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Posts Tagged ‘It’s a Start’

What these girls don’t realize is that they are victims.  I don’t understand why anyone would choose to do this.  –  Lea Benson

Rough Trade

China moves ahead of the US in this area of human rights:  “…a court [sentenced]…Li Tianyi, the 17-year-old son of prominent entertainers in the military, to 10 years in prison for gang rape, with four others…the…court…ruled that even if a woman is a sex worker…that doesn’t mean it’s O.K. to rape her…

It’s a Start (April Updates)

former New Orleans police officer [Thomas McMasters], who was fired in 2011 for falsely arresting a woman on prostitution charges, was reinstated…with full back pay…[because] the NOPD…took too long to conduct its internal review…

Presents, Presents, Presents!Courtesans of the Italian Renaissance

I received no fewer than five birthday presents this week!  Ted sent I ♥ Sex Workers, Eddiejc1 sent And Then There Were None and Ada, Leonard Fahrni sent Big Sister, and Krulac sent  Courtesans of the Italian Renaissance.  Thank you all so very much; y’all may not really understand how much it means to me to be so appreciated for what I do that y’all want to send me these gifts.

The Sky is Falling!

The app is just a short-term sugar arrangement, but the anonymous (though clearly female) writer just can’t stand that some women are more interested in profit than “romance”:

If you can’t get a date through any socially acceptable means…apparently you should resort to bribery…[via] Carrot Dating.  Creator Brandon Wade…of…SeekingArrangement.com, seems to believe that all it takes to get women interested in a guy is a “gift”…[such as] a tank of gas or a plastic surgery procedure…

Above the Law

drunken sheriff’s deputy [Paul Derrick] was recorded…when he tried to arrest…female [Marine Brittany Ball] at a…[South Carolina] restaurant…because she…turned down his advances…He…[screamed] at her and [barked] orders as he twisted her arms behind her back…When a few men approached…he threatened to arrest them…Sheriff Leon Lott initially backed Derrick…suggesting that Ball was “resisting”…[but] after a week of pressure…[he] placed Derrick on leave without pay…

And if they had been in a less-public place, it might have gone like this:

A…Houston police officer…pleaded guilty [to rape]…in exchange for [only] 10 years in prison.  Adan Carranza…responded to a fender bender…handcuffed one of the drivers and put her in the back of his patrol car…waited for the other drivers to leave…[then] raped her in the backseat…and…took her to jail for reckless driving…DNA and video evidence confirmed the woman’s story…he…will…have to register as a sex offender for…20 years [after release]…

An Example To the West (TW3 #24)Hit & Run cover

in…response [to the American TIP report]…Thai law enforcement authorities are…pulling sex workers out of brothels, [though] there is little evidence to suggest that [they]…are actually victims of trafficking.  In 2012…police investigated three times as many cases of sex trafficking as the year before but that lead to only a couple of arrests…the largest organisation for sex workers in Thailand called for a stop to the “rescues” of prostitutes in Bangkok, arguing that many of them…choose to work in a profession which pays them more than the bare minimum…

Damned If You Don’t

Charles Samuel Couch says that he was wrongly ensnared in a Manhattan Beach [California] sex sting at a public bathroom…and he’s suing the city, the police chief, and 16 other cops…he was…chaperoning a boy…[when] an undercover detective…entered a stall next to the kid’s…[he] bolted…[saying] “There is a man looking at me in the stall”…The two fled, but…Couch was “tackled, choked and handcuffed”…interrogated for “several hours,” his car was ransacked…and the [boy’s] parents…who vouched for Couch, were called…Detectives also took Couch’s laptop…and kept it for more than a month…[claiming it] had been used “as the means of committing a felony”…the Daily Breeze  published Couch’s photo as one of “18 arrested in sex sting”…

Think of the Children! (TW3 #40)

Sex rays are also dangerous to plants and wildlife!

…Fuck for Forest…makes porn…to raise money for conservation efforts…Unfortunately, they have trouble giving away their sex-tainted cash…co-founder Leona Johansson [said]…“Many NGOs are afraid of us.”  The World Wildlife Fund told them that it would take their money, but wouldn’t allow any official connection between the two organizations because “we cannot be linked to certain types of industry.”  And the Norwegian Rainforest Foundation refused their donation outright.  “I cannot see that this helps the work for the rain forest,” the foundation’s director told a Norwegian TV station…

Presumably grants funded via government violence help the work for the rain forest in a way voluntary transactions can’t.

Standard Operating Procedure

US Navy Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz and Naval Criminal Investigative Service…Agent John Bertrand Beliveau II…are accused of accepting bribes from…Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd. in exchange for preferential treatment regarding contracts, as well as for tipping the company off to federal fraud investigations…Misiewicz was reportedly gifted with all-expense paid trips for him and his family, prostitutes, cash, luxury hotel rooms, and tickets to shows…

My First Million

I reached a total of two million page views just before midnight on Wednesday.  Thanks so much to all the readers who have helped make this blog a success! two million

Little Boxes (TW3 #45)

Businesses that allow patrons to pay to be cuddled are springing up everywhere.  One…is The Snuggery in…New York…no sexual contact of any kind is allowed…An establishment with a similar business model in Madison, Wisconsin, may never get the chance to cuddle anyone, as city officials are worried that the Snuggle House will end up being a front for a brothel…

But that’s nothing compared to this one:

Barton Jason Lewis Bagnes is asking the Utah Supreme Court to throw out his lewdness convictions, arguing that he did nothing sexual…He was sucking on a candy pacifier and throwing fliers folded into paper airplanes onto lawns when two 8-year-old girls approached him…Bagnes’ trousers were low enough to display a diaper with the Elmo…character…[and] he pulled down his pants to show them the diaper…the fliers that landed in people’s yards showed children of various ages in diapers, some posed provocatively.  Two web addresses were scrawled on the flier, promoting sites that showed sexually explicit images of children in sheer underwear…Bagnes’ history of diaper-flashing goes back to 1999, when he first was convicted of lewdness and was placed on the state sex offender registry…Bagnes has claimed he wore diapers because of urinary incontinence and displayed them to children to spread awareness of the medical problem…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #49)

Mike Ware of Fort Worth and Keith Hampton of Austin, filed writs of habeas corpus requesting the release from prison of Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez, who have become known as the “San Antonio Four”…the [National Center for Reason and Justice and the] Innocence Project of Texas and asserts that all four women were wrongly convicted…and that new evidence establishes their complete innocence…The only evidence…against them was the [coerced] testimony of the two children…and medical evidence that is now known to be faulty.  The trial was also severely tainted by homophobia…

The Scarlet Letter (TW3 #52)Exposing Johns

Tizzy Wall on another horrible member of the same degenerate clan as mugshot and revenge porn sites:

ExposingJohns.com…[collects] information by creating fake ads on private entertainment advertising platforms and then [exposes] the folks who unknowingly contact them…For a mere $195.97, they will “investigate the claims” to delete the profile of an “exposed john” within two weeks, and expedited services carry an even heftier price tag, costing up to nearly $500 for a “premium 24 hour investigation”…

Due Consideration

As a woman who miscarried at 22 weeks, stories like this are especially horrifying to me:

Glenda Xiomara Cruz [of El Salvador] was crippled by abdominal pain and heavy bleeding in the early hours of 30 October 2012.  The 19-year-old…went to the nearest public hospital where doctors said she had lost her baby.  It was the first she knew about the pregnancy as her menstrual cycle was unbroken, her weight practically unchanged, and a pregnancy test in May…had been negative.  Four days later she was charged with aggravated murder …at a court hearing she was too sick to attend.  The hospital had reported her to the police for a suspected abortion…last month she was sentenced to 10 years in jail…

Libertarianism Happens To People

Wisconsin…state Rep. John Nygren…is sponsoring [two] bills aimed at…minimizing the damage from heroin overdoses…The first would offer limited immunity for people who call 911 or bring overdose patients to an emergency room…The other would expand those with access to Narcan, a medication that reverses the effects of an overdose.  Nygren is sponsoring these laws after confronting his daughter’s heroin habit, and her near fatal overdose in 2009…

Where Are the Protests? (TW3 #319)

Notice what word isn’t used:

The Swedish sports world has been rocked by a migrant labour scandal whereby sports clubs duped migration authorities with sham contracts for foreign players…non-EU employees…must earn a minimum of 14,300 kronor ($2,200) a month, but [one revealed]…she had been paid about 5,000 kronor a month…[and another] no more than 2,400 kronor…

Lower EducationBlurred Lines

The student unions at the universities of Nottingham and Birmingham have become the latest to ban the pop song “Blurred Lines” from their respective campuses…Essex University’s student union became the twentieth to ban the sale of the Sun and the Daily Star…Greg Lukianoff…of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)…[said] “UK student unions…think of themselves as…very progressive…But they are echoing…the old Victorian censors…campaigners in both eras share this idea that there are certain moral ends which are so much more important than someone’s measly right to freedom of speech.  This…leads to people wanting to blot out normal aspects of everyday life: sexuality, sexual expression, speech that might be offensive to women…”

Traffic Jam (TW3 #321)

Project ROSE Prostitution Diversion Initiative…was [protested] by a group of sex workers and allies that refer to themselves as the Phoenix Sex Worker Organizing Project [sic]…Phoenix police and students from the ASU School of Social Work team up twice a year to arrest local sex workers and [force] them [to] choose between a six month diversion program or criminal charges.  According to…SWOP…diversion programs…”ignore the fact that many people who work in the sex industry are not victims in need of rescue, but consenting adults who should not be arrested, coerced into diversion, or incarcerated for working”…

Project ROSE’s awfulness also inspired an editorial in Affilia:

Stephanie Wahab and Meg Panichelli provide a succinct analysis of the ethical considerations associated with diversion programs that arrest people…to force them to accept services…“targeting people for arrest under the guise of helping them violates numerous ethical standards as well as the humanity of people engaged in the sex industry”…Project ROSE is found to violate…the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics, the Council on Social Work Education Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, and the International Federation of Social Work Ethical Principles.  Informed consent…is violated because the services…rely on recruitment via “massive police…sting operations…social work…should not be in the business of arresting people for their own good.”

Across the Pond (TW3 #333)

Remember “…officials are putting together ‘exit’ services to help the dozens of sex workers who face having their place of work closed down”?  Clueless lawheads imagined closing the saunas would force those dirty whores to get “clean” menial jobs, but here’s what is actually happening:  “Hundreds of Edinburgh sex workers have signed up to an [escort advertising] site – convinced they will be forced out of their…jobs…Six saunas are expected to be permanently closed…

Real People (TW3 #337)

Tizzy Wall interviews Siouxsie Q on a number of subjects, but the most interesting part to me is her commentary on actors’ inane pretenseDear John Letter that they’re better than whores when “HELLO? WE ARE OF THE SAME CLAN!!!”

Social Autoimmune Disorder
(TW3 #342)

In the US, new tools of tyranny always spread like a social disease:  “…[Oakland, California] has been mailing letters to men suspected of cruising for prostitutes…The…letters avoid accusations, simply saying their vehicle was spotted in a high-risk neighborhood….Los Angeles may try the same tactic…Sanford, Florida started a letter campaign, but…will include photos of…license plates…

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Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies are. –  Friedrich Nietzsche

It’s time once again (though relatively early this month) for my monthly collection of articles which hearken back to previous columns.

Think of the Children! (September 30th)

The considerable hysteria around child sexual abuse, which has grown to the proportions of a full-fledged witch hunt in which thousands of lives have been ruined, rests upon the belief that any sexual contact between two humans, at least one of whom is under the local age of consent, is inherently and devastatingly harmful, no matter what the circumstances.  Yet, “playing doctor” was at one time very common among children, even children separated by a few years, and I’m not aware of any claims that practically the entire human race existed in a permanent traumatized state prior to the genesis of sex abuse hysteria in the 1980s.  I’m not talking about rape or exploitative incest (which can be harmful indeed), but rather contact between children who are friends or voluntary contact between adolescents and adults.  At one time it was common for girls of 14 or 15 to marry men in their 30s; are we to believe they were all irreversibly traumatized by it?  And frankly, I’m highly skeptical of currently-fashionable claims that the average teenage boy considers being seduced by an adult woman anything other than fantastically good luck.  What if most of the trauma associated with sexuality involving minors derives not from some mystical property of sex itself, but from the considerable fuss adults make over it when it is discovered (including endless invasive and uncomfortable interviews with creepy strangers asking highly personal questions), not to mention guilt over getting someone else in trouble?

Psychologists Bruce Rind, Philip Tromovitch and Robert Bauserman asked those questions, and in 1998 published a meta-analysis of 59 child abuse studies which found that, when physical abuse and other such factors were controlled for, university students who had experienced what authorities termed “child sexual abuse” (CSA) reported that “negative effects were neither pervasive nor typically intense, and that men reacted much less negatively than women.  Basic beliefs about CSA in the general population were not supported.”  But did the therapeutic and law enforcement communities breathe a collective sigh of relief upon hearing the good news that most of those kids weren’t as badly hurt by this “secret epidemic” as previously thought?  Of course not!  Therapists were unhappy at the prospect of a lucrative income stream being interrupted, and cops NEVER welcome the removal of excuses for harassing, controlling and destroying people.  For their pains, the good doctors were widely vilified and even subjected to a vote of censure by the United States Congress, and since then the paper has been largely ignored except for misuse by child molesters attempting to defend their disgusting actions in court.  This is particularly sad because, though child sexual abuse is relatively rare in comparison with physical abuse (beatings, etc), the sexual abuse gets vastly more money and attention due to its lurid appeal; the common problem with serious (sometimes fatal) consequences is therefore pushed aside in favor of a far less common one with less serious consequences.  And that’s a damned tragedy.

Lack of Evidence (December 16th)

I’ve often pointed out that as long as prostitution is criminal not even amateurs are safe because, since prostitution is defined by its motive, no actual evidence of the “crime” is possible and cops are allowed to claim almost anything as “evidence” of it.  Well, a particularly horrible example came to light on March 23rd as Amnesty International reported that Egyptian women arrested in last month’s protests were subjected to “virginity tests” and told that any who “failed” them would be charged with prostitution.  Would these women have still been tortured if prostitution were legal in Egypt?  Undoubtedly, but it would have been impossible to pass off a sort of medical rape as an “evidence-gathering” procedure for any other “crime”.

It’s a Start (December 30th)

It looks like New Orleans may really be serious about curtailing its long tradition of harassing prostitutes; according to a March 25th report by WDSU-TV, the NOPD fired two cops for arresting women on a charge of “loitering for the purpose of prostitution”:

The New Orleans Police Department terminated officers Beau Gast and Thomas McMasters on Friday after an administrative investigation…[which] revealed that both men falsified records and knowingly arrested two women on prostitution charges without a warrant…[both] admitted that they didn’t check to see if either of the women had a prior conviction of prostitution solicitation within the previous year…That check is required by law to arrest anyone on prostitution loitering charges.  Both men said they were aware of the law, but they did not abide by it.  The charges…include…false imprisonment, neglect of duty, failing to take appropriate and necessary police action and creating false and inaccurate reports.  McMasters had been with the force for 13 years and Gast became an officer in 2007, NOPD said.

Thanks to regular reader Joyce for calling the story to my attention.

Check Your Premises (March 10th)

Witch-hunting is apparently still a popular pastime in Salem, Massachusetts, where a journalist was recently convicted of “victimizing” two prostitutes by employing them in his low-end escort service.  The following is paraphrased from a story which appeared in the Eagle-Tribune on March 19th and was sent to me by regular reader Alex:

Former sportswriter Kevin Provencher, 52, was sentenced to 2½ years in jail after he pled guilty in Salem Superior Court to running a “prostitution ring” out of hotels in Andover, Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire.  Assistant District Attorney Melissa Woodard accused Provencher of “taking” half of his employees’ earnings and charging them for the hotel rooms he booked for them.  Provencher carelessly booked rooms for the hookers at the same hotel every weekend, eventually attracting the attention of busybody hotel staff who called the cops on them.  The women earned $240 per hour or $150 per half hour with a 50% agency fee.  Provencher was also charged with intimidating a witness after he “threatened to have his attorney shred the two women apart in the media if they spoke to the police,” Woodard claimed.

The two prostitutes, who were identified only as “Jane Doe” and “Jill Doe” during the hearing, decided not to appear in court but one said she believed Provencher took advantage of her, and the other said that she was held accountable after being arrested, and Provencher should be as well.  Based on these claims, Woodard tried to get Provencher imprisoned for 35 years and was apparently disappointed when she didn’t get her way; “His crime was not a one time lapse in judgement,” Woodard said.  “(Provencher) planned, thought out and ran these services on the expense of these two women.”  Defense attorney Paul Garrity said that his client should only serve probation because he has no prior record, saying that the “side business” was started because the downturn in the newspaper business resulted in a significant salary reduction.  He called it a bad decision on Provencher’s part and said the district attorney’s recommendation was not reasonable.  “To call these women victims is really overplaying this,” Garrity said.  “That’s just not accurate.”  He said the two women and Provencher were “equal players” in the operation, and said there is evidence that the two women still may be active prostitutes.

Of course they were equal players, and of course they’re still working as whores; why shouldn’t they?  They probably have extensive client lists now, and if they get caught again they have learned how to play the victim card by pointing a finger at a driver, boyfriend or other convenient male.  Assuming the threat accusation was a prosecutorial fabrication intended to paint him as a dangerous criminal, Provencher made three major mistakes that I can see; he took too high an agency fee (50% is excessive if he charged the girls for the room), should have changed hotels and enforced discretion, and should have provided a lawyer when the women were arrested.  But his greed and stupidity don’t automatically convert hookers into innocent lambs, except in the eyes of predatory DAs employing trafficking rhetoric to score convictions.

How Old is Oldest? (March 12th)

In this column I mentioned the blog The Scientific Fundamentalist and described a correspondence I had with its author, Satoshi Kanazawa.  He was very interested in what I had to say, and told me he was going to do a follow-up column on what we discussed.  Well, he published that column last Sunday night (March 27th) and not only was I very flattered by his praise, but also very pleased at the huge amount of traffic which came from the links in his post!  That influx enabled me to hit a milestone I’ve been slowly approaching for a few weeks now: 100,000 total views as of the morning of March 28th.  That’s still just a small cloud in the blogosphere, but it’s growing fast (116,208 at the time this was posted) and is a big step toward my first million.  Thanks, Satoshi!

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A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. –  Lao-tzu

Though I’m sure the significance of the date was lost on New Orleans City Council members, it’s appropriate that the virtual cessation of New Orleans’ decades-long war on whores was announced to the public on December 17th.  Yes, you read that correctly:  Though the city stopped short of decriminalization, it decided to classify prostitution, marijuana possession and a few other misdemeanors as municipal offences, meaning police can write a ticket for them instead of making an arrest.  And while cops will still have the option to arrest hookers if they please, it’s likely they will be discouraged from doing so because the move was intended to cut costs, reduce crowding in Orleans Parish Prison and unclog courts.  This also means escort stings will likely become a thing of the past in New Orleans; can you imagine their setting up an expensive operation just to write a girl a ticket?

The following is paraphrased from an article in the Times-Picayune:

In order to reduce the dockets in Criminal District Court and give police more time to deal with real crimes, the New Orleans City Council voted unanimously Thursday to designate prostitution, marijuana possession, and two other minor crimes as municipal offenses, giving police the option to issue a summons rather than make an arrest.  If you get picked up for marijuana possession or prostitution in New Orleans, police no longer will have to arrest you and take you to jail.

Until now, these activities have only been illegal under state laws, so police had to arrest offenders and take them to Central Lockup for booking.  But because a summons is prosecuted in Municipal Court rather than Criminal District Court, the change will reduce the caseload of the judges and prosecutors who handle serious crimes.  And because those accused of such offences will no longer be jailed, even for a few hours, the city will be spared the expense of housing and feeding them and the lives of the accused will not be needlessly disrupted, council members said.  Councilwoman Susan Guidry, co-chairwoman of the council’s Criminal Justice Committee, called the changes “an important step in increasing the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of our criminal justice system.”

The four crimes involved are:

Prostitution, defined as “indiscriminate sexual intercourse with others … for compensation,” and soliciting someone for prostitution.

Possession of “marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives thereof, or synthetic cannabinoids” unless the substance was “obtained directly or pursuant to a valid prescription or order from a practitioner.”

“Flight from an officer” by the operator of a motor vehicle or boat if a police officer has used an emergency light and siren to signal the operator to stop.

“Interfering with a law enforcement investigation” by refusing to move or leave the scene of a crime or accident when ordered to do so by police.

Guidry said the new city laws mirror the state laws covering the same misdemeanors, including identical maximum penalties: a $500 fine and/or six months in jail.  The idea of making these four crimes municipal offenses was backed by all segments of the criminal justice system, including judges, prosecutors and the police, Guidry said; she quoted Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas as saying the change is “not being soft on crime but smart on crime.”  She also pointed out that such cases can be prosecuted more quickly in Municipal Court than in Criminal District Court, where District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro found more than 1,000 marijuana cases “clogging the dockets” when he took office in 2008.  At his initiative, marijuana-possession cases already are being tried in Municipal Court, but the new law means that prosecution of those cases now can be shifted from the district attorney’s office to the city attorney’s office.

Thursday’s actions continue a drive started by the previous City Council to reduce the number of people arrested and taken to jail, with the aim of saving the city money and freeing police officers to concentrate on arresting violent criminals.  In April 2008, the council passed two ordinances directing officers to issue a written summons instead of arresting and booking people found to have outstanding traffic tickets and people who were stopped for most nonviolent municipal offenses (including disturbing the peace, trespassing, making threats, urinating in public, playing loud music and public intoxication).  At the time, the Metropolitan Crime Commission said that half of the 58,219 arrests in New Orleans during 2007 were for municipal or traffic offenses, meaning the Police Department was wasting precious resources on minor offenses; it can take an officer as long as two hours to book someone, and the person is often released from jail within hours even if he can’t make bail, the council was told.

Since the new ordinances of 2008, the Police Department has doubled the proportion of summonses issued in municipal cases, releasing cops to spend more time on the streets.  One exception is public intoxication, because officers are instructed to arrest anyone who is a possible danger to himself or others; to address that issue and reduce the numbers of drunks booked into jail, officials are considering the establishment of a “sobering center” where an inebriate could sleep off intoxication and perhaps get help for substance abuse (though he could still be issued a court summons on discharge).  Other cities do this successfully, said a city legal advisor, and the state might even pay for up to seven days of care for addicts.

This is several years too late to help me, but I still find it immensely satisfying considering that for literally decades freethinkers have been pointing out the colossal waste of resources resulting from consensual crime prosecutions.  Of course, the politicians have to pretend it was their idea, but let them do so if it results in the right thing being done.  Similarly, if it’s economic issues which force this type of move then so be it; the important thing is New Orleans whores of all levels can breathe more easily now, and it’s likely that the sick little “crime against nature” game will vanish as well because the city can no longer afford to subsidize cops’ sadistic pleasures at streetwalkers’ expense.

I’d like to point out a few things I noticed in the story; first, prostitution is defined as “indiscriminate sexual intercourse with others … for compensation,” which technically means I never prostituted myself in Louisiana because I was not indiscriminate in my customer selection.  Yes, I know that’s splitting hairs, but it does support the point I made in my column of December 16th about the definition of prostitution being extremely difficult to pin down.  Second, notice that marijuana possession is called a “minor crime” (how the feds must hate that!) and the DA doesn’t bother to disguise the fact that he clearly considers marijuana prosecutions a court-clogging nuisance he would prefer to dispense with.  Third (and most importantly), I see this move as symptomatic of a larger trend; cash-strapped jurisdictions all over the United States, tired of the endless “mandates” from higher levels of government which force them to waste precious resources on things which shouldn’t even be crimes in the first place, are thinking of clever ways to avoid having to do the higher government’s dirty work.  It’s a wonderfully subversive trend, and I hope it becomes much more popular in the next few years.

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