The violence of a john does not diminish the role of the state in making a prostitute more vulnerable to that violence. – Beverley McLachlin and other justices of the Canadian Supreme Court
R.I.P. Al Goldstein
Al Goldstein, the gleefully-controversial publisher of Screw magazine, died on December 19th after a long illness and an even longer decline in fortunes; he was 77. Screw debuted in 1968 as a sort of déclassé foil to Playboy, and Goldstein was arrested many times on obscenity charges; my very first memorable exposure to anti-sex feminism was an episode of the Tomorrow show in which a neofeminist dumped a shredded copy of Screw on his head (I was 12 or 13 at the time). The New York Times obit is excellent, and worth your time; though his name is less well-known than those of the more successful and mainstream porn magnates, Goldstein was a lot more influential than you may realize and is remembered quite fondly by many in both the sex and publishing industries.
Another Example of Swedish “Feminism”
…[A] nude named Juno, painted by baroque artist G E Schröder, had hung in the guest dining room for some 30 years before deputy speaker Susanne Eberstein [ordered it removed]…”It is…a feminist issue. It’s tiresome (looking at) a bare-breasted woman when I sit at public dinners with foreign guests. I think it feels a little hard to sit there with men who look at us women”…Eberstein explained.
…The DriveSafe device can be inserted into the onboard diagnostics port of any non-hybrid/electric car made after 1996…[and] communicates via Bluetooth with the Esurance smart phone app. Parents can then fine-tune what their kids’ phones can do. “Customize block lists so they can’t tweet but can still access navigation apps and receive calls from you,” Esurance suggests. Or simply disable texting…it also tracks every aspect of a teen’s drive: how fast they went, how quickly they accelerated, how hard they braked, and where they went…
Against Their Will
Kamalabai Pani…of Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP)…in India…[recalled a] raid on…May 20th, 2005…[which] came on the heels of VAMP’s sister organization Sampada Grameen Mahila Sanstha (SANGRAM) turning down funds from USAID [because of the “anti-prostitution pledge”]…“The police…dragged [sex workers] off by the hair…[they] were beaten and dragged to the vans”…The raid was timed during a school holiday. “It was May and the schools were on vacation, so [girls visiting] their mothers [could be arrested and represented as “trafficking victims”]…a smear campaign [was then] launched against SANGRAM…claiming that USAID had terminated [their] funding…because they were traffickers and had tried to “thwart rescue efforts”…The raid…was initiated by…Restore International, a Christian NGO under the leadership of Greg Malstead…[who later] continued to harass the sex worker community…
The Crumbling Dam
“The City of Vancouver [BC] is looking to repeal an anachronistic 1923 bylaw that requires club managers to…not allow a ‘prostitute or person of evil repute’ to enter…”
Follow Your Bliss
…American missionary Daniel Johnson…was arrested…in relation to sex crimes committed in the U.S. and…is now accused of raping five boys…between the ages of 11 and 15 at an orphanage in [Phnom Penh]…
Backwards into the Future (TW3 #137)
…Beijing has heralded this year’s decision to abolish re-education through labour (RTL) camps…But human rights groups say…thousands of people are still…held in a parallel system known as “custody and education”, overseen by public security officials rather than judges. Unlike prisoners…the detainees [most of them sex workers, are used as slave labor and] must pay living costs and take compulsory tests for sexually transmitted diseases…
Scott Greenfield on the effects Kathleen Rice’s ugly “end demand” campaign:
…our Protestant ethic condemns the sale of sex and vilifies those engaged in it, regardless of whether it fits within the paradigm of loose, evil women or victims of evil sex trafficking…the latter…gave Kathleen Rice the perfect opportunity to…score points…But…as Newsday reports, it wasn’t the johns, but Rice’s prosecutions, getting flushed…So far, there have been six guilty pleas and five dismissals. Not a very good average, given that Rice gets to cherry pick her prosecutions. In fact, it’s a total disaster. But…these accused johns…[were] publicly humiliated by the arrest, the detention…Rice’s poster, the cost of hiring a lawyer and appearing in court over and over…[at least one’s] wife is divorcing him…Most people, including those who cling dearly to their Puritanism, don’t think breaking up families is an appropriate goal of the legal system…But…as long as there is that lie in small print at the bottom…Rice…gets all the benefits of public adoration with none of the responsibility for destroying the lives of the innocent…
I really wish I didn’t have to say “I told you so” quite so often.
Pornography filters used by major internet service providers are blocking websites offering sex education and advice on sexual health and porn addiction…[while] failing to block hardcore porn-hosting sites…Among the sites…blocked as “pornographic” was BishUK.com, an award-winning…sex education site…Edinburgh Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre…Sexual Health Scotland, Doncaster Domestic Abuse Helpline, and Reducing The Risk, [another]…domestic abuse…site…
Not to mention EFF, Blogspot, Boing Boing and the site you’re reading now. However, you can get around this:
A Google Chrome…extension…[called] “Go Away Cameron”…will allow UK internet users to visit any site they want, bypassing government restrictions…The creator of the…extension,…@nubela, said that…the add-on simply picks up the government block and bypasses it…
The Punitive Mindset (TW3 #337)
For the first time this Christmas, people in [UK] prison will not be able to receive parcels from their loved ones under petty and mean new rules introduced by the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling. The new rules…forbid prisoners from receiving any items in the post unless there are exceptional circumstances…families are prevented from sending in basic items…such as cards, paper…pens…books…magazines…clothes and underwear…Instead people in prison are now forced to pay for these items out of their meagre prison wages to private companies who make a profit from selling goods to prisoners…
A new article by Dr. Nick Mai on “sex trafficking” in the UK:
The moral panic on the supposed prevalence of trafficking in the global sex industry rests on a lie: that the majority of sex workers are trafficked. In fact, the opposite is true. However, on the basis of this fiction, the dangerous abolitionist campaigns in favour of the criminalisation of clients…are gaining ground in several EU countries …our research [found] that…only…about 6% of female interviewees …felt that they had been deceived and forced into selling sex…Most …thought their rights could be more asserted and their vulnerability reduced by decriminalising sex work…All…thought that restrictive migration policies and…criminalization…make people more likely to take risks and accept undignified and dangerous working conditions…
The Course of a Disease (TW3 #342)
“Following a series of articles in…The Guardian, ICRSE and many sex workers organisations, academics and allies have signed a letter demanding…fairer representation [of] the debate on criminalisation of clients. To this date, the letter [has] not been published…” The letter corrects both (unintentional?) errors on the part of the Guardian itself and (deliberate) misstatements of fact in Swedish model propaganda, and was signed by many whose names you may recognize.
…Pierre Fallavier, who…advised [Somaly Mam’s organization] Afesip between 1999 and 2007, wrote…that from the beginning of his relationship with the organization, [staff raised] concerns…that [victim narratives]…disseminated by Afesip [were] “exaggerated”…Fallavier said…“[I] find it unfair to point solely at Afesip for fabricating stories…This…is the approach that all major international NGOs use…They take bits and parts of the life stories of different beneficiaries and make up a ‘typical’ sob story…they are unapologetic, and…it is well known to anyone working in that sector…This is marketing…and it is only with extreme stories that they will get people to give the cash they need”…
The debate on Cato Unbound is drawing to a close; in all, I had four essays (plus an upcoming conclusion which will appear Monday or Tuesday), neofeminist prohibitionist Dianne Post had four, researcher Ronald Weitzer had three and “sex trafficking” NGO rep Steven Wagner had only the one. If you haven’t read the entire issue yet, why not take advantage of the holiday lull to catch up before my conclusion next week?
Under Every Bed (TW3 #349)
The latest installment in Al Jazeera’s rapid descent into “trafficking” hysteria:
…Most victims of [sex] trafficking…in Spain come from Brazil, China, Nigeria, Paraguay and Romania, according to the police, who estimate the number of victims in the country at 12,000 and the earnings of the sex trafficking rings…at 5mn euros ($6mn) a day…”they don’t tend to recognise that they are victims,” said Paula Mandillo…with Mujer Emancipada…The first European Commission report on human trafficking in Europe…put the number of victims between 2008 and 2010 at 23,632…Spain had the second-highest number of victims…in the European Union, after Italy…sex trafficking rings often use babies…to coerce [victims] into forced prostitution…[so] authorities…are…carrying out DNA tests on women and children at border posts, to verify that they are related…
If Spain has 12,000 “victims” and it’s second after Italy with 12,001, that gives the two countries together 24,001 of the total 23,632 victims. Obviously math skills are not a requirement for either police work or reporting.
The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #351)
Look for a full column on the Canadian Supreme Court’s landmark decision week after next; I’m waiting to see if any politicians will open their mouths to insert their feet. But in the meantime, here are three standout pieces on the subject. First, one of the lawyers on the case expressed her opinion on one politician’s call for the Swedish model:
Elin Sigurdson…[said] “asymetrical criminalization…isn’t consistent” with the…ruling…”The same issue of danger and jeopardy will persist when one of the parties rather than the other is criminalized…it couldn’t be upheld under this decision…because you’re going to find the exact same problems persisting”…
Then Dr. Brooke Magnanti weighed in:
…Already, the decision is being decried by the losing side with complaints of how dangerous it would be for Canada to become “the next Amsterdam.” On the one hand this is true: the Dutch system does not work. I have a friend who is an escort in the Netherlands and her home is regularly raided by police who accuse her of running an unlicensed brothel, even though she’s an independent escort who works alone…sex workers would prefer to not work in a country like the Netherlands…and certainly not in the dangerous and misguided setup endorsed by Sweden…most sex workers advocate for full decriminalization—as seen in the laws of New Zealand and New South Wales, Australia—as the best way to ensure minimum abuses and maximum access to rights…This is a view also supported by the WHO, UNAIDS, and other international aid agencies…Will Canada’s government craft a model of decriminalization, or something else, in the year until the new ruling takes effect?…
And on that last point, from Australia:
…The Swedish model…works to silence any alternatives to the narrative trope of pitiful victim in need of rescue…[it makes] big claims about ending prostitution…but the research does not back this up…and…sex workers [are] further stigmatized…sex workers…can guide our social policies towards best practice…Can we hear their voices ringing loud and clear?
Because “bottleneck effect” is not in the lawhead vocabulary:
Health chiefs in Edinburgh want a network of tightly-regulated brothels to replace…[the] saunas…NHS Lothian revealed the plan during discussions with police and other agencies…Police Scotland are determined to close down Edinburgh’s saunas despite warnings that it will drive the sex trade underground and increase crime and sexually-transmitted diseases…A terse email from an unnamed NHS official said: “Sauna owners are speaking to us about condoms and they are suggesting Police Scotland are insisting that ‘no items of a sexual nature will be permitted on the premises’…This will cause us big problems in terms of public health.” Police Scotland replied…[that their] “aim is to stop the saunas being used for criminality – i.e. brothel keeping and other illegal activities”…
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