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Posts Tagged ‘Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’

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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If we are going to call attacks on reproductive and sexual rights a “war on women,” then let’s talk about a war on women that has actual prisoners and a body count.  –  Melissa Gira Grant

Thomas LoweThe Biggest Whores

Res ipsa loquitur:

Minnesota’s Supreme Court last week barred attorney Thomas P. Lowe from practicing law for at least the next 15 months after it was revealed that he was billing a client for sex.  Lowe…was approached in August 2011 by an acquaintance who asked him to represent her in a divorce.  Their…relationship soon evolved into a sexual one, but…Lowe…[billed] the woman for [all] the time they spent [together, including] having sex…[after] Lowe…[dumped her] the woman… attempted to commit suicide and was hospitalized…Lowe was previously on probation for purchasing cocaine from a client…

The second lawyer isn’t nearly as bad, though still terribly unprofessional:

A public defender…is facing charges after allegedly exchanging texts with an undercover cop who he thought was a prostitute, and then trying to exchange sex for legal representation.  Christopher Hollander…allegedly sent a text message to a phone formerly used by a prostitute [but now in possession of a cop who] Hollander met…in a hotel room…The two discussed the phony prostitute’s alleged legal trouble.  When the officer asked “How much is it going to cost me” for the legal services, Hollander started to caress her hand…then allegedly began trying to kiss and hug the officer, and told her he had two condoms…

Lawyers, if you want to propose exchange of services just say so; real hookers appreciate honesty, not some clumsy attempt at seduction.

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality

Ed Bagley has accepted a bargain in which he pleaded guilty to having sex with his supposed “victim” while she was underage, in return for prosecutors dropping all other charges (despite their insistence that he “swear” that the other accusations are true).  The one is bad enough; it can carry a 20-year sentence, and several of the other “conspirators” (as the state labels them) will also get very hefty sentences.

Something Rotten in Sweden (December Updates)

Remember, prostitution has never been illegal in Canada; these men were arrested for the “crime” of talking about it in public, which demonstrates the importance of taking this kind of power totally out of cops’ hands:  “Ottawa police swept the city’s downtown core…in an effort to find, charge and re-educate men looking for prostitutes…They arrested 15 men, 13 of whom escaped charges and will attend ‘john school’…a partnership with the Salvation Army…”  Please note the Orwellian term “re-educate”.

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawnsex work flow chart by Anne Johnsen

Looks like the Philippines is moving toward British-type legalization (erroneously called “decriminalization”):  “The Department of Social Welfare and Development…has endorsed a bill…which would decriminalize prostitution but punish those who control and profit from…[it, repealing] clauses…which punish ‘women who, for money, engage in sexual intercourse, or lascivious conduct’…

It Looks Good On Paper

Another bit of feel-good legislation which capitalizes on hype but will actually help virtually nobody, due to its basis in fantasy:  “A bill filed in the Oklahoma Legislature…would erase the prostitution records of human trafficking victims…[who] average…12 to 14 years old…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

This article has so much to recommend it:  Dr. Brooke Magnanti debunks “porn addiction”, describing the “studies” which claim to support it as “poorly conducted surveys on a level of market research, not science.”  In the process, she also quotes Dr. Marty Klein and lampoons both Cosmopolitan and Naomi “Stopped Clock” Wolf, all in less than a thousand well-chosen words.

Nikki Sixx's girlfriend, Courtney BinghamGirls, Girls, Girls!

Of all the media one would expect to be least likely to side with puritans against a business persecuted for supposedly “corrupting public morals”, a rock music radio station has got to be pretty high on the list.  Though the article itself is dry enough, the wording and scare quotes in the headline and lede amply demonstrate the editor’s attitude:  “Lawsuit Claims Dancing in a Topless Bar ‘Improves the Self Esteem’ of the Stripper – seeks to have San Antonio’s strict new strip club law thrown out, also claims stripping is a ‘socially fulfilling experience’.”  It gets much worse; the station appears to have some close association with Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue…author of the titular song celebrating strippers.

A Whore in Church

The most interesting part of this article about sex workers in Malawi wearing hijab to attract Muslim customers is not the mere fact of it (which would simply be an example of the clipboard effect), but rather the fallacious notion (expressed both in text and comments) that a whore cannot be Muslim (or “truly” Christian either).  Also worthy of note is the author’s reversal of the usual feminist complaint that not covering up leads to “objectification”; this only goes to show that the real issue such women have is not some imaginary harm to women, but rather heterosexuality itself.

Above the Law

[Las Vegas] police officer John Norman is going to prison for two years…after pleading guilty to…coercing women to expose their breasts after stopping them on the road…Once Norman is released from prison, he will have to register as a sex offender…

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #13)

Once again, Canadian government prohibitionists are trying to convince the courts that dangerous, repressive laws which deny sex workers’ agency are actually intended to “protect” them:

Hundreds of shadowy body rub parlours operated by exploitative pimps…are operating on the outskirts of Toronto, the Ontario Crown warns in a court document…[urging] the Supreme Court of Canada to let police keep the powers they have to protect female sex workers, who are often cowed into submissive silence…However, a group of prostitutes who have successfully challenged the ban through two levels of court accuse…Crown lawyers of scaremongering.  In the decision under appeal, the Ontario Court of Appeal invalidated the…prohibition on keeping a brothel…[and] granted prostitutes the right to…hire staff to protect them…the…court is scheduled to hear the…challenge in June…

Melissa Gira Grant
Naked Truth

Melissa Gira Grant’s “The War on Sex Workers” appears in this month’s print edition of Reason; though regular readers will already be familiar with much of the ground she covers, it never hurts to revisit it.  More importantly, for an unrepentant sex worker to have the opportunity to discuss the neofeminist war on whores in a national magazine (albeit a libertarian one) is a sign that this issue is beginning to move into the mainstream.

Imagination Pinned Down

This article entitled “Sex, Lies and Audiotapes” is 12 years old, but is an excellent look at how “fantastic tales of sexual abuse” are instilled into the minds of the vulnerable, and why radical feminists were largely to blame for “sex abuse” hysteria and the Satanic Panic; it is thus still topical as background for the new guise of those moral panics, “sex trafficking”.

Shift in the Wind

Though it may be difficult to recognize for sex workers in the US, British Isles and any place else strongly affected by “trafficking” hysteria, 2012 actually saw net gains for sex workers; Cheryl Overs reviews the high points (without neglecting to mention the low ones) in “A Good Year for Red Umbrellas”.

Texas Tall Tales

Texans aren’t the only ones who can tell tall tales about new technology being used by “human traffickers” to “entrap innocent girls”:

…Mobile phone recharge shops have been reportedly taking advantage of innocent girls who approach them for recharge coupons and give their numbers.  The employees/owners of the shop or their friends call the girls…develop friendships and later misuse them…ruining the girls’ lives…human [traffickers in]…Kundapur…are said to be running a mobile recharge outlet…the accused lure the girls with jobs and then use them for their own ends.  Later, the girls are allegedly blackmailed and trapped, and their escape route is closed…apart from flesh trade, a drugs network is also interwoven in the racket…

Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

As expected, a UK judge has ruled that the case of Mark Kennedy, the cop who was allowed to trick women into sex in order to spy on them, will be heard in a Star Chamber proceeding.  What was unexpected was that he would say what Kennedy did was OK because James Bond does it:

James Bond is the most famous fictional example of a member of the intelligence services who used relationships with women to obtain information…[such] fictional accounts…lend credence to the view that the intelligence and police services have for many years deployed both men and women officers to form personal relationships of an intimate sexual nature…in order to obtain information or access.

James Bond meets Pussy GaloreAs Heresy Corner points out, “James Bond isn’t just ‘fiction’, it’s escapist fantasy…[which] doesn’t ‘lend credence’ to anything…and Mark Kennedy’s ‘targets’ weren’t exotic Russian agents with a handbag full of nuclear secrets and the sexual etiquette of a praying mantis…nor were they dangerous international terrorists intent on blowing up airports or shopping malls.  They were…largely peaceful activists engaged primarily in democratic dissent, however misguided or naive…

Buried Truth

Remember Lisa Biron, the anti-gay lawyer who “transported a teen girl…to Ontario …and coerced her into engaging in sexual acts with another person”?  It turns out the girl was 14, there were two men, and Biron also had sex with her.  Oh, and one more thing:  the girl was her own daughter.  She was convicted of child porn charges on the 11th.

South of the Border (TW3 #49)

The creation of “sex trafficking rings” from people who used to be called “illegal aliens” continues, complete with childish “code names”, bombastic rhetoric, exaggerated numbers and infantilization of sex workers:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the results of a lengthy investigation called Operation Dark Night.  It looked into a sex trafficking ring stretching from Florida to Georgia to North and South Carolina…women…were forced into prostitution and traded like slaves in various cities for about a week at a time…11 victims were rescued and 40 customers called Johns were also taken into custody.  Investigators say the women were forced to perform up to 30 sex acts per day…

Like most “trafficking” articles, this one contains the Profession of Faith:  “…‘its a bigger issue than many people thought,’ said Joan Garcia-Melendez…‘Human trafficking is a very hidden crime’…Authorities say this is a wakeup call as to how widespread sex trafficking has become…”  But what will happen to those poor “victims” who were “rescued”?  The BBC says what the American story won’t: “Those who were illegal in the country would be deported.”

Q & A (January 2013)

Wisconsin danger zoneI mentioned that “the only time [verification services] fail is…when some idiot fails to stick to the plan, gets caught in a sting and then ransoms his worthless hide by giving the busybodies his login info so they can pop several girls before the service gets wise.”  One of my readers supplied more details:  there were several instances, all in the Appleton/Oshkosh area of Wisconsin, and P411 removed those entire cities from the site as a precaution and directly warned all the ladies who might be targeted.  Apparently cops in Little Rock, Arkansas have also attempted the same thing, though less successfully.

Perverse Incentives

Susie Bright on how perverse prosecutorial incentives spawn abominations:

Twice in my career I’ve been asked to serve as an expert witness on the defense team of an obscenity trial…the defendants were low-hanging fruit…targeted because of their…vulnerability…The Justice Department [bags] obscenity law trophies by going after the poor, the suicidal, the insane, the cognitively impaired— because that’s the way they rack up numbers and status.  That’s the way they fuel their careers…not by taking on constitutional issues, or injustice, or fat cats who believe they’re above the law…They find someone who’s drooling, or depressed, or friendless— and then throw the book at them.  It doesn’t take long because the “defendant-target” is overmatched…

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He’s fast and he’s cool
He’s from the school that loves and leaves ’em
A pity if it grieves ’em
Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’s not a fool.
  –  Leslie Bricusse

Though few ignoramuses ever hesitate to open their mouths about subjects they know literally nothing about, it never ceases to amaze me when they do so in such a way as to openly reveal their ignorance to anyone with even the most cursory familiarity with the topic, especially when a few minutes of research would have given them the ability to sound as though they knew something about it.  Case in point, this recent Forbes article about the new James Bond movie, Skyfall; the writer seems to be familiar with at least the most recent movies in the franchise, but not the books or the Sean Connery films.  And the so-called “sex trafficking experts” he interviews wear their cluelessness like a badge of honor.  The article contains a major spoiler, but it’s not necessary for me to repeat it in order to discuss the problem:

When it comes to his treatment of women, James Bond has never been a nice man…but in Skyfall…007 reaches a new level of not-niceness:  having sex with and otherwise exploiting a captive victim of sexual trafficking.  And it’s not at all charming to professional advocates for victims of…trafficking…Sexual hyper-aggressiveness and putting women in harm’s way are trademarks of the Bond franchise, of course.  They’re a big part of why the protagonist is often decried as a misogynist and even a psychopath…But those elements are uniquely problematic when set in the context of a character who’s a victim of ongoing sexual violence and intimidation, say…experts [who have not] seen the film yet…

I’m not going to take the cheap shot of pointing out that it is, after all, just a movie; dramatic media do have the power to move and influence people as well as entertain them, so though the character and his adventures are fictional I don’t think it’s really fair to dismiss it as one might a bad cartoon.  But it’s equally unfair to discuss Bond and his actions outside of his own fictional universe, which is the largest and least forgivable mistake these soi-disant “experts” make.  It’s true that they are totally ignorant of the psychology of sex workers and the realities of our work, and that they subscribe to the dehumanizing dogma that a victimized woman is completely incapable of choice or agency forever after.  But those factors are less important when talking about a fictional world because there may be some plot device in the film, some imaginary drug, secret brainwashing technique or science-fiction mind control device which does indeed turn the “trafficked” character into a pliable sex slave.  I don’t know because I haven’t seen the picture…and neither have they!  In other words, they have the amazing gall to criticize a film they have not even seen on the basis of what others have told them, and in doing so reveal a total unfamiliarity with the rest of the franchise.  But though I haven’t seen this installment I am certainly familiar with the character and his history, the first two decades of the series and the contents of some of the novels, and that makes me more than qualified to completely trash this moronic article.

The writer reveals his lack of perspective from the very first sentence with the opening qualifier “when it comes to women”; he later states that some have referred to Bond as “misogynistic”.  But anyone familiar with the books and early movies knows that this is rubbish; Bond’s amorality is in no way limited to women.  I’m not sure I’d go as far as to label him a psychopath, but it’s clear that one of the things which makes him such a dangerous and effective agent is that he does not let anything get in the way of accomplishing his missions.  Whether by nature or training, Bond is able to completely shed any sense of honor, ethics or human decency and does not let anyone – man, woman or beast – get in the way of his goal.  After his run on Danger Man Patrick McGoohan was the most highly-paid television actor in the world, and he was invited to star in the very first Bond flick, Dr. No; he turned it down flat because he didn’t want to be typecast as someone so completely amoral.

The writer also refers to Bond as “sexually hyper-aggressive”, and while that’s certainly true it ignores another important part of the character’s mythos; he is supposed to have such “mojo” that no woman can resist him.  Even this factor alone blows the “exploiting a captive victim” idiocy to teeny, tiny bits:  if literally no woman can resist Bond, why should the “trafficked” character be any different?  And if his sexual power is of such literal irresistibility that it can be considered coercive, surely that’s the case with every woman he beds; this renders moot the claim that this movie’s situation is “uniquely problematic” and returns us to the fact of Bond’s amorality.  Furthermore, if these “experts” had seen any of the early films they’d know that he’s had sex with imprisoned, entrapped or desperate women on many occasions, and a strong argument could be made that Tatiana Romanova of From Russia With Love was a victim of “sex trafficking” because she was ordered to cross international boundaries and romance Bond by a criminal she believed to be her superior in the Russian spy agency (in other words, she was transported under false pretenses to have sex for someone else’s profit).  In short, 007’s liaisons with women have never been politically correct, and calling the exploitation of a desperate woman “a new level of not-niceness” demonstrates that the writer is unfamiliar with the fact that in Goldfinger Bond “cured” Pussy Galore’s lesbianism by raping her.

But the most glaring factual and moral error of all lies in the fact that the “00” in Bond’s number means he has license to kill, a fact which I daresay even most culturally-literate people who have never seen even one of the movies are familiar.  He is allowed to MURDER whenever he feels it’s necessary to his mission, yet the trafficking fanatics claim that seducing or even making sexual demands of a vulnerable woman is somehow a greater moral offense?  This is nothing less than a return to the old Victorian concept that rape is a “fate worse than death”.  And though I wish it were limited to women making asinine comments about movies, it permeates all of their rhetoric on sex work and rape (and is the primary reason the penalties for sex crimes are so wildly out of proportion to all other offenses).  Every time someone acts as though rape were worse than murder, or refers to sex work as “women being bought and sold”, consider what is actually being said:  that a woman’s entire self and value reside in her sexual “purity”, so to violate that is tantamount to destroying her and the sale of sexual services is equivalent to sale of her entire being.  And that incredibly vile real-life doctrine is vastly more misogynistic than anything of which the fictional James Bond can credibly be accused.

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