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Posts Tagged ‘All in the Family’

Society creates a massive demand for sex work, then stigmatizes the people who take jobs in the field.  –  Mark Shrayber

Whore Madonnas Finley Fawn

Another woman’s child abducted by the state because of her work:

Finley Fawn…brought eight character witnesses and a mountain of paperwork to her initial custody hearing to prove [that she is not abusive but] courts have sided with her ex-husband in [claiming] that Fawn has allowed her son too much awareness of her job…Fawn…is…a cam model…Before hearing any witnesses, and with only Fawn’s Twitter introduced into evidence, the woman presiding over the case reportedly said that anything more than her ex’s testimony was superfluous.  Before Fawn even had a chance to speak…the judge…made up her mind…getting her child back on the same terms as before — joint custody — would cost more than $100,000…that Fawn doesn’t have…Fawn isn’t alone…Take the case of Tanaha Koontz, whose children were taken away from her and given to her ex despite numerous instances of domestic violence, two arrests, and a kidnapping…

Tanaha is a friend, and wrote one of my first guest columns on this subject.

All in the Family

Some sex workers’ mothers really do love unconditionally:

…My mother emailed me to say she had discovered that I was doing sex work…she…didn’t yell at me, or talk over me, or dictate to me what I should or shouldn’t be doing.  She listened.  She…never told me to quit.  She never told me I had made a bad decision.  She never asked me how I could be a feminist and a sex worker.  She made space for me and my experiences, and she gave me advice or sympathy when I asked.  So I found myself reaching out to her more often, grateful for her analysis and her wit.  Now, I consider her one of my closest friends…

Life Imitates Artifice

Wannabe “pimp” calls radio show & regurgitates popular “pimp” myths, probably while wanking; ignoramuses swallow every particle of the vomit:

…a former pimp talks about his victims and the sex trade…He doesn’t want to share his name, but he will share his [masturbatory fantasy].  He [fantasizes about being] a former pimp.  A sex trafficker who spent nearly a dozen years convincing young women in Massachusetts to sell their bodies and give him the money…He [imagines finding] victims at tanning salons, gyms, bars, and nightclubs…He [fantasizes] that…he had 16 girls working for him…and they’d turn trick after trick…Now, years later [he masturbates] as he thinks about [it]…Parents, he says, hold the key to protecting young girls from men like him.  “Fathers…have to show their daughters that I’m the man you want to find in life. I’m the man you want to marry.”

As our wanker switches from a pimp fantasy to an incest fantasy, fade to black.

Check Your Premises

Cops are so disconnected from reality that they think stalking, raiding and arresting sex workers and their clients will “build a positive relationship” with us:

…Calgary [cops charged]…27 people…[a spokesman vomited that] the goal was to reduce illegal activity and connect with sex trade workers to “build a positive relationship and provide any resources they may need to assist them in leaving the sex trade”…The charges were related to…communicating with any person for the purpose of obtaining sexual services, along with seven summonses for traffic-related offences.  Nineteen warrants for unrelated criminal code charges were also executed…

The Last Shall Be First 

More of this, please:

Public officials of a conservative enclave in Dallas almost unanimously repudiated an anti-transgender “bathroom” ordinance in a local battle that may help turn the corner on the discussion in Texas…Mayor Jim…Pruitt’s measure would have forced transgender individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate.  Businesses and individuals who didn’t comply faced fines of up to $500.  Pruitt launched the proposal in response to Target’s…policy of allowing people to use the bathroom and changing facilities they believe is appropriate for them.  But he ultimately couldn’t find a single colleague to second his motion for a vote, despite using all the best scare tactics…

An Example To the West

Leaders from sex-work led organizations came together…in Kampala to pave way for a stronger and sustainable network for all Ugandan…sex workers’ organizations.  The sex work fraternity is one of the fast growing civil rights movement in Uganda…many coalitions have come up but breakdown after a short period of action…this time they are ready to disregard  all the past differences and create a solid network to make sure the sex workers voices are heard out there…

Down Under (#40)

This sounds good until one gets down to the “end demand” poison:

Street-based sex work in St Kilda is here to stay, say local police, and heavy-handed enforcement is of no use to anyone.  In 2012, St Kilda’s constabulary boasted of a plan to drive prostitution off the streets within four years, using a policy of banning notices, patrols and undercover stings.  But street-based sex work, which is illegal in Victoria, endures.  And St Kilda police Senior Sergeant Mark Denton said that wasn’t likely to change…So instead of going after the workers, policing is now focused on the client side.  Police have the power to issue banning notices stopping someone from visiting an area for 72 hours if they have a reasonable suspicious that person was attempting to solicit a sex worker…

Dutch Threat 

A prohibitionist’s notion of “helping” sex workers:

PROUD, the [Dutch] association of sex workers…sent an urgent letter to the Minister of Justice and the Mayor of Amsterdam on a serious matter…the family of [a trafficking] victim was informed of her work in prostitution without her knowledge…[after] explicitly [stating] that her family [should under] no circumstances be informed of her career…she worked voluntarily in prostitution, but was exploited by an employer. The victim is currently considering withdrawing her complaint as a result of these events…This case should be a reason to ask serious questions to the responsible people and services on their methods and motives…

An Example to the West (#316) RedTraSex in Honduras

In the US, we’re barely even tolerated, much less listened to:

Honduran sex workers have offered a proposal for reforming the country’s treatment of their profession that they hope will lead to them “being treated as human beings by police officers, health employees and society in general,” [said] Regina Barahona…of…RedTraSex…The text takes a human rights perspective on sex work, focusing on health, security and justice for those who work in the field…Barahona insisted that much of the violence sex workers currently face comes from police officers, not clients…

Broken Record (#318)

Politicians just can’t stop beating this dead horse:

Kentucky’s attorney general is warning Derby-goers to be proactive in the fight against human trafficking…Andy Beshear [fantasized that]…individuals use large sporting events, such as the Kentucky Derby, to traffic children and adults for sex…Beshear urged Louisville businesses and derby-goers to [spy on customers]…Beshear said signs of possible signs of human trafficking include [all the usual bullshit]…

Bait and Switch

Why bother looking for actual sex-trafficking victims when cops can just pretend to be them and reap the same rewards?

A new sex-trafficking law in Georgia clarifies that undercover cops totally count as minors for purposes of handing out 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentences…House Bill (HB) 770 says that it shall be no defense to charges of sex trafficking of a minor that no such minor actually existed…an undercover cop posing as a pretty 17-year-old girl could friend a young man on Facebook (a tactic cops frequently use in these kind of stings), start chatting with him, and mention that she needs to make money and isn’t averse to porn or prostitution but needs help getting started.  If the mark offers to help in any way, even just offering a ride or an introduction to someone else who could help her, he will be eligible to receive a minimum of 10 years in prison and up to 20 years, plus a $100,000 fine.  Prosecutors can invoke asset forfeiture to take even more from him, and add another “human trafficking” arrest to their press releases…many of the men cops target with these kinds of stings are only in their late teens or early 20s themselves…One 2014 study by the anti-trafficking organization Shared Hope International found that 50-60 percent of police efforts aimed at stopping “child sex trafficking”…involved no actual victims or minors at all…If there are really as many minor sex-trafficking victims out there as advocates, cops, and politicians would have us believe, how can they justify spending half of their time and money pretending to be victims rather than saving them?…

A Procrustean Bed (#600)

Politician’s brains are so tiny and narrow, thy can only conceive of humans existing in two states, like light switches:

The California Senate…passed legislation that would remove mandatory minimum jail sentences for repeat prostitution offenses.  Under current state law, a second conviction guarantees at least 45 days in jail, which increases to a minimum 90-day sentence for a third offense and beyond.  The court can also restrict an individual’s driving privileges for up to six months if the act occurs within 1,000 feet of a private residence…Bill Monning…said the current “tough-on-crime” approach does not deter prostitution and merely discourages victims of human trafficking and those who engage in sex work as a means of survival from participating in diversion and drug treatment programs…It comes amid a renewed interest in human trafficking this legislative session, as lawmakers debate whether prostitutes are criminals or victims…

Crying for Nanny (#623)

How many more such decisions will it take before judges start fining these lawyers for filing nuisance lawsuits?

In a victory for Backpage, a federal appellate court…rejected [soi-disant] sex-trafficking victims’ request to reconsider a decision dismissing their lawsuit…The move leaves in place an earlier ruling, which said the teens could not proceed with their case due to the federal Communications Decency Act.  That law says that companies offering interactive online platforms are immune from liability for activity by their users…

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Once you’ve been arrested for prostitution…that is a stigma that will stick to you for the rest of your life.  –  Norma Jean Almodovar

All in the Family

I sometimes wonder how my life would’ve been different had I had the sense to lie:

What lies do people tell if they work in the sex industry?  For starters, it depends on exactly what they do…An escort named Jane (I’ve changed the names of everyone in this story) tells everyone she’s a real estate agent.  It fits all the data, and also explains why her income is variable…Agency escorts have a different set of challenges, mostly surrounding the “call on” system.  When an escort calls on at an agency, it means that they are dressed and ready to work; if they get a booking, they pledge to arrive to the call within an agreed-upon amount of time…Strippers have a different set of challenges…Jill works in a dominatrix parlor, and her hours are ten to six, Monday through Friday. Equipment is stored at the Midtown studio…Her babysitter thinks she works in HR…

Follow Your Bliss Nathaniel Schlueter

A man involved with helping sex trafficking victims was arrested…during an undercover prostitution sting…Nathaniel Schlueter was arrested by an undercover officer…[whom he] offered $30 in exchange for sexual favors….Schlueter served on the board of directors for The Refuge Ranch, which helps teenage women who have rescued from sex trafficking…

A Moral Cancer (Metaupdates)

Why do people still listen to “nutritionists”?

Bacon, sausage and other processed meats are now ranked alongside cigarettes and asbestos as known carcinogens, the World Health Organization announced…a…scientific panel examined more than 800 epidemiological studies…to…[classify] “consumption of processed meat as ‘carcinogenic to humans’ on the basis of sufficient evidence for colorectal cancer”…Red meat carries a slightly lower risk…but is still “probably carcinogenic to humans.”  Aside from the “strong mechanistic evidence” related to colorectal cancer, the “consumption of red meat was also positively associated with pancreatic and with prostate cancer.  As a main line of evidence, the group cites one study from 2011…

For the source of that 2011 study, click on the subtitle.

BDSM (#30)

A “cult”.  Because mentioning their sex practices wasn’t quite lurid enough.

Three members of a reported “master-slave” sex cult were convicted…of murdering [Brittany Killgore]…Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Perez, 49, Dorothy Grace Maraglino, 40, and Jessica Lynn Lopez, 28, were convicted of torturing and murdering…Killgore “for their own sadistic pleasure,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Patrick Espinoza [claimed]…Killgore was not a part of the cult, which enjoyed bondage, whipping, spanking, cutting, sadism and masochism…Without knowing the three had a “sex dungeon” in their rented home, Killgore had agreed to go on a dinner cruise with Perez in exchange for his helping her move…

Image Enhancement

That the Nevada brothel segment of the sex industry is in decline is not news:

…The Love Ranch epitomizes the sorry state of the industry….there are currently just 17 brothels employing around 300 prostitutes in the state. That’s down from 30 brothels in 2009…“These brothels are really a relic of the past,” a state senator told the LA Times. “The urban areas have an appetite to abolish them.  And given the state’s rapid urbanization, there’s really little popular support left for these businesses”…

That senator is full of shit; 66% of Nevada voters believe they should be legal everywhere in the state.  But just in case you think this is really a serious economic issue, consider that those 300 licensed prostitutes represent less than 1% of Nevada’s estimated whore population.

Paint By Numbers

Why ride a bike or stand around on lawns or off-ramps when you can just sit?

The CNN Freedom Project has been shining a spotlight on the horrors of modern slavery, but now we need your help.  We want you to join our #FlyToFreedom campaign to help fight slavery.  The Freedom Project’s symbol is a paper plane…so we’re asking you to:

1) Make a paper plane.
2) Write a pledge on the plane — something you’re going to do to help fight modern slavery.
3) Show us your plane and pledge on social media using the hashtag #FlyToFreedom.
4) Nominate two friends to do the same by tagging them in your social media post.

O, Canada! (All Traffick, All the Time)

Women continue to have bills despite cops’ intimidation attempt:

Twelve Nova Scotia sex-trade workers were [targeted by] a national RCMP [intimidation campaign]…Operation Northern Spotlight [tricked]…11 women and one man in Nova Scotia…[a pig mouthpiece had the audacity to describe the intimidation attempt as] “a fostering and nurturing conversation”…[but fortunately] “they chose to continue their [work]”…

If Men Were Angels

An Idaho college’s former financial aid director has been sentenced to 107 days in jail for charges related to offering students financial aid in exchange for sex…Joseph Bekken…[also got] three years of probation and a $10,000 fine…Bekken advertised on Craigslist for several semesters while working for Northern Idaho College, saying he would provide scholarship money in exchange for sex…

Business As Usual

Though some people refuse to accept this, every sex worker knows it:

…the majority of National Blacklist posts address other issues entirely—things like time-wasters, stalkers and thieves.  But it’s remarkable that  sex workers using a resource describing itself as the “world’s largest bad client database and escort safety tool” seem more concerned about warning each other about police officers than the dangers from which law enforcement is ostensibly meant to protect them…A 2002  study in Chicago found that 24 percent of street-based female sex workers who said they were raped identified a police officer as the perpetrator, and one-fifth of other forms of sexual violence against these women were attributed to police.  A study by the Sex Worker’s Project of the Urban Justice Center found that 16 percent of indoor sex workers surveyed reported having been “involved in sexual situations with the police,” and 14 percent reported experiencing police violence…

Profit from Panic (#448) Scrap Force

How transparent does this have to be before people see it?

Kids are the heroes in a new mobile game [from] Naked Sky Entertainment…and their virtual adventures will provide funds to help children around the world escape from the horrors of human trafficking.  Love146…will receive 14.6 percent of the profits that come out of the new mobile game “Scrap Force”…

The Course of a Disease (#449) 

Cop says it’s “wrong” that he isn’t allowed to arrest people who aren’t doing anything illegal:

…Sgt Neil Radford, the head of Nottingham’s prostitution task force, said:  “On the street, the law allows you to deal with people who are purchasing sex.  But there is no equivalent legislation for off-street work.  If somebody goes into a brothel to purchase sex…he isn’t committing any offence at all.  That’s wrong and we have to be able to do something about it”…

Naked Truth (#544) 

An Egyptian actress…has ignited a nationwide controversy for suggesting that Egyptian men would benefit from watching more pornography.  In fact, she’s facing jail time. Entissar…told a TV audience…that “These films are useful for men, especially those who have no pre-marriage sex experience.”  But beyond what men might be able to learn about sex from such films, Entissar thinks that, “Everyone should be free in watching porn films if they want”…”This is a call for debauchery and depravity,” according to one unhappy cleric quoted in the press…A group called “Who Loves Egypt?” was unhappy enough…to take her court for “inciting debauchery.”  The charge carries a one-year prison term…

Against the Tide

It’s kind of sad to watch Kristoff pathetically flailing about against the inexorable departure of the sea that nourishes him:

…Plenty of well-meaning people back Amnesty International’s proposal for full decriminalization of the sex trade…Yet in practice, approaches similar to Amnesty’s have ended up simply empowering pimps.  And while under these proposals human trafficking would remain illegal, the police would no longer have a reason to raid brothels…

For comparison: “Plenty of well-meaning people back the 21st amendment, yet in practice similar approaches have ended up simply empowering bootleggers.  And while under these proposals poisoned liquor would remain illegal, the police would no longer have a reason to raid speakeasies…”

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I am a sex worker and I make my money from clients seeing me. Some clients just happen to have a disability.  –  Rachel Wotton

When Someone You Love is A Sex Worker

Do you have a sex worker in your family, or are you in a relationship with one?  If so, Stacey Swimme of SWOP would like to talk to you.  She’s writing a book called When Someone You Love is A Sex Worker, which is intended to support family members and partners, and she recently sent out an email to ask for input:

…I am inviting family members, partners, lovers and friends of sex workers to be interviewed for my book.  I’m looking for examples of challenges as well as successes.  I want to hear about your fears, disagreements and compromises with the sex worker(s) in your life.  It would be a privilege to include your perspective if you have time to do a short interview (about 15-30 minutes) on one of the four dates below.  You do not have to provide any identifying information.  You’re welcome to provide a fake name…

The four dates are Wednesday November 14th (at 11AM, 11:40AM, 12:30PM and 1:15PM), Wednesday November 21st (same time slots), Monday November 26th (at 9AM, 9:40AM, 10:30AM and 11:15AM) and Tuesday November 27th (same time slots).  If you’re interested please email StaceySwimme@gmail.com  with your preferred name, age, city and times from the list that work for you.

Updates

Bad Girls

farmers are losing thousands of shillings to prostitutes in [Kenya]… social services chairperson Elizabeth Kibii…said the department has received many complaints from farmers who have been robbed… “They either lace the drink with drugs that will make you unconscious or they send one of their own to the room early and hide under the bed.  And when he and her partner are busy, the one under the bed walks away secretly with the money”…

All in the Family

Australian whore and activist Grace Bellavue uses the intense story of how she came out to her parents as a springboard for a discussion of whore stigma, in which she convincingly argues that those who oppose prostitution should actually be fighting that stigma rather than perpetuating it.  It’s powerful and well worth a read, but skip the comment thread.

Reaction Formation

This sort of story is only “shocking” to the psychologically and sexually illiterate:

An ordained counselor dedicated to “freeing” people from homosexuality has been arrested on charges of molesting…young men…Rev. Ryan J. Muelhauser …was connected with OutPost Ministry…[and] allegedly fondled two young men  who were seeking to “cure” themselves of homosexuality, as well as asking them to masturbate for him…

Furthermore, “leading a crusade” against any form of sexual behavior should be considered probable cause for suspicion of practicing that behavior:

A former top [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] official who helped lead the [South Florida] crusade against child sexual exploitation was sentenced…on a child pornography charge.  Anthony V. Mangione…possessed up to 150 images of child pornography, some depicting the “extreme abuse of children”…

Crying Wolf

Neofeminist fanatics who foam at the mouth about “rape culture”, insist that normal economic needs constitute “coercion” and pretend that compliments are a form of “violence against women” need to have stories like this one drilled into their brains:

Mah Gul, 20, was beheaded after her mother-in-law attempted to make her sleep with a man in her house in [Afghanistan]…Gul was married to her husband four months ago and her mother-in-law had tried to force her into prostitution several times in the past…The suspect, Najibullah…said the mother-in-law lured him into killing Gul by telling him that she was a prostitute…

That is what sexual coercion, forced prostitution and violence against women actually look like.

My Readers Write

Aspasia writes in her own blog on would-be allies and “concerned parties” who expect sex worker activists to spoon-feed them the way prohibitionists do, and why it’s a bad idea to cater to their demands.

Don’t Confuse Us With Facts

Dean Boland, the lawyer who was fined $300,000 for demonstrating the absurdity of America’s draconian “child pornography” laws, has lost his appeal; the judges ruled that there really is such a thing as sympathetic magic, so that altering the images of children actually and literally harmed them in some tangible way.  So much for science, logic or common sense.

Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark

Another “dog bites man” study:

…a group of boys ages 8 to 11 whose fetal testosterone had been measured from amniotic fluid when their mothers were 13-20 weeks pregnant…were shown pictures of negative (fearful), positive (happy), neutral, or scrambled faces while a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine tracked changes in their brain activity.  In the boys who had higher levels of fetal testosterone, the brain’s reward system was more responsive to positive…facial cues…[suggesting] those boys have a greater proclivity for “approach-related behaviors,” such as fun-seeking and impulsivity…

Useful Idiots

The US government’s scheme to collect and indefinitely retain DNA from virtually anyone has been challenged a number of times since it was first slipped into the Trojan Horse Act of 2005, and the Supreme Court has finally deigned to rule on it:  “…at least 21 states and the federal government have regulations requiring suspects to give a DNA sample upon arrest…[which is then] cataloged in state and federal crime-fighting databases…the justices opted to take on an April decision…from Maryland’s top court, which said it was a breach of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure to take, without warrants, DNA samples from suspects who have not been convicted…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

The “sex robot” morons are at it again:

Could sex with robots help extend human life spans?  Some futurists seem to think so. A Nov. 7 article on the futurist website Transhumanity argues that robot lovers could help extend life spans by giving users mind-blowing “longevity orgasms” far superior in quality to those from human…partners…”[Sexbots will] be more desirable, patient, eager, and altruistic than their meat-bag competition, plus they’ll be uploaded with supreme sex-skills from millennia of erotic manuals, archives and academic experiments, and their anatomy will feature sexplosive devices…They’ll offer us quadruple-tongued cunnilingus, open-throat silky fellatio, deliriously gentle kissing, transcendent nipple tweaking, g-spot massage & prostate milking dexterity, plus 2,000 varieties of coital rhythm with scented lubes“…

Is it just me, or does this one-handed typist sound badly in need of a girlfriend?

Confined and Controlled

The inevitable result of busybody laws which treat women as helpless victims of male sexuality:

[Toronto] City council…adopted…changes to…regulations…Now…strippers can’t sit on patrons’ laps or make contact with breasts, buttocks or pubic areas.  And rooms, booths or cubicles for private dances have to be transparent on one side…As the Licensing and Standards Committee was formulating the amendments…its staff consulted with us…but…management at the club I worked in…[collected the surveys] and [filled] them out on our behalf.  The manager told me…“This has nothing to do with what you think they want…They want the girls to see all these stupid questions so they can answer, ‘Oh, people touching me…Oh, I don’t like the dark.’  Then they come in the court and say, ‘Look, the girls don’t like the business’”…The city’s data shows that 98 per cent of respondents in the surveys submitted by the [club owner’s association] denied ever being sexually assaulted or touched without their consent, while 67 per cent of strippers who submitted surveys themselves said they had been…

If governments didn’t persecute adult businesses, managers would have no cause to worry and standards could be determined by the sex workers’ needs rather than those of the managers or prohibitionists, who both use the women as pawns in their power game.

Imagination Pinned Down

Quote from the snake catcher himself on a snake expert’s message board:  “Sorry but this is ridiculous, I was the one who caught this snake, never did I say anything like that, in fact I stressed to her that it was incredibly unusual for that to happen and quietly doubted it even occurred as she told it.”

The Public Eye

Burlesque as a hobby is less stigmatized than professional stripping, Portland, Maine is unusually tolerant, and a seat on the school board isn’t exactly high office, but it’s still amazing this happened at all:  “Holly Seeliger, a 26-year-old teacher and burlesque dancer, won the District 2 seat on the Portland Board of Public Education, getting 59 percent of the vote…

Metaupdates

No Other Option (Updates Galore, Part One)

Rachel Wotton’s wonderful charity “Touching Base”, which connects disabled people with sex workers who specialize in helping them, has experienced an upsurge of publicity due in part to the documentary Scarlet Road and in part to the movie The Sessions, which I’ll be discussing in a column two weeks from now.  I hope this sympathetic and respectful article in The Age calls even more attention to it, and that one day the US may grow up enough for a branch of the organization to operate here.

Blackball (TW3 #33)

Douglas Fox of Harlot’s Parlour shared an essay written by a male escort named Steve, which demonstrates  how governments can ruin a simple idea used effectively by individuals and peer groups for decades:

There’s been a lot of hype about the Nationwide Ugly Mugs Scheme [but it’s useless to most sex workers]…Take…[this] recent…complaint [from] a male sex worker who didn’t get paid by a client who was drunk and told him he kept a knife [nearby]…Extracts from the warning read:  “business was agreed to take place at the man’s home which was a flat in a communal block in Basildon…He is described as; 45-49, White, 5ft 9, stocky, shaven grey/white hair, blue eyes and pale complexion, with a local accent and scars to his torso”…No address, no phone number, nothing.  Sex workers…need to access real information if we are to protect ourselves.  Phone numbers…that look like…“0*********1″ do nothing to help…there are probably about 200 similar blocks of flats in Basildon…[and] the description sounds like every other client who has walked through my door in the last two weeks…

The organization which administers the NUM project made this (typically political) response.

Down Under (TW3 #43)

The Australian government has axed its “Cleanfeed” porn-filtering plan that’s been shrouded in a campaign to fight spam and malware.  Backers…pushed the idea for the last five years claiming that the Cleanfeed filter would protect children from predators…The filter even passed a government trial and was expected to be adopted… [but a backlash started] when a secret…Communications and Media Authority blacklist of targeted websites…was outed by Wikileaks…Cleanfeed was opposed by online consumers, lobby groups, ISPs, network administrators, some children’s welfare groups, Google, the U.S. Ambassador to Australia, and a number of government officials.  Opponents…feared the filtering would foster Internet censorship and new online restrictions…

The More the Better (TW3 #45)

Apparently some Greek officials believe in “sex rays”, even if the people don’t:

…local officials insisted that a primary school return [brothel owner Soula Alevridou’s] donation…[of] €3,000 to cover the costs of [a] photocopier and a small library…the school was grateful…[but officials were embarrassed by] a brothel madam stepping into a gap created by fiscal recklessness and state profligacy…”We must protect our children,” [said provincial director of education Giorgos Panayiotopoulos]…

This Week in 2010 and 2011

I presented biographies of Mata Hari and Veronica Franco, looked at whore-hatred in World War II France, contemporary Iceland and a fictional future, and examined the truth about federal “sex trafficking” stings, the use of “Swedish model” rhetoric in American police departments, the campaign against Backpage and a fake escort blogger.  I also discussed cops who rape, the increasing number of academics telling the truth about sex work, the reason sex worker rights have languished while gay rights thrived, and the difference in sex work news stories between Europe and the US, and featured short items on internet censorship, the government’s intentional hiding of information on “missing children”, the underuse of HPV vaccines, weird search terms, a murderous proposal and “don’t panic” plans.

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You need to tailor your response to the reality. You should not tailor your response to the hype.  –  Ann Jordan

R.I.P. Robyn Few

The founder of SWOP-USA died Thursday (September 13th) at the age of 54 after a long battle with cancer.  She became an activist for HIV and medical marijuana in the early 1990s, but prostitution was at that time simply a way to pay the bills ; that changed after she was targeted for her activism by FBI and arrested in June of 2002.  In October of the following year she founded SWOP-USA on the model of SWOP Australia, and just two months later helped Dr. Annie Sprinkle organize the first Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers.  Biographical details are scarce, but I’m trying to get a proper obituary together for her for this Monday.

Updates

He or She?

Sometimes, men’s transgender paranoia is so severe it can lead to violence:

…20-year-old Christian Ariel Romero met [a] 41-year-old [transgendered prostitute]…and…offered [her] money for sex, Montgomery County police said…[but] when Romero discovered his companion was a man, he…repeatedly stabbed the victim…The judge set bail at $500,000, which [Romero’s lawyer] called harsh…“The defendant is a person who’s 20 years old, never done anything wrong in his entire life.  And the person who is on the other side is…a prostitute…with a track record, a history…”

As is typical in stories involving transgendered people, everyone dances around pronouns and facts are sparse or contradictory; the reporter says the victim was a “man” but she may have been a pre-op transsexual.  And the lawyer’s insinuation that the victim somehow deserved a murderous assault is “NHI” thinking at its most repellent.

All in the Family

Robin Hustle has a great deal more patience than I do; if I had a story of coming out to parents who were in denial about my sex work, I certainly wouldn’t tell it on Jezebel.  The article is intelligent, well-written, right on and even funny, but of course the comments are largely what you’d expect (starting with the very first one, which basically accuses her of lying).  No thanks; I learned my lesson with Feministe.

Follow Your Bliss

A disproportionate number of perverts, rapists and pedophiles have been discovered in a job which allows them to grope and fondle women and children with impunity in public.  Golly gee, who could’ve predicted that?

Crystal Ball

As I predicted, a few journalists are beginning to question the “sex trafficking” hype; though this article reprinted from Christian Science Monitor overstates the credibility of some of the fanatics’ claims and quotes professional victim Stella Marr at length, it also interviews prominent trafficking hysteria critic Ann Jordan, criticizes celebrity opportunists like Ashton Kutcher and flatly states that the scare-figures are wildly exaggerated:

…the…statistic…that there are 100,000 to 300,000 sex slaves in the US – figures repeated by interviewers, blogs, TV hosts and…movie stars…are wrong…the number of actual sex-trafficking victims has been estimated by the US government to be in the tens of thousands, but even those numbers have been criticized as unfounded and far too high; between 2008 and 2010, federally funded human-trafficking task forces opened 2,515 suspected incidents of human trafficking for investigation.  Among those cases, only 248 suspected sex-trafficking victims under the age of 18 were identified…Hype over such high and inaccurate numbers of “child sex slaves” leads to a misguided response at best…At worst, it siphons financial resources away from preventing other sorts of human trafficking…[and] undermines solutions to problems…that lead to exploited youth in the first place…

Bottleneck

Cause:  Making it essentially impossible for brothels to operate legally.  Effect:  Lots of illegal brothels.

…Elena Jeffreys said when sex work was decriminalised 16 years ago, local councils were given the job of regulating the industry…but…they are now knocking back brothels on moral grounds…”Their job is to regulate the sex industry, not just to blanket knock back every single (brothel) application they get.  There’s some local councils in NSW that have never approved a brothel application and then they wonder why there’s brothels in their suburb that are unapproved”…Ms Jeffreys said there were more than 6000 sex workers in the state and most people would have lived near a brothel or a sex worker at some point without knowing it…

Capricious Lusts

I don’t think I’ve ever seen an American sex worker activist (other than myself) make this enlightened point:

…Controversial model-actress [Gehana Vasisth] recently tweeted that she wanted to open a…high class hygienic brothel where men could come and satisfy themselves…with professional, medically certified commercial sex workers…According to Gehana, legalising prostitution and pornography in India – like it is in the West – will help reduce crimes against women drastically.  “If men can satisfy their carnal desires without any restriction, rape and other crimes against women will be reduced,” she explained…

Metaupdates

How Old is Oldest? in June Updates (Part Three)

Over a year after the controversy which caused his break with Psychology Today, evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa is back with a new blog entitled E pur si muove on a relatively new website named Big Think.  And though his debut is not without controversy even there, Kanazawa’s “about” blurb states:

E pur si muove is about science.  Science is the accumulation of pure knowledge for its own sake; it has no other goals or purposes.  In science, only logic and evidence are the arbitrators of the truth; nothing else matters.  No scientific conclusions can ever be good or bad, desirable or undesirable, sexist, racist, offensive, reactionary or dangerous; they can only be true or false.  No other adjectives apply.  If the truth offends people, it is our job as scientists to offend them.  In the memorable words of David Hilbert, Wir müssen wissen, wir werden wissen.  If what I say as a scientist is wrong, because it is illogical or lacks credible scientific evidence, then it is my problem.  If what I say offends you, then it is your problem.  Get over it.  Prepare to be offended.

And really, that’s pretty much my attitude in this blog as well; I wish Dr. Kanazawa the best of luck with his new site and hope Big Think proves to be more dedicated to free speech than Psychology Today has proven itself to be.

Hard Numbers in TW3 (#16)

Whenever it looks like something might be decriminalized (such as brothel ownership in Brazil), you can bet the police will launch as many “crackdowns” as possible before their window of opportunity closes:

On the eve of June 14…armed members of [Rio’s] Police…and  public prosecutor’s office arrived at a brothel called Centauros…[where] they arrested prostitutes, management and the owner, seized documents, computers…used condoms…and…$150,000…in cash.  The owner…spent a week at a maximum security prison.  The prostitutes were released the same night and found work at other upscale brothels…Quite a lot of drama when you consider that prostitution is not actually a crime in Brazil…But as Rio de Janeiro prepares for its turn on the global stage – as the host of the World Cup in 2014, then the 2016 Summer Olympics – the city is taking drastic action to keep its thriving sex industry out of the spotlight.  Rio has already shuttered 24 sex establishments…and…another 33 venues have been threatened or harassed by the police…It’s the biggest crackdown…in a generation…according to anthropologists Thaddeus Blanchette and Ana Paula da Silva, who have been studying prostitution in Rio since 2004 and have authored almost 20 academic papers on [the subject]…

Prudish Pedants in TW3 (#18)

Keep in mind, California is still under a SCOTUS mandate to reduce its prison population, yet this persecution for profit continues:

Fetish filmmaker and distributor Ira Isaacs’ sentencing was put on hold last month because federal prosecutors intended to present evidence to support…a two-level increase in sentencing…[for] federal crime[s] where the defendant knew or should have known that a victim involved in an offense was a “vulnerable victim”…presumably [this means] an actor or actors involved in films deemed obscene…prosecutors have recommended that Isaacs serve a term of up to seven years and three months in prison, as well as a three-year term of supervised release and a $10,000 fine…[the court also stole] all of his websites…copyrights…computers, servers, props and video equipment.

Against Their Will in TW3 (#20)

Another win-win situation ruined by busybodies:

The Malay Mail reports [that a] car wash in…Kuala Lumpur…had formed a partnership with a local massage parlour, enabling customers to redeem free sex from the brothel as part of a customer loyalty scheme…police stormed the parlour and found several stamped loyalty cards that had been used by customers…officer Emmi Shah Fadhil [said]…“To get the extra ‘offer’, customers must send their cars for washing nine times within a certain period…The tenth car wash will entitle them to free sex.”  The parlour would usually charge between 130 and 180 Malaysian Ringgit ($40-$55) – cheaper than the $65 price for a full-service car wash.  Prostitution is illegal in Malaysia.  As a result of the raid, nine Vietnamese women aged between 18 and 28 were arrested.

Actually prostitution isn’t illegal in Malaysia; only public solicitation is.  However, for the past four years the Malaysian government has been engaged in a campaign to violently suppress brothels under the guise of “fighting human trafficking” in order to win a pat on the head and a “good doggie” from the US State Department.

See No Evil in TW3 (#24)

An anti-sex fanatic’s crusade to criminalize a lump of bronze continues:

…a bare-breasted sculpture in an Overland Park arboretum has triggered a grand jury investigation into whether the city is promoting obscenity to minors.  The artwork, titled “Accept or Reject” and donated by Chinese artist Yu Chang, depicts…what the artist statement says is the incomplete identity expressed in one’s digital self — critics contend it promotes “sexting” to children…”The statue appeals to an unwholesome obsession with a sexual act” [said petition sponsor Phillip] Cosby…who calls sexting “the most under-prosecuted crime in America”…

Anybody who claims that any crime (other than those committed under color of authority) in America is “under-prosecuted” is certifiably insane.

Sisters in Arms in TW3 (#29)

If abortion is criminalized, do people really want women who get them imprisoned?  Or will this turn into another Swedish Model-like agency-denying thing which only persecutes abortion providers (and maybe men who urge or pay for them)?

Broken Record in TW3 (#32)

Here’s a long but must-read essay by Georgina Perry of Open Doors, a London health organization serving sex workers; she explains how Olympic “sex trafficking” hysteria was amplified by politicians, the police, the media and others, and collapsed when one especially vociferous NGO lost its main source of funding:

For the last three years I’ve been…relegated from a professional considered knowledgeable in her field, to a noisy troublemaker, determined to rail against received wisdom.  I’ve had the data I assiduously collect, analyse and make public quoted back to me by law enforcement agencies, the media and NGOs but with clumsy interpretations skewed to strengthen a particular rhetoric…as the 2012 London Olympics drew inexorably towards us, the whole of the UK suddenly became an expert on my job…[the]experience…left me cynical and at times speechless at the sheer effrontery of those who stood to gain from talking up a story that…is not, has not and is unlikely to ever be a reality…

Naked Truth in TW3 (#35)

Melissa Gira Grant was interviewed on “Behind the News with Doug Henwood” on public radio station KPFA in Berkeley, California this past Thursday; she talked about the rescue industry, agency denial and the neofeminist anti-sex work agenda (starting at 30:00).

This Week in 2011

How “feminist” laws infantilize or pathologize women, how Arianna Huffington panders to hysteria, how politicians judge others but never themselves, and why only some religions have freedom.  Also, an Algerian tribe in which prostitution was normal and accepted and an essay on whores in the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

This Week in 2010

The importance of caring for husbands sexually, the woman known to history as “The Yellow Rose of Texas”, a few book reviews, a story I wrote when I was 18, “whoredar”, and a little about my lesbian experiences.

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The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you. –  Kendall Hailey

Like everybody else, whores have families, and every family is different, including those of whores.  Some families reject prostitute daughters (or else would do so if they knew), whereas some are accepting or even supportive.  And others carry the principle of family togetherness to a level I daresay few people would feel comfortable with.

As I mentioned in my column of July 30th, my mother did not take well to my becoming a stripper; in fact she stopped talking to me altogether, and despite several attempts at reconciliation (by letter) from me, we haven’t spoken in almost 13 years.  So one can only imagine what her reaction would have been had she learned her eldest daughter was a prostitute; she would’ve had a fit.  Or perhaps not; it’s possible her extreme reaction was due to her equating the two jobs in her mind, so that becoming a stripper was the same to her as entering harlotry.  Well, she always hoped I would be a writer someday, so in a way she got her wish; it just didn’t happen in the way she would’ve liked.  The only members of my family who knew about my career were my second sister (the one who looks and thinks most like me) and one male cousin I’m close to.  I’m sure my cousin Jeff would have been supportive; he applauded my decision to become a stripper, and had he lived a few years longer I’m sure his reaction to my taking up “the world’s oldest profession” would’ve been similar to that of another dear male friend:  “I was wondering how long it would take you to get around to that.”

From what I’ve seen, my situation isn’t at all unusual; most working girls I’ve encountered hide their profession from their families.  Those who weren’t from New Orleans had the least trouble because their families were in other states, but I can remember at least two times when a girl had to take off for a week because her parents were coming to visit.  I know that I was several girls’ “good friend Maggie” when they needed to make excuses to their families, and one girl actually told hers that she was a drug dealer because their priorities were so screwed up they actually thought that was better than being a hooker!  One common cover-up is to take a “regular” job and pretend it pays better than it actually does; I had one girl who did this for years.  Her degree gave her a job which was long on prestige but short on both hours and hourly pay, but she let her family believe it was not so and made all her real money as an escort.  And back when Grace was escorting in Atlanta, she simply told her mother she was a stripper (which was actually true since she did both); her mother didn’t like it, but did not equate the trades as my mother apparently did.

Whores who are close to their families yet can’t tell them the truth about their work sometimes encounter the problem of a mother or sister dropping in unexpectedly; whenever such a girl answered her phone and started spouting inappropriate blather at me, I would know she had unwelcome visitors and would simply ask, “Can you get rid of them to take this call?”  Sometimes they could, and other times they were forced to pass, but I had one girl who tried to have it both ways.  She was a very pretty Arabic girl and the customers liked her, but her family would drop in without notice and she could never get rid of them.  I could’ve worked around that, but she had the bad habit of setting up appointments and then simply not showing up; when I called to find out where the hell she was there would be no answer, then the next day she would call to tell me her family had suddenly and unexpectedly dropped by her apartment before she could leave to go on the date.  Sometimes I could replace her with another girl but at other times the call was lost, and though I charged her the fee anyhow one simply can’t run a service like that, so I soon let her go; do you know she actually had the gall to try to argue with me about it?

Some other girls’ families are much more accepting of their profession; as I mentioned in my column of August 29th, Barbie’s mother and sister would babysit her children while she went on calls, and Florence’s mother knew what she was doing to raise the money for her son’s therapy.  I had another girl who lived with her father, a jazz musician; though he wasn’t happy with her career choice he really couldn’t say much because he didn’t make enough to pay the bills alone.  And I had a couple of girls say they suspected their mothers knew what they did but wisely avoided the subject.

Even when parents are kept in the dark about their daughters’ careers, sisters are often in on the secret; my situation was not at all atypical in that respect.  Sometimes the sisters are escorts as well, and I had such a pair working for me for a while.  Well, I really should say they worked for everybody; they were so well-known in town that most agencies simply referred to them as “The Sisters”.  Sorry to smash your fantasy, guys, but they never worked together; in fact they specifically told agencies that they wouldn’t.  Neither minded knowing that the other worked, but they weren’t about to work in the same room together, much less in the same bed!  And even if they had, nobody would’ve believed they were sisters anyhow; they were of mixed race, and the older sister strongly favored the mother’s race while the younger favored the father’s just as strongly.  Their personalities were also quite different; the younger sister was a good, dependable worker while the elder was a typical “empty box” type (see my column of August 24th) whom I soon stopped using and advised to return to stripping.

But their level of mutual acceptance was as nothing compared to that of another family I knew.  I first met the mother when she was house mother at Rick’s Cabaret while I was a dancer there; I doubt I would’ve remembered her but oddly enough she remembered me, and reminded me of our previous acquaintance when she first applied to me for a job.  She wasn’t the prettiest employee I had, but she would do just about anything and was willing to work the weirdest hours, and since the clients to whom I sent her seemed satisfied she got plenty of work.  Then one day when she was calling on (i.e. letting me know she was available) she said to me, “You know, my daughter works, too.”  Well, I certainly thought that was interesting but not so weird; it’s actually not all that uncommon among prostitutes from working-class backgrounds.  I told her I would have to meet the girl and she agreed, then asked “You don’t have male escorts, do you?”  I assured her that I did not, and she continued, “Because my son is a gay escort.”

Now, I’m as open-minded as the next madam, but I must admit that surprised me.  Some families have a hard time accepting a gay son or a prostitute daughter, but this woman was so accepting of her gay prostitute son that she didn’t mind helping him find work!  As it turned out, the son worked for Doug, and when I mentioned it to him later he said, “Oh, yeah, it’s a family business with them.”  It wasn’t long afterward that I found out just how true that statement was; I heard through the grapevine that the rich cokehead I’ve mentioned several times before had hired all three of them one night, and that as part of the festivities he had them put on a show for him.  All three of them, together.  I hope y’all don’t think me a prude for admitting that I find that just a little bit disturbing.  OK, I’ll be honest; not just a little bit.  There’s just something icky about it which somehow goes beyond the mere incest angle.  Talk about family drama…

Yet at the same time, I have to say that whatever one might think about their sexual behavior, their family dynamic was remarkably healthy in an Addams Family sort of way.  They accepted each other without reservation or judgment, and clearly were totally honest with each other; isn’t that better than having to lie to one’s mother because she won’t accept one’s choices?  And even if one questions the way in which this woman raised her children at least she loved them for who they were, which is more than I can say for my mother.

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