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If I felt anything like the kind of near-constant desire men feel, I’d ask my gynecologist if there was anything we could do about it without ruining my looks.  –  “Borrowing Trouble

The Two PathsI’m never sure which essays will turn into often-used subtitles in future news columns, but this month had two of them: “Buttons, Bags & Banknotes” and “Paint By Numbers“.  It also featured one of my favorites of my own stories, the grisly and haunting “Rose“.  The month’s harlotography was “Jane Shore“, its guest column was by Aspasia Bonasera, and it had a holiday (Mabon) and two special occasions:  Friday the Thirteenth and Banned Books Week (led off by “Crippling Thought“).  The Q&A columns were “Utopia“, “Convolution“, “New Kid on the Block” and “Borrowing Trouble“, and the other Cliterati reprint beside “Buttons” was “Pride Goeth“.  “Denunciation” and “Just Call Me Nobody” both discussed the way people reject uncomfortable ideas by pretending those who represent those ideas are not like them; “Fever Dream” presented an Arpaio on a dateextreme example of “sex trafficking” hysteria, while “Building a Current” demonstrates how challenges to that narrative are becoming more common.  Finally, I looked at Korean courtesans in “The Kisaeng“, at American sheriffs in “Little Tin Gods“, and at the bizarre behavior of my friend Brooke Magnanti’s ex in “Diary of a Sad Man“.Oshun by Selina Fenech

Just Too Risky

I was approached for a date by a man who seemed to me as though he might be below 18.  My gut instinct was not to accept the date, so to salve the pain of rejection, I tried to explain why we don’t see under 18.  He became very angry and said he was disabled, but judging by the way he sounded, I believe it was a mental disability rather than a physical one.  It feels kinda shitty to reject him for that, but if I saw him I wouldn’t feel right.  Are the consent issues with a mentally disabled adult the same as when a party is underage? justice

Whether he was under 18 or a mentally disabled adult, you were probably right to reject the date.  Our culture is, alas, in the midst of a new Victorian Era, in which there is tremendous cultural anxiety about sex.  And while it used to be not at all unusual for a young man in his late teens to be initiated by a sex worker, now that would be viewed as “sexual abuse” even if he’s above the local age of consent, due to the magical corrupting power of money.  If his parents should find out and extract your contact information from him, you could be in very hot water indeed.  Even if he could prove to you that he’s over 18, you’d have to carefully examine the circumstances: does he lives alone and manage his own finances, etc?  If so, it would probably be fine, though obviously you’d have to decide for yourself whether you’re comfortable dealing with the special difficulties such a client might present.  But if he lives at home and/or has some kind of guardian, he’d be considered a “vulnerable adult”, and you could potentially be viewed by the law as “exploiting” him just as though he were under 18.  While it’s true that we’re all viewed as criminals by US law anyhow, it’s not really a good idea to turn a misdemeanor into a felony, nor to compound that felony.  And when sex is involved, the mass hysteria that currently grips our culture will make sure that your life is completely destroyed if you’re found out.  It’s sad if you can’t help someone who might be desperately in need of human contact, but there are some things that are just too risky, and I think this is one of them.

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

 

 

 

In the News (#676)

Wearing pumps is now considered code for…“Help, I’m a sex traffic victim being made to sell my body for sex.”  –  Carmen Barika

Profit from Panic dirty-overpriced-jeans

Buying These Jeans Will Help Stop Human Trafficking.”  No, it won’t, but it’ll make these opportunists wealthier:

“It started with myself and my wife…watching the movie Taken“…[said] James Bartle, founder of Outland Denim…”We spent the next few years bringing girls in and training them…We started as a not for profit business and we were able to grow to five girls, but we then realised it was nearly impossible to get beyond that, so we changed our model to a profit for purpose business…Since then we have grown to having 29 local seamstresses over there and two other Cambodian staff”…

Too Young To Know

This judge apparently thinks it’s her job to convince a young sex worker that she’s a victim:

A court in Rome has handed down an unusual penalty to the client of an underage prostitute, ordering him to buy her 30 books on the theme of women’s dignity…including novels by Virginia Woolf, Anne Frank’s diary and the poems of Emily Dickinson…Judge Paola Di Nicola [was apparently annoyed that]…the teenager…used [her earnings] to “buy new clothes and the latest mobile phones”…“the judge favoured a remedy that would [convince] the young girl to [believe] the real ‘damage’ that she had suffered was damage to her dignity as a woman”…

Under Every Bed

I’m not going to try to quote any of this massive garbage fire, an accumulation of most of the currently-popular myths and bogus “statistics” on “sex trafficking”, every one of which has been repeatedly debunked.  But given that this website belongs to the National Conference of State Legislatures, i.e. a collusion of money-grubbing, power-hungry politicians from every state in the US, that is hardly surprising; lies are a proven way to shore up prohibitionist police-state regimes.

Dysphemisms Galore 

Threatening the peace.”  Seriously.

Lahore…is housing at least 1,906 “safe heavens” [sic] in the three categories of crime, posing a potential threat to the peace…Of them, 1,123 dens deal in drug selling, 318 in prostitution and 465 in gambling…a senior police official…said the consolidated data on the hateful crime surfaced for the first time…a non-stop crackdown under a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy towards these notorious crimes would help bring peace to the city…Similarly, out of total 330 hate spots, the Saddar Division is housing 47 gambling, 78 prostitution and 205 drug selling dens…

Innocence Never Had

Because “children” are merely inanimate objects who can’t move from one place to another without being carried by “pimps”:

…Anjelique…[is a] troubled 12-year-old…[who ran] away from home…Police ended up finding Anjelique but they didn’t bring her back to her mother.  Instead they dropped her off at Alameda County Social Services’ assessment center in Hayward…Anjelique made friends with a teenage girl…who took her to a nearby motel…where the family says she first got lured into the sex-trafficking pipeline…even though the county keeps the assessment center’s location a secret, pimps know exactly where it is and could potentially use children inside to recruit others…Anjelique’s grandmother is convinced exploiters are lurking in the shadows.  “So you think there are pimps that are waiting outside the assessment center?” we asked her…

This would be hilarious if it weren’t being used as an excuse to destroy lives.

New Excuse

Sometimes the two “wars” blur into one:

A joint investigation into human trafficking in Ocean City [New Jersey] concluded…with three [simple] prostitution arrests…[cops stole] over 270 Baggies of heroin…a small amount of marijuana, $350 in currency, a 2011 Honda Odyssey mini-van, five cell phones and a police-style baton…Each of the suspects was offered victim services…

A Year Later

Ricochet is running a series on the effects of Canada’s new anti-whore laws:

…With Bill C-36 now law, sex workers are struggling…customers are pushing for more incall services at more private locations to avoid police detection.  More than 75 per cent of the inquiries I now receive want to meet at my home…I’m considering forsaking my safety in order to pay the bills.  In recent months I’ve broken my own rule about never meeting a client in an 18-wheeler truck…The rationale behind the criminalization of clients seems to be that causing clients to feel bad about purchasing sex will deter their desires and end sex work.  It doesn’t work that way.  It only makes sex workers and clients more creative as we both try to find ways to not get caught…

Uncommon Sense (#557)

Because whores are morons whose lives and businesses must be micromanaged by governments:

German politicians have approved a law making it illegal to have sex with prostitutes without using a condom, among other regulations on the sex trade…Anyone attempting to open a commercial premises for prostitution will undergo checks attempting to crack down on the involvement of gangs, traffickers and criminals…Prostitutes must also register with local authorities, gaining a certificate that must be renewed every two years, and attend an annual health “advice” session…

In other words, the number of whores working illegally will skyrocket as soon as this goes into effect; no licensing regime in the world has higher than a 10% compliance rate.

Vendetta (#607)

Another way to destroy lives, funded by the sociopathic Swanee Hunt:

Cook County’s Tom Dart, the prostitution-obsessed sheriff…has found a new way to threaten people’s privacy, screw over sex workers, and grow the police state.  The latest Dart-led initiative involves creating a national database of prostitution customers, using solicitation-arrest data submitted by cops through a phone app.  Demand Abolition…reported on Sheriff Dart’s new plot in a late-August post crowing that “1,300 sex buyers—a record—were arrested across 18 states in just one month” of Dart’s National John Suppression Initiative.  Now, the sheriff is using data from that sting to start a national database of people arrested for soliciting prostitution.  You know, for research purposes…This is thanks to a new app that streamlines the logging of prostitution arrest information….developed at a January “social justice hackathon”, in which a hundred or so techies were presided over by a team of anti-prostitution zealots from across the country…During the last John Suppression Initiative, cops logged info from 80 percent of all arrests into the database…

Cops and Condoms (#654)

WARNING:  Lelo Hex condoms are NOT safe!

As I looked through the press-kit Lelo sent me, I was faced with a distressing image. An animated GIF of a stretched-out Hex being repeatedly poked with a pin.  Lelo was showcasing a feature of their new condom, which was still latex by the way, that you could poke a hole in it without breaking the it in any noticeable way.  Read that again.  This is an advertised design feature…While it sucks to have a condom break, the way in which they break acts as, whether intentionally or not, a red flag system.  The shattering of the condom means you know that your barrier has failed and that you now need to take steps to address the situation- emergency contraception, STI testing, post-exposure STI prophylaxis…whatever an instance of exposure means to you.  The manner in which Hex fails, however, means the sex act can be completed and there be no sign that there was a breach of security…

The Widening Gyre (#670) 

This example of “grocery store sex trafficking” lunacy resulted in cop harassment of three people:

This past spring I was cornered in the parking lot of the Whole Foods on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie by two [cops].  They said they’d received a 911 call from an anonymous caller who — after observing my father and me eating breakfast biscuits at the Chick-fil-A up the street and then watching as I was dropped off in front of the Whole Foods several miles down the road (yeah, he had followed us) — somehow surmised I was a part of a prostitution/sex-trafficking ring…The…stalker…I mean, caller…had also identified my father and some guy parked nearby, whose license plates he had taken time to record, as a part of the suspected ring…Consequently, the three of us spent the next 20 to 30 minutes standing in the parking lot with…five surrounding police cars…waiting to be cleared from any salacious, solicitous, unwholesome “ho-dom,” all the while wondering how three people grocery shopping at Whole Foods could have induced such an “unsolicited,” inconvenient misunderstanding…

Diary #326

post-session-selfie-9-22-16Last week was definitely an improvement over the one before. Besides a meeting between several activists (including myself) and a potential ally who could prove very important, and the lovely couple call I enjoyed very much (Hi y’all!  Looking forward to seeing y’all again soon!), after which this selfie was taken, it was the beginning of autumn, and as long-time readers know that always improves my mood.  I’m an autumnal sort of gal; I like the days short and chilly, the leaves a riot of color and the nights filled with warm beverages and savory scents.  Long, bright, warm days take a toll on my highly-strung nervous system and tend to make me tense and anxious, but when the external sky and landscape match the gloomy October Country inside my skull and my soul, I feel at home and at peace.  People have often remarked that I seem to come alive more in the autumn; maybe that’s true, or maybe it’s just because I match the scenery better then.  But whatever the explanation, there’s no doubt that it’s my natural habitat, and the season in which my natural aura is at its most powerful and intense.  I’m no longer at a place in life where I can dance through the dry leaves under a harvest moon as I did in my youth, but I like to think that the autumn steps in the dance of my life are still among the most graceful and beautiful.

The Censor-Moron

Our civilisation cannot afford to let the censor-moron loose. The censor-moron does not really hate anything but the living and growing human consciousness.  –  D.H. Lawrence

defend-the-1st-amendmentEvery year, the last week of September is designated as “Banned Books Week“; the name seems to imply the kind of top-down state censorship which was at one time very common even in the US, and is still common in many countries we generally think of as advanced ones with Western values.  But this kind of censorship is very rare now in the United States, and has been for decades; the majority of “challenges” now (despite the celebration’s name, it’s pretty rare that books are actually removed from public collections) originate not with state officials or other “authorities”, but with individuals seeking to “protect the children” from thoughts their parents don’t want them to have.  Nor are those thoughts only sexual ones any more, though obviously those are still the most common reason; nowadays, demands that books be burned controlled are just as likely to come from soi-disant “progressives” as from cultural conservatives, and the reasons may include “racism”, “sexism”, “religious viewpoint”, “violence” and so on.

In a way, the name “Banned Books Week” is far too narrow to encompass everything we should be talking about, and a week is far too limited a time to be talking about it.  As I wrote above, “banned” implies a top-down regime, while in reality the majority of censorship now is the result of morons trying to self-lobotomize our entire culture; the word also implies a governmental action, when in reality the rise of social media and mega-media corporations has resulted in a de facto delegation of the censorship authority to them.  And if you’re tempted to suggest that this isn’t as bad, I suggest you ask yourself how much distribution your book will get if Amazon & Wal-mart refuse to stock it and Google monkeys with your search results to make it difficult to find.  Furthermore, “books”, as much as I love them, are now only a tiny fraction of the ways information can be shared; people who would balk at the idea of censoring actual paper books suddenly feel very differently when the conversation turns to magazines, or movies, or pictures, or music, or video games, or public lectures, or articles, or blogs, or other social media postings, or (most especially) advertising.  The same “right-thinking” folks who would march in protest if a school library declined to stock And Tango Makes Three grow strangely silent when Twitter bans a member’s account for “hate speech”, and may even be willing to march in support of censoring escort ads on Backpage.  As I wrote last year,

We are living in the past of Fahrenheit 451, the early stages of a culture which values feelings above thought, the history of a world in which the solution to any troubling idea is to eradicate it.  Right now it’s going on in the universities, where sheltered young people who have been coddled by overprotective parents for two decades are declaring themselves to be “triggered” or “offended” or even “violated” by ideas – whether spoken or in print – that they haven’t encountered before, or that contradict their opinions, or that they find unpleasant, or that bear some superficial resemblance to any of the preceding.  Just as their parents “protected” them from these unpleasant thoughts by banning them from their homes with internet filters or “parental controls”, so they feel entitled to “protect” themselves – and every other person within their sphere of influence – from those bad, icky ideas by banning them…

The censor-morons are loose, and they’re coming after everyone who dares to disagree with them.  And the only way to stop them is to oppose every attempt to limit the free expression of ideas, even if you disagree with them or find them offensive.  Correction: especially if you find them offensive.  Because as always, tyranny starts with those nobody really wants to defend.think-for-yourself

Links #325

We’re not gonna let her go until she’s released to a parent or guardian…If we let her go and she goes around the corner and has an aneurism and dies, that’s on us.  –  Paul Kifer

Once in a while, instead of a full video, I feature a GIF or Vine because it’s just too good to pass up; I got this one from Nun Ya (who also provided “recorded”) and it’s horrifyingly hilarious and weirdly fascinating.  The links above it are from  Robert King (“Unheimlichkeit”), Walter Olson (“wrong”), Jesse Walker (“ghost”), Rick Horowitz (“reading” and “stalled”), Lenore Skenazy (“bullied”), Emma Evans  (“business”), Popehat (“car”), and Scott Greenfield (“schools”).

From the Archives

In the News (#675)

I am an adult, and how I choose to spend my time and money is MY FUCKING BUSINESS.  –  Rick Pettit

Broken Record 

Sex workers on Twitter agreed we couldn’t think of a venue less conducive to selling sex than a state fair:

The New Mexico State Fair draws a huge crowd each year, but Street Safe New Mexico knows it’s not all about fun and games.  “You notice during the state fair, there’s new girls out here, right?” Executive Director Christine Barber said.  “They’re being brought in by the gangs and being forced to work…(The victims are) 15, 16 years old to anything older…I met a lady yesterday who was 47.”  The group says the victims’ pimps like to use the state fair as a hunting ground for willing johns…”Forty-two percent of them are beaten every single day by their pimps or their sex traffickers”…

Coincidentally, 42% of all “sex trafficking” statistics are made up on the spot, and 100% of them are bullshit.

Original Sin

I could also have filed this one under “Paint By Numbers”, since they “fight trafficking” by just standing around silently:

Since last December, activists have gathered monthly in front of St. André Bessette Parish in Northwest Portland in silent witness to the horror of human trafficking…Called modern slavery, it’s just one of the present attacks on the dignity of human life…Among them are abortion, euthanasia, cloning, the destruction of human embryos, genocide, torture, and the direct and intentional targeting of noncombatants in war or terrorist attacks…

I’m not sure it’s proper to use the term ACTIVist for someone who literally stands around, doing and saying nothing.crystal-edmonds

Monsters 

The body count continues to rise:

Just five days ago I wrote about a Black trans woman named T.T. who was viciously murdered in Chicago…Now, a…Black trans woman [named]  Crystal Edmonds has been shot in the back of the head and murdered in Baltimore.  She’s the 21st trans person that we know of who has been murdered in the United States this year…Police say…they have no suspects and very few leads…[but] reports are saying that people in the neighborhood are complaining about sex workers in their area, which makes me even more worried that this case will not be given the attention it deserves…

Paint By Numbers

“Dumb ‘awareness-raising’ stunts” is going to be the funniest appendix in my history of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Fifty people in teams of five…[followed] clues through various historic landmarks [in Lexington, Kentucky]…to raise money to help women..caught up in the human trafficking industry.  Participants raised money to support “Un-Shackled By Love Ministries”…the first group of women to join the program will stay for four months where they will receive counseling.  Eventually they will move on to a facility in Lexington the ministry [has not actually opened yet]…

Traffic Circle

Debunking of prohibitionist lies is spreading:

Denise Charlton of the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign…claimed the [new Swedish model] legislation [in Ireland] would protect sex workers by decriminalising them.  Does the bill really do that?  A group called Ugly Mugs, which facilitates information-sharing between sex workers, argues that the claim is false, and brought it to our attention on Twitter.  Claim: The new Sexual Offences Bill would decriminalise sex workers  Verdict: Mostly FALSE

  • The new bill would decriminalise public solicitation by sex workers, but…
  • It would retain the criminalisation of loitering by sex workers, and increase the penalties for it
  • It would retain the effective criminalisation of sex workers, under a provision on brothels, and increase the penalties for it.

Served Cold 

For a change, it only took the mainstream media two years to catch up with me:

…Operation Underground Railroad…was founded by self-proclaimed “Man of God,” former CIA and Homeland Security official Tim Bollard…The organization receives allocated funding…and makes contact with local law enforcement.  An elaborate sting follows…All this is filmed so the [backer]…can watch, in real time and from the comfort of his or her office or home…From the perspective of a victim’s right to privacy, such actions are reprehensible…from a criminal justice perspective, there are even more pressing concerns…Why are police in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Colombia not arresting child sex traffickers if they are so easy to find?…Why is OUR not…raiding the brothels of Amsterdam or London?…Bollard and his rag-tag team would be arrested on the spot.  And any court in any [developed nation] would not hesitate to throw out a case that rests on the evidence of an OUR-type raid because of the failure to meet even the most basic standards of supervision and accountability.  It’s no surprise that the organization and its fellow travellers limit their activities to countries burdened by dysfunctional criminal justice systems that…in response to pressure from the U.S. government…agree to cooperate…Bollard’s operations say much about the man: they are arrogant, unethical and illegal.

The Last Shall Be First (#624)

Expect a lot more cases like this before potty hysteria is over:

Security attempted to escort a lesbian woman…out of toilets at a music venue after because they thought she was a man.  Mary Looper was at a Carrie Underwood concert with her aunt when security attempted to escort her out of the women’s restroom.  A female security officer stood outside Looper’s stall demanding…proof she was a woman…She took to Facebook to share her dismay…

SWOP Behind Bars

My friend Mistress Matisse has been applying her indomitable (see what I did there?) efforts to support SWOP Behind Bars, most recently by talking about them on Dan Savage’s Savage Love podcast.  Go have a listen!  And if you haven’t yet sent a book to one of the incarcerated sex workers in the program, hie thee thither and do so posthaste!

Sales Pitch (#642) ingeborg-kraus-tampon-collector-simon-haggstrom

Remember the creepy Swedish cop who collects used tampons?  He’s teaming up with a German neofeminist to spread the Gospel of Violent Busybodiness to Canada:

…Ingeborg Kraus, a [prohibitionist who pretends that]…Germany decriminalized the sex industry…[claims that legalization there has] fuelled human trafficking [and lies that literally]…”No German woman will work in those conditions anymore”…[pervert cop Simon Haggstrom pretends that] Sweden…decriminalize[d] the sale of sex…[fantasizes about a] connection between prostitution and organized crime…[and lies that sex workers who demand our rights] are a small minority within the sex industry…

Allied for Change

I truly hope many more clients are inspired to speak out like this:

My name is Rick Pettit, and I am a client of sex workers.  I am in my 60s, divorced, and unattached.  I run my own moderately-unsuccessful service business in a small town in New England.  I’m just an ordinary person…not particularly well-off financially, and certainly not a hub of criminal activity.  I am well-liked by my customers and in my town.  I am NOT a “pervert”…I do NOT abuse the women I spend time with.  Most importantly, I DO NOT “BUY” ANYONE’S BODY. (There’s not enough room in my closet)…

Pimps Ahoy

You can’t keep a bad organization down:

Courage Worldwide said today that after the appeal process…the organization is in good standing with state regulators and plans to rehire and train new staff to reopen Courage House immediately…“We are gratified that the state has…agreed cell phones pose a real danger to the girls in our care since they link these vulnerable children back to the people who trafficked them.  The cell phone is the preferred mechanism of the trafficker to market and sell under-age girls on the internet”…