We should all take care not to become part of the hype producing machinery that continually presents opinions or ideology as ‘facts.’ – Ann Jordan
The government just can’t resist trying to control anything involving sex:
[A lesbian who]…is trying to conceive a child…wants to use…sperm from a man she trusts. But…under federal regulations, the donor must undergo…expensive and time-consuming [tests] so…she…is suing…Jane Doe wants to…get pregnant on her own, without paying for a fertility clinic or a sperm bank, and without government interference…But the FDA does not permit…informal transactions. A donor is required to have his blood and urine tested in a medical setting within a week of every body-tissue transfer…
They’re only women, and therefore incompetent to know what’s best for them:
…Father and son accused pimps Vincent George, Sr., and Vincent George, Jr., had an unlikely cheering section in a Manhattan courtroom today — the very five admitted prostitutes who they’re accused of threatening and coercing. “We are not victims!”…the…women shouted at reporters…the son’s lawyer, David Epstein [said] “They came in and out of Manhattan by themselves, they had their own houses and bank accounts, and they could have left anytime they wanted.” John Temple, who heads the Manhattan DA’s human trafficking program, counters that phone taps prove both the dad, 55, and the son, 33, built up a million-dollar escort business by keeping their five women terrified virtual prisoners…six limo drivers accused of ferrying the women to their assignations are also charged.
Yet another case of government interference magnifying harm:
…On July 3 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first “rapid home” test for HIV…[which may] prevent…more than 4,000 new HIV infections in its first year of use alone…[but] the…approval…did not occur until…24 years after the FDA received its first application…[until recently it] forbade [any] tests…[other than] those…performed in a clinical setting…Out of concern that some people might respond…irrationally to the extremely valuable information a home test could provide, everyone was deprived of that option…imagine the number [of infections] that could have been averted if a rapid home test…had been approved five years ago. Or ten. Or 15…
Despite government efforts to quash bitcoin it’s still going strong, and one writer suggests it might help in the Greek monetary crisis:
…the drachma is not Greece’s only [non-euro] option…an alternative currency could emerge or an already existing one could be adopted. In some parts of Greece social entrepreneurship, technology, and skepticism of politicians have already…created an environment where cryptocurrencies could become increasingly popular…The most prominent of these…is bitcoin…[which] frees those who use it from political uncertainty [and] fiat policies, and is less affected by international money markets than traditional currencies…There have been reports of more Europeans using bitcoin as their confidence in political solutions diminishes…
Obviously, the NIJ is unacquainted with William of Occam: “An overwhelming majority of human trafficking cases involve sex trafficking, according to a recent study issued by the National Institute of Justice…Nearly all identified sex trafficking victims were female and 70 percent of suspects were male…” In other words, cops arrested a bunch of people and labeled them “victims” or “perpetrators” almost purely on the basis of gender, then a “study” was done to justify the assignments rather than recognizing them for what they are: rubbish based in the sexist notion that women are incompetent victims.
A former Facebook executive wants to outdo Google by linking an anti-whore campaign to an expansion of the number of people condemned to “sex offender” registration: “Facebook’s former chief privacy officer is bankrolling an anti-human trafficking ballot measure that…would toughen penalties for sex trafficking and add those convicted of the crime to the state’s sex offender registry. Most significantly, it also would require all registered offenders to surrender their “Internet identifiers” to law enforcement, including user names and email accounts…Chris Kelly…has contributed $1.6 million to the initiative since December…” The campaign is based largely on lies such as “Every girl sold on the street today is also being sold on the Internet”, a triple-whopper which 1) equates performing a service with chattel slavery; 2) uses passive voice to imply girls do not choose prostitution when in fact over 86% do; and 3) bizarrely defines 25% as “every”.
A new reader who found me via The Agitator sent me a copy of Prince of Darkness this week, but I only have his real name and I’m not sure if he posts under that or uses a screen name. I hope he reads this and emails me so I can thank him properly!
Though Argentina has its own problems with “survivors” agitating against improved rights for sex workers, at least they aren’t pushing for increased criminalization yet:
In Argentina, women who [have] sex in exchange for money have splintered into two groups. The one group…who call themselves “sex workers” to reflect their choice to work in the profession, is finalizing a bill…for…greater rights…The other group…prefers the term “prostitutes,” insisting that they are victims…of the industry…[they propose] policies that offer subsidies and create alternative employment opportunities…
…police officer Inspector Paul Biggin says while sex workers have also been a major beneficiary of the [mining] boom, there are growing concerns about women being brought in from overseas and exploited by criminals…”A lot of…women come from Asian countries and they’re the types…that certainly do get exploited because of their poor education or the fact that they’re easily tricked,” he said… few women…have reported any mistreatment. “A lot of times they don’t because there is a fear factor involved,” he said.
Translation: “poor Asian women are stupid”. And the reason they don’t tell him what he wants to hear must be “fear”; after all, he can’t possibly be wrong.
…Jules Kim, the migration project manager at Scarlet Alliance, said…”Using ‘doesn’t speak English’ as an indicator would not be applied to any other profession…English skills are not tied in to education levels at all so someone could be highly educated and yet have poor English skills.” Ms Kim says the extent of the problem in mining communities has been exaggerated…
It’ll be interesting to see what other workers’ rights this eventually leads to: “Swedish prostitutes won the right to claim benefits, including sick days and parental leave…’As long as sex workers pay their taxes, they should have the same access to sick-leave benefits and parental leave as anybody else,’ [said social insurance director] Joakim Jarnryd…’We don’t make any moral judgments’…”
US officials hoped to silence whore’s voices by barring them from attending the International AIDS Conference in Washington on July 22nd-27th, but India’s Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee had other ideas and organized a “hub” which will be digitally linked with the main event. Andrew Hunter of the Asia [Pacific] Network of Sex Workers said, “We are holding this Global Hub…in India because sex workers are not allowed entry into the U.S. to attend the main AIDS conference. This event will allow us to participate as well as give sex workers from around the globe a chance to still contribute to important discussions…”
Health officials have long criticized US anti-whore policies as destructive, and a new report released for the conference by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law has gone even further, as explained in this article by Cheryl Overs:
The report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law…recommends the repeal [of] laws that prohibit consenting adults from buying or selling sex, including those laws that have the effect of prohibiting commercial sex such as laws against “immoral” earnings, “living off the earnings” of prostitution and brothel-keeping. It calls for an end to police harassment and violence against sex workers and a prohibition of mandatory HIV and STI testing…It also recommends withdrawal of the Pepfar anti-prostitution pledge. This marks a significant advance for sex workers’ struggle for sex work to be decriminalised and recognised as an occupation…
I’ll have more to say about this article in my upcoming column of the 27th.
What makes this news rather than a typical abuse is that the cops are being prosecuted: “A Kansas City police officer has been…accused…of having sex with two women in exchange for not arresting them. One woman told police she was working as a prostitute, and the other said she had outstanding warrants and marijuana in her motel room when she met Jeffrey Holmes…prosecutors in neighboring Platte County charged another Kansas City police officer with misappropriating about $75,000 from his elderly mother…”
This thorough debunking of the oft-repeated claim that “human trafficking is the third most profitable business for organized crime” by Ann Jordan and Lynn Burke was published over a year ago, but only came to my attention this week:
…Evidence for this claim either does not exist or is impossible to locate. Despite the efforts of the authors and two professional reference librarians to locate the original reliable source, the research only turned up similar statements and not one article was uncovered that contained any evidence to support the claim…it is not unusual to hear statements that claim to be about trafficking but are really talking about smuggling…It would certainly make more sense to say that smuggling is the third largest source of organized crime profits…
Compare to the outrageous claims made by other FBI agents about “human trafficking” cases they claim to have been personally involved in:
A former police officer who retired from the FBI…has written a book about seeing legions of angels guarding the Pennsylvania site where a hijacked airliner crashed [on September 11th, 2001]. Lillie Leonardi…remembers the burning pine and jet fuel stinging her nostrils. She said she also remembers a smoldering crater littered with debris too small to associate with the jetliner or 40 passengers and crew on board…”That’s when I started seeing like shimmery lights…and it was kind of misty and that’s when I first saw, like, the angels there,” Leonardi said…[she] kept it to herself for the better part of two years [but] as…[symptoms of] post-traumatic stress disorder [surfaced] she began telling a close circle of friends and colleagues what she saw…
The San Francisco Bay Guardian interviewed an escort who was targeted by the recent “Operation Cross Country” because somebody thought she looked under 18. The article also revealed the ratio of adult sex workers to underage ones arrested in the Bay Area: 61 adults to 6 “children” (i.e. 16- or 17-year-old women). 10 to 1 is a very poor ratio considering that about 3.5% of all hookers are underage and the cops were specifically targeting youthful women.
“Hundreds of…sex workers protested in Paris…against plans to make soliciting prostitution illegal…France’s minister for women’s rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem…[has said] she would seek to make prostitution disappear by punishing those who pay for sex…but her remarks unleashed a hail of criticism from sex workers’ unions, which argued that punishing clients would drive business underground, endangering prostitutes…”
This Week in 2011
The last column of my first year was a two-part interview with my husband using reader-supplied questions, and the first of my second year explains why streetwalkers are a “Bone of Contention” among activists. “Housewife Harlotry” demonstrates that transactional sex is an important part of marriage, “The Proper Study” is a short history of prostitution research and “Sisters in Arms” looks at the inevitable result of laws which infantilize women.
This Week in 2010
Though I’d write “Streetwalkers” a bit differently now, it still has some good points to make. “Wanna Date?” asks whether it’s really possible to draw a sharp line between dating and whoring, and “Madonna and Whore” discusses the infamous duality and shows how girlfriends straddle it. Finally, “Do You Party?” looks at my deep hatred of cocaine.