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Posts Tagged ‘pimps’

I support sex workers because I was one…it’s a job that’s needlessly shunned by society when frankly we should be worshiped.  –  Margaret Cho

Where Are the Protests? 

Note that absolutely none of the “human trafficking” cases mentioned in this story involve prostitution:

…the West Midlands branch of Hope for Justice has rescued 82 people so far this year.  Many of those were unknown to police…few cases of modern slavery have gone through the criminal justice system.  Only 130 cases that involved human trafficking were successfully prosecuted in 2014-15, representing just one prosecution for every 100…victims [claimed by fetishists]…

That last statement is roughly equivalent to my claiming to be a millionaire, but the bank will only let me have 1% of my money.

Higher Education

A website which purported to connect students with internships in every industry functioned in that manner for five years, from June of 2010.  But at some point after August 1st of this year, the site was taken over by some sort of scammer who planned to use it to exploit wannabe sex workers by offering to “teach them the trade” via an “internship program”.  In other words, a crooked escort service or group of services was trying to trick newbie whores into working for them for free.  Once the sex worker community got ahold of the link and started tweeting it around, the site vanished at some point in the last few days.

The More the Better Margaret Cho

She’s been all over Twitter since, interacting with and following outspoken sex workers:

Margaret Cho…opened up about her former life as a sex worker to her thousands of Twitter followers Thursday, saying of herself and her fellow sex workers: “we were tough and proud…Sex work is simply work.  For me it was honest work.  I was a sex worker when I was young.  It was hard but well paid.  There’s no shame in it”…

Scapegoats

[Connecticut] resident Timothy T. Cutcher denies having sex with dogs or any of his relatives.  However, the 23-year-old man told the Reflector it’s true he’s addicted to sex…Cutcher said he’s “borderline mentally disabled”…

No, it isn’t true, because there is no such thing as “sex addiction”.

Above the Law 

A few hundred down, tens of thousands to go:

…In a yearlong investigation of sexual misconduct by U.S. law enforcement, The Associated Press uncovered about 1,000 officers who lost their badges in a six-year period for rape, sodomy and other sexual assault; sex crimes that included possession of child pornography; or sexual misconduct such as propositioning citizens or having consensual but prohibited on-duty intercourse.  The number is unquestionably an undercount because it represents only those officers whose licenses to work in law enforcement were revoked, and not all states take such action.  California and New York — with several of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies — offered no records because they have no statewide system to decertify officers for misconduct.  And even among states that provided records, some reported no officers removed for sexual misdeeds even though cases were identified via news stories or court records…

Yellow Fever

Alison Bass on the yellow journalism which permeates coverage of sex work:

When it comes to the coverage of sex work or trafficking, the mainstream media seems to forget a basic journalistic principle — the need to get their facts straight…anti-trafficking groups have spread grossly inaccurate and inflated statistics about the number of women and children being trafficked for paid sex in the United States…[Gloria] Steinem…points to the Nordic Model “as being the only system that seems to work for women in the trade.”  In fact, the opposite is true…sex workers themselves say that the…decriminalized model that New Zealand adopted in 2003 is a much more successful approach…why [do] otherwise respectable media drop their journalistic standards when reporting on the sex trade…Is it because they’re so desperate to be politically correct…or is it because the mere mention of women’s sexuality sends normally methodical journalists into a tizzy of sensationalistic misinformation?…

The Lion and the Ox

As I predicted almost 4 year ago, we’ve now reached the point where a mainstream publication can feature an article like this:

…”Trafficking”…is less a clear-cut crime than a call to moral panic.  The vagueness of the definition allows or even encourages governments, organizations, and researchers to claim that there are tens of millions of trafficking victims worldwide on the basis of little more than hyperbolic guesses…the term “sex trafficking”…seems to have been developed by anti-prostitution feminists in the 1990sto describe the migration of women from the collapsing Soviet Union to the United States…Obama also uses the term to refer to children pressed into military service and agricultural laborers forced to work under poor conditions or without pay…the term…often is used to refer to cases in which there is no migration at all…in practice, trafficking does not mean “modern-day slavery.”  Nor does it mean being transported across borders for purposes of sexual exploitation.  Instead, it usually refers to one or more of the following:  being underage and selling sex; illegally immigrating; being subjected to any kind of forced labor or abusive labor practices; engaging in consensual sex work…

Capricious Lusts

The author of this piece fails to link the relevant statistics, so even though what he’s saying is generally true in essence, there’s no way to know if the correlation is as close and unmistakable as is claimed here:

…In October of 2014 the Seattle police department implemented the “Buyer Beware” program…he rate of rape shot up 150% compared to October 2013.  November 2014 the rate of rape shot up 225% compared to November 2013.  December 2014 the rate of rape shot up 80% compared to December 2013.  Statistics for 2015 are not yet available…The rape rate from January 2013 to September 2013 compared to the rape rate from January 2014 to September 2014 were nearly identical with the rate in 2014 being up a slight 4% for the nine month period.  Once the “Buyer Beware” program was implemented in October and the correlating jump in rape for the final three months of 2014, the final three months of 2014 compared to the final three months of 2013, the rape rate was up 151%.   That brought the year over year rate up 28%…

Coming and Going (#335)

Here’s a long, thorough look at Kathryn Griffin and her “prostitution diversion” scam in Houston:

…Griffin is currently under fire from sex worker and human rights advocates who say her tough-love, one-size-fits-all approach is flawed and fails to respect basic human dignity.  People who are arrested for prostitution are not necessarily poor and dependent on drugs, and so-called “rescue-and-recovery” operations that lump sex workers in with victims of sex trafficking have lead to human rights abuses across the globe.  Many activists say Griffin’s habit of thrusting her clients into the limelight…isn’t just manipulative, it’s dangerous…Kamylla claims she never offered [an undercover cop] sexual intercourse, but she could not afford a lawyer.  She called [the 8 Minutes] team…and…asked if they could help her with legal representation.  Instead of connecting Kamylla with an attorney, they connected her with…Griffin…At the time, Adrian Garcia was the sheriff of Houston, and in April he resigned to run for mayor of Houston.  Sex worker activists began connecting the dots on social media.  It turned out that Griffin has Garcia to thank for her program in the Houston jail, along with its $40,000 annual budget.  The activists dug up photos of Griffin and Garcia appearing in public together and were outraged to discover via social media that Griffin’s We’ve Been There Done That participants, many of whom were once held in Garcia’s jail, were asked to volunteer for Garcia’s campaign, and posed with him for photos wearing their organization’s T-shirt.  “Adrian Garcia is basically arresting himself this little army of free labor,” [said] one activist…Sex worker activists obtained audio recordings from some of the meetings that Kamylla attended, and the content made them furious.  In one recording, which is posted on YouTube, Griffin insists that a criminal is a criminal, and criminals hurt people, so even anyone who has “prostituted” even “one time” must admit that they share common ground with rapists and even Charles Manson…

Business As Usual (#442)

She declined the officer’s request“.  Badge-lickers are nauseatingly obsequious, even when they’re talking about a savage would-be rapist:

A shocking video…captures the moment a [cop] brutally beats a mother on the street after “she refused to perform a sex act on him”.  In the clip, Weerasinghe Arachchilage Kanthilatha, a sex worker from Ratnapuara, Sri Lanka, is seen being struck repeatedly…She can be heard screaming out in pain as she lies on the ground…[P.P. Thissera] threatened to “teach her a lesson” before returning a few days later and attacking her with [his] baton.  The incident occurred in September 2014 and caused a public outcry…Kanthilatha and her lawyer have filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court, citing violation of her rights…

Guinea Pigs 

Yet another software package designed to sell whores out to the cops:

A San Diego State University professor and graduate student have developed [software]…that they believe could help law enforcement identify human trafficking victims…[it] can browse though thousands of Internet ads for “escorts” and finding potential victims through certain key words, phrases or other indicators….Murray Jennex…said the knowledge management system he and graduate student Marisa Hultgren developed could be a potential tool for [targeting sex workers for arrest]…“We’re looking for things that indicate young people,” Jennex said. “Things like, ‘Barely legal, fresh, college freshman”…The system they developed also searches for indicators that a person is being confined, such as ads that stipulate in-calls only, meaning a client must come to a specific place.  The system also searches for signs that a victim is being moved from town to town…Posts that suggest an escort is “open minded” and “willing to try anything” also could indicate somebody is being coerced by a trafficker…

So basically sex workers in their early twenties, or who don’t have cars, or who tour, or who do fetish work, are all “trafficking victims”.  The ignorance involved here is truly staggering.

The Face of Trafficking (#567)

Another case of what really happens when a wannabe “pimp” abducts a girl:

An East Bay rapper has been charged with human trafficking and sexually abusing a minor over a period of several weeks, and could spend the next 20 years in prison if convicted.  Joshua Richard Durham…goes by the stage name “Five Hunnet”…Police started investigating the case after the alleged victim — a female runaway who is [16] years old — told her family that Durham had been soliciting her…from Aug. 1 through Aug. 11…[and again] from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3 Durham continued to traffic the girl…and also forced her to perform oral sex on him during that time…

As usual: no cartel, no interstate travel, and victim got away in a very short time. This is absolutely nothing like the myths.  The story has one horrifying element, though: “Some of his lyrics contain references to pimping, and members of the District Attorney’s Office reportedly instructed…police to listen to Durham’s lyrics for potential evidence…”  Can you imagine what crimes the pigs could discover “evidence” for in my fiction?

Here’s what Tara Burns had to say about another highly-publicized recent case:

The public hears about trafficking most frequently in made-up, sensational movies and fundraising tall tales…Did you think sex trafficking was people being forced into prostitution?  That hardly ever happens — if for no other reason than that the customers would freak out…in #TheStory, which Zola has clarified is “based on a true story“, sex trafficking happened when Jessica lied and told her they were just going to dance and the guy was just her roommate (fraud in recruitment).  Women like Zola have been charged with conspiracy to traffick just for posting ads on the Internet…Sex trafficking in real life and the courtroom is so different from sex trafficking on TV that no one even recognizes it…

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What better way to stop people from trading sex for money than taking all their money away?  –  Jamie Peck

Celebrities

I’m nauseated every time the word “illegal” comes out of Dennis Hof’s mouth:

[Disgraced basketball star] Lamar Odom…was found…face down and alone…after spending four days at the Love Ranch…Odom started “throwing up all kinds of stuff” after a 911 operator told them to turn him on his side, Love Ranch owner Dennis Hof [said]…Odom had “spent time socializing with some of my girls,” but wasn’t seen taking any illegal drugs, Hof said…a brothel employee who called 911 reported Odom did cocaine Saturday and had taken up to 10 tabs of a sexual performance enhancer over the past three days…he was found unresponsive with blood coming from his nose and mouth…

Barbie Jane Goodall doll

More women badly in need of lives:

Wendy Tsao has created a collection of feminist dolls all women will want to play with.  Jane Goodall, J.K. Rowling and Malala Yousafzai stand among the ranks of Tsao’s “Mighty Dolls”, a collection of repurposed Bratz dolls meant to inspire young girls to greatness…Australian native Sonia Singh made waves earlier this year by repurposing used Bratz dolls to look like real girls.  She posted the transformations on her Tumblr page, Tree Change Dolls…[they] fetch anywhere from AU$300 (US $219) to AU$1,600 (US $1178) in auctions on eBay.  Tsao says she plans to list her “Mighty Dolls” on eBay in “a few weeks”…

Check Your Premises

Words can’t express how pleased I am to see so many reporters adopting this tone of late:

The police of Hoover, Alabama, provided a prime example of government hypocrisy recently when they claimed to be helping the “victims” of the sex trade…right after arresting seven women in a prostitution sting and releasing their names and photos to the public…Norman McDuffey conflated consensual sex work with sex trafficking and claimed the women he’d just arrested were victims…of the crime they’d just been arrested for…crimes [that cops pretend]…“go…along with prostitution”…have all been shown to decrease substantially when sex work is decriminalized…To use them as justification for further arrests is like pouring gasoline onto a fire and getting upset when it flares up…and then pouring on some more, because you still don’t get it…

Another Example of Swedish “Feminism”

Only the willfully ignorant imagine Sweden to be a “feminist” country:

…Undercover footage shot by reporters…showed doctors across the country agreeing to perform illegal tests for religious families to determine whether or not their daughters had had sex…Human rights groups have condemned the practice.  Liesl Gerntholtz, of the Human Rights Watch [said]…”In a country that internationally has played a leading role in protecting women’s human rights, it was almost unthinkable to me that this would be happening in a country like Sweden”…

Droit du Seigneur

Pimping underage girls is another of the crimes (like rape and domestic violence) that cops commit in far greater proportions than members of the general public:

…two [Chicago cops]…are accused of sex-trafficking a 14-year-old girl and there may have been other victims as well…[they] were first caught with child pornography, but as Internal Affairs investigators looked further into the case, they uncovered additional evidence the [pigs] had been using some online web pages to advertise the girl, or girls, for prostitution…

Dirty Amateurs

There should be a law forcing amateurs to get regularly tested for STIs:

…monogamy…isn’t necessarily any better for our health than being consensually nonmonogamous…consider the results of a study I recently published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine…people in consensually nonmonogamous relationships reported more lifetime sex partners than those who were monogamous (6.4 vs. 3.9, respectively)…about three-quarters of people in open relationships said they currently had multiple partners; however, it turned out that nearly one-quarter of monogamous participants did, too…compared to people in open relationships, monogamous people reported using condoms less often with all partners (primary and secondary) and were less likely to have ever been tested for STIs.  In other words, a large number of people in “monogamous” relationships were cheating, they weren’t telling their partners about it, they weren’t using protection reliably, and they weren’t getting tested to see whether they’d picked up any infections along the way…There was actually no difference between monogamous and consensually nonmonogamous participants in reported rates of sexually transmitted infections…

Saving Them From Themselves

A woman dares to challenge the nonsense that young women are asexual “children” without agency:

…I had [a webcam] arrangement with around five or six boys in my year at school when I was 13 years old…They would usually ask me to strip, sometimes half-naked, sometimes completely…After a blissful year of camming, my entire life as I knew it flipped on its head in the space of a day.  One of the boys told his mother, or maybe she found out some other way.  And despite my activities being more or less widely known throughout the male population of my year at school, the fact that it was now known outside of the sanctioned circle turned it unacceptable…Despite my peers and teachers unequivocally agreeing that what I had done was Wrong and Bad, I was never offered any form of comfort, guidance, or support at school.  At home, my diary was taken off me and analyzed for further evidence of sexual misconduct; a strict curfew and constant surveillance of my goings-on was put in place…in…my camming days, I remember being at peace with myself.  I wanted to be sexual.  I chose to engage in sexual activity…The camming never changed anything in me while it was happening; it was the reaction that destroyed my perception of myself and my sexuality…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#331) Playboy brand

“…instead of calling the process by which we limit our expression of dissent and wonder ‘censorship’, we call it ‘concern for commercial viability’.”  –  David Mamet

Playboy’s recent decision to stop publishing nude photos marks a watershed moment in media, as the porn pioneer buttons up and turns its back on what made it famous.  But the company’s core has had little to do with pornography for a long time…Over the course of a decade, Playboy has steadily transformed itself from a publishing company to a company that sells bunny drawings to T-shirt manufacturers.  Revenues from licensing Playboy merchandise went from $37 million in 2009 to $65 million in 2013…about half the company’s revenues at the time.  Dumping the brand’s association with nudity, however mild compared to online porn standards, gives it a better image in countries where government policies towards pornographers can be highly critical—which just happen to be the two most populous countries in the world…Playboy earns 40% of its revenues from China…“In…Asian markets, Playboy has positioned itself as a lifestyle brand for sophisticated, suave, fashion-conscious consumers by working with strong licensees in premium mass-market apparel, sportswear, eyewear etc,” said Torsten Stocker…at AT Kearney…magazine sales, on the other hand, have been a lost cause for some time…

Broken Record (#419)

Poor North Carolina; the only big event it can pretend to be a magnet for gypsy harlots is ludicrously pathetic:

Beginning Saturday and running through Oct. 22, an estimated 75,000 people will flock to High Point from around the world to buy, sell and market furniture, accessories and design services.  The twice-annual market is the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world…there’s a dark side to any temporary population boom…“The statistics show that any time there is a large gathering of people…victims of sex trafficking are usually brought in,” Sandra Johnson…of Triad Ladder of Hope [said]…

Gift Horse

Pay attention, sex worker activists; this is NOT a pro-decriminalization article but rather a pro-Swedish model one.  Swedish model proponents fraudulently refer to their evil, misogynistic regime as “decriminalization” in order to fool people into thinking it is supported by groups like Amnesty International, when in actuality it still criminalizes sex workers’ clients, partners, families and associates, infantilizes sex workers themselves and pathologizes our profession.  If the tragedy porn that makes up the bulk of this article and the penultimate line (“We should be focusing on arresting those who sell or buy victims of trafficking“) weren’t already dead giveaways, the source of the propaganda – Washington, DC “rescue” profiteers  FAIR Girls – should certainly have been.

It Looks Good On Paper (#543)

Once again: “safe harbor” laws are nothing but evil bullshit designed to distract the naive from the evils of criminalization:

…On 29 May, President Obama signed the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act, which gives preferential consideration for some federal grants to states that have enacted a “safe harbor” law.  [Such] laws…universally require some form of law enforcement arrest or protective custody…being prosecuted for prostitution as a minor in family court in most states may result in court supervision and institutionalization in a geographically isolated and restrictive “staff secure” facility until the age of majority…In the prosecution of adult offenses, indeterminate commitment is regarded as unconstitutional, and even in juvenile criminal courts, it is generally seen as a drastic and final step.  By contrast, family courts often use indeterminate adjudications, effectively keeping non-criminal youth tied to the judicial system, which is what this new law would now impose on minors who…engaged in survival sex work…

Between the Lines

Most of this story is just the usual cop-fellating coverage of an “Operation Cross Country” pogrom, but I would like to point out that “We have dope guys that have stopped selling drugs and have started selling human beings” is just Copese for “we’re going to keep targeting the same people, but we’re using this new excuse because you’ve stopped swallowing the old one”.

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Mainstream feminism rejects sex work as an acceptable choice.  So…I don’t describe myself as an adherent to a political philosophy that wants to eliminate me.  –  Mistress Matisse

Five Women in Whitechapel 

Almost certainly not:

They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper [is] more than 800 pages in length…Michael Maybrick was a hugely popular singer and composer in the Victorian era, who is virtually forgotten today – for reasons that Robinson believes are no accident…Maybrick was close friends with Sir Arthur Sullivan and the painter Frederick Leighton, among many other prominent public figures.  Both Sullivan and Leighton were Freemasons, as was Michael Maybrick.  He was…on the Supreme Grand Council of Freemasons, whose members also included the Prince of Wales…Maybrick was 47 at the time of the murders; a bachelor and, [author Bruce] Robinson believes, homosexual…

Yes, it’s a new version of the Masonic theory.

Above the Law rapist cop Jeff Sowers

When you’re a cop, rape becomes “official misconduct”:

A [Tennessee cop]…who resigned amid allegations of [raping prisoners]…pleaded guilty…to one count of official misconduct…Judge John Dugger sentenced Jeff Sowers to 18 months in jail…Dugger denied a request by Sowers’ attorneys for judicial diversion, which would have allowed for Sowers’ record to be expunged after his sentence…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Such a lot of stupid writing on something that not only doesn’t exist, but will never exist in the way and on the timescale these idiots are wanking to the fantasy of:

…a recent report claims intimacy between robots and humans will be more common than that between two people by 2050.  The work, written by futurologist Dr. Ian Pearson, purports that engaging in virtual sex acts will be as prevalent in 2030 as our engagement with porn today, and that the majority of people will own sex toys that employ an alternate reality in some way come 2035…

Storyville (#139)

Over the last 150 years, rights for sex workers have…diminished, according to West Virginia University journalism professor Alison Bass.  In her book Getting Screwed: Sex Workers and the Law…Bass surveys the history of laws regulating prostitution in America and abroad.  In the past and today, Bass finds, sex workers have been marginalized by stigma that portrays them as immoral, dangerous, even diseased figures. B ut while the stigma hasn’t changed, the laws have—in many cases…for the worse…

Dutch Threat

Lawheads are completely unable to comprehend the bottleneck effect:

Entrepreneurs in Amsterdam who want to open a brothel must speak at least one common language with the sex workers they rent space to, according to a…ruling handed down by the European Court of Justice.  The court [claimed] the decision as…a way to guarantee the safety of the women, [reduce] human trafficking, and…help prevent pimping…and [pretended it] was…not discriminatory in any way…the court also noted the Council of State’s notion that the seeming overreach in authority was meant as a protection of public order, and that being able to converse with a sex worker allows a brothel owner the possibility of stopping child prostitution…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Because nobody would care about a headline reading, “Man minds his daughter while mother works”:

A Michigan man held his 9-month-old daughter in a motel room while the baby’s mother had sex with another man for money…Derohn Wilburn…is charged with…felony promoting prostitution and misdemeanor child endangering…Melissa Coleman…is charged with misdemeanor child endangering and prostitution…police released the baby to a family member.  She was unharmed…

Played Out

I don’t know who Robert Fullinwider is, but I thank him for taking the time to read through Moran’s drek so as to be able to rip it to shreds:

…Moran is not content to offer her particular life-story…She also sets herself up as the Universal Prostitute, a woman whose experiences define prostitution and trump the “experiences” of anyone else — sex worker, academic, or otherwise — who views prostitution differently than she does. She is not content to let her story speak for itself but instructs the reader on the proper conclusions to draw, and engages in arguments based on her experiences and “research”…Moran writes: prostitutes are “coerced” into prostitution (pp. 49, 227); they have no “choice” (p. 161); they have no “free will” (p. 201); they act out of “desperation” and “destitution” (pp. 43, 96)…Moran…[claims] she didn’t consent to prostitution because “it is not possible to consent to a lifestyle you don’t comprehend” (p. 50).  Yes it is.  People do it all the time.  “I didn’t know marriage was going to be like this!”  “I didn’t know how stressful being a parent would be!”  “I didn’t know military life would be this tough!”  [She claims] she didn’t consent to prostitution because she wasn’t an adult and children can’t consent (pp. 50-51).  Yes they can.  Society frames laws that say people below certain ages can’t “consent” – to contracts, to mortgages, to sexual relations, and the like – but the “no consent” here is a legal fiction…a sixteen year-old girl who finds prostitution utterly repulsive, revolting, and disgusting, and who is “desperate to escape,” yet who passes up on an opportunity to get out of the trade because she’s unwilling to be bound by any rules, is a person who’s made a choice— a bad choice, to be sure, but a real choice…Moran…speaks of allowing herself to be coerced (an odd locution) into prostitution by her boyfriend.  What did her boyfriend do?  Did he beat her?  Did he threaten her?  No, he “suggested” that she turn tricks; he “encouraged” her (pp. 47, 186)…Moran seems to think you haven’t acted freely unless you are as happy as a lark with what you’ve chosen (p. 227); that you are not self-determining unless you are “controlling the totality of your life” (p. 175).  These are just fundamentally unserious engagements with the notions of freedom and self-determination.  We always act under constraints, we never control the totality of our lives, and we are often unhappy with what we’ve chosen, just less unhappy than with the alternatives…

Rooted in Racism (#429)

Sweden’s “liberal reputation” is bullshit:

…a recent report by the United Nations…concludes that a rising level of racist violence and “Afrophobic” hate crimes in Sweden are “an extensive social problem”.  “There continues to be a general Swedish self-perception of being a tolerant and humane society, which makes it difficult to accept that there could be structural and institutional racism faced by people of African descent,” says the report…The country’s official [lie] of equality and respect for human rights “blinds” it to the racism faced by African-Swedes, it says.  Hate crimes against the 200,000 or so black people…in Sweden increased by more than 40% between 2008 and 2014…with more than a fifth of incidents last year involving violence…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#505)

On Working It, the magazine at the center of the stripper labor rights movement in Portland:

…Each magazine brings together about 50 pages of writing and art by sex workers from around the country.  In addition to permanent sections including “Client Hall of Shame” “Best/Worst Tip$” “Tales from your Shift” and art, each volume of Working It has a theme…After Danzine went dormant, [Matilda] Bickers and Portland’s sex worker activism also went relatively dormant.  [SWOP] took over Danzine’s bad date list.  In 2005, Bickers and her friends tried to start a dancer union — “but that failed miserably, and I was really burnt out for a while,” Bickers says.  In the following years, Bickers worked at strip clubs and…graduated from Portland State University.  “I kind of never stopped doing sex worker activism,” Bickers says…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#550)

The history of the concept of sex addiction is a complex, somewhat contentious one…I’ve often cited the concept back to the initial writings of Patrick Carnes…Now, three New Zealand historians have contributed a wealth of astounding, rich and often surprising information to the issue…Sex Addiction, A Critical History…represents a remarkable detailing of the troubling, often hidden, history of this concept…Reay and his coauthors found powerful writings by Hatterer from the 1960’s and 70’s, where he blamed a sexually addictive process for sexual excesses. Powerfully, they detail [Dr. Lawrence] Hatterer’s disturbing history of treating homosexuality as an illness, and the way he treated homosexuality “like an alcoholic”…in his writings…from its inception, the concept of sex addiction has been applied to treatment of homosexuality as an illness…

If You Want Something Done Right…

I have the most awesome friends:

…Mistress Matisse…heard about Heather’s experience and was determined to help.  Through other sex workers she tracked Heather down, called her and booked a flight to West Virginia.  She showed up at Heather’s door…organized fund-raising, lined up medical assistance and connected Heather with nonprofit help.  This isn’t a new role for Matisse.  She’s worked as a sex worker in various capacities since she was 19.  But as she’s gotten established in Seattle, she says, “I have gotten to the point in my career where it is in many ways self-sustaining.”  As a result, she’s had more time to devote to activism.  Matisse was there to help Heather because she’s made it her business to help sex workers who are in crises.  I talked to Matisse about her activism, her work with Heather and why sex workers are the best ones to help sex workers…

Amnesty At Last

Here’s an NPR show which purports to present a “discussion” of the Amnesty International position statement on decriminalization, but which was designed from the get-go to promote prohibitionist propaganda by stacking the panel three to one (Swanee Hunt, Rachel Moran and Andrea Powell) vs. Maxine Doogan.  Unfortunately for the antis, Maxine had logic and facts on her side and acquitted herself quite well.  What you won’t hear:  Sol Finer of SWOP-Seattle called into the live show and Moran absolutely lost her mind, screaming and shouting at Sol in such a clearly unbalanced manner that the tirade was edited out of the archived version of the show.  So much for NPR’s commitment to the truth.

New Excuse (#576)

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Sex work is the most pervasive profession for a reason: acquiring human connection is essential for life.  –  Jerome NicholsEric Mischel

Droit du Seigneur

Most cops think they’re nobles, but this one thinks he’s King David:

A Cowetta County, Georgia District Attorney, Peter Skandalakis…has said that his office will not pursue charges against an officer who used his special badge powers to have several men arrested and thus detained while he dawdled their romantic partners.  Luthersville Police Department Officer Eric Mischel became involved in several affairs with women in relationships with men whom he violated…Even though an investigation has revealed a mountain of unscrupulous and unlawful behavior, he will not be charged because D.A. Scandalous says he was unable to find evidence that he broke his oath of office…

The More the Better

A few of my favorite lines from “6 Reasons to Hire a Sex Worker“:

…a good sex worker will do their best and that’s more than you can expect from a lot of volunteer sex partners…Pros are professionals; they know what they’re doing and make more money when you have fun.  The better sex they offer you, the more likely you are to return…Sex workers have experience and wisdom to share with you.  They can offer you lessons in an afternoon some people take years to acquire…You’d never say no a driving lesson before getting your license…

The Last Shall Be First

Somehow I doubt this will stop morally-retarded politicians (pardon the redundancy):

…OSHA now requires all employers under its jurisdiction provide employees with restroom facilities…According to the new guidelines, “Restricting employees to using only restrooms that are not consistent with their gender identity, or segregating them from other workers by requiring them to use gender-neutral or other specific restrooms, singles those employees out and may make them fear for their physical safety.  Bathroom restrictions can result in employees avoiding using restrooms entirely while at work, which can lead to potentially serious physical injury or illness.”  The new memo states employers must accommodate their employees based on which gender that employee identifies with…

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

millions of…sex workers…[are] anxiously waiting for [India’s] highest court to hand down a ruling which they hope will finally clarify the age-old profession s legal status.  Soliciting is illegal in India along with running a brothel and pimping, but the law, an archaic throw back to British colonial times, is vague on prostitution itself.  Sex workers are hoping the Supreme Court’s ruling will force the government to decriminalise the industry.  They say they are tired of being randomly targeted by police and sent to correction homes where they say conditions are worse than jails…

With Friends Like These…

Please, David Rosen, become a prohibitionist; if your attempt to hurt us is as totally wrong as your attempt to “help”, it’ll be a great pro-decrim argument:

…The real victims of commercial sex industry are the women, girls and some young men who are forced (or “choose”) to work in the sex trade.  These people most often live in poverty, have suffered physical and/or sexual abuse, lack affordable housing, have limited education, [and] have few job opportunities…The decriminalization of prostitution can help bring sex workers — the real victims of this “victimless” crime— out of the social shadows so they could secure labor rights, unemployment benefits, health care and life insurance…sex trafficking has reached epidemic proportion, with between 100,000 and 300,000 people annually at risk.  The Department of Homeland Security reports the average age for a girl sex worker at between 12-14 years and 11-13 years for boys.  The decriminalization of prostitution can help contain sex trafficking…

Science!

Another entry in the “climate change causes ‘sex trafficking’!” genre:

Pope Francis said he…believed the United Nations needed to play a central role in the fight against global warming…“the trafficking of human beings…has been created by climate change,” the pope said.  The remarks followed a day-long meeting of mayors from around the world…hosted by the Vatican…and…began by hearing [lurid tales] from two Mexican women who [claim to be] victims of modern-day slavery…

Unfortunately, this Pope seems to have completely swallowed the “sex trafficking” myth.

Policing for Profit

Just in case you don’t believe cops & politicians are completely out of touch:

An assistant district attorney in…Oklahoma lived rent-free in a house confiscated by local law enforcement under the practice of asset forfeiture.  His office paid the utility bills.  He remained there for five years, despite a court order to sell the house at auction.  Another district attorney used $5,000 worth of confiscated funds to pay back his student loans.  These are just a few of the gems unearthed during a recent hearing on Oklahoma authorities’ liberal use of asset forfeiture to take property from suspected criminals and spend it on personal enrichment…State Sen. Kyle Loveless…has sponsored a bill to…prohibit asset forfeiture unless a suspect was actually convicted of a crime, and stipulate that the money go to the state’s general fund…Unsurprisingly, cops are desperate to preserve the practice…We can’t stop people from having drugs unless we are allowed to steal more money has to be one of the least-convincing arguments for maintaining the drug war…

Hall of Shame (#428) 

Your periodic reminder that Dennis Hof is a revolting excuse for a human being:

…Dennis Hof…has started an exploratory committee to pursue a run for US Senate in Nevada, and created a plan to end sex trafficking…he plans to run on the libertarian ticket…Sex trafficking is an American epidemic far more dangerous than Ebola…and…the third biggest black market industry after drugs and arms trafficking…Hof…believes his experience with legal prostitution proves that decriminalizing the oldest profession would end one of the world’s biggest human rights issues…

Hof has never spoken in favor of decriminalization; he speaks in favor of legalization, and regularly implies that women are too stupid and weak to have sex for our own reasons without crony pimps holding our leashes.  He’s a “libertarian” like I’m a socialist.Hanna Fanni

Whore Detection

It isn’t only in the US that black women are routinely profiled as whores:

…on July 8th…the hotel staff at [the] five-star…Mövenpick Hotel [in Dubai] refused to serve [a Nigerian woman named Hanna Fanni ]…when she visited the hotel’s popular West Beach Bistro & Sports Lounge with her black American friend…“They suspected us of being prostitutes…solely because of the colour of our skin.  I have lived here for 10 years and have never been treated in such a disrespectful and despicable manner…First the waitress refused to serve us and then a security guard ordered us to leave the hotel.  At one stage he was ready to engage with us physically…he kept telling us that the bar didn’t allow unaccompanied women…[but] there were several tables occupied by women.  When I pointed to them, he said he was merely following orders…I showed [the bar manager] my business card…his face contorted in panic as it dawned on him that they had racially profiled the wrong people.  But instead of making amends, he said the security guard had asked us to leave as some black women had come in earlier and solicited their guests”…the hotel tried to make amend but they were so humiliated they had to leave…

Repeat Offenders (#449) 

Prohibitionists cut into street workers’ income by hanging around them:

They are a band of Christian soldiers who walk Akron’s streets looking for prostituted women.  Their sole goal is to pray that the weighty chains that bind these women to their lifestyles will be severed.  To tell them that there is a God who is mightier than their pimps.  And to say that He loves them for who they are — not because they can turn tricks.  The men and women who make up this army are part of RAHAB, a nonprofit ministry of hope.  To make themselves more accessible to those who are forced to sell their bodies, they work out of a house on the east side of Akron.  They say the girls who have been coerced onto the streets…are victims. And the…mission is to help them recover from the atrocities of human trafficking…

Seizing Power

Backpage.com is suing the sheriff in Chicago over his successful campaign to urge credit card companies to cut ties with the classified ads company…[the] lawsuit…[alleges] that…Thomas Dart…[is] censoring the company and its customers’ right to free speech…“Sheriff Dart’s actions to cripple Backpage.com and all speech through the site are an especially pernicious form of prior restraint,” the complaint says.  “He has achieved his purpose through false accusations, innuendo, and coercion, whereas, if he had brought suit directly or Cook County had attempted to pass a law to shut down the website, Backpage.com would have had a fair opportunity to respond and defeat such efforts, given well-established law”…

The Scarlet Letter (#553)

Unfortunately, the writer felt compelled to counter SWOP’s statements with anti-whore propaganda:

…”I’m a sex worker.  I’m not coerced.  I’m not trafficked.  I’ve been a sex worker my entire life,” [said Liz] Coplen…of the Sex Workers Outreach Project in Tucson.  Coplen said many women enter…sex work to make money.  The women on these sites range from college students, to single moms, to professionals with a side job.  Their clients also run the gamut, from police officers…to doctors, lawyers, soldiers and college professors…

Ashley Madison (#557) 

News that hackers are threatening to expose the personal information of the affair website AshleyMadison.com’s 37 million users undoubtedly has its members panicking.  The rest of us, though, are thinking, “Thirty-seven million?”  That is a whole heck of a lot of people who are looking to have affairs—roughly equivalent to the entire population of Poland.  But…only 2.3 million of those members are active users…(Think:  The population of Queens, New York.)  Disparities between total members and active users are typical with dating sites.  PlentyOfFish boasts 100 million registered users…but 3.6 million active daily users…OkCupid has 10 million active users…one in 10 dating profiles…are fakes made by scammers or spammers.  The rest are users who joined a given site and are no longer active—maybe they found love or just gave up on the whole proposition…

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Investors and sex workers already know each other…frequently intimately.  –  Bardot Smith

Feminine Pragmatism 

It seems to me that these women knew exactly what they were doing:

Members of a U.N. peacekeeping mission engaged in “transactional sex” with more than 225 Haitian women who said they needed to do so to obtain things like food and medication, a sign that sexual exploitation remains significantly underreported in such missions…About a third of alleged sexual abuse involves minors under 18…And widespread confusion remains on the ground about consensual sex and exploitation…For rural women, hunger, lack of shelter, baby care items, medication and household items were frequently cited as the “triggering need”…urban and suburban women received “church shoes”, cell phones, laptops and perfume, as well as money.  In cases of non-payment, some women withheld the badges of peacekeepers and threatened to reveal their infidelity via social media…

Setting Women’s Rights Back a Century

Amherst says even unconscious men are morally superior to women:

An Amherst College student…accompanied a fellow student back to her dorm room after drinking in February 2012. While he was blacked out, she performed oral sex on him.  Nearly two years later, she would accuse him of sexual assault.  And under Amherst’s guilty-until-proven-innocent…hearing standards, the accused student was expelled…John Doe — is suing the college for denying him due process.  His lawyer had discovered text messages that prove the accused student did not initiate the encounter and in no way sexually assaulted the accuser.  Despite this evidence, the college refused to reopen Doe’s case…Doe was not allowed to directly cross-examine his accuser and could only write down questions for the panel to ask her, leaving no room for follow-ups…the accuser said during her hearing that she only texted one friend to help her handle the assault as she felt “very alone and confused”…Rather, the accuser texted her friend “Ohmygod I jus did something so fuckig stupid” [sic throughout].  She then proceeded to fret that she had done something wrong and her roommate would never talk to her again, because “it’s pretty obvi I wasn’t an innocent bystander”…

J’accuse (#42)International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Strauss-Kahn listens during a news conference in Vienna

Was this outcome ever in doubt?

Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is not guilty of “aggravated pimping”, a French court has ruled.  A judge in Lille described…DSK…as a “libertine” and a “customer”, but said he was not a pimp…

Under Every Bed 

I wonder sometimes if the reporters who write pap like this realize how ridiculous they sound:

A message to those who would traffic in human life:  A crackdown is coming.  New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas plans to sharpen the state’s focus on investigating and prosecuting human trafficking crimes – and has requested a $750,000 federal grant to roughly double the number of personnel dedicated to such cases…Human trafficking is an underreported crime that too frequently goes uninvestigated…New Mexico…has prosecuted fewer than two dozen cases since an anti-human-trafficking law went into effect in 2008. But that number belies the real extent of the crimes committed…[Balderas’ toady] said “The numbers don’t really reflect the human trafficking that is happening in New Mexico…we know this is a rampant, billion-dollar industry.”

Skin To Skin (#315)

criminalisation of clients has negative effects on the safety, wellbeing and health of sex workers.  Yet there is another side to the problem – the sexual fulfilment of vulnerable clients, such as those with a disability…Clients are often portrayed as men who enjoy degrading women and even violent characters who like to abuse them.  But…research…contradicts this view…Tuppy Owens, sex therapist and founder of the TLC Trust, which connects people with disability with sex workers, argues the effects of criminalising clients would be tragic for people with disability…while many clients will simply go underground to avoid being caught if criminalisation becomes a reality, this is less of an option for people with disabilities.  Many rely on a third party to help them access sex services…We should promote rather than restrict initiatives that allow them to explore their sexuality in a safe and mutually respectful way with a…sex worker.

Pimping the Pimp

If Patricia Spencer doesn’t pace herself, she’ll burn out her Hitachi in no time:

…we’re pretty fortunate in Las Vegas because we have a full-time unit dedicated to vice and sex trafficking-related activities.  That’s why we’re unique, and that’s why we get so much exposure to everything going on, because we see it every day…If you publish an article…about a prostitution-related incident, and you read the comments at the bottom, it’s very discouraging because the comments…are almost always negative towards the police doing this type of investigation…the public does not understand…that 99.9% of the women are trafficked.   They’re beaten.  They don’t keep the money, and they are in a life that they can’t escape from.  The amount of juveniles that are being trafficked is astronomical…People are getting annihilated, and all for money…they’re enslaved into this life…It’s almost like addiction for these women.  They need treatment programs, just like addicts…Their kids are kidnapped and held from the victim a lot…My love and passion has always been chasing and going after gang members, and I can see that gang members have now evolved into pimping…we’re seeing a great deal of these girls turning into trick-rollers…if they have a quota to meet, they would much rather meet that quota by stealing than having to turn tricks all night.  I mean, who wants to do that?  It’s much easier, and there’s more money…

A woman who’s never done sex work (or any other useful labor) stating that theft is easier than fucking is a perfect example of the warped police mentality.

To Protect and Serve (#413)

Undercover inspections are one of vice unit’s main tactics in making sure San Diego’s strip clubs adhere to what some consider to be the most restrictive adult-entertainment ordinance on the West Coast…from April 20, 2013, to June 6, 2014, detectives from the vice unit visited Cheetahs on ten occasions…In March 2014, nearly a dozen [of them forced] the dancers to pose for photos in their lingerie…Two lawsuits…were soon filed…and [the city retaliated by revoking] their nude-entertainment business permit…a…former vice detective [says] “Vice unit is a club…detectives…go drinking every night.  When they decide to target a place they’ll send in vice cops, narcotics, code compliance to find violations.  Once they get a hard-on, they will do whatever they need to do”…

Property of the State 

I suspect Georgia politicians will close this loophole almost immediately:

Georgia prosecutors have dropped the murder charges brought against 23-year-old Kenlissa Jones, who attempted to abort her pregnancy at around five months by taking an abortion drug that she ordered online.  The drug sent Jones into early labor, delivering a child that allegedly was alive but died soon thereafter.  Jones was originally charged with malice murder and possession of a dangerous drug…The…district attorney’s office is still charging Jones with misdemeanor possession of a dangerous drug…(misoprostol).  But it dropped the murder charges after District Attorney Greg Edwards realized that…”although third parties could be criminally prosecuted for their actions relating to an illegal abortion…as the law currently stands in Georgia, criminal prosecution of a pregnant woman for her own actions against her unborn child does not seem permitted.  Applicable criminal law and statutes provide explicit immunity from prosecution for a pregnant woman”…

Another Fine Mess

Bardot Smith points out that sex workers aren’t only on the forefront of new technologies; we often drive their development:

…while women indirectly control the overwhelming majority of major purchases being made, they have limited exposure and access to the development of these new systems and tools.  The adult industry is the exception.  [It] and the financial sector…have always been connected…as women are always directly linked to the movement of resources in an economy…Nearly all men enjoy the…commercial sex industry in some way.  Venture capitalists are certainly no exception, and the finance industry in general has a long and storied love affair with the working girl…the end goal is always, unapologetically, a direct transfer of wealth to women…sex workers have long driven major revolutions in technology:  still photography, video cameras, telephone services, VCR, peer-to-peer computing, phone and video chat, and streaming.  They have also been at the forefront of innovating new business models for content, communications, and services themselves…And yet…despite the fact that adult content drives 30% of internet traffic, and the fact that companies are profiting from the traffic, ads and services involved in the industry, the women who power that capital flow are treated like criminals…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#442)

How much of this is due to the end of Somaly Mam’s disinformation, and how much to rescue industry repositioning?

The number of minors working in Cambodia’s sex industry is on the decline…A study by the International Justice Mission, which closely monitors the issue, shows a decline in the prevalence of girls under the age of 17 in brothels and other venues.  The IJM report found the prevalence of underage girls declined from around 8 percent to just over 2 percent from 2012 to 2015.  Holly Burkhalter, IJM’s vice president of government and advocacy…[said] Cambodia is “no longer the world’s No. 1 destination to buy a child,” though the threat of sex trafficking remains high…

IJM is one of the most notorious of all the “rescue” organizations, so what are they up to?McDonald's tattoo

Soap Opera (#447) 

The “trafficking tattoo” trope has taken on a life of its own:  “Some have bar codes.  Others are marked with their pimp’s name and phone number.  Branded like cattle, victims of human trafficking recovered in Pennsylvania could soon apply to the state to have any tattoos from their pimps surgically removed…

Blunt Instrument (#516)

“Sex trafficking” used as an excuse to destroy and loot businesses against which there is literally no evidence of criminality:

A 10-month investigation uncovered nearly a dozen Utah massage parlors being used as fronts for sex trafficking…the [allegations] led to the questioning of more than a dozen women and one man…[but] no charges have been filed.  “Our hope is to find evidence of trafficking in person [sic],” said Attorney General Sean Reyes…[who also pretended]  there is a lead person who moves women around to different fronts, collects money and sends it to the women’s home country.  The first words out of one woman’s mouth when investigators arrived was, “Help me. Please, please help me,” he said…

Yes, Mr. Reyes, that’s called “praying”.  People often do it in terrifying situations, such as when threatened by thugs waving guns around.

Drawing Lines (#516) 

The tax protest angle is interesting, but look more closely at what the brothel owner wants from the “authorities”:

A licensed brothel in…Salzburg has been offering free drinks and free sex in a protest against what its owner says is unfair taxation…the news “has spread like wildfire, with punters lining up to get inside”…Hermann “Pascha” Müller, who owns the…brothel, [said]…he no longer wants to be “the tax office’s pimp”…Müller says that he is paying the prostitutes’ usual hourly rate out of his own pocket.  “In the last decade I have paid taxes of almost €5 million…The problem is, the tax office wants more and more, and they are not cracking down on illegal street and apartment prostitution”…

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People who think they can abolish [sex work] entirely from any country are living in a dream world.  –  Ronald Weitzer

Coming and Going

In 2012, more than 1,000 people were booked into the Bexar County Jail for prostitution and the cost to taxpayers was more than $1.2 million dollars.   State Representative Eric Johnson…has introduced House Bill 1363 to reduce punishment for prostitution.   The bill would make a first or second offense of prostitution a Class C Misdemeanor and calls for an intervention program…community service, counseling, and treatment…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do Samuel Riggi

an Orlando [Florida] police lieutenant…[is] accused of having a sexual relationship with a prostitute and taking nearly $10,000 from her…Gricelda Umana…[said] she and Lt. Samuel Riggi had sex every two weeks for two years, sometimes at the massage parlor where she worked.  She said he asked her for money and said she made 17 deposits totaling almost $10,000 from her prostitution proceeds into his account to protect her from arrest…

One Born Every Minute

A new site that claims to be “the AirBnB for escorts” doesn’t seem to be anything like AirBnB…or like a legitimate escort site, for that matter.  AirSnB—which stands for “Air Sexy Buddy,” I was told— launched in December  and, according to owner Amir Mo, is supposed to be the escort industry’s answer to the sharing economy…Mo said customers pay AirSnB upfront for a date arranged with their escort of choice (based on hourly rates).  After the date, AirSnB transfers the money to the escort, skimming their percentage off the top…if there are any issues—like the escort doesn’t show up or doesn’t follow through…AirSnB will return the money to the customer or give them a percentage back, depending on the situation.  But as if this didn’t sound sketchy enough already, many of the escort listings on the site don’t appear to be…real.  Almost every profile I found was copied word-for-word from listings elsewhere on the internet…

The Course of a Disease

Anti-prostitution campaigners have made grand statements about the effectiveness of Sweden’s hugely influential approach to prostitution.  However, researchers say the claims are grossly exaggerated and the law has put sex workers in greater danger.  The so-called “Swedish model”…portrays itself as an example to emulate.  Ambassadors for the approach preach its virtues to government regulators worldwide…But an increasing number of voices…say claims exaggerate its successes for ideological reasons.  The most recent attacks on the 1999 Kvinnofrid law come from Malmö University researcher Charlotta Holmström.  In contrast to the loud claims of anti-prostitution campaigners, that it has made sex workers safer, Holmström says they are far more vulnerable to exploitation and violence…

J’accuse (#42)

A high-profile pimping case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn nearly unraveled…[when] five of six plaintiffs…dropped their accusations against him…Strauss-Kahn has testified to having orgies…to being “rough” with his sexual “conquests,” and to needing sex with exceptional frequency.  But none of that is illegal…Strauss-Kahn insists he didn’t know the women involved were prostitutes…

But while Straus-Kahn will probably walk away free, French sex workers may not be so lucky:

…Morgane Merteuil…of the French sex worker’s trade union Strass…believes the trial has increased the stigmatisation of the sex industry and has presented a skewed view of the profession.  “There is a confusion with abolitionist organisations between when a client respects a contract and when he does not.  [DSK] didn’t respect the contract…not all clients act like him”…Merteuil says she believes the trial may result in the criminalisation of the sex industry…

Skin To Skin

For many disabled people, sex is off the cards.  While most needs are met through the provision of carers, or by parents, sex is often missed out entirely.  But now a number of sex workers are looking to combat this, stepping into the breach to provide specialist services to help disabled people to fulfil their sexual desires.  It’s easy for disabled people’s sexuality to become obscured by a web of societal assumptions about what it is to be disabled. But of course, disabled people are just as horny as anybody else…

Be Careful Who You Rape

After all, we wouldn’t want to waste effort investigating the rapes of “criminals”:

A new controversial policy requires sexual assault and rape victims to undergo police background checks before they can receive services…[including] rape kits or medical investigations into the criminal activity that was perpetrated against them…The bizarre policy has been around since 2007, but it has only been implemented and enforced since November…Critics of this law suggest that many will not come forward to report sexual assaults and rapes if they feel they maybe prosecuted for something…

Sex Rays

Sometimes it’s hard to believe the people who write these stories actually take them seriously:

Their locations are blended right into the fabric of busy communities. They set up shop next to store fronts and restaurants…police raided the Queen Spa, an illegal massage parlor set up near the University of Rhode Island…next to a Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway sandwich shop…other suburban locations where illegal massage parlors open…[include one] just feet from an ice cream stand and a toy shop…

Remember, sex work was only recriminalized in Rhode Island five years ago.

The Roof Caves In (#425) 

Disgraced anti-sex trafficking activist Somaly Mam’s new charity – which is headed by former staff of her fallen foundation, a Hollywood actress and a PR guru – announced…that it has been given the green light in the US…The organisation, which will employ about 37 full-time staff and expects to generate more than $682,000 this year…

Bread and Circuses

The war on sex worker advertising continues:

A [Colorado] man…was arrested…for “Use of a Facility in Interstate Commerce to Promote a Business Enterprise Involving Prostitution”…David A. Warmack owned and operated a website business named “Sowet.com”…[which] promoted and facilitated prostitution that took place at multiple massage parlors across the Metro Denver area…

The Face of Trafficking

In the largest ever study into the health of trafficking victims, researchers interviewed more than 1,100 men, women and children in Southeast Asia who had been trafficked into at least 15 sectors – including factory work, domestic labor, sex work and fishing…Most previous studies [only] looked at…women trafficked into sex work…[but] this study found…that women trafficked for other forms of labor, including factory work, domestic work and as brides, suffered worse mental health problems than those trafficked into sex work…

A Year Later

Sex worker advocates are warning Ontario Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur that Canada’s new controversial prostitution law will “force people in the sex trade in harm’s way.”  Meilleur is reviewing Bill C-36 and will file a report on the law to Premier Kathleen Wynne, who has expressed “grave concerns” about the federal Conservative government’s latest effort to deal with prostitution…

Moving Pictures

Add another “sex trafficking” porn fantasy to the list:  “Tricked…features interviews with people in all areas of the sex trafficking trade, including prostitutes who are often victims, the traffickers (pimps), customers (Johns) and the vice officers who fight the trade…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on January 18th; I have modified it slightly for time references and to fit the format of this blog.

The Golem (1920)One would think that after a century of the motion picture as an art form, people would grasp that just because something appears on film does not make it real.  Despite its name, even cinéma vérité is less than truthful; as in subatomic physics, even the mere presence of an observer changes the observational subject.  And given that a self-professed “documentary” filmmaker still chooses what to film and what to edit out, whom to interview and whom to ignore, how to frame different viewpoints and what the narrator will say, no reasonable person could imagine that simply granting a production replete with exaggeration, distortion and outright lies the dignity of a “nonfiction” label actually has the power to make it so.  Unfortunately, the majority of the population is anything but reasonable, and misnaming a drama a documentary or claiming that it is “based on a true story” is more than enough to convince them that real life is truthfully and objectively portrayed therein.

As you might expect, moral panics have often been amplified by such means, but the advent of cheap digital cameras and software-based editing has democratized the filmmaking process to such an extent that the first moral panic of the internet era, the “sex trafficking” hysteria, has been promoted thus to an unprecedented extent.  So while the two most prominent examples of “sex trafficking” fetishism misrepresented as fact, namely Taken and Eden, are products of the professional moviemakers’ craft (the former a big-budget studio release, the latter a smaller-budget “independent”), there have also been a plethora of semi-professional and amateur films, ranging from small-budget to no-budget, which purport to tell the “truth about sex trafficking” to credulous, slack-jawed audiences who prefer their BDSM porn in disguised form.  Much has been written about the fraud named Eden and the chief perpetrator of the scam, Chong Kim; applying the same scalpel to the body of low-end “sex trafficking” cinema soon results in a gory mess too graphic even for the slasher movies which appeal to roughly the same sensibilities as these so-called “documentaries”.

In just the past two years I’ve logged eight of these cheapies:  Ente, Lot Lizard, Anna, Dirty Little Secret, The Making of a Girl, International Boulevard, Chosen and The Long Night; it’s entirely possible that there may have been others which escaped my notice.  Then early last month I read reports of not one but three more, all in the same day.  The headline for the first, 8 Days, alludes to the aforementioned blockbuster Taken, and the article itself seems to have been written by a Hollywood wannabe:

A new film based on actual events exposes the shocking secrets of Human Trafficking.  If you think it isn’t happening in your hometown, you’re wrong…8 Days…is…based on a true story…a teen named Amber who comes from an affluent Texas family, goes to a…party where she gets drunk, is kidnapped, and later sold to pimps…“kids are targeted at the mall or the movies, parties and at school,” said Jaco Booyens, the film’s director.  “In the movie, Amber was trafficked by a friend.  A friend!  They’re using people you know to create a comfort zone”…Booyens says the average age…is 12 years old…raped sometimes up to 20 or 30 times in a single day…Victims are often snatched from places such as a party, the mall or the movies, and often, sex traffickers pay someone who is friends with the teen to bring her to a party where they will take her…

Note the repetition, the use of familiar-but-bogus “facts”, and the director’s pretense that because something appears in his movie that somehow constitutes evidence of its reality.  Note also that the story starts with what I call the “Profession of Faith”, the central creed of the “sex trafficking” cult, as does this one:

Filmmakers behind The Trafficking Life…want to get their point across that human trafficking is not just happening somewhere else.  It’s become a big problem here at home…Diana Cisneros…is the center of a new documentary in which she shares the growing problem taking place in Kern County [California]…

Kern County is infamous for this kind of moral panic; it was one of the early centers of the Satanic Panic as well.  But while fanatics claim that “sex trafficking happens everywhere”, the truth is that it’s sex trafficking hysteria that’s nearly omnipresent:

A Path Appears investigates young women in America forced into a life of prostitution…in our own backyards — in Chicago and Nashville and Boston.  The Department of Justice estimates that there are 300,000 children at risk of being trafficked into sexual slavery in the U.S…Ashley Judd and Nicholas Kristof are guided through the streets of Nashville by a woman who was first sold to a pimp by her mother at the age of 12, and then visit an example of a solution that works…sting operations cracking down on the buyers of sex…

David DelayNone of these fakumentaries take the trouble to investigate squat; as should be obvious from the repetition of prohibitionist lies in these articles, all they do is to parrot the same old nonsense about “children”, “pimps”, “sex slavery” and the like while infantilizing sex workers, demonizing clients, lionizing cops and celebrating criminalization.  But when anything becomes as popular as these films have, it’s inevitable that life will start imitating art, at least in the minds of the corrupt:

The…founder and owner of “Grandpa’s RV Productions,” David Delay, Sr., is accused of coaxing two teens into prostitution and then threatening to expose them on Facebook if they stopped working for him.  Delay, 48, has been charged with a host of pimping-related crimes alongside Marysa Renee Comer, a 20-year-old woman accused of assisting in running the operation from their Lynnwood [Washington] apartment…an 18-year-old young woman…fell in love…with Comer, who began picking her up at school with Delay.  The [young woman] began dating Comer and Delay, in an effort to make a life with Comer…they told [her] they were making a documentary about human trafficking and  prostitution.  “They stated it was best for her to be involved in the documentary by escorting so that she can know what it is really all about”…said [the] charging papers…Comer and Delay set up the encounters and took all the money she was paid…a subsequent search of prostitution advertisements by police supported [her] claims that she’d been taken around the country to work as an escort…

In other words, an actual criminal got the idea for his criminal acts from the propaganda put out by the people who pretend to be interested in fighting such exploitation; given that it happened in the state that’s most heavily invested in “sex trafficking” hysteria, it’s the kind of irony one might expect to find in a Hollywood screenplay.

Cut.  Print.

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