We never encountered any [people tortured in brothels], and we certainly looked for it…I think [sex trafficking fetishists have] been watching too many movies. – Thomas Steinfatt
Maggie in the Media
While in San Diego last Sunday I appeared on the Edge of Chaos podcast, which is now available; I was also interviewed for Reason TV the previous Friday, but that will take a few weeks to edit so watch this space.
Women do whatever they need to do to survive in a worker’s paradise:
[Venezuelan] prostitutes more than double their earnings by moonlighting as currency traders…they are the foreign exchange counter for sailors in a country where buying and selling dollars in the streets is a crime — and prostitution isn’t…The bolivar has fallen to 71 to the dollar from 23 on the black market…[but] the official exchange rate…is 6.3 bolivars per dollar. The dollar shortage is turning Venezuela into a two-tier society similar to the Soviet Union and Cuba…those with access to dollars such as prostitutes, tour agents, airport taxi drivers and expatriates are able to shield themselves from inflation by trading their greenbacks at ever higher rates. Those who can’t are seeing their living standards decline…
Another spot-on sex work comparison:
…What if…the government legislated that piano teachers couldn’t…advertise…hanging out at houses of piano would be evidence you were illegally living off the avails of piano lessons…learning piano would be a crime, and so the piano teachers would operate in the dangerous shadows…some piano teachers might need to switch careers, but a police record won’t get them there, and…there are people adept and inclined and happy to teach piano…“But,” I hear some say, “why would a guy need professional piano lessons anyway? It disgusts me. Doesn’t he have a friend who can teach him piano?”…
Another “sex trafficking survivor” bites the dust:
…Chong Kim whom [sic] has claimed to be a survivor of human trafficking is not…after thorough investigation into her story, people, records and places, as well as, [sic] many interviews with producers, publishers and…organizations, we found no truth…In fact, we found a lot of fraud, lies, and the most horrifically capitalizing [sic]…several other organizations…have [also] been defrauded by Chong collecting money in their name…
Follow Your Bliss
Yasmin Nair is on the same page as I am about Kristof:
…Nicholas Kristof’s collected work on sex trafficking constitutes a masturbatory text…there’s a pornographic impulse at its heart, a sexual fantasy about dark-skinned women and children being raped by sexual predators on the dirt floors of basements, until the white saviour smashes the door down to save them. I don’t decry fantasy, but it’s about time we started to name Kristof’s fables of sex and rescue for what they are: Trafficking porn. And it’s about time we started to openly question whether Kristof isn’t in fact actually projecting some of his own sexual fantasies onto helpless women across the world; little else helps to explain his excessive desire to probe…into the intimate details of his subjects’ lives…
Above the Law
FBI reports make rape sound humdrum and almost accidental: “…Bryan Robert Benson pleaded guilty…to a civil rights offense for sexually assaulting a woman while transporting her to jail…Benson pulled into a parking lot….and engaged in intercourse with her against the police car without her consent…“
Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (TW3 #12)
Sex workers who quit the trade will become eligible for low-interest loans this month of up to VND20 million (US$940)…But the scheme beneficiaries apparently don’t buy its efficiency…loan applicants must produce certification from high-ranking commune-level authorities that they have given up sex work….most young sex workers earn…more than VND30 million a month…[so] VND20 million is…unlikely to convince anyone to leave the business…
The Pygmalion Fallacy
Joyce Arthur pointed me to this amusing “future story” in a Canadian newspaper:
A Nova Scotia man is suing a pleasure provider after the sexbot he rented behaved erratically during their night together…Andy Smith is suing for $100,000 in damages he alleges were made to his vehicle when the sex worker began pounding the windshield with her fists and slashed the hood of his vehicle…BestSexEver (BSE)…is countersuing Smith, claiming that he disrespected the sexbot by ignoring her programmed suggestions for best sexual positions in a vehicle, and speaking rudely about robots in general…A witness at the scene said a naked Smith jumped from his vehicle and started yelling obscenities at the sexbot…
A follow-up story imagines sexbots demanding the right to unionize.
On a really big tour bus with 40,000 seats, plus a Cadillac for the pimps:
Texas ranks second only to California…[in] human trafficking, according to the FBI. Right now, San Antonio is in the national spotlight…[because of] the Spurs…”The sexual trafficking rings…are attracted to San Antonio,” said…Michelle Lee… “They travel much like a band would travel”…
See No Evil (TW3 #41)
“Residents of wealthy Old Westbury, N.Y…[are] concerned…that a millionaire neighbor will plop a 33-foot, painted bronze sculpture of a beyond-naked pregnant woman with an exposed fetus on his front lawn…“
It Looks Good On Paper (TW3 #311)
18 months for whores, 8 hours for clients. Yeah, that’s fair.
Los Angeles police…announced plans…for a prostitution crackdown…The city is working with the Mary Magdalene Project…to provide an 18-month course to help prostitutes find another career. Those arrested on suspicion of soliciting prostitutes may be given a chance to attend an 8-hour “John’s School.”
Under Every Bed
IT’S EVERYWHERE, IT’S EVERYWHERE!!!!! In Missoula, Montana (population circa 69,000):
…pimps are often former drug dealers…[ignoramus Guy Baker said] “I have an ounce of cocaine and I sell it for a gram.1 I get my money but I lose my product. But with a human…it’s a re-usable commodity2…[a cop arresting a sex worker is] their knight in shining armor”3…Baker says 77% of adult prostitutes were lured into the sex trade when they were juveniles4.
…and in La Crosse, Wisconsin (pop c. 52,000):
It can happen in Internet chat rooms, private parties and even at home…Stopping the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children…was sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration…and other local groups…organizers hope to draw attention to sex trafficking…of children in the La Crosse area…[ignoramus Alan Krok said] “The exploiter’s teaching them that the police are the bad guys”3…
…and even in Cheboygan, Michigan (pop c. 5000):
…Theresa Flores…was talking about the growing…practice of human sex trafficking…According to recent estimates by the FBI5, approximately 293,000 American youth are at risk of being trafficked…students were “dumbfounded” that…trafficking could happen so close to home…Malls are popular locations…along with any major gathering of people like the North American International Auto Show…girls…said…it made [them] scared6 because [they] go to the mall often…
1If these dudes were trading an entire ounce of coke (28.35 grams) for a gram, it’s no wonder they couldn’t make any money at it.
2Standard gang-flavored “trafficking” rhetoric these days.
3Cops trying desperately to pretend they aren’t the bad guys in prohibition.
4Bogus stat pulled totally out of his arse, and smells like it.
5Actually, a bad 13-year-old guess from Estes & Weiner.
6Exactly the point.
Will these “reporters” never wake up?
A new survey conducted by Ashley Madison…[asked] 105,000 of its members…about their religious affiliation…one in four…who responded described themselves as “born again” Evangelist Christians. Catholics comprised the next largest group at 22.75 percent, followed by Protestants (22.7 percent)…
Here’s the magical pimp mind-control philter again:
…800,000…victims are added each year…Anti-Trafficking signs are posted in seven different languages in rest stop bathrooms along Interstate-90…“They just keep them so drugged that they don’t even know what’s happening to them,” said AmberDawn McCall, who was…was born into the world of human trafficking…[and] trapped…until the age of six…every child is a target, and traffickers…look for kids at places where no one is watching…
And in this one, we learn that “By just saying hello, a human trafficker can know whether or not a young boy or girl is worth pursuing as a victim…“
Innocence Never Had
The truth about “child sex trafficking”:
The media warns readers about violent pimps stealing girls from malls, but most victims’ stories are very different…I was a teen trafficking victim, and my experience reflects much of the research that’s been done…When my dad pimped me out during the Clinton era, the state called his crime “sexual abuse of a minor.” When the cops decided to try to “rescue” me when I was 15, they pressured the state to take custody of me…[though] I had been living independently and with friends for years…Most of my foster-home stints lasted less than a week…I was lucky. Other teens have been raped and pimped in foster care…Within a few months, the state had run out of foster homes for me, so they dumped me in a youth shelter…my caseworker…[stole] my money, saying that I would probably spend [it] on drugs…
Please, please read this in its entirety.
The Bay Area tries desperately to cash in on the “gypsy whore” myth before it collapses completely:
As football fans wait…for Super Bowl…in February 2016…officials and advocates are bracing for what they expect to be a perfect storm for human trafficking during that game…The last Super Bowl held in the region was in 1985…human trafficking may have been occurring but was not quite identified as prevalent as it is today…
Possible good news:
The House of Representatives passed an amendment…to stop all federal funding to…Operation Choke Point…“This is a major victory for consumers, law-abiding businesses, and anyone who believes in due process and restraint of government encroachment,” said the Community Financial Services Association of America…“Our banking system…[should] not…police customers or make judgments about the political popularity of businesses”…
Hard Numbers (TW3 #422)
Sonja Dolinsek on the harm caused by the “gypsy whores” myth in Brazil:
…human trafficking and its connection to sports events have been discussed since the World Cup 2006 in Germany. Big and costly media campaigns warned of the rising problem…not only [were] media estimates of…victims for both South Africa and Germany…exactly the same (40,000 people), but…after both events, there was no evidence…many of the migrant sex workers who had arrived in Germany hoping to earn more money left earlier because business did not increase as they had expected. The same was true for South Africa…the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW)…criticised the…uncritical…reporting…as counter-productive and even harmful…the way human trafficking is represented resembles more a myth than…reality…
The Roof Caves In
Last Saturday, Kristof the Rat turned on his “hero” and downplayed his pivotal role in enabling her depredations on Cambodian sex workers: “I wrote one column about her life story in 2008 after her autobiography was published in the U.S., and made several references to her after that, most recently in 2011…” Kristof’s numerous columns on Mam, his “live tweeting” of one of her brothel pogroms, his spending a large fraction of his Half the Sky catechism on her…all would be flushed down the memory hole if he had his way, though the readers aren’t having it (see the comments) and neither is at least one editor of Kristof’s own newspaper. Kristof wants to pretend that he was no more gullible than others, that everyone shares his credulity and his perverse need to impose his Gorean BDSM fantasies onto the lives of real women; he states “we were all hoodwinked” despite the fact that Cambodian sex worker activists have been documenting Mam’s lies and abominations for years. He also wants people to keep believing in the “sex trafficking” mythology he’s been so instrumental in building, but that’s starting to unravel, too:
…willing sex workers who had been rounded up off the street during a police raid and…confined…for months as purported victims…[were] instructed by [Somaly Mam] to tell foreign visitors they had been trafficked…Although [her personal] stories…have now been widely scrutinised in the media, less examined have been Mam’s frequent embellished statements about the scale and nature of sex trafficking in Cambodia. The term “trafficking” has become trendy…in the Western world…but it leaves out a whole spectrum of complex choices and negotiations, and often erases women’s agency entirely…
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