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Posts Tagged ‘hysteria’

If [rescuers]…used my photo in websites, smiling, showing me sewing clothes I couldn’t even afford, I would want someone to at least say, “Yeah, that is bullshit.”  –  Sarah Miller

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

TANSTAAFL:

The police chief in Miami Gardens has been fired after he was arrested on suspicion of soliciting prostitution…Stephen Johnson was [caught in a sting after buying the absurd claim that]…the price for…two women would be $100 for 30 minutes…

Feminine Pragmatism 

More than 70% of UK sex workers have previously worked in healthcare, education or charities, while more than a third hold university degrees, according to one of the largest surveys of the industry ever undertaken…The second most common former area of employment was retail, with…33.7%…38% [had an undergraduate degree]…while…17%…had a postgraduate degree…The Leeds University study [was] carried out by Dr Teela Sanders in partnership with National Ugly Mugs…

Down Under

A man who became obsessed with a prostitute and launched a rash of lawsuits against her…has had his case shot down in the Supreme Court [of New Zealand].  The client and the sex worker were in an “arrangement” that turned sour some three years ago…when the Auckland woman [realized] her client was stalking her…

The Sky is Falling!

Any gap between a country’s sex work laws and total decriminalization gives the cops room for a campaign of persecution against sexual behavior:

A popular “sugar daddy” dating website that links young women with wealthy older men…may break sex work laws, [Austalian] police have [bloviated]…In Victoria escorts must be registered, and in South Australia it is illegal to pay…for sex…South Australia Police [pretend to be concerned about “dangerous situations”, and]…Victoria Police [threatened to “look] at [the sites] closely”…

Profit from Panic Punjammies

The rescue industry is getting so absurd, even Jezebel can see it:

…Punjammies is just one of many companies selling goods made by former sex slaves.  There’s also the Nomi Network—their tagline is “Buy Her Bag Not Her Body,” a deployment of rhetoric implying she’s going to have to sell one or the other, and she is dependent on your choice to seal her fate.  There’s Purpose Jewelry, “handcrafted by survivors of modern day slavery… each jewelry tag is hand-signed by the girl who created it.”  There’s JC Denim, “handcrafted by girls who have been rescued out of sex slavery.”  One more—just for the pun—a soap brand, Trades of Hope made by women who “have made a clean break from their previous lifestyle in the sex trade…”  Punjammie fans…are proud of the work they’re doing by buying and wearing Punjammies.  You see a lot of words and phrases like empower, good deed, and making a difference

Broken Record

There’s something especially funny about Sweden picking this up while the rest of the West is admitting it’s hokum:

The Ski World Cup in Sweden has been a worldwide party…But behind the scenes police have been battling a rise in prostitution…“The phenomenon is bigger than we think, there are large hidden numbers” [said a trained police parrot]…”We have received information…that this…is…a…bigger problem during the World Cup than…normal…”

The End of the Beginning

the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the residence restrictions automatically imposed on sex offenders by state law are unconstitutional…the law prohibits registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, without regard to the nature of the crimes they committed or the threat they currently pose…the 2,000-foot rule excludes 97 percent of the land zoned for multifamily housing in San Diego County…residence restrictions…often apply even if an offender’s crime had nothing to do with children, [and] can be so extensive that entire cities are effectively off limits…

Vendetta

You may not be able to spot it for all the cop-worship and badge-licking, so I’ll help you: “The CEASE Network” is just another front for Swanee Hunt’s “Demand Abolition” pogrom-funding program:  “CEASE, an acronym for Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation, got its official start in Boston, Denver and Seattle earlier this year, with seven more cities — including Portland, Chicago and Phoenix — set to launch their own initiatives later this month…”  This article is several months old, but I think it’s important to track the growth of this private war conducted to please the bloodlust of a morally-warped multi-billionaire.

An Example To the West (#343)

A Bangkok Post article from the director of EMPOWER:

Every year without fail for over a decade, Thailand has been scolded by the United States for not doing enough to comply with US anti-trafficking and border control policies in its annual Trafficking in Persons report…To show that Thailand is doing its job to tackle human trafficking in the sex industry, every year a few hundred migrants, mostly young women, are rounded up, detained and deported as victims…It will never be possible to use harsh laws and punishment to stop people moving across borders for better lives…

Not Good Enough

I honestly have to wonder if Emily Nagoski hasn’t been reading me:

…Flibanserin…is a drug intended to treat low sexual desire in women.  The F.D.A. has rejected it twice already, and will most likely reject it a third time…the drug…is…attempting to treat something that isn’t a disease…The previous model, originating in the late ’70s…placed sexual desire first, as if it were a hunger, motivating an individual to pursue satisfaction.  Desire was conceptualized as emerging more or less “spontaneously.”  And some people do feel they experience desire that way.  Desire first, then arousal.  But…many people (perhaps especially women)…experience desire as…emerging in response to, rather than in anticipation of, erotic stimulation.  Arousal first, then desire…What these women need is not medical treatment, but a thoughtful exploration of what creates desire between them and their partners…Feeling judged or broken for their sexuality is exactly what they don’t need — and what will make their desire for sex genuinely shut down…

Worse Than I Thought (Traffic Updates) IM propaganda

The fetish for posting silly “sex trafficking” signs in stigmatized businesses has been growing for a while now, but this the first time I’ve seen magic powers attributed to the placards:

Lawmakers are introducing a new bill…[which “creates signs to free sex slaves”] across Florida.  The bill would require new signs that tell victims how to get…rescued [from] truck stops, massage parlors, and other places where human trafficking victims are forced into sex slavery…

Another Fine Mess

Yet another edition of “OMG WHORES KNOW HOW TO USE THE INTERNET!!!!

…Pornography…spurred the adoption of…VHS tapes, interactive CDs and DVDs, and pretty much the entire Internet.  Now it’s coming to your smartphone in a whole new way, thanks to…Snapchat…the service unveiled a feature called Snapcash, which allows people to send money using Square…Strippers and porn stars have started to use Snapchat to send videos and photos of themselves naked for a small fee…Snapchat doesn’t leave anything in your search history.  There’s no trace of it to be found by a snooping significant other or an overprotective parent…

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People don’t come alone to Mardi Gras to find a hooker.  –  Helena

Whores and Wives

Amateur women’s attacks on sex workers are always pretty pathetic, but this one is truly stupefying:

…real men don’t pay for sex.  A man who needs to objectify women obsessively is not a man at all…when a man pays for sex, it says a lot about his character.  It takes a certain type of man to believe that women can be bought and sold…just because you need sex doesn’t mean you have to get it through prostitution; a real man knows how to get it without his credit card…sex shouldn’t be bought, but earned…A real man would never take another man’s daughter, forced to live a life of prostitution, to bed. A real man isn’t satisfied with fake moans…

The way she flails wildly between demonizing whores and denying our agency is especially fascinating.

Not To Be Taken Internally (February Updates)

“Lillian” is the professional name of Padge Victoria Windslowe, who is on trial…[for] third-degree murder…in the Feb. 8, 2011, death of exotic dancer Claudia Aderotimi…[who] flew to Philadelphia from London for a buttocks-enhancement procedure that consisted of silicone injections administered by Windslowe…The 20-year-old died after the silicone migrated to her lungs…Windslowe is [also] charged with aggravated assault for injections she gave 23-year-old Sherkeeia King in February 2012 at a “pumping party”…King was hospitalized, vomiting blood and struggling to breathe.  Doctors found that silicone in her buttocks had migrated through her bloodstream to her heart and lungs…

Above the Law rapist cop James Greene

This week’s rapist cops hail from Louisiana:  “…James Greene [of Shreveport] was [only] charged with abuse of office…[for raping] a woman [at gunpoint]“…and Canada:

Three Toronto police officers…have been charged with…gang sexual assault…Constables Leslie Nyznik, 38, Joshua Cabero, 28, and Sameer Kara, 31…[raped] a female [cop]…

Sex Work is Work

The ridiculous need to deny that sex work is legitimate work has some weird results at tax time:

…Ms X…set out her business plan for the Tax Office in considerable detail and sought confirmation that her earnings from her proposed activities would not attract tax in Poland.  She would supply, she said, “virtual sex services”, using internet cameras and microphones to connect [to] the service buyer…Prostitution is not forbidden by law in Poland, but at the same time does not constitute a “socially desirable or acceptable behaviour”, and so contracts for prostitution cannot amount to valid and legally-enforceable undertakings.   No income tax is due if a particular activity cannot be the subject of a legally-binding and enforceable agreement…the Tax Office…took the view that…as there was no physical contact in the services proposed, there was no…prostitution…and therefore…not tax-exempt.

Don’t be stupid, ladies; it was “tax evasion” that finally took down Al Capone:

A South Dakota man…paid $1 million over a four-year period for sex with an exotic dancer…David Karlen…was a star witness in a federal trial last year against Veronica Fairchild.  She was accused of failing to pay taxes…sentenced to nearly three years in prison and ordered to pay more than $214,600 in back taxes.

Original Sin (#321)

An especially amusing twist on the “porn causes sex trafficking” trope:

…Pat Robertson…linked women who enjoyed…Fifty Shades of Grey to an increase in sex trafficking around the world…“How many women have read the book and how many women are going to the movie…It’s about all kinds of sadomasochism, it’s about bondage, about whips, it’s about boiling oil, it’s about various types of restraints”…

Girls, Girls, Girls! (#337)

This article on how Mardi Gras affects the sex industry in New Orleans is interesting and more or less accurate (though I see some things have changed since my time, like this new “single woman” rule), but woefully incomplete:  the “New Orleans sex economy” ain’t just strip clubs, y’all.

Imaginary Evils 

Remember, huge police operations have never found more than a single-digit number of “sex trafficking” cases in the UK:

Inside one of Britain’s biggest special anti-trafficking operations, police officers surrounded by files, forms and photographs attempt to unravel a complex network of crime…Operation Retriever was set up in September after police in northern England were alerted to a Slovakian woman who had been tricked into travelling to Britain and then forced to marry a man…There are as many as 13,000 victims of slavery in Britain, forced to work in factories and farms, sold for sex in brothels, or imprisoned in domestic servitude…

devilsdoorbell

Innocence Never Had

Why can people not get this simple concept through their thick skulls?

Homelessness is one of the main reasons youth…engage in “survival sex”…LGBTQ…youth are dramatically more likely to trade sex for a place to stay, according to a new study…Prior research has shown homeless LGBTQ youth were “seven times more likely” to trade sex than their heterosexual counterparts…Those surveyed saw, on average, 11 to 18 customers weekly…The law considers any minor participating in the sex industry to be “trafficked”…but…only 15 percent said they had been in an exploitative situation during their time in survival sex…

Bread and Circuses

It’s good to see the mainstream media getting it:

…on June 25, 2014, visitors to RedBook got a rude shock.  Instead of a directory of links to sexy ads, forums, and reviews, they saw a dire-looking alert from the Department of Justice, FBI, and IRS stating that RedBook’s domain had been seized.  The Feds’ message, still up today, asserts that there is probable cause that the site was involved in “money laundering derived from racketeering based on prostitution”…

Legal Is As Legal Does (#450)

Banning prostitution from Auckland’s troublespots will not be a job for the Government.  Instead, Auckland Council has been told it already has the power to pass a bylaw to address the problem.  There had been interest in the law change because other cities, in particular Christchurch, were keen to have similar powers to ban prostitution near schools, family homes or sports facilities…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on January 18th; I have modified it slightly for time references and to fit the format of this blog.

The Golem (1920)One would think that after a century of the motion picture as an art form, people would grasp that just because something appears on film does not make it real.  Despite its name, even cinéma vérité is less than truthful; as in subatomic physics, even the mere presence of an observer changes the observational subject.  And given that a self-professed “documentary” filmmaker still chooses what to film and what to edit out, whom to interview and whom to ignore, how to frame different viewpoints and what the narrator will say, no reasonable person could imagine that simply granting a production replete with exaggeration, distortion and outright lies the dignity of a “nonfiction” label actually has the power to make it so.  Unfortunately, the majority of the population is anything but reasonable, and misnaming a drama a documentary or claiming that it is “based on a true story” is more than enough to convince them that real life is truthfully and objectively portrayed therein.

As you might expect, moral panics have often been amplified by such means, but the advent of cheap digital cameras and software-based editing has democratized the filmmaking process to such an extent that the first moral panic of the internet era, the “sex trafficking” hysteria, has been promoted thus to an unprecedented extent.  So while the two most prominent examples of “sex trafficking” fetishism misrepresented as fact, namely Taken and Eden, are products of the professional moviemakers’ craft (the former a big-budget studio release, the latter a smaller-budget “independent”), there have also been a plethora of semi-professional and amateur films, ranging from small-budget to no-budget, which purport to tell the “truth about sex trafficking” to credulous, slack-jawed audiences who prefer their BDSM porn in disguised form.  Much has been written about the fraud named Eden and the chief perpetrator of the scam, Chong Kim; applying the same scalpel to the body of low-end “sex trafficking” cinema soon results in a gory mess too graphic even for the slasher movies which appeal to roughly the same sensibilities as these so-called “documentaries”.

In just the past two years I’ve logged eight of these cheapies:  Ente, Lot Lizard, Anna, Dirty Little Secret, The Making of a Girl, International Boulevard, Chosen and The Long Night; it’s entirely possible that there may have been others which escaped my notice.  Then early last month I read reports of not one but three more, all in the same day.  The headline for the first, 8 Days, alludes to the aforementioned blockbuster Taken, and the article itself seems to have been written by a Hollywood wannabe:

A new film based on actual events exposes the shocking secrets of Human Trafficking.  If you think it isn’t happening in your hometown, you’re wrong…8 Days…is…based on a true story…a teen named Amber who comes from an affluent Texas family, goes to a…party where she gets drunk, is kidnapped, and later sold to pimps…“kids are targeted at the mall or the movies, parties and at school,” said Jaco Booyens, the film’s director.  “In the movie, Amber was trafficked by a friend.  A friend!  They’re using people you know to create a comfort zone”…Booyens says the average age…is 12 years old…raped sometimes up to 20 or 30 times in a single day…Victims are often snatched from places such as a party, the mall or the movies, and often, sex traffickers pay someone who is friends with the teen to bring her to a party where they will take her…

Note the repetition, the use of familiar-but-bogus “facts”, and the director’s pretense that because something appears in his movie that somehow constitutes evidence of its reality.  Note also that the story starts with what I call the “Profession of Faith”, the central creed of the “sex trafficking” cult, as does this one:

Filmmakers behind The Trafficking Life…want to get their point across that human trafficking is not just happening somewhere else.  It’s become a big problem here at home…Diana Cisneros…is the center of a new documentary in which she shares the growing problem taking place in Kern County [California]…

Kern County is infamous for this kind of moral panic; it was one of the early centers of the Satanic Panic as well.  But while fanatics claim that “sex trafficking happens everywhere”, the truth is that it’s sex trafficking hysteria that’s nearly omnipresent:

A Path Appears investigates young women in America forced into a life of prostitution…in our own backyards — in Chicago and Nashville and Boston.  The Department of Justice estimates that there are 300,000 children at risk of being trafficked into sexual slavery in the U.S…Ashley Judd and Nicholas Kristof are guided through the streets of Nashville by a woman who was first sold to a pimp by her mother at the age of 12, and then visit an example of a solution that works…sting operations cracking down on the buyers of sex…

David DelayNone of these fakumentaries take the trouble to investigate squat; as should be obvious from the repetition of prohibitionist lies in these articles, all they do is to parrot the same old nonsense about “children”, “pimps”, “sex slavery” and the like while infantilizing sex workers, demonizing clients, lionizing cops and celebrating criminalization.  But when anything becomes as popular as these films have, it’s inevitable that life will start imitating art, at least in the minds of the corrupt:

The…founder and owner of “Grandpa’s RV Productions,” David Delay, Sr., is accused of coaxing two teens into prostitution and then threatening to expose them on Facebook if they stopped working for him.  Delay, 48, has been charged with a host of pimping-related crimes alongside Marysa Renee Comer, a 20-year-old woman accused of assisting in running the operation from their Lynnwood [Washington] apartment…an 18-year-old young woman…fell in love…with Comer, who began picking her up at school with Delay.  The [young woman] began dating Comer and Delay, in an effort to make a life with Comer…they told [her] they were making a documentary about human trafficking and  prostitution.  “They stated it was best for her to be involved in the documentary by escorting so that she can know what it is really all about”…said [the] charging papers…Comer and Delay set up the encounters and took all the money she was paid…a subsequent search of prostitution advertisements by police supported [her] claims that she’d been taken around the country to work as an escort…

In other words, an actual criminal got the idea for his criminal acts from the propaganda put out by the people who pretend to be interested in fighting such exploitation; given that it happened in the state that’s most heavily invested in “sex trafficking” hysteria, it’s the kind of irony one might expect to find in a Hollywood screenplay.

Cut.  Print.

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It is…easier to characterize sex work activists as traffickers and pimps than what they really are: vulnerable women advocating for themselves within a system that is set up to marginalize and dehumanize them.  –  Alana Massey

Amsterdam

What the fuck is this patronizing bullshit?

Amsterdam may open a brothel where fifty women will get a chance to do their work without pimps. The municipality proposes five buildings with a total of 19 windows available…A feasibility study has been launched to see what all is involved in a prostitution business that is run by prostitutes. The municipality believes that a company which sex workers themselves are responsible for the affairs, will contribute to a prostitution industry with good working conditions without abuses…

If Dutch politicians would stop mistaking their masturbatory fantasies for reality, they’d know that most prostitutes already run their businesses without the dubious “help” of pimps or politicians.

Real People Bella Robinson

Here’s a good profile of Bella Robinson, written by fellow activist Tara Burns:

Bella Robinson entered the sex industry as a homeless 18-year-old fleeing an abusive marriage that had rescued her from the foster care system.  She’s exactly the sort of “victim” for whom sex trafficking laws were invented.  But Robinson—now a human rights activist who has been a hooker (her preferred term) for 30 years—doesn’t think of herself as a victim of the sex industry.  She says she’s been sex trafficked by the state and victimized by laws intended to help people like her…

One Size Fits All

Because Shazam!

51-year-old Robert Edward Neves, an American National arrested in the Philippines, will face trial for [dating] a 17-year-old [woman]…Neves is also being charged with [sex trafficking]…it is illegal for any person…to keep or have in their company a minor which is 12 years or under – or who is 10 years or more his junior in any public place…The [young woman said she]…and Neves…met in an online date site…eventually becoming lovers…after they met in person…

Follow the Leader

Costumed hooligans with titles like “officer” abduct and abuse people in much the same way every day:

A 6-year-old boy in Missouri endured an emotional four-hour staged kidnapping because his family thought he was being too nice to people he didn’t know…the boy’s mother, grandmother, aunt and a co-worker of the aunt…have been charged with kidnapping and other felonies…the boy was lured…into a pickup after getting off his school bus, tied up, threatened with a gun, taken to a basement where his pants were removed, and told he could be sold into sex slavery…that he would never “see his mommy again,” and he would be “nailed to the wall of a shed”…[he was bound] in the basement for some time before he was unbound and…lectured…about stranger danger…

Uncommon Sense

Ticino has always been considered a haven of the Swiss sex industry.  Dozens of Italian sex workers, both women and men – regularly commute…there…roughly 600 registered sex workers [work] in Ticino out of a total population of 340,000 residents…But…the local government is trying to push through a new law aimed at cracking down on unregulated prostitution by confining the oldest trade to just licensed brothels, apartments and authorised sex districts…

Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong

Dear clergymen:  STOP STICKING YOUR DAMNED NOSES INTO OUR BUSINESS.  Love, sex workers everywhere.

Representatives of the Church of Scotland have joined other churches and faith groups, including Catholics, Anglicans, Muslims, Sikhs, Quakers and the Free Church, in urging the First Minister to…follow the kind of prostitution law adopted in Nordic countries…Sex worker-led charity Scot-Pep said laws criminalising the buyer exposed sex workers to HIV and violence and had been rejected by UNAIDS, the World Health Organisation and Human Rights Watch…a Swedish report on the issue published this week had concluded that the law made sex workers more vulnerable.  Fiona Gilbertson…of Scot-Pep…said…”This is clearly a subject about which the Church has been misinformed, and I would invite them…to read the evidence and to speak to sex workers before proceeding any further with this campaign…”

Here’s my friend Laura Lee on the subject.

The Last Shall Be First

A bill…in the Florida Legislature…would make it a crime for transgender people to use single-sex public facilities…including restrooms…that correspond with their gender identity.  Violators would be [subject to]…a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.  The bill would also empower people in a…restroom during any “unlawful entry” to sue the alleged interloper and owner of the facility…single-sex facilities…would be restricted to those with a corresponding “biological sex…at birth”…

Yellow Fever

Lauren HershMost of this reads like a script for a really lurid TV cop show, because reporters nowadays believe everything cops tell them as though it were engraved on stone tablets.  There’s also infantilization of young people, agency denial, bogus statistics, conflation of all “missing child” cases with stranger abduction and all stranger abduction with “sex trafficking”, the evocation of imaginary “criminal gangs”, pro-criminalization propaganda and a special guest appearance by the vile Lauren Hersh, the prohibitionist who was a prosecutor until she was forced out in disgrace for railroading two innocent men for rape.

Policing for Profit 

Here’s another prohibitionist badge-licker who is so busy wanking to his fantasies of “slave ships” that he is unable to comprehend that expanded state power to steal private property will eventually come back to bite him:

Tim Heffer [fantasizes] so strongly that sex [work] is…slavery that he compares the cars…owned by [clients] to slave ships…he testified in support of HB 1558, which would allow [cops to steal]…the cars and money of people arrested for soliciting a prostitute, even if they are never convicted.  “Rather than one large ship, they’re smaller vessels…we need to take these ships away from traffickers and buyers”…

Rough Trade (#339)

Who else but a sociopath could “appear to be in disbelief” when he is convicted for the same kind of rape he’s been convicted for at least twice before?

Akis Livas, 52, appeared to be in disbelief when his lawyer explained to him that he would be locked up for…[booking a sex worker] for four hours, and [bringing] an envelope stuffed with paper which he pretended was the $850 to pay her.  The woman said when she discovered there was no money, she became scared…she has suffered from a lack of trust in others and [is] still receiving counselling…Livas continued to minimise his responsibility and had not shown remorse…

Shame, Shame

A mugshot…is a photo designed to tell the state’s side of a story.  The subject of the photo, taken at one of the lowest points in their life, has no voice, but the language of the form – the unflattering bright light, the drab background, the name and prisoner ID at the bottom – tells us we are looking at a “criminal”.  With the internet, that “we” has expanded to the far reaches of the globe…before the subject can mount a defense, a 1,000-word photo pronouncing their guilt may have already gone viral.  Stacking the deck in favor of the already advantaged police, the photos discourage empathy in favor of judgment…this humiliation becomes just another manifestation of punishment…The press partakes readily in this ritual debasement, the most respectable of media outlets eagerly distributing the state’s unflattering photos, of people who have yet to be convicted of anything, on the front page and on the evening news and on dedicated websites that feature nothing but mugshots…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #420)

After months of negotiations, [German politicians]…agreed the final details of a new law governing sex work…but prostitutes say it isn’t fit for [the] purpose…Undine de Rivière…[of the] sex workers’ union BeSD…[said] the rule requiring sex workers to be registered with the authorities…was unacceptable…[as is] requiring prostitutes to have a doctor’s note…while sex workers are happy to discuss measures that can help them practice their profession and maintain their health, they want them on their terms…

Wise Investment (TW3 #440)

Much more of this, please:

A metro Atlanta dominatrix…is suing a…private investigator for secretly filming their…session…Lakenya Monfort…contends Reginald Walker…posed as…[a] client…[and used a] hidden…video-camera to record the session without Monfort’s knowledge…[to use] as evidence against Monfort in her child-custody case…Georgia law…prohibits secretly…video-recording someone in a place where he or she has a reasonable expectation of privacy…

The Notorious Badge (#452) 

50 shades of clusterfuck:

…the press tour for…50 Shades of Grey [is] now firmly established as among the most disastrous of the past decade…The most glaring problem…is [that]…romantic leads Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan do not like each other…A routine visit to TODAY takes on the excruciating air of a court-ordered couples therapy session…It is not difficult to picture Dornan and Johnson luring one another into a “Red Room of Pain.”  It stretches the capacity of the imagination to think that both would emerge alive…[both]…routinely display discomfort…when talking about sex…Dornan [said]…”I had to do stuff to her that I’d never choose to do to a woman…The first day…was kind of an out-of-body experience…I’m like, ‘What the fuck is happening?  I’m a dad.  What?’…

The way Dornan repeatedly mentions his child, as if to provide a ward against evil, is fascinating in a Victorian kind of way.

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Any politician or law enforcement agent who believes that criminalizing both suppliers and buyers of sex will improve the safety of sex workers and their clients is delusional.  –  Charles Hill

He or She?

A new study scheduled for publication in Psychological Science provides strong evidence that trans children’s understanding of their own gender identities is indistinguishable from that of their…cisgender…peers…running counter to common assumptions that trans kids are “pretending” or “confused” about their gender…the researchers assigned the same set of tasks to 32 trans children, 18 of their siblings, and 32 nontrans children, all aged 5-12…”Across all these tasks, across the more and the less controllable measures of gender development, our transgender participants look just like other kids, but in the direction of their gender identity rather than their sex assigned at birth”…

In other words, all kids who identified as female performed similarly to each other on the tests whether they were biologically female or not, and all the kids who identified as male performed more like each other than like the girls.

See How Well It Works?Cuckoo Clock McCain

“Cuckoo Clock” McCain ignores the collapse of the “gypsy whores” myth, insisting that the reason the Lost Tribe of Gomorrah failed to materialize in her backyard was because of her own hysteria:

“The Super Bowl, unfortunately, happens to be the largest human trafficking venue on the planet,” said Cindy McCain…”It’s gone on for decades unchecked,” said [FBI] Agent George Steuer…”When Arizona was awarded the Super Bowl, we had no human trafficking legislation on our books”…McCain said.  “Unless we were going to be racked with a dangerous Super Bowl, we had to get to work.”  It has worked, according to authorities…[though] there is no empirical evidence of an increase in trafficking during the Super Bowl, Steuer [pretends without presenting evidence that] his office has seen a “definite uptick in activity”…

Profound Mental Disabilities

Usually, it’s being submissive that they pretend is a mental illness:

…a 17-year-old girl…[was] in a car accident in 2008, [started] working as a dominatrix five years later, and a B.C. Supreme Court judge [decided] that…whipping people for a living…[instead] of “being a filmmaker or actress…showed a lack of ‘correct thinking’ and was proof she’d taken an unnecessary risk due to a loss of cognitive function from a moderate traumatic brain injury”…

Welcome To Our World (The Hits Keep Coming)

It never stops with whores:

Anyone helping homeless people by offering them travel money, shelter or food could face up to a year in prison…in Norway…Vidar Brien-Karlsen, Secretary of State…said it was necessary…as the police needed authority to crack down on those running begging networks as an organised business…

Can you smell the “trafficking” filth?

The Widening Gyre 

The last part of this item degenerates into “Swedish model” cheerleading, believe it or not:  “A [Utah politician] wants to give convicted child sex traffickers the…death penalty…He said he’s been working on bills to target prostitution…for years…”  And this barely-comprehensible muddle is as stupid as anything we’ve ever seen under this heading:

For the past three weeks…an R-storm warning has been in effect.  R-storm is a new multi-jurisdictional prostitution and sex trafficking operation…the women involved are not only at risk legally, they now face new risks on the street as guinea pigs for drugs dealers…”to test their products”…It’s that connection to other crimes…that R-storm is trying to fight…R-storm says…If you see behavior that looks suspicious, call your local police.

Puerile cop nomenclature, agency denial, demonization, the gateway myth, police-state propaganda…all in a few sentences!

Checklist 

The utterly ridiculous idea that a “sex buyer” is a particular kind of man that one can be “trained” to spot derives from the even more ludicrous notion that paying for sex is unusual and pathological:

One of Sweden’s largest hotel chains…has announced additional training for staff as part of a government initiative to counter prostitution in the hospitality industry…including watching an educational video designed to help them better identify clues that suggest plans to buy or sell sex…“It is incredibly important that there won’t be a witch hunt on individual customers”…[a hotel manager lied before advising]…all staff to call police immediately if they suspected prostitution…

Frequently Told Lies

The English Collective of Prostitutes has put out another debunking of prohibitionist myths; the more of these we see, the better.

Traffic Circle

It’s so good to see articles like this appearing in regular newspapers, especially when they quote me:

When media reports use the term “sex slave,” it sensationalizes rape and abduction…campaigns [against]…sex trafficking…end up making life more difficult and dangerous for sex workers…[because they] don’t differentiate between those who chose sex work versus those who are coerced…Take it from Maggie McNeill, a former sex worker who is now an activist and blogger.  She talks about how much of the data about…sex trafficking might be unreliable and how confounding the idea that all sex work is sex trafficking is problematic.  In an interview with Reason.com, McNeill says that until sex work is decriminalized, it’s difficult to have any real idea of how many sex workers are choosing the work versus needing to versus being forced into it.  Not having reliable data hasn’t stopped countless…organizations from bold…unsupported claims…

Property of the State Purvi Patel

Purvi Patel…faces two different, and contradictory, charges after suffering a premature delivery and seeking medical care.  The story…[gives] a frightening look of what’s to come as increasingly draconian abortion restrictions force pregnant people to turn to other, sometimes illegal and often dangerous, means…Patel went to an emergency room in…Indiana…for vaginal bleeding…prosecutors allege…she told staff she believed she was roughly two months pregnant and miscarried the fetus at home…Prosecutors initially charged Patel with felony neglect of a dependent, a class A felony that carries with it a 50-year prison sentence.  But in order to convict Patel with felony neglect, prosecutors must be able to prove the fetus she delivered was born alive…That’s why they have also charged Patel with feticide…

Vendetta (#432)

Swanee Hunt’s private pogrom has been moved up to January so cops can vomit out the lie that it has something to do with the Super Bowl:

A national coalition of local law enforcement agencies conducted a sting operation that led to the arrests of 570 would-be sex buyers…and 23 pimps or traffickers, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced…The ninth “National Day of Johns Arrests” ran for approximately two weeks, from January 15 through February 1…

Who but a government functionary would see nothing wrong with calling a two-week period a “day”?  The article boasts that the program has “grown rapidly”, and here’s why: “$341,330 in minimum fines…221 cars towed/forfeited…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#445)

Professor Hill strikes again:

…The last people that clients and/or sex workers who have been beaten, robbed, threatened, stalked or raped are going to go to are law enforcement agents…because [the latter] are actively seeking to arrest them and (in the case of clients) seize their assets…there is no reliable data to suggest that more than a small minority of sex workers are coerced or “trafficked”.  The often cited “statistics” on trafficking in sex work do not stand up under scrutiny and are systematically misquoted and exaggerated by NGOs and other interested groups in order to elicit funding and political support for…the abolition of all sex work for moral reasons.  One misleading statistic that keeps making the rounds is the claim that there are 300,000 minors being trafficked for sex in the United States…This figure is mathematically implausible since it represents 1 in every 50 girls in the US between the ages of 12 and 18…[such] estimates have been widely criticized as inflated and absurd…

Safe Targets (#452)

Terra [sic] Burns…is…a graduate student who studies the sex industry, and…[an activist] with…Community United for Safety and Protection, which opposes [bad] human trafficking laws…“Most of the people [charged]…have been women who have been working together”…says Burns….[who] thinks the law should be amended so those who work in the sex industry of their own volition are not…entrapped by [cops]…Burns launched a “Tilt” crowdfunding campaign three weeks ago…to raise $1,500 to pay for Burns to live out of a camper in Juneau for a month…[as] a…lobbyist…[a prohibitionist politician lied that an anti-whore law]…“doesn’t touch…voluntary sex workers in any way, shape, or form”…

Secret Squirrel (#509)

Note the starkly different tone when the stalker is a woman:

I can’t remember exactly when I decided to start Geotagging my partner…It wasn’t that I didn’t trust him; I just wanted to build on that trust with cold hard evidence.  Friends who think my behaviour is creepy, controlling or borderline obsessive have pointed out that just because you know where someone is doesn’t mean they are not in that place cheating on you.  That’s true, but this is something which means he’d have a harder time getting away with it…This isn’t…invading his privacy…If he had refused to use it, I would only presume he had something to hide…

The More the Better (#509)

Cracked continues its run of excellent pro-sex worker articles with “5 Ways Being a Legal Prostitute Is Weirder Than You Think“:

We didn’t expect to become the Internet’s primary source for insider perspectives on sex workers, but life is funny that way.  In our quest to understand society’s weird love/hate relationships with prostitutes, we’ve talked to those working outside the law and the few who ply their trade in legal brothels, and the consistent theme seems to be that it can be an awful job, but only because polite society insists on making it awfula…legal brothel worker…walked us through some of the bizarre rules, regulations, and everyday bullshit that pervades every aspect of their lives.  It really made it clearer than ever that the concept of someone accepting money for sex just scares the shit out of people…

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The enormous variations in prostitutes’ life stories make it impossible to fit them in binary categories like “forced” and “voluntary”.  –  Linda Duits

The Rescuers

The youth of the Christian Union conducted a demonstration…in the Red Light District, but the prostitutes wanted nothing to do with it…Mariska Majoor of PROUD, the sex workers’ union…[said] “The Christian fundamentalists make customers afraid while the…women in the Wallen just want to work”…PROUD performed a counteraction to make it clear that sex workers do not need to be saved by Christian fundamentalists…

Dirty Amateurs

Cruising for sex on Craigslist personal ads resulted in a 15.9 percent increase in HIV infections after the website entered various U.S. markets, according to a recent study by the University of Minnesota …Jason Chan…found that HIV incidence began to increase about a year after Craigslist entered a market, then climbed through the study period…the association…occurred only with respect to personal ads — not professional escort services.  Chan figures that sex workers took more precautions than people seeking sex in a social context…

Scapegoats 

Universal criminality in action.  Can’t prove a charge?  Just add another in mid-trial that you don’t actually have to prove:

A factory worker has been jailed for four years after he was cleared of having sex with a Shetland pony but convicted of outraging public decency.  Alan Barnfield was…spotted putting something around the neck of the…pony and leading it and another horse to the darkened end of the paddock.  Worried residents called police and he was found “sweating profusely and smelling strongly of horses”…the outraging public decency charge was only added halfway through the trial [because] it…carried an unlimited sentence whereas the main charge…[only] carries a two-year maximum.  The second charge was added when lawyers…realised that…[they would]  actually [have]…to…prove…[the main charge]…

Too Young To Know

Anyone who whose memory extends back to a time earlier than the age of eighteen should know that the doctrine of “sexualization” is total bullshit, yet people believe it anyway.  Will Matheson argues that since humans are naturally sexual, the actual problem is what we might call “Puritanization”, the societal suppression of those healthy, natural urges.  It’s a good essay, and I’m not just saying that because he quotes me right below Carl Sagan.

Whatever They Need To Say

This cannot be repeated too many times:

One of Amsterdam’s most iconic landmarks is being torn down.  The lights have been switched off in the famous Red Light District…the city’s politicians…have undertaken a massive gentrification project under the guise of rescuing women from the sex trade.  Project 1012 is…buying up brothels with public funds [and] re-selling the realty to “high-grade” enterprises:  dining, design and fashion…It was then Alderman Lodewijk Asscher…who managed to “sell” the project…[by pretending] that sex work is inextricably bound up with exploitation, oppression and human trafficking…This…cannot be substantiated with scientific data…Project 1012 has never been about the faith of sex workers, but about…ownership…of valuable real estate…That’s why brothel owners had to leave, despite the fact they were never charged with actual crimes, let alone convicted.  They merely needed to be branded as social pariahs…

Buried Truth 

Surprising no one:

A preacher who claimed that Starbucks flavour their coffees with semen has admitted that he…has been tempted himself by the gay lifestyle.  “Absolutely, no doubt about it.  I spent three and a half years in prison…I was tempted, but I didn’t yield to temptation…”

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#137) Shockspot

A hi-tech “teledildonics” contraption…lets lonely men thrust into an artificial vagina – and have a robot dildo penetrate webcam girls in time to their thrusts…They’ll have to be quite brave – the Shockspot produces 18lb of thrust…

What could possibly go wrong?

Paint By Numbers

“Fighting sex trafficking” by standing on lawns is so passé:

A group dedicated to saving young women from forced prostitution…[stood around on] Interstate-5 off-ramps for hours in the rain.  Interstate 5 is…where [prohibitionists pretend truckloads of]…sex trafficking victims are taken from Washington to Mexico.  A group of people in Portland…did something about it…[by standing around holding] bright pink signs…

Stupor Bowl

I think we can safely close the lid on the coffin of the “gypsy whores” myth; “Video Vigilante” Brian Bates (no friend of sex workers) is celebrating its demise, and a Phoenix criminal defense attorney mocked it with a poem which also lampooned cops and crusading prosecutors:

‘Twas the night before the Superbowl, when all through the state,
Not a hooker was stirring, who wasn’t a fake;
The cops posted their escort ads on the internet with care,
In hopes that potential Johns soon would surf there;

The police were nestled all smug on their hotel room beds,
While visions of entrapped soon-to-be sex offenders danced in their heads…

…The wrinkles on the face of the undercover cop
Gave the look of old age even with the tube top,
When, what to the client’s disbelieving eyes should appear,
But a detective with cuffs, claiming her age should’ve been clear…

Mind Over Matter

Nobody has any damn business telling people that their reasons for having sex are “wrong”:

Rashida Jones doesn’t think women are deriving pleasure from amateur porn.  “It’s performative, women aren’t feeling joy from it,” Jones said…while promoting Hot Girls Wanted, a documentary she produced on the amateur porn industry…”It’s fulfilling a male fantasy…what is the real cost to your soul and to your psyche?”

Yes, she thinks having sex can damage one’s soul.  But neofeminism isn’t a religion, noooooooo.

Choke Point choke point diagram

In what seems to be a retreat from its Operation Choke Point initiative, the FDIC has…[instructed] banks to judge their relationships with their customers on a case-by-case basis, rather than refusing to provide…services to entire categories of industries…[even] leading banks to close the…accounts of many churches…[because] a large percentage of [their] contributions [are] in cash…The Washington Times…argues that [this] effectively ends Operation Choke Point…

The Public Eye (#423)

This author is too deeply soaked in prohibitionist thinking to write a proper story, but the words of the sex workers shine through anyway:

…the critically acclaimed Sex Workers’ Opera…[was] scripted…to…speak out against…criminalisation…UK…policies are…geared towards rescuing “sex slaves”…but for…sex workers…there is nothing more terrifying than the idea of “being rescued”…In one skit, the cast compares [Swedish model proponents] to naïve fishermen, who tell others to go and fish in safer seas where there are, in fact, no fish…

A Whore in Church (#425)

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

A group of nuns and residents who live near a west suburban strip joint…[alleged] prostitution and liquor law violations…at the club, which they…have been seeking to shut down…the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo and others [now] claim Club Allure…promotes and allows certain touching and “high friction rubbing” that could be considered prostitution…They also say the club…violates…liquor laws by serving alcohol in close proximity to the nuns’ convent…

Anatomy of a Boondoggle (#439)

Good riddance to bad rubbish:

A private investigator who gets paid by councils to have undercover sex inside illegal brothels has been fired after withholding information about a prostitute whom he met on a job…the investigator was accused…by [prohibitionist NGO] Brothel Busters…of having “deliberately omitted” important details…to…protect…an illegal sex worker, with whom he had become “enchanted”…

Divided We Fall (#445) Malooka Aldlouah

Prostitution charges are such a convenient bludgeon against minorities:

A court in Cairo has sentenced a 25-year-old transwoman named Malooka Aldlouah to six years in prison under a law that criminalizes “debauchery”.  Aldlouah may be the first person sentenced…since an appeals court announced…it would uphold the acquittal of 26 men accused of participating in a “gay sex party”…in December…police [pretended]  that [Aldlouah] had posted “hardcore” videos on YouTube that were intended to advertise sexual services including “sadistic sex”.  But a review of [her] YouTube and Facebook accounts…showed only videos of her dancing clothed…and none had been posted within the past year…

Sex Work is Work (#507)

A group of South African sex worker rights activists have published “A Guide to Respectful Reporting and Writing on Sex Work“, a hefty 4.7 meg compilation which covers everything from recommendations on language and stock photographs to admonitions against outing sex workers.  Given that it’s in English, it shouldn’t be too hard to adapt for American usage.

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on January 11th; I have modified it slightly for time references and to fit the format of this blog.

After a moral panic ripens into its fullest development, it quickly begins to rot and ferment, producing noxious spirits which seep into the body politic and cause all manner of aberrations for years; sometimes the aftereffects can last for decades.  The odious fruit of “sex trafficking” hysteria is no exception; it reached its peak last year, saturating the entire culture with its noisome effluvia, and is now entering the stage where it is beginning to break down from within.  Up to now, most of the people harmed by the hysteria have been sex workers, our clients, our associates and the families of all three groups; the stench of a fully-ripened panic, however, cannot be so easily contained, and the evil plant governments were only too happy to cultivate is now beginning to stain their own.  Perhaps you saw this article last month?

A woman who claims she was made to have sex with the Duke of York has said she was paid £10,000 by her then-employer Jeffrey Epstein, and alleges that Prince Andrew knew she was just 17 years old at the time…Buckingham Palace has issued an unprecedented denial in relation to the new claims, denying that the Duke had “any form of sexual contact or relationship” with…Virginia Roberts…[who] claims that between 1999 and 2002 she “was forced to have sexual relations with this prince when she was a minor” in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island owned by her then-employer and friend of Prince Andrew Jeffrey Epstein.  While the age of consent is 16 in the UK, it was and remains 18 in Florida, where the court papers were filed.  Now a convicted sex offender, Epstein used hidden cameras to picture underage girls in his properties…It has not been alleged that the Duke knew Epstein was forcing Ms Roberts to have sex with him.  “The Prince didn’t give me money with his own hands,” she said. “Jeffrey always took care of paying me after I ‘entertained’ his friends.”  Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz – also named in the US court papers – said the claims against him were part of a pattern of “made-up stories” against prominent people, and advised the Duke to do everything in his power to clear his name…

First of all, it’s important to note that even in Roberts’ fantasy description of events, she was not a “slave” in any meaningful sense of the word; apparently she was employed by Epstein, and claims to have been (quite generously) paid for her work.  Unless I’m reading this incorrectly her entire case is based on the lawheaded premise that laws control reality, so that while she was an adult capable of consenting to sex, work or sex work while in the UK, she magically lost that agency as soon as she crossed into Florida because legislators had defined her as a “child” there.  By this “reasoning”, if I were to cross the border into a fundamentalist theocracy which defines women as morally incompetent,Virginia Roberts with Prince Andrew I would truly and actually lose the ability to make moral decisions, drive, consent to sex or whatever.  And presumably, anyone who took advantage of me would be subject to whatever charges might accrue to one who did so to a child.  The attorney who proposed such a moronic notion would be laughed out of court and possibly disbarred, and indeed Dershowitz proposes that’s what should be done here:

…Dershowitz…said he was not in the places described in the filing at the relevant times, with one exception:  He did visit Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean on one occasion…with [his] family…Dershowitz said…he’s planning to file bar complaints against [Brad] Edwards and [Paul] Cassell for inadequately vetting their client’s story.  “I’m planning to file disbarment charges against the two lawyers who signed this petition without even checking the manifests of airplanes or travel itineraries, et cetera,” he said. “I’m also challenging the young woman and the lawyers to level those charges against me outside of the courtroom, so that I can sue them for defamation…Finally, I’m challenging the woman to file criminal charges against me because the filing of false criminal charges is a crime”…

There will, of course, be no criminal charges, nor were any civil ones filed prior to this by Roberts or anyone else.  She has made many claims that are demonstrably untrue, as specified in both Dershowitz’s comments above and in regard to claims that she had met the Queen.  Even under the abysmally-low evidentiary standards of American civil litigation, the accusations made here are both factually and legally absurd.  Is Roberts deluded like so many spinners of “sex trafficking” tales, or is she just capitalizing on the panic du jour for a payout?  It hardly matters; either way, this is a case of a sexual fantasy being treated as fact by people drunk on the liquor of mass hysteria.

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