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Posts Tagged ‘Shift in the Wind’

There is a well-established connection between moral panic…and laws that produce grotesque injustices.  –  Matt Welch

A Tale That Grew in the Telling 

Fetishists claim that Texas has about 500% of the underage sex workers in the US:

With 79,000 kids currently being trafficked in Texas, human trafficking is a statewide, underground issue, and Waco is no exception…The Heart of Texas Human Trafficking Coalition held a roundtable meeting…to discuss the underlying issues and new efforts to prevent trafficking.  A [fascist] effort is underway between law enforcement, church groups, and social workers to minimize the demand for prostitution…

Elephant in the Parlor goofy-trump

Politician pays whores for mildly-kinky show.  Yawn.

An unverified and salacious 35-page document, a summary of which was presented to President Barack Obama and President-elect Trump last week, includes allegations that Russian operatives sought to “exploit Trump’s personal obsessions and sexual perversion” to gain compromising material on him…The most explosive allegation is that Trump hired a “number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ [sic] (urination) show in front of him”…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

“Sex addiction” is becoming a “get out of jail free” card:

A man [is] accused of trying to have sex with an underage girl, while dressed up as a character from the Men in Black movie…Michael Geressy is known for dressing up as various movie characters…but…police said he had a secret identity as a child sex predator…His attorney…asked the judge to continue his arraignment so his client can begin treatment for sex addiction…

Standard Operating Procedure

If only amateurs realized how common this sort of thing is:

Jason Mount…is suing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security…for records purportedly held by DHS…”that contain information regarding an allegation that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Supervisory Special Agent Peter Edge lost his official credentials to a prostitute and the credentials had to be retrieved by local police“…If the allegations are true, it means that a top ICE agent cavorted with a prostitute, lost his credentials during his date, and then summoned the local police to help him find his papers…

Dysphemisms Galore 

I find the lack of “victim” rhetoric here kind of refreshing:

…four people who live there presented me with the problem of hookers and hopheads in Brooklyn, on the south side of Baltimore…all of them are concerned about crime creep: more and more prostitutes who gather on sidewalks day and night; men in expensive sedans and pickup trucks that form…a virtual caravan of johns looking for sex.  The prostitutes…sometimes solicit customers near a church and an elementary school…Lisa Bowling say[s]…”We can count the whores and johns and drug dealers as they stroll down the street…We have been to meetings with the police where they state that it’s a ‘victimless crime.’  Funny, I don’t think they have whores in front of their houses every day”…

Traffic Circle

“Sex trafficking” debunking comes to the LA Times:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein…[led] off her critical cross-examination of the nation’s likely next top cop with a factually insane claim that will probably give him more power…In order for “human sex trafficking” to be the second largest criminal industry in the United States, it would at minimum need to supplant illegal narcotics (roughly $100 billion a year)…or Medicare fraud (in the ballpark of $60 billion)…So distant is reality from those numbers that even the commonly cited figure of $9.8 billion a year for all trafficking…was given “four Pinocchios” by Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler.  Feinstein wasn’t done.  “Trafficking victims,” she warned, average “12 to 14” in age. (“Four Pinocchios,” judged Kessler.)  These fake numbers have consequences. Congress has leaned on such bogus statistics by periodically ratcheting up the penalties of…the criminals apprehended [who] are disproportionately adult females who work in the sex industry by choice

It’s Different Because It Involves Sex, Part Umpteen (#546)

As usual, Indians understand this far better than Americans do:

If the government of Maharashtra has its way, there would be bars in the state where the clientele won’t be served alcohol…The law…demanded the abolition of alcohol anywhere near the dancers at dance bars as well as the installation of CCTV cameras on the premises…Even the highest court of the land called these strictures “absurd” and “arbitrary” and “absolutely regressive by centuries”.  Now, in a fresh affidavit to the Supreme Court, the state has argued that bar dancing is “vulgar” and “not an art form that needs to be protected and promoted”.  It has alleged that such activities are often a cover for…the exploitation of women.  The girls who perform the dances, the state added, were not “trained artistes”, their dancing has very little “entertainment value” and borders on the obscene…

Note that such laws are very common in the US, especially in so-called “progressive” states like Washington.

Cheesy Scheme

It was inevitable that the “escort licensing” scam would eventually spread beyond Wisconsin:

…Escorts working in Mesa [Arizona] will now have to register for a license with the city.  [Politicians fantasize that] increasing regulations could help crack down on sex-trafficking operations that masquerade as escort services…Escort applicants will undergo a business and criminal background check…

Crying for Nanny (#659)

Unfortunately, this doesn’t really help Backpage now:

The Supreme Court said Monday it won’t hear an appeal from three sex trafficking victims who accuse advertising website Backpage.com of helping to promote the exploitation of children.  The justices left in place a lower court ruling that said federal law shields Backpage from liability because the site is just hosting content created by people who use it…

The Last Shall Be First (#675)

Alabama wants to put pigs in women’s bathrooms.  Seriously.

Alabama might place attendants in public restrooms as part of the state’s potential transgender bathroom bill…to guard against potential “molestation, assault and battery”…The act…would force public institutions to have bathrooms that only serve one gender or to place attendants in bathrooms that serve both genders…

Shift in the Wind (#692)

Medical ethicists are now solidly behind decriminalization:

…health care workers should support the full decriminalization of prostitution…By removing punitive laws that prevent reporting of exploitation and abuse, decriminalization allows sex workers to work more safely, thereby reducing marginalization and vulnerability.  Decriminalization can also help destigmatize sex work and help resist political, social, and cultural marginalization of sex workers…

The Naked Anthropologist (#701) the-three-headed-dog

Dr. Laura Agustín on why she wrote The Three-Headed Dog:

…I’m not making a sudden switch to fiction.  It’s one of the things I used to write before the Internet, before doing postgraduate degrees, before social media.  I began this story, in my head and scribbled notes, not long after starting those degrees in the late 90s…In general such stories are not published unless the migrants are portrayed as passive victims needing rescue by much straighter and more comfortable characters…Just as I strove to show in Sex at the Margins that many migrants don’t perceive themselves as inert objects of cruel fate and evil men, here a few of them act out their stories, trying to find ways to get ahead and stay out of trouble…The characters here are neither real nor unreal but created themselves in my imagination out of my long experience of travelling on my own and talking with people.  I’ve seen everything that happens in this book.  I’ve known people who thought and acted these ways…

The War Goes On 

The operators of…Backpage.com…declined to answer questions from a Senate panel investigating the company’s adult services ads, which lawmakers and law enforcement [fantasize] have helped facilitate pimping and child sex trafficking in the U.S.  Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer, his business associates James Larkin and Michael Lacey as well as other company officials appeared before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations but invoked their Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves…

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The state should be extremely reluctant to criminalize activities freely entered into by consenting adults.  –  Peter Singer

An Older Profession Than You May Have Thought shrike-whore

This article doesn’t cover any new ground, but I just love the pictures of the little animal whores holding their cash.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

She publicly humiliated him and forced him into a brainwashing program designed to shame him for his sex drive and convince him it’s pathological, and now he doesn’t want to fuck her?  Why, who could ever have predicted that?

Katie Price has hinted her sex life with Kieran Hayler is lacking after he went into therapy…to help overcome his sex addiction after…[she] discovered he’d been sleeping with two of her friends…when asked if therapy had changed him, she instantly replied: “Completely, from him wanting to fuck everything to me being like ‘do you want it?’”…The former glamour model even made crude gestures to prove her point, pretending to grab an imaginary penis with her hand before dropping it and laughing…

What kind of “friends” do glamour models have?  And regarding Hayler, obviously, not all sex workers (he was a male stripper) have the goddamned sense to actually get what sex workers are for.

They Still Don’t Get It

The bizarre illogic, the self-defined “evidence”, the weird 19th-century language…are these people for real?

An alleged sex trafficking operation based out of a [Massachusetts] home — in which police said johns used Backpage.com to set up appointments with three woman made to work 14 hours a day — is not unusual, a sex trafficking expert said.  “Yes, it’s happening next door,” said Kate Nace Day…”This is part of our society, part of our neighborhood — that’s how bad it is”…Boston police raided the house…and rescued three women…Wong, Tang and Xu were each charged with…keeping a house of ill fame…

She thinks the fact that sex work is common & mundane “proves” it’s bad?  What?

Shift in the Wind (#36)

The bioethicists are now on our side as well:

…feminist organizations…argue…we should “end the demand for paid sex” – but without explaining how this is to be done.  In species that reproduce sexually, sex is, for obvious reasons, one of the strongest and most pervasive desires.  Humans are no exception…In every modern society, humans exchange money or other valued items for things that they desire and could not otherwise obtain.  For various reasons, a significant number of people cannot get sex, or sufficient sex, or the kind of sex they want, freely.  Unless at least one of these conditions changes, demand for paid sex will continue…Another response to proposals to decriminalize sex work is that we should instead change the conditions that lead people to [work]…This assumes that only those who lack any other means of supporting themselves would engage in sex for money.  That assumption is a myth…Faced with the prospect of monotonous, repetitive work for eight hours a day on an assembly line or flipping hamburgers, [some] prefer the higher pay and shorter hours that the sex industry offers.  Many may not make that choice, but should we make criminals of those who do?…

Monsters 

Niurkeli, a 33-year-old transgender sex worker, was murdered by a client in Nantes, France.  Niurkeli was [a] migrant sex worker of Ecuadorian origin…Since [France started moving toward the Swedish model in] 2014 her work conditions have deteriorated…many sex workers have lost income…[and] moved to more remote and dangerous areas to work because that is where their clients feel more secure…

Not What They Expected

Cops are no doubt disappointed that the media can’t be counted on to mindlessly parrot their “sex trafficking” propaganda any more, and that sex workers are finally being heard:

New Haven [Connecticut] Police…said they have placed prostitution stings on hold as city and department personnel rework their strategy for addressing sex workers in the city…[spokespig] David Hartman confirmed…that stings like the Oct. 25 operation that led to the arrest of 13 women on prostitution charges will not be conducted as the department mulls other practices and possible alternatives to arrest…[on November 18th] a demonstration took place in front of City Hall that included some 50 people voicing concerns about the Police Department’s [abominable] treatment of sex workers…Demonstrators want New Haven police to stop targeting workers in the sex industry and provide more resources for their rehabilitation…They also asked the state’s attorney’s office to drop all pending prostitution charges and ask that local press not publish booking photos for those arrested and charged with prostitution, which they said adds to “public shaming”…

We need to keep this up; if we keep loudly protesting every fucking “sting”, and making sure reporters are there to cover our protests, it’s going to be a lot harder for prohibitionists to sell their snake oil to the public.  That having been said, I’m not sure if this “rehabilitation” bullshit came from the protesters, a cop description of them or the reporter’s own mind; if it did come from the protesters themselves, someone needs to reach out to them about avoiding that sort of stigmatizing rhetoric that treats sex work as a failing from which we need to be “rehabilitated”.

All-Purpose Excuse

Dianne Feinstein, who never met a police-state law she didn’t like, crows about her efforts to hound sex workers’ clients and cut off our advertising; in the process she praises the flatly-illegal prosecution of Backpage officials and even brings up “sex trafficking” as an excuse for Washington’s imperialist meddling in the Middle East.  But none of this is really surprising because Feinstein is one of the sleaziest, most loathsome and disgusting examples of her entire vile breed ever to crawl the face of the Earth.

The Widening Gyre (#441) possibly-samantha-azzopardi-again

It looks like Samantha Azzopardi is back to her usual tricks:

** DOES ANYONE RECOGNISE THIS GIRL? **  She is very confused and currently detained in Italy.  She answers in English only to any questions asked so may be from an English speaking country…She sleeps outside and has mental problems I think…she has said that her name is Maria and she may be Ukrainian…

Because Ukrainians are known for only speaking English.

Banishment (#446)

Politicians are again working to get sex workers evicted and enrich the state:

New legislation in Prince George’s County aims to [railroad] landlords and property managers…for [sex work]…at their rental properties…[politician] Deni Taveras…proposed the bill after [pretending] complaints from several…mothers [because THE CHILDREN!!!!TM]…The bill makes it a misdemeanor to “knowingly” allow use of an apartment or home for prostitution or trafficking, punishable with a $1,000 fine…It passed the council unanimously…

There’s also a lot of silly nonsense about “pimps”, “snakes” and “roots” before a pig vomits up a lot of filth about “sending a message”.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#511)

Really, guys?  Is it really so hard to just hire an escort?

Despite many years of hype, teledildonics have largely existed in the realm of disappointment and “one day this might be a thing” hypotheticals.  But camming company CamSoda is investing in trying to actually make them a thing this time around with Blowcast, its new online marketplace for virtual blow jobs.  It lets…any penis-haver…browse through a library of pre-recorded blow jobs performed by professionals and amateurs alike.  A woman performs oral sex on-camera on a tricked out, touch-sensitive vibrator known as the Kiiroo Pearl.  It records the performer’s movements and translates them into sensations that can be experienced on-demand through a masturbatory sleeve known as the Kiiroo Onyx.  Blowcast syncs these sensations with a video of the woman performing said blow job to create the illusion —at least in theory — of receiving a blow job…the creators acknowledge that these virtual blow jobs will not be confused for the real thing…

To Molest and Rape 

When putting this column together I thought for a moment these were the same case:  “…sergeant [Thomas Pederson of] the Wayne County [Michigan] Sheriff’s department is facing sexual assault charges involving a child…under 13 years of age…” But nope, it’s two different young-relative-molesting cops:

…Indian River County [Florida] Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Peek was arrested…for…[groping his] step-daughter…The victim, now 20, told police that…Peek…began touching her when she was 14 years old, and it stopped at age 17 when she started dating.  She never told police because…[she] didn’t think anyone would believe her…during her senior year of high school, she would have to allow “Steve to touch her for 10 minutes if she wanted to go out and do something”…The victim’s current boyfriend…saw a text message…when she was 17 years old…asking…“for his 10 minutes.”  Peek also sent another text asking her when he could see her body…

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Political opponents of [Backpage] like to imagine that without it, sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors would simply cease.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Do As I Say, Not As I Do freddie-lorick

Of course they didn’t accuse him of faking:

Ten men, including a South Carolina police chief, have been arrested in an undercover prostitution sting…Chief Freddie Lorick Sr…told officers he needed medical treatment and was taken to a local hospital. It’s unclear whether he has been released…

An Ounce of Prevention

There have been a few close approaches, but this could be the most promising yet:

British man could become the first person in the world to be cured of HIV using a new therapy designed by a team of scientists from five UK universities…presently the virus is completely undetectable in the man’s blood, although that could be a result of regular drugs.  However if the dormant cells are also cleared out it could represent the first complete cure…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

While the feds actively persecute some sex workers

The federal government is again suing a Mississippi strip club, saying its owner still discriminates against black strippers…Danny’s Downtown Cabaret…managers require African-American strippers to work exclusively at the neighboring Black Diamonds club or pay extra to work at Danny’s.  The suit alleges patrons at Black Diamonds were allowed to grope strippers in a building where air conditioning sometimes didn’t work…

The Pygmalion Fallacy 

This double dose of stupid reminds me of those old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials: “Hey! You got your robot whore fantasy in my blow job cafe fantasy!” “No, you got your blow job cafe fantasy in my robot whore fantasy!

An entrepreneur who hopes to open London’s first “fellatio cafe” has revealed his staff will be made up entirely of sex robots…Bradley Charvet…claims the sex-bots will be programmable to a person’s needs and will soon be seen as “totally normal”…

Shift in the Wind (#131)

An interesting article on getting funding for sex worker rights projects:

As human rights and social justice funders, we try to reach those people who are most marginalized and excluded from services and protection.  Those who are least empowered, least resilient, and hardest hit by inequality.  But one group that ticks all those boxes is systematically excluded from funding opportunities:  sex workers.  Why are not more funders stepping into this gap?  What makes even human rights funders so hesitant to take on the human rights of sex workers?…

Lack of Evidence (Extra Edition)

Future generations will marvel at their ancestors’ deeply weird obsession with female virginity:

An Egyptian MP has called for women to be forced to undergo virginity tests before being admitted to university…Elhamy Agina called on the Minister of Higher Education to issue a mandate requiring him or his officials to enforce the virginity tests…Agina reportedly [said]:  “No one should be upset by this decision.  If you’re upset then that means you’re scared that your daughter is in an ‘urfi’ marriage behind your back.”  Urfi marriages can be entered into without the approval of a bride’s guardian and can only require two witnesses, resulting in a cultural perception among some segments of Egyptian society that they are covert or secret marriages…

Fever Dream

We’re not hearing quite as much of this “highway” bullshit as we used to:

…Chattanooga and Tennessee have become a focal point [sic] in the war against sex trafficking.  The effort has involved not only agencies such as the TBI and local law enforcement, it also has…made its way to Congress with the End Modern Slavery Initiative from Bob Corker, the…U.S. senator from Tennessee and former Chattanooga mayor.  As the geographic intersection of Interstates 75, 24 and 59, Chattanooga provides an easy path for pimps to transport their victims around the Southeast…That’s especially true for traffickers from Atlanta which, in 2014, was ranked as the No. 1 city in the country for sex trafficking…

Seizing Power (#593)

A win for Backpage on one front:

The Supreme Court announced…it has declined to hear an appeal from…Chicago…sheriff [Tom Dart] who was ordered to cease threatening credit card companies about doing business with…Backpage.com.  The justices let stand a lower court order that forbids…Dart from contacting Visa and MasterCard in his effort to [censor] sex [workers’ ability to advertise online]…

However, see “Crying For Nanny” below.

Challenge (#628)

ESPLERP vs. Gascon reaches a court which could potentially do something:

…ESPLERP…filed a brief in the United States Federal Ninth Circuit appealing against the Northern California District Court’s judgement dismissing ESPLERP v Gascon…Maxine Doogan [said]…“[The judge] acknowledged that Lawrence v Texas defined a constitutional right to privacy in individuals’ sexual conduct, and also acknowledged that morality was not a basis to deny that right, but then found flimsy legal arguments to deny that right…“Lawrence v Texas made it clear that governments may not intrude into the private lives of consenting adults by criminalizing their sexual behavior” said Mike Chase, longtime human rights activist…Contributions to support the court case can be submitted through…www.litigatetoemancipate.com

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-christopher-odom

A Spring Hill [Tennessee cop] has been charged with rape and sexual battery…Christopher Odom…pulled two women over for traffic stops on two separate occasions, once in June and again in July, [raping] both adult women…

Crying for Nanny (#659)

It’s difficult to overstate what a huge development this is; the allegations constitute a direct attempt to destroy Section 230 and therefore the entire internet, all so a few megalomaniacal politicians can score a few political points:

State agents raided the Dallas headquarters of…Backpage and arrested Chief Executive Officer Carl Ferrer on Thursday following allegations that adult and child sex-trafficking victims had been forced into prostitution through escort ads posted on the site.  Ferrer…was arrested on a California warrant…[issued by] California Attorney General Kamala Harris…on felony charges of pimping a minor, pimping, and conspiracy to commit pimping….Harris…is running for the U.S. Senate in next month’s election…

Here’s more from super ally Liz Brown.

Dutch Threat (#678) 

Felicia Anna on the “My Red Light” scam:

…I’ve already talked about this project before…the mayor…proposed…that this brothel would be the first brothel without pimps.  A complete bullshit story, since first of all there are very few girls that actually have a pimp…and since this brothel has just as much chance of renting their windows to a girl with a pimp as any other brothel…there are hardly any abuses to begin with, as the numbers from the city of Amsterdam themselves prove…unlike how people (like the mayor for example) often claim…the mayor [is] trying to frame the current brothel owners as the bad guys…so he can have an excuse to close down the other brothels…only 6 sexworkers showed an interest in working in this brothel at all…

Send In the Clowns

As I expected when I wrote yesterday’s column, the clown panic continues to spin out of control:

A Livonia [New York] man was charged with falsely reporting an incident after he allegedly edited a clown image into a photo of [a local] Park…posted it on his Facebook page and then warned people to keep their children out of the park…Hooper…told his Facebook followers “the clown had then run away when he snapped the picture”…Hooper was charged with third-degree falsely reporting an incident…the charge is a misdemeanor…

In New York, making up idiotic stories to frighten the stupid is only a misdemeanor, but in Texas it’s a matter of national security:

..a 14-year-old [Houston] student has been charged…[with] making a terroristic threat.  The student is accused of threatening “to shoot up an HISD school with his clown friends” on social media…”We can’t ignore it,” said HISD Spokesman Jason Spencer. “We [completely lack the adult capacity to control our own actions or use any discretion whatsover]…

Just in case you think my editorialization there is a bit extreme:

…”This clown crap is really getting on my nerves,” [suburban Dallas cop] Latrice Pettaway wrote on Facebook Monday night…”Pop a cap in the first clown you see.  Someone needs to just hit one and the rest of these fools will learn”…police spokesman Shane Kizer said….said shooting people dressed like clowns is “absolutely not” how the department wants the public to respond to viral reports of clowns…

And Utah cops agree with Kizer:  “Police in Orem, Utah would like to make it clear that neither they, nor you, can legally shoot random clowns…

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It’s easy to see sex traffickers everywhere when you define all sex workers as victims.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Check Your Premises

Once again, Liz Brown exposes the tyranny of “fighting sex trafficking”:

Here’s a good example out of El Paso about the way America’s fight against “child sex trafficking” works in practice…two girls—one 15 and one 17—had sex with clients for money, and the boy, who is 18, rented the hotel room in his name and acted as security.  Now he’s locked up on child sex-trafficking charges…Edeme Missiadan…and the two girls…”Lexi” and “Natalia,” are from Phoenix.  One of the girls was dating Missiadan’s brother…and…planned to come to El Paso by herself to work, but Missiadan didn’t want her to go “without protection”…literally anything that makes sex workers safer is considered to be sex trafficking.  Bring along a bodyguard?  He’s a sex trafficker.  Have a friend drive you to a client and wait outside?  She’s a sex trafficker.  Use a booker or escort agency to screen clients?  They’re sex traffickers!  Search for clients via online ads instead of on the streets?  The Internet is a sex trafficker!…People hate the idea that innocent young things might actually choose to sell sex on their own accord.  But some do.  And…treating anyone who assists them in any way—including other teenagers—like a serious criminal doesn’t help anyone…

Public Service Announcement 

Are politicians actually stupider than other people, or does it just seem that way?

Amid allegations that he shared sexually explicit video of himself via his state computer, [Nebraska state] Sen. Bill Kintner appears to have been snagged by a well-documented internet scam.  Since at least 2013, international media outlets and  government agencies have warned people against engaging in nude or sexual live video chats with online strangers who could later use them for blackmail…

Shift in the Wind

Another health organization issues a pro-decrim report:

A report by the Centre for Health and Gender Equity (Change) explores the many barriers to health and rights that female sex workers face.  The report highlights evidence that laws criminalising sex work put female sex workers at disproportionately high risk of harassment and violence by police, clients and intimate partners.  Criminalisation also encourages female sex workers to move their work “underground” where they have less control of their working conditions, including condom use and client screening, and are less able to access essential health services…Based on Change’s examination of peer-reviewed articles and extensive interviews with practitioners and advocates, the report concludes that decriminalisation of sex work is necessary for female sex workers to fully realise their rights and is necessary for an effective global HIV response…

So Close and Yet So Far

You’re supposed to be a libertarian, Gary; this ain’t rocket science:

In a CNN town hall…Anderson Cooper asked Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson whether he supported the decriminalization of prostitution.  In a somewhat muddled answer, Johnson said he would leave it up to individual states and applauded the system in…Nevada…There are so many easy libertarian answers on this one—that there’s no place for the state in consenting sexual relationships between adults; that prostitution prohibition creates many of the same harms we saw with alcohol and drug prohibition…it was disappointing that Johnson appeared to be caught off-guard by the question and seemed visibly uncomfortable with the topic.  But his answer, while not perfect, may have been forgivable had Cooper not pressed him: “Is prostitution a victimless crime?”  Johnson responded that currently, “the victims are the prostitutes”…here I thought totally denying women’s agency was the purview of Democrats and Republicans…I reached out to the Johnson campaign for clarification, and received an answer from its communication director, Joe Hunter…All he would say about what Johnson meant last night was this: “In an illegal environment, prostitutes are at risk.”  It’s not much, but it suggests that Johnson believes the victimhood he attributed to sex workers stems from the illegal nature of prostitution, not that he thinks anyone selling sexual services must be doing so unwillingly.

Smoke and Mirrors

Another of those cases whose reported details don’t add up:

A missing 12-year-old San Antonio girl has been found alive…On June 20, she was outside her home listening to music when she disappeared…no one knew her whereabouts until two weeks ago when she texted her family…Authorities tracked the girl down to a hotel near Nashville.  She was with 36-year-old Tavarie Anthony Williams…[who] has since been arrested, accused of pimping her out and holding her against her will…Williams…[supposedly] offered her a ride home, but drove her to Tennessee instead…“Her mother may have had a role in all this, but it’s still too soon to say,” [cop] spokesman James Keith said…It could be many weeks before the girl returns to San Antonio.  She’s with a foster family, in therapy, but in constant communication with the grandfather…

Williams “offered her a ride home” from her own front yard, where she was listening to music?  And if she had a cell phone, why wait two weeks to text?  This story stinks on ice.

Under Every Bed

Just imagine how far $100,000 could’ve gone toward providing services; instead, it’s used to spread lies:

WEST NC, a new, two-year project to end sex trafficking in five mountain counties, aims to educate the public and service providers…A $100,000 grant from the Women for Women giving circle is funding WEST NC through Our VOICE…Angelica Wind…says the big “goal is to end human trafficking in this area…people are really surprised that human trafficking happens in Asheville”…trafficking often occurs in wealthy or relatively wealthy areas where there’s demand, along with access to major highways and an airport…“Where there are sex workers, there’s also human trafficking”…Nearby major metro areas — Atlanta and Charlotte — have seen significant increases in human trafficking in recent years…

The End of the Beginning

Nearly all “sex offender” laws are this unconstitutionally overbroad:

Sex offenders in Illinois are challenging the state law that bans them from entering parks, schools, places providing services for kids, and even “holiday events involving children”…the rules are so vague that they can’t always tell if or when they are breaking the law.  For instance, if a sex offender plays a round of golf on a municipal course—a solitary, adult activity—is that legal (because kids aren’t around) or illegal (because it’s on parks department land, and therefore a park)?…one of the plaintiffs…would like to visit his granddaughter, but she lives within 500 feet of her subdivision’s playground.  Is it legal for him to see her at her home?  “State police told him he was allowed to visit as long as he walked straight from his car and back — but the local cops said he wasn’t allowed to be there at all“…

Drawing Lines

Not a bad introduction to the concept of whorearchy:

…many sex workers look…down on others with “lesser” jobs.  This hierarchy [isn’t] based on money.  If anything, the highest earners [are] often looked down upon…many individuals choose to work as pro-dominatrixes or dancers “because they don’t have sex, give blowjobs, or exchange body fluids.  They feel superior to those who do.  They use contact as a meter”…A few strippers told me they didn’t think stripping was sex work at all, since they didn’t have to touch any of their clients…This is underscored by the legal boundaries, which are more permissive toward no-contact activities (like stripping) than high-contact activities (like prostitution)…Other sex workers [are] less judgmental about physical contact and instead prioritise…enjoyment of their work…A porn producer, cam girl, and stripper…each told me that the people they admire most in their industry are those who “really love what they do” or are sex workers because “it’s something they’ve always wanted to do”…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#526) 

Despite its appearance in a rag like Rolling Stone, this is an excellent article:

…a Wisconsin appeals court upheld a decision to try…as adults…two girls [who] admitted as 12-year-olds in 2014 to having stabbed their friend in order to please “Slender Man,” an Internet horror meme.  (The victim luckily crawled to safety and survived.)  The decision to try two children as adults – two children immature and mentally ill enough to believe in the literal existence of a fictional character – may seem inappropriate, to put it mildly.  But legally it’s a viable one – thanks to a terrible Wisconsin law with analogues in many other states…Morgan Geyser, who wielded the knife, has since been diagnosed with early-onset schizophrenia…Anissa Weier [was diagnosed] with a delusional disorder and schizotypy…after the two stabbed their friend, they set off to find Slender Man in a forest 300 miles away – on foot.  Mental health professionals testified that Geyser still believes Slender Man is real…The Wisconsin code…is designed to keep cases where the alleged offense is particularly heinous in adult court – which doesn’t make much sense.  The egregiousness of a crime is not evidence of some maturity or self-control that could justify treating a child like an adult.  It’s irrational to say children don’t really choose to commit bad acts except when those acts are really shocking…

Turning Point

More and more groups are speaking up in favor of sex work decriminalization:

It’s a big day for the new civil rights movement known as Black Lives Matter.  Up until now, the movement had famously opted to forgo hierarchies in favor of a diffuse coalition that more resembled Occupy Wall Street than, say, the ‘60s-era Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.  The movement’s decentralized approach has been criticized in the past, and its activists have butted heads with both civil rights leaders and the Obama administration. But on [August 1st]  Black Lives Matter made a decision to be a movement with a plan, a platform, and concrete demands.  In a statement released by more than 30 organizations (and endorsed by an additional 50), BLM released six platform demands and “key solutions”—a list of more than 40 policy recommendations, including…an immediate and retroactive decriminalization of drug and sex-work offenses…

Uncommon Sense (#650)

How does this dude think he’ll get around UK brothel & avails laws?

A company plans to set up a “fellatio café” in central London where customers receive oral sex while having a cappuccino.  Bradley Charvet…is already planning a branch in Geneva to open this December…the business would be like a “normal café” where up to 100 customers can sit and drink a coffee – but also be given oral sex by an escort.  Modelled on similar businesses in Thailand, the idea has already sparked uproar in Switzerland…Westminster City Council has indicated to the Standard that such a venue would not be able to get a licence and it has also been slammed by a leading womens’ rights group.  It could also fall foul of the law as, in Great Britain, prostitution is not illegal but running or owning a brothel or pimping are considered crimes…

A bit of hair-splitting:  a sex worker who sells blow jobs but doesn’t otherwise interact with her client isn’t an escort.

Cooties (#650)

Being a “legal” sex worker doesn’t protect you, so stop your bootlicking & join your sisters in the fight:

…The work [Arianna] Travaglini does is legal, and she…didn’t work out of the Airbnbs she rented.  She claims she “never had a single problem” with Airbnb until she realized she was banned while trying to book a trip to Baltimore and Washington, D.C, where she would teach sex-ed workshops…The email she received…is a form letter, basically identical to one Airbnb sent professional dominatrix and porn performer Julie Simone in March.  Simone faced almost the same problem with Airbnb, receiving a swift ban without explanation shortly after signing up…Asked…whether Airbnb has a policy on sex work, legal or otherwise, a spokesman for Airbnb didn’t elaborate much. “Prostitution is not allowed and we are constantly reviewing the platform to be sure any activity in the listing is in line with what hosts would be ok with in their home,” a spokesperson explained…the reality is that people are going to have sex in Airbnbs, especially if you’re renting to a couple.  It’s even possible that, *gasp,* some will bring a new friend back to an Airbnb for sex…

A Procrustean Bed (#651)

The idea that sex workers might be neither criminals nor victims is too much for the tiny, narrow minds of politicians:

…More than 30 bills this legislative session alone have attempted to combat a multibillion-dollar industry that now operates as much online, if not more, as it does on the streets.  But much of the legislation, still pending as lawmakers return to Sacramento for their final month of deliberations, varies in its approach to the problem…The proposals run the gamut, from providing protections for human trafficking victims in court to enhancing penalties for sex buyers…one…bill…would allow the seizure and impoundment of a vehicle used in the solicitation of prostitution…opponents are concerned some of the laws could lead to unconstitutional seizures and violations of defendants’ rights…[pigs lust for] the authority to arrest minors to hold them in secure facilities, where they can be [forced to accept “services”]…

A lot of bullshit numbers are repeated, and one prohibitionist in the story says, “I don’t think this is the end of the road, but we are in a precipice of sea change with how we deal with human trafficking…” Holy mixed metaphors, Batman!

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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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