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Posts Tagged ‘Negative Secondary Effects’

Bills don’t evaporate when clubs shut down.  –  Reese Piper

R.I.P. Laura Lee 

In the eight years I’ve been writing obituaries for people important to the demimonde, I’ve never before had to write one for a personal friend.  It is with a heavy heart that I announce the untimely passing of Laura Lee, a titan of sex work activism, who left us without warning Wednesday morning.  Matisse and I were informed Wednesday night, but asked not to say anything until Laura’s daughter was ready to make a public announcement, which she did late Thursday:  “My mum unfortunately passed away on Wednesday 7th February 2018.  She asked me to let you all know that she was so grateful for everyone’s support.  I ask you to continue all of your amazing campaign work in her honour.  I’m so proud of all my mum accomplished in her tragically short life.  My family have asked for complete privacy at this difficult time.  Much love & power to you all!”  In respect for the wishes of my late friend and her family, this is all I can say for now, but I’m starting to collect information to write a proper harlotography for her soon. Rest well, sweet lady, and Aphrodite bless thee.

Sex Workers Against Trafficking

GAATW is the largest “anti-trafficking” organization which recognizes that sex workers are the best guardians against real (as opposed to prohibitionist-imagined) coercion:

Sex worker rights organisations are creatively responding to violence, exploitation and other abuses within the sex industry, including instances of human trafficking, according to a new report published by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, Sex Workers Organising for Change: Self-representation, community mobilisation and working conditions.  The report is based on research conducted with sex worker organisations in…Canada, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, India, Thailand and New Zealand.  It highlights cases where sex workers, or sex worker organisations, learnt of situations where a woman was experiencing violence, working under unacceptable conditions, or was brought to the industry through force or deception…sex workers resolved the issue…by providing advice and referral to other organisations, negotiating with the brothel owner/madam, chasing the pimp out of their area, or gathering money to help the woman return home.  Despite this important work, sex worker rights organisations are largely unrecognised and even vilified by the anti-trafficking community…

Gorged With Meaning

Both sugar babies and sugar sites are heavily invested in pretending sugar dating isn’t sex work:

Brook Urick approves every piece published on Let’s Talk Sugar, a lifestyle site aimed at sugar babies…[which] is the media arm of SeekingArrangement.com…It may sound strange that sugar dating is attempting to reshape itself into a lifestyle brand.  But if you’re familiar with this scene, and familiar with Seeking Arrangement’s legal treatise, you’re well aware of the motives at play.  Prostitution is illegal in most of America.  Dates that come bundled with a suggested donation?  Not quite…Anything that portrays the sugar community as a niche cultural curiosity with an entire lexicon of inscrutable customs, taboos, and salutations, helps the company’s case that sugar dating is fundamentally detached from sex work.  Seeking Arrangement’s refusal to genuinely engage with the rest of the adult industry has earned mixed reactions from other, self-acknowledged sex workers.  Bobbi Besos, a prostitute who works at the Bunny Ranch in Las Vegas, recently penned a blog post on the brothel’s website—”Sugar Dating: Let’s Stop Sugar-Coating Prostitution“—arguing that the sugar scene’s quasi-legal standing meant that Seeking Arrangement can recuse itself from anything dangerous, coercive, or otherwise destructive that happens over the course of the transactional encounters they help facilitate…

Original Sin

Casual sex causes “sex trafficking”!

During a speech to pastors in Kansas City in December, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley linked the [supposed] problem of sex trafficking to the sexual revolution of the 1960s.  Hawley, the top Republican prospect to challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill in November…[fantasized] “We have a human trafficking crisis…because people are willing to purchase women…like commodities…The sexual revolution has led to exploitation of women on a scale that we would never have imagined, never have imagined…the false gospel of ‘anything goes’ ends in this road of slavery”…

Missourians have a choice of one lying prohibitionist control freak or another.  Lovely.

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes 

UK feminists win another battle against the employment of women:

…Formula One’s “grid girls”…will find themselves unemployed as of next season.  They are the latest battleground in what has ultimately been a long-fought [prohibitionist] war, which has, at various times, seen arguments about the Sun’s Page 3, Kim Kardashian’s nude selfies, dancers in music videos [etc]…These women are sexually objectified, the argument goes…[and] they send the wrong message to young girls and women…For an argument that is ostensibly about work…any analysis of labour itself is conspicuously missing…Working conditions…would seem a better place to start than sweeping moral judgments on the type of work itself…

Why I Wait

Seeming paradoxes arise when ignoramuses equate marriage rates and childbirth rates with rates of sex-having:

Deaths now outpace births, marriage is plummeting, and young people aren’t having sex.  The media are calling it sekkusu shinai shokogun, or “celibacy syndrome”—an alarming trend that has the Japanese government funnelling tax dollars into speed dating and matchmaking services over fears of an impending economic collapse.  But in a neon-lit pocket of Tokyo’s Shibuya district, BDSM equipment, mirrored ceilings, vibrating beds, and condom vending machines paint a different reality.  Welcome to Love Hotel Hill, where Japan’s sex industry is flourishing…It’s estimated that more than half of sex in Japan occurs in love hotels…There are more than 30,000…in the country, and hundreds in Tokyo alone.  With increasing life expectancies, the rising age of marriage, and high population density, multigenerational households are ubiquitous.  When married couples live in close quarters with elderly parents and children, love hotels offer a practical alternative to thin-walled Japanese homes where privacy is scarce…Discretion is a love hotel’s most important commodity—they often feature secret entrances, covered garages, and disposable license plate covers.  Patrons can make cash-only transactions with clerks stationed behind opaque screens to guarantee anonymity.  Others have sophisticated automated systems…

“Sex trafficking” hysteria is being used as an excuse to make it increasingly difficult for US hotels to offer their patrons similar anonymity.

Amsterdam (#530)

What are they going to do to tourists who won’t turn?  Arrest them?

Guided tours in Amsterdam’s red light district must ensure tourists turn their backs to windows and not photograph prostitutes.  These new measures…aim to lessen the number of tourists visiting the oldest parts of the city…The new rules also ban tours with drugs or alcohol and tighten up the “conditions for bike and Segway tours”…Guided tours will also have to end before 11 p.m. and tourists will not be allowed to stand in bridges or in front of store entrances during working hours…Tour companies that do not respect the new rules…will be heavily fined…

Lack of Evidence (#546)

Remember how New York City claimed doubling the size of its vice squad would magically “help” sex workers?  Here’s what the extra vice pigs are doing:

…Raquel is a 23-year-old trans woman from the Bronx, who [was arrested by plainclothes cops for walking down the street]…it wasn’t until she arrived at the 25th Precinct…that she learned she was being charged with prostitution, along with four other trans women arrested that night.  A police report [lies] that she agreed to perform oral sex…These arrests occurred against the backdrop of an NYPD [propaganda campaign claiming they would] arrest fewer people on prostitution charges and focus vice resources on arresting men who buy and traffic sex…The announcement won praise from [prohibitionists]…Sonia Ossorio, president of the New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women, called [harassing sex workers and cheating them of income] a “big step toward combating this form of modern-day slavery”…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#710)

California now has its own annual anti-whore pogrom:

More than 500 [people] were arrested…56 [of them were sex workers “authorities” claimed]…were rescued during a statewide [pogrom labeled with the Orwellian moniker]…Operation Reclaim and Rebuild…[only] 11 [of the sex workers were underage]…Among the 510 [men] arrested, 30 [were labeled] suspected traffickers and 178 [were labeled] “johns”…

Checklist (#753) 

Just in case you didn’t think you were spied on enough in airports:

If you pass through the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, you may see new signs asking people to be on the lookout for sex trafficking.  Delta Airlines and the airport have [collaborated] with the Super Bowl and [prohibitionist profiteers] Polaris to [raise hysteria about] the [non-]issue…Delta has also [indoctrinated] thousands of its employees [in racial profiling techniques] to [harass passengers]…

The Course of a Disease (#796)

American politicians increasingly use Swedish-scented rhetoric in futile attempts to disguise the stench of tyranny:

Legislation just introduced in the [Pennsylvania] state House would tackle a key [PR issue] identified by [prohibitionists] seeking to improve the way [they are seen by the public]…[sex workers are] arrested while the customers [are less so.  Prohibitionists lie, claiming that]…a little more than half of victims of human trafficking are being used for sex work [when actually it’s less than 10%], according to the [prohibitionist] group Equality Now [which is led by disgraced prosecutor Lauren Hersh, who resigned in disgrace after she was caught trying to railroad two innocent black men for rape]…

Not So Easy

Prohibitionists are learning the hard way that the wind is shifting:

With more than 200 strip club workers and advocates filling a makeshift meeting room inside the Rosenwald Center’s gym Feb. 6, the New Orleans City Planning Commission (CPC) rejected parts of a plan from the New Orleans City Council to limit the number of strip clubs on Bourbon Street.  The CPC instead followed recommendations from its staff that call for a “soft cap” of 14 clubs, rather than a harder cap limiting clubs to one per block face, as the City Council had proposed…The CPC’s recommendations now head [back] to the City Council…The CPC…said in its report…that it “has not found a direct causality between the number of [Adult Live Performance Venues, or ALPVs] in the [Vieux Carre Entertainment District] and crime”…

That last line is a reference to the thoroughly-disproven dogma of “negative secondary effects“, which claims that sex rays emanating from sexual businesses damage the brains of bystanders, forcing them to commit crimes. 

But while the staid Times-Picayune promotes this ludicrous fantasy and worse:

…[Politicians] have been relying on Times-Picayune investigative series to stoke fears that strip clubs are hotbeds for trafficking…the piece [is]…riddled with more holes than a New Orleans paved road…its authors consistently equate exotic dancing and prostitution with “trafficking”…moreover, the Times-Picayune denies actually having uncovered a pervasive trafficking problem, explaining in the first part of the series that “there has been no evidence that clubs knowingly employed dancers who were victims of human trafficking”…the paper’s gripe with the clubs appears entirely based on the [fantastic] premise that “[s]ome pimps are known to require women under their control to dance in clubs”…

…competing news media are coming out on the sex workers’ side, and the Advocate even gave column space to stripper Reese Piper:

Stripping allows people to not just survive, but thrive, with flexible hours, high earning potential, and a low bar of entry.  When I graduated college, I had more than $80,000 in debt.  Dancing eased that burden…I am also autistic — a disability that makes it difficult to hold down a traditional job…it’s our right to work without fear just like everyone else…

Stupor Bowl (#811)

The real reason the government keeps pushing the thoroughly-debunked “Super Bowl sex trafficking” myth:

Guests at this year’s Super Bowl game in Minneapolis can expect cops, checkpoints, and security theater everywhere, in no small part thanks to the myth that the Super Bowl is a mass sex-trafficking event…”sex trafficking” gives federal and local authorities an excuse for posting police anywhere and everywhere people are gathering—and for enlisting citizens as spies, too…We’re transforming Minneapolis into a police state to…crack down on an issue that almost everyone admits is imaginary…Even crony charity groups that spread all sorts of sex-trafficking misinformation found this myth too easily debunkable to keep repeating.  Pretty much the only folks who haven’t gotten the memo that Super Bowl sex-trafficking panic is bunk are the law-enforcement agents who benefit from promoting it…

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If I send away all the loose females, there will be no women left here at all.  –  Antoine Laumet de la Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, first governor of Louisiana

New Orleans is one of the older European cities in North America; in fact, this is its tricentennial year.  As I wrote in “Storyville” nearly eight years ago, the city…

…was founded on May 7, 1718…Besides being terribly primitive like all new colonies, New Orleans was hot, mosquito-infested and disease-ridden and therefore had nothing to recommend it to women, so [its founder] petitioned King Louis XV for help in 1721.  The monarch responded by releasing all the prostitutes in La Salpêtrière prison and deporting them to New Orleans, where they of course resumed their trade…In 1728, the Ursuline nuns started to import convent-raised middle-class French girls as wives for the middle and upper-class male colonists and continued to do so until 1751; these were called “casket girls” (filles à la cassette) because the French government issued them small chests of clothing.  Most of the female population were still either whores or former whores, but this concerned few people other than the priests; prostitution in New Orleans was neither regulated nor suppressed at any time during the 18th century…[once the] colony was…sold it to the United States in…1803…the puritanical Americans could not allow things to stand as they were, so though prostitution was still legal a series of regulations were imposed to allow the police to arrest streetwalkers for “vagrancy” or harass madams for “brothel keeping”…New Orleans’ first actual anti-prostitution law was the 1857 Lorette ordinance which prohibited prostitution on the first floor of buildings; it was soon declared unconstitutional…

By the end of the 19th century New Orleans had decided a policy of containment was better than one of harassment, and the result – a large and thriving entertainment district popularly known as “Storyville” and remembered today as the birthplace of jazz – brought so much money into the city that its government fought tooth and nail against Woodrow Wilson’s closing it down by executive order in 1917.  But a city whose native population is mostly descended from whores, and whose fortunes were powerfully augmented by whores, can never shake off that legacy no matter how hard it tries.  Although politicians prefer to pretend otherwise, they’ve existed in an uneasy truce with sex workers for a century now; despite what politicians might want, people come to the Crescent City for vice, and that is an economic fact of life.  For all of my life and probably longer, indoor sex work has been basically tolerated except for the occasional “sting” designed to provide the pigs with entertainment.  Prior to the ’80s, strip clubs were occasionally subjected to publicity-stunt raids, but could mostly avoid trouble by putting up with cops walking in like lords and helping themselves to free booze and money from the till; after the ’80s they were treated as the lucrative tax-paying businesses they are.  And the occasional attempts to “Disneyfy” the city (and there were many) always failed and were quietly shelved later by saner heads, or else just became part of the fabric of the way things were without actually accomplishing the sanitization politicians hoped for.  The last attempt, after Hurricane Katrina, resulted in the de facto exile of many thousands of poor black people and the invasion of the French Quarter, previously packed with locally-owned businesses, by national chains just like those in every other city.  But apparently they’re trying again, aiming to turn the infamous Bourbon Street into the “family friendly”, heavily-surveilled, police-state tourist trap it can never be:

New Orleans officials…are considering a [scheme] that would create one of the most extensive video-monitoring systems for any midsize American city…[it] would require every business with an alcohol license to install street-facing security cameras, and connect them to a real-time [surveillance] center overseen by [cops]…along with typically vexing civil liberties issues, the proposal has sparked concerns that surveillance will…suck the soul out of the place….[pigs claim] live streams and recorded footage from the cameras would be used primarily to solve violent crimes. But…[visitors] count on New Orleans following the Las Vegas rule — that what happens there will stay there…“We have a very vibrant public life, where people feel free to express themselves in public — and I’m not just talking about beads and lifting your top on Mardi Gras,” said Bruce Hamilton, a staff attorney with the [ACLU]…Louisiana branch.  “Everyone acts different when they know the government is watching”…The broad public safety plan announced last year, which included an early version of the camera plan, discussed taking steps to “reduce the culture of permissiveness” in New Orleans.  One of its ideas, to force bars to…close their doors at 3 a.m…has already been shelved after a flurry of criticism…

Another form of violent Puritanism, building for the past couple of years, was more fully implemented in the past couple of weeks, using the excuse of “sex trafficking”:

…The raids appear in tandem with the City Council and City Planning Commission’s (CPC) recent production and upcoming review of an “Adult Live Performance Venues Study,” (ALPV) which recommends…that clubs be closed, due to their [mythical] “secondary negative effects”, though it presents no hard data in support of this claim.  Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office placed attorney Scott Bergthold on a $15,000 retainer to advise on the ALPV Study.  His firm, adultbusinesslaw.com, litigates against adult businesses on behalf of cities and counties…[the recent] raids, as with the October 2015 raids called “Operation Trick or Treat,” uncovered not one instance of human trafficking or the presence of underage workers…[strippers] who resisted were handcuffed and many described being ridiculed, degraded, and molested by cops.  In response to stripper’s protests of the conduct of all-male officers during the raids, they laughed and replied “You lost your right to decency when you became a stripper”…

But if “authorities” thought sex workers would meekly submit as we so often did in the pre-social media days, they got a rude awakening:

A Jan. 31 press conference about the Bourbon Street infrastructure redevelopment turned cacophonous when a group of gentlemen’s club workers and their allies staged a demonstration, drowning out city and tourism officials.  Holding signs that said “Why the celebration?? Strippers are out of work,” “We are workers, not political pawns” and simply “Can you not?”, a group of at least 70 workers gathered behind officials on the 300 block of Bourbon Street, blocked by a few scattered New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officers.  As the conference began (and cameras rolled), workers began to chant, rendering officials’ statements almost inaudible…

And while the staid Times-Picayune newspaper and Church-and-crony owned local TV stations obediently parroted prohibitionist myths about magical pimps and passive “sex slaves” somehow mysteriously hidden in busy clubs, their competition such as the Gambit (above) and the Advocate were unafraid to side with sex workers:

Four of the eight French Quarter strip clubs targeted in raids over the past two weeks will be able to start serving alcohol again soon after reaching settlements with state officials…Two other clubs have permanently shut down.  The settlements were announced hours after city and tourism officials were interrupted as they tried to hold a news conference to announce that Bourbon Street was “open for business”…The raids…were touted as an effort to curb human trafficking, but they have not yielded any arrests for that crime, and officials have not provided any public evidence of that activity…protesters said the focus on the clubs was absurd, given the extent of drug use, prostitution and “flashing” that they said typically get a blind eye on Bourbon Street itself.  Chanting “save our jobs” and holding signs with slogans like “Bourbon Street is not Sesame Street” and “Entertainers’ rights are human rights,” the protesters argued the shutdown had done little but hurt their ability to make a living…

And stalwart supporter of sex worker rights Truthout (not to be confused with the prohibitionist Truthdig) took aim at the real reason for the raids:

…The strip club crackdown appears to be part of what locals call the “Disneyfication” of New Orleans.  Wealthy investors and developers took increasing interest in the city as it recovered from Hurricane Katrina, driving up property values and attracting rich transplants to the historic homes in and around the French Quarter.  This has led to calls to “clean up” the streets, which have long been home to artists, travelers, street musicians and sex workers…

For too long, sex workers have been thought of as safe targets of tyranny by cops and politicians who feel secure in the conviction that nobody outside the demimonde will side with us.  But that has changed since I was a Bourbon Street stripper myself; now we’re organizing and fighting back, supported by the millions of supporters we’ve won on social media.  No longer are we afraid to speak up, silenced by the threat of outing; no longer are sex workers entirely isolated and unsure of who our friends are.  And in the very near future, “authorities” all over the US will learn what those in New Orleans are learning right now:  we are a vital part of every human society, and in the long run we will win against the State’s crusade to enslave some of us and wipe the rest of us out.

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