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Posts Tagged ‘sex work is work’

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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It is apparent that the attenuated causal chain proposed by [those suing Backpage] is forged entirely out of surmise.  –  Justice Bruce Selya

Rough Trade 

Just imagine this ridiculous defense working for anyone in another profession:

A Melbourne real estate agent…was cleared of raping and imprisoning a sex worker in a vacant house…Henry Jiang…was accused of binding the woman with cable ties and raping her repeatedly…after…his booking with her had ended.  His defence barrister [Con Heliotis] said everything that happened was consensual, and the woman had agreed to extend her time with Mr Jiang after he offered her more money and drugs…[but] didn’t tell her escort agency she was staying later…because she didn’t want to pay them a higher commission.  Mr Jiang admitted taking money from the woman, because he calculated he was owed it for the drugs…Heliotis said the sex worker was concerned she had been robbed and only claimed she had been raped…when asked directly by police…In explaining the woman’s…screams as she [fled] the house, Mr Heliotis said: “She would be extremely distressed if she had lost her money and couldn’t buy drugs”…

Lying Down With Dogs

Another US-style “prostitution crackdown” in a country the US should be proud to resemble:

Tanzanian authorities are holding some 800 people suspected of involvement in prostitution…around 500 suspected sex workers and almost 300 alleged customers have been arrested…Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who was elected in October…[on a] law and order [platform has not]…banned…miniskirts [as reported in January]…though…the president and his government [say they are] are “strong proponents of decent dressing”…

Do be sure to click that link to see what Tanzanian ideas of “law and order” entail.

St. James Infirmary

St. James Infirmary, San Francisco’s health care organization for sex workers, cut the ribbon on its new Tenderloin clinic Monday, March 14.  St. James shares the space, located at 234 Eddy Street, with the Transgender Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project…In addition to primary medical care, the peer-based organization also offers HIV testing and prevention services, including PrEP; sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment; transgender hormone therapy; mental health care; harm reduction services, including needle exchange and naloxone; case management; support groups; food and clothing; and other assistance to people of all genders involved in the sex trade and their families.  All services are free and confidential…

Above the Law  

Some rapist cops go out and look for victims:

A [New Jersey cop] has pleaded guilty to using his badge [and a loaded gun] to [rape] a prostitute…Dinis Oliveira…pleaded guilty…to…third-degree criminal coercion……[he] is expected to be sentenced to probation and…must give up his job and forfeit his pension…Oliveira had been charged with sexual assault, official misconduct and criminal coercion [but of course not aggravated rape as anyone else would’ve been]…

And some just wait for victims to be brought to them:

A Philadelphia-area [cop] is accused of [raping] three women [locked up] inside the police department…Roosevelt Turner is charged with official oppression, indecent exposure and indecent assault.  The charges are based on separate encounters in 2015…

It’s amazing how reporters are seemingly unable to use a simple word like “rape” when the rapist, even one who rapes a woman at gunpoint, is a fucking pig.

Change of Heart

As far as I’m concerned, any sex worker who outs a prohibitionist politician has not violated professional ethics; it’s just too bad this woman waited until the day Rubio pulled out of the race:

Marco Rubio…just suspended his campaign after Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump won [Florida] in a landslide victory.  Adding to his problems, his personal life is being shopped around by a dominatrix who alleges she had a kinky sex romp with Rubio…

First They Came for the Hookers…

It doesn’t matter what a sex worker does with her life after leaving sex work; to the media, she’ll always be a whore:

An ex-stripper who went on to law school and later was elected a judge was found dead inside her Nevada home [on March 13th]…authorities do not suspect foul play.  Municipal Judge Diana Hampton, who was 50…appeared to be the perfect picture of health…Hampton, who served as a municipal judge for more than a decade, worked with youth in the community to discourage them from crime…

Buried Truth 

Vociferous opposition to anything sexual is nearly always strong evidence of an attraction to it:

…As the prosecuting attorney for Ingham County, Michigan, since 1997, Stuart Dunnings III spend decades helping to put people behind bars for commercial sexual activity.  But at the same time, Dunnings was routinely shelling out money for sexual services…Dunnings…instituted tougher penalties and a program of impounding johns’ vehicles…Now…authorities allege that Dunnings “paid for commercial sex… hundreds of times…between 2010-2015.”  For five years, Dunnings met with one sex worker up to four times per week, in addition to his encounters with others.  For what it’s worth, the arrest affidavit paints Dunning as considerate client who tipped well and acted more like a “sugar daddy” to some of the women, taking them out to dinners and paying their rent, cellphone bills, and other expenses…After one woman confessed to a heroin habit, Dunnings paid for her weekly methadone treatments and attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings with her…the feds went after Dunnings under the guise of stopping “human trafficking”, because that’s what law enforcement calls all prostitution circa 2016.  Most of the charges actually brought against him, however, are misdemeanor charges for “engaging in the services of prostitution” (10 counts) and “willful neglect of duty” (4 counts).  The one felony charge is because Dunnings…allegedly coerced a domestic violence victim…into having sex with him, then paid her for it…about $600 every two weeks as well as…some of her bills…

The Washington Post coverage that first broke the story preferred to soak in dysphemisms and libel the sex workers that to actually cover the facts.

Backwards into the Future (#334)

UNAIDS welcomes the roll-out of South Africa’s National Sex Worker HIV Plan, 2016–2019.  Launched by the Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, in his role as the Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), this unique plan will ensure equitable access to health and legal services for sex workers in South Africa…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (All Traffick, All the Time)

Here’s another “rescue” scam designed to recruit unhappy whores into the anti-whore brigade; it resembles a “crisis pregnancy center”, which is not surprising since a number of “anti-trafficking” NGOs also operate (or formerly operated) such schemes.  What makes it interesting to me is that it’s the highest claimed number of clients per day (60) we’ve seen in a while, since the high-lunacy mark of 110 current from 2012-2014.  With the exception of a brief requote of that figure (which actually seems to have originated among prohibitionists in 2001) a few months ago, most of the claims have returned to the pre-June 2012 typical claim of 15/day, which is high but not literally impossible.Lake Pahoe

King of the Hill (Traffic Updates)

These moral crusades labeling one particular thoroughfare a “hotbed of sex trafficking” remind me of the Monty Python episode in which there is an entire lake in a basement flat:

Jillian Gilchrest, chairwoman of the [Connecticut] Trafficking in Persons Council, says the Berlin Turnpike is a hotbed for sex trafficking, often involving minors who are exploited…The Underground, a faith-based organization…[identified]…27 of which offer hourly rates…“For far too long, state laws and culture accepted that the purchase of sex will happen,” said Gilchrest…The Judiciary Committee advanced two bills…to attempt to address the issue…[one] would mandate additional training for law enforcement and employees at hotels and motels to identify victims of sex trafficking.  It would also require businesses that offer lodging to maintain detailed records of [cash] transactions for at least six months…[Gilchrest] said… “It was shocking to me [that people are allowed to conduct business with legal tender]”…The bill initially included a provision that would make it illegal to charge hourly for a room at a hotel or motel…But the Judiciary Committee voted…to strike the measure from the bill in response to testimony…[that] hourly rates are often used by truck drivers and travelers seeking a break from the road…

Sex Work is Work (#517)

Bureaucrats can turn anything into a hassle:

New tax laws in Austria is [sic] causing problems for sex workers as rules now dictate that all customers need to be issued with an itemised bill listing all services rendered…As services provided by sex workers covers a wide spectrum, bosses ask how, for example, a two-hour chat with no sexual contact should be written down…others questioned how a self-employed sex worker would issue receipts…

Guinea Pigs 

Americans are so ovine, all one needs do is say “THE CHILDREN!” and everyone cheers while big tech companies give cops horrifying new surveillance tools:

Palantir Technologies…isn’t unique in its efforts to turn its software toward social good—plenty of tech companies do that.  But unlike most, Palantir says it treats nonprofits like any other customer..in 2012, Polaris’ chief executive, Bradley Myles, heard Palantir’s CEO, Alex Karp, speak at a White House event…Myles knew it was something his [corporation]—which is dedicated to eradicating [sex work]—needed but couldn’t afford…Just a few weeks later, Palantir engineers were integrating data from thousands of [sex worker arrest] records, public tips and financial networks…The…company [also] integrates tips, case reports, public records, videos, social media feeds and other data sources and helps draw connections…To help…law enforcement [spy on adult sex workers and clients in the name of fighting] the abduction and sexual exploitation of children…

Crying for Nanny (#539)

The outcome was a foregone conclusion; the lawyers who orchestrated this shitshow were only appealing to cover their arses:

Backpage.com…has been sued a bunch of times, almost always by people [deliberately] misunderstanding Section 230 of the CDA which, as we’ve discussed hundreds of times, says that sites are not liable for the actions of their users…the appeal on [a] Massachusetts case has brought another good Section 230 win, saying that Backpage.com is not liable…The crux of the argument…is that…the way Backpage is set up…makes it different from a standard “publishing” platform.  This is a pretty common attack on Section 230, claiming that it does more than a publisher and thus isn’t protected.  Courts have almost universally rejected that, unless those additional actions themselves could be seen to break the law…the court rejects this argument, saying that everything Backpage.com does is a traditional publisher activity…

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Oh, here it is.  –  Deanne Choate, last words

It’s funny how the number of links is kind of seesawing back and forth right now, though I reckon the relative fullness of my week has a lot to do with that.  A lot of that fullness this week was activism, but a good bit of it was…well, as LunchMoney Lewis says, I got bills.  The video was provided by Brooke Magnanti, and the links above it by Nun YaTushy GaloreRadley Balko, and Tim Cushing, in that order.

From the Archives

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Mike Siegel has been a regular and faithful reader of this blog for at least five years, and has on numerous occasions assisted me with scientific or other issues.  See, he’s a professional astronomer and a blogger himself, and now he’s a fiction writer as well; last week, he self-published his first novel through Kindle Direct Publishing. The book is entitled The Water Lily Pond after the series of Monet paintings that inspired it.  He synopsizes it thusly: “Many decades in the future, medical science has made aging a thing of the past.  Painter Walter Winston, at age 128, finds himself dying from simply being exhausted from life.  He sets off on a journey to revisit the places he’s lived, trying to rediscover himself, his life and the people who made it worth living.  It’s science fiction, yes.  But it’s not really about science.  It’s about time and old age and regret and art…The two passages below take place after Walter’s wife has died. Having been alone for a long time and wanting to avoid complications, he occasionally hires an escort.  On at least one occasion, a university hosting his lecture hired an escort for him.  The first passage concerns the latter“:

The last time he’d been in a hotel room identical to this one he had not been alone. She was a pretty girl from Ecuador whom the University had arranged for him. He was a hundred years older than her. They had lain in bed after it was done — the school had generously paid for the entire night. He thought of David and Abishag in the Americo painting. They had sent her to warm him.

Her cigarette smoke made lazy curls on the ceiling as she talked to him. She was certainly the smartest girl he’d ever had – she spoke four languages and was earning her degree from UCLA in astronautics. She spoke of a future on the Earth-Moon run.

“Why do you do this, then?” he’d asked, shocked.

She stared at him for a moment then giggled.

“You’re so old-fashioned.”

“I’m so old!”

“It’s endearing. I think the oldest man I’d been with before you was … 90?  95? He wasn’t quite as prudent.”

“You didn’t answer the question.”

She rolled over, her black hair spilling onto the white pillow like a Pollock painting, her hip making a steep curve beneath the sheets like a Reubens. It made him feel a lot younger than 125 to look at her and to touch her.

“I enjoy it. It’s that simple. The money’s great. I certainly wouldn’t do it for free.  But mainly I enjoy it. Not the act, per se. I enjoy the people.  I always get high-class clients.  Like famous artists,” she said, poking him in the belly.

He sank against the pillow, wondering if he was the only person on Earth old enough to see any stigma in her job.

“Do you remember everyone you’ve ever been with?” she asked. “After …”

“After all this time?” He grinned and nodded. “Sometimes it takes a while, but I do. Not that I’ve been with that many.

“It’s not just women I’ve been with that I remember. I can remember women I’ve wanted and never had. I can still remember a girl I passed on the street a century ago. She had the deepest eyes I’d ever seen. A short white skirt and a green blouse. She’s probably been dead half a century; certainly never knew my name or who I was. And yet I think about her. I can still see the fabric of the blouse clinging to her body.”

She leaned over and kissed him.  “You should have painted her.”

“I did.”

This next passage is from a bit later in the book and references the time Walter lived in the worst part of Harlem in the 1980’s as a struggling artist.

He had never hired a professional before Sarah was gone.  Even in his loneliest nights in Harlem, shortly after his marriage with Anna had collapsed, when he could hear the streetwalkers and their clients in the alleys and crack houses of the neighborhood; when he couldn’t walk to and from home without at least a couple of them asking if he wanted a date.  It had never really crossed his mind.

“They didn’t repel me,” he told Sarah once.  “I got to know some of them over time.   Most of them were nice enough and a couple even knew about my art.  I even drew inspiration from them for one or two paintings.”

“They were in the pentaptych,” said Sarah.

“One was.  A woman who doggedly worked a corner near me for almost a decade.  Put her kid through school on it.  But I just wasn’t interested in what they were offering.”

It was Chuck who talked him into it.  Chuck, who knew that the side of the industry Walter had seen in King’s Slate was the bad part of a much larger enterprise.

“You should come with me to Vegas,” he said one night at the lake, three years after Sarah had died.  There had been an awkward discussion over dinner about whether Walter should get “out there” or not. Now he and Chuck were on the dock, in the darkness.

“Or up to Toronto.  Or over to Paris.  Or Bucharest.  Or anywhere.  Any sophisticated city is going to have professionals – talented, beautiful.  Most places, you wouldn’t even be breaking the law anymore.”

Walter shifted uncomfortably in his deck chair.  The water lapped quietly under the dock.

“Look, I know how you were raised.  But at our age … do you really want to date?  Do you want to go through that?  Especially with two grandchildren and another on the way?  What are you going to do if you meet someone?  Move away?  Leave little Lucia all by herself?  This is a way to not be alone but not have complications.”

“I just can’t see myself doing that,” said Walter.  “Paying someone to pretend to be attracted to me?  It’s not like there’s a shortage of art fans or anything, if meaningless sex was what I wanted.”

“But a professional won’t stalk you.  She won’t want to get pregnant.  She won’t tell everyone about it.  And it’s not just sex.  Sometimes it’s not even sex.  I hired a woman in Moscow to basically go to the Bolshoi with me.”

“Can we just let it go?”

Chuck shrugged.  “As you wish.  But men our age have needs.  Yours will get the better of you at some point.  Less risk if it’s a professional than an amateur.”

In the end, Chuck was right.  He had been surprised that it wasn’t the sex itself that made him happy.  It was the touch of skin, the rustle of sheets, the play of light on a naked body.  It was the feeling, however faintly, of being back in those sepia and ash-colored days when he and Sarah or Juliette or Anna or Linda would lie in a warm bed and just enjoy not being alone.

“Intimacy,” said Chuck.  “Companionship.  Remember Abishag.”

It wasn’t often – a few times a year, maybe.  But it was enough to get through the previous four decades.

Mike writes, “I didn’t set out to reference sex work in my novel.  It just seemed like what the character would do, given his arc, and I saw no reason to shy away from it.  Sex work is a part of our world and will continue to be a part of our world long into the future. There’s no point in pretending it doesn’t exist.”  Mike is a great guy, an ally of sex workers and a friend; if you enjoyed these excerpts, you really ought to consider buying his book.  Pretty please?

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I am worried that my ex girlfriend has turned to sex work.  Should I do something about it?  She was once raped by a previous boyfriend, and her flashbacks and panic attacks seemed to be getting worse after she gave up on therapy.  Also while we were dating I cheated on her with several escorts and only told her several months into the relationship.  I am worried that there is a possibility that she may be doing this for the wrong reasons and harming herself.  I care and would like to help, however I feel like it is not my place to do something.

you whoreYou’re right; it’s not your place.  Even if she weren’t your ex-girlfriend, what would you “do about it”?  Turn her in to the cops?  Because certainly, burdening her with a criminal record (and possibly getting her raped again in the process) would be a huge help, I’m sure.  Just curious; would you be this “worried” if she were, say, joining the military or the Peace Corps or something like that?  Given that you didn’t even say what makes you believe she might have taken this particular job (as 1% of Western women do at some point in our lives), I’m inclined to believe that you aren’t worried for her safety or mental health at all, but rather just offended that she might become a dirty whore.  What I see is that you don’t have a problem with my profession, as long as it’s practiced by other, lesser women you can pay; you’re just upset because a woman you clearly still have proprietary feelings about might want to make a career of fucking other men beside you.

Perhaps you think I’m being overly hard on you, and your concern is based in facts you didn’t include in your letter; fair enough.  If you think that’s the case, I call your attention to my answer to a similar question a little over three years ago:

Like practically everything else in the world, escorting is not right for everyone; some women thrive in the trade, and others view it as a job no better and no worse than others, but for some women it is a really bad idea.  Generally, these are women with negative, moralistic or overly-romanticized views of sex, because they feel degraded by the work…[even if] your lady has [none] of those issues…[it doesn’t necessarily mean] she’ll like the work; it’s entirely possible the reality will be nothing like her fantasy and she’ll quit in under a week (a young friend of mine had a similar reaction to the realities of stripping).  But it’s also possible she may find it very satisfying and it may even help her to overcome her [sexual issues].  The only way for her to find out if she likes it or not is to try it, so you’re wise not to obstruct her…it’s normal for a man to feel protective of a woman he loves.  But at the same time, it’s possible you might be infantilizing her a bit.  You say she’s had a troubled past…but that could be said of many people (including me)…The popular wisdom is that damaged people should wallow in their pain forever, but that’s self-destructive nonsense; the only hope of escaping the past is to live in the present and look toward the future.  Even if she’s as fragile as you think, the only way to get stronger is to go out into the world, face its challenges and either overcome them or fail and learn.  The only cure for innocence is experience, and a sheltered child never grows up.  Furthermore, she’s in no more [emotional] danger…as an escort than she is in many another high-paying field that nobody would think twice about her entering (such as modeling or sales); sex work is a lot more mundane than people think, and there really aren’t any mysterious tentacles waiting to drag unwary ingénues down into the abyss…

walking down the railsI’m not saying you shouldn’t say anything; people who care about each other have the right to express their feelings.  But that doesn’t mean she has to listen, and if she doesn’t you need to let her alone.  And if you can’t handle seeing her do something that causes you emotional discomfort, it’s time to wish her the best, steel yourself and walk away from her.  That probably won’t be easy, and this is really a case of “Do as I say, not as I do”; I’ve never been any good at walking away from relationships that have become painful to me, and I probably never will be.  But if she won’t heed your words, and you can’t handle the way she conducts her life, it’s really your only option.  And I pray Aphrodite that unlike me, you can actually do it.

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

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For me, “whore” is a synonym for freedom.  –  Angela Villon

Lack of Evidence

As long as cops are given power over private behavior, this will keep happening:

A…Las Vegas [cop] was indicted by a federal grand jury…on felony charges of roughing up a woman he suspected was a prostitute.  Richard Scavone…was charged with violating the civil rights of the woman when he used excessive force while arresting her in January 2015 and falsifying his report of the encounter to obstruct an FBI investigation…Scavone…grabbed the woman around her neck and threw her to the ground, struck her in the forehead with an open palm, slammed her face into the hood of his patrol car two times and slammed her into the door of his car…Scavone was wearing a body camera during the scuffle, but police have [hidden]…the recording…

Rooted in Racism

No, this wasn’t a “mistake”; it was a deliberate action proceeding directly from government-approved profiling guidelines:

When Kathleen Chan and Jay Serrano boarded a flight from Miami to New York City, they didn’t expect to be escorted off the plane by police once it landed…the flight crew had alerted the police that it was a possible case of sex trafficking…the couple was [persecuted because] when Serrano went to the bathroom…because he was sick…Chan walked with him there and waited for him outside the lavatory.  And [later they shared]…a cup of orange juice…Michelle Guelbart, who works with the travel industry for…[rescue industry profiteers] ECPAT USA…[bloviated that] “One of the indicators for sex trafficking is someone who’s not allowed to move freely through the cabin”…

The Last Shall Be First

Pervert politicians want to give pedophile cops the power to inspect children’s genitals before they use the toilet:

A bill filed by a Virginia lawmaker…would require schools to be certain that children are using the restroom corresponding to their “correct anatomical sex”.  The legislation, which would prohibit transgender students from using the bathroom matching their gender, is being sponsored by Republican…Mark Cole.  House Bill 663 defines “anatomical sex” as “the physical condition of being male or female, which is determined by a person’s anatomy”…any student who violated the bathroom rules could be fined $50 by [armed government thugs]…Civil rights advocate Tim Peacock noted that “adults would be required to inspect children’s genitals before they use the bathroom” for the legislation to be enforceable…

The Pygmalion Fallacy 

It’s kind of fascinating that so much effort is being expended over something that not only doesn’t exist, but will never exist in the form and timetable imagined in these articles:

The sexbots are coming.  Technology is transforming every step of our love lives.  What started as meeting and flirting through screens and progressed to sexy time over Skype is now leading to products that promise happier relationships and more meaningful connections…Experts predict that future generations will get frisky with the help of virtual reality goggles, holograms, stimulating bodysuits and, yes, erotic robots…What is the line between augmenting human connection with technology, and replacing it altogether?  What does it mean for sex as we’ve always known it — eye contact, skin, sweat — if there’s a digital third wheel in the mix?…

The Public Eye

Comfort Zone (#320)

Sometimes the attempt to hide migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative is especially apparent:

Human traffickers are exploiting the U.S. visa system by forcing young women to pose as fiancées or family members of American gang members, who force them into a life of misery once here…Sold by their parents, lured by promises of wealth and fame or kidnapped, young women are being brought to U.S. soil in plain sight, and with federally approved paperwork, said Claude Arnold…of [ICE]…A newly released audit…confirms the U.S. government may have issued hundreds of visas to human traffickers…The report blamed a critical lack of communication between ICE…and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services…

Original Sin (#321)

It was inevitable that some state actors would eventually start mouthing this idiocy, despite the fact that porn is legal:

The Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, announced Texas will combat modern-day slavery with a the state’s first human trafficking unit…“Where you find trafficking you find drugs, you find smuggling you find arms, you find violent crime of a whole large variety,” said [prosecutor] Kirsta Leeburg Melton…“There are huge links in the culture between pornography-use and the demand, that creates a demand for prostitution”…

Prudesville (#448)

Can this absurd little drama finally be over now?

…Carmela Panico faced up to a year in jail…but a judge agreed to grant the espresso madam a first-time offender waiver…Panico served two days in jail after her stands were raided in 2013. The former Snohomish woman…was forced to walk away from her lucrative bikini espresso stands in 2014 after pleading guilty to promoting prostitution and money laundering. Prosecutors alleged that the stands were operating as drive-through brothels, raking in millions. Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Bob Hendrix [pretended that] Panico engaged in predatory behavior, profiting from women with drug problems and financial troubles…

Feminists and Other Puritans

Suppressing dissident views is a typical behavior of religions:

Katherine Zappone, the [Irish] senator, has been criticised after a sex workers’ rights group claimed it was “uninvited” from her feminist conference because of political differences.  Fempower…had originally granted Ugly Mugs, the sex worker support group, a stand at the event but revoked the pass this week…

Stupor Bowl (#510) 

No facts to support your money-making propaganda?  No worries!  There are morally-retarded academics who’ll happily invent bullshit for you:

For the first time in its efforts to crack down on sex trafficking during the Super Bowl, the FBI will try to reach out to women and girls selling sex in the run-up to the game to give them a way out and get them to turn against their traffickers…This year’s event in the San Francisco Bay Area, like past bowls and other large sporting events, is expected to be a magnet for trafficking…according to [opportunistic liars who pretend]…that victims are often too fearful to help prosecute their traffickers…“A lot of times they don’t see themselves as victims,” said Jennifer Madden, a local prosecutor…[profiteers trying to keep the myth alive concede that] there is no evidence that additional women or girls are forced into prostitution to serve the Super Bowl market.  But [they pretend that] those already trafficked may be moved to such events…Dominique Roe-Sepowitz [designed a bullshit “study”] leading up to the 2015 Super Bowl in…Phoenix…They [invented] an uptick in online sex ads…[and pretended that] more than 60 percent of the 1,300 prostitution ads researchers flagged showed significant signs the sex provider was a trafficking victim…

Another Fine Mess (#547)

I’ve often pointed out that ordinary business practices don’t magically become newsworthy when whores use them.  However, I don’t so much mind these articles when their primary goal is demystification rather than gawking:  “…finding clients is just one small part of what technology can do for sex workers.  Equally, if not more, important is the way sex workers use apps and websites—often ordinary, everyday ones used by many outside the sex industry—to mitigate the risk that comes with their working environment…Penthouse September 1969

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#580)

Internet porn just claimed another casualty.  Penthouse has announced that it’s dropping its print magazine after 51 years of publication…the magazine [will] close its New York City offices and move into the Los Angeles location of its parent company, FriendFinder Networks.  FriendFinder isn’t specific about the reasons behind the decision besides a plan to “keep Penthouse competitive.”  However, it doesn’t take much to read between the lines.  Much like Playboy, Penthouse is struggling in an era when it’s trivial to find porn online…It had to either give its print mag a better reason to exist (Playboy‘s strategy) or else cut that overhead completely…

Harm Magnification (#599)

No, it’s not a “complicated issue”; it’s a non-issue complicated by the sociopathic need to control others’ sexual behavior:

London [Ontario’s] street sex workers fear growing isolation and the danger that comes with it…The places they fear most are often the one that many [clients] want to go, a survey of 33 workers found…The women said they would rather not travel to isolated places to perform sex, but the [clients] insist because they fear being caught…[due to] Canada’s new prostitution laws, which make it illegal to buy sex with punishment by fines and imprisonment…Prostitution legislation is a complicated issue with intense debate from all sides…

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Sex workers are not able to negotiate…for their rights, or for access to the justice system when their livelihood is a crime.  –  Elizabeth Edwards

Bad Girls 

Men: pay your whores!  Ladies: get the money up front!

Sex workers in…southern Nigeria…have been attacking their customers for failing to pay…Sex workers in Asaba had been increasing their charges and said that they had warned the men.  The men in question claimed that they did not know about the new charges…“They agreed to pay us 8,000 nairas each and…the following morning they were giving us 4,000 nairas as against our bargain and we decided to attack them and beat them mercilessly”…Anabel Onweh said…police…found that the men had been left with their clothes torn and had been forced to drink toilet water…

Lying Down With Dogs

What wonderful company the US is in!

…The police operation that resulted in her arrest was codenamed Model Girl.  An unimaginative choice, but perhaps an indication of whom the police considered their main target…Pamela…was…convicted of working as a prostitute.  She is serving her 18-month sentence at a rehabilitation centre for trafficking victims…on the outskirts of Tirana…There have been several attempts to decriminalise prostitution in Albania but all of them have failed.  Politicians claim public opinion would not support such a change

Thinking With the Wrong Head Null We Need To Talk

Given the activities depicted in the pics, I sincerely doubt they were intended for a woman:

A popular Christian family vlogger has released a video with his wife to explain the X-rated selfies he’s been sending to a woman he met online.  Austin Null and his wife Britt (along with the nonconsensual help of their two young children) make rambling videos about their “adventures” in daily life…like grocery shopping and going to church…They have over 350k subscribers on YouTube.  But their latest video, posted December 30th and titled “WE NEED TO TALK”, takes a decidedly more somber tone.  In it, Austin explains that he’s been having an online affair for the past five months, an admission no doubt tied to the very NSFW nude selfies he’s been sending her that have surfaced online…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

Fetishist claims that “black holes” are vacuuming up girls in India at a frightening rate; can the sci-fi movie version be far behind?

A girl is reported missing every eight minutes in India.  Approximately 16 million girl children are believed to have been trafficked into the sex trade…In fact, profits from human trafficking have more than tripled over the past 10 years…the lure of becoming a trafficker is the potential of colossal earnings in a context of impunity…the steady rise in the trafficking of girls bears evidence that [prohibitionist laws are]…more cursory than effectual…Missing…[makes grafitti that is claimed to] draw attention to the plight of such girls…that…continue to go missing into the black holes of the bestial underbelly of the society…

Beneath the purple prose are some pretty flagrantly-false claims: a wild guess is not a “fact”, decades in prison for imaginary of exaggerated offenses is nothing like “impunity”, there is zero evidence for a “rise” in anything, laws used to harass sex workers are branded as too weak…either the author is a shameless liar, or she’s absolutely barking mad.

Gingerbread House

“Re-parenting” and “restructuring their normal”.  In other words, “re-education”.

Rejuvenating Women, an Omaha [prohibitionist] organization, wants to purchase a group home and use it to restore the lives of former prostitutes, but it needs [other people’s money]…Last year, Rejuvenating Women ran a restoration home in south Omaha for seven months.  The organization had six visitors, and during that time their rent doubled and they had to close…the group needs a place to help rebuild the lives of women rescued from prostitution, with some 2,000 estimated victims in the state…”A lot of these girls haven’t been parented”…program coordinator McKenzie Motl said…”what we are going to do is re-parenting, restructuring their normal”…It starts with [re-]educating the public that prostitution is sexual slavery.  “They are sold to up to 20 men a day, up to 20 men,” [Julie] Shrader said. “Sold for sex over and over and over”…

“2000 victims”.  In Nebraska.  I picture Shrader moaning that last quote while restructuring herself with a Hitachi.

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (#335)

The UK version of an app which first premiered in Ireland over two years ago:

Matt Haworth…developed the [National Ugly Mugs] app based on the charity’s body of knowledge and feedback from sex workers themselves.  Spreading alerts as quickly as possible is a vital part of the app’s offering…The app checks incoming numbers with its database of rogue punters, and also features a kind of panic button, which workers can press if they feel unsafe…The button can be used to report bad clients, call the police, or log that the worker felt unsafe so NUM can check in with them later to offer services and support.  The app has been tested in Manchester to a positive response, and is currently undergoing a bigger pilot in London…

Subtle Pimping (#401)

If there are so many “sex trafficking victims”, why do they need to keep making up stories about it?

…Chris Bohjalian’s new novel The Guest Room…tackles the white-hot topic of human sex trafficking.  Bohjalian dissects this gruesome global epidemic in a story that starts with a bachelor party…Bohjalian takes us back to Armenia…to tell…how girls…are tricked and forced into becoming sex slaves.  It is a subject getting worldwide attention and this novel will help bring it to the surface…

Some novelists are even declared “sex trafficking experts” on the basis of their BDSM fantasies.

If Men Were Angels

“Youth pastors” are nearly as bad as cops:

A…youth pastor in Anson [Texas] is…out of a job after police say he had an inappropriate relationship with an underage girl in his youth group…Callan Rice…was…fired by Bethel Assembly…after he was caught meeting privately with the girl…Rice had sexual contact with the girl and has confessed to the crime…

Monsters (#442) Joseph Scott Pemberton

U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton was sentenced to six to twelve years in Philippine prison for killing Jennifer Laude, a trans Filipina sex worker, in October 2014.  His sentence was downgraded from the usual 20 to 40 years for homicide…in part because Laude failed to disclose to Pemberton that she was trans…Trans sex workers in Olongapo keep their status secret from service members as a matter of course…The mayor’s office has convened a task force to prevent violent incidents involving trans women and U.S. military service members from occurring in the future, which encourages trans sex workers to disclose their trans status early on.  But, because disclosing would inevitably lose them clients, there’s little sign of meaningful change to the conditions that led to Laude’s death…

Sex Work is Work (#446)

Margaret Corvid  writes on “What a Sex Worker Can Teach You About Working for Yourself“, her main points being “Under-promise and (sometimes) over-deliver“; “You’re the boss! You can fire a shitty client“; “Your time and emotional labor are worth money“; “Get your money first“; and “You’re not a robot.

Amnesty At Last

“…let’s hope some politicians (even in the deeply prohibitionist US) begin to recognize that the wind is shifting, and decide to stand with Amnesty and sex workers as we look toward the future and away from the fear of consensual sex“:

A representative is hoping to pass a bill that would legalize prostitution in New Hampshire for consenting adults…Elizabeth Edwards…said her bill was influenced by an Amnesty International study that supports worldwide [decriminalization] for sex workers…according to House Majority Leader Dick Hinch, strong efforts will be made to be sure the bill doesn’t pass because “society is just not ready for that…We’re going to put a full court press in from the leadership standpoint to make sure that (the bill) doesn’t have a lot of daylight to it,” Hinch said.  [Prohibitionists pretend] legalizing sex work would spread disease, increase violence and encourage sexual predators…

Choke Point (#593) 

Half a dozen credit card networks discriminate in keeping “bad lists” that prohibit the selling of adult-oriented materials, psychic services and paraphernalia such as bongs and hookahs, according to a class-action suit filed..by convenience store operator Abu Maisa [which] alleges that Google, Intuit, Square, Stripe, Flint Mobile and PayPal each incorporate a “bad list” that sets boundaries of what the operator can and can’t sell.  Abu Maisa…has been so handcuffed on the types of products it sells, it can’t even offer Penthouse magazine…for fear…its accounts would be shut…the suit…[notes] that the practice is contrary to California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act [which states that]…all persons are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments, including both private and public entities…

Bait and Switch (#597)

Until Gay, Inc is ready to throw its full weight behind decriminalization, this will keep happening:

…the Polk County Sheriff’s Department…arrested a total of 95 suspects, including sex workers, their clients, and others…Of the 50 charged with prostitution 4 were specifically identified as “a transgender,” “a transvestite,” or “transsexual”.  In addition to outing the trans status of these individuals, the news release repeatedly misgendered the individuals and published their birth names on the Sheriff’s website.  Despite not having been convicted of a crime, many of these suspect’s places of work, previous legal history and whether they were on public assistance and how much were reported…This kind of shameful, irresponsible policing and reporting is not new in Polk County…The Sheriff seems to take tremendous pride in criminalizing people’s way of survival and publicly degrading them…Unfortunately, Polk County is not alone in using these reprehensible and dangerous tactics…In Illinois, for example, the Cook County Sheriff Office was called out in 2012 for outing transgender women online and listing them as “johns” after their arrests for solicitation, apparently based on the fact that their ID listed them as male…

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