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Posts Tagged ‘All the Difference’

If anyone is perpetuating prostitution-related violence, it is prohibitionists like Kristof, who insist on maintaining a black market.  –  Jacob Sullum

Out of Control (The Camel’s Nose) Dr. George Doodnaught

A Canadian anesthesiologist convicted of sexually assaulting 21 sedated women during surgeries was sentenced…to 10 years in prison…Dr. George Doodnaught…relied on his three decades of operating room experience to avoid detection…the…victims…gave generally similar accounts of being kissed and fondled by him, and of having his penis placed in their mouths or hands…they were conscious enough to be aware of what was happening, but were not able to move their limbs…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

A cop is a cop, even when she’s a sex worker:

For years, Philadelphia Police Officer Terra Barrow had a side job running a handful of [sex] websites and phone lines…Barrow said she got into the…industry…to…make [extra] money…Competitor Donna Burns…claims Barrow ripped off her site designs, stole her client database and bullied competitors by telling them she was a cop…Burns also…gave…investigators advertisements that Barrow allegedly placed…as an escort named “Black Barbie.”  Barrow acknowledged she used that nickname in email but [claims she] has never worked as an escort…

Down Under

Neofeminists claim decriminalization has “failed [to protect sex workers] everywhere it’s been tried”.  This is what that “failure” looks like:

A prostitute has won a landmark sexual harassment case against a Wellington brothel owner…the Human Rights Review Tribunal awarded the young woman $25,000 in damages for emotional harm as a result of sexual harassment.  Aaron Montgomery, who no longer owns The Kensington Inn…was described as a bully who enjoyed controlling and humiliating women and tried to pressure workers into having sex with him…

Imaginary Crises

After two decades as one of the few women who dared to challenge the hysteria, it’s nice to have so much more company lately:

…if the risk of sexual assault on campus were truly one in five…no parent in their right mind would send their daughter to coed universities…Chad Hermann…[examined] the reported sexual assault offenses over three years at…the University of Pittsburgh (UP), Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Duquesne University (DU).  In 2009:  At UP, with 14,800 female students, four sexual assaults were reported.  At CMU, with about 3,900 female students, six sexual assaults were reported (a three-year high).  At DU, with 5,700 females, three were reported.  But wait:  We “know” (we don’t really) that 90% of rapes go unreported!  Okay, Hermann adjusts the numbers to reflect that, giving UP 40 assaults, CMU 60 and DU 30.  Are we at one-in-four yet?  Hardly.  We’re at one-in-185 (average of the three)…Medway victim safely exiting into a police car

It Looks Good On Paper

a BBC investigation  into the policing of prostitution in Medway, Kent showed harm reduction was dangerously disrupted by their aggressive “cleaning up the streets” approach.  In 2009, Kent Police began a scheme…called Safe Exit, supposedly to help women leave the sex trade by offering treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, training and education, and housing…But…instead…the women received a criminal record…Kent Police claimed to have reduced the number of women working on-street by over 90, but…two public servants associated with the scheme…say originally there were only 40-50 women working on-street.  Our sources also told us…that the scheme was a “political PR stunt”…[some of the women were burdened with] ASBOs…and a few ended up in prison…

Law of the Instrument

What at first seems like an arrest mission on a busy Orange County street is actually a rescue mission, as police go undercover to save girls who have become victims of sex trafficking…”  No, actually, it’s an arrest mission.  And if you can handle reading that first one, try this one about nearby Santa Barbara County, in which the agency of female university students and Chinese immigrants is totally denied using the excuse of “Stockholm Syndrome”.

Shifting the Blame (The Beat Goes On)

[James Brown]…was convicted of killing four women in his basement and stuffing their bodies in car trunks after he met them through online escort ads…just days apart, at his home in December 2011…Two were burned beyond recognition when a car was set on fire.  Brown…faces life in prison with no chance for parole…The women who were killed were Renisha Landers, Demesha Hunt, Natasha Curtis and Vernithea McCrary, all in their 20s…

Above the Law Mark Ridley

Three more brave heroes protecting and serving, in Oklahoma:  “…Muskogee police officer…Mark Ridley…was arrested…after allegedly forcing…the woman’s car…off the road, then…[forcing] her to perform oral sex at gunpoint…” and in California:  “Sheriff’s deputy [Damian Marquez repeatedly]…arrested a woman on felony probation ‘for the sole purpose of raping and sexually assaulting’ her at the [City of Industry] sheriff’s station…Xavier Thicklen and in Wisconsin:

[In the early stages of her pregnancy] and twice more after she had her baby, a [female prisoner] was placed in shackles…and raped over and over again, according to reports…Xavier D. Thicklen’s “abuse of his authority went wholly unchecked” by co-defendant Sheriff David A. Clarke, even though at least one of the assaults was caught on camera…Thicklen is charged with five counts of second-degree sexual assault…[and] could be sent to prison for 40 years on each…

First They Came for the Hookers… 

[New York City] has been…targeting…strip clubs by going after their liquor licenses…[after] trumping up charges…some clubs have continued to operate sans alcohol—which does, as a result of other bizarre strip club regulations, have the advantage of allowing dancers to be fully nude…But [alcohol-free clubs are much less popular and]…prohibition also zaps a major source of revenue for both clubs and dancers…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #30)

Finland has rejected the efforts of its neofeminist “justice” minister to impose the Swedish model, but what they gave her is bad enough:  “…the Ministry of Justice has proposed a tightening of the law, so sex-buyers who should have suspected pimping or trafficking can be sentenced…Justice Minister Anna- Maja Henriksson…[says she is] disappointed and…her goal is still a total ban…”  They are lowering the burden of proof to only one step short of strict liability, but obviously that isn’t enough to satisfy Henriksson’s anti-sex bloodlust.

King of the Hill

Buried beneath the Profession of Faith, agency denial, masturbatory fantasy, and penis-size bragging is the only worthwhile sentence in this crap:  “the FBI [named]…Detroit…as the second largest area for human trafficking in the U.S., with only San Francisco larger…She Rescue is not OK

All the Difference 

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has charged an Australian filmmaker with hindering the work of a…[“rescue”] organization…James Ricketson…accuses the Brisbane-based Citipointe Church of retaliating against him for his years-long efforts to help a Cambodian family retrieve two daughters from the organization’s She Rescue Home…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #52)

The same old Labour Party busybodies (with help from like-minded prudes in other parties) are once again trying to impose the Swedish model on the UK, but this time they’re pretending to be a new group inspired by last week’s reprehensible EU vote.  If these people were any more transparent they’d be completely invisible.  Here’s what Tim Worstall had to say about it:

…the “slavery” in prostitution…doesn’t, in this country at least, actually exist.  For we had a plan whereby every single police force in the country went out looking for people who were indeed sex slaves…and…could…not…come up with sufficient evidence to charge anyone at all…What we…have is consenting adults…deciding what to do with their own bodies…

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #131)

While Japanese politicians work to deny, downplay or excuse their country’s enslavement of tens of thousands of women in wartime brothels

…Japanese-American plaintiffs, served by American megafirm Mayer Brown, are pursuing the agenda of reactionary Japanese politicians through despicable litigation…In 2013 the City of Glendale [California] erected a modest memorial to the comfort women…in a public park…Japanese politicians were enraged and have repeatedly demanded that the memorial be removed.  The…lawsuit…seeks to [accomplish this]…by force of law…

Flush Criminalization

I love it when Jacob Sullum tears into Nick Kristof:

…how should we view armed agents of the state who invite people to engage in peaceful exchange, only to pounce on them with guns and handcuffs?Nicholas Kristof thinks they’re heroes.  Consider…his latest column equating prostitution with “human trafficking”…Kristof…insists “that isn’t prudishness or sanctimony but a strategy to dampen demand.”  This strategy—cops posing as prostitutes—has been a joke and a cliché for as long as I’ve been alive, but Kristof considers it the cutting edge of innovative policing.  If targeting customers is all it takes to eradicate black markets, why do they still exist?…Kristof…calls sting operations “marvels of efficiency”—which they are, assuming you want to produce futile arrests and gratuitous humiliation…

As I reported in December, the “marvel of efficiency” sophomorically entitled “Operation Flush the Johns” hasn’t had much luck convicting any of the accused who didn’t just plead out; they finally got their first one this week.

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine (TW3 #329)

A video by Carol Leigh on the memorials for Petite Jasmine and Dora Özer.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #345)

An excellent article by Molly Crabapple on the vile Project ROSE and its equally-vile founder, Dominique Roe-Sepowitz:

…Project ROSE may seem similar to the many diversion programs in the United States…[but] it doesn’t work with the convicted.  Rather, its raids funnel hundreds of people into the criminal justice system.  Denied access to lawyers, many of these people are coerced into ROSE’s program without being convicted of any crime…Roe-Sepowitz …told Al Jazeera:  “Once you’ve prostituted you can never not have prostituted…Having that many body parts in your body parts, having that many body fluids near you and doing things that are freaky and weird really messes up your ideas of what a relationship looks like, and intimacy”…

Remembrance

Too bad the BBC can’t be this honest and sympathetic about modern clients:

Visiting prostitutes is a little-known and little-discussed aspect of life on the Western Front, but it was a key part of the British soldiers’ war experience…brothel visits [were seen] as a physical necessity – it was an era when sexual abstinence for men was considered harmful to their health…

In other words, a more realistic era.

Traffic Jam (All Traffick, All the Time)

Cuckoo Clock McCain is still at it:

Cindy McCain testified at a [Congressional] hearing…that about 84% of ads for prostitution placed on [New York area] Backpage.com…during the Super Bowl involved women being trafficked…The study was funded by the McCain Institute…and used research from Arizona State University and analysis from Praescient Analytics…

Rich loon McCain hires ethically-bankrupt fanatic Dominique Roe-Sepowitz (that’s who “Arizona State” really is) to use an “analysis” method of her own design, and the “study” finds exactly what the two of them want it to find  despite the fact that it contains nothing resembling either facts or methodology.  What a surprise!

The Public Eye (TW3 #408)

Here’s an excerpt from Melissa Gira Grant’s new book, Playing the Whore, and two more interviews with her; one is with Caty Simon in Tits and Sass and one with Josh Eidelson in Salon.  I’m very pleased to see how much coverage Grant and her book are getting in mainstream publications, especially in this time when most of the media are forehead-deep in prohibitionist lies.

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #409) Belle Knox

The Duke freshman porn starlet has revealed her photo and stage name: Belle Knox.  And I like her more with every article she writes:

…the Duke Chronicle wrote a somewhat patronizing portrait of me, disguising my name…The question I am asked over and over again is this:  If I am proud of being an adult performer, then why do I “hide” behind this fake name?  Because…my decision to do porn does not somehow mean that the world now “owns” or deserves access to every single thing about me…My birth name is one name…My porn name is another…I can’t stop you from calling me any name you want to — including “slut,” “whore” or “bitch” — but I can decide what name I use…please dissuade yourself right now of the delusion that you control or own me…I am not your child or your property or your Madonna or your whore…

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Who needs misogynists when you describe women engaged in sex work as “objects” whose humanity “can be forgotten”?  –  Maddie Collier

R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen

The greatest special-effects artist of all time has passed away at the age of 92.  His movies are among my all-time favorites, and no digital creature has ever entertained me as much as Ray’s masterful puppetry still does.  And even though he’s been retired for 32 years, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that the world will be just a little less magical without him.

Bad Girls

[An] unnamed 14-year-old used his iPad to find…Dareka R. Brooks through a website used for sexual hookups…believing [her] to be a sex worker, [he] invited her to his…home, [where she]…pepper-sprayed the boy and made off with his piggy bank and the…iPadBrooks was tracked down a short time later…and arrested after she used the iPad…Brooks was charged with armed robbery…[but] the…boy will not face charges for solicitation.

I suspect the cops’ “kindness” means the boy’s family is well-connected.

Halfway Whores

Dr. Laura Agustín on “Good-time girls and other non-professionals taking money for sex“:

Formalised money-sex exchanges get the attention and conflict…lots of other exchanges are ignored, a line is drawn between commercial and non-commercial sex.  But that line is imaginary.  Many people who expect to be compensated for their company will never call themselves sex workers or escorts…

Lack of Evidence

A Colorado woman was convicted of prostitution for answering a personal ad; after trying to talk her into having sex in a parking lot, a disguised cop “shoved a fistful of cash in front of her face and issued a command: ‘TAKE IT!’…Moments later, the car was surrounded [by] ‘Guns and guys in black with masks on’…the prosecution focused on the word ‘roses’ in the Craigslist ad…”  Maybe if this sort of thing starts to happen more often, amateurs will start to wake up to the fact that anti-whore laws harm everyone.

William ColemanMy Body, My Choice (Holiday Leftovers)

[For] five years…[William Coleman has been] force-fed…Starving himself…is the only way he has to…protest his conviction.  Not eating is his only available free speech act…He and his lawyer have gone to court to stop the force-feedings, but a judge ruled against him in March…Coleman is…[not at] Guantánamo…where a mass hunger strike of 100 prisoners has brought…force-feeding to American newspapers, if not American consciences…but…in Connecticut…Guantánamo is not an anomaly.  Prisoners…are routinely and systematically force-fed every day…force-feedings…are considered torture by most of the world’s medical and governing bodies…yet most media outlets continue to portray feeding tube use as a “complex ethical debate.”  It’s not.  Competent prisoners go on hunger strike because they have something to say and no other way to say it.  Prison officials choose not to hear — and silence them with tubes…

Check Your Premises

A Hialeah [Florida] police sergeant…Tomas Muñoz…has been suspended with pay after being…charged with cocaine possession and carrying drug paraphernalia…he told reporters…“I met a girl — she happens to have a pimp, and we fell in love…And he doesn’t let her be free.  This came about because he set the whole thing up.”

He “doesn’t let her be free”, except to fuck cops.  For free.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

American’s mathematical illiteracy goes clear up to the White House, whose spokesman recently claimed that almost 4% of school-age American girls have become “child sex slaves” since the beginning of the panic a decade ago.  Also of note:  since the government was unable to shut down Backpage via unconstitutional censorship demands, it is now claiming that it intentionally gave up trying.

The Proper Study

Another step in the right direction:

Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group) have announced…a new journal devoted to the study of pornography.  Porn Studies, to be edited by Professor Feona Attwood of Middlesex University and Dr Clarissa Smith of the University of Sunderland, will be the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to critically explore those cultural products and services designated as pornographic and their cultural, economic, historical, institutional, legal and social contextsSaradha

One Born Every Minute

Thousands of sex workers in Sonagachi have lost their lifelong savings…in Ponzi schemes…”about [30 million rupees] has been lost”…[said] Bharati [of Durbar Mahila Samanaya Committee]…Till 2004-05…sex workers [only] deposited their earnings and took loans…[at] Usha Bank…but…7-8 agents [who] were sacked by [the] Bank…continued to operate in the red light area.  “Sex workers were easily trapped because the agents were well known to them or were their relatives…” [said a bank officer]…Bharati says, “We…repeatedly issued warnings…But you can’t stop anyone…hell bent to invest her hard earned money in schemes promising much higher returns.”  The Durbar has recently launched a massive awareness programme…

Workers’ Paradise vs. Gold Diggers

 …Dongguan…has a population of about 7 million and a reputation as the Chinese capital of sex…Between 500,000 and 800,000 people – some 10 per cent of Dongguan’s migrant population – are in some way employed in the world’s oldest profession…[including] 300,000 sex workers…[but] authorities are now…trying to push prostitution off Dongguan’s streets with a crackdown…

Where Are the Protests?

Note that the word “trafficking” is entirely absent:

A company within Sweden’s home care services…mistreated migrant workers by making false promises about work conditions…Hassan…said that his official job offer stated that he would be employed full-time by…TPS Vårdteam…with a monthly wage of 26,500 kronor ($4,000)…”In the beginning I didn’t get any work at all…Then I had to work seven days a week….[for] only…8,000 kronor per month”…the company had not paid in any taxes at all for Hassan…

End demand for home health care!

Obfuscation via Dysphemisms

Tulsa, Oklahoma’s sleazy war on whores reaches a new level of evil:

Tulsa police have…charged 23 individuals under a state law that permits a felony to be filed when a person suspected of prostitution is arrested within 1,000 feet of a church or school.  “It’s just a nightmare,” said defense attorney, Charles Kania…a “scarlet letter on their foreheads that follows them forever”…The felony charges are part of a stepped-up effort by police to get tough on prostitution…Sgt. Todd Evans said…”Most of Tulsa is within a thousand feet of a church or school”…[and] police have sometimes opted to book individuals under another statute that makes it a felony to utilize a computer to violate any state law…

Active Blessing
All the Difference

Active Blessing Uganda…[promised that children] would get an education and live a better life…instead [they were] denied basic rights and exploited…76 children, aged between four and 16 years, have been rescued from the alleged human traffickers…the children are malnourished…do domestic work…in return for food and when they fall sick…are not cared for…the parents [were]…always prevented…from visiting…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (TW3 #49)

On May 22, the American Psychiatric Association will release the…DSM-5…[practicing psychotherapist] Gary Greenberg, one of the book’s biggest critics, claims these disorders aren’t real — they’re invented…The Book of Woe: The Making of the DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry is his exposé of the business behind the creation of the new manual…

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn (TW3 #137)

A powerful statement from Filipino sex workers:

…Being poor in the Philippines…means…no matter how much you believe things to be wrong you must believe it to be right when the rich, your master (amo)…[says] so…That…[is] why it was not difficult for the feminist (abolitionists) to appropriate our voices and to start…speaking for themselves in our name…For years, we could only stand , mouths gagged, as we watched our new “amos” build their careers speaking for other underprivileged and “mindless” women in their list who they claim do not have the ability to speak for themselves…We…do not understand the arrogance by which they have anointed themselves our saviors…what we want is save ourselves from them instead…we really do not care about  “patriarchy”, “commodification” and other words they spew.  Those matters don’t bring food on our table nor pay for our rent.  All we are interested in is work undisturbed…It is time to tell the world that only sex workers [can] speak for sex workers…

Held Together With Lies (TW3 #316)Eurotrafficking

Wendy Lyon does her usual thorough job ripping apart a bogus study:

Last month saw the publication of the EU’s first Trafficking in Human Beings report, which…is (properly) littered with disclaimers…Unfortunately…the press release…[went] for the handy soundbite…so we’ve been deluged with headlines like “Human trafficking increased by 18%” when…the report doesn’t show it did any such thing…if all the statistics were accepted as readily as the “18% increase” has been, it would be a little bit inconvenient for some…Contrary to what we’re constantly told by the anti-trafficking movement, the most recent figures make it hard to discern any link between trafficking and the legal status of sex work.  The Dutch rate is very high, but the Cyprus rate is higher – and Cyprus has much stricter laws than the Netherlands…Romania, where sex work itself is illegal, is nearly as high.  Hungary (legal), Portugal (legal) and Lithuania (illegal) are tied for last.  Austria and Germany are also relatively low – in fact, Germany and Sweden are tied, at 0.8 per 100,000.  And the German rate has remained more or less constant over the three years surveyed, while Sweden’s has quadrupled…But sex workers’ rights advocates shouldn’t leap on those figures, either, because truthfully the whole report is pretty hopelessly undermined by its methodological weaknesses…

Monsters

Sometime…[in] April, an Ohio transgender woman was…stabbed repeatedly and then tied to a concrete block and cast into a pond.  She was left with no clothes below the waist, perhaps to shame her…But…insensitive stories by the local press…[wrote] about [her] as if she were a bizarre spectacle, not a victimized human being…the Cleveland Plain Dealer…used a mugshot of [Cemia] Acoff instead of the other readily available photos…the [headline which now reads]…“Oddly dressed body found in Olmsted Township identified,” originally said “oddly dressed man,” (you can see it in the url; it was changed after readers and activists protested)…the story [also] refers to her as Carl Acoff (her birth name) and uses a male pronoun...[a follow-up] story…details what she was wearing…lists old petty “crimes”…[and refers to the] hormones [she was carrying as] “dangerous drugs”…

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #317)

Maddie Collier’s response to Rakhi “pop stars cause sex trafficking” Kumar is well worth reading in its entirety, but here’s a sample:

…The anti-sex trafficking cause is already thick with moral panic, misinformation, and ill-informed, PR-boosting celebrity activists, and you’re cluttering the already-diminished discourse with further nonsense….[which spawns] attitudes and policies that actively harm sex workers.  You are ignoring the freely-available  perspectives and requests of real-life sex workers because they interfere with your romantic notion of the Prostituted Woman as a forlorn, passive victim who needs to be saved.  If you engage with sex workers before you form a view on what’s oppressing them, you might find that criminalisation and stigma are higher-priority concerns than mythical drug-dealing pimps wielding persuasive charm and Beyoncé’s hotpants…

Anatomy of a Boondoggle (TW3 #317)

The newest excuse for police rape of sex workers is that Asian massage parlors are “sophisticated”:

…an undercover police officer…[repeatedly paid for sex] over five months…in a fight against prostitution and human trafficking.  Officers say such methods led to…[their raiding] two businesses [and] arresting…four alleged prostitutes and two alleged pimps.  But the methods…were criticized…by legal…experts and women’s advocates as excessive, unnecessary and misapplied…prostitutes can be arrested and charged in Indiana as soon as an agreement to pay for a sex act is made…Plus…if the women indeed had been…working…against their will, the sex acts they performed on the officer only contributed to their humiliation, exploitation and degradation…Aaron Dietz, head of the…Task Force…which conducted the nine-month sting, said…the sophisticated nature of the prostitution ring required officers to take more extreme measures…Dietz and others wanted to emphasize that it was not a pleasurable experience for the officer, but entirely necessary.  “No one…really wants to go into these…It’s something that’s ethically and morally very trying, so I’d do anything to keep guys out of there.”

You’d do anything?  Then how about advocating for decriminalization, you fucking filthy liar?

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It’s…extremely patronizing…to say someone’s conscious choice of work is degrading.  –  Jon Millward

Eric Jason CampbellLicense To Rape

A [Mt. Pleasant] Texas police officer pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14-years-old…Eric Jason Campbell, 41, has been sentenced to 50 years in prison.  He will also be required to register as a sex offender when he is released…

Saving Them From Themselves

A Massachusetts DA helpfully explains why it’s a good thing his office persecutes teenagers for “sexting”:

…”We do not have any exceptions…for kids who are really in love, for girls who wanted to do it and for guys who promised they wouldn’t share it…” [Robert] Kinzer said.  “A nude photo of [a minor’s] exposed genitalia is child pornography…When they start sharing photos like this, we are going to start charging people with the manufacturing, dissemination and possession of child pornography, and they’re going to…face [prosecution]…You’re going to lose jobs and relationships, and you’ll spend the rest of your life as a registered sex offender”…

Tyranny By Consensus

Since LA County officials have not leaped at the opportunity to waste millions of dollars policing porn shoots to enforce his private condom crusade, Michael Weinstein is now trying to force the city to establish its own redundant health department, which Weinstein presumably believes would be more easily pressured into dancing to his tune:

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced…a new ballot measure …[for] an all-new City of L.A. Public Health Department…AHF has urged Dr. Jonathan Fielding, Los Angeles County’s Public Health director, to shut down non-condom porn shoots…[but] Fielding…hasn’t…despite AHF-led letter and phone campaigns.  And it is well known that officials at the county Public Health Department are opposed to their agency enforcing Measure B…

Big Sister

In this column I wrote, “Prostitution and stripping are already illegal, and it seems that porn will be next, followed by censorship of print media and the internet.”  Yes, I do get tired of being right all the time:

The government is considering…internet filters, such as those used to block China off…to stop Icelanders downloading or viewing pornography on the internet…Ogmundur Jonasson, Iceland’s interior minister, is drafting legislation to stop the access of online pornographic images and videos…”violent pornography…has…very harmful effects on young people and can have a clear link to incidences of violent crime,” he said.

In reality, the evidence suggests exactly the opposite, but since Iceland already has the highest rape rate in Europe I guess they figure a few more raped women are just extra eggs for the totalitarian neofeminist omelette.Sex at Dawn  The story quotes the ubiquitous Gail Dines, who also used the occasion to get her name in print in the UK as well.

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received a copy of Sex at Dawn  (which people have been trying to get me to read for years) from Eddie JC.  Thank you, Eddie!

That’s the Ticket!

One would think that the Comic Relief organization could tell the difference between actual statistics and the absurd claims of a “pathological liar” comedy routine, but apparently not:  “75% of women working in prostitution started before they were 18, and most of them feel trapped and would leave if only they could find a way.  The UK is a major destination country for trafficked young people…

The Course of a Disease

…Dublin City Council…rejected calls to support the Turn Off The Red-light campaign.  Amendments passed removed the proposal to criminalise the purchase of sex, and changed the report on Swedish evidence to hearsay.”  The national crusade still rolls on, but this local rejection of the Swedish rot shows that not everyone in Ireland is asleep at the wheel.

FarmVille

On March 4, a new game on Facebook, inspired by the book Half the Sky…will be introduced, with a focus on raising awareness of issues like female genital mutilation and child prostitution…The central character, an Indian woman named Radhika, faces various challenges with the assistance of players, who can help out with donations of virtual goods, for example.  The players can then make equivalent real-world donations to seven nonprofit organizations woven into the game…As her empowerment grows, Radhika moves across the globe to Kenya, Vietnam and Afghanistan…Players who reach the final level learn about sex trafficking in the United States and can donate to an organization in New York called GEMS

Because it’s really important to simplify complex issues and make them fun so that wise, benevolent white people will be tempted to manage the lives of helpless, childlike brown ones.

Little Boxes

A bill that could send women to prison for going topless in public appears set for approval by the North Carolina legislature…[it] would amend the state’s indecent exposure law to expand the legal definition of “private parts” to…include “the nipple, or any portion of the areola, [of] the female breast.”  Depending on whether such exposure is judged to be “for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire,” the woman could be charged with a felony, punishable by up to six months in prison…More mundane exposure would be a misdemeanor, meriting up to 30 days in jail.  “Incidental” exposure by breastfeeding mothers would remain exempt…Rayne Brown…[said] her constituents are concerned about topless rallies promoting women’s equality…

Shift in the Wind

Another fun promotional video from the Sex Worker Freedom Festival last July:

Childish Things (TW3 #33)

Dr. Paul Maginn has published another appeal for sanity, stating that “various parts of the world appear to be suffering from a mix of moral panic and ideological myopia” on the issue of sex work.  Though brief, the article debunks lies about “sex trafficking”, “dirty whores”, “end demand” and “negative secondary effects”, and includes quotes from Drs. Laura Agustín and Brooke Magnanti.

Obfuscation Via Dysphemisms

Oklahoma “authorities” seem even more enchanted with the notion of “human trafficking” than most Americans:

…Clarence F. Holden, 25, of Fort Smith [Arkansas] faces felony counts of human trafficking and procuring for prostitution…Officers arrested Holden and two other people…after the Vice Unit responded to an Internet post…for “a massage with a ‘happy ending’ ” for $150…Destiny Hope Niles, 24, also of Fort Smith – told police Holden keeps her money, car keys and credit card and threatened her physically…

Consider that even though this sort of petty manipulation is what passes for “trafficking” to American cops, they still can’t come up with anything like the hysterical claims.

The Public Eye

just like Mommy4 Things You Should Know About Women Who Strip” by Jennifer Ward doesn’t break any new ground for readers of this blog, but as far as I’m concerned we can’t have enough articles explaining that sex workers and our clients are “a lot more diverse than people assume them to be.”  In the same vein, three porn actors answered questions at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri:  “Lance Hart…Tori Black and James Deen answered questions as a part of a Sex Week panel event…the purpose of the panel was to foster dialogue about aspects of the porn industry that are not typically discussed, such as sexual health…

Something Rotten in Sweden (TW3 #44)

Though this article perpetuates the increasingly-common lie that the Swedish model is “decriminalization”, it at least tells the truth about the damage to sex workers caused by “end demand” campaigns:

…the “End Demand Illinois” campaign…asks that johns…become the law’s targets…[and] is working to make johns, pimps and traffickers more accountable, but it’s also sought to…stop treating prostitution as a felony.  Right now, if a sex worker is hit with two misdemeanor charges related to prostitution in Illinois, the second charge is upgraded to a felony…Last fall The Chicago Reporterfound that prostitution-related felonies are being levied almost exclusively against sex workers…Rachel Lovell, a researcher at Case Western University…co-authored a paper that criticized End Demand Illinois.  It argued that stiffer penalties against johns actually end up hurting female sex workers.  “The philosophy and the overarching theme of the End Demand movement is that all women in prostitution are victims,” Lovell said…it’s important to distinguish between the different ways one can be a sex worker…“To say if we increase penalties for men they will just stop buying…[is] too simplistic…”

All the Difference

Indian sex workers have powerfully resisted “sex trafficking” hysteria, and have convinced many “authorities” that they are not passive victims.  Unfortunately, the rescue industry will lose money and power if it has nobody to “rescue”, and so has increasingly turned its attentions toward abducting sex workers’ children, defending the practice with propaganda films:

Not Today…[is] a feature-length film that sheds light on the modern-day sex trafficking industry that consumes the Dalit class in India…”The world needs to understand that slavery still exists, that even today young children are bought and sold like cattle, that little girls are forced into the dark illicit sex trade, that young boys and girls are coerced to beg in the streets and bring their proceeds back to line the pockets of thugs who abuse them at night,” said the film’s executive producer, Matthew Cork…

Deep Inside infographicDrama Queens (TW3 #48)

Though I’d love to see a methodologically-sound study of 10,000 whores, 10,000 porn actors is a good start.  Click on the picture (and again to enlarge), then read Jon Millward’s article and Brooke Magnanti’s interview with him.

Get Out of the 19th Century Often? (TW3 #136)

A proposed prostitution ban met with opposition at an Atlanta City Council work session…Community leaders, church pastors and advocates against sex trafficking said the ban was harshly targeting victims of the sex trade…Chad Brock of the ACLU said they might consider challenging the ordinance if it becomes law…”Instead of pairing you up with the social services you need, they’re telling you to go away,” Brock said. “We don’t believe that’s going to help any sex worker rehabilitating themselves”…

Unclean Situation

As expected, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has issued a less mealy-mouthed follow-up to his previous pseudo-apology to the victims of the Magdalene laundries, but as blogger Bock the Robber asked,

Where is the apology from the nuns who ran these slave labour camps?  Where is the apology from the NSPCC (now the ISPCC), employers of the feared and unsupervised cruelty men who consigned so many children and young women to this slavery…Where is the apology from the Legion of Mary, whose members…[facilitated] the incarceration of people they disapproved of?  Where is the apology from the Roman Catholic church on behalf of all those parish priests who ripped children from the heart of their families because of some warped and perverted view of sexuality?…What an extraordinary society it was that deputised an assortment of self-serving busybodies…and continues to give…such power to clerics and self-appointed meddlers…

On the same day, the Telegraph carried a moving article by Samantha Long about her birth-mother, who was an inmate of one of the laundries.

Skin To Skin

This article about sex work with the disabled covers some good ground, but unfortunately also gives a platform to those who think real people’s needs should be subordinate to “messages” and sacrificed to the impossible quest for an unreachable Utopia:

…The sexual needs of people with disabilities are under the spotlight like never before after the release of…The Sessions…last month, ex-staff from a care home…[said] they had allowed sex workers into the home at the request of disabled residents…and…Becky Adams…plans to open the first brothel…for disabled clients in the UK…[but others see] the use of sex workers as a potentially harmful development.  “It’s like the world telling you that disabled people are so unsexy that the only way they can have sex is to pay for it…What disabled people need is full and equal rights. An inclusive society, which doesn’t create barriers”…

Caring Professionals

On the same day my column appeared, Robin Hustle published the similarly-themed (though broader) “What Prostitutes, Nurses and Nannies Have in Common”.  The Jezebel commentariat is predictably split between the narcissistic, the wholly clueless, and nurses who are Terribly OffendedTM at being compared to whores.

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As our self-interests differ, so do our feelings.  –  Pierre Corneille

It’s interesting how two different organizations doing work that on the surface might seem very similar can nevertheless be extremely different, both morally and practically.  This is nowhere more true than in sex worker outreach, where a harm reduction organization working in the same city as a “rescue” organization nearly always has much better results, even if the “rescue” group is better funded.  The reason is simple:  harm reduction groups treat their clients as human beings who have fallen into a bad situation, but still deserve respect and autonomy; such an organization may offer shelter, services, health care, legal assistance, vocational training and the like, but none of it is compulsory or conditional.  “Rescue” groups, on the other hand, look upon their clients as things to be done to (“saved”, “lifted”, “converted”, etc); though they offer the same type of services as harm reduction groups, these are generally conditional upon the women leaving prostitution or even submitting to captivity and/or brainwashing.

Two charities recently came to my attention; both operate in Asian countries and run boarding schools for poor girls with the specific intention of providing them an alternative to sex work…but there the similarity stops.  Let’s look first at Chaithanya Happy Home in Hyderabad, India:

…Chaithanya Happy Home is part of Chaithanya Mahila Mandali, India’s first nonprofit organization founded by a former sex worker, Jayamma Bandari…the 35 girls living in the home are all daughters of…sex workers.  Even a decade ago, the fate for these girls was to join the same profession as their mothers once they came of age.  Today, however, they are living in a safe place and…attending one of the best…schools in Hyderabad, dreaming of becoming schoolteachers, engineers, doctors and revenue collectors.  The stigma and discrimination attached to…sex workers in Indian society trickles down to their daughters.  To change this, nongovernmental organizations are working to secure basic rights for the girls…but activists say more needs to be done to change age-old societal attitudes stigmatizing sex workers and their daughters…In Hyderabad alone, there are more than 25,000 female sex workers…Bandari’s organization has helped 600 of them to possess valid proof of identity.  But thousands of others are still unable to access free health care, to vote or to open a bank account.

More than 60 percent of the total number of sex workers in Hyderabad do not own any property and live in rented apartments…They do not reveal their real profession to their landlords or to their neighbors, fearing that they will be evicted and shunned.  A [non sex-working] parent will never allow…her kids to mingle with the kid of a sex worker…[the] exclusion for being sex workers…[thus] trickles down to their children, denying them basic rights in the past such as education…some schools reasoned that parents of other children would oppose, others refused to accept them on the grounds that the children had only one parent…None of these children had a birth certificate, as their mothers delivered at home…[but Chaithanya Mahila Mandali] appealed to the schools to consider this and accept the children without a valid birth certificate…also…the…Right to Education…law, in effect since April 2010, has made elementary education compulsory and free in any government school.  This has encouraged more sex workers to enroll their children in local schools…As a result, the number of daughters of sex workers attending school is increasing across India…

The girls in the “Happy Home” were all brought there by their mothers, who wished for them to have a better life; Bandari and the other interviewed activists all place the blame for the situation exactly where it belongs, on bad laws and social stigma which marginalize sex workers and thereby trap their daughters so that sex work is their only option.  There is nary a mention of “sex traffickers” in the whole article, which is more than can be said for “House of Grace”:

…House of Grace is a home for tribal girls [in Northern Thailand] at risk of being sold into sexual slavery.  House of Grace has rescued hundreds of girls, before the horror of child prostitution became a reality…“the finest children’s home in Thailand”…is a first-rate facility that houses and tenderly raises Akha girls in a loving Christian atmosphere…In most cases we are doing a preventative work — trying to get the girls to safety…before they are sold into prostitution.  It is very difficult to rescue a girl who has already been trapped into that lifestyle, so our main focus is to reach little girls before this horror has become a reality for them.  As God extends our reach, we will also be able to rescue those who are trapped…[if] a father or stepfather is going to sell his daughter…often there is a kind person in the girl’s life who will try to keep this from happening.  Many times a grandmother, aunt, older sister or a good neighbor will bring a young girl to House of Grace to protect her…

Though the last sentence claims that those who bring girls there are “often” relatives, all that talk of “rescuing those who are trapped” and the fact that the Akha are a favorite target of “rescue” groups leads me to believe otherwise.  While Chaithanya Mahila Mandali recognizes that young girls are pushed into sex work for social and legal reasons, House of Grace prefers to promote “trafficking” hysteria and “slavery” rhetoric and to demonize male relatives (when poor families sell their daughters into brothels, the mothers are to blame at least as often as the fathers).  And while the language of the Indian article is fairly objective even when it’s discussing the awful and often violent conditions under which poor sex workers in Hyderabad live, the second is rife with dysphemisms like “horror”, “slavery” and “lifestyle” (which is always a pejorative term for Christians, evoking the idea of “temptation” into sexual “sin”.)  But the most striking difference of all is that while Chaithanya only takes girls whose sex worker mothers voluntarily surrender them, it is clear that House of Grace has no such scruples and is happy to abduct any “heathen” girls they can get their hands on, with the help of whatever confederate they can arrange, using the excuse that somebody said she might end up as a whore.

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