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Diary #243

Maggie 2-19-15The trip to Seattle went as smoothly as I could have wished; the car performed very well, averaging 30 miles per gallon over the whole trip (and remember, a lot of that was over mountains).  The weather was fine nearly the whole way (aside for very light snow between Amarillo and the Texas border), and I was only harassed by one cop (in a Nevada speed trap where the limit abruptly dropped from 70 to 25 while several prowl cars lay in wait).  On Wednesday the 11th I had a lovely dinner with Dr. and Mrs. David Ley in Albuquerque, then met my husband in Las Vegas the following night; Jae and I left Vegas on Sunday morning, stayed in Reno that night and made Seattle by midnight the following night after a 13-hour drive.  Last week mostly involved settling in, though I did find the time to help Mistress Matisse with one of her clients on Wednesday, to do a photo shoot on Thursday and to throw a party for Reason writer (and super sex worker ally) Elizabeth Nolan Brown on Saturday.  And let me tell you, you haven’t really lived until you’ve been to a party where most of the guests are sex workers!  This week I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, and a meeting with a patron tonight; remember, a $500 donation will get you both dinner with me and the satisfaction of knowing you’re contributing to a worthy cause.  If you aren’t in Seattle (or visiting here), keep an eye on this space for my travels and contact me when I’ll be near you.  Even if you can’t afford that much, I truly appreciate each and every donation and I’m working on a way for you to help me out while ordering things you need or might like online.

Needless to say, my life is still in a lot of upheaval right now, so I really appreciate your patience with my chaotic tweeting schedule, slow response to correspondence and other irregularities.  Monday’s column will provide a lot more detail about what’s going on with me, and I’ll continue to keep you posted on developments in these diary entries.

The official and popular paradigm appears to be based on the belief that sex is such a horrible, monstrous abomination that the mere mention of it to an adult can constitute “violence”, that participating in it for taboo reasons can be a “crime”, and that if a person is exposed to sexual contact, conversation or imagery…even one minute before midnight on her 18th birthday she will be instantly and irreversibly ruined beyond any hope of redemption.  –  “Scorched Earth

DarkseidThis was the month in which the structure of the blog began to rapidly shift into the form it held for almost three years, and is not very different from today.  Before this, update and miscellanea columns were separate and monthly; as my news-gathering procedures improved, however, I had far too many items to wait so long between editions.  In the latter part of 2011 there were many extra news columns, and I realized that I had to go weekly to keep up; I’m still not sure exactly why I waited until February, but there you are.  “February Miscellanea” was followed immediately by “That Was the Week That Was“, the column which introduced the new feature and explained the name it bore until less than two months ago; in order to catch up the numbers I then published two a week until #8, which looked very much like the feature still looks, fine-tuning of subtitle appearance and order notwithstanding.

KristofvilleBut though the new feature was the first weekly one, other recurring columns were still monthly; February’s harlotography was “Olympe de Gouges” and its fictional interlude  “Companion“.  Holidays of course still appeared annually; this month’s were CandlemasValentine’s Day and Mardi Gras, with a special tetra-annual appearance by Leap Day.  Another kind of continuity appears in the fact that three columns (“Repeat Offenders“, “One Year Later” and “The Course of a Disease“) are direct sequels to those from a year before, connected by the “one year ago today” feature which had only a few months left to run;half-head man similarly,  “You Oughta Be In Pictures” discussed the importance of pictures in drawing traffic to the posts in which they appear.

Due to fully nine days in this already-short month being taken up in news columns, there isn’t much left to tell.  “Change a Few Words” demonstrates the principle that all prohibition is the same; “Gumbo” provides detailed directions for preparing my sister’s peerless recipe; “Do You Know What It Means?” describes a trip to New Orleans; “That’s the Ticket!” shares another example of absurd “sex trafficking” lies; “The Anti-Life Equation” uses the work of comics legend Jack Kirby to illustrate the evil of denying individuals control over their own lives; “The Sky is Falling!” discusses the panic over young women profiting from sex as they always have; “Profit from Panic” looks at some particularly-egregious rescue industry profiteering; “FarmVille” introduces Nick Kristof’s fun new way to fantasize about controlling brown-skinned women; “Scorched Earth” explores the United States’ all-out war on sex; and “Why is Sex Such a Taboo?” attempts to answer the titular question. Excalibur wedding

Links #242

I am outraged that Mr. Alexander for two and a half decades failed to take this matter seriously.  –  Judge Kathleen McCarthy

It’s not often that we have a tie for the most links, but we do this week.  Radley Balko provided everything down to the first video, and Jesse Walker the second video plus “rumor” and “clowns”.  The other links were provided by Grace  (“trigger”), Elizabeth N. Brown (“facts”), Cop Block (“thanks”), Angela Keaton  (“mean”), and Nun Ya (“ANY”).

From the Archives

In the News (#515)

People who think they can abolish [sex work] entirely from any country are living in a dream world.  –  Ronald Weitzer

Coming and Going

In 2012, more than 1,000 people were booked into the Bexar County Jail for prostitution and the cost to taxpayers was more than $1.2 million dollars.   State Representative Eric Johnson…has introduced House Bill 1363 to reduce punishment for prostitution.   The bill would make a first or second offense of prostitution a Class C Misdemeanor and calls for an intervention program…community service, counseling, and treatment…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do Samuel Riggi

an Orlando [Florida] police lieutenant…[is] accused of having a sexual relationship with a prostitute and taking nearly $10,000 from her…Gricelda Umana…[said] she and Lt. Samuel Riggi had sex every two weeks for two years, sometimes at the massage parlor where she worked.  She said he asked her for money and said she made 17 deposits totaling almost $10,000 from her prostitution proceeds into his account to protect her from arrest…

One Born Every Minute

A new site that claims to be “the AirBnB for escorts” doesn’t seem to be anything like AirBnB…or like a legitimate escort site, for that matter.  AirSnB—which stands for “Air Sexy Buddy,” I was told— launched in December  and, according to owner Amir Mo, is supposed to be the escort industry’s answer to the sharing economy…Mo said customers pay AirSnB upfront for a date arranged with their escort of choice (based on hourly rates).  After the date, AirSnB transfers the money to the escort, skimming their percentage off the top…if there are any issues—like the escort doesn’t show up or doesn’t follow through…AirSnB will return the money to the customer or give them a percentage back, depending on the situation.  But as if this didn’t sound sketchy enough already, many of the escort listings on the site don’t appear to be…real.  Almost every profile I found was copied word-for-word from listings elsewhere on the internet…

The Course of a Disease

Anti-prostitution campaigners have made grand statements about the effectiveness of Sweden’s hugely influential approach to prostitution.  However, researchers say the claims are grossly exaggerated and the law has put sex workers in greater danger.  The so-called “Swedish model”…portrays itself as an example to emulate.  Ambassadors for the approach preach its virtues to government regulators worldwide…But an increasing number of voices…say claims exaggerate its successes for ideological reasons.  The most recent attacks on the 1999 Kvinnofrid law come from Malmö University researcher Charlotta Holmström.  In contrast to the loud claims of anti-prostitution campaigners, that it has made sex workers safer, Holmström says they are far more vulnerable to exploitation and violence…

J’accuse (#42)

A high-profile pimping case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn nearly unraveled…[when] five of six plaintiffs…dropped their accusations against him…Strauss-Kahn has testified to having orgies…to being “rough” with his sexual “conquests,” and to needing sex with exceptional frequency.  But none of that is illegal…Strauss-Kahn insists he didn’t know the women involved were prostitutes…

But while Straus-Kahn will probably walk away free, French sex workers may not be so lucky:

…Morgane Merteuil…of the French sex worker’s trade union Strass…believes the trial has increased the stigmatisation of the sex industry and has presented a skewed view of the profession.  “There is a confusion with abolitionist organisations between when a client respects a contract and when he does not.  [DSK] didn’t respect the contract…not all clients act like him”…Merteuil says she believes the trial may result in the criminalisation of the sex industry…

Skin To Skin

For many disabled people, sex is off the cards.  While most needs are met through the provision of carers, or by parents, sex is often missed out entirely.  But now a number of sex workers are looking to combat this, stepping into the breach to provide specialist services to help disabled people to fulfil their sexual desires.  It’s easy for disabled people’s sexuality to become obscured by a web of societal assumptions about what it is to be disabled. But of course, disabled people are just as horny as anybody else…

Be Careful Who You Rape

After all, we wouldn’t want to waste effort investigating the rapes of “criminals”:

A new controversial policy requires sexual assault and rape victims to undergo police background checks before they can receive services…[including] rape kits or medical investigations into the criminal activity that was perpetrated against them…The bizarre policy has been around since 2007, but it has only been implemented and enforced since November…Critics of this law suggest that many will not come forward to report sexual assaults and rapes if they feel they maybe prosecuted for something…

Sex Rays

Sometimes it’s hard to believe the people who write these stories actually take them seriously:

Their locations are blended right into the fabric of busy communities. They set up shop next to store fronts and restaurants…police raided the Queen Spa, an illegal massage parlor set up near the University of Rhode Island…next to a Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway sandwich shop…other suburban locations where illegal massage parlors open…[include one] just feet from an ice cream stand and a toy shop…

Remember, sex work was only recriminalized in Rhode Island five years ago.

The Roof Caves In (#425) 

Disgraced anti-sex trafficking activist Somaly Mam’s new charity – which is headed by former staff of her fallen foundation, a Hollywood actress and a PR guru – announced…that it has been given the green light in the US…The organisation, which will employ about 37 full-time staff and expects to generate more than $682,000 this year…

Bread and Circuses

The war on sex worker advertising continues:

A [Colorado] man…was arrested…for “Use of a Facility in Interstate Commerce to Promote a Business Enterprise Involving Prostitution”…David A. Warmack owned and operated a website business named “Sowet.com”…[which] promoted and facilitated prostitution that took place at multiple massage parlors across the Metro Denver area…

The Face of Trafficking

In the largest ever study into the health of trafficking victims, researchers interviewed more than 1,100 men, women and children in Southeast Asia who had been trafficked into at least 15 sectors – including factory work, domestic labor, sex work and fishing…Most previous studies [only] looked at…women trafficked into sex work…[but] this study found…that women trafficked for other forms of labor, including factory work, domestic work and as brides, suffered worse mental health problems than those trafficked into sex work…

A Year Later

Sex worker advocates are warning Ontario Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur that Canada’s new controversial prostitution law will “force people in the sex trade in harm’s way.”  Meilleur is reviewing Bill C-36 and will file a report on the law to Premier Kathleen Wynne, who has expressed “grave concerns” about the federal Conservative government’s latest effort to deal with prostitution…

Moving Pictures

Add another “sex trafficking” porn fantasy to the list:  “Tricked…features interviews with people in all areas of the sex trafficking trade, including prostitutes who are often victims, the traffickers (pimps), customers (Johns) and the vice officers who fight the trade…

Moving Pictures

This essay first appeared in Cliterati on January 18th; I have modified it slightly for time references and to fit the format of this blog.

The Golem (1920)One would think that after a century of the motion picture as an art form, people would grasp that just because something appears on film does not make it real.  Despite its name, even cinéma vérité is less than truthful; as in subatomic physics, even the mere presence of an observer changes the observational subject.  And given that a self-professed “documentary” filmmaker still chooses what to film and what to edit out, whom to interview and whom to ignore, how to frame different viewpoints and what the narrator will say, no reasonable person could imagine that simply granting a production replete with exaggeration, distortion and outright lies the dignity of a “nonfiction” label actually has the power to make it so.  Unfortunately, the majority of the population is anything but reasonable, and misnaming a drama a documentary or claiming that it is “based on a true story” is more than enough to convince them that real life is truthfully and objectively portrayed therein.

As you might expect, moral panics have often been amplified by such means, but the advent of cheap digital cameras and software-based editing has democratized the filmmaking process to such an extent that the first moral panic of the internet era, the “sex trafficking” hysteria, has been promoted thus to an unprecedented extent.  So while the two most prominent examples of “sex trafficking” fetishism misrepresented as fact, namely Taken and Eden, are products of the professional moviemakers’ craft (the former a big-budget studio release, the latter a smaller-budget “independent”), there have also been a plethora of semi-professional and amateur films, ranging from small-budget to no-budget, which purport to tell the “truth about sex trafficking” to credulous, slack-jawed audiences who prefer their BDSM porn in disguised form.  Much has been written about the fraud named Eden and the chief perpetrator of the scam, Chong Kim; applying the same scalpel to the body of low-end “sex trafficking” cinema soon results in a gory mess too graphic even for the slasher movies which appeal to roughly the same sensibilities as these so-called “documentaries”.

In just the past two years I’ve logged eight of these cheapies:  Ente, Lot Lizard, Anna, Dirty Little Secret, The Making of a Girl, International Boulevard, Chosen and The Long Night; it’s entirely possible that there may have been others which escaped my notice.  Then early last month I read reports of not one but three more, all in the same day.  The headline for the first, 8 Days, alludes to the aforementioned blockbuster Taken, and the article itself seems to have been written by a Hollywood wannabe:

A new film based on actual events exposes the shocking secrets of Human Trafficking.  If you think it isn’t happening in your hometown, you’re wrong…8 Days…is…based on a true story…a teen named Amber who comes from an affluent Texas family, goes to a…party where she gets drunk, is kidnapped, and later sold to pimps…“kids are targeted at the mall or the movies, parties and at school,” said Jaco Booyens, the film’s director.  “In the movie, Amber was trafficked by a friend.  A friend!  They’re using people you know to create a comfort zone”…Booyens says the average age…is 12 years old…raped sometimes up to 20 or 30 times in a single day…Victims are often snatched from places such as a party, the mall or the movies, and often, sex traffickers pay someone who is friends with the teen to bring her to a party where they will take her…

Note the repetition, the use of familiar-but-bogus “facts”, and the director’s pretense that because something appears in his movie that somehow constitutes evidence of its reality.  Note also that the story starts with what I call the “Profession of Faith”, the central creed of the “sex trafficking” cult, as does this one:

Filmmakers behind The Trafficking Life…want to get their point across that human trafficking is not just happening somewhere else.  It’s become a big problem here at home…Diana Cisneros…is the center of a new documentary in which she shares the growing problem taking place in Kern County [California]…

Kern County is infamous for this kind of moral panic; it was one of the early centers of the Satanic Panic as well.  But while fanatics claim that “sex trafficking happens everywhere”, the truth is that it’s sex trafficking hysteria that’s nearly omnipresent:

A Path Appears investigates young women in America forced into a life of prostitution…in our own backyards — in Chicago and Nashville and Boston.  The Department of Justice estimates that there are 300,000 children at risk of being trafficked into sexual slavery in the U.S…Ashley Judd and Nicholas Kristof are guided through the streets of Nashville by a woman who was first sold to a pimp by her mother at the age of 12, and then visit an example of a solution that works…sting operations cracking down on the buyers of sex…

David DelayNone of these fakumentaries take the trouble to investigate squat; as should be obvious from the repetition of prohibitionist lies in these articles, all they do is to parrot the same old nonsense about “children”, “pimps”, “sex slavery” and the like while infantilizing sex workers, demonizing clients, lionizing cops and celebrating criminalization.  But when anything becomes as popular as these films have, it’s inevitable that life will start imitating art, at least in the minds of the corrupt:

The…founder and owner of “Grandpa’s RV Productions,” David Delay, Sr., is accused of coaxing two teens into prostitution and then threatening to expose them on Facebook if they stopped working for him.  Delay, 48, has been charged with a host of pimping-related crimes alongside Marysa Renee Comer, a 20-year-old woman accused of assisting in running the operation from their Lynnwood [Washington] apartment…an 18-year-old young woman…fell in love…with Comer, who began picking her up at school with Delay.  The [young woman] began dating Comer and Delay, in an effort to make a life with Comer…they told [her] they were making a documentary about human trafficking and  prostitution.  “They stated it was best for her to be involved in the documentary by escorting so that she can know what it is really all about”…said [the] charging papers…Comer and Delay set up the encounters and took all the money she was paid…a subsequent search of prostitution advertisements by police supported [her] claims that she’d been taken around the country to work as an escort…

In other words, an actual criminal got the idea for his criminal acts from the propaganda put out by the people who pretend to be interested in fighting such exploitation; given that it happened in the state that’s most heavily invested in “sex trafficking” hysteria, it’s the kind of irony one might expect to find in a Hollywood screenplay.

Cut.  Print.

Lady Hamilton

A cleaner, sweeter bed-fellow does not exist.  –  Greville’s letter praising Emma to Lord Hamilton

When Mandy Rice-Davies compared herself to Lady Hamilton, Lord Nelson’s mistress, it is doubtful that any of the reporters who made her famous for the reference had any confusion about what she meant.  But the 1960s were a more sexually honest time than our own, and nowadays writers are even more likely to prevaricate about Lady Hamilton’s harlotry than they are about Rice-Davies’; a BBC article on the famous affair even goes so far as to say that “[Nelson and Hamilton] had fallen out of love with their partners”, as if the Lady had married her patron due to “falling in love” in the first place.  In fact, there’s another modern term for the way they came to be together, more pejorative  even than “prostitution”; read on and you’ll see what I mean.

Amy Lyon, the daughter of a blacksmith named Henry Lyon and his wife Mary, was born on April 26th, 1765 in Cheshire, England.  Her father died when she was an infant and her mother raised her alone, later sending her to live with her grandmother in Wales.  At twelve she started working as a maid and soon met another maid named Jane Powell, who aspired to be an actress; through her Amy found work at the Drury Lane theatre as a maid to several actresses, during which time she lived in the home of a brothel madam named Mrs. Kelly.  Her beauty and grace attracted the attention of James Graham, the doctor who owned an establishment called the “Temple of Health and Hymen” where couples could pay £50 a night (over £3000 today) to have sex in the “Celestial Bed”, which administered mild electric shocks that were supposed to cure infertility and encourage the conception of “perfect” babies.  Amy’s job was to be a hostess, model and erotic dancer, presumably to augment the effects of the electric bed.  When she was sixteen she was hired by Sir Harry Featherstonhaugh to provide entertainment at a several-months-long standing party; she is known to have danced nude on the dining room table at this shindig, and her other activities may be guessed by the fact that she was pregnant by the end of the summer, presumably by Sir Harry.

As was typical in those days, Sir Harry blamed the pregnancy entirely on Amy, so though he was still supporting her she decided to become the kept woman of Charles Francis Greville, an MP and the second son of the first Earl of Warwick.  Though Greville was in love with Amy, he was quite domineering and appears to have viewed her as a piece of property.  When the baby, who was given the name Emma Carew, was born, he sent her away to be raised by a couple named Blackburn; around this same time he also demanded that Amy change her own name to Emma, specifically “Emma Hart”.  When he had her portrait painted by his friend George Romney, the painter became obsessed with her; he made so many sketches of her (both nude and clothed) at this time and later that he was able to paint a number of portraits of her without further sitting.  Because Romney was a popular painter, Emma became well-known in London society both for her wit and personality and as an artist’s model.

Unfortunately, Greville spent far beyond his means, and by 1783 he needed a new source of funds; he decided to acquire them by marrying the young heiress Henrietta Middleton, but since it was common knowledge that Emma was his lover he had to be rid of her.  He therefore convinced his uncle, Sir William Hamilton, to accept her as his mistress.  Hamilton was an art collector, and no doubt viewed the now-famous beauty as a valuable find; he also wanted to facilitate his nephew’s marriage so as to eliminate his frequent requests for money.  The deal was therefore made without Emma’s input or knowledge, and she was shipped off to Naples (where Hamilton was the British envoy) under the guise of a six-month holiday while Greville was supposedly away on business.  She was, in other words, “sex trafficked”, sent from one owner to another in a different country.

But though Emma was furious upon discovering what was really expected of her, she eventually adapted to her situation.  Hamilton’s home was beautiful and his art collection renowned, and he was a widower who, far from viewing her as an embarrassment, instead encouraged her modeling, singing and other performance.  The form for which she became known was called “attitudes”; this consisted of an act in which she would wear a simple gown dressed up by scarves and shawls which helped her to evoke images from history and classical mythology by posing.  The audience was then supposed to guess who she was portraying.  Though this may sound a bit silly to modern ears, the effect was apparently very striking; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, “The performance is like nothing you have ever seen before.  With a few scarves and shawls she expressed a variety of wonderful transformations.  One pose after another without a break”.  Within a few years of her first performance in the spring of 1787, a number of other actresses took up the art; over the years Emma herself evolved from mere posing into acting out short pantomimes, most famously portraying Medea.

Sir William eventually married Emma on September 6th, 1791; he was sixty and she twenty-six.  The match gave her the title by which she was forever known afterward, though friends still called her “Emma”.  It also gave her the duties of a diplomat’s wife, among them entertaining Horatio Nelson (then a mere post captain) when he came in 1793 to request reinforcements from the King of Naples.  By the time he returned in 1798 he had lost an arm, an eye, most of his teeth and the majority of his health, but had won both the Battle of the Nile and worldwide fame.  Sir William invited the great man to recuperate in their home, nursed by his young wife, and it was at this time that the two began their affair.

But while one might think this a betrayal of hospitality, the truth is that Sir William definitely knew about and seems to have even encouraged the affair; he and Nelson respected and admired one another, and Emma and Nelson had similar feelings for one another.  Indeed, the relationship soon developed into a ménage a trois; after the Neopolitan Revolution of 1799 the ailing Hamilton was allowed to retire and return to England, accompanied by Nelson, who openly moved in with the Hamiltons despite having a home (and wife) of his own.  In fact, the arrangement became such a huge scandal that the Admiralty ordered Nelson back to sea to keep him away from Emma.  The public, however, was fascinated and the Hamiltons seemed completely unconcerned with what anyone said; when Emma gave birth to a daughter on January 31st, 1801 she named her “Horatia”, flagrantly advertising her paternity.

Alas, their happiness was not to last long.  Sir William, whom Emma had grown to love, died in 1803 and Nelson returned to sea to fight Napoleon soon afterward.  The daughter Emma was carrying at the time died soon after her birth early the next year, and she consoled herself by gambling and otherwise wasting money; when Nelson died at Trafalgar in October of 1805, she had nothing left but Hamilton’s £800/year pension, which she exhausted trying to build up Merton Place (the house Nelson had bought for the three to live together in) as a monument to the great man.  Now the government decided to have its revenge on the woman it considered a double embarrassment for tarnishing the reputations of two of its favored sons: Emma was barred from Nelson’s funeral, and his request that she and Horatia be provided for was totally ignored; money and gifts were instead showered upon Nelson’s widow, brother and other family members.  As her looks and figure were long gone, Emma could no longer attract a patron; she fell deeply into debt and after Nelson’s love letters to her were stolen and published in 1814, the government exacted one more act of petty vengeance by throwing her into debtor’s prison.  After her release that autumn she fled to France with Horatia, where she died on January 15th, 1815.  Men in power are never kind to women who have embarrassed them, and neither Lady Hamilton’s title nor the exalted reputation of her most famous lover could save her from being treated like any other troublesome whore.

In the News (#514)

No sex worker I know reports clients as being the biggest problem…it’s always the rescuers, the police and the state who seem to do them the most harm.  –  Marijke Vonk

Real People 

First They Came for the Hookers…

Police cracked down on four dancers and two managers at a San Antonio gentleman’s club…after the strippers allegedly revealed a little bit too much skin…undercover [perverts entrapped]…dancers [into] pulling down the waistband of their thongs to reveal “the crevice of their buttocks,” which is a violation of a city ordinance…

Sexual Predators

There’s no badge-licking quite as nauseating as that which appears in stories about vice stings:

…Philadelphia…Vice squad posted provocative ads on backpage.com…men…were completely unaware that the women they had arranged to meet were actually undercover female police officers…Northeast Philadelphia has become a “hotbed” for prostitution…So…police are attacking the demand…”We’re taking their cell phones, we’re taking their money and we’re publicizing their names…” [a cop mouthpiece bragged]…Police say prostitution is a magnet for all types of crime including guns, drugs and human trafficking which can put even innocent bystanders in danger…

You heard it here first, folks; when a man pays me to have sex in private, a magical magnetic field is created which attracts guns and drugs, and those inanimate objects in turn emit radiation which can “put innocent bystanders in danger”.  Nor is this kind of obsequious toadying limited to the broadcast media, or to Pennsylvania:

…Since January, D.C. police have run a string of stings…luring men with fake ads on the Internet…[the cops pretend to be] responding to complaints from residents…[about] prostitutes along 14th Street [by going after internet escorts who aren’t on the street]…

Feminine Pragmatism (#133)

More accurate headline:  “Woman prevented from working to support her child”:

Valerie Fairman, who appeared on the second season of MTV’s Sixteen and Pregnant, was arrested…in…a…prostitution sting…[in] Delaware  [which cops pretended was] “in response to numerous citizen complaints about prostitution”…

Under Every Bed 

It’s astonishing to realize that these people are serious:

…It is often difficult for citizens and law enforcement to identify cases of human trafficking because the deals often happen online…said Jodi Emerson…[of “rescue” profiteer group] Fierce Freedom…“If I had someone call me up today and say, ‘I’m a victim of human trafficking and want to get out of it,’ I don’t really have anywhere to put them”…an unintended effect of strengthened drug trafficking laws in Wisconsin is a shift in criminal enterprises from drugs to prostitution…it is becoming easier and more profitable for gangs and other criminals to sell something repeatedly rather than only once…

Monsters Penny Proud

The rash of murders of black transwomen continues:

Penny Proud, who was fatally shot…in New Orleans, is the fifth transgender woman of color in the United States to be killed within the past month…Proud’s death also reinforced other common trends when transgender women are killed: Police misgendered Proud and media coverage dwelled on prostitution, even though it had no apparent connection to the homicide…An article and video posted on Nola.com called the victim “male” and a “man”…

These same ugly trends appear in the coverage of yet another such murder:

…a Texas College football player [named Carlton Ray Champion]…has been arrested for the murder of Tyrone Underwood…the two men had been seeing each other for several weeks…Carlton…thought [Underwood] was female…The police aren’t saying if the motive was the killing was because Mr. Underwood was a transgender male, but that seems to be the working theory they are going with.  Several members of the transgender community have reached out to say that Ty Underwood shouldn’t be IDed as a male, but as a female, but for accuracy of this reporting we went off the police affidavit…

“We had to parrot the police report even though we knew better” = “we were only following orders”.

Confined and Controlled (#335)

I’m not sure why The Local thinks prostitution is illegal in Italy, when it definitely isn’t:  “A number of Milan politicians have come out in support of opening a red light district in Italy’s financial capital, just days after plans for a prostitution zone were unveiled in Rome…Politicians from both left and right have backed the idea…despite prostitution being illegal in Italy…

Deafening Silence (#413)

Just in time for Chinese New Year, when millions of young Chinese will…be bugged by relatives about if or when they’ll tie the knot, China’s Internet regulator has decided it’s time to crack down on dating websites…[claiming] fraud is rampant…and has become a “public nuisance to millions of users.”  The statement also said prostitution would be targeted and that dating sites must enforce real-name registration…China state media…[have previously] accused [mobile flirting app] Momo of hosting sex workers, saying the “hormone-filled” app provides “a new ‘mobile base’ for sexual trades and other illegal activities…”

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#423)

Never forget that according to Bindel, members of the “pimp lobby” include me, two prohibitionist shills, two human rights organizations and a dead guy:

Across the globe, a dangerous, elusive group is gathering force…the Pimp Lobby…refuses to show its true face, hiding instead behind such apparently benevolent fronts as grassroots activist groups, academics, student unions and sex worker rights campaigners…Kate Smurthwaite, a comedian who’s loudly vocalised her belief that paying for sex should be criminalised, recently had a show at Goldsmith’s University cancelled as ticket sales were low…Smurthwaite labelled the night “a pro-pimp event”…requests from people in the industry that they be referred to as “sex workers” have been slammed as cynical obfuscations designed to deceive the public and keep pimps in business.  Some, however, question the existence of this shady lobby, and instead wonder if the label is just a useful way to discredit loud-mouthed sex workers standing up for their beliefs…a new guide was released for journalists (easy prey for this secretive group) advising on how to spot members of the pimp lobby.  The guide was produced by…Julie Bindel…According to Bindel, all sex work is abuse.  Women in sex work should be referred to as “prostituted women”, all their agency removed…Bindel’s guide is full of heart-wrenching statistics.  Many of them don’t stand up to scrutiny, but how important are a few digits?…

Checklist (#441) 

A functioning police state needs no police:

Flight attendants are often the only people outside of government and law enforcement who interact with victims of human trafficking on a regular basis…DHS helps train airline workers to recognize typical signs that a person is being trafficked…now the [rescue industry] group Airline Ambassadors is announcing the launch of a new app that will allow the group to track airline personnel’s reports of suspected trafficking.  The app allows airline workers to upload video footage of suspected trafficking cases to provide evidence something shady is going on…

Drawing Lines (#508) Lisa Ann

Lisa Ann doubles down:

…I’m not a prostitute.  I’m never gonna ask you for money.  I do like to go to games, so if you leave me tickets at will call, I’m there…I tell [basketball players] what to be prepared for.  Lock your wallet, watches or anything valuable in the safe before they invite a girl up…take her phone as soon as she gets into the room and put it in the safe as well…I’m training these boys how to be better men….these guys admit to me that they don’t mind paying for sex…I’m always dealing with the upper echelon.  I’m not a gold digger though…

In fact, this whorearchy-reinforcing, sister-endangering idiot has just doubled herself down into my Hall of Shame.  Welcome to the gallery of obnoxious, clownish sleazebags, Lisa!

Guest Columnist:  Hugo

It’s easier to negatively judge a group of people when they are nothing but “others”, a group of “they” who are different from us.  That’s why visibility is so important when you’re fighting for human rights…Outspoken sex workers force others to accept that prostitutes, not victims of trafficking or coercion, but actual sex workers with opinions and choices who demand some basic respect for their autonomy in fact exist.  It makes it harder to treat us, the sexual “others”, as non-human concepts to theorise about…That’s why I was so happy to read the guest column by Hugo on Maggie McNeill’s blog.  Clients of sex workers are perhaps the most stigmatised and misunderstood people in the entire sex work debate…clients…are often portrayed as horrible abusers…It’s that disgusting stigma that’s behind a lot of the trafficking-rhetoric, the idea that most clients could not care less about her well-being and that there is in fact a big market for abused, tattooed, caged and malnourished girls…a lot of men pay for sex.  There are many sex workers, they all have multiple clients and assuming those clients are not rich enough to see all sex workers, there are more clients than prostitutes.  We know that true psychopaths, people with anti-social personality disorder who enjoy the suffering of others, are thankfully extremely rare.  So it logically follows that most clients are normal men…

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