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Posts Tagged ‘activism’

I am an adult, and how I choose to spend my time and money is MY FUCKING BUSINESS.  –  Rick Pettit

Broken Record 

Sex workers on Twitter agreed we couldn’t think of a venue less conducive to selling sex than a state fair:

The New Mexico State Fair draws a huge crowd each year, but Street Safe New Mexico knows it’s not all about fun and games.  “You notice during the state fair, there’s new girls out here, right?” Executive Director Christine Barber said.  “They’re being brought in by the gangs and being forced to work…(The victims are) 15, 16 years old to anything older…I met a lady yesterday who was 47.”  The group says the victims’ pimps like to use the state fair as a hunting ground for willing johns…”Forty-two percent of them are beaten every single day by their pimps or their sex traffickers”…

Coincidentally, 42% of all “sex trafficking” statistics are made up on the spot, and 100% of them are bullshit.

Original Sin

I could also have filed this one under “Paint By Numbers”, since they “fight trafficking” by just standing around silently:

Since last December, activists have gathered monthly in front of St. André Bessette Parish in Northwest Portland in silent witness to the horror of human trafficking…Called modern slavery, it’s just one of the present attacks on the dignity of human life…Among them are abortion, euthanasia, cloning, the destruction of human embryos, genocide, torture, and the direct and intentional targeting of noncombatants in war or terrorist attacks…

I’m not sure it’s proper to use the term ACTIVist for someone who literally stands around, doing and saying nothing.crystal-edmonds

Monsters 

The body count continues to rise:

Just five days ago I wrote about a Black trans woman named T.T. who was viciously murdered in Chicago…Now, a…Black trans woman [named]  Crystal Edmonds has been shot in the back of the head and murdered in Baltimore.  She’s the 21st trans person that we know of who has been murdered in the United States this year…Police say…they have no suspects and very few leads…[but] reports are saying that people in the neighborhood are complaining about sex workers in their area, which makes me even more worried that this case will not be given the attention it deserves…

Paint By Numbers

“Dumb ‘awareness-raising’ stunts” is going to be the funniest appendix in my history of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Fifty people in teams of five…[followed] clues through various historic landmarks [in Lexington, Kentucky]…to raise money to help women..caught up in the human trafficking industry.  Participants raised money to support “Un-Shackled By Love Ministries”…the first group of women to join the program will stay for four months where they will receive counseling.  Eventually they will move on to a facility in Lexington the ministry [has not actually opened yet]…

Traffic Circle

Debunking of prohibitionist lies is spreading:

Denise Charlton of the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign…claimed the [new Swedish model] legislation [in Ireland] would protect sex workers by decriminalising them.  Does the bill really do that?  A group called Ugly Mugs, which facilitates information-sharing between sex workers, argues that the claim is false, and brought it to our attention on Twitter.  Claim: The new Sexual Offences Bill would decriminalise sex workers  Verdict: Mostly FALSE

  • The new bill would decriminalise public solicitation by sex workers, but…
  • It would retain the criminalisation of loitering by sex workers, and increase the penalties for it
  • It would retain the effective criminalisation of sex workers, under a provision on brothels, and increase the penalties for it.

Served Cold 

For a change, it only took the mainstream media two years to catch up with me:

…Operation Underground Railroad…was founded by self-proclaimed “Man of God,” former CIA and Homeland Security official Tim Bollard…The organization receives allocated funding…and makes contact with local law enforcement.  An elaborate sting follows…All this is filmed so the [backer]…can watch, in real time and from the comfort of his or her office or home…From the perspective of a victim’s right to privacy, such actions are reprehensible…from a criminal justice perspective, there are even more pressing concerns…Why are police in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Colombia not arresting child sex traffickers if they are so easy to find?…Why is OUR not…raiding the brothels of Amsterdam or London?…Bollard and his rag-tag team would be arrested on the spot.  And any court in any [developed nation] would not hesitate to throw out a case that rests on the evidence of an OUR-type raid because of the failure to meet even the most basic standards of supervision and accountability.  It’s no surprise that the organization and its fellow travellers limit their activities to countries burdened by dysfunctional criminal justice systems that…in response to pressure from the U.S. government…agree to cooperate…Bollard’s operations say much about the man: they are arrogant, unethical and illegal.

The Last Shall Be First (#624)

Expect a lot more cases like this before potty hysteria is over:

Security attempted to escort a lesbian woman…out of toilets at a music venue after because they thought she was a man.  Mary Looper was at a Carrie Underwood concert with her aunt when security attempted to escort her out of the women’s restroom.  A female security officer stood outside Looper’s stall demanding…proof she was a woman…She took to Facebook to share her dismay…

SWOP Behind Bars

My friend Mistress Matisse has been applying her indomitable (see what I did there?) efforts to support SWOP Behind Bars, most recently by talking about them on Dan Savage’s Savage Love podcast.  Go have a listen!  And if you haven’t yet sent a book to one of the incarcerated sex workers in the program, hie thee thither and do so posthaste!

Sales Pitch (#642) ingeborg-kraus-tampon-collector-simon-haggstrom

Remember the creepy Swedish cop who collects used tampons?  He’s teaming up with a German neofeminist to spread the Gospel of Violent Busybodiness to Canada:

…Ingeborg Kraus, a [prohibitionist who pretends that]…Germany decriminalized the sex industry…[claims that legalization there has] fuelled human trafficking [and lies that literally]…”No German woman will work in those conditions anymore”…[pervert cop Simon Haggstrom pretends that] Sweden…decriminalize[d] the sale of sex…[fantasizes about a] connection between prostitution and organized crime…[and lies that sex workers who demand our rights] are a small minority within the sex industry…

Allied for Change

I truly hope many more clients are inspired to speak out like this:

My name is Rick Pettit, and I am a client of sex workers.  I am in my 60s, divorced, and unattached.  I run my own moderately-unsuccessful service business in a small town in New England.  I’m just an ordinary person…not particularly well-off financially, and certainly not a hub of criminal activity.  I am well-liked by my customers and in my town.  I am NOT a “pervert”…I do NOT abuse the women I spend time with.  Most importantly, I DO NOT “BUY” ANYONE’S BODY. (There’s not enough room in my closet)…

Pimps Ahoy

You can’t keep a bad organization down:

Courage Worldwide said today that after the appeal process…the organization is in good standing with state regulators and plans to rehire and train new staff to reopen Courage House immediately…“We are gratified that the state has…agreed cell phones pose a real danger to the girls in our care since they link these vulnerable children back to the people who trafficked them.  The cell phone is the preferred mechanism of the trafficker to market and sell under-age girls on the internet”…

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Allied for Change

The only way to stop this will be for those who approve of it to suffer actual consequences, and that isn’t going to happen until all of you clients out there get off of your duffs and fight…gentlemen, I suggest you had better rethink your current silence, unless you want to be the next one with your name and picture splashed across newspapers, TV screens and websites.  –  “Scrupleless in Seattle

anonymous-clientWhen one puts as much time and energy into a cause as I have invested in this one over the last decade, it’s gratifying to see support for that cause slowly grow and become more visible to the general public.  Despite the fact that I’ve always had a lot of praise and encouragement from within my own community, for a long time it looked like the only people who were listening were those already in the demimonde and our natural allies such as libertarians and human rights advocates.  But every Friday the 13th I’ve called for more allies, and I’ve watched the wind gradually shift toward recognition of the fact that criminalization of any aspect of sex work is a gross violation of human rights; I’ve seen universal, credulous acceptance of the “sex trafficking” paradigm crumble, powerful new allies like Amnesty International come on board and the government sabotaging its own propaganda by indulging in ill-considered pogroms like the prosecutions of Rentboy and The Review Board.  Over the past year many groups and individuals, emboldened by Amnesty’s stance, have condemned the War on Whores and attacked its dogma-driven underpinnings, while energetic journalists like Glenn Kessler and Elizabeth Nolan Brown have taken up the task of debunking that up until recently I was conducting almost solo, and have brought the government’s anti-whore bullshit to the attention of far more people than this blog ever could.

But until recently, one group of important natural allies was conspicuously silent.  Men who pay for sex at least occasionally outnumber whores by a factor of sixty to one, yet (with rare exceptions like Chester Brown and Jim Norton) are almost never heard from.  This certainly isn’t hard to understand; the majority of them are married, and so stand to lose their wives and families, plus even their jobs and social standing due to our culture’s increasing sex-negativity.  Add to that fashionable “end demand” client demonization and legal persecution, and the fact that some silly whores (who think of activism as a kind of social club rather than a war) actually oppose their support, and one can certainly understand why clients prefer to keep their mouth shut.  I’ve been working to change that for a long time, but against such a mountain of stoic silence what can one loudmouthed harlot accomplish?  But finally, the seriousness of the situation seems to be sinking in: official persecution of clients has become so aggressive, vicious and sociopathic (especially in cities suckling at Swanee Hunt’s filthy tits, such as Seattle) that clients’ lives are being destroyed by the hundreds in schemes that couldn’t pass constitutional muster even if the judges were all stoned.  Christina Slater’s recent telling of a busted client’s story and Dan Savage’s quoting me in calling clients to arms have inspired a group of clients, activists and attorneys to start a new website dedicated to client activism; the group is called Clients of Sex Workers Allied for Change, and their mission statement is below:

This website is for clients of sex workers to share experiences and resources, and to dispel myths surrounding participation in paid sex.

We affirm that sex workers and clients have the same right of sexual expression as other consenting adults.

We support social services that empower sex workers to improve their lives and aid those choosing to leave sex work.

We condemn force, fraud or coercion in any sexual encounter, and we call for safe and effective means for sex workers and clients to report abuses without fear of prosecution.

We condemn efforts to stigmatize sex workers, their clients, and interested third parties.

We join the growing number of diverse organizations calling for the full decriminalization of sex work.

They’ve flattered me by asking for my input in an advisory capacity, and once the site gets well and truly going you’ll be seeing a guest column here from one of the founders.  In the meantime, please check the site out; it’s been a long time coming, and I’m damned glad it’s here.

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Diary #324

selfie-9-2-16Last week was a really strange one; it was as though something unwholesome was in the air.  I spent large portions of every day on the phone, and only a little of it was in the relatively-pleasant task of giving interviews to reporters; the rest of it was spent putting out figurative fires and talking to customer service people about more glitches and problems than I usually have to deal with in a month.  Most of the would-be clients who called me were nothing but wankers and time-wasters, and two good appointments that I was really looking forward to were postponed; one of those was my New York trip, which now looks like it’ll probably end up in October.  And if that all weren’t bad enough, on Thursday the news spread through our community that Tahoe Ted, who was demonized by Seattle “authorities” for running a message board, took his own life rather than endure any more character assassination and emotional torture.  Apparently, the prosecutor’s office doesn’t want this getting out because they realize it makes them look bad; they don’t want anyone realizing that their victims are human beings with lives and feelings, whose lives they wantonly destroy to “send messages” about people having sex for reasons sociopathic billionaires disapprove of.  About the only good news I received last week was that my friend Savannah Sly is returning to Seattle soon; let’s hope she brings some good fortune with her.

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Diary #323

selfie 8-27-16Last week was much quieter than usual; it was as though everyone was sort of stunned into silence by the end of the Dog Days, and just decided to lay low.  So I used the time to catch up on my writing (I’m back to five days ahead) and finally finish decorating my apartment.  Jae did most of it for me last year, but there was still one wall of the bedroom unfinished when she left on her ill-starred motorcycle trip, and obviously she’s had bigger things on her mind since then.  So I decided to just follow her pattern and finish it; she looked it over and declared my job “adequate”, but that’s a lot better than it was before.  Also, I got to hang a picture of Aphrodite that Sol and Abby gave me for my birthday last year, and a large print of an artwork named “A Garden for Darwin’s Daughter” that I bought from Abby when she moved a few months ago.  The place still needs a few little touches, but for the most part it’s done and I’m rather pleased with myself.  I’m also rather pleased at the rush of traffic I got when Dan Savage quoted me in this week’s “Savage Love” column, but actually neither of those is the reason I look so…relaxed? in this picture; that, dear readers, is what I look like a few hours after the peak of an endorphin high, and y’all will simply have to figure out for yourselves what got me there.  Yes, I’m teasing you again; it really is awful of me, I know.

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Diary #322

Lorelei & I 8-27-16As I told you last week, I had a duo with Lorelei Rivers on Saturday; actually, it was a cam duo for a gentleman watching the proceedings from the comfort of his own home.  And oh, was it lovely and memorable!  And yes, dear readers, you too can book a similar show just as he did; if interested, email me at this address instead of the regular one.  Incidentally, that’s the same address you should use if you want to book me while I’m in New York City; it looks as though may be busy on Thursday the 15th, but you can still book me on Saturday the 17th or Sunday the 18th.  Fortunately, I’ve continued to be quite busy work-wise lately; that does mean I don’t have as much time as I usually do for writing and activism.  But I promise I won’t neglect those!  I have more help these days with some other obligations, so I can use the time I save there for the activities that don’t make me as much money as escorting.  It’s really good for me to stay busy and focused on things outside of myself; as I’ve written before, “when unoccupied by work, reading or conversation my brain is wont to start dwelling upon things best left shut up in mysterious boxes under my mental stairs…”  And for many reasons I wouldn’t want to go into in public even if I thought it was wise to (which I don’t), the things in those crates have been much noisier than usual for the past two years, and I’ve had to take even more drastic steps than usual to quiet them lest my friends say, “What the HELL is that infernal din echoing out of your ears, Maggie?”  Which is just my rather bizarre and roundabout way of saying it’s really good that I’m busy, on more levels than one.  And of promising that I won’t let up on my writing and activism this side of the grave because, quite frankly, I can no more choose to do that than I can choose to stop breathing.

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Just Say No started with drugs, then spread to sex education.  It didn’t work effectively in either setting.  –  David Ley

It Looks Good On Paper

As I’ve explained many times, “safe harbor” laws are nothing but Potemkin villages, empty legal husks designed to please the ignorant while actually sparing nobody from the injustice system:  “Lawmakers [pretending] to help children escape prostitution are advancing a bill to decriminalize the act for minors…SB1322…would…allow them to be taken into temporary custody…to keep [them] away from pimps…”  Translations: “Children” = young adults.  “Temporary custody” = indefinite imprisonment; all prison sentences other than death or life without parole are “temporary”.

Legal Is as Legal Does 

This is not decriminalization & isn’t “similar” to it; this is legalization & protectionism, and they’re not going to like it if they get it:

Sex workers in Kazakhstan want to make the world’s oldest profession a legal trade…an open letter signed by 597…sex workers…called for the legalization of prostitution and its regulation by the state…the sex workers argued that legalization would better protect them from potential harassment and harm done by customers and pimps…state regulation would better protect Kazakhstani prostitutes from competition on the part of migrant sex workers from…Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine…taxation of the commercial sex trade could contribute a tidy sum to…government coffers at a time when state revenue streams in other areas…are declining.  The positions…are similar to those advocated by…Amnesty International…

Above the Law  Harry Morel

It always pleases me to see a political name I know in front of the verb “sentenced” or “convicted”:

Harry Morel Jr., the former St. Charles Parish district attorney who pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice during a sex investigation, was sentenced…to three years in prison — the most allowed by law.  The…judge…also fined Morel $20,000, well short of the maximum of $250,000, and ordered him to serve a year of probation after his release from prison.  Morel was St. Charles’ top prosecutor for 33 years.  He admitted his guilt in April after a three-year federal inquiry into whether he solicited sexual favors from women in exchange for help on cases pending in Louisiana’s 29th Judicial District Court.  Authorities labeled Morel a “sexual predator” and said his pattern of misconduct in office spanned 20 years and included at least 20 women.  Although not charged with trading sex for official help, Morel admitted [it] as part of his plea bargain agreement…in May, the Louisiana Supreme Court stripped Morel of his law license, barring him from practice for life…

The Immunity Syndrome (#21)

For decades, the majority of sex education provided to adolescents in the US has focused on encouraging young people to refrain from sex.  Our country has taken the approach that it is young people’s moral obligation to not engage in sex until they are adults…Even programs that aren’t “abstinence-only” typically promote abstinence as the best strategy…In July 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended to its nationwide membership, that they must educate children and teens about sex.  They joined countless other groups of experts, physicians, and educators, all of whom oppose abstinence-based education…[which] puts these teens at great risk for sexual problems, and increased chances of unsafe sex…

Under Every Bed

This woman is so puffed up, I think she’s pop if one stuck her with a pin:

Nita Belles, who founded…In Our Backyard…[bloviated]  “It has long been known that Central Oregon is a recruiting ground.  Traffickers…find this a good place to find and groom trusting young people — and then after they have been “turned out” they are usually taken out of the area to be trafficked in what is called the circuit…Central Oregon is a place where traffickers can get more money for their victims because we are a small town…Additionally, we have a lot of conventions, vacations and other gatherings here…victims become traumatically bonded to the trafficker, something like the ‘Stockholm Syndrome’…traffickers take pictures while stalking their victim’s family and when a victim indicates she is unhappy, her trafficker responds ‘Here is a picture I took of your little sister last week, she gets out of school at 2:40 p.m. and I will be there to pick her up tomorrow if you don’t do what I tell you’…I have known of cases where traffickers have burnt down their victim’s family’s home just to prove to their victims that they will do anything to keep them under their control”…

Do sane people actually, genuinely believe this ridiculous, completely unsubstantiated nonsense?  This is literally pure fantasy.

Agony Aunt

“Dear Prudence” calls a reader on her whorephobia:

I am trying to imagine why, if you had a suspicion that your sister was molesting your son, you did not ask more questions of her immediately.  Her past work as a dominatrix has nothing to do with your current situation, although it sounds like at least part of you believes that if she was willing to tie up adult, consenting men for a living she’d be equally willing to abuse a prepubescent child, which is a horrific false equivalence.  Set aside your assumptions about her former employment…

Banishment (#434)

Ignoring for a moment the moronic modifier “very”, this situation is not even close to “unique”:

It as “a very unique” situation, Union County [Pennsylvania] District Attorney D. Peter Johnson says about a…man who has been [held illegally in]…jail because he can’t get an approved housing plan…a Commonwealth Court panel [has now] vacated his most recent sentence.  Since 2002 [Samuel] Grove has been in jail for all but two days serving a sentence of four to eight years followed by 12 years of probation…He completed his prison sentence in 2011 but has been charged three times since with violating his probation by not having an approved home plan…The third time…expired on May 29, 2015.  The prosecution immediately again accused Grove of violating his probation by not having an approved home plan…[but when that was proven untrue the prosecutor immediately] accused [Grove] of violating his supervision [by] not obtaining sex offender treatment [and a judge played along by sentencing him]…to…86 months in jail…The state court panel vacated that sentence, saying…none of the sentencing orders required Grove to undergo sex offender treatment during imprisonment…

Follow the title link for earlier examples of “sex offenders” being imprisoned indefinitely by similar state shenanigans.

Another Fine Mess

OMG, WHORES KNOW HOW TO USE PHONES!!!!!!!

…many…fresh-faced high school girls in Hong Kong…[use] online forums to run [their] own [businesses] as…“compensated daters”…without the help of a middleman…it’s common for one girl to find an ad she likes, and then copy it—with just minor adjustments…there are some 2,500 compensated daters in the city…police have been slow to catch on to these girls now that they’ve taken refuge online…So long as they’re not soliciting clients in public spaces, they’re not breaking the law in Hong Kong…

Now They Notice

I really wish this were going to trial, but because the government stole all of the company’s money it had nothing to pay for a legal defense with:

The former chief executive of…Rentboy.com is finalizing a plea agreement after his indictment for promoting prostitution…lawyers for Jeffrey Hurant…asked that a plea hearing be scheduled for the week of Aug. 29…The case prompted criticism from some gay rights activists and sex worker rights groups, who questioned why prosecutors were targeting the service after it had operated transparently for nearly two decades…Following the criticism, federal prosecutors in February dropped charges against the six Rentboy employees.  But they continued to prosecute Hurant and the company itself…

To Molest and Rape rapist cop David Wright

A shining example of the ethics of “law enforcement officers”:

An Illinois [cop] who raped a…girl…to testify in court in order to torment her one last time before he entered a guilty plea…David Wright…pleaded guilty to repeatedly raping the unnamed girl for 10 years, beginning when she was only 7 years old.  Wright was arrested in 2015, but continued to collect paychecks…right up until he entered his…plea.  He was charged with 33 felonies that carried a combined minimum prison sentence of 143 years and a maximum of 648 years…[but] was allowed to enter into a plea deal where he will have the chance for parole in less than 20 years…Wright first raped the girl in the bathroom at a children’s party, telling her, “This is gonna hurt” before the assault…in November of 2005…in April of 2015…the victim finally overcame her fear and reported the abuse.  Up to that point, she told prosecutors, she’d been afraid she would cost Wright his livelihood…

Across the Pond (#653)

How prohibitionists want to “help” sex workers:

An editorial in the British Medical Journal, published this week, warned of “avoidable harms and disastrous long-term costs” of ongoing funding cuts to services available to sex workers…[which] have so far controlled outbreaks of HIV, syphilis and tuberculosis…outreach programmes have halved the risk of them contracting sexually transmitted infections…An estimated 10,000 sex workers use such services , according to National Ugly Mugs…Georgina Perry, a former manager at Open Doors…resigned last week over the cuts…after Open Doors was asked to share confidential client information…[with] police and immigration officers…

Rubbing Elbows (#653)

An ally uses the Desiree Alliance conference as a springboard to discuss larger issues:

Sex workers and their allies gathered in New Orleans recently for the 6th…Desiree Alliance Conference…This year’s conference was about 50 percent bigger than the one held in Las Vegas three years ago.  There were about 300 attendees, about three-quarters of whom were current or former workers.  The rest were allies, like myself…the sex worker’s rights movement…is shaping up to be the next great civil rights effort in the United States and elsewhere…Fears over human trafficking have been used to create a massive anti-prostitution moral crusade.  Falsehoods about the nature of the industry are widely repeated, with sex workers seldom allowed access to media to rebut them.  Broad-based laws that attack all sorts of harmless people have been passed and justified in the hysteria over trafficking…A…self-serving rescue industry, funding for which is contingent on there being lots of trafficking victims to save, has grown around the country…

So Close and Yet So Far (#661)

Gary Johnson’s position on sex work wasn’t quite so muddled in 1991:

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Diary #320

selfie 8-12-16An awful lot of stuff happened last week, but unfortunately I can’t tell you about most of it yet.  There was a conference call I can’t tell you about yet, and I was consulted about an unpleasantness I can’t tell you about yet, and there were some developments in a project I can’t tell you about yet, and of course I can’t tell you about anything that happened with clients (though there were several notable developments, most of them good).  Then there were some other things I could tell you about but would rather not, and a couple of others I might like to tell you about, but you wouldn’t understand or wouldn’t care.  So even though I was so busy last week I barely had time to breathe, there’s very little to report in this column.  I’m going to dinner tonight with a young sex worker who flatters me by listening to my war stories, and I’m getting yet another beauty treatment on Thursday.  Last week I did receive a very early birthday present from Jeremy Dunn, the book you see me holding here (which was the most recent addition to my Amazon wishlist), and on Sunday my book became available on Walmart’s website, which I’m hoping generates a lot of sales!  But I’m afraid that’s pretty much it for this time, except for announcing that I’m going to be in New York City from September 14th to 19th, so if you’d like to see me in that time you’ve got less than a month to let me know!

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