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Posts Tagged ‘It’s What They Do’

No woman is made safer by laws which deny her right to consent to sex.  –  Catherine Staples

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality 

“Contracts” like this offer no protection and can actually be damning in court should something go wrong:

An Austrian sex worker has been convicted over the death of a sadomasochist client left to die with a noose and a shoelace around his neck in a Vienna hotel room…[she] only received a two-year suspended sentence…due to attenuating circumstances.  The woman said the…client paid her…to help him lose consciousness by strangling him with the shoelace while he tightened a rope attached to the wall around his neck.  She said the man had signed a piece of paper saying he assumed “complete responsibility for all risks and health damages” and that he was “fully aware that such a fetish can lead to death”…With his head in the noose, his face a different colour and his hands and feet twitching, the woman tightened the lace for a few seconds…She then eased it, got dressed and left, as agreed.  But some 90 minutes later after the man failed to contact her, she began to panic…

Theatrics (#446) prohibitionist-escort-service-scam

A new low in prohibitionist vileness: using fake images of murdered sex workers to campaign for laws that will result in more violence against us:

…French [prohibitionist] organization Le Mouvement du Nid launched its own [fake] escort website, with help from McCann Paris…Girls of Paradise looks like a basic escort service.  You can check out profiles and pictures, and opt to chat or call the women you’re interested in before arranging a date.  But…each woman featured in Girls of Paradise is [supposedly] already dead…when clients initiate a chat or a phone call…they’re shown [fake] photos of the woman, beat up and bloody, or simply told that she isn’t available tonight because she was killed in a manner most grisly…Le Mouvement du Nid…seeks to…victimize [sex workers further by supporting the Swedish model]…Girls of Paradise will score a gold Clio

You read that correctly: the sociopaths behind the Clio awards (the advertising industry’s Oscars) gave this ethical abomination a fucking award.

Checklist (#542)

Another state plans to “fight sex trafficking” with magical posters:

…Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz wants to require certain types of Anchorage businesses…to hang up posters [pretended] to combat labor trafficking…Berkowitz is seeking to update the city penal code on prostitution…to…reflect what he called “modern [propaganda]…surrounding prostitution and sex trafficking.”  For instance, changing the word “solicitation” to “sexual exploitation” in city law…

Too Close To Home

Remember that this is a sheriff who imagines he has the right to destroy hundreds of people’s lives because he doesn’t like their sexual choices:

The former head of internal affairs for the King County Sheriff’s Office now seeks whistleblower protection after saying Sheriff John Urquhart made troubling comments about women and meddled in internal investigations involving female officers who complained of discrimination.  Capt. D.J. Nesel recently testified that a county prosecutor threatened him prior to a court-ordered deposition in which he roundly criticized Urquhart…as a bitterly fought lawsuit involving discrimination claims against Urquhart and his office reached a boiling point.  Urquhart has been ordered to testify as attorneys for the county fight to keep Nesel from divulging details of the sheriff’s comments…

Challenge (#615)

I am proud to call this incredible woman my friend:

A sex worker has won the right to have a judicial review over a law that makes it illegal to pay for sexual services in Northern Ireland.  Laura Lee…for a legal challenge to the Human Trafficking Act at the high court in Belfast on Wednesday…A full hearing date for the judicial review will be set in 11 weeks’ time…Lee, a law graduate, had stated previously that she was prepared to go to the European court of human rights to challenge the law, which she and fellow sex workers [explain] discriminates against their rights to privacy, to earn a living and physical protection…

Pyrrhic Victory (#648)

Seattle cops have a positive fetish for illegal surveillance:

Beginning two years ago, but unbeknownst to the public—until now…the Seattle Police Department…acquired the ability to watch your social media posts in real time, using software that can place those posts on a digital map.  This tracking software, which the SPD purchased in October 2014 from a CIA-funded company called Geofeedia, is designed to tell [cops] where you posted from and what you said.  It can also show hundreds of other tweets, Instagrams, and other social media posts from anyone else in the vicinity, and then file all of that information into one big database.  The secret purchase of the Geofeedia software—for $14,125—violated a Seattle law requiring a city official outside of the police department to be notified of such acquisitions…The secret use of the software…also violated the city’s 2013 surveillance ordinance, which requires “any City department intending to acquire surveillance equipment” to “obtain City Council approval”…SPD spokesperson Sean Whitcomb [lied] to The Stranger on September 23 that…”We are no longer using Geofeedia”…another SPD official…Brian Maxey said the department is now using software from a firm called Babel Street “to support lawful criminal investigations.”  On its website, that company offers…the ability to “geo-locate the origin of e-chatter”…

Remember, Seattle ladies, we’re all “criminals”, which makes spying on us a “lawful criminal investigation”.

Still a Child (#663) bear-breasts

I’m pleased to see this lawsuit, but sad to see they felt compelled to employ ugly whorearchical bullshit to further it:

Jane Does I, II and III say the state of Louisiana is robbing them of their ability to express themselves, and doing so in a way that discriminates against their gender.  These women are exotic dancers younger than 21, and therefore will be barred from performing in strip clubs in about a week…In a federal lawsuit, the dancers say the law violates the First Amendment by denying them freedom of expression, and violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause by unfairly targeting women…the law’s definition of strip club performers as “entertainers whose breasts or buttocks are exposed to view” fails to prohibit the same conduct by men who are between the ages of 18 and 21…the lawsuit cites comments by legislators to bolster its case for gender discrimination…[politicians] said the law was aimed at protecting young women…[but] the law is already endangering young woman.  One plaintiff says she has witnessed pimps and prostitutes trying to use the new law…to “recruit entertainers who are now lawfully employed, but who will lose their jobs as a result of the Act.”  Another plaintiff…says other dancers under 21 have told her they plan to switch to prostitution once they can no longer dance…

Oh, and CBS? I don’t think the law is trying to stop anyone from “bearing” breasts and butts; how would such a statute be enforced, mass mutilation?

It Looks Good On Paper (#666)

What this law actually does is empower the cops to indefinitely detain underage sex workers “for their own protection”:

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed legislation decriminalizing prostitution for minors.  By prohibiting law enforcement from arresting people under the age of 18 for soliciting or loitering with intent [but not for whatever other reason might pop into their piggy heads], Senate Bill 1322 [pretends to] shield…those young people from criminal penalties…While embracing the idea of treating young sex workers as [incompetent] victims [they can lock up at will], law enforcement groups warned that removing penalties would remove a crucial tool for [caging] young people and keeping them away from their [friends]…

The End of the Beginning (#668) 

They’re only saying this because it’s true:

…A federal lawsuit filed [against Idaho] argues that retroactively imposing…requirements on sex offenders, in some cases more than two decades after they were convicted, violates the Constitution’s ban on ex post facto laws.  Whether the courts agree will depend on whether they view registration and the burdens associated with it as a punishment…in August the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit concluded that Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act goes far enough beyond Alaska’s law that applying it retroactively is unconstitutional.  The 6th Circuit focused on the act’s arbitrary classification scheme, residence restrictions, and burdensome reporting requirements—all features shared by Idaho’s law…

It’s What They Do

Are headline writers the most clueless people in news organizations, or does it just seem that way?

…[prohibitionist MP] Thangam Debbonaire [vomited out Swedish model poison and called for]…the Home Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into prostitution – which recommended “soliciting” for sex be made legal – to be “redone” after its chair, Keith Vaz MP, was found to be paying rent boys for sex…[sex worker] Catherine Staples…replied by telling the MP her argument was helping to promote a negative stigma of her life choice, [correctly] calling her and fellow panelist, Dr Madeliene Coy, “anti-women’s rights”…

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Our perception of what makes a service “safer” isn’t always universal.  –  Lux Alptraum

Bad Jobs

Like something Melissa Farley would make up, only true:  “A new survey shows 90% of social care workers [in Ireland] have experienced violence in the workplace…75% experienced physical assaults – some on a daily basis…

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever, especially if you’re a whore:

A prostitute was arrested after she told police a clients handcuffed her and robbed her of $2,000 in cash and her belongings…At some point after the man paid her…he pulled out a police [badge], claimed he was a [cop] and handcuffed her with fake cuffs…He took his $190 off the hotel room dresser, swiped $2,000 in cash…and…the woman’s $1,000 iPad Mini, a $40 backpack and a $100 MetroPCS phone…Police arrested the woman and charged her with prostitution…However, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case…

Above the Law  creepy-cop-neil-hempsall

There’s nothing here saying he harmed or threatened any of the sex workers he looked up, but of course there’s no way to know that given that he stalked them by looking up their fucking police records:

A disgraced cop who used his force computer to contact sex workers…was allowed to keep his job…[Neil Hempsall] admitted four charges and escaped with a community order…[the prosecutor said] “He…had been using the services of sex workers and accessing their record on the police computer system”…There was…[also] evidence he was tracking down a former lover…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#46)

I can’t help laughing at pathetic losers wanking to their fantasies of superhuman sex robots, but the ones who suffer reaction formation from such fantasies elicit a mixture of pathos and disgust:

According to a [soi-disant] expert in the field, we’ll need to be careful we don’t get addicted to artificial-intelligence lovemaking.  Joel Snell is an [academic who fantasizes]…there’s a real risk linked to the robots…because they’ll offer great sex at any time of the day and night…it’ll never be able to turn you down.  “People may become obsessed by their ever-faithful, ever-pleasing sex robot lovers,” he warned.  “People will rearrange their lives to accommodate their addictions”…

Bonus stupid anti-sex trope: “sex addiction”.

Lack of Evidence (Extra Edition)

It’s a sign of our culture’s deeply-sick sexual attitudes that people still believe in “virginity tests”:

[Dear Dr. Petra, my boyfriend is] like me…a virgin.  But when he checked my vagina he said he could tell I wasn’t a virgin and he doesn’t feel able to be with me until I can be truthful.  I don’t know how to convince him that I am a virgin and don’t know what signs he can see that tell him I’m not…I’m now worried I might be mistaken about myself…[Dr. Petra Answers:] I’m sure everyone reading this [is]…wondering what the circumstances were that led up to him checking your vagina?…You may have told him to get better educated about virginity and women’s bodies.  You might have told him his actions felt alarming and controlling…You could have said he clearly had no idea what he was talking about.  Any or all of these responses would have been reasonable.  And all of them are a good enough reason…to end the relationship without further discussion…There will be other people who are kinder, more sexually informed, more respectful, better communicators and won’t subject you to virginity checks…

Cardboard Cutouts

Note that 1.5% is my standard estimate of coercion among Western sex workers:

This week new statistics on human trafficking in The Netherlands where presented by the Dutch National Rapporteur Human Trafficking [and]…the city of Amsterdam…the Dutch Rapporteur reported…1,321 possible victims of trafficking…66%…from the sex industry…these are not proven victims, but simply people of whom other people (police, marshals, city officials and social workers) have (slight) suspicions about that perhaps they could be victims…if…there are about 827 possible victims in prostitution, and the total amount of sexworkers in The Netherlands are estimated at around 20.000…it would come down to about 4,1%…only 102 possible victims in prostitution where reported in Amsterdam…[which] would come down to about 1,5% of all the sexworkers in Amsterdam…what’s interesting is to compare the suspected victims with the actual number of victims that annually actually press charges…in 2015…33 victims actually [pressed] charges for human trafficking, which is almost the same as the year before (29 in 2014) and the year before that (32 in 2013).  In short, quite a bit lower than how many people are being reported as “possible” victims…

Feminists and Other Puritans

Once again:  NO, a coalition between two different fundamentalist groups to fight what they perceive as a common enemy is in no way “surprising”:

…the surprising nexus between radical feminists and Christian Right culture warriors has been with us a long time.  In the 1980s, anti-porn feminists like Catherine McKinnon and Andrea Dworkin teamed up with anti-porn conservatives like Edwin Meese, leading to the passage of laws censoring sexual speech in the name of protecting women.  In the last decade, anti-prostitution feminists have joined forces with fundamentalist Christians to prosecute sex workers under the aegis of sex trafficking laws.  And now, some essentialist feminists – pejoratively nicknamed TERFs, for “Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminists” – have provided the pseudo-philosophical basis for fundamentalist Christians’ anti-transgender laws…[while] TERFs…approvingly cite…anti-trans [Christian]…right-wing scholars and writers…Feminists…and…Conservatives don’t oppose porn because they want to protect women; they oppose porn because they oppose sexual licentiousness and free sexual expression.  Just like they oppose protecting trans people because transgender reality scares them, disgusts them, or offends their outdated theologies.  A similar shell-game has recently arisen in the context of sex trafficking…This was a deliberate deception on the part of anti-sex activists like the anti-prostitution group Demand Abolition.  As exposed by The Washington Post in 2014, that group’s internal document said that “framing the Campaign’s key target as sexual slavery might garner more support and less resistance, while framing the Campaign as combating prostitution may be less likely to mobilize similar levels of support”…

Hey, Jay Michaelson:  I appreciate your mentioning my work, but the standard practice when doing so is to name the author rather than just the publication, and to include a link to the piece cited.

Guest Columnist:  Kaytlin Bailey

My friend Kaytlin Bailey, on coming out to her father:

…I was afraid to tell him about my having been a prostitute because he was a great dad.  I didn’t want him to think one had anything to do with the other.  I didn’t want to burden him with this indulgent, selfish secret because I feared the images that “your daughter was a prostitute” would conjure might break him, even when his various tours of duty didn’t…We talked for hours, never addressing my prostitution directly. We got tipsy, and…he said…that he was proud of me, and that I could always come home.  “No matter what.”  I could see he wasn’t angry.  He was nervous for me the same way he’s always been…

Go read it.  Please. playing-cowboy-in-cartagena

They Never Learn

Since this self-aggrandizing fascist wankfest hasn’t sold as a TV show, they made a pilot movie:

“Just like the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin brought awareness to slavery and helped start a civil war, this movie can instantly turn that dial of public awareness to sex trafficking,” [fantasizes] director Chet Thomas.  Toward the beginning of The Abolitionists, a film with a limited release…the audience is introduced to “Batman”…a flawed hero with a troubled past who now works largely in the dark of night, protecting the vulnerable from unimaginable horrors…Batman…spent 15 years laundering money for drug cartels in Latin America…[until he had] a Christian epiphany…Nowadays, he works undercover, largely with a former Homeland Security officer named Tim Ballard.  The two of them set up sting operations worldwide that result in the capture of those who sell children as sex slaves…The directors of the documentary…also are working on a TV show.  They say they have enough video — taken with cameras disguised as sunglasses, pens and phones — for 25 episodes…Ballard’s organization, Operation Underground Railroad, has rescued 573 children worldwide and put 160 criminals behind bars…

Choke Point (#610)

The government-encouraged gentrification of the internet is tightening the noose on sex workers:

Lately, it seems like every website wants to see my ID.  Facebook was the first…then Airbnb started asking me to submit both a Facebook account and legal identification…And now Twitter’s opened up its verification process to all sorts of users—provided, of course, those users are willing to send the staff a copy of their legal identification…this push towards a verified internet…makes me concerned that the next iteration of the social media sites that have been essential to the destigmatization of sex work…won’t be quite so amenable to sex work…It should be relatively obvious why a tweeting escort would want to avoid providing her legal information…but even practitioners of legal sex work such as porn and stripping might not be too keen on the idea…it’s…possible that the potential chilling effect on sex worker voices is more than just an unintentional side effect…

The End of the Beginning (#668) 

A reminder that in most of the US, the situation is still worsening:

When he was 18, David Clark had sex with a 14-year-old.  In 1982 he pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct…and was sentenced to four years of probation.  The following year, the state legislature passed a law that retroactively required Clark to register as a sex offender.  In 2009 he was arrested for failing to register…He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.  Last week a federal appeals court [pretended] there was nothing constitutionally amiss about this series of events, because the law threatening to put Clark behind bars is [supposedly] not punitive…retroactive application…violates the Constitution’s ban on ex post facto laws…[but politicians and courts pretend that] forcing sex offenders to register is not a punishment…

Of Course It Is

It’s nice to know that at least a few reporters get this:

…TV stations plastered [Celeste Guap’s] image on newscasts.  Reporters hounded her for interviews and shared images from her social-media accounts on their websites.  During this time, Guap was [using heroin]…to cope with depression related to her [sexual abuse by cops]…last week…Florida deputies arrested Guap and charged her with felony battery…How did the Bay Area media react to this news?  At least four local outlets — including KTVU, SFist.com, ABC 7 and KRON — published Guap’s true identity and legal name, along with a “mug shot” from Florida jail…some local journalists are arguing that Guap’s case already was widely publicized, so it was OK to disclose her legal name…Bullshit.  The only reason her story is news…is because she was an underage victim of sexual assault [by cops]…And her legal name and identity should be protected as such…and…what the hell was Guap doing [in Florida] in the first place?…She’s a witness to…crimes committed by numerous Bay Area [cops, including]…human trafficking, statutory rape, interfering with a police investigation, illegal use of a police computer system, and pandering…she’s…trapped with a $300,000 bail and detoxing from hard street drugs cold-turkey, and…experiencing [jailhouse] harassment from [jailers]…

It’s What They Do

Thanks, Iain, but we don’t want to be “legalized and regulated”; we just want to be left the Hell alone:

The politician in charge of the Commons committee reviewing the laws on prostitution is caught in a prostitution scandal.  It is right for Labour MP Keith Vaz to resign as chairman of the Commons Home Affairs committee for the time being…But beyond that, Jeremy Corbyn is right about it being “a private matter”…Mr Vaz has done nothing illegal.  Even the “poppers” he was alleged to have taken are a legal stimulant.  But a lot of people seem to believe that Mr Vaz should now stand down as an MP simply because he was unfaithful to his wife…Yet…people have always had affairs…gay men should surely not be forced do disclose their sexuality if they feel uncomfortable about doing so…Some of the criticism has clearly come from supporters of what is called the “Nordic model” who believe that the buying of sex should be illegal.  But this story vividly illustrates the problems associated with changing the law to criminalise men who purchase sex…I can’t really understand why the sale of sexual services should ever be illegal unless it involves trafficking, pimping, compulsion or other forms of coercive behaviour.  The Vaz case – if the allegations are true – demonstrates why prostitution should be legalised and properly regulated.  So long as it is underground, the sex trade will remain in the hands of the criminals and blackmailers…

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Sex workers’ rights will continue to roll on regardless.  –  Brooke Magnanti

Once again, we’ve been forced to endure another round of the press pretending that politicians paying for sex is somehow shocking.  I’ve got news for you, kiddies: virtually all of them do.  If I had to come up with figures, I’d guess that politicians basically fall one percentage-category higher than ordinary men, so that 20% of them pay regularly, 50-70% occasionally and essentially all of them at least once or twice in their careers.  Yes, this is a completely gut-level guesstimate based mostly on the number of politicians I’ve had between my legs and the secrets I know from having been around the block so many times I’ve lost count, but…is it actually so difficult for amateurs to believe, despite all of the known histories of courtesans throughout history, the frequent “scandals” of our day and the hard-to-miss fact that the client lists of prosecuted escort services are literally never revealed?keith-vaz  Throughout history, powerful men have lusted to keep all of the tail for themselves, and prostitution laws are just the latest incarnation of that; “democratically elected leaders” are just as keen as hereditary nobles to use armed thugs to keep the peons from getting notions that they’re allowed to have sex with other people merely because those others consented to it.  It’s just what “leaders” do.

This particular round of “BREAKING NEWS:  BEAR SHITS IN WOODS!” stars a UK politician named Keith Vaz:

A married Labour MP has stepped aside as chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee after allegedly paying two male escorts for sex…at his London flat eight days ago…Mr Vaz, a father of two…made it clear that he will step aside as chairman of the committee, which is currently examining prostitution in the UK, after the allegations were made public…he said: “I am genuinely sorry for the hurt and distress that has been caused by my actions in particular to my wife and children”…

First of all, what is this obsession the UK press has with reporting whether anyone involved in a news story has spawned or not?  Frankly, I fail to see how it’s at all fucking relevant; it’s like reporting how many bowel movements the subjects have had this week.  Unless the children are somehow involved in the story, why should anyone care about this?  I don’t fucking care what some politician had for fucking breakfast, nor where he buys his underwear, nor how many times he managed to impregnate some chick.  Second, are people so stupid that they actually think it’s notable that a sex worker’s client is married?  Because most of them are, you know; in my experience it’s about 70% or so.  If anything, being married makes a man more likely to come to us, not less, because there’s a greater need for his sex to be discreet and string-free.  And third, why is nobody commenting on the fact that the Sunday Mirror appears to have set Vaz up?  As he said to the BBC, “It is deeply disturbing that a national newspaper should have paid individuals to have acted in this way.”  That seems to imply that the paper was an active participant rather than merely paying two sleazy, unethical escorts (who ought to be taken out back and shot) to violate the most basic principle of our profession, and that breach of confidence could potentially end up hurting all UK sex workers.  Dr. Brooke Magnanti writes:

…This soon turned into calls for the Committee’s recommendation to decriminalise sex work to be discounted…If you think Keith Vaz is singlehandedly responsible for sex workers being treated like human beings, you are very stupid, stop writing now.  The “Swedish Model” favoured by anti-sex work campaigners complaining about Vaz kills women.  And y’all still go apeshit over who puts a consensual dick where and when.  The money governments spend on anti-trafficking  puts women in abusive jails and detention centres worldwide…Press, public, and governments put ideology before lives…People who weren’t there trying to rewrite Home Affairs Select Committee’s hearings on prostitution…Maybe you remember; it was in a lot of papers…All of the contact with the Committee before that hearing had been skewed  heavily towards the Swedish Model…Go on, watch the video.  This was not softball.  Paris Lees and I…got into actual arguments with MPs who…don’t seem to believe they answer to taxpayers or need input from sex workers, you know, the very people who would be affected by any changes to the law.  99.9999% of the people commenting on Vaz today weren’t in that room, and if they are saying the investigation was biased towards sex workers, they are lying…[we] had to stomp hard on bullshit lines of questioning to get any of our points across.  We went there fully expecting, and pretty much got, a beasting…Sex workers influenced the outcome of the inquiry in spite of, not because of, Keith Vaz…paris-lees-eyeroll

She concludes with the point that experienced activists knew that something like this would happen; prohibitionists are evil authoritarians who will stop at nothing to harm sex workers, and they know they’re losing so they’re going to get a lot more desperate in the months and years to come.  Lots of allies are going to be outed and worse in a prohibitionist attempt to put heads on poles to scare the others away.  But it’s much too late for that; the movement is past the watershed now, and the momentum will continue to build no matter how many bodies these sick control freaks try to throw in its path.  But now I’m guilty of the same thing I complained about at the beginning, namely feigning shock at the obvious:  Of course people who think “sending a message” trumps human lives aren’t going to care how many lives they need to destroy to advance their cause; it’s what they do.

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