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Posts Tagged ‘My Readers Write’

When we see people jumping from a…window to escape a fire, our response should not be to stop them by boarding up the window!
–  Mark Draughn

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

The schadenfreude is always especially sweet when the cop who gets in trouble works for Montgomery County:

A police sex-sting operation in Northern Virginia…has nabbed a [cop from] Maryland…Christopher Dunkes…[of] the Montgomery County Police Department, answered a Craigslist advertisement posted by an undercover officer who was posing as a 15-year-old girl…Dunkes twice proposed a specific act and suggested that they meet in his car…

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

Study shows kids believe stupid shit.  Researchers next plan to study the religious beliefs of popes:

The majority of boys who view online pornography believe it provides a realistic depiction of sex, according to the most extensive survey of British secondary school pupils undertaken…most [students] – 94% – who have seen online pornography have been exposed to it by the age of 14.  But the study also found that almost half of the 1,000 11- to 16-year-olds questioned had never seen internet pornography – findings that are in contrast to many other studies.  It also revealed that [young people] have a [proper] understanding of sexting [unlike] policymakers…sexting [is] the sending of intimate messages, [not necessarily accompanied by] images, and the vast majority…questioned did not report having taken naked images of themselves…53%…said they had viewed online pornography, and while some chose to seek it out, they were as likely to have come across it by accident, often via pop-up ads…Of those who had viewed the material, 53% of boys said they believed it presented a realistic depiction of sex, while 39% of girls thought the images were realistic.  Approximately 41%…felt “curious” the first time they viewed it, which was the most common response.  However, more negative feelings such as being shocked (27%), confused (24%) or disgusted (23%) were also experienced…

My Readers Write Lorelei schools a fanatic

It’s especially pleasing for me when my friends write about each other:

…I’ll leave the validity of the 90% statistic (and the prevalence and causes of PTSD among sex workers) to someone more qualified.  Worrying too much about the details could make us miss a more important point: Why should Lorelei Rivers give a shit what other sex worker want?  There is certainly nothing wrong if Lorelei Rivers wants to know the needs and desires of other sex workers.  Maybe she’s just a good person who has empathy for others.  But…her right to go about her business should not depend on how other people feel about it, and that includes other sex workers.  If 99.9999% of sex workers want to quit and find a different line of work, but Lorelei Rivers prefers to keep doing what she’s doing, what possible justification can there be to stop her?…the desires of the majority are a distraction from the real issue, which is personal choice…we have to make collective decisions…when making different individual choices would cause irreconcilable conflicts — so we depend on majority rule to tell us that…we should drive on the right side of the road.  But…choice of employment, including employment as a sex worker, is a Pepsi or Coke kind of thing.  In a free society, if some women want to be sex workers and others don’t, there’s no reason they can’t both get what they want…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

a 73-year-old man in [Nova Scotia] charged with soliciting…a [cop] pretending to be a prostitute, went before a judge to argue that he had been entrapped.  There’s a lot to be outraged about when it comes to this type of lurid deception but let’s start with the underhanded funding of coercive repressive state interests.  At a starting salary of $75,000 a year (and more than six figures for many more when you factor in overtime), it is unquestionable that female police officers posing as street-based sex workers make more money than many street based sex workers do…they are allowed to approach potential clients.  Our street-based sisters have no such legal right; real street-based sex workers are constrained from making bold sales pitches.  But [cops]…suffer no legal risk…given the allegation inscribed in our current prostitution laws that witnessing sex transactions in public is damaging to communities…how [do cops] posing as sex workers in public rationalize their presence…If they are dressed exactly like sex workers and acting even more obviously “for sale,” wouldn’t their presence engender the same unwholesome effect?…

The Notorious Badge 

At least this is one actress who won’t be vomiting out anti-whore propaganda:

An actress who played a prostitute in Game of Thrones is actually a real-life hooker…Saeeda Vorajee…starred…as a prostitute called Armeca…However she…also…offers her services…under the name of Sahara Knite…Saeeda…admitted she has picked up a lot of fans from Game of Thrones but said she never gets recognised in the street…she…advertises herself as a “porn star, masseuse, mistress and session wrestler”…

Bottleneck

If this dude clutched his pearls any more tightly, he’d strangle himself:

Sections of Springfield [Massachusetts’] decades-old strip club regulations appear to routinely go unenforced, even as Mayor Domenic Sarno has promised a crackdown on clubs he [fantasizes] as a haven for violence and gang activity.  The city’s strip clubs again came under scrutiny last week when police alleged that Showbar…had hired a 17-year-old dancer…[who] left the club after her mother intervened…the girl had used a false ID when applying for work…according to the city’s strip club regulations, last amended in 1992, clubs are required to register the names, ages and addresses of their dancers with City Hall…while the clubs would comply with that regulation if asked to do so, [club lawyer Daniel] Kelly said, the rules as written could endanger the privacy of workers by having their addresses listed for public review…The regulations also describe detailed restrictions on the attire and conduct of strippers, including bans on the simulation of sex acts, the touching of “breasts, buttocks, or genitals” and having employees “mingle” with customers while unclothed.  And another requirement appears to be unenforced: A prohibition on the use of “back rooms”…

King of the Hill

We’ve seen claims of “Top 13” and “Top 20” cities before, but this is the first pretense that there is an “FBI list” of top 15 states:

The online selling of children and teenagers for sex is skyrocketing in communities throughout…Minnesota.  The FBI says Minnesota is one of the top 15 states in which sex trafficking is a major problem…Washington County Attorney Pete Orput [fantasized]…“I could do them all day for the rest of my life and not put a dent in it”…former U.S. Attorney Rachel Paulose [argued for internet censorship while describing a masturbatory fantasy involving “Younger and younger victims, which is not surprising given the role of social media and its role in human trafficking”…

Original Sin (#321) Merchant of Souls fakeumentary

Methinks those behind this train wreck need to consult theologian Benjamin Corey:

…The U.S. State Department…reveals 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year…there are 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today…The University of Pennsylvania’s Richard Estes and Neil Weiner conducted a case study revealing the most common age of entry into prostitution…Exodus Cry…created the documentary Nefarious: Merchant of Souls to educate viewers about the evils of the commercial sex industry…Today’s slave trade shares many parallels with the African slave trade in centuries past…Exodus Cry’s intervention team has hit the streets and strip clubs with gift bags or roses and a message of love and hope…pornography feeds the sex trafficking industry—and many Christians are feeding the slavery beast…

Bread and Circuses

Pigs and prosecutors destroy yet another board sex workers use to stay safe, vomiting out “trafficking” lies in the process:

Investigators have dismantled what they described as the first members-only Internet prostitution ring of its kind in San Diego…San Diego police Capt. Brian Ahearn…called the [internet message board a] “sex ring”…the website operator personally vetted every man and woman seeking to become a member in an effort to “wall off” the site from [pigs]…But…[one] member…[was threatened into ratting] to police about a year ago…The case wrapped up with the arrests of Dale Vinzant…and Christian Koalani…[they were] charged with pimping, pandering, soliciting for prostitution and money laundering…Both have pleaded not guilty…

False Witness

No, this decision doesn’t “correct” shit.  An innocent young man sat in a cage for nine years because cops lied and tortured him into a false confession:

A young Detroit man who wrongfully pleaded guilty to killing four people when he was 14 will soon be released from prison…Judge Brian Sullivan…vacated the 2008 conviction of Davontae Sanford who had been serving a 37- to 90-year sentence…Sanford, who is now 23, [was coerced to] confess…[and] plead guilty to four counts of second degree homicide on the advice of an attorney, who is now suspended from the practice of law…[just] two weeks after Sanford’s sentencing, a professional hit man, Vincent Smothers, confessed to the…homicide…and made clear that Sanford was not involved.  But the case languished for years as the boy grew from a teenager to a man while incarcerated…“The court’s decision today corrects a grave injustice,” said Heidi Naasko, Sanford’s attorney…

As if the lies and coercion weren’t bad enough, everybody involved sat on their hands for eight years after they all knew he was innocent.  This is what we call the “justice system”.

They Still Don’t Get It (#616)

Recycling 140-year-old myths to justify the same old violent pogroms against consensual sex doesn’t remotely qualify as a “sea change”:

…The new approach championed by [Nebraska] Attorney General Doug Peterson focuses on helping survivors, stopping traffickers and shrinking the market by going after customers instead of victims who are coerced into working as prostitutes…”We have to let this industry know that to operate in Nebraska, you’re going to place yourself at great risk”…Survivors frequently suffer from mental health and substance abuse problems, as well as developmental disabilities that impair their judgment…”A 16-year-old girl typically doesn’t get into prostitution by herself. Someone is most likely profiting significantly off of her”…Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks…is working with the attorney general’s office on legislation to increase criminal penalties for human traffickers and customers…Pansing Brooks said most prostitutes have been trafficking victims at some point, and the state is only now starting to treat them differently.  “It’s a huge sea change,” she said.

So now we’re not only mentally ill and delusional, but also mentally retarded.

Traffic Circle (#645)

When even USA Today rags are reporting debunkings of “sex trafficking” myths, you know the panic’s days are numbered:

Have you seen the anti-sex trafficking billboards saying 13 is the average age kids are first used in the sex trade?…one of the most influential anti-trafficking organizations says the statistic is not supported by the data, The Washington Post Fact Checker recently reported…The statistic…makes little sense, Kessler wrote.  If 13 is the average age for entering the sex trade, then there have to be children under age 11 offsetting those becoming sex workers at age 16 or 17…A 2008 study of sexually exploited kids in New York City found the average entry age [for underage workers] is about 15, but the researchers warned that the data is fuzzy…Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller…[pretended] he wants to be as accurate as possible. Even if the average entry age is 15, Zoeller wrote, it underscores the fact that children and teens are targeted…

Of course, the politicians still try to distort the facts to their advantage, pretending that the average age of entry for underage workers is the average for all of us.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#646)

Leave it to moralistic control freaks to clutch their pearls about something that not only doesn’t exist, but never actually will as they envision it:

…Sharkey points out that porn has changed…male expectations, of real-life sexual partners…Is it possible that young women of the near future will feel pressure not just to look like porn stars but also to perform like robots, ever available and always eager to please?…sexual objectification is…an act that reduces a woman to nothing more than a sexual vessel…The problem is not that sex robots are available:  it’s that they are wanted…of the sale of sex robots is to be allowed at all, it must be highly regulated…people who want to buy sex robots need to present the agreement of a couple of doctors, before they are judged emotionally restricted enough to need to retreat to such an inhuman fantasy.  Or maybe, out of respect for women, this technology should just be rejected.

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The enforcement of anti-trafficking laws…[has always grown] the power of the state while criminalising the behaviour of migrating women.  –  Jessica Pliley

Whore Madonnas

Social wisdom would have us believe that sex industry workers are terrible parents who routinely jeopardize their children’s safety by bringing “perverts” around, leaving them to raise themselves, and setting an example of depravity.  Social wisdom is INCORRECT.  Children of sex workers…are more likely to be level-headed, socially aware, critical thinkers.  Rather than putting their parents through a lot of grief, they are strong allies of their parents.  Gutsy, confident, young people who speak their minds and care about others…

The Red Umbrella 

Gail Brown…worked as a private escort and [Warren] Mann, a long haul truck driver, was a regular client.  But Mann fell in love and wanted a relationship.  When she wouldn’t give him that, he flew into a cold rage and tried to kill her July 26, 2012.  Brown’s teenaged daughter, Kayla…ran into her mother’s room…as Mann straddled her and repeatedly smashed her head on the floor…she ran for help while Mann made an eerie 911 call…to report [himself]…Brown’s liver was busted into multiple pieces, she suffered severe head trauma, her throat and larynx were crushed…For two months, Brown lay in coma…her memory is poor, her health is bad, and she suffers permanent physical and emotional pain, she can still walk, although with a limp…

My Readers Write Kirsten Gillibrand

Absolute genius from Mark Draughn:

Last summer, on June 28th, I saw Arizona Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand place an 8-week old calico kitten in a DeWalt 5-quart blender and press the start button, killing it instantly. She then feasted hungrily on the bloody remains, consuming the poor creature, scales and all. It is the single most vile act of animal cruelty I have ever witnessed, and by coming forward now, I hope to put a spotlight on the problem of animal cruelty…

And it gets much, much better from there.

Full of Themselves (#4)

One of the latest examples of shaming strippers comes from a community that appropriates stripper traditions, but vehemently denies any association with the sex industry. Many pole dance hobbyists, or women who practice the pole dancing fitness trend, are on a mission to distance themselves from exotic dancers.  That’s what happened last weekend in Beijing, when competitive pole athletes at the World Pole Dance Championships set the record straight to the AFP that their sport is inspired by ancient Indian and Chinese dance traditions and has absolutely no relationship to strippers who might claim otherwise…

Above the Law 

This article is no surprise to regular readers, who know that cops commit rape at a rate several times that of men in the general population.  But it’s nice to see SOMEBODY in the media acknowledging that rapist cops aren’t “a few bad apples” engaging in “isolated incidents”:

…sexual misconduct is the nation’s second most reported allegation of officer misconduct, according to a 2013 report by the Cato Institute.  Nevertheless, broad narratives of police brutality tend to ignore both female victims and the often specific nature of the violence leveled against them in favor of focusing on the highly visible use of weapons to kill men…Women are subject not only to differential forms of violence by police, but also to entrenched stereotypes surrounding sexual assault, which may further inhibit their seeking justice for this abuse…

The Widening Gyre 

This rather ordinary anti-streetwalker nonsense bears clear signs of infection by “sex trafficking” tropes:

…[Luton] residents who say the area has become a “designated hub” for prostitution…The police, who are two years into a five-year anti-prostitution strategy, said they have seen “significant improvements” in ending the trade…Mr Khadam said:  “The new girls are teenagers and one of them I saw was quite short only about 5’2” and I am quite concerned about that”…Matt Ryan said:  “High Town has become a processing hub/centre for street prostitution”…Wendy Walker…said…”You get kerb crawlers stopping and asking if you want business, even if you are a disabled, old pensioner or a pregnant woman.”  A Bedfordshire Police spokeswoman said…”The operation has also resulted in the detection of other criminality…including alcohol and drug-related crime and anti-social behaviour…Our multi-agency approach aims to support women to leave sex work and to lead crime free, healthy and happy lives.”

busybodiesIt’s hard to pick the funniest part of this; is it the cop pretense that the world’s oldest profession can be “ended” by cop violence, and in 5 years no less? Is it the old lady’s sexual fantasy that punters still find her desirable? Or is it the notion that a woman who’s 5’2″ tall must be a teenager?

So Close and Yet So Far

Dear would-be allies, please talk to the actual experts on sex work – sex workers ourselves – before belching up a bunch of asinine myths, bogus statistics and wrongheaded opinions in an attempt to speak up for us:

It often feels like the only barrier is a society of puritanical simpletons, but there are legitimate concerns…If legalized, the unsafe, archetypal pattern of pimp and hooker and trick could be readily dissolved.  In a study of 854 street prostitutes, 95 percent had been physically assaulted and 75 percent raped.  This exploitative model could be easily transformed to the healthier brothel system.  Nevada is already ahead of its time with 19 legal brothels, all requiring condoms and weekly tests for sexual transmitted diseases…pragmatic legalization could end the unhealthy reality of street hooking…

Bread and Circuses 

The “sex trafficking” circus needs victims to die for the crowd’s satisfaction:

…the FBI…trumpeted the federal jury conviction of “sex trafficking ring leader” Hortencia Medeles-Arguello, a 71-year-old Houston woman…was…found…guilty of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, conspiracy to harbor aliens, aiding and abetting to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  She…faces life in prison.  The feds also seized $2.5 million in assets…So who is this apparent criminal mastermind, and how did she oversee an enterprise involving at least 13 sex-traffickers and countless trafficking victims?  Well, she owned a bar. And she didn’t ask too many questions about what people were doing in rented rooms upstairs…The FBI contends that Arguello “should have known” that some of those selling sex in her establishment “were either underage or victims of the beatings by their pimps”…

There will be many more such travesties before this is over, and they’ll rot in prison for about two decades until their convictions are reversed as those of Satanic panic victims have been.

Here We Go Again (#504)

The more of Jessica Pliley’s work I read, the more I like her:

In its 140-year history of fighting sex trafficking, the United States has always prioritised law enforcement, border control, and national security over aid to victims or concerns about privacy…the Immigration Bureau sought to build a stronger moral wall at the border in order to better identify sex workers who were evading the law.  It asked Congress to fortify the 1875 law with the Immigration Acts of 1903, 1907, 1910, and 1917.  Combined, these outlawed the importation of sex workers, women coming for other “immoral” purposes, and men demonstrating “moral turpitude”.  They also made the acts of procuring, pimping, and sex work deportable offences.  With each additional law, the Immigration Bureau found itself in need of more manpower to carry out its mandate, surveilling the borders and the interior of the country in order to ensure both remained secure…

Marching Up Their Own Arses (#525)

The truth about the anti-whore “reality” show, 8 Minutes:

…one woman, who goes by Kamylla…received a call on her work number from the producers of the show, who immediately identified themselves as such (this is in contrast to the premise of the show, which implies that the women believe they are coming to a normal appointment)…She agreed to tape a segment for the show, in which she said she wanted help getting out of the business…She never heard back from them, and instead reached out herself, but no meaningful help was to come.  Kamylla found herself broke and needing to work again.  She posted an ad…and was arrested in a sting.  Now she was broke, frightened, and facing criminal charges, and when she reached out for help from 8 Minutes, Brown offered to pray for her…Kamylla wrote to Dan Savage after seeing a mention of the program on The Stranger’s blog, and Savage put her in touch with prominent Seattle sex worker activist Mistress Matisse.  Matisse leapt into action and began soliciting donations from trusted friends to help Kamylla with her immediate crisis.  Other members of the community soon followed: Domina Elle and Tara Burns helped create a website to tell her story…Kamylla’s own description of her experience in this Storify…[makes] it clear how little help she received in exchange for being fodder for reality TV…

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Whorephobia…can manifest in various forms, including…rejection of a fellow…human being…projection of one’s own life experiences onto another…and in severe cases, frothing at the mouth…and feverishly campaigning for extreme punishment and prohibition of Whores and Whore-adjacent peoples, places, and objects.  –  Aspasia Bonasera

No Other Option

Another good article about sex work with disabled clients, this one a first-person account from reader Laura Lee.  Due to the movie The Sessions this has become a very “hot” topic, which is good because it deals a strong blow to the “victimized prostitute” narrative.  For more on the subject, here’s Becky Adams:

Japanese Prostitution

Customers…now have another option…at [Tokyo]…cuddle club Soineya…For $11 per minute, patrons…can ask for the oshiri makura (butt pillow) service and rest their heads on the behinds of its female staff…Customers must first pay an admission fee — starting at 3,000 yen (around $34) — and then have the option to purchase premium services, such as foot massages…[or] laying in a female employee’s lap

Don’t Buy It

Interestingly, “sex trafficking” fetishists waited until Super Bowl Sunday to trot out their claims this year, probably to avoid the high-profile debunking which will soon be inevitable; the story was updated less than 38 hours after its initial appearance to include a reference to an article for which I was consulted last year and the opinion of Rachel Lloyd, a “sex trafficking” promoter who has criticized the rampant exaggerations and the “gypsy whores” myth.  The main attraction is yet another soi-disant “survivor” spouting the typical tinned narrative (brutal pimp, 50 clients a day, etc), and there’s a bonus appearance by SOAP.  The most interesting bit is this snapshot of “Chinese Whispers” in action:  the story claims that “133 underage arrests for prostitution were made in Dallas during the 2011 Super Bowl,” when in actuality a very-typical 133 adult arrests of all types (not prostitution alone) were made in the 2½ weeks before the Super Bowl.  The number of actual “pimps” arrested?  One, an idiot who got the idea from the hype.

Get Out of the 19th Century Often?

Atlanta’s police chief…George Turner has asked city council to approve a…banishment law…the first conviction would result in the accused prostitute being ordered not to return to the area they were arrested…upon second conviction, the accused prostitute would be banished from city limits forever…Larry Miller…said he supports anything that would put a dent in the prostitution plague…

Human beings are now a “plague” to be “banished” from an autocrat’s realm.

Hollywood pimpChupacabra

Dr. Brooke Magnanti on the “pimp” myth:

…I have never met a person even remotely like the stereotypical pimp, and yet I “know” they exist, largely because I have been told so over and over again.  I’ve met streetwalkers, both drug-addicted and not; escorts and call girls, same; not one ever had what popular imagination would classify as a “pimp,” but then I keep getting told I’m not representative, so maybe the literally hundreds of…sex workers I’ve met are just “not representative” too?…Independent sex workers who organise their own affairs…Roommates who share a flat…escort agencies with a dozen or so girls…Massage parlour owners.  Women whose house is used by other sex workers…People who set up message boards and internet forums…All of these are…called “pimps” by the anti-sex lobby.  A guy in a crushed velvet suit on a street corner, keeping his girls high and working the neighbourhood?  Not so many of those…

A Working System

Look past the fashionable “sex slave” rhetoric to what’s actually going on here:

…Chee Mei Wong…[allegedly] ran the Diamonds brothel in …Sydney…between…2008 and 2010…[and] employed six women…who…were told they would have to work until they paid off the cost of their airfare, visa and course fees [around $5000]…Despite…having paid off their debt after a “short period of time” it is alleged Ms Wong threatened she would have their visas revoked if they left.  But Ms Wong’s barrister Bruce Quinn said she…only worked at the brothel as…receptionist…[and] the matter was simply an “industrial dispute” and a “sham” created so the women could stay in Australia…

These sorts of conflicting claims are not unusual in contract disputes, and unfortunately many people are quick to accuse others of wrongdoing in order to divert government attention from themselves.  The important thing is that nobody here was criminalized for her profession, and the same situation could have arisen in any industry employing migrants.

My Readers Write

Aspasia published a bang-on and hilarious parody of medicalized pop-psychology entitled “Join Me in the Fight Against Whorephobia” which you simply MUST read in its entirety to appreciate.  I also recommend this thoughtful essay in which Obsidian proposes that the same shortage of eligible women which is at the root of so much violence in the Middle East may also influence the differences between homicide rates in American cities:

the Big Apple saw a 50-year record low of just over 400 murders in a city of over 8 million; while for Chicago, the murder rate topped 500, with a population of roughly 2.5 million.  Much has been said about the differences…in…their approaches toward fighting crime…Chicago has a proportionately larger police force than does NYC…[but] there are more Women to Men in NYC, than in Chicago…it’s been long known that whenever there are more males to females anywhere, trouble ensues.  Indeed, we are beginning to see this manifest itself in earnest in places like China and India, where the male to female sex ratio is so off the chain that extreme exhibitions of behavior are being seen on the part of the males

See No Evil

Peanuts pornU.S. District Judge Dean Whipple sentenced Christjan Bee of Monett, Missouri, to three years in prison for “possessing an obscene image of the sexual abuse of children…[namely] a collection of electronic comics, entitled ‘incest comics,’…[containing] multiple images of minors engaging in graphic sexual intercourse with adults and other minors”…In other words, he is going to prison for drawings; no actual children were involved at any point.

A Moral Cancer (Metaupdates)

You may have seen the latest “meat kills!” pseudo-study; of course, the media didn’t bother to report that the “researchers” and sponsors were all vegetarians who didn’t bother to control for little things like diabetes and age.

Above the Law

Well, this is different:

[Vincent Burroughs of] Oregon…has filed a lawsuit against an IRS agent…claiming he was coerced into [a sexual] relationship…Dora…Abrahamson contacted Burroughs about an audit…flirted with [him] over the telephone…offered him massages and sent him a photo of herself in her underwear…”She said that she could impose no penalty, or a 40 percent penalty, and that if he would give her what she wanted, she would give him what he needed”…

Traffic Jam

Mexican officials broke up a bizarre cult that allegedly ran a sex-slavery ring…The “Defensores de Cristo”…allegedly recruited women to have sex with a Spanish man who claimed he was the reincarnation of Christ…Followers were subjected to forced labor or sexual services, including prostitution…prosecutors were still trying to work out which of the detainees may be considered victims, and which were abusers…

Cult messiahs invariably have sex with female followers, and how is contributing sexual labor any different from contributing money or other labor as members of established religions do?  But due to “trafficking” hysteria, it becomes “sex slavery” even though the “authorities” themselves admit that any assignment of “victim” and “abuser” status will be arbitrary.Maria Zulfiqar Khan

Yellow Fever

The high standards of American journalism have reached Pakistan:

Meet Doctor Maria Zulfiqar Khan…In her recent programme, she conducted a self-styled raid on a massage center in Lahore…and harassed the women…police [accompanied] her, but she played being in charge…we see women helplessly trying to hide their faces…[and Khan]…going through handbag of a lady…picking up a condom…and shouting…”what is this? what is this?”…Khan also plays being an interrogator…and…at one point, not agreeing to the answers…says sarcastically, “yeah right, tell that to the cops when they take you”…At the end of the programme…she visits [the] house of one of the girls…and…tells her audience “this man made [his] daughter a prostitute, what an animal he is”…

Under Duress

For those who suspect I’m biased, here’s legal scholar Michelle Alexander:

…police have a special inclination toward confabulation…[and] an incentive to lie…[they] shouldn’t be trusted any more than any other witness, perhaps less so…Peter Keane, a former San Francisco Police commissioner…[decried] a police culture that treats lying as the norm…Gustin L. Reichbach of the [New York] Supreme Court…condemned a widespread culture of lying…in…drug enforcement units…the Bronx district attorney’s office was so alarmed by police lying that it decided to stop prosecuting people who were…arrested for trespassing at…housing projects…Numerous scandals involving police officers lying or planting drugs…have been linked to federally funded drug task forces eager to keep the cash rolling in…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (TW3 #34)

The Indian Supreme Court’s waffling on decriminalization has emboldened prohibitionist legislators, who tried to quietly criminalize prostitution by defining all sex work as “exploitation” and therefore illegal under existing law.  The National Network of Sex Workers has appealed to the President of India to veto this sleazy back-door scheme, but if he does not you can bet a court challenge will not be long in coming since Indian sex workers, unlike most in the United States, are unified to fight for their rights.

Monkey Business

A minor war has broken out…in the village of Kiad [Saudi Arabia,] where large groups of hungry baboons from nearby valleys are attacking residences in search of food and drink…Adel Medini [said]…“The baboons are targeting empty houses and are well aware of what they are doing…They proceed according to studied plans. That’s why their attacks do not fail…a resident…[returns] to find his home in disarray.  Some people…thought that thieves had…ransacked their houses…”

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (TW3 #39)

Remember the scientists who proved one could find neural activity in a dead fish?  Well, here’s a video of a thought forming in the brain of a larval zebrafish:

So Close and Yet So Far

I really wish people who support legal prostitution would talk to actual sex workers or even just do a little research before writing articles which perpetuate ugly myths such as “It’s no longer just a drug-addled woman forced onto lonely street corners” (it never was), and “sex workers are likely reticent to draw attention to their illicit life by divulging STDs and surely no one checks customers for STDs”.  The latter is an especially damaging myth because you can guess his proposed “solution” to this nonexistent problem: compulsory disease checks for registered whores (but not amateurs, who are free to spread disease at will).

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake

The Kansas…Supreme Court ruled that exotic dancers are employees of the club where they work, not independent entertainment contractors…[at] Club Orleans [in] Topeka…dancers were required to pay non-negotiable “rent” for use of the stage and dressing rooms, as well as extra fees for the disc jockeys and bouncers…House rules governed what the dancers could do in their shows and the prices they had to charge for specific types of dances…The women were required to sign in with the bouncer at the beginning of a shift and weren’t allowed to leave…until the end of the shift…

The Devil’s Toys

In this book review, Harvey Silverglate made the same point I did yesterday:

In Unlearning Liberty, [Greg] Lukianoff…[presents many] examples of campus censorship …65% of liberal arts campuses have speech codes that violate…free speech norms…Lukianoff…persuasively argues that…contemporary campuses can be seen essentially as incubators for a future society governed by censorship of iconoclastic ideas and kangaroo courts that enforce those prohibitions…some…now sitting on the federal bench do not blanch when innocent citizens are convicted of violating statutes and regulations that no normal person could possibly understand [because] students…get accustomed to the administrative tyranny…and…don’t have much adjusting to do when they gain, and abuse, real power of their own…

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Rhoda Grant…believes sex workers are imbeciles who should be denied the right to earn a living and subjected to state-sanctioned sexual assault to ensure that they comply with the dictates imposed upon their profession.  –  Kate Gould

New Book Reviews
Xaviera Hollander at 69

An interview with Xaviera Hollander, now a 69-year-old hotelier in Amsterdam.  Here’s my favorite bit:

It’s not as if she became a prostitute through lack of options. She speaks five languages. She was once voted Holland’s best secretary. She reads Philip Roth and Dostoyevsky. She…calls herself “a theatrical entrepreneur.” Yet she has never regretted her main career choice. “To get paid for what you enjoy? Is good, no?”

Think of the Children!

[Carol Ann Eastman,] an English teacher…in North Canton, Ohio…[published] a raunchy erotic novel [entitled Schooled] under the pseudonym Deena Bright…According to The Repository…Eastman’s students are responsible for outing [her]… the novel follows a teacher who has steamy sexual encounters with fellow teachers…[and] former students…to get revenge on her two-timing husband…many local parents feel Eastman shouldn’t teach high school…if she also publishes bawdy fiction…[she] agreed to a five-day suspension without pay for violating the…computer use policy…

License To Rape

It’s a sad statement about our society that this was necessary:

…jurors…won’t hear about [the] prostitution conviction…[of a woman who] says [Denver cop Hector] Paez arrested her…in May 2010, drove her to a secluded spot and coerced her into performing oral sex by threatening to take her to jail.  Paez’s defense…asked to question the woman about…a prostitution charge…[but] Judge John Madden said…”The information is highly unfairly prejudicial and (runs) a significant risk of confusing the issue”…The woman…has told jurors about her history of theft and heroin addiction.  Prosecutor Doug Jackson said it is precisely that troubled past that…made her an appealing target…

Meanwhile, in Ireland: “A [policeman was]…arrested…after a woman alleged he had raped her…he…was among a number of gardaí working on a…brothel…raid…[he later] went to one ofLucius Crawford the properties…and committed the alleged rape…

Shifting the Blame

Lucius Crawford, 60, was arrested for stabbing a woman and has now “confessed to three murders, including the slaying of a Bronx prostitute…Long Island authorities are investigating if he is connected to the mass murder of sex workers in Suffolk County…

Not an Addiction

In a word:  No.

Confessed serial killer Israel Keyes was a murder addict…”Israel Keyes didn’t kidnap and kill people because he was crazy…[or] because his deity told him to or because he had a bad childhood.  Israel Keyes did this because he got an immense amount of enjoyment out of it, much like an addict gets…out of drugs,” said Anchorage, Alaska, police Detective Monique Doll…

Against Their Will

Careful reading finds the most interesting details tucked away in news stories: “Senators [in the Philippines support]…strengthening the law against human trafficking… the bill…[would] ensure added protection for…law enforcers, who have been recipients of harassment suits for ‘lawful acts done in good faith during authorized rescue operations’…”  In other words, it makes cops and bureaucrats immune to lawsuits filed by sex workers who were “rescued”Fuck you, traitor against their will.

My Readers Write

Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon just can’t understand why some women prefer not to identify as feminist, so Aspasia brilliantly explains it to her.  Of course Williams won’t read it and wouldn’t understand if she did, but I’m sure you’ll appreciate it.

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through

…[Scott Pipher was] charged with hiring a prostitute…[after] he called police to complain that the woman “shorted him 10 minutes”…[the] investigation…[also] led to the arrests of two alleged prostitutes…Pipher is named on the Web sites National Blacklist and Bad Boy Client List as…being “notorious for booking out-calls and then not answering his door or phone”…

Though the author uses phrases like “so-called escort”, it’s interesting that she thought to consult those sites and didn’t bother to define “out-call” [sic].

Guest Columnist:  Norma Jean Almodovar

On an information page prepared by Norma Jean for the students of Dr. Rhacel Parrenas, I encountered the following chart: examine it and consider the amount of money, manpower and press devoted to “human trafficking” in comparison with the vastly more common (and real) violent crimes.US criminal statistics for 2011

Follow Your Bliss

Moon Tae-Hwa stares at his computer, dizzy and nauseous from the hours of porn he’s viewed…He feels no shame — only a righteous sense of mission…Moon is among the most successful members of the “Nuri Cops”…a squad of nearly 800 volunteers who help…censors by patrolling the Internet for pornography in their spare time…pornography is illegal in South Korea, though…easy…to find…”It’s like shoveling snow in a blizzard,” Moon conceded…

The Nuri Cops:  selflessly devoting their lives to watching porn so others can’t.

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week Korhomme sent me a copy of Sex and Punishment, a history of attempts to regulate sexual activity (see picture below).  Thank you very much!

The Immunity Syndrome

Compare and contrast with similar kerfuffles in the US:

Ganz schön intim (“Really Quite Intimate”) is a 152-page…[sex education] publication…[which] includes detailed…information on masturbation, homosexuality and intersexuality…[conservative and religious groups]…called it “disturbing” and “a discredit to the so-called core family”…[and] called for [it] to be withdrawn…the government in Vienna and the pamphlet’s producers…[are] largely unmoved by the brouhaha…

Above the Law

How police privilege and anti-prostitution laws endanger all women:

…Forest Park [Georgia] police arrested Omar Shannondoah Chester…[after he] forced [a woman] into his apartment…beat her…[and] stated, “I am an FBI agent and you are under arrest for prostitution”…When she said she was not a prostitute, and her children were outside, he…[let her] go…[she] then ran out…and called police…

Sex & Punishment
Small Choice

If this article had been published in the US, you can bet it would be warped to fit the “trafficking” paradigm.  But since it’s from Al Jazeera, the problems are discussed without denying the women’s agency or the advantages of their arrangement:

…commercial brokers fly Korean men into Vietnam to meet women, and many tie the knot within a week.  The South Korean government is concerned these marriages could breed greater social problems. So it is investing to increase these couples’ success rates [via] “orientation” classes [for Vietnamese women]…some marriages crumble [if] Vietnamese women [marry] for money only.  Another factor is the…average 17 years’ difference [between spouses], according to researchers Daniele Belanger and Tran Giang Linh…there have been reports of South Korean men beating and killing their foreign wives…[and] migrant wives committing suicide…International marriages, however, have worked out for many couples in South Korea.  Belanger and Linh have written that “marriage migration” has empowered Vietnamese women.  Girls who once served their families have now become decision-makers thanks to the [economic] leverage granted to them…

Uncharted Seas

Gay activist Alex Andreou on “Why I’m Conflicted About Marriage Equality”:

I…fear that it will create an added pressure to conform.  I recall fighting…in…the late eighties…hand-in-hand with transsexual prostitutes and militant dykes…being chased by police and beaten with clubs.  What we were fighting for was an acceptance of all different ways of expressing love and sexuality; it was a desire for more, not less, sexual liberation…What we have instead is an attempt to absorb that sexual freedom into conformism.  Instead of dragging the world into liberation, we have somehow managed to drag the LGBT community into neo-Puritanism…

Longtime readers will remember I made the same point in “Divided We Fall”.

Metaupdates

Creeping Rot (July Updates, Part Two)

The European Women’s Lobby (a group so detached from reality that it believes a video of a dude performing cunnilingus on a bunch of women will somehow turn men off to paying for sex), claiming to represent over 200 (unnamed) women’s groups, last week “demanded” the European Union impose the Swedish model on member states despite the fact that it does not actually have that power.  The English Collective of Prostitutes responded with a well-linked nine-point refutation of the EWL’s absurd, unsupported claims; guess which one got worldwide media coverage?

Toys for Tots (First Updates of the Year, Part Two)

The Platinum Cabaret…in Fayetteville, Ark…is…offering free lap dances in exchange for donations to Toys for Tots…“As long as it’s done in a legal manner, as long as people are bringing us new, unwrapped toys, we don’t get into how they were gathered and what the process was,” [said] John Staples, coordinator for Toys for Tots…But another Toys for Tots chapter wasn’t quite as forgiving when…Pleasures — an adult toy store in Huntsville [Alabama] –- [offered] any customer who brings in a gift for Toys for Tots their choice of a complimentary sex toy…”Toys for Tots should not be advertised at an adult store,” [said] Ret. Major Brian A. Murray…

Considering how much money US Marines collectively spend on sex workers every year, it’s absurd for some Marines to make nonsensical anti-sex work statements just to please prudes.

Crime Against Society (TW3 #14)

sex offender licenseAs I reported, people who were on Louisiana’s “sex offender” registry due to the overturned “crime against nature by solicitation” law can petition to be removed.  According to Deon Haywood of WWAV, “around 75 people have already had themselves removed from the registry, and around 100 people are waiting for a judge to hear their motions…We haven’t had one person that’s been rejected…

What a Week! (TW3 #22)

I’m sure this had absolutely nothing to do with the owner’s winning a judgment against the city a few months ago:  “State and federal police have raided inner-city Sydney brothel Stiletto, owned by gambling identity Eddie Hayson…A spokeswoman for NSW police said the search warrant was attached to a joint operation codenamed Polaris making investigations ‘into a drug and money laundering syndicate’…”  Unsurprisingly, they found absolutely nothing.

Wise Investment (TW3 #31)

Officials admit that they knew their law to hold websites criminally liable for third-party content was unconstitutional:

The state of Washington has abandoned its defense of legislation…that could have exposed website operators to legal liability…The Internet Archive, represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation…worried that [the law] could effectively make its archives of the Web illegal…so it joined a lawsuit by Backpage.com…now Washington state officials have…[agreed] to permanently block the law…[and] will pay $200,000 to defray the plaintiffs’ legal expenses, and Washington state attorney general Rob McKenna will “work with the…legislature to repeal the current unconstitutional version” of the law.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #35)Sunitha Krishnan

You’d think that in the age of ultra-realistic digital effects, people would recognize that just because someone made a movie doesn’t mean the subject is real:  “[Sunitha Krishnan] has rescued thousands of women from prostitution and [has taken]…her advocacy to films, through [Ente,] a depiction of a real life sex-trafficking story…The activist…says she has received death threats and been targeted by acid attacks and even beaten up over a dozen times…”  All the beatings have succeeded, yet not one of the acid attacks or death threats have?  How convenient!

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #49)

Kate Gould is not a sex worker, but she’s done her homework and clearly “gets it”.  Her attack on Rhoda Grant’s Swedish model campaign, “Why I’m Opposed to Criminalising the Purchase of Sex”, is excellent, but the comment thread is suffering from the usual influx of lie-vomiting trafficking fanatics and deserves input from rational sex worker supporters (hint, hint).  Meanwhile, here’s Dr. Brooke Magnanti on how the proposed law as written will actually (like California’s Proposition 35) criminalize many human interactions virtually nobody would call “prostitution”.

This Week in 2010 and 2011

This week I exploded lots of lies, including ones about adolescents, the Super Bowl, decriminalization, STIs in porn, the purpose of a law, prostitution terminology and “sex trafficking”, and Julian Assange.  We also looked at bad jobs and the meaning of “legalization”, and saw a sleighful of short articles on HIV, halfway whores, maid cafes, sex rays, spiders, Rachel Wotton, Jill Brenneman, an important “trafficking” study, pompous masseuses, politician sex crimes, France, a pervert prosecutor, lethal butt injections, “sex school”, schadenfreude, Pedobear and strippers.

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I am a sex worker and I make my money from clients seeing me. Some clients just happen to have a disability.  –  Rachel Wotton

When Someone You Love is A Sex Worker

Do you have a sex worker in your family, or are you in a relationship with one?  If so, Stacey Swimme of SWOP would like to talk to you.  She’s writing a book called When Someone You Love is A Sex Worker, which is intended to support family members and partners, and she recently sent out an email to ask for input:

…I am inviting family members, partners, lovers and friends of sex workers to be interviewed for my book.  I’m looking for examples of challenges as well as successes.  I want to hear about your fears, disagreements and compromises with the sex worker(s) in your life.  It would be a privilege to include your perspective if you have time to do a short interview (about 15-30 minutes) on one of the four dates below.  You do not have to provide any identifying information.  You’re welcome to provide a fake name…

The four dates are Wednesday November 14th (at 11AM, 11:40AM, 12:30PM and 1:15PM), Wednesday November 21st (same time slots), Monday November 26th (at 9AM, 9:40AM, 10:30AM and 11:15AM) and Tuesday November 27th (same time slots).  If you’re interested please email StaceySwimme@gmail.com  with your preferred name, age, city and times from the list that work for you.

Updates

Bad Girls

farmers are losing thousands of shillings to prostitutes in [Kenya]… social services chairperson Elizabeth Kibii…said the department has received many complaints from farmers who have been robbed… “They either lace the drink with drugs that will make you unconscious or they send one of their own to the room early and hide under the bed.  And when he and her partner are busy, the one under the bed walks away secretly with the money”…

All in the Family

Australian whore and activist Grace Bellavue uses the intense story of how she came out to her parents as a springboard for a discussion of whore stigma, in which she convincingly argues that those who oppose prostitution should actually be fighting that stigma rather than perpetuating it.  It’s powerful and well worth a read, but skip the comment thread.

Reaction Formation

This sort of story is only “shocking” to the psychologically and sexually illiterate:

An ordained counselor dedicated to “freeing” people from homosexuality has been arrested on charges of molesting…young men…Rev. Ryan J. Muelhauser …was connected with OutPost Ministry…[and] allegedly fondled two young men  who were seeking to “cure” themselves of homosexuality, as well as asking them to masturbate for him…

Furthermore, “leading a crusade” against any form of sexual behavior should be considered probable cause for suspicion of practicing that behavior:

A former top [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] official who helped lead the [South Florida] crusade against child sexual exploitation was sentenced…on a child pornography charge.  Anthony V. Mangione…possessed up to 150 images of child pornography, some depicting the “extreme abuse of children”…

Crying Wolf

Neofeminist fanatics who foam at the mouth about “rape culture”, insist that normal economic needs constitute “coercion” and pretend that compliments are a form of “violence against women” need to have stories like this one drilled into their brains:

Mah Gul, 20, was beheaded after her mother-in-law attempted to make her sleep with a man in her house in [Afghanistan]…Gul was married to her husband four months ago and her mother-in-law had tried to force her into prostitution several times in the past…The suspect, Najibullah…said the mother-in-law lured him into killing Gul by telling him that she was a prostitute…

That is what sexual coercion, forced prostitution and violence against women actually look like.

My Readers Write

Aspasia writes in her own blog on would-be allies and “concerned parties” who expect sex worker activists to spoon-feed them the way prohibitionists do, and why it’s a bad idea to cater to their demands.

Don’t Confuse Us With Facts

Dean Boland, the lawyer who was fined $300,000 for demonstrating the absurdity of America’s draconian “child pornography” laws, has lost his appeal; the judges ruled that there really is such a thing as sympathetic magic, so that altering the images of children actually and literally harmed them in some tangible way.  So much for science, logic or common sense.

Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark

Another “dog bites man” study:

…a group of boys ages 8 to 11 whose fetal testosterone had been measured from amniotic fluid when their mothers were 13-20 weeks pregnant…were shown pictures of negative (fearful), positive (happy), neutral, or scrambled faces while a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine tracked changes in their brain activity.  In the boys who had higher levels of fetal testosterone, the brain’s reward system was more responsive to positive…facial cues…[suggesting] those boys have a greater proclivity for “approach-related behaviors,” such as fun-seeking and impulsivity…

Useful Idiots

The US government’s scheme to collect and indefinitely retain DNA from virtually anyone has been challenged a number of times since it was first slipped into the Trojan Horse Act of 2005, and the Supreme Court has finally deigned to rule on it:  “…at least 21 states and the federal government have regulations requiring suspects to give a DNA sample upon arrest…[which is then] cataloged in state and federal crime-fighting databases…the justices opted to take on an April decision…from Maryland’s top court, which said it was a breach of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure to take, without warrants, DNA samples from suspects who have not been convicted…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

The “sex robot” morons are at it again:

Could sex with robots help extend human life spans?  Some futurists seem to think so. A Nov. 7 article on the futurist website Transhumanity argues that robot lovers could help extend life spans by giving users mind-blowing “longevity orgasms” far superior in quality to those from human…partners…”[Sexbots will] be more desirable, patient, eager, and altruistic than their meat-bag competition, plus they’ll be uploaded with supreme sex-skills from millennia of erotic manuals, archives and academic experiments, and their anatomy will feature sexplosive devices…They’ll offer us quadruple-tongued cunnilingus, open-throat silky fellatio, deliriously gentle kissing, transcendent nipple tweaking, g-spot massage & prostate milking dexterity, plus 2,000 varieties of coital rhythm with scented lubes“…

Is it just me, or does this one-handed typist sound badly in need of a girlfriend?

Confined and Controlled

The inevitable result of busybody laws which treat women as helpless victims of male sexuality:

[Toronto] City council…adopted…changes to…regulations…Now…strippers can’t sit on patrons’ laps or make contact with breasts, buttocks or pubic areas.  And rooms, booths or cubicles for private dances have to be transparent on one side…As the Licensing and Standards Committee was formulating the amendments…its staff consulted with us…but…management at the club I worked in…[collected the surveys] and [filled] them out on our behalf.  The manager told me…“This has nothing to do with what you think they want…They want the girls to see all these stupid questions so they can answer, ‘Oh, people touching me…Oh, I don’t like the dark.’  Then they come in the court and say, ‘Look, the girls don’t like the business’”…The city’s data shows that 98 per cent of respondents in the surveys submitted by the [club owner’s association] denied ever being sexually assaulted or touched without their consent, while 67 per cent of strippers who submitted surveys themselves said they had been…

If governments didn’t persecute adult businesses, managers would have no cause to worry and standards could be determined by the sex workers’ needs rather than those of the managers or prohibitionists, who both use the women as pawns in their power game.

Imagination Pinned Down

Quote from the snake catcher himself on a snake expert’s message board:  “Sorry but this is ridiculous, I was the one who caught this snake, never did I say anything like that, in fact I stressed to her that it was incredibly unusual for that to happen and quietly doubted it even occurred as she told it.”

The Public Eye

Burlesque as a hobby is less stigmatized than professional stripping, Portland, Maine is unusually tolerant, and a seat on the school board isn’t exactly high office, but it’s still amazing this happened at all:  “Holly Seeliger, a 26-year-old teacher and burlesque dancer, won the District 2 seat on the Portland Board of Public Education, getting 59 percent of the vote…

Metaupdates

No Other Option (Updates Galore, Part One)

Rachel Wotton’s wonderful charity “Touching Base”, which connects disabled people with sex workers who specialize in helping them, has experienced an upsurge of publicity due in part to the documentary Scarlet Road and in part to the movie The Sessions, which I’ll be discussing in a column two weeks from now.  I hope this sympathetic and respectful article in The Age calls even more attention to it, and that one day the US may grow up enough for a branch of the organization to operate here.

Blackball (TW3 #33)

Douglas Fox of Harlot’s Parlour shared an essay written by a male escort named Steve, which demonstrates  how governments can ruin a simple idea used effectively by individuals and peer groups for decades:

There’s been a lot of hype about the Nationwide Ugly Mugs Scheme [but it’s useless to most sex workers]…Take…[this] recent…complaint [from] a male sex worker who didn’t get paid by a client who was drunk and told him he kept a knife [nearby]…Extracts from the warning read:  “business was agreed to take place at the man’s home which was a flat in a communal block in Basildon…He is described as; 45-49, White, 5ft 9, stocky, shaven grey/white hair, blue eyes and pale complexion, with a local accent and scars to his torso”…No address, no phone number, nothing.  Sex workers…need to access real information if we are to protect ourselves.  Phone numbers…that look like…“0*********1″ do nothing to help…there are probably about 200 similar blocks of flats in Basildon…[and] the description sounds like every other client who has walked through my door in the last two weeks…

The organization which administers the NUM project made this (typically political) response.

Down Under (TW3 #43)

The Australian government has axed its “Cleanfeed” porn-filtering plan that’s been shrouded in a campaign to fight spam and malware.  Backers…pushed the idea for the last five years claiming that the Cleanfeed filter would protect children from predators…The filter even passed a government trial and was expected to be adopted… [but a backlash started] when a secret…Communications and Media Authority blacklist of targeted websites…was outed by Wikileaks…Cleanfeed was opposed by online consumers, lobby groups, ISPs, network administrators, some children’s welfare groups, Google, the U.S. Ambassador to Australia, and a number of government officials.  Opponents…feared the filtering would foster Internet censorship and new online restrictions…

The More the Better (TW3 #45)

Apparently some Greek officials believe in “sex rays”, even if the people don’t:

…local officials insisted that a primary school return [brothel owner Soula Alevridou’s] donation…[of] €3,000 to cover the costs of [a] photocopier and a small library…the school was grateful…[but officials were embarrassed by] a brothel madam stepping into a gap created by fiscal recklessness and state profligacy…”We must protect our children,” [said provincial director of education Giorgos Panayiotopoulos]…

This Week in 2010 and 2011

I presented biographies of Mata Hari and Veronica Franco, looked at whore-hatred in World War II France, contemporary Iceland and a fictional future, and examined the truth about federal “sex trafficking” stings, the use of “Swedish model” rhetoric in American police departments, the campaign against Backpage and a fake escort blogger.  I also discussed cops who rape, the increasing number of academics telling the truth about sex work, the reason sex worker rights have languished while gay rights thrived, and the difference in sex work news stories between Europe and the US, and featured short items on internet censorship, the government’s intentional hiding of information on “missing children”, the underuse of HPV vaccines, weird search terms, a murderous proposal and “don’t panic” plans.

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Beware of billionaires who want to save your life.  –  Mark Leno

Modern Marriage

Brooke Magnanti on Catherine Hakim’s new book:

…people are still marrying, still making that leap into the conceptual and statistical improbability of ’til death do us part.  And where does that leave affairs, clients of sex workers, enjoyers of porn and the rest of us?…When many couples choose to remain childless, or have no familial wealth to pass on, why are we still doing this, anyway?  Those questions and a lot more are what drives the narrative of…The New Rules: Internet Dating, Playfairs, and Erotic Power.  In it, [Catherine Hakim]…calmly dissects the differences between the cultures where it’s okay to throw a strop at the first sign of relationships going off piste, and those where adultery is not only usual but expected…

Aversions

In a way, this is one of those “dog bites man” things, unless I’m the only one who’s ever noticed that most women are more sexually open when they’re very turned on:

A small Dutch study…indicate[s] that arousal overrides feelings of disgust and facilitates a woman’s desire to do something that a woman who is not aroused might find flat-out repulsive…Daniel R. Kelly, an associate professor of philosophy at Purdue…explained that disgust is an “extension of our immune system” that helps prevent people from getting infected by making them wary of things, like bodily fluids, that…make people vulnerable…David Buss, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas…[said] “Women show far more disgust and especially sexual disgust, than men…It helps to protect women from having sex with the wrong men, such as men who might communicate diseases…show signs of a high ‘parasite load’…have poor hygiene and so on,” he said.  What is interesting about the new Dutch paper, the two experts agreed, is that it suggests the mission to avoid the potentially “dangerous” parts of sex takes a backseat when women are aroused…

Who Did Your Tits?

Color me unsurprised:  “Letting women ‘test drive’ larger breasts before a boob job…[by] wearing a heavily padded bra for two weeks while doing ordinary tasks…[has led to them picking] 30 per cent larger [implants] than they first planned – at least one additional cup size.”  Despite claims from insecure women that they hate having big tits, the fact is that many women wish they had gone bigger, and most do so if the implants need to be replaced.

My Readers Write

This could be considered an update to “Welcome To Our World”, “Neither Cold nor Hot” or the “All in the Family” update in last week’s TW3, but the fact that it was written by regular reader Aspasia (in her own blog) trumps all that:

Jezebel ran two articles…that…highlight the hypocrisy of much of their readership…The first…“How to Tell Your Parents You’re A Prostitute”…[is followed by a] comment thread…rife with the moralizing pearl-clutching of feminists who claim to be supportive of women’s choices…Three days later, came [another] article…[which] criticizes certain choices made by women…and…[was] roundly condemned in thecomment thread…but…[the second author]…merely [did] what the average Jezebel reader does whenever sex workers…are discussed:  stripped a whole group of women of their autonomy, projected her own standards onto them, and criticized their choices…

Uncommon Sense

Prostitutes in…Geneva have formed [Switzerland’s] first sex workers’ union, citing foreign competition and the high cost of rent…[it will be] called…the Sex Workers’ Syndicate [and]…aims to operate alongside the organisation Aspasie, which has advocated for prostitutes in Geneva since 1982.  Aspasie primarily concerns itself with the health and well-being of sex workers, while STTS was mainly founded to address prostitutes’ financial concerns and working conditions…

I reckon that’s good news, though I’m a bit wary of the protectionism implied in that first line; if foreign women are excluded, it could potentially create a  bottleneck.  Of course, the government is working on one of its own:

Switzerland has long been criticised by the international community for allowing prostitution by teens as young as 16.  The government has proposed changes to the criminal code which would make it a crime to hire or sell the services of a prostitute who is younger than 18…[due to] a Council of Europe convention it signed in 2010…young sex workers would not be prosecuted for their actions – only those who seek or sell their services would be held responsible…

The age of consent in Switzerland is 16, but once again we see the magical thinking that money somehow taints sex and the complete lack of consideration about what will happen to those girls once their agency is denied and their once-legal trade is semi-criminalized.

We Told You So

More of this, please:

[A Philippine “anti-trafficking” NGO named] the Visayan Forum Foundation (VF) [has been] accused of fraud by…USAID…At least…$5 million…meant to fund the group’s projects…[is] missing…the warrant that led to the search…said…the foundation…may be in possession or control of “falsified private documents which were used and are being used to defraud…donors”…

Scapegoats

…Carlos Romero…was arrested…and charged with misdemeanor sexual activity with an animal, by officials in Ocala, Fla., but believes the real outrage is that the Sunshine State is ‘backwards’ towards zoophilia…The victimized animal is a 21-month-old miniature donkey named Doodle he purchased two months ago…”  Whatever you may think of Romero’s preferences, ascribing human sexual hang-ups to a donkey in heat is beyond absurd.

The Last Shall Be First

It’s good to see bigots like this criticized by peers and spotlighted by the media:

An Oklahoma County judge is refusing to let men planning sex-change operations switch to feminine names.  District Judge Bill Graves has denied name changes in two such cases so far…[ruling] both times the requests were made for a fraudulent purpose…His position…has generated criticism of him at the courthouse.  Five other Oklahoma County judges who handle name change requests…routinely grant them in transgender cases.

His reason for this prejudice?  Science!

Graves…has concluded a person cannot really change…sex because the person’s DNA stays the same…“A so-called sex-change surgery can make one appear to be the opposite sex, but in fact they are nothing more than an imitation…petitioner has not even had the surgery…To grant a name change in this case would be to assist that which is fraudulent…Genesis 1:27-28 states: ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth …’  The DNA code shows God meant for them to stay male and female.”

You can always tell a legitimate scientific argument by its quotation of Genesis.

Above the Law

As long as bureaucrats have excessive power over individuals, this will keep happening:

[An]…investigator with Florida’s Department of Children and Families has been arrested for “bribery by a public servant, official misconduct, and falsifying records” after he told a woman under his supervision that he would hide the results of her drug-positive urine test if she would have sex with him.  When [she] refused…Andrew Thomas threatened to report her to her probation officer…[he] is the third Florida DCF employee to be charged this year with a sex-related crime.  In August…Peter Crane…was charged with…molesting two five-year-old girls.  In June…Jean Lacroix…was charged with having sex with a teen who was part of a prostitution ring composed exclusively of foster children…

Naked Truth

Fortunately, most of the journalists who contact me are looking for informed commentary on issues rather than a sex-work story they can twist to fit their own agenda, but Charlotte Shane does an excellent job of skewering the twits who pester non-activist sex workers to “get their real stories”.  If you’re not a journalist or academic you’ll enjoy reading this, but if you are either of those you need to read it.

Worse Than I Thought

California’s “Proposition 35” defines virtually all normal sex as “prostitution” and a lot of normal behavior as “coercion”, lists anyone who has anything at all to do with “coerced prostitution” as a “sex trafficker”, and condemns individuals so labeled to decades of prison, lifetime “sex offender” registration and theft of all their property by the state.  It’s so awful, in fact, that even bona fide coerced prostitutes are against it:  “Anabelle sees herself as a victim of sex trafficking. Stories like hers are driving Proposition 35…But Anabelle isn’t supporting [it]…and her arguments — and those of sex workers and their supporters — paint a very different picture of a law that could hurt the people it’s supposed to protect.”  And if that article’s not enough to convince you, how about this slide show?

Metaupdates

Follow Your Bliss
in TW3 (#16)

Another pervert claims to “help” teenage runaways so he can help himself to their sexual favors:

The founder of [a charity for homeless youth named “Stand Up For Kids”] has been charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting a child over a three year period.  Richard Koca, Sr., 69…faces seven felony charges of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust…The charges…were…sealed…by court order…after KMGH’s report…investigators are preparing for the possibility that more potential victims could come forwarding the case…the organization’s website was no longer accessible online today, and calls to the headquarters went unreturned…

The Pro-Rape Coalition in TW3 (#30)

Sex work-positive journalist Susannah Breslin interviews two porn producers (one of them Ira Isaacs), two actresses and a lawyer about the potential effects of the ramped-up porn prosecutions promised by Mitt Romney should he be the winner of the quadrennial popularity contest.

Feminine Pragmatism in TW3 (#32)

No matter how carefully and thoroughly I scan for items of interest, a few things always slip through the cracks.  While reading about Nadya Suleman using the money from her porn flick to lease a new house, I encountered the sentence “She spent the summer begging for money from fans and offering dates for cash.”  Wait, what?  Sure enough; the linked article is from August 6th:

…Nadya Suleman…has opened a profile on the dating website  WhatsYourPrice.com, TMZ reports…Although some would consider Suleman’s latest venture a dip into the prostitution pool, Gawker’s Louis Peitzman outlines, “yes, there’s something a little sketchy about selling yourself online, but it’s not prostitution unless they’re paying for sex…”

You’ve got to laugh at the moronic mental gymnastics with which some people justify their childish attempts to draw sharp, static lines between complex, fluid behaviors.  Octomom’s done stripping, porn and sugar baby work, but she’s not a whore, noooooo.  And neither is she a pathetic victim like the rest of us “prostituted women”; according to the house-leasing article,

“It has been the most empowering, liberating thing I have ever done,” Suleman told…Dr. Drew about doing porn.  “There is nothing I won’t do to take care of my family…I had full control and power over my choice.  I take full accountability and I’m proud of it.”

So there you are, ladies; in order for your equally-pragmatic choices to be considered valid, you first have to have 14 fatherless kids you can’t support.

This Week in 2011

A two-part guest column from veteran sex worker rights activist Norma Jean Almodovar was followed by criticisms of people who ask questions but refuse to accept the answers and sex workers who waste energy in internecine squabbles.  “Uncommon Sense” (linked above) was then followed by a look at clueless neofeminist whining and a tale of the Ouled Nail.

This Week in 2010

The week began with my three-part column on the intersection of BDSM and whoring, which was followed by columns on why many escorts shun black clients and the physiological differences between genetic women and post-op transsexuals.  I also told the sad story of an escort I called “April” and published my very first (two-part) Q & A column.

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The Revolution put an end to prostitution by giving women what they wanted: a job and a room of their own.  –  Maxine Hong Kingston

Short articles on the usual subject.

Lipstick on a Pig

If I were to feature every news story of a prostitution bust in the United States, my column would consist of little else.  But this story from the August 15th Washington Examiner was noteworthy both for the appalling size of the operation and for the pathetic attempt to represent the same old police harassment campaign as some sort of feminist social work effort:

…In two separate six-hour periods, District [of Columbia] police arrested 54 men on prostitution solicitation-related charges…The men face up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, although Bray said most first-time offenders will be sent to a program to help them cope with their sexual desires.  Police also said they arrested 14 women on prostitution-related charges, four men on pandering charges for allegedly trying to coax undercover female officers into working for them as hookers, and two men on robbery charges for allegedly trying to rip off female undercover officers who were posing as prostitutes.  “The majority of the operation was focused on the customer side,” Bray said on Monday.  “We hope that if we do that there will be no customers and prostitution in the city will not be as prevalent”…”We’re also looking for human trafficking victims,” Bray said.  “We want to ID traffickers and pimps who try to trap victims.”

This “end demand” rhetoric is becoming much more common as police departments begin adding “Swedish model” propaganda to their usual ignorant statements in an effort to appeal to neofeminists and other anti-sex religious fanatics.  And the “human trafficking” dogma tacked on at the end there might be funny if not for the chilling, Orwellian language in the second sentence:  “first-time offenders will be sent to a program to help them cope with their sexual desires.”  It makes my skin crawl to see cops parroting neofeminist pathologization of normal male behavior in order to excuse their pogroms; too bad we can’t force cops into a program to help them cope with the sick, sadistic sexual desires that drive them to beat and murder men and rape women.

My Readers Write

I’m very proud of the unusually high literacy level of my readership, and many of my regular readers are writers themselves; thanks to a link on Tits and Sass last Friday I discovered this “Open Letter to Australian Feminists Concerned About Sex Worker Exploitation” written by regular reader Because I’m a Whore, which appeared on Feminaust on August 20th.  I think it’s important because it demonstrates a point I’ve made a number of times before:  As long as our laws allow individual behaviors to be criminalized by government, whores are in danger even in places where our profession has been legalized because the busybodies and control freaks are hard at work trying to get it recriminalized, just as Donna Hughes and her lackies accomplished in Rhode Island two years ago and the last Labour government in Britain almost managed last year.

Seeking Balance?

After allowing Trevor and Maggie Neilson a pulpit from which to vomit out their prohibitionist propaganda, perhaps Huffington Post is trying to establish balance by giving column space to Ronald Weitzer, whose work I’ve cited on a number of occasions.  Weitzer’s article, “Myths About Human Trafficking”, appeared on August 24th and directly refutes the bogus claims and statistics of which the Neilsons and their ilk are so fond.  While I’m pleased to see this, it’s sad that a publication which claims to be “liberal” could have featured writers who advocate crushing individual rights by police tactics in the first place.

Workers’ Paradise vs. Gold Diggers

With rare exception, Marxists are anti-prostitution for obvious reasons:  our trade is capitalism in its purest form.  The communist states of the 20th century proudly boasted (as in my epigram) that they had entirely eradicated prostitution, but of course this was pure poppycock; there is no evidence that prostitution decreased in the Soviet Union, China or any smaller communist state, and if anything it increased as women strove to gain luxuries or even simple necessities amidst the eternal shortages which characterize communist economies.  And though China no longer tries to pretend that prostitution does not exist within her borders, the Chinese government suppresses sex work every bit as brutally as the United States does, and unlike the U.S. it apparently doesn’t even allow whoring conducted under color of matrimony.  According to the August 23rd Sydney Morning Herald:

With divorce rates soaring and widespread worries about a culture of materialism, the Chinese government is now trying to stop women marrying for money…the Supreme Court has ruled that the person who buys the family home, or the parents who advance them the money, will get to keep it in the event of a divorce.  ”Hopefully this will help educate younger people, especially younger women, to be more independent, and to think of marriage in the right way rather than worshipping money so much,” Hu Jiachu, a lawyer in Hunan province, said.  The ruling should help relieve the burden on young men, many of whom fret about the difficulty of buying an apartment.  China’s property bubble has driven property prices in Shanghai up to $7934 per square metre when annual salaries average just $9521.

”There are more and more girls who want to marry rich men and improve their financial position.  It has been a notable increase,” Wang Zhiguo, a consultant at Baihe, a Beijing-based matchmaking website, said.  ”Most pretty girls now try to trade on their beauty.  It is an unhealthy trend and the government is now trying to restrict it.”  Recent statistics show there were 2.68 million divorces last year and divorces have multiplied at almost the same speed as the economy has grown:  by 7 per cent a year for five years.

I wonder what American feminists would think upon hearing their rhetoric coming out of the mouth of an advocate for Chinese social engineering?

Whores On Whores

Politicians are, as I’ve said before, the biggest whores of all, and many if not most of them hate garden-variety whores because we are living proof of their inability to control everybody and everything.  And now you can have a rare look at a few politicians’ uncensored opinions about us courtesy of Wikileaks and Furry Girl, who spent all day August 25th poring over this weeks’ new releases. She shares her results in her Feminisn’t column for August 26th, and though most of the results have to do with the annual State Department exercise in pomposity referred to as the “Trafficking in Persons Report”, there are enough other types of references to be interesting.

Oops

There aren’t many circumstances in which I would excuse a breach of confidentiality, but this is probably one of them:

A federal sex-trafficking case was declared a mistrial last week when a masseuse testifying against an allegedly exploitative massage parlor recognized the defense attorney as a former client.  Liudmyla Ksenych, a Ukranian immigrant, worked at a massage parlor owned by Alex “Daddy” Campbell, where other women testified they were trained to give clients sexual favors and pay Campbell thousands of dollars to avoid deportation…when she left the witness stand last Monday, she told prosecutors that she recognized Campbell’s attorney, Douglas Rathe, as a former client.  Rathe…told U.S. District Court Judge Robert Gettleman that he had visited Ksenych four times for massages and given her a bottle of perfume as a gift, but that “nothing inappropriate” occurred during those visits…“It was a massage — that was all it was…What happened was embarrassing — there was no doubt about it.  [But] I did nothing illegal or nothing that was considered improper.  This was a very unusual circumstance.”

According to the indictment, Campbell is accused of coercing immigrant women into jobs at his massage parlors, confiscating their passports, trapping them in apartments and driving them to and from work and extorting thousands of dollars from them with the threat of deportation…An accomplice has already pled guilty to these crimes.  Neither the prosecutors nor the judge seemed convinced that Rathe’s history with Ksenych interfered with his ability to do his job…and the government offered to withdraw Ksenych as a witness so the trial could continue.  But Campbell, who had already filed a motion for a mistrial on a separate issue…[insisted] he could not trust Rathe, his court-appointed attorney, and would need to be assigned a new defense lawyer…The trial has been rescheduled for January.

Do I really need to point out that the only reason Campbell and his accomplice were able to extort money from these women is that prostitution is criminalized?

One Year Ago Today

September Updates” was my very first “update” column and featured updates to “Legal Sundries” (August 17th) and “Nothing in the Dark” (August 8th).

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