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
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…
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.
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…
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?
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
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.
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…“
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…
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…
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)
…[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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