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Posts Tagged ‘Cops and Condoms’

Mike Siegel is a professional astronomer who has been one of my online friends for about six years now; he has helped me analyze bad studies and calculate statistics, given me advice on scientific points in some of my stories, and even been featured here as a fiction writer himself.  I’ve also linked to some of his articles, and right now he has an excellent demolition of FOSTA and the evil mindset which spawned it on the group blog Ordinary Times.  He was kind enough to allow me to publish this excerpt, but you really ought to read the whole thing.

…We are in the midst of War on Sex Work that is largely becoming a replacement for the War on Drugs…A war on sex work would be difficult given that about half of Americans think prostitution should be legal.  And so this war has built on a tissue of falsehoods to claim that it is actually a war on “sex trafficking”.  We are constantly being told — by politicians, by the media and by the entertainment industry — that there is a national crisis of sex trafficking and specifically a crisis of child sex trafficking.  But the evidence to support this claim, when you dig into it even a little bit, turns out to be a ziggurat of garbled statistics, junk social science and outright lies.  My friend Maggie McNeill has devoted an entire page to debunking claims that are so common and oft-repeated, they are taken as gospel: that the average age at which a woman enters sex work is 13 (it’s mid-20’s); that there are 300,000 child sex slaves in the US (there are at most a few hundred), that sex trafficking and consensual sex work are inextricably linked (they aren’t); that the Super Bowl or other big events are magnets for sex traffickers (not at all).  It goes without saying that forced sexual servitude is an abomination…but if that’s what you’re concerned about, it seems like a good first step would be to decriminalize sex work for adults, as organizations like Amnesty International have advocated.  Doing so would free up law enforcement resources to work the real problem rather than being devoted entirely to routine prostitution busts.

Let’s illustrate that with one example: about every year, the federal government runs a program called Operation Cross Country — a vast multi-agency operation to crack down on “sex trafficking”, at the end of which they will claim to have rescued something on the order a hundred underage sex slaves (which alone should tell us that we do not have anywhere close to 300,000 of them).  Elizabeth Nolan Brown has done amazing work sifting through the propaganda and found that these operations typically arrest over a thousand consenting adults.  Mixed in with those adults are usually a few dozen to a hundred underage sex workers, but most of these are doing it not because of enslavement but because they have run away or been thrown out of their homes).  The operations also arrest a couple of hundred “pimps” but these are often people whose pimping consists of driving their girlfriend to an incall or processing credit card payments…

…I have seen how the case for prohibition is supported by lies…[which is] what has drawn me into this debate so keenly.  It offends me as a scientist…FOSTA was ostensibly proposed to allow the federal government to crack down on online sex trafficking.  This promise was predicated, like most of the War on Sex Work, on dubious stats.  Sex workers vehemently opposed it but their voices were drowned out by supporters misrepresenting the law and celebrities making bizarre claims like ordering a sex slave was as easy as ordering a pizza…Sex Worker rights advocates, digital freedom advocates and libertarians made dire predictions about what was going to happen…So what has happened over the last three months?  Exactly what was feared…and as the weeks have rolled on, it has become painfully and immediately obvious that FOSTA has made things far far worse for sex workers…what FOSTA has done…[is] just as bad as the sex worker advocates warned us it would be…

…wars on sin have often engaged in what I call “harm enhancement” (as opposed to “harm reduction”).  During the War on Drugs, we banned the sale of certain chemicals to Colombia that were used to facilitate drug manufacturing; the result was drugs that had carcinogens in them, which politicians hoped would persuade people to stop using them.  A similar controversy erupted over paraquat pot, herbicides sprayed on marijuana that found that their way into people’s lungs.  During prohibition, industrial alcohols were deliberately poisoned in an effort to stop people from drinking them.  And there is little doubt that the War on Sex Work has frequently seen increased danger as a deterrent.  In many states, a woman simply having condoms on her is considered evidence of prostitution.  Sex workers have reported being pulled over by cops and watching them poke holes in condoms.  The closure of MyRedBook and Rentboy and Backpage did little to stop sex work but plenty to prevent sex workers from screening out dangerous clients.  When a movement engages in policy after policy designed to increase the danger, I think it it reasonable to assume that it is deliberate…this even goes beyond sex work, however.  Our political class has long had a hatred for Section 230 of the CDA, which they see as protecting speech they don’t like.  The last year has been filled with attacks on Facebook and other social media for allowing “fake news” to percolate (the effect of which is very unclear).  The effects of this bill go even beyond the impact on sex workers, bad as that has been.  It is the camel’s nose in the tent of undermining Section 230 and turning the internet into a “safe”, controlled, gated, milquetoast community.  And what better way to get the camel’s nose in the tent than through “solving” a vastly exaggerated crisis?…

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The producers [of an anti-porn video] lied.  Flat out.  –  Tyler Knight

Cops and Condoms

Amateur women: take a hint from whores, and assume any strange man you allow to fuck you is going to try to remove the condom:

Alexandra Brodsky…spoke with a number of people, mostly women, who have experienced nonconsensual condom removal…two common themes…appeared in her conversations:  “The first is that, unsurprisingly, survivors fear unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections…The second is that…survivors experienced nonconsensual condom removal as a clear violation of their bodily autonomy and the trust they had mistakenly placed in their sexual partner”…she…came across the term “stealthing” and discovered narratives from actual perpetrators teaching others how to exercise their “natural male right”…One…article…penned by…the username onesickmind…documented “a comprehensive guide” to stealth sex on the website Experience Project, including suggestions on how to get away with condom removal…

No, this isn’t “rape-adjacent”; it’s rape, pure and simple.  It’s a violation of the conditions of consent, which is rape.  And no, this isn’t a “movement” and it isn’t “growing”.  A certain percentage of men have always been this entitled, stupid & self-destructive.

Worse Than I Thought

Politicians are fond of saying their laws “send a message”.  The message sent by this one is, “women are moral imbeciles whose consent is immaterial, like young children”:

The PA Human Trafficking Statute provides a very specific and comprehensive list of 14 factual scenarios that cannot be relied upon as a defense to a civil action brought pursuant to the statute.  This list of “nondefenses” is as follows…The victim of the sex trade and the defendant had a consensual sexual relationship…The victim of the sex trade was paid or otherwise compensated for sex trade activity…The victim of the sex trade made no attempt to escape, flee or otherwise terminate the contact with the defendant…The victim of the sex trade consented to engage in sex trade activity…

Back and Forth 

Despite all the Dutch anti-whore campaigns, it’s nice to see this:

Mariska Majoor, founder of the Prostitution Information Center (PIC) and PROUD, the Dutch union for sex workers…received [a] knighthood for her contribution to sex workers rights in The Netherlands…for more than 20 years.  Mariska dedicated the honorable award to all sex workers…

The Missing Word

So having control of another person working at low wages & poor conditions as a nanny isn’t immoral, but working for oneself at a more lucrative job is.  Got that?

Dubai: A babysitter has been accused of working as prostitute during a random inspection visit by a municipality inspector, who found her rendering sexual services at a massage spa.  The 27-year-old Bangladeshi woman…was said to have absconded from sponsor’s house…in April 2016…the inspector found her involved in immoral practices…

The Widening Gyre (#441)

They finally realized they could expand the panic by adding male “sex slaves”:

D.C. police report there are almost as many missing young men as there are missing young women.  As of April 20 there have been reports of 550 missing young women and 534 missing young men this year…Runaways can also be victims of sex trafficking, but officials said gender can be a barrier in identifying victims…

In actuality, 92% of runaways return home, 86% within a week.

Soap Opera (#441)

A high-tech version of the “barcode tattoo” myth:

At the Second Annual Southern Indiana Human Trafficking Awareness Conference…the keynote speaker told the audience…”Tracking chips are becoming more popular in sex trafficking victims, as well.  They’re often found on victims’ hands between the forefinger and the thumb, as well as underneath their arms and on their necks“…So I asked David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, if trafficking victims were actually being chipped. His reply:  “No.”  And while I had his attention, I also asked: “Have you heard of any children under age 10 kidnapped by strangers for sex trafficking in the U.S.?”  His answer?  “No”…

The Widening Gyre (#597)

“Sex trafficking terrorists”.  Because one moral panic at a time isn’t enough any more:

In 2015, the Europol European Police Office warned of the ever closer links between terrorist groups and criminal organizations….when it comes to money laundering, trafficking or falsification of passports.  [New propaganda]…adds…trafficking in human beings, and thus prostitution…jihadists…[are] sending young Iraqi and Syrian women to Turkey to resell 20,000 dollars per head to local criminal networks…

Saving Them From Themselves (#626)

Lowered penalties for teen sexting may sound like a step in the right direction, but in actuality they simply encourage prosecutors to file more charges for behavior that isn’t even criminal in the first place:

A new bill proposed this week in Massachusetts aims to stop treating teen sexters like child pornographers.  Instead, the law would allow [but not require] the alternative of an educational diversion program — like traffic school, only for underage naked selfies…The bill directs courts to send sexting teens directly into an educational program instead of going through the juvenile justice system, unless the district attorney objects [emphasis mine].  When prosecution is considered [fun and profitable by the DA], the bill classifies the offense of “engaging in peer to peer dissemination of explicit visual material” as a misdemeanor and specifically states that it “shall not be deemed a ‘sex offense.’” It also directs schools to…“provide [anti-sex mumbo-jumbo propaganda to traumatize teens for the ‘crime’ of being sexual beings]”…

The Mote and the Beam (#728)

ESPLERP has started a petition to fight politicians who want to destroy the internet:

…the No Immunity for Sex Traffickers Online Act…would change Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act so that companies like Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat could be held liable if [someone claims] a minor is trafficked on their sites…Maxine Doogan, president of [ESPLERP], accused [bill sponsor Ann] Wagner of exploiting concerns about sex trafficking to undercut internet freedoms…The…petition [against this new censorship law] has accrued 19,000 signatures already…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#734) 

The offenses committed by Rashida Jones & company are even worse than we thought:

In the past few days alone, a host of porn performers and producers have come forward with allegations of unethical practices, from using sex workers’ images in the series without their consent to lying to them about the nature of the series and Jones’ involvement in it.  Several adult-film workers…were mislead about who was behind the project.  The original movie’s moralizing, breathless, and often biased take on the porn industry made it anathema among adult entertainers, and these workers say they would not have participated in the series had they known it was from Rashida Jones or other producers of the original…porn performer Tyler Knight wrote…”I asked members [of] the production several times.  The producers lied.  Flat out…it was under this false pretense that they sought access to people and productions…who would otherwise have declined had they been informed”…producer and performer Jay Taylor concurred with Knight. “They lied about the nature of the project to get us to sign releases…We ASKED if it was HGW, and they swore up and down it wasn’t”…

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Wearing pumps is now considered code for…“Help, I’m a sex traffic victim being made to sell my body for sex.”  –  Carmen Barika

Profit from Panic dirty-overpriced-jeans

Buying These Jeans Will Help Stop Human Trafficking.”  No, it won’t, but it’ll make these opportunists wealthier:

“It started with myself and my wife…watching the movie Taken“…[said] James Bartle, founder of Outland Denim…”We spent the next few years bringing girls in and training them…We started as a not for profit business and we were able to grow to five girls, but we then realised it was nearly impossible to get beyond that, so we changed our model to a profit for purpose business…Since then we have grown to having 29 local seamstresses over there and two other Cambodian staff”…

Too Young To Know

This judge apparently thinks it’s her job to convince a young sex worker that she’s a victim:

A court in Rome has handed down an unusual penalty to the client of an underage prostitute, ordering him to buy her 30 books on the theme of women’s dignity…including novels by Virginia Woolf, Anne Frank’s diary and the poems of Emily Dickinson…Judge Paola Di Nicola [was apparently annoyed that]…the teenager…used [her earnings] to “buy new clothes and the latest mobile phones”…“the judge favoured a remedy that would [convince] the young girl to [believe] the real ‘damage’ that she had suffered was damage to her dignity as a woman”…

Under Every Bed

I’m not going to try to quote any of this massive garbage fire, an accumulation of most of the currently-popular myths and bogus “statistics” on “sex trafficking”, every one of which has been repeatedly debunked.  But given that this website belongs to the National Conference of State Legislatures, i.e. a collusion of money-grubbing, power-hungry politicians from every state in the US, that is hardly surprising; lies are a proven way to shore up prohibitionist police-state regimes.

Dysphemisms Galore 

Threatening the peace.”  Seriously.

Lahore…is housing at least 1,906 “safe heavens” [sic] in the three categories of crime, posing a potential threat to the peace…Of them, 1,123 dens deal in drug selling, 318 in prostitution and 465 in gambling…a senior police official…said the consolidated data on the hateful crime surfaced for the first time…a non-stop crackdown under a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy towards these notorious crimes would help bring peace to the city…Similarly, out of total 330 hate spots, the Saddar Division is housing 47 gambling, 78 prostitution and 205 drug selling dens…

Innocence Never Had

Because “children” are merely inanimate objects who can’t move from one place to another without being carried by “pimps”:

…Anjelique…[is a] troubled 12-year-old…[who ran] away from home…Police ended up finding Anjelique but they didn’t bring her back to her mother.  Instead they dropped her off at Alameda County Social Services’ assessment center in Hayward…Anjelique made friends with a teenage girl…who took her to a nearby motel…where the family says she first got lured into the sex-trafficking pipeline…even though the county keeps the assessment center’s location a secret, pimps know exactly where it is and could potentially use children inside to recruit others…Anjelique’s grandmother is convinced exploiters are lurking in the shadows.  “So you think there are pimps that are waiting outside the assessment center?” we asked her…

This would be hilarious if it weren’t being used as an excuse to destroy lives.

New Excuse

Sometimes the two “wars” blur into one:

A joint investigation into human trafficking in Ocean City [New Jersey] concluded…with three [simple] prostitution arrests…[cops stole] over 270 Baggies of heroin…a small amount of marijuana, $350 in currency, a 2011 Honda Odyssey mini-van, five cell phones and a police-style baton…Each of the suspects was offered victim services…

A Year Later

Ricochet is running a series on the effects of Canada’s new anti-whore laws:

…With Bill C-36 now law, sex workers are struggling…customers are pushing for more incall services at more private locations to avoid police detection.  More than 75 per cent of the inquiries I now receive want to meet at my home…I’m considering forsaking my safety in order to pay the bills.  In recent months I’ve broken my own rule about never meeting a client in an 18-wheeler truck…The rationale behind the criminalization of clients seems to be that causing clients to feel bad about purchasing sex will deter their desires and end sex work.  It doesn’t work that way.  It only makes sex workers and clients more creative as we both try to find ways to not get caught…

Uncommon Sense (#557)

Because whores are morons whose lives and businesses must be micromanaged by governments:

German politicians have approved a law making it illegal to have sex with prostitutes without using a condom, among other regulations on the sex trade…Anyone attempting to open a commercial premises for prostitution will undergo checks attempting to crack down on the involvement of gangs, traffickers and criminals…Prostitutes must also register with local authorities, gaining a certificate that must be renewed every two years, and attend an annual health “advice” session…

In other words, the number of whores working illegally will skyrocket as soon as this goes into effect; no licensing regime in the world has higher than a 10% compliance rate.

Vendetta (#607)

Another way to destroy lives, funded by the sociopathic Swanee Hunt:

Cook County’s Tom Dart, the prostitution-obsessed sheriff…has found a new way to threaten people’s privacy, screw over sex workers, and grow the police state.  The latest Dart-led initiative involves creating a national database of prostitution customers, using solicitation-arrest data submitted by cops through a phone app.  Demand Abolition…reported on Sheriff Dart’s new plot in a late-August post crowing that “1,300 sex buyers—a record—were arrested across 18 states in just one month” of Dart’s National John Suppression Initiative.  Now, the sheriff is using data from that sting to start a national database of people arrested for soliciting prostitution.  You know, for research purposes…This is thanks to a new app that streamlines the logging of prostitution arrest information….developed at a January “social justice hackathon”, in which a hundred or so techies were presided over by a team of anti-prostitution zealots from across the country…During the last John Suppression Initiative, cops logged info from 80 percent of all arrests into the database…

Cops and Condoms (#654)

WARNING:  Lelo Hex condoms are NOT safe!

As I looked through the press-kit Lelo sent me, I was faced with a distressing image. An animated GIF of a stretched-out Hex being repeatedly poked with a pin.  Lelo was showcasing a feature of their new condom, which was still latex by the way, that you could poke a hole in it without breaking the it in any noticeable way.  Read that again.  This is an advertised design feature…While it sucks to have a condom break, the way in which they break acts as, whether intentionally or not, a red flag system.  The shattering of the condom means you know that your barrier has failed and that you now need to take steps to address the situation- emergency contraception, STI testing, post-exposure STI prophylaxis…whatever an instance of exposure means to you.  The manner in which Hex fails, however, means the sex act can be completed and there be no sign that there was a breach of security…

The Widening Gyre (#670) 

This example of “grocery store sex trafficking” lunacy resulted in cop harassment of three people:

This past spring I was cornered in the parking lot of the Whole Foods on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie by two [cops].  They said they’d received a 911 call from an anonymous caller who — after observing my father and me eating breakfast biscuits at the Chick-fil-A up the street and then watching as I was dropped off in front of the Whole Foods several miles down the road (yeah, he had followed us) — somehow surmised I was a part of a prostitution/sex-trafficking ring…The…stalker…I mean, caller…had also identified my father and some guy parked nearby, whose license plates he had taken time to record, as a part of the suspected ring…Consequently, the three of us spent the next 20 to 30 minutes standing in the parking lot with…five surrounding police cars…waiting to be cleared from any salacious, solicitous, unwholesome “ho-dom,” all the while wondering how three people grocery shopping at Whole Foods could have induced such an “unsolicited,” inconvenient misunderstanding…

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An adult who chooses to engage in sexual activity, whether for recreation, procreation or in exchange for something of value, makes a private, individual choice that should not be subject to criminal sanctions.  –  Jeanne LoCicero and Udi Ofer

Something Rotten in Sweden

The 5th installment of the Tits and Sass series “Big Mother is Watching You” profiles notable American proponents of “end demand” and the Swedish model, namely  Rachel Durchslag, Tom DartBeth Klein, Shirley Franklin, Yasmin Vafa and  Dominique Roe-Sepowitz.

A False Dichotomy 

They “see it as a business transaction” because that’s exactly what it is:

…in recent interviews conducted to understand what is driving [migrants] into the hands of human traffickers, it is clear that those involved see the risk they are taking as a business transaction, not a crime.  Malick Traore of Mali…said…“It is even more risky to live in misery in my own home country with a family always having tears in their eyes from hungers…the traffickers…do not call the migrant from their homes, or force them to cross the sea.  It is just an agreement between shipman and client”…Mariam Camara…is a widow with two daughters…[she said] “the criminal is Malian government but not the traffickers.”  Hamidou Thierro…says:  “I do not see those traffickers as criminals, because they are helping the poor migrants who are sacrificing their life to get into Europe to help back their families and plan better life for their children.  The traffickers are not human life protection agent but normal transporter as air plane or train”…

Lawheads just can’t get that normal people don’t really give a shit about their bullshit regulations.

Gorged With Meaning

Just about everything you need to know about this craptastic mixture of the obvious, the pearl-clutching and the dead wrong is that the author interviews the sociopathic narcissist Meghan Murphy instead of one of the many sex workers who write on the subject (such as, oh, ME for example), and approvingly quotes her as saying that raping a sex worker is no big deal.  That, and the fact that it’s named “The New Prostitution Economy” because it pretends that young women trading sex to older men for resources is some kind of new thing.

Follow Your Bliss 

Again, don’t think this is unique to Oakland:

When Leneka Pendergrass’ seventeen-year-old daughter…escaped…a pimp…Pendergrass turned to an organization that had previously helped.  She called Patrick Mims…of the Sexually Exploited Minors program at Bay Area Women Against Rape…the lead East Bay nonprofit organization in the state’s Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force…BAWAR works closely with Oakland police…to [indoctrinate] them about child sex trafficking.  And BAWAR employees…accompany Oakland cops on their anti-[sex worker] sting operations…Pendergrass…and Mims frequently texted the first few nights after she and her daughter escaped…Then…less than a week [later]…Mims came to her apartment and they had sex…[this continued for six weeks, then] Mims suddenly stopped responding to her calls and texts…[and] her daughter’s case was no longer a priority for BAWAR.  She felt Mims abused his position of power.  Feelings of confusion and remorse grew intense, she said.  She worried that her access to OPD and the DA was being curtailed, too…Pendergrass also wrote a letter to the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, an umbrella organization of rape-crisis centers like BAWAR…nothing ever came of her letter, or the police report…BAWAR…appears to never have acknowledged what happened…Jacqueline Montero

The Public Eye 

It’s always heartening to see a sex worker run for office, especially when she wins:

…Jacqueline Montero…worked as a prostitute for years to feed her children.  Now, after a decade of activism for women’s rights in the Dominican Republic, she hopes to put her life experience to work following her election to the Chamber of Deputies as part of an opposition coalition…The 46-year-old wants to focus on improving opportunities for women, a significant challenge in a country where about 35 percent of households are led by single mothers in poverty…She plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit discrimination against…LGBT, sex workers, people with AIDS and the elderly.  The walls of her office are adorned with diplomas and posters from international conferences dealing with sex work…Activists say the significance of her election transcends her relatively minor legislative position because she will be a powerful voice for largely unrepresented people…

Cops and Condoms (#313)

Remember Bill Gates’ $100,000 grant to develop “the next generation of condom”?  Well, the first results are in:

…After weeding through 953 applications, the foundation awarded grants to 26 applicants.  Among them was Richard Chartoff, a polymer scientist at Oregon State University, who developed an idea for ultra-thin condoms made from polyurethane elastic polymers that respond to body heat and conform to the penis’s shape…the HEX condom,  developed by luxury sex toy company LELO…[features a] “hexagonal net design [which] effectively holds together the condom,” [founder Filip] Sedic explains, “so we were able to make the majority of the condom’s surface very thin without forfeiting strength”…the hexagonal design gripped his penis without squeezing it.  My husband’s sensations were less dulled than usual, too, since it was the thinnest traditionally shaped condom we used…myONE Perfect Fit from ONE Condoms will bring 56 different sizes to the market, allowing men to use a kit…to measure their penis length and width to determine the best size for them…

Devil’s Advocate

This guy seems like a real scumbag…so why isn’t Thailand asking for Norway to extradite him for prosecution there? Do you really want a precedent that people can be prosecuted in one jurisdiction for things they did in another jurisdiction where their actions weren’t illegal?

A 34-year-old Swedish businessman based in Oslo is facing trial in Norway accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in Thailand for several years – including making her pregnant…the girl…is from a poor family and had started working as a prostitute straight after finishing school…at the age of 14 she gave birth to the baby…DNA records have shown that the man is the child’s biological father…Police launched their investigation after he was arrested for…drugs two years ago.  During a search of his home in Oslo officers found indecent images…and 51 movies showing children being sexually abused.  They also found pictures of the Thai girl…

Guinea Pigs 

This is one of those potpourris of hysteria that could fit into any of several headings, but I think the most important one is yet another surveillance tool for hunting down sex workers:

…Tim Wedge, a Forensics Science professor…in Defiance, Ohio…[created] FAGIN, Facial Analysis to Gain Information Now, a basic crude prototype…[which] is designed to take…pictures of missing children, run it through the facial analysis software by comparing them to pictures in ads for people being sold for sex online, and produce a report whenever there’s a match…Wedge says FAGIN has the possibility of rescuing a shocking amount of victims…800,000 children are reported missing each year.  One in five of them are sex trafficking victims…

Can this “science professor” even do math?  Because the reporter sure can’t.  But more importantly: the same program could also compare pics from ads to, say, a driver’s license database, thus giving cops an escort’s legal name and address.

Aloha, Oy!

Hawaii was the last state to criminalize prostitution, and now it’s become the last state to fully rebrand it as “sex trafficking”:

Hawaii has become the last state in the nation to explicitly ban sex trafficking.  Gov. David Ige signed the bill…[which] makes [acts that were already illegal illegal again], expands the statewide witness protection program to include sex trafficking and provides victims access to criminal injury compensation.  “It’s a historic day for Hawaii.  Now, from sea to sea, the United States can say it [criminalized some crimes twice],” said Kris Coffield…[a “sex trafficking” profiteer]…

What Were You All Waiting For? (#622) 

Is the ACLU finally beginning to do the right thing, at long last?

In honor of International [Whores’] Day, activists marched on Atlantic City on June 3 to call for the decriminalization of sex work…This is a goal the American Civil Liberties Union…strongly supports.  Since 1975, the ACLU has believed that prostitution…should be decriminalized…It’s time to stop sweeping consenting adult sex workers into the criminal justice system.  We need models that protect their rights, their health and their safety…Amnesty International adopted a policy advocating the decriminalization of adult consensual sex work in its efforts to prevent human rights violations.  Amnesty isn’t alone.  They joined the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, Human Rights Watch, the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects and many other…groups in calling for the decriminalization of sex work to stem the abuse, discrimination and violence that too frequently plague the lives of sex workers…

King of the Hill (#623) The Keep

One of the more amusing tropes of this moral panic: labeling a particular street a “hotbed” of sex work or “trafficking”:

For more than three decades now, the corner of Cypress Avenue and Starr Street has been known as one of the old-school New York prostitution hotbeds.  Even as gentrification of the area rapidly progresses, prostitution as a symptom of the “bad old times” continues…Unbeknownst to the owners at the time of the opening, [a bar named] The Keep became somewhat of a local epicenter for…“Operation Losing Proposition,” the goal of which is to lock up johns as they solicit sex from undercover [sows who use]…the bathrooms at The Keep [without permission] to change into their [costumes]…Eli B. Silverman explains that the initiative was designed by CEU attorneys who researched the law that allows for [asset seizure]…In this case, johns’ cars could be seized…the operation has been yielding incredible [profits]…and [Silverman pretends] prostitution has been greatly reduced…the operation has been consistently dubbed a success, but 26 years later, one has to wonder whether the number of arrested johns is the correct indicator of success, or whether the operation opened a bottomless well of meaningless arrests…

To Molest and Rape (#651)

No, you fucking filthy liar, it’s not “unique” and you fucking know it:

Alameda County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Ray Kelly, a former sex crimes investigator who serves as the agency’s spokesman, said several members of his department were investigated but a review showed none had done anything illegal or against policy. Kelly would not say if the deputies had sex with [Celeste Guap]…“This case is unique, and it’s not a good example of the relationships between sex crimes victims and police officers,” he said…

In typical tone-deaf LA Times fashion, the reporter concludes a story about people abusing women under the guise of “rescuing” them from their choices by praising someone who abuses women under the guise of “rescuing” them from their choices:

…[Sylvia] Vigil…has been preaching to the girls she [condescendingly dehumanizes] as “twilight treasures” since 1982…when she founded the Oakland branch of Victory Outreach…On [a] recent visit to International Boulevard, Vigil shook her head as she watched [a] young woman enter [a client’s] car, said a prayer, then brought her van’s engine to life and hit the gas…As the man in the Cutlass attempted to drive away, Vigil pulled her van in front of his car, blocking him in.  A colleague from the ministry who sat in Vigil’s van held up a Victory Outreach business card and shouted “not tonight” at the man…

Naturally, Vigil didn’t offer to pay the girl for the client she scared away, so the girl probably didn’t eat that night. But I’m sure the knowledge that she had been “saved” from dirty, filthy sex assuaged her hunger.

The End of the Beginning (#653)

Another in an anti-registry series from Vox:

When I first became a public defender, I believed the worst punishment that my clients would face would be time in jail.  Since then, I’ve learned that incarceration is not the…worst…punishment the criminal justice system can impose.  The registration requirements imposed on those convicted of sex offenses are unfairly harsh and punitive…I had always assumed that sex offender registration was limited to those who committed the most egregious and dangerous offenses.  I had also trusted that the Supreme Court was right when, in 2003, it stated that sex offender registration laws are not punishments but merely administrative requirements to protect public safety.  But I realize now that many of my clients would choose…anything to avoid being labeled a sex offender for life…because our current…laws apply an…inhumane one-size-fits-all approach that does not prevent future sex crimes and in fact makes us all less safe…The registration process appears designed to make people fail.  The rules are so complicated that few non-attorneys can keep up with them…

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Given that large numbers of prostitutes operate independently without panderers, it would be difficult to characterize prostitution as inherently rooted in subjugation.  –  Gail Heriot

Think of the Children! Jaqueline Laurent-Auger

The half-life of sex radiation must be over 40 years:

…[73-year-old] Jaqueline Laurent-Auger was a teacher at the Montreal private school, Le Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf…but…the school [fired] her [because]…as a young actress…in France, she starred in a handful of erotic films…[including] Le Journal intime d’une nymphomane (1973) and Dany la ravageuse (1972).  In a statement, school officials maintain that “We’re not talking about paintings or sculptures of naked bodies produced with artistry and aesthetics in mind.  There are erotic scenes destined for an adult audience…”

Dirty Whores

The headline makes the contagion sound voluntary and evokes the “dirty whore” myth:  “…a [Liberian] sex worker…suffering from Ebola…passed the deadly disease to [Floson Louise]…who unknowingly spread it to seven other soldiers…the army barracks are being decongested to ease the spread of the disease…

Rooted in Racism

I’m really pleased to see black intellectuals writing about this:

…the movement against “modern-day slavery” deploys non-racial language to…[solidify] the existing racial regime…and…is inordinately preoccupied with women’s sexual victimization…the focus on white women…working in commercial sex recalls the…late nineteenth and early twentieth century…[panic over] the “white slave trade”…the moral authority that anti-slavery mobilizes today partly stems from the memory of black liberation that it implicitly draws upon—all the while explicitly distancing itself from black historical struggle…

Surplus Women

[Darren Vann of Gary, Indiana]…may be a serial killer who has killed…as far back as 20 years ago…Vann…was arrested…[for the murder of] Afrika Hardy…[after she] did not return from [an]  appointment [with Vann, a friend]…went to track her down and found her dead from strangulation.  Once in custody Vann…admitted…Hardy’s murder and led police to the bodies of six other women, all in abandoned houses…[officials were] unable to say whether the other victims were sex workers…

Not an Addiction (TW3 #6)

Since when do “scientists” treat patients?

Scientists have treated…the first patient with internet addiction disorder brought on by overuse of Google Glass.  The man had been using the technology for around 18 hours a day – removing it only to sleep and wash – and complained of feeling irritable and argumentative without [it]…he had also begun experiencing his dreams as if viewed through [its] small grey window.  The existence of internet addiction disorder…is hotly debated among psychiatrists.  It was not included as a clinical diagnosis in the 2013 update to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

It is not “hotly debated”; OCD is not “addiction”, no matter how much money-hungry scammers want to rebrand it as such.

Above the Law 

A Birmingham [Alabama] police officer arrested earlier this month on child sex abuse charges is now charged with rape of an adult woman.  Joshua Herbinger…was not in any kind of…relationship with the [victim]…In the earlier case…Herbinger was charged with four counts of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old…

Shift in the Wind

One of the members of the US government Commission on Civil Rights openly criticized “sex trafficking” hysteria in a dissent with the Commission’s predetermined rubber-stamp “findings”, and may have cited yours truly in it:

…terms like “sex trafficking”…obscure more than they enlighten, because there is little agreement on what they mean…claims that the Super Bowl is a magnet for sex traffickers appear to be more myth than fact…In the late 19thcentury, Great Britain was also swept by a wave of hysteria over “white slavery“.  In time, the panic spread to the United States…the Heriot dissent decries the tendency to view the complexities of so-called “international labor trafficking” as something inherently sinister…There is plenty of opportunity for fraudulent or coercive behavior in these transactions.  But there is also opportunity for gain by the most vulnerable of the world’s people, trapped in poverty…

Bottleneck

Why 90% of whores prefer to work illegally than submit to licensing:

…Dancers and managers at a Washington state strip club are…suing to stop their county from releasing their names, photos, and other identifying information to a man who has filed a public records request…because strippers in most areas of Washington must obtain an “entertainer’s license”, their identities are a matter of public record…it’s entirely likely [David A. Van Vleet]…is a crazy stalker or an anti-sex nutjob.  Maybe both…it’s hard to imagine many non-nefarious reasons for requesting personal information on a wide swath of individuals in a sensitive job…

Capricious Lusts (TW3 #37)

M.C. Nanaiah , chairman of the [Indian] expert committee to suggest measures for safety of women and children has favoured a wider discussion on legalisation of prostitution…to prevent rapes…

That Old Black Magic

The “Juju sex slaves” myth just keeps on going like a zombie:

Juju “magic” may seem strange, mythical and other-worldly but it is a problem that is all too real when it comes to the sex trafficking of women from Nigeria…Trafficking expert Siddharth Kara from Harvard University said:  “[Juju] exerts a kind of control that’s so much more potent than chains or locking someone up.  It’s control of the spirit which is far more powerful and insidious”…

Westerners have our own Juju faith in self-declared “experts” like Kara, a charlatan whose degree of ignorance is astonishing even in a field dominated by charlatans.Barry Freundel

Buried Truth 

One of the nation’s most respected rabbis…[is] accused of placing a camera in the women’s…area of a sacred bath…Barry Freundel is a…leader in the Modern Orthodox movement…with controversial opinions on everything from abortion to homosexuality.  He…was known to take a strict position on morality, [saying]…just weeks ago:  “The lack of sexual morality…pervades this society…Pornography and its accessibility is wrecking marriages”…

Scapegoats (TW3 #49)

Daily Beast writer (no giggling, now) says Denmark doesn’t have enough reasons to lock people up yet:

…A new law on the table in Denmark proposes to make sex with animals…illegal.  The Danish law currently states that humans can have sex with animals as long as the animal doesn’t suffer…[but] how would one know if an animal enjoyed human sex?…If the law passes…only Finland, Hungary and Sweden will remain lawless…[the bill’s sponsor] is…concerned that…Denmark…could become the [Mecca] of animal sex tourism…

I’m not sure what’s sillier, the writer’s conflation of “doesn’t suffer” with “enjoy” or her idea that “human sex” is fundamentally different from other mammals’ copulation.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #318)

How many moronic prohibitionist plays can the market bear?

Tony-award winning playwright…Sarah Jones…has been publicly “workshopping” her newest one woman show, entitled Sell/Buy/Date…The play is really one insult after another…Everybody was a “prostituted woman” except for a Russian male pimp who self-described as a sex worker.  And the sex worker rights activists are caricatured as dimwitted and undereducated supporters of Sarah Palin…Jones seems to be under the impression that the sex worker movement is funded by big corporate interests…Jones’ monologues [are set in an imaginary future dystopia] where…prostitution could not possibly exist…emergency medical treatment will be necessary to cure male porn addicts…However, magically, there will be a “re-sensititization” of men by forcing them to watch Thelma and Louise

Cops and Condoms (TW3 #330)

a 30-year-old female sex worker [has been sent] to prison for at least nine years under Germany’s “preventive detention” law, because she has shown a pattern of not disclosing to clients that she was living with HIV before they chose to have condomless sex with her…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #337)

Sex workers in Northern Ireland are overwhelmingly opposed to…a law that could criminalise those who pay for prostitutes…only 2%…are in favour of the so-called “Swedish model”…61%…thought [the]…law…would make them less safe.  And…only 16% of…clients…said such a law would make them stop seeking to pay for sex…

Unfortunately, facts don’t concern politicians.

Damned If You Don’t (TW3 #343)

Charles CouchA man arrested in a police operation to harass and jail gay men was not only abused and threatened:  cops also stole his property, trashed his reputation and seriously jeopardized his career.  “Charles S. Couch…is suing the city [of Manhattan Beach, California]…Chief Eve Irvine and five police detectives, seeking $5 million in damages for mental distress, aggravation and loss of work.  He is being represented by civil and gay rights attorney Bruce W. Nickerson, who specializes in litigation surrounding police sting operations…

Rhinoceros (TW3 #403)

It turns out COAST is even sleazier than I thought:

…The majority of the board members of COAST’s backing group, the Association of Club Entrepreneurs (ACE), have been sued by their own employees for violations of labor law including wage theft, intimidation, charging debt-inducing illegal fees, and even sexual harassment…one of COAST’s co-founders, Michael Ocello, got involved in anti-trafficking efforts after the Illinois club he owned was raided by federal agents…

The Missing Word

The ridiculous claim that 42% of all UK sex workers are male derives from a bad study which makes two false assumptions: that each sex worker takes out one and only one ad at a time, and that all sex workers use all advertising platforms equally.  But that’s not the interesting thing about this article; it’s the fact that when men are the subject, agency is not denied and the word “trafficking” is nowhere to be found.

Property of the State

Women’s advocacy and drug-policy reform organizations are calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to “publicly renounce” enhanced criminal penalties for pregnant women.  It’s an issue that’s been gaining more attention since the July…conviction of Lacey Weld…[who] was pregnant at the time she made (and used) meth…[and] received an extra six years of prison time…Many object to charging a pregnant meth user with “child endangerment” on the grounds that an embryo or fetus is not yet a “child”.  But we also…[know] that heavy drinking and poor nutrition are much more dangerous to developing fetuses than exposure to meth…

The Roof Caves In

The Somaly Mam Foundation…shuttered its entire operation…and urged its followers to support other anti-trafficking groups…The SMF website on Saturday appeared to be stripped of all its content except for the announcement on its homepage…

Of course, the same bunch have already started a new “rescue” scam.

If Men Were Angels

A man who claims he can “cure” gay people…raped a teenage boy and threatened to kill him with his “warlock powers” if he told.  Kentucky police have arrested…youth pastor Rex Allen Murphy…the 16-year-old [victim said Murphy]…told him…that by brushing his skin or shaking his hand…he could tell his sins…Murphy reportedly asserted he thought he would be able to help the victim with his “battle with homosexuality because he, too, had experimented with homosexuality”…

Schadenfreude (TW3 #434) 

Five Women in Whitechapel (TW3 #437) 

It was supposed to have been the definitive piece of scientific evidence that finally exposed the true identify of Jack the Ripper…However, the scientist who carried out the DNA analysis has apparently made a fundamental error that fatally undermines his case…it would mean his calculations were wrong and that virtually anyone could have left the DNA that he insisted came from the Ripper’s victim…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #440)

following the mass eviction of over 1,449 prostitutes from…Dolly…it would appear that Papua has become a destination of choice among a small portion of the evictees…Papua is by far the richest province in Indonesia in terms of natural resources, boasting some of the largest gold, silver, copper and timber reserves on earth…nouveau riche mining capital has ensured that sex workers in Papua are among the highest paid in Indonesia…

The Face of Trafficking

I’m going to use this subtitle for stories refuting the myth of the evil client:

A woman who was lured to Dubai by promises of a job [in a beauty salon] but was then forced into prostitution was rescued by her first customer when she burst into tears and told him her story…the victim [said]…“He…booked me a ticket back to Morocco and even drove me to the airport”…she was not allowed to leave the country because…her employment contract had not been cancelled, so she headed to airport police and told them the whole story…

There was an earlier example here.

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Tattooing of [“trafficking” victims doesn’t]…make much sense outside of sadistic, pornographic fantasy.  –  Julia Davidson

Check Your Premises

Any teen who won’t behave in the way most adults want to manipulate her into behaving, must be being manipulated by another adult:

It took nearly two decades for Smith to realize she…was a victim of child sex trafficking.  “I was what they call a ‘willing victim’,” she said…the media and advocacy organizations depict child sex trafficking as an issue that involves physically abused or helpless children.  But “just being a teenager” is a predisposition factor…Smith said she’s a strong advocate for kids who insist they want to live the way they’ve been manipulated by an adult into living…

Above the Law Grant Carruth

an Amite [Louisiana] police officer accused of sexually assaulting women after deceiving them online has been arrested…Grant Carruth…faces…counts of…kidnapping…aggravated rape…sexual battery and…theft…he…identified himself as a narcotics officer, handcuffed them and said they were being arrested…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Note the liberal use of dysphemisms, and the pretense that gross proceeds equal net profit:

A…woman was [sentenced] to…10 years in state prison for operating a prostitution ring in…New Jersey…Deanna Ruiz…pleaded guilty to racketeering…over a 15-year-period, she collected millions of dollars…[and] booked more than 6,000 hotel rooms at a cost of $1.087 million…she created several sham companies and used them to launder the money…and…commit tax and unemployment…

How, pray tell, does one “commit tax and unemployment”?

Broken Record

A grassroots advocacy group is trying to raise awareness about increased demands for paid sex during the Pan Am Games…Buying Sex Is Not A Sport…is…faith-based…The link between increased sex trafficking and large sporting events has been a controversial one that is not clearly agreed upon by experts…

Wrong; the experts have declared these “faith-based” claims total fabrications.

The Widening Gyre

They finally realized they could expand the panic by adding male “sex slaves”:

Viktor Berki…Gabor Acs and Andras Janos Vass [ran]…Never Sleep, Inc. [which] involved slaves — who did not speak English and barely got to sleep…Three of the victims…rescued in South Florida were first promised that they would earn thousands of dollars as escorts.  But…they were forced to perform sex acts in front of a webcam and engage in prostitution for 18 to 20 hours a day…

Soap Opera

It’s hard to pick one “sex trafficking” trope that’s stupider than all others, but barcode tattoos are definitely in the running:

People traffickers are believed to have marked their victims with symbolic tattoos to assert their ownership over “assets” that can be sold for thousands of pounds…The victims have been “branded like cattle” – a practice commonly seen worldwide for women in the sex trade – to show that they were aged over 18, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said…One Romanian woman – who was whipped and held against her will in Spain – had been tattooed with a bar code and a sum of money that investigators believed was the amount that she would have to earn before the gang…would release her…The NCA said the extent to which tattoos were used was not known…barcode tattoo

The extent is very well known:  one single case, the one (from 2012) mentioned above.  And as I pointed out at the time, it was “…an example of life imitating artifice because these absurd tales have been circulated…for at least six years now.”  Dr. Julia Davidson explains just how stupid this trope actually is:

…If thugs were criminally coercing someone into prostitution, why would they care whether she was 17 or 18 years old?  Conversely, if they were supplying women to managers of establishments that would only accept…over 18, why would those managers be satisfied by a tattoo, as opposed to identity documents…if tattooing were actually common practice…  victim identification would be a far simpler matter…

The Public Eye

Sex workers were among the first not directly involved with the Ferguson protests to spread the word on social media; others like cam girl Sasha Pain are doing even more than that:

…she and two friends…[are] filming protests and sharing them with her audience…Pain…won’t stop working just because she’s on the road.  When she has an Internet connection in Ferguson, she’ll make sex tapes and donate proceeds from videos to buy supplies to protect protesters from tear gas…”Everything that I make while I’m here that I don’t need to feed myself, the people I’m with and over my bills is going toward buying food for protesters and gas masks”…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake

Portland…strip-club dancers are working…with lobbyists, legislators, and social workers to draft a new set of…regulations slated to hit the House floor…in…February…Generally, laws that regulate strip clubs and other sex industry businesses are handed down from the top by legislators, with little input from the people most directly affected…Whether because of stigmas related to…sex work…or a prevailing misconception that most…sex workers are victims of trafficking, there are very few, if any, legislative precedents that show adult entertainment professionals actually being asked to weigh in…

Checklist

Writer cannot conceive that the reason more people don’t notice “sex trafficking” is that it doesn’t exist on anything like the scale it’s purported to:

…airline employees are now being trained to…carefully watch for…unusual activity…such as when kids don’t answer questions or avoid eye contact when addressed.  Other telltale signs might be bruising…or a ravenous appetite…victims…sometimes have been at the mercy of their traffickers for so long they see themselves not as women being pimped out for sex but as girlfriends helping their boyfriend pay the bills…sex trafficking spikes around the Super Bowl…If you see something say something…

Cops and Condoms (TW3 #313)

The sheer wrongness of this cannot be overstated.

Dysphemisms Galore 

Korean officials only persecute sex workers in order to please their masters in Washington:

…since the implementation of the 2004 Special Law on Prostitution…the number of red-light districts…has decreased nationwide, from 69 in 2002 to 44 last year.  But…the prostitution industry has actually grown…[and]  transformed to avoid the confines of the law…pimps posing as ordinary citizens scour the streets to find potential customers…Transformed prostitution businesses have doubled over the past three years as traditional brothels have decreased, swelling to 4,706 in 2013, up from 2,068 in 2010…

The phrase “pimps posing as ordinary citizens” is both hilarious and telling.

Ad Absurdum

Because obviously, “victims” always go around bragging about their “abuse”:

Two teachers at the same Louisiana high school have been charged in the sex abuse of the same male student…Shelley Dufresne, 32, and Rachel Respess, 24, both teach at Destrehan High School in St. Charles Parish….an unnamed source…implied that the victim was involved in a threesome with the teachers…at Respess’ apartment after a…football game [on] Sept. 12, and that…the…student had been “bragging to other students that he was having a sexual relationship with teachers”…

A Procrustean Bed (TW3 #339)

For the past year Red Umbrella Project has studied New York’s “trafficking courts”, which define all sex workers as “victims”; to absolutely nobody’s surprise, the majority of those arrested are minorities, and in Brooklyn a stunning 94% of women arrested for “loitering for the purpose of prostitution” (in other words, “looking like a whore”) are black.  Since Melissa Gira Grant,  Noah Berlatsky and Michelle Chen all went into the findings in detail, I’ll just refer you to those articles. Samantha Azzopardi

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #346)

Samantha Azzopardi, 26, who was found wandering the streets of Dublin last fall, led Irish police to believe that she was a 14-or 15-year-old sex-trafficking victim from eastern Europe…Now…[she] has shown up in Alberta…claiming that her name was Aurora Hepburn, that she was 14 and that she had been the victim of an abduction, sexual assault and torture…Calgary police became suspicious after learning of [the Irish] case…Azzopardi has been charged with public mischief…an offense punishable by up to five years in prison…

The Spiral of Absurdity

Houston is bound and determined to win this pissing contest, no matter how ludicrous the claims it has to make:

Houston is a hub for…sex trafficking…[due to its] size, port location and ethnic diversity…a three-month analysis of ads posted on backpage.com…[found] a higher number of ads per person than were posted for Manhattan and northern New Jersey during this year’s Super Bowl…

This is equivalent to concluding that Houston has more people who are morbidly obese than New York because it has more billboards for barbecue restaurants.

Above the Law (TW3 #407)

For those who think I make too big a deal about the euphemisms prosecutors and reporters use for rape by cops:  “Sorrento, Louisiana police chief Earl Theriot pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting an unconscious woman and then lying about it to the FBI…Theriot managed to escape jail time…taking just a $2,500 fine and 2 years probation…”  Think he’d have escaped that easily if his crime had been called what it was? Theresa May, arch-censor

Opting Out (TW3 #408)

The other shoe drops:

Britain’s…Home Secretary Theresa May [said]…that if re-elected next year, the [Conservative] party will introduce civil powers to disrupt people who “spread poisonous hatred” even within the law…police could apply for a court order to disrupt “harmful activity” by restricting an individual’s movements, preventing them from speaking in public or stopping them publishing articles online…

Which views are “harmful” to be determined by the government, of course.

Imaginary Crises (TW3 #410) 

the rate of forcible rapes in 2012 was estimated at 52.9 per 100,000 female inhabitants…Assuming that all…women are uniformly at risk, this means the…probability that an American woman is raped in her lifetime is 2.6 percent and in college 0.2 percent — 5 to 100 times less than the estimates broadcast by the media and public officials…

Forward and Backward (TW3 #415)

…the District of Columbia Council voted…to repeal the District’s  “Prostitution Free Zones” law as well as the “Drug Free Zones” law that it was based on…Although a largely symbolic gesture, since the police have already acknowledged not using the zones for the past two years…the debate over the bill shows the importance of removing laws targeting sex workers, and those profiled as such…

The Missing Word

Despite the fact that the exploitation is clearly laid out here, the magic word appears only once, saying that a sting involved “only a tiny piece of the trafficking industry”.  One can only surmise that because the smugglers only threatened to sell their “client” to a brothel (a threat made credible by the moral panic), the New York Times figures it isn’t a “real” case of “trafficking”.

Schadenfreude (TW3 #424) 

Just a few highlights of this expose of “sex trafficking” fraud Chong Kim’s lies:

…Chong Kim [was] convicted by a Minnesota judge for stealing money from a human-trafficking survivor…She is…on probation…as a result…Chong Kim walks with a cane, which she told me was an injury suffered from her days of sexual slavery…she actually had that disability since she was seven years old, and up until at least 2005, she collected Social Security checks for it…she…frequently claims that she was living in Texas when she got sold into sexual slavery in 1994…she was actually a junior in high school in…Minnesota…The…1994…Yearbook clearly contains a photo of Chong Kim…her…social security number is linked to multiple people…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #433)

The myths that circulate about German prostitution legislation are a perfect example of how lies and misconceptions become accepted as ‘truths’ if only they are repeated often enough.”  In this short article Matthias Lehmann debunks lies including “the 2002 Act legalized prostitution”, “brothel owners can force sex workers to perform certain acts”, “Job Centres can force job seekers to take up sex work” and “sex trafficking has increased under the law”.

Lower Education (TW3 #438) 

the University of Michigan’s…policy on sexual violence…says:  “Examples…include…criticizing the partner sexually [and]…withholding sex and affection“…this policy suggests that under some circumstances, a partner is entitled to sex…there theoretically exists at the University of Michigan some circumstances in which not consenting to sex is against the rules.  This is utterly unconscionable, and, frankly, insane…

Sold Out (TW3 #438)

Facebook…[has backed off of its] “real-name” crackdown on drag queens and performers…and…apologized to all those whom they’ve offended.  Though the exact policy changes remain TBA, a source…says Facebook is planning to revert to a “preferred name” policy instead…

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Sex workers consider the promotion of the Swedish model and other forms of criminalization not just part of an ongoing “debate” on sex work, but a matter of life and death.  –  Melissa Gira Grant

John Wesley HawkinsLicense To Rape

A West Virginia sheriff raped a teenager and sodomized her with a cucumber, threatened to kill her if she told, and subjected at least five other women to forced sex, at least once in a courthouse…Brittany Mae Keene sued Barbour County Sheriff John Wesley Hawkins and the Barbour County Commission…[who] essentially let Hawkins conduct a reign of sexual terror against women in his custody…”  Hawkins’ victims ranged in age from 16 to 19.

Cops and Condoms (February Updates)

A [Polish] prostitute with HIV has been arrested for…having unprotected sex with clients [although]…she knew she was HIV positive…Fellow sex workers tipped off cops about the woman over fears that her actions would give prostitutes a bad [name].  But officers only arrested her after two of her clients came forward and admitted they had tested positive for HIV…

Election Day (February Updates)

Kristin Davis is running for office again, this time for New York City comptroller against her old client Eliot Spitzer.  She was interviewed in The National Review  by Charles Cooke (himself an advocate of legalization), and though she claims to be a libertarian she also seems to be advocating the sort of avails and bawdy house laws which may soon be struck down in Canada because they endanger sex workers.  Every time she opens her mouth, she reaffirms her membership in my Hall of Shame.

Subtle Pimping

LupaThe law doesn’t care if you profit from sex workers, as long as you don’t have any direct contact or actually help us in any way.  In a new French video game players manipulate a cartoonish, stereotyped streetwalker who must make $150,000 to “escape her pimp” by performing fake orgasm sounds into a microphone and avoiding hazards like cops and STDs (no skill involved in the latter because whores are just stupid victims of fate).  The writer of the linked review also profits by using various prohibitionist tropes to save himself the effort of original thought.

Public Service Announcement

Anthony Weiner found himself caught in another sexting scandal…like the one that destroyed his congressional career, but…won’t drop out of the race for mayor of New York…Weiner admitted sending a woman sexually explicit photos and messages…more than a year after he resigned from the House in disgrace for the same sort of behavior…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (July Updates)

Another example of cops’ filthy efforts to subvert the means by which sex workers attract business and keep ourselves safe:  “…a Long Island couple [was arrested for]…running an international escort service called Aphrodite Companions…Vincent and Melissa Lombardo…are currently being held without bond…the only basis…was…postings on…The Erotic Review…Jeremy Moody

Counterfeit Comfort

A South Carolina man targeted a sex offender at random, killed him and his wife and later told deputies he planned to kill others on the state’s sex registry…Jeremy Moody and his wife, Christine, were arrested and charged with murder…Moody only knew 59-year-old Charles Parker in passing, but came to the mechanic’s…home…with plans to kill him…Surveillance cameras outside Parker’s home showed Moody and his wife driving up…and popping the hood on their car as if it wasn’t working…Gretchen Parker wasn’t specifically targeted, but was killed because she was in the house…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

UCLA researchers say sex addiction does not appear to be a disorder…Nicole Prause and her colleagues monitored…volunteers’ brains while showing them erotic images.  “If they indeed suffer from hypersexuality…their brain response to visual sexual stimuli could be expected to be higher, in much the same way that the brains of cocaine addicts have been shown to react to images of the drug”…Prause…thinks that so-called sex rehabs should be examined…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Unlearning LibertyTwo readers sent presents for my thirdAbsolutely Mad anniversary (they arrived while I was in Las Vegas, so I didn’t know about them until after I got home last Sunday):  Kevin Wilson sent Unlearning Liberty, and Krulac sent Absolutely Mad and Blak and Blu.  Thanks so very much to both of you!

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A Broker in Pillage

Make a note of this one, because you won’t often see a judge side with a sex worker against cops:

A federal judge has ruled that Nebraska cops must return over $1 million confiscated at a traffic stop from a woman who saved the money $1 at a time during her 15 year career as an exotic dancer…Tara Mishra, 33…began putting aside her earnings when she started dancing at age 18…to start her business and get out of…stripping…State troopers confiscated the money in March 2012 when they pulled over Rajesh and Marina Dheri…[who] had been given the cash so they could buy a nightclub in New Jersey.  Mishra would own half of the business and the Dheris would own the other half…police did not find any evidence of drug activity…and…analysis found only trace elements of illegal drugs on the cash…[the judge] ordered that Mishra receive cash or a check in the value of $1,074,000 with interest.

Welcome To Our World (TW3 #15)

Another supposed “victim” is caged to force her cooperation in the state’s ugly little morality play:  “[An Illinois] woman who claims she was forced to work as a prostitute for her boyfriend remains held…without…bail because she is considered a flight risk and might not return to testify in her boyfriend’s trial…

End Demand

Though the story is somewhat amusing, note that “end demand” policies turn innocent whores into unwilling Judas goats:  “A man caught with a prostitute in his car told police she was there to show him where to buy tomatoes…officers found the [known sex worker] sitting inside Muhammad Ikhlaq’s car while he withdrew £20 from a cash machine, which he said was to pay for tomatoes…

Unclean Situation

The Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, and Good Shepherd Sisters will not apologise to survivors of the Magdalene laundries…Neither will [they] make a financial contribution to the Government’s reparations scheme…Co-operation voluntarily given does not compel the nuns in any legal sense.  Their negative response invalidates the Government’s assertion that survivors are being afforded restorative justice.  There is no justice without the nuns’ apologyPrint and/or financial reparation…the orders expect an amnesty for gross human rights violations…

Lest you forget, these same orders still receive tremendous amounts of aid and political support from the Irish government for their anti-whore scheme Ruhama.

No Friend of Ours

Just in case you think it’s only Las Vegas “authorities” who hate whores so much they’re willing to make themselves look like idiots by parroting ludicrous prohibitionist drivel, here’s an unusually-ridiculous example from Reno:

An increasing number of the young women…began working as prostitutes while in their teens.  They are manipulated by men who control every aspect of their lives…Some girls are branded – or tattooed – with their pimp’s name…others are forced to perform while their children are held ransom, usually at gunpoint…Girls as young as 11 are being exploited…the average age…is 14…Since 2002, the FBI and local law enforcement agencies have rescued about 100 children identified as possible victims of juvenile sex trafficking…That number does not include the adult women being trafficked, which experts say would be impossible to produce because many women don’t acknowledge that they are under the control of a pimp…[Ron] Chalmers heads the…[police division] that focuses on these types of crimes…about 10 years ago, the women arrested…were generally in their 30s to 40s [and] were drug addicts, he said.  But today, the prostitution demographics are completely different…They’re much younger than they used to be, he said…”A significant number of what we see, 80 to 90%, are being exploited – forced into the lifestyle”…

You may remember that the claims made in the “Satanic Panic” similarly became much more extreme, bizarre and demonstrably false as the hysteria drew closer to the point of implosion.  That last bit is more than just Maslow’s Hammer at work; it’s an example of the incredible mathematical and sociological illiteracy of hysterics.  Whenever a person tells you there’s been a major demographic shift in any human behavior in only one decade – from nearly nothing to “80 or 90%” –  it’s a safe bet the speaker is an imbecile who is incapable of considering even rudimentary thought experiments like “where did all the old ones go?”  We see the same principle at work under the Swedish model, which claims to have dramatically decreased the number of men who have ever paid for sex.

Banishment

The sex workers in the Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (SNapCO), the Atlanta group which defeated the proposal to banish arrested sex workers from the city, need to get control of their “allies”; not only is the group supporting involuntary diversion programs, its spokeswoman Misty Novitch is belching up the “average debut at thirteen” myth for the media.

It Looks Good On Paper (TW3 #311)

Yet another religiously-based “diversion program” chock full of prohibitionist rhetoric which claims to “help” streetwalkers while refusing to question the justice of the laws by which cops repeatedly victimize them:  “Prostituted women” were all sexually abused as children, pimps give us drugs to control us, blah blah blah blah blah…sauna raid

Across the Pond (TW3 #324)

Council bosses have [suspended] half a dozen [Edinburgh sauna] licences following a string of police raids…[in] a radical shift from the typically pragmatic approach to prostitution which…[kept] sex workers safer and off the streets…Peter Donoghue, 69, a former sauna operator…said:  “It was a lot of nonsense. Some girls have worked at the saunas for ten or 12 years. They’ll simply work for escort agencies instead. We’re going to appeal, but I don’t believe we have a chance”…

Hussies

Save the children and the poor, innocent men from evil harlots!

[Kenyan] women…accused commercial sex workers of invading the town and “stealing” their men…[they] are planning to drive the twilight girls out claiming they are spreading sexually transmitted diseases.  The women said the sex workers have taken their men and they are left cold and lonely on their marital beds…sex workers who dress scantily have created a brothel…where secondary school and university students go for cheap sex instead of concentrating on their studies…even primary school children have fallen into the traps…

Rubbing Elbows

A 17-year-old journalism intern’s impressions of the Desiree Conference:

I was a bit timid about the idea of going into a conference that was specifically about sex, but my passion against human trafficking led me to go…with…my mom…When I entered…I was…greeted by a woman with such a cheerful presence and smile, that it put me off guard.  In fact, this was the common air of everyone there:  happiness.  Everywhere I looked I found people wearing bright colors, hugging, laughing, and enjoying themselves.  I initially thought that at a Sex Worker’s Conference that it was going to be the exact opposite.  I was expecting victims — people just out of the Taken film, tears that warned of a gruesome past, and consoling. There was none of that in sight.  The media and society has always presented the sex industry as this taboo area…where [the] only people who were in this profession were forced to be…

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine (TW3 #329)

Caty Simon of Tits and Sass interviewed Kemal Ayrikotu of the Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association on the cultural background to the murder of Dora Oezer; Ayrikotu discusses the lack of rights for both sex workers and transgenders, and criticizes LGBT activists who wish to stress that Dora was a transwoman while ignoring that she was a whore (despite the two being nearly synonymous in Turkey).  Meanwhile, Melissa Gira Grant wrote on the protests for both Dora and Jasmine:  “If you passed by the Turkish or Swedish consulates in New York on [July 19th], you may have seen…sex workers and their supporters holding red umbrellas…the…action accompanied rallies in 36 cities and on four continents…demanding an end to the stigma and violence against sex workers’ communities…

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Feminism still feels like someone rescuing me from the patriarchy so that I may be told what to do by “sisters” who need to get their opinions out of my knickers.  –  Sarah Woolley

Lack of Evidence

The Fourth District Court of Appeal…deemed West Palm Beach’s “loitering with intent to commit prostitution” ordinance unconstitutional…[because it was] “overbroad and vague”   It… cited a 1993 Florida Supreme Court ruling [striking down]…a similar law [in Tampa for discriminating]…against previously convicted prostitutes.  [The earlier decision stated that]…“All Florida citizens enjoy the inherent right to window shop, saunter down a sidewalk, and wave to friends and passerby with no fear of arrest”…

Meanwhile, in California, “Two women suspected of loitering with the intent to commit prostitution were arrested at a Burbank hotel…after officers reportedly discovered incriminating text messages, condoms and oils in their possession…

Check Your Premises

…Baltimore City police officer [Lamin Manneh]…and his…wife [Marissa Braun were]…charged with human trafficking…19-year-old [Braun was caught in a sting]…and…investigators charged the pair with human trafficking because Braun looked so young…”  You read that correctly; she’s been charged with “trafficking” herself.RedTraSex street art

Feminine Pragmatism

Justice minister Francisco Dominguez’s warning…that…men…who seek [paid] sex…will be…[prosecuted] has roiled [Dominican] workers… “There are customers who’ve called us to tell us that they won’t come”…said Carla Matos…who…said she had to become a prostitute…to raise her children…”What we’ll have to do in a couple of days will be to go out and rob and kill people, because imagine, we can’t do nothing else.  I will not let my children starve,” [Jennifer] Paniagua said.

The Prudish Giant

From the “progressive” Huffington Post:

Not only is “prostitution” a tagged skill you can select on LinkedIn, there are actually escorts who advertise their services [there]…[but] LinkedIn…now explicitly bans escorts from using the site…The new user agreement states that you must not:  “Create profiles or provide content that promotes escort services or prostitution” even if [they are] legal where you live…Not only can you list “prostitution” as a skill, you can list a whole lot of other unsavory skills like “rape,” “shoplifting,” “gangs,” “manslaughter,” and “drug trafficking”…

Yes, the writer did seriously equate consensual sex with rape and murder.  Dr. Brooke Magnanti comments on the absurdity and futility of the whole thing.

An Angel of Mercy

Shona Langley, a street sex worker support officer, and Charlotte Crossland, a harm reduction nurse…[work for] the Harm Reduction project…[in] Lancashire…twice a week…they load their van with…condoms, panic alarms, needles and bank note checker pens, while Charlotte offers Hepatitis B and other vaccinations…[and] treatment for minor health issues…Shona said:  “We don’t judge.  We are not here to criticise or bully them into stopping what they do”…

Scapegoats

[David Beckman of Illinois]…faces a charge of misdemeanor animal cruelty after police said he sexually abused his pet peacock…police learned the bird died while they were investigating Beckman about an alleged case of indecent solicitation of a child…

jelly wrestlingObjectification Overruled

Feminists at Cambridge University lead such privileged, unchallenging lives that they imagine jelly wrestling (girls grappling in gelatin in front of male spectators) has “a significant role to play in the degradation and abuse of women,” and imagine they’ve won a great victory for womankind via a petition which caused the event to be cancelled.  Sarah Woolley explains why this is pure bollocks:

…”objectification” is a herd word used by women who can rarely recall the name of their last waitress…If a person sees a woman arse-deep in jelly and regards her as subhuman because of it, then that shit is on them…it takes more than nudity to cancel out a man’s regard for a woman as a human being.  There will be misogynists in any crowd but –newsflash- a true woman hater will dehumanise you no matter how you behave or what you wear…Cambridge feminists …[are affiliated] with Object…a group known for lobbying against sex worker rights and for spreading irresponsible misinformation -particularly the fantasy that the Olympics would usher in an “explosion of prostitution.”  Also on the list is “Smash Miss Contest”  who “set off stink bombs”…at beauty pageants…

Worms in the Apple

New York City’s wallowing in the “end demand” sewer produced this grotesque display of political pandering:

…mayoral candidates…argued for tougher penalties.  Joseph J. Lhota…[called] for “a john list every day in the newspaper”…Adolfo Carrión Jr…went further, saying he would publish their license plate numbers…the moderator…took note of Edward I. Koch’s controversial directive…to read the names of convicted male customers on air…Christine C. Quinn…said she disagreed with publicizing the names…[but] favored an “incredibly effective” program in Brooklyn…that forces “johns” to sit through a program intended to deter bad behavior…

And no, “john schools” are not “incredibly effective”.

Finding What Isn’t There

police admit they do not know the scale of trafficking in Victoria’s illegal brothels and cannot say how many…there are.  The cloak of anonymity and secrecy surrounding the industry makes it hard for police to investigate, Senior Sergeant Marilynn Ross told [a parliamentary] inquiry…”we suspect that in a small number of…licensed brothels human trafficking is occurring…on a…larger scale”…

Translation:  “There’s no evidence whatsoever and the real experts say otherwise, but this makes a perfect excuse to ask for more power to stick our noses into people’s private business.”

Whorearchy (TW3 #19)

Prostitutes helped clean up the streets of Murcia, Spain, in an effort to draw attention to…[a] proposed bylaw…aimed at curbing prostitution and sexual exploitation [which] would damage [their] livelihood…”We’ve spoken with neighbors and local business owners and…they’ve told us that there’s no problem as long as we follow some of the requests that they’ve made, such as sticking to a timetable and keeping the streets clean…That’s why we decided to hold a clean-up day.  We wanted to show that we…want to get on well with everyone”…

Worse Than I ThoughtTraffic in Souls

As I predicted, the cancer of incredibly-broad “sex trafficking” laws based on the CASE Act is spreading, now to Pennsylvania:

House Bill 663, which was unanimously passed 195-0…expands what the state considers “commercial sex acts” and raises the crime of buying or selling people for sex work from a third-degree to a…first-degree felony.  Under the new bill, the definition of commercial sex includes being forced to perform “any sexual activity…in which anything of value is given…or received”…

The bill’s sponsor complains that the “current law is vague”, but what he actually means is that it isn’t vague enough.

So Close and Yet So Far

Another would-be ally misses the bus by not bothering to check with sex workers first; though she makes several very good arguments against criminalization and recognizes from the title on that sex work is work, she also overestimates the role of pimps and the prevalence of street work, accepts the false “sex trafficking” dichotomy, supports regulation and licensing and ends by undermining her own argument with the typical mealy-mouthed disclaimer, “I am not endorsing the act of selling sex.”

Schadenfreude (TW3 #43)

Another rescue industry icon is exposed as a con artist:

Cecilia Flores-Oebanda has…become the face of the Philippines anti-trafficking movement…but now she is fighting a battle that could truly ruin her.  Fraud allegations made by Philippine investigators threaten to destroy her reputation and the anti-trafficking organization she’s run for more than two decades…

Nonetheless, the credulous CNN reporters spends about 95% of the story lauding her and repeating her bullshit stories, apparently forgetting about that word “fraud”.

Across the Pond (TW3 #45)

Scottish local governments seem unusually resistant to anti-sex business hype:

The owners of an over-21s nightclub in Inverness have been issued a licence to introduce lap dancing…Rhoda Grant…said…“The commodification of woman in society is damaging and I would have hoped the objections raised by the Highland Violence Against Women Strategy Group would have been listened to”…

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #131)Toru Hashimoto

A perfect demonstration of how the “sex trafficking” paradigm confuses those whose minds it pollutes:

…Osaka Mayor…Toru Hashimoto…told reporters…that Japan’s wartime sex slave system… “were necessary in order to provide relaxation for those brave soldiers who had been in the line of fire”…Hours later [he said]…he’d…told [U.S. military brass] that…there were legal facilities for releasing sexual energy, and that unless soldiers in Okinawa made more use of similar facilities, it would be difficult to control the sexual energy of the marines…

The media have conflated two totally different statements.  What Hashimoto said about military personnel needing whores is true and every experienced commander knows it, no matter what political crap the Pentagon may emit.  But that isn’t the same as his disgusting rationalization of the enslavement of the comfort women, who were neither professional sex workers nor volunteers.

Skin To Skin

A centre in Nuremberg is offering a course to sex industry professionals on how to cater to the sexual needs of disabled clients.  Those who complete training successfully attain a certificate in “sexual accompaniment and assistance”…

Comfort Zone

It’s great to see ever-larger numbers of academics openly declaring that the “trafficking” narrative is largely an excuse for restricting migration:

“anti-trafficking”…essentialises gender and childhood, it confuses and obfuscates, and…it…acts against the interests of many that it purports to serve…the state is directly and inescapably the source of vulnerability…those formally excluded are given…the right NOT to enter, to be protected from movement.  The [victim of “trafficking”]…is supposed to return home.  Indeed the narrative is that she wants to return home, and part of her innocence and victimhood is that she never wanted to move in the first place…immigration controls are claimed to be a mechanism of protection for migrants, rather than a mechanism of oppression…

And here’s a UN official on bogus data and bad definitions:

…data is often taken from methodologies that are not…estimates…media…have often reported that 79% of trafficking is for sexual exploitation, based on the “Global Report on Trafficking in Persons” by UNODC…[but] the data is of victims identified by state authorities and of convicted traffickers…The internationally recognized definition of human trafficking states the purpose of human trafficking is for exploitation…yet [it] is…equated with sex work or irregular…migration…as a result…data on trafficked persons almost exclusively focused on women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation…

Cops and Condoms (TW3 #313)

If we’re honest, many of us do see condoms as robbing us of pleasure, stealing some excitement and spontaneity…and dulling the intensity of sexuality…These factors are the primary reasons that still only 60 percent of teenagers claim to use condoms…[and] usage declines as people grow older.  The number one reason…is the reduction of pleasure…[but] criticism of the condom opens one to…demonization…Bill Gates’…plans to make a condom that “is felt to enhance pleasure”…came under ideological fireGawker called the argument that condoms reduce sensitivity one for “creeps” and “pervs,” while Popular Science reacted by concluding “men are idiots.”  Salon likened any criticism of the condom’s detrimental effect on sexuality to “whining“…

The Naked Anthropologist (TW3 #314)

The Proper Study (TW3 #319)

The feminist antiporn group Stop Porn Culture has sponsored a petition…to change the editorial board and title of Routledge’s forthcoming…publicationPorn Studies…Constance Penley…co-editor of The Feminist Porn Book…[said] “[The petition] reveals a total lack of understanding about academic freedom, academic integrity and the nature of scholarship…and…how desperate the antiporn people are to prevent any research being done that might not support their ideological position”…

Somewhere in the Middle

St. John’s, Newfoundland has just over 200,000 people, which means fewer than 100,000 males.  The escort interviewed for this article (“Iris”) says there are about 30 escorts working there full-time, and doing such good business travelling girls are stopping in as well.  Now, ask yourself:  is it credible that only about 14,000 of those men have ever paid, that the majority of those who did are now regulars and that those working girls are doing well on an average of 1 client per day?  Or is it more likely that the claim few men ever pay for sex is completely absurd?  As Iris said, “We wouldn’t be doing this well if your husbands and boyfriends and friends weren’t coming to see us.  It’s that simple.”

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The laws just don’t make sense.  They don’t help sex workers.  They don’t protect sex workers.  They increase their risks and they make it harder for them to do their jobs.  –  Chris Bruckert

Cops and Condoms

Ugandan men are even worse about condoms than American and European ones; the sex workers interviewed for this article say that only about 20% of clients will agree to use one,  even when the worker tells them she is HIV+.  The problem is that many workers there will provide bareback (“live” in Ugandan slang) on demand, so a woman who insists on condoms is at a competitive disadvantage.

See No Evil

A New Zealand court has sentenced a man to three months in prison for downloading cartoon porn.  Ronald Clark has previous convictions for sexually abusing a minor, but the Japanese hentai he watched…[involved only] drawings…[and these were not even of humans, but rather] “elves and pixies, which led to concerns the images were linked to child sexual abuse…

The More the Better (TW3 #4)Heidi Fleiss at renovated brothel

Heidi Fleiss…is…helping to renovate Dennis Hof’s Love Ranch…in Crystal, Nevada… “this…was very similar to a women’s penitentiary…You had to go through all these weird bars and buzzers, and someone’s peering out the little peephole, scoping you up and down… It was really a creepy feeling.”  [Fleiss says she wants the brothel to be] “…not the dirty little secret where people drive up and sneak in…and then afterwards they’re full of shame…It’s something where people are so proud to be here, not only do they come back, but bring their friends back.”

The Notorious Badge (TW3 #15)

In The Client List…Jennifer Love Hewitt plays a struggling housewife who takes a rub-down side job in order to support her kids after her husband disappears.  The show…has always struck us as more campy nonsense than an accurate portrayal of the erotic massage business.  But how could we tell?  We asked an escort to watch the show and help us tell fact from fiction

Little Boxes

Young people being pragmatic and sensible about sex?  We can’t have that!

…around 85 per cent of sexually active teens in the Bahamas are engaging in some kind of transactional sex…the majority of middle and high schoolers…are not sexually active.  But of those who are, the majority are involved in risky behaviour…Transactional sex…differs from prostitution in the sense that only a portion of the needs of the person providing the sex are met through the practice…“Many young people put themselves through high school and college in this way…They feel that if a man wants to deal with them he has to pay in some way and they are not prostituting themselves by doing this,” [NGO official Prodesta] Moore said…

Somehow I doubt an American court would accept “this isn’t prostitution because I have another source of income” as a defense.

First They Came for the Hookers…

What selfless devotion to duty!  Several different Oklahoma “law enforcement” agencies partied for four months at a strip club in order to “keep the citizens safe” from the scourge of private, consensual sex!

A Coweta strip club was busted on prostitution charges…Cherokee County deputies [investigated] the Secret Cavern strip club [for] a total of four months…[Alcohol Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission] agent [Pedro] Zardeneta…[said] “different agencies from different parts of the state worked well together to keep the citizens safe”…

Beyonce Mrs Carter Show costume
The Widening Gyre

Dear “Sex Trafficking” Fetishists, please keep up the good work; we couldn’t possibly make y’all look as ridiculous as y’all make yourselves look:

Dear Michelle Obama…you were recently quoted as saying that Beyonce is a great “role model” to your two daughters…I think it’s time to stop suggesting to very young girls that ultimate feminine success…comes with the…expectation for them to undress…Variations of Beyonce’s body suit can be found in brothels, strip clubs and red light districts across the world – where sex is for sale…Remember that in the USA, the average age of a girl when she is trafficked for sex for the first time is 13…by drug dealers who promise her a celebrity lifestyle, clothes like the ones Beyonce wears…we are feeding a demonic myth that women must make themselves sexually available to enjoy ultimate success…It can take years of a young girl’s life away from her when she tries to escape a life of abuse at home…only to be sold for sex, beaten, and made addicted to drugs…

Bogeymen

A study conducted by a University of Ottawa criminology professor has confirmed what sex workers and those in the industry have said and known for years — the laws meant to protect sex workers from exploitation by targeting people who work in the industry but don’t actually do sex work end up putting those who do at much greater risk…These could include drivers…security personnel…website designers or photographers…receptionists…or the more traditional pimps or madams…Under current Canadian laws, all of those people, even the ones doing jobs that have mainstream counterparts, could be criminally charged…[despite the fact that] anything a third party could do to exploit a sex worker is already illegal if it were done to someone else…

Too Young To Know

Another sign of the decay of “sex trafficking” hysteria: even the most ignorant, dysphemism-riddled “sex trafficking” scare story chock-full of bogus statistics (“About one-third [of runaways] will be approached by a sex trafficker within 48 hours…the average life span for victims is seven years“) may admit to some real truth these days; this one, for example, recognizes that “pimps” don’t abduct screaming girls from their middle-class homes.  It will be interesting to watch as they start contradicting each other.

Bottleneck

Jules Kim – migration project manager at Scarlet Alliance…told the [federal] inquiry into slavery and human trafficking…[that] the  current “scatter-gun” approach in which police look for trafficking victims by raiding Asian brothels was an “enormous waste of time, resources and misdirected energy…that has resulted in a gap between law enforcement bodies and…sex industry workers…People change the nature of their work to avoid that harassment…because constant raids on your business have an implication…None of the cases involved deception or trickery of the fact the person would be doing sex work.  Instead of an evidence-based approach addressing real vulnerabilities, Australia’s approach continues to try to detect the mythical trafficking victim and trafficker that is a media-driven stereotype”…

Poe Folksteen on laptop at bedtime

According to a report released in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, watching porn only affects [young adult] sexual behavior in a negligible way.  Other influences such as personality type, educational and family background and poverty hold more girth than viewing sexually explicit material.  The study…surveyed 4,600…people between the ages of 15 and 25 living in the Netherlands during 2008-2009…

Another Small Victory (TW3 #133)

The fight in the SCOTUS over the “anti-prostitution pledge” began Monday.  On the side of Good:  The Open Society Foundation, the ACLU, the Cato Institute, the Gates Foundation and even such unlikely supporters as Fox News, the New York Times and MSNBC.  On the side of Evil:  The usual suspects, including the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.  Here’s Melissa Gira Grant’s look at the battle-lines as they were set up on Monday; note the important point that the whole thing has been framed as a question of free speech (hence the support of otherwise-hostile media outlets) rather than a referendum on the rectitude of the War on Whores.  No matter which way this goes, the persecution will go on until our “allies” stop vomiting out moronic filth like “Sex work is everywhere.  It is a brutal system.  It is an exploitative system.  Nobody thinks it’s OK.”

Big Sister (TW3 #138)

An excellent article, though I must point out that only someone hopelessly mired in the “left-right” myth could seriously consider Iceland “ultra-liberal”:

Ultra-liberal Iceland wants to ban online pornography…[as] the latest step in its attempts to eliminate the sex industry entirely.  In 2009 it introduced fines and jail terms for those who patronise prostitutes (whom it treats as victims).  In 2010 it outlawed strip clubs…No country has yet wholly succeeded in controlling commercial sex, either through legalisation or criminalisation…Iceland’s proposal is in its early stages and may lose momentum after an election on April 27th, which the government is expected to lose.  But its plan puts it in some odd company.  Saudi Arabia similarly bans strip clubs, prostitution and pornography…Prostitution has proved hard…to police and stamp out…[but] regulating pornography is hardest of all.  Distributing and selling it has been illegal in Iceland since 1869…[but] a ban would be legally dubious, technically unfeasible and ineffective, argues Smari McCarthy…of the International Modern Media Institute…In an open letter to Ogmundur Jonasson, the interior minister, he and other opponents compared banning online pornography to repression in China, Iran and North Korea.  Iceland’s constitution forbids censorship…and…Studies in America, Denmark, Germany…Sweden…China, Finland and Japan…show that as pornography became increasingly available, the number of rapes in those countries remained stable or even decreased…

Anatomy of a Boondoggle (TW3 #314)

Florida rapists are cleverer, excusing themselves via the moral panic du jour:

…Police in Florida [went nude] during an undercover prostitution investigation at a Hallandale Beach massage parlor…and…arrested three women…attorney…Howard Finkelstein…said. “It is seedy, back-alley, icky, and we don’t want our cops doing that, especially so when it’s meaningless.”  But Florida ranks third in the nation in the number of reported cases of human trafficking…”This is not just an act of solicitation, but an organized crime effort,” [said] Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy…”It is not just a street-walker. It is a more sophisticated operation…”

The More the Better (TW3 #314)

She hated it so very much that she married a client and went on to own a brothel.  That’s deep hatred, y’all!

Linda Fondren, a mayoral candidate in Vicksburg, Miss., not only admits to a past life in prostitution, she says her husband was one of her Johns.  “I was a working girl in a legal brothel over 30 years ago.  It’s true, my husband was my client…[we’ve] been married for 28 years”…Fondren tried to hold off making that admission for weeks…she…[says] she only did it to support herself after she got pregnant at age 14 and…her mom died of cancer…“I hated it.  I hated it.”  She also said that she would not support legal prostitution if elected…

That last bus-throwing line earns her a nomination for my Hall of Shame, though she’ll have to be still more disgusting to actually be inducted.

Held Together With Lies (TW3 #316)

Step 1:  Define some normal behavior as a problem.  Step 2:  Redefine it so you can claim it’s “growing”.  Step 3:  Increase “regulation” so as to narrow the bottleneck for “legal” behavior:

After years of dispute, Germany’s center-right governing coalition has agreed to enact tougher penalties for human trafficking and forced prostitution…and [to] more strictly regulate the commercial activities of brothels…brothel operators will need special authorization…authorities will be required to enforce hygienic standards and operators will be screened for prior criminal offences…recently, a report by the European Union…showed that human trafficking in Europe has risen sharply.

Step 4 (early next year):  Complain that “criminality” has increased, and repeat step 3.  Proceed until full criminalization is achieved.

The End of the Beginning

Down near the end of this article about another idiotic and dangerous “sex trafficking” law is a reason for hope:  “A bill focused on tightening punishments for pimps…[which] would require some to register as sex offenders, is progressing in [Texas]…Opponents believe the…requirement for sex offender registration may overwhelm an ‘overly broad database that includes too many offenders who are not threats to the community’…”  In other words, these opponents recognize the “pimp menace” as hype and the “sex offender registry” as far too large.  The same could be said for the reporter covering this story in which a Florida police department is claiming that the law says it “has to” humiliate so-called “sex predators” with huge red warning signs in their yards; she seems extremely skeptical of these theatrics, and asks a number of very sensible questions which the police chief of course answers dishonestly and smugly.

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We are simply sisters, mothers, neighbors and friends. We shop where you shop, we vote where you vote and we pay taxes like the rest of you.  –  Kristen DiAngelo

Cops and Condoms

…Bill Gates has…[offered] a $100,000 grant…to…develop “the next generation of condom”.  Though condoms are the most reliable…method to protect against pregnancy and STIs, it doesn’t take your ex-boyfriend to tell you how much they kind of suck (oh, and will he tell you).  So the foundation is requesting proposals for a…condom that “significantly preserves or enhances pleasure, in order to improve…regular use”…

Advice for Clients

Amanda Brooks published her own set of tips for clients; I think it’s worthwhile for a gentleman to read as many of these as he comes across, because every woman is different and may include something others didn’t think important.

Lying Down With Dogs

Ask yourself once again:  Is this really the company you want the US to keep?

Egyptian prosecutors ordered the detention of 17 women and a Lebanese man…[for]…commercial phone sex…security forces raided [their] office…and confiscated phones and computer devices…Investigations showed “gang members” recruited female university students through job ads in newspapers and then agreed with them to perform acts “that run contrary to morality”…

Sales Pitch

Sweden says its “model” has reduced prostitution and deters clients:  “[A] newspaper…published an advert about a fictional 19-year-old [sex worker]…Over the weekend, the phone had 130 missed calls and seven texts.  After a week, the number had grown to 287 calls and 57 texts…[a] local police [spokesman claimed]…the callers were more curious than interested in buying sex…”  What a pathetic rationalization!  Here’s the real attitude of Swedes toward the law:

Down Under

Can you imagine American cops contradicting a prohibitionist politician’s lies?

Police say they’ve seen no evidence to back up [a New Zealand] MP’s claims that girls as young as 13 are working as prostitutes in south Auckland…Asenati Lole-Taylor says there is “growing prevalence” of underage girls selling sex…and she’s backing a bill to ban all street prostitution and confine sex work to brothels…[she also claims] she has witnessed police dealing with young prostitutes …That was news to police Area Commander…Chris de Wattignar.  “It’s not something that police have seen ourselves.  We also work with a number of agencies and community partners in the Otara town centre and that’s certainly not the information we have”…

Decentralization

The US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has [issued] regulations on…Bitcoin…there’s been zero regulation…[so far, because that] would essentially admit that it’s legitimate…The nature of Bitcoin makes it untraceable so unless firms are coaxed into cooperation, it’s hard to imagine the regulations being enforced.Anastasia Volochkova

Droit du Seigneur

A former Bolshoi ballet dancer has called the acclaimed company a ‘giant brothel’…Anastasia Volochkova claimed that female dancers were forced to sleep with wealthy patrons…

September Q & A

Though the main Wikipedia entry for “Prostitution” is an unusable (and uncorrectable) mess due to aggressive sabotage by neofeminists, there is a new article on “Migrant Sex Work”  which is comprehensive, fact-based and non-judgmental and includes citations from many good writers like Laura Agustín, Elizabeth Bernstein, Pardis Mahdavi, Nick Mai and Rhacel Parrenas.  Here’s hoping the author is able to keep control of it.

Thought Experiment

Charlotte Shane’s “’Getting Away’ With Hating It:  Consent in the Context of Sex Work” is a brilliant exploration of how the weakness of the concept of “enthusiastic consent” (now being pushed by the “rape culture” folks) is demonstrated by sex work.  This is definitely a must-read, especially for my male readers, as it looks at an area of female sexual psychology most men seem to have difficulty understanding.  Even the comment thread is worth your time, especially the reactions to a Good Men Project writer who apparently thinks it’s only OK to pay a whore if she doesn’t need the job and is only doing it as a hobby or something.

The More the Better

The Australian Woman’s Weekly published “When Sex is Your Day Job”, an interview with five sex workers (including Rachel Wotton) about prejudice, sex work myths, discrimination and sex as a human right.  What a difference from the United States!

Above the Law

…New Jersey [prison guard]… Juan R. Stevens, 50, was charged with…sexual assault and…criminal restraint…Stevens would call…escorts…[and tell them]  he was a police officer in order to intimidate them into having sex with him for free…

AminaA War for Peace (TW3 #11)

For once, I agree with a Femen leader’s analysis; too bad they don’t see it also applies to sex work:

A 19-year-old Tunisian activist who was threatened with death by stoning after posting topless pictures of herself online has reportedly been admitted to a psychiatric hospital.  The woman, known only as Amina, posted the photographs…to the Femen-Tunisian Facebook page…Amina’s aunt claimed…”She had decided to kill herself and so posted nude pictures of herself online.”  [Femen leader Inna] Shevchenko described the move as “a typical way of reacting to a woman’s demand to be free – they say she’s gone crazy or is being too emotional”…

Whorearchy

A…Mexican politician who…[appeared] in a…lingerie video is taking legal action against political rivals who claim she was [an] “escort girl.”  Giselle Arellano says the…accusations resulted in her failing to win the nomination of Mexico’s conservative National Action Party (PAN)…She wants the election annulled on the grounds that she was “slandered” by her rivals…Arellano…resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she has done stints as a model and also runs a small company that offers “concierge services” to visitors.  She was running for a seat in the Zacatecas State Legislature that is reserved for Mexicans who emigrate abroad…

Besides conventional services, Black Rose Services plans bachelor parties and group excursions to strip clubs and only takes clients by referral.

Bogeymen

Microsoft recently sponsored a “hackathon” based on the theme “combating human trafficking”, and a story on the ever-credulous NPR reports that one of the entries is a smartphone app that middle-class teenage girls who are suddenly “trafficked” by surprise (presumably by “pimps” leaping out at them from bushes) can use to surreptitiously “connect with resources, like a hotline number or a chat room where they can get help.  ‘One of the requirements of this project was to make it covert, so it’s not easily detectable…and [that] it’s for girls ages 11 to 21.’  So the app, which they call Blossom, is disguised to look like it’s just about fun for teens…”  Because captives would certainly be allowed to keep their phones, and university-age adult women are interested in the same sorts of games as 11-year-olds.

Bottleneck

“Authorities” not only refuse to recognize the damage licensing laws do, but often insist on congratulating themselves that they’re “helping” sex workers:

Saskatoon’s new adult services licensing bylaw…gives police new…powers to keep a closer watch on a large part of the sex industry…Anyone advertising sexual services…is now required to get a licence from the city…This is…taking part of the sex trade out of the shadows to protect vulnerable women, police and city officials say…”Prostitution is not against the law.  If a person is working at a hotel and communicating in a private place, then they are not committing a criminal offence”…

And that obviously wouldn’t do, so they had to find a way to make it into one.  For our own good, of course.

King of the Hill

North Carolina’s entry into the “trafficking hub” competition is especially hilarious for its claim that rural areas with low populations are “attractive” to those in the “sex trafficking trade”:

…On Eagles Wings Ministries plans to [build]…a haven for girls involved in the sex-trafficking trade…Gaston County provides a location that’s close enough to Charlotte to help girls there, but far enough away to keep traffickers at bay…North Carolina has become a hotspot for human trafficking…[due to] major highways and interstates, transient populations and large rural areas…

Book Reviews (October 2012)

Two of the authors of books from this column (Rob Arthur of You Will Die and Laura Agustín of Sex at the Margins) were interviewed on the subject of what inspired them to write those books; I think you’ll find their answers illuminating.

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

It’s a very hopeful sign when a review of a movie based in “trafficking” myth can conclude with this passage:  “Eden…[is] not a documentary, it isn’t entertainment, and…[it] sure as heck isn’t art.  It’s just a message, screaming on and on at people who agreed with the point before they bought a ticket.”

The Public Eye (TW3 #131)

More on the escort from American Courtesans who was arrested after complaining to police about a stalker:

Last month Lora LePoudre, who goes by the escort pseudonym Hilary Holiday, was arrested by the Eden Prairie Police department in Minnesota following an anonymous tip off by a neighbor and a subsequent sting operation…Neighbors in her family-friendly condo complex [said] they were thankful police had arrested her…

As you may remember, there was no “complaint” except from Hilary herself; the reporter also cherry-picks neighbors, spews inanities like “family-friendly” and misquotes Kristen DiAngelo as saying escorts are “very different” from other sex workers, when actually she said there was a difference between free and coerced prostitution.

Skin To Skin

…The head of the Essonne department…Jerome Guedj…called for allowing sex surrogates…as part of regular social services…[noting] that [they]…are permitted in some other European countries…But…[removed] the term…just ahead of the vote…after coming under criticism for opening the door to legalized prostitution…a national ethics council…ruled that authorizing sex surrogates would essentially “merchandise the human body”…

But while France says it’s OK to neglect disabled folks in order to “send a message” to dirty whores, New Zealand sees stories like this one:

I hired a sex worker for my late 93-year-old father.  He had dementia and lived in a nursing home when he said to me, “You’ll need to find me a woman”…I took his request seriously [because]…I’m a disability support worker and I’ve seen how an individual’s sexuality needs to be considered…Touching Base put me in contact with…the person they thought most suitable:  ‘Emma’…After time with Emma, my father’s well-being and consequently his behaviour improved…He wasn’t as agitated.  He didn’t obsess over things like he used to.  He was serene, happy and relaxed…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (TW3 #139)

The Indian government has now completely reversed its sneaky criminalization attempt:  “Sex workers and women’s rights activists across India have welcomed the…move to drop the word ‘prostitution’…from the amended…Penal Code.  The new formulation targets sexual exploitation and not adult consensual sex work…

Dutch Threat

What could possibly go wrong?

There is considerable sympathy among Dutch MPs for moves to get tougher on people who visit prostitutes and don’t report suspected exploitation or abuse…The senate…is currently considering legislation that would force prostitutes to sign up to an official register.  Clients who fail to check if a girl is registered, could face prosecution…[some] want to go further and say clients should be prosecuted for failing to report to the authorities if they suspect a woman may be being abused or forced to work as a prostitute…

King of the Hill (TW3 #312)

Oregon is really ramping up the hysteria; between two different stories on the same legislative/cop antics we are told that “trafficking happens in small towns” to 9-year-olds, that “80 children are victims of sex trafficking each year”  in Portland, that prosecutors want to use “racketeering laws” to prosecute whoever a girl names as her “pimp” after being jailed indefinitely (for her own good, of course), and that “men looking to buy sex from minors describe the victims they want to order.” All this on the word of unnamed women who present no evidence; you know, kind of like witch trials.

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