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Posts Tagged ‘France’

When we eventually win our rights back we will, in a strange way, have our oppressors to thank for it.  –  “Cornered Animals

Contrary to popular American belief, no French government since the Revolution has been friendly to sex workers who catered to the middle and working classes, and after the Second World War mere oppression escalated into outright hostility; eventually, however, the French cops’ and politicians’ attacks on sex workers grew so incessantly violent that 44 years ago today they protested by occupying the Church of St. Nizier in Lyon.  The occupation lasted only a week before the cops dispersed it with their usual methods, tear gas and horrific beatings, but the seed had been planted and sex worker rights organizations popped up in many countries; these groups won many victories in their first 30 years, until prohibitionists started to counterattack with lies, propaganda and huge amounts of money.  Since its beginning in 2004, the synthetic “sex trafficking” hysteria (a recycling of the deeply-racist late 19th & early 20th century “white slavery” hysteria which resulted in the imposition of many awful laws in the British Empire and full criminalization in the US) has undermined sex worker rights in much of the world and spawned an immense, expensive and vicious War on Whores in the United States, following in the footsteps of the equally-ruinous War on Drugs which has eroded civil liberties, turned the police into an occupying army and destroyed the lives of millions.

Then early last year, the prohibitionists achieved what they thought would be a definitive victory:  they persuaded and bribed the mob of moral imbeciles we call the US Congress to nigh-unanimously pass a blatantly-unconstitutional censorship law called FOSTA-SESTA intended to bankrupt, harm and kill sex workers and turn the entire internet into a walled garden controlled by the fascist coalition of Washington politicians, Hollywood media companies and a few hand-picked internet giants such as Facebook, Google and Amazon.  But as I noted just a few weeks after the law’s passage, it has had the opposite of its creators’ desired effect:  rather than silencing sex workers, it has frightened the quiet majority of our profession (including the less-criminalized branches like strippers) into raising their voices in support of the minority who have always been vocal.  Rather than convincing the public that our violent suppression was some kind of good, it has instead galvanized public support to a level never before seen in the US, and media outlets which actively supported the hysteria for over a decade are now publishing debunkings of prohibitionist propaganda and editorials in favor of decriminalization.  Rather than being seen as a holy tool of salvation for imaginary “sex slaves”, FOSTA-SESTA is being widely questioned, ridiculed and even attacked by reporters, commentators and even comedians.  And perhaps most tellingly, politicians who up until recently coudn’t even be bothered to accept that sex workers have basic civil rights are now actively calling for decriminalization.  As I wrote last year, “the tyrants have…inflicted so much brutal violence that even the sheep are fighting back alongside bitches like me who have never submitted obediently to the control of our self-appointed masters.”  And it’s about fucking time; maybe even Gay, Inc will eventually pull its swollen head out of its collective rectum and support us as it should have all along.  It will be neither an easy fight nor a quick one, but neither was the struggle for LGBT rights and look how far that’s come.  I don’t know if I’ll be around to see the end of that struggle which began in France over 40 years ago, but many of you reading this will.  And I’m perfectly satisfied with that.

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I can’t breathe.  –  Derek Williams

I’ve shared a lot of Sesame Street shorts in this space over the years, but for some reason I had completely forgotten about this one, which was one of my favorites as a child.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker, Tim Cushing, Zuri Davis, Charles Hill, Eric Sprankle, and Wendy Lyon, in that order.

From the Archives

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I would have done the same if I had found a kilo of crack cocaine.

Last week Scott Greenfield made a reference to this song, which reminded me of how much I like it, so I decided to share it with you.  The links above it were provided by Mike Siegel, Amy Alkon, Furrygirl, Mistress Matisse, Emma Evans, and Jillian Keenan, in that order.

From the Archives

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Readers who follow me on Twitter may have noticed that I had very little to say about the news that Notre Dame de Paris was heavily damaged by fire this week.  I equally ignored those lamenting the loss of an architectural masterpiece, those using the tragedy as an excuse to pontificate about the many sins of the Catholic Church, those failing to comprehend why there was no anguish when recent and unsophisticated buildings used as churches burned down, and those complaining that the destruction of other medieval architectural gems not located in the exact center of one of the greatest cities of the West was not publicized by Western media.  In fact, the only comment I made on it was to tweet that this article in The Onion was the only one I had seen that approximated my feelings on the matter.  Though I agree that the building is gorgeous and understand the sense of loss, and I find rejoicing in the destruction of an artwork to be an act of incredibly bad taste, I also understand what many others are choosing to ignore: that no matter what is done to restore the cathedral, it will eventually burn down again or succumb to some other disaster.  And the same is true of the Eiffel Tower, the Tower of London, the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House, the Taj Mahal, St. Basil’s and every other building in the world.  Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only one is still standing and it, too, will eventually crumble, as will every building in every city on Earth.  In Oklahoma, my ranch was situated on the top of what was a mountain a hundred million years ago, and the very shape of the continents has changed dramatically in that time.  Similarly, people wring their hands and moan lugubriously about the extinction of animal species, despite the fact that a species is nothing more than a temporary configuration of genes; it is as permanent as a sand dune, albeit on a much longer time scale, and we can no more “save” a species than we could freeze the column of smoke from a burning cathedral into some interesting or beautiful shape.  As I remind my readers every November 1st, all things must pass, and although we may lament those which happen to pass in the flickering moment we exist upon the Earth, they are no more or less mortal than those which have already passed before we were here to see them, or those which will pass in the uncountable eons after we ourselves are gone.

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Who are you to forbid me from doing what I want with my body?  –  Patrice Spinosi

Under Every Bed

Fetishists claim that hysterical idiots seeing bogeymen behind every tree constitutes “under-reporting”:

Washington state is an opportune location to be a human trafficker, [fantasized] Kris Camenzind…of [prohibitionist group] The Human Response Network, and despite its certain presence in Lewis County, it remains an under-reported crime…one of…Camenzind[‘s Mary Sue fantasies]…was [about] a woman in her 60s being forced to appear in pornographic videos…Washington’s border with Canada, many ports, expanses of rural land and need for agricultural workers are all factors making it a hotspot for trafficking…Lewis County almost certainly serves as the scene of its own instances of human trafficking, due its rural expanses and easy access to the freeway…

“Sex trafficking” fetishists love to have it both ways, claiming that areas of large population density and “rural expanses” both increase “sex trafficking”.

Innocence Never Had

Every adult in this story needs their head examined:

District Judge Michael Gibbens sentenced Raymond Soden to five years and 10 months in prison [for paying for sex with underage girls].  That was eight years less than what was called for in Kansas sentencing guidelines.  In doing so, the judge opined that the girls, who were both younger than 15, were partly to blame for what happened and questioned how much they were harmed.  The judge pointed out that the [girls] went to Soden’s house voluntarily and didn’t appear in court when he was sentenced.  “I do find that the victims in this case, in particular, were more an aggressor than a participant in the criminal conduct…They were certainly selling things monetarily that it’s against the law for even an adult to sell”…The judge’s comments at Soden’s sentencing drew [complaints] from prosecutors…

Innocence Never Had (#599)

Rescuers are just full of “love” for street workers, as long as it doesn’t require anything more strenuous than handing them bog rolls and writing on bananas:

The Duchess of Sussex has written personal messages of love and empowerment for street sex workers in Bristol to find in food parcels when they access night outreach support.  Meghan spontaneously came up with the idea to inscribe the kind words on bananas with a marker pen during an unannounced visit to the charity One25…The…messages…read, in capital letters and often followed by a heart: “You are strong”, “You are special”, “You are brave” and “You are loved”.  One25 in the St Paul’s area of the city helps sex workers break free from a life of violence, poverty and addiction on the streets…

Sexcrime (#645)

Congratulations to Jackman and Blake on this hard-won victory:

Renowned obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman welcomed new guidelines…that mean pornography between consenting adults depicting legal acts will not be prosecuted under obscenity laws following a review by the Crown Prosecution Service, declaring it as a major victory for free speech, privacy, as well as consent.  Until [Thursday]…individuals could be prosecuted for distributing…pornography [that features] spanking, bondage, female ejaculation and sadomasochism.  Although these acts are legal between consenting adults…they were illegal to depict in photos or video…Jackman…has campaigned for this change for over a decade…Activist and filmmaker Pandora Blake who also campaigned for reform of “nonsensical porn laws” said…“This is a happy day for queer, feminist and fetish porn”…

Fallen Idol (#693)

Color Maggie unsurprised:

John Stagliano, a legendary pornographer and owner of the film studio Evil Angel…barred its directors from working with [James] Deen following [a series of rape] accusations—but now, three years on, Stagliano has decided to lift the ban.  He and Evil Angel are not lifting it quietly, either.  The company is doing it with an explicit porn-slash-documentary film titled Consent.  Later, Stagliano will tell me, “I don’t like to run away from controversial subjects.  I like to run toward them”…

Soap Opera (#853)

“In Our Backyard” is loony even by the low standards of “rescue” profiteers:

Nita Belles of In Our Backyard says…”We have to change what our society thinks about what they call ‘sex work,’ because the majority of what is called sex work is actually human trafficking”…Belles recommends people share [propaganda] and [disinformation]…about sex trafficking.  In Our Backyard also has a “Freedom Sticker” campaign that features the phone number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline [for women too stupid to remember “9-1-1″…She suggests that one area to place a freedom sticker is inside a public restroom stall.  “That’s the only time a victim is alone and able to ask for help…Sex trafficking victims almost always have a phone with them because that’s how the trafficker controls their time and what they do”…


This group also claims that “pimps” go around sneaking into women’s bathrooms to deface their magic anti-pimp stickers.

The Widening Gyre (#872)

“Sex trafficking” scare stories have now spread to texting.  I’m really happy to see this one in particular, given Uber’s eager embrace of the mythology to endear itself to the Deeply Stupid by making it official company policy to train drivers to spy on female passengers and rat them out to the cops if the driver thinks they might be sex workers.

Don’t Call It Trafficking (#880) 

Remember, this isn’t “human trafficking”, but consensual sex is:

The Trump administration says it would require extraordinary effort to reunite…thousands of migrant children who[m it abducted] from their parents and, even if it could, the children would likely be emotionally harmed.  [Toady] Jonathan White [bloviated that] removing children from…homes [of people who bought them from the government]…“would present grave child welfare concerns…It would destabilize [our attempts to make them forget their real parents]”…White said in a court filing…It is unknown how many families were [disrupted] under a longstanding policy that allows [abduc]tion…[but] Ann Maxwell, Health and Human Services’ assistant inspector general for evaluations, said…that the number…was certainly larger than the 2,737 listed by the government in court documents…Maxwell said staff estimated it to be in the thousands…

Signs (#881) 

“Sex trafficking” provides a new excuse for cops to use the same old bogus “evidence” to harass women:

…a program designed by a state trooper in Texas [claims without evidence that]…hundreds of children [were] rescued, and hundreds of pimps…arrested…by [cops] on [pretext] stops, both in Texas and other states where it has been taught.  Now Congress wants to spread that program nationwide…training federal, state, local and tribal [cops] in how to [pretend women they want to arrest are] trafficking victims…The program was created in 2009 by a…Texas [pig named]…Derek Prestridge, who realized there was no [system by which pigs could claim to be]…tracking the number of child rescues made…Prestridge and other [pigs] in…Texas…then built a training course…[out of the typical “signs of trafficking” bullshit]…

Worse Than I Thought (#895)

Looks like we’re about to see a new interstate competition for the most mindlessly-punitive anti-sex law:

Wisconsin [politicians] are bringing back a bill that would impose a new fine on anyone [cops accuse] of soliciting prostitutes.  The bill would impose a $5,000 fine on anyone convicted of [being caught in cop stings] or [having an incall]…The money would [go straight into cops’ pockets]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#904)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

…A new initiative from Sidewalk Labs, the city-building subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet…known as Replica, offers planning agencies the ability to model an entire city’s patterns of movement.  Like “SimCity,” Replica’s “user-friendly” tool deploys statistical simulations to give a comprehensive view of how, when, and where people travel in urban areas…transportation authorities in Kansas City, Portland, and the Chicago area have [already] signed up to glean its insights…Replica…uses real-time mobile location data…the program gathers and de-identifies the location of cellphone users, which it obtains from unspecified third-party vendors.  It then models this anonymized data in simulations — creating a synthetic population that…replicates a city’s real-world patterns but that [allegedly] “obscures the real-world travel habits of individual people”…

Top Cop

Reason is among the chorus of voices reminding people of Harris’ awfulness:

The Course of a Disease (#909)

Given that French politicians ignored facts to pass this law, they were unlikely to be dissuaded from the evil by facts:

French sex workers failed…in their bid to overturn a law that bans paying for sex, as the country’s Constitutional Council [pretended] that it does not breach the constitution…The Swedish-inspired law [is backed by authoritarians who say]…women should [not] be allowed [sexual and economic agency]…sex workers say it has made their jobs more dangerous and deprived them of income.  Nine campaign groups had joined forces with around 30 sex workers to launch [the] constitutional challenge…

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The system isn’t in place to help you. It’s in place to keep you where you are.  –  Sophie

Thought Control (#137)

I’ve written on several occasions about arch-censor Fredric Wertham, a prohibitionist busybody who used Melissa Farley-style tactics to lobotomize the comic book industry in the 1950s; here’s a short video (courtesy of Kevin Wilson) showing him in action.

The Course of a Disease (#729)

There is no “debate”; this terrible law was unilaterally imposed by politicians despite vociferous opposition from everyone who is affected by it:

French sex workers have lodged a constitutional challenge to [the Swedish model]…reopening a debate on whether people should be free to [have consensual sex without government interference]…around 30 sex workers backed by nine associations, including [the prestigious Médecins du Monde], went to the Constitutional Council to argue the law infringed their sexual and commercial freedom and made them more vulnerable to attack…the law…[i]s an infringement of “constitutional rights to personal autonomy and sexual freedom, respect of privacy, freedom of contract and freedom to do business”…

The Course of a Disease (#796)

Prohibitionist scum understand that decriminalization is the only moral framework for sex work; that’s why they keep trying to trick people into thinking the Swedish model is decrim:

Rep Kay Khan of [Massachusetts is at it again with]…two [Swedish model] bills…One…n[orm]alizes [the persecution of] young people involved in sex work by [subjecting them to indefinite detention under the pretense of “protecting” them]…the other [pretends] to decriminalize adult sex workers [in order to confuse people into backing a campaign to choke off their income, get them evicted and persecute their families]…The two bills evolved from an earlier bill, HB 3499, which was submitted to to the Massachusetts House and Senate in early 2017…Any step towards decriminalization [would be] a win for sex workers’ rights.  But unfortunately, these bills [are not such a step and intentionally] leave in place statutes, language, funding, and institutional infrastructure which…[enables cops to] aggressively pursue…sex workers…

The Swedish model is NOT a step toward decriminalization; it infantilizes women, demonizes men, and defines consensual sex as “violence against women”.  That is a giant step away from decriminalization.

Signs (#886)

The public seems to have finally noticed that hotels are training their staff to harass women:

…Marriott International said it has reached a goal of training 500,000 hotel workers to spot and [harass sex workers]…Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson [said] “By…[indoctrinat]ing our global workforce to say something if they see something, we are [licking the boots of our masters and] protecting associates and guests [from dangerous sex rays]”…It collaborated with [prohibitionist] anti-[whore] groups ECPAT-USA and Polaris to create the program, which has been translated into 16 languages as well as English so it can be taught to employees throughout the 130 countries in which Marriott does business…

Legislators Gone Wild (#887) 

Oh, what a surprise:

…an annual Campaign and Expense…report filed by the End Trafficking and Prostitution (ETAP) PAC revealed…what appears to have been an outrageous abuse of power and conflict of interest by an elected government official…In December 2017, Reno lawyer Jason Guinasso  filed a public records request with the Lyon County recorder’s office demanding copies of the work card applications submitted to the Lyon County sheriff’s office by professional sex workers at all four of Lyon County’s legal brothels.  He filed the request on letterhead from the law firm at which he works – Hutchison and Steffen – which happens to be owned by then-Nevada Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison, a political opponent of then-Assembly candidate Dennis Hof, who happened to own all four of Lyon County’s legal brothels…my guess is he wanted to make the addresses public in an effort to shame the adult women who were engaged in a legal business he has personal objections to…A couple months later Mr. Guinasso registered “End Trafficking and Prostitution” as a PAC with the Nevada Secretary of State…to place initiatives on the November 2018 ballot to shut down the legal brothels in Nye and Lyon counties – the two counties, not coincidentally, where Mr. Hof owned brothels…On June 7, 2018 the Lyon County Commission voted to place an “advisory question” on the ballot despite Mr. Guinasso’s failure to obtain enough signatures from Lyon County voters to do so himself…[this] was ultimately and overwhelmingly rejected in November by 80 percent of voters…

As we’ve seen before, crap like this is one of the primary reasons sex worker licensing schemes have such abysmally low compliance rates (below 1% in Nevada):  very few women are interested in being on a shaming & stalking list.

Why I Wait (#889)

Another dumb article about a phenomenon that probably doesn’t even exist:

…In her December 2018 cover story for The Atlantic warning that Americans—Millennials in particular—are having “so little sex,” senior editor Kate Julian soberly framed the drop as a “sex recession”.  Drawing from a 2017 study…[and methodologically-poor] evidence from the 2016 General Social Survey…sex for all adults dropped from 62 to 54 times a year, on average…mainly among white, middle-aged, married couples…the fear of a “sex recession” is misdirected.  A drop in sexual encounters from 62 to 54 times per year means that the average adult is still having sex more than once a week.  Current research suggests that having sex more than once a week does not have any positive impact on relationship satisfaction

That’s enough to show you the weaknesses in this turd sandwich, which, while skeptical of the worry, is not at all skeptical of the crap evidence itself.  Regular readers may recall that, as I’ve written on multiple occasions, the GSS is conducted face to face and is a terrible source for any sexual data (such as “have you ever paid for sex?“) because people simply lie about sexual questions.  These surveys don’t find anything about what people are actually doing sexually; what they measure is people’s relative comfort with the question, which is a horse of a different color.  The innate moralism of this article is visible in its assumption that the only important factor in talking about sex is “relationship satisfaction” (because obviously everybody has to pair off in vanilla monogamous amateur couples), not to mention the author’s asinine and moralistic statement that “There’s also a bit of a dark side in framing sex as economic given the realities of sex work“; I suspect this dumb bunny wouldn’t know one of the “realities of sex work” if it sashayed up and kissed her on the nose.

Stupor Bowl (#899) 

There’s very little point in bothering to quote this ridiculous mess because it’s the same garbage we’ve seen countless times: Theresa Flores selling her magical anti-pimp soap (designed to “help” women too stupid to remember the numbers “9-1-1”) and retelling her masturbatory fantasy of ninja pimps who managed to sneak her out of her home to “sell her for sex” every single night for two years without any member of her family ever noticing or any of her teachers wondering why she was falling asleep in class.  Politicians posturing so spasmodically one has to wonder how they don’t dislocate something.  Prohibitionists lovingly drooling over fantasies of enslaved thirteen-year-olds.  The magnification of a few prostitution arrests into an army of invisible “traffickers”.  I’m only mentioning it for two reasons: First, note that the opportunists now wait for mere days before the event in the forlorn hope that we won’t have time to debunk them (they used to start crowing about this idiocy as much as a year ahead); and second, that debunking is now so widespread that a refutation of this foofaraw appeared in the very same paper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Disaster (#899)

Tumblr made its bed, and now look who’s lying in it with them:

One month ago, Tumblr made the wildly unpopular decision to ban pornography and adult content from its website.  The move was greeted with outrage…and…critics accused the site of attempting to please larger tech corporations…Tumblr CEO Jeff D’Onofrio, however, maintained that the changes were made to foster a more “inclusive” community…however…the website is currently littered with pages promoting Nazism, white supremacy, ethno-nationalism, and far-right terrorism.  Despite their often flagrant violation of Tumblr’s Community Guidelines, these pages remain largely active and easy to find…

Well, at least Tumblr users are safe from “female-presenting nipples”.

On Tape

Trump has finally made it acceptable to question “sex trafficking” porn, at least when he spreads it:

…Trump[‘s]…human trafficking hyperbole is barely distinguishable  from the melodramatic “modern slavery” narratives put forth regularly by Barack Obama, Loretta Lynch, Hillary Clinton, and others during their tenure in power.  Or the stories stories spun by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) during her time as California attorney general.  And none of those stories were any less out of touch with reality…Ye[t]…CNN—which has rarely met a fact-free sex-trafficking melodrama it wouldn’t publish uncritically—ran an article titled “Experts: Trump’s tape-bound women trafficking claim is misleading“…and…at Vox, Dara Lind…reports that a top Border Patrol official emailed agents last week seeking information to back up the president’s claims…Seeking post-hoc justification for wild human trafficking claims is also a bad habit that predates Trump.  For many years, numbers spread by Justice Department and administration officials were more or less made up out of thin air, as The Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler has pointed out. (See also: “The War on Sex Trafficking Is the New War on Drugs“)…

Top Cop

Another look at the odiousness of the police-state operative Hillary fans have anointed as their savior:

…any Democratic women who reject the feminist label would kill her campaign before it even started.  This may be why it’s especially galling that all four [female] candidates signed a piece of legislation that is making life harder and more dangerous for some of society’s most vulnerable women…SESTA/FOSTA, which was widely advertised by its proponents as a way to fight human trafficking.  What the legislation, which was co-sponsored by Sens. [Kamala] Harris and [Kirsten] Gillibrand, actually did was amend the Communications Decency Act, which, until last year, prohibited websites from being held liable for content posted by the site’s users…prominent sex-work marketplaces either shut down voluntarily, like Craigslist’s Casual Encounters section, or, like Backpage, were seized and shut down by the Feds. This is exactly what Harris intended…“from my earliest days as a prosecutor, I’ve led the fight against Backpage and other sex [work advertising] platforms”…There was one group…that has roundly condemned SESTA/FOSTA, and that’s the group most impacted by it: sex workers…

The article, by Katie Herzog of The Stranger, includes interviews with me, my friend Sophie and other sex workers.

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Ten thousand of us will hand you the wrath of Heaven.  –  “The Wolf Totem”

This week’s video is yet another example of the total awesomeness of “cultural appropriation”, provided by Charles Hill; the links above it were supplied by Election BabeScott GreenfieldFranklin HarrisPhoenix Calida, Scott Greenfield again, and Tim Cushing, in that order.

From the Archives

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