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Posts Tagged ‘Hollow Claims’

It is time for democracies to…take [sex workers] seriously – not just because democratic values mandate it, but because sex workers are the experts on the matter.  –  Sonja Dolinsek

License to Rape 

Predators posing as gardai [Irish police] are preying on sex workers…demanding sex and robbing them…Uglymugs…has appealed to new Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan to direct officers to engage “more sympathetically” with sex workers…organiser…Lucy Smith, said…”many escorts are uncertain if these men are gardai or not…in some cases, these are corrupt gardai”…Kendra Wilkinson

Really Cheap Whores

The phrase “incredibly unprofessional” comes to mind:

Kendra Wilkinson hated having sex with Hugh Hefner so much that she turned to drugs and booze…she [also claimed]…that [she] was unaware sex was required of her when she moved into the Playboy mansion as one of Hefner’s girlfriends in 2003.  At the time she was 18 and he was 78…

Welcome To Our World (February Updates)

Busybodies and the State conspire to punish old people for being sexual:

…Donna Lou Young and Henry V. Rayhons…[were] both in their 70s [when they married]…Today, he’s awaiting trial on a felony charge that he raped Donna at a nursing home where she was living…Iowa [prosecutors claim] Rayhons had intercourse with his wife when she lacked the mental capacity to consent because she had Alzheimer’s.  She died on Aug. 8…One week later…Rayhons…was arrested…Experts in geriatrics say that intimacy…can make dementia sufferers feel less lonely and even prolong their lives…Henry and Donna…were deeply in love…[there is] no evidence…that the couple’s love faded, that Donna failed to recognize her husband or that she asked that he not touch her…prosecutors are likely to portray Rayhons as a sex-hungry man who took advantage of a sweet, confused woman…

The main culprits:  her daughters and prudish nursing home staff.

Gateway

Sometimes the flailing attempts at self-justification are a marvel to behold:

Six women were arrested…in a…[sting] in Birmingham [Alabama]…One…was charged with physical harassment after trying to grope an undercover officer…Lt. Ron Sellers [pretends cops had] complaints about prostitution…and [bloviated]…”It could be they are forced in to it, or they are supporting a drug habit.  [They sell] themselves for money…chasing sporting events and conventions.  A lot of them will be gravitating toward Atlanta for the SEC Championship this weekend…There are a lot of other crimes associated with escorts…They deal in cash.  They don’t trust police”…

Yes, he actually defined dealing in cash and not trusting pigs as “crimes”.Booby Trap

Business Opportunity

It’s not like it’s their money, after all:

A night spot with a…rather “voluptuous” architectural design…could be torn down in a matter of months.  The building…has seen several strip clubs over the span of 40 years.  It’s best known to residents as its original name, The Booby Trap, which also described its domed design…the building’s owner has…[offered] to sell the structure and the land [at more than the market value] to the city of Winter Park, which in turn plans to demolish the building and re-sell it.  No adult-oriented business will be allowed to open at the location…

Forward and Backward

Hull City Council won a landmark ruling to create Britain’s first “prostitution-free zone”…any sex workers or curb crawlers caught around the…Hessle Road area…can be arrested and [dragged to]…court.  City Councillor Daren Hale said…the zone was created was to give “a positive view of Hull”…the moves will simply create a red light district in another area…[politicians pretend that] a…harm reduction approach…will [somehow] run alongside the injunction…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

Paging Dr. David Ley:

A sex addict [was] caught taking photos up women’s skirts…Peter Hooton…served a prison term when convicted of like crimes in the past [but New Zealand] Judge Grant Fraser said the best hope of protecting the community…was to keep him out of jail this time…Hooton’s…attending…twice a week with Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous…

Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark snakeskin pumps

Yet another study proving that the sky is blue:

Scientists from the Universite de Bretagne-Sud conducted experiments that showed that men behave very differently toward high-heeled women…if a woman drops a glove on the street while wearing heels, she’s almost 50 per cent more likely to have a man fetch it for her than if she’s wearing flats…a high-heeled woman in a bar waits half the time to get picked up by a man, compared to when her heel is nearer to the ground…

Against Their Will (TW3 #3)

I’m really not sure which to believe, the copy which claims that sex workers in Mumbai welcome and trust Priti Patkar, who apparently runs a kind of daycare center for them; or the headline which trumpets “She works for the welfare of sex workers by first taking the children away from them“.  I also see too many phrases like “rescued from brothels” and suspicious protests-too-much statements about how much the kids “love” her and her cronies.

The Widening Gyre 

And it all happened without anyone noticing!

…it is suspected that dozens of schoolgirls at Minzu Middle School were drugged and forced into prostitution.  An insider [claimed]…the students were given to government leaders outside of the county as gifts for their use…the…girls…were coerced by a female…surnamed Xu [who]…has done this multiple times…Xu…first bribes several students while the rest who do not obey her are beaten…One government employee insisting on anonymity [said]…the story of over 80 schoolgirls being forcibly taken to a hotel for prostitution is very common, with some versions of the story saying it involves over 80 and others saying over 40…

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

It only took the Washington Post two years to catch up with me:

…The graphic showed a rape reporting rate of 10 percent, but…2013 criminal victimization rates…estimated 35 percent…are reported…the survey’s definitions of rape or “sexual attack” is inconsistent with states’ legal definitions or with standard methodology… “Prosecution” and “arrested” are not terms that can be wrapped under “faced trial”…the rate of incarceration among people convicted of rate is much higher than one-third…46 percent of felony rape convictions resulted in guilty pleas…

Skin To Skin

Checklist

This rather odd story engages in the usual “trafficking” tale tactic by offering a lurid story without names or evidence, but is mainly about how cops are given a checklist of “signs” they can pretend to have observed so as to transform a boring old prostitution case into a sexy “trafficking” one.  The low point: “A majority of women experience [sex work] as paid rape.”  The high point:  “We don’t have a plague of human trafficking”.

Banishment

Residents of…[a] Pretoria [neighborhood] have made it clear they won’t tolerate prostitution openly taking place near their homes.  At the weekend they burnt makeshift beds allegedly used by prostitutes…and forced women they accuse…to walk down the street carrying banners…Resident Paul Masina said they were tired of police [requiring]…evidence to support their complaints…“It’s disgusting and filthy here because of them so we’re destroying their businesses so they won’t come back again”…

Hollow Claims (TW3 #338)

Despite its recent support for “sex trafficking” hysteria, Al Jazeera published an editorial from our strong ally Sonja Dolinsek arguing against imposition of the Swedish model in various countries.  One must wonder if, like the UK’s Guardian or the US’s Washington Post, the network isn’t straddling the fence until it figures out which way the wind is blowing.Elvgren His Life and Art

Remembrance 

Gil Elvgren was the greatest [pinup artist].  The massive book, Elvgren: His Life & Art, has the artist’s best paintings…His work was familiar to millions of Americans in the mid-20th Century, thanks to calendar publishers who printed his cheesecake paintings for decades…[they] were [often] copied onto fighter planes by paintbrush-wielding World War II soldiers…

Marching Up Their Own Arses (TW3 #349)

About as revolting an idea as I’ve ever heard of:

A&E has greenlit a…new reality series in which a man tries to convince prostitutes to quit their jobs…the network has ordered eight episodes of 8 Minutes (working title), a series featuring cop-turned-pastor Kevin Brown surprising escorts in hotel rooms and offering to rescue them…Brown has eight minutes to make his case…the show was inspired by a 2013 LA Times article about Brown…[who pretends] he can [magically] decode an ad…on the Internet…[to] notice…that this is obviously someone being held against their will…

Despite his Super Savior powers, he claims only a 50% success rate (probably about 10x his true rate) and sets an 8-minute limit because that’s how long it takes demonic pimps to materialize in the room and murder him in front of a whole TV crew.  I am not making this up.  Please sign this petition for A&E to rethink this abomination; Brown will no doubt continue his nonconsensual kinky roleplay anyway, but it doesn’t have to be televised.

Legal Is As Legal Does (TW3 #401)

A law that would have allowed Auckland local bodies to ban prostitution in specified places has been scrapped by a parliamentary select committee…councils have been urged to look at other ways to control street prostitutes…”Many complaints…relate to noise, littering, slow-moving motor vehicles (kerb-crawling) and disorderly behaviour.  These kinds of behaviour can be dealt with by bylaws already in existence”…

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #422) Laura Pahomova

I am not a vindictive sort, but this man had better hope I never catch him alone anywhere:

A model jumped seven floors to her death…after a spurned lover told her family about her…life as an escort.  Laura Pahomova, 23, scrawled notes in lipstick and eyeliner over the walls, mirrors and furniture of a…13th floor apartment…claiming former client Martin Riley had driven her to suicide…Laura, who described Mr Riley as a “stalker”, had threatened suicide if her family found out what she was doing but…Riley [pretends that] he informed her loved ones to help her…Riley had a previous conviction for the harassment of another escort…In that case…he threatened to tell her family about her work and she threatened to harm herself if he did…

The Law of Averages (Traffic Updates) 

Another example of That Age as cultic totem:

A Horsham charity, which helps women out of escorting and prostitution, has secured funding to produce an education pack for schoolchildren…the Averageage12 [sic] pack [is so] named… “because 12 is average age of trafficked victims…and entry into prostitution…we want to get [this propaganda] into the hands of every 12 year old…to help protect them and their friends from potentially being trafficked or groomed into the sex industry”…

I Saw My Brain (TW3 #433)

They’re “helping” them into cells and coercive “therapy”:

Grady Judd, sheriff of Polk County, announced the arrests of 61 people…to help women who are victims of being exploited as sex workers…they are offering counseling to help the women…

The Public Eye (TW3 #439) face sitting

Around 500 people [descended] on Westminster and [pretended] to have sex…in a…protest against…censorship…#PornProtest plans to…attempt to break the Guinness World Record for…face-sitting…over new restrictions on what pornography can be made and sold in the UK…Charlotte Rose…the woman behind the protest…first became involved in the adult industry as a bondage model…and now works as a sex therapist…she is also a seasoned political campaigner…and was an independent candidate in the recent…by-election…

Think of the Children! (TW3 #445) 

El Paso Children’s Hospital is backing away from its participation in a local fundraiser after learning…that…special guest DJ [Jessie Andrews]…also happens to be an adult film star…One hundred percent of the ticket proceeds were to go to the Children’s Hospital, along with toys collected at the event…

Prudesville (TW3 #448)

This is so over-the-top absurd, I’m beginning to suspect it’s some incredibly elaborate hoax:

…The city of Everett tore down the pink and purple walls of two brothel-esque coffee stands, known notoriously as Java Juggs and Twin Peaks, after its former owner, Carmela Panico, pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution and money laundering.  Construction crews [hauled] out junk from the “dilapidated and disgusting” stands into a nearby dump truck…the city [stole] the rundown stands and decided to destroy them as a message that illegal activity would not be tolerated…

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Abolitionism does not solve the problem of violence which…stems from the criminalization of sex workers and migrants, and the lack of rights that goes with it.  –  Sonja Dolinsek

Couples

Eve Ray on clients:

…clients of sex workers are regarded in many quarters as the scum of the earth…[so] it is hardly surprising that clients are so reluctant to speak out.  Yet talk to sex workers and they will tell you that their clients come in all shapes and sizes…not all clients are men…for my birthday we decided to…book…a girl from a local escort agency for some three in a bed fun…So I am a sex worker’s client…The girls we saw were bright and attractive and fully aware of what they were doing…Two Women and a Man by Giorgione (1510)We paid them well and they provided us with what we wanted.  It was…a business transaction of benefit to both parties. No coercion, no exploitation, no rape…

Whores and Wives

An Australian woman left her husband upon discovering his affair with a hooker, so she of course blamed our profession and published a stereotype-laden defamation of it.  Here’s an eloquent rebuttal:

…In…Sad Reality Behind Pretty Woman Tale, Louise O’Neale…claims…sex workers are home wreckers, men’s “chattels”, that we’re… “commodified”, “dehumanised”…packages to be bought and sold…She also argues we are sexual deviants…who require professional help.  I think O’Neale has watched too many Hollywood movies…feminists have spent decades…telling [us] how we should feel about our work, or [telling] others on our behalf how we feel about our work…They claim to be experts; they’ve got it dead wrong…

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality

Prosecutors must have dropped the claim that the girl was “mentally deficient”:

[Edward Bagley] was sentenced to 20 years…for holding a young woman captive as a sex slave for six years…he…also agreed to pay about $123,000 toward future counseling and medical care…Bradley Cook…received a 20-year sentence and…$123,000 in restitution…[for] sex trafficking…[and Dennis] Henry…was sentenced to 10 years, $123,000 in restitution and lifetime supervision…Marilyn Bagley…is to receive probation and [Michael] Stokes and [James] Noel five years each…

Sweden’s Ultra-progressive Views on Women

A pub in…Sweden has been cleared of discrimination charges after bouncers denied entry to several women of Asian appearance in what owners claimed was an attempt to cut down on prostitution…the court ruled…[the] owners had a “legitimate reason”…

An Educated Idiot

SWOP-NYC and SWANK…have significant questions about the “research” carried out by Sudhir Venkatesh…[and reported] in January 2011…in Wired Magazine…he made many outlandish, salacious, and false claims about…sex workers in NYC…he said he had “followed” 270 sex worker subjects…but none of our membership had ever been contacted by him nor knew of anyone who had been…Claims…regarding the dates, locations and numbers of people…were wildly inconsistent.  His conclusions…were easily shown by other researchers and commentators to be incorrect.  Other conclusions such as the fiction that “there’s usually a 25% surcharge” to have sex without a condom not only bore no relationship to reality but also endangered sex workers…We were so concerned by what we uncovered that in October 2011 we wrote a letter to the Columbia IRB

Make Up Your Damned Mind!

Cops “fight” violence against sex workers by subjecting them to violence:

A [California] task force…arrested or cited 23 people…on charges of prostitution or soliciting a prostitute…police mounted the three-day sting operation [after]…investigation into the rape and robbery of two prostitutes…led police to…the realization that victims rarely report the crimes for fear of being prosecuted…[Sgt. Kurt] Hixenbaugh said he decided to organize the recent crackdown to suppress the illicit market…“If we can make business bad, then we can put a dent in the activity,” he explained…

Hixenbaugh’s moral retardation is exceeded only by his ignorance of economics.

Dr. Schrödinger and His Amazing Pussycat

Weird science, truth vs. fact and all that kind of stuff:

Head Games

Slixa has published a number of excellent articles lately, but last week its management let a real clunker through:  a manipulative hobbyist giving advice on how to haggle.  After an outcry the editors removed the article, apologized and printed this rebuttal from Tizzy Wall:

…Tommy…advocated using review writing and being an active member of the hobbyist community as a bargaining chip to see if prices are negotiable…[but his] tips are less effective (and ethical) than he would like to believe…There is an implicit threat that comes with, “I am a loud, influential voice in a community that can affect your livelihood”…it seems as though he gets a thrill out of violating boundaries and feeling as though he has somehow tricked a provider for his benefit…The underlying message…is that providers aren’t worth what they charge…

Against Their Will (August Updates)

People attempting to leave a country without government permission are now classed as “victims”:

Philippine authorities have intercepted 10…human trafficking victims…who were bound for Russia to illegally work there…The Philippines has been trying to impress the United States with its anti-human trafficking drive in order for Washington to lift the Tier 2 ranking it gave…in its 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report…officer-in-charge Siegfred Mison said the incident should again serve as a warning to…workers against attempting to leave without the required overseas employment permits…

One Born Every Minute

A man…claimed he could use his penis to rid a woman of ghosts that had taken up residence in her vagina…Huang Jianjun was arrested…after he [charged] A Xin [$3000 for removing]…evil spirits…[via] sexual intercourse…Jianjun insists that he never had sex with…Xin and that he can’t get an erection due to diabetes…Meanwhile… “Godman” Asaram Bapu, 73, revered by millions across India for his sermons on “enlightenment”, has been charged with raping a 16-year-old schoolgirl…he…claimed he is physically incapable of rape but…medical tests show him to be in good shape…

Tyranny By Consensus (October Updates)

Here’s a concise explanation from Nina Hartley about why condoms in porn are an incredibly bad idea:

…It takes about two hours to shoot a good hardcore scene. Condoms were never intended for that kind of industrial use…[they] roll down, come off, dry out, split and otherwise fail on sets about 30% of the time…and…no matter how lubricated and how designed, [they] create more internal friction on a woman’s intimate anatomy than human skin, with which it’s evolved to tolerate contact.  All-condom players…tend to turn up at clinics with raw internal tissues and multiple surface infections.  This we call “condom rash” and it’s more than an annoyance…if your insides are compromised by friction burns and low-grade bugs…you’re that much more vulnerable to whatever might be turned loose should a condom fail…

Presents, Presents, Presents!Minneapolis Madams

Ed says hiI’ve received three gifts in the past two weeks: Chester Brown sent me his book Ed the Happy Clown, Korhomme sent The Encyclopedia of Prostitution and Sex Work and Aspasia sent Minneapolis Madams.  Thank you all so much!

Profit from Panic

Rescue industry schemes aren’t usually this blatant:

If you are interested in creating positive brand awareness…advertising at the Global Online Counter Child Trafficking Conference is the ideal platform…We have various opportunities which will leave a strong impression of your brand in people’s minds and make your company stand out as a leader in supporting organizations…to prevent…child trafficking…Our…sponsorship packages…include a number of marketing opportunities…to…showcase your social responsibility…and…align yourself with the Global Online Counter Child Trafficking Conference brand…

Bullies With Badges

“Human trafficking” is rapidly becoming a catchall excuse for tyranny, like drugs and “terrorism”:

…the Environmental Protection Agency…[conducted] an armed raid of gold mines near Chicken, Alaska…while investigating a supposed violation of…the Clean Water Act…The EPA said…it…sent in armed men because it had been given information by…State Troopers regarding “rampant drug and human trafficking…in the area.”  That explanation was debunked by a spokeswoman for the state troopers, who said they did not advise the EPA to raid the mine and that there was no evidence of drug and human trafficking…

Broken Record

The same lies, repeated over and over and over

MSPs fear that next year’s Commonwealth Games could lead to an influx of victims of human trafficking to Scotland…Myria Vassiliadou…has urged the Scottish Government to make people who procure sex and consumer goods from victims its top anti-trafficking priority.  Studies have shown that authorities must be vigilant to human trafficking during large sporting events…

Studies have, of course, repeatedly shown exactly the opposite.

Worse Than I Thought

The cancer reaches Michigan:

…Glenn Anderson…has introduced five bills…to more heavily punish…human trafficking…“The Polaris Project…was extremely helpful in shaping this legislation” [he said]…Anderson’s bills…Allow for assets…to be forfeited and dispersed to…law enforcement…criminalize the failure to report knowledge of…trafficking…[and] add convicted…traffickers to the Sex Offenders Registry…Overland Park Arboretum statue

See No Evil (TW3 #37)

A fresh effort is underway to bring criminal charges over a bare-breasted statue…The American Family Association…plans…petitions to empanel a grand jury to again investigate whether the sculpture at the Overland Park Arboretum violates state obscenity laws …Phillip Cosby…last year petitioned a grand jury…but failed to secure an indictment…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake

a federal judge ruled…that…strippers…deserve…at least the minimum wage…The ruling came in a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of current and former dancers at…Rick’s…[in Manhattan]…the…chain…argued that its dancers [are] independent contractors, more akin to stand-up comedians than fry cooks.  But [the] judge…said the list of rules Rick’s laid down could be described as “micromanagement”…

Hollow Claims

The German Prostitution Model: Reducing Violence Against Sex Workers” is a fairly self-explanatory title, but this short, yet thorough essay also sharply criticizes the Swedish model and those (like the European Women’s Lobby) who labor under the idiotic delusion that there could ever be a world “free from prostitution”, and are willing to subject real women to police violence in pursuit of that mad fantasy.

Due Consideration (TW3 #137)

Australia, are you really sure you want to go down the “tyrannical laws named for dead children” path?

…”Zoe’s law”…which could classify a foetus as a person in New South Wales…would allow grievous bodily harm charges to be brought against those who hurt a foetus of more than 20 weeks’ gestation…Melanie Fernandez…of the Women’s Electoral Lobby Australia (WELA)…said…”This…kind of precedent has been used as a…starting point to roll back abortion right in other places, such as states in America”…Portway's cage

Tales from the Dark Side

[When] prosecution for thoughtcrime has become a grim reality, it might be wise to restrict…discussions [of cannibalism fantasies] to fully-anonymized online accounts...”  And, I might add, to avoid actually obtaining the equipment one would need:

Geoffrey Portway’s attorney says the man’s “fantasy world” posed no actual threat of harm to a child.  But the…[Massachusetts] man pleaded guilty…to child pornography charges along with solicitation to commit a crime of violence…and the locked, soundproof basement with a metal cage…bondage equipment and a child-sized coffin serve as evidence…Two other men — one a puppeteer at a Florida church — have also been convicted as a result of the online chat sessions…[about] plans to rape, kill and eat children…

Legitimate Outrage (TW3 #329)

Scott Long on the way politicians like David Vitter and Eliot Spitzer suffer far less than the whores whose names get dragged through the mud along with theirs:

…Spitzer…[made] life miserable for both sex workers and clients.  As…Attorney General, he let…Equality Now goad him into a years-long campaign of harassment against a travel company that marketed sex tours…as Governor, he signed an…“anti-trafficking” law…that massively increased penalties for [buyers]…while maintaining penalties for sex workers…But what folks hate Spitzer for is having bought sex, not the repressive policies he promoted.  Paying women is offensive; persecuting them, fine.  Called out for “immorality”…he actually had the nerve to cite his crackdown on consensual activities in his own defense…In 2008, a jury convicted…Deborah Jeane Palfrey not of prostitution, but of money laundering…and “racketeering”…Palfrey killed herself before sentencing…And [her client David] Vitter stays in the Senate…

Whatever They Need To Say (TW3 #337)

…in connection with the attack on Madaripur brothel on August 28…Borun Begum, a sex worker…filed a case…against 35 identified and 1965 unidentified people…[including] general secretary Milon Bhuyan…women affairs officer Mahmuda Akter and Islahe Qawmi Parishad leader Raju Hujur…She…sought compensation for…valuables worth [$385,000] and…properties worth [$64,000]…Parimal Sarkar…filed a case…against 37 identified and 300 unidentified people…seeking compensation of [$77,000]…for [vandalism of] 30 houses…

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Full bottles are quiet; it’s the empty ones that make noise. – Chinese proverb

Just over a month ago, the European Women’s Lobby issued another of its moronic “demands” that the European union impose the Swedish model on all member governments, claiming that prostitution can be reduced by doing so; this ludicrous cry for attention rests on a mountain of assumptions, every one of them wrong.  It assumes that the European Union has such a power; that the Swedish model works as claimed; that laws can control human nature; that prohibition reduces use of the prohibited thing; that “violence” means “anything I don’t like”; that all whores are pathetic victims; that all women are magically connected together like the tentacles of some immense hyperspatial entity; that EWL has the right to determine morality for all women or all of Europe; and that anyone whose mind is not crippled by neofeminism or whose morality is not crippled by political ambition thinks of EWL and its inane declarations as anything other than caricatures.  Those who wish to use the government to violently suppress consensual sex acts they don’t like are atavisms, throwbacks to our tribal past who must eventually be buried along with those who once urged pogroms against racial or religious minorities.

fool floatBizarrely, these evil women cast their bigotry as “progressive”, largely ignoring the fact that humanity as a whole is slowly losing its taste for using violence to suppress the sexuality of individuals (probably because we no longer live in small groups purely dependent upon sheer numbers for survival).  I say “largely” instead of “completely” because the very fact that they pretend sex work is “violence against women” rather than mere “immorality” demonstrates that, at least on some level, they recognize that the majority of Western society no longer approves of suppressing non-violent behavior with violence. Though they are fond of claiming that sex workers who want rights rather than “rescue” are “unrepresentative”, this is mere projection on their part; in truth it is they who are unrepresentative of those for whom they presume to speak, and their apparently-influential movement is in actuality nothing but a huge, hollow head, impressing the gullible with its apparent size but lacking any substance whatsoever.

All over the world, advocates for health and human rights are calling for decriminalization; all over the world, sex workers ourselves are demanding it.  “Sex trafficking” hysteria has galvanized political resistance to these demands, but this is only a temporary setback which will be reversed as soon as the moral panic implodes.  And though yellow press organizations like the BBC are happy to pretend that the neofeminists’ papier-mâché construction is both sound and solid, publications which cater to those unimpressed by hype are considerably more skeptical.  Consider these three articles which appeared in Neue Zürcher Zeitung (German-speaking Europe’s equivalent to the Wall Street Journal)* the day after the BBC ran its story on the EWL’s silly screed; they paint a very different picture from that the EWL and BBC want you to believe.

…After a period of mostly liberal handling…since the late 1990s European discourse about prostitution is increasingly characterized by the restrictive, abolitionist-colored Swedish model, which feminists of all stripes (including the European Women’s Lobby)…proclaim as the only proper treatment for commercial sex…as in the 19th century, [self-described] “abolitionists” claim that sex workers should be released from their “enslavement”…and Sweden typifies this with its stance that first, prostitution equals violence against women; second, that there are no voluntary, self-determined prostitutes; and third, that it is the clients who are to be punished…Sweden’s stated long-term goal is to totally abolish prostitution, but a look at history shows that such an undertaking has never succeeded anywhere; prostitution flourishes even in those countries where it is completely forbidden, such as in the Arab world…

The article goes on to compare Germany’s loose legalization with the stricter regimes in Austria and the Netherlands and the persecutory system in France, and concludes that the Germans are moving in the right direction (i.e. decriminalization), that strict legalization regimes create “chaos” by making it too difficult for most whores to work legally, and that women forced by restrictive laws to work illegally are “particularly vulnerable when it comes to exploitation, isolation and violence.”

The second article goes even farther, describing prohibitionist claims as “myths and fairy tales”:

No country is able to provide accurate statistical information on the number and origins of all prostitutes or about the nature or place of their work.  It is an extremely diverse industry, ranging from streetwalkers to escorts to dominatrices to ladies who provide sexual services to the disabled.  The latter type meets with the greatest public acceptance and is even exempt from some local prostitution regulations…but it never fails that discussion about prostitution usually involves only the most visible workers in the low-price segment…The German Confederation of Counseling Services for Sex Workers (BUFAS)…warns that the numbers being bandied about in Europe…are usually extrapolated in a fictitious and adventurous way.  “Virtually every time we searched for the source of these figures,” said Holger Rettig from Adult Business Association, “we ran into a bubble”…many long-circulated myths and stories persist, and a study by Christiane Howe of the Technical University of Berlin demonstrates that the majority of negative comments about prostitution are based on hearsay and not on the commenter’s own experience.

The third article expands on the statement that public conversation about prostitution is nearly always restricted to streetwalker stereotypes:

If prostitution is discussed in print or digital media, there will never be a matching photograph but rather one showing the same thing…high heels and lots and lots of flesh…all over Switzerland for the past three years, the same type of photos was always shown:  headless women, lit from behind and photographed from below, and preferably showing a lot of skin.  But why this monotony, why the cementing of a cliché in almost all media?  Nicole Aeby…working for Zurich’s Office for Gender Equality…analyzed the pictures and presented her findings…at a public meeting in the Town Hall…Aeby says that this reduced and voyeuristic view reinforces and cements the prejudices of some readers and probably some editors…

burning idolIn the US and UK, politicians consider it part of their job to reinforce old stereotypes about whores and invent new ones, and major newspapers assiduously devote themselves to spreading a moral panic; in Switzerland, the government wants to fight whore stigma and major newspapers make a point of deconstructing the same moral panic.  And while some governments demand their people bow down and worship the neofeminists’ ridiculous pasteboard idol, wiser heads are working to set it on fire.

*I am indebted to regular reader Frans van Rossum for calling these to my attention, and to Google for closing the numerous gaps in my execrable German.

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