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Archive for the ‘The Dark Side’ Category

Siren

I’ve been a hobbyist since 2007 and have been with many ladies, but a year ago I started seeing a young woman less than half my age and became utterly intoxicated with her.  I see her about twice a week now, always paying more than her full posted rate; despite this she never stays longer than the time we agreed on, even though she sees other people at a lower rate.  She does, however, text with me every day, though most of them are rather short.  I take her shopping, bring her many presents, and loaned her a lot of money; I have also told her I love her and even proposed.  She has never said she loves me, but she says she has more feelings for me than she does other clients; she gets a little angry if I push her to explain her feelings, and says she’s not in the same place I am.  Last autumn I was in alcohol rehab for a while, and she was very annoyed that I did not keep in contact while I was in the facility (because I couldn’t use my cell phone there).  After that I started getting very obsessed with her and have figured out her real name, where she lives and other personal information.  She won’t commit to a relationship, but says anything is possible.  It’s beginning to get around the local escort/client community that I’m infatuated with her, and the other providers I know tell me I’m not the only one, and that she’s known for using people.  One of my hobbyist friends tells me I should stop seeing her for at least six months, and see other providers instead; I’ve tried that, but no other woman makes me feel like she does.  Help!

I’m afraid I have to echo what everyone else is telling you:  you need to walk away from this if at all possible.  You are completely infatuated with her, and though I won’t say she’s using you because she isn’t lying to you, that doesn’t make this a healthy relationship.  There’s absolutely nothing morally wrong with her refusing to overstay her time, or insisting on full rate; though I do think it’s a bit strange that she gives other people a cheaper rate than her most regular client, on the other hand she also gives you a lot of “off the clock” interaction via texting and the like.  What makes it unhealthy is your level of emotional investment in something that isn’t going to go where it’s obvious you desperately want it to go.

We like to believe that we have complete free will, but the truth is that chemicals dramatically affect our thinking and emotions.  People with mental illnesses caused by chemical imbalances can find their whole lives thrown into turmoil for no apparent reason, and the right medication can make them feel dramatically better.  Recreational drugs can profoundly affect the way we feel or view the world, and can even lead to powerful insights or religious experiences.  And given that you have suffered from alcoholism yourself, I don’t think I need to remind you of the powerful effect that chemical has on the brain.  Well, the feeling of being in love is also caused by chemicals, though they’re ones which originate within the body rather than outside of it; the primary culprit is dopamine, but norepinephrine and phenylethylamine are also important, not to mention the “love hormone” oxytocin (which is released during skin-to-skin contact, including cuddling, even in situations where no sex or erotic attraction is involved).  So while it’s not possible to be addicted to sex (as I have explained many times in my blog), it is indeed possible to be addicted (in a way) to the feeling of being in love.  And just as the compelling need for alcohol or other drugs can cause erratic or even dangerous behavior in the addict, so can the compelling need for the “fix” provided by that potent neurochemical mixture one’s brain releases during interaction with the subject of one’s infatuation.  The good news is that, as with any other addiction, the hold of love can be broken; the bad news is that I don’t know of any way to do it other than cold turkey withdrawal.  I would strongly counsel you to take your friends’ advice:  stop seeing your siren and try to distract yourself with other ladies and other pastimes, before you go broke and/or get yourself arrested for doing something you will regret, which I fear is a very strong possibility in this situation.brain in love

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

 

 

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Given the takedown of MyRedbook and Rentboy, and the repeated assaults on Backpage, I couldn’t say that the seizure of Seattle’s The Review Board by local cops in conjunction with the FBI was shocking; in fact, as I told the first reporter I talked to about it, my initial reaction was “Here we go again.”  Of course, there’s one big difference between this case and the earlier ones:  I was currently advertising on TRB, and in fact the screenshot of the board which was included in the cops’ press release included the headline of my most recent ad, with my name right there for anyone to read.TRB seizure

From my point of view, the way the news unfolded was this:  I had just arrived home on Wednesday afternoon to prepare for a date when one of my sex worker friends texted me to tell me she had tried to sign onto the board and was confronted with the ugly, threatening sight of police badges.  I in turn texted another close friend, who informed me that she had just emailed me the news herself; when my gentleman arrived he asked me if I had heard, and I said yes.  By the time he left two hours later my phone was full of texts and my computer full of emails, and a strategy meeting had been called for that evening.  I told SWOP-Seattle’s media director that I would be available for on-camera interviews if needed, since I’m out; by the time the meeting was convened I had already talked to a reporter from TV station KING 5 and was on the way to meet him for an interview.  When I got back I was almost immediately sent back out to talk to a reporter from KIRO, this time in the company of another sex worker friend, Caroline McLeod.  And when I checked Twitter yesterday morning after awakening to another flurry of text messages and emails, I discovered something that was news to my non-TV-news-watching self:  those two interviews were virtually unprecedented.  Nobody who tweeted at me had ever seen a local news station ask sex workers for their opinions on a bust before, and certainly not in as respectful a fashion as KIRO did.

By the time of the press conference held late yesterday morning so cops and prosecutors could congratulate themselves and deliver their warped view of events to reporters, we had a pretty good idea of what was going on; predictably, the seven SWOP members (including Caroline and I) who went to the press conference were excluded, so we waited in the lobby and handed cards to every reporter who walked in. letting them know we’d be available for interviews afterward.  As we had suspected, the allegations involved “K-girls”, immigrant Korean sex workers, who were portrayed as helpless, enslaved victims despite the fact that officials fully admitted that they hadn’t interviewed any of these “rescued” women (and refused to tell reporters where they were being held).  So far, it appears the entire case was built on the statement of a single K-girl, and I don’t need to explain how cops and prosecutors go about extracting such “testimony” by intimidation and threats of dire consequences unless the victim “co-operates”.  One other weird feature of the accusations is that TRB is being represented as a nationwide site, when in fact it is strictly limited to the Seattle area.

my boots 1-7-16After the press conference, though, something amazing happened:  reporters from two TV stations, two radio stations and two newspapers stopped to ask for our input.  We split up to talk to those reporters; I handled another reporter from KING 5 and one of the radio interviews (in which I got to respond directly to the sheriff, who interestingly tried to “head me off” by negating what he assumed I would say).  The KING 5 reporter seemed weirdly obsessed with the word “prostitute” (and his cameraman seemed fascinated by my snakeskin boots); he asked me if all of us there were prostitutes, and I stated that we were all sex workers.  I further explained that sex workers included strippers, porn actresses, phone sex operators, etc, and that one of our criticisms of prostitution law was that it attempts to draw artificial lines between consensual sexual behavior which the state allows and that which it doesn’t.  He then asked if I was a prostitute, and on camera in the hall of a courthouse, within earshot of at least half a dozen cops, I said “yes”.  As I wrote on Twitter last night, “I felt a sense of great pride, power and even triumph in openly and clearly stating on camera that I am a prostitute.”  When I started this blog, I cloaked my identity, and now I’m almost as out as I can be.  Though the state has just thrown yet another obstacle in the way of my making a living, it can’t ever take that supremely badass moment away from me.  And though there will no doubt be a lot more detail forthcoming as this story develops, the fact that reporters are at least beginning to allow sex workers a say is a huge step forward.

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[Prostitution law] is not about rationality or science or evidence.  It is just about ideology.  –  John Lowman

License to Rape

Cops don’t like it when non-cops poach on what they consider their territory:

Raul Antonio Ramos…could [be imprisoned]…for 50 years to life if he is convicted of [various rape-related felonies after]…he allegedly contacted [a sex worker]…in Anaheim…once inside [her room] he claimed to be a [cop], showed her his security-guard badge and threatened her with arrest if she did not have sex with him…He went on to forcibly rape the woman, using a GoPro video camera to record the entire incident…When Ramos tried to…orally [rape her]…she grabbed his keys and camera and ran out of the hotel room and down the street to a Joe’s Italian Ice shop to report the rape…Joseph Christoph Moore…of Anaheim, is [also] facing charges of  impersonating a cop and fondling two women in separate late November incidents…Moore approached a woman…whipped out a badge…told her to get against a wall, fondled her breasts and buttocks while “searching” her, pulled a handgun out of his waistband and warned her he would shoot her if she screamed.  In the second incident, he is accused of pressing a badge against a woman’s driver-side window, telling her she had expired tags…ordered her against a wall for a pat down and fondled her buttocks and inner thighs several times…Moore…could get life in prison if he is convicted…

Legal Is as Legal Does

Remember, sex work was re-legalized in Taiwan four years ago after ten years of US-style criminalization imposed due to pressure from Washington; however, it’s only “legal” in certain districts, of which none have been designated.  The result:

Authorities…cracked a prostitution ring operating in the Taipei area…officials probed possible links to international human traffickers in China and East Europe…18 people were arrested, including the two suspected leaders — 78-year-old Cheng Tsung-te (程崇德) and a 55-year-old woman surnamed Ku (顧)…Police officials [fantasized that] Cheng is…the “patriarch” of Taiwan’s underground sex trade with decades of insider experience…officials said that some of the alleged call girls were migrant workers from Southeast Asia who were under contract to work as home caregivers, but had run away…

They fled their “contracts” as caregivers to become sex workers, but it’s the latter which is supposedly “exploitative”.

Above the Law James Greene

A pretty typical case in all points:

…M’Leah…Hassan’s attorney Elton Richey claims former Shreveport [Louisiana cop] James Greene raped Hassan in his office in February after she came to the department to report harassing and threatening phone calls by a former boyfriend…The city of Shreveport and SPD are also accused of being negligent in its hiring, training and supervision of Greene…[who] was arrested and charged with abuse of office Feb. 13 and was fired from SPD Feb. 24…”They didn’t actually charge him with sexual assault,” Richey said. “I can’t…imagine the thinking that’s going on there.”  And now, 10 months later, the Caddo Parish District Attorney hasn’t brought the case to trial.  Richey said court dates are being pushed off and rescheduled…

Above the Law (#334)

You may recall that local “authorities” only wanted to charge the rapists with “accepting bribes”:

Two South Florida strippers claim in court that…Broward County [cops raped]…and threatened them after finishing their shift at a popular gentleman’s club…shortly after 4 a.m. on May 24, 2012…the City knew that [Franklin] Hartley and [Thomas] Merenda posed a threat to women, but still kept them on duty…

Traffic Circle

Pro-decriminalization articles are becoming much more common:

…the “rescue industry”…profits off the stigma of sex workers and…[collaborates with] the police, courts, and elected officials.  An instance of this is the ongoing pursuit of sex workers and clients who utilize…BackPage…By shutting down the websites that allow sex workers to manage their own business with a degree of autonomy, it would close a major revenue stream and give way to a return for those who victimize sex workers, the ranks of which have decreased with the rise of the internet…The [Providence] mayor’s call for more BackPage sting operations is especially disingenuous because, by painting all those who utilize the website as human trafficking victims or human traffickers, it creates no gradation or allowance for variety and exercise of constitutionally-protected rights…This type of state violence towards honest workers would be unacceptable in any other industry yet, because sexuality is involved in the equation, all existing norms of decency and respectability are ejected in the name of sensationalism…prohibition…forces sex workers to support the status quo of dissuading co-workers who want to work by any means necessary…After a sex worker is handed over to the rescue industry, they oftentimes find themselves forced into low-wage menial labor and subjected to puritanical ethics that prevent them from private access to the internet, sexual activity outside of marriage, and contact with former associates…

Harm Magnification (#427)

These articles are even more common in Canada:

Prostitution was dominating the headlines in the late 1970s when John Lowman was working on his PhD thesis.  Police raids of nightclubs in Vancouver and massage parlours in Toronto had pushed prostitutes onto the streets and Lowman thought he could use the crackdown on prostitution in his thesis on the impact of police behaviour on crime patterns…Over the decades…Lowman (now a Simon Fraser University criminologist)…found out what happened to prostitutes on the street and described the dangers they face [in] government reports and academic journals.  And he was flabbergasted by the callous indifference among top policy-makers as the number of deaths began to mount…Lowman is edging into retirement, and is still troubled by the abject failure of public policy to protect street prostitutes.  Policy-makers now have the benefit of more than 30 years of research-based evidence from across the country on violence against prostitutes as well as a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that focused on the barriers to safety that were created by the law.  But the provisions of the Criminal Code still compromise the safety of prostitutes…

Not an Addiction (#443)

an unnamed 28-year-old man from Siberia is suing…because he became “addicted” to Fallout 4…he planned to play the game a few nights each week but ended up on a three-week binge that resulted in the loss of his job.  He claims he was so addicted that he couldn’t even make time to eat or sleep.  Oh, and his wife left him.  Now, he is seeking around $7,000…for emotional distress…[saying] that if he knew the game could become so addictive, he…either wouldn’t have bought it or would have saved it until he was on vacation…the case is largely being viewed as a test in Russia as there haven’t been any like it before…such claims aren’t new.  In 2010, Craig Smallwood from Hawaii sued [the] Lineage II maker…after logging more than 20,000 hours in the game…Amazingly enough, Smallwood won his case…

Subtle Pimping (#503) Assassin's Creed image

Positive portrayals of sex workers are becoming more common in video games:

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s new Jack The Ripper expansion is a compelling if rough-edged remix of the base game that cleverly works in one of history’s most famous killers.  It pulls off another trick, too, going to extraordinary lengths to engender empathy for a group of people who don’t get much of it in video games: prostitutes…

An Example to the West (#544)

In Nicaragua, sex workers have been trained as peer educators in legal matters.  In Mozambique, it’s health matters:

In 2011, [Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)] began distributing condoms and giving lectures about HIV treatment in [Southeast Africa]…So that no person working in the sex industry on the route between Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi has to stop [HIV] treatment when moving to other cities for work, MSF created the Corridor Project, which provides medicine along the way…the project also includes education and awareness training, especially for sex workers…“But we still had a hard time reaching out to sex workers, who were afraid to face our team, due to the severe discrimination that they often suffer here.  We needed someone who was able to create a link between sex workers and Doctors Without Borders [MSF],” says [Humberto] Jassitene [of MSF].  The Peer Educator program…is made up of women who are sex workers at night but double as health workers for MSF during the day…

Checklist (#562)

Everyone’s hurrying to cash in on “sex trafficking” hysteria before the bubble collapses:

…Apps aimed at fighting human trafficking…are emerging as social entrepreneurs attempt to use technology to battle what they see as the forces of evil.  A group of government agencies and private foundations calling themselves Partnership for Freedom has set up a competition with the not-so-catchy name “Rethink Supply Chains” challenge.  What is grabbing attention is $500,000 in prize money that will be awarded for the best technology solutions to combat the use of slave labor…LaborVoices, a Sunnyvale, California-based venture, is entering the challenge with an app that allows workers to [snitch] simply and anonymously using a voice activated smartphone app…Made in a Free World, for example, created the Slavery Footprint app that generates estimates of an individual’s reliance on slave labor from data on trafficked human…the…challenge will pick as many as five finalists next month and award them $20,000 each to build a prototype.  The winner will be announced in April.

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#563)

So a reporter from Vice contacted a couple of escorts who use the German hooker app, Peppr, and interviewed them.  There are no surprises here, but you may find it interesting.

Seizing Power (#597)

Hey Breitbart:  swallowing the government’s “sex trafficking” propaganda makes you its stooges:

…Dart claimed that his effort was part of a crackdown on criminal sex traffickers who “prey on the weak and vulnerable.”  He argued that the use of credit cards in the “violent” sex industry “implies an undeserved credibility and sense of normalcy” to illegal transactions and increases the demand for “women and girls” who are often supplied through “coercion and violence”.  But the announcement outraged so-called “sex workers” across the globe, who said they were losing a convenient way to get paid…

Yes, they actually said “so-called ‘sex workers'”.

Innocence Never Had (#598)

Do these people really imagine that one basket full of ham and bog rolls will convince women to give up their jobs?

A group of volunteers spent their Saturday morning spreading Christmas cheer in Lake Charles [Louisiana]…”We are going to the areas that there is a lot of sex trafficking,” said Shawn Cardin…Founder of “I Am Loved”…[which harasses]…women in the sex trade industry…”We try to love everybody for Christmas,” said Cardin.  They came armed with food like frozen turkeys or ham and fresh fruits.  They also had house baskets filled with simple toiletries…”But more than anything we encourage and uplift these people”…

Also note that for the most part, “sex trafficking” has become nothing more than an especially-ugly dysphemism for sex work.

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The bottom line is that the criminalization of prostitution is at the root of the risk that sex workers face.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

The Red Umbrella 

Elizabeth Nolan Brown demonstrates her amazing allyship:

Each December 17, sex workers and their allies around the world commemorate the “International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers”…it’s not just psychos and serial killers who put sex workers in danger—a large share of violence against sex workers comes at the hands of cops…who…target sex workers for assault because they have an easy bargaining chip (do what I say or I’ll throw you in jail) and they know the stigma around prostitution makes people less likely to believe these women.  But even cops who are just doing their jobs commit violence against sex workers every day, by arresting and locking them up in jail just for trying to earn a living.  Then, when sex workers suspect clients are capable of violence, we wonder why they didn’t go to the police?  Please…

Social Construction of Eunuchs

The title’s not usually this literal:

…The drug Lupron tricks the hormone in the brain that tells the pituitary gland to produce testosterone.  Dr. Renee Sorrentino is one of a handful of psychiatrists offering Lupron to patients in Massachusetts.  She first saw the drug in action while working in Canada and was amazed at how it changed men’s lives by “turning down the sexual volume of the mind,” allowing patients to work through the causes of their behaviors with therapy.  Sorrentino says that about 20 percent of her current Lupron patients are there voluntarily, often desperate to curb their troubling sexual thoughts or actions.  One of her patients, a 62-year-old man…started taking shots of Lupron after his wife discovered he’d spent the last eight years sleeping with prostitutes.  Identifying as a sex addict, he felt the only way to stop his behavior — and save his 45-year marriage — was to medicate his body into submission…Ehsan Abdulaziz

Droit du Seigneur 

Does anyone actually believe this excuse would’ve worked for a poor man?

A millionaire businessman has been found not guilty of rape after claiming he accidentally penetrated her when he tripped and fell.  Ehsan Abdulaziz…was…accused of forcing himself on the 18-year-old as she slept on a couch at his London flat after a night of drinking.  The Saudi property developer said he had already had sex with the young woman’s 24-year-old friend and it was possible his penis may have been poking out of his underwear when he tripped…Abdulaziz said he had accidentally fallen on the teenager and that she tried to seduce him, and that was how his DNA got onto her vagina…He also told the court it was possible he had semen on his hands after having sex with the young woman’s friend…

His penis “accidentally” entered her?  Seriously?  Has anyone on this jury ever actually had sex?  Or were they all Swedish immigrants?

Little Boxes

Adult human beings with Important Titles actually thought this was something that needed to be discussed:

Driving instructors in the Netherlands can legally trade driving lessons for sex, government ministers have confirmed…Some novice drivers have been learning the rules of the road in exchange for sex, in deals which the conservative opposition party ChristenUnie has labeled “illegal prostitution”.  The Dutch government has been researching the appropriate legal stance on such transactions and concluded that offering driving lessons in exchange for sex is not illegal.  However it would be illegal if the transaction was to be reversed, with a learner driver offering sex for the lessons…

Too Young To Know

This is the same paper which has printed several “lock ’em up” prostitution editorials in recent months:

…Follow the money that Washington state spends intervening with runaway kids and those who skip school, and you might believe this state wants to see them all locked up in jail.  The laws that underpin this embarrassment were passed 20 years ago under what’s known as the Becca laws, named for a 13-year-old Tacoma girl who ran away from home repeatedly, became addicted to crack…fell into prostitution…[and] was murdered [due to the criminalization this paper supports]…the laws have become a vehicle to routinely jail youths.  The state spends millions to funnel noncriminal adolescent rebellion into juvenile courts…Washington sends more truant and runaway kids to jail than any other state by at least a factor of two…in 2014 this state jailed one-third of the 7,466 young people detained across the nation for so-called “status offenses” — running away from home or skipping school…one out of every six kids admitted to a juvenile detention center aren’t there for crimes, but for violating court orders regarding truancy and running away…

Worse Than I Thought

For the “crime” of seeking an adult partner for consensual sex:

Three…men facing gross misdemeanor charges for soliciting prostitution in a public place in [a Minnesota] County have pleaded guilty…The men [were entrapped using fake]…online advertisements for escort services…one…was sentenced to two years of supervised probation, during which he must submit to random searches of his personally owned cellphones or computers…[and] is also not allowed to use Craigslist, backpages.com [sic] or other internet [advertising] sites…[he] was required to [endure a “john school”]attend and…was fined $750…[another]…was [threatened with]…30 days in [a cage if he refuses to endure “john school”]…he…was fined $1,685.  [The third]…was [also threatened with the cage and]…must submit to random searches of his person, residence…vehicles…electronic devices…cellphones and computers, and [must surrender] his passwords to any social networking accounts…[he] was fined $2,085.

Innocence Never Had (#401)

“Rescue bags” are the newest way for the hopelessly ignorant to pretend they’re “doing something” about “child sex trafficking”:

…One hundred rescue bags were put together for child sex trafficking victims in Clayton County.  Donations of personal hygiene items, clothes, socks and blankets were collected from agencies all over Clayton…“Everyone has been 150 percent behind us in this,” said Joanne Southerland, coordinator of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Awareness, Training and Prevention…

Note that Clayton County, Georgia has about 260,000 inhabitants, which means these fetishists fantasize that 8 of every 10,000 female inhabitants are “child sex slaves”.  But I guess one can’t expect much mathematical comprehension from people who think it’s possible to give 50% more of something than there is of it.

New Excuse

Beginning to sound familiar yet?

Sacramento has been selected as one of six locations…to form new federal task forces to combat human trafficking…[as] part of the Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team Initiative, an interagency federal law enforcement initiative aimed at streamlining the…[persecution of people using] federal human trafficking [laws]…Anti-Trafficking Coordination Teams bring together federal prosecutors and federal agents from federal investigative agencies to [coordinate schemes for harvesting victims]…The new team will include personnel from the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Department of Labor.  Other sites selected to form the new task forces are Cleveland, Minneapolis, Newark, N.J., Portland, Maine, and Portland, Ore.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#503)

Another good way to give lies weight in the minds of the Great Unwashed: embed them in an infographic.another propagraphic

Note that the absurd “25% of all victims” has now inflated a little.

BDSM (#505)

Naturally. It’s obsessing about what other people do in private which is a sign of mental illness:

University of Alabama and University of Central Florida researchers surveyed over 800 kinky people…and found they were mentally and emotionally healthy…The study, “Psychological Functioning and Violence Victimization and Perpetration in BDSM Practitioners from the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom”, also investigated people’s preferences for BDSM activities and fantasies, and explored whether violence is perpetuated against kinky people.  It joins a growing body of research that refutes the stereotype that people who are kinky are inherently dangerous to themselves and others, which is at the root of the discrimination and persecution that kinky people experience…says Robert J. Cramer…Co-Principal Investigator…”Contrary to popular perceptions, our study shows kinky persons are largely mentally healthy when it comes to conditions such as depression, anxiety and suicide”…

Welcome To Our World (#512)

Sweden isn’t racist, nope.  And neither is the “human trafficking” narrative:

Swedish police have compiled a controversial register, listing information about members of the Roma community found begging on the street.  Roma beggars up and down the country have been questioned about their income, whether or not they beg voluntarily or under duress and if they pay others to be guaranteed a certain spot in a town or city…Roma…had also been asked to show…ID…and to give details about their home towns…Police [pretended]…the [surveillance] was necessary in order to fully investigate potential human trafficking…But Hans Caldaras, a spokesperson for the Roma community, said that the study was an excuse to compile statistics based on ethnicity (which is not usually done in Sweden) and to get Roma “out of the country”.  A previous similar initiative co-ordinated by police in southern Sweden in 2013 was severely criticized by Sweden’s parliamentary watchdog, and those included in the register were awarded damages…

O, Canada! (#596)

You wouldn’t know this was Canadian if not for the specifics:

…a…provincial task force is required to combat domestic human trafficking…over 90% of the young female victims of human trafficking are Canadian-born…the highest incidence of human trafficking in Canada occurs in Ontario.  The typical victim of human trafficking…is the girl next door.  She’s the pretty, popular girl who hopes no one ever finds out that deep down inside she doesn’t feel pretty at all…these young women are psychologically manipulated by their “boyfriends”…the victims are confined, beaten, and sexually exploited by traffickers who earn over $280,000 a year from just one victim…women as young as 13 are moved from one community to another.  In Ontario, this frequently occurs along Hwy. 401.  Their traffickers advertise their services online.  It is estimated that on any given day, 500 of the online sex ads involve victims of human trafficking…

I’m surprised Laurie Scott isn’t more wary about sharing the exact details of her masturbatory fantasies with her constituency.

Now They Notice (#596)

If this is what it takes to get Gay, Inc interested in sex worker rights, I’m all for it:

There are countless reasons many transgender people decided to engage in sex work in order to survive.  Employment discrimination, family rejection, unsafe educational environments and other forms of discrimination all contribute to high rates of economic insecurity and poverty for transgender people…Being convicted of a crime for engaging in sex work leads to negative lifelong consequences…[such as] their ability to attain employment.  And in the many cases where they are placed on sex offender registries, this will affect nearly every aspect of their lives, including where they can live and work…sex workers face constant threats of violence…because of the lack of spaces in which sex workers can more safely engage their clients — and a disproportionate…[number] of those…are transgender women…safe spaces…are constantly being shut down by law enforcement agencies and those involved risk being indicted on punitive criminal charges — as we’ve seen recently by the federal raid on Rentboy.com.  This type of approach further pushes sex work deeper underground…

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Were whores to fail to remember our dead, they would be forgotten entirely…and we refuse to let that happen.  –  “On December Seventeenth

12-17-15 SeattleThough this is the thirteenth annual Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, it is the first one I’ve been able to spend in the company of my sisters; tonight I’ll join the vigil procession with the members of SWOP Seattle, which like many others in cities around the world is intended as a memorial to our dead, 160 of them so far this year.  Some of the violence which claimed those lives was the direct result of stigma which portrays us as subhuman; some of it is due to the fact that evil men recognize that cops aren’t likely to care about (or even believe) sex workers who have been attacked.  But nowadays, most of it is a direct result of prohibition and prohibitionist propaganda:

Some prohibitionists say we bring violence upon ourselves by our choice to live outside of the sexual restrictions that repressive cultural norms have imposed on women for the past several millennia; others try to rob us of our agency, claiming that the violence comes from imaginary “pimps” and demonized clients.  But the truth these would-be social engineers don’t want you to know is that the majority of violence against whores is inflicted by the police, either with the blessings of the state (in the name of “fighting prostitution” or “rescuing victims”) or in the shadow created by the state’s definition of harlots as creatures outside the bounds of humane treatment.  The state, Western religions, and carceral “feminists” teach that a woman who has sex for practical reasons rather than emotional ones is robbed of her “purity”, and that an “impure” woman would be better off dead.  Furthermore, since they only value women for our sexual characteristics, they teach that a woman who sells sex “sells her body” or even “sells herself”; a person without a body is a ghost, and a person without a self is nothing at all.  Given these beliefs, is it any wonder those who adhere to them think dead hookers are of no great import?  As far as they’re concerned we were dead already, or worse than dead.  And if we are, is it any surprise that violent, weak-minded thugs in or out of uniform believe they can rape, rob, brutalize or even kill us with impunity?

Until our society grows up and stops believing in ridiculous fairy tales about magical sex acts and ritual purity, sex workers will continue to be treated as disposable.  And until the day that sex work is universally recognized as work and sex workers recognized as fully human, we must never stop reminding our society that it has our blood on its collective hands.

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You may decry the court of public opinion, but until sex workers are given equality before the law, we will use it, because it’s the only one open to us.  –  Mistress Matisse

If you’ve been lost on a spelunking expedition, on vacation in the Amazon basin, or in a coma for the last two weeks, you may not have heard that the popular porn star James Deen has been accused by almost a dozen women of rape, sexual assault, nonconsensual roughness and other violations of porn actresses’ sexual boundaries.  I first discussed the matter last Friday; if you missed that, you may want to go back and read it in its entirety, but here’s the newsy part:

…the porn actress Stoya…accused [Deen] of having raped her; another ex-girlfriend, Joanna Angel, supported Stoya, tweeting that Deen was “dead on the inside” and “literally the worst person I’ve ever met” (though she declined to say more until Wednesday).  By Monday two other actresses had revealed similar incidents (one sexual assault and one attempted rape), and by Wednesday two more came forward to explain that on-camera rough sex scenes with Deen were actually rape.  In the meantime, many sex workers had expressed solidarity with Stoya, and some had sided with Deen against his accusers (weirdly expressing sanctimonious bullshit about the law, as though US law ever treats sex workers fairly or reasonably); several video companies and websites severed ties with him, and he resigned from the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee.  Naturally, neofeminist vultures like Meghan Murphy descended with lightning speed to blame porn for Deen’s actions, or even worse to claim that there’s no moral difference between rape and consensual sex work…James Deen askance

When I wrote that column I didn’t know how far the story would go in the mainstream media; often things that are huge news in the demimonde “barely even register on the radar of society at large,” as I put it last week.  But this one was obviously an exception; by Sunday the New York Post published an ugly neofeminist hate screed which, among other absurdities, touted the idiotic claim that every whore in the US makes a living on the once-in-a-lifetime contribution of a small minority of men:

There’s nothing cool or enlightened about participating in the exploitation of women…The latest porn outrage is rape:  Five women have accused co-worker Bryan Sevilla, a k a James Deen, of sexual assault…Sevilla’s alleged rapes were part of his work.  Read “performer” Amber Rayne’s accusation…mainstream porn…“glamorizes and encourages sexual violence,” says [another prohibitionist]…Read the story of Ashley Brooks, a porn survivor whose abusive husband forced her into the business.  “It was filthy and disgusting…I felt like a complete and total prostitute”…A porn performer, like a prostitute, submits to impersonal sex acts for money…all you need is common sense to see the reality of prostitution…being violated by strangers multiple times a day because they have no other practical choice, for not a lot of money and being terrified of being killed or infected while doing it…Thankfully, the vast majority of American men — around 86 percent — haven’t exploited a prostitute…

I made sure I tweeted Nicole Gelinas to call her on her crap, because I don’t think prohibitionists should sleep well at night after pretending they have the right to control other women’s lives and income.  The Washington Post reported a day later; in keeping with the paper’s apparent lean toward sex worker rights, reporter Caitlin Gibson was not only sympathetic, but also interviewed actual sex workers:

Deen’s accusers…have…faced a backlash that highlights the particular challenges facing women who work in porn and the sex trade…Some…have scoffed that it shouldn’t be possible for a porn star to consider herself having been raped — that these kinds of violations are, essentially, part of the job…Pornography — especially the BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism) genre that was Deen’s specialty — might convey a sense of erotic danger, said Mistress Matisse…But…it’s standard to establish clear guidelines before intimacy begins…“Boundary violations,” she said, “are taken very, very seriously within the BDSM community.”  And in the allegations against Deen, she added, “it wasn’t like he did one thing wrong, and then he stopped.  These were not rookie errors”…Margaret Corvid…said that [anti-porn activists make]…matters worse for women working in the industry…“The stigma they’re putting forward makes it harder for sex workers to report rape or assault, because they will have very good reason to believe…that the authorities…won’t believe them, or will marginalize or ‘otherize’ them”…

Matisse also wrote her own take for Seattle’s The Stranger:

Over the last two weeks, I have had a lot of conversations with people who say things like Deen is being tried in the court of social media.  His professional reputation is ruined because he can’t prove himself innocent.  None of them made a police report at the time, so how do we know it was REALLY rape?…But no one has filed criminal charges against Deen.  He has exactly the same access to social media as his accusers do, he can talk to the reporters of his choice, and he has an agent and a lawyer to advise him…When you say, “If it was rape, why didn’t you go the police?” here’s what it really means:  If you don’t go to the police, you’re not allowed to talk about your sexual assault.  Rape is like a ticket in a parking garage, apparently—if you didn’t get it validated by the powers that be, you will pay for that later.  This is a silencing tactic, nothing more…And the law certainly does not give a shit about sex workers…

Dr. Marty Klein used the case to argue for decriminalization:

The women pursuing their rape cases against him are able to do so because they are legally employed…if they were raped while acting as prostitutes…they couldn’t go to the police, because they’d be arrested themselves.  Or, as many prostitutes can attest, they’d be extorted for sex by the police in exchange for not being arrested…Decriminalizing sex work also helps reduce illicit trafficking by enabling sex workers to report suspicious-looking arrangements without putting themselves in jeopardy…

Then on Tuesday, Deen himself finally went beyond mere denial to give his side, which basically amounted to a combination of “nuh-uh”, “I don’t remember that”, “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”, and “Bitches be crazy”:

…I am completely baffled…The reason Stoya made this claim could be as simple as her finding out that my current girlfriend and I are moving in together…It could be as calculated as Stoya trying to drive traffic to her website…All of the accusations are from either ex-girlfriends or events that happened on set…I could describe the events of the scene I was in the other day and it could be just as dramatic…There are certain exaggerations and inaccuracies in these stories…The claims are inaccurate or out of context…

Of course, none of that explains why he was on so many porn actresses’ “No” lists:

Shy Love, a longtime porn performer who runs the adult talent agency The Vip Connect, represents more than 80 women.  Roughly 20 to 25 of them, she estimates, refuse to work with James Deen.  “They just thought he was too aggressive, they didn’t like his style of shooting,” Love [said]…the clients she has who won’t work with Deen signal to agents and directors their preference through the use of something called a “no list,” a tally of individuals a performer will not work with.  These lists, which are not necessarily about people who have done something objectionable—an actor, including Deen, could show up on someone’s no list for a reason as mundane as lack of chemistry— are a widespread practice in the porn business…

And though Deen hasn’t been charged with any crime, at least one government entity is interested:

…Cal/OSHA…the state’s health and safety regulatory and watchdog organization, announced that it has opened an investigation of James Deen Productions…for serious workplace health and safety violations.  OSHA’s investigation came about after AHF filed a formal ‘Notice of Alleged Safety or Health Hazards’ complaint against Deen with OSHA…

the future of porn in CaliforniaNote that the investigation was triggered by the vile AHF, notorious for its crusade to shut down the porn industry by forcing it to produce creepy goggle-and-glove festooned condom commercials instead of fantasy entertainment.  Prohibitionists (including AHF), don’t give a damn about the safety of welfare of the women Deen assaulted; they just want to capitalize on the free publicity to promote their own attacks on sex workers.  No doubt others will similarly attempt to exploit the situation; I’ll keep you posted on such developments as they arise.

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That thing where you log in to the internet for a second and see people idolizing the guy who raped you as a feminist. That thing sucks.  –  Stoya

It’s easy for those of us who live in, frequent or even occasionally visit the demimonde to forget that well-known names and “front-page” news in our circles may barely even register on the radar of society at large.  Because of that, and the fact that I get a lot of “crossover” traffic, I think it’s important that I report stories of that sort even when I’m behind the curve by days; one good aspect of the lag time is that it allows me to pick up on details, developments and nuances before actually committing myself to an opinion in writing.

James DeenWith all that in mind, here are a few facts of which most of you probably know some, and some of you probably know all, and a few of you may know none:  James Deen is a porn star who has for some time now been very popular with women for his boyish good looks and charming manner.  Though he’s done many movies featuring rough sex, BDSM and rape, he was a favorite of many sex-positive feminists for his public statements about consent and other feminist issues, and though he has not publicly identified as a “feminist” many others have certainly applied the label to him.  Then last Saturday, his ex-girlfriend, the porn actress Stoya, accused him of having raped her; another ex-girlfriend, Joanna Angel, supported Stoya, tweeting that Deen was “dead on the inside” and “literally the worst person I’ve ever met” (though she declined to say more until Wednesday).  By Monday two other actresses had revealed similar incidents (one sexual assault and one attempted rape), and by Wednesday two more came forward to explain that on-camera rough sex scenes with Deen were actually rape.  In the meantime, many sex workers had expressed solidarity with Stoya, and some had sided with Deen against his accusers (weirdly expressing sanctimonious bullshit about the law, as though US law ever treats sex workers fairly or reasonably); several video companies and websites severed ties with him, and he resigned from the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee.

Naturally, neofeminist vultures like Meghan Murphy descended with lightning speed to blame porn for Deen’s actions, or even worse to claim that there’s no moral difference between rape and consensual sex work…eerily echoing the misogynistic “defense” offered by the vile Jonathan “War Machine” Koppenhaver.  Those of you who wonder why none of Deen’s victims ever came forward before Stoya did should consider these anti-whore obscenities before verbalizing your doubts; if you think they’re lying or exaggerating simply because they never said anything before, then you had better be ready to tar me with the same brush because I never reported any of my rapes or attempted rapes, either.  Sex workers (or even those merely accused of being sex workers, as was my case the first time) who admit to having been raped must not only endure the typical gauntlet of accusations, shaming and victim-blaming all rape victims must run; in addition, we are subjected to extra tortures from moralists claiming that we “invite” rape or “place ourselves in harm’s way” or “deserve” it, or neofeminists saying that there’s no difference between our normal work and rape anyhow, or even claiming that our work contributes to the supposed “rape culture” that they blame for the actions of individuals.  Moral retards like the aforementioned Murphy are only too happy to use our personal tragedies as ammunition in their assault on our livelihoods; is it any wonder we stay quiet?  Would you report a workplace injury or even an attack by a co-worker if you knew lunatics would use it in an attempt to shut down your entire profession, an attempt which might result in your arrest and prosecution for felonies?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  I didn’t even say anything to the others in the same hotel suite for fear of ruining my sisters’ chance to make a lot of money;  I would imagine some of Deen’s victims had similar thoughts when they decided not to say anything about one of the most popular male performers in porn.

Duke University CrestI’m fully aware that I’m biased in favor of other women, especially other whores, when I hear about a reported rape or assault; when Crystal Mangum accused three Duke University lacrosse players of rape in ’06, I instantly believed her and, had I been writing this blog then, would almost certainly have said so in print.  It’s because of the Duke case and others like it that I am a little warier than I used to be, and obviously I would never support state violence or prosecutorial railroading (a la Mike Nifong) of Deen.  But when five of my whore sisters all risk censure, shaming, and potential career damage to expose a malefactor, you bet I’m going to side with them.  And if after reading this column you still can’t understand that, I suggest you do sex work for a few years and then get back to me about it.

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