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Posts Tagged ‘Harm Magnification’

Crowding what I do into the larger umbrella of “sex work,” without its own name, makes it seem as if I’m supposed to experience what I do as shameful.  –  Charlotte Shane

What’s In a Name?

I agree with Charlotte Shane on words like “prostitute”:

I’ve called myself a prostitute for about as long as I’ve been one…it felt like the most accurate term given the service I provide, and I like the solidarity of it, the refusal to kowtow to class-related stigma or what is sometimes called the “whorearchy”…I believe the difference between “escort” and “prostitute” is that one term relies on euphemistic window dressing while the other is unapologetic and unashamed…I’m at odds with the party line in this stance, though…Increasingly, prostitute is…regarded as a slur…Taking euphemisms on permanently and in a political context, outside of marketing material or work-related correspondence, feels to me like ceding way too much power.  The state forces me to use certain language to protect myself in some contexts; I don’t want to willingly employ that language in all others…

Rough Trade MARY MITCHELL

One rather nasty side-effect of prohibition is that it gives moral retards like Mary Mitchell leave to vomit their odious bigotry all over the pages of major newspapers:

Authorities say Roy Akins went to Backpage.com and agreed to pay a prostitute $180 for sex.  When the unidentified woman showed up at his…home…Akins…pulled a gun.  I imagine most prostitutes in this situation would have run straight to a pimp.  But after leaving Akins’ home…the…woman called the police…I’m grateful [Akins] isn’t being accused of snatching an innocent woman off the street…the way this case is being handled makes it look like sex trafficking is a legitimate business…because this incident is being charged as a criminal sexual assault — when it’s actually more like theft of services — it minimizes the act of rape…For law enforcement to put what happened to a Backpage.com prostitute on a par with [real] rape victims…is an insult.

A few observations:

  • “I imagine most prostitutes…would have run straight to a pimp.” I’ll leave you to imagine what she’s doing while she “imagines” this.
  • Note the conflation of sex work and sex trafficking, and the badge-licking idolization of the clownish tyrant Tom Dart.
  • For another example of a woman using the “theft of services” slur, see the original of this title.
  • Given that last line, would Mitchell be more sympathetic toward the rape of a prostitute like me, who advertises somewhere other than Backpage?

Lack of Evidence

It’s rare to see someone attempt this defense with a straight face:

Lisa Marie Carroll, 34, was charged with one misdemeanor count of prostitution…Police [pretend] that she offered to perform various sex acts…for [specific] pricing…”I did not agree to have sex with that cop…I’m an escort companion and go on dates and sometimes clients make a donation and that doesn’t have to do with sex”…[a sleazebag cop accompanied her] to her room where…they both undressed and laid in bed.  The [cop then tried to get her to commit to specific prices for specific acts] “And I said, ‘No, honey.  This is not how this works'”…A little while later, [the cops invaded] her house…

She’s lucky; many Pennsylvania cops rape women in order to arrest them.

Harm Magnification

Kerry Porth discusses the Harper government’s campaign to harm as many people as possible via increased prohibition:

…After winning a majority government in 2011, the Harper government quickly…introduced mandatory minimum sentencing for drug possession…despite warnings from current and former law enforcement from the United States…and respected Canadian drug policy experts…the Harper government has waged a costly war against Insite…[and] established 26 new requirements…that are costly, onerous and designed to prevent future sites from opening.  Then…the…government…reintroduced the old laws [that the Supreme Court had struck down] and introduced a prohibition on the purchase of sex and the explicit advertising of sexual services for the first time in Canadian history.  Despite a great deal of florid rhetoric about the government’s desire to ensure the safety of sex workers, the real intent behind the new laws was memorably stated by Senator Donald Plett: “Of course we don’t want to make life safe for prostitutes; we want to do away with prostitution. That’s the intent of the bill”…

The Proper Study

a…new Canadian study…concludes the average porn user holds, if anything, more egalitarian views regarding women than non-users.  Many pornography aficionados might even be “useful allies” in women’s struggles for equality in work, income and public office, the researchers…argue…Taylor Kohut…and his colleagues analyzed data from 35 years of the General Social Surve…the 23 per cent who reported having watched an “X-rated” movie in the previous year were no more or less likely than porn abstainers to identify as feminists, or voice support for the traditional family.  And the blue-movie watchers expressed on average more positive attitudes toward women in positions of power, and less negative attitudes toward abortion and women in the workforce than those who refrained from pornography…

Divided We Fall

Unfortunately, this revolting attitude is not unusual among picket-fence queers:

…had there been a sequel to [Pretty Woman], it would have been salacious. We would watch Richard Gere struggle with the fact that his girlfriend was a confirmed whore and had been with hundreds, maybe even thousands of men…There would be a scene at a dinner party when other women were whispering about Julia Roberts, all of them knowing that she could be found at one time on Hollywood Boulevard spreading her legs for any man with $200 in his pocket…I have been poor…and never once was selling my ass an option…When you make a choice to work in the sex industry…you are immediately shrinking your dating pool…I would never subject myself to a How-was-your-day,-honey? conversation with a partner who took anonymous loads for a living…

Moloch

The robed simian who presided over this case planned to use this young man to “send a message” about having sex without a state license to do so; he should be caged for several years and then put on the “sex offender” registry for life.

A young man from Indiana who had consensual sex with a 14-year-old girl who told him she was [17] has been removed from Michigan’s sex offender registry pending his resentencing.  Zach Anderson [who was 19 at the time]…spent 75 days in jail after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.  He was given a five-year probation that banned him from using computers or the Internet and also had faced 25 years on Michigan’s sex-offender registry.  But…Anderson’s lawyer successfully argued prosecutors failed to remain neutral on a key part of the plea deal, which would have erased Anderson’s record if he stayed out of trouble…Anderson’s resentencing will be Oct. 21…

What “crime”? He had consensual sex with a physically-adult woman he believed to be a peer.  The concept of strict liability is an abomination in any civilized society.

They Still Don’t Get It

The jaw-dropping stupidity of this article takes precedence over the FBI money grab it talks about:

At the click of a mouse, almost anyone can buy a girl online, anytime…ads with identical phone numbers can be traced to other cities…a sign, police say, that the women are on the move with their traffickers.  Some ads even state “only in town for three days, special.”  That’s the pattern of traffickers, always on the move, according to…Charlie Benton, who is known locally as the foremost law enforcement expert on sex trafficking.  The ads give no clue, though, which women are being forced to sell themselves or are under 18.  And the men who often answer the phone aren’t about to volunteer that information…

Yes, that’s what touring looks like to the warped mind of a pig obsessed with BDSM masturbatory fantasies involving adolescents.  Guys, have you EVER called an independent escort’s ad and had a man answer?  Ever?  It’s almost idiotic enough to distract the reader from the FBI agent asking for more money to fulfill his sick dream of attempting to entrap and cage literally every single escort on Backpage.

Reframing

So Close and Yet So Far

Why do so many would-be allies insist on including vile, insulting garbage like this in otherwise-supportive essays?

…You may not approve of prostitution, and many quite reasonably do not.  It raises serious, ethical questions.  Having sex with people for money is degrading.  It transforms an intimate and private act into a commercial transaction.  It can pose a threat to those involved, especially women…

Torture Chamber 

This is what our society refers to as “correction”:

…Gesnerson Louisius…was slammed in the back of his head with a bar of soap stuffed inside a sock.  Six inmates pinned him down, and one grabbed him by his throat, as two others dragged him across the carpeted floor by his ankles…The young prisoners, between the ages of 18 and 20, kept demanding that he pay them money to stop the beating, but Louisius refused…The extortion ritual is so common and well known by both inmates and corrections officers that it has a name.  It’s called a “test of heart”…Hakiem Blount, 18, grabbed a broom and began pushing it into Louisius rectum…as far up as he could push it…there were no video cameras in the room, and the one corrections officer assigned to the dorm that afternoon was inexplicably nowhere to be found…Louisius…lost a lot of blood.  His rectum was ruptured and he underwent an emergency colostomy…he…served out the rest of his three-year prison term while wearing a colostomy bag, and had five or six surgeries in prison that likely cost Florida taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars…

Uncommon Sense (#557)

The Professional Association Erotic and Sexual Services [of Germany] (BesD) criticises the draft bill by the Ministry for Family Affairs for a “Prostitutes Protection Law” in the strongest terms…the BesD concludes, “A law that pretends to aim at strengthening the right to self-determination of a group of people but then denies them the maturity to make their own decisions, attempts to paternalistically ‘protect’ them from those decision, needlessly interferes with their basic rights, and that, quasi in passing, also creates regulations to save society from this group of people, allegedly in need of protection, via arbitrarily expandable ordinances…should be rejected in its entirety.”  Instead, the association calls for a complete decriminalisation of sex work…

R.I.P. Candida Royalle 

Elizabeth N. Brown on Candida’s legacy:

Candida Royalle is the kind of sex positive, free-speech-friendly artist and advocate that…is…relatively rare in feminist circles…[she] founded the (now defunct) nonprofit Feminists for Free Expression (FFE), which described its mission as “working to preserve the individual’s right to read, hear, view and produce materials of her choice without the intervention of the state ‘for her own good'”…The group opposed speech-censoring legislation; defended free speech in court cases, on college campuses, and in the media; and opposed the book, movie, and music banning efforts that were popular at the time.  Royalle and FFE’s other leaders believed that “freedom of expression is especially important for women’s rights” and that the suppression of sexist messages “will neither reduce harm to women nor further women’s goals”…

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The inevitable and terrifying end result of giving legal rights to fetuses [is] a woman…legally reduced to being nothing more than a vessel incubating a future ward of the state.  –  Maya Dusenbery

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

An Indianapolis police chaplain was arrested on multiple prostitution charges after he told a prostitute [who] he was…police [arrested a sex worker]…and…she told [them] that the day before “Bob from Noblesville showed me his shiny IMPD officer badge and told me he was a chaplain”…police determined “Bob from Noblesville” was actually…Chaplain Bishop John Robert Fiers…

The Mote and the Beam

The stupid, it burns!

The [Georgia] trial lawyer who wants to [profit from] sex trafficking through civil litigation said his phone hasn’t stopped ringing since he announced his plan late last year…David Boone, president and founder of Civil Lawyers Against World Sex Slavery, known as CLAWS…[said] “We’re really tried to take a business approach to this”…Boone [pretends he can sue] those who pay for sex as well as those who allow the business to exist…He said his research shows the “sex slave” industry is a $9.5 billion business in the United States, exploiting primarily girls starting at the age of 13 who are lured in or kidnapped.  Most die within seven years from drug overdoses, AIDS or murder.  Atlanta has become a hub for the trade largely as a side-effect of having one of the world’s busiest airports…

Schadenfreude 

Yet another rescue industry “hero” is revealed as an opportunistic fraud:

…Vednita Carter…started Breaking Free…nearly 20 years ago, vowing to help women and girls free themselves from prostitution…[by convincing them that] they were victims of abuse and sexual exploitation.  In recent years [“sex trafficking” hysteria] won [the organization] more funding and expanded its [hunger for money]…Carter…was named a CNN News Hero and the Bush Foundation gave Breaking Free an award…but…a group of former employees…wrote a letter in April to government agencies that have funded or worked with Breaking Free, detailing concerns about how victims were being treated and served, its adherence to laws and regulations, alleged “misuse of funds, property, and services and employment of family members,” and “staff misconduct and lack of training”…

Harm Magnification (The Beat Goes On)

Prostitutes have…accused police of trying to “ghettoise” them…after [it was] revealed that Gwent Police were planning a “managed” sex zone…One working girl feared that forcing them into designated zones could lead to more being raped and murdered.  “They tend to put these areas in out-of-the-way places in the back of commercial and industrial sites where there are rough roads and the lighting is poor, and access in and out is abysmal,” Michelle said…anti-prohibition DARE editorial

Change a Few Words

Drug Abuse Resistance Education, better known as DARE, has spent decades telling schoolchildren…to “Just Say No” to marijuana.  For a few hours [on July 27th], however, they appeared to just say yes to legalization.  [Journalist] Christopher Ingraham…found a strange re-post on the DARE website…which originally ran in the Columbus Dispatch…[and contained] a full-throated endorsement of marijuana legalization by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) speaker Carlis McDerment…Ingraham contacted DARE for clarification and [they immediately removed the article]…

Above the Law 

Ever notice that cops “state” or “explain” their versions of events, but the rest of us merely “claim”?

A Garda forced a prostitute to perform a sexual act on him in order to have her laptop computer returned to her after it had been seized in a raid…Almost half (48.7%) [of sex workers surveyed] said they had garda clients and 2.7% said they had [been forced to] provide…”free or discounted” sexual services to officers…The purpose of the survey, by…Uglymugs.ie, was to establish how sex workers viewed policing in Ireland given plans to introduce new laws which will effectively criminalise the entire sex trade…

Sex Work is Work

Guess what, Mr. Huckabee? If “prostitutes, pimps [and] drug dealers” weren’t criminalized, we’d easily be able to contribute to your system:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said…that if elected President he would increase the money going into Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement funds by…”[transforming] the process by which we fund [them]…the money paid at consumption is paid by everybody — including illegals, prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, all the people who are freeloading off the system”…The line was met with thunderous applause…

Scrambled Eggs (#311)

I’m sure everyone who dies while waiting for a kidney is happy to go to his grave to prevent people from making their own decisions about what to do with their bodies:

Last year in the United States, more than 4,000 people died while…waiting…for a new kidney.  An additional 3,600…left the list when they became too sick for a transplant…In every country that does transplants — except one — patients have two legal ways to get a new kidney.  One is to have a friend or relative…donate a kidney.  The other is to get on the waiting list for a deceased donor.  In America, the average time on that list varies from 3 years to 10…Patients can’t even get on the list until they are about to start dialysis, and the average life span of someone who starts dialysis is only 5 to 10 years…And the longer a patient spends on dialysis before getting a transplant, the greater the chances of complications and death with a new kidney…[but] in Iran…people wait to donate a kidney.  That’s because donors are paid…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes

Hey Cosmo, are you ready to speak out for decrim yet?

Several major retailers have agreed to censor…Cosmopolitan behind blinders, after facing pressure from a campaign led by the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, the man who founded the company that owns the publication.  Victoria Hearst…began a campaign…called Cosmo Harms Minors, which…eventually [wants] shops to be banned from selling the magazine to anyone under the age of 18…

Sex RaysOur Lady of the Pillar

Spain’s Guardia Civil police force will no longer accept donations from a brothel in Navarra, even if the money is put towards a good cause…The unusual funding arrangement came to light…when the citizen group Observatory Against Corruption filed a complaint …The money was used to throw a celebration dedicated to Our Lady of the Pillar, the patron saint of the Guardia Civil…

Choke Point 

Could be worth looking into for non-porn sex workers as well:

Major U.S. banks have closed or denied banking accounts to individuals working in the adult industry…the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC) is now offering…financial services offered by First Entertainment Credit Union…which…was first established as the credit union for Warner Bros. Studios in 1967 but now extends membership to many entertainment industry organizations, including the Free Speech Coalition…Services offered to APAC members will include checking and savings accounts, financial planning, home and auto loans, as well as business account services…For more information on becoming a member…visit the APAC website or email apac.information@gmail.com.

Property of the State 

Another abomination from Alabama:

A woman imprisoned in an Alabama jail wants an abortion…but her request…was denied…and…the state is attempting to strip her of her parental rights over a “child” that is not actually a born child yet and arguing that if she doesn’t have parental rights, she has no right to terminate the pregnancy…the state is arguing that since this woman has “endangered” her fetus by using drugs, it should now effectively become a ward of the state, and therefore the state can do anything it wants—including forcing her to carry it to term against her will…

Acting and Activism (#559)

My friend Savannah Sly on the Hollywood response to Amnesty:

These famous voices are…out of touch with the reality of sex work…[they] are connected to anti-trafficking organizations, which…fail to illustrate to these celebrities…that criminalization actually makes [things]…worse.  For some reason, celebrities are held up as just being wiser than the rest of us because they’re famous…Who are [Americans] going to trust, this seemingly familiar person they’ve seen on TV a lot or a bunch of social pariahs?…

And while the Guardian has long provided a platform to vehement prohibitionists, it did allow this one from Molly Smith to slip through:

…by prioritising the supposed “eradication” of the sex industry, [the Swedish model empowers] police…to harass, evict and deport migrant sex workers…Amnesty found that sex workers in Norway were routinely evicted by the police…“a number of migrant sex workers were violently attacked and raped…They reported the incident to the police…they returned to their apartment to find the police have removed all their money and electronic equipment.  Four days [later] they were forcibly evicted.”  It’s hard to believe that those Hollywood signatories read this and thought:  “Brilliant, the police evicting migrant women when they report rape sounds like the feminist solution to prostitution; we should support the legal model where this occurs.”  But that is what appears to have happened – unless they signed up to attack Amnesty over a document they had not read…

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If [Bill C-36] becomes law, johns will become the new “fags” – the people fed into the fear factory of career-ending public exposure and the criminal underground because of their personal sexual choices.  –  Alice Klein

Think of the Children! 

But, but, he was in the same BUILDING!!!!!!!

John is a U.K.-based father and sex blogger who publishes original erotica and toy reviews on his website, the  Bawdy Bloke…Until recently, John also held what he refers to only as an unpaid, part-time “position of civic responsibility” in a local school.  Apparently John’s boss thought the two positions were mutually exclusive.  After discovering John’s career as an online erotica author, he asked John to resign from his position immediately…John…[did] not…work…with children in any capacity…it sounds like [his job was] a pretty general IT/administrative support role…

My Body, My Choice

A good essay against client criminalization; here’s the heart of it:

…I find it very ironic that many of the arguments used to suggest that it is morally offensive for men to buy sex from women are adopted from extreme feminist views.  Many of these same feminists are pro-choice, rightly declaring that no one has the right to tell a woman what she can do with her body…yet when it comes to sex, these very same people are now here to say that a woman does not have the right to choose.  Her body is her own so long as she does nothing with it that these moral guardians find objectionable…

Lying Down With Dogs

This was going on at the same time as the recent FBI pogroms in the US:

Amnesty International has drawn attention to violent police harassment of sex workers in Tajikistan…as part of the government’s “morality” campaign…500 sex workers have been arrested…since…June [6th]…Men suspected of “homosexual behaviour” have also been targeted…officers beat people…and…subjected to…forced testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections…[there were also] reports…of rape and…officers demanding sex in exchange for release…police allege that this violent crackdown is because they have been “inundated” with complaints from citizens…

Check Your Premises

Because 15-year-olds are only “innocent children” until cops say otherwise:

Three women and a 15-year-old girl were arrested…and booked with soliciting and inciting prostitution…at the 7 Star Foot Massage parlor in LaPlace…[after] a month-long investigation, dubbed Operation Happy Feet, by the St. John Sheriff’s Office…the 15-year-old girl was employed to work the front desk…

Parable

Bone of Contention

This is a good article about the myths surrounding streetwalkers, including 1) That they make huge amounts of money; 2) That they’re all addicts; 3) That they’re all foreign and “trafficked”; 4) That they’re dominated by pimps and gangs; 5) That they need rescue; and 6) That arrest and prison “help” them.  Unfortunately, it’s far too accepting of the false claims made by Swedish model proponents, which in the end makes it hard to recommend.

The Enlightenment Police

[The] European Court of Human Rights judgment upholding a…ban on wearing full-face veils in public…represents a profound retreat for the right to freedom of expression and religion…The…Court recognised that arguments for the ban based on security and gender equality were unfounded.  But it accepted the argument that wearing full-face veils runs counter to established social norms…The judgment was handed down by the European Court’s Grand Chamber, meaning it cannot be appealed…

Divided We Fall

It’s always great to see enthusiastic support from the queer community:

Sorry to ruin your WorldPride.  Sexual shaming is on the prowl, not just somewhere far away but, sadly, right here, right now…While [Toronto] celebrates our beauty and our outrageousness, the government is busy unleashing a moral panic…It used to be us, my queer brothers and sisters, who were the targets.  Now…men who purchase sexual services are the…new category to be targeted for their sexual preferences.  They are to be criminalized for what?  For seeking and hopefully finding an uncomplicated and pleasurable way to satisfy their sexual hunger?…

See No Evil

More people are beginning to protest this evil lunacy:

…If I…made a throw away mail account and sent you a file called “Very Important.pdf” but it was actually a .zip file of child porn, I could call the police and claim you had child porn in a disguised file — and that might well be enough to ruin your life, even if everyone involved was pretty sure you never even saw the pictures…prosecutors are so inhuman and irresponsible [that they]…charge people with crimes they know aren’t in the spirit of the law…The career incentives are that investigations must lead to charges, and charges must lead to convictions…once something is investigated prosecutors are motivated to make sure someone goes to jail…the law effectively treats every bit of crufty data, every teenage file system mistake or selfie indiscretion as if the possessor had abused the child themselves.  This is insane, and it doesn’t help children — it distracts time and attention from the real ways children get hurt…

A Whore in Church murder of Mariana Popa

A Muslim who stabbed a pregnant Romanian prostitute to death after warning her not to work near a mosque was jailed for at least 29 years…Farooq Shah, 21, plunged a knife into Mariana Popa’s chest while riding his bicycle along a stretch of road notorious for sex workers.  Miss Popa, 24, had been in Britain for just three weeks and was trying to earn the money to support her family when she was stabbed in Ilford, Essex…on October 28…

Harm Magnification (The Beat Goes On)

A recent study has concluded that the Nordic Model of prostitution laws could endanger sex trade workers…and does not affect the demand for prostitution…John Lowman, an SFU criminology professor, said that…similar policies in the 1990s…[created] “the killing field of Vancouver…where Mr. Pickton picked up most of [his] victims”…the report [states] that decriminalization of sex work…is the best way to ensure the safety of sex workers…

Above the Law

At least Los Angeles has the marginal decency to properly label sexual assault by a cop:  “A…detective pleaded no contest…to assaulting three [masseuses]…Oris Pace allegedly forced three women at separate [massage] parlors to undress…and fondled their bodies…”  Montana prefers to dismiss oral rape as “non-consensual oral sex“:

Michael Connelly…was sentenced…to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release…the victim reported that Connelly took her to a secluded place on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation…and threatened her with jail if she did not perform oral sex…Connelly was acquitted of the sexual abuse charge and convicted of the civil rights and false statement charges…

The Widening Gyre

Cops demand everyone serve them as unpaid informants, or else:

…Police say the staff at the Super 8 Motel off Route 161 knew drug deals and prostitution happened inside the rooms, and possibly tracked it themselves…police [claimed] “…the motel placed the drug dealers and prostitutes in certain rooms…to keep them isolated from other guests.”  Police say that…[constitutes] promoting prostitution …charges could lead to a ten year prison sentence…

King of the Hill

Irish Central brags that “A new US State Department report has named Ireland the top destination and transit country for sex trafficking…”  And what prodigious number of wailing victims earned this dubious distinction? “44  potential trafficking victims were identified…”  That’s potential victims, i.e. someone a cop pointed to.  It is to laugh.

Buried Truth John Balyo

John Balyo…an on-air personality at WCSG-FM, a Christian radio station [in Michigan]…was arrested…[for] sexual encounters with minors…Balyo paid…Ronald Moser…to arrange sexual encounters with…young boys…

Monsters

A New Zealand trans woman is in intensive care, after she was savagely attacked by a group of unknown men.  Anahera Rangitaawa…was reportedly attacked by three men…while on her way home from a quilting exhibition.  [She] suffered multiple fractures, including her skull, cheekbones, shoulder blades, and eye sockets…[and] will require facial reconstruction surgery…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #318) Anya17

I love scathing reviews of “sex trafficking” theatrical productions:

Anya17…[is an] 80-minute opera…which features an acerbic, graceless score by composer Adam Gorb  and a ham-fisted libretto by Ben Kaye, plunges the audience into the horrific milieu of international sex slavery…The degradation and brutality on display are almost unbearable…it was never clear what artistic purpose was served by these horrors.  Neither concrete enough to be journalism nor sufficiently probing or inventive for art, Anya17 winds up as simply a slog…

Tales from the Dark Side

The…conviction of a former New York City police officer in a plot to kidnap, torture, kill and eat women was overturned…by a federal judge…[for lack of] evidence…No women were ever abducted or harmed in the plot, but prosecutors [claimed] that [Gilberto] Valle had “crossed the line” while immersing himself in a fetish website where he communicated electronically with others…

Deafening Silence

The official narrative, touted by Western journalists and Maoist sympathizers, is that sex work was magically abolished by proclamation during Mao’s reign.  Here’s a refutation of that, courtesy of a former political prisoner:

…In China now, problems such as prostitution and crimes are often blamed as the results of spiritual pollution and capitalist liberalization due to Western influence…In fact, prostitution and crimes were not the results of the reform and opening-up but the results of Mao’s tyranny and Cultural Revolution…

Whither Canada?

A sensible article on this topic in a US newspaper is like a breath of fresh air:

…it’s clear that sex work takes place in Maine.  But public conversations…typically revolve around the same salacious and misinformed tropes…Meanwhile, just north of the border, Canada is taking a much different approach to policymaking around commercial sex…While Maine politicians, law enforcement officials, and social service agencies seem resistant to anything other than outright prohibition, more progressive thinkers should consider other ways of looking at this unnecessarily controversial issue…

And though they’re not so rare in Canadian papers, I still love them:

…non-coercive adult sexual behaviour lacks the element of potential misconduct that might justify bringing it into the ambit of the law in a free, secular society…[making] a man a lawbreaker because he offers to pay for a sexual service he could freely ask for as a gift or a favour…is a repudiation of the fundamental principles of free enterprise…Declaring female sexuality illegitimate, as patriarchal societies have done from time to time, has been as useless as declaring male sexuality illegitimate, as our matriarchal society is proposing to do.  The fact is, both are legitimate.  What is illegitimate is for the state to annoy and humiliate a taxpayer for attempting to communicate terms for a transaction that is nobody else’s business…

Rough Trade (TW3 #421)

More of this, please:

Four women raped by Danford Grant…have sued the Seattle attorney and his wife…Jennifer Grant…who helped hide her husband’s car from police after his arrest…Having denied the allegations and maligned his victims as lying prostitutes, Grant ultimately admitted to raping the women…

Comfort Zone (TW3 #422) criminals Obama wants to deport

It’s good to see the government hoist with its own petard:

The White House [wants]…Congress…to allow fast-track deportation of…unaccompanied children from Central America who cross the US border illegally…More than 52,000…have been stopped at the border since the start of October…many of them girls under the age of 13…The administration has had to adhere to anti-trafficking laws passed during the presidency of George W Bush which…[have] the potential for delaying deportation…Obama…is trying to counter a perception that unaccompanied children who arrive in the US are guaranteed the chance to stay…

The Roof Caves In

Boo fucking hoo:

In what appear to be Somaly Mam’s first public comments on…her resignation from the Somaly Mam Foundation (SMF)…last month, posts to one of her Facebook pages say that she will sell her house to support girls formerly under her care after SMF cut funding to an NGO she founded…In a number of posts…there is an outpouring of despair at SMF’s decision to cut off funding to Afesip…

If Men Were Angels

Police arrested a former church pastor on sex abuse charges…Michael George Sperou…used to be a senior pastor at North Clackamas Bible Community Church…the charges stem from a series of police reports involving juvenile girls who lived within the community in 1997…

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It’s much harder to usurp someone’s voice when she’s out there saying you’re wrong.  –  Maggie McNeill

Rough Trade Charles Oliver

A [Chicago area] man accused of raping eight [sex workers] was sentenced…to 36 years in prison.  Charles Oliver…forced the women to perform acts to which they had not agreed [and] often videotaped…In one video, Oliver…could be heard saying, “I don’t have to listen to you.  I paid you”…Oliver also stole women’s IDs and threatened to expose them as prostitutes if they reported what he had done…Oliver…[has] herpes and [raped the women without]…condoms…Prosecutors also played recorded jailhouse phone calls where Oliver is heard saying…”I should have killed them it would have been easier”…

Maggie in the Media

Noah Berlatsky quoted me and other activists in his Salon piece about how sex workers are using social media to attract attention to our cause.  As a result of that piece, I was interviewed on the Between the Synapse radio show on Thursday.  I apologize for quoting myself in the epigram, but this quote proved very popular on Twitter.

Surplus Women

Police in Italy believe that a murdered prostitute…could have been the victim of a serial killer…Andrea Cristina Zamfir, was…naked except for her shoes and…bound with tape to an iron bar in a position similar to crucifixion…a year ago [another] prostitute was found in the same place and in a similar state…though…still alive…

Presents, Presents, Presents! The Herring and the Brine

This week I received two music CDs:  The Herring and the Brine from Dave Curran of Inspireland, and Whirlygig from a reader whose screen name I don’t know; please email me so I can thank you properly!

Harm Magnification (The Beat Goes On)

They just can’t let it go:

Montreal…is considered a hub for…human trafficking, with police saying women and teenaged girls are brought into the city and forced into…sexual slavery…Mayor Denis Coderre said he wanted the crack down [sic] on massage parlours…Stella Outreach Worker Robin Maynard…[said] “The negative effects of arresting women in the sex industry have been widely documented”…

Above the Law

Cops don’t only rape adult women:

A…Colville [Washington] Police Officer has been arrested…and charged with Rape of a Child…the…victim…[said] she was “very fearful…since [rapist Scott] Arms was a police officer”…the girl…[finally] came forward…because she found out Arms was quitting his job in Colville and was going to be in [her home town] more often…Arms told  investigators…she…[made] these allegations…”Because she has a crush on me”…

Nor only females:

A [Minnesota] sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to 33 years in prison for sexually abusing several boys on a fishing trip.  Aaron Heuer…admitted he inappropriately touched four boys, ages 8 to 10, while volunteering as a fishing guide…Heuer threatened to throw the boys into the lake if they told…

Oscillation

First the once-respected Southern Poverty Law Center pronounced pickup artists a “hate group”, then branded everyone (including women) who doesn’t want to be groped by government thugs a “far-right homophobe”.  Then “…the SPLC tried its hand at painting anarcho-capitalists as a rising new threat through a convoluted chain of logic that somehow sought to link voluntaryists to the Patriot movement…now the scaremonger group cautions that some people who oppose Common Core education standards are right-wing extremists…Tasha Yar seduces Data

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Sure, I’d have sex with an android; their money’s as good as anyone else’s:

…nearly one-in-five people [polled] said they were “willing to have sex with an android”…11 percent [said] they want a robot child similar to David in the movie A.I…41 percent said…the concept of sexual intimacy with a robot is “creepy” and an additional 14 percent said they don’t think robots should be used in such a manner.  Nearly one-fifth of pet owners said they would replace a cherished animal with a robot…

First They Came for the Hookers… (TW3 #27)

The Texas Third Court of Appeals has upheld a punitive $5 tax levied on anyone who patronizes a strip club in Texas…ruling that the fee was not an occupation tax, a violation of free speech, or an unfair assault on live nude entertainment…The court went on to explicitly cite the alleged “secondary effects” and “social harms” brought by adult entertainment venues as a justification…Funds extorted from strip clubs and their patrons will go to pay for programs for sexual assault victims, under the nonsensical theory that the mere existence of strip clubs drives up rape…”The primary purpose of the sexually-oriented-business tax is…to discourage this type of business activity altogether…”

Follow Your Bliss (TW3 #44)

A TSA Supervisor was arrested at Kennedy Airport…Vernon Lythcott …[raped] two 15-year-old girls…[in] the Dominican Republic [after luring them]…from the beach into a van [with promises of] money and gifts…Lythcott and two other men [also] forced one of the girls [into] a room where they all sexually assaulted her…

No Other Option (TW3 #132) Scarlet Harem logo

In the US, this business would be violently suppressed and its customers and workers shamed, robbed and caged:  “A brothel is showing other businesses how to…provide disability access on the Sunshine Coast…Scarlet Harem…will receive an award…from the Sunshine Coast Access Advisory Network for going above and beyond in providing accessibility and customer service…

The End of the Beginning

Sharie Keil…is…at the forefront of a growing fight against sex offender registries, a shame-free alliance of offenders and their families, supported by researchers and some advocates who helped pass stringent…laws in the first place.  They…claim…a steady patter of legal and legislative victories…[mostly] limited to…juvenile offenders …but [Keil]…wants to abolish the…registry altogether…

Which I Doubt

On top of the other flaws it’s just a policy, rescindable at a moment’s notice:

The New York Police Department will no longer confiscate…condoms …as evidence of prostitution…[but will] continue to seize condoms…in sex-trafficking and promotion of prostitution cases…Civil rights groups and advocates for sex workers…argue that…police may continue to seize condoms from sex workers and teen runaways under the pretense of investigating pimps and traffickers…

Micromanagement

The free market provides a defense to a particularly nasty tool of the fascist panopticon:

…Erase deletes 99.5% of DNA left behind.  Replace obfuscates the remaining .5%…Don’t let DNA spill your secrets.  Protect your image and be invisible.  Spend the night somewhere you shouldn’t have?  Erase your mistake and be invisible…Exercising your freedom of speech?  Be invisible and never get tracked…

Counterfeit Comfort (TW3 #330)Jeremy & Christine Moody

If you’re a fan of “sex offender” registration, meet your bedfellows:

A couple who…[murdered] a registered sex offender and his wife…were sentenced to life in prison…Initially, Jeremy and Christine Moody apologized…and asked for a 30-year sentence so they could see their children and grow old together.  But after…[the] Judge…handed down the maximum punishment, they…showed how they really felt.  “See you perverts later,” Jeremy Moody shouted at [his victim’s] family…”That’s what child molesters get.”  And…Christine Moody…told reporters: “Killing that pedophile was the best day of my life”…

Cuckoo Advertising

A recent email from a listserv for sex researchers:

In my role as Chief Science Officer for AshleyMadison, I’m looking to pay sexologists…to represent/interpret academic infidelities research — without bias — to the media.  You would be commenting on affairs/cheating research by other academics, or by our own AshleyMadison surveys…You do not have to say that AshleyMadison is paying you.  You simply speak as a sexologist…

I was pleased to see that one of the researchers immediately answered with an email on Ashley Madison’s deceptive practices.

Policing for Profit

400 cops to arrest 19 masseuses.  Need I mention the motive?

Sixteen women and two men accused of running a Bay Area prostitution operation…have been arrested.  One suspect…remains at large…There are 111 counts against the group including pimping, pandering, and tax evasion…The massive sweep involved some 400 law enforcement officers in 6 counties…[who] seized cash, drugs, weapons, cars, assets, and marijuana…

Broken Record (TW3 #338)

With just under three months…until the Glasgow [Commonwealth Games] begins, a strategy designed to tackle sex trafficking and prostitution is being put in place…High-profile sporting events, such as the World Cup and the Olympics, have historically resulted in a spike in sex crimes…and…human trafficking…

No, they haven’t, “historically” or otherwise.

Cops and Robbers Kim Lengle

Another example of Dateline’s revolting practice of luring men to be fodder for their televised Roman circus:

A…TV news producer slapped NBC with a lawsuit…claiming her Dateline boss used her as “sexual bait” to lure targets for a hidden-camera series about drug-related prostitution, sex trafficking & sadomasochism.  Kimberly Lengle…[says] Dan Slepian…criticized [her] for not dressing provocatively enough and even asked why she didn’t have any nude photos…to send to men looking for…sexual playthings…Slepian threatened her job when she didn’t…[post] her photo in response to a Craigslist ad by a sexual deviant looking for a “human punching bag”…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #405)

[German] sex workers…are asking…politicians not to put obstacles in the way of…their profession…[Johanna Weber of the sex workers’ professional association said] “Many politicians…are working on a problem that does not exist as such…so…90 percent of women we represent…are worse off under these changes…in New Zealand…prostitutes have all the rights of workers.  And fears that the country would be a hotbed of international human trafficking did not materialize…a pure policy of prohibition couldn’t win a flower pot in Germany…so [prohibitionists] say they want to do something good for the oh-so-poor prostitutes instead.  I would recommend politicians go to a brothel and ask who would like to be taken out of there…we do not want to be rescued…”

Under Every Bed (TW3 #418)

Remember, the “authorities” even admit there isn’t a shred of proof for any of this; much of it seems to be the product of one woman’s BDSM fantasies:

…where there are men and money, there are prostitutes.  And…some reports estimate that about 70 percent of “prostitutes” are actually human trafficking victims…it’s no secret that human trafficking victims are being bought and sold every day in…the oil-rich Bakken region of North Dakota…Windie Jo Lazenko is…investigating rumors of rampant human trafficking in the state…[including] visits to…hotels where entire floors have been purchased by pimps…state law enforcement officials [say]…the…human trafficking epidemic could be helped by national efforts

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #419)

Lawheads amazed that their barricades did not magically abolish the need to earn money for bills and food:

Residents of [Cincinnati] worry that a recent crackdown on streetwalkers…has rerouted prostitution problems to their [neighborhood].  Cincinnati police recently set up barricades in hopes of cutting back on johns cruising the streets…”Instantly we’ve seen an increase in streetwalker prostitution,” Pete Witte said…

Little Boxes (TW3 #419) Elizabeth Raine

Given that she lies like a rug about her education and weight, the back-out was totally predictable:

…Elizabeth Raine…launched an online auction for her virginity…[which] concluded on May 7…at $801,000.  However, Raine backed out…She claims to have biology and engineering bachelor’s degrees and to be in school to finish a combined Masters and PhD program.  She expressed her concern that the auction might kick her out of college…Raine listed her height as 5’10” and her weight at 130 pounds

Property of the State

Dr. Brooke Magnanti on efforts to control women using pregnancy as an excuse:

…in Utah, a woman was charged with…felony child endangerment after accusations that she used meth while pregnant.  The police  report wrote…”Being that her child was only 39 weeks gestational age, it was surmised that the use of methamphetamine caused [her] to go into labour”…39 weeks is considered full term and a large proportion of women experience the start of labour at that stage…Meanwhile in Alabama, a state Supreme Court decision ruled  that a mother could be convicted of endangerment for testing positive for cocaine use during pregnancy, even though her child was born healthy…a…new law in Tennessee went against the recommendations of many major medical associations…drug tests for some substances are unreliable after a surprisingly short time…so…false accusations of endangerment could easily be made by others, and considering the high rate of miscarriage that occurs naturally, how would police know the difference?…

Of course, the cops don’t care; in fact, the lack of definitive proof is a feature rather than a bug for those who make and enforce these laws.

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The Swedish model, in its mission to eradicate sex work, is by definition an unapologetic mission to eradicate sex workers.  –  Nine

A War for PeaceUkraine is Not a Brothel

a new documentary screening at the Venice Film Festival has revealed that Femen was founded and is controlled by a manUkraine is not a Brothel…by…Kitty Green, has “outed” Victor Svyatski as the mastermind behind the group.  Mr Syvatski is known as a “consultant” …[but]…“It’s his movement and he hand-picked the…prettiest girls because…[they] get on the front page… that became…the way they sold the brand,” [Green] says… “These girls are weak,” [Syvatski] says in the film…“They show submissiveness, spinelessness…and many other factors which prevent them from becoming political activists”…

Harm Magnification

PEERS Victoria Resource Society quietly closed the doors to its drop-in centre and shut down its most incremental program…PEERS will continue its daytime and nighttime outreach services, but only 10 per cent of its current 515 clientele have been matched with service providers…executive director Marion Little…says the decision …[is] due to the…new [British Columbia] provincial integrated case management system…[which requires] many more administrative steps…clients…would now be required to issue a full name and social insurance number just to access services…“we were losing so much staff time to administrative roles…we could…no longer afford our own services,” said Little…

Elephant in the Parlor

OK, now this politician/hooker story is news:

An investigation into a fire that gutted the home of a former escort…[focused on]…Sutter County District Attorney Carl Adams…Sarah Garibay…showed police text messages from Adams saying he was jealous of her other lovers…Yet she said she does not believe Adams set fire to her home…“Someone is trying to smear him and they’re using my name to do it”…

Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark

Their next study will attempt to determine if water is really wet:

…married men are more likely than women to have extramarital affairs, as well as to seduce someone else’s partnerNew research published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin…suggests men’s ability to resist temptation is no stronger or weaker than that of the ladies.  But it gets overridden more often because of the intensity of men’s desire…

Stand-Up GuysDave Barry

In a column on humorist Dave Barry’s surprising depth and wisdom, Lucy Steigerwald quotes a 1994 interview he gave to Reason magazine:

…I saw one of these real-life cop drama shows…[where] the whole show consisted of this [undercover cop entrapping]…prostitutes…Meanwhile…the other cops, these fat men with walkie-talkies, are laughing…because…they are about to enforce the law and protect society…This poor woman–I don’t know whether she’s feeding her drug habit or feeding her kids or whatever.  And the cops are so proud of themselves…It just made me sick to see this.  To treat these people who are trying to make a living…this way, and to be proud of it…we’re all supposed to watch this and feel good about it.  It’s just disgusting…

Confined and Controlled

St. Louis [Missouri]…Alderman Jeffrey Boyd…posted this tweet…“A constituent suggested legalizing…Brothels What do you think?”  The woman who made that suggestion said she wanted to be taken seriously and offered it as a way to protect women in her community.  “These are human beings, and you can do something to help them,” said Joyce Glaspy…[she] conceded that most folks in St. Louis won’t agree with her, but said a brothel would provide security for these women and get them off the streets…

Whatever They Need To Say

In Bangladesh, as in the Netherlands, “morality” is being used as an excuse to evict sex workers so developers and their government cronies can profit:

…“If anybody thinks that these evictions took place out of some moral issues and that we are doing some criminal activities, then they are wrong…[it was] to grab our land”…[said] Joya Shikder…of the Sex Workers Network…“Usually after evicting, the government hands over Tk10,000 and a sewing machine…in the name of rehabilitation…the department does not even bother to know whether we can sew or not”…

Worse Than I Thought

The cancer keeps spreading:  “[Virginia state] Sen. Mark Obenshain…wants to make human trafficking a standalone felony offense…add offenders engaging in commercial sex with a minor to the sex offender registry and extend asset forfeiture laws to human trafficking…” Saving in the Name of Scrub

Dirty Laundry

This excellent article about Ruhama’s efforts to persecute Irish sex workers was transcribed (in English) from the print edition of Rabble by the Spanish-language blog El Estante de la Citi:

…According to [Ruhama]…it’s “prostituted women” and never “work”…they’re [not] very concerned with trafficking…when it’s young Asian men…[sitting] in weed growhouses…but they’re not having sex so it doesn’t matter right?  They believe all sex workers are abused and…only Ruhama…can represent [them]…Ruhama…[says] prostitution is…violence against women and the Swedish law has been great at reducing prostitution and trafficking…[but] the Swedish government admitted…that they actually hadn’t a clue how much prostitution there was…and the Swedish police have reported that trafficking has grown significantly since that…law was brought in…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #42)

Dr. Graham Ellison continues his fight against the imposition of the Swedish disease on Northern Ireland:

…Dr Graham Ellison…is working on a research project on sex work regulations in Berlin, Manchester, Prague and Belfast…one of his co-researchers is Dr Susan Dodillet…[who says] Sweden’s sex purchase law has made sex workers more vulnerable…like Dr Ellison, she favours…decriminalising prostitution…in 2002 new [German] laws put the sex trade almost on a par with other work.  One exception…is that the unemployed cannot be penalised for refusing [sex] work…However, prostitutes can claim  unemployment  and sickness benefit and brothel owners must provide the same…rights as other employers…Dr Ellision added…”a senior officer in the Berlin Kriminalpolizei who [investigates] organised crime…was emphatic that trafficking for sexual exploitation [is] not a significant problem.  Generally, the more you criminalise something the more you drive it underground and into the hands of gangsters”…

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #43)

Laws and interventions aimed at reducing human trafficking by targeting commercial sex workers can…actually endanger their health and result in human rights violations, experts say…Part of the problem…is that anti-trafficking programmes often take the form of “raid and rescue” missions…[which] invade privacy and…scatter…networks of sex workers who, in some cases, had implemented successful sex worker-led health programming…“rescue raids of sex establishments have exacerbated violence against sex workers and compromised their safety,” say the World Health Organization  (WHO) and the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cakemany many rules

Four exotic dancers are suing Fantasy Gentlemen’s Club in Grand Junction, Colo., claiming the club’s owner violated…minimum-wage laws…Fantasy…took such a large cut of…tips that dancers sometimes made less than $7.25 per hour…“The case is fundamentally one of…exploiting workers that are vulnerable because of the stigma that’s attached to what they do,” Mari Newman, the [dancers’] attorney [said]…Kevin Eardly, the owner of the club…characterized the suit as a shakedown by a group of disgruntled strippers…

Absolute Corruption

Fran Keller and her husband Dan…are each serving 48 years on multiple sexual abuse charges…“We were supposed to have buried children…or flown them to Vegas, California and Japan…we had an airstrip in back of the house, dinosaurs and sharks in the pool.  It was just so farfetched that I had no idea anyone could believe such stories.”  The Kellers were caught up in the 1980s-era hysteria surrounding satanic [sic] ritual abuse…popularized on daytime talk shows [and] lurid paperbacks…Nearly two dozen years after their conviction, [they] have filed a Writ of Habeus Corpus that could lead to the end of their prison sentences…

Theatrics

Fraudulent recruitment, debt bondage, abusive conditions, threatening workers with deportation…but it’s never called “trafficking” when politically-connected companies do it:

…twice this summer…more than 150 Jamaican guest workers who clean luxury Florida hotels and condos walked off the job…They…borrowed to pay recruitment fees of $2,000 to $2,500, counting on promises of full-time work and good housing.  But…the cleaning company packed as many as 15 people into unfurnished two-bedroom apartments, for…as much as $5,000 a month.  Charges for rent and required extras like $70 for a T-shirt “uniform” reduced the workers’ net pay to subminimum levels, sometimes even zero, and…paychecks repeatedly bounced…Guest workers…are tied by law to the employer who sponsored their visas, which means that if they are found too “difficult” for any reason — including asking that their rights be respected — the employer can…deport them and blacklist them from receiving future work visas…

MonstersIslan Nettles

Islan Nettles was out…with friends when a group of young men…learned she was a transgender woman and began taunting and maliciously beating her—right in front of a police precinct in Harlem…[the 21-year-old] was punched in the face, knocked to the ground and beaten until she lost consciousness…she…fell into a coma…[and later] died…Nettles’ alleged assailant, Paris Wilson, was booked on a misdemeanor assault charge and freed on $2,000 bail…Nettles’ death was officially ruled a murder…[but] Wilson has not yet been arraigned on any murder charges…

Somewhere in the Middle

The mainstream media touted another bogus client study last week; this one used a single Backpage ad placed twice in each city, and thus (unsurprisingly) generated wildly-varying figures for their “estimate” of the fraction of men who buy sex.  The design presumes that all clients use Backpage and that all men will respond to a generic ad for one particular type worded by ignorant amateurs; it’s like counting the pigeons near one statue at some random time and using it to estimate the number of all birds in the whole city.  The academic behind this is the ethically-retarded Dominique Sepowitz of Arizona State, who has a history of reporting her survey subjects to the cops; her department is also involved in “Project ROSE”, which entraps streetwalkers and then offers them a “choice” of jail or Bible-based brainwashing.  And who funded this bogus “study”?  Try the Phoenix Police Department, Arizona State’s “Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention”, and Asstoon & Dumi’s THORN.  In other words, it’s about as trustworthy and reliable as anything from Melissa Farley or the Schapiro Group.

What a Week! (TW3 #322)

As bad as things are in the US, at least sex workers aren’t executed here:

Kim Jong-un’s ex-girlfriend was among a dozen well-known North Korean performers who were executed by firing squad…Hyon Song-wol…a singer with the Unhasu Orchestra, was among those arrested on August 17 for [selling pornographic videos of themselves]…All 12 were machine-gunned three days later, with other members of North Korea’s most famous pop groups and their immediate families forced to watch.  The onlookers were then sent to prison camps…

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine

Here’s a good introduction to the horrors of the Swedish model by Nine of Feminist Ire, illustrated by the way the policies led to Petite Jasmine’s death:

…Prohibitionist campaigners…portray Sweden’s stance on sex work as progressive, and assert that sex workers themselves are not targeted…They’re painted as victims to be pitied and rescued…[but] as with religion-cloaked homophobia, this distinction makes little difference to those on the receiving end…Police stake out sex workers’ homes and workplaces, clandestinely film them, and subject them to invasive searches.  Sex workers are often forced to testify in court, but have the rights of neither victim nor accused…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #329)

imaginary trafficking victimA film by three students in Plymouth is being used nationally to teach people about child sexual exploitation…the film…is the fictional story of…a 13-year-old sex trafficking victim, who is kidnapped and forced into prostitution after being groomed online”…UK authorities have little choice but to use a film about fictional “sex trafficking” victims, because they can’t seem to find any real ones.

Opting Out

Parliamentary servers have registered tens of thousands of attempts to access porn every month with over 100,000 attempts last November alone…A…spokesperson said…the figures may have been enlarged by “automatic links” and “pop up” windows.  “We are not going to restrict Parliamentarians’ ability to carry out research,” they added.

But restricting the citizens’ ability to carry out similar “research” is A-OK.

King of the Hill (TW3 #335)

According to Homeland Security, Texas is the second largest human trafficking state…” Because third place ain’t good enough for Texas!

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We should all take care not to become part of the hype producing machinery that continually presents opinions or ideology as ‘facts.’  –  Ann Jordan

Welcome To Our World

The government just can’t resist trying to control anything involving sex:

[A lesbian who]…is trying to conceive a child…wants to use…sperm from a man she trusts.  But…under federal regulations, the donor must undergo…expensive and time-consuming [tests] so…she…is suing…Jane Doe wants to…get pregnant on her own, without paying for a fertility clinic or a sperm bank, and without government interference…But the FDA does not permit…informal transactions.  A donor is required to have his blood and urine tested in a medical setting within a week of every body-tissue transfer…

Where Are the Victims?

They’re only women, and therefore incompetent to know what’s best for them:

…Father and son accused pimps Vincent George, Sr., and Vincent George, Jr., had an unlikely cheering section in a Manhattan courtroom today — the very five admitted prostitutes who they’re accused of threatening and coercing.  “We are not victims!”…the…women shouted at reporters…the son’s lawyer, David Epstein [said] “They came in and out of Manhattan by themselves, they had their own houses and bank accounts, and they could have left anytime they wanted.”  John Temple, who heads the Manhattan DA’s human trafficking program, counters that phone taps prove both the dad, 55, and the son, 33, built up a million-dollar escort business by keeping their five women terrified virtual prisoners…six limo drivers accused of ferrying the women to their assignations are also charged.

Harm Magnification

Yet another case of government interference magnifying harm:

…On July 3 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first “rapid home” test for HIV…[which may] prevent…more than 4,000 new HIV infections in its first year of use alone…[but] the…approval…did not occur until…24 years after the FDA received its first application…[until recently it] forbade [any] tests…[other than] those…performed in a clinical setting…Out of concern that some people might respond…irrationally to the extremely valuable information a home test could provide, everyone was deprived of that option…imagine the number [of infections] that could have been averted if a rapid home test…had been approved five years ago.  Or ten.  Or 15…

Decentralization

Despite government efforts to quash bitcoin it’s still going strong, and one writer suggests it might help in the Greek monetary crisis:

…the drachma is not Greece’s only [non-euro] option…an alternative currency could emerge or an already existing one could be adopted.  In some parts of Greece social entrepreneurship, technology, and skepticism of politicians have already…created an environment where cryptocurrencies could become increasingly popular…The most prominent of these…is bitcoin…[which] frees those who use it from political uncertainty [and] fiat policies, and is less affected by international money markets than traditional currencies…There have been reports of more Europeans using bitcoin as their confidence in political solutions diminishes…

Rooted in Racism

Obviously, the NIJ is unacquainted with William of Occam:  “An overwhelming majority of human trafficking cases involve sex trafficking, according to a recent study issued by the National Institute of Justice…Nearly all identified sex trafficking victims were female and 70 percent of suspects were male…”  In other words, cops arrested a bunch of people and labeled them “victims” or “perpetrators” almost purely on the basis of gender, then a “study” was done to justify the assignments rather than recognizing them for what they are: rubbish based in the sexist notion that women are incompetent victims.

The Prudish Giant

A former Facebook executive wants to outdo Google by linking an anti-whore campaign to an expansion of the number of people condemned to “sex offender” registration:  “Facebook’s former chief privacy officer is bankrolling an anti-human trafficking ballot measure that…would toughen penalties for sex trafficking and add those convicted of the crime to the state’s sex offender registry.  Most significantly, it also would require all registered offenders to surrender their “Internet identifiers” to law enforcement, including user names and email accounts…Chris Kelly…has contributed $1.6 million to the initiative since December…”  The campaign is based largely on lies such as “Every girl sold on the street today is also being sold on the Internet”, a triple-whopper which 1) equates performing a service with chattel slavery; 2) uses passive voice to imply girls do not choose prostitution when in fact over 86% do; and 3) bizarrely defines 25% as “every”.

Presents, Presents, Presents!

A new reader who found me via The Agitator sent me a copy of Prince of Darkness  this week, but I only have his real name and I’m not sure if he posts under that or uses a screen name.  I hope he reads this and emails me so I can thank him properly!

Not for Everybody

Though Argentina has its own problems with “survivors” agitating against improved rights for sex workers, at least they aren’t pushing for increased criminalization yet:

In Argentina, women who [have] sex in exchange for money have splintered into two groups.  The one group…who call themselves “sex workers” to reflect their choice to work in the profession, is finalizing a bill…for…greater rights…The other group…prefers the term “prostitutes,” insisting that they are victims…of the industry…[they propose] policies that offer subsidies and create alternative employment opportunities…

Sex, Lies and Busybodies

Australian prohibitionists just won’t let go of that Queensland mining bone:

…police officer Inspector Paul Biggin says while sex workers have also been a major beneficiary of the [mining] boom, there are growing concerns about women being brought in from overseas and exploited by criminals…”A lot of…women come from Asian countries and they’re the types…that certainly do get exploited because of their poor education or the fact that they’re easily tricked,” he said… few women…have reported any mistreatment.  “A lot of times they don’t because there is a fear factor involved,” he said.

Translation:  “poor Asian women are stupid”.  And the reason they don’t tell him what he wants to hear must be “fear”; after all, he can’t possibly be wrong.

Jules Kim, the migration project manager at Scarlet Alliance, said…”Using ‘doesn’t speak English’ as an indicator would not be applied to any other profession…English skills are not tied in to education levels at all so someone could be highly educated and yet have poor English skills.”  Ms Kim says the extent of the problem in mining communities has been exaggerated…

The Course of a Disease

It’ll be interesting to see what other workers’ rights this eventually leads to:  “Swedish prostitutes won the right to claim benefits, including sick days and parental leave…’As long as sex workers pay their taxes, they should have the same access to sick-leave benefits and parental leave as anybody else,’ [said social insurance director] Joakim Jarnryd…’We don’t make any moral judgments’…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

US officials hoped to silence whore’s voices by barring them from attending the International AIDS Conference in Washington on July 22nd-27th, but India’s Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee had other ideas and organized a “hub” which will be digitally linked with the main event.  Andrew Hunter of the Asia [Pacific] Network of Sex Workers said, “We are holding this Global Hub…in India because sex workers are not allowed entry into the U.S. to attend the main AIDS conference. This event will allow us to participate as well as give sex workers from around the globe a chance to still contribute to important discussions…

Health officials have long criticized US anti-whore policies as destructive, and a new report released for the conference by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law has gone even further, as explained in this article by Cheryl Overs:

The report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law…recommends the repeal [of] laws that prohibit consenting adults from buying or selling sex, including those laws that have the effect of prohibiting commercial sex such as laws against “immoral” earnings, “living off the earnings” of prostitution and brothel-keeping.  It calls for an end to police harassment and violence against sex workers and a prohibition of mandatory HIV and STI testing…It also recommends withdrawal of the Pepfar anti-prostitution pledge.  This marks a significant advance for sex workers’ struggle for sex work to be decriminalised and recognised as an occupation…

I’ll have more to say about this article in my upcoming column of the 27th.

Above the Law

What makes this news rather than a typical abuse is that the cops are being prosecuted:  “A Kansas City police officer has been…accused…of having sex with two women in exchange for not arresting them.  One woman told police she was working as a prostitute, and the other said she had outstanding warrants and marijuana in her motel room when she met Jeffrey Holmes…prosecutors in neighboring Platte County charged another Kansas City police officer with misappropriating about $75,000 from his elderly mother…

Held Together With Lies

This thorough debunking of the oft-repeated claim that “human trafficking is the third most profitable business for organized crime” by Ann Jordan and Lynn Burke was published over a year ago, but only came to my attention this week:

…Evidence for this claim either does not exist or is impossible to locate.  Despite the efforts of the authors and two professional reference librarians to locate the original reliable source, the research only turned up similar statements and not one article was uncovered that contained any evidence to support the claim…it is not unusual to hear statements that claim to be about trafficking but are really talking about smuggling…It would certainly make more sense to say that smuggling is the third largest source of organized crime profits…

Imagination Pinned Down

Compare to the outrageous claims made by other FBI agents about “human trafficking” cases they claim to have been personally involved in:

A former police officer who retired from the FBI…has written a book about seeing legions of angels guarding the Pennsylvania site where a hijacked airliner crashed [on September 11th, 2001].  Lillie Leonardi…remembers the burning pine and jet fuel stinging her nostrils.  She said she also remembers a smoldering crater littered with debris too small to associate with the jetliner or 40 passengers and crew on board…”That’s when I started seeing like shimmery lights…and it was kind of misty and that’s when I first saw, like, the angels there,” Leonardi said…[she] kept it to herself for the better part of two years [but] as…[symptoms of] post-traumatic stress disorder [surfaced] she began telling a close circle of friends and colleagues what she saw…

Metaupdates

Reading Between the Lines in TW3 (#26)

The San Francisco Bay Guardian interviewed an escort who was targeted by the recent “Operation Cross Country” because somebody thought she looked under 18.  The article also revealed the ratio of adult sex workers to underage ones arrested in the Bay Area: 61 adults to 6 “children” (i.e. 16- or 17-year-old women).  10 to 1 is a very poor ratio considering that about 3.5% of all hookers are underage and the cops were specifically targeting youthful women.

The Course of a Disease in TW3 (#26)

Hundreds of…sex workers protested in Paris…against plans to make soliciting prostitution illegal…France’s minister for women’s rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem…[has said] she would seek to make prostitution disappear by punishing those who pay for sex…but her remarks unleashed a hail of criticism from sex workers’ unions, which argued that punishing clients would drive business underground, endangering prostitutes…

This Week in 2011

The last column of my first year was a two-part interview with my husband using reader-supplied questions, and the first of my second year explains why streetwalkers are a “Bone of Contention” among activists.  “Housewife Harlotry” demonstrates that transactional sex is an important part of marriage, “The Proper Study” is a short history of prostitution research and “Sisters in Arms” looks at the inevitable result of laws which infantilize women.

This Week in 2010

Though I’d write “Streetwalkers” a bit differently now, it still has some good points to make.  “Wanna Date?” asks whether it’s really possible to draw a sharp line between dating and whoring, and “Madonna and Whore” discusses the infamous duality and shows how girlfriends straddle it.  Finally, “Do You Party?” looks at my deep hatred of cocaine.

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Charleston was once the rage, uh huh
History has turned the page, uh huh
The miniskirt’s the current thing, uh huh
Teenybopper is our newborn king, uh huh.
  –  Sonny Bono, “The Beat Goes On

What, you thought we were done with updates for the month?  We’re getting so many of these now that I’m soon going to change the way I handle them; look for a new feature, “That Was the Week That Was”, coming February 4th.

Shifting the Blame (January 26th, 2011)

Remember how last year at this time the media was still trying to blame Craigslist every time something bad happened to a hooker?  Well, they eventually realized that Backpage was now the fashionable scapegoat, and since we can’t possibly put the blame where it belongs – the laws which force prostitutes into the shadows where we can be preyed on by evil men in and out of uniform – it must be Backpage’s fault when women are killed.  Here’s what Sex Workers for Choice has to say about the recent murders in Detroit:

Over the past month, 4 women have been murdered in Detroit, MI and another two have gone missing…It is unknown at this time if the cases of the missing women are related to the recent murders, but the possibility certainly seems too unlikely of a coincidence. Police say that 3 out of the 4 murder victims had profiles on Backpage…[which] has responded by reaching out to authorities to aid in the investigation, including helping to identify a number of other websites that the women might have had profiles on.  There is a sense of déjà vu in the rush from the media and other online sources to vilify Backpage as some sort of co-conspirator in the deaths of these women.  The “Craigslist Killer” was the tipping point in helping shut down Craigslist erotic services section, and this…will no doubt fuel the already strong campaign…[against] Backpage.  What these critics ignore is that the true co-conspirator is not these advertising venues, but rather…the laws that isolate us from the protections most others take for granted.  What makes…sex workers a target for violence is not how or where we advertise, but the fact that violent predators know that those crimes…are not investigated or prosecuted as diligently…[because we] are…viewed as criminals that somehow signed on for such violence…Until we have equal rights and equal protection, the predators will continue to seek us out in any and every advertising venue available…

Real People (February 6th, 2011)

It’s interesting that the New York Times, a major proponent of the “whores are passive victims” mythology, should publish this profile of an independent, strong willed streetwalker:

Like many single mothers, Barbara Terry, 52, scrounged for baby sitters and leaned on her own mother while raising her four children and working the night shift.  But Ms. Terry is a prostitute who has worked nearly her entire adult life on the streets of Hunts Point, in the Bronx.  “When they were old enough to understand, I would tell them the truth,” said Ms. Terry, whose daughter and three sons are now grown.  “I’d say, ‘This is how I’m supporting you.’  For me, it’s a business, a regular job.”  Yes, she said, she was arrested more than 100 times, sometimes landing at Rikers Island for several days or weeks — but that never deterred her from returning…Today, Ms. Terry lives nearby in the Bronx, but she hopes to retire in a year or so to a house she bought upstate…“I’ve survived because God was with me,” Ms. Terry said.  “Every Sunday, my mother and grandmother prayed for me out here”…

The story has a heaping helping of lurid detail, but never tries to deny Terry agency or paint her as emotionally damaged.  And though a story like this wouldn’t be unusual in the Canadian media (as you’ll see in the story below), I think it’s the closest thing to “sex work is work” we’re likely to see in the mainstream American media for a very long time.

Harm Magnification (May 15th, 2011)

The Canadian government, like its bloated US counterpart, seems intent on continuing the prohibitionist laws and policies which create crime, expose many thousands of citizens to danger and cause incalculable damage to society.  But unlike their U.S. counterparts, the Canadian media are refusing to be the stooges of their government.  Rather than mindlessly parroting “trafficking”  mythology in order to support anti-prostitute tyranny, Canadian reporters are almost universally laying the blame for harm to sex workers where it belongs:  on the bad laws and the evil actions of the police.  And though the American version of Huffington Post is happy to “cater…to the current fashionable delusions about us”, the Canadian edition is equally happy to go whichever way the wind is blowing up there:

…Repression from police has pushed prostitution into more dangerous, isolated parts of [Montreal], making sex workers more vulnerable to violence, said Anna-Louise Crago…[of the] advocacy group…Stella…”Criminalization and police repression against sex workers, our clients, and our work places make it impossible to work in safer conditions.”  Experts say the same pattern of repression has been repeated in other cities across Canada, making prostitution a more dangerous job.  In Vancouver, police engaged in a decades-long campaign to move prostitutes into the more isolated Downtown Eastside, where…it [was easier] for [serial killer Robert] Pickton and other predators to target women…

It’s not illegal to be a prostitute in Canada, but many of the activities associated with prostitution are classified as criminal offences…the ambivalence has caused confusion in the courts and made it difficult for police to do their job.  Efforts to protect sex workers often appear to be at odds with the police’s attempt to crack down on prostitution.  That seemed to be the case in December when Ottawa police chief Vern White, faced with a possible serial killer targeting prostitutes, warned them to be extra cautious.  Advocacy groups countered that it was the force’s very own tactics of aggressive policing and repression that had forced them into more dangerous situations.  A study…based on interviews with more than 200 sex workers between 2006 and 2008, found a link between prostitutes who reported having been harassed or assaulted by a police officer and the likelihood they were victims of violence in future.  In Montreal, Stella has recorded between 50 and 60 cases of violence, including rape, brutal beatings, and attempted murder against sex workers annually.  Yet only four or five cases reach the courts every year [because] the victims are often afraid to press charges…

…The debate about how to cut back on the violence may end up being settled by the courts.  The [government is] trying to overturn a lower court ruling in which a judge struck down three laws against prostitution, saying they force people in the sex trade to choose between obeying the law and keeping themselves safe.  Sex workers argue that the laws prevent them from working indoors where it’s safer, taking time to talk to a potential client to assess the risk they pose and hiring bodyguards.  The…government maintains that protecting victims of exploitation and supporting the enforcement of existing laws should be a priority…The top court’s ruling in support of the Vancouver safe-injection site Insite has given advocates cause for optimism…”That judgment gives us a lot of hope,” said [Stella’s director Emilie] Laliberte, who is also a former sex worker. “For us, it’s a really important sign that even though the government doesn’t want to respect our rights the courts will.”

American media would obediently echo the government’s ludicrous claim that persecuting whores somehow makes “victims of exploitation” safer, but the Canadian reporter dismisses it in a line.  Perhaps one day the American media may grow that bold again, but probably not for a few years yet.

One Year Ago Today

January Miscellanea” reported that the Dutch government had announced plans to collect sales tax on prostitution; that the city of Modesto, California recognizes prostitution as a victimless crime yet persecutes hookers anyhow; and that ultra-enlightened Sweden claims prostitutes can infallibly be recognized by our clothing.  And four other items, too!

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