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Posts Tagged ‘law’

I don’t want to put myself out of business as a storyteller; I just want to tell less painful stories.  –  Melissa Gira Grant

Maggie in the Media LiberTea 8-17-14

Here are a couple of conversations I’ve had in the past few weeks; the How We Talk About Sex podcast with Eric Leviton (recorded the morning after I arrived in New York City), and the LiberTea spreecast (recorded last Sunday night within minutes of my arrival from Washington DC).  These are both very loose, informal conversations, about two hours each, with a lot more laughter and joking around than you might be used to from me.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Try not to throw up when you read the name cops gave their entrapment scheme:

…[Florida] police detective…Reno Chevelle Fells resigned…after his arrest at a St. Augustine Beach hotel [after responding] to an online ad offering sex for money…”Operation Summer Lovin'” resulted in 14 arrests…

Law of the Instrument

Another cop helpfully explains that “sex trafficking” is everywhere, that “victims” don’t know that they’re victims and that women are so stupid and passive they have to be “taught” and “coached” to fear and distrust thugs who deceive, molest, chain and cage them. Words fall utterly short.

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through

[William McDaniel] reported he did not get the sex act he requested as part of his $350 private dance at Sagebrush Sam’s Exotic Dance Club…west of Butte [Montana].  Officers informed him asking an exotic dancer for a sexual gratification is illegal and put him in jail for solicitation of prostitution…

Schadenfreude 

In “Unraveling”, Anne Elizabeth Moore discusses the deep connections between the “rescue” and garment industries (in comic strip form, drawn by Melissa Mendes).  There are also links to other strips in the series.  If you’re ever wondered why “rehabilitation” for sex workers so often seems to involve working in sweatshops, and why Somaly Mam was sponsored by fashion companies, you need to read this.

Scapegoats

An Albuquerque woman was arrested…after…she tried to poison her roommates when they discovered she had been having sex with two German shepherds.  Shari Walters…was…caught…having sex with both her roommates’ dogs…the night after…both roommates noticed their food tasted different…Walters…admitted to putting rubbing alcohol in both roommates’ waters, as well as toilet bowl cleaner in their food…

Above the Law

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper…Eric Roberts…pulled [a woman] over without probable cause…then…forced the victim to perform sexual acts in his patrol car, before driving to another location where he…raped her…”  But Roberts is just a piker compared to his “brother officer” Daniel Holtzclaw:

…Daniel Ken Holtzclaw, 27, was arrested…on complaints of rape, forcible oral sodomy, sexual battery and indecent exposure…Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty said…Holtzclaw stopped women while he was working and forced them to expose themselves, fondled them and in at least one instance [raped] a woman.  Authorities have statements from six victims and expect a statement from a seventh…investigators believe there are additional victims…

The Lion and the Ox

There’s an awful lot of “suppose” and “maybe” here:

…The link between surrogacy and human trafficking is currently under investigation.  It is unequivocal that any child conceived to be sold constitutes a trafficked human…A clause in [UN protocol]…states that “references to slavery and similar practices may include illegal adoption in some circumstances”…it is unlikely, but possible, that the babies or embryos were envisaged for exploitation in the sex industry, on the illegal donor market, for slavery or the labour market.  This, de facto, constitutes a human trafficking case…Exploring links between…surrogacy and illegal adoption…automatically leads to organised crime…we may infer that the children were to be sold into an illegal adoption scheme…Suppose the children were conceived to be enslaved or exploited in the sex industry…

Somebody’s Daughter

Stalwart ally Elizabeth N. Brown on the “Would you want your daughter to be a whore?” fallacy:

…Using his apparent mind-reading powers, [Damon Linker] asserts that no one could honestly be okay with having a child in porn…Linker knows that nearly everyone must feel appalled because… he thought about it and was appalled?  That’s some pretty shaky logic…I would sure as shit rather have a porn star daughter (or son) than one who thinks, as Linker does, that being in porn makes someone “low, base, and degraded”…There’s nothing wrong with having certain expectations for your children…But…Our best laid plans mean jack…Proponents of decriminalization aren’t asking you to become pro prostitution, to encourage your kids to go into sex work, or even to abandon thinking it’s morally wrong, if that’s what you think…All we’re asking is for you to consider that criminalizing prostitution does more harm than good.  If — gasp! horror! disgust! — your daughter did happen to become a sex worker, wouldn’t you want to make it as safe and non-ruinous for her as possible?

Profound Ignorance

The “before the internet most whores were streetwalkers” and “each whore has only one ad” tropes just won’t die no matter how many times we kill them:

…A snapshot as recently as last week found 2,253 individuals advertising sex for sale [in Scotland] on a series of escort and other websites…However, sources stressed numbers have been close to 3,000 in recent months as the market – largely featuring foreign women who move around or are moved around – ebbed and flowed.  The sex trade has moved off the streets in recent years as women working in flats replaced traditional streetwalkers, most of whom were Scots with addiction or debt problems…Detective Chief Inspector Ruth Gilfillan…said she believed “well over 90 per cent” of sex work was now carried out from flats or brothels…

Texas Tall Tales Facebook Pimp

Texas just loves the “Facebook pimps” myth:

…pimps, hiding behind fake identities, increasingly use social media to lure young girls into the trade.  Unscrupulous predators and the popularity of online networking have made it tougher for authorities to crack down on sex trafficking.  Police estimate that 100 adolescents are trafficked every year in Dallas…

The article also claims that the undefined “illicit sex market” in Dallas is worth $99 million (per year? per day? as a purchase price?) and that 1 in 7 (14%) of the “children” reported missing are “probably victims of sex trafficking”…which would be a good trick, since only 0.014% of all “missing children” are abducted by strangers.

Banishment

But officials claim “sex offender” registration isn’t a punishment.

Dozens of sex offenders who have satisfied their sentences in New York…are being held in prison beyond their release dates because of a new interpretation of a state law that…restricts many sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school.  Those unable to find such accommodations often end up in homeless shelters.  But in February…["authorities" proclaimed] the 1,000-foot restriction also extended from homeless shelters, making most of them off limits…in New York City…only 14 of the 270 shelters…have been deemed eligible to receive sex offenders.  But with [these] often filled to capacity, the state has opted to keep certain categories of sex offenders in custody…Some have begun filing habeas corpus petitions…demanding to be released…The state’s [pretense] is that it has the legal authority to continue holding [them]…because they are largely subject to post-release supervision by the state…[such as] unannounced home visits…as well as restrictions on Internet use and interactions with minors…

Under Every Bed 

As in the Chanel Island of Jersey, population < 100,000:  “Jersey Police…are investigating a sex trafficking ring.  The force say they have received information about a growing sex trade in the island, with women potentially being trafficked and exploited…

Monsters

The parents of an eight-year-old beat “every inch” of him, until he was dead, because he played with dolls…Pearl Fernandez, 30, and Isauro Aguirre, 34, beat their son Gabriel…“for eight straight months”, and he was “tortured more severely than many prisoners of war”…According to statements given by his two siblings, he was forced to eat cat faeces and rotten spinach and was not allowed to use the toilet…He was beaten with a metal hanger, a belt buckle and lost multiple teeth when he was hit with a bat…

Lower Education 

Northern Illinois University is restricting students’ access to certain websites.  For their own good, of course…Students who attempt to visit an unauthorized site through the campus network are redirected to a creepy “Web Page Access Warning”…[which] one student reported…to Reddit after he received a warning for trying to access the Westboro  Bapist Church’s Wikipedia page…NIU cites “common sense, decency, ethical use, civility, and security,” as its various rationales for…[trying] to dissuade students from visiting websites deemed harmful by administrators…

web page censorship threat

Mumbo Jumbo

When an article is this shockingly stupid, it’s hard to decide how to file it.  Is the most important factor the hilarious “Harvard of sex trafficking” label, or the use of the word “literally” to describe something that isn’t literal?  Is it a woman’s changed, then recanted, then re-sworn testimony being described as “her true story” because it agrees with prosecutors’ claims?  Is it yet another woman being caged to compel her testimony?  I was tempted to give precedence to the statements made by “trafficking expert” Donna Sabella, who said that domestic violence is “like” domestic violence (yep); that “prostitution…often results in arrested development — young women with the social or emotional age of someone 12 or 13″; and that “trafficking…has become somewhat normalized through…music, pimp costumes and shows like Pimp My Ride“.  But I eventually decided that it had to be Milwaukee cop Dawn Jones’ claim that “girls are…property of one pimp or another” but can change this supposed “ownership” to a new pimp by “looking one in the eye”.  It is unclear whether the magical “ownership”-changing force proceeds from the eye of the whore or the “pimp”.

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #409)

Pamela Stubbart is a libertarian who resigned from an organization called Young Voices because it allowed Belle Knox, who is also a libertarian, to join.  While I totally support the right of any person to associate or disassociate with others as she sees fit, and to like or dislike people (including me) or activities (including mine) as her psyche dictates, I do rather wish she hadn’t laced her resignation letter with prudishness draped in faux-reason.  Anyhow, Cliterati writer Slut O’Crat has penned an in-depth look at what’s wrong with Stubbart’s behavior, and more generally at the weird aversion some sex worker activists have to many sex workers’ wholly-natural and eminently-predictable embrace of libertarian ideas.

Worse Than I Thought (Traffic Updates)

the [Arkansas] Task Force for the Prevention of Human Trafficking…presented findings and recommendations to the Judiciary Committee…It…[wants] to add human trafficking convictions to those requiring registration as a sex offender.  Other recommendations include posting a hotline number at all rest stops, state parks, and schools with grades 6-12.  This is an extension of legislation already passed which requires the hotline number to be posted at sexually oriented businesses and truck stops…

A Whore in Church (TW3 #433) Patrick Johnson

[After] bare-breasted women…marched in front of the New Beginnings Ministries church in [Ohio]…Patrick Johnson…of the anti-abortion group Personhood Ohio, responded…by asking Ohioans to call the legislature in support of banning “all public nudity in the state,” according to WSYX.  “I am sick that women can legally bare their breasts to children and to married men against their will in Ohio…what they did was an offense to God, was an offense to the public morality, and the legislature should act to criminalize what they did”…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #433)

The proposed new law to “protect” German sex workers is very, very bad:

…the underlying spirit of this bill appears to be the perception of sex work as a social evil the government cannot rid society of and feels therefore obligated to impose regulations on it to such an extent where completely adhering to them is rendered virtually impossible, which in turn will enable law enforcement agencies to persecute sex workers and operators of prostitution businesses.  Hence, the title of this bill is utterly misleading and an insult to sex workers fighting for equal rights under the law…the bill will not protect sex workers, but instead…aims to protect society from the imaginary evil of prostitution…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on July 13th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

massage parlor raidAfter generations of ignoring the violence against sex workers which is directly or indirectly caused by either full (as in the US) or partial (as in the UK) criminalization, the public is slowly beginning to wake up to the reality: most of it is perpetrated by the police.  Prohibitionists and “authorities” want everyone to believe the opposite, that clients and “pimps” inflict the most violence, and that the police are welcome “rescuers” from it.  Nothing could be farther from the truth; in every study of violence against sex workers ever done (such as this one from India), police are the largest victimizers and clients and pimps the least, with domestic partners and people empowered or emboldened by the marginalization of sex workers in the middle.  And despite the best efforts of those who need the public to support ever more criminalization in order to punish men for being men or to enlarge the police state, the truth is beginning to leak out, and we see new stories of police violence against sex workers almost every month.  Some of this is due to the efforts of sex workers ourselves; some is due to the diligent efforts of allies and ethical journalists; some is due to the stupidity and hubris of the police; and some is simply the natural result of omnipresent surveillance, the internet and a 24-hour news cycle always hungry for lurid stories.

In just the past few months, there have been a number of incidents that provoked public outcry on sex workers’ behalf against the heavy-handed behavior of governments and the violence of police.  In December, sex workers in Soho were subjected to a pogrom in which they were manhandled, robbed and dragged out into the street in freezing weather in their underwear; the public learned about it first from news photographers the police had themselves invited along.  In March, the world was scandalized to hear that cops in Hawaii wanted the explicit legal right to rape sex workers before arresting them.  In April, the general public finally began to notice Phoenix, Arizona’s Project ROSE, in which women profiled as sex workers are arrested in mass sweeps, denied legal representation and forced into religious brainwashing programs under threat of incarceration in Arizona’s brutal prison system; later that month, the world heard of the US government’s threats against financial institutions to get them to “voluntarily” cut off services to sex workers and other target groups.  In May non-sex workers were shocked to see the surveillance video of a Chicago massage parlor raid in which a handcuffed, kneeling woman was beaten and subjected to racist insults and death threats; only a week later, Newsweek published an article exposing the lies and fabrications of Somaly Mam, who pays Cambodian police to abduct sex workers and lock them in filthy, crowded cells at her “rescue centers”, where they are beaten, robbed, gang-raped and starved while their “savior” hobnobs with celebrities and receives accolades from anti-whore fanatics.

These stories all have two things in common.  The first is that, while they are shocking to the general public, sex workers and those who work closely with us have known about them (or in the case of single-instance atrocities, many others like them) for years or decades; it’s simply that until recently, nobody wanted to listen.  The second is that those who shocked by them generally believe them to be isolated incidents rather than recognizing them as business as usual, merely visible outcroppings of the police violence that underlies the entire landscape of criminalization.  While I was glad to see people upsetcop rapes sex worker about Somaly Mam’s torture porn and abusive practices, they need to understand that these are endemic to the rescue industry everywhere.  Though I was grateful at the outcry over Project ROSE, I am frustrated at the media’s cover-up of similar rights-violating programs which are merely less obvious because they lack that special Arizona lunacy.  Though I was relieved at the disgust people expressed toward the racist Chicago thugs, I am sad that most of them seem to think this was unusual, when in fact it is wholly typical behavior during any massage parlor raid.  And despite the apparent public belief that the situation in Hawaii was unique,

…This is standard operating procedure everywhere in the United States, and the only thing unusual about Hawaii is that it’s spelled out in law.  Just in case you’re a new reader or have a short memory, here are three examples from just last year:  Indiana,  Florida and Pennsylvania are all especially shameless in their defense of government-authorized rape, excusing it by claiming that sex workers are “sophisticated” (while simultaneously being pathetic, infantile victims)…

The sad fact is that none of these scandals is unusual in any way, except for the fact that they came to the attention of the public.  And they will continue to be business as usual until that public stops pretending otherwise and demands the abolition of prohibition.

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Treating adult humans as children, pets or dolls is offensive and repugnant.  –  Zoee Garza

License to Rape

Cops raping whores is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

…Michael Edward Baker…was convicted [of rape in Maryland]…after…[rejecting] a plea deal in which he would have received a six-month sentence…Baker sexually assaulted a 25-year-old prostitute…after she…refused to have unprotected sex with him, he flashed what appeared to be a police badge…and then pretended to call a superior officer, before propositioning that he wouldn’t arrest her if she obliged him.  After she refused, once again, to have unprotected sex with him…Baker punched her in the mouth and raped her, before forcing her to perform other unprotected sex acts and fleeing…After he had raped the woman, Baker had called the victim’s cell number a few times in an attempt to befriend her…

Welcome To Our World

Note the easy way inane arguments that prostitution magically ignores economics also work against surrogate motherhood:

Proponents of surrogacy claim that it is completely different from prostitution…The fact that altruistic surrogacy is legal in Great Britain and commercial surrogacy is legal in many American states (but not anywhere in Australia), ought to suffice to keep people from looking abroad, according to this argument.  On the contrary, however, Americans, Britons and Australians are dominant amongst the foreign buyers in India…If the procedure is legalised…the risk that a black market will develop increases…the distinction between altruistic and commercial surrogacy is a dishonest one…in both…the woman is reduced to a container…

The author, though a neofeminist fanatic, is right about one thing: surrogacy is absolutely a form of prostitution.  See also One Size Fits All (TW3 #311).

A Whore in Church Strippers Protest Church

I know I covered an earlier round of counterprotests, but I can’t seem to find it:

Topless dancers at an Ohio strip club went on the offensive…baring their breasts in front of a church where congregants have protested their presence for…nearly a decade by picketing the venue on weekends and photographing guests’ license plates…[last] Sunday, workers, friends and family of [Foxhole North protested New Beginnings Ministries]…during service…Because it’s legal for both men and women to be topless in public in Ohio, the demonstrators faced no criminal charges…

Against Their Will (TW3 #3)

Rescue industry organization abducts the children of sex workers and brainwashes them against their mothers:

Far away from the murky world of brothels, children of sex workers have found shelter in a free residential school on the outskirts of Kolkata…To ensure their minds are free from the stigma attached to the lives of their mothers, they are kept with other children…”Apne Aap Women Worldwide” rescued these children…and brought them to the school…Reluctant initially to stay away from their mothers, the children, aged between 6 and 16, are now a happy lot…

Apne Aap is probably the most unscrupulous and dishonest of the many anti-whore groups in India.

A Broker in Pillage

Despite years of criticism of the state’s asset forfeiture laws, Pennsylvania lawmakers approved a new human trafficking law that expands law enforcement’s ability to seize assets of the accused, without any statutory oversight of where seized property and proceeds end up…There is no required audit of the proceeds, something civil liberties advocates say could lead to abuses…

Above the Law

“Authorities” will call it anything to avoid saying a cop raped someone:

Former Jemez Springs [New Mexico] police chief Shane Harger – fired by the town in February for “questions of judgment” – has been indicted on criminal sexual penetration and other charges…A 19-year-old woman filed a complaint in January after she…was taken…to the police station [and raped] for three hours…a grand jury indicted Harger on charges of kidnapping, criminal sexual penetration, criminal sexual contact and extortion…

Gingerbread House

It takes a special kind of obtuseness and cultural illiteracy to actually name your disguised prison “Gingerbread House”:

[Sex] trafficking of children…is a growing problem around the world.  Thirty-five local kids that entered the Gingerbread House last year are victims or potential victims of trafficking.  Caddo Parish…is handling 13 red flag cases where trafficking may be a factor….Shobana Powell…says…sex trafficking…is…”not this highly organized crime that you see in the movies”…

It’s interesting, however, that even some rescue industry people are now moving away from the myth of international “trafficking rings”.

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #30) Somaly protest

Another example of the effectiveness of disruptive protests:

On Sunday 15 June…Traffic Jam, an Internet based anti-trafficking organisation…[linked to] the American…A 21 Campaign (A21) , attempted to launch their new website in…Sydney…To the surprise and ill-disguised antipathy of the organisers, a group of sex worker activists…gatecrashed the event, refusing to pay the AUD $25 entrance fee, and demanded stage time to speak to the audience about trafficking issues.  The protesters carried placards referring to the recent [exposure] of Somaly Mam…once migrant sex workers and their allies took the stage, their interactions and exchanges with the audience seemed to far out-weigh any of the previous engagement the audience had with the anti-trafficking speakers…[and] the…take-over of the stage outlasted the initial time allotted to the Traffic Jam event…

Checklist

Another pathological-liar cop (pardon the redundancy) spouting ridiculous “signs of sex trafficking”:

Every two minutes, a child is exploited in the sex industry…and Portland has one of the highest…rates…[cop] Mike Gallagher has personally talked with more than 2000 sex trafficking victims…He and others…held a conference to instruct people on the signs of a sex trafficker.  “Things like paying with a prepaid Visa or cash at check in”…Traffickers are often proud of their work and often sport tattoos alluding to it…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #318)

Ugly Mugs…by Peta Brady…is…based on confidential accounts of assaults…given by sex workers for inclusion in the Ugly Mugs  publication (closed, for distribution only to sex workers)…this represents both a breach of trust and an alarming low point in exploitation of sex workers through “pity porn”…Concerns were promptly raised with both hosts of the play – Malthouse Theatre and Griffin – neither were willing to accept sex workers concerns.  Instead we were offered free tickets…presumably because seeing your rape played out live…always makes you feel better…

It looks as though Brady, a Salvation Army worker, used her status as a social worker to steal a copy of Ugly Mugs from an ally’s office in order to use it for her own purposes.

Still a Child undeveloped brain

On July 25, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff testified before the United States Commission on Civil Rights…Commissioner Michael Yaki asked Greg…whether college students’ brains are sufficiently developed to handle freedom of speech…The following is Greg’s answer…”What we’re really saying is that 18- to 22-year-olds are children…[who] can’t handle the real world…[or] the duties of citizenship…we have decided in this country that 18…is considered the age for majority.  We also send our 18-year-olds to war.  Unless you’re actually also willing to make the argument that nobody below the age of…22 should go to war, and we repealed the 26th Amendment, we’ve got a serious problem…

Race to the Bottom

Sex workers in Seattle are trying to fight the anti-whore madness that’s now epidemic there:

Seattle Against Slavery would have us believe that anyone who patronizes a sex worker is guilty of exploiting a victim of human trafficking.  But only a tiny percentage of sex workers are trafficked…Seattle Against Slavery is…partnering with “members of the law enforcement community” to [spread lies]…despite the fact that “criminalization [of sex work] and aggressive policing have been shown to increase sex workers’ vulnerability to violence, extortion, and health risks“…

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #404)

Another respected policy magazine calls for decriminalization, this time The Economist:

…This newspaper has never found it plausible that all prostitutes are victims.  That fiction is becoming harder to sustain as much of the buying and selling of sex moves online.  Personal websites mean prostitutes can market themselves and build their brands.  Review sites bring trustworthy customer feedback to the commercial-sex trade…the web will do more to make prostitution safer than any law has ever done…Governments should…rethink their policies.  Prohibition, whether partial or total, has been a predictable dud.  It has singularly failed to stamp out the sex trade…

Sincerely Seeking

Here’s a superb essay from recently-retired stripper Zoee Garza on the “Cupcake Girls” and their patronizing “ministry” to sex workers:

…On August 3, 2014 Oregonian journalist Kelly House reviewed a spa event thrown by the Portland branch of The Cupcake Girls…The stereotype that I found most troubling is that sex workers are not loved…It is judgmental to assume that being a sex worker and being loved are mutually exclusive…Another myth the article seemed set on perpetuating is that all sex workers are in dire need of primping…The stripping industry is one of image, entertainment and competition.  As with many professionals, dancers make a point to have enough money…for massages, pedicures and dye jobs…if we were [needy] we would need some quinoa or a steak—not a cupcake…In the video on her website [founder] Joy [Hoover] compares the women that she has helped through The Cupcake Girls to her unborn child, she goes on to refer to herself as “The Stripper Whisperer,” similar to the “Dog Whisperer”…

Delightful Conversation Danielle Staub

Seriously, what is it with stupid ex-whores who actually expect people to believe they never had sex with their clients?

…Danielle Staub…of…The Real Housewives of New Jersey…[was] confronted…with…allegations of prostitution…Staub [pretends that]…she made money without actually having sex with her clients…”[Men] thought they were…paying for sex…but I was so good at twisting them into making sure that we didn’t have sex…They keep returning [to] me in hopes that it would happen…I made a lot of money doing it…”

Pull the other one, Danielle; maybe those who believe hookers can see 100 clients a day will believe men are that gullible, but don’t expect it from the rest of us.

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #420)

Cops are liars everywhere:

Politicians in Germany have called for the laws on prostitution to be tightened…the…Christian Democrats (CDU) want the minimum legal age of sex workers to be raised from 18 to 21…They also want…punishments…for men who [hire] women forced into prostitution, and for compulsory health checks…According to police, 50 to 90 per cent of the country’s prostitutes have been forced into the work…

Worse Than I Thought (Traffic Updates)

Expect this trope to become much more common in the next few months:

Last year, LifeNews shared a story about a woman named Veronica (referred to as ‘Ana’) who escaped forced abortion by jumping out of the window at an abortion clinic.  Veronica was a former sex worker trafficked from Albania…Although this case of sex trafficking occurred in London, the United States is a hub for predators who look to exploit women and girls.  Oftentimes, these predators are hidden by the abortion industry…

I Saw My Brain (TW3 #432)

Once in a while a reporter wakes up:

…many of the men whose mugshots have been paraded out by [Grady Judd and his ilk] in made-for-TV press conferences were not seeking to meet children online.  Instead, they were minding their own business, looking for other adults, when detectives started to groom and convince them to break the law.  While detectives used to post ads suggesting an underage teen or child was available for sex, they now routinely post more innocuous personal ads of adults on traditional dating sites.  When men – many of them under 25 with no criminal history – respond, officers switch the bait and typically indicate their age is really 14 or 15 years old.  However, sometimes the storyline isn’t switched until the men…start falling for the undercover agent…law enforcement is also now routinely making first contact with men who have done nothing wrong, responding to their ads on dating sites…after men start conversing with what they think are adults, officers change the age they claim to be, but try to convince the men to continue the conversation anyway…If the men indicate they [aren't] interested, they [are] still often arrested for just talking to [a cop]…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on June 22nd; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

There’s a persistent belief that some areas in the United States are more liberal and urbane than others, and while I suppose that’s true to some extent the differences are generally cosmetic.  It would be more accurate to say that some areas enjoy pretending to be more sophisticated than others, or at least that they delude themselves into believing they’re more sophisticated.  But pull back the curtains or lift the rug just a bit, and you’ll find the vilest and most disgraceful ignorance collected there, just out of view.

Seattle stereotypeTake the state of Washington, for example; it has a reputation for being very liberal, modern and forward-thinking, as exemplified by its being one of only two states to decriminalize recreational cannabis, and by being home to grunge rock, Microsoft and Starbucks.  But while Washingtonians may be very accepting of tech, drugs and rock and roll, they behave like pearl-clutching Victorians when the subjects is ess-ee-ecks and positively foam at the mouth if such impurity exists anywhere in close proximity to money.  For example, Washington is one of several states that forbid alcohol in strip clubs, and cities there regularly enact bizarre and schoolmarmish restrictions on lighting levels, the distance dancers must keep away from patrons, etc.  And when it comes to prostitution, they’re completely barking mad:

…some of the silliest, most absurdly exaggerated and just plain  stupidest “trafficking” tripe in the entire country erupts forth from the Pacific Northwest at least once a week these days…in the name of “fighting sex trafficking” the Washington legislature actually passed a law which would have totally destroyed the internet as we know it, and despite a federal slapdown they’re at it again; this is also the state which devotes hundreds of man-hours to trying to trick coffee-stand waitresses into flashing their tits so they can be charged with “prostitution”.  And who could forget the hilarity which ensued when Shared Hope International held a program warning high school girls, “Don’t run off to the other side of the country with strange adult men after turning over your life savings to them, because pimps are cool and abortion is sex trafficking”.  Or something like that…

white trash capital of the worldThe crusade against caffeine-dispensing harlots mentioned above is largely concentrated in Snohomish County, in other words suburban Seattle.  The police of the county’s largest city, Everett, are especially obsessed with the wanking fantasy that there are whores hiding in every coffee stand, and have aggressively persecuted a number of shops for years.  But they’ve apparently tired of this game, and decided to go after a bigger target:  rather than trying to “end demand” for coffee, they now want to regulate the sun on the grounds that it causes “sex trafficking”:

When the weather gets nicer in Everett, the number of suspected prostitute sightings increases…(the SUN) appears to be a strong factor in the increase in traffic.  Although, website traffic for prostitution maintains a steady pace throughout the year [sic].  We believe there is evidence that people are brought to Everett from neighboring states/counties by pimps…

I can’t help but be fascinated by this reporter’s idiosyncratic capitalization, fondness for sentence fragments and creative use of scare quotes:

…there are many factors that may lead someone into the “sex trade” and…some women are independent “workers”…

But the cops’ un-self-conscious hypocrisy is even more fascinating:

…There are many reasons and/or intricate layers involved for someone to enter the sex trade (either voluntarily or by force).  Drug addiction, mental health, lure of money, survival and forced/coercion just name a few [sic].  The bottom line:  Women are human beings; someone’s daughter, sister, mother or friend.  Treating them with respect and dignity is our priority…

Because deceiving, hunting, beating and caging a woman, subjecting her motivations for consensual behavior to state scrutiny, denying her right to choose her own work, thinking of her not as an individual but only in relation to some man, and referring to her normal economic needs with the dysphemistic phrase “lure of money”, constitute dignified and respectful treatment in the minds of Everett cops.  The rest of the article refers to other “end demand” practices embraced by the Everett police, including “Stay Out of Areas of Prostitution” orders, which are essentially similar to Britain’s ASBOs; in the United States, however, such practices are flagrantly unconstitutional and can only continue until challenged in court – which, needless to say, means they’ll probably be around until at least the end of the “sex trafficking” panic.

As I said at the beginning, there’s a persistent belief that some areas in the United States are more liberal and urbane than others; the actual truth is that they’re all pretty authoritarian and unsophisticated where sex is concerned.  It’s just that some places seem less aware of how ridiculous, childish, bluenosed and tight-arsed their anti-sex policies make them look to the adults of the world, and within those areas are cities which, due to being surrounded by normalized prudery, feel free to carry their priggishness to truly clownish levels.

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Bad Idea

I want to start an escort agency and would appreciate advice.  Basically I want to make a lot of money and I want to create an agency that is a great place to work for the employees.  I need as much detail as possible.

The FoolI don’t think it’s a good idea for an inexperienced outsider to even consider starting an escort service in the United States right now; there’s a very real possibility you could lose both your shirt and your freedom now that the political climate has shifted from largely ignoring agencies to actively persecuting them.  However, if you are bound and determined to go ahead with it anyhow, the best advice I could possibly give you would be to find an experienced agency escort who wants to start an agency and bankroll her.  The majority of successful agencies I’ve known were either started by experienced escorts or had such in a consulting role, and that’s even more true now that most escorts are independent and both local cops and the FBI are breathing down the necks of anything even resembling sex worker management.  If you really want to get into the adult business, I’d suggest seeking investment opportunities in more civilized countries; in the US even strip clubs are now being actively persecuted, and it’s liable to get worse before it gets better.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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I don’t believe I have to give it away for free no matter how many district attorneys and politicians say I do.  –  Norma Jean Almodovar

Peeping Toms

Keep in mind that the subject of all this state snooping, prying and pompous posturing is consensual adult sex:

[Utah] police…found the man in charge of a state-run polygamous trust in a motel room with a suspected prostitute…and prosecutors say he has since failed to appear as a subpoenaed witness at the woman’s trial.  Bruce Wisan…has not been charged with any crimes…and…the 26-year-old woman…did not appear [in court] either…[so the] judge…issued a $2,000 warrant for her arrest…[prosecutor Scott] Cowdell said the woman could have been tried in absentia if Wisan had appeared…[and] he is prepared to force Wisan to…explain his absences…

Surplus Women

A “sadistic” construction worker murdered a 55-year-old woman with a Stanley knife before mutilating her body…Nicolae Patraucean, 20, strangled Rivka Holden and slit her throat before dismembering her body…Ms Holden, who worked as a prostitute, was found dead on March 16…

Meanwhile, in Michigan:

…25-year-old Charles…Oppenneer’s decapitated body…[was] found in a park last [week]…his…[pregnant] girlfriend, [Brooke] Slocum…could not be located…on Slocum’s computer, police found e-mail exchanges with a local man named Brady Oestrike…[who planned] to meet the couple at…the park where Oppenneer’s body was subsequently found…and pay them for sex…investigators saw him leave his home in a car, setting off a police chase…[which] ended when Oestrike’s car crashed into a [concrete] barrier.  Police found him…dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head…they found Slocum’s body in the trunk.  An autopsy determined that she had been strangled…Oestrike often traveled to different states…for his…church…as a missionary…

Sex, Lies and Busybodies Emma Livry

I’ve often pointed out the similarities between “art” performers and sex workers, but this is an interesting parallel I hadn’t heard of:

…[The legendary ballerina] Emma Livry…was…[critically] burnt when her costume was set alight by the open flames of stage lighting…the French government had introduced legislation years before…which required costumes to be treated with flame retardant chemicals…[but] a number of dancers had refused to wear the treated tutus because the chemicals made their skirts dingy and stiff, spoiling the ethereal effects they went through years of punishing physical training to achieve…After [her accident but before her death by infection]…someone asked Livry if her opinions…had changed.  She…maintained that she still would not wear them if she were ever able to return to work.

Dancing in a stage production [is much] like performing in an adult film…Risks are taken and sacrifices are made for a chance at success.  That success [is] a slim possibility, and even if it is achieved it lasts for a very short window of time…Like Emma Livry’s distaste for stiff skirts spoiling her illusion of weightlessness, I dislike the idea of being forced to use barrier protection when the accompanying friction impedes my ability to deliver the best performance possible.  If members of the French government had listened to the dancers they were trying to protect, they could have explored options like moving the lights two feet forward or enclosing them in cages…

End Demand

The petty absurdity of social engineering:

…A new [“end demand”] campaign is distributing beer mats to bars and hotels with the [lurid tale] of a 15-year-old survivor of human trafficking.  She [claims to have been] forced to have sex with 15 men a day before she escaped.  The Immigrant Council of Ireland, supported by a European Commission [grant] project, is trying to [frighten]…young men [out of hiring sex workers]…

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?

A German single mum who has worked as a nurse caring for disabled people for 17 years has been fired after her bosses discovered that she had taken a job as an erotic model to make extra money.  Lisa Burger, 38, had worked for the evangelical church owned care home…since she was 21, and after struggling to make ends meet had also taken on jobs as an erotic model wearing sexy underwear for catalogues.  But…when she also agreed to do a porn movie…her employers were told about it…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #31)

Still think prostitution laws don’t affect you?

A Zambia Reports reader sends in a complaint about the Zambia Police and their patrols in search of prostitutes in the mining town of Solwezi… “I was shocked to be awaken on 24th July 2014 by…police officers in my room…at a named lodge to be told they were looking for prostitutes…Does it mean every woman they find in a lodge or guest house is a prostitute?  If they found a man in bed with his wife, because they are at a guest house or lodge they will take away his wife as a prostitute?”…

Monsters Reginald Anthony Klaiber

The original title read “Man stabbed in back”:

A transgender 15-year-old girl was stabbed in the back aboard a [Washington, DC] train…Reginald Anthony Klaiber, came up to the group…and insulted the victim’s appearance, asking why she was wearing a wig and commenting on [her clothes]…Klaiber was apprehended after witnesses pointed him out to police…

Challenge

Other than the fact that one of three editors felt the compelling need to interject such outrageous inanities as the word “consensual” in scare quotes (referring to sex work) and phrases like “[sex workers] seek independence from pimps, traffickers and intimidating customers“, this article isn’t really too bad:

…Maxine Doogan…dreams of a future when she won’t be treated like a criminal and could earn a little respect in the city that launched the fight for sex worker rights 41 years ago.  Calls by Bay Area sex workers for decriminalizing…prostitution have been spurred anew following the FBI seizure of [MyRedbook]…the battle…has lost ground in recent years in the face of the increasing influence of religious conservatives, continued opposition by [neo]feminists and the [pretended] link made by law enforcement between prostitution and sex trafficking of children and immigrants…

License To Rape (TW3 #340)

The San Diego DA says it’s better for women to be raped and innocent people jailed than for the public’s rapidly-diminishing opinion of cops to be further damaged:

[San Diego] District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis keeps a list of law enforcement officers that her prosecutors do not trust as witnesses…and…will not say how many people are on the list or which agencies employ them.  The so-called Brady Index is a closely guarded secret that includes officers and deputies with a track record of lying or other misconduct that could undermine credibility…[reporters] sought the information in advance of a civil trial requested by a woman…who was [sexually assaulted]…by…Anthony Arevalos…her lawyers allege San Diego police command staff knew about…Arevalos and did nothing to stop him from preying on young women…

How egregious a liar does a cop have to be before prosecutors won’t believe him?

Dominating the News (TW3 #342)

A woman was arrested [for "abusive behavior" on Wednesday] after posting a photograph on Twitter of chancellor George Osborne at her flat when she worked as a madame…Natalie’s home was also searched last year…after she tried to publish her memoirs…Of course this could all be coincidence.  Or perhaps more proof…that our police are being used to protect politicians’ reputations rather than catching criminals?

Traffic Circle

Tanzania’s envoy in Beijing…refuted claims that sex workers from Dar es Salaam are tricked by human traffickers into travelling to China…He refuted claims that some are hoodwinked into believing that there are hotel jobs or hair saloon work that pays handsomely in China…He said some women fall into trouble for overstaying their welcome…or for engaging in illegal activities.  He said that the women…rush to the embassy [and claim to have been "trafficked"] when trouble knocks on their doors…

Drawing Lines moral problems

Burlesque performers:  you can deny your connection to sex workers all you like, but society is going to treat you like us anyway so you may as well fight alongside us:

A troupe of circus performers has been refused a business account after bank managers described their skimpy burlesque costumes as a “moral problem”…Joshua Morris set up “Circus Uncertainty” earlier this year and applied for a business bank account with Santander so he could get grants to fund work with terminally-ill children…The performers are baffled by the decision as there is no nudity in the family-friendly act…

No Difference

This is only on procedural grounds and the law will probably be rammed through again, but a victory is a victory:  “The constitutional court [of Uganda] has declared the passing of the anti homosexuality bill into an act as null and void…on grounds that [it] was passed without the required quorum…Court also awarded the petitioners 50% of the costs of the suit…

The Missing Word

The word “trafficking” was included in the accusations [and used by protesters], but the court’s decision says it did not exist in the eyes of the State:

A Greek court’s decision to acquit local farmers who admitted shooting 28 Bangladeshi strawberry pickers when they dared to ask for [six] months of back pay has sparked outrage…Four of the strawberry pickers were badly injured in the attack…Media investigations showed the migrants to be working in subhuman conditions without access to proper hygiene or basic sanitation…

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #419)

Behold the results of the mental illness I call lawheadedness:

The barriers police set up months ago in [Cincinnati] to curb prostitution were removed…one day after residents asked for damages and a restraining order against the city…police [pretended the roadblocks] would stop johns from picking up prostitutes along West McMicken Avenue…resident Vanessa Sparks…said once the barriers started blocking her neighborhood, public transportation was no longer close by, and her friends and family were afraid to drive through the area to her home…Attorney Peter Stackpole represents the city…[and pretends that]…the lawsuit…”lacks merit”…

Property of the State 

Jennifer Goodall of Coral Gables [Florida] was informed [by]…letter…that because she decided to attempt vaginal delivery before agreeing to cesarean surgery in her fourth pregnancy, her prenatal care providers intended to report her to the Department of Children and Family Services [and] seek a court order to…perform cesarean surgery on her “with or without [her] consent” if she came to the hospital…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #426)

Lawheads are mystified their proclamation didn’t “abolish prostitution”:

Indonesian police…fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters at the… “Dolly” red-light district, where workers are refusing…government orders to close shop. Around 300 protesters…tore out and set alight a sign erected by the Surabaya city that read:  “This area is free from brothels and prostitution”…”We reject the instalment of this sign here.  And after Ramadan, we will operate as normal.  We refuse to shut down,” said head of Dolly’s workers’ forum Ari Saputro…Hardline Muslim groups have threatened violence if brothels continue to operate beyond the end of Ramadan.

Whatever They Need To Say (TW3 #429)

I’m sure his sending miscreants to threaten to burn them alive had NOTHING to do with it:

Tangail…mayor Shahidur Rahman Khan Mukti has come up with a most intriguing theory explaining why more than 600 sex workers left the Kandapara brothel in a single night.  If he is to be believed, these women…[all suddenly] decided to quit the work they have been doing for years.  What motivated them all of a sudden into deciding, and collectively too, to go for a change of profession is not explained…

The Widening Gyre (Traffic Updates) 

Perhaps the “sex traffickers” got sick of her melodramatics?

A missing…teenager who disappeared more than two weeks ago has been found alive and safe…Anji Dean, 17, [has] been returned to her family…[despite claims she had been "sex trafficked", cops found] Dean [alone] at a mall…Earlier [that]…day, a woman known only as Jennifer…told [reporters] she had spent several days with Dean and was trying to help her…[the girl's mother denied her agency and competence, claiming earlier] “She can’t be doing this on her own, so we’re really, really afraid for her”…

Tour Diary:  Week Nine

Here’s the video SWOP Chicago did while I was there:

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That kind of sophistry may impress sheltered, middle-class white girls in “Womyn’s Studies” programs, but in the real world it’s about as appropriate as a cow pie on the dining room table and three times as rude.
–  “A Load of Farley

Whore of Babylon BlakeThis month marked my first year in blogging, and a look back at my first anniversary column shows how little I understood where things were going; compare the figures quoted therein with the ones from this year’s anniversary column (exactly three weeks ago) and have a good snicker at my naïveté.  But while some of the early regular features were fading away (this month’s interview with my husband was the last biographical sketch of someone I know personally, and the update and miscellanea columns were mere months away from replacement), other features such as Q & A, fictional interlude (“Concubine”) and harlotography (“Aspasia”) were still going strong.  The arrival of the second year was also accompanied by a new feature, “one year ago today”,  which I implemented as a way of introducing my ever-growing readership to my back catalog; sometimes it was just a Nude Under Two Moonspostscript at the end of a column, but in many cases the entire essay was a sequel to that of the year before: examples of the latter are “Bone of Contention” (sequel to “Streetwalkers”)  and “Harlots of the Bible” (sequel to “Mary Magdalene”).  The feature lasted only a year before turning into a part of “That Was the Week That Was” for six months, then growing into “From the Archives”, the bottom half of my weekly “Links” feature; this very “Back Issue” feature is also another form of it.

kitten cookieThe blog was growing in other ways as well; I was being asked to do a great deal of outside work, and hadn’t yet learned how to say no; furthermore, I was beginning to write more on civil liberties topics not directly connected to sex work (as in “Independence Day” and “Imaginary Lines”).  Most of these, however, were at least still connected to sexual rights or women’s rights if not sex worker rights; “Sisters in Arms” (criminalization of miscarriage), “Social Construction of Eunuchs” (the damage caused by “social construction of gender” dogma), “Imaginary Crises” (the invention of the “campus rape epidemic”), “Peeping Toms” (on Lawrence vs Texas and polygamy law) and “Presumption of Guilt” (laws assuming everyone is a criminal) all fall into this category.  The month’s Army of Darknessbig stories were the very public meltdown of prohibitionist parrot  Ashton Kutcher after the Village Voice debunked his absurd “sex trafficking” claims, and French poobah Dominque Strauss-Kahn’s alleged rape of a hotel maid; however, the quieter stories covered in “Bootlickers” (Washington state cops’ ludicrous and puritanical war on coffee stands) and “Against Their Will” (sex workers escaping from their supposed “rescuers”) have had a lot more staying power as recurring topics.  Another topic you’ve seen often and will continue to see for as long as this blog exists:  comparison of sound and ethical (“The Proper Study”) with bogus and unethical (“A Load of Farley”) sex work research.

Rounding out the month were “Honolulu Harlots” (how Hawaii tolerated brothels until the end of World War II); “Housewife Harlotry” (transactional sex in marriage); “Head Games” (haggling and other power games clients play); “A Working System” (how sex work problems are handled when the job isn’t considered criminal); and “Profanation” (in which neofeminist academics deny evidence to pretend that sacred prostitution never existed). Aspasia reclining

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