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Posts Tagged ‘An Angel of Mercy’

I suggest we listen to the…people we are trying to protect.  –  Kate Lister

License to Rape

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

…drug law enforcement is…often accompanied by…sexual shakedowns, in which women…are given the choice between performing sexual acts or facing what could be decades in prison…women…[are] almost three times as likely as men…to be subject to humiliating strip-searches…body cavity searches and monitored bowel movements…roadside cavity search[es] by [cops] who claimed to have smelled marijuana…eventually prompted the Texas Legislature to pass a bill banning cavity searches during traffic stops absent a warrant…Can [pigs] actually get a warrant to search someone’s vagina?  The answer is yes.  One night in 1986 Massachusetts police officers showed up at Shirley Rodriques’s house, forced open her door and, finding her sleeping in bed with her husband, told her that they had a warrant to search her vagina for drugs.  When she refused their order to reach inside herself and take out the “stuff,” police took her to a hospital where…a physician forcefully searched her vagina while a nurse held her down on the table.  No drugs were found.  But when Ms. Rodriques filed a lawsuit…courts found no wrongdoing…It is still possible to get such a warrant today…

Check Your Premises

So having sex with strangers because of animal-brain lust is wonderful and commendable, but having the same kind of sex with the same kind of people for rational, human-brain reasons is a “grey area” that needs to be “monitored” by authoritarian busybodies:

Manchester has seen a huge uptick in the number of men…selling their bodies for money…Fergal McCullough…explains that…the lines between sex and sex work have grown fuzzier…“There are a lot of grey areas…I’ve had people say ‘If I fancy him I won’t charge him’.  That’s the reality for a young, out, gay sex worker”…Unlike female sex workers…a lot of male sex workers advertise their services online…While the exchange of sexual activities for money or other goods is legal in the U.K., police still need to monitor the situation…

Yes, the writer is also claiming that men advertise sex work online more than women do.  Picket-fence gays have become an active threat to sexual freedom.

Subtle Pimping

Another amateur profiting from sex workers while giving us nothing:

The [unprincipled] director Jane Campion has revealed that her research for the new series of Top of the Lake involved sneaking into Sydney brothels in disguise in order to hear the real stories of sex workers in the city…this series will move from wild backdrop of New Zealand to Sydney, delving into the world of [decriminalized sex work].  “Sexual tourism in Sydney…has always really annoyed me because [I’m a busybody who thinks my opinion is more important than those]…of people who…have [actually done sex work.  Like most prudes, I enjoy pretending that]…the legalisation of brothels is not a simple issue at all [and my sexual fantasies involve] the ownership of someone else’s body…”

With Friends Like These…

Why can’t wannabe allies actually be bothered to talk to sex workers before publishing ignorant pro-regulation drivel that assumes we’re childlike morons in need of licensed handlers?

…the issue of legalizing and regulating the sex trade remains conspicuously off limits for our legislators.  Allowing responsibly-operated brothels…has it been legalized in New Zealand, Germany…Eastern Australia…and…Nevada…this policy would help to protect currently-vulnerable sex workers from abuse and disease…there is no popular nationwide movement to stop the ongoing abuse of sex workers by unlicensed, unregulated pimps…

Sexual Predators 

That this creepy entrapment & surveillance game isn’t seen for what it is shows how much American society has degenerated:

Detectives from…Monroe County [Pennsylvania]…conducted a web-based prostitution sting [under cover of the myth of]…human trafficking…the detectives posted decoy ads on backpage.com…Each call was initially fielded by Detective Kim Lippincott, who would engage the man in conversation while Detective Brian Webbe used the number to find his information…so they can address the [victims] by name, mention their address and bring up other relationships…The men that fell into the trap were not arrested…the goal was to [spread propaganda that dehumanizes sex workers and casts them as pathetic victims who deserve to be cheated of a fair income]…

Under Every Bed

No doubt caused by the presence of corn and I-35:

A task force that works to [manufacture] crimes against children is [inventing] an increase in the number of sex trafficking cases in Kansas…Richard Powell of the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s office says…”perpetrators are…utilizing a lot of social media to recruit victims.”  Powell says there are more than 8000 registered sex offenders living in Kansas, and about 15 percent are in the greater Wichita…area…

An Angel of Mercy (#320)

No cops.  No cages.  No shaming or brainwashing:

A charity that supports sex workers in Nottingham has secured funding for a new van that will deliver food and hot drinks to them…The Jericho Road Project…was set up 17 years ago and supports approximately 25 women a month…[project manager Julia Terry said] “The aim is to show them love and if they would like help in exiting (the work) then we will support them, but even if they don’t want to exit then we still offer support”…The charity will also support women if they have been attacked, and pass on the details to website Ugly Mugs…

The only sour note in the story is the list of reasons women do sex work which somehow fails to include “earning money”.

First They Came for the Hookers…(#623)

It doesn’t matter what a sex worker does after leaving sex work; to the media, they’ll always be a whore:

A former Russian government official—and business partner of Donald Trump’s—is gaining new notoriety, as the federal investigation into alleged election meddling widens…this Kazakh-born real estate mogul, Tevfik Arif, is doing his best to clean up his past, trying to purge the web of references to his arrest in an underage prostitution bust.  He was later acquitted in the matter…

Opting Out (#700)

Naturally, Cassandra McNeill was saying this years ago:

…the UK government…formally announc[ed] that age verification for all online pornographic content will be mandatory from April 2018…it’s expected that you will need to submit your credit card details to a site before being allowed to access adult content (credit cards can’t be issued to under-18s).  The appointed regulator will almost certainly be the British Board of Film Classification who will have the authority to levy fines of up to £250,000 or shut down sites that do not comply…This act will potentially censor any UK site that carries adult content, which is broadly defined by the BBFC as “that it was produced solely or principally for the purposes of sexual arousal”…anyone in the adult industry who markets their business with a website, can all be termed pornographic and forced to buy expensive software to screen their users or risk being shut down or fined…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#719) 

One wonders if this loon thinks it’s a danger to society to force her vaguely-phallic vibrator against her genitalia without asking for its consent:

What does a rape-able robot say about our attitudes to consent, sex, violence and humanism?  Do sex robots…eroticise and normalise male sexual aggression?  Or does allowing men to “act out” these “most private sexual dreams” on inanimate objects actually make real women safer?  The idea that allowing men to “rape” robots could reduce rates of sexual violence is fundamentally flawed.  Sex robot settings that eroticise a woman’s lack of consent, coupled with male aggression, risk normalising rape.  It sends a message to the user that it is sexually fulfilling to violate a woman’s “No”…

For the nth time: a woman-shaped toaster is still a toaster, not a woman. It has no power to consent, and there are no “ethical dilemmas” raised by fucking it, painting it green, sticking it in a closet, dismembering it or modifying it into a woman-shaped drink dispenser. Only childlike primitives believe that the shape of an object imbues it with sympathetic-magical powers over humans.  And finally: anyone who un-ironically uses the phrase “send a message” in a screed urging limitation of others’ individual freedoms is an authoritarian who “makes the world more dangerous for women, not less”.

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It’s better to be shameless than the victim.  –  Gabriela Leite

Acting and Activism

Whenever Mira Sorvino feels neglected by the media, she vomits out a slew of idiotic fables for credulous reporters:  “…this has grown into a highly profitable international business that rakes in $500 billion a year.”  Yes, that’s a “B”; Mira claims “sex trafficking” brings in 25% more than the entire GDP of Sweden (even UNODC only claims $32 billion).  But to a mathematical retard who believes every single whore makes over $250,000 a year and every pimp about $1.5 million, and that there are millions of “trafficked slaves”, I guess $500 billion seems credible.

Make Up Your Damned Mind!

Another runaway clown car of unintentional hilarity:

…prostitution in Richmond [Indiana]…[is like] abandoned and unsafe housing…It’s not clear that stepped-up law enforcement can eliminate the problem…any more than it can stamp out abandoned and hazardous structures.  But what…Richmond Police Department Capt. Bill Shake does so well…is give lie to the notion…that prostitution is a “victimless” crime.  “It is a public safety disorder issue and a quality of life issue…We had three women come to us and complain that they had been approached by men seeking prostitutes.  These are just women…walking to work”…these innocent women…are victimized because their sense of security has been violated.Curly  Local businesses and homeowners…are likewise victims of the sheer brazen starkness of the problem.  But…Shake makes a victimhood case even for the [prostitutes and] Johns…“These ladies need help, and the men need intervention,” he said…

TL;DR version:  “Whoop whoop whoop whoop whoop!  Nyah nyah nyah!”

Where Are the Victims?

This guy sounds like a dangerous criminal:

A brothel manager…tried to help a worker in his massage parlour get the morning-after pill…Staff at the pharmacy called police…[because] the woman…was Romanian…No evidence of trafficking was found, but police [stole] £1,200 cash on the premises, plus another £25,000…at Jones’ home…[his lawyer] said…“The police had visited [the parlour] a number of times…and [said]…as long as there were no drugs or trafficking he would face no action”…

Unfortunately, xenophobia, hysteria and snitching are not crimes.

License To Rape (June Updates)

A woman who…was sexually assaulted by…San Diego Police Officer Anthony Arevalos…settled a lawsuit against the city…for $795,000…Arevalos…was convicted of sexual battery and…in February 2012 was sentenced to almost nine years…the city has paid out $2.3 million in claims [altogether] from Arevalos’ misconduct.  One more case is still pending…[several of the cases alleged] that a culture of covering up officer misconduct permeates the department and allowed Arevalos to harass women for years…

The Eye of the Beholder (June Updates)

The UK's most prohibitionist paper in a rare moment of lucidity

The UK’s most prohibitionist paper in a rare moment of lucidity

Lawheads will be lawheads:

…a 28-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman [were] arrested for [consensual, noncommercial] sex…Kelcey Nicholas…married [Lataura] Jarrett’s mother…when police [broke into] Nicholas’s house…to bust him on another charge, they…found [him having sex]…with Jarrett.  The two share no genetic…relation, nor did Nicholas ever legally adopt Jarrett.  But…the law in West Virginia defines stepdaughters as daughters…[they were] charged with…incest, a felony…[threatening 15 years in] prison…

Perquisites

Big businesses woo valuable employees with (halfway) whores.  Yawn.

…when college sports programs…need…to convince young…men to choose their school, they…use…“hostesses”—college women with pretty, smiling faces…[to] assist high-caliber potential student-athletes when they visit campus…according to Deadspin, [they] “answer questions, and…provide entertainment.”  College football is big business…but…NCAA [rules state that]…programs cannot give recruits “any financial aid or other benefits,” including cash, clothing, or merchandise.  In place of these…programs use the recruits’ official 48-hour visit to show them a good time, an implicit promise of what their years on campus will be like…Even though [former hostesses insist]…that no one…tells hostesses to “lead on” recruits, programs are well aware of how instrumental these women are in helping them land top athletes…

Because Everyone Knows That Laws Deter Streetwalkers

The power to see abstractions must be useful:

Cleveland City Councilman Eugene Miller… [proposes] to toughen penalties for prostitutes, pimps and johns…[saying] he has grown tired of seeing prostitution in his…neighborhood and believes that more severe punishment is the only way to ameliorate the problem…however…Judge Ronald Adrine said…mandatory jail time would contribute to overcrowding…“Are we looking at…a severe problem…Or is this…a solution…looking for a problem?”  Adrine compared the issue to fighting the so-called “war on drugs” with harsh jail sentences.  “We have not been able to incarcerate ourselves out of that problem,” he said…

Kudos to Judge Adrine for having the balls to talk sense.feminist heretic burning

To Spite Their Faces

Cathy Young’s “Is the Patriarchy Dead?” is well worth reading in its entirety, but here’s a sample:

When writer Hanna Rosin recently published an article on Slate.com stating that “the patriarchy is dead,” much of the feminist response amounted to “burn the heretic!”…Ironically, the feminist tendency to shoot the bringer of good news was the very topic of Rosin’s essay…In its present form—as a secular cult that should call itself the Sisters of Perpetual Grievance—feminism is far more a part of the problem than part of the solution.  It clings to women’s wrongs and turns women’s rights into narcissistic entitlement.  It is far too easily prone to bashing men while painting women as insultingly helpless…

An Angel of Mercy

What real help for streetwalkers looks like:

…Becca Stevens offers [them an]…alternative working for the cosmetic company she started called Thistle Farms.  The women make soaps, oils, and other products to sell nationwide…the program…offers free housing, eliminating the worry about paying rent…75 percent…have stayed off the streets.

No cops.  No cages.  No shaming or brainwashing.  Just a fair offer they can choose to accept, or not.

A Broker in Pillage

[Maryland] and federal agents raided Jade Heart Health…and charged its operators with prostitution and human trafficking…Di Zhang…has…[an extensive] real estate portfolio…and part-ownership of a…company that reports…millions of dollars of business in China…federal authorities have launched a civil-forfeiture case to seize five buildings…[worth] nearly $2 million…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #16)Gabriela Leite

…in Brazil…a bill…called the Gabriela Leite Law (in honor of the prostitute and activist who founded the NGO Davida)…[proposes] to [clarify] sex work [law]…Leite…[says] it is necessary to consider prostitution as a profession and avoid the cliché of the prostitute as a victim…The bill…defines a sex worker as any person who is at least 18 years old and able to voluntarily provide sexual services for remuneration.  It proposes to regulate the houses of prostitution, to prevent exploitation…[to] set…a ceiling [on income taxes for sex workers and to]…establish…a retirement option…

First They Came for the Hookers…

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

…it’s become increasingly difficult for former adult stars to conceal their past from their employers…[but] employee discrimination cases involving sex workers are usually…“very difficult to win,” says adult entertainment lawyer Michael Fattorosi.  Under current discrimination laws, there are no protections for former sex workers, and…an employee who…failed to disclose a porn past…would be compromised even further; the employer could argue that the employee had been hired under false pretenses…

The Schizoid State

I doubt we’ll ever know the truth about the so-called “teen girl pimps”:

The 16-year-old plead [sic] guilty to…three counts of human trafficking, and one count each of robbery, luring, and making child pornography…The 18-year-old…to human trafficking, robbery, uttering threats, and breach of recognizance…the Crown [claims]…the girls, who were 15, 15, and 16 at the time…recruited…teen girls through Facebook…and [forced] them into prostitution…The third accused, the so-called ringleader…is on trial for…making and possessing child pornography, human trafficking, forcible confinement, procuring…criminal harassment, and uttering threats…

The Widening GyreIlluminati

Though the persecution of a Florida family for homeschooling (including arrests and threats to abduct their children) is reprehensible, it’s unfortunately too common to be newsworthy.  What I find interesting is that because the mother is “the founder of a non-profit organization that rescues and restores victims of sexual trafficking”, it didn’t take long for the peanut gallery to ask, “Is it possible that this is…retaliation from those who are involved in sex-trafficking?” because “the human trafficking forces are far more powerful than most of us know and certainly do not want to believe.”  Since it’s the state of Florida itself that is harassing them, the implication is clear; this hysteria is tracking right on the same course as the Satanic Panic, whose adherents also began to imagine their bogeymen as part of the government shortly before the whole thing imploded.

Capricious Lusts (TW3 #37)

I just wish sex worker activists cared more about establishing our social value than about preserving feminist myths:

The head of Bangkok’s Children and Women’s Protection Unit has defended the role of prostitutes in society, saying their work helps reduce the number of sex attacks.  Pol Col Napanwut Liamsanguan said…without sex workers there would be more…rape…“This is not something disgusting; it is basic human nature…we can’t deny that sex workers are part of our society”… Chantawipa Abhisuk…of the Empower Foundation…said there was no correlation between prostitution and rape…and…Surang Janyam…of the Service Workers in Group Foundation…said she was disappointed to hear a police officer offer such an opinion…

Obviously, the opinion that we’re lazy, superfluous criminals is much better.

That Old Black Magic

This reporter’s details are very confused; were these boys or transgirls?  And if they were already prostitutes, how could they be “forced into the sex trade”?

Paris police have reportedly broken up a major transsexual prostitution ring…Andrea Chichi…is suspected of having forced nearly 90 transsexual prostitutes into the sex trade.  It is alleged he also threatened them with black magic if they refused to obey his orders…“He recruited young boys from…Argentina…and suggested they get plastic surgery from an accomplice”…[a police] source said, noting that the threat…was…commonly used by Nigerian pimps…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #42)Graham Ellison

Another good anti-Swedish model essay from Dr. Graham Ellison:

…[the client criminalization bill] is premised on a…narrow abolitionist view of sex work, grossly overestimates the extent of “demand” in Northern Ireland, and is out of line with policy developments occurring elsewhere in the United Kingdom and…continental Europe…In spite of the exaggerated claims…there have been only two prosecutions in the past decade…[and] the degree of coercion…is debatable in at least one of these cases…“trafficking” is [a] slippery concept that has been progressively devalued by exaggerated usage…debates about trafficking…can also be read as proxy debates about immigration and…racist sentiments have been embedded in anti-trafficking discourse…

It Looks Good On Paper (TW3 #311)

The Orwellian language in this article about a “sexual exploitation recovery program” (i.e. scheme to brainwash hookers) is especially chilling:  “Selah Freedom expects the new…program to fill quickly and has partnered with the Sarasota and Bradenton Police Departments to bring victims into their care…”  The casual reader probably wouldn’t even realize “bring into care” means “arrest and cage”.  This story is also notable for its oddly-humble “King of the Hill” entry, which only claims the Tampa Bay area as the third-largest “trafficking hub” in Florida rather than in the whole US.

Dysphemisms Galore

Reporter Maria Arkouli just couldn’t resist turning the rather pedestrian story of a whore arrested for practicing prostitution without a license into “sex trafficking” hentai:  “Famous singers…are consigned to prostitution by a ring in Athens which has spread its tentacles throughout Greece and over the Internet…

The Public Eye (TW3 #324)

The Mote and the Beam (TW3 #332)

When a reporter says something is “surprising”, you can bet it actually isn’t to anyone raised outside of a convent:

Top law enforcement officers…[who] are pushing Congress for greater authority to go after a booming online industry that hosts ads for child sex traffickers…are encountering opposition from an unexpected source — conservative…lawmakers who fear a government clampdown…A coalition of…lawmakers and businesses has drafted a…resolution that…urges Congress to deny state prosecutors the…power they seek…warning that it could discourage investment in new Internet services…

It would do more than that:  it would utterly destroy the internet as we know it, because no website would risk criminal charges for user-generated content like this blog or reader comments on tens of thousands of others.

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Feminism still feels like someone rescuing me from the patriarchy so that I may be told what to do by “sisters” who need to get their opinions out of my knickers.  –  Sarah Woolley

Lack of Evidence

The Fourth District Court of Appeal…deemed West Palm Beach’s “loitering with intent to commit prostitution” ordinance unconstitutional…[because it was] “overbroad and vague”   It… cited a 1993 Florida Supreme Court ruling [striking down]…a similar law [in Tampa for discriminating]…against previously convicted prostitutes.  [The earlier decision stated that]…“All Florida citizens enjoy the inherent right to window shop, saunter down a sidewalk, and wave to friends and passerby with no fear of arrest”…

Meanwhile, in California, “Two women suspected of loitering with the intent to commit prostitution were arrested at a Burbank hotel…after officers reportedly discovered incriminating text messages, condoms and oils in their possession…

Check Your Premises

…Baltimore City police officer [Lamin Manneh]…and his…wife [Marissa Braun were]…charged with human trafficking…19-year-old [Braun was caught in a sting]…and…investigators charged the pair with human trafficking because Braun looked so young…”  You read that correctly; she’s been charged with “trafficking” herself.RedTraSex street art

Feminine Pragmatism

Justice minister Francisco Dominguez’s warning…that…men…who seek [paid] sex…will be…[prosecuted] has roiled [Dominican] workers… “There are customers who’ve called us to tell us that they won’t come”…said Carla Matos…who…said she had to become a prostitute…to raise her children…”What we’ll have to do in a couple of days will be to go out and rob and kill people, because imagine, we can’t do nothing else.  I will not let my children starve,” [Jennifer] Paniagua said.

The Prudish Giant

From the “progressive” Huffington Post:

Not only is “prostitution” a tagged skill you can select on LinkedIn, there are actually escorts who advertise their services [there]…[but] LinkedIn…now explicitly bans escorts from using the site…The new user agreement states that you must not:  “Create profiles or provide content that promotes escort services or prostitution” even if [they are] legal where you live…Not only can you list “prostitution” as a skill, you can list a whole lot of other unsavory skills like “rape,” “shoplifting,” “gangs,” “manslaughter,” and “drug trafficking”…

Yes, the writer did seriously equate consensual sex with rape and murder.  Dr. Brooke Magnanti comments on the absurdity and futility of the whole thing.

An Angel of Mercy

Shona Langley, a street sex worker support officer, and Charlotte Crossland, a harm reduction nurse…[work for] the Harm Reduction project…[in] Lancashire…twice a week…they load their van with…condoms, panic alarms, needles and bank note checker pens, while Charlotte offers Hepatitis B and other vaccinations…[and] treatment for minor health issues…Shona said:  “We don’t judge.  We are not here to criticise or bully them into stopping what they do”…

Scapegoats

[David Beckman of Illinois]…faces a charge of misdemeanor animal cruelty after police said he sexually abused his pet peacock…police learned the bird died while they were investigating Beckman about an alleged case of indecent solicitation of a child…

jelly wrestlingObjectification Overruled

Feminists at Cambridge University lead such privileged, unchallenging lives that they imagine jelly wrestling (girls grappling in gelatin in front of male spectators) has “a significant role to play in the degradation and abuse of women,” and imagine they’ve won a great victory for womankind via a petition which caused the event to be cancelled.  Sarah Woolley explains why this is pure bollocks:

…”objectification” is a herd word used by women who can rarely recall the name of their last waitress…If a person sees a woman arse-deep in jelly and regards her as subhuman because of it, then that shit is on them…it takes more than nudity to cancel out a man’s regard for a woman as a human being.  There will be misogynists in any crowd but –newsflash- a true woman hater will dehumanise you no matter how you behave or what you wear…Cambridge feminists …[are affiliated] with Object…a group known for lobbying against sex worker rights and for spreading irresponsible misinformation -particularly the fantasy that the Olympics would usher in an “explosion of prostitution.”  Also on the list is “Smash Miss Contest”  who “set off stink bombs”…at beauty pageants…

Worms in the Apple

New York City’s wallowing in the “end demand” sewer produced this grotesque display of political pandering:

…mayoral candidates…argued for tougher penalties.  Joseph J. Lhota…[called] for “a john list every day in the newspaper”…Adolfo Carrión Jr…went further, saying he would publish their license plate numbers…the moderator…took note of Edward I. Koch’s controversial directive…to read the names of convicted male customers on air…Christine C. Quinn…said she disagreed with publicizing the names…[but] favored an “incredibly effective” program in Brooklyn…that forces “johns” to sit through a program intended to deter bad behavior…

And no, “john schools” are not “incredibly effective”.

Finding What Isn’t There

police admit they do not know the scale of trafficking in Victoria’s illegal brothels and cannot say how many…there are.  The cloak of anonymity and secrecy surrounding the industry makes it hard for police to investigate, Senior Sergeant Marilynn Ross told [a parliamentary] inquiry…”we suspect that in a small number of…licensed brothels human trafficking is occurring…on a…larger scale”…

Translation:  “There’s no evidence whatsoever and the real experts say otherwise, but this makes a perfect excuse to ask for more power to stick our noses into people’s private business.”

Whorearchy (TW3 #19)

Prostitutes helped clean up the streets of Murcia, Spain, in an effort to draw attention to…[a] proposed bylaw…aimed at curbing prostitution and sexual exploitation [which] would damage [their] livelihood…”We’ve spoken with neighbors and local business owners and…they’ve told us that there’s no problem as long as we follow some of the requests that they’ve made, such as sticking to a timetable and keeping the streets clean…That’s why we decided to hold a clean-up day.  We wanted to show that we…want to get on well with everyone”…

Worse Than I ThoughtTraffic in Souls

As I predicted, the cancer of incredibly-broad “sex trafficking” laws based on the CASE Act is spreading, now to Pennsylvania:

House Bill 663, which was unanimously passed 195-0…expands what the state considers “commercial sex acts” and raises the crime of buying or selling people for sex work from a third-degree to a…first-degree felony.  Under the new bill, the definition of commercial sex includes being forced to perform “any sexual activity…in which anything of value is given…or received”…

The bill’s sponsor complains that the “current law is vague”, but what he actually means is that it isn’t vague enough.

So Close and Yet So Far

Another would-be ally misses the bus by not bothering to check with sex workers first; though she makes several very good arguments against criminalization and recognizes from the title on that sex work is work, she also overestimates the role of pimps and the prevalence of street work, accepts the false “sex trafficking” dichotomy, supports regulation and licensing and ends by undermining her own argument with the typical mealy-mouthed disclaimer, “I am not endorsing the act of selling sex.”

Schadenfreude (TW3 #43)

Another rescue industry icon is exposed as a con artist:

Cecilia Flores-Oebanda has…become the face of the Philippines anti-trafficking movement…but now she is fighting a battle that could truly ruin her.  Fraud allegations made by Philippine investigators threaten to destroy her reputation and the anti-trafficking organization she’s run for more than two decades…

Nonetheless, the credulous CNN reporters spends about 95% of the story lauding her and repeating her bullshit stories, apparently forgetting about that word “fraud”.

Across the Pond (TW3 #45)

Scottish local governments seem unusually resistant to anti-sex business hype:

The owners of an over-21s nightclub in Inverness have been issued a licence to introduce lap dancing…Rhoda Grant…said…“The commodification of woman in society is damaging and I would have hoped the objections raised by the Highland Violence Against Women Strategy Group would have been listened to”…

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #131)Toru Hashimoto

A perfect demonstration of how the “sex trafficking” paradigm confuses those whose minds it pollutes:

…Osaka Mayor…Toru Hashimoto…told reporters…that Japan’s wartime sex slave system… “were necessary in order to provide relaxation for those brave soldiers who had been in the line of fire”…Hours later [he said]…he’d…told [U.S. military brass] that…there were legal facilities for releasing sexual energy, and that unless soldiers in Okinawa made more use of similar facilities, it would be difficult to control the sexual energy of the marines…

The media have conflated two totally different statements.  What Hashimoto said about military personnel needing whores is true and every experienced commander knows it, no matter what political crap the Pentagon may emit.  But that isn’t the same as his disgusting rationalization of the enslavement of the comfort women, who were neither professional sex workers nor volunteers.

Skin To Skin

A centre in Nuremberg is offering a course to sex industry professionals on how to cater to the sexual needs of disabled clients.  Those who complete training successfully attain a certificate in “sexual accompaniment and assistance”…

Comfort Zone

It’s great to see ever-larger numbers of academics openly declaring that the “trafficking” narrative is largely an excuse for restricting migration:

“anti-trafficking”…essentialises gender and childhood, it confuses and obfuscates, and…it…acts against the interests of many that it purports to serve…the state is directly and inescapably the source of vulnerability…those formally excluded are given…the right NOT to enter, to be protected from movement.  The [victim of “trafficking”]…is supposed to return home.  Indeed the narrative is that she wants to return home, and part of her innocence and victimhood is that she never wanted to move in the first place…immigration controls are claimed to be a mechanism of protection for migrants, rather than a mechanism of oppression…

And here’s a UN official on bogus data and bad definitions:

…data is often taken from methodologies that are not…estimates…media…have often reported that 79% of trafficking is for sexual exploitation, based on the “Global Report on Trafficking in Persons” by UNODC…[but] the data is of victims identified by state authorities and of convicted traffickers…The internationally recognized definition of human trafficking states the purpose of human trafficking is for exploitation…yet [it] is…equated with sex work or irregular…migration…as a result…data on trafficked persons almost exclusively focused on women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation…

Cops and Condoms (TW3 #313)

If we’re honest, many of us do see condoms as robbing us of pleasure, stealing some excitement and spontaneity…and dulling the intensity of sexuality…These factors are the primary reasons that still only 60 percent of teenagers claim to use condoms…[and] usage declines as people grow older.  The number one reason…is the reduction of pleasure…[but] criticism of the condom opens one to…demonization…Bill Gates’…plans to make a condom that “is felt to enhance pleasure”…came under ideological fireGawker called the argument that condoms reduce sensitivity one for “creeps” and “pervs,” while Popular Science reacted by concluding “men are idiots.”  Salon likened any criticism of the condom’s detrimental effect on sexuality to “whining“…

The Naked Anthropologist (TW3 #314)

The Proper Study (TW3 #319)

The feminist antiporn group Stop Porn Culture has sponsored a petition…to change the editorial board and title of Routledge’s forthcoming…publicationPorn Studies…Constance Penley…co-editor of The Feminist Porn Book…[said] “[The petition] reveals a total lack of understanding about academic freedom, academic integrity and the nature of scholarship…and…how desperate the antiporn people are to prevent any research being done that might not support their ideological position”…

Somewhere in the Middle

St. John’s, Newfoundland has just over 200,000 people, which means fewer than 100,000 males.  The escort interviewed for this article (“Iris”) says there are about 30 escorts working there full-time, and doing such good business travelling girls are stopping in as well.  Now, ask yourself:  is it credible that only about 14,000 of those men have ever paid, that the majority of those who did are now regulars and that those working girls are doing well on an average of 1 client per day?  Or is it more likely that the claim few men ever pay for sex is completely absurd?  As Iris said, “We wouldn’t be doing this well if your husbands and boyfriends and friends weren’t coming to see us.  It’s that simple.”

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Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom: it is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.  –  William Pitt

Nine updates and two meta-updates; two other news stories from this week will be treated in greater depth in my columns for April 29th and May 6th.

The Camel’s Nose (October 2nd, 2010)

Meet CISPA, formerly known as SOPA, alias PIPA, née COICA:

…some people are calling it “worse than SOPA,” and it’s sponsored by a congressman who thinks the death penalty should be considered for Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking military information to Wikileaks.  Be worried:  they think we stopped paying attention after SOPA — so they made…the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (PDF) (aka H.R. 3523)…[which] has the support of companies such as AT&T, Facebook, IBM, Intel, Microsoft…and many more.  A full list of all 28 corporate supporters is here.  The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), is also trying to get tech press to tell you…CISPA is “nothing like SOPA.”  Don’t believe it.  CISPA’s primary function is to remove legal barriers that might keep Internet companies from giving all your communication and information to the government.  It allows “cyber entities” (such as Internet service providers, social networks like Facebook and cell phone companies like AT&T) to circumvent Internet privacy laws when they’re pressured by Homeland Security to hand over or shut down — well, almost anything of yours online that the government wants, no warrant needed…

Here’s a handy graphic (click to enlarge) you can download or link and spread everywhere, and here’s a very comprehensive “tool kit” from Anonymous.  Don’t ignore this, y’all; the fascists figured out they needed to give more to the big tech companies, so this time we have to defeat it without corporate support.

To Protect and Serve (February 9th, 2011)

Another sex worker murdered by cops, and another victim of so-called “non-lethal” tasers:

Adult performer Sledge Hammer…[whose legal name was Marland Anderson, died on April 13th] after…police…shot [him numerous times] with a Taser…Anderson…“had a mild form of schizophrenia, and it wasn’t a problem until he started smoking pot and taking various things for depression,” [friend and film director Stoney] Curtis explained…On Sunday night…Anderson suffered a severe anxiety attack and his girlfriend, adult performer Alexa Cruz, called 911 to prevent him from harming himself…police showed up with an ambulance and…“instead of trying to talk to him or grab him and get him to the ground, or the paramedics giving him a sedative, they decided to break out their tasers and just tasered him excessively until the point where he went into cardiac arrest,” Curtis said…

Once again:  never, ever call the cops for any reason, not even if you think you’re dying.  Because once you do, they think you are their personal property to dispose of in any way they wish.

Not the Same Tree (February 18th, 2011)

This article about a Scottish escort service owner convicted of “human trafficking” is a perfect illustration of how the warped minds of police, prosecutors and prohibitionists project crime and evil into everything they see, and how they and their media lackeys use dysphemisms, distortion and exaggeration to create monsters out of businesspeople:

Scotland’s first convicted sex trafficker…revealed the secrets of the seedy vice empire that raked in a fortune – before landing him in jail.  Stephen Craig…described how he and…Sarah Beukan…ran their infamous Scottish Elite Escorts and recruited girls to join their prostitution ring.  Craig also claimed that footballers, actors and comedians were among the biggest clients…and…admitted taking a third of the money paid by punters to his girls…Craig denied making threats to girls or forcing them to sell their bodies…a police officer claimed one witness said Craig threatened to pour boiling water down her throat…But Sheriff Sam Clark said there was “no pressure, force or threat” on women who worked for him.  Craig now faces a proceeds of crime investigation.  He said…“Police say Sarah and I made £20,000 a week…[but actually] we probably split about £5000 on a good week”…

“Seedy vice empire”.  “Infamous”. “Prostitution ring”.  “Sell their bodies”.  “Taking money” to mean “charging fees”.  The lurid accusations totally unsupported by fact, and the wild exaggeration of his income so the cops can steal more of his property and savings.  I wish there were some way to make these asses fully cognizant of how  ridiculous they’re going to look once Western society fully awakens from “sex trafficking” hysteria.

Give It a Rest (August 18th, 2011)

Remember the Texas strip club which cops were trying to destroy via harassment of dancers and customers?  Apparently, they either succeeded in driving the owner over the edge or else just decided to get rid of him by the time-honored method of framing:

Ryan Walker Grant, co-owner of Flashdancer topless club in Arlington, was arrested after an FBI investigation revealed he tried to hire Mexican hitmen to kill two Arlington city officials whom he blamed for the closure of his business…Grant [allegedly told the FBI plant that]…he stood to lose $800,000 a year if Flashdancers closed for good…

Follow Your Bliss (November 29th, 2011)

Though most “child sex slave” fetishists restrict themselves to writing lurid newspaper stories, this one sought the opportunity for “hands-on” experience “helping” underage hookers:

A counselor at a new…shelter for prostituted children groped and propositioned a girl there…prosecutors in Seattle contend Ralph Nathaniel Wells accosted the then-16-year-old girl in late January.  Wells, 32, had been employed by the shelter as an overnight counselor…the girl said Wells called her out of her room several times…[and] made inappropriate comments and sexual advances, pulled on her clothing and touched her.  Wells was suspended without pay immediately…

Obviously Wells bought his own organization’s propaganda that the girl was “prostituted” (i.e. a passive object without volition) and a “child”, and therefore too stupid and helpless to turn him down and report his sleazy behavior.

Presents, Presents, Presents! (December 29th, 2011)

I got two new presents this week!  On Monday I received a copy of Never On Sunday from Martin English, and on Tuesday a new book named The Origins of Sex from another reader who prefers to remain anonymous.  Thank you both so very much!

An Angel of Mercy (January 25th, 2012)

You don’t have to be a Catholic nun to do outreach to streetwalkers; Cyndee Clay is a lapsed Mormon who heads Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS) in Washington, DC.  In this interview with Metro Weekly she talks about sex work stigma, “prostitution-free zones”, police harassment, harm reduction and the services HIPS provides, including “weekly support groups…daily maintenance groups for active drug users…case management, linkage to care and services, including HIV testing and drop-in syringe access…our bad-date sheet” and condom distribution.

Much Ado About Nothing (April 18th, 2012)

Well, the story’s beginning to make a lot more sense now; it turns out the argument wasn’t over $47 as initially reported, but rather $770 (the difference between the $800 fee Agent Asshole agreed to and the $30 he tried to give her instead).  Some of the agents are now making the sophomoric claim that they didn’t know their dates were whores, which is not only unbelievable to anyone in the know, but also flies in the face of reports that they met the women in a brothel.  And Dania (the lady who was cheated) insists that contrary to what the bouncer and cops claim, the agents were very discreet and she had no idea they were Secret Service.

But despite media efforts to sex up the story and to overdramatize its importance (“Eleven Secret Service agents…and nine military servicemen are under investigation for hiring 20 or 21 hookers”) the American people seem refreshingly unmoved.  My own perceptions and those of several of my sources indicate that more people are concerned with the agent’s trying to cheat a sex worker than the fact that he hired her.  A reporter who interviewed me yesterday (I’m not sure when it will appear) felt that the real story was that Colombia’s system protects women by allowing them access to police, and a Vanity Fair article which quotes yours truly points out that the whole scandal is a convenient misdirection from the issues of the Cartagena summit, which Washington doesn’t want the public thinking too hard about.  Spirit Airlines mocked the scandal in a promotion, and Dennis Hof of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch opined that Secret Service agents should only hire American whores.  But most interesting (and heartening) of all is the reaction in many mainstream media sources (including Forbes), which might be synopsized in the words used by Reason’s J.D. Tuccille: “Maybe, just maybe, we could stop pretending that exchanging money for sex is such a terrible thing.”

Hard Numbers (April 20th, 2012)

Brazil follows the example of our friends Down Under in recognizing that it is attempts to ban or regulate prostitution that cause the problems “authorities” associate with it, and that decriminalization is the best way to eliminate those issues:

A proposal before the Senate…[eliminates] criminal penalties for owners of brothels.  The legal experts…want to end what they call the moral “cynicism” of the current legislation.  In practice, they say, the ban on brothels only serves to corrupt police who extort money and services from the owners of the establishments…Prostitution itself is not illegal in Brazil, nor is it regulated by the government…the change will…permit labor unions to establish a link between the employees and the employer as is the norm in countries such as Germany and Holland.  ”It is a historical claim to the movement for prostitutes,” [said] Roberto Dominguez…legal advisor to the Brazilian Network of Prostitutes…

Metaupdates

Counterfeit Comfort in That Was the Week That Was (#8) (February 26th, 2012)

In their quest for absolute power over the lives of their subjects, politicians can’t let little things like justice, decency or the law stop them.  After a federal judge overturned a Louisiana law banning victims of the “sex offender” registry from social media, tyrants in New York realized the same thing would probably happen if they enacted a similar law, so they used political pressure to force online companies to do their dirty work for them:

Back in 2008, New York passed a law requiring…sex offenders to register all email addresses and social network accounts with the government…[now] Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has  announced the first wave of an initiative called “Operation: Game Over”…[in which] over 3500 sex offenders’ online gaming accounts with companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Blizzard have been banned completely.  AG Schneiderman applauds the effort with “We must ensure online video game systems do not become a digital playground for dangerous predators. That means doing everything possible to block sex offenders from using gaming networks as a vehicle to prey on underage victims”…[But as] the New York Civil Liberties Union [points out]…“the problem…is almost non-existent. Children are almost always abused by people they know – a friend or family member – not by people they interact with while playing video games online.

…Not only are these people blocked from playing with children through these services, they are also blocked from playing with friends and family members.  We are further eroding the ability for these people to reintegrate themselves with society, and for what?  While New York and those gaming companies that partnered with the state continue the witch hunt, they will surely earn some brownie points with parents.  After all, that is really what matters in an election year…Who cares if justice is actually being served?  Sex offenders are expendable.  They aren’t real people.  At least you can keep telling yourself that if it helps you sleep at night.

A Manufactured War in That Was the Week That Was (#15) (April 14th, 2012)

While I contended myself with dispatching the New York Times’ scare story on “sex trafficking” in Spain via a quick shotgun blast, Dr. Laura Agustín preferred to vivisect it instead.  I think you’ll find the result well worth your time.

One Year Ago Today

Faerie Tale” is exactly that…but probably not in the way you’re thinking.

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No work of charity can be more productive of good to society than the careful instruction of women.  –  Catherine McAuley

My column of January 10th contrasted the religious views of prostitutes with the views of the religious toward prostitutes, and related the story of a priest who avoided dealing with a group of streetwalkers until chance (or perhaps God) forced him to see one of them as a real person.  Not all clergy need to be so pushed; in my column of last February 12th I introduced Reverend Paul Turp, who spoke out against attempts by the Hackney council to put local strippers out of work by closing down their clubs, and in the comments for that January 10th column The Dudes are Emerging pointed out two stories about another member of the London clergy who feels called to reach out to sex workers, Sister Lynda Dearlove.

As Dudes remembered, I have great respect for nuns; in one of my earliest columns I wrote:

Like many Catholic girls…from south Louisiana, I attended an all-girl Catholic high school run by nuns.  And though my path is quite different from theirs and would undoubtedly horrify most of those good ladies, I have nothing but respect for them as a group…the education they gave me has served me well, and despite our different philosophies and spiritual beliefs we have in common a decision to pursue a life different from that of most women in modern society…one of my [favorite] teachers…[was a nun who] first exposed [me] to the idea that there are many paths to God, and we are called upon to follow the one which our hearts tell us is right despite what others might think.

I imagine that Sister Lynda, profiled in this article from the Guardian of January 5th, would agree:

…Sister Lynda [is] a nun [dedicated] …to working with  sex workers in one of London’s most notorious red-light districts, King’s Cross.  And just like the convent, the “safe house” [she] has set up is women-only.  “Women operate differently, and it helps street prostitutes – just as it helps nuns – to have a space that they know will only have women in it,” she says.  Women at the Well – the project’s name comes from a gospel story in which Jesus meets a woman at a well who is living in an “irregular” relationship, and refuses to judge her for it – looks like just another anonymous hotel [on the outside]…But…inside… there are bright, cheerful paintings on the walls, a cafe and a clothes store, a computer room and lots of [showers] with body lotion and fluffy towels.  “The women who come here can have counselling, and help with finding accommodation, but we also offer massages and manicures and the chance to get your hair done,” explains [Sister] Lynda.  “Most of these women have never had…any pampering in their life; what we’re doing is helping them see that they matter too, that they have permission to care about themselves.  The thing most of them most want is simply a long, hot shower…”

Most of the women who come here…have had desperately disadvantaged lives.  “Typically they’re in their 30s through 50s, and they’ve been involved in prostitution since they were teenagers.  Many have mental-health problems; the majority didn’t finish school, and almost none of them grew up in stable families.  I’m not saying there’s only one sort of background for prostitution – you do see women who come from much more advantaged backgrounds, but that’s far less usual…”  What Women at the Well aims to provide…is something most of its clients…have…no experience of…the sense of being part of a family.  “That’s what we’re trying to do that’s different from the other services the women might access,” she says.  “Ours is a very holistic service, and we aim to give the women a place where they feel genuinely valued, looked after and cared about.”

…women using the centre are [also] offered sexual health advice.  This is a treading-on-eggshells issue for a project run by a Catholic nun – but it’s clear that [Sister] Lynda operates as close to the wire as she possibly can without invoking the ire of the Catholic hierarchy.  “We enable women to have contact with sexual health services because they’re in a high-risk occupation,” she says.  “It’s important to deal with it effectively, just as we aim to deal effectively with their mental and physical health…[I was] heartened by the Pope’s recognition  that within the context of prostitution, using a condom is primarily about the intention to reduce the risk of infection and an assumption of responsibility”…For some years she ran a shelter for homeless people: but gradually she realised there was one group of clients the shelter wasn’t [caring] for.  “Those women were street prostitutes, and they were the most disadvantaged group of all – and in a shelter that was dominated by men and their needs, the women simply weren’t being heard,” she says.  What angered her on these women’s behalf was that as disadvantaged children they had been seen as “deserving” – whereas once they were effectively forced into prostitution, society ceased to care.  “One minute they’re ‘children in need’ and we’re trying to help them, the next minute they’ve turned 18, we’ve failed to help, and suddenly it’s all their own fault.”

Women at the Well is funded from a variety of sources, including the Sisters of Mercy [Sister Lynda’s order].  “My fellow sisters were happy to back me – they believed, as I believe, that this is the work our order’s founder, an 18th-century Irishwoman called Catherine McAuley, set us up to do…She worked with women in extreme need, just as I do.”  Other funding comes from grants and individual donors, with around a fifth coming from central government…Over the last three years Sister Lynda has become increasingly respected among those who champion the rights of sex workers – in 2010 she was awarded the MBE, and last year she was nominated for an International Women of Courage award…

The reporter can’t quite resist some subtle editorialization and injecting an Olympics angle which, though not directly stated, implies a “human trafficking” connection.  But Sister Lynda herself doesn’t buy into propaganda, as demonstrated by this two-year-old article from the Islington Tribune:

…the streets of King’s Cross are a safer place for all thanks to…Sister Lynda Dearlove…[a] 51-year-old [Roman Catholic nun] who was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List…she has witnessed first-hand the problems the women face during regular night patrols around the area…[Sister Lynda said,] “There is no religious judgment.  We just aim to improve the quality of people’s lives and to break down the barriers for these women…We offer training but also help to empower women by raising their personal confidence.  A lot of time they just need someone to treat them with respect – many of them have been looked down on by everyone they have met.”

…The drop-in centre provides a range of support and employment advice services for more than 150 prostitutes each year…Sister Lynda said crack cocaine is a “massive problem” for prostitutes in King’s Cross and backed [government] proposals…to open a…drug clinic in the south of the borough.  She said:  “Of most of the women we meet on the street, very few are working with pimps.  It is not organised at all and…many of these women are self-medicating with crack, which is a psychological addiction – it means their mental health becomes an issue.

“I am absolutely for decriminalisation of prostitution.  One of the main problems for prostitutes is that they become locked in a cycle and much of that has to do with these women going in and out of prison.  [Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs)], which are used to police prostitution, are a big issue.  We have a positive relationship with the police, but ASBOs are easily breached and often women find themselves in custody…Then there are CRB [Criminal Record Bureau] checks.  If a prostitute comes to us and she applies for a job, for example as a cleaner in a hospital, she will be CRB checked and not even given an interview.  For many it feels like there is no escape, but there are ways out and we can show them that…”

Perhaps one day some members of the American clergy will develop the courage necessary to follow the example of people like Sister Lynda and Reverend Turp, both in reaching out to sex workers and in speaking up against the evil propaganda which supports the continued criminalization of sex work, and thereby makes the lives of all sex workers (especially those at the subsistence level) far more difficult and dangerous than a more just society would tolerate.

One Year Ago Today

January Updates” reports on the death of a German porn star, Marriott’s announcement that its hotels will no longer offer in-room porn, and British police tricking female activists into sex in order to bust them.

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