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Posts Tagged ‘streetwalkers’

Last month’s tale was inspired by the pulp magazines, but this one was inspired by one of their successors:  comic books, specifically the horror comics of the 1970s that I grew up reading.  Those familiar with them will probably see the influence, but I hope even those who don’t will enjoy the tale.  Happy Halloween, dear reader.

“Daniel, unless you agree to see me more regularly, I honestly don’t know how I’m going to help you.  You not only refuse to come in every week, but to make regularly-scheduled appointments at all; I’m sure you realize that as long as you insist on only coming in when someone else has cancelled, our visits are going to be irregular and infrequent.”  The man she was addressing responded by getting up and walking to the window for the seventh time since the beginning of the session.  “And would you please sit down?”

He complied, then looked around for his bottle of water and began to get up to fetch it; Dr. Nolan pre-empted the move by reaching for it herself, then leaning forward to give it to him.  He drained the last of the water, sucking on the bottle for several seconds after it was dry as if to draw more water from the plastic, then replaced the cap and looked around for a wastebasket; the psychologist took the bottle from him so he wouldn’t have the excuse to get up again.  “I’m sorry, Doctor, but it has to be that way because of the nightmares.”

“You mentioned them last time, but didn’t elaborate; do they have anything to do with your inability to stick with a therapist for more than half a dozen visits?”

He nodded nervously, then leaned forward so his elbows rested on his knees and hung his head forward.  “And with my inability to hold down a job, and with my refusal to set regular appointments,” he said to the floor.  “And it’s why I don’t live near my family and have no friends.”

“But surely your family hasn’t abandoned you; our visits are billed to your father’s insurance.”

He continued to avoid eye contact, but responded, “No, it’s not like that; my family loves me and I have plenty of friends who really want me to come home again.  I know you probably don’t believe this, but until these awful dreams started I never had any mental problems in my life.”

“I believe that you believe it, Daniel, but recurring nightmares so disturbing they drive a person away from his family and friends don’t spring out of nowhere.  They come from some pre-existing issue that you’ve been unable or unwilling to acknowledge.”

“I’ll be damned if I know what that might be,” he said, straightening up suddenly in the chair.  “I can’t remember any kind of childhood trauma, always did well in school, got along fine with everybody, graduated not all that far from the top of my class.  The first person I had the dream about was my mother.”

“Go on.”

“I was living in an apartment, but you know how in dreams you’re sometimes still living with your parents.  Well, anyway, I don’t even remember what I was doing in the dream, but my mother was in another room talking to me about something; it was just a regular conversation, nothing I can even recall.  But when she came into the room, she had no face!

“What do you mean, no face?”

“I mean exactly that, no fucking face!  I mean the front of her head was totally smooth, no eyes or nose or mouth.  And she just stood there with her head turned toward me as though she was looking at me, only she had no eyes.  And I woke up screaming.”

She resisted the urge to ask him to sit down again; if pacing helped him unburden himself, so be it.  “So you kept having this nightmare about your mother?”

“Not just about her.  My dad, my little brother, my girlfriend, all of my friends, my boss…everybody I knew.  Every damned night I had them.  Every one was different; I would be doing some mundane thing, then without warning the other person in the dream would come into the room or turn around or whatever and have no face.  And then I wake up.”

“It never goes any further?”

“No, that’s it, I always wake up as soon as I see that horrible faceless head.”

“So why did you leave your home?”

“A few months after the nightmares started, my little brother went off to college.  Then when he came home for a visit, I had the nightmare about him that very night.  Thinking about it later, though, I realized that I hadn’t dreamed of him even once while he was gone.  I quit my job and went to work somewhere else…and my old boss immediately stopped appearing in the nightmares.  It wasn’t long after that I moved away.”

“Did it help?”

Faceless Girl by Varjo66 (2005)“It worked perfectly.  I only have the nightmare about people I know well, and even then if I see them often.  As long as I spend my days with strangers, my nights are peaceful.  But if I get to know anyone too well, the nightmare comes back starring that person, except without a face.”

“So every time you get to know a therapist well…”

“…he or she starts appearing in the nightmare, and I have to stop going.  Same thing with jobs; as soon as faceless versions of my boss or coworkers start haunting me, I quit.  My neighbors probably think I’m a terrorist or something because I totally avoid talking to them, for fear of being forced to move.  I’m hoping that if I see you sporadically, it will at least take longer for me to start having the dream about you.”

“Well, at least I know what we’re up against now.  Please try to make another appointment as soon as you feel comfortable, and we’ll see if we can’t figure out the real reason you’re so afraid to get close to anyone.”

“Do you think that’s what it is, Doctor Nolan?”

“I think it’s very likely.  Until then, try to keep your mind occupied, and try to at least call your family and friends if you can do that without setting off the nightmares.”

After leaving her office, Daniel felt extremely agitated; talking about the problem had only served to churn up the terror in his mind, and despite the doctor’s advice he didn’t feel it wise to call home too often.  A long walk in the park did nothing to clear his mind, nor did dinner and a movie, and he didn’t like to go home between dinner and midnight because a couple of his neighbors often sat out on the steps talking on fine nights like this one.  So he decided to seek some company from one of the girls who frequented the stroll about ten blocks from his place; the only one in sight when he arrived was a slender, 30-ish woman named Lisa he’d been with a few times before.  It occurred to him that even seeing the same hooker too many times was probably not safe, but if he started dreaming about any of them he’d just have to start going to massage parlors instead.

Lisa recognized him, and the deal was quickly made; he followed her to her room, and the two of them got undressed at the same time.  He was still quite nervous from the afternoon’s session, though, so he tried to focus on what she was doing so he’d get excited and forget about all that, at least for a little while.  He watched as she kicked off her shoes, shimmied out of her dress, removed her underwear, and took off her face.

Only this time he didn’t wake up.

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Tattooing of ["trafficking" victims doesn't]…make much sense outside of sadistic, pornographic fantasy.  –  Julia Davidson

Check Your Premises

Any teen who won’t behave in the way most adults want to manipulate her into behaving, must be being manipulated by another adult:

It took nearly two decades for Smith to realize she…was a victim of child sex trafficking.  “I was what they call a ‘willing victim’,” she said…the media and advocacy organizations depict child sex trafficking as an issue that involves physically abused or helpless children.  But “just being a teenager” is a predisposition factor…Smith said she’s a strong advocate for kids who insist they want to live the way they’ve been manipulated by an adult into living…

Above the Law Grant Carruth

an Amite [Louisiana] police officer accused of sexually assaulting women after deceiving them online has been arrested…Grant Carruth…faces…counts of…kidnapping…aggravated rape…sexual battery and…theft…he…identified himself as a narcotics officer, handcuffed them and said they were being arrested…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Note the liberal use of dysphemisms, and the pretense that gross proceeds equal net profit:

A…woman was [sentenced] to…10 years in state prison for operating a prostitution ring in…New Jersey…Deanna Ruiz…pleaded guilty to racketeering…over a 15-year-period, she collected millions of dollars…[and] booked more than 6,000 hotel rooms at a cost of $1.087 million…she created several sham companies and used them to launder the money…and…commit tax and unemployment…

How, pray tell, does one “commit tax and unemployment”?

Broken Record

A grassroots advocacy group is trying to raise awareness about increased demands for paid sex during the Pan Am Games…Buying Sex Is Not A Sport…is…faith-based…The link between increased sex trafficking and large sporting events has been a controversial one that is not clearly agreed upon by experts…

Wrong; the experts have declared these “faith-based” claims total fabrications.

The Widening Gyre

They finally realized they could expand the panic by adding male “sex slaves”:

Viktor Berki…Gabor Acs and Andras Janos Vass [ran]…Never Sleep, Inc. [which] involved slaves — who did not speak English and barely got to sleep…Three of the victims…rescued in South Florida were first promised that they would earn thousands of dollars as escorts.  But…they were forced to perform sex acts in front of a webcam and engage in prostitution for 18 to 20 hours a day…

Soap Opera

It’s hard to pick one “sex trafficking” trope that’s stupider than all others, but barcode tattoos are definitely in the running:

People traffickers are believed to have marked their victims with symbolic tattoos to assert their ownership over “assets” that can be sold for thousands of pounds…The victims have been “branded like cattle” – a practice commonly seen worldwide for women in the sex trade – to show that they were aged over 18, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said…One Romanian woman – who was whipped and held against her will in Spain – had been tattooed with a bar code and a sum of money that investigators believed was the amount that she would have to earn before the gang…would release her…The NCA said the extent to which tattoos were used was not known…barcode tattoo

The extent is very well known:  one single case, the one (from 2012) mentioned above.  And as I pointed out at the time, it was “…an example of life imitating artifice because these absurd tales have been circulated…for at least six years now.”  Dr. Julia Davidson explains just how stupid this trope actually is:

…If thugs were criminally coercing someone into prostitution, why would they care whether she was 17 or 18 years old?  Conversely, if they were supplying women to managers of establishments that would only accept…over 18, why would those managers be satisfied by a tattoo, as opposed to identity documents…if tattooing were actually common practice…  victim identification would be a far simpler matter…

The Public Eye

Sex workers were among the first not directly involved with the Ferguson protests to spread the word on social media; others like cam girl Sasha Pain are doing even more than that:

…she and two friends…[are] filming protests and sharing them with her audience…Pain…won’t stop working just because she’s on the road.  When she has an Internet connection in Ferguson, she’ll make sex tapes and donate proceeds from videos to buy supplies to protect protesters from tear gas…”Everything that I make while I’m here that I don’t need to feed myself, the people I’m with and over my bills is going toward buying food for protesters and gas masks”…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake

Portland…strip-club dancers are working…with lobbyists, legislators, and social workers to draft a new set of…regulations slated to hit the House floor…in…February…Generally, laws that regulate strip clubs and other sex industry businesses are handed down from the top by legislators, with little input from the people most directly affected…Whether because of stigmas related to…sex work…or a prevailing misconception that most…sex workers are victims of trafficking, there are very few, if any, legislative precedents that show adult entertainment professionals actually being asked to weigh in…

Checklist

Writer cannot conceive that the reason more people don’t notice “sex trafficking” is that it doesn’t exist on anything like the scale it’s purported to:

…airline employees are now being trained to…carefully watch for…unusual activity…such as when kids don’t answer questions or avoid eye contact when addressed.  Other telltale signs might be bruising…or a ravenous appetite…victims…sometimes have been at the mercy of their traffickers for so long they see themselves not as women being pimped out for sex but as girlfriends helping their boyfriend pay the bills…sex trafficking spikes around the Super Bowl…If you see something say something…

Cops and Condoms (TW3 #313)

The sheer wrongness of this cannot be overstated.

Dysphemisms Galore 

Korean officials only persecute sex workers in order to please their masters in Washington:

…since the implementation of the 2004 Special Law on Prostitution…the number of red-light districts…has decreased nationwide, from 69 in 2002 to 44 last year.  But…the prostitution industry has actually grown…[and]  transformed to avoid the confines of the law…pimps posing as ordinary citizens scour the streets to find potential customers…Transformed prostitution businesses have doubled over the past three years as traditional brothels have decreased, swelling to 4,706 in 2013, up from 2,068 in 2010…

The phrase “pimps posing as ordinary citizens” is both hilarious and telling.

Ad Absurdum

Because obviously, “victims” always go around bragging about their “abuse”:

Two teachers at the same Louisiana high school have been charged in the sex abuse of the same male student…Shelley Dufresne, 32, and Rachel Respess, 24, both teach at Destrehan High School in St. Charles Parish….an unnamed source…implied that the victim was involved in a threesome with the teachers…at Respess’ apartment after a…football game [on] Sept. 12, and that…the…student had been “bragging to other students that he was having a sexual relationship with teachers”…

A Procrustean Bed (TW3 #339)

For the past year Red Umbrella Project has studied New York’s “trafficking courts”, which define all sex workers as “victims”; to absolutely nobody’s surprise, the majority of those arrested are minorities, and in Brooklyn a stunning 94% of women arrested for “loitering for the purpose of prostitution” (in other words, “looking like a whore”) are black.  Since Melissa Gira Grant,  Noah Berlatsky and Michelle Chen all went into the findings in detail, I’ll just refer you to those articles. Samantha Azzopardi

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #346)

Samantha Azzopardi, 26, who was found wandering the streets of Dublin last fall, led Irish police to believe that she was a 14-or 15-year-old sex-trafficking victim from eastern Europe…Now…[she] has shown up in Alberta…claiming that her name was Aurora Hepburn, that she was 14 and that she had been the victim of an abduction, sexual assault and torture…Calgary police became suspicious after learning of [the Irish] case…Azzopardi has been charged with public mischief…an offense punishable by up to five years in prison…

The Spiral of Absurdity

Houston is bound and determined to win this pissing contest, no matter how ludicrous the claims it has to make:

Houston is a hub for…sex trafficking…[due to its] size, port location and ethnic diversity…a three-month analysis of ads posted on backpage.com…[found] a higher number of ads per person than were posted for Manhattan and northern New Jersey during this year’s Super Bowl…

This is equivalent to concluding that Houston has more people who are morbidly obese than New York because it has more billboards for barbecue restaurants.

Above the Law (TW3 #407)

For those who think I make too big a deal about the euphemisms prosecutors and reporters use for rape by cops:  “Sorrento, Louisiana police chief Earl Theriot pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting an unconscious woman and then lying about it to the FBI…Theriot managed to escape jail time…taking just a $2,500 fine and 2 years probation…”  Think he’d have escaped that easily if his crime had been called what it was? Theresa May, arch-censor

Opting Out (TW3 #408)

The other shoe drops:

Britain’s…Home Secretary Theresa May [said]…that if re-elected next year, the [Conservative] party will introduce civil powers to disrupt people who “spread poisonous hatred” even within the law…police could apply for a court order to disrupt “harmful activity” by restricting an individual’s movements, preventing them from speaking in public or stopping them publishing articles online…

Which views are “harmful” to be determined by the government, of course.

Imaginary Crises (TW3 #410) 

the rate of forcible rapes in 2012 was estimated at 52.9 per 100,000 female inhabitants…Assuming that all…women are uniformly at risk, this means the…probability that an American woman is raped in her lifetime is 2.6 percent and in college 0.2 percent — 5 to 100 times less than the estimates broadcast by the media and public officials…

Forward and Backward (TW3 #415)

…the District of Columbia Council voted…to repeal the District’s  “Prostitution Free Zones” law as well as the “Drug Free Zones” law that it was based on…Although a largely symbolic gesture, since the police have already acknowledged not using the zones for the past two years…the debate over the bill shows the importance of removing laws targeting sex workers, and those profiled as such…

The Missing Word

Despite the fact that the exploitation is clearly laid out here, the magic word appears only once, saying that a sting involved “only a tiny piece of the trafficking industry”.  One can only surmise that because the smugglers only threatened to sell their “client” to a brothel (a threat made credible by the moral panic), the New York Times figures it isn’t a “real” case of “trafficking”.

Schadenfreude (TW3 #424) 

Just a few highlights of this expose of “sex trafficking” fraud Chong Kim’s lies:

…Chong Kim [was] convicted by a Minnesota judge for stealing money from a human-trafficking survivor…She is…on probation…as a result…Chong Kim walks with a cane, which she told me was an injury suffered from her days of sexual slavery…she actually had that disability since she was seven years old, and up until at least 2005, she collected Social Security checks for it…she…frequently claims that she was living in Texas when she got sold into sexual slavery in 1994…she was actually a junior in high school in…Minnesota…The…1994…Yearbook clearly contains a photo of Chong Kim…her…social security number is linked to multiple people…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #433)

The myths that circulate about German prostitution legislation are a perfect example of how lies and misconceptions become accepted as ‘truths’ if only they are repeated often enough.”  In this short article Matthias Lehmann debunks lies including “the 2002 Act legalized prostitution”, “brothel owners can force sex workers to perform certain acts”, “Job Centres can force job seekers to take up sex work” and “sex trafficking has increased under the law”.

Lower Education (TW3 #438) 

the University of Michigan’s…policy on sexual violence…says:  “Examples…include…criticizing the partner sexually [and]…withholding sex and affection“…this policy suggests that under some circumstances, a partner is entitled to sex…there theoretically exists at the University of Michigan some circumstances in which not consenting to sex is against the rules.  This is utterly unconscionable, and, frankly, insane…

Sold Out (TW3 #438)

Facebook…[has backed off of its] “real-name” crackdown on drag queens and performers…and…apologized to all those whom they’ve offended.  Though the exact policy changes remain TBA, a source…says Facebook is planning to revert to a “preferred name” policy instead…

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It is an obnoxious and unacceptable conceit, a form of abuse, to deny sex workers their agency.  –  Graham Scrambler

Think of the Children! buttle opener

Sex rays are so insidious they can even radiate from pieces of plastic via the principle of sympathetic magic:

A week after Mark Gregory was elected chairman of the Williamson County school board, an online petition was launched  …demanding [he] step down from the post because of his role in creating the ButtleOpener, a novelty bottle opener shaped like a female rear end…

The Red Umbrella

Matthew Carney, 18, walked with [a sex worker] to a secluded area…after paying her…But as soon as they were alone Carney…repeatedly [punched] and [kicked] her in the head, causing severe injuries to her face.  He then walked off with her handbag…the courageous victim went to the police…[and] Carney was sentenced to seven years in prison…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

[Pittsburgh-area cop] Joshua Rush was [arrested]…[for] texting a prostitute he had a sexual relationship with…When police busted [her]…she showed them a string of text messages…in which he allegedly said he would distract officers from [going into her stroll]…

Check Your Premises

Earlier this year, Bensalem [Pennsylvania] police participated in Operation Cross Country…While the overt goal was busting pimps and prostitutes, the underlying objective was to create connections to help law enforcement find and stop child sex trafficking…“You need an approach that develops trust”…

You read that correctly:  these cops are so disconnected from reality that they think deceiving, raping and caging women is a good way to “develop trust”.

Validation

It’s always nice to be backed up by academics:

…the wealthy and powerful should not be permitted to swap policy-based evidence for evidence-based policy…Stereotypes of sex workers are simplistic, replete with errors of commission and omission…most public health researchers…respect…sex workers and oppose…any attempt to (further) criminalize them…[but] the weird admix of radical feminists and Christian…right-wingers who [push] “sexual trafficking”…are resistant to data:  they…wish the public to believe that [all] sex workers…have been trafficked.  Their…”moral crusade” is to legislate for the abolition of the industry…

Public Service Announcement Brooks Newmark

Just in case you thought only American politicians were this foolish:

…Brooks Newmark quit as Minister for Civil Society after he was caught sending an explicit photograph of himself…to someone he believed was a woman…as part of a tabloid newspaper sting operation …Mr Newmark initiated a private message conversation on a social networking website and sent a graphic picture exposing himself…

Surplus Women

Authorities are looking for the killer of a woman found in Lake Lucerne and identified…as a 36-year-old Bulgarian prostitute…Work colleagues…[contacted] police… because they had not been able to contact her for a long time on her cell phone…

Legal Is as Legal Does

Almost all countries criminalise some aspect of sex work, including…Australia…sex work under “legalisation” is still…conceived of as a crime for which the law makes allowances.  These laws that govern sex work can be found in the criminal code…and…the police [enforce the]…regulation.  When I asked Jules Kim…of Scarlet Alliance…about the effect of all these regulations on the lives of sex workers in Victoria, she pointed out that many were deeply invasive of privacy…

See also “Bottleneck” below.rapist pig Michael Arnold

Above the Law 

Michael Arnold sexually assaulted a female prisoner shortly after she gave birth in 2012:  He pleaded guilty…[but spent] no time in jail…a just-filed lawsuit [names]…Arnold…the [rent-a-cop] firm for which he worked…[and]  Arapahoe County Sheriff David Walcher…Angela Weishoff…was [still] groggy [from an epidural] when [Arnold orally raped her until]…a nurse noticed the dimmed lights and entered the room, causing Arnold to quickly re-zip his pants…

An Example To the West

I hope this is available outside of India, too:

…a music band led by children of Sonagachi sex workers…[launched] their maiden album…Nijhum Raater Taara (Star of the Silent, Still Night)…[is a] compilation of seven adhunik gaan (Bengali modern songs)…The band [is backed by] DMSC…

Wise Investment (TW3 #23)

Let’s hope we see many more cases like this:

Fairview [New Jersey] has agreed to pay $145,000 to a [massage] business that had accused police officers of trespassing and…illegal search and seizure…during a prostitution sting…After five years of legal wrangling…the parties this week agreed to settle rather than go to trial…

The Widening Gyre

All it takes to be a “sex trafficking expert” is to declare yourself one, and to be able to tell tall tales with a straight face:  “Detective [Bill] Woolf said he’s seen some horrifying things working with victims.  ‘Girls have been…locked in refrigerators as punishment for not performing various sex acts’…

Bottleneck

Despite the fact that she found some sex workers to support this precursor to criminalization, remember that about 90% of whores worldwide prefer to work illegally than submit to licensing:

A…[politician] wants to force sex workers in Buenos Aires City to register their names with authorities…[as] part of a larger bill that seeks to impose regulation…in order to “distinguish sexual work from human-trafficking”…Maria Rachid…insists [the registry] will be confidential and only accessible to competent authorities…

The “competent authorities” are the most dangerous ones.

King of the Hill

Prince George’s County…[is] seeking to crack down on human trafficking…by banning hourly rentals of hotel rooms…The Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force has called the state a “hot spot” for trafficking on account of…Interstate 95…bus stops and truck stops…The state ranks eighth in the country for…human trafficking-related reports.  Police in Prince George’s County have conducted a number of high-profile prostitution stings in recent years…

With Friends Like These…

I’ll bet this delusional ignoramus thinks he’s being “fair” and “sensible”:

…Most of the women who enter the sex trade have done so before a true age of consent.  They are…dependent on their pimps and usually on one or more narcotic substances, they have entered the sex industry as serfs…They age at an exponential rate of maybe 5 to 1…The average age is 13.  Some victims are as young as 9 and 10…many…are…literally…abducted…the reality for most…lured into this work is…a seven-year life expectancy…I think that regulating the sex work industry — granting and renewing licenses…would give sex workers some of the protections they want and make it possible for…authorities to rescue teen sex slaves…this…recognizes both the reality of human behavior…and this new…exploitation of children…There is an explosion of pornography…and…perversion.  Americans are oversexed…Something is deeply wrong in our culture and…spiritual life.  And I have to think that this is related to the sexualizing…of children…

Dysphemisms Galore 

“Authorities” have no idea how moronic they sound:

Ramona Judith Mora Garcia…pleaded guilty…to two felony counts of conspiracy to commit pimping…Garcia is a pimp/ modern-day slave owner who exploits women and/or children for financial gain.  She required the victims in this case to turn over half the payment they received for performing unlawful sex acts from sex purchasers…

Book Review:  America’s War on Sex

At long last, Dr. Marty Klein has made a public statement against “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…if you define trafficking broadly enough, it does look like there are a million or more victims…Some…define [it] to include all prostitutes…[and] porn actresses…No wonder these…“researchers” get such enormous, scary, numbers…activists keep warning of the number of people “at risk” for being sex trafficked…because they’re poor, or unloved, or drug-addicted, or have trouble with English.  Using that logic, 45 million Americans are “at risk” of dying in plane crashes every month, and twenty million Californians are “at risk” of dying in car crashes every week…

A Procrustean Bed (TW3 #339)

Ohio now has “trafficking court” as well:

Judge Paul…Herbert’s five-year-old human trafficking court…[is] the first…in Ohio…The court is an intensive two-year commitment that starts with women arrested for prostitution pleading guilty before Herbert.  They’re required to enter counseling programs…Erica Cortez said…”I had to completely surrender to what they were trying to show me”…

China and Vietnam recently abandoned coerced “re-education” for sex workers, but Americans are embracing it.  Welcome to the future.

Rough Trade (TW3 #351)

Jillian Keenan is proving herself a worthy ally:

…If history is any evidence, serial rapists target sex workers first.  And when they get away with it, they’re…free to hunt all women…Prostitutes who report sexual assault to police can be laughed at, ignored, accused of lying, arrested, or worse…New York State’s…rape shield law—which protects rape victims from having their sexual histories used against them in criminal proceedings—explicitly does not apply to anyone with a prostitution conviction…And when an…Oakland [California] sex worker…applied for state-funded victim compensation after…rape left her unable to return to work immediately, she was denied support…The police and criminal justice systems treat sex workers as though rape were a mere “occupational hazard” of their work — an accusation that would never be thrown at a bank teller who survived a robbery…

Imaginary Crises (TW3 #410)

This parody springs from the absolutely true observation that “if the risk of sexual assault on campus were truly one in five…no parent in their right mind would send their daughter to coed universities.”

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #431)

File this one under “100% predictable”:

…Surabaya…mayor…Ibu Tri Rismaharini…[assumed] that Dolly’s sex workers would be eager to take up a lower-paid…vocation, such as cookery or garment making…[but] only 476 sex workers bothered to claim their $400…severance package…the overwhelming majority of ex-Dolly sex workers are now…undercover – working Surabaya’s streets, hotels and karaoke bars…prior to the shutdown the sex workers…told us that they would…go on selling sexual services no matter what…But…the shutdown went ahead regardless…

Bait and Switch

If you believe this, I suggest you reread the original of this title:

Long Beach police…arrested 91 suspected pimps and johns during an eight-month investigation aimed at combating sex trafficking.  Authorities also recovered 22 young women who they alleged were working as prostitutes…In one case, a man arranged to have sex with two children under the age of 10…When the trunk of his car was searched…a large roll of carpeting, several rolls of duct tape, handcuffs, and a magazine full of bullets were found…

“Recovered” means “abducted and caged”.

Surplus Women (TW3 #439)

Peechington Marie on the lack of media concern for Tjhisha Ball, Angelia Mangum and black sex workers in general:

…Little has been said about the murder of…these young women, and what has been said either glosses over or luridly magnifies one very important factor…Tjhisha and Angelia worked as exotic dancers…Even in…mostly positive [articles]…I walked away…feeling both shameful and shamed, as if they were written to say, “News reports say they were exotic dancers, quick, let’s fight to erase that so the girls can appear deserving of our sorrow and rage”…

The fundraiser for their funeral expenses is still open for donations.

The Roof Caves In (TW3 #439)

Somaly Mam’s…comeback scheme…hinges on that one Marie Claire interview, acquired in the course of four and a half days on the ground by Abigail Pesta…the interview is spurious.  It paints all of the allegations against Mam as unique to Newsweek, when in fact they are of a compendium of years’ worth of investigative work…Simon Marks…had done at the Cambodia Daily…one of the…Marie Claire sources, Thou Soy, works for AFESIP…and…holds a stake in seeing Mam’s reputation restored…only 49 percent of…women and girls at AFESIP shelters…could be considered “trafficked” under any definition of the term…and…the job training…[they] receive…is largely suited for employment in the service industry and Cambodia’s $5.53 billion garment sector…It’s one reason the global garment industry may be one of the primary sources of funding for anti-trafficking NGOs…C-36 hearings

Whither Canada? (TW3 #439)

Unlike their US counterpart, the Canadian media are not only politicians’ lap dogs:

…Alan Young…had a lot to say…about the constitutionality of…bill [C36] and where his focus would be if he…[challenges] it.  Few Conservative senators seemed terribly interested…apparently they’re content with assurances from Justice lawyers that the bill is constitutionally sound.  This is the same Justice Department, of course, that argued the previous law was constitutional…I wouldn’t trust these people to tell me it’s raining…What does it say about the Senate if everyone already knows what they will do with one of the most hotly debated and controversial bills in recent memory?  Forget about sober second thought.  Can we at least get some thought?

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If that preacher man wants me to repent, he better pay me more money.  –  Minnie Rae Simpson

One of the recurring themes of these harlotographies is the difficulty of ascertaining the truth of almost any given detail about the life of any given whore who lived prior to the 20th-century advent of obsessive recordkeeping.  The farther back in history one delves, the harder it is to be sure of dates and other details, and the more biography merges into fiction, legend or even myth.  By the late 19th century we can be reasonably certain of things like birthdates and residences for whores of middle or upper-class birth, but solid facts about those of the working class – especially in the frontier regions of the young United States – can be just as obscure as those of a person born centuries earlier.  Add claims made by the lady herself to entice customers or inflate her reputation, and those made by reporters, biographers and other tall-tale-tellers during her life and after her death, and we have the recipe for a legend as misty as that of King Arthur even if its subject lived well into recent times.

One excellent example of this is the story of Minnie Rae (sometimes called Mary) Simpson, a young San Francisco streetwalker of the 1870s.  According to the popular narrative of her life, she was born in or near Philadelphia in 1860 to a woman known only as Lacey; her father is said to have been a shoe worker who participated in the Great New England Shoemakers’ Strike which began on February 22nd, 1860.  He is supposed to have died en route to California in 1862, either just before or just after the birth of Minnie’s younger brother, Adam.  Lacey claimed a land grant near San Francisco under the Homestead Act and managed to build up a small farm, relying on young Minnie for assistance with her baby brother; however, she died of scarlet fever in 1869, leaving the girl an orphan (it is unknown whether Adam survived).  Without family or even friends in the area, Minnie was forced to provide for herself and did so, as so many others have throughout history, by prostitution; she lived for a time with a Mr. Simpson (from whom she took her surname) and is supposed to have travelled with him the following year to England and Scotland.  There she is said to have met the young J.M. Barrie, who in later years wrote Peter Pan and patterned the character of Wendy after her.

Minnie Rae Simpson in 1871While on this tour she became pregnant, and the only known photograph of her was taken in 1871.  She gave birth to a son (whom she named Bartholomew) the following year; by this point she was no longer with Simpson and lived mostly on the street.  She was a close friend to the notable San Francisco eccentric Emperor Norton, who proclaimed her “The Little Countess”, and the association almost certainly contributed heavily to her fame; during the same time period she gave a series of interviews to a journalist, who turned them into a book entitled My Life as a Child Prostitute: The Autobiography of Minnie Rae.  Given the subject matter, it seems likely that the reason the journalist remained anonymous was to avoid controversy or even accusations of being one of Minnie’s clients.  It was a wise precaution; though the Cult of the Child was not yet in full swing in the US, Minnie’s pragmatic view of prostitution (“I get paid to be a whore.  If I married some farmer, I’d have to do it for free”) and her statements that prostitutes do the work because it’s lucrative and gives them a high degree of freedom, were almost as incendiary then as they would be now.  Only a few copies were ever printed, and these were gathered together by a preacher and burned in 1880, soon after the Emperor Norton’s death.  One copy survived, and was passed down to her descendants by Bartholomew until it, too was lost sometime in the late 20th century; only a few photocopied pages remain.  Minnie herself left San Francisco in 1873 and vanished from history; how Bartholomew knew anything about his mother or gained his copy of her book is entirely unclear, considering he was an infant at the time.  The only other concrete evidence of her existence is Minna Street in San Francisco, named for her by a politician who was one of her clients.

Now, the skeptical reader will no doubt already see a few problems with this narrative; though there are exceptions to every rule, in the late 19th century the average age of menarche in the US was about 14, and conditions such as Minnie lived in would tend to raise the age due to poor nutrition; in other words, getting pregnant at the age of 11 was even less likely in 1871 than it is now, and delivering a healthy baby from such a pregnancy would be unlikelier still.  Furthermore, though she was undoubtedly precocious, her making the kind of splash that she did in the short time she managed it seems to me less like something a 10 or 11-year-old could accomplish, and more like the actions of a bright 14 or 15-year-old with a baby face who realized that lurid narratives sell.  The intelligent, outgoing Minnie was well-known among clients and acquaintances as a tale-teller, and she even boasted that Mark Twain had been inspired by some of her yarns; it seems very likely that she ratcheted her age down a few years for the sake of marketing, but whether she told her clients that age or whether it was something she came up with for a credulous journalist is unknown.  Given that her business is known to have gone up after she got pregnant (an obvious sign of more advanced physical maturity), and that underage whores still to this day exaggerate their back-stories for gullible members of the press, the latter seems far more likely.  One thing I find fascinating is that those who retell her story never find it odd that her birth year is known with such certainty despite the fact that her birthplace, her original surname and any event of her life after 1873 are not; I reckon the wanking fantasy of the pregnant 10-year-old streetwalker is just too juicy to pass up.

sacred chaoLarger-than-life characters tend to live on in the imaginations of others long after their deaths, and Minnie Rae is no exception.  Beside Peter Pan’s Wendy, she was also named a Discordian saint in 2006 (unsurprising, given that the Emperor Norton was a major influence on the philosophy); the Discordians seem to have started a rumor that the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train system was named after her son Bartholomew.  Minnie believed in reincarnation, and claimed to have been a Babylonian harlot who was mentioned in the Bible; whether she meant Revelation’s “Whore of Babylon” is unknown.  But it seems likely that her belief inspired two modern-day strippers to claim to be Minnie reincarnated; one of them, who went by Fannie Mae, worked in Los Angeles during the ‘90’s. The other, Kitty, worked on Bourbon Street in New Orleans during the ‘50s and ‘60s, knew Lord Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst (one of the founders of Discordianism), and because of that connection (and a tentative one to Jack Ruby) was suspected by Jim Garrison as being connected to the Kennedy assassination conspiracy.  Confused yet?  Read some of the links, and it’ll probably get worse.  But it all goes to show that when dealing with the demimonde, appearances are often more important than reality, and adhering to conventional beliefs about women and girls is foolish at best.

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I was…struck by how the…treatment for these women mostly consisted of convincing them that they were victims.  –  Jessica Gutiérrez

Bad Girls 

I suspect missing information:

…sex worker…Aarti Yadav…was arrested…[for] the murder of a constable, Dilip Borole…”Yadav owed him money and Borole had been insisting that she [repay him]…Yadav offered him a drink laced with a sedative.  After he passed out, she strangled him…[then]  wrapped the body in a mattress, before setting it on fire…”

Maggie in the Media IMDb logo

Jayant Bhandari, who attended my presentation in Philadelphia, interviewed me for his podcast by phone last week after I returned home.  And a few weeks ago, I got my own IMDb page because of my appearance on The Independents.

Perquisites

Tip for reporters who don’t want to look like prohibitionist ignoramuses:  when reporting on sex work in East Asia, don’t simply say “prostitution is illegal”, but rather point out it was traditionally legal and only criminalized in the past few years due to American pressure:

…just as [US] companies…pick up the tab for employees’ lunch meetings, in Korea they subsidize…hard core boozing and…the…sex trade (never mind that prostitution is illegal)…To Koreans, the business districts of American cities appear staid, orderly and a bit dull…[Koreans say] North America is a “boring heaven” while their country is an “exciting hell.”  No salesman…gets far here unless he can sing mean, inebriated karaoke and then slug through negotiations the next morning with a thumping headache…

Against Their Will

Nobody in the Indian media seems to think it’s strange that “rescued” women want so badly to escape their “rescuers”:  “The Pune rural police have launched a search…[for] three women who escaped from a government hostel…A few months back, [they] were rescued from a brothel in Aurangabad…”  See also the next item.

Law of the Instrument

A social worker explains why she rejected the “sex trafficking” paradigm:

A few years ago I worked as a psychotherapist in a governmental institution in Mexico…we [were forced] to participate in…raids…to “rescue” victims of human trafficking…I saw how the rights of the women found in the hotel were trampled on.  I witnessed [their] physical maltreatment…This single experience made me resign my job…psychologists and social workers…were…sent in to win the confidence of the women and then use this information in an unethical way…the…["victims"] were unwilling or even angry at the idea of receiving therapy.  Some escaped from the refuges where they were housed “for their protection”.  They didn’t seem to see it as rescue…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical Slender Man

ABC News [wrote]:  “A 14-year-old girl was arrested after allegedly setting her family’s house on fire in what authorities suspect is the latest case of Slender Man-inspired violence“…This past spring, two girls stabbed a classmate as part of a bizarre plan to prove the fictional creature was real…many reporters seemed to think it was not a weird one-off but a harbinger of a new trend, and a short burst of Slender Man media hysteria followed…the supposed Slender Man connection in the new story?  “…The teen…admitted to using the websites  Creepypasta.com and SoulEater.com, which are associated with The Slender Man“…She…”admitted” to “using” (which I assume means “reading”) Creepypasta.com, a vast depository of online horror stories that is “associated with The [sic] Slender Man” in the sense that he is one of the many characters one might encounter there…

So What Else Is New?

a…recent report…published in the journal Nature Reviews Urology  by Emmanuele Jannini…found that, essentially, the G-spot is just a sensitive area that’s part of the larger pleasure center that includes the vagina, clitoris, and urethra…a…2012…study by…Dr. Amichai Kilchevsky…found…that…what [women are] likely experiencing is a continuation of the clitoris…

Scapegoats (TW3 #10)

Given that politicians who obsess about certain kinks are nearly always practitioners of those same kinks, what are we to make of Joe Arpaio’s crusade against zoophilia?

…Arpaio says sexual deviants continue to flock to Craigslist…to locate like-minded deviants to engage in sex acts with animals.  Several suspectshave been arrested by Sheriff’s deputies, and many were later convicted and jailed…Terry Wayne Haupt…went to meet up with the Sheriff’s Office undercover black lab for the purposes of engaging in various sex acts…Arpaio says he has written to Craigslist…on three separate occasions asking the company to consider forbidding this type of solicitation…Craigslist…has never responded…

Yes, Arpaio is now doing bestiality stings.  Meanwhile, nearby in Albuquerque…

Broken Record

How low can they go?

Prostitution is common during the [New Mexico State] fair, and Albuquerque police are running…[stings in which] female officers dress up as prostitutes and [trick]…men [into talking to them]…“The officers have to be very careful about how they approach…to avoid entrapment,” [pig mouthpiece Tanner] Tixier [lied]…police are seizing the vehicles of men who are arrested…

As regular readers know, they aren’t “careful” in the least; they simply invent accusations against anyone they choose to target.  And what, pray tell, constitutes “dressing up as a prostitute”?  High-heeled boots or skinny jeans, perhaps?

The Widening Gyre

Lock up your daughters!  Sex traffickers are EVERYWHERE!!!

A new study…reveals…victims of sex trafficking are recruited in places we like to think are safe havens…girls as young as 12 and 13 are first approached…at schools, malls and even parties…The study looked at five years of cases in Minneapolis…Some 40 percent…come from families [with whom] child protection had contact…a potential [excuse] for intervention…police say major events like this summer’s All-Star Game can change the dynamics of what has become a big time business…

FYI:  looking at a bunch of police reports doesn’t qualify as a “study” of anything except cops’ and prosecutors’ masturbatory fantasies about underage girls. Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick

Like a Horse and Carriage

Gay marriage supporters claim that for two men who love each other to marry “makes a mockery of marriage”:

Two men got married in New Zealand…and people aren’t happy about it.  Heterosexuals Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick tied the knot…as part of a radio competition to win tickets to the Rugby World Cup.  The “best mates” got hitched…with tens of thousands listening live.  But…gay rights groups and social conservatives…have both condemned the sham marriage…

Picket-fence gays:  if the state is going to involve itself in people’s interpersonal contracts, I support your right to make such contracts as you see fit.  But your busybody concern for whether two people who make such a contract are habitually shoving their body parts into each other’s orifices is deeply disgusting, and you need to STFU.

Under Every Bed 

I had an ad in the Baton Rouge phone book for years, and it only barely justified its cost:

…Emily Morrow-Chenevert…said the Interstate 10 and Interstate 12 corridor makes Baton Rouge a hub for sex trafficking.  New Orleans is among the top 20 cities…and Houston and Memphis are other big destinations.  Baton Rouge…serves as a convenient stop between those places…there’s an estimated 27 million victims of sex trafficking worldwide…

It’s a “convenient stop” an hour away from New Orleans and on no credible route between it and Memphis.  Note also that the 27 million claim has shifted from all “human trafficking” victims to specifically “sex trafficking” victims.

Lower Education 

Ohio State essentially defines all unscripted human contact as rape:

At Ohio State University, to avoid being guilty of “sexual assault”…you and your partner now apparently have to agree…“regarding the who, what, where, when, why, and how this sexual activity will take place”…[this] impractical “agreement” requirement…[also applies] to…“touching”…[and] Ohio State’s Student Wellness Center seeks to radically narrow the concept of consent further (and ban “kissing” without verbal consent as “sexual assault”).  It says consent must be “verbal,” “enthusiastic,” and must be “asked for every step of the way”…Consent also must also be a litany of other things, such as “sober,” “informed,” “honest,” “wanted,” and “creative”…

Sold Out drag queen Facebook protest

Would Facebook dare to target picket-fence gay folk this way?

In a frankly creepy overreach of authority, Facebook is going after…drag queens, requiring that they use their “real names”…In some cases they’ve requested users send in a copy of their drivers license to prove a name is legit…Facebook just rolled out gender-neutral family options, so clearly they’re trying to appear sensitive to nonconforming identities.  So what’s with the name police?

Facebook temporarily backed down after protests, but hasn’t changed its policy.

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #335)

Once again: No, Zurich’s was NOT the first tippelzone in Europe:

…Vienna is considering installing…”drive-in brothels”…to improve working conditions for street prostitutes…The facilities were first installed in Zürich a year ago…Street prostitution in Vienna is generally legal, but…more and more restrictions [have been] enacted in recent years…

The rest of the article is actually a very good discussion of the bottleneck effect.

Paint By Numbers

Yet another cut-and-paste “sex trafficking” story:

Florida…ranks among the top five states for human trafficking…local authorities formed a team to recover victims and…increase public awareness…”it’s hidden…everywhere”…Polaris Project…Traffickers…use drugs to keep their victims…Florida…has enacted stricter laws…such as requiring strip clubs to…keep [workers' personal] information on file…Parents should monitor…their children…on social media…because…traffickers…Salvation Army…conference…how to get men to stop purchasing sex, along with a prayer walk outside of massage parlors and strip clubs…

The only novel element is the assertion that “Traffickers often change locations…using standard transportation that wouldn’t raise eyebrows…”  As opposed to what, howdahs?  Pogo sticks?  Dirigibles?  Amphibious landing craft?

Dirty Laundry (TW3 #405)

a public inquiry into historical child abuse…has heard…of the abuse…at the Sacré Coeur orphanage…[in] Jersey, [where nuns] beat children with spoons and forced them to work in a knitwear factory…in one nightmarish instance, nuns confined a child no older than six to a room where a dead nun had been laid in a coffin…Other punishments included the children having sheets pulled up tightly over their heads so they couldn’t move and having to eat meals in a toilet…

Imaginary Crises (TW3 #410) David Ley

Dr. David Ley shares the story of a young man with OCD who made the mistake of telling a “Mental Health Crisis Team” (which includes a cop) about his persistent rape fantasies, resulting in his suspension from university and dozens of strangers prying into his private thoughts.  Ley writes,

…This young man is terrified that his thoughts…of rape make him dangerous to others.  Unfortunately, that’s the message that he is getting, everywhere he turns.  I’m truly sad that this young man…is now learning that asking for help can result in punishment…he…is…surrounded by a system…driven by panic and fear…[which] is making problems worse, not better…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #433)

The German Association of Female Lawyers (DJB)…rejects the prohibition of prostitution and criminalization of clients…A ban would mean a return to the times of social stigma and lack of rights for women, yet would not change the fact that prostitution takes place…[if clients alone are criminalized] an important group of witnesses in criminal proceedings would be lost…the DJB rejects the introduction of [licensing] for sex workers…the risk of stigmatization is…high and the benefits of such a scheme questionable…

Another Fine Mess (TW3 #435)

Ordinary business practices don’t magically become newsworthy when  hookers use them:

The company that operates Ireland’s biggest sex-worker website has moved its headquarters to Spain and is expanding its business across Europe…Escorts Ireland…[was] previously…based in London  to avoid [Irish anti-advertising laws]…chief executive Audrey Campbell…confirmed the company has moved to Spain because of its “more accepting” attitude…[and favorable] tax [framework]…Campbell set up the company with…Peter McCormick…who has a conviction for brothel-keeping in…the 1990s…McCormick’s son Mark was imprisoned for 16 months for brothel-keeping in 2010…

Translation:  “Internet-based company expands its operations and moves its domicile to a country with more advantageous laws and regulations.  Both owners are experienced in their field.
Whither Canada? (TW3 #437)

Terri-Jean Bedford…[has a list of] names of politicians who hire sex workers…compiled from sex workers across Canada, and…is carefully considering which…to release…after [C-36]…receives royal assent.  This would shame the hypocrites who secretly go to prostitutes while publicly moralizing against sex work or [voting] for laws that endanger sex workers…C-36 will either be undone by the next government or struck down by judges…[it] is a doomed rearguard action — aimed at winning donations and votes — and the Conservatives know it.  What they don’t know:  whose names are on Bedford’s list.

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There’s a collective American fixation on the creepy image of a sex offender salivating just beyond the playground fence, but that’s just not how things usually work.  –  Jesse Singal

Decentralization

For the first time…a country will officially adopt bitcoin as its currency: Dominica…[made] an agreement…[with] Coinapult, Aspen Assurance, Bitcoin Beauties, and the College Cryptocurrency Network (CCN)…[to] send a small of amount of bitcoin to every island resident via text message…[turning] Dominica…into the most densely concentrated bitcoin community in the world…The launch date…March 15, 2015, at 9:26 a.m., coincides with Pi Day, a global celebration of the mathematical constant…

Above the Law Erasmo Mata

A grand jury indicted a former [Texas cop]…after he…sexually assaulted an underage girl multiple times…Erasmo Mata Jr., 25, is accused of [raping] a 17-year-old girl during work hours [in] five separate incidents…other [cops] watched Mata commit the sexual assaults and…Pharr Police Chief Ruben Villescas met with the victim’s family…and told them not to hire an attorney…

Legal Is as Legal Does (TW3 #34)

As I’ve stated many times, any artificial bottleneck in the legality of sex work (such as licensing, venue restrictions or immigration controls) inevitably creates problems in the restricted sector:

Police are investigating five illegal brothels across the Geelong [Victoria] region…[with] a new specialist investigation unit dedicated to prosecuting unregistered sex operators.  Sergeant Aaron Riches said…“We’re not the moral police but…you’ve been committing a crime by soliciting an illegal sex worker”…Registered brothel Lorraine Starr boss David…welcomed the police crackdown on illegals…“We’ve seen illegal ones open up next to the homes of mums and dads and last year even a school”…

No one is safe from the horror of sex rays!

Under Every Bed 

I’m sure every reader has seen 12-year-old strippers and websites where they can “purchase” girls:

…[a "sex trafficking" fetishist publicly fantasized about]…how young at-risk girls fall prey to older “pimps”…victims are typically girls 12 to 14 years of age who encounter older men on the Internet…and are…forced to work as prostitutes, strippers or massage parlor workers in large cities like Atlanta…while there has not yet been a confirmed human trafficking raid in Albany, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation strongly suspects the activity exists…“There are online sites where ‘customers’ can go to ask for a 12-year-old blond, for example and then purchase that girl. Unfortunately, those sites aren’t being shut down”…potential [victims are] more likely to have unsupervised access to a smart phone or…computer…and may walk alone to school or to the local mall…communities can help guard against the threat of human trafficking by…summer lunch programs…and homeless shelters…

An Example to the West (TW3 #316)

Over a dozen Sex Workers…are getting set to travel to Guyana in October where a meeting of Sex Workers from across the Caribbean will take place…Among the countries from which Sex Workers are expected are: Trinidad and Tobago (2), Jamaica (4), Suriname (2), Grenada (3), Antigua (2), and Dominican Republic (3).  Some ten Sex Workers from Guyana are also expected to participate…

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #327) enjo kosai

New to Japan, maybe, but not to the Americans they’re emulating:

Police in Japan have adopted a new tactic in the apparently unending struggle against the under-age sex industry, introducing sting operations against minors offering sexual services…In the first six months of this year, officers using these tactics took into custody 220 girls under the age of 18.  Instead of arresting first-time offenders, however, the police are providing “cyber correctional guidance”, which warns them of the crimes they are committing and the potential dangers.  After a dose of moral re-education, the girls are then taken home and their parents informed…The phenomenon of enjo kosai – which literally means compensated dating…first emerged in Japan in the 1990s.  Concerned at the number of men eager to pay for the company of a teenage girl, as well as the appetite of minors for brand-name goods and…the funds to buy them, Japanese authorities passed strict new laws…

Enjo kosai didn’t start in the ’90s, though the term dates to that time; anyone who thinks young girls trading sex for cash is something new is an historical illiterate.  As is anyone who isn’t disgusted by the phrase “moral re-education”.

Check Your Premises (TW3 #327)

The University of Missouri has banned obtaining clear consent:

…MU Title IX Coordinator Linda Bennett provided…students…an all-university memo a few weeks ago.  Elaborating on an already-overbroad sexual harassment policy, Bennett’s memo seems to prohibit asking for consent for sexual activities.  “Examples of behavior that will not be tolerated,” the letter says, include “Requesting another person to engage in a behavior with a sexual body part or enacting a sexual behavior.”  (Emphasis added.)  How is a student supposed to engage in any sexual activity, except by first requesting that the other person engage in it?  Maybe MU doesn’t think consent is sexy, after all…

Be Careful Who You Rape

Maybe if the doctor’s victims had been “good” women, they’d have been investigated in a timely fashion:

A highly paid neurosurgeon who indulged his cocaine addiction…and was directly linked to the death of two prostitutes avoided detection and continued to practise…Dr Suresh Nair worked at the Nepean Private Hospital in Sydney’s western suburbs…He would eventually be charged in connection with the deaths of two sex workers from cocaine toxicity and have his medical licence revoked…many of his patients were horrified to learn…[that] Dr Nair had botched their operations and left them with life-long ailments…Victoria McIntyre…died of a cocaine overdose after a booking at Dr Nair’s apartment…the NSW Medical Board…was not informed…another young escort, Suellen Domingues-Zaupa…[later] suffered a cardiac arrest, but Dr Nair left her for dead as he went elsewhere to continue partying with other escorts.  Many questions have been raised about how the doctor was allowed to continue practising…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #335)

Once again: No, this was NOT the first tippelzone in Europe:

…Zürich…opened Europe’s first municipal drive-in brothel in an old industrial area…Sex workers who agreed to relocate from their traditional…haunts were allowed to ply their trade…with a minimum of fuss…they had to obtain permits and pay tax…”The first year of the service has been positive,” Zurich social services said…authorities admit that not everyone is happy.  Some sex workers complain that their earnings have fallen and that they are too far from city-centre bars and nightclubs…

Peeping Toms (TW3 #351) Brown Family of Sister Wives

Last December, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups struck down a central part of the Utah law banning polygamy. [Wednesday]  he issued the rest of his ruling…Waddoups found the Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman violated the Browns’ constitutional rights when he oversaw a 2010 investigation into whether [they were] committing bigamy…Buhman eventually decided not to file criminal charges, but Waddoups said the investigation stifled the Browns’ rights to free speech, religion and equal protection.  Waddoups ordered Utah to pay the Browns’ attorney fees…Utah’s attorney general says he plans to appeal the case…

Flush Criminalization (TW3 #352)

A…doctor who was among the 104 men swept up in the “Flush the Johns” sting last year has been acquitted of patronizing a prostitute, and his attorney is considering suing Nassau County.  Richard Obedian…was the fifth defendant…to take his case to a bench trial.  Four of those trials have resulted in acquittals.  The doctor was the only defendant to continue to trial since District Attorney Kathleen Rice…began allowing the men to plead guilty to…disorderly conduct…At least one other man arrested in the sting has filed a notice of claim…against the county for false arrest and false imprisonment.  Asked for comment…Rice’s office [vomited out disgusting "end demand" propaganda]…

Cops and Robbers 

While “sex offender” hysteria appears to have peaked in the US, it’s still ramping up in Canada:

…sex offender Keith Constantin was released from prison in July after five years, but in…a few weeks he was run out of town twice…Constantin, convicted of sexually assaulting a seven-year-old boy and a 45-year-old blind woman, faced a concerted backlash orchestrated by 200 angry mothers; his face and crimes plastered on posters on every pole in town.  In the end…he [was accused of breaking] his curfew and [re-arrested]…growing numbers of grassroots activists…use…posters, taking pictures, pestering to the point of harassment, anything to send the message that sex offenders are not wanted…Organizations like this say they are not vigilantes, but their messaging is questionable.  In a promotional video, [one group] uses graphic images with slogans like: “Hurt my kid and I’ll bury you where they’ll never find the body”…

Cuckoo Advertising (TW3 #420)

These “findings” absurdly presume that a woman planning to cheat on her spouse will be totally honest with everyone else:

…According to a new study, women who cheat on their husbands are looking for passion and sex, but they have no desire to end their marriages.  Using data from AshleyMadison.com…Eric Anderson…the [business's] chief science officer…[eavesdropped on] 100 women between the ages of 35 and 45 on the site.  After [unethically] reading their conversations with potential lovers, Anderson found that 67 percent of these married ladies were specifically looking for more “romantic passion,” aka sex.  None wanted to actually leave their husbands and most even painted their clueless spouses in a positive light…this sample isn’t quite representative — the findings are only generalizable to the women using AshleyMadison…

Nice While It Lasted

Britain’s most senior police chief has called for wide-ranging new powers to tackle…terrorism, including a “rebuttable presumption” that anyone who visits Syria without prior notice should be treated as a terror suspect.  Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe…also called for a return of control orders and…[backed] Boris Johnson’s proposal for the presumption of innocence to be overturned for Britons who travel to warzones…”If we can get an assumption that when people come back and have been to Syria they’ve been involved in terrorism.  If they can prove they haven’t then that’s up to them.  It’s pretty hard for us sometimes to prove what they were doing in Syria…”

Above the Law (TW3 #434) Eric Roberts

OHP Trooper Eric Roberts also sexually assaulted [a second woman who has come forward]…Roberts pulled over her car on July 8…and made inappropriate sexual comments to her.  She texted a friend with the Trooper’s tag number because she was afraid she might die when he instructed her to follow him…he drove her to a secluded location and sexually assaulted her.  The woman…didn’t report it initially because she…thought no one would believe her…

Banishment (TW3 #434)

Dozens of sex offenders who have satisfied their sentences in New York State are being held in prison beyond their release dates because of a new interpretation of a state law that governs where they can live”…The unfortunate thing about this situation is that laws designed to restrict where sex offenders can live are really and truly useless, except as a means of politicians scoring easy political points by ratcheting up hysteria.  There are many tricky social-scientific issues on which there are a range of opinions…among experts, but this isn’t one of them.  Among those whose job it is to figure out how to reduce the rate at which sex offenders commit crimes (as opposed to those whose job it is to get reelected, in part by hammering away at phantom threats), there is zero controversy:  These laws don’t work, and may actually increase sexual offenders’ recidivism rates…

Bait and Switch

If you believe this, you didn’t read Monday’s column:

A three month investigation ends with more than two dozen arrests for prostitution offenses in Rochester [Minnesota].  The police…posted ads to…backpage.com…Of the 29 arrested, close to half wanted someone underage.  Experts say this sting highlights a problem bigger than prostitution…

Another Fine Mess

It’s really gratifying to see an amateur who recognizes that ordinary business practices don’t magically become newsworthy because hookers use them:

It seems that every few years, some intrepid reporter…[makes] the game-changing discovery that a lot of people use the Internet to conduct their business.  Though this sounds like an absolute non-story, when the people in question are sex workers…editors are bound to green-light…stories that all essentially reveal…that sex workers advertise and network online…Some of the stories appear to just be comically out-of-touch…and…many such non-stories perpetuate the myth that sex workers are coming for civilians where they least suspect it!  They browse among us…better hide the husbands!…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on July 20th; I have modified it slightly for time references and to fit the format of this blog.

All week long I collect sex-work-related news stories for my Saturday “That Was the Week That Was” news columns, and when I prepare the columns each item is filed under a subtitle which refers back to a previous post.  But as I explained in “Case Study”, “every once in awhile a story comes along which is so interesting, funny, horrible, odd or whatever, that I like to analyze it at length.”  This is one of those stories, and my attention was attracted to it by two things: one, that it was difficult to fit into only one heading; and two, that there’s so much ignorance here one almost has to admire the journalist’s dedication to spreading misinformation.  After all, she could have obtained nearly all the information she needed from the two activists she interviewed; instead, she chose to shove their input to corners of the article and instead concentrate on the pronouncements of a clownish cop and a self-important academic (whom I’ve criticized on several occasions for his dopey assumptions).  Author Jessica Guynn wastes no time, starting off with monumentally dumb statements from the very beginning:

For years, sex workers have been the entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley that no one talks about.  But…the sex industry has been closely linked to boom times in the Bay Area going back to the Gold Rush…

Scott CunninghamThat it’s the San Francisco Bay Area is neither here nor there; every place there are men with money to spend, there will be sex workers for them to spend it on.  Guynn seems to imagine herself an intrepid investigative reporter exposing some hidden scandal; I’m sure she thought it clever to intersperse sentences about the mundane doings of sex workers with those describing recent anti-sex worker pogroms and the overdose death of a Google executive, no doubt hoping the latter two would lend some lurid spice to the rather dry meat of the former.  And even when she’s dealing with basic, easily-checked facts, the “pimps and hos” mythology she learned from cops (or television, or other equally-ill-informed sources) seems to interfere with her ability to transcribe them; when the story first appeared she referred to the screening service Preferred 411 as “Preferred911”, and even in the corrected story she portrays it as an escort service directory (with obligatory scare quotes around the perfectly ordinary word “escort”) rather than what it is, a screening service and ad platform.  I’m sure activist Siouxsie Q (the first source quoted herein) could’ve thoroughly explained P411 to Guynn, but instead she quickly turns to Scott Cunningham, who might actually be able to turn out good research if he’d consult sex workers instead of proceeding from his own wholly-erroneous preconceptions:

Scott Cunningham, an associate professor at Baylor University who studies the economics of prostitution, said the Internet has made the sex trade “extraordinarily efficient,” taking it from the streets and red-light districts to home computers and smartphones.

This is the fundamental flaw in Cunningham’s work:  he believes (and has repeatedly stated) that prior to the internet, the majority of whores worked on the street; all of his studies are based on this fallacy.  Street workers have never been the majority at any point in history, and under criminalized 20th-century conditions they represented 15% or less of American prostitutes.  While it is true that some street workers moved indoors after the advent of the internet, the majority of internet-based escorts are those who used to work in hotels, take out ads in alternative papers or contract with escort services (which largely advertised in phone books).  But Cunningham insists on comparing apples to oranges, resulting in strikingly-wrong statements like, “Before the Internet, clients didn’t know where to find the prostitutes and prostitutes did not know where to find the clients.”  That’s news to me, and to every other sex worker who did quite well in pre-internet times; I can assure Professor Cunningham that my clients had no trouble whatsoever finding me, and the idea that hookers had trouble finding clients seems to proceed from another ridiculous and false assumption:  that clients are only a small subset of all men.

Kyle OkiThe belief in a lost era of woebegone streetwalkers crying plaintively in the night for rare and elusive clients (and its counterpart, the creed of the magical whore-multiplying powers of the internet) is also clearly evident in the statements of Sgt. Kyle Oki of the San Jose Police Department Human Trafficking Task Force (formerly known as the San Jose vice squad), who said “prostitutes are gravitating to the Internet because they can charge clients they find there more money for the same sex acts”.  This is a fine example of the principle of Garbage In, Garbage Out; Oki proceeds from a set of faulty assumptions, and authoritatively states a conclusion which is literally the exact opposite of the truth:  because the internet makes it easier for amateurs to place ads, cheapskates can more easily find cut-rate girls and established ones must either charge less or do more to compete, or else resign themselves to less business.  In other words, contrary to Oki’s blather, most prostitutes find that because of the internet they can charge clients less money for the same sex acts.  In 2000, the going rate in New Orleans was $300 per hour, above the national average; though it’s still possible for an established lady to get that, $300 buys a lot less than it did 14 years ago.  And in some areas (such as Las Vegas and Los Angeles) the bottom has almost dropped out of what was once a very lucrative market.

The rest of the article suffers from the same syndrome that permeates all of prostitution law and much of the public’s conception of sex work:  the fallacious belief that sex is different from all other human activity, and sex work different from all other work.  Would a reporter find the idea that any other entrepreneur had grossed almost $1 million over several years of brisk business remarkable?  Of course not, but somehow it becomes so when the entrepreneur is a sex worker (I also doubt Guynn would use the demeaning word “servicing” to describe the work of a landscaper, chef, masseuse or therapist, but we’ll leave that discussion for another day).  And then there’s this line: “One sex worker [said] she uses credit-card payment processor Square to charge clients…” to which any normal person’s response should be, “So what?”  How many businesses have you run into lately that don’t take credit cards?  Accepting credit cards is not remotely notable, for sex workers or anyone else, and it hasn’t been for at least two decades; the fact that a businesswoman uses a popular payment processor doesn’t make it any more interesting.  But that’s par for the course with mainstream articles on sex work; rather than discuss important issues like sex worker rights, police brutality and how “authorities” use the moral panic around “sex trafficking” to justify massive violations of human rights, reporters prefer to present dry-as-dust details that they portray as somehow shocking because the transaction involves sex, then liberally moisten the mixture with lies, myths and sexual fantasies from self-appointed “experts” who know less about sex work than they do about quantum physics.

Professor Scott Cunningham says these indoor sex workers will have to wait at least another century for their clients to find them.

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