Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘pragmatism’

At last I can unveil the super secret project I’ve been working on since Christmas!  Last week, I completed the sale of my ranch in Oklahoma, and today I’m closing on a much smaller (but with more & better structures) property just a little over two hours from Seattle.  In other words, as of today I’m officially a permanent resident of Washington state.  It’s a bittersweet time for me:  on the one hand, it will be really wonderful to have Grace nearby, to have a country place I can reach without taking at least a week off of work, and to have a fully-built house with excellent outbuildings and no mortgage; on the other hand, it means giving up on a literally lifelong dream and the place in which I lived with Matt for years.  We poured so much effort and so many tears into that place, building it up from an empty tract that was so overgrazed it looked almost lunar into a lush, thickly-wooded ranch with its own road, shop, barn, fenced pastures, well system and house.  And I was trying to build another, bigger and better house, but that was not to be; too late I discovered that banks won’t give construction loans on rural property, no matter how good the borrower’s credit.  When I came to Seattle I still planned to finish that house, and then life happened; about a year and a half ago I had a vision that I’d never live there again, and I knew in my heart it was a true one (yes, I have visions when high on edibles; deal with it).  Then last summer I began to realize that there was really no way to make the economics of the situation work, ever; by autumn I began to understand what had to be done.  And once I had a plan and asked Grace if she was willing to move, everything fell into place within weeks (as it always does when I’m going the way Aphrodite wishes me to go).  The place I’m buying was the first one I physically looked at; we had discarded dozens from their listings, and this one looked so good I made sure it was the first we visited (on January 3rd, while Grace was still here for the holidays).  Most of the time between then and now was taken up with getting my buyer’s financing straight and dealing with inspections, title work, etc, but finally all that’s done.  Grace and a friend of ours are already packing and soon they’ll load the new-to-us trailer and hitch it to the new-to-us one-ton truck I bought a few months ago, and set off on the first trip up here (Grace reckons it’ll take about four).  By the end of summer that should be all done, and…well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.  Goodbye, Avalon; hello, Sunset.  And may the pain I suffered while resident at the former purchase me some peace at the latter.

Read Full Post »

Just because someone can’t love you…doesn’t mean that you’re unlovable.  –  Kaytlin Bailey

Check Your Premises 

This man has repeatedly said Seattle is not interested in prosecuting us:

For five years, the city of Seattle has touted its [faddish] approach in [persecuting] the buyers of sex rather than the prostitutes themselves.  While the number of cases filed against prostitutes dropped dramatically in 2012 and 2013, it has increased again slightly in recent years…City Attorney Pete Holmes…said the increase in prostitution cases in 2014 through 2016 came after his office realized many women were not [submitting to] the [brainwashing] program called LEAD, or Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion…Holmes said he therefore pivoted to use the real possibility of prosecution, as a way of encouraging people to take advantage of LEAD instead…

“Pivoted” is such a banal way to say “lied with prohibitionist propaganda while threatening women with violence for peacefully earning a living”.

Feminine Pragmatism 

This needs to be repeated until it’s inextricably hammered into the faces of prohibitionists:

…When I began sex work there were aspects that were exhilarating.  Being my own boss and setting my own schedule was something I’d never had the luxury of.  My manager at the bar, who knew she could shop me for benefit fraud at any moment, didn’t care when men…threatened to follow me home because I didn’t want their numbers…I worked 12 hour shifts, with no breaks, and at the end she would hand me an envelope with barely £70 in…escorting [clients] sometimes reminded me of the pub customers…[but] at the end of a three hour booking I would tuck a few hundred pounds in the lining of my handbag, and go home to a bath and some posh beers…This isn’t to say sex work was a utopia where I could take six months off when my health was bad…However, contrary to popular view…it is not a one way ticket to a breakdown.  The difference between us and workers in other industries is that when we seek help we are asked to look at the ways we’ve kept ourselves out of poverty as shameful…

Where Are the Victims?

The poor widdle sheriff “had no alternative” because sex is bad:

A “normal family man” who cared for his sick wife…in Edinburgh has been jailed for 29 months.  Emil Wakulicz…recruited women from Poland to offer sexual services…Sheriff Ross said he had no other alternative but to send Wakulicz to prison as he had exploited the women who had worked for him.  Det Insp Arron Clinkscales…[bragged]: “We…[locked] this man [up]…and [stole] his assets.”

Naturally, the story lists no evidence whatsoever of “exploitation”.  I’m sure his wife will be much better off on the dole, and her depression will improve while her husband sits in a cage for two years.  Justice!

They Still Don’t Get It

The headline writer inadvertently got it right: “prostitution investigations” (ie stings) are indeed part of a larger problem, the one called prohibition.

…Winston-Salem police…arrested…John Richard Hernandez and…Amanda Dawn Moser in connection to the armed robbery of a 67-year-old man…the pair lured [the victim]…to Hernandez’s home…by posting [a fake escort] ad…on…backpage.com…Hernandez [hit him with a hammer and] and robbed [him] of his money, ATM card and vehicle…a [pig too chickenshit to give his name bloviated a whole pile of ignorant nonsense]…“when it does happen in homes, those are usually offenders that have been caught multiple times at the hotel, and now they’ve moved their modus operandi to a residential home…Many of those, obviously, are minors that are…easily manipulated – into performing sexual acts for someone that’s controlling them…We located needles, various drug paraphernalia, spoons, that are indicative of heroin use”…The department also works with different counseling services and the health department to help victims of human trafficking…“It is a criminal act,” the [cowardly, ignorant pig oinked]…

Prohibition forces a peaceful activity into the shadows, where criminals then use it as a cover because they know their victims are less likely to report.  Then cops use the result of criminalization as an excuse for more criminalization while mixing in rhetoric that contradicts the entire “whore as criminal” trope.  I know basic logic & a triple-digit IQ aren’t requirements for being a brutal thug mindlessly enforcing arbitrary rules via violence, but this is like watching a self important pig masturbating until he shoots into his own eye, then tripping over the pants around his ankles & falling flat on his face.

Coming Out

Kaytlin Bailey on coming out to a lover:

…Maybe you’ve taken the position that everyone you have sex with has to know beforehand, because the last time you told someone you were already in love with, he hit you.  Maybe you’re coming out, as a political statement, trying to erode the delusion that someone doesn’t know “any girls like that” by being one of those girls.  Maybe you have to tell your lover because you keep having cold sweat anxiety dreams about it.  Maybe living the nightmare won’t be as scary as having the same one every night.  Maybe you’ve been in a relationship for awhile, and you think you can trust them.  Or maybe you know you can’t, but you just can’t stand them saying one more dumb thing about “whores” without knowing.  Or maybe you’re scared, and you want your partner’s support…

My personal way of dealing with this: I haven’t been romantically involved with anyone who isn’t a whore or client since 1995.  But I understand that won’t work for everybody.

Welcome To Our World (#43)

This is good; too bad they still criminalize having sex for the “wrong” reason:

[The Republic of Ireland] is to repeal a law which made it a criminal offence for a person with an intellectual disability to have a sexual relationship…The [new] law will consider whether a person with an intellectual disability has capacity to consent…rather than just outlawing such relationships because they have a disability…a new category of “protected person” has been created.  This will be defined as someone who lacks the capacity to consent to a sexual act by reason of a mental or intellectual disability, or a mental illness…It will now be illegal for a person to have a sexual relationship with a protected person…

I Really Shouldn’t Even LOOK at an Issue of Cosmopolitan (#346) 

A)  Is this dude gay?  B) WTF, Cosmo?  C) I know it’s two years old.

We’re going to shake things up, aren’t we?  And by “shake things up” I mean you’re going to sit on my face…I need a signal for you to give me some air that isn’t me throwing you off me in a panic…My eye is basically in her butt…is this how all adults get pink eye?…I have no choice but to make her orgasm…I can’t even see anymore.  It’s just pitch black and vibrations, like an earthquake in a cave.

Size Matters (#532)

I told y’all that this wasn’t gonna work, but of course y’all didn’t listen:

[Deceitful busybodies] in Tennessee have determined that a building registered as a church was being operated as a sex club…the city of Nashville has filed a complaint against the owners for “maintaining a public nuisance by permitting acts of lewd conduct” and violating a state law banning sex clubs from operating within 1,000 feet of a school.  The longtime downtown swingers club…in 2015…relocated to a run-down office park…calling itself a church because the new location is near the back of the private Goodpasture Christian School.  Two [voyeurs] paid $40 to enter the facility…and filed [porn narratives] detailing sex acts they witnessed within…

The End of the Beginning (#677) 

This clear constitutional violation persists due to the egregious lie that the “sex offender” registry isn’t a punishment:

A sex offender…thought he had moved on with his life after successfully completing five years of probation for sending webcam photographs of his genitals to a [pervert cop pretending to be]…a 13-year-old girl.  Now he’s among hundreds of people in Missouri who are learning they must attach GPS monitoring systems to their ankles for life, even though such a requirement wasn’t part of their sentencing agreement…The retroactive [punishment is] part of a revised state criminal code that went into effect Jan. 1…several sex offenders…are suing…the state…“I don’t think a lawyer can make a straight-faced argument that it’s constitutional,” said…attorney Matt Fry…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#724) 

This is what robo-fetishists want you to believe will take my job soon:

…Matt McMullen, the chief executive of Abyss Creations, which makes RealDoll…says…”Many people who may buy a RealDoll because it is sexually capable come to realise it is much more than a sex toy…It has a presence in their house and they imagine a personality for her.  AI gives people the tools to create that personality.”  This is done via an app, which can be used with the doll or independently, existing as a virtual person on a smartphone or similar device.  Users can choose from a variety of personality options, including moody, angry and loving…The app…is already available to buy, although only directly from the Realbotix website…Neither Google’s nor Apple’s official stores will carry it because of the explicit content.  The doll will go on sale later this year and there will be two versions – one with computer vision that enables it to recognise faces, which will cost $10,000…and a…version without vision for $5,000…

Bonus:  sociopathic prude Kathleen Richardson of the “Campaign Against Sex Robots” has apparently decided in the past two months that “dolls aren’t really the problem”.  Why does anyone take prohibitionists seriously?

Read Full Post »

I’m a young-looking 40-year-old woman in Belgium who worked part-time as a prostitute years ago to pay for my education.  Now, however, I’m suffering from physical disabilities due to two severe auto accidents; these make it difficult to hold down a “normal” job, so I’m thinking of going back to prostitution.  I always liked it; I’m a very sexual person and it made me feel good.  But this time, I don’t want to work for anyone else, but as an independent; I just don’t know how to start.  What do you think?

I think if you still feel comfortable doing the work, there’s no reason for you not to return to it; many women go in and out of sex work at different times in our lives, as our needs change.  Sex work is legal in your country, and the flexible schedule makes it especially good work for women with health issues that would interfere with a “straight” job.  Since as a sex worker one sets one’s own schedule, it’s easy to work around doctor’s appointments & times one knows tend to be problematic; for example, if you hurt more in the morning you can simply refuse morning appointments.  And once you’ve got regulars, you’ll even be able to reschedule appointments if you feel bad that day.  I’m afraid I can’t really give you advice on working in Europe because I never have; however, I’d suggest you search Google for escorts in your city, and that will show you the top local advertising sites.  You might also consult with the sex worker support organizations in your area.  Good luck, both with your health & with returning to work! 

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

Read Full Post »

Anti-trafficking laws in the United States have [always] been about trying to eliminate the sex industry.  –  Alexandra Lutnick

Check Your Premises

“Rescuers” are so invested in their own fantasies that they’ll believe anything which props them up:

More than 200 victims of human trafficking from Bangladesh, who were rescued and sheltered in homes across West Bengal roughly four years ago, are still waiting to return back to their country…most of these girls are unable to provide addresses in Bangladesh where they can be sent, or their parents are unreachable.  Principal secretary of the state’s Women and Child Welfare Development Roshni Sen said…that since some trafficking cases were pending in courts, the victims were required to be present here because of their being prime witnesses against traffickers…An NGO…which runs a home for rescued trafficked victims confirmed that quite often, victims could not remember names of their villages as they were trafficked at a tender age of 10-12…

The idea that the “victims” might be feigning ignorance because they don’t want to return to Bangladesh never occurs to these self-important idiots.

Imaginary Evils

Remember, huge police operations have never found more than a single-digit number of “sex trafficking” cases in the UK:

Some of Scotland’s most popular escort websites are being targeted by a specialist police unit in a bid to uncover human trafficking networks.  [Cops]…have already [leered at] almost 3000 profiles…belonging to sex workers in Scotland and are certain some of these are victims of trafficking…Some reviews on the sites complain that the women can’t speak English, act as if they don’t want to be there or are so drunk that they can’t stand…Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Houston [fantasized]…that it can be difficult to track down victims of trafficking who are used for prostitution as they are moved from place to place to prevent them forming bonds…

So now add drinking and bad work attitude to the list of “signs of trafficking”, and a new excuse to why cops can’t locate these supposed millions of “victims”.

Innocence Never Had

People kept out of the formal economy by bad laws turn to the informal economy to survive; stupid people are shocked:

The shocking media reports about prostitution among young migrants to Germany are not so surprising given the long-standing connection between migration and sex work, [said] Ralf Roetten, director of the charity “Help for the Young”…Last month, German media reported that increasing numbers of young migrants are turning to prostitution to make ends meet…young male migrants are working as prostitutes in several parks around Berlin.  In addition, some failed asylum seekers have moved in with older men who offer them food and accommodation in return for sex…

Also: “Shocking reports are not shocking” is a piss-poor lede.

Business As Usual 

It’s “rape”, Vice.  The term for nonconsensual sex isn’t “sleeping with”, it’s “rape”:

…”The reality of…police [raping] sex workers during the course of [entrapping them]…has been in existence as long as selling sex has been a criminal offense,” explains Dr. Alexandra Lutnick, an expert on the US sex industry at RTI International…A research study that she conducted in San Francisco found that over 14 percent of sex workers said that they had been threatened with arrest unless they [submitted to rape by a cop], and two percent had been arrested after [the rape]…anyway.  Astonishingly, it’s not specifically illegal for [cops] in many states to [rape] sex workers during the course of [deceit & entrapment] operations…

Really good graphic, though.

Guest Columnist:  Kaytlin Bailey

Kaytlin’s past in sex work has nothing to do with her current tour, so naturally that’s what the reporter leads with:

Kaytlin Bailey is a Raleigh-born comedian who used to be involved in both political consulting and sex work.  Guess which one of those burnt her out to the point it drove her to do stand-up?…dealing with the shady world of politics…made her realize comedy was her calling…In 2011, she moved to New York…where she…found comrades in fellow female comics Abbi Crutchfield, Carrie Gravenson and Erin Judge  [currently on the road for their CAKE comedy tour]…Crutchfield is the co-host of truTV’s You Can Do Better.  Judge released her first novel, Vow of Celibacy, last year.  And Gravenson is gathering up material so she can record her first comedy album…And…Bailey…has written and performed a one-woman show about her experiences as a teenage escort right here in Raleigh.  It’s currently titled “Consensual Business“…and was featured in last year’s NYC Fringe and United Solo Festivals…

The Widening Gyre (#546)

If cops don’t want people spreading stupid rumors, they need to stop spreading such rumors themselves first:

Auburn Hills [Michigan] police are responding to a disturbing Facebook post in which a woman reacts to rumors of…a sex trafficking ring targeting women and children at Great Lakes Crossing [shopping mall]…But the disturbing claims aren’t true.  Neither is the public’s belief that Auburn Hills police are engaged in a cover up to protect the mall.  “I’ve also found it insulting on behalf of our whole police department that someone would suggest that [the stipid myths we’ve been actively spreading for years might actually be true]” says [Police Chief Doreen] Olko…[the woman said] a man…held the door open for her and her 6-month-old son.  “He looks me up and down and starts talking about how incredible my body is…And all I could think was is this guy like trying or going to try to traffic me and (my son)?”…

Yes, clumsy and caddish attempts at passes are now evidence of “sex trafficking”.  Really, guys, just stick to pros.

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#558)

An Indian court rules that acts which aren’t illegal, aren’t illegal:

In a significant ruling, the Gujarat High Court on Friday said that if a sex worker is engaged in prostitution of her own volition, and not due to any inducement, force or coercion then a criminal case is not maintainable against her…

Indian law on the subject is based on British law, in which the exchange of money for sex has never been illegal, though some associated activities such as so-called “pimping” and “brothel-keeping” are.

Too Close To Home

Another racist anti-whore pogrom in “progressive” Seattle:

Six people are under arrest…as part of an investigation into an organized crime ring involved with prostitution…FANG WANG…YONGGUANG WU…YUNZHONG CHEN…YAOAN HE…ZHAOFENG ZHANG…and STEVEN THOMPSON…are charged…with [talking about]…prostitution…“These defendants ran an organized prostitution ring with tentacles into many of our cities and towns,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes…“Our work with our partners continues to expose the underbelly of this industry”…said [rapist & sex harasser] John Urquhart…federal and local law enforcement partners worked jointly to [stop people from helping]…Asian sex workers [to make a living]…

The weirdest thing about prohibitionists is their hentai fixation.

To Molest and Rape 

It’s amazing how many of these “isolated incidents” there are:

A…Hot Springs [Arkansas cop admitted to]…molesting a 9-year-old girl on multiple occasions beginning earlier this year…Paul Henry Allen…was arrested [last week] by the Malvern Police Department…

Served Cold (#675) 

Another unethical cowboy raid against brown people in a developing country, staged for the entertainment of rich American moralists:

…during the 2017 Super Bowl, an Operation Underground Railroad Jump Team was preparing to expose a band of sex traffickers in Haiti.  In a new video…Alex Boye…sings the national anthem while the footage from the Haiti rescue is played…the team [coerced] local authorities [into] arrest[ing] nine [people they labeled] traffickers and [detaining without charge] 29 victims [of OUR’s cowboy antics]…the OUR website [urges other Americans to interfere in the affairs of sovereign nations under the rationale that]…“It is our duty as a free and blessed people”…

This is a jihadist mentality, not one based on the founding principles of the US.  But Deseret News does get one thing right: note which section this article appears in.  These videos are indeed entertainment (just as Roman circuses were), not actions intended to “help” anyone but these sociopathic profiteers.

Send In the Clowns 

I’m delighted to see that the “creepy clown” hysteria still has a bit of life in it:

North Dakota police say they are investigating a…report involving a creepy clown and a man with a snake…Authorities [claim] the snake was a boa constrictor about 3-to-4-feet-long…the clown and his alleged cohort…could face a felony charge of terrorizing…a witness….[claimed] the two men approached the children, asked if they “wanted to see a dead body” and threatened to kill them…

Worse Than I Thought (#723)

Destroying men’s ability to provide for their families is the latest anti-whore fad among politicians whose desire to be the most mindlessly punitive has entirely rotted their brains:

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez [drooled all over herself about] a State Assembly bill…that could result in [ordinary men] having their vehicles [stolen by pigs] as part of a pilot program to crack down on prostitution…“When we arrest these johns, their [families] shouldn’t remain [unpunished].  We must [ensure the men can’t get to work so their families will be destroyed and their kids forced into foster care, thereby creating a new generation of underage survival sex workers so assholes like me can have crusades to make even more police-state laws about”…

I Swear To God (#728)

In the contemporary US, people can be fired from government jobs for blasphemy:

The New Hampshire Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force severed its partnership with its grant administrator, leading to the firing of…project director…Kate D’Adamo, [who committed thoughtcrime by making] arguments in favor of decriminalizing prostitution…

Read Full Post »

How can we dial back the obsession with sex trafficking?  –  Lenore Skenazy

Check Your Premises

Step One: Define people who make choices the law refuses to recognize as “victims”.  Step Two: Define the decisions of 21-year-olds as legally invalid. Step Three:

…researchers have found that roughly one-fifth of all homeless youth in the U.S. are victims of human trafficking, often for purposes of sex…Covenant House funded the report…The youths who spoke with researchers were all 21 and under…

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (#351) 

Has this histrionic now made a rotting moral panic her whole career?

The horror the victims suffer is almost too much to contemplate.  And yet, we can’t combat the abomination that is human trafficking unless we first acknowledge that it exists.  That’s why [has-been] actress and [moral panic profiteer] Mira Sorvino came to Bakersfield…According to Sorvino…the trafficking of human beings claims some 40 million victims and generates obscene annual profits, making it one of the most lucrative criminal enterprises in history.  One young woman Sorvino interviewed estimated she was raped 43,000 times between the ages of 12 and 16…

Nice While It Lasted

Buried in the usual pap about “signs of trafficking” and masturbatory fantasy about passive, doll-like 12-year-olds being “sold for sex” is this horrific proposal:

…Assemblyman Brian Maienschein held a news conference in San Diego…to push his bill, the Commercial Child Rape Prevention Act, which aims to give governments tools they can use to target sex trafficking in civil court…This would mean that district attorneys, attorney generals, some city attorneys and the victims would be able to sue the perpetrators, hitting them where it might hurt the most — their profits…State Sen. Toni Atkins…has two bills pending…one…would allow prosecutors in criminal trials to introduce evidence of past illegal acts…that would typically be excluded at trial…

In civil court, the burden of proof is reversed; this would allow prosecutors, backed by the vast resources of the state, to levy charges that presumed guilt.  I wonder how much longer before presumption of innocence is nothing more than a mere historical relic?

Traffic in Nonsense (#508)

Despite its name, The Libertarian Republic is Republican, not libertarian; that explains why it’s printing pro-surveillance, anti-body autonomy “sex trafficking” propaganda:

Human trafficking has become…the third largest criminally ran [sic] industry in the entire world, generating estimated revenues of $32 billion a year…the average age a person is abducted/coerced into this horrendous trade is 12-14…resilience against law enforcement…trying to shut down this insidious industry…[snitching on sex workers to the pigs] can help combat human trafficking at the source, on the street level…truckers have found themselves leading the charge against this industry…Commonly known as a lot lizard, prostitutes often wait around truck stops to solicit sex to the drivers who are passing through…truckers are exposed to the largest portion of prostitutes…it is vitally important for news outlets to [uncritically parrot police-state propaganda]…

The idea that truck-stop hookers make up the largest fraction of sex workers is probably the stupidest statement in this reeking pile of stupidity.

Checklist (#523)

Arizona wants hospitals to rat sex workers out to the pigs:

A hospital network with several facilities in Arizona said it was taking steps to counter human trafficking.  Dignity Health said it has trained staff at three hospitals…to look for indicators of possible human trafficking and that it has implemented mandatory screening in emergency rooms and obstetrics departments…so-called “red flags” of trafficking include homelessness, discrepancies between reported and apparent ages, lack of identification and a dominating or controlling companion who refuses to leave the patient alone…

Signs 

How many resources will our society waste in trying to stop an omnipresent voluntary activity older than the human species?

…The Palm Beach County Commission…approved additional training for several groups of its employees to spot signs of [“sex trafficking”], which has been described as modern-day slavery.  Employees who are out in field — code enforcement, youth services and parks and recreation workers, for example — will be among those receiving the training…Among other signs, victims of trafficking may exhibit poor health, show signs of physical abuse or restraint, and lack control over personal documents or the ability to speak for themselves…

Rooted in Racism (#605) 

It’s no longer safe for men to travel with their children:

A dad returning from Mexico with his 3-year-old daughter who has lighter skin than his is suspected of sex trafficking her…despite papa having her passport, his passport, AND a notarized letter from the mom saying that she gave them her permission to travel, the authorities felt compelled to act upon a “tip”…that was nothing more than a passenger’s hunch fueled by the hysteria of the moment:  That 3-year-olds are being trafficked right and left in the USA…

Where are the Victims? (#634)

We’re so lucky to have cops qualified to diagnose us as “victims” no matter what we may think:

Seven men and a woman have been arrested as part of a nationwide crackdown on…prostitution.  Dawn raids were carried out out across Lancashire, Gateshead and Evesham in relation to a…[so-called] “Romanian crime group” centred on Blackburn.  [Cops fantasize] the gang netted up to £1.3million…Eight women, aged between 18 and 26, were found inside the suspected brothels and are [pretended] to have been trafficked to the UK from Romania for the purposes of prostitution.  Police [used euphemisms to cloak the fact that the women were being held without charge pending deportation]…

Peeping Toms (#662)

The larger implications of anti-sex toy laws:

An ordinance of the City of Sandy Springs, Georgia, prohibits the sale of sex toys.  Businesses and individuals have challenged this statute as unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause in controlling their consensual, sexual behavior in the privacy of their homes.  The district court and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld the ordinance given the Eleventh Circuit precedent of Williams v. Attorney General (2004), which upheld an Alabama sex-toy-sales ban…Williams…is inconsistent with more recent Supreme Court precedent in United States v. Windsor (2013) and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)…Windsor and Obergefell… raised the protection of rights concerning private sexual intimacy and Obergefell described this right as “fundamental”…Williams also misinterpreted Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which in striking down a ban on homosexual sodomy made clear that it wasn’t merely the right to perform “a particular sexual act” that was in question in these intimacy cases, but the infringement of rights regulating “the most private human conduct, sexual behavior, in the most private of places, the home.”  Lawrence also made clear that state assertion of a “morality” interest isn’t a sufficient justification for limiting the right to adult sexual intimacy…

Eternal Vigilance (#667)

Puritans are still upset about the fact that some women are comfortable paying our rent (and other expenses) with sex:

…despite the fact that [sex for rent] ads have been around for more than a decade and tend to transparently describe the (consensual) relationships they’re after, a gaggle of outraged internet activists are suddenly convinced it’s “abusive” behavior that must be stamped out.  The issue has been getting attention this week because of U.K. columnist Vonny Moyes, who covered it in Scottish newspaper The National…The ads she shared ranged from requests for household labor from a hot girl in exchange for free rent to fetish-related requests…ongoing mistress or “sugar baby” type situations…and people looking for short-term sex-for-housing arrangements…But the Twitter outrage brigade can’t conceive of these varied individual ads as anything but a big patriarchal plot to extort sex from homeless women…

Read Full Post »

Dr. Laura Agustín, author of the blog The Naked Anthropologist and the book Sex at the Margins, the seminal work on “sex trafficking” hysteria (in which she coined the term “rescue industry”), has written The Three-Headed Dog, a novel  dramatizing the problems faced by migrants.  It’s another way of introducing readers to the issues the “sex trafficking” paradigm attempts to paper over, which Dr. Agustín has studied for over 20 years and understands in a way very few others do.  I recently read the novel, and Dr. Agustín graciously agreed to answer some questions about it.

MM:  Sex at the Margins has been and continues to be a work of major importance to the sex workers’ rights movement; I know it really helped me to shake off the dualistic thinking about “willing” vs “coerced” sex work, and it’s invaluable in getting people to look at their preconceptions around why people (especially women) leave their original home countries to work.  So why did you decide to write fiction instead of a 10th-anniversary edition?

LA:  The essence of Sex at the Margins doesn’t need updating, by which I mean women’s migration to work as maids or to sell sex, the use of smugglers, the rise of the Rescue Industry.  Someone else can document the growth and proliferation of that last, if they can stomach it, but the core ideas haven’t changed.  I wanted to write stories to reach people who don’t read books like Sex at the Margins and who only hear about the issues from mainstream media reports.  The Three-Headed Dog provides a way to learn about social realities and be gripped by stories at the same time.

MM:  I write fiction myself, so that makes sense to me.  But what made you choose the crime genre?  Why not do a “straight” novel?

LA:  Crime seemed like the right frame, because everyone thinks smuggling and undocumented migration are at least technically crimes – leaving the idea of trafficking out of it.  I am a fan of some kinds of mystery writing, and the formula of a detective who searches for missing migrants provides infinite opportunities for all sorts of stories and characters.

MM:  I think you just started to answer one of my questions!  At the end of the book several questions are unresolved, and I would have liked to know more about Félix, the detective.  Is this the first of a series?

LA:  I’ve got too many stories to tell for one book.  The Dog was getting long and complicated, so I decided to make it the first in a series.  In the detective genre it’s common for some questions to remain dangling, and readers know they can learn more in the next installment.  If I’d been writing 150 years ago I might have done weekly installments in a magazine, as Dickens did with The Pickwick Papers.  In the next book, which I’ve started, Félix’s search takes her to Calais and London.

MM:  I was very intrigued by Félix, and it seems to me that she might be based on you.  Would I be correct?  And are any other characters based on people you know?

LA:  The characters created themselves in my mind out of the many thousands of migrant friends and acquaintances I’ve had in my life.  Including myself.  But they sprang forth and told me who they were.  I identify with much of Félix’s character, but I identify with much of the smuggler Sarac’s character, too.

MM:  I like that Félix has some history of sex work, and that she still seems to be comfortable taking gigs that dip into the edges of sex work.

LA:  She certainly was a sex worker during the European tour she did when younger with her friend Leila, who now lives in Tangier.  I think she still takes sexwork gigs when it suits her. I expect she’ll tell us more about that in the future.

MM:  Not many novels have well-developed and nuanced sex workers as major characters, and when we appear as minor characters we’re mostly there to be rescued or murdered.  But these characters, even the minor ones, are much more developed than that.  There was one character, Marina, who was clearly intending to do sex work, but what about the others?  I couldn’t be sure.

LA:  This is Marina’s second time sexworking in Spain.  Félix looks for two other characters in spas (massage joints) in Madrid, and one of those is adamant about not intending to be a maid.  They’re Latin Americans who belong to a long tradition of working in indoor businesses like bars and flats, or sometimes in the street.  They arrive with contacts and some prior knowledge of what they’re getting into, so it’s a serious problem when the smuggler makes them de-plane in Madrid instead of Málaga.  Of the other characters, Promise, the Nigerian, planned to sexwork in the street, and Eddy, the boy who goes missing, doesn’t intend anything but is moving in that direction.

MM: It seemed to me that their ending up in Madrid was a very big issue, even beyond the lack of connections.  Is Madrid so very different from Málaga?

LA:  Yes, Madrid is a harder place, a capital city and centre of echt-Spanish culture.  Málaga is on the Costa del Sol, crossroads for many kinds of migration, smuggling, tourism and crime.  It’s a long stretch of coast that ends in a point only 32 kilometres from Africa across the Mediterranean Sea.  Nowadays many non-Spanish Europeans from colder climates have homes there in quasi-closed communities.  The coast is by no means a piece of cake, but it’s not a cold, self-important northern city.  Personally I feel a great sense of history there and lived in Granada during the years I worked on Sex at the Margins.

MM:  So it’s a good place to find jobs that aren’t strictly legal?

LA:  This is about informal economies that exist in parallel to formal ones (which means they’re included in government accounting).  Informal economies are even larger than the formal in some developing countries.  In Spain it is not illegal to sell sex, but undocumented migrants have no right to be in the country at all, much less work there.  The same is true when they get jobs in restaurant kitchens, on construction sites, picking fruit and working as maids and cleaners.  The informal economy rolls along, the jobs are available and migrants are more or less glad to get them despite the clandestinity.

MM:  And as you discussed in Sex at the Margins, it’s this informal economy that’s depicted as “trafficking” nowadays, even when there’s no coercion involved per se.

LA:  The group that arrives by plane at the beginning are undocumented migrants.  They’ve got papers to show at the border: passports and tourist visas.  Fakery was involved, and these young people are planning to get paid work, so they’re going to misuse the visas.  A guy who’s part of the smuggling travels with them.  The project is based on the migrants getting jobs and income so they can pay back debts they or their families took on when they bought travel-agency-type services (known in crime-circles as smuggling).  Technically they’re all committing crimes, but to the migrants they feel like minor crimes, given the well-known availability of jobs when they arrive.  Everyone knows people who’ve done it and sent money home.  Do smugglers sometimes resort to nefarious practices?  Of course; it’s an unregulated economy.  But if smugglers want to stay in the business they guard their reputation.  Word spreads.

MM:  I’m sure the rescue industry folks would find fault with the fact that the book isn’t about people “rescuing” these migrants from their smugglers.

LA:  I wrote this book out of love, not as polemic.  I’d have to get paid very well to devote myself for long to analysing moral entrepreneurship; I don’t find crusader-figures interesting.  I don’t see the world in black-and-white, I like ambiguity and shifting ground.  In Félix’s interior life, questions of helping and saving play a part, but she refuses the rescuer-role.

MM:  And really, even the villains aren’t the mustache-twirling cardboard characters so beloved by those who promote the “sex trafficking” narrative.  I’m thinking about Sarac, the smuggler, and Carlos, the sex club owner.

LA:  The smugglers are squabbling amongst themselves and not very appealing, but they aren’t monsters or driving anyone into bondage.  They charge for their services.  Sarac worked as a soldier/mercenary, now does “security” and is involved in people-smuggling.  He wants to do something new, but not pimping.  Carlos operates hostess clubs in Madrid.  Those are not illegal, but he may employ illegal migrants.  He’s part of an established tradition, and he makes good money on the women’s work.

MM:  I think American readers have some very confused ideas about the sex industry and migration in Europe.  Do you think The Three-Headed Dog will appeal to them and help clear up some of those misconceptions?

LA:  Undocumented migration and working in underground economies are worldwide phenomena no matter what local culture or national laws prevail.  Ways to earn money by selling sex vary in the details, but sex workers recognise each other across national borders and talk about the same problems and solutions everywhere.  Sometimes places where laws are uglier provide more opportunities.  Since the migrants are working illegally in Spain they have a lot in common with all sex workers in the USA, right?

MM:  True; all of us are illegal here, whether we were born here or not.  Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers that I haven’t thought of?

LA:  Yes, I want to point out that even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can still buy the Kindle version of The Three-Headed Dog and download a free reading app right there.  And you can read more about sex industry jobs here at my blog.

Read Full Post »

It’s amazing to me that supposedly rational adults go around making stupid proclamations like “the commodification of sex is sad”.  For right now, let’s ignore the utterly asinine notion that some small fraction of people feeling “sad” about something is an argument for its criminalization; I’ve already covered that pretty thoroughly elsewhere.  And just for today, let’s ignore the incredible stupidity of the concept that “fair exchange is sad”, which appears to imply that coerced, uneven and unfair exchanges are wonderful; let’s also forget about the fact that such moronic opinions are used as an excuse to send armed thugs to deceive, shame, brutalize, rape, rob, cage and destroy the lives of peaceful adults for the “crime” of consensual sex.  Let’s limit ourselves to examining that childish and ignorant opinion in isolation from its inevitable consequences in a society where the powerful believe they have the right to use violence to inflict their opinions, no matter how utterly imbecilic, on others, and where those with severe malacia of the cranium and vertebrae fervently support their rulers in that belief.  Stripping away those other factors, what we’re left with is this:  Sex IS an exchange, whether you like it or not; it always has been & always will be.  In some unusual & lovely circumstances the exchange is so intimately mutual it seems to cost nothing to either party, but such situations are both rare & very short-lived and people’s needs are neither.  Furthermore, I find it very strange (and, frankly, stupid) that people only reserve words like “sad” for sexual exchanges; nobody goes to see a great movie & then says it was “sad” that they had to pay admission, that the actors were professionals & that the movie made money.  And nobody enjoys a delicious dinner and then claims it’s “sad” they had to pay the check & tip the waiter.  But somehow, sex generates a lot of idiotic Utopian mumbo-jumbo in the minds of otherwise reasonable people (and even more so in the minds of the evil and/or intellectually deficient).  So if you think it’s “sad” sex is subject to economics, I have only four words to say to you:  Grow the fuck up.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »