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Posts Tagged ‘end demand’

Sex workers in…[current] media accounts are not people, but fever dreams, to be pitied, laughed at, hyperbolically loathed, and surreptitiously lusted after.  –  Noah Berlatsky

Good Advice Jon Cryer

Jon Cryer, Charlie Sheen’s co-star on Two and a Half Men, says in his new memoir So That Happened:

I was in a bad state right after my divorce, and I certainly didn’t feel dateable…I decided I might as well pay someone for company and certain intimate pleasures so that I could at least get my equilibrium back with the opposite sex.  Charlie suggested a few online purveyors he used…

Surplus Women 

Would this excuse have worked for a victim with any other job?

A jury found Bradley Barton not guilty…in the death of sex worker Cindy Gladue…Barton, a long-distance trucker from Ontario, rented [a] room at the Yellowhead Inn…in Edmonton…On the second night, [he] called 911 and reported the discovery of the body of an unknown woman in his bathtub…But closed circuit video…shows Barton and Gladue…walking together holding hands the first night and meeting up again the next evening…Barton [claimed he] didn’t mean to [stab] Gladue, and that the wound was caused accidentally by rough sex…

The Prudish Giant

Since 2006, the venerable libertarian anti-interventionist website AntiWar.com has hosted uncensored photos of abuses committed by United States troops at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq…On Wednesday morning, AntiWar.com received an automated email from Google explaining that the site was being suspended from Google’s AdSense ad network, because that page violates AdSense policy.  Either Google is incorrectly enforcing its own policies, or their policies do not allow for controversial — but clearly and objectively newsworthy — content…

Hall of Shame

Outing a famous non-prohibitionist client just to make money?  Instant ticket to my Hall of Shame:

Kim Petro, a plus-size dominatrix…apparently passed a lie detector test before selling her story to the National Enquirer…Petro claims [Olympic athlete Michael] Phelps contacted her off her “busty festish” Craigslist ad in February 2013.  They allegedly negotiated a $900 “donation” before Phelps…”removed his shirt and…shorts to reveal that he was wearing…women’s underwear…’I got above him [on the bed] to [urinate on him],’ said Petro“…She says she recognized him right away and apparently provided “a cellphone number that The Enquirer independently verified as belonging to the Olympic legend”…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake 

An exotic dancer who was shot at a Columbia nightclub is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for her injury, the S.C. Supreme Court ruled…The court ruled that dancer LeAndra Lewis was an employee of the Boom Boom Room Studio 54 – not an independent contractor…the…decision could bolster efforts in South Carolina to classify other topless dancers as employees of clubs that hire them…

Checklist 

Another absurd story about “sex trafficking” informs us, without any evidence at all, that “87% of…victms have had contact with a healthcare provider while being trafficked” and “10% of doctors recognize trafficking victims”.  It also informs us that “sex trafficking” is “about the pimping of modern American culture” And advises doctors to “speak love into [victims]”.  I couldn’t make up anything this wack-a-doodle if I tried.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#452)

It’s a popular cultural trope these days that…porn is making men, especially young men, sexually dysfunctional…This basic narrative, with its mixed techno/sex panic and vaguely scientific undertones, can be seen everywhere from New York magazine to consumer health sites, Esquire to The American Conservative to The Daily Mail, Christian websites to Thought Catalog…The genre subtly shames both women and men—the former for not being enough like porn stars to keep their men interested, the latter for letting their libido rule them—and often veers into discussions of whether more government intervention is warranted.  But the narrative at the core of this genre is a crock, according to a new study published in the journal Sexual Medicine…The researchers found no relationship between pornography habits and experiencing erectile dysfunction among sexually active participants…

Vendetta (#518) Peter Qualliotine

As usual, only the alternative media questions the noxious rhetoric which suffuses Swanee Hunt’s “end demand” crusades:

Peter…Qualliotine, co-founder of a Seattle group called Organization for Prostitution Survivors, has for several years been teaching a local “john school”…little evidence exists to show that the class is changing anyone’s behavior…with…a grant from Demand Abolition…he recently began a new…john school that runs for 10 weeks—longer than almost any other comparable program in the county…“Many of these men really are dangerous sexual predators,” Qualliotine says.  Many, of course, are not.  But even the nonviolent men, Qualliotine argues, cause harm—by perpetuating an industry that traps prostitutes…into what he deems degrading work while sexually objectifying women at large…He says that of all the johns he’s met, almost none have said they “feel great” about buying sex or that prostitution is meeting their needs…because they’re coming…from a place of “brokenness” and “desperation”…SWOP, however, found a number of men who agreed to speak, albeit anonymously.  “It’s been something that’s been really positive for me, to be honest with you,” says one man…another sex buyer, whom we’ll call Charlie, doesn’t feel like he’s violated anybody’s rights by paying for sex…“It was very civilized,” he says …One woman he’s seen repeatedly…earns more than he does…

Blasphemy (#520)

Chris Hedges’ piece “The Whoredom of the Left”…is about the evils of prostitution, but the photograph that opens the piece speaks a different language, and points to different interests…it…is exploitive, in the most deliberate sense—the site, Truthdig, is using the women in the photo as a way to provoke titillation and/or moral outrage and/or (more likely) both…The main difference between Truthdig and the owner of…a…brothel is that the brothel owner presumably provided the women in the picture with a cut.  Truthdig shows its higher morals by keeping all the money for itself.  Hedges probably didn’t choose the art himself, and most likely didn’t even get to approve it.  Still, it’s not out of line with his essay, which wallows in feverish, sweaty prose and lurid excitation…Hedges concern is not…for sex workers, or for women being trafficked, but for himself.  Looking at sex workers, or thinking about sex workers, leads him to a hideous, exciting dream of his own violation…

Worse Than I Thought (#520)

Might be“?  Try again, Emily:

Senate Democrats and Republicans have been bickering since last week over whose fault it is that they’re now fighting over abortion in what had been a popular, bipartisan human trafficking bill…Democrats say Republicans slipped anti-choice language into the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) that would expand the already onerous Hyde Amendment…Republicans say Democrats should have known that the language was in this version of the bill from the start…advocates don’t think the JVTA is worth trying to save in the first place…although the Hyde language is obviously a bad idea, that’s not the only problem with the bill…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on February 8th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

As I’ve pointed out many times, moral panics do not slowly decline until they vanish; rather, they continue to grow until they begin to rot from within like an overripe fruit, then they burst and spread their noxious juices everywhere.  Seen from some angles, though, the panic may seem as robust as ever right up until the end.  One of the areas in which this is so is the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), the anemic American counterpart to the BBC; because both networks (and the US equivalent to BBC radio, National Public Radio [NPR]) depend on government sufferance for their funds, it is completely unsurprising that they have pandered shamelessly to the “sex trafficking” narrative both the UK and US governments have used to excuse xenophobia, asset seizure and an expansion of the police state.Somaly Mam and Nick Kristof  Still, it’s fascinating that at a time when the paradigm’s critics are becoming ever-bolder and getting increasing attention from the media, that PBS feels comfortable getting behind yet another self-aggrandizing project of the pathologically-smarmy Nick Kristof, especially one which shamelessly doubles down on the absurd claims which have become the hallmark of “sex trafficking” hysteria.

The nonsense starts right from the lede of this adulatory Guardian advert for the show, with the ludicrous claim that “each year 100,000 American girls and women are coerced into prostitution.”  Setting aside for a moment that there are only about 450,000 sex workers at a time in the US, let’s just judge the claim exactly as presented.  “Sex trafficking” fetishists are also very fond of pretending that the average “sex trafficking victim” only lives for 7 years once she starts seeing clients, so that would mean there were about 700,000 “sex trafficking victims” in the US at any given time (we’re also told that the average “victim” is 13 and dies at 34, but let’s not think too hard right now about how one can subtract 13 from 34 and arrive at 7).  Claims for the number of clients per day range from a high-but-reasonable 5 to a literally-impossible 110, but for the sake of argument let’s go with the not-atypical claim of 20-48, which is to say 34 (related to the spurious death age by magical numerology, perhaps).  This would mean that on any given day, 700,000 x 34 or 23,800,000 American men – roughly a fifth of the entire adult male population – was paying for sex with such a “victim”.  Unless we believe that every one of these monsters can afford to pay for sex several times a week, the inescapable conclusion is that every single adult American man, including Nick Kristof, is paying for sex with a “sex trafficking victim” every single week of his life.  Yet other ignoramuses tell us that only about 10% of men have ever paid for sex; are you beginning to understand why I find the pronouncements of prohibitionists so ridiculous?

The rest of the article is no less absurd.  There’s the usual bootlicking presentation of every asinine proclamation of cops as though it came straight from the Delphic oracle, the typical demonization of clients (which as we have seen above, include every single American man including the cops and Nick Kristof), the denial of the agency of every single sex worker, the mythmaking about “pimps” who in real life barely even exist, the libeling of escort services as “sex trafficking”, and the reiteration of the same dubious statistics as every other “sex trafficking” scare story.  There is also the grotesque lionization of the vile Tom Dart,Tom Dart on fire a monster who tries to make it look as though he’s targeting “demand” by charging male and transwoman sex workers as clients, and of course the lurid presentation of underage-streetwalker porn for the wanking pleasure of the oh-so-moral audience who salivate at the thought of young girls being dominated by stereotyped “pimps” and raped by cops.  In short, it’s an ugly, repetitious pile of filth standing in obscene disregard of the increasingly-publicized truth about “sex trafficking” hysteria, but you can bet Kristof and his “rescue” cronies will continue to milk it for all the cash and publicity they can get, right up until the point it erupts like a turgid pustule.

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If [rescuers]…used my photo in websites, smiling, showing me sewing clothes I couldn’t even afford, I would want someone to at least say, “Yeah, that is bullshit.”  –  Sarah Miller

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

TANSTAAFL:

The police chief in Miami Gardens has been fired after he was arrested on suspicion of soliciting prostitution…Stephen Johnson was [caught in a sting after buying the absurd claim that]…the price for…two women would be $100 for 30 minutes…

Feminine Pragmatism 

More than 70% of UK sex workers have previously worked in healthcare, education or charities, while more than a third hold university degrees, according to one of the largest surveys of the industry ever undertaken…The second most common former area of employment was retail, with…33.7%…38% [had an undergraduate degree]…while…17%…had a postgraduate degree…The Leeds University study [was] carried out by Dr Teela Sanders in partnership with National Ugly Mugs…

Down Under

A man who became obsessed with a prostitute and launched a rash of lawsuits against her…has had his case shot down in the Supreme Court [of New Zealand].  The client and the sex worker were in an “arrangement” that turned sour some three years ago…when the Auckland woman [realized] her client was stalking her…

The Sky is Falling!

Any gap between a country’s sex work laws and total decriminalization gives the cops room for a campaign of persecution against sexual behavior:

A popular “sugar daddy” dating website that links young women with wealthy older men…may break sex work laws, [Austalian] police have [bloviated]…In Victoria escorts must be registered, and in South Australia it is illegal to pay…for sex…South Australia Police [pretend to be concerned about “dangerous situations”, and]…Victoria Police [threatened to “look] at [the sites] closely”…

Profit from Panic Punjammies

The rescue industry is getting so absurd, even Jezebel can see it:

…Punjammies is just one of many companies selling goods made by former sex slaves.  There’s also the Nomi Network—their tagline is “Buy Her Bag Not Her Body,” a deployment of rhetoric implying she’s going to have to sell one or the other, and she is dependent on your choice to seal her fate.  There’s Purpose Jewelry, “handcrafted by survivors of modern day slavery… each jewelry tag is hand-signed by the girl who created it.”  There’s JC Denim, “handcrafted by girls who have been rescued out of sex slavery.”  One more—just for the pun—a soap brand, Trades of Hope made by women who “have made a clean break from their previous lifestyle in the sex trade…”  Punjammie fans…are proud of the work they’re doing by buying and wearing Punjammies.  You see a lot of words and phrases like empower, good deed, and making a difference

Broken Record

There’s something especially funny about Sweden picking this up while the rest of the West is admitting it’s hokum:

The Ski World Cup in Sweden has been a worldwide party…But behind the scenes police have been battling a rise in prostitution…“The phenomenon is bigger than we think, there are large hidden numbers” [said a trained police parrot]…”We have received information…that this…is…a…bigger problem during the World Cup than…normal…”

The End of the Beginning

the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the residence restrictions automatically imposed on sex offenders by state law are unconstitutional…the law prohibits registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, without regard to the nature of the crimes they committed or the threat they currently pose…the 2,000-foot rule excludes 97 percent of the land zoned for multifamily housing in San Diego County…residence restrictions…often apply even if an offender’s crime had nothing to do with children, [and] can be so extensive that entire cities are effectively off limits…

Vendetta

You may not be able to spot it for all the cop-worship and badge-licking, so I’ll help you: “The CEASE Network” is just another front for Swanee Hunt’s “Demand Abolition” pogrom-funding program:  “CEASE, an acronym for Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation, got its official start in Boston, Denver and Seattle earlier this year, with seven more cities — including Portland, Chicago and Phoenix — set to launch their own initiatives later this month…”  This article is several months old, but I think it’s important to track the growth of this private war conducted to please the bloodlust of a morally-warped multi-billionaire.

An Example To the West (#343)

A Bangkok Post article from the director of EMPOWER:

Every year without fail for over a decade, Thailand has been scolded by the United States for not doing enough to comply with US anti-trafficking and border control policies in its annual Trafficking in Persons report…To show that Thailand is doing its job to tackle human trafficking in the sex industry, every year a few hundred migrants, mostly young women, are rounded up, detained and deported as victims…It will never be possible to use harsh laws and punishment to stop people moving across borders for better lives…

Not Good Enough

I honestly have to wonder if Emily Nagoski hasn’t been reading me:

…Flibanserin…is a drug intended to treat low sexual desire in women.  The F.D.A. has rejected it twice already, and will most likely reject it a third time…the drug…is…attempting to treat something that isn’t a disease…The previous model, originating in the late ’70s…placed sexual desire first, as if it were a hunger, motivating an individual to pursue satisfaction.  Desire was conceptualized as emerging more or less “spontaneously.”  And some people do feel they experience desire that way.  Desire first, then arousal.  But…many people (perhaps especially women)…experience desire as…emerging in response to, rather than in anticipation of, erotic stimulation.  Arousal first, then desire…What these women need is not medical treatment, but a thoughtful exploration of what creates desire between them and their partners…Feeling judged or broken for their sexuality is exactly what they don’t need — and what will make their desire for sex genuinely shut down…

Worse Than I Thought (Traffic Updates) IM propaganda

The fetish for posting silly “sex trafficking” signs in stigmatized businesses has been growing for a while now, but this the first time I’ve seen magic powers attributed to the placards:

Lawmakers are introducing a new bill…[which “creates signs to free sex slaves”] across Florida.  The bill would require new signs that tell victims how to get…rescued [from] truck stops, massage parlors, and other places where human trafficking victims are forced into sex slavery…

Another Fine Mess

Yet another edition of “OMG WHORES KNOW HOW TO USE THE INTERNET!!!!

…Pornography…spurred the adoption of…VHS tapes, interactive CDs and DVDs, and pretty much the entire Internet.  Now it’s coming to your smartphone in a whole new way, thanks to…Snapchat…the service unveiled a feature called Snapcash, which allows people to send money using Square…Strippers and porn stars have started to use Snapchat to send videos and photos of themselves naked for a small fee…Snapchat doesn’t leave anything in your search history.  There’s no trace of it to be found by a snooping significant other or an overprotective parent…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on January 18th; I have modified it slightly for time references and to fit the format of this blog.

The Golem (1920)One would think that after a century of the motion picture as an art form, people would grasp that just because something appears on film does not make it real.  Despite its name, even cinéma vérité is less than truthful; as in subatomic physics, even the mere presence of an observer changes the observational subject.  And given that a self-professed “documentary” filmmaker still chooses what to film and what to edit out, whom to interview and whom to ignore, how to frame different viewpoints and what the narrator will say, no reasonable person could imagine that simply granting a production replete with exaggeration, distortion and outright lies the dignity of a “nonfiction” label actually has the power to make it so.  Unfortunately, the majority of the population is anything but reasonable, and misnaming a drama a documentary or claiming that it is “based on a true story” is more than enough to convince them that real life is truthfully and objectively portrayed therein.

As you might expect, moral panics have often been amplified by such means, but the advent of cheap digital cameras and software-based editing has democratized the filmmaking process to such an extent that the first moral panic of the internet era, the “sex trafficking” hysteria, has been promoted thus to an unprecedented extent.  So while the two most prominent examples of “sex trafficking” fetishism misrepresented as fact, namely Taken and Eden, are products of the professional moviemakers’ craft (the former a big-budget studio release, the latter a smaller-budget “independent”), there have also been a plethora of semi-professional and amateur films, ranging from small-budget to no-budget, which purport to tell the “truth about sex trafficking” to credulous, slack-jawed audiences who prefer their BDSM porn in disguised form.  Much has been written about the fraud named Eden and the chief perpetrator of the scam, Chong Kim; applying the same scalpel to the body of low-end “sex trafficking” cinema soon results in a gory mess too graphic even for the slasher movies which appeal to roughly the same sensibilities as these so-called “documentaries”.

In just the past two years I’ve logged eight of these cheapies:  Ente, Lot Lizard, Anna, Dirty Little Secret, The Making of a Girl, International Boulevard, Chosen and The Long Night; it’s entirely possible that there may have been others which escaped my notice.  Then early last month I read reports of not one but three more, all in the same day.  The headline for the first, 8 Days, alludes to the aforementioned blockbuster Taken, and the article itself seems to have been written by a Hollywood wannabe:

A new film based on actual events exposes the shocking secrets of Human Trafficking.  If you think it isn’t happening in your hometown, you’re wrong…8 Days…is…based on a true story…a teen named Amber who comes from an affluent Texas family, goes to a…party where she gets drunk, is kidnapped, and later sold to pimps…“kids are targeted at the mall or the movies, parties and at school,” said Jaco Booyens, the film’s director.  “In the movie, Amber was trafficked by a friend.  A friend!  They’re using people you know to create a comfort zone”…Booyens says the average age…is 12 years old…raped sometimes up to 20 or 30 times in a single day…Victims are often snatched from places such as a party, the mall or the movies, and often, sex traffickers pay someone who is friends with the teen to bring her to a party where they will take her…

Note the repetition, the use of familiar-but-bogus “facts”, and the director’s pretense that because something appears in his movie that somehow constitutes evidence of its reality.  Note also that the story starts with what I call the “Profession of Faith”, the central creed of the “sex trafficking” cult, as does this one:

Filmmakers behind The Trafficking Life…want to get their point across that human trafficking is not just happening somewhere else.  It’s become a big problem here at home…Diana Cisneros…is the center of a new documentary in which she shares the growing problem taking place in Kern County [California]…

Kern County is infamous for this kind of moral panic; it was one of the early centers of the Satanic Panic as well.  But while fanatics claim that “sex trafficking happens everywhere”, the truth is that it’s sex trafficking hysteria that’s nearly omnipresent:

A Path Appears investigates young women in America forced into a life of prostitution…in our own backyards — in Chicago and Nashville and Boston.  The Department of Justice estimates that there are 300,000 children at risk of being trafficked into sexual slavery in the U.S…Ashley Judd and Nicholas Kristof are guided through the streets of Nashville by a woman who was first sold to a pimp by her mother at the age of 12, and then visit an example of a solution that works…sting operations cracking down on the buyers of sex…

David DelayNone of these fakumentaries take the trouble to investigate squat; as should be obvious from the repetition of prohibitionist lies in these articles, all they do is to parrot the same old nonsense about “children”, “pimps”, “sex slavery” and the like while infantilizing sex workers, demonizing clients, lionizing cops and celebrating criminalization.  But when anything becomes as popular as these films have, it’s inevitable that life will start imitating art, at least in the minds of the corrupt:

The…founder and owner of “Grandpa’s RV Productions,” David Delay, Sr., is accused of coaxing two teens into prostitution and then threatening to expose them on Facebook if they stopped working for him.  Delay, 48, has been charged with a host of pimping-related crimes alongside Marysa Renee Comer, a 20-year-old woman accused of assisting in running the operation from their Lynnwood [Washington] apartment…an 18-year-old young woman…fell in love…with Comer, who began picking her up at school with Delay.  The [young woman] began dating Comer and Delay, in an effort to make a life with Comer…they told [her] they were making a documentary about human trafficking and  prostitution.  “They stated it was best for her to be involved in the documentary by escorting so that she can know what it is really all about”…said [the] charging papers…Comer and Delay set up the encounters and took all the money she was paid…a subsequent search of prostitution advertisements by police supported [her] claims that she’d been taken around the country to work as an escort…

In other words, an actual criminal got the idea for his criminal acts from the propaganda put out by the people who pretend to be interested in fighting such exploitation; given that it happened in the state that’s most heavily invested in “sex trafficking” hysteria, it’s the kind of irony one might expect to find in a Hollywood screenplay.

Cut.  Print.

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No sex worker I know reports clients as being the biggest problem…it’s always the rescuers, the police and the state who seem to do them the most harm.  –  Marijke Vonk

Real People 

First They Came for the Hookers…

Police cracked down on four dancers and two managers at a San Antonio gentleman’s club…after the strippers allegedly revealed a little bit too much skin…undercover [perverts entrapped]…dancers [into] pulling down the waistband of their thongs to reveal “the crevice of their buttocks,” which is a violation of a city ordinance…

Sexual Predators

There’s no badge-licking quite as nauseating as that which appears in stories about vice stings:

…Philadelphia…Vice squad posted provocative ads on backpage.com…men…were completely unaware that the women they had arranged to meet were actually undercover female police officers…Northeast Philadelphia has become a “hotbed” for prostitution…So…police are attacking the demand…”We’re taking their cell phones, we’re taking their money and we’re publicizing their names…” [a cop mouthpiece bragged]…Police say prostitution is a magnet for all types of crime including guns, drugs and human trafficking which can put even innocent bystanders in danger…

You heard it here first, folks; when a man pays me to have sex in private, a magical magnetic field is created which attracts guns and drugs, and those inanimate objects in turn emit radiation which can “put innocent bystanders in danger”.  Nor is this kind of obsequious toadying limited to the broadcast media, or to Pennsylvania:

…Since January, D.C. police have run a string of stings…luring men with fake ads on the Internet…[the cops pretend to be] responding to complaints from residents…[about] prostitutes along 14th Street [by going after internet escorts who aren’t on the street]…

Feminine Pragmatism (#133)

More accurate headline:  “Woman prevented from working to support her child”:

Valerie Fairman, who appeared on the second season of MTV’s Sixteen and Pregnant, was arrested…in…a…prostitution sting…[in] Delaware  [which cops pretended was] “in response to numerous citizen complaints about prostitution”…

Under Every Bed 

It’s astonishing to realize that these people are serious:

…It is often difficult for citizens and law enforcement to identify cases of human trafficking because the deals often happen online…said Jodi Emerson…[of “rescue” profiteer group] Fierce Freedom…“If I had someone call me up today and say, ‘I’m a victim of human trafficking and want to get out of it,’ I don’t really have anywhere to put them”…an unintended effect of strengthened drug trafficking laws in Wisconsin is a shift in criminal enterprises from drugs to prostitution…it is becoming easier and more profitable for gangs and other criminals to sell something repeatedly rather than only once…

Monsters Penny Proud

The rash of murders of black transwomen continues:

Penny Proud, who was fatally shot…in New Orleans, is the fifth transgender woman of color in the United States to be killed within the past month…Proud’s death also reinforced other common trends when transgender women are killed: Police misgendered Proud and media coverage dwelled on prostitution, even though it had no apparent connection to the homicide…An article and video posted on Nola.com called the victim “male” and a “man”…

These same ugly trends appear in the coverage of yet another such murder:

…a Texas College football player [named Carlton Ray Champion]…has been arrested for the murder of Tyrone Underwood…the two men had been seeing each other for several weeks…Carlton…thought [Underwood] was female…The police aren’t saying if the motive was the killing was because Mr. Underwood was a transgender male, but that seems to be the working theory they are going with.  Several members of the transgender community have reached out to say that Ty Underwood shouldn’t be IDed as a male, but as a female, but for accuracy of this reporting we went off the police affidavit…

“We had to parrot the police report even though we knew better” = “we were only following orders”.

Confined and Controlled (#335)

I’m not sure why The Local thinks prostitution is illegal in Italy, when it definitely isn’t:  “A number of Milan politicians have come out in support of opening a red light district in Italy’s financial capital, just days after plans for a prostitution zone were unveiled in Rome…Politicians from both left and right have backed the idea…despite prostitution being illegal in Italy…

Deafening Silence (#413)

Just in time for Chinese New Year, when millions of young Chinese will…be bugged by relatives about if or when they’ll tie the knot, China’s Internet regulator has decided it’s time to crack down on dating websites…[claiming] fraud is rampant…and has become a “public nuisance to millions of users.”  The statement also said prostitution would be targeted and that dating sites must enforce real-name registration…China state media…[have previously] accused [mobile flirting app] Momo of hosting sex workers, saying the “hormone-filled” app provides “a new ‘mobile base’ for sexual trades and other illegal activities…”

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#423)

Never forget that according to Bindel, members of the “pimp lobby” include me, two prohibitionist shills, two human rights organizations and a dead guy:

Across the globe, a dangerous, elusive group is gathering force…the Pimp Lobby…refuses to show its true face, hiding instead behind such apparently benevolent fronts as grassroots activist groups, academics, student unions and sex worker rights campaigners…Kate Smurthwaite, a comedian who’s loudly vocalised her belief that paying for sex should be criminalised, recently had a show at Goldsmith’s University cancelled as ticket sales were low…Smurthwaite labelled the night “a pro-pimp event”…requests from people in the industry that they be referred to as “sex workers” have been slammed as cynical obfuscations designed to deceive the public and keep pimps in business.  Some, however, question the existence of this shady lobby, and instead wonder if the label is just a useful way to discredit loud-mouthed sex workers standing up for their beliefs…a new guide was released for journalists (easy prey for this secretive group) advising on how to spot members of the pimp lobby.  The guide was produced by…Julie Bindel…According to Bindel, all sex work is abuse.  Women in sex work should be referred to as “prostituted women”, all their agency removed…Bindel’s guide is full of heart-wrenching statistics.  Many of them don’t stand up to scrutiny, but how important are a few digits?…

Checklist (#441) 

A functioning police state needs no police:

Flight attendants are often the only people outside of government and law enforcement who interact with victims of human trafficking on a regular basis…DHS helps train airline workers to recognize typical signs that a person is being trafficked…now the [rescue industry] group Airline Ambassadors is announcing the launch of a new app that will allow the group to track airline personnel’s reports of suspected trafficking.  The app allows airline workers to upload video footage of suspected trafficking cases to provide evidence something shady is going on…

Drawing Lines (#508) Lisa Ann

Lisa Ann doubles down:

…I’m not a prostitute.  I’m never gonna ask you for money.  I do like to go to games, so if you leave me tickets at will call, I’m there…I tell [basketball players] what to be prepared for.  Lock your wallet, watches or anything valuable in the safe before they invite a girl up…take her phone as soon as she gets into the room and put it in the safe as well…I’m training these boys how to be better men….these guys admit to me that they don’t mind paying for sex…I’m always dealing with the upper echelon.  I’m not a gold digger though…

In fact, this whorearchy-reinforcing, sister-endangering idiot has just doubled herself down into my Hall of Shame.  Welcome to the gallery of obnoxious, clownish sleazebags, Lisa!

Guest Columnist:  Hugo

It’s easier to negatively judge a group of people when they are nothing but “others”, a group of “they” who are different from us.  That’s why visibility is so important when you’re fighting for human rights…Outspoken sex workers force others to accept that prostitutes, not victims of trafficking or coercion, but actual sex workers with opinions and choices who demand some basic respect for their autonomy in fact exist.  It makes it harder to treat us, the sexual “others”, as non-human concepts to theorise about…That’s why I was so happy to read the guest column by Hugo on Maggie McNeill’s blog.  Clients of sex workers are perhaps the most stigmatised and misunderstood people in the entire sex work debate…clients…are often portrayed as horrible abusers…It’s that disgusting stigma that’s behind a lot of the trafficking-rhetoric, the idea that most clients could not care less about her well-being and that there is in fact a big market for abused, tattooed, caged and malnourished girls…a lot of men pay for sex.  There are many sex workers, they all have multiple clients and assuming those clients are not rich enough to see all sex workers, there are more clients than prostitutes.  We know that true psychopaths, people with anti-social personality disorder who enjoy the suffering of others, are thankfully extremely rare.  So it logically follows that most clients are normal men…

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Any politician or law enforcement agent who believes that criminalizing both suppliers and buyers of sex will improve the safety of sex workers and their clients is delusional.  –  Charles Hill

He or She?

A new study scheduled for publication in Psychological Science provides strong evidence that trans children’s understanding of their own gender identities is indistinguishable from that of their…cisgender…peers…running counter to common assumptions that trans kids are “pretending” or “confused” about their gender…the researchers assigned the same set of tasks to 32 trans children, 18 of their siblings, and 32 nontrans children, all aged 5-12…”Across all these tasks, across the more and the less controllable measures of gender development, our transgender participants look just like other kids, but in the direction of their gender identity rather than their sex assigned at birth”…

In other words, all kids who identified as female performed similarly to each other on the tests whether they were biologically female or not, and all the kids who identified as male performed more like each other than like the girls.

See How Well It Works?Cuckoo Clock McCain

“Cuckoo Clock” McCain ignores the collapse of the “gypsy whores” myth, insisting that the reason the Lost Tribe of Gomorrah failed to materialize in her backyard was because of her own hysteria:

“The Super Bowl, unfortunately, happens to be the largest human trafficking venue on the planet,” said Cindy McCain…”It’s gone on for decades unchecked,” said [FBI] Agent George Steuer…”When Arizona was awarded the Super Bowl, we had no human trafficking legislation on our books”…McCain said.  “Unless we were going to be racked with a dangerous Super Bowl, we had to get to work.”  It has worked, according to authorities…[though] there is no empirical evidence of an increase in trafficking during the Super Bowl, Steuer [pretends without presenting evidence that] his office has seen a “definite uptick in activity”…

Profound Mental Disabilities

Usually, it’s being submissive that they pretend is a mental illness:

…a 17-year-old girl…[was] in a car accident in 2008, [started] working as a dominatrix five years later, and a B.C. Supreme Court judge [decided] that…whipping people for a living…[instead] of “being a filmmaker or actress…showed a lack of ‘correct thinking’ and was proof she’d taken an unnecessary risk due to a loss of cognitive function from a moderate traumatic brain injury”…

Welcome To Our World (The Hits Keep Coming)

It never stops with whores:

Anyone helping homeless people by offering them travel money, shelter or food could face up to a year in prison…in Norway…Vidar Brien-Karlsen, Secretary of State…said it was necessary…as the police needed authority to crack down on those running begging networks as an organised business…

Can you smell the “trafficking” filth?

The Widening Gyre 

The last part of this item degenerates into “Swedish model” cheerleading, believe it or not:  “A [Utah politician] wants to give convicted child sex traffickers the…death penalty…He said he’s been working on bills to target prostitution…for years…”  And this barely-comprehensible muddle is as stupid as anything we’ve ever seen under this heading:

For the past three weeks…an R-storm warning has been in effect.  R-storm is a new multi-jurisdictional prostitution and sex trafficking operation…the women involved are not only at risk legally, they now face new risks on the street as guinea pigs for drugs dealers…”to test their products”…It’s that connection to other crimes…that R-storm is trying to fight…R-storm says…If you see behavior that looks suspicious, call your local police.

Puerile cop nomenclature, agency denial, demonization, the gateway myth, police-state propaganda…all in a few sentences!

Checklist 

The utterly ridiculous idea that a “sex buyer” is a particular kind of man that one can be “trained” to spot derives from the even more ludicrous notion that paying for sex is unusual and pathological:

One of Sweden’s largest hotel chains…has announced additional training for staff as part of a government initiative to counter prostitution in the hospitality industry…including watching an educational video designed to help them better identify clues that suggest plans to buy or sell sex…“It is incredibly important that there won’t be a witch hunt on individual customers”…[a hotel manager lied before advising]…all staff to call police immediately if they suspected prostitution…

Frequently Told Lies

The English Collective of Prostitutes has put out another debunking of prohibitionist myths; the more of these we see, the better.

Traffic Circle

It’s so good to see articles like this appearing in regular newspapers, especially when they quote me:

When media reports use the term “sex slave,” it sensationalizes rape and abduction…campaigns [against]…sex trafficking…end up making life more difficult and dangerous for sex workers…[because they] don’t differentiate between those who chose sex work versus those who are coerced…Take it from Maggie McNeill, a former sex worker who is now an activist and blogger.  She talks about how much of the data about…sex trafficking might be unreliable and how confounding the idea that all sex work is sex trafficking is problematic.  In an interview with Reason.com, McNeill says that until sex work is decriminalized, it’s difficult to have any real idea of how many sex workers are choosing the work versus needing to versus being forced into it.  Not having reliable data hasn’t stopped countless…organizations from bold…unsupported claims…

Property of the State Purvi Patel

Purvi Patel…faces two different, and contradictory, charges after suffering a premature delivery and seeking medical care.  The story…[gives] a frightening look of what’s to come as increasingly draconian abortion restrictions force pregnant people to turn to other, sometimes illegal and often dangerous, means…Patel went to an emergency room in…Indiana…for vaginal bleeding…prosecutors allege…she told staff she believed she was roughly two months pregnant and miscarried the fetus at home…Prosecutors initially charged Patel with felony neglect of a dependent, a class A felony that carries with it a 50-year prison sentence.  But in order to convict Patel with felony neglect, prosecutors must be able to prove the fetus she delivered was born alive…That’s why they have also charged Patel with feticide…

Vendetta (#432)

Swanee Hunt’s private pogrom has been moved up to January so cops can vomit out the lie that it has something to do with the Super Bowl:

A national coalition of local law enforcement agencies conducted a sting operation that led to the arrests of 570 would-be sex buyers…and 23 pimps or traffickers, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced…The ninth “National Day of Johns Arrests” ran for approximately two weeks, from January 15 through February 1…

Who but a government functionary would see nothing wrong with calling a two-week period a “day”?  The article boasts that the program has “grown rapidly”, and here’s why: “$341,330 in minimum fines…221 cars towed/forfeited…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#445)

Professor Hill strikes again:

…The last people that clients and/or sex workers who have been beaten, robbed, threatened, stalked or raped are going to go to are law enforcement agents…because [the latter] are actively seeking to arrest them and (in the case of clients) seize their assets…there is no reliable data to suggest that more than a small minority of sex workers are coerced or “trafficked”.  The often cited “statistics” on trafficking in sex work do not stand up under scrutiny and are systematically misquoted and exaggerated by NGOs and other interested groups in order to elicit funding and political support for…the abolition of all sex work for moral reasons.  One misleading statistic that keeps making the rounds is the claim that there are 300,000 minors being trafficked for sex in the United States…This figure is mathematically implausible since it represents 1 in every 50 girls in the US between the ages of 12 and 18…[such] estimates have been widely criticized as inflated and absurd…

Safe Targets (#452)

Terra [sic] Burns…is…a graduate student who studies the sex industry, and…[an activist] with…Community United for Safety and Protection, which opposes [bad] human trafficking laws…“Most of the people [charged]…have been women who have been working together”…says Burns….[who] thinks the law should be amended so those who work in the sex industry of their own volition are not…entrapped by [cops]…Burns launched a “Tilt” crowdfunding campaign three weeks ago…to raise $1,500 to pay for Burns to live out of a camper in Juneau for a month…[as] a…lobbyist…[a prohibitionist politician lied that an anti-whore law]…“doesn’t touch…voluntary sex workers in any way, shape, or form”…

Secret Squirrel (#509)

Note the starkly different tone when the stalker is a woman:

I can’t remember exactly when I decided to start Geotagging my partner…It wasn’t that I didn’t trust him; I just wanted to build on that trust with cold hard evidence.  Friends who think my behaviour is creepy, controlling or borderline obsessive have pointed out that just because you know where someone is doesn’t mean they are not in that place cheating on you.  That’s true, but this is something which means he’d have a harder time getting away with it…This isn’t…invading his privacy…If he had refused to use it, I would only presume he had something to hide…

The More the Better (#509)

Cracked continues its run of excellent pro-sex worker articles with “5 Ways Being a Legal Prostitute Is Weirder Than You Think“:

We didn’t expect to become the Internet’s primary source for insider perspectives on sex workers, but life is funny that way.  In our quest to understand society’s weird love/hate relationships with prostitutes, we’ve talked to those working outside the law and the few who ply their trade in legal brothels, and the consistent theme seems to be that it can be an awful job, but only because polite society insists on making it awfula…legal brothel worker…walked us through some of the bizarre rules, regulations, and everyday bullshit that pervades every aspect of their lives.  It really made it clearer than ever that the concept of someone accepting money for sex just scares the shit out of people…

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This Government only won an election, not the right to become our Mammy.  –  Ian O’Doherty

Another Reason Not To Do Cowgirl

This isn’t actually the reason I dislike cowgirl, but it makes a good excuse:

“Woman on top” is the most dangerous sex position, according to a new scientific study…”cowgirl”…is responsible for half of all penile fractures…”doggy-style”…is behind 29 per cent…[and] “man on top”…just 21 per cent…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do Michael Kitchen

a prostitute…asked for the $100 that [a client] agreed to for 30 minutes of her company.  She then explained that if the man wanted sex, he would have to pay an additional $150…the man became angry and demanded his $100 back…he…shoved her across the room…then unzipped her jeans…she began kicking him…and he punched her in the head twice…then pinned her down and removed the $100 from…her bra.  He then left the apartment…[investigating cops] discovered [the client’s phone number] belonged to a Las Vegas [cop named Michael Kitchen]…

Broken Record

Cows cause “sex trafficking”!

Federal and local [cops arrested] six child victims of domestic sex trafficking and…two alleged traffickers during the 2015 National Western Stock Show…large events with a national draw bring an…increase in child sex trafficking, the FBI said…agencies have been using big events…most notably last year’s Super Bowl — to…[arrest so-called] victims…Colorado is a breeding ground for human trafficking because of the major interstates crisscrossing it…

Shift in the Wind

The prestigious Adam Smith Institute comes out against laws that deny sex workers’ agency, drawing on data from Ric Curtis’ latest study.  Before too much longer, prohibitionists won’t be able to claim their crap is based on anything more than a political agenda.  Of course, that hasn’t stopped the creationists from getting laws passed, but it’ll be a great comfort when normal, educated people mock prohibitionism as they mock creationism today.

Bottleneck

We are remarkably dishonest when it comes to the sex industry…objections to nakedness-for-cash…blur into vague, emotive statements with very little actual meaning…”Farcical” and “dangerous” are two of the words I heard used last week to describe the UK’s licensing of sexual entertainment, and those words are absolutely accurate: the situation is a mess…any venue offering lap dancing, pole dancing or striptease is classified as a “sex encounter venue”.  Local councils have the power to veto licences for SEVs and, if they wish, declare a “nil” policy, meaning no SEVs whatsoever on their turf…this translates to councils up and down the country granting or denying licences inconsistently.  They’re given and revoked for no apparent reason, licensing fees are topsy turvy and, in some authorities, restrictive policy is such that councils are effectively trying to ban what is a lawful activity…

Theatrics 

Anti-whore theatrics are always ludicrous, but this is one of the most ridiculous ones I’ve seen yet:

Two female Italian councillors have embarked on an unusual quest to clamp down on…prostitution – by dressing up in miniskirts and confronting kerb-crawlers with a hidden camera.  The stunt had been initiated by Mayor Dimitri Russo…and councillors Anastasia Petrella and Stefania Sangermano…[who pretend sex work has a]  damaging effect…on their town…when punters would stop for the fake prostitutes, they were confronted by the mayor and a cameraman, leaping out from behind parked cars…

The self-important pomposity of politicians is demonstrated by the fact that nobody involved seems to realize how idiotic a spectacle they present.

Monsters

this [story] from…Louisville, KY…has all the disrespectful AP Stylebook violations…when writing about…murders of African-American trans women.  Using mugshot photo in WHAS-TV story: CHECK.   Using victim’s dead name:  CHECK.   Misgendering her throughout the story:  CHECK.  Surprised…WHAS-TV…didn’t…insert…whatever criminal record they could find since they found the mugshot…Ms. Edwards…was found shot to death at the Fern Valley Motel…on January 9…LMPD is searching for…Henry Richard Gleaves in connection with this homicide…[if] those of you in the Louisville area or Indianapolis area where Ms.Edwards was from…have some pics of her or know her femme name, please get it to me ASAP…

Cuckoo Advertising

Will these “reporters” never wake up?

With tuition costs soaring in Canada, many students are turning to a new…way of paying for school:  Renting yourself out for paid dates.  SeekingArrangement.com, which brings together prospective “sugar babies” with deep-pocketed “sugar daddies,” says it has seen a 42-per-cent increase in the number of students signing up on its site in the past year…the University of Toronto [has]…the fastest-growing number of sugar babies, with 195 new sign-ups last year…followed by Montreal’s McGill University, with 161 sign-ups…

The idea that selling sex is a “new” way to pay for schooling is utterly hilarious.

The Course of a Disease (#401)

Another rare Irish denunciation of prohibition:

…As a member of the Government which published the…Bill…which adopts the illogical position of criminalising the client but not the sex worker, [Alan] Farrell no doubt feels he is the vanguard of an administration which wants to protect women, but…saying that you are against…forcing [women] into sexual slavery is not the same as saying you are against…informed consent between two adults…In a world where most civilised countries have recognised prostitution as a morally neutral fact of life which can be regulated and taxed – where it is simply another arm of the leisure industry – we have replaced our inherently immature and prudish attitudes about sex work with…one which says that all prostitutes are victims and all Johns are sexual predators…his assertion that: “In my opinion, it is simply unacceptable that a man or a woman would purchase a person’s body for sexual gratification” is entirely irrelevant but also rather instructive, because a man who has legislative power has just admitted that he thinks two grown-ups having a private transaction is “unacceptable”…

Stupor Bowl 

Even though the mainstream media are now admitting that the “gypsy whores” myth is bullshit (at least in regard to the Super Bowl), they just can’t let go of that “sex trafficking” carcass yet.  The Washington Post‘s debunking is marred by extensive quoting of cops and of Dominique Roe-Sepowitz’s bogus “study” that claimed (among other idiocy) that “84% of [escort] ads indicated possible sex trafficking“, and the Bowling Green News helpfully explains that “sex trafficking” doesn’t increase around sporting events because “in reality it occurs everywhere, 24/7” and is caused by TV commercials.

Traffic Jam (#422)

It looks as though the horrible Project ROSE may be kaput, though of course Sepowitz has to save face by denying that the mountain of ethics complaints against it had anything to do with that:  “…Roe-Sepowitz, who…helped organize Project Rose, said that program has been put on hold, but she said it was due to officer availability, not controversy…”  The day that Crazy Joe Arpaio won’t provide “officers” for an anti-sex pogrom will be a very frigid one in Hell.

The Mote and the Beam (#428)

The sheer number of anti-sex trafficking bills that have been introduced in the new Congress (17)…should tell us something.  Either sex trafficking has suddenly reached epidemic proportions in America, or it’s become the showboat du jour for preening politicians.  Most signs point to the latter.  Of the 11 anti-trafficking bills passed by the House [last week]…most…merely add layers of bureaucracy and authorize funding to pad these layers…but…H.R. 181…is exactly the kind of thing federal officials will use to entrap folks into agreeing to sex with an imaginary 17-year-old and then send them to prison for a few decades…every week I read multiple local-news reports from around the country about “sex trafficking stings”…[that] result in nothing but the arrest of adults engaged in consensual prostitution…H.R. 181 would be federalizing [this]…

Gorged With Meaning (#434)

I’m not sure what the headline writer means by saying “Belle Knox is Remaking Herself as a Libertarian Activist“; she’s been an avowed libertarian since she first came on the scene a year ago, and has been active in Students for Liberty for most of that time.  The part of this interview that caught my attention the most was this one:

…On the Students for Liberty website, Weeks identifies her “favorite figures in liberty” as Ayn Rand, economist Milton Friedman, and two other activists whose careers have included both sex and politics:  porn star Nina Hartley and former call girl Maggie McNeill

Business As Usual (#506)

This reporter’s faith that cops never do anything they aren’t supposed to, like raping whores during “prostitution stings”, would be touching if it weren’t so horribly misplaced.  Even worse?  He quotes prohibitionist Kathleen Barry, calling her a “prostitution expert” (which is like calling Carrie Nation a “wine expert”), and giving her a platform for her vile “end demand” propaganda.

Something Rotten in Sweden (#507)

Prostitutes are victims…King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg…told a packed Town Hall audience in attendance for an anti-sex trafficking panel…But…how does acknowledging the existence of consensual adult sex workers nullify all anti-trafficking efforts?…it contradicted the panel’s own stated intentions of respecting marginalized individuals’ humanity…sex workers in the audience, however, had different opinions about how to best protect—and distinguish—at-risk youth and self-employed adults…

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