Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘rescue industry’

We cannot…be blind to the very real harms posed by exposing all sorts of innocent people to unnecessary scrutiny from…authorities.  –  Liz Brown

Advice for Clients

It’s always good to see different sex workers’ perspectives on this topic:

With the exception of the occasional inconsiderate asshole, most people know how to behave at the shops, the hairdressers, or when they’re catching an Uber.  They know not to skip the line, to tip, and not to barf all over the backseat.  But a lot of people don’t know how you’re supposed to behave when you visit a sex worker…it’s only fair that you try and be polite and considerate.  But what are the dos and don’ts?  Can you ask a sex worker to lower the going rate for a blowjob because you’re such a loyal customer?  And exactly how handsy can you get when you have a half-naked stripper grinding on your lap?…

No Other Option

An important observation from Mark Draughn:

…one item on [COSWAC’s] Myths vs. Facts page caught my attention…MYTH: Clients are pathetic losers who can’t get dates or sustain meaningful relationships…someone needs to address the motives of the people promoting this myth.  People who say things like this aren’t just making an academic observation; they’re arguing that sex work should be (or remain) outlawed because of these kinds of clients.  And that’s an ugly argument…Why should it matter that some clients are “pathetic losers who can’t get dates or sustain meaningful relationships”?  Does that mean they should never have sex?  That they should never experience pleasurable physical intimacy, never touch a woman, because they lack the confidence or charisma to charm a woman into bed?  Keeping them from hiring sex workers isn’t protecting women from predators.  It’s just sentencing people with personality disorders to a life without intimacy…

Real People 

Though this article is padded with the usual ignorant bloviation from moralists who have never done or even studied sex work, it starts with the stories of several sex workers from Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan:

Despite the traditional mentality prevalent in the Caucasus, sex work is not uncommon, especially for women who find themselves in dead end situations.  Although well known, the rights of sex workers and their issues are rarely discussed in any of the three countries in the South Caucasus…journalists…decided to gain a better understanding of the topic by directly asking sex workers questions related to their lives.  What forces women into sex work?  What are the risks?  How does society perceive them?  What are their rights?  The following interviews are the result of their inquiries…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do murderous-sociopath-cop-frankie-bybee

A cop is a cop, even when he’s a sex worker.  But this one is unusually sociopathic even for a cop:

…Sarasota County deputy Frankie Bybee…received more than $100,000 over the years from a woman named Elinor Jarvis in exchange for…sex…Jarvis contacted investigators after learning [Bybee] had been arrested for attempting to kill a 79-year-old woman by entering her home, mounting her and shoving prescription pills down her throat before leaving her car running in her garage with the door open in the hope she would die of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Bybee was trying to make it look like a suicide.  But Marcia Sohl survived the encounter…Bybee met Sohl in October when she called the…Sheriff’s Office for help, transporting her to the hospital and praying with her to gain her trust and confidence.  He also agreed to care for her Yorkshire in exchange for $1,000, even texting her a photo of himself with the dog to show that it was safe.  But then he sold the dog on Craig’s List [sic]…he wrote checks from the woman’s account to himself and children for $65,000…On December 28, he sent an email to the woman’s doctor from her email address, pretending that she had “suicidal implications,” which led to the woman being involuntary committed for evaluation in a treatment facility…the IP address originated from his home…Nevertheless, a judge…reduced his bail from $900,000 to $250,000…And Sohl’s dog has since been returned.

They Still Don’t Get It

This is a mass of stupidity even by “sex trafficking” standards, but this paragraph is representative:

…“Maryland is a hot spot of trafficking. It’s that simple,” says Maryland [spokesow]…Deborah Flory…“That’s because of I-95, I-70, and BWI Airport, and the mix of wealth and poverty, which is one of the things that makes young women vulnerable.”  Traffickers, aka pimps, are familiar with the laws in each state and know there are weaker penalties in Maryland than elsewhere, including the possibility of a misdemeanor charge for trafficking someone age 18 or older, Flory says…“They can make more money than dealing drugs—$200,000 a year off of one girl—and it’s easier because they don’t have to re-up with cocaine or heroin.  They sell the same ‘product’ over and over again”…

The number of myths, tropes & lies in just that short passage is impressive.

Paint By Numbers

Do whatever it was you were going to do anyway, but declare that you’re doing it to “fight sex trafficking”; stupid people will believe you and give you money:

Pet clothing company Lulu & Robbie is showing its support for the United Nations’ Blue Heart Campaign against human trafficking.  One of Lulu & Robbie’s four new styles…features the campaign’s official…“Blueheart tartan, whose colours and lines symbolise the collective heartbeat of victims of human trafficking”…

I write fantasy, and yet I couldn’t make up anything so totally ridiculous.

Devil’s Advocate

This dude has very poor judgment and might even be a rapist.  But this sets a really dangerous precedent:

…Cody Herrera…19…pleaded guilty to statutory rape with a 14-year-old girl…prosecutors said that he could face additional charges for allegedly videotaping sexual acts with a 17-year-old…Herrera received probation and the judge prohibited him from having “sexual relations” outside of marriage as a probation condition…Banning “sexual relations” without defining the term does not…tell a person what conduct violates the condition…“sexual relations” can mean anything from phone sex to intercourse…Rather than wondering if a kiss is a violation, probation officers should be able to devote themselves to better things like helping a defendant get a job…or mental health treatment…suppose kissing isn’t a violation, but intercourse is.  Should an unmarried probationer who has consensual intercourse be imprisoned?  The costs are enormous. It’s not just $20,000 to $30,000 in annual expenses.  If the probationer is employed, he gets removed from the work force – and it is plenty hard for convicts to get jobs…

Original Sin (#449) st-josephine-bakhita

The Pope continues to recklessly promote “sex trafficking” hysteria:

As human trafficking continues to be a supremely important issue during Pope Francis’ pontificate…St. Josephine Bakhita, enslaved during her own childhood, has emerged as a patron not only for her home country of Sudan, but for all victims of trafficking.  St. Josephine was kidnapped and sold into slavery at the age of 7, undergoing immense suffering throughout her adolescence before discovering the faith in her early 20s…Feb. 8, St. Josephine’s feast day, marks the third international day of prayer and reflection against human trafficking…

Down Under (#567)

Even Kiwis who are prudish & judgy about sex work have to admit decriminalization is a success:

Prostitution was made legal in New Zealand 14 years ago, a move which some hoped, or feared, would remove the stigma from those who buy or sell sex.  That has not happened…it…is…safer for the community because safe sex practices could more easily be promoted to an industry that would otherwise continue to operate outside the law.  To that extent the legislation is said to have made a difference but it has not removed the stigma.  Not many prostitutes want their occupation generally known.  Few if any parents would want their daughter or son to grow up to be a sex worker…Selling sex, or buying it, need not be illegal for society to register its contempt for the commodification of the human body…legalisation has not done the harm its opponents feared.  It has simply made a sad industry safer.

Challenge (#679)

Let’s hope more legal sex work businesses come on board:

Fetish site RetailClips.com has pledged a percentage of profits from its site to help the Erotic Service Providers Legal Education and Research (ESPLER) Project’s court case that seeks to legalize prostitution in California.  Maxine Doogan…said she hopes that RetailClip’s promise to share in profits will “inspire others in the larger erotic industry to recognize our common ground and join the fight…In the current climate, where government is coming after a whole range of adult industry players, we really need to support each other — to not only protect but also to expand sexual privacy and sexual freedoms for everyone,” Doogan said.  Donald Kaiser, founder of Black Murk Entertainment, the operator of the newly launched RetailClips, said that ESPLER Project’s court case is crucial for the adult entertainment biz as a whole…

Stupor Bowl (#704)

It’s almost sad to see these losers trying to cash in with debunked bullshit a year ahead of time:

Hennepin County…is expected later this month to approve hiring specialized staff members in the county attorney’s and sheriff’s offices to address a growing number of sex trafficking cases, especially before next year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis…Metro area prosecutors and police agencies anticipate that hundreds of women and girls will be sold on the sex market during Super Bowl 2018

Crying for Nanny (#705)

Just in case you thought we’d seen the last of futile attempts to wring a profit from anti-Backpage propaganda:

A new federal lawsuit in Orlando is the latest legal effort to shut down [the already-censored] social media website Backpage.com [over fantasies] that it encourages and profits from sex trafficking.  A…[prohibitionist] organization, Florida Abolitionist, is behind the suit….it…is one of several groups in the area that are working to [profit from] sex trafficking [hysteria]…

Checklist (#711) 

You know that absurd “air hostesses vs pimps” bullshit that was making the rounds last week?

…There was no follow-up on where the alleged trafficker had come from, what happened to him after the flight—arrest? prosecution? prison?…Fedrick’s 2011 experience didn’t just happen into the 2017 media by accident.  Her story is part of a campaign from Airline Ambassadors International, who…used the myth of a sports-related sex trafficking boom to permeate the Super Bowl news-cycle.  AAI was founded in the 1990s by Nancy Rivard, and the bulk of its efforts long revolved around providing adult escorts to children traveling for medical procedures.  But beginning in 2009, the agency began a serious shift toward human-trafficking [profiteering]…the…alleged…incident received little public attention in 2011.  While the news that year is full of stories about a man arrested at the San Francisco International Airport for wearing baggy pants, plus stories about local efforts to stop sex trafficking, none mention a human trafficker apprehended at a Bay Area airport that year.  The San Francisco Police Department’s (SFPD) web archives turn up similarly scant results.  And nothing fitting the description is mentioned in a statewide 2012 report about successful anti-trafficking efforts in the previous year.  When the Super Bowl was held in San Francisco, in 2016, the airport teamed up with Airport Ambassadors International and others…None of the materials…mention any previous trafficking busts at the airport based on flight-attendant tips…

Read Full Post »

Though I’ve been aware of Whoretography for some time, the release of her e-magazine inspired me to ask her to contribute a guest column and she graciously obliged me.  I encourage you to explore her website, to buy a copy of her e-magazine and to help support the project via GoFundMe.

whoretography1I am addicted to photography; it’s a lifelong obsession of mine that began as a 2-year-old with the death of my father.  When you lose a parent as a baby, the only connection you can form with that parent is through imagery.  The last photograph before his death, the only one of us together, him proudly sitting on his 1970s motorbike.  His death sparked my purpose in life.  Now I am a documentary photographer, masters student, sex worker & activist interested in challenging the victim-centered nature of sex worker imagery on-line and how photography is instrumental the online sale of sex.  I know my father would be proud of me.

I bought my first camera when I was 12 and I have never been without one since; even when I was homeless for 18 months, I refused to sell my last camera.  My mother evidently thought photography was just a phase adolescent girls go through, because I was not permitted to study photography at secondary school; I went on to graduate with an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Genetics, Post Graduate in Criminology and a Graduate Diploma in Small Business Management.  I put photography to one side in this period, prioritising an institutionally-defined career in criminal justice, and I moved countries; I sold and traded cameras to pay rent, tuition and one-way tickets to London and Paris.  Finally, in April 2005, I followed my passion and become a full-time photographer; I also started as a sex worker the very same day.  And because photography is so ingrained in my psyche, I eventually managed to make sex work about photography too.  I simply refused to follow the photographic rules which dictated that in order to sell sex, I must photograph myself naked or semi-naked and bent over a table clutching my tits.  So, to stand out from the blowjob crowd in an industry that demanded the use of photography, I said no to selfies and soft porn boudoir imagery and instead harnessed the power of pop culture and iconic imagery to sell the essence of the girlfriend experience.  My reasoning was simple; I am not selling my body, so why do you need photographs of my body?  This initial rebellion against sex industry photographic expectations kick-started my fascination with the role photography plays in the online transaction of sex.

whoretography0212 years later, I am now an award winning published photographer, a sex worker and a master’s student undertaking research in sex work activism through the Whoretography project.   It’s difficult to pinpoint where exactly Whoretography began, but it was somewhere between realising I was in the business of a photographic conspiracy in which my camera was acting as an agent for the falsehood of couple cohesion and intimacy, and the idea of documenting paid-for sexual intimacy as the antidote to the visual falsehoods of wedding photography.  Whoretography sits nicely at the intersection of images, technologies, society and the sex worker rights movement.  It’s the first academic, ethnographic and creative platform dedicated solely to understanding the role photography plays in sex work via self-publishing as an artistic practice.  The objectives frame a body of creative work that takes the form of a collection of soon to be published photo and artist books, zines and the recently launched Whoretography E – Magazine.  My visual activism is about exploring a set of research questions through a mixed methodology approach designed to challenge the prevailing ideology of sex-work and to present to the viewer an alternative perception of the industry and its participants.  I wish to stop the over-simplification of the lives of cis, trans and non-binary sex workers, and to challenge current imagery that encourages the sense that the only way of interpreting the lives of sex workers is to see them as ripe for “rescue”.  This narrow and particular visual representation of male oppression reproduces a politics of pity that is embedded in the visual representation of sex workers; it suggests only pity makes sense as a political, social and cultural response.

I work within the photographic genre of found imagery, with other peoples’ photographic material and written documents.  The material for Whoretography is sourced using cyberethnographic methods; however, online interactions alone are insufficient to develop a deep understanding of the visuals of the sex worker online community.  So I’ve conducted offline research consisting of qualitative interviews with internet based sex workers, and their customers in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States of America.  Found photography allows for an editorial style in which I can act as both as editor and author; this is not common when working with sex work imagery.  Standard approaches to visually representing sex workers include photo-voice, wherein sex workers themselves create the photographs (typically of their workspaces), and photo-essay; the publishing world is awash with photo essays that, for example, take a sneaky look inside brothels.  I wanted to avoid these visual clichés.  Working with found images means constructing new narratives from seemingly unconnected photographs to provoke critical dialogue about sex work and present an alternative view of sex work.  It allows me to take the discussion of sex worker imagery from the realms of the sex work community and place it in the wider community.  Fundamental to this goal is deconstructing the visual vocabulary of sex work imagery online to investigate the overarching questions, “Is it possible to reclaim the word ‘whore’ through creative practice as research?” and “What role does photography play in contemporary online sexual consumption?”  I have an interest in ensuring photography is relevant in the fight for the full decriminalisation of sex work.  We must celebrate the fact that sex workers are now image makers; we must challenge the exclusion of sex workers from online visual spaces; and we must talk about the posthumous humiliation of sex workers via the standard practice of releasing morgue photos.  The prohibitionist war on sex work is underpinned by their belief that their photographic rhetoric is photographic truth, and we must name the game when it comes to the middle-class masses being in an uproar about the apparent gentrification of sex work via some mythical photoshop gentrification tool.

whoretography03I wonder if I have made this article sound too clinical and academic, but it has not been an easy two years.  I have an overwhelming sadness for some of what I have seen; people’s understanding of sex work is based on a carefully constructed visual lie.  The media are in cahoots with exclusionary bullies to peddle that lie, and it bloody royally pisses me off that middle-class feminists seek to deny sex workers access to the digital revolution and visual online spaces.  I undertook a Master’s Degree because I was seeking a better theoretical understanding of my craft, and in stepping away from weddings I unwittingly stumbled across my life’s photographic purpose.  I am committed to setting up a visual activist platform and sex work-positive publishing house.  I have amassed over 20,000 images and a lot of what I have seen makes me cry.  I have seen child abuse victims marketed as teen sex workers; prohibitionists create rescue images with a tonal quality reminiscent of colonial missionaries “saving the natives from themselves”; the publication and subsequent outing of sex workers by newspapers; the dire consequences of the pixilated face in propelling stigma; and the shaming of sex workers as a police tactic to help in the gentrification of up and coming hipster neighbourhoods.  The way people have weaponised the camera as a tool of violence against sex workers is in marked contrast to the way we use the camera as an agent for couple cohesion in wedding photography.  I am on a mission to shift the political landscape of sex work by forcing people to understand its visual landscape.  Photography is currently used to silence the intentions, actions and feelings of sex workers and to make their lives more precarious; we need to change this, and I hope you will help me to make this happen.

Read Full Post »

[Sex worker] distrust of law enforcement…is well earned. – Kate Mogulescu

Surplus Women 

Imagine the murder of any other businessperson being described as a “scuffle”:

A 25-year-old Ugandan woman was…stabbed to death [in Bengaluru, Karnataka] in a scuffle over payment for sex…Ishan…has been arrested for fatally stabbing Florence Nakayaki…the deputy commissioner of police…PS Harsha [said]…neighbours called the police on hearing screams…Harsha [otherwise repeated the murderer’s version of events as though it were fact, casting blame on the victim for asking for her fee]…

Worse Than I Thought

A perfect storm of stupidity, sex fantasy and authoritarian violence:

A plan that would expand capital punishment in Utah so that [people] convicted of aggravated human trafficking or child sex exploitation that leads to death could be executed…[was passed by a] law enforcement …committee…despite concern from both [politicians] and [normal people]…sponsor…Paul Ray [fantasizes that] human trafficking is a big problem in Utah, so…“I want to be able to pull down a cartel kingpin or somebody and put them on death row if women or girls are dying in their trafficking rings,” he [bloviated]…The proposal is only the latest effort by Ray to institute hardline death-penalty plans…

Property of the State 

Authoritarians’ latest dodge for getting around civil rights: encouraging profiteers to file civil suits instead:

…Arkansas Act 45…bans dilation and evacuation abortions, the most common abortion procedure during the second trimester of pregnancy.  Rushed from filing to law in less than two months, the legislation effectively blocks abortions after 14 weeks by making the safest procedure a felony.  The earliest current abortion bans block the procedure after 20 weeks.  With no exception for rape or incest, and a clause that allows a woman’s spouse or parent to sue an abortion provider, the law potentially allows the fetus’s [sire] to sue even in cases of spousal rape or incest, abortion rights activists say.  The law could go into effect as early as spring…

Business As Usual deblasio-wife

Prohibitionists just can’t understand why sex workers refuse to believe that clients and imaginary “pimps” inflict the most violence on us, and that the police are our “rescuers” from it:

…[politician’s wife] Chirlane McCray urged [sex workers]…in New York City to trust the police to investigate, prosecute, and punish [our sources of income]…”We are already hearing that victims are afraid to come forward for fear of being deported,” McCray said. “If you are being forced to engage in any sex against your will, we want to help you…Please, do not be afraid”…[but in reality] prostitution-related charge[s] can land a non-citizen in a database accessible to federal immigration agents…NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill described [his own cluelessness by thinking sex workers want our clients persecuted]…But [in reality, as] Immigrant Defense Project attorney Genia Blaser said, “the city has investigated sex trafficking by arresting people…for…sex work”…between 2012 and 2015, the NYPD arrested 1,300 people…for allegedly “loitering for the purposes of prostitution”…631 people were arrested and charged with practicing massage without a license last year, up from just 31 in 2012…91 percent of the 2016 cases are against non-citizens…

Safe Targets (#452)

A profile of Tara Burns, with emphasis on her activism in Alaska:

…“people in the media were saying that they were using [a 2012 Alaska] law to ‘save’ the poor trafficking victims” Burns tells me.  But…“the law was only being used against us and not…to protect us…I was familiar with all of these different issues – police having sex with people and then arresting them, and people being turned away when they were trying to report crimes,” she tells me.  After studying for a Master’s Degree in Social Justice at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and conducting her thesis, Burns resolved to fight for change – using her research to find out the percentages of people who had experienced this.  “I brought that research to the Alaska legislature to tell them how their law was working and when I got down there I found out that I had to register as a representational lobbyist – so I was the first person in the history of Alaska’s legislature to be a representational lobbyist representing sex workers”, she explains.  Now, Tara is a founding board member of the organisation Community United for Safety and Protection, which works for safety and protection in Alaska’s sex industry…

Checklist (#514) 

More absurd “air hostesses vs pimps” nonsense:

…former flight attendant Nancy Rivard, founder of Airline Ambassadors, is trying to [indoctrinate] airline staff across the nation…[in] human trafficking [propaganda, using fake stats such as the fabricated claim that] U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 2,000 human traffickers and identified 400 victims last year…[and promoting myths about] the Super Bowl…[prohibitionists like Rivard fantasize that] sex work and human trafficking often go hand-in-hand…Airline Ambassador Sandra Fiorini, 69, testified before Congress in 2010 about [her BDSM sexual fantasies about]…girls…flying from Moscow to the United States…

Vendetta (#523) 

A female “contributor” to GQ is paid to fellate Peter Qualliotine, the deeply misogynistic prohibitionist who runs Seattle’s “john school”, where he attempts to indoctrinate normal men in the dogma that their sex drives are pathological because women are too stupid to make sexual decisions for ourselves:

…Peter Qualliotine [is] a co-founder of the Seattle-based Organization for Prostitution Survivors [and a prohibitionist for many years]…In plenty of cities and counties around the country, men busted for buying sex get sent to a class known as “john school”—usually just a scared-straight afternoon with [propaganda] about STDs and jail time and the harms of prostitution…Peter had taught those classes and didn’t think much of their effectiveness.  He had something [more grandiose] in mind…In class, throughout those first weeks, a number of the men showed with their body language that they [understood] the whole exercise was bullshit, a waste of their time.  Several…made it clear that they [understood] it was nonsense that prostitution was a crime at all…

Naturally, Brooke Jarvis consulted no actual sex workers for the article, despite there being plenty of very public members of our community right here in Seattle.

A Woman’s Point of View 

As with cannabis legalization, if enough of these are thrown at the wall one of them may eventually stick:

Hawaii lawmakers are considering decriminalizing prostitution…after House Speaker Joseph Souki introduced a bill…Transgender activist Tracy Ryan says she’s pushing the bill because transgender women in the sex trade are disproportionately impacted by criminalization laws… Souki says he takes no position on the bill, but he introduced it as a favor to Ryan.  House Majority Leader Scott Saiki says this and a bill to decriminalize marijuana may be part of a push to reduce the prison population.

Gorged With Meaning (#639)

It’s so nice to see sex work treated as the normal thing it is:

…Portland State University’s (PSU) Women’s Resource Center… “supports the right of all students to seek and access safety in all aspects of life, including in the workplace.  For students working in the sex industry, this can be a unique and isolating challenge.”  Adrienne Graf is Portland State University’s Sexual and Relationship Violence Response Program Coordinator…and…created Portland State University’s Student Sex Worker Outreach Project…Graf’s been personally connected to sex workers since she was 18- or 19-years-old, when she first was starting her career in social work…“When I went into getting my Masters in Social Work, I was really intrigued and also disturbed by how social workers did and did not interact with the sex industry, and I became increasingly more involved in sex worker activism as a result”…

Pimps Ahoy wannabe-pimp-chef

I predict we’re going to see a lot more rescue industry dudes pretending to have been reluctant pimps:

[Self-proclaimed] pimp turned do-gooder Kaushic Biswas…is now teaching the sort of women he once exploited how to cook their way out of sex trafficking… in the 1990s…Biswas earned big money as a pimp, managing and selling women for sex after they had been trafficked into prostitution.  “Every night I broke down and cried…because I was part of the exploitation,” Biswas [fantasized]… “Sometimes they forced me to watch”…Biswas bought a plane ticket to Thailand to escape Mumbai, working once more as a chef, first in a 5-star hotel in Thailand, next under his mentor in Hong Kong…he found solace in a church and joined fellow believers…

Cooties (#703)

It’s always “gangs”.  Because you know women are too stupid to use AirBnB for ourselves:

More than 30 “pop up” brothels each week are being opened in Swindon, with foreign prostitutes renting properties for a few days before moving on.  Wiltshire Police said that every week, as many as 40 sex-workers, most of whom are eastern European, were advertising their services in the town.  It is the latest in a spate of reports across the country of temporary brothels, where rooms are rented for just a few days before women are swiftly moved on to evade detection…[cops fantasize] many of the brothels [are]…linked to organised crime gangs which traffic women from Poland and Romania…

The War Goes On (#707) 

The idea that women have free will is incomprehensible to the misogynistic sociopaths in “law enforcement”:

…The shuffling on Backpage is being watched closely in Miami-Dade, where prosecutors have been aggressive about going after pimps and traffickers, while [locking up women by pretending they’ve]…been coerced into selling their bodies…State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle dismissed Backpage’s widely publicized closing of its adult section closing as nothing more than a “shell game…They’ve all moved to the dating section…The same victims are being found there”…[this attitude among] law enforcement hasn’t gone over well with…some advocates for victims of [coercion]…“It’s a symbolic crusade,” said Kimberly Mehlman-Orozco, a criminology professor at Georgetown University…“They’re trying to get some accolades and look like the heroes”…

Stupor Bowl (#709)

Barely a peep out of these fanatics this year, and even then only at the last minute:

Sex trafficking tends to increase during the Super Bowl and this year is no exception, according to…Nita Belles…of…In Our Backyard…The Houston Police Department [claims to be]…busy with multiple…sex trafficking [cases]…Belle said…”If somebody’s coming here for the Super Bowl [and has sadfeelz about sex work they should rat people out to the cops]”…

Read Full Post »

Inside of the White Slave TrafficWith Backpage in the news so much, and various government actors vomiting out so many egregious lies about it, I thought it might be a good idea to recap how this whole shitshow developed from its roots in the previous “sex trafficking” moral panic to the present political circus.  See, while the politicians want you to believe that Backpage is some sort of magical pimp machine the likes of which has never been seen before, the truth is that Backpage ads are the end result of a slow and steady progression of advertising starting roughly a century ago, just after prostitution was criminalized in the US at the height of the last go-round of hysteria over “sex trafficking” (or as it was called then, “white slavery”).  Once brothels could no longer operate openly, escort services appeared, while some women chose to frequent hotels and such and others preferred to take out personal ads in newspapers.  Once the alternative weeklies appeared in the 1960s, the latter approach became far more popular; escorts were able to be more blunt than they could in major newspapers, though not remotely as blatant as they later became once those weeklies went online.  Even the name “Backpage” is a tribute to the site’s origin as an online version of the back pages of alt-weeklies, where the classified ads (including escort ads) were located.  In fact, the only important differences between the online version and its print ancestors are those directly related to the differences between the online medium and the print medium, such as ease of access and speed of both posting and reply (ask a whore who worked prior to the late ’90s about going to one’s PO Box to pick up actual paper letters from clients answering one’s ad, requesting appointments days or weeks in the future).

So when Craigslist first appeared in 1996 as an online classified ad site, it was a foregone conclusion that whores would post ads in its classified and massage sections, just as they had in newspaper sections.  It wasn’t any kind of “revolution”; it just sped things up and made them more efficient.  But whenever a new technology is involved, you can be absolutely sure the Puritans and Luddites will insist that it’s the source of all manner of new evils, and that it will surely bring about the end of civilization (usually by corrupting women and harming children, naturally).  It took them over ten years, however; though Craigslist had a dedicated “erotic services” section by 2002 (I’m not sure of the exact date it was added), the “sex trafficking” fetishists, at that time far less numerous and vociferous than they are now, did not really begin to take note of it until sometime after 2005.  That was the year bureaucrats from the San Francisco Department of Public Health embarked on a campaign to blame the site’s personals section for a rise in syphilis among gay men, using the typical government argument that adults are so stupid and passive that they need to be “encouraged” or “facilitated” by some corporation or communications medium to do things like have sex.  The blame-game seemed to attract the attention of the “sex trafficking” fetishists, and by the following year they were starting to put pressure in the site to “do something” about their favorite imaginary problem.  A group of 40 state attorneys general demanded that Craigslist facilitate pigs’ attempts to arrest sex workers (under guise of “stopping “trafficking”, naturally) and the site responded by requiring a working phone number and charging a fee to post in the erotic services section (to keep underage people out).  Of course, that wasn’t enough; the following year Craigslist renamed the section to “adult services” while prohibitionists blathered about how much money the company was making from the fee they had forced it to charge.  Finally, in 2010 the site shuttered the section, putting up a “censored” bar over the link to it, and advertisers either migrated to Backpage (founded in 2004 specifically as a competitor to Craigslist) or went back to advertising in the personals & massage sections as they did before the “erotic services” category was established.

Drunk with their victory, the prohibitionists immediately turned to Backpage; within weeks of Craigslist’s defeat they sent a similar letter to the one they had sent Craigslist, no doubt expecting a similar reaction.  Instead, they got a fight which has gone on for over six years, with Backpage winning at every turn for the simple reason that the government’s demands are blatantly unconstitutional.  But the evil don’t stop being evil merely because they’re wrong; faced with repeated defeats in their attempts to take legal action against the company, government prohibitionists decided to simply take illegal actions instead, ranging from Tom Dart’s threats against credit card companies to Senate “hearings” of the same sort previously held to intimidate moviemakers, comic book publishers and the music industry.  Then in October, California attorney general Kamala Harris upped the ante by committing the blatantly criminal act of arresting the CEO and both owners of Backpage and filing charges against them that she absolutely knew were illegal for her to file.  Naturally, a judge slapped her down, and she replied by filing even more ridiculous charges, shitting all over the dying protection against double jeopardy in her quest to be a hero to fanatics.  Exhausted and facing the prospect of an infinite succession of similar nuisance charges from criminal tyrants the courts seem unwilling to charge or even rein in, Backpage finally followed in Craigslist’s footsteps and censored its adult ads one week ago today.

But while the mainstream reaction to Craigslist’s defeat was largely a collective yawn, the same is not true this time around.  While Craigslist’s resistance and eventual surrender was generally conducted rather quietly, the war on Backpage has been extremely noisy and impossible to ignore; as a result there have been many articles about it already.  The best of these, as usual, is by Elizabeth Nolan Brown; David Meyer Lindenberg of Fault Lines and Mike Ludwig of Truthout, both strong and dependable allies, also wrote on the topic, and Alison Bass ridiculed Nicholas Kristof’s predictably-ridiculous take on the subject.  Sex workers are coming together to help each other find alternative advertising resources, and other groups such as free-speech advocates and anarchists are chiming in as well.  Backpage has vowed to continue the fight, and I certainly hope they do, because as soon as they stop struggling the prohibitionists will need to find another advertising site to turn into a monster.  Their campaign of eternal outrage needs a target for its hate, or else it means the end of all the accumulation of money and power which is the true aim of this ugly anti-sex crusade.

Read Full Post »

I *personally* could wreck the careers of a dozen politicians. And there are roughly half a million whores in the US.  –  Me

Advice for Clients

Mistress Matisse offers advice on the oft-asked “how do I find an escort” question:

…Look to social media…Now that so many review boards have been taken down, social media is the best way to find a good independent escort…I’m not saying “no social media” equals “bad escort”…there are lots of good escorts who don’t have much of a social-media presence.  But if you want to get to know a little about who someone is before you meet them, that’s just how you do it now…

Saving Them From Themselves

I’m sure he did it to “protect” them:

A fired Kentucky high school principal took students’ phones so he could steal porn images and trade them online…Stephen Kyle Goodlett…was indicted…on federal charges of possessing and transporting child pornography…after a 20-year-old woman learned that naked images she had taken for her boyfriend when she was 15 had been uploaded to a porn trading website in Russia…the IP address of the device that uploaded the images matches an account registered by Goodlett…[who claims] that he has an addiction to porn…

Above the Law  rapist-judge-timothy-parker

This says he reduced the sentences if they gave him sex; I suspect it was more like “I’ll increase your sentence if you don’t”:

An Arkansas judge has resigned after allegations he granted leniency to female defendants in exchange for sexual favors…judge…Timothy Parker of Eureka Springs, has denied the charges but submitted his resignation on Dec. 30, one day before his term in office was to end…

So Close and Yet So Far

You’d think someone who claims to support sex worker rights could refrain from parroting Swedish propaganda or pretending that human rights are debatable:

…decriminalizing child prostitution is crucial to stopping trafficking…and…some also believe that decriminalizing sex work for adults may be best.  In 1999, Sweden decriminalized the selling of oneself for sex, while still keeping it illegal to…pay for sex, essentially putting the burden where it belongs, on the traffickers and their customers…Some even call for prostitution to be decriminalized, or even legalized, across the board.  In 2003, New Zealand did just that…international trafficking is less of a concern because of New Zealand’s isolated geography.  Whether decriminalization or legalization of sex work for adults will ultimately keep them safer is still a widely-debated topic…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake 

Another court continues the trend of classifying strippers as employees:

A prohibition under Wisconsin law against employers docking an employee’s pay “for defective or faulty workmanship” applies to the exotic dancing industry, a federal judge ruled…Dawn Stevens sued the Oval Office Gentleman’s Club, claiming the “fines” it subtracted from her pay for giving dances that didn’t meet the club’s standards were barred by state law.  The club made deductions for “failing to fully remove all clothing, except for underwear, by the end of the first song when dancing on stage; spending too much time in the dressing room; and not dressing according to the Oval Office’s dress code,” among other violations…

Stupor Bowl

It’s almost sad to see these losers trying to cash in with debunked bullshit a year ahead of time:

Minnesota’s fight against sex trafficking is gearing up for the February 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis…conventions and large gatherings…attract traffickers who see potential for higher demand of their services. [Totally bogus] research has found that online ads for adult services increase for big events — many of which advertise trafficked women…Minnesota is in a better position than previous hosts to tackle the issue…[because it] leads the nation on addressing sex trafficking, and its practices are looked to as a model for other states…

Broken Record (#510)

Cows still cause “sex trafficking”!

Authorities are on high alert for human trafficking as crowds come to Denver for the National Western Stock Show…Deputy Shay Haney with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office [fantasizes] the large number of tourists coming to the show can attract human traffickers…[cops] are working to check websites…to identify [women’s pictures they can jerk off to on the public dime]…

Checklist (#542)

Apparently, Florida “authorities” didn’t think their magical posters resulted in enough people being caged, so they’ve added a website:

Attorney General Pam Bondi announced efforts…to spread [hysteria about] human trafficking…[by] launching a new website…digital signs will be displayed throughout the Tampa International Airport, encouraging travelers to visit the new site for tools to [make themselves paranoid so they rat each other out to the cops]…

Out of Control (#554) spooge-squirter-timothy-blake

Unsatisfied with merely sneaking or throwing, this enterprising pervert  invented a spooge-squirting system:

A West Virginia man admitted to masturbating at least 12 times in public shopping center parking lots, filling syringes with semen and following women into stores while squirting them on the back with the fluids.  Timothy Blake…was arrested…in Marietta, Ohio [after]…A woman [reported the incident and police]…were able to track Blake down through security footage…“The defendant stated maybe [squirting women with semen-filled syringes were] his way of having sex with these women”…

Amnesty At Last

Imagine a reporter adopting this tone in a story about an NAACP chapter leader who was publicly promoting a policy that police should cooperate with the KKK to “protect” black people:

The coordinator of [Providence, RI]’s Amnesty International chapter has been expelled, after nearly 40 years of service, for publicly disagreeing with the group’s stance on decriminalizing sex work.  Marcia Lieberman…disagreed [that women have sexual agency and fantasizes that Amnesty’s]…policy…would embolden “pimps and johns” who were exploiting “mostly young women and girls…we did not believe it should be legal for [adults to have consensual] sex”…Lieberman wrote a letter to the editor of The Providence Journal…reiterating her opposition to the [civil rights of adults]…and in support of…police [harassment of those adults]…

Traffic Jam (#575)

How many moronic prohibitionist plays can the market bear?

If the demand for sex trafficking were to end, would the supply end too?  Recently defected from a sex trafficking ring, Amber Cregg has immunity, and a story to tell.  Will she cooperate and aid the side of justice, or will she continue to her deep allegiance to her former pimp?  Join the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition, and the all-youth cast of blank slate theatre, for this original play on human sex trafficking…

The name of the play is Bottom.  I’m not even gonna go there.

Repeat Offenders (#637)

Even when it isn’t garment-related, “rescuers” invariably want to push sex workers into some kind of menial crafting work:

Modern slavery is all around us—even if we don’t always see it…one group in Tel Aviv is fighting against it to save lives and the environment.  A.I.R.—which stands for “Act, Inspire, Restore”…combines social purpose with an eco-friendly upcycling business to spread awareness about the black market activity and to give former prostitutes the skills and supportive community they need for a second chance at life.  Founded by Swiss couple Tabea and Matthias Oppliger, A.I.R. turns [garbage] like pallets into custom wood furniture…they currently work together with eight former sex workers who have signed on for a one-year training program to help them reintegrate into society…

Where “reintegrate into society” means “menial domestic labor”.

To Molest and Rape

Such a long and wordy euphemism for “rape”:

A [Norwegian cop] may lose his job over allegations that he used his role as an officer of the law to get sex from a number of women…One victim…needed to report a stolen car trailer to the police.  Later that same day, she was sent 70 text messages from the [cop pressuring her for sexual contact]…he also encouraged the woman to send photos of herself so he could “enjoy them”…The following day…he…went to the woman’s home [uninvited and raped her]…

Read Full Post »

Sex workers are literally dying because of [brothelkeeping] law.
–  Wendy Lyon

Whores and Wives

Let’s hope this means Snopes will start doing more to debunk “sex trafficking” lies:

Snopes.com’s founders, former husband and wife David and Barbara Mikkelson, are embroiled in a lengthy and bitter legal dispute in the wake of their divorce.  He has since remarried, to a former escort and porn actress who is one of the site’s staff members.  They are accusing each other of financial impropriety, with Barbara claiming her ex-husband is guilty of “embezzlement” and suggesting he is attempting a “boondoggle” to change tax arrangements, while David claims she took millions from their joint accounts and bought property in Las Vegas…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Could this bootlicking be any more pompous?

Like many other law enforcement agencies throughout Southern California, Long Beach police have turned their attention to eliminating the scourge of human trafficking…The department formed a task force and vowed to arrest people who profited from and exploited the sex trade…[except] when one of their own officers was accused of trying to exploit the illicit sex trade the department wants to stamp out…William Scott Holder…was arrested last year in a…sting in Corona…[but] remains employed by the department…

Check Your Premises

Remember that these statements are being made by supposedly rational adults who have the power to inflict violence on others at will:

[A confused & self-contradictory propaganda] notice from the Malheur County (Ore.) Sheriff’s Office didn’t [make much sense]…“Victims of sex trafficking and prostitution are forced, coerced and manipulated into this lifestyle against their will…prostitutes…still may be charged no matter what…Because if you don’t charge them, then there’s no incentive to change…we don’t throw them out to the same manager, or pimp, if you will…Most often, they won’t [pretend the cop narrative is true], so you do everything you can to [force] them…to [pretend] that they were or are victims”…[cops pretended that] the 11 men charged with commercial sexual solicitation…responded to decoy ads police placed on “known sex trafficking websites” [even though there is no such thing]…

Profit from Panic 

Three quarters of a million no-strings dollars to spread propaganda & infantilize women:

The Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, was awarded a three-year, $750,000 grant…from the U.S. Department of Justice…The charity’s victim assistance program partners directly with local law enforcement to help human trafficking victims become more independent…”We help them go from not being able to tie their shoes to being independent and able to sustain themselves,” [chief propagandist Chuck] Anderson said…Typical signs that someone may be a victim include signs of physical abuse, tattoos or brand marks, especially ones that say “property of,” and possessing large amounts of cash…

Wait, large amounts of cash?  I though the “pimps” took every penny?  I guess people who can’t tie their shoes can’t count, either.

Imagination Pinned Down kazaam-poster

Another example of how people’s memories can be rewritten by others:

…[many people]…recall…a movie called Shazaam…in the early Nineties …the movie starred the American stand-up comedian Sinbad…as an incompetent genie who granted wishes to two young children…[some claim] detailed scene-by-scene recollections of the film…hundreds of Redditors…have used the popular social news site to discuss their memories of Shazaam.  Together they have scoured the internet to find evidence that the movie existed but each has repeatedly come up empty-handed.  Sinbad himself has even taken to Twitter to deny that he ever played such a role…It all began in 2009 [when] an anonymous individual took to…Yahoo! Answers to pose its users a simple question. “Do you remember that…movie in the early 90s where sinbad the…comedian played a genie?”…it took another two years for somebody else to ask about it again online…last year…things took [off on Reddit]…In 1996, the basketball player Shaquille O’Neal played a genie who helped a young boy find his estranged father in a commercially unsuccessful film…[named] Kazaam

The Naked Anthropologist

Dr. Laura Agustín is back with a novel dramatizing the problems faced by migrants:

European borders are the gates of Hell, lurked over by hounds of police and organized crime…illegal migrants and smugglers are outsiders doing whatever it takes to make good, often by selling sex…In the realm of undocumented migration, knuckling under to thugs can be the sensible alternative to drowning at sea, and putting up with rotten jobs preferable to pointless lives back home…The Three-Headed Dog is international mystery in a downward-spiralling scenario for human mobility…

With Friends Like These…

You might be forgiven for thinking that an article which starts out like this would be pro-decriminalization:

Jamie Rosseland…remembers the day her mugshot and charge were published in a Jacksonville newsletter [ironically] called the Victim’s Advocate as part of a column called “Shame, Shame, Shame”…those publications fuel a stigma against women who are arrested for prostitution…

Unfortunately, you’d be wrong; the rest is a typical “whores are mindless victims” mess which quotes (among others) arch-prohibitionist Pete Holmes, the Seattle city attorney paid to lap up Swanee Hunt’s “end demand” vomit and puke it out again all over reporters.

The Mote and the Beam (#332)

Once the courts waver in slapping down attempts to destroy legal protections, it won’t be long before the vultures start circling:

The families of three fatally shot victims [from the Pulse nightclub in Orlando]…filed a lawsuit against Google, Twitter and Facebook…[pretending] the tech companies provided “material support” for the radicalization of Islamic State (ISIS)-inspired shooter Omar Mateen…The suit [pretends]…all three tech giants…”knowingly and recklessly” [chose not to censor]…accounts associated [by unnamed “authorities”] with ISIS…and allowed the extremist group “to use its social networks as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds, and attracting new recruits”…

The most dangerous part of the suit is that Mateen, an adult, was magically “radicalized” against his will by these mind-control messages; i.e., they paint a disturbed murderer as the passive victim of hypnotic rays beamed through the internet.  Sound familiar?  This is what happens when you allow a precedent to be established that people are passive victims of anyone who can be “othered”, especially when the so-called villains are multi-billion dollar corporations who may be bullied into paying up because it’s cheaper in the long run than fighting these nuisance suits.

Soap Opera (#520) 

Just when you thought the “anti-pimp personal hygiene products” trope couldn’t get any stupider:

…America and Penelope, “The CyberCode Twins,” are developing Beacon of Hope…once activated, [it] can give authorities real-time updates on victims’ whereabouts.  The trackers are embedded into tampons and pads, which would be available from dispensers at highway rest stops, gas stations and casinos.  At the press of a button, a woman in trouble could get a tracker tampon and carry it in her purse or pocket…Beacon of Hope is part of a larger movement to show how tech can be used more broadly to combat…human trafficking…

To Molest and Rape rapist-pig-barrett-boeker

Once again: if you think it matters whether a costumed rapist was “on duty” or not at the time of the rape, you are part of the problem:

An assistant warden at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola…[committed] rape inside the prison walls.  Barrett Boeker…was charged with one count of second-degree rape…and [arrested]…[Boeker committed] the rape [while off duty]…on Nov. 30 at [his] home on Angola property…the…victim was “not an inmate”…

Traffic Circle (#675)

Wendy Lyon demonstrates that criminalization of sex workers via “brothel keeping” laws is not a mere police & prosecutorial misuse of such laws, but an intended use from the beginning:

…Supporters of the [Swedish model]…regularly insist…that [it]…“decriminalises” [sex workers]…On the rare occasions they’re pressed on it, they usually witter on about how this law is “intended to punish pimps”…that the law is…aimed at…sex workers themselves…can be proven clearly enough just by looking at how the law is actually used in real life…nearly all the reported prosecutions [in Ireland] have in fact been of sex workers, not of anyone managing…them…Go back to the original debates over the 1993 Act and you see very clearly that sex worker prosecutions are a feature, not a bug, of the brothel-keeping law – which was intended to address the public nuisance factor of brothels…it was clearly envisaged by the law, at the time it was introduced, that a sex worker would be prosecuted under it – even in her own home, if she allowed someone else to sell sex there.  This is not a law about pimps…

Too Close To Home (#682)

This is a man who claims he wants to “protect” women, and portrays the men we choose to have sex with as “sexual predators”:

New documents in an ongoing lawsuit against the King County Sheriff’s Department [reveal] that…Sheriff John Urquhart told investigators in his department to ignore a woman who [reported that] Urquhart raped her…[in] 2002…numerous people were made aware of the [report]…a deputy also complained that Urquhart and the woman had an affair but…the sheriff didn’t want that complaint documented.  Urquhart denies the allegations, [claiming] the woman [is mentally ill]…

That last is no surprise; Urquhart thinks women aren’t mentally competent to understand which sexual acts are consensual & which aren’t.

Power Play (#698)

Still think you don’t live in a police state?

Never let it be said that Kamala Harris gives up after being told her totally bogus legal crusade is totally bogus.  She’s now filed brand new charges against the execs who run Backpage.com — despite having the very same lawsuit thrown out a few weeks ago…Harris…knows that she has no legal basis for arresting the execs behind Backpage…because three years ago she signed a letter whining about how she had no legal authority to arrest Backpage because it’s (rightly) protected by Section 230 of the CDA…The press release from Harris claims that the reason for the new charges is that she’s “uncovered new evidence” but that’s a load of hogwash.  The new charges still include bogus “pimping” charges, but now also have a bunch of [bogus] “money laundering” charges as well…

Read Full Post »

crystal-ballAnd so at last the year has arrived.  Five years ago today in “Crystal Ball“, I wrote this:

…major moral panics only tend to last about 20 years…about the time it takes a generation to grow from infancy to adulthood (during which time a lot of the “leaders” who enable such panics die off or at least retire, and young liberals who reject their elders’ crusades on general principle come into power)…Given this pattern, the “human trafficking” hysteria should be dead by the end of this decade…official designation of it as a “world-wide problem” occurred in 2000 and the genuine hysteria did not begin until about 2003…If things run according to form, we can predict that…skepticism about “trafficking” (especially in regard to its conflation with sex work) will slowly increase, and by about 2015 it will be possible for a major media outlet to publish articles critical of both the statistics and the very concept.  By 2017 public funding for anti-sex worker hate groups will begin to dry up, and by 2019 or 2020 we should expect it to virtually disappear from public discourse except for a wave of books and documentaries by “experts” who couldn’t be bothered to speak out against it while it was going on but are happy to make a quick buck from it after it’s safely over…

As regular readers already know, the first part of my prediction has occurred right on schedule; articles critical of “sex trafficking” nonsense started to appear in 2013 and increased in 2014, and by 2015 were fairly common in major publications such as Reason and the Washington Post (whose fact checker, Glenn Kessler, has been hammering at it for two years now).  This year even USA Today, the government-funded NPR and the Journal of Ireland got in on the act, and pro-decrim, anti-hysteria articles regularly appear in small newspapers all over the world.  As of this year media outlets are asking activists to comment on raids and stings, and the increasing desperation of prohibitionists is like the stink of fear; they’ve even backed down from most of their stupider claims, and you may have noticed we haven’t heard very much “Super Bowl sex slaves” nonsense this time around (though the repeatedly and thoroughly debunked “average age of 13” is still popular).  So if my track record holds, sometime in the next 12 months we should see the level of government funding for anti-sex worker hate groups begin to dry up; we’ll be able to tell by their increased pleas for funding and press releases about how vital their work is and how they need the public to help more, plus an increased number of fundraisers (with increasingly silly premises) and perhaps even more money from sociopaths like Swanee Hunt to try to close the gap.  All through 2018 the hysteria should die down dramatically, and by the end of 2019 only the most fanatical will still be talking about it and the majority of the public will be looking for something else to panic about.

So, by three years from now (four at the outside), we’ll be able to get through a day without having to hear fetishists like Nick Kristof non-consensually foisting their nasty wanking fantasies of gang-raping traumatized 13-year-olds in bondage upon us.  Cops and politicians may still prattle about it for a while, but once they realize nobody actually cares any more, that will soon fade away.  Unfortunately, the laws spawned by the panic will still exist and will continue to be used to destroy the lives of sex workers and our clients and families until decriminalization is achieved a decade or two from now; then sometime in the mid 2030s we’ll begin to see people railroaded into prison on bogus “trafficking” charges released, as the victims of the Satanic Panic have been over the past three years or so.  I don’t think it’s likely I’ll be around to see that, but many of you will be.  And when it happens, please remind people that I said this, and use it as an example to fight the next moral panic, whatever it may be.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »