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Posts Tagged ‘Crime Against Society’

Save your gas money for doughnuts and leave me alone because flashing a badge isn’t going to get you a discount.  –  Alyssa Ambrosino

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

but damn, has she got chutzpah!

…Alyssa Ambrosino of [Pennsylvania]…posted a listing online Jan. 13 that read in part, “Hey guys it’s Marie or you can call me Lyssa.  I’m working…within the jurisdiction of East Stroud PD.  A police department that couldn’t find their own ass with both hands and a map, so don’t bother even trying to call and set up a date.  Save your gas money for doughnuts and leave me alone because flashing a badge isn’t going to get you a discount.  For all the REAL men out there I would love to see you”…A [plainclothes pig]…arranged to meet Ambrosino at her hotel room…[but] she [smelled him]…and asked him to leave…[then a plainclothes sow] …went up and knocked on the door…[asking] why her husband was in that hotel room…[the sow then planted] marijuana on the night stand [and arrested] Ambrosino…

If anyone knows how to get in touch with her, please ask her to email me; I may be able to help get her legal defense.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

How many times do we need to say this?

Self-labeled sex addicts often speak about their identities very clinically, as if they’re paralyzed by a scientific condition that functions the same way as drug and alcohol addiction. But sex and porn “addiction” are NOT the same as alcoholism or a cocaine habit. In fact [they]…are not addictions at all…and…don’t constitute what most researchers understand to be addiction…addicts withdraw. When you lock a dope fiend in a room without any dope, the lack of drugs will cause an immediate physiological response — some of which is visible, some of which we can only track from within the body. During withdrawal, the brains of addicts create junctions between nerve cells containing the neurotransmitter GABA. This process more or less inhibits the brain systems usually excited by drug-related cues — something we never see in the brains of so-called sex and porn addicts…porn-addiction [promoters]…are wedded to the idea that porn is an uncontrolled stimulus the brain gets addicted to because of the dopamine release it causes…But there’s a difference between compulsion and addiction…

Bell, Hook and Kettle

There’s a word for “partnering” between government and private corporations; it’s “fascism”:

State police officials are working with the Salvation Army and other organizations to help fight human trafficking in the Detroit area…Michigan has stepped up efforts in recent years to [arrest sex workers]…and [steal their possessions]…Human trafficking is a [sexual fantasy]…through which [police departments and rescue industry companies] profit from the exploitation and control of their victims.  Victims…include [sex workers, their clients, their] children…[their friends, landlords, roommates and partners]…

Legal Is as Legal Does 

Sex workers in Victoria will be able to advertise with full body pictures…under changes to the state’s sex-work regulations.  But…sex-worker organisation Vixen Collective says the government should tackle the real issues facing the industry, including full decriminalisation and an end to mandatory health testing…Advertisements are currently limited to head-and-shoulder shots.  Ads for sex workers will remain banned from radio, TV, film and video recordings but ads on the internet and in print may contain a photograph of the whole person, as long as…[it] does not show naked genitals or breasts, a sex act or a person under the age of 18 years.  Sex workers will now be able to advertise with references to [their] race, colour or ethnic origin…Jane Green…[of] Vixen Collective, said…sex workers have been calling for an end to mandatory testing because of the burden it puts on sex workers and taxpayers…25 years of medical research in Australia have shown that sex workers have lower rates of STI’s and practice safer sex than the general population…

Above the Law 

Even cops whose offenses don’t rise to the level of rape employ disgusting defenses:

[Boston cop] Edwin Guzman is currently facing charges of “annoying and accosting” a person of the opposite sex, as well as disseminating harmful material to a minor…if a classmate had sent a photo of his penis to this 16-year-old girl, he might be facing child pornography charges and a lifetime on the sex offender registry, rather than…a maximum $200 fine and 6 months in jail…what’s more disturbing is his lawyer’s dismissiveness of the teen’s response to the unwanted explicit pictures…”Kenneth Anderson…said…’You can’t tell me someone her age has never seen a picture of a penis on the Internet’…by this rationale, the teen shouldn’t be upset if an older relative, politician, church leader, trusted community figure, random neighbor or anyone else…sent her explicit photos.  After all, spend enough time on the internet and you’re bound to see a penis.  Perhaps Anderson could help her get over her fear of penis pictures by sending a few of his own her way…

Pyrrhic Victory

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

The New York Police Department has gained “chilling” access to a vast array of surveillance via the use of license plate readers (LPR), the American Civil Liberties Union warns…the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) obtained the final version of the nearly $500,000 contract between the NYPD and Vigilant Solutions for access to the billions of records the company has collected nationwide through the use of its LPRs…the new system “contains over 2.2 billion location data points, and it is growing by almost a million data points per day…Surveillance is about power.  Vigilant gives the NYPD power to monitor our whereabouts and, by extension, our affiliations, interests, activities and beliefs,” the civil rights group said in its blog…“Even more worrisome…the data comes from private license plate readers that scan locations that the police are less likely to scan: residential areas, apartment complexes, retail areas and business office complexes with large employee parking areasAnd…there is no limit on how long Vigilant keeps all of this private location data…There is no incentive for Vigilant to delete any data because its business model is to profit off of selling people’s data.”  Despite promises by LPR proponents that such databases would not be abused, they [are almost constantly]

King of the Hill

What century do “sex trafficking” fetishists believe this is?

I was shocked to learn that Michigan is one of the top spots in the United States for human trafficking…Michigan ranks No. 2 in the country…No. 1 is Nevada.  Two of the things that make Michigan a primary spot is our close proximity to Canada and our waterways…

Train Wreck

Translation: They provide forged papers and provide passage for migrants who want to escape Nigeria:

…[A police] raid [resulted] in the arrest of the leaders of a Nigerian-based group running an international sex-trafficking ring in Barcelona.  It’s known as the Supreme Eiye Confraternity (SEC), or the Air Lords…[cops] first came across the group in 2011 during a forgery investigation, but quickly discovered it was a huge network trafficking…human beings and narcotics (cocaine and marijuana) and [forging] passports.  It has also facilitated the transport of stolen crude oil into Europe…Benin City, Nigeria, is a human-trafficking hub

Sexual Predators

WARNING: The badge-licking in here is so loud and fellatory, it may nauseate you:

The customer has no idea what he is walking into.  He is in his early 30s, dressed kind of schlubby, and wanting to buy some sex on a gorgeous weekday afternoon…There will be no happy ending for him today.  He will be greeted by a [cop]…posing as a prostitute…Elsewhere in the hotel, a 27-year-old woman with heavy eye makeup and a short, short skirt is sitting on a bed looking concerned.  She is a prostitute, who, like the man, was [duped by pigs] on backpage.com, a popular prostitution website.  She had come to this room thinking she was about to have a “date.”  Instead, she is being interviewed by trained advocates from the YWCA who are looking for signs of coercion and fear…

Signs of coercion and fear, when she’s surrounded by armed thugs who’ve just deceived her?  How could that POSSIBLY be? The tone isn’t surprising, though, considering that the LA Times is the only newspaper I know whose reporters are specifically forbidden to call rape, “rape” when the rapist is a cop.

Crime Against Society (#324)

Though they can’t do it as easily as they once could, New Orleans prosecutors still love condemning sex workers to the “sex offender” registry:

…She had spent weeks in Orleans Parish Prison once before, sleeping on a mat, getting in fights.  She was desperate to get out.  Plead guilty to “attempted intentional exposure to AIDS,” an antiquated felony created during the darkest days of 1980s AIDS hysteria, and the prosecutor would agree to 60 days time served, her ticket to immediate release.  She took the deal.  About a week after she got out, the 22-year-old woman received a phone call.  It was her probation officer, threatening to take her back to jail.  Why?  She hadn’t registered as a sex offender…nobody – not her lawyer, not the judge, not the prosecutor – had mentioned anything about adding her name to a list of society’s most reviled outcasts.  Nobody had said anything about the special driver’s license she would have to carry, or the expense of mailing postcards to hundreds of her neighbors.  Aaliyah had condemned herself to 15 years of frustration and humiliation, and there is no record of anybody telling her until it was too late…

The Public Eye (#593)

Laura Lee talks about how she became a sex worker:

…In 2003, I moved to Scotland to take up a position with a financial institution, corporate prostitution at its finest.  Over time, my part time endeavour to top up my miniscule salary became known, and the proverbial hit the fan…In a small highland town, that’s better than a double live episode of Eastenders and various locals couldn’t wait to make their views known.  Some were to my face, but mostly it was done on social media, by members of staff during a “confidential” investigation…I was angry I had to leave the town for my daughter’s sake and start afresh.  I was angry for being judged, by the very people who’d come to me for help in the past.  But mostly, I was angry that many people spouted speeches about the sex industry, when they quite obviously didn’t have a clue…I’ve since learned that some people build entire careers on that…

Too Close To Home pompous press conference

Journalists are starting to listen:

…The women [Seattle cops pretended] they “rescued”…may not actually have been trafficked…King County’s prosecutor did not charge any of the people arrested with trafficking, only with promoting prostitution…The court documents include no affidavits or victim statements from the women themselves…[the] one woman [cops managed to catch]…said her family in South Korea was in debt bondage and that if she didn’t do sex work and pay off their debt, her family might be hurt…I can’t help but wonder about the element of coercion involved in obtaining the statement of an illegal immigrant who knows she may be jailed or deported unless she depicts herself as a trafficking victim…There is also no evidence that these women were being forced to stay in the apartments or forced to sell sex.  Indeed, the instructions on the TRB site says explicitly that “No means NO.  Regardless of your particular expectations, what is offered is completely up to the provider”…

Stupor Bowl (#608)

This is the typical “Super Bowl sex trafficking” story now; it debunks the specific gypsy whore myth while still accepting the greater “sex trafficking” myth:

On February 7, the Super Bowl will return to the Bay Area…and it’s an oft-repeated chestnut that when sports championships come to town, so too do human traffickers…the link between the Super Bowl and trafficking is, at best, unsubstantiated.  (The maybe-canard even has its own Snopes page).  At worst, it’s an attempt to link trafficking with hyper-masculine sporting events and voluntary sex work…the mayor’s anti-trafficking task force [imagined] the region to be “a hub for human trafficking and a hot spot for child sex trafficking”; the FBI has also [pretended] it to be one of 13 national “high intensity” areas for child sex trafficking crimes…Traffickers often use airplanes to transport victims through networks that span the globe

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The quick blow job is for [affluent white women’s] husbands…So in your mind it doesn’t affect you, but the wrong mouth on your husband’s dick could affect you.  –  Deon Haywood

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

He went home; she’s locked in a cage.

An on-duty Oregon State Police detective was caught…with a prostitute in a bush…Richard Narvaez, 50…was placed on suspended leave without pay…cited and released, the…woman…was arrested on probation violation warrants and on suspicion of public indecency and prostitution…

A Working System

Note the bottleneck effect:

Armed robbers posing as clients…have launched a series of raids on brothels [in Sydney], targeting eight premises in the past three weeks…one of the gang enters…to book a…session…then…[is] joined by up to three others armed with guns or knives…Police…believe the number of attacks might be even greater because [unlicensed] brothels were reluctant to report crimes…

Crime Against Society (August Updates)UNeasy Street

Women With A Vision responds to anti-whore propaganda:

The Times-Picayune’s…articles…dubbed “Uneasy Street”, are an…example of…[sensationalism]…that leads to increased criminalization of marginalized communities…The video…claims that once sun sets…“An even darker world emerges”…There is a darker side to Tulane Avenue.  But it’s not the one shown.  It’s the stories of mothers, daughters, friends, and wives struggling to survive in a city that has offered them little resources.  It’s women dealing with substance abuse or addiction.  It’s women who cannot be hired by traditional employers simply because they are transgender.  It’s the women who have been too busy struggling to be able to get a formal education to make them employable.  It’s the stories of human beings, worthy of dignity, respect, and far more than this series of articles has afforded them…

See “The Public Eye” for an interview with WWAV’s director, Deon Haywood.

Oops

 

Tumi Megalane, 32, of Tshwane, South Africa, said she had the shock of her life when she found her boyfriend [Ronny Mokoena], who is a pastor, at a brothel…[then] learned that he was married…the pastor told his wife that Megalane was a prophet, who was helping him with spiritual guidance.

Surplus Women

A…37-year-old [Detroit woman]…is in critical condition after she was discovered beaten…burned and possibly sexually assaulted…less than 24 hours before and…a mile away…a 22-year-old woman was discovered in the same condition…Both women are prostitutes…

A third woman was found in the same condition a few days later, on August 3rd.  Interestingly, Fox News did not feel compelled to identify the victims as sex workers in the headline, and the New York Daily News doesn’t mention the third victim’s profession at all.goofy chick in money

TANSTAAFL

 

a trio of Bay Area teens [Nazario Cruz and Jose Urias, both 19, and an underage girl]…posed as a young woman whose fantasy was to have sex while rolling around in…cash…When the victims would arrive…the suspects…would rob themThree robberies have been confirmed so far…One of the victims allegedly stole $2,000…from his job in order to roll around with the fictitious woman…

The Immunity Syndrome

American hypocrisy says it’s fine to pay people not to have sex:

2010 study in Malawi, supported by the…Gates Foundation, shows…conditional cash transfers successfully reduced sexual activity amongst teenagers…Mississippi…[resembles] Malawi…in its high rate of teenage sex and pregnancy…partly…[because] sex education in Mississippi is oriented around abstinence…Can we pay Mississippi teenagers to stop having sex…And to have safe sex if they do?…

Above the Law

Police forces are being ordered to face up to corruption by officers who commit sexual offences against vulnerable women and young people…169 officers…are under investigation for predatory sexual behaviour…ranging from rape to voyeurism…the former partner of…[one] who was jailed last year…speaks out against his actions

That cops rape women, especially sex workers, isn’t news because it happens constantly; such stories only become newsworthy when the cops are held accountable to some degree, as in this item from Cape Town: “A…police captain will appear in…court…for allegedly raping a prostitute…[she] managed to escape from [his] vehicle and took down the registration number…pseudo sex traffick

The Widening Gyre

Another bizarre “sex trafficking” rumor debunked by Snopes:

In August 2013 [a] warning about sex traffickers with Slavic…accents posing as door-to-door booksellers was spread via social media sites such as Facebook …The story was false.  That there are ”pushy” door-to-door book and magazine sellers about doesn’t mean those vendors are looking for children to abduct…into the sex trade, nor is it suspicious that such salespeople might ask…questions about children in the area.  The latter is simply a…sales technique for locating potential customers for children’s books, and being ”pushy” is hardly an unusual quality for those who engage in…door-to-door sales…

Snopes reports that the story appeared in Gilbert, Arizona, Winona, Minnesota and all over Missouri.  The company running the sales program believes the rumor started in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; since that’s a suburb of Tulsa, this should surprise nobody.

Wise Investment (TW3 #31)

Do politicians really just not get it?

…a federal judge ruled [that a New Jersey law]…conflicts with federal law and likely is unconstitutional as well…[the] law…[would have penalized] anyone who knowingly publishes or disseminates any ad for a commercial sex act that includes the depiction of a minor.  The law was challenged…by Backpage.com…[which] notes that federal courts in Tennessee and Washington have issued permanent injunctions against similar laws in those states…

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #131)

New evidence [demonstrates]…that Japan’s…army directly managed Asian women for sexual slavery, dealing a fresh blow to Tokyo’s denials of responsibility…a diary that a Korean manager of Japanese brothels wrote…between August 1942 and December 1944…shows that the Japanese army received revenue-related reports from military brothels, examined the bodies of sex slaves and regulated the relocations of sexual entertainment facilities…[Professor] Park Han-yong…[said] “This diary is a historical record that shows the Japanese military…[was] involved in the forced mobilisation of Korean women for sexual slavery”…

Under Every Bed

If real freedoms weren’t being endangered by these yokels, this absurd language and looking-glass logic would be hilarious:

Human flesh is being sold for sex…and it’s happening online…”It was a rarity to see a prostitution case anywhere in North Dakota.  Now, my agents are telling me they’re beginning to see it with some regularity,” says…Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.  There’s no way to tell exactly how many people are involved in human trafficking.  The best estimates say about 100,000 children may be victims in the U.S.  And…there’s no reason to believe it’s not happening here…

Dwayne Jones

Monsters

Dwayne Jones was relentlessly teased in high school for being effeminate until he dropped out.  His father not only kicked him out…at…14 but also helped jeering neighbors push the youngster from the rough Jamaican slum where he grew up.  [On July 22nd Dwayne, now 16]…was…beaten, stabbed, shot and run over by a car when he showed up at a street party dressed as a woman…

The Public Eye (TW3 #318)

Here’s another interview with Carol Leigh, this time in a small but mainstream publication; the more interviews like this Americans see, the harder it will be for the prohibitionists to spread lies about us.  And here’s one in Tits and Sass with Deon Haywood of Women With a Vision, talking about activism, human rights and whorearchy.

Which I Doubt

Remember how I’ve said that prosecutors ignore women’s statements that they don’t have pimps so they can repackage ordinary hooking as “sex trafficking”?

The Brooklyn DA…[told] prosecutors…not to make written records of early interviews with sex-trafficking victims…so the information could be withheld from defense attorneys…“When these girls first come in, they often deny they have been hit or pimped.  We were told not to write down those statements,” a law-enforcement source said…

Israel Opera Traviata

Marie Duplessis

Dr. Laura Agustín on imagery of the “fallen woman” in La Traviata, a topic she has discussed more generally before:  “…Violetta always has a scene on the floor to drive home her moral abjection…People who fall get back up right away; if they can’t, they are too injured.  In Violetta’s case the injury is moral…

Sold Out

A gay therapist explains “Why Queers Should Care About Sex Offenders”:

…sex offenders are referred to as participating in deviant sexual behavior, having deviant sexual fantasies, and being inherently “deviant” themselves…The same methods historically used by the government to imprison and pathologize homosexuality and gender variation are being used today to justify the extreme marginalization, lifetime institutionalization, and oppression of people who have violated sex laws…[including] public nudity, [urination or] masturbation, peeping, photographing or videotaping without consent, consensual sex with a 17-year-old, sexting, and downloading unlawful pornography…At one point, the idea of the predatory, untamable homosexual was…widely held…the very fact that a man…[desired] another man was reason enough to criminalize his existence…While mainstream…perception of queer people is shifting, it affirms monogamous sex between married…gay and lesbian adults.  Gender variation and other forms of sexual desire and behavior…still face condemnation…

To really drive the point home, read the comment thread as well.

Puppet Show (TW3 #329)

Laura Lee explains why Ruhama shill Rachel Moran could never have been a Dublin sex worker:

…Moran and I worked in Dublin at the same time, the early nineties.  I worked in the same brothels, for the same escort agencies and had regular contact…with the same women, she says she stood on street corners with.  One of those…is now a prominent activist…[who swears]…that she has never set eyes on Moran until her book launch…Moran…should know…[the names of brothel owners, but doesn’t; she] says that in seven years of sex work she never met one client who showed her a shred of empathy or kindness.  That’s incredible.  Because in all of my time there, I met some lovely guys…the language employed by Moran…is literally like she is reading from a script…a…co-activist…confirmed that Ruhama…offered her money to “turn” and campaign for their side.  In fact, they offered her a book deal and a tour too, exactly as Moran has now…

The activist Laura speaks of (who prefers to remain anonymous) also told me the same thing over a year ago.

Across the Pond (TW3 #330)

Anyone who actually professes to believe that laws can make a major city “brothel-free” should be disqualified from office on grounds of stupidity:

…officials are putting together “exit” services to help the dozens of sex workers who face having their place of work closed down…Edinburgh’s decades-old policy of licensing saunas…appears to be coming to an end.  A police raid in June led to seven individuals being charged with brothel-keeping and living off immoral earnings…A local newspaper…[quoted] one prostitute…[as] saying:  “I just can’t get my head around why they want to close us.  The police could end up putting women at risk of getting raped, or murdered like in Ipswich”…

Don’t be afraid, unnamed sex worker; Ipswitch claims to have “eradicated” street prostitution!

More than 220 teenagers…at risk of slipping into the dangerous world of the sex trade have had their lives rescued since the launch of Ipswich’s prostitution strategy…street prostitution and kerb crawling has been eradicated from the town…however off-street prostitution and sexual exploitation remains an issue…

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #10In truth, of course, they’ve merely pushed it so far underground that the danger has been increased even more, which is the only thing prohibition ever accomplishes.

Broken Record (TW3 #332)

It’s even worse than I suspected; the victims of the Sturgis “sting” were entrapped by “age-regressed photographs of women who now are adults”.  The state has charged people with imaginary crimes against nonexistent people for years, but this kind of pseudoscientific quackery is a new low.

Mumbo Jumbo

“Trafficking” mythology gets more farfetched all the time; embedded in this mixture of agency denial porn, arse-backward bootlicking and cheerleading for bullshit “safe harbor” laws is the claim that many of the underage sex workers arrested in the vast “Innocence Lost” boondoggle “may also be charged for possessing the cocktail of drugs that traffickers use to create dependency and compliance in the children they sell.”  This is the first I’ve heard of this magical mind-control philter, but I’m sure it won’t be the last.

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This is not just about sex trade workers…The government’s coming in through the back door…to tell you what you can and cannot do in the privacy of your home with another consenting adult.  –  Terri-Jean Bedford

Gateway

Ignorant reporter apparently believes “explain” is a synonym for “rationalize”:

…The purpose of the sting operation was to discourage sex providers and customers from engaging in the illegal transaction, which often is linked to child sex abuse, robbery, assault and drug use, Lt. Det. Cord Wood of the Corvallis [Oregon] Police Department said…“To gauge the number of thefts, assaults and robberies (associated with prostitution) is difficult because I really believe those are under-reported”…

Because obviously someone named for 128 cubic feet of chopped fibrous cellulose must be an expert in a trade he’s never practiced.

The Camel’s Nose (June Updates, Part One)

Just another reminder that though Al Franken claims to be an advocate of liberty, he’s actually a devoted supporter of the police state:  “I can assure you, this is not about spying on the American people…I have a high level of confidence that this is used to protect us…There are certain things that are appropriate for me to know that is not appropriate for the bad guys to know.”  Because tyranny isn’t “bad” as long as you wave a flag while stomping on people’s faces.

The Crumbling Dam

Sex workers and their supporters marched and rallied in several Canadian cities…days before a Supreme Court hearing on whether laws restricting the sale of sex should be tossed out”, and prohibitionists fantasize about replacing criminalization of workers with that of clients.  Fortunately this view is unpopular in Canada, and editorials like this one from Catherine Healy and Sandra Ka Hon Chu are not uncommon:

The Supreme Court of Canada’s looming consideration…has led to vigorous debate about the merits of the “Swedish model”…[which] perpetuates…stigma, discrimination and violence…and institutionalizes an adversarial relationship between sex workers and the police.  Less discussed is the model of sex work employed in New Zealand….[where] sex workers are covered by legislation that protects them from exploitation while accessing labour laws to promote their welfare and occupational health and safety…The Art of Not Being GovernedThere is no substantiated evidence of trafficking despite repeated efforts by the immigration department…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received a copy of The Art of Not Being Governed from SA.  Thank you so much!

The Sky is Falling!

Dating and highways cause sex trafficking!

Birmingham [Alabama] residents have voiced concerns over a billboard that suggests young women date a sugar daddy if they’re in search of a summer job.  Alexa James…[said] she wants the arrangements.com billboard taken down…”I-20 has now become the superhighway of human trafficking…Make a stand, call the mayor’s office, call your state representative.”  The service is an online dating site that facilitates mutually beneficial arrangements…and…has no plans to remove the billboard.

Above the Law

Yet again:  As long as government actors have excessive power over individuals, this will keep happening:

…two [Georgia] sheriff’s deputies…pleaded guilty…for their part in a scheme to send an innocent woman to prison…Judge Bryant Cochran solicited sex from [Angela Garmley] in return for legal favors.  Shortly after Garmley filed her complaint, she was arrested…and charged with possession of methamphetamines…Since this scandal broke, three women who worked in Cochran’s court have filed a separate lawsuit…claiming Cochran sexually harassed them…

And keep happening:

…a…19-year-old Omaha woman…[said] Deputy Cory Cooper made her perform oral sex after pulling over a vehicle containing her and her boyfriend on a marijuana violation…Cooper told the boyfriend to walk to the lake to dispose of the marijuana…then turned his attention to the woman…she said she felt like she had no choice…

Held Together With Lies

Ronald Weitzer speaks on the mythology of “sex trafficking” at Queens University, Belfast; unfortunately, this is audio only.

Crime Against Society (TW3 #14)

The ordeal of those victimized by New Orleans’ sadistic game is over at last:

…a settlement…will remove from the sex offender registry approximately 700 individuals who had been required to register solely because of a Crime Against Nature by Solicitation (CANS) conviction…“The lingering injustice, resulting from over 20 years of discriminatory enforcement of this law at police and prosecutors’ whims, will now finally come to an end,” said Andrea Ritchie, co-counsel to [the Center for Constitutional Rights] in Doe v. Jindal and Doe v. Caldwell

The Naked Emperor (TW3 #24)

Though danah boyd’s last article on “sex trafficking” annoyed a number of activists with its ambiguity, this one is much more firmly anti-hysteria:

When most people think of sex trafficking…they immediately think of stereotypical images.  Like that of a vulnerable girl exploited by a pimp…But…[it] is more often about young people who are homeless, yet turned away from crowded shelters.  About teens exploited by family members (or kicked out of the house for being gay or transgender)…In other words:  systemic factors that have little to do with the actions of predators…one group of advocates long clamored for classified-ad sites, like Craigslist or Backpage, to be abolished — holding on to false hopes that eliminating these platforms would eliminate exploitation…the data I’ve seen suggests that this approach is neither effective nor productive…

Lying Down With Dogs (TW3 #29)

Cop threats to persecute travelling whores aren’t confined to the US:

…commissioner…Charity Katanga has warned that police will arrest…sex workers who have…started migrating from Kitwe to Livingstone ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly in August…Mrs Katanga said the laws of Zambia…are clear…“If we do not find appropriate charges to slap on them, we will throw them in jail.  If they are migrating to Livingstone, we will also ‘migrate’ so that we can deal with them ruthlessly”…Laura Lee

The Public Eye

A profile of activist Laura Lee:

Growing up in a strict Irish Catholic family, Laura Lee was lined up for a respectable career as a lawyer.  But after watching a film…she wanted to become a call girl.  Aged 19…[she] took on a Saturday job at a massage parlour.  Now 35 and mum to a 12-year-old daughter, Laura campaigns for sex workers’ rights…

Across the Pond (TW3 #45)

A year and a half ago sex worker activists wondered if the creation of a single police force for Scotland would be a good or a bad thing.  Now the news is in:  it’s extremely bad:

Brothels were targeted by…police…who accompanied social workers to help potential victims…Customers and employees were taken onto the street and questioned at seven saunas…officers are pursuing inquiries relating to several serious sexual offences…police said:  “Three people…have been charged with drugs offences…and it is estimated that assets worth in excess of £500,000 have been seized”…Since the country’s eight forces came under the single Police Scotland umbrella, regional variations in policy have surfaced…Edinburgh’s apparent sanctioning of prostitution had created a climate whereby city officials had to defend perceived leniency on the practice…

That £500,000 theft gives away the motive, and this demonstrates what I said Thursday about policies vs. laws.

Number Puzzle

Feminist Ire continues its robust tradition of debunking prohibitionist lies, this time in a guest post by Matthias Lehmann and Sonja Dolinsek:

Der Spiegel published a…deeply flawed report…about…[sex] trafficking…Prostitution…has been legal in Germany since 1927…the new prostitution law of 2002 changed some aspects pertaining to the legal relationship between sex workers and clients and some criminal law provisions.  It recognized the contract between sex workers and clients as legal and introduced the rights of sex workers to sue clients unwilling to pay for sexual services already provided.  In addition, sex workers received the right to health insurance and social security…What is misleadingly called the ”legalization“ of prostitution is actually the recognition of sex work as labor.  However…some states actually never implemented the new law…Most states…declare…[so many restrictions] prostitution [is] de facto illegal…sex work is not allowed for non-EU nationals…who…are thus…excluded from the law [and] therefore [cannot be protected by it]…

Big Sister (TW3 #139)

The UK emulates China and the Muslim theocracies:

Internet and telecom companies will be ordered by the Government to block “harmful” content…Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, has summoned the bosses of companies such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook to a summit…at which she will demand…industry-wide co-operation to prevent the…sharing of  harmful material…[including] illegal porn, images of child abuse, material that could incite religious or racial hatred and so-called “suicide websites”…Possible new measures include greater use of online filters; making public Wi-Fi more “family friendly” so children cannot access harmful material…ensuring all companies sign up to industry guidelines and setting up permanent bodies to monitor content…

Because obviously, government is best-equipped to judge what’s “harmful”, and if the filters just happen to block educational and political content, too…well, omelettes and eggs and all.

Oscillation (TW3 #312)

A rare defeat for control freaks:

The federal government…told a judge it will…comply with his order to allow girls of any age to buy emergency contraception without prescriptions.  The decision ends a years-long fight between…Obama’s administration, which had argued that age limits for the morning-after pill are common sense, and women’s rights groups, which insisted the drug should be made…freely available…

jury nullificationAnti-sex groups claim the decision “takes away the rights of girls’ parents”…to ruin their daughters’ entire lives for one mistake.

The Story Behind the Story

Rob Arthur alerted me to the fact that Ricardo Cortés has written and illustrated a short, FREE primer on jury nullification entitled “Jury Independence Illustrated”.  Please read it, download it and disseminate it as widely as possible; it’s time people were reminded of their power to overrule the rulers.

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #315)

Drowning was the cause of death for Terrilynn Monette, the missing…teacher whose body was discovered in Bayou St. John…more than three months after…[disappearing] early on March 2…she…had been drinking, and…told friends…that she planned to sleep in her car for a while before driving to her apartment…

I lived near that bayou for years; there is nothing to stop a tipsy, exhausted woman from driving off the street and into it, without any help from Russian Mafia sex traffickers.

An Example to the West (TW3 #316)

One of Bolivia’s sex workers organizations, Organización de Trabajadoras Nocturnas (OTN), has called for the legalization of sex work in Bolivia and for sex workers to be granted retirement benefits and health insurance…The OTN has 50,000 affiliates, 80 percent of whom work in nightclubs…ONAEM (Organización Nacional de Activistas por la Emancipación de la Mujer), a major national women’s emancipation organization…supports [their] demands…

Bottleneck (TW3 #317)

Scarlet Alliance…is urging the Federal Government to expand [a] controversial visa to cover foreign escorts…Jules Kim…said sex workers were just as skilled as other workers allowed to fly into Australia on the four-year work visas…The Immigration Department…said sex workers were not considered “skilled” because the job did not require a degree or diploma…but Scarlet Alliance…said overseas sex workers would be vulnerable to…exploitation unless they could apply for a long-term work visa…

Deafening Silence

In an incident that underlined the harsh treatment often meted out to Chinese sex workers, a…female police officer was “punched in the face” and “dragged” from a hotel room during a botched anti-vice operation…Ms Wang…had been visiting her daughter in…Zhengzhou…when police unexpectedly appeared at the door…she told the men she was also a member of the police…but her pleas fell on deaf ears…

Guest Columnist:  Sarah Woolley

Amnesty International logoAs Sarah explained, the Paisley branch of respected human rights group Amnesty International made the bizarre decision to endorse Scotland’s attempt to impose the Swedish model despite clear proof that it harms sex workers.  When Wendy Lyon informed Amnesty of this, the organization immediately demanded the branch revoke its endorsement and, as Melissa Gira Grant explains, has now issued (for the first time) a clear pro-decriminalization statement:  “What…Paisley Branch have done – perhaps entirely despite themselves – is to push Amnesty International to state their opposition to the criminalisation of sex workers and of adult consensual sex more clearly….sex workers in Scotland and around the world…can now claim Amnesty International in their corner.”

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Rhoda Grant…believes sex workers are imbeciles who should be denied the right to earn a living and subjected to state-sanctioned sexual assault to ensure that they comply with the dictates imposed upon their profession.  –  Kate Gould

New Book Reviews
Xaviera Hollander at 69

An interview with Xaviera Hollander, now a 69-year-old hotelier in Amsterdam.  Here’s my favorite bit:

It’s not as if she became a prostitute through lack of options. She speaks five languages. She was once voted Holland’s best secretary. She reads Philip Roth and Dostoyevsky. She…calls herself “a theatrical entrepreneur.” Yet she has never regretted her main career choice. “To get paid for what you enjoy? Is good, no?”

Think of the Children!

[Carol Ann Eastman,] an English teacher…in North Canton, Ohio…[published] a raunchy erotic novel [entitled Schooled] under the pseudonym Deena Bright…According to The Repository…Eastman’s students are responsible for outing [her]… the novel follows a teacher who has steamy sexual encounters with fellow teachers…[and] former students…to get revenge on her two-timing husband…many local parents feel Eastman shouldn’t teach high school…if she also publishes bawdy fiction…[she] agreed to a five-day suspension without pay for violating the…computer use policy…

License To Rape

It’s a sad statement about our society that this was necessary:

…jurors…won’t hear about [the] prostitution conviction…[of a woman who] says [Denver cop Hector] Paez arrested her…in May 2010, drove her to a secluded spot and coerced her into performing oral sex by threatening to take her to jail.  Paez’s defense…asked to question the woman about…a prostitution charge…[but] Judge John Madden said…”The information is highly unfairly prejudicial and (runs) a significant risk of confusing the issue”…The woman…has told jurors about her history of theft and heroin addiction.  Prosecutor Doug Jackson said it is precisely that troubled past that…made her an appealing target…

Meanwhile, in Ireland: “A [policeman was]…arrested…after a woman alleged he had raped her…he…was among a number of gardaí working on a…brothel…raid…[he later] went to one ofLucius Crawford the properties…and committed the alleged rape…

Shifting the Blame

Lucius Crawford, 60, was arrested for stabbing a woman and has now “confessed to three murders, including the slaying of a Bronx prostitute…Long Island authorities are investigating if he is connected to the mass murder of sex workers in Suffolk County…

Not an Addiction

In a word:  No.

Confessed serial killer Israel Keyes was a murder addict…”Israel Keyes didn’t kidnap and kill people because he was crazy…[or] because his deity told him to or because he had a bad childhood.  Israel Keyes did this because he got an immense amount of enjoyment out of it, much like an addict gets…out of drugs,” said Anchorage, Alaska, police Detective Monique Doll…

Against Their Will

Careful reading finds the most interesting details tucked away in news stories: “Senators [in the Philippines support]…strengthening the law against human trafficking… the bill…[would] ensure added protection for…law enforcers, who have been recipients of harassment suits for ‘lawful acts done in good faith during authorized rescue operations’…”  In other words, it makes cops and bureaucrats immune to lawsuits filed by sex workers who were “rescued”Fuck you, traitor against their will.

My Readers Write

Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon just can’t understand why some women prefer not to identify as feminist, so Aspasia brilliantly explains it to her.  Of course Williams won’t read it and wouldn’t understand if she did, but I’m sure you’ll appreciate it.

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through

…[Scott Pipher was] charged with hiring a prostitute…[after] he called police to complain that the woman “shorted him 10 minutes”…[the] investigation…[also] led to the arrests of two alleged prostitutes…Pipher is named on the Web sites National Blacklist and Bad Boy Client List as…being “notorious for booking out-calls and then not answering his door or phone”…

Though the author uses phrases like “so-called escort”, it’s interesting that she thought to consult those sites and didn’t bother to define “out-call” [sic].

Guest Columnist:  Norma Jean Almodovar

On an information page prepared by Norma Jean for the students of Dr. Rhacel Parrenas, I encountered the following chart: examine it and consider the amount of money, manpower and press devoted to “human trafficking” in comparison with the vastly more common (and real) violent crimes.US criminal statistics for 2011

Follow Your Bliss

Moon Tae-Hwa stares at his computer, dizzy and nauseous from the hours of porn he’s viewed…He feels no shame — only a righteous sense of mission…Moon is among the most successful members of the “Nuri Cops”…a squad of nearly 800 volunteers who help…censors by patrolling the Internet for pornography in their spare time…pornography is illegal in South Korea, though…easy…to find…”It’s like shoveling snow in a blizzard,” Moon conceded…

The Nuri Cops:  selflessly devoting their lives to watching porn so others can’t.

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week Korhomme sent me a copy of Sex and Punishment, a history of attempts to regulate sexual activity (see picture below).  Thank you very much!

The Immunity Syndrome

Compare and contrast with similar kerfuffles in the US:

Ganz schön intim (“Really Quite Intimate”) is a 152-page…[sex education] publication…[which] includes detailed…information on masturbation, homosexuality and intersexuality…[conservative and religious groups]…called it “disturbing” and “a discredit to the so-called core family”…[and] called for [it] to be withdrawn…the government in Vienna and the pamphlet’s producers…[are] largely unmoved by the brouhaha…

Above the Law

How police privilege and anti-prostitution laws endanger all women:

…Forest Park [Georgia] police arrested Omar Shannondoah Chester…[after he] forced [a woman] into his apartment…beat her…[and] stated, “I am an FBI agent and you are under arrest for prostitution”…When she said she was not a prostitute, and her children were outside, he…[let her] go…[she] then ran out…and called police…

Sex & Punishment
Small Choice

If this article had been published in the US, you can bet it would be warped to fit the “trafficking” paradigm.  But since it’s from Al Jazeera, the problems are discussed without denying the women’s agency or the advantages of their arrangement:

…commercial brokers fly Korean men into Vietnam to meet women, and many tie the knot within a week.  The South Korean government is concerned these marriages could breed greater social problems. So it is investing to increase these couples’ success rates [via] “orientation” classes [for Vietnamese women]…some marriages crumble [if] Vietnamese women [marry] for money only.  Another factor is the…average 17 years’ difference [between spouses], according to researchers Daniele Belanger and Tran Giang Linh…there have been reports of South Korean men beating and killing their foreign wives…[and] migrant wives committing suicide…International marriages, however, have worked out for many couples in South Korea.  Belanger and Linh have written that “marriage migration” has empowered Vietnamese women.  Girls who once served their families have now become decision-makers thanks to the [economic] leverage granted to them…

Uncharted Seas

Gay activist Alex Andreou on “Why I’m Conflicted About Marriage Equality”:

I…fear that it will create an added pressure to conform.  I recall fighting…in…the late eighties…hand-in-hand with transsexual prostitutes and militant dykes…being chased by police and beaten with clubs.  What we were fighting for was an acceptance of all different ways of expressing love and sexuality; it was a desire for more, not less, sexual liberation…What we have instead is an attempt to absorb that sexual freedom into conformism.  Instead of dragging the world into liberation, we have somehow managed to drag the LGBT community into neo-Puritanism…

Longtime readers will remember I made the same point in “Divided We Fall”.

Metaupdates

Creeping Rot (July Updates, Part Two)

The European Women’s Lobby (a group so detached from reality that it believes a video of a dude performing cunnilingus on a bunch of women will somehow turn men off to paying for sex), claiming to represent over 200 (unnamed) women’s groups, last week “demanded” the European Union impose the Swedish model on member states despite the fact that it does not actually have that power.  The English Collective of Prostitutes responded with a well-linked nine-point refutation of the EWL’s absurd, unsupported claims; guess which one got worldwide media coverage?

Toys for Tots (First Updates of the Year, Part Two)

The Platinum Cabaret…in Fayetteville, Ark…is…offering free lap dances in exchange for donations to Toys for Tots…“As long as it’s done in a legal manner, as long as people are bringing us new, unwrapped toys, we don’t get into how they were gathered and what the process was,” [said] John Staples, coordinator for Toys for Tots…But another Toys for Tots chapter wasn’t quite as forgiving when…Pleasures — an adult toy store in Huntsville [Alabama] –- [offered] any customer who brings in a gift for Toys for Tots their choice of a complimentary sex toy…”Toys for Tots should not be advertised at an adult store,” [said] Ret. Major Brian A. Murray…

Considering how much money US Marines collectively spend on sex workers every year, it’s absurd for some Marines to make nonsensical anti-sex work statements just to please prudes.

Crime Against Society (TW3 #14)

sex offender licenseAs I reported, people who were on Louisiana’s “sex offender” registry due to the overturned “crime against nature by solicitation” law can petition to be removed.  According to Deon Haywood of WWAV, “around 75 people have already had themselves removed from the registry, and around 100 people are waiting for a judge to hear their motions…We haven’t had one person that’s been rejected…

What a Week! (TW3 #22)

I’m sure this had absolutely nothing to do with the owner’s winning a judgment against the city a few months ago:  “State and federal police have raided inner-city Sydney brothel Stiletto, owned by gambling identity Eddie Hayson…A spokeswoman for NSW police said the search warrant was attached to a joint operation codenamed Polaris making investigations ‘into a drug and money laundering syndicate’…”  Unsurprisingly, they found absolutely nothing.

Wise Investment (TW3 #31)

Officials admit that they knew their law to hold websites criminally liable for third-party content was unconstitutional:

The state of Washington has abandoned its defense of legislation…that could have exposed website operators to legal liability…The Internet Archive, represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation…worried that [the law] could effectively make its archives of the Web illegal…so it joined a lawsuit by Backpage.com…now Washington state officials have…[agreed] to permanently block the law…[and] will pay $200,000 to defray the plaintiffs’ legal expenses, and Washington state attorney general Rob McKenna will “work with the…legislature to repeal the current unconstitutional version” of the law.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #35)Sunitha Krishnan

You’d think that in the age of ultra-realistic digital effects, people would recognize that just because someone made a movie doesn’t mean the subject is real:  “[Sunitha Krishnan] has rescued thousands of women from prostitution and [has taken]…her advocacy to films, through [Ente,] a depiction of a real life sex-trafficking story…The activist…says she has received death threats and been targeted by acid attacks and even beaten up over a dozen times…”  All the beatings have succeeded, yet not one of the acid attacks or death threats have?  How convenient!

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #49)

Kate Gould is not a sex worker, but she’s done her homework and clearly “gets it”.  Her attack on Rhoda Grant’s Swedish model campaign, “Why I’m Opposed to Criminalising the Purchase of Sex”, is excellent, but the comment thread is suffering from the usual influx of lie-vomiting trafficking fanatics and deserves input from rational sex worker supporters (hint, hint).  Meanwhile, here’s Dr. Brooke Magnanti on how the proposed law as written will actually (like California’s Proposition 35) criminalize many human interactions virtually nobody would call “prostitution”.

This Week in 2010 and 2011

This week I exploded lots of lies, including ones about adolescents, the Super Bowl, decriminalization, STIs in porn, the purpose of a law, prostitution terminology and “sex trafficking”, and Julian Assange.  We also looked at bad jobs and the meaning of “legalization”, and saw a sleighful of short articles on HIV, halfway whores, maid cafes, sex rays, spiders, Rachel Wotton, Jill Brenneman, an important “trafficking” study, pompous masseuses, politician sex crimes, France, a pervert prosecutor, lethal butt injections, “sex school”, schadenfreude, Pedobear and strippers.

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Any law which violates the indefeasible rights of man is essentially unjust and tyrannical; it is not a law at all.  –  Maximilien Robespierre

Some of you may have noticed that my columns are posting earlier as of this week; I realized that if I posted them at 10:01 UTC every day, all my readers would be able to see (or at least be notified) of them on the proper date (even though it ranges from late evening in New Zealand to one minute past midnight in Hawaii).  That probably won’t matter to most of you, but it corrects a deficiency that’s been annoying me for some time.

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

The brave police of Manatee, Florida have announced their heroic capture of a dangerous criminal …a street woman so desperate she offered sex in exchange for two McDonald’s dollar-menu cheeseburgers.  I’m sure my Floridian readers will sleep more soundly tonight knowing this menace was removed from the streets.

Updates

Crime Against Society (February 26th, 2011)

Though Louisiana’s oppressive “Crime Against Nature By Solicitation” law was reduced to a misdemeanor last year (thus removing the requirement for sex offender registration), Doe vs. Jindal continued because the state refused to release those previously condemned.  On March 29th the judge decided in favor of the sex workers:

…U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman said state lawmakers had no “rational basis” for requiring people to register as sex offenders if they were convicted of a “crime against nature by solicitation”… “The defendants fail to credibly serve up even one unique legitimating governmental interest that can rationally explain the registration requirement imposed on those convicted of Crime Against Nature by Solicitation,” Feldman wrote.  “The Court is left with no other conclusion but that the relationship between the classification is so shallow as to render the distinction wholly arbitrary”…

This is a victory not only for the approximately 400 people released from the tyrannical regime of “sex offender” registration, but for all those fighting to get armed busybodies out of people’s personal lives.

The Soft Weapon (March 24th, 2011)

I exposed the Schapiro Group’s lies twice before the Village Voice did last March, but their voice is much louder than mine, and apparently quite a few heard it because a new petition on Change.org has called for criminal investigation of both the Schapiro Group and the “Women’s Funding Network” (one of billionaire prohibitionist Swanee Hunt’s fronts):

Recently the Village Voice exposed the Schapiro Group…and the Women’s Funding Network…for knowingly deceiving both congress and the public using false data manufactured through fraudulent research…[when] legitimate organizations that serve exploited…minors…are not able to report that they have reached numbers of youth comparable to the inflated numbers of victims…it jeopardizes their credibility and funding…[also] increased funding for law enforcement efforts to combat a vastly inflated threat…is channeled instead into police actions directed not at traffickers, but rather against consenting adult sex workers…We reject the concept that criminalizing members of any population is an effective way to rescue them…Therefore, we, the undersigned, call on the United States Dept. of Justice to investigate the Schapiro Group and the Women’s Funding Network for conspiracy to commit fraud against their donors, the public and the US government…

Needless to say, I urge you all to sign!

Sales Pitch (May 22nd, 2011)

Here’s another study which proves that the “Swedish Model” doesn’t work; this one is from human trafficking expert Ann Jordan, who called the law “a failed experiment in social engineering” and pointed out that “the Swedish government has been unable to prove that the law has reduced the number of sex buyers or sellers or stopped trafficking.”

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (June 15th, 2011)

This was forwarded to me by an academic correspondent; I think it speaks for itself.

Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong (November 12th, 2011)

The New York Times continues its crusade against sex workers, this time via a slanted article which refers to a 17-year-old as a “child” and blames Backpage (rather than the unexamined conditions at home which caused her to run away twice) for her becoming an underage prostitute.  Apparently the Times is hoping that Village Voice loses its nerve and backs down on the Backpage adult ads, because it would be forced to reverse course and oppose the fanatics (rather than getting in bed with them) if they succeed in enacting laws that make websites (like that run by the Times) responsible for user-generated content.

Held Together With Lies (April 2nd, 2012)

The UN has released its latest “estimate” of “human trafficking victims”, and though it’s less than 9% of the popular figure popularized by fanatics, it’s still both unsubstantiated and inflated by at least two orders of magnitude:

The U.N. crime-fighting office said Tuesday that 2.4 million people across the globe are victims of human trafficking at any one time, and 80 percent of them are being exploited as sexual slaves.  Yuri Fedotov, the head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime…said $32 billion is being earned every year by unscrupulous criminals running human trafficking networks, and two out of every three victims are women…According to Fedotov’s Vienna-based office, only one out of 100 victims of trafficking is ever rescued…

In other words, Fedotov can only support 1% of his claim, or 24,000 people in the entire world.  That’s a lot more believable, but it wouldn’t generate the necessary panic so fanatics multiply it by over 1000x, then refuse to produce even the most tenuous evidence in support of the exaggerated claim.

An Example To the West (April 3rd, 2012)

This article by researcher Matthias Lehmann on the harm criminalization does to Korean sex workers largely covers familiar ground, but also mentions that the prohibitionist Korean laws enacted in 2004 were strongly influenced by the “Swedish Model” and linked this strong criticism of the laws by two Swedish legislators.  Lehmann points out that “sex workers…remain criminalised unless they claim to be victims”, dividing women into “’good women who are worthy of help’ and ‘bad ones who need to be punished’, thus continuing the stigmatisation of women who sell sex.”  Unsurprisingly, this is the version of Swedish legislation now infiltrating the US as well.  The article quotes many of the same sources and developments I’ve reported previously, but I found this announcement very intriguing:

Sex workers often rightly criticise researchers, politicians or the media for distorting the reality of the sex industry.  I am therefore working together with Woo Yun Jin, a Korean visual artist, to develop a graphic novel entirely based on experiences shared with us by sex workers in Korea…[it] will be made available [later this year] in both English and Korean…we [hope this helps] people to better understand that sex workers are part of their communities and deserve the same rights just as everyone else.

Lehmann also provides links to “Research Project Korea” and a number of news articles and resources.

The Rape Question (April 4th, 2012)

More information is better than less, but I’m concerned this could make rape trials even more of a “he said/she said” affair than they already are:

…An in-depth study comparing rape victims with nursing students at the University of Southern Denmark reveals that vaginal injuries are just as likely to result from consensual sex as rape.  [Researcher] Birgitte Schmidt Astrup [said] ‘…The nursing students experience just as frequent vaginal injuries as rape victims, and so these injuries cannot be used for much more than to establish that intercourse has taken place.’  She added that in cases of convictions based on evidence of vaginal injuries, there could now be discussions as to whether there have been miscarriages of justice…all [of the subjects] were examined less than 28 hours after sexual intercourse…vaginal injuries were found in 36 per cent of rape victims and in 34 per cent of the nursing students.  The…students’ results were not affected by whether they had engaged in rough or gentle sex, or whether they had used condoms or sex toys…

Feet of Clay (April 5th, 2012)

The outcry against Nicholas Kristof and his anti-whore crusade continues to grow and generalize; this week I discovered a well-written article from a member of the Occupy movement denouncing Kristof’s transparent attempt to call attention away from his own lies and exaggerations by branding the much-hated Goldman-Sachs “financiers of sex trafficking”:

…It was with some horror…that…I observed several Occupy-affiliated Twitter accounts sharing a link to an op-ed by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, entitled “Financiers and Sex Trafficking”…It’s easy to see how this could appear to fit in the widespread populist anger against the financial sector that powers Occupy Wall Street…[but] Backpage is mostly used by consenting adults, and Nicholas D. Kristof is a man with a history of trying to use the specters of trafficking and child prostitution as leverage for a campaign that seeks ultimately to further criminalize sex workers…his “rescue” work in developing countries has basically involved riding along with law enforcement and live-tweeting brothel raids, writing himself into the story as the white savior (consequences be damned).  In other words, he is a buffoon, a prime member of the Liberal Class that preserves the status quo by defining the acceptable limits of dissent…Meg…[of] SWOP Chicago…[explained that] “The anti-trafficking crusade is a top-down movement, led by (among others) two right-wing religious conservatives from the Bush Administration (Laura Lederer, Swanee Hunt)…if Occupy Wall Street jumps on the anti-trafficking bandwagon, they’re really just swallowing rhetoric designed by one of the nation’s best consulting firms to further the particular agenda of a few members of the top .0001%”…Trafficking and child prostitution have been invoked to justify criminalizing…sex work since at least the end of the last century…Demand Abolition’s own material [confirms] this…[its] Nation Strategy emphasizes that “Framing the Campaign’s key target as sexual slavery might garner more support and less resistance, while framing the Campaign as combating prostitution may be less likely to mobilize similar levels of support and to stimulate stronger opposition.”

…If Occupy wants to add justice for sex workers to its cause (and it should), then it can carry on doing what the movement has generally done very well:  Don’t pay much attention at all to the self-appointed pundit class at the likes of the New York Times.  Listen to actual workers, the people for whom these issues are an everyday reality, not a hot topic…

Metaupdates

Good News, Bad News in That Was the Week That Was (#10) (March 10th, 2012)

It turn out that the push to impose the Swedish Model on Western Australia is largely a one-woman campaign enabled by a sleazy political deal:

…The government’s prostitution bill proposes to make sex work in residential areas illegal and requires brothel owners, managers and sex workers…to register…Labor is opposed to the legislation…[along with two prominent] Liberal MPs…[so] the government will need [the support of] independent MPs Janet Woollard and Adele Carles…[who] wants…three amendments…[which] would [shift] the criminal focus…to clients…Carles said she had visited Sweden…”They determined that prostitution is not a job.  Prostitution is violence against women”…

But while Carles is the typical neofeminist Swedish dupe , Woollard refuses to back the law unless it bans brothels entirely in five years.  Since that won’t happen, the law probably won’t pass, but I’ll report as the situation develops.

The Crumbling Dam in That Was the Week That Was (#13) (March 31st, 2012)

Ron Weitzer’s article on the recent Canadian decision clarifies a detail I had missed:  “The court gave the government 12 months to appeal the decision allowing bawdy houses, 30 days to rewrite the ‘living off the avails’ law to restrict it to exploitation, and allowed the parties 60 days to appeal the decision to uphold the solicitation/communication law.”  Obviously the government will appeal to keep its brothel ban and these workers will appeal the upholding of the “communicating” law, but as I understand it the avails law is a dead duck in its present form, which is certainly good news.

One Year Ago Today

Neither Cold Nor Hot” looks at Jezebel’s weird ambivalence about sex work.

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How idiotic civilization is!  Why be given a body if you have to keep it shut up in a case like a rare, rare fiddle?  –  Katherine Mansfield

Several stories about society’s obsession with regulating and controlling women’s bodies and sexuality.

All Shapes and Sizes (September 8th, 2010)

In this column I wrote:

Porn…tends to make inexperienced young men think that women’s external genitalia are more alike than they actually are.  As a bisexual woman and a call girl who did hundreds of couple calls I can tell you that there is as much variation in vulvas as in penises…some labia are quite wrinkly, others smoother, and they vary in color and appearance…but none of this can be explained to jackasses; girls with unusually-shaped genitalia are sometimes insulted by rude clients, and I’ve even heard of ignoramuses accusing girls of being post-operative transsexuals because their vulvas don’t “look right” to these (usually young) men, who obviously consider themselves some sort of sex experts because they’ve been with a couple of dozen women.  Fortunately, older men have more experience and therefore realize that the genitalia of women, like those of men, come in all shapes and sizes.

For young men who wish to understand how much genital variation there really is, and for women who feel like their genitalia are odd-looking, I present I’ll Show You Mine, a book containing pictures of 60 different women’s vulvas and a little text written by the subjects.  Here’s an illustrated review posted by Story of Tits and Sass on July 15th.

To Protect and Serve (February 9th, 2011)

Police the world over seem to believe that one of the perks of their job is the privilege of using sex workers for their own gratification under guise of law, but it’s pretty rare to see a judge slap them down for it as this one did.  The story is paraphrased from one in the Orlando Sentinel of July 8th:

Six employees of a Daytona Beach Shores nightclub agreed to a total of $195,000 to settle a lawsuit against the city’s police department for a September 2009 incident in which “Public Safety Director” Stephan Dembinsky and 19 other male cops stood around ogling four exotic dancers and two female bartenders while a policewoman felt inside their bikinis for weed.  Dembinsky claimed he had no idea that cops sticking their hands into women’s underwear amounted to a strip search under Florida statutes, which clearly state that strip searches must be conducted by a person of the same sex and any observers must also be of the same sex as the person being searched.  But U.S. District Judge Mary E. Scriven said Dembinsky should have known; in an order she signed in May that denied a motion to have the case dismissed, she wrote “Even if he was unsure of the existence of probable cause, Chief Dembinsky knew that the manner and means of the execution of the strip searches was unlawful, yet, as final policymaker he concedes he did nothing.”

Dembinsky apparently felt he needed 20 cops to serve a search warrant at Biggins Gentleman’s Club after undercover vice cops bought drugs in the club.  None of the six employees in the suit was arrested, but they were searched anyway and one of the women had a single joint; misdemeanor marijuana possession charges against her were later dropped.  Most of the settlement money went to pay legal fees, leaving only $5,000 each for the victims; the decision to pay up was made by the city’s insurance carrier because it was cheaper to settle than to fight the suit.

Some badge-licking editorial comments on other versions of the story mocked the idea that it was possible to strip-search strippers, ignoring both the intimidation factor of 20 cops standing around leering and the fact that no strip club I know of allows patrons to stick their hands inside girls’ bikini bottoms.

Crime Against Society (February 26th, 2011)

One would think that since New Orleans gave cops the option of writing prostitution as a minor offense back in December, and the state recently reduced “crime against nature by solicitation” to a misdemeanor, that New Orleans cops wouldn’t be wasting time and money in prostitution “stings” any more.  Unfortunately, one would be wrong; apparently they wanted to destroy a few more lives with “sex offender” penalties before the change goes into effect.  According to the Times-Picayune:

New Orleans’ narcotics and vice police units conducted a prostitution sting in Mid-City this month, and arrested nine people over two separate occasions.  The New Orleans Police Department arrested four people…at the Rose Motel, in the 3500 block of Tulane Avenue, June 15 for soliciting an undercover officer for crimes against nature.  They also arrested five people…June 21 for the same crime at the same motel…

But this pales beside the mass arrests of three weeks prior, when a total of 51 people were arrested on prostitution or drug-related charges:

Promising an “aggressive” fight to rid the city’s neighborhoods of illegal activity, New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas…said 51 people were arrested on drug and prostitution charges during undercover stings set up during the past three weeks…”People try to destroy the quality of life in neighborhoods” with drug dealing and other illegal activities, Serpas said.  “We’re not going stand for it.  We’re going to be aggressive”…

Of course, the easiest way to rid the city of illegal activity would be to imprison every member of the NOPD, but instead we get this:

For the second time in a month, the New Orleans Police Department has launched a blitz on vice, this time arresting 29 men who allegedly agreed to pay for sex with undercover…female officers…Superintendent Ronal Serpas said police arrested the men in the 9300 block of Airline Drive, the 3500 block of Tulane Avenue and the 7800 block of Chef Menteur Highway during the daytime operation, which took place between June 14 and June 22.  The men were booked with the solicitation of prostitutes and crimes against nature…the targeted areas were chosen because of neighbors’ complaints about illegal activity and information provided by individual districts.  “They (citizens) have children and families and want to use their neighborhoods,” Serpas said…[he] added that prostitution can result in the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and is often linked to other crimes, such as carjackings or robbery.  “Prostitution is a crime of addiction and violence,” Serpas said…

…as opposed to being a cop, which is a crime of being addicted to violence.  Just so you know, none of those three blocks are “neighborhoods”; they’re industrial areas whose only inhabitants are rats and the residents of cheap motels.  And of course no story of police persecution of whores would be complete without the obligatory lies about disease and violent crime.  I guess Chief Serpas didn’t get the memo about us all being “trafficking victims” now.

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (March 22nd, 2011)

While the United States slips further into barbarism and oppression, it’s nice to see that older, more civilized countries understand concepts like “adult agency” and “human rights”.  According to a July 21st story from Samay Live:

There will be no further arrest of any sex workers as prostitution is going to be regularized in India.  The new law will allow sex workers to live with dignity in…the country.  The Supreme Court holds that the right to live with dignity was a constitutional right of sex workers.  A bench presided over by Justice Markandey Katju on Tuesday sought suggestions on formulating conditions which would enable those who wished to “continue working as sex workers” to do so “with dignity.”  The bench constituted a panel comprising senior advocates and NGOs to look into the problems faced by sex workers and give suggestions to protect their fundamental rights…there are over 3 million female commercial sex workers in India and are often harassed by the police in the absence of proper regulation.  However, the prostitution is not illegal but the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 makes certain acts relating to prostitution an offence, which does not create conducive atmosphere for the sex workers and [they] often become victims of police action.

I’m looking forward to the day when India, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and other countries which treat prostitutes like human beings issue a “human rights report” condemning the United States for its abominable brutality against whores and our clients.

One Year Ago Today

The first part of “The Only Working Girl in New Orleans”, in which I describe my experiences as the only available escort after Hurricane Katrina.

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Simply put, commission of what the Legislature determines as an immoral act, even if consensual and private, is an injury against society itself.  –  Judge Chet Traylor, in the majority opinion for State vs. Smith (2000)

In my column of August 17th I wrote about Louisiana’s tyrannical “Crime Against Nature” law and the New Orleans Police Department’s evil game of charging prostitutes under this law so they can be persecuted for at least a decade by inclusion on “sex offender” registries. Since escorts can usually afford lawyers to arrange plea bargains to avoid the “sex offender” status, those convicted under the law are nearly all streetwalkers and the overwhelming majority of them are black or transsexual. The column also discussed Women With a Vision (WWAV), an organization whose “No Justice Project” is dedicated to overturning the convictions of these women so they can begin the process of reclaiming the lives destroyed by the so-called “justice” system.  Well, on February 17th regular reader Joyce sent me a link to this story which appeared in the Times-Picayune the day before:

People who must register as sex offenders because they were convicted of engaging in oral or anal sex for money filed a lawsuit against state officials last night [February 15th], arguing the requirement is unconstitutional and discriminatory.  Only in Louisiana can people convicted of selling their bodies be required to register as a sex offender, according to the lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights…The registration requirement only affects people prosecuted under the state’s “crime against nature by solicitation” law, which is used when a person is accused of engaging in oral or anal sex in exchange for money.  People accused of prostitution, which includes any sex act, are not required to register…

The lawsuit was filed anonymously, but describes the difficulty the plaintiffs have experienced obtaining work and finding housing because they are registered sex offenders.  In Louisiana, the driver’s license of a registered sex offender is inscribed with those words in bright orange letters…[they also] appear in a state database and must notify neighbors of their legal status…attorneys for the plaintiffs said the registration requirement erects “insurmountable barriers” to people who are trying to restart their lives.  In New Orleans, nearly 40 percent of the people registered as sex offenders are on the registry because of a “crime against nature” conviction.  The label…often keeps people from being able to access drug treatment or domestic violence services, said Deon Haywood, director of Women With A Vision…”The toll it takes is devastating,” Haywood said about the registration requirements.  “They did what they did to survive and put food on the table.”

Louisiana is the only state that has separate laws depending on what kind of sex acts a prostitute engages in…The Legislature in the last session changed the penalties for “crime against nature by solicitation” to make the first offense a misdemeanor, which matches the potential sentence for first-offense prostitution.  Previously, a first conviction of “crime against nature” was a felony.  But while a person convicted of prostitution is not required to register as a sex offender, a defendant convicted repeatedly of “crime against nature by solicitation” would have to…plus, people who were convicted…before last year, when the law was changed, still must remain on Louisiana’s sex offender registry…all of the other offenses that require registration…involve some kind of force, coercion, or exploitation of a minor…[such as] rape, aggravated kidnapping of a child or prostitution of a person under 17.

I’m not sure what their chances of winning are; Louisiana has a long history of aggressively repelling all challenges to its 205-year-old sodomy law.  Even after Lawrence vs. Texas struck down all such laws in the United States in June of 2003, the state doggedly held onto its “crime against nature” statute unchanged for a year until a judge specifically invalidated portions of it, leaving intact provisions for prosecuting homosexual groups and those “promoting prostitution”.  Also, Louisiana is the only state to have (since 1982) a separate law criminalizing “Crime Against Nature by Solicitation”, and since this law only applies to prostitutes it remained unaffected by  Lawrence vs. Texas despite being clearly rooted in the same unconstitutional and discriminatory motivations.  However, this is the first challenge in federal court, which could make a big difference.

A week ago yesterday (February 18th) I called Lorie Seruntine, my contact at WWAV, to ask what part the organization had played in organizing the lawsuit (since the news story doesn’t really make it clear), and she explained that WWAV had contacted the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Loyola University Law Clinic and presented the requests for help they had received from the many women involved in the No Justice Project; the case is thus the culmination of about two years of work by WWAV on behalf of these severely oppressed women.  Lorie told me that everyone in the program, both staff and members of the community, is very excited about the case and the attention it has attracted in the national media.  She furthermore let me know that a long-anticipated revamp of the WWAV website had been completed and asked me to provide a link; observant readers may have noticed its appearance in the “Resources” box in the right-hand column last Friday.

Of course the filing of the case is only the beginning of the fight, and WWAV, the attorneys and the plaintiffs have a long and arduous fight ahead.  But regardless of the outcome of the case, you can be sure that WWAV will continue to fight the good fight; Lorie assured me that the organization has developed other strategies toward defeating this terrible law in the event that the court continues the long Louisiana tradition of allowing the government to invade people’s bedrooms and dictate their private activities.

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