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Posts Tagged ‘Belgium’

These sites, these actors, these directors, these writers cannot keep using us, our bodies, and our stories to line their pockets while simultaneously refusing to support us and our needs.  –  Adrie Rose

Sex Work is Work

This could potentially be useful in winning the support of bureaucrats:

…gaining allies within governments remains a challenge…despite calls for decriminalisation by a number of international human rights organisations…and several United Nations agencies.  One of the biggest difficulties has been the…conflation of sex work with trafficking, which is linked to the belief that sex work is inherently immoral.  This [ignorant] view of sex work has shaped national policies for decades, pushing the industry outside the formal labour market and the scope of national labour laws and international standards.  However…the International Labour Organization (ILO) released a study on Unacceptable Forms of Work (UFW)…[which] contains twelve dimensions of unacceptability…unacceptability in sex work manifests where these twelve dimensions occur, but the work itself is not treated as inherently unacceptable.  Used well, this framework could be a way for sex worker rights advocates to argue for the inclusion of sex work under national labour law systems…

Pyrrhic Victory (#615)

All too often, evil arrives cloaked in the mantle of expediency:

[China’s] major tech city, Shenzhen…recently debuted a new system which allows people over the age of 60 to register for free subway rides, using their face as their ticket.  This…is also being experimented with in other cities including Jinan, Shanghai and Nanjing…[he excuse is] to speed up passengers moving through the barriers to get to platforms, as well as prevent fraud…

Under Every Bed (#734)

So much for the claimed “increase in sex trafficking in Montana”:

The FBI has cut in half the time its human trafficking agent in Montana will spend on [persecuting sex workers.  “Rescue” profiteer]…Penny Ronning…called the change “a blow” to anti-[sex worker] efforts in Montana…the decision…comes as the state brings on board two new [pigs] dedicated full-time to [harassing Asian massage businesses]…

Cooties (#797) 

Belgian cops have sadfeelz that AirBnB “sex trafficking” fantasies aren’t popular on their side of the Channel:

Sex workers in Bruges are renting rooms through…Airbnb for work, in what local authorities say is the start of a rising trend to “keep an eye on”…landowners who notice or suspect their properties are being used for sex work are encouraged to report them.  Failing to do so could put them at risk of being prosecuted for pimping…

Fallen Idol (#911)

This was a wise move on Stagliano’s part:

…Evil Angel [has] published its docu-porn Consent, which was originally slated to co-star James Deen, who has been accused of abuse by multiple women…following the numerous allegations against Deen, the company decided to stop working with him, but earlier this year, owner John Stagliano…[said] Evil Angel was welcoming Deen back…in a film…featur[ing] explicit sex alongside documentary-style footage exploring women’s agency within rough porn scenes.  Deen was cast after a woman performer asked to work with him for the film…[but] when the film finally hit the company’s site on Monday, there was no James Deen to be found…Evil Angel filmed a scene between Deen and Casey Calvert, the performer who requested to work with him, as well as an interview with Lily LaBeau, one of Deen’s accusers…Ultimately, all that footage was left on the cutting room floor.  (The film does, however, feature two other male performers who have been accused of on-set boundary violations)…

An Avalanche of Bullshit (#922)

Seattle sex workers are pushing back on the narrative that destroying Asian masseuse’s livelihood constitutes “help”:

Last month, dozens of community members gathered…at Seattle City Hall to discuss consequences of the large-scale police raids on 11…”Asian” massage parlors back in February.  The months-long sting operation resulted in the “rescue” of 26 Chinese-speaking women…According to Elene Lam…this kind of rescue narrative misconstrues the nuanced realities of the sex industry…Lam is an expert at the Toronto-based organization Butterfly, a support and advocacy group for Asian and migrant sex workers. The event…called Rescue Hurts, was organized by API Chaya and other local advocacy initiatives to correct misinformation around sex work and to propose alternative solutions that do not rely on state or police intervention…

You Were Warned

This decision is necessary to prevent a cascade of predatory lawsuits that would make the tobacco & breast implant lawsuits look reasonable and moderate in comparison:

A San Francisco Superior Court judge has tentatively sided with tech company Salesforce in a civil lawsuit brought by 90 women who claim they were sexually exploited.  The suit is the first of its kind since…FOSTA…As a large business-to-business software company, Salesforce counted Backpage among its clients. [Ambulance-chasers]…allege that Backpage…enabled them to be trafficked for sex.  But Backpage [and its assets were] seized by the U.S. government last year, making [a lawsuit against it unprofitable]…hence, lawyers got to work targeting Salesforce…lawyers…led [their clints] astray, big time, while marking a new low in attempts to assign legal liability to internet companies for their users’ actions and words…[because] under a large body of legal precedent, Salesforce would be unequivocally shielded by Section 230 in this case…

Japanese Prostitution (#930)

This is still a hit-button issue in Japan:

…Miki Dezaki…ma[d]e a documentary…[asking] why…a small but vocal group of politically influential conservatives still fervently dispute [sic] internationally accepted accounts of Japan’s…sexual enslavement of tens of thousands of Korean women and others in military brothels during World War II.  He explored in detail the conservatives’ case that the so-called comfort women were in fact paid prostitutes…Dezaki…concluded that the conservatives were “revisionists,” and used terms like “racism” and “sexism” to characterize some of their claims.  Now, five of them are suing him for defamation…[the] official 1993 Japanese government apology to the comfort women….has been a festering wound for…[nationalists] including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who have insisted that the Korean women were not sex slaves because there is no proof that they were physically forced…

The Notorious Badge (#934)

Twitter welcomes fake sex workers while working to silence real ones:

Hustlers…has been mired in controversy since the early production phase.  The living inspiration for the lead role…is reportedly considering suing the production company for misrepresenting her…and using her life story without compensation …Jennifer Lopez and fiance Alex Rodriguez have been accused of going to strip clubs for “research” and paying dancers a pittance for their time…Show Palace, the club…where much of Hustlers was filmed, has attracted criticism for closing its doors for a week of filming, giving dancers and staff little notice and no back pay…But the most ridiculous, bordering on the outright absurd, aspect of the film…was the marketing campaign…#TweetYourHustle….Women across the country began chiming in with stories of their…“hustles”…but there was no evidence of…sex workers.  There were no pictures of strip clubs or dressing rooms, no pictures of porn production sets, no pictures of in-call hotel rooms or AirBnB’s from escorts.  There was nothing from the community that put Hustlers on the map…

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To many people, what we do is more important than who we are.  –  Empower Foundation

Storyville 

An interesting collection of 19th-century brothel photos:

Working Girls, an exhibition of remarkable archival photos…has just opened at Ricco/ Maresca Gallery in Manhattan’s Chelsea district (where it will remain on view through October 13).  These photographs, which are also featured in a new book of the same name…are intriguing documents…of “an American brothel, circa 1892”…

If It Were Legal

I know several ladies who would’ve gladly handled this job:

An Arizona man has been charged with multiple counts of sex abuse and fraudulent schemes after he allegedly faked having Down syndrome and hired female caregivers to bathe him and change his diapers.  Three women have accused Paul Menchaca…[who] would become aroused during baths and diaper changes…Menchaca…hired the women using an online service, where he posed as his mother…making arrangements for them to pick him up at various locations…Several…times he insisted that his genitals were not cleaned enough…The caregivers became suspicious, and one…visited Menchaca’s home…Menchaca’s parents…said he is capable of taking care of himself and does not have Down syndrome…

Even if sex work were legal and unstigmatized, Menchaca (and others like him) might still choose not to hire dommes willing to cater to infantilists, either because they’re too cheap or they get off on tricking women.  And certainly, most infantilists do contract with dommes to get their needs met despite the stigma.  But the possibility cannot be discounted that some, perhaps even many, men with this kink are too ignorant to know that there are professionals skilled in dealing with their needs or too afraid to hire them.

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality

Hostess bars in the Near East aren’t very different from those in the Far East:

…are the “Russian bars” [in Jordan] really hotbeds of prostitution and trafficking?  “Russian bars” aren’t necessarily Russian.  The women who work there…[often] hail from other post-Soviet and central Asian countries, including Ukraine, Estonia, Romania, Uzbekistan and Moldova.  “Russian” women work in bars in many other Middle Eastern countries, including Lebanon, and are often assumed to be sex workers…[but] the bar owners and managers either prohibited or strongly discouraged the women from sleeping with their…clients…The women make their money by getting the clients to buy drinks at the bar…and…work on commission…Bar managers…ensure that the women are sent home in cabs booked by the bar, so there is no chance they are going to a client’s home.  But rules get broken, or at least worked around.  What is good for the bar manager isn’t necessarily what’s good for the women working there.  Whilst all of the women interviewed for the study on “Russian bars” denied ever having sex with a client, everyone knew another girl who had…

A Broker in Pillage

Let’s hope this is merely the first of many such settlements:

Philadelphia’s civil forfeiture program, which critics have long assailed for allowing prosecutors to [steal] the cash and property of [innocent people]…will be overhauled as part of a court settlement…the city…agreed to place new limits on its seizures, more quickly hold hearings for defendants to challenge the seizures, and include judicial oversight earlier in the process…”Philadelphia treated its citizens like ATMs, ensnaring thousands…in a system designed to strip people of their property and their rights,” [said] Darpana Sheth…[of the] Institute for Justice…the settlement would also create a $3 million fund to compensate some of those whose property was seized…Scott Bullock, president of the Institute for Justice…said that other jurisdictions should proactively seek to reform their civil forfeiture practices in order to avoid litigating them as Philadelphia was forced to do…

Blunt Instrument 

“Sex trafficking” is such a convenient weapon to use against adult businesses:

San Diego massage parlors have become hotspots of human trafficking thanks to the high concentration of U.S. military personnel in the area, claim local [prohibition]ists…If San Diego has a human trafficking problem because of U.S. troops, I’d say that’s an issue for the U.S. military and federal law enforcement.  Instead, the San Diego City Council is considering a measure to require special police-issued permits for massage businesses, in addition to the general business permits owners must have and the state certification required of massage therapists…These new licenses could be yanked if any illicit activity takes place at the business…a business fronting for illegal activity can already be shut down if law enforcement goes through the typical legal channels:  bringing criminal charges, proving guilt, etc., etc…But those avenues require due process, which is costly and time-consuming for cops and prosecutors.  The new measure would allow the city to yank a business’ license if any of its individual employees were found guilty of any number of minor offenses…excessive occupational and business licensing has come under intense fire from progressives…So…bureaucrat[s]..pretend the regulations are about protecting people, rather than depriving them of their liberty and property…

Under Every Bed

Population 13,665:

…a recently-formed group in York County [Nebraska] wants to…erase the faces of sex trafficking from the York area…and…educate York County residents on what they can do to disrupt the sex trafficking plague…Local schools are being trained on how to identify human trafficking, as well as the hospitality industry…Hospitality employees are crucial to disrupting sex trafficking, as many victims are sold in hotels…

This is one of the tiniest little podunk towns I’ve ever featured in this subtitle; even the rural county I lived in when I was in Oklahoma had almost twice as many people, and I was the only escort there (plus a couple of girls who worked the bars, I believe).  One wonders where they think all those “sex traffickers” are hiding; I grew up in a town of 6000 and everybody knew everybody else’s business.

Torture Chamber 

“Correcting” people to death:

A Texas prison guard has been charged in the aggravated assault of an inmate who…died [as a result of the attack]…[screw] D’Andre Glasper [slammed] Gary Ryan[‘s] head [into a concrete floor, resulting in]…brain injuries…[Ryan] died nearly two weeks later…Ryan was less than three months away from completing a five-year sentence for [contempt of cop]…

An Example To the West (#659) 

The Thai sex worker organization EMPOWER has now opened an online library to supplement its physical sex work museum in Chiang Mai.  I have said many times before that Asian sex worker activists, most especially Thai and Indian activists, are among my heroines; they regularly accomplish amazing activism far beyond what we in the West ever manage, under oppression and social stigma as bad as that in the US.  These women’s courage is an inspiration to all their sisters in every land.

Send In the Clowns 

A sad epilogue to the Great Clown Panic of 2016:

A Reading [Pennsylvania] man was sentenced…to 22 months to five years in state prison for firing a shotgun while drunk at his apartment in December 2016 because he believed there were clowns inside it…Nathan A. Matthias…will receive credit for the 490 days he’s spent in prison since June 2017 and was ordered to complete drug and alcohol treatment…[cops] found Matthias standing next to the house holding a shotgun and ordered him to put the gun on the ground.  Matthias told police that two small clowns were running around his apartment and he had shot at them…While being questioned outside, Matthias pointed next door and said he still saw clowns on the neighbor’s roof, but [the cops] did not see any…

Comfort Zone (#847)

Europe’s attempts to hide its racism behind the “human trafficking” hysteria are crumbling:

Eleven people who had been arrested and charged with human trafficking in October 2017 appeared in court in Brussels on September 6, the first hearing of a trial that activists say is yet another case of “criminalization of solidarity” in Europe.  The defendants have allegedly assisted 95 undocumented migrants, including 12 minors, to travel from Belgium to the United Kingdom last year, either by hosting them in their homes, by lending them phones and thereby indirectly helping them cross the channel.  On the day of the trial, three hundred people protested in front of the courthouse.  Demonstrators say this is a political trial, aimed at dissuading people from helping migrants by establishing an intimidating judicial precedent…Belgian law states that there must be a monetary transaction involved for an act to be framed as human trafficking, something the defendants deny ever happening…[advocates point out] that the law’s scope is…being expanded to target activists…

The Widening Gyre (#872) 

The more cops are forced to deny “sex trafficking” scary tales, the harder it will be for them to spread such tales themselves:

The woman behind a now viral Facebook Live video says she regrets using the term “human trafficking” to describe what [didn’t] happen…at a local grocery store but does not regret [spreading hysteria about] the [fantasy].  Lynne Knowles went live on Facebook Sunday and it has since been viewed more than 3 million times.  Knowles described a suspicious man following her through several aisles of a [Florida] grocery store, recording her on his cell phone…While the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says they are seeing more women report[ing] being followed by strangers in public places, what happened to Knowles doesn’t sound like a precursor to human trafficking…[spokespig] Spencer Gross…says [they haven’t] investigated a human trafficking case in more than 18 months…[but oink oink “If you see something say something” squeal grunt]…

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When we come back, we come back stronger.  –  Kristen DiAngelo

Surplus Women 

Politicians won’t even wait for a whore’s body to be cold before launching vile attacks on her community:

Just a few hours before the march…in memory of [Eunice, a Nigerian sex worker] who was mortally stabbed on…5 June, the Committee of Brussels’s Alhambra District…speaks…in favor of…prostitution tolerance zones…and of a building complex to shelter…prostitutes’ shop windows…The Alhambra Committee [claims] that it is not against prostitution, but rather against the disturbance it causes in a residential district…“We can accept several independent prostitutes ‘working’ in the neighborhood, but it is difficult not to notice the Rumanian-Bulgarian-Albanian-Hungarian mafia installed on our streets since 2005″…the…Committee…[also stated] that they are favorable to police control of clients…[and] denounces the fact that [activists are against this ghetto because]…prostitutes without official papers could not work there…

Dehumanization, racism, end demand garbage, scare quotes around “working” and a bottleneck to keep “dirty foreigners” out.  They didn’t even include her name, just called her “a prostitute”.  But they’re not against sex work, no sir!

Broken Record 

Hysteria is like a disease; it spreads among friend & foe alike:

Even though prostitution is illegal in Russia, there are around three million regular sex workers in the country, according to activist group Silver Rose.  Until recently, the group says, the police had turned a blind eye to the practice or taken kickbacks.  But with hundreds of thousands of tourists descending on Russia for the World Cup, the authorities are [purging as “authorities” always do before such events]…this means frequent raids on well-known prostitution sites…Despite the authorities’ efforts, though, [prohibitionists fantasize] that the relaxed visa regime introduced to simplify travel to Russia during the tournament is encouraging illegal trafficking of women.  As Yulia Siluyanova of Alternativa, a Moscow-based [prohibitionist] organization, put it, “The World Cup is a gift for traffickers”…

Under Every Bed

Is it just me, or are “sex trafficking is EVERYWHERE!” articles beginning to sound very tired?

Some Central Texans are taking a stand against sex trafficking…the T.S.O.Y., Texas Save Our Youth organization, held a meeting…to [indoctrinate] the public…[in bogus] statistics, [fantasies] of trafficking and warning signs like strategically placed tattoos…The U.S. is the number one producer and consumer of sex trafficking in the world, and Texas is in the top three states in the country.

Bottleneck (#638)

“Licensing” is one of the ways governments try to surreptitiously ban things:

The state-run Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) ordered all unregistered bloggers and online forums…to suspend their websites immediately or face criminal prosecution.  Several sites, including popular online discussion platform Jamiiforums, have reportedly shut down to avoid prosecution.  Reuters reports: Regulations passed in March made it compulsory for bloggers and owners of other online forums such as YouTube channels to register with the government and pay up to $900 for a license.  Per capita income in Tanzania is slightly below $900 a year.  Digital activists say the law is part of a crackdown on dissent and free speech…Government officials [pretend] the new rules are aimed at tackling hate speech and other online crimes, including cyberbullying and pornography

Does that list of “crimes” justifying censorship sound familiar?

Morality Lessons (#689)

In which the FBI running an actual child porn site is called “law enforcement ingenuity”:

…we spearhead and coordinate massive nationwide and international operations to disrupt and destroy child exploitation networks….these…are most successful only when we can rely on our close partnerships with the many federal, state, local, tribal, and non-governmental partners here today.  Operation Pacifier was a prime example.  In that case, we…[took over] a highly sophisticated, global enterprise on the dark web called “Playpen,” where users exchanged tens of thousands of postings relating to the sexual abuse of children – even, revoltingly, children as young as infants and toddlers.  Operation Pacifier was a model of law enforcement ingenuity.  Agents identified and seized the “Playpen” server, which gave the FBI a very short window of time to [keep running it as normal]…to identify site users…

Your regular reminder that the word for a “partnership” between political and corporate interests is “fascism”.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#743) 

Another sighting of the “sex trafficking” fetishist who masturbates to the fantasy that emojis in low-rent escort ads are part of some mysterious pimp “code”:

“Human trafficking is a business,” said Jessica Whitney, “where people are treated as inventory”…Whitney [fantasizes] that traffickers use certain language and emojis (symbols) to appeal to certain buyers.  They market the girls — by age, race, skin color, “new in town” (i.e. limited time only) — as a retailer positions its products.  In fact, victims are often forced to write their own customized ads.  The [fantasy] doesn’t relent…

The Course of a Disease (#757)

Israeli prohibitionists ladle FOSTA slop on top of an already-bad anti-whore bill:

The state is petitioning the courts to remove five Israeli prostitution websites from the internet…[clients careless enough to be] caught [in pig stings] within three years of the first offense will pay doubled the original fine, according to the draft legislation…[Injustice Minister Ayelet] Shaked had decided that customers would be pursued through administrative rather than criminal enforcement: the offender would not be considered a criminal with a criminal record…The minister [bloviated] that the draft bill fining customers is…part of a wider plan she intends to bring before government in the months to come…Meanwhile…the Knesset approved a bill banning advertisement of prostitutes…for the first time, the prohibition will apply to the printing shop that printed the ad…offending internet sites and phone numbers involved in promoting prostitution services could be blocked…

Surprised how fast mass censorship is taking hold? We did warn you.

Devil’s Advocate (#761) 

Your periodic reminder that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

The U.S. House approved a ban…on the importation and trafficking of anatomically correct child sex dolls…that [perverts wrongly claim] “normalize sex between adults and minors…These dolls can be programmed to simulate rape. The very thought makes me [excited]” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte…“Once an abuser tires of practicing on a doll, it’s a small step to move on to a child”…[fantasized bill sponsor] Dan Donovan…The proposal [imagines] the…dolls…“can resemble actual children”…Goodlatte [pretended to be] “distraught” that…child sex dolls even exist…“Customers can order bespoke dolls, providing pictures of specific children they would like the doll to resemble.  They can indicate a preferred facial expression such as sadness or fear”…

Even in the world of anti-sex propaganda, this bill and article are egregious.  They express psychologically-illiterate fantasies and scare-claims in declarative sentences, and make assertions that are not only untrue, but calculated to demonize the buyers of such dolls (eg, the last sentence).  I also remind you of the McNeill Rule.

Feminine Pragmatism (#778) 

One day, reporters will get that “People Work To Make Money” is not news:

…in Colombia’s border city of Cucuta…Venezuelan sex workers…now [do a fairly ordinary job] to support themselves and their families…About 672,000 Venezuelans have crossed into neighbouring Colombia alone, both legally and illegally, since 2015…The exodus from the oil-rich country is the largest migration of people in South America’s recent history, and it shows little signs of abating.  For some, sex work is [a reasonable, practical] option…

The Widening Gyre (#811)

Lenore Skenazy is doing great work reporting on these absurd “sex trafficking” panics:

Here’s [a] mom’s Facebook post:  “we are driving home from Cincinnati and got off at a rest stop for a quick bathroom break.  Just my daughter and I went inside…some lady who appeared to be on something, was trying to talk to my daughter…I heard…her say “the little girl” [to another woman]…As we leave I passed both women and the one that I originally saw had changed clothes and started to leave…I then made a dead sprint to the car, threw my daughter in and locked doors.  Once we were safely in car I noticed 3 men standing in front of a gold minivan with all the doors open…I have this terrible feeling that had I not been aware…my daughter may have been taken from me“…stranger danger is so rare that even the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children…has asked people to stop using the term.  And David Finkelhor, head of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, told me he had heard of no children ever abducted from their parents in public for sex trafficking purposes…A media organization uncritically promoting this hysteria is…reckless journalism…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#834) 

Lewis & her friends are fools; what they want is legalization & protectionism, and they’re not going to like it if they get it:

[A small group of] New Zealand sex workers have written an open letter…asking for the election of a Minister of Prostitution.  The letter also rejects the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) as the representative organisation of sex workers here, and attacks the collective’s support for illegal sex workers.  The letter by Hamilton sex worker Lisa Lewis carries 25 other names…In an unlikely alliance, the letter was written with the help of [conservative Christian group] Family First…Lewis said… “Prostitution needs to be governed in New Zealand.  If there is a legislation, there should be a Minister.”  The letter claimed migrants coming on temporary visas to work as prostitutes were “taking money off legal sex workers, not paying tax and going home with the money …NZPC’s current focus is legalising internationals to be allowed to provide commercial sexual services here in New Zealand and no legal New Zealand sex worker wants this”…Family First is highly critical of the Prostitution Reform Act and is calling for a Nordic model…

I am reminded of the fable, “The Frogs Who Desired a King”.

Choke Point (#839) 

Useful idiots are unable to understand how precedent works:

Several gun-related businesses were suddenly — and without warning — disrupted in recent weeks when Intuit stopped processing credit card payments because phone and internet sales were gun-related…Some of the payments stopped didn’t even involve firearms, but simply T-shirts and coffee mugs and gun safety classes…As a result, the businesses had to scramble to track down customers to get them pay their bills after Intuit credited back to customers’ accounts the purchases — even if the T-shirt was already shipped or the class already taken…

It always starts with a politically-unpopular group like sex workers or gun owners, but never stops there.

Disaster (#839)

I’ve never seen anything galvanize public support for sex workers like FOSTA has:

After…SESTA-FOSTA…organizing around sex workers has been reinvigorated with a new urgency.  The legislation…cripples sex workers’ ability to work safely online.  It’s merely the latest example in an unbroken history of harmful anti-sex work laws.  But at a time when activism…is all the more crucial…SESTA-FOSTA…[is] silencing and criminalizing the very organizing and advocacy that would help sex workers stay safe and fight persecution, even chilling journalists’ efforts to cover these issues…In one poignant example of how these laws harm advocacy, the Desiree Alliance Conference — the largest U.S. gathering addressing human, labor, and civil rights for workers in the sex industry — announced that it will not take place this year due to fears surrounding SESTA-FOSTA…

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Instead of raising children in an adult world…we prefer to live much of our lives in a make-believe children’s world.  –  Hugh Hefner

R.I.P. Hugh Hefner 

The founder and embodiment of Playboy magazine died a week ago today at the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles; he was 91.  Love him, hate him or indifferent to him, it’s undeniable that Hefner and his magazine were among the most important driving forces of the sexual revolution and, to a lesser but still important degree, of the popularization of liberal (in the original sense of the word) political ideas such as LGBT rights; in a world where homosexuality was illegal Hef published Charles Beaumont’s “The Crooked Man“, and years before Roe v Wade he was bankrolling abortion rights activism.  Naturally, he was despised by narrow-minded feminists who think that a woman can be sexy or intellectual but never both (despite his support of female authors and thinkers), and he was even controversial among sex workers (including yours truly) for his rather odd home life with his playmate “girlfriends”, but by most accounts he was an ethical businessman whose legacy of support for both his contributors and for individual rights would have been more universally lauded had his magazine and life not featured sex in such a central role.

An Enormous Big Nothing

More hysterics who can’t tell the difference between adults and children:

The headline reads Spanish brothel’s “back to school” party sparks outrage in Andalusia.  El Bosque is a legal club de alterne where sex workers drink, dance and chat with customers with the option to retire to private rooms for paid sex.  The party-poster was called an incitement to paedophilia…despite the obvious age of women (and their clothing) in the poster.  The club’s owner removed the posters and cancelled the party…

Dirty Amateurs

Amateurs are a menace to public health; they should be licensed and heavily regulated:

In 2016, Americans were infected with more than 2 million new cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia, the highest number of these sexually transmitted diseases ever reported…the…CDC’s…annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report shows that more than 1.6 million of the new cases were from chlamydia, 470,000 were from gonorrhea and nearly 28,000 cases were primary and secondary syphilis…While all of these can be cured by antibiotics, many [amateurs] go undiagnosed and untreated…When you include herpes and more of the dozens of diseases which can be transmitted sexually but which are not tracked, the CDC estimates there are more than 20 million new cases of STDs in the United States each year.  At least half occur in young [amateurs] ages 15 to 24…

The Lion and the Ox

Talking is now defined as “sex trafficking”:

Two people were arrested…after using Snapchat to recruit a woman into prostitution…she was contacted in January by [her] friend…Wynter Fowler…[who] told her that she “was pretty and could make a lot of money” if she moved to Las Vegas to work as an exotic dancer and escort…Fowler[‘s]…boyfriend, Ezekiel Gilbert…persuaded [the complainant] to work as a prostitute for him…she said Gilbert threatened her when she tried to quit in February…he…bragged that he “had already gotten away with murder” before…Gilbert [had been previously] arrested in Texas after an escort was shot and killed, but was later acquitted…Police arrested Gilbert and Fowler on Sept. 12…Both were booked…on sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking…

I can think of several better, less tyrannical things to charge the thoroughly-nasty Gilbert with than simply talking to someone.

So Close and Yet So Far

A good little article despite a truly stupid statement in the third sentence:

I am not a pimp or a trafficker.  I am neither a rape apologist nor someone who excuses violence against women.  I do not believe men have a right to buy sex, or that anyone, of any gender, should be forced to sell sex.  One might have thought these things go without saying, and yet they are examples of some of the vitriol levied at us – those that advocate for the decriminalisation of the sex industry.  In recent weeks…establishment media has provided…an “everywhere-you-turn” kind of platform…to anti-prostitution feminists.  Julie Bindel does, after all, have a new book to publicise. Underpinning the arguments of many anti-prostitution feminists is the idea that the purchase of sex ought to be criminalised and sex workers [cast] as victims of male violence.  They argue we should be doing more to eradicate the sex industry and rescue the sex workers within it…

Of course men have the right to buy sex from someone offering to sell it, just as women (or men) have the right to sell it.  Any claim to the contrary reflects the irrational and authoritarian mindset of a prohibitionist.

Banishment

Remember:  these people have already served their sentences:

Scores of sex offenders ordered to live on a secluded island in Washington state say the often-cloudy, brown water there is making them sick…About 200 [inmates] of the Special Commitment Center have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the facility is…forcing them to drink contaminated water that causes stomach pain and skin rashes and has been blamed for unexplained deaths.  The executive who oversees the center [claims] the water [which he needn’t drink] turns brown…when the pipes are flushed, and…the cloudiness is only an aesthetic effect that causes no harm.  But…Department of Health records shows that the water has repeatedly exceeded standards for various chlorine-related chemicals and has been cited for violations dating back to 2006…a former [treatment] plant operator told health officials in 2015 that the water’s cloudiness readings were being manipulated to make the water look cleaner than it was…The Special Commitment Center [imprisons]…sex offenders…[that] the state convinced a judge…were too dangerous to be released…

The Sky is Falling! (#415)

The Francophone world seems to be in especially deep denial about compensated dating:

Belgian ministers have said they will take legal action in an attempt to force a [sugar dating] website…to remove…adverts near the country’s universities.  Trucks bearing large posters promoting Rich Meet Beautiful…have appeared on the outskirts of campuses in Brussels in recent days…the Norwegian company behind the website says it hopes to recruit 300,000 Belgian registrations by the end of 2018…The site, however, has been accused of encouraging prostitution and playing on the financial insecurity of the young [by offering them an option to get out of financial insecurity.  Two pearl-clutching ministers]…have declared they intend to launch a criminal proceeding against the firm for inciting debauchery and prostitution, and to force the suspension of its campaign on public order grounds…

Feminine Pragmatism (#518) 

This isn’t “remarkable” or even “unusual”; women have done part-time sex work to supplement meager earnings at least since Roman times:

…after supplementing her career with tutoring and proofreading, the university lecturer decided to go to remarkable lengths to make her career financially viable.  She first opted for her side gig during a particularly rough patch…when her course load was suddenly cut in half and her income plunged, putting her on the brink of eviction.  “In my mind I was like, I’ve had one-night stands, how bad can it be?” she said. “And it wasn’t that bad”…Sex work is one of the more unusual ways that adjuncts have avoided living in poverty, and perhaps even homelessness…

Under Review (#733)

Escort advertising is already illegal in Ireland, which is why Irish sex workers have such limited advertising options:

The government is being urged [by prohibitionists] to ban a website that facilitates the advertising of prostitution services – and invites customers to review the women they hire…Over 7,000 [ignorant busybodies] have now signed a petition urging the Department of Justice to step in and [magically] remove the website [despite its being hosted in Spain] and ban others like it [again, but magically this time so the sex rays can’t cross into Irish cyberspace]…

I Saw My Brain (#773)

Authoritarian idiots will probably keep re-electing this lunatic no matter how much his antics cost them:

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd garnered widespread scorn for blathering and boasting on social media, threatening to arrest people with outstanding warrants if they sought public shelter while Hurricane Irma battered Florida…Now Judd has been hit with a lawsuit for allegedly denying entry to a man seeking shelter, saying he had to go through a background check first…Judd [doubled down on his moronic rhetoric, claiming the man] wasn’t denied shelter…[but] offered accommodations in jail…

Wise Investment (#775)

Sex workers, clients & everyone else harmed by “prostitution stings” needs to keep suing over them:

One year later, cases from the Euro Spa sting of June 2016 are still slowly making their way through Seattle’s Municipal Court.  Some men…have pled guilty to “sexual exploitation,” the city’s recently modified term for the misdemeanor of patronizing a prostitute.  Others have requested trials…But one accused john—we’ll call him John—adopted a different legal strategy…John’s lawyer, Bob Goldsmith, filed a motion in July challenging City Attorney Pete Holmes…[who] directed prosecutors to rule out pre-trial diversion…[and] instead…push for guilty pleas that will result in a criminal record…Holmes…[pretends] the policy…will reduce prostitution overall [and imagines that would be a good thing]…Anita Khandelwal, policy director for the Department of Public Defense, called Holmes’ tactic on sexual exploitation charges “unusual and illegal”.  While johns are often cast as sexual predators by law enforcement and the media, Khandelwal says the clients her office sees are “incredibly poor and marginalized and caught up in police stings.”  She added, “Mr. Holmes’ statement that criminalizing buyers results in changed behavior is not supported by the evidence.  The war on drugs did not reduce drug use but it filled prisons”…

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I’m a young-looking 40-year-old woman in Belgium who worked part-time as a prostitute years ago to pay for my education.  Now, however, I’m suffering from physical disabilities due to two severe auto accidents; these make it difficult to hold down a “normal” job, so I’m thinking of going back to prostitution.  I always liked it; I’m a very sexual person and it made me feel good.  But this time, I don’t want to work for anyone else, but as an independent; I just don’t know how to start.  What do you think?

I think if you still feel comfortable doing the work, there’s no reason for you not to return to it; many women go in and out of sex work at different times in our lives, as our needs change.  Sex work is legal in your country, and the flexible schedule makes it especially good work for women with health issues that would interfere with a “straight” job.  Since as a sex worker one sets one’s own schedule, it’s easy to work around doctor’s appointments & times one knows tend to be problematic; for example, if you hurt more in the morning you can simply refuse morning appointments.  And once you’ve got regulars, you’ll even be able to reschedule appointments if you feel bad that day.  I’m afraid I can’t really give you advice on working in Europe because I never have; however, I’d suggest you search Google for escorts in your city, and that will show you the top local advertising sites.  You might also consult with the sex worker support organizations in your area.  Good luck, both with your health & with returning to work! 

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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The celebrity is a person who is known for his well-knownness.  –  Daniel J. Boorstin

Though the popular conception of the Victorian Era is that it was a time of very repressive sexual morality, one must never lose sight of the fact that this was only among those of the middle class.  The upper and lower classes were every bit as randy as they had ever been; roughly 8% of the female population of London were prostitutes, and the 19th century saw the third great flowering of courtesans in Europe (the previous two being Golden-Age Greece and 16th-century Venice).  And in the second half of the century the advent of mass communications, rapid transit and the modern financial system made it increasingly possible for strong-willed women like Lola Montez and Mata Hari to capitalize on their sex appeal, attracting wealthy patrons as actresses had since ancient times:  on the stage.

Clara Ward was born in Detroit, Michigan on June 17, 1873; her father was Eber Ward, a millionaire who made his fortune in lumber, mining, steel, shipping and rail.  He died of apoplexy (brain hemorrhage) when Clara was two, and the bulk of his fortune passed to Clara’s mother Catherine (née Lyon), his second wife.  Since she was only 31 (Ward was thirty years her senior) she soon remarried to Alexander Cameron, a Canadian lawyer she met in New York City.  The family moved to Toronto, and at 15 Clara was sent to school in London.  In the autumn of 1889 her mother took her on a tour of Europe in order to find her a noble husband, and in Nice they met Prince Joseph de Caraman-Chimay of Belgium, whom she married in Paris on May 19, 1890.  This sort of arrangement was not unusual at the time; an impoverished European noble married a wealthy (but common) heiress, and she gained a title while he gained a fortune.  It was a mutually beneficial match; Clara became only the second American-born princess (the first was George Washington’s great-grandniece Catherine Gray, who had married Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew), and she paid off her husband’s debts (to the tune of $100,000) and repaired his crumbling chateau (a further $300,000).

Clara bore her husband two children, Marie Elizabeth and Joseph Anatole (in 1891 and 1894 respectively), but this quiet, settled period was not to last long; she was beautiful, voluptuous and inconstant and had attracted the attention of King Leopold II.  As one might expect, the Queen was unhappy about this and the Princess de Caraman-Chimay soon found herself persona non grata in Belgian society.  The Prince therefore moved his family to Paris, where things only got worse; while dining at a fine restaurant, Princess Clara became enamored of the Gypsy violinist, Rigó Jancsi.  After only a few secret trysts she ran away with him in December of 1896, and her husband was granted a divorce on January 19, 1897.  The paparazzi, who had been intrigued by her since her engagement to the Prince was first announced, followed the couple across the continent to Budapest, where a pastry chef named a rich chocolate dessert after Rigó in order to capitalize on the publicity.

Her mother, on the other hand, was deeply ashamed by the press’ attention to her daughter’s escapade and disinherited her; Rigó (whom she married in 1898) had no money, and the divorce court awarded her abandoned husband the children and alimony of $15,000/year (half of her income from her father’s estate).  The Princess (she used the title until she died) had to come up with a way of making large sums of money fast, and like most women throughout history she relied on her sex appeal to do it.  Capitalizing on her notoriety, she contracted with the Folies Bergère and Moulin Rouge to pose on stage wearing skin-tight costumes while Rigó played the violin.  Though she literally did nothing but stand absolutely still (the general term for such a performance is tableau), the novelty, her fame and her beauty attracted sufficient attention for her to take the act on tour, and she made $6800 ($176,000 in 2012 dollars) in Berlin that April.  She modeled for photographers, licensed her image on postcards, and accepted money for “private performances”, which caused frequent and bitter arguments with Rigó; they separated in 1900. Her next husband was Giuseppe “Peppino” Ricciardi, an Italian tourist agent in Paris whom she married in June of 1904 and divorced in 1911.  Her last husband was her chauffeur, Abano Caselato, to whom she was still married when she died of pneumonia at her Italian Villa on December 18th, 1916.

Idylle Princière by Toulouse-Lautrec, depicting Clara and Rigó Jancsi

Like so many courtesans, the Princess died very young (only 43), but unlike most the names of her lovers (other than Leopold II and her four penniless husbands) are completely unknown.  They must have been quite wealthy, though; despite her enormous expenses, steep alimony and lack of visible income after about 1906, she left a fortune of $1,124,935.96 in cash and about $50,000 in real estate (over $23 million in 2012 dollars).  Ironically, her will dated to just after her marriage to Ricciardi and she had never changed it after their divorce, so he inherited a third of her estate (her two children got one-third each).  In a way, she was like the Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian of her time:  a wealthy sex symbol with no discernible talent who parleyed her highly-publicized sex life into a career as a model and “reality star”.

One Year Ago Today

Walking Stereotype Sues Whore” may be the most self-explanatory column title I’ve ever used.

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