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Posts Tagged ‘No Other Option’

We cannot…be blind to the very real harms posed by exposing all sorts of innocent people to unnecessary scrutiny from…authorities.  –  Liz Brown

Advice for Clients

It’s always good to see different sex workers’ perspectives on this topic:

With the exception of the occasional inconsiderate asshole, most people know how to behave at the shops, the hairdressers, or when they’re catching an Uber.  They know not to skip the line, to tip, and not to barf all over the backseat.  But a lot of people don’t know how you’re supposed to behave when you visit a sex worker…it’s only fair that you try and be polite and considerate.  But what are the dos and don’ts?  Can you ask a sex worker to lower the going rate for a blowjob because you’re such a loyal customer?  And exactly how handsy can you get when you have a half-naked stripper grinding on your lap?…

No Other Option

An important observation from Mark Draughn:

…one item on [COSWAC’s] Myths vs. Facts page caught my attention…MYTH: Clients are pathetic losers who can’t get dates or sustain meaningful relationships…someone needs to address the motives of the people promoting this myth.  People who say things like this aren’t just making an academic observation; they’re arguing that sex work should be (or remain) outlawed because of these kinds of clients.  And that’s an ugly argument…Why should it matter that some clients are “pathetic losers who can’t get dates or sustain meaningful relationships”?  Does that mean they should never have sex?  That they should never experience pleasurable physical intimacy, never touch a woman, because they lack the confidence or charisma to charm a woman into bed?  Keeping them from hiring sex workers isn’t protecting women from predators.  It’s just sentencing people with personality disorders to a life without intimacy…

Real People 

Though this article is padded with the usual ignorant bloviation from moralists who have never done or even studied sex work, it starts with the stories of several sex workers from Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan:

Despite the traditional mentality prevalent in the Caucasus, sex work is not uncommon, especially for women who find themselves in dead end situations.  Although well known, the rights of sex workers and their issues are rarely discussed in any of the three countries in the South Caucasus…journalists…decided to gain a better understanding of the topic by directly asking sex workers questions related to their lives.  What forces women into sex work?  What are the risks?  How does society perceive them?  What are their rights?  The following interviews are the result of their inquiries…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do murderous-sociopath-cop-frankie-bybee

A cop is a cop, even when he’s a sex worker.  But this one is unusually sociopathic even for a cop:

…Sarasota County deputy Frankie Bybee…received more than $100,000 over the years from a woman named Elinor Jarvis in exchange for…sex…Jarvis contacted investigators after learning [Bybee] had been arrested for attempting to kill a 79-year-old woman by entering her home, mounting her and shoving prescription pills down her throat before leaving her car running in her garage with the door open in the hope she would die of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Bybee was trying to make it look like a suicide.  But Marcia Sohl survived the encounter…Bybee met Sohl in October when she called the…Sheriff’s Office for help, transporting her to the hospital and praying with her to gain her trust and confidence.  He also agreed to care for her Yorkshire in exchange for $1,000, even texting her a photo of himself with the dog to show that it was safe.  But then he sold the dog on Craig’s List [sic]…he wrote checks from the woman’s account to himself and children for $65,000…On December 28, he sent an email to the woman’s doctor from her email address, pretending that she had “suicidal implications,” which led to the woman being involuntary committed for evaluation in a treatment facility…the IP address originated from his home…Nevertheless, a judge…reduced his bail from $900,000 to $250,000…And Sohl’s dog has since been returned.

They Still Don’t Get It

This is a mass of stupidity even by “sex trafficking” standards, but this paragraph is representative:

…“Maryland is a hot spot of trafficking. It’s that simple,” says Maryland [spokesow]…Deborah Flory…“That’s because of I-95, I-70, and BWI Airport, and the mix of wealth and poverty, which is one of the things that makes young women vulnerable.”  Traffickers, aka pimps, are familiar with the laws in each state and know there are weaker penalties in Maryland than elsewhere, including the possibility of a misdemeanor charge for trafficking someone age 18 or older, Flory says…“They can make more money than dealing drugs—$200,000 a year off of one girl—and it’s easier because they don’t have to re-up with cocaine or heroin.  They sell the same ‘product’ over and over again”…

The number of myths, tropes & lies in just that short passage is impressive.

Paint By Numbers

Do whatever it was you were going to do anyway, but declare that you’re doing it to “fight sex trafficking”; stupid people will believe you and give you money:

Pet clothing company Lulu & Robbie is showing its support for the United Nations’ Blue Heart Campaign against human trafficking.  One of Lulu & Robbie’s four new styles…features the campaign’s official…“Blueheart tartan, whose colours and lines symbolise the collective heartbeat of victims of human trafficking”…

I write fantasy, and yet I couldn’t make up anything so totally ridiculous.

Devil’s Advocate

This dude has very poor judgment and might even be a rapist.  But this sets a really dangerous precedent:

…Cody Herrera…19…pleaded guilty to statutory rape with a 14-year-old girl…prosecutors said that he could face additional charges for allegedly videotaping sexual acts with a 17-year-old…Herrera received probation and the judge prohibited him from having “sexual relations” outside of marriage as a probation condition…Banning “sexual relations” without defining the term does not…tell a person what conduct violates the condition…“sexual relations” can mean anything from phone sex to intercourse…Rather than wondering if a kiss is a violation, probation officers should be able to devote themselves to better things like helping a defendant get a job…or mental health treatment…suppose kissing isn’t a violation, but intercourse is.  Should an unmarried probationer who has consensual intercourse be imprisoned?  The costs are enormous. It’s not just $20,000 to $30,000 in annual expenses.  If the probationer is employed, he gets removed from the work force – and it is plenty hard for convicts to get jobs…

Original Sin (#449) st-josephine-bakhita

The Pope continues to recklessly promote “sex trafficking” hysteria:

As human trafficking continues to be a supremely important issue during Pope Francis’ pontificate…St. Josephine Bakhita, enslaved during her own childhood, has emerged as a patron not only for her home country of Sudan, but for all victims of trafficking.  St. Josephine was kidnapped and sold into slavery at the age of 7, undergoing immense suffering throughout her adolescence before discovering the faith in her early 20s…Feb. 8, St. Josephine’s feast day, marks the third international day of prayer and reflection against human trafficking…

Down Under (#567)

Even Kiwis who are prudish & judgy about sex work have to admit decriminalization is a success:

Prostitution was made legal in New Zealand 14 years ago, a move which some hoped, or feared, would remove the stigma from those who buy or sell sex.  That has not happened…it…is…safer for the community because safe sex practices could more easily be promoted to an industry that would otherwise continue to operate outside the law.  To that extent the legislation is said to have made a difference but it has not removed the stigma.  Not many prostitutes want their occupation generally known.  Few if any parents would want their daughter or son to grow up to be a sex worker…Selling sex, or buying it, need not be illegal for society to register its contempt for the commodification of the human body…legalisation has not done the harm its opponents feared.  It has simply made a sad industry safer.

Challenge (#679)

Let’s hope more legal sex work businesses come on board:

Fetish site RetailClips.com has pledged a percentage of profits from its site to help the Erotic Service Providers Legal Education and Research (ESPLER) Project’s court case that seeks to legalize prostitution in California.  Maxine Doogan…said she hopes that RetailClip’s promise to share in profits will “inspire others in the larger erotic industry to recognize our common ground and join the fight…In the current climate, where government is coming after a whole range of adult industry players, we really need to support each other — to not only protect but also to expand sexual privacy and sexual freedoms for everyone,” Doogan said.  Donald Kaiser, founder of Black Murk Entertainment, the operator of the newly launched RetailClips, said that ESPLER Project’s court case is crucial for the adult entertainment biz as a whole…

Stupor Bowl (#704)

It’s almost sad to see these losers trying to cash in with debunked bullshit a year ahead of time:

Hennepin County…is expected later this month to approve hiring specialized staff members in the county attorney’s and sheriff’s offices to address a growing number of sex trafficking cases, especially before next year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis…Metro area prosecutors and police agencies anticipate that hundreds of women and girls will be sold on the sex market during Super Bowl 2018

Crying for Nanny (#705)

Just in case you thought we’d seen the last of futile attempts to wring a profit from anti-Backpage propaganda:

A new federal lawsuit in Orlando is the latest legal effort to shut down [the already-censored] social media website Backpage.com [over fantasies] that it encourages and profits from sex trafficking.  A…[prohibitionist] organization, Florida Abolitionist, is behind the suit….it…is one of several groups in the area that are working to [profit from] sex trafficking [hysteria]…

Checklist (#711) 

You know that absurd “air hostesses vs pimps” bullshit that was making the rounds last week?

…There was no follow-up on where the alleged trafficker had come from, what happened to him after the flight—arrest? prosecution? prison?…Fedrick’s 2011 experience didn’t just happen into the 2017 media by accident.  Her story is part of a campaign from Airline Ambassadors International, who…used the myth of a sports-related sex trafficking boom to permeate the Super Bowl news-cycle.  AAI was founded in the 1990s by Nancy Rivard, and the bulk of its efforts long revolved around providing adult escorts to children traveling for medical procedures.  But beginning in 2009, the agency began a serious shift toward human-trafficking [profiteering]…the…alleged…incident received little public attention in 2011.  While the news that year is full of stories about a man arrested at the San Francisco International Airport for wearing baggy pants, plus stories about local efforts to stop sex trafficking, none mention a human trafficker apprehended at a Bay Area airport that year.  The San Francisco Police Department’s (SFPD) web archives turn up similarly scant results.  And nothing fitting the description is mentioned in a statewide 2012 report about successful anti-trafficking efforts in the previous year.  When the Super Bowl was held in San Francisco, in 2016, the airport teamed up with Airport Ambassadors International and others…None of the materials…mention any previous trafficking busts at the airport based on flight-attendant tips…

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You will hear our voices, because they are becoming louder and louder and you can’t drown us out any longer.  –  Laura Lee

Above the Law 

Well, this is different:

Male strippers stopped by gardai for having no tax disc performed for female officers to get out of a fine…They…entered the Garda station and began their performance.  But one female is understood to have fallen during the incident, injuring her back…an internal investigation is underway…the officer who brokered the “deal” is also being investigated…

The Rape Question rape rate by age

I’ve been saying this for 30 years:

In…1975…Susan Brownmiller…asserted that “rape is about power, not sex.”  Ever since, the conventional wisdom has been that rapists are misogynistic men seeking domination and power over women, not violent men seeking sex…there has been no significant empirical research to support her claim.  Yet, almost everyone repeats it…Social science has demonstrated a strong relationship between age and sexual attractiveness.  Heterosexual men are sexually attracted to young women, while homosexual men are attracted to young men…If rapists are primarily motivated by the desire for power and domination, then one would expect them to prefer middle-aged, career women.  However, if rapists primarily desire sex, then one would expect them to prefer young women and men…The percentage of female victims who are over 50 is close to zero…A 15-year-old male is more likely to be a victim of a sexual assault than a 40-year-old female…An analysis of whether female robbery victims are sexually assaulted during the incident suggests that the sexual attractiveness of young people is an important factor.  Since the robber has already established dominance over a vulnerable victim, the effects of opportunity and vulnerability are removed, and only the effect of the offender’s age preference remains.  In such cases, robbers are much more likely to rape victims between the ages of 15 and 29…The reason most rapists target females is that a larger percentage of males are heterosexuals, not that they hate females…Gay men are just as likely to attack males as straight men are to attack females…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Plus the fact that so-called “virtually reality” doesn’t involve actual touch:

Virtual reality technology is unlikely to kill off real sex work, according to people working in the business, even if the biggest predictions about it come true…Virtual reality allows people to strap on a headset and move around a world as if they are really there, with the image changing as they move their head for an immersive experience. But that experience will never be enough to threaten the business of real sex workers…

Imagination Pinned Down

I’ll just leave this right here:

Stories are so natural that we don’t notice how much they permeate our lives…That’s precisely why they can be such a powerful tool of deception.  When we’re immersed in a story, we let down our guard…[and] may absorb things…that would normally pass us by or put us on high alert…In his book Actual Minds, Possible Worlds, Jerome Bruner…proposes that we can frame experience in two ways:  propositional and narrative.  Propositional thought hinges on logic and formality.  Narrative thought is the reverse.  It’s concrete, imagistic, personally convincing, and emotional.  And it’s strong…What kind of person do you need to be to make up a history of…sex trafficking?  For one thing, you need to have an intimate grasp of the workings of human psychology—you have to understand that this story, above any other, will elude scrutiny even when the facts that justify it are sparse.  Victims, in the right light, stand above reproach.  No one questions an escapee from human trafficking…

The central example of the article is the case of Samantha Azzopardi, but I don’t think you need me to point out dozens of other important examples.

Shift in the Wind (#134)

Mary Emily O’Hara of the Daily Dot published a very decent review of the year’s top sex work stories; however, in the course of preparing the article she used some materials without permission, possibly endangering sex workers.  Though the materials were removed when their original author protested to O’Hara, the incident just goes to show how little even sex-worker-friendly journalists stop to think about the effect of stigma on sex workers’ lives.

Little Boxes (#138)

Anyone who would be “alarmed” at the sight of a nipple needs to just stay home with a coloring book:

A proposed law in New Hampshire would charge women with a misdemeanor for exposing their nipples in public, with an exemption for the act of breastfeeding. Toplessness is currently legal for both women and men under New Hamphire state law, although some local ordinances forbid it…[the] bill would update the state’s indecent exposure and lewdness statute to include “a woman [who] purposely exposes the areola or nipple of her breast or breasts in a public place and in the presence of another person with reckless disregard for whether a reasonable person would be offended or alarmed by such act.”

Oscillation (#312)

This is what prohibition looks like when given perspective by time:

Hundreds of letters were received by [Irish] President Patrick Hillery in 1985, urging him not to sign legislation that allowed condoms to be purchased without prescription…In a file…released as part of the 30-year rule, letters warned of the “imminent dangers to which young people will be exposed” and claimed the “lives of decent people” would be “threatened in the streets and even in their homes” if [people could buy condoms]…A woman from Clontarf, Dublin, reminded Hillery that it wasn’t long since the people “voted to protect unborn life” in the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.  “This Bill is totally opposed to the whole concept of unborn lifescreaming loony because it closes the door to the right of unborn life to be conceived,” she said…

Under Every Bed

I found out that human trafficking affects every single community.  Places big, small, urban or rural, human trafficking is everywhere.  The realities of human trafficking are disturbing and unsettling.  Experts at a conference I attended in September said the multi-billion dollar industry has now surpassed the drug and arms trades…

Uncommon Sense (#337)

Once again, myths and agency denial convince Switzerland to narrow the bottleneck for legal sex work:

…Switzerland began awarding eight-month permits in 1995 to women from outside the European Union who wanted to come to the country to work as strippers…The programme was meant to protect people who may have otherwise been vulnerable to sex traffickers…But…Swiss authorities…announced that [blah blah blah sex trafficking so]…the programme will formally be cancelled as of the new year…the visas, called “L permits”…gave women a chance to earn significant money in wealthy Switzerland which they could send home to their families…

This will, of course, result in these women working illegally, thus making them vulnerable to persecution by cops.  Progress!

Innocence Never Had

People are so unwilling to let go of the ridiculous “pimps & hos” myth and the “enslaved children” wanking fantasy, that even when they question a few of the elements they can’t let go of the rest:

While headlines tout stories of women and children trafficked from overseas…you need look no further than the streets of Los Angeles to find America’s sexually exploited kids.  Over 90 percent of [young people] under 18 [arrested by LAPD]…have not been kidnapped and stuffed into the back of a van, which is Hollywood’s version of sex trafficking…While “trafficked” implies transportation of victims across borders, anyone…under age 18 performing commercial sex acts is considered a trafficking victim…whether or not there is…force or coercion…When [a vice cop] suspects someone on the street is underage, he approaches her and introduces himself as an officer from the trafficking unit…Then, instead of arresting her, he [arrests her]…But girls like this aren’t usually rejoicing to be “rescued.”  In fact, they are usually afraid of law enforcement and attached to their pimp…

The Public Eye (#407)

Laura Lee published an open letter to prohibitionists:

…You’ve decided I’m the “dirty girl”, the one who ought to be ashamed.  You pour scorn on me when I don’t feel that shame…You tell me I must have been abused as a child, that can be the only explanation.  You tell me I’m irrational, I have PTSD or I simply don’t care about myself.  You tell me I can’t possibly parent, I can’t look after myself, let alone my daughter…You tell me that if I like what I do so much, I should work for free…you even tell me I target vulnerable disabled men, without one thought for their ability to make their own choices.  You lie, you do it all the time.  You tell the public that the country is awash with victims of trafficking when you know that simply isn’t true.  You put your own funding and career above my life…

No Other Option (#420)

In the US, this business would be violently suppressed and its customers and workers shamed, robbed and caged: “A 24-hour brothel in central Bankstown [NSW] will include…seven rooms for clients, including one [specially fitted] for people with a disability…

Checklist (#542)

A ridiculous and insulting new law takes effect in Florida:

Posters are going up in adult businesses, airports and other places where human trafficking victims might see them throughout Florida.  They are aimed at combating sex trafficking.  The FBI says Florida ranks third when it comes to human trafficking.  A new state law goes into effect Jan. 1 requiring adult businesses and other locations to display posters with telephone numbers and other information to assist potential human trafficking victims…

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It’s much harder to usurp someone’s voice when she’s out there saying you’re wrong.  –  Maggie McNeill

Rough Trade Charles Oliver

A [Chicago area] man accused of raping eight [sex workers] was sentenced…to 36 years in prison.  Charles Oliver…forced the women to perform acts to which they had not agreed [and] often videotaped…In one video, Oliver…could be heard saying, “I don’t have to listen to you.  I paid you”…Oliver also stole women’s IDs and threatened to expose them as prostitutes if they reported what he had done…Oliver…[has] herpes and [raped the women without]…condoms…Prosecutors also played recorded jailhouse phone calls where Oliver is heard saying…”I should have killed them it would have been easier”…

Maggie in the Media

Noah Berlatsky quoted me and other activists in his Salon piece about how sex workers are using social media to attract attention to our cause.  As a result of that piece, I was interviewed on the Between the Synapse radio show on Thursday.  I apologize for quoting myself in the epigram, but this quote proved very popular on Twitter.

Surplus Women

Police in Italy believe that a murdered prostitute…could have been the victim of a serial killer…Andrea Cristina Zamfir, was…naked except for her shoes and…bound with tape to an iron bar in a position similar to crucifixion…a year ago [another] prostitute was found in the same place and in a similar state…though…still alive…

Presents, Presents, Presents! The Herring and the Brine

This week I received two music CDs:  The Herring and the Brine from Dave Curran of Inspireland, and Whirlygig from a reader whose screen name I don’t know; please email me so I can thank you properly!

Harm Magnification (The Beat Goes On)

They just can’t let it go:

Montreal…is considered a hub for…human trafficking, with police saying women and teenaged girls are brought into the city and forced into…sexual slavery…Mayor Denis Coderre said he wanted the crack down [sic] on massage parlours…Stella Outreach Worker Robin Maynard…[said] “The negative effects of arresting women in the sex industry have been widely documented”…

Above the Law

Cops don’t only rape adult women:

A…Colville [Washington] Police Officer has been arrested…and charged with Rape of a Child…the…victim…[said] she was “very fearful…since [rapist Scott] Arms was a police officer”…the girl…[finally] came forward…because she found out Arms was quitting his job in Colville and was going to be in [her home town] more often…Arms told  investigators…she…[made] these allegations…”Because she has a crush on me”…

Nor only females:

A [Minnesota] sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to 33 years in prison for sexually abusing several boys on a fishing trip.  Aaron Heuer…admitted he inappropriately touched four boys, ages 8 to 10, while volunteering as a fishing guide…Heuer threatened to throw the boys into the lake if they told…

Oscillation

First the once-respected Southern Poverty Law Center pronounced pickup artists a “hate group”, then branded everyone (including women) who doesn’t want to be groped by government thugs a “far-right homophobe”.  Then “…the SPLC tried its hand at painting anarcho-capitalists as a rising new threat through a convoluted chain of logic that somehow sought to link voluntaryists to the Patriot movement…now the scaremonger group cautions that some people who oppose Common Core education standards are right-wing extremists…Tasha Yar seduces Data

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Sure, I’d have sex with an android; their money’s as good as anyone else’s:

…nearly one-in-five people [polled] said they were “willing to have sex with an android”…11 percent [said] they want a robot child similar to David in the movie A.I…41 percent said…the concept of sexual intimacy with a robot is “creepy” and an additional 14 percent said they don’t think robots should be used in such a manner.  Nearly one-fifth of pet owners said they would replace a cherished animal with a robot…

First They Came for the Hookers… (TW3 #27)

The Texas Third Court of Appeals has upheld a punitive $5 tax levied on anyone who patronizes a strip club in Texas…ruling that the fee was not an occupation tax, a violation of free speech, or an unfair assault on live nude entertainment…The court went on to explicitly cite the alleged “secondary effects” and “social harms” brought by adult entertainment venues as a justification…Funds extorted from strip clubs and their patrons will go to pay for programs for sexual assault victims, under the nonsensical theory that the mere existence of strip clubs drives up rape…”The primary purpose of the sexually-oriented-business tax is…to discourage this type of business activity altogether…”

Follow Your Bliss (TW3 #44)

A TSA Supervisor was arrested at Kennedy Airport…Vernon Lythcott …[raped] two 15-year-old girls…[in] the Dominican Republic [after luring them]…from the beach into a van [with promises of] money and gifts…Lythcott and two other men [also] forced one of the girls [into] a room where they all sexually assaulted her…

No Other Option (TW3 #132) Scarlet Harem logo

In the US, this business would be violently suppressed and its customers and workers shamed, robbed and caged:  “A brothel is showing other businesses how to…provide disability access on the Sunshine Coast…Scarlet Harem…will receive an award…from the Sunshine Coast Access Advisory Network for going above and beyond in providing accessibility and customer service…

The End of the Beginning

Sharie Keil…is…at the forefront of a growing fight against sex offender registries, a shame-free alliance of offenders and their families, supported by researchers and some advocates who helped pass stringent…laws in the first place.  They…claim…a steady patter of legal and legislative victories…[mostly] limited to…juvenile offenders …but [Keil]…wants to abolish the…registry altogether…

Which I Doubt

On top of the other flaws it’s just a policy, rescindable at a moment’s notice:

The New York Police Department will no longer confiscate…condoms …as evidence of prostitution…[but will] continue to seize condoms…in sex-trafficking and promotion of prostitution cases…Civil rights groups and advocates for sex workers…argue that…police may continue to seize condoms from sex workers and teen runaways under the pretense of investigating pimps and traffickers…

Micromanagement

The free market provides a defense to a particularly nasty tool of the fascist panopticon:

…Erase deletes 99.5% of DNA left behind.  Replace obfuscates the remaining .5%…Don’t let DNA spill your secrets.  Protect your image and be invisible.  Spend the night somewhere you shouldn’t have?  Erase your mistake and be invisible…Exercising your freedom of speech?  Be invisible and never get tracked…

Counterfeit Comfort (TW3 #330)Jeremy & Christine Moody

If you’re a fan of “sex offender” registration, meet your bedfellows:

A couple who…[murdered] a registered sex offender and his wife…were sentenced to life in prison…Initially, Jeremy and Christine Moody apologized…and asked for a 30-year sentence so they could see their children and grow old together.  But after…[the] Judge…handed down the maximum punishment, they…showed how they really felt.  “See you perverts later,” Jeremy Moody shouted at [his victim’s] family…”That’s what child molesters get.”  And…Christine Moody…told reporters: “Killing that pedophile was the best day of my life”…

Cuckoo Advertising

A recent email from a listserv for sex researchers:

In my role as Chief Science Officer for AshleyMadison, I’m looking to pay sexologists…to represent/interpret academic infidelities research — without bias — to the media.  You would be commenting on affairs/cheating research by other academics, or by our own AshleyMadison surveys…You do not have to say that AshleyMadison is paying you.  You simply speak as a sexologist…

I was pleased to see that one of the researchers immediately answered with an email on Ashley Madison’s deceptive practices.

Policing for Profit

400 cops to arrest 19 masseuses.  Need I mention the motive?

Sixteen women and two men accused of running a Bay Area prostitution operation…have been arrested.  One suspect…remains at large…There are 111 counts against the group including pimping, pandering, and tax evasion…The massive sweep involved some 400 law enforcement officers in 6 counties…[who] seized cash, drugs, weapons, cars, assets, and marijuana…

Broken Record (TW3 #338)

With just under three months…until the Glasgow [Commonwealth Games] begins, a strategy designed to tackle sex trafficking and prostitution is being put in place…High-profile sporting events, such as the World Cup and the Olympics, have historically resulted in a spike in sex crimes…and…human trafficking…

No, they haven’t, “historically” or otherwise.

Cops and Robbers Kim Lengle

Another example of Dateline’s revolting practice of luring men to be fodder for their televised Roman circus:

A…TV news producer slapped NBC with a lawsuit…claiming her Dateline boss used her as “sexual bait” to lure targets for a hidden-camera series about drug-related prostitution, sex trafficking & sadomasochism.  Kimberly Lengle…[says] Dan Slepian…criticized [her] for not dressing provocatively enough and even asked why she didn’t have any nude photos…to send to men looking for…sexual playthings…Slepian threatened her job when she didn’t…[post] her photo in response to a Craigslist ad by a sexual deviant looking for a “human punching bag”…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #405)

[German] sex workers…are asking…politicians not to put obstacles in the way of…their profession…[Johanna Weber of the sex workers’ professional association said] “Many politicians…are working on a problem that does not exist as such…so…90 percent of women we represent…are worse off under these changes…in New Zealand…prostitutes have all the rights of workers.  And fears that the country would be a hotbed of international human trafficking did not materialize…a pure policy of prohibition couldn’t win a flower pot in Germany…so [prohibitionists] say they want to do something good for the oh-so-poor prostitutes instead.  I would recommend politicians go to a brothel and ask who would like to be taken out of there…we do not want to be rescued…”

Under Every Bed (TW3 #418)

Remember, the “authorities” even admit there isn’t a shred of proof for any of this; much of it seems to be the product of one woman’s BDSM fantasies:

…where there are men and money, there are prostitutes.  And…some reports estimate that about 70 percent of “prostitutes” are actually human trafficking victims…it’s no secret that human trafficking victims are being bought and sold every day in…the oil-rich Bakken region of North Dakota…Windie Jo Lazenko is…investigating rumors of rampant human trafficking in the state…[including] visits to…hotels where entire floors have been purchased by pimps…state law enforcement officials [say]…the…human trafficking epidemic could be helped by national efforts

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #419)

Lawheads amazed that their barricades did not magically abolish the need to earn money for bills and food:

Residents of [Cincinnati] worry that a recent crackdown on streetwalkers…has rerouted prostitution problems to their [neighborhood].  Cincinnati police recently set up barricades in hopes of cutting back on johns cruising the streets…”Instantly we’ve seen an increase in streetwalker prostitution,” Pete Witte said…

Little Boxes (TW3 #419) Elizabeth Raine

Given that she lies like a rug about her education and weight, the back-out was totally predictable:

…Elizabeth Raine…launched an online auction for her virginity…[which] concluded on May 7…at $801,000.  However, Raine backed out…She claims to have biology and engineering bachelor’s degrees and to be in school to finish a combined Masters and PhD program.  She expressed her concern that the auction might kick her out of college…Raine listed her height as 5’10” and her weight at 130 pounds

Property of the State

Dr. Brooke Magnanti on efforts to control women using pregnancy as an excuse:

…in Utah, a woman was charged with…felony child endangerment after accusations that she used meth while pregnant.  The police  report wrote…”Being that her child was only 39 weeks gestational age, it was surmised that the use of methamphetamine caused [her] to go into labour”…39 weeks is considered full term and a large proportion of women experience the start of labour at that stage…Meanwhile in Alabama, a state Supreme Court decision ruled  that a mother could be convicted of endangerment for testing positive for cocaine use during pregnancy, even though her child was born healthy…a…new law in Tennessee went against the recommendations of many major medical associations…drug tests for some substances are unreliable after a surprisingly short time…so…false accusations of endangerment could easily be made by others, and considering the high rate of miscarriage that occurs naturally, how would police know the difference?…

Of course, the cops don’t care; in fact, the lack of definitive proof is a feature rather than a bug for those who make and enforce these laws.

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

crack pipeOld Folks At Home

Damned amateurs are always screwing everything up:

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

Backwards into the Future

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

Meanwhile, in Malawi:

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

Against Their Will

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

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

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

Prudish Pedants

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

The Gendered SocietyOscillation

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

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

The Immunity Syndrome (TW3 #19)

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

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #20)

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

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

Traffic Jam (TW3 #21)

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

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

Think of the Children! (TW3 #23)

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

Good News, Bad News (TW3 #30)

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

The More The Better (TW3 #32)

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

Zimbabwe (TW3 #33)

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

Profit from Panic (TW3 #40)

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

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

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

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

No Other Option (TW3 #46)

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

Hard Numbers (TW3 #311)

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

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

HT TriangleOriginal Sin

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

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

A War for Peace (TW3 #313)

I’m beginning to think her mother is right:

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

One Born Every Minute (TW3 #319)

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

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (TW3 #319)

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

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There are people who believe that migrant women who sell sex need to be saved; that they must want to go home; that they must want another job and they have 200-year-old ideas about what those jobs should be.  –
Laura Agustín

Carmine InfantinoR.I.P. Carmine Infantino

My favorite comic book artist of all time has passed away at the age of 87.  It’s impossible to overstate his influence on the industry, nor how iconic his style was for those of us who grew up with Silver Age comics.  If you’re unfamiliar with his work, take a moment to look at this portrait of one of my favorite heroines and this 8-page story (written by Gardner Fox).

Anatomy of a Boondoggle

Cops do this all the time, but Pittsburgh-area cops are especially shameless:

Homestead Officer Ronald DePellegrin, 48, admits that he allowed Diana Gross, 26, to give him oral sex before he informed her that he was actually a cop…attorney…Michael Waltman…says DePellegrin’s conduct is unacceptable…”The police…are engaging in the exact type of…activity that they’re…[allegedly] trying to protect the community from”…

Lack of Evidence

You know how I keep pointing out that prostitution laws harm all women?

What do you do when you’re detained by powerful officials, everything you say is presumed deceptive, arbitrary “evidence” is held against you, and you’re treated like a moral deviant?…It happened three times in two weeks — being detained by U.S. border officials…my…“sexy underwear” were mentioned…[and my] condoms…were looked upon scathingly…[one official told me] that adultery was a crime in America — a crime that he could deny me entry for…I was detained, yelled at, patted down, fingerprinted, interrogated, searched, moved from room to room…without food, water or being told what was going on…

The Pro-Rape Coalition

Furry Girl explains how laws supposedly intended to “protect children” were really intended to harass the porn industry:

…”2257″ is shorthand for the…irritatingly-named Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act…when you appear in adult productions in the US, you as the performer/model must give the production company/photographer two forms of identification and sign…paperwork promising that you are over 18…fake IDs [exist]…and any contract a minor signs is void anyway [so this]…doesn’t do a thing to guarantee age…Any random person can search for companies reselling and licensing adult content, and with a purchase, buy performer’s legal names, social security numbers, and addresses…a determined stalker can comb through enough adult content resellers and have a good shot at finding their target…Independent pornographers…have to choose between a fear of federal prosecutions and prison time…and a fear of…stalkers coming to our homes to rape or assault us…

Subnormality #138 (Possible Future Salvage)Where Are the Victims?

A man convicted of crimes related to promoting prostitution was sentenced…to…eight years in prison.  Kevin J. Barker…had about 35 women working for him…Barker would get $80 and women would get $80 per call and…anything after that was negotiable…

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere!

One of the few concessions New Zealand has made to “sex trafficking” hysteria (and one of the few things that keep it from absolute decriminalization) is its ban on international students in sex work.  Of course this creates a bottleneck which leads, predictably, to the very type of exploitation the law is supposedly intended to prevent.  The New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective of course understands this and is calling on the government to end the restriction; Catherine Healy explains:

Just recently I was dealing with a case of a young woman who…had gone into this agreement with a brothel operator who said…I’ll look after your money until you need it to pay for your student fees, and of course when that time arrived, the money wasn’t handed over…She couldn’t stomp off to the police, she couldn’t talk to…the university, so really…the law…contributed to her exploitation…back in 2003…the then minister of immigration had hatched this dopey clause in the 11th hour, and we said look, this will have the opposite effect of what you’re intending…

None So Blind

Funny how religious fanatics are always ready to make convenient exceptions:

A Kuwaiti woman who once ran for parliament  has called for sex slavery to be legalized – and suggested that non-Muslim  prisoners from war-torn countries would make suitable concubines.  Salwa al Mutairi argued buying a sex-slave would protect decent, devout and “virile” Kuwaiti men from adultery because  buying an imported sex partner would be tantamount to marriage…[she] even suggested that it would be…better…for women in warring countries as they might die of starvation…offices could be opened to run the sex trade in the same way that recruitment agencies provide  housemaids…

To sum up:  prostitution under individual control = sin.  Compulsory prostitution under government control = good.

Counterfeit Comfort

…If Governor Bryant [of Mississippi] signs “Lenora’s Law,” sex offenders who violate the state’s registry system will wear a GPS tracking device…[the law] also [extends] the residence buffer for sex offenders to 3,000 feet from a school…”These are people who have proven they won’t obey the law,” said [bill sponsor Will] Longwitz.  “Now…we will know where sex offenders are at all times, and can prevent them from striking again”…

No, these are usually people who can’t obey the law because its requirements have become increasingly-difficult to comply with:

Michael Byars’ effort to modify [Iowa] sex offender laws was a case study for effective citizen activism…until…he was arrested and fired from his job…[because] he didn’t update the state sex offender registry to reflect his voluntary, unpaid and, so far, largely successful attempt to persuade lawmakers to change the law…Byars…was convicted in 2008 of lascivious acts with a child…[for] a short, consensual relationship with a 13-year-old high school freshman while he was an 18-year-old high school senior.  The conviction…saddled him with a lifetime…sentence that requires him to check in regularly with a parole officer and stringently limits his interaction with children, including his own son…

24-year-old Byars was such an amazingly successful lobbyist that an opponent called the cops, claiming that his advocacy is a “job” and demanding he be arrested for failing to register it (despite the fact that when he tried to do so he was told it was unnecessary).  The cops were of course happy to comply, because we can’t have those dirty girlfriend-daters demanding their rights.

Naked Truth

Via Reason TV, Tracy Quan speaks with Shereen El Feki in “Sex and the Citadel: Does the Arab Spring need a Summer of Love?

The Widening Gyre

Observable fact:  16-year-old leaves home.  Conclusion: sex trafficking!

…Vancouver police are investigating the disappearance of 16-year-old Isabella Castillo, and her family…thinks she’s caught up in sex trafficking because one of her friends told them they’d seen her around with another girl who is known in the local sex-trafficking world.  That girl is used by sex traffickers to recruit other girls by befriending them.  She then lures them in, grooms them and gets them to run away.  The girls are never heard from again…

“The local sex trafficking world?”  Was it really necessary for cops and fanatics to fill the family’s head full of this kind of nonsense?  Young women don’t leave home because they’re induced to run away by “traffickers”; they leave because home has become intolerable for some reason, often sexual abuse.  And if they enter the sex trade it’s because the laws have made that their only means of support, not because they’re “trafficked”.

Zimbabwe

I wish I had all the magical powers Zimbabwean harlots do:

A prostitute in Bulowayo, Zimbabwe…[apparently] died during an encounter with a customer…[but] came back to life just as officials placed her in a metal coffin…she suddenly woke up in a panic screaming, “You want to kill me!” at the officers…Seeing a woman presumed to be dead spring back to life shocked onlookers, many of whom ran away in fear…

The More the Better (TW3 #32)

Apparently the word “legal” is not part of this reporter’s vocabulary: “Vicksburg [Mississippi] mayoral candidate Linda Fondren and her husband once owned a [brothel] in Nevada…it’s not clear…if the Fondrens are still involved…[and] Linda…denies she ever was…”  After the actual evidence, the fact that Mr. Fondren once publicly defended adults’ right to have consensual sex with other people is presented (presumably on the “only a witch…” principle).

Monkey Business

…chimpanzees…have the ability to “think about thinking”…according to new research…researchers…required them to…name what food was hidden in a location…chimpanzees named items immediately and directly when they knew what was there, but…Laura Agustinsought out more information before naming when they did not already know…

The Naked Anthropologist

Dr. Laura Agustín is currently in Ireland (speaking at the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair today), and gave this short interview about “trafficking” hysteria and related prohibitionist schemes.

Change of Heart (TW3 #41)

Alexis Wright…has reached a plea deal with prosecutors in the Kennebunk prostitution case…[agreeing] to plead guilty to theft, tax evasion and prostitution…clients…who have been charged so far include a former mayor, a…hockey coach, a minister, a lawyer and a firefighter…

No Other Option (TW3 #132)

Another interview (this one in Reveal) with Becky Adams about her plans for a brothel for the disabled:  “More than 700 people have already agreed to work for a reduced price…’We’re expecting the local council to object, but we are prepared to take the argument all the way to the European Court of Human Rights‘”…

Dutch Threat

A similar prohibitionist deception from a decade ago:

[In November 2000]…a Swedish radical feminist named Alexa Wolf…showed her “documentary”…Shocking Truth…[which]…shows what seems to be a rape scene…Wolf…[slowed] down the film making it appear as the woman was helpless and drugged…[thus creating] a moral panic…The pay per view-channels promised that there would be no “violent porn”…Video stores removed porn from the shelves.  57% of the Swedish population wanted to ban ALL porn…in conservative Norway we had more or less the same reaction…The woman seen “drugged and raped” in the film…is…award winning porn actress…Mila Shegol [who stated in an interview that] she was not on drugs, she was not raped, it was all acting, she actually took part in directing the scenes…she was not a suffering, oppressed or exploited woman, and she had no idea there had been made a documentary about her alleged rape…

A Broker in Pillage (TW3 #312)

Here’s that weird “pay back” euphemism again:  “A…brothel owner who made thousands exploiting vulnerable women was…ordered to pay back…£75,000 of his sordid gains within six months [or] he [will] be locked up for…two years…”  Because money gained via business is “sordid”, but that gained via extortion is “just”.

Birth of a Movement (TW3 #312)

Muslimah PrideThe French senate has voted to repeal a law banning ‘passive’ soliciting for sex… opponents said it put sex workers in a precarious situation…and…[led] to police abuse…

A War for Peace (TW3 #313)

Muslim women have launched a campaign to send a message to “sextremist” collective Femen.  “Muslimah Pride Day” was organised in response to Femen’s self-declared “Topless Jihad Day”, a day of topless protests around the world to support Tunisian Femen activist Amina Tyler

Under Every Bed

Montana lawmakers are looking at ways to prevent and punish human trafficking in response to reports of increased prostitution [among]…people who have come to find work in the Bakken oil boom…there is no actual proof that trafficking is a problem in Montana, said…Rep. Sarah Laszloffy…But without the language on the books…authorities [lack] the tools needed to track it…

And more importantly, the way to clean up on “trafficking” grants!  Already, selfless volunteers are working to make sure “authorities” have sufficient disinformation to block out real facts:

…Melissa Woodward…helps train law enforcement about how to spot a child that may have been sold into prostitution…”Does she have physical markings on her?  Tattoos that are often visible…things like wearing very provocative clothes…”

You heard it here first, kids!  Tattoos, sexy clothes and looking for work are all signs of “sex trafficking”!  If you see a woman with any of those telltale signs, call the cops immediately so she can be “rescued” into the nearest jail!

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

No Other Option

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

Japanese Prostitution

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

Don’t Buy It

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

Get Out of the 19th Century Often?

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

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

Hollywood pimpChupacabra

Dr. Brooke Magnanti on the “pimp” myth:

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

A Working System

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

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

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

My Readers Write

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

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

See No Evil

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

A Moral Cancer (Metaupdates)

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

Above the Law

Well, this is different:

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

Traffic Jam

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

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

Yellow Fever

The high standards of American journalism have reached Pakistan:

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

Under Duress

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

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

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

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

Monkey Business

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

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (TW3 #39)

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

So Close and Yet So Far

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

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake

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

The Devil’s Toys

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

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

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Sex workers have a special place in society that is never rewarded or recognised.  –  Derek Freedman

No Other Option

Vrbas wheelchair basketball clubMy Cliterati article for last Sunday was “Skin To Skin”, a strong criticism of the cruelty of denying commercial sex to men who can’t experience physical intimacy in any other way; the very next day an English council provided a perfect example of that cruelty by announcing an “investigation” of a nursing home which allowed residents to hire sex workers, and I explained what was wrong with that in this week’s essay, “Caring Professionals”.  Then there was this item from Bosnia:

Members of a…wheelchair basketball club are launching a campaign to legalize prostitution…to help disabled people “achieve their right to love.”  Marinko Umicevic, president of the club Vrbas, said Wednesday that Bosnia had to catch up with 21st century Europe, where…some people with disabilities “even get state subsidies to pay for sex.”  Umicevic said some of his players had never had sex and legalizing the sex trade would help people like them achieve their basic rights…

Something Rotten in Sweden

Prostitution stings are disgusting no matter how they’re justified, but there’s something particularly vile about using “sex trafficking” as an excuse and then arresting hookers as well:

A multi-agency prostitution sting conducted earlier this month on behalf of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month has netted the arrests of…46 [people]…most for misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution…[but] five [for] women alleged to have posted sex ads…Sen. Leticia Van de Putte…[says] she intends to propose…a bill that would pave the way for victims of human trafficking to sue websites that make money off prostitution ads…

Senator Van de Putte could save the state of Texas a lot of money by simply researching the fate of similar ideas.

Decentralization

Bitcoin has become so popular, and its value has risen so much against that of national currencies, that Bloomberg is concerned that “virtual money could undermine the role of central banks”, which as Reason explains is exactly the point.  The end of governments’ ability to directly meddle with the world economy can’t possibly come soon enough to suit me.

Dirty Whores

Dr Derek Freedman told the Irish Sun:  “People from all strands of society use prostitutes from time to time.  It ranges from [politicians], the clergy, the judiciary to people who are socially deprived, physically disabled and people who may be regarded as unattractive and may not be able to meet people”…while people often feel anxious about contracting infections after visiting a prostitute, he believes that “you’re probably safer with a professional than with a gifted amateur”…he added:  “What we forget is that often sex workers give great comfort to people who are lonely”…Other Dreams of Freedom

Déjà Vu

When even Christians are starting to see this, “trafficking” hysteria’s days are numbered:

…In her new book Other Dreams of Freedom, Yvonne Zimmerman, a professor of Christian Ethics, argues that the theoretical basis of US government anti-trafficking efforts derives directly from Protestant theology and traditional ideas of what she calls “sexually pure and pious womanhood”.  Zimmerman challenges this basis for anti-trafficking efforts, saying that it ends up limiting the freedom of trafficked people, especially women, by conceiving of their “rescue” as them ending up in traditional, heterosexual marriages – or at least refraining from sexual relations outside of marriage…

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (We’re Not Done Yet)

A big improvement on the phone “app” described previously:

…a team [of students]…has invented a mobile panic button for street…sex…workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.  A voice or text message is first recorded onto a SIM card, which is inserted into a GPS-enabled device such as a pager…Pressing a button…activates the GPS and sends an emergency message and GPS location to a contact who can get help.  Because the GPS is not activated until the device is activated, the anonymity of the user is preserved…Once prototype devices are ordered, the three students will hold focus groups to determine which type of device is more useful…[then] will launch a six-month pilot project by giving devices to 100 women…The group is currently holding a fundraising initiative online…$8,140 [will] cover…the entire pilot project…

Change a Few Words

Arch-prohibitionist Paul Chabot helpfully explains not only that prohibitionism really works, but that all prohibitions are equally valid:  “When asked…why we keep marijuana illegal, Chabot responded:  “Why do we keep heroin, LSD, prostitution, child pornography illegal?’”  As Matthew Feeney points out, “Comparing marijuana to child pornography is a great way to insult millions of people by comparing them to pedophiles.  Chabot is a free gift to those of us who would like to see drugs legalized.”  And of course, the same goes for prostitution.

The More the Better (TW3 #4)

Sheri's RanchOn Monday I received a press release from Sheri’s Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada, a brothel resort on 20 acres (8 hectares) with a swimming pool, spa and tennis court which actively markets itself to couples as well as single men.  It’s now added “Sheri’s Playland”, a group of bungalows fitted out like movie sets so clients can enact any of six different sexual fantasies with working girls.  As I’ve said before, this is a very positive trend; “it was after Vegas casinos started ‘gentrifying’ in the ‘80s that people from other states dropped their prejudices against gambling, and now casinos are everywhere in the US.”

The Course of a Disease

Sex workers fight an attempt to impose the Swedish model on Indonesia:

Prostitutes and activists…are calling on the government not to prosecute men who pay for sex…The chairwoman of Yogyakarta Women’s Sex Workers Association (P3SY)…said…that [client] criminalization…would decrease the bargaining power and income of sex workers…[and] drive prostitution further underground…[hindering] HIV/AIDS education and mitigation programs…arresting customers would lead to the closure of brothels…and force sex workers to seek customers on the streets…Ignatius Praptoharjono of the Atma Jaya Catholic University’s HIV/AIDS Research Center in Jakarta…cited the cases of Sweden, Canada and other Asia-Pacific nations, where a crackdown on [clients] led to the decline of red-light districts and reduced fees…forcing sex workers to charge less and work more.  “Such a regulation will not protect women, but instead expose them to even higher risk,” [he] said…

Bullies With Badges

Heroic cops display their courage and fortitude by saving the helpless citizens of Connecticut from the menace of a 71-year-old whore: “an undercover cop…met her inside a room…[after] Sygun Liebhart placed a backpage.com ad…

Little Boxes (TW3 #25)

Forcing massage parlors to close at 10 PM is the latest anti-whore fad:

…a new [Florida] bill…would ban massage establishments from operating between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m…to crack down on human trafficking and sexual exploitation…[it] also would make it illegal for massage establishments to allow anybody to live on the premises…the Florida State Massage Therapy Association questioned the hours restriction…[because] there are legitimate late-night clients including airline pilots and theatrical performers…[bill sponsor Dave] Kerner, a former…police officer, said…late-night massage establishments are a “hotbed” of illicit sexual activity…

Anyone who actually uses the phrase “illicit sexual activity” with a straight face should be barred from public office as a delusional busybody.

I Swear To God

Here’s another article on the PEPFAR “anti-prostitution pledge”, the efforts to overturn it and the importance of doing so from a health perspective, a human rights perspective and a free speech perspective.  It really is beginning to seem like now that the gay rights culture war has essentially been won, many activists are starting to at last turn their attention toward the persecution of sex workers.

Shift in the Wind

Here’s a cute little promo video made at the Sex Worker Freedom Festival, the parallel AIDS conference held in Kolkata last summer by sex workers who were excluded from the US:

False Target

My fellow hot smart chick Amy Alkon wrote this week about that Jezebel favorite, social constructionist and penis apologist Hugo Schwyzer; his latest absurd claim (one which I called him to task about on Twitter a few months ago) is that older men are only attracted to young women because of “social construction”, and that before the advent of television guys were lining up to date old hags (presumably when they weren’t burning them as witches).  In the process Amy discusses the evolutionary basis of lust, debunks the “rape is asexual” myth and quotes good sense from Dr. Gad Saad.

Bottleneck

The story of New York City’s “cabaret card”, an artificial bottleneck imposed on nightclub performers from 1926-1966, is an excellent example of why prostitution licensing doesn’t work; the corruption such a system engenders and the destructive consequences to individuals are virtually the same.

Dirty Laundry

A divorced couple involved in running a brothel in north Dublin have avoided jail with fines and suspended sentences…Judge Mary Ellen Ring…ordered [Istvan Zeffer] to pay €1,000 to prostitute-support group Ruhama…Bernadette Kiss…is to pay €3,000…”  Ruhama is the new frontTom the Dancing Bug 1-31-13 for the orders of nuns who ran the Magdalene laundries which enslaved whores and many other women; calling them a “prostitute support group” is equivalent to referring to the Nazis as a “Jewish support group”.

King of the Hill

Most of this story is the typical credulous stenography of an evangelical “rescue” organization’s claims, but this passage stood out:  “The United States is the No. 1 destination for human sexual trafficking, with Oklahoma near the top of the most-active state list, the State Department reports…”  As you probably know, the State Department “reports” nothing of the kind.

Change of Heart (TW3 #41)

Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills…threw out 46 of the 59 counts against the alleged co-conspirator in the high-profile Kennebunk prostitution case, setting the stage for another appeal to the state’s highest court.  Mills’ decision…dealt prosecutors a…blow hours before opening arguments…were expected to begin…jury selection…[has already taken four days though] Mills said…it has never taken her longer than one day to seat a jury in her 19 years on the Superior Court…[charges were dropped after defense attorney Daniel] Lilley [argued]…that the notion that Maine privacy laws protect individuals engaged in criminal activity is “ludicrous.”  The invasion of privacy charges are tied to the fact that the alleged sexual interactions…were videotaped without the [clients] knowing…the defense…is [also] free to pursue its…argument that Strong was the subject of police retaliation…

We Told You So (TW3 #131)

Slowly but surely, the press is waking up:

The sad tale of a prostitute being held captive in Chattanooga highlights a problem that appears overstated…it is the only one ever reported, according to area police.  Meanwhile, a 2011 report co-produced by Vanderbilt University and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation estimated there were more than 100 cases of human sex trafficking in Hamilton County.  The study is, apparently, based on erroneous surveys and severely lacking in verifiable facts…

First They Came for the Hookers… (TW3 #132)

More “stripper licensing” idiocy, complete with “sex trafficking” nonsense:

…officials in Moorhead, Minn., are expected to pass an anti-prostitution measure requiring erotic dancers, nude models and adult escorts to obtain licenses and submit to background checks…North Dakota counterparts across the Red River in Fargo and West Fargo are pushing similar ordinances and the regional approach will attempt to stem “a fairly prominent problem here” with prostitution trafficking between their cities and the oil fields…[police hope] the regulations will reduce “a huge problem of runaways and minors trafficked into the sex trade”…adult entertainers would likely have to pay $150 to $250, carry a photo ID and divulge their real names, aliases and criminal histories.  Background checks revealing prostitution or drug convictions would disqualify applicants from receiving permits…

Pompous “authorities” just love creating bottlenecks that turn businesswomen into criminals, don’t they?

Due Consideration

It never takes control freaks very long to prove my points:

A…lawmaker in New Mexico introduced a bill…that would…require victims of rape to carry their pregnancies to term…as evidence for a sexual assault trial.  House Bill 206, introduced by state Rep. Cathrynn Brown…would charge…[violators]…with a third-degree felony for “tampering with evidence”…

The bill is unlikely to pass, but only due to partisanism rather than because it’s a total abomination.

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