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Posts Tagged ‘brothels’

When two consenting adults have sex behind closed doors and if money changes hands then that is none of the state’s business.  –  Laura Lee

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Police in eastern India were left red-faced when a raid on a sex district discovered four of their own along with a convicted murderer whom they were supposed to be…transporting…to hospital for a check-up…

Who Watches the Watchmen?

I’m really happy to see the media slowly growing more skeptical of ludicrous statistical claims:

…[Several news sources claimed that] “According to the FBI’s latest study, more than 58,000 kids were abducted by non-relatives in one year”…The number is derived from data collected between 1997 and 1999, mainly from a telephone survey in 1999…these numbers come from an era that predates the wide use of mobile phones, which allow parents to keep much closer track of their children…this is an estimate, based on a survey, not based on actual incidents…Two key components of the 58,000 figure are children who are reported missing by their caretakers or children who were missed by the caretaker for at least an hour but no report was filed…These incidents may meet a legal definition of “abduction” but generally do not conform to the public’s understanding of an abduction…The number of stereotypical kidnappings is significantly smaller: 115…the most recent (2014) FBI data on abductions by a stranger in a single year is 332…

Down Under

A Porirua man is facing two rare charges of failing to use a condom during sex with a prostitute.  The safe-sex law is thought to have been applied only about seven times since the Prostitution Reform Act was passed in 2003…Before prostitution was decriminalised, sex workers were not able to complain about clients not wanting to use condoms…[The man] said he knew the prostitute would not have consented to his taking the condom off, so he did it without her knowledge…

Tyranny By Consensus

I certainly hope you saw this coming:

Since Los Angeles County passed a 2012 law requiring all male porn performers to wear condoms, some Californians have been trying to extend the requirement throughout the state.  Legislation to this effect failed last summer, but activists are now seeking to put the matter before voters in 2016…If…Michael Weinstein gets his way, he could be subsidized by the state to sit around reviewing porn.  Under the proposed condom measure…”Weinstein would be placed in charge of monitoring any adult film produced in California to determine if condoms were used…If a condom wasn’t readily apparent in each scene, Weinstein would be deputized by the Attorney General to review the raw footage of the production, and file lawsuits against anyone involved in the production, including but not limited to the producers, distributors, agents, and anyone with a demonstrable ‘financial interest’ in the production”…To remove Weinstein from this role would require a majority vote from both houses of the state Legislature…

Under Every Bed dopedopedope

Small towns can’t credibly claim to be “sex trafficking hubs”, so they call themselves “stops” instead:

Hundreds of social workers, police officers, clinicians and concerned locals gathered…to learn about the growth of…sex trafficking in southeastern Wisconsin…the Human Trafficking Forum…explored the causes and symptoms of what they call “modern-day slavery”…Every 10 minutes, a woman or child is trafficked in the U.S, resulting in more than 15,000 victims each year*.  An official with the Department of Homeland Security…described Kenosha as a “stopping spot” between Chicago and Milwaukee…[a cop bloviated that] “Twelve and 13-year-olds are the primary target, that’s middle schoolers.  We need to get the word out to parents and teachers”…

Canadian cops are just as absurd:

…Is there human trafficking in Guelph [Ontario, population 121,668]?  “Absolutely”…[lied cop Patty] Pronovost…girls as young as 12 are exploited by pimps…classified ad sites like Backpage…are popular among prostitutes and pimps…The average age of a girl entering the sex trade is 14.  On average, they would see 10 to 15 customers each day, but 30 in one day is not uncommon…

I wish 30 clients a day really were “not uncommon”; if that were true my bank account wouldn’t be in the sorry shape it’s in.

*15,000/year = 1.7/hour = 1/35 minutes ≠ 1/10 minutes.

Challenge

My friend Laura Lee does it again:

A sex worker is using European human rights legislation to try to overturn a new law in Northern Ireland that makes it illegal to pay for prostitutes.  Dublin-born law graduate Laura Lee is launching an unprecedented legal challenge that could go all the way to Strasbourg, against a human trafficking bill which includes banning the payment for sex among consenting adults…

Traffic Jam (#439)

Nearly two years ago, Monica Jones was…arrested for prostitution during a massive police sweep.  Now, she’s in Geneva, Switzerland, taking her case to the United Nations.  The arrest in May 2013 was not the first time the cops had harassed Jones, and she fought back, successfully challenging the charges in court while rising to become an outspoken activist and a widely recognized human rights advocate.  Beating her own charges was not enough for Jones, and now she is using her story to challenge the United States’ prostitution policies on the global stage.  The UN Human Rights Council is preparing its quadrennial review of the US’s human rights record in May, and this week Jones and advocates from across the world are lobbying the council’s member countries on policy recommendations…

The Last Shall Be First (#513)

A bill that would ban transgender people from using their preferred public bathrooms has now…been amended to make an exception for some transgender people who have legally changed their gender on government documentation.  In essence, it means transgender people would need to have their papers on them to pee…[the bill’s sponsor]  claims that the ordinance would prevent male sex offenders and other perverted, unsavory characters from entering women’s bathrooms and that it’s a matter of public safety.  Of course…such incidents…are almost unheard of in other states and municipalities that have passed protections for transgender individuals…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#523) Cheetahs

The fact that money is tight and online porn free couldn’t possibly have anything to do with this; it must be video games!

Strip clubs, with flashy signs advertising nude dancers, once had a strong footing in downtown centres across Canada.  But…an adult industry insider says strip clubs are an endangered species being killed off by lack of demand…Tim Lambrinos…[said]  “It seems that young Canadian males are more distracted with other types of interests — Game Boys, plugging in things and so on”…Toronto had 63 strip clubs a decade ago, now it only has 14.  Lambrinos admits licensed clubs are plagued with the perception they are tied to crime and unsavoury characters, but…that doesn’t match with the reality.  “In terms of crime, even public complaints, the licensed adult entertainment clubs were the bottom of the list…There were nail salons and hair salons and barber shops, restaurants that got far more complaints”…

Worse Than I Thought (#523)

A new “sex trafficking” law is so bad (HOW BAD IS IT?) that at least one “anti-trafficking” NGO has denounced it:

Looking to criminalize our way out of something hasn’t worked in any other issue and won’t work here…Services shouldn’t have to push victims to cooperate with law enforcement in order to receive funding…We need to be removing children from the judicial system, not increasing their involvement…being a trafficker is a specific crime and not just a catch-all for everyone who did something wrong to a child…This bill buys into a sensationalized presentation of a complex issue, to which the criminal justice system is somehow the solution…

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Unlike Takao who is very much missed, Komurasaki is missed by no one.  –  a Yoshiwara courtesan, quoted in 1683

By now the regular reader should have noticed three recurring themes in my harlotographies: one of them pertains only to whores of pre-modern times; the second up to at least a century ago (though it is more pronounced in ancient stories); and the third up until the present day.  Taking these in reverse order, they are as follows: the inability of amateurs to simply report biographical facts without embellishing, dramatizing and romanticizing them; the difficulty of ascertaining even numeric biographical details with any certainty; and the confusion of more than one harlot with the same name.  All three principles are highly noticeable in the tale of Takao, a Japanese oiran (courtesan) who lived from 1640 to 1659; the lady in question was one of at least six courtesans (some sources say as high as eleven) with that name, and so is generally designated with the unimaginative moniker “Takao II”.  Very little is known about her with any certainty other than the day of her death, December 5th, 1659; however, that didn’t stop talespinners from turning her story into one of the most popular of kabuki plays.

I’ve written at length about the world of the oiran, but this passage bears repeating:

Until 1617 prostitution was completely legal in Japan, but in that year the Tokugawa Shogunate issued an order restricting prostitution to certain areas on the outskirts of cities.  Yujo (“women of pleasure”) were licensed and ranked according to an elaborate hierarchy, with oiran (courtesans) at the top and brothel girls (who were essentially slaves) at the bottom.  These “red-light districts” were not implemented for the moralistic reasons which spurred their creation in the West, but rather to enforce taxation and keep out undesirables such as ronin (masterless samurai); prostitutes were also not allowed to leave the district except under certain rigidly-controlled circumstances.  Soon the districts grew into self-contained towns which offered every kind of entertainment a man might want, all entirely run by women.  Once a girl became a prostitute her birth-rank ceased to matter, and her status was determined by such factors as beauty, personality, intelligence, education and artistic skills.  Even among the oiran there were ranks, of which the highest were the tayu, courtesans fit to entertain nobles…

Takao was a tayu under contract to the Great Miura, the largest brothel of the Yoshiwara district.  Though we know absolutely nothing about her personality or skills, they must have been as striking as her beauty for her to achieve the position of “top girl” at the Miura house soon after her debut, and to become the most sought-after courtesan in Yoshiwara within a short time thereafter.  Every contemporary source (of which there are three) say she died of tuberculosis; Takabyōbu kuda monogatari (Tales of Grumbling Otokodate) also states that several of Takao’s clients paid for her funeral even though they had failed to visit her on her deathbed.  But despite “consumption” being the traditional cause of courtesan demise in Western romance, Takao’s tragic death at the peak of her success wasn’t nearly dramatic enough for kabuki; for that love, treachery and violent death needed to be added. 

Enter Date Tsunamune, who had become Lord of Mutsu at the age of eighteen after the death of his father.  Some of his kin, however, plotted against him and managed to trick him into visiting Yoshiwara as a means of getting him out of the way.  While there he hired Takao and immediately fell in love with her, proposing to buy out her contract and marry her.  This much is largely historical; Tsunamune was a real person whose did indeed face opposition from his family (and was deposed in 1660).  He may indeed have visited Yoshiwara, though a letter claimed to be from Takao to him has been proven a nineteenth-century forgery.  But the rest of the story as told for generations is the stuff of fiction.  Naturally, Takao is supposed to have rejected his offer; some sources feel mere dislike for the man or a desire for independence after the termination of her contract are insufficient motivations for the rejection, and invent a lover who had pledged to marry her when her term of indenture was up.  I’m sure y’all can guess where the story goes next:  Tsunamune refused to take “no” for an answer and made the brothel owner an offer she couldn’t refuse, Takao’s weight in gold for the contract.  The owner accepted, but took advantage of Tsunamune’s lust by putting iron weights into the sleeves of Takao’s robe, boosting her weight to 75 kilograms.  Some storytellers say that on the boat trip from the brothel, Takao hurled herself into the river to drown, counting on the weights to take her to the bottom; others say Tsunamune caught her in the attempt and killed her with his sword instead, then dumped her body.  Still another version says that Tsunamune had one of her fingers broken for every day she refused his bed, and after he had gone through both hands he had her hanged.  But all of these say that her death (whether by murder or suicide) was the excuse used by Tsunamune’s uncle to remove him from power.

Co-opting the lives of sex workers to tell lurid stories of woe and tragedy is nothing new; it’s been done for centuries, perhaps millennia, and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.  But at least in the Japanese variety, the tragedy derives from the freely-chosen actions of a proud, accomplished woman in defiance of fate, rather than from the pathetic subjugation of a cookie-cutter victim stereotype.  And I don’t think there’s any need to explain which I prefer.

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The public never wants to hear that their fear-based and/or moral-routed legislation isn’t solving a problem.  –  Gracie Passette

All Shapes and Sizes

The world’s first successful penis transplant has been reported by a surgical team in South Africa.  The 21-year-old recipient…lost his penis in a botched circumcision…the operation was a success and the patient was happy and healthy…Full sensation has not returned [but]…the man is able to pass urine, have an erection, orgasm and ejaculate…

Politicizing the Personal

I’m always pleased when someone whose name isn’t Maggie McNeill attacks the concept of “empowerment”:

I was disappointed when…Woman’s Hour decided to debate the question “can porn empower women?”  This question not only relies on misguided assumptions that limit the framing of the debate, it also misses the point…it doesn’t matter whether porn performers are empowered or not by their work – they still have agency, and they still have rights.  Porn is one of the least marginalised jobs within the sex industry, but it still suffers from the same fallacy as every other discussion about sex work – the idea that it is only a legitimate choice if it is “empowering”.  We don’t hold other industries to this standard…Why do we only expect “empowerment” of sex work, and not of other jobs?…We don’t demand that waitresses feel “empowered” in their jobs for us to recognise their agency in choosing the work, and we don’t tell other workers who serve male customers that they can’t be feminist.  The empowerment fallacy is only applied to the sex industry – and it’s deeply insidious…

The Last Shall Be First

Another potty-obsessed politician wants to enforce his hangups with violence:

A Texas lawmaker has filed a bill that would prohibit schools from allowing transgender students to use restrooms in accordance with their gender identity…Gilbert Pena [wants]…districts…held liable for $2,000 in exemplary damages — plus actual damages, court costs and attorneys fees — if employees knowingly allow transgender students to use [the proper] restrooms…In other words, the bill would place a bounty on the heads of transgender students, offering rewards to peers who report them for going to the bathroom…

Traffic Jam Minnesota Connection

The more one looks, the more continuity one sees between the Satanic Panic & “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…1978’s The Minnesota Connection [was] written by “preacher-cop” Al Palmquist…[and] billed as…the true account of Palmquist’s battle with sex trafficking victims, but it contains so many factual flaws that you must use air quotes while saying the words “true story”…[for several years before the book Palmquist gave lectures on] how Satanists use subconscious, subliminal, “mystical calls” in advertising and rock music to attract folks to the occult and its leaders who ply them with drugs so they can get them to worship Satan…[when] this Satanism stuff [didn’t gain] any traction…Palmquist [turned]…to fight the human demons in this word:  Pimps…he…[became] fixated on the notion of a “Minnesota Pipeline” that [delivered] women to pimps in New York…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake 

Prostitutes in Spain are to be entitled to labour rights and would be able to claim unemployment benefits when not in work, a court has ruled.  Judge Juan Augustín Maragall ruled…that prostitutes should be given contracts by brothel owners, who would pay social security contributions on their behalf.  The civil court decision was made after a massage parlour…was raided by labour inspectors…The owner argued that the workers were autonomous and not officially employed, however authorities stated that as there was a employer and employee working relationship, it constitutes a form of contract so social security payments should be made…

Like a Horse and Carriage

Of course, some gay activists are against this because it denies them special privileges, and the Democrats are angry it was proposed by a Republican:

Something remarkably libertarian has just happened in Oklahoma.  The state’s House of Representatives voted…to end government licensing of marriages…citizens…will instead file “certificates of marriage” or file affidavits of common law marriage with the clerks after it’s all done with…these certificates will stand as proof of marriage for Oklahoma law…So this isn’t some phony “separate but equal” plan to protect marriage from “the gays.”  Any Oklahoma statute that operates off of marital status or provides benefits or privileges based on marital status will accept either of these non-license certificates…they will get all the same rights and privileges under Oklahoma law…Charlotte Rose

Skin To Skin

We’ve seen several stories about Charlotte Rose, but this one concentrates on her work with the disabled; longtime readers know how important I consider that specialization.  The article also touches on “sexological bodywork”, the latest attempt by some whores to draw a line between themselves and others which casts them as “good” and “important” and the others as “bad” and “criminal”.

Guest Columnist:  Kelly Michaels

Things had been going a lot better for my friend Kelly Michaels; her abusive ex-husband had decided he wasn’t actually interested in having custody of their children, making her battle to keep them moot.  But recently, the problems started again and rapidly escalated:

…It came to my attention that my ex-husband and daughter were concealing the fact that Jillian was engaging in extreme self mutilation, yet he failed to get her help…Jillian…[notified] me [via text message] that she is running away…I had the person that we share a home with pick her up [instead]…[and] took Jillian to Melbourne, believing that I was acting under Fl statute 787.03 Paragraph C…the abuse registry…[opened] an investigation…[but when I brought] my daughter to a hospital…[the cops] held me, and told me that I may be arrested for Kidnapping, along with anyone else that spoke to the child after leaving her fathers home…

She is trying to raise money for her defense and that of the friends who helped her to take her daughter out of danger; to contribute go to the link above, and if you can help connect Kelly with an experienced criminal defense and/or child custody attorney please contact me via via email as soon as possible.

Schadenfreude (#404)

Remember the Dallas outfit cashing in on “sex trafficking” tours?  Here’s a description of what one is like:

…I went on something called a human-trafficking bus tour and have been struggling since to make sense of what happened…Never leaving the safety of the bus, we learned from our tour leader that some of the massage parlors have been busted for selling sex. (!)  The strip clubs…we saw, the tour-leaders explained, shared some common traits with other strip clubs, and those other strip clubs were busted for various types of illegal activity…Children At Risk…is…led by Dr. Bob Sanborn [and]…describes human trafficking as a major problem in Texas, though…their research…appears to be overblown…What we [actually learned] from the tour…is that there are definitely places in Dallas where sex-related things have occurred…

All-Purpose Excuse

This article on the rapid and entirely unchecked metastasis of the Department of Homeland Security mentions, among many other things, its role in promoting “sex trafficking” hysteria.  It’s a great example of how governmental powers claimed to fight one supposed enemy are invariably expanded to everyone else.

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People have the right not to be “rescued” by outsiders who neither understand nor respect them.  –  Meena Seshu

The Scarlet Letter

Given that most sex workers aren’t in it for life, it seems fair to assume that a proportion might eventually choose to [leave it]…for many, this will be impossible.  Sex workers [in the UK] are subject to a particular type of non-statutory reprimand: the “prostitutes caution“…it’s not quite the same as the regular kind of caution you might be landed with for shoplifting or being caught with a bit of weed.  Regular cautions require that…there…be evidence of guilt sufficient to give a realistic prospect of conviction…[and] the offender must admit the offence.  In the case of a prostitutes caution, neither of these is required…sex workers suspected of soliciting…can be slapped with a caution, even if there’s not enough evidence to take the matter to court.  Want to call foul?  Tough: there’s no right of appeal…And if a potential employer sees you’ve got cautions, there’s a good chance you won’t get the job…

Blasphemy

Read this and tell me that Marxism & feminism aren’t religions:

Prostitution is the quintessential expression of global capitalism.  Our corporate masters are pimps. We are all being debased and degraded, rendered impoverished and powerless, to service the cruel and lascivious demands of the corporate elite…If we accept prostitution as legal, as Germany has done…we will take one more collective step toward the global plantation being built by the powerful.  The fight against prostitution is the fight against…the subjugation of impoverished girls and women…Those who sell their bodies for sex do so out of desperation…Selling your body for sex is not a choice…Lee Lakeman…[says] it is not…”OK [for]…Asian women [to work] in brothels because they are sending money home to [their] families…The only way to fight capitalism…is to stop men from buying prostitutes…men will have to accept feminist leadership…and…give up the self-indulgence of prostitution”…The legalization of prostitution in Germany and the Netherlands has expanded trafficking and led to an explosion in child prostitution…average age [blah blah blah]…“When some women are bought and sold,” said Hilla Kerner…“all women can be bought and sold.  When some women are objectified, all women are objectified.”

Profound Mental Disabilities

a 2013 study…suggests that BDSM practitioners are generally psychologically healthy and that they tend to prefer roles that fit their personalities…a newer study…examined the personality traits of BDSM practitioners using a somewhat different personality model.  Some of the findings were highly similar…there is no evidence that BDSM practitioners in general suffer from any particular form of psychological disturbance and in fact they seem to be mentally and emotionally well-adjusted…both dominants and submissives…tend…to be higher in openness to experience and conscientiousness compared to…the general population.  Additionally…submissives tend…to be more extroverted than the general population…and [dominants are] less sensitive to rejection…

Soap Opera anti-pimp pads

Just when you thought the “anti-pimp personal hygiene products” trope couldn’t get any stupider:

Pivot provides rescue information to human trafficking victims without detection by their captors.  Ordinary-looking sanitary pads are distributed by activists and healthcare providers to suspected victims. Hidden inside each pad is an insert with rescue information and a trafficking hotline number.  A victims [sic] accesses the insert in the privacy of a restroom, detaches the phone number (disguised as a fortune-cookie tab), and flushes the rest of the insert in the toilet…

Checklist 

The newest “sign” of “sex trafficking”:  going to a beauty parlor:

A new law in Ohio requires licensed cosmetologists to take a course on identifying trafficked women and girls…because of the major highway systems, eight ports on Lake Erie, and proximity to Canada…the state’s Human Trafficking Task Force…identified salons as prime locations to spot victims who may have been brought in by pimps to change their appearance or to win their trust with pampering…

Let Me Help

Meena Seshu, an experienced social worker turned activist for women’s rights in India, [met] a group of sex workers to help them organize.  Seshu thought she knew what to do: “guide them,” as she had been trained to do.  And yet, they rejected her…Seshu…said, “I’m sorry. I know nothing.  Can you teach me?”  Sesha discusses this humility in this amazing talk…

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

Pimps!  Sex slaves!  Benevolent cops!  And other imaginary characters!

Three Sudbury [Ontario] men have been identified as pimps exploiting young women and forcing them in to sex slavery…The same blitz also found six women in the Sudbury who are being forced to work in the sex trade…No charged were laid, but police officers here shared all the information they gathered…[a mouthpiece claimed] “Operations which seek to reach out to trafficked persons give sexually exploited persons the opportunity to report instances of exploitation and allow police to build relationships…”  [The so-called “blitz” was part of] Operation Northern Spotlight…

Under Every Bed (#420) a loon and her lunacy

Still crusading against imaginary “traffickers” in North Dakota:

When she first arrived in town, Windie Lazenko headed to the neon-lit strip clubs and bars catering to lonely oil field workers with extra cash and time on their hands…For nearly two decades, Lazenko was part of that illicit world, starting as a 13-year-old runaway when, she says, she was bought and sold for sex…Lazenko is now one of the most prominent activists in the fight against sex trafficking in the oil patch…

Worse Than I Thought (Traffic Updates)

The connection between abortion prohibition and “sex trafficking” hysteria continues to increase:

Bipartisan legislation to crack down on human trafficking turned unexpectedly controversial…because of a Republican-backed provision relating to abortion that Democrats said they failed to notice…The disputed provision would permanently prohibit the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the woman was jeopardized…

Anatomy of a Boondoggle (#439)

A Sydney council has lost a landmark legal battle against a massage parlour it alleged was operating as an illegal brothel, after a court ruled the council failed to prove there was enough sex being provided on the premises.  Hornsby Council paid a private investigator to go undercover inside the parlour and [rape] a prostitute as part of a bitter, year-long legal battle to have the operation closed…[because it is near schools]…evidence of sex being sold on the premises fell short of the NSW’s specific definition of the term “brothel” – which requires more than one prostitute to be providing services onsite…councils…would have to fund multiple trips inside suspect premises to have any chance of a result…

Monsters (#510)

The Louisville…Police Department has been insistent that the victim in a Jan. 9 homicide…was not transgender, the homicide was not a hate crime, and the victim’s gender identity was not a factor…Information…directly contradicts or severely undermines all of those assertions…court records and an interview with [the victim’s friend] Tiffany show the police department had evidence, but did not tell the media, that the victim may have identified as a transgender woman who went by the…name Papi…Surveillance video…shows the victim — identified by police as…Sherman Edwards — presenting as a woman, with long hair and carrying a light brown purse…Prosecutors have arrested and charged…Henry Gleaves…with murder…Tiffany said Edwards…had used female pronouns for several years, but…police [said]…“that was a man that was shot.  It was…obviously a man, right?  He doesn’t have a female name”…Among the records contradicting the Louisville police’s insistence that Edwards identified as male is a videotaped interview conducted by…police…shortly after the shooting with Tiffany…

Policing for Profit (#513) 

People [accused] of soliciting prostitution in certain areas of Spokane, Washington, will have their cars impounded by police.  The city has marked these areas with signs proclaiming them a “Designated Area of High Prostitution Activity…”If you’re soliciting prostitutes, you may think twice if you see a sign that says we’re going to impound your car if we catch you,” said Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart.  That seems plausible, indeed.  What doesn’t seem plausible is “high prostitution activity” not simply shifting to elsewhere once the signs go up.  Why would sex workers or clients continue to frequent areas that the city is announcing as targets of increased police stings and enhanced penalties?…

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If sex has no value, how can prostitution be illegal?  –  Beaufort Observer

The Biggest Whores

Quite possibly the stupidest statement ever made about sex:

North Carolina government officials who are having secret sex with lobbyists need fear no more:  The state’s ethics commission has decided such illicit relationships are completely fine…The opinion…essentially says that…Sex has no value…and so it doesn’t need to be disclosed…In an editorial published under the headline “Has the State Ethics Commission made prostitution legal in North Carolina?” the Beaufort Observer denounced the…idea that sex has no monetary value….[and] suggested that the latter idea may lead to the legalization of prostitution…

Surplus Women 

Dominick Everson admitted to police that he hired Ezrhea Danyell Cherry…[and claimed he] paid [her] before…sex…[but when] he pulled out “a wad of money” to tip [her, she] pulled a gun on him and told him to give it up.  Everson [claims]…he [then] pulled a gun of his own and opened fire, striking the woman once in the front and three times in the back.  He then fled from the scene in Cherry’s car…During a different interview, Everson told authorities that he didn’t kill the woman at all, and that another man [did]…When prosecutors pressed Everson about why the gun supposedly carried by Cherry wasn’t found, Everson replied that the police had not done a thorough enough investigation.

Gorged With Meaning

The idea that men paying for women’s company is “unconventional” is so naive it’s hilarious:

A controversial website is connecting…men with young women for cash…is it safe?  Is it even legal?…the average sugar baby receives about $3,000 in monthly allowances…legal analyst Gil Soffer…says this is a legal grey area…It’s fulfilling unconventional needs in a 21st century way.

These articles all contain quotes from “experts” pontificating on the obvious:

…“I absolutely think this is prostitution,” says Laura Killinger, a…former prosecutor…“They have sugar-coated this type of prostitution so that it seems so much more socially acceptable…As a prosecutor, I wanted to take legal action against this activity…but it would take tremendous resources…to make…a misdemeanour case”…

Above the Law 

Sometimes “authorities” completely get away with serial rape:

A prison doctor in New Mexico sexually assaults inmates with rectal exams for everything from tooth pain to toenail fungus, seven inmates claim in lawsuits…Dr. Mark Walden regularly performed “digital rectal exams” for no legitimate medical reason, sometimes without wearing gloves, and fondled them inappropriately…When…asked the doctor…”claimed he was milking the plaintiff’s prostate and other medically nonsensical responses”…wardens and prison staff knew about the sexual assaults but did nothing to stop them…complaints and reports…were either ignored, “lost,” or met with retaliation…

And sometimes they only mostly get away with it:rapist cop Jonathan Bleiweiss

A…Florida [cop] has admitted to [raping] undocumented immigrants…Jonathan Bleiweiss…pleaded guilty to…14 counts of armed false imprisonment, 15 counts of battery and four counts of stalking.  However, he avoided all of the charges with [the word] “sex” in them…and as such will not be required…to register as a sex offender…

Profound Ignorance

Clueless academic makes stupid, ignorant statements about sex work; Elizabeth N. Brown calls him on them:

…In a new Iowa Law Review article, “Prostitution 3.0“, University of Colorado law professor Scott Peppet…[lays] out the myriad benefits of a “technology-enabled sex market” as well as the legal barriers that “inhibit prostitution-related innovation” in America…the legal climate prevents innovation that could make the industry safer and more socially acceptable, and then this danger and stigma is used to justify continued prohibition…Unfortunately, Peppet’s ultimate vision here is “legalizing Prostitution 3.0 while criminalizing the purchase of sex outside of Prostitution 3.0’s parameters”—which seems far from the lofty liberalism and freedom-of-contract ideas Peppet pays lip service to…It’s a vision that seems predicated on a strange sort of techno-utopian statism, and a disappointing one for those of us who believe prostitution problems stem from black markets and state interference.  In a nice response article…Scott Cunningham and Todd D. Kendall argue similarly, writing that “most of the social problems associated with prostitution are not inherent to the industry, but they are the logical result of the prohibition itself, a conclusion supported by the fact that other, similar, markets not subject to a prohibition experience few of the problems associated with prostitution”…

So Close and Yet So Far

If you’re going to argue against bad sex work laws, it’s probably best if you eschew language like this:

Selling sex is clearly not a job many people would care to have…If you criminalize the pimps, then it means women cannot be compelled into selling their bodies for sex, right?  Wrong…Some prostitutes will be people who freely choose to engage in prostitution; many, however, “have no meaningful choice…Whether because of financial desperation, drug addictions, mental illness, or compulsion from pimps, they often have little choice but to sell their bodies for money”…The new laws…do not protect women from violent johns…

Blunt Instrument

Three massage parlors were shut down in Lomita [California using the excuse of]…exploitation of women and human trafficking.  Although no violations of that nature were found, each business was cited for poor record keeping on matters [of red tape]…Fines could cost the businesses thousands of dollars.  They will remain closed until they [fork over the tribute]…Deputies [pretended that]…the operation [was] in response to complaints from residents…

Shame, Shame

Tracy Clark-Flory interviewed sex workers, including me, for this article on police body cameras:

…Naming and shaming…has a long history in sex work policing.  Police departments have routinely published sex worker photos in local newspapers…”I can’t help but wonder what would have been done with the footage had such a camera been rolling at the time of my arrest,” says Maggie McNeill, who was caught in a sex work sting in 2005…”The potential for shaming is staggering, especially given that sex workers are very often nude or nearly so when the police spring the trap—I was…It’s one of the reasons stings so often employ such huge mobs of cops—15 in my case—when two or three would do…The mentality in play is like a low-level version of a gang rape, a group of thugs bonding over sexual humiliation of a woman…I have absolutely no doubt that particularly juicy video clips will end up in cops’ private collections to be traded between them, even if some authority decides that such clips will not be publicly released,” she says…Audacia Ray…of the…Red Umbrella Project…is worried about body cameras being “used as a tool to shame people who are being arrested…police often make sexual or degrading comments at women as they are arresting them”…”We have strong concerns about what malicious third-party content producers might do with records of police encounters,” said Matt Kellegrew, the lead staff attorney for Red Light Legal…”My worst fear is some type of sex-worker-shaming-meets-Cops-style slander/shock videos popping up”…

Drawing Lines Sheri's Ranch

a press release…from…Sheri’s Ranch, a licensed brothel in Nevada…was…incredibly vile, self-serving (even by PR standards) and stigmatizing to sex workers…We’re used to seeing efforts to deride and harm sex workers, and ugly, flagrant whorephobia, from radical feminist and anti-sex nut jobs like Melissa Farley and Gail Dines, but this one came from a business…that profits off the efforts of sex workers…“We’re concerned that sugar dating websites, platforms promoting prostitution and operating without interference from law enforcement, may one day negatively impact our legal prostitution business.”  This is what our friend Maggie McNeill calls “badge-licking”.  What sex worker on the planet — and what individual citizen, for that matter — thinks that increased interference in their lives or business by law enforcement is a good thing?  While, I give them points for honesty on the “we’re concerned” this will hurt our business bit, the whole thing sounds as though Sheri’s is trying to smear its  competition.  And by “competition” we mean, other sex workers…

Deafening Silence (#415)

End result of prohibitionism: more women are pushed into sex work:

The sex industry that once thrived in Dongguan [China]…has now scurried underground after the hammering of official raids and crackdowns seeking to eradicate the industry last year…Shops and parlors closed down; people were arrested by the hundreds…though places which once provided sex services were forced to close and all the businesses attached to them [were] damaged…sex workers remain…and work at home…[or on] the streets…some female residents who used to work at the region’s bars or catering businesses that failed to survive have become sex workers “for the better pay”…

BDSM (#505)

Just in case you think BDSM isn’t still heavily stigmatized, take a look at this remarkably stupid, impressively ignorant hate-screed:

Dr. Miriam Grossman…[says that] Fifty Shades of Grey teaches your daughter that pain and humiliation are erotic, and your son, that girls want a guy who controls, intimidates and threatens…The first thing you’ll hear from advocates of BDSM is that consent makes it all A-Okay.  That’s bullshit, folks.  Domestic violence shelters are filled to the gills with women who deluded themselves into thinking that intimacy involved consent to being abused…Somewhere along the way, it ends up like the bonding with one’s captor that occurs in Stockholm Syndrome…Young people…especially females, grossly underestimate the effect of sexual activity on their emotions…Men who habitually indulge in BDSM can also end up thinking that a woman’s “consent” to be abused excuses every abusive thing they might say or do to her…indulgence in…BDSM acts as an addictive drug.  It can render such men incapable of any sex that is not BDSM…

Harm Reduction (#506)

Another wake-up call to wives:

Monogamy is against most men’s biological nature.  But nest-building and settling down with one primary woman to raise a family is not.  He’s chosen you, not me.  He might see me as more fun, vivacious or sexual, but he sees you as the best candidate for wife, mother and life companion.  He takes you seriously; not me…he…would rather seek out a willing mistress than rock the boat with you by expressing his frustration at your loss of interest in sex…I’m basically a young, good-looking version of a therapist…[whom] he gets to fuck…

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People who think they can abolish [sex work] entirely from any country are living in a dream world.  –  Ronald Weitzer

Coming and Going

In 2012, more than 1,000 people were booked into the Bexar County Jail for prostitution and the cost to taxpayers was more than $1.2 million dollars.   State Representative Eric Johnson…has introduced House Bill 1363 to reduce punishment for prostitution.   The bill would make a first or second offense of prostitution a Class C Misdemeanor and calls for an intervention program…community service, counseling, and treatment…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do Samuel Riggi

an Orlando [Florida] police lieutenant…[is] accused of having a sexual relationship with a prostitute and taking nearly $10,000 from her…Gricelda Umana…[said] she and Lt. Samuel Riggi had sex every two weeks for two years, sometimes at the massage parlor where she worked.  She said he asked her for money and said she made 17 deposits totaling almost $10,000 from her prostitution proceeds into his account to protect her from arrest…

One Born Every Minute

A new site that claims to be “the AirBnB for escorts” doesn’t seem to be anything like AirBnB…or like a legitimate escort site, for that matter.  AirSnB—which stands for “Air Sexy Buddy,” I was told— launched in December  and, according to owner Amir Mo, is supposed to be the escort industry’s answer to the sharing economy…Mo said customers pay AirSnB upfront for a date arranged with their escort of choice (based on hourly rates).  After the date, AirSnB transfers the money to the escort, skimming their percentage off the top…if there are any issues—like the escort doesn’t show up or doesn’t follow through…AirSnB will return the money to the customer or give them a percentage back, depending on the situation.  But as if this didn’t sound sketchy enough already, many of the escort listings on the site don’t appear to be…real.  Almost every profile I found was copied word-for-word from listings elsewhere on the internet…

The Course of a Disease

Anti-prostitution campaigners have made grand statements about the effectiveness of Sweden’s hugely influential approach to prostitution.  However, researchers say the claims are grossly exaggerated and the law has put sex workers in greater danger.  The so-called “Swedish model”…portrays itself as an example to emulate.  Ambassadors for the approach preach its virtues to government regulators worldwide…But an increasing number of voices…say claims exaggerate its successes for ideological reasons.  The most recent attacks on the 1999 Kvinnofrid law come from Malmö University researcher Charlotta Holmström.  In contrast to the loud claims of anti-prostitution campaigners, that it has made sex workers safer, Holmström says they are far more vulnerable to exploitation and violence…

J’accuse (#42)

A high-profile pimping case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn nearly unraveled…[when] five of six plaintiffs…dropped their accusations against him…Strauss-Kahn has testified to having orgies…to being “rough” with his sexual “conquests,” and to needing sex with exceptional frequency.  But none of that is illegal…Strauss-Kahn insists he didn’t know the women involved were prostitutes…

But while Straus-Kahn will probably walk away free, French sex workers may not be so lucky:

…Morgane Merteuil…of the French sex worker’s trade union Strass…believes the trial has increased the stigmatisation of the sex industry and has presented a skewed view of the profession.  “There is a confusion with abolitionist organisations between when a client respects a contract and when he does not.  [DSK] didn’t respect the contract…not all clients act like him”…Merteuil says she believes the trial may result in the criminalisation of the sex industry…

Skin To Skin

For many disabled people, sex is off the cards.  While most needs are met through the provision of carers, or by parents, sex is often missed out entirely.  But now a number of sex workers are looking to combat this, stepping into the breach to provide specialist services to help disabled people to fulfil their sexual desires.  It’s easy for disabled people’s sexuality to become obscured by a web of societal assumptions about what it is to be disabled. But of course, disabled people are just as horny as anybody else…

Be Careful Who You Rape

After all, we wouldn’t want to waste effort investigating the rapes of “criminals”:

A new controversial policy requires sexual assault and rape victims to undergo police background checks before they can receive services…[including] rape kits or medical investigations into the criminal activity that was perpetrated against them…The bizarre policy has been around since 2007, but it has only been implemented and enforced since November…Critics of this law suggest that many will not come forward to report sexual assaults and rapes if they feel they maybe prosecuted for something…

Sex Rays

Sometimes it’s hard to believe the people who write these stories actually take them seriously:

Their locations are blended right into the fabric of busy communities. They set up shop next to store fronts and restaurants…police raided the Queen Spa, an illegal massage parlor set up near the University of Rhode Island…next to a Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway sandwich shop…other suburban locations where illegal massage parlors open…[include one] just feet from an ice cream stand and a toy shop…

Remember, sex work was only recriminalized in Rhode Island five years ago.

The Roof Caves In (#425) 

Disgraced anti-sex trafficking activist Somaly Mam’s new charity – which is headed by former staff of her fallen foundation, a Hollywood actress and a PR guru – announced…that it has been given the green light in the US…The organisation, which will employ about 37 full-time staff and expects to generate more than $682,000 this year…

Bread and Circuses

The war on sex worker advertising continues:

A [Colorado] man…was arrested…for “Use of a Facility in Interstate Commerce to Promote a Business Enterprise Involving Prostitution”…David A. Warmack owned and operated a website business named “Sowet.com”…[which] promoted and facilitated prostitution that took place at multiple massage parlors across the Metro Denver area…

The Face of Trafficking

In the largest ever study into the health of trafficking victims, researchers interviewed more than 1,100 men, women and children in Southeast Asia who had been trafficked into at least 15 sectors – including factory work, domestic labor, sex work and fishing…Most previous studies [only] looked at…women trafficked into sex work…[but] this study found…that women trafficked for other forms of labor, including factory work, domestic work and as brides, suffered worse mental health problems than those trafficked into sex work…

A Year Later

Sex worker advocates are warning Ontario Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur that Canada’s new controversial prostitution law will “force people in the sex trade in harm’s way.”  Meilleur is reviewing Bill C-36 and will file a report on the law to Premier Kathleen Wynne, who has expressed “grave concerns” about the federal Conservative government’s latest effort to deal with prostitution…

Moving Pictures

Add another “sex trafficking” porn fantasy to the list:  “Tricked…features interviews with people in all areas of the sex trafficking trade, including prostitutes who are often victims, the traffickers (pimps), customers (Johns) and the vice officers who fight the trade…

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It is…easier to characterize sex work activists as traffickers and pimps than what they really are: vulnerable women advocating for themselves within a system that is set up to marginalize and dehumanize them.  –  Alana Massey

Amsterdam

What the fuck is this patronizing bullshit?

Amsterdam may open a brothel where fifty women will get a chance to do their work without pimps. The municipality proposes five buildings with a total of 19 windows available…A feasibility study has been launched to see what all is involved in a prostitution business that is run by prostitutes. The municipality believes that a company which sex workers themselves are responsible for the affairs, will contribute to a prostitution industry with good working conditions without abuses…

If Dutch politicians would stop mistaking their masturbatory fantasies for reality, they’d know that most prostitutes already run their businesses without the dubious “help” of pimps or politicians.

Real People Bella Robinson

Here’s a good profile of Bella Robinson, written by fellow activist Tara Burns:

Bella Robinson entered the sex industry as a homeless 18-year-old fleeing an abusive marriage that had rescued her from the foster care system.  She’s exactly the sort of “victim” for whom sex trafficking laws were invented.  But Robinson—now a human rights activist who has been a hooker (her preferred term) for 30 years—doesn’t think of herself as a victim of the sex industry.  She says she’s been sex trafficked by the state and victimized by laws intended to help people like her…

One Size Fits All

Because Shazam!

51-year-old Robert Edward Neves, an American National arrested in the Philippines, will face trial for [dating] a 17-year-old [woman]…Neves is also being charged with [sex trafficking]…it is illegal for any person…to keep or have in their company a minor which is 12 years or under – or who is 10 years or more his junior in any public place…The [young woman said she]…and Neves…met in an online date site…eventually becoming lovers…after they met in person…

Follow the Leader

Costumed hooligans with titles like “officer” abduct and abuse people in much the same way every day:

A 6-year-old boy in Missouri endured an emotional four-hour staged kidnapping because his family thought he was being too nice to people he didn’t know…the boy’s mother, grandmother, aunt and a co-worker of the aunt…have been charged with kidnapping and other felonies…the boy was lured…into a pickup after getting off his school bus, tied up, threatened with a gun, taken to a basement where his pants were removed, and told he could be sold into sex slavery…that he would never “see his mommy again,” and he would be “nailed to the wall of a shed”…[he was bound] in the basement for some time before he was unbound and…lectured…about stranger danger…

Uncommon Sense

Ticino has always been considered a haven of the Swiss sex industry.  Dozens of Italian sex workers, both women and men – regularly commute…there…roughly 600 registered sex workers [work] in Ticino out of a total population of 340,000 residents…But…the local government is trying to push through a new law aimed at cracking down on unregulated prostitution by confining the oldest trade to just licensed brothels, apartments and authorised sex districts…

Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong

Dear clergymen:  STOP STICKING YOUR DAMNED NOSES INTO OUR BUSINESS.  Love, sex workers everywhere.

Representatives of the Church of Scotland have joined other churches and faith groups, including Catholics, Anglicans, Muslims, Sikhs, Quakers and the Free Church, in urging the First Minister to…follow the kind of prostitution law adopted in Nordic countries…Sex worker-led charity Scot-Pep said laws criminalising the buyer exposed sex workers to HIV and violence and had been rejected by UNAIDS, the World Health Organisation and Human Rights Watch…a Swedish report on the issue published this week had concluded that the law made sex workers more vulnerable.  Fiona Gilbertson…of Scot-Pep…said…”This is clearly a subject about which the Church has been misinformed, and I would invite them…to read the evidence and to speak to sex workers before proceeding any further with this campaign…”

Here’s my friend Laura Lee on the subject.

The Last Shall Be First

A bill…in the Florida Legislature…would make it a crime for transgender people to use single-sex public facilities…including restrooms…that correspond with their gender identity.  Violators would be [subject to]…a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.  The bill would also empower people in a…restroom during any “unlawful entry” to sue the alleged interloper and owner of the facility…single-sex facilities…would be restricted to those with a corresponding “biological sex…at birth”…

Yellow Fever

Lauren HershMost of this reads like a script for a really lurid TV cop show, because reporters nowadays believe everything cops tell them as though it were engraved on stone tablets.  There’s also infantilization of young people, agency denial, bogus statistics, conflation of all “missing child” cases with stranger abduction and all stranger abduction with “sex trafficking”, the evocation of imaginary “criminal gangs”, pro-criminalization propaganda and a special guest appearance by the vile Lauren Hersh, the prohibitionist who was a prosecutor until she was forced out in disgrace for railroading two innocent men for rape.

Policing for Profit 

Here’s another prohibitionist badge-licker who is so busy wanking to his fantasies of “slave ships” that he is unable to comprehend that expanded state power to steal private property will eventually come back to bite him:

Tim Heffer [fantasizes] so strongly that sex [work] is…slavery that he compares the cars…owned by [clients] to slave ships…he testified in support of HB 1558, which would allow [cops to steal]…the cars and money of people arrested for soliciting a prostitute, even if they are never convicted.  “Rather than one large ship, they’re smaller vessels…we need to take these ships away from traffickers and buyers”…

Rough Trade (#339)

Who else but a sociopath could “appear to be in disbelief” when he is convicted for the same kind of rape he’s been convicted for at least twice before?

Akis Livas, 52, appeared to be in disbelief when his lawyer explained to him that he would be locked up for…[booking a sex worker] for four hours, and [bringing] an envelope stuffed with paper which he pretended was the $850 to pay her.  The woman said when she discovered there was no money, she became scared…she has suffered from a lack of trust in others and [is] still receiving counselling…Livas continued to minimise his responsibility and had not shown remorse…

Shame, Shame

A mugshot…is a photo designed to tell the state’s side of a story.  The subject of the photo, taken at one of the lowest points in their life, has no voice, but the language of the form – the unflattering bright light, the drab background, the name and prisoner ID at the bottom – tells us we are looking at a “criminal”.  With the internet, that “we” has expanded to the far reaches of the globe…before the subject can mount a defense, a 1,000-word photo pronouncing their guilt may have already gone viral.  Stacking the deck in favor of the already advantaged police, the photos discourage empathy in favor of judgment…this humiliation becomes just another manifestation of punishment…The press partakes readily in this ritual debasement, the most respectable of media outlets eagerly distributing the state’s unflattering photos, of people who have yet to be convicted of anything, on the front page and on the evening news and on dedicated websites that feature nothing but mugshots…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #420)

After months of negotiations, [German politicians]…agreed the final details of a new law governing sex work…but prostitutes say it isn’t fit for [the] purpose…Undine de Rivière…[of the] sex workers’ union BeSD…[said] the rule requiring sex workers to be registered with the authorities…was unacceptable…[as is] requiring prostitutes to have a doctor’s note…while sex workers are happy to discuss measures that can help them practice their profession and maintain their health, they want them on their terms…

Wise Investment (TW3 #440)

Much more of this, please:

A metro Atlanta dominatrix…is suing a…private investigator for secretly filming their…session…Lakenya Monfort…contends Reginald Walker…posed as…[a] client…[and used a] hidden…video-camera to record the session without Monfort’s knowledge…[to use] as evidence against Monfort in her child-custody case…Georgia law…prohibits secretly…video-recording someone in a place where he or she has a reasonable expectation of privacy…

The Notorious Badge (#452) 

50 shades of clusterfuck:

…the press tour for…50 Shades of Grey [is] now firmly established as among the most disastrous of the past decade…The most glaring problem…is [that]…romantic leads Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan do not like each other…A routine visit to TODAY takes on the excruciating air of a court-ordered couples therapy session…It is not difficult to picture Dornan and Johnson luring one another into a “Red Room of Pain.”  It stretches the capacity of the imagination to think that both would emerge alive…[both]…routinely display discomfort…when talking about sex…Dornan [said]…”I had to do stuff to her that I’d never choose to do to a woman…The first day…was kind of an out-of-body experience…I’m like, ‘What the fuck is happening?  I’m a dad.  What?’…

The way Dornan repeatedly mentions his child, as if to provide a ward against evil, is fascinating in a Victorian kind of way.

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