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Posts Tagged ‘BDSM Updates’

Kraft’s…case punctured some of the overheated rhetoric surrounding coerced sex work.  –  Matt Ford

Rough Trade 

A rare case where a rapist of sex workers is actually convicted:

A San Francisco jury…found a man guilty of several felonies in connection with the sexual assault of two female sex workers more than five years ago in the city’s Mission District…Edwin Rodriguez [was found]…guilty of multiple counts of forcible rape as well as aggravated kidnapping, assault and criminal threats.  Rodriguez now faces multiple life sentences…

Unclean Situation (#330)

These are also some of the nuns behind Ruhama:

A religious order which ran some of the Magdalene laundries, but has refused to pay into the redress scheme for survivors, is to sell its retreat centre in north Dublin.  The Religious Sisters of Charity announced it will sell the €3m Stella Maris Retreat Centre in Howth…A spokesman for the Department of Justice said no contributions have been made by any of the four religious congregations involved in respect of the implementation of the Magdalen Restorative Justice Ex-Gratia Scheme…[which has paid] a total of €27.8m…so far to 732 applicants…

Catastrophic Consequences (#576)

This sleazy tactic started in Canada, then spread to the UK:

[In the UK] “anti-trafficking”…raids [are] known officially as “welfare visits”…[cops pretend] that “the welfare and safety of the women…is…the number one priority”…[but in truth] “prostitute cautions“…are…handed out at high rates, and the…Proceeds of Crime Act not only allows them to [steal] sex workers’ earnings, it actively making it easier for them by reversing the burden of proof…the [stolen] cash is given to the Home Office, which then [gives it right back] to the police force without regulating how it’s spent.  The official line is that [cops] have no incentive to raid, but the truth is that the police force does stand to profit…

BDSM (#583)

A “cult”.  Because mentioning their sex practices wasn’t quite lurid enough:

Torsten Weiss…[the owner of a] medieval fetish shop in Hachenburg, Germany…was found dead with crossbow bolts protruding from his neck and skull…[in] a…B&B in Passau…By his side was 33-year-old Kerstin Enders who had succumbed to similar fatal injuries.  On the floor in front of them in a pool of blood was 30-year-old Farina Caspari, suspected of honoring Weiss’s…command to first kill him and Enders, and then take her own life…Weiss and Enders left wills at their sides…”Investigators suspect they were all members of a kind of sex circle with a focus on the Middle Ages,” according to RTL news…[at] Caspari[‘s]…house [cops]…found two more female victims.  One, identified only as Gertrud C., was her lover…friends of the four female victims interviewed by police say the women had all been under Weiss’s hypnotic control.  They reportedly engaged in extreme sexual acts, often involving BDSM, under his direction.  But what police don’t yet know is what led the fivesome to their deaths rather than just continuing their fantastical life…The two women found dead in [Caspari’s] apartment have no obvious wounds or signs of violence. Toxicology reports will show if they were poisoned…

Other than what I’ve quoted above, most of the rest is lurid speculation by cops and the neighbors, friends, and family members of the victims, mostly of the same level of popular ignorance as the myth that a person can be “hypnotized” to do things against their will.

To Molest and Rape 

Just 1500 isolated incidents:

Nearly 1,500 accusations of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, [rape, sexual assault] and child [molestation], have been made against [cops] in England and Wales over six years…Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that 1,491 complaints were filed against [various kinds of cops]…across 33 forces in England and Wales between 2012 and 2017, or 2018 in the case of the Metropolitan Police in London, which took a year to respond…Of these cases, 371 were upheld, resulting in the sacking or resignation of 197 [rapists]…Ten police forces [refused to] provide data…

Girls, Girls, Girls! (#679)

Clubs need to learn that the bad old days of exploiting dancers are over:

A federal jury has awarded five black dancers more than $3 million in their discrimination lawsuit against Danny’s strip club…Danny’s Downtown Cabaret…limit[ed] the number of shifts black dancers could work, and subject[ed] them to racially offensive epithets…”Danny’s also forced the dancers to work at a related club, Black Diamonds, even though they were subject to arrest there because they were not licensed to work at that club,” according to the EEOC.  “The pay and working conditions at Black Diamonds were inferior to those at Danny’s, and there was less security there.  The dancers who refused to work at Black Diamonds were fined and sent home, and not allowed to work at Danny’s”…

Profound Ignorance (#800) 

Scott Cunningham has finally set the record straight on the history of decriminalization in Rhode Island:

…In 1980, the Rhode Island General Assembly legalized indoor sex work.  The surviving members of that assembly have [pretended] that legalizing indoor sex work happened accidentally while trying to strengthen laws prohibiting street prostitution…the police and local prosecutors [eventually forgot]…as indoor sex workers were arrested and prosecuted regularly…throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s.  Then in 2003, a Rhode Island District Court judge reminded everyone what the law said…For six years the state was running a “natural experiment” that would teach us more about decriminalized indoor sex work than we’d ever known in history…what we found surprised us and everyone else…Rhode Island rapes and sexually transmitted infections both substantially declined…several other articles in economics have found similar effects but in other countries and cities…in light of these studies, organizations such as the World Health Organization and the ACLU have begun calling for reconsideration of our commercial sex laws…

Unfortunately, he’s still making silly claims like “everyone was surprised” (no, prohibitionists feigned surprise; it has been known since at least the 1920s that criminalization of a market always increases violence and health issues).  But at least he’s admitting that Rhode Island was neither a “mistake” nor a merely six-year phenomenon, and I’ve noticed his studies have been getting much better.  We may make a good ally out of him yet.

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#830)

Even Reuters is starting to listen to what sex workers have to say about “rescue”:

Sex workers in Thailand are rejecting the “raid and rescue” model used by authorities to crack down on…sex workers…[by labeling them] victims of trafficking.  Many of the women arrested are then [forced] to learn [menial] skills like sewing and baking.  “People say we should stop doing what we do, and sew or bake cookies instead – but why are only those jobs considered appropriate?” said Mai Chanta, who has been a sex worker for about eight years.  “This is what we choose to do, and we feel a sense of pride and satisfaction that we are just like other workers”…

That Old Black Magic (#884)

Click on the subtitle for the truth about Nigerian juju (not “voodoo”) rituals:

Spanish Police have busted a network of Nigerian voodoo sex traffickers who use illegal migration routes to smuggle young girls into Europe…the sex slaves are being groomed in Benin City, Edo state by mafia-style gangs promising them a better life in Spain…They were submitted to voodoo rituals threatening terrible consequences to them and their families if they disobeyed the organisation, police [fantasized, groaning and making furtive movements in their pants while describing how]…parts of their bodies were smothered in animal blood before they were threatened with death or infertility if they failed to obey the traffickers…

Pyrrhic Victory (#899)

Welcome to the future:

A UK pedestrian was arrested and fined £90 ($115 US) after attempting to cover his face while passing a controversial facial recognition camera van on an East London street.  The notorious London police vans scan the faces of passers-by and compare them to a database of wanted criminals.  One man wasn’t having any of it, and was seen covering his face with his hat and jacket before London police stopped him and [forcibly] took his picture anyway…The ticketing comes in the wake of another similar incident in February, in which another man refused to be scanned by one of the facial recognition vans and was also fined £90…the technology is terribly inaccurate – wrongly matching over 2,000 people to criminal…[at] the Champions League Final in Cardiff in 2017

First They Came for the Hookers… (#903) 

Most “prostitution” cases come apart like wet toilet paper if actually taken to trial:

A former Foxy Lady dancer…was found not guilty…of offering sex for money.  Lindsay Hoffmann…one of three dancers arrested at the club on Dec. 11, was cleared after a trial…lasting less than an hour…[a cop claimed] Hoffmann told him…he could get “anything” he wanted for $300 in the downstairs VIP room…But Judge Melissa DuBose said “anything” could have been anything…

End Demand (#910)

Mar Brettmann is a sleazy opportunist who will use any story about petty crime to sell her anti-whore snake oil:

…According to Mar Brettmann…“We know that 300-to-500 kids are prostituted at any given time in King County.”  Brettmann is executive director of B.E.S.T. – Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking – in Seattle…[which profits by indoctrinating] businesses and employees in King County to [harass] sex [workers], especially in hotels and motels…

In other words, she claims that there are about twice as many “teen sex slaves” in Seattle as adult escorts, a number so absurd prominent Seattle sex workers have actually been asked by cops where all those supposed “sex slaves” are hiding, because they sure can’t find them.

Loose Cannons (#938)

Another good anti-prohibition article at New Republic:

…The…charges against Kraft came as part of a sweeping, dramatic raid on Asian massage parlors across Florida…prosecutors [pretended]…they had smashed a international sex-trafficking ring…the narrative changed just as the public’s attention turned elsewhere…law enforcement agencies…often use [the claim] to describe and justify crackdowns on consensual sex work…prosecutors regularly use the threat of additional charges and a prolonged trial to induce defendants to accept a guilty plea…This warps the criminal justice system, such that…between 90 and 95 percent of federal and state cases are now resolved through plea deals instead of a trial with one’s peers…

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Once you’ve been arrested for prostitution…that is a stigma that will stick to you for the rest of your life.  –  Norma Jean Almodovar

All in the Family

I sometimes wonder how my life would’ve been different had I had the sense to lie:

What lies do people tell if they work in the sex industry?  For starters, it depends on exactly what they do…An escort named Jane (I’ve changed the names of everyone in this story) tells everyone she’s a real estate agent.  It fits all the data, and also explains why her income is variable…Agency escorts have a different set of challenges, mostly surrounding the “call on” system.  When an escort calls on at an agency, it means that they are dressed and ready to work; if they get a booking, they pledge to arrive to the call within an agreed-upon amount of time…Strippers have a different set of challenges…Jill works in a dominatrix parlor, and her hours are ten to six, Monday through Friday. Equipment is stored at the Midtown studio…Her babysitter thinks she works in HR…

Follow Your Bliss Nathaniel Schlueter

A man involved with helping sex trafficking victims was arrested…during an undercover prostitution sting…Nathaniel Schlueter was arrested by an undercover officer…[whom he] offered $30 in exchange for sexual favors….Schlueter served on the board of directors for The Refuge Ranch, which helps teenage women who have rescued from sex trafficking…

A Moral Cancer (Metaupdates)

Why do people still listen to “nutritionists”?

Bacon, sausage and other processed meats are now ranked alongside cigarettes and asbestos as known carcinogens, the World Health Organization announced…a…scientific panel examined more than 800 epidemiological studies…to…[classify] “consumption of processed meat as ‘carcinogenic to humans’ on the basis of sufficient evidence for colorectal cancer”…Red meat carries a slightly lower risk…but is still “probably carcinogenic to humans.”  Aside from the “strong mechanistic evidence” related to colorectal cancer, the “consumption of red meat was also positively associated with pancreatic and with prostate cancer.  As a main line of evidence, the group cites one study from 2011…

For the source of that 2011 study, click on the subtitle.

BDSM (#30)

A “cult”.  Because mentioning their sex practices wasn’t quite lurid enough.

Three members of a reported “master-slave” sex cult were convicted…of murdering [Brittany Killgore]…Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Perez, 49, Dorothy Grace Maraglino, 40, and Jessica Lynn Lopez, 28, were convicted of torturing and murdering…Killgore “for their own sadistic pleasure,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Patrick Espinoza [claimed]…Killgore was not a part of the cult, which enjoyed bondage, whipping, spanking, cutting, sadism and masochism…Without knowing the three had a “sex dungeon” in their rented home, Killgore had agreed to go on a dinner cruise with Perez in exchange for his helping her move…

Image Enhancement

That the Nevada brothel segment of the sex industry is in decline is not news:

…The Love Ranch epitomizes the sorry state of the industry….there are currently just 17 brothels employing around 300 prostitutes in the state. That’s down from 30 brothels in 2009…“These brothels are really a relic of the past,” a state senator told the LA Times. “The urban areas have an appetite to abolish them.  And given the state’s rapid urbanization, there’s really little popular support left for these businesses”…

That senator is full of shit; 66% of Nevada voters believe they should be legal everywhere in the state.  But just in case you think this is really a serious economic issue, consider that those 300 licensed prostitutes represent less than 1% of Nevada’s estimated whore population.

Paint By Numbers

Why ride a bike or stand around on lawns or off-ramps when you can just sit?

The CNN Freedom Project has been shining a spotlight on the horrors of modern slavery, but now we need your help.  We want you to join our #FlyToFreedom campaign to help fight slavery.  The Freedom Project’s symbol is a paper plane…so we’re asking you to:

1) Make a paper plane.
2) Write a pledge on the plane — something you’re going to do to help fight modern slavery.
3) Show us your plane and pledge on social media using the hashtag #FlyToFreedom.
4) Nominate two friends to do the same by tagging them in your social media post.

O, Canada! (All Traffick, All the Time)

Women continue to have bills despite cops’ intimidation attempt:

Twelve Nova Scotia sex-trade workers were [targeted by] a national RCMP [intimidation campaign]…Operation Northern Spotlight [tricked]…11 women and one man in Nova Scotia…[a pig mouthpiece had the audacity to describe the intimidation attempt as] “a fostering and nurturing conversation”…[but fortunately] “they chose to continue their [work]”…

If Men Were Angels

An Idaho college’s former financial aid director has been sentenced to 107 days in jail for charges related to offering students financial aid in exchange for sex…Joseph Bekken…[also got] three years of probation and a $10,000 fine…Bekken advertised on Craigslist for several semesters while working for Northern Idaho College, saying he would provide scholarship money in exchange for sex…

Business As Usual

Though some people refuse to accept this, every sex worker knows it:

…the majority of National Blacklist posts address other issues entirely—things like time-wasters, stalkers and thieves.  But it’s remarkable that  sex workers using a resource describing itself as the “world’s largest bad client database and escort safety tool” seem more concerned about warning each other about police officers than the dangers from which law enforcement is ostensibly meant to protect them…A 2002  study in Chicago found that 24 percent of street-based female sex workers who said they were raped identified a police officer as the perpetrator, and one-fifth of other forms of sexual violence against these women were attributed to police.  A study by the Sex Worker’s Project of the Urban Justice Center found that 16 percent of indoor sex workers surveyed reported having been “involved in sexual situations with the police,” and 14 percent reported experiencing police violence…

Profit from Panic (#448) Scrap Force

How transparent does this have to be before people see it?

Kids are the heroes in a new mobile game [from] Naked Sky Entertainment…and their virtual adventures will provide funds to help children around the world escape from the horrors of human trafficking.  Love146…will receive 14.6 percent of the profits that come out of the new mobile game “Scrap Force”…

The Course of a Disease (#449) 

Cop says it’s “wrong” that he isn’t allowed to arrest people who aren’t doing anything illegal:

…Sgt Neil Radford, the head of Nottingham’s prostitution task force, said:  “On the street, the law allows you to deal with people who are purchasing sex.  But there is no equivalent legislation for off-street work.  If somebody goes into a brothel to purchase sex…he isn’t committing any offence at all.  That’s wrong and we have to be able to do something about it”…

Naked Truth (#544) 

An Egyptian actress…has ignited a nationwide controversy for suggesting that Egyptian men would benefit from watching more pornography.  In fact, she’s facing jail time. Entissar…told a TV audience…that “These films are useful for men, especially those who have no pre-marriage sex experience.”  But beyond what men might be able to learn about sex from such films, Entissar thinks that, “Everyone should be free in watching porn films if they want”…”This is a call for debauchery and depravity,” according to one unhappy cleric quoted in the press…A group called “Who Loves Egypt?” was unhappy enough…to take her court for “inciting debauchery.”  The charge carries a one-year prison term…

Against the Tide

It’s kind of sad to watch Kristoff pathetically flailing about against the inexorable departure of the sea that nourishes him:

…Plenty of well-meaning people back Amnesty International’s proposal for full decriminalization of the sex trade…Yet in practice, approaches similar to Amnesty’s have ended up simply empowering pimps.  And while under these proposals human trafficking would remain illegal, the police would no longer have a reason to raid brothels…

For comparison: “Plenty of well-meaning people back the 21st amendment, yet in practice similar approaches have ended up simply empowering bootleggers.  And while under these proposals poisoned liquor would remain illegal, the police would no longer have a reason to raid speakeasies…”

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Human trafficking is what we call it when women make choices that make us uncomfortable.  –  Cathy Reisenwitz Hiram Johnson

Here We Go Again

In 1913, former California Gov. Hiram Johnson signed the California Red-Light Abatement Act, outlawing bordellos…advocates promised the law would stymie the “scattering of the evil throughout the residence district…[and wipe] out the unclean profits of those who prey upon fallen women.”  Voters approved the measure by a 53.3 percent majority.  As for those “fallen women,” their jobs became more treacherous.  You see, the Abatement Act…just made it so they could no longer operate indoors without breaking the law.  As bad and exploitative as some bordellos were before the Act passed, the street only magnified these dangers and presented new ones…More than a century later, an escalating campaign to crack down on online classified portals is fanning a similar migration…activists say…

BDSM

An Orpington dominatrix has defended her secret fetish dungeon…after neighbours complained to police…From the outside it is a large, detached home on a quiet, leafy street but inside is a thriving fetish establishment…Neighbours…[claim] to have heard “whipping” and “screaming” coming from the address.  But the dungeon’s operator…”Mistress Evilyne”, said the business is legal, she is registered with the HMRC and no sexual services are offered…A tennis club spokesman [said]…”We host Crofton School for coaching and we are concerned the children might be exposed to something that they shouldn’t see at their age”…the police have not found any evidence of illegal activity…

Out of Control (The Camel’s Nose) 

Well, this is different:

An NYPD sergeant with the Organized Crime Control Bureau has been suspended, but not arrested, after throwing semen at a co-worker…Sergeant Michael Iscenko, 54, had previously told the victim, a civilian administrative aide in her 60s, that he liked her…[she] had just left the ladies restroom and was heading back to her office when Iscenko crept up behind her and threw something on the woman’s leg and her shoe…The woman…immediately filed a complaint with her supervisors, who sent a sample of the substance out to be tested, it turned out to be semen…people who know the sergeant…[said] they wouldn’t have pegged him as a pervert, because of the way he dresses…

A Procrustean Bed

“Justice system” destroys woman’s life for giving a friend a ride:

[An Ohio] woman convicted of promoting prostitution and labeled a sex offender after she drove a friend to what turned out to be a prostitution sting was granted judicial release after serving about seven months of an 18-month sentence.  But Aimee Hart…is continuing with an appeal of her…conviction because she doesn’t believe she should have to register as a sex offender…“I personally feel that they perverted the intention of the law to fit my circumstances,” Hart said…

Yeah, they do that.

Childish Things

Cathy Reisenwitz on the psychology behind support for prohibition:

…you’re at brunch with a pretty normal person.  But better educated and smarter than normal, smarter than you, in fact.  But they’ve not heard that a conservative estimate for the average age at which women enter the trade is 25.  They don’t know that even underage prostitutes start at an average of 15-16, and only 15% of teen hookers (themselves a small minority of all sex workers) enter at an age below 13.  They’ve never had Maggie McNeill in their living room.  In fact they’ve never talked to a person they knew was a sex worker.  So why do smart, well-educated people buy into the sex trafficking moral panic?  And the larger question, why do we condescend to sex workers by assuming they can’t consent to sex work?…

An Example To the West (#343)

Of course Reuters is too mired in American carceral thinking to see any of this as a problem, but this report on police responses to “human trafficking” in Thailand gives a few clues as to what an unholy mess the attempt to stop people from migrating to work has created.

A Year Later

Canada has a problem.  Her highest court ruled in 2013 that prostitutes have a constitutional right to work, but federal officials still do all they can to impose prohibition…This ad hoc law is likely unconstitutional as well…prohibitionists are driven by moralism, as opposed to policy outcomes and concern for the wishes of prostitutes.  This becomes apparent as they frame all prostitution as coercive and parrot the [myth] that Canadians enter the industry on average between the ages of 12 and 14…when it comes to practical enforcement, prohibition efforts in the United States have seen prostitutes more likely to have “freebie” sex with officers than get arrested.  Further, sites such as SugarDaddie.com...beg the question as to when dating ends and prostitution begins (as pointed out on the Bob Zadek Show with Maggie McNeill, a call girl turned blogger…

Fever Dream (#541)

Readers over 40:  in your youth, could you have imagined living in a country where statements like this were made with a straight face?

Just a few years ago, Tennessee was scrambling to combat sex trafficking.  Now…there have been 36 new laws in the past four years, including…money for more special agents assigned to investigate sex traffickers for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.  And for the first time, TBI will have the power to conduct electronic wiretapping…Until now, that kind of surveillance has only been allowed for the most serious murders, drug dealing, and gang crimes…Margie Quin…says…“With the advent of websites that are strictly geared toward selling women and children for sex, being able to combat that through electronic authority will be, I think, very beneficial”…

Seizing Power 

This article on the Backpage credit card issue doesn’t break any ground readers will find unfamiliar, but the more mainstream articles on the topic the better.  And besides, it quotes me!

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While there’s a thick “rescue” sauce smeared all over [modern prostitution law], the “punish the dirty whores” attitude is still obvious.  –  Marijke Vonk

BDSM

BDSM carries a stigma nearly as heavy as that of sex work, and indeed is still criminalized, semi-criminalized or quasi-criminalized in many parts of the US.  But up until the recent release of DSM-V, it was also classified as a mental illness and could thus be used by “authorities” as an excuse for all manner of rights violations, including abduction of one’s children.  Here’s a thorough article in the Atlantic on the 30-year fight to “de-classify kink as a psychiatric disorder”, largely accomplished by the efforts of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.

Tyranny By Consensus

The Free Speech Coalition…denounced the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s proposed California ballot measure over mandatory condoms on the porn set and said that, if enacted, the act would likely amount to a new “Prohibition” for adult filmmaking.  AHF’s statewide proposal not only would make condoms mandatory on the set, but it would require adult filmmakers to be licensed and subject them to additional record-keeping requirements beyond 18 U.S.C. § 2257…FSC CEO Diane Duke’s said that AHF’s proposal…would destroy the industry as most know it and drive existing producers underground…

Surplus Women 

A…Russian policeman who raped and murdered 22 women…has been jailed for life…Mikhail Popkov, raped and axed or stabbed the victims late at night in the Siberian city of Angarsk after offering to give them lifts in his police car…the victims…included a teacher, a shop assistant and several prostitutes…One had been decapitated and another’s heart had been removed, while it is reported he had sex with some of the bodies after killing them…Two other women managed to survive…but suffered serious injuries…[Popkov]  described himself as a “cleaner” who was purging the city of prostitutes…The murders [started in] 1994 [and ended abruptly]…in 2000, when…he became impotent and contracted syphilis…

The Widening Gyre Carmen Yarira Noriega Esparza

They actually thought “sex trafficking” was a more credible explanation than jealousy:

Residents in a block of flats were horrified when they complained that the water tasted “funny” – and were told that the unusual flavour was due to the rotting corpse of a young woman in the water tank…Carmen Yarira Noriega Esparza…was last seen leaving her gym in…Mexico City in February last year…Police are now focusing their enquiries on her relationship with a wealthy businessman who was paying the rent for her flat, and who she had recently dumped…The week before she was supposed to move out of the flat, she vanished and had not been seen since…A police spokesman said…”We had…been looking into suggestions that she may have been taken by a gang involved in the sex slave business.  It appears that was not the case.”

Backwards Into the Future (#137)

Sweeping laws that could see gays, prostitutes and drug injectors enjoy full rights while cutting back on what the media can say about them are in the offing…For example, it will be criminal for police to profile [them]…using their sexual activity…The groups want a policy which makes it possible to have them represented by their own in oversight bodies…They also recommend…a law that protects the confidentiality of their medical data…barring the media from identifying them and the places they work from.  This could mean it may be illegal to [out] prostitutes during police swoops or investigative pieces…

Stupor Bowl

Sign of the decline of the “gypsy whores” myth:  it’s only weeks before the Super Bowl and we’ve barely heard a peep from the Arizona moon-barkers yet.

Prostitutes and the people who pay for their services…could face harsher punishments.  Phoenix City Council members are set to discuss…a mandatory jail booking for anyone arrested…and requiring “John  school” for anyone convicted of soliciting a prostitute…A man who directs the current “John school” expects a surge in prostitution during the Super Bowl timeframe…”These are guys that are used to being in control…they’re used to having things their own way,” [Dr. Jon] McCaine [bloviated ignorantly]…It is unclear whether, if approved, the changes would be in effect by Super Bowl weekend…

Number Puzzle (#426)

This long, thorough article by Marijke Vonk on the facts about Dutch sex workers has a lot to recommend it, but I found these figures especially interesting:

–  90% don’t even know anyone who is being forced
–  93% like or are neutral about their colleagues
–  92% have never experienced violence at work
–  86% is happy or even very happy with their job
– they see 10 to 30 customers per week
–  84% like their customers
–  80% never experienced any trouble with a customer ever
–  90% feel unrepresented in politics
–  90% feel government does not protect their interests
–  95% claim politicians have no idea what is going on in the sex industry

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#441)

Two ex-dancers are suing the Portland strip club Casa Diablo for back pay and damages for alleged harassment—including unwanted touching—by patrons and the club’s employees.  Matilda Bickers and Amy Pitts…each performed at Casa Diablo for about two and a half years…[they] allege Casa Diablo—billed as the city’s only vegan strip club—failed to pay them a minimum wage, took a 30 percent cut of their nightly tips, and fined them as much as $40 if they showed up late and $70 for missing a shift.  Even their performances could bring penalties—for example, $10 if they didn’t undress quickly enough on stage…Portland…dancers, social workers and lobbyists are crafting legislation that may clarify employee status for Oregon dancers…

A Year Later

Imagine being such a control freak that you would be willing to disrupt your own life and do an unpleasant job solely for the opportunity to inflict violence on other people for having private, consensual sex in a way you don’t like:

…Joy Smith has decided, now that the controversial prostitution law is in full force in Canada, her job in Parliament is done…and…she will devote herself full-time to [prohibitionism]…She never intended to be an MP but rather a school principal…“I’m not a very good politician.  I’ve never been attracted to it but I’m really glad I did it…the reason I went to Parliament was to stop human trafficking.  What I want to do now is continue that work”…Smith [imagines]…that sex work can’t be consensual, that all prostitution is human trafficking…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#503)

Mark Draughn thought that stupid “trafficking hotspot” map looked familiarMcDonaldsTrafficking

“…The other data source is a map of every McDonald’s location in the United States.  Note that every single sex trafficking hotspot corresponds to a cluster of McDonald’s restaurants.  The conclusion is obvious:  McDonald’s food is turning our women into whores!…”

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

Rough Trade

California has a crime victims’ compensation program

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

BDSMNaked Bear-type Man Chopping Wood by Charlie Goodwin

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

License to Rape

One wonders what his “informal training” consisted of:

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

The Swedish Pimpocracy

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

Decentralization

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

Size Matters

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

The Punitive Mindset

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

Where Are the Protests?

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

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

Girls, Girls, Girls!

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

Legal Is As Legal Does (TW3 #7)

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

Held Together With Lies (TW3 #14)

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

First They Came for the Hookers…

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

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

Reframing

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #34)

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

Enough is Enough

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

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

Poe Folks

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

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

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #38)

Criminalizing things makes them magically vanish!

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

The Public Eye (TW3 #49)

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

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

Dirty Laundry (TW3 #135)

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

An Ounce of Prevention (TW3 #312)

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

Real People (TW3 #316)Fish Girl

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

An Example to the West (TW3 #316)

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

Policing for Profit

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

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes

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

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

The outrage continues in Bangladesh:

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

And to add insult to injury:

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

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The truth is that it does not suit our social narrative to recognize that a woman can be raped and get on with her life.  –  Charlotte Shane

BDSM

As soon as anyone who has some unusual interest commits a crime, you can be sure the loudmouthed bigots will blame the interest rather than the criminal:

Three roommates involved with a “sex dungeon” at their home may have murdered a…California [woman] as they tried to satisfy their fetishes…Detectives found “bondage type sex apparatuses, toys and tools” at the home of the two women and man who have been charged with murder in the death of 22-year-old Brittany Killgore…[who] was last seen April 13…Jessica Lopez…said she strangled the victim, fearing the victim would upend a kinky sex ring by seducing her “Master,” according to…a seven-page letter that [Lopez wrote]…The documents give no indication that Killgore knew about the sex ring, and prosecutors call her an innocent victim…

Ignoring the dyphemisms like “ring” and “kinky”, what do we have here?  A woman murders another woman out of jealousy.  Period.  If the house had been full of workout equipment or sports memorabilia, you can be sure the cops wouldn’t be calling it an “athletics-related murder”, but let there be anything sexual in the house, and suddenly it’s a “factor”.

Think of the Children!

Things have grown far worse in the 21 years since Paul Reubens’ career was destroyed by vice cops who accused him of masturbating in an adult theater; back then, he might’ve survived the bad publicity had his audience not included children.  Fred Willard’s audience is all adult, yet he’s being crucified anyway:

…His career is now abruptly over because he was arrested by L.A. vice cops at an adult movie theater.  Not convicted, not sentenced.  Arrested.  For “lewd behavior” in a porn theater…In the past 35 weeks, L.A. police have apparently “inspected” the adult theater 40 times, arresting 23 people.  One can speculate how many of those “inspections” involved cops getting blow jobs.  One can wonder how much tax money was spent on these “inspections.”  And one can wonder, in a city where 300 people are murdered and several thousand are raped every year, how the city can possibly justify spending millions on “inspecting” porn theaters…If convicted, the State could require Fred Willard to register as a sex offender.  Depending on where he lives, he might have to move.  No producer or casting director would ever look at his photo ever again…

John Law

Though cops are well-known for being both astonishingly ignorant and disgustingly barbaric on the subject of whores, this moronic op-ed on the “hookernomics” of Chattanooga, Tennessee’s “fugly” streetwalkers represents a new low for puerile police vulgarity in print; it’s also a fine example of how when a cop is allowed to run his filthy mouth he’ll usually reveal more about himself than he realizes.

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical

Nestle Corporation proves it’s almost as clueless as cops are:  “Nestle…[removed] an image from its Kit Kat Facebook…page, after [discovering] it was similar to…‘Pedobear’ – considered visual shorthand on the internet for sites posting material with inappropriate overtones towards minors…

Objectification Overruled

“Objectification”, blah blah blah.  “Sending messages”, simper simper.

…Melinda Liszewski is part of a campaign against the objectification of women and sexualisation of girls…”We’ve got an expanding sex industry in Queensland, we’ve got billboards advertising that kind of thing and we’ve got…children being exposed to the…message that women exist to be bought and sold,” she said.  But speak to 21-year-old Portia…and it’s all about money [and] flexible hours…[she’s] been accepted to study Post Graduate Development Psychology…Indy…is 31 and said she was angered by the backlash.  “I’ve been in this industry for 13 years and I have a child,” she said…  “I’ve studied vet science and nursing and now I have my own business…”

The Course of a Disease

Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson is planning to push for a bill that would completely prohibit the purchase of sexual services..[which] would bring Finland’s legislation in line with the Swedish and Norwegian model…”  I have a suggestion for the minister:  talk to Norway’s social affairs chief before you make a complete ass of yourself.

The Rape Question

In The New Inquiry, Charlotte Shane published an excellent essay on how the feminist myth that all rape is equally traumatic and always life-destroying  harms women and shuts down discourse:

…Though some feminists regard “rape equals devastation” as sacred fact, the notion that a man can ruin me with his penis strikes me as the most complete expression of vintage misogyny available.  Common sense instructs us that it is far more “dangerous” to insist to young women that they will be broken by an unwanted sex act than it is to propose they might have a happy, healthy, and sexually pleasant future ahead of them in spite of a sexual assault…When we refuse to acknowledge the possibility that a rape could be anything less than a tsunami of emotional and mental destruction for a woman, we establish a fantasy of absolute male sexual power and absolute female vulnerability.  We are, in essence, honoring the timeless belief that a woman’s worth, self-respect, and ability to function within society are dictated exclusively by the sexual use of her body…

Little Boxes

One can’t blame Anna Gristina’s partner for employing the “arbitrary line” defense, but it does demonstrate the inanity of prostitution laws:

…”Paying two individuals to watch them engage in sexual activity…is simply not prostitution,” veteran defense lawyer Robert Gottlieb argues…on behalf of…Jaynie Mae Baker…[who is] fighting a single count of promoting prostitution, for allegedly sitting at a restaurant with a prospective john last July and booking him…with a pair of escorts…not once do the parties specifically mention sex for money…[and] the recordings capture “the undercover officer meeting two other women at an apartment who eventually appear to engage in sexual contact with each other, but not with the undercover officer”…the fake john never even took his clothing off…prior judges have defined prostitution as specifically “A paying B for sexual activity to be performed on A,” and not as charging a fee merely to provide a building space for sexual activity or to let someone watch a sex performance…

Here’s a look at the British version of these idiotic technicalities from New Statesman, in which an accountant who represented a number of prostitutes points out the absurdity of taxing them as businesses while simultaneously denying that they are covered by business law:

…although prostitution is lawful…a prostitute cannot do things such as advertise, go into partnership, form a limited company, employ people, rent premises or sue for debts…the big problem lies with the legislation on brothel keeping.  This – unlike prostitution, is considered a crime.  Common sense dictates two fairly simple things:  one, prostitution won’t go away any time soon (something about that whole “oldest profession” thing), and two; the women doing it are safer working indoors with a maid, rather than working on the street.  There’s neither rhyme nor reason to this law, besides the rule that for every outraged Daily Mail headline there’s an equally cowardly political reaction…

The article goes onto say that the old brothel laws are now being justified with “sex trafficking” hysteria, and includes a 2009 video of a politician being forced to admit on television that the government’s source for “trafficking” figures was an article in the Daily Mirror.

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Singapore-based Lovotics…unveiled…Kissenger…an egg-like orb outfitted with two soft plastic lips packed with sensors and actuators.  When a human…plants a kiss on the robot lips, the sensors record the shape changes the kisser creates on the lips and translates those pressure patterns into a mirror image that can be beamed over the Web to another Kissenger…[which] reproduces the sender’s unique kiss for a human on the other end.  It’s supposed to be a means of maintaining a sense of intimacy when two people are separated by distance, translating a person’s signature kissing style into something that can be transported and delivered to a recipient…

First They Came for the Hookers…

Of course we already knew this, but it’s nice to see them admit it for a change:  “Police have admitted that they do not have any evidence to support a claim that lap dancing clubs may contribute to sex offences…”  Meanwhile, teacher Stacie Halas (who was fired for having acted in porn) in now suing the school district with the help of feminist attack dog Gloria Allred, who as you may remember also took the case of the reporter fired for her past work as a stripper.

The Widening Gyre

Some readers seemed skeptical of my position that peaceful protest alone has done nothing for the sex worker rights movement, and that it’s time for us to be disruptive so we can no longer be ignored.  This made the national news, which is extremely unusual for any US sex worker protest:

Here’s another one from Wednesday.

I Swear To God

It’s really heartening to see a story like this from a major news outlet:

… while the United States lifted a travel ban on people infected with HIV in 2009, it has clung to a prohibition on the entry of foreign sex workers established more than two centuries ago.  Activists, and some [International AIDS] Conference officials, say that runs counter to a goal of achieving an end to the epidemic…”I don’t know how we’re going to ever see an end to AIDS in our lifetime…without including all of those populations who must be involved as part of this solution,” said U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee of California…Michel Sidibe, executive director of the United Nations AIDS program, said it was “outrageous” that in 2012 “when we have everything to beat this epidemic, we still have to fight prejudice, stigma, discrimination, exclusion, criminalization”…

The article then goes on to discuss the public health menace presented by allowing cops and prosecutors to seize condoms as “evidence”.  Incidentally, I’m not sure where this reporter got the idea that the whore immigration ban is “more than two centuries” old; it was part of the Page Law of 1875, a racist ploy to reduce the number of Chinese immigrants.

Metaupdates

The Crumbling Dam in Further Developments

Los Angeles billboard companies refused Furry Girl’s sex worker rights billboard, but were happy to display this:

The Pro-Rape Coalition in We’re Not Done Yet

Just in case you may have forgotten about Mitt Romney’s campaign promise to work hard to increase the rape rate:

Former Justice Department official Patrick Trueman, who proudly participated in federal pornography prosecutions during their “heyday” in the late 1980s and early 1990s…[said] that Mitt Romney’s campaign assured him that Romney would “vigorously” prosecute pornographers if elected president.  Trueman, the president of Morality in Media, contacted the Romney campaign earlier this year about the “untreated pandemic” of Internet pornography…

Good News, Bad News in TW3 (#14)

A brief respite:  “Western Australia’s new Attorney-General…has conceded the Government’s proposed prostitution laws are unlikely to be passed before the next election…

This Week in 2011

Several “Harlots of the Bible” were positively portrayed, and many sex workers are abducted and caged “Against Their Will” in the name of “rescuing” them.  “A Load of Farley” vivisects the most recent bogus “study” from the most active font of such filth, and “Imaginary Crises” does the same for claims of a “rape epidemic”.  “A Working System” demonstrates how problems can be handled under decriminalization, “Peeping Toms” looks at the legacy of Lawrence vs. Texas, and “Profanation” discusses the neofeminist campaign to rewrite the history of harlotry.

This Week in 2010

An essay on the legends about “Mary Magdalene” was followed by one on why women lie about our weight and age, how escorts go about “Playing the Part”, a two-part column on rape in calls, and a debunking of the myth of “Pimps”.

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Why?  It paid the rent.  –  Marilyn Monroe (on posing nude)

Ten updates from the seventh week of 2012.

Whore Madonnas (August 29th, 2010)

The classic Madonna/whore fallacy teaches that women can be one or the other, but as I’ve said many, many times before this is complete and utter hogwash.  Any normal woman is capable of playing either role as required or even both simultaneously, and about half of the girls who worked for me had children.  In fact, I think it’s safe to say that many women enter prostitution because of their children…”  Case in point, from Offbeat Mama:

…I have the perfect suburban mommy resume [but] I keep a huge secret from my family, neighbors, and friends…I’m an escort…Scoop those jaws up off of the floor, moms and dads, because…it could happen to you.  I don’t mean you’ll be trafficked into sex work by some skeevy creeper on the internet — I mean that you may some day be in a position you never dreamed you’d be in doing things you never saw yourself doing in order to make ends meet…And you know what?  It’s not horrible.  I don’t hate my life.  In fact, sometimes I think I have it better than most American moms.  I work on the evenings and weekends the kids are at their father’s place…They never even know I’m gone.  Then when they are with me, I get to be a devoted single stay-at-home mom…

The piece is well worth reading in its entirety, and even the comments are overwhelmingly positive!

BDSM (Part One) (September 15th, 2010)

OK, I like abduction fantasies as much as the next healthy woman, but most of us have the sense not to act them out in public:

…Nikolas Harbar, 31, [of Portland, Oregon] was only “role-playing” when he…tied up his naked girlfriend, 26-year-old Stephanie Pelzner and threw her in the back of his Subaru [on Valentine’s Day]…but…a concerned witness [called the cops and when they arrived]… Pelzner confirmed that “she was voluntarily bound and nude”…[the couple was] arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, but released later that day.

Real People (February 6th, 2011)

Bethany St. James is a brothel prostitute who advocates extending the Nevada model to the whole United States.  And while I disagree with her belief that women can’t be trusted to manage our own sex lives, her recent essay in Huffington Post is excellent:

…when I recently appeared on a daytime talk show to discuss an article…I wrote…I was shocked to find that it was nearly impossible for the…audience to…fathom that a woman who works in the sex industry could be educated, happy and goal driven.  The stereotype that all prostitutes are drug addicted women with sad childhoods who’ve been reeled into a life of shame and disease…remains…prevalent.  No matter how I attempted to explain that just as in all professions, there are a multitude of factors and variables, my words seemed to have fallen on deaf ears…Not all sex workers and adult entertainers are the same, just as not all people within the same ethnic background are the same.  Although many women in the adult industry have problems, couldn’t the same be true of every profession?…there are college educated professionals with problems far worse that any prostitute I’ve known.  Job description alone should not be the sole factor when forming an opinion of a person…

Interview:  Jill Brenneman (Part Four) (February 24th, 2011)

One year ago today I published the final installment of my interview with activist and sex trafficking survivor Jill Brenneman; coincidentally, a Dutch website named Nederlandse Debatbond recently reposted her July 2010 article “Prohibitionists’ Comparing Sex Work and Straight Work:  They are Dead Wrong”, which originally appeared in Bound, Not Gagged.  If you’ve never read it, now’s your chance.

It’s Different Because It Involves Sex, Part Umpteen (June 16th, 2011)

Last year, judges in New York ruled that dancing isn’t dancing if it’s sexy.  That bizarre belief appears to be shared by a California woman who claims porn can’t be copyrighted:

…Hard Drive Productions…demanded $3,400 to make their threatened lawsuit go away but [Liuxia Wong] not only says she’s innocent and harassed, but also that porn cannot be copyrighted…In a lawsuit filed at the end of January, Wong says that she did not download the work in question and goes on to attack Hard Drive on a number of fronts…the alleged infringement [took] place [on] March 28th, 2011, but…the movie…wasn’t officially registered until April 22nd…[and though]…Hard Drive insist[ed] that [she] would be liable…even if her router was unsecured and someone else [used it] without her knowledge…Wong’s suit dismisses that…as “erroneous”.  But perhaps most interestingly, Wong is challenging the notion that Hard Drive can own the copyright to its own work – indeed, that porn can be copyrighted at all.

“…the Copyright Clause [of the US Constitution] empowers…Congress: ‘To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries,” the lawsuit details, adding:  “Early Circuit law in California held that obscene works did not promote the progress of science and the useful arts, and thus cannot be protected by copyright”…Wong is asking the court to…[declare] that not only is she not liable…for infringement, but that the company’s movie is not copyrightable and is illegal due to Hard Drive engaging in “solicitation, conspiracy to commit prostitution, pimping and/or pandering,” during its production…

While I’m sympathetic to Wong’s right to defend herself against those who misuse the law, that defense doesn’t require actions which are just as immoral as Hard Drive’s and could potentially cause a great deal of trouble and expense for others who aren’t even involved in the dispute.

Déjà Vu (June 25th, 2011)

This column examined the strong resemblance between the Victorian and modern incarnations of anti-whore rhetoric, and its epigram was from a letter sent to The Times by an anonymous prostitute in 1858.  Well, on February 11th Dr. Laura Agustín discussed the “fallen woman” metaphor and the persistent idea that whores need to be “rescued” from our “plight”; she also wrote of Charles Dickens’ involvement with a “rescue home” and mentioned that he once tried to “save” a woman who didn’t want “saving”…the very lady who wrote the letter from which my epigram came.  If you’d like to read that letter in its entirety, take a look at Dr. Agustín’s February 14th column.

An Ounce of Prevention (October 15th, 2011)

More news about potential HIV vaccines:

The discovery of HIV-resistant sex workers in Africa could pave the way for a more effective AIDS vaccine, according to a new study by University of Montreal researchers.  “Studying women who are naturally resistant…[may enable] researchers to…[develop] vaccinations or . . . gels that could prevent transmission of HIV,” said lead researcher, Dr. Michel Roger…”Our research shows that…we should turn to the entry points…to find a means for blocking the virus.”  The year-and-a-half-long study involved 52 commercial sex workers who were uninfected with HIV, 44 sex workers who were HIV-positive and 71 uninfected [non-prostitutes]…in Benin…researchers found that the…uninfected sex workers had fewer inflammatory molecules in the vagina than [HIV-positive] women…working under similar conditions.  “We have identified prostitutes, who of course, are highly exposed to the virus and some of them, they don’t get infected even though they practise in the same way as others, in the same building, with the same clients.  They don’t get infected after four, five, seven years of prostitution,” Roger [said]…this group of HIV-resistant women [even] had fewer inflammatory molecules than [non-prostitutes]…”we need to understand better the mucosal response against HIV in order to design an efficient vaccine,” he said.  This new kind of vaccine could be administered through the nose and would immunize all mucus membranes in the body…

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (October 27th, 2011)

Another Western female academic studied Asian hostess bars and discovered that the women there are neither “degraded” nor “victimized”, but rather following a deliberate strategy:

…seven years of in-depth research into the hostess bar scene in Phnom Penh has revealed…that…aspirations and obligations drive the girls from the countryside to the cities in search of opportunity.  For many…it was…a personal desire to earn money, after seeing friends…return to the provinces bedecked in gold, make-up and new clothes…Upon arrival in the capital, the easiest and most fruitful job for a newcomer is work in a hostess bar, where the monthly salaries range from $60-$100.  On top of that, tips and ‘ladies drinks’ (a $1 surcharge added to drinks bought for them by customers, which is then given back in their wages) can increase their earnings to as much as $300 per month.  In a country where the average monthly salary for a teacher or police officer is approximately $60-$80…bar work is incredibly lucrative…and is considered by many to be more ‘fun’ than other unskilled employment options, such as garment factory work or street trading…Most women arrive unable to speak English, but learn within months…they enjoyed the friends they made and the financial power it gave them.  All people…need money to survive; they work because of economic…motivations.  These young women are no different.  This is not to glamorise the bars – there are plenty of downsides, such as structural inequalities, exploitative bosses, large fines and gropey customers who are sometimes racist and rude.  However, [they] can also be viewed as places of opportunity, which the women exploit in order to empower themselves and improve their lives…

…these women are highly stigmatised by wider Cambodian society.  And those who…supplement their incomes by trading in sex…are considered srey kouch or ‘broken whores’…traditionally strict moral and social rules…require ‘good women’ to stay at home and take care of their families, be indoors before dark, and remain virgins until marriage…[but] within their families, the ability to speak English, learn about life outside of Cambodia, socialise with foreigners, and use the internet to communicate are also all markers of prestige and status…On the one hand, they completely defy all the social rules of respectability, such as being submissive and ‘virtuous’.  Yet the high status their families receive as a result of material goods provided by the women sometimes helps [them] improve their reputations.  In the end, they are virtuous for the help they give to their families…bar workers and professional girlfriends…don’t want to be viewed as bad women or helpless victims of exploitation that are in need of rescuing…

The author, Dr Heidi Hoefinger of the University of London, is the author of the upcoming book Sex, Love and Money in Cambodia.

Legal Is As Legal Does (December 14th, 2011)

US law allows politicians and cops to tyrannize whores as they like, but in New Zealand even prohibiting streetwalkers from working in certain areas requires a new law:

…A bill that will allow Auckland Council to ban street prostitution in specific places is to be considered by the local government select committee.  Other city councils including Christchurch are expected to show interest and may seek to have the same powers applied generally…Chairwoman Nicky Wagner, who is MP for Christchurch Central, said…street prostitution in the inner city had moved out to the residential areas…[Manurewa MP George] Hawkins said he would have preferred to have had a bill amending the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 to outlaw street prostitution nationally…[but] the committee believed [that] would negate the intentions of the…Act…

The story also illustrates that freedom can never be taken for granted, because there will always be those who want to criminalize anything that isn’t currently criminal.

Moloch (January 29th, 2012)

Here’s another story of American “authorities” sacrificing kids to their filthy devil-god; the February 10th episode of the public radio show This American Life tells of attractive young police women posing as students in Florida high schools in order to ruin the lives of teenage boys by using their sex appeal to trick the boys into getting marijuana for them.  Once again, the sickness of American culture is revealed for the world to see:  Independent whoring to support one’s kids = degraded criminality, but whoring for the State Pimp to destroy innocent teenagers = heroic and laudable.

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