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Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

Whole libraries of sex work laws have been written and enforced because lawmakers listened to nothing other than their own fears and paternalism.  –  Chris Hall

R.I.P. Sashimani Devi Sashimani Devi

Sashimani Devi, the last [devadasi]…at the Jagannath Temple in eastern India, died on March 19 in the city of Puri…She was 92…she was one of about 25 women assigned to care for Jagannath and other images of deities at the temple, conducting ritual baths, rubbing the statues with lotion and performing private songs and dances at bedtime…Sashimani…remained proud of her status until the end of her life, though she complained that temple authorities had reduced her role in temple rituals and paid her a miserly pension.  She told one interviewer who asked about the god Jagannath: “He is my husband and I am his wife.  There is no dispute about it.”  She was the last to perform a dance that had been practiced in the temple for 5,000 years…Laws criminalizing the dedication of devadasis began proliferating in the 1930s, and elite temples like Jagannath began to turn away from the practice, though “thousands and thousands” of devadasis are dedicated, to this day, at smaller temples throughout India…

Here We Go Again

Chris Hall looks at the connection between the belief in snuff films and the belief in “sex trafficking”:

Of all the myths about porn, sex and crime to get a footing in popular culture, the belief in snuff films is one of the most improbable, yet enduringly resilient.  For decades, journalists, politicians, law enforcement officials, and anti-porn crusaders talked about snuff films as if their reality had been as firmly documented as the address of the White House….[despite the fact that] no actual snuff films have ever been found…snuff movie hysteria is just a single link in a very long chain of moral panics around sex and sex work which stretches back centuries…the myths of white slavery and snuff films…depicted vast networks of deliberate, organized evil preying on society’s most innocent.  There are actual videos of murders by serial killers or terrorists, but…a true snuff film would be one where the victim is specifically kidnapped and murdered in order to make the film and distribute it through a vast, secret criminal network.  Similarly, white slavery would necessarily involve a nightmarish web of kidnappers and pimps working cohesively in a well-organized criminal subculture…the existence of snuff films and white slavery would reveal a shadowy, near-omnipotent “other” infiltrating respectable society…

Above the Law 

A…New York [City cop]…has been charged with multiple counts of rape related to a sexual relationship he’s alleged to have maintained with a teen girl more than 20 years his junior…38-year-old Vladimir Sosa…was arrested in the Bronx [after the girl]…confessed to her mother about the relationship last month…

The Notorious Badge 

Here’s an amusing example of prohibitionists’ obsession with the film Pretty Woman:  On its 25th anniversary, a “sex trafficking” fetishist publishes a letter asking Richard Gere to espouse the “end demand” creed of the “sex trafficking” religion and denounce clients.  I am not making this up.

Hall of Shame

Mistress Matisse: “If you’ve eaten poison and need to make yourself vomit, you should watch Dennis Hof and Nancy Grace debate sex work.”  I concur; Grace is one of the few creatures who can make Hof seem less-than-wholly-vile in comparison.

Shift in the Wind

More editorials like this, please:

It is unfathomable why adults are still being prohibited by law from engaging in sex work – whether as an individual providing or receiving such services – in and outside of Jamaica.  To make matters worse, it is also illegal for you to “knowingly” benefit from the proceeds of sex work regardless of your relationship to the individual…This is preposterous….a child whose parent works tirelessly as a sex worker to send him or her to school…can, in fact, be charged for benefiting from their parents earnings from sex work….if you are the parent of a sex worker with a chronic illness such as cancer, you can be charged for allowing your daughter to pay for life-saving chemotherapy.  What would you do if the person who supports you financially is a sex worker?  Would you still feel the law is justified – that prostitution should be illegal?

Standard Operating Procedure

Yawn.  Are people still pretending this was unpredictable?

Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration reportedly had “sex parties” with prostitutes hired by drug cartels in Colombia, according to a new inspector general report released by the Justice Department…In addition, Colombian police officers allegedly provided “protection for the DEA agents’ weapons and property during the parties…The stunning allegations are part of an investigation…into claims of sexual harassment and misconduct within DEA; FBI…[ATF] and the U.S. Marshals Service…The congressional committee charged with federal oversight is already promising hearings and an investigation…

“Stunning”. LOL! Prostitute tester advert

Sex Work is Work

A brothel is advertising what many would consider a dream job: prostitute tester.  The job entails rating sex workers for overall quality, cleanliness, value for money, and safe sex practices.  The advert by the Berlin brothel…reads:  “Practical experience with many years of brothel visits necessary.  You should enjoy having fun with people and you should not be afraid of contact.”  Ideal candidates for the position would hold a university degree (preferably in business), have experience with brothels, and be able to show a health certificate indicating they are disease-free…a multilingual individual is desired, with knowledge of French a plus…

Torture Chamber 

[Florida prison guards] contaminated inmates’ food, sprayed them with chemicals for no reason and threatened to break their fingers and to kill them…These practices flourished under former Warden Samuel Culpepper…inmates…said they were stripped naked or down to their boxers at the whim of guards and had all their belongings and their mattresses taken away, then left around the clock on a cold metal bunk for 72 hours or more…[where] they would shiver, cold and petrified, waiting to be gassed…guards would sometimes heat up the gas canisters before activating them, making the chemicals more potent and stick more stubbornly to inmates’ skin…

Bait and Switch

Here’s a long, detailed account of how an ordinary man was tricked and railroaded by cops and prosecutors, his life destroyed for their profit:

…he believed she was nineteen, and he adamantly denied at all times that she looked underage.  He…thought she was lying about her age to try to get more money from him.  It took cops almost half an hour of merciless interrogation and lie after lie to get something even arguably incriminating out of him.  They kept telling him about how he tried to have sex with “that girl” who was sixteen.  When he asked why they were fixated on the fake age of a fake escort, the police report noted that as him seeing no problem with the age of sixteen…

Marching Up Their Own Arses (#452)

For a change, many outside the demimonde recognize anti-whore douchebaggery for what it is:

All sex workers are trafficking victims who desperately want out of the industry.  That’s the premise…of the new A&E show 8 Minutes, which is slated to premiere April 2….vigilante pastor (and former cop) Kevin Brown…sets up dates with sex workers, only to ambush them with attempts at rescue instead of payment—all filmed, hidden camera-style.  The…series has been called “awful” by the Daily Beast, while VICE referred to Brown and the series creators as “manipulators seeking out women for their own gain.”  A Change.org petition…garnered just under 2,000 signatures.  And…even local law enforcement condemned his methods…But none of this criticism has deterred A&E from airing the show…[so] about two dozen…groups that work with…sex workers signed a letter demanding a meeting with Tom Forman, the producer…

Worse Than I Thought (#524)

We can always count on Elizabeth N. Brown:

…the “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act” (JVTA)…was [stalled]…by party-line disagreement over an abortion-funding provision.  Thank goodness.  This is one time that lawmakers using abortion as a political tool may actually be a boon for civil liberties…One should always be skeptical when politicians insist on new laws to target things that are already targets…it belies efforts to grant government agencies new powers and more money without people paying much attention…One under-looked but worrisome aspect of the bill would set up several cybercrime-fighting units within the department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement…By conflating all prostitution with sex trafficking, organizations that receive federal anti-trafficking grants can use it to go after prostitution more generally — something conservative rescue-orgs like because it fits their anti-prostitution agenda and police departments like because they can now use this money toward existing vice efforts.  And the more arrests and/or “rescues” they make, the more money they get…

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When two consenting adults have sex behind closed doors and if money changes hands then that is none of the state’s business.  –  Laura Lee

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Police in eastern India were left red-faced when a raid on a sex district discovered four of their own along with a convicted murderer whom they were supposed to be…transporting…to hospital for a check-up…

Who Watches the Watchmen?

I’m really happy to see the media slowly growing more skeptical of ludicrous statistical claims:

…[Several news sources claimed that] “According to the FBI’s latest study, more than 58,000 kids were abducted by non-relatives in one year”…The number is derived from data collected between 1997 and 1999, mainly from a telephone survey in 1999…these numbers come from an era that predates the wide use of mobile phones, which allow parents to keep much closer track of their children…this is an estimate, based on a survey, not based on actual incidents…Two key components of the 58,000 figure are children who are reported missing by their caretakers or children who were missed by the caretaker for at least an hour but no report was filed…These incidents may meet a legal definition of “abduction” but generally do not conform to the public’s understanding of an abduction…The number of stereotypical kidnappings is significantly smaller: 115…the most recent (2014) FBI data on abductions by a stranger in a single year is 332…

Down Under

A Porirua man is facing two rare charges of failing to use a condom during sex with a prostitute.  The safe-sex law is thought to have been applied only about seven times since the Prostitution Reform Act was passed in 2003…Before prostitution was decriminalised, sex workers were not able to complain about clients not wanting to use condoms…[The man] said he knew the prostitute would not have consented to his taking the condom off, so he did it without her knowledge…

Tyranny By Consensus

I certainly hope you saw this coming:

Since Los Angeles County passed a 2012 law requiring all male porn performers to wear condoms, some Californians have been trying to extend the requirement throughout the state.  Legislation to this effect failed last summer, but activists are now seeking to put the matter before voters in 2016…If…Michael Weinstein gets his way, he could be subsidized by the state to sit around reviewing porn.  Under the proposed condom measure…”Weinstein would be placed in charge of monitoring any adult film produced in California to determine if condoms were used…If a condom wasn’t readily apparent in each scene, Weinstein would be deputized by the Attorney General to review the raw footage of the production, and file lawsuits against anyone involved in the production, including but not limited to the producers, distributors, agents, and anyone with a demonstrable ‘financial interest’ in the production”…To remove Weinstein from this role would require a majority vote from both houses of the state Legislature…

Under Every Bed dopedopedope

Small towns can’t credibly claim to be “sex trafficking hubs”, so they call themselves “stops” instead:

Hundreds of social workers, police officers, clinicians and concerned locals gathered…to learn about the growth of…sex trafficking in southeastern Wisconsin…the Human Trafficking Forum…explored the causes and symptoms of what they call “modern-day slavery”…Every 10 minutes, a woman or child is trafficked in the U.S, resulting in more than 15,000 victims each year*.  An official with the Department of Homeland Security…described Kenosha as a “stopping spot” between Chicago and Milwaukee…[a cop bloviated that] “Twelve and 13-year-olds are the primary target, that’s middle schoolers.  We need to get the word out to parents and teachers”…

Canadian cops are just as absurd:

…Is there human trafficking in Guelph [Ontario, population 121,668]?  “Absolutely”…[lied cop Patty] Pronovost…girls as young as 12 are exploited by pimps…classified ad sites like Backpage…are popular among prostitutes and pimps…The average age of a girl entering the sex trade is 14.  On average, they would see 10 to 15 customers each day, but 30 in one day is not uncommon…

I wish 30 clients a day really were “not uncommon”; if that were true my bank account wouldn’t be in the sorry shape it’s in.

*15,000/year = 1.7/hour = 1/35 minutes ≠ 1/10 minutes.

Challenge

My friend Laura Lee does it again:

A sex worker is using European human rights legislation to try to overturn a new law in Northern Ireland that makes it illegal to pay for prostitutes.  Dublin-born law graduate Laura Lee is launching an unprecedented legal challenge that could go all the way to Strasbourg, against a human trafficking bill which includes banning the payment for sex among consenting adults…

Traffic Jam (#439)

Nearly two years ago, Monica Jones was…arrested for prostitution during a massive police sweep.  Now, she’s in Geneva, Switzerland, taking her case to the United Nations.  The arrest in May 2013 was not the first time the cops had harassed Jones, and she fought back, successfully challenging the charges in court while rising to become an outspoken activist and a widely recognized human rights advocate.  Beating her own charges was not enough for Jones, and now she is using her story to challenge the United States’ prostitution policies on the global stage.  The UN Human Rights Council is preparing its quadrennial review of the US’s human rights record in May, and this week Jones and advocates from across the world are lobbying the council’s member countries on policy recommendations…

The Last Shall Be First (#513)

A bill that would ban transgender people from using their preferred public bathrooms has now…been amended to make an exception for some transgender people who have legally changed their gender on government documentation.  In essence, it means transgender people would need to have their papers on them to pee…[the bill’s sponsor]  claims that the ordinance would prevent male sex offenders and other perverted, unsavory characters from entering women’s bathrooms and that it’s a matter of public safety.  Of course…such incidents…are almost unheard of in other states and municipalities that have passed protections for transgender individuals…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#523) Cheetahs

The fact that money is tight and online porn free couldn’t possibly have anything to do with this; it must be video games!

Strip clubs, with flashy signs advertising nude dancers, once had a strong footing in downtown centres across Canada.  But…an adult industry insider says strip clubs are an endangered species being killed off by lack of demand…Tim Lambrinos…[said]  “It seems that young Canadian males are more distracted with other types of interests — Game Boys, plugging in things and so on”…Toronto had 63 strip clubs a decade ago, now it only has 14.  Lambrinos admits licensed clubs are plagued with the perception they are tied to crime and unsavoury characters, but…that doesn’t match with the reality.  “In terms of crime, even public complaints, the licensed adult entertainment clubs were the bottom of the list…There were nail salons and hair salons and barber shops, restaurants that got far more complaints”…

Worse Than I Thought (#523)

A new “sex trafficking” law is so bad (HOW BAD IS IT?) that at least one “anti-trafficking” NGO has denounced it:

Looking to criminalize our way out of something hasn’t worked in any other issue and won’t work here…Services shouldn’t have to push victims to cooperate with law enforcement in order to receive funding…We need to be removing children from the judicial system, not increasing their involvement…being a trafficker is a specific crime and not just a catch-all for everyone who did something wrong to a child…This bill buys into a sensationalized presentation of a complex issue, to which the criminal justice system is somehow the solution…

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The public never wants to hear that their fear-based and/or moral-routed legislation isn’t solving a problem.  –  Gracie Passette

All Shapes and Sizes

The world’s first successful penis transplant has been reported by a surgical team in South Africa.  The 21-year-old recipient…lost his penis in a botched circumcision…the operation was a success and the patient was happy and healthy…Full sensation has not returned [but]…the man is able to pass urine, have an erection, orgasm and ejaculate…

Politicizing the Personal

I’m always pleased when someone whose name isn’t Maggie McNeill attacks the concept of “empowerment”:

I was disappointed when…Woman’s Hour decided to debate the question “can porn empower women?”  This question not only relies on misguided assumptions that limit the framing of the debate, it also misses the point…it doesn’t matter whether porn performers are empowered or not by their work – they still have agency, and they still have rights.  Porn is one of the least marginalised jobs within the sex industry, but it still suffers from the same fallacy as every other discussion about sex work – the idea that it is only a legitimate choice if it is “empowering”.  We don’t hold other industries to this standard…Why do we only expect “empowerment” of sex work, and not of other jobs?…We don’t demand that waitresses feel “empowered” in their jobs for us to recognise their agency in choosing the work, and we don’t tell other workers who serve male customers that they can’t be feminist.  The empowerment fallacy is only applied to the sex industry – and it’s deeply insidious…

The Last Shall Be First

Another potty-obsessed politician wants to enforce his hangups with violence:

A Texas lawmaker has filed a bill that would prohibit schools from allowing transgender students to use restrooms in accordance with their gender identity…Gilbert Pena [wants]…districts…held liable for $2,000 in exemplary damages — plus actual damages, court costs and attorneys fees — if employees knowingly allow transgender students to use [the proper] restrooms…In other words, the bill would place a bounty on the heads of transgender students, offering rewards to peers who report them for going to the bathroom…

Traffic Jam Minnesota Connection

The more one looks, the more continuity one sees between the Satanic Panic & “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…1978’s The Minnesota Connection [was] written by “preacher-cop” Al Palmquist…[and] billed as…the true account of Palmquist’s battle with sex trafficking victims, but it contains so many factual flaws that you must use air quotes while saying the words “true story”…[for several years before the book Palmquist gave lectures on] how Satanists use subconscious, subliminal, “mystical calls” in advertising and rock music to attract folks to the occult and its leaders who ply them with drugs so they can get them to worship Satan…[when] this Satanism stuff [didn’t gain] any traction…Palmquist [turned]…to fight the human demons in this word:  Pimps…he…[became] fixated on the notion of a “Minnesota Pipeline” that [delivered] women to pimps in New York…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake 

Prostitutes in Spain are to be entitled to labour rights and would be able to claim unemployment benefits when not in work, a court has ruled.  Judge Juan Augustín Maragall ruled…that prostitutes should be given contracts by brothel owners, who would pay social security contributions on their behalf.  The civil court decision was made after a massage parlour…was raided by labour inspectors…The owner argued that the workers were autonomous and not officially employed, however authorities stated that as there was a employer and employee working relationship, it constitutes a form of contract so social security payments should be made…

Like a Horse and Carriage

Of course, some gay activists are against this because it denies them special privileges, and the Democrats are angry it was proposed by a Republican:

Something remarkably libertarian has just happened in Oklahoma.  The state’s House of Representatives voted…to end government licensing of marriages…citizens…will instead file “certificates of marriage” or file affidavits of common law marriage with the clerks after it’s all done with…these certificates will stand as proof of marriage for Oklahoma law…So this isn’t some phony “separate but equal” plan to protect marriage from “the gays.”  Any Oklahoma statute that operates off of marital status or provides benefits or privileges based on marital status will accept either of these non-license certificates…they will get all the same rights and privileges under Oklahoma law…Charlotte Rose

Skin To Skin

We’ve seen several stories about Charlotte Rose, but this one concentrates on her work with the disabled; longtime readers know how important I consider that specialization.  The article also touches on “sexological bodywork”, the latest attempt by some whores to draw a line between themselves and others which casts them as “good” and “important” and the others as “bad” and “criminal”.

Guest Columnist:  Kelly Michaels

Things had been going a lot better for my friend Kelly Michaels; her abusive ex-husband had decided he wasn’t actually interested in having custody of their children, making her battle to keep them moot.  But recently, the problems started again and rapidly escalated:

…It came to my attention that my ex-husband and daughter were concealing the fact that Jillian was engaging in extreme self mutilation, yet he failed to get her help…Jillian…[notified] me [via text message] that she is running away…I had the person that we share a home with pick her up [instead]…[and] took Jillian to Melbourne, believing that I was acting under Fl statute 787.03 Paragraph C…the abuse registry…[opened] an investigation…[but when I brought] my daughter to a hospital…[the cops] held me, and told me that I may be arrested for Kidnapping, along with anyone else that spoke to the child after leaving her fathers home…

She is trying to raise money for her defense and that of the friends who helped her to take her daughter out of danger; to contribute go to the link above, and if you can help connect Kelly with an experienced criminal defense and/or child custody attorney please contact me via via email as soon as possible.

Schadenfreude (#404)

Remember the Dallas outfit cashing in on “sex trafficking” tours?  Here’s a description of what one is like:

…I went on something called a human-trafficking bus tour and have been struggling since to make sense of what happened…Never leaving the safety of the bus, we learned from our tour leader that some of the massage parlors have been busted for selling sex. (!)  The strip clubs…we saw, the tour-leaders explained, shared some common traits with other strip clubs, and those other strip clubs were busted for various types of illegal activity…Children At Risk…is…led by Dr. Bob Sanborn [and]…describes human trafficking as a major problem in Texas, though…their research…appears to be overblown…What we [actually learned] from the tour…is that there are definitely places in Dallas where sex-related things have occurred…

All-Purpose Excuse

This article on the rapid and entirely unchecked metastasis of the Department of Homeland Security mentions, among many other things, its role in promoting “sex trafficking” hysteria.  It’s a great example of how governmental powers claimed to fight one supposed enemy are invariably expanded to everyone else.

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

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

TANSTAAFL:

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

Feminine Pragmatism 

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

Down Under

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

The Sky is Falling!

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

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

Profit from Panic Punjammies

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

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

Broken Record

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

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

The End of the Beginning

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

Vendetta

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

An Example To the West (#343)

A Bangkok Post article from the director of EMPOWER:

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

Not Good Enough

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

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

Worse Than I Thought (Traffic Updates) IM propaganda

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

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

Another Fine Mess

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

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

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If sex has no value, how can prostitution be illegal?  –  Beaufort Observer

The Biggest Whores

Quite possibly the stupidest statement ever made about sex:

North Carolina government officials who are having secret sex with lobbyists need fear no more:  The state’s ethics commission has decided such illicit relationships are completely fine…The opinion…essentially says that…Sex has no value…and so it doesn’t need to be disclosed…In an editorial published under the headline “Has the State Ethics Commission made prostitution legal in North Carolina?” the Beaufort Observer denounced the…idea that sex has no monetary value….[and] suggested that the latter idea may lead to the legalization of prostitution…

Surplus Women 

Dominick Everson admitted to police that he hired Ezrhea Danyell Cherry…[and claimed he] paid [her] before…sex…[but when] he pulled out “a wad of money” to tip [her, she] pulled a gun on him and told him to give it up.  Everson [claims]…he [then] pulled a gun of his own and opened fire, striking the woman once in the front and three times in the back.  He then fled from the scene in Cherry’s car…During a different interview, Everson told authorities that he didn’t kill the woman at all, and that another man [did]…When prosecutors pressed Everson about why the gun supposedly carried by Cherry wasn’t found, Everson replied that the police had not done a thorough enough investigation.

Gorged With Meaning

The idea that men paying for women’s company is “unconventional” is so naive it’s hilarious:

A controversial website is connecting…men with young women for cash…is it safe?  Is it even legal?…the average sugar baby receives about $3,000 in monthly allowances…legal analyst Gil Soffer…says this is a legal grey area…It’s fulfilling unconventional needs in a 21st century way.

These articles all contain quotes from “experts” pontificating on the obvious:

…“I absolutely think this is prostitution,” says Laura Killinger, a…former prosecutor…“They have sugar-coated this type of prostitution so that it seems so much more socially acceptable…As a prosecutor, I wanted to take legal action against this activity…but it would take tremendous resources…to make…a misdemeanour case”…

Above the Law 

Sometimes “authorities” completely get away with serial rape:

A prison doctor in New Mexico sexually assaults inmates with rectal exams for everything from tooth pain to toenail fungus, seven inmates claim in lawsuits…Dr. Mark Walden regularly performed “digital rectal exams” for no legitimate medical reason, sometimes without wearing gloves, and fondled them inappropriately…When…asked the doctor…”claimed he was milking the plaintiff’s prostate and other medically nonsensical responses”…wardens and prison staff knew about the sexual assaults but did nothing to stop them…complaints and reports…were either ignored, “lost,” or met with retaliation…

And sometimes they only mostly get away with it:rapist cop Jonathan Bleiweiss

A…Florida [cop] has admitted to [raping] undocumented immigrants…Jonathan Bleiweiss…pleaded guilty to…14 counts of armed false imprisonment, 15 counts of battery and four counts of stalking.  However, he avoided all of the charges with [the word] “sex” in them…and as such will not be required…to register as a sex offender…

Profound Ignorance

Clueless academic makes stupid, ignorant statements about sex work; Elizabeth N. Brown calls him on them:

…In a new Iowa Law Review article, “Prostitution 3.0“, University of Colorado law professor Scott Peppet…[lays] out the myriad benefits of a “technology-enabled sex market” as well as the legal barriers that “inhibit prostitution-related innovation” in America…the legal climate prevents innovation that could make the industry safer and more socially acceptable, and then this danger and stigma is used to justify continued prohibition…Unfortunately, Peppet’s ultimate vision here is “legalizing Prostitution 3.0 while criminalizing the purchase of sex outside of Prostitution 3.0’s parameters”—which seems far from the lofty liberalism and freedom-of-contract ideas Peppet pays lip service to…It’s a vision that seems predicated on a strange sort of techno-utopian statism, and a disappointing one for those of us who believe prostitution problems stem from black markets and state interference.  In a nice response article…Scott Cunningham and Todd D. Kendall argue similarly, writing that “most of the social problems associated with prostitution are not inherent to the industry, but they are the logical result of the prohibition itself, a conclusion supported by the fact that other, similar, markets not subject to a prohibition experience few of the problems associated with prostitution”…

So Close and Yet So Far

If you’re going to argue against bad sex work laws, it’s probably best if you eschew language like this:

Selling sex is clearly not a job many people would care to have…If you criminalize the pimps, then it means women cannot be compelled into selling their bodies for sex, right?  Wrong…Some prostitutes will be people who freely choose to engage in prostitution; many, however, “have no meaningful choice…Whether because of financial desperation, drug addictions, mental illness, or compulsion from pimps, they often have little choice but to sell their bodies for money”…The new laws…do not protect women from violent johns…

Blunt Instrument

Three massage parlors were shut down in Lomita [California using the excuse of]…exploitation of women and human trafficking.  Although no violations of that nature were found, each business was cited for poor record keeping on matters [of red tape]…Fines could cost the businesses thousands of dollars.  They will remain closed until they [fork over the tribute]…Deputies [pretended that]…the operation [was] in response to complaints from residents…

Shame, Shame

Tracy Clark-Flory interviewed sex workers, including me, for this article on police body cameras:

…Naming and shaming…has a long history in sex work policing.  Police departments have routinely published sex worker photos in local newspapers…”I can’t help but wonder what would have been done with the footage had such a camera been rolling at the time of my arrest,” says Maggie McNeill, who was caught in a sex work sting in 2005…”The potential for shaming is staggering, especially given that sex workers are very often nude or nearly so when the police spring the trap—I was…It’s one of the reasons stings so often employ such huge mobs of cops—15 in my case—when two or three would do…The mentality in play is like a low-level version of a gang rape, a group of thugs bonding over sexual humiliation of a woman…I have absolutely no doubt that particularly juicy video clips will end up in cops’ private collections to be traded between them, even if some authority decides that such clips will not be publicly released,” she says…Audacia Ray…of the…Red Umbrella Project…is worried about body cameras being “used as a tool to shame people who are being arrested…police often make sexual or degrading comments at women as they are arresting them”…”We have strong concerns about what malicious third-party content producers might do with records of police encounters,” said Matt Kellegrew, the lead staff attorney for Red Light Legal…”My worst fear is some type of sex-worker-shaming-meets-Cops-style slander/shock videos popping up”…

Drawing Lines Sheri's Ranch

a press release…from…Sheri’s Ranch, a licensed brothel in Nevada…was…incredibly vile, self-serving (even by PR standards) and stigmatizing to sex workers…We’re used to seeing efforts to deride and harm sex workers, and ugly, flagrant whorephobia, from radical feminist and anti-sex nut jobs like Melissa Farley and Gail Dines, but this one came from a business…that profits off the efforts of sex workers…“We’re concerned that sugar dating websites, platforms promoting prostitution and operating without interference from law enforcement, may one day negatively impact our legal prostitution business.”  This is what our friend Maggie McNeill calls “badge-licking”.  What sex worker on the planet — and what individual citizen, for that matter — thinks that increased interference in their lives or business by law enforcement is a good thing?  While, I give them points for honesty on the “we’re concerned” this will hurt our business bit, the whole thing sounds as though Sheri’s is trying to smear its  competition.  And by “competition” we mean, other sex workers…

Deafening Silence (#415)

End result of prohibitionism: more women are pushed into sex work:

The sex industry that once thrived in Dongguan [China]…has now scurried underground after the hammering of official raids and crackdowns seeking to eradicate the industry last year…Shops and parlors closed down; people were arrested by the hundreds…though places which once provided sex services were forced to close and all the businesses attached to them [were] damaged…sex workers remain…and work at home…[or on] the streets…some female residents who used to work at the region’s bars or catering businesses that failed to survive have become sex workers “for the better pay”…

BDSM (#505)

Just in case you think BDSM isn’t still heavily stigmatized, take a look at this remarkably stupid, impressively ignorant hate-screed:

Dr. Miriam Grossman…[says that] Fifty Shades of Grey teaches your daughter that pain and humiliation are erotic, and your son, that girls want a guy who controls, intimidates and threatens…The first thing you’ll hear from advocates of BDSM is that consent makes it all A-Okay.  That’s bullshit, folks.  Domestic violence shelters are filled to the gills with women who deluded themselves into thinking that intimacy involved consent to being abused…Somewhere along the way, it ends up like the bonding with one’s captor that occurs in Stockholm Syndrome…Young people…especially females, grossly underestimate the effect of sexual activity on their emotions…Men who habitually indulge in BDSM can also end up thinking that a woman’s “consent” to be abused excuses every abusive thing they might say or do to her…indulgence in…BDSM acts as an addictive drug.  It can render such men incapable of any sex that is not BDSM…

Harm Reduction (#506)

Another wake-up call to wives:

Monogamy is against most men’s biological nature.  But nest-building and settling down with one primary woman to raise a family is not.  He’s chosen you, not me.  He might see me as more fun, vivacious or sexual, but he sees you as the best candidate for wife, mother and life companion.  He takes you seriously; not me…he…would rather seek out a willing mistress than rock the boat with you by expressing his frustration at your loss of interest in sex…I’m basically a young, good-looking version of a therapist…[whom] he gets to fuck…

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I am outraged that Mr. Alexander for two and a half decades failed to take this matter seriously.  –  Judge Kathleen McCarthy

It’s not often that we have a tie for the most links, but we do this week.  Radley Balko provided everything down to the first video, and Jesse Walker the second video plus “rumor” and “clowns”.  The other links were provided by Grace  (“trigger”), Elizabeth N. Brown (“facts”), Cop Block (“thanks”), Angela Keaton  (“mean”), and Nun Ya (“ANY”).

From the Archives

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People who think they can abolish [sex work] entirely from any country are living in a dream world.  –  Ronald Weitzer

Coming and Going

In 2012, more than 1,000 people were booked into the Bexar County Jail for prostitution and the cost to taxpayers was more than $1.2 million dollars.   State Representative Eric Johnson…has introduced House Bill 1363 to reduce punishment for prostitution.   The bill would make a first or second offense of prostitution a Class C Misdemeanor and calls for an intervention program…community service, counseling, and treatment…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do Samuel Riggi

an Orlando [Florida] police lieutenant…[is] accused of having a sexual relationship with a prostitute and taking nearly $10,000 from her…Gricelda Umana…[said] she and Lt. Samuel Riggi had sex every two weeks for two years, sometimes at the massage parlor where she worked.  She said he asked her for money and said she made 17 deposits totaling almost $10,000 from her prostitution proceeds into his account to protect her from arrest…

One Born Every Minute

A new site that claims to be “the AirBnB for escorts” doesn’t seem to be anything like AirBnB…or like a legitimate escort site, for that matter.  AirSnB—which stands for “Air Sexy Buddy,” I was told— launched in December  and, according to owner Amir Mo, is supposed to be the escort industry’s answer to the sharing economy…Mo said customers pay AirSnB upfront for a date arranged with their escort of choice (based on hourly rates).  After the date, AirSnB transfers the money to the escort, skimming their percentage off the top…if there are any issues—like the escort doesn’t show up or doesn’t follow through…AirSnB will return the money to the customer or give them a percentage back, depending on the situation.  But as if this didn’t sound sketchy enough already, many of the escort listings on the site don’t appear to be…real.  Almost every profile I found was copied word-for-word from listings elsewhere on the internet…

The Course of a Disease

Anti-prostitution campaigners have made grand statements about the effectiveness of Sweden’s hugely influential approach to prostitution.  However, researchers say the claims are grossly exaggerated and the law has put sex workers in greater danger.  The so-called “Swedish model”…portrays itself as an example to emulate.  Ambassadors for the approach preach its virtues to government regulators worldwide…But an increasing number of voices…say claims exaggerate its successes for ideological reasons.  The most recent attacks on the 1999 Kvinnofrid law come from Malmö University researcher Charlotta Holmström.  In contrast to the loud claims of anti-prostitution campaigners, that it has made sex workers safer, Holmström says they are far more vulnerable to exploitation and violence…

J’accuse (#42)

A high-profile pimping case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn nearly unraveled…[when] five of six plaintiffs…dropped their accusations against him…Strauss-Kahn has testified to having orgies…to being “rough” with his sexual “conquests,” and to needing sex with exceptional frequency.  But none of that is illegal…Strauss-Kahn insists he didn’t know the women involved were prostitutes…

But while Straus-Kahn will probably walk away free, French sex workers may not be so lucky:

…Morgane Merteuil…of the French sex worker’s trade union Strass…believes the trial has increased the stigmatisation of the sex industry and has presented a skewed view of the profession.  “There is a confusion with abolitionist organisations between when a client respects a contract and when he does not.  [DSK] didn’t respect the contract…not all clients act like him”…Merteuil says she believes the trial may result in the criminalisation of the sex industry…

Skin To Skin

For many disabled people, sex is off the cards.  While most needs are met through the provision of carers, or by parents, sex is often missed out entirely.  But now a number of sex workers are looking to combat this, stepping into the breach to provide specialist services to help disabled people to fulfil their sexual desires.  It’s easy for disabled people’s sexuality to become obscured by a web of societal assumptions about what it is to be disabled. But of course, disabled people are just as horny as anybody else…

Be Careful Who You Rape

After all, we wouldn’t want to waste effort investigating the rapes of “criminals”:

A new controversial policy requires sexual assault and rape victims to undergo police background checks before they can receive services…[including] rape kits or medical investigations into the criminal activity that was perpetrated against them…The bizarre policy has been around since 2007, but it has only been implemented and enforced since November…Critics of this law suggest that many will not come forward to report sexual assaults and rapes if they feel they maybe prosecuted for something…

Sex Rays

Sometimes it’s hard to believe the people who write these stories actually take them seriously:

Their locations are blended right into the fabric of busy communities. They set up shop next to store fronts and restaurants…police raided the Queen Spa, an illegal massage parlor set up near the University of Rhode Island…next to a Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway sandwich shop…other suburban locations where illegal massage parlors open…[include one] just feet from an ice cream stand and a toy shop…

Remember, sex work was only recriminalized in Rhode Island five years ago.

The Roof Caves In (#425) 

Disgraced anti-sex trafficking activist Somaly Mam’s new charity – which is headed by former staff of her fallen foundation, a Hollywood actress and a PR guru – announced…that it has been given the green light in the US…The organisation, which will employ about 37 full-time staff and expects to generate more than $682,000 this year…

Bread and Circuses

The war on sex worker advertising continues:

A [Colorado] man…was arrested…for “Use of a Facility in Interstate Commerce to Promote a Business Enterprise Involving Prostitution”…David A. Warmack owned and operated a website business named “Sowet.com”…[which] promoted and facilitated prostitution that took place at multiple massage parlors across the Metro Denver area…

The Face of Trafficking

In the largest ever study into the health of trafficking victims, researchers interviewed more than 1,100 men, women and children in Southeast Asia who had been trafficked into at least 15 sectors – including factory work, domestic labor, sex work and fishing…Most previous studies [only] looked at…women trafficked into sex work…[but] this study found…that women trafficked for other forms of labor, including factory work, domestic work and as brides, suffered worse mental health problems than those trafficked into sex work…

A Year Later

Sex worker advocates are warning Ontario Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur that Canada’s new controversial prostitution law will “force people in the sex trade in harm’s way.”  Meilleur is reviewing Bill C-36 and will file a report on the law to Premier Kathleen Wynne, who has expressed “grave concerns” about the federal Conservative government’s latest effort to deal with prostitution…

Moving Pictures

Add another “sex trafficking” porn fantasy to the list:  “Tricked…features interviews with people in all areas of the sex trafficking trade, including prostitutes who are often victims, the traffickers (pimps), customers (Johns) and the vice officers who fight the trade…

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