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Posts Tagged ‘law’

The war on sex offenders poses perhaps the greatest political challenge for those seeking to dismantle the carceral state.  –  Marie Gottschalk

Divided We Fall

Gay folk who promote anti-whore crusades are about the sleaziest sleaze there isanti-whore queers

A Kiwi couple needs public help in a quest to take part in a…bootcamp which would help their dream of putting a stop to the forced sex trade industry.  In 2013 Xavier Hartstonge and partner Jesse North created the not-for-profit organisation SweatsHope with the vision of halting the forced sex trade industry in…India…Six people will be selected to receive an all-expenses paid trip to…spend two weeks working with a business coach, life coach and personal trainer…The organisers hope to turn it into a reality TV show.  Hartstonge…says we all know the sex trade is happening, yet we choose to close our eyes…“It’s about empowerment, showing these women they do have the choice and no longer have to do this…It’s modern day slavery and should no longer be tolerated”…

Yes, that’s a gay man demonizing a kind of sex he isn’t interested in.  Breathe deep of the putrid stench of that irony.

The Hooker Vote

The fact that Hof endorsed Ron Paul in ’12 should tell you that this has nothing to do with the candidates’ actual positions.  From a press release that was probably sent to everyone who blogs on sex work:  “Prostitutes at Dennis Hof’s…Moonlite Bunny Ranch…announce their support of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign…” The so-called “Hookers For Hillary” campaign’s embrace of “health care reform” seems primarily an attempt to demonize “illegal” sex workers by casting us as vectors of disease who need to be micromanaged by the benevolent state and licensed pimps like Hof lest we spread plague like a host of scarlet-clad Typhoid Mary Magdalenes.

Shift in the Wind

Is Al Jazeera swinging away from anti-whore hysteria again?

…Because sex work is legal in Ecuador…are, for the most part, allowed to conduct their work openly, without fear of being arrested. In other cities such as Kampala, Uganda; Manila, the Philippines; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Islamabad; Skopje, Macedonia; and Kiev, Ukraine, where it is illegal, sex workers conduct their work in the shadows, which makes it more likely that they will be subject to violence and limits their power to negotiate safe sex…For refugee sex workers in particular, an arrest for prostitution could jeopardize their asylum claim or result in deportation.  The high stakes of getting caught thus force them to take even greater risks, such as working alone or on the least safe stretches of road…refugees, notably those clustered in cities, often engage in sex work.  But international institutions need to do much more than just turn a blind eye to this informal form of employment.  By publicly acknowledging refugee sex workers and establishing support protocols, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other international organizations could help them do their work more safely and ensure their rights — to health, information and dignity — are respected…

Worse Than I Thought

Landlords of massage parlors, spa managers and even motel managers who knowingly allow prostitution on their premises could face prison and fines under [new Rhode Island laws]…The pandering law…would be amended to include those who allow prostitution on their premises, because they derive money from the illegal activity.  That includes landlords, managers, owners of spas or businesses, or any other place where commercial sex is practiced or allowed.  Under both bills, the penalties for a first offense would be one to five years in prison, and fines between $2,000 and $5,000…

It’s like they’re competing with each to see who can inflict the most mindlessly-draconian sentences:

People who solicit prostitutes would face increased penalties under a bill that [unanimously] passed the Florida House…The penalty for a first offense would increase from a second-degree misdemeanor to a first-degree misdemeanor.  A second offense would be a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a third offense would be a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison…

Amsterdam (#45)

Dutch “authorities” outlaw more aspects of sex work, then feigning surprise when the number of illegal whores increases:

The number of licensed brothels and escort agencies in the Netherlands fell to 674 in 2014, compared with 1,127 in 2006…The figures also show six out of 10 local authorities have no licensed sex business within their boundaries….researchers say the decline may be due to the rise in the online sex industry…Justice minister Ard van der Steur says it is difficult to get a grip on the size of the unlicensed industry but that exploitation, human trafficking and forced prostitution are a serious issue…

Chauvinism

You’ll notice that none of these laws really affect picket-fence queers:

…Gay rights groups have made great strides in repealing anti-sodomy laws on federal and state levels, and these efforts should be commended.  And yet, prosecutions for sex crimes are growing faster than any other type of crime, with an exponentially rising rate of arrests and convictions.  Gay men are arrested in cruising stings, HIV-positive men are sent to prison for merely being sexually active, and sex workers and clients are arrested for victimless crimes.  Much of these prosecutions disproportionately affect queer folk, despite advances in civil rights for LGBT people.  Have the baldly homophobic laws of the 20th century really gone away? Or are they merely being repackaged and rebranded for a more gay-friendly public?…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes

Read this essay by rapid neofeminist Sarah Ditum, keeping in mind that the source of all this bile is that a man went to a strip club:

…Lapdancing is a kind of entertainment that trades on power — men’s power over women, the economic supremacy that gives men the disposable income to buy a woman right out of her clothes, the ritualised submission of the naked women pantomiming sexual frenzy for the men in suits, the little assertions of possession that comes every time a man crosses the line and puts his hand on the skin he’s paying to see. Feminism is the politics of rejecting men’s power over us.  Not eroticising that power, not exploiting it to rinse a little cash benefit out of our own inferiority, but refusing it…Ask…how feminism can tolerate any [sex work]…

First They Came for the Hookers…(#341)

Licensed strip clubs are no longer allowed in Saskatchewan, but the government says it will make an exception for charitable events once a year.  Premier Brad Wall announced…that his government would reverse its decision to allow licensed strip clubs because of concerns about human trafficking and sexual exploitation…

Sex Rays

the Dutch central bank has fired a 46-year-old female employee claimed to have been working after hours as a highly paid prostitute – specialising in sadomasochism.  The woman, who had been with the central bank for eight years…had allegedly been offering her services under the name “Conchita van der Waal”, advertising under the motto: “the kinkier the better”.  Ms van der Waal also offered to engage in sexual role play…one of the roles in which she was photographed online was that of an SS commandant…the…bank’s code of conduct…forbids “indecent behaviour” – and stipulates that no employee should act in a way which could harm the reputation of the bank or lead to negative publicity…

Catastrophic Consequences

Sex workers in Edinburgh are facing increased health risks following the controversial police crackdown on saunas…Fewer women are attending the specialist NHS clinic set up to support them – and…sexually transmitted infections have increased.  Sex workers are also giving up on condoms, with saunas refusing to stock them because police can use possession of them as evidence of selling sex…many women had moved away from saunas and now operated from other venues, like flats or lap-dancing bars…

The Missing Word

The US’s current anti-trafficking policy…produces a tangle of finite good and possibly infinite harmful effects…stories of “sex slaves” produced by some advocates and propagated with alacrity by the media and accepted by…US law makers—has permitted…an incoherent spectrum of immigration and criminal law enforcement operating without much critical oversight, let alone public understanding…the media here [follows a]…template of treating exploited (male) workers as migrant labours while reserving the term “trafficking” for (female) “sex trafficking victims”…

Guinea Pigs Motel 6

Pay attention to this: a motel chain is systematically ratting out guests to cops:

The popular hotel chain, Motel 6, has recently decided to partner with the police to violate the rights of their guests.  Without the consent of the guest, or even informing them whatsoever, Motel 6 employees will now turn over the guest information to the police, who will then run a background check on the subject…I highly doubt that all, or even 10%, of the 1,100 Motel 6’s in North America have a huge sex trafficking problem. I doubt many of them have real “major” crime issues at all. Yet, Motel 6 is allowing the police to run the names of all their guests, regardless of probable cause, incident, or reasoning…

Guest Columnist:  Kaytlin Bailey

There’s the old chestnut that’s supposed to help you relax in front of an audience, “imagine them in their underwear,” and its dark twin — the classic nightmare of being naked in public.  For comedians, the Naked Comedy Showcase provides a chance to experience both scenarios…According to New York host and producer, Kaytlin Bailey, “It’s a rush…there’s something about being in the survival mindset and that amount of adrenaline that really brings the performer in to the room and they’re present from moment to moment and that’s great to watch.”  The brainchild of Boston-based comedian, and nudist Andy Ofiesh, Bailey took over hosting and producing duties in…2014 and has been playing to standing-room-only crowds ever since…

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There is no singular story or person to represent the varied and complex experiences of all sex workers.  –  Tilly Lawless

Bad Girls Carolynne Wright

A South Carolina stripper has pleaded guilty to assaulting a…coworker with a “clear plastic high-heeled shoe” that left the victim with puncture wounds in her scalp…Carolynn Wright…was sentenced to six days in jail and ordered to pay fines and court costs totaling $173.90…

Feminine Pragmatism 

Most of the research conducted on the topic of prostitution in Costa Rica tends to be concentrated in the Greater San Jose Metropolitan Area…and on the phenomenon of sexual tourism…[according to] Rodolfo Nuñez Arias, Professor of Social Studies at the National University in Nicoya…prostitution in Santa Cruz was scant from about 1860 to 1949, at least in comparison to other burgeoning regions of Costa Rica…Things changed between 1970 and 1980, when many women in Guanacaste…found that they could earn a lot more from prostitution than from agricultural or even professional employment…

Profit from Panic 

There’s this problem I invented!  Now buy my software!

A growing number of children all around the world are being forced into taking explicit photos and videos of themselves online, an expert has warned…The term “sextortion” means children are first lured into taking naked photos or videos of themselves, and then blackmailed into making more.  If they don’t comply, they are threatened that the photos will be distributed to their friends and family…Bob Lotter, the creator of online safety tool My Mobile Watchdog…said his company is dealing with an “epidemic” of sextortion cases…Children as young as 12 are often victims, he says, adding that 14-year-olds are the most common age group…

Above the Law 

A South Florida woman videotaped her parole officer sexually assaulting her so that she could prove to police that she was, in fact, raped and so that the officer couldn’t revoke her parole…Zachary Thomas Bailey told the victim that he needed to perform a “study” of her Coral Springs home…During the visit, Bailey allegedly blocked the victim in her bedroom and touched her genitals.  Bailey reportedly returned the next day, asking the victim for a massage. When the victim refused, Bailey allegedly took off his clothes, put on a condom and raped the woman…

Coming and Going (#44)

How much money did Seattle waste on this boondoggle?

…Seattle police…spent months posing as pimps, prostitutes and drug buyers to…[arrest] the Orion [hotel’s] managers, a married couple who had lived on site…Kevin Lundquist Jr. and his wife [were charged with]…prostitution-related crimes…

Gorged With Meaning (#51)

In other words, female students are much, much more inclined to lie:

Nearly five percent of U.K. students have engaged in some form of sex work, according to new research…more male than female students participated…And while money was one motivating factor, students also cited flexible scheduling and personal enjoyment or curiosity among their main reasons for getting involved.  The research was part of the Student Sex Work Project, a 3-year initiative led by Swansea University.  Researchers surveyed more than 10,000 students from England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland…4.8 percent of student respondents had done some sort of sex work, including 5 percent of male students surveyed and 3.4 percent of female students…Nearly nearly 22 percent of respondents had considered doing sex work…some have portrayed these findings as a shame and a call to action.  But the data hardly seems to indicate that student sex workers would be better off with jobs in the campus dining hall or more student loans…

Birth of a Movement (#314)

After only two years, France re-criminalizes “looking like a whore”:

Women in skimpy outfits and high heels could be arrested under new French laws that make it illegal to simply “look like a prostitute” in public…It is expected that prostitutes will be forced to wear casual clothing like jeans and trainers to get around the rules…French sex workers’ union Strass described the law as “a huge step backwards”…

Science!

Global warming turns women into WHORES!!!

Whether you call it climate change, global warming…the crazy week on the topic just got a little bit crazier, thanks to Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California…That’s because she says women will not only be harder hit by climate change, but it could force millions of women to participate in “transactional sex.”  In other words, they’d prostitute themselves out for food and water to feed their family…

Catastrophic Consequences

Scottish police just won’t stop endangering sex workers with “end demand” claptrap:

Prostitutes, lap dancers and online sex workers will be the focus of a new group set up to tackle commercial sexual exploitation…The campaign…aims to stamp out demand for sex services…and…is supported by Police Scotland…“CSE is a serious issue…which is often misconstrued as a choice made in return for financial…gain,” said…[a] spokeswoman.  “However, we know that this is not the case”…

Not Your Rescue Project Savannah

My friend Savannah Sly is among the pictures featured here:

Sex workers are sharing photos of themselves on social media as they fight back against claims that most escorts are forced into the industry and lead lives of abuse.  The hashtag #FacesOfProstitution started trending on Twitter with sex workers from Australia and across the world using social media to share positive stories from their industry.  It comes after Mamamia published a blog post from Christian group Exodus Cry last week that claimed the 1990 film Pretty Woman lured women into the sex industry by ‘leading them to believe that prostitution was glamorous and romantic”…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#438) 

Judge Michael Bohren ruled that two Wisconsin teenagers will have to stand trial as adults for…[stabbing] a 12-year-old classmate 19 times last year…to mollify a cult fan fiction character called Slender Man..Attorneys for the two girls were hoping to have the charges reduced so they could be tried in juvenile court.  But Judge Bohren found probable cause for prosecutors to bring first-degree attempted homicide charges, which, under Wisconsin law, must be tried in adult court…the girls in this case are pretty much textbook arguments for why children cannot be treated like adults in our legal system…

He Said, She Said (#448)

Another violent, manipulative sadist tries to disguise his actions as consensual BDSM:

…Graham Dwyer was found guilty of the murder of Elaine O’Hara…allegedly as part of his BDSM fetish, which included a fantasy to stab partners during sex…Dwyer had pursued a relationship with O’Hara, a childcare assistant with a history of depression, and abusively exploited her psychological illness…O’Hara, on numerous occasions, expressed a desire to end the blood play but was punished for even suggesting that she’d want out…any talk of leaving resulted in a stabbing during one of their “sessions.”  Likewise, O’Hara was badgered and manipulated into thinking that she was responsible for finding a murder victim or, as one message termed it, “offer her own flesh”…

The Course of a Disease (#428)

Hundreds of foreign sex workers in France, the majority of them illegal Chinese immigrants, rallied in the Place Pigalle in Paris on March 28 to fight for their right of survival in their country of adoption…Some…have signed a petition to urge the French government to cancel a motion that sanctions those who buy sex services, their clients…A Chinese sex worker known as Ai Ying interviewed by Radio France International (RFI) said punishing clients will hurt their earnings and they will be exposed to greater dangers and problems.  Ai Ying said the new law will not help them change their line of work, because they are not likely to get a job without a residency permit…

Apparently, the outcry was heard; the legislature scrapped the law.

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Whole libraries of sex work laws have been written and enforced because lawmakers listened to nothing other than their own fears and paternalism.  –  Chris Hall

R.I.P. Sashimani Devi Sashimani Devi

Sashimani Devi, the last [devadasi]…at the Jagannath Temple in eastern India, died on March 19 in the city of Puri…She was 92…she was one of about 25 women assigned to care for Jagannath and other images of deities at the temple, conducting ritual baths, rubbing the statues with lotion and performing private songs and dances at bedtime…Sashimani…remained proud of her status until the end of her life, though she complained that temple authorities had reduced her role in temple rituals and paid her a miserly pension.  She told one interviewer who asked about the god Jagannath: “He is my husband and I am his wife.  There is no dispute about it.”  She was the last to perform a dance that had been practiced in the temple for 5,000 years…Laws criminalizing the dedication of devadasis began proliferating in the 1930s, and elite temples like Jagannath began to turn away from the practice, though “thousands and thousands” of devadasis are dedicated, to this day, at smaller temples throughout India…

Here We Go Again

Chris Hall looks at the connection between the belief in snuff films and the belief in “sex trafficking”:

Of all the myths about porn, sex and crime to get a footing in popular culture, the belief in snuff films is one of the most improbable, yet enduringly resilient.  For decades, journalists, politicians, law enforcement officials, and anti-porn crusaders talked about snuff films as if their reality had been as firmly documented as the address of the White House….[despite the fact that] no actual snuff films have ever been found…snuff movie hysteria is just a single link in a very long chain of moral panics around sex and sex work which stretches back centuries…the myths of white slavery and snuff films…depicted vast networks of deliberate, organized evil preying on society’s most innocent.  There are actual videos of murders by serial killers or terrorists, but…a true snuff film would be one where the victim is specifically kidnapped and murdered in order to make the film and distribute it through a vast, secret criminal network.  Similarly, white slavery would necessarily involve a nightmarish web of kidnappers and pimps working cohesively in a well-organized criminal subculture…the existence of snuff films and white slavery would reveal a shadowy, near-omnipotent “other” infiltrating respectable society…

Above the Law 

A…New York [City cop]…has been charged with multiple counts of rape related to a sexual relationship he’s alleged to have maintained with a teen girl more than 20 years his junior…38-year-old Vladimir Sosa…was arrested in the Bronx [after the girl]…confessed to her mother about the relationship last month…

The Notorious Badge 

Here’s an amusing example of prohibitionists’ obsession with the film Pretty Woman:  On its 25th anniversary, a “sex trafficking” fetishist publishes a letter asking Richard Gere to espouse the “end demand” creed of the “sex trafficking” religion and denounce clients.  I am not making this up.

Hall of Shame

Mistress Matisse: “If you’ve eaten poison and need to make yourself vomit, you should watch Dennis Hof and Nancy Grace debate sex work.”  I concur; Grace is one of the few creatures who can make Hof seem less-than-wholly-vile in comparison.

Shift in the Wind

More editorials like this, please:

It is unfathomable why adults are still being prohibited by law from engaging in sex work – whether as an individual providing or receiving such services – in and outside of Jamaica.  To make matters worse, it is also illegal for you to “knowingly” benefit from the proceeds of sex work regardless of your relationship to the individual…This is preposterous….a child whose parent works tirelessly as a sex worker to send him or her to school…can, in fact, be charged for benefiting from their parents earnings from sex work….if you are the parent of a sex worker with a chronic illness such as cancer, you can be charged for allowing your daughter to pay for life-saving chemotherapy.  What would you do if the person who supports you financially is a sex worker?  Would you still feel the law is justified – that prostitution should be illegal?

Standard Operating Procedure

Yawn.  Are people still pretending this was unpredictable?

Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration reportedly had “sex parties” with prostitutes hired by drug cartels in Colombia, according to a new inspector general report released by the Justice Department…In addition, Colombian police officers allegedly provided “protection for the DEA agents’ weapons and property during the parties…The stunning allegations are part of an investigation…into claims of sexual harassment and misconduct within DEA; FBI…[ATF] and the U.S. Marshals Service…The congressional committee charged with federal oversight is already promising hearings and an investigation…

“Stunning”. LOL! Prostitute tester advert

Sex Work is Work

A brothel is advertising what many would consider a dream job: prostitute tester.  The job entails rating sex workers for overall quality, cleanliness, value for money, and safe sex practices.  The advert by the Berlin brothel…reads:  “Practical experience with many years of brothel visits necessary.  You should enjoy having fun with people and you should not be afraid of contact.”  Ideal candidates for the position would hold a university degree (preferably in business), have experience with brothels, and be able to show a health certificate indicating they are disease-free…a multilingual individual is desired, with knowledge of French a plus…

Torture Chamber 

[Florida prison guards] contaminated inmates’ food, sprayed them with chemicals for no reason and threatened to break their fingers and to kill them…These practices flourished under former Warden Samuel Culpepper…inmates…said they were stripped naked or down to their boxers at the whim of guards and had all their belongings and their mattresses taken away, then left around the clock on a cold metal bunk for 72 hours or more…[where] they would shiver, cold and petrified, waiting to be gassed…guards would sometimes heat up the gas canisters before activating them, making the chemicals more potent and stick more stubbornly to inmates’ skin…

Bait and Switch

Here’s a long, detailed account of how an ordinary man was tricked and railroaded by cops and prosecutors, his life destroyed for their profit:

…he believed she was nineteen, and he adamantly denied at all times that she looked underage.  He…thought she was lying about her age to try to get more money from him.  It took cops almost half an hour of merciless interrogation and lie after lie to get something even arguably incriminating out of him.  They kept telling him about how he tried to have sex with “that girl” who was sixteen.  When he asked why they were fixated on the fake age of a fake escort, the police report noted that as him seeing no problem with the age of sixteen…

Marching Up Their Own Arses (#452)

For a change, many outside the demimonde recognize anti-whore douchebaggery for what it is:

All sex workers are trafficking victims who desperately want out of the industry.  That’s the premise…of the new A&E show 8 Minutes, which is slated to premiere April 2….vigilante pastor (and former cop) Kevin Brown…sets up dates with sex workers, only to ambush them with attempts at rescue instead of payment—all filmed, hidden camera-style.  The…series has been called “awful” by the Daily Beast, while VICE referred to Brown and the series creators as “manipulators seeking out women for their own gain.”  A Change.org petition…garnered just under 2,000 signatures.  And…even local law enforcement condemned his methods…But none of this criticism has deterred A&E from airing the show…[so] about two dozen…groups that work with…sex workers signed a letter demanding a meeting with Tom Forman, the producer…

Worse Than I Thought (#524)

We can always count on Elizabeth N. Brown:

…the “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act” (JVTA)…was [stalled]…by party-line disagreement over an abortion-funding provision.  Thank goodness.  This is one time that lawmakers using abortion as a political tool may actually be a boon for civil liberties…One should always be skeptical when politicians insist on new laws to target things that are already targets…it belies efforts to grant government agencies new powers and more money without people paying much attention…One under-looked but worrisome aspect of the bill would set up several cybercrime-fighting units within the department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement…By conflating all prostitution with sex trafficking, organizations that receive federal anti-trafficking grants can use it to go after prostitution more generally — something conservative rescue-orgs like because it fits their anti-prostitution agenda and police departments like because they can now use this money toward existing vice efforts.  And the more arrests and/or “rescues” they make, the more money they get…

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When two consenting adults have sex behind closed doors and if money changes hands then that is none of the state’s business.  –  Laura Lee

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Police in eastern India were left red-faced when a raid on a sex district discovered four of their own along with a convicted murderer whom they were supposed to be…transporting…to hospital for a check-up…

Who Watches the Watchmen?

I’m really happy to see the media slowly growing more skeptical of ludicrous statistical claims:

…[Several news sources claimed that] “According to the FBI’s latest study, more than 58,000 kids were abducted by non-relatives in one year”…The number is derived from data collected between 1997 and 1999, mainly from a telephone survey in 1999…these numbers come from an era that predates the wide use of mobile phones, which allow parents to keep much closer track of their children…this is an estimate, based on a survey, not based on actual incidents…Two key components of the 58,000 figure are children who are reported missing by their caretakers or children who were missed by the caretaker for at least an hour but no report was filed…These incidents may meet a legal definition of “abduction” but generally do not conform to the public’s understanding of an abduction…The number of stereotypical kidnappings is significantly smaller: 115…the most recent (2014) FBI data on abductions by a stranger in a single year is 332…

Down Under

A Porirua man is facing two rare charges of failing to use a condom during sex with a prostitute.  The safe-sex law is thought to have been applied only about seven times since the Prostitution Reform Act was passed in 2003…Before prostitution was decriminalised, sex workers were not able to complain about clients not wanting to use condoms…[The man] said he knew the prostitute would not have consented to his taking the condom off, so he did it without her knowledge…

Tyranny By Consensus

I certainly hope you saw this coming:

Since Los Angeles County passed a 2012 law requiring all male porn performers to wear condoms, some Californians have been trying to extend the requirement throughout the state.  Legislation to this effect failed last summer, but activists are now seeking to put the matter before voters in 2016…If…Michael Weinstein gets his way, he could be subsidized by the state to sit around reviewing porn.  Under the proposed condom measure…”Weinstein would be placed in charge of monitoring any adult film produced in California to determine if condoms were used…If a condom wasn’t readily apparent in each scene, Weinstein would be deputized by the Attorney General to review the raw footage of the production, and file lawsuits against anyone involved in the production, including but not limited to the producers, distributors, agents, and anyone with a demonstrable ‘financial interest’ in the production”…To remove Weinstein from this role would require a majority vote from both houses of the state Legislature…

Under Every Bed dopedopedope

Small towns can’t credibly claim to be “sex trafficking hubs”, so they call themselves “stops” instead:

Hundreds of social workers, police officers, clinicians and concerned locals gathered…to learn about the growth of…sex trafficking in southeastern Wisconsin…the Human Trafficking Forum…explored the causes and symptoms of what they call “modern-day slavery”…Every 10 minutes, a woman or child is trafficked in the U.S, resulting in more than 15,000 victims each year*.  An official with the Department of Homeland Security…described Kenosha as a “stopping spot” between Chicago and Milwaukee…[a cop bloviated that] “Twelve and 13-year-olds are the primary target, that’s middle schoolers.  We need to get the word out to parents and teachers”…

Canadian cops are just as absurd:

…Is there human trafficking in Guelph [Ontario, population 121,668]?  “Absolutely”…[lied cop Patty] Pronovost…girls as young as 12 are exploited by pimps…classified ad sites like Backpage…are popular among prostitutes and pimps…The average age of a girl entering the sex trade is 14.  On average, they would see 10 to 15 customers each day, but 30 in one day is not uncommon…

I wish 30 clients a day really were “not uncommon”; if that were true my bank account wouldn’t be in the sorry shape it’s in.

*15,000/year = 1.7/hour = 1/35 minutes ≠ 1/10 minutes.

Challenge

My friend Laura Lee does it again:

A sex worker is using European human rights legislation to try to overturn a new law in Northern Ireland that makes it illegal to pay for prostitutes.  Dublin-born law graduate Laura Lee is launching an unprecedented legal challenge that could go all the way to Strasbourg, against a human trafficking bill which includes banning the payment for sex among consenting adults…

Traffic Jam (#439)

Nearly two years ago, Monica Jones was…arrested for prostitution during a massive police sweep.  Now, she’s in Geneva, Switzerland, taking her case to the United Nations.  The arrest in May 2013 was not the first time the cops had harassed Jones, and she fought back, successfully challenging the charges in court while rising to become an outspoken activist and a widely recognized human rights advocate.  Beating her own charges was not enough for Jones, and now she is using her story to challenge the United States’ prostitution policies on the global stage.  The UN Human Rights Council is preparing its quadrennial review of the US’s human rights record in May, and this week Jones and advocates from across the world are lobbying the council’s member countries on policy recommendations…

The Last Shall Be First (#513)

A bill that would ban transgender people from using their preferred public bathrooms has now…been amended to make an exception for some transgender people who have legally changed their gender on government documentation.  In essence, it means transgender people would need to have their papers on them to pee…[the bill’s sponsor]  claims that the ordinance would prevent male sex offenders and other perverted, unsavory characters from entering women’s bathrooms and that it’s a matter of public safety.  Of course…such incidents…are almost unheard of in other states and municipalities that have passed protections for transgender individuals…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#523) Cheetahs

The fact that money is tight and online porn free couldn’t possibly have anything to do with this; it must be video games!

Strip clubs, with flashy signs advertising nude dancers, once had a strong footing in downtown centres across Canada.  But…an adult industry insider says strip clubs are an endangered species being killed off by lack of demand…Tim Lambrinos…[said]  “It seems that young Canadian males are more distracted with other types of interests — Game Boys, plugging in things and so on”…Toronto had 63 strip clubs a decade ago, now it only has 14.  Lambrinos admits licensed clubs are plagued with the perception they are tied to crime and unsavoury characters, but…that doesn’t match with the reality.  “In terms of crime, even public complaints, the licensed adult entertainment clubs were the bottom of the list…There were nail salons and hair salons and barber shops, restaurants that got far more complaints”…

Worse Than I Thought (#523)

A new “sex trafficking” law is so bad (HOW BAD IS IT?) that at least one “anti-trafficking” NGO has denounced it:

Looking to criminalize our way out of something hasn’t worked in any other issue and won’t work here…Services shouldn’t have to push victims to cooperate with law enforcement in order to receive funding…We need to be removing children from the judicial system, not increasing their involvement…being a trafficker is a specific crime and not just a catch-all for everyone who did something wrong to a child…This bill buys into a sensationalized presentation of a complex issue, to which the criminal justice system is somehow the solution…

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Diary #247

Occidental Street 3-20-15Confused to see a diary column on a Monday?  That was a sort of last-minute change designed to accommodate the fact that I’m really behind schedule and didn’t have anything else for the slot.  It’s partly due to the fact that I haven’t finished dealing with all the crap that comes along with divorce and relocation, and partly due to doing more on-the-ground activism; for example, last Friday I testified against a new “trafficking” law in the Washington state senate.  But more than both of those is the fact that I lack the ability to focus on my work when my new life in Seattle offers so many distractions compared to my previous life in the country.  We’ve decided the way to fix that is for me to get a small office space where I can go to work for a few hours every day, so that I can focus on my writing and actually get it done!

Later on the day that I testified, I was interviewed by a student writing for Humanosphere; she took the photo of me you see here on Occidental Street in Seattle’s Pioneer Square.  And Thursday saw this article (which quotes me extensively) published in the Daily Beast; it’s amazingly refreshing to see a mainstream site recognizing the hysteria for what it is, and I think it’s an excellent sign of the impending collapse of the hysteria.  And assuming I can get my writing regime back on track, I’ll be right there giving y’all a play-by-play on that collapse as it unfolds.

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Contract

I am curious whether you or any of your friends has ever signed or formally negotiated any kind of employment contract with the man involved?  My husband and I are considering taking me out of the workplace to keep the house and raise the children, but he’s expressed doubt about my ability to do a good job as a housekeeper because I haven’t in the past while working full-time.  I told him I like the idea of a formal contract, so that we have expectations on both sides absolutely laid out, but he sort of rolled his eyes and said it wouldn’t have “legal weight.”

Willy Wonka contractWhether such a contract would have any legal weight depends a great deal on where you are.  Prenuptial agreements are very enforceable in some jurisdictions, while in others they’re very easy to break; in Louisiana a court once declared them null and void on the grounds that only the legislature can define the conditions of legal marriage (I do not know if this decision was later reversed).  And in New York, unusual and even extreme conditions are relatively common in the prenuptial agreements of the wealthy.  If I were you I would consult a local marriage & family law expert to find out what the legal landscape for such agreements is like where you live.

It’s interesting that you asked me this question, because sex workers’ situation is if anything exactly the opposite; our contracts with our clients are understood rather than spelled out, and spoken rather than written.  Even if a whore made such a contract, it wouldn’t be enforceable anywhere in the US due to criminalization.  Where our work is legal sex workers can usually expect the police and courts to give our agreements a similar level of respect as they would give other informal contracts, and where it is decriminalized we have the same legal recourse for a broken contract as anyone else.  This is but one of the reasons decriminalization is so vital to the rights and safety of sex workers, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s an important one; the enforcement of contracts is one of the few legitimate functions of government, and denying it to sex workers makes our work far more precarious and dangerous.

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

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The text of Eden folded seamlessly into the curriculum of U.S.-based anti-sex trafficking efforts with its images of taped mouths, chained wrists risen toward the heavens, “in our own backyard” and “stolen innocence” messages, and the idea that the average age of sex trafficked girls in the U.S. is age 13.  –   Kari Lerum

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

The only interesting thing about this tired rehash is that its fake numbers aren’t nearly as absurd as usual:

In 2010, there were 50,000 victims of human trafficking identified, with many more still being forced to…sell sex. But even the experts admit, the number of victims is difficult to quantify and largely unknown…Of…eight human trafficking cases, [Louisiana] prosecutors…[managed to win] only one [conviction]…

Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (#134)

One of the women who is suing the police after discovering that her former boyfriend was an undercover…[cop] has found a tracking device in her car…The woman – known as Lily – had a two-year relationship with Mark Kennedy without knowing his real identity.  She is part of a group of women taking legal action against the police for the emotional trauma they suffered after forming intimate relationships with men who were later revealed to be spies…the German newspaper Die Tageszeitung reported that a tracking device – wrapped in tape – was found near a wheel of her car…while she was at a conference…in Spain to discuss surveillance and censorship…

Profit from Panic 

The rescue industry is getting so successful it now has mergers and acquisitions:  “The Elizabeth Smart Foundation and Operation Underground Railroad have announced that they will now be working hand-in-hand in a joint effort to save children by merging the two organizations…

Worse Than I Thought

The [Utah] Legislature passed a bill…that would clarify that a person is guilty of prostitution not only when engaging in sexual activity with another for money but also for trade of goods…

Profound Ignorance 

Another astonishingly-stupid “study” produces predictably-stupid results:

Researchers with Mount Royal University and The Hindsight Group…[released] findings from a survey of men who were ordered to attend…“John schools”…66%…watched online pornography by the age of 15…67%…viewed online sites before venturing out to purchase sexual encounters…58%…said the Internet has made it more difficult for them to quit paying for sex…they’ve laid the groundwork for further investigation into prevention models that curb the demand for sex trade workers…

monkeysFor those who know nothing about the social sciences, here are a couple of hints: a “captive audience” is going to produce badly skewed results, and assuming the conclusion before the data is even recorded isn’t very likely to result in anything resembling actual data.

Diary of a Sad Man

In the coming weeks, the UK will see what must be a legal first – someone suing for libel over claims that they are not a former prostitute.  The development has come in the legal drama surrounding Dr Brooke Magnanti, who…[wrote] under the nom de plume “Belle de Jour” about her secret life as a £300-an-hour call girl, and her ex-lover Owen Morris…The adventures of Belle de Jour spawned the long-running TV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl, starring Billie Piper.  But in 2013, Morris – known as “The Boy” in Magnanti’s book The Intimate Adventures of a Call Girl– claimed she had lied about her history as an escort and sued for defamation and breach of privacy.  Morris claims that…his career has been damaged by the…revelation of her true identity…Magnanti is now counter-suing.  She claims that Morris’ assertions that she was never a prostitute are defamatory to her reputation…

Schadenfreude (#429) 

An in-depth analysis of how Eden and its ilk harm sex workers:

Does it matter when popular stories about “sex trafficking” are based on half-truths, junk science, and/or religious beliefs?…it is critical that we face the consequences of stories told in the name of rescuing girls and women…many individuals still derive most of their knowledge about human trafficking from sensationalistic media stories about so-called “sex trafficking….Hollywood action-adventure characterizations of victims and villains are deployed; complex structural problems are squeezed into personal morality tales; and the stories are then used by anti-sex work politicians and activists to justify heightened forms of criminal punishment.  While the stories may have popular appeal, evidence suggests that more criminalization actually hurts all sex workers across the continuum of privilege and oppression…

An Example To the West (#504)

A campaign by Thai authorities to crack down on human trafficking has led to the arrests…of…as many as 150 refugees and asylum seeker…Pakistan-based media and some Christian groups say the number may be as many as several hundred.  Among those arrested were people fleeing religious persecution and sectarian violence in Pakistan…

The Mote and the Beam (#510)

It’s interesting to compare coverage of the same “sex trafficking” story from two different media outlets. The Christian Science Monitor tells us:

…the women of the Senate…decided to take on the “despicable, vile issue of human trafficking”…Sex trafficking crosses party lines…the House passed a dozen, bipartisan anti-trafficking bills…about 300,000 American children are at risk of being trafficked…it can happen to anyone.  The average age is 11 to 14 years old…[cop] Michael Ferjak…[denied the agency of adult women and said] “We must…stop thinking that a 14-year-old can actually [think]”…

While in Reason, Noah Berlatsky writes:

According to the logic of many lawmakers, those engaged in prostitution are always victims.  And once you have victims, you need victimizers—people who can be heroically beaten back by courageous law enforcement personnel.  Generally, the victimizers are identified as sex traffickers or pimps.  But a bill from Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) targets another popular bete noire:  classified advertisers…the hope seems to be that negative publicity will cause the site’s owners to shutter Backpage, or at least its “adult” listings section…Kirk’s website throws around numerous frightening and dubious statistics, such as a claim that 300,000 children are “at risk of being trafficked for sex in the United States” every year…The implication, of course, is that the Internet makes prostitution more dangerous and exploitive.  But is it really less safe for women to advertise online than (as one obvious alternative) to work on the street?…

Profound Mental Disabilities (#512) Alissa Afonina

Though the court’s statements and the media coverage of the story both came across as “doing sex work is evidence of brain damage”, Alissa Afonina doesn’t see it that way:

My brain injury is supported by far more than just the sexual symptoms, which is all the media decided to focus on…I have brain scans, countless assessments and [a] history of behavior that is totally congruent with my type of brain injury…I worked…because making that amount of money felt good and I wanted to save as much as I could…

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