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Posts Tagged ‘pragmatism’

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…

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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.

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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.

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There are about 200 stranger kidnappings in the U.S. every year.  Your kid is more likely to get killed by lightning.  –  Marty Klein

Check Your Premises

A judge lectures young sex workers with myths about the “danger” of sex work while actively working to destroy their lives for the “crime” of agreeing to consensual sex:

Three college students in Florida were [brutalized by pigs after tricking them into meeting]…at a ritzy Miami hotel…Maury Noun, 21, is [accused] of pimping out 19-year-old Samara Charlotin and 23-year-old Acacia Friedman…The detective offered Noun $10,000 to have sex with both Charlotin and Friedman.  Noun [stupidly] consented…telling the cop that he would have to pay extra for unprotected sex.  [Pigs]…arrested them as soon as they arrived…and…arraigned on a slew of prostitution charges…Charlotin was also charged with drug possession…Charlotin told Judge Mindy Glazer that she’s pursuing a degree in biology…”You’re a smart girl, if you want to live to see age 20, you need to find a new line of employment,” Glazer [pompously pontificated]…

I wonder when Miami cops will start arresting college football players so Judge Dipshit can lecture them about finding a different line of work if they want to make it to 20 without brain damage?

Saving Them From Themselves

Poor, helpless little piggies; they HAVE TO stick their snouts into young people’s personal lives and then destroy them.  It’s not their fault, they’re robots without discretion or free will!

The Polk County [North Carolina] Sheriff’s Office has had 12 cases in the last year and three months at Polk County Middle School and high school…where students were charged with criminal acts for sharing pictures and videos…Capt. B.J. Bayne said cell phones are the cause of most of the charges and since there’s really not a crime that fits juveniles, the charges have to be related to adult porn charges.  “The goal is to correct the issue, not punish the issue,” Bayne said. “We really have a good team trying to get these kids educated [by traumatizing them & giving them a criminal record]”…

Gorged With Meaning

When sex is involved, a poison pen letter is considered proof:

The Coastal Carolina cheerleading team has been suspended after being accused of engaging in prostitution…[in] an anonymous letter mailed to…University President Dave DeCenzo, alleging that the cheerleaders were engaging in prostitution, buying alcohol for minors and paying others to do their homework…

Scorched Earth 

NCMEC is among the most dangerous of the anti-sex organizations due to its shameless hiding of its agenda behind “protecting children”:

…NCMEC—The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children…[has] for decades…told parents to fear “stranger danger,” and instructed them to transmit this fear to their kids…By conflating “missing” and “exploited,” they have panicked Americans into thinking the average child is “at risk” of being kidnapped.  By talking about “children” they conflate the experiences of five-year-olds and 17-year-olds.  According to their own website, over 90% of “missing” teens are not “missing,” they have run away…over 3/4 of…[them] from institutions like foster homes…By expanding the definition of “sex trafficking” to include every sex worker…they have successfully convinced Americans that huge numbers of Americans are sex trafficked.  It’s a lie.  NCMEC can’t document even a half-dozen cases of women forced to act in porn, but they’ve planted the idea that porn actresses are trafficked…NCMEC champions government stings in adult chatrooms where adults roleplay age games, pursuing adults for thought crimes that harm no one…actual child molesters don’t look for kids in adult chatrooms…NCMEC also champions Amber Alert, an enormous waste of money and…resources [whose]…main accomplishment is to terrify…parents.  Similarly, NCMEC favors punitive, counter-productive sex offender laws and registries—which includes putting children on these registries when they mistreat (“molest”) their peers…

See also “Who Watches the Watchmen?” below.

Watershed

Because of the neofeminist lie that having sex for pragmatic reasons magically harms women’s infantile, subhuman brains, it’s especially important that women be making arguments like this:

Economists are obsessed with markets…yet the sex trade has for too long been left to operate with virtually no official support or recognition.  And sex workers have therefore been left vulnerable to exploitation…from the authorities.  The usual justification for brushing the sex trade under the carpet is that the sale of sex is “immoral”…However, there is a logical inconsistency with the way that we think about consensual prostitution – a largely female trade – compared with the male-dominated spheres of soldiering and boxing – all of which come at significant risk to the body and the brain.  As Barbara Einhorn, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Sussex, wrote in a 2016 letter to The Guardian, “prostitution and soldiering are arguably the oldest professions. While doubts about their legitimacy are understandable, both provide a service that society appears to need.  Yet one is heroised, the other vilified.”  As a society, we are also…completely comfortable with people in effect pimping their brains.  If you have high-level numerical or literacy skills, it is fine to work long hours, for example, at a multinational bank or law firm.  But if you’re born with a great body and are able to hone your erotic skills, it is seen as animalistic and shameful to make money from those “assets”…And since women have traditionally been seen as inferior, it has been assumed that making money from the female-associated body is less respectable than making it from the male-associated brain…

Who Watches the Watchmen? (#649)

Once again, actual figures disprove the hysteria:

…American children today are no more likely to be kidnapped than they were decades ago, and much more likely to be returned safely when they are…there were just 105 “stereotypical kidnappings” in America between late 2010 and late 2011, the last period for which we have data.  (For reference, there were about 73.9 million children in America that year.)  Just 65 of these kidnappings were committed by strangers.  Less than half involved the abduction of a child under age 12.  Only 14 percent of cases were still open after one week, and 92 percent of victims were recovered or returned alive…The Department of Justice (DOJ) defines stereotypical kidnappings as those in which 1) the victim is under 18-years-old, 2) the kidnapper is either a stranger or a “slight acquaintance”, 3) the abduction involves moving the victim at least 20 feet or detaining them for at least one hour, and 4) the victim is either held for ransom, transported at least 50 miles, detained overnight, held with an intent to keep permanently, or killed…DOJ defines slight acquaintance as someone the child or their family have known for less than six months, someone they’ve known for longer than six months but see less than once per month, or someone who might be recognizable to a child or their parents but not known by name.  In one…case…a 16-year-old girl ran away to live with an adult boyfriend, who is defined as a “slight acquaintance” because she had only been seeing him a few months.  So the number of stereotypical kidnappings that the general public would consider stereotypical is actually lower than the feds’ estimate…

Dutch Threat (#678)

Even if PROUD supports this, I’m still skeptical of the subtext:

…project My Red Light…enables prostitutes to determine their own work routine…while offering more protection from the pressures and abuses inflicted by intermediaries.  Fourteen windows…in the Red Light District are expected to come into operation in May…If the initiative proves to be a success, the business model may be expanded to other Dutch cities.  Yvette Lurs, president of the Dutch Union for Sexworkers (PROUD), supports the project.  “It would be great if sex workers had more opportunities to open their own brothels,” she says…the spokesman for My Red Light, Richard Bouwman, says that its main goal is to “empower sex workers and, more specifically, to give them the support and the knowledge to run their own business”…

…which most sex workers already do, so why pretend the opposite?

Finding What Isn’t There (#710)

You’d think a business news site could understand that hysterical phone calls don’t correlate meaningfully with actual events.  And you’d be wrong:

Reports of domestic human trafficking continued to increase in 2016, jumping 35 percent over 2015, according to a report released…by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and the Polaris Project…Due to the [imaginary] nature of the crime, authorities and academics alike [are free] to [wildly exaggerate] the scope of the problem.  One source of quantifiable information about [the level of] trafficking [hysteria] in the U.S. is a hotline set up in 2007 by Polaris, an anti-[sex work] organization…it’s unclear whether the rise of an online sex market over the last twenty years has increased the sex trade, or just made it more visible.  In previous decades, sex work was [understood by rational people]…to be a “victimless crime”…but that perception has changed, thanks in large part to [propaganda promoted] by [anti-sex] groups, and now a sex worker is more likely to be [fantasized] as a trafficking victim…

Property of the State (#719) 

If I lived in one of these fanatical “all your uteri belong to us” states & my ability to have children wasn’t already decades in the past, I’d get myself sterilized immediately:

An Iowa state representative…[said] women who miscarry after 20 weeks of pregnancy should be forced to carry their dead fetuses [until the mothers die of septicemia]…During a hearing…which would clear the way for a state ban on abortions after the 20-week mark…Shannon Lundgren…[said] “This bill wasn’t written for the intent to protect or govern on the side of the woman.  It was written to save babies’ lives, giving the choice and being the voice of those babies”…

Between the Lines (#722)

Moralistic control freak clutches her pearls and screeches that facts are evil once somebody says “THE CHILDREN!!!

…in an article for…Reason magazine, Elizabeth Nolan Brown takes the FBI to task for [its annual pogroms vs consenting adults]…Brown declares the FBI’s yearly Operation Cross Country investigation expensive and ineffective and says they do not rescue a significant enough number of underage victims to justify the cost…Her main complaint, however, is that…the FBI is functioning as a “national vice squad,” arresting more adults on charges stemming from prostitution activities than finding underage trafficking victims…Brown continues by asserting that underage youth who are not being forced by a trafficker into selling sex do not need to be rescued and should not be [locked in cages and brainwashed]…

The rest denies the agency of sex workers, quotes the usual absurd myths and Farley’s made-up BS, etc.

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As I’ve often said, MRAs and feminists are basically the same critter.  Both groups have a small fraction of thoughtful individuals who are genuinely interested in examining the ways in which society treats their gender unjustly, both have a larger minority who are bat-shit crazy and suffer from delusions of persecution, and both are mostly made up of unhappy individuals looking for something to believe in.  The more unhinged members of both groups are obsessed with kindergarten notions of “fairness”; for feminists this usually looks something like, “Waaaaah, it’s not FAIR that men tend to be bigger and stronger than women, and that women don’t usually make as much money as men merely because we actually want lives and aren’t willing to sell our souls to corporations!  Waaaaaaaaaah!”  And for MRAs it usually looks something like, “Waaaaaaaah, why do I have to pay women to fuck me?  It’s not FAIR that men usually want sex more than women, so women can put conditions on men having sex with them!  I should be able to have all the sex I want without paying or jumping through hoops, Waaaaaaaaaaaah!”  Most of the time, whiny-baby feminists avoid me because I’m a whore and therefore anathema to their weltanschauung, but often whiny-baby MRAs will approach me online because they’re laboring under the serious misapprehension that because the deranged feminists hate me I must be on their side (Republicans and Democrats often make the same Very Stupid Error, but that’s a discussion for another day).  Well, on Wednesday one such individual got on my last nerve, and so I decided to carpet-truth-bomb him thus:

Hi, welcome to this place called “physical reality”.  Here, matter is organized into many different forms with varying degrees of scarcity.  Naturally, scarcer resources are more prized.  So there’s a field of study called “economics”, which studies how sentient beings interact with each other in order to get the resources they need by trading other resources they have more of.  Resources are not distributed “evenly” or “fairly”; for example, the sun has a whopping huge supply of helium (it’s a waste product there), while on Earth it’s scarce and getting scarcer.  This isn’t because of “capitalism” or “patriarchy” or “privilege” or anything else; it’s just the nature of physical existence.  I as a sentient being found something I have a lot of, namely sex appeal, and I trade on that to get things I otherwise have a lot of trouble getting & holding on to, such as money.  If you don’t have anything you can trade, sell or negotiate with to get something I want or need, you won’t be able to get what you might want from me, just like if I can’t get the money the grocery store wants, I won’t be able to get the groceries I want from it.  This is reality.  Learn it.  What you need to do is stop bitching about life being “unfair” (no shit) and find something you have that others want & will pay you for, such as labor.  That’s all.  Everybody is in that boat.  Sex is a resource, and so is money.  One can be traded to get the other, just like any resource can be traded to get other things.  The end.

I honestly can’t comprehend how anyone over the age of 8 can fail to comprehend that the world isn’t “fair” and can never be; the only way it could be would be for everything to be reduced to a thin haze of hydrogen spread evenly through a static universe.  Some people have more of one resource and some of another; that’s why commerce was invented.  And even though some individuals do have more resources and advantages than others, most individuals are still lacking in other areas (which is, of course, why commerce works in the first place).  Yes, I have more than my “fair share” of sex appeal, intelligence, personality force and general health…and far less than my fair share of other nice things, such as emotional stability, consistent orgasmicity, the ability to navigate formal systems, the ability to sleep more than three hours without sedation and the ability to move around and position my body any way I like without becoming violently ill (and that’s by no means a complete list).  Money can’t make up for any of those defects, but it can purchase workarounds for many of them, and my sex appeal can get me money.  And that to me seems like a far more adult, realistic and practical life-strategy than sitting around whining that it isn’t “fair” that I can’t enjoy air travel, vibrators and many other things large numbers of people take for granted.

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We should…not…[create] barriers that stop vulnerable people seeking help.  –  Lord Paddick

Follow Your Bliss 

Understand that people like this are the norm in anything that involves prosecuting sexual offenses, and always will be:

A secondary school teacher who [enthusiastically] helped the Metropolitan Police grade indecent images of children was caught on film as he abused a sleeping six year-old boy…Craig Keane…now faces jail after pleading guilty to nine counts of sexual assault on a child under the age of 13.  He has been suspended from both his roles as a teacher and special constable…the victim was asleep while the assault occurred but another child in the same room hid a camera behind the curtain to capture the abuse after becoming concerned about what was happening…

The Widening Gyre sex-trafficking-shirt

Everything is a sign of lurking “sex traffickers”!  EVERYTHING!!!

When 19-year-old Ashley Hardacre left a late shift at the mall…she found what she feared was a trap.  “I…noticed that there was a blue flannel shirt on my windshield,” she wrote later that night on Facebook. “There were two cars near me and one was running so I immediately felt uneasy and knew I couldn’t get out to get it off…I drove over to a place where I was safe and quickly rolled down my window and got the shirt off.”  Hardacre…speculated that the way the shirt had been attached to her wiper was intentional…Hardacre’s post…quickly went viral.  But it’s not the first time people have suspected strange items left under their windshield wipers.  In July last year, a Wisconsin woman wrote that her mother had discovered a fancy jeweled ring on her windshield…“This is exactly how human trafficking and abductions take place,” Savannah Nguyen wrote in the now-removed post…The local police…chief [said]…the department had no evidence linking the ring to a sex trafficking attempt…

You know who else I hear puts things on people’s windshields to abduct them?  Satanists.  Commies too, I’ll bet.

Worse Than I Thought

Mormon politician fantasizes that sex workers “force” cops to rape us:

The [Utah] Senate criminal justice committee approved enhancing penalties for prostitution-related crimes as well as clarifying the definition of prostitution…Bill sponsor…Todd Weiler…said its language adds protection to [lying pigs] who [lie to rape sex workers] while conducting prostitution stings.  “Some of the women involved in this trade…are savvy enough … to force an undercover…to actually touch them, because that’s where the line is currently drawn”…

Checklist

Another ridiculous “study” based purely in the researchers’ sexual fantasies finds that mundane things are actually “signs of sex trafficking”:

Two hundred people are sold for sex every month in Lincoln and another 700 are sold in other parts of [Nebraska]…according to a new report from Creighton University…researchers spent several years [masturbating over] Backpage.com…Crysta Price and Terry Clark, cross-referenced the ads to make sure they weren’t counting one potential victim multiple times [yet couldn’t be bothered to consult even one actual sex worker.  A spokespig oinked that]…there are a number of ways to determine if an ad was made by a trafficker or by someone selling him or herself — including if the picture was taken by someone else, the verbiage used in the post and if the pictures were taken in a hotel room…Twenty-five to 30 percent of the ads researchers studied were posted by adults working independently and not being trafficked.  About 70 percent showed some sign of advertised individuals being underage or controlled by a third party…

I’m sure this is much better wanking material for prohibitionists than the mundane truth: roughly 2% coercion, roughly 3.5% underage (and only 25% of underage advertise online).

Lack of Evidence (#314) 

This will keep happening as long as laws & procedures that stigmatize sex workers are allowed to stand:

A Vancouver man was denied entry into the United States after a US Customs and Border Patrol officer read his profiles on the gay hookup app Scruff and the website BBRT.  The officer suspected the man was a sex worker because he found messages from the man saying he was “looking for loads,” and assumed it meant he was soliciting sex for cash…André, a 30-year-old Vancouver set decorator who declined to give his full name for fear of retaliation from US Customs, describes the experience as “humiliating”…Jon Davidson, legal director of the US LGBT organization Lambda Legal…says…“Their agents need cultural awareness training to not misunderstand that people who simply are leading a normal sex life are not prostitutes.”

Fuck you, Jon Davidson.  If whores’ sex lives aren’t “normal”, neither is yours. But I guess you’ve got your seat at the Big Table, so we don’t matter, right?

Paint By Numbers

Well, at least golf requires skill & activity:

A golf tournament March 31 at Sunset Hills Country Club will benefit The Covering House, which [profits from “sex trafficking” hysteria]…GENTS (Gentlemen Encouraging No Trafficking Society), a volunteer group…is playing host for the tournament…[blah blah] signs…[blah blah] suspect a child is being trafficked…[blah blah] Top 20 human trafficking jurisdictions…[blah blah] 300,000 children…[blah blah] average age of entry is 13…

Whereas this is the usual total inanity:

…Members of Congress, celebrities including Ashton Kutcher, and others…[changed] their profile photo for the End It Movement’s “Shine A Light On Slavery” Day…You don’t have to be in Washington to take part…in…[uploading] red Xs…You can also take a tube of red lipstick, mark an X on your hand, and snap a photo to post…yes-this-is-an-x

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the “End It” yahoos.

Whimsical Notions

Is “the dangerous cycle of prostitution” a used Harley bought with whoring money?

Recently we were exposed to the horrifying phenomenon of soldiers involved in the cycle of prostitution…shocking evidence of male and female soldiers…engaging in prostitution due to severe economic distress.  This phenomenon is a badge of shame for the IDF and the State of Israel…Military service is often a lifeline for boys and girls from all sorts of difficult backgrounds.  The army should set a moral example and act to stamp out prostitution in its midst, work to save these soldiers and recover them…

As far as I can make out, this dude’s pearl-clutching tone is dead serious.  Do you amateurs really believe this kind of shit?  “Shame”?  “Save them”?  “Recover them”?  Seriously?

Legal Is as Legal Does (#440)

The danger of a “tolerated” system: cops can suddenly decide to be intolerant:

A major crackdown on massage parlours and brothels across Adelaide has forced sex workers into risky private work where they are more vulnerable to violence and crime…Police have [exhibited] threatening behaviour during a flurry of raids since September that have resulted in the closure of well-established brothels and sex workers who are too scared to report crimes against them…Sex workers…[who] refused [to give cops their telephone numbers were]…threatened with a home visit.  Police officers…took sex workers’ car registration details, working names, and…told workers they would be arrested unless they left the premises immediately…[managers and] receptionists [are being hit with avails charges] “because they are the ones that handle the money”…

All-Purpose Excuse

“Human trafficking” can mean anything!

President Trump[‘s]…new policies also target unauthorized immigrants who smuggle their children into the country, as happened with Central American children seeking to reunite with parents living in the United States.  Under the new directives, such parents could face deportation or prosecution for smuggling or human trafficking…

Dirty Laundry (#452)

Good for this lady, taking a pompous judge’s attempt to get rid of her & then carrying on as usual:

…Mikaela Niculae…was arrested…last weekend…Ms Niculae had been before Letterkenny District court in June 2014 where she was part of a group of six prostitutes who were given €1,200 by Judge Paul Kelly to fly back to Romania.  The money came from a sum of €5,890 [stolen] by Gardai [from sex workers]…the…Judge…fined [her]…€500 and…order[ed her] mobile phone…[destroyed]…

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#586)

This is a good, objective look at sex work in Bangkok; it’s refreshingly free of the usual sadfeelz, judgment and imposition of “sex trafficking” fantasies on the interviews with real sex workers.  I do find it extremely funny that every Western reporter who visits a brothel feels compelled to assure the reader that he didn’t purchase sexual services; honestly, I’d have a lot more respect for one who admitted that he did, as it was demonstrate he was respectful of both the women’s time and profession.

The Course of a Disease (#652) 

This is a huge move forward for a UK political party:

The Liberal Democrats are likely to adopt as official policy a move to quash all historical sex-work convictions – including brothel-keeping, soliciting business and kerb-crawling.  The move…will be included in a key motion…as part of the party’s wider drive to decriminalise sex work…The party’s home affairs spokesman Lord Paddick said: “As a former police officer I know what works and the current laws around prostitution do not.  They might sound tough but they don’t protect people.  The police should be focusing their resources on…coercion rather than policing consenting adults…it is time for an informed debate on this complex issue and I want my party to be leading that debate”…

I’m so pleased by this I’m not even going to quibble over the ridiculous idea that human rights are subject to “debate”.

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It’s been a long time since I did a hooker songs column, so I decided it was time to rectify that!  Actually, the immediate inspiration was that one of my earliest whore anthems (actually one of my party pieces during my early whoring days at university) came on my Pandora the other day, and I realized I had never featured it!  So without further ado:

Material Girl  (Peter Brown/Robert Rans)

Some boys kiss me, some boys hug me
I think they’re ok
If they don’t give me proper credit
I just walk away

They can beg and they can plead
But they can’t see the light (that’s right)
‘Cause the boy with the cold hard cash
Is always Mister Right

(refrain) ‘Cause we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

Some boys romance, some boys slow dance
That’s all right with me
If they can’t raise my interest then I
Have to let them be

Some boys try and some boys lie but
I don’t let them play (no way)
Only boys who save their pennies
Make my rainy day

(refrain)

Living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

Living in a material world (material)
Living in a material world
Living in a material world (material)
Living in a material world

Boys may come and boys may go
And that’s all right you see
Experience has made me rich
And now they’re after me

‘Cause everybody’s living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

Living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

A material, a material, a material, a material world

Living in a material world (material)
Living in a material world
[repeat and fade]

It’s always annoyed me that the video undercuts the message of the song, but that wasn’t unusual at the time (and still probably isn’t, though I rarely watch videos any more).  While this one is pretty overt, the next one seems to slip under most people’s radar:

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John & Bernie Taupin)

When are you gonna come down
When are you going to land
I should have stayed on the farm
I should have listened to my old man

You know you can’t hold me forever
I didn’t sign up with you
I’m not a present for your friends to open
This boy’s too young to be singing the blues

(refrain) So goodbye yellow brick road
Where the dogs of society howl
You can’t plant me in your penthouse
I’m going back to my plough
Back to the howling old owl in the woods
Hunting the horny back toad
Oh I’ve finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road

What do you think you’ll do then
I bet that’ll shoot down the plane
It’ll take you a couple of vodka and tonics
To set you on your feet again

Maybe you’ll get a replacement
There’s plenty like me to be found
Mongrels who ain’t got a penny
Sniffing for tidbits like you on the ground

(refrain)

The narrator is clearly a kept boy who has decided he doesn’t like that life and is saying goodbye to his patron to head back to his rural origins.  Actually, Elton has recorded a number of sex work songs; on the very same album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, appears this one (which is much more graphic):

Sweet Painted Lady (Elton John & Bernie Taupin)

I’m back on dry land once again
Opportunity awaits me like a rat in the drain
We’re all hunting honey with money to burn
Just a short time to show you the tricks that we’ve learned

If the boys all behave themselves here
Well, there’s pretty young ladies and beer in the rear
You won’t need a gutter to sleep in tonight
Oh, the prices I charge here will see you alright

So, she lays down beside me again
My sweet painted lady, the one with no name
Many have used her and many still do
There’s a place in the world for a woman like you

(refrain) Oh, sweet painted lady
Seems it’s always been the same
Getting paid for being laid
Guess that’s the name of the game

(refrain)

Forget us we’ll have gone very soon
Just forget we ever slept in your rooms
And we’ll leave the smell of the sea in your beds
Where love’s just a job and nothing is said

So she lays down beside me again
My sweet painted lady, the one with no name
Many have used her and many still do
There’s a place in the world for a woman like you

(refrain)
(refrain)

And then there’s this one from Rock of the Westies:

Island Girl (Elton John & Bernie Taupin)

I see your teeth flash, Jamaican honey so sweet
Down where Lexington cross 47th Street
Oh she’s a big girl, she’s standing six-foot three
Turning tricks for the dudes in the big city

(refrain) Island girl
What you wanting with the white man’s world?
Island girl
Black boy want you in his island world

He want to take you from the racket boss
He want to save you, but the cause is lost
Island girl, island girl, island girl
Tell me what you wanting with the white man’s world

Well she’s black as coal, but she burn like a fire
And she wrap herself around you like a well-worn tire
You feel her nail scratch your back just like a rake, oh oh
He one more gone, he one more John who make the mistake

(refrain)

He want to take you from the racket boss
He want to save you, but the cause is lost
Island girl, island girl, island girl
Tell me what you wanting with the white man’s world

(refrain)

He want to take you from the racket boss
He want to save you, but the cause is lost
Island girl, island girl, island girl
Tell me what you wanting with the white man’s
Tell me what you wanting with the white man’s
Tell me what you wanting with the white man’s

Long-time readers will recognize the familiar theme of the young man in love with a sex worker who thinks he’s going to “rescue” her and can’t understand why she isn’t interested.  But Bernie Taupin threw a sly little twist into this one; by making her so incredibly tall, it’s pretty obvious the implication is that she’s a transwoman.  But while Elton wasn’t quite ready to broach that subject openly in the 1970s, Lou Reed certainly was:

Walk on the Wild Side (Lou Reed)

Holly came from Miami F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side,
Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side.

Candy came from out on the island,
In the backroom she was everybody’s darling,
But she never lost her head
Even when she was giving head
She said, hey baby, take a walk on the wild side
Said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side

(refrain) And the colored girls go,
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

Little Joe never once gave it away
Everybody had to pay and pay
A hustle here and a hustle there
New York City is the place where they said:
Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side
I said hey Joe, take a walk on the wild side

Sugar Plum Fairy came and hit the streets
Lookin’ for soul food and a place to eat
Went to the Apollo
You should have seen him go, go, go
They said, hey Sugar, take a walk on the wild side
I said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side, alright, huh

Jackie is just speeding away
Thought she was James Dean for a day
Then I guess she had to crash
Valium would have helped that bash
She said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side
I said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side

(refrain)

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