Suppress prostitution, and capricious lusts will overthrow society. – St. Augustine
I really wanted to comment on the “Craigslist Killer” story while it was still topical, but since I didn’t have enough to say about it to make a full column I decided to piggyback a few other articles about legal issues affecting sex workers which also aren’t long enough to be columns by themselves.
Good Riddance To Bad Rubbish
Paraphrased from an AP article:
Philip Markoff, 24, a former medical student who was accused of killing a masseuse he met through Craigslist committed suicide in the Boston jail where he was awaiting trial, authorities said Sunday. “Markoff was alone in his cell, and all evidence collected thus far indicates that he took his own life,” a spokesman said. The facts and circumstances surrounding his death will be investigated, the district attorney said. Saturday would have been Markoff’s first wedding anniversary, but his nuptials were canceled after his arrest. Markoff pleaded not guilty in the fatal shooting of Julissa Brisman, of New York City, and the armed robbery of a Las Vegas woman; both crimes happened at Boston hotels within the span of four days in April 2009, and Rhode Island prosecutors also accused him of attacking a stripper that week. Markoff had met all three women through advertisements for erotic services posted on Craigslist.
Pardon me if I’m not to broken up about this. The sleazebag didn’t even have the excuse of being psychotic; he was only interested in robbing them to support his compulsive gambling and was smart enough to realize that even when sex workers dare to report crimes against us, the cops are never terribly interested in investigating said crimes. I honestly believe the only reason they even bother investigating murdered sex workers is because the crime tends to result in public outcry even if the victim is “only” a whore. Those who followed this case may recall that the Boston District Attorney’s office tried to use it as an excuse to pressure Craigslist to discontinue adult services ads, rather than admitting that it is the suppression of our trade rather than our method of advertising which makes us targets. Hurrah to Craigslist for refusing, though I must include the caveat that the popular website agreed two years ago to cooperate with cops in 40 states by providing them on demand with information on girls who advertise therein, so cops can use that information to deceive, molest and persecute them.
As for Markoff, I’m just glad he decided to face his karma like a man rather than submitting to a show trial which would undoubtedly have resulted in another round of persecution against both sex workers and our advertising venues under the guise of “protecting” us. Ever notice how governments are always trying to “protect” us from everyone but themselves?
And here’s a good example:
New Orleans’ Nasty Little “Sex Offender” Game
In my column of August 5th I mentioned that women arrested for prostitution in Louisiana are routinely charged with “Crime Against Nature”, but in the case of escorts this is generally just a scare tactic to get them to plead guilty to misdemeanor prostitution. Those whores who have neither the means nor the organizational skills necessary to arrange a lawyer, however (i.e. streetwalkers) usually get stuck with the charge, resulting in their being classified as “sex offenders” for at least a decade and thus unable to get out of whoring even if they wanted to. I wish I could tell you that this strategy was something unique to New Orleans, but it isn’t; the idea of officially branding women as prostitutes and then prohibiting them from holding other jobs (or in some societies, even getting married), thus ensuring that they can never leave prostitution, goes back many centuries. It was, in fact, San Francisco’s practice of this strategy which inspired Margo St. James to found COYOTE, the first prostitutes’ rights organization in the US, after she found herself a victim of it.
Women With A Vision Inc. is a New Orleans organization which is now taking on an important anti-criminalization campaign and needs support and volunteers; the “No Justice Project” will combat the sentencing of sex workers under the two-century-old “crimes against nature” felony law. Modern penalties for this law (which were strengthened several years ago in response to public hysteria over pedophilia) requires women to register as sex offenders for the next 10 years and places the label “sex offender” on their driver’s licenses (among other prescribed penalties); the vast majority of those so convicted are black women and transsexuals (click here for a more in-depth article). WWAV needs volunteers and support immediately; if you are in New Orleans, please consider volunteering with WWAV, and if you aren’t please consider supporting WWAV’s urgent work with a contribution. For information on how to support or volunteer with WWAV telephone (504) 301-0428 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This morning I spoke to Lorie Seruntine at the “No Justice Project” and explained that I wanted to mention the project on my blog; she told me that due to a recent grant from the National AIDS Fund they are finally able to get the program, which was formerly hampered by a dearth of funds, rolling in earnest. She provided me with PDF files of their brand-new brochure (No justice brochure August 2010) and flyer (No Justice Interview Flyer), and we spoke about the vital need for their work and about the necessity of all sex workers and those who support our rights unifying to stop the kind of abuses which inevitably result from the prohibition of prostitution. She told me that their website is currently being rebuilt and will be fully up to date probably next week, and said she would keep me posted on any other developments. Furthermore, she asked me to post this emergency request, which I am happy to do:
Dear Friends, Supporters, Allies, and Sisters of Women With a Vision, Inc,
We are writing to ask for your help for a woman we recently met at a No Justice Project event, we will call her DC to keep her anonymity intact. The same year that Women With A Vision opened our doors in 1991, nearly 20 years ago, DC was convicted with a La 14:89 Solicitation of a Crime Against Nature. Ever since that day, DC has been haunted with this conviction. Fast forward to yesterday at our No Justice event, DC has been clean for several months, and recently gotten the opportunity to move into Catholic Charities Voyage House, a housing program for women. This is a great opportunity for DC, one that she could not pass up and one that her sobriety depends upon, but this required her to move from Jefferson Parish back into Orleans. Due to her prior conviction and sex offender registration requirements, she is forced to pay for sex offender notification cards and mailing fees, which totals $1,208.67. The court is forcing her to pay this fine by the end of next week, August 16-20, or face the original sentence of 40 months of hard labor in the Department of Corrections.
We are asking you to make a gift of an emergency monetary donation to help keep DC out of jail and the hands of the Department of Corrections, and to help support her decision to remain sober even if it meant moving into Orleans Parish and facing these fees. She is committed to her sobriety and has pledged her commitment to the No Justice Project and the fight we have ahead.
You can make a tax-deductable donation several ways: you can mail us a check or money order to 215 N. Jeff Davis Pkwy New Orleans, La 70119 and label the check with “Funds for a free DC,” or go to our website at wwav-no.org and click on our pay pal donate button an follow the steps to donate online.
We will be in the courtroom with DC next week to help support her through this ordeal.
On behalf of the women of No Justice and Women with a Vision, we want thank you for you generous support and let you know that we appreciate you. If you have and questions or want to know more about the No Justice Project, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
You are appreciated,
Women With A Vision, Inc.
My prayers are with DC and with WWAV for their continuing efforts.
Here’s another case in which relative wealth results in different standards of “justice”:
Did you ever wonder why porn is legal but prostitution isn’t, even in Hollywood? The excuse given is that in porn the actress is paid by a third party rather than the one she has sex with, and that makes it legal. Oh, really? In that case I’ve been on quite a few calls which were not prostitution, such as the many times I’ve been paid by a best man to give the bachelor a last fling at his bachelor party or the several times I’ve been hired by parents (of either sex) to take their son’s virginity on his 18th birthday. A few times I’ve even been hired as a bribe (such as the time a snack food distributor bought me for a Wal-Mart executive). Even if one attempts the spurious argument that to qualify for the “porn exemption” both people having sex must be paid participants, that still allows the very common “two-girl show”, where a client pays two whores to have lesbian sex so he can watch and masturbate without touching either of them. Yet in a case in Arizona where sleazy cops arranged such a show and then busted the girls, their conviction was upheld on appeal.
What it comes down to, of course, is money; the movie industry (of which the porn industry is a subset) is extremely powerful in California, so no governmental entity is going to rule against it for fear of interrupting the flow of both tax revenue and campaign contributions. I might also point out that most porn producers are male, and therefore constitute no threat to the egos of legislators and judges the way whores do. If we had the backing of a major lobby group I’m sure we could buy politicians just as easily, but until the mainstream women’s organizations purge themselves of puritanical, anti-sex elements and recognize the obvious truth that prostitution rights are as much a feminist issue as abortion rights, there seems little hope that we will be able to afford to hire any of these political whores any time soon.
Another Reason Not To Do Cowgirl
Those guys who are brave enough to read these articles will notice the most common cause; for those who aren’t brave enough to read them, look at the heading of this subsection. A guy in Boston actually sued his girlfriend for injuring him in this way (yes, she was on top), and though he lost his case I’m not sure he would have had she been a professional. When I first heard of this story back in 2003 I advised my girls of the possible danger. Since I already avoided the position it didn’t affect me, but it certainly gave me a new and powerful excuse: “I’m sorry, but I can’t risk that kind of liability.”