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Archive for May 10th, 2013

Who needs misogynists when you describe women engaged in sex work as “objects” whose humanity “can be forgotten”?  –  Maddie Collier

R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen

The greatest special-effects artist of all time has passed away at the age of 92.  His movies are among my all-time favorites, and no digital creature has ever entertained me as much as Ray’s masterful puppetry still does.  And even though he’s been retired for 32 years, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that the world will be just a little less magical without him.

Bad Girls

[An] unnamed 14-year-old used his iPad to find…Dareka R. Brooks through a website used for sexual hookups…believing [her] to be a sex worker, [he] invited her to his…home, [where she]…pepper-sprayed the boy and made off with his piggy bank and the…iPadBrooks was tracked down a short time later…and arrested after she used the iPad…Brooks was charged with armed robbery…[but] the…boy will not face charges for solicitation.

I suspect the cops’ “kindness” means the boy’s family is well-connected.

Halfway Whores

Dr. Laura Agustín on “Good-time girls and other non-professionals taking money for sex“:

Formalised money-sex exchanges get the attention and conflict…lots of other exchanges are ignored, a line is drawn between commercial and non-commercial sex.  But that line is imaginary.  Many people who expect to be compensated for their company will never call themselves sex workers or escorts…

Lack of Evidence

A Colorado woman was convicted of prostitution for answering a personal ad; after trying to talk her into having sex in a parking lot, a disguised cop “shoved a fistful of cash in front of her face and issued a command: ‘TAKE IT!’…Moments later, the car was surrounded [by] ‘Guns and guys in black with masks on’…the prosecution focused on the word ‘roses’ in the Craigslist ad…”  Maybe if this sort of thing starts to happen more often, amateurs will start to wake up to the fact that anti-whore laws harm everyone.

William ColemanMy Body, My Choice (Holiday Leftovers)

[For] five years…[William Coleman has been] force-fed…Starving himself…is the only way he has to…protest his conviction.  Not eating is his only available free speech act…He and his lawyer have gone to court to stop the force-feedings, but a judge ruled against him in March…Coleman is…[not at] Guantánamo…where a mass hunger strike of 100 prisoners has brought…force-feeding to American newspapers, if not American consciences…but…in Connecticut…Guantánamo is not an anomaly.  Prisoners…are routinely and systematically force-fed every day…force-feedings…are considered torture by most of the world’s medical and governing bodies…yet most media outlets continue to portray feeding tube use as a “complex ethical debate.”  It’s not.  Competent prisoners go on hunger strike because they have something to say and no other way to say it.  Prison officials choose not to hear — and silence them with tubes…

Check Your Premises

A Hialeah [Florida] police sergeant…Tomas Muñoz…has been suspended with pay after being…charged with cocaine possession and carrying drug paraphernalia…he told reporters…“I met a girl — she happens to have a pimp, and we fell in love…And he doesn’t let her be free.  This came about because he set the whole thing up.”

He “doesn’t let her be free”, except to fuck cops.  For free.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

American’s mathematical illiteracy goes clear up to the White House, whose spokesman recently claimed that almost 4% of school-age American girls have become “child sex slaves” since the beginning of the panic a decade ago.  Also of note:  since the government was unable to shut down Backpage via unconstitutional censorship demands, it is now claiming that it intentionally gave up trying.

The Proper Study

Another step in the right direction:

Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group) have announced…a new journal devoted to the study of pornography.  Porn Studies, to be edited by Professor Feona Attwood of Middlesex University and Dr Clarissa Smith of the University of Sunderland, will be the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to critically explore those cultural products and services designated as pornographic and their cultural, economic, historical, institutional, legal and social contextsSaradha

One Born Every Minute

Thousands of sex workers in Sonagachi have lost their lifelong savings…in Ponzi schemes…”about [30 million rupees] has been lost”…[said] Bharati [of Durbar Mahila Samanaya Committee]…Till 2004-05…sex workers [only] deposited their earnings and took loans…[at] Usha Bank…but…7-8 agents [who] were sacked by [the] Bank…continued to operate in the red light area.  “Sex workers were easily trapped because the agents were well known to them or were their relatives…” [said a bank officer]…Bharati says, “We…repeatedly issued warnings…But you can’t stop anyone…hell bent to invest her hard earned money in schemes promising much higher returns.”  The Durbar has recently launched a massive awareness programme…

Workers’ Paradise vs. Gold Diggers

 …Dongguan…has a population of about 7 million and a reputation as the Chinese capital of sex…Between 500,000 and 800,000 people – some 10 per cent of Dongguan’s migrant population – are in some way employed in the world’s oldest profession…[including] 300,000 sex workers…[but] authorities are now…trying to push prostitution off Dongguan’s streets with a crackdown…

Where Are the Protests?

Note that the word “trafficking” is entirely absent:

A company within Sweden’s home care services…mistreated migrant workers by making false promises about work conditions…Hassan…said that his official job offer stated that he would be employed full-time by…TPS Vårdteam…with a monthly wage of 26,500 kronor ($4,000)…”In the beginning I didn’t get any work at all…Then I had to work seven days a week….[for] only…8,000 kronor per month”…the company had not paid in any taxes at all for Hassan…

End demand for home health care!

Obfuscation via Dysphemisms

Tulsa, Oklahoma’s sleazy war on whores reaches a new level of evil:

Tulsa police have…charged 23 individuals under a state law that permits a felony to be filed when a person suspected of prostitution is arrested within 1,000 feet of a church or school.  “It’s just a nightmare,” said defense attorney, Charles Kania…a “scarlet letter on their foreheads that follows them forever”…The felony charges are part of a stepped-up effort by police to get tough on prostitution…Sgt. Todd Evans said…”Most of Tulsa is within a thousand feet of a church or school”…[and] police have sometimes opted to book individuals under another statute that makes it a felony to utilize a computer to violate any state law…

Active Blessing
All the Difference

Active Blessing Uganda…[promised that children] would get an education and live a better life…instead [they were] denied basic rights and exploited…76 children, aged between four and 16 years, have been rescued from the alleged human traffickers…the children are malnourished…do domestic work…in return for food and when they fall sick…are not cared for…the parents [were]…always prevented…from visiting…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (TW3 #49)

On May 22, the American Psychiatric Association will release the…DSM-5…[practicing psychotherapist] Gary Greenberg, one of the book’s biggest critics, claims these disorders aren’t real — they’re invented…The Book of Woe: The Making of the DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry is his exposé of the business behind the creation of the new manual…

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn (TW3 #137)

A powerful statement from Filipino sex workers:

…Being poor in the Philippines…means…no matter how much you believe things to be wrong you must believe it to be right when the rich, your master (amo)…[says] so…That…[is] why it was not difficult for the feminist (abolitionists) to appropriate our voices and to start…speaking for themselves in our name…For years, we could only stand , mouths gagged, as we watched our new “amos” build their careers speaking for other underprivileged and “mindless” women in their list who they claim do not have the ability to speak for themselves…We…do not understand the arrogance by which they have anointed themselves our saviors…what we want is save ourselves from them instead…we really do not care about  “patriarchy”, “commodification” and other words they spew.  Those matters don’t bring food on our table nor pay for our rent.  All we are interested in is work undisturbed…It is time to tell the world that only sex workers [can] speak for sex workers…

Held Together With Lies (TW3 #316)Eurotrafficking

Wendy Lyon does her usual thorough job ripping apart a bogus study:

Last month saw the publication of the EU’s first Trafficking in Human Beings report, which…is (properly) littered with disclaimers…Unfortunately…the press release…[went] for the handy soundbite…so we’ve been deluged with headlines like “Human trafficking increased by 18%” when…the report doesn’t show it did any such thing…if all the statistics were accepted as readily as the “18% increase” has been, it would be a little bit inconvenient for some…Contrary to what we’re constantly told by the anti-trafficking movement, the most recent figures make it hard to discern any link between trafficking and the legal status of sex work.  The Dutch rate is very high, but the Cyprus rate is higher – and Cyprus has much stricter laws than the Netherlands…Romania, where sex work itself is illegal, is nearly as high.  Hungary (legal), Portugal (legal) and Lithuania (illegal) are tied for last.  Austria and Germany are also relatively low – in fact, Germany and Sweden are tied, at 0.8 per 100,000.  And the German rate has remained more or less constant over the three years surveyed, while Sweden’s has quadrupled…But sex workers’ rights advocates shouldn’t leap on those figures, either, because truthfully the whole report is pretty hopelessly undermined by its methodological weaknesses…

Monsters

Sometime…[in] April, an Ohio transgender woman was…stabbed repeatedly and then tied to a concrete block and cast into a pond.  She was left with no clothes below the waist, perhaps to shame her…But…insensitive stories by the local press…[wrote] about [her] as if she were a bizarre spectacle, not a victimized human being…the Cleveland Plain Dealer…used a mugshot of [Cemia] Acoff instead of the other readily available photos…the [headline which now reads]…“Oddly dressed body found in Olmsted Township identified,” originally said “oddly dressed man,” (you can see it in the url; it was changed after readers and activists protested)…the story [also] refers to her as Carl Acoff (her birth name) and uses a male pronoun...[a follow-up] story…details what she was wearing…lists old petty “crimes”…[and refers to the] hormones [she was carrying as] “dangerous drugs”…

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #317)

Maddie Collier’s response to Rakhi “pop stars cause sex trafficking” Kumar is well worth reading in its entirety, but here’s a sample:

…The anti-sex trafficking cause is already thick with moral panic, misinformation, and ill-informed, PR-boosting celebrity activists, and you’re cluttering the already-diminished discourse with further nonsense….[which spawns] attitudes and policies that actively harm sex workers.  You are ignoring the freely-available  perspectives and requests of real-life sex workers because they interfere with your romantic notion of the Prostituted Woman as a forlorn, passive victim who needs to be saved.  If you engage with sex workers before you form a view on what’s oppressing them, you might find that criminalisation and stigma are higher-priority concerns than mythical drug-dealing pimps wielding persuasive charm and Beyoncé’s hotpants…

Anatomy of a Boondoggle (TW3 #317)

The newest excuse for police rape of sex workers is that Asian massage parlors are “sophisticated”:

…an undercover police officer…[repeatedly paid for sex] over five months…in a fight against prostitution and human trafficking.  Officers say such methods led to…[their raiding] two businesses [and] arresting…four alleged prostitutes and two alleged pimps.  But the methods…were criticized…by legal…experts and women’s advocates as excessive, unnecessary and misapplied…prostitutes can be arrested and charged in Indiana as soon as an agreement to pay for a sex act is made…Plus…if the women indeed had been…working…against their will, the sex acts they performed on the officer only contributed to their humiliation, exploitation and degradation…Aaron Dietz, head of the…Task Force…which conducted the nine-month sting, said…the sophisticated nature of the prostitution ring required officers to take more extreme measures…Dietz and others wanted to emphasize that it was not a pleasurable experience for the officer, but entirely necessary.  “No one…really wants to go into these…It’s something that’s ethically and morally very trying, so I’d do anything to keep guys out of there.”

You’d do anything?  Then how about advocating for decriminalization, you fucking filthy liar?

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