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Posts Tagged ‘Imagination Pinned Down’

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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The actual number of people trafficked is so much less than the targets [governments] are supposed to meet, so they end up running around and accusing people of being victims of traffickers and sticking them in cages to try to satisfy this US hysteria.  -  Liz Hilton, EMPOWER Foundation

Shinzo AbeJapanese Prostitution

The highly dishonorable Prime Liar of Japan is at it again: “…Shinzo Abe…may revise Japan’s 1993 apology  for forcing thousands of women to be sex slaves in the service of Japanese soldiers during World War II…an assertive, unapologetic Japan could antagonize much of Asia, especially South Korea…

In a Similar Vein…

This woman takes the term “cougar” much too literally:

Police in Florida arrested an “extremely intoxicated” woman after she allegedly beat her boyfriend over bad oral sex…Jennie Scott, 50, assaulted her 32-year-old boyfriend, Jilberto Deleon…following a joint-oral sex encounter that ended…after Deleon “finished first and stopped pleasuring her”…In November, Raquel Gonzalez, also of Manatee County, was charged…after beating her boyfriend following a sexual encounter during which he climaxed and she did not…

Convenient and Inconvenient Victims

Another example of how prohibition harms all women: it allows “authorities” to claim prostitutes can’t be raped, then to accuse rape victims of prostitution:  “…Trinamool Congress MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar came the nearest to calling the Park Street rape victim a sex worker when she described the February 5 incident not as a rape but as a ‘misunderstanding between a lady and her client’…

Against Their Will

Take especial note of the un-ironic use of the word “rescue” in this context:

At least 11 woman inmates…[who] were trafficked to Mumbai…[then] rescued and brought to [a destitute] home [escaped on New Year’s Eve]…West Bengal Minister for Women and Child Development…Sabitri Mitra denied any lapse of security at the home…”Inmates…have a tendency to escape…They have been trying to escape ever since they were brought here…”

We Told You So

As I predicted they would, members of the mainstream media are slowly beginning to wake up:

The situation was dire, police warned.  The City of Atlanta was under siege by human traffickers.  Some 1,000 Asian women and girls ages 13 to 25 were being “forced to prostitute themselves” in the city…To free them, police forged ahead with a $600,000 task force.  Had agency leaders questioned the estimate, they would have found it defied common sense.  If it were true, one in eight of the city’s Asians would have been sex slaves…it’s little wonder that the program had such poor results that it drew scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice.  An initial report said Atlanta police had found more than 200 victims, but auditors could only confirm four…

Instead of quoting Polaris Project, Melissa Farley and the other usual suspects, this reporter went to “trafficking” skeptics Ronald Weitzer, Elzbieta Gozdziak, Charles Grassley and Meredith Dank.  And while he still buys into the cops’ convoluted paradigm (for example, “Girls confuse investigators by calling pimps their boyfriends” instead of recognizing that the so-called “pimps” are their boyfriends), he also recognizes that Atlanta is the norm, not an exception: “Los Angeles…identified 49 victims and…Washington, D.C., found 51.  Auditors confirmed none of them…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Flute of SandI received twoCrisis and Leviathan more Christmas presents this week; Krulac sent me Flute of Sand, and another  reader sent me Crisis and Leviathan.  Alas, the seller neglected to include a card or packing slip with the latter, so I have no idea who sent it; if it was anyone reading this, please let me know via email or in the comments.  Thanks very much to both of you!

First They Came for the Hookers…

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?  “Reality star Olivia Black has been fired from the cast of the History Channel’s Pawn Stars after…her…past on the soft-core site SuicideGirls.com was revealed in the National Enquirer

Imagination Pinned Down

In the process of reviewing a new book on hallucinations by the brilliant Dr. Oliver Sacks, Michael Roth shows just how easily false memories are formed:

As a young professor, I traveled to Vienna…and…[visited] Freud’s old apartment and office, which had been converted to a museum.  One rang a doorbell to be admitted, and I was shocked when the museum attendant greeted me by name…in German, calling me “Professor Doktor Roth” — or so I thought.  My wife was right beside me, and she later told me that nothing of the kind had happened.  The museum employee had merely told me the price of admission…I realized that what I’d heard so clearly was probably an auditory hallucination.  I so very much wanted to be recognized in the house of Freud that I’d perceived something that wasn’t there at all…our brains call up simulated realities that are almost indistinguishable from normal perceptions…[and construct] a world that nobody else can see, hear or touch…

Monica Foster has a website dedicated to outing and shaming sex workers, but was recently discovered to have placed this escort ad.  Do as I say, not as I do?

Ex-porn actress Monica Foster outs sex workers on her website, yet she recently placed this escort ad.

Wholesale Hypocrisy (TW3 #25)

Prosecutors never hesitate to appeal when there’s political coin to be made at others’ expense:  “The New Mexico Supreme Court has agreed to take up [the] case [of] ‘Southwest Companions,’ linked to former University of New Mexico president F. Chris Garcia and retired Fairleigh Dickinson University physics professor David C. Flory…prosecutors [appealed after]…District Judge Stan Whitaker found that an online message board is not a house of prostitution under state law…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #26)

Unsurprisingly, the woman who thinks other women must be “protected” from free will also believes free speech to be “dangerous”:  “France’s women’s rights minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem… [demands] that Twitter help the French government criminalize ideas it dislikes…by [installing] ‘alerts and security measures’ to prevent tweets which French officials deem hateful…

The Widening Gyre

New York’s new video helpfully explains that the law doesn’t say what it says, but does require cabbies to magically divine whether a woman is “helpless”:

…Taxi officials yesterday released an anti-sex-trafficking video — mandatory viewing for all cabbies — that explains when it is and is not OK to transport a working girl.  Picking up street walkers is fine, but driving helpless women around for pimps is not…The nine-minute video was created after the City Council approved an anti-sex-trafficking bill…and…prostitutes worried that the measure meant that cabbies would be too scared to pick them up…“Suspecting or knowing that someone is a prostitute does not give you the right to refuse that person a ride,” the video says…

Red Umbrella FundShift in the Wind

This is incredibly good news:

“Save us from saviours” is the piercing refrain of a growing human rights movement demanding that sex workers be recognised as more than victims to be rescued…”Sex workers are discriminated against and their human rights unrecognised around the world, even where sex work isn’t illegal,” says Nadia van der Linde, co-ordinator of the Red Umbrella Fund, the first global grant-making mechanism set up to give sex workers more control of projects that directly concern them…The fund, which was launched in April 2012…will announce this month who will receive its first grants…Embracing a philosophy of “nothing for us without us”, the innovative fund is governed by sex workers, who sit alongside donor representatives on the committees that oversee and manage its work…

Hooker Humor (TW3 #31)

Miranda Kane, the escort turned stand-up comedienne, has written a new piece on “Selling Comedy vs. Selling Sex” which compares preparation, advertising, reviews and much more:  “I get asked a lot about my security.  In 7 years of escorting, I was never threatened, robbed, or found myself in any danger.  In 7 months of comedy, I had two iphones nicked from my bag when I was on stage, venues and promoters not paying my pitiful fee, and several parking tickets…

That Old Black Magic

Spain’s Interior Ministry says police have arrested 17 people on suspicion of smuggling Nigerian women into Spain and forcing them into prostitution using threats including claims they would cast Voodoo spells on them if they didn’t comply…around 10 women had been brought into the country illegally using a small boat…

Little Boxes (TW3 #40)

Rebecca Bernardo…posted a video on YouTube…[in which]…she…announces…”Hi, my name is Rebecca.  I’m here to auction off my virginity”…she made the offer because she was desperate to help her ailing mother.  She heard about Catarina Migliorini, a Brazilian woman who reportedly sold her virginity for $780,000…Migliorini has reportedly yet to finalize the deal and receive the money…[but] has received widespread publicity and modeling contracts — including a spread in Brazil’s version of Playboy…”I made up my mind right after my 18th birthday…when my mother suffered a stroke”…[which] left her…bed-ridden, unable to feed herself or go to the bathroom alone.  Bernardo said she looked for jobs…but…the pay was minimal…A Brazilian TV network offered to pay for her mother’s medical expenses if Bernardo called off the auction.  While she initially accepted…during a television interview, she later rejected it because the network would not pay for a house in a different town where she could “start a new life”…

CNN doubts the girl because she’d rather do a few hours of work than sign an exclusive (and probably sleazy) agreement with a TV network, which goes to show how perverse and dishonest CNN is on the subject of sex.

With Friends Like These…

Radio Netherlands recently published an article called “China Can’t Duck the Issue of Prostitution” which correctly and concisely demolished every model of prostitution law except decriminalization, including the Dutch model; it even recognizes that a prostitute is no different from an economically dependent wife.  However, the argument then bizarrely self-destructs in the conclusion:

…Free and consensual sexual relationships are obviously the ideal, but in reality there are many paid and involuntary sexual relationships between the sexes…if people choose to have an immoral lifestyle, they should not be punished by the law, regardless of how morally wrong they might be…The only effective means to curb…prostitution is…to make [it] socially unacceptable…

The Public Eye (TW3 #49)

As Kristen di Angelo expressed it, “This is just how it is… but it shouldn’t be”.  One of the women who appeared in the film American Courtesans went to the police after being terrified by an abusive stalker; they told her they could do nothing, but instead subjected her to a sting in which five cops in riot gear trashed her home and robbed her.  Because obviously an escort who primarily works with the disabled is a dangerous criminal, but a possibly-deranged stalker is just a good citizen doing his civic duty.

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #52)

Though the Burmese government’s anti-sex work policies mimic those of Washington, Burmese journalists are not content to parrot those policies as their American counterparts do:

…Over 10,000 prostitutes…work in Rangoon, mainly in informal settings such as karaoke bars, nightclubs and guesthouses…they are among the most vulnerable citizens in Burma, facing widespread discrimination and abuse, often at the hands of authorities…Those who refuse or are unable to bribe the police face arrest and incarceration, sometimes in so-called “rehabilitation centres” intended to reform immoral behaviour…rape and sexual assault are a daily occurrence…police often use condoms as evidence of prostitution, even though the government formally banned the practice in 2011.  Unsurprisingly, Burma has one of the highest HIV rates in Asia, with as many as one in three sex workers infected.  Campaigners on HIV prevention have long called for harm reduction strategies to replace prohibitionist measures…But…some key actors are lagging behind.  The US government, which recently earmarked $170 million in development aid to Burma, continues to enforce its so-called “anti-prostitution” pledge…It means that any organisations that refuse to condemn sex work – even though they often have the best access to vulnerable persons – are systematically excluded…

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I am a sex worker and I make my money from clients seeing me. Some clients just happen to have a disability.  -  Rachel Wotton

When Someone You Love is A Sex Worker

Do you have a sex worker in your family, or are you in a relationship with one?  If so, Stacey Swimme of SWOP would like to talk to you.  She’s writing a book called When Someone You Love is A Sex Worker, which is intended to support family members and partners, and she recently sent out an email to ask for input:

…I am inviting family members, partners, lovers and friends of sex workers to be interviewed for my book.  I’m looking for examples of challenges as well as successes.  I want to hear about your fears, disagreements and compromises with the sex worker(s) in your life.  It would be a privilege to include your perspective if you have time to do a short interview (about 15-30 minutes) on one of the four dates below.  You do not have to provide any identifying information.  You’re welcome to provide a fake name…

The four dates are Wednesday November 14th (at 11AM, 11:40AM, 12:30PM and 1:15PM), Wednesday November 21st (same time slots), Monday November 26th (at 9AM, 9:40AM, 10:30AM and 11:15AM) and Tuesday November 27th (same time slots).  If you’re interested please email StaceySwimme@gmail.com  with your preferred name, age, city and times from the list that work for you.

Updates

Bad Girls

farmers are losing thousands of shillings to prostitutes in [Kenya]… social services chairperson Elizabeth Kibii…said the department has received many complaints from farmers who have been robbed… “They either lace the drink with drugs that will make you unconscious or they send one of their own to the room early and hide under the bed.  And when he and her partner are busy, the one under the bed walks away secretly with the money”…

All in the Family

Australian whore and activist Grace Bellavue uses the intense story of how she came out to her parents as a springboard for a discussion of whore stigma, in which she convincingly argues that those who oppose prostitution should actually be fighting that stigma rather than perpetuating it.  It’s powerful and well worth a read, but skip the comment thread.

Reaction Formation

This sort of story is only “shocking” to the psychologically and sexually illiterate:

An ordained counselor dedicated to “freeing” people from homosexuality has been arrested on charges of molesting…young men…Rev. Ryan J. Muelhauser …was connected with OutPost Ministry…[and] allegedly fondled two young men  who were seeking to “cure” themselves of homosexuality, as well as asking them to masturbate for him…

Furthermore, “leading a crusade” against any form of sexual behavior should be considered probable cause for suspicion of practicing that behavior:

A former top [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] official who helped lead the [South Florida] crusade against child sexual exploitation was sentenced…on a child pornography charge.  Anthony V. Mangione…possessed up to 150 images of child pornography, some depicting the “extreme abuse of children”…

Crying Wolf

Neofeminist fanatics who foam at the mouth about “rape culture”, insist that normal economic needs constitute “coercion” and pretend that compliments are a form of “violence against women” need to have stories like this one drilled into their brains:

Mah Gul, 20, was beheaded after her mother-in-law attempted to make her sleep with a man in her house in [Afghanistan]…Gul was married to her husband four months ago and her mother-in-law had tried to force her into prostitution several times in the past…The suspect, Najibullah…said the mother-in-law lured him into killing Gul by telling him that she was a prostitute…

That is what sexual coercion, forced prostitution and violence against women actually look like.

My Readers Write

Aspasia writes in her own blog on would-be allies and “concerned parties” who expect sex worker activists to spoon-feed them the way prohibitionists do, and why it’s a bad idea to cater to their demands.

Don’t Confuse Us With Facts

Dean Boland, the lawyer who was fined $300,000 for demonstrating the absurdity of America’s draconian “child pornography” laws, has lost his appeal; the judges ruled that there really is such a thing as sympathetic magic, so that altering the images of children actually and literally harmed them in some tangible way.  So much for science, logic or common sense.

Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark

Another “dog bites man” study:

…a group of boys ages 8 to 11 whose fetal testosterone had been measured from amniotic fluid when their mothers were 13-20 weeks pregnant…were shown pictures of negative (fearful), positive (happy), neutral, or scrambled faces while a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine tracked changes in their brain activity.  In the boys who had higher levels of fetal testosterone, the brain’s reward system was more responsive to positive…facial cues…[suggesting] those boys have a greater proclivity for “approach-related behaviors,” such as fun-seeking and impulsivity…

Useful Idiots

The US government’s scheme to collect and indefinitely retain DNA from virtually anyone has been challenged a number of times since it was first slipped into the Trojan Horse Act of 2005, and the Supreme Court has finally deigned to rule on it:  “…at least 21 states and the federal government have regulations requiring suspects to give a DNA sample upon arrest…[which is then] cataloged in state and federal crime-fighting databases…the justices opted to take on an April decision…from Maryland’s top court, which said it was a breach of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure to take, without warrants, DNA samples from suspects who have not been convicted…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

The “sex robot” morons are at it again:

Could sex with robots help extend human life spans?  Some futurists seem to think so. A Nov. 7 article on the futurist website Transhumanity argues that robot lovers could help extend life spans by giving users mind-blowing “longevity orgasms” far superior in quality to those from human…partners…”[Sexbots will] be more desirable, patient, eager, and altruistic than their meat-bag competition, plus they’ll be uploaded with supreme sex-skills from millennia of erotic manuals, archives and academic experiments, and their anatomy will feature sexplosive devices…They’ll offer us quadruple-tongued cunnilingus, open-throat silky fellatio, deliriously gentle kissing, transcendent nipple tweaking, g-spot massage & prostate milking dexterity, plus 2,000 varieties of coital rhythm with scented lubes“…

Is it just me, or does this one-handed typist sound badly in need of a girlfriend?

Confined and Controlled

The inevitable result of busybody laws which treat women as helpless victims of male sexuality:

[Toronto] City council…adopted…changes to…regulations…Now…strippers can’t sit on patrons’ laps or make contact with breasts, buttocks or pubic areas.  And rooms, booths or cubicles for private dances have to be transparent on one side…As the Licensing and Standards Committee was formulating the amendments…its staff consulted with us…but…management at the club I worked in…[collected the surveys] and [filled] them out on our behalf.  The manager told me…“This has nothing to do with what you think they want…They want the girls to see all these stupid questions so they can answer, ‘Oh, people touching me…Oh, I don’t like the dark.’  Then they come in the court and say, ‘Look, the girls don’t like the business’”…The city’s data shows that 98 per cent of respondents in the surveys submitted by the [club owner’s association] denied ever being sexually assaulted or touched without their consent, while 67 per cent of strippers who submitted surveys themselves said they had been…

If governments didn’t persecute adult businesses, managers would have no cause to worry and standards could be determined by the sex workers’ needs rather than those of the managers or prohibitionists, who both use the women as pawns in their power game.

Imagination Pinned Down

Quote from the snake catcher himself on a snake expert’s message board:  “Sorry but this is ridiculous, I was the one who caught this snake, never did I say anything like that, in fact I stressed to her that it was incredibly unusual for that to happen and quietly doubted it even occurred as she told it.”

The Public Eye

Burlesque as a hobby is less stigmatized than professional stripping, Portland, Maine is unusually tolerant, and a seat on the school board isn’t exactly high office, but it’s still amazing this happened at all:  “Holly Seeliger, a 26-year-old teacher and burlesque dancer, won the District 2 seat on the Portland Board of Public Education, getting 59 percent of the vote…

Metaupdates

No Other Option (Updates Galore, Part One)

Rachel Wotton’s wonderful charity “Touching Base”, which connects disabled people with sex workers who specialize in helping them, has experienced an upsurge of publicity due in part to the documentary Scarlet Road and in part to the movie The Sessions, which I’ll be discussing in a column two weeks from now.  I hope this sympathetic and respectful article in The Age calls even more attention to it, and that one day the US may grow up enough for a branch of the organization to operate here.

Blackball (TW3 #33)

Douglas Fox of Harlot’s Parlour shared an essay written by a male escort named Steve, which demonstrates  how governments can ruin a simple idea used effectively by individuals and peer groups for decades:

There’s been a lot of hype about the Nationwide Ugly Mugs Scheme [but it’s useless to most sex workers]…Take…[this] recent…complaint [from] a male sex worker who didn’t get paid by a client who was drunk and told him he kept a knife [nearby]…Extracts from the warning read:  “business was agreed to take place at the man’s home which was a flat in a communal block in Basildon…He is described as; 45-49, White, 5ft 9, stocky, shaven grey/white hair, blue eyes and pale complexion, with a local accent and scars to his torso”…No address, no phone number, nothing.  Sex workers…need to access real information if we are to protect ourselves.  Phone numbers…that look like…“0*********1″ do nothing to help…there are probably about 200 similar blocks of flats in Basildon…[and] the description sounds like every other client who has walked through my door in the last two weeks…

The organization which administers the NUM project made this (typically political) response.

Down Under (TW3 #43)

The Australian government has axed its “Cleanfeed” porn-filtering plan that’s been shrouded in a campaign to fight spam and malware.  Backers…pushed the idea for the last five years claiming that the Cleanfeed filter would protect children from predators…The filter even passed a government trial and was expected to be adopted… [but a backlash started] when a secret…Communications and Media Authority blacklist of targeted websites…was outed by Wikileaks…Cleanfeed was opposed by online consumers, lobby groups, ISPs, network administrators, some children’s welfare groups, Google, the U.S. Ambassador to Australia, and a number of government officials.  Opponents…feared the filtering would foster Internet censorship and new online restrictions…

The More the Better (TW3 #45)

Apparently some Greek officials believe in “sex rays”, even if the people don’t:

…local officials insisted that a primary school return [brothel owner Soula Alevridou’s] donation…[of] €3,000 to cover the costs of [a] photocopier and a small library…the school was grateful…[but officials were embarrassed by] a brothel madam stepping into a gap created by fiscal recklessness and state profligacy…”We must protect our children,” [said provincial director of education Giorgos Panayiotopoulos]…

This Week in 2010 and 2011

I presented biographies of Mata Hari and Veronica Franco, looked at whore-hatred in World War II France, contemporary Iceland and a fictional future, and examined the truth about federal “sex trafficking” stings, the use of “Swedish model” rhetoric in American police departments, the campaign against Backpage and a fake escort blogger.  I also discussed cops who rape, the increasing number of academics telling the truth about sex work, the reason sex worker rights have languished while gay rights thrived, and the difference in sex work news stories between Europe and the US, and featured short items on internet censorship, the government’s intentional hiding of information on “missing children”, the underuse of HPV vaccines, weird search terms, a murderous proposal and “don’t panic” plans.

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She was not sold to a brothel like they said…the people here always pitied and loved her.  -  Men Voeun

Safe Targets

How would this have played out if prostitution were fully legal in Canada?

Calgary police have arrested an Ontario man accused of making fake emergency calls…claiming that distraught women were being held against their will, either at gunpoint or knifepoint.  “It is alleged two individuals were responsible for numerous calls to police in an attempt to reveal and disrupt competition in the escort business.  These same individuals are also believed responsible for extorting escorts by calling or threatening to call police if the women refused to work for the two accused”…

Backwards into the Future

Add Rwanda to the list:

Commercial sex workers must be protected from assault and any other kind of mistreatment, lawmakers said…criminalisation of prostitution denies sex workers easy access to crucial services, with devastating consequences on their health, their clients and partners of their clients…The legislators called for more support to sex workers by encouraging and facilitating them to form and join cooperatives…[and] called for the review of the Penal Code…to avoid cases where the law might…be a liability to society…

Down Under

Dr. Marty Klein’s post about his trip to Australia discusses the absurdity of prohibitionism, properly brands “sex trafficking” a moral panic and starts by teaching me something I actually did not know:

…in Australia…it [became] legal to PURCHASE and POSSESS adult porn in 1983.  But all Australian states ban the SALE of X-rated video…Enforcement…is very low, so there is a gray market…[and] Australians buy it anyway…the government loses tax revenue, as well as respect.  The foolishness of attempting to ban a popular, victimless activity like watching adult porn is even more obvious when considered in light of Australia’s decriminalizing of most adult prostitution in 1992…

It’s Different Because It Involves Sex, Part Umpteen

Predictably, the New York state appeals court agreed with tax officials against a strip club.  Unpredictably, the dissenting judges clearly “get it”:

…A very divided New York Court of Appeals has ruled that lap dances are not art…“The court split 4-3, with the dissenting judges saying there’s no distinction in state law between ‘highbrow dance and lowbrow dance’”…Judge Robert Smith pointed out…that the majority ruling here does not actually comply with the…state’s legislation… “[T]he only question…is whether the admission charges that the State seeks to tax were paid for dance performances.  There is not the slightest doubt that they were…It does not matter if the dance was artistic or crude, boring or erotic.  Under New York’s Tax Law, a dance is a dance…I do not read Hustler magazine; I would rather read the New Yorker.  I would be appalled, however, if the State were to exact from Hustler a tax that the New Yorker did not have to pay, on the ground that what appears in Hustler is insufficiently “cultural and artistic”…discrimination on the basis of content would surely be unconstitutional”…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

I enjoyed Chester Brown’s Paying For It so much I asked him which of his other books I should read next, and he responded by generously sending me four of them:  Louis Riel, I Never Liked You and two short works which are not commercially available.  Thank you so much, Chester; I’m very much looking forward to reading them!

Above the Law

…Tacoma police said when Sylvester Haliburton tried to convince a prostitute he was an undercover police officer, she didn’t believe him, and when she tried to get out of his car, Haliburton wouldn’t let her…police…are looking into the possibility that he committed similar crimes before…

Much Ado About Nothing

I don’t think I can adequately explain how ridiculous this looks to any experienced escort; there’s about a 70% chance that the “shocked” officials have done the same thing themselves, and a better than 95% chance they knew others who did:

An investigation into the U.S. Secret Service prostitution scandal…contradicts Secret Service director Mark Sullivan’s adamant assertion before Congress that “this just is not part of our culture”…The report…revealed that one of the agents who was in Cartagena…admitted to soliciting a prostitute on two previous occasions…and…mentioned allegations of similar misconduct by agents on trips to Romania and China…

Meanwhile, Dania Londoño (her last name was previously reported as “Suarez”) is writing a book.

Naked Truth

Melissa Gira Grant on how the equation of “human trafficking” with prostitution harms the more than 75% of people whose exploitative labor conditions are not sex-related; I strongly suspect it won’t be long before The Guardian officially adopts an anti-trafficking hysteria editorial position.

True Colors

On May 24th the offices of New Orleans activist group Women With a Vision were destroyed by arson, but you can’t keep good women down:

As of October 1, 2012, we are well on our way to securing a new home for WWAV, and have a targeted reopening date of January 1, 2013.  In anticipation…we have officially closed our temporary office location…Please call 504.301.0428 for further information on how to access services while we are rebuilding.

You can also call that number to donate, or just go to their website.

First They Came for the Hookers…

The extension of “sex trafficking” hysteria to stripping continues:

Albuquerque city councilors…adopted a host of new regulations for strip clubs aimed at discouraging human trafficking, prostitution and other crimes.  The ordinance sets out record-keeping requirements on the identity of performers and calls for signs to be posted telling employees how to report human trafficking.  It also prohibits “adult cabaret entertainment” in private areas of the club that aren’t open and visible to others…Voting “no” were…Rey Garduño…[who] repeatedly questioned whether anyone had actually been arrested for human trafficking in an Albuquerque strip club…[and Trudy] Jones…[who] asked why other businesses that might involving the trafficking of minors weren’t covered by the bill.  She mentioned hotel maids and landscaping workers…

Though I’m disgusted by the registration, infantilization and attacks on women’s livelihood, I’m encouraged by the questions asked by the two dissenters.

Imagination Pinned Down

What, no UFOs or Satanists?

…a British woman has claimed that she spent five years being raised by monkeys in a Colombian forest…Marina Chapman says the colony of capuchins cared for her after she was kidnapped and then abandoned…[she] survived by catching birds and rabbits with her bare hands until hunters found her…took [her] to a nearby city and sold her to a brothel.  However, she managed to escape to Britain and…worked as a housemaid…[her] story has been made into a book…and TV crews plan to make a documentary…Chapman believes she was born…about 1950 and…was kidnapped when she was five before being abandoned in the jungle.

Shift in the Wind

Three UN agencies have officially called for total decriminalization across Asia, specifically naming New Zealand and New South Wales as examples:

…[A] study issued…by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)…examines 48 countries in Asia and the Pacific to assess laws, legal policies and law enforcement practices that affect the human rights of sex workers and…effectiveness of HIV responses.  Where sex work has been decriminalized, there is a greater chance for safer sex practices… “evidence from the jurisdictions…that have decriminalized sex work – New Zealand and New South Wales (Australia) – indicates that the approach of defining sex work as legitimate labour empowers sex workers, increases their access to HIV and sexual health services and is associated with very high condom use rates”…

Metaupdates

Welcome To Our World in February Updates (Part Two)

From Ireland, another example of the inevitable result of the idea that sex is a horrible thing from which the “innocent” must be “protected”:

…One would assume that [40-year-old Mandy Finlay]…is entitled to enjoy an intimate sexual life with her partner…[but] not only is [that] socially unacceptable…it is also a crime…the…Sexual Offences…Act, 1993, criminalises sexual relations between two adults with intellectual disability…who are not married.  This includes mild disability and autism…

Schadenfreude in TW3 (#17)

Somaly Mam has been caught in another huge lie:

For years now, the scarred face of Long Pros has symbolized…sex slavery in Cambodia…“My eye was stabbed by a brothel owner,” Ms. Pros recounted in [Nicholas Kristof's documentary] Half the Sky…with blood still flowing from the destroyed eye socket, Ms. Pros said that she was still forced to have sex with clients…”when I returned home, my mother and father didn’t want me around”…[but] Pros’ parents…denied that their daughter was ever a victim of human trafficking, had ever been enslaved in a brothel, or had lost her right eye at the hands of a savage brothel owner.  Long Hon, 60, and Sok Hang, 56, described…their daughter’s…eye condition:  a non-malignant tumor that had developed when she was just 7 years old…[and] was…removed by an eye surgeon…in 2005 when she was 13…Te Sereybonn, the…director of the…hospital…said that…medical staff…contacted [Somaly Mam's organization] to…admit Ms. Pros to one of their vocational training programs…it had nothing to do with the sex industry…

The parents’ statement was confirmed by doctors and medical records.  Brandee Baker of the Somaly Mam Foundation insisted that the girls’ parents, doctors and medical records were all wrong and wrote in an October 21st email to reporters, “you are now bullying victims of sex slavery…”  Furthermore, Keo Thea, chief of Phnom Penh’s anti-human trafficking police bureau, said he had no record of any complaint about a brothel girl stabbed in the eye, and even the type of the supposed attack has changed; in its first published form in 2008, Pros claimed to have “lost her eye after a pimp kicked her in the face.”

Neither Addiction nor Epidemic in TW3 (#20)

As I’ve stated before, “sex addiction” is not the same thing as hypersexuality; the latter is a real disorder which may be included in DSM-V, while the former isn’t and won’t be.  But since “sex addiction” is too good a myth to discard just yet, we’ll just lie by redefining the former to mean the latter:  “…New research shows that sex addiction is indeed a mental health disorder–one that can be easily and accurately diagnosed…It’s formally called ‘hypersexual disorder,’ and it’s much more than enjoying sex a little too much…”  I shall now prove the existence of the Tooth Fairy by redefining the word “fairy” to mean “ache”.

The Course of a Disease in TW3 (#26)

Here’s something rather unusual:  a short anti-Swedish model play.  I have included it not for its dramatic qualities (which are, I’m sorry to say, essentially nonexistent), but rather as evidence of the fact that there is considerable anger toward the model in Norway, home of those who inspired the play.  Furthermore, its central philosophical point is that since all sex is transactional in some way, the Swedish model technically outlaws sex completely.

Change of Heart in TW3 (#41)

This article about the journalistic ethics of outing Alexis Wright’s clients is an excellent example of a journalist just starting to wake up.  Though he recognizes “end demand” as bunk and rightfully compares persecution of sex work to persecution of homosexuals, he doesn’t actually challenge the morality of the laws per se; furthermore, though he understands that stigma can harm families, he thinks only of the clients’ families rather than those of the hookers.  Still, this is a big improvement over most of the American journalistic establishment, and therefore deserves recognition.

This Week in 2010 and 2011

Three of these columns were about Japan:  there was a brief history of Japanese prostitution, my husband’s experience at a “soapland” bath house, and a study of Filipinas working at hostess bars.  I also presented the stories of two eccentric New Orleans characters, two columns full of hooker songs, and two columns in which I answered questions about anonymity, the fraction of men who hire us, hotels, STDs, female sex tourists, pimps, parents, spam and circumcision.  Finally, we looked at the “pedophilia” heffalump and the prostitution elephant, a thorny BDSM case, the ethics of egg-selling and short articles on Bob Guccione, Clarence Thomas, Gardasil, funny album covers, horror comics and vampire whores.

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We should all take care not to become part of the hype producing machinery that continually presents opinions or ideology as ‘facts.’  -  Ann Jordan

Welcome To Our World

The government just can’t resist trying to control anything involving sex:

[A lesbian who]…is trying to conceive a child…wants to use…sperm from a man she trusts.  But…under federal regulations, the donor must undergo…expensive and time-consuming [tests] so…she…is suing…Jane Doe wants to…get pregnant on her own, without paying for a fertility clinic or a sperm bank, and without government interference…But the FDA does not permit…informal transactions.  A donor is required to have his blood and urine tested in a medical setting within a week of every body-tissue transfer…

Where Are the Victims?

They’re only women, and therefore incompetent to know what’s best for them:

…Father and son accused pimps Vincent George, Sr., and Vincent George, Jr., had an unlikely cheering section in a Manhattan courtroom today — the very five admitted prostitutes who they’re accused of threatening and coercing.  “We are not victims!”…the…women shouted at reporters…the son’s lawyer, David Epstein [said] “They came in and out of Manhattan by themselves, they had their own houses and bank accounts, and they could have left anytime they wanted.”  John Temple, who heads the Manhattan DA’s human trafficking program, counters that phone taps prove both the dad, 55, and the son, 33, built up a million-dollar escort business by keeping their five women terrified virtual prisoners…six limo drivers accused of ferrying the women to their assignations are also charged.

Harm Magnification

Yet another case of government interference magnifying harm:

…On July 3 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first “rapid home” test for HIV…[which may] prevent…more than 4,000 new HIV infections in its first year of use alone…[but] the…approval…did not occur until…24 years after the FDA received its first application…[until recently it] forbade [any] tests…[other than] those…performed in a clinical setting…Out of concern that some people might respond…irrationally to the extremely valuable information a home test could provide, everyone was deprived of that option…imagine the number [of infections] that could have been averted if a rapid home test…had been approved five years ago.  Or ten.  Or 15…

Decentralization

Despite government efforts to quash bitcoin it’s still going strong, and one writer suggests it might help in the Greek monetary crisis:

…the drachma is not Greece’s only [non-euro] option…an alternative currency could emerge or an already existing one could be adopted.  In some parts of Greece social entrepreneurship, technology, and skepticism of politicians have already…created an environment where cryptocurrencies could become increasingly popular…The most prominent of these…is bitcoin…[which] frees those who use it from political uncertainty [and] fiat policies, and is less affected by international money markets than traditional currencies…There have been reports of more Europeans using bitcoin as their confidence in political solutions diminishes…

Rooted in Racism

Obviously, the NIJ is unacquainted with William of Occam:  “An overwhelming majority of human trafficking cases involve sex trafficking, according to a recent study issued by the National Institute of Justice…Nearly all identified sex trafficking victims were female and 70 percent of suspects were male…”  In other words, cops arrested a bunch of people and labeled them “victims” or “perpetrators” almost purely on the basis of gender, then a “study” was done to justify the assignments rather than recognizing them for what they are: rubbish based in the sexist notion that women are incompetent victims.

The Prudish Giant

A former Facebook executive wants to outdo Google by linking an anti-whore campaign to an expansion of the number of people condemned to “sex offender” registration:  “Facebook’s former chief privacy officer is bankrolling an anti-human trafficking ballot measure that…would toughen penalties for sex trafficking and add those convicted of the crime to the state’s sex offender registry.  Most significantly, it also would require all registered offenders to surrender their “Internet identifiers” to law enforcement, including user names and email accounts…Chris Kelly…has contributed $1.6 million to the initiative since December…”  The campaign is based largely on lies such as “Every girl sold on the street today is also being sold on the Internet”, a triple-whopper which 1) equates performing a service with chattel slavery; 2) uses passive voice to imply girls do not choose prostitution when in fact over 86% do; and 3) bizarrely defines 25% as “every”.

Presents, Presents, Presents!

A new reader who found me via The Agitator sent me a copy of Prince of Darkness  this week, but I only have his real name and I’m not sure if he posts under that or uses a screen name.  I hope he reads this and emails me so I can thank him properly!

Not for Everybody

Though Argentina has its own problems with “survivors” agitating against improved rights for sex workers, at least they aren’t pushing for increased criminalization yet:

In Argentina, women who [have] sex in exchange for money have splintered into two groups.  The one group…who call themselves “sex workers” to reflect their choice to work in the profession, is finalizing a bill…for…greater rights…The other group…prefers the term “prostitutes,” insisting that they are victims…of the industry…[they propose] policies that offer subsidies and create alternative employment opportunities…

Sex, Lies and Busybodies

Australian prohibitionists just won’t let go of that Queensland mining bone:

…police officer Inspector Paul Biggin says while sex workers have also been a major beneficiary of the [mining] boom, there are growing concerns about women being brought in from overseas and exploited by criminals…”A lot of…women come from Asian countries and they’re the types…that certainly do get exploited because of their poor education or the fact that they’re easily tricked,” he said… few women…have reported any mistreatment.  “A lot of times they don’t because there is a fear factor involved,” he said.

Translation:  “poor Asian women are stupid”.  And the reason they don’t tell him what he wants to hear must be “fear”; after all, he can’t possibly be wrong.

Jules Kim, the migration project manager at Scarlet Alliance, said…”Using ‘doesn’t speak English’ as an indicator would not be applied to any other profession…English skills are not tied in to education levels at all so someone could be highly educated and yet have poor English skills.”  Ms Kim says the extent of the problem in mining communities has been exaggerated…

The Course of a Disease

It’ll be interesting to see what other workers’ rights this eventually leads to:  “Swedish prostitutes won the right to claim benefits, including sick days and parental leave…’As long as sex workers pay their taxes, they should have the same access to sick-leave benefits and parental leave as anybody else,’ [said social insurance director] Joakim Jarnryd…’We don’t make any moral judgments’…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

US officials hoped to silence whore’s voices by barring them from attending the International AIDS Conference in Washington on July 22nd-27th, but India’s Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee had other ideas and organized a “hub” which will be digitally linked with the main event.  Andrew Hunter of the Asia [Pacific] Network of Sex Workers said, “We are holding this Global Hub…in India because sex workers are not allowed entry into the U.S. to attend the main AIDS conference. This event will allow us to participate as well as give sex workers from around the globe a chance to still contribute to important discussions…

Health officials have long criticized US anti-whore policies as destructive, and a new report released for the conference by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law has gone even further, as explained in this article by Cheryl Overs:

The report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law…recommends the repeal [of] laws that prohibit consenting adults from buying or selling sex, including those laws that have the effect of prohibiting commercial sex such as laws against “immoral” earnings, “living off the earnings” of prostitution and brothel-keeping.  It calls for an end to police harassment and violence against sex workers and a prohibition of mandatory HIV and STI testing…It also recommends withdrawal of the Pepfar anti-prostitution pledge.  This marks a significant advance for sex workers’ struggle for sex work to be decriminalised and recognised as an occupation…

I’ll have more to say about this article in my upcoming column of the 27th.

Above the Law

What makes this news rather than a typical abuse is that the cops are being prosecuted:  “A Kansas City police officer has been…accused…of having sex with two women in exchange for not arresting them.  One woman told police she was working as a prostitute, and the other said she had outstanding warrants and marijuana in her motel room when she met Jeffrey Holmes…prosecutors in neighboring Platte County charged another Kansas City police officer with misappropriating about $75,000 from his elderly mother…

Held Together With Lies

This thorough debunking of the oft-repeated claim that “human trafficking is the third most profitable business for organized crime” by Ann Jordan and Lynn Burke was published over a year ago, but only came to my attention this week:

…Evidence for this claim either does not exist or is impossible to locate.  Despite the efforts of the authors and two professional reference librarians to locate the original reliable source, the research only turned up similar statements and not one article was uncovered that contained any evidence to support the claim…it is not unusual to hear statements that claim to be about trafficking but are really talking about smuggling…It would certainly make more sense to say that smuggling is the third largest source of organized crime profits…

Imagination Pinned Down

Compare to the outrageous claims made by other FBI agents about “human trafficking” cases they claim to have been personally involved in:

A former police officer who retired from the FBI…has written a book about seeing legions of angels guarding the Pennsylvania site where a hijacked airliner crashed [on September 11th, 2001].  Lillie Leonardi…remembers the burning pine and jet fuel stinging her nostrils.  She said she also remembers a smoldering crater littered with debris too small to associate with the jetliner or 40 passengers and crew on board…”That’s when I started seeing like shimmery lights…and it was kind of misty and that’s when I first saw, like, the angels there,” Leonardi said…[she] kept it to herself for the better part of two years [but] as…[symptoms of] post-traumatic stress disorder [surfaced] she began telling a close circle of friends and colleagues what she saw…

Metaupdates

Reading Between the Lines in TW3 (#26)

The San Francisco Bay Guardian interviewed an escort who was targeted by the recent “Operation Cross Country” because somebody thought she looked under 18.  The article also revealed the ratio of adult sex workers to underage ones arrested in the Bay Area: 61 adults to 6 “children” (i.e. 16- or 17-year-old women).  10 to 1 is a very poor ratio considering that about 3.5% of all hookers are underage and the cops were specifically targeting youthful women.

The Course of a Disease in TW3 (#26)

Hundreds of…sex workers protested in Paris…against plans to make soliciting prostitution illegal…France’s minister for women’s rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem…[has said] she would seek to make prostitution disappear by punishing those who pay for sex…but her remarks unleashed a hail of criticism from sex workers’ unions, which argued that punishing clients would drive business underground, endangering prostitutes…

This Week in 2011

The last column of my first year was a two-part interview with my husband using reader-supplied questions, and the first of my second year explains why streetwalkers are a “Bone of Contention” among activists.  “Housewife Harlotry” demonstrates that transactional sex is an important part of marriage, “The Proper Study” is a short history of prostitution research and “Sisters in Arms” looks at the inevitable result of laws which infantilize women.

This Week in 2010

Though I’d write “Streetwalkers” a bit differently now, it still has some good points to make.  “Wanna Date?” asks whether it’s really possible to draw a sharp line between dating and whoring, and “Madonna and Whore” discusses the infamous duality and shows how girlfriends straddle it.  Finally, “Do You Party?” looks at my deep hatred of cocaine.

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Memory is imagination pinned down.  -  Mason Cooley

Many people believe that human memory is like a video camera, in that it objectively records perceived events and stores the images and sounds in some sort of indelible medium which can be erased, mislaid or purposefully hidden, but never distorted; the whole principle of “eyewitness testimony” in our legal system derives from this belief.  But as a great deal of research going back to the beginning of modern psychology has demonstrated, it simply isn’t true.  The human mind doesn’t passively record events as a camera does; memory is an active and dynamic process which retains information by fitting it into schemata, mental frameworks which shape our thinking and give meaning to perceptions.  For example, a chess master shown a board in the middle of a real game can quickly memorize the positions of the pieces with a high degree of accuracy and retention, but if shown a board in which the pieces are randomly arranged he cannot memorize the positions any better than anyone else.  This is because in the former case the board layout fits neatly into his highly-developed schema of chess rules and strategy, while in the latter case it’s just a bunch of objects with no discernible order or meaning.

As Victor Frankl observed, human beings have a deep need for meaning; we look for order in even the most chaotic arrangement of objects or events.  The same psychological mechanism which causes us to find pictures in Rorschach’s inkblots also causes us to fit memories into the complex web of schemata by which we interpret the world.  And just as we ignore those topological elements of a cloud or inkblot which do not fit the meaning our minds have imposed upon it, so do we forget or distort elements of a memory which fail to conform to the schema in which we have embedded it, or even invent elements which were not in reality present, but which the schema predicts should be.  This is an extremely important point, so I’ll repeat it:  The human mind often completely fabricates memories in order to impose conformity with one’s weltanschauung.  One simple example involves police lineups:  people will often identify the man whom police imply (subtly or overtly) is their preferred suspect because they believe police to be expert assessors of guilt who would never implicate someone falsely, and this schema of police authority and infallibility actually shapes their memories, sometimes to the point of identifying a person who is later proven to look absolutely nothing like the actual criminal.

Traumatic events tend to induce psychological imbalance which renders the victim even more subject to suggestion by perceived authority figures, which is how False Memory Syndrome develops; a person suffering from depression, anxiety or even nightmares seeks therapy (or has it forced upon her by a court or family) and develops a psychological dependence on a manipulative (and usually agenda-driven) “therapist” who convinces her that all of her problems result from childhood sexual abuse, and then proceeds to “help” her “recover” those memories as one might dig through a closet for a lost videotape.  But memory does not work that way; in reality this procedure does not “recover” existing memories but creates completely new ones which conform to the “therapist’s” narrative, and reconfigures existing ones to agree with the confabulations.  The syndrome was largely responsible for the Satanic Panic, and also for witchcraft hysteria of past centuries; in the latter case the pressure to reshape memories was inflicted by religious authorities and by the culture as a whole rather than by individual agents such as therapists.

It is important to recognize that people who form false memories are neither stupid nor weak-willed, and their memories are not lies but essentially misfiled fantasies.  Everyone files memories for recall by linking them to other cognitive artifacts (memories, ideas, thoughts, beliefs, etc), and when a dream, delusion, fantasy or the like is filed in the same way as a memory the brain treats it as one; moreover, when the false memory is linked to positive reinforcement (such as the approval of a group or authority figure), it is apt to become even more persistent than the memories of real events which lack such powerful associations.  If the false memories serve as the passport into an identity group, they are likely to become the person’s most intense memories because they form an essential keystone of self-identification.

There are a number of psychological criteria shared by the majority of those who are unusually susceptible to remembering experiences that did not happen in objective reality (including alien abductions, demonic possession, cultic victimization, etc); research conducted on such people has revealed that they tend to share a majority of the following characteristics:

*    They are easy to hypnotize
*    As children they played in a fantasy world
*    They believed in fairies, guardian angels, etc.
*    As children they had invisible playmates
*    Even as adults they spent a significant part of their time fantasizing
*    They often believe they have psychic abilities
*    Most have had out-of-body experiences
*    They often believe they have healing powers
*    They are subject to hypnagogic experiences
*    They have very vivid dreams
*    They have good memories
*    They receive messages from unknown forces

Though everyone is susceptible to memory distortion to some degree, those who are so vulnerable that they can be readily convinced that bizarre, unusual, fantastic or even impossible things really did happen to them are called “Fantasy Prone Persons”; they make up roughly 4% of the population.  Most FPPs are also extremely sexual; many of them can achieve orgasm through fantasy alone, and their false memories usually have a strong sexual element, often with powerful BDSM overtones.  Have you ever wondered why supposed “memories” of witchcraft, Satanic ritual abuse, alien abduction and the like often include sexual elements, especially ones in which the person was raped, subjected to bondage, sexually tortured, mind controlled or “hypnotized”, etc?  It’s because they all come from the same shadowy part of the brain, and the identity of the abusers (and other particulars of the false memory) are just window dressing.  Studies demonstrate that these details depend on the individuals’ beliefs and associates:  traditionally-religious FPPs are likely to believe they’ve been possessed by demons or sexually abused by cultists; those with a strong interest in science fiction or UFOs are likely to identify their imaginary tormentors as aliens; and women with an unhappy history of sex work, or who become too immersed in “sex trafficking” porn, remember lurid experiences of vast pimp networks and over a dozen clients a day, etc.

Next time you see one of these “survivor” narratives, compare it to the now-discredited accounts of Satanic ritual abuse and the widely-ridiculed tales of alien medical experiments.  Many “survivors” report savage beatings, being shut for days in scorpion-filled sewage barrels or being dragged down the street behind a pimp’s or client’s car, yet never have any permanent injuries to show for it…just as the McMartin Preschool children bore no scars from anal knife rapes, and alien medical examinations likewise leave no marks.  Consider the eerie similarity of “survivor” narratives and their convergence since the beginning of “sex trafficking” hysteria, just as Satanic abuse narratives resemble those from 16th-century witch trials and alien abduction stories converged after the release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Think also about the impossible logistics of the situations described by people like Theresa Flores, who claims to have been “abducted” from her upper-middle-class family home every night for two years and forced to prostitute herself, yet was freed every morning to attend school; supposedly neither her parents nor siblings ever heard her come or go, nor did she ever show any signs of sleep deprivation or psychological trauma sufficient to raise any suspicion.  The same miraculous immunity to detection and circumstance protected the McMartin cultists:  no parent, delivery person or other outsider ever showed up while everyone was downstairs in the secret Satanic temple, and no child ever suffered trauma or said a word about seeing people fly until the “investigators” questioned them.  And nobody else in the neighborhoods from which alien abductees are taken ever see or hear ships, aliens, or hypnotized levitating test subjects.  It’s clear that people who recount such stories believe them, and can therefore easily pass the polygraph tests which are sometimes used to prop up their unbelievable tales.  They are not lying in the strict sense, because they really do remember these events; however, as the dreamlike (or nightmarish) character of their memories and the lack of physical evidence amply demonstrate, their adventures took place in an unreal Twilight Zone rather than in the mundane world where normal events occur.

(With grateful acknowledgement to the observations of Eileen Lang.)

One Year Ago Today

Public Service Announcement” politely asks men to stop sending women pictures of their penises.

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