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Posts Tagged ‘Bone of Contention’

If [Bill C-36] becomes law, johns will become the new “fags” – the people fed into the fear factory of career-ending public exposure and the criminal underground because of their personal sexual choices.  –  Alice Klein

Think of the Children! 

But, but, he was in the same BUILDING!!!!!!!

John is a U.K.-based father and sex blogger who publishes original erotica and toy reviews on his website, the  Bawdy Bloke…Until recently, John also held what he refers to only as an unpaid, part-time “position of civic responsibility” in a local school.  Apparently John’s boss thought the two positions were mutually exclusive.  After discovering John’s career as an online erotica author, he asked John to resign from his position immediately…John…[did] not…work…with children in any capacity…it sounds like [his job was] a pretty general IT/administrative support role…

My Body, My Choice

A good essay against client criminalization; here’s the heart of it:

…I find it very ironic that many of the arguments used to suggest that it is morally offensive for men to buy sex from women are adopted from extreme feminist views.  Many of these same feminists are pro-choice, rightly declaring that no one has the right to tell a woman what she can do with her body…yet when it comes to sex, these very same people are now here to say that a woman does not have the right to choose.  Her body is her own so long as she does nothing with it that these moral guardians find objectionable…

Lying Down With Dogs

This was going on at the same time as the recent FBI pogroms in the US:

Amnesty International has drawn attention to violent police harassment of sex workers in Tajikistan…as part of the government’s “morality” campaign…500 sex workers have been arrested…since…June [6th]…Men suspected of “homosexual behaviour” have also been targeted…officers beat people…and…subjected to…forced testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections…[there were also] reports…of rape and…officers demanding sex in exchange for release…police allege that this violent crackdown is because they have been “inundated” with complaints from citizens…

Check Your Premises

Because 15-year-olds are only “innocent children” until cops say otherwise:

Three women and a 15-year-old girl were arrested…and booked with soliciting and inciting prostitution…at the 7 Star Foot Massage parlor in LaPlace…[after] a month-long investigation, dubbed Operation Happy Feet, by the St. John Sheriff’s Office…the 15-year-old girl was employed to work the front desk…

Parable

Bone of Contention

This is a good article about the myths surrounding streetwalkers, including 1) That they make huge amounts of money; 2) That they’re all addicts; 3) That they’re all foreign and “trafficked”; 4) That they’re dominated by pimps and gangs; 5) That they need rescue; and 6) That arrest and prison “help” them.  Unfortunately, it’s far too accepting of the false claims made by Swedish model proponents, which in the end makes it hard to recommend.

The Enlightenment Police

[The] European Court of Human Rights judgment upholding a…ban on wearing full-face veils in public…represents a profound retreat for the right to freedom of expression and religion…The…Court recognised that arguments for the ban based on security and gender equality were unfounded.  But it accepted the argument that wearing full-face veils runs counter to established social norms…The judgment was handed down by the European Court’s Grand Chamber, meaning it cannot be appealed…

Divided We Fall

It’s always great to see enthusiastic support from the queer community:

Sorry to ruin your WorldPride.  Sexual shaming is on the prowl, not just somewhere far away but, sadly, right here, right now…While [Toronto] celebrates our beauty and our outrageousness, the government is busy unleashing a moral panic…It used to be us, my queer brothers and sisters, who were the targets.  Now…men who purchase sexual services are the…new category to be targeted for their sexual preferences.  They are to be criminalized for what?  For seeking and hopefully finding an uncomplicated and pleasurable way to satisfy their sexual hunger?…

See No Evil

More people are beginning to protest this evil lunacy:

…If I…made a throw away mail account and sent you a file called “Very Important.pdf” but it was actually a .zip file of child porn, I could call the police and claim you had child porn in a disguised file — and that might well be enough to ruin your life, even if everyone involved was pretty sure you never even saw the pictures…prosecutors are so inhuman and irresponsible [that they]…charge people with crimes they know aren’t in the spirit of the law…The career incentives are that investigations must lead to charges, and charges must lead to convictions…once something is investigated prosecutors are motivated to make sure someone goes to jail…the law effectively treats every bit of crufty data, every teenage file system mistake or selfie indiscretion as if the possessor had abused the child themselves.  This is insane, and it doesn’t help children — it distracts time and attention from the real ways children get hurt…

A Whore in Church murder of Mariana Popa

A Muslim who stabbed a pregnant Romanian prostitute to death after warning her not to work near a mosque was jailed for at least 29 years…Farooq Shah, 21, plunged a knife into Mariana Popa’s chest while riding his bicycle along a stretch of road notorious for sex workers.  Miss Popa, 24, had been in Britain for just three weeks and was trying to earn the money to support her family when she was stabbed in Ilford, Essex…on October 28…

Harm Magnification (The Beat Goes On)

A recent study has concluded that the Nordic Model of prostitution laws could endanger sex trade workers…and does not affect the demand for prostitution…John Lowman, an SFU criminology professor, said that…similar policies in the 1990s…[created] “the killing field of Vancouver…where Mr. Pickton picked up most of [his] victims”…the report [states] that decriminalization of sex work…is the best way to ensure the safety of sex workers…

Above the Law

At least Los Angeles has the marginal decency to properly label sexual assault by a cop:  “A…detective pleaded no contest…to assaulting three [masseuses]…Oris Pace allegedly forced three women at separate [massage] parlors to undress…and fondled their bodies…”  Montana prefers to dismiss oral rape as “non-consensual oral sex“:

Michael Connelly…was sentenced…to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release…the victim reported that Connelly took her to a secluded place on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation…and threatened her with jail if she did not perform oral sex…Connelly was acquitted of the sexual abuse charge and convicted of the civil rights and false statement charges…

The Widening Gyre

Cops demand everyone serve them as unpaid informants, or else:

…Police say the staff at the Super 8 Motel off Route 161 knew drug deals and prostitution happened inside the rooms, and possibly tracked it themselves…police [claimed] “…the motel placed the drug dealers and prostitutes in certain rooms…to keep them isolated from other guests.”  Police say that…[constitutes] promoting prostitution …charges could lead to a ten year prison sentence…

King of the Hill

Irish Central brags that “A new US State Department report has named Ireland the top destination and transit country for sex trafficking…”  And what prodigious number of wailing victims earned this dubious distinction? “44  potential trafficking victims were identified…”  That’s potential victims, i.e. someone a cop pointed to.  It is to laugh.

Buried Truth John Balyo

John Balyo…an on-air personality at WCSG-FM, a Christian radio station [in Michigan]…was arrested…[for] sexual encounters with minors…Balyo paid…Ronald Moser…to arrange sexual encounters with…young boys…

Monsters

A New Zealand trans woman is in intensive care, after she was savagely attacked by a group of unknown men.  Anahera Rangitaawa…was reportedly attacked by three men…while on her way home from a quilting exhibition.  [She] suffered multiple fractures, including her skull, cheekbones, shoulder blades, and eye sockets…[and] will require facial reconstruction surgery…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #318) Anya17

I love scathing reviews of “sex trafficking” theatrical productions:

Anya17…[is an] 80-minute opera…which features an acerbic, graceless score by composer Adam Gorb  and a ham-fisted libretto by Ben Kaye, plunges the audience into the horrific milieu of international sex slavery…The degradation and brutality on display are almost unbearable…it was never clear what artistic purpose was served by these horrors.  Neither concrete enough to be journalism nor sufficiently probing or inventive for art, Anya17 winds up as simply a slog…

Tales from the Dark Side

The…conviction of a former New York City police officer in a plot to kidnap, torture, kill and eat women was overturned…by a federal judge…[for lack of] evidence…No women were ever abducted or harmed in the plot, but prosecutors [claimed] that [Gilberto] Valle had “crossed the line” while immersing himself in a fetish website where he communicated electronically with others…

Deafening Silence

The official narrative, touted by Western journalists and Maoist sympathizers, is that sex work was magically abolished by proclamation during Mao’s reign.  Here’s a refutation of that, courtesy of a former political prisoner:

…In China now, problems such as prostitution and crimes are often blamed as the results of spiritual pollution and capitalist liberalization due to Western influence…In fact, prostitution and crimes were not the results of the reform and opening-up but the results of Mao’s tyranny and Cultural Revolution…

Whither Canada?

A sensible article on this topic in a US newspaper is like a breath of fresh air:

…it’s clear that sex work takes place in Maine.  But public conversations…typically revolve around the same salacious and misinformed tropes…Meanwhile, just north of the border, Canada is taking a much different approach to policymaking around commercial sex…While Maine politicians, law enforcement officials, and social service agencies seem resistant to anything other than outright prohibition, more progressive thinkers should consider other ways of looking at this unnecessarily controversial issue…

And though they’re not so rare in Canadian papers, I still love them:

…non-coercive adult sexual behaviour lacks the element of potential misconduct that might justify bringing it into the ambit of the law in a free, secular society…[making] a man a lawbreaker because he offers to pay for a sexual service he could freely ask for as a gift or a favour…is a repudiation of the fundamental principles of free enterprise…Declaring female sexuality illegitimate, as patriarchal societies have done from time to time, has been as useless as declaring male sexuality illegitimate, as our matriarchal society is proposing to do.  The fact is, both are legitimate.  What is illegitimate is for the state to annoy and humiliate a taxpayer for attempting to communicate terms for a transaction that is nobody else’s business…

Rough Trade (TW3 #421)

More of this, please:

Four women raped by Danford Grant…have sued the Seattle attorney and his wife…Jennifer Grant…who helped hide her husband’s car from police after his arrest…Having denied the allegations and maligned his victims as lying prostitutes, Grant ultimately admitted to raping the women…

Comfort Zone (TW3 #422) criminals Obama wants to deport

It’s good to see the government hoist with its own petard:

The White House [wants]…Congress…to allow fast-track deportation of…unaccompanied children from Central America who cross the US border illegally…More than 52,000…have been stopped at the border since the start of October…many of them girls under the age of 13…The administration has had to adhere to anti-trafficking laws passed during the presidency of George W Bush which…[have] the potential for delaying deportation…Obama…is trying to counter a perception that unaccompanied children who arrive in the US are guaranteed the chance to stay…

The Roof Caves In

Boo fucking hoo:

In what appear to be Somaly Mam’s first public comments on…her resignation from the Somaly Mam Foundation (SMF)…last month, posts to one of her Facebook pages say that she will sell her house to support girls formerly under her care after SMF cut funding to an NGO she founded…In a number of posts…there is an outpouring of despair at SMF’s decision to cut off funding to Afesip…

If Men Were Angels

Police arrested a former church pastor on sex abuse charges…Michael George Sperou…used to be a senior pastor at North Clackamas Bible Community Church…the charges stem from a series of police reports involving juvenile girls who lived within the community in 1997…

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We whores are sure these politicians are not our sons.  –  sign carried by protesters in Istanbul

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

The FBI seized and ran a child pornography website for two weeks in November 2012…in an attempt to identify its more than 5,000 customers…

The Leading Players in the Field, Not

Nepal’s Supreme Court has accused a prominent anti-trafficking group of detaining a woman against her will so she could undergo counselling for being a lesbian…The court ordered the release of the woman from a centre run by…Maiti Nepal…which has been championed by…Joanna Lumley and…Demi Moore…The group’s founder, Anuradha Koirala, was awarded a “CNN Heroes Award”…in 2010…and Moore hosted a television programme called “Nepal’s Stolen Children” highlighting the organisation’s work…

Amanda McGillIt Looks Good On Paper

When “whore as criminal” and “whore as victim” collide:  “…a [Nebraska] human trafficking bill…would [have given] immunity from prosecution to [minors]…arrested for prostitution…Amanda McGill…offered an amendment that…would place [them]…under the jurisdiction of a juvenile court…[for] treatment…”  Because indefinite commitment is so much better than a criminal charge.

Dirty Amateurs

Sweden…[is] the…STD…capital of Europe…half of young Swedes don’t use condoms when having sex with a new partner and…30 percent…use no contraceptive…at all…

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

A woman…in Connecticut [called] police to complain about how she was being treated by a pimp…they did not find the pimp…but…did find…Jennifer Lowery with a…customer.  Police charged Lowery with prostitution and 60-year-old Ricard Burford…with patronizing a prostitute…Lowery told them she…decided to conduct some business while waiting…

See No Evil

Melbourne artist Paul Yore is likely to be charged with producing child pornography following the seizure of several of his art works…which allegedly depicted sexual acts with children’s faces superimposed on them…Yore described the…seizure as “very small fragments of a collage of…thousands of different objects…basically junk I’ve been collecting”…

Not To Be Taken Internally

Apryl Michelle Brown had black-market silicone injections which turned out to be BATHROOM SEALANT…“My body had a massive allergic reaction…the only way doctors could save my life was to amputate my buttocks…hands and feet”…

Mary SetterholmA Whore in Church

A profile of a former sex worker who’s assisted me with research on a number of occasions:

…Mary Setterholm…was a teenaged prostitute…[she] will graduate from Harvard Divinity School (HDS) with…a plan to help others find their way back from the edge of despair…She married young and had five children.  The union was rocky and abusive.  Once divorced, she returned to prostitution as a…way to take back some control…In 2003, a meeting with an inspiring nun named Sheila McNiff helped Setterholm to confront the abuse she had suffered as a child at the hands of clergy, and guide her back to education…Setterholm…[founded] Serenity Sisters…[a] support group…for exploited women and recovering prostitutes…She hopes to enter a Ph.D. program…expanding on her…thesis work, which explored the way prostitutes have been used in religious teachings as a stand-in for deviant or disbelieving members of society…

A War for Peace (TW3 #11)

Over the last 30 years…Iran is…moving in the [sexual] direction of Britain and the United States…Declining birth rates…signal a wider acceptance of contraceptives…the country has experienced the fastest drop in fertility ever recorded in human history…the average marriage age for men has gone up from 20 to 28 years old…and…women…five years later than a decade ago…The rate of divorce…has also skyrocketed…[previously] sex workers were virtually invisible…Now…there [are] close to 85,000…in Tehran alone…

Bullies With Badges

…Adam was, until recently, making a living as a self-employed web designer in South Carolina…he was hired to make a porn site…[with male] masturbation videos…after the site had been online for…24 days, Adam’s home was raided by [a SWAT team] and all of his computer equipment was seized…Adam [said] “the [customer] was [allegedly]…paying guys to let him give them blowjobs and film it…it definitely wasn’t…on the site…I wasn’t expecting four armed guys to bust into my mother’s home and steal all of my assets.  They’ve…ruined me…”

street lounger
Note that Adam wasn’t charged with anything; the police stole his entire business to be indefinitely held as “evidence” of someone else’s misdemeanor.

Whorearchy (TW3 #19)

This story about yet another Spanish city’s war on streetwalkers is not really noteworthy, but I love this picture which illustrates it.

Traffic Jam

Remember the supposed “child sex trafficking ring” run by “Somali gangs” that federal prosecutors were all puffed up about last year?

…every defendant who has gone to trial has either been acquitted or had their conviction thrown out.  The government’s case was weakened when…a key witness…refused to testify, saying he is afraid for himself and for his family.  So prosecutors charged Abdullahi Farah with two counts of contempt of court and obstruction of a child sex trafficking case.  He was convicted…in April…and…is facing a maximum of 20 years…for the obstruction conviction…and…life in prison [for contempt]…Legal experts say…it’s almost unheard of for prosecutors to come down so hard on one of their own witnesses…

Considering that “agents said Farah gave conflicting accounts and sketchy details” and the judge “said he had problems with Farah’s credibility”, I think the truth is obvious:  sleazebag prosecutor Van Vincent tried to pretend a bunch of petty thugs were a gigantic conspiracy, but drew a judge who wouldn’t roll over for him and is taking it out on the only available scapegoat.  Consider the prospect of life in prison for a contempt charge, and then tell me the US isn’t a police state yet.

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #21)

An American alibi-ya:

Paladin Deception Services, the self-proclaimed…”Leading Fictitious Reference Provider,” can “put together almost any fictitious scenario that you require”…Our agency can provide you with…testimonials over the phone in the local area code that you require.  We’re confidential, professional, innovative, and affordable.  Most importantly, we keep it legal…For only $54 (and $19.95 for each additional month), you get set up with a phone number, alibi verification and even options including…creation of a fictitious boss…

Backwards Into the Future (TW3 #21)

A United Nations Special Rapporteur has recommended that provisions relating to sex work in Namibia be repealed, stating that the “stigma, discrimination and violence” suffered by sex workers…often discourages them from accessing public services…[and hampers] efforts to reduce the spread of HIV-AIDS…Magdalena Sepúlveda states that…criminalisation of sex work…creates a climate…that fosters further violence and discrimination…

hijos putas
Birth of a Movement

Melissa Gira Grant published a short photoessay on sex worker participation in the current demonstrations in Istanbul, in earlier demonstrations in Madrid, New York and Mexico City, and in the Lyon church-occupation that launched the sex worker rights movement.

True Colors

On 30 May 2013…Ye Haiyan was detained by police after being assaulted at her home…[she] is an advocate for the rights of sex workers and people living with HIV/AIDS…[who] has been consistently targeted…because of her work…[she] managed to send out a series of messages on Twitter appealing for help…

Bone of Contention (TW3 #29)

Once again:  aren’t the late-night noise and public sex to which residents object illegal even if no money is exchanged?

…politicians have called a roundtable meeting…to look for ways to control street prostitution in South Auckland.  The meeting…may lead to amending or abandoning a bill…to give…the Auckland…police powers to arrest both prostitutes and clients who engage in commercial sex in a banned area…

The Scarlet Letter (TW3 #52)

Marc Randazza thinks of a clever way to attack “revenge porn” sites:

Adult entertainment attorney Marc Randazza filed two civil cases against revenge porn site UGotPosted.com on counts of distributing child pornography and failing to comply with 18 U.S.C. § 2257…the site posted…“sexually explicit images” of 14-year-old Abigail Talley’s [genitals]…2257 requires individuals or entities hosting adult content to inspect a government-issued form of ID to determine the name and age of every performer featured and to keep records of such information…had the defendants complied, it would have been apparent that the plaintiff was a minor…Despite the ongoing case, and intervention by an FBI agent…the defendants have yet to…remove the photos…

Sex Workers Against Trafficking (TW3 #139)

The main tip-off on…two sisters kidnapped from Dhaka…came from a sex worker in Pune, who contacted one of her relatives in Kolkata, who in turn contacted the girls’ relatives in Bangladesh…these girls had allegedly been lured with false promises and kidnapped by a…close acquaintance…[who] sold them to a brothel…

Regal InnBanishment

Government actors issue a warning of a problem created entirely by government actions:

…Kyle Evans with the Murfreesboro [Tennessee] Police Department…said sex offenders tend to congregate at hotels…”It meets the statutory requirements for them when they can’t live elsewhere”…The TBI confirmed 16 convicted sex offenders listed their home address at the Regal Inn…[and] said there is nothing illegal about hotels renting to sex offenders…

Absolute Corruption

Twenty-five years after it first indicted [Jesse] Friedman, the Nassau County [New York] District Attorney’s Office…could completely exonerate him.  Out of a dozen major child-sex-ring cases that roiled the country between 1984 and 2005, Jesse’s is one of the last convictions still standing…in November of 1987…postal inspectors intercepted…child pornography addressed to [his father]…police admitted that not one of the 30 children they…interviewed…reported any kind of abuse.  But…they kept re-interviewing the children—some as many as 15 times, and often for hours at a stretch…The children began to buckle, telling tales of extraordinary abuse…the Friedmans’ computer class was [claimed to be] a nonstop nightmare of coerced sex acts, where Arnold and Jesse abused kids…in plain view of other students…playing “naked leapfrog,” sodomizing kids as they jumped from one to the next…[children were supposedly] molested an average of six times during every one of the 20 90-minute classes they took…

Natural Processes

Of those who report their rapes, around 4–5% also describe experiencing orgasm. But the true numbers are likely much higher…[one] child therapist…[wrote on Reddit]…“There have been very few studies on orgasm during rape, but the research so far shows numbers from 10% to over 50% having this experience…In professional discussions, colleagues report similar numbers”…Despite what many rapists would like to believe, arousal does not mean that an assault was enjoyable or that a victim was asking for it…our bodies respond to sex…entirely without our permission or intention.  Orgasm during rape isn’t an…expression of pleasure.  It’s…a physical response…like breathing, sweating, or an adrenaline rush.  Therapists commonly use the analogy of tickling.  While tickling can be pleasurable, when it is done against someone’s wishes it can be very unpleasant experience…[yet] the one being tickled will continue laughing…

Under Every Bed

The supposed penetration of “sex trafficking” into every nook and cranny of the U.S. continues; notice the Profession of Faith in the first one:

Sex trafficking is real in South Dakota and won’t…be tolerated…”I still think there are a lot of naive people…who don’t feel it happens in their community but it is happening in their community,” Dawn Stenberg…of the Junior League of Sioux Falls…said…awareness…includes…hotel employees watching for young women who frequently come through their doors, and banks watching for suspicious transactions…[such as] “backpage.com transactions.  They see a lot of that illegal activity through that,” Stenberg said…

Orlando pervert conventionIf that kind of surveillance state doesn’t scare you, consider instead the rather disgusting sexual fantasies of Florida cops and bureaucrats:  “Orange County announced the creation of a task force aimed at stopping human trafficking in central Florida…Some of the victims…forced into prostitution are as young as 12 years old…most of the victims are children…Kathy…was 11 when she was sold to sex traffickers before being rescued by the FBI…

Obfuscation via Dysphemisms (TW3 #319)

Tulsa, OK continues its wicked crusade to charge whores with felonies via “use of a computer to violate state statute”.  And just for good measure, they also charged one of them with the “crime” of owning a house.  Don’t read the comments unless you want to feel ill.

Guest Columnist:  Kelly Michaels

Kelly appeared on the Sex With Timaree podcast to speak about her “Whoremom” project; please give it a listen and spread the link around!

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Those who would criminalise prostitutes seem oddly keen to eliminate true voices of experience from the discussion.  –  Brooke Magnanti

All Shapes and Sizes

Res ipsa loquitur:

…Jonah Falcon was stopped…by the TSA at the San Francisco International Airport…because of a bulging package hidden in his pants…the world’s largest recorded penis…[which is] 9 inches flaccid, 13.5 inches erect…”[A] guard…asked me if I had some sort of growth…I said, ‘It’s my dick’…He gave me a pat down but made sure to go around [my penis] with his hands.  They even put some powder on my pants, probably a test for explosives”…

The Camel’s Nose

Congress’ new strategy is to enact SOPA piece by piece so it doesn’t attract so much attention; though the Intellectual Property Attaché Act is mostly cultural imperialism like the “Trafficking in Persons Report”, it also creates yet another unelected “czar” with dictatorial powers.  Luckily, a group called the Internet Defense League (whose members include Public Knowledge, Reddit, Mozilla and the Electronic Frontier Foundation) was launched on July 19th; its purpose is to monitor threats to internet freedom and then spread the word and organize mass resistance (like the protests that stopped SOPA) whenever necessary.

Lying Down With Dogs

It’s always interesting to see how closely American anti-whore rhetoric resembles that of nations which are not exactly advanced or Western:

Lusaka Province Minister Gerry Chanda [rejected] calls by some members of the public to legalise prostitution…[because it] is illegal…cannot be tolerated…[and] is alien to Zambia…Inspector-General of Police Stella Libongani described sex workers as a “public nuisance” and warned them with arrest if found loitering on the streets…

Bone of Contention

So, aren’t vandalism and indecent exposure already illegal for everyone without a special law just for whores?

More than 40 [street sign] poles have been bent, buckled or broken in the past 18 months in one area of south Auckland, New Zealand… “Prostitutes use these street sign poles as dancing poles,” said [a member of the city council.  The claim appears in a pamphlet]…detailing frustrations of residents and businesses struggling to cope with [streetwalkers and calling]…on parliament…to give Auckland Council powers to ban sex workers from certain areas…other…incidents [include]…a transvestite [ramming] a supermarket trolley into a woman’s car before lying across the bonnet, and a school-bus full of children observing a transvestite changing her dress…

Sisters in Arms

Considering America’s grotesque inflation of penalties for every conceivable “crime”, what will happen if abortion is eventually recriminalized?

38 states have passed laws that create a crime for causing the death of a fetus…23 of which apply at the earliest stages of pregnancy.  What we have now is a what Professor Angela Davis calls a “prison industrial complex”:  a system of for-profit prisons so hungry for more inmates that it drives immigration policy, and pays off judges to fill jail cells with children…[and] so bloated that rural economies have become dependent upon the influx of inmates…since the 1970s, the rate of incarceration for women has increased over 700%.  We have lawmakers admit that they believe that women should face “serious” criminal penalties for having abortions.  We have so dismantled the right to privacy that state-mandated technological surveillance can literally invade women’s bodies.  We have Kafkaesque bedside interrogations and arrests of women who fall down stairs when they admit ambivalence about…single motherhood…two women…are [now] facing murder trials for losing pregnancies…Bei Bei Shuai…[and] Rennie Gibbs

Against Their Will

A new report by two Indian authors has poked holes into the “raid, rescue, and rehabilitation” schemes…targeting sex workers.  The report, titled We Have the Right Not To Be “Rescued”…says, “Contrary to the purported goal of assisting women, the anti-trafficking projects…often undermine HIV projects…causing harm to women and girls.”  The report alleges that [police raids on] brothels…are often violent.  Cases of sexual assault and rape and sodomy have also been reported during such actions…Research from Indonesia and India has indicated that sex workers who are rounded up during police raids are beaten, coerced into having sex [and]…placed in institutions where they are sexually exploited or physically abused.  The raids also drive sex workers onto the streets, where they are more vulnerable to violence…

An Ounce of Prevention

It looks as though an AIDS vaccine is finally within reach:

…a 2009 clinical trial in Thailand…tested Sanofi’s ALVAC, a weakened canary pox virus used to sneak three HIV genes into the body, and AIDSVAX, a vaccine originally made by Roche Holding’s Genentech that carried an HIV surface protein.  Both vaccines had poor showings in individual trials…[but] the…combination cut HIV infections by 31.2 per cent…Preparations are under way for a follow-up trial testing beefed-up versions of the vaccines among heterosexuals in South Africa and [homosexual] men…in Thailand…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Dr. Marty Klein not only explodes the myth of “sex addiction”, but also explains why it’s such a destructive paradigm:

…“Sex addiction” is a special weapon now used…to ignore science…ignite fear [and]…legitimize anti-sex moralism and bigotry.  And psychologists, judges, legislators, and the media are buying it…the sex addiction movement…did not arise from…sex therapy or any other sexuality-related field.  Rather, it was started in 1983 by Patrick Carnes, who…claims no training in human sexuality.  “Sex addiction” has been adopted enthusiastically by the addiction community, and to a lesser extent by the marriage and family profession—the latter historically undertrained and uncomfortable with sexuality…Of course, the media loves it, decency groups love it, and those who identify as some other kind of addict…love it, especially if they’re fans of the Twelve Steps…

If you still think some people are really “addicted” to sex, Dr. Klein suggests you take the Sexual Addiction Screening Test (SAST).  You may be surprised how high you score, but you shouldn’t be; “sex addiction” rhetoric pathologizes normal sexual feelings and behaviors.  As Dr. Klein points out, what the test really measures is whether you grew up in a sex-negative culture.  The article is well worth reading in its entirety, especially for its debunking of inane claims about “brain areas” and “erototoxins”.

Much Ado About Nothing

I guess the media must be bored with hooker “scandals”, because this report of T-men paying for women with government funds didn’t make the news; we’re told they won’t even lose their  jobs because the activity “didn’t include underage prostitutes or human trafficking.”  You know, just like 96.5% of the sex work persecuted in this country doesn’t.

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Here’s a trailer for a new documentary named The Mechanical Bride, narrated by the legendary Julie Newmar.

The Birth of a Movement

In the process of critiquing a French miniseries about the maisons closes, Dr. Brooke Magnanti has some illuminating comments about the historical reality ignored by the creators of the melodrama:

…Prostitutes moved between brothels and changed names often to avoid detection…the notion that girls…could not, and did not, shop around for management is absurd…the drama is an uncomfortable union of modern agendas superimposed on a historical setting.  Since it’s in the past, there are no inconvenient contemporary sex workers to show the complex reality of prostitution and spoil the abolitionist fantasy…

First They Came for the Hookers…

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?

…Harmony Rose…has been featured in more than 200 pornographic videos…[but] has…left the adult entertainment industry…and [is] training as a volunteer EMT…in Roanoke, VA…Fire Chief Rich Burch learned about Rose’s previous career…[and] contacted the…County Attorney…[who] noted, “Anything that results in public ridicule of the volunteer squads…must be avoided”…[and] that Burch “supports the decision of the volunteer chief if she decides to terminate the membership of [Rose].”  The community, however, seems to be on Rose’s side.  Of the over 500 comments that appear under the story on WDBJ’s Facebook page, nearly all support Rose’s continued work with the rescue squad…

Metaupdates

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea in August Updates

As in Canada, Indian politicians feel compelled to defend tyranny by opposing court orders to decriminalize prostitution:

The Supreme Court…agreed to examine [the federal government’s] plea that sex workers should not be allowed to operate…”with dignity” as suggested by a panel…[the] solicitor general [argued]…that any such endorsement…would go contrary to the…Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act which bans prostitution in toto…He also wanted the bench to remove…Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee from the panel…[the defense argued] that the Act only prohibited brothel activities and…pimps…[and that] if a sex worker carries out the activities on her own volition, [they are] not…illegal…

Traffic Jam in TW3 (#21)

Emi Koyama examines the increasing redefinition of “sex trafficking” into a “gang-related” activity, including this ridiculous “pimp classification” system dreamed up by cops and prohibitionists.  She persuasively argues that “What is ignored in all of these discussions of the (racially coded) evils of ‘gangs’ is that many young men…become gang members and engage in its criminal activities for many of the same reasons many young women…[enter] the sex trade: poverty, failure of social and child welfare systems and public education, lack of viable economic opportunities…what is the moral difference between a young woman who is told to go out and sell sex, and a young man who is told to go out and sell drugs? And yet, the mainstream anti-trafficking discourse would have us believe that the young woman is an innocent victim but the young man is an evil criminal…

Feminine Pragmatism in TW3 (#23)

It’s like watching someone repeatedly hitting her own fingers with a hammer:

Nadya Suleman…allegedly signed a contract…[with] T’s Lounge…in West Palm Beach, Fla…But after some teasing by a T’s staffer on TV, Suleman bailed on the deal, and now plans to make her…debut at a rival strip club instead.  That’s grounds for a lawsuit…[because] the…contract…barred Suleman from being booked at any other strip club within 50 miles, 90 days before or after her gigs at T’s…Suleman’s manager maintains the contract was not valid, because T’s never forked over…[the] deposit fee…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs in TW3 (#27)

First Guyana, now Singapore; let’s hope this list gets much longer:  “The Singapore government has lashed out at the United States over its human trafficking report…[due to] a number of ‘inaccuracies and misrepresentations’…

The Course of a Disease in TW3 (#28)

Sex workers aren’t the only ones angry over the French women’s minister’s prohibitionist crusade:

…How disappointing…that Vallaud-Belkacem’s most publicised policy announcement to date has been a pledge to “see prostitution disappear”…cynics would consider Vallaud-Belkacem’s grand plan a naive one, and typical of those that give radical governments a bad name.  Working girls in Paris…accused her of trying to drive a relatively well regulated industry underground…[and] Muslims…[hoped for repeal of] the crassly tagged “burqa ban”…Rather than presiding over job losses for…women, Vallaud-Belkacem should be…working to try to improve the lot of all women…

This Week in 2011

Head Games” describes the ways some clients try to control calls, and “July Miscellanea” featured items on a snooping gadget, another politician’s underwear photos, a woman getting plastic surgery to look like a drag queen & the suspension of the “anti-prostitution pledge” for domestic organizations.  “A Girl Who Can’t Say No” explains why I invest so much time in my work; “Social Construction of Eunuchs” examines people willing to sacrifice their childrens’ happiness to “social construction of gender”; “Concubine”  is a fictional interlude that you may find a bit disquieting; “Bootlickers” uses a campaign against bikini baristas to illustrate public collaboration with tyranny, and “J’accuse” was my first column on Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

This Week in 2010

What’s In a Name?” explains the many reasons whores use stage names; it was followed by “Couples” (a two-part column about couple calls), then “Modern Marriage”, which examines the reason for the high divorce rate.  “The Trick” was my very first fictional interlude, “The Myth of the Wanton” discusses the belief that women are more lustful than men, and “Just Drawn That Way”  looks at the complex motivations behind female sexuality.

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A girl of the painted cohorts of the city went along the street. She threw changing glances at men who passed her, giving smiling invitations to men of rural or untaught pattern and usually seeming sedately unconscious of the men with a metropolitan seal upon their faces…She hurried forward through the crowd as if intent upon reaching a distant home, bending forward in her handsome cloak, daintily lifting her skirts and picking for her well-shod feet the dryer spots upon the pavements.  –  Stephen Crane, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (Chapter XVII)

To the average American, the word “prostitute” is practically synonymous with “streetwalker”, despite the fact that only about 15% of all full-time prostitutes work primarily on the street (and that number seems to be shrinking due to the internet).  The National Task Force on Prostitution estimates 5-20%, the New Zealand study found 11%, a recent Canadian study said 10-20%, and other studies find comparable numbers.  So if they represent a minority of whores, why do so many people equate the two, even to the point that most popular excuses for criminalization apply mostly or completely not just to streetwalkers, but to the least fortunate segment of streetwalkers?

I examined the issue in my very first regular post, one year ago today, so there’s very little point in rehashing it; in a nutshell, I theorized that people think all or at least most prostitutes are streetwalkers because while the other 85% of us try to blend into the woodwork, streetwalkers by necessity try to attract attention because it’s their primary means of advertising.  In a later column I pointed out that the streetwalker is a mythic figure much like the cowboy; she presents a striking visual image, so even if the whore=streetwalker equation was not as prevalent before the 20th century, the coming of movies and television certainly made it so.  And of course the majority of hookers encountered by cops are streetwalkers; they’re the “low-hanging fruit” of our profession and therefore get busted far more often because they can be arrested at will without having to arrange elaborate “stings”.  For the same reason most government-sponsored “prostitution” studies are actually streetwalker studies because street girls are disproportionately represented in jails by a considerable margin and can usually be induced to provide whatever answers, however ridiculous, are desired by the “researchers”.

This narrow view of our profession is of course the fuel which keeps the fires of criminalization burning; cops make claims about “associated crime,” drug addiction, vagrancy and the like, and neofeminists paint pathetic pictures of women in unhappy, violent circumstances, and the public believes them because prior to the advent of the internet only those rare whores who could both write and win themselves book deals ever got a chance to speak in such a way that those who didn’t already know the truth could hear them.  Of course, the internet also gives cops, neofeminists and moralists the same ability to spread their lies as we have to spread the truth, so most people in the United States still don’t comprehend that it’s criminalization itself that creates the shadows in which abuse, degradation and crime thrive; criminalization begets crime, and the whore-hating busybodies are now as ever trying their hardest to disguise that fact and to distract people from reality with appeals to emotion and bigotry and cries of “think of the children!”

There are many well-informed people who recognize that most whores work indoors, but a large percentage of those still oppose decriminalization because they dislike streetwalkers; the Canadian and Dutch governments fall into that category (streetwalking is illegal in the Netherlands, and though it’s legal in Canada the girls are banned from actually talking to any potential clients).  San Francisco’s Proposition K of 2008 (a measure that would have effectively decriminalized prostitution in the city) failed by only 8%, and some advocates feel that it would have passed if it were limited to indoor prostitution.  A number of public figures (such as “Video Vigilante” Brian Bates) have gone on record as saying they’re against streetwalking but have no problem with indoor prostitution, and even many escorts feel that streetwalking should remain criminal even if indoor prostitution were decriminalized (a fact which makes some advocates extremely defensive about the subject).

Streetwalking is a bone of contention among those debating prostitution law and/or its removal, but both sides tend to ignore reality on the issue.  Those in favor of its criminalization ignore the fact that it’s already criminal now, yet it goes on anyway and the women are exposed to more danger because of its illegality.  And those in favor of decriminalization ignore the fact that even if prostitution and all its attendant activities were legal, police could still harass and arrest streetwalkers for loitering, vagrancy, disturbing the peace and many other “public nuisance” type charges.  In short, both sides (as is so typical in the United States) stubbornly cling to extreme positions which don’t accomplish what they actually want to accomplish:  the government wants prostitution out of public sight (and therefore out of mind), and sex worker rights advocates want our trade generally decriminalized, and under the present arrangement nobody is happy.  As I said in my column of last July 11th, “we may eventually have to accept some intermediate form of legal tolerance…and work from there; gay rights were not all granted in one court decision, and neither will prostitutes’ rights be.  Even the Founding Fathers were forced to remove anti-slavery language from the Declaration of Independence in order to secure the approval of the southern colonies, without whose cooperation independence was unattainable.”  As long as there are streets there will always be streetwalkers, and some people will be upset by their presence; if both sides work toward a compromise we as a society may eventually find some balance which will answer the majority of the concerns of both sides without trampling on anybody’s rights.

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