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Posts Tagged ‘sex work is work’

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

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Shouldn’t we help [sex workers] instead of further marginalising them?  –  Christina Cannon

The Red Umbrella 

Because NHI is so feminist:

Last week, we were treated to the release of the trailer for Rough Night, a female-led buddy comedy that sees Scarlett Johannson, Kate McKinnon, Illana Glazer, Zoe Kravitz, and Jillian Bell team up for a wild bachelorette weekend.  The girls drink, go dancing, take photos with selfie sticks, and hire a stripper.  Yay!  And then they accidentally kill him.  Not yay.  And then, for reasons as-yet-unknown to the audience, they arrange his dead body in a sex swing before hanging him out of the sunroof of a Jeep, driving him shirtless through a busy street, and – I can’t believe I’m about to write what I’m about to write – making jokes about his corpse’s erection.  Decidedly not yay…

Elephant in the Parlor 

Politicians hiring male sex workers isn’t much less common than their hiring female ones:

[Oklahoma] State Senator Ralph Shortey…was discovered at a Super 8 in Moore…with an unidentified boy under the age of 18…police have recommended the politician be charged with soliciting a minor for prostitution, prostitution within 1000 feet of a church and transporting someone for prostitution.  The exact age of the boy involved is unclear. Police have said that he is a juvenile, though the age of consent in Oklahoma is 16…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake 

Given that dancers win every one of these suits, the old strip club business model is a dead duck:

Attorneys in Denver have filed a national lawsuit against a chain of strip clubs.  The class action suit accuses PT’s Show Club, PT’s All Nude, Diamond Cabaret, La Boheme and The Penthouse Club of exploiting their exotic dancers.  The…suit…involves hundreds of dancers in 20 strip clubs across eight states…Mari Newman, the attorney who filed the suit, said that the company’s lack of fair compensation for the dancers’ work is illegal…

Watershed

Even in Ireland, the truth is dawning on many feminists:

Gillian Wylie…and Eilis Ward…state that they are “weary” after several years of fighting the perceived definition of sex work in Ireland…“We did a piece of research…on the…extent of trafficking for sexual exploitation of women into Ireland”, explains Wylie….the number of people being trafficked in Ireland was being quoted as being in the hundreds.  Wylie and Ward’s “rigorous piece of research” came up with a figure of 76…For both women, a critical turning point in their opinions on sex work came from talking to people involved in the industry.  When met with a roomful of sex workers, Ward listened as they explained that they “didn’t consider themselves to be victims of violence”…and this limiting definition “didn’t capture the reality of their work”…

Not To Be Taken Internally (#325)

Ladies, please don’t let people who aren’t doctors inject who-knows-what into your butts:

On the internet, she goes by the name Vanessa Luna, starring in porn videos that highlight her ample rear end…she used her real name, Ruth Planas, to…operat[e]…an unlicensed clinic in a West Miami-Dade strip mall…Cuerpos Health and Aestheticwas shuttered after…Suyima Torres, died following a botched butt lift performed there.  Prosecutors have charged Jose Robusto, a purported medical doctor in Venezuela, who they believe injected Torres with illegal and dangerous liquid silicone at the facility.  But nearly a year after his arrest, authorities have been unable to build a case against clinic owner Planas, who claimed no injections were ever done at the business.  Planas insisted she only used the clinic to sell cosmetic products, pitch Herbalife nutritional supplements and, a couple times a week, perform on live X-rated web videos…witnesses say that Planas arranged and helped carry out illegal cosmetic surgeries there…Robusto…is awaiting trial for manslaughter, one of many high-profile cases involving botched cosmetic surgeries in South Florida — a hub for sham doctors who offer cheap cosmetic procedures performed in homes, warehouses and pseudo clinics.  Just last week, a Miami man was arrested after police said he gave butt injections to a woman who wound up in the hospital because of the procedure…

If Men Were Angels

Is anyone actually still surprised when this happens?

Ottawa police have laid four new charges against a retired Catholic priest in connection with alleged sexual assaults at two local churches in the 1960s.  Rev. Barry McGrory, 82, has been charged with two counts of indecent assault on a male, and two counts of gross indecency…McGrory was first arrested in November in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy in the 1960s…the Archdiocese of Ottawa…settled out of court with two women who said they were abused as adolescents by McGrory in the 1970s…One of the victims was paid $300,000 in one of the largest settlements of its kind in the history of the Ottawa diocese.  In an interview last year, McGrory said he was a sex addict…

Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong (#546)

Prohibitionist Scottish politicians exhume the rotting corpse of the “Scottish model” (ie the Swedish model) yet again:

…SNP members [backed] a motion for a Scottish model for [oppressing sex workers]…MSP Ash Denham proposed the motion, based…on the Nordic model of [prohibition]…Denham [drooled]…that “a girl who enters prostitution at 14 will service the sexual demands of more than 4000 men before she’s old enough to drive a car”…Christina Cannon, who is standing to be an SNP councillor…argued against the model, and told delegates to be mindful of the motion in front them…Women in the trade, she argued, were opposed to the criminalisation of the purchase of sex, pointing delegates to a consultation held when Labour’s Rhoda Grant put forward a similar proposal in 2012…

Property of the State (#561) 

Still another abomination from Alabama:

…new moms in Alabama…[are subjected to] hospital drug tests [without their permission] after birth and [the results are] passed along to police.  Dozens of women have been charged with felony chemical endangerment of a child since 2006 for using marijuana during pregnancy…Although Alabama isn’t the only state with laws against drug use during pregnancy, its prosecutors have been the most zealous – bringing charges against hundreds of women, even those with low levels of THC and no criminal history.  State lawmakers [recklessly passed] the chemical endangerment law in 2006 [supposedly] to protect children from exposure to chemicals and fumes from home-based meth-labs…[but] prosecutors immediately began applying it to women who used drugs during pregnancy, a practice that increased after being upheld by the Alabama State Supreme Court in 2013…

Bell, Hook and Kettle (#615)

There’s a word for collaboration between government and private corporations; it’s “fascism”:

…Philadelphia’s Special Victim’s Unit…[has] joined forces with Federal Homeland Security investigations, the FBI, the Salvation Army, the U.S. Attorney’s office and the District Attorney on a new task force charged with cracking down on sex trafficking, thanks to a $1.3 million federal grant…Investigators…[pretend to] work hard to get young women out of the sex trade and on a better path in life.  The Salvation Army plays a vital role in helping women break the vicious cycle of sex trafficking…

Is that anything like “the dangerous cycle of prostitution“?

To Molest and Rape

“Errors”.  You know, like turning a blind eye to cops raping teens:

Louisville’s mayor announced that he has asked the FBI to investigate…the…sexual abuse of children in the police department’s Youth Explorer program.  Mayor Greg Fischer also said he had hired former U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey to review an investigation conducted by Louisville Metro Police and determine whether “errors were made,” including by police Chief Steve Conrad…A lawsuit…on behalf of a former scout identified as N.C. charges that his alleged rape by Officers Kenneth Betts and Brandon Wood was “concealed” by department officials.  Betts and Wood are accused of sexually assaulting the former scout from 2011 through 2013 and recording the incidents to make porn…

Leaving the Life (#657)

This is a lot better than Vice‘s last article on leaving sex work:

…sex workers are able to…pick up transferable skills that they can use in their future careers.  Few sex workers stay in the industry for their whole working lives, and they leave for diverse reasons—often returning for short or extended stints from time to time…Raven Bowen of the University of York [said]…”If people get pregnant or fall in love, they often leave right away.  Middle-class sex workers might be able to make a plan when they transition out—dabble in some square jobs, then gradually leave.”  Another common motivator is a child approaching their teenage years…Rarest of all are [those]…who…settle down with a client, although Bowen [says] this isn’t unheard of…Many sex workers view the industry as a short-term stepping stone to a…straight…career, and aim to retire from sex work when they’ve amassed enough money to fund tuition or open a small business…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#688) 

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

Sergi Santos…wants to make sure robotic sex dolls…enjoy the sex as much as the humans ― or at least act like they do.  The Barcelona-based engineer has just created a sex doll named “Samantha,” who…responds when the user touches her hands and hips by saying positive statements like “I love this” and “Nice and gentle” in a singsong voice…she is programmed to want romance first, then get comfortable before getting sexual.  “The…final objective of the sexual mode is to give her an orgasm,” said Santos…Santos is now selling Samantha…for around $5,374…

One Born Every Minute (#717) 

I’d be much happier if the money went to Hickey’s victims instead of the State:

Things are not looking good for Matt Hickey.  The former tech journalist, who is currently being held in King County jail on four separate charges of second-degree rape, failed to respond to the Attorney General Office’s lawsuit against his fake porn scam.  As a result…Judge Ken Schubert issue[d] a ruling finding that Hickey did, indeed, scam at least six women by pretending to be a fake female porn recruiter online since 2006; Schubert also ruled that Hickey owes the state $300,000 in penalties that represent 150 violations of state consumer protection laws…[and] must pay $32,201 in court fees…

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We wanted to show the world that we are not the image they have of us.  –  Maria Elena Davila

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

Liz Brown tackles the myth that porn has become mostly violent & “misogynistic”:

…the ostensible rise of rough porn is just a symptom of a larger truth: that there’s more porn of all kinds out there.  More female-produced and women-friendly porn.  More lesbian porn aimed at lesbians, not straight men.  More “radical transgender kink.”  More political porn parodies.  More “amateur” porn studios.  More web-camming sites.  More web-savvy women making money on their own websites and social media accounts.  More virtual reality porn and gadgets.  More fetish porn of all sorts.  And so on.  This not only means that there’s more erotic entertainment out there for a diverse range of tastes, it means we see a much more diverse range of people represented in erotic entertainment…

Crying for Nanny

Another attempt to rob a business using “sex trafficking” hysteria as a weapon:

…a…The teen’s lawyers are using Pennsylvania’s human trafficking law to sue the motel where they say their client was sexually exploited, marking the first civil suit under the law since it was enacted in 2014…Lawyers [fantasize] employees at the Roosevelt Inn in northeast Philadelphia knew that a 14-year-old girl was being held against her will for two years.  She was forced to have sex with more than 1,000 men for as little as $50, they said…The lawsuit demands $50,000 in damages…the girl managed to escape and…those responsible…were convicted…[yet] her attorneys…declined to identify her captors, [supposedly] fearing retaliation…prosecutors [fantasize the motel is]…“the epicenter of human trafficking” in the city…“You have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to know that 100 men are showing up over a period of a couple days,” says [shyster] Tom Kline…“You have a cleaning crew that comes into the room and oftentimes finds boxes or waste cans full of use condoms…You can’t have a line of johns out the front door and around the room waiting without them knowing,” Kline said…

So 1000 over 2 years (about 1.4/day) comes to “100 men…over…a couple days”, 1 constitutes a “line out the front door”, 2 condoms makes “a waste can full” and and average of $70/day is enough to pay for a hotel room, food & other expenses and still leave enough profit to justify the kind of risk involved in pimping a minor. Gee, math is hard.

The Last Shall Be First 

Badass woman uses her badassery for justice:

Anti-trans activists in Washington State have been trying to tell cisgender women for more than a year that we ought to be afraid of transgender people using the bathroom.  This is the main marketing behind I-1552, a proposed ballot initiative from anti-trans group Just Want Privacy that attempts to repeal state anti-discrimination protections for trans people and mandate that public schools keep trans students out of bathrooms that correspond with their gender.  But it appears that Just Want Privacy’s latest fear-mongering effort has backfired.  Last week, the group tried to use the story of Kelly Herron…who was allegedly attacked by a man in a Golden Gardens bathroom, to promote their anti-trans ballot measure in a fundraising e-mail and on Facebook.  Unfortunately for Just Want Privacy, Herron has now spoken out against their campaign.  “To the people behind I-1552, I say ‘not today, mutherfuckers,'” Herron said in a public statement…”I refuse to allow anyone to use me…to cause harm and discrimination to others”…Herron was attacked in a public…bathroom on March 5 by Gary Steiner, a 40-year-old registered sex offender from Arizona [who as the picture shows is neither trans nor dressed as a woman to get into the bathroom]…

I saw these sleazy fucks trying to trick people into signing their trash several times last year.

Watershed

To the coming generation, bigotry against sex workers will be as vile as bigotry against queer people is to the young people of today and bigotry vs racial minorities was to the previous generation:

…We can’t forget that those who make decisions about female sex workers’ rights are often powerful, privileged men.  They paternalistically presume to know what’s best for women…[they] quip that “women deserve better” while simultaneously being the ones who oppose legislation funding education, job training, welfare and other programs to uplift poor women…the issue is…also that the mainstream media have seized the narrative around sex work from the workers themselves and failed to include their real concerns…those who claim to be feminists…argue that discussions of sex work disempower women.  But frankly, who gets to define empowerment to women without your same economic privilege and access to education, whose sole means of survival are a profession you would rather turn a blind eye to?…

Whimsical Notions

Wait, you mean healthy young men in an ultra-masculine profession can’t merely be ordered to be asexual?  Who’d have thunk it?

The head of the US Marines has vowed to hold service members accountable for sharing nude photos of their female colleagues online.  Gen Robert Neller promised to change the Marine culture while testifying before a Senate committee.  Last week, reports emerged that current and former Marines were sharing [nude] photos [of women] on Facebook and on message boards, triggering a Navy investigation…The [Facebook] group, which included around 30,000 active and retire male marines, has now been closed down…The Marine Corps has the lowest percentage of female members among the five military services.  Women make up about 7 to 8% of all Marines…

An Example to the West (#544)

A new documentary about the Nicaraguan sex workers accredited by the government as “judicial facilitators”:

In most countries around the world, sex workers are criminalized by police…In…Nicaragua, sex workers are replacing police…French filmmaker Florence Jaugey released a documentary about the Sunflowers of Nicaragua, a woman-led sex worker collective serving as community mediators…In 2009, members of the Sunflowers…began organizing against discrimination and violence within their communities…with the intention of gaining…trust…in order to win mass support for their primary demand:  the judicial integration and unionization of sex workers across the country.  Their strategy worked.  In 2015, Nicaragua’s Supreme Court of Justice asked members of the collective if they wanted to work as judicial facilitators in Managua…Now, the sex workers are accredited and have licenses signed by the Supreme Court of Justice to mediate small conflicts in their communities…The Sunflowers…has also been accepted by the socialist government’s Confederation of Self-Employed Workers, granting them legal union status.  The collective, which aims to organize Nicaragua’s estimated 14,000 sex workers, has recruited 2,300 thus far…

Between the Lines

The amazing Liz Brown, queen of sex worker allies, delivers up a long and thorough takedown of the FBI’s annual “Operation Cross-Country” pogroms, backing up what I’ve been saying for years about these skeevy, prurient, horrifyingly-wasteful intimidation theatrics with facts, statistics and detailed analysis:

…sensationalized montages of footage from the stings, which the FBI has been proudly posting to YouTube since Operation Cross Country launched in 2008…show authorities handcuffing young people, mostly women and girls, and parading them down dim hallways, thick gloved hands gripping skinny arms on either side, or pushing them up against cop cars, the camera lingering on cuffed wrists clasped tightly over baggy jeans or long, bare legs.  The latest iteration of the initiative—Operation Cross Country X—took place across 103 U.S. cities from October 13 to 16…it involved the efforts of 74 federally led Human Trafficking Task Forces, comprised of officers from 55 FBI field offices and more than 400 federal, state, and local law-enforcement agencies…the operation identified 82 “children” engaged in prostitution, an average of about 0.88 per city, or one for every five agencies participating.  All were teenagers—mostly 16- and 17-year-olds—and a number of cities where they were found made no simultaneous pimping or sex trafficking arrests…only five men stand accused of federal crimes—with only two accused of crimes against actual minors.  None of these suspects was part of anything even remotely resembling an organized criminal enterprise…

The Lesser of Two Evils (#589) 

Presumably, those who are “outraged” would prefer boys be molested instead:

Lurid accusations of priests involved in sex orgies, porn videos and prostitution have emerged from several parishes in Italy recently, sending shock waves all the way to the Vatican…In…Naples…[Rev. Mario D’Orlando] was recently suspended…over claims he held gay orgies and [paid male sex workers]…In…Padua…Rev. Andrea Contin, is facing defrocking…amid accusations he had up to 30 lovers, some of whom he took to a swingers’ resort in France…One woman…claimed the priest carried sex toys and bondage equipment, prostituted his lovers on wife-swapping websites and also invited other priests from the area to sex parties…

New flash: humans have sexual urges.  Deprive them of socially-sanctioned ways to meet their needs, and they’ll find other ways.  It really is that simple.

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#626)

If it happened in a Cambodian brothel, the story is never too shocking for Westerners to believe“:

…Don and Bridget are the founders of Agape International Missions, or AIM, a Christian missionary group on the front lines of the war against child sex trafficking in Cambodia…They have made it their life’s work to stop men…from abusing children…Human trafficking was once endemic in Cambodia…Anecdotal…tales of pimps and profiteers openly selling women and children on the streets are commonplace…According to surveys of sex workers…the number of child prostitutes has reportedly been dropping for years.  Survey estimates once reported nearly 35 percent of Cambodian prostitutes…were minors.  Recent estimates pegged that number closer to 1 to 2 percent…But Don Brewster [pretends] the falling estimates are misleading…

To Molest and Rape 

Try to imagine a non-cop getting just three years for this. Go on, try.

An NYPD [cop] who raped and sexually abused a 13-year-old girl scored a soft sentence…of only three years in prison — just a year for each attack.  Vladimir Krull…raped the victim in her home and in his car during two separate incidents…Krull…was also convicted of [orally raping] the victim…in June 2014 after a father-daughter breakfast for her eighth-grade class…

Still a Child (#674) 

Despite the pearl-clutching, I actually agree with this:

For nearly 90 years, an uncelebrated New York State law has largely escaped attention, allowing what would seem to be unfathomable in this day and age…child marriages, by the thousands.  Since 1929, New York has allowed children as young as 14 to marry; 14- and 15-year-olds can do so with judicial and parental approval, and 16- and 17-year-olds can marry with mere parental consent…Most states allow 16- and 17-year-olds to marry, and more than two dozen other states have no statutory minimum age at all…Between 2000 and 2010, nearly 3,900 minors were wed in the state, mostly in marriages arranged by parents whose religious or cultural traditions embrace the practice.  State lawmakers and Governor Cuomo are now trying to put an end to so-called child marriages, and have introduced similar bills to end marriage altogether for 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds, joining a number of states from New Jersey to Missouri that are working to change similar laws…

Once all the sex-magic mumbo-jumbo is stripped away, marriage is simply a contract; no more, no less.  It’s illegal for minors to enter into contracts, therefore it should be illegal for them to marry. Q.E.D.  Furthermore, the State forbids even taking pictures of nude minors, yet it allows them to make binding lifelong contracts for sexual services?  Really?

Between the Ears (#674) 

Have a device that connects to the internet? Assume it can be used to spy on you:

Canadian “smart” sex toy manufacturer We-Vibe recently felt the long, hard, stiff arm of the law when it was fined $4 million CAD (about $3 million USD) after it tracked users’ use without their consent.  The money will go to compensate those who bought the device.  Owners of the We-Vibe 4 Plus who used the app are entitled to claim C$10,000 (about $7,500), while those who just bought the vibrator can claim up to $199, less legal fees…This follows a successful class-action lawsuit that was brought before an Illinois federal court…

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

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

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

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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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