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Posts Tagged ‘Kansas’

All too often [statements about the sex trade are] based on flimsy or out-of-date data, leading to estimates that strain…credulity.  –  Glenn Kessler

The Red Umbrella AIDS conference protest

Rose Moabelo. Shemise Gordon. Sasha Lee Gordon. Thilivhani Mudau. Desiree Murugan. Sinia Pietersen. Anisa Adams. Kleintjie. Thulukanyao.  These are the names of local sex workers who have been murdered‚ without their killers ever being found.  SWEAT‚ an advocacy group‚ wants you to #saytheirnames.  As many of the 18‚000 accredited delegates arrived for their first meeting at the 21st International Aids Conference in Durban…sex workers held placards detailing the stories of murdered colleagues.  [They] wanted to highlight what has changed for sex workers since the last international Aids conference was held in Durban in 2000. “Nothing‚” according to Sally Shackelton‚ director of SWEAT…

Where Are the Victims?

Note the bizarre, stilted language used to describe a very ordinary-sounding escort service:

A Topeka woman…Shannon Nelson…pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy…[for a] prostitution business.  At times, as many as 20 females were working as prostitutes for the organization.  The leader of the organization rented houses where some of the prostitutes were allowed to live.  The organization used Web sites, social media and cell phones to advertise sexual services and to keep track of prostitutes.  Nelson…posted advertisements for herself and other women on a Web site offering sexual services.  She used cell phones to communicate with Boswell and others in the course of operating the prostitution business…

Leaving the Life

Even when Vice isn’t being directly prohibitionist, it’s no ally; just the very fact that this writer refers to sex work as a “game” (read: “scam”, “dodge”, “hobby”) instead of work says a great deal.  Yes, I know that’s a street term; using it to apply to all sex workers is even more ignorant, not less.  NB: the Gaye Dalton interviewed here is the woman who exposed Rachel Moran’s lies.

Welcome To Our World (#15)

Another rape victim caged to force her participation in the state’s morality play:

A Harris County [Texas] rape victim who was [arrested and jailed]…after she melted down on the witness stand, is suing the prosecutor and the sheriff’s department…Identified as only “Jenny,” the 20-year-old –who has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder — was a key witness in the trial of Keith Hendricks who was eventually given two life terms for rape.  However, on Dec. 8, 2015, she was unable to continue her testimony after breaking down on the stand and running from the courtroom.  Prosecutor Nicholas Socias then [threw a tantrum and had her]…locked up for fear that she wouldn’t return to court at a later date to continue…Jenny was held for a close to month, after being placed with the general population where she was assaulted.  The suit also contends that jail personnel treated her as if she was a convicted criminal instead of a victim…

Shift in the Wind

You know things have changed since the last AIDS conference when this can appear in the Voice of America:

Prostitution…continues to be regarded as immoral [and/or] illegal in most countries.  This has prompted sex workers, activists and lobbyists around the world to intensify their demand for an end to criminalization of their field.  Many of them are attending this year’s International AIDS Conference in Durban, where they argue that continued criminalization of sex work could be worsening the spread of HIV…

That Old Black Magic

I don’t approve of referring to young women as “children”, and I recognize that every culture is different.  And I still find this pretty appalling, especially given the disease factor:

In some remote southern regions of Malawi, it’s traditional for girls to be made to have sex with a paid sex worker known as a “hyena” once they reach puberty.  The act is not seen by village elders as rape, but as a form of ritual “cleansing”…If a man dies, for example, his wife is required by tradition to sleep with [a hyena like Eric] Aniva before she can bury him.  If a woman has an abortion, again sexual cleansing is required…teenage girls, after their first menstruation, are made to have sex over a three-day period, to mark their passage from childhood to womanhood.  If the girls refuse, it’s believed, disease or some fatal misfortune could befall their families or the village as a whole…several girls I meet…express aversion to the ordeal…According to custom, sex with the hyena must never be protected with the use of condoms.  But they say a hyena is hand-picked for his good morals, and therefore cannot be infected with HIV/Aids…The UN estimates that one in 10 of all Malawians carry the virus, so I ask Aniva if he is HIV-positive.  He astounds me by saying that he is – and that he doesn’t mention this to a girl’s parents when they hire him…All of those involved in these rituals are aware that these customs are condemned by outsiders – not just by the church, but by NGOs and the government as well, which has launched a campaign against so-called “harmful cultural practices”.  “We are not going to condemn these people,” says Dr May Shaba, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Gender and Welfare. “But we are going to give them information that they need to change their rituals”…Deeniquia Dodds

Monsters

How about “calling on police” to stop arresting sex workers, period?  “The fatal shooting on July 4 of D.C. transgender woman Deeniquia “Dee Dee” Dodds…has prompted a local LGBT-supportive advocacy group to call on police to end their longstanding practice of arresting trans sex workers…”  Cops shouldn’t be in the business of assessing people’s gender any more than they should be assessing our motives for consensual acts.

Paint By Numbers

“Anti-trafficking” publicity stunts are growing ever more bizarre:

“Today we’re out here putting the red sand out,” said Jana Grabenstein…who spearheaded the…movement…to bring awareness to human trafficking in Grand Island [Nebraska]…”It’s here.  We need to protect our kids, our families, our friends.  Anyone can fall victim to it and you know we just need to stop it,” she said.  More than 100 bags of red sand were spread around G.I…”When we saw it, the first thing I said was, ‘This has to be something the Salvation Army heavily gets involved in,’” said Deny Cacy…

Another Fine Mess

Why idiocies like “mid-range prostitution is new” and “it used to be hard for whores to find clients” infuriate me so much:  they keep getting repeated over and over and over by reporters who can’t be bothered to do proper research:

…Mid-range prostitution is a relatively new market, enabled by technology.  Before the internet, it was hard for escorts to find customers: They had to either walk the streets searching for customers (the lower end of the market), rely on word-of-mouth, or work with agencies…“Before the internet, agencies provided the steady flow of clients and screening, but their capacity was capped,” Baylor University economist Scott Cunningham said.  Soon after Craigslist launched in 1995, US escorts quickly started marketing directly to customers online.  This newfound ability to advertise on the internet grew the market…because more women and men could work independently…

Because obviously, all those ads in the BACK PAGES (see what I did there?) of alternative newspapers didn’t exist.  And brothels?  Hotel & casino girls?  Nope!  They didn’t exist at all!

Traffic Circle (#569)

Glenn Kessler does it again:

…a new study, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice…concluded that the total number of juveniles in the sex trade in the United States was about 9,000 to 10,000.  To be cautious, given the limitations in the data, the study said that range could be as low as 4,500 or as high as 21,000.  The study also found that about 15 percent of the children relied on a pimp and that the average age of entry into the sex trade was 15.8 years.  Both figures are in line with other careful studies…

Regular readers may recall that my estimate of the number of underage US sex workers was 16,000, with 10% involved with a pimp; these new figures are not far from those at all.

All-Purpose Excuse (#608)

“Sex trafficking” is a convenient excuse for any tyranny:

Senator John McCain…equated encryption to child pornography and human trafficking…[and] threatened Apple CEO Tim Cook…McCain…stated that if Congress doesn’t mandate law enforcement access to encrypted communications, lawmakers were “de facto” helping child pornographers and human traffickers…Encryption has been the Senator’s pet obsession for quite some time.  Last November, he expressed that he wanted to outlaw any kind of encryption technology that the US government can’t crack…

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#616)

Seoul is adopting ever-sleazier tactics to please its masters in Washington:

Police…in Korea…have…started targeting landlords…[by charging them with] aiding prostitution.  Since last year, police have been making landlords responsible for prostitution venues that operate on their property…Due to this shift in police policy, landlords have been [evicting sex workers from] their buildings…

To Molest and Rape (#643)

A fine example of how the criminalization supported by feminists “protects” sex workers:

There’s a [cop] in Cape Town notorious among the city’s sex workers…he devotes most of his time to making their lives a living hell.  Two weeks ago…he and his police pals rounded up a group of eight sex workers and put them in the back of a van.  They drove to the city’s main river and…gave them three options: either we throw you in the river, you suck our dicks or we’ll arrest you and bang you up…one of the women pushed into the river made a phone call…to the only people she trusted to get her justice: a team of five former sex workers trained as paralegals…The paralegal team…is lodging a formal complaint about the river incident with the deputy minister of police and the independent police investigation unit.  They are pushing for the dismissal of the officer in question, who has a toxic track record of bullying and violence against sex workers going back to 2012, including allegations of rape and attempted murder…

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Punishing women who voluntarily sell sex for a living is human rights violation threatening their survival and another violence by the state.  –  Judge Cho Yong-ho

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

Another fact-free anti-porn polemic, quoting a bogus “study” created by prohibitionists:

Watching natural-looking people engaging in sex that is consensual, pleasurable and realistic may not be harmful…but that is generally not what the $97 billion global porn industry is shilling.  Its producers have one goal: to get men off hard and fast for profit.  That means eroticizing the degradation of women.  In a study of behaviors in popular porn, nearly 90% of 304 random scenes contained physical aggression toward women, who nearly always responded neutrally or with pleasure.  More insidiously, women would sometimes beg their partners to stop, then acquiesce and begin to enjoy the activity, regardless of how painful or debasing…

Harm Reduction (May Updates)

Alas, politicians, being exceptionally stupid creatures, cannot understand that the same principles hold true for all prohibition:

…Hawaii…lawmakers…are proposing to commission a study looking at the merits of decriminalizing all drugs…The study would look to Portugal…[which] decriminalized all drugs in 2001…[leading] to a drastic reduction in drug use, overdoses and crime…The U.S. Surgeon General…announced in January, “It’s time for us to have a conversation in this country that’s based on facts; A conversation that’s based on medicine and science”…

Saving Them From Themselves

Cops continue their quest to destroy people’s lives for the “crime” of being human:

Redding, Connecticut, cops arrested a 14-year-old boy and charged him with possession of child pornography, harassment, and obscenity…This news story makes it impossible to determine the exact nature of his crime, but…I would say that he likely shared an illicit photo of a similarly-aged female—perhaps his girlfriend—with some of his friends…This is simply not a matter for the police…It’s not wrong for 14-year-olds to express sexual interest in each other…the cops investigated this teen for three months….How many police resources were tied up…figuring out why two teens were sexting each other?…

Above the Law  

“Rape”, reporters.  The word you’re looking for is “rape”:

A Wichita [Kansas] woman says a…[cop raped] her multiple times over a two year period…Richard Bachman…used his power as a cop to [rape her from 2010 to 2012]…This is the second suit against the [rapist] cop…[who]  threatened to plant drugs on the woman, and…handcuffed her while [raping] her.  “I don’t want him to ever be in a position where he has the authority over anyone again,” she said…Bachman’s attorney [vomited out the legalese equivalent of, “She asked for it”]…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

The only people who “endangered children” here are the brutal thugs who invaded the child’s house, abducted her mother and have probably destroyed the mother’s ability to provide for her in the future:

A…[deceitful pig] contacted Alysia Mericle…[pretending to be an honest client, then called more thugs] to arrest her…Mericle locked the door with the [lying pig] still inside…[so his pig friends] used a battering ram [to destroy her] front door…[they then searched]…her place [without a proper warrant] and…found Focalin and Vyvanse, which are used to treated ADHD.  [Rooting pigs] also discovered [her business] ledger…Mericle was charged with promoting prostitution, possession of controlled substances, endangering children, drug paraphernalia and soliciting prostitution. She was [caged]…and a judge set her bond at $75,000.  The child was placed in the custody of her grandmother.

Mentoring

Anybody want to try these out and see how well they compare to the tried-and-true makeup sponge method?

…The Flex Company wants to replace outdated pads and tampons with a sleek, disc-shaped blood blocker.  Flex can be worn during sex to prevent making a mess.  The Flex discs are disposable, can be worn for up to 12 hours and even come in a stylish little packet.  They’re doctor-approved to be hypoallergenic, BPA-free and they won’t cause toxic shock syndrome…Flex will have to compete with SoftCups, a well-distributed brand with a similar product, though one that doesn’t focus on portability or sex…

One lady on Twitter reported her partner could feel it, which would obviously not be good.

An Example To the West (#133)

Human rights suffer a predictable, but crushing defeat in South Korea:

The Constitutional Court ruled in favor of the country’s antiprostitution law Thursday, dismissing “voluntary sex trade” unconstitutional.  In a 6-to-3 ruling, the court confirmed the legality of the antisex trade act punishing both those who voluntarily sell and buy sex, citing the need to repress demand for prostitution.  The verdict came three years after the top court began to review the act to rule whether it violates voluntary sex workers’ freedom to choose their job and what to do with their own bodies…Kang Hyun-joon, head of sex workers’ rights group Hanteo National Union, called the decision “unacceptable”…He also vowed to submit a petition to the United Nations‘ Human Rights Council…[which has] suggested [decriminalizing] prostitution as a way to create safer conditions for sex workers and to combat human trafficking as well as sex-related diseases like HIV…

Only one of the dissenting judges understands the moral issues here; the other two argued for the hypocritical and misogynistic Swedish model.

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#318)

It’s so good to see more widespread recognition of this:

…social scientist Dr Kamala Kempadoo…argued that legitimizing the world’s oldest profession would reduce human trafficking and bring security and respectability to women in the profession…She called on [Caribbean] governments to…recognize that prostitution ought not automatically be construed as violence to women…she…was dismissive of the United States State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) reports, contending that they were politically motivated and did not recognize Caribbean practices or cultural norms…in responding to the pressure exerted on regional countries that receive bad marks in the TIP reports, Caribbean governments [have] created a regime to counter what [the US represents] as human trafficking.  However, she said that regime had itself become an industry…

Frequently Told Lies

Here’s a nice little collection of debunking resources (including some of mine) from Sex, Lies & Duct Tape.  Many things to bookmark here!

If You Want Something Done Right…

In which Brooke Magnanti considers the implications of Mistress Matisse’s piece from yesterday:

…When does reporting become rubbernecking?  When does wanting to help someone become wanting to control them?  These are topics that need exploring, both in public and in our own hearts and minds. Especially for people who, like me and…Melissa Gira Grant, are former sex workers who are now full-time writers…Some former sex workers elect to not discuss their personal experiences, and I respect that…But if you don’t write about yourself who do you write about?…What do we really take away from the piece apart from the feeling that everyone who got involved in Heather’s cause had bad intentions apart from (miraculously) Gira Grant herself?  With the subject of the story not supportive of its publication, and considering the fact that it gives a significant national platform to people who may have abused Heather — is this where the ally ends, and the hard-headed journo chasing after a byline begins?…As Gira Grant spent the days after the Buzzfeed piece appeared refusing to answer requests to clarify what happened, it did unfortunately start to seem like she could ignore criticism precisely because those making the criticism were sex workers…

Above the Law (#595)

Whoopsie!  Now where did we put that serial rapist?  He was here a few months ago…

Oklahoma prison authorities are working with attorneys for a [mass serial rapist]…to serve a civil rights lawsuit filed by some of his victims…prison officials revealed…that Daniel Holtzclaw…had been moved from a state prison but would not disclose where he was being housed…Holtzclaw was sentenced to 263 years in prison…and…seven women involved in the criminal case filed a federal lawsuit against Holtzclaw and city officials [because] the city and its police force [gave him free reign to rape at will]…efforts to serve Holtzclaw with the lawsuit have been unsuccessful because he can’t be located within the state prison system…

License to Rape (#601)

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by cops at will:

…According to a federal lawsuit filed by attorney Robert Phillipswhite police officers in Aiken, S.C…[pulled over] Lakeya Hicks and Elijah Pontoon…in Hicks’s car…[using the illegal pretext that] it still had [current] temporary tags…[cop Chris] Medlin [ordered] Pontoon out of the vehicle and [handcuffed] him…Medlin then [told] Pontoon, “Because of your history, I’ve got a dog coming in here.  Gonna walk a dog around the car.”  About 30 seconds later, he [added], “You gonna pay for this one, boy”…four [cops spent]…15 minutes conducting a thorough search of the car…After the search of the car [came] up empty, Medlin [told] the female officer to “search her real good,” referring to Hicks…this was all done in direct view of the three male officers.  That search, too, produced no contraband.  The officers then [anally probed] Pontoon…[repeatedly] grabbing his hemorrhoids…for another three minutes…[finding] no contraband…Medlin [then told] Pontoon…that [this was due to his supposedly recognizing] him from when he worked narcotics…

Bad Girls (#625) 

about 20 sex workers and…allies took to Daley Plaza [in Chicago] to show solidarity with Alisha Walker, a 23-year-old woman sentenced to 15 years in prison after fatally stabbing a client…”We could all be Alisha,” [said] Cathryn Berarovich…”Because our work is criminalized, there is no recourse for when bad things happen to us.  We’re standing up for someone who did what she had to do to survive, then was punished for surviving”…[they also called] out the Sun-Times report on Walker’s sentencing…for its…language…the paper described Walker with terms like “the prostitute” and “hooker”…[but] to Filan…as a “wonderful father”…in spite of the fact that…Filan was the aggressor in their confrontation, threatening her with a kitchen knife because she and the other woman declined to have unprotected sex with him.  Filan had also…been drinking…

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If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s actually human trafficking these days.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Halfway Whores

A profession as old as human civilization, but it’s somehow always “growing”:

…a growing army of men…hire beautiful young women to accompany them on dates and public appearances.  Sometimes they are businessmen, both foreign and [from Thailand], who require a pretty woman to be on hand when a contract is signed.  On other occasions they are hired to fill in as girlfriends at family functions and have even been employed by psychologists to go on dates to build a person’s self esteem.  There are thousands of young women taking advantage of the new trend, supplementing their daytime incomes and paying off student debt with part-time work as non-sexual escorts.  Some of these women come from successful families and act as contact points to get their dates introductions to the right business people…

Saving Them From Themselves

This is kind of like “legalizing” prostitution; as long as a consensual act is criminalized to any degree, the cops have power to annoy, harass, brutalize and otherwise harm that person via arrest, publishing mug shots, stealing property or even murdering him for “resisting arrest”:

A bill making its way through the Kansas legislature would change most sexting offenses involving teenagers from felonies to misdemeanors…Any defendant obviously would prefer the lighter penalties, but their availability might make prosecution more likely.  Forced to choose between felony charges and no charges at all in a case involving teenagers sharing pictures of themselves…any decent prosecutor would pick the latter option, as prosecutors in Colorado and Michigan recently did.  But when a misdemeanor option is available, it may be tempting for prosecutors intent on teaching kids a lesson.  The Topeka Capital-Journal paraphrases an author of the Kansas bill as saying “the moderated sanctions would permit prosecutors to intervene with young people who commit these acts”…

Surplus Women missing Anchorage sex workers

The idea that an unknown serial killer might be terrorizing the women of Anchorage [Alaska] was raised in a 2009 story by Andrew Holland of America’s Most Wanted, who wrote of the horrific murder and dismemberment of [sex workers] Desiree Lekanoff and Michelle Rothe…Robin Vansickel, Jeri BrommelsSamantha Kent, Tracie Vicent and Kelly Sue Dunn–are [other missing sex workers]…each of these unsolved cases [may be] unrelated, but the possibility that these women have disappeared at the hands of…someone who sees sex workers as easy targets…must not be discounted…Robert Hansen and Robert Pickton…flew under the radar as they killed scores of women…[because] they were held up as…above reproach, while the women they murdered were…denigrated, devalued and dismissed…the monsters were believed and excused because society considered them upstanding businessmen, whereas sex workers they hunted and preyed upon were dehumanized…

Above the Law 

Cops sexually assault domestic violence victims almost as often as they do whores:

Portland [cop] Jeromie Palaoro has resigned from the force and pleaded guilty to official misconduct, eight months after a woman visiting from Las Vegas said he arrived at her…hotel room to follow up on her domestic assault complaint, stripped naked and ordered her to give him a massage…He will receive 18 months of probation…Roni Reid-James…[said] Palaoro [threatened her with] his [gun] before taking off his clothes…[he] groped her and [demanded] sexual favors, then warned her not to tell anyone because he was writing the report on her assault complaint…

First They Came for the Hookers…

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?

Ted Cruz’s…campaign…pulled a commercial…because one of the actresses had previously appeared in pornographic films…Amy Lindsay…described herself as a Christian conservative and a Republican…[and] tweeted her displeasure that the video was pulled from the airwaves…campaign spokesman Rick Tyler said Lindsay had responded to an open casting call for the ad…”Had the campaign known of her full filmography, we obviously would not have let her appear in the ad”…

A Whore in Church (#134) 

Another sex worker who subverts hijab:

Nadia Ali, a 24-year-old porn star and first-generation American from Pakistan…doesn’t mind pushing religious boundaries in the name of XXX entertainment.  Oh, and she’s also a practicing Muslim.  Ali is often filmed wearing her hijab—and little else—while engaged in various hardcore sexual activities…And since homosexuality is technically illegal in Pakistan, which is trying its damnedest to ban online porn altogether, she intends to film plenty of girl-on-girl action this year, too…

Under Every Bed

Population 467,026.

Child sex trafficking is a growing problem in Onondaga County [New York.  Prohibitionist]…Erin Yeager…says it’s crucial to break the stereotype of what we think human sex trafficking is.  The basic definition is exchanging sex for something with value; that could be anything from clothing to a place to stay…

Actually, that’s a basic definition of prostitution, demonstrating how utterly devoid of meaning the term “sex trafficking” has become.

The Missing Word

The magic word appears herein only in a description of a phone number:

For two years, a 38-year-old nanny wasn’t allowed to wash her hair, take hot baths, or eat anything but leftover scraps…If her bosses didn’t like how she dressed their children, she was slapped and dragged by the hair.  Now a Texas couple is facing prison time for allegedly holding their Nigerian nursemaid hostage, forcing her to work 20 hours a day and tormenting her in…suburban Houston…Chudy [and Sandra] Nsobundu…[face] charges of forced labor, visa fraud, withholding documents, and conspiracy to harbor an alien.  If convicted, they face up to 60 years in prison…the Nigerian-born husband and wife—both naturalized U.S citizens—allegedly lured their nanny into household slavery and physically and verbally abused her before she escaped by calling a human-trafficking hotline…

Cooties

It’s always “gangs”.  Because you know women are too stupid to use AirBnB for ourselves:

…Human traffickers are using hotels and guest houses across the Lake District as “pop-up brothels”…Crime gangs have trafficked refugees to use as illegal sex workers…and…exploiting “human misery for financial gain”…[pig mouthpiece] Nick Coughlan…[fantasized that] most of the women involved are victims of human trafficking who have been forced into prostitution…Hoteliers, apartment owners and cleaners were being asked to [spy on renters] and [snitch] to the police…

Vendetta (#512)

Liz Brown tries to assess the toll in human lives from Swanee Hunt’s latest pogrom:

…FBI and vice cops nationwide conducted a coordinated series of prostitution stings in conjunction with the latest Super Bowl, yielding hundreds of arrests for “would-be sex buyers.”  Known as the National John Suppression Initiative, the stings—which took place in 14 states and involved 23 different law-enforcement units this year—start with police decoys offering commercial sex…At the end of the January 17 through February 7 operation, 552 people were arrested for trying to purchase sex, and officials expect to collect a minimum of $187,000 in fines from them…Across all operations, 10 teens were discovered…Though almost exclusively referred to as “children” by police and press, one recovered juvenile was 14 years old and the other nine ranged from ages 15 to 17…the Contra Costa Timesreports that “sex workers who were arrested were offered a wide array of services, such as food, clothing and shelter”…

But of course they were: food and shelter in a jail, and a lovely new orange jumpsuit.

Sex Rays (#560)

Swanee’s brother.  Need I say more?

Billionaire oilman Ray Hunt, one of [Dallas’] highest-profile property owners, emailed the…City Council…asking them to vote…against allowing a porn convention to open shop at the city-owned convention center…Hunt, who owns more than 30 acres downtown…says he believes Exxxotica “constitutes an activity that runs totally counter to the values, mores and beliefs of the vast majority of the citizens of the City of Dallas.”  And, he [pretends]…allowing porn stars to peddle their wares on city property is a violation of the section of the Dallas City Code that licenses sexually oriented businesses [even though city attorneys have told the council that law does not apply to conventions]…Exxotica came to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center last August over the objections of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and several women’s advocacy groups, chief among them the Dallas Women’s Foundation…Rawlings said at the time he was “particularly worried about the message that our playing host to this convention might send regarding our city’s position on the sexual exploitation of women”…

The Mote and the Beam (#591) 

You’d think people would remember the targets of previous Senate censorship “hearings” of this sort:  comic books, “dirty” song lyrics, communists

The United States Senate and the online advertising site Backpage.com are headed for a legal showdown, after a Senate committee voted unanimously…to hold the site in civil contempt for not cooperating with a probe into how it screens sex ads for illegal trafficking of minors*…it would be the first civil contempt declaration by the Senate in more than 20 years, according to its sponsors, Sens. Claire McCaskill…and Rob Portman…A lawyer for Backpage said the company welcomes the contempt citation, and that the company has been for months calling on McCaskill and Portman for a legal test of Congress’s authority to probe the actions of a company that…has First Amendment protections…another lawyer for Backpage – Liz McDougall – last year accused McCaskill and Portman of engaging in the same tactics of the Cold War era Sen. Joe McCarthy…

*As opposed to what, legal trafficking of minors?

Blunt Instrument (#596)

Due to their visibility, massage parlors are taking the brunt of the “sex trafficking” hysteria in smaller cities:

The owner of a [Wichita, Kansas] massage parlor…is facing federal sex trafficking charges…60-year-old Samir F. Elias employed and provided housing for a Chinese woman working as a prostitute…the woman…worked daily with no formal massage training and has been convicted of selling sex…She paid Elias a portion of the fees collected for giving massages to patrons — $10 or $20, depending on the length of the appointments…Elias is charged with transporting and harboring an unlawful alien, harboring an alien for prostitution, and two counts of money laundering…

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The whore is despised by the hypocritical world because she has made a realistic assessment of her assets and does not have to rely on fraud to make a living.  –  Angela Carter

Because of the stigma against it, sex work is often taken up by women whose choices are otherwise limited; in other words, it is often the best of a limited range of options.  And for much of recent history, it was virtually the only worthwhile option available to women viewed as sexually “soiled” or “ruined”, often through no fault of their own.

Squirrel Tooth AliceTake Mary Elizabeth Haley, for example.  She was born in Belton, Texas in 1855 to James and Mary Haley, a fairly well-to-do couple.  Unfortunately for Libby (as she was called), if her family hadn’t had bad luck it would’ve had none at all; first they were financially ruined by the Civil War, and then the nine-year-old was abducted by Comanche Indians in 1864.  It took her father three years to raise the ransom the Comanches demanded, and even after she was released her ordeal was far from over:  “civilized” whites assumed she had been raped by the Indians, and her parents found themselves with an unmarriageable daughter.  Her father seems to have been deeply in denial about her ostracism, however; when young Libby’s looks and personality attracted a suitor mature enough not to care about her “reputation”, her father responded by shooting the man to death because he was too old.

Libby was both intelligent and pragmatic, and thus understood that her hotheaded father would either murder or frighten away any man willing to overlook her history, so at 14 she ran away to Abilene, Kansas and became a dance-hall prostitute.  Nobody in the boomtown knew anything about her, so it wasn’t difficult for her to find a boyfriend:  a professional gambler and sometimes-cowboy named Billy Thompson, younger brother of the gunslinger Ben Thompson.  From 1870 to 1876, the couple drifted across (mostly) Kansas and Texas, following the cattle drives or running from the law and/or people Billy had cheated; each brought in money by their professional skills, and they were married in 1873 after the birth of their first child.

Near the end of 1876, however, their luck began to change.  In October, Billy was arrested by Texas Rangers and extradited to Kansas to stand trial for the 1873 murder of Sheriff Chauncey Whitney; miraculously, he was acquitted, and for the first time they felt as though they might actually settle somewhere.  Both Billy and Libby were quite good at their professions, and had put aside a sizable stake;kissing prairie dogs they purchased a ranch and a dance hall/brothel in Sweetwater, Texas, and moved into management (Billy as a rancher, Libby as a madam).  During the years they had spent much of their time on the range, Libby had developed a fondness for prairie dogs; now that they lived in town she started keeping them as pets (some said she even walked them on leashes).  From this and the prominent gap between her front teeth, Libby at last gained the name by which she is known to history:  Squirrel Tooth Alice.

The next twenty years went quite well for them; both businesses prospered (especially the brothel), and Alice’s fame spread across the West.  They had nine children in all and their marriage lasted for 24 years, until Billy died of some sort of stomach condition in 1897.  Alice continued to run the brothel until she retired in 1921 at the age of 66.   Alas, her declining years were not as happy as they could have been; though several of her daughters followed their mother into our honorable profession, several of her sons inherited their father’s worse characteristics and turned to crime.  Alice lived in the homes of several of her children who had settled in Palmdale, California, and when she became too ill to care for themselves she moved into the Sunbeam Rest Home in Los Angeles.  There she died on April 13, 1953, at the ripe old age of 98.

Prohibitionists are fond of pretending that because sex work is often a constrained choice, that this is an argument for criminalizing it (as though it made any moral or logical sense to remove the best choice from a limited range of options!)  How would it have helped young Libby Haley to cut off the means of her escape from the narrow-minded bigots of her home town?  Prostitution not only allowed her to make a living, but also to find love, acceptance, fame and personal satisfaction; I guess the prohibitionists would prefer she had died a lonely charity case, unsullied by either men or money.

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If the causal link between coercion and victimhood is the reason why prostitution is harmful and should be banned…this can be argued to be the case with most…professions on earth.  –  Phuong-Mai Nguyen

Old Men and Young Women

Why are people surprised that old men still have sex drives?

At adult cabarets across Costa Rica, entertainers…are noticing an interesting demographic trend:  With greater frequency, men old enough to be their grandfathers are among their admirers.  Such was the conclusion presented by Paula Ruiz Guevara, an investigative journalist from national newspaper La Prensa Libre…Through statistical research, field investigations and interviews with psychologists, social workers, prostitutes, and sociologists, Ms. Guevara’s work paints an interesting portrait of an aging population whose appetite for sexual commerce has not diminished…

See No Evil 

Anyone who sees 15 years in prison for consensual sex as anything other than a tyrannical abomination should himself be locked up:

A couple found guilty of having sex on a public beach in Florida face 15 years behind bars…Elissa Alvarez, 20, and Jose Caballero, 40, were charged with lewd and lascivious exhibition…The couple claimed they were not actually having sex…Both Caballero and Alvarez will now have to register as sex offenders because the crime happened in front of children.  The couple were arrested July 20, 2014, after witnesses recorded video of the couple grinding on the beach and called 911 to complain…Assistant State Attorney Anthony Dafonseca said…it was important to prosecute Alvarez and Caballero to let the public know such behavior wouldn’t be tolerated…

Repeat Offenders 

Why is it that nuns who want to “rescue” sex workers invariably push them into menial garment-related work, like laundering or sewing?

…at the shelter, known as Casa Ruth…[a “rescued” sex worker from] Nigeria…shares a tidy apartment…with a half-dozen other women…They work together in a sewing cooperative run by the shelter called Newhope…”They can make money not with their bodies, but through their creativity,” said Sister Rita Giaretta…Dozens of safe houses run by Catholic nuns have sprung up in recent years…

Change a Few Words killer pot

Prohibitionists of all types are willing to believe any “statistics”, no matter how stupid and obviously false, which seem to support their schemes:

“Marijuana candies, sold on the street as ‘Uncle Tweety’s Chewy Flipper’ and ‘Gummy Satans’ are taking the country by storm.” That’s the breathless opening sentence of a news story posted on the website of D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), the infamous anti-drug organization that sends police into schools to teach kids about the dangers of drug use.  After I called to inquire about it, D.A.R.E. removed the story immediately without commenting…topkeasnews.com [the story’s original source] is a satire website…D.A.R.E. still receives funding from the Justice Department, the Department of State and numerous other government agencies and corporations.  For the past month, that funding has been used to spread the message that marijuana is a “third world drug” that causes teen pregnancies and leads to “primal aggression,” and to promote demonstrably false claims about people killed by marijuana edibles…

Above the Law 

A CBS News investigation has found sexual misconduct in the ranks of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is “significantly” higher than other federal law enforcement agencies…In April, one agent in Arizona was indicted for sexually assaulting a 5-year-old child…Between 2012 and 2014…there [were]…more than 35 sexual misconduct cases against agents…in the last six years, at least 21 customs or border patrol agents have been indicted or pleaded guilty to sexual offenses…ranging from sexual assault, to possession of child pornography and child molestation…

Full of Themselves (#418)

OH MY GOD PEOPLE CAN TOUCH OTHER PEOPLE WITHOUT EXPLICIT GOVERNMENT PERMISSION!  THE HORROR!!!

…Kansas is one of just five states in the nation that do not regulate the massage therapy industry.  While most states require masseuses to pass background checks, attend accredited massage schools or obtain certain certification…massage therapists in Kansas go completely unchecked.  Such was the case with Chen Li, 50, and Guihong Xiao, 45, who were arrested Tuesday after an investigation into allegations that sex crimes were occurring at their business…Li, charged with felony promoting the sale of sexual relations and aggravated human trafficking, and Xiao, charged with felony promotion, misdemeanor selling of sexual relations and two counts of aggravated human trafficking, have been down this road before…AMTA Kansas lobbyist Stuart Little said if Kansas regulated its massage industry, and if a background check were required to own a massage business or perform massage therapy, Li and Xiao may have been prevented from setting up shop again…

New Excuse

Another blatant example of the War on Whores as replacement for the moribund War on Drugs:  “Drug agents…raided a [Charlotte, North Carolina] massage parlor, arresting two women accused in a prostitution sting…

Backwards into the Future (#439)

This Vietnamese academic, unlike her Western counterparts, stopped being a prohibitionist when confronted with facts:

…To a certain extent, all of us are coerced into doing what we are doing, since none of us is 100 percent free to do what we individually want.  Freedom is never absolute, and as members of a society, we all have to sacrifice, compromise, or adjust ourselves to suit the situation…criminalizing prostitution creates double incrimination…30 percent of exotic dancers and 24 percent of street-based sex workers who had been raped identified a police officer as the rapist.  Up to 17 percent of sex workers interviewed reported sexual harassment and abuse, including rape, by police.  They had been forced to strip or engage in other sexual conduct while in police detention…we also need to accept the fact that…Many of them choose this profession voluntarily because it fits their life style and personality, or because it is economically efficient, without any pressure.  In the last few months, I have been part of a volunteer group helping to deliver tea and coffee to sex workers in the Red Light District of Amsterdam.  I started the job with the idea that all these people are victims, and I could not be more wrong…Sex work is exactly that, work.  And what well-intended people should do is to protect those who are forced to enter the industry, and support those who are the boss of their life, regardless of who they choose to be…silly beliefs about sex work

All Wet

Buried deep in this prohibitionist screed are these truly dumb statements:  “A recent poll by Red C found that 88% of Irish men have never paid for sex. It also showed three out of four Irish adults believe women who sell sex have
experienced abuse from sex buyers…” First we have the usual ridiculously-low client number I’ve already debunked, but it’s followed by a statement about what ignorant people in the general public believe to be true about a subject in which they have no experience; it’s a bit like taking a poll of what people believe to be true about the stars an quoting it as though it were astronomical fact.

Marching Up Their Own Arses (#533)

Sex worker activists have forced the vile 8 Minutes off the air:

Sex workers who were filmed for A&E’s 8 Minutes, which says it provides resources for women who want to get out of sex work, allege that the production lied to them…they wanted help getting out of sex work, and were never given any of the promised assistance.  When reached, a representative for the network said the show is no longer on the air and, thus, they have no comment…

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McNeillFlyerLast Tuesday I mentioned that I would be speaking at UNLV, and that on the following day I’d be meeting back up with my traveling companion.  But I omitted two words from the latter phrase: “in Denver”.  And thereby hangs a tale of woe.  My presentation went just fine, and had my bus trip gone just as well this would’ve been a very short column; alas, that was not to be.  I was rather proud of myself for efficiently compacting my luggage and for not getting angry when it was announced that the bus had been ridiculously overbooked, which meant I had to wait thirteen hours for the next one.  I was also quite pleased when the hotel clerk cheerfully let me back into my room even though I had technically checked out, and rather enjoyed the large diner breakfast I decided to have so I wouldn’t need to eat dinner en route; the fact that I would not need to book a hotel in Denver Wednesday night also appealed to my sense of thrift.  And that concludes the list of good things I can say about the journey.

The bus left the depot 45 minutes late and was absolutely packed solid, and it’s a good thing I’m used to being in close quarters with strange men because my seatmate was built like a professional wrestler and overlapped my seat by a noticeable amount.  The promised on-bus wi-fi turned out to be a lie; my computer connected to the bus, but the bus never connected to the internet for more than a few painfully-slow and highly intermittent teases.  And there was simply no way to actually sleep in that seat, no matter how I turned my head, torso and legs (though I did fitfully doze for a merciful hour here and there throughout the night).  I would’ve still considered it merely a bad trip rather than a horrible one, however, had the driver not switched the interior lights on during the approach to Grand Junction, then proceeded to execute a series of tight turns and unexpected stop-starts while I couldn’t see where we were going through the now-reflective windows.  It’s a good thing my last meal had been concluded over twelve hours earlier, or the resulting mess would’ve been a lot nastier.

That was only the beginning.  Near Vail, the highway began to twist and turn in a way no other interstate highway in the country manages to do, and needless to say I got sicker and sicker; at some point the seat came loose from its catches and began to roll forward with every deceleration and backward with every acceleration.  By the time we arrived in Denver I felt like a torture victim and probably looked like a frightened, bedraggled kitten (except not as cute).  Fortunately, reader Leonard Fahrni had volunteered to fetch me from the depot despite the early hour; had I been required to drag my own luggage to a cab stand, endure a back-seat ride to an internet cafe, then book a hotel and endure another ride to get there, I honestly don’t know if I could’ve done it.  But Leonard carried my things, drove gently to his house, waited patiently while I found a hotel with his internet and then drove me there and brought everything in again.  Who says chivalry is dead?

After that nightmare, my weekend in Denver was so anticlimactic it isn’t worth mentioning.  Tonight I’m speaking at the founding chapter of Liberty on the Rocks, then tomorrow I’m off to Wichita, Kansas on another bus – a much shorter trip, in the daytime, over nice flat country.  And I’ve already planned a long-term rental car deal for July and August so there will be no more bus trips from Hell. The Road to Hell

Here’s my tour schedule, which is still in flux; check back when I’m getting close to you for details of local appearances.  If your city isn’t on the list, but it’s within about four hours’ drive of another city which is on the list, just send an email asking me to visit.  Your request will have even more impact if you can suggest a specific place I could do a book reading or give a talk, and it’s virtually assured if you can actually make the arrangements yourself (in other words if it’s your store, club or whatever).

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If Minnie could take off her head and vomit, then what would stop me from eventually going on a date with a man that preferred to be called “$bill”?  –  Claire Meyer

I apologize for the very short column this week; though I did yesterday’s TW3 column before I left home, I had so little free time over the past few days I really couldn’t find the number and variety of links I can usually uncover.  All the links above the Disney villainess apologia are from Radley Balko, and those between the two videos are from Neil GaimanMike SiegelRick Horowitz and Jesse Walker (in that order).  The second video is a full Tom Lehrer concert; I was inspired to dig it up by the article I linked last week.

From the Archives

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