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Posts Tagged ‘Creating the Crisis’

Humans have been exchanging sex for money and goods for thousands of years.  No act of government will end the practice.  –  Adam Sullivan

Counterfeit Comfort

How does government fight imaginary high recidivism rates?  By enacting policies designed to dramatically magnify the social isolation that increases recidivism, of course!

An Ohio [man] who spent three years in jail for a sex crime with an 18-year-old [woman] is not allowed to live with or write to his son, 14, because the boy is a minor.  He is also not allowed to talk to him on the phone or even possess a photo of him.  Now the dad has filed a federal lawsuit claiming these parole conditions are unconstitutional …his crime wasn’t with a male or a minor.  And yet, under Ohio’s five year mandatory “post-release control,” he cannot visit his son without [supervision] by a parole officer, whom he must pay. Unemployed, the dad can’t afford a visit.  And the rules say that even during a supervised visit, he would not be allowed to hug his son…”he is forbidden from moving back to the family home or having any contact with his son. He could not send his son a card or call him on his 14th birthday“…

Creating the Crisis

More accurate headline: “How Romania Became a Prohibitionist Bogeyman”:

Berlin…residents [use their magic mind-reading powers to declare that migrant sex workers] from Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine….did not have the German sex industry on their minds when they [supposedly] imagined [childish fantasies about] bright futures for themselves in the EU, just as Romania did not envisage prostitution becoming one of its leading “exports” after it joined the EU in 2007.  But official statistics from Germany and some other EU member states show that Romanian nationals represent a significant portion of sex workers in these countries.  “When talking about sex trafficking, Romania is [fantasized] as one of the trend setters in Europe, next to Albania,” [proclaimed] Silvia Martis Tabusca, an international law professor specializing in migration…

Torture Chamber

What our government calls a “correctional facility”:

…in the El Paso County Jail in Colorado, [sow] Sandra Rincon was celebrated with a tiara, a “princess” plate, and a cake with the number “50” on top.  The number…referred to the number of times she had used force against prisoners, ranging from handcuffing to punching and kicking.  She was the winner of what one of the county [screws] called a “fight club,” crowning whoever used force most often as the champion.  The “fight club” competition was uncovered in the course of a lawsuit filed by civil rights attorney Darold Killmer…[for] excessive force against his client, Philippa McCully…the county settled McCully’s case for $675,000.  The uncovering of the “fight club” did lead to an investigation, but [as always] that investigation  fell far short of being genuine…There were…no demotions, no transfers, [no criminal charges] or dock of pay for anyone involved…[Let’s hope] the county’s dismissal of the “fight club” as simply bad judgment…exacerbates the distrust between the community and [the count’s hired thugs]…[and even] further erode it…

Whither Canada?

Why does this journalist feel compelled to cede ground to prohibitionist lies?

When Canada decided to tackle prostitution by adopting “end demand” laws, it was supposed to make sex work safer and healthier.  But precisely the opposite has happened, according to new research presented at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam…Researchers from both Canada and France found that…the Nordic model, or “end demand” approach – actually made life worse for sex workers by pushing the trade further into the shadows, making it more difficult to negotiate prices and condom use, and making it less likely that workers would access health services…Elena Argento…a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia, studied 854…sex workers…Hélène Le Bail, a researcher at Sciences Po CERI in Paris, said the “end demand” approach was supposed to be more progressive but France has seen the same problems as Canada…Her research, which involved 691 sex workers, showed that “end demand” laws have resulted in an “acute increase in socioeconomic vulnerability”…and [contrary to the sale pitch] sex workers are still more likely to be arrested and fined than their clients…

No, Canada’s Swedish model law was not “supposed to make sex work safer and healthier”; like all versions of the Swedish filth, it was specifically intended to make sex work more dangerous:

Full of Themselves (#630)

It’s good to see at least a few masseuses recognizing that they need to stand with sex workers rather than getting in bed with pigs and prohibitionists:

[Politicians] in several Iowa communities are considering moves to [harass]…massage businesses…[that pigs claim] are selling illegal sex services, and some [pompous] massage therapists say they give the industry a bad reputation.  [Prohibitionists pretend] their main concern…is…sex trafficking…However, [prohibitionists intentionally] conflat[e]…human trafficking with…sex work…“We act as though people with vaginas should not be choosing when or why they have sex and who they have it with.  Effectively it’s saying that they couldn’t possibly make decisions about their own bodies,” said Jaime Nevins, an Iowa City licensed massage therapist and an advocate for sex workers’ rights.  Nevins…[told] Iowa City [politicians]…“It’s like you can’t really be against [the proposed regulations] or you’ll be pro-sex trafficking, or perceived as that”…Bans on sex work are…similar to drug and alcohol restrictions.  Prohibition inevitably leads to underground markets..Violence thrives in secrecy…

Rough Trade (#769)

As I’ve mentioned many times, US sex workers are arrested for being raped:

…a 30-year-old woman…was [drugged and] raped and then “dumped out” near a [Nashville gas] station…several calls [reported] a [woman]…walking in the middle of the road crying, and possibly intoxicated…staff at the [gas] station had come to the aid of the woman in distress, [but by contrast]…the…police [protected and served her by arresting]…her…for public intoxication, though they clearly note in documents that she had no smell of alcohol, but was likely under the influence of an unknown drug…[then after] she admitted that…she [is a sex worker]…she was taken directly to booking, without any testing of the drugs in her system, any rape kit done, or even knowing if she was drugged by the man, or took the drugs willingly…then charged…with prostitution…

Paint By Numbers (#784)

WTF, Teen Vogue?  You’ve been doing so well, and now you publish “sex trafficking” nonsense, complete with taped mouths and red Xs?

There are different estimates of the number of victims in the world today, but virtually all [prohibitionists] agree that it’s in the millions…there are many…sources [of propaganda] to help you learn more [nonsense you can use to harm sex workers by]…calling or texting the National Human Trafficking Hotline when you [imagine] signs of human trafficking, or [supporting] anti-[sex] legislation…whatever your background and interests, you can [make up] unique [publicity stunts or just mindlessly participate…in…[deeply stupid herd activities like standing around on lawns, getting dressed or drawing] a red X

Pyrrhic Victory (#785)

Tyranny always starts with despised minorities, but it never stops with them:

[Western journalists visiting] the city of Kashgar in westernmost China…are [harassed by police]…we’re being tailed by some eight people and three cars…The minute we strike up conversation with anyone, officials appear and start interrogating them…Nowhere in the world, not even in North Korea, is the population monitored as strictly as it is in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region…Oppression has…worsened massively in recent months…Beijing has…turned Xinjiang into a security state that is extreme even by China’s standards…With around 500 [government thugs]…for every 100,000 inhabitants, the police presence will soon be almost as tight as it is in neighboring Tibet…cameras illuminat[e] every street all over the region, from the capital Urumqi to the most remote mountain village.  Iris scanners and WiFi sniffers are in use in stations, airports and at the ubiquitous checkpoints…an “integrated joint operations platform”…stores further data on the populace — from consumer habits to banking activity, health status and indeed the DNA profile of every single inhabitant of Xinjiang…The government has built up a grid of hundreds of re-education camps.  Tens of thousands of people have disappeared into them in recent months.  [Expert on China Adrian] Zenz estimates the number to be closer to hundreds of thousands…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#820) 

Porn is abuse of women!

…Patricia Hill, 69, of Jefferson County, Arkansas, has been charged with the capital murder of her husband, 65-year-old Frank Hill..Mrs  Hill…said she confronted her husband in the shed after she “disagreed with her husband’s purchase of video pornography via the television guide, which she cancelled upon discovering the purchase but Mr Hill managed to place a subsequent order”…After her husband refused to leave [his own home as] she [demanded]…Patricia Hill went back inside the home to arm herself with a .22 caliber pistol.  She then returned to the shed and…shot him in the leg and head…Hill confirmed that that there had never been any physical altercations between her and her husband prior to the night of the shooting…

If anything is a “public health crisis”, it’s violent prohibitionism.

This Means War

Though this article about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin has some good information on their long, strange trip from student antiwar activists to props in the government’s manufactured “sex trafficking” hysteria, it buys into that hysteria far too much to be read without an entire carton of salt, especially when it promotes the government-friendly view that the pair were no longer “real” journalists (a claim anyone who’s ever talked to Lacey in particular for more than about half an hour knows is 9944/100% pure bullshit).  Look also for the subtle pearl-clutching, complete with scare quotes around ordinary words, like, “On deadline days for escort ads, the offices of New Times publications filled with young women wearing skimpy outfits and too much perfume…I witnessed firsthand this weekly parade of ‘escorts’ at two papers owned by Lacey and Larkin...”

Rooted in Racism (#846) 

An especially egregious case of deliberate racial profiling by government-approved guidelines:

Three Hawaiian Airlines flight attendants are [bizarrely] being hailed as heroes after they [harassed] a group of [travelers that they had racist sex fantasies about]…Flight attendant Wesley Hirata [claimed] he sensed something wasn’t right [because] an older Asian man [was traveling with two white women and their younger sister] from Los Angeles to Honolulu.  Hirata [conspired with] other flight attendants who [interrogated] the [women] – revealing that one of them was [a legal minor] and all three had the same name [as one would expect of unmarried sisters]…The attendants informed the captain [that there was a family on board] and [somehow decided this was grounds for snitching to the pigs] in Honolulu.  Upon arrival in Hawaii the group was questioned by local police, who referred the case to the FBI…[who] soon established [that the sisters were indeed sisters]…and the man was a…[family friend] travelling…with them [and not a sinister Fu Manchu-like character out of these bigots’ racist sex fantasies]…

Choke Point (#850) 

Useful idiots are unable to understand how precedent works:

…Bank of America customer[s] might be getting questions about…citizenship status and even have…accounts frozen with no warning.  KCTV…photographer…Josh Collins…received a mailer claiming to be sent by Bank of America that asked for personal information and citizenship information.  However, he has been a Bank of America customer for 20 years and was born a U.S. citizen, so he figured it could be a scam and that the bank would follow up if it was legitimate.  The next thing he knew, his accounts were frozen without notice…The bank representative told Collins…his…“cards ha[d] been lost or stolen.”  That was not true…They eventually unfroze Collins’ accounts, but not before sending an email notifying him all of his automatic bill payment accounts were wiped out…the bank explained that…they would be asking this of all their customers…Bank of America [blamed]…”law” [for the harassment]…

It always starts with a politically-unpopular group like sex workers, gun owners or migrants, but never stops there.

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We should have a national day for camp followers.  –  Brendan Trainor

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

You mean pictures don’t have magic anti-love powers?  Who could have guessed?

In [a] 1989…study, subjects were exposed to photos from Playboy  and other types of erotica.  Subjects who had viewed these nude images then [supposedly] found other women—especially their wives—to be less attractive…[and] reported that they were actually less in love with their wives…This research has been heavily cited in…[pro-censorship] arguments…recent research has attempted to replicate some of the hallmark findings of some heavily-cited, influential research in psychology and the social sciences.  [Un]surprisingly…many of these…[attempts] have failed, suggesting that in many cases, the original studies were limited by statistical strategies, methodological flaws, or just over-interpretation by…researchers eager to publish sensational findings in an academic market that feeds on hype.  Balzarini, Dobson, Chin, and Campbell recently undertook research to recreate the findings from the 1989 study…over three distinct experimental tests.  In each trial, the researchers were unable to replicate the original findings…

Public Service Announcement 

Are politicians actually stupider than other people, or does it just seem that way?

A Louisiana [politician] admits that he sent a then-17-year-old boy sexually charged text messages and gave him a “graduation present” pair of racy designer underwear, but insists that he was only “playing along” with the teen and that no sexual contact took place…He maintained that many of the details revealed in a 2015 blog post by the boy about the affair were false and that he never had sexual contact with the teen beyond kissing, nor was he grooming the boy for a sexual relationship…[which even if he were is] not illegal because the age of consent…in Louisiana is 17…Yenni said…“I’m not gay”…

So all those times I kissed girls, it wasn’t sexual contact & it doesn’t mean I’m queer?  Wow, that’s kind of a shock.

Saving Them From Themselves

What could possibly go wrong?

Under-18s should be prevented by social media companies from texting sexually explicit images, the health secretary has said.  Giving evidence to the Commons health committee on suicide prevention efforts, Jeremy Hunt also called for a crackdown on cyberbullying by the technology industry via the introduction of [magical] software that can [magically] detect when it is happening…

Heroines (First Updates of the Year) sailor-moon-vs-stis

Well, if Wonder Woman can teach breast self-examination

…Sailor Moon…and her creator, Naoko Takeuchi, have teamed up with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to…raise awareness about the rise of diseases like HIV and syphilis among young Japanese women.  Condoms and fliers featuring the pretty soldier, as she is famously known…will be distributed at several venues…The ministry…reworked the…famous catchphrase – “In the name of the moon, I will punish you!” – to: “If you don’t get tested, I will punish you!”…

Hard Numbers (#321)

Sex workers in [Australia’s] Northern Territory would be significantly safer if the industry was decriminalised…as a motion called for at a Labor conference held in February…the Northern Territory would become only the second state or territory in Australia to do so, after New South Wales.  The Attorney-General and Minister for Health Natasha Fyles confirmed…the new Labor Government would revise the Prostitution Regulation Act within its first term.  However she stopped short of indicating when exactly that would happen…[one] key reason why decriminalisation is necessary is to remove the mandatory requirement on sex workers to register with police…[sex workers are thus] branded for life, and there are instances of police releasing that information to third parties…

Creating the Crisis (#322)

I think the definition of “sexual predator” used here is much too broad to be useful, but the study is still interesting:

…a…peer-reviewed paper,  “Sexual Victimization Perpetrated by Women: Federal Data Reveal Surprising Prevalence”…[was] co-authored [by Lara Stemple] with Andrew Flores and Ilan Meyer…[using] federal survey data [that] challenged conventional wisdom.  “These surveys have reached many tens of thousands of people, and each has shown internally consistent results over time,” the authors note. “We therefore believe that this article provides more definitive estimates about the prevalence of female sexual perpetration than has been provided in the literature to date…the reports…document surprisingly significant prevalence of female-perpetrated sexual victimization, mostly against men and occasionally against women.”  Those conclusions are grounded in striking numbers…

No Difference

And this is different from the US…how, exactly?

An eight-year-old Ugandan girl has been arrested on suspicion on “lesbianism”…after she was found kissing friends…[and] a neighbour [snitched on her]…Human rights organisations have called for the child’s immediate release…the country’s notoriously stringent anti-homosexuality laws…amount to life imprisonment for those found in breach…

In the US, ten-year-old girls are arrested and charged with “aggravated sexual assault” for playing doctor.  And they are consigned to the “sex offender” registry, a form of imprisonment with invisible bars, often for life.

Uncommon Sense (#435)

Essentially, a mobile tippelzone:

Michael Lodberg Olsen…[created] Sexelance, his mobile sanctuary for street sex workers…A notice inside informs prostitutes that volunteers will call the police at the first sign of violence and encourages them to make contact if they are victims of human trafficking…Soon he hopes to have a generator and a small heater…Even if the project fails, he and his partners will have learned that they need a permanent facility like the ones that have been successful in bringing Canadian prostitutes off the street in Vancouver…

All-Purpose Excuse

One of the more predictable uses of the “sex trafficking” excuse: mass censorship:

A New Mexico legislator is getting on board with an effort to force manufacturers of electronics that connect to the internet to install filtering devices that would block online “obscenity”…David Gallegos…[says] he plans to sponsor…the Human Trafficking Prevention Act, [which was written] by a [prohibitionist] group attempting to introduce identical bills in the legislatures of at least 23 other states this coming year…the proposed law labels all devices that don’t install such filters “pornographic vending machines”…The bill lists child pornography, revenge pornography and online prostitution hubs as specific types of material that must be filtered…Free speech and digital rights advocates are lambasting the proposed legislation…as [blatantly] unconstitutional …the…bill would require New Mexico to declare all pornography a “public health crisis”…Consumers…would have the authority to turn the electronic filter off and view such “obscene” material, but only after making the request in writing and proving that they are 18 or older either in person “or through means that verify” their adult age…[they] must also pay a $20 opt-out fee “to help offset the secondary harmful social effects”…

Is the group backing this idiocy so desperate and delusional that they don’t recognize its blatant unconstitutionality?  Even if this shitshow passes it will instantly be challenged by watchdog groups and struck down in federal court.  Perhaps it’s just intended as a stalking horse, so as to force civil rights groups to waste money?

Camp Followers

It’s quite nice to see my ideas quoted positively in the mainstream press:

Nov. 11 was Veterans’s day.  Nov. 10 is Marines Founding Day…Politicians make tribute speeches and lay wreaths at memorials while bands play patriotic songs.  Americans everywhere show their appreciation to our troops.  But there are those who provide aid and comfort to our troops who are never mentioned.  They are the “camp followers,” who from time immemorial have followed warriors, providing immensely important services that help heal physical and mental wounds and raising the morale of our troops so they could endure the long stretches of boredom punctuated by adrenaline-fueled violence that is the reality of warfare.  Camp follower, of course, is a euphemism for sex worker, prostitute, whore.  No one has ever erected a monument that a wreath can be laid at for these women—or men—who provide vital services to our servicemembers in uniform at home and overseas, in peace and war.  Although the camp follower is as old as warfare itself—Homer mentions their role in the Trojan War—it wasn’t until the 19th century that modern Western governments began to pay attention to them…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#601)

This is what “legalized and heavily regulated” actually looks like in practice:

The laws surrounding sex work are complicated in [Hong Kong]…where the legal system consists of a tangled yarn of a colonial British past and ever-growing influence from China.  While solicitation for “immoral” purposes in public is flatly illegal, prostitution itself…is not illegal…this means in practice that they can offer services, but only if they are alone, in their own apartments.  The strange state of affairs has led to the proliferation of what are [moronically] called “one-woman brothels”…leaving many women at the mercy of predators, [most] of them cops…Hong Kong police…[often] threaten…or entrap…sex workers instead of protecting them…While this is [just as common]…in Western countries where prostitution remains illegal and vice cops are plentiful, critics suggest it is deeply ingrained into local policing in Hong Kong…

molester-cop-marc-smith
To Molest and Rape

Once again: if you think it matters whether a cop is “on duty” or not when he commits a sex crime, you are part of the problem:

A[n Oregon] sheriff’s deputy…used a work cellphone to film a minor in a state of nudity…Marc Smith…also…touched a girl’s breast, exposed his genitals to her and filmed and  photographed her [vulva]…in August and September of 2015 and 2016…while he was off-duty…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

Funny how much delusional anti-drug nonsense sounds like delusional anti-sex nonsense, isn’t it?

…WANE, the CBS affiliate in Fort Wayne, Indiana…warns that “dealers [are] using THC-laced ‘edibles’ to attract young people”…that “much of it is done online,” and that “buyers order the candies online and use them to get high discreetly”…But…presents [no] evidence of such online commerce in cannabis candies for kids.  The genesis of the story was an incident…”involving suspicious lollipops” at West Noble High School in Ligonier.  The…package…indicates they were made by…an edible manufacturer that serves patients in Michigan…[reporter Angelica] Robinson compounds the deception with some bizarre scaremongering…”Typically, edibles can contain anywhere between 70 and 100 percent of THC.  Marijuana has just 17 to 30 percent.”  These numbers are nonsensical. A lollipop that was 100 percent THC would not be a lollipop; it would be pure THC.  Even a product that was 70 percent THC would not have the taste, consistency, or appearance of a lollipop, which consists mostly of sugar…a seven-gram lollipop that was 70 percent THC would contain 4,900 milligrams…[in actuality] the label on the…package indicates that it contains…25 milligrams per lollipop…

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Porn is not addictive.  Sex is not addictive.  The ideas of porn and sex addiction are pop psychology concepts that…have no legitimate scientific basis.  –  David Ley

Interview: Jill Brenneman

Jill has largely retired from activism, but has written a guest post about the Cleveland kidnap victims on Amanda Brooks’ blog:  “…Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and Amanda Berry…likely have many years of very costly medical expenses and the need for equally costly psychological help…Like me, their lives were interrupted at a young age.  Now they have to move on with the physical and emotional issues…and…rebuild their lives…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Once again, Dr. David Ley tells it like it is:

…when people buy into the belief that porn is addictive, it changes the argument…sex and porn aren’t the problems…one part of this issue is an attack on aspects of male sexuality, including masturbation and use of pornography…which society fears…

Moloch

Though this was first published nearly a year ago, this updated version appeared last week:

…even though experts and studies have denounced the [sex offender registry] as ineffective, the battle cry of its supporters is still, “If it saves one child…!”…There is no evidence that [it] has done that at all.  However, many, many thousands of children have had their lives made a living hell because of it…parents on the registry…are subject to the whims of local and state laws, including severe restrictions on where they may live…Vigilantes have murdered registrants, leaving their children fatherless…and…children [as young as]…nine…have been [registered]…Registered 12-year-olds aren’t even rarities…in Wisconsin…a district attorney did everything he could, and bragged about it, to have a 6-year-old prosecuted and targeted…for “playing doctor.”  Some of these children find escape only in suicide

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Nowhot dog hooker

New Yorkers are so very fortunate to have brave, dedicated professionals protecting them from dangerous criminals:

…Catherina G. Scalia, 47…was arrested after she…gave [an] undercover cop a massage…without a license…She’s also accused of unauthorized practice…[and an] offer for additional services…Scalia disputed the charges at her arraignment…”They keep framing me.  I am broke.  I am jobless.  All these arrests are entrapment”…When CNN…profiled Scalia and her hot dog truck a year ago, Scalia asserted she was a stripper, not a prostitute…

Bullies With Badges

Anael Ibanez…[was arrested] for distributing pornographic material and exploiting prostitution [in] Syracuse [Utah]…the only ones who actually watched the sex show [Ibanez arranged] were a couple of undercover police officers and…[a man they] charged with sexual solicitation.  Four sex show performers also were arrested…and…charged…SWAT team members were dispatched to clear the theater…[they] broke a glass door…to gain entry…Ibanez works for a janitorial company…and had access to the theater after hours…

Yes, they dispatched a SWAT team to bust adults having sex.

Sleazier Than Thou (TW3 #18)

May must be Ashley Madison’s slowest month, because it’s always the one in which owner Noel Biderman makes some claim like this:  “…its membership registration spiked [last] week following Sunday’s…season finale of The Simpsons…[Biderman] said new registrations surged a whopping 230% this week after…a frustrated Marge Simpson stumbled onto…’Sassymadison.com’…

First They Came for the Hookers…

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

In June 2011…Reema Bajaj…was accused of prostitution…in June 2012 [she] pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge…Although she kept her Illinois law license…she…had trouble attracting clients.  Earlier this month, she dissolved her law practice…and…sued three local lawyers: a former prosecutor who worked on her case, Calvin Campbell; one of her own former defense attorneys, Timothy Johnson, who is now law partners with Campbell; and a “John Doe” defendant.  Bajaj alleges that the three lawyers circulated nude photos of her, causing her emotional distress and hurting her ability to generate business…

I hope she wins, restarts her practice and specializes in defending sex workers, since she knows firsthand how difficult it is for us to get justice in America.

Where are the Victims? (TW3 #28)

Because you know, “false consciousness” and all:

To hear the testimony of the women who worked for them, Vincent George Sr. and his son were not the violent and manipulative sex traffickers that prosecutors described, but, rather, the heads of a happy extended family…Bridgette Carr, director of the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School, said it was…“not shocking” that women would assist the defense, and may actually be evidence of how effective the pimps were in manipulating the women…

Worse Than I Thought

The cancer has now spread to Tennessee:

…12 new laws…include harsher criminal penalties on traffickers…and the creation of a state trafficking task force…a statewide study in 2011 documented incidents of sex trafficking… authorities will be able to prosecute those paying for sex – the “johns” – as traffickers…[thus allowing] for…termination of parent rights…

Read that again:  Tennessee is going to call clients “traffickers”, charge them with a felony and steal their children.  In other words, they’re going to punish fake “child trafficking” with the real, state-sanctioned variety.

Creating the Crisis

The largest study on domestic violence ever done demonstrates that the MRAs were much closer to the truth than the feminists:  men and women commit partner abuse at roughly equal rates.  23% of women and 19.3% of men have been physically abused by a partner, while 28.3% of women and 21.6% of men have physically abused one.  Lifetime rates of abuse are higher among women, while past-year rates are higher among men.  41% of women and 43% of men reported emotional abuse.  Motives were similar in both sexes.  Here’s a short summary of the findings; the full report is available at the first link.Liu Xiaozhen

Follow Your Bliss (TW3 #50)

Being an official busybody for an oppressive regime is hard work!

Despite China’s ongoing sexual revolution…  anyone found to be producing and distributing  obscene material can get three years in jail…[this] requires many pornography censors…[like] 70-year-old Liu Xiaozhen…[who said] “You have to watch even if you don’t want to”…

What a Week! (TW3 #52)

As bad as American prohibitionists are, at least most of them aren’t murderous:

Unidentified gunmen have shot dead at least seven women and five men at a [Baghdad] brothel…[near] where alcohol shops were attacked last week…The attackers apparently…[used] silenced weapons, as residents…said they did not see or hear anything out of the ordinary…Zayouna is an upscale…district…where a number of brothels have opened in recent years…

Between the Ears (TW3 #133)

Ethicists and feminists are concerned [about]…a drug that can amp up female sexual longings…Male-sexual-enhancement drugs…are about…improving blood flow to the penis…while research so far suggests that most women need more than mere physical arousal…To stoke female desire with pharmacology, then, you need to get into the brain…some feminists anticipate that the marketing of these drugs will pathologize normal losses of desire…when in fact…[they] may result from stress or relationship problems that should be addressed in other ways…

I agree.  If female desire were mostly about hormones, placebos wouldn’t be as effective as testosterone; in fact, they are often more so.  Nor is this a problem limited to women, as Dr. Marty Klein discusses in the linkback.

Miracle Village aerial viewBanishment

Florida’s “sex offender” residence restrictions are so bad that a small, isolated settlement named “Miracle Village” has become a haven for them.  Meanwhile, David Vitter (who has been the center of several sex scandals) is trying to keep them from getting food stamps:

…This…will…contribute to the continuing cycle of trapping the same individuals in the criminal justice system.  All released felons have difficulty gaining employment…those with sexual offenses face even more impediments due to the public registry and the myriad of restrictions placed upon [them]…Studies…show that, denied benefits, there is a higher rate of return to drug use and crime…anything gained financially from a reduction in the food stamp program will just show up as increased prison costs…

But wait, there’s more!

A network of…internet companies is mining data from sex-offender sites…[for] an extortion racket [which demands] up to $499 for removing names…and other personal data…SORArchives.com, Offendex.com and Onlinedetective.com did not take down individual profiles after payments were made and launched online harassment campaigns against those who balked at financial demands or filed complaints…the websites [also] list individuals…who no longer are required to register and…include names and addresses of people who never have been arrested or convicted of a sex crime.  The…operators ensure that anyone in their databases can be found easily [via] Google…[and] have prominently profiled specific individuals, published their home and e-mail addresses, posted photographs of their relatives and copied their Facebook friends onto the…websites…

Original Sin

Pope Francis…urged mobsters…to abandon their evil ways, particularly…trafficking rackets…”I think of the great pain suffered by men, women and even children, exploited by so many mafias”…He decried the crime syndicates for “making them do work that makes them slaves, prostitution”…Francis…has branded human trafficking as one of the most terrible evils plaguing the world…

Big Sister (TW3 #317)

This pro-censorship Guardian article isn’t nearly as interesting as Jezebel’s response to it, written by revolting neofeminist toady “Lapdoug” Barry:

There’s a campaign afoot in Iceland to seriously restrict underage access to hardcore porn…the argument that porn is a form of free expression smells…a lot like the sort of bullshit the multibillion-dollar porn industry shovels…the porn industry does not have the interests of Icelands [sic] malleable adolescent minds at heart when it argues that limiting access to its productions is tantamount to government censorship…

The biggest lie of several here is that the porn ban is intended to “protect adolescents”, when in fact it was specifically sold (as part of the Swedish model) to “protect” women.  But let’s give Lapdoug’s argument the benefit of the doubt; if he’ll agree to let his writings be censored by a government agency for a trial period (twenty years or so should suffice), I’m sure people who respect human agency far more than he does can be counted on to give a nationwide censorship regime all the consideration it deserves.

James LiptonThe More the Better (TW3 #317)

Are people really so stupid they believe it’s totally different now?

[James Lipton]…of…Inside the Actors Studio used to be a pimp…the youthful 86-year-old admitted…that he had pandered “a whole bordello”…in 1950s Paris…”The French mecs didn’t exploit women.  They represented them, like agents”…Lipton…added that…he was against people paying for sex.  “I think if you can’t earn it on your own, then you don’t deserve it.”

Because obviously celebrities are morally superior beings qualified to judge what others “deserve”.

Objectification Overruled (TW3 #320)

Pathetic middle-class white British feminists are at it again:

The UK’s main supermarkets could be exposed to legal challenges…if they refuse to remove magazines and newspapers with naked women on their covers…In a letter published in the Guardian, 14 equalities lawyers say…retailers are vulnerable…under sexual discrimination law…A campaign launched by UK Feminista and…Object aims to put pressure on Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda and WHSmith to remove lads’ mags from their shelves…[they] threaten…a test case and will support employees uncomfortable with images of naked and near-naked women…

This is a load of rubbish and they know it; such a precedent would mean that anyone could bring a case against any product she finds “offensive”, for example Catholics suing to have birth control removed.  But lest you think this idiocy is limited to Britain:

…the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has unanimously passed a proposal…to ban the display of bikini-clad mannequins outside lingerie shops…With Mumbai recording the second highest number of rapes in the country, [law sponsor Ritu] Tawade said the display of inadequately clothed mannequins was indecent and could lead to “wrong acts” by men…corporator Sunil Prabhu backed her…”I agree…that such scantily clad mannequins do invite unwanted attention of men and the resulting surge of sex crimes”…

Schadenfreude (TW3 #320)

Yet another rescue industry “hero” is exposed as a con artist:  “[Andy Conner]…the [Washington state] Sheriff’s Deputy who funded a charity to help young women escape prostitution…is on administrative leave while the King County Sheriff’s Office investigates allegations that thousands of dollars may have gone missing…

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Victims suggest innocence. And innocence, by the inexorable logic that governs all relational terms, suggests guilt.  –  Susan Sontag

Here’s another reader letter whose response was long and complex enough to warrant an entire column.  And though I’ve answered the main question here on several occasions, every new look at it may succeed in “turning on the light” for different people.

I understand about moral panics and poorly supported statistics. On the other hand, the experience of policewoman Kathryn Bolkovac in Bosnia would indicate that there is a serious problem of trafficking and coercion, at least in certain countries and under certain circumstances.  Have you read her book or seen the movie based on her experiences in Bosnia? Abusive and coercive working conditions tantamount to slavery are actually quite common in the world; should we be concerned about forced prostitution, or is it your opinion that this is so uncommon as to not be a problem?

I’m not familiar with Bolkovac, but I must point out several things:  first, that she is a cop.  As you know, cops have a tendency to exaggerate, especially when the subject is criminal behavior; their world-view demands a belief in the concept that crime is rampant and that something must be “done about” it, and that the solution always involves more cops and more punitive measures.  Even an unusually skeptical cop is laboring under a heavy burden of presupposition and experience viewed through a skewed “law and order” filter; take a look at the stories of the LEAP members Radley Balko has guest blogging on The Agitator right now and you’ll see what I mean.  These are clearly not stupid men, but they were so indoctrinated into the “drug war” philosophy that it took them years of considerable negative input to break out of it; it’s not exactly a stretch to suggest that Bolkovac has a similar handicap.

Next, abusive and/or coercive working conditions, though common as you point out, cannot be battled by criminalizing employers or denying the agency of those who choose to work under those conditions; consider the controversy over Foxconn.  Horrific work conditions in the 19th century did not end because governments criminalized employers or “rescued” workers from exploitative factories, but because those workers organized themselves to demand better conditions and governments eventually backed up those demands.  As long as sex work is illegal, there will be exploitation in it because the workers are unable to organize for change; essentially, the government acts as an enforcer for the exploiters.  In every place where prostitution is decriminalized, coercion and exploitation virtually vanish; tellingly, the only exploitation which remains in legalized systems (such as those in Queensland or Nevada) tends to revolve around those sectors which are illegal (unlicensed, etc) or limited by regulations (such as the number of brothel windows allowed in Amsterdam).  In other words, evil people (including corrupt cops and bureaucrats) will immediately move to take advantage of any artificial bottleneck which allows only some people to do sex work while excluding others.

Third, the existence of coercion in sex work no more proves claims of vast “human trafficking” networks or justifies “trafficking” hysteria than the existence of child sexual abuse proves claims of Satanic cults or justifies “child predator” panic.  Furthermore, situations which arise in areas embroiled in or just emerging from chaos (such as late-’90s Bosnia) are no more representative of the rest of the world than the social or economic conditions of such places are.  The overwhelming evidence is that only a small fraction (<2% of adults, <10% of minors) of sex workers are coerced in any concrete sense, and that the majority of such coercion is perpetrated by individuals or small groups (gangs, etc) rather than by international cartels or even large criminal enterprises.

Finally (and this brings us back to Bolkovac), though many people (especially cops and moralists) insist on viewing the world as a Manichean struggle between the forces of good (equated with order) and the forces of evil (equated with disorder, i.e. free action), this clearly does not make it so.  Human behavior is complex and there are few clear “heroes” and “villains”, few pure “victims” and “victimizers”.  One of the processes which laid the groundwork for “trafficking” hysteria was the criminalization of interpersonal antagonism in the 1980s and 1990s.  While it’s certainly true that some relationships are unilaterally abusive, it is also true that the majority of what is now termed “domestic violence” in adult relationships is the result of a complex two-way interaction rather than a simplistic TV cop-show abuser-victim dynamic such as many feminists pretend to be the norm.  Those who believe in this kindergarten conceptualization of human interaction cannot help but be confused when women (or men, for that matter) stay in abusive relationships; they attempt to explain the reluctance to break up (or even to blame the abusive partner) on “brainwashing” or fear (of physical violence) or whatever, when in fact the relationship may fill a real (though unhealthy) need in the “victim”.  If a woman is forced out of an abusive relationship by ham-fisted state action (such as mandatory domestic violence prosecution) or some other paternalistic intervention without examination of the underlying reasons she accepted such a relationship in the first place, she is likely to seek out another, similar one to replace it.  Furthermore, when abusive relationships are interpreted through a rigid neofeminist “male aggression and patriarchal dominance” filter, abusive male homosexual relationships and those in which a woman abuses her partner of either sex must be disregarded or even denied because they disprove the cherished model.

The enshrinement of the “male aggressor-female victim” model in both mainstream feminism and Western legalism made both the “Swedish model” and “sex trafficking” mythology inevitable.  Since moralistic Westerners (especially Americans) and radical feminists both view sex as a dirty, awful thing, any form of it which is not sanitized by whatever rituals the particular group demands (marriage, absolute female choice without any practical consideration whatsoever, exclusion of men from the interaction, etc) is interpreted as “violence” and “abuse” inflicted by evil, powerful men on innocent, passive, childlike women.  Prostitution thus becomes a form of rape and exploitation, something it is impossible for women to choose unless they are under some form of duress.  The existence of victimization necessitates a victimizer, hence the “trafficking” myth which insists that each and every whore is the victim of a man or men who “forced” her into a life of degradation, torture and dirty, filthy, awful sex.  This narrative spawns “end demand” programs which cast customers (properly understood as equal partners in a simple economic transaction) as sinister quasi-rapists, and inspires police to capture hookers in order to pressure them into producing “pimps” who probably (93% for adults, 90% for underage) don’t even exist.  The rise of “anti-trafficking” initiatives have therefore created perverse incentives for women to invent these pimps; if they’re “trafficking victims” they escape prosecution and may even get some other goodies, whereas if they’re prostitutes by choice or circumstance they go to jail.  Naturally, the number of reported “pimps” and “traffickers” rises, and the police and fanatics can claim that “sex trafficking” is a “growing problem” whether the supposed “pimp” is a real person, a relatively-innocent man fingered by a desperate streetwalker, or a wholly imaginary character.

In the absence of criminalization, negative factors in sex work (such as exploitation, coercion and other unbalanced interactions) are no more or less common than they are in other human personal and professional interactions.  The world is not fair and people are imperfect, so there will always be bad relationships and crappy work environments.  The best we can hope for is the removal of unnecessary and artificial obstacles which prevent people from demanding fair treatment from the other participants in those relationships, or leaving those situations if the other parties refuse to change.

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