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Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

Strange is the night where black stars rise,
And strange moons circle through the skies.
  –  Robert W. Chambers

Tomorrow is May Day, and today May Eve; though the tradition has waned in the past century, it was once viewed in the same way as Halloween: a night for ghosts, haunts and dark doings.  In my first column for the occasion I shared my list of the ten scariest short stories, and in last year’s column the scariest TV show episodes I’ve ever seen.  This year, I present thirteen main selections (five movies, two poems, one television miniseries, four short stories and a fairy tale) plus a few lagniappe items, ranging from the fun to the beautiful to the horrifying; most can be described by two or even all three of those adjectives, and I doubt many of you will be familiar with all of them.  I’ve provided PDF copies of all the tales and poems, and links to view or buy the shows.

The Call of Cthulhu (2005)  A group of ambitious Lovecraft fans asked themselves, “What if his most famous story had been adapted for the screen shortly after it was published in 1928?”  The result may be the best of all Lovecraft film treatments, especially if you can appreciate silent film.

ChristabelChristabel (1816) is Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s sadly-unfinished poem of a lesbian vampire.  Though it has other complexities of theme, it is this overt meaning which has had the strongest resonance; J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” (1872) is basically a prose adaptation of it, and the lesbian vampire motif has appeared in many movies from Dracula’s Daughter  (1936) to the present.

The Kingdom (1994) Lars von Trier wrote and directed this bizarre Danish miniseries of ghostly, psychic and otherwise-weird goings-on at a super-modern hospital built on what was once a haunted bog.  Steven King adapted it for American television a decade later, with predictably piss-poor results; the Kwaidanoriginal is much, much better.

Kwaidan (1964) is Masaki Kobayashi’s gorgeous film version of four Japanese ghost stories translated by Lafcadio Hearn.  The word “unforgettable” is badly overused in movie advertising copy, but this is one time it’s richly deserved.

Man-size in Marble (1893) by Edith Nesbit used to be very common in horror anthologies; it was one of the first horror tales I can remember reading, certainly before the age of ten.  But since it isn’t as commonly collected as it used to be, some of my readers may be unfamiliar with this chilling little example of the traditional English ghost story.

The Monster Club (1981) is one of the strangest and most uneven films ever made.  Vampire Vincent Price brings horror writer John Carradine to a London nightclub whose members are all humanoid monsters, and there tells him three stories: one sad, one absurd and one horrifying.  There’s also music and a stripper.  Don’t take this one too seriously; just enjoy the weirdness.

The Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)  Though Vincent Price’s performance as the mad sculptor in House of Wax (1953) was superior to Lionel Atwill’s in this original version of the story, this two-strip Technicolor gem is better than the remake in almost every other way.  I especially love Fay Wray as Lois Lane prototype Charlotte Duncan, the ambitious and hardheaded “girl reporter” whose curiosity leads her to the brink of a gruesome fate.

Psychomania (1973) is another oddball British horror movie in which a sorcerer’s son turned motorcycle gang leader discovers how he and his followers can become undead, and after they do they embark on a reign of terror only his mother can stop.

The Tongue-Cut Sparrow was my favorite fairy tale as a wee lass; I must’ve asked Maman to read it to me hundreds of times.  You may wonder why a fairy tale is on a horror list, until I tell you it’s a Japanese fairy tale; if you still don’t get it, read the story.  Yes, I was a strange child.

The Vampyre (1819) is the only other surviving product of the famous “ghost story” contest between the Shelleys and Lord Byron that rainy summer on Lake Geneva.  Though Frankenstein eclipses it in every way, Dr. John Polidori’s entry (based on a plot by Byron) is the first known vampire short story in English, and influenced all which came after it.

Pauline and the MatchesThe Very Sad Tale of the Matches (1845)  Germany is probably the only country whose children’s literature is more horrific than that of Japan; I’m sure most of you are aware of what the original un-Disneyfied Grimm’s fairy tales are like.  Heinrich Hoffmann was a psychiatrist who wrote a cheery little book (originally for his son) named Der Struwwelpeter, in which minor childhood misbehaviors (such as nose-picking) precipitate horrific punishments (like having the offending fingers cut off by a man with gigantic shears).  This selection from the book has, in my opinion, the most striking disconnect between the tone and language and the awful goings-on therein.

What Was It? (1859) Fitz-James O’Brien wrote only a small number of tales before his untimely death in the American Civil War, but they reveal a talent which might have made him one of the greats had he lived to develop it.  This is the very first example of a story in which there is a creature who is invisible, yet tangible; it is not a ghost but a living being, and its invisibility is ascribed to an undiscovered scientific principle rather than a supernatural one.  If anything, the tale is even creepier because of that.

The Yellow Sign (1895) If you have watched the television series True Detective, you’ve heard references to the Yellow King and the city of Carcosa; both are borrowed from this story and others by Robert W. Chambers, which revolve around a mysterious play called The King in Yellow which brings madness to all who read it (or even own a copy).  Chambers’ work is of very uneven quality, but this one and “The Repairer of Reputations” (also included in this PDF) are outstanding.

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

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

From the Archives

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

Bad Girls Emily Wyatt

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

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

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

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

The Swedish Pimpocracy

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

Bell, Hook and Kettle

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

See also “Dirty Laundry” below.

Not To Be Taken Internally

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

The Course of a Disease

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

Above the Law

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

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

The Widening Gyre

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

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

Obfuscation Via Dysphemisms

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

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

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

Dirty Laundry

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

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

With Friends Like These…

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

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #131)

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

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

Tyranny By Consensus (TW3 #138)

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

Profound Ignorance (TW3 #310) prohibition beer raid

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

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

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

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #312)

Imagine an American politician saying this:

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

Challenge

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

Between the Ears (TW3 #334)

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

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

O, Canada! (Hysteria On Parade) 

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

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

Welcome To Our World (TW3 #345)

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

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #345)

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

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #404)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My top ten posts for the year were as follows:

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

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

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

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

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Slavery works as a public fantasy through which the real problems of the world can be pushed to one side and replaced with…“evil slave-owners” who allegedly lurk behind such phenomena.  -  Frank FurediSWAT thugs

The Slave-Whore Fantasy

Many organizations…receive inquiries from potential volunteers whose primary desire is to kick in doors and rescue…victims…once a potential volunteer learns that the organization does not have a covert SWAT team…they seem shocked and in disbelief.  The concept of private entities using…armed…[“rescue”] teams…is fueled by Hollywood and…non-governmental organizations…who play DVDs at anti-human trafficking events indicating their organization uses [such] teams…some even indicate their activities are unhindered by the bureaucracy of governments…

Handy Figures

I find this number very credible, given that 1% of comparatively-prudish Western women have worked as whores, plus an unknown (but certainly larger) number in other kinds of sex work:

…economist Yasuyuki Iida…says that five percent of women in Japan have [done some kind of sex work.  He]…begins by estimating that there are 10,000 clubs, bars and parlors offering sex nationwide… “each employs 30 women on average…That puts the number of women…at 300,000”…Iida settles on 10 years as the average tenure…based on data from the Ministry of Justice…the average woman enters the biz between the age of 25 and 29.  Census data…indicates that a total of 700,000 women fall within…that…group.  If 30,000 women [per year]…enter the fuzoku trade, that would represent…4.29[%] of that total…

The Course of a Disease

The Vietnamese government has just passed a decree under which clients of prostitutes will be punished more severely than the call girls…sex buyers will be fined VND500,000-VND1 million (US$23.7-$47.4)…prostitutes…will be issued a warning…in less severe cases or a monetary fine of VND100,000-VND300,000 (up to $14)…If the prostitutes are foreigners, they can be deported from Vietnam…

Legal Is As Legal Does (TW3 #7)

Another example of the need for eternal vigilance:

A delegation of former prostitutes…[and] advocates have appeared before…Parliament calling for a change to prostitution laws…the organisation Freedom from Sexual Exploitation (FFSE)…says…”the Prostitution Reform Act…not only encouraged more men to buy sex, but transformed prostitution into an acceptable, even attractive job for young, poor woman in New Zealand”…FFSE is asking the government to…[criminalize] the purchase of sexual services…

Above the Law

Three more “isolated incidents”:

Nearly twenty years after two young women were shot and stabbed to death at a Kentucky massage parlor…former [cops]…Edward Carter and Leslie Duncan are among three men charged…Tammy Papler, the woman who once ran the parlor, claimed years ago that she had been bribing police…and that the killings took place after she stopped paying.

Of course, it isn’t only whores they target:

A…San Antonio [cop raped a young woman]…Jackie Len Neal pulled [her] over…[on the pretext] that her car was reported stolen.  Even though [she] produced a sales slip…Neal insisted on patting her down…[then] placed [her] in handcuffs…[in] the back of his patrol car…[and raped her]…video cameras mounted in Neal’s cruiser were not functioning…[but] a GPS tracking system did corroborate that…[it] was parked for 18 minutes…as the woman had claimed…

And an update from the original “Above the Law”:  “A victim of a…Pittsburgh police officer…filed a federal lawsuit…Adam Skweres…failed his psychological examination before [hiring and]…the city [allowed him to keep working]…after it received complaints against him…[for] three years…Frankenstein - angry mob

The Widening Gyre

You know a moral panic is nearing its zenith when you start seeing mobs with torches:

Hundreds of people [gathered]…on Long Beach Boulevard in Compton to march against the sex trafficking of children and teenagers along the notorious strip.  The march…[followed] the route often used by johns and pimps in buying and selling young victims…”We are marching tonight to shine a light in the darkness and let these men know we see them,” [politician Mark] Ridley-Thomas said…”And to let businesses that profit from this vile trade…know that we’re coming for them”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #34)

Don’t believe our data; believe our dogma instead!

In Maine…its hotline netted 19 of what Polaris Project defines as high- or moderate-level indicators of trafficking in the most recent year…Destie Sprague…[of] the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said…Mainers should not reach the conclusion that only 19 people in the state were victims of trafficking in the past year…the number is in reality much higher…

Lower Education

The federal government is backing away from the nationwide “blueprint” for campus speech restrictions issued this May…the new head of the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR)…said that “the agreement in the Montana case represents the resolution of that particular case and not OCR or DOJ policy”…the Montana agreement included an overly broad definition of punishable sexual harassment: “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including “verbal conduct” (i.e., speech)…Serious First Amendment and due process problems remain with…other recent OCR pronouncements…

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #326)

Wouldn’t you love to see articles like this in the US?

Media organizations worldwide have been busy crucifying Rob Ford for his alleged crimes and intoxicated buffoonery…but mainstream outlets in Canada…need to apologize for repeatedly presenting Ford’s crimes in conjunction with allegations of “prostitution”…Having sex for money is not a crime in this country.  Even though many activities associated with it remain illegal, having sex for money…is a job…Every major mainstream media source in the city latched onto the “hanging out with suspected prostitutes” allegations…what makes someone a “suspected prostitute,” anyway?  Fishnets?…

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #329)

Though registration is a poor idea because of the inevitable bottleneck, the general tone of this article is far more sensible than anything from the US:

…Swaziland’s sex workers are not a major contributor to the spread of HIV…[it] is spread widely by people in [unpaid] sexual encounters …However…if HIV is to be contained in any country the need to protect sex workers from HIV is a requirement…Identification of sex workers is the first step, allowing a registry of sex workers for contact and communication.  Thus reachable, these individuals can receive advice on health issues, HIV testing…counselling…treatment …and a supply of condoms…public health crises require realism…

Migliorini in PlayboyLittle Boxes (TW3 #332)

A woman who sold her virginity…for $780,000 but was unable to consummate the transaction has decided to put herself back on the market…Catarina Migliorini  was initially promised to a 53-year-old Japanese millionaire, but the deal fell through after Natsu ended up being a 21-year-old who looked nothing like his online profile.  She also had a falling out with the documentary filmmaker who recruited her…

Decentralization (TW3 #334)

Another example of “sex trafficking” as default bogeyman:

…bitcoin…is not backed by any central bank or government and can be transferred “peer to peer” between any two people anywhere…By largely eliminating intermediaries, bitcoin allows individuals to conduct transactions without being subject to anti-money laundering controls, which makes it an attractive currency to criminals — particularly those who prey on the weak.  Sex slavery and human trafficking generate $9.5 billion yearly in the United States alone, with each trafficked child yielding between $150,000 to $200,000 to her pimp, who controls four to six girls on average…

It’s That Time Again (TW3 #334)

The cuckoo clock is striking 13:

Cindy McCain slammed the National Football League…for not being “willing to deal” with the issue of sex trafficking at the Super Bowl…McCain…said the Super Bowl is the “largest human-trafficking venue on the planet,” but she will be working to tackle the issue in [Arizona] in 2015…McCain emphasized the necessity of bringing the issue to…Congress.  “This issue’s not sexy on Capitol Hill yet, but we’re going to make it sexy”…

Given all the one-handed writing politicians do about “child sex slaves”, I’d say they already find it plenty sexy.  But McCain’s comments, however idiotic, are at least coherent, which is more than I can say for those of her sidekick:

…Saada Saar spoke about her involvement in shutting down “adult services” ads on Craigslist in 2010…“I will never forget that morning getting calls from some of the girls who were still out there saying, ‘Oh my God!  The pimp’s [sic] are losing their minds because they can’t put us up for sale.  We are no longer for sale’…”

Imaginary Evils

Slaves found in London 'tip of the iceberg' Daily MailI knew this would turn out to be bogus, but I’m very pleased that it came apart so quickly:

The first stories in the London slavery reports…all gave the same horrifying account:  three women had been rescued by police after thirty years held against their will…But as details emerged, it seemed to be an entirely different affair…after contacting the charity, the women were encouraged to leave the house, which they did…with no dramatic police raid…[they] had joined a radical Marxist collective…which…was like a microcosm of a Soviet state- workers toil unrewarded for the benefit of the leader…”social services, education and housing departments had all had contact with the household” and…both the leaders had been previously arrested.  The presence of these women in the house was not a new discovery by any means…

And in Spiked, Frank Furedi uses the incident as a springboard for a strong criticism of the way the word “slavery” is used to describe phenomena which are absolutely nothing like chattel slavery.

Everything Old is New Again

Here are two more stories in which “sex trafficking” is described using ludicrous Victorian phraseology; this one from Ohio tells us that the mustache-twirling villains behind the “perfidious crime” are not usually stopped by “swift apprehension”, and that arresting sex workers “[fights] the vexing scourge” by “helping to restore a semblance of normalcy to [their] lives”.  The other, from California, gasps in horror at the idea of “children…at risk” from people having sex “in a home right across the street from an elementary school,” opines that “the horror of human trafficking…has destroyed the meaning of what it means to be ‘safe’ in a free world,”  and tells us that “expanding shackles” (presumably, a technology related to “invisible handcuffs”) are “fueled” by “assumptions that these are consensual interactions with women flaunting their sexual desire alongside pimps in outlandish suits with expensive cars.”

Meanwhile, if you click back to the original column by this name you’ll see something about how New Port Richey, Florida has a scheme to allow “authorities” to persecute “known prostitutes” at will.  Well, here’s an open letter to the town from its most famous daughter, Dr. Brooke Magnanti:

…Profiling has a false positive rate greater than zero, and some of those false positives will no doubt lawyer up.  Also, picking up people because you think they might possibly commit a crime in the future is not the same as detecting people who are actually breaking the law.  It is – hm, how you say? – oh yeah, now I remember the word.  “Unconstitutional.”  (My time in Florida’s schools did not go to waste, as you can see)…

Think of the Children! (TW3 #346)

Buried down near the bottom of this farrago of pearl-clutching nonsense about a persecuted Calgary massage parlor:  “Human trafficking is not a widespread problem among sex workers in Calgary massage parlours, police say…Mary Ann Franks threatens to beat up website owners

Shame, Shame

Activists seeking to criminalize “revenge porn” say they are…[preparing] federal legislation that would force Internet companies to take [it] down…law professor Mary Anne Franks…is helping draft the bill…”Going after intermediaries is a really bad idea,” says Matt Zimmerman…[of] the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  “The entire speech ecosystem…[suffers] because those service providers…decide what people can and cannot post”…Internet companies would likely respond to such a law by removing content any time there’s a complaint, to reduce their liability and…save time…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #347)

This ugly exercise in arse-backwardness repeats lurid nonsense about “sex tourism” in Brazil using Justin Bieber clickbait while describing dry stories about sex workers’ language lessons and business improvements as “titillating”; it then dismisses UN recommendations for decriminalization in a flurry of “sex trafficking” hoo-hah (describing the fringe group Equality Now as “many NGOs”), and adds insult to injury by mentioning Gabriela Leite’s Davida without stating that it’s a sex worker rights organization.  Compare it with this one, which despite being fixated on “grittiness” is at least basically honest.

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To avoid doing anything, wait for the right circumstances.  -  Mason Cooley

I’m sure my regular readers have noticed that, though I usually feature news items y’all send me within a week or so, there are times when I don’t even mention them in passing (much less feature them), even if they seem to be something right up my alley.  Indeed, sometimes a dozen or more of you will send something to me, and that’s on top of all the times I see it on Twitter, yet I stubbornly refuse to give it as much as a nod.  And when it does happen, some of you probably ask yourselves, “What is up with that?”  Well, today I’m going to explain it, with the help of a recent example of the phenomenon.

bovine excrement meterThe one-word explanation is “instinct”.  As many have remarked, my bullshit detector is pretty finely calibrated; I can usually sense it no matter how expertly it’s hidden, and I can often produce an analysis of the exact breed and variety of the bull and tell you what he was eating besides.  But at other times, I’m just not conversant enough with the background or good enough with math to figure out exactly what’s wrong with the story in question; I still know that it’s wrong, but I can’t quite put my finger on why.  And so rather than rush to report something everyone else is nattering and opining about, and thereby look like an idiot when it’s invariably debunked, I just sit back quietly and wait for the other shoe to drop.

This particular case in point started back in July, with the publication of an article in Marie Claire which rehashed the perennial legend that young Japanese people have lost interest in sex (remember when the “herbivores” were taking over a few years ago?)  Well, nobody noticed this new one (because it was Marie Claire, after all) until author Abigail Haworth rehashed it in the Guardian one month ago today…and then it took off, being quoted and discussed in many other media outlets.  Needless to say, none of them bothered to do any original research to confirm the story; as in the case of “sex trafficking”, the parrots in journalists’ clothing at Time, Huffington Post, Slate and many other rags mindlessly reported the original, with the high level of critical analysis one might expect from a toddler or a spambot.  I knew it was garbage from the get-go; Japan has one of the largest and most diverse sex industries on the planet.  It equated dating with having sex, like the American researchers who obsess about “correcting” the large discrepancy between the fraction of men who cheat and the fraction of women, because they refuse to recognize that the majority of male cheating is carried out with whores rather than cheating wives.  Furthermore, it claimed that a low birth rate was somehow evidence of lack of sex, as though the reporter had dispatched her story from some past era before the invention of reliable contraception.  However, I was still reluctant to weigh in; I’m not an expert in Japanese culture, so it was conceivable that there was something beyond those two obvious errors that I was overlooking.

As it turned out, on this occasion I had been overcautious.  The debunkings which started appearing a week later came to the same conclusions I had, with very little more to add; I had simply underestimated the institutional cluelessness of the modern media.  In Global Voices Online, Keiko Tanaka quoted a number of criticisms of the piece, including one which pointed out that Haworth cannot read Japanese and was therefore at the mercy of a tiny number of sources.  And in Bloomberg, William Pesek wrote:

…The real issue is that many avoid traditional, committed relationships out of doubts…based on economics rather than culture.  If low libido were strictly societal, why do the Czech Republic, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain and Taiwan have fertility rates as low as Japan’s?  I don’t see the global media characterizing those countries as sexless freak shows spiraling toward extinction…Part of the problem is cherry-picked data.  Take the 2011 survey…on which sex-drought stories are often based.  Its finding that 61 percent of unmarried men and 49 percent of single women between 18 and 24 of age weren’t in any kind of romantic relationship is mentioned up high.  Rarely cited is this fact on Page 2 of the report:  almost 90 percent of respondents intend to marry someday.  And…71 percent of unmarried Americans aren’t in committed relationships [either]…Japan’s low birthrate…is a result of exorbitant living costs, elevated stress and diminished confidence…

So there you have it.  Though both of those articles did add details of which I was unaware, I could have commented on the matter without hesitation and been largely right on.  Ah, well; at least I’ll have a resource to refer back to the next time the “asexual Japanese youth” canard starts making the rounds again in 2017 or thereabouts. sex is gross

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The current trafficking panic is fundamentally a modern myth that has been re-created from the “white slavery fears” of the 19th century to further moralist or political agendas.  -  John Davies

Think of the Children!

Law-enforcement agencies have…shut a suspected bawdy house located just metres from a daycare and one block from a southeast Calgary school…Paradise Spa…has been a problem venue for more than a decade, police said…Michael Ford  SEX NEAR A DAYCARE AND A SCHOOL!!!!!!  The fiends!

License to Rape

…[Alabama cop] Michael Ford was sentenced to…89 years…[for] incest…sexual abuse…sodomy and…sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old…he…offered no apology…the sentences will run consecutively…

Lack of Evidence

[New York City] Police arrested Felicia McGinnis, 26, after spotting her talking to passersby…while wearing a “black pea coat, skinny jeans and platform shoes”…“Any…fashion magazine would display plenty of women similarly dressed,” wrote Judge Felicia Mennin… “such outfit hardly demonstrates the wearer’s proclivity to…prostitution…characterization of…jeans as ‘revealing’ because they ‘outlined the defendant’s legs’ seems more to be expected in the dress code of a 1950s high school than a criminal-court pleading”…

Above the Law

A [Zimbabwean] prostitute…has claimed that civil servants…constitute…the majority of the industry’s clients, but [are] notorious for using…threats to [avoid] paying…most soldiers [use] verbal threats…while police officers [threaten arrest]…

The Schizoid State

Notice that a “child” magically becomes a “woman” the instant she’s accused of a crime:

Prosecutors in Texas have accused a 17-year-old woman of recruiting her…”easily manipulated” friends to provide [paid] sex for Michael “Money Mike” McIntosh…the friends were as young as 14.  The alleged teen madam is charged with compelling prostitution…

I Really Shouldn’t Even LOOK at an Issue of Cosmopolitan (TW3 #25) stupid food sex tips

Apparently, the “sex advice” in Men’s Health is almost as moronic as that in Cosmo!  Here’s another hilarious list of 15 useless, impracticable, ridiculous or just plain dumb suggestions from these clueless magazines.

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #31)

They “believe it’s a means of making money” because it is.

…Elizabeth Ngonga has said…”Many girls and boys engage in sex-tourism, which they believe is a means of making money. It’s very sad spotting teenage girls and boys roaming beaches with foreigners”…Ngonga called on the government [of Kenya] to create laws that will enable police…to access tourist cottages [without warrants]…She [also] urged the government to ban foreigners from walking with bikinis and pants…

Show and Tell

Doriana Silva is seeking $20 million from Ashley Madison…she was…promised a starting salary of $34,000 plus benefits…to create 1,000 “fake female profiles”…to lure men to the new Brazilian Ashley Madison site – and given only three weeks to complete the work…“The purpose of these profiles is to entice paying heterosexual male members to join and spend money on the website…They do not belong to any genuine members of Ashley Madison – or any real human beings at all”…Silva developed severe pain in her wrists and forearms…and…the company has refused to grant her workers’ compensation or insurance…

Tyranny By Consensus (TW3 #47) the future of porn in California

Could any non-bureaucrat actually consider this with a straight face?

Draft regulations currently being considered…would…not only require condoms during intercourse but also prohibit ejaculation onto the genitals, mouth or eyes, and instruct employers to provide [porn] performers with protective eyewear to avoid ocular contact with semen…The 21-page document suggests several other regulatory changes…like providing “plastic coverings or other disposable materials to facilitate cleaning of the work area”…

End Violence, Not Demand

From a memorandum submitted to the UK Parliament by migration expert Dr. John Davies:

…the assumed link between demand for sexual services and consequential harm…is not evidence based…sex work migration…is often undertaken to try and surmount…structural obstacles to…desired mobility…There is a widely disseminated proposition that…prostitution is a demand-driven industry…which…fuels forms of induction…[this] is apparently based on unreformed Keynesian economic theory…and …should not go unchallenged…sex work…is often a commercialised extension of a pre-existing, common domestic and barter behaviour…[as such] it…is more likely to be represented by Say’s economic laws, rather than any form of rigid Keynesian theory…

Well worth reading in its entirety.

Sex Workers Against Trafficking (TW3 #139)

From the Journal of Public Health:  “DMSC-led interventions to remove minors and unwilling women from sex work account for over 80% of successful ‘rescues’ reported in West Bengal…the proportion of minors in sex work in Sonagachi declined from 25 to 2%…binmen snooping in rubbish

Checklist

I’m sure the Stasi gave very similar training in spotting threats to the state:  “Binmen and taxi drivers are among those to be trained in spotting victims of human trafficking in Northern Ireland…‘Anybody in contact with the public…may…be helpful’…

Lack of Evidence (TW3 #314)

Two studies…in Australia and Thailand…have revealed consistent findings of authorities’ use of stereotypes…airport authorities identify a woman arriving on a tourist visa as a potential sex worker…through scrutinising women’s luggage…”sexy” clothing…leads to further questioning of women as potential victims of trafficking or unauthorized sex workers…

Naked Truth (TW3 #314)

Shereen El-Feki on the pragmatism of sex work and how HIV is forcing Arab “authorities” there to stop pretending they can make it vanish by forbidding it:

In the Arab region, it is easier to talk about sex when it is wrapped in a white coat of public health.  HIV…provides a way of prompting authorities to address the realities of sexual life, including sex work.  But a medical lens offers less than 20/20 vision, and the broader political, economic, and social conditions that make women turn to sex work in the first place…can be overlooked…But beyond public health, few women’s rights groups in the region want to talk about sex work, let alone actively engage with and empower…sex workers.  The Arab world is very far from accepting the sort of sex worker collectives, such as those in India and elsewhere in the Global South, which equip women to defend their rights…

Sadly, so is the United States.Samantha Azzopardi

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #314)

At the beginning of last week, Irish “trafficking” fetishists were enjoying the wanking fantasy of a new “14-year-old trafficking victim”.  By the end of the week, reality threw cold water on it:  “The mystery girl [has been] identified…as an Australian adult [with] a previous conviction for deception in her native country…Samantha Azzopardi…was…believed [to be] aged 14 to 16…but…is actually 25…[and has] up to 40 different aliases…

First They Came for the Hookers (TW3 #317)

After cops wasted taxpayer money to trick strippers, the women were forced to endure the childish giggling of morons in court, a refugee from a high-school newspaper’s writeup of the ordeal and a dried-up prude of a judge forcing them to endure a year of anti-sex brainwashing.  Because obviously there is no actual crime in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Comfort Zone (TW3 #320)

This excellent article about the “rescue industry” exposes its racist and moralistic motivations and demonstrates how it hurts those it “saves”:

For almost three years Sine Plambech…[of] the Danish Institute for International Studies, has followed 30 [deported] Nigerian women…the European categorisation of who is a victim and who is an illegal alien is arbitrary and unsystematic…“The ones who receive assistance have…[learned] what to say…If you say that you went to Europe to earn money for your family, you knew that you would sell sex and you bought the illegal papers yourself, then you probably won’t get help.  If you say that you didn’t know you were going to sell sex, you get help”…

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #324) Buying Sex

The National Film Board of Canada improperly financed a Swedish model propaganda film named “Buying Sex”, and Alan Young (the main attorney in Bedford vs. Canada) is understandably upset:

…I was recruited to participate in this film on the basis that it would serve to inform and educate the public about…the ”Bedford” case…However…it became apparent that the filmmakers’ intent was to trivialize the constitutional challenge and…attack…my character and integrity…excerpts…were carefully edited to make…our commentary appear vacuous and self-serving…the filmmakers have manipulated and used both the NFB and myself to advance…the claims of abolitionists, and…to promote the adoption of the ”Swedish model”…into the Canadian legislative landscape.  The only reason the filmmaker chose to include the constitutional challenge…was to make the film appear topical and Canadian, and to secure close to $1,000,000 in NFB funding…

Lying Down With Dogs (TW3 #324)

Change “Botswana” to the name of any American state:

Botswana recently [announced]…that prostitutes will either be detained if they are locals or deported if they are foreigners…Alongside regular crackdowns…the Health ministry will put out messages against sex work [on] billboards…Newspaper adverts, articles, posters, flyers, radio and television adverts on sexually transmitted infections and dangers of sex work will also be used.

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #327)

Buried in an article about Japan’s move toward legalizing casinos:  “…law enforcement has already started cracking down on sex clubs and affiliated businesses in entertainment areas in preparation for the Olympics

Buttons, Bags & BanknotesRewind & Reframe

A growing clamour to tackle sexually explicit pop videos will find a new voice this week with the launch of a campaign group to demand cinema-style ratings on lewd content aimed at teenage and pre-teenage girls…Rewind&Reframe [is] a joint project run by the pressure groups End Violence Against Women Coalition, Imkaan and Object…A petition is also being started to call on the [UK] government to act…

Little Tin Gods

Just two percent of counties in the United States are responsible for more than half of the country’s executions since 1976…and…85 percent of the remaining…counties…have not had a single…execution in over 45 years…The top 10 counties…are: Los Angeles County, Calif.; Harris County, Texas; Philadelphia County, Pa.; Maricopa County, Ariz.; Riverside County, Calif.; Clark County, Nev.; Orange County, Calif.; Duval County, Fla.; Alameda County, Calif.; and San Diego County, Calif…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (TW3 #338)

With the judgment against Rick’s in New York, this was only a matter of time:

An exotic dancer is suing Bourbon Street strip club Rick’s Cabaret on claims the business refused to pay wages and siphoned off tips to hundreds of its women performers.  Kelly Moncheski, a former dancer, filed a lawsuit…on behalf of other former employees…The lawsuit claims that Rick’s…improperly classified dancers as independent contractors…and…forced [them] to share tips with the owners…the company dictated…how long they should work, what to wear, and how to groom themselves…

Across the Pond (TW3 #344)

I’m can’t really see why this is a bad thing:

The council are considering scrapping the need for Edinburgh’s saunas to apply for a licence…all the venues could keep operating and only be subjected to the usual public health and trading standards regulations which every business has to abide to…Sex workers’ charity Scot-Pep have criticised the move, saying it has been forced on the council by Police Scotland’s crack-down.  They are concerned about the implications for the safety of sex workers…

Celebrities (TW3 #345) Dennis Hof

The revolting Dennis Hof demonstrates more of the whorearchistic, misogynistic, trafficking-panic supporting and wholly opportunistic behavior that earned him a place in my Hall of Shame:

Upon hearing reports that Justin Bieber was seen leaving a Brazilian brothel…Dennis Hof is making a public appeal to him to stop risking his health and instead spend time with the ladies of his seven legal brothels in Nevada.  “I was shocked to hear that Justin might have put his health and safety at risk in a Brazilian brothel…condom use with Brazilian prostitutes is voluntary and unregulated…[and] Brazil has a rampant child sex trafficking problem, second only to that of Thailand…”

He goes on to basically say that sex workers are too stupid and criminal to be trusted to monitor our own health without state compulsion.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #345)

Caty Simon interviews Jaclyn Moskal-Dairman of SWOP Phoenix; Dairman explains how Monica Jones was specifically targeted and entrapped by Phoenix police, discusses the true reasons for “diversion” programs, and discusses the ethical nightmare of Project ROSE in particular.  How bad is it?  Take a look at this report from Al-Jazeera, which unlike US media corporations is under no political pressure to spread “trafficking” hysteria, and is in fact emerging as a persistent critic of the narrative.

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Four things greater than all things are, –
Women and Horses and Power and War.
  -  Rudyard Kipling, “The King’s Jest”

Ninety-five years ago today, at eleven o’clock in the morning, the armistice that ended the First World War went into effect; the anniversary was immediately established as Armistice Day among all the Allied nations.  Though it retains that name in France and Belgium, it was changed after the Second World War to Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth and Veterans Day in the United States, and its function was expanded to memorialize those who died in any war.*  And because ever since men first marched off to war, whores have followed very close behind, it has been my custom every year on this day to commemorate some aspect of that relationship.

WWII nose artIn the last century, however, there has been an unfortunate and growing tendency for officials to pretend that this relationship either does not exist, or that it does exist but is somehow pathological.  The Vietnamese and Ouled-Nail prostitutes who served as nurses during the siege of Dien Bien Phu have almost been erased from history, as have the women of Honolulu’s tolerated brothels who served the same function after Pearl Harbor and entertained the Navy for the rest of the war.  The French like to pretend that women who survived by providing services to the occupying Nazis were somehow different from the others who were forced to deal with them; the Japanese still deny the extent or even the existence of the military brothels in which they enslaved (mostly Korean) women for the “comfort” of their troops.  And the American military establishment continues to demand that its men avoid the company of professionals no matter how much this policy angers the host country or how many sexual assaults result from it, thus prioritizing the wishes of prudish fanatics above the health and happiness of the troops of both sexes.

Of course, this sort of pompous idiocy is only possible between serious wars; while they’re going on, politics takes a back seat to reality and the necessity of dealing with the sexual energy of fighting men can no longer be subordinated to the bluenosed sensibilities of repressed civilians.  The military governor of Hawaii did everything he could to make the hookers of Honolulu happy; Hitler ordered that his troops be issued blow-up sex dolls; the American authorities distributed condoms; and the Japanese resorted to the abominable “comfort women” scheme (which was also used in reverse form, with Japanese whores for American troops, during the first year of the occupation).  Women were also a vital part of the entertainment provided by the American USO; not sexual services, obviously, but even the sight of a Hollywood sex symbol like Rita Hayworth or “All-American girl” like Judy Garland, or the opportunity to talk to or dance with a pretty girl,HMS Jane went a long way for those men starved for female affection and company.  And while those women could not accompany the men into battle, their pictures certainly could: the iconic pinup of Betty Grable  was merely the most famous of the hundreds of photos and illustrations of feminine pulchritude which brightened barracks, bunks, tents and even the noses of bombers.  On British planes, those paintings were often of Jane, a shapely Daily Mirror comic-strip character who would always somehow manage to lose her clothes by the last panel, usually in some incredibly unlikely fashion; Christabel Leighton-Porter, the model upon whom she was based, also posed for nude photos which were literally dropped in bundles to the troops to increase morale.

Obviously, none of this could happen today; Western countries in general (and the US and UK in particular) are paralyzed by a neo-Victorian aversion to sex which preaches the ludicrous catechism that young, healthy men can simply be ordered to be asexual.  Pinups and sexy art are branded “sexual harassment”, and officers are expected to enforce these schoolmarmish decrees.  But all things must pass, the bad as well as the good; these hysterical attitudes will eventually vanish as anti-sex culture fades, and warriors of the future will be shocked to learn that their grandfathers were prohibited from enjoying the simple joy of cheesecake art, and punished for seeking a balm for their stress in the arms of willing professionals.

*Technically, in the US this function is served by Memorial Day (at the end of May), while Veterans Day honors all veterans, living and dead.

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Every decision I’ve ever made, including the decision to be a prostitute, is linked to a desire to be free.  -  Gabriela Leite

R.I.P. Gabriela Leite

Gabriela LeiteSex worker rights activist Gabriela Leite died of cancer on October 10th at the age of 62.  She organized the first Brazilian whores’ convention in 1987, then in 1992 founded a rights NGO named Davida; in 2010 she ran for the Brazilian congress (as depicted in the documentary A Kiss for Gabriela).  Though she lost the election she won tremendous respect, and a bill to eliminate the contradictory provisions in Brazilian prostitution law was recently named in her honor.  She was one of the greats, and will be sorely missed in the sex worker rights community.

Social Autoimmune Disorder

Police in Florida have begun…recording license plate information from cars that drive through areas frequented by sex workers and sending a letter to that individual’s home…[including] a close-up image of the license plate and…reminders about the potential for sexually transmitted diseases…Authorities speaking to the media seemed to assume that someone’s mere presence near illegal activity presumes their guilt…

An Educated Idiot

Charlotte Shane’s scathing review of Sudhir Venkatesh’s new book Floating City levels many of the same criticisms I and others have already made against the duplicitous sociologist (such as his total ignorance of the history of sex work, his dreadfully-low “estimates” of our income, etc).  But it also contains many telling observations about his character flaws:

…when one of his subjects is assaulted, and her co-worker asks that he not report it:  “I stood there, frustrated…What should I do?  Go along with them or call the damn police like a normal person?  I didn’t want to get sucked into their criminal value structure and end up doing the wrong thing.”  This alarming response encapsulates…[his] problem.  The desire to avoid arrest after suffering a brutal assault is a sensible one…but Venkatesh can’t wrap his head around it…he is “normal” and they are deviants…his responses are the right ones and theirs are not…Venkatesh clings to the notion that sex work is inherently, unavoidably risky, regardless of the legal and cultural circumstances…when the issue of…legalization…is raised, it’s only to dismiss it…

Not An Addiction (May Updates)rat with Oreos

Crypto-moralists are once again trying to pretend that fatty foods are addictive, but as Jacob Sullum points out:

…the study’s findings could just as truthfully be summarized… “Research Shows That Heroin and Cocaine Are No More Addictive Than Oreos.”  Putting it that way would have raised some interesting questions about the purportedly irresistible power of these drugs, which supposedly justifies using force to stop people from consuming them.  But the researchers are not interested in casting doubt on the empirical basis for the War on Drugs…they are trying to build an empirical basis for the War on Fat…if the neurological effects of Oreos make them impossible to resist, how is it that most people manage to resist them, consuming them in moderation or not at all?…

Dirty Amateurs

Whether the infection is biological or technological, it’s always the same:

…Symantec…found…that hackers…target…religious sites at a much higher rate:  “…religious and ideological sites…have triple the average number of threats per infected site than adult/pornographic sites.  We hypothesize that this is because pornographic website owners…have a vested interest in keeping their sites malware-free – it’s not good for repeat business”…

Dominating the News

Ex-vice madam Natalie Rowe has had her home raided by police days before she will make new claims about her relationship with Chancellor George Osborne…12…officers…with a battering ram burst into her London flat…[at] dawn…claiming they were acting on a tip-off…no drugs were found in the two-hour search…“WHY did one officer involved in the raid ask me whether I was about to publish my memoirs and WHY did a police inspector tell me I’d be opening a ‘whole can of worms’ if I complained?”…

Meanwhile, in Japan, “Yuka Fujisawa was arrested…for…sticking needles in gentlemen’s genitals for money…Fujisawa’s ‘needle play’ was performed on consenting adults, so her arrest is purely for the act of drawing blood without a medical license…

Elephant in the Parlor

Beleaguered former…MLA Mike Allen has received a rare note of support…from the Alberta Sex Workers.  Mr. Allen was one of 13 men caught in a St. Paul, Minnesota-area sting in July…He…could face up to a year in prison and a $3,000 fine.  “Alberta sex workers wish to assure MLA Mike Allen…that his activities…would be lawful, private and welcome in Alberta…sex workers in Mr. Allen’s riding…want him to continue as their MLA.  We feel he made a mistake taking his business out of Alberta to puritan…Minnesota, but sex workers in his constituency are still pleased to have an MLA who values the services they offer”…Christian Adamek

Moloch

How many more kids have to be sacrificed on this loathsome altar?  “A popular 15-year-old student has committed suicide after he reportedly faced expulsion and being placed on the sex offenders’ register simply for streaking at a high school football  game.  Christian Adamek, from Huntsville, Alabama,  hanged himself on October 2, a week after he was arrested…

Full of Themselves (TW3 #4)

I hope this keeps happening, so pole dancers will be forced to stand with sex workers rather than pretending they’re different:  “…Swansea University [banned its]…Pole Fitness Society…[saying] ‘Pole fitness and pole dancing are a direct spin off from lap dancing…Everyone knows where it comes from…and that pole dancing is…specifically designed to sexually excite the watcher’…”  Swansea has a long history of pearl-clutching over sex work.

The Course of a Disease

The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe has come up with a “tool kit” containing “information, ideas and resources…to help sex worker rights…organisations and activists…challenge…[the] Swedish model.”  You can view and download the tool kit and its associated worksheets here, or visit the ICRSE website to download one individual section at a time.

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (TW3 #7)

This short interview with Dr. Heidi Hoefinger on her book Sex, Love and Money in Cambodia supports everything I always say about Asian bar girls, but the comments are illustrative of the deep state of denial in which “trafficking” fanatics exist:  among them are the claim that a woman who spent ten years living among her subjects is “naïve” and the astonishing assertion that literally 99.99% of whores are coerced.

Above the Law

A [California] Sheriff’s Department deputy…sexually assaulted a [woman] he…pulled over…[he offered to] let [her] go in exchange for sex…[but when she] declined …he [forced her anyway]…”  The unedited original is almost incomprehensible for all the “alleged” and “unknown male” and passive voice; it even describes forcible rape as “sexual contact occurred”.  And in Kentucky, “A sexual assault lawsuit has been filed against…Sheriff Rick Clemons…‘I’m upset.  I’m very offended.  I’m actually shocked’, said Clemons…”  Cry me a fucking river.Rupert Everett

Stand-Up Guys

Rupert Everett is supporting a campaign against proposals…to criminalise sex workers’ clients.  The actor, who participated in sex work as a younger man is making a [TV] programme on the subject.  He has signed an open letter by the English Collective of Prostitutes and Queer Strike…journalist Cary Gee and a whole range of activist groups…have all added their names too…Former New Zealand MP Tim Barnett, who sponsored the…Act which decriminalised prostitution, described the…way…[end demand] laws were used…“Half of those arrested were transgender sex workers who were identified as men”…

Greeks Bearing Gifts

The noisome fruit of the “mandatory prosecution” tree:

…In an incident back in April, Joel Darvell, 36, allegedly choked his wife while drunk, causing his son to tackle him…Darvell allegedly pistol-whipped his son and then fired a .45 caliber round into the wall of their home.  No injuries were sustained.  Darvell was charged with assault…but [his] wife and children…refused to testify…Judge Michael Evans…[had them] dragged away…[to] jail…where they were held in cuffs and shackles…John Hays, who is representing Darvell’s wife…said…“The prosecutor wants to put the defendant in prison for over 20 years, and (his family members) really do not want that”…After 48 hours…the 13-year-old girl…broke…and…agreed to testify against her father.  The son and mother…were made to agree…as well…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #28)

Everyday Whorephobia interviews Morgane Merteuil of STRASS about the especially-revolting French version of the Swedish model:

…The law also proposes to fight…[advertising] websites…all the help…[for exploited migrants] is conditional on stopping sexwork…[and] working with  an “agreed organization”; of course…sexworkers rights [groups] won’t be [among] them…if students do sexwork, it is because they don’t have the consciousness that this is “prostitution”; so the solution is to add lessons about the “objectification of the body” at school…

Schadenfreude (TW3 #43)Meas Ratha

Somaly Mam has been caught in yet another huge lie:

…in January 1998, Ms. Mam was propelled…into the international media spotlight largely owing to the harrowing on-camera testimony of the young Meas Ratha…[who supposedly had] been promised a job as a waitress in Phnom Penh, but wound up a captive in a brothel…Sixteen years [later]…Ms. Ratha—now 32 years old and married—said her testimony…was fabricated and scripted for her by Ms. Mam…Ratha…said that she did not want to cause trouble for Ms. Mam’s NGO, which had provided an education for her, but that she could no longer continue a lie that had followed her for half her life…the fabrication of Ms. Ratha’s sex slave story is only the latest incident of false information to emerge from Ms. Mam and her organizations…

And how exactly does Somaly Mam “help” sex workers?

…Estée Lauder…has opened the Somaly Mam Beauty Salon…providing survivors of sexual slavery and human trafficking with…education and vocational training…in high-touch beauty services in hair care, makeup application and nail treatments…

Well, I guess it’s better than putting them to work in her fashion industry sponsors’ sweatshops.

Us and Them

These abuses always start with stigmatized groups, but never stop there:

[UK] police are to get the power to restrict the freedom of anyone they suspect of being a sex offender, even if the person has never been convicted of a crime…This can include limiting internet use, stopping the person from being alone with a child under 16 and preventing travel abroad.  Anyone breaching the so-called Sexual Risk Order, which lasts for at least two years, could be jailed for up to five years…

Unmentionables

WH Smith shut down its website…after it was revealed that a search for the term “daddy” brought up hardcore pornographic ebooks featuring bondage and humiliation alongside stories for children.  At least 60 pornographic ebooks…could also be found on Amazon, Waterstones and Barnes & Noble…WH Smith apologised to customers and said the “explosion” of self-publishing had left book retailers exposed to pornographic content…

They weren’t “exposed” to shit; they just had a poor website design and are passing the buck.Jerry Brown masturbatory gesture

The Punitive Mindset (TW3 #337)

The governor of California pretends prison inmates don’t have sex with each other:

…Jerry Brown…vetoed a bill a that would have…required…condoms [to be] available in every California prison.  Supporters…argued that [this] would help reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among inmates, who have higher rates of HIV/AIDS…Brown…noted that family visitors are already allowed to bring condoms for…overnight visits…

Policing for Profit (TW3 #341)

A money-making venture to lure…drug buyers into Sunrise [Florida] to purchase cocaine from police has been halted…Mayor Michael Ryan…lay blame…on the [newspaper story exposing the racket]…Ryan did not express concerns about…[the busts taking place] in such public locations as parking lots and family restaurants…

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #341)

Another UN agency has reaffirmed…support of sex workers in response to Equality Now’s anti-sex worker campaign…This leaves Equality Now starkly on the fringes of the global women’s movement, as organisations as authoritative as UN Women…assert…that sex work is work, not trafficking.  The statement…also…[backs] safe workplaces – which come with decriminalisation – and the right to self-determination, including the right to stay in sex work…[this] precludes…the “Swedish model”…supported by Equality Now…which tries to drive sex workers from sex work (against their consent) through making it intolerably dangerous…

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Perfect numbers, like perfect men, are very rare. -  Rene Descartes

Yesterday’s “Frequently Told Lies” inspired me to look back at “Handy Figures“, a compilation of numbers and figures which previously appeared in other columns; I had originally intended to keep updating it, but it somehow seemed wrong to make major alterations to an old column so I lapsed.  Since then, I came up with the idea of duplicating these retrospective-type columns into static pages, and that’s worked out so well I figured it was time to do the same with this useful reference tool.  Much of it is the same as the old column, but there are additional figures and better links, and I’ve rounded my estimates off in response to the justified criticism that very specific numbers don’t look like estimates, but rather exact counts.

huge crowd$32 billion:  Current claim of the total annual income of the “sex trafficking” industry; this was actually the ILO’s 2005 estimate of the value of all forced labor, not forced prostitution.

42 million:  Fondation Scelles’ estimate of the total world whore population; it’s not really bad, but see 19 below.

27 million:  According to a December 2010 “estimate” by “Free the Slaves”, the total number of people “trapped in modern-day slavery”  (see also 2.4 million and 800,000 below).

$22.6 million:  Total estimated annual amount the State of Texas spends on imprisoning prostitutes.

2.4 million:  UNODC estimate of the number of “trafficking” victims worldwide (see also 27 million above; 800,000 and 40,000 below).

800,000:  According to the U.S. State Department’s “Trafficking in Persons” report for 2004, the total number of “human trafficking victims” worldwide (see also 27 million and 2.4 million above; 80,000, 14,500 and >10% below).

450,000:  Estimated number of active, professional prostitutes in the US.

$300,000:  Prohibitionist claim of a typical hooker’s annual income.

100,000-300,000:  According to trafficking fanatics, the number of “trafficked child prostitutes” in the US (see also 16,000, 14,500 and 2500 below).

100,000:  According to one “estimate”, the number of “trafficked” Vietnamese manicurist/whores hidden in nail salons in the UK.

80,000:  The number of Filipino women who lost good jobs in Japan due to U.S. State Department meddling (see also 800,000 above and >10% below).

70,000:  Estimated number of street prostitutes in the US  (see also 450,000 above).

30,000-45,000:  Total number of whores supposedly “trafficked” into Israel from 1991-2006, who magically vanished after a law was passed.

40,000:  The number of “trafficking victims” for which UNODC claims to have actual evidence (see also 2.4 million above and 1362 below).London Olympics logo

10,000-40,000:  Typical “estimates” of the number of whores claimed to flock to mega sport events such as the Super Bowl or Olympics (see also 1 below).

14,500-17,500:  2008 federal estimate of all “trafficked persons” of all ages and employment types (sex, agriculture, etc) in the US.

16,000:  Estimated number of all American prostitutes under 18.

2500: Estimated number of coerced prostitutes under 18 in the US.

1362:  The total number of “human trafficking victims” (all types, not just sex) identified as such in the US from 2000-2007 (see also 14,500 above).

600:  Estimated number of “pimped” underage prostitutes in the entire US who advertise online.

160x:  High-end estimate of the factor by which the rate of sexually transmitted infections in the promiscuous segment of the general public exceeds that in the escort population  (see also 3-5%, 2x and 0.4% below).

133:  The total number of arrests made in the entire Dallas-Fort Worth area during the 2.5 weeks before the 2011 Super Bowl, which is now represented by “trafficking” fetishists as the number of “trafficking” arrests (see also 1 below).

97%:  Percentage of escorts who report an increase in self-esteem after they entered the trade (see also 72% and 60% below).

97%:  Fraction of Turkish harlots who prefer to work illegally rather than be registered and subjugated in brothels.

95%:  Fraction of underage New York City street prostitutes who say they sell sex because it is the most dependable way to support themselves.

90%:  Fraction of sex workers in Queensland who prefer to work illegally (see also 97% above).

85%:  Fraction of sexually-active Bahamian teens who are involved in some kind of transactional sex.

84%:  Fraction of underage prostitutes in New York City who have never even met a pimp.

81%:  Fraction of Swedes who report being “angry” about client criminalization (contrast with the Swedish government claim that 76% support the law).

80%:  According to the UNDOC, the fraction of “human trafficking” cases involving forced prostitution (see also 20% below).Brothel Prostitute and Client

78%:  Fraction of Dutch citizens who feel prostitution is a job like any other.

77%:  Fraction of escorts who feel their clients respect them.

77%:  Fraction of Canadians who support decriminalization.

75%:  Fraction of escorts who feel the job improved their lives.

72%:  Fraction of all prostitutes who report that their work has increased their self-esteem  (see also 97% above).

70%:  Fraction of Australian whores who said they would choose the same trade if they had their lives to live over again.

70%:  Fraction of Dutch sex workers who aren’t Dutch by birth.

69%:  According to Kinsey (1948), the fraction of men who have paid for sex at least once in their lives; it is probably somewhat lower now due to the increased availability of “free” sex.

60%:  Fraction of American prostitutes who are escorts (either independent or agency).

54%:  Fraction of escorts who consider the transaction as equal.

>50%:  Of streetwalkers with pimps (see below), the fraction who control their pimps rather than vice-versa.

<50%:  Fraction of streetwalkers who work with pimps at least part of the time.

50:  As of June 2012, the high-water mark in ridiculous claims of the number of clients per night hookers supposedly see.

48%:  The amount by which sexual coercion has decreased in Germany since prostitution laws were liberalized in 2002.

45%:  Fraction of underage New York City street prostitutes who are male.

34:  Though often presented as the average life expectancy of sex workers, this is actually the average age of murdered streetwalkers from one study.

33%:  Sweden’s official estimate of the fraction of all Swedish prostitutes who are streetwalkers; note that it is more than twice as high as the standard estimate for Western countries (see 15% below).

28%:  The factor by which the number of prostitutes rose in Norway after client criminalization.

Prostitute and Her Client by Georges Bottini (1904)26%:  Fraction of escorts who feel they have power over their clients.

25%:  Estimated decrease in the American rape rate if prostitution were legal.

25%:  Fraction of Queensland prostitutes with a university degree.

25:  The average age at which American prostitutes enter the trade.

20%:  Fraction of men who see prostitutes at least occasionally.

20%:  More realistic estimate (heard at Albany Law Symposium) of fraction of all “human trafficking” which is for sexual purposes (see also 80% above).

19:  Prohibitionist group Fondation Scelles’ claim of the average age of all whores worldwide (see 25 above).

16:  The average age at which underage prostitutes enter the trade (see also 13-14 below).

15%:  Estimated fraction of all Western prostitutes who worked on the street prior to the advent of the internet.

13:  According to prohibitionist propaganda, the average age at which prostitutes enter the trade; this is derived from a purposeful distortion by Melissa Farley of the age at which underage streetwalkers in one study reported they had their first noncommercial sexual contact of any kind.

12.5%:  According to a 2005 “estimate” by Atlanta police, the fraction of the city’s Asian population who are “sex slaves” (see also 3% below).

11%:  In a 1910 study, the fraction of New York prostitutes who reported that they were coerced into the trade (from Renegade History of the United States; see also 8% below).

11:  The number of US states which allow prostitutes to be sentenced to prison.

10.5%:  Fraction of Chicagoans charged with buying sex who are actually transgender prostitutes.

>10%:  According to the U.S. State Department’s TIP report for 2004, the fraction of all “human trafficking victims” in the entire world who were “enslaved” in Japanese hostess clubs (see also 800,000 and 80,000 above).

10%:  Fraction of Dutch prostitutes who are genetically male; half are male prostitutes (many of them cross-dressers) and the other half transgender.

10%:  Fraction of Swedish girls who admit to having accepted money for sex.

10%:  Estimated fraction of streetwalkers in Western countries who are controlled or dominated by pimps  (see also 1.5% below).  It is also the fraction of underage streetwalkers who have pimps at all.

<10%:  Fraction of all women accused of being underage hookers who are actually under 18.

5-10%:  Historically, the fraction of women who prostituted themselves at least part-time, varying by time and place (from Whores in History).

8%:  High-end estimate for the fraction of female inhabitants of 1840s London who worked as prostitutes  (from Whores in History).

8%:  Fraction of underage New York prostitutes who say they were forced into prostitution.

7%:  Approximate fraction of sex workers arrested in FBI “Innocence Lost” operations who are actually under 18.

6%:  Fraction of men who see prostitutes frequently.

5.5%:  Typical fraction of women in a 19th-century European or American city employed as prostitutes at any given time (from Whores in History).

3-5%:  Fraction of STD cases in the United States which are either suffered or transmitted by prostitutes;  93% of these are associated with streetwalkers (see also 160x above and 2x and 0.4% below).

4%:  Approximate fraction of school-age girls in the US who would now be “sex slaves” if the “estimates” of hysterics were true.

4%:  Approximate conviction rate for “trafficking” arrests made in the FBI’s “Operation Innocence Lost”.

3.5%:  Estimated fraction of Western prostitutes who are under 18.

3%:  According to “trafficking” hysterics, the fraction of all underage hookers in the entire US who work in Atlanta (see also 12.5% and 16,000 above).

2.3%:  Fraction of women in the general population who report their husbands or boyfriends are “extremely controlling”.

2 hours:  Typical average cost of the least expensive hookers’ services in comparison with the average working man’s pay in most cultures.

2x:  Factor by which the rate of sexually transmitted infections in the promiscuous segment of the general public exceeds that in streetwalkers  (see also 160x and 3-5% above, and 0.4% below).

<2%:  Fraction of Cambodian prostitutes who say they were coerced into the trade (see also 1.5% below).La Bella by Titian (1536)

1.5%:  Overall estimated fraction of adult prostitutes in Western nations who are controlled by abusive pimps.

1.2%:  Fraction of women in the general population who report their husbands or boyfriends are “extremely violent”.

1%:  Fraction of modern American women who admit to having worked as whores at some point in their lives (from Sex Work).

<1%:  The fraction of “brothel” raids in which UK police found someone they could accuse of being “trafficked”; also the fraction of “trafficked” Greek whores.

1:  The number of arrests for “human trafficking” during Super Bowl week in both Miami (2010) and Dallas (2011) (see also 40,000 and 133 above).

0.4%:  The estimated fraction of all STD cases in the United States which are either suffered or transmitted by escorts or brothel workers (see also 160x, 3-5% and 2x above).

0.3%:  Fraction of women in modern Western cultures who work as prostitutes at any given time.

0.014%:  Fraction of missing “children” (most of whom are actually adolescents) who are abducted by strangers for any reason.

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