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This is the second part of the story of Molli Desi, a young Indian woman abducted into a “rescue center” under the excuse that her sex worker friends might “traffick” her.  If you missed the first part yesterday, I urge you to go back and read it first before continuing.

At the “rescue” centre (which we only thought of as a “detention” centre) we were told that the NGO had custody papers for us from a court, and that we could not leave.  I think it is important to understand why we are held in custody rather than given our freedom after we are “rescued”.  Most anti-trafficking programmes must have what are called the “Three Ps”: Prevention, Protection, and Prosecution; without cases the NGOs cannot meet their prosecution quotas, and without women and girls in their centres they cannot meet their “protection” quotas.  Many of these NGOs are not rights-based at all, but rather prioritise prosecution of traffickers; they must therefore detain sex workers under “safe custody orders” so as to force them to testify in court.  This detention can last many years because the court process is so slow, so the trafficker can get bail and live free while the “victim” is held in centre or even prison.  If women or girls run away, the NGO claims they were kidnapped by traffickers.  In reality, though, it is the NGOs who are the real traffickers; sex workers and other women they capture are a commodity that they buy and sell.rescue center show  To get money from USAID they must promise to be anti-prostitution, and to get money from other donors they use women they have captured to put on shows.  The women are even given false ages to make it look like they are very young; they told the court and donors that I was 12 years old though I was actually 17, and one woman of 23 was said to be 16.

The detention house was not like the orphanage; the women and girls were scared and cried a lot.  Several of them were not even sex workers, but rather migrants without papers; the NGO said they were “at risk” for trafficking.  Most of the girls there with me were not sex workers; some had been raped while in domestic service.  Everyone wanted to leave but many had nowhere to go, because the NGO had told their family and home village that they had been trafficked and raped.  They do this to stop you from being able to go home, because they know your family will reject you for being a sex worker; it’s a way to discourage running away from the centre.  This is why it is so important to give a false name and say you are from a faraway place when they catch you (which we did); it also helps to prevent anyone from filing a First Instance Report (FIR).

After a couple of days, the NGO demanded we undergo gynecological examinations and take HIV tests, but I refused to undress or to let them take blood.  They would not respect my wishes, so I had to physically fight them; the NGO director hit me in the face with her hand, and I now have a scar on my forehead from her heavy ring.  Each day we had to do activities in the centre, and we were not allowed to go outside.  One day two white donor women came to visit the centre, and we were forced to sing and dance for them and let them take photos of us; when the staff realised I could speak English they took me upstairs and locked me in a room until the women had left.  After we had been in the centre for a week, we started planning our escape, but our hidden phone needed credit and charge; though we had the money I had hidden, we did not have any contact with outside.  We learned from other women who had been there a while that night security would exchange food and candy for sex, so we propositioned one night guard and in exchange for oral sex and money he eventually brought us a phone charger and phone credit.  We were then able to contact our sisters in the orphanage, who had been very worried about us; the orphanage had filed an FIR on us because they thought we had been kidnapped and trafficked.

Microsoft Word - Document1After another few more days of oral sex with the night guard and some of his friends (whom he was charging money for access to us), we arranged for two of our sisters to come to the centre in an auto-rickshaw, late at night (this was during a festival time).  We then used a metal bar we got from the guard to prise open the metal cage on our window, lowered ourselves onto the annex roof, and got down to the garden.  Unfortunately, the main gate was still locked and we could not get to the street, so we rang our sisters outside and they convinced the auto-rickshaw driver to break the lock and let us out, whereupon we all ran to the auto-rickshaw and fled away into the night.  We did not go straight home, but stopped for iftar food; it tasted so good, and we were all so happy to be free we laughed and cried all the way home.  When we got home everyone was so pleased to see us, and we immediately washed our clothes and had showers; I then slept for almost a whole day.  We told our director that we had been lured away by miscreants and eventually escaped from their hideout, so she wrote a report and the FIR was cancelled.  We eventually heard from a woman who escaped the detention centre later that the staff had claimed traffickers had kidnapped us from the centre, and that we had probably been sent to Mumbai.

My main accusation against the “rescuers” is that everyone presumes that they take proper care of those they “rescue”; in truth, however, the NGOs have complete power over their victims. There is no proper protection for women and girls they detain, so it is very common for centre staff to rape them.  Though the Government is supposed to supervise orphanages and centres, the reality is that it lacks the capacity to do so; all NGOs know there is inadequate supervision, and many of them resist external accountability and will pay the few inspectors who do come to give them clean reports.  This power and impunity from consequences invites abuses of all kinds, such as the way the night guard charged his friends for sex with us; personally, though, I did not find the sex trading for telephone credit and food nearly as bad as the way the women senior staff acted toward us.  They want sex workers to be forced into domestic work or garment factory work, or to be married to low caste men; they know they are trapped inside patriarchy and resent our determination to live free.  You can find many “rescue” stories on the internet, but most of them are usually mediated by the “rescuers”; if you read my account here and the various links I have included, you will hear another truth.

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When we say “science” we can either mean any manipulation of the inventive and organizing power of the human intellect: or we can mean such an extremely different thing as the religion of science the vulgarized derivative from this pure activity manipulated by a sort of priestcraft into a great religious and political weapon.  –  Wyndham Lewis

tobacco ad pseudoscienceWhile unsupported arguments from authority are a powerful persuader for a certain fraction of the population (especially when they agree with existing cherished beliefs), they simply aren’t enough to carry bad policy any more.  Don’t get me wrong; they’re still the basis for the majority of laws, rules and regulations.  However, the internet provides a powerful tool for those who actually know something about a subject to present facts which refute the propaganda, no matter how heavily it is promulgated by establishment media.  This allows them to break the government’s information control over skeptics and people with at least a grade-school level of scientific literacy, who can in turn make their own arguments from authority to counter the official narrative.  Bogus studies have thus become a vital tool for keeping the masses sedated; since most people aren’t scientifically literate or well-informed enough to recognize a fake “study” when they see it, this gives the mythmakers their own “facts” with which to counter those disseminated by the real experts.  And even though those experts can debunk the faux “statistics”, the establishment’s lies are much louder and shouted through a far larger number of megaphones, so countermeasures may not be believed even when they’re heard.

This is why it’s always a relief to see debunking of “sex trafficking” mythology reported in large media venues; the moral panic will not end until our debunking of the fetishists’ claims begin to receive equal publicity to statements of those claims.  Here’s a good example of what I’m talking about:  the “trafficking” paradigm pretends that huge numbers of underage girls are forced into the trade by evil “pimps”.  But unfortunately for pimp-fantasy-lovers, this is not only false, it was disproven by a major study funded by none other than the US Department of Justice:

…the John Jay study…“thoroughly obliterated the…core assumptions about underage prostitution…Only 10 percent were involved with a…pimp…about 45 percent got in…through friends…Nearly all…said they exchanged sex for money because it was the surest way to support themselves.  In other words, the typical [underage sex worker]…is not a tween girl, has not been sold into sexual slavery, and is not held captive by a pimp”…law enforcement “authorities” were very unhappy with the results…which is why they have been buried…the DoJ…immediately ditched [principal researcher Ric] Curtis in favor of his younger, hungrier and less-principled assistant [Meredith] Dank, who was obviously instructed to do another study which would find what the DoJ wanted found – that pimps run the whole show – so as to shore up “sex trafficking” mythology and justify the vast expenditures and rampant civil liberties violations of the War on Whores.  Since interviewing real sex workers would merely find the truth again, they were largely avoided except for an easily-manipulated handful in prison…And since interviewees might still tell some truth despite incentives to the contrary, the fantasies of cops and prosecutors were included to balance that…

White Slaves of ChinatownOf course, this countermeasure was touted far and wide; it was called a “landmark” study and its preordained “conclusions” were trumpeted in every news source in the US and many abroad, and the fact that it was as bad a piece of bogus “research” as anything Melissa Farley or the Schapiro Group ever produced wasn’t obvious to the average consumer of establishment infotainment.  Not to be outdone, Curtis and others performed a data analysis of the John Jay and several other studies to serve as a counter-countermeasure to Dank’s countermeasure.  While Dank interviewed 36 jailed street workers, the new study drew on interviews with 372 still in the business; while Dank encouraged 73 jailed “pimps” to tell tall tales, the new study drew on non-leading interviews with 85.  Naturally the results were totally the opposite, and best of all they were reported in several major venues.  International Business Times was first, though its headline bizarrely contradicts the article itself by claiming “half” of underage sex workers were “lured by pimps”:

…Although 87.2% of these young sex workers reported wanting to leave their line of work, none of them stated that a controlling pimp was their reason for staying…The most popular cause for staying…was economic status [and] problems with finding…alternative employment…only 10% of the minors had a pimp at the time of the research, only 1.6% lived with a pimp and 47% reported not knowing a pimp…pimps were only responsible for initiating 8.1% of the minors into sex work.  Instead, minors were coerced into joining the industry by their peers 47% of the time and their customers 23% of the time…

Slate’s coverage a week later was even better:

…the researchers…found…that the narrative of [underage prostitution]…they had been sold by local activists—one where knife-wielding pimps lure girls into prostitution then brutalize them into compliance—existed in only rare cases and didn’t describe most people’s experiences…“stereotypical pimps are far less common and important to street sex markets than would be expected…all sex workers in both Atlantic City and New York City described experiencing increasing, rather than decreasing, agency and control over their work over time.”  Many of the girls and boys they interviewed “had left pimps because they were violent, mentally abusive, lazy, poor business associates, unable to protect them, extracting too much money, or no longer fun to be around,” sometimes within days or weeks of meeting…Pimps, too, failed to fit the stereotypical mold.  “We were told pimps were not approachable because they were too dangerous and didn’t want to talk,” [said Dr. Anthony Marcus]…“But all they wanted to do was talk, talk, talk—that’s what they do for a living”…One pimp told them that going after underage girls constituted “pimp suicide…teenage prostitutes don’t earn enough money”…And while some pimps boasted about exerting control over “their” sex workers, the women working with them told a different story…

The war of information continues:  sex workers explain what the demimonde is really like, prohibitionists counter by pretending we don’t know what we’re talking about and presenting lies and exaggerations as though they were facts, then activists and sex work researchers debunk the bogus reports.  Measure is followed by countermeasure, which is in turn answered by a counter-countermeasure; though it may seem hopeless, big lies take a lot of effort to maintain, while we only have to keep repeating the truth.

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Making pimps the centre of things justifies more money to catch/punish them & keep the status quo where women are collateral damage in a war.  –  Laura Agustín

Es dimonióI’m sure you saw all the hype and ballyhoo about a “landmark” government study of pimp bragging the sex industry,  and if you’ve read my columns about the relative rarity and non-centrality of pimps, the so-called “facts” this report “found” must strike you as the farthest thing from.  As I wrote in my recent Washington Post article,

The researchers made bold statements about the “U.S. sex economy” based on interviews with law enforcement personnel, 73 men convicted as “pimps,” and only 36 incarcerated street workers.  As the sex worker activist Melissa Gira Grant observed, the average sex worker activist follows more sex workers on Twitter than these researchers managed to find for a supposedly “landmark” study.  Furthermore, the report’s bias is clear from the skewed proportion of its interviewees:  Street workers represent less than 15 percent of the trade, but were 100 percent of the sex workers interviewed for the study.  Moreover, fewer than half of street workers have pimps, and about half of the pimps are actually the employees of the women they manage, not the other way around.  Yet the researchers interviewed twice as many pimps as sex workers, thus inflating their perceived importance remarkably…

Dr. Laura Agustín had much more to say about the report than that, both on Twitter and in her blog.  But I’m not going to write more about how awful this report is; rather, I’m going to discuss the motive behind it.  Agustín’s statement in my epigram sums it up nicely, but more detail will provide a better picture.  The story starts in September of 2008 with the publication of “The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in New York City”, AKA the John Jay study, which was funded by the US Department of Justice:

[Meredith] Dank and [Ric] Curtis…interview[ed]…249 underage prostitutes…and…thoroughly obliterated the long-held core assumptions about underage prostitution:

• Nearly half the kids — about 45 percent — were boys.
• Only 10 percent were involved with a “market facilitator” (e.g., a pimp).
• About 45 percent got into the “business” through friends.
• More than 90 percent were U.S.- born (56 percent were New York City natives).
• On average, they started hooking at age 15…
• Nearly all of the youths — 95 percent — said they exchanged sex for money because it was the surest way to support themselves.

Jenny HaniverIn other words, the typical [underage sex worker]…is not a tween girl, has not been sold into sexual slavery, and is not held captive by a pimp.  Nearly all the boys and girls involved in the city’s sex trade are going it alone.  [Curtis and Dank] were…completely unprepared for the way law-enforcement officials and child-advocacy groups reacted… “I remember going to a meeting in Manhattan where they had a lot of prosecutors there whose job was to prosecute pimps,” Curtis recalls.  ”They were sort of complaining…that their offices were very well staffed but their workload was — not very daunting, let’s say.  They had a couple cases, and at every meeting you go to, they’d pull out the cherry-picked case of this pimp they had busted, and they’d tell the same story at every meeting.  They too were bothered by the fact that they couldn’t find any pimps, any girls.  So I come along and say, ‘I found 300 kids’ — they’re all perky — but then I say, ‘I’m sorry, but only 10 percent had pimps.’  It was like a fart in church.  Because basically I was saying their office was a waste of time and money.”

As Curtis explained, law enforcement “authorities” were very unhappy with the results of his study, which is why they have been buried (you won’t find them on any official website dealing with the subject of prostitution).  As Maier’s Law states, “If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of”; the DoJ therefore immediately ditched Curtis in favor of his younger, hungrier and less-principled assistant Dank, who was obviously instructed to do another study which would find what the DoJ wanted found – that pimps run the whole show – so as to shore up “sex trafficking” mythology and justify the vast expenditures and rampant civil liberties violations of the War on Whores.  Since interviewing real sex workers would merely find the truth again, they were largely avoided except for an easily-manipulated handful in prison.  Since the John Jay study couldn’t find any pimps in the actual environment where sex work takes place, Dank instead just interviewed people the “authorities” had already decided were pimps.  And since interviewees might still tell some truth despite incentives to the contrary, the fantasies of cops and prosecutors were included to balance that.

Fiji mermaidTo ensure that the “researchers” stayed on-message, the report’s “recommendations” must have been dictated in advance:  they include “Cross-train drug, sex, and weapons trade investigators to better understand circuits and overlaps” (i.e. more money to cops); “Continue using federal and local partnerships to disrupt travel circuits and identify pimps” (i.e. justify illegal use of federal funds and manpower to enforce local prostitution laws); “Offer law enforcement trainings for both victim and offender interview techniques, including identifying signs of psychological manipulation” (i.e. teach cops to psychologically manipulate arrestees); “Impose more fines for ad host websites” (i.e. pressure the courts into giving politicians the power to censor the internet); and so on.  The result?  A Jenny Haniver, a methodological monstrosity cut and stitched and distorted to provide bogus “evidence” for a creature that exists only in the minds of prohibitionists:  a sex industry dominated by “pimps” and “trafficking gangs”.  When charlatans produce objects they claim to be mummified mermaids, chupacabra carcasses and yeti scalps, it’s the duty of skeptics to expose the scam.  And when the con artist is the government, and the goal destroying people’s lives rather than merely separating them from a few bucks, that duty is even more crucial.

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We don’t know what sex workers themselves think about [the Swedish model] because nobody, it seems, bothered to ask them.  –  Fionola Meredith

R.I.P. Andrew Hunter Andrew Hunter

The president of the Global Network of Sex Work Projects and founder of the Asia-Pacific Network of Sex Workers died suddenly on Boxing Day at the age of 47.  There is very little information available for a fitting tribute to this amazing and tireless activist, but I am in contact with his partner, Dale, and hope to get a proper full-length obituary ready in the next few days.

Out of Control (The Camel’s Nose)

It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen a creepy rapist doctor:

An [Ohio] emergency room doctor was sentenced to 35 years…after pleading guilty to raping and killing a pregnant prostitute…Deanna Ballman…died of a fatal overdose of heroin, which Salim [Ali] gave her at his home…Salim acknowledged that…he dumped her body.  However, he only intended to have sex and not harm her or the unborn child…

License to Rape

Another serial rapist cop protected by his department and given a slap on the wrist when caught:

…Michael Vagnini…had a thing he liked to do when he busted someone.  He liked to do it a lot.  “The complaint lays out in graphic detail how…Vagnini…conducted searches of men’s anal and scrotal areas, often inserting his [ungloved] fingers into their rectums”…when the complaints piled up so high that even…Police Chief Edward Flynn couldn’t come up with an excuse for ignoring it, Vagnini’s pleasure at humiliating and physically violating his victims was finally subject to prosecution…Of course, arrest and prosecution for serial anal rape is one thing.  What comes of it is another.  A deal was cut…“that would not require him to become a registered sex offender”…he [only]…got…a sentence of 26 monthsfat Barbie

I first reported this in “Links #119”.

Barbie 

More adults badly in need of lives:  “Plus-Size-Modeling.com is suggesting Mattel create a plus-size Barbie.  While some say more realistic curves would be a better role model for girls, others say an overly large Barbie would be an unhealthy example…

To Protect and Serve

Another casualty of the War on Whores:

A dog owner is demanding a [Florida] police officer’s badge, after that officer shot his dog while…[trying] to serve a woman with a warrant for prostitution charges…the woman doesn’t live there anymore. [Richard] Stotler moved in after her, and said he has no idea who the woman is…[but the cops] didn’t listen…[and trespassed] through the gate around the back of the house, where they found Lady…She’s…[now] on three different pain medications, with part of a bullet still lodged in her ear canal, and other wounds Stotler isn’t sure will heal…police…haven’t released the officer’s name or whether he will face any disciplinary action…

Subtle Pimping

Tragedy pornographer Erin Healy claims to have “investigated sex trafficking” for her latest novel, yet somehow she didn’t find any of the numerous debunkings of the myth which would have invalidated her premise.  To quote this plug piece Fox News published for her, “Go ahead, please cringe with me.”

Why Not Teach Them Critical Thinking Instead?
lurking traffickers

The New Jersey…Attorney General will sponsor assemblies statewide…to warn students about the dangers of human trafficking…surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII…the “Say Something Assembly” program…[says] traffickers may target minors through social media, telephone chat lines and after-school programs, and at shopping malls and bus depots.

Droit du Seigneur

Rebecca Woodard says…in her new tell-all tome that prosecutors forced her to continue to turn tricks after she agreed to wear a wire to help snare…Anna Gristina in 2008…“The [Assistant District Attorney] told me to work…and then turn over to his office the money and any gifts that clients gave me…this ADA was my pimp”…Woodard does not name the ADA…but gave several clues to his identity.  Sources…confirmed…that she is referring to former ADA Mark Crooks…[now working] as an assistant federal prosecutor in Maryland.  Woodard…says she didn’t tell prosecutors about all her gigs.  “Obviously, if I did this with every client I saw, I would have been broke”…prosecutors [threatened to]…arrest her for prostitution if she didn’t [work for them]…

Woodard also claims that while working earlier for Kristin Davis she was hired by Eliot Spitzer, who liked to choke escorts during sex.

The Crumbling Dam

The number of charges for prostitution-related offences in Toronto courts has dropped by 90 per cent over a five-year period, as the constitutional challenge against Canada’s prostitution laws [went on]…Toronto courts received 1,088 charges…in 2006.  In 2011, the number of charges was a tenth of that, just 110…Alan Young, the lawyer who argued the case, said…Prostitution-related offences have been low priority for enforcement…“The government kept asserting that when the laws were invalidated, there would be…chaos…and my position was, we’re charging so little, the community wouldn’t notice much difference”…Cartoon History of the Modern World 2

Presents, Presents, Presents!

The mails were a bit slow during Christmas, so I got a few cards and one present at the end of last week: The Cartoon History of the Modern World, Part 2 from Kevin Wilson.  Thank you, Kevin!

Legal Is As Legal Does (TW3 #7)

Prostitutes [in New Zealand] are hitting back at a bill that aims to restrict where they can work, saying it’s unnecessary and could put their safety at risk…The bill…would give police the ability to arrest and fine them and clients if they break the rules…Another…bill [proposes] to recriminalise street prostitution and confine the trade to brothels…

Useful Idiots

“Feminists” never, ever think of the implications of laws they push:

Domestic abuse involving “emotional blackmail” – but no violence – could become a criminal offence carrying a heavy jail term…the…bill…proposes making it illegal to…“intend to control or coerce” their spouse.  Anyone found guilty…would face up to 14 years’ imprisonment…its definition of abuse includes…“[depriving] them of the means needed for independence”…

As Tim Worstall points out, the definitions criminalize the normal behavior of most British wives.

Naked Truth

Melissa Gira Grant presents a long list of her picks for the best sex work writing of the year, including journalism which treats sex work rationally.  Many of these were linked here when they appeared, and you may enjoy reading the others.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #34)

A rare Irish denunciation of the Swedish Model:

…the planned introduction of new laws criminalising the purchase of sex in Ireland, north and south…conflates sex workers and targets of human trafficking, treating them…as…one homogeneous group of oppressed and distressed victims…destroyed by the abhorrent appetites of men…[supporters] are wilfully blind to the consequences of their sanctimonious stance for the very individuals they say they want to rescue and protect:  the sex workers themselves, some of whom, inconveniently enough, refuse to allow themselves to be saved…criminalising clients does not wipe out prostitution, or even substantially reduce demand.  But it does hurt sex workers, placing them at increased risk of violence, exposing them to stress and ill-health, making them feel stigmatised and hunted…Where buying sex is outlawed, it is the people selling it who pay the price…Laura Lee

The Public Eye (TW3 #324)

Douglas Fox is retiring as the editor of Harlot’s Parlour, and handing the reins to our friend Laura Lee:

…I am handing harlots to Laura with the assurance that she will continue to encourage a wide and diverse opinion within sex work to be heard.  There is not, after all, only one message about what or who is a sex worker.  Despite our disagreements what unites us is a desire that our work is recognised and that we are provided the full protection of the law…

Sold Out

This at first seems to be just another of the inane “libertarians are bad because of this strawman I made!” articles we’ve seen so many of this year, but it contains this gem:  “Libertarians…called for the abolishment of ‘victimless crime’, which lumped homosexuality with prostitution, polygamy, recreational drugs, abortion, and gambling…certainly not a ringing endorsement of the LGBTQ community…”  How dare they include wonderful gays with that riff-raff!

Dirty Laundry (TW3 #326)

This is another long, horrifying article on the Magdalene laundries; it covers ground that will be mostly familiar to those who have studied the history of these monstrous slave-labor camps, but includes a fact I did not know before:  “Australia had eight Magdalene laundries – all at Sisters of the Good Shepherd convents – from the 1940s until the ’70s.  There is no firm data on how many girls they held but it’s estimated to be several thousand…[they] were for girls who were wards of the state or deemed delinquents but often were victims themselves who had committed no crimes…

Innocence Never Had

Let's Talk About TouchingImagine that you’re a young sex worker (say, 16-19) who’s just been arrested in a “sting”, manhandled by leering cops and pressured by scary perverts to reveal a “pimp” you don’t have.  Then a creepy middle-class woman comes in to see you in your cage and gives you… crayons and a coloring book:  “The Human Trafficking Coalition of the Palm Beaches…provides backpacks for immediate needs to those rescued from sex traffickers…items needed are:  travel size toiletries,  toothpaste and tooth brushes, small blankets, flip-flops…notebooks, pencils and cases, erasers, crayons and coloring books…

Bootlickers (TW3 #345)

More totalitarian prudery from Everett, Washington:

Everett police updated the boundaries of zones used to designate high-prostitution areas…The newly zoned areas include some of the bikini barista stands that have made headlines in recent months…and…are used to enforce court orders given to those convicted of prostitution activity, including people who buy sex…Offenders can be arrested on the spot for violating the court order…

Note that many people accused of “prostitution” in Everett are the aforementioned bikini baristas, so these “orders” deprive them of their jobs.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #351)

An excerpt from Mindy Chateauvert’s Sex Workers Unite:

…despite the acceptance of “sluts,” the “prostitute” remains a deeply embedded symbolic marker between decency and disrespect.  The “ethical slut” engages in sex of her or his own “free” will, while the “dirty whore” insists on getting paid…Sex-positive feminists and other “sluts” believe there is nothing morally wrong with consensual sex between two (or more) people…but money changes everything…That cognitive dissonance — the deep chasm filled with stereotypes and prejudices — interferes with the capacity…to hear sex workers speak about their experiences.  Stories that don’t conform to the “superhappyfunsexysexwork!” narrative tend to flummox pro-sex feminists; they can identify with privileged exotic dancers, porn performers and professional dominants…but think “junkie whores” need to be rescued and should be prevented from working in their…neighborhoods…

Opting Out (TW3 #352)

A few more examples of the dirty, nasty porn Cameron’s filters are “protecting” British women and children from:

…One of your ISPs blocked access to the website for Glasgow’s St. Mary’s Cathedral [and] the blog of its provost.  A second ISP blocked access to charity sites including ChildLine, the NSPCC and the Samaritans.  Other websites blocked include the British Library, National Library of Scotland [and] your Parliament…best…of all is the site of Claire Perry, the Member of Parliament who campaigned so prominently for the new law.  How’s it feel, Claire?  Oh, your site is legitimate and shouldn’t be censored?  That’s how the owners of every single other site being blocked feel…

Cops and RobbersPot Noodle

A…police officer refused to deal with a harassment complaint from murdered Bijan Ebrahimi because it would mean his Pot Noodle would get cold…On a separate occasion…Mr Ebrahimi had banged on a police station door to make a complaint but no-one had answered, despite there being staff inside.  A…police spokesman…was unable to comment on the claims…until the conclusion of the [Independent Police Complaints Commission]  investigation…[Lee] James, 24, was jailed for life, with a minimum sentence of 18 years…for beating and stamping …Ebrahimi to death.  Stephen Norley, 25, was jailed for four years after helping James to set Mr Ebrahimi’s body on fire…

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In reality, what’s degrading is not sex work itself, but the language [prohibitionists use] to describe it.  –  Joyce Arthur

The Red Umbrella Red Umbrella

This coming Tuesday is The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, and Siouxsie Q has compiled a list of events (some of which will be held tomorrow).  Take a look, and please consider participating if you live in any of these cities.

Down Under

[A court ruled that] a [New Zealand] man who promised to financially support a prostitute…won’t be able to get back $500,000 he gave her…He…met…[her] at a massage parlour in…late 2007…and suggested…that he would support her financially…[if] she…[gave] up work…[he paid her] $5000 a month and…lavished her with money, travel and various gifts…

Droit du Seigneur

A D.C. police officer is being investigated for allegedly “pimping” teenage girls…Linwood Barnhill, 47, was found with a girl who had been reported missing…Neighbors [said] they would often see young girls going in and out of his apartment…this investigation is not connected to the…arrest of another D.C. police officer on child porn charges.  In that case, officer Marc Washington…went to the home of a 15-year-old girl…ordered her to remove her clothing and took photos of her…

And in Arizona:  “A Maricopa County juvenile probation officer is accused of running an illegal massage business ‘providing acts of prostitution’…apartment resident Ashley Martinez [said] ‘It could be bringing in pedophiles…and my kids could be getting caught into that’…”  The jaw-droppingly stupid quote from the imbecilic neighbor was too good to omit.

Wise Investment

Apparently, American courts hate oil companies more than whores:

BP has…been forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to businesses that filed damage claims after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster – even though they weren’t really affected…the court-appointed [supervisor] has confirmed he approved a $173,000 payout to an “adult escort service” that BP said was filed with unsigned and undated financial documents…The company contested the escort service payment…but lost before a court-appointed appeals panel…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (October Updates)

As police go on strike in Argentina’s second largest city…the people have…[looted] every supermarket…the governor of Cordoba…claims that the police strike is a direct result of his decision to close 140 brothels…which had provided a steady income stream to a large number of corrupt officers…

Elytte & Miranda Barbour
Where Are the Protests?

A [newlywed] couple…lured a man to his death with an ad on…Craigslist…because they wanted to kill someone together…Elytte Barbour told officers…that he and his wife, Miranda…[lured] Troy LaFerrara…[with an escort] posting…Elytte [said]…Miranda…regularly…made anywhere from $50 to $850 by meeting with men for such activities as having dinner together or walking around a mall.  The ads she placed…all said upfront that sex was not part of the deal…”She is not a prostitute…she…meets with them and has delightful conversation”…

I’m sure that conversation is wholly delightful.  Somebody want to tell Elytte the Simpleton that the majority of American escort ads say “upfront” that no sex is involved?  NB:  This is the second time we’ve seen a deranged hooker expecting people to believe she truly doesn’t have sex with clients.

A False Dichotomy (TW3 #8)

Panicked policy reactions to human trafficking and an over-emphasis on the issue of sex trafficking can cause more harm than good…trafficking expert…Pardis Mahdavi said…“Policies are made as a knee-jerk reaction based on moral panic…People like to put distance between themselves and the sex industry, whereas…the domestic workers who clean our homes, the nannies who care for our children, the people who pick the tomatoes that we eat, these are often people who are involved in forced labour…over ninety percent of trafficking is not in the sex industry, it’s forced labour…”

Finding What Isn’t There

A peek inside the mind of a bureaucrat:

…Of the 50,000 T-visas that have been offered over the last 10 years, the government has issued only 6,206 of the little-known visas meant to protect victims of human trafficking and their family members…despite the fact that between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year…those who apply…have to be willing to testify against the traffickers…and…are not allowed to work while waiting for the visa, which can take a year or more…

Of course the estimate can’t possibly be wrong, and asking people to live without income for a year is perfectly reasonable.  The FBI claims “authorities would assist victims, even if there is not a trafficker who can be prosecuted,” but that’s clearly bullshit; the whole “trafficking” narrative depends on producing “traffickers”.Elizabeth Romero

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #314)

Observable fact:  14-year-old girl runs away with her 19-year-old boyfriend.  Conclusion:  a giant worldwide conspiracy selling infants for snuff sex:

The search for Elizabeth Romero and her alleged kidnapper Edwardo Fabian Flores Rosales continues…officials believe that the duo have already crossed the border into Mexico…Some people believe that she is voluntarily…with the 19-year-old man she met on the internet…others believe that…[she] could…be the victim of sex trafficking…Children as young as infants are…wrangled up from every corner of the globe and herded from one master to the next…as sex slaves until they are “used up”…which usually ends in their murders…the scenario of this 14-year-old girl being a willing runaway is far easier to stomach than the idea of her being sold for unimaginable sex acts and then killed…

It’s hard to see how this lurid fantasy can be called “unimaginable” when the author is clearly able to imagine it.

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #315)

Another good article from Joyce Arthur, this on language used by the media.  While I myself use some of the terms she advises against, that’s only in an informal and personal context; I think she is correct in advising use of more neutral terms in mainstream articles.

Monsters

A [New York] attorney…argued that his defendant’s hefty sentence  for murdering a transgender woman should be reserved for someone who kills “certain classes of individuals”…Rasheen Everett was convicted of the 2010 murder of Amanda Gonzalez-Andujar, a transgender prostitute…but…defense attorney John Scarpa…argued…”Shouldn’t that [sentence] be reserved for people who are guilty of killing certain classes of individuals?…Who is the victim in this case?  Is the victim a person in the higher end of the community?”…Justice Richard Buchter…[replied] “This court believes every human life in sacred…It’s not easy living as a transgender, and I commend the family for supporting her”…

Dysphemisms Galore

Still not dark enoughThere’s probably an entire research paper on the Jungian implications of yellow journalists describing anything to do with sex as “dark”:  “Korea has long been criticized for its lax control over its…entertainer visa…exploited by human traffickers to smuggle foreign women into the country to do sex work.  Authorities…promised to strengthen monitoring of the seedy establishments where the women have been forced to sell sex…”  The evidence presented for this supposed epidemic of “trafficking”?  US government propaganda and a supposed phone call from one anonymous informant who claims to have been a “victim”.

An Example to the West (TW3 #324)

The Bolivian Parliament is preparing a new law to regulate and recognize sex work…This is the result of an initiative by Organización de Trabajadoras Nocturnas (OTN)…to prevent “the physical and psychological abuse and discrimination” suffered by sex workers from police and nightclub owners…

Safe Targets (TW3 #332)

That’ll show them dirty photographers!  See the last line for the police motive.

Authorities have shut down Hong Kong’s largest prostitution website…sex141.com…was believed to have been controlled by a criminal syndicate, which police say they have now broken up.  “When they knew there were sex workers coming to Hong Kong, the syndicate would arrange a make-up service and photographers,” a police spokesman [said]…While prostitution is legal in Hong Kong, soliciting and living off the earnings of prostitutes are against the law…114 people have been arrested, which includes 78 prostitutes…arrested on such charges as overstaying or violating the conditions of their visitor visa.  Police also said about HK$15 million ($1.93 million) worth of assets related to the group had been frozen…

Under Every Bed (TW3 #333)

I know real people are endangered by this idiocy, but I just can’t help laughing every time “authorities” pretend that North Dakota is a “sex trafficking hub”:

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp has introduced legislation…to crack down on sex trafficking, which experts fear is on the rise in…North Dakota due to the large influx of men coming to work in the state’s western oil patch…”North Dakota could be ground zero for this type of behavior,” Heitkamp…said…

The only thing that keeps me from adding that claim to “King of the Hill” is that they use qualifiers like “fear” and “could be” rather than stating it as a “fact”.

Whatever They Need To Say (TW3 #341)

New excuses for another Soho pogrom:

Hundreds of police officers launched a massive Soho swoop on premises allegedly linked to rape, sex trafficking and muggings…22 people were arrested in the raids on…premises suspected of being…fronts for handling stolen goods…a dozen women…were taken to safe locations where they will be questioned.  Police believe that some were trafficked into the country and forced into prostitution…The English Collective of Prostitutes…condemned the raids saying some “immigrant women were taken into custody on the pretext that they may be victims of trafficking, despite their protestations that they were not…police are raiding premises where women are working together safely…with friends…most of the women…have now lost their livelihood”…corrected graffiti

More from the West End Extra:

Nikki Adams from the ECP…[called] it…an “out­rageous fabrication”, adding: “At least two of those women I know well and they’ve been in the UK for years and speak perfect English and come to all our meetings…People fear that the evictions are aimed at making way for large-scale development”…

A press release from Sex Worker Open University added, “The media presence included Sky news, BBC and the Evening Standard.  It would seem that ‘victims’ of sex work need to be publicly humiliated and shamed…in order to be properly saved from their work…”

Little Boxes (TW3 #343)

It’s not a “front for prostitution”, it is prostitution.  However, note the equation of sex with rape; cops and prosecutors imagine everyone to be as twisted and evil as they are:

…For $60, customers at the Snuggle House can spend an hour hugging, cuddling and spooning with professional snugglers…but Madison officials suspect the business is a front for prostitution and…fear snuggling could lead to sexual assault…police have talked…about conducting a sting…and city attorneys are drafting a new ordinance to regulate snuggling.  “There’s no way that (sexual assault) will not happen”…city attorney Jennifer Zilavy said.  “No offense…but I don’t know any man who wants to just snuggle”…

Imaginary Evils (TW3 #348)

More from Frank Furedi on the myth of “modern slavery”:

…promoters of this urban legend about modern-day slavery [argue] that what is really significant about this hitherto unrecognised crime is not what can be seen by the naked eye but rather the often “invisible” problem of mental enslavement.  These are slaves who are not physically chained into a life of servitude, but rather are wrapped up in “emotional chains” by their psychologically manipulative captors.  [A term like] “brainwashed”…can transform even normal features of human life – such as being in an unpleasant relationship or feeling pressured to do something – into something…criminal…Such an exercise in rhetorical acrobatics allows campaigners to expand the number of “invisible slaves”…

And yes, he does mention Kevin Bales’ “30 million slaves”.

Number Puzzle (TW3 #349)

The American media would have you believe Alice Schwarzer’s revolting demand for imposition of the Swedish model on Germany has widespread support, but here’s a more typical German view of her:

Alice Schwarzer is an enemy of freedom.  She is condescending, she’s manipulative, she does not tolerate contradiction and therefore has no sense of what makes people, in all their contradictions, essentially human…She loves to divide the world into good and evil, victim and perpetrator…she has a Manichean world view, especially with regard to human sexuality…this…leads to very unpleasant consequences in the debate about prostitution…in [her mind] there is no room for autonomous, free men and…women…who decide…what they want…

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Prostitutes…will be forced to continue to hide…because even if they are not risking arrest, their clients are.  And their survival depends on their clients.  –  Tim Leicester

The Lesser of Two Evils

A rabbi makes an argument familiar to students of medieval Catholicism:

Britain should…[legalize] brothels and…[implement] basic controls over safety and hygiene…without monitoring activities too closely and thereby discouraging usage of them…It may be more messianic to want to end the sex trade altogether, but perhaps it is more religious to seek to channel it safely.

Feminine Pragmatism

Layal has…turned to sex work in [Beirut] to support her two children…“I don’t have any products to sell…I have myself to sell, and I’d much rather earn my money [like that] than I would begging on the street”…Layal says her Iraqi husband…sends her a monthly allowance from Baghdad, but…it’s not enough to cover her $900 rent…and allow her to send money to her family back in Syria.  He has no idea his wife is supplementing their income with prostitution …“A woman should never depend on anyone else for money, even her husband,” she says defiantly…

A Procrustean Bed

Note the assumption that there is always a “trafficker” hiding somewhere:

[Massachusetts’] new human trafficking law has been on the books since early last year, but Bristol County has not charged anyone and Plymouth County has brought charges against one man…[law sponsor] Mark C.W. Montigny…said the problem of human trafficking exists everywhere…and…the attitude that it doesn’t happen here is part of the problem…Law enforcement should use cases involving johns and prostitutes “to go up the ladder” and identify and prosecute the trafficker, he said…

Marching Up Their Own Arses
Slave Hunter

Remember Chris Baughman, the Las Vegas cop claiming to be an “expert” on “pimps”?  Pay especial note to the “magical pimp” trope:

[MSNBC’s]…new series, Slave Hunter: Freeing Victims of Human Trafficking…reveals…what happens behind closed doors in the sex trafficking underworld.  The series highlights the…work of human rights advocate, Aaron Cohen and his partner, former Las Vegas vice detective, Chris Baughman…MSNBC’s cameras follow Cohen and Baughman as they…identify trafficked women via on-line ads and then arrange to meet them in New York City hotel rooms with Cohen posing as a potential john.  When the women are open to help, Cohen and Baughman…[help] them to escape their bonds and build a new life…other times, the trafficked women sadly succumb to the powers of their “pimp”…

We can only hope this blows up in NBC’s face the way To Catch a Predator  eventually did.  Hey, guys, do you know the word for men like you who prey on women in order to enrich and aggrandize themselves?  Oops.

An Example to the West

over 1,500 sex workers…[voted in Delhi on] December 4…thanks to an enrollment drive by the state election commission…over 80 per cent [of] sex workers [are now registered]…”We all will vote…for the person who will fulfill our long-pending demands,” Munni Begum…of GB Road Sex Workers Association…said…

And in Mysore:

…Ashodaya Samithi…is…a powerful collective…of 336 members…[and] a network of volunteers operating in six districts of Karnataka.  It reaches out to 8,000 sex workers through its different initiatives…such as providing knowledge of legal and human rights…running drop-in-centres, operation of a crisis management unit, a restaurant…and a training academy predominantly run by members …they also offer HIV and STI testing facilities, counselling and free condoms…90 percent of sex workers in Mysore have been contacted monthly, 70 percent…visit…drop in centres regularly and 65 percent have become consistent condom users.  Ashodaya Samithi has successfully reduced STI prevalence within three years…

The Power of Myth

As I’ve explained before, even cases which could credibly be called “trafficking” rarely fit the myth:

…Since Australia introduced tough laws to crack down on trafficking a decade ago…eight of 15 people…convicted…were…female…migrants, born in the same…country as their victims and typically from similar…socio-economic backgrounds.  Most…involved…[debt-bonded] Thai women…[and] three…had reportedly been victims…themselves…[none] were involved in “high-end organised crime”…

Mythbusters

Eight common migration myths debunked, including “Migration is on the increase”, “Strict border controls reduce irregular migration”, and “Migrants take jobs that would otherwise go to natives.”Thompson & Hurd

The Widening Gyre

The words “sex trafficking” and “pimp” do not appear in this story; however, I think we all know what was going through these cops’ sick minds:

Houston Police have refused to explain why they took a 13-year-old white girl from her two black guardians…and [gave] her [to]…Child Protective Services.  Landry Thompson’s mother had signed notarized papers giving dance instructor Emmanuel Hurd full guardianship over her during a trip from Oklahoma to Houston…Thompson, Hurd and another dance instructor had stopped at a gas station…when they were surrounded by police cars…All three told the police the same story, but…“They still put handcuffs on me and it really scared me”…Thompson [said]…At first officials…demanded that the mother fly to Houston to get her daughter, but 11 hours later, the girl was released back into [Hurd’s] custody…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #28)

The French parliament has backed part of a bill that imposes a 1,500 euro (£1,250) fine on anyone paying for sex…Protests…took place outside the National Assembly in Paris as the debate took place…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #47) Sidse Babett Knudsen as fictional Danish Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg in Borgen

The Danes weren’t just satisfied with rejecting the tyrannical Swedish model; they also dramatized the events in a political television show:

…in the internet age, it is simply not good enough to pretend to be speaking for a “voiceless” group, as the surprised politicians learned in Borgen…Sadly, the biggest fiction…was the bit when the politician found herself impressed and moved by the voices of sex work activists…frighteningly few people in power have been willing to listen…

First They Came for the Hookers… (TW3 #132)

For those who still pretend government is different from organized crime:

…Houston Mayor Annise Parker…cut a deal with a group of strip clubs allowing them to…operate freely in exchange for an annual tax of $1 MILLION!…According to [a Houston Chronicle] article, “The city…has reached a settlement…that would halt enforcement of the three-foot rule and allow dancers to be fully topless in exchange for an annual $1 million donation to help combat human trafficking”…for those who have not completely removed the wool from their eyes, this is what is known…as a…shakedown.  But wait, only 16 clubs were included…so where does that leave the 50+ other strip clubs that have been purposely excluded from this deal?…I would venture…that…vice raids and harassment at these other clubs…will increase tremendously…the Mayor…herself…all but said that the other clubs will now be more routinely targeted…

Another, more obsequious blog reversed the roles by calling the deal “Houston’s dance with the devil” and breathlessly informed its readers that “Houston…has long been regarded as the nation’s hub of human trafficking”; I’d call that a claim for the #1 spot, wouldn’t you?

Due Consideration

I must admit, this one shocked even me:

…a pregnant Italian mother flew to England for a two-week…training course…she had…a panic attack when she couldn’t find the passports for her two daughters, who were with her mother back in Italy.  She called the police, who arrived…when she was on the phone to her mother…who explained [to cops] that her daughter was probably over-excited because she suffered from a “bipolar” condition and hadn’t been taking her medication…The police…[took] her to…a psychiatric hospital [where]…she was restrained…[and] sectioned under the Mental Health Act…five weeks later she was…strapped down and forcibly sedated, and when she woke up hours later, found she was in a different hospital and that her baby had been removed by caesarean section while she was unconscious and taken…by social workers.  She was…[then deported] to Italy without her baby…[who was] placed for adoption…Polaris King of the Hill

Number Puzzle (TW3 #324) 

Matthias Lehmann debunks more prohibitionist lies:

Re…“Germany is having second thoughts on legalized prostitution”…Alice Schwarzer’s… book and her appeal against prostitution have been widely criticized for using entirely unreliable data.  The counter-appeal…has been signed by numerous experts, including counseling centers for sex workers and victims of human trafficking as well as social scientists, social workers and sex workers themselves…a majority of the German public has consistently shown not to support a move to roll back the…law…

Number Puzzle (TW3 #326)

I don’t think many sex workers are unhappy about this:  “Germany’s biggest political parties have agreed to ban so-called flat-rate sex offered by some brothels…they view as exploitative the special offers…where men can have unlimited sex for 100 euros ($136)…

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine

In Sweden, sex workers are considered “unfit parents”; child molesters, on the other hand

A Swedish man convicted for molesting a five-year-old girl…has been [allowed] to adopt a child of his own…the man…has been found guilty of more than 90 crimes, mostly different types of fraud…and was also suspected of raping a…teenage girl…the…social affairs committee…found that his risk of relapse was…low…but…members were not given access to…details about his…sex crime…[and] there were no supporting documents to back up the assessment…

Dutch Threat (TW3 #334)

Utrecht city council has agreed [on] a new location for…prostitutes, five months after the licences for most of the…floating brothels were withdrawn…because of concerns the boat owners were involved in human trafficking…The prostitutes, some of whom had attempted to take over the boats themselves, will be relocated to a new location with 162 workspaces…The city is also introducing a minimum age of 21…and…in order to prevent a monopoly…owners will only be given three-year licences for no more than 20% of the windows.

Under Every Bed (TW3 #335)

I take back anything nice I’ve said about Al-Jazeera and “sex trafficking” mythology; this example of the new “gang” myth-motif (complete with the magic mind-control philter and confusion about the meaning of the verb “to sell”) is as bad as anything in the American media:

Washington DC…gangs are prostituting underage girls…Prosecutors say the pimps gave their victims drugs…to keep them submissive… “[prostitutes] can be considered a ‘reusable resource’…if you’re going to deal marijuana or cocaine; you use it up, you have to find another source or supply”…

The article does admit that “relatively little is known about the overall nature or extent of juvenile prostitution in the United States,” but of course that never stops prohibitionists from making grandiose pronouncements.

A War for Peace (TW3 #336) Femen at Artemis

Oh, the irony:

…Femen staged a topless protest outside one of Germany’s biggest brothels, as part of a campaign promoting [the Swedish model]…The women chanted “Go rape yourselves” and…briefly scuffled with the club staff…before being led away by police…Femen held a similar protest in Amsterdam earlier this month…Femen leader Inna Shevchenko said…”Prostitution is not a women’s industry, it’s a business controlled by men”…

Absolute Corruption (TW3 #336)

Still more victims of the Satanic panic released from prison:

Fran and Dan Keller…[were] released after 21 years in prison…The case…was part of national hysteria over alleged sexual abuse with Satanic overtones…therapists were subsequently criticized for having implanted the bizarre allegations into the minds of children…[Defense attorney Keith] Hampton…has vowed to work to completely exonerate the Kellers…

Whimsical Notions

Think this would’ve happened if legal, professional whores were available to soldiers?  “Female soldiers at Fort Hood [Texas] testified…that they were recruited for a prostitution ring set up by a sergeant involved in the sexual assault and harassment program…

Something Rotten in Sweden (TW3 #345)

This might make sense if selling sex were a bona fide criminal act, AND if nearly all clients only paid once in their lives:

…public defender Edgar Lin [had] filed motions to dismiss the two counts against Alexis L. Smith…99 percent of…arrested [clients]…never faced criminal charges, while 40 percent of the prostitutes were criminally charged…The discrepancy formed the basis of Lin’s argument that his client’s right to equal protection had been violated…But…Judge Mark McGinnis ruled that the patrons and prostitutes are not similarly situated, because the prostitutes…have ongoing criminal activity, while the johns typically only commit a single crime…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #348)

Another lurid, dysphemism-laden article on Brazilian sex work; this one conflates child, underage and adult prostitution, plays a shell game with agency, blames sex workers for the sadistic actions of police and has a faint Swedish odor in places.  All in all, a truly noxious mixture.

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Lawmakers and judges toss years, even decades, around as though the sentences were Frisbees floating on a leisurely summer breeze. – Norm Pattis

Imaginary Victims

Sarah KruzanCalifornia Gov. Jerry Brown has decided…not to [deny]…parole to Sara Kruzan…[who] was 17 when she was sentenced to die in prison for the 1994 shooting death of George Gilbert Howard…[who had] sexually abused her and…groomed her since she was 11 to work for him as a child prostitute…”  Long-time readers may remember that prohibitionists have never spoken as much as a word in Kruzan’s behalf, despite their supposed wish to “rescue children” from “pimps”.

Lack of Evidence

When will amateurs learn that the War on Whores affects them as well?

[A judge ruled] New York City can be sued for false arrest and malicious prosecution…[for] targeting and entrapping gay men at video stores…[Robert] Pinter and an undercover officer agreed to leave a video store and have sex in a nearby car.  On the way out the door, the undercover allegedly added he would perform a sex act for $50.  Pinter…remained silent but continued walking with the undercover until he was arrested…for prostitution.

And in Dallas:

…police opened fire on [David Blair] as he stood in his doorway…after he rebuffed their interrogation efforts during an operation to apprehend call girls and johns…After nearly being shot to death, Blair was arrested for aggravated assault on a police officer…[but] released after several hours…“I guess I wasn’t supposed to tell them to get the light out of my face,” Blair said…

That’s the first time I’ve ever heard streetwalkers referred to as “call girls”.

January Q & A

The only thing “sordid” and “seedy” about this is the way cops and the media collaborate to destroy lives, and the only “notable name” is that of Brian Bates, the soi-disant “Video Vigilante”, who is bizarrely referred to as an “anti-prostitution advocate” because the reporter is too ignorant to use the word “advocate” properly.

Secret Squirrel

AT&T…[is introducing] a…GPS-tracking…watch-like thingie…called FiLIP…[which alerts] when your child enters or leaves a designated area…[the ad says] “FiLIP…[helps] kids be kids again”…Right.  And the Invisible Fence collar…let my dog be a dog…I can get an iPhone Spy Stick, to be plugged into a USB port while he sleeps…or…Mobile Spy, software that would let me follow…his online activity and geographical location…[or] an innocent-looking iPhone Dock Camera that…surreptitiously [records audio and] video in his room…[In ZDNet’s survey of]  parental espionage…82 percent…agreed…that …“It is a parent’s right to ‘violate’ their child’s notion of ‘privacy’”…

Imaginary CrisesChristina Hoff Sommers

Christina Hoff Sommers…explains that the study often cited as the origin of the “one in five” factoid is an online survey…[which] employed such a broad definition that…”attempted forced kissing” qualified as sexual assault.  The Bureau of Justice Statistics…tells a different and more plausible story…During…1995-2002…there were six rapes or sexual assaults per thousand per year…about one victim in forty students.  Other DOJ statistics show that the overall rape rate…since 1995…has decreased by about 60 percent…

Follow the Leader

Clark Bianco pointed out this example of the state punishing citizens for following its lead: “a [Connecticut] couple faces charges after a 9-year-old girl in their care was punished with an electric shock collar used to discipline barking dogs”, but “a [South Dakota] police chief…is defending an officer’s [tasing] an 8-year-old girl…

Saving Them From Themselves

San Diego police say criminal charges will be filed in a sexting ring involving dozens of students…there’s no hacking or coercion…The girls sent out the naked pics themselves…

Surplus Women

A U.S. Marine has been referred for trial by court-martial…on charges of killing a visiting Las Vegas prostitute who was last seen alive outside a bar in…Waikiki…Master Sergeant Nathaniel Cosby is charged…in the death of 29-year-old Ivanice “Ivy” Harris…Messiah of Evil

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Thanks very much to Celos for sending me Messiah of Evil, which was our Halloween night movie this year!

Rhinoceros

His motive is obvious, but this is still freakish:

…authorities and human trafficking experts believe dozens of girls and boys are being brought to St. Louis to be offered for sale during the World Series…Michael Ocello owns several [strip] clubs and founded…Club Operators Against Sex Trafficking [COAST].  He has the backing of ICE and Homeland security…[and] has earned credibility with law enforcement…Ocello printed 10,000 baseball cards that will be handed out by his employees this weekend…the back details signs of human trafficking and a number to call…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

“Trafficking” as an excuse for surveillance again:  “…a button inside a police car…[releases] a [GPS tracker bug] that shoots out and sticks to the car in front…They can track and pinpoint [the target] vehicle…‘This is an important tactic for the police…rescuing little girls from human trafficking’…

Above the LawX-Ray of woman's chest

Business as usual in a police state:

…Diana Hardy…and her boyfriend, Mark McKoy, were…pulled over by [New York State] Trooper Robert Baird, who claimed that they were speeding and that the car was reported stolen…After two “sexualized” pat downs, Baird…illegally searched the…van…and…found personal lubricant, a sex toy, condoms and a half-full package of balloons from a child’s birthday party, and immediately accused Hardy of hiding drugs in a body cavity…“He seemed to become enraged and handcuffed [her], demanding to know why she ‘needed lube,’ crudely asking if McKoy was ‘really that big’ and stating that he had a ‘gut feeling’ [she] was smuggling drugs inside her body”…She was hauled to the barracks, shackled to a wall and strip-searched three times…[then] wept through a body-cavity search, but even though a doctor also failed to find proof, [Baird]…demanded an X-ray…[which] showed [she] had no contraband in her body…The couple were finally released after they paid to have their van towed to the police barracks…

Meanwhile, on the opposite coast:

A…[California] police officer is currently under investigation after…raping a trans woman…the cop stopped her while she was walking to a friend’s house…he…groped her and asked if she was a “nasty shemale”…then forced her to perform oral sex and raped her…[she] was able to retrieve and turn in a [used] condom…[for] DNA test…

Much Ado About Nothing

White House official fired for mocking his masters.  Same government official hires whores.  Media pretends this is somehow shocking:  “…well-known National Security Council staffer Jofi Joseph…was the man behind @NatSecWonk…and…follow-up reports claim Joseph may also have been writing as @DCHobbyist…a regular patron of Washington’s sex worker scene…

Above the Law (TW3 #47)

Britain’s most senior police officer has said he cannot be sure that [cops] are not still getting involved in sexual relationships with partners who do not know their real identities.  Eleven women are taking legal action against the Metropolitan police over claims that they were duped into relationships…with undercover officers…ITPA as Mahishasur

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #48)

Indian sex workers protest another attempt to impose the horrible Swedish model:

[In] the Puja [at]…Sonagachi…this year…Mahishasur was depicted as…embodying the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act. And Goddess Durga  was shown ripping the demon-legislation apart with her trident…[a new amendment]…criminalises clients visiting brothels…[which] is tantamount to depriving sex workers of their livelihood. “Moreover, it will lead to more and more harassment by the police,” says [Bharati De of DMSC]…

The Camel’s Nose (TW3 #137)

This zombie legislation just won’t stay dead:  “The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which [requires] private companies to share customer information with the NSA and others in the name of cybersecurity, is back on the legislative agenda…

Here We Go Again (Extra Edition)

This academic’s massive blind spot about “sex trafficking” hysteria is fascinating; she walks all around that elephant in the room, yet can’t see it.  Furthermore, the details about how the “white slavery” panic fueled the growth of the FBI are interesting.

Uncommon Sense (Extra Edition)

Zurich…provided…a suite of 30 drive-in wooden booths in a non-residential neighborhood, where surveillance could keep pimps out…[The city thinks] they work…[but] organizations working with prostitutes…say…the…boxes attract new arrivals rather than…street veterans…[who] have…just gone elsewhere…Switzerland’s Salvation Army has recommended that the city allow prostitutes back onto the old red light district…Cornelia Zürrer Ritter…of the SA…[said]…gave…up [the facility] because they “earned less money there and found the working conditions inhumane”…

Imaginary Evils

Theresa May, the UK Home Secretary…[has launched] her attack on “modern day slavery”…a tiresome, over-emotive phrase which functions as political speak for human trafficking…[she] has made much of the need for increasingly harsh sentences for traffickers.  But, as highlighted by Anti-Slavery International, this focus is a red herring.  Its position is that the UK should improve its response to victims, primarily by taking a more robust approach against victim criminalization…

Furthermore, as Tim Worstall explains:

…a new report…shows…that while the problem is real it’s small.  United Kingdom Estimated number enslaved 4,200 – 4,600…But…who can forget Dennis MacShane telling the House of Commons that there are 25,000 slaves just in the sex industry [or]…Julie Bindel and…the Poppy Project insisting that there are vast tribes of women held as sex slaves…

And even that 4200 is hyperinflated.Alicia Beltran

Due Consideration (TW3 #341)

Finally, mainstream coverage of the vile mistreatment of Alicia Beltran:

…[at] 12 weeks pregnant, she [went] to a…clinic…for a…checkup…[she] admitted a past struggle with…Percocet…but [had been self-administering] Suboxone…to treat Percocet dependency…in decreasing doses…[with the] last dose a few days before her…visit…the physician’s assistant recommended she renew…use of Suboxone under a doctor’s supervision.  After Beltran declined…she was asked to take a drug test, which was negative for all…except Suboxone.  Two weeks later, a social worker visited Beltran…and told her that she needed to continue Suboxone treatment…Beltran…again declined.  Two days later, [cops dragged her to]…a…judge [who] ordered her to spend 90 days in a drug treatment center…

Yes, the state chained and caged her because she wouldn’t take drugs.

Torture Chamber

A powerful argument against draconian sentences:

…The dead…are a howling wound deafening those left behind.  Locking a killer away for a lifetime doesn’t silence that howling…it merely creates eddies of despair, whirlpools that swirl and draw down…the spirits of the condemned, their loved ones, and…the rest of us.  Revenge isn’t justice, it is just revenge…locking people up doesn’t bring back the dead, it doesn’t repay money stolen, it doesn’t repair the psyche of all the folks we calls victims.  Prison is a confession of failure, both for society and for the individuals who demand long sentences without end for those who transgress…our love of prisons…[is] a celebration of a moral cancer…

Us and Them (TW3 #342)

For those who think my use of the word “pogrom” is too strong to describe police persecution of whores and clients: “60 people were arrested…as part of ‘Operation Off the Streets 2’, a cleansing initiative…men and women have been busted for everything…from street level prostitution to…Internet and hotel arrangements in Northwest D.C…”  A “cleansing initiative”; like “ethnic cleansing”.

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #342)

APNSW anti-sweatshop logoThe APNSW held a workshop last week, and several media outlets were on hand to interview sex workers and activists (including Melissa Ditmore and Cheryl Overs) about prohibitionist myths, the rescue industry and Equality Now’s attempt to negate the voices of thousands of sex workers. Regular readers won’t find anything surprising here, but it’s important to note the rising number of articles debunking “trafficking” mythology and publicizing both sex workers’ calls for decriminalization and the fact that several UN agencies support that policy.

Buried But Not Dead

More pearl-clutching about young pop-stars from a bunch of middle-aged ones who can’t compete with them any more, and “feminists” who never could.  It’s at least 2000 words too long and rife with inane buzzwords like “pornographic object”, “misogyny” and “sexualization”, but it’s mildly amusing in a train-wreck sort of way.

Across the Pond (TW3 #343)

As expected, six were closed:  “Seven of Edinburgh’s saunas have had their licences renewed…in the face of police objections…items of a sexual nature can be permitted on the premises — rejecting a principal objection by the police…[who later] denied this…meant condoms should be banned from the saunas…

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