Posts Tagged ‘Backlash’

This is what a sex panic looks like.  – Mireille Miller-Young


Whenever South African sex workers make some advance toward rights, you can be sure the cops will soon arrive to “teach them a lesson”:

Last week…police arrived at a field in Pretoria West known as “The Bush” and told sex workers they were there to get rid of them…Sex workers said about 100…cops arrived in two buses and told them that they “were a disgrace to schoolchildren” and they were there to “clean up” the area…This harassment has been going on since November…despite Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa saying in March that sex workers were “entitled to dignity”…[last] Wednesday the shacks in which they entertain their clients were burned down and condoms destroyed…SWEAT and Sisonke alleged that the metro police were ordered by Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa to “clean up the site”.  Blessing Manale, the mayor’s spokesman, did not respond to requests for comment…

Surplus Women 

The [New Zealand] Prostitutes Collective will increase its presence in Christchurch…after the body of a sex worker was found…Renee Duckmanton, who was 22, was found…on…[the] night [of May 15th…it [is] not yet known if Ms Duckmanton’s work is connected to her death…[she] suffered burns and her death is being treated as a homicide…

The More the Better

This is a cute article on sex workers’ ideas of what a perfect brothel would look like.  But what makes it most interesting to me isn’t the content of the suggestions, but rather the fact that articles like this are seeing the light of day.  Hey, prohibitionists: We’re winning.  And there ain’t a damned thing you can do about it.

Blunt Instrument

Another asinine “crackdown” on massage parlors, using the usual excuse:

The Salt Lake County Council amended a business ordinance recently in the hopes of cracking down on the illegal sex trade…Under the old ordinance, if a contractor was found in violation of a criminal act, like prostitution, their license would be revoked.  Now, under the new amendment, authorities also revoke the business owner’s license…therapists, and the businesses they work for, can also be cited if they’re not licensed…[cops also] say they’re hoping the legislature [increases criminal penalties for sex workers]…

Under Every Bed

These articles aren’t even funny any more; they’re just pathetically stupid:

…sex trafficking…[is] happening in Louisiana — on a much larger scale than most people realize — and Caddo is among the parishes with the highest number of…victims recovered…according to Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services…only East Baton Rouge parish…and Orleans parish…had more…The state serves as a hub for sex trafficking mainly because of its interstates — particularly I-20 and I-49, according to FBI Senior Resident Agent Chris Cantrell…

Among other idiocies: a “child advocacy center” un-ironically calling itself “Gingerbread House“, as if completely oblivious to the meaning of the phrase.


another trans woman [has] been murdered and…misgendered in death. And again, it’s a Black trans woman who’s been murdered. This time it was 32-year-old…Mercedes Successful, who was found shot to death on [May 15th] in a [Florida] parking lot…

Paint By Numbers

Why just stand around, when you can HIKE to “raise awareness”?

On May 29, those who are hiking can also help a great cause by taking part in the fourth annual Tread on Trafficking hosted by Love 146…from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., the group will have a table set up where hikers can come and register or even just ask questions about what Love 146 is all about.  Love 146 is an organization…that cares for survivors of child sex trafficking, and protects youth all around the globe…

Property of the State (#527) 

This case horrifies me more than almost any other of this century:

…Purvi Patel was…the first woman in the U.S. to be convicted and sentenced on “feticide” charges for ending her own pregnancy.  Patel says she had a miscarriage.  When she arrived, bleeding, at a hospital near South Bend, her doctor called the police on her.  The state of Indiana charged her with both feticide for allegedly inducing an abortion, and child neglect for allegedly having a premature baby and then allowing the baby to die — an inconsistent and contradictory set of charges.  On May 23, Ms. Patel’s case [came] up for an appeal.  And all of us who care about reproductive rights had better be paying attention, because…permitting a person to be charged based on the outcome of the pregnancy could mean requiring people to prove that a miscarriage or a stillbirth was unintentional.  This is a terribly slippery slope…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#611)

I’m going to cut straight to the meat of this article about whether escorting will survive dating apps:

…even with the rise of Tinder, and readily available casual sex, escorting isn’t likely to go anywhere.  Sex work isn’t solely about paying for sexual experiences; it’s about paying for a clearly defined relationship where the boundaries and expectations are out on the table.  Articles about the “dating apocalypse” supposedly fueled by Tinder and the like offer an argument for the continued appeal of escorting.  Though hookup culture superficially achieves the same goal, at least on the demand side, it brings with it a potential for emotional messiness and mismatched expectations that truly transactional sex work neatly avoids…

Size Matters (#619)

On the sentencing of Tracy Elise:

Her sentence is 4.5 years and she is receiving credit for the time she has already served…which is roughly 10 months.  She is not receiving credit for the year and a half she was on house arrest…With programs and “early kick-out” she will serve between 2-2.5 years.  We will know what her estimated release date is in about a month.  We are filing appeals, and will be filing a sentence of stay to get Tracy out for appeals, but this process takes time (6 months to a year)…

Morality Lessons

A powerful takedown of “porn is a public health crisis” nonsense:

Is pornography a public-health crisis?  Of course not.  While it is not surprising to see the Utah legislature unanimously declare it one…what remains shocking is the perceived legitimacy of anti-porn activists, despite the profound unreliability and inconsistency of their hyperbolic claims…How has a movement based on such shaky theoretical ground succeeded in a massive campaign to convince the public that sexually explicit media is responsible for an epidemic of sexualized violence against women and children; the rise of a zombie army of emotionally robbed and sexually desensitized men; and the explosion of an underworld of prostitutes trafficked directly from porn sets to street corners across the nation?  This is not real…Gail Dines…and her…claims are not just far-reaching, they are dangerous…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#633)

Letting cops get away with rape is OK, but we just CAN’T let them have consensual sex!

…Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office sergeant let a Boynton Beach police officer caught on camera soliciting sex from an undercover officer go free…Oscar Cardenas told deputies…to let…Vintyre Finney…go free — even after deputies had handcuffed and detained him…

Turning Point

In which NSWP counters the absurd prohibitionist arguments which have appeared in response to the New York Times Magazine piece:

…Branding the decriminalisation of third parties as an attempt to “legalise pimps and brothel keeping” undermines sex workers in their struggle for labour rights and justice…sex workers can be employees, employers, or independent workers and participate in a range of other work-related relationships with third parties, for example paying someone to drive them to appointments or do their advertising.  Third party laws…increase…sex workers vulnerability to HIV transmission…[and] expose…sex workers to unsafe working environments…The police use third party laws to harass sex workers and limit their access to services and support by targeting other parties, such as landlords…Sex workers themselves can be prosecuted if they work together using third party laws…The children or partners of sex workers can be prosecuted as third parties, for living of the earnings of a sex worker…

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In the field of human trafficking, I detest data because most of it is made up and bogus.  –  Martina Vandenberg, Human Trafficking Legal Resource Center

Lack of Evidence

It’s good to see the media finally noticing this:

There is no law that says…condoms [are] illegal…and yet NYPD…routinely…[uses them] as…evidence for…prostitution…one city agency conducts a public-health campaign and…[those] who take advantage of it are…promptly arrested by a different city agency—leading to cases being thrown out of court, a suppressed and redacted…study of the problem, and a bill to address the matter in…the state legislature…arresting people because they are in possession of condoms…distributed…by the city itself…looks an awful lot like entrapment…

Nor are the arrests limited to sex workers;Grace Bellavue as I’ve explained many times, laws which violate whores’ rights invariably violate everyone’s.

Real People

I love seeing profiles like this one of Australian escort Grace Bellavue; the more the public sees of real sex workers, the harder it will be for prohibitionists to sell their stereotypes and myths about us.

Check Your Premises

This is only “stunning” to those who believe in the “pimps and hos” myth:

A sex-trafficking case got the hook in…Brooklyn…when prosecutors revealed their victim was advertising herself as an escort…the woman, now 19, who claimed defendant Robert Pannell forced her into prostitution in April 2011…advertised herself online…last month.  The stunning revelation contradicted the accuser’s testimony that her ordeal as a 17-year-old runaway was the only time she ever turned tricks…


The Women’s Legal Centre…in Cape Town…provides legal services for sex workers…[who] face routine harassment, intimidation, and…abuse from police…[who] threaten, arrest, or detain [them] for days at a time…many are released only after paying large fines…WLC began its outreach by offering weekly group workshops…[but] soon expanded, employing four former and current sex workers as paralegals…Ralph Evangelous

Recognizing Doubletalk

An internal investigation of the Wilmington [North Carolina] Police Department’s narcotics enforcement team revealed inadequate documentation of funds, poor…supervision…and a “code of silence” cover-up of a March 2012 undercover prostitution operation…Police Chief Ralph Evangelous…[claimed] the undercover operation was in response to a citizen complaint about…escort services…the narcotics enforcement unit came up with a “unique approach” in [which]…more than $2,000 in city funds…were used…

Translation:  The narcotics squad had a party but got caught, and it took the police chief a year to come up with a cock-and-bull excuse.

Peeping Toms

A federal appeals court struck down Virginia’s anti-sodomy law…a decade after…Lawrence v. Texas…The appeal originated in a 2005 case in which a 47-year-old man was convicted of soliciting a 17-year-old girl for sex.  The girl refused and reported the incident to police, resulting in a “crimes against nature” charge…

One Size Fits All

As you might expect, Swedish neofeminists do not like surrogate motherhood  and consider it a form of “human trafficking”:

Surrogate motherhood is a serious crime against women’s human rights…Even when the woman has voluntarily become a surrogate…she gives up the rights to her own body…surrogacy…opens the door for viewing women and children as goods, and to regarding women as containers…having children is not a human right…

Nor, in the minds of neofeminists, is using one’s natural abilities in a way which violates the neofeminist religion.  Though this collectivist stance is evil because it denies women the right to control their bodies, it is more philosophically consistent than that of the US (which allows surrogacy but bans sex work) and Australia (vice-versa).  But lest you believe that Swedish neofeminists are truly motivated by concern for women’s well-being:

Equality Minister Maria Arnholm wants Sweden to keep the right to deport women whose relationships with Swedish spouses end within two years…The…rule was introduced in an effort to clamp down on sham marriages and to put an end to so-called “wife imports”.  But it has been blamed for forcing women to remain in abusive relationships…[and] a 2012 government-ordered inquiry [recommended it] be abolished…The Centre Party’s Women’s Association has also demanded that the…rule be…[replaced with] “immediate action” against “the practice of wife importation”…

It Looks Good On Paper

crazy Steve KozachikProhibitionists just love to tout “diversion programs” which supposedly “help” whores instead of criminalizing them, but if these are so great why do they need cops to force women into them, and why are their standards so strict that very few qualify to avoid jail?  In a recent example from Tucson, Arizona, members of SWOP warned sex workers away from a sting they had learned about, but 13 women still got caught…and only four qualified to escape jail.  The scheme’s organizer Steve Kozachik, a local politician with a reputation as a control freak, claimed SWOP’s protecting women from cops was “unnecessary” and that “This is not anti sex worker.”  Tell that to the nine women whom the prohibitionists “helped” into cages and branded with lifelong criminal records for trying to earn a living.

Politicizing the Personal

Dr. Laura Agustín feels the same way I do about the concept of “empowerment”, as she explains in this older essay she recently republished:

The verb is transitive: someone gives power to another, or encourages them to take power or find power in themselves. It’s used among those who want to help others identified as oppressed…[the] emphasis [is] on the helper and her vision of her capacity to help, encourage and show the way…To empower me as a sex worker you assume the role of acting on me…

Scrambled Eggs

…a California…law prohibits women from being compensated for donating their eggs for medical research, despite payments to subjects in other human research studies…[and] eggs…donated for fertility treatments…[but] a recently introduced bill…would allow women to be compensated…the California Family Council…[claims sponsor Susan] Bonilla’s bill opens up “dangerous medical ground.”  The…anti-abortion group…said eggs should be treated like organs and should not be sold…Bonilla said…”I think women are able to decide for themselves if they want to participate in a clinical trial”…

Saint Death

Jesse Walker published a good short piece on Santa Muerte which includes links to a recent AP article, an FBI scare-screed and an essay comparing anti-Santa Muerte hysteria to the Satanic Panic.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemicreward bowtie

Neuroskeptic points out the deep connection between addiction rhetoric and crypto-moralism:

…The dopamine theory of addiction is extremely popular today…[but] if you view addiction as essentially about reward (pleasure), surely that means…anything pleasurable could…be addictive?…if…addiction is the direct consequence of over-indulgence in a reward, then aren’t you saying that reward itself is ultimately what’s addictive?…If everything from food to friends to music are rewarding because they trigger dopamine release, then surely all of those things could be ‘addictive’…The more fun, the more (potentially) addictive…this idea – for all its medical, neurobiological, scientific language – actually undermines the concept of addiction as a ‘disease’ and reduces it to what amounts to a moral failing – it casts addiction as over-indulgence…

Finding What Isn’t There

Ministers, the police and social workers have been accused of a “shocking” failure to prevent the spread of modern slavery in the UK, leading to sexual exploitation, forced labour and the domestic servitude of adults and children…Describing government ministers as “clueless”…[about] human trafficking…the most exhaustive inquiry yet conducted into the phenomenon concludes that the approach to eradicating modern slavery is fundamentally wrong-headed.  Instead of helping vulnerable victims…the legal system prosecutes many for immigration offences…

Though I hate to defend government officials, I feel compelled to point out that it’s difficult to adapt to ever-expanding definitions, and impossible to produce enough “victims” to satisfy “estimates” which are essentially just made up.

Obfuscation Via Dysphemisms

Gloria…Giammalva…was [sentenced]…to…[21] months in prison and to be partially responsible for a $600,000 money judgment…U.S. Attorney Trent Shores…[claimed] the conspiracy…charged $30 per encounter, which he said meant that 20,000 commercial sex acts were performed by the women who were exploited…Giammalva…conspired with others in the operation of a multistate prostitution business that coerced and enticed women across state lines to participate in commercial sex acts…

Trim off all the dysphemisms and what remains is:  she owned an escort service and the prosecutor lied about the fee to ratchet up the number of “counts”.

Coming and Going (TW3 #35)

Dallas officials are trying to push their “prostitution diversion” scheme on the rest of Texas as a replacement for locking women up.  While any move away from incarceration is good news, the motivation is a desire to save money rather than a recognition that criminalization of consensual adult behavior is wrong; whores are still regarded as “criminals” to be “rehabilitated”, and all are assumed to be miserable victims who want out of sex work.Chester Brown to Rob Arthur

Book Reviews (October 2012)

When Rob Arthur (author of You Will Die) noticed that Chester Brown (author of Paying For It) had expressed interest in his book in the comment thread of this post, he asked me to forward his email address to Chester and the two of them each sent the other a book.  I am both pleased and honored to have facilitated the meeting of two awesome authors whose works  I greatly enjoyed.

Hard Numbers (TW3 #48)

Steph Key will introduce new laws to [the South Australian] Parliament…to decriminalise all forms of sex work, after a previous attempt was rejected by one vote in November.  The new Bill, based on a New Zealand model, would…allow local government…regulatory control…but…prevent councils from outlawing brothels simply because they offer sex work…Ms Key and [Status of Women Minister Gail] Gago were confident the new attempt was more likely to pass…

That’s the Ticket! (TW3 #138)

Dr. Brooke Magnanti on Comic Relief’s subscription to prohibitionist lies:

…This figure comes from a paper that surveyed only street-based sex workers, who represent less than 20% of prostitution…we should be…wary of…any group that throws around this number as if it represents sex work in general…Similarly, we are regularly told that the “average” age of entry into sex work is 13. This is actually incredibly mathematically unlikely, unless there is an epidemic of infants being sexually exploited we don’t yet know about. Former librarian and escort Maggie McNeill has broken down why this oft-repeated assumption is incorrect…The Comic Relief site continues: “The UK is a major destination country for trafficked young people. They are at a very high risk of being sexually exploited.”  No source is given for this statement – probably because no such data exists.  Confirmed trafficking cases in the UK are more likely to enter other jobs like agriculture, hospitality, and domestic service than they are to become sex workers…

No Friend of Ours

In the process of criticizing Nevada’s proposed “Everyone is a Sex Trafficker” Act, Jennifer Reed also debunks the “sex trafficking” panic:

…Prostitution in the U.S. was largely legal until changing women’s sexual norms led to a “white slavery” panic that resulted in the closing of brothels with the White-Slave Traffic Act, better known as the Mann Act in 1910…The reality was numerous young women were drawn into prostitution for “mundane” economic reasons [but] the ambiguous language of the Mann Act…was used to criminalize forms of consensual sexual behavior for many years…The [American] conception…developed because a crusade against prostitution…[conflated it] with human trafficking, a claim for which there is no evidence, even according to the U.S. Government Accountability OfficeAn executive summary of human trafficking put forth by the non-profit Center for Health and Gender Equity concludes that “conflating human trafficking with prostitution results in ineffective anti-trafficking efforts and human rights violations because domestic policing efforts focus on shutting down brothels and arresting sex workers, rather than targeting the more elusive traffickers”…investigations…[focus] almost entirely on commercial sex.  It is a structure built on vice squads rather than labor investigators…

Comfort Zone

I wrote:  “…many European countries seem more interested in ‘trafficking’ as an excuse to restrict immigration than as a genuine concern for the human rights of migrants.”  Jim Cusack of The Independent wrote:  “The Department of Justice and the courts are turning down ‘nearly all’ asylum requests from African women who say they fled [to Ireland] to escape sex traffickers in other European countries…

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The reality is that those who target sex workers do so because sex work is so stigmatised and criminalised and perpetrators perceive sex workers as easy targets.  –  Alex Bryce

Pet Peeves

Ah, validation:

The Associated Press has nixed “homophobia”…and a number of other terms from its Style Book…”-phobia…an irrational, uncontrollable fear…[is unacceptable] in political or social contexts,” including “homophobia” and “Islamophobia”…AP Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn [said]…”Homophobia…[is] just off the mark.  It’s ascribing a mental disability to someone…Instead, we would use something more neutral [like] anti-gay…”

Drama Queens

The big story of the week was sent to me by over a dozen readers:

…A new study…suggests that porn stars have higher self-esteem, a better quality of life and body image, and are more spiritual than their non-adult entertainment counterparts.  Researchers compared the self-reports of 177 porn actresses to a sample of women matched on age, ethnicity, and marital status.  Comparisons were conducted on sexual behaviors and attitudes, self-esteem, quality of life and drug use.  The study found that porn actresses were more likely to identify as bisexual and to say they enjoyed sex.  They also reported having sex for the first time at a younger age, 15, than their counterparts in the control group, 17.  Porn stars were no more likely to have had endured sexual abuse than those in the control group…

Had the study been of sex workers in general, the results would’ve been almost exactly the same.  Of course, neofeminists instantly launched into tirades of denial, like this exceptionally bizarre one from Sheila “Penis-in-Vagina Sex is Unnatural” Jeffreys:

“Pornography is likely…to be more severe than other forms of prostitution in its effects…The women are penetrated over long periods of time, often hours…having to take a number of drugs to survive the pain…painkillers [are] also used in prostitution inside the vagina…muscle relaxants and drugs to disassociate mind from body to survive the violation, such as marijuana and heroin.  Women who are interviewed whilst still in prostitution give very different responses from those who have left, often to protect their sense of self”…Jeffreys [also] said…women were unlikely to benefit in any way from working in the adult industry…

That’s right, ladies, the Great Oracle Sheila says we use “painkillers inside the vagina” to “survive the violation”.  I guess I just don’t remember because of false consciousness and all.

Social Construction of Eunuchs

Another hint at Swedish neofeminists’ endgame:  “One of the largest toy chains in Sweden published a gender-neutral Christmas catalogue, which pictured boys playing with dolls and girls holding toy machine guns…Top Toy has produced children’s Christmas catalogues in Denmark and Sweden…though the catalogues’ page layouts are the same in both countries, the gender of the pictured kids is reversed in the Swedish edition…”  In Sweden, the word “neutral” apparently mean “reverse”; keep that in mind if you ever have to drive a Saab or Volvo.

One Born Every Minute

An English con-man set up a website named “SponsorAScholar.co.uk” to trick naïve coeds into having sex with him as a supposed “audition” for a sugar daddy referral service.  The Independent sent a young female reporter to meet the “assessor” in the upscale venue he named – a McDonald’s in Woolwich – but a male reporter posing as a potential client was told there was a “waiting list”.  The website (which has since vanished) was even registered with bogus information, yet most non-sex workers commenting online do not seem to understand that the whole deal was a scam.  These are the same people who believe that they are more qualified to make judgments about whores’ lives than we are.

The Course of a Disease

It appears that “Swedish model” rot won’t be penetrating India anytime soon: “A lawyer…[contends] that it is illegal to arrest the customer of a sex worker…Representing…[a group of men victimized by a police sting], advocate Prabhanjan Dave pointed out that there is no provision under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act…under which a customer can be made an accused…

Attempts to impose the tyranny on Scotland and Northern Ireland continue, however; this excellent essay by Alex Bryce, coordinator of the UK Network of Sex Work Projects, criticizes the “narrow ideological belief that consenting sex between two adults is wrong if…money is involved and that all sex work is…an act of violence against women.”  He explains the horrible effects the model has had in Sweden and points out that its proponents think their prudish beliefs are more important than real people; Rhoda Grant, for example, “claimed that damage to individual sex workers was a ‘price worth paying’” for her goal of demonizing male sexuality and infantilizing women.

Bryce’s overview of the negative effects, however, doesn’t go into quite the detail that this thorough overview on Glasgow Sex Worker does; police tactics in Swedish model jurisdictions (and those employing its nasty little sister, “end demand”) include verbal, physical and sexual harassment of whores, condom criminalization, accusing transgender workers of buying sex and videotaping women engaged in sex acts.  In neofeminist “thought”, consensually appearing in porn is “rape” or “exploitation”, but being the nonconsensual subject of police porn-making isn’t.

Confined and Controlled

The New York Times bemoans the fact that Indian whores are using cell phones to go independent, making it harder for their betters to control them.  Busybody bureaucrats and self-appointed saviors moan that this will undoubtedly cause an HIV epidemic because whores are just too stupid to use condoms on their own without “officials” watching over them like children in a kindergarten:

Millions once bought sex in…Kamathipura…but prostitutes with inexpensive mobile phones are luring customers elsewhere…endangering the astonishing progress India has made against AIDS.  Indeed, the recent closings of hundreds of ancient brothels…may one day cost them, and many others, their lives…[because] independence has made prostitutes far harder for government and safe-sex counselors to trace…

Just in case the reader recognizes that these whores are demonstrating autonomy and agency, the reporter hastens to assure him that “Vicious madams still exist, human trafficking is still rampant [and] village girls are still duped into the trade.”  Because the only things scarier to prudes than sexually-transmitted diseases are women in control of their own sexuality.

Hall of Shame

Regular readers know my “Hall of Shame” is reserved for those who have dishonored our profession by their sleazy, stupid, unethical behavior, and today I have the great displeasure to announce its fifth inductee, escort Jenna Shea:

…Shea…famously recounted intimate details of  her sexual exploits with several rappers  during [a radio] interview …has once again been revealing her clients.  Her latest conquest is allegedly a Houston Rockets star, who is reported to have  recently paid $20,000 for an evening…Shea has openly bragged about her popularity amongst the athletic community on her twitter profile: “I get paid by the NBA so much, I should be signed to a team #literally while u basic hoes watch from tv FOH”…

For outing clients, buying into whorearchy and demonstrating a truly epic level of tackiness, Jenna Shea becomes the first escort in the HoS (joining a halfway whore, a porn actress, a madam and a brothel owner).  NB:  This story comes via a site named “Girl Directory”, which Aspasia discovered is dangerous to link on WordPress; to see the original article Google the name of the whore plus the name of that site.

Coming Out

Jessie Nicole on the benefits and difficulties of coming out as a sex worker; the more stories like this one are published, the harder it will be for prohibitionists to promote their lies about our work.

Train Wreck

The predictable result of government anti-whore propaganda in Nigeria:

The Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund (WF) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) have [petitioned the government]…to stop the war…currently being waged against women in Abuja by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB).  For over a year unidentified armed men under the authority of the AEPB have brutalised women…on the pretext of “eradicating commercial sex workers in Abuja”…[all kinds of women] have been forcibly abducted and taken to purported installations of law enforcement…tortured into ‘confessing’ and forcibly transferred to an alleged rehabilitation camp…maintained by the Society Against Prostitution and Child Labour in Nigeria (SAPCLN)…

The Giving Season

I asked y’all to avoid giving to the Salvation Army due to its anti-whore stance and promotion of “sex trafficking” hysteria, but Aspasia has gone one better by compiling this list of worthy charities to which you might consider contributing instead.  And if you want to protest more directly, you could print the illustration and shove it into bell-ringers’ kettles in place of money.


Backlash (TW3 #10)

Sex work activists argue that enforcing [criminalization] absorbs significant resources that, given South Africa’s high crime levels, would be better deployed elsewhere.  A recent study by the Women’s Legal Centre (WLC), Sisonke…and the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) found that seven out of ten surveyed sex workers reported some form of abuse by police…The study, titled “Stop harassing us! Tackle real crime!”, draws on interviews with 308 sex workers…its findings indicate that police may be the primary abusers of sex workers…[and that] the existing legal framework encourages police corruption and abuse…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #20)

Politicians decide “sending a message” is more important than safety, logic or human rights:  “A…bill to decriminalise prostitution in South Australia has been withdrawn from state parliament.  Status of Women Minister Gail Gago…said she would now work with interested MPs who supported decriminalisation to consider an alternative model…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #38)

Swiss prostitution laws vary from canton to canton, and Zurich seems determined to greatly increase the number of women who work illegally:

Zurich…officials [claim that sex work] has got out of control…street prostitution is being moved to three designated areas to try to make it safer and more discreet…sex workers…will have to be at least 18 years old…brothels [will] have to [buy] licences…[for] 300 francs…[plus] inspection fees.  And street prostitutes will have to fork out 40 francs for their own licences subject to having a work permit, being registered with a health insurer and taking counselling sessions with the Flora Dora advisory service…they will [also] need to buy a [five-franc] ticket from a machine [every night they work]…

As if the naked paternalism and infantilization of mandatory “counseling” isn’t bad enough, registration schemes never work because most hookers don’t want to be on any list accessible to bureaucrats.  Welfare official Michael Herzig claims that currently “…pimps…decide the prices”, but from what I’ve heard from European sex workers pimps are even rarer there than in the US; I guess the city of Zurich is trying to change that by installing itself as the omnipimp.

Coming and Going (TW3 #39)

Anna Gristina is finally free, and when district attorney Cyrus Vance tried to look tough by referring to her as a “pimp” who “rented women’s bodies for profit” (because obviously hookers are mindless, passive vegetables who stay wherever we’re put), her lawyer had this to say:  “She pled out to a sting operation by one cop — who paid $2,000 in taxpayers money to watch two women engage in cunnilingus…So who’s the pimp?

Where Are the Protests? (TW3 #45)

A 22-year-old man [named Hai Van Vo] who was smuggled into the UK from Vietnam in a shipping container has been jailed for…27 months…[for] running [a] cannabis farm [and] will be deported when he is released…Vo had had little contact with the outside world…had no bed and worked to instructions given to him by others…

This Week in 2010 and 2011

My two previous columns about Toys for Tots and my two previous ones on whores’ age of debut were accompanied by essays on the history of harm reduction, a fake “trafficking study” done by marketers, a thoroughly awful madam, confusing images with reality, and the true motivations of the rescue industry and sex-abuse investigators.  We also looked at my favorite movies, more hooker songs and short items on safety, Charlie Sheen, escort ads, a mega-brothel and cops persecuting a disabled client.

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Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.  –  Paulo Freire

One new item, ten updates and two meta-updates.

The President’s Nanny

On Tuesday the AP published the terribly sad story of Evie, a transgender woman who was little “Barry” Obama’s nanny when his family lived in Indonesia from 1969-1971.  “When the family left…things started going downhill.  She moved in with a boyfriend…three years later…she became a sex worker…soldiers often…loaded them into trucks, and brought them to a field where they were kicked, hit and otherwise abused.”  After one especially brutal raid in 1985 in which a friend was beaten to death, Evie went back to dressing as a man, found solace in religion and now at 66 “says she’s just waiting to die.”  She only recently realized that the US president was her old charge, and says she’s proud:  “Now when people call me scum…I can just say:  ‘But I was the nanny for the President of the United States!‘”  The White House had no comment.


Celebrities (August 20th, 2010)

English football star Louis Saha explains why footballers prefer escorts to amateurs: “…women are the greatest temptation…a young player…can quickly be taken in, seduced by the girl who will cash in with a kiss-and-tell to the newspapers.  So it’s hard to know who to trust and you become paranoid where women are concerned.  Some players therefore prefer to use escorts.”  This confused a writer at Deadspin, who apparently cannot comprehend that an indiscreet whore is soon an unemployed one.

Election Day (November 2nd, 2010)

Though activists have been trying for decades to call attention to the insanity of allowing cops to use condoms as “evidence of prostitution”, and a bill to ban the practice was introduced into the New York state legislature several years ago, the light bulb appears to have just gone on for the mainstream media.  The Daily Kos and The Atlantic both noted that though the asinine policy is widespread, New York is the first state where a legislator had the sense to introduce a bill to prevent it.  Both stories mention that Human Rights Watch will release a report on American “condom possession” policies in July, and both interviewed representatives of the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition,  whose link was recently added to the “Organizations & Allies” box on the right.  NCHRC has also asked me to call attention to their video on sex worker violence prevention, and I’m happy to do so.

License To Rape (November 16th, 2010)

One would expect a publication named Reason to oppose criminalization of sex work, and one would not be disappointed; here’s its coverage of a hooker-raping cop:

A New Mexico state trooper is on paid administrative leave after being arrested…for coercing prostitutes to have sex with him. Timothy Carlson first came to the attention of the Albquerque PD…when they caught him in his car with a prostitute…Why he wasn’t arrested then is a mystery…[after] a nearly year-long investigation…[he was caught]…with a prostitute…[who was] a confidential informant…[she told investigators] Carlson threatened to arrest her if she didn’t sleep with him…[He] faces extortion, bribery, public corruption and rape charges.  Advocates of decriminalizing prostitution often point out that sex workers suffer appalling violence and extortion at the hands of…law enforcement officers…

The story also links several other “isolated” incidents.

Coming and Going (February 10th, 2011)

Davidson County [Tennessee] Sheriff Dacron Hall…[said] “If you weigh out what happens here – the police time, the arrest, the booking, all of this…what’s the net effect?…the criminalization of this process is very expensive,” he said.  “I’m just not sure it can’t be done in other ways.”  If you think county streetwalker stings are expensive, how about this?  “…[The case against] Anna Gristina was…built from a five-year-long investigation by a Manhattan district attorney’s office unit…[involving] hundreds of hours of surveillance…Minors were involved in some of the encounters Gristina arranged, the prosecutor said…”  Of course they had to add the bit about minors (which is almost certainly a lie) to avoid the inevitable questions like why the hell the average New Yorker should approve of this multi-year, multimillion dollar boondoggle.

Backlash (March 22nd, 2011)

It’s truly sad that actions of American cops in the three previous items are nearly indistinguishable from those of South African cops:

…Cape Town sex [workers say]…it was a regular occurrence for police to herd together sex workers at night and strip them naked before throwing them into their vans.  They would then take photos to “identify them in case they go missing”.  It was not uncommon for the sex workers to be pepper-sprayed, even on their private parts…In a recent study conducted by the Women’s Legal Centre (WLC), 12 percent of Cape Town’s sex workers reported having been raped by police, 46 percent threatened by police, and 28 percent forced into sexual favours by police…National police spokesman Vishnu Naidoo said…“It (sex work) is a crime…In the handling of these cases, it’s often misconstrued as harassment”…

Well, Naidoo’s statement certainly clears that up!  The police are allowed to beat, rape and pepper-spray prostitutes, so it’s “official handling” rather than harassment, and that makes it OK.

Mind Reading (June 1st, 2011)

More on the suit against Utah’s “acting sexy” law:

A federal judge excused Salt Lake City’s police chief from a lawsuit filed by escort services…Utah’s attorney general remains a defendant.  Utah law…[was amended] last year…to include any person who performs acts such as exposing or touching themselves…[which] the escort services argued…[criminalizes stripping]…Andrew McCullough, who is representing [the services]…said [an] escort already has been arrested under the amended law…[after] an undercover officer “tried everything he could…[to trick her, then] arrested her anyway…for touching herself…”  State lawyers argued that people can be charged…only if they use those gestures as a sign they’re willing to engage in sex for money…

It takes a special mixture of balls and stupidity to defend unconstitutional laws with tautology.

Where Are the Protests? (December 3rd, 2011)

“Hello, Mr. Kristof; we thought you’d like to report on a trafficked slave who was held right here in New York!  What’s that?  No, there was no sex involved…Mr. Kristof?  Hello?  Hellooooo…?”

A wealthy New York woman is facing criminal charges…[for] keeping an illegal immigrant as an indentured servant and forcing her to live in a closet for nearly six years.  Documents posted on the Smoking Gun allege that Annie George, 39, and her now-deceased husband, Mathai Kolath George, hired an illegal immigrant [identied as V.M.] from the Indian state of Kerala…[promising her] about $1,000 a month in wages to…care [for] the Georges’ four young children [and perform] household duties in the mansion…instead…V.M. received 85 cents an hour, working 17-hour days, seven days a week, over the 67 months she was kept inside the George residence…Annie George…[faces] charges of encouraging and inducing an illegal alien to reside in the U.S…

So a middle-class independent escort with a six-figure income is a “trafficked slave”, but a woman lured from India under false pretenses, paid starvation wages and locked in a closet at night is an “indentured servant” in a “forced labor situation”.  Furthermore, the escort’s legal husband could be imprisoned for decades and robbed of everything he owns for the “crime” of “human trafficking”, but someone who actually held someone captive is only charged with “encouraging an illegal alien”.  Nice.

Scapegoats (January 26th, 2012)

The Daily Mail published mug shots of the three “conspirators”, but had to settle for a stock photo of the “victim”:

A husband, his wife and her lover have been charged with conspiracy to commit bestiality after using Craigslist to find a dog for the wife to have sex with.  Shane Walker and his wife Sarah Dae, who describe themselves as swingers in an open marriage, were arrested [with her lover Robert Aucker] after an undercover sting operation…The two men were to watch while Sarah Dae had sex with the dog…Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio…wrote to Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster after the arrest of two people for using the website to solicit dogs for sex.  Arpaio asked for closer monitoring of the site, but said after the latest arrest:  “I remain extremely disappointed in the leadership at Craigslist.com for refusing to do what they can to stop this.  While they aren’t doing anything to stop it, I will continue to enforce all animal cruelty laws.”

This is the same sheriff who didn’t bother to investigate over 400 sex crimes  reported to his office, including 32 child molestations (some of the victims as young as 2).  But I’m sure the parents of those molested kids will agree that it’s much more important for the sheriff’s office to pester businessmen and set up elaborate “sting” operations in order to perform the vital state function of preventing dogs from screwing air hostesses…oops, I mean “enforcing animal cruelty laws”.

Good News, Bad News (February 18th, 2012)

American politicians, afflicted as they are with Puritanism and a medieval “law and order” mentality, can almost be forgiven for their incredible stupidity on prostitution issues.  But Western Australia has several examples of successful legal models right next door, yet has descended into “trafficking hysteria” and may even succumb to the Swedish disease, as explained in this email from a WA politician:

…the Government’s proposed legislation will…greatly reduce the legality and visibility of prostitution…[via] the ‘Swedish model’ of targeting clients and brothel owners…If we actually wish to tackle trafficking in Western Australia, then this bill is our best hope…Any other approach will only serve to increase the elements of organized crime in prostitution and only perpetuate many more victims…

New South Wales and Queensland beg to differ about “any other approach” increasing “organized crime”…

A Whore in Church (January 10th, 2012)

Reverend Lia Scholl has advocated for sex workers for more than 10 years and is currently on the board of the Red Umbrella Project in New York.  She recently wrote an excellent essay entitled “Church and Sex Work”  which argues that churchgoers should not merely refrain from fighting prostitution or trying to rescue prostitutes, but should actively welcome sex workers in their community.  Please read it in its entirety; we definitely need more people like Reverend Lia!


Acting and Activism in June Updates (Part Two) (June 3rd, 2011)

The bizarre competition between various jurisdictions claiming to be the most important source, destination or route for “human trafficking” has a new entrant, which insists that it’s all three simultaneously:

…“The 2011 Trafficking in Persons report notes that Zimbabwe is a source, transit and destination for human trafficking…” said [International Organisation for Migration (IOM) spokeswoman Folen Murapa]…[she] said although the magnitude…was difficult to ascertain due to the clandestine nature of the phenomenon, government recognised the problem and is currently in the process of tabling…a bill…Murapa said anyone could be a victim of trafficking regardless of nationality, sex, age and profession…

Everybody panic!  You never know when those “traffickers” will jump out of a tree and traffick you away somewhere, but by golly a law will stop it dead.  And though we haven’t seen any evidence of it, a bunch of foreign politicians on the other side of the planet wrote it in a report, so it must be true!

A Moral Cancer in That Was the Week That Was (#3) (February 11th, 2012)

Not only is cheese not really bad for you…

…[A new study]…found those who regularly have dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt score better in tests of mental ability than people who never, or rarely, consume dairy products.  It follows another US study…[which] found that older people with higher levels of beneficial fats in their blood had less brain shrinkage typical of the Alzheimer’s disease…our mental functions depend heavily on a good supply of fat.  Our brain is composed of 60 percent fat. The brain cells are insulated by sheaths of myelin composed of 75 percent fat…[which] needs to be replaced constantly…

One Year Ago Today

Check Your Premises” examines the nonsense which arises from following the underlying premises of “consensual crime” laws to their logical conclusions.

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The history of persecution is a history of endeavors to cheat nature, to make water run up hill, to twist a rope of sand.  –  Ralph Waldo Emerson

This seems to be the month for twosies, ‘cause our first selection today is an update to the same column as our last item yesterday:

Welcome To Our World (January 20th)

The Wall Street Journal isn’t exactly known for publishing neofeminist rants, but the April 23rd  issue carried this rather bizarre manifesto which demands that fraternities be banned in order to “protect” helpless, fawn-like coeds:

The Greek system is dedicated to quelling young men’s anxiety about submitting themselves to four years of sissy-pants book learning by providing them with a variety of he-man activities: drinking, drugging, ESPN watching and the sexual mistreatment of women.  A 2007 National Institute of Justice study found that about one in five women are victims of sexual assault in college; almost all of those incidents go unreported.  It also noted that fraternity men—who tend to drink more heavily and frequently than nonmembers—are more likely to perpetrate sexual assault than nonfraternity men, according to previous studies.  Over a quarter of sexual-assault victims who were incapacitated reported that the assailant was a fraternity member.  It is against this boorish cartel that 16 Yale students and recent alumni asserted themselves in a Title IX complaint brought against the institution last month—a complaint that could cost the university $500 million in federal funds.  The claim concerns both the ways that sexual assaults are handled by the university and also the effect that various fraternity “pranks” have had on its female students…If you want to improve women’s lives on campus, if you want to give them a fair shot at living and learning as freely as men, the first thing you could do is close down the fraternities.  The Yale complaint may finally do what no amount of female outrage and violation has accomplished.  It just might shut them down for good.

As is typical of such neofeminist punditry, the author indulges in the sort of slurs that, if made by a male against women, would rightfully be called “misogynistic”.  And unsurprisingly, she demands blatantly unfair treatment in the name of “fairness”.  Sex workers are, unfortunately, used to these tactics; the questionable “studies” making exaggerated claims, the steamrolling of individual rights in order to protect adult women from their own sexual choices or to keep them from getting their feelings hurt, etc.  Interestingly, Jezebel writer Margaret Hartmann recognized this garbage for what it is, and wrote an article saying so; perhaps she’ll write an anti-prohibitionist column one day.

March Miscellanea – Backlash (March 22nd)

At the end of this sub-column I wrote, “I’m sure the police were only beating women up for their own good, to save them from those evil traffickers.  Or are whores still “dangerous criminals” in South Africa as we are in Florida?  It’s hard to keep track these days.”  Well, apparently the South African police have made up their minds:  we’re dangerous criminals.  Here’s the article from the April 30th Johannesburg Times:

Investigating officers this week revealed that their inquiries could uncover the identities of more wealthy clients killed in grubby hotels and guest lodges over the past six months…The infamous strip where the bodies were found…is characterised by overcrowded and dilapidated apartment blocks and rundown guest lodges and hotels…police dockets showed that all of the victims – believed to have been poisoned by [a] syndicate [of prostitutes] – were married and either owned their own businesses or headed up relatively large firms operating in the province…The bodies of five of the victims, who had already been buried after it was presumed that they had died of natural causes, [will] be exhumed; the police [will] conduct DNA and toxicology tests and other forensic procedures on the victims; and evidence in the police’s possession has led them to believe that all six men were carrying large sums of cash at the time they were allegedly poisoned…

Apparently, the South African police believe that it’s much more convenient to blame these murder-robberies on a gang of hookers than on regular gangsters (perhaps using fake prostitutes as bait); after all, chasing after real criminals rather than unarmed women could be dangerous.

They Just Don’t Get It (April 12th)

The Keystone Kops of suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania never seem to get tired of bullying whores.  Indeed, it seems that lies and trickery aren’t enough for them any longer, so they’ve graduated to employing the same Gestapo tactics which have become so common in serving drug warrants:  namely, smashing people’s doors in without warning in the middle of the night and pointing loaded weapons at terrified children.  Here’s the April 28th story from WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh:

Police from Moon Township were surprised by what they found — a woman and her kids — when they used a search warrant in connection with a prostitution case that involves a retired Pittsburgh police detective…police were looking for evidence in the case against Talib Kevin Ghafoor when they went to an address on Collins Avenue…early Thursday morning.  “Right now, she’s got her front door and back door smashed in,” said Harvey Moore, the father of a woman who lives in that home.  Moore told Channel 4 Action News that the woman and her children — ages 15, 5 and 4 — were asleep when a team that included SWAT members and state troopers approached the building and entered through the front and rear doors.

“The Pennsylvania State Police surrounded the house, and before they could knock and announce their identity, a person up on the third floor was looking out the window, and they felt their positions were compromised, so they conducted a forced entry into the house,” Moon Township Police Chief Leo McCarthy said.  The woman’s father said the family has been living there since February and was confused and startled when police arrived.  “She claims that, about a month ago, she switched homes with Mr. Ghafoor,” McCarthy told Channel 4 Action News.  “In other words, I’ll live in your house, you live in my house.”  McCarthy said Allegheny County records led police to the home, which he said is still registered to Ghafoor and has not been sold to the woman.  He said Ghafoor still had some of his belongings inside, which were seized…

You haven’t heard the best part yet; Ghafoor was arrested over a month ago and is scheduled for a hearing this week, so they could easily have served him with a warrant at that time at no taxpayer cost and with no danger to bystanders.  Of course, that wouldn’t have allowed them to play sadistic cops-and-robbers games with automatic weapons.  Still, the question remains…who did these buffoons expect to find in the house that led them to believe they would need a SWAT team?  An elite team of armed assault strumpets, perhaps?  I wonder if Pittsburgh area cops have been communicating with those from Johannesburg?

Real Men Support Sex Worker Rights (April 22nd)

“Deep Geek” produces a semi-regular podcast called “Talk Geek To Me” in which he often advocates for unpopular causes (including sex worker rights) and sometimes even reads my column aloud.  This week, his podcast consists of a 25.5 minute editorial touching on such subjects as the assassination of Osama bin Laden, the two-party system, socialism and sex worker rights.  He asked me to call attention to it and I’m happy to do so.

Whores In the News – Escorts.com Raided by FBI (October 29th)

Since the FBI raid in October the fortunes of Escorts.com have steadily declined; many clients and escorts abandoned their accounts immediately and many others continued to use them, but much more warily.  Before the end of last year girls started complaining about a plethora of fake reviews (obviously posted by pigs trying to establish themselves as “hobbyists”), then a couple of months after that the site deleted reviews altogether.  Finally, I just heard at about 9 AM today that the site will be closing as of May 31st.  My theory is that the management was forced to cooperate with the disease infesting it, but found legal loopholes so as to prevent their being used to trick their customers.  First they shut down ALL reviews in order to stop fake ones, then closed entirely to prevent the placing of entrapment ads (such as you’ll see mentioned in my May 10th column).  One final attempt at trickery:  A notice in red on the notice page states, “You must provide us with your full name and mailing address if you want a refund check.”  Please, ladies, don’t be stupid; if you provide that information your check will come with a free visit from the local constabulary, either immediately or after they use you as a Judas goat for the next few months.

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Those who suppress freedom always do so in the name of law and order. –  John V. Linsday

Another collection of short articles of interest to harlots and those who love us.

Make Up Your Damned Mind!

In my column of March 10th I pointed out the absurd contradictions inherent in the conflict of the traditional police rationales for persecuting whores (we’re evil criminals who seduce virtuous men, spread disease and attract crime) and the politically correct “trafficking” view (we’re helpless, innocent and morally incompetent victims of evil men).  But it’s rare to see those contradictions displayed as explicitly as in this article from WINK-TV in Florida, posted on the same day my column appeared:

Deputies arrest a female body builder who goes by the name “Miss Sparkle” during a prostitution sting.  They say it’s part of a continuing effort to crack down on what many don’t realize is a dangerous crime.  Miss Sparkle, otherwise known as Rhonda Lee Quaresma is a bodybuilder from Toronto, and according to her website, a business woman.  Deputies say she’s taken on another role recently in Lee County, as a prostitute.

They say, “Miss Sparkle” was arrested after she offered to perform a sex act on an undercover deputy.  A crime Lt. Chris Reeves with the vice-narcotics unit calls a big problem for many reasons.  Lt. Reeves says, “Bonita Springs is one of the areas we get a lot of calls from, people’s husbands, daughters, wives that are not working the streets that have to walk to get groceries are getting solicited for sex from these Johns that are roaming the area.  So to try to cut down on what Reeves calls dangerous behavior, the sheriff’s office turns both to the streets, massage parlors, and online to websites which feature ads for escorts.

He says, “People think it’s a victimless crime, however when they are taking HIV, hepatitis home to their spouses or their significant others, that’s a big crisis.”  Reeves says some of the prostitutes are victims of human trafficking.  “A lot of them are beaten and abused.  A lot of these are young girls that have gotten hooked on drugs,” A far cry from the glamorous or “sparkly” lifestyle some portray.

I honestly don’t know if I could’ve written a better parody of journalistic credulity and police stupidity and self-contradiction than this incompetently-written mess.  It begins by characterizing escorts as “dangerous criminals” (I’ll bet you didn’t realize we go around shooting into crowds and throwing grenades into kindergartens) without explanation, then quickly switches to the “public nuisance” excuse with a particularly inept and unintentionally hilarious example which is clearly intended to give the impression that an upscale escort was working as a streetwalker. This runaway clown-car then visits the old “diseased whore” myth before doing an abrupt about-face into trafficking fetishism, detouring slightly to the “drug addict” stereotype and then closing with a sentence fragment accusing the real experts of lying.  I almost feel as though I should stand up and clap.


South African police have apparently decided to teach prostitutes a lesson for daring to speak up for their rights in several public events held on March 3rd, thus unwittingly proving the veracity of the protesters’ grievances.  This article appeared in Sangonet on March 10th:

A significant police backlash is being felt by sex workers around the country following human rights events for the International Sex Worker Rights Day on March 3rd.

In Johannesburg, Sisonke Sex Worker Movement [SSWM] national coordinator, Kholi Buthelezi, had her hands full with sex workers calling her for help…27…were arrested and released with a [300 rands, about $44 US] fine in Germiston, while in the City sex workers were harassed and one was assaulted.  Buthelezi [also] witnessed a police reservist soliciting a bribe from a sex worker – and took a picture of the culprit with her phone…

In Limpopo…[the SSWM]…and partner organisation, Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme (TVEP) assisted a sex worker who was whipped on the stomach by police officers…she would not go to the hospital… because she was afraid of being deported.  The march in Limpopo [on March 3rd] had to be cancelled because the Musina Local Municipality took away permission…less than 24 hours before the march was expected to start.  No reasons [were given]…and the…police…threatened…[the protesters] with arrest and detention should they deliver the memorandum that sex workers had prepared…[which] demanded that…[police] take complaints from sex workers seriously…

The Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) will be following up all cases and working with our legal advice partners in Johannesburg and Limpopo to ensure that the police officers responsible for the incidences will be harshly disciplined. But, says Mickey Meji “Until sex work is decriminalised, we will be dealing with the impunity of the police. The law with regard to sex work must be changed so that sex workers are safe and no aspect of their work should be criminalised.”

I’m sure the police were only beating women up for their own good, to save them from those evil traffickers.  Or are whores still “dangerous criminals” in South Africa as we are in Florida?  It’s hard to keep track these days.

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea

On a number of occasions we’ve compared decriminalization (the official recognition that women have the natural right to have sex with whomever we wish for whatever reason we wish, even if money is exchanged) with legalization (the subjugation of prostitutes with arbitrary and often contradictory bureaucratic restrictions so as to enable governments to exploit us).  Many well-meaning people think prostitution should be “legalized and heavily regulated”, often under the excuse of “protecting” the women.  One common type of regulation, “living off the avails” laws, make it illegal for any adult other than a prostitute herself to receive a substantial portion of his support from her; such laws are widely touted as measures to “protect” whores from “pimps” (and indeed are sometimes referred to by their supporters as “anti-pimping laws”), but actually make it illegal for her to be married, to hire employees or to support relatives over 18 (such as elderly parents or university-age children).  Here’s a story from the Deccan Herald of March 5th about efforts by Indian prostitutes to overturn this and other “protective” laws:

According to the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA), 1960, if anybody above 18 years uses the earnings of a sex-worker, he or she can be prosecuted.  If the children of sex workers use their mothers’ income, long hand of law can catch them.  “How many children start earning at 18?  Why this bias against us when we strive to study and make a living against all social hurdles,” rues Parvati, daughter of a [Calcutta]-based commercial sex worker.

Last week, sex workers aided by young advocates from Lawyers’ Collective met members of Parliament…to build up support…[for] changes in the ITP Act that criminalises sex workers’ earnings on which their children are dependent…According to an estimate made by the Union Health Ministry, there are approximately [1.25 million] self-identified commercial sex workers who were contacted as a part of the HIV prevention programme. “The number can be more as many don’t declare their status upfront,” said Tripti Tandon from Lawyer’s Collective.

Having sex in exchange for money is not an offence in the law.  But everything around this transaction has been criminalised under the ITPA.  Brothels are illegal as is sex work in hotels, rooms, lodges, streets and nearly all other premises.  In the absence of a designated place, sex workers have to solicit business on the streets or gesturing from other conspicuous sites.  But this, too, is punishable with imprisonment for six months and  a penalty.  An NGO, representing sex workers filed a [motion] in…July, challenging five clauses in the ITPA. The case is yet to be heard.  The…clauses they challenged include criminalisation of brothels, criminalising the earnings of sex workers, prostitution around a notified public place, soliciting and the power given to a magistrate to evict sex-workers from their home and forbidding their re-entry.

That’s right, in India the child of a woman pursuing a legal profession can be prosecuted if he doesn’t move away from home and support himself on his 18th birthday, and the prostitute herself can be evicted from her own property for a number of reasons.  You might think about that next time you’re tempted to support “heavy regulation” of prostitution in the United States.

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