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Posts Tagged ‘I Swear To God’

The civil rights victory of the near future will be led by heroes with Twitter handles like @mistressmatisse, @SavannahSly, and @Maggie_McNeill.  –  Brendan Trainor

My Body, My Choice

An argument I’ve often made myself:

The belief that you should be able to ingest any substance…because you own your own body is a profoundly libertarian, not progressive, idea…It was the progressives who gave us alcohol prohibition in the first place…Progressivism is the belief that good things come from government—from laws and regulations and central planning and generals and spies and bureaucrats…it is none of the state’s business whether you buy sex with flowers and dinner, or with marriage and mortgage, or with cold hard cash on the dresser…The feminist establishment will soon be forced to accept women’s dominion over body parts besides the womb.

I Swear To God

Remember, the SCOTUS reaffirmed the unconstitutionality of loyalty oaths just a few years ago:

Manchester [New Hampshire] police officials said…they want to see Kate D’Adamo, who has advocated for the [decriminalization] of prostitution, fired from her job overseeing a federally funded task force designed to [suppress sex work] in the state.  Assistant Police Chief Carlo Capano said D’Adamo’s statements last week, in which she reportedly presented arguments in favor of the decriminalization of prostitution, potentially violated the federal grant that pays her salary…“Obviously, we’re a little concerned that Kate’s personal opinions are becoming a distraction to [our trying to destroy the lives of sex workers],” said Maria Gagnon…According to…stipulations of the grant, the Manchester Police Department cannot promote, support or advocate for the legalization of prostitution…

Bottleneck 

There are so many reasons sex worker licensing is a bad idea; here’s another:

In Palm Beach County, Florida, all topless dancers are required to register with county officials and obtain an Adult Entertainment Work Identification Card (AEIC), at the cost of $75 per year…Anita Pedemey… “diverted” at least $28,875 (and possibly an additional $3,305) from county coffers between October 2013 and mid-November 2016…from both adult-entertainer fees—approximately 70 percent of which were paid in cash—and court-ordered payments intended for a crime Victims Services Fund…Because she manipulated reports but left the underlying database unaltered, the county still received records of adult-entertainment ID applications even if accounting never received their payments, which means that at least most applicants whose money was taken were still legitimately registered with the county…

Remember, New South Wales decriminalized sex work specifically because corruption like this (and far worse) was rampant.

Standard Operating Procedure

If only amateurs realized that this is the norm, not a deviation from it:

…a Secret Service agent on Vice President Mike Pence’s detail has been suspended from official duties after meeting a prostitute at a Maryland hotel…police saw him exiting the hotel…[after responding] to a [snitch] from the hotel manager…The agent was arrested and was charged with solicitation.  He then self-reported his arrest to the Secret Service…the agent was off-duty and did not present himself in his official capacity…

Seriously, I have had more G-men between my legs than most amateur women have had of any kind of man.  Show me a G-man who’s never been with a whore & I’ll show you a rookie.

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlor pogroms are coming to Canada:

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre is asking for the power to crack down on…massage parlours…he wants the city to be able to shut down businesses engaging in such activity by revoking their certificates of occupancy…The director of the Montreal-based sex work organization Chez Stella, Sandra Wesley, says shutting down massage parlours will do more harm than good…”If [Coderre’s] going to go after massage parlours, then he’s going after migrant women,” she…says…closing massage parlours won’t end the sex trade — it will only make it more dangerous for sex workers…[and that] Coderre and others are using sex workers as “pawns in their next re-election campaign”…

The Mote and the Beam (#332)

The censors who want the internet destroyed are at it again:

A…new House measure, sponsored by…Ann Wagner…and dubbed the “No Immunity for Sex Traffickers Online Act,” would carve out an exception to Section 230 for sex-trafficking offenses involving minors.  Supporters portray it as a way to “hold sex traffickers accountable,” but we already have sufficient penalties—at the state and federal level—for people who force, decieve, or coerce others into prostitution…What the change would do is make it possible for states to indict any app, website, or platform that introduces an underage person to a possible sex buyer as a conspirator in sex trafficking.  And it would allow any underage person who was paid for sex to subsequently sue any website or web service remotely involved in the transaction…the change would not merely apply to classified-ad sites like Backpage, or to sites and services specializing in escort advertising…With the proposed change, victims will have the right to sue any third-party web service that enabled their participation or exploitation in the sex trade.  And in this case, victim means anyone under 18 whom someone paid for sex, regardless of whether any force, fraud, coercion, or middlemen and women were involved…It gives victims—most of whom fall prey to petty pimps with few assets, not organized criminals—a civil-suit target with much deeper pockets than the criminals who exploited them, and the same for state prosecutors with asset-forfeiture fever…A huge number of “child sex trafficking stings” in this country involve police posing online as sex workers…and, once a customer is interested, “admitting” that they’re actually underage (usually 16 or 17).  The men who still agree to meet for sex are greeted by police officers and charged with…child sex trafficking.  Their vehicles and sometimes other assets are seized.  Imagine if cops could do this sort of “random virtue testing” (as Ars Technica‘s Nate Anderson aptly described it) but then go after big web publishers and platforms instead of just impounding a few cars…

Bad Girls (#540) 

American “authorities” are dedicated to the philosophy that anyone who ever did anything wrong should keep paying for it, forever:

A prostitute who injected a Google executive with a lethal dose of heroin in 2013 while aboard his yacht in Santa Cruz harbor and spent more than two years in jail was taken into custody by federal immigration agents as soon as she was released…Alix Tichelman — who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of 51-year-old Forrest Hayes — was released by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office around 5 a.m. on [March 29th]…ICE agents waiting outside the jail in the predawn hours came into the building to detain Tichelman…

Aversions (#642)

Miranda Kane on annoying clients:

The (non) expert…[wants to] get his own rocks off by thinking he’s amazing in bed, when all he’s really done is delivered a few sloppy snogs while rubbing my cunt in a style that makes me think he wants a genie to pop out of my vagina…The bashful one…will…stay silent, move with about as much enthusiasm as a gutted fish, and 55 minutes into an hour appointment he’ll say:  “Umm…this was nice, but really all I wanted was to lick your feet with a dildo up my arse, dance for you wearing women’s stockings while you sang the greatest hits from the popular disco band Boney M”…

Challenge (#677)

Laura Lee on the possible wider effects of her challenge to the Swedish model in Northern Ireland:

Sex worker and law graduate Laura Lee is steeling herself for a battle in Belfast’s high court that she believes could make European legal history…Lee…[is] aiming to establish that the criminalisation of her clients violates her right to work under European human rights law…[this] is only the start of a Europe-wide campaign to overturn the model…Lee’s next target is the Irish Republic, which…has introduced a similar ban aimed at criminalising clients.  “A win for us in Belfast will have a knock-on effect and set a precedent across Europe.  If successful up north there will be a challenge in Dublin and sex workers across Europe can use the precedent to overturn the so-called ‘Nordic model’ in their countries,” she said…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#718) 

“Competition” from fancy fleshlights?  Really, ladies, calm down:

Europe’s first sex robot [arcade] has been forced to move after real-life prostitutes complained sex dolls were stealing their trade.  The original location in Barcelona at 2 Baixada de Sant Miquel had been in the Spanish city’s Gothic quarter, north of the cathedral…[it] has now moved to a mystery new location with a receptionist saying the address would only be given out to paying customers.  Prostitutes who work in the city with Aprosex – the Association of Sex Professionals – objected saying a doll cannot match the services of a real person and denigrates real sex workers to merely being an object…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#720)

More on the oppression of Ukrainian sex workers:

Ukraine used to be depicted as a paradise for sex tourists.  The news that the country would co-host the European Football Championship in 2012 was followed by…moral panic…the city of Kropyvnytsky, in central Ukraine, is…home to Legalife, Ukraine’s leading sex workers’ organisation…Their organisation got its start following an episode of police abuse in 2009, when Isaeva, a former sex worker who conducted outreach work with sex workers, was unlawfully detained by an anti-trafficking police unit.  They threatened to charge her with pimping, and when Isaeva tried to file a complaint the next day, there was no trace of her detention.  She did, however, obtain an apology.  The head of the anti-trafficking unit was transferred and the officers’ bonuses slashed.  This incident prompted the women to stand for sex workers’ rights, attracting the attention of international donors such as Open Society who have funded Legalife ever since…

The Widening Gyre (#726) 

Ah, the delicious schadenfreude of prohibitionists’ lies coming back to bite them in the arse:

A viral Facebook entry about child sex trafficking posted by…Diandra Toyos…is a misinformed and ultimately harmful depiction of what this crime is about…There are zero indicators of human trafficking in Toyos’ story…it so misrepresents the dangers, warning signs and risks associated with sex trafficking that its readers and likers may now try to protect kids by watching for the wrong things in the wrong places…I’m a professional in the anti-trafficking field, and…I have never seen, read or heard about a real sex-trafficking situation in which a child was abducted by traffickers in broad daylight at a busy store under a mother’s watchful eye…The most pernicious part of the viral Facebook post is its comments section.  As sex-trafficking survivors and anti-trafficking advocates — myself included — tried to correct the misconceptions in it, and tried to alert the public to the harms caused by misunderstandings and sensationalism, we were met with anger and outrage.  Sound bite quotes and statistics were thrown back at me in an attempt to highlight my “ignorance” on the subject.  “Human trafficking happens everywhere,” I was reminded. “It’s in our own backyards.”  These are the exact phrases my colleagues and the anti-trafficking movement publicized years ago to raise awareness. We never imagined they’d be used to challenge our own expertise and in defense of efforts that threaten victims…

Here’s some free advice, Miss “Trafficking Expert”:  if you don’t want hysteria, don’t promote it yourself.  And if you want people to defer to “experts” on prostitution, you need to set an example by shutting the fuck up, sitting the fuck down and listening to the real experts, sex workers themselves.

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Victimless crime creates the surveillance state.  –  Wendy McElroy

Amazingly Stupid Statements

License to Rape

At least the European media aren’t afraid to apply the word “rape” to the actions of rapist cops:

Hundreds of people took to the streets of a Paris suburb…to denounce police brutality, after a 22-year-old black man was…sodomised with a baton during an arrest last week…One [cop] was charged…with rape, while three others were charged with assault…The man suffered severe anal injuries which required surgery and was also treated for damage to the head and face…The severity of his injuries led a doctor to declare him unfit to work for 60 days…[cops] deny the [obvious evidence] and [pretend] they were targeting lookouts for drug dealers…

Decentralization

Wendy McElroy on bitcoin and consensual crime:

…There are people who use bitcoin to buy “immoral goods” (whatever that means) just as there are people who use cash to do so.  As long as the participants are consenting adults, that’s their business.  Not yours, not mine.  The state is the one who interjects violence and harm when it points a gun at peaceful adults…The attack on bitcoin will be framed…as a way to protect vulnerable and misguided individuals who use their own bodies in “unacceptable” ways.  Or it will unfold as a campaign of resentment against those individuals who do not pay their so-called “fair share” toward maintaining the surveillance state.  A moral attack must be met with moral indignation, not an apology…

Broken Record 

How fetishists are trying to back away from the thoroughly-debunked “Super Bowl sex trafficking” trope without abandoning the larger “gypsy whore” myth:

While there was a considerable increase in the number of [sex work] ads surrounding the Super Bowl, other events like a Memorial Day motorcycle rally in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and various industry conferences had a bigger impact than expected, suggesting that resources devoted to combating the problem of forced prostitution have been misdirected….[“sex trafficking” fetishists fantasize] that traffickers and pimps use online classified services like Backpage.com to advertise their victim’s sexual services…[pigs bizarrely fantasize that] words like “young” and “no pimps” can be indicators that the person in the photo is a trafficking victim…

Imaginary Evils

Since there are virtually no actual “sex trafficking” cases in the UK despite massive, multi-million-pound crusades to discover them, cops keep themselves busy with fantasies of “pimps” lurking behind every ordinary escort ad:

West Midlands Police has confirmed they now [waste] a substantial part of their [time] in [fantasizing about] sex trafficking victims in the region…[based on propaganda from] The Salvation Army…The content of profiles leads to more suspicion…A lot of the prostitutes also claim to be ‘independent’…But [since we know women are too stupid to plan travel or get pictures taken] their profile pictures…[and] the fact they move around the country would…allude to a larger, more organised, illegal operation…

Cops and Robbers

These are the kind of people who call us “bad” women:

…a group of sex workers…operate from one of three houses [in suburban Johannesburg] which were attacked by [a mob which]…marched to their house on [February 5th] and tossed their belongings outside before torching them.  Beds‚ bedding‚ plasma TV sets‚ music systems‚ clothes and money were some of the things that the girls lost in the [unprovoked attack which] locals [rationalized as taking] a stand against what they say are drug dens and brothels run by Nigerian nationals…

Guinea Pigs (#630) 

Maker of fascist surveillance software uses Backpage as a prop for self-fellation:

Marinus Analytics LLC has joined DeliverFund’s International Human Trafficking Analysis Center (iHTAC), a consortium of organizations who’ve partnered to [come up with more ways to profit from hysteria over]…human trafficking…The combined capabilities of Marinus Analytic’s Traffic Jam and DeliverFund’s uniquely qualified personnel allowed [pigs]…to continue [oppressing people] without disruption during the recent Backpage.com’s closure of its adult ads section…

To Molest and Rape child-molester-cop-chris-wilbanks

Lying, tricking someone into doing something wrong, threatening harm to compel behavior…gee, I wonder where he learned to act this way?

A [South Carolina cop] was arrested after federal investigators say that he coerced an 11-year-old girl into sending him a nude picture, then told her to send more naked photographs or he would show the first one to others…Chris Wilbanks…is charged with production of child pornography…[he] posed as a 14-year-old boy nicknamed “Redneck Rick” on social media and talked to the girl, who said she was 12…the girl sent about a dozen pornographic images to Wilbanks and was crying in many of them…

Challenge (#677)

What could be more Orwellian than referring to groups trying to take away women’s rights as “women’s rights groups”?

Two women’s rights organisations are to feature in a High Court challenge to a new law making it illegal for men to pay for sex in Northern Ireland…Space International, a [prohibitionist] group [backed by the nuns who abused women in the infamous Magdalene laundries], and Equality Now, [a group led by a former prosecutor who resigned in disgrace after railroading two innocent black men for rape,] have been granted intervener status in proceedings brought by sex worker Laura Lee…amendments to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act breach [sex workers’] human rights to privacy and freedom from discrimination.  Northern Ireland is currently the only UK region to make the purchase of sex a criminal offence…

The Naked Anthropologist (#701) 

Noah Berlatsky reviews Laura Agustín’s new book:

Laura Agustín’s novel The Three-Headed Dog…argues that the notion of innocent young girls exploited, waiting to be rescued by daredevil Kristofs, is a pernicious myth.  People who cross borders generally do so to find a better life.  They end up doing sex work because it can sometimes be the best option available, especially given prejudiced restrictions placed on immigrant entry and employment…Immigrants are often victimized, but they aren’t solely victims…The Three-Headed Dog doesn’t have an exciting rescue narrative…[it shows] exploitation [as]…a fact of life, a constant backdrop too ubiquitous to be felled with a single punch or raid…

The War Goes On 

We have so many more vocal allies now than we did when I started blogging seven years ago!

Last month, authoritarians…forced Backpage, the world’s second-biggest classified-ads website, to shut down its adult section.  A motley crew of elected officials at all levels of government…bullied Backpage and its executives into getting rid of it, supposedly because they were concerned about people being “sex trafficked”…Of course, as Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown points out, Backpage was already cooperating with law enforcement…something that won them numerous accolades from state and federal cops.  Purely with respect to fighting crime, the government’s victory was somewhere between empty and actively harmful…What’s more, politicians and law enforcement conflate sex trafficking with voluntary prostitution. As…Maggie McNeill has been arguing for years, there are no good data to suggest anything but a tiny fraction of sex workers are trafficked…a lot of prostitutes…used Backpage’s adult section, and the government’s self-indulgent crackdown put their livelihoods at risk…

I Swear To God (#708)

Michelle Chen on how the US tests oppressive tactics abroad before inflicting them domestically:

One of the first policy measures taken by Donald Trump…was reinstating and expanding a piece of presidential policy known as the “Global Gag Rule.”  The policy bars USAID funding for any organization abroad that provides abortions or even presents abortion as a family planning option…In another global campaign to spread “Christian values,” the US government’s long-standing “anti-prostitution pledge” restricts funding from going to any organizations that promote or support sex work.  The oath forces organizations to choose between providing comprehensive services to their constituencies, or cutting back on certain services in order to get US funding…the worst abuses of Washington’s hegemonic power have always taken place in international arenas before creeping inward.  The use of private detention facilities and military contractors in border enforcement and migration detention have been experimental sites for the most exploitative forms of prison profiteering.  It was, after all, the expansion of immigration detention that helped revive the private prison industry across the country, after the traditional prison industry’s profits plateaued after decades of mining black communities to fill its facilities…

Stupor Bowl (#711)

Liz Brown finds the usual total lack of “sex trafficking” at this year’s Super Bowl:

To hear the hysterics tell it, thousands—perhaps tens of thousands—of sex-selling women will flock like cockroaches to cities where sports-fans gather, and only some will be there willingly; the rest, including many children, are trucked in by opportunistic pimps and traffickers.  As ample people have pointed out…there’s not a shred of evidence to support this rumor…examinations of actual arrest data in Super Bowl cities shows no corresponding spike in sex trafficking, compelling prostitution, or any other similar charge—despite the verifiable spike in law-enforcement and media attention to the issue…Between the Saturday before the Super Bowl and the Tuesday morning after, no criminal complaints were filed against anyone [in Houston] for sex trafficking, soliciting a minor, pimping, promoting prostitution, compelling prostitution, etc…[the rumor is] what people today like to refer to as “fake news,” and the people who propagate it year after year—police departments looking to justify vice stings and asset forfeiture, missionary groups looking to fundraise or justify federal anti-trafficking grants, sensationalist media, and state and national politicians with human-trafficking measures to promote—are not…“abolitionists” but propagandists, plain and simple.

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[Jessica] McGraa’s death has prompted many to ask how we have created a climate in which sex workers call anyone but the police.  –  Frankie Mullin

Lying Down With Dogs

Melissa Ditmore on Russia’s terrible anti-whore policies:

Russian President Vladimir Putin…half [joked]…that…Russian sex workers are “of course the best in the world”…but…Russia’s regressive policies on sex work, LGBTQ people, and sex education are counter to good health.  LGBTQ people are stigmatized and discriminated against and face grave violence, sex work is prohibited, the most effective HIV prevention strategies for people who use drugs are against the law, and comprehensive sexuality education is not offered in schools…

The Mote and the Beam

Liz Brown was the only non-prohibitionist invited to appear on this Al Jazeera show; in this article she discusses the incredible ignorance of the other panelists, who call for more laws without even knowing what the current ones say.

An Example To the West

Two thousand signatures:

The National Network of Sex Workers has released a statement challenging the conference being organised by the “The Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution International”…The statement has been signed by over 2000 sex workers in India who reject the conflation of trafficking with sex work, and the conflation of sex work with violence.  It calls for…an end to the use of morality to stigmatise and discriminate against sex workers…

Broken Record 

The broadest “gypsy whore” claim ever:

a new report from 2016 [redefines criteria to claim that] the number of human trafficking cases in [Florida] doubled in the last year…Florida’s reputation as a tourist destination means traffickers respond to the demand for sex tourism by trafficking victims to the state during tourist season…[prohibitionist] Bethany Gilot [publicly fantasized about]…the prevalence of sex tourism in the region…

I Swear To God

And yet “feminists” were perfectly happy when it was sex workers’ rights which were the forbidden topic:

Donald Trump signed [an] executive order…reinstating a ban on international aid…to nonprofits that provide abortions or promote information on them, regardless of what other services they offer…A…group of more than 100 public health, women’s issues, and civil liberties organizations have already issued a statement opposing the return of…”the global gag rule”…[the policy is very much like] the anti-prostitution pledge…[which] stipulated that no grant money could be used…to “provide assistance to any group or organization that does not have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution”…

That Old Black Magic

I’m not sure which aspect of this is the stupidest:

A woman accused of trafficking a Nigerian woman into the country and forcing her to work as a prostitute has claimed that the alleged victim was having an affair with her husband…The complainant previously told a jury that she underwent a “voodoo process” in Nigeria during which she swore she would not report the alleged trafficker, Joy Imasogie…once in Ireland she had to have sex with up to 10 men a day to pay off a €50,000 “debt”…arising from her being brought to Ireland…Imasogie said sometimes the woman would come to her house to do her hair in exchange for food but denied making her work as a prostitute…she…also claimed the mother of the alleged victim was using voodoo to take her husband away from her but “did not succeed”…

Monsters 

A 26-year-old Detroit man…[shot] a transgender woman in the face after paying her for sex.  Jason Lamar Hogan was charged…with [attempted murder]…She escaped and got treatment at Grace Hospital…

Paint By Numbers

“Dumb ‘awareness-raising’ stunts” is going to be the funniest appendix in my history of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay is urging you to drop an F-bomb.  No, not the swear word.  In this case, F stands for Friend…They’re using memes with a very serious message.  It’s something we don’t like to think is happening in our community: kids forced to be sex slaves.  But Florida is one of the top three states for human trafficking…Ken Gibson from the Crisis Center…says…“It’s little kids…who are being targeted by pimps”…

Checklist (#542)

Can this reporter actually be so credulous as to believe it takes 20 cops to check to see if a strip club is displaying the magical scrolls demanded by Florida politicians?

There was no dancing when deputies and code enforcement officers were at a strip joint called Icon.  Except for the 20 or so officials, the club was nearly vacant…But the deputies didn’t mind the empty stage, as they were there to ensure that the club was in compliance with a new county ordinance requiring anti-human trafficking signs in adult entertainment establishments…

The nauseating sound of bootlicking is deafening.

Perquisites (#582) 

Yawning.

…University of Louisville…director of basketball operations Andre McGee hired strippers and prostitutes as a way of gaining favor with high school recruits from 2010 to 2014.  The scandal broke wide open in 2015, when Katina Powell, who was in charge of organizing the women to bring to campus, published a book detailing the racket, titled Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen…

Surplus Women (#614) 

It will never be completely safe for any sex worker, or really any woman, to call the cops.  But we need to give the cops far fewer excuses to force interaction with sex workers:

Jessica…McGraa’s death sent waves of horror through the sex work community across the UK.  As an independent worker, advertising online, she was part of one of the fastest-growing sectors of the industry.  Her story was close to home for thousands of people working in similar circumstances.  How many of them would have called the police?…

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-evan-cramer

Once again: if you think it matters whether a rapist cop was “on duty” at the time of the rape, you are part of the problem:

Evan Cramer…pulled [a woman] over…for a minor traffic violation…[he said] she had multiple warrants out for her arrest and said she could avoid jail time if she [submitted to rape]…Cramer…then…[forced] the [woman] into his cruiser and [drove] her to a vacant lot where…he [raped her]…The woman then went to the hospital and reported the [rape]…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#705) 

Though this is mostly just the usual idiocy, note that “children” is defined as “people under 26”.

There are likely more than 313,000 victims of labor and sex trafficking in Texas, and roughly a fourth of them are children and people under the age of 26 who have been forced into prostitution…[fetishists] from…University of Texas…[pretend these wild exagerrations represent] “a conservative understatement of the prevalence of human trafficking in Texas”…

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Sex workers have a special place in society that is never rewarded or recognised.  –  Derek Freedman

No Other Option

Vrbas wheelchair basketball clubMy Cliterati article for last Sunday was “Skin To Skin”, a strong criticism of the cruelty of denying commercial sex to men who can’t experience physical intimacy in any other way; the very next day an English council provided a perfect example of that cruelty by announcing an “investigation” of a nursing home which allowed residents to hire sex workers, and I explained what was wrong with that in this week’s essay, “Caring Professionals”.  Then there was this item from Bosnia:

Members of a…wheelchair basketball club are launching a campaign to legalize prostitution…to help disabled people “achieve their right to love.”  Marinko Umicevic, president of the club Vrbas, said Wednesday that Bosnia had to catch up with 21st century Europe, where…some people with disabilities “even get state subsidies to pay for sex.”  Umicevic said some of his players had never had sex and legalizing the sex trade would help people like them achieve their basic rights…

Something Rotten in Sweden

Prostitution stings are disgusting no matter how they’re justified, but there’s something particularly vile about using “sex trafficking” as an excuse and then arresting hookers as well:

A multi-agency prostitution sting conducted earlier this month on behalf of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month has netted the arrests of…46 [people]…most for misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution…[but] five [for] women alleged to have posted sex ads…Sen. Leticia Van de Putte…[says] she intends to propose…a bill that would pave the way for victims of human trafficking to sue websites that make money off prostitution ads…

Senator Van de Putte could save the state of Texas a lot of money by simply researching the fate of similar ideas.

Decentralization

Bitcoin has become so popular, and its value has risen so much against that of national currencies, that Bloomberg is concerned that “virtual money could undermine the role of central banks”, which as Reason explains is exactly the point.  The end of governments’ ability to directly meddle with the world economy can’t possibly come soon enough to suit me.

Dirty Whores

Dr Derek Freedman told the Irish Sun:  “People from all strands of society use prostitutes from time to time.  It ranges from [politicians], the clergy, the judiciary to people who are socially deprived, physically disabled and people who may be regarded as unattractive and may not be able to meet people”…while people often feel anxious about contracting infections after visiting a prostitute, he believes that “you’re probably safer with a professional than with a gifted amateur”…he added:  “What we forget is that often sex workers give great comfort to people who are lonely”…Other Dreams of Freedom

Déjà Vu

When even Christians are starting to see this, “trafficking” hysteria’s days are numbered:

…In her new book Other Dreams of Freedom, Yvonne Zimmerman, a professor of Christian Ethics, argues that the theoretical basis of US government anti-trafficking efforts derives directly from Protestant theology and traditional ideas of what she calls “sexually pure and pious womanhood”.  Zimmerman challenges this basis for anti-trafficking efforts, saying that it ends up limiting the freedom of trafficked people, especially women, by conceiving of their “rescue” as them ending up in traditional, heterosexual marriages – or at least refraining from sexual relations outside of marriage…

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (We’re Not Done Yet)

A big improvement on the phone “app” described previously:

…a team [of students]…has invented a mobile panic button for street…sex…workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.  A voice or text message is first recorded onto a SIM card, which is inserted into a GPS-enabled device such as a pager…Pressing a button…activates the GPS and sends an emergency message and GPS location to a contact who can get help.  Because the GPS is not activated until the device is activated, the anonymity of the user is preserved…Once prototype devices are ordered, the three students will hold focus groups to determine which type of device is more useful…[then] will launch a six-month pilot project by giving devices to 100 women…The group is currently holding a fundraising initiative online…$8,140 [will] cover…the entire pilot project…

Change a Few Words

Arch-prohibitionist Paul Chabot helpfully explains not only that prohibitionism really works, but that all prohibitions are equally valid:  “When asked…why we keep marijuana illegal, Chabot responded:  “Why do we keep heroin, LSD, prostitution, child pornography illegal?’”  As Matthew Feeney points out, “Comparing marijuana to child pornography is a great way to insult millions of people by comparing them to pedophiles.  Chabot is a free gift to those of us who would like to see drugs legalized.”  And of course, the same goes for prostitution.

The More the Better (TW3 #4)

Sheri's RanchOn Monday I received a press release from Sheri’s Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada, a brothel resort on 20 acres (8 hectares) with a swimming pool, spa and tennis court which actively markets itself to couples as well as single men.  It’s now added “Sheri’s Playland”, a group of bungalows fitted out like movie sets so clients can enact any of six different sexual fantasies with working girls.  As I’ve said before, this is a very positive trend; “it was after Vegas casinos started ‘gentrifying’ in the ‘80s that people from other states dropped their prejudices against gambling, and now casinos are everywhere in the US.”

The Course of a Disease

Sex workers fight an attempt to impose the Swedish model on Indonesia:

Prostitutes and activists…are calling on the government not to prosecute men who pay for sex…The chairwoman of Yogyakarta Women’s Sex Workers Association (P3SY)…said…that [client] criminalization…would decrease the bargaining power and income of sex workers…[and] drive prostitution further underground…[hindering] HIV/AIDS education and mitigation programs…arresting customers would lead to the closure of brothels…and force sex workers to seek customers on the streets…Ignatius Praptoharjono of the Atma Jaya Catholic University’s HIV/AIDS Research Center in Jakarta…cited the cases of Sweden, Canada and other Asia-Pacific nations, where a crackdown on [clients] led to the decline of red-light districts and reduced fees…forcing sex workers to charge less and work more.  “Such a regulation will not protect women, but instead expose them to even higher risk,” [he] said…

Bullies With Badges

Heroic cops display their courage and fortitude by saving the helpless citizens of Connecticut from the menace of a 71-year-old whore: “an undercover cop…met her inside a room…[after] Sygun Liebhart placed a backpage.com ad…

Little Boxes (TW3 #25)

Forcing massage parlors to close at 10 PM is the latest anti-whore fad:

…a new [Florida] bill…would ban massage establishments from operating between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m…to crack down on human trafficking and sexual exploitation…[it] also would make it illegal for massage establishments to allow anybody to live on the premises…the Florida State Massage Therapy Association questioned the hours restriction…[because] there are legitimate late-night clients including airline pilots and theatrical performers…[bill sponsor Dave] Kerner, a former…police officer, said…late-night massage establishments are a “hotbed” of illicit sexual activity…

Anyone who actually uses the phrase “illicit sexual activity” with a straight face should be barred from public office as a delusional busybody.

I Swear To God

Here’s another article on the PEPFAR “anti-prostitution pledge”, the efforts to overturn it and the importance of doing so from a health perspective, a human rights perspective and a free speech perspective.  It really is beginning to seem like now that the gay rights culture war has essentially been won, many activists are starting to at last turn their attention toward the persecution of sex workers.

Shift in the Wind

Here’s a cute little promo video made at the Sex Worker Freedom Festival, the parallel AIDS conference held in Kolkata last summer by sex workers who were excluded from the US:

False Target

My fellow hot smart chick Amy Alkon wrote this week about that Jezebel favorite, social constructionist and penis apologist Hugo Schwyzer; his latest absurd claim (one which I called him to task about on Twitter a few months ago) is that older men are only attracted to young women because of “social construction”, and that before the advent of television guys were lining up to date old hags (presumably when they weren’t burning them as witches).  In the process Amy discusses the evolutionary basis of lust, debunks the “rape is asexual” myth and quotes good sense from Dr. Gad Saad.

Bottleneck

The story of New York City’s “cabaret card”, an artificial bottleneck imposed on nightclub performers from 1926-1966, is an excellent example of why prostitution licensing doesn’t work; the corruption such a system engenders and the destructive consequences to individuals are virtually the same.

Dirty Laundry

A divorced couple involved in running a brothel in north Dublin have avoided jail with fines and suspended sentences…Judge Mary Ellen Ring…ordered [Istvan Zeffer] to pay €1,000 to prostitute-support group Ruhama…Bernadette Kiss…is to pay €3,000…”  Ruhama is the new frontTom the Dancing Bug 1-31-13 for the orders of nuns who ran the Magdalene laundries which enslaved whores and many other women; calling them a “prostitute support group” is equivalent to referring to the Nazis as a “Jewish support group”.

King of the Hill

Most of this story is the typical credulous stenography of an evangelical “rescue” organization’s claims, but this passage stood out:  “The United States is the No. 1 destination for human sexual trafficking, with Oklahoma near the top of the most-active state list, the State Department reports…”  As you probably know, the State Department “reports” nothing of the kind.

Change of Heart (TW3 #41)

Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills…threw out 46 of the 59 counts against the alleged co-conspirator in the high-profile Kennebunk prostitution case, setting the stage for another appeal to the state’s highest court.  Mills’ decision…dealt prosecutors a…blow hours before opening arguments…were expected to begin…jury selection…[has already taken four days though] Mills said…it has never taken her longer than one day to seat a jury in her 19 years on the Superior Court…[charges were dropped after defense attorney Daniel] Lilley [argued]…that the notion that Maine privacy laws protect individuals engaged in criminal activity is “ludicrous.”  The invasion of privacy charges are tied to the fact that the alleged sexual interactions…were videotaped without the [clients] knowing…the defense…is [also] free to pursue its…argument that Strong was the subject of police retaliation…

We Told You So (TW3 #131)

Slowly but surely, the press is waking up:

The sad tale of a prostitute being held captive in Chattanooga highlights a problem that appears overstated…it is the only one ever reported, according to area police.  Meanwhile, a 2011 report co-produced by Vanderbilt University and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation estimated there were more than 100 cases of human sex trafficking in Hamilton County.  The study is, apparently, based on erroneous surveys and severely lacking in verifiable facts…

First They Came for the Hookers… (TW3 #132)

More “stripper licensing” idiocy, complete with “sex trafficking” nonsense:

…officials in Moorhead, Minn., are expected to pass an anti-prostitution measure requiring erotic dancers, nude models and adult escorts to obtain licenses and submit to background checks…North Dakota counterparts across the Red River in Fargo and West Fargo are pushing similar ordinances and the regional approach will attempt to stem “a fairly prominent problem here” with prostitution trafficking between their cities and the oil fields…[police hope] the regulations will reduce “a huge problem of runaways and minors trafficked into the sex trade”…adult entertainers would likely have to pay $150 to $250, carry a photo ID and divulge their real names, aliases and criminal histories.  Background checks revealing prostitution or drug convictions would disqualify applicants from receiving permits…

Pompous “authorities” just love creating bottlenecks that turn businesswomen into criminals, don’t they?

Due Consideration

It never takes control freaks very long to prove my points:

A…lawmaker in New Mexico introduced a bill…that would…require victims of rape to carry their pregnancies to term…as evidence for a sexual assault trial.  House Bill 206, introduced by state Rep. Cathrynn Brown…would charge…[violators]…with a third-degree felony for “tampering with evidence”…

The bill is unlikely to pass, but only due to partisanism rather than because it’s a total abomination.

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The truth is that it does not suit our social narrative to recognize that a woman can be raped and get on with her life.  –  Charlotte Shane

BDSM

As soon as anyone who has some unusual interest commits a crime, you can be sure the loudmouthed bigots will blame the interest rather than the criminal:

Three roommates involved with a “sex dungeon” at their home may have murdered a…California [woman] as they tried to satisfy their fetishes…Detectives found “bondage type sex apparatuses, toys and tools” at the home of the two women and man who have been charged with murder in the death of 22-year-old Brittany Killgore…[who] was last seen April 13…Jessica Lopez…said she strangled the victim, fearing the victim would upend a kinky sex ring by seducing her “Master,” according to…a seven-page letter that [Lopez wrote]…The documents give no indication that Killgore knew about the sex ring, and prosecutors call her an innocent victim…

Ignoring the dyphemisms like “ring” and “kinky”, what do we have here?  A woman murders another woman out of jealousy.  Period.  If the house had been full of workout equipment or sports memorabilia, you can be sure the cops wouldn’t be calling it an “athletics-related murder”, but let there be anything sexual in the house, and suddenly it’s a “factor”.

Think of the Children!

Things have grown far worse in the 21 years since Paul Reubens’ career was destroyed by vice cops who accused him of masturbating in an adult theater; back then, he might’ve survived the bad publicity had his audience not included children.  Fred Willard’s audience is all adult, yet he’s being crucified anyway:

…His career is now abruptly over because he was arrested by L.A. vice cops at an adult movie theater.  Not convicted, not sentenced.  Arrested.  For “lewd behavior” in a porn theater…In the past 35 weeks, L.A. police have apparently “inspected” the adult theater 40 times, arresting 23 people.  One can speculate how many of those “inspections” involved cops getting blow jobs.  One can wonder how much tax money was spent on these “inspections.”  And one can wonder, in a city where 300 people are murdered and several thousand are raped every year, how the city can possibly justify spending millions on “inspecting” porn theaters…If convicted, the State could require Fred Willard to register as a sex offender.  Depending on where he lives, he might have to move.  No producer or casting director would ever look at his photo ever again…

John Law

Though cops are well-known for being both astonishingly ignorant and disgustingly barbaric on the subject of whores, this moronic op-ed on the “hookernomics” of Chattanooga, Tennessee’s “fugly” streetwalkers represents a new low for puerile police vulgarity in print; it’s also a fine example of how when a cop is allowed to run his filthy mouth he’ll usually reveal more about himself than he realizes.

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical

Nestle Corporation proves it’s almost as clueless as cops are:  “Nestle…[removed] an image from its Kit Kat Facebook…page, after [discovering] it was similar to…‘Pedobear’ – considered visual shorthand on the internet for sites posting material with inappropriate overtones towards minors…

Objectification Overruled

“Objectification”, blah blah blah.  “Sending messages”, simper simper.

…Melinda Liszewski is part of a campaign against the objectification of women and sexualisation of girls…”We’ve got an expanding sex industry in Queensland, we’ve got billboards advertising that kind of thing and we’ve got…children being exposed to the…message that women exist to be bought and sold,” she said.  But speak to 21-year-old Portia…and it’s all about money [and] flexible hours…[she’s] been accepted to study Post Graduate Development Psychology…Indy…is 31 and said she was angered by the backlash.  “I’ve been in this industry for 13 years and I have a child,” she said…  “I’ve studied vet science and nursing and now I have my own business…”

The Course of a Disease

Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson is planning to push for a bill that would completely prohibit the purchase of sexual services..[which] would bring Finland’s legislation in line with the Swedish and Norwegian model…”  I have a suggestion for the minister:  talk to Norway’s social affairs chief before you make a complete ass of yourself.

The Rape Question

In The New Inquiry, Charlotte Shane published an excellent essay on how the feminist myth that all rape is equally traumatic and always life-destroying  harms women and shuts down discourse:

…Though some feminists regard “rape equals devastation” as sacred fact, the notion that a man can ruin me with his penis strikes me as the most complete expression of vintage misogyny available.  Common sense instructs us that it is far more “dangerous” to insist to young women that they will be broken by an unwanted sex act than it is to propose they might have a happy, healthy, and sexually pleasant future ahead of them in spite of a sexual assault…When we refuse to acknowledge the possibility that a rape could be anything less than a tsunami of emotional and mental destruction for a woman, we establish a fantasy of absolute male sexual power and absolute female vulnerability.  We are, in essence, honoring the timeless belief that a woman’s worth, self-respect, and ability to function within society are dictated exclusively by the sexual use of her body…

Little Boxes

One can’t blame Anna Gristina’s partner for employing the “arbitrary line” defense, but it does demonstrate the inanity of prostitution laws:

…”Paying two individuals to watch them engage in sexual activity…is simply not prostitution,” veteran defense lawyer Robert Gottlieb argues…on behalf of…Jaynie Mae Baker…[who is] fighting a single count of promoting prostitution, for allegedly sitting at a restaurant with a prospective john last July and booking him…with a pair of escorts…not once do the parties specifically mention sex for money…[and] the recordings capture “the undercover officer meeting two other women at an apartment who eventually appear to engage in sexual contact with each other, but not with the undercover officer”…the fake john never even took his clothing off…prior judges have defined prostitution as specifically “A paying B for sexual activity to be performed on A,” and not as charging a fee merely to provide a building space for sexual activity or to let someone watch a sex performance…

Here’s a look at the British version of these idiotic technicalities from New Statesman, in which an accountant who represented a number of prostitutes points out the absurdity of taxing them as businesses while simultaneously denying that they are covered by business law:

…although prostitution is lawful…a prostitute cannot do things such as advertise, go into partnership, form a limited company, employ people, rent premises or sue for debts…the big problem lies with the legislation on brothel keeping.  This – unlike prostitution, is considered a crime.  Common sense dictates two fairly simple things:  one, prostitution won’t go away any time soon (something about that whole “oldest profession” thing), and two; the women doing it are safer working indoors with a maid, rather than working on the street.  There’s neither rhyme nor reason to this law, besides the rule that for every outraged Daily Mail headline there’s an equally cowardly political reaction…

The article goes onto say that the old brothel laws are now being justified with “sex trafficking” hysteria, and includes a 2009 video of a politician being forced to admit on television that the government’s source for “trafficking” figures was an article in the Daily Mirror.

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Singapore-based Lovotics…unveiled…Kissenger…an egg-like orb outfitted with two soft plastic lips packed with sensors and actuators.  When a human…plants a kiss on the robot lips, the sensors record the shape changes the kisser creates on the lips and translates those pressure patterns into a mirror image that can be beamed over the Web to another Kissenger…[which] reproduces the sender’s unique kiss for a human on the other end.  It’s supposed to be a means of maintaining a sense of intimacy when two people are separated by distance, translating a person’s signature kissing style into something that can be transported and delivered to a recipient…

First They Came for the Hookers…

Of course we already knew this, but it’s nice to see them admit it for a change:  “Police have admitted that they do not have any evidence to support a claim that lap dancing clubs may contribute to sex offences…”  Meanwhile, teacher Stacie Halas (who was fired for having acted in porn) in now suing the school district with the help of feminist attack dog Gloria Allred, who as you may remember also took the case of the reporter fired for her past work as a stripper.

The Widening Gyre

Some readers seemed skeptical of my position that peaceful protest alone has done nothing for the sex worker rights movement, and that it’s time for us to be disruptive so we can no longer be ignored.  This made the national news, which is extremely unusual for any US sex worker protest:

Here’s another one from Wednesday.

I Swear To God

It’s really heartening to see a story like this from a major news outlet:

… while the United States lifted a travel ban on people infected with HIV in 2009, it has clung to a prohibition on the entry of foreign sex workers established more than two centuries ago.  Activists, and some [International AIDS] Conference officials, say that runs counter to a goal of achieving an end to the epidemic…”I don’t know how we’re going to ever see an end to AIDS in our lifetime…without including all of those populations who must be involved as part of this solution,” said U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee of California…Michel Sidibe, executive director of the United Nations AIDS program, said it was “outrageous” that in 2012 “when we have everything to beat this epidemic, we still have to fight prejudice, stigma, discrimination, exclusion, criminalization”…

The article then goes on to discuss the public health menace presented by allowing cops and prosecutors to seize condoms as “evidence”.  Incidentally, I’m not sure where this reporter got the idea that the whore immigration ban is “more than two centuries” old; it was part of the Page Law of 1875, a racist ploy to reduce the number of Chinese immigrants.

Metaupdates

The Crumbling Dam in Further Developments

Los Angeles billboard companies refused Furry Girl’s sex worker rights billboard, but were happy to display this:

The Pro-Rape Coalition in We’re Not Done Yet

Just in case you may have forgotten about Mitt Romney’s campaign promise to work hard to increase the rape rate:

Former Justice Department official Patrick Trueman, who proudly participated in federal pornography prosecutions during their “heyday” in the late 1980s and early 1990s…[said] that Mitt Romney’s campaign assured him that Romney would “vigorously” prosecute pornographers if elected president.  Trueman, the president of Morality in Media, contacted the Romney campaign earlier this year about the “untreated pandemic” of Internet pornography…

Good News, Bad News in TW3 (#14)

A brief respite:  “Western Australia’s new Attorney-General…has conceded the Government’s proposed prostitution laws are unlikely to be passed before the next election…

This Week in 2011

Several “Harlots of the Bible” were positively portrayed, and many sex workers are abducted and caged “Against Their Will” in the name of “rescuing” them.  “A Load of Farley” vivisects the most recent bogus “study” from the most active font of such filth, and “Imaginary Crises” does the same for claims of a “rape epidemic”.  “A Working System” demonstrates how problems can be handled under decriminalization, “Peeping Toms” looks at the legacy of Lawrence vs. Texas, and “Profanation” discusses the neofeminist campaign to rewrite the history of harlotry.

This Week in 2010

An essay on the legends about “Mary Magdalene” was followed by one on why women lie about our weight and age, how escorts go about “Playing the Part”, a two-part column on rape in calls, and a debunking of the myth of “Pimps”.

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A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.  –  Aristotle

From the earliest days of patriarchal civilization, religion has been a tool of government; in the earliest days kings were considered gods, and later they were believed to rule by divine right (in other words they were appointed by gods).  Rulers also employed religion more directly, as a tool of enforcing conformity and instilling desired characteristics like obedience and humility into the populace; the child who is taught not to question his religion or his elders usually grows into an adult who rarely questions any pronouncement of an appropriately-sanctified authority figure.  Furthermore, as Aristotle pointed out, rulers who pretend to piety inspire trust in the hoi-polloi, who foolishly believe that religious principles will guide the rulers’ behavior.

But sometimes religion was not merely used to keep an already-subject population docile, but to subjugate a conquered one.  Islam is particularly notorious for forcing itself upon conquered peoples, but though Christianity was less aggressive in conversion its treatment of apostates was often nothing short of horrifying (such as the massacre of many thousands of French Cathars in the 13th century).  The most infamous Western example was the Spanish Inquisition, established by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1480 to pressure Muslims and Jews into converting to Roman Catholicism, then terrorizing those suspected of false conversion.  Despite its religious trappings and justification, the Inquisition was largely a political institution; it answered to the monarchy rather than the Papacy as the earlier Medieval Inquisition did, its primary purpose was to harass minorities suspected of disloyalty to the crown, and its victims (like those of modern police departments) were often targeted so the authorities could confiscate their wealth.

Forced conversion has become less popular in recent centuries, but rulers are still fond of extracting insincere oaths from subject peoples upon pain of serious consequences should they be discovered to have violated those oaths.  After the Second World War American governments offered money to smaller countries willing to dance to whatever tune Washington cared to call, including participation in the barbaric Crusade Against Drugs (whose body count already exceeds that of the Albigensian Crusade by several orders of magnitude).  But today I’d like to focus on just one example of this:  the “Anti-Prostitution Pledge”  organizations must sign in order to receive funds from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).  This organization purports to be dedicated to wiping out HIV worldwide, yet it requires any agency working with it to refuse aid to prostitutes (an important vector of HIV infection in Africa and less-developed parts of East Asia).  Furthermore, PEPFAR refuses to fund needle exchanges (a proven method of slowing HIV transmission) and requires one-third of all granted funds to go to programs promoting sexual abstinence.

Though a lawsuit overturned the “anti-prostitution pledge” requirement for domestic organizations last July, the court left it in place for foreign groups despite universal criticism of the policy by health officials both in the United States and worldwide (most recently in the Report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law).  The International AIDS Conference (IAC) is being held in Washington, DC this week, and true to form the US has denied admission to anyone who has done sex work any time in the past ten years, despite the fact that the participation of sex worker organizations is vital in the fight against the disease.  A parallel “Sex Worker Freedom Festival” is therefore underway in Kolkata, India, and is linked via internet with the main conference; tomorrow (July 24th) a group called We Can End AIDS will hold a march at the conference and will present “A Call to Action on Sex Work and HIV”, which you can still sign if you do so today.

If you’d like more information on the history of the oath, here’s a thirteen-minute video called “Just Sign on The Dotted Line”, and links to several more videos and other resources.

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