Posts Tagged ‘neofeminism’

Raising the minimum age perpetuates the notion that sex workers are naive individuals with little to no agency or understanding of their own situation.  –  Laura Marks

Lack of Evidence

A fine example of barking up the wrong tree:

During a recent trip to Miami, San Francisco residents Heather Cox and Gigi Otálvaro-Hormillosa visited Dean’s Gold strip club in North Miami Beach…they were denied entry…[because] they’re women and weren’t “accompanied by a man”…”The message that women must be accompanied by men is totally infantilizing,” says Otálvaro…”it’s a direct statement of exclusion targeted at bisexual women and lesbians”…

Nope and nope. It’s not “infantilizing” and it isn’t “targeted at lesbians”; the Florida policy is an anti-whore measure intended to keep us from “poaching” clients from the clubs.  Don’t like it, lesbians?  Fucking lobby for decriminalization, then, because as long as we have no rights yours will continue to be infringed.  And guys, don’t think these laws don’t affect you, too:

…The YouTube video’s original caption to the video…“Bought a burger and pulled over to have a few bites. I suppose that constitutes probable cause?”  Fortunately, the citizen…pulled out his phone and started recording when the Austin cop  approached the vehicle…Rick asked, “Why am I getting pulled out of my car?”  “Because you’re being detained.” answered the unknown Austin PD officer…Rick immediately asked, “Why am I being detained?”  “Let’s see. It’s 2 o’clock in the morning and you’re in a parked here by yourself in a high prostitution, high drug area”…

They Still Don’t Get It

This “editorial” cannot have possibly been written by an actual editor, unless this paper hires its editors from the local eighth-grade class.  It is also virtually fact-free and if its nose were any higher up the arse of authority it would suffocate:

…Prostitution has always been a money-making endeavor.  It generates an income for the women and the men who often control them.  But, the profession has become more dangerous because many of the prostitutes are desperate for money to support drug addiction.  That, of course, means crimes related to prostitution have increased dramatically…Most of the women are not street-walkers, but advertise themselves on a website called The Back Page…police respond to ads to snare women, and place fake ads on the site to entice the male customers…Fewer women are now advertising on the site, but the demand from male customers was still too high…prostitutes were more numerous 40 years ago and they frequented the heart of the downtown.  Development in the center city that has attracted families chased the prostitutes away.  We appreciate the police for continuing to work on the prostitution problem and…the developers who continue to make the downtown a better place…

End Demand

Ever wonder what kind of sick propaganda men are subjected to in “john school” for the “crime” of sexual desire?

Imagine your mother or the person you think of like a mother.  Now picture her on the street, offering sexual services for $10 at least a half-dozen times a day…The goal of the day was to outline not only the “what ifs,” such as being assaulted and robbed, but to impart that many prostituting are forced there by circumstances, whether that’s another person, addiction, or mental illness…the men also hear about possible health impacts, from HIV to pubic lice, sexual addiction, and the impacts of prostitution on communities…


All anti-sex laws are repeatedly supported by courts until the day they aren’t:

A…judge has refused to find the laws that outlaw prostitution in Ohio unconstitutional in the case against two women who were operating a massage parlor…“Ohio prostitution statue compromises the protected right to sexual privacy by denying consenting adults the right to make decisions about sexuality in the commercial market place,” [defense attorney] Blake Somers wrote in his motion. “Such an instruction is not justified or mitigated by societal moral concerns…making the sale of sex illegal violates the right of sexual privacy derived from the due process clause and the defendant herein seeks nothing more that to invoke the principals of liberty that already exists”…

Still a Child 

Twenty-five years ago, Jim Kelly argued before the New Orleans City Council that women ages 18 to 20 shouldn’t be allowed to work as exotic dancers…The proposed ordinance was approved…but after a recent murder case involving 19-year-old dancer Jasilas Wright, Kelly realized it was not being enforced.  In July, he returned to City Hall to put teeth into the existing ordinance…Local dancers say the ordinance shouldn’t exist at all…”Don’t tell women they can’t work a f—king job when they’re adults,” says Lilith, a 27-year-old dancer at Babe’s Cabaret who started when she was 20. “To assume we’re all victims and have no other options or are forced to be there is simply disrespectful.”  Kelly says he is trying to protect young women…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes Zoo Weekly

Bauer Media announced that Zoo Weekly would be closing “due to tough retail conditions”.  It has been declared that its October edition will be its last…it is a victory that Collective Shout, Australia’s most vocal anti-porn campaigners, is claiming as its own.  In August…Zoo Weekly was removed from Coles’ shelves after a “successful online campaign” was waged by Collective Shout…history has shown that Collective Shout’s real problem lies with the idea of women displaying their bodies in men’s magazines…The women who appear in these magazines, often dressed in string bikinis, have done so consensually and have been paid for their work…there have been no instances where Zoo Weekly has placed a woman on their cover without that woman’s approval…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#419)

Americans disapprove of teaching kids about sex, but they’re all for filling their heads with stupid anti-sex propaganda:

…North Carolina Senate Bill 279 would amend state sex-education standards to require all schools teach age-appropriate info on “the threats” of sex trafficking…The bill also says school administrators must collaborate with law enforcement agents when developing or presenting this material…Training cops on sex trafficking issues is often a collaborative effort by religious nonprofits and the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) who preach the new gospel of prostitution: that almost all women…were…forced into it and should be treated as victims; that the Internet fuels a thriving child sex-slavery trade; that “ending demand” for adult prostitution by targeting johns and using other tough-on-prostitution measures are necessary to stop children from being sold into sexual slavery; and that there’s a rampant and escalating problem with sex trafficking in the United States.  But there is no solid evidence that any of these things are true.  A DOJ-orchestrated, law-enforcement-centered sex trafficking “awareness” program for public school kids seems likely to spew the kind of fact-lite, panic-heavy propaganda that fueled school anti-drug programs like DARE…

The Course of a Disease (#423)

The Israeli journalist who wrote this article on brothels in Tel Aviv presents a much more nuanced view of sex work than one would see in the American media:

…Reports on prostitution tend to focus on exceptional cases, such as…an underage sex ring…[or] human trafficking, a phenomenon of the 1990s…They concentrate on…“notorious drug and prostitution den[s]”…[such as] the Hasan Arfa area…a warren of tin shacks and garages supposedly overrun by drug users and sex workers…[prohibitionist]  Rebecca Hughes…writes, “Most women do not choose to be prostitutes.”  The actual face of prostitution is more nuanced.  There are hundreds of brothels in Tel Aviv. Many of them operate openly, advertising their services on the street with business-sized cards scattered on sidewalks throughout the city by young men…

Innocence Never Had (#428)

Yet another attempt to cast young people as passive vegetables without agency:

On Tuesday night Sean ’Diddy’ Combs tweeted a petition asking the Associated Press to stop using the phrases “child prostitute” and “child prostitution” in their style guides and news stories.  “They are victims [and] survivors of rape,” he wrote, sharing a link to the Change.org campaign…Because the terms deal with the issue of people who are too young to consent to sex, let alone sex work, the group argues that saying “child prostitute” or “child sex worker” is both insensitive and factually inaccurate.  Instead, the group suggests that outlets refer to these children as “victims and survivors of child rape”…

No.  The number of underage sex workers who are “children” in any meaningful sense is virtually nil; the vast majority are above the age of consent, albeit below 18.  To call them “victims of child rape” is both insulting and factually inaccurate.

Imaginary Crises (#445) 

The people who profit from rape panic just won’t stop creating new bogus “studies” designed to uphold their cherished “1 in 5” myth:

More than 20 percent of female undergraduates at an array of prominent universities said this year that they were victims of sexual assault and misconduct, echoing findings elsewhere…The survey from the Association of American Universities drew responses from 150,000 students at 27 schools…Researchers acknowledged the possibility of an overstated victimization rate because there was evidence that hundreds of thousands of students who ignored the electronic questionnaire were less likely to have suffered an assault…

Here’s another hint: counting everything under “sexual assault and misconduct” as assault is the same as counting everything under “murder and assault” as murder.grumpy Gloria

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (#449)

This Indian critique of anti-whore “feminists” has especially strong words for Gloria Steinem:

…[Steinem’s] opposition to the AI proposal is based upon a rather parochial view of what sex work means to impoverished women, especially in developing countries…Since 2010 I have been engaged in ethnographic research with Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC)…Steinem visited  Sonagachhi in April 2012 on a six-day “learning tour”, under the guidance of Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an anti-[sex work] organisation…She called this tour a “life changing experience” because she met several women who were…victims of unspeakable abuse.  However…In the last five years I have only met a handful of women in Sonagachhi who were trafficked.  In the initial phase of this research I gathered stories of how the women arrived in Sonagachhi and a pattern soon emerged consisting of abject poverty, abandonment, hunger, motherhood, familial responsibilities, and finally survival.  Most women told me that they arrived in Sonagachhi through a friend, a relative, or a neighbour who was either working in and/or had contacts in Sonagachhi…The women also do not necessarily see their work as “making a choice” in the classic dyad of forced into, or chose to engage in, prostitution or sex work.  Rather, it is the absence of choice and the structural barriers of poverty that lead them to sex work…

Seizing Power (#567)

Backpage wants a federal appellate court to prohibit Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart from pressing credit card companies to de-fund the site…The company set the appellate process in motion…when it filed…paperwork to appeal U.S. District Court Judge John Tharp, Jr.’s refusal to grant a preliminary injunction against Dart…

Now They Notice

In another example of how the Rentboy raid is being treated differently from the many raids on female escort sites which preceeded it, here’s an interview with a gay Rentboy client; how often have you seen interviews with the clients of female sex workers, despite their far greater numbers?

…I now enjoy my sexuality in a way  in which I don’t think would have happened unless I hired escorts.  It’s specifically because the cash makes it professional.  It’s bad customer service for him to judge me for my interests…I’m not saying he has to put up with everything I want.  In fact, there’s some things that I’ve asked for that he says not to…If he says no, then it’s no…That professionalism and that distance is profoundly helpful.  It takes me to a place where I can just enjoy sexuality.  It’s nice and clean…I see laws against prostitution as intolerant…We know from Romer v. Evans, that mere moral prohibition against something is not sufficient grounds for making a practice illegal.  In Lawrence v. Texas, for the life of me, I cannot see how Kennedy’s reasoning about an ordered liberty about private choices between consenting adults doesn’t cover prostitution.  He has that weird declaration at the end of his opinion that this case has nothing to do with prostitution.  It comes out of nowhere, he just stuck it in there to cover his ass…It strikes me as profoundly cruel for people who have more barriers to an enjoyable sex life, to just criminalize a method that works for both parties…

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If we let consenting adults have sex, who knows what else they’ll want permission to do?  –  The Onion

Reaction Formation

This is a pretty decent explanation of reaction formation:

…some of the people who rail against porn…or any of the other controversial items on the sexual smorgasbord…are actually turned on by the thing they decry.  They may not know it consciously, but being anti-whatever actually gives one a grand excuse for being immersed in whatever…many absexuals don’t truly understand what a strong erotic response they’re actually having…They just can’t seem to shut up about it.  And they get really worked up—I believe they go into the sexual response cycle when they begin to pontificate about the things they hate so much…

Saving Them From Themselves

Fayetteville, North Carolina, cops have charged 17-year-old Cormega Copening with sexual exploitation of a minor—his girlfriend, who is the same age—because the couple sent each other nude photos of themselves…There’s no evidence the photos were ever sent to anyone else, and police only became aware of them because they searched Copening’s phone for unrelated reasons that haven’t been specified.  Even so, the teen…faces decades on the Sex Offender Registry and up to ten years behind bars if convicted…Copening’s girlfriend—who remains unnamed in the news articles—is also facing charges…

Above the Law rapist cop Brian Tucker

Prince George’s County, Maryland has more than its share of predatory cops:

…State…trooper Brian Tucker…picked up [a]…woman…and the two decided to have sex…Tucker…drove the woman to an abandoned industrial area…and…the two had consensual sex before the trooper asked the woman if she wanted to have anal sex and she refused…Tucker put his service weapon to the woman’s head and anally raped her…

The End of the Beginning

More of this, please:

…In 2011 the city council of Lynn, Massachusetts, enacted an ordinance than prohibits certain categories of sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or park—exclusion zones that cover 95 percent of the town’s residential property…the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) of Massachusetts overturned the ordinance, concluding that it conflicts with the state’s scheme for regulating sex offenders after they are released from prison…”By requiring level two and level three sex offenders to move from their residences or face a civil penalty of $300 per day,” the opinion says, “the ordinance disrupts the stability of the home situations of sex offenders.  As a supervised and stable home situation has been recognized as a factor that minimizes the sex offender’s risk of reoffense, this disruption is inconsistent with the Legislature’s goal of protecting the public”…

Frequently Told Lies

A good dissection of the ridiculous pretense that every sex worker who wants decriminalization is “unrepresentative”:

Accusations of unrepresentativeness in sex industry debates are most often deployed to silence – acting as full stops in the conversation.  They enable sex industry abolitionists to restrict the discussion to the topic of identity, miring it in issues of “representativeness” instead of exploring the substance of the representations being made.  This preoccupation may be partly why abolitionists seem to have such a poor grasp of the subtleties of sex industry politics…

January Q & A (#417)

There’s a word for men who exploitatively profit from sex workers without giving them anything in return:

…Brian Bates, known to many as the “Video Vigilante,” posted a video…on his JohnTV website…using a drone…the device he uses now costs about $2,000.  He also had to spend the equivalent of several 24-hour days learning how to fly the thing…Bates said he earns a living through posting his videos on YouTube and by licensing his footage to TV production companies all over the world…

Vendetta (#432)

This abomination will continue to be inflicted on ever-larger numbers of victims until Hunt’s weapons are forcibly removed by decriminalization:

Las Vegas…recently wrapped up its participation in a national initiative designed to [inflict Swanee Hunt’s sad, sick psychodrama on people who never did her any harm]…Cook County (Ill.) Sheriff Thomas J. Dart began these operations in 2011…[and the number of pigs at the teat] has grown from eight agencies to more than 70.   The 10th “National Johns Suppression Initiative” ran from June 1 through Aug. 30…A variety of sting operations locally resulted in…34 “John” arrests…36 [underage sex workers arrested]…44 adult sex [workers arrested]…26 [other people charged as pimps and]…23 search warrants served [to look for loot]…The Onion logo

The More the Better (#512)

The humor sites have much better, more sensible coverage of sex work than the so-called “serious” media.  With the exception of one very flat note in the “cons” section, The Onion‘s “The Pros and Cons of Legalizing Prostitution” is wonderfully snarky and dead on target.

Traffic Circle (#546)

It’s so, so wonderful to have Glenn Kessler on our side:

ECPAT…attributed [the “100,000 trafficked children” lie] to 2010 congressional testimony by Ernie Allen, at the time president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)…Allen said he relied on two reports…Estes and…Weiner…and the 2002 National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway Children (NISMART)…Both of these…rely on data collected in the 1990s…the Estes-Weiner report has been the subject of criticism by social scientists for years, and yet for some reason it remains the go-to source for anti-trafficking advocates…But…the NISMART report…shows that only 1,700 kids — less than one percent — reported having engaged in sexual activity in exchange for money, drugs, food, or shelter during the episode…more than three-quarters were away from home for less than a week; 99.8 percent…were recovered.  So the pool of children who could end up being trafficked is relatively small…

If You Want Something Done Right…

Police say they are seeking tips after a woman working as a prostitute at a [Michigan] motel fought with two armed robbers and took a rifle away from one of them.  She called…police…to report the robbery…When she heard a knock at her door she thought it was [a client but]…a masked man with a rifle forced his way into the room…A second young man followed behind the first…and there was a scuffle…The woman fell or was knocked down the stairs after she seized the rifle from one of the young men…One of the two assailants grabbed the woman’s purse from her room after she fell…

Amnesty At Last (#564)

It’s starting, slowly but surely:

[Oklahoma City] Councilman Ed Shadid said he wants the city to consider legalizing – or at least decriminalizing – prostitution…”I think we should stop criminalizing sexual behavior.”  Shadid spoke during a discussion of a “Disorderly House” ordinance, which expanded the definition of an “open lot disturbance violation” to include drugs and prostitution.  The ordinance passed, but Shadid said criminalizing prostitutes is not the way to solve the city’s problems…Shadid, a surgeon, said he is worried about the spread of antibacterial-resistant and sexually-transmitted diseases…”Do you want to use [shame and impoverishment and imprisonment] for nonviolent, consensual activities, where perhaps in some cases it could be safer if it were regulated?”…

Little Boxes (#566)

I was wondering how long it would take them to cram this into the “sex trafficking” paradigm:

Three women who pose painted and topless for tips in Times Square say that ten undercover police officers [stole] their clothing, purses, cellphones and wallets from the pedestrian plaza at 42nd Street…while they were using the bathroom at a nearby parking garage.  The women had to walk nine blocks in their paint and robes to the Midtown South precinct in order to retrieve their possessions.  There, before returning any items, detectives questioned them each separately in an interrogation room…The [harassment]…coincided with the arrest of their assistant Chris Olivieri [who] spends afternoons…holding their tips…running for snacks and tampons, guarding their clothing, and painting their breasts, backs, and legs…the Daily News, the mayor, and Governor Cuomo have recently tried to imply that male “managers” (“pimps,” if you read the tabloids) force the women, so-called “desnudas,” to work…

Now They Notice

Of course, this was glaringly obvious from the start:

…The New York Times served up a prime example of…incongruence in two editorials that ran…on the very same day. In…a statement by the august Editorial Board, the Rentboy raid was presented…as an attack on civil liberties enabled by the illegality of prostitution.  The Times board advanced the notion that the men using the site — on both the buying and selling side — were rational actors who were victimized only by hectoring law enforcement.  The solution, clearly, was the decriminalization of sex work…Contrast that with the op-ed by Rachel Moran, a [prohibitionist pretending to be a] former prostitute…which is…an attack on the recently proposed Amnesty International policy drafted to protect the rights of sex workers worldwide…The two editorials…fall along lines of gendered doublespeak that remain consistent in mainstream media: Decriminalization would liberate male sex workers, who are presumed to have complete sexual autonomy, while it would all but enslave females, who are presumed to have none…

Even MSNBC published a sensible position for a change:

…unlike MyRedbook.com (also raided by the federal government) and Craigslist Erotic Services (shuttered by political pressure), no one has justified the raid on Rentboy as necessary to stopping human trafficking or protecting any victims…Sex workers consistently say they find it safer to screen clients online than on the street.  Closing down such websites directly increases the risk of harm to sex workers.  That is the effect of criminalization…Advocates of prosecution invoke racialized myths of sex work as dominated by “pimps” and “traffickers” that don’t bear out in research…Meanwhile…resources that could go to uncovering actual trafficking and supporting victims are being wasted on locking up sex workers and shuttering escort sites…

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There’s this notion of treating sex workers like children who need watching over, but we don’t, and our model is evidence of that.  –  Catherine Healy

eugenics treeFor years I have held the position that the cause of sex worker rights, as part of the whole fabric of recognition of the individual’s right to be unmolested by the state due to private sexual behavior, must inevitably succeed.  As civilization has developed, respect for individual civil rights has steadily grown; certainly the growth has been neither smooth nor consistent, but as a rule the rights of individuals are greater at any randomly-selected point on the timeline of history than they were at any randomly-selected previous point.  For the past century or so the development of individual rights has been impeded by the cancer known as Progressivism, the belief that “experts” have more right to determine what is “good” for any individual than that individual has to determine that for himself, and that said “experts” have the right to dispatch armed thugs to use violence to punish those who dare to violate the arbitrary pronouncements of those experts, in order to terrorize the greater population into meek obedience.  But the bloody consequences of “progressive” thought are at last becoming obvious to all but the True Believers and the hopelessly collectivist, and it’s only a matter of time before drug prohibition follows eugenics, and prohibition of pragmatic sexual activity follows prohibition of non-procreative sexual activity, onto the ash-heap of history.

In recent years, the prohibitionists who saw this trend have been fighting a last, desperate, all-out campaign against the inevitable; it’s no accident that “sex trafficking” hysteria appeared on the scene immediately after three huge developments in sexual freedom (loosening of restrictions on sex work in Germany, decriminalization in New Zealand and the abolition of “sodomy” laws in the US) made it obvious that state control of individual sexual behavior was on its way out.  But any campaign driven entirely by disinformation, conflation, negation of individual agency and pure moral panic cannot last forever, no matter how many billions are pumped into it; slowly but surely the truth will out.  Since the summer of 2012 momentum for decriminalization has been building outside of the demimonde, and a broad coalition of UN agencies, health officials, human rights groups, think tanksacademics and journalists has joined sex workers in demanding that the state keep its filthy hands out of whores’ lingerie.  For over two years now I’ve been waiting for signs that our society had reached the watershed moment, the point at which the momentum would begin to run away from prohibition and toward respect for individual rights again, and I think that finally came two weeks ago when Amnesty International declared its support for decriminalization.  Since then, prohibitionists’ wailing and gnashing of teeth has largely been drowned out by the sounds of jubilation from the harlots’ camp, and a chorus of assent from many who had remained silent on the issue for a long time, such as drug anti-prohibitionist Richard Branson; even prohibitionist-leaning news organizations like The Guardian and Al Jazeera published op-eds cheering the Amnesty decision.  But none of them were as welcome to me as the statement from venerable GLBT rights group Lambda Legal:

…we…applaud and support Amnesty International’s recent resolution to protect the human rights of sex workers by calling for decriminalization of sex work…For many LGBT people, participation in street economies is often critical to survival…Transgender people engage in sex work at a rate ten times that of cisgender women, and 13% of transgender people who experience family rejection have done sex work…LGBT people are regularly profiled, harassed, and criminalized based on the presumption that they are sex workers, contributing to the high rates of incarceration and police brutality experienced by these communities …Laws criminalizing sexual exchange—whether by the seller or the buyer—impede sex workers’ ability to negotiate condom use and other boundaries, and force many to work in hidden or remote places where they are more vulnerable to violence.  Research and experience have shown that these laws serve only to drive the industry further underground…We look forward to working…with sex workers and…Amnesty International, to replace laws that criminalize sex work with public policies that address sex workers’ real…needs.

Lamda-LegalThis is huge; Lambda was a major player in the advances in gay rights over the past forty years, and its support may give our movement the much-needed legal firepower that the ACLU’s abdication of its responsibilities has cheated us of for decades.  To be sure, the conditions mentioned in this statement are nothing new, and had mainstream gay rights organizations not been obsessively dedicated to pursuing the agenda of white, middle-class, monogamous, vanilla gay folk for this entire century so far, they could have been addressing these issues long ago.  But if they’re willing to stop ignoring us at last, and to put their might behind us in earnest, I for one am willing to forgive them.  Gay rights groups, anti-prohibitionist groups, sex-positive groups…I don’t know where you’ve been hiding for the past eleven years, or what you’ve been waiting for to speak up.  But if that’s finally changed, we can discuss it later; right now you’ve got a lot of catching up to do, and we are sorely in need of your help.

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The enemy of my enemy is my friend.  –  Sanskrit proverb

So a couple of weeks ago, this item hit the internet:

…The sex industry should be fully decriminalised, the Westminster based Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) said in a new report.  The IEA argues that existing attempts to restrict prostitution are “ineffective, ill-informed and a waste public money”…The…report says rules that criminalise sellers directly, or criminalise third parties who supply them with services, simply push the sex industry underground, increasing the risks for sex workers.  “The very concept of prostitution is no longer workable in today’s fluid sexual markets, where anyone can meet anyone, on whatever terms they choose,” said report author Catherine Hakim.  “Decriminalisation is the only workable way forward. The proposal to copy Sweden and criminalise customers in the sex trade is a complete waste of public money, unforgiveable in a time of austerity”…

Catherine HakimOne would think this news would’ve been welcomed by activists; every additional voice calling for decriminalization not only adds to the chorus, but also increases the chance that any given politician will be in direct contact with one of those voices.  But was that what happened?  Nope.  Instead, I saw numerous voices declaring that the cause of sex worker rights “doesn’t need” this support because the IEA endorsed decriminalization for the “wrong reasons”.  You know, kind of like prostitution is criminalized because it’s sex for the “wrong reasons”.  But it wasn’t just one “wrong reason”; oh, no!  As I’ve explained before, neofeminists do not like Catherine Hakim, because she says things like this:

The report by the social scientist Catherine Hakim says that international surveys have demonstrated a large gap in sexual desire between men and women which “cannot be dismissed as an outdated patriarchal myth as argued by some feminists”.  Dr Hakim says the “sexual deficit” between men and women “helps to explain many puzzles, including why men are the principal customers for commercial sexual entertainments of all kinds…male demand for sexual entertainments…is…growing, and ineradicable”, she concludes.  She says the available evidence suggests that prostitution and pornography have no damaging social impact and may even help reduce sex crime.  Dr Hakim says: “Spain, where prostitution is legal, also has exceptionally low rates of rape”…

These statements should not be controversial to any whore, yet for some people common sense and personal experience are always trumped by “feminist” dogma, despite the fact that most people who adopt that self-identifier are our implacable enemies.

cliqueSex worker activists who care more about “feminist” nonsense than about our cause, or who think that we have the luxury of working only with would-be allies who can pass some sort of ideological purity test, need to get the hell out of sex worker rights activism; they are sleeping with the enemy and cannot be trusted to do what is necessary to advance our struggle.  This is a war, not a game; our enemies use tactics specifically intended to expose us to police violence and starve us to death if we manage to escape that.  They are perfectly willing to make whatever alliances are necessary to advance their cause, and to employ doomsday weapons that cause widespread collateral damage, yet some of the people on our side still treat this as a jolly game in which the identity of one’s playmates is far more important than the outcome.  If that’s the way you feel, please go home and find another cause; we need allies who will actually help us, not cliquish schoolgirls who want to turn down three-quarters of our potential allies because they’re boys, have cooties, wear unfashionable clothes or live in the wrong part of town.  Anyone who is willing to watch the bodies of her sisters continue to pile up because she’s too prissy to sit down at a table with people whose philosophies differ from hers is helping the prohibitionists, and that makes her a liability at best and an enemy at worst.  But anyone who speaks up for the decriminalization of sex work is the enemy of prohibitionists, and that makes her my friend and ally.


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They’re parroting back what they’ve been told to say, as actors do, and they got their names in the headlines, as actors like.  –  Mistress Matisse

Just in case you somehow missed it on Tuesday, and in my news column on Wednesday:

Amnesty International has at long last come out in support of absolute decriminalization of sex work, as sex workers ourselves have wanted for decades.  Amnesty has a tremendous amount of clout; this will strongly affect small countries, and even in big countries like the US some politicians may now begin to doubt the wisdom of backing laws that allow the cops to persecute adults for consensual sex.  It will also undermine the prohibitionists’ arguments; they can no longer pretend that their views are common-sense and mainstream…

Here’s a video from Amnesty, answering the propaganda attacks prohibitionists have hurled at the organization in the past few weeks:

Sex workers all over the world were jubilant; tens of thousands of tweets went out in minutes.  I retweeted many of them, texted Mistress Matisse, called Matt to tell him; the news spread like wildfire through the demimonde, and many a cheer and victory dance ensued.  But as you might suspect, there was no joy in the Mudville occupied by prohibitionists; the ones on Twitter who dared to show their faces at all tried to piss on sex workers (without negotiation, consent or payment), only to be chased back to their troll-caves.  The staunchly prohibitionist New York Times huffed,

…The proposal…provoked an aggressive lobbying campaign by international groups opposed to sparing buyers and pimps from penalties.  Competing petitions were organized by women’s groups and celebrities— including former President Jimmy Carter…appealing to the group to…“stay true to its mission”…

It’s rather telling that the prohibitionists, including the senile evangelical Carter, are so blinded by their bigotry that they can’t see that Amnesty is staying true to its mission, which has always opposed criminalization of non-violent consensual behavior.  Of course, the Times couldn’t be bothered to ask any uppity whores for our opinions; rather, it quoted prohibitionists foaming at the mouth about “pimps”:

“It is a myth about the happy prostitute who does this as a free choice.  Unfortunately, I can now hear people saying ‘hurrah’ — all those johns and pimps who run the brothels. It’s a multibillion-euro industry.”

For those who have been asleep for the past few years, prohibitionists pretend that all the millions of sex workers who ask for decriminalization are disguised “pimps and johns”, or else poor victimized drug addict women with “Stockholm syndrome”.  Stockholm, you know, like in Sweden.  The Guardian was even worse:

…Many former sex workers have criticised the decision.  “We feel that Amnesty International are supporting the men who are killing our women and it’s a slap in the face,” said Bridget Perrier, [a disgruntled former sex worker]…Fiona Broadfoot, [a former teen runaway, pretends that]…“The vast majority of women working in this industry are abused on a massive scale…Legalising it will not take away that abuse”…Broadfoot is a strong advocate for the Nordic model…Rachel Moran, [a paid shill for the violent prohibitionist group Ruhama who has never actually done sex work]…called the…decision “breathtakingly disgraceful”…

Yes, they quoted three prohibitionist “survivors” and not one single current sex worker.  But as I’ve pointed out before, The Guardian is in business to make money, and so was happy to also carry this:

…criminalising sex workers contributes to their vulnerability to violence, exploitation, and HIV.  Evidence from New Zealand and New South Wales…reveals that [decriminalization]…led to increased use of sexual health services…encouraged greater condom use and yielded fewer reports of harassment by police.  Conversely research shows that countries that continue to prosecute sex workers have higher HIV rates, increased stigma and discrimination, increased violence and abuse against…sex workers, and limited access to health services and condoms.  At the Elton John Aids Foundation, we continue to support organisations fighting for sex workers’ rights…We stand with Amnesty, and applaud it for its wise and bold approach.

Amnesty International logoThat was written by the Foundation’s head, Scott Campbell, but given the number of songs he’s written about sex workers I suspect it closely mirror’s Sir Elton’s own sentiments.  And because I’m not a prohibitionist, I’m going to close with the words of an actual, current sex worker, my dear friend Mistress Matisse:

…Phrases like “pimping” have a heavy sound—but technically if I call a friend and say, “I have a client who wants to see both of us—come on over,” that’s pimping.  When I was 24 years old I managed a massage parlor…I was not coercing or harming anyone, but I was technically and legally a pimp…There are…bad and abusive husbands and boyfriends but we don’t outlaw marriage.  There are bad abusive bosses in non-sex work jobs…In a decriminalized system a sex worker with an abusive pimp can go to the police and complain.  And in countries where sex work has been decriminalized—Australia and New Zealand—that happens now…There are all sorts of institutions, and all sorts of legal employers, that harm women but there no other jobs that we point to say say, “The women doing that job have to be arrested—and arresting them is rescuing them!”

Fortunately, the world’s most respected human rights organization is not afraid to say that infantilizing sex workers and criminalizing our choices is bullshit; let’s hope some politicians (even in the deeply prohibitionist US) begin to recognize that the wind is shifting, and decide to stand with Amnesty and sex workers as we look toward the future and away from the fear of consensual sex.

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Kristof is the sort of acute observer who, upon witnessing plantation slavery, decides that farming must be abolished.  –  Jacob Sullum

Amnesty At Last

The biggest story of the year so far is that Amnesty International has at long last come out in support of absolute decriminalization of sex work, as sex workers ourselves have wanted for decades.  Amnesty has a tremendous amount of clout; this will strongly affect small countries, and even in big countries like the US some politicians may now begin to doubt the wisdom of backing laws that allow the cops to persecute adults for consensual sex.  It will also undermine the prohibitionists’ arguments; they can no longer pretend that their views are common-sense and mainstream.  To me the most important lines in the document are these:

…the need for states to not only review and repeal laws that make sex workers vulnerable to human rights violations, but also refrain from enacting such laws…the harm reduction principle…Recognizing and respecting the agency of sex workers to articulate their own experiences and define the most appropriate solutions to ensure their own welfare and safety…the evidence from Amnesty International’s and external research on the lived experiences of sex workers, and on the human rights impact of various criminal law and regulatory approaches to sex work…

A Procrustean Bed

Super-ally Elizabeth N Brown again:

A four-part series from Capital News Service (CNS) looks at human trafficking in Maryland…[and] contends that “Maryland has some of the lightest penalties in the nation for human trafficking of adults”…yet a bill to enhance criminal penalties…recently failed to pass…it was a rare moment of legislative sanity on this issue…advocates for the increased penalties claim that sex trafficking of adults is a mere misdemeanor in Maryland…[but they] aren’t really talking about human trafficking.  They’re talking about prostitution.  Which they want felony punishments for…”misdemeanor human trafficking” is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.  And what does this category entail?…driving a sex worker to a job…letting a sex worker work from your…building…taking money from a sex worker for any reason…

Profound Mental Disabilities

A man in Orlando is suing a local dominatrix, accusing her of taking more than $500,000 and his house…Judith Gumbrecht…[offers]…“financial slavery”…[and] former client Alex Abrams…[alleges]  Gumbrecht took more than $500,000 after he added her name to his financial accounts, and took ownership of his 1,450-square-foot townhome…the lawsuit accuses Gumbrecht of exploitation of an elderly person, theft, and unjust enrichment…Abrams’ attorney, Brian Mark, claims Abrams suffers from clinical depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and said this affected his decision when adding Gumbrecht to his bank accounts and signing a deed…to transfer his home to her.  Abrams met Gumbrecht after he divorced his wife of 32 years about four years ago…“She went with him to the doctor when he was diagnosed. She was fully aware,” [said] Mark…”When you’re in that professional relationship with them, you cannot exploit them”…

If Gumbrecht really did know that Abrams was demented, it was both unethical and unwise for her to take this kind of advantage.  However, I must point out that A) if she had married him this deal would be a great deal harder to break; and B) it’s amazing how often a submissive’s supposed mental incapacity is used as the excuse for a legal attack on a dominant.  Also, was Abrams suddenly & miraculously cured of his Alzheimer’s, so that his actions now are assumed to be lucid, while his previous actions are not?

Real Men Support Sex Worker Rights (#4)extra-stupid kristof

I really, really love it when Jacob Sullum tears into Nick Kristof:

Kristof says some…teenagers are exploited by pimps who take out…ads…on Backpage.com…He mentions two examples…[but] wisely does not include the source who claimed to have been advertised on Backpage before it existed…Kristof…is condemning Backpage because some of its customers are criminals.  Would he apply similar logic to the carmakers that produce getaway vehicles, the sporting goods stores that sell baseball bats occasionally used in vicious beatings, and the cellphone companies that help terrorists communicate with each other?  Probably not…it’s clear (as usual) that Kristof’s concern is not underage prostitution or coerced prostitution but prostitution in general…by [his] reasoning, alcohol should be prohibited because of the parallel underground market serving minors, all sexually explicit material should be banned because some of it involves children, and housework for pay should be forbidden because rich Saudis have been known to beat domestic workers and hold them against their will…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

An 87-year-old man is fighting allegations he was soliciting a prostitute when he approached an undercover officer during a police sting [in Grand Rapids Michigan]…police and prosecutors say this is likely the oldest person ever charged with this crime.  Howard Arthur Klein…claimed he thought the woman he spoke to was someone he knew from church.  Nevertheless, Klein faces a maximum of 93 days in…jail if convicted…[though he] has no previous criminal record…he has pleaded not guilty…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#316)

Lone man on a crusade manages to censor adult content on the internet by circumventing a court order.  Sound familiar?

…[An] Indian lawyer’s formal request for a nationwide ban on access to 857 specific pornographic websites was rejected by the country’s Supreme Court but appears to have been enacted by the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi…Kamlesh Vaswani, a lawyer who failed to persuade the Supreme Court to block online pornography, gave thanks…to [the] Prime Minister…for [ignoring]…the Supreme Court…Vaswani [said]…“pornography…is worse than Hitler, worse than AIDS, cancer or any other epidemic…It is more catastrophic than nuclear holocaust, and it must be stopped”…

Traffic Circle

It’s becoming possible for mainstream journalists to question central tenets of the “sex trafficking” religion:

…Researchers agree that labor trafficking is the leading form of human trafficking, but sex trafficking is the focus of more federal prosecutions…In 2012, the Department of Justice successfully prosecuted 138 traffickers, with 76 percent of the cases predominantly sex trafficking and 24 percent predominantly labor trafficking…

Checklist (#345)

Now useful idiots don’t even need to dial a phone to snitch!

Anyone with a smartphone can do their part in the fight against human trafficking thanks to…The GPS-based app…called Redlight Traffic.  It’s a free download designed to help police [persecute sex workers]…Greater Seattle is [pretended] to be one of the worst areas in America when it comes to human trafficking.  Police [fantasize] hundreds of children are worked every day in King County…Amin and Jessica Haq…say…their app…has helped rescue 25 children from sex traffickers…

Proof of that last statement? Oh wait, there is none, because you’re lying.

Number Puzzle (#349)brothel ad

Ah, so “flat rate” isn’t actually flat rate; no wonder the girls like it!

In [Germany]…”flat-rate”…brothels…are a familiar sight, there are at least six in Berlin alone…On an average day, six or seven girls will be working, with the numbers rising to nine or ten at weekends.  Some of them may have sex up to 20 times per shift…The women are able to refuse a customer if he is particularly unpleasant or aggressive but it’s rare.  Once in the bedroom, “extras” are negotiated by the women, who keep 100% of any further money that changes hands.  Not much is off limits, with the exception of unprotected sex…the flat-rate model works from a financial perspective because men over-estimate how many times they can have sex…From the women’s perspective, he says the guaranteed daily pay is the main lure.  Of the entrance fee, 49 euros goes to the club and 50 euros to the women…

An Example to the West (#412) 

Imagine the NOW going to bat for sex workers like this:

The National Network of Sex Workers (NNSW) and women’s rights organisations in India have expressed outrage over…Swati Maliwal calling sex work…akin to “rape” and calling for its “eradication”.  “We call on her to immediately withdraw her statement and tender an unconditional apology to the all women in sex work,”…[said] Meena Saraswathi Seshu…At a national consultation on Human Trafficking…Maliwal equated prostitution with rape and said, “It is a ‘blot’ on society which needs to be eradicated with [more violence from] the state”…

License to Rape (#502)

Charnesia Corley was…detained by [Houston] police for allegedly running a stop sign…the deputy…asked her to step out of the vehicle after “smelling what he believed to be marijuana.”  However, during a search of Corley’s vehicle, without her consent, no illegal plants were found…a…female deputy…then stripped [Corley] down in public and forcefully penetrated [her]…“I bend over and she proceeds to try to force her hand inside of me.  I tell her, ‘Ma’am, No. You cannot do this’,” Corley explained.  Corley maintains that at no time did she ever consent to be raped by deputies…

Dutch Threat (#504)

“Politicians lie” = “the sky is blue”.

Warner ten Kate, the public prosecutor [for] human trafficking in Holland…claimed there was…research that showed that 70% of the prostitutes were forced in Holland…during [a radio] interview…Kate was specifically asked about the 70% and…claimed [it came] from…research done by…Erasmus University…[but the] University never did any such research…the Sneep case [cited by Kate] also doesn’t say 70% is forced, but claims it’s 50 to 85%…Warner [says he wants]…to “stop talking about numbers”…[but] this whole debate started because he…and the police keep mentioning numbers which are pure bullshit

Acting and Activism (#559)

A group of 20 academics in the fields of law, medicine, anthropology, sociology and other fields, some of whose names have appeared on this blog before, wrote a letter to Amnesty International in support of decriminalization:

AI’s general policy is to be wary of criminal law regulating gender and sexuality…We focus on two specific issues: 1) why existing credible research supports the rejection of the so-called Nordic model…and 2) why rigorous studies on the relationship between human trafficking and the sex sector supports total decriminalization.  In particular we note empirically and analytically sound research that debunks the Nordic model and refutes claims that legalization or decriminalization of sex work will “increase” the risk of trafficking into the sex sector…

And in The Nation, Melissa Gira Grants writes:

Using the criminal law to control sex work means police are pitted against sex workers, and sex workers can pay the price with their lives…as has also been documented by Amnesty—and others, like Human Rights Watch, UNAIDS, and the World Health Organization, all of whom support the decriminalization of sex work, a stance also backed by recent research in the medical journal The Lancet.  Sex workers’ own rights groups, such as the 237 organizations in 71 countries under the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, report the same from their own experience: Criminal laws only add to the challenges…that many sex workers already face…Amnesty’s sex work proposal has drawn the ire of campaigners who support the [Swedish model]…precisely because it illustrates how these laws, marketed as compassionate towards sex workers, have exposed them to danger.  They argue for more criminalization at a time when on most other issues, the public is turning away from using the police and prisons as a solution…

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There’s never been a rational argument against the legalization of prostitution, and as far as I know there never will be.  –  J.R. Ireland

Where Are the Victims?

Irish judges just love stealing sex workers’ money and giving it to our worst enemies:

Two Hungarian women working as prostitutes in Ireland described their brothel keeper as a “second mother” and a friend…Diana Karacsony (aged 32) was ordered to pay €10,000…to Ruhama…Detective Garda David Kenny told…[the court] that there was no evidence that any of the 25 Hungarian…prostitutes were trafficked, coerced or “anything other than willing”…

If It Were Legal

The girls who did this better hope no other sex workers ever learn their names:

…Lydia…was…outed by a tabloid as a part-time sex worker, a situation which cost her a public-sector career and lost her friends…[she] says the [Lord] Sewel [scandal] “feels like a betrayal”.  Sex workers already have a lot to contend with…and client trust is something they need to rely on…“It’s like a doctor-patient relationship.  That’s why people pay good money to see us.  Outing a client goes against…[our] ethical code”…Sinead [says] “Client-sex-worker confidentiality is something almost sacred”…

Divided We Fall

Another good essay urging queer folk to support sex worker rights, this one from Hawk Kinkaid:

…While it’s great that gay men and lesbians are building wedding registries…and openly holding hands…many of our most high profile spokespeople risk encouraging a spineless edit of history…We must challenge our collective desire to strip a story that subverts a normative way of seeing the world.  We as LGBT individuals and allies must tap our recent tragedies and triumphs to prevent our own story from disappearing into the exact same narrative most embraced by the bigots who used that norm against us…Conversations about [Stonewall] selectively ignore significant components of the rioters’ identities, often…excluding the fact that many of these individuals were hustlers and street workers…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

It’s funny, but the marketing for this movie makes it look more like a lurid drama than like the fantasy it is.  Because surely, everyone knows that there’s no such thing as an “addiction to escorts”, right? RIGHT???Jeromie Palaoro

Above the Law 

As often as we hear of incidents like this, I’ll bet they’re only a fraction of the ones that actually occur:

A Portland [cop named Jeromie Palaoro] is on paid [vacation] and under criminal investigation after a woman accused him of demanding sex acts and a massage…The…victim, a…relationship and sex coach, says she was trying to report details of an alleged assault at the time…Roni Reid-James…was staying at a hotel…while visiting her boyfriend.  She…called police on him [after he]…attacked her at his mother’s home on July 4…Palaoro, one of the officers who responded, called and texted her late that night…then showed up at her hotel room around 3:30 a.m…pulled out his gun and set it on a table…then took off all his clothes and ordered her to massage him…staying in the hotel room for seven hours…he [also]…groped her and asked for sexual favors…

because very often, this is what happens at trial:Oscar Araiza

A…Dallas [cop]…facing 20 years in prison after he…[raped] a woman who had passed out on his couch was offered a plea deal…that spared him any jail time or having to register as a sex offender…if Oscar Araiza does not get arrested for another five years…the conviction will be wiped off his record…Araiza…maintains the sex was consensual, even though the woman ran out of his home at 3:30 a.m. and called police, accusing him of rape.  Araiza, who had scratches on his arms and neck, claimed the woman assaulted him after agreeing to have sex with him…

Law of the Instrument (#20)

Remember the guy who was charged with “sex trafficking” because he dragged a girl off of her bicycle in a rape attempt?

Ireland is using anti-trafficking laws to prosecute crimes unrelated to trafficking…The Trafficking in Persons Report…said there were no convictions for sex or labour trafficking in Ireland last year and urged the Government to do more to identify victims.  It found that…the State…“continued to prosecute a high number of non-trafficking crimes as trafficking cases, including child molestation cases”…

But the US never prosecutes as “trafficking” things that don’t involve coercion, no sirree!

Worse Than I Thought

The Polaris Project says the more laws, and the more broad and carceral those laws are, the better:

…The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) reported that 381 individuals were arrested…on human trafficking charges from Jan. 1, 2007, to Aug. 31, 2014, and 484 were arrested for pushing [?] prostitution…47 of these individuals have been convicted of human trafficking and 124 have been convicted for compelling prostitution…98 individuals were incarcerated in Texas prisons for convictions of either…The FBI has long identified Interstate 10 as a significant corridor when it comes to trafficking…

Obfuscation Via Dysphemisms

Yes, they actually sent a SWAT team after whores:

Six people were arrested and at least a dozen others were detained…when Tulsa police and the FBI conducted a room-to-room raid at a Tulsa motel believed to be the home of a large-scale drug and prostitution operation…[a cop mouthpiece] said…“Given the high-risk nature of the warrant, the Tulsa Police Special Operations Team (SOT) was used to clear each of the rooms”…


This one’s hilarious even by CNN’s low standards:

…Airports are…hubs for human trafficking…But…by being aware of the telltale signs that someone is being trafficked, you may be able to keep them from a life of modern slavery…do not confront suspected traffickers or attempt to rescue suspected victims — instead…alert the airport authorities….victims may be less well dressed than their companions…a barcode tattoo, or a tattoo with “Daddy” or even a man’s name could be a red flag that the person is a victim…A child being trafficked for sexual exploitation may be dressed in a sexualized manner, or seem to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol…

Fetishists simultaneously believe that “pimps” have magical mind-control powers, and that they’re so stupid they create these obvious “telltale signs”.

Sex RaysExxxotica

Readers inclined to claustrophobia should probably refrain from thinking too much about the smallness and narrowness of these people’s minds:

The EXXXOTICA Expo is…”the largest adult event in the USA dedicated to love and sex”…but the venue is the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center — run by the City of Dallas — and that has some unhappy…The Dallas Women’s Foundation says it takes issue with the sponsors of the Expo, which include online escort services.  They say those businesses contribute to the sex trafficking and exploitation of young women and children.  “There is a huge correlation between pornography, sex trade, violence against women, and trafficking,” [Roslyn] Thompson said…Dallas police estimate more than 400 women a night may be part of sex trafficking in the city…”We are deeply troubled by the fact that the EXXXOTICA Expo is being hosted here in Dallas, not to mention in a facility that is named to honor one of the Dallas Women’s Foundation founders”…

Here’s hoping the building is so contaminated by sex rays it has to be torn down or turned into a huge brothel.

A Year Later

It’s rare to see an essay like this in the US, but not in Canada:

…it’s impossible for me to take any argument against legal prostitution seriously.  They are all broadly the same – a ridiculous amalgamation of moralizing bluster, cherry-picked and often inaccurate statistics, and a mendacious willingness to fall back on accusations of sex-trafficking or rape or exploitation when their arguments have been soundly defeated…But…no matter how continuously it is shown that outlawing prostitution does more harm than good, the same arguments wiggle their way back into view and re-assert themselves as if they had never been countered.  So today, in Canada, we have the same gibberingly absurd arguments being uttered yet again in order to support the continued suppression of legal prostitution…in direct contravention of a Canadian Supreme Court decision…They merely…declare that they are in no way in breach of the Supreme Court decision because they’re letting prostitutes work – they’re just arresting all their potential clients.  It’s…almost impressive in its underhanded lack of conscience…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#542) 

Actually, he’s right; this does give an inaccurate image of cops.  They are vastly more likely to rape sex workers than to peacefully do business with us:

Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor announced…that he is firing five officers accused of being involved in a prostitution ring…The…chief…said that he’s saddened that the incident gives an image of the department that is not accurate…

Acting and Activism (#559)

Can denying people the choice to decide what they do with their own bodies…ever be an advancement of their human rights?  That’s what a sensationalist campaign led by radical feminists is claiming.  They are protesting against Amnesty’s leaked proposal that consenting sex work should be decriminalised, and…the…campaign has garnered the support of a number of Hollywood A-listers, including…Anne Hathaway…Perhaps…[her] experience of playing Fantine…in Les Miserables made her feel like she had a glimpse of the reality of life as a sex worker.  As far as representations of sex work go, that film’s all-singing, all-dancing portrayal of early 19th century Paris is perhaps more accurate than the ludicrous distortion its star now finds herself attached to…

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