Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Madonna/whore’

Somewhere, some document says I am entitled to the pursuit of happiness.  I can’t think of many things that make most people happier than sex.  –  “Bacchus”

Lying Down With Dogs

The US should be proud to be in such august company:

A Russian lawmaker intends to draft a bill introducing fines and community service for using the services of prostitutes.  The existing draft suggests…significantly harsher sanctions for married men and women.  Oleg Mikheyev…said…his suggestions would help to combat prostitution more effectively [because of “end demand” dogma]…He [incorrectly claimed] that similar measures had worked in…Sweden and Norway…

Acting and Activism 

After two years of waffling, Amnesty International appears ready to finally get off the fence about decriminalization.  And the usual cast of Hollywood airheads is very unhappy about it:

Amnesty International says its proposed policy “is based on the human rights principle that consensual sexual conduct between adults…is entitled to protection from state interference”.  It cites many examples in which criminalization increases risks to sex workers…”This policy does not change Amnesty International’s longstanding position that trafficking into forced prostitution should be criminalised”…the proposed policy states…[this] prompted a letter of protest from more than 400 [prohibitionists]…including actors Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Anne Hathaway, Angela Bassett, Kevin Kline, Emma Thompson, Lisa Kudrow, Lena Dunham, Kyra Sedgwick, and director Jonathan Demme…The proposed policy will be addressed at Amnesty International’s international council meeting next month in Dublin, Ireland…

empty-headed celebrities

Rooted in Racism

You can be as bigoted as you like, as long as you blame it on whores:

…Alecsandra Puflea tried to check into a room at the Holiday Inn Express in Hull with her boyfriend…but…was turned away after the receptionist found out she was from Romania.  The 22-year-old criminology and forensic science graduate…had booked the room online…The hotel introduced a policy of [discrimination]…after other Romanian women were found to be using the rooms for prostitution…the hotel has now apologised to her and is reviewing its policy…

Above the Law 

A police chief in a small island village in Ohio looked the other way when one of his officers used “roofies” to drug and rape two female cadets, then threatened the victims and covered up the crime, two federal lawsuits allege…the women charge that [Robert] Lampela, 53, wouldn’t allow them to file criminal complaints after they were…attacked in 2003 [in the town of Put-in-Bay]…Lampela…harassed them repeatedly when they complained, held a gun to one cadet’s head at her home and said he was the “God of Put-in-Bay and could make or break” their careers.  When one of the cadets allegedly got a verbal confession from their attacker, Lampela responded that “No whores are going to take down my department,” and “Who do you think they will believe, you or the chief of police?”  Lampela was [finally] arrested in February…

Finding What Isn’t There

“Authorities” amazed that an imaginary problem doesn’t materialize in response to their declaring that it exists:

The Michigan State Police claim few cases of human trafficking were reported last year…despite widespread publicity from elected officials and new laws aimed to combat the issue…only three [accusations] of human trafficking were [made] statewide in 2014…the…state Attorney General[‘s]…spokeswoman, Andrea Bitely…said the nature of human trafficking makes it difficult for law enforcement to…distinguish…victims from criminals…

If that last line doesn’t enrage you, I don’t know what would.

Broken Record 

The tiny numbers and silly language make this Irish version of the “gypsy whores” myth rather comical:

The Galway Races are set to turn sordid as…more than 50 hookers will descend on the city to coincide with one of the biggest events in Irish sport.  Plainclothes gardai will be on duty throughout the week in a bid to clamp down on prostitution…Escorts…as young as 18 are advertising on sordid websites, with 30-minute rates starting from €60 upwards, and hourly rates from €120.  All-night packages are also available for €2,000 or more.  Ruhama…[pretends] the influx of hookers is orchestrated by criminal gangs….[and] that men who pay for sex at the festival are helping to fuel organised crime…Up to 150,000 punters are expected to descend on Galway Racecourse over the course of the festival…

Skin To Skin

Kerry Porth describes her experience with a disfigured client:

…James…had severe scars from burns and skin grafts that covered 40% of his body…when he was 14 years old, his family home caught fire…he ran back in to save his sister by lowering her out her window…He continued to see me every few weeks for about 18 months.  During that time he told me about dating situations where young women had reacted in terrible ways to the sight of his scars, even though he had told them why he had them.  I wanted to find those girls and slap them.  I encouraged him to keep trying – that one day he would find the right woman.  And then one day he did…and…[came to] see me one last time to say…thank you for…convincing him that he wasn’t disgusting…

Challenge

What If They Threw a Party and Nobody Came? (#321)

The largest review of the available evidence on the…HPV vaccine Gardasil, has found no evidence of any serious short-term or long-term safety issues.  Bringing together the findings from clinical trials, post-licensure studies and data presented at scientific meetings but not yet published, the researchers focused particularly on autoimmune diseases, nervous system disorders, anaphylaxis, blood clots and stroke – but none of them is caused by the vaccine, they found…

A Year Later

The more female sex workers feel connected to their colleagues, the less they engage in risky transactions with clients who refuse to wear condoms, according to a new study urging the Conservative federal government to repeal its anti-prostitution law.  The study…found a third of the 654 Metro Vancouver sex workers interviewed over a three-year period reported being coerced into letting a client perform vaginal, anal or oral sex without a condom in the previous six months…The ability of sex workers to organize and protect themselves will continue to be severely hampered by…Bill C-36…which…pushes such workers into more dangerous areas and activities so they can protect their clients…

Welcome To Our World (#536)

As I said, “nothing more than a concern troll“:

…a series of articles published in The New York Times purported to expose rampant labor abuses in New York City nail salons.  Reporter Sarah Maslin Nir claimed to have interviewed more than 100 employees of such salons and found that manicurists working long shifts for as little as $10 per day was the norm.  Public response was swift and emotional, sending the Internet-outrage-spiral into full force and even influencing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to pass emergency regulations for nail salons…But as with so much high-profile message journalism recently, the Times article seems based on dubious facts and broad generalizations.  In The New York Review of Books, Richard Bernstein challenges many of the claims on which Nir’s narrative is based…Nir [claimed]…that “Asian-language newspapers are rife with classified ads listing manicurist jobs paying”…just $10 per day.  Bernstein and his [Chinese] wife found this surprising, so they started combing through the employment ads in those papers themselves.  What they found…was a lowest rate of $70 per day plus tips, and many…up to $110…

Seizing Power

“Crucified” is a much stronger word than I would use for this nearly-toothless rebuke:

A federal judge crucified…Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart [for his]…attack…on Backpage.com…Backpage sued Dart after he coerced Visa and Mastercard to refrain from doing business with the classifieds portal.  Dart labeled the company a “sex trafficking industry profiteer“…because of its adult ads.  Backpage claimed…that Dart’s actions amount to “an informal extralegal prior restraint of speech”…[and] Judge John Tharp Jr. agreed…ordering the sheriff to cease the attacks…The judge added that “Dart’s informal lobbying of the credit card companies violated the First Amendment by imposing an informal prior restraint on the advertisements hosted by Backpage.com”…The judge did not immediately order Dart to retract the letters…more litigation is expected…

If You Want Something Done Right…

The only important nugget of information in this article:

Neal Falls, the suspected serial killer slain by an escort in West Virginia, may have…[been] involved in serial slayings in eight other states—Nevada, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Oregon, Texas, Kentucky, and California…

The rest is the typical garbage which appears so often in stories about such psychopaths:  he had a weird online profile, came from an abusive family, was a loner, had a puppy, etc.

Read Full Post »

I asked a close friend who isn’t a sex worker to be my safe call.  Initially she agreed, but now suddenly she said she doesn’t want to hear about it, because she disapproves of my work and does not want to support it in any way.  There’s no one else I trust enough, so I’m hurt and feeling let down by my friend.  We’ve always been honest with and accepting of one another before, so why is this different?

medieval torture devicesStigma is an awful thing; it tempts otherwise-good people to shun or mistreat the stigmatized individual, encourages the weak-minded to view her as subhuman, and provides an excuse for evil people to harm or even kill her.  Perhaps at some point in our evolutionary history, “othering” fulfilled some useful function by allowing a band of proto-humans to exile or kill an individual who somehow imperiled the others’ survival, but nowadays the capacity for disconnecting one’s empathy and seeing another as a thing rather than as a brother or sister human is a dangerous atavism exploited by rulers as a tool for persecution of despised minorities.  Once the hatemongers succeed in convincing the masses that some real or imaginary group – Jews, aboriginal people, black people, the mentally ill, immigrants, homosexuals, “addicts”, “witches”, sex workers, clients, “sex offenders”, etc – is a threat to Our Treasured Way of Life, the majority will support denying members of that group even the most elementary level of decent treatment.  Though we all carry this nasty ability to dehumanize other humans in our brains, it’s far nearer the surface in some individuals; they’re the ones who can always be counted on to turn in their neighbors and family members to the secret police or Inquisition.  I don’t think they’re necessarily bad people; they’re just extremely susceptible to suggestions that some individuals need to be ostracized or even “punished”, personal affection notwithstanding.

I suspect your friend may be one of those individuals; she has bought in to the lie that compensated sex is a Great Social Evil that Must Be Stopped (for the children!), and your willing participation in it marks you as a Them who doesn’t deserve to be treated with the basic consideration one gives one’s friends.  She may believe that she’s demonstrating “tough love” by denying you safety, in the hopes that you’ll be scared out of what she views as unhealthy or “bad” behavior (despite the fact that you aren’t her minor child); if you get killed it’ll serve you right and teach your ghost a lesson, by golly!

Obviously, you can’t trust this friend to help you; I think you have every right to feel hurt and let down, and I wouldn’t blame you if you decided her friendship was insincere.  But while you’re wrestling with that question (and believe me, I don’t envy you the struggle), you still have the practical concern of finding someone to monitor you while in session with clients.  Are you friendly with any sex workers online?  With modern technology there’s no real need for the two of you to be in the same city; after all, she wouldn’t go to investigate in person if you failed to call in, now would she?  A lady in the UK, US, Australia or any other place could call for help just as easily as one in your own country, provided she was supplied with whatever emergency numbers you feel necessary.  And you could even perform the same service for her in return.

(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.)

Read Full Post »

I knew he was there to kill me.  –  the woman who stopped Neal Falls

lady who took out Neal FallsI’ve written a number of times about “NHI” (“No Humans Involved“), the informal police policy that (in the absence of some sort of public outcry) violence against sex workers is to be ignored and left uninvestigated.  Even a serial killer preying on whores is usually allowed to continue the slaughter unimpeded by police action unless he mistakenly includes an amateur in his spree, and even then you can be sure the cops are going to let everyone know that the reason they’re taking action is to protect the “good” women and not the harlots.  Sometimes, the cops even go as far as to deny that there’s a serial killer in the first place, to cover up for him or to announce more persecution of potential victims, just so everyone knows they’re no friends of dirty whores.  So generally, the killing will continue until the murderer widens his appetites to include amateurs, or the cops catch him for something else (and then pretend it was part of their “investigation”), or he stops on his own, or someone else takes him out.  Remember the serial killer operating in Chillicothe, Ohio?  Well, he was stopped in nearby Charleston, West Virginia, by a woman he tried to add to his tally:

Neal Falls, the man shot to death by a prostitute after he attacked her on Saturday, had a cache of weapons and a list of online escorts inside his vehicle…police…suspect he may have been involved in other unsolved crimes.  “He had a machete, shovel, two axes, a bunch of knives, a double-headed ax, a bulletproof vest, numerous sets of handcuffs, as well as the firearm used to kill him,” [said] Lt. Steve Cooper of the Charleston, West Virginia, police…”Nearly immediately after he stepped into her apartment, he said ‘live or die’ and a struggle ensued,” Cooper said. “[Falls] laid his gun on a counter so that he could get a firmer grip around the victim’s throat with both his hands and she was able to scoop that weapon up and fire one round, killing Mr. Falls.”  The escort, who has not been identified, was hospitalized with multiple injuries, including broken vertebrae.  Authorities have determined the shooting was a justifiable homicide…

The Daily Dot had more detail:

When Falls began to strangle her, she…reached for a nearby rake.  Falls put down his gun to try and wrestle the rake out of her hands—that’s when she grabbed the gun and shot him.  Falls died from the gunshot wound, and she ran outside to get help…police…found an extensive “kill kit” in the trunk of Falls’s Subaru…[including] knives, a shovel, a machete, several axes, a sledgehammer, a pair of hiking boots covered in dirt, trash bags, and cleaning supplies.  In Falls’s pocket, said police, they found a list of names of future targets:  all sex workers who advertised on Backpage.  Police have not released the names, or the exact number, of women on the list…Falls…previously worked as a security guard in Oregon, and may have been living “off the grid” out of his car…

Besides the murders in Chillicothe, he may have committed four in Las Vegas:

…according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal…Falls…has been linked to the deaths of four young women:  Lindsay Harris, 21, Jodi Brewer, 19, Jessica Foster 21, and Misty Saens, 25…Harris, Brewer and Saens…were found dead near highways.  Foster has yet to be located…

Neal FallsMaybe, or perhaps cops in various parts of the country are just going to try to pin unsolved murders of sex workers on Falls so they don’t have to waste their time on “NHI” crimes; after all, time spent investigating violence against whores is time they can’t spend harassing, raping, robbing or brutalizing us.  One has to have priorities, after all.  But for now, the as-yet-unnamed sex worker is a heroine to her sisters all over the US, and if she reads this I ask that she let us show our gratitude to and solidarity with her.  She’s an inspiration to all of us, and I hope the next sex worker to be threatened by a monster like Falls is able to follow her example and do for herself and the rest of us what the cops can’t and won’t.

Read Full Post »

The sacred whore may have largely ceased to exist in the mundane world of matter, but she still exists in the human unconscious.  And in the West, it has pleased her for a number of centuries now to work under the stage name Mary Magdalene.  –  “Magdalene’s Day”

Today is the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene, who was almost certainly not a whore; however, as I’ve explained before, that hardly matters.  Most people raised in the Christian tradition think of her as the patroness of whores, and that’s more important than any official designation.

Read Full Post »

We all know that a bullet doesn’t leap out the barrel of a gun of its own volition.  When law enforcement departments tie themselves up in shibari-style grammatical knots to imply that it did, they only undermine their own credibility even further.  –  Rhiannon Starr

Rough Trade 

A man has been found guilty of raping a woman in an Edinburgh park.  Faizan Ali attacked [her]…on 13 November 2014…Ali…will be placed on the Sex Offenders Register…

Above the Law 

A…jury found Rajat Sharda guilty…of sexually assaulting a woman in August 2013 after the on-duty officer came across the woman and her boyfriend having sex in a vehicle…Judge David Ricciardone sentenced him…to 5 to 7 years of imprisonment, followed by ten years of probation…

Surplus Women (#24)

A jury…found [Terry Speaks] guilty of killing and dismembering a stripper he lured from a New Orleans French Quarter bar along with his ex-girlfriend…Margaret Sanchez…the couple lured her from the club where she was working, killed her, cut her up and then drove the body parts to Mississippi where they dumped the pieces.  [Jaren] Lockhart’s head, lower legs and left thigh washed up on…beaches in June 2012, triggering an investigation that eventually led authorities to Speaks and Sanchez.  Sanchez’s trial has not yet been scheduled…hilarious trafficking nonsense

The Public Eye

Here’s a profile of sex worker Kitty Stryker, in Cosmopolitan of all places.  Better yet, it’s part of a continuing series.  Hey prohibitionists:  We’re winning.  And there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

Theatrics

This wouldn’t “shock” anyone with the approximate timidity of a sheep, especially considering it’s at least the third example we’ve seen of this same inane gimmick:

Those who approached what appeared to be a working vending machine…were in for a surprise when they found it filled with an image of two young girls available for purchase.  Rather than candy or soda, the machine contained informational fliers about sex trafficking in Milwaukee as part of an awareness campaign…called “Children Are Not For Sale.”  The fliers highlighted warning signs to look for…Last year’s campaign, called Unlucky Thirteen, was named after the average age of trafficking victims…[a nearby prohibitionist vomited out]…”If you see something, say something” [and] “Milwaukee has been considered a hub for human trafficking”…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Gary is essentially a suburb of Chicago; “cross-border trafficking of prostitutes” therefore actually means “escorts driving across town”:

The Lake and Cook County sheriffs announced a joint initiative Friday to end cross border trafficking of prostitutes between Chicago and Gary.  Sheriff John Buncich and Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart said…they have formed a task force to arrest pimps who shuttle sex workers among clients in the Indiana-Illinois border…Dart singled out Backpage for allowing its classified advertising website…to be used in Indiana and Illinois for illegal activity.  He said human traffickers use the Internet to lure women into prostitution and force them to set up Facebook pages to lure their friends as well…

Yes, that’s the “Facebook pimps” myth again.

Torture Chamber 

Three [guards] at an Alabama county jail were caught coercing female inmates into nude dancing for them in exchange for doughnuts and cell phones…this…seems to be merely the latest in a string of indignities and abuses—some fatal—inflicted on prisoners at Alabama county jails.  Madison County is facing three federal lawsuits filed by the families of former inmates who died while in custody….of conditions that shouldn’t be fatal:  gangrene, a broken bone, and constipation…Sexual abuse, either at the hands of [guards] or simply ignored by them, also seems to be a major problem…

Sex Rays Bree Olson

I’m honestly not sure why this was controversial; nobody can deny it’s true:

…Bree Olson was…a Penthouse pet and the star of hundreds of adult movies…she posted [this] admonition to aspiring porn stars on Twitter…[many] adult performers…applauded Olson’s message…But it also generated some controversy…Olson insists that she has no problem with the porn industry itself, and that her experiences there were largely positive…the worst part…is…that…sex workers are frequently the target of discrimination, even long after they’ve left the industry…

Traffic Circle

Another mainstream article tearing down “sex trafficking” hysteria, this one from a sex worker:

…It is well documented that one of the largest and most conservative lobbies in Washington—Shared Hope International—is behind much of the so-called anti-trafficking policy in the U.S., policy with politically and socially vested interests in conflating sex work with sex trafficking.  It is no secret, of course, that the religious right opposes prostitution on purely moralistic grounds.  Regressive ideologies of gender and sexuality contribute to the belief that prostitution is moral bankruptcy for women and, furthermore, that Godly salvation is the only path to “restoration.”  As a result, sex workers—and other so-called sexually deviant women, often poor women—are scapegoats for anxieties surrounding sex and sexuality more generally.  Perhaps less well known is the link between lobbyists, anti-trafficking non-profits, allocations of federal grant money for academic research, and the subsequent propagation of sexual danger narratives…

Innocence Never Had

Imagine American cops making a statement like this:

Children as young as 12 are working in a hidden Auckland sex scene, according to new research…none of them are protected by the Prostitution Law Reform Act and they often work in unsafe circumstances.  Natalie Thorburn interviewed 10 underage sex workers for her Masters of Social Work (MSW) at the University of Auckland…Some of her participants had parents that had been suicidal or mentally ill and others claimed they were abused by the organisations set up to help them, including claims of sexual assault…Allegations of underage prostitution in Auckland have been made in the past…Police said they treated such allegations seriously but could not find any underage prostitution.  “The reality is we can find no evidence to support that child prostitution is happening, anywhere, at this point in time,” said Counties Manukau West Area Commander Jason Hewett…

Passive Voice (#429)

Police in the United States have fatally shot 455 people so far this year.  The phrase they would use is that 455 officer-involved shootings occurred.  That term is so ubiquitous that it even has its own acronym: OIS.  It’s vile to reduce the loss of a life to three euphemistic letters.  However, it’s not the only strange language in many press releases from US police departments.  Certain rhetorical devices are frequently used to deflect attention away from officers who shoot civilians…Three linguistic sleight-of-hands are wheeled out with wearisome predictability.  The first is suggesting the victim is to blame…The second…is to avoid explicitly stating that a police officer fired the fatal shot…The third…is to describe the gun as if it acted independently of an officer…D. Brian Burghart, the founder of Fatal Encounters…agrees.  “The grammar of officer-involved homicides is Orwellian.  It’s amazing the gymnastics these cops and media will perform to make the officers passive actors in these dramas”…

Crying for Nanny (#539)

Ignorance of the law creates train wrecks like this:

A group of [self-declared] teen sex trafficking victims are appealing the dismissal of their lawsuit against Backpage.com…the Communications Decency Act immunizes Web services companies from liability for crimes by users…[but] the plaintiffs’ [lawyers]…allege that Backpage…violated a host of laws…the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other digital rights advocates…[pointed out] that requiring Backpage to face the lawsuit would cause online platforms to become “more expensive, more restrictive, and ultimately less available for individual expression”…

Follow Your Bliss (#544)

Who are the “sex traffickers” again?

A 25-year-old male “transporter” with all of three days on the job, and no real background check.  And a 17-year-old girl who wound up in foster care partly because she had fallen victim to forced prostitution.  When the eight-hour drive was over, the [girl] had been victimized yet again, and the driver was under investigation for rape…Our Kids, the organization that oversees foster care and adoption services in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties under contract with the Department of Children & Families, declined to discuss the 17-year-old, whose case was being managed by the Family Resource Center, an Our Kids subcontractor…the man…got his job…partly upon the recommendation of another FRC employee, a case worker, to whom he is related…

Read Full Post »

I’m sorry, barista. I need to give this latte back. I didn’t see any joy from you while making it.  —  Cathy Reisenwitz

Book Reviews

Thaddeus Russell reviews a book on sex work during the Alaska gold rush:

…From Saloons, Prostitutes, and Temperance in Alaska Territory, the independent historian Catherine Holder Spude’s book on the rise and fall of gold-rush Skagway, we learn that women…used the proceeds from selling sex to open brothels and purchase substantial tracts of land as well as hotels, saloons, and numerous houses…historians have found that in the late 19th century the average brothel worker received from one to five dollars for every “trick” they turned, earning in one evening what women who worked as maids, department store clerks, or teachers made in a week.  In 1916 the U.S. Department of Labor, concerned by reports that respectable women were being lured into “the Social Evil” by high wages, surveyed a broad sample of prostitutes and found that they earned an average of $40 per week, which was roughly double what white, male, unionized construction workers were making…most madams not only paid their employees far higher wages than they would find in any other employment, but also provided clothing, birth control, health care, legal assistance, housing, and meals.  Few American workers of either sex have ever enjoyed such benefits…

Get Out of the 19th Century Often?

Men who think they can “abolish prostitution” by such ham-handed tactics are delusional:

On 28 May, 2015, the Nepalese Army imposed a strict 8pm curfew on entering and exiting the central Kathmandu, Tundikhel field where over…1000 people are currently residing in tents following the 25 April 8.1 magnitude earthquake, which killed over 8000 people and left hundreds of thousands of people displaced…Citing concerns that the field would be patronised by “prostitutes and thieves”, the army erected razor wire fencing across the field’s only public access point, causing distress to many residents of the field…Commander Bishun also said that the army was concerned that “prostitutes may enter the field and attempt to ply their trade to family men during the night”…Bishun agreed to allow access to the camp if all the male residents attempting to enter agreed to undergo a test for drunkenness, provide army guards with a copy of their identification and/or their names and contact details…and could explain the relationship they had with all women accompanying them…

Uncommon Sense

The Swiss government says it is against outlawing prostitution or the buying of sexual services, but has proposed measures to better protect sex workers and to fight against human trafficking…Experience from abroad shows that a ban on prostitution is not the solution, the government said.  Studies from other countries have shown that this usually leads to the criminalisation of prostitutes or prostitution going underground. Complementary measures usually produce more success…The situation in Sweden and the United States, both of which have partially banned prostitution, remains difficult…

Finding What Isn’t There

You know why?  Because there is almost never any evidence.  You know why?  Because the people accused of “trafficking” are almost never actually criminals:

Baltimore has become a hub for human trafficking because of its interstate highways and proximity to major airports, city and state officials say.  But few human traffickers are arrested, and even fewer are convicted…police have made approximately 800 prostitution arrests a year on average…but…charged only 10 suspects with sex trafficking since January 2013…and prosecutors dropped all charges in eight of the cases.  The only conviction was on a separate charge…

Is there a large US city that doesn’t have an airport and interstate highways?

The Widening Gyre 

Ninja pimps with mind-control powers don’t appear as often in the Canadian folklore as in the American:

…one year after [London, Ontario] police said a recruiter was working high school hallways — parents are reaching out for help like never before.  An agency that helps women trafficked for sex in London says requests for help…are off the charts…police…work…to identify and build relationships with…“potential victims,” who include women and girls that officers believe are being forced to sell their bodies, though they may insist they’re doing so by their own choice.  Last year officers identified three times the number of victims they did the year before…Const. Jim Pottruff…said…“I don’t have any evidence…but I’ve been hearing about it and I believe it’s true”…

Between the Ears (#334) lovely stupid sex toy

the Lovely [is] a sex toy that’s been touted as “the fitbit, but for your penis”…[it’s] a stretchy silicone ring, which attaches around the base of your penis.  It also has a vibrator tucked inside…The product can apparently collect all kinds of data about your lovemaking skills – after you’ve finished, the Lovely app connects to your smartphone and provides you with a report, containing information on how many calories you’ve burned, your top and average speed, and even the g-forces you’ve exerted on each other’s respective pelvises…

Not Good Enough

The pill pushers just won’t stop until they can sell an ineffictive “cure” for something that isn’t actually a dysfunction:

The drug industry’s decade-spanning search for a female equivalent to Viagra took a major step forward…as government experts recommended approval for a pill [claimed] to boost sexual desire in women…side effects [include] fatigue, low blood pressure and fainting…the…”female Viagra”…has been plagued for years by concerns of lackluster effectiveness and safety issues.  The FDA has rejected the drug twice since 2010…FDA’s experts acknowledged that flibanserin’s effect is not very strong…women taking [it] reported between 0.5 and 1 more sexually satisfying event per month, compared with women taking a placebo…

The expense and trouble of a daily pill that can cause fatigue & fainting for half an extra orgasm per month, and these bozos actually think that’s worth it? I wonder how much payola that took?  Meanwhile, Tracy Clark-Flory writes about responsive desire (like mine) and how Flibanserin fits into conversation about it.

Bootlickers (#414) 

Now he asks:

Law enforcement spent countless hours working to shut down coffee stands in Snohomish County where employees were engaging in prostitution, and to make a case against…Sheriff’s sergeant Darrell O’Neill, who is accused of providing information to bikini baristas about police stings in exchange for sexual favors…But was all the effort put in to take down one corrupt sheriff’s sergeant worth the effort?…

A Mound of Filth

Most of this is about the mound of money being shoveled down the “sex trafficking” toilet, but this particular passage’s brazen assertion that the “Dream Project” is intended to brainwash women is quietly horrifying: “Kathleen Winn, executive director of the newly formed Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network, said…the first step…is…getting the women to see themselves as victims, rather than women who willingly sold sex.  ‘They don’t self-identify as victims’, Winn said. ‘It really is an education (for the women)’…”  Winn has previously been quoted as saying that phones and computers are a “curse” because they hinder parents from totally controlling adolescent’s lives:  “We even try to break up Internet businesses…We are looking for ways…[to destroy] Backpage.com…

Making It Up As They Go

What coffee stands are to Everett, massage parlors are to Bellevue:

Two Bellevue spas are the target of a new city ordinance designed to get unsavory or problem businesses closed or cleaned up…Jolee Spa and Factoria’s Sunnyday Spa both were deemed “chronic nuisances” by the Bellevue police, opening both up for future fines and potential prosecution.  The “chronic nuisance” law went into effect in April as a tool to clean up prostitution and drug activity…”Prostitution in our city is not going to be tolerated,” said Bellevue Police Deputy Chief Mike Johnson. “We understand there’s quite a bit going on, so we’re doing our best to combat that”…

Allowing the police to designate any business a “nuisance”; what could possibly go wrong?

Bait and Switch

Try not to get sick when you read the vile propaganda vomited up all over these reporters by Grady Judd of Polk County, Florida, and his accomplice Gary Borders of Lake County; remember, these are nearly all young men who were tricked into talking to cops pretending to be women just a few years younger than they are.  Despite the slander and character assassination, these men are not criminals of any kind and certainly not “child predators”, not even in Judd’s warped mind.

The Widening Gyre (#534) 

GOOD:  Snopes debunks the “teen job sex trafficking scam” rumor.  BAD:  In the process they quote the Polaris project, whose “sex trafficking” propaganda is every bit as absurd:

Are human trafficking rings using job interviews to lure college student through invitations to interviews for a summer job?  Almost certainly, no.  While human trafficking is a real (and serious) problem, its facilitators deliberately target populations of people whose absence is likely to go unnoticed for a time.  We could find no incidents wherein job interviewees were drugged, kidnapped, and forced into sex work.  Criminals tend to target people they believe won’t immediately be marked as missing…Jill Bauer, Rashida Jones, Ronna Gradus - Edited

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#543)

Here’s another article on the prohibitionist documentary Hot Girls Wanted, featuring quotes from my friends Endza and Mistress Matisse:

The documentary Hot Girls Wanted, an expose of the world of amateur porn produced by Parks and Recreation star Rashida Jones, has rattled some sex workers…who feel the film is a negative and inaccurate portrayal of the industry…”Hot Girls Wanted was…very obviously planned to fulfill an agenda…to make the sex industry look bad,” said writer and activist Mistress Matisse…Jones has been criticized further for comments she made while promoting the film…referring to porn as a negative experience for actresses that “aren’t getting any joy from it”…”What I and other sex workers would like is realistic coverage of our industry,” said Endza, a college student and actress in BDSM porn films…

Read Full Post »

That is how we ended up in the church, without knowing how it would all end, without knowing if we would get out dead or alive.  But it was really the last thing that we could do to try and save our skin.  –  Maria de Lourdes

Protest at St. Nizier's 1975Forty years ago today, the sex workers of Lyon, France protested the unrelenting torment the cops inflicted upon them by occupying the Church of St. Nizier.  Despite its bawdy reputation in the English-speaking world, France has never been friendly to whores; beginning in the 16th century the French pioneered many of the laws and tactics used to harass us throughout the world to this day, and the Code Napoleon officially gave the police power to “control” prostitution (with results any regular reader could predict).  The severity of the maltreatment ebbed and flowed throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries until the government decided to revenge its humiliation at the hands of the Nazis on the bodies of sex workers, and France became officially “abolitionist” in 1960.

By August of 1973 the cops’ depredations had become so severe a street protest was organized, but it did not end well and the police were only emboldened to make things worse.  Early in 1975 they closed down the hotels de passe, cheap establishments where street workers took their clients, then proceeded to harry them with fines; the department decreed that each girl was to receive two or three fines per day, but because multiple cops were involved it could sometimes be five or more.  If a woman went to pay her fines, she was intentionally delayed in the police station for several hours so she would lose most of her night; if she didn’t pay she would be arrested and jailed, and her children abducted by the state if there were no relatives to take them.  Meanwhile, the tax department would present them with huge bills assuming numbers of clients that would fit comfortably in the masturbatory fantasies of “sex trafficking” fetishists.

Something had to give, and on June 2nd two sex workers named Ulla and Barbara led a group of 100 prostitutes to occupy a church in hopes of calling attention to their plight.  They had an ally in Father Louis Blanc, who secured the cooperation of several other priests; they planned to occupy the Church of St.Bonaventure, but the police found out and began to prepare for mass arrests of the protesters as they arrived.  Fortunately, Ulla was tipped off in time and diverted the protesters to St. Nizier instead; volunteers waited inside to direct each arrival out through the side doors while the cops waited outside in their cars, thinking they would wait until they could get a good crop of victims before springing their trap.  Father Blanc remembers, “The police officers looked as if they were having fun in their cars.  But after a while, they were having less fun because…’what is happening?’ We have disappeared!  In the meantime the prostitutes have entered the Church of St. Nizier, where there are no police.”  The priest at St. Nizier was Father Béal, and with his help over 100 whores were able to congregate there before the cops realized where they had gone.

By the evening of June 3rd, the news of the protest had spread across France, and over the next few days to other countries as well.  Sex workers all over France began to occupy other churches; in Paris 200 whores occupied the Chapel of Saint Bernard.  The media interviewed Ulla and other sex workers, allowing them to air their grievances for all to hear and they issued a “Letter to the People of Lyon” which read, in part,

…we haven’t taken up prostitution because we are depraved.  Prostitution is the only means we have found to deal with the problems of life…People regard us as “dirty” or “abnormal” women, but at the same time they say we are needed…Prostitution is not forbidden under French law and theoretically we are citizens like everyone else.  But because society is ashamed of the fact that it needs us, it treats us as criminals, people who can be subjected to the full repressive might of the police…

Most feminists of 1975 still actually supported women’s choices, and figures like Simone de Beauvoir spoke up for the sex workers; other activists protested outside the church in a show of solidarity. Their demands were simple; as stated in a pamphlet they circulated outside, “We will only leave the church once you have given us the guarantee that you will stop throwing us in jail each time you think there is a repeat offense.  Our children do not want their mothers to go to jail.”  The protesters told the media they wished to speak to Madame Giroud, then State Secretary for Women, but before the request could even be officially made Giroud refused, claiming this was not a women’s issue at all but rather the responsibility of the Minister of Interior; the latter politician, Michel Poniatowski, decided to reply with violence, and at 5 AM on June 10th ordered the police to remove the protesters from all of the churches.

In Paris and some other places, the removal was accomplished with the usual police tactics of smashing down doors and beating women with truncheons, but at St. Nizier they decided to use a trick.  A cop called Father Béal pretending to be a reporter who wanted to speak to Ulla, and when the church door was unlocked to admit the priest with his fake message, armed cops sprang from hiding; they pushed him aside and swarmed into the building 120 strong, accompanied by 20 dogs and equipped with tear gas.  Most of the women were simply ordered out, but Ulla and Barbara were beaten so severely they had to be hospitalized.  Father Béal lodged a formal protest against the violation of the ancient principle of asylum, but Poniatowski replied that police could enter anywhere when “public order” was disturbed, citing a law from 1905 in support of his actions.

Hooking vans in LyonBut despite the government’s refusal to peacefully grant the demands, officials must have been anxious to avoid similar embarrassment in the future; the harassment stopped, the cops with the highest numbers of sex worker arrests were reassigned to other duties, and the ludicrous tax bills no longer appeared.  By 1994 the culture had shifted sufficiently for “pimping” to be defined more narrowly, thus ending for a time the harassment of partners, roommates, adult children, etc with “avails” charges.  Of course, that didn’t last long, and regular readers have seen the tide once again turn toward repression in the form of the “Swedish model“, laws against “looking like a whore” and even repeated parking fines for the vans from which most street workers now operate.  But the protesters and their successors have not passively watched all this happen:

…the whores began holding regular meetings and soon formed the French Collective of Prostitutes, on which the English Collective of Prostitutes was later modeled.  Women in a number of other countries were also inspired to form groups, and a number of these came together with Margo St. James’ COYOTE to form the International Committee for Prostitutes’ Rights (ICPR), the organization whose work and example helped to win prostitution law reform in a number of European countries and provided an example which inspired similar campaigns in many other parts of the world.  In a way, the modern sex worker rights movement was born on that June 2nd in Lyon, so we celebrate it now as International Whores’ Day.

I’ve written about this occasion before, but the greater detail in today’s column was made possible by a French-language documentary being broadcast today on both Radio France and Radio Belgium; it was produced by Australian sex worker rights activist Eurydice Aroney, who called it to my attention about six weeks ago and reminded me of it again recently.  You can listen to the show at the link above, and Eurydice kindly provided me with this English translation of the transcript.  She and I both think it’s very important that sex workers know about the history of our movement; please help us accomplish that goal by publicizing the documentary and this column on social media!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,575 other followers