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Posts Tagged ‘escort review sites’

[Prohibition] directly and indirectly contribute[s] to lethal violence, disease, discrimination, forced displacement, injustice and the undermining of [human] right[s].  –  Johns Hopkins/Lancet Commission

Bad Girls 

Better headline: “Sex worker kills drunk, violent client who tried to fuck her bareback“:

A Cook County [Illinois] judge sentenced a 23-year-old prostitute…to 15 years in [prison]…for the murder of…Al Filan…[Alisha] Walker and another woman who was not charged went to Filan’s home on Jan. 18, 2014…It was Walker’s third encounter with Filan…[but this time he was drunk and] insisted on unprotected sex, the women refused and the three got into a heated argument…Filan punched [Walker] when she tried to retrieve [her] $300 [fee]…Filan’s autopsy reports revealed him to have a .208 blood-alcohol content.  She…stabbed him in self-defense and left his bloody body on his kitchen floor without calling for help…

I’m not going to defend killing somebody (she stabbed him 14 times) over $300, but this kind of violence is the inevitable result of all criminalization of consensual behavior.

The Last Shall Be First 

There are so many of these toilet bills being flung about now*, it’s hard to keep track of them all:

The American Civil Liberties Union…Lambda Legal, and Equality NC…[announced] a federal lawsuit…challenging North Carolina’s HB 2…passed…last week in a rushed special session…[to]…ban…all…nondiscrimination ordinances statewideThe…measure…[also]  requires restroom access in public facilities…[be] based on birth assigned sex regardless of a person’s gender identity and lived gender.  It also jeopardizes the more than $4.5 billion in federal funding that North Carolina receives for…schools under Title IX, which prohibits…discrimination against transgender individuals…The North Carolina League of Municipalities, Attorney General Roy Cooper, and [a number of] major companies…have announced their opposition to the law

*Exactly in the way monkeys fling poop.

Change a Few Words

They’re advising a “gradual” shift.  Because it wouldn’t do to stop murdering and caging people and destroying lives all at once:

A group of 22 medical experts convened by Johns Hopkins University and The Lancet have called…for the decriminalization of all nonviolent drug use and possession.  Citing a growing scientific consensus on the failures of the global war on drugs, the experts further encourage countries and U.S. states to “move gradually toward regulated drug markets”…Their report comes ahead of a special UN General Assembly Session on drugs to be held next month, where the world’s countries will re-evaluate the past half-century of drug policy and, in the hope of many experts, chart a more public health-centered approach going forward…the last time the UN held a special session on drugs, in 1998, it set itself the goal of a “drug-free world” by 2008…The commissioners cite research showing that “of an estimated 246 million people who used an illicit drug in the past year, [only] 27 million (around 11%) experienced problem drug use..The idea that all drug use is necessarily ‘abuse’ means that immediate and complete abstinence has been seen as the only acceptable approach”…

Above the Law  

A pig rapes an extremely-drunk woman, but journalists still won’t call it rape:

A Baton Rouge [cop] has been [given a paid vacation]…after a woman accused him of [raping] her in August following a traffic stop…Brad Bennett…[pulled] the victim and her roommate…over…[and arrested] the…roommate…on a DWI…the victim was not allowed to drive herself home [because she was drunk, so]…Bennett drove…her home…[and raped her while] she was impaired…she [was drunk so she] remembers little of what happened…

First They Came for the Hookers…

It never stops with us, ladies:

A teaching assistant has been sacked by a primary school after parents discovered photographs of her modelling underwear.  Gemma Laird, 21, says she was told the school did not want pupils “thinking it is acceptable to be a model”…the headmistress said…”people would lose respect for the school if they found out…She made me feel dirty and like I was a prostitute.  It’s ridiculous”…

Still think it’s a good idea to draw those lines between you and us?  Because once you do, there’s nothing to stop somebody else from moving them so you’re on the “bad girl” side.

The Widening Gyre

Another “stripping causes sex trafficking” wankfest:

…The Portland metro area has become a hub of child sex trafficking in part due to the large volume of legal adult entertainment venues…Northwest Family Services’ “Deceptions” curriculum was created at the request of law enforcement in Vancouver, Wash.  Vancouver Police realized that sex trafficking had become an epidemic in Pacific Northwest…middle and high schools…

This is modern policing: scaring kids with bogeymen and lies, and representing their sexual fantasies as “realizations” about objective reality.

Lower Education

The indispensable Liz Brown takes a long, thorough look at how the US government is attempting to regulate sex under the guise of “fighting discrimination”:

…Not so long ago, the U.S. criminalized pretty much all sex outside of marriage.  As these laws have been struck down by courts or allowed to settle into obsolescence, it would seem that sexual liberty has been vindicated as an important American value.  But while the courts have been busy ushering the government out of our bedrooms, it’s been creeping right back in under new pretenses.  Gone is the language of morals, tradition, and order—the state now intervenes in our sex lives bearing the mantles of safety, exploitation, and sex discrimination…

Paint By Numbers

Even in the world of stupid “sex trafficking” publicity stunts, this one is painfully stupid:

Models were walking and dancing down the aisle, each wearing shirts that said “One less,” as lively tunes played…Foundations for Freedom [founder] Dana World-Patterson…said she…felt the show is a fun way to raise money for eradicating human trafficking…She explained the meaning behind the “One Less” t-shirts they wore, saying children enter the sex trade as young as age 10…journalist Eric Von also emceed, saying…Milwaukee has experienced a large increase in child sex trafficking cases and the average age is 13.  “An article recently described Milwaukee as the ‘Harvard school of pimpism’”…

From “the Harvard of sex trafficking” to “the Harvard of pimp school” to “the Harvard school of pimpism”.  “Sex trafficking” tropes just get more and more hilarious with each iteration.

False Witness

Still think you don’t live in a police state?

…teachers and school administrators [are being taught]…an abbreviated version of the Reid Technique, which is used across the country by [cops, rent-a-cops]…insurance-fraud investigators, and other people for whom [accusing people of crimes] is part of the job…trainees [are taught that] patterns of body language—including slumping, failing to look directly at the interviewer, offering “evasive” responses, and showing generally “guarded” behaviors…supposedly reveal whether a suspect [is] lying…Reid teaching materials [never] refer to “students” or “kids.”  They [are] always “suspects” or “subjects”…The training [includes] tricks to provoke a response that might [be interpreted as] guilt…John E. Reid and Associates has been marketing its methods to school systems…in eight states…Young people tend to be…vulnerable to false confession…[a study showed]  forty-two per cent of the juveniles who were exonerated had falsely confessed, compared with only eight per cent of adults.  Nearly twice as many eleven- to fourteen-year-olds falsely confessed as did fifteen- to seventeen-year-olds.police misconduct poster  Other research has shown that Reid training influences the perception of juveniles by the people who use it…Reid-trained police [are] less aware of the developmental differences between adolescents and adults than police who did not receive the training…Reid-trained [cops] tend…to believe that adolescents [are] just as capable as adults of withstanding psychologically coercive questioning, including deceit…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#450) 

“Sex addiction” is the defense of choice for upskirt photo takers who get caught:

[Steven Johanowicz]…was convicted of felony crimes…for recording an upskirt video, and secretly videotaping a woman in a shower, and was sentenced to three years probation…[cops] also found three hundred [self-recorded] upskirt videos in Johanowicz’s apartment…Johanowicz says he lost his long-time position at Chazen Museum as a result of his actions.  He’s in therapy for…sex addiction…

Birth of a Movement (#526)

An Italian city copies France by criminalizing “looking like a whore”:

Scantily-clad prostitutes in Salerno will now face fines of up to €500 for “violating urban decorum”, a move ushered in by mayor Enzo Napoli following a spike in the number of sex workers in the city centre…The fines are also a way of trying to deter prostitutes…By encouraging the scantily dressed women to cover up, it is hoped that they will become less attractive to clients and be less visible to citizens and tourists…

Lying Down With Dogs (#539) 

All the most enlightened, free countries use US-type anti-sex work rhetoric:

Several provinces and cities where prostitution is popular were chosen for a pilot project that aims to prevent the crime and reduce its effects on the community…all establishments that traditionally draw prostitution – hotels, bars, dance halls and massage parlors – will be relegated to a specific area.  Lê Văn Quý, deputy director of the HCM City Social Evils Prevention Department…[said] it made the businesses easier to manage, and would help ensure public order…The intent of the project was not to encourage prostitution, but to gradually eliminate it…

Too Close To Home

King County prosecutors aren’t yet done destroying people’s lives for having consensual sex:

King County prosecutors contend…Phillip “Skip” Dehennis was an active member of [TRB]…Investigators contend hundreds of women brought to the United States to work as prostitutes…[an undercover pig paid sex workers, then wrote reviews cops now claim were] fake…[in order to get] himself invited to “meet and greet” parties…

So now 12 supposed “victims” have mushroomed into “hundreds”; I guess the cops figure that since they can’t produce even one “victim”, they might as well go for broke.  They’re also now claiming the reviews used to get into good standing on the boards were fake, an impossibility on this particular board because the ladies in the fake reviews would’ve raised the alarm.  No, this rapist just fucked escorts under false pretenses in order to exploit them in an evil scheme to harm their customers and destroy their livelihoods, and all with the blessings of the sheriff’s office.

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When sexual minorities burned, we burned together.  –  Jillian Keenan

Aversions

It’s not just many pros who dislike oral sex; some amateurs don’t either:

…While 91 percent of women perform oral on their male partners, only 79 percent of men perform oral on their female partners.  But…the discrepancy…has a lot to do with the fact that some women just don’t want to receive oral sex…I had orgasms a handful of times while receiving oral sex, but considering how rare it had been over the years…I finally decided to come clean with my partners…

The author lists 11 reasons, of which I’m with her on 2-7 and 11.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

More “questionable” than being a vice cop?

A Seattle [cop] has been placed on paid leave [after]…he…was found, in his off-duty time, to be frequenting the Dancing Bare on Aurora Avenue…which was the target of a vice operation related to alleged prostitution activities…he…was not arrested and has not been accused of a crime.  He is under investigation after he was found to be “hanging around” the club and engaging in questionable conduct…

Cognitive Impairment tasteless Israeli sculpture

“Artists” claim that if a woman puts her phone number on a card, a fragment of her being is transferred to the card, and anything done to it happens to her.  I am not making this up:

…A 10-foot-high vagina sculpture was installed on a Tel Aviv thoroughfare…Artists Sasha Kurbatov and Vanane Borian crafted the giant vulva from cards that advertise sex work services.  A 50-foot trail of the same type of cards leads to the work…Hundreds of brothels operating illegally in Tel Aviv are reportedly responsible for the cards strewn about city sidewalks…“All the fragments of women that are on the floor, people are stepping on them, they see it, and there is no longer any value to it,” [said] Borian…”A woman simply loses all value and becomes an object, not even a complete object”…

But symbolizing the totality of a woman with a grotesque, cartoonish sculpture of a twat isn’t dehumanizing, no sirree.

The Scarlet Letter

A good, thorough article on the use of shaming tactics against sex workers’ clients:

…Tapping into the new power of the internet, along with our very old obsession with transgressive sex…officials hope to wield the fear of public judgment in the name of the public good, arguing that prostitution is linked to far more serious crimes than we ever thought.  But by taking punishment out of the hands of law enforcement and placing it in the hands of the public, whose emotions and reactions lie beyond their control, shaming campaigns can also be messy and unpredictable.  And the resulting stigma can last indefinitely…

The article pays especial attention to the horrendous “Flush the Johns” debacle.

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical 

So very many people completely bereft of the capacity for rational thought:

By buying a plush toy with a heart on it, Tampa mom Nicole O’Kelly unwittingly alerted predators that her little girl “is ready to be traded for sex”…correspondent Melanie Michael told viewers that the toy, a pink stuffed truck recently purchased at a Monster Jam event, “held a sick secret; a disgusting calling card for creeps. The heart on the toy was a symbol for pedophiles”…While presenting  no evidence whatsoever that the toy was made to be, or perceived as, some kind of secret signaling device, the reporter interviewed the toy-buying mom, who seemed as distraught as if her child had narrowly escaped a windowless van…Detective Anthony Bassone…said the hearts are used for girls while a separate symbol with triangles targets boys…

The Widening Gyre

The Facts“.  Seriously.

Just imagine…You’re glad to be home.  You crawl into bed and wrap yourself in your favorite blanket…Suddenly, a rustling in the next room jolts you awake…A bag is thrown over your head.  You’re carried away…No one knows where you are.  You have no hope of rescue.  You’ve vanished…The average age of a modern day slave is 12 years old…

These moronic tripe is full of “facts” like “traffickers profit $150 billion a year” though “the average price of a slave is less than that of a new cell phone”.  Obviously, these “facts” don’t include any math.

Worse Than I Thought

Keep in mind, all this requires is the “testimony” of a lying cop out to score arrests:

People who purchase illicit sex in South Carolina could soon be placed on the sex offender registry and pay stiffer fines…[blah blah “end demand”] the…bill…includes…stiffer consequences…for those soliciting sex from people who are “profoundly mentally disabled”…

This kind of tyranny is contagious; right next door in Georgia:

A bill…would go after the pimps and the people who pay for prostitution…It would…[make] solicitation a felony upon a second conviction…[and] put…twice-convicted customers on the state’s sex offender registry…

Want a good laugh? Look at the masthead of the TV station printing this bootlicking filth.

Checklist

There’s so very much stupidity here, but I guess the main thing is the “signs”:

Victims of human trafficking often can be the children in classrooms who frequently act up, who show abrupt changes in behavior and are picked up from school by a man who isn’t a family member…Rep. Ann Wagner [fantasized] that the victims are “hiding in plain sight”…St. Louis is one of the most active human trafficking locations in the country…schools are increasingly targets for recruitment…Students might wind up at a party with a friend whose boyfriend is a predator, or be enticed with expensive clothes or cellphones…”it could happen overnight,” said [“trafficking” fetishist] Jenee Littrell…It is estimated that at least 100,000 children across the United States are sexually exploited annually…But the real numbers may be significantly higher.  The average age of children who fall victim to human trafficking is 12 to 14 years old

Frequently Told Lies

It’s so good to see debunking spreading to the mainstream press:

…police do…dramatic busts…because of widely believed myths about sex work, which endlessly echo back and forth between policy and pop culture.  The politicians and activists who perpetuate these myths believe they’re saving people, but only through careful examination of the facts can governments begin to reduce the violence and marginalization that sex workers suffer.  Here are three myths in particular that impact legislation and enforcement (and help keep those harmful stereotypes alive in our heads).  Myth 1. The average age of entry into sex work is between 12 and 14…Myth 2….sex trafficking is the most common form of [coerced labor]…Myth 3. “Target the demand” works…

Feet of Clay (#416)extra-stupid kristof

The buffoonish Nick Kristof is up on his anti-Backpage hobby horse again, and as usual he’s not too concerned with the truth:

…we as a society are complicit…by allowing a popular website called Backpage.com to be used to arrange child rape…Backpage…has about 80 percent of the U.S. market for online sex ads in America, mostly for consenting adults but many also for women who are forcibly trafficked or for underage girls…Children in at least 47 states have been sold on Backpage…If there were a major American website openly selling heroin or anthrax, there would be an outcry.  Yet we Americans tolerate a site like Backpage.com that is regularly used to peddle children…

It’s interesting that Kristof mentioned anthrax, given his major role in destroying a man’s career over paranoid delusions about it.

Challenge (#615)

A legal bid to overturn the ban on paying for sex in Northern Ireland is being partly funded by an escort website.  Sex worker Laura Lee is leading the High Court challenge.  She was questioned about her financial support by members of the Home Affairs Committee…Ms Lee…said…”a lot of the sex workers that advertise on [Escort Ireland] put pressure on them to support me and said it was only fair, since they make money from the industry, that they should support my efforts of keeping our industry safe.”

Too Close To Home (#618)

Seattle Times‘ bootlicking editor Thanh Tan is at it again, characterizing my friends and me as heartless liars for countering her nauseating masturbatory fantasies about “sex slave children” with actual facts:

…Though no one knows exactly how much of the local sex trade involves consenting adults or coerced individuals, a 2008 study estimated hundreds of youths are bought and sold every night in the Seattle area.  In recent years, police and sheriff’s deputies…have shifted their focus…to targeting the patrons responsible for rising demand.  A coalition of sex workers and their allies have taken to social media recently to argue vehemently against this approach.  They say criminalization is unfair to them and their clients.  They are proud of what they do and reject a host of studies that have tried to estimate the age range and number of people being trafficked.  Most concerning is the tendency in some of these online tirades to downplay or ignore the widespread harm suffered within the same industry by far less-privileged people.  Disturbingly, there is a lack of compassion for the children getting caught or forced into the trade…

I do like the powerful graphic of a brutal, thuggish-looking cop standing guard over “rescued” sex workers; one can almost see him considering which woman he’s going to rape next.  Good work, Seattle Times!

Peeping Toms (#619)

Jillian Keenan schools ignoramus judges:

According to a new federal district court decision, the Constitution “does not prohibit the regulation of BDSM conduct.” In other words, the precedent implied by bans on anti-sodomy and anti-adultery laws—that adults have a constitutional right to freedom of noncommercial intimate conduct—doesn’t protect us…The court rejected the idea that Lawrence v. Texas might protect other sexual minorities…because “there is no basis to conclude that [BDSM]…is deeply rooted in … history.”  Excuse me?…BDSM, without question, has a “deeply rooted” history…there are references to BDSM throughout historical literature: Robert Dixon, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher, and William Shakespeare all referred to sadomasochism in their work. A fresco from approximately 490 BC in the aptly-named Etruscan “Tomb of the Whipping” even depicts two men flogging a woman in an erotic context…the court…also argued that…because straights have long despised gay people, they have a special interest in legal protection…All consenting adults have the right to intimate lives that are free from government interference.  It’s a shame that the court refused to recognize that—and a shame that the ruling attempts to draw lines around Lawrence v. Texas to divide “protect[ed]”sexual minorities from unprotected ones.  Such divisions are, to steal the court’s language, not “deeply rooted” in history…

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Reputation is an idle and most false imposition, oft got without merit and lost without deserving.  –  William Shakespeare, Othello (II,iii)

yelpEvery so often I go to put an item in one of my news columns, only to realize there’s no appropriate heading because I’ve never actually written about the subject.  And every once in a blue moon, I find myself asking, “How the hell did I manage never to have written about that?”  This is one of those times; though I’ve mentioned it often in passing, I’ve never actually devoted a column to the subject.  “It” in this case being escort reviews.  For those who have never been involved in a modern escort transaction on either side of the deal, and who haven’t paid much attention to the subject before starting to read this blog, an escort review is a lot like a Yelp review for pretty much any other commercial service; it’s a way for a satisfied customer to let others know that a service provider is a good one, and for a dissatisfied customer to warn others of scams, hidden problems, etc.  The best reviews are practically love letters; the worst ones can be downright abusive.  And given the nature of the service, they can often be, well, pornographic.

That last is a sticking point with a lot of escorts; though some review boards discourage or disallow graphic details, others encourage them.  And even when the narratives are tucked away in a “members only” section, access to that section can either be gained by paying or by…wait for it…writing reviews.  So clients who are heavily invested in review board culture are strongly incentivized to write more reviews, and to make them as juicy as possible, even if that means embellishing the facts of the encounter or simply lying.  I know I’ve read reviews of myself which caused me to say, “Were we even in the same room?  Because I don’t remember half of this.”  Yeah, I have reviews, and they’re available out there on the internet; I’m sure the more internet-savvy among you can find them pretty easily.  But I don’t encourage them because I don’t really like them; besides the fact that I find them rather crude, there’s also the problem of cops and prosecutors using them as “evidence” in prostitution trials, either against the lady or against the client/review author.

There’s one review board, however, which I absolutely refuse to allow myself to be reviewed on, and that’s probably the biggest one, The Erotic Review (better known as TER).  In actuality, there’s nothing I could do to stop someone from reviewing me there if he wanted to, because provider profiles on TER are user-generated rather than provider-generated; however, as far as I know, my clients have so far respected my wish not to be reviewed there {knocks wood}.  What have I got against TER, you ask?  Well, there are several things.  The first is the site’s blatantly “bros before hos” philosophy, as exemplified by the fact that it’s extremely difficult to get a false review removed from the site; one of my friends was able to provide evidence that she was in another part of the country at the time a false reviewer claimed she had been in his city, and that still wasn’t enough.  Besides the fact that this allows enemies to plant bad reviews to hurt a provider’s business, it also allows cops to create false profiles for infiltration purposes.  The second problem is that TER uses a numerical rating system in which the numbers are tied to specific acts; an escort might be the most beautiful, engaging, charismatic, enchanting creature on the planet, but if she doesn’t do Greek she can’t be a “10” on TER no matter how many reviews praise her to high heaven.

I’m not the only whore who hates TER, not by a long shot; in a recent article, Tracy Clark-Flory wrote:

…An ad that ran in 2008 in the Village Voice’s Backpage section read, “DID YOU GET RIPPED OFF AGAIN?  Didn’t read her reviews, did you?  Don’t let them get away with it…By submitting a review you are not only warning thousands of guys in your area, you hitting them where it hurts…HER WALLET.”  It’s a tone set early by the site’s now-estranged founder David Elms…many sex workers…say the site harbors a culture of misogyny and objectification, and exposes them to extortion, legal risks and pressure to perform unwanted acts.  Some are categorically against reviews, given the intimate nature of the services being provided…Some argue that [TER] encourages the writing of fake reviews as well, a problem that plagues even sites like Yelp where there aren’t direct financial incentives for contributing.  As “Alexis,” a sex worker, put it, “When you’re talking about ‘super users,’ when I see people like that, I see ‘super bullshitters.’”

Many sex workers say the site also threatens to change the nature of their work by pressuring them into acts they don’t want to perform [by threatening them with bad reviews]…A common complaint Katherine Koster, communications director at the Sex Workers Outreach Project, has heard is that TER pressures “sex workers to provide the same service across clients, rather than adapting it to individual clients.”  TER reviews are structured around a hierarchy of acts:  The site asks reviewers to reserve 8, 9 and 10 performance rankings forDavid Elms “situations where out of the ordinary services are provided,” including blow jobs without condoms, kissing with tongue and anal sex.  Koster says the site also rejects reviews without explicit sexual details…

The article also discusses David Elms’ sordid history of extortion, assault and worse; you can read about it there, because I honestly don’t think it’s necessary to know about it to judge TER on its own record.  Even if Elms had never done anything immoral, I think the ickiness of his creation speaks for itself.

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Is P411 safe and reliable in your opinion? What other alternatives could you advise? Should anyone consider seeing an escort who does not employ verification practices? I am considering finding an escort but the laws are ridiculous in my state; theoretically sex on a first date is prostitution here if the man pays for the date. 

South Park stingI’ve published a column and several updates detailing why P411 isn’t safe for escorts, most recently this one.  However, I’ve never heard of a client being tricked that way, and if you think about it you’ll realize the platform works a lot better to scam escorts about client’s safety than vice versa.  As far as I know, Date-Check has never had a security breach, so they would be the best alternative.  I’m not sure what you mean by the next line; do you mean an escort who isn’t a member of either P411 or Date-Check?  Because as long as she has a website and an online presence and reputation on boards and such, I honestly can’t fathom what difference her screening methods could possibly make to you, nor how you could know what they were in any case.  I hate to break this to you, but the “sex trafficking” laws all over the country are basically similar now; the only thing that differs dramatically is the aggressiveness with which cops pursue whores and/or clients.  As long as you choose a lady who’s been around for a while and has a good reputation, you should be fine; the vast majority of men ensnared by cops are those seeking streetwalkers or reputationless, unverifiable Backpage girls.  Cops have neither the time, the money nor the patience to set up a fake escort site and purchase ads on Eros and the like, and how would their fake escort get reviews from anyone but fake, reputationless “hobbyist” profiles also set up by cops?  It’s much easier for them to put a pig in some Hollywood streetwalker getup or make up a fake Backpage “new in town” ad and then harvest the guys who are too cheap and/or too impatient to do their research.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

 

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Can you tell me why I am imprisoned like this if I’m the one who was wronged?  –  Jasmin, Bangladeshi sex worker

Against Their Will

It’s for their own good!

…when I first arrived at one of the most well-known “rescue and rehabilitation” centres for women and girls in Dhaka, Bangladesh, I was immediately struck by the iron bars on all the doors and windows.  A number of female security guards paced up and down the dark hallways.  The atmosphere in the building was a far cry from what the NGO staff at the main office had described as an “oasis of freedom from violence and degradation”…this organisation [was reputed to be]…committed to women’s economic empowerment [and]…was widely acknowledged by national and international funding agencies…In the weeks and months that followed, my conversations with the young women whom the shelter labelled as “trafficking survivors” revealed that…their “rescue” had…led to another series of experiences of coercion and disempowerment, this time perpetrated…by their “rescuers”…

The Last Shall Be First

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that politicians can’t get their minds out of the toilet, given the contents of their heads:

The South Dakota state legislature…passed a bill that would require public school students to use the bathroom, shower and locker room that correspond to their biological sex.  If Gov. Dennis Daugaard…signs the bill, as expected, South Dakota would become the first state to enact such a law.  The bill has provoked outrage from gay and transgender rights activists, who say it discriminates against transgender children.  They say that it could put schools at risk of lawsuits; in 2014, the Education Department issued guidance finding that Title IX…requires that students be permitted to use facilities that match their gender identity.  But the bill’s proponents [pretend]…that the legislation…respects privacy while also meeting the needs of transgender students by requiring [them to be singled out by using] private facilities, such as a teacher’s or nurse’s bathroom…

Pyrrhic Victory

All too often, evil arrives cloaked in the mantle of expediency:

School lunch lines in the UK can be fraught: students receiving free lunches may not want their peers to know, lost payment cards mean some go without, and code-based payments leave children at risk of “shoulder surfing”, where others spot their number and use it to buy their own meal.  Fingerprint scanners are being presented as one solution for doing away with this stress…biometrics company BioStore [says] “Biometrics can’t be lost or forgotten, stolen or used by someone else…this improves a school’s safety”…The Department for Education doesn’t track how many schools use biometric systems, but in 2014, campaigning group Big Brother Watch estimated that more than a million secondary schoolchildren had handed over their fingerprints…Add in other new technologies such as wearables, and civil rights campaigners fear the result is that surveillance is quietly being normalised in children from a young age…

King of the Hill

The only thing more ludicrous than big cities competing to be “sex trafficking hubs” in the US is small cities competing to be the top “hubs” in their states:

The Newport News Department of Human Services…held a community [panicmongering session]…about human sex trafficking…Lt. Michael Hudgins…said Hampton Roads ranks number three for hotspots for sex trafficking in Virginia…

Above the Law (#132)

Three years. That’s how long it took them to bring this to trial:

Two [LAPD pigs] have been charged with repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting several women…The men threatened their victims with arrest…and [raped] at least some of the women in the back seat of the unmarked police car they drove together…Luis Valenzuela…and James C. Nichols…face more than a dozen felony charges, each stemming from allegations they preyed together and alone on four women from late 2008 to 2011…They [vaginally raped some and orally raped others]…Valenzuela also is accused of assaulting one woman with a gun.  The charges carry a possible punishment of life in prison…

Under Every Bed

A “sex tourism destination” about an hour’s drive from Chicago.  And they’re serious.  “Prostitution has long been an issue in the City of Rockford.  Academic studies, news reports, and anecdotal evidence show Rockford is a popular sex tourism destination for men all over the stateline…”  The rest is just typical “end demand” filth and gloating about how much money they’re stealing from men.

Stupor Bowl

Even papers skeptical of the “gypsy whores” myth often accept the larger “sex trafficking” mythology:

…much like the myth of a Super Bowl sex trafficking boom, [the FBI’s] “success” isn’t so convincing once you peek behind the numbers.  The FBI arrested 12 pimps, “made contact” with 129 prostitutes, and busted 85 johns…during the two weeks preceding Super Bowl Sunday…Crime statistics can be malleable — and trafficking statistics especially so…not all the victims were trafficked.  [FBI mouthpiece Bertram] Fairries [said]…some of the 129 prostitutes the agency “contacted” were just independent sex workers conducting business as usual.  But much like the SFPD, which counts every sex worker it encounters as trafficked, the FBI considers all prostitutes “victims.”  According to FBI spokeswoman Michele Ernst, the only sex workers arrested were those who directly helped recruit or pimp other victims.  Strangely, the FBI claims it doesn’t know how many that was…

Bread and Circuses 

“Authorities” don’t care how many sex workers are hurt or killed in furtherance of their show:

Law enforcement in the Seattle area seized thereviewboard.net, a website where local sex workers posted advertisements and clients reviewed their services.  In related police raids, people who ran and moderated the site were among those arrested and charged with promoting prostitution, a felony.  That was just the most recent salvo in what human rights advocates call an “ongoing war against sex” under the guise of fighting sex trafficking.  Last August…officials in New York City shut down the gay escort site Rentboy.com and charged seven of its employees with promoting prostitution and laundering money.  Earlier in 2015, the sheriff of Cook County, Ill., pressured MasterCard and Visa to stop processing financial transactions for backpage.com…And in 2014, federal authorities shut down myRedbook.com…These closures represent a crusade to stamp out advertising outlets for sex workers.  But that’s not how law enforcement portrays it.  They [pretend] to be fighting sex trafficking…Shortly after the Seattle raids, for instance, Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett said that his men, working with the King County Sheriff’s office and the FBI, had broken up a “well-organized ring promoting sex slavery.”  Likewise, the Cook County sheriff called backpage.com a haven for pimps and traffickers.  There’s one big problem with that narrative: There’s little evidence that these web sites abet sex trafficking.  But we do know that shutting them down these makes life more dangerous for sex workers…

Challenge (#524)

Court delays favor the rich and powerful, so this is unsurprising:

A sex worker’s legal challenge to a new law criminalizing clients in Northern Ireland was put on hold after a last-minute intervention by Stormont’s First and deputy First Ministers.  Laura Lee issued unprecedented judicial review proceedings in a bid to quash [the] legislation…But the case was adjourned…after a judge was told Attorney General John Larkin QC has been instructed to oppose her challenge on behalf of Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness…Justice Maguire requested full reasons for an intervention made on the eve of the hearing…[saying] “This application…has not been accompanied with any clear or cogent explanation as to the course of events”…

The Hooker Vote (#530) Hookers for Hillary

Actually, “Hookers for Hillary” doesn’t speak for any sex workers, much less “all”; it’s just a Dennis Hof PR scam:

The organization Hookers for Hillary…organized by Dennis Hof…is back in the news…with a major profile in The Guardian…other sex workers were skeptical of their motives…Anna Saini, an advisory board member of Best Practices Policy Project…said that Hookers for Hillary…“sounds like a mouthpiece for the Ranch owner, Dennis Hof…I’m certain Hillary Clinton has driven more people into the sex industry than any pimp or trafficker.  The policies that Clinton proactively supported—pushing people out of public housing, dismantling welfare, discriminating against formerly incarcerated people—have produced economic circumstances that force people into survival sex”…one of Hookers for Hillary’s key points on their website [is]…“Nevada’s mandatory testing of legal prostitutes for sexually transmitted diseases is a successful example of effective government regulation…responsible government oversight is a key to protecting the public’s health from widespread disease.”  Saini called this aspect of their campaign “particularly appalling,” since it’s “an oppressive policy that is universally opposed by sex worker activists”…

Tyranny By Consensus (#568)

Is Michael Weinstein’s bizarre one-man crusade against porn over at last?

Cal/OSHA did not pass proposed regulations for the adult industry…that [would have required] safety goggles, condoms and dental dams in pornographic movies produced in the state.  The decision…brings to an end a years-long debate over instituting stricter workplace regulations around the potential transmission of sexually transmitted infections in the adult industry…AIDS Healthcare, the primary supporter of the proposed rules…[pretended] the amendments [would not] require goggles…[even though] the text of the rules states that “the employer shall provide … appropriate personal protective equipment such as, but not limited to, condoms, gloves for cleaning, and, if contact of the eyes with [bodily fluids] is reasonably anticipated, eye protection”…

Challenge (#582)

This good article on the challenge to California’s prostitution laws also contains a short profile of escort and activist Kimberlee Cline:

…Mother.  Traveler.  Activist.  And, in the eyes of the law, a career criminal who’s one encounter away from arrest and exposure…she’s represented by interest, if not name, in a federal lawsuit that seeks to overturn California’s anti-prostitution law on constitutional grounds…The courtroom drama…pits sex workers and their advocates against more than a century of morality-minded prohibition laws.  An up-or-down ruling has the potential to reverberate throughout the country…

Bell, Hook and Kettle (#609)

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

…Budget cuts forced [the Tucson, Arizona Police Department] to disband the vice unit years ago, but more than $700,000 from a three-year federal grant will provide money and resources to once again [harass and persecute sex workers and clients…pigs] have already made more than 100 arrests since the program started seven weeks ago…Only three people have shown an interest in receiving any sort of support services.  [Only] one…actually accepted them, but…she left after a couple weeks…[mystifying people too stupid to understand the concept of “bills”]…That’s where agencies like Gospel Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army come in…Myrna Garcia…said…“This collaboration is awesome”…

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In…the trafficking framework…sex work becomes a kind of statutory crime, with women as legal children…and questions of consent rendered irrelevant.  –  Lisa Duggan

Coming and Going

Boo fucking hoo:

When Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk was a judge, the cases that upset her the most involved…prostitution.  Hawk said that feeling has carried over into her work as district attorney and her office focuses on “prosecuting…[people and doing anything to] make sure they go to prison”…Last year in Dallas, 62 underage sex trafficking victims were rescued from their pimps, [lied] Deputy Police Chief Vernon Hale.  Dallas County also has several diversion programs to [brainwash sex workers]…One program, dubbed STAR Court, [forces] women [wrongfully persecuted for consensual sex to] go through counseling and drug or alcohol rehabilitation [whether they need it or not].  The goal is to give women an alternative to a criminal lifestyle…The [rescue industry corporation] Mosaic recently released an app…called Operation Compass [which makes it]…convenient…to [rat people out to the pigs]…

In other words, if you have sadfeelz about someone else’s way of making a living you should inform on them so they can be locked up and subjected to psychological torture to “correct” their “criminality”.

Droit du Seigneur 

Peacekeepers“.

The United Nations has been grappling with so many sexual abuse allegations involving its peacekeepers that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently called them “a cancer in our system”…Investigators discovered this month that at least four U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic allegedly paid girls as little as 50 cents in exchange for sex…employees have been accused of 22 other incidents of alleged sexual abuse or sexual exploitation in the past 14 months.  The most recent accusations come in the wake of Ban’s efforts to implement a “zero tolerance” policy for such offenses.  The United Nations maintains nine peacekeeping operations in Africa, employing more than 100,000 people on the continent, and the abuses threaten to erode the organization’s legitimacy.  Other sex-crime cases have occurred in Mali, South Sudan, Liberia and Congo in recent years…

Counterfeit Comfort

That’ll teach them dirty “sex offenders”!

The government may start stamping “sex offender” on the passports of citizens who were convicted of a sex offense against a minor.  Yes, that would include high school seniors who slept with their freshman girlfriends.  The rationale behind the International Megan’s Law is that these people could be traveling for sex-trafficking purposes…There are almost 850,000 Americans on the Sex Offender Registry, up from 750,000 just a few years ago.  About a quarter of them got on the list when they were juveniles themselves, because young people have sex with other young people…The branding…will affect even Americans whose offenses aren’t crimes in the countries they’re trying to visit:  For instance, I have a friend who had sex, once, with a 14-year-old when he was 19.  If he had done this in Austria, Germany, Portugal or Italy, it wouldn’t have been a criminal act at all. The age of consent there is 14.  But here in America he went to prison — for nine years.  He spent his 20s in a cell for one act of consensual sex between two teens, and now that he’s out, he remains on the Sex Offender Registry for life…if my friend’s passport is stamped with “Sex Offender,” any country he approaches will assume he’s a monster trying to get in.  Oddly enough, that country won’t be alerted if a visitor has served time for, say, mugging old ladies

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

If someone stole $100 from a convenience store, would the Times-Picayune refer to the crime as a “quibble”?

A Birmingham, Ala., woman called police after…a man who paid her $100 for a sexual rendezvous…stole back the cash…But Kenner [Louisiana] police wound up busting both for the illegal hookup…Montez Robinson…told [cops] he reached out to Rachel Burma…through her profile…on Backpage…

Forward and Backward

A pilot scheme in Leeds to allow sex workers to ply their trade on the streets without fear of arrest will continue indefinitely after the council announced it had improved the safety of prostitutes and made it easier for them to report crimes.  The scheme…allows prostitutes to work in a “managed area” between 7pm and 7am…The council says the scheme has improved community relations, the safety of sex workers and allowed prostitutes to report incidents of harassment without facing recrimination.  Police in the area will no longer issue cautions or make arrests for soliciting during the working hours specified…A female police officer has also been specially appointed to handle cases involving sex workers and to ensure their safety…

The Pygmalion Fallacy Gloria & robot

Unless they can bruise, heal, cry and exude a certain rare and as-yet-undiscovered pheromone, I’m not remotely interested:

…It wouldn’t take tech as advanced as Gigolo Joe [from the movie A.I.] to pique women’s interest in sexbots.  For one thing, women already use sex toys…women don’t really care whether the toy they’re using to orgasm even faintly resembles the anatomy of a human man…While toys for men, whether Fleshlights or RealDolls, conjure the appearance of an actual woman, women’s toys don’t…Women’s porn viewing habits…tend to be more varied than those of men…there’s a strong argument to be made that…women…are polymorphously perverse, being sexually aroused by far more configurations of bodies than men…a sexbot for women could be vaguely torso-shaped, equipped with vibrating pads and oscillating nubs, and furnished with outlets that would allow for multiple snap-on tools…Maybe make it’s voice-activated so that you could rotate between modes without the tiresome pressing of a button…No fuss.  No muss…And no uncanny valley…this bot could also sidestep the major controversy of sexbots: that of emotional connection…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake 

Note that the main reason for the strippers’ plight is Washington’s idiotic prudishness:

…The owners of a collection of Washington strip clubs have sued state labor regulators, claiming they’ve been wrongly ordered to pay workers’ compensation to dancers hurt on the job…they claim regulators are trying to “financially break” their businesses.  At issue, in part, is the strippers’ status as club employees.  The women rent space from the clubs, which regard them as independent contractors.  The state Department of Labor & Industries has taken a different view, contending that, at times, dancers are entitled to workers’ comp if they’re injured at the clubs…The economics of Washington state strip clubs are particularly brutal, largely because the alcohol-free clubs draw their income almost exclusively from high-priced soft drinks and the fees paid by dancers.  Strippers pay a large portion of their earnings back to the clubs in a system previously decried by a U.S. attorney for Washington as abusive.  In Seattle, strip clubs have historically been subjected to extreme scrutiny from law enforcement and regulators

Now They Notice

The case against Rentboy isn’t actually any weaker than any other website takedown case; they’re all this weak:

…law-enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors considered this a big, bold police action against a criminal organization.  They threw around phrases like “Internet brothel,” “international online prostitution ring,” and “global criminal enterprise”…This was the beginning of an important and high-profile win for the government in the fight against illegal commercial sex, or so [they]…must have thought.  But things started going badly for the government right away…the raid was vigorously condemned by sexual-freedom and sex-worker advocates…LGBT groups…human-rights and free-speech organizations…and even many media outlets, including The New York Times.  The ACLU and Lambda Legal later initiated a meeting with prosecutors to defend Rentboy’s positive role in the community, which included funding scholarships and other educational projects…After such widespread backlash, the prosecution stalled, so far requesting four delays in the 30-day deadline for indictment.  Though such extended delays are not unusual, as investigators search for further evidence and try to locate cooperating witnesses, no new charges have surfaced in this case…

Bread and Circuses (#573) 

Federal “authorities”, unsatisfied with merely hounding a hardworking woman’s husband to death, humiliate her and lock her in a cage for six months:

A woman who came from a poor family in Thailand became a prostitute in Hawaii through working in the massage industry…Judge Susan Oki Mollway [pretended] she took those circumstances — along with her husband’s suicide — into account when sentencing her to six months in federal prison.  In a deal with prosecutors, [Khemwika] Ernst pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and filing false tax returns…

She only made about $75,000 per year, but prosecutors pretended that’s some huge amount of money so as to paint her as a master criminal.

Still a Child (#574) 

Women are such fragile little flowers that, although men can choose to risk death at 18, it takes us three extra years to mature to the point where we can choose to take off our clothes:  “The New Orleans city council voted unanimously…to ban strip club employees younger than 21 from dancing nude…the new rules do not apply to employees under 21 who are already working as dancers…

Above the Law (#587) 

Why I didn’t report being raped by cops:

For five years, Lindsay F. relived the night she was brutally raped by Jose Rigoberto Sanchez, then a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, over and over again.  She had to recall every detail…whenever investigators asked her to retell her story.  If Lindsay missed a detail or confused the timeline, even after years had passed, they accused her of lying…in her fight for the county to admit liability, Lindsay underwent a humiliating and interminably long process, one that experts in law enforcement misconduct litigation said is commonplace.  Even after Sanchez went to prison — not just for raping Lindsay, but for attempting to coerce another woman into sex under similar circumstances just two days later — the county’s lawyers…spent hundreds of thousands of dollars attacking Lindsay as if she had falsely accused Sanchez…They asked Lindsay about her sexual history:  Had she ever had HPV?  They deposed her friends:  What had Lindsay been wearing the night Sanchez pulled her over?  They even went as far as to hire a gynecology medical expert witness to testify that Lindsay’s vagina had not shown significant signs of trauma

The Widening Gyre (#597)

Another sign of peak panic: mere “sex trafficking” isn’t shocking enough any more, so fetishists are now claiming that “traffickers” are members of some other pariah-group besides being “pimps”:

…Katherine Svoi Symthe said…“All human traffickers are pedophiles, but not all pedophiles are traffickers”…Symthe’s [novel] Unbreakable, The Story of an Unrelenting Spirit, describes in shocking detail her [fantasized] story from the time she was smuggled into the U.S. as an infant to her rescue at age 17…Symthe said many pedophiles also get gratification by torturing their victims…

Too Close To Home

Feminist Whore debunks the King County sheriff’s press conference:

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Maggie on KIRO 1-6-16Last week was so incredibly busy I’m amazed I was able to keep up with everything I had to do.  I knew at the beginning that it would be busy work-wise because I had a solid schedule of appointments, but I had no way of knowing that on Wednesday the pigs would barge into the lives of Seattle sex workers, uprooting one of our major advertising venues and shitting all over our reputations to the press.  Of course, the excuse was “sex trafficking”; Korean sex workers in the area were denied agency, claimed to be “trafficked”, and a number of their clients, bookers and other associates were arrested.  Naturally, nobody has seen any of these supposed “victims” or been allowed to talk to them, but the sheriff of King County nonetheless felt qualified to say that the members of SWOP were “delusional” for saying that advertising boards help us to build communities and screen clients.  Because obviously, his magical swine-o-vision allows him to see into our lives despite the fact that he was too afraid to allow us into his press conference.  But whatever he hoped to achieve by this ham-fisted attempt to shut us up was a failure; by Wednesday night, over 12 hours before his press conference, I had already appeared on not one but TWO local news broadcasts to give our viewpoint, and the sheriff and other officials were flustered and annoyed by several reporters asking them about us and our concerns.  Furthermore, when the conference let out we were waiting, and most of the reporters got statements from us (as I detailed in Friday’s column).  We’ve had several emergency meetings since Wednesday (the first mere hours after the seizure, ’cause we don’t work 9-5, y’all) and plenty more conversations via email and text; I think I’ve received as many text messages in the past week as I would in a typical month.  As a kind of side-effect of all this, I’m even more out now than I was before; on Saturday my pedicurist told me, “I saw you on TV!”  But while I’ve been hailed as a badass in my community for saying “I am a prostitute” on TV while standing in a courthouse full of cops, the truth is that I’m really just plain stubborn.  I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a bunch of morally-retarded thugs tell me how to conduct my life or what motivations for sex I’m allowed to have, and I’ll be thrice-damned if I sit by and let credulous ignoramuses slander my sisters and endanger all our livelihoods.  I may not be able to win against the colossal machine of prohibition, but by Aphrodite I’m going to go down fighting.  And even if they crush me, I’m not going to suffer in silence.

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