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Posts Tagged ‘Harm Reduction updates’

Sex workers…are fed up with being used as pawns…in…a publicity stunt.  –  Valerie Scott

Dirty Amateurs

Amateurs are a menace to public health; they should be licensed and heavily regulated:

A new campaign’s being launched by Public Health England to get more under-25s to use condoms…a survey carried out by PHE and YouGov revealed almost half of 16-24-year-olds have never used a condom with a new partner.  One in 10 of them had never even used one…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

The story is the same the world over:

…The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act 1986, which conflates trafficking and sex trade…and…other laws under the Indian Penal Code…look at trafficking only from the perspective of sex work…people being tricked into or forced into moving for labour related activities in construction, factories etc are left out of the equation…The proposed new anti-trafficking Bill makes small amends.  [sic] But, leaves a lot more to be desired…interestingly, the version of the Bill that was distributed to the stakeholders for feedback is not the version that is with the Cabinet.  So, when the Bill will be introduced in the Parliament in the Winter Session, the chances are that parts of it will come as a shock to various communities that will be affected by it…Sex workers have constantly expressed their opposition to the Bill, claiming that it presupposes that sex work always entails trafficking and can never be voluntary…

End Demand 

The “end demand” strategy carried to its logical conclusion:

21-year-old Creio Chance Bishop did not want his girlfriend dancing at JB’s Gentlemen’s Club in West Virginia.  The jealous boyfriend is facing second-degree arson charges after…he set the exterior of the strip club where his girlfriend worked on fire at 3:30 a.m. on December 13.  The manager…Jim Reed…[said] “It’s stupid.  She’s trying to make a living for herself.  He’s not doing nothing.  She’s paying the bills, from what I understand.”  Bishop fled the crime scene on foot, only making it as far as a Walmart parking lot right across the street before Cabell County Sheriff’s Department deputies detained him…

Monsters 

This brings the toll to 28 this year:

A transgender woman was shot to death in Houston’s Sunnyside neighborhood early Wednesday, Dec. 13…Brandi Seals, 26…is at least the 28th trans person murdered in the U.S. in 2017, the deadliest year on record for the community.  The vast majority of victims, including Seals, have been trans women of color.  Four of the murders have occurred in Texas.  Seals was repeatedly misgendered in a Fox 26 report about her murder, including by a Houston police detective who referred to the victim as “a man in women’s clothing”…

Bait and Switch

If you’re tempted to badge-lick about this, reread the original article of this heading:

A 22-year-old college student at Ohio’s Youngstown State University was arrested after falling for a fictional 15-year-old boy created by local cops…[who] used a phony dating-app profile for…an adult to lure in the student…After chatting, the catfish “revealed” he was [supposedly] 15 years old.  The college student, A.G. (not his full name), indicated he didn’t have a problem with his age.  The conversation eventually turned sexual and A.G. sent the faux boy some nude photos of himself.  It was clear from the exchanges, police [admit], that A.G. was developing feelings for the imaginary teen.  A.G. described him as “my one and only” and talked about being his husband someday.  On December 12…A.G. showed up at what he thought was the boy’s home with homemade chicken alfredo, soda, and lubricant…This a young man who is about 5’7″…weighs 450 pounds…[and] is gay in a part of Ohio where that’s still really difficult sometimes…he…was preyed on by police who pretended to be interested and said exactly what he wanted to hear, even after realizing the emotional attachment he was developing and the potential psychological effect this was having on him.  And now he will likely be branded a sex offender and a pedophile for life.

Harm Reduction (#627)

Alas, politicians, being exceptionally stupid creatures, cannot understand that the same principles hold true for all prohibition:

Norway is to become the first Scandinavian country to decriminalise drugs as it focuses on treatment rather than punishment.  The majority of the Norwegian parliament, the Storting, backed the historic shift…and…directed the national government to reform its policies on drugs.  Sveinung Stensland, deputy chairman of the Storting Health Committee, [said]…“It is important to emphasise that we do not legalise cannabis and other drugs, but we decriminalise…those who have a substance abuse problem should be treated as ill, and not as criminals with classical sanctions such as fines and imprisonment”…

Of course, the vast majority of people who use prohibited drugs have no “problem”, and if this new policy forces people into “treatment” it’ll just be another Scandinavian scheme to dress authoritarianism up as social justice.

The Puritan Recrudescence

“Environmental cost” = “public health crisis”.

…Is pornography in the digital era leaving a larger carbon footprint than it did during the days of magazines and videos?…if pornography experts’ estimates are accurate, they suggest a rare scenario where digitization might have increased the overall consumption of porn so much that…people to spend so much time looking at porn that it’s actually worse for the environment…

The Course of a Disease (#634)

It’s good to see Médecins du Monde make this position official:

Médecins du Monde has officially announced its position in favor of the total decriminalization of sex work…adopting a position similar to that of Amnesty International…Dr Françoise Sivignon [said]…”In France, a little more than a year and a half after the adoption of the law aimed at fighting against the prostitution system, we clearly see the deleterious impact of measures adopted…we are witnessing the isolation…of sex workers, their distance from care and prevention structures, as well as increased exposure to sexually transmitted infections and increased violence”…Doctors of the World had already made known its position against the penalization of the customers during the parliamentary debates of the previous years…The organization…explains…[that] criminalization policies are…incompatible with good access to [medical] care or prevention…

To Molest and Rape 

Two more cops, protecting and serving:

Two [Alabama cops]…Jonathan Perry Works…and Brian Edward Walker…were…charged with two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sodomy…[for raping a] mentally incapacitated [woman]…

Whither Canada? (#748)

Articles like this are much more common in Canada, while US media self-destructively cheer censorship:

Recently, the owner of a [Greater Toronto] bar began a campaign against NOW Magazine.  Decals reading “NOW Sells Sex Slaves” have been appearing in parts of Toronto, including on public art.  Letters making false and misleading claims that NOW “facilitates human trafficking” have been sent to many of the magazine’s advertisers and to Chief Federal Prosecutor Morris Pistyner…NOW does not “facilitate human trafficking.”  In fact, quite the opposite.  By publishing the ads of sex workers, NOW facilitates our ability to remain safe and independent.  But religious fundamentalists – and some old-school feminists –  have formed alliances and been quite successful in redefining all sex work as human trafficking.  In their view, all adult women are incapable of making the choice of whom to have sex with if money is involved…

Scrupleless in Seattle (#772)

These guys dodged a bullet, but you may not; STOP going to see unknowns who may be cops!

After more than a hundred people were arrested early September following an eight-day prostitution sting in Bellevue, 61 of those cases have now been dismissed due to [cops’ violation of] Washington state law…Part of the [scheme] included hidden cameras…[but] state law requires two-party consent to record audio conversations…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#778) 

A talking toaster is still a toaster:

In February…I ran an experiment in which I sexually harassed Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google’s Google Home to document how these digital personal servants—whose names and voices are already feminized—peddle stereotypes of female subservience, putting their “progressive” parent companies in a moral predicament.  Now, those findings are being cited in a petition on the social network Care2 asking Apple and Amazon to “reprogram their bots to push back against sexual harassment”…

The idea that words and phrases without sexual motivation shouted at a circuit board constitute “sexual harassment” is like something out of a Monty Python sketch; the fact that people seriously think of this nonsense as a “moral predicament” doesn’t say much for their grasp of reality.

Against Their Will (#795)

Prohibitionists call this “rescue”:

Yang Song fell four stories onto a sidewalk in Flushing, Queens on the night of November 25th…while [fleeing] police…attempting to arrest her for allegedly engaging in sex work…Hai Song, Yang’s younger brother…and his 65-year-old mother, Yumei Shi…are haunted by details she shared with them over the phone this year.  Yang described being sexually assaulted by a man who flashed a badge and gun and claimed to be an undercover cop, they say.  Yang also told them that the police [pressured] her to become a [snitch] this fall…“I hope to know the truth,” Shi [said via]…a translator.  “We want to know whether this was a retaliation from the police and they forced her to die”…While the police [claim] that they were not in the room when Yang jumped…both Hai and Shi insist that she would not kill herself…they are left with the stories Yang shared with them about her life in Flushing — and of the police she…[was] harassed and intimidated by…

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The satanic panic…reached a fever pitch…and like most hysterias, it thereafter died away.  –  Keith Hampton

Rough Trade

In the US, the victims would’ve been arrested when they reported the attacks:

Two brothers who threatened and raped sex workers in violent attacks in Canberra…will each spend at least five years behind bars…Ahmed Al Abbasi…and his younger brother Mohammad Alabbasi…pleaded guilty to offences arising from two terrifying ordeals against three sex workers…in early 2016.  One…was dragged into a bedroom, stripped of her clothes, threatened with a knife and raped [by] Ahmed…his brother also showed up [and orally raped her incall mate]…The men fled when two people arrived at the door to help.  In the second attack…Ahmed raped the woman…[after] his brother had driven him [there]…

Harm Reduction

Dan Savage answers a letter from a young woman who regrets cutting off contact with her father for getting caught in a prostitution sting:

…It is possible for someone to be a good dad and a shitty husband.  The good dad you knew your dad to be?  That wasn’t a lie.  It was one of your father’s truths.  That he failed as a husband and hurt your mom—with an assist from laws criminalizing sex work—is another of your father’s truths.  You don’t say why your dad was seeking sex outside the marriage, PH, and I can’t imagine that was a conversation you wanted to have with your dad in your mid-teens—and it may not be one you ever want to have.  But it’s possible your parents’ marriage was more complicated than you know.  (“The victim of an affair is not always the victim of the marriage,” as Esther Perel says)…

To Protect and Serve

The cops took two months to “investigate” a massage parlor. I wonder how many hand jobs that was?

A two-month investigation by Reedley [California] police resulted in a prostitution arrest at a massage parlor…assisted by the Fresno Police Department’s vice unit…Jiang Bing…was cited and released from police custody following her arrest…

Dirty Amateurs

Even though the facts here clearly specify that the disease is spreading among drug users and gang members, the reporter feels compelled to blame sex workers anyhow (without any cited evidence for that):

Syphilis…is returning [in Oklahoma City] and around the country…Syphilis has led [health officials] to members of 17 gangs; to drug dealers; to prostitutes, pimps and johns; and to their spouses and lovers, all caught in the disease’s undertow…in February, a prison inmate tested positive.  In interviews, he listed 24 sex partners — some his own, others the so-called pass-around girls for gangs, usually in exchange for heroin or methamphetamine.  Contact information from the Entertainment Manager, as he called himself, pointed the way to a syphilis spread that, by March, led health officials to declare an outbreak, one of the largest in the country…

Follow Your Bliss 

Yet another example of the McNeill Rule:

A…[cop] and karate instructor pled guilty…to multiple charges of sex crimes…Bruce Arlie Harvey of Reva, Virginia was assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force prior to his arrest.  “Harvey abused his positions of trust…to sexually exploit two of his female karate students beginning when each was approximately 13 years old,” said acting United States Attorney Rick A. Mountcastle.  “This case shows that child predators”…flock to jobs that put them in close contact with kids [or give them power over people, such as police work]…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Funny how even when the real reason is clear, “authorities” and reporters prefer to blame sex workers instead:

…The Französisches Gymnasium highschool lies on a sidestreet of the German capital’s notorious Kurfürstenstraße.  The street is…also the center of the city’s street prostitution scene.  Prostitutes can be seen soliciting clients at all hours of the day there.  A build-up of discarded condoms and syringes, as well as excrement, were evidence that the school grounds were being used in unsavory ways.  “There were always complaints about unscrupulous characters including prostitutes walking shamelessly and illegally into school grounds even during the day,” the district school inspector Carsten Spallek [said]…City officials spent 57,000 euros ($67,000) to build a fence to keep such characters off school grounds…Residential developments are increasingly pushing sex workers out of the areas they used to ply their trade, forcing the business into the sidestreets…district coordinator Michael Klinnert [said] “The women have no stations to wash themselves…And they relieve themselves wherever they please”…In 2016 the German parliament, the Bundestag, passed legislation that further [imposed bottlenecks on] sex work in a bid to [force more sex workers onto the street]…

The Immunity Syndrome (#666)

There’s a long US tradition of harmful policies that fly in the face of evidence:

…a few years ago, Congress began to shift funding for sex education to focus on evidence-based outcomes, letting effectiveness determine which programs would get money.  But…the Trump administration recently canceled funding for 81 projects that are part of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, saying grants would end in June 2018, two years early — a decision made without consulting Congress…

Challenge (#679)

ESPLERP vs. Gascon reaches a court which could potentially do something:

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has slated oral arguments for mid-October in ESPLER Project’s challenge to California’s prostitution law…Earlier this year, industry attorneys D. Gill Sperlein and H. Louis Sirkin asked the appeals panel to toss a lower court’s judgment, remand the case to the lower court and declare the anti-prostitution law unconstitutionality.  In the appeal, ESPLER Project also is seeking a permanent injunction…

That Old Black Magic (#714)

Europeans just adore the masturbatory fantasy of helpless Nigerian women enslaved by black magic:

Policia Nacional have busted an international sex trafficking ring operating out of Malaga and Benidorm.  Some 25 people were arrested…Some 16 [sex workers] were [also arrested]…The ring…was present at every stage of the journey of the trafficked sex slaves…The investigation began when agents of the Madrid Asylum and Refuge Office detected [with their magic powers] two young Nigerian women suspected of being victims of trafficking…The victims were forced to submit to various voodoo rituals to “ensure their absolute fidelity”…

Stupor Bowl (#749) 

A lot of reporters are still masturbating to this thoroughly-debunked fantasy:

Minnesota authorities and…profit[eer] organizations are [spreading propaganda about an imaginary] criminal sexual enterprise that has taken hold of the state.  These new efforts are intended to increase programs focused on “keeping teens out of the sex trade” and stopping…prostitution customers…Minneapolis…[is] the host of Super Bowl 2018.  The annual U.S. event attracts…“a small surge in sex trafficking”…The Super Bowl plan led by the anti-sex-trafficking committee is set to work together with…“Minnesota Girls Are Not For Sale,” a campaign aimed at [profiting from]…sex-traffic [hysteria]…by [spreading anti-sex propaganda]…

Absolute Corruption (#751) 

At last, a very small measure of justice for Fran & Dan Keller:

Texas will pay $3.4 million to a couple who were wrongfully imprisoned for more than two decades on prosecutors’ [fantasies] that they sexually abused children as part of satanic rituals at a day care they operated…The Kellers were freed in 2013 after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found a doctor was mistaken in determining there was physical evidence of assault…the doctor himself also recanted it…[and] the alleged victim…acknowledged having no memory of being abused…The determination of outright innocence made Dan Keller, 75, and Fran Keller, 67, each eligible for $80,000 in compensation for every year they were wrongfully imprisoned.  They’ll also receive a matching annuity that provides annual payments of 5 percent interest for as long as they’re alive…

Checklist (#755)

The scheme to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system spreads to the UK:

Nurses, social workers and [cops] are being [indoctrinated in ways to brand sex workers as]…victims of human trafficking…Some 180 frontline public sector staff in London have attended [indoctrination] sessions over the past two months designed to [fill their heads with ridiculous & meaningless] clues.  They will be expected to return to their organisations and [indoctrinate] colleagues…people [will now be harangued rather than helped by staff]…in particular in maternity units…

Comfort Zone (#765)

Sometimes the attempt to hide migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative is especially apparent:

A…Border Force team at Glasgow Airport has returned almost 100 [migrants]…to their home countries since last November [using the excuse that they were supposedly “potential victims”]…of modern-day slavery or sexual exploitation…Some…were [not even] going into the sex industry…some [were sex workers]…in the country to make better money…more than 250 were Romanians and less than 50 were male…

The rest is a nauseating exercise in cop masturbatory fantasy and pretending that women are mindless, helpless vegetables.

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Punishing women who voluntarily sell sex for a living is human rights violation threatening their survival and another violence by the state.  –  Judge Cho Yong-ho

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

Another fact-free anti-porn polemic, quoting a bogus “study” created by prohibitionists:

Watching natural-looking people engaging in sex that is consensual, pleasurable and realistic may not be harmful…but that is generally not what the $97 billion global porn industry is shilling.  Its producers have one goal: to get men off hard and fast for profit.  That means eroticizing the degradation of women.  In a study of behaviors in popular porn, nearly 90% of 304 random scenes contained physical aggression toward women, who nearly always responded neutrally or with pleasure.  More insidiously, women would sometimes beg their partners to stop, then acquiesce and begin to enjoy the activity, regardless of how painful or debasing…

Harm Reduction (May Updates)

Alas, politicians, being exceptionally stupid creatures, cannot understand that the same principles hold true for all prohibition:

…Hawaii…lawmakers…are proposing to commission a study looking at the merits of decriminalizing all drugs…The study would look to Portugal…[which] decriminalized all drugs in 2001…[leading] to a drastic reduction in drug use, overdoses and crime…The U.S. Surgeon General…announced in January, “It’s time for us to have a conversation in this country that’s based on facts; A conversation that’s based on medicine and science”…

Saving Them From Themselves

Cops continue their quest to destroy people’s lives for the “crime” of being human:

Redding, Connecticut, cops arrested a 14-year-old boy and charged him with possession of child pornography, harassment, and obscenity…This news story makes it impossible to determine the exact nature of his crime, but…I would say that he likely shared an illicit photo of a similarly-aged female—perhaps his girlfriend—with some of his friends…This is simply not a matter for the police…It’s not wrong for 14-year-olds to express sexual interest in each other…the cops investigated this teen for three months….How many police resources were tied up…figuring out why two teens were sexting each other?…

Above the Law  

“Rape”, reporters.  The word you’re looking for is “rape”:

A Wichita [Kansas] woman says a…[cop raped] her multiple times over a two year period…Richard Bachman…used his power as a cop to [rape her from 2010 to 2012]…This is the second suit against the [rapist] cop…[who]  threatened to plant drugs on the woman, and…handcuffed her while [raping] her.  “I don’t want him to ever be in a position where he has the authority over anyone again,” she said…Bachman’s attorney [vomited out the legalese equivalent of, “She asked for it”]…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

The only people who “endangered children” here are the brutal thugs who invaded the child’s house, abducted her mother and have probably destroyed the mother’s ability to provide for her in the future:

A…[deceitful pig] contacted Alysia Mericle…[pretending to be an honest client, then called more thugs] to arrest her…Mericle locked the door with the [lying pig] still inside…[so his pig friends] used a battering ram [to destroy her] front door…[they then searched]…her place [without a proper warrant] and…found Focalin and Vyvanse, which are used to treated ADHD.  [Rooting pigs] also discovered [her business] ledger…Mericle was charged with promoting prostitution, possession of controlled substances, endangering children, drug paraphernalia and soliciting prostitution. She was [caged]…and a judge set her bond at $75,000.  The child was placed in the custody of her grandmother.

Mentoring

Anybody want to try these out and see how well they compare to the tried-and-true makeup sponge method?

…The Flex Company wants to replace outdated pads and tampons with a sleek, disc-shaped blood blocker.  Flex can be worn during sex to prevent making a mess.  The Flex discs are disposable, can be worn for up to 12 hours and even come in a stylish little packet.  They’re doctor-approved to be hypoallergenic, BPA-free and they won’t cause toxic shock syndrome…Flex will have to compete with SoftCups, a well-distributed brand with a similar product, though one that doesn’t focus on portability or sex…

One lady on Twitter reported her partner could feel it, which would obviously not be good.

An Example To the West (#133)

Human rights suffer a predictable, but crushing defeat in South Korea:

The Constitutional Court ruled in favor of the country’s antiprostitution law Thursday, dismissing “voluntary sex trade” unconstitutional.  In a 6-to-3 ruling, the court confirmed the legality of the antisex trade act punishing both those who voluntarily sell and buy sex, citing the need to repress demand for prostitution.  The verdict came three years after the top court began to review the act to rule whether it violates voluntary sex workers’ freedom to choose their job and what to do with their own bodies…Kang Hyun-joon, head of sex workers’ rights group Hanteo National Union, called the decision “unacceptable”…He also vowed to submit a petition to the United Nations‘ Human Rights Council…[which has] suggested [decriminalizing] prostitution as a way to create safer conditions for sex workers and to combat human trafficking as well as sex-related diseases like HIV…

Only one of the dissenting judges understands the moral issues here; the other two argued for the hypocritical and misogynistic Swedish model.

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#318)

It’s so good to see more widespread recognition of this:

…social scientist Dr Kamala Kempadoo…argued that legitimizing the world’s oldest profession would reduce human trafficking and bring security and respectability to women in the profession…She called on [Caribbean] governments to…recognize that prostitution ought not automatically be construed as violence to women…she…was dismissive of the United States State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) reports, contending that they were politically motivated and did not recognize Caribbean practices or cultural norms…in responding to the pressure exerted on regional countries that receive bad marks in the TIP reports, Caribbean governments [have] created a regime to counter what [the US represents] as human trafficking.  However, she said that regime had itself become an industry…

Frequently Told Lies

Here’s a nice little collection of debunking resources (including some of mine) from Sex, Lies & Duct Tape.  Many things to bookmark here!

If You Want Something Done Right…

In which Brooke Magnanti considers the implications of Mistress Matisse’s piece from yesterday:

…When does reporting become rubbernecking?  When does wanting to help someone become wanting to control them?  These are topics that need exploring, both in public and in our own hearts and minds. Especially for people who, like me and…Melissa Gira Grant, are former sex workers who are now full-time writers…Some former sex workers elect to not discuss their personal experiences, and I respect that…But if you don’t write about yourself who do you write about?…What do we really take away from the piece apart from the feeling that everyone who got involved in Heather’s cause had bad intentions apart from (miraculously) Gira Grant herself?  With the subject of the story not supportive of its publication, and considering the fact that it gives a significant national platform to people who may have abused Heather — is this where the ally ends, and the hard-headed journo chasing after a byline begins?…As Gira Grant spent the days after the Buzzfeed piece appeared refusing to answer requests to clarify what happened, it did unfortunately start to seem like she could ignore criticism precisely because those making the criticism were sex workers…

Above the Law (#595)

Whoopsie!  Now where did we put that serial rapist?  He was here a few months ago…

Oklahoma prison authorities are working with attorneys for a [mass serial rapist]…to serve a civil rights lawsuit filed by some of his victims…prison officials revealed…that Daniel Holtzclaw…had been moved from a state prison but would not disclose where he was being housed…Holtzclaw was sentenced to 263 years in prison…and…seven women involved in the criminal case filed a federal lawsuit against Holtzclaw and city officials [because] the city and its police force [gave him free reign to rape at will]…efforts to serve Holtzclaw with the lawsuit have been unsuccessful because he can’t be located within the state prison system…

License to Rape (#601)

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by cops at will:

…According to a federal lawsuit filed by attorney Robert Phillipswhite police officers in Aiken, S.C…[pulled over] Lakeya Hicks and Elijah Pontoon…in Hicks’s car…[using the illegal pretext that] it still had [current] temporary tags…[cop Chris] Medlin [ordered] Pontoon out of the vehicle and [handcuffed] him…Medlin then [told] Pontoon, “Because of your history, I’ve got a dog coming in here.  Gonna walk a dog around the car.”  About 30 seconds later, he [added], “You gonna pay for this one, boy”…four [cops spent]…15 minutes conducting a thorough search of the car…After the search of the car [came] up empty, Medlin [told] the female officer to “search her real good,” referring to Hicks…this was all done in direct view of the three male officers.  That search, too, produced no contraband.  The officers then [anally probed] Pontoon…[repeatedly] grabbing his hemorrhoids…for another three minutes…[finding] no contraband…Medlin [then told] Pontoon…that [this was due to his supposedly recognizing] him from when he worked narcotics…

Bad Girls (#625) 

about 20 sex workers and…allies took to Daley Plaza [in Chicago] to show solidarity with Alisha Walker, a 23-year-old woman sentenced to 15 years in prison after fatally stabbing a client…”We could all be Alisha,” [said] Cathryn Berarovich…”Because our work is criminalized, there is no recourse for when bad things happen to us.  We’re standing up for someone who did what she had to do to survive, then was punished for surviving”…[they also called] out the Sun-Times report on Walker’s sentencing…for its…language…the paper described Walker with terms like “the prostitute” and “hooker”…[but] to Filan…as a “wonderful father”…in spite of the fact that…Filan was the aggressor in their confrontation, threatening her with a kitchen knife because she and the other woman declined to have unprotected sex with him.  Filan had also…been drinking…

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Anti-prostitution activists need to get up off the ignorance couch and look at science.  –  Dinsa Sachan

R.I.P. Blaze Starr Famous pin-up Blaze Starr (real name Fannie Belle Fleming) in 1950

Blaze Starr, the voluptuous stripper who was billed as the Queen of Burlesque and whose affair with…Louisiana governor [Earl K. Long] was the basis of a 1989 movie, died on Monday…[at the age of] 83…the Ron Shelton film Blaze, starring Lolita Davidovich in the title role alongside Paul Newman as the governor…drew on her memoir, Blaze Starr: My Life as Told to Huey Perry, published in 1974.  Ms. Starr said that she and Mr. Long were engaged to be married when he died in 1960, two months before his divorce was to become final.  She continued to wear a five-carat diamond ring that she said he had given her…

Safe Targets

An article about women who sell panties on Reddit ends with the following paragraph:

…While sex work is still criminalized, its sellers are relegated to the dark outposts of the digital universe, where unsavory clients moderate the forums and self-employed workers walk on eggshells just to keep their business afloat…Until the laws surrounding sex work change, communities like Sex Sells are the last bastion of defense against the Internet’s faceless antagonists.

Harm Reduction

From the “no shit” department:

Sexual relationships that involve the exchange of money cannot be considered adultery, according to a Tokyo District Court ruling involving a couple and a bar hostess…No damages were rewarded to the plaintiff – the wife of a man who was allegedly sleeping with a hostess for more than seven years…she had sought more than $32,000 in compensation.  Judge Masamitsu Shiseki of the Tokyo District Court ruled…the sex between the plaintiff’s husband and the hostess was strictly business, and therefore did not harm the marriage…”such conduct does not damage peaceful marital life,” Shiseki…said.  “Even if the wife is disgusted by the act, it does not constitute a legal offense”…

Check Your Premises

Here’s another case exposing who really gets targeted under U.S. sex trafficking statutes.  Far from the cartoonishly evil kingpins or sociopathic perverts of political lore, it’s people like Oregon resident Julie Haner, who as a 19-year-old drove her 17-year-old friend across state lines so they could both make money via sex work.  Haner and the girl has previously attended high-school together and been on the same cheerleading squad…

Gateway

The sheriff of Charlotte County, Florida is adamant that sex work brings evil in its wake:  “There are obvious health risks, not only to the defendants, but also to their innocent family members, because of this type of activity…”  Obviously the sheriff must also believe that people who eat too much fatty food or work long hours should be arrested due to the “obvious health risks”.  But the head of vice for Charleston, West Virginia, isn’t so sure:

To people who say prostitution is a victimless crime and a waste of police resources, Young said the department is urged to make the arrests by members of the community…He conceded that the crime tends to have a “revolving door” of new offenders…officers don’t have reason to believe the women were trafficked or otherwise forced into the work…Young advocates for incarceration for the crimes so that arrests will be more of a deterrent…the women just make more deals to be able to pay the fines, he said…

Subtle Pimping

Looking for new vices to tax, Nevada lawmakers have turned their sights on escort services and massive music-and-light festivals in the desert.  Lawmakers…eliminated loopholes in Nevada’s live-entertainment tax, a lounge-lizard levy that had covered cabaret performances and burlesque dancing.  It now includes a 9 percent charge on tickets for events such as Burning Man…The tax…also would apply to “pickup fees” for escort services, but not prostitutes at Nevada’s 24 legal brothels…

Gorged With Meaning

Leave it to the Daily Fail to reverse the “sugar babies are exploited” narrative:  “Students lure online sugar daddies into paying their tuition fees: How young women are using the internet to find rich men who will give them cash in exchange for relationships” San Francisco Chronicle 1-20-1917

Hooker Humor (#31)

Miranda Kane uses her good reviews to catch reporters’ attention:

…her frank and funny one-woman show, The Coin Operated Girl, has won rave reviews…billed as “the cheapest hour you’ll ever spend with a prostitute”, it has drawn comparisons with the tell-all blog Belle de Jour…“There are a lot of people saying we should ban the buying of sex because all these women are being forced into it, but the only reason they are being forced into it are things like the Government cutting benefits and that there aren’t enough facilities out there to help with drug and mental health problems…we need to look at the base reasons why they are doing it”…

Watershed

After being drawn to the dynamic and outspoken prostitutes…at [a] conference…I met Ishtar Lakhani…who has been advocating for the decriminalization of prostitution in [South Africa]…“(Steinem’s) argument is that we live in a patriarchy.  All women are oppressed; all women are victims…a woman…[should] decide what [she wants] to choose…If you want to do sex work, it is your choice and should be respected”…The Nordic model is often touted as the solution to the prostitution problem.  However…the Nordic model has not helped women or reduced women in sex work or increased women’s safety…the model [also] affects the women’s ability to make money because of reduced number of clients…It is time for feminist activists and governments around the globe to recognize that New Zealand’s decriminalization model works.  Anti-prostitution activists argue that decriminalization expands the industry, but New Zealand’s government has found that not to be the case…

Full of Themselves (#418)

One can always tell a story influenced by the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC):

…Unlike street walkers who ply their trade in motel rooms, those selling their bodies are doing so by intermingling with a legitimate business…Those using massage therapy as a front operate out of clean buildings indistinguishable from legitimate massage parlors…Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion…[lied] that [sex work] doesn’t qualify as a victimless crime…[because of] human trafficking…[even though his cops have never] found [any women who] said they were being forced into prostitution…[he pretends that] Human trafficking…is a growing problem in…Manteca [anyway and his DA crony] Tori Verber Salazar [tells old men lurid wanking fantasies of]…victims as young as 11 years old that are forced to do tricks…

Held Together With Lies (#542)

Remember that ridiculous probitionist “study” that pretended sex work “costs” France €1.6 billion a year?  Well, Mark Draughn took the time to work out the economic actualities, and it’s very interesting reading (and, as you might expect, completely different from what the prohibitionists pretend).  Like Gaul it’s divided into three parts, but it’s well worth your time.

Traffic Circle (#546)

Glenn Kessler isn’t the only one at the Washington Post who’s attacking “sex trafficking” mythology:

…At times, various government agencies have estimated that there were as many as 50,000 victims a year in this country.  Then, in 2004, another estimate came in at about 14,500 to 17,500, and then lowered it to 1,362, our colleague Jerry Markon wrote in a lengthy article in 2007…The FBI on April 6 put out its first report on human trafficking…The numbers were from just 13 states reporting…Even so, the total number of human trafficking offenses reported for either “commercial sex acts” or “involuntary servitude” in those 13 states was 14.  There were a total of four arrests…

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

The Biggest Whores

Quite possibly the stupidest statement ever made about sex:

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

Surplus Women 

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

Gorged With Meaning

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

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

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

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

Above the Law 

Sometimes “authorities” completely get away with serial rape:

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

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

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

Profound Ignorance

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

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

So Close and Yet So Far

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

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

Blunt Instrument

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

Shame, Shame

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

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

Drawing Lines Sheri's Ranch

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

Deafening Silence (#415)

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

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

BDSM (#505)

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

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

Harm Reduction (#506)

Another wake-up call to wives:

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

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I am the secret ingredient in a lot of healthy marriages, because when he’s seeing me, both of you are getting the amount of sex you want. – April Adams

Harm Reduction

As I always say, we save far more marriages than we wreck:

…if your husband is seeing me, it’s because he wants to stay married…Imagine if instead of me it was the babysitter, your neighbor, your best friend…I’m a professional.  I am discreet, but more than that I am discrete:  My time, attention, and sexuality are measured in hours, beyond which he is yours.  And importantly, I don’t love your husband and never will…I will never be a threat to your marriage because when I’m off the clock I don’t want anything to do with either of you…

Divided We Fall

I wish gay people stuck up for whores as often as whores stick up for them:

A gay man…in…Italy…who worked as a chef in a restaurant was often harassed by his manager…one night, his manager told him that he “had to prove to the rest of the staff [I] was not gay by having sex with a prostitute…I met Marta, a Romanian girl.  I explained her the situation and she accepted.  We went back to the restaurant, where my manager spoke with her and told her what she had to do…We then went to a room to have sex, but I could not manage…The manager then gave €40 to the prostitute while my colleagues started asking the woman whether I was gay or straight.  She replied I was fine, but they did not believe her.”  A few days after the episode, Marco decided to sue his manager…

Above the Law 

Cops say it’s not “fair” that they were fired, merely for gang-raping a teenage girl at gunpoint:

They were arrested for sexual abuse involving a minor, but now…[Illinois cops] Steven…Bonynge…and Seth Degelman [have filed suit]…the victim was “slightly under the age of 17.”  In other words, she was 16…Bonynge…used a weapon in the commission of the [rape]…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

A man’s career is destroyed for seeking consensual sex:

Basketball analyst and former NBA player Greg Anthony was suspended indefinitely by CBS…after he was arrested on a charge of soliciting a prostitute in a Washington, D.C., hotel room…Anthony…issued a statement…apologizing to his wife, family and colleagues…Anthony was suspected of using a computer as part of the crime, and that his arrest was part of an undercover operation targeting prostitution.  The hotel is less than a mile from the White House…

What possible fucking difference does the computer or the hotel’s location make?  Does the reporter wish the audience to fear that the President was endangered by evil sex rays?

Broken Record

This would be hilarious except that the “authorities” are destroying real people’s lives in furtherance of a rather pedestrian wanking fantasy:

The Detroit Auto Show draws thousands to the Motor City.  And…that means…the demand for sex spikes…The Department of Homeland Security is fighting the transport of mostly young women, many of them underage, against their will.  “When you have a big international event like this…there is a sex trafficking industry that springs up around it,” [fantasized] Special Agent Michael Ball.  They are likely lurking at the bars and hotels…Pimps [use] websites like Priceline.com to book hotel rooms…websites like Backpage.com have…graphic catch lines like, “meat is fresh.”  Code, for someone new has been brought to town…Officials want you to be on the lookout for young people…[with] tattoos on the neck or thigh…

See also “A Mound of Filth” below.

Public Property

Dudes pretend responsibility for women’s abortions, because you know we silly women can’t make decisions like that for ourselves and are therefore totally dependent on male guidance.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#339)

This is mostly just the usual lurid “survivor” masturbatory fantasy (in this case intended to hawk a book), but it contains only the second instance I’ve seen of this literally impossible claim: “‘They…were queuing up outside…If I did 40 to 50 people, that would be nothing’…On one particular night, she says she had sex with 110 men before being violently sick…

Number Puzzle (#402)

And this is why I call Wendy Lyon “indispensable”:

…the Swedish police’s…2013 report…just repeats…the 2011 report…trafficking statistics are pretty much meaningless, because they only measure what officials detect and identify as trafficking, which doesn’t necessarily coincide with the actual amount of activity taking place that fits the legal definition of “trafficking”.  But…if this was a Dutch or German study showing a 95% increase in sex trafficking in a single year, don’t you think we’d be hearing all about it…[to paraphrase one statement]:  “In cases where women are exploited in prostitution in Sweden but not willing or able to cooperate with law enforcement, they may be deported, because we don’t want their kind here”…previous claims [were that] that traffickers avoid Sweden because they can’t make any money there.  15 years of the sex purchase ban, and police say that traffickers are still moving victims to Sweden in order to “maximize their profits”.  What does that tell you about how effective they think their law really is?…trafficking victims…[are] only [valuable] to Sweden…as a law-enforcement tool…the Swedish state uses them for its own purposes, and then discards them like unwanted goods…

One-line version: the Swedish model is a failure, and the Swedes know it.

Learning Curve (All Traffick, All the Time)

Remember the big “Super Bowl sex trafficking bust” the cops were crowing about last January?

TMZ, the New York Daily News and other media outlets face a federal action from a woman arrested in what they hyped as the “Super Bowl Prostitution Bust.”  Janice Lee…sales account manager for an international seller of wigs and hair products…[was libeled] when various media outlets reported the juicy details of a prostitution ring’s takedown…”The statements told defendants’ audience that Mrs. Lee is a whore; that she is a drug dealer; that she is part of a gang”…TMZ’s article…mentions that wig shops were among the “phony businesses” that pimps used to funnel millions in “sex profits”…In addition to saying that Lee belonged to “a small army of Asian hookers”…TMZ also published her picture…

A Mound of Filth

Here’s a heaping helping of the usual “trafficking” feces served up Arizona style, with lots of lurid detail for the salivating reader to masturbate to.  It does, however, have a few interesting details, such as “the Super Bowl…has been dogged by claims that it brings…a rise in underage girls for sale…an idea that even anti-trafficking activists now say isn’t grounded in fact.”  I like to think I had a major role in dynamiting that particular toilet.  Then there’s the “dog crate” trope:  “…She would have sex with as many as five men each day….[and] be kept in a dog crate for hours at a time…” Given that this one seems limited to Arizona, one must wonder why dogs and sex seem so inextricably linked in the minds of “authorities” there.Dominique Roe-Sepowitz  But the real money shot is from arch-fanatic Dominique Roe-Sepowitz:

…Roe-Sepowitz…said…women should be seen as trafficking victims even if they are not…controlled by a pimp…her belief, widely shared by other [prohibitionists], is that most women enter the trade at a young age…”I believe every adult (prostitute), I believe almost every single one of them was trafficked…Someone coached them into that life”…women can be being forced into prostitution by their life situation. She referred to it as “trafficked by circumstances”…

Business As Usual

As usual, the media and everyone else are pretending this is an unusual policy, when in fact it is the norm everywhere in the United States:

A police officer in Arkansas recently lost his job after he exposed a massive scheme that allowed officers to have sex with prostitutes and then arrest them…The way that Former Fort Smith…Sgt. Don Paul Bales’ department had it set up, cops would “prove” that they weren’t really police officers, by having sex with prostitutes…[Bales has sued to get] his job back…

False Witness

And those who wish to manufacture “sex trafficking victims” can use exactly the same methods:

Innocent people can be questioned by police in such a way that they end up convincing themselves that they’ve committed a crime.  And this belief can be so strong, they can sometimes follow that belief up with a false confession…a study…from the University of Bedfordshire in the UK…found that…“false memories of committing crime with police contact can be surprisingly easy to generate, and can have all the same kinds of complex details as real memories…All participants need to generate a richly detailed false memory is three hours in a friendly interview environment, where the interviewer introduces a few wrong details and uses poor memory-retrieval techniques”…of 30 students who were told they’d committed a crime in their teenage years…71 percent…ended up developing a false memory of the event…

A Year Later

Despite the Harper government’s best efforts to convince them otherwise, Canadians still don’t want the state butting into their consensual sexual transactions.  That’s the results of a new Forum Research poll…which shows…only 27 percent of Canadians support that law, while 52 percent oppose it outright…Even among Conservative supporters…only 37 percent support the bill, while more than four in ten oppose it.  When asked if they support legalizing sex work outright, 54 percent of the country is onboard, with a third disagreeing…

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Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.  –  Matthew 15:11

More articles which expand on concepts covered in past columns.

Harm Reduction (January 13th)

Yesterday we looked at how Portugal applied a harm-reduction approach to drugs which are still illegal in less-enlightened countries; here’s an article from the April 21st Guardian which examines a harm-reduction approach to dealing with those addicted to a drug which is legal nearly everywhere:

…the provision of a safe place for those drinkers who do not want to be “saved” or “cured”, would be a welcome development – and, at the St. Anthony Residence, in St Paul, Minnesota, this is exactly what drinkers are offered, free of charge.  For years, this “wet house” (one of four in the state) has provided shelter to its hopelessly alcoholic residents, at a cost of $18,000 per person per year.  Nobody has to attend therapy sessions; there is no 12-step programme and no homilies about hope or the future.  Similar facilities are available elsewhere in the US, and in Canada, where a study based around Ottawa’s “wet shelter” found that emergency room visits and arrests were reduced by around 50%, saving the individual drinker untold humiliation and pain and significantly reducing the bills of local taxpayers, while freeing up medical staff and police officers for other jobs.  Can it be doubted, then, that such programmes provide a win-win situation?  The drinker is taken off the street and out of the emergency room, the local community benefits and, though this is not altogether a solution to their problem, friends and family are eased of at least some of the pain that goes with loving a chronic drunk.  Meanwhile, within the limits of their condition, drinkers attending facilities like St. Anthony’s are surprisingly happy.

And that, perhaps, is the problem.  Hopeless drunks aren’t supposed to be happy:  they’re supposed to suffer until they see the error of their ways and submit to a cure.  Critics of the wet houses never say this, of course; they talk about wet houses “giving up” on people, about “writing people off” – and yet, though they may well be sincere, their opposition to harm reduction programmes raises serious questions about liberty and civil rights.  When a grown man who, whether drunk or sober, maintains, often with real cogency and persuasiveness, that he does not wish to be treated for what other people may think of as a “condition” but which he sees as an essential part of his identity, what right does anyone have to oblige him to seek therapy?  It may not be desirable (or rather, we may not see it as desirable) to be a chronic drinker, but it is not so long since it was seen as equally undesirable to be gay…

And while we’re on the subject of addiction…

Not An Addiction (February 11th)

CNN, that bastion of responsible journalism, published on March 28th a story in which irresponsible scientists (or perhaps irresponsible reporters misquoting scientists) claim that dietary fats affect the brain “in much the same way as cocaine and heroin” and that this means they are addictive.  It of course means nothing of the kind; for one things fats are needed by the human body while drugs are not, and for another thing “withdrawal” from fats does not produce physical symptoms.  Habituating, yes; addictive, no.

Scientists have finally confirmed what the rest of us have suspected for years:  Bacon, cheesecake, and other delicious yet fattening foods may be addictive.  A new study in rats suggests that high-fat, high-calorie foods affect the brain in much the same way as cocaine and heroin.  When rats consume these foods in great enough quantities, it leads to compulsive eating habits that resemble drug addiction, the study found.  Doing drugs such as cocaine and eating too much junk food both gradually overload the…pleasure centers in the brain…eventually the pleasure centers “crash,” and achieving the same pleasure–or even just feeling normal–requires increasing amounts of the drug or food…

The fact that junk food could provoke this response isn’t entirely surprising, says Dr. Gene-Jack Wang, M.D., the chair of the medical department at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, in Upton, New York.  “We make our food very similar to cocaine now,” he says.  Coca leaves have been used since ancient times, he points out, but people learned to purify or alter cocaine to deliver it more efficiently to their brains (by injecting or smoking it, for instance).  This made the drug more addictive.  According to Wang, food has evolved in a similar way.  “We purify our food,” he says.  “Our ancestors ate whole grains, but we’re eating white bread.  American Indians ate corn; we eat corn syrup”…

One last nitpick:  while I don’t expect journalists to be experts in everything they write about, a little basic research would be nice.  The reporter’s appalling ignorance of food biology is readily apparent from ignorant phrases like “delicious yet fattening foods”; high-fat foods are delicious to us BECAUSE they’re fattening, not in spite of it as she implies.  We evolved to survive harsh conditions, not to live a sedentary existence in the midst of plenty, so the foods our bodies crave most are those which enable us to consume the highest number of calories in the shortest possible time – namely fats.  The problem isn’t in so-called “junk foods”, it’s in our overindulgence in them.  Water has absolutely no nutrients and consuming too much of it is unhealthy, but I don’t see ignoramuses referring to it as a “junk beverage”.

Welcome To Our World (January 20th)

The latest people to be forced to endure government busybodies in their private affairs:  nursing mothers, in this article from the Washington Post of February 21st:

Women have been nursing other women’s babies for hundreds of years; it used to be called wet-nursing.  Now, technology is giving new life to this practice.  On the Internet, especially on Facebook, lactating women are forming “milk-sharing” communities where they post if they have a surplus or a deficiency of breast milk.  They then meet up in person to give or receive bottles of frozen breast milk…The prevalence of online sharing of breast milk is impossible to quantify, but it has caught the attention of the Food and Drug Administration.  Last fall, the FDA released a statement that recommended “against feeding your baby breast milk acquired directly from individuals or through the Internet” because unscreened donor milk could allow the transmission of HIV, chemical contaminants, some illegal drugs and some prescription drugs…The FDA’s statement encouraged women to consider milk banks instead of turning to the Internet.  Milk banks may charge as much as $6 an ounce; at that price, it could cost about $150 a day to feed the average 3-month-old baby.  The FDA does not regulate milk banks or milk-sharing, but it posted facts about these options after realizing that people were turning to the agency for information…the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) operates nine nonprofit milk banks in the United States…The banks are designed to serve babies in neonatal intensive care units, says the group’s president, Jean Drulis, though they provide milk to healthy babies “when possible.”  HMBANA recently announced that all of its milk banks have a critical shortage…Plus, the milk is available only with a doctor’s prescription, and only some health insurance plans cover the cost…

As you might imagine, the idea of women thumbing their noses at busybody government “recommendations” and relying on their own judgment in an underground economy based on their natural, biological abilities pleases me to no end.

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