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Archive for the ‘Perception’ Category

Sex work is a highly complex experience and must not be reduced to sensationalised fictions that do nothing to capture the lives of the very people being depicted.  –  Kate Lister

Profit from Panic 

Nice lady goes to slums and is horrified by poor sex workers; guess why she stayed:

…I set out to write a sex worker diary…out of [lurid] curiosity.  I had heard stories that in Bwaise, a slum in northern Kampala, women were selling themselves for as little as 500 Uganda shillings (US$0.14).  I wanted to get a first-hand view of the situation…Some…questioned my motive…I almost gave up…It was the encouragement I received from [“rescue”] organisations that…propelled me to continue writing.  Not for Sale Uganda…[blathered about “providing] them with alternative dignified work”…Divine Hearts, a Christian organisation…pledged…[to] pay school fees for two of the sex workers’ children…

I would be interested in seeing a comparison of these NGO executives’ salaries with the cost of sending a child to school in Uganda.

The Widening Gyre 

It’s really hilarious that cops are now starting to believe their own wanking fantasies:

Seattle police are investigating a purported prostitution ring said by one escort to service “persons in positions of power” in the city.  Detectives have searched a Capitol Hill home belonging to the suspected pimp…one former escort told investigators the Capitol Hill man named notable Seattle community members as his clients.  Police now have custody of electronic devices and records that may prove that claim…

In other words, a chickenshit pimp brags to somebody to make himself look good, Seattle’s Keystone Kops think they’ve stumbled upon an escort service catering to big wheels, and reporters breathlessly repeat the cops’ fantasies.  If you made this a TV show plot, people would say it was unbelievable.

Fever Dream

Tennessee “authorities” say it isn’t important what sex workers think; we’re “victims” whether we say so or not:

Law enforcement in Tennessee has altered the way it describes prostitution.  Now the preferred language is “sex trafficking”…[even though] big [pogroms]…have yielded few trafficking charges…Josh DeVine, a spokesman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, [denies sex workers’ agency & vomits out a lot of propaganda]…Vanderbilt University professor Jill Robinson sees both sides of the argument, recognizing that it can “be problematic to expand the term so much that it includes everything”…[but she hates whores so she’s happy with policies that infantilize us & deprive us of income]…

Moloch (#342)

Is this enough blood yet? Can we please stop now?

Corey [Walgren] was at lunch…in his high school this past January when he was called into the office.  Waiting for him was the campus dean and a [cop].  They questioned him about what was alleged to be an image on his phone of a consensual sexual encounter with a female classmate, also 16.  The accusation was possession of and possibly sharing “child pornography.”  Evidence strongly suggests that [they threatened him with] being registered as a sexual offender…Only at that point were attempts made to contact his parents.  Corey was told that his mother was on the way to the school, and he was left alone to wait for her.  At some point before she arrived, Corey left…walked a mile and threw himself off of a six-story parking garage.  His death was not instantaneous, but it came before his mother could get to him…the images on the phone were so black that nothing could be seen.  Even though audio of the encounter was discernible, police records indicate that they would not have pressed charges after all…

A pig and a prude though it was a good idea to threaten a boy with a lifetime of ostracism because he had sex with a girl.  I hope the image of his shattered body is indelibly impressed on their brains; I hope it tortures them both until they end it the same way he did.  And I hope this story comes up every time some self-important wanker of a judge declares that the “sex offender” registry isn’t a punishment.

Innocence Never Had

So much fantasy, so many contradictions:

A 17-year-old girl has allegedly been used as bait to ensnare younger girls in a human trafficking ring operating out of [Johannesburg, South Africa]…This is according to the mother of a 14-year-old…girl whom police took from a barber’s shop that allegedly doubled as a brothel…five girls were [supposedly] found drugged…The 17-year-old and the [shop owner] were both arrested and…charged with human trafficking, kidnapping, rape, sexual exploitation and possession of drugs and pornographic material…the 17-year-old…was a “problem child” who had repeatedly run away from home since the age of 15…Prostitutes working in the area are not convinced that…the girls the police have taken from the premises were forced into the trade…

The Monsters Are Due 

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs:

In the last photographs taken of him, Mohammed Naeem is pleading to a group of villagers as blood trickles down from his head.  Half of his body is soaked in red.  His shirt presumably ripped away, and dirt marks on his pants suggest he was kicked repeatedly…Naeem was the last of four people to be beaten to death…by villagers in Sobhapur, [India]…Naeem’s last moments became the face of a string of attacks…triggered by rumours…that child abduction gangs are on the prowl.  Villagers…picked up weapons such as sticks and bats, and were attacking strangers…Two people were killed over similar suspicions earlier in the week.  None of the victims were involved in kidnapping…Naeem and his cattle trader companions were passing through Sobhapur early in the morning on [May 18th when]…Villagers…stopped their SUV, dragged the four people out and tortured them for four hours before killing them…

This is the price of inventing myths to justify controlling other people’s private sexual behavior.

Broken Record (#643) 

Canadian prohibitionists are still desperate to cash in before the panic implodes:

The recruitment of young women in the weeks surrounding Montreal’s Formula 1 weekend isn’t new, according to [prohibitionists]…“We plan to…gather the already-existing information from various organisms [sic] who fight the human trafficking of women and girls,” said [prohibitionist] Cathy Wong…demand is so high during the Grand Prix, that women and girls are brought in from Ontario, and even the U.S…“In the end, it’s prostitution,” said Martine B. Côté, [another prohibitionist]…“You can pay for sexual services just by clicking your fingers”…

I’d like to reassure Martine that A) touring escorts are able to make their own travel plans without having to be “brought in” like cargo; B) escorts already know that what we do is prostitution, but thanks for telling us; and C) I’m afraid it takes just a bit more to pay for sex than just “clicking your fingers”, even if the escort accepts online payments.  But please, let Cathy tell us more about these organisms who “fight sex trafficking”.

Too Close To Home (#664)

This is especially ignorant in Seattle, where nobody can claim they don’t know of any sex workers to consult on the subject:

…as human trafficking rates continue to soar and the demand for paid sex grows…Seattle…decided to adopt the “Nordic Model”…It seems to be working well for Sweden, which has seen a dramatic drop in sex work since the law was implemented in 1999…an overwhelming amount of [sex] workers are poor women with few alternatives…[who] are lured or forced into “the life” through a history of sexual abuse, substance addiction, and severe poverty…the alternative, making prostitution legal, has failed time and time again…

Nearly every single sentence in this pile of shit is wrong; it’s actually quite an achievement.

Send In the Clowns 

Now, this is an interesting twist:

A 29-year-old man was slashed to death in the parking lot of Torchy’s Tacos in downtown Denver…[very early] Tuesday morning.  Witnesses referred to the suspect as a man in “white, clown-type makeup with black streaks on his face…[wearing] a glove with blades on the end of each finger”…the clown-faced man was seen hopping aboard a scooter and riding away into the night.  Shortly thereafter…the attacker…was spotted on a [surveillance]…camera a few blocks away…throwing what looked to be a knife in the bushes…police discovered that knife covered in blood…[the suspect] was subsequently arrested…[and] identified…as…Christian Lee Gulzow, a local death metal vocalist…[who] frequently posts photos and videos of himself wearing makeup and sporting gloves with extended and pointed fingertips—both of which seem to match the descriptions made by the witnesses…

The Notorious Badge (#726)

Kate Lister of Whores of Yore on the background history of the Harlots TV show:

Harlots has gone beyond simply dusting off the tit crushing corsets and has deftly woven historical facts into the warp and weft of this bloomer dropping, gin swilling, cinematic trupenny upright, and I love it.  But, I’m not here to tell you how much fun the show is (and it really is!) I’m here for the history.  Harlots tells a hell of a story, but there is more to consider here than a corseted dose of how’s your father in a sepia filter.  That Harlots so clearly uses historical truth to embellish the show is what really piques my interest… 

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Most cops would never think of using [laws allowing them to molest sex workers] for nefarious purposes because sex workers are exploited “victims” that they’re trying to “rescue”.  –  Me

It’s been a while since I’ve had an article at Reason, but as y’all know I’ve been pulling out of my two-year slump and as a result, my productivity is increasing.  So when I got the opportunity to get more eyeballs than usual on a topic I consider extremely important, you can bet I took it.  The article appeared yesterday, and starts like this:

Once again, cops are arguing that they need to be allowed to have sex with suspects in order to investigate prostitution allegations.  And once again, lawmakers and journalists are acting like exploitation and assault of sex workers by law enforcement is a rare occurrence, rather than a national epidemic.  Most people would agree that the deception, the power differential, and the subsequent arrest of sex workers make such contact utterly unacceptable, even if they don’t think that it rises to the level of rape.  Yet the behavior is common enough to bring police unions to its defense on a regular basis…

See, I can restrain myself and use less-inflammatory language when the need arises!  For those who haven’t seen my work on Reason before, here are the previous ones:

How a Crusading Chicago Sheriff Convinced Visa and Mastercard to Screw Sex Workers (7/2/15)

No, Rhode Island Didn’t “Accidentally” Decriminalize Prostitution (8/24/14)

The Mythical Invasion of the Super Bowl Hookers (1/26/14)

Reason articles use headlines rather than essay-type titles, so these are longer than you’re used to seeing on my work (and they’re written by editors rather than by me).  While we’re at it, this is as good a place as any to remind you on some other articles I’ve done for high-traffic sites:

Lies, Damned Lies and Sex Work Statistics for the Washington Post (3/28/14)

and

Treating Sex Work as Work in Cato Unbound (12/2/13), the lead essay in an online debate (including several follow-ups).

Anyhow, there will certainly be more, and I’ll certainly call your attention to ’em as they appear.

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Sex is what begins our lives and death is what ends it.  They’re two sides of the same coin.  –  Carla Valentine

Recognition

A marriage made in heaven:

A 52-year-old man in…Katy [Texas]…saw the profile of a new 28-year-old [sex worker.  He booked her]…for 2 hours…[for] $150…[haggled] down from her [rate] of $200.  Guests…in adjoining rooms called to report a disturbance…after the woman arrived…and found that the client was…her husband of…17 years…[she] was actually the man’s 49-year-old wife…

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

…Anthony Jones of Jacksonville, Florida…requested a date from an online escort service and promised to pay US$200…Shortly after the prostitute arrived…Jones said he was an FBI agent and that if she did not [submit to his raping her]…she would be arrested.  When the woman complained, Jones called an accomplice on the phone who was working from a script…Jones also pointed to a smoke detector in the bedroom and said the woman was being monitored by a hidden camera.  Afterward, the prostitute told her roommate…and the two realised she had been scammed.  They then went to Jones’ residence to collect the money.  A heated argument that followed led to a police intervention…the accomplice…was a young woman who knew she was part of a scam but did not know Jones was trying to [commit rape]…the young woman – the mother of Jones’ child – had lost both her parents in a car accident and received a settlement of about US$35,000…from the insurance company.  Jones lied and told her he was an investment adviser and that he owned fast food restaurants and would invest the money for her…

The Swedish Pimpocracy 

If Sweden really gave a damn about these rape charges, it would simply have made a public pledge not to turn Assange over to the US:

Sweden has decided to drop the rape investigation into Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.  Top prosecutor Marianne Ny said his arrest warrant was being revoked as it was impossible to serve him notice…Assange…has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012.  He fears extradition to Sweden would lead to extradition to the US where he is wanted over leaks.  Ecuador has called on the UK to allow him safe passage out of the country.  However, police in London said they would still be obliged to arrest him if he left…[because he] still faced the lesser charge of failing to surrender to a court, an offence punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine…the UK [will not admit that]…it has received an extradition request from the US…[but] new US Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the arrest of Mr Assange would be “a priority”

Public Service Announcement 

Sending dick pics to a stranger is a bad idea; sending dick pics to a stranger claiming to be < 18 is an incredibly bad idea.  But this is epic:

A…Secret Service officer was sentenced to 20 years in prison…for sending [dick pics]…to underage girls — while he was on duty at the White House.  Lee Robert Moore…was [arrested after]…he sent indecent materials, including a picture of himself, to [a cop pretending to be]…a teenage girl…After his arrest, investigators learned that Moore had sent sexually explicit messages and images of himself to real underage girls in Florida, Texas and Missouri…Moore must also register as a sex offender…for the rest of his life.

The Day of the Dead

Fear of death hampers enjoyment of life:

Ambitious technocrats may predict a deathless future, but as the world stands now, we’re all going to die.  This leaves us humans with the same two options we’ve had since we emerged from the evolutionary mire:  Fear the final shuffling of our mortal coils, or embrace the inevitability that we’ll all be one with the dirt.  Fortunately, there are people out there who can help ease your mind about the whole “one day you’ll be dead” thing.  One of those people is Carla Valentine, whose job as an anatomical pathologist, technical curator at Barts Pathology Museum, and author of The Chick and the Dead, has more than prepared her to come face to face with the inevitable end.  In her book…she weaves together corpse science and her intimate involvement with the “death industry” with the vital lesson about dying she’s learned over the years…”I think that when people face this idea of their mortality…they tend to live a better life…that’s been backed up by psychological studies…I think it’s because it demystifies it…it’s better to face the reality of it.  Then it’s not so scary anymore“…

Cardboard Cutouts

Prohibitionists can’t accept that sex workers are capable of choice, so partners are demonized into “loverboy pimps” in their propaganda:

The police and various healthcare institutions in Amsterdam are [conspiring] to [control those they declare] the victims of so-called loverboys…Loverboy is what the Netherlands calls a pimp that seduces fragile girls into a sexual relationship.  They then convince the girl to have sex with other men usually friends, and then push them into illegal prostitution…A loverboy can earn about 300 thousand euros per year by forcing a girl into prostitution…some aid givers believe that loverboys are part of larger criminal organizations…Amsterdam’s new joint approach will experiment with new methods, such as [deceiving women with a pig disguised as a normal person]…to win trust [via trickery]…

I wish I knew some of these girls who make €300,000/year; maybe they’d share their secret with me.

The Public Eye (#538)

The San Francisco Bay Area Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival, launched in 1999, recognizes and honors diverse sex workers, prostitutes, dancers, porn performers and others who have been integral members of arts communities throughout history.  The Festival opens on May 19th, continuing through May 28th

To Molest and Rape 

“Engaging in oral sex with a female inmate” sounds so much nicer than “forcing a caged woman to suck his cock”:

A…Jackson County [Mississippi] deputy pleaded guilty…[orally raping a caged woman]…Bradley Scott Davis…admitted to engaging in oral sex with a female inmate for two weeks in June while he was on duty at the Jackson County jail.  Davis is facing up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine or both.  He must also register as a sex offender…A second…deputy, Johnathan Jenkins…was arrested…along with Davis [on the same charges but]…has pleaded not guilty…

Dysphemisms Galore (#705) 

Where “inside” is used to mean “in the fantasies of busybodies peering from outside”:

Daniel Farias didn’t realize how bad things had gotten until his business was broken into…“It seemed like a scene from The Walking Dead…There were people everywhere.  And by people, I mean prostitutes, drug dealers…. It was insane.  I had never seen anything like it.”  All night Farias kept vigil, watching out the broken window as a parade of people dealt in sex and drugs, some openly peeing on the street.  Lake Street’s reputation for prostitution and drugs isn’t new.  But in the last few years, it’s reached fever pitch.  Neighbors…describe finding condoms everywhere and witnessing sex acts in cars, alleys, and behind bushes…[puppeteer] Corrie Zoll…[said] “Now that I have a year under my belt of seeing it, it’s obvious how sophisticated these operations are”…women…walk against traffic, making eye contact with drivers…Mary Brown…counted nearly 30 women regularly working her block…

Honestly, I find the “whore as degraded criminal” trope a welcome change from “whore as spineless, pathetic, innocent victim” dogma.  Too bad they both include the “whores are rape victims with daddy issues & drug problems” masturbatory fantasy, though the idea that walking along a stroll constitutes a “sophisticated operation” is both ridiculous and taken directly from the propaganda cops use to justify raping sex workers.

Between the Lines (#722)

Liz Brown dives into the ugly facts about federal vice pogroms:

…one of the last things FBI Director James Comey did in office was testify before the Senate Judiciary Hearing about the agency’s “programs and priorities for the coming year”—including Operation Cross Country, the annual FBI-led prostitution roundup that I covered in Reason’s March issue.  Publicized as an attack on child sex-trafficking, Operation Cross Country (OCC) mainly targets adult sex workers and their would-be clients.  And according to Comey, last year’s bust yielded nearly double the number of prostitution arrests as Reason previously estimated…Operation Cross Country 10…yielded just 10 federal indictments as of May 2017, and only three cases involving any actual juveniles.  In those cases, none of the victims—two 17-year-old girls and one 15-year-old girl—allege abduction, abuse, threats, forcible detainment, or other mistreatment of any kind…Meanwhile, police and FBI agents arrested 996 “adult prostitution subjects”…332 times as many sex workers arrested in the stings as people indicted on federal charges involving a minor…Comey…failed to say how many prostitution arrests have been made throughout Operation Cross Country overall.  But…If we assume arrests in years where we are missing data mirror the previous operation’s tally…we wind up with something like 6,227 prostitution arrests…the FBI and Homeland Security also help with similar local stings all year long…

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It’s probably rare that men forget that strippers & porn performers are entertainers, but for some reason they frequently forget that whores are, despite the fact that for most of human history we were often musicians, singers or actresses in addition to providing sexual services, and despite the fact that “entertainer” is sometimes used as a euphemism for “prostitute”.  And so, when approaching us to book our services, they often veer off in directions that merely waste time and may even frustrate the lady, rather than simply following her instructions and giving her the information she asks for.  This isn’t to say that one shouldn’t be friendly and polite when approaching an escort; of course one should, just as one should be friendly and polite to a contractor, a medical professional or any other professional one wishes to hire.  But your flirting isn’t actually going to accomplish anything without money; she’d much rather hear about your name, your references, your job or whatever other screening info she requested than about how tall you are & how good looking you imagine yourself to be; and even though you might be very interested in telling her what you’d like to do to her, you’ll have a much greater chance of actually getting to do it if you keep the porn in your head and just tell her how long a session you’d like and when.  Remember, this isn’t some naive amateur you’re trying to charm into the sack; this is a professional who is doing this to make a living.  Her wares consist of her time and her company, and she is no more going to appreciate your trying to steal them than a baker would appreciate your picking up a dozen doughnuts and walking out without paying.  Furthermore, if you stuck your head into that bakery several times a week just to say how delicious everything smelled, but never actually bought anything, how long do you think it would take for the baker to view your comments as distracting annoyances rather than welcome compliments?

Look, I get that not everyone has enough disposable cash to see escorts frequently, but most of us have social rates and even lower phone rates, and if a lady is kind enough to brighten your day by chit-chatting with you on Twitter, you could at least get her something from her Amazon wishlist (some of my items are as low as ten bucks, and I’m not unusual in that regard) or make a donation to a cause you know she supports.  But it isn’t the people making small-talk who are really the troublesome ones on social media; I enjoy interacting with my readers in that way, and most understand that I’m just going to make a few replies before moving on.  No, the real time thieves are the entitled arseholes who think they have a right to demand that activists “debate” them individually (by which I mean “refute the same old tinned and unsubstantiated prohibitionist bullshit that’s already been refuted a thousand times”).  Yes, I’m an activist, and I make no money from that; in fact I, like most prominent activists, lose a fairly hefty sum every year in both time and cash.  I rely on my skills as an entertainer to pay my bills, so if you want me to entertain you by “debate” you can pay up like everybody else, $100/hour of nonsexual online interaction.  And if you don’t want to pay, I suggest you do the same thing you’d do if you wanted sex you couldn’t afford: find an amateur you can con, and stop trying to get a free lunch from businesswomen.

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In efforts to catch imagined “pimps”…officials have long considered the liberty and rights of…sex workers (and their customers) to be an acceptable sacrifice.  The rest of us were really never far behind.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Moloch 

How many kids need to be sacrificed to this obscenity before it’s enough?

South Carolina can continue to require…teens convicted of…sex crimes to appear on the state’s public sex-offender registry and wear an electronic monitor for the rest of their lives, the state Supreme Court ruled…A boy…who was 15 when he sexually assaulted a 5-year-old boy…challenged the law…The teen’s lawyer said being publicly branded a sex offender and electronically monitored for the rest of his life is too harsh a punishment, citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ban on the death penalty for anyone under age 18.  The justices, however, said the Legislature was well within its power to pass a law that treats juveniles and adults differently in criminal punishment, but establishes the same requirements for the registry [due to the pretense that it isn’t a punishment]…

No Friend of Ours

Nevada has caught up with Washington, Arizona & Florida as one of the most vile, loathsome fonts of anti-whore vomit in the US:

Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick spoke with Crysta Price, one of the [fabulists who created yet another bogus] study…[they actually represent themselves as] data scientists [though they’re not dealing in actual data and instead just vomit out a lot of lies & “end demand” filth.  Price pretends that]…Reno is in the top 6.5 percent, in terms of the per-capital [sic] number of individuals that are advertised for sex.  And then Nevada itself is the number one state…if you have the same amount [sic] of demands, you’ll just see those individuals replaced with trafficked individuals…demand…is often the result of a lot of males with expendable income…where it’s in an entertainment-like experience, that can often filter them into purchasing sex in the commercial sex industry…

“Per capital”?  “Entertainment-like experience”?  “Filter them into purchasing sex”?  Is this woman for real, or is she some sort of Marxist clown robot railing against “expendable income”?  Perhaps she thinks the almighty state should “protect” these vegetable-like “trafficked individuals” by stealing all that extra income & giving it to creatures like her?

New Excuse

For over three years now, I’ve been saying that the War on Whores is the new War on Drugs.  And here’s a perfect example of that:

In the high days of America’s militarized war on drugs, baseless and botched home raids have become a defining feature—with often disastrous consequences.  Now we’re seeing the same sort of overzealous enforcement efforts in the fight against…prostitution.  This week, Detroit police raided an innocent family’s home after receiving a [bogus] sex-trafficking tip and then seeing two teens enter the house.  One of the teens was the family’s 13-year-old daughter, who…wound up face-down and handcuffed on the floor, along with the rest of her family, after cops cut through a locked gate…and entered with their guns drawn…Maria Navarete [reported that] police told her to “shut up, you have no rights” when she asked what was happening…Police apologized, [pretending] that a mysterious heroin-addicted woman in a local hospital said she and several underage girls had been held against their will and forced into prostitution…[at] the Navarete’s place…

Business As Usual 

Why does it surprise people when cops fight for what they imagine to be their “right” to rape sex workers?

The Anchorage Police Department is fighting a pair of state bills that would criminalize cops who have “sexual contact” with people under investigation.  The reason for the opposition, according to Deputy Chief Sean Case, is that…such a law would allow sex workers to avoid arrest, since it provides them with a way to check if a potential client is a cop…“If we make that act (of touching) a misdemeanor we have absolutely no way of getting involved in that type of arrest”…Case [pretends] the department isn’t interested in making arrests for sex work in general and is instead focused on sex trafficking…which raises the question of [why] police are…advocating for the need to have “sexual contact” with trafficking victims…The bills at issue are the result of activism by…Community United for Safety and Protection (CUSP), which [explains] that sex workers in [every] state [are routinely] subjected to sexual abuse by police during undercover busts…Initially, it seemed that the bills would have no trouble passing.  “Police and prosecutors [lied] that police never engage in sexual conduct during stings anyways”…said [Tara Burns].  “Then right as the bill was about to be heard they changed their story and now claim that they need to engage in sexual conduct with sex trafficking victims in order to rescue them”…sex worker advocates say that every state needs bills like those proposed in Alaska that expressly define “sexual contact” with sex workers during investigations as sexual abuse.  That said, these laws only go so far…As Maggie McNeill…told Vocativ, “No matter what the law says, cops will keep raping sex workers, either in stings or outside of them, for as long as our profession is criminalized because they know damned well there’s nothing we can do about it.”

The Public Eye (#617)

Once again, Caroline McLeod handled this interview like a champ; and once again, the “journalists” sullied her words by surrounding them with prohibitionist lies.  I’m not even going to bother quoting this dreary mess, which includes the usual anti-sex vomit from the usual sex-hating liars.

To Molest and Rape 

Arkansas lets dangerous, violent rapist walk free; guess his profession:

…[Rapist cop] Robert G. Retford pleaded guilty to a charge of 3rd degree sexual assault.  He was sentenced to 6 years probation…Retford’s victim…asked to be identified and wants everyone to know what…that [rapist cop] did to her…During the second week of September 2016…two Johnson County deputies showed up at her home for a domestic dispute…Retford offered to take her away from the situation…he…assaulted her with…his police baton.  Then…raped her and urinated on her.  “After that he made me drink his urine,” Shanna said…”I think he’s scary, it scares me just talking about him…he should be in jail locked up and I don’t feel other women and girls out there are safe”…

The Widening Gyre (#663)

More racist infantilization of Nigerian sex workers in Italy:

…For most of these women, sex work is…slave labour, enforced by vicious gang leaders who threaten the women with physical violence and deportation if they refuse to comply…Father Vincenzo (Enzo) Volpe…the Sicilian priest who works with Sister Valeria to protect the women and offer them hope for a new life, estimates there are some 500 Nigerians working against their will on the streets and in the brothels.  That’s [an impossibly] big number for a city with a population of only 1.3 million [but fetishists believe it anyway]…tens of thousands of Nigerian sex slaves have poured into Italy and more are arriving almost every day in rickety boats dispatched from the Libyan coast, seeking a better life in Europe…

Pyrrhic Victory (#677)

Seattle cops aren’t the only ones with a fetish for creepy surveillance:

…After Geofeedia’s highly publicized PR disaster, in which Chicago Police were found to have used the social media surveillance platform to track racial justice protests and gatherings, the social media monitoring company saw Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram cut off its data streams…A company called Babel Street [is letting violent busybodies get around that]…Seattle PD are one of many users of Babel Street software, and are soon to be joined by the US Secret Service…the FBI is also using Babel Street programs…Babel Street also seems to be making a substantial push into the private market…[mostly] sports stadiums and entertainment venues…Babel X has access to over 25 social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram, and to Twitter’s firehose…Babel X can also surveil millions of URL’s including the deep web.  The software can instantly translate over 200 languages, and can set up geo-fences around areas of special interest, and has highly customizable filtering options including for hashtags, emojis, handles, names…keywords….numerical sequences like credit card or social security numbers…dates, times, data type, language, and—interestingly enough—sentiment…

“Filter for sentiment”.  Let that sink in, and remember that when I started this heading five years ago some people claimed I was exaggerating.

Policing for Profit (#687) 

Once in a very great while, the bad guys still lose:

James Slatic was never charged with a crime, but it took 15 months and a twisting legal battle before three different judges for him to get back the more than $100,000 the San Diego District Attorney’s Office seized from him and his family—including his daughters’ college savings accounts.  On [May 5th] a California superior court judge [finally] ordered the San Diego District Attorney’s Office to return [the money]…it [stole] from the Slatic family following a police raid last January on James Slatics’ medical marijuana company…

Advice for Clients (#704)

A simple primer on interacting with sex workers on Twitter:

Imagine you’re walking through your local mall…and discover a friendly lady…holding out a tray of…whatever…do you stand around engaging her in small talk while she…attempts to work around you?…Do you insist that she let you have a few more since you’ll definitely be a regular customer…Do you offer her unsolicited advice on how to season the food?…

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Given that most sex workers only stay in the profession a short time, why have you remained in it for so long?

It’s not entirely true that most sex workers only stay in the profession for a short time; I’d say a more accurate statement would be that most only stay in specific sex work jobs for limited consecutive stretches.  What I mean is, while there are certainly a large fraction of sex workers who only work for a few years (say, while attending university or after a divorce) and then never go back, there is a much larger fraction who drop in and out of various types of sex work at various times in their lives.  A woman might strip while in school, then take a straight job for a while, then do camming to bring in extra cash while married, then switch to escorting after divorce, go to another straight job for a while, then do phone sex on the side because that doesn’t fully pay the bills, etc.  Once a woman learns she can capitalize on men’s sex drives, she never forgets that she can dip back into that pool of cash whenever she needs to (and for as long as she needs to).

You are, however, correct in saying that most women don’t stay at it for decades at a time as I do (and I know some ladies who started around the same time as I did in the ’80s, or shortly before or after, and never took as long a hiatus as I did from 1987-97).  Even when I was married, I never really stopped; I thought of the period from July 2006 to July 2010 as a long gig for a single client, because the fact that I loved my husband was immaterial to the economics of the situation:  a man was supporting me in return for my companionship & sexual favors.  The reason I’ve stayed so long is simple:  this is my profession.  This is what I do, what I know, what I’m good at.  I’ve never done any other job for remotely as long as I have this one; the next closest approach was librarian, and it lasted only five years.  But it’s a little more than that.  Every profession has some members who are merely interested in the money, and others who consider it their calling.  Of course they want the money, and except in very rare cases they wouldn’t be doing it if they weren’t getting paid.  But such individuals derive gratification not just from the money, but also from an emotional satisfaction deriving from the job itself.  For example, there are physicians who take up medicine merely because it’s lucrative, while others are emotionally fed by the knowledge that they are healing the sick.  There are lawyers who go into law simply because they can make a lot of money at it, while others (especially criminal defense lawyers) are deeply committed to principles of justice and derive satisfaction from helping people escape being crushed by the gears of the State.  And there are sex workers who are attracted to the job simply for its good income and flexibility, while others also feel “paid” by the joy, pleasure and healing we provide to our clients; as you can probably tell, I’m in the latter group.  Now, it’s important to note that I’m not making any moral or qualitative judgments here; a physician who’s only in it for the money is not a worse human being than one for whom the satisfaction of healing is also a motivation, and a lawyer whose only motive is profit might still be a better lawyer than one who is driven to fight for right against might.  And a whore who is motivated only by income and nothing else might still be the right choice for a particular client.  However, it seems to me that people whose motivations extend beyond the purely pecuniary are more motivated to stick with a job (rather than, say, accepting a more highly-paid hospital administrator position); they’re also the ones who are more likely to be found doing pro bono work such as writing law blogs or doing sex work activism, because although those extracurricular activities pay nothing in actual cash (and indeed, may actually cost money), the individual who indulges in them may feel compensated in less direct and material ways.

(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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It happened again this week:  somebody emailed me a question that I could answer, but won’t.

When I first started this blog seven years ago, I was just a little past 40 and still a little bit naive about the capacity of humans to handle unpleasant truths.  Of course I recognized that most people prefer to live in blissful ignorance than to have their comfortable delusions challenged, but I foolishly believed that the sort of person who would read a blog specifically offering “frank commentary” from a hooker would be different.  And you know what?  I was wrong.  Just because someone’s against the establishment and wants to change the status quo doesn’t make them open-minded; very often, it just means they want to establish their own censorious, oppressive status quo.  So during the first year I was writing The Honest Courtesan, I often stepped on the toes of people who weren’t actually my enemies, and against whom I meant no disrespect or offense.  Sometimes it was because I was wrong; sometimes it was because I was basically right, but expressed myself in a clumsy or offensive way; and sometimes it was because I was completely right, but the objectors simply didn’t like what I was saying so they mischaracterized it as something else or simply denied that I was qualified to opine on the subject at all.  The majority of the times the latter happened, it was because I’m not a member of whatever group the question involved; on a few occasions, people who wanted to be offended have actually claimed I wasn’t a member of some group that I actually am a member of, so as to have an excuse to attack me.  I’ve had women claim I was never raped because they were angry that I challenge neofeminist bullshit about rape; before I went back to work prohibitionists would often claim I had never been a whore (it’s kinda hard to do that now that my escort ads are easily found on Google by typing in “Maggie McNeill Seattle escort”); and before I was showing my face in copious selfies and freaking TELEVISION APPEARANCES, some idiots who thought themselves clever tried to claim I was a man (specifically a client) because they didn’t want to believe that a woman might not think like them.

At first, this didn’t really bother me, but now I’m over 50 and operating in a chronic state of emotional exhaustion, and people with axes to grind are just looking for excuses to undermine my work by making asinine accusations against me; some of these are even sex workers for whom ideological purity trumps actually unifying to fight for decriminalization.  So I’m sorry, but I will no longer answer controversial questions about groups that I’m not a member of.  If your question is about women in general, or sex workers, or bisexual women, or kinky people, or any other group I’m part of, fire away and it can be as controversial as you like.  And if your question involves some group of which I’m not a member such as nonwhite people, trans people, heterosexual people or whatever and it isn’t controversial, fire away and I’ll answer as best I can.  But if you have some question which arouses considerable acrimony and involves a group I’m not part of?  Forget it.  I’ve been directly told, for example, that I’m not allowed to have an opinion on circumcision because I don’t have a penis, even if that opinion is based in data from published studies.  And while I think that’s nonsense, I’m too tired to fight it any more; you’ll need to address such questions to a member of whatever group is allowed to have opinions on the subject.  Sorry about that; I’m not masochistic enough to enjoy beating my head against a brick wall.

The one exception is questions about those in power, of course; I’ve never held political power, but I’ll opine on those sociopaths all day long.  Fuck them.

(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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