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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

America is a complicated, conflicted country founded by Puritans, constituted by libertarians and built by salesmen.  –  Mark Simpson

An Older Profession Than You May Have Thought

It’s impossible to state this too often:

While, on the surface, discussion of sex has become far more acceptable in recent years, in practise, many facts are still considered unpalatable.  And no subject arouses more emotion than the evolution of sex as a tradeable commodity: the biology of prostitution.  The idea that prostitution might be a biological impulse can deeply upset those with dogmatic viewpoints.  For religious people, the thought of a God that created prostitution is too much to take…But revulsion at the thought of sex trade goes far beyond religion.  As the political left has become increasingly conservative in its attitudes, it has become common to blame the existence of prostitution on Patriarchy or Capitalism.  Thus, for some feminists, banning prostitution is a part of their war on Patriarchy. And for socialists, attacking prostitution is part of a righteous war against Capital.  But the history of sex trade goes back many millions of years before humanity…

The Pro-Rape Coalition John Harvey Kellogg

This excellent article about anti-porn hysteria is also very droll at points:

PORN HORROR! headlines zoom repeatedly into our sightlines, warning us that pornography is “addictive” (despite an inconvenient lack of evidence), “ruins relationships” and “rewires men’s brains“, turning them into sex zombie automatons…The UK Government…is currently in the sweaty grip of…this hysteria.  With David Cameron’s controversial (and somewhat porous) ISP porn filters only recently installed, MPs are now turning their attention to the popularity of anal sex in online pornography…it’s important to note that the religious and legal definition of “sodomy” is not restricted to anal sex – it is essentially any non-procreative naughtiness, whatever the shape of the genitals involved…porn today is basically broadband sodomy – non-procreative sex acts piped into people’s hands for them to commit non-procreative sex acts over.  Current porn panics represent a digital-age, socially-concerned update of warnings about the terrible fate of Sodom and Gomorrah…The crusade against “fapping” is eerily reminiscent of the anti-masturbation movements of the 19th century …Dr John Harvey Kellogg…was one of the most famous foes of the “solitary vice”.  His bland cornflakes were supposed to save you from it – like porn today, an exciting diet was thought to lead to overstimulation…

Rooted in Racism

How can people not see that “sex trafficking” hysteria is firmly rooted in xenophobia?

…Although freedom of movement is guaranteed within the European Union, the right to stay – after the first three months – is dependent on new arrivals “exercising their treaty rights”, for example, by working or studying.  Operation Nexus, a combined police and immigration initiative…has been targeting [European migrants] …since 2012.  Among those detained and served with deportation papers are an increasing number of [sex workers] from…Romania…Several women fighting deportation are now being supported by the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP)…Previous EU law cases have established that prostitution constitutes self-employment…

Saving Them From Themselves

Another teen’s life destroyed for flirting:

Another male teenager’s future is in jeopardy after police charged him with possession of child pornography…because he swapped sexy photos and videos with a girl.  Levar Allen, a 17-year-old athlete at his Louisiana public school, is black.  The girl, a 16-year-old, is white.  Local news stories note that she initiated the sexting, and he reciprocated…For what it’s worth, the girl was also charged with sexting.  But since she’s under the age of 17, it’s a misdemeanor.  Since Allen is a year older, he’s technically guilty of a felony…

Surplus Women

A prisoner is seeking an early release after having spent 15 years out of a life imprisonment…the Dubai Court of First Instance jailed the Uzbek convict, K.S., for life for trying to kidnap [a] Russian [sex worker], asphyxiating her and throwing her body from the balcony of [a] seven-storey flat…in 2001.  The 59-year-old petitioner has been…at Dubai Central Jail since his arrest on March 19, 2001…

Maier’s Law

Fanatic finds data disproves “sex trafficking” theory, concludes we need new data:

Sarah Godoy…has now authored a new comprehensive literature review of sex trafficking in the United States, with components of global human trafficking as well…Godoy included more than 135 pieces of [prohibitionist] literature [based] on [the] sex trafficking [narrative], dating from 1999 to 2016…While she found some enlightening and often horrific statistics…what she didn’t find was equally disturbing.  “Weak methodologies in empirical evidence, and small data sets that urge readers to not republish as…representative…That’s what we found.  We don’t really have a comprehensive, representative sample of what sex trafficking in the U.S. really is”…the [made-up] numbers compiled by Godoy are daunting.  According to the study, human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world…21 million…”I think it shows that not enough resources are being put into adequately capturing data…We have [myths about] what traffickers look like, but in every single capacity, there are a lot of gaps”…

Across the Pond

The main laws governing prostitution in the UK are still the 1956 Sexual Offences Act, which makes brothel-keeping an offence, and the 1959 Street Offences Act, which criminalises solicitation.  The Street Offences Act was created on the back of a 1957 document called the Wolfenden Report…[which] didn’t include testimony from a single working prostitute…Since sex workers began to demand a voice in law-making, there have been victories – the 1984 defeat of a dangerous bill; 2014’s quashing of another – but the pattern of legislating over their heads continued…And here we are in 2016, discussion raging once more.  Sex workers sidelined, once more.  When the current UK inquiry gathered oral evidence there [was]…just one current sex worker, Laura Lee…

The Last Shall Be First 

the Marion County [Florida] School Board approved a North Carolina-style Gender Inspection resolution that will prohibit transgender students from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.  Over 100 people showed up to the School Board meeting…where this resolution was brought forward as an “emergency” agenda item just six days after it was introduced.  Forty-six people testified at the hearing, and the majority of testimony was in strong opposition…

The Course of a Disease

As I’ve said before, there can never be too many anti-Swedish model articles:

…What adherents to [the Swedish model pretend they]…don’t understand is that such laws only make working conditions much more dangerous for sex workers and do very little to curb the demand for commercial sex…laws criminalizing buyers…make…screening much more difficult…Since 2000, studies show, [Swedish] sex workers…have a much more difficult time negotiating safe sex (i.e. sex with condoms) and assessing dangerous clients…Sweden’s approach has actually increased the overall number of sex workers in that country and did not reduce trafficking in the region at all, according to the Swedish government’s own reports.  By contrast, countries that have decriminalized sex work…report no increase in…trafficking…and…sex workers in those countries are better able to protect themselves…

Soap Opera Trump hand sanitizer

For some reason, “sex trafficking” fetishists seem to trot out even more lurid masturbatory fantasies than usual for the Republican convention:

Both law enforcement and advocacy groups are predicting an increase in sex trafficking during Cleveland’s Republican National Convention in July…the Renee Jones Empowerment Center and the Collaborative Initiative to End Human Trafficking are actively working to [spread hysteria about] human trafficking in the weeks leading up to the convention.  “We know that it will occur,” said founder Renee Jones. “There’s no question in my mind”…Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution…visit…local motels to [harass]…employees [with nonsense about]…potential trafficking victims.  S.O.A.P volunteers…handed out…small bars of soap with a national trafficking hotline number.  The group’s founder, Therese Flores, [has made a career out of claims she] was once herself a trafficking victim and [repeats masturbatory fantasies about being] auctioned off at Detroit motel…

Original Sin

Officials invite religious fanatic to speak about her dogma, then feign surprise when she does:

…guest speaker Tajuan McCarty…told…roughly 300 people who attended…[an] event [at the US Army’s Redstone Arsenal] that “the only way to truly overcome the horrors of rape and sex trafficking is to have Jesus as your ‘King'”…McCarty is director of The Wellhouse in Birmingham, Alabama, often described as “a Christian home” for women rescued from the sex industry…[and] has told her [tragedy porn]…[on] 700 Club...

Under Every Bed

Another ridiculous tale of spineless women & pimps with magical powers:

…Yarmouth [Massachusetts] police raided a…house…and arrested a man on charges of running a prostitution operation…Police Chief Frank Frederickson [bloviated about] “Bringing women into this seedy atmosphere”…Kenneth E. Silva Jr…pleaded not guilty…Police…searched the house [and claimed] they found evidence of human trafficking…At least three women were working for Silva…Police did not arrest them because they were considered victims…pimps…control women through…a…”mind shift” [fantasized prohibitionist Stacy Gallagher]…”just like at major sporting events, women and kids are being sold.”

Paint By Numbers

“Anti-trafficking” publicity stunts are growing ever more bizarre:

Eddie Quann [imagines changes in propaganda represent changes in reality]…“Two years ago, 13-15 million people a year were being trafficked…Now…it’s 30-35 million.  It’s doubled.”  Human Trafficking — a modern-day form of slavery — is the second largest organized crime in the world next to drug trafficking…The workshop is a hands-on craft that runs about two-and-a-half hours.  Everyone is given a partially-made cloth doll, and with needle and thread, ribbon, yarn and so on, they stuff their doll and decorate it…As the dolls are sewn, participants learn all about human trafficking…“You can decorate it everywhere but the face,” said Gina. “The faceless doll represents all those sold into trafficking as faceless people.  To the ones selling them, who they are doesn’t matter.”  The doll goes home, hopefully to a prominent place in the house, as a reminder to pray daily for the millions of victims trapped in a degrading, powerless life…

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In reports that were written by the deputies who took their gun belts off, took their clothes off and went in the water – those deputies aren’t lying. – Bob Gualtieri, before seeing video showing the deputies were indeed lying

As I said in a recent column, it really is difficult for young people today to comprehend how much more prudish the world has become in the past thirty-odd years.  Case in point: this birth control video, produced by Walt Disney, starring Donald Duck and voiced by my man Paul Frees (and provided by Whores of Yore).  The links above it were supplied by GracePopehatRadley BalkoSkyeEmma Evans, and Grace again, in that order.

From the Archives

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Anything with “sex” in the vicinity will gather news crews like pyros to a dumpster fire.  –  Tim Cushing

Puritan shamingIt’s probably almost impossible for anyone under the age of 30 or so to conceive of how different the United States I grew up in was from the US of today.  That’s true in many ways and on many levels, but for right now I just want to look at one of them: the way Americans have lost so many of the gains made in the so-called Sexual Revolution, and returned to a Puritanism more vicious and repressive than we’ve experienced in centuries.  Because while it’s absolutely true that sexual variation is recognized and tolerated to a much greater degree than it has been for most of this country’s history, it is equally true that the moralists and censors now have far more terrifying tools of surveillance and a greater capacity to inflict violence than those possessed by any of their spiritual ancestors since the Dawn of Man.  And while people who were shamed or persecuted for their sexual behavior in the past might be able to pull up stakes and start a new life somewhere else where nobody knew them, in the Information Age every transgression is eternal and indelible;  furthermore, self-appointed guardians of the public morals are always looking for new ways to ensure that absolutely no one can escape their snooping or whatever scarlet letters they’ve been branded with.

Fortunately, a growing number of journalists have begun to awaken to the presence of the black pall that has descended over what was once described as “The Land of the Free”, and while it’s much too late for those who have already joined the obscenely-long roll call of victims of the Anti-Sex police state, recognition of a problem is the first step toward solving it.  The pendulum must eventually swing the other way, and perhaps articles like this one from The Week are among the first signs that we’re reaching the top of the arc:

…It is…remarkable how deranged so many of us seem to become as soon as sex is invoked in a public dispute…moralistic grandstanding drives public argument and policymaking when it comes to sex.  The porn panic...is a prominent example.  But it’s hardly the only one…

We’ll come back to that article presently, but let’s look for a minute at what The Atlantic had to say about the most egregious example of that porn panic, Utah’s recent embrace of Gail Dines’ crypto-moralistic scheme to disguise a Puritanical censorship regime in “public health” rhetoric:

…Gail Dines…wrote a column that spread widely: “Is Porn Immoral? That Doesn’t Matter: It’s a Public-Health Crisis”.  The divisive proclamation was occasioned by a bill passed last month in Utah…[which itself solipsistically] traces back to Dines…In 2013, Dines traveled to Reykjavik, where she met with Iceland’s Ministers of health and welfare amid [the] country’s campaign to ban pornography.  The move would have put the liberal state…in the company of Saudi Arabia and the countries where gender disparities are greatest.  But it made sense to many as a matter of public health…

Regular readers will recognize this sentence as the product of a mind befuddled by the “left-right” fallacy; a totalitarian state is a totalitarian state, and Iceland’s carceral “feminism” is as much a religion as Saudi Arabia’s Islam.  But I digress:

…In 2015, [Dines] returned her focus to the U.S., relaunching an advocacy group based in Boston with the new mission to “eradicate porn’s harms because porn has quickly escalated into an overlooked public health crisis”…at an anti-pornography summit…she reached an unlikely confederate, a Republican state senator from Utah named Todd Weiler…[who’s in league with] a Utah-based group called Fight the New Drug…The group denies a formal affiliation with the Mormon church, though…its founders are all Mormon, and its facts rely on claims from Mormon author Donald Hilton’s He Restoreth My Soul…

Again, there’s absolutely nothing “unlikely” about an alliance between two anti-sex, pro-censorship ideologues who prefer to hide their moralism under bogus studies and cargo-cult “science”; it would be exceedingly unlikely for these two not to team up.  But for some reason many people are wedded to the ahistorical notion that evangelical feminists and evangelical Christians are “opposed” to one another, and they keep professing shock when the world fails to conform to their fantasies.  Anyhow, let’s return to that article from The Week:

…sexual assaults are being handled on college campuses…by  establishing offices to oversee the creation and enforcement of regulations…covering every imaginable form of sexual or quasi-sexual conduct, ensuring that in all cases such conduct conforms to legalistic norms of consent…The result is a supremely creepy combination of liberalism, Puritanism, and the infrastructure of a police state.  In addition to stifling free speech and the free exchange of ideas on campus, such regulations go well beyond punishing bad behavior to require a transformation in the way people relate to one another at an individual level.  Ruling common forms of flirtation and seduction out of bounds, they aim to remake romantic and sexual interactions on the model of contractual negotiations among business partners…

If you think he’s exaggerating there, take a look at this article from Reason:

Colorado State University-Pueblo [expelled] a male athlete…after he was [declared] responsible for sexually assaulting a female trainer…[who] never accused him of wrongdoing, and said repeatedly that their relationship was consensual.  She even stated, unambiguously, “I’m fine and I wasn’t raped”…The athlete’s lawsuit against CSUP…argues that the university not only deprived him of fundamental due process rights, but also denied sexual agency to an adult woman…The student-athlete, Grant Neal, has named the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights as a co-defendant.  OCR’s Title IX guidance…”encourages male gender bias and violation of due process right during sexual misconduct investigations”…Neal’s expulsion…stemmed from his…relationship with a female student and athletic trainer, Jane Doe…Sexual relationships between athletes and trainers are frowned upon…Neal [gave]…Doe a hickey…[which] was…noticed by another trainer, described as the “Complainant” in the lawsuit.  When confronted, Doe confessed to the Complainant that she and Dean had engaged in sex.  According to the lawsuit, the Complainant “presumed” this sex was nonconsensual, and reported it to the director of the athletic training program…Doe told another administrator, “Our stories are the same and he’s a good guy.  He’s not a rapist, he’s not a criminal, it’s not even worth any of this hoopla!”…[but] the predetermined outcome for Neal was a guilty verdict…

As I and other sex worker activists have repeatedly pointed out, a society which does not respect a woman’s “yes” cannot be trusted to respect her no either; the latter is demonstrated about twice a week in this blog, and the former is at the heart of the War on Whores:flush the johns

The criminal justice system theoretically operates on a presumption of innocence.  An arrest booking is hardly an indicator of guilt, but try telling that to millions of people who believe being accused is no different than being found guilty by a jury.  Everyone knows this presumption of guilt exists, despite it being wholly contrary to the basis of our justice system.  Cops know this best.  A high-profile bust is as good as a guilty verdict.  So it’s no surprise that they’ve increasingly turned to the greatest shaming mechanism known to man: the internet.  In a long, detailed and disturbing piece for the New Republic, Suzy Khimm examines law enforcement’s infatuation with harnessing the internet to prey upon the public’s continual presumption of guilt…Prostitution stings are a favorite.  You can easily tell it’s a victimless crime because none of the parties involved receive any privacy protections from law enforcement.  Being swept up in one of these stings means seeing your name and face splashed across a variety of news outlets while the fine print (“all arrestees are innocent until proven guilty”) is relegated to the end of the coverage, if it’s mentioned at all…This country’s Puritanical approach to sex has long been the focus of law enforcement shaming efforts.  It’s not enough to simply arrest and charge customers and sex workers. An effort must be made to uphold the stigma…

In the US, government at all levels has always been at war with human nature, including sex.  But as I said at the beginning, “authorities” now wield weapons beyond the wildest wanking fantasies of their Puritan forebears.  And if they aren’t stopped, those weapons will not be restricted to use against male sexuality of which “feminists” disapprove, nor even to just women who cater to or enjoy that sexuality; they will be turned to use against everyone, and by the time useful idiots like Gail Dines realize that means her as well, it will be much too late.

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While I am your mistress, I will treat you like a king.  But once we part ways, I care not where you may go. – Bérénice, Madame de Pascal

Portrait of a Lady as Diana by Nicholas de LargilliereIt may be that Bérénice was only a stage name, but there’s no way to be sure because it’s the only one any record discovered to date ever uses for her.  She was born in a village near Naples somewhere around 1640, and though she always claimed her father had run off soon after she was born, it is entirely possible that her mother, a waitress and casual prostitute, actually had no idea of his identity.  Like so many courtesans she was noted for her precociousness, married too early, created an exotic stage persona which won her the attentions of wealthy men and died far too young, but unlike many she died in a high station and very wealthy, having amassed a personal fortune equivalent to about $360 million in 2016 dollars.

Bérénice’s mother appears to have been as bereft of parental instinct as her unknown father, and vanished from her daughter’s life before her 9th birthday.  She left the child in the keeping of her own mother, a rather dour old woman said to have been of Moorish descent.  In the 17th century, Italy was not as hospitable to courtesans as it had been a century before, but young Bérénice’s exceptional looks would have attracted attention even in a time of far more repressive sexual morality; by the time she was 13 her grandmother had married her off to the relatively-wealthy Lorenzo Gordini, a man some four times her age.  And there her story might have ended had her husband not died some four years later of an unnamed disease, probably some kind of cancer, leaving her the heir to a modest fortune; unfortunately, Gordini had three adult children from a previous marriage who contested the will, and Bérénice was forced to sign most of it over to them to avoid a long and protracted court battle.  Even so, she was left with far greater resources than the average 17-year-old in any century, and so made a decision perhaps not out of character for a fairly-well-off teenager with nobody to answer to: she moved to Paris.

Bérénice arrived in Paris late in the summer of 1658, and though she had neither experience nor reputation as a courtesan her stunning looks and quick wit soon attracted the attention of Alexandre de Crécy, one of Cardinal Mazarin’s important lieutenants; she became his mistress and accompanied him on his various missions for the Cardinal to various parts of France and other nearby countries.  While de Crécy certainly enjoyed her company, he had an ulterior motive for taking her everywhere with him: he was insanely jealous and wanted her where he could keep an eye on her. Bérénice soon tired of his controlling behavior, and since she had means of her own was not highly motivated to endure it; while he was en route to Spain in 1660, she abandoned him and fled back to Paris, where she traded on her well-known connection to de Crécy to install herself into the social scene.  Not that she needed much help; she was petite, charming and very beautiful (with black  eyes, lustrous black hair and an 18-inch waist), and her first husband had bequeathed her something far more valuable than money: an education.  She soon began to prosper as a courtesan, catering to the elite of Louis XIV’s court, and by 1664 had saved enough money to purchase a large, tasteful maison of her own, to which she always retreated when she wanted solitude; she only rarely entertained there.

Portrait of a lady, said to be Marie Angelique de Scorraille de Roussilles, Duchesse de FontangesThough Bérénice’s charms were many, it was her skill as a storyteller which set her apart and won her a devoted following; she embroidered upon her own background and life experiences so heavily that, with the exception of details that can be fixed by records such as her first husband’s will, it is impossible to know which are real.  Many of the details of her early life (that lovers had fought duels over her, that she had traveled from Naples to Paris alone on horseback, that she had shot a man who attempted to violate her) recorded by biographers sound more like tall tales than probable events, and even her dramatic escape from de Crécy (perhaps even his jealousy) may have been exaggerated for effect.  One thing is certain:  it was in 1666 that she attracted her first VIP client, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the Minister of Finance.  He was the perfect client for Bérénice; though he was very generous with her he prized discretion above all else, and never interfered with her social life.  He saw her regularly, probably several times a month, until 1676, and though he had apparently grown tired of her by that time he ensured her future by not only securing her an allowance from the royal treasury, but also arranging an important marriage for her.  It was through this marriage, to Louis, Vicomte de Pascal, that Bérénice finally received the title by which she is known to history, only six years before her death.

In the summer of 1667, Bérénice met and befriended Ninon de l’Enclos; the older courtesan had stopped taking clients by this time, and referred some of her younger patrons to Bérénice.  She also advised her to establish a salon, which soon become wildly popular with a certain artistic element; it went on for some five years, but after that Bérénice (who despite her education was rather bored by intellectual pursuits) lost interest.  Still, it had served to make her many important friends; chief among these was Molière, who is said to have based one of the characters in Les Femmes Savantes (The Learned Ladies) on her.  Whatever faults may have been Bérénice’s, indiscretion was not among them; though she must have known of the enmity between her friend and her patron, there is no evidence Molière knew that she was sleeping regularly with Colbert.  Another of her friends was the poet Jean de La Fontaine, whom she helped through some financial difficulties after the death of his patron in 1672.

After her marriage, Bérénice slowed down somewhat; her husband was not politically powerful, and since the two of them appear to have viewed their union more as a business partnership than anything else, he encouraged her activities as a means of making connections.  But around the end of 1677 she began to suffer frequent periods of weakness, later aggravated by abdominal pains; she died on May 8th, 1682 of her chronic illness, which may have been cervical cancer.  She left a daughter, Aimee, who herself became the mother of a beautiful daughter named Adelais, who would later become one of the many mistresses of King Louis XV.  In a world where social mobility was nearly always restricted by the circumstances of birth, women like Bérénice were nonetheless able to trade upon their natural gifts to rise from the lowest ranks of society to the highest; her latter-day sisters can do much the same, though the gulf between rich and poor is not so great as it was under the Ancien Régime.  Yet prohibitionists wish for you to view us as victims, and to believe that Bérénice would’ve been better off dying as a monogamous peasant’s wife than a wealthy and well-respected noblewoman.

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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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All people of Sweden can try and draw penises.  –  Emilian Sava

This week’s video was sent to me on Twitter by Mistress Matisse; it was a kind of private joke, but I still think you’ll enjoy the song.  The links above the video and after “Yuggoth” were provided by Wendy LyonMyles JackmanAnna PulleyNun YaTim CushingJesse WalkerRadley Balko, and Carol Fenton, in that order.

From the Archives

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You take a lot of steam out of the “not representative” argument…when you have…escorts in North America…advocating the same message as devadasi sex workers in India or bar hostesses in Kenya.  –  Anlina Sheng

Check Your Premises

Reading the self-contradictory sexual fantasies of prohibitionists makes me feel like I need a shower:

Last year, Rockford [Illinois vice pigs] arrested 95 women…and two men…[but in 2015 they] arrested 18 women…and 41 men…[then pretended this was some kind of “progress”.  Deputy cheif pig] Doug Pann [vomited out the lie that] “No one chooses to be a prostitute.  At some point in their life, they were forced or coerced into this lifestyle.  The people causing the harm are the pimps and johns.”  Pimps are men who control women who sell their bodies…[prohibitionist] Jennifer Cacciapaglia [profits from the state persecution of sex workers]…Chief Deputy [Pig] Mark Karner said….”you cannot paint with a broad brush prostitutes as victims”…police have to respond to complaints from neighbors who see a woman standing on a street corner…[bigots whine] about “bringing down my property values, bringing crime to my neighborhood.”  Cacciapaglia [denies sex workers’ humanity and agency, claiming instead]…”those women would not be there if the men were not buying them”…Pann said…police need the cooperation of prostituted women to go after pimps, but the women won’t talk because they fear being abused…pimps are “vicious monsters, incredibly dangerous,” Cacciapaglia said…

See No Evil Mathilde Grafström photo

In case you think Denmark’s “sexually liberal”:

An exhibition combating negative self-image in a square in Copenhagen has been closed down by police.  Photographer Mathilde Grafström snaps women who don’t have traditional model looks, for a photo series called Female Beauty…Police have denied permission for her photos to be displayed in Copenhagen’s Nytorv square, with Grafström filing a complaint against them and condemning their view of the female body as “offensive”…

The More the Better (#32)

Perhaps one day we’ll arrive at the point where, “She was so desperate to raise money she got a better job!” sounds as ridiculous to most people as it does to me:

Megan Clara, 20, says she was gutted last year when her son Ashton, five, complained that he didn’t receive the same expensive presents as his mates.  The single mum, who survived on £80 a week…vowed to make Christmas 2015 one to remember – and has spent the year making adult films, earning £500 a scene, to give her family a five-star festive celebration…

Japanese Prostitution (#131)

a decades-long standoff over Korean women forced into sexual slavery by Japan’s WWII military…[was settled on December 28th]…Both sides compromised…so no one got everything they wanted.  Nationalists in Japan are angry over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s apology.  Some South Koreans say President Park Geun-hye settled for far too little money – about $8 million – and that Japan still hasn’t taken legal responsibility for atrocities during its colonial occupation of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945…tens of thousands of women from around Asia, many of them Korean, were sent to front-line military brothels to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.  But only 46 known former Korean sex slaves, most in their late 80s and 90s, still live, and with time running out and with frustration growing, this deal is seen by many here as the best to be had from a hawkish Abe government.  “Insisting that Japan take legal responsibility is the same thing as saying we don’t want to resolve the issue of comfort women,” said Jin Chang Soo, an analyst at the Sejong Institute think tank, who called the deal an important step forward…

Ad Absurdum

An 18-year-old “man” and a 17-year-old “girl”.  SHAZAM!

Authorities arrested an 18-year-old man…for promoting the prostitution of a minor…Philip Scott Pleasants took a 17-year-old girl to meet different “Johns,” or clients, in [North Carolina]…Pleasants was [caged]…in the New Hanover County Jail under a $250,000 bond…

Cuckoo Advertising

Will gullible reporters ever stop publishing Ashley Madison ads for free?

Ashley Madison claims it has added 4 million members…since a hack on the adultery dating site revealed the identities of thousands of cheating spouses…A rolling count on the homepage claims it has more than 43 million members, up from the 39 million users counted when the site was hit by a group of hackers dubbed the “Impact Team”…the site [also] had 70,000 fake female profiles used to lure men to pay fees for credits on the site.  Avid Life Media, Ashley Madison’s parent company, has not commented on the hack since an August statement and would not comment on the new numbers…

Paint By Numbers

Why do anything special? Just pretend your unsold product “raises awareness of sex trafficking” and watch the profits roll in!

Elisa Wolcott…a University of Nebraska at Omaha art major…has cast, fired and sanded 2,000 ceramic birds in order to raise awareness about sex trafficking in Nebraska.  Her project, “2000 Souls,” is meant to represent the number of women across the state who have been forced into prostitution.  While numbers [don’t exist]…the Governor’s Task Force on Human Trafficking [decided to pretend]…that at least 47 school-age girls — and likely many more — become victims of sex trafficking in Nebraska each year…her goal was to display the birds in a public setting.  She landed on the airport as her ideal venue.  It’s a place where people come and go by the thousands, where a constellation of birds suspended in air will draw attention…and where, perhaps, [she might make a lot of money from a moral panic]…

Naked Truth (#401)

Drawing BloodIf you want to understand the state of the sex trade…in 21st century America, look no further than the following books.  All published in 2015, they offer inside glimpses of the personal and political aspects of sex work…in ways that are both entertaining and enlightening…I surveyed some current and former sex workers about what they’ve been reading recently, too…”  The list includes Coming Out Like a Porn Star by Jiz Lee, Drawing Blood by Molly Crabapple, Saloons, Prostitutes, and Temperance in the Alaska Territory by Catherine Holder Spude, $pread:  The Best of the Magazine that Illuminated the Sex IndustryBest Sex Writing of the Year edited by Jon Pressick, Prose & Lore (issue 5) by the Red Umbrella Project, and Love Not Given Lightly by Tina Horn.

Not Your Rescue Project 

Sex workers…have formed such a vibrant, vocal part of the internet that it’s hard to imagine an online world without them.  And with that visibility has come a reduction in the stigma related to sex work.  After all, it’s a lot harder to assume that sex workers are mindless, manipulated fuckbots when they’re tweeting thoughts on feminism, racial justice, or the newest Star Wars film…sex workers…handily dismantled the myths and misconceptions that pop culture had fed me over the years.  For many years, I felt a bit alone in my sex work wokeness.  Most of my friends…seemed to harbor [a] rather antiquated…attitude that…sees sex work as abuse rather than legitimate employment.  But lately it’s felt like something has changed.  Over the course of 2015, sex workers have repeatedly been in the media…In fact, when millennial icon Lena Dunham came out against Amnesty International’s support for the decriminalization of sex work, she was excoriated in the media—the same media that, several years earlier, might have applauded her for that very stance…Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook are helping a whole new generation learn about the ins and outs of the world’s oldest industry…

License to Rape (#562)

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by cops at will:

A video uploaded to Facebook shows a gang of cops from the Fort Myers Police Department and Lee County Sheriff’s Office brutally violating a man on the roadside, after pulling him over for a rolling stop.  Screams of agony can be heard echoing from the trees as the man’s arm is twisted almost to the breaking point and his rectum is invaded by the gloved hand of a drug war enforcer.  The cops can be heard saying, “Stop resisting! Just relax!” as the victim continues to scream and kick in pain.  Five officers are initially involved in subduing the man and searching his vehicle, and then another joins the fun by posing with gun in hand facing the onlookers…the anal cavity search was carried out in full view of the public, including a female onlooker…Todd Crisp, a family member of the victim, said that at least one of the cops, Arturo Gonzales, routinely harasses Crisp and his family, and this was just the latest episode…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#575)

According to Hong Kong “authorities”, I operate a “brothel”:

…Sex work in Hong Kong is legal, if it is practised in one room with one person only and nobody else but the sex worker profits from the exchange.  This means that sex workers cannot have managers or security personnel.  The places where they work are called one-woman brothels.  Foreign sex workers cannot work with a tourist visa – they are often detained as they breach a condition of their stay by working without the appropriate permit.  Waiting for clients on the street or soliciting money for sex services is also illegal, and that may include anything from a verbal offer to gestural insinuation, or even just eye contact…[on September 17th] police arrested 62 alleged prostitutes from mainland China and Taiwan…for [such technicalities]…Pang Wing-chau…is a volunteer working with Zi Teng, a sex workers’ support association.  “Although police operations happen on a regular basis, there were more raids than usual in the last three months because of…the District Council elections…politicians ask the police to do more arrests just to get votes”…

Stupor Bowl (#593)

The “gypsy whores” myth has been so discredited, politicians can’t even get reporters to parrot it any more, and so must write their own propaganda:

Early next year, Super Bowl 50 will come to Santa Clara.  With increased tourism, we predict a spike in human trafficking…it’s estimated that 40 percent of the human trafficking activities on the West Coast come through the Bay Area airports…A shadow network shuttling women, men, girls, boys, even babies…trafficking is an estimated $150 billion industry worldwide, exploiting nearly 21 million victims around the world.  It remains the world’s fastest-growing criminal enterprise…we have the capacity and the capability to stop such atrocities from happening in our own backyard…it is only a matter of time until we eradicate human trafficking…

Served Cold (#595) 

Despite the ICE, the odor of this is unmistakable:

Two Utah nonprofit organizations raised money to help an international group of law enforcement officials arrest child sex traffickers in Peru…Dan Baird…of Crack the Crowd [claimed without presenting evidence that]…”A total of 36 people were freed from slavery, including 11 children; two of those were 4 years old and 7 years old, I mean really young kids”…Some Utah police departments regularly work to rescue victims through undercover child sex trafficking stings…”The ability for us to remove victims from their circumstance and [lock them up]” said Sgt. Jason Ackerman [in a sentence fragment]…Ackerman oversees undercover sex trafficking operations…monitoring child sex trafficking rings in “public hotels, they are out of houses and on the streets”…

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