Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Number Puzzle’

In reality, what’s degrading is not sex work itself, but the language [prohibitionists use] to describe it.  –  Joyce Arthur

The Red Umbrella Red Umbrella

This coming Tuesday is The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, and Siouxsie Q has compiled a list of events (some of which will be held tomorrow).  Take a look, and please consider participating if you live in any of these cities.

Down Under

[A court ruled that] a [New Zealand] man who promised to financially support a prostitute…won’t be able to get back $500,000 he gave her…He…met…[her] at a massage parlour in…late 2007…and suggested…that he would support her financially…[if] she…[gave] up work…[he paid her] $5000 a month and…lavished her with money, travel and various gifts…

Droit du Seigneur

A D.C. police officer is being investigated for allegedly “pimping” teenage girls…Linwood Barnhill, 47, was found with a girl who had been reported missing…Neighbors [said] they would often see young girls going in and out of his apartment…this investigation is not connected to the…arrest of another D.C. police officer on child porn charges.  In that case, officer Marc Washington…went to the home of a 15-year-old girl…ordered her to remove her clothing and took photos of her…

And in Arizona:  “A Maricopa County juvenile probation officer is accused of running an illegal massage business ‘providing acts of prostitution’…apartment resident Ashley Martinez [said] ‘It could be bringing in pedophiles…and my kids could be getting caught into that’…”  The jaw-droppingly stupid quote from the imbecilic neighbor was too good to omit.

Wise Investment

Apparently, American courts hate oil companies more than whores:

BP has…been forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to businesses that filed damage claims after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster – even though they weren’t really affected…the court-appointed [supervisor] has confirmed he approved a $173,000 payout to an “adult escort service” that BP said was filed with unsigned and undated financial documents…The company contested the escort service payment…but lost before a court-appointed appeals panel…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (October Updates)

As police go on strike in Argentina’s second largest city…the people have…[looted] every supermarket…the governor of Cordoba…claims that the police strike is a direct result of his decision to close 140 brothels…which had provided a steady income stream to a large number of corrupt officers…

Elytte & Miranda Barbour
Where Are the Protests?

A [newlywed] couple…lured a man to his death with an ad on…Craigslist…because they wanted to kill someone together…Elytte Barbour told officers…that he and his wife, Miranda…[lured] Troy LaFerrara…[with an escort] posting…Elytte [said]…Miranda…regularly…made anywhere from $50 to $850 by meeting with men for such activities as having dinner together or walking around a mall.  The ads she placed…all said upfront that sex was not part of the deal…”She is not a prostitute…she…meets with them and has delightful conversation”…

I’m sure that conversation is wholly delightful.  Somebody want to tell Elytte the Simpleton that the majority of American escort ads say “upfront” that no sex is involved?  NB:  This is the second time we’ve seen a deranged hooker expecting people to believe she truly doesn’t have sex with clients.

A False Dichotomy (TW3 #8)

Panicked policy reactions to human trafficking and an over-emphasis on the issue of sex trafficking can cause more harm than good…trafficking expert…Pardis Mahdavi said…“Policies are made as a knee-jerk reaction based on moral panic…People like to put distance between themselves and the sex industry, whereas…the domestic workers who clean our homes, the nannies who care for our children, the people who pick the tomatoes that we eat, these are often people who are involved in forced labour…over ninety percent of trafficking is not in the sex industry, it’s forced labour…”

Finding What Isn’t There

A peek inside the mind of a bureaucrat:

…Of the 50,000 T-visas that have been offered over the last 10 years, the government has issued only 6,206 of the little-known visas meant to protect victims of human trafficking and their family members…despite the fact that between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year…those who apply…have to be willing to testify against the traffickers…and…are not allowed to work while waiting for the visa, which can take a year or more…

Of course the estimate can’t possibly be wrong, and asking people to live without income for a year is perfectly reasonable.  The FBI claims “authorities would assist victims, even if there is not a trafficker who can be prosecuted,” but that’s clearly bullshit; the whole “trafficking” narrative depends on producing “traffickers”.Elizabeth Romero

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #314)

Observable fact:  14-year-old girl runs away with her 19-year-old boyfriend.  Conclusion:  a giant worldwide conspiracy selling infants for snuff sex:

The search for Elizabeth Romero and her alleged kidnapper Edwardo Fabian Flores Rosales continues…officials believe that the duo have already crossed the border into Mexico…Some people believe that she is voluntarily…with the 19-year-old man she met on the internet…others believe that…[she] could…be the victim of sex trafficking…Children as young as infants are…wrangled up from every corner of the globe and herded from one master to the next…as sex slaves until they are “used up”…which usually ends in their murders…the scenario of this 14-year-old girl being a willing runaway is far easier to stomach than the idea of her being sold for unimaginable sex acts and then killed…

It’s hard to see how this lurid fantasy can be called “unimaginable” when the author is clearly able to imagine it.

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #315)

Another good article from Joyce Arthur, this on language used by the media.  While I myself use some of the terms she advises against, that’s only in an informal and personal context; I think she is correct in advising use of more neutral terms in mainstream articles.

Monsters

A [New York] attorney…argued that his defendant’s hefty sentence  for murdering a transgender woman should be reserved for someone who kills “certain classes of individuals”…Rasheen Everett was convicted of the 2010 murder of Amanda Gonzalez-Andujar, a transgender prostitute…but…defense attorney John Scarpa…argued…”Shouldn’t that [sentence] be reserved for people who are guilty of killing certain classes of individuals?…Who is the victim in this case?  Is the victim a person in the higher end of the community?”…Justice Richard Buchter…[replied] “This court believes every human life in sacred…It’s not easy living as a transgender, and I commend the family for supporting her”…

Dysphemisms Galore

Still not dark enoughThere’s probably an entire research paper on the Jungian implications of yellow journalists describing anything to do with sex as “dark”:  “Korea has long been criticized for its lax control over its…entertainer visa…exploited by human traffickers to smuggle foreign women into the country to do sex work.  Authorities…promised to strengthen monitoring of the seedy establishments where the women have been forced to sell sex…”  The evidence presented for this supposed epidemic of “trafficking”?  US government propaganda and a supposed phone call from one anonymous informant who claims to have been a “victim”.

An Example to the West (TW3 #324)

The Bolivian Parliament is preparing a new law to regulate and recognize sex work…This is the result of an initiative by Organización de Trabajadoras Nocturnas (OTN)…to prevent “the physical and psychological abuse and discrimination” suffered by sex workers from police and nightclub owners…

Safe Targets (TW3 #332)

That’ll show them dirty photographers!  See the last line for the police motive.

Authorities have shut down Hong Kong’s largest prostitution website…sex141.com…was believed to have been controlled by a criminal syndicate, which police say they have now broken up.  “When they knew there were sex workers coming to Hong Kong, the syndicate would arrange a make-up service and photographers,” a police spokesman [said]…While prostitution is legal in Hong Kong, soliciting and living off the earnings of prostitutes are against the law…114 people have been arrested, which includes 78 prostitutes…arrested on such charges as overstaying or violating the conditions of their visitor visa.  Police also said about HK$15 million ($1.93 million) worth of assets related to the group had been frozen…

Under Every Bed (TW3 #333)

I know real people are endangered by this idiocy, but I just can’t help laughing every time “authorities” pretend that North Dakota is a “sex trafficking hub”:

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp has introduced legislation…to crack down on sex trafficking, which experts fear is on the rise in…North Dakota due to the large influx of men coming to work in the state’s western oil patch…”North Dakota could be ground zero for this type of behavior,” Heitkamp…said…

The only thing that keeps me from adding that claim to “King of the Hill” is that they use qualifiers like “fear” and “could be” rather than stating it as a “fact”.

Whatever They Need To Say (TW3 #341)

New excuses for another Soho pogrom:

Hundreds of police officers launched a massive Soho swoop on premises allegedly linked to rape, sex trafficking and muggings…22 people were arrested in the raids on…premises suspected of being…fronts for handling stolen goods…a dozen women…were taken to safe locations where they will be questioned.  Police believe that some were trafficked into the country and forced into prostitution…The English Collective of Prostitutes…condemned the raids saying some “immigrant women were taken into custody on the pretext that they may be victims of trafficking, despite their protestations that they were not…police are raiding premises where women are working together safely…with friends…most of the women…have now lost their livelihood”…corrected graffiti

More from the West End Extra:

Nikki Adams from the ECP…[called] it…an “out­rageous fabrication”, adding: “At least two of those women I know well and they’ve been in the UK for years and speak perfect English and come to all our meetings…People fear that the evictions are aimed at making way for large-scale development”…

A press release from Sex Worker Open University added, “The media presence included Sky news, BBC and the Evening Standard.  It would seem that ‘victims’ of sex work need to be publicly humiliated and shamed…in order to be properly saved from their work…”

Little Boxes (TW3 #343)

It’s not a “front for prostitution”, it is prostitution.  However, note the equation of sex with rape; cops and prosecutors imagine everyone to be as twisted and evil as they are:

…For $60, customers at the Snuggle House can spend an hour hugging, cuddling and spooning with professional snugglers…but Madison officials suspect the business is a front for prostitution and…fear snuggling could lead to sexual assault…police have talked…about conducting a sting…and city attorneys are drafting a new ordinance to regulate snuggling.  “There’s no way that (sexual assault) will not happen”…city attorney Jennifer Zilavy said.  “No offense…but I don’t know any man who wants to just snuggle”…

Imaginary Evils (TW3 #348)

More from Frank Furedi on the myth of “modern slavery”:

…promoters of this urban legend about modern-day slavery [argue] that what is really significant about this hitherto unrecognised crime is not what can be seen by the naked eye but rather the often “invisible” problem of mental enslavement.  These are slaves who are not physically chained into a life of servitude, but rather are wrapped up in “emotional chains” by their psychologically manipulative captors.  [A term like] “brainwashed”…can transform even normal features of human life – such as being in an unpleasant relationship or feeling pressured to do something – into something…criminal…Such an exercise in rhetorical acrobatics allows campaigners to expand the number of “invisible slaves”…

And yes, he does mention Kevin Bales’ “30 million slaves”.

Number Puzzle (TW3 #349)

The American media would have you believe Alice Schwarzer’s revolting demand for imposition of the Swedish model on Germany has widespread support, but here’s a more typical German view of her:

Alice Schwarzer is an enemy of freedom.  She is condescending, she’s manipulative, she does not tolerate contradiction and therefore has no sense of what makes people, in all their contradictions, essentially human…She loves to divide the world into good and evil, victim and perpetrator…she has a Manichean world view, especially with regard to human sexuality…this…leads to very unpleasant consequences in the debate about prostitution…in [her mind] there is no room for autonomous, free men and…women…who decide…what they want…

Read Full Post »

Prostitutes…will be forced to continue to hide…because even if they are not risking arrest, their clients are.  And their survival depends on their clients.  –  Tim Leicester

The Lesser of Two Evils

A rabbi makes an argument familiar to students of medieval Catholicism:

Britain should…[legalize] brothels and…[implement] basic controls over safety and hygiene…without monitoring activities too closely and thereby discouraging usage of them…It may be more messianic to want to end the sex trade altogether, but perhaps it is more religious to seek to channel it safely.

Feminine Pragmatism

Layal has…turned to sex work in [Beirut] to support her two children…“I don’t have any products to sell…I have myself to sell, and I’d much rather earn my money [like that] than I would begging on the street”…Layal says her Iraqi husband…sends her a monthly allowance from Baghdad, but…it’s not enough to cover her $900 rent…and allow her to send money to her family back in Syria.  He has no idea his wife is supplementing their income with prostitution …“A woman should never depend on anyone else for money, even her husband,” she says defiantly…

A Procrustean Bed

Note the assumption that there is always a “trafficker” hiding somewhere:

[Massachusetts’] new human trafficking law has been on the books since early last year, but Bristol County has not charged anyone and Plymouth County has brought charges against one man…[law sponsor] Mark C.W. Montigny…said the problem of human trafficking exists everywhere…and…the attitude that it doesn’t happen here is part of the problem…Law enforcement should use cases involving johns and prostitutes “to go up the ladder” and identify and prosecute the trafficker, he said…

Marching Up Their Own Arses
Slave Hunter

Remember Chris Baughman, the Las Vegas cop claiming to be an “expert” on “pimps”?  Pay especial note to the “magical pimp” trope:

[MSNBC’s]…new series, Slave Hunter: Freeing Victims of Human Trafficking…reveals…what happens behind closed doors in the sex trafficking underworld.  The series highlights the…work of human rights advocate, Aaron Cohen and his partner, former Las Vegas vice detective, Chris Baughman…MSNBC’s cameras follow Cohen and Baughman as they…identify trafficked women via on-line ads and then arrange to meet them in New York City hotel rooms with Cohen posing as a potential john.  When the women are open to help, Cohen and Baughman…[help] them to escape their bonds and build a new life…other times, the trafficked women sadly succumb to the powers of their “pimp”…

We can only hope this blows up in NBC’s face the way To Catch a Predator  eventually did.  Hey, guys, do you know the word for men like you who prey on women in order to enrich and aggrandize themselves?  Oops.

An Example to the West

over 1,500 sex workers…[voted in Delhi on] December 4…thanks to an enrollment drive by the state election commission…over 80 per cent [of] sex workers [are now registered]…”We all will vote…for the person who will fulfill our long-pending demands,” Munni Begum…of GB Road Sex Workers Association…said…

And in Mysore:

…Ashodaya Samithi…is…a powerful collective…of 336 members…[and] a network of volunteers operating in six districts of Karnataka.  It reaches out to 8,000 sex workers through its different initiatives…such as providing knowledge of legal and human rights…running drop-in-centres, operation of a crisis management unit, a restaurant…and a training academy predominantly run by members …they also offer HIV and STI testing facilities, counselling and free condoms…90 percent of sex workers in Mysore have been contacted monthly, 70 percent…visit…drop in centres regularly and 65 percent have become consistent condom users.  Ashodaya Samithi has successfully reduced STI prevalence within three years…

The Power of Myth

As I’ve explained before, even cases which could credibly be called “trafficking” rarely fit the myth:

…Since Australia introduced tough laws to crack down on trafficking a decade ago…eight of 15 people…convicted…were…female…migrants, born in the same…country as their victims and typically from similar…socio-economic backgrounds.  Most…involved…[debt-bonded] Thai women…[and] three…had reportedly been victims…themselves…[none] were involved in “high-end organised crime”…

Mythbusters

Eight common migration myths debunked, including “Migration is on the increase”, “Strict border controls reduce irregular migration”, and “Migrants take jobs that would otherwise go to natives.”Thompson & Hurd

The Widening Gyre

The words “sex trafficking” and “pimp” do not appear in this story; however, I think we all know what was going through these cops’ sick minds:

Houston Police have refused to explain why they took a 13-year-old white girl from her two black guardians…and [gave] her [to]…Child Protective Services.  Landry Thompson’s mother had signed notarized papers giving dance instructor Emmanuel Hurd full guardianship over her during a trip from Oklahoma to Houston…Thompson, Hurd and another dance instructor had stopped at a gas station…when they were surrounded by police cars…All three told the police the same story, but…“They still put handcuffs on me and it really scared me”…Thompson [said]…At first officials…demanded that the mother fly to Houston to get her daughter, but 11 hours later, the girl was released back into [Hurd’s] custody…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #28)

The French parliament has backed part of a bill that imposes a 1,500 euro (£1,250) fine on anyone paying for sex…Protests…took place outside the National Assembly in Paris as the debate took place…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #47) Sidse Babett Knudsen as fictional Danish Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg in Borgen

The Danes weren’t just satisfied with rejecting the tyrannical Swedish model; they also dramatized the events in a political television show:

…in the internet age, it is simply not good enough to pretend to be speaking for a “voiceless” group, as the surprised politicians learned in Borgen…Sadly, the biggest fiction…was the bit when the politician found herself impressed and moved by the voices of sex work activists…frighteningly few people in power have been willing to listen…

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

For those who still pretend government is different from organized crime:

…Houston Mayor Annise Parker…cut a deal with a group of strip clubs allowing them to…operate freely in exchange for an annual tax of $1 MILLION!…According to [a Houston Chronicle] article, “The city…has reached a settlement…that would halt enforcement of the three-foot rule and allow dancers to be fully topless in exchange for an annual $1 million donation to help combat human trafficking”…for those who have not completely removed the wool from their eyes, this is what is known…as a…shakedown.  But wait, only 16 clubs were included…so where does that leave the 50+ other strip clubs that have been purposely excluded from this deal?…I would venture…that…vice raids and harassment at these other clubs…will increase tremendously…the Mayor…herself…all but said that the other clubs will now be more routinely targeted…

Another, more obsequious blog reversed the roles by calling the deal “Houston’s dance with the devil” and breathlessly informed its readers that “Houston…has long been regarded as the nation’s hub of human trafficking”; I’d call that a claim for the #1 spot, wouldn’t you?

Due Consideration

I must admit, this one shocked even me:

…a pregnant Italian mother flew to England for a two-week…training course…she had…a panic attack when she couldn’t find the passports for her two daughters, who were with her mother back in Italy.  She called the police, who arrived…when she was on the phone to her mother…who explained [to cops] that her daughter was probably over-excited because she suffered from a “bipolar” condition and hadn’t been taking her medication…The police…[took] her to…a psychiatric hospital [where]…she was restrained…[and] sectioned under the Mental Health Act…five weeks later she was…strapped down and forcibly sedated, and when she woke up hours later, found she was in a different hospital and that her baby had been removed by caesarean section while she was unconscious and taken…by social workers.  She was…[then deported] to Italy without her baby…[who was] placed for adoption…Polaris King of the Hill

Number Puzzle (TW3 #324) 

Matthias Lehmann debunks more prohibitionist lies:

Re…“Germany is having second thoughts on legalized prostitution”…Alice Schwarzer’s… book and her appeal against prostitution have been widely criticized for using entirely unreliable data.  The counter-appeal…has been signed by numerous experts, including counseling centers for sex workers and victims of human trafficking as well as social scientists, social workers and sex workers themselves…a majority of the German public has consistently shown not to support a move to roll back the…law…

Number Puzzle (TW3 #326)

I don’t think many sex workers are unhappy about this:  “Germany’s biggest political parties have agreed to ban so-called flat-rate sex offered by some brothels…they view as exploitative the special offers…where men can have unlimited sex for 100 euros ($136)…

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine

In Sweden, sex workers are considered “unfit parents”; child molesters, on the other hand

A Swedish man convicted for molesting a five-year-old girl…has been [allowed] to adopt a child of his own…the man…has been found guilty of more than 90 crimes, mostly different types of fraud…and was also suspected of raping a…teenage girl…the…social affairs committee…found that his risk of relapse was…low…but…members were not given access to…details about his…sex crime…[and] there were no supporting documents to back up the assessment…

Dutch Threat (TW3 #334)

Utrecht city council has agreed [on] a new location for…prostitutes, five months after the licences for most of the…floating brothels were withdrawn…because of concerns the boat owners were involved in human trafficking…The prostitutes, some of whom had attempted to take over the boats themselves, will be relocated to a new location with 162 workspaces…The city is also introducing a minimum age of 21…and…in order to prevent a monopoly…owners will only be given three-year licences for no more than 20% of the windows.

Under Every Bed (TW3 #335)

I take back anything nice I’ve said about Al-Jazeera and “sex trafficking” mythology; this example of the new “gang” myth-motif (complete with the magic mind-control philter and confusion about the meaning of the verb “to sell”) is as bad as anything in the American media:

Washington DC…gangs are prostituting underage girls…Prosecutors say the pimps gave their victims drugs…to keep them submissive… “[prostitutes] can be considered a ‘reusable resource’…if you’re going to deal marijuana or cocaine; you use it up, you have to find another source or supply”…

The article does admit that “relatively little is known about the overall nature or extent of juvenile prostitution in the United States,” but of course that never stops prohibitionists from making grandiose pronouncements.

A War for Peace (TW3 #336) Femen at Artemis

Oh, the irony:

…Femen staged a topless protest outside one of Germany’s biggest brothels, as part of a campaign promoting [the Swedish model]…The women chanted “Go rape yourselves” and…briefly scuffled with the club staff…before being led away by police…Femen held a similar protest in Amsterdam earlier this month…Femen leader Inna Shevchenko said…”Prostitution is not a women’s industry, it’s a business controlled by men”…

Absolute Corruption (TW3 #336)

Still more victims of the Satanic panic released from prison:

Fran and Dan Keller…[were] released after 21 years in prison…The case…was part of national hysteria over alleged sexual abuse with Satanic overtones…therapists were subsequently criticized for having implanted the bizarre allegations into the minds of children…[Defense attorney Keith] Hampton…has vowed to work to completely exonerate the Kellers…

Whimsical Notions

Think this would’ve happened if legal, professional whores were available to soldiers?  “Female soldiers at Fort Hood [Texas] testified…that they were recruited for a prostitution ring set up by a sergeant involved in the sexual assault and harassment program…

Something Rotten in Sweden (TW3 #345)

This might make sense if selling sex were a bona fide criminal act, AND if nearly all clients only paid once in their lives:

…public defender Edgar Lin [had] filed motions to dismiss the two counts against Alexis L. Smith…99 percent of…arrested [clients]…never faced criminal charges, while 40 percent of the prostitutes were criminally charged…The discrepancy formed the basis of Lin’s argument that his client’s right to equal protection had been violated…But…Judge Mark McGinnis ruled that the patrons and prostitutes are not similarly situated, because the prostitutes…have ongoing criminal activity, while the johns typically only commit a single crime…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #348)

Another lurid, dysphemism-laden article on Brazilian sex work; this one conflates child, underage and adult prostitution, plays a shell game with agency, blames sex workers for the sadistic actions of police and has a faint Swedish odor in places.  All in all, a truly noxious mixture.

Read Full Post »

To God, there is no zero.  –  Richard Matheson, The Shrinking Man

Richard MathesonR.I.P. Richard Matheson

Another of the greats has passed on.  Though his name is less familiar to the general public than those of many far less talented and far less influential authors, virtually everyone has seen and appreciated screen versions of his work; he wrote almost half of the best Twilight Zone episodes, most of the Vincent Price “Poe” movies of the early ‘60s and many other films you may know (including the thrice-filmed I Am Legend).  And since I can’t possibly do his memory justice in this small space, here’s a proper tribute from regular reader Franklin Harris.

Meretrices and Prostibulae

Archaeologists recently uncovered an ancient brothel attached to a gymnasium and restaurant in northern Greece…It was likely built in the second century BCE, which means it had been a going concern for about 250 years when an earthquake…shut [it] down forever.  Put another way, this brothel operated longer than the United States has so far…

N.B.:  I used this title because Greece was under Roman rule at that time.

License To Rape

Tanzanian police torture, rape and assault sex workers, sexual minorities and drug users, while medical staff deny them healthcare…Human Rights Watch…said in a report…[they] were [also] arrested and detained for days on end…Officers gang raped children as young as 12 years old…One drug user had his eyes burned out with acid…

Jezebel (January Updates)

hotel maidsNordic Choice Hotels…has announced the removal of pornography from its television channels.  ‘We believe it is a natural part of our social responsibility to not support an industry that contributes to…trafficking,’ said [CEO] Torgeir Silseth…”  There was no statement from Nordic Choice about shutting down their whole chain because many so-called “trafficking” victims work in hotels, but I guess one has to have priorities.

Old Men and Young Women

Silvio Berlusconi was given a seven-year prison sentence and banned from holding public office for life…after an Italian court found him guilty of abuse of office and paying for sex with…underage prostitute…Karima El Mahroug…” Berlusconi and the girl both deny having had sex, and even if they had it would’ve been completely legal had no money changed hands because she was 17 at the time.

Neither Cold nor Hot

The Miami New Times does an article on sugar babies; frantic pearl-clutching ensues at Jezebel:

…What really sucks about sugar baby relationships is that most of the arrangements don’t seem like they’re entered into freely; they’re a desperate response to a shitty set of circumstances — a lack of job opportunities, lack of job abilities, and last, but not least, the insanely high cost of college education…the site even targets advertising to women who search “help with college tuition”…

The Author Formerly Known as Morning Gloria has a history of this sort of neofeminist prohibitionism disguised under a thin veneer of sex-positive platitudes, and that’s not even counting her apparent belief that the law of conservation of energy somehow proves that “America is…fucked up.”

May Q & A

Veteran Brazilian activist Gabriela Leite on why she likes the word “whore”:

Bootlickers

How will historians judge a culture that spent many man-months and tens of thousands of dollars on this?

A bikini-barista stand owner who twice before has been accused of lewd conduct recently managed to get a…[cop] to warn her of any undercover surveillance…Carmela A. Panico, and Sgt. Darrell L. O’Neill…were charged with conspiracy to promote prostitution…at seven Java Juggs and Twin Peaks espresso stands…The FBI assisted with the investigation…

Yes, the FBI actually helped bluenoses harass coffee shops because the waitresses wear bikinis.

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

Julie Ann Carey, 41, not only was robbed at knife point after providing sex to a customer, police then arrested her for solicitation after she reported the crime…

The Crumbling Dam

Try to imagine an editorial like this in an American newspaper:

…In…[the] Globe & Mail, paid typist and self-confessed plagiarist  Margaret Wente [published]…”Legal Prostitution? Are We Nuts?”, [in which she] brings her swollen puritanism to bear on the current Supreme Court case…Calling prostitution, “the most exploitative, degrading work on Earth” Wente opposes the “feminists and other progressive types”…who are endeavoring to make it less exploitative and degrading…What she doesn’t acknowledge…is that prostitution is already legal in Canada

It’s That Time Again

New Jersey is getting an early start on the annual campaign to look really stupid and transfer a lot of money to cops’ pockets:

New Jersey law enforcement officials expecting a rise in forced prostitution leading up to the 2014 Super Bowl said…efforts to crack down on criminals and help victims will span the entire state…New Jersey is believed to be a major entry point for human trafficking due to its dense and diverse population and convenient access from New York to Philadelphia…Selling Sex

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Joyce Arthur sent me a copy of the new anthology Selling Sex:  Experience, Advocacy and Research on Sex Work in Canada, to which she contributed an essay.  Thank you!

Naked Truth

Laura Lee published “Sex Workers Don’t Deserve to be Stigmatised – and We Don’t Want Your Pity Either” in The Independent:

…I can go out…get hopelessly drunk and jump into bed with Mr. A. Random…the chances are any form of protection will go out the window, as will any form of valid consent.  As a society, we deem that okay, because everyone does it, right?  If I go to a hotel, meet Mr. A. Random in the middle of an afternoon, spend a couple of pleasant protected hours and get paid for it – pearls everywhere are clutched and horror levels soar.  But in my second example, I’m safer.  I know his name, his phone number, where he is staying and I am…surrounded by people…

Bottleneck

The Prague Assembly has approved a bill to regulate prostitution…[both brothels and individual] prostitutes would have to apply for a licence…prostitutes would have to be over 18, without criminal record and…would have to undergo regular medical check-ups…”  The bill’s author claims its intent is “to divide legal prostitution from the illegal.”  It’ll do that, all right, but not in the way he seems to think.

Dirty Laundry

There were a few Magdalene Laundries in the United States as well:

…at…fourteen, Diana [O’Hara] entered the gates of the Good Shepherd Laundry in Buffalo, New York with the label of “incorrigible”…talking was allowed only when the nuns clapped their hands…[a misbehaving girl would be]…locked inside [a] closet…[or] an old [rat-infested] shower room with stone benches [sometimes for days]…followed [by] a severe beating…to “make her strong”…

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #52)

While jobs are difficult to find and money is tight, should the Welsh Government be helping women find extremely lucrative and flexible work?”  Yes, someone actually asked that.Johnny Depp & Amber Heard

False Target (TW3 #135)

Hugo Schwyzer is still pretending that men’s preference for young women is “socially constructed”; Christopher Ryan corrects him:

In a recent column at The Atlantic…Hugo Schwyzer asks us to consider, “What would happen if men stopped chasing much younger women?”…he’s not talking about pedophiles…[but rather] men like Johnny Depp, who is apparently dating a woman in her late 20s, while he’s just hit the big 5-0…Schwyzer argues…that this isn’t…happening in response to…innate biological desire…despite the overwhelming…evidence…Schwyzer cites [only] a 2007 study done in Sweden…[which] actually says the opposite of what he thinks it does…Schwyzer somehow knows Depp’s…attracted to his 27 year-old girlfriend because…she’s powerless and he’s intimidated by less “malleable” women of his own age….[this] attempt to shame consenting adults out of what he considers to be inappropriate relationships strikes me as quite the opposite of an informed feminist perspective…

The Auctioneer Effect

If you thought ultrasound requirements for abortion were bad…

…a last-minute amendment to Ohio’s budget…requires an ultrasound and 24-hour wait before birth control… “Pregnancy” in the context of the informed-consent requirements now means “any fertilized egg”…so…“the disruption of implantation of a fertilized egg” now counts as an abortion.  Prescribing birth control is, in Ohio, a ticking time-abortion…

Comfort Zone (TW3 #320)

Usually, the equation of migration with “trafficking” as an excuse to restrict it isn’t quite this transparent:

At least 200 Nigerian girls are trafficked every month to Russia…the crime…declined in Western Europe following strict laws on illegal migration…to curb the menace…[so] attention…shifted to Eastern Europe…you will be shocked at the extent of resistance [to being “rescued”] from the girls. We tell them Russia is not a destination for prostitutes yet they still come…the parents of those trafficked encourage…their children…Casey Kids Playhouse

Think of the Children! (TW3 #321)

More hysteria over structural sex ray contamination:

Parents’ outrage at an advertisement for a swingers party at a [Victoria] children’s play centre has forced the local council to close the business…the centre’s owners [had] said they would repeat the event every month at Casey Kids Playhouse once they found six other couples…a local mother…[who] had booked her son’s fourth birthday party there…[said] ”I am disgusted…This is so morally wrong, not to mention unhygienic”…

I just can’t stop laughing at the word “unhygienic” in that context.

Absolute Corruption (TW3 #323)

The inevitable result of allowing “authorities” to “investigate” themselves:

Jesse Friedman…was properly convicted and should not have his status as a sexual predator overturned…[claims] Nassau County district attorney…Kathleen M. Rice…Mr. Friedman’s lawyer, Ron Kuby, and…Andrew Jarecki, [director of Capturing the Friedmans]…[said] the report was a biased whitewash by the office that originally botched the case…“Rice has made a craven, but not surprising, political decision in failing to admit to the wrongdoing of the…D.A.’s office and former sex crimes chief Fran Galasso, in the face of overwhelming evidence of Jesse’s innocence,” Mr. Jarecki said.  Mr. Kuby said that the district attorney’s office had fought Mr. Friedman’s efforts at every turn and that this was just more of the same…“Fortunately, the conclusion of this bogus reinvestigation clears the way for the Friedman team to return to court”…

Rotten to the Core

This is how service disputes are handled when the profession is legal:  “Sunset Thomas…the…onetime cast member of…Cathouse…and [retired] porn star…[who works] at the Chicken Ranch in Pahrump [Nevada, is being sued by regular client Robert Proffitt for]…$2,200 for services he alleges were not rendered…

Which I Doubt

Tracy Quan considers the connection between the recent Supreme Court decision and the New York “condoms as evidence” bill, and discusses the rather unpleasant bedfellows the sex worker rights movement picked up in both cases, quoting yours truly in the process.

Across the Pond (TW3 #324)Jack Vettriano painting

Gee, I can’t imagine why the police took these paintings:

Jack Vettriano paintings worth £500,000 were seized from a former brothel boss in a police crackdown on vice…detectives…smashed into the home of Ian Haig, 70, whose brother Charles, 73, runs a…sauna in Edinburgh.  Vettriano…regularly visited Scorpio sauna…in the 1990s and painted…girls working there.  He gave paintings to Ian Haig as a thank-you before he became one of Britain’s most successful artists…Police [claim the paintings are]…potential evidence…

Number Puzzle (TW3 #324)

Why is it that people just don’t get that sex work follows the same rules of economics as any other business?

The presence of thousands of brothels and hundreds of thousands of prostitutes has heightened competition and pushed prices down steeply in the German sex trade…Prostitution became legal in Germany in 2002, and the open sex trade has taken off in the years since…It’s been estimated that more than 1 million men pay for sex in Germany every day.  One of the classic arguments for legalizing prostitution is that recognizing and regulating the world’s oldest profession would improve the conditions of sex workers.  Instead, recent reports paint legalized prostitution in Germany largely as a failure…Despite the critics’ claims of atrocious conditions brought on by legalized prostitution in Germany, there are many who don’t want to go back to the days when the trade was cordoned off in the black market…

This is a prime example of American criminal ignorance about sex work; consult the title link for a thorough debunking.

Read Full Post »

This is not just about sex trade workers…The government’s coming in through the back door…to tell you what you can and cannot do in the privacy of your home with another consenting adult.  –  Terri-Jean Bedford

Gateway

Ignorant reporter apparently believes “explain” is a synonym for “rationalize”:

…The purpose of the sting operation was to discourage sex providers and customers from engaging in the illegal transaction, which often is linked to child sex abuse, robbery, assault and drug use, Lt. Det. Cord Wood of the Corvallis [Oregon] Police Department said…“To gauge the number of thefts, assaults and robberies (associated with prostitution) is difficult because I really believe those are under-reported”…

Because obviously someone named for 128 cubic feet of chopped fibrous cellulose must be an expert in a trade he’s never practiced.

The Camel’s Nose (June Updates, Part One)

Just another reminder that though Al Franken claims to be an advocate of liberty, he’s actually a devoted supporter of the police state:  “I can assure you, this is not about spying on the American people…I have a high level of confidence that this is used to protect us…There are certain things that are appropriate for me to know that is not appropriate for the bad guys to know.”  Because tyranny isn’t “bad” as long as you wave a flag while stomping on people’s faces.

The Crumbling Dam

Sex workers and their supporters marched and rallied in several Canadian cities…days before a Supreme Court hearing on whether laws restricting the sale of sex should be tossed out”, and prohibitionists fantasize about replacing criminalization of workers with that of clients.  Fortunately this view is unpopular in Canada, and editorials like this one from Catherine Healy and Sandra Ka Hon Chu are not uncommon:

The Supreme Court of Canada’s looming consideration…has led to vigorous debate about the merits of the “Swedish model”…[which] perpetuates…stigma, discrimination and violence…and institutionalizes an adversarial relationship between sex workers and the police.  Less discussed is the model of sex work employed in New Zealand….[where] sex workers are covered by legislation that protects them from exploitation while accessing labour laws to promote their welfare and occupational health and safety…The Art of Not Being GovernedThere is no substantiated evidence of trafficking despite repeated efforts by the immigration department…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received a copy of The Art of Not Being Governed from SA.  Thank you so much!

The Sky is Falling!

Dating and highways cause sex trafficking!

Birmingham [Alabama] residents have voiced concerns over a billboard that suggests young women date a sugar daddy if they’re in search of a summer job.  Alexa James…[said] she wants the arrangements.com billboard taken down…”I-20 has now become the superhighway of human trafficking…Make a stand, call the mayor’s office, call your state representative.”  The service is an online dating site that facilitates mutually beneficial arrangements…and…has no plans to remove the billboard.

Above the Law

Yet again:  As long as government actors have excessive power over individuals, this will keep happening:

…two [Georgia] sheriff’s deputies…pleaded guilty…for their part in a scheme to send an innocent woman to prison…Judge Bryant Cochran solicited sex from [Angela Garmley] in return for legal favors.  Shortly after Garmley filed her complaint, she was arrested…and charged with possession of methamphetamines…Since this scandal broke, three women who worked in Cochran’s court have filed a separate lawsuit…claiming Cochran sexually harassed them…

And keep happening:

…a…19-year-old Omaha woman…[said] Deputy Cory Cooper made her perform oral sex after pulling over a vehicle containing her and her boyfriend on a marijuana violation…Cooper told the boyfriend to walk to the lake to dispose of the marijuana…then turned his attention to the woman…she said she felt like she had no choice…

Held Together With Lies

Ronald Weitzer speaks on the mythology of “sex trafficking” at Queens University, Belfast; unfortunately, this is audio only.

Crime Against Society (TW3 #14)

The ordeal of those victimized by New Orleans’ sadistic game is over at last:

…a settlement…will remove from the sex offender registry approximately 700 individuals who had been required to register solely because of a Crime Against Nature by Solicitation (CANS) conviction…“The lingering injustice, resulting from over 20 years of discriminatory enforcement of this law at police and prosecutors’ whims, will now finally come to an end,” said Andrea Ritchie, co-counsel to [the Center for Constitutional Rights] in Doe v. Jindal and Doe v. Caldwell

The Naked Emperor (TW3 #24)

Though danah boyd’s last article on “sex trafficking” annoyed a number of activists with its ambiguity, this one is much more firmly anti-hysteria:

When most people think of sex trafficking…they immediately think of stereotypical images.  Like that of a vulnerable girl exploited by a pimp…But…[it] is more often about young people who are homeless, yet turned away from crowded shelters.  About teens exploited by family members (or kicked out of the house for being gay or transgender)…In other words:  systemic factors that have little to do with the actions of predators…one group of advocates long clamored for classified-ad sites, like Craigslist or Backpage, to be abolished — holding on to false hopes that eliminating these platforms would eliminate exploitation…the data I’ve seen suggests that this approach is neither effective nor productive…

Lying Down With Dogs (TW3 #29)

Cop threats to persecute travelling whores aren’t confined to the US:

…commissioner…Charity Katanga has warned that police will arrest…sex workers who have…started migrating from Kitwe to Livingstone ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly in August…Mrs Katanga said the laws of Zambia…are clear…“If we do not find appropriate charges to slap on them, we will throw them in jail.  If they are migrating to Livingstone, we will also ‘migrate’ so that we can deal with them ruthlessly”…Laura Lee

The Public Eye

A profile of activist Laura Lee:

Growing up in a strict Irish Catholic family, Laura Lee was lined up for a respectable career as a lawyer.  But after watching a film…she wanted to become a call girl.  Aged 19…[she] took on a Saturday job at a massage parlour.  Now 35 and mum to a 12-year-old daughter, Laura campaigns for sex workers’ rights…

Across the Pond (TW3 #45)

A year and a half ago sex worker activists wondered if the creation of a single police force for Scotland would be a good or a bad thing.  Now the news is in:  it’s extremely bad:

Brothels were targeted by…police…who accompanied social workers to help potential victims…Customers and employees were taken onto the street and questioned at seven saunas…officers are pursuing inquiries relating to several serious sexual offences…police said:  “Three people…have been charged with drugs offences…and it is estimated that assets worth in excess of £500,000 have been seized”…Since the country’s eight forces came under the single Police Scotland umbrella, regional variations in policy have surfaced…Edinburgh’s apparent sanctioning of prostitution had created a climate whereby city officials had to defend perceived leniency on the practice…

That £500,000 theft gives away the motive, and this demonstrates what I said Thursday about policies vs. laws.

Number Puzzle

Feminist Ire continues its robust tradition of debunking prohibitionist lies, this time in a guest post by Matthias Lehmann and Sonja Dolinsek:

Der Spiegel published a…deeply flawed report…about…[sex] trafficking…Prostitution…has been legal in Germany since 1927…the new prostitution law of 2002 changed some aspects pertaining to the legal relationship between sex workers and clients and some criminal law provisions.  It recognized the contract between sex workers and clients as legal and introduced the rights of sex workers to sue clients unwilling to pay for sexual services already provided.  In addition, sex workers received the right to health insurance and social security…What is misleadingly called the ”legalization“ of prostitution is actually the recognition of sex work as labor.  However…some states actually never implemented the new law…Most states…declare…[so many restrictions] prostitution [is] de facto illegal…sex work is not allowed for non-EU nationals…who…are thus…excluded from the law [and] therefore [cannot be protected by it]…

Big Sister (TW3 #139)

The UK emulates China and the Muslim theocracies:

Internet and telecom companies will be ordered by the Government to block “harmful” content…Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, has summoned the bosses of companies such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook to a summit…at which she will demand…industry-wide co-operation to prevent the…sharing of  harmful material…[including] illegal porn, images of child abuse, material that could incite religious or racial hatred and so-called “suicide websites”…Possible new measures include greater use of online filters; making public Wi-Fi more “family friendly” so children cannot access harmful material…ensuring all companies sign up to industry guidelines and setting up permanent bodies to monitor content…

Because obviously, government is best-equipped to judge what’s “harmful”, and if the filters just happen to block educational and political content, too…well, omelettes and eggs and all.

Oscillation (TW3 #312)

A rare defeat for control freaks:

The federal government…told a judge it will…comply with his order to allow girls of any age to buy emergency contraception without prescriptions.  The decision ends a years-long fight between…Obama’s administration, which had argued that age limits for the morning-after pill are common sense, and women’s rights groups, which insisted the drug should be made…freely available…

jury nullificationAnti-sex groups claim the decision “takes away the rights of girls’ parents”…to ruin their daughters’ entire lives for one mistake.

The Story Behind the Story

Rob Arthur alerted me to the fact that Ricardo Cortés has written and illustrated a short, FREE primer on jury nullification entitled “Jury Independence Illustrated”.  Please read it, download it and disseminate it as widely as possible; it’s time people were reminded of their power to overrule the rulers.

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #315)

Drowning was the cause of death for Terrilynn Monette, the missing…teacher whose body was discovered in Bayou St. John…more than three months after…[disappearing] early on March 2…she…had been drinking, and…told friends…that she planned to sleep in her car for a while before driving to her apartment…

I lived near that bayou for years; there is nothing to stop a tipsy, exhausted woman from driving off the street and into it, without any help from Russian Mafia sex traffickers.

An Example to the West (TW3 #316)

One of Bolivia’s sex workers organizations, Organización de Trabajadoras Nocturnas (OTN), has called for the legalization of sex work in Bolivia and for sex workers to be granted retirement benefits and health insurance…The OTN has 50,000 affiliates, 80 percent of whom work in nightclubs…ONAEM (Organización Nacional de Activistas por la Emancipación de la Mujer), a major national women’s emancipation organization…supports [their] demands…

Bottleneck (TW3 #317)

Scarlet Alliance…is urging the Federal Government to expand [a] controversial visa to cover foreign escorts…Jules Kim…said sex workers were just as skilled as other workers allowed to fly into Australia on the four-year work visas…The Immigration Department…said sex workers were not considered “skilled” because the job did not require a degree or diploma…but Scarlet Alliance…said overseas sex workers would be vulnerable to…exploitation unless they could apply for a long-term work visa…

Deafening Silence

In an incident that underlined the harsh treatment often meted out to Chinese sex workers, a…female police officer was “punched in the face” and “dragged” from a hotel room during a botched anti-vice operation…Ms Wang…had been visiting her daughter in…Zhengzhou…when police unexpectedly appeared at the door…she told the men she was also a member of the police…but her pleas fell on deaf ears…

Guest Columnist:  Sarah Woolley

Amnesty International logoAs Sarah explained, the Paisley branch of respected human rights group Amnesty International made the bizarre decision to endorse Scotland’s attempt to impose the Swedish model despite clear proof that it harms sex workers.  When Wendy Lyon informed Amnesty of this, the organization immediately demanded the branch revoke its endorsement and, as Melissa Gira Grant explains, has now issued (for the first time) a clear pro-decriminalization statement:  “What…Paisley Branch have done – perhaps entirely despite themselves – is to push Amnesty International to state their opposition to the criminalisation of sex workers and of adult consensual sex more clearly….sex workers in Scotland and around the world…can now claim Amnesty International in their corner.”

Read Full Post »

Sex workers have very special qualities.  They are skilled at giving pleasure in whatever way is required.  –  Tuppy Owens

All Shapes and Sizes

Why don’t journalists actually read what they’re writing about?

…In a study of 105 heterosexual Australian women, flaccid penis size, height, and shoulder-to-hip ratio all affected the women’s attractiveness ratings of life-size, computer-generated male figures…The penis effect was so strong that that the study’s authors…[theorized] that it may have driven the evolution of bigger penises in humans…Shoulder-to-hip ratio mattered the most, while both penis size and height mattered about the same amount…there were diminishing returns for everything.  That is, how much more attractiveness the figures gained for added height, penis size and shoulder-to-hip ratio decreased as those traits increased.  So the attractiveness difference between at 6’1″ man and a 6’2″ man is less than the difference between a 5’1″ man and a 5’2″ man.  For penis size, the dropoff in attractiveness gains started at about 7.6 centimeters, or three inches…

In other words, the study doesn’t show that most women are attracted to really big cocks; it shows that they tend to find really small ones unattractive, which isn’t at all the same thing.  And BTB, the theory that the comparatively-large human penis is a product of artificial selection is not remotely new; it’s also probable that the same process resulted in human women having prominent tits when we aren’t pregnant or nursing.

License To Rape

A small-town North Carolina cop raped a 13-year-old girl while on duty, and the town hired him without any…screening after he had raped an 11-year-old…Jaymin Lenwood Murphy was sentenced in December 2010 to 41 years in prison for sexual offenses against the two girls…The [13-year-old, who is suing the town]…says that Murphy “threatened her mother and herself with jail” so she “was too terrified…to report it to anyone”…

A War for Peace

Femen demonstrates how deeply it cares about women by physically attacking them at work:

I’ve previously pointed out Femen’s deep hypocrisy in claiming that it’s noble for a woman to use her sexuality for politics, but not as a means of earning a living.  But it’s actually worse than that:  “Each new recruit…has to show off her breasts to audition for the role…each member’s salary allegedly comes to around $1,000…”  In other words, they’re paid for using their sexuality; they’re sex workers dedicated to stopping other women from doing sex work.

Against Their Will

Yesterday, Pak Kret police found the bodies of two girls floating near a pier in front of Kredtrakarn Protection and Occupational Development Center…the…girls…reportedly attempted to escape the Center by swimming across the Chao Phraya River…”  What this story does not make clear is that this was actually a prison for girls “rescued” from sex work, which explains why they were desperate to escape despite the absurd claims of “authorities”.

The Crumbling Dam

Joyce Arthur of FIRST shows what an anti-criminalization article by a non-sex worker should look like:

Within the next year, our Supreme Court may very well strike down Canada’s prostitution laws as unconstitutional because they place sex workers at risk of violence and abuse.  Are we ready for full decriminalization?  Or will society’s fear of the legal vacuum lead to a panicked rush to pass new legislation to criminalize or control sex work?  Most people know little or nothing about actual sex workers…because they’ve been fed negative and false stereotypes from movies and TV, sensationalistic news stories, “do-gooder” organizations that purport to rescue trafficked sex slaves, and various self-appointed “experts” whose views are informed mostly by shoddy research and propaganda.  The true experts on sex work have been speaking out more and more, however, and people are finally starting to listen to them…

The Course of a Disease

The Swedish rot reaches South America:

…the Argentine Congress started discussing…[a bill] to penalize anyone who buys sex…regardless of whether the person providing the sex is a consenting adult…No one would contest that actual sex trafficking is a problem in Argentina and that something should be done about it…

SexWorker Open UniversityJust call me nobody, then.  Coercion into commercial sex is rare everywhere, and the rare individuals who are so victimized aren’t helped by wrongheaded “something should be done” legislation.  Meanwhile, half a world away, the Scottish Trade Union Conference decided to screw a sex worker outreach event called “Sex Worker Open University” by cancelling the facilities it had agreed to provide at (almost literally) the last minute:

…the Scottish Trades Union conference…issued this statement:  “…the specific title of the event…was…“The Scottish Context:  Opposing Criminalisation of Clients”…a number of individuals and organisations contacted us to ask why we were taking this view…[which] is diametrically opposed to the position STUC…reached as a consequence of its democratic process…”  This suggests that a public meeting was somehow hidden, or that SWOU attempted to keep this information private…If a LGBTQ group wants to hold an event and homophobic groups phone to complain will they cancel the booking?  If a Muslim group hosts [an] event and…Islamaphobes demonstrate will the STUC refuse to offer support and solidarity?  Will their position always be with the oppressors rather than the oppressed?…[and] why does the STUC have a position that is against the best interests of the workers?  They say it was democratically reached but it was not voted for by the full membership, nor were the workers who would be effected consulted…

A False Dichotomy (TW3 #8)

Runaway maids are turning to prostitution in order to support themselves during their illegal stay in…Sharjah…518 prostitution cases and 10 human trafficking cases were recorded…[in the emirate]…in 2012.  Absconding maids topped the prostitution cases…[but] some…came to the country on a visit visa…to work illegally in the sex worker industry…

Handy Figures (TW3 #17)

As I’ve pointed out before, the tendency of recent studies to “find” that impossibly-low numbers of men hire whores has a lot more to do with social stigma and poor question phrasing than with reality; the General Social Survey‘s claim that only 14% of American men have ever paid for sex could only be true if the number of sex workers were a tenth what it is and we each only had two clients per week!  But though I respectfully disagree with Dr. Milrod about that survey’s data being credible, I have no respect for those who technically agree with me not because of logic or experience, but because the finding contradicts “trafficking” dogma!

Naked Truth

Laura Lee in the Independent on why the Swedish model is a bad idea:

…Rhoda Grant…is pushing…this measure because she believes that prostitution is…inherently harmful and dangerous.  I know from years of experience that for the vast majority of sex workers…that simply isn’t true…they made an informed choice to enter the industry and enjoy their work…Grant [stated] in…Glasgow Evening Times  [that] “People that use prostitutes are people who would rape and abuse.”  Not only is that statement false, it is also offensive in the extreme to every client I have ever met…the solution to the protection of those in the sex industry is complete decriminalisation …any further criminalisation of the sex industry will cost lives.

The Young and the Brainless

Judgy Bitch’s excellent take on the “teen girl pimp” case:

…some newbie traffickers scouted and groomed vulnerable girls on social media sites, lured them to a rough part of town, stripped them naked, took nude photos and then blackmailed the young victims into working as escorts.  And then took their money.  The girls who resisted were physically beaten.  The traffickers?  Two fifteen year old girls, and one sixteen year old girl…It doesn’t appear that any men, let alone black men, were involved on the pimping side of the equation in Ottawa, but that hasn’t stopped the media from trying to associate any instance of pimping with black men…and…who stepped in to help the girls being victimized?  Who took a stand and put a stop to what was going on?…Yeah, that would be the johns.  Men called up an escort service, looking for sex in exchange for money, and when they realized the girls were desperately underage and deeply emotionally upset, they intervened.  In [two cases] the john drove the young girl home…In a third case, the john flat out refused to have sexual contact with someone who was clearly a minor…

Mark LancasterOne Born Every Minute (TW3 #51)

Remember Mark Lancaster, the guy who tried to trick naïve coeds into having sex with him as a supposed “audition” for a sugar daddy referral service?  He’s being charged with…wait for it…”sex trafficking”.  Add that to your list of bizarre uses for this ever-expanding umbrella term.

Skin To Skin

It’s wonderful to see so many articles arguing that disabled people have the right to see sex workers  even if prohibitionists are upset by the idea:

A forthcoming Channel 4 documentary, Can Have Sex Will Have Sex…has been labelled “controversial“, but many mothers call the sex and disability helpline, which I run, worried that their disabled son is physically unable to masturbate and desperately needs an outlet…I really love the idea of sex workers giving disabled people the chance to be touched in a non-medical way, perhaps for the first time in their lives, to be held in a warm pair of arms and have their sexual dreams respected and lived out.

Number Puzzle

Another prohibitionist screed masquerading as reasoned argument is debunked by Feminist Ire:

In early March…the Huffington Post published…“Debunking The Myths: Why Legalising Prostitution Is A Terrible Idea”…by Jacqui Hunt, London director of Equality Now…despite its title, its scope is not limited to legalisation:  she believes decriminalisation is an equally bad idea.  At first glance, her article looks fairly reasonable and well researched, citing studies from various countries in which sex work has been legalised or decriminalised…[but] the ways in which…her claims have been made…undermine her credibility…because the primary source for her observations on New Zealand reveals a markedly different picture from the one she has chosen to paint, I’m given to feel that all of her claims ought to be thoroughly investigated…

Lack of Evidence (TW3 #314)

Clay Nikiforuk, the young woman harassed by US customs officials because they thought she was an escort, appears to “get it”:

There’s no doubt in my mind that one reason my story gained the attention it did was that it screamed “sexy” at every juncture…But another reason…is that…when bad things start happening to innocent, educated white people, they could happen to anyone — or rather, other privileged people…when sex and sexuality are criminalized, people are made illegal and their rights made moot…If I were a sex worker, I might have “deserved” the treatment I received, or my detainment might have “made sense.”  If I were from a minority group or were not as educated in the English language, my story might not have provoked the shock and outrage that it did.  And rather than receiving the reaction “That should never happen to anyone,” often the reaction I still get is “That should never have happened to you”…

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere! (TW3 #314)

What a sane, agenda-free sex work study looks like:

Migrant prostitutes…are in the sex trade for the money…research…in New Zealand has found…Catherine Healy…said…”The findings suggests there are no signs that migrant sex workers here are victims of trafficking” [despite US claims]…

57%: On student, work or visitor visa
86%: From Asia
26%: Came to New Zealand “to study”
35%: Knew someone living here
76%: Did sex work to pay household bills
5%: Could not refuse clients and did not have access to their passports

In other words, only 5% of migrant whores (themselves a minority of the sex worker population) could be described as “coerced” in any valid way.

Terrilyn MonetteThe Widening Gyre (TW3 #314)

All over Lakeview, you’ll find signs asking people to be on the lookout for missing teacher Terrilyn Monette…[rumors claim] that the Russian Mafia moved into New Orleans shortly before the Super Bowl…to abduct women for human trafficking…NOPD…is trying to squelch the rumor…

If the NOPD didn’t want a stupid “sex trafficking” panic, it shouldn’t have participated in spreading one.

Read Full Post »

He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts—for support rather than illumination.  –  Andrew Lang

number puzzleDoes anyone remember number puzzles?  In a way they were the predecessors of Rubik’s cube, and I used to love them as a child (though I haven’t played with one in decades).  The puzzle is simply a small tray in which there are fifteen numbered tiles which can be slid vertically or horizontally; in the most basic form of the game one slides the tiles around until they’re in numerical order.  There are, however, other ways to play; my favorite was to make the sequence go in a clockwise spiral rather than four rows.  Another was to line up all the odd numbers in sequence, followed by the evens. Because the tiles couldn’t be removed from the tray without breaking the puzzle, one often had to do considerable back-and-forth shifting to solve it, much as one does with a Rubik’s cube (though obviously the cube is more complex).

Manipulating statistics to serve a particular agenda is something like a number puzzle, in that a skilled but unethical statistician has to do a lot of shifting numbers around to make the image within the frame look like he wants it to look; once that’s achieved it takes more shifting by a debunker to get the numbers back where they started.  Of course, it’s an imperfect analogy; in the puzzle one sequence is as valid as another, whereas in real life that isn’t so.  Also, the numbers of the puzzle move in only two dimensions while those in a study might move in several.  And while cheating by removing the tiles from the tray and re-arranging them will leave obvious signs of tampering and may even break the toy completely, sometimes it’s difficult to tell exactly how a dishonest statistician rigged his numbers without careful analysis by another statistician of equal or greater skill.

math confusionUnfortunately, the average person is mathematically illiterate and so is oblivious to even the most egregious manipulation.  Tyrannical laws, prohibitionist schemes and pure bigotry are routinely supported by the most outrageous numerical claims, and virtually nobody cries foul:  huge fractions of the population are said to be victimized by one crime or another without anyone noticing; large numbers of similar examples are dismissed as unrepresentative anomalies; extremely rare phenomena are touted as indicative of crises or important correlations; physical and economic impossibilities are claimed to be routine occurrences; and statistical outliers are represented as averages or even majorities.  And if anyone dares to point out any of it, the inevitable response is a torrent of illogic expressed in meaningless catchphrases such as “If it saves even ONE CHILD!!!!!” which would be false even if they were intellectually coherent.

There was an instructive example of this a few weeks ago.  As regular readers know, the Swedish model of prostitution law is marketed by neofeminists and many politicians as a way to “have their cake and eat it, too” by criminalizing only the client side of the transaction and thus repressing women while pretending not to.  But even ignoring the incredible injustice of the law, it simply doesn’t do anything it is marketed as doing; it does not decrease prostitution, but it does subject sex workers to police abuse and increases the incidence of STIs, “sex trafficking” and violence.  Obviously, this doesn’t sit well with neofeminists, so they simply ignore or deny it; a few weeks ago Samantha Berg published an article claiming that the Swedish model actually reduces violence, and as you might expect it was touted all over the internet by prohibitionists.  There’s only one problem with that:  the figures she quotes “prove” no such thing, as pointed out by Wendy Lyon:

…there are two really massively important issues here…The 2007-2008 study asked sex workers if they had ever experienced violence, throughout their “entire career in prostitution (which could be anything from one day to 50 years)”.  The newer study asked about violence in the past three years alone.  These are two very different questions, which can’t possibly give rise to comparable answers…Both surveys recorded sex workers’ experience of violence…wherever it occurred.  For the 2012 study, we have a breakdown:  70% of respondents said it only happened in Norway; 12% said Norway and elsewhere; 10% said only elsewhere; 8% didn’t answer…but that is all.  We don’t know…which types of violence occurred in which country, or how many of the specific incidents occurred in which country.  This makes it impossible to know how much of the reported violence even took place under the Nordic model.  And we don’t have any of this data from the 2007-2008 study, so there’s really nothing for us to compare here at all…

scrambled Rubik's cubeWendy also points out there’s some strange mumbo-jumbo going on in that “rape” and “threatened or forced into sex that was not agreed to” are listed as separate categories even though they’re synonymous, and I noticed that the researchers make the asinine statement that “many of the women would not characterize actual rape as rape” (as though their opinion of what happened to a woman is somehow more important than her own interpretation of it).

Wendy says she didn’t have to dig very deep to discover the problems, but regular reader Kevin Wilson (who is a professional research consultant) looked at it as well and had these things to say in addition to those Wendy listed:

The sample is almost certainly not representative of the sex work industry in Norway at all.  Participants were recruited primarily through outreach programs and shelters, so it seems likely that the sample contains workers primarily from the more dangerous segments of the market.  Only 17% of the sample is actually from Norway…These two samples are different groups of people, rather than the same group of people tracked over time.  This isn’t wrong so much as not ideal for mapping out the intervening effects of criminalization.  It’s possible that one sample or the other was more or less exposed to violence due to different sample composition (e.g., if one sample had more indoor workers).  In my opinion, this study would have been much better had they either followed the same group of workers from Pre to Post, or asked their current sample about the violence they experienced Pre and Post…There are no margins of error presented, so it’s hard to know which sample-to-sample comparisons are significant/reliable.  My speculation is that with such margins included, most of this paper would read as “no effect, no effect, no effect…” due to sample sizes; in many of cases we’re dealing with a lot of small number…the quality of evidence is so low that I’m not confident the findings are accurate or reliable.  This isn’t to say that the study is bad in the same way as the Schapiro Group study, merely that the quality isn’t very good and so little can ultimately be concluded from this data.

Kevin also shared one other bit of data that Berg didn’t want her audience to see.  If we really could make an apples-to-apples comparison as she pretends, we would see that some kinds of violence (including armed threat, kicking and strangulation) increased while others (including rape, robbery and being thrown out of a car) decreased.  But take a look at this table, which shows the change in how much help sex workers have been able to obtain from various sources after experiencing that violence:

Customer  25%
No One  17%
Hospital   0%
Friends -16%
Natthjemmet -17%
Other -29%
Partner -33%
Police -41%
No Support Required -42%
Crisis Center -50%
Pro Sentret -55%
Nadheim -70%
Family -75%
Emergency Care -79%

Keep in mind that the same caveats apply to this comparison as to the one on violence.  But if we were able to make a valid comparison in violence levels, we would also see that there has been a catastrophic drop in whores’ ability to get help for any violence which does occur, and the fraction who had never felt they needed help was cut almost in half.  Manipulating statistics is just a game for prohibitionists, a number puzzle intended to advance their agenda by presenting whatever picture they feel would do so most effectively; they are either so detached from reality that they don’t recognize the damage they cause, or so fanatical they just don’t care how many people have to suffer, be brutalized or even die for them to “win” the game.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts