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Posts Tagged ‘Bad Jobs’

Our perception of what makes a service “safer” isn’t always universal.  –  Lux Alptraum

Bad Jobs

Like something Melissa Farley would make up, only true:  “A new survey shows 90% of social care workers [in Ireland] have experienced violence in the workplace…75% experienced physical assaults – some on a daily basis…

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever, especially if you’re a whore:

A prostitute was arrested after she told police a clients handcuffed her and robbed her of $2,000 in cash and her belongings…At some point after the man paid her…he pulled out a police [badge], claimed he was a [cop] and handcuffed her with fake cuffs…He took his $190 off the hotel room dresser, swiped $2,000 in cash…and…the woman’s $1,000 iPad Mini, a $40 backpack and a $100 MetroPCS phone…Police arrested the woman and charged her with prostitution…However, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case…

Above the Law  creepy-cop-neil-hempsall

There’s nothing here saying he harmed or threatened any of the sex workers he looked up, but of course there’s no way to know that given that he stalked them by looking up their fucking police records:

A disgraced cop who used his force computer to contact sex workers…was allowed to keep his job…[Neil Hempsall] admitted four charges and escaped with a community order…[the prosecutor said] “He…had been using the services of sex workers and accessing their record on the police computer system”…There was…[also] evidence he was tracking down a former lover…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#46)

I can’t help laughing at pathetic losers wanking to their fantasies of superhuman sex robots, but the ones who suffer reaction formation from such fantasies elicit a mixture of pathos and disgust:

According to a [soi-disant] expert in the field, we’ll need to be careful we don’t get addicted to artificial-intelligence lovemaking.  Joel Snell is an [academic who fantasizes]…there’s a real risk linked to the robots…because they’ll offer great sex at any time of the day and night…it’ll never be able to turn you down.  “People may become obsessed by their ever-faithful, ever-pleasing sex robot lovers,” he warned.  “People will rearrange their lives to accommodate their addictions”…

Bonus stupid anti-sex trope: “sex addiction”.

Lack of Evidence (Extra Edition)

It’s a sign of our culture’s deeply-sick sexual attitudes that people still believe in “virginity tests”:

[Dear Dr. Petra, my boyfriend is] like me…a virgin.  But when he checked my vagina he said he could tell I wasn’t a virgin and he doesn’t feel able to be with me until I can be truthful.  I don’t know how to convince him that I am a virgin and don’t know what signs he can see that tell him I’m not…I’m now worried I might be mistaken about myself…[Dr. Petra Answers:] I’m sure everyone reading this [is]…wondering what the circumstances were that led up to him checking your vagina?…You may have told him to get better educated about virginity and women’s bodies.  You might have told him his actions felt alarming and controlling…You could have said he clearly had no idea what he was talking about.  Any or all of these responses would have been reasonable.  And all of them are a good enough reason…to end the relationship without further discussion…There will be other people who are kinder, more sexually informed, more respectful, better communicators and won’t subject you to virginity checks…

Cardboard Cutouts

Note that 1.5% is my standard estimate of coercion among Western sex workers:

This week new statistics on human trafficking in The Netherlands where presented by the Dutch National Rapporteur Human Trafficking [and]…the city of Amsterdam…the Dutch Rapporteur reported…1,321 possible victims of trafficking…66%…from the sex industry…these are not proven victims, but simply people of whom other people (police, marshals, city officials and social workers) have (slight) suspicions about that perhaps they could be victims…if…there are about 827 possible victims in prostitution, and the total amount of sexworkers in The Netherlands are estimated at around 20.000…it would come down to about 4,1%…only 102 possible victims in prostitution where reported in Amsterdam…[which] would come down to about 1,5% of all the sexworkers in Amsterdam…what’s interesting is to compare the suspected victims with the actual number of victims that annually actually press charges…in 2015…33 victims actually [pressed] charges for human trafficking, which is almost the same as the year before (29 in 2014) and the year before that (32 in 2013).  In short, quite a bit lower than how many people are being reported as “possible” victims…

Feminists and Other Puritans

Once again:  NO, a coalition between two different fundamentalist groups to fight what they perceive as a common enemy is in no way “surprising”:

…the surprising nexus between radical feminists and Christian Right culture warriors has been with us a long time.  In the 1980s, anti-porn feminists like Catherine McKinnon and Andrea Dworkin teamed up with anti-porn conservatives like Edwin Meese, leading to the passage of laws censoring sexual speech in the name of protecting women.  In the last decade, anti-prostitution feminists have joined forces with fundamentalist Christians to prosecute sex workers under the aegis of sex trafficking laws.  And now, some essentialist feminists – pejoratively nicknamed TERFs, for “Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminists” – have provided the pseudo-philosophical basis for fundamentalist Christians’ anti-transgender laws…[while] TERFs…approvingly cite…anti-trans [Christian]…right-wing scholars and writers…Feminists…and…Conservatives don’t oppose porn because they want to protect women; they oppose porn because they oppose sexual licentiousness and free sexual expression.  Just like they oppose protecting trans people because transgender reality scares them, disgusts them, or offends their outdated theologies.  A similar shell-game has recently arisen in the context of sex trafficking…This was a deliberate deception on the part of anti-sex activists like the anti-prostitution group Demand Abolition.  As exposed by The Washington Post in 2014, that group’s internal document said that “framing the Campaign’s key target as sexual slavery might garner more support and less resistance, while framing the Campaign as combating prostitution may be less likely to mobilize similar levels of support”…

Hey, Jay Michaelson:  I appreciate your mentioning my work, but the standard practice when doing so is to name the author rather than just the publication, and to include a link to the piece cited.

Guest Columnist:  Kaytlin Bailey

My friend Kaytlin Bailey, on coming out to her father:

…I was afraid to tell him about my having been a prostitute because he was a great dad.  I didn’t want him to think one had anything to do with the other.  I didn’t want to burden him with this indulgent, selfish secret because I feared the images that “your daughter was a prostitute” would conjure might break him, even when his various tours of duty didn’t…We talked for hours, never addressing my prostitution directly. We got tipsy, and…he said…that he was proud of me, and that I could always come home.  “No matter what.”  I could see he wasn’t angry.  He was nervous for me the same way he’s always been…

Go read it.  Please. playing-cowboy-in-cartagena

They Never Learn

Since this self-aggrandizing fascist wankfest hasn’t sold as a TV show, they made a pilot movie:

“Just like the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin brought awareness to slavery and helped start a civil war, this movie can instantly turn that dial of public awareness to sex trafficking,” [fantasizes] director Chet Thomas.  Toward the beginning of The Abolitionists, a film with a limited release…the audience is introduced to “Batman”…a flawed hero with a troubled past who now works largely in the dark of night, protecting the vulnerable from unimaginable horrors…Batman…spent 15 years laundering money for drug cartels in Latin America…[until he had] a Christian epiphany…Nowadays, he works undercover, largely with a former Homeland Security officer named Tim Ballard.  The two of them set up sting operations worldwide that result in the capture of those who sell children as sex slaves…The directors of the documentary…also are working on a TV show.  They say they have enough video — taken with cameras disguised as sunglasses, pens and phones — for 25 episodes…Ballard’s organization, Operation Underground Railroad, has rescued 573 children worldwide and put 160 criminals behind bars…

Choke Point (#610)

The government-encouraged gentrification of the internet is tightening the noose on sex workers:

Lately, it seems like every website wants to see my ID.  Facebook was the first…then Airbnb started asking me to submit both a Facebook account and legal identification…And now Twitter’s opened up its verification process to all sorts of users—provided, of course, those users are willing to send the staff a copy of their legal identification…this push towards a verified internet…makes me concerned that the next iteration of the social media sites that have been essential to the destigmatization of sex work…won’t be quite so amenable to sex work…It should be relatively obvious why a tweeting escort would want to avoid providing her legal information…but even practitioners of legal sex work such as porn and stripping might not be too keen on the idea…it’s…possible that the potential chilling effect on sex worker voices is more than just an unintentional side effect…

The End of the Beginning (#668) 

A reminder that in most of the US, the situation is still worsening:

When he was 18, David Clark had sex with a 14-year-old.  In 1982 he pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct…and was sentenced to four years of probation.  The following year, the state legislature passed a law that retroactively required Clark to register as a sex offender.  In 2009 he was arrested for failing to register…He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.  Last week a federal appeals court [pretended] there was nothing constitutionally amiss about this series of events, because the law threatening to put Clark behind bars is [supposedly] not punitive…retroactive application…violates the Constitution’s ban on ex post facto laws…[but politicians and courts pretend that] forcing sex offenders to register is not a punishment…

Of Course It Is

It’s nice to know that at least a few reporters get this:

…TV stations plastered [Celeste Guap’s] image on newscasts.  Reporters hounded her for interviews and shared images from her social-media accounts on their websites.  During this time, Guap was [using heroin]…to cope with depression related to her [sexual abuse by cops]…last week…Florida deputies arrested Guap and charged her with felony battery…How did the Bay Area media react to this news?  At least four local outlets — including KTVU, SFist.com, ABC 7 and KRON — published Guap’s true identity and legal name, along with a “mug shot” from Florida jail…some local journalists are arguing that Guap’s case already was widely publicized, so it was OK to disclose her legal name…Bullshit.  The only reason her story is news…is because she was an underage victim of sexual assault [by cops]…And her legal name and identity should be protected as such…and…what the hell was Guap doing [in Florida] in the first place?…She’s a witness to…crimes committed by numerous Bay Area [cops, including]…human trafficking, statutory rape, interfering with a police investigation, illegal use of a police computer system, and pandering…she’s…trapped with a $300,000 bail and detoxing from hard street drugs cold-turkey, and…experiencing [jailhouse] harassment from [jailers]…

It’s What They Do

Thanks, Iain, but we don’t want to be “legalized and regulated”; we just want to be left the Hell alone:

The politician in charge of the Commons committee reviewing the laws on prostitution is caught in a prostitution scandal.  It is right for Labour MP Keith Vaz to resign as chairman of the Commons Home Affairs committee for the time being…But beyond that, Jeremy Corbyn is right about it being “a private matter”…Mr Vaz has done nothing illegal.  Even the “poppers” he was alleged to have taken are a legal stimulant.  But a lot of people seem to believe that Mr Vaz should now stand down as an MP simply because he was unfaithful to his wife…Yet…people have always had affairs…gay men should surely not be forced do disclose their sexuality if they feel uncomfortable about doing so…Some of the criticism has clearly come from supporters of what is called the “Nordic model” who believe that the buying of sex should be illegal.  But this story vividly illustrates the problems associated with changing the law to criminalise men who purchase sex…I can’t really understand why the sale of sexual services should ever be illegal unless it involves trafficking, pimping, compulsion or other forms of coercive behaviour.  The Vaz case – if the allegations are true – demonstrates why prostitution should be legalised and properly regulated.  So long as it is underground, the sex trade will remain in the hands of the criminals and blackmailers…

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A prison might be defined as any place you’ve been put into against your will and can’t get out of, and where you are entirely at the mercy of the authorities, whoever they may be.  –  Margaret Atwood

Bad Jobs

You’ll notice that sex workers are immune to most of these factors:

People often like to groan about how their job is “killing” them.  Tragically, for some groups of people in the U.S., that statement appears to be true.  A new study by researchers at Harvard and Stanford has quantified just how much a stressful workplace may be shaving off of Americans’ life spans.  It suggests that the amount of life lost to stress varies significantly for people of different races, educational levels and genders, and ranges up to nearly three years of life lost for some groups…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

There are about 40,000 girls aged 13-17 in San Diego; this “study” claims that 30% of them become “victims of sex trafficking” every year:

A new study released by the University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University revealed that the dark and secret world of sex trafficking in San Diego is the second largest underground economy locally after drugs…sex trafficking is an estimated $810 million-a-year industry and it is run mostly by gangs.  The study revealed that as many as 11,773 become victims to human trafficking in San Diego alone on a yearly basis…Victims are primarily underage…The study was funded by the Department of Justice, and found that more than 100 gangs are involved in the local sex trafficking operations…next to schools, other recruitment hot spots include:  trolley and bus stops, house parties, social media, tattoo parlors, churches, malls…about 1,776 victims/survivors come in contact with law enforcement…

That last is larger than the total number of “sex trafficking victims” that have ever been identified as such in the entire US.

With Folded Hands

Margaret Atwood on the asininity of giving away freedom for “security”:

…Governments know our desire for safety all too well, and like to play on our fears.  How often have we been told that this or that new rule or law or snooping activity on the part of officialdom is to keep us “safe”?  We aren’t safe, anyway:  many of us die in weather events – tornados, floods, blizzards – but governments, in those cases, limit their roles to finger-pointing, blame-dodging, expressions of sympathy or a dribble of emergency aid.  Many more of us die in car accidents or from slipping in the bathtub than are likely to be done in by enemy agents, but those kinds of deaths are not easy to leverage into panic…

Above the Law Patrick Quinn coercive cop

Sometimes sexually-exploitative cops stop short of rape:

In August Patrick Quinn, a 27-year-old…Texas [cop]…pulled over a driver and [claimed he] spotted marijuana paraphernalia in her car.  He told her he would not arrest her if she would let him lick her feet or give him her underwear.  He…was [fired and] sentenced to a year in jail…

Parting of the Ways

Peter Barbey is wasting no time as the new owner of the Village Voice.  Per an interview with [the] Wall Street Journal…he’s nixed the thought of changing the print edition size, pitched to staff the concept of special themed inserts and decided it’s time for a major ad dollar shift:  “Barbey plans to get rid of escort ads, a racy fixture of many an alt-weekly.  ‘Adult women can be escorts, that’s fine with me’, Mr. Barbey said, ‘but it’s not the kind of advertising that fits where we want go’.

Monsters 

Beyoncé Karungi, a 35-year-old campaigner…is in hospital following [a] horrific attack.  The activist had recently penned an article on surviving in Uganda as a trans sex worker, an occupation that can be dangerous and occasionally deadly.  After recieving several hate threats, she went into hiding.  When she emerged, she was attacked by a group of five unknown men.  She sustained several serious facial and bodily injuries…This is not the first time Beyoncé has been attacked…one time police undressed her, took her bag, money and phone and then cut her hair to make her “masculine”…

Frequently Told Lies

The title is “Feminism’s Sex Work Problem“, but this thorough article contains a large section debunking the usual lies prohibitionists employ:

I’m not going to make the pro-decriminalization case here.  Others have made it far more eloquently than I could…However, there are some elephants in the room that simply have to be addressed before a real conversation can occur.  These are mistruths that seem to have become cemented as fact through sheer force of mindless repetition, and unfortunately they severely derail any objective discussion of sex work…

Wise Investment (#440)

Much more of this, please:

Las Vegas police will pay more than $80,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who said officers detained her for two hours in The Cosmopolitan after falsely accusing her of being a prostitute.  A federal judge wrote that the case showed…prostitution sweeps in casinos were overly broad and threatened people’s constitutional rights.  Chentile Goodman was released without charge after the 2011 incident and filed a lawsuit later that year…

The Camel’s Nose (#504)

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

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) passed the Senate today by a vote of 74 to 21.  A different version passed the House earlier in the year, so they’re going to have to conference to hammer out differences.  Retail business interests supported the legislation.  Major Internet and tech firms like Google, Apple, Yahoo, and Twitter…opposed it…”CISA…allows companies to monitor users and share their information with the government without a warrant, while offering a backdoor that circumvents any laws that might protect users’ privacy“…Attempts to add amendments to narrow the bill’s focus all failed…The Sunlight Foundation…notes that CISA creates a new exemption from the Freedom of Information Act…”That means if they overstep and share the wrong information — as this bill seems to intend — the public won’t know, and even if it did, it would have no legal recourse…CISA guarantees the public will have no ability to see what information is going from companies to the government“…

What Were You All Waiting For? Richard Branson

I’m glad Richard Branson is speaking out against criminalization, but I wish he’d talk to sex workers so as to avoid gaffes like this:

…There are good Catholic countries like Chile that have legalised prostitution.  And I know its very controversial.  Most people would put their arms up in horror.  But by legalising it, they got rid of the pimps.  The girls are monitored properly to make sure that they are healthy, to make sure they can come forward if they’ve got a problem.  And they believe a lot of the illegal trafficking of young girls has gone away…

Now They Notice

One of the more loathsome uses of asset seizure:  stealing all of the victim’s bank accounts so he can’t pay for a legal defense.

Things aren’t looking good for rentboy.com…The company’s bank accounts containing millions of dollars were frozen and its website was seized by Homeland Security…Now, the company is selling its office supplies and furniture on Craigslist in an effort to raise money to pay for its mounting legal fees…Some of these “goodies” include glass desks, chairs, filing cabinets, and video monitors.  Other items for sale include cables, software, books, magazines, artwork, lamps, a copy machine, and “a lot of special, one of a kind rentboy.com ephemera”…

Seizing Power (#574)

The Cato institute supports sex workers’ right to advertise:

Prior restraints—legal prohibitions on disseminating information before publication—are an odious burden on the freedom of expression and come with a “heavy presumption” against their constitutionality.  Indeed, they are so disfavored in the law as to be virtually impossible to obtain outside of wartime.  Informal prior restraints—government pressure without formal sanction—are even more unconstitutional than formal ones, as the Supreme Court noted in Bantam Books v. Sullivan (1963)…But that strong precedent didn’t stop…Thomas Dart and his crusade against Backpage…As Cato, Reason Foundation, and DKT Liberty Project point out in our amicus brief before that court, Dart’s claimed “epidemic” of sex trafficking has evaded any sort of empirical verification for over two decades.  Indeed, State Department data indicate that the opposite may be true.  Nevertheless, Sheriff Dart, along with a new-age Baptist-and-bootleggers coalition matching the religious right and radical feminists, have raised the human-trafficking bugaboo to rally against prostitution—mimicking the drug war and all of its worst legal mechanisms…

Welcome To Our World (#578)

Here’s the first part of an in-depth look at how the New York Times callously maligned an entire industry – one that, like sex work, provides income for undocumented migrants with little money to squander on bureaucratically-imposed startup costs:

Sarah Maslin…Nir’s coverage broadly [mischaracterized] the nail salon industry, [and] several of the men and women she spoke with say she misquoted or misrepresented them.  In some cases, she interviewed sources without translators despite their poor English skills.  When her sources’ testimonies ran counter to her narrative, she omitted them altogether.  The second article lent the Times’ imprimatur to unproven theories, while committing science journalism’s cardinal sin of highlighting alarmist anecdotes that aren’t representative of systematic research.  If it hadn’t had real-world consequences, the series—and subsequent attempt by Nir and her editors to parry criticism—wouldn’t be worth such intense scrutiny.  But the day after the first article appeared in the print edition of the Times, Gov. Andrew Cuomo…announced a new multi-agency task force to inspect nail salons…The rush to legislate based solely on the Times’ shoddy reporting has hurt the industry.  New nail salons, “which used to open every week in New York,” have stopped appearing…Salons once provided a steady source of jobs for undocumented immigrants; now many owners say they’ll hire only legal workers who’ve completed an occupational licensing program because they’re afraid of getting in trouble…

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Apparently learning when to use a turn signal is twice as complicated as conducting an undercover operation that jeopardizes women’s lives.  –  Samantha Allen lowest depression graph

Bad Jobs

I’ll just point out that sex work is an “amusement and recreation service”.  So much for “PTSD” and “90% would quit if they could”:

A study published last month…suggests that some jobs have much higher rates of depression than others…the…authors calculated the incidence of depression across 55 industries.  The highest rate of depression (16.2 percent) was found among bus drivers.  The lowest (6.9 percent) was…among those in “amusement and recreation services,” a broadly defined group that includes the sports, fitness, and performing-arts industries…

Feminine Pragmatism 

Part-time casual prostitution to supplement meager earnings has been a fact of female existence since at least Roman times, so this is not anything remotely like “news”:

…salaries for Japan’s flight attendants have slumped significantly over the past decade…This has lead to some stewardesses engaging in [casual prostitution]…“Girls willing to do it with a pilot passed their number to a person who was effectively a female pimp,” says [one] stewardess….other stewardesses may take up part-time work as party companions or bar hostesses in Tokyo’s ritzy Ginza district…

The Pro-Rape Coalition

Have I told you lately how much I love Elizabeth Nolan Brown?

So I was going to ignore this silly study about how pornography is serving as a widespread “marriage substitute” for young American men.  But it just keeps popping up on my radar…the study actually found [that]…the more hours of pornography a young man watched, the less likely he was to have a spouse…bachelorhood makes watching a lot of porn…more possible…than it is for people living with a wife and family…and…married individuals are less likely to self-report ample pornography consumption…Correlation does not imply causation. And “low-cost sexual gratification” probably isn’t the end of civilization as we know it.

Meanwhile, over at Slate, Jordan Weissmann goes into even more detail about why the study is, in his words, “deeply silly”.  You will not be surprised to know that the “researchers” used data from the General Social Survey, whose unsuitability for questions of this nature I have noted before.

Above the Law 

They just can’t call it rape when the rapist is a cop, can they?  Especially if his victims are whores:  “A Dallas police officer has been arrested for…using his position…to force prostitutes to perform sexual acts…David Kattner…will be [given paid vacation]…pending the results of the…investigation…

The Notorious Badge Jamie Dornan

What is it with actors presuming to judge sexual minorities they make big bucks playing on screen?

Jamie Dornan went to a sex dungeon for work.  He was preparing to play Fifty Shades of Grey’s…Christian Grey, and…found it underwhelming.  “I went there, they offered me a beer, and they did…whatever they were into…Then going back to my wife and newborn baby afterwards… I had a long shower before touching either of them”…

Jamie, I’m sorry to hear that your prudish sex life is so boring.  I’ll leave you with a message from my friend, Mistress Matisse:

…Guess what?  There were happily married people at that party doing BDSM.  Some of them have children, too, just like you.  How dare you take a role as someone who does BDSM and then blatantly insult the very people who allowed you into their party and let you observe them in their intimate moments?…I think it’s a shame the makers of 50SOG didn’t cast someone more emotionally mature and more secure in his own sexuality than this.  Perhaps Mr. Dornan is more like the character of Christian Gray than he’d like to think…

Banishment

The continuing crusade to treat “sex offenders” as subhuman:

…A registrant in Florida won a three million dollar scratch-off lottery…Timothy Poole…[is the subject of a] hue and cry…that he should, by any means possible, be denied his winnings…because he is a SEX OFFENDER.  Florida has no prohibition against any convicted felon profiting from lottery winnings, not even SEX OFFENDERS.  I am currently making book that Florida’s next legislative session will see a bill introduced that will do just that…Mr. Poole, since his release from prison in 2006, has maintained a record as spotless as the proverbial driven snow…None of that quashed the flood of outrage or deterred the cesspool of nasty headlines, articles, and commentary as to why he should not receive the money and how inherently wrong it is for him to have won it to begin with…

Dirty Laundry (TW3 #337)

Sadistic Irish judges think it’s funny to rob sex workers and our associates and give their money to an organization dedicated to destroying our entire profession:

…Dublin road engineer [Thomas Lyons] rented an apartment for use as a brothel…[he] has been given a suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay over €10,000 to…Ruhama, an organisation which [profits from the harassment of sex workers]…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #341)

A rare example of criminalization blowing up in the faces of “authorities”:

A prostitute won a landmark victory against police [when] an Oslo court…ruled that police were wrong to claim taxes for the money she had made selling sex…the court queried whether the state should tax income from prostitution, given that related activity such as pimping and human trafficking are crimes…

Property of the State

A new proposed bill in the Missouri state legislature would require women…seeking an abortion to get consent from the man who is the father of the child.  Exceptions are allowed in cases of rape or incest, but [not]…if the woman is in an abusive relationship…

Or, presumably, if she just doesn’t know who the father is.

Because We Say So (TW3 #421) poverty tourism

Next Generation Nepal (NGN) has launched its…report showing that…orphanages in Nepal contain over 15,000 children, yet at least two out of three…are not orphans…many…are being used as poverty commodities to raise money from well-intentioned but naïve fee-paying foreign volunteers and donors…almost 90 percent of “orphanages” in Nepal are located in the top five tourist districts for this reason…the growing global phenomenon of voluntourism…has the potential to…cause considerable harm…

The Mote and the Beam (TW3 #428)

Remember, consensual sex work is usually defined as “trafficking” in the US; this law would felonize the posting of an ordinary escort ad:

A state representative wants to make it a crime to post an ad on the internet if the person posting it knows it could result in human trafficking.  It could be an ad anywhere – on websites such as Craigslist or Backpage, or even on a gas station bathroom wall…House Bill 152 would make that person guilty of sexual trafficking of a child; a felony that carries a penalty of up to life in prison…[sponsor] Elijah Haahr…says the idea is based on the SAVE Act…

Safe Targets (TW3 #439)

the relationship between law enforcement and sex workers in Alaska has supposedly altered in recent years…[due to dogma pretending that] sex workers[are] victims who need to be rescued…[but] a new report by Tara Burns titled People in Alaska’s Sex Trade: Their Lived Experience and Policy Recommendations…found…that…the role of the police has not changed that much…the law has been used against people selling sex (who are said to be trafficking themselves)…”In none of the documents I’ve examined since the law’s inception,” Burns says in the report, “has it been used to benefit a victim”…women Burns surveyed and interviewed see the police as a threat…More than a quarter of the women surveyed said they had been sexually assaulted by police; 9 percent said they had been robbed or beaten…

Theatrics (TW3 #446)

On December 19…[a spam] text message [landed] on mobile phones of [about 300,000] users [in Kathmandu, Nepal].  The…message…read “young boys and girls are available for commercial sex inside the Kathmandu Valley” and asked the recipients to call certain numbers for further details…the message was being delivered by Terre des Hommes…whose website says “it works against child exploitation”…[the NGO] defended the message…[as] “part of its campaign to aware [sic] the general public about child exploitation and end commercial sexual exploitation of children”…

Marching Up Their Own Arses (TW3 #450)

For a change, many outside the demimonde recognize anti-whore douchebaggery for what it is:

The retired cop used to interfere in sex worker’s lives by arresting them, now he just ambushes them with cameras…sex workers…rightly call [reality show 8 Minutes] “vile,” “gross,” “terrifying,” and “exploitative”…[Kevin] Brown was profiled in the LA Timesas founder…of Safe Passage OC, a group with a website that looks like it was made in 1998 and a moral worldview from at least a hundred years earlier than that…Volunteers only need to “attend a 16-hour course”…about half as long as it takes to get a learner’s permit in the state of California…

A Year Later

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We should…be open for the possibility that prostitutes are harmed, not because prostitution is harmful, but because society at present seriously wrongs prostitutes.  –  Ole Moen

The Naked Anthropologist

Dr. Laura Agustín recently uploaded this video of a talk she gave in 2010 which synopsizes in just a few minutes a number of her most important observations on the roots of “sex trafficking” mythology, agency denial, the rescue industry and more.  Her influence on me and many other writers on this subject cannot possibly be overstated, and if you don’t read her blog you really should.

Updates

Madonna and Whore

A new study looked at escort board postings and concludes what I and other escorts have said many times and people like Melissa Farley deny:  that many clients really feel a sense of emotional intimacy with some escorts:

…Christine Milrod and co-author Ronald Weitzer analyzed 2,442 postings on…a sex provider review site…Approximately one-third included a discussion about emotional intimacy between sex workers and their clients…“In recent years, we have come to see a gradual normalization of independent escort prostitution, where sexual encounters have come to resemble quasi-dating relationships,” stated…Milrod.  “Our study shows that regular clients of a particular sex provider often come to experience feelings of deep affection, which can progress into an authentic love story”…The study uncovered feelings ranging from “counterfeit intimacy” to “authentic emotional bonds” between many prostitutes and their respective customers…

Bad Girls

This is one way to deal with an extortionist, though the idiot is lucky he wasn’t arrested as well.  What I’m wondering, though,  is why she stuck around after he called the cops?  “Police in Ann Arbor [Michigan] say they took a call from a man who was upset that the price he agreed to pay for prostitution services had increased…the…19-year-old woman he had contacted online…upped the cost after taking his money…the woman was arrested and the man wasn’t…[after they] gave vastly different accounts of what happened…

Bad Jobs

Here’s a new slideshow of the “most stressful jobs in America”; notice that NO sex work jobs are on the list, despite prohibitionist claims of PTSD and other such nonsense.

Real People

Marc McAndrews…visited the legal brothels in 11 Nevada counties over a period of five years [to create]…the book Nevada Rose, which documents these brothels and their workers, owners and customers.  What he uncovered was a view of prostitution that didn’t adhere to culturally appointed preconceptions:  of sex work as a living as humdrum as any other…”  Unfortunately the article credits the Nevada brothel system, reserving the typical insults and libel for independents.  But you’ve got to start somewhere, and this is a big improvement over the typical New York Times “sex trafficking” lies.

Another Example of Swedish “Feminism”

It’s hilarious to watch Swedes trying to reconcile the “whore as criminal” and “whore as victim” myths:

Prostitutes in Stockholm are using short-term rented apartments to sell sex, which is proving to be a difficult case for police…and a bitter pill…for the holidaying homeowners…who…are completely unaware of what’s going on…One woman…[said] “It felt disgusting. I wanted to just burn the bed and move house…[but] when you get a little perspective on things – I’m not actually the victim here. I think of how the girls have ended up as prostitutes, whether they’ve been exposed to people smuggling and how they live today”…

Against Their Will

It would be difficult to imagine a more bizarre combination of agency denial and plain arse-backwardness than this:

Four sex workers were allegedly abducted by an armed gang from a rehab centre…police have registered a case of kidnapping…the gang members were [allegedly] Mumbai-based pimps, whom the girls telephoned and asked to be “rescue’’ from the rehab centre run by an NGO…they were rescued from the flesh trade by the…police and were accommodated at the rehab centre…six months ago…Other sex workers…said life is hell at the centre.  “A prison would be better than this,” said a 24-year-old inmate.  “Given a chance, we too would like to leave”…

The reversed scare quotes around the two uses of “rescue” are especially striking; their literal rescue by friends or associates is scare-quoted, while the use of the term for abduction and imprisonment is not.

Sex, Lies and Busybodies

Yet another “sex trafficking” liar is exposed:

…William Hillar…was sentenced…to 21 months in prison…for…his scheme to pass himself off as a colonel in the U.S. Army Special Forces…Hillar was also ordered to pay restitution of $171,415 and perform 500 community hours at the Maryland State Veterans Cemeteries……the FBI said Hillar fabricated a gruesome tale that his own daughter had been kidnapped, forced into sex slavery, sodomized and tortured before being hacked to death with machetes and thrown into the sea.  He further claimed that this experience and his life story was the basis for the 2008 film “Taken”.  The significant press attention…generated free press for his business.  Hillar admitted…his daughter…was [actually] alive and well…

Knights Erroneous

Speaking of “sex trafficking” liars:  “Ashton Kutcher [in Delhi to film a Steve Jobs biopic]…posted a photo that has him posing with about a dozen…victims of sex trafficking [supplied by rescue industry NGO Apne Aap]…

My Favorite TV Comedies

…the cast of the 1990s Nickelodeon series The Adventures of Pete & Pete was reunited…before a packed and ardent crowd at L.A.’s Orpheum Theater for…a…three-hour celebration of the deepest children’s show — and one of television’s best shows — ever.”  The article includes an interview with the creators, who explain that a great deal of the show’s unique style derived from the fact that their background was in producing advertising spots rather than situation comedies, so they didn’t know what they were “supposed” to do.

Shift in the Wind

As I pointed out, the public health community almost universally backs decriminalization, and apparently that support has reached the bioethics field as well:

…one of the latest…articles in the…Journal of Medical Ethics…bears the provocative title “Is Prostitution Harmful?”  Unsurprisingly, Norwegian academic Ole Martin Moen says No.  “More and more of us…believe that sexual encounters need not be deeply personal and emotional…if casual sex is acceptable, then we have few or no reasons to reject prostitution.”  Dr Moen demolishes…nine objections to legalised prostitution…but perhaps most interesting from a bioethical standpoint are his assumptions…First, that [if] sex…has no special value, it is unlikely that arguments against selling it will stand.  Second, that a utilitarian calculus is the best way to determine the ethics of prostitution…Third, that contemporary attitudes towards homosexuality are appropriate precedents for assessing the moral value of prostitution.  Back in the 20s and 30s, homosexuality was deemed to cause people severe psychological problems.  But we now know that this was due to social stigma.  Homosexuality was also associated with disease, drug use and violence.  But we now know that this was due to social and legal oppression.  Similarly, Dr Moen suggests, if we destigmatise and liberate prostitution, these issues will disappear among prostitutes as well…

Bottleneck

Behold the inevitable result of trying to stop sex work:

Korean communities in Australia are campaigning…for a crackdown on Korean prostitutes who have entered the country on working holiday visas…The association of Korean communities said Korean prostitutes are a national disgrace.  “…Korea’s reputation is being tarnished as they see the country as an exporter of prostitutes,” said an association spokesman…Since the Korean government launched its crackdown…in 2004…many sex workers have moved to Australia, Japan, the United States and other countries…Accordingly, the number of crimes involving Koreans staying on such visas is rising at an alarming rate in Australia and other countries…72…felonies, including murder and rape, committed against or by Korean working visa holders were reported in Australia in 2009, while no such crimes were reported in 2005.

One can’t help wondering if the Korean community’s bigotry is not part of the reason Australian politicians keep claiming that thousands of Asian women are “trafficked”, despite a total lack of evidence .

Metaupdates

Something Rotten in Sweden in November Updates (Part One)

Emi Koyama does it again with this convincing economic analysis demonstrating not only that “end demand” schemes don’t work, they actually increase the amount of prostitution among low-end (street) sex workers:

“End demand” approach to addressing human trafficking continues to gain traction, as law enforcement agencies across the country hold the third “National Day of Johns Arrests”…I have in the past pointed out why “end demand” policies are harmful…and even provided a further  explanation for the economics of “end demand” policies.  But recently I had an…exchange with someone who…helped me explore a possibility…that “end demand” approach to prostitution, which seeks to reduce demand for commercial sex through public education, prosecution, public humiliation, and other means, may increase prostitution, rather than decrease it…

The nutshell version:  As demand drops, so does the price.  But because survival and near-survival sex workers are already making barely enough to live on, they are therefore forced to work longer hours and see more clients in order to make ends meet.  If any of my readers is an economist and can either confirm or find flaws in Koyama’s analysis, please let me know.

The Course of a Disease in TW3 (#28)

This is really good news; intellectuals are respected and influential in France:

Some of France’s leading intellectuals have poured scorn on the government’s goal of eradicating prostitution…a collection of academics, artists and writers suggest efforts to get rid of the world’s oldest profession are bound to fail…Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the minister for women, caused a stir in June when she announced the new government would attempt to end the sale of sex…the intellectuals…argued that talk of “abolishing” prostitution was based on “two debatable assumptions:  that charging for sex is an affront to women’s dignity and that all prostitutes are all victims of their bastard clients…A women who prostitutes herself…is not necessarily a victim of male oppression.  And the clients are not all horrible predators or sexual obsessives who treat the woman as disposable objects.”  Among the signatories to the article were philosopher Elisabeth Badinter, writer Regine Desforges and film-maker Claude Lanzmann…

O, Canada! in TW3 (#31)

Politicians just can’t resist trying to drum up moral panic, even in soil as unfertile as the largely pro-decriminalization British Columbian academic community:

Recruiters could show up at B.C. colleges and universities this year looking for students to work as strippers, says the province’s minister of advanced education, Naomi Yamamoto.  “The [adult entertainment] industry itself has a reputation of exhibiting some risky behaviour, and we don’t want our students exposed to that,” she said, “especially if [it means] aggressively recruiting at our campuses”…She said the issue came to her attention through news stories about the trend in Windsor, [Ontario]…She added that she could not direct institutions to bar adult entertainment companies from job fairs but is “strongly recommending” that they reject any requests for space…A representative of the Camosun College Student Society, Madeline Keller-MacLeod, said she would resist the presence of adult entertainment industry representatives on campus… “Our members are particularly vulnerable to any economic opportunities,” she said…

Ask yourself:  what sort of warped mind could produce the phrase “vulnerable to economic opportunities”?

This Week in 2010 and 2011

Three different columns featuring lyrics and video links for songs about whores; two columns defining various terms used by hookers; a short history of New Orleans’ famed Storyville and a biography of one of its most famous madams; and an analysis of why politicians persecute whores.  We also see that genitals come in “All Shapes and Sizes”, that a picture really can be worth “A Thousand Words”, and that many feminists will cut off their noses “To Spite Their Faces”.  Plus:  my very first update column;  another one featuring items on trafficking myths, an odd breach of confidentiality and prohibitionists using feminist and Marxist rhetoric; and another with items about fornication laws, sex rays, Michael Weinstein and a less-fortunate counterpart of the client from today’s first item.

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I’ll be  a prostitute, that’s what I’ll be.  You get to pick your customers, and you get paid for it.  Now, that sounds like a lot of fun, doesn’t it? –  Barbara Ann Greene (Tuesday Weld) in Lord Love a Duck

Like so much of the propaganda directed toward our profession, the claims about its difficulty contradict each other.  For centuries prohibitionists have called us “lazy”, implying that our job is so incredibly easy it’s actually antisocial.  Christian reformers have tried to reclaim whores by teaching them the virtue of “honest work” (i.e. slave-wage drudgery resulting in premature aging) and the Nazis classified prostitutes as arbeitsscheu (“work-shy”) and sent them to concentration camps where they could be worked literally to death.  Neofeminists and trafficking fetishists, on the other hand, claim the exact opposite: that our work is inherently humiliating and degrading, and that no sane person would consent to it unless enslaved or otherwise coerced.  As is usual with extreme statements, both are wildly exaggerated; the truth is that for all but the very lowest strata of our profession, prostitution is a job like any other.  It has its good aspects and its bad aspects, but for those of us who choose it the good points (high income, freedom, independence, rewarding experiences with good customers, ego gratification and variety of work) greatly outweigh the bad ones (uncertainty of income, unpleasant customers, and the risks of disease, rape and persecution by cops).  As I have said before, it’s not for everyone, but what job is?

With the “Swedish model” and trafficking fetishism in ascendancy one hears the “inherently degrading” brand of nonsense more often these days; pompous control freaks who have never done as much as a single call use terms like “horrible” and “soul-destroying” to describe work they know absolutely nothing about, and silly women who work menial jobs for a pittance (or don’t work at all) comfort themselves by imagining that they’re better than we are.  The truth, as I discussed in my column of November 9th, is that as a group prostitutes have unusually high self-esteem, and studies conducted among legal prostitutes (such as this one from Australia) demonstrate that the vast majority of the profession who are not imprisoned, drug-addicted streetwalkers (the only whores neofeminist “researchers” ever bother to study) have rates of job satisfaction comparable to those of women in “regular” jobs.  You want to know what an “inherently degrading” job really looks like?  Health magazine recently published a list of the ten most depressing jobs in America; 7% of the general population have experienced a major depression in the past year, but members of each of these professions experience measurably higher rates than that.

The single most “soul-destroying” job in the US is not harlotry, but rather working in a nursing home or day-care center; 11% of people in such jobs have experienced major depression in the past year.  This is probably because the very old and the very young are needier than even the worst escort client, and unlike the latter they are often unable to express appreciation for the difficult, often unpleasant work.  You think getting screwed by an old, fat dude is disgusting?  Try changing his adult diapers and cleaning his bedsores for less than a tenth as much money, and being unable to refuse service to him without losing your job.

Those who oppose “inherently degrading” jobs should take aim at waitressing; 10% of foodservice workers in general and 15% of waitresses in particular report a major depression this year.  Waitresses’ customers are ruder than ours, their shifts are much longer, they have to kowtow to everybody and their pay is often below minimum wage…and Uncle Sam adds insult to injury by taxing their tips whether they get them or not.

I’d be willing to bet a free session that a high percentage of rabid prohibitionists are social workers, so perhaps their rhetoric about our jobs being so awful derives in part from projection.  10% of social workers per year suffer from at least one serious episode of depression, and they suffer from violence almost as often as sex workers do but for about a third of the annual income before taxes.  And like waitresses, nursing home workers and day-care providers they work long hours and have no control over client selection.

Doctors, nurses, therapists and other healthcare professionals have comparable incomes to ours, but have to deal with sick, injured or dying people every day and often cannot alleviate their symptoms in one visit as we can.  Add to that long hours, ungrateful patients and the constant threat of malicious lawsuits and you’ll see why roughly 10% of them were depressed at some time this year.  Well, at least many of them get more respect from governments than many of us do.

The depression rate is 9% for people in creative fields such as artists, writers, entertainers, etc.  Part of this is almost certainly due to the artistic temperament, but a lot comes from the same kind of income uncertainty whores experience (and as with us, bad reviews can be devastating).  Unlike hookers, however, creative people often work grueling hours and cannot count on at least some sales; if a prostitute does not succeed in attracting clients she doesn’t work, but a writer may work for months on a project and yet never make a penny from it.

Maybe Melissa Petro should have stayed a hooker; teachers suffer depression far more often than we do, make far less money and have absolutely no choice of clients whatsoever.  Imagine if most of a whore’s customers were unappreciative and did not really want to be with her, yet she was blamed for their failure to achieve climax.  Add to that mountains of ridiculous and unnecessary paperwork and several levels of pimps over her, including a “prostitution board” staffed almost entirely by non-prostitutes which could fire her because her clients’ relatives objected to her having been a teacher when she was younger.  Talk about exploitation…

Administrative support staff (i.e. middle managers, executive secretaries etc) constitute textbook examples of a “thankless job”; when things are good their bosses are credited, but when things go wrong they’re the ones who are blamed.  They have to take orders from above and respond to demands from below, and have very little power to do anything about it. Contrast that with escorts’ lives and you’ll see why they get depressed far more often than we do.

Maintenance and grounds workers are like medical staff without the glamor and high pay; they deal mostly with problems, and work weird and often inverted schedules.  They are also often alone, and like retail clerks their hours may vary wildly with the seasons.  Prostitutes have most of those issues as well, but we make a lot more money and get a lot more praise from our clients than do janitors.

Accountants, brokers and other financial advisors are among the few professionals on this list who make more money than call girls do, but they’re also a helluva lot more stressed than we are.  If I goofed up a client might fail to reach orgasm, but if an investment counselor goofs up his client could lose millions and if a CPA goofs up his clients may be audited by the IRS or even accused of tax evasion.  And though whores are affected by the bad economy, we aren’t blamed for its effects on our clients.

Tenth on the list are salespeople, whose depression rate is lower than the others we’ve discussed but still measurably higher than the 7% average.  If hookers really did have higher rates of depression than others, this is the category we would fall into because we are essentially independent saleswomen, marketing our own services.  Commissioned salespeople have uncertain incomes, long hours, no benefits and high seasonal variation in business volume.  Many have to travel for long stretches and live alone in hotels away from friends and family.

Of course, all of these jobs are better than unemployment; 13% of unemployed people have suffered a major depressive episode this year, about twice the national average and higher than any of these jobs except waitressing.  Yet the prohibitionists actually want you to believe that being unemployed and/or on welfare is actually better than our lucrative, often pleasant job with flexible hours!  Brandy Devereaux recently wrote on this very subject, and since she’s already said it at least as well as I could I’m going to leave you today with a link to that column.

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