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I could be a slave to the banks for the rest of my life, or I can spend a few years doing this and I could be free.  –  JohannaVillage Voice 5-18-16

Gorged With Meaning

Yes, this is yet another article on student sex workers; what makes it interesting is its “so what?” tone and emphasis on facts over hysteria.  It concentrates on NYU, but it does mention other schools, most notably “Oregon’s Portland State University…the only college in America with a student sex worker outreach program…no one involved [is] permitted to speak publicly…[by order of] the university’s administration…”  The article also quotes veteran activist Norma Jan Almodovar (much to the chagrin of some snotty youngsters who were still in diapers when Norma was already doing activism).

First They Came for the Hookers…

Regulations on sex work are never intended to “protect” the workers, no matter what politicians claim:

Dancers in Mumbai are apprehensive about new laws that…limit dancers’ ability to earn a decent wage…Varsha Kale…of the bar girls’ union…[says] they have been treated like children and ignored.  The new laws dictate a number of restrictions…[including a] 3 feet high railing separating the dance floor from the seating area [with] at least 5 feet between the railing and the customers…Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis admitted…that the state’s intention…was to ensure that dance bars do not survive.  The new laws also state that dancers must receive a fixed salary and will not be able to directly receive tips…This is a step backwards for dancers, who fought hard to end fixed salaries nearly 20 years ago…

The Lion and the Ox

In the US media, “sex trafficking” is now just a dysphemism for “sex work”:

Fifteen men from 6 different states will likely be prosecuted after being arrested during an undercover sex trafficking mission…by the Portland Police Bureau’s Sex Trafficking Unit.  The mission focused on addressing online sex trafficking…The…15 men contacted undercover police officers to arrange payment for sexual acts…

Try not to laugh too hard at self-important cops calling their pathetic little deception a “mission” as though they were the A-Team or something.

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit:

…the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management…mission is…allegedly…preparing for and responding to terrorism and natural disasters, so it’s…a joke that its officials are concerning themselves with catching unlicensed massage therapists and people engaging in prostitution…[they] and police…took down four women…all Asian Americans in their early 40s…Each was charged with one count of unlicensed practice of massage therapy.  One of the women was also charged with one count of prostitution…

Backwards into the Future (#334)

Which is to say, the second country in the entire world:

South Africa may become the first African country to decriminalize sex work.  If it does, it will be one of a handful of countries that have fully decriminalized sex work (including New Zealand and New South Wales in Australia)…Currently only Senegal makes some provision for legal sex work and subjects it to regulation…

Opting Out

But it’s not a surveillance measure, no sirree!  Because THE CHILDREN!!!

The [United Kingdom] is going to force…all sites that contain pornographic material…to verify that their users are over 18, forcing them to register their age and potentially even their credit card details…[domestic] sites that don’t comply with the ruling could be banned from advertising or even shut down entirely…the blocks [will] apply…to any [sites] that…would get an 18 rating if they were classified formally…Free speech campaigners and civil liberties experts have repeatedly criticised the Government’s plans…but the Government has repeatedly cited [bogus] research about the availability of porn to children and the damage that it can do…

Cops and Robbers

How barbaric!  This is TOTALLY different from what American cops do:

During the night of 17th to 18th of May, Viacheslav Datsik and his supporters illegally raided a brothel…in St Petersburg where 10 sex workers were working…He broke down the door and under the threat of beating the women working there he forced them to undress completely, and then took them to the police naked.  He managed to carry out an attack on a similar establishment in central St Petersburg, but he was detained by the brothel’s security guards and was taken to the police station.  Datsik has a huge criminal background…and…has been imprisoned several times.  He is a former member of the ultranationalist Slavic Union…and…[intends] to run for the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg.  If elected, he has promised he will promote laws against sex work.  Datsik believes the penalty for sex work in Russia should be forced labour…Datsik filmed…the…raids and shared these videos with the media…In the past [Datsik has] threatened and raped several sex workers…

The Public Eye (#511)

Here’s a glimpse at the return of the Sex Workers’ Opera:

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#618)

Politicians the world over promise the same evil, impossible things, and stupid people just keep believing them:

Prostitution is heavily frowned upon in [Indonesia but]…there is no specific law that penalises it, with people only facing legal action when acts are associated with other crimes.  The fact that the legal status of prostitution remains a grey area has helped commercial sex to become a big business in cities such as Jakarta and Surabaya…In a bid to stop the flesh trade, Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa vowed in February that by 2019 Indonesia will be free from prostitution and all the red-light districts in the country will be shut down…Days after the announcement, Jakarta’s oldest red-light district, called Kalijodo, was demolished.  But that does not seem to have put the brakes on the sex industry.  Many workers from there seem to have just moved, or gone online

Paint By Numbers (#625)

Given the exploitation of “rescued” sex workers in garment-industry sweatshops, the use of fashion shows to promote “sex trafficking” hysteria is particularly loathsome:

During a fashion show..High School senior Hannah Rezabek will showcase a black couture number handcrafted by noted fashion designer Korto Momolu….her outfit…reinforces how a human-trafficking victim feels “tied” to the streets, as reflected by the struggles of victims, even when rescued, to break free from the grip of pimps and prostitution…Rezabek is among 30 students who will serve as models for the Unchained Fashion Show — a different sort of runway event whose message runs far deeper than the latest prints and hottest summer colors…

Monsters (#632) 

Police in Maryland said they have arrested two people in the slaying of…Keyonna Blakeney…Arbra Arnie Bethea, 17…and Keith Christopher Renier, 21…[were charged] with murder…armed robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery…Bethea has been charged as an adult…

What Were You All Waiting For? (#638)

Mike Crawford is one of the most eloquent male voices on sex worker rights, and I predict we’ll be hearing a lot more from him:

It seems that after the recent New York Times piece on sex work, those who seek to completely prohibit commercial sexual exchange are concerned they no longer have a stranglehold on the dialogue about sex workers’ lives.  Over the past few days, there have been three pieces attempting to undermine the Times’ article: one from a radical feminist, one from the bastion of journalistic integrity that is the NY Post (written by a correspondent whose primary focus is religion, no less) and then today’s from a representative of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW.)  Today’s piece is a simple continuation of the others; it’s a disjointed combination of appeals to emotion, anecdotal evidence meant to discredit actual studies, flawed statistics, frequently told lies, obfuscation, a blithe dismissal of reality, and an absolute refusal to engage in the core of the argument for the decriminalization of sex work: harm reduction…

To Molest and Rape

I wrote yesterday’s column on Tuesday night, and the very next morning I had another example:

A Walker County [Georgia] deputy was arrested…[fired] because…he sexually assaulted a woman while transporting her from one hospital to another…Wesley Holland…[orally raped the prisoner but Sheriff Steve] Wilson…is [trying to pretend it was] consensual [so as to minimize the deputy’s punishment while pretending to take it seriously]…

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In Sweden…the fact that [sex workers] are more vulnerable is considered a success.  –  Luca Stevenson

R.I.P. Charles GatewoodCharles Gatewood

Famed photographer, videographer and cultural anthropologist Charles Gatewood passed away peacefully [on April 28th]…at San Francisco General Hospital.  The prolific 73-year-old was known as the “anthropologist of the forbidden” for his exploration of subcultures like BDSM, body modification, fringe fetishes and more.  Gatewood photographed numerous celebrities…and…worked on assignment for [major] publications…Among his more erotic works, Gatewood produced Tales of Submission and his photos were also frequently exhibited…A memorial service is currently being scheduled to be held at the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco…

Rough Trade 

Oscar Luis Urbina was…charged with rape as King County prosecutors contend he brutally raped [a sex worker] at his home.  Investigators took a DNA sample from Urbina as part of that investigation.  Now, prosecutors contend that DNA test solved another violent sexual assault that saw a 25-year-old woman bitten, beaten and raped…on April 13, 2014…

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

A New Jersey man was convicted…of impersonating a [pig] and raping two prostitutes on the Las Vegas Strip…Mark Picozzi…somehow sneaked into a room not registered in his name on the 32nd floor of The Cosmopolitan and called the Las Vegas Dream Girls escort agency…After the woman arrived, Picozzi…told her he was with the police…and…raped…[her]…as she left the hotel…she was arrested [by an actual pig on bullshit charges]…and [since] she had [nothing to lose she reported the rape]…another woman…contacted police after seeing news coverage of the allegation against Picozzi…[and] told police Picozzi arranged a date with her on Jan. 18, 2014…then claimed he was a police officer before [orally raping] her…and [stealing] $2,000 from her safe…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I really love it when they feed on each other:

…[Los Angeles school cop] Mauricio Edgardo Estrada..surrendered to federal authorities following his indictment…by a…grand jury…[on] charges…[of] attempted sex trafficking of a child and use of the Internet to induce a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity.  The case against Estrada is the result of an undercover operation by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force…[Estrada replied to a fake] Craigslist advertisement…and subsequently engaged in a series of text messages with a [cop pretending to be]…a 15-year-old girl…

Surplus Women 

Call me cynical, but I wonder what these prosecutors and cops would’ve said about Ashley Masi if she had been arrested instead of murdered:

Daniel Tejeda might have thought Ashley Masi didn’t matter, but to the 30-plus family, friends, prosecutors and Providence police on hand…to see him be found guilty of strangling her to death, she sure did…Tejeda…[murdered] Masi, an escort and mother of three…by pulling a zip-tie so tightly around her neck that its diameter shrunk by more than three inches…prosecutor…Daniel Carr Guglielmo…called Tejeda “the face of danger to prostitutes. “A prostitute dies … Who cares?…Maybe that’s what the defendant thought.  Who cares?”…

The Course of a Disease

A basic primer on the fight for sex worker rights, focusing on France and Belgium:

…on 6 April, the French National Assembly, not without difficulty, adopted the Scandinavian model of [criminalization]…Whilst many [prohibitionists]…rejoiced…the move…represents a real threat for sex workers.  As denounced by the French sex workers’ union, the STRASS, in a declaration co-signed by around a hundred associations, including Médecins du Monde and the French human rights league, LDH, these workers risk finding themselves being driven underground and into danger…In Sweden and Norway, where this model has been in place for several years, the results are not as encouraging as the governments would have us believe…

Above the Law  

If only there were a short, specific word for the cumbersome phrase “coerced into having sex”:

A lawsuit by 10 women says they were coerced into having sex while they were inmates at a jail in southwestern Michigan…the federal lawsuit…names Berrien County and four current or former sheriff’s deputies who worked at the jail…two of the deputies resigned and one was fired after an investigation started in September into misconduct by jail employees while they were off-duty.  The fourth deputy named in the lawsuit remains employed by the department…

Let’s see; it should be more specific than the umbrella phrase “sex crimes”:

…Santa Clara police Sgt. Thomas Leipelt…was sentenced to 45 days in jail and will have to register as a sex offender after being convicted of exposing himself in front of his girlfriend’s co-worker…San Mateo County Sheriff’s Deputy Galen Underwood was [convicted of]…molesting a female relative…for 6 years, starting when she was 11.  Underwood…was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison plus 38 years…

Oh, I know just the word!

[Memphis cop] Michael Smith…has been arrested and indicted for raping a…woman…on April 16…at a parking garage.  The victim was leaving the Purple Haze night club…and…part of the [rape]…was caught on security camera footage…

Gee, I wonder why the mainstream media won’t use it when the criminals are cops?

Buried Truth 

In 2003, Dennis Hastert urged Congress to “Put repeat child molesters into jail for the rest of their lives”:

Former House speaker Dennis Hastert…was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison…for a bank fraud case linked to allegations he sexually abused teen boys more than 30 years ago.  Federal Judge Thomas Durkin called Hastert, 74, a “serial child molester” and…also fined Hastert $250,000 and sentenced him to two years of supervised release after leaving prison.  Hastert must register as a sex offender…Hastert…admitted for the first time [molesting] some athletes when he was a high school wrestling coach in Illinois before he began a political career that saw him become the top Republican in Congress…Zachary Fardon, the U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois, said…Hastert would have faced more serious charges for sex abuse had the statutes of limitation for the criminal sexual misconduct not expired years ago…

Hastert is best known for the so-called “Hastert Rule”, but I’d like to remind you of the McNeill Rule:  “Any man who crusades against any sex act is almost certainly a practitioner.”

Where are the Victims? (#325)

We’re so lucky to have cops qualified to diagnose us as “victims” no matter what we may think:

Blackburn [Lancashire] Police…said despite the best efforts of officers, both victims found at the property refused to provide statements to confirm they had been trafficked…Det Sgt Tony Atkins…said…“This intervention resulted in the safeguarding of the two females, who, although not making complaints as victims, clearly were, but could not see it”…

I hope Atkins fails to see one of the 4000 holes in his vicinity, and falls into it.

Whimsical Notions

Retired Gen. Charles C. Krulak, a former commandant of the U.S. Marines and president of Birmingham-Southern College, is calling on the next president of the United States to ramp up spending on fighting human trafficking…Krulak complains in a CNN op-ed that “each year the federal government dedicates less than $150 million to combating human trafficking—compared to $30.5 billion for the War on Drugs.”  Considering that the War on Drugs is now roundly viewed as one of biggest boondoggles in U.S. history—a fiscal and humanitarian disaster of such scope that even conservative Republicans and many former Drug Warriors can’t deny that it’s not working—I’m not sure why that’s supposed to serve as an endorsement.  But consider this one more clue that America’s war on human trafficking—which in practice is seldom more than a war on adults consenting to commercial sex—is indeed the next target of all that displaced Drug War effort…Citing the same bad statistics that have routinely been debunked by myriad sources, Krulak announces the launch of Generation Freedom.  This coalition of more than 70 organizations has come together to [lobby] for greater “financial investment [in the rescue industry] by the U.S. government”…

Cops and Robbers

Another sleazebag takes it upon himself to persecute strangers for consensual sex:

Amit Prakash…had no idea what [he and his brother] were getting themselves into.  The prostitution.  The johns.  The pimps…For decades, human trafficking has existed in a shadowy world.  That has started to change, though, as authorities at all levels of government have taken up the issue, shining a light on it, even as solutions to stop people from being bought and sold and forced into work as prostitutes have remained largely elusive…As criminal enterprises go, it’s growing faster than the drug trade…women start in the sex trade as teenagers, forced into prostitution by their fathers, brothers or uncles.  Others are coerced by their boyfriends…Prakash says he is determined to find a way stop prostitution – not just at a single hotel, but at hotels and motels throughout the Sacramento region…“The goal isn’t to go after the girls,” he said. “The goal is to go after the guys. The johns. We want to let them know we’re watching you”…Security guards are a must.  So are cameras, preferably ones that cover every inch of a property, so workers can see if unregistered guests enter rooms…Prakash also is a big advocate of…a universal Do Not Rent list…

Guinea Pigs 

Even when the perpetrators are loser guys rather than cops and other government actors, new surveillance weapons are usually used against sex workers first:

The developers behind “FindFace”, which uses facial recognition software to match random photographs to people’s social media pages on Vkontakte, say the service is designed to facilitate making new friends [by stalking them]…On April 9…users of the Russian imageboard “Dvach” (2chan) launched a campaign to [out]…actresses who appear in pornography.  After identifying these women with FindFace, Dvach users shared archived copies of their Vkontakte pages, and spammed the women’s families and friends with messages informing them about the discovery.  The effort also targeted women registered on the [escort] website “Intimcity”…The [losers] behind the doxing campaign say their motivation is moral outrage, claiming that women in the sex industry are “corrupt and deceptive.”  (Tellingly, Dvach users also complained that such women typically ignore the kind of men who make up Dvach’s audience)…

Vendetta (#607)

Another group of technically competent but woefully naive kids is exploited by the police state to attack sex workers:

Human Trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that enslaves nearly 21 million people around the world.  Reliable data remains a major challenge at the heart of anti-human trafficking efforts…Our inaugural ATHackathon will create innovative tools to track & analyze data related to trafficking…

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I’m a journalist preparing a report about the increasing use of AirBNB by prostitutes.  Do you know if this is something common ?
AirBnB logo
I’m not sure why people are surprised that sex workers use AirBnB.  See, sex workers are people, so any time something becomes more common for people in general, you can bet it will also become more common for sex workers.  As smartphones became more popular, they also became more popular for whores.  As Uber became more popular, we used it more, too.  And since AirBnB has become increasingly popular, Surprise! We’re using it more as well.  I don’t see any stories headlined “Medical Professionals Increasingly Use Computers for Research”, or “Small Businesses Turn To Square for Credit Card Processing”, but for some reason when perfectly ordinary sex workers (and yeah, we’re pretty ordinary; there’s no city in the world where we can’t be found) use a perfectly ordinary technology or product, it becomes a storyIf sex workers are using AirBnB to a disproportionate degree than other people who rent hotel rooms (and that’s a mighty big “if”), it’s probably because cops and other professional busybodies are lying to hotel owners, managers and employees about imaginary “sex trafficking” in an effort to get them to spy on sex workers and report them to said cops, so the cops can then arrest the workers, steal everything they own as “proceeds of crime” and then plaster their names and faces all over the news.  If you want a real story instead of a ridiculous excuse to titillate the bourgeois, try investigating how the War on Whores is becoming the replacement for the increasingly-unpopular War on Drugs.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

 

 

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Women who trade sex within marriage [may one day] realise they are the ones undervaluing what they have to offer.  –  Jemima

R.I.P. Amber Rayne Amber Rayne

…adult performer Amber Rayne, an industry veteran of more than 10 years, has died…she passed away peacefully in her sleep at home either late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, though the exact cause of death will not be known until autopsy reports are completed…She was 31.  Rayne…racked up close to 500 credits over the course of her career.  She was known for both her wild, no-holds-barred sexual performances and her commanding acting chops…the Detroit native had a background in professional acting before turning to adult, and those skills…[earned] multiple AVN Award nominations…

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

…Blake Lawrence Anderson…[raped a sex worker on]…March 29…she got into his car and he drove her to an industrial area…where he parked…[then] pulled a small black semi-automatic firearm and pointed it at her head, telling her he was a police officer.  Using duct tape to bind her wrists, she said Anderson sexually assaulted her several times…He eventually cut the tape off her, cutting her wrist. He let her go and drove away…[but] she got his license plate number…

Real People 

The more first-person accounts of sex work, the harder it will be for prohibitionist lies to survive:

…There is no “cookie cutter” ideal of beauty and character.  Men…want to enjoy the company of an authentic, independent woman simply basking in who she is.  Once I understood this my self-confidence exploded and so did my career…I’ve come to think of escorting as a helping, healing, and entertainment profession — not just for my clients but also for me.  Yes, I worked for money, and I loved every single gift and tip I got on top of it, but I worked just as much for the life that came with it. It took me to a better place, where I could recognize, embrace, and cultivate my own uniqueness…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I hope they keep feeding on each other:

A…Melbourne [Florida cop] was arrested…after officials said he offered cash to a [fake] prostitute who actually turned out to be a [female cop]…The arrest of…Shawn Archbold is the latest in a series of investigations into…the 169-[pig] agency…Melbourne Police Chief Steve Mimbs talked [a lot of childish nonsense about]…good [guys and]…bad guys…

Housewife Harlotry

Jemima on transactional sex:

…transactional sex is still the basis of many relationships.  Men are rewarded with blow jobs for good behaviour, and sex is seen as something points need to be earned for…this…is part of why, I believe, that so many women are harsher towards sex work than men (as this poll reports)…When you have a commodity that to you has a certain value, it will be perceived as a threat if others offer that same commodity for a different value…we are seen to devalue the transactional sex they have to offer, or, to put it another way, why would a man put up the shelves in exchange for a blow job when he can pay me straight cash for it?…

Monsters 

How long will Gay, Inc pretend that decriminalization isn’t a GLBT issue?

…At least 2,016 trans and gender diverse people were killed between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2015 across 65 countries, according to a research initiative started by Transgender Europe (TGEU)…The report did not state why they were killed, or if they were murdered because they were transgender.  It did, however, say that 65 percent of the victims were sex workers…

Challenge

This was, of course, expected; next stop, the 9th Circuit:

Americans may have a constitutional right to engage in consensual, intimate relationships, but that doesn’t mean they have a right to buy or sell sex, a Bay Area federal judge ruled…in upholding California’s 144-year-old ban on prostitution.  In a lawsuit filed a year ago, the plaintiffs…invoked the…2003 [Lawrence v Texas] ruling…U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White…[pretended] that the court was referring to intimate relationships and not merely to sexual activity…He said the high court, in the 2003 ruling, disavowed any intention to legalize prostitution…White also…[spouted nonsense about]…violence against women…sexually transmitted diseases and…human trafficking…

And no, California’s current prostitution law doesn’t date back to 1872; that was an anti-streetwalking law specifically.  Private prostitution wasn’t technically banned in the state until 1961, though other laws date back to the last “sex trafficking” hysteria of a century ago.

To Protect and Serve (#413)

The strippers who were molested by San Diego pigs can proceed with their lawsuit, despite attempts by pig lawyers to quash it:

Exotic dancers who…were held against their will and photographed by San Diego [pigs under the pretense of] a compliance raid can move forward with their lawsuit, a federal judge ruled…five to 15 [pigs] went to the clubs during the early-evening hours and ordered the dancers into a dressing room, where they were told to wait until…[isolated from one another, interrogated]…and photographed [in an invasive manner]…the [pigs] “made arrogant and demeaning comments to the entertainers and ordered them to expose body parts so that they could ostensibly photograph their tattoos”…when several asked if they could leave…[they were] threatened…with arrest…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#422)

Cops busting kids’ lemonade stands isn’t news any more, but this is a new low:Austin lemonade laws

…the Austin [Texas] City Council approved an ordinance to spare young lemonade sellers from parts of the city’s mind-numbing bureaucracy.  On Lemonade Day [May 7th]—and only on Lemonade Day—registered participants do not have to spend $35 to obtain a “temporary food permit,” and are also exempt from spending a staggering $425 on “a license agreement and fees” to use public property.  Unfortunately, the city’s friendliness to budding entrepreneurs ends there.  Lemonade stands run by kids must comply with Austin’s “temporary food service guidelines”…Parent…must also sign a waiver, and “agree to release, indemnify, defend and hold harmless the organizers of Lemonade Day and anyone associated with it or Lemonade Day from any and all claims for personal injuries or property damage resulting from my child/ren’s participation in Lemonade Day”…

Soap Opera (#547) 

Fetishists trade the costs of tattoo removal for the right to distort women’s bad choices into “sex trafficking” propaganda:

…[tattoos are] being removed for free…through a new project…[for supposed] human trafficking victims…from the Traffick Stop project…local [cops and prohibitionists fantasize that] the “overwhelming majority” of human trafficking victims are branded and that Fresno is a major hub for the sex trade…Of 2,700 to 3,000 children who run away from home in Fresno every year, an estimated 10 percent to 12 percent are lured into human trafficking.  [Pervert cop Curt] Chastain [related his masturbatory fantasy that] the actual number is much higher…Chastain [lied], “I’ve never personally met someone in prostitution who hasn’t started out as a victim”…

The idea that Fresno, California, which isn’t on the way to anything else, could possibly be a “major hub” for any kind of business is so utterly stupid one wonders how even cops can believe it.

Out of Control (#554) 

Looks like the creeps are progressing from spooge sneaking to spooge throwing:

New York City officials have revealed new proposals that would ban taxi and hire car drivers from flirting with passengers or initiating any kind of unwanted physical contact.  The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) has set out specific rules that include taking away licenses and imposing fines for drivers who touch or ejaculate on their passengers, and recommends fines and suspensions for drivers who comment on their passengers’ appearance or even talk about their own or their passengers’ love lives…

It’s probably for the best; after all, the line between flirting with a woman and ejaculating on her is such a subtle one, it’s just too much to leave it to individual judgment.

All-Purpose Excuse (#608)

If the government has its way, phone privacy will soon be gone completely:

…“pre-paid phones,”are often bought anonymously and without registration.  It was burner phones, not encryption, that were primarily used to plot the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris last November…H.R. 4886…would ban anonymous pre-paid phones in the United States…Jackie Speier (D-CA14)…[wants] purchasers of these devices to provide identification showing name, address, and date of birth…“This bill would close one of the most significant gaps in our ability to track and prevent acts of terror, drug trafficking, and modern-day slavery“…

Deborah Jeane Palfrey (#611)

Probably a wise precaution:

The [attorney] who represented the late “D.C. madam” Deborah Palfrey…Montgomery Blair Sibley says the [escort service’s] records will become public if he fails to reset a 72-hour countdown clock, which could cut short his soft two-week ultimatum for federal courts to consider lifting a 2007 gag order that covers the records, lest he deem that order void.  The countdown clock is a safeguard, Sibley says, that ensures that if he disappears the records will be published.  Inevitable release, he says, may also disincentivize violent acts against him to prevent their disclosure.  The records are stored on four servers around the world…and dozens of reporters will receive a website link if the clock is not reset…

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It is apparent that the attenuated causal chain proposed by [those suing Backpage] is forged entirely out of surmise.  –  Justice Bruce Selya

Rough Trade 

Just imagine this ridiculous defense working for anyone in another profession:

A Melbourne real estate agent…was cleared of raping and imprisoning a sex worker in a vacant house…Henry Jiang…was accused of binding the woman with cable ties and raping her repeatedly…after…his booking with her had ended.  His defence barrister [Con Heliotis] said everything that happened was consensual, and the woman had agreed to extend her time with Mr Jiang after he offered her more money and drugs…[but] didn’t tell her escort agency she was staying later…because she didn’t want to pay them a higher commission.  Mr Jiang admitted taking money from the woman, because he calculated he was owed it for the drugs…Heliotis said the sex worker was concerned she had been robbed and only claimed she had been raped…when asked directly by police…In explaining the woman’s…screams as she [fled] the house, Mr Heliotis said: “She would be extremely distressed if she had lost her money and couldn’t buy drugs”…

Lying Down With Dogs

Another US-style “prostitution crackdown” in a country the US should be proud to resemble:

Tanzanian authorities are holding some 800 people suspected of involvement in prostitution…around 500 suspected sex workers and almost 300 alleged customers have been arrested…Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who was elected in October…[on a] law and order [platform has not]…banned…miniskirts [as reported in January]…though…the president and his government [say they are] are “strong proponents of decent dressing”…

Do be sure to click that link to see what Tanzanian ideas of “law and order” entail.

St. James Infirmary

St. James Infirmary, San Francisco’s health care organization for sex workers, cut the ribbon on its new Tenderloin clinic Monday, March 14.  St. James shares the space, located at 234 Eddy Street, with the Transgender Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project…In addition to primary medical care, the peer-based organization also offers HIV testing and prevention services, including PrEP; sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment; transgender hormone therapy; mental health care; harm reduction services, including needle exchange and naloxone; case management; support groups; food and clothing; and other assistance to people of all genders involved in the sex trade and their families.  All services are free and confidential…

Above the Law  

Some rapist cops go out and look for victims:

A [New Jersey cop] has pleaded guilty to using his badge [and a loaded gun] to [rape] a prostitute…Dinis Oliveira…pleaded guilty…to…third-degree criminal coercion……[he] is expected to be sentenced to probation and…must give up his job and forfeit his pension…Oliveira had been charged with sexual assault, official misconduct and criminal coercion [but of course not aggravated rape as anyone else would’ve been]…

And some just wait for victims to be brought to them:

A Philadelphia-area [cop] is accused of [raping] three women [locked up] inside the police department…Roosevelt Turner is charged with official oppression, indecent exposure and indecent assault.  The charges are based on separate encounters in 2015…

It’s amazing how reporters are seemingly unable to use a simple word like “rape” when the rapist, even one who rapes a woman at gunpoint, is a fucking pig.

Change of Heart

As far as I’m concerned, any sex worker who outs a prohibitionist politician has not violated professional ethics; it’s just too bad this woman waited until the day Rubio pulled out of the race:

Marco Rubio…just suspended his campaign after Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump won [Florida] in a landslide victory.  Adding to his problems, his personal life is being shopped around by a dominatrix who alleges she had a kinky sex romp with Rubio…

First They Came for the Hookers…

It doesn’t matter what a sex worker does with her life after leaving sex work; to the media, she’ll always be a whore:

An ex-stripper who went on to law school and later was elected a judge was found dead inside her Nevada home [on March 13th]…authorities do not suspect foul play.  Municipal Judge Diana Hampton, who was 50…appeared to be the perfect picture of health…Hampton, who served as a municipal judge for more than a decade, worked with youth in the community to discourage them from crime…

Buried Truth 

Vociferous opposition to anything sexual is nearly always strong evidence of an attraction to it:

…As the prosecuting attorney for Ingham County, Michigan, since 1997, Stuart Dunnings III spend decades helping to put people behind bars for commercial sexual activity.  But at the same time, Dunnings was routinely shelling out money for sexual services…Dunnings…instituted tougher penalties and a program of impounding johns’ vehicles…Now…authorities allege that Dunnings “paid for commercial sex… hundreds of times…between 2010-2015.”  For five years, Dunnings met with one sex worker up to four times per week, in addition to his encounters with others.  For what it’s worth, the arrest affidavit paints Dunning as considerate client who tipped well and acted more like a “sugar daddy” to some of the women, taking them out to dinners and paying their rent, cellphone bills, and other expenses…After one woman confessed to a heroin habit, Dunnings paid for her weekly methadone treatments and attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings with her…the feds went after Dunnings under the guise of stopping “human trafficking”, because that’s what law enforcement calls all prostitution circa 2016.  Most of the charges actually brought against him, however, are misdemeanor charges for “engaging in the services of prostitution” (10 counts) and “willful neglect of duty” (4 counts).  The one felony charge is because Dunnings…allegedly coerced a domestic violence victim…into having sex with him, then paid her for it…about $600 every two weeks as well as…some of her bills…

The Washington Post coverage that first broke the story preferred to soak in dysphemisms and libel the sex workers that to actually cover the facts.

Backwards into the Future (#334)

UNAIDS welcomes the roll-out of South Africa’s National Sex Worker HIV Plan, 2016–2019.  Launched by the Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, in his role as the Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), this unique plan will ensure equitable access to health and legal services for sex workers in South Africa…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (All Traffick, All the Time)

Here’s another “rescue” scam designed to recruit unhappy whores into the anti-whore brigade; it resembles a “crisis pregnancy center”, which is not surprising since a number of “anti-trafficking” NGOs also operate (or formerly operated) such schemes.  What makes it interesting to me is that it’s the highest claimed number of clients per day (60) we’ve seen in a while, since the high-lunacy mark of 110 current from 2012-2014.  With the exception of a brief requote of that figure (which actually seems to have originated among prohibitionists in 2001) a few months ago, most of the claims have returned to the pre-June 2012 typical claim of 15/day, which is high but not literally impossible.Lake Pahoe

King of the Hill (Traffic Updates)

These moral crusades labeling one particular thoroughfare a “hotbed of sex trafficking” remind me of the Monty Python episode in which there is an entire lake in a basement flat:

Jillian Gilchrest, chairwoman of the [Connecticut] Trafficking in Persons Council, says the Berlin Turnpike is a hotbed for sex trafficking, often involving minors who are exploited…The Underground, a faith-based organization…[identified]…27 of which offer hourly rates…“For far too long, state laws and culture accepted that the purchase of sex will happen,” said Gilchrest…The Judiciary Committee advanced two bills…to attempt to address the issue…[one] would mandate additional training for law enforcement and employees at hotels and motels to identify victims of sex trafficking.  It would also require businesses that offer lodging to maintain detailed records of [cash] transactions for at least six months…[Gilchrest] said… “It was shocking to me [that people are allowed to conduct business with legal tender]”…The bill initially included a provision that would make it illegal to charge hourly for a room at a hotel or motel…But the Judiciary Committee voted…to strike the measure from the bill in response to testimony…[that] hourly rates are often used by truck drivers and travelers seeking a break from the road…

Sex Work is Work (#517)

Bureaucrats can turn anything into a hassle:

New tax laws in Austria is [sic] causing problems for sex workers as rules now dictate that all customers need to be issued with an itemised bill listing all services rendered…As services provided by sex workers covers a wide spectrum, bosses ask how, for example, a two-hour chat with no sexual contact should be written down…others questioned how a self-employed sex worker would issue receipts…

Guinea Pigs 

Americans are so ovine, all one needs do is say “THE CHILDREN!” and everyone cheers while big tech companies give cops horrifying new surveillance tools:

Palantir Technologies…isn’t unique in its efforts to turn its software toward social good—plenty of tech companies do that.  But unlike most, Palantir says it treats nonprofits like any other customer..in 2012, Polaris’ chief executive, Bradley Myles, heard Palantir’s CEO, Alex Karp, speak at a White House event…Myles knew it was something his [corporation]—which is dedicated to eradicating [sex work]—needed but couldn’t afford…Just a few weeks later, Palantir engineers were integrating data from thousands of [sex worker arrest] records, public tips and financial networks…The…company [also] integrates tips, case reports, public records, videos, social media feeds and other data sources and helps draw connections…To help…law enforcement [spy on adult sex workers and clients in the name of fighting] the abduction and sexual exploitation of children…

Crying for Nanny (#539)

The outcome was a foregone conclusion; the lawyers who orchestrated this shitshow were only appealing to cover their arses:

Backpage.com…has been sued a bunch of times, almost always by people [deliberately] misunderstanding Section 230 of the CDA which, as we’ve discussed hundreds of times, says that sites are not liable for the actions of their users…the appeal on [a] Massachusetts case has brought another good Section 230 win, saying that Backpage.com is not liable…The crux of the argument…is that…the way Backpage is set up…makes it different from a standard “publishing” platform.  This is a pretty common attack on Section 230, claiming that it does more than a publisher and thus isn’t protected.  Courts have almost universally rejected that, unless those additional actions themselves could be seen to break the law…the court rejects this argument, saying that everything Backpage.com does is a traditional publisher activity…

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Reputation is an idle and most false imposition, oft got without merit and lost without deserving.  –  William Shakespeare, Othello (II,iii)

yelpEvery so often I go to put an item in one of my news columns, only to realize there’s no appropriate heading because I’ve never actually written about the subject.  And every once in a blue moon, I find myself asking, “How the hell did I manage never to have written about that?”  This is one of those times; though I’ve mentioned it often in passing, I’ve never actually devoted a column to the subject.  “It” in this case being escort reviews.  For those who have never been involved in a modern escort transaction on either side of the deal, and who haven’t paid much attention to the subject before starting to read this blog, an escort review is a lot like a Yelp review for pretty much any other commercial service; it’s a way for a satisfied customer to let others know that a service provider is a good one, and for a dissatisfied customer to warn others of scams, hidden problems, etc.  The best reviews are practically love letters; the worst ones can be downright abusive.  And given the nature of the service, they can often be, well, pornographic.

That last is a sticking point with a lot of escorts; though some review boards discourage or disallow graphic details, others encourage them.  And even when the narratives are tucked away in a “members only” section, access to that section can either be gained by paying or by…wait for it…writing reviews.  So clients who are heavily invested in review board culture are strongly incentivized to write more reviews, and to make them as juicy as possible, even if that means embellishing the facts of the encounter or simply lying.  I know I’ve read reviews of myself which caused me to say, “Were we even in the same room?  Because I don’t remember half of this.”  Yeah, I have reviews, and they’re available out there on the internet; I’m sure the more internet-savvy among you can find them pretty easily.  But I don’t encourage them because I don’t really like them; besides the fact that I find them rather crude, there’s also the problem of cops and prosecutors using them as “evidence” in prostitution trials, either against the lady or against the client/review author.

There’s one review board, however, which I absolutely refuse to allow myself to be reviewed on, and that’s probably the biggest one, The Erotic Review (better known as TER).  In actuality, there’s nothing I could do to stop someone from reviewing me there if he wanted to, because provider profiles on TER are user-generated rather than provider-generated; however, as far as I know, my clients have so far respected my wish not to be reviewed there {knocks wood}.  What have I got against TER, you ask?  Well, there are several things.  The first is the site’s blatantly “bros before hos” philosophy, as exemplified by the fact that it’s extremely difficult to get a false review removed from the site; one of my friends was able to provide evidence that she was in another part of the country at the time a false reviewer claimed she had been in his city, and that still wasn’t enough.  Besides the fact that this allows enemies to plant bad reviews to hurt a provider’s business, it also allows cops to create false profiles for infiltration purposes.  The second problem is that TER uses a numerical rating system in which the numbers are tied to specific acts; an escort might be the most beautiful, engaging, charismatic, enchanting creature on the planet, but if she doesn’t do Greek she can’t be a “10” on TER no matter how many reviews praise her to high heaven.

I’m not the only whore who hates TER, not by a long shot; in a recent article, Tracy Clark-Flory wrote:

…An ad that ran in 2008 in the Village Voice’s Backpage section read, “DID YOU GET RIPPED OFF AGAIN?  Didn’t read her reviews, did you?  Don’t let them get away with it…By submitting a review you are not only warning thousands of guys in your area, you hitting them where it hurts…HER WALLET.”  It’s a tone set early by the site’s now-estranged founder David Elms…many sex workers…say the site harbors a culture of misogyny and objectification, and exposes them to extortion, legal risks and pressure to perform unwanted acts.  Some are categorically against reviews, given the intimate nature of the services being provided…Some argue that [TER] encourages the writing of fake reviews as well, a problem that plagues even sites like Yelp where there aren’t direct financial incentives for contributing.  As “Alexis,” a sex worker, put it, “When you’re talking about ‘super users,’ when I see people like that, I see ‘super bullshitters.’”

Many sex workers say the site also threatens to change the nature of their work by pressuring them into acts they don’t want to perform [by threatening them with bad reviews]…A common complaint Katherine Koster, communications director at the Sex Workers Outreach Project, has heard is that TER pressures “sex workers to provide the same service across clients, rather than adapting it to individual clients.”  TER reviews are structured around a hierarchy of acts:  The site asks reviewers to reserve 8, 9 and 10 performance rankings forDavid Elms “situations where out of the ordinary services are provided,” including blow jobs without condoms, kissing with tongue and anal sex.  Koster says the site also rejects reviews without explicit sexual details…

The article also discusses David Elms’ sordid history of extortion, assault and worse; you can read about it there, because I honestly don’t think it’s necessary to know about it to judge TER on its own record.  Even if Elms had never done anything immoral, I think the ickiness of his creation speaks for itself.

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Every so often “Something in the Milk” gets a boost in attention again, either because I retweet it or someone posts it on a review board or something like that.  And oddly, whenever it happens there is often some new weirdness going on at P411.  This time, for example, P411 has just made a number of new demands of escorts; it has demanded the right to “approve” their personal websites, even charging them for that “approval” until Gina realized that was too transparent a money-grab.  The conditions for approval include “A [linked] P411 badge or banner…must appear in a prominent position on a Main/Front page of your website” and “Sites that present a conflict of interest due to close affiliation with competitors, will not be approved (ie: a site/page hosted by EscortDesign/PureVIP, Date-Check, etc.). Links and banners to legitimate competitors, are fine.”  The accusation has previously been made that Gina’s trying to cash in before she cashes out, and this looks like yet another example of that.  And then just a few days ago, I got this letter from a reader; I have no way to directly verify these statements, so I’m presenting the letter without any further comment.  If you have information which would tend to corroborate this, however, please email me.

This is in regard to Preferred411. I just finished reading your article on another woman who has traced P411 members back to a police department. The same thing has happened to me…and it has happened when another local woman sent me a questionable scheduling request to help her double check it. Both men were hiding behind computer jobs. Both times were reported to Gina and it was just brushed off that cops do enjoy visiting with ladies…but she did end up closing down their accounts. Both findings happened within the past 3 months. After this happened, I’ve suspected an owner assisted infiltration within P411 & I have been on high alert ever since.

I had p411 member visit 2x with me and at the end of December he tried to schedule a 3rd time. I was already suspicious of him because though he went into my bathroom every 15 min during his visits, there was no running of water, no flushing of the toilet, no tissues in the garbage can, no towels touched, no water drops in the sink…in each of the 5-8 minutes he spent in there. Nothing at all. I found this to be very strange…after both times he left, I searched every nook and cranny, including underneath my sink with a mag light, to make sure that there were no eavesdropping devices or similar implanted. On the 3rd time he tried to schedule with me, he told me very slowly that our next appointment “would be full of unexpected surprises & a new year that I would not soon forget.” It made my skin go cold. Luckily, I had already told another local escort about this man & his odd behavior, and when he later tried to schedule with her he grew very angry and agitated with her when she declined him.

There has been a lot of other weird activity coming from p411 since mid-September, and not just for me & the others I’ve already mentioned. I have to screen p411 requests harder than I have to screen the regular ones lately; I don’t trust p411 right now & believe something’s up with it.  How many others might there be who aren’t saying anything?

So, escort readers; have you experienced anything odd and iffy from P411 in the past few months?  I haven’t heard anything similar from gentlemen, but if any of y’all have anything to report I would certainly be interested in hearing it.

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