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Posts Tagged ‘Neither Addiction nor Epidemic’

Sex work can be dangerous; but those dangers are exacerbated, or in many cases even created, by criminalisation.  -  Jean Urquhart

Something Rotten in Sweden (December Updates) Maxine Doogan

sex workers [protested] a San Francisco anti-trafficking panel discussion…about “Discouraging Demand”…[including] the “John School”…Maxine Doogan…[of] the Erotic Service Providers Union…[said] “Using the term ‘john’ to describe our clients is like using the N-word…It’s a derogatory means of dehumanizing the customers.”  Law enforcement efforts that go after clients ultimately increase risks for sex workers, she continued.  “Any criminalization of our customers is going to bring us more violence”…Doogan also cited the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark decision…striking down…anti-prostitution laws that the justices unanimously agreed were…dangerous…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea

the law which regulates sex work in India today [is] the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (ITPA), 1956.  This does not criminalise sex work per se, but, as the Lawyers’ Collective that works for sex workers’ rights points out, it results in “de facto criminalisation through prohibition of soliciting, brothel and street work”, and this “has effectively undermined sex workers’ ability to claim protection of law”…Often sex workers are evicted from the only roof they had with their children in the name of “closing down brothels”…[the avails law] criminalises…their children as soon as they cross the age of 18, and old parents and younger siblings who many sex workers support.  However…“The criminalisation of soliciting is one of the most obvious legal problems…Sex workers are arrested even when they’re not soliciting”…

Against Their Will

This has a few irksome passages, but it’s probably much more palatable to rescue industry types than the way most sex worker rights activists might express it:

…Imagine someone flying across the country to pick up an individual they only recently met.  They are removed from everything they have ever known.  Then they’re placed in a home where they can’t have contact with anyone in the outside world.  Sounds much like trafficking?  It also sounds like a rescue…More often than not the story of Captain Save a Ho and the “fair maiden” ends with the girl running out as friends console the rescuer saying, “You did the best you could”…“She had too many problems”…or “Maybe she was wounded beyond repair”…The term “rescue” naturally implies that a person is incapable of helping themselves, and sometimes this is true…but the effects of being rescued can leave a lasting emotional mark on the survivor, which is difficult to overcome in the new life…

Saving Them From Themselves arrested teen girl

[Virginia] police say a teenager is facing child pornography charges after allegedly tweeting nude pictures of herself…The teen’s phone was confiscated for evidence, and she was charged with one count of distribution of child pornography…this could end up…with jail time…investigators say they are seeing a surge in these types of cases because teens see it as harmless sexting.

How dare they form their own opinions!  Only “authorities” have the right to determine what is harmless, and teens must be taught that by the infliction of much more severe harm.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

David Ley…and colleagues conducted a review [showing]…only 27 percent…of articles on porn addiction contain…actual data, while [most suffer from]…poor experimental designs, [low] methodological rigor and lack of model specification…The review…found very little evidence — if any at all — to support…the purported negative side effects…There was no sign pornography was connected to erectile dysfunction, or that it caused any [brain] changes…people reporting “addiction” are more likely to…have a non-heterosexual orientation …high libido…and…religious values that conflict with their sexual behavior and desires…the research team said pornography might improve attitudes toward sexuality…increase quality of life…and…provide…a legal outlet for illegal sexual behaviors or desires, and its consumption or availability has been associated with a decrease in sex offenses, especially child molestation…

Coincidentally, Dr. Ley also appears in “Horns” below.

Above the Law

The lengths to which prosecutors and reporters will go to avoid saying “rape” when the rapist is a cop are nothing short of amazing:

Sorrento Police Chief Earl Theriot admits he committed sex acts with an unresponsive woman…and now faces a federal sentence for lying to the FBI about it…Theriot…placed her in the front seat of his police vehicle and took her to his office where he “engaged in…sexual contact with her”…

And in Hawaii,

[Alexandria Gregg]…is suing the…department of public safety and [prison warden] Neal Wagatsuma…for…[sexually] shaming…her and other female inmates…“During open public meetings of male and female detainees…Wagatsuma repeatedly forced…[female inmates] to stand at a podium and speak about their private, intimate and traumatizing sexual experience”…the warden ordered [them] to elaborate on…incidents of rape as well as sexual preferences.  The public questionings were videotaped by male detainees…“Typically, the detainees selected for filming were young attractive women”…Press Freedom Index

Pyrrhic Victory

Presented with minimal comment: the US continues its descent in the press freedom index; it is now just below Papua New Guinea and Romania, and just above Haiti and Niger.

Naked Truth

A good article by Melissa Gira Grant on the real effects of political crusades against sex work.  Note that though Salon chose to point fingers at “the right” in its headline, the article itself makes no false partisan distinctions:

…Super Bowl lent the excuse for New York and New Jersey…to step up their routine anti-prostitution policing, in anticipation of an increased demand for commercial sex that, in Super Bowls past, has never been borne out.  NYPD’s vice unit coordinator Anthony Favale doesn’t even seem to mind that the hype is just that, telling Time, ”I don’t know if the increased number [of prostitutes] is a legend or not, but I am exploiting the opportunity”…Long before the media turned the Super Bowl into a…story of violence and exploitation…people engaged in the sex trade have been documenting…all the ways anti-prostitution policing pits them against law enforcement and puts them at risk when they need help…

Sex Work is Work

Sometimes the absurdity of the idea of consensual crime is blatantly obvious:

The European Union is [finally] enforcing laws which…require countries to estimate how much cash changes hands on their black markets.  Those figures will be taken into account when calculating national GDP and allocating the £120-billion Brussels budget.  EU officials say the change will ensure consistent economic comparisons between member states.  As prostitution and drug use is legal in some member states – like the Netherlands – officials say it’s only fair for other states to acknowledge those activities in their national accounts.  Prostitution in the UK is expected to be valued at £3 billion a year, and drug dealing at around £7 billion…

Train Wreck (TW3 #48)

An…NGO, Society Against Prostitution and Child Labour in Nigeria (SAP-CLN), in collaboration with Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) have elected to embark on a controversial campaign to rid Nigeria’s capital city of prostitutes…armed soldiers and police…run amok…[victims are charged] N5,000 each [about $30.50 US]…those [with] the money [are] released instantly [but] others [are held overnight to see a] magistrate…SAP-CLN has many [lawsuits] hanging on its neck [over this]…and…the… Dorothy Njemanze Foundation…has called on the Federal Government to stop SAP-CLN…The group said many female students …employees… shoppers and even married women have been brutalised and abducted…

Original Sin (TW3 #321)

Dr. Brooke Magnanti on the evangelical underpinnings of “sex trafficking” myth:

The scandal of counsellors in “crisis clinics” that claim to offer “abortion support” claiming that terminations can cause breast cancer and women to become child sexual abusers was exposed this week…The vast majority of such “clinics” in the UK…are run by…Christian Action Research and Education (CARE)…the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade.  This APPG aims to promote the so-called Swedish Model…It’s been revealed over and over again how far left second wavers are beholden to anti-homosexuality, anti-trans, anti-sex work and anti-abortion interests, yet many people refuse to acknowledge the truth…I think Pee Wee Herman says it best…


Deafening Silence

Time bravely denounces police violence against sex workers!  But only in China, of course; American anti-whore police violence is A-OK:

…A 6,000-strong [police] force reportedly raided 12 hotels and entertainment venues in Dongguan] leading to 67 arrests — 90-odd cops for each of the alleged perpetrators.  Two police chiefs were later suspended, according the South China Morning Post… “Swept Away: Abuses Against Sex Workers in China“…documented torture, beatings, physical assaults, arbitrary detentions and fines.  Another report, by Asia Catalyst, found that escaping custody meant paying bribes.  Periodic “busts” focus on shaming women, not stemming the trade.  In a now-notorious 2010 case, Dongguan officials publicly paraded male and female suspects, barefoot and handcuffed, through the street…But…China’s netizens know where the real shame lies…“clean [up] your so called police troops, that’s what people really want to see” [said commenters]…“Arrest 67 officials [instead]“…

Between the Ears (TW3 #322)

Once again:  female sexual desire has nothing to do with blood flow, to the genitalia or anywhere else:

…a pill dubbed “female Viagra”…containing an extract from French pine bark called pycnogenol, goes on sale this month…[under the name] Lady Prelox…The manufacturer…claims its product “boosts libido and increases arousal in women”, because it “encourages blood flow to the reproductive organs as well as the brain”…

Torture Chamber

the Dutch justice ministry announced the planned closing of…19 prisons…[due to] a continued decline in crime rates.  Additionally, those who are convicted are choosing electronic tagging instead of incarceration.  This allows people to go back to work and continue as productive members of society. It also saves about $50,000 per year per person…

Horns

B0000351 Human sperm showing exceptional sperm countFrom an evolutionary perspective, the idea that a guy would take pleasure from watching his wife with another man is counterintuitive.  Historically, men have gone to great lengths to avoid being “cuckolded”…fear of cuckoldry…shaped how our male ancestors approached sexual relationships and, to this day, is…the reason men tend to get more jealous…about…sexual infidelity than women…Increasingly, scientists favor a biological explanation based on a growing body of work on sperm competition.  Research shows that when one woman mates with several men, those men can display behavioral and biological changes intended to increase their likelihood of fertilizing her egg…David Ley…[thinks it’s related to] displaying…one’s sexy wife [as] a status symbol…

Innocence Never Had

More truthful headline: “Underage Sex Worker Murdered in Yorba Linda

A 17-year-old girl found stabbed to death in…Yorba Linda [California]…was a victim of human trafficking…about two weeks before she was killed…Officers identified Aubreyanna Sade Parks as a victim of human trafficking during a crackdown on prostitution in Santa Ana….Parks was turned over to county social service workers…[and] taken to a shelter but walked out in the following days…Larry Soo Shin [has been arrested for the murder]…

It’s bad enough that criminalization almost certainly contributed to this young woman’s death; do they really need to erase her agency in an attempt to increase that criminalization for living sex workers?

The Public Eye (TW3 #403)

Considering it’s in an Irish newspaper, this is nothing short of amazing:

…Watching [Northern Ireland’s justice committee] in action, you could very well be back in Salem in the final years of the 17th century…Laura…Lee’s treatment was so bad that she has registered a complaint with the Assembly…Lee does much of her sex work with terminally ill and disabled men, offering them a discount from her normal rate…In one of the most repulsive parts of the hearing, Paul Givan asked her, “Why would you exploit a disabled individual and make him pay?”, as though Lee was targeting defenceless men and entrapping them into having sex with her…[these] posturing men…clearly fancy themselves as grand inquisitors, when in reality they mistake boorishness and stupid sneering for incisive interrogation.  It is [they], not…Laura Lee, who should be ashamed of themselves.

Catastrophic Consequences (TW3 #406) Jean Urquhart

MSP Jean Urquhart did something extraordinary this week:

Jean has criticised Edinburgh’s decision to delicense its saunas and massage parlours, and called for a debate on decriminalising sex work in order to improve safety and decrease stigma.  Her intervention has been praised by…SCOT-PEP as “courageous”…Jean highlighted calls from sex workers’ organisations for full decriminalisation, as practiced in New Zealand since 2003…

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The movement of sex workers has become successful because they have learned to recognise themselves as workers.  -  Samarjit Jana

R.I.P. Gloria Leonard

Gloria LeonardPorn star and men’s magazine publisher Gloria Leonard died on February 3rd after suffering a stroke at her Hawaii home on the night of January 31st; she was 73, but had been in good health.  Like me, she was already over 30 when she began sex work and had already had a previous career (in her case, as a stockbroker).  She was hired as publisher of High Society in 1977 and still continued to star in and direct movies for several years afterward; she also pioneered one of the first phone sex lines in 1983.  During the feminist “porn wars” she became an outspoken advocate of sex work, and served as president of the Free Speech Coalition from 1998-2001.

Juxtaposition

Compare and contrast this:

Notified by The Street of its investigation that revealed that escort services were using Twitter, Rep. Chris Smith…urged that Congress investigate…to initiate a crackdown on Twitter, Backpage, Craigslist and other social media “that are the conduit for this terrible exploitation of women”…

And this:

Saudi Arabia’s feared religious police authority has decided to launch a war against what it described as vice and sorcery accounts on Twitter…The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice said it had formed special teams to track those accounts and arrest those who are behind them…[for] “spreading vice and witchcraft…we are determined to eliminate these accounts before they become widespread and out of control”…

Oops

[Indian] police have [difficulty] acting on tip-offs about prostitution activity…[because] moral boundaries are changing at different rates and what some call illicit sex is…[to] others…usual dating practice…In September…18 couples…in “compromising positions” were  rounded up from rooms in a hotel in…Ludhiana and detained under the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act.  Dharampal Singh…who led the raid, [said]…“Every couple says that they are there by consent or are dating [secretly]”…which is not uncommon in a society where families still arrange marriages and frown on premarital sex…

Well, At Least They’re Consistent

A [Virginia] state law that makes it a crime to have sex outside of marriage remains on the books after an effort to decriminalize it failed…Lawmakers…had concerns over potential loopholes the change would make in relation to incest and other sex crimes…[bill sponsor] Mark Sickles…[said] members want to make sure the bill is redrafted correctly and sent to the state Crime Commission for review before it is taken up again.  Eight people were convicted of fornication last year…

Surplus Women

[In 2007] Bonnie Barrett…was murdered by [Derek Brown]…who police believe was imitating Jack the Ripper…Bonnie worked as a…sex worker in Whitechapel…and…Jackie [Summerford] believes better policing could have prevented her…death.  She is one of several women who are today launchingRobert Richard Fraser a campaign on the Change.org petition website to change the way police interact with those in the sex trade.  She says… “They deserve to be protected, not ignored by police”…

Meanwhile, “Police have arrested a man [for]…the murder of…Maria Duque-Tunjano [last week]…Robert Richard Fraser…[is also suspected in]…an attack on another sex worker on January 18…

Imaginary Lines (November Updates)

The Gibson guitar company, having had its federally seized wood returned to it, is celebrating with the release of a new product made from that very wood:  the Les Paul Government II Series…available in one color:  “Government Tan.”

Where Are the Protests?

I guess rugs just aren’t as sexy as whores:

…researchers documented more than 3,000 cases of forced labor in India’s handmade carpet sector…factories and shacks where workers toil 10 to 12 hours a day for six to seven days a week were “cramped, filthy, unbearably hot and humid, imperiled with stray electrical wires and rusty nails…and contaminated with grime and mold”…Workers were subjected to frequent beatings and abuse and…suffered from…long-term health issues because of the grueling nature of the work.  Many…suffered from eye disease or loss of vision due to insufficient light.  Some developed spinal deformation…The average adult worker was paid between 21 and 24 cents an hour, while children were paid less…These carpets are sold in a number of major retail chains including, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Target, Sears, Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Ethan Allen, IKEA and others…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Brigham Young University wants young Mormons to “rescue” their friends from the scourge of wanking by ratting on them to religious “authorities”:

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Thank you to new reader Xavier Naff for Vampyres, a lesbian vampire movie I first read about over 20 years ago but have never actually seen.  I’m told it’s very interesting on several levels.

Above the Law

Chicago police strip-searched three people on the street, and forced the woman to discard her bloody tampon while five male officers watched and made jokes about her body…Caprice Halley, Tevin Ford, and Willie Douglas…sued the City of Chicago and its Officers Wherfel, E. Doughtery, A. Granat, D. Balesteri, B. Rodekohr, J. Reckard, R. Federici, and T. Conlon…In May 2013, Halley and Ford were passengers in Douglas’ car, when they were confronted by police in an unmarked car driving toward them the wrong way down a one-way street…

Beside the vaginal probing of the woman, these uniformed molesters also shackled Douglas to a house’s burglar bars, pulled down his pants and spread his buttocks.  “Wherfel [then] took a small bag of heroin from her own sock and falsely claimed she had found it in Halley’s waistband”…

An Example to the West DMSC logo

A six-day conference of sex workers began [in Kolkata]…discussions [include] issues concerning their well-being as well as those relating to trafficking of minors and pension to old sex workers…

Hall of Shame

Your periodic reminder that Dennis Hof is a revolting excuse for a human being:

…Denis Hof…started pondering an expansion north of the border after he heard about the Supreme Court striking down prostitution laws in this country…“The smart residents will understand that it’s going to stop the sex trafficking that’s going on now. You got a huge sex trafficking problem…Our way would slow that down substantially”…

Yes, he’s spreading “sex trafficking” lies in Canada in hopes of lining his own pockets at independent sex workers’ expense.

The Public Eye

Here’s a short interview with Melissa Gira Grant in New York Magazine about her new book, Playing the Whore; in it she discusses Nick Kristof, Gloria Steinem, Jill Filipovic and other prohibitionists who claim they want to “rescue” us from our own choices.lurid sex trafficking (so-called) art

Profit from Panic (TW3 #40)

California State University, Stanislaus…senior Hannah Noonan took a proactive approach to educate her peers…through the creation of…“Crate Human Awareness,” a graphic installation displayed in a heavily traversed area of the campus…“My desire is to educate others that humans are being kidnapped and sold into slavery, prostitution, pornography, and organ harvesting”…humans are typically smuggled in crates of this type…according to Noonan…

A 22-year-old art major said it, so it must be true!

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (TW3 #44)

Gloria Steinem continues her journey into irrelevance:

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem today described prostitution as “commercial rape” and said it was wrong to term prostitutes as sex workers.  “Prostitution involves body invasion and so it is not like any other work.  So how can you call it sex work?  Prostitution is the only word you should use”…

That “body invasion” nonsense says almost all you need to know.

Above the Law (TW3 #313)

A New Jersey State [prison guard is going to]…prison for…[threatening] four prostitutes into having free or cut-rate sex with him…Juan R. Stevens pleaded guilty to official misconduct in return for…five years in prison…two before he’s eligible for parole…[he] also forfeits his state job and is permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey…

The End of the Beginning

A New Hampshire house committee has just passed a bill 18-1 (!!!) that would prohibit the establishment or existence of sex offender residency restrictions in that state.  This…is completely unheard of.  It’s one thing to simply not pass residency restriction bills, but it’s quite another to pass a law that explicitly prohibits them…[the bill’s sponsor] argued that restricting housing for sex offenders pushes them “underground,” in campgrounds, under bridges and to other places the police cannot monitor…

Guest Columnist:  Sarah Woolley (TW3 #324)

Cathy Reisenwitz in Daily CallerAmnesty International logo

It just couldn’t be clearer.  “Amnesty International is opposed to the criminalization or punishment of activities related to the buying or selling of consensual sex between adults.”  Thus begins a recently leaked document from the famed human rights organization calling for an end to prohibitions on sex work…Amnesty…defines sex work as work, making a clear delineation between employment and slavery…As Maggie McNeill details, anti-prostitution campaigners paint the typical sex worker as a child slave, while governments use anti-trafficking laws to restrict migration.  And that ill-intended confusion muddies the entire debate…as Amnesty International points out, “Criminalizing or otherwise punishing people for their choices in selling or buying consensual sex in any way fails to address these structural inequalities, and rather serves to further disempower individuals”…

A Broker in Pillage (TW3 #330)

The federal government must pay nearly $40,000 to cover the legal fees of a California woman who successfully sued to reclaim more than $1 million of her money [stolen by police] during a Nebraska traffic stop…Tara Mishra…[earned] the money…as an exotic dancer…and…[gave it to friends] to invest in a New Jersey nightclub…The government’s claim that the money was tainted with drug residue was of little value, the judge said, as…nearly all cash in circulation is drug-tainted…

Little Tin Gods

The Jefferson Davis Parish sheriff’s office claims that eight survival sex workers there were murdered by a serial killer.  However, all the women knew one another well; several were related to one another, and every one of them was a drug informant to a sheriff’s office which is notoriously corrupt even by Louisiana standards.  Read this long, thorough investigative report on the murders, and I suspect you’ll come to the same conclusion I did the very first time I heard about the case.

Number Puzzle (TW3 #350)

Alice Schwarzer…accused news magazine Spiegel…of trying to damage her reputation by reporting on her [paying]…‘a six-figure sum’…in back taxes [for]…her Swiss bank account…she…accused Spiegel of acting in the interest of [prostitutes]…

Catastrophic Consequences

Edinburgh City Council has scrapped the licensing of saunas and massage parlours…but it [does] not mean the saunas [will] close…Scot-Pep…said…”With Police Scotland persisting in its policy of using condoms as evidence of sex work against the explicit recommendations of the World Health Organisation, workers will fear to keep large quantities of condoms on their premises, as this could be used to criminalise women.”

Here’s a more surprising reaction to the news:

Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) has voted to publicly support the rights of sex workers…approximately 70 students…voted overwhelmingly in support of the motion…[which] stipulates that EUSA officially advocate the decriminalisation of sex work, offer its support to sex workers who are students at the University of Edinburgh, as well as endorsing sex workers’ rights organisations, “such as SCOT-PEP and Sex Workers’ Open University”…

The More the Better (TW3 #404)

Franck Ribery and…Karim Benzema were acquitted on charges of soliciting an underage prostitute…the…judge ruled there wasn’t enough proof the men were aware that…Zahia Dehar…was a minor at the time…

O, Canada! (TW3 #405)

More on the Canadian sex worker intimidation scheme; note they are only just realizing now that most escorts advertise online:

[Halifax, NS] police who worked in a recent nationwide sex-trade operation are seeing a shift toward online communicating…A joint news release issued by a number of Canadian sex-work support groups said the operation uses deception and intimidation…male officers posed as clients to book appointments, but then had several officers arrive…and demand entry.  They…[interrogate] her…demand to see her identification and search her premises and possessions…Fiona Traynor…of Stepping Stone…criticized the police news release for saying the sex workers were under some level of control.  “There’s no [evidence] of…that,” she said…

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Sex workers consider the promotion of the Swedish model and other forms of criminalization not just part of an ongoing “debate” on sex work, but a matter of life and death.  -  Melissa Gira Grant

John Wesley HawkinsLicense To Rape

A West Virginia sheriff raped a teenager and sodomized her with a cucumber, threatened to kill her if she told, and subjected at least five other women to forced sex, at least once in a courthouse…Brittany Mae Keene sued Barbour County Sheriff John Wesley Hawkins and the Barbour County Commission…[who] essentially let Hawkins conduct a reign of sexual terror against women in his custody…”  Hawkins’ victims ranged in age from 16 to 19.

Cops and Condoms (February Updates)

A [Polish] prostitute with HIV has been arrested for…having unprotected sex with clients [although]…she knew she was HIV positive…Fellow sex workers tipped off cops about the woman over fears that her actions would give prostitutes a bad [name].  But officers only arrested her after two of her clients came forward and admitted they had tested positive for HIV…

Election Day (February Updates)

Kristin Davis is running for office again, this time for New York City comptroller against her old client Eliot Spitzer.  She was interviewed in The National Review  by Charles Cooke (himself an advocate of legalization), and though she claims to be a libertarian she also seems to be advocating the sort of avails and bawdy house laws which may soon be struck down in Canada because they endanger sex workers.  Every time she opens her mouth, she reaffirms her membership in my Hall of Shame.

Subtle Pimping

LupaThe law doesn’t care if you profit from sex workers, as long as you don’t have any direct contact or actually help us in any way.  In a new French video game players manipulate a cartoonish, stereotyped streetwalker who must make $150,000 to “escape her pimp” by performing fake orgasm sounds into a microphone and avoiding hazards like cops and STDs (no skill involved in the latter because whores are just stupid victims of fate).  The writer of the linked review also profits by using various prohibitionist tropes to save himself the effort of original thought.

Public Service Announcement

Anthony Weiner found himself caught in another sexting scandal…like the one that destroyed his congressional career, but…won’t drop out of the race for mayor of New York…Weiner admitted sending a woman sexually explicit photos and messages…more than a year after he resigned from the House in disgrace for the same sort of behavior…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (July Updates)

Another example of cops’ filthy efforts to subvert the means by which sex workers attract business and keep ourselves safe:  “…a Long Island couple [was arrested for]…running an international escort service called Aphrodite Companions…Vincent and Melissa Lombardo…are currently being held without bond…the only basis…was…postings on…The Erotic Review…Jeremy Moody

Counterfeit Comfort

A South Carolina man targeted a sex offender at random, killed him and his wife and later told deputies he planned to kill others on the state’s sex registry…Jeremy Moody and his wife, Christine, were arrested and charged with murder…Moody only knew 59-year-old Charles Parker in passing, but came to the mechanic’s…home…with plans to kill him…Surveillance cameras outside Parker’s home showed Moody and his wife driving up…and popping the hood on their car as if it wasn’t working…Gretchen Parker wasn’t specifically targeted, but was killed because she was in the house…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

UCLA researchers say sex addiction does not appear to be a disorder…Nicole Prause and her colleagues monitored…volunteers’ brains while showing them erotic images.  “If they indeed suffer from hypersexuality…their brain response to visual sexual stimuli could be expected to be higher, in much the same way that the brains of cocaine addicts have been shown to react to images of the drug”…Prause…thinks that so-called sex rehabs should be examined…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Unlearning LibertyTwo readers sent presents for my thirdAbsolutely Mad anniversary (they arrived while I was in Las Vegas, so I didn’t know about them until after I got home last Sunday):  Kevin Wilson sent Unlearning Liberty, and Krulac sent Absolutely Mad and Blak and Blu.  Thanks so very much to both of you!

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A Broker in Pillage

Make a note of this one, because you won’t often see a judge side with a sex worker against cops:

A federal judge has ruled that Nebraska cops must return over $1 million confiscated at a traffic stop from a woman who saved the money $1 at a time during her 15 year career as an exotic dancer…Tara Mishra, 33…began putting aside her earnings when she started dancing at age 18…to start her business and get out of…stripping…State troopers confiscated the money in March 2012 when they pulled over Rajesh and Marina Dheri…[who] had been given the cash so they could buy a nightclub in New Jersey.  Mishra would own half of the business and the Dheris would own the other half…police did not find any evidence of drug activity…and…analysis found only trace elements of illegal drugs on the cash…[the judge] ordered that Mishra receive cash or a check in the value of $1,074,000 with interest.

Welcome To Our World (TW3 #15)

Another supposed “victim” is caged to force her cooperation in the state’s ugly little morality play:  “[An Illinois] woman who claims she was forced to work as a prostitute for her boyfriend remains held…without…bail because she is considered a flight risk and might not return to testify in her boyfriend’s trial…

End Demand

Though the story is somewhat amusing, note that “end demand” policies turn innocent whores into unwilling Judas goats:  “A man caught with a prostitute in his car told police she was there to show him where to buy tomatoes…officers found the [known sex worker] sitting inside Muhammad Ikhlaq’s car while he withdrew £20 from a cash machine, which he said was to pay for tomatoes…

Unclean Situation

The Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, and Good Shepherd Sisters will not apologise to survivors of the Magdalene laundries…Neither will [they] make a financial contribution to the Government’s reparations scheme…Co-operation voluntarily given does not compel the nuns in any legal sense.  Their negative response invalidates the Government’s assertion that survivors are being afforded restorative justice.  There is no justice without the nuns’ apologyPrint and/or financial reparation…the orders expect an amnesty for gross human rights violations…

Lest you forget, these same orders still receive tremendous amounts of aid and political support from the Irish government for their anti-whore scheme Ruhama.

No Friend of Ours

Just in case you think it’s only Las Vegas “authorities” who hate whores so much they’re willing to make themselves look like idiots by parroting ludicrous prohibitionist drivel, here’s an unusually-ridiculous example from Reno:

An increasing number of the young women…began working as prostitutes while in their teens.  They are manipulated by men who control every aspect of their lives…Some girls are branded – or tattooed – with their pimp’s name…others are forced to perform while their children are held ransom, usually at gunpoint…Girls as young as 11 are being exploited…the average age…is 14…Since 2002, the FBI and local law enforcement agencies have rescued about 100 children identified as possible victims of juvenile sex trafficking…That number does not include the adult women being trafficked, which experts say would be impossible to produce because many women don’t acknowledge that they are under the control of a pimp…[Ron] Chalmers heads the…[police division] that focuses on these types of crimes…about 10 years ago, the women arrested…were generally in their 30s to 40s [and] were drug addicts, he said.  But today, the prostitution demographics are completely different…They’re much younger than they used to be, he said…”A significant number of what we see, 80 to 90%, are being exploited – forced into the lifestyle”…

You may remember that the claims made in the “Satanic Panic” similarly became much more extreme, bizarre and demonstrably false as the hysteria drew closer to the point of implosion.  That last bit is more than just Maslow’s Hammer at work; it’s an example of the incredible mathematical and sociological illiteracy of hysterics.  Whenever a person tells you there’s been a major demographic shift in any human behavior in only one decade – from nearly nothing to “80 or 90%” -  it’s a safe bet the speaker is an imbecile who is incapable of considering even rudimentary thought experiments like “where did all the old ones go?”  We see the same principle at work under the Swedish model, which claims to have dramatically decreased the number of men who have ever paid for sex.

Banishment

The sex workers in the Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (SNapCO), the Atlanta group which defeated the proposal to banish arrested sex workers from the city, need to get control of their “allies”; not only is the group supporting involuntary diversion programs, its spokeswoman Misty Novitch is belching up the “average debut at thirteen” myth for the media.

It Looks Good On Paper (TW3 #311)

Yet another religiously-based “diversion program” chock full of prohibitionist rhetoric which claims to “help” streetwalkers while refusing to question the justice of the laws by which cops repeatedly victimize them:  “Prostituted women” were all sexually abused as children, pimps give us drugs to control us, blah blah blah blah blah…sauna raid

Across the Pond (TW3 #324)

Council bosses have [suspended] half a dozen [Edinburgh sauna] licences following a string of police raids…[in] a radical shift from the typically pragmatic approach to prostitution which…[kept] sex workers safer and off the streets…Peter Donoghue, 69, a former sauna operator…said:  “It was a lot of nonsense. Some girls have worked at the saunas for ten or 12 years. They’ll simply work for escort agencies instead. We’re going to appeal, but I don’t believe we have a chance”…

Hussies

Save the children and the poor, innocent men from evil harlots!

[Kenyan] women…accused commercial sex workers of invading the town and “stealing” their men…[they] are planning to drive the twilight girls out claiming they are spreading sexually transmitted diseases.  The women said the sex workers have taken their men and they are left cold and lonely on their marital beds…sex workers who dress scantily have created a brothel…where secondary school and university students go for cheap sex instead of concentrating on their studies…even primary school children have fallen into the traps…

Rubbing Elbows

A 17-year-old journalism intern’s impressions of the Desiree Conference:

I was a bit timid about the idea of going into a conference that was specifically about sex, but my passion against human trafficking led me to go…with…my mom…When I entered…I was…greeted by a woman with such a cheerful presence and smile, that it put me off guard.  In fact, this was the common air of everyone there:  happiness.  Everywhere I looked I found people wearing bright colors, hugging, laughing, and enjoying themselves.  I initially thought that at a Sex Worker’s Conference that it was going to be the exact opposite.  I was expecting victims — people just out of the Taken film, tears that warned of a gruesome past, and consoling. There was none of that in sight.  The media and society has always presented the sex industry as this taboo area…where [the] only people who were in this profession were forced to be…

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine (TW3 #329)

Caty Simon of Tits and Sass interviewed Kemal Ayrikotu of the Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association on the cultural background to the murder of Dora Oezer; Ayrikotu discusses the lack of rights for both sex workers and transgenders, and criticizes LGBT activists who wish to stress that Dora was a transwoman while ignoring that she was a whore (despite the two being nearly synonymous in Turkey).  Meanwhile, Melissa Gira Grant wrote on the protests for both Dora and Jasmine:  “If you passed by the Turkish or Swedish consulates in New York on [July 19th], you may have seen…sex workers and their supporters holding red umbrellas…the…action accompanied rallies in 36 cities and on four continents…demanding an end to the stigma and violence against sex workers’ communities…

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They want to save us, but they punish us until we are willing to be saved.  -  Pye  Jakobsson

The First Time

Because obviously, a random amateur will give him a better experience than a skilled professional.

Looking to send her nerdy son off to Harvard in style, this helicopter parent to end all helicopter parents has taken to Craigslist’s “casual encounters” section to seek a young woman who can help claim the “socially awkward” boy’s virginity, and turn him into a “cool college kid.”  The plan is simple: You, a 19 to 20-something seductress, pick up a pair of complimentary tickets to “some great concert,” where your target, a handsome 18-year-old varsity cross country team member with “almost zero body fat” will be waiting unsuspectingly…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemicthink different

A lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee filed a lawsuit against Apple, Inc. that blames the company for the dissolution of his marriage  and the collapse of his mental health…because Apple devices do not have a filter that keeps them from playing pornography.  The devices purportedly failed to protect Sevier from his porn addiction, so the attorney is suing the company in an effort to have all of its devices equipped with a filter that blocks sexually-themed content…

An Example to the West (TW3 #20)

Anu Mokal wasn’t breaking the law when she was out walking…when a police officer viciously attacked her…beating her severely…SANGRAM and…Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP)…demanded that Maharashtra politicians investigate the beating and institute…a grievance commission to address abuses of sex workers’ human rights…the attack echoed a deeper culture of oppression that sex workers face around the world at all levels of society…funded in large part by the foreign aid that pours into the Global South from Washington’s coffers…the Supreme Court recently dealt a potentially lethal blow to the so-called “anti-prostitution loyalty oath”…[for] U.S.-based groups…[but it] still looms large over the Global South…SANGRAM…has proudly defied PEPFAR…but…faces a political climate suffused with the pernicious pressures of America’s “soft power.”  When aid comes with political strings attached, poor governments are pressured to mirror Washington’s culture wars…

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #40)

Sex workers have been fighting to enjoy their right to dignity.  For this to happen, they say, prostitution has to be decriminalised…Ntokozo Yingwana, of the Sex Workers Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)…[argues] that it is not sex-work but the stigma and discrimination that sex workers have to endure that strips them of their dignity…Marlise Richter, a public health researcher with the International Centre for Reproductive Health, said:  “[The] evidence shows that the decriminalisation of sex work would serve public health and individual sex worker health best.  Criminalisation of any aspect of sex work, including [the Swedish model]…means that the sex industry is driven underground and sex workers and their clients away from health, social and legal services”…The World Health Organisations (WHO) recommends that all states decriminalise sex work.  It then becomes easier to take action to protect sex workers from HIV and sexually transmitted diseases…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #50)

Once again:  the existence of a movie featuring “lurid tall tales” about sex work  does no more to prove them than the existence of The Wizard of Oz proves the existence of flying monkeys and talking scarecrows:

…Alexander Perlman…logged thousands of miles and hundreds of hours to make [Lot Lizard, his new documentary about truck stop prostitution]…braving roach motels, crack highs, and homicidal pimps…None of the women…profiled had pimps…and…one of the concerns [Perlman] had…[was] that selecting them downplays the prevalence of pimps and trafficking in the industry.  There’s an amazing organization called Truckers Against Trafficking that addresses the issue…

Justine Reilly
In other words, they couldn’t find any “trafficking” but it must exist because an NGO says so.

Puppet Show

This Swedish model advert from Justine Reilly and her fellow shill Rachel Moran is not unusual except for its naked admission that prohibitionists want sex workers hounded into desperation:  “Justine said…that without clients, women…would be thrown out on the streets where they could get support…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #312)

A plan by the Social Affairs Ministry to close down 50 red-light districts across Indonesia has caused nervousness among inhabitants of…Sunan Kuning…one of the ministry’s five main targets in a crackdown on prostitution…Ari Istiyadi, field coordinator of NGO Griya Asa PKBI Semarang… expressed his fear that the closure of the prostitution center would create new problems in the social and health fields…

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #314)

A teenage girl from Georgia disappeared Monday after arranging a meeting with a boy she met on Instagram…Beverly Knepper, 14…had an argument with her parents about seeing a 14-year-old boy named Jahlil…”  Predictably, this not-vanishingly-unusual teen behavior triggered a huge panic which was starting to involve “sex trafficking” rhetoric when she was located soon afterward.

I Saw My Brain

…Polk County, Florida [is] unique in the nation for its unadulterated hostility to legal pornography and the people who make it…[its main city is] Lakeland…[whose] police department…is at the center of a sex scandal…[involving] a…crime analyst, Sue Eberle, who was apparently having sex with nearly a dozen of her co-workers…Coercing people into having sex is something sex traffickers do, but in Lakeland it was apparently the pastime for the police…the person asked by legislators to help get Lakeland PD “on track” is none other than…Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd…

One Born Every Minute (TW3 #315)Mark Lancaster

…a…computer consultant was jailed for 16 months in connection with a “pitiless deception” in which he sought to con hard up students into having sex with him in return for falsely offering to pay their university fees.  Mark Lancaster…was exposed following an undercover investigation by The Independent into the website and fictitious business Sponsorascholar.co.uk.  The pornography-addicted father-of-two admitted a charge of voyeurism and another of trafficking…

Bottleneck (TW3 #317)

It’s difficult to judge the legitimacy of these claims when none of the alleged victims were interviewed:

Three people who allegedly sourced more than 100 sex workers for Melbourne brothels would be likely to continue operating their lucrative syndicate…a magistrate…said [so]  Mae Ja Kim, Moon Ja Kim and Huan Wen Ye were denied bail…Investigations are continuing into possible human trafficking and sex slavery…workers were allegedly transported to Australia, given accommodation, and driven between there and the brothels by about 10 “overseers”…The worker was paid $75 for each appointment, with the syndicate paid at least 50 per cent of the rest…

Legitimate Outrage (TW3 #328)

Spitzer’s return to politics has accomplished at least one good:  it has emboldened journalists to speak out against criminalization.  Here’s Michael Smerconish of MSNBC:

…we should have an adult conversation about the laws [Spitzer] violated…it’s time to bring the world’s oldest profession aboveboard in communities willing to allow it…let government share in the revenue, but otherwise stay out of the private affairs of consenting adults.  Beyond the role of the taxman, prostitution doesn’t warrant the involvement of federal authorities…[to catch him] “they used 5,000 wiretaps.  They intercepted 6,000 e-mails.  Every hour spent on going after prostitution is an hour that could have been spent on going after…people who victimize”…another argument in support of legalizing…[is that] some among us are never going to find companionship for a variety of reasons…it can’t be healthy for some people to feel the amassed pressure of [sexual] images, and have their personal expectations go unfulfilled…

Keli Goff of the Washington Post called on Tracy Quan for assistance:

…Disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner and disgraced former governor Eliot Spitzer have come back…would the same kind of comeback be possible for the women on the other side of their scandals…could a former prostitute ever run for office and have a real shot, the way that Spitzer, former patron of prostitutes, now does?…Kristin Davis is also running for comptroller…she previously ran…the escort service that Spitzer once used…[but] her bids for office…are seen as little more than publicity stunts…Linda Fondren  was a candidate for mayor in Vicksburg, Miss., when it was revealed that she worked as a prostitute decades ago…she broke no laws…was a nationally recognized leader in the field of public health…[and is] intelligent, articulate, telegenic and able to inspire people…[but] lost the primary…Tracy Quan…said…that even for legal sex work, such as exotic dancing, there is a double standard when it comes to stigmatization…a woman who works her way through law school as a stripper would have a tough time being elected to the…Senate but a man who visited strip clubs while in law school would not find that to be an obstacle to the White House…feminists share as much of the blame for this double standard as misogynists…[because they] are dismissive and suspicious of other women who have used their bodies and their beauty to succeed in a professional capacity…

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine

Dora OezerCaty Simon of Tits and Sass  interviewed Pye Jakobsson of Rose Alliance  about Jasmine’s death and the horrible Swedish model which created the climate that enabled it.  Nor was she the only sex worker whose recent stigma-provoked murder has angered sex workers around the world:  “A 24-year-old trans woman was stabbed to death in her own home in Turkey…[on] 9 July…Dora Oezer…was found dead by her housemate…sex work is not illegal in Turkey but [because] they are not allowed to work in regulated brothels, trans woman are often left in vulnerable and dangerous positions…”  Activists used social media to coordinate “Justice for Jasmine and Dora” protests in many cities yesterday, such as this one in London.

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Porn is not addictive.  Sex is not addictive.  The ideas of porn and sex addiction are pop psychology concepts that…have no legitimate scientific basis.  -  David Ley

Interview: Jill Brenneman

Jill has largely retired from activism, but has written a guest post about the Cleveland kidnap victims on Amanda Brooks’ blog:  “…Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and Amanda Berry…likely have many years of very costly medical expenses and the need for equally costly psychological help…Like me, their lives were interrupted at a young age.  Now they have to move on with the physical and emotional issues…and…rebuild their lives…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Once again, Dr. David Ley tells it like it is:

…when people buy into the belief that porn is addictive, it changes the argument…sex and porn aren’t the problems…one part of this issue is an attack on aspects of male sexuality, including masturbation and use of pornography…which society fears…

Moloch

Though this was first published nearly a year ago, this updated version appeared last week:

…even though experts and studies have denounced the [sex offender registry] as ineffective, the battle cry of its supporters is still, “If it saves one child…!”…There is no evidence that [it] has done that at all.  However, many, many thousands of children have had their lives made a living hell because of it…parents on the registry…are subject to the whims of local and state laws, including severe restrictions on where they may live…Vigilantes have murdered registrants, leaving their children fatherless…and…children [as young as]…nine…have been [registered]…Registered 12-year-olds aren’t even rarities…in Wisconsin…a district attorney did everything he could, and bragged about it, to have a 6-year-old prosecuted and targeted…for “playing doctor.”  Some of these children find escape only in suicide

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Nowhot dog hooker

New Yorkers are so very fortunate to have brave, dedicated professionals protecting them from dangerous criminals:

…Catherina G. Scalia, 47…was arrested after she…gave [an] undercover cop a massage…without a license…She’s also accused of unauthorized practice…[and an] offer for additional services…Scalia disputed the charges at her arraignment…”They keep framing me.  I am broke.  I am jobless.  All these arrests are entrapment”…When CNN…profiled Scalia and her hot dog truck a year ago, Scalia asserted she was a stripper, not a prostitute…

Bullies With Badges

Anael Ibanez…[was arrested] for distributing pornographic material and exploiting prostitution [in] Syracuse [Utah]…the only ones who actually watched the sex show [Ibanez arranged] were a couple of undercover police officers and…[a man they] charged with sexual solicitation.  Four sex show performers also were arrested…and…charged…SWAT team members were dispatched to clear the theater…[they] broke a glass door…to gain entry…Ibanez works for a janitorial company…and had access to the theater after hours…

Yes, they dispatched a SWAT team to bust adults having sex.

Sleazier Than Thou (TW3 #18)

May must be Ashley Madison’s slowest month, because it’s always the one in which owner Noel Biderman makes some claim like this:  “…its membership registration spiked [last] week following Sunday’s…season finale of The Simpsons…[Biderman] said new registrations surged a whopping 230% this week after…a frustrated Marge Simpson stumbled onto…’Sassymadison.com’…

First They Came for the Hookers…

Reema BajajIf prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?

In June 2011…Reema Bajaj…was accused of prostitution…in June 2012 [she] pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge…Although she kept her Illinois law license…she…had trouble attracting clients.  Earlier this month, she dissolved her law practice…and…sued three local lawyers: a former prosecutor who worked on her case, Calvin Campbell; one of her own former defense attorneys, Timothy Johnson, who is now law partners with Campbell; and a “John Doe” defendant.  Bajaj alleges that the three lawyers circulated nude photos of her, causing her emotional distress and hurting her ability to generate business…

I hope she wins, restarts her practice and specializes in defending sex workers, since she knows firsthand how difficult it is for us to get justice in America.

Where are the Victims? (TW3 #28)

Because you know, “false consciousness” and all:

To hear the testimony of the women who worked for them, Vincent George Sr. and his son were not the violent and manipulative sex traffickers that prosecutors described, but, rather, the heads of a happy extended family…Bridgette Carr, director of the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School, said it was…“not shocking” that women would assist the defense, and may actually be evidence of how effective the pimps were in manipulating the women…

Worse Than I Thought

The cancer has now spread to Tennessee:

…12 new laws…include harsher criminal penalties on traffickers…and the creation of a state trafficking task force…a statewide study in 2011 documented incidents of sex trafficking… authorities will be able to prosecute those paying for sex – the “johns” – as traffickers…[thus allowing] for…termination of parent rights…

Read that again:  Tennessee is going to call clients “traffickers”, charge them with a felony and steal their children.  In other words, they’re going to punish fake “child trafficking” with the real, state-sanctioned variety.

Creating the Crisis

The largest study on domestic violence ever done demonstrates that the MRAs were much closer to the truth than the feminists:  men and women commit partner abuse at roughly equal rates.  23% of women and 19.3% of men have been physically abused by a partner, while 28.3% of women and 21.6% of men have physically abused one.  Lifetime rates of abuse are higher among women, while past-year rates are higher among men.  41% of women and 43% of men reported emotional abuse.  Motives were similar in both sexes.  Here’s a short summary of the findings; the full report is available at the first link.Liu Xiaozhen

Follow Your Bliss (TW3 #50)

Being an official busybody for an oppressive regime is hard work!

Despite China’s ongoing sexual revolution…  anyone found to be producing and distributing  obscene material can get three years in jail…[this] requires many pornography censors…[like] 70-year-old Liu Xiaozhen…[who said] “You have to watch even if you don’t want to”…

What a Week! (TW3 #52)

As bad as American prohibitionists are, at least most of them aren’t murderous:

Unidentified gunmen have shot dead at least seven women and five men at a [Baghdad] brothel…[near] where alcohol shops were attacked last week…The attackers apparently…[used] silenced weapons, as residents…said they did not see or hear anything out of the ordinary…Zayouna is an upscale…district…where a number of brothels have opened in recent years…

Between the Ears (TW3 #133)

Ethicists and feminists are concerned [about]…a drug that can amp up female sexual longings…Male-sexual-enhancement drugs…are about…improving blood flow to the penis…while research so far suggests that most women need more than mere physical arousal…To stoke female desire with pharmacology, then, you need to get into the brain…some feminists anticipate that the marketing of these drugs will pathologize normal losses of desire…when in fact…[they] may result from stress or relationship problems that should be addressed in other ways…

I agree.  If female desire were mostly about hormones, placebos wouldn’t be as effective as testosterone; in fact, they are often more so.  Nor is this a problem limited to women, as Dr. Marty Klein discusses in the linkback.

Miracle Village aerial viewBanishment

Florida’s “sex offender” residence restrictions are so bad that a small, isolated settlement named “Miracle Village” has become a haven for them.  Meanwhile, David Vitter (who has been the center of several sex scandals) is trying to keep them from getting food stamps:

…This…will…contribute to the continuing cycle of trapping the same individuals in the criminal justice system.  All released felons have difficulty gaining employment…those with sexual offenses face even more impediments due to the public registry and the myriad of restrictions placed upon [them]…Studies…show that, denied benefits, there is a higher rate of return to drug use and crime…anything gained financially from a reduction in the food stamp program will just show up as increased prison costs…

But wait, there’s more!

A network of…internet companies is mining data from sex-offender sites…[for] an extortion racket [which demands] up to $499 for removing names…and other personal data…SORArchives.com, Offendex.com and Onlinedetective.com did not take down individual profiles after payments were made and launched online harassment campaigns against those who balked at financial demands or filed complaints…the websites [also] list individuals…who no longer are required to register and…include names and addresses of people who never have been arrested or convicted of a sex crime.  The…operators ensure that anyone in their databases can be found easily [via] Google…[and] have prominently profiled specific individuals, published their home and e-mail addresses, posted photographs of their relatives and copied their Facebook friends onto the…websites…

Original Sin

Pope Francis…urged mobsters…to abandon their evil ways, particularly…trafficking rackets…”I think of the great pain suffered by men, women and even children, exploited by so many mafias”…He decried the crime syndicates for “making them do work that makes them slaves, prostitution”…Francis…has branded human trafficking as one of the most terrible evils plaguing the world…

Big Sister (TW3 #317)

This pro-censorship Guardian article isn’t nearly as interesting as Jezebel’s response to it, written by revolting neofeminist toady “Lapdoug” Barry:

There’s a campaign afoot in Iceland to seriously restrict underage access to hardcore porn…the argument that porn is a form of free expression smells…a lot like the sort of bullshit the multibillion-dollar porn industry shovels…the porn industry does not have the interests of Icelands [sic] malleable adolescent minds at heart when it argues that limiting access to its productions is tantamount to government censorship…

The biggest lie of several here is that the porn ban is intended to “protect adolescents”, when in fact it was specifically sold (as part of the Swedish model) to “protect” women.  But let’s give Lapdoug’s argument the benefit of the doubt; if he’ll agree to let his writings be censored by a government agency for a trial period (twenty years or so should suffice), I’m sure people who respect human agency far more than he does can be counted on to give a nationwide censorship regime all the consideration it deserves.

James LiptonThe More the Better (TW3 #317)

Are people really so stupid they believe it’s totally different now?

[James Lipton]…of…Inside the Actors Studio used to be a pimp…the youthful 86-year-old admitted…that he had pandered “a whole bordello”…in 1950s Paris…”The French mecs didn’t exploit women.  They represented them, like agents”…Lipton…added that…he was against people paying for sex.  “I think if you can’t earn it on your own, then you don’t deserve it.”

Because obviously celebrities are morally superior beings qualified to judge what others “deserve”.

Objectification Overruled (TW3 #320)

Pathetic middle-class white British feminists are at it again:

The UK’s main supermarkets could be exposed to legal challenges…if they refuse to remove magazines and newspapers with naked women on their covers…In a letter published in the Guardian, 14 equalities lawyers say…retailers are vulnerable…under sexual discrimination law…A campaign launched by UK Feminista and…Object aims to put pressure on Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda and WHSmith to remove lads’ mags from their shelves…[they] threaten…a test case and will support employees uncomfortable with images of naked and near-naked women…

This is a load of rubbish and they know it; such a precedent would mean that anyone could bring a case against any product she finds “offensive”, for example Catholics suing to have birth control removed.  But lest you think this idiocy is limited to Britain:

…the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has unanimously passed a proposal…to ban the display of bikini-clad mannequins outside lingerie shops…With Mumbai recording the second highest number of rapes in the country, [law sponsor Ritu] Tawade said the display of inadequately clothed mannequins was indecent and could lead to “wrong acts” by men…corporator Sunil Prabhu backed her…”I agree…that such scantily clad mannequins do invite unwanted attention of men and the resulting surge of sex crimes”…

Schadenfreude (TW3 #320)

Yet another rescue industry “hero” is exposed as a con artist:  “[Andy Conner]…the [Washington state] Sheriff’s Deputy who funded a charity to help young women escape prostitution…is on administrative leave while the King County Sheriff’s Office investigates allegations that thousands of dollars may have gone missing…

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If they would just remove the police from skulking around and arresting those of us who just want to earn a living from a mutually consenting activity, they could actually focus on these terrible things.  -  Rachel Wotton

crack pipeOld Folks At Home

Damned amateurs are always screwing everything up:

A man, 75, and a woman, 66, suspected of using cocaine and running a prostitution ring out of their apartments…have been arrested after residents complained about vagrants, drunks and addicts…James Parham and his neighbor Cheryl Chaney…admitted providing prostitutes — mostly young women with crack cocaine addictions — to…younger neighbors…

Backwards into the Future

The Commission for Gender Equality…called for…decriminalisation of sex work [in South Africa]…[CGE commissioner Janine] Hicks said decriminalisation would…allow sex workers to report brothel owners who were involved in trafficking or hiring children…

Meanwhile, in Malawi:

…Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA)…in association with the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, recently conducted…research that shows…a vast majority of sex workers are regularly abused [robbed and raped] by the Police…[executive director Victor] Mhango said…sex workers…are at liberty to call the toll free number 8000333 where they can be assisted… “Sex workers deserve to be protected by the law just like any other Malawian as enshrined in the Constitution,” he said…

Against Their Will

Here’s the way rescue industry group International Justice Mission tells it:

…General Sun Ro…led his team of police and IJM support staff to rescue these young women from a brothel where they had been sold and exploited for sex.  “You are now no longer oppressed,” General Sun Ro began, urging the young women to take advantage of the opportunities, vocational training programs and aftercare services available to them as sex trafficking survivors…

And here’s the reality.  Obviously, the general doesn’t consider beatings and gang rape by the police to be forms of oppression.

Prudish Pedants

a federal district court in Georgia ruled that a series of stories written or edited by Frank McCoy were obscene, and thus he violated 18 USC 1462 in “transporting” obscene works…the subject matter is…definitely…extreme [“the sexual abuse, rape, torture and murder of children”]…but…McCoy…had a distinguished English professor testify on his behalf that the works had “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value”…the judge disagreed…

The Gendered SocietyOscillation

Another example of how neofeminists play fast and loose with the facts:

A few months ago, a post…[stated] that [when]…junior high…students were asked what they would do if they woke up “transformed into the opposite sex,” the girls showed mixed emotions but the boys [said]…”Kill myself”…the source [was]…The Gendered Society by Michael Kimmel…[whose] reference [was] a 1984 book called The Longest War: Sex Differences in Perspective…the claim…seemed to have no basis at all, other than one commentThe Gendered Society…briefly acknowledges that women’s earnings are driven down by family-related work interruptions–but still treats gender gaps in pay and advancement almost entirely as…discrimination…[it] uncritically repeats tales…that girls’ self-esteem “plummets” in junior high school–without mentioning that they have been strongly disputed…by mainstream psychologistsThe Gendered Society also [claims that] the United States…”has the highest rate of reported rape in the industrial world–about eighteen times higher than England”…[but] according to United Nations statistics, in 2010 the reported rape rate in the U.S.–27.3 per 100,000 people–was slightly lower than in England and Wales, at 28.8 per 100,000…if it is indeed the most balanced gender studies textbook available–which may well be true–that says a lot about the rest.

The Immunity Syndrome (TW3 #19)

the “sex superbug” that “could be worse than AIDS” which was supposedly “found in Hawaii [and] California” turns out to be just another media-promoted terror story.  “The [gonorrhea] super-strain…[which] infected a female Japanese sex worker in 2011…has been found nowhere else,” [reported Jonathan Weiss of MedicalDaily.com]  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have affirmed that the bacterium has failed to appear anywhere else in the world beyond the single case in Japan…

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #20)

This includes far too much “whore as victim” rhetoric, but it’s a step:

[Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario] Police Chief, Bob Davies…[announced] it will be new police policy to not release the names and addresses of individuals involved in prostitution type charges.  Moreover, the police department will make a major shift away from enforcement against women (or men) involved in the sex trade.  Instead officers will be trained to engage and identify the underlying factors that drive women into a lifestyle of selling sex and then connect them to agencies…which can assist individuals out of the sex industry…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #21)

Project ROSE—a collaboration between the Phoenix Police Department…and a number of local service organizations–[conducted] a three day raid targeting sex workers…Advocates have distributed “know your rights” information amongst communities who may be affected…[and] a…protest…[was held] Thursday May 16…in front of the “command post” at Bethany Bible Church…Arrestees…with no prior arrests for sex work, no outstanding warrants, and no…drugs at the time of arrest…have the option of “diversion” to Project ROSE or incarceration on a prostitution charge…[which] in Arizona can be a death sentence

Few arrestees qualify for the “diversion” program, and of those who do only a third complete it.

Think of the Children! (TW3 #23)

Touch of Flavor logoA weekend festival in [Baltimore] that promised classes on bondage, role play and other sexual techniques has been canceled after the new operators of the Clarence H. Du Burns Arena decided the erotic exposition was not appropriate at a facility also used for children’s sports practices…” Obviously, the sex rays emitted from all these dirty people would contaminate the structure, inducing the dreaded Premature Sexualization in the innocent little moppets who entered the building later.

Good News, Bad News (TW3 #30)

Rebecca Davies…and…other sex workers and supporters…will protest against the 2011 Prostitution Bill which is expected to be re-introduced and to demand full decriminalisation…Ms Davies said…the Bill would make WA the most dangerous place in Australia to be a sex worker…licensing, where employee’s full names were available for clients to see, could risk their safety and privacy…only about 10 per cent of sex workers would comply…Sex workers had to advertise a landline phone number, not a mobile, as one of the conditions – a restriction not placed on any other industry…

The More The Better (TW3 #32)

They are likely Hamilton [New Zealand]‘s biggest brothel keepers, with 500 girls on their books in the seven years since they began their foray into the sex industry.  Tattooed, shady characters with underworld connections?  Far from it.  She’s the secretary of the PTA and…he’s a well-spoken former musician…the pair own a small…software development business…Hamilton’s two best-known brothels, and soon, a private swingers club…

Zimbabwe (TW3 #33)

This article about Zimbabwe’s repeated “crackdowns” on whores (and the way they keep netting amateurs) is mostly familiar ground and silly stereotypes, but does include two points of interest:  one, that “legislator Tabitha Khumalo has…threatened to expose fellow legislators who have gallivanted with those she calls ‘pleasure managers’ if they refuse to back [decriminalization]”; and two, that the Open Society Foundation’s 2012 study of the six nations with similar policies of “harassing and [physically] abusing…sex workers” included Zimbabwe along withSuper Bowl SLAVERY Kenya, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, and [wait for it] the United States.

Profit from Panic (TW3 #40)

Hey, kids, be the first in your neighborhood to be “trafficked”!  Have fun!  Win prizes!

Students at Colonial Middle school [in Memphis, Tennessee] have spent the last few weeks learning about the growing problem…of sex trafficking including prostitution…“I think its [sic] appropriate for middle school because if you look at the statistics of human trafficking the majority of people that get pulled in are between the ages of 12 to 14”…[said teacher Jennifer Shiberou]…

What If They Threw a Party and Nobody Came? (TW3 #42)

In Australia, which began use of the HPV vaccine in 2007, cases of genital warts in young women aged 12 – 26 dropped 59 percent, and 39 percent for men…The…vaccine caused quite the uproar here in the States.  The usual antivaxxers hated it because, well, it’s a vaccine, but there was also mainstream fear-mongering, as well as being demonized by the conservatives, who said it would lead to promiscuity. That last is pure nonsense; in fact, a new study shows  no significant increase in sexual activity in young women who have had the vaccine over those who have not…

No Other Option (TW3 #46)

Here’s another good interview with the amazing Australian sex worker Rachel Wotton, who specializes in disabled clients and founded the charity Touching Base.  Its only sour note is at the end, where interviewer Wendy Syfret seems determined to drag “trafficking and degradation” mythology into what is otherwise a very positive piece.

Hard Numbers (TW3 #311)

Steph Key…[introduced] another attempt to decriminalise sex work after her previous bill failed by one vote in November.  The new legislation would give sex workers and their employers the same access to the WorkCover scheme as other…businesses…retains laws that make sex work by a person aged under 18, or with a client under that age, illegal…wipes clean past sex work convictions …makes it illegal to discriminate against a person who is or has been a sex worker…[and] removes laws against living off the earnings of a prostitute…

According to Because I’m a Whore, this bill is much better than the last one and has the support of sex workers; if passed, South Australia would be the third place in the world to have true decriminalization.

HT TriangleOriginal Sin

The “Trafficking in America Task Force” looks at first like any other silly rescue industry NGO, but a little digging reveals some really bizarre stuff, including the assertion that the true cause of “sex trafficking” is PORN!

Statistics show that many times it starts with pornography…One look as a child, continued looks as a teenagers, perhaps buying sex for the first time as a young adult, expecting your female partner, girl friend, or wife to act as the prostituted women act.  When they don’t your relationship turns to self gratification rather than intimacy.  You ay [sic] turn to violent sex with those you buy…Then…you want to pay for younger victims — and — you  — are — stuck — in a  — cycle…when you look at pictures of women you are branding us as objects for your own pleasure, objects of no value.  We are human beings…Jesus said, “I did not give you a spirit of fear — but a spirit of power, and of love, and of SOUND MIND.”  Ask him to help you…Addiction to pornography is a type of emotional and mental trafficking…

A War for Peace (TW3 #313)

I’m beginning to think her mother is right:

…Amina Tyler…passed through heavy security and checkpoints to enter the city of Kairouan, where police were preventing hardline conservative Islamists from holding an annual conference.  There she unveiled her bleach [sic] blonde hair and cutoff jeans, scrawled “FEMEN” on the wall of a cemetery near the city’s main mosque, and attempted to take off her clothes…The protest enraged local residents who converged on her, and police took her into custody…Her mother, Wafa, [said] her daughter needed help and was being treated by a psychiatrist…

One Born Every Minute (TW3 #319)

Shatabdi Saha, a banker…with the Usha Multipurpose Cooperative Society…conducts…sessions…[in spotting counterfeit] because…many customers had started palming off fake notes…for their services…”If customers give them counterfeit notes, it’s a great loss for them,” [said] DMSC secretary Bharati Dey…unlike others, sex workers cannot go to the police to report such fake notes.  “The police will start harassing them instead of helping them”…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (TW3 #319)

the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) announced it will no longer fund research based on DSM…for the simple reason that [it] is irrelevant to determining the cause and treatment of psychological problems…it…doesn’t point to the actual causes…that drive and maintain disorders…[its] categories are not discrete…and…it…fails to account for comorbidity…this fifth edition is just moving a few deck chairs on a sinking ship…Soon we’ll need to…lower the lid, hammer it down, and bury the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

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Who needs misogynists when you describe women engaged in sex work as “objects” whose humanity “can be forgotten”?  -  Maddie Collier

R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen

The greatest special-effects artist of all time has passed away at the age of 92.  His movies are among my all-time favorites, and no digital creature has ever entertained me as much as Ray’s masterful puppetry still does.  And even though he’s been retired for 32 years, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that the world will be just a little less magical without him.

Bad Girls

[An] unnamed 14-year-old used his iPad to find…Dareka R. Brooks through a website used for sexual hookups…believing [her] to be a sex worker, [he] invited her to his…home, [where she]…pepper-sprayed the boy and made off with his piggy bank and the…iPadBrooks was tracked down a short time later…and arrested after she used the iPad…Brooks was charged with armed robbery…[but] the…boy will not face charges for solicitation.

I suspect the cops’ “kindness” means the boy’s family is well-connected.

Halfway Whores

Dr. Laura Agustín on “Good-time girls and other non-professionals taking money for sex“:

Formalised money-sex exchanges get the attention and conflict…lots of other exchanges are ignored, a line is drawn between commercial and non-commercial sex.  But that line is imaginary.  Many people who expect to be compensated for their company will never call themselves sex workers or escorts…

Lack of Evidence

A Colorado woman was convicted of prostitution for answering a personal ad; after trying to talk her into having sex in a parking lot, a disguised cop “shoved a fistful of cash in front of her face and issued a command: ‘TAKE IT!’…Moments later, the car was surrounded [by] ‘Guns and guys in black with masks on’…the prosecution focused on the word ‘roses’ in the Craigslist ad…”  Maybe if this sort of thing starts to happen more often, amateurs will start to wake up to the fact that anti-whore laws harm everyone.

William ColemanMy Body, My Choice (Holiday Leftovers)

[For] five years…[William Coleman has been] force-fed…Starving himself…is the only way he has to…protest his conviction.  Not eating is his only available free speech act…He and his lawyer have gone to court to stop the force-feedings, but a judge ruled against him in March…Coleman is…[not at] Guantánamo…where a mass hunger strike of 100 prisoners has brought…force-feeding to American newspapers, if not American consciences…but…in Connecticut…Guantánamo is not an anomaly.  Prisoners…are routinely and systematically force-fed every day…force-feedings…are considered torture by most of the world’s medical and governing bodies…yet most media outlets continue to portray feeding tube use as a “complex ethical debate.”  It’s not.  Competent prisoners go on hunger strike because they have something to say and no other way to say it.  Prison officials choose not to hear — and silence them with tubes…

Check Your Premises

A Hialeah [Florida] police sergeant…Tomas Muñoz…has been suspended with pay after being…charged with cocaine possession and carrying drug paraphernalia…he told reporters…“I met a girl — she happens to have a pimp, and we fell in love…And he doesn’t let her be free.  This came about because he set the whole thing up.”

He “doesn’t let her be free”, except to fuck cops.  For free.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

American’s mathematical illiteracy goes clear up to the White House, whose spokesman recently claimed that almost 4% of school-age American girls have become “child sex slaves” since the beginning of the panic a decade ago.  Also of note:  since the government was unable to shut down Backpage via unconstitutional censorship demands, it is now claiming that it intentionally gave up trying.

The Proper Study

Another step in the right direction:

Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group) have announced…a new journal devoted to the study of pornography.  Porn Studies, to be edited by Professor Feona Attwood of Middlesex University and Dr Clarissa Smith of the University of Sunderland, will be the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to critically explore those cultural products and services designated as pornographic and their cultural, economic, historical, institutional, legal and social contextsSaradha

One Born Every Minute

Thousands of sex workers in Sonagachi have lost their lifelong savings…in Ponzi schemes…”about [30 million rupees] has been lost”…[said] Bharati [of Durbar Mahila Samanaya Committee]…Till 2004-05…sex workers [only] deposited their earnings and took loans…[at] Usha Bank…but…7-8 agents [who] were sacked by [the] Bank…continued to operate in the red light area.  “Sex workers were easily trapped because the agents were well known to them or were their relatives…” [said a bank officer]…Bharati says, “We…repeatedly issued warnings…But you can’t stop anyone…hell bent to invest her hard earned money in schemes promising much higher returns.”  The Durbar has recently launched a massive awareness programme…

Workers’ Paradise vs. Gold Diggers

 …Dongguan…has a population of about 7 million and a reputation as the Chinese capital of sex…Between 500,000 and 800,000 people – some 10 per cent of Dongguan’s migrant population – are in some way employed in the world’s oldest profession…[including] 300,000 sex workers…[but] authorities are now…trying to push prostitution off Dongguan’s streets with a crackdown…

Where Are the Protests?

Note that the word “trafficking” is entirely absent:

A company within Sweden’s home care services…mistreated migrant workers by making false promises about work conditions…Hassan…said that his official job offer stated that he would be employed full-time by…TPS Vårdteam…with a monthly wage of 26,500 kronor ($4,000)…”In the beginning I didn’t get any work at all…Then I had to work seven days a week….[for] only…8,000 kronor per month”…the company had not paid in any taxes at all for Hassan…

End demand for home health care!

Obfuscation via Dysphemisms

Tulsa, Oklahoma’s sleazy war on whores reaches a new level of evil:

Tulsa police have…charged 23 individuals under a state law that permits a felony to be filed when a person suspected of prostitution is arrested within 1,000 feet of a church or school.  “It’s just a nightmare,” said defense attorney, Charles Kania…a “scarlet letter on their foreheads that follows them forever”…The felony charges are part of a stepped-up effort by police to get tough on prostitution…Sgt. Todd Evans said…”Most of Tulsa is within a thousand feet of a church or school”…[and] police have sometimes opted to book individuals under another statute that makes it a felony to utilize a computer to violate any state law…

Active Blessing
All the Difference

Active Blessing Uganda…[promised that children] would get an education and live a better life…instead [they were] denied basic rights and exploited…76 children, aged between four and 16 years, have been rescued from the alleged human traffickers…the children are malnourished…do domestic work…in return for food and when they fall sick…are not cared for…the parents [were]…always prevented…from visiting…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (TW3 #49)

On May 22, the American Psychiatric Association will release the…DSM-5…[practicing psychotherapist] Gary Greenberg, one of the book’s biggest critics, claims these disorders aren’t real — they’re invented…The Book of Woe: The Making of the DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry is his exposé of the business behind the creation of the new manual…

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn (TW3 #137)

A powerful statement from Filipino sex workers:

…Being poor in the Philippines…means…no matter how much you believe things to be wrong you must believe it to be right when the rich, your master (amo)…[says] so…That…[is] why it was not difficult for the feminist (abolitionists) to appropriate our voices and to start…speaking for themselves in our name…For years, we could only stand , mouths gagged, as we watched our new “amos” build their careers speaking for other underprivileged and “mindless” women in their list who they claim do not have the ability to speak for themselves…We…do not understand the arrogance by which they have anointed themselves our saviors…what we want is save ourselves from them instead…we really do not care about  “patriarchy”, “commodification” and other words they spew.  Those matters don’t bring food on our table nor pay for our rent.  All we are interested in is work undisturbed…It is time to tell the world that only sex workers [can] speak for sex workers…

Held Together With Lies (TW3 #316)Eurotrafficking

Wendy Lyon does her usual thorough job ripping apart a bogus study:

Last month saw the publication of the EU’s first Trafficking in Human Beings report, which…is (properly) littered with disclaimers…Unfortunately…the press release…[went] for the handy soundbite…so we’ve been deluged with headlines like “Human trafficking increased by 18%” when…the report doesn’t show it did any such thing…if all the statistics were accepted as readily as the “18% increase” has been, it would be a little bit inconvenient for some…Contrary to what we’re constantly told by the anti-trafficking movement, the most recent figures make it hard to discern any link between trafficking and the legal status of sex work.  The Dutch rate is very high, but the Cyprus rate is higher – and Cyprus has much stricter laws than the Netherlands…Romania, where sex work itself is illegal, is nearly as high.  Hungary (legal), Portugal (legal) and Lithuania (illegal) are tied for last.  Austria and Germany are also relatively low – in fact, Germany and Sweden are tied, at 0.8 per 100,000.  And the German rate has remained more or less constant over the three years surveyed, while Sweden’s has quadrupled…But sex workers’ rights advocates shouldn’t leap on those figures, either, because truthfully the whole report is pretty hopelessly undermined by its methodological weaknesses…

Monsters

Sometime…[in] April, an Ohio transgender woman was…stabbed repeatedly and then tied to a concrete block and cast into a pond.  She was left with no clothes below the waist, perhaps to shame her…But…insensitive stories by the local press…[wrote] about [her] as if she were a bizarre spectacle, not a victimized human being…the Cleveland Plain Dealer…used a mugshot of [Cemia] Acoff instead of the other readily available photos…the [headline which now reads]…“Oddly dressed body found in Olmsted Township identified,” originally said “oddly dressed man,” (you can see it in the url; it was changed after readers and activists protested)…the story [also] refers to her as Carl Acoff (her birth name) and uses a male pronoun...[a follow-up] story…details what she was wearing…lists old petty “crimes”…[and refers to the] hormones [she was carrying as] “dangerous drugs”…

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #317)

Maddie Collier’s response to Rakhi “pop stars cause sex trafficking” Kumar is well worth reading in its entirety, but here’s a sample:

…The anti-sex trafficking cause is already thick with moral panic, misinformation, and ill-informed, PR-boosting celebrity activists, and you’re cluttering the already-diminished discourse with further nonsense….[which spawns] attitudes and policies that actively harm sex workers.  You are ignoring the freely-available  perspectives and requests of real-life sex workers because they interfere with your romantic notion of the Prostituted Woman as a forlorn, passive victim who needs to be saved.  If you engage with sex workers before you form a view on what’s oppressing them, you might find that criminalisation and stigma are higher-priority concerns than mythical drug-dealing pimps wielding persuasive charm and Beyoncé’s hotpants…

Anatomy of a Boondoggle (TW3 #317)

The newest excuse for police rape of sex workers is that Asian massage parlors are “sophisticated”:

…an undercover police officer…[repeatedly paid for sex] over five months…in a fight against prostitution and human trafficking.  Officers say such methods led to…[their raiding] two businesses [and] arresting…four alleged prostitutes and two alleged pimps.  But the methods…were criticized…by legal…experts and women’s advocates as excessive, unnecessary and misapplied…prostitutes can be arrested and charged in Indiana as soon as an agreement to pay for a sex act is made…Plus…if the women indeed had been…working…against their will, the sex acts they performed on the officer only contributed to their humiliation, exploitation and degradation…Aaron Dietz, head of the…Task Force…which conducted the nine-month sting, said…the sophisticated nature of the prostitution ring required officers to take more extreme measures…Dietz and others wanted to emphasize that it was not a pleasurable experience for the officer, but entirely necessary.  “No one…really wants to go into these…It’s something that’s ethically and morally very trying, so I’d do anything to keep guys out of there.”

You’d do anything?  Then how about advocating for decriminalization, you fucking filthy liar?

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In the field of human trafficking, I detest data because most of it is made up and bogus.  -  Martina Vandenberg, Human Trafficking Legal Resource Center

Lack of Evidence

It’s good to see the media finally noticing this:

There is no law that says…condoms [are] illegal…and yet NYPD…routinely…[uses them] as…evidence for…prostitution…one city agency conducts a public-health campaign and…[those] who take advantage of it are…promptly arrested by a different city agency—leading to cases being thrown out of court, a suppressed and redacted…study of the problem, and a bill to address the matter in…the state legislature…arresting people because they are in possession of condoms…distributed…by the city itself…looks an awful lot like entrapment…

Nor are the arrests limited to sex workers;Grace Bellavue as I’ve explained many times, laws which violate whores’ rights invariably violate everyone’s.

Real People

I love seeing profiles like this one of Australian escort Grace Bellavue; the more the public sees of real sex workers, the harder it will be for prohibitionists to sell their stereotypes and myths about us.

Check Your Premises

This is only “stunning” to those who believe in the “pimps and hos” myth:

A sex-trafficking case got the hook in…Brooklyn…when prosecutors revealed their victim was advertising herself as an escort…the woman, now 19, who claimed defendant Robert Pannell forced her into prostitution in April 2011…advertised herself online…last month.  The stunning revelation contradicted the accuser’s testimony that her ordeal as a 17-year-old runaway was the only time she ever turned tricks…

Backlash

The Women’s Legal Centre…in Cape Town…provides legal services for sex workers…[who] face routine harassment, intimidation, and…abuse from police…[who] threaten, arrest, or detain [them] for days at a time…many are released only after paying large fines…WLC began its outreach by offering weekly group workshops…[but] soon expanded, employing four former and current sex workers as paralegals…Ralph Evangelous

Recognizing Doubletalk

An internal investigation of the Wilmington [North Carolina] Police Department’s narcotics enforcement team revealed inadequate documentation of funds, poor…supervision…and a “code of silence” cover-up of a March 2012 undercover prostitution operation…Police Chief Ralph Evangelous…[claimed] the undercover operation was in response to a citizen complaint about…escort services…the narcotics enforcement unit came up with a “unique approach” in [which]…more than $2,000 in city funds…were used…

Translation:  The narcotics squad had a party but got caught, and it took the police chief a year to come up with a cock-and-bull excuse.

Peeping Toms

A federal appeals court struck down Virginia’s anti-sodomy law…a decade after…Lawrence v. Texas…The appeal originated in a 2005 case in which a 47-year-old man was convicted of soliciting a 17-year-old girl for sex.  The girl refused and reported the incident to police, resulting in a “crimes against nature” charge…

One Size Fits All

As you might expect, Swedish neofeminists do not like surrogate motherhood  and consider it a form of “human trafficking”:

Surrogate motherhood is a serious crime against women’s human rights…Even when the woman has voluntarily become a surrogate…she gives up the rights to her own body…surrogacy…opens the door for viewing women and children as goods, and to regarding women as containers…having children is not a human right…

Nor, in the minds of neofeminists, is using one’s natural abilities in a way which violates the neofeminist religion.  Though this collectivist stance is evil because it denies women the right to control their bodies, it is more philosophically consistent than that of the US (which allows surrogacy but bans sex work) and Australia (vice-versa).  But lest you believe that Swedish neofeminists are truly motivated by concern for women’s well-being:

Equality Minister Maria Arnholm wants Sweden to keep the right to deport women whose relationships with Swedish spouses end within two years…The…rule was introduced in an effort to clamp down on sham marriages and to put an end to so-called “wife imports”.  But it has been blamed for forcing women to remain in abusive relationships…[and] a 2012 government-ordered inquiry [recommended it] be abolished…The Centre Party’s Women’s Association has also demanded that the…rule be…[replaced with] “immediate action” against “the practice of wife importation”…

It Looks Good On Paper

crazy Steve KozachikProhibitionists just love to tout “diversion programs” which supposedly “help” whores instead of criminalizing them, but if these are so great why do they need cops to force women into them, and why are their standards so strict that very few qualify to avoid jail?  In a recent example from Tucson, Arizona, members of SWOP warned sex workers away from a sting they had learned about, but 13 women still got caught…and only four qualified to escape jail.  The scheme’s organizer Steve Kozachik, a local politician with a reputation as a control freak, claimed SWOP’s protecting women from cops was “unnecessary” and that “This is not anti sex worker.”  Tell that to the nine women whom the prohibitionists “helped” into cages and branded with lifelong criminal records for trying to earn a living.

Politicizing the Personal

Dr. Laura Agustín feels the same way I do about the concept of “empowerment”, as she explains in this older essay she recently republished:

The verb is transitive: someone gives power to another, or encourages them to take power or find power in themselves. It’s used among those who want to help others identified as oppressed…[the] emphasis [is] on the helper and her vision of her capacity to help, encourage and show the way…To empower me as a sex worker you assume the role of acting on me…

Scrambled Eggs

…a California…law prohibits women from being compensated for donating their eggs for medical research, despite payments to subjects in other human research studies…[and] eggs…donated for fertility treatments…[but] a recently introduced bill…would allow women to be compensated…the California Family Council…[claims sponsor Susan] Bonilla’s bill opens up “dangerous medical ground.”  The…anti-abortion group…said eggs should be treated like organs and should not be sold…Bonilla said…”I think women are able to decide for themselves if they want to participate in a clinical trial”…

Saint Death

Jesse Walker published a good short piece on Santa Muerte which includes links to a recent AP article, an FBI scare-screed and an essay comparing anti-Santa Muerte hysteria to the Satanic Panic.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemicreward bowtie

Neuroskeptic points out the deep connection between addiction rhetoric and crypto-moralism:

…The dopamine theory of addiction is extremely popular today…[but] if you view addiction as essentially about reward (pleasure), surely that means…anything pleasurable could…be addictive?…if…addiction is the direct consequence of over-indulgence in a reward, then aren’t you saying that reward itself is ultimately what’s addictive?…If everything from food to friends to music are rewarding because they trigger dopamine release, then surely all of those things could be ‘addictive’…The more fun, the more (potentially) addictive…this idea – for all its medical, neurobiological, scientific language – actually undermines the concept of addiction as a ‘disease’ and reduces it to what amounts to a moral failing – it casts addiction as over-indulgence…

Finding What Isn’t There

Ministers, the police and social workers have been accused of a “shocking” failure to prevent the spread of modern slavery in the UK, leading to sexual exploitation, forced labour and the domestic servitude of adults and children…Describing government ministers as “clueless”…[about] human trafficking…the most exhaustive inquiry yet conducted into the phenomenon concludes that the approach to eradicating modern slavery is fundamentally wrong-headed.  Instead of helping vulnerable victims…the legal system prosecutes many for immigration offences…

Though I hate to defend government officials, I feel compelled to point out that it’s difficult to adapt to ever-expanding definitions, and impossible to produce enough “victims” to satisfy “estimates” which are essentially just made up.

Obfuscation Via Dysphemisms

Gloria…Giammalva…was [sentenced]…to…[21] months in prison and to be partially responsible for a $600,000 money judgment…U.S. Attorney Trent Shores…[claimed] the conspiracy…charged $30 per encounter, which he said meant that 20,000 commercial sex acts were performed by the women who were exploited…Giammalva…conspired with others in the operation of a multistate prostitution business that coerced and enticed women across state lines to participate in commercial sex acts…

Trim off all the dysphemisms and what remains is:  she owned an escort service and the prosecutor lied about the fee to ratchet up the number of “counts”.

Coming and Going (TW3 #35)

Dallas officials are trying to push their “prostitution diversion” scheme on the rest of Texas as a replacement for locking women up.  While any move away from incarceration is good news, the motivation is a desire to save money rather than a recognition that criminalization of consensual adult behavior is wrong; whores are still regarded as “criminals” to be “rehabilitated”, and all are assumed to be miserable victims who want out of sex work.Chester Brown to Rob Arthur

Book Reviews (October 2012)

When Rob Arthur (author of You Will Die) noticed that Chester Brown (author of Paying For It) had expressed interest in his book in the comment thread of this post, he asked me to forward his email address to Chester and the two of them each sent the other a book.  I am both pleased and honored to have facilitated the meeting of two awesome authors whose works  I greatly enjoyed.

Hard Numbers (TW3 #48)

Steph Key will introduce new laws to [the South Australian] Parliament…to decriminalise all forms of sex work, after a previous attempt was rejected by one vote in November.  The new Bill, based on a New Zealand model, would…allow local government…regulatory control…but…prevent councils from outlawing brothels simply because they offer sex work…Ms Key and [Status of Women Minister Gail] Gago were confident the new attempt was more likely to pass…

That’s the Ticket! (TW3 #138)

Dr. Brooke Magnanti on Comic Relief’s subscription to prohibitionist lies:

…This figure comes from a paper that surveyed only street-based sex workers, who represent less than 20% of prostitution…we should be…wary of…any group that throws around this number as if it represents sex work in general…Similarly, we are regularly told that the “average” age of entry into sex work is 13. This is actually incredibly mathematically unlikely, unless there is an epidemic of infants being sexually exploited we don’t yet know about. Former librarian and escort Maggie McNeill has broken down why this oft-repeated assumption is incorrect…The Comic Relief site continues: “The UK is a major destination country for trafficked young people. They are at a very high risk of being sexually exploited.”  No source is given for this statement – probably because no such data exists.  Confirmed trafficking cases in the UK are more likely to enter other jobs like agriculture, hospitality, and domestic service than they are to become sex workers…

No Friend of Ours

In the process of criticizing Nevada’s proposed “Everyone is a Sex Trafficker” Act, Jennifer Reed also debunks the “sex trafficking” panic:

…Prostitution in the U.S. was largely legal until changing women’s sexual norms led to a “white slavery” panic that resulted in the closing of brothels with the White-Slave Traffic Act, better known as the Mann Act in 1910…The reality was numerous young women were drawn into prostitution for “mundane” economic reasons [but] the ambiguous language of the Mann Act…was used to criminalize forms of consensual sexual behavior for many years…The [American] conception…developed because a crusade against prostitution…[conflated it] with human trafficking, a claim for which there is no evidence, even according to the U.S. Government Accountability OfficeAn executive summary of human trafficking put forth by the non-profit Center for Health and Gender Equity concludes that “conflating human trafficking with prostitution results in ineffective anti-trafficking efforts and human rights violations because domestic policing efforts focus on shutting down brothels and arresting sex workers, rather than targeting the more elusive traffickers”…investigations…[focus] almost entirely on commercial sex.  It is a structure built on vice squads rather than labor investigators…

Comfort Zone

I wrote:  “…many European countries seem more interested in ‘trafficking’ as an excuse to restrict immigration than as a genuine concern for the human rights of migrants.”  Jim Cusack of The Independent wrote:  “The Department of Justice and the courts are turning down ‘nearly all’ asylum requests from African women who say they fled [to Ireland] to escape sex traffickers in other European countries…

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I was not the only one who left crying after being pressed to talk in detail about our…sexual experiences and desires…some of the audio we provided could have sounded like it belonged in a porn, rather than in a critique of it.  -  Beth Brigham

Pennsylvania Gypsy Camp in Oley Township by Mary Leisz (1927)Don’t Buy It

Melissa Gira Grant on how the “gypsy whores” myth directly harms sex workers:

…the modern sex worker is believed to follow a…migratory path…the World Cup, the Grand Prix, the  Super Bowl – all supposedly draw thousands of women offering paid sex.  It’s…the kind of thing you could imagine in a dusty smut book, or serving as winky fodder for escort agencies and strip clubs in their seasonal marketing….we were told that during the 2012 Olympics, London was to be “flooded” with prostitutes, and that for the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans, the city would host a “dark underworld” of illicit sex-for-sale. Like all fantasies, the “roving sporting sex workers” trope [is] mostly harmless…until seized upon by those who find it…politically useful…in London…police raided brothels, arrested sex workers, and threatened them with further arrest if they returned to their neighborhoods…A similar pattern…played out in New Orleans in the days before the Super Bowl…Fox News had a camera crew follow a team of volunteers as they attempted to rescue “sex slaves” from streets and strip clubs…With nearly any woman…a potential target…it may be a minor miracle that the New Orleans police department has reported only eight arrests…

Backward, Turn Backward

I can’t even imagine living in the looking-glass world prohibitionists inhabit:

…a survey by the Immigrant Council of Ireland has found…that by far the biggest fear about paying for sex was not that they would be caught but that they would have a bad experience or contract a disease…Of the 58 punters [who answered]…16 (27.5%) said they had [at some point changed their minds after meeting the prostitute]…“six stated…the person appeared controlled, five…because the person appeared unhappy, four…because the person appeared too young, two…because the person appeared unwilling, while two…because the person appeared intimidated, ‘hurt or injured’,”…Denise Charlton…said…“We have now heard from the buyers themselves that such laws would be a deterrent…We know too that the image of the happy, independent hooker which is being portrayed by those opposed to new laws is not the reality; 24% of buyers reconsidered a transaction because they believed the women and girls involved were controlled, unhappy, too young, unwilling, or intimidated.”

Beside the fact that 58 self-selected people is too small a sample to “conclude” anything, the figures suggest exactly the opposite of what Charlton claims.  Only 27% have ever in their lives encountered such a girl (not 27% of all encounters); furthermore, their refusal testifies against the myth that men will eagerly hire coerced women, and finally the option of reporting those situations to the police would be closed by client criminalization, which is precisely the opposite of the stated goal of “protecting” sex workers.

Blasphemy

This must-read profile of neofeminist anti-porn crusader Gail Dines by her ex-disciple Beth Brigham paints a chilling portrait of the brainwashing that goes on in “women’s studies” programs; the similarity to narratives from survivors of other cults is unmistakable, and Brigham’s observation that much of the prohibitionist myth of pimp “recruitment” and “exploitation” of girls more accurately resembles their own behavior is spot on.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Tracy Clark-Flory can always be counted on to debunk sex hysteria; here’s a short but sweet entry on “sex addiction”:

…“Inventing Sex: The Short History of Sex Addiction”…published in the March issue of the journal Sexuality & Culture, isn’t an objective scientific study.  It’s a paper by cultural historians at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, that attempts to document the growth of the concept of sex addiction…the paper’s pull-no-punches thesis [is]:  “We argue that this strange, short history of social opportunism, diagnostic amorphism, therapeutic self-interest, and popular cultural endorsement is marked by an essential social conservatism–sex addiction has become a convenient term to describe disapproved sex.Soiled Doves  Many of these points should be familiar, especially if you read my piece on sex addiction’s critics…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received a copy of Soiled Doves, a short history of prostitution in the American West, from Elisabeth Whispers.  Thank you, Elisabeth!

Backwards Into the Future (TW3 #6)

The Push to Decriminalise Sex Work in Kenya” is a discussion paper from an African think tank which “explores the dangers associated with sex work, the protest movement in Kenya to decriminalise it, and the potential benefits of decriminalisation.”  I’m sure you can guess what conclusion it reaches.

Useful Idiots

Wisconsin expands its police state:

Efforts to collect DNA samples would expand to include any adult or juvenile arrested on a felony charge — and anyone convicted of a crime — under a budget proposal Gov. Scott Walker announced…Walker also announced plans…to allow GPS monitoring of certain people receiving first-time restraining orders who are found to be at higher-risk to cause serious harm…and…[an] increase for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to add five employees to investigate child sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of children…Walker’s plans to expand DNA collection…raised the ire of civil liberties advocates…

CISPAIf politicians had any sense, they would wait for the outcome of trials involving similar laws before wasting millions on a program that might be recognized as illegal.

The Camel’s Nose (TW3 #16)

CISPA—the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act…would have effectively [required]…private-sector businesses to hand ordinary citizen data…to the U.S. government in order to thwart primarily cyber…[or] terrorist attacks.  This, as you might expect, caused an uproar among the online community…the White House…threatened to veto the bill…But now…two separate reports…suggest CISPA could be heading back to the Congressional table…[and] President Obama…[has also issued] his own executive order

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Upcoming erotic game Custom Maid 3D will be bundled with a very special controller…Ju-C Air…is a wireless masturbation toy that will respond and react in real time to your stroke speed and depth, making this motion control of a very particular sort.  Those motions will also cause the in-game characters to react accordingly, too, with different characters reacting, um, differently…Ju-C Air…also has an analog stick and an action button as well as a right and a left click…[so]Ju-C Air players don’t even have to take their hands off their penis while playing…

Pyrrhic Victory

Wendy McElroy on “Is America a Police State Yet?”:

If you need to ask the question, then the answer is “yes”. But that is a glib response and I do not feel glib about America’s slide through the nine rings of political hell.  A police state is generally defined as a totalitarian government that exerts extreme and pervasive social, political and economic control over peaceful citizens…[it] maintains…control through the pervasive surveillance of peaceful citizenry, through a vast number of laws with draconian enforcement, and by converting rights into privileges that can be withheld…This describes America.  Surveillance of daily life has soared; even the Supreme Court has consistently expanded the “right” of police to perform warrantless searches.  A vast array of laws now dictate the minutia of life, from what you may not eat to the light bulbs you may not use as well products you must buy…A special police force called the Department of Homeland Security…functions without transparency or accountability.  Travel, formerly a right, is now a privilege granted by government agents at their whim…The difference between America and a communist regime lay in its institutional protection of the individual against the state.  That difference no longer exists.

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #27)

A southern Chinese province has stopped sending prisoners to labor camps, becoming the first in the country to take steps to phase out the much-criticized system…Yunnan’s top law enforcement official Meng Sutie announced…that the province will no longer send people to labor camps on the grounds of threatening national security, petitioning by causing unrest and smearing the image of officials…and…is suspending…sentences for people charged with other offenses, such as drug use and prostitution…

Worse Than I Thought

As I’ve previously explained, any totalitarian law which passes nowadays will invariably be used as the model for similar laws in other jurisdictions:

…Nevada Sex Trafficking Bill AB67 [redefines]…Pandering…and…Living from earnings of prostitute…as “sex trafficking,” thus carrying harsher penalties and requiring registration as a sex offender…Does [this] include…family members supported by…a woman working legally in a Nevada brothel?  Pages 27-28 redefine terms so broadly as to apply to most consensual adult relationships, including marriage…“‘Prostitution’ means engaging in, agreeing to or offering to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee, monetary consideration or other thing of value…‘Sexual conduct’ means…any intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person’s body or any object manipulated or inserted by a person into the genital or anal openings of the body of a person…”  Is a medical doctor a prostitute for accepting money for a gynecological exam?  Is the husband who drove his pregnant wife to the doctor a sex trafficker?…

Grafton Street, Dublin c. 1900Dirty Laundry

This article is two years old, but it’s an interesting short history:

Monto, in the heart of Dublin…was once the biggest…red-light district in Europe.  Celebrated in song and story, it was where Leopold Bloom went for sexual humiliation and where a young Edward VII was said to have gone for some high-end thrills…At its height…1,600 women worked in Monto…but…within only a few years of the foundation of the State and the accession to power of the Roman Catholic church…War was declared on Monto.  The new Catholic state stormed into action and a force of gardai…raided Monto at midnight on March 12, 1925, and literally threw the women working there out on to the street and into the Church-run slave-labour laundries…

Thought Control

New findings on Fredric Wertham, the fanatic who whipped up a moral panic over comic books and almost destroyed the industry in the early ‘50s:

…Wertham’s personal archives…show that the doctor revised children’s ages, distorted their quotes, omitted other causal factors and in general “played fast and loose with the data he gathered on comics,” according to an article by Carol Tilley, published in a recent issue of Information and Culture: A Journal of History.  “Lots of people have suspected for years that Wertham fudged his so-called clinical evidence…but there’s been no proof,” Tilley said. “My research is the first definitive indication that he misrepresented and altered children’s own words about comics.”  Wertham died in 1981 [but] his archives…weren’t made widely available to researchers until the spring of 2010…

This sort of prohibitionist behavior is already very familiar to regular readers.

That Old Black Magic

The “Juju sex slaves” myth just keeps on going like a zombie; the most telling aspect of the narrative is the way it clearly links “sex trafficking” hysteria to the Satanic Panic, much as the Swedish Könskriget cult does.

Presents, Presents, Presents! (TW3 #50)

Eric Berkowitz , author of Sex and Punishment, on Reason TV:

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn (TW3 #134)

Filipino sex worker rights advocates call for true decriminalization rather than the legalization erroneously labeled as such by politicians:

…An NGO called “Women Hookers Organizing For Their Rights and Empowerment (WHORE) is treading the thorny path toward government recognition of this history-old job…[an advocate called] Tex said…there are about 500,000 sex workers in the country…“But we are not going for decriminalizing sex workers while criminalizing clients like the Swedish model…It didn’t even work there”…

The article is much better than the propaganda pushed by American journalists; it shows that opponents support criminalization of women and mentions UN support for decriminalization.

Due Consideration

Looks like the US isn’t the only regime using this concept:

The Queensland police union is calling for tougher laws to send risk-taking pregnant women into safe houses in an effort to monitor their behaviour…[saying] the rights of an unborn child should be considered ahead of the mother…Union president Ian Leavers says the state should be able to intervene in cases where children are at risk of foetal alcohol syndrome and drug addictions…

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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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