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Posts Tagged ‘Everything Old is New Again’

If America had a civil death penalty, putting people on sex registries would be it.  –  Guy Hamilton Smith

Elephant in the Parlor 

The idea that politicians paying for sex is “unprofessional” tells me these people are living in a fantasy world:

…Westminster’s first code of conduct…introduced after a sex harassment scandal in parliament, ban MPs from paying for sex while…engaged in any activity connected with their role as an MP, whether in the UK or abroad…The new complaints and grievance policy states: “Although it might not be illegal to pay for sex, in line with best practice it is considered unprofessional, inappropriate and a breach of the behaviour code”…

A Broker in Pillage

Watch for the definition of “unexplained” to expand dramatically over the next decade or two:

Criminals who can’t explain how they got their money will be [robbed] under a national scheme that allows the government to sweep up their assets.  A Senate committee unanimously recommended the “unexplained wealth” legislation be passed…despite concerns being raised by the Law Council and Civil Liberties Australia.  The legislation will force people convicted of crimes to prove that their wealth was derived from legitimate sources, rather than the onus being on prosecutors to establish that it came from the proceeds of crime…Banks will be forced to hand over any information they have on the unexplained wealth of a convicted client.  The Police Federation has been lobbying for the…scheme for more than a decade…

Election Day (#332)

How many political scandals must Davis embroil herself in to get her name in the news again?

Kristin Davis, also known as the “Manhattan Madam”, will testify before a grand jury in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation…Davis [previously] met with Mueller’s team…It is not clear what the focus of that interview was or how Davis may fit into the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential coordination between Trump associates and the Russian government.  But investigators have been very interested in Roger Stone, with whom Davis has a close personal relationship and has worked for in the past…

Everything Old is New Again

This absurd Victorian language is even funnier because it’s meant to be dead serious:

…It’s not a profession.  It’s not about the sex, and there’s certainly no erotic aspects about these encounters.  It’s purely a financial interaction, business deals that involve blood, sweat, tears and semen…women wait…for dark to descend.  Then the hunters begin to approach…Slowly they cruise by, headlights blinding the women as they search for their prey.  The hunters feel a sense of control as they strip the victims of their dignity, their humanity…

I was also tickled to see a link to this previous article about the “dangerous cycle of prostitution”, which is presumably a used Harley bought with whoring money.  After that one I wrote, “As far as I can make out, this dude’s pearl-clutching tone is dead serious.  Do you amateurs really believe this kind of shit?”

To Molest and Rape 

Would any non-cop have gotten only probation for this?

Madison County [Alabama cop] Roland Campos pleaded guilty to a [molesting a young girl]…and was sentenced to a year’s probation.  Campos…must also [register as a] Sex Offender…the judge suspended the jail term and ordered Campos to serve a year’s probation…Campos was arrested in August 2017 after a middle school student…told a school official Campos had sexually abused her…

Monsters (#730) 

The US only prosecutes people for sex worker “propaganda”, which is obviously completely different:

The first minor has been found guilty of Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” laws.  Maxim Neverov was found guilty of “propaganda of homosexuality among minors” despite being only 16-years-old himself.  The teenager from Biysk was fined 50,000 rubles on 7 August for publishing photos on social network site Vkontakte [Russian Facebook]…the teenager was not allowed to consult a lawyer.  This led him to refuse to testify…

Banishment (#798)

Another good essay by Guy Hamilton Smith on the torture the US hides under the euphemism “registration”:

…Recently, a major court decision lambasted registries as ineffective at promoting public safety, while noting that they rendered those on them “moral lepers” who are forced to reside at the margins of society on the sole basis of a conviction.  Another decision, currently on appeal in the…10th Circuit…called registries cruel and unusual punishments in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution — an almost unheard-of legal conclusion for American courts to reach outside of death penalty litigation…in my view, it is the right one.  I know, because of the nearly million people on America’s sex offense registries, I am one of them.  In describing his experiences with solitary confinement — a practice widely regarded as torture — Nelson Mandela concluded that there is nothing more dehumanizing than isolation from human connection…Being labeled a sex offender, you carry your solitary with you, in your heart, and in your mind…The indelible electronic mark you carry threatens to turn your own thoughts against you, unless and until you can find a way outside of the prison your own mind begins to construct for you.  Until then, you die slowly, suffocating in shame.  I have written more fully about my story and experiences elsewhere, but I have spent the last eleven years living on America’s sex registry.  More than simply punishment, in my opinion, it is most fairly characterized as torture…

Laura Lee, Sex Work Stigma, and the Limits of #MeToo

Looks like Olaf isn’t going to be able to hush this up as he wanted to:

Gardaí have reopened an investigation into a complaint made by [the late] Laura Lee…friends of Ms Lee have been contacted by officers reopening an investigation into an alleged sexual assault.  Ms Lee, a law graduate, had made a statement to gardaí in Dublin about the…incident last November.  [Accused rapist Olaf Tyaransen] has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.  The garda investigation was closed when Ms Lee died of undisclosed causes this year at the age of 44 but gardaí are now in the process of taking statements again…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#858)

Indian sex workers’ fight against a terrible new “anti-trafficking” bill is drawing international attention:

…“No one has forced me to do this…it pays better than being a maid or factory worker,” said Sanjana Murali…“But with this law, if the police raid a kotha [brothel], I will be taken into police custody and sent to a rehabilitation clinic.  What about my freedom to choose?…If the state thinks I should be ‘rescued’ and trained to sew clothes or make papar (papadams) to survive, it is wrong.  That kind of work will never pay enough”…When MP Shashi Tharoor raised this point in parliament, he was assured by minister for women Maneka Gandhi that the bill would not target voluntary sex workers.  “That’s just her word,” said Dr Smarajit Jana of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee…“Why isn’t there a single sentence in the bill stating that?  All the bill does is empower the police to harass sex workers and disempower the women themselves.”  Jana said…that most…sex workers…are…the “heads” of their extended families.  Their income pays for food, rent, a relative’s illness, and the school fees of their children, and those of their siblings…“When you put them into a rehabilitation clinic, who is going to look after their children?”…the bill is based on paternalistic assumptions about rescuing sex workers…no…organisation was consulted in the drafting of the bill, even though sex workers are well organised…

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You would think they’d want an actual sex worker…but somehow that’s not important because we’re seen as victims; voiceless and having no agency.  –  Jules Kim

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

…Desiree Patton said that her assailant, Guy Dietz, found her through online advertisements placed by the exotic dancing agency she works for…when she arrived at Dietz’s…California home, he informed her that he was a police officer, placed her under “arrest,” and handcuffed her hands behind her back…Patton claimed that Dietz said…he [could] arrest her and trump up charges…

Check Your Premises

Nick Olivas became a father at 14, a fact he wouldn’t learn for eight years.  While in high school, Olivas had sex with a 20-year-old woman…State law says a child younger than 15 cannot consent with an adult under any circumstance, making Olivas a rape victim…Then two years ago, the state served him with papers demanding child support.  That’s how he found out he had a then-6-year-old daughter…he now owes about $15,000 in back child support and medical bills going back to the child’s birth, plus 10 percent interest.  The state seized money from his bank account and is now garnisheeing his wages at $380 a month…

Follow Your Bliss

…Florida youth pastor [Lucas Dillon Brandenburg] was arrested…after investigators said that they found a computer at his home “sharing” images of child pornography…

Legal Is as Legal Does

Yet another example of why legalization is almost as bad as full criminalization:

Taiwanese authorities said…they busted a prostitution ring exploiting young Chinese women…Prostitution [was criminalized in 2001 due to American pressure] but the parliament in 2011 passed a controversial bill to allow red-light districts…no such district has been set up yet…

Above the Law 

The report calls it a “romantic encounter” but I suspect otherwise:

…an Atlanta police officer killed a woman that he met online, then set her body on fire to cover his tracks.  Tahreem Zeus Rana was arrested…[while] trying to board a flight to Mexico…Vernicia Woodward…was linked to Rana through her phone records...The two appear to have met on Backpage.com…

And in The Nation, others appear to finally be noticing what I’ve been screaming about for twenty years:

…sexual assault is a significant issue in police forces, as The American Prospect and Truthout have reported.  According to the Cato Institute, more than 9 percent of reports of police misconduct in 2010 involved sexual abuse, making it the second-most reported form…Comparing that data to FBI crime statistics indicates that “sexual assault rates are significantly higher for police when compared to the general population”…Jen Marsh of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network…said…“[cops are] targeting victims seen as vulnerable or ‘less credible,’ whether they’re engaged in sex work or are committing a crime”…

The Widening Gyre

Instead of commenting on this ridiculous nonsense:

Denver has evolved into a breeding ground…for sex-traffickers who lure young runaways, often in exchange for drugs…Tom Ravenelle with the FBI said he’s seeing more print and online advertisements — chock-full of keywords like “4-20 friendly” — that attract young girls.  “We’re dealing with people who are pimping these girls who are sometimes gang-related.  These are people with low morals”…

I’m going to let somebody else do it this time.

An Enormous Big Nothing (TW3 #33) Gates daughters on ferry

Another predictable result of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

After my family arrives on the Cape May ferry for our annual vacation to the Jersey Shore, I take pictures of our two daughters…as we leave the harbor.  I’ve been doing this since they were 3 and 4 years old.  They are now 16 and 17…Getting just the right exposure and interaction between the two has never been easy…But this year…a man came up beside me and said to my daughters:  “I would be remiss if I didn’t ask if you were okay.”  At first none of us understood what he was talking about…then it hit me:  He thought I might be exploiting the girls…I told the man I was their father.  He quickly apologized and turned away.  But…the more I thought about [it]…the more upset I became.  My wife and I, both white, adopted our two daughters in China when they were infants…we have often gotten strange looks and intrusive questions from strangers, but nothing like this…I walked outside to where he was standing and calmly said:  “Excuse me, sir, but you just embarrassed me in front of my children and strangers.  And what you said was racist”…He replied:  “I work for the Department of Homeland Security.  And let me give you some advice:  You were standing there taking photos of them hugging for 15 minutes”…

The Public Eye

Sydney Journalist and mother-of-two Amanda Goff has revealed her secret double life as…Samantha X…who started working as a sex worker two-and-a-half years ago…[in] a tell-all book about her experience.  After working in British tabloids including The Mirror and Sunday People, Miss Goff came to Australia and worked as the health and beauty editor for Prevention Magazine and at New Idea…[then]  became a TV spokesperson for health and beauty…she believes she can help save marriages…”I hear a lot about marriage from the man’s point of view.  They say they are not listened to, they aren’t heard.  I give them intimacy, it’s not necessarily about sex”…

Down Under (TW3 #49)

Sex workers in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are hopeful that…the…Health Minister…Michael Malaba…will keep his public commitment to introduce legislation that decriminalises sex work and same sex relationships…Malaba stated that he recognised that the decriminalisation of sex work was a key reform essential to tackling HIV/AIDS and that he was committed to reforming PNG’s “colonial era laws”…

Absolute Corruption

[On September 2nd] Bernard Baran died suddenly at his home while talking with his partner, David, and his niece, Crystal”  The autopsy results are not yet in, but a heart attack or stroke (resulting at least in part from more than two decades of gross maltreatment by the state) seems likely.  Perhaps now the utterly loathsome Martha Coakley will consent to allowing his record to be expunged.

Original Sin (TW3 #321)

Video games and “sexting” cause “sex trafficking”!

Real Battle Ministries is partnering to attack the rampant sex trafficking in our local communities!  Drug cartels and gangs have nearly controlled the prostitution market, planting “bottom ho’s” in our local schools, and utilizing social media & online games to “befriend” our kids for the sole purpose of entrapping them into slavery!…Porn addicted adults produces “Johns”…exposure to porn during childhood produces promiscuous children and kids who post sexually suggestive photos on social media.  Pimps and…enslaved kids…target our kids, befriend them on social media and play online games with them, eventually luring them away for abduction into sex slavery…one pimp with 5 girls generate nearly $1 million in revenue annually.  No wonder organized crime has focused on abducting one million kids yearly!!!!

These are the most insanely-exaggerated claims I’ve seen yet.  Fight “sex trafficking” with exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!City of Lies

A War for Peace (TW3 #323)

City of Lies features eight tales…all names have been changed, as have certain details…Each focuses on an individual, but [author Ramita] Navai uses these personal stories to observe how people live, love and survive in a society ruled by fundamentalists.  Iranian youth read “Harry Potter,” watch Hollywood films…smoke joints and listen to Metallica and Radiohead — all the while knowing that one misstep can ruin their reputations and lives…For women, sex outside marriage could mean “up to 100 lashes.”  If convicted of adultery, a woman could be executed…

Imaginary Evils

Remember, huge police operations have never found more than a single-digit number of “sex trafficking” cases in the UK:

…Greater Manchester’s police chief [imagines that]…predators have changed their tactics and are now targeting Eastern European teens and trafficking them into the region for sex…some 180 men are currently under suspicion of child sexual exploitation…of 17 and 18-year-old girls – notably above the age of consent…

Yes, they’re claiming the “child sex trafficking” of girls over the AOC.

Everything Old is New Again

Just in case you were unsure about “sex trafficking” mythology’s origin in racism and xenophobia, take a look at the kind of sites that gleefully quote the propaganda to promote their own agendas.

What Next? 

Clueless, ignorant old American continues to demand that other countries increase violence against sex workers in the name of “rescuing” them:  “Former US president Jimmy Carter has written to the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and other members of the Oireachtas urging them to adopt a recommendation to criminalise the buyers of sex

Property of the State

Delusional authoritarian thugs presume that women have absolute control over our bodies:

…police reportedly “swarmed” a Texas high school because…a school custodian notified the principal…after finding a “possible fetus” in one of the bathroom stalls…The principal contacted police…Dallas Police Department’s Child Abuse Unit detectives were investigating to find out who may have abandoned the fetus.  The person involved was being considered a “suspect”…Alan Elliott of Baby Moses Dallas explained…that the mother could have avoided any criminal charges if she had taken advantage of Baby Moses laws by carrying the child to term, and then dropping it off at a safe baby site like a fire station…

“Abandoned”.  Seriously.  By that standard, some 10% of the women reading this are “criminals”.cops harass Java Juggs

Prudesville

The headline The Blaze put on this is infuriating; moronic cop masturbatory fantasies are cast as “knowledge”:

The owner of controversial bikini coffee stands in Washington state banked more than $2 million in just three years because her baristas were also selling sex acts, [cops imagined]…Carmela Panico…was charged with promoting prostitution and money laundering by Snohomish County prosecutors, who allege she was the madam of drive-thru brothels…[where] baristas would expose their breasts and genitals and charge for sex acts…In a raid last year, investigators [stole] $250,000 [from] Panico’s home.  Her profit margin at times was twice that of well-run, established coffee stands…One barista [was bribed via a plea deal to tell] investigators she earned half a million dollars working at Panico’s stands…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #432)

This scare story starts with the arse-backward claim that “sex trafficking” causes youth homelessness and then goes all over the map:

…those who study the issue believe any steps to address sex trafficking in Utah also will help solve the problem of youth homelessness…Tammie Garcia Atkin…of the…Office of Victim Services…said girls often are introduced into prostitution by men who they believe are their boyfriends…“It’s all sweetness and likes [sic] and then it turns into this violent relationship”…[fireman] Fernando Rivero…said…he was able to recognize a sex trafficking business once when he visited an area doing a building inspection…Rivero is hoping to eventually steer Utah’s thinking more toward a victim mentality as seen in other states…Kevin Donegan…at Janus Youth Programs in Portland…sends out a strict warning to parents who think their children are hanging out at the mall, because they could be…recruited into sex trafficking…Peter Thorpe…of the Oak Ridge shelter in Vancouver [Washington], said…the average age for a girl to enter prostitution…“just keeps going down and down…it is a renewable resource…you can sell a girl over and over again”…

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #433)

Three Sydney sex workers have staged a protest at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas over the representation of their profession in a panel discussion on the global sex industry called “Women For Sale”…they handed out pamphlets to festival goers and posed with a…sign that read:  “I am a sex worker.  I am not for sale”…Jules Kim…the acting chief executive of…Scarlet Alliance, applied to festival organisers…to be included on the panel…but had her request denied.  However…the…journalist Elizabeth Pisani invited Kim to replace her on stage and she was allowed to take part…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #433)

There’s a word for people who try to control and profit from whores but disregard their welfare:

…It has…come to light that local Conservative politicians and elected representatives from the Christian Social Union (CSU) are…involved in…construction [of an FKK-Club in East Dachau]:  developer…Wolfgang Moll; electrician…Helmut Erhorn; and architect…Heidi Lewald…it remains unclear why the…politicians didn’t make their stakes in the project known earlier…

 

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Slavery works as a public fantasy through which the real problems of the world can be pushed to one side and replaced with…“evil slave-owners” who allegedly lurk behind such phenomena.  –  Frank FurediSWAT thugs

The Slave-Whore Fantasy

Many organizations…receive inquiries from potential volunteers whose primary desire is to kick in doors and rescue…victims…once a potential volunteer learns that the organization does not have a covert SWAT team…they seem shocked and in disbelief.  The concept of private entities using…armed…[“rescue”] teams…is fueled by Hollywood and…non-governmental organizations…who play DVDs at anti-human trafficking events indicating their organization uses [such] teams…some even indicate their activities are unhindered by the bureaucracy of governments…

Handy Figures

I find this number very credible, given that 1% of comparatively-prudish Western women have worked as whores, plus an unknown (but certainly larger) number in other kinds of sex work:

…economist Yasuyuki Iida…says that five percent of women in Japan have [done some kind of sex work.  He]…begins by estimating that there are 10,000 clubs, bars and parlors offering sex nationwide… “each employs 30 women on average…That puts the number of women…at 300,000”…Iida settles on 10 years as the average tenure…based on data from the Ministry of Justice…the average woman enters the biz between the age of 25 and 29.  Census data…indicates that a total of 700,000 women fall within…that…group.  If 30,000 women [per year]…enter the fuzoku trade, that would represent…4.29[%] of that total…

The Course of a Disease

The Vietnamese government has just passed a decree under which clients of prostitutes will be punished more severely than the call girls…sex buyers will be fined VND500,000-VND1 million (US$23.7-$47.4)…prostitutes…will be issued a warning…in less severe cases or a monetary fine of VND100,000-VND300,000 (up to $14)…If the prostitutes are foreigners, they can be deported from Vietnam…

Legal Is As Legal Does (TW3 #7)

Another example of the need for eternal vigilance:

A delegation of former prostitutes…[and] advocates have appeared before…Parliament calling for a change to prostitution laws…the organisation Freedom from Sexual Exploitation (FFSE)…says…”the Prostitution Reform Act…not only encouraged more men to buy sex, but transformed prostitution into an acceptable, even attractive job for young, poor woman in New Zealand”…FFSE is asking the government to…[criminalize] the purchase of sexual services…

Above the Law

Three more “isolated incidents”:

Nearly twenty years after two young women were shot and stabbed to death at a Kentucky massage parlor…former [cops]…Edward Carter and Leslie Duncan are among three men charged…Tammy Papler, the woman who once ran the parlor, claimed years ago that she had been bribing police…and that the killings took place after she stopped paying.

Of course, it isn’t only whores they target:

A…San Antonio [cop raped a young woman]…Jackie Len Neal pulled [her] over…[on the pretext] that her car was reported stolen.  Even though [she] produced a sales slip…Neal insisted on patting her down…[then] placed [her] in handcuffs…[in] the back of his patrol car…[and raped her]…video cameras mounted in Neal’s cruiser were not functioning…[but] a GPS tracking system did corroborate that…[it] was parked for 18 minutes…as the woman had claimed…

And an update from the original “Above the Law”:  “A victim of a…Pittsburgh police officer…filed a federal lawsuit…Adam Skweres…failed his psychological examination before [hiring and]…the city [allowed him to keep working]…after it received complaints against him…[for] three years…Frankenstein - angry mob

The Widening Gyre

You know a moral panic is nearing its zenith when you start seeing mobs with torches:

Hundreds of people [gathered]…on Long Beach Boulevard in Compton to march against the sex trafficking of children and teenagers along the notorious strip.  The march…[followed] the route often used by johns and pimps in buying and selling young victims…”We are marching tonight to shine a light in the darkness and let these men know we see them,” [politician Mark] Ridley-Thomas said…”And to let businesses that profit from this vile trade…know that we’re coming for them”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #34)

Don’t believe our data; believe our dogma instead!

In Maine…its hotline netted 19 of what Polaris Project defines as high- or moderate-level indicators of trafficking in the most recent year…Destie Sprague…[of] the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said…Mainers should not reach the conclusion that only 19 people in the state were victims of trafficking in the past year…the number is in reality much higher…

Lower Education

The federal government is backing away from the nationwide “blueprint” for campus speech restrictions issued this May…the new head of the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR)…said that “the agreement in the Montana case represents the resolution of that particular case and not OCR or DOJ policy”…the Montana agreement included an overly broad definition of punishable sexual harassment: “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including “verbal conduct” (i.e., speech)…Serious First Amendment and due process problems remain with…other recent OCR pronouncements…

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #326)

Wouldn’t you love to see articles like this in the US?

Media organizations worldwide have been busy crucifying Rob Ford for his alleged crimes and intoxicated buffoonery…but mainstream outlets in Canada…need to apologize for repeatedly presenting Ford’s crimes in conjunction with allegations of “prostitution”…Having sex for money is not a crime in this country.  Even though many activities associated with it remain illegal, having sex for money…is a job…Every major mainstream media source in the city latched onto the “hanging out with suspected prostitutes” allegations…what makes someone a “suspected prostitute,” anyway?  Fishnets?…

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #329)

Though registration is a poor idea because of the inevitable bottleneck, the general tone of this article is far more sensible than anything from the US:

…Swaziland’s sex workers are not a major contributor to the spread of HIV…[it] is spread widely by people in [unpaid] sexual encounters …However…if HIV is to be contained in any country the need to protect sex workers from HIV is a requirement…Identification of sex workers is the first step, allowing a registry of sex workers for contact and communication.  Thus reachable, these individuals can receive advice on health issues, HIV testing…counselling…treatment …and a supply of condoms…public health crises require realism…

Migliorini in PlayboyLittle Boxes (TW3 #332)

A woman who sold her virginity…for $780,000 but was unable to consummate the transaction has decided to put herself back on the market…Catarina Migliorini  was initially promised to a 53-year-old Japanese millionaire, but the deal fell through after Natsu ended up being a 21-year-old who looked nothing like his online profile.  She also had a falling out with the documentary filmmaker who recruited her…

Decentralization (TW3 #334)

Another example of “sex trafficking” as default bogeyman:

…bitcoin…is not backed by any central bank or government and can be transferred “peer to peer” between any two people anywhere…By largely eliminating intermediaries, bitcoin allows individuals to conduct transactions without being subject to anti-money laundering controls, which makes it an attractive currency to criminals — particularly those who prey on the weak.  Sex slavery and human trafficking generate $9.5 billion yearly in the United States alone, with each trafficked child yielding between $150,000 to $200,000 to her pimp, who controls four to six girls on average…

It’s That Time Again (TW3 #334)

The cuckoo clock is striking 13:

Cindy McCain slammed the National Football League…for not being “willing to deal” with the issue of sex trafficking at the Super Bowl…McCain…said the Super Bowl is the “largest human-trafficking venue on the planet,” but she will be working to tackle the issue in [Arizona] in 2015…McCain emphasized the necessity of bringing the issue to…Congress.  “This issue’s not sexy on Capitol Hill yet, but we’re going to make it sexy”…

Given all the one-handed writing politicians do about “child sex slaves”, I’d say they already find it plenty sexy.  But McCain’s comments, however idiotic, are at least coherent, which is more than I can say for those of her sidekick:

…Saada Saar spoke about her involvement in shutting down “adult services” ads on Craigslist in 2010…“I will never forget that morning getting calls from some of the girls who were still out there saying, ‘Oh my God!  The pimp’s [sic] are losing their minds because they can’t put us up for sale.  We are no longer for sale’…”

Imaginary Evils

Slaves found in London 'tip of the iceberg' Daily MailI knew this would turn out to be bogus, but I’m very pleased that it came apart so quickly:

The first stories in the London slavery reports…all gave the same horrifying account:  three women had been rescued by police after thirty years held against their will…But as details emerged, it seemed to be an entirely different affair…after contacting the charity, the women were encouraged to leave the house, which they did…with no dramatic police raid…[they] had joined a radical Marxist collective…which…was like a microcosm of a Soviet state- workers toil unrewarded for the benefit of the leader…”social services, education and housing departments had all had contact with the household” and…both the leaders had been previously arrested.  The presence of these women in the house was not a new discovery by any means…

And in Spiked, Frank Furedi uses the incident as a springboard for a strong criticism of the way the word “slavery” is used to describe phenomena which are absolutely nothing like chattel slavery.

Everything Old is New Again

Here are two more stories in which “sex trafficking” is described using ludicrous Victorian phraseology; this one from Ohio tells us that the mustache-twirling villains behind the “perfidious crime” are not usually stopped by “swift apprehension”, and that arresting sex workers “[fights] the vexing scourge” by “helping to restore a semblance of normalcy to [their] lives”.  The other, from California, gasps in horror at the idea of “children…at risk” from people having sex “in a home right across the street from an elementary school,” opines that “the horror of human trafficking…has destroyed the meaning of what it means to be ‘safe’ in a free world,”  and tells us that “expanding shackles” (presumably, a technology related to “invisible handcuffs”) are “fueled” by “assumptions that these are consensual interactions with women flaunting their sexual desire alongside pimps in outlandish suits with expensive cars.”

Meanwhile, if you click back to the original column by this name you’ll see something about how New Port Richey, Florida has a scheme to allow “authorities” to persecute “known prostitutes” at will.  Well, here’s an open letter to the town from its most famous daughter, Dr. Brooke Magnanti:

…Profiling has a false positive rate greater than zero, and some of those false positives will no doubt lawyer up.  Also, picking up people because you think they might possibly commit a crime in the future is not the same as detecting people who are actually breaking the law.  It is – hm, how you say? – oh yeah, now I remember the word.  “Unconstitutional.”  (My time in Florida’s schools did not go to waste, as you can see)…

Think of the Children! (TW3 #346)

Buried down near the bottom of this farrago of pearl-clutching nonsense about a persecuted Calgary massage parlor:  “Human trafficking is not a widespread problem among sex workers in Calgary massage parlours, police say…Mary Ann Franks threatens to beat up website owners

Shame, Shame

Activists seeking to criminalize “revenge porn” say they are…[preparing] federal legislation that would force Internet companies to take [it] down…law professor Mary Anne Franks…is helping draft the bill…”Going after intermediaries is a really bad idea,” says Matt Zimmerman…[of] the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  “The entire speech ecosystem…[suffers] because those service providers…decide what people can and cannot post”…Internet companies would likely respond to such a law by removing content any time there’s a complaint, to reduce their liability and…save time…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #347)

This ugly exercise in arse-backwardness repeats lurid nonsense about “sex tourism” in Brazil using Justin Bieber clickbait while describing dry stories about sex workers’ language lessons and business improvements as “titillating”; it then dismisses UN recommendations for decriminalization in a flurry of “sex trafficking” hoo-hah (describing the fringe group Equality Now as “many NGOs”), and adds insult to injury by mentioning Gabriela Leite’s Davida without stating that it’s a sex worker rights organization.  Compare it with this one, which despite being fixated on “grittiness” is at least basically honest.

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on September 22nd; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

History, it is said, repeats itself.  And while the parallels are never exact, they are often pretty damned close.  Witness, for example, the new Victorianism which has engulfed Western society:

…we have become shockingly hypocritical about sex and grant our governments tremendous power to suppress it while simultaneously spending tremendous amounts of time and money on it…We have revived Victorian ideas of government-enforced temperance and “social progress”, and the…“Cult of the Child”…which…preaches that children [including adolescents] are as emotionally fragile as soap bubbles and the merest hint of sexual imagery…can cause irreversible trauma…is…pressed into service for sex issues which have nothing to do with children…prohibitionists [have resurrected] the late Victorian “white slavery” moral panic under a new name, “child sex trafficking”, and [wield] it as a bludgeon against adult whores…lest anyone balk at treating adult women as children, there’s a Victorian answer for that as well; prostitutes are  abnormal, defective “victims” of men who have to be protected from our own choices, which are clearly irrational.  Similarly, trafficking fanatics classify brown people as…too stupid and unsophisticated to move between countries on their own without being “trafficked” by gangsters, so by the Victorian “white man’s burden” philosophy they need to “save” these poor victims, whether they want to be “rescued” or not

Traffic in Souls (1913)But while the racist, colonialist, prudish, censorious and paternalistic attitudes we see around us, especially in speeches by politicians and articles from the mainstream media, are straight out of the late 19th century, at least the language used is still modern, isn’t it?  Well…not quite.  In recent decades we’ve seen the return of tortured, obfuscatory euphemisms and circumlocutory, polysyllabic abortions used in place of clear words and direct phrases, and nowhere is this more true than in prohibitionist anti-sex work screeds larded with cumbersome, politicized passive-voice constructions such as “prostituted women” or even “women victimized by systems of prostitution”.  And in recent months, it’s been growing steadily worse; yellow news stories steeped in purple prose extol the supposed “horror” of sex workers’ lives in lurid detail, women are described as utterly helpless and hopelessly naïve, and sexual behavior is described in phraseology that would not seem out of place in a hellfire-and-damnation revivalist’s tent.  And really, that’s not surprising; the equation of all prostitution with “sex trafficking” goes back to the 1880s, and one of its chief originators at that time, The Salvation Army, is also one of its chief proponents now.  The “trafficking” mythos is deeply rooted in Protestant Christianity’s obsession with “pure and pious womanhood, and even when there is no Christian group involved in a prohibitionist scheme the same themes of sin and degradation echo through their rhetoric, even if translated for a non-Christian audience.

To be sure, some of them are very subtle, contenting themselves with merely denying that sex work is work, equating all sex work with survival streetwalking and using Victorian phrases like “selling their bodies”.  Others absurdly state that “prostitution is not a victimless crime”, deny sex workers’ agency (“When you are bought and sold for sex…does that make it a freely made choice?”), misdirect attention from the real issues with simple-minded morality plays featuring demonic pimps and heroic cops, and ignore the coercion implicit in the “diversion programs” they tout.  Still others feature cops using language that sounds plagiarized from penny dreadfuls: “[The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics] is committed to dismantling organizations involved in the seedy world of prostitution and ultimately human trafficking.  Our agency…[is] determined to make a positive impact in a dark world that troubles the soul. Women that are used as a commodity sickens ones hear [sic].”  But others aren’t nearly as restrained:

The struggle against human sex trafficking in Israel has made appreciable progress in the past decade.  Mass media have better informed the public of the severity and dimensions of this vast criminal enterprise…The Sinai fence and more effective border patrolling has appreciably, though not totally abrogated the tacit understandings between the IDF and Beduin [sic] smugglers that annually brought thousands of sex slaves into Israel’s brothels…girls as young as 13, are coerced by the ravages of poverty, incest and rape…into sexual servitude.  Procurers and their underworld bosses subjugate them in lives almost never truly rehabilitated by even the most valiant and dedicated social welfare agencies…tens of thousands of [men]…continue to buy women’s bodies in order, as they commonly express it, “to make them do whatever I want”…the purchase of sex is about power, not about sex, about societal toleration of the abuse of women’s bodies – and souls…

If not for the uniquely modern idiocy that sex isn’t sex, one could easily mistake this for a description of a Victorian or silent-film melodrama, complete with bearded Bedouin slave traders (no doubt carrying their struggling captives on camels); note also the revoltingly misogynistic assertion that whores are “fallen” women who can “never truly [be] rehabilitated”, a common Victorian prostitute-motif which persists in modern “sex trafficking” myth and is echoed in theSalome by Jean Sala characterization of rape as uniquely destructive, a “fate worse than death”.

But the myth of the harlot as a passive, pathetic victim of the Almighty Phallus is a comparatively recent one; for the majority of the past two millennia (and for centuries before that among the Jews), we were cast by prudes and religious fanatics as powerful figures akin to witches, vile temptresses sent straight from Hell to seduce godly men into wrongdoing.  A few of their modern successors still prefer that sort of rhetoric, and demand that whores be made into outcast pariahs who can be persecuted by the “authorities” at will:

…New Port Richey [Florida]…Police Chief Kim Bogart…suggested the city consider crafting an anti-prostitution ordinance that makes it easier for police to arrest known “ladies of the night.”  He’s hoping the ordinance would be worded so that if such a woman even waves or makes a certain gesture to someone, it would be justification for arrest…Councilman Jeff Starkey took aim at the city’s prostitution problem.  “It’s unbelievable how brazen these nasty, nasty, nasty women are”…he said…

Of course, before we were witches and temptresses we were priestesses; many ancient religions believed that sacred whores were a way for men to connect with their goddesses.  The practice still existed in the early Christian era, much to the chagrin of early Church fathers (who had inherited the long Jewish tradition of hatred for whores).  Our last (and most fiery) example of retro anti-whore rhetoric derives its inspiration from that time period:

…Preaching from 1 Corinthians 6:15–7:5, [Russell] Moore likened the present-day cultural saturation of pornography with the first-century pagan practice of temple prostitution.  “The temple prostitution of Corinth has been digitalized and weaponized…and brings with it the kind of illusion and anonymity that the temple prostitutes could never promise…there are digital harems of prostitutes, available and pushed upon every single population in the United States of America and increasingly every single population in the world,” Moore said…

As I’ve said before, if I’m going to be insulted and lied about I’d rather be cast as a powerful succubus than a weak and deluded victim.  Given the choice between two ridiculous stereotypes from the past which have somehow held on into the 21st century, I prefer to be a living weapon so dangerous she must be arrested on sight than an infantilized defective who needs to be locked up because she’s too stupid to know what’s good for her.

(This essay was inspired by Dr. Laura Agustín‘s “tweets” about how silly prohibitionist language has become lately; she and Mistress Matisse provided most of the featured examples.)

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