Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

In the rush to “save” people, little attention is paid to sex workers swept into…prison and a lifetime of punishment.  –  Victoria Law

Lack of Evidence

Hey amateurs, you want to avoid being profiled as sex workers?  Fight for decrim so persecution of this sort is illegal:

…There just seems to be something about a woman that takes care of her appearance being by herself in certain locations that rubs people up the wrong way.  As though it is completely out of the question that she could be in a luxury hotel by herself as a result of her own  successes…As though a woman wearing makeup couldn’t possibly have an interest in history, culture, and world issues…I have received plenty of lecherous looks from males thinking that I was on sale, and disapproving looks from females about my lack of self-respect.  To feel eyes burning into you, silently judging you because of this untrue and ignorant assumption is probably one of the most humiliating feelings in the world…and almost makes you feel ashamed as if you were actually there soliciting…

But no, it’s much better to draw pathetic lines between yourself and sex workers, and to bloviate about how insulting it is to be mistaken for one of us.

Much Ado About Nothing

Reporter makes poor attempt to hide his envy under a veneer of pearl-clutching:

A firm offering X-rated holidays has brazenly advertised packages featuring orgies with prostitutes on a ‘”drug friendly” Colombian island.  Two videos advertising the resort show men arriving for unlimited sex, drugs and alcohol…On the second day of the four-day sex fest clients will have half an hour with 16 women at once – and organisers say customers will be able to find their “true self”…

Celebrities (#31) 

Breaking news!  Las Vegas shooter ate food the day of his crime!

A US official has said investigators believe the Las Vegas shooter may have hired a prostitute in the days before the shooting, and they are interviewing other call girls as they look for clues into his motive…The official said a note containing a series of numbers was found on a nightstand in Paddock’s room at the Mandalay Bay hotel after the shooting…

Mass shooters are always men.  20% of men hire sex workers at least occasionally. So why is this news?

Bogeymen (#317)

Why you should be wary of talk about “going after pimps”:

The Netherlands…new prostitution policy will include a pimp ban, criminalizing any pimp without a license…Some news…are reporting that…”illegal pimps” will not just be fined, but even will get jail time…the list of people that could be considered “people who financially profit from prostitutes without a license” is very long.  For example, my bookkeeper financially profits from prostitutes, and he doesn’t have a prostitution license.  Or for example my mother, whom I frequently send money to, to support her…chauffeurs who drive around escort girls…security guys, who protect prostitutes from harm, they also don’t have a prostitution license…there are a lot of people who profit from prostitutes financially without a license.  But that doesn’t make them bad people.  In fact, many of these people help us.  But that just might be exactly the plan…to make our work much more difficult…

Sex Rays

Because sex rays can piggyback on radio waves, obviously!  “Seattle radio host Mitch Levy put out a statement…about leaving his job with KJR Radio…[after being] arrested in a prostitution sting in September…”  If every man who ever paid for sex were forced to quit his job, the entire economy would collapse.

Out of Control (#410) 

What is wrong with doctors who do this shit?  It’s not like they can’t afford escorts:

Already in jail on 11 criminal sex charges, a New Mexico psychiatrist and the medical center where he worked face a civil lawsuit from 12 women who say he forced them to discuss their sex lives and perform sex acts on him under the guise of therapy…Dr. Alan Emamdee…was charged with six counts of criminal sexual penetration, five counts of criminal sexual contact, and denied bond…Plaintiff T.T.B. says that Emamdee told her he could help her regain custody of her children if she would give him oral sex, which she did.  “He told T.T.B. that he would withhold medications and would negatively impact her custody proceedings if she did not continue to comply with his demands”…After she refused his request to meet him at a hotel for sexual intercourse…Emamdee “wrote a note indicating T.T.B. had reverted to…dissociative identity disorder, negatively impacting her custody proceedings.”  Some of his requests were bizarre…

Moving Pictures (#564) 

One day, “sex trafficking” propaganda flicks may be cult favorites like Reefer Madness:

The movie Trafficked follows the [fictional] story of three young girls from India, Nigeria, and American who are trafficked and try to escape…[has-been] actress Anne Archer…spoke at this year’s Human Trafficking Summit as a…[propaganda mouthpiece]…“It’s written by [“sex trafficking” profiteer]…Siddharth Kara…who [fantasizes]…that there are…46 million slaves in the world today, generating profits that exceed $150 billion per year for their exploiters…That’s more than Nike, Google, and Starbucks combined”…

To Molest and Rape 

Never let them anywhere near your kids, either:

…cops Brandon Wood and Kenneth Betts…are charged with felony sex offenses for allegedly abusing Scouts in a program for youths interested in law enforcement …a…mother’s statement…support[s] allegations in a lawsuit filed by another former Explorer that the police department tried to cover up sexual misconduct in the program…Curtis Flaherty…[who] was commander of both the Explorer program and the Public Integrity Unit, which [works to cover up police misconduct, called the mother and told her to keep quiet after]…Betts…sent inappropriate text messages to her daughter and attached “half-dressed” and sexually suggestive pictures of himself…

Between the Lines (#741)

It’s fitting that the first we hear of this year’s “Operation Cross-Country” is from economically-depressed West Virginia, where pervert cops and FBI thugs ganged up to ruin the lives of women for trying to survive:

Five women were arrested on misdemeanor prostitution charges [on October 5th and 6th] in Harrison County as part of an annual nationwide FBI initiative…Operation Cross Country [is a nationwide anti-consensual sex pogrom held] each autumn [under the pretense of “rescuing”] underage victims of prostitution…

Check Your Premises (#771)

The real result of “sex trafficking” laws:

…after more than seven years behind bars, 32-year-old LeeAnn walked out of federal prison.  But she’s not a free woman — she will spend the rest of her life on the sex offender registry.  Her crime?  Letting a girl shower in her mother’s apartment, giving her a clean change of clothes and holding the girl’s $40 while she had sex with a man in another room.  These are normal actions in the daily life of sex workers trying to keep themselves and each other safe.  But the girl turned out to be 14 and, in the eyes of the federal government, these acts constitute sex trafficking of a minor.  It didn’t matter that the girl had told LeeAnn that she was 17.  It also didn’t matter that LeeAnn, who was addicted to various drugs and also engaged in sex work, never made money from the girl’s actions…19-year-old Hope Joy Mae Zeferjohn…was sentenced to 71 months in prison for aggravated human trafficking of a minor…[because] she introduced the 14 year old to 26-year-old Anthony Long…It…didn’t matter that the younger teen had never actually met Long and that no commercial sex had taken place.  Zeferjohn was charged with nine felonies…

Read Full Post »

Revenge is a dish best served cold.  –  proverb of uncertain origin

Obama & SS goonsI’m sure all of you remember the ridiculous “Secret Service prostitution scandal” of April 2012; a group of G-men who were sent to Cartagena, Colombia hired whores as such men nearly always do, and one of them made the mistake of thinking he could cheat his escort by denying her the agreed-upon fee.  Unfortunately for Agent Cheapskate (AKA Arthur Huntington), sex work happens to be legal in Colombia; the wronged lady, Dania Suarez, went to the cops, and there followed months of hand-wringing in which the Ruling Hypocrites pretended that fair and typical business transactions were themselves the problem, rather than government agents trying to turn such transactions into rape.  We were forced to endure the farce of government officials who frequently partake themselves  pretending that “this just is not part of our [institutional] culture” and insisting that they would make magical proclamations which would ensure that never again would even the lowliest government actor ever, ever pay for sex, as long as the Capitol building stands.

Well, the public forgot about it as soon as the media found something else unimportant to obsess about, but you can bet the White House didn’t.  Grudges do not merely dry up and blow away in Washington, so I’ve been waiting to see what sort of petty revenge the executive branch might choose to inflict on the sex workers of Cartagena; a recent cluster of articles would seem to be its harbingers, though I suspect the vengeance itself will be both worse and more long-lived.  The first was this one from two weeks ago:

As nearly two dozen Secret Service agents and members of the military were punished or fired following a 2012 prostitution scandal in Colombia, Obama administration officials repeatedly denied that anyone from the White House was involved.  But new details drawn from government documents and interviews show that senior White House aides were given information at the time suggesting that a prostitute was an overnight guest in the hotel room of a presidential advance-team member — yet that information was never…publicly acknowledged…the way the White House handled the scandal remains a sore point among rank-and-file members of the Secret Service more than two years later.  Former and current…agents said they are angry at the White House’s public insistence that none of its team members were involved and its private decision to not fully investigate one of its own — while their colleagues had their careers ruined or hampered…The agents were told that they jeopardized national security by drinking excessively and having contact with foreign nationals…

Some of you may have wondered why I didn’t mention this story in that week’s TW3 column; it was because I suspected there was more to come.  I didn’t have long to wait:

…a privately funded organization, Operation Underground Railroad, [executed] what they called Clear Hope; a mission that would prove to be the biggest child trafficking rescue operation in history.  One hundred and twenty-three children were saved [on October 11th] in three simultaneous operations based in Colombia and resulted in the arrest of 15 perpetrators…

“Privately funded” means “we don’t need to tell you where we get our money”.  I’m sure the organization’s having been founded by a retired CIA agent has absolutely no bearing on that funding, or with the disturbing spectacle of a “private” organization working hand in glove with a US government agency to carry out operations in a foreign country:

A popular Colombian beauty queen was arrested this past weekend for her alleged role in a child prostitution ring aimed at foreign sex tourists.  The United States Immigration and Customs (ICE) led a joint operation, Cristal II, in cooperation with the Colombia’s Navy and Coast Guard to arrest 22-year old Kelly Johana Suárez Martínez Moyam and four others during a party attended by 25 minors, among others…An additional three were arrested in Armenia and four in Medellín for their involvement…The arrests took place…just a short boat ride from Cartagena…Undercover agents posed as foreign sex tourists to break up the child prostitution ring…Kelly Johana is not the typical ringleader for a child prostitution ring, but her credentials and her reputation…make her an effective recruiter of young girls and boys…

As regular readers know, the term “child prostitution” is a lie; actual children in the sex trade are very rare, and most so-called “child prostitutes” are 16 or 17.  Dr. Thaddeus Blanchette, who has studied sex work in neighboring Brazil for over a decade, has this to say about the subject:

…in ten years of work researching Rio de Janeiro’s brothels…I have not encountered a single child prostitute.  Frequent police raids on these establishments also generally come up a cropper.  There are a few cases, of course, but I can count them on the fingers of one hand, from over a ten year period.  Where, then, are these legions of child prostitutes?  If the police and I and my co-researcher, Dra. Ana Paula da Silva, can’t find more than a handful in all the hundreds of commercial sex venues in Rio de Janeiro…where are these kids?…

It’s true that Colombia is not Brazil, but they’re a lot more alike than, say, Colombia and Washington, DC.  So when cops and government bureaucrats report something that contradicts years of work by respected academics, you’ll have to forgive me if I ask for their proof.  And when the operatives involved just happen to work for a different division of the same government branch that was embarrassed by other members of the same industry in the same region of the same country, and the targeted individual just happens to share a surname with the sex worker at the center of the earlier scandal, don’t be too surprised if I assume that their real motivation is the execution of a vendetta.

Read Full Post »

Lawmakers and judges toss years, even decades, around as though the sentences were Frisbees floating on a leisurely summer breeze. – Norm Pattis

Imaginary Victims

Sarah KruzanCalifornia Gov. Jerry Brown has decided…not to [deny]…parole to Sara Kruzan…[who] was 17 when she was sentenced to die in prison for the 1994 shooting death of George Gilbert Howard…[who had] sexually abused her and…groomed her since she was 11 to work for him as a child prostitute…”  Long-time readers may remember that prohibitionists have never spoken as much as a word in Kruzan’s behalf, despite their supposed wish to “rescue children” from “pimps”.

Lack of Evidence

When will amateurs learn that the War on Whores affects them as well?

[A judge ruled] New York City can be sued for false arrest and malicious prosecution…[for] targeting and entrapping gay men at video stores…[Robert] Pinter and an undercover officer agreed to leave a video store and have sex in a nearby car.  On the way out the door, the undercover allegedly added he would perform a sex act for $50.  Pinter…remained silent but continued walking with the undercover until he was arrested…for prostitution.

And in Dallas:

…police opened fire on [David Blair] as he stood in his doorway…after he rebuffed their interrogation efforts during an operation to apprehend call girls and johns…After nearly being shot to death, Blair was arrested for aggravated assault on a police officer…[but] released after several hours…“I guess I wasn’t supposed to tell them to get the light out of my face,” Blair said…

That’s the first time I’ve ever heard streetwalkers referred to as “call girls”.

January Q & A

The only thing “sordid” and “seedy” about this is the way cops and the media collaborate to destroy lives, and the only “notable name” is that of Brian Bates, the soi-disant “Video Vigilante”, who is bizarrely referred to as an “anti-prostitution advocate” because the reporter is too ignorant to use the word “advocate” properly.

Secret Squirrel

AT&T…[is introducing] a…GPS-tracking…watch-like thingie…called FiLIP…[which alerts] when your child enters or leaves a designated area…[the ad says] “FiLIP…[helps] kids be kids again”…Right.  And the Invisible Fence collar…let my dog be a dog…I can get an iPhone Spy Stick, to be plugged into a USB port while he sleeps…or…Mobile Spy, software that would let me follow…his online activity and geographical location…[or] an innocent-looking iPhone Dock Camera that…surreptitiously [records audio and] video in his room…[In ZDNet’s survey of]  parental espionage…82 percent…agreed…that …“It is a parent’s right to ‘violate’ their child’s notion of ‘privacy’”…

Imaginary CrisesChristina Hoff Sommers

Christina Hoff Sommers…explains that the study often cited as the origin of the “one in five” factoid is an online survey…[which] employed such a broad definition that…”attempted forced kissing” qualified as sexual assault.  The Bureau of Justice Statistics…tells a different and more plausible story…During…1995-2002…there were six rapes or sexual assaults per thousand per year…about one victim in forty students.  Other DOJ statistics show that the overall rape rate…since 1995…has decreased by about 60 percent…

Follow the Leader

Clark Bianco pointed out this example of the state punishing citizens for following its lead: “a [Connecticut] couple faces charges after a 9-year-old girl in their care was punished with an electric shock collar used to discipline barking dogs”, but “a [South Dakota] police chief…is defending an officer’s [tasing] an 8-year-old girl…

Saving Them From Themselves

San Diego police say criminal charges will be filed in a sexting ring involving dozens of students…there’s no hacking or coercion…The girls sent out the naked pics themselves…

Surplus Women

A U.S. Marine has been referred for trial by court-martial…on charges of killing a visiting Las Vegas prostitute who was last seen alive outside a bar in…Waikiki…Master Sergeant Nathaniel Cosby is charged…in the death of 29-year-old Ivanice “Ivy” Harris…Messiah of Evil

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Thanks very much to Celos for sending me Messiah of Evil, which was our Halloween night movie this year!

Rhinoceros

His motive is obvious, but this is still freakish:

…authorities and human trafficking experts believe dozens of girls and boys are being brought to St. Louis to be offered for sale during the World Series…Michael Ocello owns several [strip] clubs and founded…Club Operators Against Sex Trafficking [COAST].  He has the backing of ICE and Homeland security…[and] has earned credibility with law enforcement…Ocello printed 10,000 baseball cards that will be handed out by his employees this weekend…the back details signs of human trafficking and a number to call…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

“Trafficking” as an excuse for surveillance again:  “…a button inside a police car…[releases] a [GPS tracker bug] that shoots out and sticks to the car in front…They can track and pinpoint [the target] vehicle…‘This is an important tactic for the police…rescuing little girls from human trafficking’…

Above the LawX-Ray of woman's chest

Business as usual in a police state:

…Diana Hardy…and her boyfriend, Mark McKoy, were…pulled over by [New York State] Trooper Robert Baird, who claimed that they were speeding and that the car was reported stolen…After two “sexualized” pat downs, Baird…illegally searched the…van…and…found personal lubricant, a sex toy, condoms and a half-full package of balloons from a child’s birthday party, and immediately accused Hardy of hiding drugs in a body cavity…“He seemed to become enraged and handcuffed [her], demanding to know why she ‘needed lube,’ crudely asking if McKoy was ‘really that big’ and stating that he had a ‘gut feeling’ [she] was smuggling drugs inside her body”…She was hauled to the barracks, shackled to a wall and strip-searched three times…[then] wept through a body-cavity search, but even though a doctor also failed to find proof, [Baird]…demanded an X-ray…[which] showed [she] had no contraband in her body…The couple were finally released after they paid to have their van towed to the police barracks…

Meanwhile, on the opposite coast:

A…[California] police officer is currently under investigation after…raping a trans woman…the cop stopped her while she was walking to a friend’s house…he…groped her and asked if she was a “nasty shemale”…then forced her to perform oral sex and raped her…[she] was able to retrieve and turn in a [used] condom…[for] DNA test…

Much Ado About Nothing

White House official fired for mocking his masters.  Same government official hires whores.  Media pretends this is somehow shocking:  “…well-known National Security Council staffer Jofi Joseph…was the man behind @NatSecWonk…and…follow-up reports claim Joseph may also have been writing as @DCHobbyist…a regular patron of Washington’s sex worker scene…

Above the Law (TW3 #47)

Britain’s most senior police officer has said he cannot be sure that [cops] are not still getting involved in sexual relationships with partners who do not know their real identities.  Eleven women are taking legal action against the Metropolitan police over claims that they were duped into relationships…with undercover officers…ITPA as Mahishasur

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #48)

Indian sex workers protest another attempt to impose the horrible Swedish model:

[In] the Puja [at]…Sonagachi…this year…Mahishasur was depicted as…embodying the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act. And Goddess Durga  was shown ripping the demon-legislation apart with her trident…[a new amendment]…criminalises clients visiting brothels…[which] is tantamount to depriving sex workers of their livelihood. “Moreover, it will lead to more and more harassment by the police,” says [Bharati De of DMSC]…

The Camel’s Nose (TW3 #137)

This zombie legislation just won’t stay dead:  “The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which [requires] private companies to share customer information with the NSA and others in the name of cybersecurity, is back on the legislative agenda…

Here We Go Again (Extra Edition)

This academic’s massive blind spot about “sex trafficking” hysteria is fascinating; she walks all around that elephant in the room, yet can’t see it.  Furthermore, the details about how the “white slavery” panic fueled the growth of the FBI are interesting.

Uncommon Sense (Extra Edition)

Zurich…provided…a suite of 30 drive-in wooden booths in a non-residential neighborhood, where surveillance could keep pimps out…[The city thinks] they work…[but] organizations working with prostitutes…say…the…boxes attract new arrivals rather than…street veterans…[who] have…just gone elsewhere…Switzerland’s Salvation Army has recommended that the city allow prostitutes back onto the old red light district…Cornelia Zürrer Ritter…of the SA…[said]…gave…up [the facility] because they “earned less money there and found the working conditions inhumane”…

Imaginary Evils

Theresa May, the UK Home Secretary…[has launched] her attack on “modern day slavery”…a tiresome, over-emotive phrase which functions as political speak for human trafficking…[she] has made much of the need for increasingly harsh sentences for traffickers.  But, as highlighted by Anti-Slavery International, this focus is a red herring.  Its position is that the UK should improve its response to victims, primarily by taking a more robust approach against victim criminalization…

Furthermore, as Tim Worstall explains:

…a new report…shows…that while the problem is real it’s small.  United Kingdom Estimated number enslaved 4,200 – 4,600…But…who can forget Dennis MacShane telling the House of Commons that there are 25,000 slaves just in the sex industry [or]…Julie Bindel and…the Poppy Project insisting that there are vast tribes of women held as sex slaves…

And even that 4200 is hyperinflated.Alicia Beltran

Due Consideration (TW3 #341)

Finally, mainstream coverage of the vile mistreatment of Alicia Beltran:

…[at] 12 weeks pregnant, she [went] to a…clinic…for a…checkup…[she] admitted a past struggle with…Percocet…but [had been self-administering] Suboxone…to treat Percocet dependency…in decreasing doses…[with the] last dose a few days before her…visit…the physician’s assistant recommended she renew…use of Suboxone under a doctor’s supervision.  After Beltran declined…she was asked to take a drug test, which was negative for all…except Suboxone.  Two weeks later, a social worker visited Beltran…and told her that she needed to continue Suboxone treatment…Beltran…again declined.  Two days later, [cops dragged her to]…a…judge [who] ordered her to spend 90 days in a drug treatment center…

Yes, the state chained and caged her because she wouldn’t take drugs.

Torture Chamber

A powerful argument against draconian sentences:

…The dead…are a howling wound deafening those left behind.  Locking a killer away for a lifetime doesn’t silence that howling…it merely creates eddies of despair, whirlpools that swirl and draw down…the spirits of the condemned, their loved ones, and…the rest of us.  Revenge isn’t justice, it is just revenge…locking people up doesn’t bring back the dead, it doesn’t repay money stolen, it doesn’t repair the psyche of all the folks we calls victims.  Prison is a confession of failure, both for society and for the individuals who demand long sentences without end for those who transgress…our love of prisons…[is] a celebration of a moral cancer…

Us and Them (TW3 #342)

For those who think my use of the word “pogrom” is too strong to describe police persecution of whores and clients: “60 people were arrested…as part of ‘Operation Off the Streets 2’, a cleansing initiative…men and women have been busted for everything…from street level prostitution to…Internet and hotel arrangements in Northwest D.C…”  A “cleansing initiative”; like “ethnic cleansing”.

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #342)

APNSW anti-sweatshop logoThe APNSW held a workshop last week, and several media outlets were on hand to interview sex workers and activists (including Melissa Ditmore and Cheryl Overs) about prohibitionist myths, the rescue industry and Equality Now’s attempt to negate the voices of thousands of sex workers. Regular readers won’t find anything surprising here, but it’s important to note the rising number of articles debunking “trafficking” mythology and publicizing both sex workers’ calls for decriminalization and the fact that several UN agencies support that policy.

Buried But Not Dead

More pearl-clutching about young pop-stars from a bunch of middle-aged ones who can’t compete with them any more, and “feminists” who never could.  It’s at least 2000 words too long and rife with inane buzzwords like “pornographic object”, “misogyny” and “sexualization”, but it’s mildly amusing in a train-wreck sort of way.

Across the Pond (TW3 #343)

As expected, six were closed:  “Seven of Edinburgh’s saunas have had their licences renewed…in the face of police objections…items of a sexual nature can be permitted on the premises — rejecting a principal objection by the police…[who later] denied this…meant condoms should be banned from the saunas…

Read Full Post »

If we [can’t] get the prohibition on sex work repealed, we [will] never end up hanging on to our abortion rights…it’s the same piece of property.  –  Margo St. James

Amsterdam

Dutch “authorities” narrow the bottleneck again and will no doubt be surprised when illegal prostitution increases:  “The city of Amsterdam…will raise the legal age of prostitutes from 18 to 21 and…close brothels during the early morning hours…Amsterdam says it wants to decrease the number of sex workers…to fight crime generated by prostitution…

The Slave-Whore Fantasy

Yet another example of what real sex slavery looks like:

A sex worker who was…held hostage for two…days broke her legs and back when she jumped out a sixth-floor window…Benjamin Gaston and Johnny Jackson have been charged with kidnapping and raping the…woman…Gaston…stole her cellphone, money and identification…hit her and held a pillow over her face, telling her, “You’re…working for me and making me money.”  The next day, [she] was taken to another apartment…where there were six or seven additional men waiting to have sex with her, including Jackson…The woman tried to escape…by using her jacket as a rope…[but] fell to the ground…Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco Goya (c 1820)

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I just love it when they feed on one another.  In Stockholm, “Police…were surprised…to find that a man they had arrested for buying sex from a prostitute was the duty prosecutor to whom they were obliged to report the crime…”, and in New York, “Officer Luis Gutierrez…was on duty when he allegedly offered a prostitute money…[but she] was an undercover cop…

Decentralization

Bitcoin is now the world’s best-performing currency:

…The number of coins in circulation grows very slowly–there are about 10.8 million…now, and that will increase to 21 million by 2140…growth…[can’t] keep up with demand and so the value of the currency [grows]…The U.S. dollar value of a Bitcoin is up from…$4.87 [a year ago]…to $31.09 today.  It has appreciated by over 100% from the end of 2012 alone, when the quoted price was $13.48…And it’s also going mainstream, reports in the Guardian and Forbes  suggest…

The Forbes article reports that “Silicon Valley Bank…and…Coinlab….will [soon] allow North America-based…users to directly convert money from dollars to bitcoin, without having to pay the hefty transaction fees associated with transferring money abroad…

Against Their Will

Spanish police were puzzled when thirty Romanian whores they “rescued from exploitation by a network of pimps” immediately returned to work; “none of [them] asked for protection or availed themselves of assistance…to return to their country” despite police claims of beatings and debt bondage.  Meanwhile, Filipino “authorities” continued their weird crusade against “cybersex”:  “…police raided…[an] alleged…cybersex den…[and] rescued 12 [young men]…“They referred to themselves as ‘chatters’ because they chat online…as they perform sexual acts in front of the web cam,” said…officer…Romano Cardiño…

Peeping Toms

Dennis Green admits he offered another man $20…for sex…[but his] defense…could have a far-reaching impact…legalizing prostitution in Ohio…Scott Nazzarine, Green’s public defender…believes there’s no way what Green did can be deemed a crime in today’s society.  He compares it to other acts that at one time were illegal – premarital sex, the sale of sex toys, abortion, contraception…but now are legal, protected rights…“It’s about privacy rights and constitutional rights and the government’s intrusion into them…Any justification for prostitution laws is just a pretext for morality”…

Nazzarine is of course totally right and the judges know it, but I don’t think this is the case that will do the job because there’s still too much hypocrisy afoot.  Still, this won’t be the last one, and eventually individual rights must triumph just as they have in other sexual matters.

We Told You So

Who victimizes sex workersThe Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women is the only large “anti-trafficking” organization which fights the use of bogus statistics and conflation of sex work with exploitation; it’s calling for papers for its Anti-Trafficking Review on the topic “Following the Money: Spending on Anti-Trafficking” …“Lacking is analysis of…anti-trafficking funds – where they come from, who they go to, what they are meant to do, what they actually achieve, and indeed whether they are needed.”  Two of the suggested topics are analysis of the motives behind “anti-trafficking” funding and questioning ties to law enforcement.

An Ounce of Prevention

A baby…who got immediate treatment now has no detectable [HIV] in her blood…within 30 hours of birth…she…got a cocktail of three drugs at a dose normally reserved for more advanced cases…There is still virus in [her] body.  But…it doesn’t seem to be able to spread from one cell to another…[or damage her] immune system…

The Law of Averages

Emi Koyama exposes journalists who knew the falsity of the “average age of debut in prostitution is 13” myth for three years, yet kept repeating it anyhow:  “While I was glad to see that The Oregonian now officially acknowledges that there is no basis for this…everything…Janie Har…wrote…was already in my three-year old blog post…[written after] I first read the claim…in [Oregonian reporter Elizabeth] Hovde’s column…” Emi details her July 2010 correspondence with Hovde, in which the reporter acknowledged her analysis but made excuses rather than issuing a retraction.  Then finally, last Saturday,

The Oregonian acknowledges that the claim is baseless! (But why is it rated “half-truth”…and why did they not mention any other study that contradict 12-14 claim?)  I have a feeling that Janie Har read my blog post…she mentions the same Shared Hope report and points out the same problems…If she did read my blog, why did she not speak with me or give me credit…The Oregonian had the opportunity to stop perpetuating the myth for almost three years, and yet failed to do so as recently as this January.Secret Lives  While Janie Har’s column is to be commended, The Oregonian and Hovde need to take responsibility for their part in the falsehood…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

While I was in New York last week, Secret Lives and A Natural History of Rape arrived as gifts from reader “M”.  Thank you very much, both for the books and the good wishes!

Little Boxes

When Melissa King [aged out of] the Delaware foster care system at 18, she did some porn, entered some pageants, and enrolled in college…Last November, King was crowned Miss Delaware Teen USA…[but] she gave up her crown after an explicit video…surfaced on an amateur porn website…Now she’s being publicly shamed by former friends and international news organizations…Pageants and porn are…two sides of a very thin sexual boundary.  And for a young, pretty girl who’s strapped for cash…only one of [them offers it] up-front…

Naked Truth

Melissa Gira Grant continues a strong run of good articles with “Unpacking the Sex Trafficking Panic” in Contemporary Sexuality, the newsletter of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT).  When sex-worker-penned items criticizing a popular narrative appear under the imprimatur of a relatively-conservative organization, it’s clear the tide has begun to turn.  Also, here’s a good interview with veteran activist Tracy Quan by Caty Simon on Tits and Sass; I promise, I’m not just linking it because it mentions me.Margo St. James in Washington

The Birth of a Movement

In this interview with Bitch magazine, Margo St. James discusses the beginning of the sex worker rights movement, how the neofeminists turned mainstream feminism against us, “sex trafficking” hysteria and the future of sex worker activism.

Coming Out

Dear Prudence” gives what I think is a reasonable response to an unconsciously-bigoted man wondering if he should “out” a sex worker friend to his other friends.  Unfortunately, the graphics give the impression that the woman goes around looking like a Hollywood streetwalker when in reality, the uptight questioner’s issue is that she looks just like any other woman.

Much Ado About Nothing (TW3 #44)

An escort who appeared on a video claiming that Sen. Robert Menendez…paid her for sex has told Dominican authorities that she was instead paid to make up the claims and has never met or seen the senator…a local lawyer had approached her and a fellow escort and asked them to help frame Menendez…That lawyer has in turn identified a second Dominican lawyer who he said gave the woman a script and paid her to read the claims aloud…

Texas Tall Tales

Facebook PimpThe “Facebook pimps” myth just keeps growing and growing, which really isn’t a surprise since it combines three of the moral panics du jour: “sex trafficking”, gangs and the evil, evil internet.  This sort of thing has been happening for as long as there have been exploitative men and naive, sheltered girls with romantic delusions; it’s not a “trend”, not limited to Facebook and not an international conspiracy.  CNN also fails to understand that three cases in a country of 300 million do not an epidemic make, and that 18 isn’t “underage”.

Genetic Fallacy

Yet another example of judges ignoring a law’s unconstitutionality on the grounds that those challenging it have not been sufficiently harmed by it:

The Supreme Court…[dismissed] a challenge to a…federal law that allows…interception of electronic communications…[on the grounds] that the lawyers, journalists and human rights organizations that brought the suit cannot prove they have been caught up in the surveillance and thus may not challenge [it]…the 5 to 4 ruling did not touch on…constitutionality…and challengers said it will be almost impossible now to get that issue before a court…

Profound Ignorance (TW3 #51)

An even more thorough refutation of the moronic prohibitionist claim that sex is somehow different from every other human activity:

The assumption that liberal prostitution laws lead to an increase in human trafficking is refuted.  On the contrary…since…liberalisation, there has been more police activity but…significantly less suspects, convicts and victims.  That’s…an indicator that…disentanglement of prostitution from criminal environments is increasingly successful.” – Volker Beck, MP…“In the year 2000…[German officials] registered…926 victims.  In the year 2011, there were 640.  This equates to a decrease of just under 31 per cent.  If one compares the figures…in 2003 [a year after the prostitution law was passed] and 2011, one sees a certifiable decline of just above 48 per cent”…The…German government thus refutes the claim by Neumayer, Cho and Dreher  that legalised prostitution increases human trafficking…

Déjà Vu (TW3 #135)

More evidence of the evangelical Christian basis for “sex trafficking” mythology and a look inside the perverted minds of prohibitionists:

In the fight against sex trafficking, the Church needs to address the root causes – the ideas…that break the linkage sex has to love, responsibility and children, [said] Lisa Thompson…of…the Salvation Army…Thompson asked [her audience] not [to] divorce…sex trafficking from…prostitution [because]…all prostitution dehumanizes women…”God did not create any woman for the purpose…that she be a cum receptacle.  God did not create the female to be a human being that [johns] are basically masturbating into…sex was never intended to be a job, so let’s not use the language of ‘sex work'”…

That Thompson had to deny that sex work is work is a very good sign indeed.

Caring Professionals

lone red umbrellaI have long held that professional sex workers need to develop a code of ethics just as other professions have, not only for moral reasons but in order to push back against “authorities” who think they are more qualified than we are to set standards for work they’ve never done.  So I was pleased to hear that the Australian Sex-Positive Sex Industry Association (ASPaSIA) is working on just such a code, and I’ll report on it at full length once it’s finalized later this month.

Unclean Situation (TW3 #138)

Labour TD, Eamonn Maloney, said he did not accept the [claims] in the report on the [Magdalene] laundries…“They…made lots of money,” he said…adding that most commercial laundries in the 1940s and 1950s closed because of competition from the Magdalenes.  “Not only has the church as yet to apologise for their role in operating these prisons, they do also have a role…in compensating people,” he said…The Government has so far refused to say what contribution, if any, it will seek from the orders…

Read Full Post »

The Constitution tells us that…the state may not use a butcher knife on a problem that requires a scalpel to fix.  –  Judge John T. Nixon

No Other Option

A former madam…[will] open the UK’s first brothel…for disabled clients.  Becky Adams…said:  “People have the same sexual urges whether they’re disabled or not…A soldier who comes home from war disabled doesn’t stop being a normal, healthy person with normal, healthy needs…Our new brothel will be kitted out with ramps and hoists for wheelchair access, just like any other service for disabled people.”  The two-roomed establishment, called Para Doxies from the old English word for prostitutes, will be sufficient for two sex workers…and staff to assist clients…the brothel will provide transport to collect clientsIrene Norton born Adler by Allen St. John and take them home afterwards…

Heroines

As I’ve mentioned before, Irene Adler was one of my favorite fictional heroines, yet a number of people seemed surprised when I was displeased with the BBC turning her from a courtesan into a dominatrix in its “updated” Sherlock Holmes series.  This recent io9 article by Esther Inglis-Arkell explores the problems of modern Adler adaptations at some length:

Irene Adler only appeared in one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, but she’s considered a pivotal figure in the Holmes canon, nonetheless.  And we’ve seen several of the latest…interpretations debut their own versions of Irene Adler in recent years…Why is Arthur Conan Doyle’s Irene Adler so much better than the versions crafted by Steven Moffat and Guy Ritchie?…In both…Irene Adler is not simply an admirable person with a taste for sleuthery and adventure.  In the movie series, she’s both a woman who marries rich men for a living and a thief…In the TV series, she’s a dominatrix who dabbles in blackmail and international terrorist intrigue (on the side of the terrorists).  Both characters lean very heavily on sexuality and criminality…and…while the original Adler was independent, they’re both pawns of Moriarty…

Secret Squirrel

Intra-family spying gets ever more intrusive:

…KidTrack™…monitors text messages, incoming and outgoing phone log, each web site visited, location and media…“We see this as being no different than a parent examining the contents of a backpack…” said Ernie Rush of Rush Software…[customer] Rebecca Quesada [said] “As a mother, I feel much safer knowing that I have access to every single text message my daughter sends and receives…I can know where she is at all times, know who she is calling and who she is being called by and have access to every picture that she takes, as well as every single web site that she visits”…KidTrack silently captures this information and periodically uploads it to…servers where it can be viewed by the parent via a web browser…

“Silently” = “without the kid’s knowledge”.  And that means it can just as easily be loaded onto a spouse’s or employee’s phone.  My mother was incredibly overprotective by ‘70s standards, but you know what?  She respected my privacy, and never once (to my knowledge) snooped in my purse, read my mail or censored my reading material.

Droit du Seigneur

Normally I’m against lynch mobs, but in the case of “authorities” I make an exception because it’s often the only way they will face any consequences for their actions:  “…a politician in northeast India accused of rape was stripped and beaten by a crowd of women.  Bikram Singh Brahma is a member of the Congress Party in Assam…He was arrested…[after attacking] the woman…while he was staying at her family’s house…

The New Victorianism

Apparently, the average age of Xactware board members is 12:

The Lehi [Utah] City Council has renamed Morning Glory Road after a technology company planning to relocate to the street raised concerns about the name’s sexual connotation…”Morning glory” is the name of a flower…but…is sometimes used to describe male arousal.  Councilman Johnny Revill…[said] he didn’t know about the term’s slang meaning previously but was happy to appease Xactware officials…

With Folded Hands

This reaction to a terrible freak accident is, apparently, not a parody:

22 year old stripper in Cleveland, OH [died]…after a freak lap dance accident.  She apparently launched herself over a railing, falling head first to the floor 15 feet below…she should have been provided with adequate safety gear.  Safety straps and fall netting should have been an absolute minimum protection…something clearly needs to be done.  Better equipment and improved training are clearly called for…drug testing might also be in order…

The Punitive Mindset

Time tries to glorify the controlling behavior of a pathologically-entitled prude:

Administrators let offenders at one of Iowa’s most dangerous prison units watch violent and sexually explicit movies and TV shows…despite repeated complaints from a female officer who said it encouraged inmates to sexually harass her…administrators told [Kristine Sink] not to turn off the…shows.  When she did, they accused her of insubordination…Sink said she has fought a lonely battle under four wardens against movies that caused inmates to become sexually aggressive — through “10 years of misery.”  She filed a lawsuit…against prison officials alleging sexual harassment, discrimination and workplace retaliation, seeking an unspecified amount of damages…

I have a solution for you, Kristine.  If you are too prissy to handle the sort of raw behavior any sane person would expect from male prisoners, why don’t you get a job someplace other than a FUCKING MEN’S PRISON?

Presents, Presents, Presents!

BullshitI receivedSex Power two more generous presents this week:  the whole series of Bullshit! from Paul Reinerfelt, and the Sex Power soundtrack from Pat Murphy.  Also, I’ve discovered that it was Gumdeo who sent the copy of Crisis and Leviathan last week.  My sincere thanks to all of you!

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

Notice that “feminists” aren’t too concerned with “stereotyped gender roles” when it comes to “rescuing” sex workers:

…in an endeavor as far removed from their former lives as the gleaming banks and trendy boutiques of Tel Aviv are from the city’s sleazy subculture…former prostitutes…have received…training in dress design and sewing…[and] are now aiming to find a place in the world of fashion…

One later passage is absurd even by lawhead standards:

Up until a few years ago Israel was a prime destination for traffickers of women.  An estimated 3,000 women per year were smuggled in, mostly from Eastern Europe, to work in the sex industry.  That number has declined since Israel passed an antitrafficking law in 2006…and most of the prostitutes here are now said to be Israelis.

3000 per year for, say, 10 or 15 years…where did they all go?  Obviously, they must have obediently vanished into Sheol when the magical law was passed.

The Prudish Giant (TW3 #9)

Paypal is at it again; they’ve blocked the account of regular reader Frank Adamo for distributing “sexually oriented material” involving a minor.  Girl Becomes Woman is a photo-documentary of breast development, starting at age 9; Frank said, “[It’s] no more ‘sexually oriented’ than a documentary about pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding…I used Paypal to process donations to create the Breast Pride Education Foundation, and after a year…[and] approximately 100 donations Paypal suddenly decides to protect itself from possible scandal by blocking my account and holding my money for six months!”  He filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, but they closed the complaint without action.  Frank notes that the sudden condemnation of his work as porn conveniently came just after he tried to transfer $1000 from Paypal into his bank account.

Above the Law

Yet again:  As long as government actors have excessive power over individuals, this will keep happening:

Two Los Angeles Police…officers…allegedly [preyed] on women…[for] five years, luring them into an unmarked car and forcing them to perform sex acts…Luis Valenzuela and James Nichols targeted at least four women whom they had arrested previously or who worked for them as informants…The pair repeatedly used the threat of jail to get women into their car and drove them to secluded areas where one…demanded sex while the other kept watch…Larry Heyward

And keep happening:  “…[South Carolina cop] Larry Heyward [has been arrested and charged with sexual] offenses on a child between the ages of 11 and 14 years [while assigned to the child’s school]…

And keep happening:

[Washington, D.C. cop] Wendel Palmer…pleaded not guilty…to charges of first-degree child sexual abuse…Wendel Palmer[which] occurred while Palmer directed [a church] youth choir…Palmer would tell the girl to stay with him…while the rest of the choir members went to a store.  The assaults began in August 2004 when the girl was 11…[and] ran through August 2006…she told investigators there were “too many incidents to count”…

Much Ado About Nothing

Foreign officials visiting Colombia:  Pay your damned hookers!  Colombian hookers:  Please start charging your damned clients in advance!  “prostitutes stole numerous items from the Honduras embassy in Bogota, Colombia…an employee of the Ambassador…organized a party with alcohol and sex at the facility…[but] they were not paid for their services…[and retaliated by stealing phones, computers and national security documents]…”  And just in case you thought American media had let go of the story featured in the original column of this name:  “Two [DEA] agents ‘facilitated a sexual encounter’ between a prostitute and a U.S. Secret Service agent…in April 2012…a third DEA agent present on the night of the incident was not involved…”  Translation:  two guys helped a co-worker find someone to provide a legal service he wanted.  Oh, be still my heart.

The Immunity Syndrome (TW3 #19)

In the past year, cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhea has become five times as common in North America:

drug resistance has now reached North America in sizable numbers…of 133 patients [in a Toronto study]…6.77 percent…failed to respond to treatment…experts…call “its arrival deeply troubling; clinicians now face the emergence of cephalosporin-resistant N. gonorrhoeae without any well-studied, effective backup treatment options”…

First They Came for the Hookers…

Texas just won’t stop until it makes all sex work as dangerous as criminalized streetwalking:

After years of battling in court, the City of Houston and the popular…strip club, Treasures, have reached an agreement…in exchange for dropping three separate lawsuits against each other, Treasures will pay $100,000 into City-administered Nuisance Abatement Fund to help combat human trafficking.  Additionally, the club must post signs at every table stating no illegal activities, including lewdness, prostitution or drug use are permitted…The agreement effectively ends a court battle stretching back to 1983…attorneys for Harris County continue to move ahead with a lawsuit alleging Treasures is a haven for drug trafficking and prostitution…

Peeping Bill ZedlerMeanwhile, in Dallas:

State Representative Bill Zedler first gained attention…when he led a…crusade to block a Hooters from opening near his neighborhood in Arlington…claiming it would serve as a magnet for sexual predators…[he has] [continued] the fight against Hooters while expanding his focus to battle…other sexually oriented businesses.  His latest salvo…HB 337…would…license [strippers]…New York considered a similar measure several years ago.  And Alabama apparently passed one…But Zedler’s bill…would…require [dancers] to “conspicuously display the…license on his or her person when conducting business…” The bill’s stated purpose is to prevent human trafficking and protect public health…More likely, it will be used as a pretext for hassling businesses Zedler disapproves of…

Wise Investment (TW3 #31)

“Sex trafficking” is already criminal; what this law actually intends to do is wipe out inexpensive escort advertising:  “A federal judge has temporarily barred [Tennessee] officials from enforcing a law…intended to criminalize sex trafficking of minors, after a challenge by…Backpage.com…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #37)

While “authorities” in Rio de Janeiro try to persecute sex workers into hiding before the World Cup, other cities are instead helping them:

Prostitutes in one of Brazil’s biggest cities are beginning to sign up for free English classes ahead of this year’s Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup.  Cida Vieira, president of the Association of Prostitutes in the city of Belo Horizonte, said…”It will be important for the girls who will be able to use English to let their clients know what they are charging and learn about what turns them on…for the same reasons we are also thinking of offering free French and Italian classes”…

Read Full Post »

Why are feminists so afraid of sex?  –  Gopinath Arunima

Lying Down With Dogs

Take a good, hard look at the prohibitionist company the US prefers to keep:

…fundamentalist Islamists, though…shut out of power in countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco, nonetheless manage to promote their…agendas — often taking the law into their own hands, and in this case threatening…prostitutes and their customers and driving away the only industry in [the town of Ain Leuh].  “The economy is in free fall here,” said Ali Adnane…“The girls rented.  They had cash.  They bought things”…Exactly what happened…is in dispute.  [Campaign leader Mohammed] Aberbach says the Islamists never did anything illegal.  The campaign, he said, largely involved demonstrations in the main square.  No one threatened anybody or used violence or stood at the entrances to the village demanding identification from men who wanted to enter…But others, including Haddou Zaydi, a member of the town council, say all those things, and more, took place.  Sometimes, he said, the Islamists used padlocks to imprison the prostitutes in their houses after a customer had gone in.  Then, they called the police…Mourad Boufala…said he was not in favor of prostitution…but…was offended by the Islamists’ methods.  “The way they did it was really rough,” he said.  “They hit girls…scared them…and…offered them no alternatives”…

Coming and Going

From the big booming metropolis of Muscatine, Iowa:

Sixteen agencies worked together on a human trafficking and prostitution investigation that led to 27 people being arrested…County Attorney Alan Ostergren said…that agencies across Iowa have participated in these stings lately.  He claims that agencies chose Muscatine…because the law enforcement there wanted to investigate the prostitution problem.  Investigators took two months to set up the sting…The prostitution charge is an aggravated misdemeanor…[but] Robert Kennedy, 56, of Peoria, Illinois was charged with felony human trafficking…

Even if you believe that prostitution is a “crime” worth persecuting people for, do you really think tying up 16 different organizations for two months – literally thousands of man-hours and many tens of thousands of dollars – is really worth it for 27 misdemeanor arrests, many of which won’t even bring in a fine?

Dirty Whores

Here’s a short Guardian article on the history of the Contagious Disease Acts, including a rather odd epilogue:  Cambridge University continued its own version of the national laws – complete with arrest powers – for ten years after the latter were repealed!

A Whore in Church

The fact that people think there is something remarkable about this brothel’s location is a sign of the deep Western weirdness about sex:

Two women were arrested on suspicion of prostitution after seven rooms were found in a [Moscow] building close to Sretensky Monastery where sexual services were offered from 1,750 roubles (£35) per hour.  Father Tikhon, the abbot of the monastery, is said to be a religious counsellor to Mr Putin…There were conflicting reports over the ownership of the brothel, found in one of a chain of mini-hotels called Podushkin…

Much Ado About Nothing

Wow, déjà vu!  “Two women from the Dominican Republic [said] that…New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez paid them for sex earlier this year…they claimed Menendez agreed to pay them $500…but in the end they each received only $100…”  When will reporters learn?  A government official paying for sex is not even news; the scandal here is that he cheated two women out of money he agreed to pay.

The Last Thirteen for Fourteen

If you’ve been looking for a meaningful opportunity to speak up for sex worker rights, now’s your chance:

Rhoda Grant MSP believes that “prostitution…is a form of sexual violence against women…[which] is inherently harmful and dehumanizing” and that “the majority of those who are involved in prostitution are unwilling participants.”  She is proposing to make it illegal to purchase sex in Scotland…The public consultation on Rhoda Grant’s proposals for a new law to criminalise the purchase of sex is open until 14th December.  This is an open consultation – you do not have to be a resident of Scotland or the UK to respond…

That bears repeating:  YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE A RESIDENT OF SCOTLAND to reply; responses from sex workers, clients, allies or just those who care about liberty are all welcome.  You don’t even need to “out” yourself”:

…the consultation document asks specifically for answers to 8 questions – but you can also just write in with your opinion if you prefer.  Your letter will be much more powerful if you can add your own views and experiences, although at Scot-PEP we have prepared some template letters here which you can use as a guideline…or simply print the letters off and sign them.  You don’t need to use your real name, for example you can use your work name or an alias to send in your opinion…email your letter to:  Rhoda.Grant.msp@scottish.parliament.uk

The Public Eye

Yet another generally-balanced profile of several sex workers, including Audacia Ray of the Red Umbrella Project.  Nobody could accuse it of “glamorizing” sex work because it’s a bit too enchanted with the lurid, but it does clearly present the position that “it is patronizing to view all sex workers as victims” and “choosing to become a sex worker is self-determination in its own right.”

Bottleneck

Some politicians just can’t resist cutting off their noses to spite their faces:

…Experts from 11 countries [who] have converged on Sydney…expressed dismay at the NSW government’s proposal to remove decriminalisation of sex work…The Sex Worker Outreach Project (SWOP) has apologised to the international visitors, who have come to Australia looking to pick up tips on best practice…

The Day of the Dead

In Taiwan, traditional funeral processions and festivals for the dead include strippers; this is a short trailer for Dancing for the Dead: Funeral Strippers in Taiwan, a documentary made last year by anthropologist Marc L. Moskowitz.

Metaupdates

The Leading Players in the Field, Not in TW3 (#14)

Indian women’s studies professor Gopinath Arunima responds to Gloria Steinem’s April 2nd lecture at Jawaharlal Nehru University:

…witnessing the saviour Gloria [lecturing about]…rescuing hapless victims of ‘prostitution’ trafficked, abject and forever victimized…set me thinking…of what it is about sex work that makes…feminists so deeply uncomfortable…the anti-trafficking lobby maintains that prostitution is violence against women, tantamount to rape and coercion, and requires abolition…in [her] impassioned plea…Ms. Steinem spoke…of her…crusade to rid the world of that heinous crime prostitution, akin to yet far worse than slavery…After all what could be worse than the bodily abuse that is prostitution (“they are inflicted with multiple penetrations, daily”) except possibly only the vicious stranglehold by traffickers…significantly the areas that sex workers identify as most damaging to them like societal opprobrium and police violence did not find any mention in Ms. Steinem’s talk…By compulsorily desexualising the prostitute and rendering her as perpetual victim, the feminist anti-trafficker can then validate her own position as saviour…

Wholesale Hypocrisy in TW3 (#25)

While US courts have repeatedly blocked governmental attempts to interfere with escort advertising, China has no such mechanism in place and Apple was happy to lick its boots for the almighty dollar:

…When a Mandarin speaking Siri first arrived in China this summer, she generally responded to the question “Where can I find hookers” by pointing people to a nearby location — usually a bar or a club…but a customer service rep for the company told China Daily that the company has…cut off Siri’s ability to help people find prostitutes, escorts and brothels…

Legal Is As Legal Does in TW3 (#32)

What’s a politician to do when a court ruling protects the civil rights of someone he’s bigoted against?  Make a new law overruling the decision, of course!

Hotel and motel owners across [Queensland] will have the right to evict guests they believe are sex workers under new legislation put forward today by Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie.  The amendments to the Anti-Discrimination Act will be debated next year and will likely be passed by the LNP-majority Parliament…Queensland Council for Civil Liberties spokesman Terry O’Gorman slammed the move, saying it…targeted a “particular class of people” and enabled arbitrary discrimination on the grounds of personal prejudice, the likes of which was seen during the 70s when some motel owners refused accommodation to indigenous Australians…

Something Rotten in Sweden in TW3 (#36)

We keep explaining that, despite prohibitionist claims, “end demand” campaigns actually hurt sex workers.  However, it usually isn’t quite this direct:

…Illinois prostitution law…is among the harshest in the country…any repeat prostitution misdemeanor is eligible to be upgraded to a felony—one of two states allowing such upgrade after a single charge.  On paper, sex workers are still not as likely to face felony charges as their patrons, who can be charged with a felony on their first offense…But…analysis of the…data shows that prostitution-related felonies are being levied almost exclusively against sex workers.  During the past four years, they made up 97 percent of the 1,266 prostitution-related felony convictions in Cook County.  And the number is growing:  Felony convictions among sex workers increased by 68 percent between 2008 and 2011…

Follow Your Bliss
in TW3 (#37)

a TSA agent [named Paul Magnuson] has been  arrested for the rape of a boy he was mentoring…the TSA attracts pedophiles.  Several that we’ve documented.  The TSA attracts criminals and those with personality disorders that exaggerate control and sociopathic tendencies…

Little Boxes in TW3 (#40)

The winning bid for Catarina Migliorini’s virginity was $780,000 US, offered by a Japanese man identified only as “Natsu”.  However, busybody control freaks just can’t resist trying to interfere with other people’s mutually-agreeable business deals:

Justin Sisely, the director who helped [Migliorini]…may face sex trafficking charges…Brazil’s attorney general, Joao Pedro de Saboia Bandeira de Mello Filho, ordered an “urgent investigation,” to look into the auction, which he equated to “people trafficking”…He also said Migliorini, who currently lives in Australia, should have her passport revoked and she should be returned to Brazil for “the exercise of prostitution”…

Backwards into the Future in TW3 (#41)

Pakachere Institute of Health and Development Communication (PIHDC) will launch a national wide Alliance of sex workers in Malawi on November 7, 2012…[to provide] a platform [for] sex workers [to] discuss issues affecting their…lives…Executive Director Simon Sikwese said the alliance is targeting all sex workers across the country and that it is one of the forums aimed at ensuring that sex workers rights are protected…

Shift in the Wind in TW3 (#43)

The reaction of the world’s most prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, to the UN’s call for decriminalization could be summed up in two words:  “We agree”.

…Law can be used to protect and promote the human rights of sex workers…and…Legal empowerment of sex worker communities has been shown to be an effective approach in HIV prevention.  However, law is often used to criminalise and penalise sex workers, resulting in their exposure to violence and discrimination from society in general, and law enforcement officers and health-care providers in particular.  This situation limits access by sex workers to health and social services they need, and increases the risk of HIV for them and their clients…It is imperative to review and reform the current laws, ensuring that sex workers and sex worker organisations are fully and centrally engaged in improving legal environments to safeguard their human rights.

This Week in 2010 and 2011

Besides my two previous Halloween columns, All Hallows weeks have featured columns on both porn and horror movies, the War of the Worlds panic and another H.G. Wells comparison, deadbeats and death goddesses, Amsterdam, Election Day and Roman prostitutes.  They also saw short articles on a Spanish city’s harassment of streetwalkers, Charlie Sheen’s meltdown, the FBI raid on Escorts.com, labioplasty, sexual satisfaction in marriage, a yogurt-tainting creep, “end demand” programs, an app for arrestees, Detroit’s persecution of parties and Florida’s criminalization of questions.

Read Full Post »

She was not sold to a brothel like they said…the people here always pitied and loved her.  –  Men Voeun

Safe Targets

How would this have played out if prostitution were fully legal in Canada?

Calgary police have arrested an Ontario man accused of making fake emergency calls…claiming that distraught women were being held against their will, either at gunpoint or knifepoint.  “It is alleged two individuals were responsible for numerous calls to police in an attempt to reveal and disrupt competition in the escort business.  These same individuals are also believed responsible for extorting escorts by calling or threatening to call police if the women refused to work for the two accused”…

Backwards into the Future

Add Rwanda to the list:

Commercial sex workers must be protected from assault and any other kind of mistreatment, lawmakers said…criminalisation of prostitution denies sex workers easy access to crucial services, with devastating consequences on their health, their clients and partners of their clients…The legislators called for more support to sex workers by encouraging and facilitating them to form and join cooperatives…[and] called for the review of the Penal Code…to avoid cases where the law might…be a liability to society…

Down Under

Dr. Marty Klein’s post about his trip to Australia discusses the absurdity of prohibitionism, properly brands “sex trafficking” a moral panic and starts by teaching me something I actually did not know:

…in Australia…it [became] legal to PURCHASE and POSSESS adult porn in 1983.  But all Australian states ban the SALE of X-rated video…Enforcement…is very low, so there is a gray market…[and] Australians buy it anyway…the government loses tax revenue, as well as respect.  The foolishness of attempting to ban a popular, victimless activity like watching adult porn is even more obvious when considered in light of Australia’s decriminalizing of most adult prostitution in 1992…

It’s Different Because It Involves Sex, Part Umpteen

Predictably, the New York state appeals court agreed with tax officials against a strip club.  Unpredictably, the dissenting judges clearly “get it”:

…A very divided New York Court of Appeals has ruled that lap dances are not art…“The court split 4-3, with the dissenting judges saying there’s no distinction in state law between ‘highbrow dance and lowbrow dance’”…Judge Robert Smith pointed out…that the majority ruling here does not actually comply with the…state’s legislation… “[T]he only question…is whether the admission charges that the State seeks to tax were paid for dance performances.  There is not the slightest doubt that they were…It does not matter if the dance was artistic or crude, boring or erotic.  Under New York’s Tax Law, a dance is a dance…I do not read Hustler magazine; I would rather read the New Yorker.  I would be appalled, however, if the State were to exact from Hustler a tax that the New Yorker did not have to pay, on the ground that what appears in Hustler is insufficiently “cultural and artistic”…discrimination on the basis of content would surely be unconstitutional”…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

I enjoyed Chester Brown’s Paying For It so much I asked him which of his other books I should read next, and he responded by generously sending me four of them:  Louis Riel, I Never Liked You and two short works which are not commercially available.  Thank you so much, Chester; I’m very much looking forward to reading them!

Above the Law

…Tacoma police said when Sylvester Haliburton tried to convince a prostitute he was an undercover police officer, she didn’t believe him, and when she tried to get out of his car, Haliburton wouldn’t let her…police…are looking into the possibility that he committed similar crimes before…

Much Ado About Nothing

I don’t think I can adequately explain how ridiculous this looks to any experienced escort; there’s about a 70% chance that the “shocked” officials have done the same thing themselves, and a better than 95% chance they knew others who did:

An investigation into the U.S. Secret Service prostitution scandal…contradicts Secret Service director Mark Sullivan’s adamant assertion before Congress that “this just is not part of our culture”…The report…revealed that one of the agents who was in Cartagena…admitted to soliciting a prostitute on two previous occasions…and…mentioned allegations of similar misconduct by agents on trips to Romania and China…

Meanwhile, Dania Londoño (her last name was previously reported as “Suarez”) is writing a book.

Naked Truth

Melissa Gira Grant on how the equation of “human trafficking” with prostitution harms the more than 75% of people whose exploitative labor conditions are not sex-related; I strongly suspect it won’t be long before The Guardian officially adopts an anti-trafficking hysteria editorial position.

True Colors

On May 24th the offices of New Orleans activist group Women With a Vision were destroyed by arson, but you can’t keep good women down:

As of October 1, 2012, we are well on our way to securing a new home for WWAV, and have a targeted reopening date of January 1, 2013.  In anticipation…we have officially closed our temporary office location…Please call 504.301.0428 for further information on how to access services while we are rebuilding.

You can also call that number to donate, or just go to their website.

First They Came for the Hookers…

The extension of “sex trafficking” hysteria to stripping continues:

Albuquerque city councilors…adopted a host of new regulations for strip clubs aimed at discouraging human trafficking, prostitution and other crimes.  The ordinance sets out record-keeping requirements on the identity of performers and calls for signs to be posted telling employees how to report human trafficking.  It also prohibits “adult cabaret entertainment” in private areas of the club that aren’t open and visible to others…Voting “no” were…Rey Garduño…[who] repeatedly questioned whether anyone had actually been arrested for human trafficking in an Albuquerque strip club…[and Trudy] Jones…[who] asked why other businesses that might involving the trafficking of minors weren’t covered by the bill.  She mentioned hotel maids and landscaping workers…

Though I’m disgusted by the registration, infantilization and attacks on women’s livelihood, I’m encouraged by the questions asked by the two dissenters.

Imagination Pinned Down

What, no UFOs or Satanists?

…a British woman has claimed that she spent five years being raised by monkeys in a Colombian forest…Marina Chapman says the colony of capuchins cared for her after she was kidnapped and then abandoned…[she] survived by catching birds and rabbits with her bare hands until hunters found her…took [her] to a nearby city and sold her to a brothel.  However, she managed to escape to Britain and…worked as a housemaid…[her] story has been made into a book…and TV crews plan to make a documentary…Chapman believes she was born…about 1950 and…was kidnapped when she was five before being abandoned in the jungle.

Shift in the Wind

Three UN agencies have officially called for total decriminalization across Asia, specifically naming New Zealand and New South Wales as examples:

…[A] study issued…by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)…examines 48 countries in Asia and the Pacific to assess laws, legal policies and law enforcement practices that affect the human rights of sex workers and…effectiveness of HIV responses.  Where sex work has been decriminalized, there is a greater chance for safer sex practices… “evidence from the jurisdictions…that have decriminalized sex work – New Zealand and New South Wales (Australia) – indicates that the approach of defining sex work as legitimate labour empowers sex workers, increases their access to HIV and sexual health services and is associated with very high condom use rates”…

Metaupdates

Welcome To Our World in February Updates (Part Two)

From Ireland, another example of the inevitable result of the idea that sex is a horrible thing from which the “innocent” must be “protected”:

…One would assume that [40-year-old Mandy Finlay]…is entitled to enjoy an intimate sexual life with her partner…[but] not only is [that] socially unacceptable…it is also a crime…the…Sexual Offences…Act, 1993, criminalises sexual relations between two adults with intellectual disability…who are not married.  This includes mild disability and autism…

Schadenfreude in TW3 (#17)

Somaly Mam has been caught in another huge lie:

For years now, the scarred face of Long Pros has symbolized…sex slavery in Cambodia…“My eye was stabbed by a brothel owner,” Ms. Pros recounted in [Nicholas Kristof’s documentary] Half the Sky…with blood still flowing from the destroyed eye socket, Ms. Pros said that she was still forced to have sex with clients…”when I returned home, my mother and father didn’t want me around”…[but] Pros’ parents…denied that their daughter was ever a victim of human trafficking, had ever been enslaved in a brothel, or had lost her right eye at the hands of a savage brothel owner.  Long Hon, 60, and Sok Hang, 56, described…their daughter’s…eye condition:  a non-malignant tumor that had developed when she was just 7 years old…[and] was…removed by an eye surgeon…in 2005 when she was 13…Te Sereybonn, the…director of the…hospital…said that…medical staff…contacted [Somaly Mam’s organization] to…admit Ms. Pros to one of their vocational training programs…it had nothing to do with the sex industry…

The parents’ statement was confirmed by doctors and medical records.  Brandee Baker of the Somaly Mam Foundation insisted that the girls’ parents, doctors and medical records were all wrong and wrote in an October 21st email to reporters, “you are now bullying victims of sex slavery…”  Furthermore, Keo Thea, chief of Phnom Penh’s anti-human trafficking police bureau, said he had no record of any complaint about a brothel girl stabbed in the eye, and even the type of the supposed attack has changed; in its first published form in 2008, Pros claimed to have “lost her eye after a pimp kicked her in the face.”

Neither Addiction nor Epidemic in TW3 (#20)

As I’ve stated before, “sex addiction” is not the same thing as hypersexuality; the latter is a real disorder which may be included in DSM-V, while the former isn’t and won’t be.  But since “sex addiction” is too good a myth to discard just yet, we’ll just lie by redefining the former to mean the latter:  “…New research shows that sex addiction is indeed a mental health disorder–one that can be easily and accurately diagnosed…It’s formally called ‘hypersexual disorder,’ and it’s much more than enjoying sex a little too much…”  I shall now prove the existence of the Tooth Fairy by redefining the word “fairy” to mean “ache”.

The Course of a Disease in TW3 (#26)

Here’s something rather unusual:  a short anti-Swedish model play.  I have included it not for its dramatic qualities (which are, I’m sorry to say, essentially nonexistent), but rather as evidence of the fact that there is considerable anger toward the model in Norway, home of those who inspired the play.  Furthermore, its central philosophical point is that since all sex is transactional in some way, the Swedish model technically outlaws sex completely.

Change of Heart in TW3 (#41)

This article about the journalistic ethics of outing Alexis Wright’s clients is an excellent example of a journalist just starting to wake up.  Though he recognizes “end demand” as bunk and rightfully compares persecution of sex work to persecution of homosexuals, he doesn’t actually challenge the morality of the laws per se; furthermore, though he understands that stigma can harm families, he thinks only of the clients’ families rather than those of the hookers.  Still, this is a big improvement over most of the American journalistic establishment, and therefore deserves recognition.

This Week in 2010 and 2011

Three of these columns were about Japan:  there was a brief history of Japanese prostitution, my husband’s experience at a “soapland” bath house, and a study of Filipinas working at hostess bars.  I also presented the stories of two eccentric New Orleans characters, two columns full of hooker songs, and two columns in which I answered questions about anonymity, the fraction of men who hire us, hotels, STDs, female sex tourists, pimps, parents, spam and circumcision.  Finally, we looked at the “pedophilia” heffalump and the prostitution elephant, a thorny BDSM case, the ethics of egg-selling and short articles on Bob Guccione, Clarence Thomas, Gardasil, funny album covers, horror comics and vampire whores.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »