I’m sorry, barista. I need to give this latte back. I didn’t see any joy from you while making it. — Cathy Reisenwitz
Thaddeus Russell reviews a book on sex work during the Alaska gold rush:
…From Saloons, Prostitutes, and Temperance in Alaska Territory, the independent historian Catherine Holder Spude’s book on the rise and fall of gold-rush Skagway, we learn that women…used the proceeds from selling sex to open brothels and purchase substantial tracts of land as well as hotels, saloons, and numerous houses…historians have found that in the late 19th century the average brothel worker received from one to five dollars for every “trick” they turned, earning in one evening what women who worked as maids, department store clerks, or teachers made in a week. In 1916 the U.S. Department of Labor, concerned by reports that respectable women were being lured into “the Social Evil” by high wages, surveyed a broad sample of prostitutes and found that they earned an average of $40 per week, which was roughly double what white, male, unionized construction workers were making…most madams not only paid their employees far higher wages than they would find in any other employment, but also provided clothing, birth control, health care, legal assistance, housing, and meals. Few American workers of either sex have ever enjoyed such benefits…
Get Out of the 19th Century Often?
Men who think they can “abolish prostitution” by such ham-handed tactics are delusional:
On 28 May, 2015, the Nepalese Army imposed a strict 8pm curfew on entering and exiting the central Kathmandu, Tundikhel field where over…1000 people are currently residing in tents following the 25 April 8.1 magnitude earthquake, which killed over 8000 people and left hundreds of thousands of people displaced…Citing concerns that the field would be patronised by “prostitutes and thieves”, the army erected razor wire fencing across the field’s only public access point, causing distress to many residents of the field…Commander Bishun also said that the army was concerned that “prostitutes may enter the field and attempt to ply their trade to family men during the night”…Bishun agreed to allow access to the camp if all the male residents attempting to enter agreed to undergo a test for drunkenness, provide army guards with a copy of their identification and/or their names and contact details…and could explain the relationship they had with all women accompanying them…
The Swiss government says it is against outlawing prostitution or the buying of sexual services, but has proposed measures to better protect sex workers and to fight against human trafficking…Experience from abroad shows that a ban on prostitution is not the solution, the government said. Studies from other countries have shown that this usually leads to the criminalisation of prostitutes or prostitution going underground. Complementary measures usually produce more success…The situation in Sweden and the United States, both of which have partially banned prostitution, remains difficult…
Finding What Isn’t There
You know why? Because there is almost never any evidence. You know why? Because the people accused of “trafficking” are almost never actually criminals:
Baltimore has become a hub for human trafficking because of its interstate highways and proximity to major airports, city and state officials say. But few human traffickers are arrested, and even fewer are convicted…police have made approximately 800 prostitution arrests a year on average…but…charged only 10 suspects with sex trafficking since January 2013…and prosecutors dropped all charges in eight of the cases. The only conviction was on a separate charge…
Is there a large US city that doesn’t have an airport and interstate highways?
The Widening Gyre
Ninja pimps with mind-control powers don’t appear as often in the Canadian folklore as in the American:
…one year after [London, Ontario] police said a recruiter was working high school hallways — parents are reaching out for help like never before. An agency that helps women trafficked for sex in London says requests for help…are off the charts…police…work…to identify and build relationships with…“potential victims,” who include women and girls that officers believe are being forced to sell their bodies, though they may insist they’re doing so by their own choice. Last year officers identified three times the number of victims they did the year before…Const. Jim Pottruff…said…“I don’t have any evidence…but I’ve been hearing about it and I believe it’s true”…
Between the Ears (#334)
…the Lovely [is] a sex toy that’s been touted as “the fitbit, but for your penis”…[it’s] a stretchy silicone ring, which attaches around the base of your penis. It also has a vibrator tucked inside…The product can apparently collect all kinds of data about your lovemaking skills – after you’ve finished, the Lovely app connects to your smartphone and provides you with a report, containing information on how many calories you’ve burned, your top and average speed, and even the g-forces you’ve exerted on each other’s respective pelvises…
Not Good Enough
The pill pushers just won’t stop until they can sell an ineffictive “cure” for something that isn’t actually a dysfunction:
The drug industry’s decade-spanning search for a female equivalent to Viagra took a major step forward…as government experts recommended approval for a pill [claimed] to boost sexual desire in women…side effects [include] fatigue, low blood pressure and fainting…the…”female Viagra”…has been plagued for years by concerns of lackluster effectiveness and safety issues. The FDA has rejected the drug twice since 2010…FDA’s experts acknowledged that flibanserin’s effect is not very strong…women taking [it] reported between 0.5 and 1 more sexually satisfying event per month, compared with women taking a placebo…
The expense and trouble of a daily pill that can cause fatigue & fainting for half an extra orgasm per month, and these bozos actually think that’s worth it? I wonder how much payola that took? Meanwhile, Tracy Clark-Flory writes about responsive desire (like mine) and how Flibanserin fits into conversation about it.
Now he asks:
Law enforcement spent countless hours working to shut down coffee stands in Snohomish County where employees were engaging in prostitution, and to make a case against…Sheriff’s sergeant Darrell O’Neill, who is accused of providing information to bikini baristas about police stings in exchange for sexual favors…But was all the effort put in to take down one corrupt sheriff’s sergeant worth the effort?…
A Mound of Filth
Most of this is about the mound of money being shoveled down the “sex trafficking” toilet, but this particular passage’s brazen assertion that the “Dream Project” is intended to brainwash women is quietly horrifying: “Kathleen Winn, executive director of the newly formed Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network, said…the first step…is…getting the women to see themselves as victims, rather than women who willingly sold sex. ‘They don’t self-identify as victims’, Winn said. ‘It really is an education (for the women)’…” Winn has previously been quoted as saying that phones and computers are a “curse” because they hinder parents from totally controlling adolescent’s lives: “We even try to break up Internet businesses…We are looking for ways…[to destroy] Backpage.com…”
Making It Up As They Go
What coffee stands are to Everett, massage parlors are to Bellevue:
Two Bellevue spas are the target of a new city ordinance designed to get unsavory or problem businesses closed or cleaned up…Jolee Spa and Factoria’s Sunnyday Spa both were deemed “chronic nuisances” by the Bellevue police, opening both up for future fines and potential prosecution. The “chronic nuisance” law went into effect in April as a tool to clean up prostitution and drug activity…”Prostitution in our city is not going to be tolerated,” said Bellevue Police Deputy Chief Mike Johnson. “We understand there’s quite a bit going on, so we’re doing our best to combat that”…
Allowing the police to designate any business a “nuisance”; what could possibly go wrong?
Bait and Switch
Try not to get sick when you read the vile propaganda vomited up all over these reporters by Grady Judd of Polk County, Florida, and his accomplice Gary Borders of Lake County; remember, these are nearly all young men who were tricked into talking to cops pretending to be women just a few years younger than they are. Despite the slander and character assassination, these men are not criminals of any kind and certainly not “child predators”, not even in Judd’s warped mind.
The Widening Gyre (#534)
GOOD: Snopes debunks the “teen job sex trafficking scam” rumor. BAD: In the process they quote the Polaris project, whose “sex trafficking” propaganda is every bit as absurd:
Are human trafficking rings using job interviews to lure college student through invitations to interviews for a summer job? Almost certainly, no. While human trafficking is a real (and serious) problem, its facilitators deliberately target populations of people whose absence is likely to go unnoticed for a time. We could find no incidents wherein job interviewees were drugged, kidnapped, and forced into sex work. Criminals tend to target people they believe won’t immediately be marked as missing…
The Pro-Rape Coalition (#543)
Here’s another article on the prohibitionist documentary Hot Girls Wanted, featuring quotes from my friends Endza and Mistress Matisse:
The documentary Hot Girls Wanted, an expose of the world of amateur porn produced by Parks and Recreation star Rashida Jones, has rattled some sex workers…who feel the film is a negative and inaccurate portrayal of the industry…”Hot Girls Wanted was…very obviously planned to fulfill an agenda…to make the sex industry look bad,” said writer and activist Mistress Matisse…Jones has been criticized further for comments she made while promoting the film…referring to porn as a negative experience for actresses that “aren’t getting any joy from it”…”What I and other sex workers would like is realistic coverage of our industry,” said Endza, a college student and actress in BDSM porn films…
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