Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Hungary’

To attribute [women’s]…prostitution to fear of powerful Nigerian juju is pure hogwash.  –  Leo Igwe

Yellow Fever

Like the BBC, the New York Times has discarded whatever credibility it once enjoyed:

When the New York Times Magazine (10/10/18) looked at Kensington, a neighborhood in northeast Philadelphia, it…saw an opportunity to take readers on a sensational 6,000-word tour of trauma, complete with cringe-worthy language and compassionless photographs.  Reporter Jennifer Percy…doesn’t shy away from…reducing an extremely complicated issue to trauma-porn:  “…women often ended up as prostitutes.  They offered oral sex for $25 so they could buy a few bags“…How many women did Percy interview before determining that all of them offered the same services for the same price?  Could she have crafted a description that was any more victimizing?…Street-based sex work already comes with risks.  Publishing detailed and intimate information about…how they don’t report abuse, could attract predatory individuals…Sex worker advocate groups and researchers have repeatedly said that criminalization forces workers into dangerous situations, and leads to a strained or even abusive relationship between law enforcement and sex workers.  Multiple harm-reduction groups exist in Kensington specifically for sex workers, including SOL CollectiveProject SAFE, and the Philadelphia Red Umbrella Alliance, but Percy didn’t think to include their work in the conversation…

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

I hope this doesn’t harm the trend toward increased awareness of rapist cops:

…Bellevue, WA police chief [Steve Mylett] was cleared on charges he raped a woman after it was discovered she created fake emails to prove her accusation…The…woman…claimed he raped her two years ago at his Bothell home during an encounter arranged “through an adult sex website.”  The woman also made accusations against two other Bellevue detectives, which led to domestic violence and witness tampering charges against one of them (those charges were dropped earlier this month).  “Bothell investigators found Mylett’s accuser had gone so far as to create phony, backdated email exchanges that contained the address of a Bothell rental home where Mylett temporarily lived…But lease records…proved Mylett had moved out of that house prior to when the woman claimed the assault occurred, and DNA tests ruled Mylett out as a possible match to genetic evidence gathered from clothing the woman turned over”…The woman [allegedly] had a history of hooking up with men she found on Craigslist and then claiming the consensual encounters as rape…Though she had made two false accusations prior to Mylett, she was not charged because of her mental-health problems.  This time, however, it appears she won’t get away with her false accusations [because they were against cops]…Mylett [said]…“people [who aren’t cops] should be held accountable for their actions [even if they’re mentally ill]”…

This man was one of the gang who took it upon themselves to destroy the lives of men who had consensual sex with adult women in the TRB case.

Banishment

Any elected official who acts in this way should be removed from office:

When Richard Gardner, a convicted child sex offender, was released from prison after serving almost 30 years, he quietly moved into the Washington Park neighborhood in Providence…Because his crimes were committed so long ago, Gardner is not subject to the community notification provisions that apply to more recent offenders…But the police [gave] his address to public officials, and a media circus ensued.  The result has been raucous nightly protests in front of his house by dozens of people calling on him to leave the neighborhood…Mayor Jorge Elorza helped fuel the angry gatherings in front of Gardner’s home by stating at a community meeting immediately preceding the first protest that Gardner “has given up his right to be here in the community.”  Other city officials have also encouraged a mob mentality…

The Enlightenment Police (#427)

The European Court of Human Rights kissed France’s arse, but the UN didn’t:

…the United Nations Human Rights Committee found that a French law banning full-face veils in public violates the religious freedom rights of Muslim women.  It is the first time the UN has ruled on full-face veil bans and could have implications for several other European countries that have implemented similar legislation…the UN body found that France’s ban was “too sweeping” and that French officials hadn’t adequately explained why it was necessary to ban…articles of clothing.  Although the ban is [pre]tended to protect women, the law could have the opposite effect by “confining them to their homes, impeding their access to public services and marginalizing them,” the committee said…

The Prudish Giant (#523)

Facebook claims this picture will sexually arouse its users:

For a few hours after The New York Times published an article about conflict and hunger in Yemen, Facebook temporarily removed posts from readers who had tried to share the report…[because]  the article included several images of emaciated children…Tens of thousands of readers shared the article on Facebook, but some got a message notifying them that the post was not in line with Facebook’s community standards…[because] “On Facebook, we don’t allow…any sexual content involving minors”…

Facebook is the embodiment of D.H. Lawrence’s statement, “Our civilisation cannot afford to let the censor-moron loose.”

Guinea Pigs (#579) 

Welcome to our world, amateurs; I hope y’all enjoy what your bootlicking has created:

…[very few US] police departments…have any rules for [pigs] who [violate Facebook’s terms of service by creating]…fake accounts…to friend people of interest and monitor what they post…the practice is almost wholly unregulated…Facebook policies prohibit the creation of fake accounts by law enforcement, but [pigs] are making them anyway.  Some…[even] boast…about their [deceptions] on social media [and Facebook does nothing to stop it]…

Guinea Pigs (#719) 

Palantir is the same company which is helping cops spy on sex workers, and gave cops a facial recognition database of black and Latino men:

Major technology companies including Palantir, Microsoft and Amazon make millions of dollars annually from their contracts with U.S. immigration enforcement agencies…and have helped expand their capabilities, says [a] paper by Mijente, an advocacy group…Palantir’s ICE case management software, which helps the agency track, surveil and deport immigrants, has led to “dangerous acceleration of surveillance technology at the hands of police and prosecutors to target and build profiles of people”…Amazon’s cloud computing subsidiary, Amazon Web Services, [has] become a “key contractor” for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s cloud computing system…The report comes amid increased backlash from workers in the tech industry over the contracts with the government that their companies are taking on.  Google said it would end its work with the Pentagon this year after heavy employee backlash…

See also “Pyrrhic Victory” below.

That Old Black Magic (#769)

I’m so glad to see a Nigerian scholar demolish the racist European masturbatory fantasy of childlike Nigerian women enslaved by black magic:

…There have been [many] reports that have associated forced prostitution by Nigerian women with the traditional belief in juju…from my own point of view as a Nigerian, this much-publicized connection [is] baseless, senseless and absurd…Unfortunately, many western individuals and organizations that are working and campaigning to combat…prostitution…seem to be fascinated by the juju scare narrative.  They find it useful not only because it fits into the stereotypic notion of Africans as childish in thinking…[but also because] it gives them a special job of managing this “people”…European anti-human trafficking campaigners…have refused to pay critical attention to the underlying socioeconomic reasons that force Nigerian women to travel thousands of miles to prostitute in Europe…Many Nigerian prostitutes come into Europe as illegal immigrants and they live in constant fear of deportation.  So Nigerian women who fear returning to Nigeria have other reasons than…juju…

Cooties (#786) 

After more than two years of UK cops publicly masturbating to the fantasy of “trafficking gangs enslaving women in pop-up brothels”, they finally found people they could shoehorn into the narrative:

A gang centred on a single family has been jailed for forcing women from Hungary to work as prostitutes.  Police said “pop up” brothels ran in Nottingham and Derby…Csaba Csomor was jailed for 13 years after [pleading guilty to] charges including trafficking and controlling prostitution.  Five other members of Csomor’s family were jailed for a total of 30 years for a series of related offences…Police [claimed] between December 2012 and December 2017 women were duped into coming to the UK, some on the promise of cleaning jobs.  They were then forced to into sex work…Hungarian authorities alerted UK police…Several women have been [deported] to Hungary but detectives said more victims could still be out there [hiding from the cops who claim they want to “rescue” them]…

I’m sure the cops were disappointed that these folks aren’t Romanian, but one can’t have everything.

Hard Numbers (#847)

Another Australian state moves toward decriminalization:

…the Queensland Government…confirmed the possible decriminalisation of sex work was currently under discussion between the Attorney-General and the Police Minister.  This is a turnaround from six months ago when Police Minister Mark Ryan [said]…there were no plans to decriminalise sex work…

The Course of a Disease (#869)

We were warned that Israeli whore-censorship was only “part of a wider plan”:

The Knesset…gave initial approval to a bill allowing heavy fines to be levied on  people caught hiring prostitutes, as the government aims to crack down on sex [workers]…The legislation passed its first reading by 39-0 votes.  It will now face deliberations in the Knesset Committee for the [Suppression] of Women before coming up for final plenary votes…The bill was first proposed as part of a re[striction] package that Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said aimed at stamping out [sex workers]…

Droit du Seigneur (#872) 

Sex workers have been saying this for decades:

By their nature, are police vice units inherently at risk for corruption and misconduct?  Consider recent revelations at the NYPD:  On Sept. 13, retired vice Det. Ludwig Paz was charged with running a prostitution and gambling ring.  In November 2017, a sex worker died while attempting to flee [brutalization] by vice [cops] in a raid on a massage parlor.  The Queens district attorney’s report on her death offered no critical introspection on the impact of vice operations, labeling her a “criminal” who “engaged in a degrading and humiliating profession.”  In June 2017…a vice [pig] faced disciplinary hearings after he…[raped sex workers; no known] disciplinary action was taken …vice unit[s]…operate…with impunity…[like all cops] the NYPD targets marginalized communities, fails to improve community relationships, and hides [their crimes]…behind the blue wall of silence…

Pyrrhic Victory (#882) 

While activists and Amazon’s own shareholders & employees were asking for the company not to support fascism, Bezos was doing this:

Amazon over the summer met with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to pitch them on buying the tech giant’s controversial facial recognition technology…Alonzo Peña, who served as deputy director of ICE during the George W. Bush administration, [said] that undocumented immigrants could be deterred from seeking  life-sustaining services if they knew immigration officials were using facial recognition software.  Although ICE is technically barred from arresting undocumented people in hospitals and other sensitive locations, Peña says there have been instances of immigration enforcement [ignoring] those rules…

Read Full Post »

So what if…women…are doing this…of their own free will? – Rachel Moran

The Immunity Syndrome pornhub-sexual-wellness-center

Porn isn’t sex education, but Pornhub supports it:

Porn is often blamed for miseducating people about sex…[and] members of the adult industry often counter that porn is simply entertainment and shouldn’t be expected to teach the public about the birds and the bees — but now Pornhub, one of the world’s most popular tube sites, has decided to get in the game of sex education.  On Wednesday, the site launched its new Sexual Wellness Center, an online sex-ed hub run by Dr. Laurie Betito…It has information about everything from the female reproductive system to sexually transmitted infections to testicular cancer. Betito will answer reader questions about love and romance…“[W]e wanted to provide our fans with a trusted educational platform they can utilize as their go-to resource for information and advice when it comes to sex,” said Corey Price, Pornhub’s vice president…

Shift in the Wind

While the prohibitionists continue to scream their filthy fantasies at the top of their lungs, thoughtful people are quietly coming to realize how truly awful anti-sex laws actually are:

To better control their working conditions, sex workers need the removal of punitive sex work laws, rights to security, and to be regarded as authorities in what does and does not improve their lives…Even though sex work was legalized in Hungary in 1999, sex workers continue to face mistreatment by police and other authorities…sex workers are routinely and arbitrarily fined, arrested, and detained under vague laws.  Sex workers are also regularly targeted for administrative fines on unsubstantiated grounds, such as littering or violating pedestrian or traffic regulations, in order to meet police quotas…As a result of regulations that are impossible to comply with for the majority of sex workers…a significant proportion of sex work continues to takes place illegally, even though sex work is officially legal…In a 2011 survey…more than 10 percent of the 246 respondents had been [raped] by…police…and 43.4 percent…had experienced verbal or physical assault by authorities…

Smoke and Mirrors

Another of those cases whose reported details don’t add up:

Marcel RaAnthony Richard…is charged with human trafficking and compelling prostitution.  If convicted, he faces up to life in prison…The teen, who is not being named because she is the victim of an alleged sex crime, has a history of using suggestive screen names and chatting online about sex with older men…The teen’s testimony…was peppered with “I do not recall” and “I do not know.”  She was often unclear about dates, times and events…She testified Richard had posted classified ads on Backpages.com [sic].  The ads…included…photos of a woman that was clearly not the teen…she [also] testified that she was high when she first talked with police and…[some things she said then weren’t] true…police were unable to find any specific locations [she described] nor could they locate any of the other people that the teen said she came in contact with [while supposedly being pimped by Richard]…

Checklist

Huge sums of money given to cops to inflict violence on adults for consensual sex is, alas, not news these days.  But the NYPD is being given a new list of “sex trafficking signs” that describe a very large segment of the population:

New York City…[is creating] a dedicated hotline that will allow [people to rat sex workers out to the cops]…the Vice Unit has been restructured, including the addition of 25 more detectives who will [actively hunt sex workers full-time and]…placing a greater emphasis on pimps and johns…Some of the warning signs people may exhibit are:

  • Signs of physical and/or sexual abuse
  • Lack of memory of recent events
  • Limited freedom of movement
  • Being unpaid or paid very little
  • Having limited access to medical care
  • Seeming to be in debt to someone
  • Working excessively long or unusual hours
  • Having high security measures in the work and/or living locations
  • Showing signs of fear, anxiety, depression, tension, or paranoia
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Having a strong fear of authorities
  • Appearing malnourished or showing signs of repeated chemical exposure
  • Having numerous inconsistencies in his/her story…

Most of the US population is “in debt to someone”, and most women, minorities & young people will show signs of “strong fear” of pigs who are harassing & questioning them about personal matters, including so-called “inconsistencies” due to the disorienting tactics cops intentionally use during interrogation.

Real People (#422) 

A profile of the woman who set up a home for retired sex workers in Mexico City:

After years of working the streets of Mexico City, Carmen Munoz wondered what happened to sex workers like her when they got old – so…for the next 13 years she lobbied the city authorities to provide a retirement home for elderly and homeless sex workers.  With the support of several well-known artists, neighbours from the Merced and fellow sex workers, she finally persuaded them.  The city gave them a large 18th Century building, just a few blocks from Plaza Loreto…It took a lot of work to clean up the building, a former boxing museum, but in 2006 the first women moved in.  They named the shelter Casa Xochiquetzal, after the Aztec goddess of women’s beauty and sexual power…

To Molest and Rape 

Stop faking!

A federal lawsuit brought by a Cincinnati woman against several guards and medical staff from the Warren County Jail [states that she]…was held at the jail in May 2013, after turning herself in on a four-year-old warrant for deception to obtain drugs…the jail’s nurses refused to give the woman her prescribed medicine for her epilepsy, causing her to experience seizures and withdrawal, leaving her debilitated in her jail cell…her jailers [then] Tased her, [stripped] her…turned off her running water and forced her to drink out of the toilet…[they then] held…[her] facedown…[and] at least two [pigs]…climbed on her and raped her…and…orthopedic surgeon said bone shattered on her shoulder was caused by blunt-force trauma consistent with sexual assault and would later have to be surgically treated…six days into her sentence, the woman was sent to the hospital by her tormentors, where doctors found sperm in her urine…one of the defendant nurses, Krys Lambert…said that the inmate was “playing” them, and even refused to give her medications after the jail doctor prescribed them…the guards covered the windows with black garbage bags to conceal the assault…

The Public Eye (#639) jacqthestripper-not-like-other-guys

Sex workers reaching out to the public via art:

Sex workers…are celebrated in We’re Still Working: The Art of Sex Work, a stellar exhibition at SOMArts Cultural Center [in San Francisco], on view through Feb. 25…Comprising pieces created by artists who, in one fashion or another, identify as sex workers, We’re Still Working presents an array of experiences in an industry condemned by the majority of Americans as immoral and threatening to public health and safety.  To counter assumptions and harmful stereotypes about who sex workers are personally and professionally, co-curators Maxine Holloway and Javier Luis Hurtado selected the work of artists who deploy a heady mix of humor, anger and sarcasm in their respective practices, all in defiance of society’s judgement…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#662)

San Diego ramps up its anti-whore pogroms:

More than 400 people were arrested in a three-day statewide sweep aimed at [harassing & impoverishing sex workers]…”Operation Reclaim and Rebuild” also resulted in the [arrest] of 28 [underage sex workers] and 27 women…142 male suspects were arrested on suspicion of solicitation, 238 suspects on suspicion of prostitution and 36 male suspects on suspicion of pimping…”This operation sends a clear message to those who would pay for sex in San Diego County,” [vomited out] Chief Deputy District Attorney Summer Stephan…

Finding What Isn’t There (#672)

Are people really so stupid they can’t understand that calls to a hotline represent only the prevalence of beliefs, suspicions and paranoia, not actual crimes?

Reports of domestic human trafficking continued to increase in 2016…according to…the Polaris Project…Almost three-quarters of the calls were made in regards to [fantasized] sex trafficking [despite the fact that it’s only a small fraction of] labor trafficking…

The Mote and the Beam (#701)

More on the useful idiots who are trying to destroy the internet:

Lawsuits in New York and California are attacking an important tool protecting online free speech by alleging the interactive computer services…promote terrorism…Without Section 230 protections, innovators would not create online public forums for fear they would be held liable for terrorist attacks or every comment made on their websites…courts have repeatedly dismissed the actions citing Section 230, and rejecting allegations that social media companies provide material support.  At least one of the cases filed against Twitter has been dismissed twice.  The others are similarly unlikely to succeed…

The War Goes On 

We’re seeing more editorials critical of the War on Whores:

Whenever a liberal feminist politician talks to a socially conservative politician, no doubt they’re conspiring to harass sex work.  This truism revealed itself again as Sen. Dianne Feinstein…told…Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing that “human sex trafficking was the second largest criminal activity in the United States.”  Human trafficking costs are estimated at $9 billion a year…Since the drug trade is worth $100 billion, and Medicare fraud is estimated at $60 billion, Feinstein’s estimate was not in the same league, never mind ballpark.  She also repeated the debunked untruth that the “average age” of trafficking victims was 12-14 years.  How many six-year-olds do you see strutting on Fourth Street?  A Department of Justice study released in June 2016 concluded there could be as few as 4,500 underage youth in the sex trade, and only 15 percent had pimps.  Feinstein’s fake statistics fuel the growth of sex trafficking laws that punish actual adult working women and their clients to satisfy politicians’ lust for power…

An Example To the West (#708)

As glad as I am to see this story getting wider press, the use of minimizers like “some” or “not all” to mean “the vast majority” really grates on my nerves, as does the ignorant assertion that sex work is illegal in most countries (totally false, though most do have laws which allow cops to persecute us).  Bonus:  white women like Rachel Moran and Ashley Judd coming to India to negate the voices of tens of thousands of women as “a tiny minority”.  Note Judd’s incompetent parroting of Gloria Steinem’s moronic comments about “body invasion”, which makes it sound as though she shares arch-lunatic Sheila Jeffreys’ belief that intercourse is “unnatural”.

That Old Black Magic (#708)

It’s good to see at least a few judges recognizing these fantasies as such:

A mother accused of trafficking a Nigerian woman into the country and forcing her into prostitution has been acquitted after several inconsistencies emerged in the alleged victim’s evidence.  The complainant had previously told a jury she underwent a “voodoo process” in her home country during which she swore she would not report the alleged trafficker, Joy Imasogie…the alleged victim told the jury that she had stopped working as a prostitute in 2008…However…evidence…showed that the woman continued to work as a prostitute after this date…The woman told [bureaucrats] she was still working as a prostitute and that she advertised her services on the internet.  She also said she didn’t want help to leave that way of life.  The judge also noted that the alleged victim was found in the same house as the accused’s husband and €14,000 in cash on a date after she said she fell out with Ms Imasogie…

Read Full Post »

A hidden sexual scourge is revealed.  Sex considered consensual by its participants is redefined as coercion.  A newly discovered predator…exhibits impulses far outside erotic and moral norms, yet rare as he must be, his numbers are inexplicably mounting.  There is a cry for vigilance and prosecution.  –  Judith Levine

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Cops can commit murder, mayhem and rape and still keep their jobs, but if they look for consensual sex…”The sheriff of Bossier Parish has fired one of his deputies…[who was] charged with solicitation of prostitution…Deputy Larry Harrell…was arrested in Shreveport…

Saving Them From Themselves

A 17-year-old who sent her boyfriend intimate photographs has been left shattered after police decided to charge him for possession of child pornography.  Alison (not her real name), who is four months away from being 18, says she’s been traumatised by the way that she and her partner Peter, 22, (also not his real name) have been treated by police, the stress of which has forced them both out of education…people aged 16 and 17 can legally consent to sex but can get into trouble for making “child pornography” if they possess and share images of their own lawful sexual activities…Alison and her mother are now calling for a change in the law to protect consenting couples from getting into distressing legal situations like this…”I feel my consent has been total violated by the people who are supposed to be protecting children…I chose to send pictures of myself to Peter.  I did NOT choose for all those detectives, solicitors and goodness knows who else to see them…”

Surplus Women Shukan Jitsuwa 5-14-15

The violent death of a sex worker in Japan:

Last month…police found the body of Manae Noguchi, 18, buried on a farm in Shibayama, Narita City…police have arrested four suspects…The victim was last seen getting into a rented car in Chiba City…at around 10:00 p.m. on April 19.  It was later determined that the occupants of the vehicle were the four suspects…an anonymous…tip…indicated Noguchi had run up a large amount of debt…

…and Hungary:

The Association of Hungarian Sex Workers (SZEXE)…condemns the victim-blaming articles and reports published in the media that followed the death of Nancy, a Hungarian sex worker who was murdered in…Budapest..the media focused on assumed client of Nancy instead of examining state regulation that coerces sex workers into isolation, exile and personal stigmatization, police violence…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

When a respected scientist starts spouting nonsense terms, it’s time to put him out to pasture:

A leading psychologist has warned that young men are facing a crisis of masculinity due to excessive use of video games and pornography.  Psychologist and professor emeritus at Stanford University Phillip Zimbardo…spoke about the results of his study, an in-depth look into the lives of 20,000 young men and their relationships with video games and pornography…Zimbardo says there is a “crisis” amongst young men, a high number of whom are experiencing a “new form of addiction” to excessive use of pornography and video games…

Change a Few Words

Siouxsie Q on the really newsworthy question about sex work in Silicon Valley:

Why are many tech platforms so inhospitable to sex workers?  Payment processors like Pay Pal and WePay are notorious for shutting down the accounts of sex workers and even seizing their funds.  Facebook has booted hundreds of sex workers, including myself, from its platform with the adoption if its “real name policy;” and both the Apple and the Android app stores prohibit adult content of any kind.  Venture capitalists have been willing to go toe-to-toe with lawmakers to obtain legal wiggle room for companies like Uber and AirBnB, that dance the razor’s edge of legality…They argue that…though these services may be technically illegal at the moment, they perpetuate victimless crimes — peer-to-peer transactions that benefit both the buyer and the seller — and therefore the laws need be changed to catch up with the innovation.  The same argument could be made of…sex work…though technically illegal, it is a peer-to-peer transaction that often perpetuates a victimless crime.  But no headstrong venture capitalist or idealistic design team has stepped up to innovate the oldest profession…

An Example To the West

Phnom Penh sex workers and rights advocates met…to denounce police brutality and corruption, and called on the government to establish a zone where sex workers can operate in safety.  The plea was made during a press conference led by NGO Women’s Network for Unity (WNU), which was attended by around 100 sex workers, who complained police often sought bribes or sexual services…prior to the introduction of a 2008 law intended to combat human trafficking, brothels operated openly.  But…the law heralded a brutal crackdown that saw women and girls…mistreated and stigmatised by officials…researchers found that the heavy-handed response of authorities…forced sex workers into more precarious settings for their work, placing them in greater danger of rape and sexual assault…

The Widening Gyre Walking Prey

It’s everywhere! It’s everywhere!

A woman who was lured into commercial sex when she was 14 brought a warning to Charleston parents…Just about any unhappy teen can be enticed in the same way, according to Holly Austin Smith, who…[wrote] Walking Prey: How America’s Youth Are Vulnerable to Sex Slavery…At the same time as Smith was speaking in Charleston, S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson was giving a similar message to a Rotary Club in Mount Pleasant.  “Trafficking is far more nefarious than what you see in Hollywood,” Wilson said…He [made up]…a story of a woman…who was blackmailed into sex trafficking…For two years she was trafficked over and over and over again…[while] living under her parents’ roof and they did not realize she was being trafficked…Wilson has been tirelessly [pretending]…that sex trafficking is a major threat in South Carolina.  Yet the arrests on trafficking charges have been relatively few since the state passed its law in 2012…

Shift in the Wind

Imagine if big foundations started giving grants for sex worker advocacy:

The health and safety of sex workers…[is] yet another example of how marginalized populations are often left out of essential public policy discussions…due to the social stigma of sex work, people are generally more comfortable avoiding the issue…the issue of sex-worker rights is still taboo among some of the leading [philanthropic] foundations.  But if these foundations recognized how sex work is connected to other issues that funders are working on—like over-incarceration, homelessness, and poverty—the work they do could be more effective…The safety of sex workers…would also be greatly improved by decriminalization.  Because of criminalization, sex workers are at greater danger for physical and sexual violence, because perpetrators know they are unlikely to come forward to police.  With decriminalization, more sex workers could report the violence they experience, making the community safer for everyone…

The Public Eye

a…special edition of [of TMI (Too Much Information) Storytelling] called Sex Worker Diaries…kicks off the weeklong San Francisco Bay Area Sex Worker Film And Arts Festival, which features lives performances, film screenings, workshops, and panels throughout the East Bay and San Francisco…the festival…showcases a diverse range of artistic projects rooted in celebrating, supporting, and accurately portraying people involved in the sex work industry.  The goal is to push back against the ongoing criminalization and stigmatization of sex work — by providing a platform for marginalized workers in a highly misunderstood profession to share their stories and show audiences they aren’t helpless victims…

Welcome To Our World (#450)

Henry…Rayhons’s ordeal was not the first example of overzealous protection of the supposedly defenseless and asexual aged, nor will it be the last.  In 2009, a Massachusetts bill sought to amend the state’s child pornography law to include the disabled and people over sixty among those statutorily unable to consent to posing nude or performing sexually before a camera…The bill’s lead sponsor, thirty-eight-year-old…Kathi-Anne Reinstein—also author of a proposal to make the Fluffernutter the state sandwich—told the Boston Herald that advocates had informed her “elder exploitation and pornography [were] on the rise.”  She called her bill (which, thankfully, failed) a “no-brainer.”  This assessment, I commented at the time, was indisputable…

Public Property (#506)

Men urged to control uppity women by choking off their income:

…a Dallas anti-[sex worker] group is telling men to stop paying women for sex…New Friends New Life…is asking men to stop buying sex and patronizing strip clubs.  It also plans to create an emblem for businesses to display to show they don’t fund business meetings at strip clubs…experts say…the average age of a girl first sold into prostitution is 13…it will take time for attitudes to change about…strip clubs…some of the women who work there aren’t there of their own volition and are barred from leaving…Chris Kleinert said…“No father, when their daughter’s born, says ‘Wow, I can’t wait for her to be violated 10,000 times by the time she’s 21 years old’,”…

Just for comparison:  I’ve had roughly 5000 in my entire career.

Broken Record (#536) 

That so many people could believe in such lunacy explains a lot about the world:

…Houston is…a major hub for human slavery and sex trafficking in the United States.  For years, this intersection of business and widespread prostitution has provided a boon to sex traffickers in Houston every year.  However, the difference this year is a coalition of anti-human trafficking organizations who have joined with city law enforcement and conference organizers to combat the widespread sex trafficking that usually occurs during this event…OTC conference staff have been trained in identifying suspicious sex trafficking activities, law enforcement set up  prostitution stings, and volunteers hit the city streets to raise awareness…the majority of sex victims brought in to service the convention is between the ages of 12 to 14 years old…OTC also warned conference attendees against participating in sex slavery…

Yes, they’re essentially saying that their silly chanting and rattle-shaking scared away the demonic “pimps”.

Read Full Post »

Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.  –  John Kenneth Galbraith

This column’s title is that of an H.G. Wells short story about a man who stumbles into a remote Andean valley cut off from the world for centuries; he finds that the inhabitants suffer from a congenital disease which destroys their eyes, so that after fifteen generations they lack even the concept of sight.  At first he believes the proverb which states, “In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king,” but quickly discovers that the inhabitants simply refuse to accept what he describes to them and instead conclude that he is an imbecile.  Dealing with trafficking fanatics is a lot like stumbling into the Country of the Blind; they have their own narrow and ignorant concept of sex work, and anyone who tells them the truth is treated as a fool, an idiot or a liar.  But the metaphor breaks down on one important point; while Wells’ blind tribe cannot see and have absolutely no knowledge of the sense, those who believe in the dogma that all prostitution is degrading and that no woman would do it willingly are perfectly capable of opening their eyes.  Wells’ villagers are hemmed in by cliffs on all sides, but prohibitionists have the whole world of information at their fingertips via the internet, yet choose to remain in darkness and viciously attack anyone who so much as describes the light.

On the evening of October 15th, a person calling himself “Kwontity” made the following comment on “Marching Up Their Own Arses”:

so, from what I gather from the article and from the comments (excluding the giggling posts about rectal maneuvers), you don’t believe in such things as “trafficking” or that women/girls required by their families to enter into prostitution are coerced into the field.  How about when parents sell their daughters?  Still perfectly ok?

I let the comment through, but since its biased viewpoint was obvious I altered the email address associated with it so as to subject any future comments to moderation.  The tone of the post (especially the snarky question at the end) led me to the conclusion that nothing I said would change this person’s mind, but I recognized years ago that responses to this sort of internet comment are not for the benefit of the person to whom one replies, but rather for others who are genuinely looking for answers.  Kwontity’s mind was clearly already made up, and it’s impossible to reason anyone out of a position he didn’t reason himself into.  But there may be other, silent readers out there who may genuinely not understand why I and others oppose the trafficking hysteria, and who may sincerely want an answer.  So for those people, I wrote the following response:

Like many people, you are pretending that sex magically makes everything different.  Women whose families pressure them into prostitution are NO DIFFERENT from those who pressure them into any other kind of work, especially in countries like Switzerland and Hungary where prostitution is legal.  If it’s “wrong” for a family to push a woman to do sex work, then it’s also “wrong” when she’s pushed to get an office job.  So is the average American man a “human trafficker” in your mind?  Because most men expect their wives to work nowadays.

Laura Agustín  has pointed out that while men who cross borders to work are usually labeled “illegal immigrants”, women who do so are called “trafficked”; that’s why there is the dual fallacy that most illegal migrant workers are men and most “trafficking victims” are women.  The truth is, they both cross the borders for the same reasons, but the paternalistic view of woman as helpless victim encourages women’s migration to be viewed as a separate phenomenon; this is exactly the same delusion which gave rise to the “white slavery” hysteria of 100 years ago.  I suggest you read my columns of June 22nd, 25th and 29th and also Dr. Agustín’s blog, starting with this reprint of an article from the beginning of the current trafficking hysteria in 2001.

Does actual, bona fide slavery exist?  Certainly, and it always has.  But the numbers are not “growing”, as alarmists would have it; it is now a very small phenomenon.  It’s just that sheltered middle-class white Westerners with silly beliefs about sex work and pie-in-the-sky notions of “fairness” refuse to understand that just because they can’t imagine themselves ever doing a certain job doesn’t mean it’s unthinkable for everyone, and in fact may be the best alternative.  Do I consider slavery morally defensible?  No, and I’ve spoken out against it in this blog many times.  But it’s ludicrous for you to define all animals as “human” in your own mind and then call me a cannibal for eating a hamburger.  I’m against real slavery (such as parents selling minor children), not against freely-chosen (if difficult) jobs that fanatics wrongfully define as slavery when in fact they’re nothing of the kind.

As I expected, Kwontity soon tried to post another comment, which I did not let through because, as I’ve said before, I reserve the right to exclude pugnacious individuals.  Here it is, exactly as submitted:

It’s eerie the way you read my mind without my making a single opinion known!  How do you know what i think?  Are you able to read all peoples’ minds as you have mine?  Let me test you:  What am I, a man or a woman?  What colour is/are my skin/hair/eyes?  Where am I from?  What is my age?  My race?  What Languages do I speak?

I asked a simple question and you used the opportunity to deliver some canned hash, a cut and pasted diatribe to thrill your vast readership, all but one dismissive half-sentence completely unrelated to what I asked.  But Ad hominem attacks like what you and your tiny tribe seem to relish just reveal the attacker as a disingenuous charlatan.  In fact, I doubt you even believe what you write since you certainly haven’t done any actual work to prove what you believe.  The truth no doubt is that you’ve always felt you were outcast from society for your lifestyle and now you just want attention so you flail your arms and honk ferociously and pretend a counter-culture outrage that you merely are pulling out your arse.  Since you obviously have no use for thought I’ll just wish you good day and you and your incestuous little group can masturbate each other in solitude, celebrating your moral victory over everyone who you feel has done you wrong.

This response makes it abundantly clear that he not only refused to consider anything I wrote, but apparently skimmed it rather than reading it.  He refers to a direct response as “canned hash”, and to links to full columns as “cut and paste”; surely he cannot have imagined that I would totally rewrite information contained in four of my columns on demand in a comment for the benefit of an obviously-hostile stranger?  And had I synopsized Dr. Agustín’s column rather than linking it, that would have been cut and paste.  I’m not sure where he sees ad hominem in my attack (perhaps the first line, since it seems to have incensed him), nor how he can claim that only “half a sentence” was devoted to answering him, nor how the research which has gone into almost five hundred essays constitutes no “actual work to prove what [I] believe”.  The only thing I can assume is that he thought to draw me into a grueling and unprofitable flame war, and was angry that I refused; that assumption is supported by this further attempt to bait me the next morning.  For full effect, reread the first paragraph of his reply above (starting with “It’s eerie”) and then the comment below:

You cherry pick comments and allowed yourself the last word on my previous post, so this message is just for you, “Maggie”.  I believe you were never a prostitute, that you are just a punter yourself.  Your understanding on the psychology of coercion and manipulation is so minimal as to be laughable.  Never heard of the Stockholm Syndrome, I suppose.  Or is that, too, bollocks and a hostage can get to know and love his or her captor?  Yours is the same reasoning self-serving, willfull ignorance of NAMBLA..

My magical Umbrella of Disguise.

Projection really is an amazing psychological defense against cognitive dissonance.  But I guess it’s easier to indulge in sleazy, sexist personal insults than to actually think or research (hints:  several other bloggers have met me in person, I’ve appeared on internet radio shows and there’s a subject index on this blog which includes the term “Stockholm Syndrome”) before making an ass of oneself.  Wise people exposed to proof that their preconceptions are wrong adjust their thinking, but fools expend that effort on rationalizing why their opponents cannot be right.

Since the “last word” seems important to you, Kwontity, please feel free to make one reply to this column (readers, I already informed him via email that this would appear today) and I promise I will not respond to it.  I can’t and won’t stop my readers from replying to you, though, nor will you get more than one comment for reasons I’ve previously stated.  I’ll stay completely out of the comment thread once you appear, except to answer direct factual questions from other posters.  But consider this a warning:  most members of my “incestuous little group” are both intelligent and well-informed, and if they aren’t afraid to contradict me (which I can assure you they aren’t), you may not like what they have to say about you.

One Year Ago Today

Whores in the News” reports on labioplasty, Spanish streetwalkers, Charlie Sheen’s meltdown, the FBI raid on Escorts.com and two very different articles on “sex trafficking”, the second of which Kwontity really needs to read.

Read Full Post »

The most common of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true.  It is the chief occupation of mankind.  –  H.L. Mencken

When a person is so narcissistically absorbed in his own ideas or beliefs that he is totally oblivious to reality, we say that he “has his head up his own arse.”  But for some people, this expression is hardly strong enough; they pursue their own solipsistic interpretation of reality so aggressively and persistently as to actually undo whatever it is they’re trying to accomplish.  In my late teens I coined the expression “marching up his own arse” to describe such a person, and it was the first thing I thought of when I read these three news items.  The first one is from the September 17th Las Vegas Sun:

Christopher Baughman is a member of…the unit within vice that investigates crimes related to human trafficking and prostitution.  He’s seen more than his fair share of gritty crime scenes and broken lives, some of which he’s documented in his new book, “Off the Street”…[Baughman says] “these guys are psychopaths.  They have a whole lot to lose, and they are not stupid.  These aren’t guys chasing down women in an alley for $10.  We are talking about people making a ton of money…Early in [the] book, [I describe] a pimp pulling in a million dollars a year through only two women…and a million dollars can buy a very good defense attorney.  If our team doesn’t cross every single T, we could lose that case…We have to do whatever it takes…trafficking and pimping are bigger issues in Las Vegas than anywhere else…You can hide in plain sight here.  Where else can a 22-year-old drive down the street in a Maserati and nobody pays attention?  We’ve sort of opened the door for a lot of bad people to come here…[He adds]…When people are talking about prostitution and victims of trafficking, guys use a lot of…derogatory terms.  Officers do it, too…All that does is reinforce the lies the traffickers tell them, like that police don’t give a damn…

One would think that Las Vegas (where the evidence that legalization works better than criminalization is literally a few miles away, and where the independence of the vast majority of escorts should be obvious to anyone not hopelessly lost in the nether regions of his own alimentary canal) would be the last place in America where trafficking mythology and puerile “pimps and hos” masturbatory fantasies would find a receptive audience.  But that grossly underestimates the dogged persistence with which some people promenade into their own rectal cavities.  I literally laughed out loud at this pompous twit’s declaration that he knew of a “pimp” making a million dollars a year from two women; while it’s certainly possible for a busy and dedicated escort to make $500,000 in a year in Las Vegas, a woman who’s capable of that isn’t going to turn it all over to some man.  Sorry, Chris; you’ll have to do the sigmoid strut alone because no hooker with a particle of self-respect is going to follow you.

It’s understandable that Cheesehead cops might be a bit less cosmopolitan than their Sin City brethren, but the Kafkaesque notion that one can stop an already-illegal activity merely by requiring a license for it is so wholly ludicrous that only a dedicated colonic processionary could fail to see the absurdity of it.  This story comes to us from the September 18th LaCrosse Tribune:

…an ordinance being considered by city officials…[in LaCrosse, Wisconsin] would require escorts, dancers and some kinds of massage practitioners to obtain licenses for a fee.  Police contend the license could deter prostitution while generating revenue for a cash-strapped city.  “The city requires cab drivers and bartenders to obtain a license,” La Crosse Police Assistant Chief Rob Abraham said.  “It seems reasonable we should regulate this industry also”…other Wisconsin municipalities [already] require a license for anyone who accompanies someone for a fee…[or offers] private dances and massages.  Police want one thing to be clear:  The ordinance won’t legalize prostitution.  Anyone exchanging sex for money faces criminal charges.

Escorts and dancers advertising work in La Crosse…teeter on prostitution.  They offer “pleasure” and “full body pampering” with semi-nude photographs…“This type of activity sometimes tries to guise as prostitution,” Abraham said.  “We know through informants or tips these escorts aren’t doing legal escort activity.”  But proving a prostitution deal can be tricky.  Proving someone doesn’t have a license isn’t.  “As soon as they open the door, they’re in violation,” said Jim Adlam, a police captain in Brookfield, a southeastern Wisconsin city that enacted an escort-license ordinance in 1991…

Similar ordinances elsewhere require applicants to submit fingerprints and photographs and pass a criminal history background check.  No one has ever applied for the license, which requires a hefty $250 fee, since Brookfield passed the ordinance two decades ago, according to the city clerk’s office.  But police there each year cite about 10 unlicensed escorts, most nabbed during stings…“I tell them, ‘You’ve been given an unbelievable deal in life.  This is really prostitution,’” Brookfield Municipal Judge Jeffrey Warchol said…“We wish people would follow the ordinance,” Waukesha County Sheriff’s Lt. Neil Dussault said.  “But people choose to go around the system because they know deep down what they’re doing is wrong.”

I’m not sure whether these officials are technically marching up their own arses; it seems more like they’re all marching up each others’ arses in a colossal daisy chain of rump-tramping.  If they don’t require a license to go on dates, they’re right back where they started from because the cases are based on police testilying whether the charge is “prostitution” or “escorting without a license”.  But that’s the essence of advancing up one’s own rear; the profound confusion which results is evident in the quotes from the “authorities” in this story.  One says that strippers and escorts disguise their work as prostitution (the mind boggles), another tells whores that their work is “really prostitution” as though he believes they don’t know, and Solomon Lawhead at the end there pronounces that women don’t submit their fingerprints and real names so they can be harassed, persecuted and framed at will “because they know deep down what they’re doing is wrong.”  Obviously, the concepts of “common sense” and “self-preservation” don’t exist in his universe.  Hup, two, three, four…

I can’t tell whether the researcher in this September 20th story from The Local is traipsing up his own bum, but the prosecutor is certainly on an auto-anal expedition:

Prostitutes from Hungary are increasingly being sent to work in…Zurich, but they don’t see themselves as victims of trafficking, according to…Sascha Finger, a geographer…at the University of Bern…In most cases, the women were pushed onto the street by brothers, uncles, cousins or even husbands:  “The women therefore don’t see themselves as human trafficking victims”…Most of [them] are Roma, a nomadic ethnic group often existing on the fringes of Hungarian society.  “The women are sent to Switzerland by their families to earn hard cash to feed an extended family of up to 13 people, and often they have their own children,” he said…the women are also faced with serious problems in Switzerland.  They generally don’t speak German and are often at the mercy of punters who occasionally fail to pay…they…are…often afraid of the police, their customers, and the challenges posed by living in Switzerland.  “They feel illegal even though they are not doing anything illegal.“

Zurich prosecutor Silvia Steiner is also aware of the problems Hungarian prostitutes face in Switzerland.  “The dilemma for me is that the women deny they are victims of human trafficking“…Steiner has previously managed to secure convictions…in the few cases she has brought to court, but in general the women refuse to push for an indictment.  “Their fear of the perpetrators and their clans in Hungary is too great,“ she said.

So if a Swiss woman’s family pushes her to get an office job, is it “human trafficking”?  What about if she “perpetrates” travel to Germany to get that job?  What if a Hungarian woman is pushed by her family to work in a bank in Zurich?  Does a job only count as “trafficking” if it involves sex?  Does Ms. Steiner even consider the fact that among the Gypsies (the traditional name for the Roma) travelling is a way of life?  Maybe they “deny they are victims of human trafficking” because they aren’t, and maybe the reason they’re afraid of the police and “feel illegal even though they are not doing anything illegal“ is because lawheads like Steiner keep trying to force them to betray their families for the sake of some vague political concept.  But don’t expect her to recognize that; like the people who spout the amazingly stupid statements featured in my column of one year ago today, she’s far too busy marching up her own arse to pay any attention to reality.

Read Full Post »

She was a Phantom of delight
When first she gleamed upon my sight;
A lovely Apparition sent
To be a moment’s ornament.
  –  William Wordsworth

Sometimes there’s a major cultural gap between whores and amateurs; either we say or write things that most amateurs seem completely unable to comprehend, or else they make a big deal about something which seems to us much ado about nothing.  The particular story which made me think about this was this one published on the BBC News website on May 20th, which came to my attention via EconJeff on the 24th:

[Munich Re, the world’s biggest re-insurer,] held a party [in 2007] for salesmen where they were rewarded with the services of prostitutes…The gathering was held at a thermal baths in the Hungarian capital Budapest as a reward to particularly successful salesmen.  There were about 100 guests and 20 prostitutes were hired…[the women wore] colour-coded arm-bands designating their availability, and…had their arms stamped after each service rendered…guests were able to take the women to four-poster beds at the spa “and do whatever they liked”…”The women wore red and yellow wrist bands.  One lot were hostesses, the others would fulfil your every wish.  There were also women with white wrist bands.  They were reserved for board members and the very best sales reps.”  A spokesman for Ergo [a division of Munich Re] told the BBC that the party had happened, but said it was not the usual way of rewarding their employees…”We’ve taken all the right steps to prevent it happening again,” he said.  “It was a mistake but we are very sure that it was a unique event.  The new people of the sales organisation introduced a very personal commitment that these things should not happen again.”

I’m trying very hard to grasp how a sales reward party held four years ago can be considered news in any way.  Companies do this sort of thing all the time as an incentive to salespeople:  top producers are flown to some resort, put up in luxury, feted and sometimes showered with gifts and personal services such as massages or (in the case of saleswomen) makeovers.  Since prostitution is legal both in Germany and Hungary, what’s the problem?  Obviously nobody complained because if he had this would’ve been current non-news in 2007 instead of old non-news in 2011.  Did some radical feminists get upset or something, or was the party held without the board’s permission?  Did the randy Germans rack up too high a tab, or did the tax men reject the cost as an allowable business expense?  Because if it’s the latter, and you agree with the disallowance, maybe you’d better sit down because you’re not going to like what you read next:  this happens on a much smaller scale all over the world, all the time.

One of the perks of many executive or sales jobs is a company expense account; the employee is allowed considerable leeway in spending at restaurants, clubs and other entertainment venues because it is recognized that a little wining and dining goes a long way toward winning customers (and that includes politicians being wooed by lobbyists).  In other words, a few hundred dollars worth of food and entertainment can result in many thousands or even millions in business.  And though prudish accountants might balk at payouts to strip clubs and call girls, they don’t have to know; the racy names of many adult entertainment companies are just DBAs, and the actual names on their business licenses are either neutral (mine was a set of initials) or sound like those of other hospitality industry companies.

Most of the time the girls don’t even directly realize they’re being employed as bribes, but if you are an escort who’s ever been hired by one man for another (outside of bachelor-party arrangements or dads initiating sons) you have served in this capacity, even if the guy who hired you referred to the gift’s recipient as his “friend”.  And if you work in a state or national capital, a good percentage of those “friends” were either politicians or bureaucrats.  Since I’m reasonably quick on the uptake I generally recognized these situations for what they were, but I remember one instance where I didn’t have to guess because the gentleman who hired me spelled it out:  he was the regional sales representative for a large vendor of snack foods, and I was the bribe for the buyer of a large retail grocery chain to switch from his current supplier to that which employed my client.  Considering how much money was riding on the deal I couldn’t help but feel incredibly flattered, and I suspect that was exactly what my wily client intended by telling me; the self-confidence boost raised my charisma by several notches over its already-high level, and I had the buyer eating out of my hand as soon as I walked through the door.

But it’s not only high-level employees who get their companies to hire whores for them; even lower-level employees who travel for their jobs can usually manage it even without expense accounts, thanks to the magic of per diem allowances.  For those unfamiliar with the term, a per diem is a set amount of money for which employees are reimbursed when travelling on business.  Some companies insist on receipts for everything and pay only what the employee actually spends, but others prefer to avoid wasting their accountants’ time with such minutiae and  therefore simply pay the full per diem due that employee.  A man who prefers fine women to fine food can therefore easily hire an escort and be reimbursed by his company, through the simple expedient of eating much more cheaply than his per diem allows and applying the surplus toward his other appetites.  If you’re a corporate accountant and have never considered that your travelling employees might do this, I suggest you look at it philosophically:  How can it be right for the company to pay for the satisfaction of one physical need but wrong to pay for another?  You’re spending the same amount of money in either case, and a happy, relaxed employee will almost certainly do a better job.

Read Full Post »