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Posts Tagged ‘Neither Addiction nor Epidemic’

Self-professed progressives fight for middle class utopias at the expense of the socially weak.  –  Cas MuddeMary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus

Book Reviews

An interview with Chester Brown about his newest graphic novel:

Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus may be the most provocative comic book published this year.  Beginning as a series of short Bible stories, many of them with a sexual edge—Tamar grappling with her husband, Onan, Bathsheba’s affair with King David—it gradually transforms into a polemic.  Drawing variously on academic scholarship, apocryphal texts, and his own keen interpretative eye, Brown argues that Jesus’ mother was a prostitute—and that Jesus’ own appreciation of prostitution was suppressed by later authors.  Though he tells familiar stories, Brown often pushes them in surprising—and sometimes even shocking—directions.  In one especially memorable sequence, he suggests that the anointment of Jesus described in all four gospels may have been sexual…Brown defends this conclusion in a series of lengthy exegetical endnotes that capture both the scope of his inquiries and the shape of his own fascinations…

Remember, Chester will be signing books in Seattle tonight!

Sales Pitch

The Swedish model has virtually eliminated prostitution in Sweden!

Streetwalkers have largely disappeared from the sidewalks but prostitution remains alive and well in northern Europe where laws criminalising the purchase of sex have been in place for years, illustrating the limits of legislation…Sweden was the first country to do so in 1999, and Norway and Iceland followed suit a decade later.  But prostitution is far from being eradicated in these countries, despite the fact that sex clients risk heavy fines or even prison sentences…Authorities…however [pretend to be] satisfied with the effects the legislation has had…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

Laws banning alcohol in strip clubs are among the most Puritanical and asinine of all sex industry “regulations”:

For years, the city of Chicago has prohibited businesses from mixing alcoholic beverage sales with nude dancing.  Strip clubs within the Windy City limits have to choose between serving booze and featuring dancers that exhibit their “genitals, pubic hair, buttocks” or, if female, “any portion of the … breast below the areola”, though clubs may permit patrons to bring their own drinks.  But now some Chicago city lawmakers are trying to open topless establishments for alcohol business…of course the dispensation doesn’t come without strings attached: “If a would-be owner sought to open a new club with drinks and partial nudity, it could do so only if it obtained a cabaret license,” a new designation which would require meeting “strict zoning codes” and “a special-use permit that would require community hearings”…

Our descendants will view such laws with much the same horror as many Westerners view strict hijab laws.

The Course of a Disease

One can never have too many anti-Swedish model editorials:

…The so-called “Nordic Model” is a return to the darkest periods of left-wing paternalism, in which…the opinions of the “protected” are either ignored or dismissed by the “protectors”.  Sex workers, who in large majority oppose the criminalization of people who buy sex…are stripped of their agency, reduced to “victims” of the “sex industry” who suffer from “false consciousness”.  A recent editorial of The Guardian, the British standard bearer of the European progressiveness, gives an interesting insight into the increasing difficulties that progressives have with justifying criminalization of sex work.  It is a remarkable combination of confusion and desperation.  While it actually refers to some of the little reliable research that is out there, it largely ignores its implications and recommendations.  This is because most serious research shows that the “Nordic Model” has neither improved the situation of sex workers nor significantly decreased the “sex industry”…

Above the Law  

It’s hard to be sure, but this one may have really been an ex-cop:

A former Carolina Beach police officer is being accused of pretending to [still] be a cop and threatening to arrest women if they didn’t [submit to rape]…Joseph Adam Silva…[raped one] escort…on March 15…[but he] allegedly committed [others] between Jan.1 and Jan. 20…he reportedly told [one] victim he was a police officer investigating a prostitution sting…he is now facing a total of 18 charges.  [Six] women have come forward…and…Detectives [claim] that anyone who comes forward will not be incriminated…

I wouldn’t trust the cops, ladies; just because they don’t prosecute you now doesn’t mean you won’t go on a watch list for later harassment.

The Notorious Badge 

I don’t own a TV set, so I won’t be watching this show.  But Lux Alptraum’s review jibes very well with my impressions from watching the trailer, including my opinion that the lead was dreadfully miscast:

The Girlfriend Experience…is a strange beast.  Despite being made seven years after Soderbergh’s Sasha Grey vehicle, it feels, weirdly, more regressive in its attitude towards sex work.  The film sought to draw comparisons between escorting and other service industries…In contrast, the show seems determined to double down on the “exotic” nature of the industry…at no point does Christine seem like a woman who would be drawn to escorting.  I don’t mean that she’s “too smart” or “too driven” or that she has “other options” (many of the sex workers I know are smart, driven, and with plenty of career options). It’s more that she seems to completely lack any of the basic skills that are necessary for the job.  Escorts who cater to wealthy gentlemen tend to place a great emphasis on being able to blend into expensive environments, something Christine seems incapable of doing even in her straight life.  Most notably, she’s not very good with people — in most of her interactions throughout the episode, she seems distant, disengaged, and bored. In other words, she’s the exact opposite of what a good sex worker needs to be: empathetic and able to connect with other people…

With Friends Like These…

Janet Street-Porter basically argues that whores are passive animals who should be harvested by the state:

…the sex industry is thriving – and a huge amount of money changes hands every day, none of which is subject to tax.  This means millions of euros that governments could be profiting from…The vast majority…who offer sex for sale…are poor migrants…controlled by organised crime and a large number are addicts…Please don’t…tell me there are happy prostitutes who love their job…every time a massage parlour is raided in the UK, who do you see cowering in the police vans?  Vulnerable women who have been trafficked…Women regularly get beaten up by clients, they are rarely in control and abusive clients can make their lives a misery…

Apparently, Porter believes that people of other professions who are arrested by cops and know their entire lives may be destroyed go happily smiling, singing and dancing into the police vans.

Backwards Into the Future (#408)

Malawi continues to do what the US won’t:

Sex workers in Mwanza district have received a boost as the district’s council has revealed plans to recognise them and help improve their trade…the council hopes the female sex workers alliance will give the sex workers opportunities to find solutions to problems they face…Mwanza District Aids Coordinator, Pearson Mphangwe said the move will help curb the spread of HIV and AIDS…

The Rape Question (#409) Yes To Sex app

Considering the doctrine that consent can be retroactively revoked months or years after the fact, I sincerely doubt an informal contract without  a lawyer witness  would really offer much protection:

…A mother of three aims to…confirm mutual consent before sexual intercourse via Yes to Sex, an app…for both iOS and Android.  In less than 25 seconds, partners can whip out a smartphone, fire up the app and flash through a series of one-touch agreements that culminate in a request to record a short audio confirmation that the parties have agreed to intercourse.  A safe word is generated.  Both parties agree to stop having sex if one partner says the word.  The app essentially amounts to a technological record of consent.  Once a user closes out of the app, no information remains saved on any phone.  The date, time, place and voice recordings are stored on Yes to Sex’s secure servers, which according to a company news release…”can only be retrieved with court-endorsed orders, ensuring anonymity”…

Full of Themselves (#414)

Even though “massage therapists” are pushing back on this idiocy, they just can’t resist anti-whore posturing:

Owners of some of Evanston [Illinois’s] estimated 50 massage therapy businesses turned out…to protest a proposed city licensing ordinance that they said could force them out of business…James Specker…[of] the American Massage Therapy Association…said city staff had failed to reach out to the profession before developing the new regulatory scheme.  That failure to consult with affected businesses also marked a city effort four years ago to impose zoning restrictions on massage businesses — a proposal ultimately defeated after the massage therapists turned out in force to oppose it.  Sarah McLaughlin…said the ordinance’s definition of prohibited areas for massage is overbroad and raised objections to other provisions, including one that would forbid locks on the doors of rooms where massages were given…She suggested…prohibiting overnight operating hours, when, she said, no legitimate massage business would be operating, as ways to address the prostitution problem.  Steve Rogne [fantasized] a need for more regulation to protect against human trafficking…

Guinea Pigs 

Remember: they say it’s about “pimps”, but really it’s about sex workers and clients today, and about everybody once they get it perfected:

…21-year-old Emily Kennedy trawls through hundreds of online ads offering up women for sex.  The ads are posted publicly online, and they’re endless.  Emily’s trying to find patterns in ads posted by pimps in the illegal sex trade – consistent phone numbers, spelling mistakes, syntax, phrasing; any clues to link handfuls of ads together.  It’s 2011.  By 2016, those nights…have paid off.  Emily’s senior thesis research has become the basis for Traffic Jam, a piece of software that finds patterns in ads posted by pimps.  Those patterns now help detectives – even in agencies like the FBI – to figure out who’s behind each post.  Traffic Jam has helped detectives rescue hundreds of victims of human trafficking in the US, Emily Kennedy [claims]…

Dating Game

I don’t date outsiders except for money, but I think the way everyone just assumes breaking off with a woman because she’s a sex worker is the “right” thing to do, is kind of revolting:

The [UK] culture secretary, John Whittingdale, is facing calls to withdraw from his role in the regulation of the press following the disclosure that he had a relationship with a sex worker.  Whittingdale, who is divorced, was forced to explain…how he had a six-month relationship with a woman who he did not realise worked in a brothel.  But campaigners for tighter press regulation have claimed his position is compromised after it was reported that a number of newspapers had investigated the claims but decided not to run the story…Whittingdale described the situation as embarrassing…“Between August 2013 and February 2014, I had a relationship with someone who I first met through Match.com…She was a similar age and lived close to me.  At no time did she give me any indication of of her real occupation and…As soon as I discovered, I ended the relationship.  The events occurred long before I took up my present position and it has never had any influence on the decisions I have made as culture secretary”…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#625) 

“Sex addiction” is the defense of choice for non-violent sex offenders:

Jeffrey Zapora…avoided jail, and was instead sentenced to four years of probation for three counts of indecent exposure…Zapora [claimed]…increasing stress in his life…led him to act out…[by using] masturbation and sexual behaviors as a coping mechanism, and the flashing was an extension of that…Zapora said he attends a 12-step program for sex addiction, as well as counseling, and started going to church again…Before his arrest, Zapora was a first-year plastic surgery resident with Lehigh Valley Health Network…he was terminated from the program following his arrest…

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The unhealthy alliance of medicine and government…blesses all sorts of unjustified limits on liberty.  –  Thomas Szasz

bootlickerEven though I live in the same world as the bootlickers, they are somehow unable to see what’s going on all around them, or else they see it but can’t correlate it.  To them, this news story (for example) appears as something other than an abomination:

…once every three weeks, [Marziya] won’t be working the streets of Qurgon-Teppa as a prostitute…Those days are reserved for the morality classes she was recently enrolled in by local police…to turn…sex workers away from their profession.  The main goal…is to “help these women to get themselves on the right path”…The speakers…lecture…their audience on moral values…

Yes, this is Tajikistan rather than the US, but the US-based website for which the story was written is clearly blind to the mind-boggling hypocrisy of  women being forcibly subjected to “morality lessons” from the police.  You know, the same people who do this kind of thing, also in the name of “morality”:

…Kimberlee Carbone was pulled over by [Pennsylvania] police in November 2013, ostensibly because “she did not apply her turn signal at least 100 feet before the intersection.”  She was then subjected to a degrading five-hour ordeal that included a bogus DUI arrest, a search of her person and her car, a strip search at the county jail, and multiple probings of her anus and vagina at a hospital…Carbone was forced to remove her clothing, “bend over, spread her buttocks, and cough”…two [jailers], April Brightsue and Niesha Savage, [pretended] they saw a plastic bag protruding from her vagina, so they repeatedly instructed her to “prod her personal areas by inserting her fingers into her vagina” in the hope of dislodging the imaginary item.  Then they…[took her] to Jameson Hospital in New Castle for “an internal examination of her body cavities”…the cops found a doctor, Bernard Geiser, who [played along]…Carbone “was restrained to a bed by her wrists and ankles” as Geiser “performed an internal inspection of her vagina and rectum.”  He did not find anything…she was [then] subjected to an involuntary CT scan, which found no foreign objects…[District Attorney Joshua] Lamancusa…told her the ordeal would end “if she helped him by provid[ing] information regarding drug-related activity.”  He also asked her “if she knew what prison felt like.”  The lawsuit says Lamanusca and…cops [David Maiella & Chief Robert Salem] added insult to assault by making “derogatory remarks about her compromised position”…

Naturally, Carbone is suing, and naturally, a judge has already dismissed the majority of her claims.  I hope this other woman fares better, though I sincerely doubt she will because “sex trafficking”:

A Minnesota woman who spent four years in jail after she was accused of participating in a sex trafficking ring has filed a lawsuit against the city of St. Paul and a key police investigator…Hamdi Ali Osman [reports that]…Heather Weyker framed [her] as the “madam” in the sex ring of mostly Somali-American immigrants and refugees…in 2010.  Last month, a federal judge reversed convictions for several people…after concluding that Weyker was repeatedly caught lying, and that the sex trafficking claims by…the alleged victims…were fictitious…Osman…and other inmates spent 23 hours a day locked in their cells…for four years and on home arrest for two years…She’s also suing three unnamed supervisors who…allowed Weyker to continue fabricating facts…

I’ll be very surprised if Weyker and the other monsters involved in this suffer any consequences at all; the function of modern judges is to lend a veneer of legitimacy to the arbitrary brutality of “authorities”, while shielding them from the consequences of their behavior:

A Cook County judge…cleared a…[cop] of the sexual assault of a colleague’s young daughter, convicting him instead of misdemeanor battery…[and ordering him] to undergo up to two years of sex offender counseling…Judge Charles Burns [pretended] prosecutors had failed…to prove…that Dennis Barnes fondled the girl for his own sexual arousal…The girl was 9 at the time of the…assault in [which]…he…reached into her shorts and attempted to sexually assault her…When her mother entered the room, the girl began crying and told her what had happened.  “(Barnes) told the victim that he was her mother’s boss,” Assistant State’s Attorney Tracy Senica told the judge. “And…she didn’t scream because she didn’t want to get her mom into trouble”…

I suspect the prosecutors in that case weren’t trying any harder than they absolutely had to in order to maintain the illusion that they weren’t all on the same side; take this other prosecutor, for example:

Stuart Dunnings III…remains a crafty lawyer already planning for what will likely be a plea bargain on multiple prostitution and pandering charges.  For those with resources…the “seeking treatment” tactic is widely practiced as a way to lessen fines or jail time…For Dunnings, establishing an “I’m in treatment defense” is no less calculating than his very public get-tough on prostitution proclamations…One of the oddities in this case…is the ease with which Dunnings has managed to delay court proceedings so that he can seek out treatment.  Prosecutors usually aren’t so willing to let [defendants] enroll in programs to buttress their defense…The very notion of sex-addiction treatment has a hollow ring.  Unlike drug, alcohol and even gambling, sex addiction seems more a punch line than a serious condition…

Though that reporter does seem to get that “sex addiction” is bogus, he spouts the usual anti-whore nonsense and seems remarkably naive about the way “authorities” all scratch each others’ backs while slamming everyone else as hard as they can.  He also misses the bigger picture, the way in which the medical and psychiatric bureaucracies have become part of the machinery of oppression, in what dissident psychiatrist Thomas Szasz referred to as the “therapeutic state”.  Doctors and hospitals assist pervert cops in sexually violating people on the grounds that they might be using substances the State has decided are not permitted.  Sex crimes are redefined as psychopathologies, allowing the well-connected to substitute “treatment” for prison while simultaneously providing an excuse for indefinite detention of the marginalized; meanwhile ordinary, non-problematic sexual behaviors are defined as both crimes and pathologies, thereby allowing the state to choose between various control strategies as it pleases.  One of the most terrifying ways in which this is being done is by redefining behaviors once considered “vices”, “crimes” or “moral turpitude” into “public health issues”, allowing religious fanatics to don the white coats of doctors and disguise their Puritanism as something akin to epidemiology.  So while just about everyone recognizes this as absolute barking madness:

A Christian author is warning women that “masturbation is a direct path to Satan.”  Mack Major of Eden Decoded wrote on Facebook that “too many Christian women are losing their salvation because they masturbate…Dildos and all of those other sex toys have been used for thousands of years in demonic sex rituals…those sex toys are an open portal between the demonic realm and your own life”…Another post…warned…“The danger in masturbating is that one could inadvertently summon a sex demon…And once that demon attaches, it…will drive you to masturbate, even when you don’t want to.  You’ll be hit with urges to play with yourself so powerful that only an orgasm will allow you some temporary relief”…

…most don’t recognize this lunacy from Gail Dines as the exact same “sin, degradation and possession” rhetoric dressed up in modern psychobabble:

…As the evidence piles up, a coalition of academics, health professionals, educators, feminist activists and caregivers has decided that they can no longer allow the porn industry to hijack the physical and emotional well-being of our culture…Culture Reframed, an organization I founded and currently chair, is pioneering a strategy to address porn as the public health crisis of the digital age…if porn is not discussed in a research-based, age-appropriate sexual health curriculum, its effects will surely show up as sexual harassment, dating violence and inadvertent “child pornography” on students’ phones.  Pornography can cause lifelong problems if young people are not taught to distinguish between exploitative porn sex and healthy, safe sex.  As the research shows, porn is not merely a moral nuisance and subject for culture-war debates.  It’s a threat to our public health.

Note that Dines doesn’t disavow the idea of porn as sinful (“a moral nuisance”); in fact, it’s central to her narrative.  Dines, like other authoritarians, wants human sexuality to be defined as both a moral and a psychiatric/medical problem, so the police state can feel thoroughly justified in violently subjecting individuals to whatever “therapy” or “morality lessons” it wishes in order to “correct” them.

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[Prohibition] directly and indirectly contribute[s] to lethal violence, disease, discrimination, forced displacement, injustice and the undermining of [human] right[s].  –  Johns Hopkins/Lancet Commission

Bad Girls 

Better headline: “Sex worker kills drunk, violent client who tried to fuck her bareback“:

A Cook County [Illinois] judge sentenced a 23-year-old prostitute…to 15 years in [prison]…for the murder of…Al Filan…[Alisha] Walker and another woman who was not charged went to Filan’s home on Jan. 18, 2014…It was Walker’s third encounter with Filan…[but this time he was drunk and] insisted on unprotected sex, the women refused and the three got into a heated argument…Filan punched [Walker] when she tried to retrieve [her] $300 [fee]…Filan’s autopsy reports revealed him to have a .208 blood-alcohol content.  She…stabbed him in self-defense and left his bloody body on his kitchen floor without calling for help…

I’m not going to defend killing somebody (she stabbed him 14 times) over $300, but this kind of violence is the inevitable result of all criminalization of consensual behavior.

The Last Shall Be First 

There are so many of these toilet bills being flung about now*, it’s hard to keep track of them all:

The American Civil Liberties Union…Lambda Legal, and Equality NC…[announced] a federal lawsuit…challenging North Carolina’s HB 2…passed…last week in a rushed special session…[to]…ban…all…nondiscrimination ordinances statewideThe…measure…[also]  requires restroom access in public facilities…[be] based on birth assigned sex regardless of a person’s gender identity and lived gender.  It also jeopardizes the more than $4.5 billion in federal funding that North Carolina receives for…schools under Title IX, which prohibits…discrimination against transgender individuals…The North Carolina League of Municipalities, Attorney General Roy Cooper, and [a number of] major companies…have announced their opposition to the law

*Exactly in the way monkeys fling poop.

Change a Few Words

They’re advising a “gradual” shift.  Because it wouldn’t do to stop murdering and caging people and destroying lives all at once:

A group of 22 medical experts convened by Johns Hopkins University and The Lancet have called…for the decriminalization of all nonviolent drug use and possession.  Citing a growing scientific consensus on the failures of the global war on drugs, the experts further encourage countries and U.S. states to “move gradually toward regulated drug markets”…Their report comes ahead of a special UN General Assembly Session on drugs to be held next month, where the world’s countries will re-evaluate the past half-century of drug policy and, in the hope of many experts, chart a more public health-centered approach going forward…the last time the UN held a special session on drugs, in 1998, it set itself the goal of a “drug-free world” by 2008…The commissioners cite research showing that “of an estimated 246 million people who used an illicit drug in the past year, [only] 27 million (around 11%) experienced problem drug use..The idea that all drug use is necessarily ‘abuse’ means that immediate and complete abstinence has been seen as the only acceptable approach”…

Above the Law  

A pig rapes an extremely-drunk woman, but journalists still won’t call it rape:

A Baton Rouge [cop] has been [given a paid vacation]…after a woman accused him of [raping] her in August following a traffic stop…Brad Bennett…[pulled] the victim and her roommate…over…[and arrested] the…roommate…on a DWI…the victim was not allowed to drive herself home [because she was drunk, so]…Bennett drove…her home…[and raped her while] she was impaired…she [was drunk so she] remembers little of what happened…

First They Came for the Hookers…

It never stops with us, ladies:

A teaching assistant has been sacked by a primary school after parents discovered photographs of her modelling underwear.  Gemma Laird, 21, says she was told the school did not want pupils “thinking it is acceptable to be a model”…the headmistress said…”people would lose respect for the school if they found out…She made me feel dirty and like I was a prostitute.  It’s ridiculous”…

Still think it’s a good idea to draw those lines between you and us?  Because once you do, there’s nothing to stop somebody else from moving them so you’re on the “bad girl” side.

The Widening Gyre

Another “stripping causes sex trafficking” wankfest:

…The Portland metro area has become a hub of child sex trafficking in part due to the large volume of legal adult entertainment venues…Northwest Family Services’ “Deceptions” curriculum was created at the request of law enforcement in Vancouver, Wash.  Vancouver Police realized that sex trafficking had become an epidemic in Pacific Northwest…middle and high schools…

This is modern policing: scaring kids with bogeymen and lies, and representing their sexual fantasies as “realizations” about objective reality.

Lower Education

The indispensable Liz Brown takes a long, thorough look at how the US government is attempting to regulate sex under the guise of “fighting discrimination”:

…Not so long ago, the U.S. criminalized pretty much all sex outside of marriage.  As these laws have been struck down by courts or allowed to settle into obsolescence, it would seem that sexual liberty has been vindicated as an important American value.  But while the courts have been busy ushering the government out of our bedrooms, it’s been creeping right back in under new pretenses.  Gone is the language of morals, tradition, and order—the state now intervenes in our sex lives bearing the mantles of safety, exploitation, and sex discrimination…

Paint By Numbers

Even in the world of stupid “sex trafficking” publicity stunts, this one is painfully stupid:

Models were walking and dancing down the aisle, each wearing shirts that said “One less,” as lively tunes played…Foundations for Freedom [founder] Dana World-Patterson…said she…felt the show is a fun way to raise money for eradicating human trafficking…She explained the meaning behind the “One Less” t-shirts they wore, saying children enter the sex trade as young as age 10…journalist Eric Von also emceed, saying…Milwaukee has experienced a large increase in child sex trafficking cases and the average age is 13.  “An article recently described Milwaukee as the ‘Harvard school of pimpism’”…

From “the Harvard of sex trafficking” to “the Harvard of pimp school” to “the Harvard school of pimpism”.  “Sex trafficking” tropes just get more and more hilarious with each iteration.

False Witness

Still think you don’t live in a police state?

…teachers and school administrators [are being taught]…an abbreviated version of the Reid Technique, which is used across the country by [cops, rent-a-cops]…insurance-fraud investigators, and other people for whom [accusing people of crimes] is part of the job…trainees [are taught that] patterns of body language—including slumping, failing to look directly at the interviewer, offering “evasive” responses, and showing generally “guarded” behaviors…supposedly reveal whether a suspect [is] lying…Reid teaching materials [never] refer to “students” or “kids.”  They [are] always “suspects” or “subjects”…The training [includes] tricks to provoke a response that might [be interpreted as] guilt…John E. Reid and Associates has been marketing its methods to school systems…in eight states…Young people tend to be…vulnerable to false confession…[a study showed]  forty-two per cent of the juveniles who were exonerated had falsely confessed, compared with only eight per cent of adults.  Nearly twice as many eleven- to fourteen-year-olds falsely confessed as did fifteen- to seventeen-year-olds.police misconduct poster  Other research has shown that Reid training influences the perception of juveniles by the people who use it…Reid-trained police [are] less aware of the developmental differences between adolescents and adults than police who did not receive the training…Reid-trained [cops] tend…to believe that adolescents [are] just as capable as adults of withstanding psychologically coercive questioning, including deceit…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#450) 

“Sex addiction” is the defense of choice for upskirt photo takers who get caught:

[Steven Johanowicz]…was convicted of felony crimes…for recording an upskirt video, and secretly videotaping a woman in a shower, and was sentenced to three years probation…[cops] also found three hundred [self-recorded] upskirt videos in Johanowicz’s apartment…Johanowicz says he lost his long-time position at Chazen Museum as a result of his actions.  He’s in therapy for…sex addiction…

Birth of a Movement (#526)

An Italian city copies France by criminalizing “looking like a whore”:

Scantily-clad prostitutes in Salerno will now face fines of up to €500 for “violating urban decorum”, a move ushered in by mayor Enzo Napoli following a spike in the number of sex workers in the city centre…The fines are also a way of trying to deter prostitutes…By encouraging the scantily dressed women to cover up, it is hoped that they will become less attractive to clients and be less visible to citizens and tourists…

Lying Down With Dogs (#539) 

All the most enlightened, free countries use US-type anti-sex work rhetoric:

Several provinces and cities where prostitution is popular were chosen for a pilot project that aims to prevent the crime and reduce its effects on the community…all establishments that traditionally draw prostitution – hotels, bars, dance halls and massage parlors – will be relegated to a specific area.  Lê Văn Quý, deputy director of the HCM City Social Evils Prevention Department…[said] it made the businesses easier to manage, and would help ensure public order…The intent of the project was not to encourage prostitution, but to gradually eliminate it…

Too Close To Home

King County prosecutors aren’t yet done destroying people’s lives for having consensual sex:

King County prosecutors contend…Phillip “Skip” Dehennis was an active member of [TRB]…Investigators contend hundreds of women brought to the United States to work as prostitutes…[an undercover pig paid sex workers, then wrote reviews cops now claim were] fake…[in order to get] himself invited to “meet and greet” parties…

So now 12 supposed “victims” have mushroomed into “hundreds”; I guess the cops figure that since they can’t produce even one “victim”, they might as well go for broke.  They’re also now claiming the reviews used to get into good standing on the boards were fake, an impossibility on this particular board because the ladies in the fake reviews would’ve raised the alarm.  No, this rapist just fucked escorts under false pretenses in order to exploit them in an evil scheme to harm their customers and destroy their livelihoods, and all with the blessings of the sheriff’s office.

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Save your gas money for doughnuts and leave me alone because flashing a badge isn’t going to get you a discount.  –  Alyssa Ambrosino

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

but damn, has she got chutzpah!

…Alyssa Ambrosino of [Pennsylvania]…posted a listing online Jan. 13 that read in part, “Hey guys it’s Marie or you can call me Lyssa.  I’m working…within the jurisdiction of East Stroud PD.  A police department that couldn’t find their own ass with both hands and a map, so don’t bother even trying to call and set up a date.  Save your gas money for doughnuts and leave me alone because flashing a badge isn’t going to get you a discount.  For all the REAL men out there I would love to see you”…A [plainclothes pig]…arranged to meet Ambrosino at her hotel room…[but] she [smelled him]…and asked him to leave…[then a plainclothes sow] …went up and knocked on the door…[asking] why her husband was in that hotel room…[the sow then planted] marijuana on the night stand [and arrested] Ambrosino…

If anyone knows how to get in touch with her, please ask her to email me; I may be able to help get her legal defense.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

How many times do we need to say this?

Self-labeled sex addicts often speak about their identities very clinically, as if they’re paralyzed by a scientific condition that functions the same way as drug and alcohol addiction. But sex and porn “addiction” are NOT the same as alcoholism or a cocaine habit. In fact [they]…are not addictions at all…and…don’t constitute what most researchers understand to be addiction…addicts withdraw. When you lock a dope fiend in a room without any dope, the lack of drugs will cause an immediate physiological response — some of which is visible, some of which we can only track from within the body. During withdrawal, the brains of addicts create junctions between nerve cells containing the neurotransmitter GABA. This process more or less inhibits the brain systems usually excited by drug-related cues — something we never see in the brains of so-called sex and porn addicts…porn-addiction [promoters]…are wedded to the idea that porn is an uncontrolled stimulus the brain gets addicted to because of the dopamine release it causes…But there’s a difference between compulsion and addiction…

Bell, Hook and Kettle

There’s a word for “partnering” between government and private corporations; it’s “fascism”:

State police officials are working with the Salvation Army and other organizations to help fight human trafficking in the Detroit area…Michigan has stepped up efforts in recent years to [arrest sex workers]…and [steal their possessions]…Human trafficking is a [sexual fantasy]…through which [police departments and rescue industry companies] profit from the exploitation and control of their victims.  Victims…include [sex workers, their clients, their] children…[their friends, landlords, roommates and partners]…

Legal Is as Legal Does 

Sex workers in Victoria will be able to advertise with full body pictures…under changes to the state’s sex-work regulations.  But…sex-worker organisation Vixen Collective says the government should tackle the real issues facing the industry, including full decriminalisation and an end to mandatory health testing…Advertisements are currently limited to head-and-shoulder shots.  Ads for sex workers will remain banned from radio, TV, film and video recordings but ads on the internet and in print may contain a photograph of the whole person, as long as…[it] does not show naked genitals or breasts, a sex act or a person under the age of 18 years.  Sex workers will now be able to advertise with references to [their] race, colour or ethnic origin…Jane Green…[of] Vixen Collective, said…sex workers have been calling for an end to mandatory testing because of the burden it puts on sex workers and taxpayers…25 years of medical research in Australia have shown that sex workers have lower rates of STI’s and practice safer sex than the general population…

Above the Law 

Even cops whose offenses don’t rise to the level of rape employ disgusting defenses:

[Boston cop] Edwin Guzman is currently facing charges of “annoying and accosting” a person of the opposite sex, as well as disseminating harmful material to a minor…if a classmate had sent a photo of his penis to this 16-year-old girl, he might be facing child pornography charges and a lifetime on the sex offender registry, rather than…a maximum $200 fine and 6 months in jail…what’s more disturbing is his lawyer’s dismissiveness of the teen’s response to the unwanted explicit pictures…”Kenneth Anderson…said…’You can’t tell me someone her age has never seen a picture of a penis on the Internet’…by this rationale, the teen shouldn’t be upset if an older relative, politician, church leader, trusted community figure, random neighbor or anyone else…sent her explicit photos.  After all, spend enough time on the internet and you’re bound to see a penis.  Perhaps Anderson could help her get over her fear of penis pictures by sending a few of his own her way…

Pyrrhic Victory

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

The New York Police Department has gained “chilling” access to a vast array of surveillance via the use of license plate readers (LPR), the American Civil Liberties Union warns…the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) obtained the final version of the nearly $500,000 contract between the NYPD and Vigilant Solutions for access to the billions of records the company has collected nationwide through the use of its LPRs…the new system “contains over 2.2 billion location data points, and it is growing by almost a million data points per day…Surveillance is about power.  Vigilant gives the NYPD power to monitor our whereabouts and, by extension, our affiliations, interests, activities and beliefs,” the civil rights group said in its blog…“Even more worrisome…the data comes from private license plate readers that scan locations that the police are less likely to scan: residential areas, apartment complexes, retail areas and business office complexes with large employee parking areasAnd…there is no limit on how long Vigilant keeps all of this private location data…There is no incentive for Vigilant to delete any data because its business model is to profit off of selling people’s data.”  Despite promises by LPR proponents that such databases would not be abused, they [are almost constantly]

King of the Hill

What century do “sex trafficking” fetishists believe this is?

I was shocked to learn that Michigan is one of the top spots in the United States for human trafficking…Michigan ranks No. 2 in the country…No. 1 is Nevada.  Two of the things that make Michigan a primary spot is our close proximity to Canada and our waterways…

Train Wreck

Translation: They provide forged papers and provide passage for migrants who want to escape Nigeria:

…[A police] raid [resulted] in the arrest of the leaders of a Nigerian-based group running an international sex-trafficking ring in Barcelona.  It’s known as the Supreme Eiye Confraternity (SEC), or the Air Lords…[cops] first came across the group in 2011 during a forgery investigation, but quickly discovered it was a huge network trafficking…human beings and narcotics (cocaine and marijuana) and [forging] passports.  It has also facilitated the transport of stolen crude oil into Europe…Benin City, Nigeria, is a human-trafficking hub

Sexual Predators

WARNING: The badge-licking in here is so loud and fellatory, it may nauseate you:

The customer has no idea what he is walking into.  He is in his early 30s, dressed kind of schlubby, and wanting to buy some sex on a gorgeous weekday afternoon…There will be no happy ending for him today.  He will be greeted by a [cop]…posing as a prostitute…Elsewhere in the hotel, a 27-year-old woman with heavy eye makeup and a short, short skirt is sitting on a bed looking concerned.  She is a prostitute, who, like the man, was [duped by pigs] on backpage.com, a popular prostitution website.  She had come to this room thinking she was about to have a “date.”  Instead, she is being interviewed by trained advocates from the YWCA who are looking for signs of coercion and fear…

Signs of coercion and fear, when she’s surrounded by armed thugs who’ve just deceived her?  How could that POSSIBLY be? The tone isn’t surprising, though, considering that the LA Times is the only newspaper I know whose reporters are specifically forbidden to call rape, “rape” when the rapist is a cop.

Crime Against Society (#324)

Though they can’t do it as easily as they once could, New Orleans prosecutors still love condemning sex workers to the “sex offender” registry:

…She had spent weeks in Orleans Parish Prison once before, sleeping on a mat, getting in fights.  She was desperate to get out.  Plead guilty to “attempted intentional exposure to AIDS,” an antiquated felony created during the darkest days of 1980s AIDS hysteria, and the prosecutor would agree to 60 days time served, her ticket to immediate release.  She took the deal.  About a week after she got out, the 22-year-old woman received a phone call.  It was her probation officer, threatening to take her back to jail.  Why?  She hadn’t registered as a sex offender…nobody – not her lawyer, not the judge, not the prosecutor – had mentioned anything about adding her name to a list of society’s most reviled outcasts.  Nobody had said anything about the special driver’s license she would have to carry, or the expense of mailing postcards to hundreds of her neighbors.  Aaliyah had condemned herself to 15 years of frustration and humiliation, and there is no record of anybody telling her until it was too late…

The Public Eye (#593)

Laura Lee talks about how she became a sex worker:

…In 2003, I moved to Scotland to take up a position with a financial institution, corporate prostitution at its finest.  Over time, my part time endeavour to top up my miniscule salary became known, and the proverbial hit the fan…In a small highland town, that’s better than a double live episode of Eastenders and various locals couldn’t wait to make their views known.  Some were to my face, but mostly it was done on social media, by members of staff during a “confidential” investigation…I was angry I had to leave the town for my daughter’s sake and start afresh.  I was angry for being judged, by the very people who’d come to me for help in the past.  But mostly, I was angry that many people spouted speeches about the sex industry, when they quite obviously didn’t have a clue…I’ve since learned that some people build entire careers on that…

Too Close To Home pompous press conference

Journalists are starting to listen:

…The women [Seattle cops pretended] they “rescued”…may not actually have been trafficked…King County’s prosecutor did not charge any of the people arrested with trafficking, only with promoting prostitution…The court documents include no affidavits or victim statements from the women themselves…[the] one woman [cops managed to catch]…said her family in South Korea was in debt bondage and that if she didn’t do sex work and pay off their debt, her family might be hurt…I can’t help but wonder about the element of coercion involved in obtaining the statement of an illegal immigrant who knows she may be jailed or deported unless she depicts herself as a trafficking victim…There is also no evidence that these women were being forced to stay in the apartments or forced to sell sex.  Indeed, the instructions on the TRB site says explicitly that “No means NO.  Regardless of your particular expectations, what is offered is completely up to the provider”…

Stupor Bowl (#608)

This is the typical “Super Bowl sex trafficking” story now; it debunks the specific gypsy whore myth while still accepting the greater “sex trafficking” myth:

On February 7, the Super Bowl will return to the Bay Area…and it’s an oft-repeated chestnut that when sports championships come to town, so too do human traffickers…the link between the Super Bowl and trafficking is, at best, unsubstantiated.  (The maybe-canard even has its own Snopes page).  At worst, it’s an attempt to link trafficking with hyper-masculine sporting events and voluntary sex work…the mayor’s anti-trafficking task force [imagined] the region to be “a hub for human trafficking and a hot spot for child sex trafficking”; the FBI has also [pretended] it to be one of 13 national “high intensity” areas for child sex trafficking crimes…Traffickers often use airplanes to transport victims through networks that span the globe

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Many use their hands, others use their brains.  We use our vaginas to work.  –  Mónica Lencina

The Red Umbrella 

Katherine Koster of SWOP published this list of “17 Facts About Sexual Violence and Sex Work” as a lead-up to December 17th.   Most of my readers are probably familiar with all or at least most of these already, but it’s important to remind the general public; furthermore, it’s good to see that Huffington Post seems to be slowly distancing itself from anti-whore propaganda and is publishing a lot more pro-sex-worker-rights articles in the past year or so.Mark Benavides

Droit du Seigneur

a…client of Mark H. Benavides, a San Antonio lawyer, accused Benavides of having sex with her in an empty room in the Bexar County Courthouse during her intoxication manslaughter trial.  Benavides claimed that she was lying and upset because she was sentenced to 15 years in prison on the manslaughter charge…after the first victim spoke up, others came forward.  The first was a prostitute who said that after their first encounter in 2005, he offered his services as a lawyer.  She…always paid for his legal services with sex, never with money.  She stopped in 2012, and Benavides reminded her that he had videotape of their sexual encounters.  Another victim said that she met Benavides repeatedly for sex…[because she] was afraid that if she refused, Benavides would, based on his good relationship with the judge, hurt her case.  The final victim did not have money to pay Benavides, so he had her meet him every Tuesday at a motel.  When she didn’t show one time, he went to court and withdrew the attorney bond he had posted for her, which resulted in her being arrested…Benavides was arrested and charged with three counts of Compelling Prostitution…[which is] much easier to prove [than rape]…

Bell, Hook and Kettle

Though the reporter of course believes in the Salvation Army’s propaganda and doesn’t think to investigate the truth about the religious group’s anti-whore and anti-queer crusades, this puff piece contains some useful statistics:

…fliers featuring people’s mouths sealed with duct tape have gone up on targeted street corners and inside women’s restrooms — one of the few places where victims of sex trafficking might find privacy…82 cents of every dollar dropped into the kettle goes to helping people in need.  The holiday fundraising campaign generates nearly 70 percent of the funds used to provide services year-round…

There’s no telling what fraction of that 82% goes to hate campaigns, but you can bet it’s substantial.

Legal Is as Legal Does

Despite the moronic headline, this isn’t a bad article:

Ammar, the Argentinean union of prostitutes…set up a tent in front of Congress to request a new law that would allow them to access the same benefits enjoyed by other independent workers…Argentinean law does not ban prostitution. Each province, however, regulates it differently. In most cases, regulation is so rigorous that offering sexual services is virtually forbidden. For example, in San Juan…public…offer [of] sex services…[can be penalized by] up to 20 days in prison.More often than not, the legislation that is [pretended] to protect sex workers has the opposite effect…The prevailing government view…is to [pretend that] all sex workers [are] victims of human trafficking….

Profit from Panic 

Can you imagine a real “pimp” putting as much thought into it as these people put into their BDSM fantasies?

With the holiday’s [sic] right around the corner, you might be searching for that perfect, unique gift that give’s [sic] back to your local community.  Emily Mahoney and Lauren Carpenter are producing…handcrafted jewelry…that is…helping to end human trafficking in Tennessee…The women started Branded Collective, a collection of metal cuffs and jewelry, a few years ago.  Twenty-five percent of the proceeds…goes to…End Slavery Tennessee…Each cuff is “branded” with a little initial of the woman who helped to make it, and with a number.  Many victims of human trafficking are branded with tattoos or numbers. “Branding is a way of depersonalizing the human…and identifying them as…something you can buy and sell that’s disposable”…said Emily.  You can visit their website to read the story of the survivor that branded your one of a kind cuff…

Blunt Instrument

Attention, useful idiots: making it easier for cops to get search warrants is never a good idea, even if they pretend it’s to “fight” something you dislike:

Houston’s City Council passed…an ordinance that aims to help [cops close down]…massage establishments…that may be a front for prostitution…[by expanding] the legal definition of a massage establishment.  The change will allow the [cops to raid any place they declare a massage establishment]…”[Blah blah blah] human trafficking,” explained Minal Patel Davis, special advisor to the mayor on human trafficking…The change…will also make it easier for [cops to get rubber-stamped] search warrants…

Monsters 

[A] trans woman…lost her life in…Istanbul [on December 2nd]…Alev…was stabbed in her heart by a man who approached her as a client…police called on a couple of her friends for further investigation…There was another transphobic hate crime ten days ago in…Istanbul.  The victim was a young trans woman…[named] Nilay…[who] was stabbed several times and strangled with a bathrobe cord…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#407)

SCIENCE!!!

…Last year, the Journal of Religion and Health published an article linking schizophrenia to demonic possession based on the claims of a single faith healer.  Now, they’ve published new research…which claims that consuming…sexual media may have “a negative impact on learning second language vocabulary.”  Want to learn German? Better avoid sexy music videos and denim commercials, the study suggests.  “Aside from dire consequences in the afterlife, viewing sexual media can have a detrimental effect on human learning and memory in this life,” it concludes.  Yakup Çetin, the study’s author and a foreign language education professor at Faith University in Istanbul…[said] he…”[finds his own] study objective”…the [sexual material]  included the trailer for the Pitt-Jolie action flick Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the music video for “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias, and a television commercial for Mavi Jeans…


Property of the State 

Prison sentences for these women can be as much as 40 years“:

The Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court has reinstated the country’s total ban on abortion, including cases in which a pregnant woman’s life is at risk.  [Last December] Dominican President Danilo Medina approved measures decriminalizing abortion in cases of rape, incest, and fetal deformity, as well as situations where the mother’s life would be endangered by carrying the pregnancy to term.  The reforms were set to take effect December 19, 2015.  But religious and socially conservative groups appealed, arguing in court that the country’s constitution protects the rights of “unborn children” from the moment of conception…the country’s total abortion ban puts girls and women at risk by prompting pregnant women to visit black-market abortion doctors and forcing them to give birth even when it’s physically  dangerous…Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras also ban abortion in all circumstances…

Now They Notice

I find articles which pretend that Rentboy was fundamentally different from sites on which female escorts advertize to be utterly infuriating, especially when they strongly imply that male sex workers are entrepreneurs while women like me are passive victims:

…Arrangements made through Rentboy were between consenting adults. David Bimbi, professor of health sciences…drew a clear distinction between this business and other illegal activities.  According to Bimbi, many of the arguments against sex work — that it promotes pimping, sex trafficking and exploits minors — “fly out the window” when it comes to Rentboy, which was a site where adults self-advertised to other adults.”  Recently, Meryl Streep, Lena Dunham, Rashida Jones and other celebrities joined with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women to decry Amnesty International’s proposed recommendation to decriminalize sex work.  The coalition claimed Amnesty’s proposal would “advocate the legalization of pimping.”  Rentboy, Bimbi said, is a completely different situation…Since the raids, many sex workers have organized to battle sex worker stigma…

Danny Cruz and Conner Habib try to set writer Mathew Rodriguez straight, but he seems to think gay dudes just invented sex worker rights in the past few months.

Uncommon Sense (#572)

Sonja Dolinsek on the awfulness of German prostitution law “reform”:

After two years of negotiations, the German Federal Ministry for Families, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth shared its second draft of a new prostitution law…the 2002 law, widely decried as “legalizing prostitution” and blamed for an increase in human trafficking, has never been fully implemented.  But that hasn’t stopped politicians and the media from loading blame for the supposed catastrophic state of sex workers in Germany onto these three paragraphs – using the law to score easy points with the public.  Few in Germany or abroad questioned the idea that the law had led to an explosion of human trafficking…But nobody bothered to fact-check the claim of increased trafficking.  If they had, they would have found that that sex work had been legal long before 2002, and that human trafficking has actually been steadily decreasing…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#592)

Well, gee, this is SO MUCH better:

…The “John letters motion” was approved by the city council…and LAPD officers can presumably start recording license plate numbers and sending letters to the registered owners’ homes immediately.  But the media got one thing wrong: there’s no plan to use automated license plate readers to scan every license plate that goes through the neighborhood to shoot the drivers scarlet letters.  And…Los Angeles is not the only city to have this idea…But even without the Orwellian license plate reader element, there are legitimate concerns around guilt premised on an idling car…

Fallen Idol

Melissa Gira Grant interviewed a number of porn actors & actresses on the James Deen affair:

…That chorus of voices that followed Stoya’s shook the porn industry…and now the public is hearing…about the particular structural problems the porn industry contends with, and the persistent and pernicious idea that sex workers are by definition unrapeable…Arabelle Raphael…said…“A lot of people knew…And some people had really good experiences with him, but that doesn’t mean anything.”  Performers let each other know what they had heard about Deen…two people [previously told her to]…put James Deen on your ‘no’ list” – the performers she would not do scenes with…eight other women have also gone public. Tori Lux, Ashley Fires, Amber Rayne, Kora Peters, Nicki Blue, Lily LaBeau, and a woman writing as T.M., all say Deen has assaulted them, too. In the aftermath of those allegations, Deen’s career is crumbling…

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Mainstream feminism rejects sex work as an acceptable choice.  So…I don’t describe myself as an adherent to a political philosophy that wants to eliminate me.  –  Mistress Matisse

Five Women in Whitechapel 

Almost certainly not:

They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper [is] more than 800 pages in length…Michael Maybrick was a hugely popular singer and composer in the Victorian era, who is virtually forgotten today – for reasons that Robinson believes are no accident…Maybrick was close friends with Sir Arthur Sullivan and the painter Frederick Leighton, among many other prominent public figures.  Both Sullivan and Leighton were Freemasons, as was Michael Maybrick.  He was…on the Supreme Grand Council of Freemasons, whose members also included the Prince of Wales…Maybrick was 47 at the time of the murders; a bachelor and, [author Bruce] Robinson believes, homosexual…

Yes, it’s a new version of the Masonic theory.

Above the Law rapist cop Jeff Sowers

When you’re a cop, rape becomes “official misconduct”:

A [Tennessee cop]…who resigned amid allegations of [raping prisoners]…pleaded guilty…to one count of official misconduct…Judge John Dugger sentenced Jeff Sowers to 18 months in jail…Dugger denied a request by Sowers’ attorneys for judicial diversion, which would have allowed for Sowers’ record to be expunged after his sentence…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Such a lot of stupid writing on something that not only doesn’t exist, but will never exist in the way and on the timescale these idiots are wanking to the fantasy of:

…a recent report claims intimacy between robots and humans will be more common than that between two people by 2050.  The work, written by futurologist Dr. Ian Pearson, purports that engaging in virtual sex acts will be as prevalent in 2030 as our engagement with porn today, and that the majority of people will own sex toys that employ an alternate reality in some way come 2035…

Storyville (#139)

Over the last 150 years, rights for sex workers have…diminished, according to West Virginia University journalism professor Alison Bass.  In her book Getting Screwed: Sex Workers and the Law…Bass surveys the history of laws regulating prostitution in America and abroad.  In the past and today, Bass finds, sex workers have been marginalized by stigma that portrays them as immoral, dangerous, even diseased figures. B ut while the stigma hasn’t changed, the laws have—in many cases…for the worse…

Dutch Threat

Lawheads are completely unable to comprehend the bottleneck effect:

Entrepreneurs in Amsterdam who want to open a brothel must speak at least one common language with the sex workers they rent space to, according to a…ruling handed down by the European Court of Justice.  The court [claimed] the decision as…a way to guarantee the safety of the women, [reduce] human trafficking, and…help prevent pimping…and [pretended it] was…not discriminatory in any way…the court also noted the Council of State’s notion that the seeming overreach in authority was meant as a protection of public order, and that being able to converse with a sex worker allows a brothel owner the possibility of stopping child prostitution…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Because nobody would care about a headline reading, “Man minds his daughter while mother works”:

A Michigan man held his 9-month-old daughter in a motel room while the baby’s mother had sex with another man for money…Derohn Wilburn…is charged with…felony promoting prostitution and misdemeanor child endangering…Melissa Coleman…is charged with misdemeanor child endangering and prostitution…police released the baby to a family member.  She was unharmed…

Played Out

I don’t know who Robert Fullinwider is, but I thank him for taking the time to read through Moran’s drek so as to be able to rip it to shreds:

…Moran is not content to offer her particular life-story…She also sets herself up as the Universal Prostitute, a woman whose experiences define prostitution and trump the “experiences” of anyone else — sex worker, academic, or otherwise — who views prostitution differently than she does. She is not content to let her story speak for itself but instructs the reader on the proper conclusions to draw, and engages in arguments based on her experiences and “research”…Moran writes: prostitutes are “coerced” into prostitution (pp. 49, 227); they have no “choice” (p. 161); they have no “free will” (p. 201); they act out of “desperation” and “destitution” (pp. 43, 96)…Moran…[claims] she didn’t consent to prostitution because “it is not possible to consent to a lifestyle you don’t comprehend” (p. 50).  Yes it is.  People do it all the time.  “I didn’t know marriage was going to be like this!”  “I didn’t know how stressful being a parent would be!”  “I didn’t know military life would be this tough!”  [She claims] she didn’t consent to prostitution because she wasn’t an adult and children can’t consent (pp. 50-51).  Yes they can.  Society frames laws that say people below certain ages can’t “consent” – to contracts, to mortgages, to sexual relations, and the like – but the “no consent” here is a legal fiction…a sixteen year-old girl who finds prostitution utterly repulsive, revolting, and disgusting, and who is “desperate to escape,” yet who passes up on an opportunity to get out of the trade because she’s unwilling to be bound by any rules, is a person who’s made a choice— a bad choice, to be sure, but a real choice…Moran…speaks of allowing herself to be coerced (an odd locution) into prostitution by her boyfriend.  What did her boyfriend do?  Did he beat her?  Did he threaten her?  No, he “suggested” that she turn tricks; he “encouraged” her (pp. 47, 186)…Moran seems to think you haven’t acted freely unless you are as happy as a lark with what you’ve chosen (p. 227); that you are not self-determining unless you are “controlling the totality of your life” (p. 175).  These are just fundamentally unserious engagements with the notions of freedom and self-determination.  We always act under constraints, we never control the totality of our lives, and we are often unhappy with what we’ve chosen, just less unhappy than with the alternatives…

Rooted in Racism (#429)

Sweden’s “liberal reputation” is bullshit:

…a recent report by the United Nations…concludes that a rising level of racist violence and “Afrophobic” hate crimes in Sweden are “an extensive social problem”.  “There continues to be a general Swedish self-perception of being a tolerant and humane society, which makes it difficult to accept that there could be structural and institutional racism faced by people of African descent,” says the report…The country’s official [lie] of equality and respect for human rights “blinds” it to the racism faced by African-Swedes, it says.  Hate crimes against the 200,000 or so black people…in Sweden increased by more than 40% between 2008 and 2014…with more than a fifth of incidents last year involving violence…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#505)

On Working It, the magazine at the center of the stripper labor rights movement in Portland:

…Each magazine brings together about 50 pages of writing and art by sex workers from around the country.  In addition to permanent sections including “Client Hall of Shame” “Best/Worst Tip$” “Tales from your Shift” and art, each volume of Working It has a theme…After Danzine went dormant, [Matilda] Bickers and Portland’s sex worker activism also went relatively dormant.  [SWOP] took over Danzine’s bad date list.  In 2005, Bickers and her friends tried to start a dancer union — “but that failed miserably, and I was really burnt out for a while,” Bickers says.  In the following years, Bickers worked at strip clubs and…graduated from Portland State University.  “I kind of never stopped doing sex worker activism,” Bickers says…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#550)

The history of the concept of sex addiction is a complex, somewhat contentious one…I’ve often cited the concept back to the initial writings of Patrick Carnes…Now, three New Zealand historians have contributed a wealth of astounding, rich and often surprising information to the issue…Sex Addiction, A Critical History…represents a remarkable detailing of the troubling, often hidden, history of this concept…Reay and his coauthors found powerful writings by Hatterer from the 1960’s and 70’s, where he blamed a sexually addictive process for sexual excesses. Powerfully, they detail [Dr. Lawrence] Hatterer’s disturbing history of treating homosexuality as an illness, and the way he treated homosexuality “like an alcoholic”…in his writings…from its inception, the concept of sex addiction has been applied to treatment of homosexuality as an illness…

If You Want Something Done Right…

I have the most awesome friends:

…Mistress Matisse…heard about Heather’s experience and was determined to help.  Through other sex workers she tracked Heather down, called her and booked a flight to West Virginia.  She showed up at Heather’s door…organized fund-raising, lined up medical assistance and connected Heather with nonprofit help.  This isn’t a new role for Matisse.  She’s worked as a sex worker in various capacities since she was 19.  But as she’s gotten established in Seattle, she says, “I have gotten to the point in my career where it is in many ways self-sustaining.”  As a result, she’s had more time to devote to activism.  Matisse was there to help Heather because she’s made it her business to help sex workers who are in crises.  I talked to Matisse about her activism, her work with Heather and why sex workers are the best ones to help sex workers…

Amnesty At Last

Here’s an NPR show which purports to present a “discussion” of the Amnesty International position statement on decriminalization, but which was designed from the get-go to promote prohibitionist propaganda by stacking the panel three to one (Swanee Hunt, Rachel Moran and Andrea Powell) vs. Maxine Doogan.  Unfortunately for the antis, Maxine had logic and facts on her side and acquitted herself quite well.  What you won’t hear:  Sol Finer of SWOP-Seattle called into the live show and Moran absolutely lost her mind, screaming and shouting at Sol in such a clearly unbalanced manner that the tirade was edited out of the archived version of the show.  So much for NPR’s commitment to the truth.

New Excuse (#576)

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[As a sex worker] you either have so much agency that you can never be raped or you’re raped, in the abstract, every night.  –  Melissa Petro

Well, At Least They’re Consistent

Any charge, no matter how ridiculous and outmoded, will be pressed into service in the War on Whores:

Two [Wisconsn]…women face criminal charges as part of what Oshkosh police call an online prostitution ring.  Bailey M. Feustel, 20…and…Michelle J. Wescher, 23, [are] charged with prostitution by engaging in non-marital sexual intercourse, which carries a maximum sentence of nine months in prison…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

In January…Joshua Grubbs of Case Western, published…powerful research showing that seeing oneself as a porn addict was predicted not by how much porn one views, but by the degree of religiosity and moral attitudes towards sex….believing oneself is addicted to porn actually causes pain and psychological problems, in contrast to the idea that identifying as a porn addict is a part of a road to recovery…seeing oneself as a porn addict was strongly correlated with depression, anxiety, anger and stress…

The Pygmalion Fallacygynoids

Some people just can’t stand the idea of others having sex on their own terms:

According to a new paper, having intercourse with sex robots — a technology that’s not quite there yet, but easy to imagine in the decades to come — is unethical.  “I started thinking, ‘Oh, no, something needs to be said about this,’” Kathleen Richardson…said of her early research into sex robots that recreated what she called the “prostitute-john” relationship. “This is not right…extending relations of prostitution into machines is neither ethical, nor is it safe…the development of sex robots will further reinforce relations of power that do not recognise both parties as human subjects”…Richardson — with Erik Billing of the University of Skövde in Sweden, the co-creator of the Campaign Against Sex Robots — [pretends] that she is not anti-sex…

First They Came for the Hookers…

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

A high school teacher in Ohio resigned…after her second life as an Internet porn star was exposed…Kristin Sundman worked as an assistant band teacher at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Kent.  But in her free time, the 31-year-old was better known online as “melodyXXXtune”…

Worse Than I Thought

I just love Elizabeth N. Brown:

Indiana’s attorney general…Greg Zoeller [pretends] that the demand for adult sex workers “fuels” child sexual exploitation somehow.  Nevermind the fact that most people seeking consensual sex with adults wouldn’t dream of raping children; they’re all deviants in Zoeller’s mind…”We need something that sends [a] message”…said Zoeller, who is proposing the creation of a mandatory minimum sentencing requirement for those who attempt to pay for sex in any way…the tougher penalties…may also include…[stealing the accused’s] cars…Expect to see more of this nonsense around the country, soon—the folks at the National Association of Attorneys General have been salivating at the chance to throw more people in our already-overcrowded jails…Florida last year became the first to stipulate a mandatory minimum sentencing requirement for solicitation.  Anyone convicted of a second solicitation offense must be sentenced to at least 10 days in jail and attend classes where they will receive counseling for sex addiction and be reeducated to see the evils of consensual commercial sex.

So Close and Yet So Far

Why must so many otherwise-decent pro-decriminalization essays contain asinine, insulting, female-agency-denying passages like this one?  “Beyond a doubt most women who enter into sex work are driven into it, either by desperation, coercion, or both…”  No, you asshole, that assertion is not “beyond a doubt”, as you’d know if you spent more time talking to sex workers than about us.

Checklist (#345)dumb trafficking app

I can’t help laughing at how seriously people take this drivel:

…The Lifeboat Project in Central Florida designed the ACT (Awareness Combats Trafficking) app.  It’s designed as a fun game directed mainly to 11 to 14 year olds.  But within the very interactive game lies a very serious message.  One part of the app asks the user to go through and identify potentially dangerous people in a mall…“For me as a survivor I was triggered so I had to leave the room while they were presenting it, because the examples were so real life,” said [“rescue” shill Katarina] Rosenblatt…State leaders like the app so much, they want to make it part of the curriculum in Florida schools…“I think it’s an excellent idea that very [sic] child should automatically have built into their phone,” said Rosenblatt…

Devil’s Advocate

It’s rare to see “authorities” admit that no actual crime was committed right in the official accusation: “A [California man] is scheduled to be arraigned today for using social media in pandering and attempted human trafficking and pimping of a fictitious minor girl…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#420) 

Politicians can’t keep their hands off of golden geese:

…Jack Williams of Alabama, where it is technically illegal to sell sex toys except under special circumstances, is trying to do with a bill that would levy a whopping 40 percent tax on “sexually-oriented materials” restricted for sale to adults in the state…Williams [pretends] the legislation…could bring in as much as $20 million…

Bread and Circuses 

“Authorities” literally destroy a man’s life because his wife sent him money she earned via consensual business transactions:

A woman in Hawaii is pleading guilty to sending her husband in New Jersey more than half a million dollars she earned working as a prostitute.  Khemwika Ernst pleaded guilty…to…conspiracy…and filing false tax returns…Ernst and her husband were indicted in March…Michael Ernst shot and killed himself a month later…

False Witness

Whether it’s a witness who wants to be helpful or one who has something to hide, the bottom line is that eyewitness statements are inherently unreliable and erratic.  Sometimes it depends on conditions …Other times, it comes…from police pressure.  We know that witnesses get it wrong, and that it convicts the innocent.  But once they are locked into a statement it’s even more difficult to get them admit any error.  In fact, they become more adamant about what they saw, heard, or said when none of it may be remotely true…while there are studies and experts on these innate problems, many courts won’t allow that testimony…because they have have determined that juries “should know” that eyewitnesses can be untrustworthy…Eyewitness testimony is outrageously inaccurate and biased, even under very controlled circumstances…

The Course of a Disease (#510)

Ireland is set to publish a bill…which will criminalise the purchase of sex, despite the recent vote by Amnesty International that sex work and prostitution should be decriminalised…The new legislation…has been described as a “huge step backwards” and likened to Ireland’s controversial blasphemy laws, which were enacted in 2009…

Rough Trade (#572) 

Melissa Petro on what some vile women refer to as “theft of services”:

…the man paid me what I was owed— $2,500—in bank checks.  I’d never even seen a bank check before.  I was so tired that I didn’t argue…Needless to say, the checks bounced…I felt humiliated that night, that morning—so I kept what had happened to myself…It took me four hours after reading Mitchell’s article to connect the disgust I felt to the fact that I’d experienced what she called “theft of services”…suddenly thinking of some random stranger who had ripped me off nearly a decade ago—someone I felt less strongly towards than I felt towards some random writer named Mary Mitchell, because I have always expected more from women than I have men…

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