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Posts Tagged ‘An Ounce of Prevention’

Political opponents of [Backpage] like to imagine that without it, sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors would simply cease.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Do As I Say, Not As I Do freddie-lorick

Of course they didn’t accuse him of faking:

Ten men, including a South Carolina police chief, have been arrested in an undercover prostitution sting…Chief Freddie Lorick Sr…told officers he needed medical treatment and was taken to a local hospital. It’s unclear whether he has been released…

An Ounce of Prevention

There have been a few close approaches, but this could be the most promising yet:

British man could become the first person in the world to be cured of HIV using a new therapy designed by a team of scientists from five UK universities…presently the virus is completely undetectable in the man’s blood, although that could be a result of regular drugs.  However if the dormant cells are also cleared out it could represent the first complete cure…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

While the feds actively persecute some sex workers

The federal government is again suing a Mississippi strip club, saying its owner still discriminates against black strippers…Danny’s Downtown Cabaret…managers require African-American strippers to work exclusively at the neighboring Black Diamonds club or pay extra to work at Danny’s.  The suit alleges patrons at Black Diamonds were allowed to grope strippers in a building where air conditioning sometimes didn’t work…

The Pygmalion Fallacy 

This double dose of stupid reminds me of those old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials: “Hey! You got your robot whore fantasy in my blow job cafe fantasy!” “No, you got your blow job cafe fantasy in my robot whore fantasy!

An entrepreneur who hopes to open London’s first “fellatio cafe” has revealed his staff will be made up entirely of sex robots…Bradley Charvet…claims the sex-bots will be programmable to a person’s needs and will soon be seen as “totally normal”…

Shift in the Wind (#131)

An interesting article on getting funding for sex worker rights projects:

As human rights and social justice funders, we try to reach those people who are most marginalized and excluded from services and protection.  Those who are least empowered, least resilient, and hardest hit by inequality.  But one group that ticks all those boxes is systematically excluded from funding opportunities:  sex workers.  Why are not more funders stepping into this gap?  What makes even human rights funders so hesitant to take on the human rights of sex workers?…

Lack of Evidence (Extra Edition)

Future generations will marvel at their ancestors’ deeply weird obsession with female virginity:

An Egyptian MP has called for women to be forced to undergo virginity tests before being admitted to university…Elhamy Agina called on the Minister of Higher Education to issue a mandate requiring him or his officials to enforce the virginity tests…Agina reportedly [said]:  “No one should be upset by this decision.  If you’re upset then that means you’re scared that your daughter is in an ‘urfi’ marriage behind your back.”  Urfi marriages can be entered into without the approval of a bride’s guardian and can only require two witnesses, resulting in a cultural perception among some segments of Egyptian society that they are covert or secret marriages…

Fever Dream

We’re not hearing quite as much of this “highway” bullshit as we used to:

…Chattanooga and Tennessee have become a focal point [sic] in the war against sex trafficking.  The effort has involved not only agencies such as the TBI and local law enforcement, it also has…made its way to Congress with the End Modern Slavery Initiative from Bob Corker, the…U.S. senator from Tennessee and former Chattanooga mayor.  As the geographic intersection of Interstates 75, 24 and 59, Chattanooga provides an easy path for pimps to transport their victims around the Southeast…That’s especially true for traffickers from Atlanta which, in 2014, was ranked as the No. 1 city in the country for sex trafficking…

Seizing Power (#593)

A win for Backpage on one front:

The Supreme Court announced…it has declined to hear an appeal from…Chicago…sheriff [Tom Dart] who was ordered to cease threatening credit card companies about doing business with…Backpage.com.  The justices let stand a lower court order that forbids…Dart from contacting Visa and MasterCard in his effort to [censor] sex [workers’ ability to advertise online]…

However, see “Crying For Nanny” below.

Challenge (#628)

ESPLERP vs. Gascon reaches a court which could potentially do something:

…ESPLERP…filed a brief in the United States Federal Ninth Circuit appealing against the Northern California District Court’s judgement dismissing ESPLERP v Gascon…Maxine Doogan [said]…“[The judge] acknowledged that Lawrence v Texas defined a constitutional right to privacy in individuals’ sexual conduct, and also acknowledged that morality was not a basis to deny that right, but then found flimsy legal arguments to deny that right…“Lawrence v Texas made it clear that governments may not intrude into the private lives of consenting adults by criminalizing their sexual behavior” said Mike Chase, longtime human rights activist…Contributions to support the court case can be submitted through…www.litigatetoemancipate.com

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-christopher-odom

A Spring Hill [Tennessee cop] has been charged with rape and sexual battery…Christopher Odom…pulled two women over for traffic stops on two separate occasions, once in June and again in July, [raping] both adult women…

Crying for Nanny (#659)

It’s difficult to overstate what a huge development this is; the allegations constitute a direct attempt to destroy Section 230 and therefore the entire internet, all so a few megalomaniacal politicians can score a few political points:

State agents raided the Dallas headquarters of…Backpage and arrested Chief Executive Officer Carl Ferrer on Thursday following allegations that adult and child sex-trafficking victims had been forced into prostitution through escort ads posted on the site.  Ferrer…was arrested on a California warrant…[issued by] California Attorney General Kamala Harris…on felony charges of pimping a minor, pimping, and conspiracy to commit pimping….Harris…is running for the U.S. Senate in next month’s election…

Here’s more from super ally Liz Brown.

Dutch Threat (#678) 

Felicia Anna on the “My Red Light” scam:

…I’ve already talked about this project before…the mayor…proposed…that this brothel would be the first brothel without pimps.  A complete bullshit story, since first of all there are very few girls that actually have a pimp…and since this brothel has just as much chance of renting their windows to a girl with a pimp as any other brothel…there are hardly any abuses to begin with, as the numbers from the city of Amsterdam themselves prove…unlike how people (like the mayor for example) often claim…the mayor [is] trying to frame the current brothel owners as the bad guys…so he can have an excuse to close down the other brothels…only 6 sexworkers showed an interest in working in this brothel at all…

Send In the Clowns

As I expected when I wrote yesterday’s column, the clown panic continues to spin out of control:

A Livonia [New York] man was charged with falsely reporting an incident after he allegedly edited a clown image into a photo of [a local] Park…posted it on his Facebook page and then warned people to keep their children out of the park…Hooper…told his Facebook followers “the clown had then run away when he snapped the picture”…Hooper was charged with third-degree falsely reporting an incident…the charge is a misdemeanor…

In New York, making up idiotic stories to frighten the stupid is only a misdemeanor, but in Texas it’s a matter of national security:

..a 14-year-old [Houston] student has been charged…[with] making a terroristic threat.  The student is accused of threatening “to shoot up an HISD school with his clown friends” on social media…”We can’t ignore it,” said HISD Spokesman Jason Spencer. “We [completely lack the adult capacity to control our own actions or use any discretion whatsover]…

Just in case you think my editorialization there is a bit extreme:

…”This clown crap is really getting on my nerves,” [suburban Dallas cop] Latrice Pettaway wrote on Facebook Monday night…”Pop a cap in the first clown you see.  Someone needs to just hit one and the rest of these fools will learn”…police spokesman Shane Kizer said….said shooting people dressed like clowns is “absolutely not” how the department wants the public to respond to viral reports of clowns…

And Utah cops agree with Kizer:  “Police in Orem, Utah would like to make it clear that neither they, nor you, can legally shoot random clowns…

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What Feministe did is like pissing on your host’s carpet, then storming out indignantly when they point out that you just pissed on the carpet.
–  Chris Hall

Rough TradeAkis Levas

Australia agrees with what I have stated before: cheating a whore is a form of rape:  “Akis Emmanouel Livas…pleaded guilty to sexual intercourse without consent after he left the woman with a white card bearing a printed red rose instead of the agreed $850…

Bad Girls

Ladies, if a client treats you badly, it’s probably best just to add his name to an “ugly mugs” or “bad date” registry and leave it at that:  “Angela Dawn Specker…cut a former john on his forearm when she saw [him] in…a liquor store the [next] day…Specker told the cop…that…he…had been very aggressive…pulling her hair and slapping her…[then throwing] the $100 at her and [leaving]…

A Procrustean Bed

New York officially classes all whores as passive objects without agency:

New York…is creating a statewide system of…criminal courts to handle prostitution cases and provide services to help wrest…sex-trafficking victims from the cycle of exploitation and arrest, the state’s chief judge announced…The new Human Trafficking Intervention Courts will handle all cases involving prostitution-related offenses that continue past arraignment…the court will refer defendants to services like drug treatment, shelter, immigration assistance…health care…education and job training, in an effort to keep them from returning to the sex trade…women typically enter prostitution…between…12 and 14, Judge Lippman said…

As we have often seen, basic mathematical literacy is not a requirement to hold office in New York.

Perquisites

A San Francisco strip club is suing Oracle after one of its employees ran up $33,540 in charges on a company credit card – and Oracle refused to pay the bill…Jose Manuel Gomez Sanchez…[charged] $16,490…at the New Century Theater…[then] returned two nights later and rang up another $17,050…

The Proper StudyUgly Mugs survey cover

For the first time the men and women selling sex indoors in Ireland have been asked about their lives.  The findings harshly contradict the popular media image…The 195 escorts who took part…were from 29 different countries.  Most were…in their 20s or 30s and highly educated…97.3 percent were self-employed independent escorts…there was no evidence of the involvement of any under 16s and only one participant was aged under 18.  Participants reported low alcohol and drug use [and] high condom use…

An Ounce of Prevention

A common drug that dermatologists prescribe to treat nail fungus appears to…completely eradicate infectious HIV from cell cultures…the virus doesn’t bounce back when the drug is withheld…[so] it may not require a lifetime of use to keep HIV at bay…the fact that it’s already deemed safe for one type of human use could make the regulatory process faster than usual…

Saint Death

…A…$3.4 million settlement with the family of Jose Guerena will end a two-year legal battle…Guerena…was [murdered] by SWAT team members…when they raided his house…[a spokesman claimed] the settlement is not an admission of any wrongdoing…”  You may remember that the cops tried to claim that Guerena, a retired Marine, must have been a “drug trafficker” because he had a picture of Jesus Malverde.

Above the Law

I get that there’s not technically a federal rape law, but this seems to seriously downplay what this cop did:  “Jason Glenn Thomas…a…Police sergeant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., was sentenced…to…ten years in federal prison…for sexually assaulting a…woman in violation of federal civil rights laws…[after detaining her and transporting her] to a remote area…

Scapegoats (TW3 #10)

In Phoenix, dog porn is a higher law enforcement priority than rape:

A…man accused of burning his initials onto the genitals of at least one woman was arrested again…after…deputies allegedly found pornographic videos featuring a dog at his home.  Christopher Jackson…was arrested on suspicion of bestiality…“If you saw the video, you’d be pretty sick,” Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said…Police also arrested…Josephine Erikson, who they say is seen in the videos…Arpaio on a date

While Arpaio seems to be motivated by the desire to leer at women in person after watching them in stolen dog videos, over in North Carolina they’re motivated by weird ideas about sexual purity:

A…woman is accused of having sex with dogs while her…husband filmed them [for]…the Internet…Ruben Chance James Fox and his wife, Amber Nicole Fox…face…charges of bestiality, conspiracy…disseminating obscene materials…[and] soliciting a crime against nature.  The Humane Society tipped off the…police…

Change of Heart

Edinburgh sauna chiefs have compiled a “hypocrisy hit list” of senior public figures who paid for sex at their premises in recent years…[it] includes police officers, council officials, lawyers and even two “celebrities”…[and] is due to be unveiled at a civil court case next month…the list…proves double standards among public officials trying to shut the city’s sex industry down…

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #43)

Melissa Gira Grant on the increasing desperation of prohibitionists:

I’ve written before about Equality Now (in Jacobin, and in Reason)…[who] deny that anyone involved in the sex trade dissents with their approach.  Lately their op-eds have turned explicitly against sex workers’ rights, which makes sense, as the past two years have seen the mainstream of the global health and human rights  community joining sex workers in calling for an end to…criminalization…Equality Now appear to be losing credibility as human rights advocates…As more and more…advocates…demand…that sex workers be understood as the experts…the anti-sex work campaigners begin to look quite out of step with the…people they claim to protect…

Lauren Hersh, who wrote the op-ed to which Grant refers, was a prosecutor who resigned in disgrace after she was caught railroading two black men on rape charges.  Grant also commented on a Scott Long article which examines Equality Now’s lies and schemes at great length, ending with this bombshell:

…The Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy is offering a practicum for students…in a project for Equality Now.  “This project would analyze the legalization of prostitution and formation of sex workers’ rights groups…Equality Now seeks to better understand the movement…in order to refute arguments for legalization and lobby for adoption of the Nordic Model instead”…

In other words, Equality Now is paying a prestigious institution to spy on sex workers so as to help it create fake sex worker rights organizations which will lobby for the Swedish model, thus confusing politicians and others into thinking there is legitimate debate among sex workers about decriminalization being best.  The strategy itself is nothing new; it’s why Swedish model missionaries often deceptively and incorrectly label it “decriminalization”.  But that they are willing to go to this extent demonstrates the depth of their desperation, and the fact that the school took down the page as soon as they realized activists had found it (but not before Melissa got this screenshot) shows that they are fully aware of how incredibly unethical this is.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #50)

Sunitha Krishnan’s lies get more outrageous all the timeSunitha Krishnan says whores get 100 clients a day

Yes, that’s 100 clients a day she’s claiming there.

Book Reviews (TW3 #133)

For over two decades, Chester Brown has been one of Canada’s leading cartoonists, known…internationally for such works as Yummy Fur, Ed the Happy Clown, I Never Liked You, and Paying for It…For this year’s McCready Lecture, Chester Brown will present an illustrated talk…[to complement the] presentation in the Canadian galleries of a selection of the original drawings created for Louis Riel and will launch the new anniversary edition of the book…

Watershed

last week…Feministe made a very embarrassing and controversial post about sex work disappear from their site, along with several hundred comments…they have not posted any explanation, apology, or retraction for the post, apparently hoping that they can just make it vanish down the memory hole…”Dear Feminists” by Sarah Elizabeth Pahman…pretended to be about…impoverished sex workers, [but] it was all about Pahman, and how seeing them for the first time made her feel…[the incident] shows how deeply institutionalized their problems with sex work are…

The Joy of Juxtaposition (TW3 #312)

Georgia appears to be competing with Washington for the state with the most ridiculous and extreme manifestation of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…a new Georgia law requires certain businesses to post…notices letting sex trafficking victims know who to call for help…The list includes: adult entertainment establishments, bars, airports, train stations, bus stations, truck stops, emergency rooms, urgent care centers, farm labor contractors, privately operated job recruitment centers, rest stops, hotels, and massage parlors without licensed massage therapists…

What, not ethnic restaurants and nail parlors?Stop the Traffik

Theatrics

Did you see that ridiculous video which claims that most whores in Amsterdam were “trafficked”?  Here’s Dr. Brooke Magnanti on what’s wrong with the entire mindset that produced it:

…[in] Stop the Traffik’s recent “viral”…bystanders who think they’re enjoying a show are suddenly broadsided with a ham-fisted…message…It neatly employs a trick that has been used by what Laura Agustin calls the “Rescue Industry” for some time now: conflate all trafficking with sex trafficking, and all sex work with trafficking…it’s then perfectly acceptable…to mislabel consensual sex work as abuse…and at the same time to ignore the more widespread and less fashionable phenomenon of forced labour happening in domestic and drug sectors…the people who influence public taste and public policy definitely don’t want anyone looking too closely at where their cleaners and their drugs come from, but everyone hates sex work, so attacking that is A-OK.  Raids that rescue exactly zero trafficked individuals and put plenty of willing others behind bars are fine…

Still a Child

The UK is moving toward defining people in their early twenties as “children”:

…Child psychologists are being given a new directive…that the age range they work with is increasing from 0-18 to 0-25…the change follows developments in our understanding of emotional maturity, hormonal development and particularly brain activity…There are three stages of adolescence – early adolescence from 12-14 years, middle adolescence from 15-17 years and late adolescence from 18 years and over.  Neuroscience has shown that a young person’s cognitive development continues into this later stage and that their emotional maturity, self-image and judgement will be affected…

Keep in mind that since “adolescence” is largely an artificial concept, dividing it into periods like this is equally artificial.  But at least someone with sense is quoted in the article:

Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, says we have infantilised young people…”There is a loss of the aspiration for independence…and…psychology…reinforces that kind of passivity and powerlessness and immaturity and normalises that…we hold our children back from a very early age.  When they’re 11, 12, 13 we don’t let them out on their own.  When they’re 14, 15, we hover all over them and insulate them from real-life experience.  We treat university students the way we used to treat school pupils”…

Another excellent article by evolutionary psychologist Peter Gray explains that one of the biggest culprits is the eradication of unsupervised play:

…around 1960…adults began…reducing children’s freedom to play on their own…Adult-directed sports…began to replace “pickup” games; adult-directed [activities]…began to replace hobbies; and parents’ fears led them…to forbid children from going out to play…away from home, unsupervised…Over the same decades…[there has been] a continuous…increase in anxiety and depression in young people…the suicide rate…has more than doubled, and…[there has been] a decline in empathy and a rise in narcissism…[which is] exactly what we would expect to see in children who have little opportunity to play socially.  Children can’t learn these social skills…in school, [which] is an authoritarian…setting…[where] children…are not free to quit when others fail to respect their needs and wishes…Yet policymakers…are continuing to push us in the opposite direction — toward more schooling…more adult direction…and less opportunity for free play…

Be Careful Who You Rape

The “deals went bad”.  Seven times.

…Van Dralan Dixson, 38, confessed to police that he was responsible for a Sept. 1 rape in which he [attacked] a woman who was leaving work at a fast food restaurant…he told police…that the [only] two incidents that [he was sorry for]…the one…“with the kids and the ‘chicken lady’”…but the rest were prostitute deals gone bad and he had nothing to apologize for…

Imagination Pinned Down (TW3 #334)

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Hating on models, sex workers, and similar seems to be a significant subtext of what [feminist] groups support…yet they are often the first to ask why young women don’t want to call themselves feminists.  –  Brooke Magnanti

Rough Trade

California has a crime victims’ compensation program

…which helps people out with expenses like medical treatment or mental health care…you’re ineligible…if you have any other means of getting them, whether that’s insurance, a wealthy aunt, or a court ruling.  The program’s…regulations [also] disqualify anyone who was hurt while “involved” in an act of prostitution…

BDSMNaked Bear-type Man Chopping Wood by Charlie Goodwin

A 35-year-old [Austrian] woman advertizing herself as a dominatrix promised strict discipline to paying clients on her farm…[but] the men found themselves consigned to farm labor such as chopping wood in the nude and mowing the lawn while wearing black fetish masks…in effect, they were paying for the privilege of doing farm work…

License to Rape

One wonders what his “informal training” consisted of:

A…San Bernardino police officer was arrested…on charges that he forced two prostitutes to have sex with him while he was on duty…Jose Jesus Perez, 46, was indicted on four civil rights offenses that involved aggravated sexual abuse “while acting under the color of law”…If convicted, Perez faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison…Perez…had informally trained other officers on how to interact with prostitutes…

The Swedish Pimpocracy

The Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) has a close partnership with the US National Security Agency (NSA) and British GCHQ, according to information provided to the European Parliament…investigative journalist Duncan Campbell…told the committee that…Sweden was the third major partner in the surveillance cooperation…

Decentralization

We don’t know if Birmingham, UK-based Passion VIP is…the first escort agency to add bitcoin to its…payment options, but…we have not heard of another one…Tracy Elise

Size Matters

Tracy Elise has fired her attorney and has chosen to represent herself in court…she also filed six motions ranging from being allowed to travel to being allowed to use the internet.  Two years ago, police raided…the Phoenix Goddess Temple…[claiming] it was a house of prostitution, but parishioners said they were just practicing their religion…

The Punitive Mindset

The balance between crackdowns that play to punitive public sentiment and a public health approach that will actually reduce harm and prove most effective in protecting communities is one [Lord Chancellor] Chris Grayling should bear in mind, as he considers a crackdown on sex in prison…The prison service instruction manual states:  “there is no rule specifically prohibiting sexual acts between prisoners, but if they are observed by someone who finds (or could potentially find) their behaviour offensive, a charge…may be appropriate”…this results in…a system ripe for abuse…A blanket ban on sex in prison leads to prisoners failing to report rape or sexual assault for fear of punishment…[some] prisons refuse to issue barrier protection…some prisoners are sanctioned for requesting too many condoms.  One prison governor even said they had no need to issue…[them] as his prison contained no homosexuals…

Where Are the Protests?

As usual when sex isn’t involved, the word “trafficking” is entirely absent:

…America…[has an] underground market for adopted children, a loose Internet network where desperate parents seek new homes for kids they regret adopting…Through Yahoo and Facebook groups… the unwanted children [are passed]…to strangers with little or no government scrutiny, sometimes illegally…The practice is called “private re-homing,” a term typically used by [pet] owners…most of the children ranged in age from 6 to 14 and had been adopted from abroad…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

Except for the predictable whorearchy (“dancers resort to prostitution”, etc) this is a decent article about how the summer slump in New Orleans affects the stripping business.  It affects escorts as well, of course, though in my experience it tends to recover more quickly in September for escorts than for strippers.  Since I don’t write much about my stripping days, readers may find it interesting that the first club mentioned in the story was the first one I ever danced at, though it had a different name back then.illegal anti-whore sign

Legal Is As Legal Does (TW3 #7)

Outspoken Christchurch [New Zealand] city councillor Aaron Keown has taken matters into his own hands to ban sex workers from Manchester St.  Residents woke on [August 27th] to find the street plastered with “No Street Workers” signs…Two days later…council workers removed them, saying [they] were illegal.  Keown, who paid for and installed the signs himself…said…police and council bylaws had failed to keep prostitutes out of the residential area…[he] plans to create another set of signs next week…

Held Together With Lies (TW3 #14)

Even with new and vastly-broadened definitions, UNODC still only claims that “40,000 people…came into contact with the authorities as trafficking victims in 2012”, very similar to the 24,000 it claimed had been “rescued” last year.  Is anyone seeing a pattern here?

First They Came for the Hookers…

Lap dancing clubs could soon be banned in Glasgow under plans for a tough new licensing regime…new criteria for sexual ­entertainment venues…will allow councils…to set the number of sexual entertainment licences they permit…at zero.  Glasgow City Council has called for the power, which would effectively ban lap dancing bars in the city…Currently lap dancing clubs only need a public entertainment licence, which cannot take into ­account the type of entertainment being offered…

Because obviously, bans on stripping are always 100% effective.

Reframing

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #34)

The man in charge of tackling human trafficking and organised prostitution in Northern Ireland has come out against proposals to make it an offence to pay for sex…PSNI Detective Superintendent Philip Marshall has denied that human trafficking is a bigger problem here than elsewhere and revealed that men purchasing sex have sometimes reported human trafficking to the police…Lord Morrow has argued that similar legislation in Sweden led to a big decrease in human trafficking and street prostitution.  These assumptions have been challenged by DS Marshall, who…fears that Lord Morrow’s proposal would not help matters and would prevent men…reporting any suspicions they had…

Enough is Enough

The powerful story of a woman who understood the difference “between saving a life and prolonging a dying”:

My mother died shortly before her 85th birthday, in a quiet hospital room in Connecticut…She slept in her own bed until the night before…[and] was lucid and conscious to the end.  She avoided what most fear and many ultimately suffer:  dying mute, unconscious and “plugged into machines”…or…demented in a nursing home.  She died well because she was willing to die too soon rather than too late…

Poe Folks

Jemima ably mocks a recent anti-whore article by casting it as self-parody:

The New Statesman isn’t known for its sense of humour so it was a great surprise to see this amazing parody piece by Sarah Ditum  showing other journalists how not to write about…sex workers.  First…she shows how [headlines] can set the entire tone for a piece, cleverly creating straw man questions:  Can a feminist ever support the sex industry? followed by insinuations about the mental state of any sex worker with…what kind of society is it that makes that a rational choice for women? Fabulously done, a question that is meaningless…[followed by] a “have you stopped beating your wife yet” question…The Two Paths

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #38)

Criminalizing things makes them magically vanish!

Switzerland has raised the legal age of prostitution…[to fall] in line with an international convention it signed in 2010…it [is now] a criminal act to pay for sex with anyone who is under 18…[instead of] 16…People who pay for sex with [illegal workers or look at pictures of them]…face up to three years in prison…brothels or escort services that hire anyone under 18 could face up to 10 years…

The Public Eye (TW3 #49)

Here’s a long-form review of American Courtesans by a marriage therapist:

American Courtesans [is] an invaluable resource for therapists, clients, sex workers…[and] the general public…it’s important to call attention to the sex-negative view our society holds…anyone who is open about their needs, desires…and…sex can become a target for judgment, criticism, and even violence…Society wants to “invisibilize” these needs and desires and sex work makes them explicit…

Dirty Laundry (TW3 #135)

Sadistic Irish judges apparently think it’s funny to rob sex workers and give their money to an organization dedicated to destroying their entire profession: “Two Romanian nationals have been given custodial sentences after gardai raided a brothel…A substantial amount of cash was seized…along with paraphernalia linked to prostitution…Judge Conal Gibbons…instructed that the money…be donated to Ruhama…

An Ounce of Prevention (TW3 #312)

An HIV vaccine created by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University may be able to completely wipe out the…virus from the body…[it] is being tested…in monkeys [and] researchers hope…[it] will soon be able to be tested in humans…The approach uses cytomegalovirus, or CMV…a common virus…carried by a large percentage of the population…researchers found…infected cells were sought out and destroyed…

Real People (TW3 #316)Fish Girl

Here’s a nice little profile of Siouxsie Q of The WhoreCast, who’s currently performing in a play she wrote called Fish Girl (in which she portrays a mermaid).  The article also mentions the legal difficulties to which I alluded in the last paragraph of “The Free Speech Mafia”.

An Example to the West (TW3 #316)

Sex workers in Jamaica gathered…to demand rights, respect and dignity…the Caribbean Sex Workers Collective are ‘advocating for equal rights, and an end to stigma and discrimination’…

Policing for Profit

Sam Leino was ultimately convicted on a single charge of possessing prescription drugs…For that, his wife and their three children are homeless…“the Philadelphia DA has made civil forfeiture into a vast, unaudited revenue stream, profiting from an upside-down legal process through which the DA has the power to bleed property owners dry of financial resources…with minimal or no evidence of criminal wrongdoing”…Because the owner of a piece of property…needn’t even be charged…the Leinos had already lost their home by the time Sam Leino was convicted…In fact, the government can actually freeze your assets before any proceedings begin, making it difficult to hire legal representation for either your criminal trial, or to…reclaim your property.  In this case, the Philadelphia DA’s office actually evicted…[the family] from their home…The office…eventually withdrew the claim…[because] the family had fallen behind on their mortgage payments and the bank foreclosed, meaning that the home was no longer theirs for the government to take…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes

After publishers of Front, Nuts, Zoo and the Sunday Sport…refused to put their titles into sealed modesty bags, the Co-op has [announced it]…will no longer stock those titles.  It is unclear which lads’ mags will remain on the shelves in modesty bags – but…(physical) lad’s mag sales were falling anyway…if major retailers were making the money they used to from carrying the magazines, this campaign wouldn’t have had any traction at all…[model] Jodie Marsh blasted the Co-op’s decision on Twitter, suggesting that the groups involved with the campaign to ban lad’s mags “need to turn their attentions to areas where women really need help”…

Whatever They Need To Say (TW3 #336)vandalized brothel

The outrage continues in Bangladesh:

Hundreds of Islamists  vandalized and looted  a 250-year-old brothel in…Madaripur…and…threatened to harm the remaining workers further if they did not leave the area…the local leaders of both main political parties…are not only competing to buy Muslims’ votes…but are also interested in ejecting the sex workers from the downtown area in order to seize the valuable two-acre lot…

And to add insult to injury:

The…attack…rendered at least 500 sex workers shelterless…the infirmaries in the district refuse them essential treatments…[after] the attackers…warned the hospital authorities not to give [them] any healthcare…Some of them have had their ears and noses cut when attackers whisked their ornaments away…The attack…was a clear violation of a High Court order…Mahmuda Akhter – district Women Affairs Officer – was tasked with investigation into the incident, but…allegedly joined hands with the attackers…[saying] “I am with the majority.  No one wants a brothel in the city centre”…

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Humanity has a bad track record of selectively appealing to authority to justify our biases.  –  Andrea Castillo

R.I.P. Harry Reems

Harry ReemsHarry Reems, the first male porn star, died of pancreatic cancer on Tuesday (March 19th) at the age of 65.  For his role in Deep Throat, Reems was convicted in 1976 of “conspiracy to transport obscene material across state lines”, and though that sentence was overturned a year later the stress of the trial drove him to start drinking; he spent the late ‘80s as a homeless alcoholic before sobering up in 1989, then getting married and going into real estate a year later.  Unlike his co-star Linda Lovelace, however, he never regretted his choices or blamed porn for his troubles, and went by his stage name (his birth name was Herbert Streicher) until the end.

Bad Girls

I left out the very rarest, but worst type:  “[Houma, Louisiana] police arrested 15 men…alleging they solicited a prostitute through [Backpage]…one of [two] prostitutes…[was] issued a summons…[but] the other…was not arrested [because she] agreed to be a part of the sting…”  There is absolutely no lower life-form in the whoring ecosystem than a person who collaborates with cops to ensnare others in order to save his or her own worthless hide.

Dr. Schrödinger and His Amazing Pussycat

Andrea Castillo’s “When Science Looks Like Religion” explores the territory discussed in Monday’s comment thread:  When people blindly accept scientific findings which reinforce their irrational beliefs while rejecting equally-valid results which contradict those beliefs, the result is not science but religion.  The last part is doubly germane:  it describes Norwegian social scientists’ knee-jerk denial of all data which contradicts their cultic social constructionism.

micro-drug-dogSecret Squirrel

A new low in intra-family spying:

…Suspicious moms and dads are hiring trained drug detection dogs to sniff out their kids’ drug stash…the RK Agency…[charges] $350…[to] “discreetly perform a thorough inspection of your entire property”…Jeffrey Gardere, a child psychologist …[told] the Today Show… “I don’t know if you can [have a relationship with your kids] if you’re bringing in drug-sniffing dogs”…

Size Matters

According to this post from Dr. Annie Sprinkle, Tracy Elise of Phoenix Goddess Temple has been “deemed…’incompetent’ to go to trial…she will be sent to psych ward and forced to take psychiatric drugs for about 15 months until she’s ‘competent’…I feel that if…sex workers…criticise Tracy Elise…we are in a way colluding with the [police]…and…contributing to the problem, which is exactly what the ‘sex negative society’…wants us to do…”  I totally agree.

The Last Shall Be First

[Arizona] legislators…are attempting to pass legislation that forces transgender people to only use public restrooms…associated with the gender…on their birth certificate…in response to a [Phoenix] …bill…which prohibits gender identity discrimination in public accommodations…

Lupercalia

Dr. Brooke Magnanti on the lessons we can learn from Pompeii:

…women in Ancient Rome [married] sometimes as young as 14…[but] were permitted to own land and houses and have jobs.  Women of the upper classes were educated to a high standard…It’s well known that Pompeii…boasted a large sex industry…and…open attitudes about sexuality and prostitution didn’t hold back other women from achieving

And if you just can’t get enough of Brooke, here’s a short but wide-ranging interview with her in The Age.Rong Chen

A Broker in Pillage

Once again, the British government displays its dedication to literally robbing sex workers of their life savings:

A Chinese brothel madam and her husband have been ordered to pay back £125,000 within six months or she will face another jail sentence and he will join her…Rong Chen…and her husband Jason Hinton…only [have] £125,000 of realisable assets…[namely] their marital home in…Worcestershire, which…will have to be sold or remortgaged…

Note the weird euphemism “pay back”, implying that the money is refunded to customers; in reality it is split between the police, court and Inland Revenue.

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

If politicians’ minds weren’t befuddled by prohibitionist idiocy, they wouldn’t be so confused by wholly predictable outcomes like this:

…Jakarta…has tried…to offer sex workers ways to escape the sex industry…[for] example…sex workers…[given] a dressmaking course…did not return to their villages…but rather…to their old lives in Jakarta…the income from sewing was just too far below sex work…A high ranking health official…[said] it would be better to legalize prostitution; closing Kramat Tunggak would result in the dispersion of prostitution sites to several unidentified locations — making health checkups impossible…Surabaya…is still trying to phase out Dolly, East Java’s famed prostitution site…

But as this second article from the same newspaper explains, closing Dolly would be an economic disaster:

…Dolly…consists of at least 300 brothels…employing thousands of prostitutes…[plus] numerous supporting businesses — clinics, mini markets, sexual enhancement medicine vendors, parking lots, banks, rented houses, Internet cafes, small restaurants…University of Indonesia economist Lana Soelistianingsih said that…economic transactions triggered by prostitution [alone] could contribute around Rp 1.5 trillion to Surabaya’s gross domestic product…

Oscillation

Family Research Council…fellow Pat Fagan…claims that Eisenstadt v. Baird, the 1972 case that overturned a Massachusetts law banning the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried people, may rank “as the single most destructive decision in the history of the Court”…because it effectively meant that “single people have the right to engage in sexual intercourse…Society never gave young people that right, functioning societies don’t do that, they stop it, they punish it, they corral people, they shame people, they do whatever”…

Fokkens twinsReal People (TW3 #21)

…Amsterdam’s oldest prostitutes have retired after more than 50 years each in the business.  Louise and Martine Fokkens, 70, have decided they are too old…Louise…says arthritis now makes some sexual positions “too painful”…and Martine…admits she finds it hard to attract punters – though one elderly man still has his weekly sadomasochism session…The pair were the subject last year of a documentary Meet The Fokkens and they have written a book called The Ladies Of Amsterdam

First They Came for the Hookers…

As I pointed out recently, Nevada isn’t remotely pro-whore:  “Two [Nevada] state Senators introduced bills…[to] regulate strip clubs…Mark Manendo…wants to charge …a $10 per customer fee…[to fund] programs related to domestic violence…Barbara Cegavske…would ban anyone less than 21-years-old from performing…

The Public Eye

Caty Simon of Tits and Sass interviews well-known activist Audacia Ray on the Red Umbrella Project, speaking to the media, condom criminalization, the Long Island Killer and why sex workers need to ally with harm reduction and anti-drug war activists.

Monkey Business

Baboons have been observed keeping dogs as pets:

Birth of a Movement (TW3 #39)

French sex workers continue to push back against increased criminalization:

10 years ago, the Internal Security Act (LSI) penalized public solicitation, including so-called “passive solicitation”…[this] has reinforced the isolation of sex workers, relegating them to more remote places where they are…more prone to violence…since the introduction of the LSI, “the conduct of the police deteriorated sharply.  Their attitude is less respectful and humiliation increased…their protective function…has virtually disappeared and [they are]…most often perceived as strictly punitive”…Médecins du Monde demand the immediate repeal of the offense of soliciting…[and] rejects any proposal to penalize customers…

Women’s Rights Minister Najat Belkacem responded in a typically clueless manner; though she promised repeal of the law, she also made the absurd claim that “90% of [sex workers] are victims of human trafficking” and refused to back down on her scheme to impose the Swedish model.

King of the Hill

Portland, Oregon’s bid for the “largest trafficking hub” title isn’t a new one, but now they’re claiming that this is “proven” not only by highways, but by rivers:

…Portland [has]…one of the largest sex industries of any U.S. city…human trafficking…is a growing problem in Oregon due in part to the traffic permitted by Interstates 5 and I-84 [and] the Willamette and Columbia rivers…the problem [is] one that’s inextricably linked to gangs…“When people think of prostitution, their first instinct is a girl walking on the street,” [police spokesman Pete] Simpson says.  “They’re not thinking about the fact that she’s being traded as a commodity, sold as a product”…The change [in strategy] humanizes the victims…

Simpson robs women of agency, then claims he’s “humanizing” whores who were already human before he turned them into things to be acted upon.  It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.An Intimate Life

Accredited Whores

Charlotte Shane’s review of An Intimate Life: Sex, Love, and My Journey As A Surrogate Partner, the memoirs of sex surrogate Cheryl Greene (of The Sessions fame), covers much the same ground as my column, and that’s a good thing; the more of us there are speaking out against these artificial lines drawn between types of sex work, the more people will finally get it.

Like a Horse and Carriage

I’m glad to see that others are recognizing that “marriage equality” applies just as well to polygamy as it does to same-sex marriage, and are making good arguments for it:

I’m in favor of leaving marriage to the religious institutions, and registering households in whatever configuration people want to live.  If a same-gender couple, or a heterosexual couple, or an elderly couple who can’t have children, or any couple want to be responsible to and for each other, let them.  If three people want to be responsible to and for each other, let them.  If a gay man and his female best friend want to be responsible to and for each other, let them.  Let’s stop worrying about who is screwing who, and just make it easier for people to be responsible in their relationships.

Still More Mentoring

SWOP-NOLA posted these “Client Screening Tips and Helpful Links from a New Orleans Provider”; I already mentioned a few of these, but she provides many more I didn’t know about.

The Joy of Juxtaposition

One would never know that these claims have been repeatedly debunked:

The Georgia attorney general and other law enforcement officials kicked off a public awareness campaign…[which] bears the slogan “Georgia’s not buying it” and includes a [commercial] featuring professional athletes…”We’ll continue to go after the pimps and rescue the victims, but we know that the only way to truly eradicate this evil is by ending the demand,” Attorney General Sam Olens said…It is a problem throughout Georgia, in both urban areas and in small towns and rural areas…

Georgia is indeed “buying it”, wholesale.  I’m sure millions in federal grants and an excuse to further erode civil rights have nothing to do with all this.

Skin To Skin

An Australian sex therapist argues that disability insurance should cover the hiring of sex workers:

Sexual expression is a fundamental part of being human…Decades of research have uncovered the many benefits of sex, which include physical health, quality of life, psychological well-being and sexual self-esteem.  Unfortunately, because of social taboos and hypocrisy…barriers are created to stop people from fully realising these benefits…Some people with disabilities have limited opportunities for sexual relationships because they lack privacy and are dependent on others…Maggie in Albany

Comfort Zone

The video of the Albany Law School symposium is now available!  If you don’t have the time or inclination to watch the whole thing (4 hours), my part runs from minute 170 to 185.

An Ounce of Prevention (TW3 #310)

Earlier this month, doctors announced that a baby had been cured of…HIV…Now…it appears that 14 adults have…been successfully treated…70 people…[received] combination antiretroviral therapy (cART)…much sooner than…normal…[because] all [were] diagnosed…early…they…stuck to the [regimen] for an average of three years…[but then] stopped…for various reasons…Normally, HIV will return when patients stop taking their ARVs.  But this time…14…patients…were functionally cured…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #311)

Apparently, the proposed legislative reform in South Australia isn’t quite decriminalization (though it’s a lot closer to it than anything we’ll see in the US anytime soon):  “…it makes special provisions for sex work such as special licensing, laws about safe sex and possibly restrictions on location…once a ‘reform’ law has been passed the chances of getting better legislation in the near future drop to zero.  So many people feel it’s better to stay with a bad situation and hope to get good reform rather than settle for an unsatisfactory ‘improvement’…

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If we [can’t] get the prohibition on sex work repealed, we [will] never end up hanging on to our abortion rights…it’s the same piece of property.  –  Margo St. James

Amsterdam

Dutch “authorities” narrow the bottleneck again and will no doubt be surprised when illegal prostitution increases:  “The city of Amsterdam…will raise the legal age of prostitutes from 18 to 21 and…close brothels during the early morning hours…Amsterdam says it wants to decrease the number of sex workers…to fight crime generated by prostitution…

The Slave-Whore Fantasy

Yet another example of what real sex slavery looks like:

A sex worker who was…held hostage for two…days broke her legs and back when she jumped out a sixth-floor window…Benjamin Gaston and Johnny Jackson have been charged with kidnapping and raping the…woman…Gaston…stole her cellphone, money and identification…hit her and held a pillow over her face, telling her, “You’re…working for me and making me money.”  The next day, [she] was taken to another apartment…where there were six or seven additional men waiting to have sex with her, including Jackson…The woman tried to escape…by using her jacket as a rope…[but] fell to the ground…Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco Goya (c 1820)

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I just love it when they feed on one another.  In Stockholm, “Police…were surprised…to find that a man they had arrested for buying sex from a prostitute was the duty prosecutor to whom they were obliged to report the crime…”, and in New York, “Officer Luis Gutierrez…was on duty when he allegedly offered a prostitute money…[but she] was an undercover cop…

Decentralization

Bitcoin is now the world’s best-performing currency:

…The number of coins in circulation grows very slowly–there are about 10.8 million…now, and that will increase to 21 million by 2140…growth…[can’t] keep up with demand and so the value of the currency [grows]…The U.S. dollar value of a Bitcoin is up from…$4.87 [a year ago]…to $31.09 today.  It has appreciated by over 100% from the end of 2012 alone, when the quoted price was $13.48…And it’s also going mainstream, reports in the Guardian and Forbes  suggest…

The Forbes article reports that “Silicon Valley Bank…and…Coinlab….will [soon] allow North America-based…users to directly convert money from dollars to bitcoin, without having to pay the hefty transaction fees associated with transferring money abroad…

Against Their Will

Spanish police were puzzled when thirty Romanian whores they “rescued from exploitation by a network of pimps” immediately returned to work; “none of [them] asked for protection or availed themselves of assistance…to return to their country” despite police claims of beatings and debt bondage.  Meanwhile, Filipino “authorities” continued their weird crusade against “cybersex”:  “…police raided…[an] alleged…cybersex den…[and] rescued 12 [young men]…“They referred to themselves as ‘chatters’ because they chat online…as they perform sexual acts in front of the web cam,” said…officer…Romano Cardiño…

Peeping Toms

Dennis Green admits he offered another man $20…for sex…[but his] defense…could have a far-reaching impact…legalizing prostitution in Ohio…Scott Nazzarine, Green’s public defender…believes there’s no way what Green did can be deemed a crime in today’s society.  He compares it to other acts that at one time were illegal – premarital sex, the sale of sex toys, abortion, contraception…but now are legal, protected rights…“It’s about privacy rights and constitutional rights and the government’s intrusion into them…Any justification for prostitution laws is just a pretext for morality”…

Nazzarine is of course totally right and the judges know it, but I don’t think this is the case that will do the job because there’s still too much hypocrisy afoot.  Still, this won’t be the last one, and eventually individual rights must triumph just as they have in other sexual matters.

We Told You So

Who victimizes sex workersThe Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women is the only large “anti-trafficking” organization which fights the use of bogus statistics and conflation of sex work with exploitation; it’s calling for papers for its Anti-Trafficking Review on the topic “Following the Money: Spending on Anti-Trafficking” …“Lacking is analysis of…anti-trafficking funds – where they come from, who they go to, what they are meant to do, what they actually achieve, and indeed whether they are needed.”  Two of the suggested topics are analysis of the motives behind “anti-trafficking” funding and questioning ties to law enforcement.

An Ounce of Prevention

A baby…who got immediate treatment now has no detectable [HIV] in her blood…within 30 hours of birth…she…got a cocktail of three drugs at a dose normally reserved for more advanced cases…There is still virus in [her] body.  But…it doesn’t seem to be able to spread from one cell to another…[or damage her] immune system…

The Law of Averages

Emi Koyama exposes journalists who knew the falsity of the “average age of debut in prostitution is 13” myth for three years, yet kept repeating it anyhow:  “While I was glad to see that The Oregonian now officially acknowledges that there is no basis for this…everything…Janie Har…wrote…was already in my three-year old blog post…[written after] I first read the claim…in [Oregonian reporter Elizabeth] Hovde’s column…” Emi details her July 2010 correspondence with Hovde, in which the reporter acknowledged her analysis but made excuses rather than issuing a retraction.  Then finally, last Saturday,

The Oregonian acknowledges that the claim is baseless! (But why is it rated “half-truth”…and why did they not mention any other study that contradict 12-14 claim?)  I have a feeling that Janie Har read my blog post…she mentions the same Shared Hope report and points out the same problems…If she did read my blog, why did she not speak with me or give me credit…The Oregonian had the opportunity to stop perpetuating the myth for almost three years, and yet failed to do so as recently as this January.Secret Lives  While Janie Har’s column is to be commended, The Oregonian and Hovde need to take responsibility for their part in the falsehood…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

While I was in New York last week, Secret Lives and A Natural History of Rape arrived as gifts from reader “M”.  Thank you very much, both for the books and the good wishes!

Little Boxes

When Melissa King [aged out of] the Delaware foster care system at 18, she did some porn, entered some pageants, and enrolled in college…Last November, King was crowned Miss Delaware Teen USA…[but] she gave up her crown after an explicit video…surfaced on an amateur porn website…Now she’s being publicly shamed by former friends and international news organizations…Pageants and porn are…two sides of a very thin sexual boundary.  And for a young, pretty girl who’s strapped for cash…only one of [them offers it] up-front…

Naked Truth

Melissa Gira Grant continues a strong run of good articles with “Unpacking the Sex Trafficking Panic” in Contemporary Sexuality, the newsletter of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT).  When sex-worker-penned items criticizing a popular narrative appear under the imprimatur of a relatively-conservative organization, it’s clear the tide has begun to turn.  Also, here’s a good interview with veteran activist Tracy Quan by Caty Simon on Tits and Sass; I promise, I’m not just linking it because it mentions me.Margo St. James in Washington

The Birth of a Movement

In this interview with Bitch magazine, Margo St. James discusses the beginning of the sex worker rights movement, how the neofeminists turned mainstream feminism against us, “sex trafficking” hysteria and the future of sex worker activism.

Coming Out

Dear Prudence” gives what I think is a reasonable response to an unconsciously-bigoted man wondering if he should “out” a sex worker friend to his other friends.  Unfortunately, the graphics give the impression that the woman goes around looking like a Hollywood streetwalker when in reality, the uptight questioner’s issue is that she looks just like any other woman.

Much Ado About Nothing (TW3 #44)

An escort who appeared on a video claiming that Sen. Robert Menendez…paid her for sex has told Dominican authorities that she was instead paid to make up the claims and has never met or seen the senator…a local lawyer had approached her and a fellow escort and asked them to help frame Menendez…That lawyer has in turn identified a second Dominican lawyer who he said gave the woman a script and paid her to read the claims aloud…

Texas Tall Tales

Facebook PimpThe “Facebook pimps” myth just keeps growing and growing, which really isn’t a surprise since it combines three of the moral panics du jour: “sex trafficking”, gangs and the evil, evil internet.  This sort of thing has been happening for as long as there have been exploitative men and naive, sheltered girls with romantic delusions; it’s not a “trend”, not limited to Facebook and not an international conspiracy.  CNN also fails to understand that three cases in a country of 300 million do not an epidemic make, and that 18 isn’t “underage”.

Genetic Fallacy

Yet another example of judges ignoring a law’s unconstitutionality on the grounds that those challenging it have not been sufficiently harmed by it:

The Supreme Court…[dismissed] a challenge to a…federal law that allows…interception of electronic communications…[on the grounds] that the lawyers, journalists and human rights organizations that brought the suit cannot prove they have been caught up in the surveillance and thus may not challenge [it]…the 5 to 4 ruling did not touch on…constitutionality…and challengers said it will be almost impossible now to get that issue before a court…

Profound Ignorance (TW3 #51)

An even more thorough refutation of the moronic prohibitionist claim that sex is somehow different from every other human activity:

The assumption that liberal prostitution laws lead to an increase in human trafficking is refuted.  On the contrary…since…liberalisation, there has been more police activity but…significantly less suspects, convicts and victims.  That’s…an indicator that…disentanglement of prostitution from criminal environments is increasingly successful.” – Volker Beck, MP…“In the year 2000…[German officials] registered…926 victims.  In the year 2011, there were 640.  This equates to a decrease of just under 31 per cent.  If one compares the figures…in 2003 [a year after the prostitution law was passed] and 2011, one sees a certifiable decline of just above 48 per cent”…The…German government thus refutes the claim by Neumayer, Cho and Dreher  that legalised prostitution increases human trafficking…

Déjà Vu (TW3 #135)

More evidence of the evangelical Christian basis for “sex trafficking” mythology and a look inside the perverted minds of prohibitionists:

In the fight against sex trafficking, the Church needs to address the root causes – the ideas…that break the linkage sex has to love, responsibility and children, [said] Lisa Thompson…of…the Salvation Army…Thompson asked [her audience] not [to] divorce…sex trafficking from…prostitution [because]…all prostitution dehumanizes women…”God did not create any woman for the purpose…that she be a cum receptacle.  God did not create the female to be a human being that [johns] are basically masturbating into…sex was never intended to be a job, so let’s not use the language of ‘sex work'”…

That Thompson had to deny that sex work is work is a very good sign indeed.

Caring Professionals

lone red umbrellaI have long held that professional sex workers need to develop a code of ethics just as other professions have, not only for moral reasons but in order to push back against “authorities” who think they are more qualified than we are to set standards for work they’ve never done.  So I was pleased to hear that the Australian Sex-Positive Sex Industry Association (ASPaSIA) is working on just such a code, and I’ll report on it at full length once it’s finalized later this month.

Unclean Situation (TW3 #138)

Labour TD, Eamonn Maloney, said he did not accept the [claims] in the report on the [Magdalene] laundries…“They…made lots of money,” he said…adding that most commercial laundries in the 1940s and 1950s closed because of competition from the Magdalenes.  “Not only has the church as yet to apologise for their role in operating these prisons, they do also have a role…in compensating people,” he said…The Government has so far refused to say what contribution, if any, it will seek from the orders…

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Innocent people should not be trapped for engaging in their legal right to ask to have sex in private with another adult.  –  Ezekiel Edwards

Beneath the Veil

It isn’t often we hear anything credible about sex work in strict Muslim countries, which are among the few places in the world more oppressive of sex workers than the United States, but this one seems both realistic and relatively non-judgmental:

…In Yemen, sex work is punishable by stiff prison sentences of up to three years…women earn 50,000 to 60,000 riyals [$230-$280] per client…Wealthy Gulf playboys are known to drop 100,000 riyals [$470] or more per woman…[but women] picked up at a restaurant or club…earn [only] 10,000 [to] 15,000 riyals ($47-$70).  Condoms are standard…testing for sexually transmitted diseases is less common but not rare…Because of the illicit nature of the work, sex workers have virtually no protections against abuse.  It is not uncommon for men to refuse to pay.  Sometimes, a woman will meet a client, only to discover his three friends have accompanied him…

The reporter’s source is a Somali woman working in Yemen who, like so many of us, has been in and out of sex work for much of her life.

Updates

Rough Trade

At least British juries recognize that a prostitute can be raped:  “Arturas Vasilivas attacked the girl…on October 13 last year…Prosecutor Mary Loram…[said] ‘He clearly viewed her as an object with which he could do as he pleased. She was absolutely terrified’…”  He was convicted after only 3½ hours of deliberation and will be sentenced next month.  In the United States, however, the rapist usually has to be shockingly violent to ensure conviction:

A limo driver faces up to 14 years in prison…[for] running down a teenage prostitute…Adekunkle Adefeyinti, 42, of Chicago, [was convicted] of two counts of aggravated battery…[for injuring] the 16-year-old girl while fleeing in his Hummer to avoid payment…part of her scalp [was] ripped off and [she suffered] facial nerve damage…

Walking Stereotype Sues Whore

Of course, criminalization also allows whores to cheat clients as well:

…Ernesto S. Tapang, 42, and Shuzhen Santos both have been charged with misdemeanor prostitution…Tapang…paid Santos $120 for an hour of sex…[but] twenty minutes later she allegedly told him…it was over and…refused to give [him] a refund so he flagged down a patrol car and reported her to police…

A False Dichotomy

It’s always a pleasure when people who have never done sex work get it:

Beyond the simplistic dichotomies within western feminism on the nature of sex work there is a complex picture in which many women take a pragmatic approach, negotiating with their sexuality an income while withstanding the “occupational hazard” of rampant violence, says Sehin Teferra.  In Ethiopian cities…many young women become sex workers having failed to make ends meet by waiting tables or working as house-help, or [after] personal hardship such as an unplanned birth…[or running] away from home…Nearly all the women [Teferra] spoke to had faced violence at some point…[but] did not portray themselves as victims, and neither were they presented as victims by the men…Despite the low stature of women in Ethiopia in general, sex workers [including casual ones who do not identify as such] are recognized as making good money…[so] many couples and families [depend] on a young woman who sells sex.  Many male partners of sex workers expressed frustration that as unskilled labour, they cannot find work that pays as well, and as regularly, as their partners’ sex work…while many sex workers…express a desire to leave their line of work, others recognize that [it] has allowed them to provide for themselves and their families…

Peeping Toms

Until I read this thorough and sensible article, I hadn’t realized that both major American presidential candidates this year are descended from polygamists (and much more recently in Obama’s Kenyan family than in Romney’s Mormon one).  But that fact has not escaped the notice of those fighting for the right to live in whatever consensual arrangement suits them, who also point out that banning a practice because a minority abuse it is tyranny.  This should obviously sound familiar, but the similarities don’t stop there; Romney has stated, “I can’t imagine anything more awful than polygamy,” which is exactly the same sort of absurdly-exaggerated denunciation politicians usually emit when talking about sex work.

An Ounce of Prevention

Y’all may discuss this in the comments as you wish; please just keep it factual and avoid “mutilation” hyperbole and unverifiable claims about sensitivity:

A 20-year decline in male circumcision has cost the country $2 billion in medical costs that could have been prevented, Johns Hopkins researchers say in a [new] study…boys who are not circumcised are more prone to sexually transmitted diseases and other [costly] health problems over a lifetime…”The economic evidence is backing up what we already know medically,” said Dr. Aaron Tobian…about 55 percent of the 2 million baby boys born each year are circumcised, compared with a peak of 79 percent in the 1970s and 1980s…Studies have long shown that when babies are not circumcised…bacteria and viruses can get trapped in the extra layers of skin left on the penis…circumcision reduces the number of infant urinary tract infections.  Men who are uncircumcised are more at-risk for cancer-causing HPV, HIV, herpes, bacterial vaginitis and other sexually transmitted diseases…

Legal Is as Legal Does

As I’ve stated many times, any artificial bottleneck in the legality of sex work (such as licensing, venue restrictions or immigration controls) inevitably creates problems in the restricted sector.  This excellent article by Christian Vega explains the problems Asian sex workers face in the legalized system in Victoria.

The Course of a Disease

Considering the progress of Swedish Rot in Ireland, it should come as no surprise that Northern Ireland has contracted the disease as well:

…the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill…aims to enhance services for victims as well as making it an offence to pay for sexual services from a prostitute…Lord Morrow said…”In Sweden, there’s a very clear message of zero tolerance for the purchase of sex that has had a clear impact on trafficking”…

His Lordship is correct: it has made trafficking worse.

Enabling Oppression

If these women were vulnerable to arrest for prostitution, would this have turned out the same way?

The six-year-old daughter of a sex worker, who was allegedly being tortured by her mother and her partner for the past few months, was rescued by other sex workers…[who heard her] yelling out in pain…and…took her to Medical College and Hospital Calcutta for treatment…The little girl, who looked relieved, kept saying that she did not want to return to her mother…”If the girl meets this kind of treatment from her own mother, she would surely become a victim of circumstances soon…we want the girl to stay at a safer place,” said a member of DMSC.

Soap Opera

Penthouse Club Tampa RNC adTampa Police have arrested nearly 20 women at area strip clubs as part of a crackdown ahead of the Republican National Convention…Tampa Police said they are investigating prostitution and human sex trafficking of minors based on tips that prostitutes may be coming to Tampa to work in adult establishments during the convention.”  Because if Telisia Espinosa says pimped, trafficked streetwalkers work out of strip clubs, that’s good enough for them.

Damned If You Don’t

Maybe if this sort of thing keeps happening, the ACLU will get off its collective arse and actually start challenging these laws:

The South Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is accusing the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office [of] routinely making unlawful arrests of women they suspect of being prostitutes and men who have sex with men, even though they haven’t broken any laws.  The ACLU says it sent a letter [outlining] “several incidents in which undercover officers approached people parked in their cars, sitting on their own porches or walking down the street and asked suspects to engage in illegal sexual activity, including prostitution and having sex in a public place.  The individuals either declined or offered to engage in lawful private sexual contact, but were arrested anyway”…

Metaupdates

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea in August Updates (Part One)

It looks like the Indian Supreme Court is starting to back down from its year-old decision to move toward decriminalization:

A year after trying to provide a dignified life to sex workers, the Supreme Court on Thursday said its orders should not be construed as an encouragement to prostitution…Justice [Gyan Sudha] Mishra said, “I prefer to add…sex workers have a right to live with dignity but the collective endeavour must be on part of the sex workers to give up the trade in case they are given alternate platform”…Justice [Altamas] Kabir said:  “It is all very good for your (government’s) policy to say prevent prostitution but will you provide to fill their stomach.  Even a prostitute has a right to live with dignity”…

The other judges waffled even more, and one claimed he was only talking about “sex trafficking” victims.  Well, at least they rejected the government’s attempt to remove DMSC from the advisory panel.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling in October Updates (Part Three)

A news release of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), said…[a human trafficking] hotline…established a year and a half ago…”has received 11,000 calls from local and overseas sources, with…165 case calls, of which 52 are reportedly victims of human trafficking”…the CFO said “many victims still do not file charges against their recruiters.”

Would that be “many” more than the 11,000 callers, the 165 operators opened files on, the 52 staff represent as real or the much smaller, undisclosed number which actually turn out to be cases of victimization?

An Example To the West in TW3 (#14)

Here’s another article by Matthias Lehmann on sex work in South Korea, this one in response to an article written by a woman who seems to believe that volunteering at a woman’s shelter for a few months makes her a “sex trafficking” expert.  It includes an excerpt from this excellent letter (dated last September) to “human trafficking ambassador” Luis CdeBaca from Ann Jordan and other respected academics:

“…[W]e are concerned that the Obama Administration has produced a document that asserts as matters of proven fact a number of statements, which…are unsupported or unproven by valid research methods and data…the document is illogical, misleading and therefore potentially damaging to on-going efforts globally to prevent trafficking and protect the rights of trafficked persons…these assumptions are not proven in any empirically meaningful way, and [we] believe that they only serve to deflect attention away from the structures and actors that in fact lead to trafficking of women, men and children.  The proposals and statements in the document threaten to divert precious resources from protecting victims of trafficking who urgently need help into a politically contested and futile anti-prostitution campaign…”

Interestingly, Lehmann also compares the “anti-trafficking” campaigns in South Korea with California’s Proposition 35, about which I wrote last week.

Whorearchy in TW3 (#19)

Barcelona’s ill-considered and Swedish-flavored campaign to drive vulnerable women into poverty continues:

…[As of ] 17th August, street prostitution will be totally banned in Barcelona…the…ban will persecute both prostitutes and clients; although the later will have to pay significantly higher fines.  Clients might be fined between €1,000 and €3,000…[while] prostitutes will…[be fined] €100 [to] €750, depending on the situation…

This Week in 2011

I examined a claim that porn causes terrorism, described my “girls’ night out” with two other whore activists, discussed attempts to restrict adult behavior under the excuse of “protecting children”, expressed my opinion on a conflict between two activists, published the tale of an experiment in sexual robotics, looked at several examples of sex work scams and criticized the demonization of “sexting”.

This Week in 2010

What happens when an escort already knows her client personally or because he’s famous?  How should clients treat hookers, and what sorts of presents do they give in addition to fees?  What kinds of tricks do unscrupulous whores use?  What do we think about people who try to “rescue” us?  And what does one do with a talking painting?

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Those who would criminalise prostitutes seem oddly keen to eliminate true voices of experience from the discussion.  –  Brooke Magnanti

All Shapes and Sizes

Res ipsa loquitur:

…Jonah Falcon was stopped…by the TSA at the San Francisco International Airport…because of a bulging package hidden in his pants…the world’s largest recorded penis…[which is] 9 inches flaccid, 13.5 inches erect…”[A] guard…asked me if I had some sort of growth…I said, ‘It’s my dick’…He gave me a pat down but made sure to go around [my penis] with his hands.  They even put some powder on my pants, probably a test for explosives”…

The Camel’s Nose

Congress’ new strategy is to enact SOPA piece by piece so it doesn’t attract so much attention; though the Intellectual Property Attaché Act is mostly cultural imperialism like the “Trafficking in Persons Report”, it also creates yet another unelected “czar” with dictatorial powers.  Luckily, a group called the Internet Defense League (whose members include Public Knowledge, Reddit, Mozilla and the Electronic Frontier Foundation) was launched on July 19th; its purpose is to monitor threats to internet freedom and then spread the word and organize mass resistance (like the protests that stopped SOPA) whenever necessary.

Lying Down With Dogs

It’s always interesting to see how closely American anti-whore rhetoric resembles that of nations which are not exactly advanced or Western:

Lusaka Province Minister Gerry Chanda [rejected] calls by some members of the public to legalise prostitution…[because it] is illegal…cannot be tolerated…[and] is alien to Zambia…Inspector-General of Police Stella Libongani described sex workers as a “public nuisance” and warned them with arrest if found loitering on the streets…

Bone of Contention

So, aren’t vandalism and indecent exposure already illegal for everyone without a special law just for whores?

More than 40 [street sign] poles have been bent, buckled or broken in the past 18 months in one area of south Auckland, New Zealand… “Prostitutes use these street sign poles as dancing poles,” said [a member of the city council.  The claim appears in a pamphlet]…detailing frustrations of residents and businesses struggling to cope with [streetwalkers and calling]…on parliament…to give Auckland Council powers to ban sex workers from certain areas…other…incidents [include]…a transvestite [ramming] a supermarket trolley into a woman’s car before lying across the bonnet, and a school-bus full of children observing a transvestite changing her dress…

Sisters in Arms

Considering America’s grotesque inflation of penalties for every conceivable “crime”, what will happen if abortion is eventually recriminalized?

38 states have passed laws that create a crime for causing the death of a fetus…23 of which apply at the earliest stages of pregnancy.  What we have now is a what Professor Angela Davis calls a “prison industrial complex”:  a system of for-profit prisons so hungry for more inmates that it drives immigration policy, and pays off judges to fill jail cells with children…[and] so bloated that rural economies have become dependent upon the influx of inmates…since the 1970s, the rate of incarceration for women has increased over 700%.  We have lawmakers admit that they believe that women should face “serious” criminal penalties for having abortions.  We have so dismantled the right to privacy that state-mandated technological surveillance can literally invade women’s bodies.  We have Kafkaesque bedside interrogations and arrests of women who fall down stairs when they admit ambivalence about…single motherhood…two women…are [now] facing murder trials for losing pregnancies…Bei Bei Shuai…[and] Rennie Gibbs

Against Their Will

A new report by two Indian authors has poked holes into the “raid, rescue, and rehabilitation” schemes…targeting sex workers.  The report, titled We Have the Right Not To Be “Rescued”…says, “Contrary to the purported goal of assisting women, the anti-trafficking projects…often undermine HIV projects…causing harm to women and girls.”  The report alleges that [police raids on] brothels…are often violent.  Cases of sexual assault and rape and sodomy have also been reported during such actions…Research from Indonesia and India has indicated that sex workers who are rounded up during police raids are beaten, coerced into having sex [and]…placed in institutions where they are sexually exploited or physically abused.  The raids also drive sex workers onto the streets, where they are more vulnerable to violence…

An Ounce of Prevention

It looks as though an AIDS vaccine is finally within reach:

…a 2009 clinical trial in Thailand…tested Sanofi’s ALVAC, a weakened canary pox virus used to sneak three HIV genes into the body, and AIDSVAX, a vaccine originally made by Roche Holding’s Genentech that carried an HIV surface protein.  Both vaccines had poor showings in individual trials…[but] the…combination cut HIV infections by 31.2 per cent…Preparations are under way for a follow-up trial testing beefed-up versions of the vaccines among heterosexuals in South Africa and [homosexual] men…in Thailand…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Dr. Marty Klein not only explodes the myth of “sex addiction”, but also explains why it’s such a destructive paradigm:

…“Sex addiction” is a special weapon now used…to ignore science…ignite fear [and]…legitimize anti-sex moralism and bigotry.  And psychologists, judges, legislators, and the media are buying it…the sex addiction movement…did not arise from…sex therapy or any other sexuality-related field.  Rather, it was started in 1983 by Patrick Carnes, who…claims no training in human sexuality.  “Sex addiction” has been adopted enthusiastically by the addiction community, and to a lesser extent by the marriage and family profession—the latter historically undertrained and uncomfortable with sexuality…Of course, the media loves it, decency groups love it, and those who identify as some other kind of addict…love it, especially if they’re fans of the Twelve Steps…

If you still think some people are really “addicted” to sex, Dr. Klein suggests you take the Sexual Addiction Screening Test (SAST).  You may be surprised how high you score, but you shouldn’t be; “sex addiction” rhetoric pathologizes normal sexual feelings and behaviors.  As Dr. Klein points out, what the test really measures is whether you grew up in a sex-negative culture.  The article is well worth reading in its entirety, especially for its debunking of inane claims about “brain areas” and “erototoxins”.

Much Ado About Nothing

I guess the media must be bored with hooker “scandals”, because this report of T-men paying for women with government funds didn’t make the news; we’re told they won’t even lose their  jobs because the activity “didn’t include underage prostitutes or human trafficking.”  You know, just like 96.5% of the sex work persecuted in this country doesn’t.

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Here’s a trailer for a new documentary named The Mechanical Bride, narrated by the legendary Julie Newmar.

The Birth of a Movement

In the process of critiquing a French miniseries about the maisons closes, Dr. Brooke Magnanti has some illuminating comments about the historical reality ignored by the creators of the melodrama:

…Prostitutes moved between brothels and changed names often to avoid detection…the notion that girls…could not, and did not, shop around for management is absurd…the drama is an uncomfortable union of modern agendas superimposed on a historical setting.  Since it’s in the past, there are no inconvenient contemporary sex workers to show the complex reality of prostitution and spoil the abolitionist fantasy…

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?

…Harmony Rose…has been featured in more than 200 pornographic videos…[but] has…left the adult entertainment industry…and [is] training as a volunteer EMT…in Roanoke, VA…Fire Chief Rich Burch learned about Rose’s previous career…[and] contacted the…County Attorney…[who] noted, “Anything that results in public ridicule of the volunteer squads…must be avoided”…[and] that Burch “supports the decision of the volunteer chief if she decides to terminate the membership of [Rose].”  The community, however, seems to be on Rose’s side.  Of the over 500 comments that appear under the story on WDBJ’s Facebook page, nearly all support Rose’s continued work with the rescue squad…

Metaupdates

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea in August Updates

As in Canada, Indian politicians feel compelled to defend tyranny by opposing court orders to decriminalize prostitution:

The Supreme Court…agreed to examine [the federal government’s] plea that sex workers should not be allowed to operate…”with dignity” as suggested by a panel…[the] solicitor general [argued]…that any such endorsement…would go contrary to the…Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act which bans prostitution in toto…He also wanted the bench to remove…Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee from the panel…[the defense argued] that the Act only prohibited brothel activities and…pimps…[and that] if a sex worker carries out the activities on her own volition, [they are] not…illegal…

Traffic Jam in TW3 (#21)

Emi Koyama examines the increasing redefinition of “sex trafficking” into a “gang-related” activity, including this ridiculous “pimp classification” system dreamed up by cops and prohibitionists.  She persuasively argues that “What is ignored in all of these discussions of the (racially coded) evils of ‘gangs’ is that many young men…become gang members and engage in its criminal activities for many of the same reasons many young women…[enter] the sex trade: poverty, failure of social and child welfare systems and public education, lack of viable economic opportunities…what is the moral difference between a young woman who is told to go out and sell sex, and a young man who is told to go out and sell drugs? And yet, the mainstream anti-trafficking discourse would have us believe that the young woman is an innocent victim but the young man is an evil criminal…

Feminine Pragmatism in TW3 (#23)

It’s like watching someone repeatedly hitting her own fingers with a hammer:

Nadya Suleman…allegedly signed a contract…[with] T’s Lounge…in West Palm Beach, Fla…But after some teasing by a T’s staffer on TV, Suleman bailed on the deal, and now plans to make her…debut at a rival strip club instead.  That’s grounds for a lawsuit…[because] the…contract…barred Suleman from being booked at any other strip club within 50 miles, 90 days before or after her gigs at T’s…Suleman’s manager maintains the contract was not valid, because T’s never forked over…[the] deposit fee…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs in TW3 (#27)

First Guyana, now Singapore; let’s hope this list gets much longer:  “The Singapore government has lashed out at the United States over its human trafficking report…[due to] a number of ‘inaccuracies and misrepresentations’…

The Course of a Disease in TW3 (#28)

Sex workers aren’t the only ones angry over the French women’s minister’s prohibitionist crusade:

…How disappointing…that Vallaud-Belkacem’s most publicised policy announcement to date has been a pledge to “see prostitution disappear”…cynics would consider Vallaud-Belkacem’s grand plan a naive one, and typical of those that give radical governments a bad name.  Working girls in Paris…accused her of trying to drive a relatively well regulated industry underground…[and] Muslims…[hoped for repeal of] the crassly tagged “burqa ban”…Rather than presiding over job losses for…women, Vallaud-Belkacem should be…working to try to improve the lot of all women…

This Week in 2011

Head Games” describes the ways some clients try to control calls, and “July Miscellanea” featured items on a snooping gadget, another politician’s underwear photos, a woman getting plastic surgery to look like a drag queen & the suspension of the “anti-prostitution pledge” for domestic organizations.  “A Girl Who Can’t Say No” explains why I invest so much time in my work; “Social Construction of Eunuchs” examines people willing to sacrifice their childrens’ happiness to “social construction of gender”; “Concubine”  is a fictional interlude that you may find a bit disquieting; “Bootlickers” uses a campaign against bikini baristas to illustrate public collaboration with tyranny, and “J’accuse” was my first column on Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

This Week in 2010

What’s In a Name?” explains the many reasons whores use stage names; it was followed by “Couples” (a two-part column about couple calls), then “Modern Marriage”, which examines the reason for the high divorce rate.  “The Trick” was my very first fictional interlude, “The Myth of the Wanton” discusses the belief that women are more lustful than men, and “Just Drawn That Way”  looks at the complex motivations behind female sexuality.

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