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Posts Tagged ‘Greece’

The whole idea of shelter homes is steeped in morality, not rights.  –  Satyawati from Bhumika

Legal Is as Legal Does

What “legalized and heavily regulated” actually looks like in practice:

According to the Greek sex work legislation adopted in 1999, sex work is legal but heavily regulated.  Only sex work that occurs in state-licensed brothels is legal.  Street-based sex work and sex work that occurs in hotels is illegal. Municipalities are allowed to determine the number of licensed brothels.  Brothels are not allowed within 200 meters of public buildings, i.e. schools, churches, kindergartens, playgrounds, health clinics, hospitals, sport centers, libraries, squares and nursing homes.  This means it is impossible to have a state-licensed brothel in any Greek city…sex workers are not allowed to be married.  They…are only allowed to work for 3 years and require a number of legal and medical documents to work legally…[including] a chest X-Ray…mandatory medical testing for STIs every 15 days…prohibits sex workers from working together.  The use of an apartment…requires the consent of all the residents and the owners of the rest of the apartments…[and] the assistant staff of brothels should be older than 50 and should have mandatory medical testing…

Torture Chamber

Just in case you thought screws restricted their petty sadism to the prisoners:

A California prison psychologist has filed a lawsuit against the state alleging she was threatened and demoted after she reported mistreatment of gay and transgender inmates at a correctional facility in Vacaville…Lori Jespersen [reports that a screw] locked her in a confinement area with dangerous criminals after she filed complaints on behalf of transgender inmates…The lawsuit describes a number of incidents…includ[ing]…[screws] prevented transgender inmates from attending a therapy group and insulted them…[screws] compelled transgender inmates to strip in the open and denied them privacy screens…[screws] “outted” a transgender inmate by disclosing personal information about her on Facebook…In both cases [where she was locked in with violent criminals] she was “unsupervised, alone and without access to a safety alarm”…

Traffic Circle

Criticism of “anti-trafficking” propaganda from inside the “anti-trafficking” ranks:

At all levels of anti-trafficking work, the collection and analysis of data…continues to be underemphasised…in comparison to the use of emotionally-charged rhetoric and hyperbole…A substantial and ever growing body of research has convincingly demonstrated that the evidence base is lacking…Interventions continue to be designed and funded largely based upon donor policy agendas—and the outsized supply of anti-trafficking organisations that are ready to pursue them—rather than results-based decision-making on what works…the same strategies will be continued indefinitely regardless of the outcomes produced…Evaluators and the organisations who hire them are participants in what can be described as an economy of bad faith.  There’s an unspoken agreement that no serious concerns will be raised about the interventions examined, and in return, the evaluator will be kept on the roster for future assignments…What is particularly disturbing is the efforts made to cover up the knowledge gap by vastly overstating what has actually been achieved…with organisations even claiming that their beneficiaries have been “liberated from slavery”…

License to Rape (#562) 

“Charges dropped” is about as close as the state will come to admitting cops have license to rape anyone they please:

Charnesia Corley was a 21-year-old college student with no criminal record when two cops from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office stopped her in June 2015 for running a red light…[cops] threw her to the ground, pushed her partially underneath her own car, and yanked Corley’s pants down to her ankles.  For the next 11 minutes, dash cam video of the incident shows, she was held down…while…[cops] repeatedly probed her vagina [with their fingers]…No drugs were found…Sam Cammack, an attorney representing Corley in a multi-million-dollar civil rights lawsuit against the county, [recognizes that] the search [constituted] “rape by cop…they sexually assaulted her…You can’t pull someone over, think you might find something, and do that to them.”  The full dash-cam video…confirm[s] Corley’s [account.  Cops] William Strong and Ronaldine Pierre…were indicted in June 2016 by a Harris County grand jury on charges of official oppression, but those charges were dropped last week…Cammack…hopes…to force the county to reopen the case with a new prosecutor…he does not believe that a second grand jury has the authority to overrule a grand jury that lawfully charged the two [rapists, who]…are still employed by the department…

Permanent Record

If you think they’ll keep this limited to sex crimes, you’re a fool:

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation that will remove the statutes of limitation for sexual abuse crimes…That will allow for the prosecution of those crimes [long after evidence or witnesses who might exonerate the accused are gone]…

Schadenfreude (#725)

There’s now more than one outfit cashing in on “sex trafficking” tours in Houston:

Elijah Rising, a [profiteer group] dedicated to [cashing in on]sex trafficking [hysteria] in Houston, is [spreading ridiculous propaganda about] the sex trade with its Awareness Van Tours…During the tour, a volunteer for the group points out all the places where sex trafficking happens in Houston, including strip clubs, massage parlors and nondescript apartments…Houston is a massive hub for the North American sex trade, with more than 300,000 Texas victims alone – 80,000 of those being underage…one of the main reasons…is…I-10, which spans the entire United States and frequently serves as a pipeline for smugglers in the illegal sex trade…

From grotesque mathematical illiteracy to sociological absurdity, this story packs a lot into a few lines.

Signs (#734) 

“Linked with trafficking”.  Pigs just love to make their fantasies sound “scientific”:

The Modesto [California] Police Department…joined with…[a prohibitionist profiteer group called] Without Permission to produce a video that [claims a nonexistent] rise in high school-age victims and…goes over some…red flags…They have an older boyfriend…bruises or other injuries…Tattoos or branding…linked with trafficking are bar codes, dollar signs, horseshoes and the word “Daddy”.  A change in wardrobe toward sensual, seductive clothing also is worth noting, the [perverts fantasized]…In the video, [a pig oinks] about the importance of parents [spying on]…their children’s social media accounts and Internet history…

Against Their Will (#751) 

How different the same story sounds when stripped of euphemisms:

Twelve sex workers escaped from Ujjwala House in Hyderabad India, where they had been detained for months following a raid on their workplaces…It is not the first time this has happened, with local residents reporting a few women detained in the shelter fled several years ago.  There are widespread, longstanding reports of abuses and complaints relating to the shelter and many like it in Hyderabad.  Amongst the myriad of concerns is the way in which the “shelters” are described as a service to support individuals.  However, those kept in the facilitates are referred to as “inmates” and detained against their will…

Cooties (#756) 

Despite the popularity of this masturbatory fantasy with UK cops, not one has ever been found:

Prostitutes working in [Jersey] are turning short-term accommodation lets into “pop up brothels”…organised-crime gangs, book the accommodation for short periods to avoid detection.  Border authorities have witnessed women they [fantasize] are involved in the sex trade travelling into the Island with [fantasized] “male chaperones, pimps or alpha females (female pimps)”, [cops fantasize].  Detective Chief Inspector Lee Turner…[fantasized] that…a ‘significant proportion’ were being forced into the sex trade by mainly eastern European organised-crime gangs working out of the UK…

“Pop-up brothel” is UK copese for “AirBnB incall”.  But “alpha female” is just the latest in absurd terms made up by prohibitionists to sound sinister; presumably “alpha females” go hand-in-hand with “gorilla pimps“.

Safe Targets (#763) 

Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever:

…a…Brazilian woman…was robbed at knifepoint by five men…in Enfield in the early hours of June 24th.  When the victim called the police, she said their focus seemed to be more on her activities as a sex worker than the attack itself.  After returning from a recent trip to Spain, she was detained at Gatwick airport for several hours and later given a letter…demanding that she leave the UK…Campaigners for sex workers’ rights say that by focusing on the prosecution and deportation of the worker rather than the attack against her, police were discouraging other women from coming to them for help…

In the US, roughly 60% of sex worker arrests result from some crime being committed against the sex worker, attracting the attention of the cops.

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Let me grab that pee-pee!  –  “Officer” Risel Martinez

Brooke Magnanti called my attention to this wonderfully dark, bizarre little music video, so here I am sharing it with you on account of I’m just that kind of gal.  The links above it are from Scott Greenfield, ClarissaCarol FentonWhores of Yore,  Lucy SteigerwaldRadley Balko, and Mike Crawford, in that order.

From the Archives

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Someday we may look back at this era the way we now think about (alcohol) Prohibition: a failed experiment that was indefensible in principle.  –  Douglas HusakWar Machine

Rough Trade 

How are there actually still attorneys clueless enough to use this “defense”?

The mixed martial arts fighter who calls himself War Machine said in court…that it would be impossible for him to have raped his ex-girlfriend because she was a porn star.  He then went on to blow an “offensive” kiss to Chief Deputy District Attorney Jacqueline Bluth…the nonsensical defense ploy which War Machine — born Jonathan Koppenhaver — used during his trial [was in answer to]…34 criminal counts ranging from sexual assault to attempted murder…Christy Mack…was left with “a blowout fracture of her left eye and several other broken bones in her face, two missing teeth, a lacerated liver, broken ribs and serious bruising in several places” after the attack…defense attorney Brandon Sua said that Mackinday’s career in adult films constituted consent and that her job instilled in her “the desire, the preference, the acceptability towards a particular form of sex activities that were outside of the norm.”  The sexual assaults Mackinday charges Koppenhaver with, said Sua, were a consensual part of their relationship…Judge Elissa Cadish told Sua that she failed to see how a person’s choice of profession could determine their constant and ongoing consent to sex…

Think of the Children! 

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep stopping us from making money in other jobs?

A federal appeals court has ruled against a former porn star turned math tutor, saying he doesn’t have a free speech right to hang a sign advertising his tutoring business at three [Florida] schools…David Mech paid $1,750 to advertise his “Happy/Fun Math Tutor” business in 2010, but the School District of Palm Beach County removed the signs in 2013 after learning that Mech was a porn star who acted under the name Dave Pounder…the 11th U.S. District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision that the signs are not considered free speech, but “government speech”…Since the banners were hung on school fences, the court opined that government property is “often closely identified in the public mind with the government unit that owns the land”…

Coming and Going

One of the most aggressive campaigns of sex worker persecution in the entire US gets even worse:

In roughly six weeks following Houston Police Department’s Vice Division’s announcement that it was changing its tactics for policing prostitution in the city, 30 individuals have been arrested and charged with felony prostitution.  Almost 100 more have been handed misdemeanor charges.  Several others have been charged with promotion of prostitution…[vice pig] Dan Harris…described a new [tactic for harassing sex workers by charging them with more serious crimes.  He described this as] “Let’s work smarter, not harder”…

Law of the Instrument

Rescue industry & “authorities” invent a ludicrously-broad definition of “sex trafficking”, spread panic over it, then pretend it means something when people claim to see it everywhere:

So far this year, the [Connecticut] department [of Children and Families] has received more than 80 referrals of possible victims of human trafficking in the state, said Tammy Sneed…“There is a direct correlation with an increase in training and an increase in referrals,” Sneed said, referring to the amount of training now available for law enforcement agencies to identify victims of sex trafficking…

Don’t Take My Word For It

It’s good to see more in the media on the reality of male sex work:

Christopher said prostitution wasn’t a career he dreamt of pursuing as a child but that it was a decision he wasn’t ashamed of making.  “A lot of people…think sex workers are all drug addicts or messed up people, but a lot of us just do it because we get satisfaction out of the work and make good money while doing it…I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and I’ll keep doing it as along as people keep booking me.”  He said there was less demand for male sex workers than women but that the industry was easier on men.  “I think it’s even easier for male sex workers than women because there’s less stigma and its more of an even playing field in terms of strength so you’re less likely to be taken advantage of…I’ve never been attacked or robbed or anything like that.  Women sex workers have always been visible…but…now [men are] out and proud all over the internet and just as accessible and visible”…

Change a Few Words

I think it’s a serious moral wrong to send people to prison for the recreational use of drugs…What we need is a total decriminalization of drug use…Everyone agrees it is seriously unjust to punish people in the absence of very good reasons to do so…it’s wrong to punish people just to get them not to do something bad.  That principle would allow us to punish overeating, smoking, failing to exercise, and lots of other activities that virtually no one proposes to punish.  Most crimes we punish (murder, rape, robbery) do serious harm to other people.  Almost all people who do drugs at most harm only themselves…We should not subject tens of millions of Americans to punishment because of bad effects that materialize in only a small subset of cases.  In addition, threats of punishments don’t do much to deter drug use.  Most drug users don’t believe they’ll be caught, and they are right…longitudinal studies indicate that health and life expectancy of the roughly half of all Americans who have used drugs (with the exception of tobacco) is virtually identical to that of the half of Americans who have not…the consequences of punishment are worse than whatever harm the drugs are likely to have caused…

Profit from Panic sex trafficking T shirt

Is Rand Paul still claiming to be a kind of libertarian?

During this holiday season, we are undertaking a modest effort to raise awareness and money to fight human trafficking.  We worked with a gifted designer to create a simple but elegant t-shirt that brings home a message of hope…the sale is supporting survivors of human trafficking in two ways:  first, the campaign will donate its share of every shirt purchase to Braking Traffik, a charity that protects women…from human trafficking.  Second, the campaign is partnering with To The Market…to source a limited supply of these t-shirts from a factory that employs women formerly trapped in sex slavery and gives them a new life…

Under Every Bed 

I picture this dysphemism-spewing idiot as shouting in a kind of fit, spraying spittle everywhere:

…Alabama is a nexus for the [sex] trade…the highly organized pipeline…connection to the ring [is] horrendous…The victims were referred to and marketed like meat…[pogroms are] a much needed salvo to combat an evil that simmers, mostly invisibly, beneath the surface of civilized life.  Sex trafficking entraps as many as 200,000 victims nationwide at any time. Atlanta’s interstate corridors make the Southeast, including Alabama, prime real estate for traffickers…Obvious gaps that must be addressed include tougher laws to attack sex-trafficking crimes from the “demand” side – meaning harsher penalties for johns who solicit sex.  For starters, solicitation of a prostitute should be a felony charge, not just a misdemeanor.  Requiring that convicted johns register as sex offenders would also discourage demand…young victims can escape the trafficking hellhole…

On second though, maybe the body fluid he’s spraying isn’t spittle.

Shame, Shame

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is preparing for an en banc hearing on whether there is a privacy interest inherent in mugshots, or whether they are simply public records that can be obtained with an FOIA request.  For the most part, mugshots have been considered public records. This has led to a shady mugshot-posting cottage industry, as well as an equally-shady mugshot-removal cottage industry…Despite the nation’s justice system being built on the presumption of innocence, a large percentage of the population views “arrested and charged” as being no different than “found guilty.”  (Federal law enforcement databases — used for background checks — reinforce this perception by entering arrested persons’ info when booking, but routinely failing to remove it when charges are dropped or the person is found innocent)…this case involves a federal law enforcement agency and the indictment of three local [cops]…the [DOJ’s]…ultimate goal is to obtain the final say on the release of booking photos via a wholly internal process…Siding with members of the public who have been tarnished by this guilt-by-association also means siding with an agency seeking yet another way to withhold public records from the public.  Siding with the Detroit Free Press means…allowing a whole host of dubious “entrepreneurs” to use public perception against private citizens to extract fees for the removal of booking info…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#347)

The EFF steps up to do the ACLU’s job:

A Los Angeles City Hall proposal to send “john letters” to the owners of cars seen in areas known for prostitution has drawn criticism from a California civil liberties group…The letters would be written to discourage those who were soliciting prostitutes from returning to the area while posing no harm to those who were there for legitimate reasons, Councilwoman Nury Martinez [pretended]…The collection of license plate data is opposed by the…Electronic Frontier Foundation…[which] has an ongoing lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department over the issue…other cities have used “john letters” to combat prostitution.  In some communities, residents are encouraged to [snitch]…Some [badge-lickers] praised the proposal in Los Angeles…

Drawing Lines 

It’s so nice to see this from the other side of that imaginary line:

…we vintage enthusiasts have a problem:  We often celebrate imagery created by sex workers of old, while stigmatizing…the sex workers of today…we’re building this community…on the backs of women whom we then nakedly disclaim.  I’m unsettled by the preponderance of pinup photographers who yearn for a time “when sexy was classy,” of dancers who assure us that burlesque is “an art form […] it’s not sleazy“, and of vintage enthusiasts who congratulate us on looking “so cute, and not at all slutty” (as I’ve been told on more than one occasion). These types of statements are simultaneously whorephobic   …and gratingly ahistorical.  No, Bettie Page and co. weren’t “classy” sex workers.  They were sex workers, full stop.  I’ve seen many a modern pinup reap the benefits of blushing “tee-hee” sexuality without acknowledging its origins in the “filthy whores” before her.  Because that’s what Bettie and Mae and Marilyn were, in the eye of much of the public.  Marilyn Monroe posed fully nude.  Bettie Page made fetish porn.  Mae West was arrested and imprisoned for an “indecent” Broadway play.  Bikini model Kiki Hakansson was condemned by the Pope himself.  Even the red lipstick endemic to today’s pinup girls was once the domain of the harlot

Feminine Pragmatism (#553) 

Young Greek women are selling sex for the price of a sandwich as six years of painful austerity have pushed the European country to the financial brink…a new study…which compiled data on more than 17,000 sex workers operating in Greece, found that…sex on sale in Greece is some of the cheapest…in Europe…when the economic crisis began…the going rate…was 50 euros ($53)…now, it’s fallen to as low as two euros ($2.12) for a 30-minute session…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

Since universities have been hotbeds of neofeminism, this could be a huge development if more schools follow suit:

On Wednesday 25th November, Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) passed…a motion…resolving “to support and campaign for the full decriminalisation of sex work” and “campaign against any attempt to introduce the Nordic model”…The motion…also included a resolution “to campaign particularly for the rights of student sex workers”…as well as offer support to any student who comes out privately as a sex worker…the…motion…comes off the back of a move by Amnesty International…to urge decriminalisation of prostitution worldwide…

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Thargelia…made her onslaughts upon the most influential men [of her time].  –  Plutarch

Thargelia by Victor Tchetchet (1930s)In these harlotographies, I try to alternate between modern ones (who died in the 20th or 21st centuries) and those of earlier times.  Unfortunately, even those of earlier times tend to have lived in the Renaissance or later; a precious few date to medieval or classical times, and none at all from earlier.  As I wrote in my biography of Thaïs,

…it seems as though Rhodopis of the 6th century BCE may be about as early as I’m able to go; her life story is a mixture of fact, surmise and legend, and though we know the names of earlier whores…they are largely inhabitants of the sphere of legend.  This is really not so surprising when one considers that we know little more than the names and dates of most kings from earlier times, and virtually nothing about anyone else unless they had some impact on the affairs of kings…

Most of the hetaerae I have discussed lived in or near the time of Alexander, and a couple (Aspasia and Lais) were born in the 5th century BCE.  As Thargelia flourished only half a century or thereabouts after Rhodopis, y’all probably won’t be surprised at how little is known about her, but since what is known is quite fascinating, I wanted to share it with y’all.  Like Aspasia, she was from Miletus; like Lais, she is sometimes considered to be two different women with the same name; and like Thaïs, her claim to fame is bound up in the story of the Greco-Persian conflicts that dominated the 5th and 4th centuries BCE.  But while Thaïs gleefully witnessed the collapse of the Persian Empire from the train of its conqueror, Thargelia was born a Persian subject and worked to sway Greek opinion toward the Empire when the Wars were just beginning.

Here’s what we know with a fair degree of certainty about Thargelia:  she was an exceptional beauty with an exceptional brain and devastating powers of persuasion who managed to bring more than a few of her powerful and influential lovers over to the Persian side.  Her name is also the name of an important spring festival of Apollo and Artemis, celebrated in prehistoric times (like so many ancient Greek festivals were) with human sacrifice; it probably had the same sort of ring in her culture that the names “May” or “Easter” might have in ours.  Hippias of Elis claimed that she had been married fourteen times, but this seems highly unlikely; he may have garbled reports about the number of important clients whose support she won for Darius.  Other accounts claimed that she married Antiochus, ruler of Thessaly, and ruled for thirty years after his death; the latter is known to be false because it was Antiochus himself who ruled for 30 years, and he was succeeded by Thorax of Larissa.  She was eventually assassinated by an anti-Persian politician from Argos whom she had used her influence to imprison.

It’s such a pitifully meager amount of information, yet it’s enough to inspire the imagination: given a few more years to work, who knows how many great men she would have lured into the Persian camp?  And had that happened, Darius’ invasion of Greece might have gone very differently…and with it the entirety of European history.  In a world where that unnamed Argive had been killed rather than merely imprisoned, Thargelia might have been the most influential whore in history instead of a mere footnote.

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[Tom] Dart says sex workers are victims, but his actions suggest he intends to make sure they’re victims, one way or the other.  –  Noah Berlatsky

Shifting the Blame

Politician blames advertising site for damage caused by criminalization:

[Massachusetts] Attorney General Maura Healey called on Backpage.com to shut down its “adult” section after two men allegedly killed an escort…whom they had met through the website…Epshod Jeune…and Derrell Fisher…carried out a “joint venture to rob escorts at gunpoint’’…[but] Healey [pretended it was somehow the advertisement’s fault]…

The Scarlet Letter

This week in serious civil-liberties violations in the name of stopping sex, the city of Tucson, Arizona, has released information on hundreds of people with “ties” to suspected sex workers.  The move is part of a years-long investigation into a handful of massage parlors that may offer more than just muscle-pain relief.  Obviously, such nefarious criminal activity (hand jobs—for money? the horror!) warrants extreme measures, which is why Tucson cops couldn’t just stop after raiding the six massage parlors in January and seizing the owners’ assets.  Now the department has publicized the names of all the phone contacts stored in 15 cellphones seized during the raids…getting a massage is apparently now grounds for public shaming at the hands of the state…

Feminine Pragmatism 

Dog bites man:

…Nearly a third of Greeks are living below the poverty line, and children and families make up a significant proportion of those most vulnerable as a result of brutal austerity measures.  This is well-known and well-documented.  Yet one fallout of Greece’s mass unemployment is largely concealed – the rising rate of women turning to sex work to make ends meet. There are reportedly around 18,000 sex workers in Greece, up from the estimated 17,000 in 2012…the number of people selling sexual services in Greece has soared by 150% during the crisis – driven by those desperate to put food on the table after the nation’s financial meltdown…

Above the Law 

Brave heroes of the week:

A…[cop named Nakia Johnson] has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing…an 11 year-old girl.  Deputies say he was in the car with the child when he accidentally pocket dialed the girl’s mother…

Meanwhile, in Maryland:

A Maryland state trooper has been charged with forcing a woman to perform a sex act on him at gunpoint…Brian Tucker…and the woman had previously arranged an agreement for a sex act for money, but the woman…was forced to perform an additional sex act at gunpoint…

Full of Themselves (#439)

The luridly-pompous language used in massage parlor hit pieces from California is probably the most unintentionally-hilarious anti-whore pap out there:

…The number of state-certified masseuses has risen 13% since 2014 to 51,885 this year, according to the California Massage Therapy Council…Nationwide, the massage industry is growing as medical establishments increasingly embrace massage’s therapeutic benefits…more than 5,400 massage technicians list home addresses in [the San Gabriel Valley]…10% of the massage technicians in the entire state.  Now that cities have more authority over massage parlors, officials are weighing how to balance the rights of a growing profession of legitimate massage therapists against the responsibility to solve problems caused by the less savory businesses.  An athlete with sore muscles or an office worker with a stiff neck could not browse long online without running into websites offering Yelp-style reviews of sexually oriented massage parlors.  Posters swap information, using abbreviations and acronyms to throw authorities off the trail…A study by the Urban Institute…described a highly organized sex trafficking ring revolving around a chain of massage parlors in New York City, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles…

Soap Opera (#509) 

First-magnitude fabulist Theresa Flores’ maudlin comedy act, distributing soap bars to fight “pimps” hiding in hotel lavatories, continues:

As the Major League All-Star Game approaches, local law enforcement officials as well as anti-human trafficking activists are bracing for a spike in sex traffic in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.  One of their main weapons to combat such an influx?  Bars of hotel soap…The shower is one place where victims are alone and away from their pimps/controllers.  “We know with any big event or big sports event, there is always an increase in demand for commercial sex (prostitution),” said Erin Meyer, the anti-human trafficking program coordinator for the Cincinnati branch of The Salvation Army and coalition manager for End Slavery Cincinnati.  “And that will no doubt mean an increase in human trafficking.  That data is there“…The effort is part of the national SOAP (Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution) program started by Theresa Flores, a former victim of sex slavery…

Worse Than I Thought (#530)

It’s like they’re competing with each to see who can inflict the most mindlessly-draconian sentences:

[Florida] lawmakers have increased the penalties for people soliciting prostitutes…The first offense is now punishable by up to $1,000 fine…up from $500.  Second and third offenses become felonies.  First offenders will now serve 100 hours of community service, but a second offense will get you ten days in the county jail…State Representative Jeanette Nunez [belched out] “The wives and spouses…this will certainly be a wake up call for them”…Domestic Violence counselors are especially keen on provisions that require Johns to pay for and attend an education program on prostitution and sex trafficking…

Seizing Power Backpage free

As I explained Friday, Backpage has issued a big “fuck you” to Tom Dart & Swanee Hunt by making adult ads free for the time being; Elizabeth Nolan Brown writes:

…Backpage’s move to make adult ads free is a big screw you to fearmongering, First-Amendment-hating, Internet-freedom-stifling nanny statists who think they can control financial-services firms, foreign-based websites (Backpage.com is owned by a Dutch company), and the way women choose to earn a living…

Meanwhile, over at New Republic, Noah Berlatsky writes:

Dart [pretends that]…sex work is “outrageously dangerous”…and [claims] that life expectancies for sex workers [are] comparable to those in “a Third World nation”—though such statistics are notoriously unreliable.  It’s certainly true that putting up barriers to Backpage makes sex work more difficult.  But that doesn’t seem like it will help sex workers.  Instead, sex workers who use Backpage.com say Dart’s successful campaign will make their jobs more dangerous, not less…the changes to Backpage may mean that [some women]…have to work on the street—or find a manager or pimp who has developed alternate payment methods…

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To force through a bad law you seize on a convenient…victim, and declare that its sufferings trump all the traditions and rights of free citizenship.  –  Lloyd Evans

The Red Umbrella Hardeep Sandhu

A man who raped a prostitute for TWO HOURS after knocking her unconscious with a brick has been jailed for 15 years.  Hardeep Sandhu, 39, beat his victim with a brick until she passed out and then repeatedly raped her for two hours as she went in and out of consciousness.  She suffered multiple injuries to her head, face, arms and hands during the prolonged attack in a garden near Hartington Street in Derby…

Size Matters

This ain’t gonna work, y’all:

Last fall, The Social Club of Nashville left its current quarters for an isolated office park a few miles away.  Owners spent $750,000 on the building and began renovations fit for “a private club for the enjoyment” of sexual activity.  But when neighbors figured out the nature of club members’ intended socializing, they packed the city council in support of a zoning change which would prevent The Social Club from opening…So…it will now open as the United Fellowship Center, a house of unorthodox religious worship.  The dance floor is now a “sanctuary.”  The dungeon is now a choir room.  And dozens of small, private spaces have been designated “prayer rooms.”  The United Fellowship Center has even gotten a city permit to meet as a church…

Stand-Up Guys 

We need a LOT more men to write like this rather than licking neofeminist boots:

What strikes men about feminism’s approach to the sex trade is that it relies on a simplistic dichotomy: victims/abusers.  Female victims…and male abusers…Feminists like to promote the “predator myth”…which argues that porn and prostitution…encourage men to attack women.  However, the most basic statistic overturns this theory.  How many men use porn?  All men.  How many men assault women?  Few men…I’ve never seen a single erotic scenario featuring coerced or battered women…the idea that porn converts men into rapists…sends…the individual [sex worker]…the message…”Dressed like that you’re asking for it”.  Quite a familiar line.  But not often heard from women’s rights campaigners…the law’s supporters…say [it] is part of the war against slavery…Trafficked people…pick lettuces, but we don’t ban salad.  They hoover carpets, but we don’t outlaw rugs and vacuum cleaners.  They care for children, but should we all sterilise ourselves?…

The Scarlet Letter (#19)

Greece’s government announced…the abolition of a controversial health and hygiene regulation that allowed authorities to publish the details, including photographs, of workers that had tested HIV positive.  This is the second time the regulation has been abolished since its first introduction in 2012…the law led to the publication of women’s photographs in the press, arrested as prostitutes, as a means to “protect” public health.  Its implementation had led to a storm of protests and reactions over the public humiliation of the women involved, as well as for trampling their fundamental rights and the patient-doctor confidentiality…

The Widening Gyre 

This is extra-stupid and dishonest even by prohibitionist standards:

Women rent their bodies as a choice: a myth. Pornography is a harmless spectator sport: a lie. Both enable slavery, often with teenagers plucked from American neighborhoods. Sex trafficking is a $32 billion dollar industry worldwide. That only marginalized women fall prey is another false assumption…Pimps will recruit anyone, and white girls are more profitable,” said Audrey Morrissey…of My Life, My Choice…American culture lifts up female independence, which includes personal sexual choices…Many argue that stripping, for example, is a way to pay for college or to support a family. Fact: only 5 percent of female sex workers make and keep their money. The rest are prostituted through force and coercion in an industry led by men…

The Day of the Dead (#44) we don't buy it

China is cracking down on exotic dancers at funerals, the Ministry of Culture said April 23.  Although such entertainment is not widespread, strippers are thought to attract more people to a funeral, which is a sign of respect for the dead. Two recent cases “have been punished”…

The Public Eye (#324)

Another good profile of my friend Laura Lee:

Dubliner Laura Lee has the self-assurance of someone who has packed several lifetimes into her 40 years.  After a couple of cul-de-sacs in law and banking, Lee has returned to the job that funded her first law degree: sex work…“I’m not going to say, ‘I love my job’.  I don’t know any of my friends who leap out of bed on Monday morning and go, ‘Yes, work!’ ” she says.  “But I do choose to do it.  I enjoy the freedom is gives me in terms of managing my finances, spending time with my family and studying”…

Traffic Circle

As I predicted, articles questioning “sex trafficking” are now becoming more common in mainstream media:

…the Global Slavery Index (GSI), which received fawning publicity, including in The Washington Post….estimated that there were 29.8 million people in “modern slavery” around the world.  In November 2014, the GSI unveiled what it described as a more precise estimate: 35.8 million people.  That’s an increase of 6 million people!  What’s going on here?…there is a large gulf between the estimates of tens of millions of victims and the actual number of identified “survivors” — 44,000 at last count.  (This number is also a bit dubious)…the GSI figure has come under attack from other researchers for having a murky, inconsistent and questionable methodology…Clearly there is a problem with the numbers when the U.S. government cites a figure of 20 million and a well-funded, media-savvy organization touts a figure of “slaves” that is almost twice as high.  Media organizations are complicit in fostering misperceptions by often citing these figures as established fact, without even an explanation or examination of the methodology…these Pinocchios are for all-too-credulous acceptance of them…

Business As Usual

On 30 January, a mesmerizing report was launched at the Asia-Pacific Intergovernmental Meeting on HIV in Bangkok:  The Right(s) Evidence—Sex Work, Violence And HIV In Asia: A Multi-Country Qualitative Study.  It is a ground-breaking piece of work for several reasons.  It involved an unusual collaboration among governments, sex-worker organizations, communities, UN agencies, and regional agencies in Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka.  It is full of fascinating insights into the lives of women, men and transgender people in the sex industry.  It finds compelling evidence of widespread violence…and…points to a culture of impunity among the police, doctors, and other powerful players that in turn increases the threats of violence, trauma, disease and despair among sex workers, and by extension their families, communities, and customers…you’ve never heard of it…[because] it was greeted with “absolute and total silence”…the media is scared to touch it [because] the data is very clearly saying that the police are the biggest violators…

Worse Than I Thought (#531)

“…even if they appear to have been staked and beheaded“:

With an agreement now reached on (not) funding abortions for trafficking victims, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously…to pass the “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act” (JVTA)…with little fanfare or discussion, Senators tacked on a late amendment to the legislation which radically alters the rules for Internet publishers.  Known as the “Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation” (SAVE) Act, the change is vehemently opposed by a broad coalition of free speech, web publishing, and civil liberties advocates.  If the SAVE amendment ultimately passes…it would go against decades of precedent related to web publishers and user-generated content.  In general, the owners of websites and online publications cannot be held criminally liable for the things that random people post. Under the new rules, however, these entities could be charged as sex traffickers if it turns out any trafficking victims are advertised on the site.  Sponsors have specifically stated that their intent is to shut down, or at least seriously cripple…Backpage.com…

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In the world of anti-trafficking organizations, money and lies are deeply – perhaps inextricably – tied.  –  Anne Elizabeth Moore

Secret Squirrel

there are growing numbers of women…for whom the opportunities offered by smartphones for tracking and surveillance are nothing short of terrifying…“For women experiencing domestic violence, these technologies can be used to further terrorise and intimidate them,” says Sandra Horley, the chief executive of Refuge…Refuges, whose locations are kept closely guarded for the safety of their users, now often warn women fleeing abuse to check their phones for apps that might be spyware, and to switch off location services before they arrive…Jennifer Perry…of the Digital Trust [said]…“The easiest thing is to access the woman in the cloud.  A man might buy a phone and set it up for his partner to be ‘helpful’.  He knows the username and password.  You have women who don’t even realise they have a cloud account in their smartphone…The man can just sit at his computer and watch everything that happens on the phone”…

We Told You So

Super ally Anne Elizabeth Moore published a long, thorough report on the incredible amount of money “anti-trafficking” organizations make despite their total lack of any sort of quantifiable results:

…Considering their common mythical enemy – the nameless and faceless men portrayed in TV dramas who trade in nubile human girl stock – one would hope anti-trafficking organizations would unite in an effort to be less shady.  With names reliant on metaphors of recovery, light and sanctuary, anti-trafficking groups project an image of transparency.  Yet these groups have shown a remarkable lack of fiscal accountability and organizational consistency…anti-trafficking groups fold, move, restructure and reappear under new names with alarming frequency, making them almost as difficult to track as their supposed foes…

The Sky is Falling!

Great news!  There is no actual crime in Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania State Police are going undercover to root out potential prostitution arranged through dating websites…Troopers work with vice, computer crimes and neighboring municipal police units to coordinate stings and monitor…“sugar daddy” websites…

Broken Record 

Most parroting of “gypsy whores” myth now contains a disclaimer.*  Note also that the writer slips and says “arrested” rather than “rescued”:

Catholic Charities of Arizona is preparing to serve an increased number of sex-trafficking victims arrested by local police in the days surrounding Super Bowl Sunday…The Phoenix metro area was bracing for a surge in visitors as it got ready to host a triad of large sporting events within an eight-day period.  The NFL’s Pro Bowl and Super Bowl XLIX and the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament were all set to take place there Jan. 25 through Feb. 1…Although firm evidence of a correlation between the Super Bowl and an uptick in prostitution is lacking, a 2014 study by Arizona State University’s School of Social Work found that the game produces conditions that traffickers seek to exploit…

The ASU School of Social Work is nothing but a factory for generating bogus prohibitionist studies; it’s the academic leg of the awful Project ROSE.

*For another modified “gypsy whore” iteration, see “Soap Opera” below.

Soap Opera

First-magnitude fabulist Theresa Flores’ maudlin comedy act, distributing soap bars to fight “pimps” hiding in hotel lavatories, continues:

…the Grosse Pointe Soroptimists…offered [hoteliers]…bars of soap…wrapped in labels that feature the National Human Trafficking Hotline Number…A similar effort is under way this week at motels in Phoenix, in advance of the…Super Bowl.  Special events…provide an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the issue of human trafficking…Theresa Flores, 49…started the S.O.A.P. program…because she thought hard about what might have helped escape her torture…in the early 1980s…new Michigan laws designed to thwart human trafficking…[removes] the statute of limitations for people who were forced into prostitution as minors.  The new law is named the Theresa Flores Act…

Bottleneck

Another demonstration of how regulation of sex work hurts sex workers:

…There are…an estimated 20,000 prostitutes in Greece…of which fewer than 1,000 are…registered…There are brothels (or ‘studios’) where women can register to work legally…Each is granted a licence, issued by the state…There’s a list of…stipulations that must be met before a woman is allowed to work in one of these studios.  She must be over 18; have the right to live and work in Greece; be free from STI’s or other infectious illnesses; not suffer from mental illness or drug addiction; and not have been convicted of homicide, pimping, child porn, trafficking, robbery or blackmail.  Oh, and she must be unmarried, too…the law isn’t stopping married women from working as prostitutes.  It’s simply preventing them from operating in regulated environments and forcing them on to the streets, something which is both illegal and dangerous…

Rhinoceros (#403)

COAST isn’t mentioned here, but this is the same sort of insulting, patronizing bullshit they peddle, pretending that pigs, bureaucrats and other busybodies know more about our profession than we do:

…representatives from Homeland Security met with valley strip club workers to show them what to…look for [in] signs that women are being forced to strip or are underage.  The average age of girls entering the sex trade is 13…It’s something authorities worry could increase in Phoenix leading up to the Super Bowl…

Stupor Bowl

The first few paragraphs of this story look like typical “gypsy whores” idiocy and police puffery, then it makes a sharp turn to the right:

…The Phoenix vice squad’s order and earnest claims by [prohibitionists]…are odd in one very important respect:  Actual empirical evidence fails to support the claim that the Super Bowl is related to a prostitution spike.  “No data actually support the notion that increased sex trafficking accompanies the Super Bowl,” observes Snopes.comThe Village Voice succinctly busted the myth around this time last year…The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women released a report in 2011 confirming that the “sporting events bring sex slaves” story was a myth…and relied on extremely negative imagery about women…In city after city, there has been no Super Bowl prostitution spike…

O, Canada! (All Traffick, All the Time) sex worker map

Click on the subtitle link above to see what Canadian cops do when they get their hands on information like this:

For two months, women involved in the sex trade in London [Ontario] have been marking places on a map…they’re noting where they live, work, buy drugs, get health care, experience violence, visit social service agencies, spend time and avoid trouble…The final map will be shared with social agencies in London, but not before the women themselves have been asked about their comfort level with the information released…The map will show concentrations of activities, but not identify what any individual woman — all of them anonymous — is doing and where…

Yellow Fever (#426) 

Remember Tenancingo, the Mexican town which was supposedly infested with “pimps” and derived “virtually its entire living from sex trafficking”?  Remember the hundreds of victims, tens of thousands of clients and millions of dollars?  Well, here’s a new story about the prosecution of some of those “pimps” which contains a few clear facts buried in the yellow garbage.  Actual number of “traffickers”?  Two, plus their employees.  Actual number of “victims”?  26.  And what was presented as an ongoing operation ended in 2011.

The Notorious Badge (#452) 

Given that what’s portrayed in 50 Shades isn’t anything like a healthy BDSM relationship, and that there is no sex work in the book, one must wonder what this is about:  “…The movie’s director was determined to make sure the kinky drama was portrayed as realistically as possible so she and [Jamie Dornan] spoke to real-life sex workers to gain an insight into their world…’so that we in no way portrayed it incorrectly’…”

The More the Better (#502)

Cracked appears to be positioning itself as solidly pro-sex worker; the latest is an article entitled “5 Things You Don’t Know About Strippers (Until You Are One)“, written with input from 7 actual strippers, which ends with this:

…we’ve done a few articles on sex workers and porn stars (including a woman who has sex with a ventriloquist dummy on camera) and we keep coming to the same conclusion:

A) The demand for these people’s services is enormous;
B) The vast majority of us partake in some form or another (by consuming porn, if nothing else);
C) They thus fulfill a basic need in a way that the world would sorely miss if they stopped; and
D) We fucking hate them for it.  Like, to the point of violence.

Why? We’re honestly asking. Someone let us know.

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