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Posts Tagged ‘Change of Heart’

It is apparent that the attenuated causal chain proposed by [those suing Backpage] is forged entirely out of surmise.  –  Justice Bruce Selya

Rough Trade 

Just imagine this ridiculous defense working for anyone in another profession:

A Melbourne real estate agent…was cleared of raping and imprisoning a sex worker in a vacant house…Henry Jiang…was accused of binding the woman with cable ties and raping her repeatedly…after…his booking with her had ended.  His defence barrister [Con Heliotis] said everything that happened was consensual, and the woman had agreed to extend her time with Mr Jiang after he offered her more money and drugs…[but] didn’t tell her escort agency she was staying later…because she didn’t want to pay them a higher commission.  Mr Jiang admitted taking money from the woman, because he calculated he was owed it for the drugs…Heliotis said the sex worker was concerned she had been robbed and only claimed she had been raped…when asked directly by police…In explaining the woman’s…screams as she [fled] the house, Mr Heliotis said: “She would be extremely distressed if she had lost her money and couldn’t buy drugs”…

Lying Down With Dogs

Another US-style “prostitution crackdown” in a country the US should be proud to resemble:

Tanzanian authorities are holding some 800 people suspected of involvement in prostitution…around 500 suspected sex workers and almost 300 alleged customers have been arrested…Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who was elected in October…[on a] law and order [platform has not]…banned…miniskirts [as reported in January]…though…the president and his government [say they are] are “strong proponents of decent dressing”…

Do be sure to click that link to see what Tanzanian ideas of “law and order” entail.

St. James Infirmary

St. James Infirmary, San Francisco’s health care organization for sex workers, cut the ribbon on its new Tenderloin clinic Monday, March 14.  St. James shares the space, located at 234 Eddy Street, with the Transgender Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project…In addition to primary medical care, the peer-based organization also offers HIV testing and prevention services, including PrEP; sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment; transgender hormone therapy; mental health care; harm reduction services, including needle exchange and naloxone; case management; support groups; food and clothing; and other assistance to people of all genders involved in the sex trade and their families.  All services are free and confidential…

Above the Law  

Some rapist cops go out and look for victims:

A [New Jersey cop] has pleaded guilty to using his badge [and a loaded gun] to [rape] a prostitute…Dinis Oliveira…pleaded guilty…to…third-degree criminal coercion……[he] is expected to be sentenced to probation and…must give up his job and forfeit his pension…Oliveira had been charged with sexual assault, official misconduct and criminal coercion [but of course not aggravated rape as anyone else would’ve been]…

And some just wait for victims to be brought to them:

A Philadelphia-area [cop] is accused of [raping] three women [locked up] inside the police department…Roosevelt Turner is charged with official oppression, indecent exposure and indecent assault.  The charges are based on separate encounters in 2015…

It’s amazing how reporters are seemingly unable to use a simple word like “rape” when the rapist, even one who rapes a woman at gunpoint, is a fucking pig.

Change of Heart

As far as I’m concerned, any sex worker who outs a prohibitionist politician has not violated professional ethics; it’s just too bad this woman waited until the day Rubio pulled out of the race:

Marco Rubio…just suspended his campaign after Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump won [Florida] in a landslide victory.  Adding to his problems, his personal life is being shopped around by a dominatrix who alleges she had a kinky sex romp with Rubio…

First They Came for the Hookers…

It doesn’t matter what a sex worker does with her life after leaving sex work; to the media, she’ll always be a whore:

An ex-stripper who went on to law school and later was elected a judge was found dead inside her Nevada home [on March 13th]…authorities do not suspect foul play.  Municipal Judge Diana Hampton, who was 50…appeared to be the perfect picture of health…Hampton, who served as a municipal judge for more than a decade, worked with youth in the community to discourage them from crime…

Buried Truth 

Vociferous opposition to anything sexual is nearly always strong evidence of an attraction to it:

…As the prosecuting attorney for Ingham County, Michigan, since 1997, Stuart Dunnings III spend decades helping to put people behind bars for commercial sexual activity.  But at the same time, Dunnings was routinely shelling out money for sexual services…Dunnings…instituted tougher penalties and a program of impounding johns’ vehicles…Now…authorities allege that Dunnings “paid for commercial sex… hundreds of times…between 2010-2015.”  For five years, Dunnings met with one sex worker up to four times per week, in addition to his encounters with others.  For what it’s worth, the arrest affidavit paints Dunning as considerate client who tipped well and acted more like a “sugar daddy” to some of the women, taking them out to dinners and paying their rent, cellphone bills, and other expenses…After one woman confessed to a heroin habit, Dunnings paid for her weekly methadone treatments and attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings with her…the feds went after Dunnings under the guise of stopping “human trafficking”, because that’s what law enforcement calls all prostitution circa 2016.  Most of the charges actually brought against him, however, are misdemeanor charges for “engaging in the services of prostitution” (10 counts) and “willful neglect of duty” (4 counts).  The one felony charge is because Dunnings…allegedly coerced a domestic violence victim…into having sex with him, then paid her for it…about $600 every two weeks as well as…some of her bills…

The Washington Post coverage that first broke the story preferred to soak in dysphemisms and libel the sex workers that to actually cover the facts.

Backwards into the Future (#334)

UNAIDS welcomes the roll-out of South Africa’s National Sex Worker HIV Plan, 2016–2019.  Launched by the Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, in his role as the Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), this unique plan will ensure equitable access to health and legal services for sex workers in South Africa…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (All Traffick, All the Time)

Here’s another “rescue” scam designed to recruit unhappy whores into the anti-whore brigade; it resembles a “crisis pregnancy center”, which is not surprising since a number of “anti-trafficking” NGOs also operate (or formerly operated) such schemes.  What makes it interesting to me is that it’s the highest claimed number of clients per day (60) we’ve seen in a while, since the high-lunacy mark of 110 current from 2012-2014.  With the exception of a brief requote of that figure (which actually seems to have originated among prohibitionists in 2001) a few months ago, most of the claims have returned to the pre-June 2012 typical claim of 15/day, which is high but not literally impossible.Lake Pahoe

King of the Hill (Traffic Updates)

These moral crusades labeling one particular thoroughfare a “hotbed of sex trafficking” remind me of the Monty Python episode in which there is an entire lake in a basement flat:

Jillian Gilchrest, chairwoman of the [Connecticut] Trafficking in Persons Council, says the Berlin Turnpike is a hotbed for sex trafficking, often involving minors who are exploited…The Underground, a faith-based organization…[identified]…27 of which offer hourly rates…“For far too long, state laws and culture accepted that the purchase of sex will happen,” said Gilchrest…The Judiciary Committee advanced two bills…to attempt to address the issue…[one] would mandate additional training for law enforcement and employees at hotels and motels to identify victims of sex trafficking.  It would also require businesses that offer lodging to maintain detailed records of [cash] transactions for at least six months…[Gilchrest] said… “It was shocking to me [that people are allowed to conduct business with legal tender]”…The bill initially included a provision that would make it illegal to charge hourly for a room at a hotel or motel…But the Judiciary Committee voted…to strike the measure from the bill in response to testimony…[that] hourly rates are often used by truck drivers and travelers seeking a break from the road…

Sex Work is Work (#517)

Bureaucrats can turn anything into a hassle:

New tax laws in Austria is [sic] causing problems for sex workers as rules now dictate that all customers need to be issued with an itemised bill listing all services rendered…As services provided by sex workers covers a wide spectrum, bosses ask how, for example, a two-hour chat with no sexual contact should be written down…others questioned how a self-employed sex worker would issue receipts…

Guinea Pigs 

Americans are so ovine, all one needs do is say “THE CHILDREN!” and everyone cheers while big tech companies give cops horrifying new surveillance tools:

Palantir Technologies…isn’t unique in its efforts to turn its software toward social good—plenty of tech companies do that.  But unlike most, Palantir says it treats nonprofits like any other customer..in 2012, Polaris’ chief executive, Bradley Myles, heard Palantir’s CEO, Alex Karp, speak at a White House event…Myles knew it was something his [corporation]—which is dedicated to eradicating [sex work]—needed but couldn’t afford…Just a few weeks later, Palantir engineers were integrating data from thousands of [sex worker arrest] records, public tips and financial networks…The…company [also] integrates tips, case reports, public records, videos, social media feeds and other data sources and helps draw connections…To help…law enforcement [spy on adult sex workers and clients in the name of fighting] the abduction and sexual exploitation of children…

Crying for Nanny (#539)

The outcome was a foregone conclusion; the lawyers who orchestrated this shitshow were only appealing to cover their arses:

Backpage.com…has been sued a bunch of times, almost always by people [deliberately] misunderstanding Section 230 of the CDA which, as we’ve discussed hundreds of times, says that sites are not liable for the actions of their users…the appeal on [a] Massachusetts case has brought another good Section 230 win, saying that Backpage.com is not liable…The crux of the argument…is that…the way Backpage is set up…makes it different from a standard “publishing” platform.  This is a pretty common attack on Section 230, claiming that it does more than a publisher and thus isn’t protected.  Courts have almost universally rejected that, unless those additional actions themselves could be seen to break the law…the court rejects this argument, saying that everything Backpage.com does is a traditional publisher activity…

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What Feministe did is like pissing on your host’s carpet, then storming out indignantly when they point out that you just pissed on the carpet.
–  Chris Hall

Rough TradeAkis Levas

Australia agrees with what I have stated before: cheating a whore is a form of rape:  “Akis Emmanouel Livas…pleaded guilty to sexual intercourse without consent after he left the woman with a white card bearing a printed red rose instead of the agreed $850…

Bad Girls

Ladies, if a client treats you badly, it’s probably best just to add his name to an “ugly mugs” or “bad date” registry and leave it at that:  “Angela Dawn Specker…cut a former john on his forearm when she saw [him] in…a liquor store the [next] day…Specker told the cop…that…he…had been very aggressive…pulling her hair and slapping her…[then throwing] the $100 at her and [leaving]…

A Procrustean Bed

New York officially classes all whores as passive objects without agency:

New York…is creating a statewide system of…criminal courts to handle prostitution cases and provide services to help wrest…sex-trafficking victims from the cycle of exploitation and arrest, the state’s chief judge announced…The new Human Trafficking Intervention Courts will handle all cases involving prostitution-related offenses that continue past arraignment…the court will refer defendants to services like drug treatment, shelter, immigration assistance…health care…education and job training, in an effort to keep them from returning to the sex trade…women typically enter prostitution…between…12 and 14, Judge Lippman said…

As we have often seen, basic mathematical literacy is not a requirement to hold office in New York.

Perquisites

A San Francisco strip club is suing Oracle after one of its employees ran up $33,540 in charges on a company credit card – and Oracle refused to pay the bill…Jose Manuel Gomez Sanchez…[charged] $16,490…at the New Century Theater…[then] returned two nights later and rang up another $17,050…

The Proper StudyUgly Mugs survey cover

For the first time the men and women selling sex indoors in Ireland have been asked about their lives.  The findings harshly contradict the popular media image…The 195 escorts who took part…were from 29 different countries.  Most were…in their 20s or 30s and highly educated…97.3 percent were self-employed independent escorts…there was no evidence of the involvement of any under 16s and only one participant was aged under 18.  Participants reported low alcohol and drug use [and] high condom use…

An Ounce of Prevention

A common drug that dermatologists prescribe to treat nail fungus appears to…completely eradicate infectious HIV from cell cultures…the virus doesn’t bounce back when the drug is withheld…[so] it may not require a lifetime of use to keep HIV at bay…the fact that it’s already deemed safe for one type of human use could make the regulatory process faster than usual…

Saint Death

…A…$3.4 million settlement with the family of Jose Guerena will end a two-year legal battle…Guerena…was [murdered] by SWAT team members…when they raided his house…[a spokesman claimed] the settlement is not an admission of any wrongdoing…”  You may remember that the cops tried to claim that Guerena, a retired Marine, must have been a “drug trafficker” because he had a picture of Jesus Malverde.

Above the Law

I get that there’s not technically a federal rape law, but this seems to seriously downplay what this cop did:  “Jason Glenn Thomas…a…Police sergeant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., was sentenced…to…ten years in federal prison…for sexually assaulting a…woman in violation of federal civil rights laws…[after detaining her and transporting her] to a remote area…

Scapegoats (TW3 #10)

In Phoenix, dog porn is a higher law enforcement priority than rape:

A…man accused of burning his initials onto the genitals of at least one woman was arrested again…after…deputies allegedly found pornographic videos featuring a dog at his home.  Christopher Jackson…was arrested on suspicion of bestiality…“If you saw the video, you’d be pretty sick,” Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said…Police also arrested…Josephine Erikson, who they say is seen in the videos…Arpaio on a date

While Arpaio seems to be motivated by the desire to leer at women in person after watching them in stolen dog videos, over in North Carolina they’re motivated by weird ideas about sexual purity:

A…woman is accused of having sex with dogs while her…husband filmed them [for]…the Internet…Ruben Chance James Fox and his wife, Amber Nicole Fox…face…charges of bestiality, conspiracy…disseminating obscene materials…[and] soliciting a crime against nature.  The Humane Society tipped off the…police…

Change of Heart

Edinburgh sauna chiefs have compiled a “hypocrisy hit list” of senior public figures who paid for sex at their premises in recent years…[it] includes police officers, council officials, lawyers and even two “celebrities”…[and] is due to be unveiled at a civil court case next month…the list…proves double standards among public officials trying to shut the city’s sex industry down…

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #43)

Melissa Gira Grant on the increasing desperation of prohibitionists:

I’ve written before about Equality Now (in Jacobin, and in Reason)…[who] deny that anyone involved in the sex trade dissents with their approach.  Lately their op-eds have turned explicitly against sex workers’ rights, which makes sense, as the past two years have seen the mainstream of the global health and human rights  community joining sex workers in calling for an end to…criminalization…Equality Now appear to be losing credibility as human rights advocates…As more and more…advocates…demand…that sex workers be understood as the experts…the anti-sex work campaigners begin to look quite out of step with the…people they claim to protect…

Lauren Hersh, who wrote the op-ed to which Grant refers, was a prosecutor who resigned in disgrace after she was caught railroading two black men on rape charges.  Grant also commented on a Scott Long article which examines Equality Now’s lies and schemes at great length, ending with this bombshell:

…The Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy is offering a practicum for students…in a project for Equality Now.  “This project would analyze the legalization of prostitution and formation of sex workers’ rights groups…Equality Now seeks to better understand the movement…in order to refute arguments for legalization and lobby for adoption of the Nordic Model instead”…

In other words, Equality Now is paying a prestigious institution to spy on sex workers so as to help it create fake sex worker rights organizations which will lobby for the Swedish model, thus confusing politicians and others into thinking there is legitimate debate among sex workers about decriminalization being best.  The strategy itself is nothing new; it’s why Swedish model missionaries often deceptively and incorrectly label it “decriminalization”.  But that they are willing to go to this extent demonstrates the depth of their desperation, and the fact that the school took down the page as soon as they realized activists had found it (but not before Melissa got this screenshot) shows that they are fully aware of how incredibly unethical this is.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #50)

Sunitha Krishnan’s lies get more outrageous all the timeSunitha Krishnan says whores get 100 clients a day

Yes, that’s 100 clients a day she’s claiming there.

Book Reviews (TW3 #133)

For over two decades, Chester Brown has been one of Canada’s leading cartoonists, known…internationally for such works as Yummy Fur, Ed the Happy Clown, I Never Liked You, and Paying for It…For this year’s McCready Lecture, Chester Brown will present an illustrated talk…[to complement the] presentation in the Canadian galleries of a selection of the original drawings created for Louis Riel and will launch the new anniversary edition of the book…

Watershed

last week…Feministe made a very embarrassing and controversial post about sex work disappear from their site, along with several hundred comments…they have not posted any explanation, apology, or retraction for the post, apparently hoping that they can just make it vanish down the memory hole…”Dear Feminists” by Sarah Elizabeth Pahman…pretended to be about…impoverished sex workers, [but] it was all about Pahman, and how seeing them for the first time made her feel…[the incident] shows how deeply institutionalized their problems with sex work are…

The Joy of Juxtaposition (TW3 #312)

Georgia appears to be competing with Washington for the state with the most ridiculous and extreme manifestation of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…a new Georgia law requires certain businesses to post…notices letting sex trafficking victims know who to call for help…The list includes: adult entertainment establishments, bars, airports, train stations, bus stations, truck stops, emergency rooms, urgent care centers, farm labor contractors, privately operated job recruitment centers, rest stops, hotels, and massage parlors without licensed massage therapists…

What, not ethnic restaurants and nail parlors?Stop the Traffik

Theatrics

Did you see that ridiculous video which claims that most whores in Amsterdam were “trafficked”?  Here’s Dr. Brooke Magnanti on what’s wrong with the entire mindset that produced it:

…[in] Stop the Traffik’s recent “viral”…bystanders who think they’re enjoying a show are suddenly broadsided with a ham-fisted…message…It neatly employs a trick that has been used by what Laura Agustin calls the “Rescue Industry” for some time now: conflate all trafficking with sex trafficking, and all sex work with trafficking…it’s then perfectly acceptable…to mislabel consensual sex work as abuse…and at the same time to ignore the more widespread and less fashionable phenomenon of forced labour happening in domestic and drug sectors…the people who influence public taste and public policy definitely don’t want anyone looking too closely at where their cleaners and their drugs come from, but everyone hates sex work, so attacking that is A-OK.  Raids that rescue exactly zero trafficked individuals and put plenty of willing others behind bars are fine…

Still a Child

The UK is moving toward defining people in their early twenties as “children”:

…Child psychologists are being given a new directive…that the age range they work with is increasing from 0-18 to 0-25…the change follows developments in our understanding of emotional maturity, hormonal development and particularly brain activity…There are three stages of adolescence – early adolescence from 12-14 years, middle adolescence from 15-17 years and late adolescence from 18 years and over.  Neuroscience has shown that a young person’s cognitive development continues into this later stage and that their emotional maturity, self-image and judgement will be affected…

Keep in mind that since “adolescence” is largely an artificial concept, dividing it into periods like this is equally artificial.  But at least someone with sense is quoted in the article:

Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, says we have infantilised young people…”There is a loss of the aspiration for independence…and…psychology…reinforces that kind of passivity and powerlessness and immaturity and normalises that…we hold our children back from a very early age.  When they’re 11, 12, 13 we don’t let them out on their own.  When they’re 14, 15, we hover all over them and insulate them from real-life experience.  We treat university students the way we used to treat school pupils”…

Another excellent article by evolutionary psychologist Peter Gray explains that one of the biggest culprits is the eradication of unsupervised play:

…around 1960…adults began…reducing children’s freedom to play on their own…Adult-directed sports…began to replace “pickup” games; adult-directed [activities]…began to replace hobbies; and parents’ fears led them…to forbid children from going out to play…away from home, unsupervised…Over the same decades…[there has been] a continuous…increase in anxiety and depression in young people…the suicide rate…has more than doubled, and…[there has been] a decline in empathy and a rise in narcissism…[which is] exactly what we would expect to see in children who have little opportunity to play socially.  Children can’t learn these social skills…in school, [which] is an authoritarian…setting…[where] children…are not free to quit when others fail to respect their needs and wishes…Yet policymakers…are continuing to push us in the opposite direction — toward more schooling…more adult direction…and less opportunity for free play…

Be Careful Who You Rape

The “deals went bad”.  Seven times.

…Van Dralan Dixson, 38, confessed to police that he was responsible for a Sept. 1 rape in which he [attacked] a woman who was leaving work at a fast food restaurant…he told police…that the [only] two incidents that [he was sorry for]…the one…“with the kids and the ‘chicken lady’”…but the rest were prostitute deals gone bad and he had nothing to apologize for…

Imagination Pinned Down (TW3 #334)

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There are people who believe that migrant women who sell sex need to be saved; that they must want to go home; that they must want another job and they have 200-year-old ideas about what those jobs should be.  –
Laura Agustín

Carmine InfantinoR.I.P. Carmine Infantino

My favorite comic book artist of all time has passed away at the age of 87.  It’s impossible to overstate his influence on the industry, nor how iconic his style was for those of us who grew up with Silver Age comics.  If you’re unfamiliar with his work, take a moment to look at this portrait of one of my favorite heroines and this 8-page story (written by Gardner Fox).

Anatomy of a Boondoggle

Cops do this all the time, but Pittsburgh-area cops are especially shameless:

Homestead Officer Ronald DePellegrin, 48, admits that he allowed Diana Gross, 26, to give him oral sex before he informed her that he was actually a cop…attorney…Michael Waltman…says DePellegrin’s conduct is unacceptable…”The police…are engaging in the exact type of…activity that they’re…[allegedly] trying to protect the community from”…

Lack of Evidence

You know how I keep pointing out that prostitution laws harm all women?

What do you do when you’re detained by powerful officials, everything you say is presumed deceptive, arbitrary “evidence” is held against you, and you’re treated like a moral deviant?…It happened three times in two weeks — being detained by U.S. border officials…my…“sexy underwear” were mentioned…[and my] condoms…were looked upon scathingly…[one official told me] that adultery was a crime in America — a crime that he could deny me entry for…I was detained, yelled at, patted down, fingerprinted, interrogated, searched, moved from room to room…without food, water or being told what was going on…

The Pro-Rape Coalition

Furry Girl explains how laws supposedly intended to “protect children” were really intended to harass the porn industry:

…”2257″ is shorthand for the…irritatingly-named Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act…when you appear in adult productions in the US, you as the performer/model must give the production company/photographer two forms of identification and sign…paperwork promising that you are over 18…fake IDs [exist]…and any contract a minor signs is void anyway [so this]…doesn’t do a thing to guarantee age…Any random person can search for companies reselling and licensing adult content, and with a purchase, buy performer’s legal names, social security numbers, and addresses…a determined stalker can comb through enough adult content resellers and have a good shot at finding their target…Independent pornographers…have to choose between a fear of federal prosecutions and prison time…and a fear of…stalkers coming to our homes to rape or assault us…

Subnormality #138 (Possible Future Salvage)Where Are the Victims?

A man convicted of crimes related to promoting prostitution was sentenced…to…eight years in prison.  Kevin J. Barker…had about 35 women working for him…Barker would get $80 and women would get $80 per call and…anything after that was negotiable…

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere!

One of the few concessions New Zealand has made to “sex trafficking” hysteria (and one of the few things that keep it from absolute decriminalization) is its ban on international students in sex work.  Of course this creates a bottleneck which leads, predictably, to the very type of exploitation the law is supposedly intended to prevent.  The New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective of course understands this and is calling on the government to end the restriction; Catherine Healy explains:

Just recently I was dealing with a case of a young woman who…had gone into this agreement with a brothel operator who said…I’ll look after your money until you need it to pay for your student fees, and of course when that time arrived, the money wasn’t handed over…She couldn’t stomp off to the police, she couldn’t talk to…the university, so really…the law…contributed to her exploitation…back in 2003…the then minister of immigration had hatched this dopey clause in the 11th hour, and we said look, this will have the opposite effect of what you’re intending…

None So Blind

Funny how religious fanatics are always ready to make convenient exceptions:

A Kuwaiti woman who once ran for parliament  has called for sex slavery to be legalized – and suggested that non-Muslim  prisoners from war-torn countries would make suitable concubines.  Salwa al Mutairi argued buying a sex-slave would protect decent, devout and “virile” Kuwaiti men from adultery because  buying an imported sex partner would be tantamount to marriage…[she] even suggested that it would be…better…for women in warring countries as they might die of starvation…offices could be opened to run the sex trade in the same way that recruitment agencies provide  housemaids…

To sum up:  prostitution under individual control = sin.  Compulsory prostitution under government control = good.

Counterfeit Comfort

…If Governor Bryant [of Mississippi] signs “Lenora’s Law,” sex offenders who violate the state’s registry system will wear a GPS tracking device…[the law] also [extends] the residence buffer for sex offenders to 3,000 feet from a school…”These are people who have proven they won’t obey the law,” said [bill sponsor Will] Longwitz.  “Now…we will know where sex offenders are at all times, and can prevent them from striking again”…

No, these are usually people who can’t obey the law because its requirements have become increasingly-difficult to comply with:

Michael Byars’ effort to modify [Iowa] sex offender laws was a case study for effective citizen activism…until…he was arrested and fired from his job…[because] he didn’t update the state sex offender registry to reflect his voluntary, unpaid and, so far, largely successful attempt to persuade lawmakers to change the law…Byars…was convicted in 2008 of lascivious acts with a child…[for] a short, consensual relationship with a 13-year-old high school freshman while he was an 18-year-old high school senior.  The conviction…saddled him with a lifetime…sentence that requires him to check in regularly with a parole officer and stringently limits his interaction with children, including his own son…

24-year-old Byars was such an amazingly successful lobbyist that an opponent called the cops, claiming that his advocacy is a “job” and demanding he be arrested for failing to register it (despite the fact that when he tried to do so he was told it was unnecessary).  The cops were of course happy to comply, because we can’t have those dirty girlfriend-daters demanding their rights.

Naked Truth

Via Reason TV, Tracy Quan speaks with Shereen El Feki in “Sex and the Citadel: Does the Arab Spring need a Summer of Love?

The Widening Gyre

Observable fact:  16-year-old leaves home.  Conclusion: sex trafficking!

…Vancouver police are investigating the disappearance of 16-year-old Isabella Castillo, and her family…thinks she’s caught up in sex trafficking because one of her friends told them they’d seen her around with another girl who is known in the local sex-trafficking world.  That girl is used by sex traffickers to recruit other girls by befriending them.  She then lures them in, grooms them and gets them to run away.  The girls are never heard from again…

“The local sex trafficking world?”  Was it really necessary for cops and fanatics to fill the family’s head full of this kind of nonsense?  Young women don’t leave home because they’re induced to run away by “traffickers”; they leave because home has become intolerable for some reason, often sexual abuse.  And if they enter the sex trade it’s because the laws have made that their only means of support, not because they’re “trafficked”.

Zimbabwe

I wish I had all the magical powers Zimbabwean harlots do:

A prostitute in Bulowayo, Zimbabwe…[apparently] died during an encounter with a customer…[but] came back to life just as officials placed her in a metal coffin…she suddenly woke up in a panic screaming, “You want to kill me!” at the officers…Seeing a woman presumed to be dead spring back to life shocked onlookers, many of whom ran away in fear…

The More the Better (TW3 #32)

Apparently the word “legal” is not part of this reporter’s vocabulary: “Vicksburg [Mississippi] mayoral candidate Linda Fondren and her husband once owned a [brothel] in Nevada…it’s not clear…if the Fondrens are still involved…[and] Linda…denies she ever was…”  After the actual evidence, the fact that Mr. Fondren once publicly defended adults’ right to have consensual sex with other people is presented (presumably on the “only a witch…” principle).

Monkey Business

…chimpanzees…have the ability to “think about thinking”…according to new research…researchers…required them to…name what food was hidden in a location…chimpanzees named items immediately and directly when they knew what was there, but…Laura Agustinsought out more information before naming when they did not already know…

The Naked Anthropologist

Dr. Laura Agustín is currently in Ireland (speaking at the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair today), and gave this short interview about “trafficking” hysteria and related prohibitionist schemes.

Change of Heart (TW3 #41)

Alexis Wright…has reached a plea deal with prosecutors in the Kennebunk prostitution case…[agreeing] to plead guilty to theft, tax evasion and prostitution…clients…who have been charged so far include a former mayor, a…hockey coach, a minister, a lawyer and a firefighter…

No Other Option (TW3 #132)

Another interview (this one in Reveal) with Becky Adams about her plans for a brothel for the disabled:  “More than 700 people have already agreed to work for a reduced price…’We’re expecting the local council to object, but we are prepared to take the argument all the way to the European Court of Human Rights‘”…

Dutch Threat

A similar prohibitionist deception from a decade ago:

[In November 2000]…a Swedish radical feminist named Alexa Wolf…showed her “documentary”…Shocking Truth…[which]…shows what seems to be a rape scene…Wolf…[slowed] down the film making it appear as the woman was helpless and drugged…[thus creating] a moral panic…The pay per view-channels promised that there would be no “violent porn”…Video stores removed porn from the shelves.  57% of the Swedish population wanted to ban ALL porn…in conservative Norway we had more or less the same reaction…The woman seen “drugged and raped” in the film…is…award winning porn actress…Mila Shegol [who stated in an interview that] she was not on drugs, she was not raped, it was all acting, she actually took part in directing the scenes…she was not a suffering, oppressed or exploited woman, and she had no idea there had been made a documentary about her alleged rape…

A Broker in Pillage (TW3 #312)

Here’s that weird “pay back” euphemism again:  “A…brothel owner who made thousands exploiting vulnerable women was…ordered to pay back…£75,000 of his sordid gains within six months [or] he [will] be locked up for…two years…”  Because money gained via business is “sordid”, but that gained via extortion is “just”.

Birth of a Movement (TW3 #312)

Muslimah PrideThe French senate has voted to repeal a law banning ‘passive’ soliciting for sex… opponents said it put sex workers in a precarious situation…and…[led] to police abuse…

A War for Peace (TW3 #313)

Muslim women have launched a campaign to send a message to “sextremist” collective Femen.  “Muslimah Pride Day” was organised in response to Femen’s self-declared “Topless Jihad Day”, a day of topless protests around the world to support Tunisian Femen activist Amina Tyler

Under Every Bed

Montana lawmakers are looking at ways to prevent and punish human trafficking in response to reports of increased prostitution [among]…people who have come to find work in the Bakken oil boom…there is no actual proof that trafficking is a problem in Montana, said…Rep. Sarah Laszloffy…But without the language on the books…authorities [lack] the tools needed to track it…

And more importantly, the way to clean up on “trafficking” grants!  Already, selfless volunteers are working to make sure “authorities” have sufficient disinformation to block out real facts:

…Melissa Woodward…helps train law enforcement about how to spot a child that may have been sold into prostitution…”Does she have physical markings on her?  Tattoos that are often visible…things like wearing very provocative clothes…”

You heard it here first, kids!  Tattoos, sexy clothes and looking for work are all signs of “sex trafficking”!  If you see a woman with any of those telltale signs, call the cops immediately so she can be “rescued” into the nearest jail!

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Sex workers have a special place in society that is never rewarded or recognised.  –  Derek Freedman

No Other Option

Vrbas wheelchair basketball clubMy Cliterati article for last Sunday was “Skin To Skin”, a strong criticism of the cruelty of denying commercial sex to men who can’t experience physical intimacy in any other way; the very next day an English council provided a perfect example of that cruelty by announcing an “investigation” of a nursing home which allowed residents to hire sex workers, and I explained what was wrong with that in this week’s essay, “Caring Professionals”.  Then there was this item from Bosnia:

Members of a…wheelchair basketball club are launching a campaign to legalize prostitution…to help disabled people “achieve their right to love.”  Marinko Umicevic, president of the club Vrbas, said Wednesday that Bosnia had to catch up with 21st century Europe, where…some people with disabilities “even get state subsidies to pay for sex.”  Umicevic said some of his players had never had sex and legalizing the sex trade would help people like them achieve their basic rights…

Something Rotten in Sweden

Prostitution stings are disgusting no matter how they’re justified, but there’s something particularly vile about using “sex trafficking” as an excuse and then arresting hookers as well:

A multi-agency prostitution sting conducted earlier this month on behalf of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month has netted the arrests of…46 [people]…most for misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution…[but] five [for] women alleged to have posted sex ads…Sen. Leticia Van de Putte…[says] she intends to propose…a bill that would pave the way for victims of human trafficking to sue websites that make money off prostitution ads…

Senator Van de Putte could save the state of Texas a lot of money by simply researching the fate of similar ideas.

Decentralization

Bitcoin has become so popular, and its value has risen so much against that of national currencies, that Bloomberg is concerned that “virtual money could undermine the role of central banks”, which as Reason explains is exactly the point.  The end of governments’ ability to directly meddle with the world economy can’t possibly come soon enough to suit me.

Dirty Whores

Dr Derek Freedman told the Irish Sun:  “People from all strands of society use prostitutes from time to time.  It ranges from [politicians], the clergy, the judiciary to people who are socially deprived, physically disabled and people who may be regarded as unattractive and may not be able to meet people”…while people often feel anxious about contracting infections after visiting a prostitute, he believes that “you’re probably safer with a professional than with a gifted amateur”…he added:  “What we forget is that often sex workers give great comfort to people who are lonely”…Other Dreams of Freedom

Déjà Vu

When even Christians are starting to see this, “trafficking” hysteria’s days are numbered:

…In her new book Other Dreams of Freedom, Yvonne Zimmerman, a professor of Christian Ethics, argues that the theoretical basis of US government anti-trafficking efforts derives directly from Protestant theology and traditional ideas of what she calls “sexually pure and pious womanhood”.  Zimmerman challenges this basis for anti-trafficking efforts, saying that it ends up limiting the freedom of trafficked people, especially women, by conceiving of their “rescue” as them ending up in traditional, heterosexual marriages – or at least refraining from sexual relations outside of marriage…

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (We’re Not Done Yet)

A big improvement on the phone “app” described previously:

…a team [of students]…has invented a mobile panic button for street…sex…workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.  A voice or text message is first recorded onto a SIM card, which is inserted into a GPS-enabled device such as a pager…Pressing a button…activates the GPS and sends an emergency message and GPS location to a contact who can get help.  Because the GPS is not activated until the device is activated, the anonymity of the user is preserved…Once prototype devices are ordered, the three students will hold focus groups to determine which type of device is more useful…[then] will launch a six-month pilot project by giving devices to 100 women…The group is currently holding a fundraising initiative online…$8,140 [will] cover…the entire pilot project…

Change a Few Words

Arch-prohibitionist Paul Chabot helpfully explains not only that prohibitionism really works, but that all prohibitions are equally valid:  “When asked…why we keep marijuana illegal, Chabot responded:  “Why do we keep heroin, LSD, prostitution, child pornography illegal?’”  As Matthew Feeney points out, “Comparing marijuana to child pornography is a great way to insult millions of people by comparing them to pedophiles.  Chabot is a free gift to those of us who would like to see drugs legalized.”  And of course, the same goes for prostitution.

The More the Better (TW3 #4)

Sheri's RanchOn Monday I received a press release from Sheri’s Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada, a brothel resort on 20 acres (8 hectares) with a swimming pool, spa and tennis court which actively markets itself to couples as well as single men.  It’s now added “Sheri’s Playland”, a group of bungalows fitted out like movie sets so clients can enact any of six different sexual fantasies with working girls.  As I’ve said before, this is a very positive trend; “it was after Vegas casinos started ‘gentrifying’ in the ‘80s that people from other states dropped their prejudices against gambling, and now casinos are everywhere in the US.”

The Course of a Disease

Sex workers fight an attempt to impose the Swedish model on Indonesia:

Prostitutes and activists…are calling on the government not to prosecute men who pay for sex…The chairwoman of Yogyakarta Women’s Sex Workers Association (P3SY)…said…that [client] criminalization…would decrease the bargaining power and income of sex workers…[and] drive prostitution further underground…[hindering] HIV/AIDS education and mitigation programs…arresting customers would lead to the closure of brothels…and force sex workers to seek customers on the streets…Ignatius Praptoharjono of the Atma Jaya Catholic University’s HIV/AIDS Research Center in Jakarta…cited the cases of Sweden, Canada and other Asia-Pacific nations, where a crackdown on [clients] led to the decline of red-light districts and reduced fees…forcing sex workers to charge less and work more.  “Such a regulation will not protect women, but instead expose them to even higher risk,” [he] said…

Bullies With Badges

Heroic cops display their courage and fortitude by saving the helpless citizens of Connecticut from the menace of a 71-year-old whore: “an undercover cop…met her inside a room…[after] Sygun Liebhart placed a backpage.com ad…

Little Boxes (TW3 #25)

Forcing massage parlors to close at 10 PM is the latest anti-whore fad:

…a new [Florida] bill…would ban massage establishments from operating between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m…to crack down on human trafficking and sexual exploitation…[it] also would make it illegal for massage establishments to allow anybody to live on the premises…the Florida State Massage Therapy Association questioned the hours restriction…[because] there are legitimate late-night clients including airline pilots and theatrical performers…[bill sponsor Dave] Kerner, a former…police officer, said…late-night massage establishments are a “hotbed” of illicit sexual activity…

Anyone who actually uses the phrase “illicit sexual activity” with a straight face should be barred from public office as a delusional busybody.

I Swear To God

Here’s another article on the PEPFAR “anti-prostitution pledge”, the efforts to overturn it and the importance of doing so from a health perspective, a human rights perspective and a free speech perspective.  It really is beginning to seem like now that the gay rights culture war has essentially been won, many activists are starting to at last turn their attention toward the persecution of sex workers.

Shift in the Wind

Here’s a cute little promo video made at the Sex Worker Freedom Festival, the parallel AIDS conference held in Kolkata last summer by sex workers who were excluded from the US:

False Target

My fellow hot smart chick Amy Alkon wrote this week about that Jezebel favorite, social constructionist and penis apologist Hugo Schwyzer; his latest absurd claim (one which I called him to task about on Twitter a few months ago) is that older men are only attracted to young women because of “social construction”, and that before the advent of television guys were lining up to date old hags (presumably when they weren’t burning them as witches).  In the process Amy discusses the evolutionary basis of lust, debunks the “rape is asexual” myth and quotes good sense from Dr. Gad Saad.

Bottleneck

The story of New York City’s “cabaret card”, an artificial bottleneck imposed on nightclub performers from 1926-1966, is an excellent example of why prostitution licensing doesn’t work; the corruption such a system engenders and the destructive consequences to individuals are virtually the same.

Dirty Laundry

A divorced couple involved in running a brothel in north Dublin have avoided jail with fines and suspended sentences…Judge Mary Ellen Ring…ordered [Istvan Zeffer] to pay €1,000 to prostitute-support group Ruhama…Bernadette Kiss…is to pay €3,000…”  Ruhama is the new frontTom the Dancing Bug 1-31-13 for the orders of nuns who ran the Magdalene laundries which enslaved whores and many other women; calling them a “prostitute support group” is equivalent to referring to the Nazis as a “Jewish support group”.

King of the Hill

Most of this story is the typical credulous stenography of an evangelical “rescue” organization’s claims, but this passage stood out:  “The United States is the No. 1 destination for human sexual trafficking, with Oklahoma near the top of the most-active state list, the State Department reports…”  As you probably know, the State Department “reports” nothing of the kind.

Change of Heart (TW3 #41)

Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills…threw out 46 of the 59 counts against the alleged co-conspirator in the high-profile Kennebunk prostitution case, setting the stage for another appeal to the state’s highest court.  Mills’ decision…dealt prosecutors a…blow hours before opening arguments…were expected to begin…jury selection…[has already taken four days though] Mills said…it has never taken her longer than one day to seat a jury in her 19 years on the Superior Court…[charges were dropped after defense attorney Daniel] Lilley [argued]…that the notion that Maine privacy laws protect individuals engaged in criminal activity is “ludicrous.”  The invasion of privacy charges are tied to the fact that the alleged sexual interactions…were videotaped without the [clients] knowing…the defense…is [also] free to pursue its…argument that Strong was the subject of police retaliation…

We Told You So (TW3 #131)

Slowly but surely, the press is waking up:

The sad tale of a prostitute being held captive in Chattanooga highlights a problem that appears overstated…it is the only one ever reported, according to area police.  Meanwhile, a 2011 report co-produced by Vanderbilt University and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation estimated there were more than 100 cases of human sex trafficking in Hamilton County.  The study is, apparently, based on erroneous surveys and severely lacking in verifiable facts…

First They Came for the Hookers… (TW3 #132)

More “stripper licensing” idiocy, complete with “sex trafficking” nonsense:

…officials in Moorhead, Minn., are expected to pass an anti-prostitution measure requiring erotic dancers, nude models and adult escorts to obtain licenses and submit to background checks…North Dakota counterparts across the Red River in Fargo and West Fargo are pushing similar ordinances and the regional approach will attempt to stem “a fairly prominent problem here” with prostitution trafficking between their cities and the oil fields…[police hope] the regulations will reduce “a huge problem of runaways and minors trafficked into the sex trade”…adult entertainers would likely have to pay $150 to $250, carry a photo ID and divulge their real names, aliases and criminal histories.  Background checks revealing prostitution or drug convictions would disqualify applicants from receiving permits…

Pompous “authorities” just love creating bottlenecks that turn businesswomen into criminals, don’t they?

Due Consideration

It never takes control freaks very long to prove my points:

A…lawmaker in New Mexico introduced a bill…that would…require victims of rape to carry their pregnancies to term…as evidence for a sexual assault trial.  House Bill 206, introduced by state Rep. Cathrynn Brown…would charge…[violators]…with a third-degree felony for “tampering with evidence”…

The bill is unlikely to pass, but only due to partisanism rather than because it’s a total abomination.

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She was not sold to a brothel like they said…the people here always pitied and loved her.  –  Men Voeun

Safe Targets

How would this have played out if prostitution were fully legal in Canada?

Calgary police have arrested an Ontario man accused of making fake emergency calls…claiming that distraught women were being held against their will, either at gunpoint or knifepoint.  “It is alleged two individuals were responsible for numerous calls to police in an attempt to reveal and disrupt competition in the escort business.  These same individuals are also believed responsible for extorting escorts by calling or threatening to call police if the women refused to work for the two accused”…

Backwards into the Future

Add Rwanda to the list:

Commercial sex workers must be protected from assault and any other kind of mistreatment, lawmakers said…criminalisation of prostitution denies sex workers easy access to crucial services, with devastating consequences on their health, their clients and partners of their clients…The legislators called for more support to sex workers by encouraging and facilitating them to form and join cooperatives…[and] called for the review of the Penal Code…to avoid cases where the law might…be a liability to society…

Down Under

Dr. Marty Klein’s post about his trip to Australia discusses the absurdity of prohibitionism, properly brands “sex trafficking” a moral panic and starts by teaching me something I actually did not know:

…in Australia…it [became] legal to PURCHASE and POSSESS adult porn in 1983.  But all Australian states ban the SALE of X-rated video…Enforcement…is very low, so there is a gray market…[and] Australians buy it anyway…the government loses tax revenue, as well as respect.  The foolishness of attempting to ban a popular, victimless activity like watching adult porn is even more obvious when considered in light of Australia’s decriminalizing of most adult prostitution in 1992…

It’s Different Because It Involves Sex, Part Umpteen

Predictably, the New York state appeals court agreed with tax officials against a strip club.  Unpredictably, the dissenting judges clearly “get it”:

…A very divided New York Court of Appeals has ruled that lap dances are not art…“The court split 4-3, with the dissenting judges saying there’s no distinction in state law between ‘highbrow dance and lowbrow dance’”…Judge Robert Smith pointed out…that the majority ruling here does not actually comply with the…state’s legislation… “[T]he only question…is whether the admission charges that the State seeks to tax were paid for dance performances.  There is not the slightest doubt that they were…It does not matter if the dance was artistic or crude, boring or erotic.  Under New York’s Tax Law, a dance is a dance…I do not read Hustler magazine; I would rather read the New Yorker.  I would be appalled, however, if the State were to exact from Hustler a tax that the New Yorker did not have to pay, on the ground that what appears in Hustler is insufficiently “cultural and artistic”…discrimination on the basis of content would surely be unconstitutional”…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

I enjoyed Chester Brown’s Paying For It so much I asked him which of his other books I should read next, and he responded by generously sending me four of them:  Louis Riel, I Never Liked You and two short works which are not commercially available.  Thank you so much, Chester; I’m very much looking forward to reading them!

Above the Law

…Tacoma police said when Sylvester Haliburton tried to convince a prostitute he was an undercover police officer, she didn’t believe him, and when she tried to get out of his car, Haliburton wouldn’t let her…police…are looking into the possibility that he committed similar crimes before…

Much Ado About Nothing

I don’t think I can adequately explain how ridiculous this looks to any experienced escort; there’s about a 70% chance that the “shocked” officials have done the same thing themselves, and a better than 95% chance they knew others who did:

An investigation into the U.S. Secret Service prostitution scandal…contradicts Secret Service director Mark Sullivan’s adamant assertion before Congress that “this just is not part of our culture”…The report…revealed that one of the agents who was in Cartagena…admitted to soliciting a prostitute on two previous occasions…and…mentioned allegations of similar misconduct by agents on trips to Romania and China…

Meanwhile, Dania Londoño (her last name was previously reported as “Suarez”) is writing a book.

Naked Truth

Melissa Gira Grant on how the equation of “human trafficking” with prostitution harms the more than 75% of people whose exploitative labor conditions are not sex-related; I strongly suspect it won’t be long before The Guardian officially adopts an anti-trafficking hysteria editorial position.

True Colors

On May 24th the offices of New Orleans activist group Women With a Vision were destroyed by arson, but you can’t keep good women down:

As of October 1, 2012, we are well on our way to securing a new home for WWAV, and have a targeted reopening date of January 1, 2013.  In anticipation…we have officially closed our temporary office location…Please call 504.301.0428 for further information on how to access services while we are rebuilding.

You can also call that number to donate, or just go to their website.

First They Came for the Hookers…

The extension of “sex trafficking” hysteria to stripping continues:

Albuquerque city councilors…adopted a host of new regulations for strip clubs aimed at discouraging human trafficking, prostitution and other crimes.  The ordinance sets out record-keeping requirements on the identity of performers and calls for signs to be posted telling employees how to report human trafficking.  It also prohibits “adult cabaret entertainment” in private areas of the club that aren’t open and visible to others…Voting “no” were…Rey Garduño…[who] repeatedly questioned whether anyone had actually been arrested for human trafficking in an Albuquerque strip club…[and Trudy] Jones…[who] asked why other businesses that might involving the trafficking of minors weren’t covered by the bill.  She mentioned hotel maids and landscaping workers…

Though I’m disgusted by the registration, infantilization and attacks on women’s livelihood, I’m encouraged by the questions asked by the two dissenters.

Imagination Pinned Down

What, no UFOs or Satanists?

…a British woman has claimed that she spent five years being raised by monkeys in a Colombian forest…Marina Chapman says the colony of capuchins cared for her after she was kidnapped and then abandoned…[she] survived by catching birds and rabbits with her bare hands until hunters found her…took [her] to a nearby city and sold her to a brothel.  However, she managed to escape to Britain and…worked as a housemaid…[her] story has been made into a book…and TV crews plan to make a documentary…Chapman believes she was born…about 1950 and…was kidnapped when she was five before being abandoned in the jungle.

Shift in the Wind

Three UN agencies have officially called for total decriminalization across Asia, specifically naming New Zealand and New South Wales as examples:

…[A] study issued…by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)…examines 48 countries in Asia and the Pacific to assess laws, legal policies and law enforcement practices that affect the human rights of sex workers and…effectiveness of HIV responses.  Where sex work has been decriminalized, there is a greater chance for safer sex practices… “evidence from the jurisdictions…that have decriminalized sex work – New Zealand and New South Wales (Australia) – indicates that the approach of defining sex work as legitimate labour empowers sex workers, increases their access to HIV and sexual health services and is associated with very high condom use rates”…

Metaupdates

Welcome To Our World in February Updates (Part Two)

From Ireland, another example of the inevitable result of the idea that sex is a horrible thing from which the “innocent” must be “protected”:

…One would assume that [40-year-old Mandy Finlay]…is entitled to enjoy an intimate sexual life with her partner…[but] not only is [that] socially unacceptable…it is also a crime…the…Sexual Offences…Act, 1993, criminalises sexual relations between two adults with intellectual disability…who are not married.  This includes mild disability and autism…

Schadenfreude in TW3 (#17)

Somaly Mam has been caught in another huge lie:

For years now, the scarred face of Long Pros has symbolized…sex slavery in Cambodia…“My eye was stabbed by a brothel owner,” Ms. Pros recounted in [Nicholas Kristof’s documentary] Half the Sky…with blood still flowing from the destroyed eye socket, Ms. Pros said that she was still forced to have sex with clients…”when I returned home, my mother and father didn’t want me around”…[but] Pros’ parents…denied that their daughter was ever a victim of human trafficking, had ever been enslaved in a brothel, or had lost her right eye at the hands of a savage brothel owner.  Long Hon, 60, and Sok Hang, 56, described…their daughter’s…eye condition:  a non-malignant tumor that had developed when she was just 7 years old…[and] was…removed by an eye surgeon…in 2005 when she was 13…Te Sereybonn, the…director of the…hospital…said that…medical staff…contacted [Somaly Mam’s organization] to…admit Ms. Pros to one of their vocational training programs…it had nothing to do with the sex industry…

The parents’ statement was confirmed by doctors and medical records.  Brandee Baker of the Somaly Mam Foundation insisted that the girls’ parents, doctors and medical records were all wrong and wrote in an October 21st email to reporters, “you are now bullying victims of sex slavery…”  Furthermore, Keo Thea, chief of Phnom Penh’s anti-human trafficking police bureau, said he had no record of any complaint about a brothel girl stabbed in the eye, and even the type of the supposed attack has changed; in its first published form in 2008, Pros claimed to have “lost her eye after a pimp kicked her in the face.”

Neither Addiction nor Epidemic in TW3 (#20)

As I’ve stated before, “sex addiction” is not the same thing as hypersexuality; the latter is a real disorder which may be included in DSM-V, while the former isn’t and won’t be.  But since “sex addiction” is too good a myth to discard just yet, we’ll just lie by redefining the former to mean the latter:  “…New research shows that sex addiction is indeed a mental health disorder–one that can be easily and accurately diagnosed…It’s formally called ‘hypersexual disorder,’ and it’s much more than enjoying sex a little too much…”  I shall now prove the existence of the Tooth Fairy by redefining the word “fairy” to mean “ache”.

The Course of a Disease in TW3 (#26)

Here’s something rather unusual:  a short anti-Swedish model play.  I have included it not for its dramatic qualities (which are, I’m sorry to say, essentially nonexistent), but rather as evidence of the fact that there is considerable anger toward the model in Norway, home of those who inspired the play.  Furthermore, its central philosophical point is that since all sex is transactional in some way, the Swedish model technically outlaws sex completely.

Change of Heart in TW3 (#41)

This article about the journalistic ethics of outing Alexis Wright’s clients is an excellent example of a journalist just starting to wake up.  Though he recognizes “end demand” as bunk and rightfully compares persecution of sex work to persecution of homosexuals, he doesn’t actually challenge the morality of the laws per se; furthermore, though he understands that stigma can harm families, he thinks only of the clients’ families rather than those of the hookers.  Still, this is a big improvement over most of the American journalistic establishment, and therefore deserves recognition.

This Week in 2010 and 2011

Three of these columns were about Japan:  there was a brief history of Japanese prostitution, my husband’s experience at a “soapland” bath house, and a study of Filipinas working at hostess bars.  I also presented the stories of two eccentric New Orleans characters, two columns full of hooker songs, and two columns in which I answered questions about anonymity, the fraction of men who hire us, hotels, STDs, female sex tourists, pimps, parents, spam and circumcision.  Finally, we looked at the “pedophilia” heffalump and the prostitution elephant, a thorny BDSM case, the ethics of egg-selling and short articles on Bob Guccione, Clarence Thomas, Gardasil, funny album covers, horror comics and vampire whores.

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Prostitution has a social value, and it’s necessary in a city.  –  Daniël Termont

Without Let or Hindrance

Those who have dealt with “Child Protective Services” know that they are granted powers of which the Inquisition would have been envious.  They routinely abduct people’s children on the flimsiest of pretexts, often on hearsay and without even a warrant, and once this happens parents may never regain custody; if they do it is after years of jumping through ridiculous and ever-changing hoops, playing endless games of “Mother May I?” with power-mad bureaucrats, submission to outlandish violations of their rights and privacy, hundreds of hours in court and total financial ruin…and that’s not even counting the emotional damage to the children.  On Wednesday, an activist named Kathi Duran began a hunger strike on the steps of the California state capitol to call attention to these abuses; as expected, she was arrested almost immediately.  She asked me to call attention to her protest and share this press release, and I’m happy to do so and will provide updates as I get them.

Updates

License To Rape

This result doesn’t happen nearly often enough:

An ex-Houston police officer [named Abraham Joseph]…was sentenced to life in prison…for raping a waitress…Joseph could have received as little as five years…but jurors chose the maximum sentence instead.

News articles always refer to criminal cops as “ex-cops”, implying they had already been fired when they committed the crimes.

Lack of Evidence

The San Francisco Police Department announced…that [it] will [temporarily] stop using condoms as evidence in prostitution cases…Under current city policy, police cannot confiscate condoms…But…police sometimes broke the policy…A July report from Human Rights Watch criticized San Francisco, along with New York, Washington, DC and Los Angeles, for [the practice]…

Spam received by a reader; if this isn’t a hoax, the cops, voyeurs or pimp wannabes who set it up labor under truly mythic levels of ignorance and disinformation.

December Q & A

Sex educator Debby Herbenick on the need for more research on anal sex:  “…In an incredibly short period of time, anal sex has become a common part of Americans’ sex lives.  As of the 1990s, only about one-quarter to one-third of young [Americans]…had tried anal sex at least once.  Less than 20 years later, my research team’s 2009 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior found that as many as 40-45 percent…in some age groups had…[yet] taboos persist and…the list of what we don’t know about anal sex is far longer than the list of what we do.  This makes it difficult for sex educators to feel truly confident in answering people’s very real and important questions…

Backwards into the Future

Add Malawi to the list of countries whose legal experts understand human rights better than those in the US; one of them said thatDespite the fact that Malawi has not outlawed sex work…police officers on night patrols pounce on sex workers and…charge…[them] with rogue and vagabond…This is a clear violation of rights of sex workers…”  He also commented on the unsanctioned compulsory HIV testing I reported in TW3 (#24), stating that it “is not recommended by…UNAIDS” and “it is impractical and unworkable and more effective results can be reached by supporting sex workers’…access [to] testing, prevention, and support…

Housewife Harlotry

No, marriage isn’t prostitution; not at all:

…Several [New York] attorneys have shared the craziest [prenuptial agreements] they’ve penned…[including] items like “no piano playing while the husband is home”, cash bonuses…if either is caught cheating and an agreement to terminate a pregnancy if one should occur…[some include]a weight clause…[another] said [the wife] would never wear green and if she did, her husband [could]…destroy the item…One husband demanded “wife not allowed to cut her hair”…

The article also mentions the wives’ demands, including husbands being home by a certain time and (surprise!) being paid for sex.

Saving Them From Themselves

Amanda Hess adds to our list of good articles about “sexting” hysteria:

When Polaroid inventor Edwin Land introduced the first commercial instant camera…in 1948, he ushered in what Christopher Bonanos …in The Atlantic calls a “magnificent new era” in photography…for “instant, shareable nudie pics”…The new…format for…nude photographs—sexting—[is]…basically the same:  instant explicit photographs, taken under the radar, shared between lovers and friends.  In a recent report on a new study of teen sexting…dating “expert” Dr. Wendy Walsh favored terms like “embarrassment,” “shame,” “risky,” and “pressure” to describe the photographic form.  And negative terms like those permeate the…discussion around teen photo sharing, though for years research has shown that the media-wide concern-trolling is overblown…

Tyranny By Consensus

On November 6th Los Angeles county will decide whether to impose AHF’s “condoms in porn” measure; this video explains the real motive behind the whole thing:

Uncommon Sense

…In Ghent’s red-light district, as in many other cities, prostitutes sit in windows to attract potential clients.  According to the new law in Ghent, women must wear something in addition to lingerie and may not dance or make suggestive gestures…[Mayor Daniël] Termont…stressed that the measures were intended to reduce the nuisance caused by customers…rather than to victimise the workers.

Saint Death

This US Army report on the Santa Muerte belief refers to it as a “death cult” (technically true, but the phrase has false and pejorative connotations), declares that it isn’t a “true” religion and states that “Although not all members of the cult are criminals, all live an existence that is dominated by crime.”  I’m sure that bartenders, taxi drivers and prostitutes (who are not criminalized in Mexico) might disagree that their lives are “dominated by crime”, though cops (another large segment of her devotees) probably wouldn’t.

Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong

It’s good to see some journalists finally starting to listen to us:

…Backpage’s critics say they are facilitating sex slavery…[but] all the figures quoted in the media come from a single source, a consultancy called AIM Group…[whose] methodology is shaky at best…they ignore major adult ad networks and mainstream ad networks that accept adult ads…and traffic, revenue and share-of-market numbers, even accurate ones, are no indication of how many…ads…actually convert into…transaction[s]…nor what subset of those…are with a minor or…coerced [person]…Backpage publishes about 3.2 million…ads a month…about 11 percent…are listed in…Adult Services…Backpage removes over a million ads a month…[mostly] for spam and fraud…Only 1.6 percent of the [removed] ads…are from the Adult Category…Only 2 percent of that 1.6 percent, or about 400…a month, are suspected of advertising a minor.  Backpage reports those…immediately (and under no legal obligation) to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).  In other words, about 1/25 of 1 percent (.04 percent) of the ads Backpage removes…are suspected of advertising a minor for sexual services, a number that represents 1/100 of one percent (.01 percent) of its…ad volume…

Instead of the usual prohibitionists, the article interviewed folks like researcher Ron Weitzer and Kate D’Adamo of SWOP.

The More the Better

Diary of a Rookie Phone Sex Floozie…Lucinda Latimer…whose real name is Jan…was…broke, isolated and almost suicidal…  she had sold her car and had no idea where her next penny was coming from when she saw a documentary on former career women who turned to the sex industry to make a living.  Previously, she had [earned] up to £1000 a night as a graphologist…but ill health and the break-up of her marriage forced her back to Perthshire…[she now does phone sex work and] what has struck her about the men is how normal and pleasant most are and how well educated…Trying to hide her work would have made it shameful and sordid…[so] Jan decided to speak out…she has written…The Diary of a Rookie Phone Sex Floozie, and is about to launch volume two…

The Rape Question

Jezebel’s “sex advice” columnist gives a reader advice on how to shove her finger up a guy’s arse without his consent because she wants “to massage someone’s prostate goddamnit!”.  Take note of the tepid protests to the columnist’s suggestions on how to trick and bully him into it, then imagine the firestorm if a male writer gave a man advice on how to pressure a woman into something because he wants “to fuck some chick in the arse goddamnit!

Change of Heart

I’m never happy to see a sister pilloried, but I suspect the police decision to expose her customers is going to backfire so badly that this may have some positive results in the long run:

[Alexis Wright has]…been charged with running a prostitution business out of her Zumba dance studio [in Kennebunk, Maine] and secretly videotaping her encounters…Police have begun issuing summons to Wright’s customers and will release the names in the weeks ahead.  Townspeople say they’ve heard that lawyers, doctors, law enforcement officials, a television personality and other well-known people in town are included in a detailed clientele list police found.  A lot of people would rather not see the names made public because it will hurt families, children and careers…

So Close and Yet So Far

Another would-be ally undermines her own case by accepting the false claims of prohibitionists:

…In the Netherlands, prostitution is legal.  Nonetheless, over 60% of the women involved in prostitution are involved in the sex trade illegally.  The Mayor [of Amsterdam] and others refer to these as ‘trafficked’ – either because they are exploited and involved in the sex trade against their will…or because they are illegal workers brought to the country to work voluntarily in conditions different from those they expect…the argument for legalization included belief that it would…decrease trafficking, it has had the opposite effect…prostitution has gone from a predominantly home-grown industry to one very heavily dependent on illegal foreign workers…a [recent law criminalizes hiring]…a prostitute who is not registered with the government…But…this…means that…[the] information must be public so that…[clients] can verify that the sex worker is…licensed…[this] invades the privacy of both…prostitutes and…customers…

Prohibitionists intentionally confuse legalization and decriminalization, ignore the bottleneck effect of registration, pretend that correlation equals causation and conflate “unregistered” with “trafficked”, and the author, Dr. Nancy Darling, fails to question any of it.

Metaupdates

See No Evil in TW3 (#24)

Ilfracombe, the English town which claims to be unique in the world by being absolutely whore-free, proves it can be as prudish about lumps of bronze as anyplace in the Bible Belt:  “Damien Hirst refers to ‘Verity’ as a ‘modern-day allegory for truth and justice’…[but hundreds of local residents and law officials]…call the 66-foot bronze statue of a half-exposed pregnant woman ‘soft porn masqueraded as art’…

Down Under in TW3 (#40)

Australian sex worker activist Christian Vega has more to say on that “end demand” story from St. Kilda:

…As I read through [the article] the stench of bovine excrement almost made my eyes water…street sex work doesn’t relocate itself to another suburb on the other side of town…there is not an itinerant population of these workers who move en masse from one place to the next like migrating wildebeest across the African savannah…It’s more comfortable for people to think that sex work doesn’t happen in their community…and…that street sex workers must board a shuttle from planet Whore to our neighbourhoods under the cover of darkness before disappearing as the sun rises…

I think I like that imagery at least as much as my own.

This Week in 2010 and 2011

A federal judge enjoyed pleasures he persecuted others for and escaped with a slap on the wrist because officials always have different rules for their own class than for others; they’re also hilariously clueless about sex work and are only beginning to realize what a scam the “anti-trafficking” industry is.  I discussed America’s weird love-hate relationship with prostitutes, what a 1947 sci-fi story can teach us about the nanny state, how sex workers arrive at our prices and how prostitution is a much older profession than most people think, and I related the story of a famous whore-obsessed preacher, told some hooker jokes, shared my answers to some amazingly stupid prohibitionist statements and presented two spooky stories for the Halloween season.

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In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place. – Mahatma Gandhi

Last week I published “A Necessary Evil”, in which I pointed out that, though neither circumstances nor numbers can wholly turn an evil action good, they can make it better than the alternative.  Killing someone in self-defense isn’t good, but it is an evil that is excused by circumstance; likewise the collective theft we dignify with the euphemism “taxation” to disguise the fact that it is both involuntary and accomplished via the threat of violence.  In an ideal world, good people would always have the choice to do naught but good, and any evil actions they committed would be the result of moral weakness or loss of emotional control.  But in the real world, good people sometimes have to consciously decide to commit evil acts in order to prevent or combat a greater evil; a whore, for example, might have to lie in order to prevent her discovery, abduction, brutalization and confinement by government thugs who might then impoverish her and consign her children to the hell of state custody.

The slope is a slippery one, and the excuse of “necessity” is often used by tyrants and lesser criminals to rationalize the most monstrous of crimes, such as the wholesale trampling of civil rights modern regimes have enacted under the aegis of “security” and “protecting the children” and the all-important “keeping people from enjoying themselves in ways that don’t benefit the rulers.”  The faculty which determines whether an evil act is truly necessary or just a cloak for selfish motivations is that which we call “conscience”, and those whose moral compasses are either missing or underdeveloped are the world’s greatest enablers of evil because they subordinate their own personal consciences to the pronouncements of external authorities.  In other words, they excuse or even participate in behavior they know to be wrong because an “authority” pronounces that behavior to be “right” in order to further his own purposes.

Of course, the opposite can happen as well; some people accepted as authorities by others have dependable moral compasses, and such people can accomplish tremendous good by helping other good people to recognize evil but popularly-accepted or officially-sanctioned behaviors for what they are.  I don’t just mean great philosophers or spiritual leaders, either; every parent, teacher, writer, celebrity or other person with an audience, however small, has the moral responsibility to ensure that any moral pronouncements he makes truly come from his conscience rather than from a misguided need to advance an agenda at the expense of others’ freedom, happiness and physical needs.  Bloggers obviously fall under this stricture as well, so I always think long and hard about complex moral issues before taking a stand on them one way or another, for fear of inadvertently influencing people to embrace a wrong merely because it might advance a cause in which I personally believe.  Well, there’s an issue I’ve been mulling over for a year and a half now, and I’ve finally decided it’s time to share my judgment on it.  In my column for November 5th, 2010 I wrote:

Interrogators have long understood something which both terrorists and pacifists alike fail to understand, which is that human nature tends to respond only to BOTH the promise of reward and the threat of punishment used in tandem.  Terrorism fails because it offers only violence, and pacifism fails because it offers only the reward of keeping the non-violent protesters happy, but the classic “good cop, bad cop” scenario works because it offers both.  Not even children consistently respond to the promise of the carrot without the threat of the stick; why then should we expect adults to, most especially the self-important adults who set themselves up over their fellows?  The civil rights movement worked because Martin Luther King and other peaceful protesters offered an attractive alternative to the race violence which had escalated since soon after the Second World War, but without the looming specter of race war their peaceful protests might never have accomplished anything.  In more recent times the peaceful activism of mainstream “gay rights” groups offered an attractive alternative to the disruptive antics of groups like ACT-UP and the quiet violence of “outing”.  Perhaps one of the reasons that the prostitutes’ rights movement has languished in futility for four decades is that there is no threatening alternative; maybe the “good girl” activists like those of SWOP, Desiree Alliance and myself need a few “bad girl” groups who run around outing politicians, disrupting fundamentalist religious services and neofeminist meetings, hacking prohibitionist websites and spying on police to publicly expose “stings” so the government will have some compelling reason to consider the reasonable alternative of decriminalization.

As of now, I’m officially removing the “perhaps”.  The lies of prohibitionists, the oppressive laws, the police brutalization, and the official propaganda have to end; the sick need to control what individuals choose to do with their own bodies, energies and property is such a great evil that, in my deeply-considered opinion, the use of lesser evils in combating it is justified.  Not lies, mind you; lying to advance the cause of sex worker rights will in the end only harm us.  I was thinking more in terms of fighting lies with truth, namely truth about our oppressors.  Though I’ve always believed it was wrong to “out” clients under any circumstances, I have had a change of heart:  the situation has become so grave that I will now hail any outing of the sexual practices of prohibitionists, even by the sex workers who would otherwise have the ethical duty to keep their clients’ secrets.  This doesn’t mean I will approve of whores’ exposing clients who have made no public stand on the subject one way or another; what I’m encouraging is the outing of politicians, judges, actors, journalists, preachers and other public figures who have publicly harmed or encouraged oppression of sex workers by their laws, rulings, writings, speeches, interviews and the like.  It’s time the public knew the truth about the men who publicly condemn us or work to make our lives miserable while secretly forming a large segment of our clientele.

Unfortunately, I can’t start the ball rolling myself; when I retired only six years ago prostitution wasn’t nearly as big an issue as it has become, and I’m unaware of any anti-prostitution actions committed by any of my regulars.  I will, however, do this:  if any working girl wants to expose such a figure, I’ll be happy to give her space in this column in which to do so.  The crusade against people engaging in mutually-beneficial consensual private behavior has to stop, and I’m willing to accept the karmic burden of encouraging and enabling harm against the crusaders in order to hasten the day when it does.

One Year Ago Today

May Updates (Part One)” reports instances of bad cops and bad customers raping whores, a proposal to decriminalize prostitution and drugs in Detroit, and the effects of drug decriminalization in Portugal.

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