Justice means minding one’s own business and not meddling with other men’s concerns. – Plato
A busybody is, by definition, one who cannot resist meddling in other people’s business even when his victim’s actions have absolutely no effect on him. And because respect for the rights of individuals has generally increased since the late Middle Ages, busybodies (both those with political titles and those without) in “democracies” usually have to find ways to justify their meddling in order to keep the opinions of the masses in their favor (or at least divided enough to prevent unified opposition). The chief means of doing this is via propaganda, and one of the chief targets of such busybodies is sex (especially commercial sex). In the four stories we’ll look at today, the busybodies in the latter three use a very old moral panic (disease as punishment for “sin”) as an excuse for persecuting sex workers, but in the first con artists use a relatively new (130 years) moral panic (sex slavery) as a means of robbing busybodies. Investigative reporter Andrew Drummond broke the story on January 6th:
Officers of the Australian Federal Police were summoned to the Thai government complex in Bangkok…and urged to look into [an] alleged fake rescue…by an Australian registered charity…The Brisbane based…”The Grey Man” [claimed to have] rescued 21 Akha hill tribe children and saved them from certain slavery in factories and brothels…[but a Thai government] investigation…found that the children never left their village…[they] were all living at home and were attending a school on a daily basis…under a special government fund [which provided] all their meals, uniforms and schoolbooks…The Grey Man [which is staffed by ex-special forces and former and active Australian policemen] issued an appeal for funds…after their claimed rescue…but on October 21 last year they removed all references to the rescue from their site and Facebook pages…[Their] president initially announced the rescue had taken place, then denied it again. He later said his denial was to protect the children…
[Thai authorities are] investigating …breaches of both the Child Protection and Computer Crime Acts…It’s alleged that The Grey Man abused [and defamed] the children by putting their pictures up on the net and linking them with prostitution to raise cash…The Grey Man President John Curtis has claimed that the children and local community [were] intimidated by Thai government officials and his organization…[was] the subject of a vendetta by Thai [NGOs] because The Grey Man had shown that they were better [by rescuing] more than 140 children from sexual abuse in Asia…Also subject of the enquiry is an American registered charity “Children of South East Asia” (COSA)…[which] supplied the pictures…exhibited on [The Grey Man’s] Facebook site…
I hope the matter really was called to the attention of Thai authorities by another NGO; once these sleazy opportunists start fighting each other, all we have to do is sit back and watch.
The next item, also from Australia, is another look at the mining-community controversy we’ve seen before; what makes it interesting is the combination of so-called “health experts” spreading lies they have statistical proof are false, an unusual version of the “gypsy whore” myth and the paternalistic attitude of unnamed “community members” toward adult miners:
A prostitute from Queensland’s mining regions…[says] discrimination against her work was “disgusting” and putting sex workers in danger…[she says motel owners] “kick you out, no refund – regardless of whether you have one or seven days left”…she [also] said…the harsh treatment posed risks to sex workers and could force them on to the streets…The reports have…sparked concerns from health experts about the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. They have also had community members concerned about the fiscal responsibility of high earning miners who appeared to be wasting money. Late last year University of New England associate professor John Scott told Australian Mining there was no evidence to suggest a rise in sex workers translated to a rise in sexually transmitted diseases in the community. He also said there had been no study to back up claims rural sex work had increased beyond normal levels. “There hasn’t been any data on it, but my hunch is that it would not be epidemic in these areas,” he said.
…The Korea Times reported that [a] survey of 500 South Koreans over age 60 determined that 66.2 percent are having sex, and that 53 percent of that group — or 35 percent of the survey group overall — said they pay for sex. Paying prostitutes is illegal in South Korea…The Korea Herald reported on Sunday that more than half of the sexually active senior citizens said they buy anti-impotence pills, and 19.6 percent of them said they used sex toys. The government-funded study also found that prostitution in South Korea is closely linked with sexually transmitted diseases. One out of every eight interviewed seniors suffered from gonorrhea…Prof. Chae Kyu-man of Sungshin Women’s University told another newspaper that the government “should induce them into venting their sex drive legally and in a healthy manner.”
Only one in eight have an STI while half see whores, so of course the disease must come from the whores rather than those good, clean amateurs the government wants to somehow force to have uncompensated sex with old men. Of course, the government of South Korea is under considerable political and economic pressure from the U.S., so it lies for the same reason as “The Grey Man”: profit. The same is of course true of Michael Weinstein; the latest on his crusade appeared in the LA Weekly on January 10th:
The L.A. City Council today said that yes, porn stars must wear condoms when performing within city limits. The 11-1 vote means that a costly ballot initiative asking you, the voter, to approve just such a rule can be avoided. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation…noted that the City Council’s approval seems to defy a move by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich to block the initiative in court…[on grounds that]…it would supersede the state’s authority over workplace safety enforcement…The industry is against condoms, arguing that…production will simply flee the city and perhaps go underground, where things would be more dangerous…Our industry source…said this law will not apply to studio shoots and will only affect off-site and “location” production…Diane Duke, executive director of the…Free Speech Coalition, sent the Weekly this response to today’s votes:
Performer health and safety is a priority for the adult film industry, which is why the industry’s standards and self regulations have been successful as represented by the industry’s low rate of STI transmission…Government regulation of film making would likely undermine existing health and safety efforts and industry standards that are effective as well as take the government into dangerous new territory. This approach betrays our Constitution; it betrays the hard lessons we’ve learned in the 25-year fight against HIV/AIDS; and it betrays aggressive health and safety efforts in place that are proven and effective.
Given Weinstein and AHF’s history of using lies and grandstanding to line their own pockets, that brings us back full circle to the first item in today’s column. And until the busybodies are prevented from interfering in other people’s lives, there will always be plenty of opportunities for con artists to capitalize on their deep-seated urge to meddle in things which are none of their business.
One Year Ago Today
“Wild Guessing (Part One)” is my debunking of a “study” by the Schapiro Group, a marketing firm which crows that its new “methodology” represents “a quantum leap forward in determining…the magnitude of the problem” of “child sex trafficking”. And what is that ground-breaking methodology, you ask? Why, guessing their ages of escorts from pictures they post online, of course.