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Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

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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The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector.  -  Ernest Hemingway

invisible whore Major events always provide an excuse for governments to “clean things up” in the host cities before the guests arrive.  These include World’s Fairs and Olympic Games.  Police sweep undesirable, embarrassing, ugly people out of public view.  They throw them into jails or exile them for the duration.  The victims vary with the time and place.  The poor, the homeless, unpopular minority groups, drug addicts and gay people have all been among them.  The list always includes sex workers.  Moralists in countries where prostitution is legal still feel they must purge it from visitor areas.  They don’t want the visitors to see it, even in Greece or Brazil.  Bigotry is also heightened by such events.  Those so predisposed fear strangers coming to town, bringing with them outlandish and alien forms of sin and crime.  Together, these two factors may be the origin of one of the strangest and most persistent myths of our time.  Tens of thousands of whores wander about the world from mega-event to mega-event.  They are not impeded by the usual logistics of transport and lodging.

The legend seems to have first appeared in conjunction with the 2004 Olympics in Athens.  Prohibitionists depicted sex work as “sex trafficking” since the late 1990s.  But the moral panic seems to have begun in earnest in January of 2004.  Athenian officials went through the usual pre-Olympic cleansing procedure.  They raided brothels for bogus violations of zoning restrictions.  A Greek sex workers’ union complained.  They said the city would increase illegal prostitution by making it difficult to work in legal brothels.  European prohibitionists twisted this into “Athens is encouraging sex tourism.”

The growing “anti-trafficking” movement used bad stats.  They claimed that “sex trafficking increased by 95 percent during the Olympics.  And they did it by the end of the year.  Then anti-sex worker groups predicted that about 40,000 women would be “trafficked” into Germany.  They meant for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.  It was bizarre.  Of course, nothing of the kind happened. Police raided 71 brothels, but only came up with five cases of exploitation they believed linked to the event.  The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women investigated the myth in its 2011 report.  The report’s name was “What’s the Cost of a Rumour?”, and it was unable to find a credible source for the “40,000” figure.  It seems somebody made it up.  But it has hung on like a tick since then.  It accompanies every major sporting event.  Some of them were the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, and the 2012 Olympics in London.  Massive police crackdowns cost about £500,000 in London.  They found no significant increase in prostitution, coerced or otherwise.  Neither has anyone else.

By 2008, the myth reached the United States.  It became attached to the Super Bowl in place of the fading but also spurious claim about domestic violence.  You know the one.  The story that year took the form of police statements  about “warnings” that they “[were] prepared for”.  But by the following year police and other officials in Tampa had turned the rumor into a campaign.  They bagged exactly one quarry.  She was a 14-year-old.  Her pimps were two clueless individuals. They called her a “Super Bowl Special” on Craigslist.  Ever since, prohibitionists repeat the detail as part of their catechism.

The Florida Department of Children and Families claimed to have “rescued” 24 other people.  This is not substantiated.  But that number pales beside the grandiosity of another claim.  The claim was that “‘tens of thousands of people‘…[were] sold into the sex trade during Miami’s Super Bowl in 2010.”  The claim was that most of them were young girls.  Miami was the first instance of full-blown circus-like hype.  This hype has characterized the buildup to the game in later years.  Members of “anti-trafficking” groups descend in droves upon the host city. They do it to “raise awareness” and “rescue victims”.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott would not to be outdone.  He declared the Super Bowl “one of the largest human trafficking events in the United States”.  He organized a huge “task force” involving a dozen different federal, state and local agencies.  He did this in preparation for the Dallas game (2011).  He missed no opportunity to pontificate about “pimps” and Backpage.com.  The total haul from all this effort?  One would-be pimp who got the idea from hearing the myth on television.

But legends like this take on a life of their own, which mere facts cannot end.  By July, Indiana’s attorney general, Greg Zoeller, got the Indianapolis Super Bowl bandwagon rolling.  He made the claim that the Texans had made “133 separate human trafficking related arrests”.  They picked a two and a half week period around the game.  Then they claimed every vice arrest made in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex was “trafficking”.  It was dishonest.  The number has since become part of the narrative.

The hype around the New Orleans game last year was somewhat muted.  But Cindy McCain seems unwilling to wait her turn.  She is already beating the drum over “human trafficking” for the 2015 Super Bowl in Phoenix. The myth is not limited to the Super Bowl any more.  In the past two years people have made similar claims about other large football games and sporting events.  They range from the Kentucky Derby to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to hunting season in rural Minnesota.

PapaMost of the media have been complicit in spreading this lurid fantasy, but there have been a few dissenting voices. One is “Papa” Kotz of Village Voice Media, who interviewed me for “The Super Bowl Prostitute Myth” three years ago.  He expanded upon that article for “The Super Bowl Prostitution Hoax” the following year.  Several others articles quoted the latter piece since then.  One was this year’s “The Super Bowl Sex-Trafficking Story That Just Won’t Die”.  It also references the GAATW report cited above.

Reporters can locate such articles with a quick search.  It’s easy.  But even if they’re too dumb to handle that, they could just go to Snopes.com, which has listed the story as false since February 2012.  But sex sells and the “rescue industry” brings in at least tens of millions of dollars per year.  Anthropologist and commercial sex researcher Dr. Laura Agustín called it that.  The “rescue industry”, I mean.  So there are quite a few people in and out of government with a vested interest in keeping the myth going.  Even if it’s destructive, absurd, and easy to show up as false.

But there’s a glimmer of hope.  An article reports that some “anti-trafficking” folks are unhappy with the legend.  It was in Canada’s National Post, but I won’t quote it because it’s too hard to read.  True Believers will ignore anything skeptics or sex worker rights advocates have to say about the issue.  But they may listen to those they consider fellow travelers. With any luck the Super Bowl Prostitute Invasion story may finally be on the way out.  We can only hope that the “sex trafficking” hysteria of which it is a part will follow close behind.

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If the patriarchy is about men making decisions for women…why do some feminists want to control other women’s decisions?  -  “Lauren”

Gorged With Meaning

The situation described by this article – girl does sex work to pay for university – is so typical as to be a case of “dog bites man”, and nowadays doing porn won’t stay secret for long.  But the article actually says more about its author than about its subject:  “Lauren” seems like an intelligent, sensible, pragmatic young woman, while writer Katie Fernelius appears to be a supple-spined airhead who lets other people do her thinking for her.  In response to this:

I worked as a waitress…and not only did it interfere with my school …but also I was making $400 a month after taxes…For people to tell me that doing porn and having sex, which I love, is more degrading than being…somebody’s servant and…being treated like a lesser, second-class citizen, that…makes no sense…I felt more degraded in a minimum wage…service job than I ever did doing porn…

…Katie  crawls into her navel, quotes Gloria Steinem and babbles about “patriarchy”, “power dynamics” and words being “problematic”.  Yet I’m sure she thinks she’s better-adjusted than Lauren is. African artists protest in Korea

Where Are the Protests? 

There’s a word missing here, but I just can’t think of what it might be:

African artists hired by a Korean museum have been laboring under conditions “similar to indentured servitude”…The 24 artists came from various countries…to sculpt, perform, and do other tasks at the Africa Museum of Original Art in…Pocheon…They…were promised salaries of…minimum wage — 1,269,154 won ($1,183) per month — and comfortable accommodations; instead, they were paid [only] 500,000 or 650,000 won…and forced to live in cold, mice-ridden rooms.  Their salaries barely covered the cost of three meals a day, and the museum gave them only spoiled rice to eat.  Their contracts stipulated three performances per day, but they were often forced to do four to six performances…when they complained…their concerns were either ignored [or] dismissed…

Held Together With Lies

The new claim:  “The number of British children being trafficked for sexual exploitation has more than doubled over the last year…The figures…are thought to be just the tip of the iceberg…”  And the truth:

…these statistics are…drawn from…the National Referral Mechanism…a…process adopted in 2009 to identify…potential victims…the most recent NRM statistical bulletin states…“the number of referrals…is not a measure of human trafficking in the UK”…[but only those suspected by officials]…

The Scarlet Letter (TW3 #19)

Human rights activists in Kyrgyzstan are concerned that…police…[are] forcing sex workers…to undergo testing for sexually transmitted diseases…and…[have] carried out numerous raids since…November…Prostitution by individuals has been decriminalised in Kyrgyzstan, although organised activities like running a brothel are illegal. Sex workers report widespread harassment and extortion by police…

Whorearchy (TW3 #19) Spain protest 1-16-14

Prostitutes in Spain…[protested] a planned crackdown on streetwalking…Hetaira said it would rally…against plans to fine prostitutes and [clients]…fearing it will force them to work in dangerous conditions….[a new] law would make offering or soliciting sex in prohibited areas punishable by a fine of between 1,000 and 30,000 euros…

Backwards Into the Future (TW3 #41)

Theatre for a Change says there has been tremendous progress…in its efforts to raise awareness on rights of sex workers…[in] Malawi…Eric Saforo…says since 2012 the Malawi Police Service is beginning to recognize that abuse against sex workers is…not acceptable and that the police service is opening up to…[improving] working relationships between the two parties…

Due Consideration

Jennifer Whalen…was charged…with felony and misdemeanor counts for ordering…misoprostol and mifepristone online…for her 16-year-old pregnant daughter…She said she couldn’t find an abortion clinic nearby, she didn’t want to go out of state, and she didn’t know she needed a prescription…The felony…is for “medical consultation and judgment”; the misdemeanors are for not being licensed as a pharmacist, endangering the welfare of a child, and “simple assault”…The same thing happened to a mother of three in Idaho in 2012 who took RU-486…[because]…the closest clinic was hours away, would have charged $500, and because of state law, required multiple trips…

Monsters

A mob armed with wooden clubs and iron bars, screaming that they were going to “cleanse” their neighborhood of gay people, dragged 14 young men from their beds and assaulted them…Four of the victims were marched to a police station, where they…were kicked and punched by…officers who…threatened that [they] would be incarcerated for 14 years…under Nigeria’s new Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act…[activist Ifeanyi Orazulike said] “They were told ‘If you come back, we will kill you’”…The walls of [their] houses…have been painted with graffiti declaring “Homosexuals, pack and leave”…

Original Sin (TW3 #321)

Trafficking math is hardThis mostly-typical “sex trafficking” gobbledygook is only notable for “Michigan is one of the top five states for human trafficking” and for its use of “sex worker” rather than “prostituted woman”, “trafficked child”, etc.  But the picture that came with it, borrowed from one of the numerous Christian sites linking porn to “trafficking”, has some interesting math:  6000 total “rapes” (i.e. transactions) over 7 years is only 857 a year…awfully low for “50 per day”.  Even with weekends off that’s just over 3 per day, which is pretty realistic; obviously somebody is deviating from the program.

Unclean Situation (TW3 #330)

Justice for Magdalenes Research has hit out at the “subterfuge” being employed by the Government [against]…victims of the laundries…the department is writing to women offering formal lump sum payments, while stating that all other aspects of the scheme remain subject to legislation or discussions with other Government departments.   Despite the fact that the full terms of the scheme are not finalised, women are requested to sign a waiver accepting “all the terms of the scheme” and waiving “any right of action against the State or any public or statutory body or agency” arising out of their time in a Magdalene laundry…

Opting Out

The UK government’s futile and ham-fisted attempts to purge the Internet of all of its rough edges and naughty bits are about to see international escalation…David Cameron’s government has long-stated they want this filtering to eventually extend to websites deemed “extremist”…and it appears that…[ISPs] will soon [be ordered] to include websites declared to be promoting terrorism…as we’ve seen with the porn filters, there’s probably no limit to the number of entirely legal and legitimate websites UK citizens will find suddenly inaccessible.

UK readers who use Chrome and haven’t yet installed “Go Away Cameron”  should probably do so immediately.

Lack of Evidence (TW3 #344)

Nine men [arrested in a November raid]…were convicted of prostitution and sentenced to between three and nine years in prison…[followed by] a three-year…period for rewiring…in…mental institutions…The police report…and the results of anal examinations do not connect the…men to prostitution.  But…the arrest and prosecution of men who don’t fit acceptable standards of masculinity reassures Egyptians that the ruling military regime is as conservative as any Islamist party…

Remembrance

The moral purification of the Armed Forces continues:

The commander of the Naval Ordnance Test Unit at Port Canaveral has been relieved of duty for allowing two strip clubs to sponsor a military-related golf tournament last year…“Those type of organizations just don’t reflect positively on the Navy” [a spokesman]…said…

Number Puzzle (TW3 #349)

Matthias Lehmann has put together a short video of highlights from a symposium about the German Prostitution Act last December.

Where Are the Protests? (TW3 #350)

Miranda Barbour has a delightful conversation with credulous cops:

A Pennsylvania woman charged in the…slaying of a man she and her husband met through Craigslist [claims]…she killed many more victims…A law enforcement source close to the investigation said Miranda Barbour’s new claims could be “the real deal”…the 19-year-old Barbour [said] she participated in at least 22 killings in the past six years in Alaska, Texas, North Carolina and California.  “When I hit 22, I stopped counting…I can pinpoint on a map where you can find them”…Barbour [said] she had her first experience with killing when she [was] just 13, shortly after she…joined a satanic cult in Alaska…she [says that she] felt no remorse for her victims and…killed only “bad people”…

Whatever They Need To Say (TW3 #350)

No justice for victims of the Soho pogrom:

…at least six sex workers have fought the closures, [saying] they had not been coerced into working and that closing the brothels would make their work more unsafe.  In the first of three appeals…two women…lost their battle to have their flats reopened after a judge [claimed] that unknown figures were “controlling” prostitution in the area…However…the Reverend Simon Buckley wrote that trust in the police had been severely undermined by the “seemingly ham-fisted” nature of the operation.  “The girls who continue to work in the unclosed flats say that they would not feel confident in turning to the police if they were a victim of crime…[they] previously…had a good rapport with the police”…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #351)

As preparations for the World Cup accelerate, Brazilian authorities are attempting to sanitise the country’s image by clamping down on sex-related businesses.  More than 2,000 websites have been targeted, and prostitutes are being threatened with prison sentences for…[advertising]…according to Thaddeus Blanchette…media hype…rests on the false assumption that fans will…seek out sex with children…Tatiana Mauro…of Promundo Brazil…points to a report published by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, which finds no evidence that large sporting events cause an increase in trafficking or prostitution.  Sensationalist reporting on trafficking and mega-events is not only unfounded, it is also paving the way for a more repressive prostitution policy…

What Next? sex work is real work

Canadian readers, here’s your chance to be heard:

The Conservative government wants to hear from Canadians about how to rewrite the country’s prostitution laws [which] were struck down by the Supreme Court…A month-long online consultation period on the Justice Canada website…runs to March 17.  The high court gave the government one year to come up with new legislation…the…government has made it clear that simply allowing the laws to lapse…is not an option…

Predictably,

The [survey]…is being criticized for…loaded questions and misleading information about available options…It assumes prostitution is dangerous and that all sex workers want to be saved, said Chris Bruckert…[of the] University of Ottawa.  She also criticized government for not conducting town-hall style consultations where people have more time to unpack their opinions…She also says the Nordic model could contradict the reasoning for striking down the Canadian laws in the first place…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #404)

549 NGOs and civil society organizations…have signed letters to the members of the European Parliament asking them to reject a report by MEP Mary Honeyball, which asks EU Member States to consider the criminalisation of the clients of sex workers.  The letter…denounces the conflation of sex work and trafficking, the disregard for sex workers’ health and safety and the lack of evidence [in] the report…signatories include…many women’s rights groups such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation …Another document drafted and signed by [45] academics and researchers…[analyzes] the lack and misrepresentation of evidence in [the] report…amongst other astounding errors…Honeyball completely misinterpreted a [Dutch] report…by…“mistaking” data on coffee shops for data on brothels…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #404)

As thousands of cash-strapped Italians take to the streets to protest against their tax bills…[prostitutes] are instead…fighting against a tax code that does not recognise their profession, even though paying for sex is legal, leaving them no chance to…qualify for a pension…What has really irked prostitutes is that…the tax office has now decided to fine them for tax evasion, even though it has given them no way of paying tax…Playing the Whore

The Public Eye (TW3 #406)

Another good interview with Melissa Gira Grant about her new book, Playing the Whore; she speaks to Noah Berlatsky of the Atlantic about sex work as work, the range of sex worker experiences, anti-sex feminism and the similarities between the gay and sex worker rights movements.

Drawing Lines

Because obviously sex work isn’t a profession, uses no creativity and nobody earns a living through it:

…Mercy Mushaninga…has taken to social network sites to address her bitterness over the labeling of models as prostitutes…“Modelling is a career…and a profession with some people earning a living through it…Models…use their natural endowment and creativity…”

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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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Whether it’s Barack Obama or some subsequent pathological megalomaniac, Republican or Democrat, the increasingly ceremonial and quasi-religious aspect of the presidency is unseemly.  It is profane.  It is unbecoming of us as a people, and it has transformed the presidency into an office that can be truly attractive only to men who are unfit to hold it.  -  Kevin D. Williamson

This wasn’t an unusually busy week for links, but it was a very good one for quality and variety.  Everything down to the first video was provided by Radley Balko, and the video itself (a short sequence from an episode of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit!) by Mancrack.  Coincidentally, a link on the same subject was supplied by Furry Girl, and the other links between the videos by Grace (“pigs”), Caty Simon (“Sappho”), Violet Blue (“year”), Clarissa (“headlines”), Jason Kuznicki  (“best essay”), Police Misconduct (“seizure”), and Aspasia (“together”).

From the Archives

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

Bad Girls Emily Wyatt

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

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

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

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

The Swedish Pimpocracy

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

Bell, Hook and Kettle

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

See also “Dirty Laundry” below.

Not To Be Taken Internally

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

The Course of a Disease

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

Above the Law

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

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

The Widening Gyre

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

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

Obfuscation Via Dysphemisms

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

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

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

Dirty Laundry

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

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

With Friends Like These…

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

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #131)

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

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

Tyranny By Consensus (TW3 #138)

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

Profound Ignorance (TW3 #310) prohibition beer raid

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

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

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

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #312)

Imagine an American politician saying this:

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

Challenge

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

Between the Ears (TW3 #334)

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

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

O, Canada! (Hysteria On Parade) 

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

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

Welcome To Our World (TW3 #345)

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

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #345)

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

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #404)

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

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

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

The Red Umbrella Red Umbrella

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

Down Under

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

Droit du Seigneur

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

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

Wise Investment

Apparently, American courts hate oil companies more than whores:

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

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

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

Elytte & Miranda Barbour
Where Are the Protests?

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

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

A False Dichotomy (TW3 #8)

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

Finding What Isn’t There

A peek inside the mind of a bureaucrat:

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

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

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #314)

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

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

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

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #315)

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

Monsters

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

Dysphemisms Galore

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

An Example to the West (TW3 #324)

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

Safe Targets (TW3 #332)

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

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

Under Every Bed (TW3 #333)

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

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

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

Whatever They Need To Say (TW3 #341)

New excuses for another Soho pogrom:

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

More from the West End Extra:

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

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

Little Boxes (TW3 #343)

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

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

Imaginary Evils (TW3 #348)

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

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

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

Number Puzzle (TW3 #349)

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

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

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Prostitutes…will be forced to continue to hide…because even if they are not risking arrest, their clients are.  And their survival depends on their clients.  -  Tim Leicester

The Lesser of Two Evils

A rabbi makes an argument familiar to students of medieval Catholicism:

Britain should…[legalize] brothels and…[implement] basic controls over safety and hygiene…without monitoring activities too closely and thereby discouraging usage of them…It may be more messianic to want to end the sex trade altogether, but perhaps it is more religious to seek to channel it safely.

Feminine Pragmatism

Layal has…turned to sex work in [Beirut] to support her two children…“I don’t have any products to sell…I have myself to sell, and I’d much rather earn my money [like that] than I would begging on the street”…Layal says her Iraqi husband…sends her a monthly allowance from Baghdad, but…it’s not enough to cover her $900 rent…and allow her to send money to her family back in Syria.  He has no idea his wife is supplementing their income with prostitution …“A woman should never depend on anyone else for money, even her husband,” she says defiantly…

A Procrustean Bed

Note the assumption that there is always a “trafficker” hiding somewhere:

[Massachusetts’] new human trafficking law has been on the books since early last year, but Bristol County has not charged anyone and Plymouth County has brought charges against one man…[law sponsor] Mark C.W. Montigny…said the problem of human trafficking exists everywhere…and…the attitude that it doesn’t happen here is part of the problem…Law enforcement should use cases involving johns and prostitutes “to go up the ladder” and identify and prosecute the trafficker, he said…

Marching Up Their Own Arses
Slave Hunter

Remember Chris Baughman, the Las Vegas cop claiming to be an “expert” on “pimps”?  Pay especial note to the “magical pimp” trope:

[MSNBC’s]…new series, Slave Hunter: Freeing Victims of Human Trafficking…reveals…what happens behind closed doors in the sex trafficking underworld.  The series highlights the…work of human rights advocate, Aaron Cohen and his partner, former Las Vegas vice detective, Chris Baughman…MSNBC’s cameras follow Cohen and Baughman as they…identify trafficked women via on-line ads and then arrange to meet them in New York City hotel rooms with Cohen posing as a potential john.  When the women are open to help, Cohen and Baughman…[help] them to escape their bonds and build a new life…other times, the trafficked women sadly succumb to the powers of their “pimp”…

We can only hope this blows up in NBC’s face the way To Catch a Predator  eventually did.  Hey, guys, do you know the word for men like you who prey on women in order to enrich and aggrandize themselves?  Oops.

An Example to the West

over 1,500 sex workers…[voted in Delhi on] December 4…thanks to an enrollment drive by the state election commission…over 80 per cent [of] sex workers [are now registered]…”We all will vote…for the person who will fulfill our long-pending demands,” Munni Begum…of GB Road Sex Workers Association…said…

And in Mysore:

…Ashodaya Samithi…is…a powerful collective…of 336 members…[and] a network of volunteers operating in six districts of Karnataka.  It reaches out to 8,000 sex workers through its different initiatives…such as providing knowledge of legal and human rights…running drop-in-centres, operation of a crisis management unit, a restaurant…and a training academy predominantly run by members …they also offer HIV and STI testing facilities, counselling and free condoms…90 percent of sex workers in Mysore have been contacted monthly, 70 percent…visit…drop in centres regularly and 65 percent have become consistent condom users.  Ashodaya Samithi has successfully reduced STI prevalence within three years…

The Power of Myth

As I’ve explained before, even cases which could credibly be called “trafficking” rarely fit the myth:

…Since Australia introduced tough laws to crack down on trafficking a decade ago…eight of 15 people…convicted…were…female…migrants, born in the same…country as their victims and typically from similar…socio-economic backgrounds.  Most…involved…[debt-bonded] Thai women…[and] three…had reportedly been victims…themselves…[none] were involved in “high-end organised crime”…

Mythbusters

Eight common migration myths debunked, including “Migration is on the increase”, “Strict border controls reduce irregular migration”, and “Migrants take jobs that would otherwise go to natives.”Thompson & Hurd

The Widening Gyre

The words “sex trafficking” and “pimp” do not appear in this story; however, I think we all know what was going through these cops’ sick minds:

Houston Police have refused to explain why they took a 13-year-old white girl from her two black guardians…and [gave] her [to]…Child Protective Services.  Landry Thompson’s mother had signed notarized papers giving dance instructor Emmanuel Hurd full guardianship over her during a trip from Oklahoma to Houston…Thompson, Hurd and another dance instructor had stopped at a gas station…when they were surrounded by police cars…All three told the police the same story, but…“They still put handcuffs on me and it really scared me”…Thompson [said]…At first officials…demanded that the mother fly to Houston to get her daughter, but 11 hours later, the girl was released back into [Hurd’s] custody…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #28)

The French parliament has backed part of a bill that imposes a 1,500 euro (£1,250) fine on anyone paying for sex…Protests…took place outside the National Assembly in Paris as the debate took place…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #47) Sidse Babett Knudsen as fictional Danish Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg in Borgen

The Danes weren’t just satisfied with rejecting the tyrannical Swedish model; they also dramatized the events in a political television show:

…in the internet age, it is simply not good enough to pretend to be speaking for a “voiceless” group, as the surprised politicians learned in Borgen…Sadly, the biggest fiction…was the bit when the politician found herself impressed and moved by the voices of sex work activists…frighteningly few people in power have been willing to listen…

First They Came for the Hookers… (TW3 #132)

For those who still pretend government is different from organized crime:

…Houston Mayor Annise Parker…cut a deal with a group of strip clubs allowing them to…operate freely in exchange for an annual tax of $1 MILLION!…According to [a Houston Chronicle] article, “The city…has reached a settlement…that would halt enforcement of the three-foot rule and allow dancers to be fully topless in exchange for an annual $1 million donation to help combat human trafficking”…for those who have not completely removed the wool from their eyes, this is what is known…as a…shakedown.  But wait, only 16 clubs were included…so where does that leave the 50+ other strip clubs that have been purposely excluded from this deal?…I would venture…that…vice raids and harassment at these other clubs…will increase tremendously…the Mayor…herself…all but said that the other clubs will now be more routinely targeted…

Another, more obsequious blog reversed the roles by calling the deal “Houston’s dance with the devil” and breathlessly informed its readers that “Houston…has long been regarded as the nation’s hub of human trafficking”; I’d call that a claim for the #1 spot, wouldn’t you?

Due Consideration

I must admit, this one shocked even me:

…a pregnant Italian mother flew to England for a two-week…training course…she had…a panic attack when she couldn’t find the passports for her two daughters, who were with her mother back in Italy.  She called the police, who arrived…when she was on the phone to her mother…who explained [to cops] that her daughter was probably over-excited because she suffered from a “bipolar” condition and hadn’t been taking her medication…The police…[took] her to…a psychiatric hospital [where]…she was restrained…[and] sectioned under the Mental Health Act…five weeks later she was…strapped down and forcibly sedated, and when she woke up hours later, found she was in a different hospital and that her baby had been removed by caesarean section while she was unconscious and taken…by social workers.  She was…[then deported] to Italy without her baby…[who was] placed for adoption…Polaris King of the Hill

Number Puzzle (TW3 #324) 

Matthias Lehmann debunks more prohibitionist lies:

Re…“Germany is having second thoughts on legalized prostitution”…Alice Schwarzer’s… book and her appeal against prostitution have been widely criticized for using entirely unreliable data.  The counter-appeal…has been signed by numerous experts, including counseling centers for sex workers and victims of human trafficking as well as social scientists, social workers and sex workers themselves…a majority of the German public has consistently shown not to support a move to roll back the…law…

Number Puzzle (TW3 #326)

I don’t think many sex workers are unhappy about this:  “Germany’s biggest political parties have agreed to ban so-called flat-rate sex offered by some brothels…they view as exploitative the special offers…where men can have unlimited sex for 100 euros ($136)…

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine

In Sweden, sex workers are considered “unfit parents”; child molesters, on the other hand

A Swedish man convicted for molesting a five-year-old girl…has been [allowed] to adopt a child of his own…the man…has been found guilty of more than 90 crimes, mostly different types of fraud…and was also suspected of raping a…teenage girl…the…social affairs committee…found that his risk of relapse was…low…but…members were not given access to…details about his…sex crime…[and] there were no supporting documents to back up the assessment…

Dutch Threat (TW3 #334)

Utrecht city council has agreed [on] a new location for…prostitutes, five months after the licences for most of the…floating brothels were withdrawn…because of concerns the boat owners were involved in human trafficking…The prostitutes, some of whom had attempted to take over the boats themselves, will be relocated to a new location with 162 workspaces…The city is also introducing a minimum age of 21…and…in order to prevent a monopoly…owners will only be given three-year licences for no more than 20% of the windows.

Under Every Bed (TW3 #335)

I take back anything nice I’ve said about Al-Jazeera and “sex trafficking” mythology; this example of the new “gang” myth-motif (complete with the magic mind-control philter and confusion about the meaning of the verb “to sell”) is as bad as anything in the American media:

Washington DC…gangs are prostituting underage girls…Prosecutors say the pimps gave their victims drugs…to keep them submissive… “[prostitutes] can be considered a ‘reusable resource’…if you’re going to deal marijuana or cocaine; you use it up, you have to find another source or supply”…

The article does admit that “relatively little is known about the overall nature or extent of juvenile prostitution in the United States,” but of course that never stops prohibitionists from making grandiose pronouncements.

A War for Peace (TW3 #336) Femen at Artemis

Oh, the irony:

…Femen staged a topless protest outside one of Germany’s biggest brothels, as part of a campaign promoting [the Swedish model]…The women chanted “Go rape yourselves” and…briefly scuffled with the club staff…before being led away by police…Femen held a similar protest in Amsterdam earlier this month…Femen leader Inna Shevchenko said…”Prostitution is not a women’s industry, it’s a business controlled by men”…

Absolute Corruption (TW3 #336)

Still more victims of the Satanic panic released from prison:

Fran and Dan Keller…[were] released after 21 years in prison…The case…was part of national hysteria over alleged sexual abuse with Satanic overtones…therapists were subsequently criticized for having implanted the bizarre allegations into the minds of children…[Defense attorney Keith] Hampton…has vowed to work to completely exonerate the Kellers…

Whimsical Notions

Think this would’ve happened if legal, professional whores were available to soldiers?  “Female soldiers at Fort Hood [Texas] testified…that they were recruited for a prostitution ring set up by a sergeant involved in the sexual assault and harassment program…

Something Rotten in Sweden (TW3 #345)

This might make sense if selling sex were a bona fide criminal act, AND if nearly all clients only paid once in their lives:

…public defender Edgar Lin [had] filed motions to dismiss the two counts against Alexis L. Smith…99 percent of…arrested [clients]…never faced criminal charges, while 40 percent of the prostitutes were criminally charged…The discrepancy formed the basis of Lin’s argument that his client’s right to equal protection had been violated…But…Judge Mark McGinnis ruled that the patrons and prostitutes are not similarly situated, because the prostitutes…have ongoing criminal activity, while the johns typically only commit a single crime…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #348)

Another lurid, dysphemism-laden article on Brazilian sex work; this one conflates child, underage and adult prostitution, plays a shell game with agency, blames sex workers for the sadistic actions of police and has a faint Swedish odor in places.  All in all, a truly noxious mixture.

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