ve inherited a misguided sense of loyalty from your experience with girlfriends, but an escort is not a girlfriend; she is a service provider, and if she’s not making you happy you need to move on, just as you would with a barber who wasn’t doing a good job on your hair.

(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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I don’t have experience in the sex industry, but want to learn what my options are; how can I do this?  How I might get started?  What the pros/cons are for each segment?  What are the specific qualities that are suited for each profession?  I’m 31, intelligent and already have a good job, but I’ve ALWAYS had a desire to make money with sex, though I worry I’m not pretty enough.

Young Girl Bathing by Renoir (1892)Different kinds of sex work are better for different people; for example, I really didn’t like stripping, and I hate domination, but GFE (Girl Friend Experience) escorting was a perfect fit for me.  However, I have friends who stripped for years and love it, and some who enjoy domination much more than escorting.  Unfortunately, I can’t think of any way to figure out which one you like best other than trying them.  Many sex workers try several before settling on the one they like best; some even go back and forth between different types at different times in their lives.  Since you live in a large city it should be relatively easy for you to try a number of things, especially stripping and agency escorting; if you enjoy the work with the agency you could then go on to independent escorting.  The reason I’m suggesting an agency at first is that, since you already have a “straight” job, that would let you get your feet wet without risking undue exposure until you’re sure you’ll like it.  Don’t worry about whether you’re pretty enough; if men make passes at you, you are.  I’ve known some stunning girls who didn’t do as well as others who were just normally pretty, because they had less attractive personalities.  Looks are good bait, but unless there’s some substance underneath she won’t get either repeat business or referrals.  The women who do best at escorting are the ones whose company men really enjoy, and each of the other types of sex work has its own skills and characteristics that are just as important as looks.

One good place to start is my Questions page; about halfway down there’s a section called “mentoring” with questions other ladies have asked me, hyperlinked to the posts where I answered them.   Take a look at those, then go online and look at the strip clubs and escort services nearby.  Most are ALWAYS hiring, so that’s not usually an issue; after that it’s just a matter of getting your courage up!  If you have any other questions after reading those posts, please feel free to ask.

(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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Hating on models, sex workers, and similar seems to be a significant subtext of what [feminist] groups support…yet they are often the first to ask why young women don’t want to call themselves feminists.  -  Brooke Magnanti

Rough Trade

California has a crime victims’ compensation program

…which helps people out with expenses like medical treatment or mental health care…you’re ineligible…if you have any other means of getting them, whether that’s insurance, a wealthy aunt, or a court ruling.  The program’s…regulations [also] disqualify anyone who was hurt while “involved” in an act of prostitution…

BDSMNaked Bear-type Man Chopping Wood by Charlie Goodwin

A 35-year-old [Austrian] woman advertizing herself as a dominatrix promised strict discipline to paying clients on her farm…[but] the men found themselves consigned to farm labor such as chopping wood in the nude and mowing the lawn while wearing black fetish masks…in effect, they were paying for the privilege of doing farm work…

License to Rape

One wonders what his “informal training” consisted of:

A…San Bernardino police officer was arrested…on charges that he forced two prostitutes to have sex with him while he was on duty…Jose Jesus Perez, 46, was indicted on four civil rights offenses that involved aggravated sexual abuse “while acting under the color of law”…If convicted, Perez faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison…Perez…had informally trained other officers on how to interact with prostitutes…

The Swedish Pimpocracy

The Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) has a close partnership with the US National Security Agency (NSA) and British GCHQ, according to information provided to the European Parliament…investigative journalist Duncan Campbell…told the committee that…Sweden was the third major partner in the surveillance cooperation…

Decentralization

We don’t know if Birmingham, UK-based Passion VIP is…the first escort agency to add bitcoin to its…payment options, but…we have not heard of another one…Tracy Elise

Size Matters

Tracy Elise has fired her attorney and has chosen to represent herself in court…she also filed six motions ranging from being allowed to travel to being allowed to use the internet.  Two years ago, police raided…the Phoenix Goddess Temple…[claiming] it was a house of prostitution, but parishioners said they were just practicing their religion…

The Punitive Mindset

The balance between crackdowns that play to punitive public sentiment and a public health approach that will actually reduce harm and prove most effective in protecting communities is one [Lord Chancellor] Chris Grayling should bear in mind, as he considers a crackdown on sex in prison…The prison service instruction manual states:  “there is no rule specifically prohibiting sexual acts between prisoners, but if they are observed by someone who finds (or could potentially find) their behaviour offensive, a charge…may be appropriate”…this results in…a system ripe for abuse…A blanket ban on sex in prison leads to prisoners failing to report rape or sexual assault for fear of punishment…[some] prisons refuse to issue barrier protection…some prisoners are sanctioned for requesting too many condoms.  One prison governor even said they had no need to issue…[them] as his prison contained no homosexuals…

Where Are the Protests?

As usual when sex isn’t involved, the word “trafficking” is entirely absent:

…America…[has an] underground market for adopted children, a loose Internet network where desperate parents seek new homes for kids they regret adopting…Through Yahoo and Facebook groups… the unwanted children [are passed]…to strangers with little or no government scrutiny, sometimes illegally…The practice is called “private re-homing,” a term typically used by [pet] owners…most of the children ranged in age from 6 to 14 and had been adopted from abroad…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

Except for the predictable whorearchy (“dancers resort to prostitution”, etc) this is a decent article about how the summer slump in New Orleans affects the stripping business.  It affects escorts as well, of course, though in my experience it tends to recover more quickly in September for escorts than for strippers.  Since I don’t write much about my stripping days, readers may find it interesting that the first club mentioned in the story was the first one I ever danced at, though it had a different name back then.illegal anti-whore sign

Legal Is As Legal Does (TW3 #7)

Outspoken Christchurch [New Zealand] city councillor Aaron Keown has taken matters into his own hands to ban sex workers from Manchester St.  Residents woke on [August 27th] to find the street plastered with “No Street Workers” signs…Two days later…council workers removed them, saying [they] were illegal.  Keown, who paid for and installed the signs himself…said…police and council bylaws had failed to keep prostitutes out of the residential area…[he] plans to create another set of signs next week…

Held Together With Lies (TW3 #14)

Even with new and vastly-broadened definitions, UNODC still only claims that “40,000 people…came into contact with the authorities as trafficking victims in 2012”, very similar to the 24,000 it claimed had been “rescued” last year.  Is anyone seeing a pattern here?

First They Came for the Hookers…

Lap dancing clubs could soon be banned in Glasgow under plans for a tough new licensing regime…new criteria for sexual ­entertainment venues…will allow councils…to set the number of sexual entertainment licences they permit…at zero.  Glasgow City Council has called for the power, which would effectively ban lap dancing bars in the city…Currently lap dancing clubs only need a public entertainment licence, which cannot take into ­account the type of entertainment being offered…

Because obviously, bans on stripping are always 100% effective.

Reframing

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #34)

The man in charge of tackling human trafficking and organised prostitution in Northern Ireland has come out against proposals to make it an offence to pay for sex…PSNI Detective Superintendent Philip Marshall has denied that human trafficking is a bigger problem here than elsewhere and revealed that men purchasing sex have sometimes reported human trafficking to the police…Lord Morrow has argued that similar legislation in Sweden led to a big decrease in human trafficking and street prostitution.  These assumptions have been challenged by DS Marshall, who…fears that Lord Morrow’s proposal would not help matters and would prevent men…reporting any suspicions they had…

Enough is Enough

The powerful story of a woman who understood the difference “between saving a life and prolonging a dying”:

My mother died shortly before her 85th birthday, in a quiet hospital room in Connecticut…She slept in her own bed until the night before…[and] was lucid and conscious to the end.  She avoided what most fear and many ultimately suffer:  dying mute, unconscious and “plugged into machines”…or…demented in a nursing home.  She died well because she was willing to die too soon rather than too late…

Poe Folks

Jemima ably mocks a recent anti-whore article by casting it as self-parody:

The New Statesman isn’t known for its sense of humour so it was a great surprise to see this amazing parody piece by Sarah Ditum  showing other journalists how not to write about…sex workers.  First…she shows how [headlines] can set the entire tone for a piece, cleverly creating straw man questions:  Can a feminist ever support the sex industry? followed by insinuations about the mental state of any sex worker with…what kind of society is it that makes that a rational choice for women? Fabulously done, a question that is meaningless…[followed by] a “have you stopped beating your wife yet” question…The Two Paths

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #38)

Criminalizing things makes them magically vanish!

Switzerland has raised the legal age of prostitution…[to fall] in line with an international convention it signed in 2010…it [is now] a criminal act to pay for sex with anyone who is under 18…[instead of] 16…People who pay for sex with [illegal workers or look at pictures of them]…face up to three years in prison…brothels or escort services that hire anyone under 18 could face up to 10 years…

The Public Eye (TW3 #49)

Here’s a long-form review of American Courtesans by a marriage therapist:

American Courtesans [is] an invaluable resource for therapists, clients, sex workers…[and] the general public…it’s important to call attention to the sex-negative view our society holds…anyone who is open about their needs, desires…and…sex can become a target for judgment, criticism, and even violence…Society wants to “invisibilize” these needs and desires and sex work makes them explicit…

Dirty Laundry (TW3 #135)

Sadistic Irish judges apparently think it’s funny to rob sex workers and give their money to an organization dedicated to destroying their entire profession: “Two Romanian nationals have been given custodial sentences after gardai raided a brothel…A substantial amount of cash was seized…along with paraphernalia linked to prostitution…Judge Conal Gibbons…instructed that the money…be donated to Ruhama…

An Ounce of Prevention (TW3 #312)

An HIV vaccine created by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University may be able to completely wipe out the…virus from the body…[it] is being tested…in monkeys [and] researchers hope…[it] will soon be able to be tested in humans…The approach uses cytomegalovirus, or CMV…a common virus…carried by a large percentage of the population…researchers found…infected cells were sought out and destroyed…

Real People (TW3 #316)Fish Girl

Here’s a nice little profile of Siouxsie Q of The WhoreCast, who’s currently performing in a play she wrote called Fish Girl (in which she portrays a mermaid).  The article also mentions the legal difficulties to which I alluded in the last paragraph of “The Free Speech Mafia”.

An Example to the West (TW3 #316)

Sex workers in Jamaica gathered…to demand rights, respect and dignity…the Caribbean Sex Workers Collective are ‘advocating for equal rights, and an end to stigma and discrimination’…

Policing for Profit

Sam Leino was ultimately convicted on a single charge of possessing prescription drugs…For that, his wife and their three children are homeless…“the Philadelphia DA has made civil forfeiture into a vast, unaudited revenue stream, profiting from an upside-down legal process through which the DA has the power to bleed property owners dry of financial resources…with minimal or no evidence of criminal wrongdoing”…Because the owner of a piece of property…needn’t even be charged…the Leinos had already lost their home by the time Sam Leino was convicted…In fact, the government can actually freeze your assets before any proceedings begin, making it difficult to hire legal representation for either your criminal trial, or to…reclaim your property.  In this case, the Philadelphia DA’s office actually evicted…[the family] from their home…The office…eventually withdrew the claim…[because] the family had fallen behind on their mortgage payments and the bank foreclosed, meaning that the home was no longer theirs for the government to take…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes

After publishers of Front, Nuts, Zoo and the Sunday Sport…refused to put their titles into sealed modesty bags, the Co-op has [announced it]…will no longer stock those titles.  It is unclear which lads’ mags will remain on the shelves in modesty bags – but…(physical) lad’s mag sales were falling anyway…if major retailers were making the money they used to from carrying the magazines, this campaign wouldn’t have had any traction at all…[model] Jodie Marsh blasted the Co-op’s decision on Twitter, suggesting that the groups involved with the campaign to ban lad’s mags “need to turn their attentions to areas where women really need help”…

Whatever They Need To Say (TW3 #336)vandalized brothel

The outrage continues in Bangladesh:

Hundreds of Islamists  vandalized and looted  a 250-year-old brothel in…Madaripur…and…threatened to harm the remaining workers further if they did not leave the area…the local leaders of both main political parties…are not only competing to buy Muslims’ votes…but are also interested in ejecting the sex workers from the downtown area in order to seize the valuable two-acre lot…

And to add insult to injury:

The…attack…rendered at least 500 sex workers shelterless…the infirmaries in the district refuse them essential treatments…[after] the attackers…warned the hospital authorities not to give [them] any healthcare…Some of them have had their ears and noses cut when attackers whisked their ornaments away…The attack…was a clear violation of a High Court order…Mahmuda Akhter – district Women Affairs Officer – was tasked with investigation into the incident, but…allegedly joined hands with the attackers…[saying] “I am with the majority.  No one wants a brothel in the city centre”…

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Sex workers consider the promotion of the Swedish model and other forms of criminalization not just part of an ongoing “debate” on sex work, but a matter of life and death.  -  Melissa Gira Grant

John Wesley HawkinsLicense To Rape

A West Virginia sheriff raped a teenager and sodomized her with a cucumber, threatened to kill her if she told, and subjected at least five other women to forced sex, at least once in a courthouse…Brittany Mae Keene sued Barbour County Sheriff John Wesley Hawkins and the Barbour County Commission…[who] essentially let Hawkins conduct a reign of sexual terror against women in his custody…”  Hawkins’ victims ranged in age from 16 to 19.

Cops and Condoms (February Updates)

A [Polish] prostitute with HIV has been arrested for…having unprotected sex with clients [although]…she knew she was HIV positive…Fellow sex workers tipped off cops about the woman over fears that her actions would give prostitutes a bad [name].  But officers only arrested her after two of her clients came forward and admitted they had tested positive for HIV…

Election Day (February Updates)

Kristin Davis is running for office again, this time for New York City comptroller against her old client Eliot Spitzer.  She was interviewed in The National Review  by Charles Cooke (himself an advocate of legalization), and though she claims to be a libertarian she also seems to be advocating the sort of avails and bawdy house laws which may soon be struck down in Canada because they endanger sex workers.  Every time she opens her mouth, she reaffirms her membership in my Hall of Shame.

Subtle Pimping

LupaThe law doesn’t care if you profit from sex workers, as long as you don’t have any direct contact or actually help us in any way.  In a new French video game players manipulate a cartoonish, stereotyped streetwalker who must make $150,000 to “escape her pimp” by performing fake orgasm sounds into a microphone and avoiding hazards like cops and STDs (no skill involved in the latter because whores are just stupid victims of fate).  The writer of the linked review also profits by using various prohibitionist tropes to save himself the effort of original thought.

Public Service Announcement

Anthony Weiner found himself caught in another sexting scandal…like the one that destroyed his congressional career, but…won’t drop out of the race for mayor of New York…Weiner admitted sending a woman sexually explicit photos and messages…more than a year after he resigned from the House in disgrace for the same sort of behavior…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (July Updates)

Another example of cops’ filthy efforts to subvert the means by which sex workers attract business and keep ourselves safe:  “…a Long Island couple [was arrested for]…running an international escort service called Aphrodite Companions…Vincent and Melissa Lombardo…are currently being held without bond…the only basis…was…postings on…The Erotic Review…Jeremy Moody

Counterfeit Comfort

A South Carolina man targeted a sex offender at random, killed him and his wife and later told deputies he planned to kill others on the state’s sex registry…Jeremy Moody and his wife, Christine, were arrested and charged with murder…Moody only knew 59-year-old Charles Parker in passing, but came to the mechanic’s…home…with plans to kill him…Surveillance cameras outside Parker’s home showed Moody and his wife driving up…and popping the hood on their car as if it wasn’t working…Gretchen Parker wasn’t specifically targeted, but was killed because she was in the house…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

UCLA researchers say sex addiction does not appear to be a disorder…Nicole Prause and her colleagues monitored…volunteers’ brains while showing them erotic images.  “If they indeed suffer from hypersexuality…their brain response to visual sexual stimuli could be expected to be higher, in much the same way that the brains of cocaine addicts have been shown to react to images of the drug”…Prause…thinks that so-called sex rehabs should be examined…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Unlearning LibertyTwo readers sent presents for my thirdAbsolutely Mad anniversary (they arrived while I was in Las Vegas, so I didn’t know about them until after I got home last Sunday):  Kevin Wilson sent Unlearning Liberty, and Krulac sent Absolutely Mad and Blak and Blu.  Thanks so very much to both of you!

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A Broker in Pillage

Make a note of this one, because you won’t often see a judge side with a sex worker against cops:

A federal judge has ruled that Nebraska cops must return over $1 million confiscated at a traffic stop from a woman who saved the money $1 at a time during her 15 year career as an exotic dancer…Tara Mishra, 33…began putting aside her earnings when she started dancing at age 18…to start her business and get out of…stripping…State troopers confiscated the money in March 2012 when they pulled over Rajesh and Marina Dheri…[who] had been given the cash so they could buy a nightclub in New Jersey.  Mishra would own half of the business and the Dheris would own the other half…police did not find any evidence of drug activity…and…analysis found only trace elements of illegal drugs on the cash…[the judge] ordered that Mishra receive cash or a check in the value of $1,074,000 with interest.

Welcome To Our World (TW3 #15)

Another supposed “victim” is caged to force her cooperation in the state’s ugly little morality play:  “[An Illinois] woman who claims she was forced to work as a prostitute for her boyfriend remains held…without…bail because she is considered a flight risk and might not return to testify in her boyfriend’s trial…

End Demand

Though the story is somewhat amusing, note that “end demand” policies turn innocent whores into unwilling Judas goats:  “A man caught with a prostitute in his car told police she was there to show him where to buy tomatoes…officers found the [known sex worker] sitting inside Muhammad Ikhlaq’s car while he withdrew £20 from a cash machine, which he said was to pay for tomatoes…

Unclean Situation

The Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, and Good Shepherd Sisters will not apologise to survivors of the Magdalene laundries…Neither will [they] make a financial contribution to the Government’s reparations scheme…Co-operation voluntarily given does not compel the nuns in any legal sense.  Their negative response invalidates the Government’s assertion that survivors are being afforded restorative justice.  There is no justice without the nuns’ apologyPrint and/or financial reparation…the orders expect an amnesty for gross human rights violations…

Lest you forget, these same orders still receive tremendous amounts of aid and political support from the Irish government for their anti-whore scheme Ruhama.

No Friend of Ours

Just in case you think it’s only Las Vegas “authorities” who hate whores so much they’re willing to make themselves look like idiots by parroting ludicrous prohibitionist drivel, here’s an unusually-ridiculous example from Reno:

An increasing number of the young women…began working as prostitutes while in their teens.  They are manipulated by men who control every aspect of their lives…Some girls are branded – or tattooed – with their pimp’s name…others are forced to perform while their children are held ransom, usually at gunpoint…Girls as young as 11 are being exploited…the average age…is 14…Since 2002, the FBI and local law enforcement agencies have rescued about 100 children identified as possible victims of juvenile sex trafficking…That number does not include the adult women being trafficked, which experts say would be impossible to produce because many women don’t acknowledge that they are under the control of a pimp…[Ron] Chalmers heads the…[police division] that focuses on these types of crimes…about 10 years ago, the women arrested…were generally in their 30s to 40s [and] were drug addicts, he said.  But today, the prostitution demographics are completely different…They’re much younger than they used to be, he said…”A significant number of what we see, 80 to 90%, are being exploited – forced into the lifestyle”…

You may remember that the claims made in the “Satanic Panic” similarly became much more extreme, bizarre and demonstrably false as the hysteria drew closer to the point of implosion.  That last bit is more than just Maslow’s Hammer at work; it’s an example of the incredible mathematical and sociological illiteracy of hysterics.  Whenever a person tells you there’s been a major demographic shift in any human behavior in only one decade – from nearly nothing to “80 or 90%” -  it’s a safe bet the speaker is an imbecile who is incapable of considering even rudimentary thought experiments like “where did all the old ones go?”  We see the same principle at work under the Swedish model, which claims to have dramatically decreased the number of men who have ever paid for sex.

Banishment

The sex workers in the Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (SNapCO), the Atlanta group which defeated the proposal to banish arrested sex workers from the city, need to get control of their “allies”; not only is the group supporting involuntary diversion programs, its spokeswoman Misty Novitch is belching up the “average debut at thirteen” myth for the media.

It Looks Good On Paper (TW3 #311)

Yet another religiously-based “diversion program” chock full of prohibitionist rhetoric which claims to “help” streetwalkers while refusing to question the justice of the laws by which cops repeatedly victimize them:  “Prostituted women” were all sexually abused as children, pimps give us drugs to control us, blah blah blah blah blah…sauna raid

Across the Pond (TW3 #324)

Council bosses have [suspended] half a dozen [Edinburgh sauna] licences following a string of police raids…[in] a radical shift from the typically pragmatic approach to prostitution which…[kept] sex workers safer and off the streets…Peter Donoghue, 69, a former sauna operator…said:  “It was a lot of nonsense. Some girls have worked at the saunas for ten or 12 years. They’ll simply work for escort agencies instead. We’re going to appeal, but I don’t believe we have a chance”…

Hussies

Save the children and the poor, innocent men from evil harlots!

[Kenyan] women…accused commercial sex workers of invading the town and “stealing” their men…[they] are planning to drive the twilight girls out claiming they are spreading sexually transmitted diseases.  The women said the sex workers have taken their men and they are left cold and lonely on their marital beds…sex workers who dress scantily have created a brothel…where secondary school and university students go for cheap sex instead of concentrating on their studies…even primary school children have fallen into the traps…

Rubbing Elbows

A 17-year-old journalism intern’s impressions of the Desiree Conference:

I was a bit timid about the idea of going into a conference that was specifically about sex, but my passion against human trafficking led me to go…with…my mom…When I entered…I was…greeted by a woman with such a cheerful presence and smile, that it put me off guard.  In fact, this was the common air of everyone there:  happiness.  Everywhere I looked I found people wearing bright colors, hugging, laughing, and enjoying themselves.  I initially thought that at a Sex Worker’s Conference that it was going to be the exact opposite.  I was expecting victims — people just out of the Taken film, tears that warned of a gruesome past, and consoling. There was none of that in sight.  The media and society has always presented the sex industry as this taboo area…where [the] only people who were in this profession were forced to be…

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine (TW3 #329)

Caty Simon of Tits and Sass interviewed Kemal Ayrikotu of the Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association on the cultural background to the murder of Dora Oezer; Ayrikotu discusses the lack of rights for both sex workers and transgenders, and criticizes LGBT activists who wish to stress that Dora was a transwoman while ignoring that she was a whore (despite the two being nearly synonymous in Turkey).  Meanwhile, Melissa Gira Grant wrote on the protests for both Dora and Jasmine:  “If you passed by the Turkish or Swedish consulates in New York on [July 19th], you may have seen…sex workers and their supporters holding red umbrellas…the…action accompanied rallies in 36 cities and on four continents…demanding an end to the stigma and violence against sex workers’ communities…

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We need to listen to [sex workers]…rather than feeling sorry for them…and then actually take what they say seriously.  -  Jeanett Bjønness

Japanese Prostitution

Japanese cops’ increasing adoption of American whore-harassing tactics is extremely troubling: “Tokyo Metropolitan Police…cracked down on a prostitution club…specializing in senior citizens…Officers arrested the 63-year-old manager of club Silk…and one other employee for dispatching a woman, 64, to…an 82-year-old man…”  That’s right, Japanese cops now think persecuting old people for consensual sex is an appropriate use of resources.pearl clutching

Welcome To Our World

Pearl-clutching, bigoted prudery is especially revolting in young men:

There’s a brand new, ultra-creepy fad in China…”Increasing numbers of adults have been hiring wet nurses so they can consume breast milk for its nutritional value”…it’s revolting.  Everything about this scenario should appall the reader, from the very idea of an adult suckling from another adult to the possibility that someone should be so desperate for money that they have to sell their services in this manner.  It’s every bit as wrong as prostitution…

Actually, I agree with his last sentence 100%; it’s exactly as wrong as prostitution, which is to say not at all.

Shifting the Blame

There was a somewhat uneven piece in the New York Times last week; on the one hand, it portrays the victims of the Long Island Killer as individual women, correctly names many of the reasons women do sex work and (best of all) recognizes that “Escorts face danger not because of the Internet but because they’re still forced to work underground.”  But on the other hand, it does not quote even a single sex worker activist, yet does refer to the questionable ideas of Scott “Women Never Lie About their Weight or Take Out Multiple Ads” Cunningham (including his stunningly stupid belief that before the internet most whores were streetwalkers, and his unsupported and false belief that there are more of us now than in the 1990s).  After I mentioned my problems with the piece on Twitter, author Robert Kolker contacted me and I expressed my concerns; it turns out he did interview several activists, but didn’t realize that not specifically quoting them would be perceived as a slight.  His publisher is also sending me an advance copy of his book about the murders, Lost Girls; I’ll let y’all know what I think about it.

Feminine Pragmatism

Wow, what a surprise!

…Jeanett Bjønness of Aarhus University…interviewed 40 Danish women who sell sex on the streets, and it turns out that the women do not regard their sex trading as the biggest problem in their lives…”Sex trading…is perceived as a solution to some problems,” says Bjønness…the people whose job it is to help sex workers…[regard] the women as victims.  This rigid view…has the consequence that the women feel walked over, because they do not see themselves as victims…[but rather] as independent women who make rational choices based on the options available to them…

See how easy it is when you actually bother to TALK to us?

Something Rotten in Sweden (July Updates, Part One)Casey the Rabbit

Wendy McElroy on the government’s attempts to exert total control by regulating even the smallest economic activity:

…[In his act] a magician named Marty Hahne…pulls a three-pound rabbit out of a top hat…“I just received an 8-page letter from the USDA, telling me that by July 29 I need to have in place a written disaster plan, detailing all the steps I would take to help get my rabbit through a disaster, such as a tornado, fire, flood, etc.”  Hahne and his wife must be specially trained to implement the rabbit plan, which USDA inspectors will review…new [EPA] regulations define ditches, gullies and other property features that catch water as part of America’s navigable waterways under the Clean Water Act…the EPA…would become the de facto  owner of people’s ditches and gullies…The Lemonade Freedom  group knows that the ridiculous regulations need to be taken seriously…the group…[protests] police actions…to close down children’s lemonade stands…

Size Matters

Yes, this is in the United States, a country which supposedly guarantees freedom of religion:

Pahokee [Florida] residents, church members, and pastors are outraged over…the…first Lake Okeechobee Summer Solstice Festival…The crowd cheered in agreement as…pastors from around the area admonished city officials for allowing festivals containing witchcraft and occult practices into the city…“We are opening ourselves up to things we should not, like belly dancing and magic spells,” said Daniel Mondragon…“God cannot heal our land if we have witches and warlocks violating our community,” said Evangelist Lillian Brown…

Schadenfreude

White saviors go on a fun trip to Asia, where they “rescue” brown urchins by teaching them to sew, wait table and draw with crayons:

Destiny Rescue, an organization whose mission is to rescue sexually exploited children…hunts through Cambodia and Thailand to find these girls…Indiana State University graduate students played with the rescued girls, visited the sex tourism capital of the world and wondered at the hope with which victims create new lives…More than 2 million children are forced into the sex trade every year, according to the 2012 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report…Destiny Rescue is…[addressing] the problem….by…training in jewelry making, sewing, working in a café, hair dressing or pursuing an education…Vanessa Granger-Belcher…led the girls through an art activity…in which they drew pictures of their dreams for their lives…

It may amuse you to know that most UN agencies estimate the “annual flow of trafficked people” of all ages into all industries at 0.5 – 1.9 million people, of which 2 million are supposedly “sex trafficked children”.  Perhaps the UN should start hiring people with at least 3rd-grade math skills.

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received The Sexual History of London from Sasha and Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop from Kevin Wilson.  Thank you both very much!

The Immunity Syndrome

As I’ve mentioned before, teens who make “virginity pledges” are much more likely than others to engage in anal sex in order to remain what we used to call “technical virgins”.  The hilarious Garfunkel and Oates have written a song about it; if you enjoy it, you may also like their earlier lampoon of Christian anti-sex weirdness, “Sex With Ducks”.

Subtle Pimping (TW3 #13)

In Michelle Visage’s Hooker Makeover, a judge from RuPaul’s Drag Race and her drag queen sidekick turn ordinary women into cartoonish streetwalker stereotypes.  Visage was at first defensive when confronted with this on Twitter last Sunday, but within hours she issued a public apology and announced that the show would be cancelled.  It’s good to know that at least some people really are listening.

Ruined Maids

Regular reader Isolde Holland discovered this poem and shared it with me:

An Old Whorehouse by Mary Oliver (born 1935)

We climbed through a broken window,
walked through every room.

Out of business for years,
the mattresses held only

rainwater, and one
woman’s black shoe. Downstairs

spiders had wrapped up
the crystal chandelier.

A cracked cup lay in the sink.
But we were fourteen,

and no way dust could hide
the expected glamour from us,

or teach us anything.
We whispered, we imagined.

It would be years before
we’d learn how effortlessly

sin blooms, then softens,
like any bed of flowers.

Little Boxes

A Chinese court has declared that “happy endings” aren’t prostitution:

…in July 2011…a massage parlour owner and two associates were arrested…for “organising prostitution”…and…handed a five-year sentence…But [in] appeal…the defendants were found “not criminally responsible” and…acquitted due to “unclear facts and improper application of the law”.  The court said manual stimulation did not belong in the realm of prostitution…

Naked Truth
Unsurprisingly, the cops insist that they know the law better than judges.

First They Came for the Hookers

Dr. Marty Klein’s review of Dr. Judith Hanna’s book Naked Truth: Strip Clubs, Democracy, And A Christian Right discusses the war against strip clubs we’ve mentioned so many times before, and the book itself debunks the usual mythology about “negative secondary effects”, “sex trafficking”, etc. I do have to wonder if Hanna ignores the neofeminist contribution as Klein does in his book, though.

Check Your Premises (TW3 #26)

Ohio wants to criminalize obtaining clear consent:

…the Ohio House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill ostensibly aimed at fighting “human trafficking” that makes it a crime to “solicit” a legal act:  sex with someone who is 16 or 17 years old.  The age of consent in Ohio is 16.  Yet under H.B. 130, a 20-year-old who asks a 16-year-old to have sex with him, or a 21-year-old who does the same with a 17-year-old, thereby commits a…felony…and…has to register as a sex offender.  But if the teenager broaches the subject, or if the sex proceeds without any explicit verbal reference to it, no crime has been committed…Having sex is fine, as long as you don’t talk about it beforehand… Legislators already define “human trafficking” broadly enough to include consensual sex…Now Ohio is poised to [add] merely talking about consensual sex…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #27)

Another small country stands up to American bullying:  “Cambodia…lashed out at the U.S. State Department for downgrading the country’s ranking in its annual report on human trafficking, saying cultural barriers were hampering government efforts to combat the problem…

Celebrities (TW3 #31)Anwar Al-Awlaki

The fact that the FBI thought a dude paying for sex was somehow noteworthy says a lot about the FBI.  The fact that CNN misunderstands what the newsworthy aspect of this is says even more about CNN.

In the months after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, FBI agents conducted surveillance of…Anwar al-Awlaki and uncovered detailed information about his…use of prostitutes…Al-Awlaki lived in a Washington suburb at the time…he visited prostitutes at least seven times and paid up to $400 for sex…[for] a total of $2,320 …agents interviewed the escorts, obtained detailed information about the encounters, and…even reviewed the possible legal charges that might be brought against him…

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #49)

This article is a few months old, but its hysterical pearl-clutching is so hilarious I just had to share it:

If you think the wait to find out if your kids got the…results needed to get into uni is stressful, dream on…It’s what happens next that you REALLY should be worrying about…Darling Daughter could easily end up hawking her body to keep her university finances afloat…poverty is pushing students to sell their souls and get jobs in the sex trade.  Six per cent could be working as lap-dancers, strippers, escorts or prostitutes to pay their way through studies.  Yet more could be manning sex chat-lines…the sex industry is a dark, grubby scene that irrevocably changes people on the inside…No degree is worth it…

So either Jo Davison is speaking from personal experience, or she’s a bigoted ignoramus.  Which is it, Jo?  Do tell.

Uncharted Seas (TW3 #316)

Another mainstream pro-polygamy article, in The Economist no less:

…DOMA was struck down in no small part because it picks out a certain class of people and, by denying them recognition of their marriages, denies their families equal freedom and dignity.  Can it be denied that polygamous families, whose marital arrangements are illegal, much less unrecognized, are denied equal liberty and are made to suffer the indignity [of] active discrimination?…If the state lacks a legitimate rationale for imposing on Americans a heterosexual definition of marriage, it seems pretty likely that it likewise lacks a legitimate rationale for imposing on Americans a monogamous definition of marriage…

True Colors (TW3 #323)

Activist Ye Haiyan…was released from 13 days of detention on June 12 after she scared off three trespassers to her home…Ye first became famous in 2005, when she posted a nude photo of herself online. Under the pen name Hooligan Swallow, Ye raised eyebrows with her bold articles on sex.  But she really caught the public’s attention in 2010 when the…NGO she set up…[called] for the legalisation of prostitution…”Pushing for [this]…contradicts the government’s ideology,” she said. “The government does not wish to see this topic being promoted and the mainland media are banned from discussing it”…

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Images are the brood of desire.  -  George Eliot

What seems like a straightforward news article can often reveal hidden depths when examined critically by an informed mind; the biases, knowledge gaps and outright lies of both the author and the interviewees then stand out in sharp relief, like a computer-enhanced photo of the Earth taken from a satellite.  Many of you probably saw this item about the decline of Nevada brothels, but let’s apply some image enhancement to the picture:

…As state legislators ponder levying an 8% sales tax on brothels and other live entertainment, the director of the Nevada Brothel Association says that a bad economy and an abundance of illegal prostitutes is already killing off the business.  “When I started as the lobbyist for the industry in 1985, we had 37 brothels in the state,” [said] George Flint…“Now we have just 18, and 12 to 14 of them are not doing very well”…Since the recession…many women [have gone] into business for themselves so as to avoid handing over 50 percent of their fee to brothel owners.

Nevada enhanced satellite imageThere’s so much more to see in this short paragraph than meets the uninformed and uncritical eye; let’s take it in order of appearance.  First, it’s interesting that brothel owners are complaining about plans to tax them when they themselves agitated in favor of it for years, because they recognize that once a government becomes used to income from an industry it will generally work to build up that industry in order to increase revenues.  So I suspect Flint’s complaint is just poor-mouthing intended to set up some request for concessions to the brothel industry or a crackdown on independent operators; despite his claim that it’s the economy which has hurt the brothels, the fact of the matter is that it’s a combination of the internet and women’s social progress.  Since 1985, the average American woman’s opportunity cost has risen due to increased education and removal of impediments to employment, and it has been demonstrated that women of higher opportunity cost prefer to work illegally rather than submitting to the relatively exploitative conditions in Nevada brothels.  The internet then made it much easier for women to make that choice, and so they have; only a hopeless lawhead could fail to understand that arbitrary “legality” is very far down the list of factors  used by the typical woman when considering her means of survival.

As a result…prices for sex have fallen.  “Instead of paying $400…these guys can now go out and get the same service for a third of the money,” Flint said.

This is an outright lie, as any man who has ever hired an escort in Vegas will tell you.  I don’t know if even the streetwalkers there can be hired for $130, much less an escort, and to pretend that’s the “same service” one receives from a brothel is more like something one might expect to hear from a prohibitionist (in close proximity to phrases like “selling her body” and “prostituted woman”).

State officials estimate that there are some 30,000 sex workers just in Las Vegas…“Look in the phone book, there are what, 100 pages for nude dancers who’ll come to your hotel room?” Flint said.  “The big hotels have their own girls.  The strip clubs have upstairs rooms.  You have a variety of different levels of prostitution in Vegas.”  With those many layers, the city has no shortage of problems, from violent pimps to the proliferation of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.  “Since 1987, we’ve never had a single woman test positive for HIV who worked in a brothel,” Flint said.

Las Vegas StripI probably don’t need to remind you that whores are not a significant vector for any STI anywhere in the developed world, but you may not realize that the invasive, degrading weekly disease checks required by Nevada law are one of the reasons so many women prefer to work independently or for escort service owners who treat them like adults capable of taking care of their own health.  I’ve also previously addressed the “violent pimp” propaganda and explained how politicians and brothel owners spread it in order to maintain public support for the status quo, but of course that’s not how they spin it:

PPP poll conducted in 2012 found that 66% of Nevada residents believed that brothels should be legal across the state.  Few politicians, however, have shown the political will to take on the issue.  “My constituents are not ready for it,” former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman…[said] in 2011.  “They are always ready to have a good discussion because they are smart people, but they are not ready to legalize prostitution because they have moral objections.”

We’ll pause for a few moments here so everyone can finish laughing at the idea that the majority of Las Vegas residents have “moral objections” to vice businesses, and to give y’all time to clean the coffee off of your monitor screens.

Barring a sudden economic turnaround or what he sees as an unlikely political awakening, Flint sees continued trouble for the brothel industry.  “I’m an optimistic guy, but I’m not optimistic that this business will bounce back very quickly,” Flint said.

This is the only wholly truthful statement Flint made in the whole article.  As an officially-sanctioned but ersatz replacement for escorts, the brothel industry is doomed; its only hope is gentrification, the transformation of brothels into attractive resorts to which men can take their friends, clients or open-minded wives, places which can offer an experience not available in a hotel room or even a typical incall.  When in the 1970s and ‘80s strip clubs went from being seedy dives to upscale gentlemen’s clubs, everyone benefitted except the prohibitionists (who had to invent the myth of “negative secondary effects” to shore up their “sin and degradation” catechism); the same thing will happen as Americans lose their ignorance-spawned fear of bordellos.  Here’s some free advice, Nevada brothel owners:  stop getting in bed with the prohibitionists and instead work toward decriminalization and eradicating stigma.  Then you can invest in turning your businesses into showplaces and possibly even franchise operations, and you’ll make more money than you ever did catering to guys who were just too scared to call “illegal” hookers to come to them.

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Feminism still feels like someone rescuing me from the patriarchy so that I may be told what to do by “sisters” who need to get their opinions out of my knickers.  -  Sarah Woolley

Lack of Evidence

The Fourth District Court of Appeal…deemed West Palm Beach’s “loitering with intent to commit prostitution” ordinance unconstitutional…[because it was] “overbroad and vague”   It… cited a 1993 Florida Supreme Court ruling [striking down]…a similar law [in Tampa for discriminating]…against previously convicted prostitutes.  [The earlier decision stated that]…“All Florida citizens enjoy the inherent right to window shop, saunter down a sidewalk, and wave to friends and passerby with no fear of arrest”…

Meanwhile, in California, “Two women suspected of loitering with the intent to commit prostitution were arrested at a Burbank hotel…after officers reportedly discovered incriminating text messages, condoms and oils in their possession…

Check Your Premises

…Baltimore City police officer [Lamin Manneh]…and his…wife [Marissa Braun were]…charged with human trafficking…19-year-old [Braun was caught in a sting]…and…investigators charged the pair with human trafficking because Braun looked so young…”  You read that correctly; she’s been charged with “trafficking” herself.RedTraSex street art

Feminine Pragmatism

Justice minister Francisco Dominguez’s warning…that…men…who seek [paid] sex…will be…[prosecuted] has roiled [Dominican] workers… “There are customers who’ve called us to tell us that they won’t come”…said Carla Matos…who…said she had to become a prostitute…to raise her children…”What we’ll have to do in a couple of days will be to go out and rob and kill people, because imagine, we can’t do nothing else.  I will not let my children starve,” [Jennifer] Paniagua said.

The Prudish Giant

From the “progressive” Huffington Post:

Not only is “prostitution” a tagged skill you can select on LinkedIn, there are actually escorts who advertise their services [there]…[but] LinkedIn…now explicitly bans escorts from using the site…The new user agreement states that you must not:  “Create profiles or provide content that promotes escort services or prostitution” even if [they are] legal where you live…Not only can you list “prostitution” as a skill, you can list a whole lot of other unsavory skills like “rape,” “shoplifting,” “gangs,” “manslaughter,” and “drug trafficking”…

Yes, the writer did seriously equate consensual sex with rape and murder.  Dr. Brooke Magnanti comments on the absurdity and futility of the whole thing.

An Angel of Mercy

Shona Langley, a street sex worker support officer, and Charlotte Crossland, a harm reduction nurse…[work for] the Harm Reduction project…[in] Lancashire…twice a week…they load their van with…condoms, panic alarms, needles and bank note checker pens, while Charlotte offers Hepatitis B and other vaccinations…[and] treatment for minor health issues…Shona said:  “We don’t judge.  We are not here to criticise or bully them into stopping what they do”…

Scapegoats

[David Beckman of Illinois]…faces a charge of misdemeanor animal cruelty after police said he sexually abused his pet peacock…police learned the bird died while they were investigating Beckman about an alleged case of indecent solicitation of a child…

jelly wrestlingObjectification Overruled

Feminists at Cambridge University lead such privileged, unchallenging lives that they imagine jelly wrestling (girls grappling in gelatin in front of male spectators) has “a significant role to play in the degradation and abuse of women,” and imagine they’ve won a great victory for womankind via a petition which caused the event to be cancelled.  Sarah Woolley explains why this is pure bollocks:

…”objectification” is a herd word used by women who can rarely recall the name of their last waitress…If a person sees a woman arse-deep in jelly and regards her as subhuman because of it, then that shit is on them…it takes more than nudity to cancel out a man’s regard for a woman as a human being.  There will be misogynists in any crowd but –newsflash- a true woman hater will dehumanise you no matter how you behave or what you wear…Cambridge feminists …[are affiliated] with Object…a group known for lobbying against sex worker rights and for spreading irresponsible misinformation -particularly the fantasy that the Olympics would usher in an “explosion of prostitution.”  Also on the list is “Smash Miss Contest”  who “set off stink bombs”…at beauty pageants…

Worms in the Apple

New York City’s wallowing in the “end demand” sewer produced this grotesque display of political pandering:

…mayoral candidates…argued for tougher penalties.  Joseph J. Lhota…[called] for “a john list every day in the newspaper”…Adolfo Carrión Jr…went further, saying he would publish their license plate numbers…the moderator…took note of Edward I. Koch’s controversial directive…to read the names of convicted male customers on air…Christine C. Quinn…said she disagreed with publicizing the names…[but] favored an “incredibly effective” program in Brooklyn…that forces “johns” to sit through a program intended to deter bad behavior…

And no, “john schools” are not “incredibly effective”.

Finding What Isn’t There

police admit they do not know the scale of trafficking in Victoria’s illegal brothels and cannot say how many…there are.  The cloak of anonymity and secrecy surrounding the industry makes it hard for police to investigate, Senior Sergeant Marilynn Ross told [a parliamentary] inquiry…”we suspect that in a small number of…licensed brothels human trafficking is occurring…on a…larger scale”…

Translation:  “There’s no evidence whatsoever and the real experts say otherwise, but this makes a perfect excuse to ask for more power to stick our noses into people’s private business.”

Whorearchy (TW3 #19)

Prostitutes helped clean up the streets of Murcia, Spain, in an effort to draw attention to…[a] proposed bylaw…aimed at curbing prostitution and sexual exploitation [which] would damage [their] livelihood…”We’ve spoken with neighbors and local business owners and…they’ve told us that there’s no problem as long as we follow some of the requests that they’ve made, such as sticking to a timetable and keeping the streets clean…That’s why we decided to hold a clean-up day.  We wanted to show that we…want to get on well with everyone”…

Worse Than I ThoughtTraffic in Souls

As I predicted, the cancer of incredibly-broad “sex trafficking” laws based on the CASE Act is spreading, now to Pennsylvania:

House Bill 663, which was unanimously passed 195-0…expands what the state considers “commercial sex acts” and raises the crime of buying or selling people for sex work from a third-degree to a…first-degree felony.  Under the new bill, the definition of commercial sex includes being forced to perform “any sexual activity…in which anything of value is given…or received”…

The bill’s sponsor complains that the “current law is vague”, but what he actually means is that it isn’t vague enough.

So Close and Yet So Far

Another would-be ally misses the bus by not bothering to check with sex workers first; though she makes several very good arguments against criminalization and recognizes from the title on that sex work is work, she also overestimates the role of pimps and the prevalence of street work, accepts the false “sex trafficking” dichotomy, supports regulation and licensing and ends by undermining her own argument with the typical mealy-mouthed disclaimer, “I am not endorsing the act of selling sex.”

Schadenfreude (TW3 #43)

Another rescue industry icon is exposed as a con artist:

Cecilia Flores-Oebanda has…become the face of the Philippines anti-trafficking movement…but now she is fighting a battle that could truly ruin her.  Fraud allegations made by Philippine investigators threaten to destroy her reputation and the anti-trafficking organization she’s run for more than two decades…

Nonetheless, the credulous CNN reporters spends about 95% of the story lauding her and repeating her bullshit stories, apparently forgetting about that word “fraud”.

Across the Pond (TW3 #45)

Scottish local governments seem unusually resistant to anti-sex business hype:

The owners of an over-21s nightclub in Inverness have been issued a licence to introduce lap dancing…Rhoda Grant…said…“The commodification of woman in society is damaging and I would have hoped the objections raised by the Highland Violence Against Women Strategy Group would have been listened to”…

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #131)Toru Hashimoto

A perfect demonstration of how the “sex trafficking” paradigm confuses those whose minds it pollutes:

…Osaka Mayor…Toru Hashimoto…told reporters…that Japan’s wartime sex slave system… “were necessary in order to provide relaxation for those brave soldiers who had been in the line of fire”…Hours later [he said]…he’d…told [U.S. military brass] that…there were legal facilities for releasing sexual energy, and that unless soldiers in Okinawa made more use of similar facilities, it would be difficult to control the sexual energy of the marines…

The media have conflated two totally different statements.  What Hashimoto said about military personnel needing whores is true and every experienced commander knows it, no matter what political crap the Pentagon may emit.  But that isn’t the same as his disgusting rationalization of the enslavement of the comfort women, who were neither professional sex workers nor volunteers.

Skin To Skin

A centre in Nuremberg is offering a course to sex industry professionals on how to cater to the sexual needs of disabled clients.  Those who complete training successfully attain a certificate in “sexual accompaniment and assistance”…

Comfort Zone

It’s great to see ever-larger numbers of academics openly declaring that the “trafficking” narrative is largely an excuse for restricting migration:

“anti-trafficking”…essentialises gender and childhood, it confuses and obfuscates, and…it…acts against the interests of many that it purports to serve…the state is directly and inescapably the source of vulnerability…those formally excluded are given…the right NOT to enter, to be protected from movement.  The [victim of "trafficking"]…is supposed to return home.  Indeed the narrative is that she wants to return home, and part of her innocence and victimhood is that she never wanted to move in the first place…immigration controls are claimed to be a mechanism of protection for migrants, rather than a mechanism of oppression…

And here’s a UN official on bogus data and bad definitions:

…data is often taken from methodologies that are not…estimates…media…have often reported that 79% of trafficking is for sexual exploitation, based on the “Global Report on Trafficking in Persons” by UNODC…[but] the data is of victims identified by state authorities and of convicted traffickers…The internationally recognized definition of human trafficking states the purpose of human trafficking is for exploitation…yet [it] is…equated with sex work or irregular…migration…as a result…data on trafficked persons almost exclusively focused on women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation…

Cops and Condoms (TW3 #313)

If we’re honest, many of us do see condoms as robbing us of pleasure, stealing some excitement and spontaneity…and dulling the intensity of sexuality…These factors are the primary reasons that still only 60 percent of teenagers claim to use condoms…[and] usage declines as people grow older.  The number one reason…is the reduction of pleasure…[but] criticism of the condom opens one to…demonization…Bill Gates’…plans to make a condom that “is felt to enhance pleasure”…came under ideological fireGawker called the argument that condoms reduce sensitivity one for “creeps” and “pervs,” while Popular Science reacted by concluding “men are idiots.”  Salon likened any criticism of the condom’s detrimental effect on sexuality to “whining“…

The Naked Anthropologist (TW3 #314)

The Proper Study (TW3 #319)

The feminist antiporn group Stop Porn Culture has sponsored a petition…to change the editorial board and title of Routledge’s forthcoming…publicationPorn Studies…Constance Penley…co-editor of The Feminist Porn Book…[said] “[The petition] reveals a total lack of understanding about academic freedom, academic integrity and the nature of scholarship…and…how desperate the antiporn people are to prevent any research being done that might not support their ideological position”…

Somewhere in the Middle

St. John’s, Newfoundland has just over 200,000 people, which means fewer than 100,000 males.  The escort interviewed for this article (“Iris”) says there are about 30 escorts working there full-time, and doing such good business travelling girls are stopping in as well.  Now, ask yourself:  is it credible that only about 14,000 of those men have ever paid, that the majority of those who did are now regulars and that those working girls are doing well on an average of 1 client per day?  Or is it more likely that the claim few men ever pay for sex is completely absurd?  As Iris said, “We wouldn’t be doing this well if your husbands and boyfriends and friends weren’t coming to see us.  It’s that simple.”

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