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Posts Tagged ‘Shift in the Wind’

All too often [statements about the sex trade are] based on flimsy or out-of-date data, leading to estimates that strain…credulity.  –  Glenn Kessler

The Red Umbrella AIDS conference protest

Rose Moabelo. Shemise Gordon. Sasha Lee Gordon. Thilivhani Mudau. Desiree Murugan. Sinia Pietersen. Anisa Adams. Kleintjie. Thulukanyao.  These are the names of local sex workers who have been murdered‚ without their killers ever being found.  SWEAT‚ an advocacy group‚ wants you to #saytheirnames.  As many of the 18‚000 accredited delegates arrived for their first meeting at the 21st International Aids Conference in Durban…sex workers held placards detailing the stories of murdered colleagues.  [They] wanted to highlight what has changed for sex workers since the last international Aids conference was held in Durban in 2000. “Nothing‚” according to Sally Shackelton‚ director of SWEAT…

Where Are the Victims?

Note the bizarre, stilted language used to describe a very ordinary-sounding escort service:

A Topeka woman…Shannon Nelson…pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy…[for a] prostitution business.  At times, as many as 20 females were working as prostitutes for the organization.  The leader of the organization rented houses where some of the prostitutes were allowed to live.  The organization used Web sites, social media and cell phones to advertise sexual services and to keep track of prostitutes.  Nelson…posted advertisements for herself and other women on a Web site offering sexual services.  She used cell phones to communicate with Boswell and others in the course of operating the prostitution business…

Leaving the Life

Even when Vice isn’t being directly prohibitionist, it’s no ally; just the very fact that this writer refers to sex work as a “game” (read: “scam”, “dodge”, “hobby”) instead of work says a great deal.  Yes, I know that’s a street term; using it to apply to all sex workers is even more ignorant, not less.  NB: the Gaye Dalton interviewed here is the woman who exposed Rachel Moran’s lies.

Welcome To Our World (#15)

Another rape victim caged to force her participation in the state’s morality play:

A Harris County [Texas] rape victim who was [arrested and jailed]…after she melted down on the witness stand, is suing the prosecutor and the sheriff’s department…Identified as only “Jenny,” the 20-year-old –who has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder — was a key witness in the trial of Keith Hendricks who was eventually given two life terms for rape.  However, on Dec. 8, 2015, she was unable to continue her testimony after breaking down on the stand and running from the courtroom.  Prosecutor Nicholas Socias then [threw a tantrum and had her]…locked up for fear that she wouldn’t return to court at a later date to continue…Jenny was held for a close to month, after being placed with the general population where she was assaulted.  The suit also contends that jail personnel treated her as if she was a convicted criminal instead of a victim…

Shift in the Wind

You know things have changed since the last AIDS conference when this can appear in the Voice of America:

Prostitution…continues to be regarded as immoral [and/or] illegal in most countries.  This has prompted sex workers, activists and lobbyists around the world to intensify their demand for an end to criminalization of their field.  Many of them are attending this year’s International AIDS Conference in Durban, where they argue that continued criminalization of sex work could be worsening the spread of HIV…

That Old Black Magic

I don’t approve of referring to young women as “children”, and I recognize that every culture is different.  And I still find this pretty appalling, especially given the disease factor:

In some remote southern regions of Malawi, it’s traditional for girls to be made to have sex with a paid sex worker known as a “hyena” once they reach puberty.  The act is not seen by village elders as rape, but as a form of ritual “cleansing”…If a man dies, for example, his wife is required by tradition to sleep with [a hyena like Eric] Aniva before she can bury him.  If a woman has an abortion, again sexual cleansing is required…teenage girls, after their first menstruation, are made to have sex over a three-day period, to mark their passage from childhood to womanhood.  If the girls refuse, it’s believed, disease or some fatal misfortune could befall their families or the village as a whole…several girls I meet…express aversion to the ordeal…According to custom, sex with the hyena must never be protected with the use of condoms.  But they say a hyena is hand-picked for his good morals, and therefore cannot be infected with HIV/Aids…The UN estimates that one in 10 of all Malawians carry the virus, so I ask Aniva if he is HIV-positive.  He astounds me by saying that he is – and that he doesn’t mention this to a girl’s parents when they hire him…All of those involved in these rituals are aware that these customs are condemned by outsiders – not just by the church, but by NGOs and the government as well, which has launched a campaign against so-called “harmful cultural practices”.  “We are not going to condemn these people,” says Dr May Shaba, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Gender and Welfare. “But we are going to give them information that they need to change their rituals”…Deeniquia Dodds

Monsters

How about “calling on police” to stop arresting sex workers, period?  “The fatal shooting on July 4 of D.C. transgender woman Deeniquia “Dee Dee” Dodds…has prompted a local LGBT-supportive advocacy group to call on police to end their longstanding practice of arresting trans sex workers…”  Cops shouldn’t be in the business of assessing people’s gender any more than they should be assessing our motives for consensual acts.

Paint By Numbers

“Anti-trafficking” publicity stunts are growing ever more bizarre:

“Today we’re out here putting the red sand out,” said Jana Grabenstein…who spearheaded the…movement…to bring awareness to human trafficking in Grand Island [Nebraska]…”It’s here.  We need to protect our kids, our families, our friends.  Anyone can fall victim to it and you know we just need to stop it,” she said.  More than 100 bags of red sand were spread around G.I…”When we saw it, the first thing I said was, ‘This has to be something the Salvation Army heavily gets involved in,’” said Deny Cacy…

Another Fine Mess

Why idiocies like “mid-range prostitution is new” and “it used to be hard for whores to find clients” infuriate me so much:  they keep getting repeated over and over and over by reporters who can’t be bothered to do proper research:

…Mid-range prostitution is a relatively new market, enabled by technology.  Before the internet, it was hard for escorts to find customers: They had to either walk the streets searching for customers (the lower end of the market), rely on word-of-mouth, or work with agencies…“Before the internet, agencies provided the steady flow of clients and screening, but their capacity was capped,” Baylor University economist Scott Cunningham said.  Soon after Craigslist launched in 1995, US escorts quickly started marketing directly to customers online.  This newfound ability to advertise on the internet grew the market…because more women and men could work independently…

Because obviously, all those ads in the BACK PAGES (see what I did there?) of alternative newspapers didn’t exist.  And brothels?  Hotel & casino girls?  Nope!  They didn’t exist at all!

Traffic Circle (#569)

Glenn Kessler does it again:

…a new study, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice…concluded that the total number of juveniles in the sex trade in the United States was about 9,000 to 10,000.  To be cautious, given the limitations in the data, the study said that range could be as low as 4,500 or as high as 21,000.  The study also found that about 15 percent of the children relied on a pimp and that the average age of entry into the sex trade was 15.8 years.  Both figures are in line with other careful studies…

Regular readers may recall that my estimate of the number of underage US sex workers was 16,000, with 10% involved with a pimp; these new figures are not far from those at all.

All-Purpose Excuse (#608)

“Sex trafficking” is a convenient excuse for any tyranny:

Senator John McCain…equated encryption to child pornography and human trafficking…[and] threatened Apple CEO Tim Cook…McCain…stated that if Congress doesn’t mandate law enforcement access to encrypted communications, lawmakers were “de facto” helping child pornographers and human traffickers…Encryption has been the Senator’s pet obsession for quite some time.  Last November, he expressed that he wanted to outlaw any kind of encryption technology that the US government can’t crack…

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#616)

Seoul is adopting ever-sleazier tactics to please its masters in Washington:

Police…in Korea…have…started targeting landlords…[by charging them with] aiding prostitution.  Since last year, police have been making landlords responsible for prostitution venues that operate on their property…Due to this shift in police policy, landlords have been [evicting sex workers from] their buildings…

To Molest and Rape (#643)

A fine example of how the criminalization supported by feminists “protects” sex workers:

There’s a [cop] in Cape Town notorious among the city’s sex workers…he devotes most of his time to making their lives a living hell.  Two weeks ago…he and his police pals rounded up a group of eight sex workers and put them in the back of a van.  They drove to the city’s main river and…gave them three options: either we throw you in the river, you suck our dicks or we’ll arrest you and bang you up…one of the women pushed into the river made a phone call…to the only people she trusted to get her justice: a team of five former sex workers trained as paralegals…The paralegal team…is lodging a formal complaint about the river incident with the deputy minister of police and the independent police investigation unit.  They are pushing for the dismissal of the officer in question, who has a toxic track record of bullying and violence against sex workers going back to 2012, including allegations of rape and attempted murder…

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It’s the oldest profession in the world for a reason.  –  Jami Rodman

A Moral Cancer smoking ban cartoon

As a lass, I never imagined there was a Western culture more puritanical than the US:

Sweden needs to limit the number of public spaces where people are allowed to smoke, according to a lengthy review of tobacco laws… “One should not be exposed to the temptation to smoke,” concluded the report’s author Göran Lundahl…It suggests that legislation should be extended to include “certain public places outdoors, such as café and restaurant terraces, entrances to establishments and other spaces to which the public has access”…The review also argues that e-cigarettes, herbal cigarettes and other products which simulate tobacco smoking should be banned…

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

I don’t think I need to tell you that there’s absolutely no evidence for these claims, even if they constituted a valid argument for censorship (which they don’t):

Children as young as five are sexually abusing their peers after being exposed to pornography, a Senate inquiry has been told.  In chilling evidence that would shock parents, a [former] child development expert has outlined a [parade] of cases where primary school aged children were coercing classmates into performing sex acts including intercourse.  University of South Australia Emeritus Professor Freda Briggs…cited her own work that found fathers were watching online porn with their young sons for “fun” because “that’s what guys do”.  The prevalence of internet pornography — especially how children can stumble on it while innocently doing homework — has alarmed…[the] inquiry [on] the harm it is causing children, including sexualising them at a young age…Senator Back said he was keen to explore what could be done to protect children, including seeing whether technological advances had made internet-wide filtering possible…

Note that Australia dumped a countrywide censorship plan as unworkable four years ago.

A Whore in Church 

Sex worker tells preacher exactly why she does sex work; preacher ignores her and blathers about imaginary “pimps” instead:

New Day Ministry Pastor Helen Wolfe…[pretends that] prostitutes proposition her church members before and after church services.  “These ladies are literally chasing them to the front door,” she said…[this wonderful Christian threatened] one of them, “Somebody is going to cut you up, somebody is going to kill you…Tell the pimps I’m coming after them.”  One of the ladies agreed to come inside the sanctuary and share her story…”I had a good job, a nice home, car, everything, and I got really badly hurt and got on pain pills.”  She…[is] no longer be addicted to drugs but continues to work as a prostitute because she can’t find another job…”The pimps are now getting into my pocket,” Helen said. “Now the daycare is decreasing because…they say they get chased down by the prostitutes.  I’m going to flip this and get in the pimp’s pocket.”  Pastor Helen plans to start taking pictures of people involved in criminal activity outside her church, including the men who pick up the prostitutes, and sending them to the police…

Enabling Oppression

What could be more outrageous and tone-deaf than prohibitionists trying to link their campaign to increase state control over individuals with the drive to end slavery?  How about linking support for an increasingly-violent and all-pervasive police state with a famous victim of such a state?

[Rescue industry-supporting BDSM fantasist “One-Hand”] Kristof and [violent prohibitionist “Cuckoo Clock”] McCain were presented with the 2015 Anne Frank Award and the Anne Frank Special Recognition Award, respectively, for their work fighting [advertising websites and consensual sex between adults]…The award ceremony took place February 25 in the Members Room of the Library of Congress…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Accurate headline: “Life Continues As Usual When Foreign Politicians Visit City

As politicians grappled with Britain’s EU future at a crunch summit, other more sordid deals were being thrashed out nearby.  David Cameron was locked in talks at the European Parliament as the Brussels’ sex trade was ­thriving from an influx of well-off EU politicans and officials…­hundreds of prostitutes from Romania, Albania and Bulgaria were plying their trade.  Flooding in to meet ­increased ­demand ­at the time of top EU ­meetings, they blew kisses to ­smart-suited men trawling the ­fleshpots of Rue d’Aerschot.  Some offered “40 euros for one sex position or 50 for several”…

Catastrophic Consequences

Much more of this, please:

The Crown Office has dropped the cases against eleven people charged with brothel offences, prompting criticism of Police Scotland for its high profile raids on Edinburgh’s saunas.  Six men and five women were set for a court hearing in November, but prosecutors backed off and have now abandoned the proceedings.  Many of Edinburgh’s saunas have effectively operated as brothels since the mid-1980s.  The approach had the tacit support of the former Lothian and Borders police force and the council in Edinburgh, which provided saunas with public entertainment licenses…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#431)

Indonesian officials decide to prevent a repeat of the Dolly fiasco by means of extreme violence:

One of Indonesia’s oldest red-light districts was demolished in an operation overseen by hundreds of police and troops…Dozens of illegal bars and brothels along a…strip in north Jakarta…known…as Kalijodo…were reduced to rubble by excavators….leaving behind nothing but splintered wood, brick and old mattresses…North Jakarta Mayor Rustam Effendi…said…the demolition would make way for a public park.  “There was open prostitution there and all kinds of other things as a result, like liquor,” he [said]…During the eviction of residents over the past week, police seized and destroyed large quantities of alcohol…The government last week instructed local authorities to shut down an estimated 100 red-light districts across the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country…

Shift in the Wind (#451)

Fraught With Complications

Here’s a good, thorough article on what to do if you fall in love with a whore:

So you met a hooker and at first you were cool with it.  You didn’t freak out when they first told you about their job and you didn’t freak them out with your response.  You started seeing each other and maybe you had some reservations but figured you would…talk them into your way of thinking…Or you figured whatever you had with them wasn’t so serious so it didn’t need to be a big deal…But…Over time and as your feelings for them have grown, you’ve found your acceptance for their job has diminished…So now what?…

Welcome To Our World (#588)

Maybe the Times thinks if it backs away slowly enough, nobody will notice:

When New York Times editors were defending the paper’s two-part series on alleged labor abuses in nail salons last year, they repeatedly pointed to the high rate of violations uncovered by a state inspection task force…A spokesperson for the paper later used the same defense when responding to my own critical appraisal of the nail salon series.  After Bernstein and I demonstrated that the original articles…by…Sarah Maslin Nir…were filled with blatant mischaracterizations and misquotes from key sources…theeditors clung to the notion that the state’s findings demonstrated that Nir basically got the story right.  Now the Times has taken a close look at those labor inspections and discovered that they “reveal another reality” that doesn’t match up with Nir’s findings.  As reporters Russ Buettner and Kim Barker explain, immigrant nail salon owners were often tripped up by the technicalities of New York State wage and hour regulations…”In two dozen cases, for instance, owners paid employees an equivalent of at least the state minimum wage and overtime for the hours they worked, but because they did not correctly account for the overtime hours, they were still cited for underpayment…”  If you exclude those two dozen cases, Buettner and Barker report that 67 nail salons, or a little more than one quarter of those investigated by the state, paid less than the minimum wage.  And of those 67, 25 missed the mark by less than $50.  In other words, the original Times story argued that three-quarter of nail salons in New York paid less than the minimum wage, but the state inspections have found roughly the opposite to be true…

Too Close To Home

Once again, the Seattle Times demonstrated its deep prohibitionism and disgusting obsequiousness by publishing this asinine regurgitation of prohibitionist feces its editors eagerly lapped off the boots of King County cops and prosecutors.  And when Mistress Matisse called those editors out via Twitter for publishing lies that five minutes of high-school-level Googling would have disproven, they either ignored her or doubled down defending this dumpster fire of an editorial.  Fortunately, not every reporter in Seattle feels that “journalism” is a synonym for “fellating authority”; Sydney Brownstone of The Stranger responded thus:

…it’s clear that the Ed Board…has not interrogated the sex work “research” cited by King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg very deeply…The “age of entry” myth—a common one—has been challenged by sex work advocates and research from anti-trafficking group Polaris…the “local” research being cited by Satterberg’s office….[is] a collection of studies that drew flawed, biased conclusions about sex work and trafficking based on small sample sizes of populations that already skewed heavily toward victims of abuse or street workers…when I asked legislators to send me research about the claim that sex workers often come from a background of abuse, I was forwarded a letter from local anthropologist-activist Debra Boyer that incorrectly cited…a famed book on trauma research…[which] had used clinical vignettes from sex workers already in trauma treatment to illustrate the idea that survivors of child abuse are vulnerable to revictimization…[it] did not claim that a majority or plurality of sex workers came from backgrounds of abuse…Even if sex workers did have histories of sexual abuse or assault—histories that many women share, regardless of their occupations—does that mean they’re incapable of making decisions in their own best interest?…

The Public Eye (#608)

Another shrug-inducing interview with Jami Rodman.  At the risk of sounding conceited, I have to tell you there’s nothing here I haven’t covered before (and in greater detail, and far more eloquently); however, I’m still glad to see the facts of our lives getting out there from as many sources as possible, and her conclusion was strong.

Book Reviews (#616)

Some people are just so hateful:

…On the 18th of February, my follower count was 34,872.  It started going up sharply, by about 500 a day…I remembered seeing a tweet from @Popehat from a few years ago.  Someone had maliciously bought the account thousands of followers; this is something people do so they can report the account for the fakes, and try to get them kicked off Twitter.  I DM’d a couple of people with experience of both being the target of online harassment and of communicating with Twitter.  The response was unanimous: someone is trying to get you banned. Lock your account and start deleting the fake followers…Publishers increasingly expect authors to use social media presence to publicise their work to readers.  My publisher likes that social media is embedded in my writing and that I engage with a lot of people online – without the Internet, I would never have become a writer at all…By Friday night the Twitter follower count was touching 40k with no sign of slowing.  I didn’t have much choice anymore.  I locked the account and started blocking the bots and declining the hundreds of follow requests from fakes coming in.  This is an ongoing effort. If you have recently followed me and find yourself blocked, I apologise — there are going to be some false positives in this process…

I wish my friend the best, and I encourage all of you to support her writing in the most pragmatic fashion possible.

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You will hear our voices, because they are becoming louder and louder and you can’t drown us out any longer.  –  Laura Lee

Above the Law 

Well, this is different:

Male strippers stopped by gardai for having no tax disc performed for female officers to get out of a fine…They…entered the Garda station and began their performance.  But one female is understood to have fallen during the incident, injuring her back…an internal investigation is underway…the officer who brokered the “deal” is also being investigated…

The Rape Question rape rate by age

I’ve been saying this for 30 years:

In…1975…Susan Brownmiller…asserted that “rape is about power, not sex.”  Ever since, the conventional wisdom has been that rapists are misogynistic men seeking domination and power over women, not violent men seeking sex…there has been no significant empirical research to support her claim.  Yet, almost everyone repeats it…Social science has demonstrated a strong relationship between age and sexual attractiveness.  Heterosexual men are sexually attracted to young women, while homosexual men are attracted to young men…If rapists are primarily motivated by the desire for power and domination, then one would expect them to prefer middle-aged, career women.  However, if rapists primarily desire sex, then one would expect them to prefer young women and men…The percentage of female victims who are over 50 is close to zero…A 15-year-old male is more likely to be a victim of a sexual assault than a 40-year-old female…An analysis of whether female robbery victims are sexually assaulted during the incident suggests that the sexual attractiveness of young people is an important factor.  Since the robber has already established dominance over a vulnerable victim, the effects of opportunity and vulnerability are removed, and only the effect of the offender’s age preference remains.  In such cases, robbers are much more likely to rape victims between the ages of 15 and 29…The reason most rapists target females is that a larger percentage of males are heterosexuals, not that they hate females…Gay men are just as likely to attack males as straight men are to attack females…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Plus the fact that so-called “virtually reality” doesn’t involve actual touch:

Virtual reality technology is unlikely to kill off real sex work, according to people working in the business, even if the biggest predictions about it come true…Virtual reality allows people to strap on a headset and move around a world as if they are really there, with the image changing as they move their head for an immersive experience. But that experience will never be enough to threaten the business of real sex workers…

Imagination Pinned Down

I’ll just leave this right here:

Stories are so natural that we don’t notice how much they permeate our lives…That’s precisely why they can be such a powerful tool of deception.  When we’re immersed in a story, we let down our guard…[and] may absorb things…that would normally pass us by or put us on high alert…In his book Actual Minds, Possible Worlds, Jerome Bruner…proposes that we can frame experience in two ways:  propositional and narrative.  Propositional thought hinges on logic and formality.  Narrative thought is the reverse.  It’s concrete, imagistic, personally convincing, and emotional.  And it’s strong…What kind of person do you need to be to make up a history of…sex trafficking?  For one thing, you need to have an intimate grasp of the workings of human psychology—you have to understand that this story, above any other, will elude scrutiny even when the facts that justify it are sparse.  Victims, in the right light, stand above reproach.  No one questions an escapee from human trafficking…

The central example of the article is the case of Samantha Azzopardi, but I don’t think you need me to point out dozens of other important examples.

Shift in the Wind (#134)

Mary Emily O’Hara of the Daily Dot published a very decent review of the year’s top sex work stories; however, in the course of preparing the article she used some materials without permission, possibly endangering sex workers.  Though the materials were removed when their original author protested to O’Hara, the incident just goes to show how little even sex-worker-friendly journalists stop to think about the effect of stigma on sex workers’ lives.

Little Boxes (#138)

Anyone who would be “alarmed” at the sight of a nipple needs to just stay home with a coloring book:

A proposed law in New Hampshire would charge women with a misdemeanor for exposing their nipples in public, with an exemption for the act of breastfeeding. Toplessness is currently legal for both women and men under New Hamphire state law, although some local ordinances forbid it…[the] bill would update the state’s indecent exposure and lewdness statute to include “a woman [who] purposely exposes the areola or nipple of her breast or breasts in a public place and in the presence of another person with reckless disregard for whether a reasonable person would be offended or alarmed by such act.”

Oscillation (#312)

This is what prohibition looks like when given perspective by time:

Hundreds of letters were received by [Irish] President Patrick Hillery in 1985, urging him not to sign legislation that allowed condoms to be purchased without prescription…In a file…released as part of the 30-year rule, letters warned of the “imminent dangers to which young people will be exposed” and claimed the “lives of decent people” would be “threatened in the streets and even in their homes” if [people could buy condoms]…A woman from Clontarf, Dublin, reminded Hillery that it wasn’t long since the people “voted to protect unborn life” in the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.  “This Bill is totally opposed to the whole concept of unborn lifescreaming loony because it closes the door to the right of unborn life to be conceived,” she said…

Under Every Bed

I found out that human trafficking affects every single community.  Places big, small, urban or rural, human trafficking is everywhere.  The realities of human trafficking are disturbing and unsettling.  Experts at a conference I attended in September said the multi-billion dollar industry has now surpassed the drug and arms trades…

Uncommon Sense (#337)

Once again, myths and agency denial convince Switzerland to narrow the bottleneck for legal sex work:

…Switzerland began awarding eight-month permits in 1995 to women from outside the European Union who wanted to come to the country to work as strippers…The programme was meant to protect people who may have otherwise been vulnerable to sex traffickers…But…Swiss authorities…announced that [blah blah blah sex trafficking so]…the programme will formally be cancelled as of the new year…the visas, called “L permits”…gave women a chance to earn significant money in wealthy Switzerland which they could send home to their families…

This will, of course, result in these women working illegally, thus making them vulnerable to persecution by cops.  Progress!

Innocence Never Had

People are so unwilling to let go of the ridiculous “pimps & hos” myth and the “enslaved children” wanking fantasy, that even when they question a few of the elements they can’t let go of the rest:

While headlines tout stories of women and children trafficked from overseas…you need look no further than the streets of Los Angeles to find America’s sexually exploited kids.  Over 90 percent of [young people] under 18 [arrested by LAPD]…have not been kidnapped and stuffed into the back of a van, which is Hollywood’s version of sex trafficking…While “trafficked” implies transportation of victims across borders, anyone…under age 18 performing commercial sex acts is considered a trafficking victim…whether or not there is…force or coercion…When [a vice cop] suspects someone on the street is underage, he approaches her and introduces himself as an officer from the trafficking unit…Then, instead of arresting her, he [arrests her]…But girls like this aren’t usually rejoicing to be “rescued.”  In fact, they are usually afraid of law enforcement and attached to their pimp…

The Public Eye (#407)

Laura Lee published an open letter to prohibitionists:

…You’ve decided I’m the “dirty girl”, the one who ought to be ashamed.  You pour scorn on me when I don’t feel that shame…You tell me I must have been abused as a child, that can be the only explanation.  You tell me I’m irrational, I have PTSD or I simply don’t care about myself.  You tell me I can’t possibly parent, I can’t look after myself, let alone my daughter…You tell me that if I like what I do so much, I should work for free…you even tell me I target vulnerable disabled men, without one thought for their ability to make their own choices.  You lie, you do it all the time.  You tell the public that the country is awash with victims of trafficking when you know that simply isn’t true.  You put your own funding and career above my life…

No Other Option (#420)

In the US, this business would be violently suppressed and its customers and workers shamed, robbed and caged: “A 24-hour brothel in central Bankstown [NSW] will include…seven rooms for clients, including one [specially fitted] for people with a disability…

Checklist (#542)

A ridiculous and insulting new law takes effect in Florida:

Posters are going up in adult businesses, airports and other places where human trafficking victims might see them throughout Florida.  They are aimed at combating sex trafficking.  The FBI says Florida ranks third when it comes to human trafficking.  A new state law goes into effect Jan. 1 requiring adult businesses and other locations to display posters with telephone numbers and other information to assist potential human trafficking victims…

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Laws don’t pay my bills!  –  unnamed Glasgow street worker

Five Women in Whitechapel 

Laura Lee on the appalling blindness of “authorities”:

…The last victim of Jack the Ripper, [Mary] Kelly’s body was so badly mutilated that she could only be identified by her hair and eyebrows…Fast forward 127 years and we have surely progressed a great deal since then in terms of sex worker safety, right?  Well no, actually.  If anything it’s worse.  Following the removal of the tolerance zone for street prostitution in Edinburgh, crimes against sex workers shot up by 95%.  The reason for that is simple, it became known that the police were no longer there to protect the workers, but rather to harass and arrest them, and their clients.  Let’s make a clear distinction for once and all, many attackers of sex workers are not or will never be “sex buyers”.  They are predators, looking for an easy target, and they know that sex workers are alone, vulnerable and highly unlikely to report an attack to the police…152 sex workers have been murdered since 1990.  How many more Mary Kellys must we have before the penny drops that leaving vulnerable people open to attack is not a good policy?

The Lesser of Two Evils Vatican City

If the Church were sanely-run, this article would be true:

The newest leaked information associated with the Vatileaks scandal states that properties owned by the Vatican along Piazza Barberini and the Italian parliament have now been converted to “massage parlours” and saunas, and their patrons are priests.  The leaked document points to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith…[which] owns and operates numerous properties within Rome.  The properties in question are referred to as “peppercorn rents” and are said to be leased for cheap to “powerful colleagues” of the religious institution…

Check Your Premises

They worked for themselves, but it’s a “ring” and the cops are looking for “pimps”:

Four women have been arrested as part of an alleged prostitution ring operating in Mississippi…Arrested were Anjeni’ Qyanik Moore, 34, of Norfolk, Virginia; Heaven Leigh Nix, 23, of Memphis, Tennessee; Joneka Santrice Burns, 24, of Jackson, Mississippi; and Candace Renee Stewart, 30, of Byhalia, Mississippi…MBI spokesman Warren Strain said the women were working independently and are not believed to be victims of human trafficking.  He declined to say…whether they worked with pimps, citing an ongoing investigation…

Saving Them From Themselves

Lock ’em all up, New York!  Let’s put the entire next generation on the “sex offender” registry!

…17 states have changed their child pornography laws so that teenagers who swap nude photos of themselves with each other are not automatically treated as felons.  One of those states is New York, which makes an exception for images exchanged between people 20 or younger whose ages are no more than five years apart.  In such cases, the “offenders” can avoid criminal charges by undergoing an eight-hour “education reform program” that covers the dangers of sexting and cyberbullying.  Despite that provision, two Long Island teenagers were recently charged with felonies for producing and disseminating a 10-second video showing one of them having sex with a girl…the two boys…are both 14…the boys…were each charged with…disseminating indecent material to minors and promoting a sexual performance by a child…In addition to the two boys who were arrested, 20 students were suspended for receiving the video on their cellphones…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

The cops are happy to serve as an ex’s revenge goons:

A 50-year-old woman…has been sentenced for soliciting prostitution…Marisa Frances Lang pleaded guilty to prostitution in a public place…and to disorderly conduct…Judge Michael A. Fahey…placed Lang on two years of probation.  She was ordered to continue mental health treatment and counseling…and must pay $585 in fines and fees…her ex-husband’s [ratting her out to cops]…led to a sting operation…

Finding What Isn’t There

“Authorities” amazed that an imaginary problem doesn’t materialize in response to their “mandating” that it exists:

…Around the country, pimps…force thousands of…women and girls…into prostitution every day.  Florida has the third highest number of sex trafficking cases…Reformers have argued that prostitutes are victims, not criminals, and more effort should be made to go after human traffickers – the pimps…Despite this new focus, a statewide analysis…found that efforts…to investigate and prosecute sex traffickers have yielded few results…[“rescue” profiteers pretend] the image of the independent prostitute, working for herself and selling sex by choice, is rarely accurate…“I [fantasize] the majority who are in the life have been the victims of trafficking,” said Katariina Rosenblatt, founder of There Is HOPE for Me…

The Widening Gyre 

The “Facebook pimps” myth is one of the silliest of the whole panic:

…Traffickers worldwide are increasingly using social media to contact vulnerable teenagers and sell them into sex work…Once limited to luring victims in the street, traffickers can now message thousands of people through Instagram, Facebook, Kik, Tagged and Twitter, with WhatsApp and Snapchat some of the latest tools in their arsenal.  “If just one of them answers … traffickers can make thousands of dollars off that girl very quickly,” said Andrea Powell, founder and director of FAIR Girls…a growing trend in the United States is to use WhatsApp or Snapchat where messages evaporate over time…Europol…said social media and other online technology have not only taken the recruitment and selling process off the streets but also allow traffickers to control victims using remote surveillance…

Here the magical “pimp” mind-control powers are claimed to be exerted via some mumbo-jumbo fantasy technology.Lucy Steigerwald

Shift in the Wind

Lucy Steigerwald presents a pro-decriminalization argument to a conservative audience:

Unfortunately, while the war on one vice dials back, law enforcement and government fight hard against another supposed danger…these days it sure seems as if the hot new thing to swoon over and vow to “do something” about is prostitution.  Worse than that, it’s prostitution-slash-sex trafficking, vaguely hand-waved together as the same thing…the solution to the latter is to legalize the former.  It’s that easy.  Or it could be, if people would do two things: stop filing trafficking with prostitution, and stop pretending that laws against selling and purchasing sex actually prevent people from selling and purchasing sex…Both hand-wringing liberals and worried social conservatives need to realize that some sex workers—perhaps the vast majority—have no need of rescue.  They need their line of work to be taken out of the black-market shadows.  They need to be left alone…We tend to look back with shame and bafflement at the obviously absurd moral panics that have gripped our society, but only after the damage has been done.  We are in the middle of a sex trafficking panic that not only exaggerates the threat that prostitutes pose to the moral fiber of society but, worse still, makes enormous exaggerations about the number of sex-trafficked (mostly) women and children…

Fever Dream

It’s like they’re not even trying any more:

Law enforcement officials on all levels – from local to international – are working together to crack down on human trafficking, which is a growing problem…[fetishists] call it “modern day slavery,” and it’s happening right here in East Tennessee…pimps…target young girls…on…social media…Interstate 40 is a convenient corridor for sex traffickers…the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking…[trains] people to recognize victimization…traffickers and pimps employ manipulation…21 of Tennessee’s 95 counties reported at least 16 cases of sex trafficking involving a minor in 2010…

Yes, that’s the same discredited study they’re still quoting despite the fact that it isn’t even supported by the cops’ own records.

Shame, Shame

Here’s a excellent article on the State’s two-faced attitude toward “revenge porn”:

…Sex workers themselves are erased from anti–revenge-porn rhetoric.  Proposed remedies for revenge porn—criminalization of disclosures and liability for third-party websites—fail to address the sex-work stigma that creates repercussions for victims of revenge porn.  When a woman has her Google results bombed with nude photos and fake sex ads, she won’t pass a screening when she tries to get a job—because she’ll be mistaken for a sex worker.  The solution, we conclude, is to remove all possibility of that mistake—rather than to remove what bars a sex worker from getting that job…We propose new criminal statutes and partner with the police, even as the police threaten to post photos of sex workers during “busts” on social media accounts.  These are women who are being locked out of jobs because of nude photos of them on the Internet.  These are women who are being publicly disgraced as sex workers—because they are sex workers…the existence of sex work raises awkward questions about how to define revenge porn, how to understand its harms, and how to most appropriately redress its victims…

Blunt Instrument (#547)

And the gravy train just keeps rolling along:

Victims of human trafficking in Tampa Bay will have more access to legal help thanks to a $600,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant…Some…brothels take the form of what are called massage parlors.  Gulfcoast Legal Services attorney Sophia Lynn Denicolo says they can be hotbeds of human trafficking…

The Public Eye (#557)

Another sex work-positive article in Cosmopolitan.  Hey prohibitionists:  We’re winning.  And there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

There are a few rules for dating a sex worker:  don’t compromise their cash flow by driving away their business, never out them to other people without their consent, and don’t expect them to eagerly perform activities they normally get paid to do for free…Ask any sex worker how they maintain their boundaries, and you’re in for a long conversation.  Some people develop a working identity that they keep entirely separate from their real-life persona, and others conflate the two.  Many sex workers desperately want to be out but don’t want to endure the invasive questions, or fear that their housing stability or the custody of their children would be compromised…The hardest boundary I’ve had to confront in my romantic relationships is the line between authentic desire in my work, and the “it’s just work” defense…But the world isn’t black-and-white, and while the vast majority of us are not regularly turned on by our work, real connections can happen with scene partners and genuine fun can be had with clients.  So where’s the line?…

Seizing Power (#574)

I’m adding Judge Posner to the very short list of men who can claim a freebie from me anytime they like:

A federal appeals court has ordered the Cook County Sheriff’s Department to cease lobbying major credit card companies that do business with…Backpage.com…At a hearing on Friday, Judge Richard Posner expressed unease with the notion, presented by the sheriff department attorneys, that Dart’s First Amendment rights protected his individual right to express his displeasure with Backpage to the credit card companies…on the sheriff department’s letterhead…“He can use the office of the sheriff to express any antipathy that he has to anything?” Posner posed to the sheriff’ department attorneys.  “So you’re saying there is no limit?  He can express his opinion on his office stationery on any subject that occurs to him.  What if he doesn’t like pets?  He doesn’t think people should have animals in their house.  He can suggest to everyone they euthanize their pets?”  Dart was also directed by the appeals court to send a copy of the order to Visa and Mastercard and all other recipients of the June 29 letter within 24 hours…

The recording is well worth your time, especially the segment from roughly the 18 minute mark to the 30 minute mark.  Dart’s mouthpiece clearly knows she’s spouting drivel, and the judges keep calling her on it.

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Sex…is the only area where amateurs are respected more than professionals.  –  Anna Leventhal

The Red Umbrella 

Client gets angry when he recognizes that his whore is a whore:

A businessman…shot a sex worker when she ended their relationship…Jonathan Kovacik, 58, gave Rosalynde Pitcher £6,000 in cash towards [breast enlargement] cosmetic surgery…He also offered her £50,000 to “give up drugs, alcohol and the work” and marry him…However, armed with a Walther CP88 competition air pistol, Kovacik is alleged to have flown into a fit of rage when he suspected the 21-year-old was “stringing him along” for his money…Miss Pitcher was working…[as a cam girl] for the website adultwork.com…Kovacik, who has a property portfolio and owns a car garage, frequently “lavished” Miss Pitcher with a car and other expensive gifts…

A Procrustean Bed

The law is definitely unconstitutionally vague, but that would be a politically unpopular finding right now:

The constitutionality of a Massachusetts law that targets sex trafficking was upheld…by the state’s highest court, which rejected claims by two men that the statute was vague and its scope too broad…the two men…are…the first people convicted under the statute…lawyers for Tyshaun McGhee and Sidney McGee claimed the statute’s language, particularly the phrase “commercial sexual activity,” was unconstitutionally vague.  They said the law also lacked the elements of use of force and coercion that a federal sex trafficking statute requires to establish the crime…

The Proper Study

We’re seeing this sort of thing more and more:

When I first began looking into the research on decriminalizing prostitution, I didn’t know where the evidence would take me. I was familiar with the arguments on both sides of the debate, but I had little idea what the empirical literature said.  But after reviewing dozens of studies, papers, and articles and talking to researchers, the issue is much clearer to me:  Sex work should be fully decriminalized and regulated, similar to other businesses…prohibition doesn’t appear to have any good empirical evidence behind it…

One Size Fits All

Is there any behavior in Ireland that isn’t “trafficking”?

…the Office of the Registrar General has been given more extensive powers to prevent the institution of marriage being abused for immigration purposes…An unexpectedly high occurrence rate of marriages between women from Eastern Europe and Portugal, and men from the Indian subcontinent has been noted…The Registrar will now have…the right to refuse a marriage registration form if they feel that a marriage is not legitimate…The Minister…[is] concerned that sham marriages [are] leading to a proliferation of women being trafficked into Ireland for this purpose…

Above the Law Bryan Lee

An Ohio State Trooper has been sentenced to five years in prison after using his authority to force women into sexual acts, using Facebook to send his victims vague threats, and using Craigslist to advertise for “traffic stop sex.”  The investigation into Trooper Bryan Lee, 31, began in October of 2013 and he was allowed to resign prior to being terminated and prosecuted…

Dysphemisms Galore (Traffic Updates)

Tara Burns turns in a top-notch piece of long-form investigative journalism on the case of her friend, Amber Batts, who was this week sentenced for “sex trafficking” in Alaska.  I’m not even going to attempt to excerpt it; the piece needs to be read in its entirety so you can get the full picture of the sort of people the State destroys in order to support its lurid and melodramatic “sex trafficking” narrative, and the way that neither facts nor evidence has the slightest power to halt or even slow the machinery of injustice once cops and prosecutors have thrown someone into it.

Shift in the Wind (#433)

There’s nothing unusual in this article from The Economist explaining why decriminalization is a good idea; however, I’m very pleased to see that the paper hasn’t made its pro-decrim stance a one-time thing.  I hope it continues to debunk prohibitionist nonsense on a regular basis, even though the writer in this case subscribes to the dumb canard that Rhode Island “accidentally” decriminalized in 2003 (when in fact it purposefully did so in 1980).

Think of the Children! (#445)

Since no outside charity will take money contaminated by “sex rays”, Rentboy decided to create its own charity:

Rentboy.com has created a “Cash4Class” scholarship fund designed to help escorts who advertise on their site to afford school.  To win the $1500 fund, the boys can either submit a 500-1000 word essay or a 1-5 minute video that answers the following question: “Why is going to school part of achieving your dream?”… adult film star Colby Keller will be the official judge of the entries…deadline [is] September 15th, and [the contest is] open to current Rentboy.com advertisers who have proof of enrollment in…classes…

Seizing Power

For those who forgot why Backage started taking payment in the first place:

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal…was leading the charge to force all social networks to police adult content and establish age and identity verification tools…As part of that agreement, Craigslist began charging for ads in its erotic services section at the end of 2008.  “Requiring phone numbers, credit cards and identifying details will provide a roadmap to prostitutes and sex traffickers — so we can track them down and lock them up,” Blumenthal said in a statement…he…[called] the erotic services section an “online brothel” and “hooker haven,” and asserting there was a link between adult entertainment and “human trafficking, drug activity and child exploitation”…

An Example To the West (#554)

Journalists like to pretend the bad consequences of US “anti-trafficking” policy are unintentional; they most certainly are not.  American “anti-trafficking” policy has not “failed” in Southeast Asia; it is doing exactly what it is intended to do:

…the U.S.-led anti-trafficking agenda…has failed or even hurt migrants and refugees.  It has fed a chaotic global obsession with policing and prosecutions, but resulted in few concrete policies to address the underlying causes of trafficking or to assist its victims.  This has been acutely felt in Thailand, a politically volatile country seesawing between military coups and failed democratic governments.  In recent months the ruling junta has led an aggressive anti-trafficking campaign to satisfy its Western critics.  But instead of reducing trafficking and forced labor, these efforts appear to have marginalized human rights and trampled on the most vulnerable…

Not Good Enough (#555) flibanserin

The dangerous psychotropic drug flibanserin, which poorly treats a normal variation in female sex drive which is being defined as a “disorder” by an industry hungry to cash in by selling people drugs they don’t need, has now been approved:

…critics said the campaign behind Addyi had made a mockery of the system that regulates pharmaceuticals and had co-opted the women’s movement to pressure the F.D.A. into approving a drug that was at best minimally effective and could cause side effects like low blood pressure, fainting, nausea, dizziness and sleepiness…Addyi’s label has a boxed warning — the strongest kind — saying the drug should not be used by those who drink alcohol, since that can increase the risk of severely low blood pressure and fainting…Leonore Tiefer, a sex therapist…and critic of the drug, predicted the restrictions on use would keep Addyi from becoming popular.  “It’s going to be more trouble than it’s worth,” she said…Addyi is thought to work by changing the balance of certain brain neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin…women who took the drug had an average of 4.4 “satisfying sexual experiences” a month, compared with 3.7 for women getting a placebo and 2.7 before the study began.  The drug did not increase desire more than a placebo when measured by a daily diary…

Acting and Activism (#559) 

I’m really pleased to see just how hard Hollywood’s prohibitionism is backfiring on it lately:

Dunham & Co. structured their opposition to the draft policy on the flawed assumption that decriminalization a) encourages non-consensual sex work…and b) promotes men’s dominance over women, in a grand philosophical sense.  This is akin to saying that because women and children are often exploited in the garment industry, we should outlaw garment manufacturing and make sure conditions are really unsafe for anyone who wants to make clothes…

Here’s another example:

Lena Dunham, a woman who by most accounts has never had to worry a day in her life about paying rent and putting food on the table, put her name on a petition aimed at stopping women around the world from doing what she does on television in front of millions of people on a regular basis: acting like she’s enjoying sex for money…You can imagine how confusing Dunham’s position is to those of us who actually do sex work for a living.  She doesn’t see that she’s contributing to our distress by openly calling for the end of our freedom to do sexual work…

Amnesty At Last (#564)

Though the Washington Post has published many pieces attacking “sex trafficking” hysteria, its editorial board is apparently still dominated by prohibitionist fossils who prefer lies and pearl-clutching to facts and self-ownership:

…Supporters of the resolution assume that sex work can be a profession like any other and that sex transactions can be consensual.  This is…not true for the vast majority, who resort to selling their bodies because they feel they have no other option.  Decriminalizing prostitution…would allow pimps to operate with impunity, using the money and status that comes with their newfound legitimacy to scale up trafficking operations that hurt the most vulnerable…The evidence seems to bear that out in Germany and the Netherlands, where [sex work is not decriminalized]…

“Decriminalizing the sale of liquor…would allow bootleggers to operate with impunity, using the money and status that comes with their newfound legitimacy to scale up trafficking operations that hurt the most vulnerable…The evidence seems to bear that out in the United States, where liquor was legalized in 1932″…

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A hidden sexual scourge is revealed.  Sex considered consensual by its participants is redefined as coercion.  A newly discovered predator…exhibits impulses far outside erotic and moral norms, yet rare as he must be, his numbers are inexplicably mounting.  There is a cry for vigilance and prosecution.  –  Judith Levine

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Cops can commit murder, mayhem and rape and still keep their jobs, but if they look for consensual sex…”The sheriff of Bossier Parish has fired one of his deputies…[who was] charged with solicitation of prostitution…Deputy Larry Harrell…was arrested in Shreveport…

Saving Them From Themselves

A 17-year-old who sent her boyfriend intimate photographs has been left shattered after police decided to charge him for possession of child pornography.  Alison (not her real name), who is four months away from being 18, says she’s been traumatised by the way that she and her partner Peter, 22, (also not his real name) have been treated by police, the stress of which has forced them both out of education…people aged 16 and 17 can legally consent to sex but can get into trouble for making “child pornography” if they possess and share images of their own lawful sexual activities…Alison and her mother are now calling for a change in the law to protect consenting couples from getting into distressing legal situations like this…”I feel my consent has been total violated by the people who are supposed to be protecting children…I chose to send pictures of myself to Peter.  I did NOT choose for all those detectives, solicitors and goodness knows who else to see them…”

Surplus Women Shukan Jitsuwa 5-14-15

The violent death of a sex worker in Japan:

Last month…police found the body of Manae Noguchi, 18, buried on a farm in Shibayama, Narita City…police have arrested four suspects…The victim was last seen getting into a rented car in Chiba City…at around 10:00 p.m. on April 19.  It was later determined that the occupants of the vehicle were the four suspects…an anonymous…tip…indicated Noguchi had run up a large amount of debt…

…and Hungary:

The Association of Hungarian Sex Workers (SZEXE)…condemns the victim-blaming articles and reports published in the media that followed the death of Nancy, a Hungarian sex worker who was murdered in…Budapest..the media focused on assumed client of Nancy instead of examining state regulation that coerces sex workers into isolation, exile and personal stigmatization, police violence…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

When a respected scientist starts spouting nonsense terms, it’s time to put him out to pasture:

A leading psychologist has warned that young men are facing a crisis of masculinity due to excessive use of video games and pornography.  Psychologist and professor emeritus at Stanford University Phillip Zimbardo…spoke about the results of his study, an in-depth look into the lives of 20,000 young men and their relationships with video games and pornography…Zimbardo says there is a “crisis” amongst young men, a high number of whom are experiencing a “new form of addiction” to excessive use of pornography and video games…

Change a Few Words

Siouxsie Q on the really newsworthy question about sex work in Silicon Valley:

Why are many tech platforms so inhospitable to sex workers?  Payment processors like Pay Pal and WePay are notorious for shutting down the accounts of sex workers and even seizing their funds.  Facebook has booted hundreds of sex workers, including myself, from its platform with the adoption if its “real name policy;” and both the Apple and the Android app stores prohibit adult content of any kind.  Venture capitalists have been willing to go toe-to-toe with lawmakers to obtain legal wiggle room for companies like Uber and AirBnB, that dance the razor’s edge of legality…They argue that…though these services may be technically illegal at the moment, they perpetuate victimless crimes — peer-to-peer transactions that benefit both the buyer and the seller — and therefore the laws need be changed to catch up with the innovation.  The same argument could be made of…sex work…though technically illegal, it is a peer-to-peer transaction that often perpetuates a victimless crime.  But no headstrong venture capitalist or idealistic design team has stepped up to innovate the oldest profession…

An Example To the West

Phnom Penh sex workers and rights advocates met…to denounce police brutality and corruption, and called on the government to establish a zone where sex workers can operate in safety.  The plea was made during a press conference led by NGO Women’s Network for Unity (WNU), which was attended by around 100 sex workers, who complained police often sought bribes or sexual services…prior to the introduction of a 2008 law intended to combat human trafficking, brothels operated openly.  But…the law heralded a brutal crackdown that saw women and girls…mistreated and stigmatised by officials…researchers found that the heavy-handed response of authorities…forced sex workers into more precarious settings for their work, placing them in greater danger of rape and sexual assault…

The Widening Gyre Walking Prey

It’s everywhere! It’s everywhere!

A woman who was lured into commercial sex when she was 14 brought a warning to Charleston parents…Just about any unhappy teen can be enticed in the same way, according to Holly Austin Smith, who…[wrote] Walking Prey: How America’s Youth Are Vulnerable to Sex Slavery…At the same time as Smith was speaking in Charleston, S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson was giving a similar message to a Rotary Club in Mount Pleasant.  “Trafficking is far more nefarious than what you see in Hollywood,” Wilson said…He [made up]…a story of a woman…who was blackmailed into sex trafficking…For two years she was trafficked over and over and over again…[while] living under her parents’ roof and they did not realize she was being trafficked…Wilson has been tirelessly [pretending]…that sex trafficking is a major threat in South Carolina.  Yet the arrests on trafficking charges have been relatively few since the state passed its law in 2012…

Shift in the Wind

Imagine if big foundations started giving grants for sex worker advocacy:

The health and safety of sex workers…[is] yet another example of how marginalized populations are often left out of essential public policy discussions…due to the social stigma of sex work, people are generally more comfortable avoiding the issue…the issue of sex-worker rights is still taboo among some of the leading [philanthropic] foundations.  But if these foundations recognized how sex work is connected to other issues that funders are working on—like over-incarceration, homelessness, and poverty—the work they do could be more effective…The safety of sex workers…would also be greatly improved by decriminalization.  Because of criminalization, sex workers are at greater danger for physical and sexual violence, because perpetrators know they are unlikely to come forward to police.  With decriminalization, more sex workers could report the violence they experience, making the community safer for everyone…

The Public Eye

a…special edition of [of TMI (Too Much Information) Storytelling] called Sex Worker Diaries…kicks off the weeklong San Francisco Bay Area Sex Worker Film And Arts Festival, which features lives performances, film screenings, workshops, and panels throughout the East Bay and San Francisco…the festival…showcases a diverse range of artistic projects rooted in celebrating, supporting, and accurately portraying people involved in the sex work industry.  The goal is to push back against the ongoing criminalization and stigmatization of sex work — by providing a platform for marginalized workers in a highly misunderstood profession to share their stories and show audiences they aren’t helpless victims…

Welcome To Our World (#450)

Henry…Rayhons’s ordeal was not the first example of overzealous protection of the supposedly defenseless and asexual aged, nor will it be the last.  In 2009, a Massachusetts bill sought to amend the state’s child pornography law to include the disabled and people over sixty among those statutorily unable to consent to posing nude or performing sexually before a camera…The bill’s lead sponsor, thirty-eight-year-old…Kathi-Anne Reinstein—also author of a proposal to make the Fluffernutter the state sandwich—told the Boston Herald that advocates had informed her “elder exploitation and pornography [were] on the rise.”  She called her bill (which, thankfully, failed) a “no-brainer.”  This assessment, I commented at the time, was indisputable…

Public Property (#506)

Men urged to control uppity women by choking off their income:

…a Dallas anti-[sex worker] group is telling men to stop paying women for sex…New Friends New Life…is asking men to stop buying sex and patronizing strip clubs.  It also plans to create an emblem for businesses to display to show they don’t fund business meetings at strip clubs…experts say…the average age of a girl first sold into prostitution is 13…it will take time for attitudes to change about…strip clubs…some of the women who work there aren’t there of their own volition and are barred from leaving…Chris Kleinert said…“No father, when their daughter’s born, says ‘Wow, I can’t wait for her to be violated 10,000 times by the time she’s 21 years old’,”…

Just for comparison:  I’ve had roughly 5000 in my entire career.

Broken Record (#536) 

That so many people could believe in such lunacy explains a lot about the world:

…Houston is…a major hub for human slavery and sex trafficking in the United States.  For years, this intersection of business and widespread prostitution has provided a boon to sex traffickers in Houston every year.  However, the difference this year is a coalition of anti-human trafficking organizations who have joined with city law enforcement and conference organizers to combat the widespread sex trafficking that usually occurs during this event…OTC conference staff have been trained in identifying suspicious sex trafficking activities, law enforcement set up  prostitution stings, and volunteers hit the city streets to raise awareness…the majority of sex victims brought in to service the convention is between the ages of 12 to 14 years old…OTC also warned conference attendees against participating in sex slavery…

Yes, they’re essentially saying that their silly chanting and rattle-shaking scared away the demonic “pimps”.

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The war on sex offenders poses perhaps the greatest political challenge for those seeking to dismantle the carceral state.  –  Marie Gottschalk

Divided We Fall

Gay folk who promote anti-whore crusades are about the sleaziest sleaze there isanti-whore queers

A Kiwi couple needs public help in a quest to take part in a…bootcamp which would help their dream of putting a stop to the forced sex trade industry.  In 2013 Xavier Hartstonge and partner Jesse North created the not-for-profit organisation SweatsHope with the vision of halting the forced sex trade industry in…India…Six people will be selected to receive an all-expenses paid trip to…spend two weeks working with a business coach, life coach and personal trainer…The organisers hope to turn it into a reality TV show.  Hartstonge…says we all know the sex trade is happening, yet we choose to close our eyes…“It’s about empowerment, showing these women they do have the choice and no longer have to do this…It’s modern day slavery and should no longer be tolerated”…

Yes, that’s a gay man demonizing a kind of sex he isn’t interested in.  Breathe deep of the putrid stench of that irony.

The Hooker Vote

The fact that Hof endorsed Ron Paul in ’12 should tell you that this has nothing to do with the candidates’ actual positions.  From a press release that was probably sent to everyone who blogs on sex work:  “Prostitutes at Dennis Hof’s…Moonlite Bunny Ranch…announce their support of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign…” The so-called “Hookers For Hillary” campaign’s embrace of “health care reform” seems primarily an attempt to demonize “illegal” sex workers by casting us as vectors of disease who need to be micromanaged by the benevolent state and licensed pimps like Hof lest we spread plague like a host of scarlet-clad Typhoid Mary Magdalenes.

Shift in the Wind

Is Al Jazeera swinging away from anti-whore hysteria again?

…Because sex work is legal in Ecuador…are, for the most part, allowed to conduct their work openly, without fear of being arrested. In other cities such as Kampala, Uganda; Manila, the Philippines; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Islamabad; Skopje, Macedonia; and Kiev, Ukraine, where it is illegal, sex workers conduct their work in the shadows, which makes it more likely that they will be subject to violence and limits their power to negotiate safe sex…For refugee sex workers in particular, an arrest for prostitution could jeopardize their asylum claim or result in deportation.  The high stakes of getting caught thus force them to take even greater risks, such as working alone or on the least safe stretches of road…refugees, notably those clustered in cities, often engage in sex work.  But international institutions need to do much more than just turn a blind eye to this informal form of employment.  By publicly acknowledging refugee sex workers and establishing support protocols, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other international organizations could help them do their work more safely and ensure their rights — to health, information and dignity — are respected…

Worse Than I Thought

Landlords of massage parlors, spa managers and even motel managers who knowingly allow prostitution on their premises could face prison and fines under [new Rhode Island laws]…The pandering law…would be amended to include those who allow prostitution on their premises, because they derive money from the illegal activity.  That includes landlords, managers, owners of spas or businesses, or any other place where commercial sex is practiced or allowed.  Under both bills, the penalties for a first offense would be one to five years in prison, and fines between $2,000 and $5,000…

It’s like they’re competing with each to see who can inflict the most mindlessly-draconian sentences:

People who solicit prostitutes would face increased penalties under a bill that [unanimously] passed the Florida House…The penalty for a first offense would increase from a second-degree misdemeanor to a first-degree misdemeanor.  A second offense would be a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a third offense would be a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison…

Amsterdam (#45)

Dutch “authorities” outlaw more aspects of sex work, then feigning surprise when the number of illegal whores increases:

The number of licensed brothels and escort agencies in the Netherlands fell to 674 in 2014, compared with 1,127 in 2006…The figures also show six out of 10 local authorities have no licensed sex business within their boundaries….researchers say the decline may be due to the rise in the online sex industry…Justice minister Ard van der Steur says it is difficult to get a grip on the size of the unlicensed industry but that exploitation, human trafficking and forced prostitution are a serious issue…

Chauvinism

You’ll notice that none of these laws really affect picket-fence queers:

…Gay rights groups have made great strides in repealing anti-sodomy laws on federal and state levels, and these efforts should be commended.  And yet, prosecutions for sex crimes are growing faster than any other type of crime, with an exponentially rising rate of arrests and convictions.  Gay men are arrested in cruising stings, HIV-positive men are sent to prison for merely being sexually active, and sex workers and clients are arrested for victimless crimes.  Much of these prosecutions disproportionately affect queer folk, despite advances in civil rights for LGBT people.  Have the baldly homophobic laws of the 20th century really gone away? Or are they merely being repackaged and rebranded for a more gay-friendly public?…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes

Read this essay by rapid neofeminist Sarah Ditum, keeping in mind that the source of all this bile is that a man went to a strip club:

…Lapdancing is a kind of entertainment that trades on power — men’s power over women, the economic supremacy that gives men the disposable income to buy a woman right out of her clothes, the ritualised submission of the naked women pantomiming sexual frenzy for the men in suits, the little assertions of possession that comes every time a man crosses the line and puts his hand on the skin he’s paying to see. Feminism is the politics of rejecting men’s power over us.  Not eroticising that power, not exploiting it to rinse a little cash benefit out of our own inferiority, but refusing it…Ask…how feminism can tolerate any [sex work]…

First They Came for the Hookers…(#341)

Licensed strip clubs are no longer allowed in Saskatchewan, but the government says it will make an exception for charitable events once a year.  Premier Brad Wall announced…that his government would reverse its decision to allow licensed strip clubs because of concerns about human trafficking and sexual exploitation…

Sex Rays

the Dutch central bank has fired a 46-year-old female employee claimed to have been working after hours as a highly paid prostitute – specialising in sadomasochism.  The woman, who had been with the central bank for eight years…had allegedly been offering her services under the name “Conchita van der Waal”, advertising under the motto: “the kinkier the better”.  Ms van der Waal also offered to engage in sexual role play…one of the roles in which she was photographed online was that of an SS commandant…the…bank’s code of conduct…forbids “indecent behaviour” – and stipulates that no employee should act in a way which could harm the reputation of the bank or lead to negative publicity…

Catastrophic Consequences

Sex workers in Edinburgh are facing increased health risks following the controversial police crackdown on saunas…Fewer women are attending the specialist NHS clinic set up to support them – and…sexually transmitted infections have increased.  Sex workers are also giving up on condoms, with saunas refusing to stock them because police can use possession of them as evidence of selling sex…many women had moved away from saunas and now operated from other venues, like flats or lap-dancing bars…

The Missing Word

The US’s current anti-trafficking policy…produces a tangle of finite good and possibly infinite harmful effects…stories of “sex slaves” produced by some advocates and propagated with alacrity by the media and accepted by…US law makers—has permitted…an incoherent spectrum of immigration and criminal law enforcement operating without much critical oversight, let alone public understanding…the media here [follows a]…template of treating exploited (male) workers as migrant labours while reserving the term “trafficking” for (female) “sex trafficking victims”…

Guinea Pigs Motel 6

Pay attention to this: a motel chain is systematically ratting out guests to cops:

The popular hotel chain, Motel 6, has recently decided to partner with the police to violate the rights of their guests.  Without the consent of the guest, or even informing them whatsoever, Motel 6 employees will now turn over the guest information to the police, who will then run a background check on the subject…I highly doubt that all, or even 10%, of the 1,100 Motel 6’s in North America have a huge sex trafficking problem. I doubt many of them have real “major” crime issues at all. Yet, Motel 6 is allowing the police to run the names of all their guests, regardless of probable cause, incident, or reasoning…

Guest Columnist:  Kaytlin Bailey

There’s the old chestnut that’s supposed to help you relax in front of an audience, “imagine them in their underwear,” and its dark twin — the classic nightmare of being naked in public.  For comedians, the Naked Comedy Showcase provides a chance to experience both scenarios…According to New York host and producer, Kaytlin Bailey, “It’s a rush…there’s something about being in the survival mindset and that amount of adrenaline that really brings the performer in to the room and they’re present from moment to moment and that’s great to watch.”  The brainchild of Boston-based comedian, and nudist Andy Ofiesh, Bailey took over hosting and producing duties in…2014 and has been playing to standing-room-only crowds ever since…

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