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Archive for March 9th, 2016

Sex workers are still most commonly depicted in the mainstream media as victims, pests or, in the odd case, saints.  –  Eurydice Aroney

Think of the Children! Leigh Ann Arthur

That the pictures were stolen is immaterial; she was fired for having a sex life:

A South Carolina high-school teacher may be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor after a student stole her cellphone and distributed partially nude photos from it around the school.  Administrators say she should have password-protected the phone.  The male student grabbed the phone from…Leigh Ann Arthur’s desk while she was making required…rounds between classes…he went through Arthur’s photos, eventually finding some sexually oriented shots that Arthur says she took for her husband.  By the time she returned to the classroom, the student was texting the photos to other students.  According to Arthur, he told her: “Your day of reckoning is coming.”  One might think that the student would at least face disciplinary action…if not criminal charges of some sort.  But thus far, the school has not moved to hold the 16-year-old student accountable at all.  Arthur, however, is another story…she resigned when district officials gave her the choice to do so immediately or start the firing process…More than 1,600 people have signed an online petition created by students…in support of their former teacher…

Rooted in Racism

Mainstream anti-trafficking and abolitionist discourses construct the image of the victim by channelling “white slavery” myths.  Eastern European women (along with other women from the ex-peripheries of global capital) are attributed a central role…Apart from the restrictions faced by most migrants from the former “eastern bloc” in so-called developed states, eastern European migrant sex workers encounter even tougher barriers…Even when legally residing and working, simply owning a Romanian or Russian passport can make female sex workers the target of rescue, detention, and re-socialisation and/or deportation programmes implemented by governmental agencies and carceral NGOs…The imaginary [status] of [these] countries as sources of “forced prostitution”…coincides with a Cold War hangover and…serve to doubly vilify and infantilise European women sex workers…

Peeping Toms

The late Justice Scalia was of course right about this; Lawrence vs. Texas actually overturned all laws against consensual adult sex, including those against prostitution.  But now that picket-fence gays have their seat at the big table, they’re not going to say much while further court decisions attempt to turn Lawrence into a “monogamous vanilla amateurs only” club:

Uh-oh, kinksters:  sex cops could be coming for you next.  According to a new federal court decision, Americans have no constitutional right to engage in consensual BDSM because “sexual activity that involves binding and gagging or the use of physical force such as spanking or choking poses certain inherent risks to personal safety.”  Thus officials could constitutionally ban or regulate such activity in the interest of “the protection of vulnerable persons,” the court held.  In striking down bans on things like sodomy and adultery, U.S. courts have repeatedly said that citizens have a right to engage in whatever sort of consensual sexual activity they choose within the privacy of their own rooms (that is, as long as money isn’t involved).  But federal judges now say that the Constitution “does not prohibit the regulation of BDSM conduct”…

Wise Investment

Every decision like this, in any country, brings us closer to the goal:

…sex workers in Macedonia…have been awarded protection…against the unlawful treatment of the police and the criminal court.  On a November night in 2008, the police carried out [a pogrom]…in which 32 individuals, 23 of whom sex workers, were deprived of liberty.  The police unlawfully detained the sex workers longer than 20 hours in inhuman and degrading conditions…without food, water or any possibility for sanitary hygiene.  Some of them were left without medical help…The following day, all of them were taken for [involuntary STI] testing without any explanation…fourteen (14) sex workers filed a lawsuit…against the…Ministry of Interior…Seven years [later]…the Primary Court…partially granted the lawsuit of the sex workers and again established that…the police action “Suppression of Street Prostitution” violated the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, i.e. violated the…sex workers’ rights…

Universal Criminality

When a cop wants to destroy someone, universal criminality makes it so easy:

A [Florida] sheriff’s deputy was fired and likely will face charges of obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence after he tried to plant [drugs] on a [man cops considered a troublemaker]…Stephen LeBlanc…is accused of persuading a man in [what police call] a known drug neighborhood to help [him]…plant evidence on Thomas Parisi, who LeBlanc in November arrested for spray-painting…“Sex workers are people, too,” and an anti-law enforcement sentiment [on a wall]…LeBlanc then began [stalking] Parisi…to “get him jammed up on more charges,” the sheriff said…

Above the Law 

Just imagine any non-cop getting a deal like this for aggravated rape:

[An] Alabama State Trooper who was…charged with rape and sodomy of an accident victim…has reached a deal with prosecutors that will see him plead guilty to misdemeanor sexual misconduct…Samuel McHenry…put the woman…in his patrol car before [vaginally and anally raping her]…under threat of jail time…McHenry [must] serve six months in the Butler County Jail…in increments at his own discretion…within the next year…pay a $500 fine and restitution, and is ordered not to contact the victim…state law requires he register as a sex offender.

The Birth of a Movement

Yesterday, an English version of Eurydice Aroney’s French radio documentary “The Revolt of the Prostitutes” was broadcast on Australia’s ABC network.  To promote it, she wrote this article on the occupation of the Church of St. Nizier in 1975, the event which gave birth to the international sex worker rights movement.  I was especially touched by this passage:

…Little has changed for these workers since the strike in 1975.  I spoke to…one of the original St Nizier strikers who now works in her van in Gerland.  I asked if she knew that the St Nizier Church occupation was commemorated in Australia and across the world as International Whores’ Day.  “No, I didn’t know that.  Really?” she said. “And in Australia, are there lots of sex workers?  And they aren’t being hassled by the police?”  I told her that no, sex work is decriminalised in NSW…

Traffic Jam (#323)

See the resemblance to the “Satanic Panic” yet?

In the press, it was a “wide-reaching sex-trafficking operation” run by Somali Muslim gangs who forced “girls as young as 12” to sell sex in Minnesota and Tennessee.  In reality, the operation—which led to charges against 30 individuals, sex-trafficking convictions for three, and an eight year legal battle—was a fiction crafted by two troubled teenagers, a member of the FBI’s human-trafficking task force, and an array of overzealous officials…federal prosecuters had no evidence whatsoever to support their “child sex trafficking conspiracy” case outside the seriously flawed testimony of two teenagers, one of whom had “been diagnosed as insane and was off her medication”…The [cop] was…caught lying to the grand jury and lying during a detention hearing, while Doe and the state’s other primary witness were, according to the court, almost entirely “unworthy of belief”…

Size Matters (#337)

Sadly, this was a foregone conclusion:

The leader of the Phoenix Goddess Temple that offered spiritual and touch-based healing services in exchange for donations has been convicted of operating a house of prostitution…Tracy Elise [was pronounced] guilty…on all 22 counts including 12 of money laundering.  She also was convicted of six counts of pandering and one count each of conspiracy to commit illegal control of an enterprise, illegal control of an enterprise, prostitution and operating a house of prostitution…Elise is scheduled to be sentenced on April 8…

Imagine the Sky

The most interesting part of this article for me isn’t the location of historical New York brothels {yawn}, but rather the dogged persistence with which ignoramuses cling to the myth that prostitution was criminalized in the US before the 20th century:

…Sex workers have been operating illegally in New York since before the Revolutionary War.  In the early 19th century, prostitutes worked in Five Points — above present day City Hall Park — and along the East River.  But it wasn’t until the middle of that century that prostitution concentrated in SoHo and formed the city’s first sex district.  While the districts moved northward over time…the manner in which johns found out about the districts remained consistent for decades: cheaply printed guidebooks…patrons needed help finding the city’s illicit brothels that law enforcement mostly turned a blind eye to…

New Excuse

Sometimes politicians’ rhetorical devices are blatantly transparent:

At a hearing on new measures to address human trafficking, California Assemblyman Reggie-Jones Sawyer [said]…”the last time we’ve had this kind of emergency was…the crack-cocaine epidemic.”  Sadly, Sawyer was not referencing the ways in which the current popular panic about sex trafficking and governmental responses to it mirror the outlandish, hysteria-based, and detrimental state approach to the war on drugs.  Rather, Sawyer sees our attention to the “crack-cocaine epidemic” as something we should now strive to emulate…In many, many respects…officials already are treating sex trafficking in the same way they did the drug war.  The dominant legislative response has been increased criminalization of all sorts of commercial sexual activity…

Checklist (#514) 

So about a month ago, this ridiculous air hostess person who’s hawking a book started tweeting nonsense about “sex trafficking” (because her wonderful “signs of trafficking” training makes her an expert, donchaknow).  And she just couldn’t understand why all us mean hookers attacked her when all she wants to do is rescue people!  So she wrote about it, and of course some ass published it:

As a flight attendant, I’ve been trained to spot trafficking in the air…It’s made me take a special interest in the topic, and I was even motivated to speak to my City Council…You…might think human trafficking is a topic we would all agree on. Right? Wrong. I recently learned there are a lot of people who disagree…some sex worker advocates argue we’re creating more victims:  That when I speak out against human trafficking, that I’m contributing to the mass incarceration of sex workers…I met a woman in my neighborhood who works with a nonprofit organization that fights trafficking…so trafficking, in my town of Redondo Beach, has become an off-duty interest for me.  On the drive to my son’s school, we pass 18 massage parlors — in less than two miles.  Every single day I look at these massage parlors, and wonder what might be going on behind those covered up windows surrounded by security cameras…The average person hasn’t had their employer teach them how to stop human trafficking like mine has.  The average person doesn’t have a daily reminder that trafficking is going on in the world the way I do…

Poor Heather; the weight of the world is on her shoulders!  If she doesn’t defend “sex trafficking” victims in Redondo Beach against us bad ol’ whores, who will?

Uncommon Sense (#557)

If any job indicates a need for “counseling”, it’s politician:

…A group of sex workers protested…in Hamburg against a new government bill that would force sex workers to register with the state [every two years or, for women ages 18 to 21, every year] and receive counseling.  The protesters held symbolic “prostitute cards” to illustrate what it would mean for them to be forced to carry with them registration, said Friederike Strack of the Berlin-based consulting center Hydra…

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