Posts Tagged ‘bogus studies’

Laws don’t pay my bills!  –  unnamed Glasgow street worker

Five Women in Whitechapel 

Laura Lee on the appalling blindness of “authorities”:

…The last victim of Jack the Ripper, [Mary] Kelly’s body was so badly mutilated that she could only be identified by her hair and eyebrows…Fast forward 127 years and we have surely progressed a great deal since then in terms of sex worker safety, right?  Well no, actually.  If anything it’s worse.  Following the removal of the tolerance zone for street prostitution in Edinburgh, crimes against sex workers shot up by 95%.  The reason for that is simple, it became known that the police were no longer there to protect the workers, but rather to harass and arrest them, and their clients.  Let’s make a clear distinction for once and all, many attackers of sex workers are not or will never be “sex buyers”.  They are predators, looking for an easy target, and they know that sex workers are alone, vulnerable and highly unlikely to report an attack to the police…152 sex workers have been murdered since 1990.  How many more Mary Kellys must we have before the penny drops that leaving vulnerable people open to attack is not a good policy?

The Lesser of Two Evils Vatican City

If the Church were sanely-run, this article would be true:

The newest leaked information associated with the Vatileaks scandal states that properties owned by the Vatican along Piazza Barberini and the Italian parliament have now been converted to “massage parlours” and saunas, and their patrons are priests.  The leaked document points to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith…[which] owns and operates numerous properties within Rome.  The properties in question are referred to as “peppercorn rents” and are said to be leased for cheap to “powerful colleagues” of the religious institution…

Check Your Premises

They worked for themselves, but it’s a “ring” and the cops are looking for “pimps”:

Four women have been arrested as part of an alleged prostitution ring operating in Mississippi…Arrested were Anjeni’ Qyanik Moore, 34, of Norfolk, Virginia; Heaven Leigh Nix, 23, of Memphis, Tennessee; Joneka Santrice Burns, 24, of Jackson, Mississippi; and Candace Renee Stewart, 30, of Byhalia, Mississippi…MBI spokesman Warren Strain said the women were working independently and are not believed to be victims of human trafficking.  He declined to say…whether they worked with pimps, citing an ongoing investigation…

Saving Them From Themselves

Lock ’em all up, New York!  Let’s put the entire next generation on the “sex offender” registry!

…17 states have changed their child pornography laws so that teenagers who swap nude photos of themselves with each other are not automatically treated as felons.  One of those states is New York, which makes an exception for images exchanged between people 20 or younger whose ages are no more than five years apart.  In such cases, the “offenders” can avoid criminal charges by undergoing an eight-hour “education reform program” that covers the dangers of sexting and cyberbullying.  Despite that provision, two Long Island teenagers were recently charged with felonies for producing and disseminating a 10-second video showing one of them having sex with a girl…the two boys…are both 14…the boys…were each charged with…disseminating indecent material to minors and promoting a sexual performance by a child…In addition to the two boys who were arrested, 20 students were suspended for receiving the video on their cellphones…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

The cops are happy to serve as an ex’s revenge goons:

A 50-year-old woman…has been sentenced for soliciting prostitution…Marisa Frances Lang pleaded guilty to prostitution in a public place…and to disorderly conduct…Judge Michael A. Fahey…placed Lang on two years of probation.  She was ordered to continue mental health treatment and counseling…and must pay $585 in fines and fees…her ex-husband’s [ratting her out to cops]…led to a sting operation…

Finding What Isn’t There

“Authorities” amazed that an imaginary problem doesn’t materialize in response to their “mandating” that it exists:

…Around the country, pimps…force thousands of…women and girls…into prostitution every day.  Florida has the third highest number of sex trafficking cases…Reformers have argued that prostitutes are victims, not criminals, and more effort should be made to go after human traffickers – the pimps…Despite this new focus, a statewide analysis…found that efforts…to investigate and prosecute sex traffickers have yielded few results…[“rescue” profiteers pretend] the image of the independent prostitute, working for herself and selling sex by choice, is rarely accurate…“I [fantasize] the majority who are in the life have been the victims of trafficking,” said Katariina Rosenblatt, founder of There Is HOPE for Me…

The Widening Gyre 

The “Facebook pimps” myth is one of the silliest of the whole panic:

…Traffickers worldwide are increasingly using social media to contact vulnerable teenagers and sell them into sex work…Once limited to luring victims in the street, traffickers can now message thousands of people through Instagram, Facebook, Kik, Tagged and Twitter, with WhatsApp and Snapchat some of the latest tools in their arsenal.  “If just one of them answers … traffickers can make thousands of dollars off that girl very quickly,” said Andrea Powell, founder and director of FAIR Girls…a growing trend in the United States is to use WhatsApp or Snapchat where messages evaporate over time…Europol…said social media and other online technology have not only taken the recruitment and selling process off the streets but also allow traffickers to control victims using remote surveillance…

Here the magical “pimp” mind-control powers are claimed to be exerted via some mumbo-jumbo fantasy technology.Lucy Steigerwald

Shift in the Wind

Lucy Steigerwald presents a pro-decriminalization argument to a conservative audience:

Unfortunately, while the war on one vice dials back, law enforcement and government fight hard against another supposed danger…these days it sure seems as if the hot new thing to swoon over and vow to “do something” about is prostitution.  Worse than that, it’s prostitution-slash-sex trafficking, vaguely hand-waved together as the same thing…the solution to the latter is to legalize the former.  It’s that easy.  Or it could be, if people would do two things: stop filing trafficking with prostitution, and stop pretending that laws against selling and purchasing sex actually prevent people from selling and purchasing sex…Both hand-wringing liberals and worried social conservatives need to realize that some sex workers—perhaps the vast majority—have no need of rescue.  They need their line of work to be taken out of the black-market shadows.  They need to be left alone…We tend to look back with shame and bafflement at the obviously absurd moral panics that have gripped our society, but only after the damage has been done.  We are in the middle of a sex trafficking panic that not only exaggerates the threat that prostitutes pose to the moral fiber of society but, worse still, makes enormous exaggerations about the number of sex-trafficked (mostly) women and children…

Fever Dream

It’s like they’re not even trying any more:

Law enforcement officials on all levels – from local to international – are working together to crack down on human trafficking, which is a growing problem…[fetishists] call it “modern day slavery,” and it’s happening right here in East Tennessee…pimps…target young girls…on…social media…Interstate 40 is a convenient corridor for sex traffickers…the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking…[trains] people to recognize victimization…traffickers and pimps employ manipulation…21 of Tennessee’s 95 counties reported at least 16 cases of sex trafficking involving a minor in 2010…

Yes, that’s the same discredited study they’re still quoting despite the fact that it isn’t even supported by the cops’ own records.

Shame, Shame

Here’s a excellent article on the State’s two-faced attitude toward “revenge porn”:

…Sex workers themselves are erased from anti–revenge-porn rhetoric.  Proposed remedies for revenge porn—criminalization of disclosures and liability for third-party websites—fail to address the sex-work stigma that creates repercussions for victims of revenge porn.  When a woman has her Google results bombed with nude photos and fake sex ads, she won’t pass a screening when she tries to get a job—because she’ll be mistaken for a sex worker.  The solution, we conclude, is to remove all possibility of that mistake—rather than to remove what bars a sex worker from getting that job…We propose new criminal statutes and partner with the police, even as the police threaten to post photos of sex workers during “busts” on social media accounts.  These are women who are being locked out of jobs because of nude photos of them on the Internet.  These are women who are being publicly disgraced as sex workers—because they are sex workers…the existence of sex work raises awkward questions about how to define revenge porn, how to understand its harms, and how to most appropriately redress its victims…

Blunt Instrument (#547)

And the gravy train just keeps rolling along:

Victims of human trafficking in Tampa Bay will have more access to legal help thanks to a $600,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant…Some…brothels take the form of what are called massage parlors.  Gulfcoast Legal Services attorney Sophia Lynn Denicolo says they can be hotbeds of human trafficking…

The Public Eye (#557)

Another sex work-positive article in Cosmopolitan.  Hey prohibitionists:  We’re winning.  And there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

There are a few rules for dating a sex worker:  don’t compromise their cash flow by driving away their business, never out them to other people without their consent, and don’t expect them to eagerly perform activities they normally get paid to do for free…Ask any sex worker how they maintain their boundaries, and you’re in for a long conversation.  Some people develop a working identity that they keep entirely separate from their real-life persona, and others conflate the two.  Many sex workers desperately want to be out but don’t want to endure the invasive questions, or fear that their housing stability or the custody of their children would be compromised…The hardest boundary I’ve had to confront in my romantic relationships is the line between authentic desire in my work, and the “it’s just work” defense…But the world isn’t black-and-white, and while the vast majority of us are not regularly turned on by our work, real connections can happen with scene partners and genuine fun can be had with clients.  So where’s the line?…

Seizing Power (#574)

I’m adding Judge Posner to the very short list of men who can claim a freebie from me anytime they like:

A federal appeals court has ordered the Cook County Sheriff’s Department to cease lobbying major credit card companies that do business with…Backpage.com…At a hearing on Friday, Judge Richard Posner expressed unease with the notion, presented by the sheriff department attorneys, that Dart’s First Amendment rights protected his individual right to express his displeasure with Backpage to the credit card companies…on the sheriff department’s letterhead…“He can use the office of the sheriff to express any antipathy that he has to anything?” Posner posed to the sheriff’ department attorneys.  “So you’re saying there is no limit?  He can express his opinion on his office stationery on any subject that occurs to him.  What if he doesn’t like pets?  He doesn’t think people should have animals in their house.  He can suggest to everyone they euthanize their pets?”  Dart was also directed by the appeals court to send a copy of the order to Visa and Mastercard and all other recipients of the June 29 letter within 24 hours…

The recording is well worth your time, especially the segment from roughly the 18 minute mark to the 30 minute mark.  Dart’s mouthpiece clearly knows she’s spouting drivel, and the judges keep calling her on it.

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

Bad Jobs

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

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

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

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

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

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

With Folded Hands

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

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

Above the Law Patrick Quinn coercive cop

Sometimes sexually-exploitative cops stop short of rape:

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

Parting of the Ways

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


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

Frequently Told Lies

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

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

Wise Investment (#440)

Much more of this, please:

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

The Camel’s Nose (#504)

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

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

What Were You All Waiting For? Richard Branson

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

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

Now They Notice

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

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

Seizing Power (#574)

The Cato institute supports sex workers’ right to advertise:

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

Welcome To Our World (#578)

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

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

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Raising the minimum age perpetuates the notion that sex workers are naive individuals with little to no agency or understanding of their own situation.  –  Laura Marks

Lack of Evidence

A fine example of barking up the wrong tree:

During a recent trip to Miami, San Francisco residents Heather Cox and Gigi Otálvaro-Hormillosa visited Dean’s Gold strip club in North Miami Beach…they were denied entry…[because] they’re women and weren’t “accompanied by a man”…”The message that women must be accompanied by men is totally infantilizing,” says Otálvaro…”it’s a direct statement of exclusion targeted at bisexual women and lesbians”…

Nope and nope. It’s not “infantilizing” and it isn’t “targeted at lesbians”; the Florida policy is an anti-whore measure intended to keep us from “poaching” clients from the clubs.  Don’t like it, lesbians?  Fucking lobby for decriminalization, then, because as long as we have no rights yours will continue to be infringed.  And guys, don’t think these laws don’t affect you, too:

…The YouTube video’s original caption to the video…“Bought a burger and pulled over to have a few bites. I suppose that constitutes probable cause?”  Fortunately, the citizen…pulled out his phone and started recording when the Austin cop  approached the vehicle…Rick asked, “Why am I getting pulled out of my car?”  “Because you’re being detained.” answered the unknown Austin PD officer…Rick immediately asked, “Why am I being detained?”  “Let’s see. It’s 2 o’clock in the morning and you’re in a parked here by yourself in a high prostitution, high drug area”…

They Still Don’t Get It

This “editorial” cannot have possibly been written by an actual editor, unless this paper hires its editors from the local eighth-grade class.  It is also virtually fact-free and if its nose were any higher up the arse of authority it would suffocate:

…Prostitution has always been a money-making endeavor.  It generates an income for the women and the men who often control them.  But, the profession has become more dangerous because many of the prostitutes are desperate for money to support drug addiction.  That, of course, means crimes related to prostitution have increased dramatically…Most of the women are not street-walkers, but advertise themselves on a website called The Back Page…police respond to ads to snare women, and place fake ads on the site to entice the male customers…Fewer women are now advertising on the site, but the demand from male customers was still too high…prostitutes were more numerous 40 years ago and they frequented the heart of the downtown.  Development in the center city that has attracted families chased the prostitutes away.  We appreciate the police for continuing to work on the prostitution problem and…the developers who continue to make the downtown a better place…

End Demand

Ever wonder what kind of sick propaganda men are subjected to in “john school” for the “crime” of sexual desire?

Imagine your mother or the person you think of like a mother.  Now picture her on the street, offering sexual services for $10 at least a half-dozen times a day…The goal of the day was to outline not only the “what ifs,” such as being assaulted and robbed, but to impart that many prostituting are forced there by circumstances, whether that’s another person, addiction, or mental illness…the men also hear about possible health impacts, from HIV to pubic lice, sexual addiction, and the impacts of prostitution on communities…


All anti-sex laws are repeatedly supported by courts until the day they aren’t:

A…judge has refused to find the laws that outlaw prostitution in Ohio unconstitutional in the case against two women who were operating a massage parlor…“Ohio prostitution statue compromises the protected right to sexual privacy by denying consenting adults the right to make decisions about sexuality in the commercial market place,” [defense attorney] Blake Somers wrote in his motion. “Such an instruction is not justified or mitigated by societal moral concerns…making the sale of sex illegal violates the right of sexual privacy derived from the due process clause and the defendant herein seeks nothing more that to invoke the principals of liberty that already exists”…

Still a Child 

Twenty-five years ago, Jim Kelly argued before the New Orleans City Council that women ages 18 to 20 shouldn’t be allowed to work as exotic dancers…The proposed ordinance was approved…but after a recent murder case involving 19-year-old dancer Jasilas Wright, Kelly realized it was not being enforced.  In July, he returned to City Hall to put teeth into the existing ordinance…Local dancers say the ordinance shouldn’t exist at all…”Don’t tell women they can’t work a f—king job when they’re adults,” says Lilith, a 27-year-old dancer at Babe’s Cabaret who started when she was 20. “To assume we’re all victims and have no other options or are forced to be there is simply disrespectful.”  Kelly says he is trying to protect young women…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes Zoo Weekly

Bauer Media announced that Zoo Weekly would be closing “due to tough retail conditions”.  It has been declared that its October edition will be its last…it is a victory that Collective Shout, Australia’s most vocal anti-porn campaigners, is claiming as its own.  In August…Zoo Weekly was removed from Coles’ shelves after a “successful online campaign” was waged by Collective Shout…history has shown that Collective Shout’s real problem lies with the idea of women displaying their bodies in men’s magazines…The women who appear in these magazines, often dressed in string bikinis, have done so consensually and have been paid for their work…there have been no instances where Zoo Weekly has placed a woman on their cover without that woman’s approval…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#419)

Americans disapprove of teaching kids about sex, but they’re all for filling their heads with stupid anti-sex propaganda:

…North Carolina Senate Bill 279 would amend state sex-education standards to require all schools teach age-appropriate info on “the threats” of sex trafficking…The bill also says school administrators must collaborate with law enforcement agents when developing or presenting this material…Training cops on sex trafficking issues is often a collaborative effort by religious nonprofits and the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) who preach the new gospel of prostitution: that almost all women…were…forced into it and should be treated as victims; that the Internet fuels a thriving child sex-slavery trade; that “ending demand” for adult prostitution by targeting johns and using other tough-on-prostitution measures are necessary to stop children from being sold into sexual slavery; and that there’s a rampant and escalating problem with sex trafficking in the United States.  But there is no solid evidence that any of these things are true.  A DOJ-orchestrated, law-enforcement-centered sex trafficking “awareness” program for public school kids seems likely to spew the kind of fact-lite, panic-heavy propaganda that fueled school anti-drug programs like DARE…

The Course of a Disease (#423)

The Israeli journalist who wrote this article on brothels in Tel Aviv presents a much more nuanced view of sex work than one would see in the American media:

…Reports on prostitution tend to focus on exceptional cases, such as…an underage sex ring…[or] human trafficking, a phenomenon of the 1990s…They concentrate on…“notorious drug and prostitution den[s]”…[such as] the Hasan Arfa area…a warren of tin shacks and garages supposedly overrun by drug users and sex workers…[prohibitionist]  Rebecca Hughes…writes, “Most women do not choose to be prostitutes.”  The actual face of prostitution is more nuanced.  There are hundreds of brothels in Tel Aviv. Many of them operate openly, advertising their services on the street with business-sized cards scattered on sidewalks throughout the city by young men…

Innocence Never Had (#428)

Yet another attempt to cast young people as passive vegetables without agency:

On Tuesday night Sean ’Diddy’ Combs tweeted a petition asking the Associated Press to stop using the phrases “child prostitute” and “child prostitution” in their style guides and news stories.  “They are victims [and] survivors of rape,” he wrote, sharing a link to the Change.org campaign…Because the terms deal with the issue of people who are too young to consent to sex, let alone sex work, the group argues that saying “child prostitute” or “child sex worker” is both insensitive and factually inaccurate.  Instead, the group suggests that outlets refer to these children as “victims and survivors of child rape”…

No.  The number of underage sex workers who are “children” in any meaningful sense is virtually nil; the vast majority are above the age of consent, albeit below 18.  To call them “victims of child rape” is both insulting and factually inaccurate.

Imaginary Crises (#445) 

The people who profit from rape panic just won’t stop creating new bogus “studies” designed to uphold their cherished “1 in 5” myth:

More than 20 percent of female undergraduates at an array of prominent universities said this year that they were victims of sexual assault and misconduct, echoing findings elsewhere…The survey from the Association of American Universities drew responses from 150,000 students at 27 schools…Researchers acknowledged the possibility of an overstated victimization rate because there was evidence that hundreds of thousands of students who ignored the electronic questionnaire were less likely to have suffered an assault…

Here’s another hint: counting everything under “sexual assault and misconduct” as assault is the same as counting everything under “murder and assault” as murder.grumpy Gloria

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (#449)

This Indian critique of anti-whore “feminists” has especially strong words for Gloria Steinem:

…[Steinem’s] opposition to the AI proposal is based upon a rather parochial view of what sex work means to impoverished women, especially in developing countries…Since 2010 I have been engaged in ethnographic research with Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC)…Steinem visited  Sonagachhi in April 2012 on a six-day “learning tour”, under the guidance of Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an anti-[sex work] organisation…She called this tour a “life changing experience” because she met several women who were…victims of unspeakable abuse.  However…In the last five years I have only met a handful of women in Sonagachhi who were trafficked.  In the initial phase of this research I gathered stories of how the women arrived in Sonagachhi and a pattern soon emerged consisting of abject poverty, abandonment, hunger, motherhood, familial responsibilities, and finally survival.  Most women told me that they arrived in Sonagachhi through a friend, a relative, or a neighbour who was either working in and/or had contacts in Sonagachhi…The women also do not necessarily see their work as “making a choice” in the classic dyad of forced into, or chose to engage in, prostitution or sex work.  Rather, it is the absence of choice and the structural barriers of poverty that lead them to sex work…

Seizing Power (#567)

Backpage wants a federal appellate court to prohibit Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart from pressing credit card companies to de-fund the site…The company set the appellate process in motion…when it filed…paperwork to appeal U.S. District Court Judge John Tharp, Jr.’s refusal to grant a preliminary injunction against Dart…

Now They Notice

In another example of how the Rentboy raid is being treated differently from the many raids on female escort sites which preceeded it, here’s an interview with a gay Rentboy client; how often have you seen interviews with the clients of female sex workers, despite their far greater numbers?

…I now enjoy my sexuality in a way  in which I don’t think would have happened unless I hired escorts.  It’s specifically because the cash makes it professional.  It’s bad customer service for him to judge me for my interests…I’m not saying he has to put up with everything I want.  In fact, there’s some things that I’ve asked for that he says not to…If he says no, then it’s no…That professionalism and that distance is profoundly helpful.  It takes me to a place where I can just enjoy sexuality.  It’s nice and clean…I see laws against prostitution as intolerant…We know from Romer v. Evans, that mere moral prohibition against something is not sufficient grounds for making a practice illegal.  In Lawrence v. Texas, for the life of me, I cannot see how Kennedy’s reasoning about an ordered liberty about private choices between consenting adults doesn’t cover prostitution.  He has that weird declaration at the end of his opinion that this case has nothing to do with prostitution.  It comes out of nowhere, he just stuck it in there to cover his ass…It strikes me as profoundly cruel for people who have more barriers to an enjoyable sex life, to just criminalize a method that works for both parties…

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I have never met anybody who says there will be a day when no one is selling sexual services for money. You will never stop it.  –  Jean Urquhart

Think of the Children! 

No doubt the child was contaminated with sex rays!

A Scottsdale, Arizona private school kicked out a five-year-old boy the day before starting kindergarten…because his dad once worked in porn.  Jay Grdina is now a millionaire CEO of Dolce Bevuto…But before moving into the “lifestyle beverage” industry, Grdina ran the website ClubJenna.com with ex-wife Jenna Jameson…Grdina no longer works in the adult industry, and he also remarried (model Erin Naas) and had two children. Grdina told TMZ that the family enrolled their son Jayden at Scottsdale Christian Academy (SCA) in May after a six-month process of applications and interviews…

Enabling Oppression

I’m glad more people are seeing how loathsome it is for prohibitionists to link sex work to historical American black slavery:

For anti-prostitution campaigns pushing for the criminalization of the sex industry, “slavery” has been decontextualized from Black struggle and repurposed to describe [sex work]…Mobilizing slavery in this way has always seemed a deeply disrespectful appropriation of Black suffering, disrespectful both to our deceased ancestors and to our still-endangered lives as Black folks.  But by hijacking the terminology of slavery, even widely referring to themselves as “abolitionists”, anti-sex work campaigners have not only (successfully) campaigned for funding and legal reform; but they do so without any tangible connections to historical or current Black political movements against state violence.  Indeed in pushing for criminalization, they are often undermining those most harmed by the legacy of slavery…

End Demand

I’m rather glad to see the return of “criminal whore” rhetoric:

…Fall River…stings were sporadic and usually only targeted the would-be customers.  “That’s the wrong approach,” Fall River Police Chief Daniel S. Racine said…undercover [pigs] are now frequently, almost on a weekly basis, driving unmarked vehicles while patrolling areas known for prostitution activity…looking for both the street prostitutes and the johns, and arresting them.  “We’re looking to deter prostitution on both ends, the supply and the demand,” said Racine, who acknowledged that the police department will not completely eliminate what is often called the world’s oldest profession…[a clueless business owner] said…“A lot of the customers are from out of town, and I don’t want to give them that image of Fall River, as if that’s the type of neighborhoods we have, because it’s not”…

In other words, he wants “that type” of neighborhood “cleaned up” so as to prove it never existed.

Pearls Firmly Clutched Fast Girl

Her escorting was “caused” by being bipolar?  Really, Suzy?

…Suzy Favor Hamilton…was a three-time track and field Olympian who had been featured in magazines and who also had a loving family – so fans were shocked in 2012 when she was outed as a high-end escort in Las Vegas.  In her new memoir, Fast Girl, Hamilton says that her bipolar disorder, which had not yet been diagnosed, caused her shocking behavior.  “My bipolar was driven toward sex.  It could have been driven towards drugs and alcohol, or gambling.  I found sex was the biggest high to fuel my mania, which is common with bipolar people,” Hamilton tells People

Catastrophic Consequences (#407)

Jean Urquhart, MSP moves beyond merely “calling for debate”:

Sex workers and charities across Scotland are rallying behind an MSP’s proposal to decriminalise prostitution in the country…HIV Scotland and NUS Scotland have championed the MSP’s consultation, as has Scot-Pep, the sex worker-led charity that advocates for the safety, rights and health of people who sell sex in Scotland…The proposed bill would permit sex workers to work in groups of up to four…laws against soliciting and kerb-crawling would be scrapped…Sex workers would also be permitted to have joint finances with family members or flatmates…

Above the Law (#418)

The French just love these massive DNA fishing expeditions:

…as part of a probe into the rape of a Canadian tourist at police headquarters in Paris…all 120 police officers and civilian staff who were present in the building on the night the rape took place…are being tested over three days…Investigators are trying to find a match for a so far unidentified DNA sample taken from sperm found during the victim’s medical examination…

Last time it was even worse.

Now They Notice

The [Rentboy] crackdown may have felt unprecedented to some, but it’s the public’s response that’s new.  When law enforcement targets sex workers and the websites they use, mainstream outlets and organizations tend to give them a pass.  But with Rentboy, that script has flipped…media and advocacy groups who don’t typically bring a political analysis to sex work responded to the raid primarily as an anti-gay attack, while also calling for an end to the policing of sex workers.  Some American LGBTQ organizations in particular have rallied around the political nature of the raid—in a way women’s rights groups in the United States, when women sex workers are targeted in similar raids, have not.  In fact, it might be the relative silence of women’s rights groups on the Rentboy raid that has provided space for sex workers’ rights to become the main focus of the story…

Ashley Madison (#567) Asley Madison bot tool

It seems I wasn’t the only one who had Ashley Madison pegged as a scam years ago:

…Ashley Madison created tens of thousands of fembots to lure men into paying for credits…To the Ashley Madison “guest,” or non-paying member, it would appear that he was being personally contacted by eager women.  But if he wanted to read or respond to them, he would have to shell out for a package of Ashley Madison credits, which range in price from $60 to $290.  Each subsequent message and chat cost the man credits.  As documents from company e-mails now reveal, 80 percent of first purchases on Ashley Madison were a result of a man trying to contact a bot, or reading a message from one…company executives were in a constant battle to hide the truth.  In emails to disgruntled members of the site, and even the California attorney general, they shaded the truth about how the bots fit into their business plan…

Now They Notice (#567)

Why the fuck are some gay dudes so totally fucking clueless, and announce their ignorance so loudly?

The Rentboy raid sparked a conversation among LGBT organizations who noted that similar, heterosexual-geared sites advertising escort services did not meet similar fates…Sasanka Jinadasa…[of] HIPS, Inc…[says] “Targeting sex work is an indirect way of targeting the LGBT community without calling it outright discrimination”…Becky believes regulating the sex industry…would provide more protection…[Nick] Kinkand…[bloviated] “A lot of people’s biggest complaint about sex work is the fact that there are these women or children that are being trafficked into the country to do this…If it were to become legal, it would reduce that, because…instead of going to…the street corner where these people…have diseases or something, I can go to a reputable place and see a reputable person”…

The most astonishingly-stupid statement in all that astonishing stupidity is the idea that straight escort sites aren’t targeted by cops.

A Load of Farley (#570)

Hilary Hanson of Huffington Post is beginning to distinguish herself as an ally:

Men who pay for sex may be more inclined to sexual violence and have less empathy for women, according a study that made headlines last week.  But…the study’s lead researcher was Melissa Farley, founder and director of…a nonprofit with the stated goal of abolishing prostitution.  The research was funded by a grant from Hunt Alternatives, a private organization with the stated goal of “combating the demand for purchased sex”…

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It’s basically a vice-squad operation writ large over the entire nation and imbued with overstated moral urgency.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

R.I.P. Candida Royalle Candida Royalle

Former porn star Candida Royalle, regarded as a pioneer for her work in front of and behind the camera, has died after battling ovarian cancer.  She was 64.  The actress — whose [legal] name [was] Candice Vadala — performed in more than two dozen adult films, but was best known for her work as a director… “Everyone assumes I was probably given a hard time by the adult film biz but they always treated me fairly, even if they at first doubted me,” she explained on her website.  “They’ve come to respect that I was the first one with vision and recognition of what would become the ‘couples’ market”…

A Load of Farley

Farley’s going to keep hawking this same snake oil until she croaks:

Last week, research making the media rounds declared that men who pay for sex are more sexually aggressive, pathologically masculine, and likely to commit sexual assault than other men…this study—led by noted anti-sex work activist Melissa Farley and funded by a group which aims to “eliminate” prostitution—comes with a host of important caveats before taking too seriously its purported conclusions…all participants live in Boston…The kind of people likely to be trolling newspapers and Craigslist for gigs and to be enticed to talk about their sex lives for cash may also differ in significant ways from the general male population…The claim that men who pay for sex are more likely to commit sexual violence is based not on their criminal pasts but on their answers to a number of personality questions and hypotheticals…on a 34-item questionnaire…it’s a stretch to say they’re “more likely to commit rape” and not at all the same as saying they have “a dark history of violence against women”…Farley has a long history of publishing research that casts prostitution in a negative light, frequently speaks about prostitution’s perceived ills, and has run an anti-prostitution advocacy group…for the better part of the past two decades. Its goal is “to abolish the institution of prostitution.”  The research was funded by a group with a mission to eliminate “men’s assumption of the right to prostitution” [and]…study authors thanked famous anti-pornography activist Catherine MacKinnon for her “invaluable” and “critical feedback regarding the summary and interpretation of these findings.”  In promoting this study, Farley casually calls strip clubs hubs of child sex trafficking and says things like, “We hope this research will lead to a rejection of the myth that sex buyers are simply sexually frustrated nice guys”…

Monkey Business

They’re on their way

In April, a chimp in The Netherlands took down a drone being used to film the Burgers’ Zoo…researchers now say the video shows that the chimp planned out its actions in advance.  The drone had already flown by in a practice run, at which time it caught the attention of several chimps in the enclosure…And when it came back, they were ready:  Two females sat where the drone was going to hover, holding long twigs…their faces show exertion, but not fear — indicating that they were acting deliberately, and not flailing around in terror at the foreign object…

Sold Out 

The modern LGBT rights movement has been veering toward conservatism for some time, evidenced by its primary and overarching mission to finally achieve Marriage Equality…a civil rights movement which once championed our right to sexual liberation and a declaration of our right to be “different”…essentially withered into a call for assimilation…Promiscuity, probably the most common of vilified behaviors, is regularly regarded not as an individual’s command of their own sexual agency but instead an expression of their lack of self respect or sense of self worth, as something pitiable and damning.  Likewise sex work…is a shameful and exploitative act…blanket generalizations of “right” and “wrong” rule the discourse…

The Missing Word

I know I’ve written about this before, but I can’t find it:

A Pennsylvania judge convicted of sending young kids to juvenile detention centers in return for cash has been sentenced to 28 years in prison…Mark Ciavarella Jr. was convicted of taking up to $1 million in bribes from developers of juvenile detention centers in…Pennsylvania.  The disgraced judge became known for doling out harsh sentences for small, petty crimes in order to receive payment for each kid sent…

Crying for Nanny (#539)

“Induce sex trafficking”? That’s some serious bullshit there:

…Washington’s Supreme Court has refused to dismiss a lawsuit against [Backpage] by three minors who say they were raped by adults who responded to ads on the site.  The ruling is at odds with other decisions that have held Backpage, Craigslist and other sites are immune from civil lawsuits based on crimes by users…Backpage asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed at an early stage, arguing that the federal Communications Decency Act immunizes Web services companies from liability for acts by users.  But the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the Communications Decency Act doesn’t protect Web sites that “develop” objectionable content, as opposed to sites that merely “host” the content…”It is important to ascertain whether in fact Backpage designed its posting rules to induce sex trafficking,” Judge Steven Charles Gonzalez wrote for the majority…

Shifting the Blame (#553)

Nobody ever sold sex before Backpage!

…Backpage.com…now turns up in countless police reports…sex workers and those who exploit them for profit increasingly turn to the Internet to facilitate their activity…Research suggests many sex workers enter the trade as teenagers…and more than one third have had abusive or violent clients…The danger inherent in the trade was highlighted on July 2 when…34-year-old…Sanisha Johnson was…robbed and murdered by two Massachusetts men who arranged to meet her on Backpage…

Ashley Madison (#557) escorts-ca

Surprising no one:

Avid Life Media, the…parent company of…Ashley Madison, secretly operated an online escort service, recently leaked documents reveal.  The company was allegedly actively recruiting escorts for a separate “dating” website that was aimed at “sugar daddies”…escorts.ca…is similar to other online directories for escort services which have triggered anti-prostitution raids by US law enforcement authorities.  The website was reportedly leased though a shell company called Pernimus Limited…

Amnesty At Last

Kari Lerum on the Amnesty declaration:

…While celebrities typically capture more attention than scientists, Amnesty listened to the latter.  After two years of consulting with global health and human rights researchers as well as sex workers and victims of human trafficking, the largest and arguably most respected human rights organization in the world made its game-changing declaration.  Amnesty International will now develop policy on nation-states’ ethical obligation to decriminalize sex work…Immediately following the vote, CATW issued a press release declaring that Amnesty International…“deliberately excluded the voices and expertise of survivor-leaders and women’s rights organizations”…given the rigorous and prestigious research cited by Amnesty, in combination with a dearth of medical and academic researchers affiliated with either CATW’s board of directors or petition, this particular accusation may ring hollow…

Vendetta (#569)

The differences between the way this is covered by badge-lickers:

A coalition of dozens of law enforcement agencies arrested more than 1,000 pimps and sex buyers in a summer-long series of prostitution stings…known as the National Johns Suppression Initiative…A total of 39 law enforcement agencies across 18 states arrested 961 men trying to buy sex and 71 pimps or traffickers…Sheriff [Tom] Dart [said]…“These women and girls have been brutalized and exploited – and the most effective way to deter these heinous crimes is to target the demand.”  The Cook County Sheriff’s office has repeatedly attacked Backpage.com as a haven for pimps and traffickers…occasionally, officers encountered children while carrying out the stings…

…and the way it’s covered by rational people is both striking and instructive:

Every summer, police and prosecutors from around the country come together…to saddle men with criminal records for attempted sex…the months-long effort…turned up fewer than 75 individuals suspected of anything tangentially related to sex trafficking (including “pimping”, pandering or “promoting prostitution”).  But police were able to arrest nearly 1,000 men who indicated they might like to pay adult women for sex, along with an untold number of sex workers themselves…This summer’s Johns Initiative will net law enforcement a minimum of $189,170 in fines for the solicitation arrests alone…Dart claims they uncovered 308 sex-trafficking victims, including 258 adults and 50 minors.  But it’s hard to say what this really means, since all minors engaged in sex work are labeled de facto victims by police…and many police departments have started classifying sex workers of any age as trafficking victims—at least for public-relations purposes.  After the press releases come out, however, these adult and teen sex workers are all-too-often arrested if they refuse to cooperate with cops, and sometimes even if they do.  Pittsburgh’s Detective Ryczaj said arresting sex workers is “the kindest thing you can do for them,” because he thinks they’re mostly homeless, drug addicts, or mentally ill…

Little Boxes (#569)

A 46-year-old…from Charleston, South Carolina was arrested…after allegedly assaulting two women who pose painted and topless for tips in Times Square…Mark Walters took a picture with…20-year-old [Lourdes Carrasquillo]…then “became irate,” and “dragged” the woman to the ground by her hair. When…32-year-old [Maria Ruiz] attempted to break up the “fight,” Walters allegedly hit her in the right ear…Walters accused Carrasquillo of stealing his wallet before assaulting her, although cops have found no evidence to support this claim…in an unrelated incident, undercover officers arrested a desnuda [named Destiny Romero] after she allegedly agreed to perform oral sex on an undercover officer for money…

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When you have sex with someone, you give them a part of your soul.  – quoted un-ironically by Time

badge-lickingAfter the events of the last several weeks, a recent article in Time seems bizarrely anachronistic.  Now, long-form articles like this one aren’t written in days, but in weeks; it’s pretty obvious that this one was started on the other side of the watershed, and the passages about Amnesty may have been grafted on as an afterthought.  Because while many reporters these days are beginning to be skeptical of “sex trafficking” lies, this one swallows them like a local-paper stenographer.  While in the wake of the Rentboy raid, most large media outlets are beginning to view the shockingly sexist rhetoric of “sex trafficking” fetishists with more skepticism, Time  instead parrots neofeminist gobbledygook about “prostituted women” and evil men who “exploit” them by offering them pay for services rendered.  And while many stories now quote experts who have actually studied the violence inflicted by cops upon sex workers, this one instead quotes cops as though they weren’t pathological liars and licks badges with a fellatory gusto that is quite nauseating.  The article is much too long and derivative to bother quoting at length, but I would like to focus on a few of the more horrific passages.

The first subsection sets the tone by mindlessly repeating prohibitionist claims without an investigation whatsoever.  Even the slightest bit of research, for example, would have revealed the egregious lie behind Tom Dart’s “end demand” pogroms:  while the claim is that Tom Dart’s Chicago police operations now concentrate on clients and “help” sex workers, in fact felony convictions for sex workers have increased 68% since the start of the program, and now make up 97% of all prostitution-related felony convictions in Cook County. Furthermore, while it pays lip service to the recognition that transwomen are disproportionately represented among sex workers, it doesn’t mention Dart’s vile practice of charging trans sex workers as clients to boost the appearance of “ending demand”.  It relies heavily on stigmatizing language like “some men…grasp at the sexual cornucopia they think they are owed” to generate anti-client feelings, despite the obvious illogic in the idea that people who seek to buy a thing actually think they are “owed” that thing.  And it revels in the degradation of men who are treated as criminals for seeking consensual sex, an approach that would be vilified if it were discussing busts of gay men in bathhouses.

The next section is propaganda for the Swedish model on which “end demand” is based, but like all pro-Swedish articles does not mention that violence vs sex workers increases under that model; furthermore, it pretends that Dart’s “CEASE network” is an independent association of cities, when in fact it is merely a front for a private organization, “Demand Abolition”, run and funded by morally-warped multi-billionaire Swanee Hunt.  It also fails to mention that those who have attacked Amnesty’s support for decriminalization are not sex workers or objective researchers, but moralistic ideologues committed to suppressing the truth about the harm caused by the Swedish model, ideologues who repeatedly mischaracterize the model as “decriminalization” in order to fool the uninformed into thinking sex workers, Amnesty and other human rights organizations support it.  And as usual, it conflates legalization with decriminalization, then touts the problems of the former (which virtually no sex workers support) as though they occurred under the latter.

Tom Dart on fireNo article lionizing the revolting Tom Dart could be complete without praising his campaign against Backpage, which of course ignores the terrifying constitutional and practical implications of allowing a local politician to make decisions affecting not only the whole US, but the entire world...including countries in which prostitution is perfectly legal. And though it quotes Amnesty about the violence of some clients vs. sex workers, it totally ignores the far greater problem of police violence – including rape – against sex workers in criminalized and legalized regimes.  But of course, this makes perfect sense; if one is going to publish propaganda, one can’t be distracted by facts.  And if one’s going to publish a hagiography of a monster, one’s going to have to ignore or misrepresent the various evils and tyrannies for which he is responsible.

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If we let consenting adults have sex, who knows what else they’ll want permission to do?  –  The Onion

Reaction Formation

This is a pretty decent explanation of reaction formation:

…some of the people who rail against porn…or any of the other controversial items on the sexual smorgasbord…are actually turned on by the thing they decry.  They may not know it consciously, but being anti-whatever actually gives one a grand excuse for being immersed in whatever…many absexuals don’t truly understand what a strong erotic response they’re actually having…They just can’t seem to shut up about it.  And they get really worked up—I believe they go into the sexual response cycle when they begin to pontificate about the things they hate so much…

Saving Them From Themselves

Fayetteville, North Carolina, cops have charged 17-year-old Cormega Copening with sexual exploitation of a minor—his girlfriend, who is the same age—because the couple sent each other nude photos of themselves…There’s no evidence the photos were ever sent to anyone else, and police only became aware of them because they searched Copening’s phone for unrelated reasons that haven’t been specified.  Even so, the teen…faces decades on the Sex Offender Registry and up to ten years behind bars if convicted…Copening’s girlfriend—who remains unnamed in the news articles—is also facing charges…

Above the Law rapist cop Brian Tucker

Prince George’s County, Maryland has more than its share of predatory cops:

…State…trooper Brian Tucker…picked up [a]…woman…and the two decided to have sex…Tucker…drove the woman to an abandoned industrial area…and…the two had consensual sex before the trooper asked the woman if she wanted to have anal sex and she refused…Tucker put his service weapon to the woman’s head and anally raped her…

The End of the Beginning

More of this, please:

…In 2011 the city council of Lynn, Massachusetts, enacted an ordinance than prohibits certain categories of sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or park—exclusion zones that cover 95 percent of the town’s residential property…the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) of Massachusetts overturned the ordinance, concluding that it conflicts with the state’s scheme for regulating sex offenders after they are released from prison…”By requiring level two and level three sex offenders to move from their residences or face a civil penalty of $300 per day,” the opinion says, “the ordinance disrupts the stability of the home situations of sex offenders.  As a supervised and stable home situation has been recognized as a factor that minimizes the sex offender’s risk of reoffense, this disruption is inconsistent with the Legislature’s goal of protecting the public”…

Frequently Told Lies

A good dissection of the ridiculous pretense that every sex worker who wants decriminalization is “unrepresentative”:

Accusations of unrepresentativeness in sex industry debates are most often deployed to silence – acting as full stops in the conversation.  They enable sex industry abolitionists to restrict the discussion to the topic of identity, miring it in issues of “representativeness” instead of exploring the substance of the representations being made.  This preoccupation may be partly why abolitionists seem to have such a poor grasp of the subtleties of sex industry politics…

January Q & A (#417)

There’s a word for men who exploitatively profit from sex workers without giving them anything in return:

…Brian Bates, known to many as the “Video Vigilante,” posted a video…on his JohnTV website…using a drone…the device he uses now costs about $2,000.  He also had to spend the equivalent of several 24-hour days learning how to fly the thing…Bates said he earns a living through posting his videos on YouTube and by licensing his footage to TV production companies all over the world…

Vendetta (#432)

This abomination will continue to be inflicted on ever-larger numbers of victims until Hunt’s weapons are forcibly removed by decriminalization:

Las Vegas…recently wrapped up its participation in a national initiative designed to [inflict Swanee Hunt’s sad, sick psychodrama on people who never did her any harm]…Cook County (Ill.) Sheriff Thomas J. Dart began these operations in 2011…[and the number of pigs at the teat] has grown from eight agencies to more than 70.   The 10th “National Johns Suppression Initiative” ran from June 1 through Aug. 30…A variety of sting operations locally resulted in…34 “John” arrests…36 [underage sex workers arrested]…44 adult sex [workers arrested]…26 [other people charged as pimps and]…23 search warrants served [to look for loot]…The Onion logo

The More the Better (#512)

The humor sites have much better, more sensible coverage of sex work than the so-called “serious” media.  With the exception of one very flat note in the “cons” section, The Onion‘s “The Pros and Cons of Legalizing Prostitution” is wonderfully snarky and dead on target.

Traffic Circle (#546)

It’s so, so wonderful to have Glenn Kessler on our side:

ECPAT…attributed [the “100,000 trafficked children” lie] to 2010 congressional testimony by Ernie Allen, at the time president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)…Allen said he relied on two reports…Estes and…Weiner…and the 2002 National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway Children (NISMART)…Both of these…rely on data collected in the 1990s…the Estes-Weiner report has been the subject of criticism by social scientists for years, and yet for some reason it remains the go-to source for anti-trafficking advocates…But…the NISMART report…shows that only 1,700 kids — less than one percent — reported having engaged in sexual activity in exchange for money, drugs, food, or shelter during the episode…more than three-quarters were away from home for less than a week; 99.8 percent…were recovered.  So the pool of children who could end up being trafficked is relatively small…

If You Want Something Done Right…

Police say they are seeking tips after a woman working as a prostitute at a [Michigan] motel fought with two armed robbers and took a rifle away from one of them.  She called…police…to report the robbery…When she heard a knock at her door she thought it was [a client but]…a masked man with a rifle forced his way into the room…A second young man followed behind the first…and there was a scuffle…The woman fell or was knocked down the stairs after she seized the rifle from one of the young men…One of the two assailants grabbed the woman’s purse from her room after she fell…

Amnesty At Last (#564)

It’s starting, slowly but surely:

[Oklahoma City] Councilman Ed Shadid said he wants the city to consider legalizing – or at least decriminalizing – prostitution…”I think we should stop criminalizing sexual behavior.”  Shadid spoke during a discussion of a “Disorderly House” ordinance, which expanded the definition of an “open lot disturbance violation” to include drugs and prostitution.  The ordinance passed, but Shadid said criminalizing prostitutes is not the way to solve the city’s problems…Shadid, a surgeon, said he is worried about the spread of antibacterial-resistant and sexually-transmitted diseases…”Do you want to use [shame and impoverishment and imprisonment] for nonviolent, consensual activities, where perhaps in some cases it could be safer if it were regulated?”…

Little Boxes (#566)

I was wondering how long it would take them to cram this into the “sex trafficking” paradigm:

Three women who pose painted and topless for tips in Times Square say that ten undercover police officers [stole] their clothing, purses, cellphones and wallets from the pedestrian plaza at 42nd Street…while they were using the bathroom at a nearby parking garage.  The women had to walk nine blocks in their paint and robes to the Midtown South precinct in order to retrieve their possessions.  There, before returning any items, detectives questioned them each separately in an interrogation room…The [harassment]…coincided with the arrest of their assistant Chris Olivieri [who] spends afternoons…holding their tips…running for snacks and tampons, guarding their clothing, and painting their breasts, backs, and legs…the Daily News, the mayor, and Governor Cuomo have recently tried to imply that male “managers” (“pimps,” if you read the tabloids) force the women, so-called “desnudas,” to work…

Now They Notice

Of course, this was glaringly obvious from the start:

…The New York Times served up a prime example of…incongruence in two editorials that ran…on the very same day. In…a statement by the august Editorial Board, the Rentboy raid was presented…as an attack on civil liberties enabled by the illegality of prostitution.  The Times board advanced the notion that the men using the site — on both the buying and selling side — were rational actors who were victimized only by hectoring law enforcement.  The solution, clearly, was the decriminalization of sex work…Contrast that with the op-ed by Rachel Moran, a [prohibitionist pretending to be a] former prostitute…which is…an attack on the recently proposed Amnesty International policy drafted to protect the rights of sex workers worldwide…The two editorials…fall along lines of gendered doublespeak that remain consistent in mainstream media: Decriminalization would liberate male sex workers, who are presumed to have complete sexual autonomy, while it would all but enslave females, who are presumed to have none…

Even MSNBC published a sensible position for a change:

…unlike MyRedbook.com (also raided by the federal government) and Craigslist Erotic Services (shuttered by political pressure), no one has justified the raid on Rentboy as necessary to stopping human trafficking or protecting any victims…Sex workers consistently say they find it safer to screen clients online than on the street.  Closing down such websites directly increases the risk of harm to sex workers.  That is the effect of criminalization…Advocates of prosecution invoke racialized myths of sex work as dominated by “pimps” and “traffickers” that don’t bear out in research…Meanwhile…resources that could go to uncovering actual trafficking and supporting victims are being wasted on locking up sex workers and shuttering escort sites…

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