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Posts Tagged ‘Sales Pitch’

I am an adult, and how I choose to spend my time and money is MY FUCKING BUSINESS.  –  Rick Pettit

Broken Record 

Sex workers on Twitter agreed we couldn’t think of a venue less conducive to selling sex than a state fair:

The New Mexico State Fair draws a huge crowd each year, but Street Safe New Mexico knows it’s not all about fun and games.  “You notice during the state fair, there’s new girls out here, right?” Executive Director Christine Barber said.  “They’re being brought in by the gangs and being forced to work…(The victims are) 15, 16 years old to anything older…I met a lady yesterday who was 47.”  The group says the victims’ pimps like to use the state fair as a hunting ground for willing johns…”Forty-two percent of them are beaten every single day by their pimps or their sex traffickers”…

Coincidentally, 42% of all “sex trafficking” statistics are made up on the spot, and 100% of them are bullshit.

Original Sin

I could also have filed this one under “Paint By Numbers”, since they “fight trafficking” by just standing around silently:

Since last December, activists have gathered monthly in front of St. André Bessette Parish in Northwest Portland in silent witness to the horror of human trafficking…Called modern slavery, it’s just one of the present attacks on the dignity of human life…Among them are abortion, euthanasia, cloning, the destruction of human embryos, genocide, torture, and the direct and intentional targeting of noncombatants in war or terrorist attacks…

I’m not sure it’s proper to use the term ACTIVist for someone who literally stands around, doing and saying nothing.crystal-edmonds

Monsters 

The body count continues to rise:

Just five days ago I wrote about a Black trans woman named T.T. who was viciously murdered in Chicago…Now, a…Black trans woman [named]  Crystal Edmonds has been shot in the back of the head and murdered in Baltimore.  She’s the 21st trans person that we know of who has been murdered in the United States this year…Police say…they have no suspects and very few leads…[but] reports are saying that people in the neighborhood are complaining about sex workers in their area, which makes me even more worried that this case will not be given the attention it deserves…

Paint By Numbers

“Dumb ‘awareness-raising’ stunts” is going to be the funniest appendix in my history of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Fifty people in teams of five…[followed] clues through various historic landmarks [in Lexington, Kentucky]…to raise money to help women..caught up in the human trafficking industry.  Participants raised money to support “Un-Shackled By Love Ministries”…the first group of women to join the program will stay for four months where they will receive counseling.  Eventually they will move on to a facility in Lexington the ministry [has not actually opened yet]…

Traffic Circle

Debunking of prohibitionist lies is spreading:

Denise Charlton of the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign…claimed the [new Swedish model] legislation [in Ireland] would protect sex workers by decriminalising them.  Does the bill really do that?  A group called Ugly Mugs, which facilitates information-sharing between sex workers, argues that the claim is false, and brought it to our attention on Twitter.  Claim: The new Sexual Offences Bill would decriminalise sex workers  Verdict: Mostly FALSE

  • The new bill would decriminalise public solicitation by sex workers, but…
  • It would retain the criminalisation of loitering by sex workers, and increase the penalties for it
  • It would retain the effective criminalisation of sex workers, under a provision on brothels, and increase the penalties for it.

Served Cold 

For a change, it only took the mainstream media two years to catch up with me:

…Operation Underground Railroad…was founded by self-proclaimed “Man of God,” former CIA and Homeland Security official Tim Bollard…The organization receives allocated funding…and makes contact with local law enforcement.  An elaborate sting follows…All this is filmed so the [backer]…can watch, in real time and from the comfort of his or her office or home…From the perspective of a victim’s right to privacy, such actions are reprehensible…from a criminal justice perspective, there are even more pressing concerns…Why are police in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Colombia not arresting child sex traffickers if they are so easy to find?…Why is OUR not…raiding the brothels of Amsterdam or London?…Bollard and his rag-tag team would be arrested on the spot.  And any court in any [developed nation] would not hesitate to throw out a case that rests on the evidence of an OUR-type raid because of the failure to meet even the most basic standards of supervision and accountability.  It’s no surprise that the organization and its fellow travellers limit their activities to countries burdened by dysfunctional criminal justice systems that…in response to pressure from the U.S. government…agree to cooperate…Bollard’s operations say much about the man: they are arrogant, unethical and illegal.

The Last Shall Be First (#624)

Expect a lot more cases like this before potty hysteria is over:

Security attempted to escort a lesbian woman…out of toilets at a music venue after because they thought she was a man.  Mary Looper was at a Carrie Underwood concert with her aunt when security attempted to escort her out of the women’s restroom.  A female security officer stood outside Looper’s stall demanding…proof she was a woman…She took to Facebook to share her dismay…

SWOP Behind Bars

My friend Mistress Matisse has been applying her indomitable (see what I did there?) efforts to support SWOP Behind Bars, most recently by talking about them on Dan Savage’s Savage Love podcast.  Go have a listen!  And if you haven’t yet sent a book to one of the incarcerated sex workers in the program, hie thee thither and do so posthaste!

Sales Pitch (#642) ingeborg-kraus-tampon-collector-simon-haggstrom

Remember the creepy Swedish cop who collects used tampons?  He’s teaming up with a German neofeminist to spread the Gospel of Violent Busybodiness to Canada:

…Ingeborg Kraus, a [prohibitionist who pretends that]…Germany decriminalized the sex industry…[claims that legalization there has] fuelled human trafficking [and lies that literally]…”No German woman will work in those conditions anymore”…[pervert cop Simon Haggstrom pretends that] Sweden…decriminalize[d] the sale of sex…[fantasizes about a] connection between prostitution and organized crime…[and lies that sex workers who demand our rights] are a small minority within the sex industry…

Allied for Change

I truly hope many more clients are inspired to speak out like this:

My name is Rick Pettit, and I am a client of sex workers.  I am in my 60s, divorced, and unattached.  I run my own moderately-unsuccessful service business in a small town in New England.  I’m just an ordinary person…not particularly well-off financially, and certainly not a hub of criminal activity.  I am well-liked by my customers and in my town.  I am NOT a “pervert”…I do NOT abuse the women I spend time with.  Most importantly, I DO NOT “BUY” ANYONE’S BODY. (There’s not enough room in my closet)…

Pimps Ahoy

You can’t keep a bad organization down:

Courage Worldwide said today that after the appeal process…the organization is in good standing with state regulators and plans to rehire and train new staff to reopen Courage House immediately…“We are gratified that the state has…agreed cell phones pose a real danger to the girls in our care since they link these vulnerable children back to the people who trafficked them.  The cell phone is the preferred mechanism of the trafficker to market and sell under-age girls on the internet”…

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[Emotional] manipulation is where censorship pulls its strength, and keeps the discussion of porn within the realm of saving women and children.  –  Violet Blue

Mea Culpa

I don’t often make errors worth noting in the blog, which may be why I never had this heading before.  But when I do, they’re usually because my VEWWY SEEWEEUSS thought processes failed to recognize a joke or parody as such; that was the case in Sunday’s “Links #308“.  Author Christopher Seaton explains:

When I write at Fault Lines I usually do so from a very serious perspective. This is because keeping the cracks in our criminal justice system visible and educating the public about the law is serious. When the weekend comes, we usually loosen our belts, let our hair down, and have fun. My mischief caught the attention of Maggie McNeill this week, and the whole story is a great lesson in communication…Maggie McNeill is one of the most interesting people on the web, if you don’t read her work regularly.  She’s a writer, an academic, and a sex worker.  This is not someone you want to get into a fight with when it comes to criminalization of conduct in any way, shape, or form.  It’s not that I’m afraid of a good verbal spar with Maggie, I just know my limits…so I tweeted Maggie and told her it was a joke…she replies with an apology and says she had no idea Fault Lines posted anything but 100% dead serious content…I also appreciate Maggie letting her readership know I’m not on the side of over-criminalization…

Aversions

Margaret Corvid asked several sex workers what made their favorite clients special:

…sex work is work, and my favorite clients are like a writer’s, or a plumber’s: they’re the ones who treat me with respect…our favorite clients are the ones that respect our screening processes, that pay us, that don’t bully us or stalk us or subject us to their racist rants while we, on the clock, smile and nod.  My favorites read my website properly, learning my hours, fees, services and how I prefer to be contacted.  They don’t whinge if I ask for a deposit, and they don’t request services I don’t provide.  They respect my time.  They don’t call with cocks in hand for free sexy chat, or show up early while I’m still lacing myself into my corset…

The New Victorianism

So this happened to my friend Maggie McMuffin:

A burlesque dancer from Seattle, Washington, was informed that she would need to change her clothing if she wanted to board a flight from Boston to Seattle because her shorts were deemed “too short” by the flight crew.  The crew felt that the shorts may be deemed inappropriate by families on the flight and should be changed as not to offend anyone…Maggie McMuffin says that she had successfully flown on a JetBlue flight from New York To Boston without incident in the same pair of “too short” black and white shorts earlier in the day.  However, when she approached the gate to fly her second leg of her flight back home to Seattle, she was informed the shorts were not appropriate and that she needed to cover up more, as there were families on the flight that may find the attire inappropriate.  JetBlue says they personally called and apologized to Maggie about the incident and refunded her for the shorts she was forced to purchase in the terminal while also providing the woman with a $200 credit to use on future flights as a “goodwill gesture”…

Mentoring

Paint By Numbers

Why hike or stand when you can motorcycle?

[An Oregon] woman is using her love for motorcycling to spread awareness about child sex trafficking.  Gwen Feero is a special education teacher who is preparing to bike to all four corners of the United States for what she calls the Freedom Ride.  She decided to make the more than 11,000-mile ride after overhearing a sex trafficking conversation in Portland…

I think my profession must be the only one in the world that people think they’re “experts” in after eavesdropping on a conversation between two other lackwits.

Thou Shalt Not (#413)

Because prohibition always works so well:

Six out of ten Norwegians support a proposal from the Norwegian Medical Association…to ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after 2000…NMA [fantasized] in January that Norway [could] create “a tobacco-free generation” by 2035…NMA president Marit Hermansen said in January that it is not a basic human right to begin using tobacco…Health Minister Bent Høie [said]…the government has no plans to take up any legislation that would lead to a ban of tobacco sales.

Broken Record (#579) 

I’m not sure which part is more pathetic: this ass insisting that there’s rampant “sex trafficking” in South Dakota, or thinking a vacation in Southeast Asia makes her an “expert”:

…you’d be surprised how many people don’t think sex trafficking is a thing that happens here…in South Dakota…one of my favorite things we have done so far is our work with Whittier Middle School…This is how sex trafficking numbers go down. These kids need a reason to believe that they are worth more than a number some trafficker puts on them.  Traffickers only have power when they find those that believe their worth is so small that it can be bought…

Sales Pitch (#626) 

Aphrodite bless Wendy Lyon for enduring Swedish cops’ self-congratulatory pig porn to bring us the parts that most show up their “model” for what it is:

Swedish super cop Simon Haggstrom – you’ll know him from his frequent visits to other countries to proselytise for the sex purchase ban – has now published his memoirs.  Only in Swedish, alas, but that’s why God made Google Translate.  Here are some of his views on how the law actually functions in practice…it provides the cops with “excitement” and plenty of wank material, in which they themselves play a starring role in the action…it hasn’t changed men’s attitudes.  It isn’t deterring them from paying for sex.  It isn’t stopping women from selling sex (indeed, they have to engage in a sexual act before enforcement will take place at all).  It is subjecting them to unwanted interactions with the police, up to and including detention, and deportation for those who refuse to accept the cops’ “help”…even Amnesty might be surprised at the clumsy, cringeworthy porn that Haggstrom illustrates his accounts with..Is it any wonder he’s such an advocate for the law?  Without it, he’d have to get off with only his imagination again.

Among other lovely bits, Haggstrom reveals that Swedish cops harvest sex workers’ used tampons as “evidence”; he includes a photo of such in the book.  Hooray for “feminism”!

Gorged With Meaning (#639)

Articles on sugar dating appear to be starting to shed the moral panic:

“Sugar Daddy” arrangements have existed for ages, and it’s unclear if they are becoming more common because the phenomenon is not well studied.  But experts say at the very least the internet has made these transactions far easier to arrange and negotiate…U.S. undergraduate students last year finished school with an average of $35,000 in student debt — a figure that has risen steadily every year…The average graduate debt load is $75,000, and some longer programs force students into much deeper debt.  Many students say their loans don’t cover the cost of living, and with rent skyrocketing in most major cities, they are left scrambling to make up the difference.  One graduate student at Columbia University in New York had a scholarship that covered almost all of her tuition, but not her living expenses.  She spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the potential impact on her job prospects…she plans to continue “sugaring” after she graduates to buy herself time to find a more traditional job and remain officially unemployed so she can defer repaying the roughly $70,000 in loans she had already racked up.  “There is a lot of moral panic about it,” she said. “But what are the real estate and academic funding situations that led to this?”…

Almost the only negative statement is a quote near the end from a fanatic who claims that violence magically arises from money.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#641) 

Violet Blue exposes the connection between a number of recent anti-sex op-eds:

…under the guise of demonstrating objectivity and presenting a range of opposing views on pornography, the [Washington] Post ran its “In Theory” porn series…Out of seven articles, only one presents an opposing viewpoint…When the two essays that could be considered positive or neutral viewpoints were published, they were simultaneously published with anti-porn essays…The Washington Post not only deceived readers about the agenda of its “In Theory” porn series, the outlet also deceived readers about the sources of these writings.  For instance, its final day in the series featured an article by Haley Halverson which depicts the anti-porn movement as a cultural zeitgeist brought on by public common sense, thanks to the good efforts of The National Center on Sexual Exploitation.  What readers are not told is that NCSE is the re-branded faith-based group Morality In Media, Inc., which changed its name in 2015.  Halverson runs its PR department.  This organization is a thread connecting most of the Post’s authors…

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Self-professed progressives fight for middle class utopias at the expense of the socially weak.  –  Cas MuddeMary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus

Book Reviews

An interview with Chester Brown about his newest graphic novel:

Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus may be the most provocative comic book published this year.  Beginning as a series of short Bible stories, many of them with a sexual edge—Tamar grappling with her husband, Onan, Bathsheba’s affair with King David—it gradually transforms into a polemic.  Drawing variously on academic scholarship, apocryphal texts, and his own keen interpretative eye, Brown argues that Jesus’ mother was a prostitute—and that Jesus’ own appreciation of prostitution was suppressed by later authors.  Though he tells familiar stories, Brown often pushes them in surprising—and sometimes even shocking—directions.  In one especially memorable sequence, he suggests that the anointment of Jesus described in all four gospels may have been sexual…Brown defends this conclusion in a series of lengthy exegetical endnotes that capture both the scope of his inquiries and the shape of his own fascinations…

Remember, Chester will be signing books in Seattle tonight!

Sales Pitch

The Swedish model has virtually eliminated prostitution in Sweden!

Streetwalkers have largely disappeared from the sidewalks but prostitution remains alive and well in northern Europe where laws criminalising the purchase of sex have been in place for years, illustrating the limits of legislation…Sweden was the first country to do so in 1999, and Norway and Iceland followed suit a decade later.  But prostitution is far from being eradicated in these countries, despite the fact that sex clients risk heavy fines or even prison sentences…Authorities…however [pretend to be] satisfied with the effects the legislation has had…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

Laws banning alcohol in strip clubs are among the most Puritanical and asinine of all sex industry “regulations”:

For years, the city of Chicago has prohibited businesses from mixing alcoholic beverage sales with nude dancing.  Strip clubs within the Windy City limits have to choose between serving booze and featuring dancers that exhibit their “genitals, pubic hair, buttocks” or, if female, “any portion of the … breast below the areola”, though clubs may permit patrons to bring their own drinks.  But now some Chicago city lawmakers are trying to open topless establishments for alcohol business…of course the dispensation doesn’t come without strings attached: “If a would-be owner sought to open a new club with drinks and partial nudity, it could do so only if it obtained a cabaret license,” a new designation which would require meeting “strict zoning codes” and “a special-use permit that would require community hearings”…

Our descendants will view such laws with much the same horror as many Westerners view strict hijab laws.

The Course of a Disease

One can never have too many anti-Swedish model editorials:

…The so-called “Nordic Model” is a return to the darkest periods of left-wing paternalism, in which…the opinions of the “protected” are either ignored or dismissed by the “protectors”.  Sex workers, who in large majority oppose the criminalization of people who buy sex…are stripped of their agency, reduced to “victims” of the “sex industry” who suffer from “false consciousness”.  A recent editorial of The Guardian, the British standard bearer of the European progressiveness, gives an interesting insight into the increasing difficulties that progressives have with justifying criminalization of sex work.  It is a remarkable combination of confusion and desperation.  While it actually refers to some of the little reliable research that is out there, it largely ignores its implications and recommendations.  This is because most serious research shows that the “Nordic Model” has neither improved the situation of sex workers nor significantly decreased the “sex industry”…

Above the Law  

It’s hard to be sure, but this one may have really been an ex-cop:

A former Carolina Beach police officer is being accused of pretending to [still] be a cop and threatening to arrest women if they didn’t [submit to rape]…Joseph Adam Silva…[raped one] escort…on March 15…[but he] allegedly committed [others] between Jan.1 and Jan. 20…he reportedly told [one] victim he was a police officer investigating a prostitution sting…he is now facing a total of 18 charges.  [Six] women have come forward…and…Detectives [claim] that anyone who comes forward will not be incriminated…

I wouldn’t trust the cops, ladies; just because they don’t prosecute you now doesn’t mean you won’t go on a watch list for later harassment.

The Notorious Badge 

I don’t own a TV set, so I won’t be watching this show.  But Lux Alptraum’s review jibes very well with my impressions from watching the trailer, including my opinion that the lead was dreadfully miscast:

The Girlfriend Experience…is a strange beast.  Despite being made seven years after Soderbergh’s Sasha Grey vehicle, it feels, weirdly, more regressive in its attitude towards sex work.  The film sought to draw comparisons between escorting and other service industries…In contrast, the show seems determined to double down on the “exotic” nature of the industry…at no point does Christine seem like a woman who would be drawn to escorting.  I don’t mean that she’s “too smart” or “too driven” or that she has “other options” (many of the sex workers I know are smart, driven, and with plenty of career options). It’s more that she seems to completely lack any of the basic skills that are necessary for the job.  Escorts who cater to wealthy gentlemen tend to place a great emphasis on being able to blend into expensive environments, something Christine seems incapable of doing even in her straight life.  Most notably, she’s not very good with people — in most of her interactions throughout the episode, she seems distant, disengaged, and bored. In other words, she’s the exact opposite of what a good sex worker needs to be: empathetic and able to connect with other people…

With Friends Like These…

Janet Street-Porter basically argues that whores are passive animals who should be harvested by the state:

…the sex industry is thriving – and a huge amount of money changes hands every day, none of which is subject to tax.  This means millions of euros that governments could be profiting from…The vast majority…who offer sex for sale…are poor migrants…controlled by organised crime and a large number are addicts…Please don’t…tell me there are happy prostitutes who love their job…every time a massage parlour is raided in the UK, who do you see cowering in the police vans?  Vulnerable women who have been trafficked…Women regularly get beaten up by clients, they are rarely in control and abusive clients can make their lives a misery…

Apparently, Porter believes that people of other professions who are arrested by cops and know their entire lives may be destroyed go happily smiling, singing and dancing into the police vans.

Backwards Into the Future (#408)

Malawi continues to do what the US won’t:

Sex workers in Mwanza district have received a boost as the district’s council has revealed plans to recognise them and help improve their trade…the council hopes the female sex workers alliance will give the sex workers opportunities to find solutions to problems they face…Mwanza District Aids Coordinator, Pearson Mphangwe said the move will help curb the spread of HIV and AIDS…

The Rape Question (#409) Yes To Sex app

Considering the doctrine that consent can be retroactively revoked months or years after the fact, I sincerely doubt an informal contract without  a lawyer witness  would really offer much protection:

…A mother of three aims to…confirm mutual consent before sexual intercourse via Yes to Sex, an app…for both iOS and Android.  In less than 25 seconds, partners can whip out a smartphone, fire up the app and flash through a series of one-touch agreements that culminate in a request to record a short audio confirmation that the parties have agreed to intercourse.  A safe word is generated.  Both parties agree to stop having sex if one partner says the word.  The app essentially amounts to a technological record of consent.  Once a user closes out of the app, no information remains saved on any phone.  The date, time, place and voice recordings are stored on Yes to Sex’s secure servers, which according to a company news release…”can only be retrieved with court-endorsed orders, ensuring anonymity”…

Full of Themselves (#414)

Even though “massage therapists” are pushing back on this idiocy, they just can’t resist anti-whore posturing:

Owners of some of Evanston [Illinois’s] estimated 50 massage therapy businesses turned out…to protest a proposed city licensing ordinance that they said could force them out of business…James Specker…[of] the American Massage Therapy Association…said city staff had failed to reach out to the profession before developing the new regulatory scheme.  That failure to consult with affected businesses also marked a city effort four years ago to impose zoning restrictions on massage businesses — a proposal ultimately defeated after the massage therapists turned out in force to oppose it.  Sarah McLaughlin…said the ordinance’s definition of prohibited areas for massage is overbroad and raised objections to other provisions, including one that would forbid locks on the doors of rooms where massages were given…She suggested…prohibiting overnight operating hours, when, she said, no legitimate massage business would be operating, as ways to address the prostitution problem.  Steve Rogne [fantasized] a need for more regulation to protect against human trafficking…

Guinea Pigs 

Remember: they say it’s about “pimps”, but really it’s about sex workers and clients today, and about everybody once they get it perfected:

…21-year-old Emily Kennedy trawls through hundreds of online ads offering up women for sex.  The ads are posted publicly online, and they’re endless.  Emily’s trying to find patterns in ads posted by pimps in the illegal sex trade – consistent phone numbers, spelling mistakes, syntax, phrasing; any clues to link handfuls of ads together.  It’s 2011.  By 2016, those nights…have paid off.  Emily’s senior thesis research has become the basis for Traffic Jam, a piece of software that finds patterns in ads posted by pimps.  Those patterns now help detectives – even in agencies like the FBI – to figure out who’s behind each post.  Traffic Jam has helped detectives rescue hundreds of victims of human trafficking in the US, Emily Kennedy [claims]…

Dating Game

I don’t date outsiders except for money, but I think the way everyone just assumes breaking off with a woman because she’s a sex worker is the “right” thing to do, is kind of revolting:

The [UK] culture secretary, John Whittingdale, is facing calls to withdraw from his role in the regulation of the press following the disclosure that he had a relationship with a sex worker.  Whittingdale, who is divorced, was forced to explain…how he had a six-month relationship with a woman who he did not realise worked in a brothel.  But campaigners for tighter press regulation have claimed his position is compromised after it was reported that a number of newspapers had investigated the claims but decided not to run the story…Whittingdale described the situation as embarrassing…“Between August 2013 and February 2014, I had a relationship with someone who I first met through Match.com…She was a similar age and lived close to me.  At no time did she give me any indication of of her real occupation and…As soon as I discovered, I ended the relationship.  The events occurred long before I took up my present position and it has never had any influence on the decisions I have made as culture secretary”…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#625) 

“Sex addiction” is the defense of choice for non-violent sex offenders:

Jeffrey Zapora…avoided jail, and was instead sentenced to four years of probation for three counts of indecent exposure…Zapora [claimed]…increasing stress in his life…led him to act out…[by using] masturbation and sexual behaviors as a coping mechanism, and the flashing was an extension of that…Zapora said he attends a 12-step program for sex addiction, as well as counseling, and started going to church again…Before his arrest, Zapora was a first-year plastic surgery resident with Lehigh Valley Health Network…he was terminated from the program following his arrest…

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Arrest is not a service and it doesn’t help people.  –  Tara Burns

Sales Pitch

The indispensable Wendy Lyon has for several years been looking at Swedish police reports which reveal the truth about the country’s much-ballyhooed “model”; the most recent one contains this bomb:

…On page 43, we find what may be the single most heinous thing I’ve ever read about this law. Discussing penalties (and why the doubling of them doesn’t seem to have worked as well as expected, although of course that’s not stated in so many words) the report says:  “classification of the offence by several severity levels could bring more disadvantages for the fight against [sex work]…Police…fear that graduation would lead to resources being exclusively devoted to crimes considered more reprehensible and that the investigation of the crime of purchase of sexual services would therefore not be prioritised“…One of the arguments that has been made against the introduction of this law in Ireland is that it would divert resources away from serious offences (like actual trafficking and exploitation) because the police would need to use those resources going after just any man who pays for sex.  So, here the Swedish police are confirming that that’s exactly what they want it to do.  As with the increase in stigma against sex workers, the reduced ability of the police to focus on “more reprehensible” crimes against them is a feature, not a bug of the law

Rooted in Racism

Danish prohibitionists claim sex work is “spreading”.  You know, like a disease:

There are now so many foreign women working as prostitutes in Copenhagen that the sex trade has expanded beyond its traditional locales in the city and into more visible and tourist-packed areas, [prohibitionists claim]…“When it spreads this much, there is clearly not enough being done to fight prostitution and to help these women, who are controlled by organizers in their home countries,” [bloviated] Sisse Marie Welling of the Socialist People’s Party…[prohibitionist] Kira West…said that most of the prostitutes…come from either Nigeria or Eastern Europe.  They are often brought to Denmark by financial backers who they then need to pay off…

Profit from Panic 

“Sex trafficking” fetishists’ ignorance is exceeded only by their delusions of grandeur:

…marketing professor Tammy Crutchfield is passionate about fighting sex trafficking in Middle Georgia.  She said parents should be wary of their younger daughters’ older boyfriends…[who will] lure the girls into prostitution…”All you have to do is get on Backpage and see how many young girls are offered,” [salivated] Crutchfield, who teaches a yearlong capstone marketing course based on Traffick Jam, a student organization that [indoctrinates] high school students…[in] sex trafficking [propaganda]…The group…created its own brand to market…T-shirts and jewelry…Their goal is to establish similar Traffick Jam groups on college campuses across the country…

Challenge

How convenient for the State:

A court case that would have tested the right of sex workers to offer services together…to protect themselves has collapsed after a police officer refused to give evidence.  Three women appeared before a crown court after the brothel they had run together in Greater Manchester was raided in July 2011.  Jane Young, Deborah Daniels and Catherine McGarr had all been charged with keeping a brothel and faced up to seven years in jail if they were found guilty…the women were planning to argue that under the Human Rights Act it was against the rights of sex workers not to allow them to work together in safety…[but] DC Philip Anderson, who had brought the case against the women, [claimed he] would not be able to give evidence…due to his “worsening health”…

Mumbo Jumbo Casper the pimp

Oooooh, it’s a SPOOOOOOKY hub!

…human trafficking is what Angels of Hope founder Cristina Scarpellini calls a “ghost crime,” for its hidden nature and the slipperiness of its largely male perpetrators.  “It’s so hard to prosecute, because the girl is your evidence — and try keeping the girl all the way up until trial,” she says…the victims also become ghosts to their family members…disappearing without a trace…”I deal with a lot of young girls who will tell me they’ve been approached to be sold” she says…Sudbury is even “a hub” for human trafficking…trafficked girls and their oppressors will often “ask for a hotel room near an exit, so they can make a quick escape if they have to”…a girl who is naive or needy will simply be swayed by a Svengali…

In case you missed the reference, there’s the “magical pimp mind control” again in the last sentence there.

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#342)

Eyes gouged out for insolence, moms selling daughters to pimps, girls showered with maggots — if it happened in a Cambodian brothel, the story is never too shocking for Westerners to believe.  These tales, all propagated by fundraising charities in Cambodia, depict the nation’s sex trade as an otherworldly hellscape…most of these women aren’t so clueless and weak, says…Heidi Hoefinger…an anthropologist and Berkeley College professor who’s spent more than a decade befriending, interviewing and, at times, living with women who work in Cambodia’s hostess bars…Her research has produced a counter-narrative that is strikingly different from the “trauma porn”…churned out by fundraisers…[like the now-disgraced] Somaly Mam…one of the more authoritative studies, published in 2011 by the United Nations’  top human trafficking agency, estimated only 1,058 sex trafficking cases in Cambodia; 127 were underage. (An estimate from Somaly Mam’s foundation? A whopping 40,000 Cambodian “sex slaves”)…

An Example To the West (#343) 

Thai sex worker activists are made of awesome:

Chantawipa Apisuk is tired of hearing…that…”free sex” with [a] lover is morally better than an encounter with a professional sex worker.  But to Apisuk, it’s all just sex, whether money exchanges hands or not…For three decades, Apisuk has challenged conventional beliefs about the sex industry.  Through educational services and international summits, Empower provides support to the 250,000 women estimated to work in Thailand’s…sex trade without pressuring them to leave it.  One day, Apisuk hopes to see sex work treated with the same respect as other professions…Now, she has opened This Is Us, an appointment-only museum that celebrates Thailand’s centuries-old reputation as a hub for brothels.  Housed in an innocuous building on the outskirts of Bangkok, it “brings a different perspective to the issue of sex work”…

Not for Everybody (#411)

Even most women who really were coerced into sex work know criminalization is horrible:

The reason why trafficking works so well is because there are no resources that could exist to help victims out of their situation.  It is majorly fear and conditioning that traps [them]…Telling a sex worker they are naive to their own exploitation feels like another way to assert control over them and dismiss their autonomy.  It can’t help them…Nordic model supporters…think victims of trafficking are silent and that they have a right to be our voice, saying criminalisation is best for us and that it’s what we would want…they really couldn’t be more wrong.  My experiences have been treated with much more sensitivity and respect by sex worker rights activists than those opposing them…I’m pro-legalisation on a political and personal level.  I know that for traffickers, it would be really, really bad for business, and I’d love to see how fast their empire would crumble…

Habitable Room

Molly Smith debunks Swedish model proponents’ claims that their pet tyranny “decriminalizes” sex workers:

…the…Irish…”Swedish Model” Bill omitted to decriminalise soliciting…the most clear and direct form of criminalisation that sex workers in Ireland are subject to.  Then, in January 2016, [Justice Minister Frances] Fitzgerald amended her Bill to increase the penalties for [solicitation, yet]…A press release from CATW…lauded Irish policymakers for…“decriminalizing prostituted individuals”…In Scotland…Trish Godman [used Swedish rhetoric]…while launching a Bill titled Criminalisation of the Purchase and Sale of Sex [bold mine]…MSP Rhoda Grant attempted…to introduce…a Bill presented as the Nordic Model….[which] did not include repeal of the soliciting law…

Sex Rays (#549) 

Sex Work is Work (#575)

Tara Burns with a guide on reporting about “sex trafficking”:

…Words mean things.  Sex trafficking is a legal term with many different definitions in different states and countries.  The legal term has become confused with the common mainstream usage—which tends to involve people being forced into prostitution—and this has led to a lot of confusion all around.  As journalists, our job is to be precise with language and provide accurate information to the public.  When reporting on sex trafficking, or sex trafficking cases, consider describing what has been alleged or what the statute the person is being charged with actually says—because it rarely refers to people being forced into prostitution…

Too Close To Home

The Seattle Times continues its revolting badge-licking; though this reporter seems to be struggling to be more fair, the story is still full of nauseating cop pontification like this:

“I haven’t seen a lot of people who are not damaged in this life,” [a vice pig vomited out]. “If you’ve got prostitution, you’ve got drug dealing.  And if you’ve got those two things, you’ve definitely got gang activity, and that fuels other crimes.  It’s all connected.”

Because clearly, the first word anyone thinks of when they meet me is “damaged”, and my drug-dealing is well-known.  The most revolting part?  Somebody in this story is part of a violent criminal “gang”, all right, but it ain’t the whores.

Saving Them From Themselves (#613)

A Colorado bill that would reduce the criminal penalties for teenagers who exchange nude images of each other has run into opposition from critics who say it still treats such behavior too harshly.  Under current law, consensual sexting involving anyone younger than 18 qualifies as “sexual exploitation of a child“, a felony that triggers registration as a sex offender and a penalty of up to six years in prison, even for teenagers who take and send pictures of themselves.  H.B. 1058 would make underage sexting a misdemeanor known as “misuse of electronic images by a juvenile,” punishable by three to 12 months in jail, with no registration requirement.  Although that sounds like a big improvement, lighter penalties are apt to encourage prosecution, and it is not clear why this sort of activity should be treated as a crime at all.  In Kansas, where the state Senate last month approved a similar bill, its chief sponsor explicitly argues that it will lead to more prosecution…

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Americans have been taught to treat the state like a god, to equate its many acts of evil…with the greater good of a plan that none of us asked to be a part of.  –  Brittney Cooper

R.I.P. Madame Claude

Fernande Grudet, who under the name Madame Claude operated a deluxe [escort service] in Paris in the 1960s and ’70s…died on [December 26th] in Nice…She was 92…“Two things in life sell,” she once said. “Food and sex. And I was not meant to be a chef”…Ms. Grudet zeroed in on “failed models and actresses, the ones who just missed the cut,” [said] high-society columnist Taki Theodoracopulos…Only one in 20 candidates made the grade.  Requirements included beauty — plastic surgery could be arranged — poise and a familiarity with history, literature and current events.  Also, talent in bed…assessed by…male acquaintances who took candidates for a trial run and reported back to her…Many of her “Claude girls” went on to find success in film, fashion or business.  Quite a few married rich clients…[her clients] included John F. Kennedy, the shah of Iran, Muammar el-Qaddafi, Gianni Agnelli, Moshe Dayan, Marc Chagall, Rex Harrison and King Hussein of Jordan…

Here We Go Again

Maybe someone should tell them the AJWS supports decrim?

…the National Council of Jewish Women…and its members are…still trying to end…sex trafficking, just as their foremothers had done…Liz Robbins…[of] the New York Times…[wrote] a piece…last year about a human trafficking court in Queens…Lori Cohen…learned about the “white slave trade” in the 1890s to 1930s, which resulted in the trafficking of thousands of young Jewish women from Eastern European shtetls to the Americas on false promises of marriage or employment.  In 1910, she discovered, an estimated 900 Jewish women were sold for sex in Philadelphia…

For those who don’t realize: literally no reputable historian believes the “white slave trade” was anything other than a moral panic.

Real Men Support Sex Worker Rights

What’s that, Asstoon?  “Real men don’t buy girls”, you say?  Oh, my:

Ashton Kutcher…was seen last week ducking out of a Thai massage parlour…women employed at the Ancient Therapy Massage Parlour in LA offer sexual favours after a massage.  There is no suggestion Ashton…engaged in any of these acts.  But our investigator visited the shop later and was offered sexual favours…

Is there a single male prohibitionist who doesn’t enjoy whatever he crusades to deny to others?

Sales Pitch

Remember, kids, the Swedish model eliminates “human trafficking”!

…98 cases of suspected human trafficking have been brought to the southern regional police division’s attention in 2015 – up by 700 percent on the year before when 14 incidents were reported…Most of the cases involve people driving others across the Öresund bridge connecting Denmark to Sweden…While some are believed to be the victims of organized smugglers taking advantage of vulnerable people and charging copious amounts of money for fake travel documents, others are helped by friends or relatives – who could also be charged with human trafficking…

Blasphemy

I find this essay somewhat myopic and disorganized, not to mention needlessly clannish and sectarian; however, at its core it contains the important truth that America’s fascist statism is indeed a religion:

We all saw Sandra Bland’s penultimate moments, being bullied and violated for failure to signal a lane change…before threatening to “light her up” with his taser, he never really gave a reason for pulling her over.  It is probable that he didn’t have one, other than the making of revenue…one of the young Black [Lives Matter] activists…spoke to me of the stress of her first arrest, of the feelings of disempowerment at having the state be in control of your body, of the feelings of disorientation and lack of concept of time in a jail cell, of the feelings of hopelessness such conditions induce…Because grand jury proceedings are secret, we have no idea what happened to Sandra Bland.  And if Waller County has [its] way, we never will…no police department in America is worthy of trust, or of the benefit of the doubt.  Sandra Bland’s death is just one more worm at the rotten core of the theology of one bad apple.  It is a theology and not merely an ideology because Americans have been taught to treat the state like a god…It is amazing how comfortable we are nailing innocent bodies to the cross of the unjust American imperialist justice system…

Saving Them From Themselves

Don’t be fooled; the only reason cops aren’t charging these kids is because their numbers are so great it would cause an uproar:

…Michigan…state police, after uncovering “a massive sexting scandal” involving “200 nude and semi-nude pictures” of female high school students…are not planning to charge the teenagers with producing, possessing, and distributing child pornography, offenses that carry penalties of up to four years in prison per image….[and] registration as a sex offender…Sgt. Jason Wickstrom…said that when some of the girls’ parents demanded criminal charges against the boys, “I told them, ‘We could go after these boys, but then your daughter is going to be charged too.’ That is the way that it would have to be”…

Surplus Women 

Daria Pionko…was found [severely injured] in…Leeds in the early hours [of] December 23…Police…were called to the scene by a friend of the woman, who reported the attack.  She was taken to Leeds General Infirmary by ambulance but was pronounced dead a short time later…Detective Superintendent Simon Atkinson…said:  “We are treating this woman’s death as murder and a full investigation has been launched…the victim was a sex worker and the incident has taken place in the managed [red light] area”…a 38-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident…but [police] insist they are keeping an open mind about the case.

The Last Shall Be First Chris Christie bloviating

Anti-trans people just can’t get their minds out of the toilet:

Republican presidential wannabe Chris Christie may have just come up with the single weirdest argument I’ve heard about where transgender kids should go to the bathroom…”I don’t think we should be making life more confusing for our children…Think about those kids in Los Angeles who…had their entire district closed because of a threat.  Think about what they felt like the next day when they went back to school.  Did they feel completely comfortable, did they feel like they were safe?…every place in America is a potential target for terrorism…children learn better, grow up better, mature better when they live in a safe and secure and loving environment…we want our kids not to have to decide which bathroom they get to go in…And not to be subject to the embarrassment that could come with going in a bathroom where somebody maybe doesn’t agree that they should be in there or not,” Christie said.  So trans kids shouldn’t get to pick which bathrooms they use because they might be embarrassed, and also TERRORISM TERRORISM TERRORISM TERRORISM TERRORISM.  Um…thanks for the thoughts, Governor…

A Procrustean Bed (#339)

Sacramento classifies women as passive objects without agency, then pretends it doesn’t:

…An acronym for “Reducing Sexually Exploited & Trafficked”, RESET is a diversion court that allows adult sex workers to exchange misdemeanor criminal charges for programs that, if completed, dismiss the charges…the program created an incentive [for cops] to keep it supplied with participants…Prostitution arrests in the county…[steeply increased] last year…a 45-percent increase over 2013…RESET requires participants to plead guilty before they can participate, which irks advocates at the Urban Justice Center and Sex Workers Outreach Project.  But court officers [pretend] the guilty plea [sends a message]…Unlike an earlier version that [more obviously exploited sex workers by charging] participants $250 a pop…RESET is free and doesn’t require participants to say they were trafficked, which can be a sticking point for sex workers who don’t want victimhood thrust upon them…

Their “reward” for completing the program?  A “free” cup of coffee.  I am not making this up.

The Punitive Mindset (#414) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire…and the law firm Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson…filed a federal lawsuit on…behalf of a prisoner’s mother and three-year-old son challenging the constitutionality of a mail policy…that prohibits prisoners from receiving greeting cards, picture postcards, and drawings in the mail.  This policy violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution…The policy applies to all “drawings” or “other depictions”, all “greeting cards”, and all “postcards from particular locations or featuring any type of printed design, picture, or depiction.”  The ban includes Christmas cards, as well as prayer cards with pre-printed images often sent to individual prisoners by religious organizations…[prison officials pretend that] the new policy was put in place to prevent drugs like Suboxone from being smuggled into the state’s prisons through the mail…

Welcome To Our World (#439)

Recognize the rhetoric?

…[Russian] MP Yelena Mizulina, known for her staunch [anti-abortion] stance, has proposed…a law that would equate intermediary services in surrogacy to human trafficking and punish it with 10 years in prison…The senator emphasized that the only people who would face punishment under her bill were…those who arrange the process of surrogate childbirth and receive money for their services.  Surrogate children, their biological parents and women who give birth will all be treated as crime victims…“We are calling to put the commercial component of this phenomenon under strict control,” she emphasized. “As soon as the services of surrogate mothers became available in Europe, criminal groups immediately appeared there and started recruiting women from Hungary, Moldova and the UKThis is a scary form of human trafficking and one of the obvious threats to mankind“…The future bill isn’t Mizulina’s first attempt to introduce surrogacy regulation in Russia.  In April 2014, she prepared another draft that banned hired surrogate mothers [and] made it obligatory for biological parents to get an agreement from a special medical commission…and…[perform] the necessary medical procedures…in state-owned clinics…

Under Every Bed (#520) 

Nobody would believe North Dakota was a “hub”, so now they’re calling it a “funnel”:

…Under a “john school” law that takes effect Friday, judges can sentence those convicted of hiring someone for sex to attend an offender [re-]education program to [be forced to endure propaganda] about the [mythical] harmful effects of the commercial sex industry.  It was among a raft of bills…aimed at curbing sex trafficking in North Dakota, where an oil boom has attracted pimps hoping to cash in on a thriving economy full of male workers flush with disposable income…Sen. Mac Schneider [bloviated]…“If there was no demand for the illicit services offered by sex traffickers…there would be no sex trafficking here”…The concept for North Dakota’s john school came from the Offenders Prostitution Program run by the St. Paul, Minn.-based [rescue industry] group Breaking Free…Terry Forliti, a [shill]…who works as systems analyst for Breaking Free…said…“North Dakota has been a huge funnel for sex trafficking for years”…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

This isn’t the first time the Open Society Foundation has backed sex worker rights, but it is (to my knowledge) the first time it has openly backed an anti-criminalization campaign:

George Soros, the billionaire investor…is supporting a campaign by…Sex Workers Alliance Ireland against [the Swedish model]…he…[has long funded] campaigns on issues like immigration reform and drug legalisation…[including] an estimated $80 million on the cannabis legalisation effort over a 20 year period…the Soros-chaired Open Society Foundation…has long supported organisations…that are governed by sex workers, like the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe and the Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network…

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Silly men…thought they were better than me…[but] I was smarter than all of them.  I made them pay the few coins that they had on my softness of my body.  –  Gladys, grandmother of Rachel Almeida

Real People My Grandma the Sex Worker

A young woman tells how she discovered her grandmother had been a sex worker:

…”I don’t want you to take sides, Rachel, but your mom’s family isn’t what you think it is.  They’ve lied to you.  Your grandma was a prostitute, and that’s how she met your grandpa.”  And that’s how my dad broke the news to me that my grandmother was a sex worker, and that my “childhood was a lie”(his words).  My initial reaction was that of a fairly-mature-but-still-naïve 16 year old: “Wow, Grandma was a hooker”…I didn’t feel disgusted or betrayed; I…thought it was badass and I wanted to be like her.  I tried to probe my dad about the details of the huge family secret he just revealed—very clearly only to spite my mother—but he said that was all he knew.  My dad kept holding his head in his hands, repeatedly saying, “You’d just never expect it; she doesn’t look like a prostitute,” as if sex workers even wear some kind of easily identifiable uniform…Seven years on from my parents’ divorce, I called my grandmother, Gladys, to talk about her past…I refused to let my Dad have the final say in her life story and what she’s been through.  When she picked up the phone, I could tell she was nervous to speak to me about this…She’s 82 now and lives a long way from appointment-only brothels of Caracas.  Down the phone, she told me her story with the same authority and confidence she had back then.  “If men have the right to pay for sex without judgment,” Grandma told me, “then women also have the right to make sex their career”…

Sales Pitch

The Swedish model has virtually eliminated prostitution in Sweden!

At least six teenagers who were living at a centre for vulnerable young women are reported to have sold sex, with staff doing little to intervene despite being aware of their actions.  Prostitution has been part of everyday life at the centre in Södertälje, south of Stockholm, for several years…Neighbours also reported spotting cars picking the teenagers up late at night…

Checklist

After Arizona and Washington, Florida is the state most hysterically tyrannical over “sex trafficking”:

A local nonprofit organization, Wings of Shelter, conducted a presentation in front of nearly 50 healthcare professionals…They taught them how to identify the signs of trafficking and how to treat the young victims they find in the schools…They said between 100,000 to 300,000 girls under the age of 18 are victims in the United States every year…the majority of these victims will visit a school nurse due to an injury sustained while trafficking…the three most obvious  physical signs are long sleeves, tattoos, and malnourishment.  The long sleeves are used to hide the marks of abuse and the tattoos may represent ownership in the form of a man’s name or a Chinese symbol…

That “long sleeves” bit comes straight from a Golden Age Wonder Woman comic book.

The Widening Gyre (#348)

Los Angeles’ response to “sex trafficking” is, as one might expect, increased police brutality:

A new human trafficking task force in the Valley has arrested several pimps and dozens of “Johns” in sting operations in the last two weeks…The LAPD Operation-Valley Bureau Human Trafficking Task Force was created to address the “massive influx of human trafficking cases”…said [cop mouthpiece] Marc Evans…“We have a large influx of hard-core gang members that are buying and selling girls on the streets in the form of prostitution”…the task force has [also]…issued 155 traffic citations and [stolen] 10 vehicles, he said. Evans [would] not say how many prostitutes had been arrested…In 2013, 1,077 prostitution victims were arrested by Los Angeles Police Department…

The cops’ idiotically convoluted language is so hard to follow that the reporter accidentally writes the truth by stating that the so-called “victims” (i.e. sex workers) were arrested instead of using one of the usual lies, “rescued” or “recovered”.

The Missing Word

Two brothers in…South Carolina are facing charges that they treated a mentally handicapped black employee like a slave for years…two Charleston attorneys filed a civil suit on behalf of Christopher Smith, who worked at the J&J Cafeteria…for 23 years, but was hideously abused and exploited from 2010 to 2014…[by] Ernest J…and…Bobby Paul Edwards…Smith worked at the Edwards brothers’ business for more than two decades, but it was when Bobby took over as manager in 2010 that Smith’s situation turned ugly.  Smith was…savagely beaten with a frying pan, hot tongs, butcher knives, belt buckles and fists.  He worked 18-hour shifts Monday through Saturday and 11-hour shifts on Sundays with no breaks, receiving little pay.  His total wages for each year added up to less than $3,000…When he wasn’t at work, Smith lived in a filthy, cockroach-infested apartment owned by the Edwards brothers…

Policing for Profit (#446) 

In New Mexico, civil forfeiture is big business…Albuquerque alone brings in more than $1 million through civil forfeiture every year.  Police and prosecutors seize all this property without convicting anyone of a crime—and then keep the property for their own use…This business..came to the public’s attention in late 2014, when an attorney charged with overseeing one city’s forfeiture programs described civil forfeiture as a “gold mine” and property seized through civil forfeiture as “little goodies”.  The resulting wave of public outrage brought landmark legislation, as the state legislature voted unanimously to abolish civil forfeiture…But cities across New Mexico are refusing to follow the law.  In Albuquerque, police and prosecutors…have even announced plans to purchase a new, bigger parking lot to hold all the cars they expect to seize—a parking lot that will be paid for through civil forfeiture…New Mexico Senators…Lisa Torraco and Daniel Ivey-Soto…have joined with the Institute for Justice to enforce the Forfeiture Reform Law…A decision forcing Albuquerque to follow the law will have implications across the state and even across the country…

A Year Later Jody Wilson Raybould

Fleur de Lit is a lot more optimistic than I am; I hope she’s right:

…our new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has appointed Jody Wilson-Raybould, an aboriginal woman…his justice minister…Wilson-Raybould says she’s been in discussions about Bill C-36 – which the Liberals have promised to repeal – and that in moving forward, “the safety of the workers is fundamentally important”…I am optimistic about this, specifically about [her] use of the word “workers”…

Traffic in Nonsense (#508)

The rhetoric is ridiculous, but even stupid snitches are dangerous:

…a fleet of truck drivers…are leading the charge in exposing the criminals behind these acts and in freeing victims…pimps often bring their victims to rest areas where they present the girls as willing sex workers, according to…Polaris Project [propaganda]…truck drivers, in many cases, have become [informants]…for authorities…seeking to [harass sex workers]…One group in particular, Truckers Against Trafficking, has already [indoctrinated] about 170,000 drivers in [anti-sex worker propaganda]…

Full of Themselves (#535)

What is it about massage parlors that brings the puritans out of the woodwork?

…Massage parlors that offer services well beyond backrubs are not unique to New Orleans…[they] have proliferated in the United States in recent years, expanding their foothold beyond the country’s coastal metropolises.  Though almost universally regarded by law enforcement as shady, the establishments have proved resistant to regulation…the New Orleans Police Department has sharply curtailed vice investigations as officers grapple with huge backlogs of emergency calls…officials said they are confident that erotic massage parlors remain a barely veiled front for prostitution…online [client] forums have been highlighted on social media in recent months by an organization called Lady Trieu, which has…also has posted photos of the cars of alleged johns parked in front of some of the businesses in an attempt to shame them…James Kelly…of Covenant House…said…“It’s degrading of women.  This is a lack of respect.  This isn’t something that you just dismiss”…The federal interest in erotic massage parlors typically hinges on whether investigators can prove the masseuses are being forced to sell their bodies against their will…

The “sex trafficking” rhetoric sprinkled into articles like this isn’t even enough to disguise the true motivations that drive the writers, cops and “activists”:  prudishness, control-freakishness and plain old ugly racism.

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

the All India Network of Sex Workers (AINSW), and other organisations are now…filing a petition before [the Supreme Court hears] a petition for [forcing] sex workers…[into brainwashing camps run] by anti-[sex worker] NGO Prajwala, set to be heard on December 9…“Sex workers…should be accepted and be able to live without stigma,” explains Amit Kumar, an AINSW national coordinator.  India has over three million sex workers but while they are increasingly accepted, they face ‘administrative problems’, says Kumar.  “When police raid a brothel or a sex worker’s house, they smash everything…they arrest every woman and ruin everyone’s lives”…Dr Jana, chief adviser to the Kolkata-based Usha Multipurpose Co-operative Society Ltd…says few women get into sex work because of coercion…

Between the Lines

And don’t think this is atypical:

During [the last “Operation Cross-Country”]…in Virginia, FBI and local [cops]…allegedly nabbed 12 “pimps“…along with the recovery of three “child sex trafficking victims”…two of the…suspects [were] released without charges…And…[another] was…only charged with gun and drug possession…two are juveniles.  And what about the three “children” police “rescued?”  One, a 16-year-old who was allegedly coerced into selling sex…went to police on her own accord…another…age 17, was willingly working in prostitution when she was arrested by police…In the course of this year’s OCC, the FBI helped Virginia vice squads arrest at least 30 people for prostitution, drug possession, and other non-violent or petty offenses…[such as] marijuana possession…driving on a suspended license…providing a false ID…outstanding warrant…and…providing false information to the police…

Now They Notice (#584)

Supporters of Rentboy need to do more than just protest; they’re going to need to literally put their money where their mouths are, because the government stole all of the money Rentboy could have used for its legal defense:

Staffers at a gay escort web site that was raided and shut down in August are trying to hammer out plea deals with prosecutors…Calling it a “digital Stonewall,” gay activists blasted the raid as a needless invasion of people’s private sexual lives and demanded that the raps be dropped.  Protesters — including several escorts who advertised on the site — massed outside of the Brooklyn federal courthouse after the arrests to voice their objections…

Little Tin Gods (#588)

None of this surprises me even one tiny bit:

For years, people in the tiny Louisiana town of Marksville watched the feud between their mayor and local judge like some kind of daytime soap opera…Then came the Nov. 3 shooting that killed a 6-year-old boy…Why in the world, residents ask, were deputy marshals — whose main job is serving court papers for the judge — out there chasing cars and shooting up suspects?  How did one of the deputies — who had been charged twice for aggravated rape and racked up a string of lawsuits accusing him of using excessive force — even get hired?  And how did a speck of a town like Marksville wind up with a shadow police force on its streets?…For years in Marksville, the marshal has been a local bus driver, Floyd Voinche Sr., who carried out his duties with one full-time employee and one part-timer…But sometime in the past two months, that changed…Voinche’s office bought two used police cruisers, hired several part-time deputies, and started patrolling the streets and issuing tickets like regular city police…Voinche has refused to explain his actions…citing a Louisiana law that empowers deputy marshals “in making arrests and preserving the peace”…

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Adults should be able to make their own choices—even if that adult is a woman.  –  Marty Klein

Rough Trade 

This would, of course, make prostitution stings legally rape (not that a cop would ever actually be prosecuted for it):

A man woos a woman to bed with tales of his riches, fast cars and a vacation home in Monaco.  But he actually lives in his mother’s basement…Under a bill recently proposed by a south Jersey lawmaker, such actions…could prompt charges of rape…Troy Singleton…introduced the bill…which would create the crime of “sexual assault by fraud,” which it defines as “an act of sexual penetration to which a person has given consent because the actor has misrepresented the purpose of the act or has represented he is someone he is not”…

License to Rape garbageman Trent Barker

As long as any aspect of sex work is criminal, whores will be vulnerable to cops and impersonators:

A Melbourne garbage inspector has been fined $1500 for impersonating a police officer in what a magistrate has described as an “amateurish” attempt to have sex with a prostitute…Trent Barker..told [her] he was a police officer investigating crime and prostitution…then showed the woman a radio, a binder and his council badge, which he claimed was a police badge…He then left the hotel after she refused to have sex.  Barker was arrested a fortnight later and sacked…

Welcome To Our World

[Georgia] Police raided an elderly woman’s home because they suspected that she was allowing people to play cards and bet money inside without government permission — an “illegal gambling house”…90-year-old Mary Helen…Morgan’s guests were [also] allegedly…paying [her] to serve them beverages…without government permission, oversight, or licenses.  [She] was charged with multiple crimes, including…disorderly house…and illegal alcohol sales.  Police charged or cited sixteen other adults with an array of other victimless crimes…[and seized] loot…[including] a gun, drugs, a 2004 Chevy Silverado…a 2003 GMC Yukon and trailer containing miscellaneous lawn care equipment…$4,100 in cash…alcohol, tobacco products, snacks and drinks…

Sales Pitch

Advocates for the Swedish Model claim that the law has led to declining numbers of buyers and sellers of sexual services.  However, according to Ann Jordan…the Swedish government doesn’t actually know…claims of its ‘success’ lack reliable evidence, and the source of such claims “is primarily the government’s initial and short English-language summary”…[which] cites a survey…[suggesting] that fewer men had bought sex compared to a 1996 study, but crucially omits the reservations expressed by the very person who conducted it:  Jari Kuosmanen…[who] explains…the lack of evidence…”There is nothing to support the claim that prostitution in Sweden has decreased…the problem is that politicians didn’t base the legislative change on research…

Profound Mental Disabilities

Funny how often relatives seeking revenge for BDSM relationships of which they disapprove focus on mental illness:

A [Connecticut] jury has awarded about $638,000 to a woman who sued a man she said had a sadomasochistic sexual relationship with her adult daughter…Mary Kortner…filed a civil sexual battery and assault lawsuit in 2006 against Craig Martise…saying her daughter wasn’t able to consent…because of her mental condition…In 2009, a jury found in favor of Martise.  In June, the state Supreme Court overturned that verdict and ordered a new trial…Kortner’s daughter…died in 2010 at age 39 from an undisclosed illness.  She was diagnosed with clinical depression, borderline personality disorder, bulimia and anorexia, and she twice tried to commit suicide…the state Supreme Court ruled that people don’t necessarily give up their ability to consent to sex, including sadomasochistic encounters, when they are placed under the legal conservatorship of others.  The court also said it is up to juries to decide if people are able to consent to sex…

Surplus Women

A Swazi sex worker has been killed in…South Africa by a client during payment at her residence.  Nomsa Dlamini (25)…was strangled and…robbed…The man is said to have paid with a R200 ($18) note…and asked for change.  [He attacked her when she]  took out her moneybag which contained a sum of R2000 ($180)…over eight…sex workers [were] killed in South Africa this year…

Profit from Panic Love146 profiting from panic

Rob Morris…established [Love146]…In its early years, the organization gained a certain amount of attention by building its marketing around [bogus] statistics, such as the [lie] that two children are sold into prostitution every minute.  But Morris knew that they were capable of much, much more.  So he started telling a [bullshit trafficking] story…[about one imaginary child “victim”]…The story went viral, sparking a grassroots campaign that generated worldwide awareness and hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.  Between 2007 and 2012, the organization’s total revenue grew from $1.1 to more than $2.6 million, and it now has permanent offices in the UK, Cambodia, and the Philippines…[bogus] statistics can make an impression, but [bogus] stories raise emotion …and emotion leads to action.

Profound Ignorance

Any study which equates sex work with “crime” is flawed from the forge:

Gina Neff…of…the University of Washington…noticed [that] “Uber took down data science blog post showing correlation between prostitution and ridership…“…The blog post in question…takes a somewhat lighthearted look at how Uber’s own ride data mashes up with local crime statistics…the team [found that]…“Areas of San Francisco with the most prostitution, alcohol, theft, and burglary also have the most Uber rides…

So Close and Yet So Far

I get that Alison Phipps really believes she’s on our side, but writing like this supports the fallacy that sex work derives from an “evil” which would not exist in an imaginary Utopia:

Sex workers are part of an industry which…is profoundly gendered and based on the commodification of sex and desire…they have unique insights into how gendered power relations and sexual scripts work.  Some…may tell us how these can be reworked and resisted…Others may have harrowing stories about being the target of the worst misogynist impulses of our culture

The “commodification of sex and desire” is not a bad thing, but a good one; it anchors sex solidly in reality instead of consigning it to the Rainbow Unicorn Candyland of “romance”.

Sex Work is Work

Prohibitionists are terrified of people realizing that sex work really is work:

The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) recently published an open letter to Associated Press Stylebook editor David Minthorn in response to an online campaign to replace the word “prostitute” with “sex worker” in AP’s 2015 Stylebook.  CATW and its allies oppose the phrases “sex work” and “sex worker” because they feel “these terms…legitimize prostitution as an acceptable form of work”…CATW’s letter also deploys…a litany of unreferenced statistics…[including the] statement:  “The average age of mortality of a person in prostitution is 34 years old”…[which was debunked by] Maggie McNeill…in 2011

It Looks Good On Paper (TW3 #340)

Here’s a little more on that religious brainwashing program to which Florida sex workers can be sentenced:

…“Turn Your Life Around” [is] a diversion program…[run by religious NGO] Selah Freedom…[and subsidized by the] Sarasota Police Department…[and] State Attorney’s Office…State Attorney Ed Brodsky [pretends this program is]…unprecedented…Selah Freedom recently moved into a larger [facility in which]…even more women [can be confined after being labeled as victims of]…sex trafficking…

Another Fine Mess (TW3 #435) fake base station setup

Though the technical aspect of this story is newsworthy in itself, the reporter seems to feel that sex businesses’ use of a new spamming technique transforms it from sleazy and annoying to sinister and frightening:

Spam text messages advertising prostitution are a nuisance to many people in…[China]…They have not disclosed their phone number to any strangers, but their phones are still mysteriously reached by unknown people…a fake mobile base station…is a device that can send out a powerful signal which forces all mobile phones in an area to disconnect from the legitimate base station…and connect to it without the owners’ consent…Most…can affect phones within a radius of around a kilometer and can send more than 20,000 messages per hour.  “We can send out all kinds of messages, such as adverts for property, private tutoring, financial services, stocks and [illegal businesses]”…[said] a cellphone spammer based in Shanghai…

Prudesville (TW3 #436)

If it weren’t for the fact that real women are harmed by Everett, Washington’s ridiculous crusade against coffee stands, the language deployed by cops and reporters in these stories would be hilarious.  The dark hints in this first one seem like something out of a film noir thriller, as though owner Carmela Panico was conducting an assassination business rather than just allowing tit-flashing:  “Everett PD says looking into Panico’s crime ring was one of their largest investigations.  ‘It was very important to…stop the criminal activity’, says Captain Bill Deckard…”  One can almost hear the reporter clutching her pearls as she informs us that “the sex acts are continuing” and her satisfied smugness when she informs us that the Everett Pimp Department is going to enrich itself by stealing both the coffee-making equipment and the money the women earned from their sexual labor.

Book Review:  America’s War on Sex (TW3 #440)

It looks like Dr. Marty Klein may be trying to make up for his long silence on sex worker rights:

…providers of erotic services…face enormous criticism and discrimination over their choice of work. One of the worst kinds…is the assumption that escorts are either coerced into doing their work, or that they’re too stupid to realize how bad it is for them.  That’s the basis for…so-called “rescue” operations…There’s some serious sexism in the idea that “escorts can’t be trusted to make adult decisions”…So it’s especially ironic that many would-be rescuers (including Gloria Steinem herself) call themselves feminists…Today’s coalition of feminists, conservatives, and even human rights activists are attempting to impoverish escorts’ lives as a way of defending “women’s rights.”  Their critiques are translated into criminalization, exclusion from social systems such as child daycare, and the prospect of discrimination in child custody battles or allegations of sexual violence…

A Procrustean Bed (TW3 #441)

For the second time since SeptemberThe New York Times profiles one of the state’s…”human trafficking intervention courts”.  This one, in Queens, sees…a large number of undocumented immigrants…This is…precisely the cohort that gets white-savior boners popping.  All those American-born sex workers on Twitter may insist they want rights not rescue, but surely these low-income, low-skill women are victims.  Surely they’ll appreciate state power being used to help rend them from their wretched lives.  Yeah, no.  The women the Times talked to…”said…that they did not feel like trafficking victims, but victims of the police…

He Said, She Said (TW3 #444)

Jian Ghomeshi, 47, former host of the internationally syndicated music and arts program Q…surrendered to police and was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one of choking…The charges follow a month-long police investigation into allegations that Ghomeshi…sexually assaulted and harassed several women…Ghomeshi [claimed]…it was…consensual [BDSM]…

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