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Posts Tagged ‘shame’

I was a sex worker in the 1980s.  My abusive ex-husband used this against me to legally kidnap my two daughters, and of course poisoned them against me.  Well, my now-middle-aged daughter contacted me recently after many years; she is angry at me for “bringing disgusting men into our apartment” and wants to know how I could “do such a thing”.  At the same time, she expressed concern and compassion and practically apologized for hurting me.  I know this comes from my ex and the cultural stigma around sex work, but I don’t know what to say to her.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

This is a very tough situation, and I’m sorry you are having to go through this for a chance at healing the rift with your daughter.  I think the best way to start a dialogue with her would be to write her a letter or email, briefly explaining that because of stigma a lot of lies are told about our work, and it’s actually not the horrible thing she imagines.  You can then include some links to a few good resources, so if she really wants to understand she can read or watch those resources in her own time and without all the emotion that would certainly result if you tried to explain it yourself, especially since she does not trust you.  Tell her that you have never stopped loving her and would like a relationship with her, and that you think this is the best way to help her understand.  If you try to explain it yourself, she’ll just keep interrupting and you will get upset, and nothing will be accomplished.  But if she is at least introduced to the idea that sex work is not what she thinks it is, I think you’ll have a lot better chance of getting her to listen to you.  The initial message has to come from someone she doesn’t know, who has no motivation to lie.  My blog is one resource, but I’m sure you can find others (videos and such) which will help.  If you need, I can suggest resources that specifically focus on the issue of courts abducting sex workers’ kids.  Also:  this has got to be stressful for you; do you have any friends who know your past, who can support you through this?  You need to have someone you can trust close by.

Good luck, and please let me if I can help in any other way.

(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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Be wary of people in the media trying to sell you on the idea that sex traffickers, hate criminals, migrant caravans, and Momo are coming to get you.  –  Robby Soave

Surplus Women

Naturally this monster preyed on whores; the state put them directly in his path:

A [North Carolina] jury sentenced Seaga Gillard to death…for the hotel-room fatal shootings of a pregnant woman and her boyfriend…Gillard…and co-defendant Brandon Hill targeted [sex workers]…robbing and sexually assaulting them…across the Triangle…prosecutors placed a long string of victims on the stand, nearly all of whom described the same scenario:  advertising themselves on Backpage or PlentyOfFish, expecting a single customer but finding two at the door, being tied up with phone cords, robbed and sexually assaulted…Details that spun out of that testimony painted a cruel picture of Gillard: ordering a woman to remove her clothes and then twirling a gun inside of her, instructing another women to show her teeth and then putting his gun to her mouth…

HIV Cure (#31)

For just the second time…a patient appears to have been cured of infection with H.I.V…The news comes nearly 12 years to the day after the first patient known to be cured, a feat that researchers have long tried, and failed, to duplicate.  The…success now confirms that a cure…is possible, if difficult…Both milestones resulted from bone-marrow transplants given to…treat cancer…Bone-marrow transplantation is unlikely to be a realistic treatment option in the near future.  Powerful drugs are now available to control H.I.V. infection, while the transplants are risky, with harsh side effects that can last for years.  But rearming the body with immune cells similarly modified to resist H.I.V. might well succeed as a practical treatment…

Out of Their Tree

While some politicians are beginning to side with sex workers and others are pretending to, the majority are still unreconstructed prohibitionists and a few, like Los Angeles councilwoman Nury Martinez, are dangerous authoritarian fanatics.  Last week, this nut bar talked about going on a whore hunt with the pigs, then vomiting out her totalitarian wanking fantasy that all sex workers should be considered children under the law:

…What became very apparent to me is that the girls they were calling prostitutes were children…the women we were…actually children…we need to stop calling them women…they’re children….[and] victims…We want…to…help prosecutors go after these guys and…put [sex workers] away for good…

This is not the first time Martinez has spoken in favor of legally nullifying the human rights of people who have consensual sex, which she has called “sickening”.  Martinez is pro-universal surveillance, pro-censorship, and pro-asset seizure, and supports the State treating the poor who dare to go out in public as though they were plague rats, so I’m sure she has a long, bright political future ahead of her as a “progressive” political star.

False Witness (#752)

Those who wish to manufacture “sex trafficking victims” can use exactly the same methods:

For years, a group of outcasts in Beatrice, Neb., were convinced they had brutally raped and murdered an elderly woman named Helen Wilson one night in February 1985, even though they couldn’t remember any of it.  That was only [the fantasy dreamed up] by the detectives and [pushed on them by] the police psychologist at the Gage County Sheriff’s Office…[who claimed the group had magically] repressed the traumatizing memories.  The [pig-enabling] psychologist, Wayne Price, assured them the memories of the murder would probably come back in dreams…[eventually he brainwashed] three of the six suspects — [Ada] Taylor, Debra Shelden and James Dean [into] wholeheartedly believ[ing] in their [nonexistent] guilt.  But for at least one of them, Joseph White, it was a different story.  Convicted on nothing more than his friends’ false memories and dreams, he would spend the next 20 years seeking to prove his innocence — a pursuit that finally came to an end [last] week [when]…the Supreme Court upheld $28.1 million in damages to the wrongfully convicted, now known as the Beatrice Six.  The judgment comes as a result of a civil rights lawsuit that White filed in 2009, the same year the group was pardoned and declared innocent beyond all doubt after DNA evidence exonerated them.  They had collectively served more than 70 years in prison…

Uncommon Sense (#774)

The GMB follows up on the support for sex worker rights it first announced 18 months ago:

The GMB union has launched a new adult entertainment branch, which will invite members from across Scotland…The sex workers who fought for the creation of the branch now hope to shape future prostitution legislation…Rhea Wolfson, GMB organiser for Glasgow, was instrumental in setting up the branch.  She [said]…”Sex work is work and it should be safe…People are waking up to the reality that if sex workers are treated differently then that is discrimination”…The GMB’s adult entertainment branch is open to anyone in the adult entertainment industry, including strippers, burlesque and go-go dancers, video cam workers, people who make pornography – any form of sexual labour…

Wise Investment (#779)

Sex workers, clients & everyone else harmed by “prostitution stings” needs to keep suing over them:

…Sandipkumar Patel was wrongly accused of soliciting sex from a massage parlor during [the recent]…prostitution…busts in South Florida….the Martin County Sheriff’s Office [maliciously pretended] Patel…was connected to the operation because [they claimed] he owned a blue, four-door Porsche [parked] in the parking lot…Patel…doesn’t own a Porsche.  Later [pigs admitted] the car actually belonged to a woman with the same last name….Patel…says his life, and his family’s life, has been turned upside-down [due to pigs’ releasing names and pictures for the specific intent of publicly shaming people who by law are presumed innocent]…The David Golden Law Office [is representing Patel] to sue the Martin County Sheriff’s Office…

Stalkers in Blue

With modern surveillance and data processing, no woman is safe from cops:

Adrian Trevor Moore was a [cop in Western Australia who]…pleaded guilty to 180 charges of using a secure police database to access the information of 92 women he had met, or interacted with, on dating websites including Tinder and Plenty of Fish.  A third of the women were checked by Moore multiple times over several years…Defence barrister Mark Andrews [claimed]…Moore[‘s violation of almost a hundred women’s privacy was OK because he] was motivated by “curiosity”…But…Magistrate Geoff Lawrence…said a jail term was necessary…”people can’t trust the public officials…they [should] lose confidence in the system”…

Saving Them From Themselves (#846)

Another bad law giving prosecutors more ways to charge teen sexters rather than simply exempting them:

…a bill that would [offer prosecutors less punitive charging options for]…teen sexting passed off the floor of the Washington State House, but not without resistance from Republican representative Brad Klippert, who spent a lot of his time screaming about the depravity of anal sex and other acts after legislators rejected his amendment…Noel…Frame’s bill would prevent kids from being charged with a felony for possessing naked photos of themselves.  Minors sharing..photos…could [still] be charged with a…misdemeanor [unless the subject is]…12 and under [even if the sharer is the same age]…Brad Klippert, a school [pig] and Pentecostal preacher…[wanted to] only…protect…kids who sent nudes that didn’t offend his delicate sensibilities…

Take a look at the video, and consider that this screaming lunatic is both a fundie preacher and a pig, whose job is (no surprise) spying on and lording it over high schoolers.  McNeill-Rule examples like this are the ones who decide whether to hurl life-destroying charges at teens for normal adolescent sexuality:

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#918) 

Robby Soave correctly classes “sex trafficking” as an absurd moral panic:

Palm Beach County finally unblocked Youtube on its school computers…after falling for the…Momo…hoax…[that] a shocking number of journalists are guilty of spreading…but this should surprise no one…people of all ideological persuasions should beware the frequent spread of nonsensical, sensational, conspiratorial, and utterly false news stories—everything from obvious fakes like Momo to the slightly more robust yet equally absurd contentions that sex trafficking and hate crimes are ever-worsening epidemics…the media, particularly local media, falls for these kinds of hoaxes all the time.  Every year around Halloween, news outlets prey on parents’ unreasonable fears of sex offenders abducting their kids, or malicious strangers feeding them poisoned candy, even though neither of these things ever happen…Sometimes the hoax gets an assist from the police or schools…Trump promoted a Washington Examiner article about ranchers finding prayer rugs at the souther border, an indication that…Muslims…were entering the country illegally…At the Conservative Political Action Conference…Sara Carter…[repeated] a reboot of something called a pharming party; Politico‘s Jack Shafer has debunked its existence over and over again…the so-called sex-trafficking epidemic…has been carefully refutedover and over again…

Top Cop (#918)

Could it be that sex work decriminalization will actually be an issue in the next presidential election?  Though Swedish model devotee Copmala Harris is lying through her teeth when she claims to support decriminalization, the very fact that she thinks claiming to support it will get her votes says something.  Believe it or not, the chronically-stoned Rolling Stone actually seems to have hit on one of the reasons:

…Given the newfound visibility of sex workers’ rights, and the overlap the movement has with women’s rights and workers’ rights as a whole, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are in the position of having to address an issue that has previously been on the margins of the national conversation.  But it’s unclear how many of them plan to do that…A major driving force behind this increased visibility has been the backlash to SESTA/FOSTA, a controversial piece of legislation that was [pre]tended to combat sex trafficking on websites like Backpage…[but] had the opposite effect…

Meanwhile, in Vice, sex worker Liara Roux wrote:

…you can’t be upset at people for being single-issue voters when that issue is their literal survival.  If Democrat[s]…are worried about our complaints, they would be better served by making sure there is better policy around sex work in the Democratic platform than by asking sex workers to stop fighting for their survival.  We are asking to stop the bleeding.  Hell, we are asking for people to even acknowledge the wound.  This shouldn’t be considered a high bar…a Democrat who believes in increased criminalization will sign the death warrant for countless sex workers.  A Democrat willing to examine their mistakes and work towards decriminalization, decarceration, and destigmatization will help just as many people survive…

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Speaking for myself and my…Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from [Kamala’s] travesty.  –  Donald Harris

Rough Trade 

Cops wait a year to arrest a dangerous, violent serial rapist.  Guess why?

…a 31-year-old [Dublin] tradesman…imprisoned, stripped, beat…and [raped a sex worker], who escaped out a window and ran naked onto a main road, where she flagged down a taxi…he al[so] pulled clumps of hair out of a second prostitute’s head and raped her, as well as robbing both women.  Judge Bryan Smyth [gave him]…bail [anyhow.  The first attack took place]…in June, 2016…and…the second…in [sic] February 4, 2018…

Amsterdam

Note that this positive article appeared on CNN, one of the major pushers of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Amsterdam…isn’t as liberal for sex workers as many believe.  Sex work has been legal in some form in the Netherlands since 1830, but it was recognized as a legal profession in 1988.  In 2000, a law made the job subject to municipal regulation, requiring a license to operate and following certain rules set by a municipality…so each can differ.  For example, they can decide how many licenses to give out…The only places that have decriminalized sex work are New Zealand and the state of New South Wales in Australia.  In both places, sex work is not penalized through punitive laws, and regulation are premised on worker health and safety, as with any other profession…The reform in New Zealand…reduced violence against sex workers, increased their comfort in reporting abuse to the police and improved police attitudes toward sex workers, according to the country’s Ministry of Justice.  Research also showed that decriminalization in New Zealand resulted in sex workers being better able to refuse clients and insist on condom use. One study showed that decriminalization has the potential to reduce discrimination as well as denials of justice…

To Molest and Rape 

It’s rare and surprising to see the acts of a rapist cop actually called “rape”:

A…Wilmington [Delaware cop]…was charged with second-degree rape at the conclusion of a four-month [attempt at a cover-up]…Thomas R. Oliver Jr…on October 16, 2018…pulled up alongside a woman and told her to get into the front seat of the vehicle.  Oliver exposed himself to the woman, and told her she had active warrants for her arrest, but he would allow her to leave if she [sucked his disgusting pig dick]…Oliver grabbed the victim by the head and [orally raped her]…

The End of the Beginning (#772) 

Maybe we’re about to witness the beginning of the end of these evil laws:

“Sex offenders are not second-class citizens,” writes U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins in a recent decision overturning two provisions of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act (ASORCNA)…The lead plaintiff…pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure in the early 1990s, when he was living in Wisconsin.  He received a six-month suspended sentence for each charge and was not required to register as a sex offender, even after moving to Alabama in 1994.  But 14 years later, Alabama expanded its registry, forcing Doe to comply with ASORCNA’s numerous demands and restrictions under threat of imprisonment.  Among other things, that meant his driver’s license was marked with the phrase “CRIMINAL SEX OFFENDER” in bold red letters…Judge Watkins ruled that Alabama’s branding of registered sex offenders’ identification cards is a form of compelled speech prohibited by the First Amendment…Another aspect of Alabama’s “debilitating sex-offender scheme” is a requirement that people in the registry report “email addresses or instant message addresses or identifiers used”…”An offender must report to the police every time he connects to a Wi-Fi spot at a new McDonald’s, every time he uses a new computer terminal at a public library…Every time he walks into a new coffee shop, he must determine whether opening his laptop is worth the hassle of reporting”…the demand for information about online activity applied to…the…plaintiffs even though their offenses had nothing to do with the internet or children…

Lack of Evidence (#805)

All cops or prosecutors will need to do to get around this law is say the magic words “sex trafficking”:

San Francisco’s [largely-cosmetic] policy protecting sex workers is now being pitched on the state level.  California Sen. Scott Wiener…introduce[d] legislation Monday that would prevent law enforcement from arresting and charging sex workers who come forward as victims or witnesses to serious crimes [unless they decide to charge the sex workers with “trafficking” instead].  The proposed law, SB233, would also prevent [cops] from using condoms as probable cause to arrest a sex worker…Wiener said…“We want to [fool]…sex workers [in]to feel[ing] safe in reporting crimes”…

San Francisco, which as the article states first enacted this “policy”, took only two months to get around it by declaring a “sex trafficking” exception and forming a vice squad specifically intended to “abate” sex workers.  You know, like a disease.

Overdue

Another example of our culture’s obsession with form over substance:

They used chopped-up chalk as fake crack cocaine and cloaked their white skin in blackface makeup.  Then the two [pigs] hit the streets of Baton Rouge, hoping to fool interested drug buyers in the predominantly black neighborhood into believing they were dealers.  “Not only do they not know we’re cops — they don’t even know we’re white!” then-Detective Frankie Caruso told the Advocate newspaper in 1993, the year the undercover blackface operation took place.  Now, 26 years later, the Baton Rouge Police Department is apologizing for the tactics after a police yearbook photo of the two disguised cops surfaced, marking the latest blackface scandal to ensnare authority figures and the first this year involving undercover police…

They’re not apologizing for intentionally destroying lives, or for specifically targeting black people for something that shouldn’t even be illegal; nope, they’re just apologizing because they did so inappropriately.

Safe Position

Though these legislative “studies” are useless, perhaps they’ll normalize the topic:

Bella Robinson…and her organization, COYOTE – RI, are working with Brown University and advocating for a new bill…sponsored by Rep. Anastasia Williams [which] proposes a commission to study the health and safety impact of sex work laws.  “Crackdowns against sex workers…[are because] we prioritize [religious] morals over the safety of people involved in the sex industry,” said Meghan Peterson, a Brown University researcher…one prominent opponent…is Donna Hughes, [architect of the]…[re-]criminalization [of sex work] in 2009…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#868) 

At least they’re not calling this an “escort service”:

…the advertising for Doll Next Door brings a host of questions about how this latest trend in sexual services will be regulated in Edmonton, if at all…the service offers customers the choice of a two-hour booking or overnight rental with one of five doll models…the doll is then sent in discreet packaging to the customer’s home or a specified hotel…Kelly Jenny, a sex therapist at Insight Psychological, said she can see the benefits associated with sex dolls, but says they can also be used [as magical transformation devices] to objectify women

Pyrrhic Victory (#894) 

More on Amazon’s campaign to end privacy forever:

…Amazon…Ring products come with access to a social app called Neighbors that allows customers to not just to keep tabs on their own property, but also to share [accusations]…with the rest of the block…Forming decentralized 19th-century vigilance committees with 21st-century technology has been a toxic move, as shown by apps like…Nextdoor, which tends to foster lively discussions about nonwhite people strolling through various suburbs.  But Ring stands alone as…an avowed attempt to merge 24/7 video, ubiquitous computer sensors, and facial recognition, and deliver it to local police on a platter.  It’s no surprise then that police departments from Bradenton, Florida, to Los Angeles have leapt to “partner” with Ring…

Just a reminder that the word for such authoritarian corporate/government “partnerships” is “fascism”.

The Prudish Giant (#895)

Facebook can’t even follow its own “standards”:

For years, King Cake Snob…has used visitor feedback to choose the best king cakes in various categories in the lead up to Mardi Gras.  So…the site decided to build some interest with a sponsored Facebook post…featuring ten tiny plastic king cake babies — all of which were, as usual, in the buff.  However, though the image remains up, Facebook decided to flag it as ineligible for a paid “sponsored” post…“This ad isn’t running because it includes an image or video depicting excessive skin or nudity…This kind of material is sensitive in nature”…

Top Cop

Copmala tried to sell her dad’s heritage for political coin, and he’s not happy:

United States (US) presidential hopeful Kamala Harris faced scathing criticisms from her father for attributing her support for the legalisation of marijuana to her…heritage.  “Half my family is from Jamaica, are you kidding me?” Kamala Harris responded when asked if she smoked marijuana during an interview…Donald Harris has “categorically” disassociated himself and his family from “this travesty” and slammed his daughter for stereo-typing her heritage for political gain.  “My dear departed grandmothers as well as my deceased parents must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected…with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker…in the pursuit of identity politics”…Harris [said]…

Legislators Gone Wild (#909) 

This story just keeps getting uglier and filthier:

Former Lyon County Sheriff Al McNeil was the largest campaign contributor to the End Trafficking and Prostitution political action committee before the 2018 election, campaign finance records show.  McNeil made contributions totaling $1,499.  Each of McNeil’s two contributions were under $1,000, which avoided mandatory reporting before the election under state campaign finance law…

Worse Than I Thought (#914)

Condemning consenting adults to the “sex offender” registry is the latest “monkey see, monkey do” fad:

Pennsylvania…[politician] Kim Ward wants…a change to state law that would require those convicted of [any sex work related “crime”]…to the…sex offender…[registry]…

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Peeking Out

I retired from sex work about 4 years ago, and I’m in university studying the health system and health policies.  Nobody in my life knows about my history and I do not discuss it.  However, I wish to do my graduate studies in social policy and rights focusing on sex worker policy, so I am thinking it might be time for me to start to “come out” to some people.  I am about to meet a lecturer on my current degree, who is helping me with my graduate application.  I am planning on coming out to her about my history; I think she will be supportive, but I am very nervous.  Any advice you can offer me, I would appreciate so much.

Obviously, we need as many sex workers and sex work alumnae to be out as possible, and I’ve written on the subject before (as have others I’ve collected in my tag “Coming Out”).  However, there’s no doubt it can be harmful to some.  My main concern would be, can this woman you want to come out to harm your academic career if she reacts badly?  And has she given you any indication that she won’t?  Because more than anything else, those are the important factors; there’s a very good reason most people who come out voluntarily are in a position where very few others have power over them.  My thought is, if this woman has publicly expressed support for sex workers, and she cannot easily derail your career, it’s probably OK to come out to her (especially since you want to focus on sex work policy).  But if she could possibly harm you and has never expressed any public pro-sexwork sentiments, I would choose another person to come out to first, and see how that goes before proceeding with your advisor.

(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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Reports’ consistent portrayals of miserable, victimized prostitutes and villainous madams—despite evidence to the contrary—display [prohibitionists’] tireless ideological labors to bring their real-life encounters in line with their…assumptions.  –  Nicolette Severson

Here We Go Again 

Prohibitionism never, ever changes:

…members of the New York Female Moral Reform Society…visited brothels all over New York City [in 1835-36].  They…[pretended they wanted] to learn…why women [did] sex work and [wanted] to sav[e] them from what they considered a grave sin and social ill…[like modern “sex trafficking” fetishists] members of F.M.R.S…assumed that the women didn’t voluntarily decide to become prostitutes, but that they were seduced and trafficked by men who caused their moral downfall…Those preconceived notions were [and still are] false. Prostitutes…enter…sex work because…[it pays better and is more flexible than the sex workers’ other alternatives], and for many, prostitution [i]s a temporary job.  The reformers were shocked at the high-end brothels they visited.  Fitted with refined furnishings and attractive, accommodating women, these brothels were…similar to the homes middle-class women were expected to keep…No wonder, then, that…the F.M.R.S. reformers used [stereotyped] characters to portray sex workers…[so as] to support their own belief that prostitution meant moral decay and internal misery…

The Scarlet Letter

Why do these puritans insist on pretending that the literally prehistoric practice of shaming constitute a “modern” approach to intentionally harming people for wanting consensual sex?

The City of Dayton announced a new initiative…aimed at [harming sex workers]…Called Buyer’s Remorse, the campaign will “modernize” the city’s approach to prostitution…It will make the information of anyone [in]…Dayton to [have consensual] sex “very” public [without due process], Mayor Nan Whaley said…Their names and addresses will added to a[n online] map…

I hope the first few men listed on this site have the sense and resources to sue the city and shut the site down.

Feminine Pragmatism 

Lingerie fetishist offers women a pragmatic avenue of harm reduction:

With the shutdown now likely the longest of its kind in US history, furloughed feds are turning to second jobs, side hustles, and Craigslist sales to make an extra buck.  Now one Virginia resident…asks women who “could use several dollars” to send their undergarments—in return for a whopping $120 a pop…

Of course, the amateurs are as gobsmacked as Depression-era rednecks staring up at a skyscraper for the first time.

Under Every Bed

Population 28,486:

…“Humans are the best commodity that there is,” [a prohibitionist salivated]. “Pimps and stuff will tell you that they don’t have to renew their supply, unlike drugs that they have to keep buying more…The average time a person is sold during the year is 1,000 times.”  Sex trafficking is happening throughout the state of West Virginia and in places like Wheeling…Sheriff Tom Howard [fantasized]…“Be very careful with children because it can happen, unfortunately, with the drug epidemic…Any time you see something that looks like a lot of drug activity, there’s probably some kind of human trafficking going on along with it…It happens all throughout the county”…

These people are like living caricatures of self-important hicks.  The “unlike drugs, people can be sold many times” canard is an excuse to keep persecuting members of “gangs”; see “Traffic Jam” below.

The Course of a Disease (#349) 

The Danes just keep emphasizing their disgust with the Swedish model:

Danish Social Minister Mai Mercado…has revealed that the government is looking into improving conditions for sex workers, decrying the dramatic lack of human rights in this field…sex workers don’t enjoy the same rights as those engaged in other vocations, including the right to unemployment insurance payouts and pensions…”Society demands that everyone pay their taxes, including prostitutes, so I think that we are duty-bound to ensure people have basic rights”…Mercado said…Prostitutes are required to register…as their income is taxable, a situation described by Mercado as “taxation without representation”…Citing the experiences of neighbouring countries which…criminalis[e] the procurement of sex, Mai Mercado argued that accepting prostitution instead of trying to ban it is the right approach.  “We have witnessed Sweden’s experiences.  These are really bad.  There is more violence, more insecurity, and it keeps sinking to the underworld.  There is no need for that”, Mercado said…Among other things, [the new approach] will mean that prostitutes will have the right to enroll in an unemployment insurance fund, be entitled to unemployment benefits and be able to earn a pension…

Traffic Jam (#432)

“Sex trafficking” is another excuse to persecute the same groups as always:

…Some [things the government labels] trafficking are prosecuted more heavily than others…Sex trafficking of a minor…carries a statutory minimum of 10 years…[and] maximum…of life in prison.  [Other things labeled] human trafficking…[such as] forcing people to labor for no pay in domestic service, factories, restaurants and so on — have no mandatory minimum…federal prosecutors have behaved accordingly, prosecuting more than twice as many minor sex-trafficking cases as adult sex-trafficking and labor-trafficking cases combined…57 percent of the defendants in minor sex-trafficking cases are black — compared with 43 percent in adult sex-trafficking cases and only 18 percent in labor trafficking…The average age of a defendant in a minor sex-trafficking case is 31, while it’s 33 and 40 respectively for adult sex- and labor-trafficking cases…76 percent of defendants in minor sex-trafficking cases are male, while that’s true for only 71 percent and 59 percent of adult sex- and labor-trafficking defendants, respectively.  In other words…the [cases labeled as] trafficking…that carr[y] the highest penalties and [are] most likely to be prosecuted — are significantly more likely to be [against defendants who are] young, black and male…

Eternal Vigilance (#682)

Until prohibition is itself outlawed, decriminalization of any consensual activity is at best a temporary respite:

Tight bylaws limiting where brothels can operate in Queenstown and Wanaka have failed to stop the trade, with sex workers instead using “working girl-friendly” hotels and selling sex from homes…prostitution contributes “hugely” to the district’s economy, but those working in the industry continue to be discriminated against, mocked and marginalised.  The Queenstown Lakes District Council…has kept its towns brothel-less through restrictive and “draconian” bylaws since prostitution was decriminalised in 2003…going as far as banning them altogether in a 2008 bylaw.  The council later reviewed the bylaw because it was potentially at odds with the Prostitution Reform Act, but…[it] is still at odds with the Act…[because] brothels are only allowed to operate within a two-block zone in the town centre…They cannot be on ground level or beneath ground level or have signs advertising the business…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#863)

Some helpful figures for countering prohibitionists’ agency-negating lies:

…anti-traffickers often [lie] that the majority of those who sell sex in India are forced or begin when they are underage.  The best available research, however, provides a different picture.  A survey of over 6500 female sex workers in South India aged 15 and above found that the mean age of entrance into sex work was 21.7 years.  The most comprehensive  data set included 3000 sex workers from across the nation.  Of these, 81.59% entered sex work when they were 19 years old or above and 14.53% between 15-18 years.  The Pan India Survey found that across all modes and sites of sex work in India, 79.4% of women entered the trade voluntarily, while 7.1% were forced, 2.8% were sold, and 9.2% were cheated…The term “forced” should only be used in reference to work rendered through physical force, threats, beatings, blackmail, cheating and similarly direct forms of compulsion…If financial urgency were defined as “force”, then the vast majority of the world’s workers would have to be defined as “forced labourers”.  Very few individuals are either entirely free to make unfettered decisions about their means of earning money or are entirely freed from the need to do so…

Business As Usual (#877) 

When a headline asks a question, the answer is almost always “no”:

Stormy Daniels’s July 2018 arrest…by…Columbus [vice pigs]…turned out to be…a pre-planned political stunt by vice detectives — one of whom later bragged about it to colleagues.  Daniels and two others later sued for false arrest.  Then, in August, the [gang] was again in the spotlight because a vice detective [murdered] a sex worker…after…she [resisted his attempt to rape her]…in his unmarked car.  In September, another whistleblower familiar with local strip clubs informed city officials of extortion, selective enforcement and entrapment by the vice [gang], bringing a large package of documents to corroborate the allegations…[then] the chief of the CPD asked the FBI to take over the investigation…and…on September 27, [rapist and murderer] Andrew Mitchell…was [given a paid vacation]…On December 13, the CPD put a third vice detective involved in the sting on desk duty…[and] announced that the vice [gang] will resume limited operations with a “select” [herd] of [pigs], although the FBI probe remains ongoing.  The [gang] will [supposedly] be handling liquor and nuisance complaints at after-hours clubs, instead of spending thousands on drinks and lap dances [while molesting and raping women without consequence]…

Also: “hold accountable” is a moralist shibboleth which means something like “persecute using a moralistic excuse”. It has no place in articles about genuine wrongdoers facing the consequences of their actions.

Monsters (#878) 

Prohibitionists know we’re right about the dangers of criminalization; they just don’t care:

…the [trans sex worker community who work in and around the] sprawling Bois de Boulogne public park in western Paris…has felt considerably less safe since the French government introduced [the Swedish model]…in 2016…as p[redict]ed, clients now regularly ask the women for sex in secluded areas to avoid the police.  In a Médecins du Monde survey conducted with nearly 600 sex workers…63 percent said they have seen their working conditions deteriorate, while 42 percent said they have experienced more violence since the law change…The Paris mayor’s office [even] shut[s] off many of the lights in the park in the evenings as a way to [intentionally increase the danger to sex workers] there…Acceptess-T, an association that advocates on behalf of trans and immigrant sex workers [says] “They are more vulnerable than ever”…

Surplus Women (#896) 

Answer: it’s a rationalization of cop behavior.  Which, admittedly, isn’t easy to tell from serial killer behavior:

Juan David Ortiz, a U.S. Border Patrol agent, pleaded not guilty…to capital murder in the deaths of four women [because they were just whores]…Ortiz [was convinced by government anti-sex propaganda that] it was his duty to clean up the streets of Laredo…so he began picking up alleged sex workers, driving them to remote areas, and then shooting them in the head…Ortiz thought [cops] w[ere]n’t doing enough to stop [adults from having consensual sex] in Laredo, so he believed he was “doing a service” by killing the women…prosecutors are seeking the death penalty because Ortiz’s “vigilante mentality” presents a “future danger to [people who aren’t whores]”…

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All the excitement and hand wringing about [sex robots] was…pointless because [they] just don’t exist.  –  Mark Hay

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

The head pastor of a Methodist congregation in Orange County [California]…was charged…with two counts of molesting a girl under 14 years old…John Rodgers McFarland…was arrested…Dec. 18…San Diego County prosecutors filed two counts of lewd acts on a child…stem[ming] from incidents in 2012 and 2013…Police in Fountain Valley, where McFarland worked as a pastor at a Methodist church for 26 years, said there is “evidence that McFarland abused other victims during his time as a pastor in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach”…He was the head pastor from 1988 to 2014 at Fountain Valley United Methodist Church, and a pastor at Surf City Church in Huntington Beach from 2009 to 2014…McFarland was also the youth pastor at San Dieguito United Methodist Church in Encinitas from 1978 to 1981…

Backwards into the Future (#425) 

I wonder how long it will be before the US abandons “re-education” for sex workers and clients?

China looks set to abolish a controversial system that lets police arbitrarily detain sex workers and their clients for up to two years without trial for “compulsory education”.  The “detention and re-education for those involved in prostitution” program, which has existed for 27 years, was recommended for abolition…by the Legislative Affairs Commission…scholars, legal practitioners and members of the public…have long lobbied for the change on the grounds such administrative detention is unjust, extrajudicial and particularly punitive.  Sex work will remain punishable …by a penalty of up to 15 days’ detention.  The parallel custody and education system [h]as…[since] 1991…authorized police to force sex workers into various forms of long-term “education” which included morality lessons, written confessions, forced labor and other humiliating activities designed to “remove evil habits”…

Shift in the Wind (#530)

More and more, the media in many countries are siding with sex workers:

On December 17th, sex workers…and…activists from Macedonia held the 11th annual “Red Umbrella March” in Skopje…The Macedonian march was organized by STAR-STAR, the first sex workers collective in the Balkans…participants demand changes to in the Criminal Code which has remained unchanged for three decades since the fall of Communism…with exception to increasing penalties for sex workers…

Divided We Fall (#672)

Why does Gay, Inc never speak up for sex worker rights until it’s too late?

…a darkening wave of internet censorship…started when Congress passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) in March…Long before these laws were passed though, sex workers and advocates spoke out against them, [explaining] that their terms were vague and overreaching and would…decimate the digital platforms that have specifically provided a space for workers to meet, vet clients, and engage in consensual business in an online environment far safer than working on the street…The sex workers’ fears did materialize. Craigslist immediately deleted its Personals section…and Backpage…was seized by the FBI.  Multiple sex work forums disappeared immediately…harming and isolating queer people…Over the past few months alone Recon, a fetish dating site for gay men, saw their Youtube temporarily suspended…Naked Boys Reading saw their Facebook page temporarily banned…In October, Facebook was revealed to be blocking many LGBTQ+ ads as part of its new advertising policy…Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has also appeared to be censoring the queer community with algorithms that, intentionally or otherwise, flag queer content at a higher rate than non-queer content…

The Mote and the Beam (#701)

I wish writers would stop these pandering claims that censorship attempts are “well-intentioned”:

…a string of civil lawsuits [has] intended to pin liability on online platforms for allegedly providing material support to terrorists.  Several federal trial courts dismissed such suits [last] year, but some of these cases are on appeal and plaintiffs have filed several new ones.  If these suits are successful…platforms would have little choice to become much more restrictive in what sorts of speech they allow…these cases…threaten the availability of open online forums and Internet users’ ability to access information.  That’s why EFF filed legal briefs in 2018 asking two different federal appellate courts to dismiss material support cases against social media platforms…So far, courts have been quick to toss out these material support lawsuits…As well-intentioned as these cases are, they pose a threat to…online communities…[they] threaten Internet users’ and the platforms’ First Amendment rights…[and] jeopardize one of the Internet’s most important laws, Section 230…

Censorship and prohibition are not, and by their very nature cannot be, “well-intentioned”.  They are attempts to control other people’s minds, bodies and lives and are thus intrinsically evil no matter how they’re excused by authoritarians.

Disaster 

It’s good to see so many journalists recognizing how dangerous the War on Whores has become.  This Forbes article on “The 9 Most Important Sex Trends Of 2018” includes the following:

…FOSTA-SESTA…opens internet platforms to liability for…user-generated content, creating a major legal risk for sites used to facilitate sex work…[and] adds to the popular, yet false, conflation of sex work with sex trafficking…The law has led to the shutdown of a number sites, groups, and forums sex workers used to facilitate their operations…[and] share safety information…and…has also…accelerated a wave of sexual censorship online…FOSTA-SESTA “is causing major havoc,” argues [sexologist Jill] McDevitt, for “anyone who uses the internet to read, research, or express themselves sexually in any way”…[experts] are worried that Twitter, the last major bastion of sexual speech online, may fall to this wave of censorship in the new year…

Imaginary Victims (#864) 

As I’ve pointed out many times, “safe harbor” laws only protect “perfect victims”, not real ones:

The Summit County Juvenile Court in Ohio didn’t follow the law when it allowed a 15-year-old girl who was a human trafficking victim to be tried as an adult in the robbery and murder of the man who trafficked her, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled…The high court, however, upheld the girl’s conviction and sentence to prison for the rest of her life…[claiming] Alexis Martin couldn’t prove that the judge’s decision to bind her over to adult court would have changed if the juvenile court had [actually followed the “safe harbor” law as it was required to do]…

Gorged With Meaning (#877)

Ignoring student sex workers would be fine; the problem is that universities are actively harming them:

Universities must stop ignoring the plight of a growing number of students turning to sex work and should start offering non-judgemental support, campaigners demand.  Students and experts have accused institutions of “simply burying their heads in the sand” over the issue…many universities are…actively blocking groups trying to support students involved in sex work.  In one case a student…sex work[er] was evicted from her home and threatened with expulsion by her university…The English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP)…have fought a number of cases recently where universities have threatened to throw out students if they do not stop doing sex work…

The Course of a Disease (#884)

Israeli prohibitionists are trying to criminalize all sex work:

The Knesset approved the first reading of a bill limiting the Israeli access to…sites presenting adult-related materials…the bill demands web-service providers to send a message to house-holds with internet access asking if they wish to have such sites blocked or not…Should they decline the offer they will be asked to provide personal information [which will then be shared with the government] proving that they are adults and are the ones paying for the service…The Knesset also approved adopting the Nordic Model…which…is…a state intervention on people’s right’s and bodies as well as a criminaliz[ation of] human activity that will be very hard to prevent…

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The carpet was just pulled out underneath us.  –  Tammy Marie Kruwell

Oops

300 texts does not equate to 300 men, since many guys send a barrage:

A Michigan woman says hundreds of men solicited her for sex within just a couple days…because her number ended up on an escort [advertising] website…Her phone holds nearly 300 texts and some voicemails from men looking for attention.  Susan said she didn’t even know most of the sexual lingo in the texts…one of the texts referenced a website called “Skip the Games”…the family emailed the site administrator numerous times and asked them to take the number down.  They had no success [until they copied a TV station in]…on an email…

First They Came for the Hookers… 

Just in case you think being a “legal” sex worker protects you from the lies of cops and prudes:

The Providence [Rhode Island] Board of Licenses revoked the [Foxy Lady] strip club’s licenses [less than a week before Christmas because] Providence Police arrested three dancers at the club last week [for refusing to give pigs sex]…at least 200…employees are suddenly out of work…Mayor Jorge Elorza [slandered] the club [claiming it was] running a “full-on prostitution ring”.  The attorney for the club, Fausto Anguilla, has [pointed out that] police…never proved that sex was occurring inside the club’s private rooms.  Several dancers…[told reporters] management at the club is strict with its no-prostitution rules, and cut ties with dancers who were caught having sex in the private rooms…

Torture Chamber 

Our government refers to this as “correction”:

A [privately-owned prison for] juvenile [prisoners]…in northern Minnesota is accused of failing to stop the sexual abuse of minors in its care, according to two federal lawsuits…[which] detail two separate [coercive] sexual relationships between teenage girls and employees dating back to 2014, both resulting in criminal convictions…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#412) 

New items of this type appear under the heading “Permanent Record”:

“LEGAL ‘NYMPH’,” blared the front page of [the December 13thToronto Sun. “Law student faces good character hearing over double life as an escort.”  Except — as the story about prospective lawyer Nadia Guo made clear near its top — what the headline described was not the case at all…No one complained about her escort job.  Instead, the complaints made to the Law Society of Ontario concerned Guo’s conduct as an articling student in the latter half of 2015…the piece by courts reporter Sam Pazzano…[also revealed her stage name], “Dawn Lee”…the Sun ran a correction to its front-page headline [the next day]…But Toronto Star columnist Rosie DiManno ran her own piece …that led with Guo’s sex work, printed her work name in its first sentence, and expressed apparent surprise and disappointment that the Law Society chose not to [persecute] her…for [doing work to pay for school]…

Traffic Jam (#680)

Looks like Minnesota’s second attempt to imprison a bunch of migrants as “sex traffickers” fared better than its first:

A federal jury in St. Paul has convicted all five people charged with conspiring to traffic hundreds of Thai women for sex…nearly three dozen other [people were charged]…all but five [made] plea…[bargains]…Prosecutors said victims, some of whom testified during the trial, were misled as to how much they truly owed and were threatened if they tried to leave the business…U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald described the case as one of the largest trafficking networks ever dismantled…

I’d be a lot more inclined to believe there was serious exploitation here if we hadn’t heard all this before, especially the practically-impossible claims of client numbers.  Remember, migrant sex workers are far less likely to be deported if the agree to sing the state’s song, so there’s no real way to know how much of this is true and how much hype.

The Mote and the Beam (#776)

Just in case you though FOSTA was as bad as it would get:

…Congress…authorized a [bipartisan] national [crusade to] arrest…sex [workers’ clients] and approved the use of secret wiretaps in misdemeanor prostitution cases…as part of the massive “Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act“…through a secret vote of the sort civil libertarians have long opposed…based on the false idea that customers of…adult sex workers [magically] drive demand for minors.  All state and local cops, prosecutors, and judges are to be [encouraged]…to [steal the] asset[s of sex workers and clients]…In addition, Congress “clarif[ies] that commercial sexual exploitation is a form of gender-based violence,” whatever that means…The House…passed the bill via “voice vote,” a process under which there’s neither a record of how members voted, whether they were present for a vote, nor how many total members actually voted…One provision essentially creates a new federal crime initiative by directing resources and money to fight “sextortion”…

Lack of Evidence (#859) 

If sex work weren’t illegal laws like this would be easily overturned:

Jessica, a 23-year-old transgender woman living in Queens…[was arrested on] July 8…and charged…with “loitering for the purpose of engaging in a prostitution act”…[the “evidence” cops listed was that she] was wearing “a mini skirt and a blouse which showed cleavage”…Loitering arrests increased more than 180 percent between January and October…last year…More than half of the…arrests occurred in Queens, where attorneys say they’re concentrated in…immigrant-heavy neighborhoods…This increase in loitering arrests follows a class action lawsuit backed by the Legal Aid Society of New York that challenges the constitutionality of New York’s law on loitering for the purposes of prostitution…recent loitering complaints noted that defendants were wearing “black cowboy boots” and “light blue short [sic], a red tank top and tan sandals”…

See also “Business As Usual” below.

Rescued To Death (#869)

“Abatement”.  A term used for inhuman things, especially nuisances:

A new unit that San Francisco police created to [harass sex workers]…is facing opposition from advocates…the Sex Workers Abatement Unit…has resulted in an uptick in the number of sex workers who have been arrested in the Mission…[and reinforces] a hostile environment where “women are forced into more isolated, unfamiliar areas where attacks are more likely…sex workers who are victims of violence are intimidated and running from police,” [Rachel] West [of US PROS] said.  West argued that the unit undermines a police policy from last December that [supposedly] prevents sex workers who are the victims of certain crimes from being arrested for performing sex work.  The policy [gives lip service to the fact] that “the criminalization of sex work is one of the primary barriers to reporting violence to law enforcement”…

I’ve spoken out against these hollow “policies” before; they are not binding and can be reversed as easily as they were granted.  They’re not a serious effort to respond to sex workers’ concerns; they’re just meant to shut us up.

Business As Usual (#895)

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

Mariatu was 15 years old when her widowed mother died and she ended up sleeping rough on the streets of Freetown where she fell into commercial sex work.  Not long after, she was arrested for “loitering” and, unable to pay a police bribe, spent six months in an adult jail.  Now 22, she is desperate to escape a life marked by suffering, violence and exploitation and is appealing to the state to provide more support to Sierra Leone’s sex workers who are stigmatised by society and suffer unfair treatment at the hands of the legal system.  She spoke to the Guardian before the online launch of a documentary to mark the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers which…examines their treatment by [cops]…who…exploit…them for sex and money…

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