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Posts Tagged ‘Imagination Pinned Down’

A woman has the exclusive right to decide if she wants to work in prostitution and it is forbidden for anyone to interfere…we must put an end to the condescension and paternalism of politicians and others who purport to speak for…prostitutes and determine what is good for them.  –  “Shelly”

R.I.P. Maya Angelou Maya Angelou

Poet and author Maya Angelou passed away on May 28th at the age of 86, and predictably the obituaries have all either ignored or glossed over the fact that as a young woman she worked both as a whore and a brothel madam.  Though she wrote about this period of her life in her second book, Gather Together In My Name, feminists and others who wished to make Angelou into an icon have sanitized the inconvenient fact for decades, and aren’t letting a little thing like her death change that.  Peechington Marie discusses the whitewashing in a thoughtful article on Tits and Sass.

The Red Umbrella

Like so many of its type, this article about the brutal rape and robbery of a Michigan sex worker by sociopathic twins Michael and Peter Versluys spends more ink on the bizarre, ignorant and opportunistic statements of prohibitionists than on the victim:

Websites such as backpage.com allow sex trade customers to check out who’s for sale from the comfort of their living room…“It makes it a hundred times more dangerous,” sex worker advocate Anny Donewald said.  That’s because sex workers can no longer see who is approaching them like they could when customers would drive or walk by…“You…never know who’s coming or…where you’re being sent to,” she said…So why don’t prostitutes simply find a safer occupation?  Donewald says the sex industry has a separate culture with its own rules and that it’s hard for anyone to get out…“These girls were conditioned in the sex industry since they were 12 and 13 years old, and so they don’t know another way”…

Donewald claims to have been a whore, which makes this farrago of idiotic arse-backward nonsense all the more pathetic.  Compare this from a civilized country:

…sex [workers were] confronted at gunpoint in a series of robberies of interstate escorts who came to Adelaide for four or five-day stints.  The bandit used a series of mobile phones and worked out when the women were due to leave…so that he hit when they had the most cash…[the victims were] initially unsure how detectives would treat the case, given…[they] were sex workers…“But it wasn’t like that…All of the police…were nothing but professional” [one said]…John Steven…Costi’s violence escalated [in his last robbery before being arrested]…He…died in an apparent [jailhouse] suicide…before his trial…

Maggie in the Media

I’m quoted extensively in this student article about the problems of sex work criminalization in Louisiana, and also in Elizabeth N. Brown’s Reason article on International Whores’ Day.

Cognitive Impairment

I wonder if VandeHoef plugged her Hitachi magic wand into the computer’s power strip while she was writing this lurid fantasy, or if she just used a battery-powered masturbation aid instead?

…There’s an enormous yuck factor to being groped by and copulating with strangers…But I wanted to know more about those who said they willingly did this…I expected a…diatribe about how it’s an adult’s right to choose to rent out her…intimate orifices…prostitution dehumanizes a person by reducing her (or him) to a quivering piece of flesh to be used, squeezed and thrust upon exclusively for the sexual gratification of whoever has the right amount…of cash…a Nordic-style model…[is] the best option for those who don’t want their tax dollars used to sanction an industry that reduces people to rentable sex parts…forced into a nightmare of numerous daily rapes, violence, venereal disease and substance abuse.

Tyranny By Consensus the future of porn in California

A bill that would require condoms to be used in all adult films produced in California narrowly cleared the Assembly…the measure’s [sponsor claimed] he sought to bring workplace safety standards, present in all other “legitimate businesses,” to the adult film industry…He noted that law enforcement officers, doctors, nurses and other professionals all are required to wear protective gear when risking exposure to blood-borne pathogens…

A Whore in Church

Because whores are subhuman monsters who can’t possibly have religious beliefs.

Staff at a US newspaper received a shock…when they discovered a witch profiled in the paper’s “Faith and Values” section was also allegedly a prostitute.  Intelligencer Journal…published a statement online…expressing…regret that the woman’s extracurricular activities were not picked up by editorial staff…The original story…has since been removed [from the paper's] website…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #8)

The last poll said the same thing:

…a poll…found that the majority of the [Israeli] public is against criminalizing the solicitation of prostitutes.  Some 63 percent of respondents…agreed that criminal punishment should not be given to those who buy sexual services from prostitutes if both sides agree to the transaction…The Association for the Regularization of Prostitution in Israel [explained] that legislation criminalizing prostitution would mainly harm women…

Above the Law

Only when a cop’s rape victim is very young are reporters willing to call the crime what it is:  “A Tennessee police officer is accused of sexually abusing a girl over five years…Steven Feinberg began molesting the girl when she was 12…[and] raping [her] when she was 14…”  When the victim is an adult, the crime drops to mere “sexual assault”:  “Clearwater [Florida] Police…are investigating a report of sexual assault…by an officer…attending a training conference for the International Association of Human Trafficking Investigators…”  And when the victims are whores, it’s just “sex on duty”:  “A…San Bernardino [California] police officer has been convicted of forcing two prostitutes to perform sex acts on him while he was on duty…The jury found Jose Jesus Perez…guilty…of two felony counts of deprivation of rights under color of law and one misdemeanor civil rights offense…

An Example to the West 

Real People (TW3 #21)

A new Channel 4 documentary, My Granny the Escort, will reveal what it is really like being a mature sex worker.  Sheila Vogel-Coupe pulls in…£250-an-hour…and entertains up to 10 clients a week who are as young as 20…85-year-old Sheila has been working as an escort for four years, following two happy marriages.  Sadly, both husbands passed away from illness…

Imagination Pinned Down

Note how interchangeable these “sex trafficking survivor” narratives are, and remember what I explained about stereotypic conformation:

Sex trafficking is…happening right here in Southern Idaho…Rebecca Bender…was a victim…for six years…”I moved off to college, and I met a guy who was pretending to be my boyfriend”…She tried to escape numerous times, but her trafficker would find her.  She was beaten regularly, branded twice, her daughter was threatened, and she was sold to other traffickers.  “I was brainwashed and threatened to keep my mouth shut”…Stacey King…says…many of the victims in the Boise area are 11 to 13-year-old girls who are targeted at a mall…

The Public Eye

Sex workers are often the subjects (or objects) of stories, but are very rarely given the platform to tell their own story on their own terms.  There’s something profoundly refreshing about watching a sex work narrative unfold without feeling the usual…fear that sex work will be misrepresented, sensationalised, demonised, glamourised; that sex workers will be objectified; that the narrative will hinge around a worker having her…professional boundaries broken, or breaking them herself, for lurrrrve.  (Show me a mainstream narrative about sex work which is not about this and I will give you a cookie.)  [Watching]…the Sex Workers’ Opera, for the first time I felt that I could trust that whatever stories would be told, they…would be told respectfully. It was an exhilarating feeling…

Under Every Bed Pretty Woman scene

Another small town imagines bogeymen in the bushes and  claims lack of evidence as proof:

…District Attorney Farley Ward says he doesn’t know of any human trafficking cases yet in McAlester — but he has seen things that make him suspicious…Michael Snowden…of the [Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics'] Human Trafficking Unit, said…Seventy-eight percent of…women who are part of…sex trafficking are drug dependent…“But they say it’s a victimless crime…It’s the root of everything”…Snowden sounded particularly incensed at…Pretty Woman…“It’s not glamorous,” he said…“Richard Gere doesn’t exist”…

Yes, Snowden is so obsessed with his masturbatory fantasies that he denied the existence of a well-known celebrity.

Sex Work is Work (TW3 #407)

Dr. Brooke Magnanti on inflated “estimates” of sex work’s contribution to UK GDP:

…Having had a close look at the methods employed to come up with their impressive total of £10 billion per year, I think they are likely to be out by as much as an order of magnitude too high…they got their estimate of the current number of sex workers from Eaves for Women…[which] has come under fire for its statistical methods…Also what about men who pay for sex with other men, which accounts for the majority of male sex workers?…The ONS then go on to guess at the average earnings based on Punternet…Why not ask escorts themselves?  It’s not as if we’re hard to find…Finally, for their calculation of how many clients sex workers see in a week, they relied on research conducted in the Netherlands. It doesn’t take a genius to spot that the difference between sex work in a country where it is legal and heavily regulated, and one where it is legal but many sex workers criminalised, is simply not going to be equal…

The accountant who writes Tax Relief 4 Escorts has an even more comprehensive analysis.

Whither Canada?

On Wednesday, the Canadian government re-introduced sex work criminalization disguised under a Swedish-flavored patina of “protecting women”; essentially the new Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act re-enacts all the laws that were struck down and also criminalizes paying for sex, advertising sexual services, porn and engaging in any commercial sex in any place that has ever contained or ever will contain children:

…This cynical, dystopic model does not resolve the problems found by the Court in Bedford to be unconstitutional, and adds new ones such as the prohibition on advertising.  The Charter rights…[of] life, liberty, security of the person, freedom of expression and equality…are [all] breached…It is an unconstitutional variation of our broken laws that impose more danger, more criminalization, and fewer safe options, contrary to the requirement of the Supreme Court of Canada…All that will be required for police to surveil and target sex workers is the suggestion that a person under the age of 18 can reasonably be expected to be present…purchase [of]…sex…[carries] mandatory fines…from $500 to $4,000, to five years in jail…Without the ability to advertise in newspapers, online, or other forms of media, sex workers will now have severely limited means for working safely indoors…

I cannot believe that the entire Canadian government is so deranged or stupid as to believe this law will stand; it is obviously an attempt to continue the legal wrangling until the hot potato can be passed to the next government.

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (TW3 #412)

According to this article about the prohibitionist weirdos of “Stop Porn Culture”, Julie Bindel’s presentation on “the politics of the sex industry” consisted of “a succession of tabloid-style personal attacks on pro-sex industry activists, academics, escorts, and performers, complete with photos seemingly lifted without permission from their social-media profiles.”  Bindel listed certain names as being part of the “pimp lobby”, the prohibitionists’ version of the Illuminati or the Elders of Zion, a shadowy cabal which apparently want sex work decriminalized because it disobeys all economic principles and decriminalization would result in expansion of the black market.  Or something.  Anyhow, reporter Rachel Hills wrote down these names of people Bindel listed as key players in the “pimp lobby”:

Chris Knight
Brooke Magnanti
Sebastian Horsley
Thierry Schaffauser
Douglas Fox
John Dockerty
Amnesty International
Elizabeth Wood
The Sexual Freedom Coalition
Jerry Barnett
Belinda Brooks Gordon
Rachel Moran
Maggie McNeill
Stella Marr

Horsley has been dead since 2010, and as regular readers know Moran and Marr are well-known prohibitionist shills.  Some of the other names are almost as inexplicable, though I’m obviously pleased to see mine there; one wonders what Bindel was smoking when she compiled the list.

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There is almost nothing more convincing than a live human being who takes the stand, points a finger at the defendant, and says “That’s the one!”  –  Elizabeth Loftus

AGLR coverAfter I participated in the Albany Law School Symposium in February of last year, the organizers asked if I’d like to submit a research paper for inclusion in the school’s journal; the invitation was both enticing and intimidating.  On the one hand, it would allow me to present my arguments in a form and medium through which they would both reach a professional audience that might otherwise be denied me, and give those arguments a certain gravitas denied to the contents of a “mere” blog.  On the other hand, I had not written a scholarly paper in twenty years, and even then not for a journal; furthermore, I was unfamiliar with what might constitute an acceptable style for a law journal, and also with the citation format.  I was assured that they would be happy to hold my hand if necessary on the matter of style, and that the editors checked all citations and put them into proper format.

So I accepted the invitation, and though the deadline wasn’t until September I worked on it through last June and submitted it on July 2nd so as to give the editors plenty of time for all the revision I was sure it would need.  To my great pleasure it needed very little; the editor wanted to double-check some citations, asked for a couple of alternate sources and requested that clarifying text be included in a few passages.  Finally, the journal was published in March and I received a box of copies last week.  I scanned it into a PDF and uploaded it, and today I’d like to formally present “Mind-Witness Testimony:  The Unreliability of First-Person Accounts in Sex Trafficking Discourse” (Albany Government Law Review, volume 7).  It’s much longer (34 pages), much more formal and much more scholarly than my usual writing, but I don’t think y’all will find it too dry and the points it makes are, in my opinion, very important.  Here’s the concluding paragraph of the introduction:

…While some fraction of the firsthand accounts, related by those who represent themselves as victims of “sex trafficking”, are almost certainly true as related (subject to the usual distortion of time), and another probably larger fraction have been altered by the process of stereotypical conformation described [herein], it is likely that the majority of reported narratives are not factually correct in any way, however real they may seem to the self-identified victim.  I realize this is an extremely bold and controversial claim; however, in this paper I will present three types of evidence to support it:  first, that “sex trafficking” is neither as common as the public has been led to believe, nor as consistently and stereotypically exploitative; second, that there is extremely strong evidence for a mechanism for the formation of absolutely false memories, and that the narratives reported by self- identified “trafficking victims” bear a striking resemblance to past examples that experts and the legal system alike now agree are undoubtedly false; and third, that there are strong sociological, political, and economic reasons for certain parties to encourage the development, dissemination, and public acceptance of these narratives.

It’s a topic I’ve covered in this blog before, but it’s examined in much greater depth in the paper; you may also appreciate the historical overview in the first section. Oh, and one more thing:  I reduced the scans by 40% to keep the PDF down to a manageable size, so you’ll need to expand the display to read it properly.  Class dismissed, and I promise not to give you a pop quiz. students taking test

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

Recognition

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

Barbie

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

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

A Narrow View

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

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

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

To Protect and Serve (August Updates)

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

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

Don’t Take My Word For It

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

Not for Everybody

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

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

Above the Law Deon Nunlee

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

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

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

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

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

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

First They Came for the Hookers… 

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

Higher Education (TW3 #23)

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

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

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

Imagination Pinned Down

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

The Widening Gyre

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

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

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

South of the Border

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

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

Bottleneck

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

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

That Old Black Magic

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

Buried Truth

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

Between the Ears (TW3 #133)

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

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

It Looks Good On Paper (TW3 #311)

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

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #315)

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

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

Long Spoon (TW3 #351)

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

Ladies of the Night

Saith Dr. Brooke Magnanti in The Telegraph:

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

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

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #410)

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

Traffic Jam (TW3 #410)

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

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

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

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I’ve been dismayed at the condescension toward and willful ignorance of the experiences of sex workers that is prevalent among…those…who…try to impose their values through criminalizing their work.  –  Peter Shafer

Barbie

Every once in a while, it’s nice to see a woman whose name isn’t Maggie McNeill attacking mainstream feminist claptrap:

Barbie is a safe way for girls to explore dangerously adult concepts like sexuality…says [psychoanalyst] Joyce McFadden…she likens young girls’ play-acting Barbie sex with them trying on their mothers’ makeup or bras…Anti-Barbie arguments have a tired ring to them…when I look back at my own Barbie-influenced youth, I have a hard time pointing to anything but positive effects.  “The feminist perspective is she has this unattainable figure,” McFadden says. “But Barbie was the only doll that had breasts, the only one to create a space where girls could start to fantasize about that”…Barbie is sexualized by adults, not kids…

Maggie in the Media

For those who couldn’t catch it live, the podcast version of my February 16th appearance on The Bob Zadek Show is now available.

Legislators Gone Wild

Harry ReidHarry Reid is on his anti-whore hobby horse again:  “Las Vegas is one of the cities in contention to host the 2016 Republican National Convention, but Nevada’s prostitution laws may jeopardize the city’s chances of winning its bid…” The idea of a convention-rich state criminalizing a whole industry to win one single convention would be hilarious if it didn’t display such a blatant disregard for his constituents’ lives.

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through

Unfortunately, it’s the sex workers who suffered from this idiocy:  “A disgruntled punter made a complaint to Harrow Council…after a prostitute refused to have sex with him…at a brothel in the borough…The brothel is now being closed…

Follow Your Bliss

The officer in charge of a police pilot project created to combat human trafficking and rescue sex trade workers…[engaged] in sexual acts and [sent] lewd messages and photos of his penis to sex workers and colleagues.  Sgt. Derek Mellor…once the lead of Hamilton [Ontario] Police’s…“Project Rescue”…[pleaded guilty] to [nine] charges…

Good News, Bad News (TW3 #10)

Western Australia politicians keep playing with this diseased carcass:

Professor Catharine MacKinnon said Perth was perfectly placed to prevent human trafficking from Asia…because it was used as a gateway…by criminals.  However…the…Government would have to…overhaul prostitution laws to target the people who pay for sexual services rather than the prostitutes…

By “carcass” I mean the Swedish model; MacKinnon is still alive and flapping around belfries for the time being.

The Rape Question

Cherry 2000 sex contractConsidering the doctrine that consent can be retroactively revoked months or years after the fact, I sincerely doubt an informal contract without  a lawyer witness  would really offer much protection against future rape charges, but I guess it couldn’t hurt.  It’s just sad we’ve come to this.

Welcome To Our World (TW3 #15)

Everything is magically right and moral when state actors do it:

…[Washington state] prosecutors had [a rape and kidnapping victim] arrested…The 43-year-old woman…has not been charged with any crime.  She just wasn’t showing up for pre-trial meetings with prosecutors…[in other words] the woman [is being held] against her will so she can help convict someone else of holding her against her will…

And just in case you think I tend to exaggerate about neofeminists:  Amanda Marcotte approves of the state’s actions.

Bullies With Badges

Big masked heroes in riot gear prove their manhood by attacking Asian women:

Birmingham [Alabama] police raided an Asian massage parlor…taking four women and three patrons into custody.  Police, along with FBI and ICE agents [pretended] the raid was in response to complaints of prostitution and possible human trafficking…

Her poster
The Pygmalion Fallacy

In the entire history of futurism, has any futurist ever been right about anything?

…a prominent futurologist has claimed that AI girlfriends…like the one…in the…film Her could become a reality by 2029.  Ray Kurzweil…claims…a virtual body with a tactile sense…“will…certainly be completely convincing by the time an AI of the level of Samantha is feasible”…

Femme Fatale

A man died of a heart attack while in the embrace of a prostitute at a brothel in Ticino [Switzerland]…police confirmed that…there were no third parties involved and no criminal case…seven customers have died in brothels in the canton in the past ten years…

Imagination Pinned Down

This is just a typical lurid “survivor” narrative, but contains an unusually telling passage near the end:  “For 17 years, Lloyd told no one what she had been through…Six years ago, she contacted the Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado and met people who convinced her that she was dragged into a life of prostitution — and that it wasn’t her fault…” As usual, all events are conveniently decades in the past, with no witnesses, and she only came out with it after others convinced her that it happened.

Broken Record

You should’ve known we wouldn’t get through an Olympics without at least ONE “sex trafficking” scare story, and here it is courtesy of XO Jane.  I’m sure we can all think of more credible explanations for this scam that don’t involve the Russian Mafia and sentences like “The Olympics is a huge draw for trafficking…and American women are typically sold for more in foreign countries.” Peter Schafer Whores & Madonnas

Real People (TW3 #36)

Photographer and regular reader Peter Schafer on his project Whores and Madonnas:

Opportunities are extremely limited in the Dominican Republic for women to make a decent living…After reading about how central the responsibility of being a mother was to their motivation to pursue sex work, it got my mind going as these women seemed to explode the well-worn dichotomy that classifies women as either Madonnas or Whores…I became their client…explained I was working on a photo project and showed them some of my other work…I paid them for their time being photographed…because prostitutes in Sosúa are the economic drivers, with all other businesses…dependent on them, they enjoy…status and respect…

Not To Be Taken Internally (TW3 #39)

An adult entertainer was sentenced in Mississippi…to seven years in prison for helping set up an illegal silicone buttocks injection that killed…Karima Gordon.  Stewart, who goes by the…[stage] name…Pebbelz Da Model, took $200 to refer Gordon to the injector and falsely claimed the person was a nurse…Tracey Lynn Garner, the one suspected of administering the injections, is charged with depraved-heart murder in the deaths of Gordon and another woman, Marilyn Hale…She has pleaded not guilty, with her trial scheduled for March…

With Friends Like These…

The title is, “For Smart Prostitution Laws, Ask a Prostitute”.  The first couple of paragraphs sharply criticize the Canadian laws which were struck down, and the middle section discusses misconceptions about sex workers and implies we need to be consulted on new laws…then the author rapidly descends into evil pimps and helpless victims, and concludes by advocating the Swedish model.

Watershed

Slowly but surely, it’s becoming acceptable for female public figures to declare their support for something other than criminalization of sex work. Legal journalist and former assistant district attorney Robin Baton recently published “Why Prostitution Should Be Legalized in the U.S.”, and while she fails to see the problems with the license-and-regulate view that’s probably just because she hasn’t thought it through; she uses arguments based on the principle of self-ownership, the lack of a bright, clear line between prostitution and other female behaviors, and the sports analogy.  And though (as Scott Greenfield expressed it) “she’s no Maggie McNeill”,50 Canadians Who Changed The World it’s still good to see this in a US medium.

Book Reviews (TW3 #339)

Another honor for Chester Brown, the acclaimed cartoonist (and friend, and reader) who drew the cover for my book:  he’s been included in a new book entitled “50 Canadians Who Changed the World”.  Chester says the book isn’t very good and downplays his hiring of sex workers (depicted in Paying For It), but I still think it’s great that he was picked out of the many notable Canadians the author could’ve written about.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #345)

On March 14, 2014 human rights defender and transgender advocate Monica Jones will…go…to trial…for “manifestation of prostitution”…after she [was arrested for protesting]…Project ROSE …Two members of SWOP Phoenix and the Best Practices Policy Project intend to travel to Geneva to…educate the United Nation’s Human Rights Committee about human rights violations perpetrated by Project ROSE and the Phoenix police…and call on the Committee to pressure the U.S. government…This unique opportunity has emerged because the United Nations Human Rights Committee will review the U.S.’s human rights record…on…the same date as Monica’s trial…

Deafening Silence (TW3 #407)

This Hong Kong reporter seems to be trying out for a job in Beijing’s propaganda ministry:

Hong Kong police are planning to focus special attention on illegal sex trade operations in response to a wide scale crackdown on prostitution…in…Dongguan…Commissioner of Police Andy Tsang Wai-hung has expressed concern about a likely increase of prostitution in Hong Kong, but also expects additional criminal activity to accompany this vice…Prostitution was banned in China after the Communist revolution in 1949.  However, it reappeared three decades ago…and…is greatly responsible for a significant increase in sexually transmitted diseases…

Though the talk of criminality and disease is typical in the West, I simply cannot fathom why so many people whose minds were not broken by Mao are nevertheless happy to repeat the ludicrous propaganda that prostitution magically ceased to exist after his official proclamation.

Drawing Lines

[At the turn of the century]…an adult performer openly escorting was relatively rare…[but in the past few years] the industry…changed drastically: the talent pool [is] larger, the number of available roles much smaller, and the advent of digital piracy [has] driven performers’ rates down.  Escorting…has become one of the most lucrative ways for adult performers to supplement their flagging incomes…up to thousands of dollars for a single booking…The issue…is fairly divisive among performers…[and] was largely stigmatized within the adult film community until recently…

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #408) yay for sisterhood!

After all the attacks, the Duke porn actress decided to speak for herself:

…I couldn’t afford $60,000 in tuition, my family has undergone significant financial burden, and I saw a way to graduate from my dream school free of debt, doing something I…love…my experience in porn has been nothing but supportive, exciting, thrilling and empowering.  The next question is always:  “But when you graduate, you won’t be able to get a job, will you?  I mean, who would hire you?”  I simply shrug and say, “I wouldn’t want to work for someone who discriminates against sex workers”…

Whatever They Need To Say (TW3 #408)

Two sex workers’ flats in Soho, central London were…re-opened by a judge…[who] rejected police evidence that women…were being controlled or incited into prostitution for gain…Judge Kingston’s decision brought for the first time some common sense to legal cases, which have been rumbling through the courts since mass raids at the beginning of December…

What Next? (TW3 #408) 

If you’d like to answer the Canadian consultation but aren’t confident in your ability to make good points, Maggie’s (the Toronto Sex Workers Action Project) is here to help with simple guidelines (both general and question-by-question) which will help you not to get tripped up the way the government wants you to with its “when did you stop beating your wife?” phraseology.  Read them, get your own answers ready and submit them in the next sixteen days.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #408)

Mary Honeyball, desperate to smear the 549 organizations (it has since grown to 560) who spoke out against her revolting scheme which this week imposed the Swedish model as a non-binding standard for all of Europe, fell back on the usual ridiculous neofeminist ad hominem by branding them all “pimps” (savor the absurdity of that for a moment before proceeding).  The ICRSE naturally had an answer to that, and here our friend Laura Lee and ally Dr. Belinda Brooks-Gordon confront Honeyball on Newsnight.

The Swedish model’s detachment from reality is so profound even Time magazine can’t miss it, despite the reporter’s belief in “sex trafficking” myths.

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What Feministe did is like pissing on your host’s carpet, then storming out indignantly when they point out that you just pissed on the carpet.
–  Chris Hall

Rough TradeAkis Levas

Australia agrees with what I have stated before: cheating a whore is a form of rape:  “Akis Emmanouel Livas…pleaded guilty to sexual intercourse without consent after he left the woman with a white card bearing a printed red rose instead of the agreed $850…

Bad Girls

Ladies, if a client treats you badly, it’s probably best just to add his name to an “ugly mugs” or “bad date” registry and leave it at that:  “Angela Dawn Specker…cut a former john on his forearm when she saw [him] in…a liquor store the [next] day…Specker told the cop…that…he…had been very aggressive…pulling her hair and slapping her…[then throwing] the $100 at her and [leaving]…

A Procrustean Bed

New York officially classes all whores as passive objects without agency:

New York…is creating a statewide system of…criminal courts to handle prostitution cases and provide services to help wrest…sex-trafficking victims from the cycle of exploitation and arrest, the state’s chief judge announced…The new Human Trafficking Intervention Courts will handle all cases involving prostitution-related offenses that continue past arraignment…the court will refer defendants to services like drug treatment, shelter, immigration assistance…health care…education and job training, in an effort to keep them from returning to the sex trade…women typically enter prostitution…between…12 and 14, Judge Lippman said…

As we have often seen, basic mathematical literacy is not a requirement to hold office in New York.

Perquisites

A San Francisco strip club is suing Oracle after one of its employees ran up $33,540 in charges on a company credit card – and Oracle refused to pay the bill…Jose Manuel Gomez Sanchez…[charged] $16,490…at the New Century Theater…[then] returned two nights later and rang up another $17,050…

The Proper StudyUgly Mugs survey cover

For the first time the men and women selling sex indoors in Ireland have been asked about their lives.  The findings harshly contradict the popular media image…The 195 escorts who took part…were from 29 different countries.  Most were…in their 20s or 30s and highly educated…97.3 percent were self-employed independent escorts…there was no evidence of the involvement of any under 16s and only one participant was aged under 18.  Participants reported low alcohol and drug use [and] high condom use…

An Ounce of Prevention

A common drug that dermatologists prescribe to treat nail fungus appears to…completely eradicate infectious HIV from cell cultures…the virus doesn’t bounce back when the drug is withheld…[so] it may not require a lifetime of use to keep HIV at bay…the fact that it’s already deemed safe for one type of human use could make the regulatory process faster than usual…

Saint Death

…A…$3.4 million settlement with the family of Jose Guerena will end a two-year legal battle…Guerena…was [murdered] by SWAT team members…when they raided his house…[a spokesman claimed] the settlement is not an admission of any wrongdoing…”  You may remember that the cops tried to claim that Guerena, a retired Marine, must have been a “drug trafficker” because he had a picture of Jesus Malverde.

Above the Law

I get that there’s not technically a federal rape law, but this seems to seriously downplay what this cop did:  “Jason Glenn Thomas…a…Police sergeant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., was sentenced…to…ten years in federal prison…for sexually assaulting a…woman in violation of federal civil rights laws…[after detaining her and transporting her] to a remote area…

Scapegoats (TW3 #10)

In Phoenix, dog porn is a higher law enforcement priority than rape:

A…man accused of burning his initials onto the genitals of at least one woman was arrested again…after…deputies allegedly found pornographic videos featuring a dog at his home.  Christopher Jackson…was arrested on suspicion of bestiality…“If you saw the video, you’d be pretty sick,” Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said…Police also arrested…Josephine Erikson, who they say is seen in the videos…Arpaio on a date

While Arpaio seems to be motivated by the desire to leer at women in person after watching them in stolen dog videos, over in North Carolina they’re motivated by weird ideas about sexual purity:

A…woman is accused of having sex with dogs while her…husband filmed them [for]…the Internet…Ruben Chance James Fox and his wife, Amber Nicole Fox…face…charges of bestiality, conspiracy…disseminating obscene materials…[and] soliciting a crime against nature.  The Humane Society tipped off the…police…

Change of Heart

Edinburgh sauna chiefs have compiled a “hypocrisy hit list” of senior public figures who paid for sex at their premises in recent years…[it] includes police officers, council officials, lawyers and even two “celebrities”…[and] is due to be unveiled at a civil court case next month…the list…proves double standards among public officials trying to shut the city’s sex industry down…

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #43)

Melissa Gira Grant on the increasing desperation of prohibitionists:

I’ve written before about Equality Now (in Jacobin, and in Reason)…[who] deny that anyone involved in the sex trade dissents with their approach.  Lately their op-eds have turned explicitly against sex workers’ rights, which makes sense, as the past two years have seen the mainstream of the global health and human rights  community joining sex workers in calling for an end to…criminalization…Equality Now appear to be losing credibility as human rights advocates…As more and more…advocates…demand…that sex workers be understood as the experts…the anti-sex work campaigners begin to look quite out of step with the…people they claim to protect…

Lauren Hersh, who wrote the op-ed to which Grant refers, was a prosecutor who resigned in disgrace after she was caught railroading two black men on rape charges.  Grant also commented on a Scott Long article which examines Equality Now’s lies and schemes at great length, ending with this bombshell:

…The Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy is offering a practicum for students…in a project for Equality Now.  “This project would analyze the legalization of prostitution and formation of sex workers’ rights groups…Equality Now seeks to better understand the movement…in order to refute arguments for legalization and lobby for adoption of the Nordic Model instead”…

In other words, Equality Now is paying a prestigious institution to spy on sex workers so as to help it create fake sex worker rights organizations which will lobby for the Swedish model, thus confusing politicians and others into thinking there is legitimate debate among sex workers about decriminalization being best.  The strategy itself is nothing new; it’s why Swedish model missionaries often deceptively and incorrectly label it “decriminalization”.  But that they are willing to go to this extent demonstrates the depth of their desperation, and the fact that the school took down the page as soon as they realized activists had found it (but not before Melissa got this screenshot) shows that they are fully aware of how incredibly unethical this is.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #50)

Sunitha Krishnan’s lies get more outrageous all the timeSunitha Krishnan says whores get 100 clients a day

Yes, that’s 100 clients a day she’s claiming there.

Book Reviews (TW3 #133)

For over two decades, Chester Brown has been one of Canada’s leading cartoonists, known…internationally for such works as Yummy Fur, Ed the Happy Clown, I Never Liked You, and Paying for It…For this year’s McCready Lecture, Chester Brown will present an illustrated talk…[to complement the] presentation in the Canadian galleries of a selection of the original drawings created for Louis Riel and will launch the new anniversary edition of the book…

Watershed

last week…Feministe made a very embarrassing and controversial post about sex work disappear from their site, along with several hundred comments…they have not posted any explanation, apology, or retraction for the post, apparently hoping that they can just make it vanish down the memory hole…”Dear Feminists” by Sarah Elizabeth Pahman…pretended to be about…impoverished sex workers, [but] it was all about Pahman, and how seeing them for the first time made her feel…[the incident] shows how deeply institutionalized their problems with sex work are…

The Joy of Juxtaposition (TW3 #312)

Georgia appears to be competing with Washington for the state with the most ridiculous and extreme manifestation of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…a new Georgia law requires certain businesses to post…notices letting sex trafficking victims know who to call for help…The list includes: adult entertainment establishments, bars, airports, train stations, bus stations, truck stops, emergency rooms, urgent care centers, farm labor contractors, privately operated job recruitment centers, rest stops, hotels, and massage parlors without licensed massage therapists…

What, not ethnic restaurants and nail parlors?Stop the Traffik

Theatrics

Did you see that ridiculous video which claims that most whores in Amsterdam were “trafficked”?  Here’s Dr. Brooke Magnanti on what’s wrong with the entire mindset that produced it:

…[in] Stop the Traffik’s recent “viral”…bystanders who think they’re enjoying a show are suddenly broadsided with a ham-fisted…message…It neatly employs a trick that has been used by what Laura Agustin calls the “Rescue Industry” for some time now: conflate all trafficking with sex trafficking, and all sex work with trafficking…it’s then perfectly acceptable…to mislabel consensual sex work as abuse…and at the same time to ignore the more widespread and less fashionable phenomenon of forced labour happening in domestic and drug sectors…the people who influence public taste and public policy definitely don’t want anyone looking too closely at where their cleaners and their drugs come from, but everyone hates sex work, so attacking that is A-OK.  Raids that rescue exactly zero trafficked individuals and put plenty of willing others behind bars are fine…

Still a Child

The UK is moving toward defining people in their early twenties as “children”:

…Child psychologists are being given a new directive…that the age range they work with is increasing from 0-18 to 0-25…the change follows developments in our understanding of emotional maturity, hormonal development and particularly brain activity…There are three stages of adolescence – early adolescence from 12-14 years, middle adolescence from 15-17 years and late adolescence from 18 years and over.  Neuroscience has shown that a young person’s cognitive development continues into this later stage and that their emotional maturity, self-image and judgement will be affected…

Keep in mind that since “adolescence” is largely an artificial concept, dividing it into periods like this is equally artificial.  But at least someone with sense is quoted in the article:

Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, says we have infantilised young people…”There is a loss of the aspiration for independence…and…psychology…reinforces that kind of passivity and powerlessness and immaturity and normalises that…we hold our children back from a very early age.  When they’re 11, 12, 13 we don’t let them out on their own.  When they’re 14, 15, we hover all over them and insulate them from real-life experience.  We treat university students the way we used to treat school pupils”…

Another excellent article by evolutionary psychologist Peter Gray explains that one of the biggest culprits is the eradication of unsupervised play:

…around 1960…adults began…reducing children’s freedom to play on their own…Adult-directed sports…began to replace “pickup” games; adult-directed [activities]…began to replace hobbies; and parents’ fears led them…to forbid children from going out to play…away from home, unsupervised…Over the same decades…[there has been] a continuous…increase in anxiety and depression in young people…the suicide rate…has more than doubled, and…[there has been] a decline in empathy and a rise in narcissism…[which is] exactly what we would expect to see in children who have little opportunity to play socially.  Children can’t learn these social skills…in school, [which] is an authoritarian…setting…[where] children…are not free to quit when others fail to respect their needs and wishes…Yet policymakers…are continuing to push us in the opposite direction — toward more schooling…more adult direction…and less opportunity for free play…

Be Careful Who You Rape

The “deals went bad”.  Seven times.

…Van Dralan Dixson, 38, confessed to police that he was responsible for a Sept. 1 rape in which he [attacked] a woman who was leaving work at a fast food restaurant…he told police…that the [only] two incidents that [he was sorry for]…the one…“with the kids and the ‘chicken lady’”…but the rest were prostitute deals gone bad and he had nothing to apologize for…

Imagination Pinned Down (TW3 #334)

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All prostitution laws are conceived as methods to control women who, before ideas of victimhood took hold, were understood to be powerful, dangerous figures associated with rebellion, revolt, carnival, the world upside down, spiritual power and calculated wrongdoing.  –  Laura Agustín

The Pro-Rape Coalition

Dr. Robert King on porn, with a nice endorsement of yours truly:

…Some would like to ban fantasies—hide them away…fantasy can function as an outlet for desire…violence—including sexual violence–has been decreasing across the board.  Has consumption of violent fantasy decreased?  Quite the reverse.  Violent video is everywhere but violent crime has gone down…we really need to stop thinking that we…know what is good for others—especially when those others are consenting adults…puritans…try to control others’ sexuality…through guilt, fear, and misinformation… as documented in exhaustive detail by the excellent Brooke Magnanti and Maggie McNeill…If the puritans were serious about harm to children they would spear-head proper realistic sex education…

Decentralization

Brian Doherty draws on a Forbes article to discuss the government’s latest efforts to shut Bitcoin down, destroy everything good about it or, failing in both of those, to steal a cut of it.

If It Were Legal

One wonders how much more often sex workers could help to fight actual crime were we not absurdly and arbitrarily classed as criminals ourselves:

A prostitute given $300 in dye-stained $20 bills led police to the home of the man suspected of robbing a…bank…she…told the FBI agent [that the suspect, Anthony] Nugent…began behaving erratically [after paying her, so]…she left…later that night…her boyfriend…told her [the money] appeared to be dye-stained…Bubblegum Husky

Scapegoats

Frankly, what’s most “unclear” to me is how this is even physically possible:

An Idaho man was arrested Thursday after police say he sexually penetrated a cat on more than one occasion.  Ryan Havens Tannenholz, 28 – a…”furry” who dresses up as a dog he calls Bubblegum Husky — is charged with six counts of crimes against nature, and one count of cruelty to an animal…It’s unclear how [police] learned about [his] alleged actions…Furry News Magazine Flayrah reports that Tannenholz was a member of…furry fandom…who portrayed himself as a “sparkly” husky, a blue fox named Kismet…and another purple canine…

Above the Law

I’ve said it countless times:  As long as government actors have excessive power over individuals, cops will continue to rape women in their homes:  “A deputy in Texas accused of raping a woman in front of her children has resigned…Lisa Rodriguez…said [he] told her if she resisted he would take her to jail…” or during traffic stops:  “…Thomas Merenda and Franklin Hartley…are charged with unlawful compensation, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison…Hartley ordered the passenger to perform oral sex on him, then [raped] her.  Merenda…asked the victim…to punch him in the…genital area…’Tom really enjoys this’, [Hartley] reportedly told the driver…”  Note that the cops are charged with “accepting bribes” rather than rape, and the reporter even avoids the word.  TSA agents can’t even confine their groping to travelers:  “A [TSA] manager at Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport resigned after he was charged with sexually abusing a co-worker…Shane Hinkle, 38…is accused of forcibly touching [his victim]…

Enabling Oppression

The Polaris Project continues its loathsome and exploitative campaign to link sex work to historical American black slavery:

New undercover footage of pimp-controlled prostitution will be shared…at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and End Slavery Cincinnati to show the realities of enslaved women.  The Polaris Project developed the 20-minute footage from the streets of Washington, D.C.  Following the showing, representatives from The Salvation Army’s Anti-Human Trafficking Program, the Cincinnati Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Off the Streets program will speak about the reality of pimp-controlled prostitution in Cincinnati…

Imagination Pinned Down

Elizabeth LoftusHere’s a short overview of the work of Elizabeth Loftus, the foremost expert on the malleability of human memory:  “…Loftus…has done more than any other researcher to document the unreliability of memory…and…has used what she has learned to testify as an expert witness in hundreds of criminal cases…informing juries that memories are pliable and that eyewitness accounts are far from perfect recordings of actual events…Now…[her] research is starting to bring about lasting changes in the legal system…” I drew heavily upon Dr. Loftus’ work for the research paper I wrote for the Albany Government Law Review, to be published this autumn.

Hooker Humor (TW3 #31)

Miranda Kane, the BBW escort turned comedienne, is getting good reviews; here’s an introduction she wrote for the Edinburgh Festival:

…There’s a stigma to sex-workers, as well as their clients.  We’re all shown the negative side, the poor, helpless trafficked victims.  But all the women I knew were just ordinary, happy ladies who just happened to enjoy having sex for money…Our clients weren’t seedy, sex-obsessed perverts.  They were kind, keen, appreciative men who just wanted a moment of luxury, intimacy… to be able to be with the kind of women they could only fantasise about normally…My show exposes the every-day life of a sex-worker; how we work in the digital age, the bizarre and strange requests from clients, what both elated and annoys us.  I try and show the human aspect – that the women are normal, they’re not drug addled victims, nor are they overtly beautiful and wealthy courtesans.  They’re women you see every day…

Bottleneck

[Queensland] Police Minister Jack Dempsey is considering allowing sex workers to make suburban house calls after lobbying by the Prostitution Licensing Authority.  While it is lawful for sole operators to make house calls it is illegal for brothels to send their workers to clients…brothel owners…[say they] need the extra business to remain profitable…[PLA] chairman Manus Boyce…[said] that illegal prostitution was operating without fear in Queensland and that allowing more outcalls could put more pressure on the illicit trade…

The Naked Anthropologist

Last week Dr. Laura Agustín published “Prostitution Law and the Death of Whores”, a primer for those who haven’t thought much about the harm anti-prostitution laws cause:

…Twenty years ago I first asked two questions that continue to unsettle me today.  The first is answerable:  What does a woman who sells sex accomplish that leads to her being treated as fallen, beyond the pale, incapable of speaking for herself, discountable if she does speak, invisible as a member of society?  The answer is she carries a stigma.  The second question is a corollary:  Why do most public conversations focus on laws and regulations aimed at controlling these stigmatized women rather than recognizing their agency?  To that the answer is not so straightforward… My focus on the female is deliberate.  All who propose prostitution policy are aware that men sell sex, but they are not concerned about men, who simply do not suffer the disgrace and shame that fall on women who do it…

Though it’s not extremely long, the article covers agency denial, the “rescue industry”, the irrationality of prostitution law, neofeminism, the Swedish model and media sensationalism; it’s thus one you should bookmark for sharing with people who are ignorant, but will listen to reason.floating brothels Utrecht

Dutch Threat

As the Netherlands continues to cave in to greed and hysteria, Dutch sex workers have been forced to find their own solutions:  “A group of 15 prostitutes in Utrecht have set up a cooperative to run floating brothels after the council withdrew operating permits from their previous landlords.  The cooperative, named Macha’s, is now applying for a…brothel licence and a boat mooring permit…Some 300 Utrecht prostitutes lost their place of work when the council cancelled contracts for the operation of brothels…because of human trafficking fears…

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #321)

The Commission for Gender Equality has [submitted] a proposal…for the decriminalisation of sex work [in South Africa]…“The current position of total criminalisation has not succeeded in addressing problems associated with sex work”…said the…commission…[which] was informed by studies conducted in…New Zealand and Australia.  “Legislation…should adopt the principle that sex work is work, and allow the industry to be governed by the wealth of existing labour and business laws aimed at preventing unsafe, exploitative and unfair business practices”…The commission said studies…offered strong and concrete evidence that decriminalisation empowered sex workers to protect themselves from violence…improved relationships…[with] the police…[and] reduced chances of sex trafficking or sexual exploitation of children…

Zurvivor

Deals with devils always have more conditions than anticipated:

The Maine woman convicted of running a prostitution business out of a Zumba fitness studio is headed back to court…to fight having to testify at the trial of one of her clients.  Alexis Wright…has been subpoenaed by prosecutors to testify at the trial of Donald Hill…

It’s That Time Again (TW3 #326)

A politician’s wife wants her state to look even stupider than New Jersey by starting “gypsy whores” panic a year and a half in advance:

The wife of Sen. John McCain…is calling on the [Arizona] legislature to pass tougher laws against human trafficking…[for] the Super Bowl in 2015.  “The Super Bowl, as all of you know, is one of the world’s largest human trafficking centers when it goes on in the world,” McCain said…Forbes reported that 10,000 prostitutes were brought to Miami for the 2010 Super Bowl.  There were 133 prostitution arrests in Dallas during the 2011 Super Bowl…

No, Forbes said that habitual liars NCMEC claimed there were that many, and there were 133 arrests of all kinds in the entire Dallas-Fort Worth area during a 2½ week period before the Super Bowl…which is typical for DFW.Spreadsheets

Between the Ears (TW3 #332)

Dr. Brooke Magnanti writes about others who think good sex can be defined by statistics:

…Thanks to the new [iPhone] app Spreadsheets, no longer will you have sex without being able to save and analyse the stats of your performance…according to the company’s website:  “Spreadsheets monitors data from user’s movement and audio levels through the accelerometer and microphone to provide statistical and visual analysis of their performance in bed”…The notion that longer is better…and that loud equals enjoyment has gained such traction in popular culture that it’s hard to find any other measure of what “good” sex is…I once dated a guy whose sole measure of whether a good time had been had was how long he stayed erect.  Being jackhammered long into the wee hours is hardly a great way to spend your time…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (TW3 #332)

A pastor from…Sweden has been convicted of buying sex from a prostitute after…police broke up a major pimping operation…[he] has been temporarily relieved of his duties…”  Synopsis of the rest:  “human trafficking”, “These woman were used as if they were on a conveyor belt“, blah blah blah.

Election Day (TW3 #332)

As you might imagine, I find this new trend of cops arresting retired madams on drug charges to be a highly disturbing one:

…Heidi Fleiss has been charged in Nevada with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell…officers found nearly 400 marijuana plants growing in and around…[her] home in Pahrump…She said she had been growing marijuana without a license and that she intended to sell it to a cooperative in Las Vegas…she was not arrested.  All the plants were taken away by police as evidence.

Yeah, “evidence”.  Pull the other one, guys.

The Privilege Paradigm

Coincidentally, someone else wrote about the problem with the word “privilege” and came to almost exactly the same conclusions as I did:

…A privilege is something extra — and from a very young age, I knew that when something was referred to as a privilege, I was in danger of losing it.  How does that make sense…with something like being free from fear of police harrassment?…when it is called a “privilege,” my initial thought is that it is something unjustified that should be taken away — i.e., we should all have to be stopped and frisked…I [have] some degree of autonomy and dignity in my work — do we really want to say that that’s a “privilege”?  In both cases, aren’t we dealing with something more like a right that’s been denied to a great many people?…

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If we are going to call attacks on reproductive and sexual rights a “war on women,” then let’s talk about a war on women that has actual prisoners and a body count.  –  Melissa Gira Grant

Thomas LoweThe Biggest Whores

Res ipsa loquitur:

Minnesota’s Supreme Court last week barred attorney Thomas P. Lowe from practicing law for at least the next 15 months after it was revealed that he was billing a client for sex.  Lowe…was approached in August 2011 by an acquaintance who asked him to represent her in a divorce.  Their…relationship soon evolved into a sexual one, but…Lowe…[billed] the woman for [all] the time they spent [together, including] having sex…[after] Lowe…[dumped her] the woman… attempted to commit suicide and was hospitalized…Lowe was previously on probation for purchasing cocaine from a client…

The second lawyer isn’t nearly as bad, though still terribly unprofessional:

A public defender…is facing charges after allegedly exchanging texts with an undercover cop who he thought was a prostitute, and then trying to exchange sex for legal representation.  Christopher Hollander…allegedly sent a text message to a phone formerly used by a prostitute [but now in possession of a cop who] Hollander met…in a hotel room…The two discussed the phony prostitute’s alleged legal trouble.  When the officer asked “How much is it going to cost me” for the legal services, Hollander started to caress her hand…then allegedly began trying to kiss and hug the officer, and told her he had two condoms…

Lawyers, if you want to propose exchange of services just say so; real hookers appreciate honesty, not some clumsy attempt at seduction.

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality

Ed Bagley has accepted a bargain in which he pleaded guilty to having sex with his supposed “victim” while she was underage, in return for prosecutors dropping all other charges (despite their insistence that he “swear” that the other accusations are true).  The one is bad enough; it can carry a 20-year sentence, and several of the other “conspirators” (as the state labels them) will also get very hefty sentences.

Something Rotten in Sweden (December Updates)

Remember, prostitution has never been illegal in Canada; these men were arrested for the “crime” of talking about it in public, which demonstrates the importance of taking this kind of power totally out of cops’ hands:  “Ottawa police swept the city’s downtown core…in an effort to find, charge and re-educate men looking for prostitutes…They arrested 15 men, 13 of whom escaped charges and will attend ‘john school’…a partnership with the Salvation Army…”  Please note the Orwellian term “re-educate”.

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawnsex work flow chart by Anne Johnsen

Looks like the Philippines is moving toward British-type legalization (erroneously called “decriminalization”):  “The Department of Social Welfare and Development…has endorsed a bill…which would decriminalize prostitution but punish those who control and profit from…[it, repealing] clauses…which punish ‘women who, for money, engage in sexual intercourse, or lascivious conduct’…

It Looks Good On Paper

Another bit of feel-good legislation which capitalizes on hype but will actually help virtually nobody, due to its basis in fantasy:  “A bill filed in the Oklahoma Legislature…would erase the prostitution records of human trafficking victims…[who] average…12 to 14 years old…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

This article has so much to recommend it:  Dr. Brooke Magnanti debunks “porn addiction”, describing the “studies” which claim to support it as “poorly conducted surveys on a level of market research, not science.”  In the process, she also quotes Dr. Marty Klein and lampoons both Cosmopolitan and Naomi “Stopped Clock” Wolf, all in less than a thousand well-chosen words.

Nikki Sixx's girlfriend, Courtney BinghamGirls, Girls, Girls!

Of all the media one would expect to be least likely to side with puritans against a business persecuted for supposedly “corrupting public morals”, a rock music radio station has got to be pretty high on the list.  Though the article itself is dry enough, the wording and scare quotes in the headline and lede amply demonstrate the editor’s attitude:  “Lawsuit Claims Dancing in a Topless Bar ‘Improves the Self Esteem’ of the Stripper – seeks to have San Antonio’s strict new strip club law thrown out, also claims stripping is a ‘socially fulfilling experience’.”  It gets much worse; the station appears to have some close association with Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue…author of the titular song celebrating strippers.

A Whore in Church

The most interesting part of this article about sex workers in Malawi wearing hijab to attract Muslim customers is not the mere fact of it (which would simply be an example of the clipboard effect), but rather the fallacious notion (expressed both in text and comments) that a whore cannot be Muslim (or “truly” Christian either).  Also worthy of note is the author’s reversal of the usual feminist complaint that not covering up leads to “objectification”; this only goes to show that the real issue such women have is not some imaginary harm to women, but rather heterosexuality itself.

Above the Law

[Las Vegas] police officer John Norman is going to prison for two years…after pleading guilty to…coercing women to expose their breasts after stopping them on the road…Once Norman is released from prison, he will have to register as a sex offender…

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #13)

Once again, Canadian government prohibitionists are trying to convince the courts that dangerous, repressive laws which deny sex workers’ agency are actually intended to “protect” them:

Hundreds of shadowy body rub parlours operated by exploitative pimps…are operating on the outskirts of Toronto, the Ontario Crown warns in a court document…[urging] the Supreme Court of Canada to let police keep the powers they have to protect female sex workers, who are often cowed into submissive silence…However, a group of prostitutes who have successfully challenged the ban through two levels of court accuse…Crown lawyers of scaremongering.  In the decision under appeal, the Ontario Court of Appeal invalidated the…prohibition on keeping a brothel…[and] granted prostitutes the right to…hire staff to protect them…the…court is scheduled to hear the…challenge in June…

Melissa Gira Grant
Naked Truth

Melissa Gira Grant’s “The War on Sex Workers” appears in this month’s print edition of Reason; though regular readers will already be familiar with much of the ground she covers, it never hurts to revisit it.  More importantly, for an unrepentant sex worker to have the opportunity to discuss the neofeminist war on whores in a national magazine (albeit a libertarian one) is a sign that this issue is beginning to move into the mainstream.

Imagination Pinned Down

This article entitled “Sex, Lies and Audiotapes” is 12 years old, but is an excellent look at how “fantastic tales of sexual abuse” are instilled into the minds of the vulnerable, and why radical feminists were largely to blame for “sex abuse” hysteria and the Satanic Panic; it is thus still topical as background for the new guise of those moral panics, “sex trafficking”.

Shift in the Wind

Though it may be difficult to recognize for sex workers in the US, British Isles and any place else strongly affected by “trafficking” hysteria, 2012 actually saw net gains for sex workers; Cheryl Overs reviews the high points (without neglecting to mention the low ones) in “A Good Year for Red Umbrellas”.

Texas Tall Tales

Texans aren’t the only ones who can tell tall tales about new technology being used by “human traffickers” to “entrap innocent girls”:

…Mobile phone recharge shops have been reportedly taking advantage of innocent girls who approach them for recharge coupons and give their numbers.  The employees/owners of the shop or their friends call the girls…develop friendships and later misuse them…ruining the girls’ lives…human [traffickers in]…Kundapur…are said to be running a mobile recharge outlet…the accused lure the girls with jobs and then use them for their own ends.  Later, the girls are allegedly blackmailed and trapped, and their escape route is closed…apart from flesh trade, a drugs network is also interwoven in the racket…

Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

As expected, a UK judge has ruled that the case of Mark Kennedy, the cop who was allowed to trick women into sex in order to spy on them, will be heard in a Star Chamber proceeding.  What was unexpected was that he would say what Kennedy did was OK because James Bond does it:

James Bond is the most famous fictional example of a member of the intelligence services who used relationships with women to obtain information…[such] fictional accounts…lend credence to the view that the intelligence and police services have for many years deployed both men and women officers to form personal relationships of an intimate sexual nature…in order to obtain information or access.

James Bond meets Pussy GaloreAs Heresy Corner points out, “James Bond isn’t just ‘fiction’, it’s escapist fantasy…[which] doesn’t ‘lend credence’ to anything…and Mark Kennedy’s ‘targets’ weren’t exotic Russian agents with a handbag full of nuclear secrets and the sexual etiquette of a praying mantis…nor were they dangerous international terrorists intent on blowing up airports or shopping malls.  They were…largely peaceful activists engaged primarily in democratic dissent, however misguided or naive…

Buried Truth

Remember Lisa Biron, the anti-gay lawyer who “transported a teen girl…to Ontario …and coerced her into engaging in sexual acts with another person”?  It turns out the girl was 14, there were two men, and Biron also had sex with her.  Oh, and one more thing:  the girl was her own daughter.  She was convicted of child porn charges on the 11th.

South of the Border (TW3 #49)

The creation of “sex trafficking rings” from people who used to be called “illegal aliens” continues, complete with childish “code names”, bombastic rhetoric, exaggerated numbers and infantilization of sex workers:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the results of a lengthy investigation called Operation Dark Night.  It looked into a sex trafficking ring stretching from Florida to Georgia to North and South Carolina…women…were forced into prostitution and traded like slaves in various cities for about a week at a time…11 victims were rescued and 40 customers called Johns were also taken into custody.  Investigators say the women were forced to perform up to 30 sex acts per day…

Like most “trafficking” articles, this one contains the Profession of Faith:  “…‘its a bigger issue than many people thought,’ said Joan Garcia-Melendez…‘Human trafficking is a very hidden crime’…Authorities say this is a wakeup call as to how widespread sex trafficking has become…”  But what will happen to those poor “victims” who were “rescued”?  The BBC says what the American story won’t: “Those who were illegal in the country would be deported.”

Q & A (January 2013)

Wisconsin danger zoneI mentioned that “the only time [verification services] fail is…when some idiot fails to stick to the plan, gets caught in a sting and then ransoms his worthless hide by giving the busybodies his login info so they can pop several girls before the service gets wise.”  One of my readers supplied more details:  there were several instances, all in the Appleton/Oshkosh area of Wisconsin, and P411 removed those entire cities from the site as a precaution and directly warned all the ladies who might be targeted.  Apparently cops in Little Rock, Arkansas have also attempted the same thing, though less successfully.

Perverse Incentives

Susie Bright on how perverse prosecutorial incentives spawn abominations:

Twice in my career I’ve been asked to serve as an expert witness on the defense team of an obscenity trial…the defendants were low-hanging fruit…targeted because of their…vulnerability…The Justice Department [bags] obscenity law trophies by going after the poor, the suicidal, the insane, the cognitively impaired— because that’s the way they rack up numbers and status.  That’s the way they fuel their careers…not by taking on constitutional issues, or injustice, or fat cats who believe they’re above the law…They find someone who’s drooling, or depressed, or friendless— and then throw the book at them.  It doesn’t take long because the “defendant-target” is overmatched…

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