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Posts Tagged ‘France’

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

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

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

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

A False Dichotomy 

Another good essay from Belle Knox:

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

Rooted in Racism

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

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

Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong

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

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

Divided We Fall

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

Feet of Clay

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

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

True Colors

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

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

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

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

Broken Record

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

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

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

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

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

Under Every Bed

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

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

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #314) 

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

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

I Saw My Brain

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

Micromanagement

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

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

One Born Every Minute (TW3 #338)

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

Traffic Jam (TW3 #343)

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

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

Crumbling House

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

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #349)

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

Surplus Women (TW3 #413)

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

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

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #415)

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

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

Bad Girls Andrea Alvira

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

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

Grow the Hell Up!

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

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

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

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

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

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

Forward and Backward (TW3 #4)

An unusually-sensible attitude for a politician:

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

Above the Law  

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

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

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

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

Traffic Jam (TW3 #21)

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

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

Feet of Clay (TW3 #22)

Following in the illustrious footsteps of Lauren Hersh:

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

Above the Law (TW3 #28) Jeffrey Holmes

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

The Public Eye

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

Where Are the Protests? (TW3 #48)

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

Caring Professionals

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

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

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

Traffic Jam (TW3 #321)

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

Shame, Shame (TW3 #348)

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

Subtle Pimping (TW3 #403)

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

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

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #405)

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

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

Drawing Lines

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

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

The Sky is Falling! (TW3 #413)

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

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

Deafening Silence (TW3 #413)

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

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

Whither Canada? (TW3 #413) 

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

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

Whither Canada? (TW3 #414) 

Boo fucking hoo:

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

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

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Impenetrable in their dissimulation, cruel in their vengeance, tenacious in their purposes, unscrupulous as to their methods, animated by profound and hidden hatred for the tyranny of man…  -  Denis Diderot, “On Women”

As I have written on numerous occasions, the fallacious notion of the prostitute as a specific type of woman, with characteristics that set her apart from all other women, is a relatively recent one.  Prior to the mid-19th century it was widely understood that transactional sex was a normal female behavior, one that any woman might engage in under the proper circumstances.  This is not to say that it was accepted and condoned; far from it.  But nobody imagined that a woman was entirely defined by the act, either, nor embraced the foolish fantasy that only women of a certain background or experience made the choice.  I have also often pointed out that women are far more pragmatic than men like to believe; many if not most of us, even those from relatively sheltered lives, are perfectly capable of trading sex for money or other advantages should the need arise.

Jeanne de ClissonCase in point Jeanne-Louise de Belleville, Dame de Montaigu, born in 1300 to the powerful Breton nobleman Maurice IV of Belleville-Montaigu and his wife Létice de Parthenay.  She was married off at the age of 12 to a 19-year-old nobleman named Geoffrey de Châteaubriant and bore him two children.  Geoffrey died young in 1326, and four years later she married Olivier III de Clisson, bearing him five children.  But while her first marriage seems to have been a typical one, the second one was unusually passionate for a 14th-century noble couple.  The two were extremely close, and Jeanne was very devoted to him…so devoted, in fact, that what would have been the easy and unremarkable life of a wealthy French noblewoman became remarkable indeed after her husband was executed for treason in 1343.

It happened like this:  in the early part of the Hundred Years War, there were two rival claimants for the title of Duke of Brittany; Charles de Blois was favored by the French and John de Montfort by the English.  Olivier was on the French side, but after he lost Vannes to the English in 1342, de Blois complained that Olivier had not fought enthusiastically enough, and accused him of having defected to the English.  Olivier responded, predictably enough, by defecting to the English, but was captured by French forces and beheaded by order of King Philip VI on August 2nd, 1343; in a particularly barbaric touch, his severed head was then displayed on a pole at Nantes.  Jeanne was devastated by his death and furious at the King and de Blois, and swore revenge on both.  But while a lesser woman might’ve been content with cursing them from afar, spreading rumors or bribing someone to poison the royal wine, Jeanne was no ordinary woman.  She promptly sold off all of the Clisson lands the King had not seized, purchased the three best warships she could find, and had them painted black and rigged with sails dyed blood-red.  To raise money for a crew and to win allies from amongst the other Breton noblemen (who were none too fond of the French to start with), she sold her favors to them and charmed them into swearing to support her.  Keep in mind she was 43 years old at the time, had borne seven children and presumably had only been to bed with two men before this; she must have had a powerful charisma.

But that charisma, however great, paled beside her hatred.  From 1343-1356 the “Lioness of Brittany” mercilessly hunted and pillaged every French ship she could find, slaughtering the crews except for one or two who would be released on shore to tell the King who it was that had done the deed.  At the Battle of Crécy (1346), she helped to secure an English victory by bringing in supplies on her ships.  And after King Philip died in 1350, Jeanne only got worse; apparently enraged at his having escaped her wrath by fleeing into Hades, she began specifically hunting down ships owned by French nobles, and whenever she caught one she would personally behead him with an axe and have his body thrown into the sea, despite the fact that she could’ve made tremendous profit by ransoming them.  Were this a Hollywood movie, she would have eventually caught up with Charles de Blois and given him his comeuppance, but real life is rarely so neat; de Blois not only outlived the Lioness by five years,Château de Clisson but was also made a saint (though the canonization was annulled by the next pope on request from the English-supported Duke John V of Brittany, whose side had eventually won).  By the time she was 56 Jeanne’s thirst for vengeance was apparently slaked at last; she retired from piracy, married Sir Walter Bentley (who had personally fought de Blois) and settled in Hennebont, France, where she died in 1359.  Her son, Olivier Jr, earned the sobriquet “The Butcher” for his fierceness in war; he obviously inherited that from his mother, whose ghost is supposed to haunt the ruins of the old Château de Clisson (which was destroyed during the French Revolution).

Jeanne de Clisson was neither poor nor disadvantaged; neither sexually abused as a child nor mistreated by a husband; and neither homeless nor addicted to any drug.  Perhaps it could be said that she was emotionally disturbed by the loss of her beloved husband, but if so it was a very lucid kind of madness:  Jeanne knew exactly what she was doing, and chose to sell sex as a means toward that end.  And though most whores have far more mundane goals than the death of a king and the downfall of an entire country, our choices are every bit as pragmatic – and often as temporary – as hers.

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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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Natalie wrote…that she was…madly in love with a woman…[who] outstripped all her other loves by a long way.  Rather vexed, I answered: “The best in your life was me! Me! Me!”  -  Liane de Pougy, My Blue Notebooks

Perceptive readers may have noticed that though I share a profession with the subjects of all of my harlotographies, I don’t think I would have gotten along with many of them.  This is especially true of the Grandes Horizontales of La Belle Epoque; while I admire their spunk and envy their income, most of them were possessed of character traits I find irritating or even repulsive:  among these are incredible irresponsibility, the tendency to use people and a pathological affection for falsehood.  Though the former two would probably have caused me greater distress had I known the ladies in person, it is the latter one which annoys me most as a chronicler of whoredom because it makes it almost impossible to declare anything about their lives with certainty, despite what biographers who have never personally known a whore (much less been one) seem to believe.  Case in point Liane de Pougy, whose statements about her exes (and herself) are usually reported as fact despite their conflicting with her earlier statements about the same people.

Liane de Pougy, 1887Anne-Marie Chassaigne was born in La Flèche, France on July 2nd, 1869, the daughter of Pierre and Aimée Chassaigne; like so many others of her time she was educated in a convent, but unlike most of her peers she somehow managed to evade the nuns often enough and well enough to get pregnant at 16.  She eloped with the father, a young naval officer named Armand Pourpe, but predictably the marriage was both short and unhappy; she treated her baby son Marc as though he were a doll, and professed to be disappointed that he was not a girl so she could dress him up and fuss over him more.  When Armand was transferred to Marseilles she remained behind and promptly took a lover, Marquis Charles de MacMahon; when her husband later caught them in flagrante delicto he shot at them but only succeeded in wounding her wrist.  In response she sold her piano, abandoned her son and lit out for Paris on the first train she could catch, changing her name to “Liane” upon arrival.  She later wrote in her memoirs that her husband had “taken her violently on their wedding night”, supposedly traumatizing her; consider, however, that she was already sexually involved with him before they were married, and that this supposed emotional shock didn’t stop her from having sex with someone else as soon as he was over the horizon.  Furthermore, her arch-rival La Belle Otero claimed to have been raped at ten; one must wonder if Liane didn’t invent her marriage-bed ravishment so that she, too, could have a sexual horror story for those who responded to that sort of thing.  She also claimed that her husband was a brute who beat her, and that she had a scar on her breast from one such beating; perhaps, but it also provided a convenient excuse for her infidelity.

In Paris, the 18-year-old Liane immediately set out to become a courtesan, and learned the trade from the highly-respected Countess Valtesse de la Bigne.  Much to her mentor’s annoyance, Liane was bored by intellectual pursuits, but she was simply more attuned to the zeitgeist than the older woman:  it was a time when appearance and style were prized over depth and substance, as evidenced by the fact that, though utterly devoid of any acting talent, she was hired to headline a show at the Folies-Bergere on the basis of the impression she had made while attending the Grand Prix with the Vicomte de Pougy (whose surname she promptly appropriated).  So hopeless was she that Sarah Bernhardt, who had been given the job of teaching her to act, eventually told her, “when on stage, just keep your pretty mouth shut.”  But as with so many others up to the present day, this did not stop her from becoming a wildly popular celebrity; it started on the night of her debut, when she picked up the visiting Prince of Wales as a client.

Liane de Pougy (November 3rd, 1902)The ‘90s were the heyday of Liane’s career and the period of her infamous rivalry with La Belle Otero, played out in the various theaters and the dining room of Maxim’s restaurant, a favorite of the demimonde.  Though Otero became more famous and sought-after than de Pougy by about 1895, Liane was the wiser investor and the more careful bookkeeper, and appears to have had a larger number of less-famous clients compared with Otero’s smaller number of kings and princes.  Both women derived a sizeable secondary income from licensing their images for postcards, as was typical for courtesans of the time; as I have noted before, this period saw the beginning of the modern cult of celebrity, and the Grandes Horizontales were at the center of it.

Like most courtesans, Liane began to opt for longer-term arrangements as she aged; unlike most, not all of hers were with men.  In 1899 the American heiress and writer Natalie Clifford Barney became infatuated with her after seeing her at the Folies-Bergere, and though their lesbian relationship was very intense it was also very short because Barney kept insisting she wanted to “rescue” Liane from prostitution (a notion much more popular in America at that time than in France).  The two continued to have deep feelings for one another, though, and corresponded for the rest of their lives (see epigram).  Never one to miss a moneymaking opportunity, in 1901 Liane published a thinly-fictionalized account of their affair, Sapphic Idyll, which became a runaway bestseller and caused Barney considerable trouble with her straight-laced parents.  She also profited in another way:  when it became known that she was bisexual, she gained a small but profitable upper-class lesbian clientele.

Liane de Pougy in a detail of Une soirée au Pré-Catelan by Henri Gervex (1909)On June 8, 1910 the almost-41 Liane married the notably-younger Prince  Georges Ghika, after which she was called Princess Ghika.  Though neither as rocky nor as short-lived as her first marriage, this one was not without its major difficulties; the first of these came on December 2nd, 1914 when her son Marc, a French pilot in the First World War, was killed in action near Villers-Brettoneux.  Though she had never been close to him, his death precipitated a period of soul-searching in which she turned back to the Church, becoming a lay Dominican sister.  Though this phase did not last long, she remained devout for the rest of her life (though like many Catholics, she ignored sexual prohibitions she found inconvenient).  In 1926 Ghika ran off with a much younger woman, and while Liane’s diaries of the period brand him a pervert (whereas before he was described in glowing terms), the two did not divorce.  She consoled herself with lesbian lovers until he came back to her a few years later, and they remained together until his death in 1945; the latter period was not a happy one, however, and each had a series of extramarital girlfriends.

After his death she re-entered the Dominicans permanently as Sister Anne-Marie, and spent her last five years caring for physically and mentally handicapped children; she died at the Asylum of Saint Agnes in Lausanne,  Switzerland on December 26th, 1950, at the ripe old age of 81.  Her memoirs, My Blue Notebooks, were published posthumously.  Though many who wish to believe in such things have praised the “repentance” for her “sinful” past (most especially her prostitution and lesbianism) she proclaims in this work, the more cynical eye of this harlot sees instead the pièce de résistance of a long series of deceptions.  While her previous writings merely reinterpreted other people in her life, this one reinvented herself; and while the others were only intended to deceive mere mortals, this one was designed to pull the wool over the eyes of God himself.  And no matter what else I feel about her, I have to admire her for that one, grand, final act of chutzpah.

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The movement of sex workers has become successful because they have learned to recognise themselves as workers.  -  Samarjit Jana

R.I.P. Gloria Leonard

Gloria LeonardPorn star and men’s magazine publisher Gloria Leonard died on February 3rd after suffering a stroke at her Hawaii home on the night of January 31st; she was 73, but had been in good health.  Like me, she was already over 30 when she began sex work and had already had a previous career (in her case, as a stockbroker).  She was hired as publisher of High Society in 1977 and still continued to star in and direct movies for several years afterward; she also pioneered one of the first phone sex lines in 1983.  During the feminist “porn wars” she became an outspoken advocate of sex work, and served as president of the Free Speech Coalition from 1998-2001.

Juxtaposition

Compare and contrast this:

Notified by The Street of its investigation that revealed that escort services were using Twitter, Rep. Chris Smith…urged that Congress investigate…to initiate a crackdown on Twitter, Backpage, Craigslist and other social media “that are the conduit for this terrible exploitation of women”…

And this:

Saudi Arabia’s feared religious police authority has decided to launch a war against what it described as vice and sorcery accounts on Twitter…The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice said it had formed special teams to track those accounts and arrest those who are behind them…[for] “spreading vice and witchcraft…we are determined to eliminate these accounts before they become widespread and out of control”…

Oops

[Indian] police have [difficulty] acting on tip-offs about prostitution activity…[because] moral boundaries are changing at different rates and what some call illicit sex is…[to] others…usual dating practice…In September…18 couples…in “compromising positions” were  rounded up from rooms in a hotel in…Ludhiana and detained under the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act.  Dharampal Singh…who led the raid, [said]…“Every couple says that they are there by consent or are dating [secretly]”…which is not uncommon in a society where families still arrange marriages and frown on premarital sex…

Well, At Least They’re Consistent

A [Virginia] state law that makes it a crime to have sex outside of marriage remains on the books after an effort to decriminalize it failed…Lawmakers…had concerns over potential loopholes the change would make in relation to incest and other sex crimes…[bill sponsor] Mark Sickles…[said] members want to make sure the bill is redrafted correctly and sent to the state Crime Commission for review before it is taken up again.  Eight people were convicted of fornication last year…

Surplus Women

[In 2007] Bonnie Barrett…was murdered by [Derek Brown]…who police believe was imitating Jack the Ripper…Bonnie worked as a…sex worker in Whitechapel…and…Jackie [Summerford] believes better policing could have prevented her…death.  She is one of several women who are today launchingRobert Richard Fraser a campaign on the Change.org petition website to change the way police interact with those in the sex trade.  She says… “They deserve to be protected, not ignored by police”…

Meanwhile, “Police have arrested a man [for]…the murder of…Maria Duque-Tunjano [last week]…Robert Richard Fraser…[is also suspected in]…an attack on another sex worker on January 18…

Imaginary Lines (November Updates)

The Gibson guitar company, having had its federally seized wood returned to it, is celebrating with the release of a new product made from that very wood:  the Les Paul Government II Series…available in one color:  “Government Tan.”

Where Are the Protests?

I guess rugs just aren’t as sexy as whores:

…researchers documented more than 3,000 cases of forced labor in India’s handmade carpet sector…factories and shacks where workers toil 10 to 12 hours a day for six to seven days a week were “cramped, filthy, unbearably hot and humid, imperiled with stray electrical wires and rusty nails…and contaminated with grime and mold”…Workers were subjected to frequent beatings and abuse and…suffered from…long-term health issues because of the grueling nature of the work.  Many…suffered from eye disease or loss of vision due to insufficient light.  Some developed spinal deformation…The average adult worker was paid between 21 and 24 cents an hour, while children were paid less…These carpets are sold in a number of major retail chains including, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Target, Sears, Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Ethan Allen, IKEA and others…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Brigham Young University wants young Mormons to “rescue” their friends from the scourge of wanking by ratting on them to religious “authorities”:

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Thank you to new reader Xavier Naff for Vampyres, a lesbian vampire movie I first read about over 20 years ago but have never actually seen.  I’m told it’s very interesting on several levels.

Above the Law

Chicago police strip-searched three people on the street, and forced the woman to discard her bloody tampon while five male officers watched and made jokes about her body…Caprice Halley, Tevin Ford, and Willie Douglas…sued the City of Chicago and its Officers Wherfel, E. Doughtery, A. Granat, D. Balesteri, B. Rodekohr, J. Reckard, R. Federici, and T. Conlon…In May 2013, Halley and Ford were passengers in Douglas’ car, when they were confronted by police in an unmarked car driving toward them the wrong way down a one-way street…

Beside the vaginal probing of the woman, these uniformed molesters also shackled Douglas to a house’s burglar bars, pulled down his pants and spread his buttocks.  “Wherfel [then] took a small bag of heroin from her own sock and falsely claimed she had found it in Halley’s waistband”…

An Example to the West DMSC logo

A six-day conference of sex workers began [in Kolkata]…discussions [include] issues concerning their well-being as well as those relating to trafficking of minors and pension to old sex workers…

Hall of Shame

Your periodic reminder that Dennis Hof is a revolting excuse for a human being:

…Denis Hof…started pondering an expansion north of the border after he heard about the Supreme Court striking down prostitution laws in this country…“The smart residents will understand that it’s going to stop the sex trafficking that’s going on now. You got a huge sex trafficking problem…Our way would slow that down substantially”…

Yes, he’s spreading “sex trafficking” lies in Canada in hopes of lining his own pockets at independent sex workers’ expense.

The Public Eye

Here’s a short interview with Melissa Gira Grant in New York Magazine about her new book, Playing the Whore; in it she discusses Nick Kristof, Gloria Steinem, Jill Filipovic and other prohibitionists who claim they want to “rescue” us from our own choices.lurid sex trafficking (so-called) art

Profit from Panic (TW3 #40)

California State University, Stanislaus…senior Hannah Noonan took a proactive approach to educate her peers…through the creation of…“Crate Human Awareness,” a graphic installation displayed in a heavily traversed area of the campus…“My desire is to educate others that humans are being kidnapped and sold into slavery, prostitution, pornography, and organ harvesting”…humans are typically smuggled in crates of this type…according to Noonan…

A 22-year-old art major said it, so it must be true!

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (TW3 #44)

Gloria Steinem continues her journey into irrelevance:

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem today described prostitution as “commercial rape” and said it was wrong to term prostitutes as sex workers.  “Prostitution involves body invasion and so it is not like any other work.  So how can you call it sex work?  Prostitution is the only word you should use”…

That “body invasion” nonsense says almost all you need to know.

Above the Law (TW3 #313)

A New Jersey State [prison guard is going to]…prison for…[threatening] four prostitutes into having free or cut-rate sex with him…Juan R. Stevens pleaded guilty to official misconduct in return for…five years in prison…two before he’s eligible for parole…[he] also forfeits his state job and is permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey…

The End of the Beginning

A New Hampshire house committee has just passed a bill 18-1 (!!!) that would prohibit the establishment or existence of sex offender residency restrictions in that state.  This…is completely unheard of.  It’s one thing to simply not pass residency restriction bills, but it’s quite another to pass a law that explicitly prohibits them…[the bill’s sponsor] argued that restricting housing for sex offenders pushes them “underground,” in campgrounds, under bridges and to other places the police cannot monitor…

Guest Columnist:  Sarah Woolley (TW3 #324)

Cathy Reisenwitz in Daily CallerAmnesty International logo

It just couldn’t be clearer.  “Amnesty International is opposed to the criminalization or punishment of activities related to the buying or selling of consensual sex between adults.”  Thus begins a recently leaked document from the famed human rights organization calling for an end to prohibitions on sex work…Amnesty…defines sex work as work, making a clear delineation between employment and slavery…As Maggie McNeill details, anti-prostitution campaigners paint the typical sex worker as a child slave, while governments use anti-trafficking laws to restrict migration.  And that ill-intended confusion muddies the entire debate…as Amnesty International points out, “Criminalizing or otherwise punishing people for their choices in selling or buying consensual sex in any way fails to address these structural inequalities, and rather serves to further disempower individuals”…

A Broker in Pillage (TW3 #330)

The federal government must pay nearly $40,000 to cover the legal fees of a California woman who successfully sued to reclaim more than $1 million of her money [stolen by police] during a Nebraska traffic stop…Tara Mishra…[earned] the money…as an exotic dancer…and…[gave it to friends] to invest in a New Jersey nightclub…The government’s claim that the money was tainted with drug residue was of little value, the judge said, as…nearly all cash in circulation is drug-tainted…

Little Tin Gods

The Jefferson Davis Parish sheriff’s office claims that eight survival sex workers there were murdered by a serial killer.  However, all the women knew one another well; several were related to one another, and every one of them was a drug informant to a sheriff’s office which is notoriously corrupt even by Louisiana standards.  Read this long, thorough investigative report on the murders, and I suspect you’ll come to the same conclusion I did the very first time I heard about the case.

Number Puzzle (TW3 #350)

Alice Schwarzer…accused news magazine Spiegel…of trying to damage her reputation by reporting on her [paying]…‘a six-figure sum’…in back taxes [for]…her Swiss bank account…she…accused Spiegel of acting in the interest of [prostitutes]…

Catastrophic Consequences

Edinburgh City Council has scrapped the licensing of saunas and massage parlours…but it [does] not mean the saunas [will] close…Scot-Pep…said…”With Police Scotland persisting in its policy of using condoms as evidence of sex work against the explicit recommendations of the World Health Organisation, workers will fear to keep large quantities of condoms on their premises, as this could be used to criminalise women.”

Here’s a more surprising reaction to the news:

Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) has voted to publicly support the rights of sex workers…approximately 70 students…voted overwhelmingly in support of the motion…[which] stipulates that EUSA officially advocate the decriminalisation of sex work, offer its support to sex workers who are students at the University of Edinburgh, as well as endorsing sex workers’ rights organisations, “such as SCOT-PEP and Sex Workers’ Open University”…

The More the Better (TW3 #404)

Franck Ribery and…Karim Benzema were acquitted on charges of soliciting an underage prostitute…the…judge ruled there wasn’t enough proof the men were aware that…Zahia Dehar…was a minor at the time…

O, Canada! (TW3 #405)

More on the Canadian sex worker intimidation scheme; note they are only just realizing now that most escorts advertise online:

[Halifax, NS] police who worked in a recent nationwide sex-trade operation are seeing a shift toward online communicating…A joint news release issued by a number of Canadian sex-work support groups said the operation uses deception and intimidation…male officers posed as clients to book appointments, but then had several officers arrive…and demand entry.  They…[interrogate] her…demand to see her identification and search her premises and possessions…Fiona Traynor…of Stepping Stone…criticized the police news release for saying the sex workers were under some level of control.  “There’s no [evidence] of…that,” she said…

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Trafficking has become one of the new “it” words in the bankrupt moral vernacular, craftily used by puritans, property developers and rogue feminists to combat the sex trade in general.  -  Rupert Everett

Think of the Children! Noel

The minute a fragile “child” turns 18, he can turn into a dangerous source of dreaded “sex ray” emissions:

…high school senior…“Noel” has allegedly been suspended and will not graduate this year after several of his [gay porn] flicks found their way onto the principal’s desk…[he was] suspended…for 10 days for “causing a campus disturbance” [which]…will allegedly lead to “an automatic failure from absences,” and he will not be able to graduate come June…

Of course, teachers are still the primary danger:

Edgar Ortiz, a 65-year-old educator…was not fired for sleeping with a sex worker…But…was fined $7,500 by the Department of Education…He’s suing [New York] city to fight the punishment.  “Teachers are not indentured servants subject to school direction and control 24 hours a day”…he argues…A…judge…ordered the city to answer his petition…after it “failed to offer any legal basis for penalizing a teacher for illegal conduct that has little or no apparent connection with his teaching duties”…

License to Rape

Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever:

A young woman in Milwaukee called the cops when someone threw a brick through her window…and…began kicking in her front door…two police officers responded.  One took her 15-year-old brother outside to speak to him.   The other…Ladmarald Cates…asked to see the broken window and [when] she led him…to a bathroom in the back…he…[grabbed] her…by her hair…then [sodomized and] raped her…The cop’s partner had become concerned…and called for back-up.  Other cops began arriving and saw a woman screaming incoherently about being raped.  Cates appeared…handcuffed [her and] charged [her] with assaulting a police officer…She was…held for four days before being released without actually being charged…

A Moral Cancer

A severely repressed individual penned a misogynistic screed called “9 Reasons Why a Man Should Never Go Down on a Woman”, and it’s as ridiculous as you’d expect.  Note that the first four (arguably five) “reasons” are actually one reason, and it is why the article appears under this heading.

Schadenfreude

A new moneymaker for the rescue industry: “sex trafficking” tours!

…New Friends New Life…toured parts of [Dallas]…with [cops], a Homeland Security agent and an assistant city attorney, who talked about…the exploitation of women and young girls…While vice officers…go after the men who pay for sex, they are focused on…[shutting] down complex regional or even international prostitution rings…The bus of [tourists]…gaped at [a poor neighborhood], whispering to one another in disbelief…Shawn McGraw…[of] Homeland Security…[said] “This isn’t a woman’s childhood dream.  She’s doing it to survive.”

Don’t worry if you can’t take a bus tour; they’ll bring one to you!

…Putting on headphones at “SOLD: The Human Trafficking Experience” will teleport you to the life of one of nine victims of sex slavery and trafficking…The exhibit is a multi-sensory, multimedia experience that lasts 40 minutes in nine different rooms…People who attend are encouraged to tweet, video blog and share pictures…The “SOLD” bus [travels around Washington and is based in] Seattle…

Not To Be Taken Internally Elizabeth Starr

Elizabeth Starr fears her banned boob job will kill her after her breasts ballooned to a whopping O cup.  The adult film star had now-illegal “string” breast implants 15 years ago to boost her career – but says her life has been ruined…Doctors have recommended Elizabeth face a double mastectomy…she…was already a 32F when she opted…in 1999…[for a] procedure [which] involved inserting synthetic string into the breasts to stimulate fluid production and growth.  But [after] just a few days…she began suffering complications…[she] had the string implant removed from her right breast, however, the left one was already too imbedded to be taken out…Over the next 14 years Elizabeth spent a staggering £200,000 on [63] reconstructive operations…

Gullible’s Travels

Portsmouth Middle School [in Rhode Island sent parents a letter] warning them that students may be snorting and smoking ground-up Smarties candies.  The letter warns of risks of cuts, lung infections, nasal passage scarring, nose-wedged maggots (!), and future cigarette and drug use…School [official] Dave Croston…[said] “this behavior raises troubling issue of modeling”…

As a supplement, Radley Balko prepared a short summary of other mind-numbingly stupid pseudo-drug scares of recent years.

Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark

University of Michigan Economics Professor Raj Arunachalam…hired sex workers in Ecuador and Mexico to interview other sex workers…Arunachalam found that beautiful sex workers…earned approximately 15% more than average and unattractive prostitutes…”  Dr. Arunachalam’s next study will demonstrate that people prefer to eat good-tasting food and to listen to music instead of recordings of traffic sounds.

The Mother Learns From Her Children

two of Britain’s most senior police chiefs…have…[denounced] the police approach to prostitution as a mess…saying that [harassment] operations…are “counterproductive” and…put…women at risk…they call for…[allowing] a group of women to work together.  Chris Armitt [said]…”We are not going to enforce our way out of…prostitution.  It goes…on in every country in the world”…Martin Hewitt…said…”On the one hand we sit down with sex workers asking them to trust us and give us information.  On the other hand we are doing enforcement actions”…Hewitt…also condemned…brothel raids as superficial and offering little value other than as a media stunt…

Sex, Lies and Busybodies (TW3 #3) Say NO to the Nordic Model in Canada

a boom in X-rated production in [Las Vegas was] sparked by a Los Angeles law requiring…condoms…The number of permits…to make porn films in Los Angeles…has declined by…95 percent since the law took effect…from about 480 in 2012 to just 24 through the first nine months of 2013…While Los Angeles charges hundreds of dollars for location permits…Las Vegas…gives [them] for a nominal fee and does not require health permits.  The warehouses are cheaper, and it’s also more affordable to rent out mansions and put actors up in hotels…

The Course of a Disease

The European Parliament’s Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee has voted through [Mary Honeyball’s] report that recommends the adoption of the “Nordic Model” of prostitution laws…The report [now goes] to the full European Parliament…

As I’ve explained before, the European Parliament’s resolutions are not laws, but they’re a good indicator of the growth of totalitarianism on the continent.

Lying Down With Dogs (TW3 #22)

Africa produces the most ridiculous anti-whore rhetoric outside of the US:

…at alluvial gold mining sites [in Liberia]…women [are] roaming from one…mine to another…rooting and indulging into “sex trade”…in return for gold or money.  What is most appalling…is the luring of some of these women into the practice by their peers…”any man who…refuses to settle us financially, will pay the price,” a lady [said]… Several men who stubbornly refused to comply…were taken to the…police…

First They Came for the Hookers… Club Madonna

Florida wants to prove it can harass strip clubs as much as Texas does:

The…Miami Beach strip club where police say a 13-year-old girl danced…has had its business license pulled for six months…Richard Wolfe, an attorney for Club Madonna…and…club owner Leroy Griffith…said they had no knowledge that the girl performed at Madonna…Wolfe…suggested that the city’s actions were retaliatory…[because] Griffith has been locked in a decade-long battle with City Hall to overturn a ban on alcohol in fully nude clubs…

Drama Queens (TW3 #48)

Emil Kirkegaard has translated a recent Danish study comparing the health of sex workers to that of amateurs:

…The percentage with bad mental health and…who often…feel nervous or stressed is smaller among prostitutes…there is no difference between prostitutes and [other] women’s rate of illness…prostitutes have a markedly lower consumption [of medicine]…the prostitutes have more…smoking, alcohol…and use of other drugs…there is a larger percentage [of prostitutes] who are underweight, and a smaller…who are overweight…prostitutes have the same frequency of contact to family and friends…Light violence against prostitutes is more common…[but] other indicators of violence and sexual abuse [are not different]…Prostitutes…often work in bended or crooked positions [and make] repeated and monotonous movements…[but] they [need not carry] heavy objects and [are not] exposed to…noise, cold…and draft.  With respect to psychological working environment, the prostitutes come out ahead as well…

Banishment

The Midtown Ponce Security  Alliance (MPSA)…is approaching  [Georgia] legislators…[with] a law it has dubbed “aggravated prostitution”…“This form of prostitution would be defined along the lines of prostitution in a residential area (we will suggest “within 500 feet of a window or door of any dwelling”), and work to have that designated a felony punishable up to five years incarceration”…

Original Sin

Though there’s plenty of “Super Bowl sex trafficking” nonsense in this story, we’ve seen that so many times before it really isn’t worth noting any more.  What’s more interesting to me is the bizarre soup of Christian, neofeminist and police state dogma which produced the “facts” which are tacked on at the end; bogus “statistics” are arranged beside neofeminist “end demand” cant and Christian dogma about sin, including the relatively-new claim that “pornography is the dominant driver for sex trafficking”.

The More the Better (TW3 #325) Franck-Ribery and Karim-Benzema

In the modern US, prosecutors rule the injustice system; obviously that’s less so in France:

Two French international footballers who are charged with paying for sex with an underage prostitute appeared in court…Franck Ribery and…Karim Benzema both deny the allegations and the young woman involved, Zahia Dehar, testified that neither player knew she was under 18 at the time…Ms Dehar…has since launched her own luxury lingerie line and is reportedly the muse of German fashion designer Karl Lagerfield…prosecutors had sought an acquittal…but investigating judge Andre Dando argued they must have been aware of her real age.

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #328)

First National Review, and now Foreign Policy:

…[Prohibitionists] say they want to protect human rights, but their efforts often undermine those rights:  Campaigns and programs to end prostitution in fact lead to violence, stigmatization, and other problems for the exact people they claim to be helping…there is no convincing evidence that punishing “johns” decreases the incidence of commercial sex…Sweden’s sex workers report that criminalization has simply driven [them] underground, with dangerous consequences…and…evidence shows…that criminalization of sale or purchase…makes sex workers…more vulnerable to violence…committed by law enforcement…the World Health Organization (WHO) wrote in a bulletin that…”sex workers who are rounded up during police raids are beaten” and “coerced into having sex by corrupt police officials in exchange for their release”…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #345)

Prostitutes [in] Ibiza have formed a sex workers’ cooperative to pay taxes and gain social security benefits…Eleven women registered with local authorities as…members of the Sealeer Cooperative…their spokeswoman, Maria Jose Lopez…[said] “We are the first cooperative in Spain that can give legal cover to the girls”…The group is applying to register 40 more women…

Whatever They Need To Say (TW3 #350)

Sex worker ally Rupert Everett published a long, thorough denunciation of December’s pogrom in Soho:

There is a land grab going on in Soho under the banner of morality…200 of our boys in blue raided more than 20…flats, arresting 30 girls and confiscating their earnings…They broke down doors, intimidated girls into accepting…criminal records…and served…eviction papers that, unless you were a lawyer, you would not know had hidden in their depths (20-odd pages) the time and date you were to appear in court if you wanted to appeal.  All this in the name of human trafficking…while even the police say that more than 90% of prostitutes work of their own accord…

Everett goes into great detail about the hearings which followed, and the IPC collected these statements from the victims of the raid.  Keep in mind when reading them that as bad as they are, the experiences of police victims under fully criminalized regimes like the US are worse.

Little Boxes (TW3 #350)

Devil’s Advocate

A paedophile ring that streamed live child abuse from the Philippines…has been broken up after an operation by UK police and their counterparts in Australia and the US.  The National Crime Agency says…it is an “emerging threat”…in developing countries…

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When one enjoys full liberty, one must use it with the utmost moderation.  -  Victor Hugo, preface to Marion Delorme

Marion De LormeLast month, sex worker activists discussed the case of Patricia Adler, a sociologist who had promoted ridiculous whore stereotypes in her classes on “deviancy” for twenty years; she of course never bothered to consult actual sex workers or even fellow academics who had actually studied us, instead preferring to let students simply make things up under her (almost wholly ignorant) guidance.  But while we were annoyed and insulted by her actions, we were by no means surprised by them; since time immemorial academics, artists, moralists, rulers and almost everyone else have considered prostitutes to be more like fictional characters than real people.  As I wrote in “Projection”, harlots “tend to be dehumanized into symbols for other people’s psychological needs and problems…people project their own concepts onto us and imagine us as the external representations of those concepts.”  The internet is the enemy of such projection because it allows us to speak for ourselves rather than allowing others to usurp that right, and because it allows real information about a person to be widely disseminated, thus disrupting the fictions.  In modern times, myths and other tales about whores are thus limited to those told about fictional characters (including those played by real people in “sex trafficking” roadshows), and those we tell about ourselves (and can successfully bury the truth about).  But it’s not always easy to separate fact from fiction when discussing the lives of courtesans who lived prior to the information age, and in some cases it’s practically impossible.

Case in point:  Marion Delorme, a French courtesan of the 17th century.  A few facts about her are well-known and not generally disputed:  she was born on October 3rd, 1613, the daughter of Jean de Lou, sieur de l’Orme and his wife Marie Chastelain.  She was rich, beautiful, well-educated and had little interest in conventional marriage, and her second known lover was Henri Coiffier de Ruzé, Marquis de Cinq-Mars, who was a favorite (and possibly lover) of King Louis XIII; she stayed with him until his death in 1642.  In her twenties she became the hostess of a salon which after 1648 became a meeting place for the enemies of the powerful Cardinal Mazarin, and when he sent men to arrest her on July 2nd, 1650 they reported back that she had died suddenly on June 30th from an overdose of antimony she had taken to induce an abortion.  And that is the extent of what we know for (reasonably) certain; everything else about her life is speculation, ranging from the highly likely to the highly dubious to the patently absurd.

idelorm001p1Though she began working as a courtesan sometime after she began hosting the salon, it’s uncertain how quickly the former followed the latter; she is said to have been secretly married to Cinq-Mars, but presumably it was in both their interests not to reveal that so as to avoid interfering with their other partners.  One of Marion’s was said to have been Cardinal Richelieu, who had first introduced Cinq-Mars to King Louis because he believed he could control the young nobleman and thereby influence His Majesty.  But Richelieu had completely misjudged Cinq-Mars; instead, the young man told the King of the Cardinal’s treachery, pressed for him to be executed and tried to organize a noble rebellion against Richelieu.  Alas, he was caught by Richelieu’s spies and executed in 1642.  Marion was not implicated in the conspiracy, but it seems likely that her sympathies were aligned with those of her dead husband; when the civil war called the Fronde began in 1648, those who opposed Richelieu’s successor Cardinal Mazarin gathered at her salon.  But some doubt her convenient death practically on the eve of her arrest; a legend claims that the officials sent to detain her were either deceived or bribed into reporting her death, that the elaborate funeral which followed was a sham, and that Marion fled to England, married a lord and lived to 1706.

None of those speculations test the limits of credulity, but they are only the beginning; other accounts claim she later had all sorts of adventures, eventually returned to Paris and died in abject poverty in 1741…which would have made her 127!  And in his Illuminati, the writer Gérard de Nerval recounts a legend that she used esoteric means to delay aging, was actually 150 at her death, and was already involved in the circles of power when King Henry IV died in 1610.  Furthermore, her involvement in court intrigue at a time later generations find fascinating ensured numerous fictional versions of her life;  most notably, Victor Hugo wrote the drama Marion Delorme (1831) which was later adapted into opera by both Giovanni Bottesini (1862) and Amilcare Ponchielli (1885).fictional Marion Delorme illustration  It has also been suggested that the villainous Milady de Winter of The Three Musketeers is based loosely on Marion, which if true would be rather ironic given that Milady was the agent of the fictional Richelieu and Marion the (eventual) enemy of the real one.

In general, the lives of famous people who lived more recently are clearer to us than those who lived very long ago, and the more remote the era the more likely true biographical details are to be mixed with legends and myths.  But when the subject is a whore, the truth tends not only to be harder to find (due to fabrications by the lady, her clients, her enemies and her clients’ enemies), but also harder to extract from the mythic landscape to which so many people would prefer to confine us.

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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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Anniversaries are one of those times at which we’re inspired to look back at the past to see where we’ve been; it’s a bit like sitting on top of a mountain and surveying the route one took to get there.  -  “Second Anniversary

Well it’s that time once again!  Every January I share my blog’s statistics for the preceding year; this is made possible by the amazing wealth of data which WordPress makes available to bloggers in real time.  As I explained in my review column for 2011,

…the statistics page displays a bar graph of page views (with tabs to view it in days, weeks or months); a running total of both daily and all-time views…for the blog as a whole and breaking it down by post and page; numbers and links of all sites and searches which bring visitors to the blog; and the number of clicks on links in my blog (with all figures broken down by day, week, month, quarter, year and all time)…

Since February 25th, 2012 the visitors from each country have also been tracked, so this is the first year I’ve had complete information on this broken down by country on my normal statistics page.  Alas, it appears WordPress has discontinued its annual year-end report, but the only information it featured which isn’t available on demand is the total number of comments by the top commenters; perhaps they’ll add that to the statistics page soon.

reddit alienI received a total of 1,018,507 visitors in 2013; the average number of hits per day was 2790, but it was higher from August onward.  My best month was October, with a total of 108,868 views (3512 per day) and my best day was October 6th, with a total of 9253 views in a single day (thanks to someone featuring a link to “Honolulu Harlots” on Reddit).  That site gave me the third-greatest number of referrals for the year, 8243 in all; it was only exceeded by Twitter (38,377 hits) and Facebook (8440).  #4 was Popehat with 5648, #5 ErosBlog with 3636, #6 Pinterest  with 1553, #7 The Guardian (“Why Comic Relief’s Prostitution Claims Put Me Off Donating” by Brooke Magnanti) with 1545, #8 Google Reader with 1380, #9 Judgy Bitch with 1327, and #10 A Voice for Men with 1244.  The top ten countries in which my readers live together account for over 85% of all of my traffic; #1 is the United States with 602,407 hits (59%); #2 the United Kingdom with 88,912 (8.7%); #3 Canada with 58,206 (5.7%); #4 Australia with 41,485 (4.1%); #5 Germany with 18,642 (1.8%); #6 Singapore with 13,671 (1.34%); #7 India with 13,312 (1.31%); #8 France with 13,149 (1.29%);  #9 The Netherlands with 11,253 (1.1%); and #10 Japan with 10,217 (1.0%).

The most common search which discovered this blog was various versions of “ashley madison” (many expecting “free” credits), a total of over 6978 hits; second place was held by “soapland” in many different forms for a total of over 6931.  Permutations of “the honest courtesan” came third with over 6624 hits.  Last year’s leader, “rhinoceros”, dropped to fourth with over 5841 hits; the many different ways to say “penis shapes” came next (over 3776 total).  “Caroline otero” or “la belle otero” was sixth with about 2121, “maggie mcneill” (spelled several different ways) was seventh with over 1563, then “veronica franco” with 1035.  Ninth place was “courtesan” with 541, and finally “valeria messalina” with 427.  You may have noticed that picture searches no longer bring as many visitors as they used to; this is probably due to Google image search’s December 2012 change, which buries sites it classifies as “adult”.

My top ten posts for the year were as follows:

Name Date # of hits in 2013
A Visit to Soapland October 21st, 2011       46,293
All Shapes and Sizes September 8th, 2010       42,970
Ashley Madison January 30th, 2011       37,756
Rhinoceros January 21st, 2012       15,940
Honolulu Harlots July 5th, 2011       12,677
Black Men September 18th, 2010       11,266
A Whore in the Bedroom September 9th, 2010       11,261
More Terminology September 7th, 2011         6,920
The Privilege Paradigm August 22nd, 2013         6,123
La Belle Otero March 30th, 2012         6,023

The top post by comment has changed somewhat since last year:

Name Date # of comments
by 12/31/13
The Privilege Paradigm August 22nd, 2013         229
That Is So Hot! April 19th, 2011         196
Speaking in Prostitute June 17th, 2011         171
The Enlightenment Police October 1st, 2011         145
Universal Criminality January 15th, 2012         140
Pendulum April 9th, 2011         134
Their Lips Are Moving April 25th, 2011         133
Denunciation September 2nd, 2013         124
Creeping Rot April 18th, 2011         123
Public Service Announcement June 12th, 2011         122

Unfortunately, I’m afraid that because WordPress has changed the way top commenters are calculated, it’s prohibitively difficult for me to get meaningful numbers on them.  Other than that, comparison with my reports for 2011 and 2012 will demonstrate just how much I’ve grown in both size and reach.  And while it makes me feel good to know that I’m entertaining and educating so many people, what’s even better is knowing that the truth about sex workers and those who want to crush us is being spread that much more. traffic map 2013

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