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Posts Tagged ‘Pearls Firmly Clutched’

All that criminalization of prostitution does is make people afraid.
–  Tara Burns

Droit du Seigneur 

Though pimps are pretty rare, a disproportionate number of the ones who do exist are cops:  “[An] Oklahoma City [cop]…was arrested…on multiple complaints, including aiding in prostitution.  Lt. Alex Edwards…was [also charged with a bunch of vague ‘crimes’ used by prosecutors to stack penalties]…

Pyrrhic Victory

When they smash down your door in the middle of the night, murder your dogs, terrorize your family and embroil you in a decade-long court battle which will utterly bankrupt you because some computer decided you look like somebody who supposedly broke some law, don’t say I didn’t warn you:

Half of American adults are in a face-recognition database, according to a Georgetown University study…”The Perpetual Line-up: Unregulated Police Face Recognition in America” shows that one-fourth of the nation’s law enforcement agencies have access to face-recognition databases, and their use…is virtually unregulated…Alvaro Bedoya…co-author of the study [said] “By [scanning]…the faces on 26 states’ driver’s license and ID photos, police and the FBI have basically enrolled half of all adults in a massive virtual line-up.  This has never been done for fingerprints or DNA”…researchers obtained documents stating that at least five “major police departments,” including those in Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles, “either claimed to run real-time face recognition off of street cameras, bought technology that can do so, or expressed an interest in buying it”…

Spotlight (#47) Asstoon

I wonder if Asstoon will ever get professional help for his delusions of grandeur?

Ashton Kutcher [made grandiose and unsubstantiated claims]…about how Thorn, an organization founded by himself and ex-wife Demi Moore, has been working to combat human trafficking…Kutcher [fantasized] that his organization had saved more than 6,000 victims from human trafficking in 2016, identifying more 2,000 trafficker in the process…An additional online menace that Thorn intends to combat…was online pornography…“I’m going to eliminate child pornography from the internet.”

Imagine a reporter neither expressing skepticism of nor demanding proof from a person who claimed to have saved 6000 rape victims and vowed that his next super-deed would be to eliminate every opium poppy in Asia.

Pearls Firmly Clutched 

Using Suzy Favor Hamilton’s story without her input is pretty sleazy even for an anti-whore sleazefest like Law and Order:

…an…episode on Law & Order SVU…revolved around a female Olympic Pole Vaulter who had been sexually assaulted while secretly escorting…They flash in the intro, “The following story is fictional and does not depict any actual person, entity or event.”  Well that’s kinda laughable because with the exception of the sexual assault and a couple minor modifications, it’s pretty much me out there.  Olympian?  Check.  Track & Field athlete?  Check.  Married?  Check.  Mom?  Check.  Secretly escorting?  Check.  Bipolar?  Check…It’s strange to me that a show like this…can rip off a story so blatantly.  I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of how all this works, but what I do know it that as I watched, it felt a little icky and sneaky.  Like someone had broken into my life uninvited…

Torture Chamber

Americans keep pretending to be shocked by this, then support sending more people to prison:

A former inmate of a Louisiana private prison is suing the company that runs the prison after two guards [orally raped] him [on several occasions]…Aaron Franklin…was abused by Derrick Deshotel and Tyler Strothers…at the Allen Correctional Center…An investigation by the prison substantiated his allegations…The guards were fired…and criminally charged…[but] received only probation…

O, Canada! (All Traffick, All the Time)

Canadian cops are trying to intimidate sex workers again:

Holed up in a hotel room close to Calgary’s airport, a handful of [pigs]…dig through piles of online escort ads as they prep for Day Two of Operation Northern Spotlight…they make calls to unsuspecting sex workers and [lie to them to] set up “dates”…they hope to [intimidate them] to leave the world’s oldest profession…The women all react differently to the initial contact with the detective.  Some are hostile, as they realize the [cops have robbed them of hundreds of dollars of their time]…

Between the Lines

Sex workers, our clients, our associates and our families were once again subjected to the FBI’s periodic anti-sex worker pogrom, “Operation Cross-Country”:

This year’s Operation Cross Country—the largest to date—involved 55 FBI field offices and 74 FBI-led Child Exploitation Task Forces throughout the country composed of more than 400 law enforcement agencies.  Hundreds of law enforcement officials took part in sting operations in hotels, casinos, truck stops, and other areas frequented by pimps, prostitutes, and their customers…

The FBI learned years ago not to give any clear figures on the number of peaceful adults whose lives are destroyed in these fanatical jihads, preferring instead to represent any underage sex workers they arrest as “rescued victims” and pretty much any male unlucky enough to fall into their hands as a “pimp” (though the conviction rate is only 4%).  So it may take a week or two to get a picture of the extent of the carnage; right now the coverage is dominated by nauseating fluff like this in which cops and politicians engage in a vast circle-jerk to fantasies of enslaved teen girls:

Calling child sex trafficking a “scourge,” FBI Director James Comey announced Monday that 82 minors had been rescued…through an international effort held this month to locate victims and arrest the perpetrators…”These children trapped in this hell need a hero,” he said. “And the men and women who work for us, federal agents, state agents, local police officers and partners around the world are those heroes.”  Comey’s comments came during the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention in San Diego…

But the tide has turned, and this time the usual cacophony of cop-fellation which accompanies these pogroms is interrupted by a few voices speaking the truth:

…sex-worker advocates [explain that]…better results could be achieved by decriminalizing prostitution.  They argue that eliminating the fear of arrest would sharply increase the reporting of abuse and exploitation from both sex workers and their customers.  Tara Burns…said people involved in the sex trade can’t rely on the hope that [a cop]…they encounter will use their arrest discretion to zero in on abuses, and could just as easily wield it to commit them, as seen in the ongoing East Bay police sex scandal…

To Molest and Rape 

It’s unusual for reporters to actually use the word “rape” in reference to rapist cops:  “A Festus [Missouri cop] charged with rape and domestic assault…has been [given a desk job]…Andrew J. Hirth…was charged Sept. 15…

No Moss

Let’s hope Rolling Stone‘s fortunes follow its credibility down the anti-sex toilet:

[Nicole Eramo] the University of Virginia dean [of students is] suing Rolling Stone for defamation over how she was portrayed in an article about a campus rape report…Sabrina Rubin Erdely [falsely] described a woman named “Jackie” being gang-raped by seven men…and portrayed the administration as not doing enough to help…“I don’t think anyone at Rolling Stone thought of me as a real person,” Eramo said…“You can’t just do drive-by journalism”…Rolling Stone made her “look like the devil”…[even though]…Jackie [had written]…”Dean Eramo has truly saved my life….[she] was helpful and understanding and, above all, compassionate”…Eramo disputed that she ever said any of the [quotes attributed to her in the article and]…no one at Rolling Stone contacted…[her] during the fact-checking process…Jackie forwarded an email to the reporter showing that the dean had set up two meetings with police so Jackie could report the alleged rape to authorities.  A reference to these meetings…was included in a draft of the article but was later edited out…

In other words, Erdely & Rolling Stone knew that the dean had supported “Jackie” in her claim, but willfully chose to depict her as a villain to make it a better story.

Send In the Clowns ooh-so-scary

As clown hysteria continues to mount, institutional responses to it grow increasingly more stupid:

The Russian government warned citizens traveling to Britain to beware of clowns…San Francisco schools went into lockdown during a clown fear wave, and have now claimed the FBI is looking into things…in Concord…a mother [claimed] a “creepy clown” tried to kidnap her 1-year-old child…The woman [supposedly] kicked the clown in the shin and the person fled…Sonoma State University has responded to clown sightings as well as an unrelated person in a gorilla suit…That’s the second…clown-gorilla connection

Meanwhile, elsewhere in California:

Police arrested a juvenile Tuesday following a social media post that suggested “armed” clowns would visit three Hanford schools…police began receiving calls about the post…from [idiots] fearing for their own safety or for the safety of their children…Capt. Karl Anderson attributed the fast resolution to citizens who [snitched]…The Spooky Halloween Super Store…and…Halloween City…said the recent clown scares around the country haven’t hurt sales of creepy clown masks, costumes and decorations…

But while these entrepreneurs are sensibly making money from people’s herd behavior, Target decided to “send a message” that it’s part of the Establishment:  “Halloween costume shoppers won’t be finding any ‘creepy clown’ masks on Target store shelves or online.  The decision was made late last week to pull all clown masks from stores…”  And Snopes is fielding some manifestations of the hysteria:

On 17 October 2016, the Empire Herald web site published a gruesome article about the arrest of a clown after police found eleven human bodies stuffed in a freezer at his Memphis residence…this story…was…a…fabrication intended to exploit…clown hysteria…The Empire Herald is a fake news site that does not publish any factual stories…

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Sex workers will only put up with being misunderstood and harassed and arrested…for so long.  –  Cameryn MooreCynthia Payne

R.I.P. Cynthia Payne

The former brothel owner Cynthia Payne…has died aged 82…She first achieved notoriety in 1978 when police raided a “sex party” at her home in Streatham, south London, that was, in her own words “in full swing…When the case came to court in 1980, I was sent to prison for 18 months…but on appeal, this was reduced to six months and a hefty fine”…In a second trial in 1987, Payne was acquitted of controlling prostitutes…Her colourful life inspired two films, both released in 1987: Wish You Were Here…and Personal Services

The More the Better

thanks…to [the success of] a monthly storytelling event in Manhattan known as “The Red Umbrella Diaries”…sex workers are telling their stories to an even larger audience with the release of a new documentary of the same name…the original storytelling event launched in 2009…[and] was a chance for sex workers to openly share the kinds of stories they had long kept to themselves…Most media about sex work strives to be sexy, says Audacia Ray…but that’s not what the film is about…Ray says she hopes the documentary will “complicate” common notions about sex work…

Above the Law 

Sometimes cops even rape other cops:

A [fairly typical cop]…who stole public funds before faking his own murder also abused his position to bully a junior colleague into sex…Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, 52, was mourned as a fallen hero in Lake County, Illinois after he was gunned down by “armed suspects” on the eve of his retirement.  But investigators revealed…that…he…shot himself in the chest and staged the crime scene because he feared his corruption was about to be exposed.  Gliniewicz…embezzled a “five figure sum” from the Explorers youth training scheme and instead spent it on vacations, mortgage payments and adult websites…in 2009 a letter was sent to then then-mayor, Cynthia Irwin…alleging sexual harassment of a dispatcher…he [also racked up]…complaints from bouncers at local bars for being drunk and belligerent, as well as…[raping] Denise Sharpe Gretz, a [policewoman]…on five occasions…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

The brave heroes of Washington DC put a stop to the menace of rogue twerkers:

A Las Vegas woman has been arrested for sexual assault after she and a friend twerked up against and groped at a male stranger in a D.C. convenience store.  One of the women also put her arms around him and attempted to kiss him…22-year-old Ayanna Marie Knight…[is] charged with third-degree sexual abuse.  If convicted, Knight could face a fine of up to $25,000 and up to 10 years in prison…”The search for the other woman in the video continues,” DCist reports…the man in the video—a D.C. teacher who wishes to remain anonymous—suggested that the women may have been trying to solicit him for prostitution or steal his wallet, and also that they might have been “men dressed like women”…As a proponent of gender-blind law, I understand…men have as much of a right as women not to be grabbed at by strangers in public.  Yet something about the whole business rubs me the wrong way…we seem to be headed toward a world where there can be zero ambiguity about even the mildest romantic or sexual advance without it being considered sexual assault…

Bottleneck (#135)

The narrower the neck, the more “illegal” sex work there will be:

Playboy.com took a peek into “New York’s underground lap dance parties” recently.  Essentially pop-up strip clubs sans the pole dancing, the parties feature pretty women willing to offer lap-dances and sometimes make-out sessions for $20 a song.  They switch locations around the city to avoid hassle from regulators and law enforcement…The piece goes on to…women working these clubs, strangely fixating on the fact these women are “girl next door” types, more wholesome than your average stripper allegedly is.  It’s the sort of distinction you also see made in pieces about “sugar babies,” and seems to work as a defense mechanism for both women working these gigs and men availing their services…While underground lap-dance clubs in New York City may not be new…New York City has also been cracking down on traditional strip clubs, using zoning and liquor laws to shut them down…These measures have also made it incredibly difficult for new strip clubs to open…

Policing for Profit 

Little Tin Gods

People sometimes ask me why I moved out of Louisiana.

…the names of the [cops] who [murdered] 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis…were released to the public.  It didn’t take long for local press to uncover extensive rap sheets for both officers, which included two indictments for aggravated rape.  Derrick Stafford…also has five pending civil suits against him for various complaints of excessive force, including breaking the arm of a 14-year-old girl on a school bus as well as assaulting and pepper-spraying a 15-year-old boy…Norris Greenhouse Jr…is named in several of the same suits for acting in tandem with Stafford…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#445)

With the exception of a few ideologues, the field of economics has pretty much come over to our side:

Peter Antonioni, co-author of Economics for Dummies…described how…criminalising…clients was akin to the economics of a banking crisis…”if you are in the nice guy category [and paying for sex is criminalised] you are probably not likely to take the risk or at least at some level you are going to be less likely to do so.  That then leaves in the market only the customers that the sex worker would prefer to reject.  Because half of their customers have dropped out of the market they are now under pressure to take anything available.”

Vendetta (#568)

They’re “changing hearts and minds”, all right, but against their tyranny:

City leaders are stepping up their attack on sex buyers in Phoenix in the wake of a prominent billboard campaign that began in July.  “This…is going to be a consistent effort for years and years until [Swanee Hunt’s money runs out]”…Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said…Cindy McCain had been [conspiring] with the Polaris Project, an anti-[sex worker corporation]…Angie Bayless is local coordinator for [Swanee Hunt’s front organization] CEASE…“We are changing hearts and minds about prostitution,” Bayless said…

Pearls Firmly Clutched (#571) 

Tits and Sass interviews Suzy Favor Hamilton:

…I wish that every time I express my pride in my own sexuality, or speak with any degree of positiv[ity] about my experience, about fellow sex workers, or about consensual sex work in general, the public did not immediately go to the “she’s not well” assumption.  Listen, I’ll always be bipolar.  I’ll be manic some days.  I’ll be depressed some days.  I’ll be “off” some days.  But the whole idea that any degree of support I offer for sex work and sex workers means I’m not well is insulting…

Against the Tide

With all the real information about sex workers available, and the receding support for prohibitionism, ignorant, pearl-clutching screeds like this are beginning to seem almost quaint:

…About 80 percent who work in the sex industry aren’t there by choice.  They are coerced.  They are threatened.  They are trafficked…These women are beaten.  Their families are threatened.  Their pimps, who are really their captors, hold their car deeds and immigration status and sometimes their families’ safety hostage.  When they aren’t monsters, they’re manipulators who use affection, love and security to lure women and girls deeper into their dark worlds.  Prostitution is now a crime against humanity, and we’re glad to see law enforcement cracking down on it, the pimps who run it and the johns who perpetrate it…We need to support our legislators who push for even tougher laws to punish pimps keeping the girls captive…

Welcome To Our World (#584)

The New York Times apologizes for libeling nail salons, kind of:

In the wake of an exhaustive three-part series by Reason‘s Jim Epstein, New York Times‘ Public Editor Margaret Sullivan has acknowledged that the paper’s May expose of the nail salon industry “went too far” in its claims…alas…she defends the Times‘ slowness to respond to Epstein’s criticism by legitimating epistemic closure of the worst kind:  “Until now, The Times has not responded…because they think the magazine, which generally opposes regulation, is reporting from a biased point of view.”  That’s a pretty amazing admission that the Times will do whatever it can to avoid uncomfortable scrutiny.  Yes, Reason is explicitly libertarian…What that has to do with factual assertions and a very clear, step-by-step refutation of Nir’s account, remains unclear…a Times reporter can have “admirable intentions in speaking for underpaid or abused workers” and the Times‘ public editor can be “glad” to see her colleagues “take on situations in which the poor and voiceless are exploited.”  But when Reason‘s Epstein suggests that illegal immigrants—who are certainly among the poorest and most voiceless souls in America—have a right to improve their lives through hard work, well, that’s just really problematic…

The More the Better (#585) 

The amazing Tara Burns interviews Margaret Cho:

…The burning question on pretty much all the sex workers’ minds was whether (or how) Cho would help us achieve decriminalization and basic human rights.  “I don’t know,” Cho told me when I asked. “I was one, not a great one, but I was around a community for many, many years far after my short career was over.  I loved the sex worker community.  That’s my family…I think that they need to be protected and it should be legalized so that law enforcement protects them.  I’m in the process of learning about what needs to be done.  Fortunately there are a lot of people who can help me learn and talk about it in a more educated way”…

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I have never met anybody who says there will be a day when no one is selling sexual services for money. You will never stop it.  –  Jean Urquhart

Think of the Children! 

No doubt the child was contaminated with sex rays!

A Scottsdale, Arizona private school kicked out a five-year-old boy the day before starting kindergarten…because his dad once worked in porn.  Jay Grdina is now a millionaire CEO of Dolce Bevuto…But before moving into the “lifestyle beverage” industry, Grdina ran the website ClubJenna.com with ex-wife Jenna Jameson…Grdina no longer works in the adult industry, and he also remarried (model Erin Naas) and had two children. Grdina told TMZ that the family enrolled their son Jayden at Scottsdale Christian Academy (SCA) in May after a six-month process of applications and interviews…

Enabling Oppression

I’m glad more people are seeing how loathsome it is for prohibitionists to link sex work to historical American black slavery:

For anti-prostitution campaigns pushing for the criminalization of the sex industry, “slavery” has been decontextualized from Black struggle and repurposed to describe [sex work]…Mobilizing slavery in this way has always seemed a deeply disrespectful appropriation of Black suffering, disrespectful both to our deceased ancestors and to our still-endangered lives as Black folks.  But by hijacking the terminology of slavery, even widely referring to themselves as “abolitionists”, anti-sex work campaigners have not only (successfully) campaigned for funding and legal reform; but they do so without any tangible connections to historical or current Black political movements against state violence.  Indeed in pushing for criminalization, they are often undermining those most harmed by the legacy of slavery…

End Demand

I’m rather glad to see the return of “criminal whore” rhetoric:

…Fall River…stings were sporadic and usually only targeted the would-be customers.  “That’s the wrong approach,” Fall River Police Chief Daniel S. Racine said…undercover [pigs] are now frequently, almost on a weekly basis, driving unmarked vehicles while patrolling areas known for prostitution activity…looking for both the street prostitutes and the johns, and arresting them.  “We’re looking to deter prostitution on both ends, the supply and the demand,” said Racine, who acknowledged that the police department will not completely eliminate what is often called the world’s oldest profession…[a clueless business owner] said…“A lot of the customers are from out of town, and I don’t want to give them that image of Fall River, as if that’s the type of neighborhoods we have, because it’s not”…

In other words, he wants “that type” of neighborhood “cleaned up” so as to prove it never existed.

Pearls Firmly Clutched Fast Girl

Her escorting was “caused” by being bipolar?  Really, Suzy?

…Suzy Favor Hamilton…was a three-time track and field Olympian who had been featured in magazines and who also had a loving family – so fans were shocked in 2012 when she was outed as a high-end escort in Las Vegas.  In her new memoir, Fast Girl, Hamilton says that her bipolar disorder, which had not yet been diagnosed, caused her shocking behavior.  “My bipolar was driven toward sex.  It could have been driven towards drugs and alcohol, or gambling.  I found sex was the biggest high to fuel my mania, which is common with bipolar people,” Hamilton tells People

Catastrophic Consequences (#407)

Jean Urquhart, MSP moves beyond merely “calling for debate”:

Sex workers and charities across Scotland are rallying behind an MSP’s proposal to decriminalise prostitution in the country…HIV Scotland and NUS Scotland have championed the MSP’s consultation, as has Scot-Pep, the sex worker-led charity that advocates for the safety, rights and health of people who sell sex in Scotland…The proposed bill would permit sex workers to work in groups of up to four…laws against soliciting and kerb-crawling would be scrapped…Sex workers would also be permitted to have joint finances with family members or flatmates…

Above the Law (#418)

The French just love these massive DNA fishing expeditions:

…as part of a probe into the rape of a Canadian tourist at police headquarters in Paris…all 120 police officers and civilian staff who were present in the building on the night the rape took place…are being tested over three days…Investigators are trying to find a match for a so far unidentified DNA sample taken from sperm found during the victim’s medical examination…

Last time it was even worse.

Now They Notice

The [Rentboy] crackdown may have felt unprecedented to some, but it’s the public’s response that’s new.  When law enforcement targets sex workers and the websites they use, mainstream outlets and organizations tend to give them a pass.  But with Rentboy, that script has flipped…media and advocacy groups who don’t typically bring a political analysis to sex work responded to the raid primarily as an anti-gay attack, while also calling for an end to the policing of sex workers.  Some American LGBTQ organizations in particular have rallied around the political nature of the raid—in a way women’s rights groups in the United States, when women sex workers are targeted in similar raids, have not.  In fact, it might be the relative silence of women’s rights groups on the Rentboy raid that has provided space for sex workers’ rights to become the main focus of the story…

Ashley Madison (#567) Asley Madison bot tool

It seems I wasn’t the only one who had Ashley Madison pegged as a scam years ago:

…Ashley Madison created tens of thousands of fembots to lure men into paying for credits…To the Ashley Madison “guest,” or non-paying member, it would appear that he was being personally contacted by eager women.  But if he wanted to read or respond to them, he would have to shell out for a package of Ashley Madison credits, which range in price from $60 to $290.  Each subsequent message and chat cost the man credits.  As documents from company e-mails now reveal, 80 percent of first purchases on Ashley Madison were a result of a man trying to contact a bot, or reading a message from one…company executives were in a constant battle to hide the truth.  In emails to disgruntled members of the site, and even the California attorney general, they shaded the truth about how the bots fit into their business plan…

Now They Notice (#567)

Why the fuck are some gay dudes so totally fucking clueless, and announce their ignorance so loudly?

The Rentboy raid sparked a conversation among LGBT organizations who noted that similar, heterosexual-geared sites advertising escort services did not meet similar fates…Sasanka Jinadasa…[of] HIPS, Inc…[says] “Targeting sex work is an indirect way of targeting the LGBT community without calling it outright discrimination”…Becky believes regulating the sex industry…would provide more protection…[Nick] Kinkand…[bloviated] “A lot of people’s biggest complaint about sex work is the fact that there are these women or children that are being trafficked into the country to do this…If it were to become legal, it would reduce that, because…instead of going to…the street corner where these people…have diseases or something, I can go to a reputable place and see a reputable person”…

The most astonishingly-stupid statement in all that astonishing stupidity is the idea that straight escort sites aren’t targeted by cops.

A Load of Farley (#570)

Hilary Hanson of Huffington Post is beginning to distinguish herself as an ally:

Men who pay for sex may be more inclined to sexual violence and have less empathy for women, according a study that made headlines last week.  But…the study’s lead researcher was Melissa Farley, founder and director of…a nonprofit with the stated goal of abolishing prostitution.  The research was funded by a grant from Hunt Alternatives, a private organization with the stated goal of “combating the demand for purchased sex”…

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Did I dream of becoming a sex worker when I was a little girl?  No.  But I didn’t dream about working at McDonald’s either, and yet that was my first job.  –  Celine Bisette

Real People

Good satire sticks close to the truth:

…stripper Nicole Timbers does not live the…exciting and scandalous life many friends had hoped for.  “When we met Nicole, we figured she would have the craziest stories,” said Diana Alvarez…“but our friend Ashlynn’s actually had sex with more guys than Nicole – and she’s a preschool teacher”…When Timbers is not taking off her clothes onstage, roommate Sarah Kelvin-Fan confirms she “mostly just studies for her LSATs” and “wears men’s sweatpants – not even the cute, booty-hugging kind.  She won’t teach me how to give a lap dance, and she seemed kind of annoyed when I asked if she could strip at my birthday party”…

Because We Say So

A report on the havoc wrought by “sex trafficking” hysteria on Nepal:

…The hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid that flow into the country…enable corrupt outfits…to flourish…the groups…[claim that] thousands of Nepali women and girls are lured each year into the sex industry…NGOs…inflate the number of people they’ve helped and the size of the problem…Their shock tactics include street performances featuring young girls being dragged off to brothels by traffickers…In one remote…village, parents pulled their daughters out of school after an NGO performed such a skit for fear that traffickers would kidnap the girls if they left the house…

It Looks Good On Paper

Here’s yet another teary-eyed article breathlessly extolling the virtues of a “safe harbor” law while negating the agency of women, belching up ridiculously-inflated figures and presenting a sales pitch for the Swedish model:  “This bill is consistent…with a…policy shift around the world that recognizes the need to target traffickers, pimps and buyers and move away from criminalizing those exploited in prostitution – predominantly women and girls…

The Course of a Disease

Swedish cultists are so delusional they want disagreeing with them to be illegal:

The Nordic Model Australia Coalition “NORMAC”, has…[called on the government] to cut funding to the Scarlet Alliance and redirect it to [Swedish model proponents]…Scarlet Alliance is clearly focused on lobbying for liberalised sex laws, rather than [promoting belief in]…human trafficking.  Their estimate of the number of [“victims”] is alarmingly low…“Scarlet Alliance’s core beliefs and ideology seem deeply opposed to [believing in Swedish ideology]”…

Above the Law

Sometimes the state mildly punishes rapist cops:

Bradley Schnickel, the…Minneapolis police officer who used the Internet to lure adolescent girls into sex…was sentenced…to 30 months in prison, minus 197 days for time already served…his remaining prison time could be reduced to less than 14 months…Judge James A. Cunningham sentenced Schnickel…to less than one-fourth of the nearly 12-year sentence that prosecutors sought…there were 18 known victims…

And sometimes it punishes their victims instead:

The former madam of an escort service in Hawaii alleges she was sexually abused and extorted by a federal agent she has known since childhood.  Malia Arciero [says]…Ryan Faulkner…forced her to work as his confidential informant….[after handcuffing] her to a table…and sexually [assaulting] her…He told her:  “I’m your handler and I own you.”  Arciero faces 10 years in federal prison after Faulkner arrested her on drug charges in October 2013…Faulkner [has been obsessed with her since]…1997 when she was a 16-year-old [stripper]…

The Law is an Ass

A prostitute and her parents [were] arrested in [a Tennessee sting]…Christy…Huxoll’s parents…were arrested [for]…bringing condoms…[because] it [kept] her off the streets…”  The state expects parents to “control” their 33-year-old daughter, abandon her, or turn her in to the cops.

Bullies With Badges

police officers physically and verbally abused the manager of a tanning salon and massage parlor during her arrest…and [threatened her with death]…the cops [eventually realized they were] on camera…[and looked for the recording to destroy it] but didn’t find it because the video was stored off-site…two of the officers…were accused of abusing an immigrant [sex worker] in a previous lawsuit…

First They Came for the Hookers…

If they can use these tactics against legal businesses, is anyone safe?

…Club Lace…[was] accused of maintaining a house of prostitution…[Phoenix] police began investigating…several years ago…[making] seven traffic stops near the…club…[and interrogating] customers…they stopped a security guard…[and searched] his vehicle [without a warrant,  supposedly finding] numerous used condoms and envelopes containing ledgers of earnings…

Translation:  they threatened the customers and security guard with bogus charges, and promised the guard immunity to keep his mouth shut about the manufactured “evidence”.  Unless you really believe that drivers go around with loads of other dudes’ used condoms, and that brothel managers maintain records with names, sex acts and exact amounts on them.

See No Evil (TW3 #31)

So, would a photo of a “topless” male baby also be banned?

…Heather Bays, a [Toronto] maternity photographer…said her [Instagram] account was deactivated…[the night] before Mother’s Day…[after] someone posted a negative comment on a selfie of her breastfeeding her 20-month-old daughter…Hours later, Bays…received several emails from [Facebook-owned] Instagram saying some of her pictures violated its terms of use…After…a…social media [backlash]…Instagram agreed to reactivate her account but with…seven photographs removed…a horrible, dirty, evil, dangerous selfiebecause [they] showed Bays’…daughter topless…Facebook’s community standards state that it has a “strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved…”

Soap Opera

It really is like a cult:

…Indiana State University students…will…shine a light on human trafficking ahead of next week’s Indy 500…SOAP…volunteers will…visit hotels, bars and strip clubs near the…Speedway to distribute soap labeled with the human trafficking hotline number…”Most people don’t know that human trafficking is the second leading crime worldwide*, and that it happens in Indianapolis too,” [Tracy] Pruitt said. “Unfortunately, victims are sometimes picked up on college and university campuses…Research is still being done on the effectiveness of outreaches like this**, but we do know that at least 20 girls were rescued during the Super Bowl***”…

*No, it isn’t.   **No, it isn’t.   ***No, they weren’t.

King of the Hill

There are eight Ivy League schools, so I’m going to count this bizarre assertion as a claim to the top eight:  “…Milwaukee is known nationwide…as the ‘Harvard of sex trafficking’, [Sandra] Malone said…’It’s pervasive.  Everyone is at risk’…Part of it…is [being] near Chicago…

Pearls Firmly Clutched

Is the Crown Prosecution Service now hiring bad TV writers to produce the scripts for their accusations?

A lesbian madam…forced a record-breaking athlete into prostitution …Tatiana Shmyrova…exploited the Bulgarian former runner after she was lured to Britain with the promise of work…[defendants] were…part of a “ruthless” sex ring which ran a lucrative business “by bartering in human…bodies”, said [an absurd little] prosecutor…

What a Week! (TW3 #336)

Kim Jong-Un’s ex-lover who he ordered to be executed is said to be alive and well.  The Korean singer, Hyon Song-Wol…appeared on state television…[where she] expressed gratitude for Kim’s leadership and pledged to work harder to “stoke up the flame for art and creative work”…

Torture Chamber 

A…mentally ill inmate at [Miami prison]…was [forced] into [a] locked shower [under scalding water]…and…left…unattended for more than an hour [until]…his skin was so burned that it had shriveled from his body…nearly two years after [Darren] Rainey’s death…the…medical examiner has yet to complete an autopsy and…police have not charged anyone…The shower treatment was only one [tactic used]…by…guards to [terrorize] mentally ill patients…In September, another inmate…hanged himself from an air conditioning vent…[leaving] a suicide note…claiming he and other prisoners were sexually and physically abused on a routine basis…

Secret Squirrel (TW3 #344)

Among the latest gadgets…is the MiniBrake:  A remote control for your child’s bike…Go into any AT&T store and you can buy the FiLIP,” a cute little tracking device…Japan has taken kiddie surveillance once step further and developed a prototype…worn on the chest, measuring a child’s heart rate.  If that rate goes up, the…monitor immediately snaps a photo of whatever…the child is facing.  The idea that the child’s heart is racing because she’s running around doesn’t seem to come into play…Parents may go so far as to give their kids ingestibles” — tiny, swallow-able sensors that emit signals that can be picked up by a smart phone.  These already exist, but their signals are weak.  Eventually, these may be strengthened and fine-tuned to measure whatever [biological] metric parents want to know about…

Down Under (TW3 #350)

In New Zealand, sex workers are protected from buyer’s remorse; I’m not optimistic Texas will be that enlightened:  “A Houston…stripper is being sued…by one of her customers…Robert [no last name]…says she owes him about $3,000 worth of Harry Potter DVDs, a laptop and cash…

Traffic Circle (TW3 #402)

We’re seeing more and more stories like this:

…a myth that comes up every year there’s some big…draw like the Super Bowl…[is that] there’s an influx of sex trafficking.  Last week the Comic-Con of the oil and gas industry, the Offshore Technology Conference, came to [Houston], and with it there was an alleged bump in business for…prostitutes…[and] strip-club[s]…but…that’s just not the case, and the whole sex-trafficking myth is usually perpetuated by…faith-based groups…

Whither Canada? (TW3 #413)

While US newspapers print ignorant opinions from cops and prohibitionists, the Ottawa Citizen publishes articles by sex workers:

Member of Parliament Joy Smith…claims that people only engage in prostitution due to “economic need”…As far as I can tell, the overwhelming majority of people…in any field engage in labour because of “economic need”…people work for money, not for fun.  Some of us are lucky enough to wake up every day and feel thrilled about going to work, but most of us probably don’t.  Folks work in the fast food industry for money.  They work in retail for money, and they collect garbage for money.  Do any children dream of doing these jobs when they grow up?  Probably not…We all need to work, and we can’t all be the next Stephen Hawking or Madonna…

The Missing Worddefinitely not trafficking victims, no sirree

As we all know, the New York Times hates “human trafficking”, yet the word is entirely absent from this article about exploited workers in Abu Dhabi.  Their agency is recognized; their motive is correctly stated as money rather than a bad childhood or being abducted by “pimps”; the paper doesn’t call for their work to be abolished or the people who hire them to be prosecuted; there is no talk of sending cops to arrest them under the guise of “rescue”, and Nick Kristof is nowhere to be found.  But of course these workers are men and their work doesn’t involve sex, so that makes it completely different.

Rough Trade (TW3 #417) 

Having attacked his accusers as vengeful prostitutes and attempted to hide evidence of his crimes…Seattle attorney…Danford Grant pleaded guilty…as a jury was being selected…Grant, a former city prosecutor…was…a serial rapist, “obsessed with Asian women,” who preyed on immigrant masseuses…

Dutch Threat (TW3 #418)

Another excellent essay from Felicia Anna:

In the summer of 2007 the city…of Amsterdam [began to]…close…dozens of windows.  Not because they found criminal activities, since they lost every single court case on that…[they] simply…bought out the owners…Where the women have gone…nobody knows…Did the city government offer them…another job?  Did they offer them another place to work?  Did they ever ask…how these girls could now pay the rent to their apartments?  Did they ever ask those girls how they could live without a place to work?  No!  The city government didn’t do anything, for those girls they supposedly were “so worried” about.  Instead, all they did was buy more windows, leaving less room for girls to work in, pushing them away into nothingness…

Choke Point

Gun retailers say the Obama administration is trying to put them out of business with regulations and investigations that bypass Congress and choke off their lines of credit, freeze their assets and prohibit online sales…Operation Choke Point…has prompted some banks to cut ties with online gun retailers, even if those companies have valid licenses and good credit histories…

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You don’t know this world.  You’re making judgments [based] on what you see on television.  –  Suzy Favor Hamilton

Kelly LundySometimes my highly-organized format makes it difficult to write about breaking news stories; if the story is too involved for a short item in “That Was the Week That Was”, but the schedule is too tight to bump anything for a full-fledged column, I either have to postpone my coverage (possibly past the limit of freshness) or just ignore it.  This was the case with the outing of Suzy Hamilton; appearing as it did on Yule Eve, there was simply no way to work it in before King Day and what I wanted to say wouldn’t fit into a TW3 blurb.  This turned out to be a good thing, however; my thoughts about Hamilton, her choices and the judgmentalism and evil-mindedness of the public reaction would barely fill a paragraph, but my opinions of the yellow press coverage are a different matter.  And because I’m going to say these things without raising my voice, perhaps they’ll get more attention now that the media noise has died down.

Regular readers of this blog understand that there is nothing “shocking”, weird or even terribly unusual about an educated, accomplished woman doing sex work; the extremely high income and self-esteem boost alone (Hamilton is known to have a history of depression) are more than enough reason, no matter what filthy-minded reporters and pundits have claimed.  Furthermore, how she conducts her private life is no more anyone else’s business than how gay celebrities conduct theirs, and if anyone disagrees I suggest he insert his opinions (and the computer on which he types them) into the least comfortable orifice available.  While I might question Hamilton’s wisdom in outing herself to some clients, and her morality in continuing to escort (supposedly) against the wishes of her husband, I do that as her sister harlot who knows what our world is actually like, and not as some holier-than-thou, hypocritical ignoramus who has appointed herself moral arbiter over another’s life.  Had she asked me for advice I would have told her exactly what I just wrote, but out of concern for the damage her poor choices might inflict upon her, not for some imagined injury to “society” or “decency”.

shocked old ladyHave you actually read any of the rubbish these pompous busybodies wrote about a woman who never did them any harm?  The pearl-clutching in the original Smoking Gun article is practically audible; it reads like something written by a 70-year-old spinster Victorian schoolmarm rather than by an early-21st century journalist who evidently considers herself urbane:

…she inexplicably shared her true identity with several male clients, believing that her secret was somehow safe with strangers who paid for her company by leaving envelopes stuffed with cash…Hamilton expressed concern that her story would be “sensationalized” by a reporter.  It is hard, though, to imagine how that could occur.  The actual events of the ex-Olympian’s past year already seem like the fever dreams of a Lifetime producer who decided to adapt Luis Bunuel’s Belle de Jour for basic cable…it was…a credulous notion that client and escort were morally bound by some implicit pledge of omerta.  Why would her secret be safe with guys about whom she knew nothing (except that many were paying for sex while their spouse was back home)?  These johns slept with an attractive former Olympian, an All-American girl with a Wikipedia page and a Nike commercial on YouTube.  How could they not boast about their costly Las Vegas escapades?…

The author also brandishes the word “illegal” as though it actually carried moral weight, which I submit makes her far more naïve than Hamilton could ever be.  The Daily Beast was even more astonishingly ignorant, attempting to harass Las Vegas escort services by phone for information on competitor Haley Heston (the agency Hamilton worked for) and publishing Melissa Farley’s paranoid drivel as though it constituted something other than the diseased masturbatory fantasies of a dried-up, deeply frustrated misandrist:

Melissa Farley…says that…whoever is behind Haley Heston is most likely a pimp or group of pimps.  “They are receiving money from prostitution and they have a great deal of control – both physical and mental – over the women that are in their employ”…

Obviously, Hamilton must have been suffering from “false consciousness” when she said, “I take full responsibility for my mistakes. I’m not the victim and I’m not going that route.”

Keith AblowThe only exception to this parade of condemnation came from, interestingly enough, Fox News.  Though their consultant, Dr. Keith Ablow, felt it necessary to include truly moronic statements such as “[prostitution] is extremely dangerous psychologically and medically,” to make some highly questionable associations and to add two rather creepy caveats to his conclusion, these do not ring true with the rest of his article and I suspect they were either demanded by editors or voluntarily inserted by Ablow to soften the blow of an article in which he subtly denies three prohibitionist myths and calls for legalization:

…there are likely women whose interest in being hired for sex is so strong that, for all intents and purposes, it is their “sexual orientation”…these women are not different…from other women (and men) who want to be hurt during sex…A woman wanting to sell herself because she thinks it is exciting is not much more dramatic than a man who wants to dress as a ballerina in order to feel excited…there are [also]…women (and men) in the business of prostitution for whom it carries no stigma and is lucrative.  If we assume that Ms. Hamilton had ten clients a week…then she could have been making $300,000 a year in cash…If she had 20 clients a week (and some of the prostitutes I have treated as a psychiatrist have had 20 clients a week), then she would have made $600,000 a year — in cash…high-priced prostitution is…available in every city.  Millions of American men with families and professions are customers.  And not every prostitute is devastated psychologically by the experience.  As one lawyer and prostitute put it to me…“I suppose that…[it’s] more complicated to have a boyfriend…but I don’t know if it’s more complicated than getting back home from working as a police officer or pediatric neurosurgeon or gynecologist.  Lots of professions are incredibly complicated, emotionally”…I take no moral position on the matter…it is time to legalize prostitution, put in place safeguards to help protect those who participate in it, and, of course, tax it.

In case you’re counting, he denies the myths that sex work is inherently devastating, that hookers see dozens of clients per day and that only a small fraction of the male population are clients.  And though he does seem to buy into the “damaged goods” myth and clearly has a skewed perception of the fraction of whores motivated by psychological drives rather than pragmatic concerns, it’s heartening that he nonetheless sees criminalization as an unproductive evil; furthermore, it’s very telling that a so-called “conservative” news source is actually promoting a more enlightened view of the subject than two other sources which do not share that political bent.

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