Posts Tagged ‘acting’

I dazedly chose or hired the companionship of unsavory and insipid types. Regardless of their saltless reputations, I always led with condoms and honesty when it came to my condition.  –  Charlie Sheen

By now you’ve probably all heard that Charlie Sheen is HIV positive, and that in his Today show appearance he basically blamed it on sex workers.  He also claims to have “led with condoms” and denies any IV drug use.  Now, I’ve never seen Mr. Sheen professionally, but as it turns out I know someone who did in ’07.  This is her story, exactly as she told it to me yesterday; I have not changed a single word except to correct a few minor typos.  As you will see, it disagrees with two points of his denial of risky behavior; I have heard rumors of another, even riskier behavior, but unless someone is willing to write a firsthand account of that one I am not at liberty to mention it.  Normally, accounts like this one are outside my ethical bounds, but I’m not going to sit idly by while my sisters are blamed for something that they had nothing to do with.

“He’s a major player.  Don’t screw this up.”

That was the injunction issued to me by the booker of my agency in Los Angeles.  Curiosity piqued, I touched up my lipstick and ran down the stairs to get in my driver’s car.  The first words out of his mouth were, “Don’t you have anything more…revealing?”

Exasperated, I replied, “I can’t even sit down in this dress without starting a riot.  What do you want me to wear, a Band Aid?”  My driver informed me that this particular client was a known connoisseur of adult performers, and my chic little black dress was a bit too conservative for his liking.  I asked why he called our agency in the first place; we were a well respected escort service with a strict ” no adult performers” policy.

“He’s used us before.  He’s got money to burn and he’ll take good care of you.  Just don’t be…yourself.”  My driver soared up the Sherman Oaks side of the Hollywood Hills.  We turned into the Mulholland Estates and the guard cheerfully waved us through the gate.  I groaned, since I never had much luck in this neighborhood.  Something always seemed to go wrong.  A couple of muscular gentleman came to the car and told my driver he couldn’t stay.  My driver clearly expected this, patted me on the head and told me to go make money.

Charlie Sheen July 19, 2007Heart sinking, I walked to the garage with the security guards.  They checked my purse for a weapon.  After I passed that, one of them asked me if I knew who I was going to be seeing.  I replied that this wasn’t my first high profile client and certainly wouldn’t be my last.  He looked at me and started laughing.  I batted my lashes and laughed back.  “Oh, he’ll like you.  I’ll walk you up.”  We started the long trek uphill to the house.  The door opened and I heard a man yelling on the phone.  The security guards told me to have fun, and walked out of the foyer.  I heard a thud, as if something was thrown at the wall, and my client descended down the staircase…and his smile dissolved into one big question mark.

“Hi, I’m Charlie.  Nice to meet you.”  He stepped back and said “I expected you to be a little more…endowed?”

“My agency has a model quality guarantee.  If you don’t like me, the cancellation fee is $150, and I’ll go.  No hard feelings.”

I put my hands on my hips and turned to leave.  “No wait.  Please don’t go.  I just didn’t expect someone so…conservative.  You’re really pretty, I just like porn girls better.”  I asked him if he was sure.  He gave me a bear hug and said “Of course I’m sure, gorgeous.  Let’s go upstairs.”

We walked upstairs into a small bedroom.  I could tell by the smell someone had been smoking some form of narcotic.  Porn was playing on one television,baseball on another.  The smell was getting to me.  He watched my nose twitch.  “It’s crack, and I only do a few hits a night.  I try to be a good boy when I’m working.”  He asked me if I partied.  I replied that it depended on what it was.  He flashed his trademark grin and told me he had literally anything I desired.  I politely asked if we could take care of business first.  He turned and unlocked a drawer that had an astonishing amount of cash in it.  The amount he gave me was basically enough to ensure I would be staying a while.  He bragged that two well known adult stars had seen him last night.  I knew one of them, and I asked why he hadn’t called them back tonight.  “Cause I pay them to disappear, sweetheart.  Now come over here and sit on my face.”

Things took a turn for the awkward a few minutes later when he requested bareback.  I explained as delicately as I could that my agency didn’t allow that, and I personally preferred to use condoms as well.  He took the news in stride, but it was clear the condoms were interfering with things.  We proceeded to engage in other forms of contact.  After he finished, it was clear he didn’t hold it against me.  I cleaned him up, cleaned myself up, and I asked him what his call time was.  “Early!” he laughed.

I asked him if he wanted me to leave, and he gripped my hand and said he really wanted me to stick around longer.  I said that was just fine, and asked if I could party with him.  He located my drug of choice on the table and asked if I smoked it,snorted it or shot it.  I asked for a line.  He said most girls he knew smoked it or shot it, and that his nose was so messed up that he had to smoke most of what he did.  He also told me he had overdosed when he had mainlined years ago, so he only had needles around if someone he called over liked doing something that way.  I asked him if he was scared of someone ODing in his bathroom.  He said he had enough money to hush people up if they did.

His cellphone rang.  “I’m sorry, sweetie.  I’ll be right back after I take this call.”  He went into the other room and I heard him in an argument with a very pissed off woman.  He returned and it was clear he was agitated.  “That woman is going to be the death of me.”  I looked at him quizzically.  “My girlfriend.  She’s jealous of EVERYTHING.  Even my kids.”  I told him I was sorry about the drama.  “This is why I like porn chicks.  They don’t give a shit and they don’t wanna marry you.  It’s just awesome sex and they’re off.”

By now, it was 2 AM.  We dropped some Ecstasy, and he just wanted to hug me.  And he would not shut up….it was irritating and endearing at the same time.  He spoke of his love for women, and how he needed women as much as he needed alcohol, but his 12 step program at least helped him control the alcohol.  That, and something called gabapentin.  He droned on about how “nice girls” were just glorified whores, so dealing with actual whores was a pleasure by comparison.  “The world is better off with girls like you.  You’re an honest fuck.  And you have a pretty pussy.  Get out of this business while you can.”

I’m not sure if he knew what all he was saying.  He was rich and famous and he had the luxury of not making sense.  Behind the bravado, I saw a man who seemed genuinely terrified of being alone, yet also terrified of leaving his house.  Although it was clear he was a volatile individual, he wasn’t necessarily the monster he has been made out to be.  He complied with the rules of my agency, and we had a nice time.  I do think at the time he considered himself indestructible.  As I was leaving, he asked me if I knew any girls I could send him.  He said all he needed was titties and a hole.  I half jokingly told him I wasn’t doing my agency’s job for him.  That made him laugh.  “You are a very smart girl.  Don’t ever change.”

I watched his descent into madness a couple years later, and it saddened me; that wasn’t the man I had seen in 2007.  I do think the shock of his diagnosis sent him into a free fall.  The first stage of grief is denial and I think he genuinely wanted to believe he was fine, and the people he kept company with would be fine as well.  Unfortunately, I don’t think he had any idea of what potentially exposing the women in adult industries to HIV could mean for their careers.  The current stigma against people in the sex industries means that if they contract HIV, they can’t do their jobs.  And if they get caught by police while doing their jobs, they could be arrested under California’s draconian criminal transmission laws.  A felony charge makes it really hard for a former sex worker or adult performer to find a straight job with insurance benefits.  I think it behooves Mr. Sheen to pay for the testing of the sex workers he saw from 2011 to 2014 and if they do test positive, to set up a trust contributing for their medications.

lambskin condomsWhich brings us to the million dollar question:  did Charlie Sheen maliciously expose dozens of sex workers to HIV?  I honestly don’t think so.  I doubt that he knew that the lambskin condoms he preferred can’t prevent HIV transmission.  I also think the antiviral medications he is taking have lowered the virus to an almost undetectable level.  As far as informing people of his status…I wouldn’t want to be a straight celeb saying they’re HIV positive for all the money in the world.  People will sell anything to a tabloid.  Although his allegedly not informing partners that he is HIV positive is wrong, if nobody so far has come up with HIV, how is this the public’s business?  Selling pictures of his medication to the highest bidder was wrong.  And if the person who did so had previously signed a nondisclosure agreement, it’s just as illegal as deliberately exposing someone to HIV.

As for the infamous open letter and the Today show interview…I don’t think writing it was his idea.  His PR team is shitting bricks right now and knows this is the only real defense he will have if he is named as a defendant in any potential lawsuit in the future.  He also has his children to think about.  He could afford to be honest and testify for Heidi Fleiss in 1996, because he wasn’t in the middle of two separate child custody cases.  Right now, he and his team are in damage control mode, so the spin doctors have to take advantage of the stigma against sex workers.  Otherwise their client would be forced to take responsibility for his own actions, which in Hollywood carries even more stigma than sex work does.

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Thanks for your concern but we’d rather have your respect and the right to work how we choose.  –  Thai sex worker

R.I.P. Carol Doda Carol Doda

Carol Doda, who…gained worldwide fame as a topless dancer in the 1960s and ’70s, died Monday of complications related to kidney failure.  She was 78…Doda was…a waitress who go-go danced on top of a piano at the Condor 51 years ago when the club’s publicist, Davey Rosenberg, handed her a Rudi Gernreich topless swimsuit…It was a sensation — the first topless dancing act of widespread note in America.  So many customers packed the club that Ms. Doda spent $1,500 to boost her bust size from 34B to 44DD through silicone injection, which was then a new technique…At the height of her fame, Ms. Doda’s breasts were dubbed “the New Twin Peaks of San Francisco.”  At one point they were insured for $1.5 million with Lloyd’s of London…Doda’s only arrest in the profession came in 1965, when police raided the Condor on indecency charges. She was found not guilty and continued to dance until 1985, when she quit, saying she was never paid enough…

Subtle Pimping

Another example of profiting from sex workers’ images while giving us nothing:

…If you follow independent and/or luxury lingerie brands, chances are you’ve seen an ad showing a woman decadently sprawled in strappy black lingerie…body bathed in red light from an out of frame bulb.  She may be seated in a high-end hotel room, looking wry but effortlessly detached, while a man in a suit stands nearby, frozen in the act of either removing his coat or undoing his tie…these images are all enticing and racy, but it may not have occurred to you that they intentionally allude to the models being sex workers.  Escorts.  Peepshow girls.  Pro-Dommes.  The industry not only benefits from sex workers’ money, it also uses their imagery to peddle product.  This wouldn’t matter if not for the fact that these same brands never want to admit these ties for the sake of appealing to a civilian…public.  Yet, every season, it seems like they push the envelope by co-opting sex work more and more…

Saving Them From Themselves

Go ahead, Colorado; prosecute all of them.  Put an entire generation on the “sex offender” registry.  Surely that’ll teach ’em to not be sexual:

Authorities in Colorado are investigating widespread sharing of hundreds of nude pictures at a high school…Officials in Cañon City say an unspecified “number of students” — both boys and girls — exchanged nude photos of themselves…The district said it received anonymous tips about the alleged sexting…and that it has turned the investigation over to the Cañon City Police Department.  Police are looking at whether adults were involved, or if any of the photos were coerced…officials are warning parents that students apparently used apps to hide the photos on their phones.  District Attorney Dan May [bloviated] that having nude pictures of minors could be considered child pornography — regardless of whether the picture is of oneself or someone else.  He said teens caught could also be put through a diversion program instead…

Change a Few Words

Another move away from prohibitionism:

Mexico’s Supreme Court…ruled that individuals should have the right to grow, possess, and consume marijuana…the court…concluded that the right to “free development of the personality” includes the freedom to engage in recreational activities, subject to restrictions “necessary to protect health and public order.”  In the court’s view, the damage caused by consumption and noncommercial production of marijuana is not “of such gravity as to warrant an absolute ban.”  The court was responding to a lawsuit brought by activists who asked COFEPRIS, the national agency in charge of regulating drugs, for permission to use marijuana.  When COFEPRIS said no, the applicants challenged the its decision in the courts.  According to The New York Times, the Supreme Court’s ruling applies only to the cannabis consumers who brought the case.  “For legal marijuana to become the law of the land…the justices…will have to rule the same way five times, or eight of the 11 members of the full court will have to vote in favor”…

Above the Law 

This week’s rapist cop cost Los Angeles taxpayers $6.15 million:

…the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed to a payment of $6.15 million to a woman who was raped by an on-duty sheriff’s deputy…The rapist is Jose Rigoberto Sanchez, who was sentenced to nine years in prison last year.  He admitted to the rape as well as another instance of offering a bribe of sexual activity to a different woman.  He is also to register as a sex offender.  The incident took place…on September 22, 2010…Lindsay F…was stopped by Sanchez who [claimed]…she was driving under the influence of alcohol and had a suspended license…Sanchez offered not to arrest her in return for sexual favors, but she refused…so he drove her down a distant dirt road…and…forced her to have oral, vaginal and anal sex with him against the hood of his patrol car.  Then he…asked Lindsay to give him her phone number in case he wanted to “mess around” again…

Red in Tooth and Claw

Just a reminder of how nasty Mother Nature really is:

…some male spiders lop off parts of females’ genitalia to prevent [them] from mating again, a new study says.  The behavior, which guarantees that the male will father all of her offspring, is the first to suggest that males evolve behaviors to maim external parts of the female genitalia…A male spider delivers its sperm via pedipalps, a pair of leg-like appendages near its mouth that latch onto the female’s scapus from above and below…the L. jeskovi pedipalp grasps and twists the scapus as the male dismounts, snipping it off as if with scissors.  Without this crucial handle, other males can’t grasp the female at all, preventing her from having another sexual partner.  It’s a twist on the typical arachnid battle of the sexes.  Many female spiders have sex with multiple males but fertilize their eggs with only one suitor’s sperm.  This competition has prompted some species’ males to take drastic action, such as castrating themselves to plug the females’ reproductive tract.  In this case, however, “males have found a very clever means to prevent females from remating without mutilating themselves…Female spiders can store viable sperm for years, so having only one sexual partner might not hamper their fertility…

Stupor Bowl

Stories like this are much more common now:

The Winnipeg Working Group for Sex Workers’ Rights is speaking out against claims that a major sporting event will increase “sex trafficking” in their city.  In the lead up to the Grey Cup…government officials have set up over $45,000 CAD worth of funds to combat “human trafficking” in Winnipeg.  The funds will be used to set up a phone hotline and an awareness campaign called Buying Sex is Not a Sport…the Winnipeg Working Group has organised to counter these claims. “Despite media hype and police enthusiasm, there was no evidence that large sporting events increase trafficking for prostitution,” they wrote in their press release on October 29, 2015…

If Men Were Angels

The inevitable result of people being given power over others:

Settlement talks are set to begin in the Baltimore City public housing sex for repairs scandal.  So far, 11 women have joined the federal lawsuit…in which housing maintenance employees are accused of demanding sex before repairing deplorable, even life-threatening, conditions inside public housing apartments.  Eleven women say they were forced to live with dangerous mold, no heat and rodent infestations, all because they rejected maintenance men’s advances.  “We uncovered a union investigation, which found many, many more victims,” said attorney Cary Hansel…[who] says some housing officials were aware of the allegations and did nothing…

Welcome to the Future (#543)

“Swedish model” propaganda pretends that women are “decriminalized” under the law; look at the proportion of arrests here:

Police in Northern Ireland have arrested the first person under the new laws that [claim to] target the buyers of sex.  During a [raid on] a brothel…police arrested [one] man for paying for sexual services…and…three females…for keeping a brothel…The new legislation…aims to mirror the so-called Swedish model…

Naked Truth (#544) Loubna Abidar

Whore stigma affects amateur women, too:

The star of a film on sex work in Morocco…was savagely beaten in Casablanca last week, sparking an outcry on social media over social taboos that activists say can be enforced by violence.  Loubna Abidar, who portrays a Marrakech sex worker in Much Loved…said police and hospital workers refused to help her.  Instead they humiliated her, she said…

Uncharted Seas (#552)

It’s only a matter of time now:

…in Brazil…three women have defied deeply conservative trends…and wider traditional mores by celebrating a polyamorous civil union.  The happy trio, who reportedly have shared a bed for years and say they want to raise a child, took an oath of love…in the presence of…notary public Fernanda de Freitas Leitao.  “This union is not just symbolic,” because it defines “how they intend to have children,” attorney Leitao said…The union is not a formal marriage, because under Brazilian law that would be bigamy.  Neither are they automatically allowed to declare joint income or join a healthcare plan for spouses.  But the civil union is still a big step…”If they seek these rights before a court, they could obtain them — and I think they will,” Leitao said…

Eternal Vigilance (#563)

Twenty years of successful decriminalization in New South Wales is threatened by politicians:

A new police unit should be established to stamp out organised crime and exploitation in the NSW sex industry, a parliamentary inquiry…[recommended]…the…committee…[proposed] the biggest overhaul of the NSW sex industry in more than two decades with police receiving “greater powers” to enter premises and monitor illegal activity.  Police background checks will also form part of a revised license approval process…The reforms are…criticised by sex [workers] who [point out that] police were stripped of such powers, and the industry decriminalised, in the mid-’90s because of corruption…

The Mother Learns From Her Children (#586)

After years of moralistic ideology prevailing over evidence, and policy being formed about, but not with, sex workers…the English Collective of Prostitutes’ (ECP) event in the House of Commons…saw sex workers and their allies, including politicians from all of the main parties, presenting compelling evidence in favour of decriminalising sex work.  Also this week, the Sex Worker Open University (SWOU) are holding four days of conferences, workshops, parties and even a sex worker film festival.  Next week MSP Jean Urquhart’s Bill to decriminalise sex work in Scotland will be launched in the Scottish Parliament…Until recently…sex workers and allies were forced to focus their energies on constantly putting out the fires instigated by those driven by radical feminist or fundamentalist Christian ideology.  Just a year ago MPs were voting on an attempt by…Fiona McTaggart to shoehorn the criminalisation of the purchase of sex into a bill about something entirely different…[backed by] the All Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade…They still manage to waste Parliamentary time pushing their ideology…but…the mood has changed so significantly that they are no longer seen as a substantial threat, just a strange club where self-described radical feminists and evangelical Christians come together to dream about creating a moral utopia at whatever cost…

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Sex…is the only area where amateurs are respected more than professionals.  –  Anna Leventhal

The Red Umbrella 

Client gets angry when he recognizes that his whore is a whore:

A businessman…shot a sex worker when she ended their relationship…Jonathan Kovacik, 58, gave Rosalynde Pitcher £6,000 in cash towards [breast enlargement] cosmetic surgery…He also offered her £50,000 to “give up drugs, alcohol and the work” and marry him…However, armed with a Walther CP88 competition air pistol, Kovacik is alleged to have flown into a fit of rage when he suspected the 21-year-old was “stringing him along” for his money…Miss Pitcher was working…[as a cam girl] for the website adultwork.com…Kovacik, who has a property portfolio and owns a car garage, frequently “lavished” Miss Pitcher with a car and other expensive gifts…

A Procrustean Bed

The law is definitely unconstitutionally vague, but that would be a politically unpopular finding right now:

The constitutionality of a Massachusetts law that targets sex trafficking was upheld…by the state’s highest court, which rejected claims by two men that the statute was vague and its scope too broad…the two men…are…the first people convicted under the statute…lawyers for Tyshaun McGhee and Sidney McGee claimed the statute’s language, particularly the phrase “commercial sexual activity,” was unconstitutionally vague.  They said the law also lacked the elements of use of force and coercion that a federal sex trafficking statute requires to establish the crime…

The Proper Study

We’re seeing this sort of thing more and more:

When I first began looking into the research on decriminalizing prostitution, I didn’t know where the evidence would take me. I was familiar with the arguments on both sides of the debate, but I had little idea what the empirical literature said.  But after reviewing dozens of studies, papers, and articles and talking to researchers, the issue is much clearer to me:  Sex work should be fully decriminalized and regulated, similar to other businesses…prohibition doesn’t appear to have any good empirical evidence behind it…

One Size Fits All

Is there any behavior in Ireland that isn’t “trafficking”?

…the Office of the Registrar General has been given more extensive powers to prevent the institution of marriage being abused for immigration purposes…An unexpectedly high occurrence rate of marriages between women from Eastern Europe and Portugal, and men from the Indian subcontinent has been noted…The Registrar will now have…the right to refuse a marriage registration form if they feel that a marriage is not legitimate…The Minister…[is] concerned that sham marriages [are] leading to a proliferation of women being trafficked into Ireland for this purpose…

Above the Law Bryan Lee

An Ohio State Trooper has been sentenced to five years in prison after using his authority to force women into sexual acts, using Facebook to send his victims vague threats, and using Craigslist to advertise for “traffic stop sex.”  The investigation into Trooper Bryan Lee, 31, began in October of 2013 and he was allowed to resign prior to being terminated and prosecuted…

Dysphemisms Galore (Traffic Updates)

Tara Burns turns in a top-notch piece of long-form investigative journalism on the case of her friend, Amber Batts, who was this week sentenced for “sex trafficking” in Alaska.  I’m not even going to attempt to excerpt it; the piece needs to be read in its entirety so you can get the full picture of the sort of people the State destroys in order to support its lurid and melodramatic “sex trafficking” narrative, and the way that neither facts nor evidence has the slightest power to halt or even slow the machinery of injustice once cops and prosecutors have thrown someone into it.

Shift in the Wind (#433)

There’s nothing unusual in this article from The Economist explaining why decriminalization is a good idea; however, I’m very pleased to see that the paper hasn’t made its pro-decrim stance a one-time thing.  I hope it continues to debunk prohibitionist nonsense on a regular basis, even though the writer in this case subscribes to the dumb canard that Rhode Island “accidentally” decriminalized in 2003 (when in fact it purposefully did so in 1980).

Think of the Children! (#445)

Since no outside charity will take money contaminated by “sex rays”, Rentboy decided to create its own charity:

Rentboy.com has created a “Cash4Class” scholarship fund designed to help escorts who advertise on their site to afford school.  To win the $1500 fund, the boys can either submit a 500-1000 word essay or a 1-5 minute video that answers the following question: “Why is going to school part of achieving your dream?”… adult film star Colby Keller will be the official judge of the entries…deadline [is] September 15th, and [the contest is] open to current Rentboy.com advertisers who have proof of enrollment in…classes…

Seizing Power

For those who forgot why Backage started taking payment in the first place:

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal…was leading the charge to force all social networks to police adult content and establish age and identity verification tools…As part of that agreement, Craigslist began charging for ads in its erotic services section at the end of 2008.  “Requiring phone numbers, credit cards and identifying details will provide a roadmap to prostitutes and sex traffickers — so we can track them down and lock them up,” Blumenthal said in a statement…he…[called] the erotic services section an “online brothel” and “hooker haven,” and asserting there was a link between adult entertainment and “human trafficking, drug activity and child exploitation”…

An Example To the West (#554)

Journalists like to pretend the bad consequences of US “anti-trafficking” policy are unintentional; they most certainly are not.  American “anti-trafficking” policy has not “failed” in Southeast Asia; it is doing exactly what it is intended to do:

…the U.S.-led anti-trafficking agenda…has failed or even hurt migrants and refugees.  It has fed a chaotic global obsession with policing and prosecutions, but resulted in few concrete policies to address the underlying causes of trafficking or to assist its victims.  This has been acutely felt in Thailand, a politically volatile country seesawing between military coups and failed democratic governments.  In recent months the ruling junta has led an aggressive anti-trafficking campaign to satisfy its Western critics.  But instead of reducing trafficking and forced labor, these efforts appear to have marginalized human rights and trampled on the most vulnerable…

Not Good Enough (#555) flibanserin

The dangerous psychotropic drug flibanserin, which poorly treats a normal variation in female sex drive which is being defined as a “disorder” by an industry hungry to cash in by selling people drugs they don’t need, has now been approved:

…critics said the campaign behind Addyi had made a mockery of the system that regulates pharmaceuticals and had co-opted the women’s movement to pressure the F.D.A. into approving a drug that was at best minimally effective and could cause side effects like low blood pressure, fainting, nausea, dizziness and sleepiness…Addyi’s label has a boxed warning — the strongest kind — saying the drug should not be used by those who drink alcohol, since that can increase the risk of severely low blood pressure and fainting…Leonore Tiefer, a sex therapist…and critic of the drug, predicted the restrictions on use would keep Addyi from becoming popular.  “It’s going to be more trouble than it’s worth,” she said…Addyi is thought to work by changing the balance of certain brain neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin…women who took the drug had an average of 4.4 “satisfying sexual experiences” a month, compared with 3.7 for women getting a placebo and 2.7 before the study began.  The drug did not increase desire more than a placebo when measured by a daily diary…

Acting and Activism (#559) 

I’m really pleased to see just how hard Hollywood’s prohibitionism is backfiring on it lately:

Dunham & Co. structured their opposition to the draft policy on the flawed assumption that decriminalization a) encourages non-consensual sex work…and b) promotes men’s dominance over women, in a grand philosophical sense.  This is akin to saying that because women and children are often exploited in the garment industry, we should outlaw garment manufacturing and make sure conditions are really unsafe for anyone who wants to make clothes…

Here’s another example:

Lena Dunham, a woman who by most accounts has never had to worry a day in her life about paying rent and putting food on the table, put her name on a petition aimed at stopping women around the world from doing what she does on television in front of millions of people on a regular basis: acting like she’s enjoying sex for money…You can imagine how confusing Dunham’s position is to those of us who actually do sex work for a living.  She doesn’t see that she’s contributing to our distress by openly calling for the end of our freedom to do sexual work…

Amnesty At Last (#564)

Though the Washington Post has published many pieces attacking “sex trafficking” hysteria, its editorial board is apparently still dominated by prohibitionist fossils who prefer lies and pearl-clutching to facts and self-ownership:

…Supporters of the resolution assume that sex work can be a profession like any other and that sex transactions can be consensual.  This is…not true for the vast majority, who resort to selling their bodies because they feel they have no other option.  Decriminalizing prostitution…would allow pimps to operate with impunity, using the money and status that comes with their newfound legitimacy to scale up trafficking operations that hurt the most vulnerable…The evidence seems to bear that out in Germany and the Netherlands, where [sex work is not decriminalized]…

“Decriminalizing the sale of liquor…would allow bootleggers to operate with impunity, using the money and status that comes with their newfound legitimacy to scale up trafficking operations that hurt the most vulnerable…The evidence seems to bear that out in the United States, where liquor was legalized in 1932″…

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Aya de Leon teaches creative writing in the African American Studies Department at UC Berkeley and blogs here on WordPress; her sex worker Robin Hood novel, Uptown Thief, will be published in the spring.  This essay grew from a conversation she and I had on Twitter; I was so impressed with her ideas, I asked her to expand them into an essay.

Hollywood has a lot in common with the sex industries; for one thing, it thrives on selling sexualized access to young women.  Some would argue that Hollywood only sells images and fantasies of sex, while the sex industries offer more; however, any in-depth exploration of the film and TV industries reveals widespread transactional sex and sexually predatory behavior towards women (we need only look at Lena Dunham’s autobiography or recent revelations about Bill Cosby to see examples).  In addition, women of color are marginalized in both industries, and most female participants are seen as less valuable as they age.  While the sex industries have niche markets for women over 35, and particular actresses manage to remain hot commodities in Hollywood beyond their youth, both industries cater to male appetites for young and naïve ingenue-type women.

Children for SaleRashida Jones (39) and Jada Pinkett Smith (43) are two African American actresses who have recently found themselves standing at the crossroads of Hollywood and the sex industries.  Jones produced the documentary Hot Girls Wanted, and Pinkett produced the CNN special report, Children for Sale: The Fight to End Human Trafficking.  There are vast differences between the two, but what they have in common is the way they reflect both women’s attempts to reinvent themselves from aging black actresses into producers.  Former Hollywood ingenues themselves, both women have seized an opportunity to reassert their relevance via spotlighting the sexuality of younger women, in the time-honored role of moralistic crusader.  Both women concentrate on the sexual exploitation of young women, and in both cases they miss the mark (Pinkett by an especially wide margin).  Rashida Jones faced heavy backlash for her slut-shaming comments when she began to publicly voice her concerns about “pornification” and sexualized behavior of younger women in mainstream media.  But at least Hot Girls Wanted was a collaboration with a pair of women filmmakers who put together a compelling and coherent (albeit problematic and whorephobic) narrative.  In addition, it maintained the focus on the young women, as opposed to including Jones in the film; in contrast, Children for Sale features Pinkett as commentator, and its central story is about her emotional journey around the issue.

The only compelling quote in Sale was Pinkett’s “People who are having sex with children are not johns and tricks.  They are child rapists and pedophiles, so we should call them what they are.”  This crucially differentiates between sex work and sex trafficking, but unfortunately, she doesn’t demand that level of precision around other language in her film.  To begin with, her subtitle “The Fight to End Human Trafficking” is misleading because the vast majority of human trafficking is non-sexual labor; ending sexual trafficking would only end a small portion of human trafficking.  But then, the entire film was misleading and imprecise.  Pinkett claims that girls as young as 11 are being trafficked in the United States, but she presents no evidence to support this claim, nor shows any girls that age, nor reveals any situations where girls were being held in slavery-like conditions.  We see interviews with young (adult) women who go from stripping to full service sex work, and Pinkett slurs stripping as a “gateway drug”, but that doesn’t constitute a story of child sex trafficking.  The central interview subject in the film tells of starting a relation with a seductive older man when she was 14; he later manipulated her to have sex with other men in the back of a barbershop for money, but she continued to live at home and go to school.  While she was clearly exploited and the sexual activity was statutory rape by any definition, this isn’t a story of slavery.

Jada PinkettAnother problem:  from the beginning, the police are presented as heroes and saviors.  There’s a raid, and a young “victim” is found, yet she “refuses help” to return to the “only life she’s ever known.”  A psychologist then attributes this refusal of help to a lack of self-esteem.  But if she’s a victim, why is she being handcuffed and marched into the back of a police cruiser?  And what rescue services do police have to offer young people?  Juvenile hall?  Foster care?  Even the trafficking survivor-led program they profiled doesn’t have long-term housing options.  By aligning herself first and foremost with the police, Pinkett is inevitably unable to effectively investigate anything; as a visiting celebrity, she doesn’t have any real connection with anyone in the situation.  The entire tone of the film is set by various images of blurred face individuals with voice-overs by police and anti-trafficking advocates, and police cruisers driving down streets.

In fact, the film totally fails to provide visual documentation of the “facts” of Pinkett’s narrative.  One segment included a tour of an area where the anti-trafficking advocate says there is supposed to be a great deal of street solicitation, but for some reason it’s quiet that night, and they don’t send cameras on any other night to capture it; we must take their word for it.  There may indeed be 11-year-olds being trafficked in the very places Pinkett was looking, but she never found them.  In other cases, the production manufactures what it fails to capture.  They interview a grandmother who calls a hotline for help with her 14-year-old granddaughter, and the police work tirelessly to find her; she is discovered with another “victim”, a fifteen-year-old, who is allegedly on the way to her first trafficked sexual encounter.  Thus, they “rescue” both girls from “the life.”  Yet all of these assertions remain unsubstantiated by evidence of any kind; only in the hysteria surrounding child sex trafficking could such shoddy reporting get such a large platform.  People have an appetite for sexual drama and tragedy, especially with black women; it need not be well-documented or even have a coherent narrative, only salacious innuendos.

Hot Girls WantedUnlike the CNN documentary, Hot Girls Wanted had a coherent story, following one young woman and her cohort through their introduction and overall disillusionment with amateur porn and the sex industries; the New York Times‘ Mike Hale described it as characterized by “an uncertain tone that vacillates between weary outrage and motherly concern.”  The film exposes some real problems with working conditions with “amateur porn”, which though it is actually very organized and professionalized, sells the scenario of the initiation of a given young woman into porn.  Thus, after the first film, their prospects quickly decline.  However, these labor practices where the “it girl” fades away and the spotlight moves on are not exclusive to amateur porn or even sex work; they are certainly at work in Hollywood, as well.

Furthermore, Hot Girls Wanted ignores the fact that today’s young women face relatively bleak prospects for employment and career development, even if they do go to college, and the internship model for entry level professional positions effectively excludes poor and working class girls.  In this time of limited prospects, sex industry entrepreneurs can exploit young women’s aspirations for something other than dreary work for low pay, no security and no benefits.  Yet Jones’ solution to the situation is to deny young women the choice.  Harvard-educated Jones is the daughter of wealthy celebrities; she has always had access to fame and money without taking any risks of her own, yet she criticizes girls for taking the risks associated with sex work in the hope of gaining fame.  She suggests that a central problem with amateur porn is that the women involved are too young to make their own decisions, but I would argue that the only way one learns to make decisions is by having the power to make them.  Young women entering the sex industries generally face two kinds of older adults:  On the one hand, they face shaming adults with little information about the industries who judge their desires and dismiss what they hope to gain; on the other hand, they face exploiters who withhold information, exaggerate and romanticize the payoffs and underplay the risks.  In either case, the young women generally cannot get the support they need to make informed decisions, which would include access to older adults with accurate information and probabilities about women’s trajectories in the industry, as well as non-judgmental listening and feedback.

Rashida JonesI see both Children for Sale and Hot Girls Wanted as part of a classic cycle for women in general and black women in particular.  Many young black women enjoy the attention that sexual currency brings, yet when they get older, many pick up the rallying cry that “we’ve got to save these young girls from themselves.”  I don’t think it’s coincidence that both of these older African American actresses are making films and speaking out on these topics; after all, the media aren’t interested in what black women have to say about global warming or the IMF, and they don’t put a microphone in black female hands to talk about Middle East foreign policy or immigration reform.  Jones and Pinkett are actually doing the very thing they claim to despise, trading on the public’s fascination with young women’s sexuality.  It’s a quandary all women must face:  when a society is far more interested in a woman’s sexuality than in anything else about her, how can she navigate through her life?  Yet neither documentary includes veteran sex workers, the women who did figure out how to navigate through the sex industries, especially those who entered the industries on someone else’s terms and then figured out terms of their own.  In Children for Sale, they are non-existent; in Hot Girls Wanted, their stories are glossed over.  The girls who stay in the industry are reduced to a footnote, while the film’s main subject quits and moves in with her boyfriend (in an implicit “happily ever after” ending).  Due to the lack of input from veteran sex workers both films lacked nuance, breadth, depth and insider information, and reached deeply flawed conclusions.

As an over-35 black woman, myself, I understand the need to stay relevant and maintain career momentum; like Jones and Pinkett, I’m a non-sex worker who chooses to write about sex work.  However, any vision of justice for people in the sex industries must be informed by a spectrum of voices that centers those currently working in those industries.  Criminalization and social stigma shrouds much of sex work in secrecy and silence, so a casual observer cannot get a clear picture of it (much less a celebrity with a camera crew).  These are areas of society that desperately need clear illumination, not the distorted and exploitative stories in today’s media; unfortunately, Jones and Pinkett chose to produce work suffused with moralistic narratives, which can only fail to change conditions for the young women they had hoped to help.

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The inevitable and terrifying end result of giving legal rights to fetuses [is] a woman…legally reduced to being nothing more than a vessel incubating a future ward of the state.  –  Maya Dusenbery

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

An Indianapolis police chaplain was arrested on multiple prostitution charges after he told a prostitute [who] he was…police [arrested a sex worker]…and…she told [them] that the day before “Bob from Noblesville showed me his shiny IMPD officer badge and told me he was a chaplain”…police determined “Bob from Noblesville” was actually…Chaplain Bishop John Robert Fiers…

The Mote and the Beam

The stupid, it burns!

The [Georgia] trial lawyer who wants to [profit from] sex trafficking through civil litigation said his phone hasn’t stopped ringing since he announced his plan late last year…David Boone, president and founder of Civil Lawyers Against World Sex Slavery, known as CLAWS…[said] “We’re really tried to take a business approach to this”…Boone [pretends he can sue] those who pay for sex as well as those who allow the business to exist…He said his research shows the “sex slave” industry is a $9.5 billion business in the United States, exploiting primarily girls starting at the age of 13 who are lured in or kidnapped.  Most die within seven years from drug overdoses, AIDS or murder.  Atlanta has become a hub for the trade largely as a side-effect of having one of the world’s busiest airports…


Yet another rescue industry “hero” is revealed as an opportunistic fraud:

…Vednita Carter…started Breaking Free…nearly 20 years ago, vowing to help women and girls free themselves from prostitution…[by convincing them that] they were victims of abuse and sexual exploitation.  In recent years [“sex trafficking” hysteria] won [the organization] more funding and expanded its [hunger for money]…Carter…was named a CNN News Hero and the Bush Foundation gave Breaking Free an award…but…a group of former employees…wrote a letter in April to government agencies that have funded or worked with Breaking Free, detailing concerns about how victims were being treated and served, its adherence to laws and regulations, alleged “misuse of funds, property, and services and employment of family members,” and “staff misconduct and lack of training”…

Harm Magnification (The Beat Goes On)

Prostitutes have…accused police of trying to “ghettoise” them…after [it was] revealed that Gwent Police were planning a “managed” sex zone…One working girl feared that forcing them into designated zones could lead to more being raped and murdered.  “They tend to put these areas in out-of-the-way places in the back of commercial and industrial sites where there are rough roads and the lighting is poor, and access in and out is abysmal,” Michelle said…anti-prohibition DARE editorial

Change a Few Words

Drug Abuse Resistance Education, better known as DARE, has spent decades telling schoolchildren…to “Just Say No” to marijuana.  For a few hours [on July 27th], however, they appeared to just say yes to legalization.  [Journalist] Christopher Ingraham…found a strange re-post on the DARE website…which originally ran in the Columbus Dispatch…[and contained] a full-throated endorsement of marijuana legalization by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) speaker Carlis McDerment…Ingraham contacted DARE for clarification and [they immediately removed the article]…

Above the Law 

Ever notice that cops “state” or “explain” their versions of events, but the rest of us merely “claim”?

A Garda forced a prostitute to perform a sexual act on him in order to have her laptop computer returned to her after it had been seized in a raid…Almost half (48.7%) [of sex workers surveyed] said they had garda clients and 2.7% said they had [been forced to] provide…”free or discounted” sexual services to officers…The purpose of the survey, by…Uglymugs.ie, was to establish how sex workers viewed policing in Ireland given plans to introduce new laws which will effectively criminalise the entire sex trade…

Sex Work is Work

Guess what, Mr. Huckabee? If “prostitutes, pimps [and] drug dealers” weren’t criminalized, we’d easily be able to contribute to your system:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said…that if elected President he would increase the money going into Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement funds by…”[transforming] the process by which we fund [them]…the money paid at consumption is paid by everybody — including illegals, prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, all the people who are freeloading off the system”…The line was met with thunderous applause…

Scrambled Eggs (#311)

I’m sure everyone who dies while waiting for a kidney is happy to go to his grave to prevent people from making their own decisions about what to do with their bodies:

Last year in the United States, more than 4,000 people died while…waiting…for a new kidney.  An additional 3,600…left the list when they became too sick for a transplant…In every country that does transplants — except one — patients have two legal ways to get a new kidney.  One is to have a friend or relative…donate a kidney.  The other is to get on the waiting list for a deceased donor.  In America, the average time on that list varies from 3 years to 10…Patients can’t even get on the list until they are about to start dialysis, and the average life span of someone who starts dialysis is only 5 to 10 years…And the longer a patient spends on dialysis before getting a transplant, the greater the chances of complications and death with a new kidney…[but] in Iran…people wait to donate a kidney.  That’s because donors are paid…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes

Hey Cosmo, are you ready to speak out for decrim yet?

Several major retailers have agreed to censor…Cosmopolitan behind blinders, after facing pressure from a campaign led by the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, the man who founded the company that owns the publication.  Victoria Hearst…began a campaign…called Cosmo Harms Minors, which…eventually [wants] shops to be banned from selling the magazine to anyone under the age of 18…

Sex RaysOur Lady of the Pillar

Spain’s Guardia Civil police force will no longer accept donations from a brothel in Navarra, even if the money is put towards a good cause…The unusual funding arrangement came to light…when the citizen group Observatory Against Corruption filed a complaint …The money was used to throw a celebration dedicated to Our Lady of the Pillar, the patron saint of the Guardia Civil…

Choke Point 

Could be worth looking into for non-porn sex workers as well:

Major U.S. banks have closed or denied banking accounts to individuals working in the adult industry…the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC) is now offering…financial services offered by First Entertainment Credit Union…which…was first established as the credit union for Warner Bros. Studios in 1967 but now extends membership to many entertainment industry organizations, including the Free Speech Coalition…Services offered to APAC members will include checking and savings accounts, financial planning, home and auto loans, as well as business account services…For more information on becoming a member…visit the APAC website or email apac.information@gmail.com.

Property of the State 

Another abomination from Alabama:

A woman imprisoned in an Alabama jail wants an abortion…but her request…was denied…and…the state is attempting to strip her of her parental rights over a “child” that is not actually a born child yet and arguing that if she doesn’t have parental rights, she has no right to terminate the pregnancy…the state is arguing that since this woman has “endangered” her fetus by using drugs, it should now effectively become a ward of the state, and therefore the state can do anything it wants—including forcing her to carry it to term against her will…

Acting and Activism (#559)

My friend Savannah Sly on the Hollywood response to Amnesty:

These famous voices are…out of touch with the reality of sex work…[they] are connected to anti-trafficking organizations, which…fail to illustrate to these celebrities…that criminalization actually makes [things]…worse.  For some reason, celebrities are held up as just being wiser than the rest of us because they’re famous…Who are [Americans] going to trust, this seemingly familiar person they’ve seen on TV a lot or a bunch of social pariahs?…

And while the Guardian has long provided a platform to vehement prohibitionists, it did allow this one from Molly Smith to slip through:

…by prioritising the supposed “eradication” of the sex industry, [the Swedish model empowers] police…to harass, evict and deport migrant sex workers…Amnesty found that sex workers in Norway were routinely evicted by the police…“a number of migrant sex workers were violently attacked and raped…They reported the incident to the police…they returned to their apartment to find the police have removed all their money and electronic equipment.  Four days [later] they were forcibly evicted.”  It’s hard to believe that those Hollywood signatories read this and thought:  “Brilliant, the police evicting migrant women when they report rape sounds like the feminist solution to prostitution; we should support the legal model where this occurs.”  But that is what appears to have happened – unless they signed up to attack Amnesty over a document they had not read…

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There’s never been a rational argument against the legalization of prostitution, and as far as I know there never will be.  –  J.R. Ireland

Where Are the Victims?

Irish judges just love stealing sex workers’ money and giving it to our worst enemies:

Two Hungarian women working as prostitutes in Ireland described their brothel keeper as a “second mother” and a friend…Diana Karacsony (aged 32) was ordered to pay €10,000…to Ruhama…Detective Garda David Kenny told…[the court] that there was no evidence that any of the 25 Hungarian…prostitutes were trafficked, coerced or “anything other than willing”…

If It Were Legal

The girls who did this better hope no other sex workers ever learn their names:

…Lydia…was…outed by a tabloid as a part-time sex worker, a situation which cost her a public-sector career and lost her friends…[she] says the [Lord] Sewel [scandal] “feels like a betrayal”.  Sex workers already have a lot to contend with…and client trust is something they need to rely on…“It’s like a doctor-patient relationship.  That’s why people pay good money to see us.  Outing a client goes against…[our] ethical code”…Sinead [says] “Client-sex-worker confidentiality is something almost sacred”…

Divided We Fall

Another good essay urging queer folk to support sex worker rights, this one from Hawk Kinkaid:

…While it’s great that gay men and lesbians are building wedding registries…and openly holding hands…many of our most high profile spokespeople risk encouraging a spineless edit of history…We must challenge our collective desire to strip a story that subverts a normative way of seeing the world.  We as LGBT individuals and allies must tap our recent tragedies and triumphs to prevent our own story from disappearing into the exact same narrative most embraced by the bigots who used that norm against us…Conversations about [Stonewall] selectively ignore significant components of the rioters’ identities, often…excluding the fact that many of these individuals were hustlers and street workers…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

It’s funny, but the marketing for this movie makes it look more like a lurid drama than like the fantasy it is.  Because surely, everyone knows that there’s no such thing as an “addiction to escorts”, right? RIGHT???Jeromie Palaoro

Above the Law 

As often as we hear of incidents like this, I’ll bet they’re only a fraction of the ones that actually occur:

A Portland [cop named Jeromie Palaoro] is on paid [vacation] and under criminal investigation after a woman accused him of demanding sex acts and a massage…The…victim, a…relationship and sex coach, says she was trying to report details of an alleged assault at the time…Roni Reid-James…was staying at a hotel…while visiting her boyfriend.  She…called police on him [after he]…attacked her at his mother’s home on July 4…Palaoro, one of the officers who responded, called and texted her late that night…then showed up at her hotel room around 3:30 a.m…pulled out his gun and set it on a table…then took off all his clothes and ordered her to massage him…staying in the hotel room for seven hours…he [also]…groped her and asked for sexual favors…

because very often, this is what happens at trial:Oscar Araiza

A…Dallas [cop]…facing 20 years in prison after he…[raped] a woman who had passed out on his couch was offered a plea deal…that spared him any jail time or having to register as a sex offender…if Oscar Araiza does not get arrested for another five years…the conviction will be wiped off his record…Araiza…maintains the sex was consensual, even though the woman ran out of his home at 3:30 a.m. and called police, accusing him of rape.  Araiza, who had scratches on his arms and neck, claimed the woman assaulted him after agreeing to have sex with him…

Law of the Instrument (#20)

Remember the guy who was charged with “sex trafficking” because he dragged a girl off of her bicycle in a rape attempt?

Ireland is using anti-trafficking laws to prosecute crimes unrelated to trafficking…The Trafficking in Persons Report…said there were no convictions for sex or labour trafficking in Ireland last year and urged the Government to do more to identify victims.  It found that…the State…“continued to prosecute a high number of non-trafficking crimes as trafficking cases, including child molestation cases”…

But the US never prosecutes as “trafficking” things that don’t involve coercion, no sirree!

Worse Than I Thought

The Polaris Project says the more laws, and the more broad and carceral those laws are, the better:

…The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) reported that 381 individuals were arrested…on human trafficking charges from Jan. 1, 2007, to Aug. 31, 2014, and 484 were arrested for pushing [?] prostitution…47 of these individuals have been convicted of human trafficking and 124 have been convicted for compelling prostitution…98 individuals were incarcerated in Texas prisons for convictions of either…The FBI has long identified Interstate 10 as a significant corridor when it comes to trafficking…

Obfuscation Via Dysphemisms

Yes, they actually sent a SWAT team after whores:

Six people were arrested and at least a dozen others were detained…when Tulsa police and the FBI conducted a room-to-room raid at a Tulsa motel believed to be the home of a large-scale drug and prostitution operation…[a cop mouthpiece] said…“Given the high-risk nature of the warrant, the Tulsa Police Special Operations Team (SOT) was used to clear each of the rooms”…


This one’s hilarious even by CNN’s low standards:

…Airports are…hubs for human trafficking…But…by being aware of the telltale signs that someone is being trafficked, you may be able to keep them from a life of modern slavery…do not confront suspected traffickers or attempt to rescue suspected victims — instead…alert the airport authorities….victims may be less well dressed than their companions…a barcode tattoo, or a tattoo with “Daddy” or even a man’s name could be a red flag that the person is a victim…A child being trafficked for sexual exploitation may be dressed in a sexualized manner, or seem to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol…

Fetishists simultaneously believe that “pimps” have magical mind-control powers, and that they’re so stupid they create these obvious “telltale signs”.

Sex RaysExxxotica

Readers inclined to claustrophobia should probably refrain from thinking too much about the smallness and narrowness of these people’s minds:

The EXXXOTICA Expo is…”the largest adult event in the USA dedicated to love and sex”…but the venue is the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center — run by the City of Dallas — and that has some unhappy…The Dallas Women’s Foundation says it takes issue with the sponsors of the Expo, which include online escort services.  They say those businesses contribute to the sex trafficking and exploitation of young women and children.  “There is a huge correlation between pornography, sex trade, violence against women, and trafficking,” [Roslyn] Thompson said…Dallas police estimate more than 400 women a night may be part of sex trafficking in the city…”We are deeply troubled by the fact that the EXXXOTICA Expo is being hosted here in Dallas, not to mention in a facility that is named to honor one of the Dallas Women’s Foundation founders”…

Here’s hoping the building is so contaminated by sex rays it has to be torn down or turned into a huge brothel.

A Year Later

It’s rare to see an essay like this in the US, but not in Canada:

…it’s impossible for me to take any argument against legal prostitution seriously.  They are all broadly the same – a ridiculous amalgamation of moralizing bluster, cherry-picked and often inaccurate statistics, and a mendacious willingness to fall back on accusations of sex-trafficking or rape or exploitation when their arguments have been soundly defeated…But…no matter how continuously it is shown that outlawing prostitution does more harm than good, the same arguments wiggle their way back into view and re-assert themselves as if they had never been countered.  So today, in Canada, we have the same gibberingly absurd arguments being uttered yet again in order to support the continued suppression of legal prostitution…in direct contravention of a Canadian Supreme Court decision…They merely…declare that they are in no way in breach of the Supreme Court decision because they’re letting prostitutes work – they’re just arresting all their potential clients.  It’s…almost impressive in its underhanded lack of conscience…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#542) 

Actually, he’s right; this does give an inaccurate image of cops.  They are vastly more likely to rape sex workers than to peacefully do business with us:

Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor announced…that he is firing five officers accused of being involved in a prostitution ring…The…chief…said that he’s saddened that the incident gives an image of the department that is not accurate…

Acting and Activism (#559)

Can denying people the choice to decide what they do with their own bodies…ever be an advancement of their human rights?  That’s what a sensationalist campaign led by radical feminists is claiming.  They are protesting against Amnesty’s leaked proposal that consenting sex work should be decriminalised, and…the…campaign has garnered the support of a number of Hollywood A-listers, including…Anne Hathaway…Perhaps…[her] experience of playing Fantine…in Les Miserables made her feel like she had a glimpse of the reality of life as a sex worker.  As far as representations of sex work go, that film’s all-singing, all-dancing portrayal of early 19th century Paris is perhaps more accurate than the ludicrous distortion its star now finds herself attached to…

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“Grandpa worked really hard so that we can find out the most sensitive part of the penis” generally isn’t the sort of story family foundations want to tell.  –  Miro GudelskyLa Bodega Negra - Edited

Subtle Pimping

Another example of amateurs profiting from sex workers’ images while giving us nothing:

As Soho’s sex trade is destroyed, a twee pastiche is being created in its place. A sex-work themed theme-park…Across Soho, the bordello theme is a default.  You don’t have to stumble far to find décor suggestive of dimly lit backrooms and women of the night; a fantasy, filmic version of the sex trade.  Marketers aren’t afraid to use the trope for all its worth…As the reality of sex work in Soho disappears, its essence has become a marketing tool.  Brothel chic.  A Disneyland version of what was for many, a life, work – a world that wasn’t particularly exotic or glamorous but simply the thing they did for a certain number of hours a week to pay the bills…


Only in the US could the idea that men like to look at pretty girls while they relax be represented as strange or even bad:

In a city that’s being gentrified by the engineers and startup employees, the Gold Club is perhaps the most outré illustration of San Francisco’s recent excesses, a place where curious crowds come for the cheap fare and stay for the alcohol and extracurriculars.  It is also an example of how tone deaf many in the male-dominated tech industry can be.  In recent years, critics have called out technology companies for their workforces’ gender imbalances, which some argue foster a boys’ club culture and sexual discrimination…

The Proper Study

Why there are few good studies on sex work:

…Even researchers…with adequate funding and support…may find that they’re not always taken very seriously because of the stigma still attached to sexuality…and…unlike colleagues in other fields, sex researchers are often forced to contend with assumptions that their professional interests reflect their personal habits.  Few assume that ornithologists harbor a secret wish to be birds, or that medical researchers are drawn to their field due to a history of illness, but sex therapists and researchers are frequently presumed to be incredibly adventurous in the bedroom…

Saving Them From Themselves

Some stories are so egregiously stupid I just can’t resist editorializing:

A 14-year-old boy in Nova Scotia has been sentenced to…probation…[re-education] and restricted internet access for possession of child pornography…[actually nude pictures of his same-age girlfriend]…the boy…will also have to provide a DNA sample and [the state will steal] his smartphone…[Judge] Atwood laid out his decision to [pretend that] the crime [was] a violent one.  He said…that even if…sexting [hurts no one, prudes imagine]…that some day, there will be a [mysterious and indefinable] psychological impact…

First They Came for the Hookers…

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?

…Miami police officer Sabine Raymonvil…does not deny that she used to work in the porn industry [but]…her work in porn films was completed prior to her becoming a police officer…the requirements to work for the Miami Police Department don’t specifically state anything against porn…[but] she may be terminated because of “conduct unbecoming” an officer…

I don’t really want to think too hard about why someone would leave honest sex work to become a pig, but there you are.Sex Slaves MSNBC

Marching Up Their Own Arses (#349)

How many of these must we endure?

Several organizations that advocate on behalf of both sex workers and survivors of trafficking have written a letter to MSNBC, urging them to cancel Sex Slaves in America, saying it…misleads the viewing public about the realities of both sex work and trafficking…The letter, which you can read in full here, is signed by the Sex Workers Project, the New York Anti-Trafficking Network, Freedom Network, Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive, and Florrie Burke, a longtime human rights advocate…they’re particularly concerned with the way it seems to conflate sex work and human trafficking, and that it could compromise the anonymity of the women it films…In 2013, amid protests and another sternly-worded letter from the same organizations, MSNBC cancelled a program called Slave Hunter, in which a guy named Aaron Cohen claimed to rescue victims of trafficking…

Acting and Activism (#419)

Why is CNN so in love with the “sex trafficking” narrative and the empty-headed actresses who promote it?

Jada Pinkett Smith is helping to expose the ugly world of sex trafficking…The actress has teamed up with CNN for an hour-long special report…”Children for Sale: The Fight to End Human Trafficking” delves into the gritty underbelly of child sex slavery in America…Smith…traveled to Atlanta — a trafficking hot spot — to sit down with courageous survivors and come face to face with a trafficker…

Policing for Profit (#520) 

Presumption of innocence?  What’s that?

A D.C. Council member wants to take a page from Spokane, Washington, and several other cities and start impounding the cars of people suspected of soliciting prostitution.  Councilman Jack Evans…is calling this rights-infringing nonsense the “Honey, I lost the car” program.  As with the Spokane law, it wouldn’t matter whether the person is eventually convicted of any crime or not; if you look to some cops like you’re cruising for sex, that’s all the probable cause they need to snatch your vehicle…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#555) 

If you thought good old-fashioned Moral Majoritarians were just going to concede Puritanism to fourth-wave feminists, think again…the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE)—a group founded in 1962 as Morality in Media (the name was changed this year)—is holding an anti-pornography summit…[which] features a who’s who of anti-sex-work, anti-science, and anti-free-speech zealots, along with the father of famous kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart

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