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Posts Tagged ‘Not For Everybody’

Arrest is not a service and it doesn’t help people.  –  Tara Burns

Sales Pitch

The indispensable Wendy Lyon has for several years been looking at Swedish police reports which reveal the truth about the country’s much-ballyhooed “model”; the most recent one contains this bomb:

…On page 43, we find what may be the single most heinous thing I’ve ever read about this law. Discussing penalties (and why the doubling of them doesn’t seem to have worked as well as expected, although of course that’s not stated in so many words) the report says:  “classification of the offence by several severity levels could bring more disadvantages for the fight against [sex work]…Police…fear that graduation would lead to resources being exclusively devoted to crimes considered more reprehensible and that the investigation of the crime of purchase of sexual services would therefore not be prioritised“…One of the arguments that has been made against the introduction of this law in Ireland is that it would divert resources away from serious offences (like actual trafficking and exploitation) because the police would need to use those resources going after just any man who pays for sex.  So, here the Swedish police are confirming that that’s exactly what they want it to do.  As with the increase in stigma against sex workers, the reduced ability of the police to focus on “more reprehensible” crimes against them is a feature, not a bug of the law

Rooted in Racism

Danish prohibitionists claim sex work is “spreading”.  You know, like a disease:

There are now so many foreign women working as prostitutes in Copenhagen that the sex trade has expanded beyond its traditional locales in the city and into more visible and tourist-packed areas, [prohibitionists claim]…“When it spreads this much, there is clearly not enough being done to fight prostitution and to help these women, who are controlled by organizers in their home countries,” [bloviated] Sisse Marie Welling of the Socialist People’s Party…[prohibitionist] Kira West…said that most of the prostitutes…come from either Nigeria or Eastern Europe.  They are often brought to Denmark by financial backers who they then need to pay off…

Profit from Panic 

“Sex trafficking” fetishists’ ignorance is exceeded only by their delusions of grandeur:

…marketing professor Tammy Crutchfield is passionate about fighting sex trafficking in Middle Georgia.  She said parents should be wary of their younger daughters’ older boyfriends…[who will] lure the girls into prostitution…”All you have to do is get on Backpage and see how many young girls are offered,” [salivated] Crutchfield, who teaches a yearlong capstone marketing course based on Traffick Jam, a student organization that [indoctrinates] high school students…[in] sex trafficking [propaganda]…The group…created its own brand to market…T-shirts and jewelry…Their goal is to establish similar Traffick Jam groups on college campuses across the country…

Challenge

How convenient for the State:

A court case that would have tested the right of sex workers to offer services together…to protect themselves has collapsed after a police officer refused to give evidence.  Three women appeared before a crown court after the brothel they had run together in Greater Manchester was raided in July 2011.  Jane Young, Deborah Daniels and Catherine McGarr had all been charged with keeping a brothel and faced up to seven years in jail if they were found guilty…the women were planning to argue that under the Human Rights Act it was against the rights of sex workers not to allow them to work together in safety…[but] DC Philip Anderson, who had brought the case against the women, [claimed he] would not be able to give evidence…due to his “worsening health”…

Mumbo Jumbo Casper the pimp

Oooooh, it’s a SPOOOOOOKY hub!

…human trafficking is what Angels of Hope founder Cristina Scarpellini calls a “ghost crime,” for its hidden nature and the slipperiness of its largely male perpetrators.  “It’s so hard to prosecute, because the girl is your evidence — and try keeping the girl all the way up until trial,” she says…the victims also become ghosts to their family members…disappearing without a trace…”I deal with a lot of young girls who will tell me they’ve been approached to be sold” she says…Sudbury is even “a hub” for human trafficking…trafficked girls and their oppressors will often “ask for a hotel room near an exit, so they can make a quick escape if they have to”…a girl who is naive or needy will simply be swayed by a Svengali…

In case you missed the reference, there’s the “magical pimp mind control” again in the last sentence there.

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#342)

Eyes gouged out for insolence, moms selling daughters to pimps, girls showered with maggots — if it happened in a Cambodian brothel, the story is never too shocking for Westerners to believe.  These tales, all propagated by fundraising charities in Cambodia, depict the nation’s sex trade as an otherworldly hellscape…most of these women aren’t so clueless and weak, says…Heidi Hoefinger…an anthropologist and Berkeley College professor who’s spent more than a decade befriending, interviewing and, at times, living with women who work in Cambodia’s hostess bars…Her research has produced a counter-narrative that is strikingly different from the “trauma porn”…churned out by fundraisers…[like the now-disgraced] Somaly Mam…one of the more authoritative studies, published in 2011 by the United Nations’  top human trafficking agency, estimated only 1,058 sex trafficking cases in Cambodia; 127 were underage. (An estimate from Somaly Mam’s foundation? A whopping 40,000 Cambodian “sex slaves”)…

An Example To the West (#343) 

Thai sex worker activists are made of awesome:

Chantawipa Apisuk is tired of hearing…that…”free sex” with [a] lover is morally better than an encounter with a professional sex worker.  But to Apisuk, it’s all just sex, whether money exchanges hands or not…For three decades, Apisuk has challenged conventional beliefs about the sex industry.  Through educational services and international summits, Empower provides support to the 250,000 women estimated to work in Thailand’s…sex trade without pressuring them to leave it.  One day, Apisuk hopes to see sex work treated with the same respect as other professions…Now, she has opened This Is Us, an appointment-only museum that celebrates Thailand’s centuries-old reputation as a hub for brothels.  Housed in an innocuous building on the outskirts of Bangkok, it “brings a different perspective to the issue of sex work”…

Not for Everybody (#411)

Even most women who really were coerced into sex work know criminalization is horrible:

The reason why trafficking works so well is because there are no resources that could exist to help victims out of their situation.  It is majorly fear and conditioning that traps [them]…Telling a sex worker they are naive to their own exploitation feels like another way to assert control over them and dismiss their autonomy.  It can’t help them…Nordic model supporters…think victims of trafficking are silent and that they have a right to be our voice, saying criminalisation is best for us and that it’s what we would want…they really couldn’t be more wrong.  My experiences have been treated with much more sensitivity and respect by sex worker rights activists than those opposing them…I’m pro-legalisation on a political and personal level.  I know that for traffickers, it would be really, really bad for business, and I’d love to see how fast their empire would crumble…

Habitable Room

Molly Smith debunks Swedish model proponents’ claims that their pet tyranny “decriminalizes” sex workers:

…the…Irish…”Swedish Model” Bill omitted to decriminalise soliciting…the most clear and direct form of criminalisation that sex workers in Ireland are subject to.  Then, in January 2016, [Justice Minister Frances] Fitzgerald amended her Bill to increase the penalties for [solicitation, yet]…A press release from CATW…lauded Irish policymakers for…“decriminalizing prostituted individuals”…In Scotland…Trish Godman [used Swedish rhetoric]…while launching a Bill titled Criminalisation of the Purchase and Sale of Sex [bold mine]…MSP Rhoda Grant attempted…to introduce…a Bill presented as the Nordic Model….[which] did not include repeal of the soliciting law…

Sex Rays (#549) 

Sex Work is Work (#575)

Tara Burns with a guide on reporting about “sex trafficking”:

…Words mean things.  Sex trafficking is a legal term with many different definitions in different states and countries.  The legal term has become confused with the common mainstream usage—which tends to involve people being forced into prostitution—and this has led to a lot of confusion all around.  As journalists, our job is to be precise with language and provide accurate information to the public.  When reporting on sex trafficking, or sex trafficking cases, consider describing what has been alleged or what the statute the person is being charged with actually says—because it rarely refers to people being forced into prostitution…

Too Close To Home

The Seattle Times continues its revolting badge-licking; though this reporter seems to be struggling to be more fair, the story is still full of nauseating cop pontification like this:

“I haven’t seen a lot of people who are not damaged in this life,” [a vice pig vomited out]. “If you’ve got prostitution, you’ve got drug dealing.  And if you’ve got those two things, you’ve definitely got gang activity, and that fuels other crimes.  It’s all connected.”

Because clearly, the first word anyone thinks of when they meet me is “damaged”, and my drug-dealing is well-known.  The most revolting part?  Somebody in this story is part of a violent criminal “gang”, all right, but it ain’t the whores.

Saving Them From Themselves (#613)

A Colorado bill that would reduce the criminal penalties for teenagers who exchange nude images of each other has run into opposition from critics who say it still treats such behavior too harshly.  Under current law, consensual sexting involving anyone younger than 18 qualifies as “sexual exploitation of a child“, a felony that triggers registration as a sex offender and a penalty of up to six years in prison, even for teenagers who take and send pictures of themselves.  H.B. 1058 would make underage sexting a misdemeanor known as “misuse of electronic images by a juvenile,” punishable by three to 12 months in jail, with no registration requirement.  Although that sounds like a big improvement, lighter penalties are apt to encourage prosecution, and it is not clear why this sort of activity should be treated as a crime at all.  In Kansas, where the state Senate last month approved a similar bill, its chief sponsor explicitly argues that it will lead to more prosecution…

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After breaking down doors and waving…guns around, it’s gratifying [for cops]…to pacify terrified slaves by tasering them.  –  Joyce Arthur

Recognition

An elderly Italian man got a rather unwelcome surprise when he ordered an escort – and his…40-year-old son’s South American girlfriend…arrived at his house…the pair declined to take the encounter further and swiftly parted ways.  The man [decided]…to tell his son…prompting a bitter fight between the pair…the son [sued] his father for injuries…Barbie and Lammily

Barbie

While whitebread feminists wet themselves over the newest version of “Happy To Be Me”, Virginia Postrel isn’t having any of it:

…All right-thinking people  seem convinced that Barbie instills in her pre-school fans a false and remarkably detailed standard of beauty.  Hence the widespread  praise for Lammily, the latest anti-Barbie concept doll.  A crowd-funded project from artist Nickolay Lamm (the source of her ungainly moniker), Lammily is based on the average proportions for a 19-year-old…[but] the average 19-year-old female American stands 5 feet 4 inches tall.  She has a 33.6-inch waist and…weighs 150 pounds…If Lammily were true to life…she’d have rolls of fat, not a firm plastic tummy…Celebrating one version of average as “normal” and “realistic” implicitly stigmatizes everyone who doesn’t meet that standard.  Barbie doesn’t pretend to do that; Lammily does…

A Narrow View

This NPR article on diversion programs is full of the usual “sex trafficking” nonsense and dishonest platitudes about the programs’ effectiveness, but one section was especially troubling:

…Judge Pratt says that initially her treatment-focused approach…improved the ability to prosecute the traffickers.  But…a lot of the boys…were becoming pimps.  “The foster care system and juvenile justice system is creating both sides of this market, the suppliers and the goods,” she says…

Her revolting dehumanization of girls as “goods” is bad enough, but her willful mischaracterization of young male sex workers as “pimps” in order to prop up the vile “pimps and hos” myth is utterly reprehensible.

To Protect and Serve (August Updates)

San Diego cops use “sex trafficking” as an excuse to send a SWAT team to a strip club:

A manager at Cheetahs strip club says his dancers felt violated by police who photographed them almost nude…10 officers swarmed the building with guns and bulletproof vests, interrupting business for a couple of hours…to make sure all 30 dancers had proper permits and were in compliance…

Don’t Take My Word For It

Male delusions about sex work start extra-early in Sweden:  “Swedish police have received a report that three underage boys [as young as ten] speaking bad German tried to sell sex to women at a busy commuter hub in central Sweden…

Not for Everybody

Though Meg Munoz had a very bad time as a sex worker and for a while supported prohibition, she eventually recognized the harm it creates:

…Poorly conducted, [biased]…research needs to stop being used as the foundation for fundraising…the refusal to have sex work acknowledged as real work…has all but halted any civil discourse…Allowing moral biases to dictate policy is dangerous for those who are there by choice and force…

Above the Law Deon Nunlee

No, you lying asshole, it’s exactly what police officers do, which is why this is the second most common subtitle on the blog:

…while police responded to [a] domestic violence call, one of the officers allegedly took the woman into an upstairs bedroom and sexually assaulted her…Deon Nunlee has been charged…Detroit Police Chief James Craig said…“This is an anomaly.  This is not what our police officers do”…

In fact, here’s another in the same city:Geoffrey Townsend

A former Detroit police officer who was convicted of criminal sexual conduct involving participants in his boot camp for misbehaving teens is being sued by two of the victims…Geoffrey Townsend…began making unwelcome sexual advances [eventually culminating in rape when one]…victim was 13 years old…and…the…[other] 16…

And it’s not limited to the US, eitherScott Andrew Terry

[Durham, Ontario police Constable Scott Andrew Terry] sexually exploited [a 16-year-old girl] …with whom he first came into contact after she was busted for shoplifting in May of 2000.  Instead of filing charges…he…[offered] her a rental room in his house…[then] began making advances which…escalated to nude photos, sexual touching and eventually rape…“in exchange for the rent”…

First They Came for the Hookers… 

This dumb story about dumb strip-club restrictions in Chicago is, as you might expect, mostly just dumb.  But these comments from anti-whore zealot Bob Fioretti venture into a higher realm of dumbness:  “we have an underlying social problem.  Between 15,000 and 25,000 women a day engage in prostitution…in this city.  That underground activity undermines us a city — a world-class city…”  I’ll bet you didn’t know we were so dangerous, or that roughly 4% of the adult female population of Chicago were whores.

Higher Education (TW3 #23)

Unlike the last time we saw this, these teachers are actually qualified:

An enterprising association of sex workers in Barcelona has angered some of Spain’s most prominent feminists by offering an “intro to prostitution” course…at a cost of €45…the four-hour intensive course for aspiring sex workers was held last month by the Asociación de Profesionales del Sexo…Lidia Falcón…[who] has spent years fighting to have prostitution [criminalized] in Spain…said…the problem with the course lies in its underlying suggestion that some women are working in the profession out of their own free will…

So Falcón wants the course banned because it blatantly disproves her lies.

Imagination Pinned Down

Though the social climate which led to the Satanic Panic had been building for years, it was the McMartin Preschool hysteria that really launched it.  Now that it’s a generation in the past, even media outlets like the New York Times which fully embrace “sex trafficking” hysteria recognize its earlier incarnation for what it was.  Here’s a good retrospective called “McMartin Preschool: Anatomy of a Panic”; watch it with the current hysteria in mind and note the many parallels.

The Widening Gyre

If “authorities” don’t want stupid myths about women being abducted spreading around, they sure have a strange way of showing it:

[A rumor] warns of attempts to abduct women and girls in broad daylight at crowded shopping centers.  It warns that a new gang initiation requires members to kidnap, rape and beat womenBig Pimp and then dump them in parking lots.  For years, authorities have tried to keep such messages from spreading, debunking their claims as urban myths…

To clarify:  Women being abducted by gangs for quick rape = “right up there with Bigfoot”, but women abducted by gangs for years of captivity and sexual slavery = 100% credible.

South of the Border

In Mexico, a respected advocate is arrested as a “pimp” for helping sex workers organize:

…the recent arrest of Alejandra Gil…[is due to] new legislation, which…conflates sex work with human trafficking…Gil has worked tirelessly for the human rights of sex workers for many years…Laws and policies that target “third parties” under the premise of “protecting” sex workers, increase our vulnerability to abuse and exploitation, and create real barriers for sex workers organising…

Bottleneck

Considering that more than 90% of whores prefer to work illegally than submit to licensing, how well do you think this colossally stupid Italian law will work?

…prostitution will be permitted in private houses, subject to certain conditions, including the use of condoms…the draft law, which was presented…by…Maria Spillabotte…includes the issuance of a licence, stating that the holder is free of sexually transmitted diseases and confirming that a payment has been made…of €6,000 for a full-time licence or half that amount for part-time work…Prostitutes will also be required to get a certificate of mental fitness.  “This is a fundamental way of getting women away from coercion,” says Spillabotte.  “During an interview, the specialist will be able to tell if the girl is being forced into prostitution or if it is her free choice”…

That Old Black Magic

Patrick RockThe Sharjah Police…arrested an Arab woman and a man for forcing women into prostitution and engaging in black magic…

Buried Truth

When a politician obsesses about “protecting children from porn”, this is usually the reason:  “A senior aide to David Cameron resigned…the day before being arrested on allegations relating to child abuse images.  Patrick Rock…was involved in drawing up the government’s policy for…online pornography filters…

Between the Ears (TW3 #133)

This article on “Why Viagra Ruined Sex Work” quotes a few ladies whose names regular readers may recognize:

…“I wouldn’t say ED drugs are the worst thing, but they are really annoying,” laughed…Jolene Parton…“it…makes it harder for the client to come.”  Anna Gristina…dubbed [it]…“The working girl’s worst nightmare come true…It went from wham-bam, thank you ma’am,’ to ‘Oh my god, can you just finish, man’”…Amanda Brooks…says…men become obsessed with having an erection at the expense of any enjoyment for anyone…

It Looks Good On Paper (TW3 #311)

Texas joins the states arresting people to force them into “diversion” programs:  “The Corpus Christi Police…conducted a ‘Jane Sting’…in conjunction with the Red Cord Diversion Program…all six arrested persons were signed up to participate…rather than have criminal charges immediately applied.”  Yes, they actually referred to sex workers as “janes”.

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #315)

Joyce Arthur hits it out of the park with this satire:

In a bold move aimed at protecting workers from exploitation while on the job, the government today passed a new law that criminalizes most employers and customers…Law and Order Minister Punter MacCunny…pointed out that 95 per cent of people hate their jobs and want out, according to a new government-commissioned study…Police welcomed the new law, which gives them sweeping new enforcement powers to target the huge increase in organized crime.  According to Det. Sgt. Billy Clubber, head of the RCMP’s new Slave Save Squad, “We’ll be cracking down on slavery rings, basically any place where workers are bribed with wages to provide services”…The law now designates employers and customers as “pimps” and “johns,” respectively…

Long Spoon (TW3 #351)

Reason’s video on condom criminalization specifically refers to the Human Rights Watch report condemning the practice in New Orleans:

Ladies of the Night

Saith Dr. Brooke Magnanti in The Telegraph:

It’s an unusual move to go from policy and social commentary to fiction, especially as the stories cover a range of genres from romance to crime to sci-fi.  And yet it works.  The eye for detail that fans of Maggie’s non-fiction writing appreciate is well played here.  She invents worlds with ease and populates them with thought-provoking, yet never two-dimensional, women and men.  If you love plots with twists, she has them to spare.  (If you’re not into twists, or women who aren’t always whiter than white, probably best to stay away.)  And the cover art by acclaimed cartoonist and Louis Riel author Chester Brown is wonderful.

She also reviews Daddy by Madison Young and Playing the Whore by Melissa Gira Grant.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #410)

Sex columnist Suzi Godson presents “10 Things You Need to Know Before You Support the Swedish Model of Sex Work” in response to the new push by UK prohibitionists.  It’s not anything new for readers of this blog, but it’s possible ammo for online discussions you may get involved in.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #410)

Dominique Roe-Sepowitz answers the many criticisms of Project ROSE by denying them to Christian Post after refusing interviews with mainstream reporters.  And if you imagine the denials are substantive or backed by facts, think again:  her entire rationale for cooperating with cops to railroad people and deny them lawyers is, “sex-work…is against the law.”  Meanwhile, in last week’s other installment of “Traffic Jam”, a demonstration of the motivation behind the fakery:

A study of advertising placed during the recent Super Bowl in New Jersey suggests the volume of sex trafficking that will occur when the event comes to Arizona in 2015 will likely exceed the ability of any one law enforcement agency to address.  Phoenix Police Lt. James Gallagher, who co-authored the study…said law enforcement must coordinate to combat sex trafficking during major events…

In other words, “give us more money and power!”  Here’s a Storify of the fun several of us had with this mess last Saturday.

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We should all take care not to become part of the hype producing machinery that continually presents opinions or ideology as ‘facts.’  –  Ann Jordan

Welcome To Our World

The government just can’t resist trying to control anything involving sex:

[A lesbian who]…is trying to conceive a child…wants to use…sperm from a man she trusts.  But…under federal regulations, the donor must undergo…expensive and time-consuming [tests] so…she…is suing…Jane Doe wants to…get pregnant on her own, without paying for a fertility clinic or a sperm bank, and without government interference…But the FDA does not permit…informal transactions.  A donor is required to have his blood and urine tested in a medical setting within a week of every body-tissue transfer…

Where Are the Victims?

They’re only women, and therefore incompetent to know what’s best for them:

…Father and son accused pimps Vincent George, Sr., and Vincent George, Jr., had an unlikely cheering section in a Manhattan courtroom today — the very five admitted prostitutes who they’re accused of threatening and coercing.  “We are not victims!”…the…women shouted at reporters…the son’s lawyer, David Epstein [said] “They came in and out of Manhattan by themselves, they had their own houses and bank accounts, and they could have left anytime they wanted.”  John Temple, who heads the Manhattan DA’s human trafficking program, counters that phone taps prove both the dad, 55, and the son, 33, built up a million-dollar escort business by keeping their five women terrified virtual prisoners…six limo drivers accused of ferrying the women to their assignations are also charged.

Harm Magnification

Yet another case of government interference magnifying harm:

…On July 3 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first “rapid home” test for HIV…[which may] prevent…more than 4,000 new HIV infections in its first year of use alone…[but] the…approval…did not occur until…24 years after the FDA received its first application…[until recently it] forbade [any] tests…[other than] those…performed in a clinical setting…Out of concern that some people might respond…irrationally to the extremely valuable information a home test could provide, everyone was deprived of that option…imagine the number [of infections] that could have been averted if a rapid home test…had been approved five years ago.  Or ten.  Or 15…

Decentralization

Despite government efforts to quash bitcoin it’s still going strong, and one writer suggests it might help in the Greek monetary crisis:

…the drachma is not Greece’s only [non-euro] option…an alternative currency could emerge or an already existing one could be adopted.  In some parts of Greece social entrepreneurship, technology, and skepticism of politicians have already…created an environment where cryptocurrencies could become increasingly popular…The most prominent of these…is bitcoin…[which] frees those who use it from political uncertainty [and] fiat policies, and is less affected by international money markets than traditional currencies…There have been reports of more Europeans using bitcoin as their confidence in political solutions diminishes…

Rooted in Racism

Obviously, the NIJ is unacquainted with William of Occam:  “An overwhelming majority of human trafficking cases involve sex trafficking, according to a recent study issued by the National Institute of Justice…Nearly all identified sex trafficking victims were female and 70 percent of suspects were male…”  In other words, cops arrested a bunch of people and labeled them “victims” or “perpetrators” almost purely on the basis of gender, then a “study” was done to justify the assignments rather than recognizing them for what they are: rubbish based in the sexist notion that women are incompetent victims.

The Prudish Giant

A former Facebook executive wants to outdo Google by linking an anti-whore campaign to an expansion of the number of people condemned to “sex offender” registration:  “Facebook’s former chief privacy officer is bankrolling an anti-human trafficking ballot measure that…would toughen penalties for sex trafficking and add those convicted of the crime to the state’s sex offender registry.  Most significantly, it also would require all registered offenders to surrender their “Internet identifiers” to law enforcement, including user names and email accounts…Chris Kelly…has contributed $1.6 million to the initiative since December…”  The campaign is based largely on lies such as “Every girl sold on the street today is also being sold on the Internet”, a triple-whopper which 1) equates performing a service with chattel slavery; 2) uses passive voice to imply girls do not choose prostitution when in fact over 86% do; and 3) bizarrely defines 25% as “every”.

Presents, Presents, Presents!

A new reader who found me via The Agitator sent me a copy of Prince of Darkness  this week, but I only have his real name and I’m not sure if he posts under that or uses a screen name.  I hope he reads this and emails me so I can thank him properly!

Not for Everybody

Though Argentina has its own problems with “survivors” agitating against improved rights for sex workers, at least they aren’t pushing for increased criminalization yet:

In Argentina, women who [have] sex in exchange for money have splintered into two groups.  The one group…who call themselves “sex workers” to reflect their choice to work in the profession, is finalizing a bill…for…greater rights…The other group…prefers the term “prostitutes,” insisting that they are victims…of the industry…[they propose] policies that offer subsidies and create alternative employment opportunities…

Sex, Lies and Busybodies

Australian prohibitionists just won’t let go of that Queensland mining bone:

…police officer Inspector Paul Biggin says while sex workers have also been a major beneficiary of the [mining] boom, there are growing concerns about women being brought in from overseas and exploited by criminals…”A lot of…women come from Asian countries and they’re the types…that certainly do get exploited because of their poor education or the fact that they’re easily tricked,” he said… few women…have reported any mistreatment.  “A lot of times they don’t because there is a fear factor involved,” he said.

Translation:  “poor Asian women are stupid”.  And the reason they don’t tell him what he wants to hear must be “fear”; after all, he can’t possibly be wrong.

Jules Kim, the migration project manager at Scarlet Alliance, said…”Using ‘doesn’t speak English’ as an indicator would not be applied to any other profession…English skills are not tied in to education levels at all so someone could be highly educated and yet have poor English skills.”  Ms Kim says the extent of the problem in mining communities has been exaggerated…

The Course of a Disease

It’ll be interesting to see what other workers’ rights this eventually leads to:  “Swedish prostitutes won the right to claim benefits, including sick days and parental leave…’As long as sex workers pay their taxes, they should have the same access to sick-leave benefits and parental leave as anybody else,’ [said social insurance director] Joakim Jarnryd…’We don’t make any moral judgments’…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

US officials hoped to silence whore’s voices by barring them from attending the International AIDS Conference in Washington on July 22nd-27th, but India’s Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee had other ideas and organized a “hub” which will be digitally linked with the main event.  Andrew Hunter of the Asia [Pacific] Network of Sex Workers said, “We are holding this Global Hub…in India because sex workers are not allowed entry into the U.S. to attend the main AIDS conference. This event will allow us to participate as well as give sex workers from around the globe a chance to still contribute to important discussions…

Health officials have long criticized US anti-whore policies as destructive, and a new report released for the conference by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law has gone even further, as explained in this article by Cheryl Overs:

The report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law…recommends the repeal [of] laws that prohibit consenting adults from buying or selling sex, including those laws that have the effect of prohibiting commercial sex such as laws against “immoral” earnings, “living off the earnings” of prostitution and brothel-keeping.  It calls for an end to police harassment and violence against sex workers and a prohibition of mandatory HIV and STI testing…It also recommends withdrawal of the Pepfar anti-prostitution pledge.  This marks a significant advance for sex workers’ struggle for sex work to be decriminalised and recognised as an occupation…

I’ll have more to say about this article in my upcoming column of the 27th.

Above the Law

What makes this news rather than a typical abuse is that the cops are being prosecuted:  “A Kansas City police officer has been…accused…of having sex with two women in exchange for not arresting them.  One woman told police she was working as a prostitute, and the other said she had outstanding warrants and marijuana in her motel room when she met Jeffrey Holmes…prosecutors in neighboring Platte County charged another Kansas City police officer with misappropriating about $75,000 from his elderly mother…

Held Together With Lies

This thorough debunking of the oft-repeated claim that “human trafficking is the third most profitable business for organized crime” by Ann Jordan and Lynn Burke was published over a year ago, but only came to my attention this week:

…Evidence for this claim either does not exist or is impossible to locate.  Despite the efforts of the authors and two professional reference librarians to locate the original reliable source, the research only turned up similar statements and not one article was uncovered that contained any evidence to support the claim…it is not unusual to hear statements that claim to be about trafficking but are really talking about smuggling…It would certainly make more sense to say that smuggling is the third largest source of organized crime profits…

Imagination Pinned Down

Compare to the outrageous claims made by other FBI agents about “human trafficking” cases they claim to have been personally involved in:

A former police officer who retired from the FBI…has written a book about seeing legions of angels guarding the Pennsylvania site where a hijacked airliner crashed [on September 11th, 2001].  Lillie Leonardi…remembers the burning pine and jet fuel stinging her nostrils.  She said she also remembers a smoldering crater littered with debris too small to associate with the jetliner or 40 passengers and crew on board…”That’s when I started seeing like shimmery lights…and it was kind of misty and that’s when I first saw, like, the angels there,” Leonardi said…[she] kept it to herself for the better part of two years [but] as…[symptoms of] post-traumatic stress disorder [surfaced] she began telling a close circle of friends and colleagues what she saw…

Metaupdates

Reading Between the Lines in TW3 (#26)

The San Francisco Bay Guardian interviewed an escort who was targeted by the recent “Operation Cross Country” because somebody thought she looked under 18.  The article also revealed the ratio of adult sex workers to underage ones arrested in the Bay Area: 61 adults to 6 “children” (i.e. 16- or 17-year-old women).  10 to 1 is a very poor ratio considering that about 3.5% of all hookers are underage and the cops were specifically targeting youthful women.

The Course of a Disease in TW3 (#26)

Hundreds of…sex workers protested in Paris…against plans to make soliciting prostitution illegal…France’s minister for women’s rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem…[has said] she would seek to make prostitution disappear by punishing those who pay for sex…but her remarks unleashed a hail of criticism from sex workers’ unions, which argued that punishing clients would drive business underground, endangering prostitutes…

This Week in 2011

The last column of my first year was a two-part interview with my husband using reader-supplied questions, and the first of my second year explains why streetwalkers are a “Bone of Contention” among activists.  “Housewife Harlotry” demonstrates that transactional sex is an important part of marriage, “The Proper Study” is a short history of prostitution research and “Sisters in Arms” looks at the inevitable result of laws which infantilize women.

This Week in 2010

Though I’d write “Streetwalkers” a bit differently now, it still has some good points to make.  “Wanna Date?” asks whether it’s really possible to draw a sharp line between dating and whoring, and “Madonna and Whore” discusses the infamous duality and shows how girlfriends straddle it.  Finally, “Do You Party?” looks at my deep hatred of cocaine.

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A dream to some; a nightmare to others. – Merlin (Nicol Williamson) in Excalibur

One of the central goals of this blog is to help people realize that prostitution is completely natural female behavior; it actually predates marriage in human development and similar behaviors appear even in non-primate species.  Most women will not hesitate to use their “erotic capital” (as Catherine Hakim calls it) to get ahead, and many have no qualms about openly using sex for material gain.  About 10% of all women have directly taken money for sex at least once, and about 1% have actually worked as prostitutes at some time in their lives.  As George Bataille put it, “Not every woman is a prostitute, but prostitution is the natural apotheosis of the feminine attitude”; in other words, full-time professional prostitution occupies one end of a whole spectrum of female behaviors on which it is impossible to draw a line separating the whore from the non-whore.

Obviously, only about 5% of all women (the historical percentage of the female population involved in the trade at any given time) feel comfortable enough with formal, professional prostitution to be able to actually make a living at it; in my column of one year ago today I discussed Amanda Brooks’ theory that such women, who often feel drawn to the profession from an early age as I did, might actually be genetically predisposed to it.  In other words, there might be a “hooker gene”, and harlotry might be a sexual orientation just as homosexuality is.  The comparison is an apt one: just as some men find ecstasy in homosexual activity while others are utterly repulsed by it, so for some women whoring is a dream job while others find it a total nightmare.

Those who consider homosexuality “unnatural” might be inclined to use the comparison to argue that prostitution is equally unnatural (despite this view flying in the face of facts); for those who are so tempted, let me point out that motherhood is as natural a role for women as one could ever imagine, yet I doubt any sane person would disagree that there are some women who are totally unfit for it.  No life-path or career is suitable for everyone, and as long as those who are unsuited to a given role avoid it there is no issue.  But when a woman who is repulsed by motherhood becomes pregnant, or one who has difficulties dealing with people is forced into a job in which public contact is unavoidable, nobody should be surprised when serious problems ensue.  And if a woman who dislikes men or has sexual hang-ups (or both) is forced by circumstance into prostitution, the result can be an unmitigated disaster.

I’m not talking about women who simply aren’t cut out for whoredom; there are lots of those, which is why 10x as many women have tried hooking as have actually stuck with it for a time.  The majority of women who directly take money for sex once or a few times simply decide it’s not for them (for whatever reason) and find some other way to make a living.  But there are a small number who should never have even tried it in the first place, yet are driven by necessity, desperation or actual coercion to practice it for weeks, months or even years; such women are among the worst enemies our profession ever had.  Because they hate the work, they tend to see and remember only the negative aspects.  And because many of them are emotionally damaged even before entering prostitution (due to whatever trauma caused them to hate men and/or sex), and virtually all of them became even more damaged by having to endure what for them was a loathsome existence, they either become fanatics on their own or are easily driven to fanaticism by the prohibitionists.  These are the women who call themselves “survivors” and learn to “reframe their experiences”  (i.e. lie to make their stories more lurid and to more closely conform to anti-whore rhetoric).  They are the mainstays of “john schools” and provide ammunition to prohibitionists who represent their highly-embroidered claims as typical of sex work and even multiply the accounts by changing small details so as to make them sound like different-but-similar tales rather than one repeated ad nauseum.  The very worst of them (as typified by Somaly Mam) are so obsessed with their own darkness that they are willing to utterly destroy the lives of any real human beings who get in the way of their quixotic crusades against private behavior that is literally impossible to eradicate as long as humans remain human.

In a world where individuals were allowed control over their own bodies and the decisions of adults (however strange those choices might seem to others) were always respected by the “authorities”, fanatics who were harmed through ill-fortune or harmed themselves through their own poor choices would have no power over other, less damaged individuals.  But unfortunately we do not yet live in such a world; even in jurisdictions which have legalized prostitution to one degree or another, governments believe they have the authority to abrogate the rights of individuals for whatever excuse strikes their collective fancy (provided they can convince the masses to lie still for it).  As we saw in Rhode Island two years ago, a small group of vocal fanatics can easily convince the “authorities” to strip away rights held without challenge for decades, and  one of the chief weapons of such fanatics is the emotionally-damaged “reluctant whore” who refuses to accept that her feelings or experiences are anything other than typical.

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