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Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

We approached Ruhama expecting to be dealing with a charitable organisation, but what we received was an institution seemingly characterised by paranoia.  –  Julianne Flynn

Think of the Children! 

Few sources of sex rays are as dangerous as the names of body parts:

A West Michigan substitute teacher…had no clue saying the word “vagina” would cost her her job…Allison Wint…said it to…8th graders [while explaining] historical interpretations of Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings.  But to school officials, Wint crossed the line–and violated school policy…[that] teachers are required to get advanced approval when discussing any form of reproductive health…

Life Imitates Artifice

Note that this clumsy wannabe “pimp” basically followed a script he learned from anti-whore propaganda:

Andrew Jordan…pleaded not guilty to six felony counts including human trafficking, domestic violence, assault and committing a racially motivated crime…a 23-year-old Los Angeles woman…testified…that she was forced by Jordan to have sex with other men in Long Beach and Los Angeles, and to solicit sex acts from cars passing by.  She told authorities that Jordan monitored her whereabouts and ordered her to send him text messages every time she was picked up and every time she completed an act…He collected the money in between and forced her to stay out until she met a quota…the defendant beat her severely when she broke his rules and called her racially degrading slurs…coerced her into getting a tattoo of his name on her wrist, and controlled all of her personal belongings.  She testified that she was scared to run away as he kept tabs on her by constantly driving up and down the street…It was not until she was in custody that she was able to tell an officer that she was being abused, authorities [claimed]…

Note also that last transparent attempt to use this an an argument that criminalization is good for sex workers; obviously the prosecutors are hoping readers don’t know the maxim that “hard cases make bad law“.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

The one good thing about more prostitution stings: more cops getting arrested.  “A Boynton Beach cop caught up in an undercover prostitution sting as a john willing to pay $20 for oral sex [was sacked]…Vintyre Finney…had been on paid [vacation] since Oct. 19…”  Serves the cheap fucker right.  And then there’s this dude:

…Maulia Labarre was arrested by the state Attorney General’s office after an investigation with the Honolulu Police Department and the FBI.  Sources say he tried to bribe a known prostitute by offering to help after an arrest, in exchange for sex.  He allegedly used his computer to get information on the woman and her case…

Where Are the Victims?

OH MY GOD HE PAID THEM SALARIES!!!  WHAT A MONSTER!!!

Sunil Meher, who was arrested from Kolkata airport…for running a sex racket, employed several women by paying them nearly Rs 40,000 ($600) each every month.  Police also strongly suspect his links with international sex ring kingpins in Goa and Delhi…Police…said Meher not only dabbled in sex trade, but was indulged in human trafficking.  He paid hefty amount to girls, who would travel in flights…At least 12 cases were registered against him here since 2009…

The average monthly income in India is approximately Rs 3000.  This fiend was paying his “victims” over 13x what they could’ve made in most other jobs.

Worse Than I Thought

Soon we’ll be hearing about how New Hampshire is a “sex trafficking hub”:

…New Hampshire…has…made it…a…felony “for a person to pay to engage in sexual contact with a person under the age of 18” and require “registration on the sex offender registry” for such individuals…adults having sex with minors is already criminalized in New Hampshire…like it is everywhere in America.  Sex trafficking is also a crime already in New Hampshire, as is prostitution between consenting parties.  So why the need for the new law?  Because duh: under the old rules, an adult who solicits paid sex from a teenager could only be charged as a rapist and a prostitution offender.  Under the new law, they can also be charged as a sex trafficker, thereby triggering more check-marks when tallying up annual human trafficking arrests.  Got to keep feeding that moral panic somehow, don’t we?…The bill would also add paying to watch a sexually-explicit performance by someone under 18 as a form of human trafficking.  This way, if a 17-year-old uses a fake ID to get a job at a strip club, anyone who patronizes that club can also be charged as a sex trafficker…The state has no power to seize the assets of misdemeanor prostitution offenders or statutory rapists, but it has ample leeway to seize the assets of suspected human traffickers.

Monkey Business Gooey

Guys have offered to pay me with dogs and horses, but never a monkey:

…A [bush baby] named Gooey…was reported stolen from the Zany Zoo Pet Store in [Eugene, Oregon]…police found the animal in a hotel room with a prostitute…[who] told detectives she received the monkey from Nathan McClain…owner of Zany Zoo…McClain paid the prostitute in deposit money from the store, as well as donation money…that was supposed to go to Girl Scouts…McClain was arrested twice [recently when cops claimed]…he appeared to be on meth…Gooey…is safe at a nearby animal sanctuary.

Unclean Situation

A good article on Ruhama, the Magdalene nuns’ new front; here’s the best part:

…the Good Shepherd Sisters received more than €14.4 million from the Health Service Executive between 2006 and 2011.  More recent funding data was difficult to obtain and nowhere in their website are there any links to their levels of funding…Martha McGuire, the Communications and Policy Officer of Ruhama [claims] Ruhama…”is not led or in any way dictated by ‘church teaching’”…Ruhama subsequently attempted to withdraw their statements and said we would no longer be allowed to print them…Email correspondence between McGuire and Sarah Benson, Ruhama’s CEO, were inadvertently forwarded to The University Times Magazine.  One particularly telling line between the two says: “I reckon once it goes to print we can criticise such attacks as ‘pimp-thinking’.”  This shows Ruhama are so concerned with tightening its control of the thinking around this industry that it blames anyone who dares to question that power.  By simply asking the question, “Does Ruhama separate itself from the Church’s sexual teaching?”, Ruhama were willing to tarnish the reputation of another person and publicly declare them an advocate of pimp-related activities…

Checklist

Sex workers: Uber now wants its drivers to spy on us and rat us out to the pigs.  I suggest you start using Lyft instead:

…an event [celebrated] a new partnership between Uber and ECPAT-USA to combat sex trafficking…Uber officially signed the voluntary ECPAT “code” that provides guidelines for travel and tourism companies to aid in the fight against sex slavery and sex tourism.  Uber is the first company in the “sharing economy” to sign the pledge….and…has already laid out initial steps the company will take to address trafficking including…[updating their] driver resources pages with information on how to identify possible trafficking victims…

Under Every Bed

The only thing interesting about this tired rehash of lurid masturbatory fantasies is the way the number of clients per day has now dropped back down into the realm of the possible:

…Monica Miller…shared her own [lurid fantasy] with the audience—of coming from a broken home, falling into one vulnerable situation after another before she was trafficked on the streets of Minneapolis.  Miller…[fantasized] “The johns who bought me, I wasn’t human to them, I was an object to them”…Miller said if she were to perform five sex acts a day—which she [pretended] was a low number—that equated to 1,820 sex acts in a year.  “I’m just going to be real here. That’s 1,820 rapes”…She said the idea that when a woman turns 18 years old, working in the sex trade suddenly becomes a choice rather than a forced act is a false notion…Miller said the only way we as a society can progress toward the elimination of sex trafficking is by [masturbating to these fantasies] together…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Because “Prince’s only sister set to inherit his estate” isn’t a good enough headline for the Mail:

The woman who stands to receive $800 million from Prince’s death: Purple-haired former crack-addict prostitute sister is set to inherit singer’s estate in absence of will – along with catalog of unreleased music…The vast fortune accumulated by Prince over the course of his music career is likely to go to his only sister if the singer failed to leave behind a will. Tyka Nelson, 55, will be awarded Prince’s estate under Minnesota state law as his closest living relative. She and her brother were close in recent years after a difficult stretch in their relationship when Tyka was struggling with an addiction to crack cocaine and prostituting herself to support her two young sons…Prince has an approximate net worth of $300 million, which does not include the millions his estate is set to make in the coming weeks from the increased sale of merchandise and music or the money the singer received when he signed a deal agreeing to stream all his music on Tidal. His music catalog meanwhile is worth over $500 million according to Prince’s first manager Owen Husney, due in large part to the fact that unlike other artists he owned both his master recordings as well as his own music publishing. Prince also has a large collection of unreleased music, which Husney believes may include an album he made with jazz great Miles Davis…

Frequently Told Lies

One can never have too many resources debunking “sex trafficking” garbage; this one is from the English Collective of Prostitutes, and has citations and footnotes.

Safe Targets (#452)

Here’s Tara Burns again, demonstrating how the only people ever charged with “sex trafficking” in Alaska are sex workers themselves:

…when I made a public records request…every single person to have been charged with sex trafficking was an alleged prostitute who was charged with prostitution of herself in the very same case in which she was charged with sex trafficking…arrested…[sex workers are] ordered to give [money from their] earnings to the Municipality of Anchorage, in violation of the Municipality’s own law against accepting money from a prostitute…Trying to locate evidence of the evil men [cops] claimed were taking all the money from sex workers, I made a request of the Anchorage prosecutor for all charges filed under Anchorage’s municipal codes in 2013 and 2014.  There were no charges against anyone for transporting a prostitute, having a place of prostitution, accepting money from a prostitute, etc.  The only people who had been charged were 34 sex workers and 22 clients…

Lower Education (#625)

First they came for the students, and I said nothing because I was no longer a student…

Adults may soon find their sex lives regulated to the point where nearly every sexual encounter is defined as rape unless neither party reports the activity.  The American Law Institute will vote in May on whether to adopt a model penal code that would make “affirmative consent” the official position of the organization.  Affirmative consent — or “yes means yes” — policies have already been adopted by many colleges and universities, and have been passed as law in California and New York…a female former prosecutor…called the draft “really disturbing.”  A group of concerned members within ALI even circulated an opposition letter, signed by dozens of members, that detailed the dangers of pushing affirmative consent on the general public (not that it’s a good policy for college students, either)…The policies…require [people] to engage in a question-and-answer session each time they engage in any kind of sexual activity…[and thus] shift the burden of proof onto [the] accused…[who] has to prove a crime didn’t occur rather than an accuser proving a crime did occur, as is the norm in civilized society…From the moment any physical contact is about to be made, one person must begin asking for permission.  “May I touch you here?”  “May I kiss you?”  “May I kiss you here?” and the like would all be required questions under such policies.  Activists can try and “make affirmative consent sexy” all they want, but no one has sex this way, and I can guarantee you the activists don’t ask all those questions either, which would make them rapists under these policies…

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Let us not treat prohibitionists as misguided people who care, any more than we should waste breath over whether it is right or wrong to lynch black people or gas Jews.  –  Jerry Barnett

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I hope they keep feeding on each other:

A [New Jersey cop] who claimed he was retaliated against after [ratting out] a former public safety director [who] sought prostitutes has been promoted and awarded $80,000.  Frederick Walz was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015…Walz also got wages equal to a year’s difference in salary between the sergeant and lieutenant positions, a year of pension payments retroactive to his promotion, and $80,000 in compensatory damages and attorney’s fees…

Backwards into the Future

Yes, Zimbabwe is actually ahead of the US in this area of human rights:

Sex workers in Zimbabwe have welcomed the recent court ruling that outlaws police arrest on charges of “loitering for the purposes of prostitution”…The ruling builds on another Constitutional court ruling last year that ruled against the arrest of women on allegations of soliciting for sex in the streets…

Rooted in Racism

ICYMI:  a tiny minority of French politicians managed to impose the Swedish model last week:

…it takes a truly Orwellian mindset to believe that one can outlaw the buying of a service without hurting those who sell it.  This is, of course, designed to hurt sex workers.  The bigotry of the anti-prostitution movement is there for all to see…It is well known that criminalising any aspect of the trade clearly harms sex workers…unlike last time around, the driving force of French fascism is the the political left.  A few days ago, for example, French Socialist government minister Laurence Rossignol said that women who wore veils were like “negroes who supported slavery”.  The anti-veil law was presented with a thin progressive veneer, using “secularism” as an excuse…to viciously abuse minorities…in the UK, a Labour-led parliamentary inquiry is also trying to ban prostitution.  Open anti-sex attitudes, and veiled racist attitudes are now commonplace on the political left everywhere…

The Pygmalion Fallacy toasters

Those trapped in magical thinking can’t see that a human-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

Touching a human-shaped robot in areas that would be considered “intimate” if they were on a person, has the power to arouse humans, a new study suggests.  Researchers from Stanford University…looked at how humans would respond when asked by a machine to touch parts of its robotic body; from the more accessible regions like hands, to the more “intimate”, like eyes or buttocks…test subjects…were wired up to a skin conductance sensor to measure their reaction time as well as their physical responses, while sitting next to the robot and following its instructions…when the…robot told test subjects to touch its “intimate” body parts, participants were “more emotionally aroused” but also “more hesitant”—suggesting potential discomfort—compared to touching less intimate regions, which saw subjects deliver a more natural, and typically quicker response…

So Close and Yet So Far

I believe J.R. Thorpe wants to be an ally; I really do.  But this listicle is more interested in being “cute” than it is in being accurate:

It’s important not to judge sex workers, assume that we know what motivates them or what experiences they have had — especially when we’re basing our ideas on film and TV depictions of sex work, as many of us are…It’s equally important to not glorify what can be an intensely exploitative and dangerous industry…particularly in countries and states where regulation doesn’t exist and workers are operating without state or government protection…a [really bad] study of…advertising…in the UK found that…over a third [of sex workers] identified as transgender or male…(The Urban Institute has a detailed exploration into the economics of that, including average pimp income and the various restrictions pimps place on their workers…in decriminalized places, the incidence of STDs among sex workers is really low

Smoke and Mirrors

Another case in which the truth is so obscured by exaggeration, dysphemisms, myths and lies that we’ll probably never know what really happened:

A woman chained to a stripper pole.  A man with four wives.  Child pornography photos.  This is what authorities stumbled upon during a raid in Detroit, where a house-of-horrors tale is unfolding in federal court, with prosecutors accusing one man of enslaving women, selling them for sex on the Internet and…[sharing] sexually explicit photos of [children]…The suspect is Ryon Travis, a 32-year-old unemployed Detroit man…“Sex trafficking occurs all around us, and the victims are sometimes hiding in plain sight,” [bloviated] U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade…

Long-time readers may recall that we’ve seen Babs McQuade (AKA Electrawoman) before, and she was spouting “sex trafficking” bullshit then, too.

Policing for Profit 

Burn. It. To. The. Ground:

…[UK] police [routinely robsex workers] under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA)…Janice [said] “They took my life savings, including money from my mom…They even tried to take my home. I was left with nothing after a lifetime of hard work”…Janice’s story isn’t unique.  Last year, Kent Police [stole] nearly £40,000 from two women accused of running a brothel in Folkestone.  One woman was forced to sell her home…or face an additional jail sentence…Jenny…called the police when men threatened to torch her working flat.  Police didn’t pursue her attackers; instead, they charged her with brothel-keeping and…[stole] her home and life savings…Niki Adams of ECP [said] “Their powers are draconian and they can take every penny earned from years of hard work—her house, her savings, her car, her jewellery, even her children’s and other family members’ money”…

An Example to the West (#349)

Indian sex workers are getting tired of bullshit:

Sex Workers in West Bengal are using the upcoming election to remind politicians they need to keep their promises…Many politicians have not shown commitment to taking action on the demands of sex worker-led organisations…Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC)…have made it clear they want “concrete” actions and measures [including]…Pension rights…Decriminalisation of the profession…and…self-regulatory boards to stop minors from being forced into the profession…

Cops and Robbers 

“Christian” vigilantes playing with people’s lives and lying to men in an attempt to steal income from sex workers who may need it to pay rent and feed their children:

Bait and Switch (#545)

If you’ll look back at what I’ve previously reported on Grady Judd, I’m sure you can guess what kind of tactics were used to entrap these people so Judd could destroy their lives for his self-aggrandizement:

A Florida sex sting targeting [supposed] child predators netted…Eighteen [victims of the sting] face multiple charges…Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.  They all allegedly responded to fake online ads from undercover detectives posing as children…

Signs

It was only a matter of time before male “survivors” started cashing in:

Hundreds showed up for a first-of-its kind symposium to train…San Diego’s hotel and motel employees to recognize and respond to the warning signs of human trafficking…in preparation for upcoming summer events such as the MLB All-Star Game and Comic-Con…[religious nut] Jamie Gates [said]…”There are about three to eight thousand survivors in a year”…experts say…70% of transactions [utilize]…social media.  “You’re groomed into a certain…mind frame that makes you susceptible to anyone’s demands,” said Tom Jones, a sex traffic survivor…Sex trafficking in San Diego is a $810 million dollar industry…and is run mostly by more than 100 local gangs.

Ridiculous numbers!  Facebook pimps!  Magic pimp mind control!  Gangs!  Gypsy whores catering to comic book fans!  And more, coming up in the next episode of They’re Coming for Our Children!

Choke Point (#610) 

A few journalists are starting to see where this is going:

…In a cashless society, the cash has been converted into numbers, into signals, into electronic currents.  In short: Information replaces cash…But wherever information gathers and flows, two predators follow closely behind it: censorship and surveillance…Where money becomes a series of signals, it can be censored; where money becomes information, it will inform on you…Operation Choke Point…[was actually] a policing of vice…One pundit wrote, “[W]hile abortion clinics and environmental groups are probably safe under the Obama administration, if this sort of thing stands, they will be vulnerable to the same tactics if a different administration adopts this same thuggish approach toward the businesses that it dislikes”…The choke points are private corporations that are not only subject to government regulation on the books, but have shown a disturbing willingness to bend to extralegal requests—whether it is enforcing financial blockades against the controversial whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks or the website Backpage…A little bit of pressure, and the whole financial system closes off to the government’s latest pariah…For the most vulnerable, the cashless society…only extends the reach of the existing paternal bureaucratic state…

Challenge (#628)

This can only be a good thing:

Former adult star Bree Olson is joining forces with the ESPLER Project in a push to demand that California legislators act to outlaw discrimination for all types of sex workers.  ESPLER Project has posted a petition online that is intended to reach California state Assembly and Senate members…Olson…said…current and former as well as legal and illegally working sex trade workers are having their due process rights violated, both by the law and members of society…

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SWOP Behind Bars is a new project, which attracted my attention soon after its formation; I think it’s incredibly important so I asked the organizer, Alex, to explain the project herself.  I’ve already donated a copy of my book (and will donate more to other prisons as the project expands), and I’ve given Alex carte blanche to use any of my columns in the newsletter she compiles for our incarcerated sisters.  As a former librarian, I well know the power books have to change lives, yet they’re so inexpensive; please consider donating at least one book to this program, and read on for other ways you can help. 

prison art 955No one really knows how many women who are imprisoned have done some form of sex work, but guesstimates from prison and probation officials run as high as 70%, and it’s difficult to ignore the probability that the criminalization of sex work has a major impact on the prison population.  According to the Florida Department of Corrections almost 6800 women are currently serving a sentence in Florida prisons, and another 38,000 are on state-supervised probation.  Women make up approximately 7% of the Florida prison population, with 144 under the age of 21; black and Hispanic women outnumber white women 3 to 1.  Programs for women behind bars are very limited, inadequately funded and mostly faith based, and re-entry services are pretty much limited to $50 and a bus ticket home, wherever that might be.  While the biggest fear for a sex worker might be arrest, the biggest fear for imprisoned women is what will happen to them when they are released.  These women return to their communities desperate and defined by their experience;  their families are disconnected and they must find their own way to rebuild their lives.  There is virtually no housing for those recently released, and they will be denied almost all public benefits because of their criminal records; they can’t get decent employment and they won’t be able to get a student loan in order to advance their education if they can’t or don’t want to engage in sex work.  When this discrimination is combined with whore stigma and the ever-present shaming of current or former sex workers, those who have been incarcerated have virtually no opportunity to thrive on release.

The SWOP Behind Bars project at Lowell Correctional Institution is working to reach out to sex workers behind bars by donating books to the prison library, sending newsletters to those currently incarcerated and building a nationwide network of sex worker-supported letter writing.  Women in prison who receive regular mail are perceived as “highly valued”, and it is the hope of SWOP Behind Bars to flood our incarcerated sisters with mail.  We are currently working to integrate with other prison book donation organizations to duplicate our efforts nationwide, in the hope that over time we can create a sense of community and support that will help them cope while imprisoned and rebuild their lives once released.

This didn’t happen overnight and it’s not even an original idea.  In the early days of sex work activism, Margo St James sued the state of California to improve programs and services for women in prison.  As the sex worker rights movement grew over the next 20 years and the Amnesty decision support decriminalization thrust sex worker rights into mainstream discourse, we still loudly protested the criminalization of sex work and have worked diligently to minimize the danger of being arrested; however, there are still so many sex workers in prison and they need to know we are here for them.  Many do not identify as sex workers, yet it only takes a cursory investigative search of the Department of Corrections websites to recognize that there is a large incidence of previous convictions for prostitution.  Women in prison do not know about the vibrant sex worker community that is rising up in the US, and we think they should.  Those of us who live in the free world have connected with each other via social media and through the organized efforts of Sex Worker Rights Organizations.  We have shared our experiences and our knowledge with each other on Facebook, Instagram, Tumbr and Twitter.  We have Art Shows and Operas and International Days we recognize together.  We have at last created our own community that – for the most part – has given us all a solidarity that is unprecedented.  We even have our own insignia…the Red Umbrella.  Now we need to get back to our roots and reach out to those behind bars because that is where those who have suffered the most from criminalization reside.

prison art 969Reading books is a popular prison pastime and unless one has somebody sending reading material inside, she is limited to what is in the prison library.  But prison libraries are limited to what was left behind by others, legal books and a flurry of faith based material; our goal is to provide books to improve the lives of prisoners, to provide educational resources, and to help reduce the likelihood of their returning to the prison system.  Our communities fare better when prisoners returning to society have had an opportunity to learn, grow, and mature as individuals, and books can provide inspiration and knowledge for that growth.  We believe that books about sex workers, provided by sex workers, for sex workers, and to sex workers are the greatest way we can invite them to participate in our community and let them tell us how we can improve our efforts to make sure that they have the tools to develop the best version of themselves.  Already the Lowell Correctional Facility for Women has been inundated with books donated by authors and individuals that tell about our history, our stories and our hopes for the future.  The generosity of the sex worker community has been overwhelming.  Each book donated will have a label placed inside that will identify our community and let them know how to reach out to us by phone and by mail.  The SWOP Community Support has been activated with a new flock of enthusiastic volunteers to answer calls.  Our first newsletter will be sent to more than 100 incarcerated recipients in the next few weeks, and we will be asking them to write to us and tell us their stories, and to organize support groups inside.  We will be providing evidence-based material for them to learn more about us and about themselves.  We have been invited to participate in the creation of a program that will launch this summer, in which we’ll have the opportunity to provide trauma informed, sex work positive training to corrections officers and other prison officials in the State of Florida.  We are also working to create re-entry support services that are available to assist those who have recently been released find the resources they need to accomplish the goals they set for themselves.

Our call to the sex worker community is to join us in reaching out to sex workers behind bars.  Here are 10 ways you can help.

  1. If you know someone who is in prison whom we could include in our monthly newsletter, send their mailing information to swopbehindbars@gmail.com.
  2. If you are the AUTHOR or PUBLISHER of a book you would like to donate, instructions are listed here.
  3. If you have your own newsletter or if you want to start writing to sex workers behind bars, we can send you our current list of sex workers.  We are not publishing an online list of incarcerated sex workers until they request us to do so.
  4. If you want to send a book to a specific resident of a jail or prison, you MUST send it using Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. There are no exceptions to this requirement in any US jail or prison.
  5. If you want to submit a story to the monthly newsletter, please send it to us at newsletter@swopbehindbars.org.
  6. If you want to donate NEW BOOKS to the Lowell Corrections Institution Library, we have a wish list on Amazon.com.
  7. If you want to donate USED BOOKS to the prison library, please send an email to swopbehindbars@gmail.com and we will tell you how this works and send you instructions.
  8. If you want to start your own book donation program in your state prison or county jail, let us know and we will be happy to share our tips and tricks.  We want to keep a record of books that are donated and a list of facilities where they are going so we know how to face future challenges with Books Behind Bars projects.
  9. We are building a toolkit for sex workers to use to reach out to recently arrested sex workers, and we will publish that information on the website and on Facebook and Twitter when it is complete.
  10. Finally, if you have ideas or resource material that you think would advance this project or assist in the creation of re-entry resources, please let us know about it.  We are particularly interested in people who are willing to engage directly by phone, mail or email with recently released sex workers who need a sex worker friendly, non-judgmental mentor.

prison art 956
The books most often requested are biographies, short stories and self-help books, particularly those that assist with addiction and trauma related issues.  SWOPUSA will be happy to send you a tax deductible receipt for the published price of the books, the cost of printing newsletters and any shipping or mailing costs you incur.  You do not have to use your own return address for mailing books or newsletters; you may use the SWOP USA return address:

SWOP-USA
340 S LEMON AVE #7566
WALNUT CA 91789

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Brand New, I will take $800 for it.  –  Erek Balentine

A few days ago, Mike Siegel tweeted that whenever some random idiot challenges me on Twitter, “I feel like I’m in a Western saloon and should close up my piano.”  I replied, “I shoot like Matt Dillon, but I dress like Miss Kitty.”  And then Tim Cushing suggested the song below for my soundtrack.  See how much fun my Twitter feed is?  So if you aren’t following it, why don’t you?  Tim also provided “serve” and “hostage” in the links; the others were contributed by Nun Ya  (“headline”, “Cassandra” and “suicide”), Dave Krueger (“safety”), Radley Balko  (“demand”), Scott Greenfield (“feed”), Wendy Lyon (“laws”), Lucy Steigerwald  (“broke” and “together”), and Carol Fenton (“reason”).

From the Archives

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Women who trade sex within marriage [may one day] realise they are the ones undervaluing what they have to offer.  –  Jemima

R.I.P. Amber Rayne Amber Rayne

…adult performer Amber Rayne, an industry veteran of more than 10 years, has died…she passed away peacefully in her sleep at home either late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, though the exact cause of death will not be known until autopsy reports are completed…She was 31.  Rayne…racked up close to 500 credits over the course of her career.  She was known for both her wild, no-holds-barred sexual performances and her commanding acting chops…the Detroit native had a background in professional acting before turning to adult, and those skills…[earned] multiple AVN Award nominations…

License to Rape

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

…Blake Lawrence Anderson…[raped a sex worker on]…March 29…she got into his car and he drove her to an industrial area…where he parked…[then] pulled a small black semi-automatic firearm and pointed it at her head, telling her he was a police officer.  Using duct tape to bind her wrists, she said Anderson sexually assaulted her several times…He eventually cut the tape off her, cutting her wrist. He let her go and drove away…[but] she got his license plate number…

Real People 

The more first-person accounts of sex work, the harder it will be for prohibitionist lies to survive:

…There is no “cookie cutter” ideal of beauty and character.  Men…want to enjoy the company of an authentic, independent woman simply basking in who she is.  Once I understood this my self-confidence exploded and so did my career…I’ve come to think of escorting as a helping, healing, and entertainment profession — not just for my clients but also for me.  Yes, I worked for money, and I loved every single gift and tip I got on top of it, but I worked just as much for the life that came with it. It took me to a better place, where I could recognize, embrace, and cultivate my own uniqueness…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I hope they keep feeding on each other:

A…Melbourne [Florida cop] was arrested…after officials said he offered cash to a [fake] prostitute who actually turned out to be a [female cop]…The arrest of…Shawn Archbold is the latest in a series of investigations into…the 169-[pig] agency…Melbourne Police Chief Steve Mimbs talked [a lot of childish nonsense about]…good [guys and]…bad guys…

Housewife Harlotry

Jemima on transactional sex:

…transactional sex is still the basis of many relationships.  Men are rewarded with blow jobs for good behaviour, and sex is seen as something points need to be earned for…this…is part of why, I believe, that so many women are harsher towards sex work than men (as this poll reports)…When you have a commodity that to you has a certain value, it will be perceived as a threat if others offer that same commodity for a different value…we are seen to devalue the transactional sex they have to offer, or, to put it another way, why would a man put up the shelves in exchange for a blow job when he can pay me straight cash for it?…

Monsters 

How long will Gay, Inc pretend that decriminalization isn’t a GLBT issue?

…At least 2,016 trans and gender diverse people were killed between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2015 across 65 countries, according to a research initiative started by Transgender Europe (TGEU)…The report did not state why they were killed, or if they were murdered because they were transgender.  It did, however, say that 65 percent of the victims were sex workers…

Challenge

This was, of course, expected; next stop, the 9th Circuit:

Americans may have a constitutional right to engage in consensual, intimate relationships, but that doesn’t mean they have a right to buy or sell sex, a Bay Area federal judge ruled…in upholding California’s 144-year-old ban on prostitution.  In a lawsuit filed a year ago, the plaintiffs…invoked the…2003 [Lawrence v Texas] ruling…U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White…[pretended] that the court was referring to intimate relationships and not merely to sexual activity…He said the high court, in the 2003 ruling, disavowed any intention to legalize prostitution…White also…[spouted nonsense about]…violence against women…sexually transmitted diseases and…human trafficking…

And no, California’s current prostitution law doesn’t date back to 1872; that was an anti-streetwalking law specifically.  Private prostitution wasn’t technically banned in the state until 1961, though other laws date back to the last “sex trafficking” hysteria of a century ago.

To Protect and Serve (#413)

The strippers who were molested by San Diego pigs can proceed with their lawsuit, despite attempts by pig lawyers to quash it:

Exotic dancers who…were held against their will and photographed by San Diego [pigs under the pretense of] a compliance raid can move forward with their lawsuit, a federal judge ruled…five to 15 [pigs] went to the clubs during the early-evening hours and ordered the dancers into a dressing room, where they were told to wait until…[isolated from one another, interrogated]…and photographed [in an invasive manner]…the [pigs] “made arrogant and demeaning comments to the entertainers and ordered them to expose body parts so that they could ostensibly photograph their tattoos”…when several asked if they could leave…[they were] threatened…with arrest…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#422)

Cops busting kids’ lemonade stands isn’t news any more, but this is a new low:Austin lemonade laws

…the Austin [Texas] City Council approved an ordinance to spare young lemonade sellers from parts of the city’s mind-numbing bureaucracy.  On Lemonade Day [May 7th]—and only on Lemonade Day—registered participants do not have to spend $35 to obtain a “temporary food permit,” and are also exempt from spending a staggering $425 on “a license agreement and fees” to use public property.  Unfortunately, the city’s friendliness to budding entrepreneurs ends there.  Lemonade stands run by kids must comply with Austin’s “temporary food service guidelines”…Parent…must also sign a waiver, and “agree to release, indemnify, defend and hold harmless the organizers of Lemonade Day and anyone associated with it or Lemonade Day from any and all claims for personal injuries or property damage resulting from my child/ren’s participation in Lemonade Day”…

Soap Opera (#547) 

Fetishists trade the costs of tattoo removal for the right to distort women’s bad choices into “sex trafficking” propaganda:

…[tattoos are] being removed for free…through a new project…[for supposed] human trafficking victims…from the Traffick Stop project…local [cops and prohibitionists fantasize that] the “overwhelming majority” of human trafficking victims are branded and that Fresno is a major hub for the sex trade…Of 2,700 to 3,000 children who run away from home in Fresno every year, an estimated 10 percent to 12 percent are lured into human trafficking.  [Pervert cop Curt] Chastain [related his masturbatory fantasy that] the actual number is much higher…Chastain [lied], “I’ve never personally met someone in prostitution who hasn’t started out as a victim”…

The idea that Fresno, California, which isn’t on the way to anything else, could possibly be a “major hub” for any kind of business is so utterly stupid one wonders how even cops can believe it.

Out of Control (#554) 

Looks like the creeps are progressing from spooge sneaking to spooge throwing:

New York City officials have revealed new proposals that would ban taxi and hire car drivers from flirting with passengers or initiating any kind of unwanted physical contact.  The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) has set out specific rules that include taking away licenses and imposing fines for drivers who touch or ejaculate on their passengers, and recommends fines and suspensions for drivers who comment on their passengers’ appearance or even talk about their own or their passengers’ love lives…

It’s probably for the best; after all, the line between flirting with a woman and ejaculating on her is such a subtle one, it’s just too much to leave it to individual judgment.

All-Purpose Excuse (#608)

If the government has its way, phone privacy will soon be gone completely:

…“pre-paid phones,”are often bought anonymously and without registration.  It was burner phones, not encryption, that were primarily used to plot the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris last November…H.R. 4886…would ban anonymous pre-paid phones in the United States…Jackie Speier (D-CA14)…[wants] purchasers of these devices to provide identification showing name, address, and date of birth…“This bill would close one of the most significant gaps in our ability to track and prevent acts of terror, drug trafficking, and modern-day slavery“…

Deborah Jeane Palfrey (#611)

Probably a wise precaution:

The [attorney] who represented the late “D.C. madam” Deborah Palfrey…Montgomery Blair Sibley says the [escort service’s] records will become public if he fails to reset a 72-hour countdown clock, which could cut short his soft two-week ultimatum for federal courts to consider lifting a 2007 gag order that covers the records, lest he deem that order void.  The countdown clock is a safeguard, Sibley says, that ensures that if he disappears the records will be published.  Inevitable release, he says, may also disincentivize violent acts against him to prevent their disclosure.  The records are stored on four servers around the world…and dozens of reporters will receive a website link if the clock is not reset…

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Please don’t shoot me.  –  Daniel Shaver, last words

Unfortunately, there are no episodes of the funny, charming (but short-lived) Steven Banks Show on YouTube, nor is it available on DVD.  But the pilot, “Home Entertainment Center”, is available, and here it is.  ‘Nuff said.  The links above it are from Jesse WalkerEmma EvansSkyeMike SiegelJason KuznickiTim CushingLaura LeeNun YaNattie RomanSWOP Behind Bars, Nun Ya again and Radley Balko, in that order.

From the Archives

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What if a different attitude about pornography were the “alternative to pornography”?  –  Tina Horn

Rough Trade Brandon Cole Reed

I suspect they have the right guy this time:

King County prosecutors have charged a 31-year-old Kent man with three counts of rape, and Seattle police continue to investigate…in connection with five more sexual assaults, all involving women working as prostitutes on Aurora Avenue North.  Brandon Cole Reed was arrested…one day after prosecutors dismissed a second-degree-rape charge against…Andrew Tatum, who was arrested in February…[for] the rapes Reed is now suspected of committing…Reed “picks up prostitutes on Aurora Avenue, drives to a nearby location, and then rapes them, by brandishing a knife, threatening to hurt or kill them, handcuffing them or brandishing mace,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom wrote…Reed was 11 and his brother was 12 in 1995 when they dragged a 12-year-old girl into their house…and took turns raping her…[they] were found guilty of second-degree rape…and sentenced to 21 to 28 weeks in juvenile detention…Both were required to register as sex offenders for 15 years…Reed was also convicted in 2009 of second-degree malicious mischief for throwing rocks and damaging his ex-girlfriend’s car after she refused to get back together with him…

Lying Down With Dogs

This interactive map characterizes countries according to 11 different legal approaches to laws regarding prostitution, and 9 different legal characteristics, for the most complex and accurate analysis of the subject yet.  Please bookmark!

Check Your Premises 

I realize that idiots don’t actually understand what the word “average” means, but one would think they at least know it doesn’t mean “absolute minimum”:

The Canadian Women’s Foundation says…the average age for new recruits was 13…A 14-year-old at the centre of a human trafficking case is among the youngest girls allegedly forced into prostitution…in decades…Staff Sgt. Darrell Gaudet said…such cases are rare…in…more than 20 years, Gaudet said he has dealt with four cases of 14-year-olds…[and one] 13…

Moloch

Is this idiotic enough yet?  Can we stop now?

Police arrested a Longwood, Florida, 12-year-old girl for pinching a male classmate’s butt…Breana Evans has been charged with misdemeanor battery and was temporarily placed in juvenile detention.  Everybody involved…thinks the arrest is an overreaction…except the boy’s mom, who alerted police and demanded that they prosecute…police [pretend] that…they had no choice but to arrest Breana…[who] will have to complete community service, submit to drug tests, and [endure indoctrination sessions].  If she does all those things, the charges will eventually be dismissed…

Pity the poor “authorities”, who had “no choice”.  Because “prosecutorial discretion” is only for cops who rape or murder people, not for kids being kids.

The Last Shall Be First

Potty obsession is rotting politicians’ brains:

Fayetteville [Arkansas] councilman John La Tour is being accused of confronting a woman he assumed was transgender and threatening to wave his penis at her at a crowded restaurant…After the incident, a manager apparently asked La Tour to leave [the] restaurant…According to a Facebook post by…Gavin Smith: “la tour [sic]…[demanded my friend] pick a gender declaiming loudly that he couldn’t tell if she was a man or a woman.  She is not transgendered and does not in any way present any ambiguity about gender in any way.  She’s a woman.  He then explained that he was a man and could prove it by dropping his pants and showing his penis”…La Tour subsequently [pretended] he’d merely asked the woman — who is employed at the restaurant — to dance…

Above the Law  

Probably a longer sentence than he would’ve received in the US:

Derren Tomlinson, 44, with the West Mercia Police department was sentenced to 11 years in prison this week for…raping a girl under 13-years-old, sexual assault on a child, and bestiality.  His offensively short sentence is likely due to the fact that he was a [cop]…The department found out…after looking through his phone which revealed a number of photos showing him raping a child…[and] engaging in sexual intercourse with a dog…

Prudish Pedants

Steinem’s been peddling this malarkey since 1978, and I’ve been mocking it since at least 1984:

…one of the most vocal proponents of [the] damaging dichotomy [between “bad porn” and “good erotica”] is feminist icon Gloria Steinem.  And every time I hear her or someone else trot out this tired trope, I recoil—because it is indicative of our culture’s persistent stigmatization of sex work, classist attitudes about sexual morality, and suppression of healthy sexual expression.  It’s a dichotomy that demands to be not only challenged, but dismantled…Steinem has been repeating some version of this baseless definition game since 1978, when she published the Ms. magazine article, “Erotica and pornography: Do You Know the Difference?”  The answer to this question is:  No, we don’t, Gloria, because neither you nor anyone else has ever managed to provide a useful or convincing distinction…

Gingerbread House

And how does the judge plan to “keep” these “children” in the “safe house” to endure “therapy”?  Oh, yeah:

There are more than 3,000 minors in [Nevada’s] juvenile justice system, and many are victims of human trafficking.  “For…10 years, I’ve been advocating…for a safe house for our sexually exploited youth,” said Judge William Voy…”We have to identify better which kids really need to be locked up…with the kids who don’t”…the state needs a therapeutic…secured facility to keep these children.  He said if the state doesn’t get this kind of facility it risks losing the kids to the streets all over again…

So Close and Yet So Far

This article could’ve been so much better; it quotes a number of sex workers, including my close friend Savannah Sly and my acquaintances Chelsea Lane & Jill Brenneman.  It presents some pretty good arguments, and talks about Amnesty’s research.  But it also quotes prohibitionists, repeats bad data, confuses legalization and decriminalization, does not discuss the failure of the Swedish model, and sets up a false equivalence between those who want to be free to make their own choices and those who want to control others’ choices with state violence (as though they were two equal sides in an academic “debate”).  It’s also mind-numbingly boring; I sincerely doubt anyone will read the whole thing.  I know I couldn’t.

Hard Numbers (#340)

Whores in the so-called “developing world” are so much better at activism than those of us in the US:

…Gabriela Leite and Lourdes Barreto founded the Brazilian Network of Prostitutes (BNP) in the mid 1980s in response to police violence in the red light districts where they worked…The BNP earned seats at the policy-making table and was fundamental in developing peer-led HIV prevention initiatives.  Their partnership with the country’s National AIDS Programme gained international attention in 2005 when Brazil refused more than $40 million in US funds because USAID…demanded that organisations receiving funds condemn prostitution…[Prohibitionism] gained strength in Brazil at the start of the new millennium, fuelled by moral panic and by the growth of carceral feminism…and Christian conservatism…The prostitutes’ movement has responded with a two-prong strategy: on the one hand, it is engaging in street politics, guerrilla theatre, and practical initiatives; on the other, it is entering the forums and institutions that sprung up around human trafficking…

He Said, She Said (#448)

A lot of people are going to be really unhappy about this:

The chorus outside Old City Hall hit its peak once a judge acquitted former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi on all charges of sexual assault and choking, the outraged shouts of “I believe survivors” reverberating off the courthouse steps and in more than 10,000 posts online…Ontario Court of Justice Judge William Horkins said he simply could not trust the three complainants, given their shifting memories and evidence that at times strayed into outright lies…he said the 5,000 messages exchanged between actress Lucy DeCoutere and another complainant sounded like they could be plotting to ruin the former broadcaster… “Ms. DeCoutere and S.D. considered themselves to be a ‘team’ and the goal was to bring down Mr. Ghomeshi”…As Crown prosecutor Michael Callaghan stood in front of a stand of microphones giving reporters his reaction, a topless female protester jumped in front of him, yelling “Ghomeshi guilty!” knocking over the stand.  Police tackled the woman to the ground and took her back inside the courthouse as she struggled and kicked the door.  She was handcuffed by police and led into the back of a police cruiser…

As a woman who’s endured several rapes myself, I understand the anger.  But what do the protesters actually want, for the state to be able to convict people on shoddy evidence?  I simply can’t side with people who believe that locking up as many people as possible to prevent some bad guys getting away with crimes is a good idea.  The carceral state is a far greater threat than any one rapist, or even than all unconvicted rapists put together.

False Witness

Anyone who understands the dynamics of group psychology should already have known this:

You would think securing a conviction against a suspected criminal would have to be helped if all the witnesses…independently identify the same culprit.  But new…research suggests that unanimity of witnesses should trigger a warning that perhaps police have the wrong person…the probability of a large number of people all agreeing in [difficult observation] circumstances [is] small…the error rate among [crime] witnesses…[is] around 47 per cent.  “So if…20 people all agree it is the same guy you should be now more suspicious of their agreement,” [lead researcher Professor Derek Abbott] said.  Their modelling showed even with just a 1 per cent error rate, confidence in a police line-up result would decrease after three unanimous identifications…

If you don’t understand this, please take the time to read my paper, “Mind-witness Testimony“.

Moving Pictures 

You know you’re living in a fascist state when there’s a whole industry glamorizing government actors who use violence to suppress consensual activity:

[US deportation agent] Keith Owens…[was featured in a] television series, Web of Lies…The episode [inanely] titled “Stolen Youth”…aired on March 2…being involved in this documentary is in line with his commitment to combating human trafficking…“This film will definitely wake the public up in regards to human trafficking that should be named modern-day slavery,” Owens said.  “These predators take possession of [their victims], and force and coerce people to do things they don’t want to do”…

You mean, like cops and other government agents do? Or do you mean a different kind of taking possession of people and forcing & coercing them to do things they don’t want to do?

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