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Posts Tagged ‘Size Matters’

This is what a sex panic looks like.  – Mireille Miller-Young

Backlash

Whenever South African sex workers make some advance toward rights, you can be sure the cops will soon arrive to “teach them a lesson”:

Last week…police arrived at a field in Pretoria West known as “The Bush” and told sex workers they were there to get rid of them…Sex workers said about 100…cops arrived in two buses and told them that they “were a disgrace to schoolchildren” and they were there to “clean up” the area…This harassment has been going on since November…despite Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa saying in March that sex workers were “entitled to dignity”…[last] Wednesday the shacks in which they entertain their clients were burned down and condoms destroyed…SWEAT and Sisonke alleged that the metro police were ordered by Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa to “clean up the site”.  Blessing Manale, the mayor’s spokesman, did not respond to requests for comment…

Surplus Women 

The [New Zealand] Prostitutes Collective will increase its presence in Christchurch…after the body of a sex worker was found…Renee Duckmanton, who was 22, was found…on…[the] night [of May 15th…it [is] not yet known if Ms Duckmanton’s work is connected to her death…[she] suffered burns and her death is being treated as a homicide…

The More the Better

This is a cute article on sex workers’ ideas of what a perfect brothel would look like.  But what makes it most interesting to me isn’t the content of the suggestions, but rather the fact that articles like this are seeing the light of day.  Hey, prohibitionists: We’re winning.  And there ain’t a damned thing you can do about it.

Blunt Instrument

Another asinine “crackdown” on massage parlors, using the usual excuse:

The Salt Lake County Council amended a business ordinance recently in the hopes of cracking down on the illegal sex trade…Under the old ordinance, if a contractor was found in violation of a criminal act, like prostitution, their license would be revoked.  Now, under the new amendment, authorities also revoke the business owner’s license…therapists, and the businesses they work for, can also be cited if they’re not licensed…[cops also] say they’re hoping the legislature [increases criminal penalties for sex workers]…

Under Every Bed

These articles aren’t even funny any more; they’re just pathetically stupid:

…sex trafficking…[is] happening in Louisiana — on a much larger scale than most people realize — and Caddo is among the parishes with the highest number of…victims recovered…according to Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services…only East Baton Rouge parish…and Orleans parish…had more…The state serves as a hub for sex trafficking mainly because of its interstates — particularly I-20 and I-49, according to FBI Senior Resident Agent Chris Cantrell…

Among other idiocies: a “child advocacy center” un-ironically calling itself “Gingerbread House“, as if completely oblivious to the meaning of the phrase.

Monsters 

another trans woman [has] been murdered and…misgendered in death. And again, it’s a Black trans woman who’s been murdered. This time it was 32-year-old…Mercedes Successful, who was found shot to death on [May 15th] in a [Florida] parking lot…

Paint By Numbers

Why just stand around, when you can HIKE to “raise awareness”?

On May 29, those who are hiking can also help a great cause by taking part in the fourth annual Tread on Trafficking hosted by Love 146…from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., the group will have a table set up where hikers can come and register or even just ask questions about what Love 146 is all about.  Love 146 is an organization…that cares for survivors of child sex trafficking, and protects youth all around the globe…

Property of the State (#527) 

This case horrifies me more than almost any other of this century:

…Purvi Patel was…the first woman in the U.S. to be convicted and sentenced on “feticide” charges for ending her own pregnancy.  Patel says she had a miscarriage.  When she arrived, bleeding, at a hospital near South Bend, her doctor called the police on her.  The state of Indiana charged her with both feticide for allegedly inducing an abortion, and child neglect for allegedly having a premature baby and then allowing the baby to die — an inconsistent and contradictory set of charges.  On May 23, Ms. Patel’s case [came] up for an appeal.  And all of us who care about reproductive rights had better be paying attention, because…permitting a person to be charged based on the outcome of the pregnancy could mean requiring people to prove that a miscarriage or a stillbirth was unintentional.  This is a terribly slippery slope…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#611)

I’m going to cut straight to the meat of this article about whether escorting will survive dating apps:

…even with the rise of Tinder, and readily available casual sex, escorting isn’t likely to go anywhere.  Sex work isn’t solely about paying for sexual experiences; it’s about paying for a clearly defined relationship where the boundaries and expectations are out on the table.  Articles about the “dating apocalypse” supposedly fueled by Tinder and the like offer an argument for the continued appeal of escorting.  Though hookup culture superficially achieves the same goal, at least on the demand side, it brings with it a potential for emotional messiness and mismatched expectations that truly transactional sex work neatly avoids…

Size Matters (#619)

On the sentencing of Tracy Elise:

Her sentence is 4.5 years and she is receiving credit for the time she has already served…which is roughly 10 months.  She is not receiving credit for the year and a half she was on house arrest…With programs and “early kick-out” she will serve between 2-2.5 years.  We will know what her estimated release date is in about a month.  We are filing appeals, and will be filing a sentence of stay to get Tracy out for appeals, but this process takes time (6 months to a year)…

Morality Lessons

A powerful takedown of “porn is a public health crisis” nonsense:

Is pornography a public-health crisis?  Of course not.  While it is not surprising to see the Utah legislature unanimously declare it one…what remains shocking is the perceived legitimacy of anti-porn activists, despite the profound unreliability and inconsistency of their hyperbolic claims…How has a movement based on such shaky theoretical ground succeeded in a massive campaign to convince the public that sexually explicit media is responsible for an epidemic of sexualized violence against women and children; the rise of a zombie army of emotionally robbed and sexually desensitized men; and the explosion of an underworld of prostitutes trafficked directly from porn sets to street corners across the nation?  This is not real…Gail Dines…and her…claims are not just far-reaching, they are dangerous…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#633)

Letting cops get away with rape is OK, but we just CAN’T let them have consensual sex!

…Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office sergeant let a Boynton Beach police officer caught on camera soliciting sex from an undercover officer go free…Oscar Cardenas told deputies…to let…Vintyre Finney…go free — even after deputies had handcuffed and detained him…

Turning Point

In which NSWP counters the absurd prohibitionist arguments which have appeared in response to the New York Times Magazine piece:

…Branding the decriminalisation of third parties as an attempt to “legalise pimps and brothel keeping” undermines sex workers in their struggle for labour rights and justice…sex workers can be employees, employers, or independent workers and participate in a range of other work-related relationships with third parties, for example paying someone to drive them to appointments or do their advertising.  Third party laws…increase…sex workers vulnerability to HIV transmission…[and] expose…sex workers to unsafe working environments…The police use third party laws to harass sex workers and limit their access to services and support by targeting other parties, such as landlords…Sex workers themselves can be prosecuted if they work together using third party laws…The children or partners of sex workers can be prosecuted as third parties, for living of the earnings of a sex worker…

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Tracy’s community…turned away from her in an inane focus on protecting the look of the gates rather than the garden that thrives beyond them.  –  Maya Yonika

Couples David & Jenni Heckendorf

A disabled Australian couple gets help from a sex worker:

…a…fall had long-lasting consequences on Jenni’s health generally and on our sex lives.  Her prolonged and mostly unsuccessful recovery resulted in Jen having further reduced mobility in and out of bed.  It meant we had to take extreme care not to touch or bump her foot…We tried different toys and different positions without joy.  Two years after the fall we were at a point where we had to make a decision to either give up on enjoying sex or to investigate the possibility of allowing a third person into our bed…we arranged for sex worker, Joanne, to begin working with us.  With each visit we had to remind ourselves that she wasn’t there to make “love” to us.  Rather, in the same way that our support staff ensure that we remain in good physical health – by showering, feeding, and dressing us – Joanne helps us to maintain good sexual health…we successfully approached the ACT government to extend the funding of our disability care support to cover these conjugal support services.  In December 2015, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) agreed that, in our situation, a modest allowance for conjugal support service would be reasonable and necessary…

Lack of Evidence

It appears to me that the cops have no actual evidence:

A North Augusta [South Carolina] woman has been arrested on multiple charges of Prostitution.  Kristen Perry…was arrested [April 6th and]…is facing 21 charges of Sex/Prostitution 1st Offense.  She is accused of placing ads on Backpage.com between December 2015 and February 2016 offering sex for money…The ads contained sexually suggestive photos and language…The ads were accompanied by a phone number confirmed to belong to Perry…The IP address from which the ads were posted was traced back to her residence…

A good lawyer should be able to beat this easily; if anyone knows her please ask her to call me (email me for the number).  I definitely want to help her if possible.  Arresting escorts based solely on ads is an extremely dangerous precedent that cannot be allowed to stand.

Where Are the Victims?

There weren’t any actual victims, but we just have to cage people, because SEEWEEUSS UFFENSE!

Chunjie Wang…of…Dublin…organised four brothels…for seven months..[in] 2011…Judge Melanie Greally noted the case did not involve the trafficking or exploitation of prostitutes…but…said the seriousness of the offence meant a custodial sentence was unavoidable and sentenced Wang to 18 months imprisonment…

It Looks Good On Paper

Adult sex trafficking victims who get caught working as prostitutes could receive immunity from prostitution under a new Nebraska law…Nebraska already provides legal immunity to juvenile sex trafficking victims…”  Except that as I’ve explained many times, these laws are nothing but Potemkin villages, empty legal husks designed to please the ignorant while actually sparing virtually nobody from the injustice system:

…Wisconsin…advocacy groups…want to pass what is known as “safe harbor” legislation, which prohibits prosecuting individuals under 18 for prostitution…Republican legislators who fear it will hinder law enforcement’s ability to intervene and help trafficking victims…Minors can complete a program or other requirements in exchange for a dismissal of the charge, or they can admit to charges but assert they were being trafficked at the time…Proponents believe that by refusing to prosecute minors, law enforcement will be able to establish trust and gain access to information that will allow them to more successfully prosecute traffickers…Custody may also be necessary to ensure the child does not return to his or her trafficker…

Translation of that last part: “Authorities” want to be able to lock up minors indefinitely and subject them to coercive interrogation tactics in order to prosecute others in their place.

Big Sister

The Swedish model is based in xenophobia, and it shows in rhetoric designed to rationalize its failure:

Ever greater numbers of tourists in Iceland…are feeding into the market for prostitution…Snorri Birgisson of the Reykjavik Metropolitan Police [pretends] “It is usually foreigners visiting Iceland for a short time”…It is [fantasized] that prostitutes who come to Iceland are “managed” by somebody and transported from country to country…

The Last Shall Be First 

One battle in the bathroom wars has just ended.  Or maybe a truce has been hammered out for the time being.  The U.S. 4th Circuit Court has ruled in favor of a female-to-male trans student who was banned from using his school’s boys bathroom…the…Court, whose rulings also cover North Carolina (site of a contentious new law covering similar issues)…has ordered the lower court to hear his discrimination lawsuit…Go here to read recent Reason musings on North Carolina’s new bathroom law…I’m willing to bet the farm that even within a few years, if not sooner, we will all look back on the absolute panic evinced over the issue of unisex bathrooms and wonder just what the fuck we were all smoking…

Above the Law  

Roanoke [Virginia cop Francisco Alberto Duarte] is awaiting trial on a felony count of forcible sodomy“, and in Louisiana, “A Calcasieu Parish sheriff’s deputy has been fired [and criminally charged] after he was accused of inappropriately touching a woman…Cody Onxley…called the woman and went to her house under false pretenses.

Broken Record

Farm machinery causes “sex trafficking”!

…[cops] have also found victims at this year’s National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville and expect to find others at the Kentucky Derby…traffickers…stay mobile, moving victims from city to city to major sporting and entertainment events…truckers are getting the word out through the national campaign Truckers Against Trafficking, with an event this weekend at the Kentucky Exposition Center…the truckers…are in a position to spot victims at convenience stores and truck stops, popular spots for traffickers…

Under Every Bed

It’s weirdly fascinating to watch small cities insist that they’re just as infested with bogeymen and imaginary victims as cities with much larger populations:

…slavery…still exists.  Even in Spokane.  The reasons for this, [prohibitionists pretend], include Washington having an international border and a large seaport [and] many diverse immigrant communities…Because of the I-90 corridor, Spokane gets a lot of traffic and homeless in the area…former madam Cheryl Larson [lied that]…one girl could make $10,000 in a weekend during Bloomsday…

Note the racism, interstate highway nonsense and outlandish claims about income.  That article ends with an appeal for amateur surveillance, as does this one:

…[Cops] in Springfield say the western Massachusetts city is beginning to see a noticeable rise in human trafficking…Jamie Bruno spoke before the Springfield Violence Prevention Task Force…to [pretend] that human trafficking has become a problem in the city and is expanding…Bruno says it’s pivotal that parents are aware of what their children are doing with friends…

Business As Usual

I smell a rat.  What probably happened here is that some cop raped a sex worker in a particularly violent and/or loathsome way and they’re trying to paper it over with a “policy”:

…Cleveland Police have been told to temporarily stop making prostitution arrests…[because] the Department is suddenly developing a new policy.  The memo says, “All prostitution (sex for money) related Vice enforcement shall cease immediately…Advise your Detectives under no circumstances shall they have a suspected prostitute get into a vehicle with them or have any physical contact with…Police…We are formulating a policy that will cover procedures for these types of details”…

Remember, the actual policies don’t make a difference because even when raping whores is expressly forbidden, cops just do it anyway and then claim they didn’t.

All-Purpose Excuse

It’s especially good for money grabs:

Nine hundred police officers have taken part in a raid on one of Germany’s biggest brothels in Berlin, making six arrests over alleged human trafficking and tax fraud.  The operation follows months of investigation into the Artemis brothel…[whose] managers are accused of evading some €17.5m (£14m; $19.7m) in social security payments since 2006.  Prosecutors allege that staff at Artemis were forced to pretend to be self-employed to avoid the payments…

In case you’re bad at math, that’s 150 cops per arrest, ten times the number NOPD used to arrest me.

The Face of Trafficking

What a large-scale, organized forced prostitution scheme actually looks like:

In a case involving 75 female victims, Syrian women who were promised well-paid jobs in restaurants and hotels in Lebanon were locked up upon arrival in two hotels north of Beirut and forced into prostitution.  Some of the women reported being forced to have sex with up to 20 clients a day, and those that refused to work as prostitutes were repeatedly raped and tortured until they submitted…On March 27, Lebanese security forces raided the hotels, detaining eight guards and setting the women free from the Chez Maurice and Silver Hotel in Maamelteine.  The three-story Chez Maurice had the look of a prison, with bars on the balconies and windows, and a whip lying visible on one of the guards’ tables.  The health ministry has also sealed a clinic belonging to gynecologist Riad al-Alam, who authorities say performed abortions for the trafficked women who got pregnant.  The women have said they were not allowed to leave the clinic except to have an abortion…

Remember, fetishists pretend this sort of thing is common worldwide, even where there isn’t social chaos precipitated by war.

Size Matters (#619)

An excellent essay on the Tracy Elise case:

…Five years ago, Tracy was…the [focus] of a six-month long undercover prostitution investigation of what was then known as the Tantric Temple of Phoenix Arizona.  [Cops] fully armed with riot gear and machine guns, raided the space and arrested Elise along with several other women…Tracy was thrown into jail without trial for the following two years, her bail set at a million dollars…Tracy’s case is inexorably woven into some of the most pressing and cutthroat social biases of our day when it come to sex and relationship.  These biases hold us so powerfully within their grip that if one so much appears to cross the line, we’re perfectly content to quietly dismiss a woman like Tracy while she faces a potentially lifelong jail sentence…the…need to belong innately necessitates an “other”… that thing that separates “me” from “them”…as news of the Phoenix raids came to light, the bulk of western Tantrics, in order to uphold their personal ideals and image, turned away from Tracy and her case.  A woman who calls herself a “Tantric master” even spoke out against Tracy on a major news channel in her effort to “protect Tantra’s name”…

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Sex workers are still most commonly depicted in the mainstream media as victims, pests or, in the odd case, saints.  –  Eurydice Aroney

Think of the Children! Leigh Ann Arthur

That the pictures were stolen is immaterial; she was fired for having a sex life:

A South Carolina high-school teacher may be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor after a student stole her cellphone and distributed partially nude photos from it around the school.  Administrators say she should have password-protected the phone.  The male student grabbed the phone from…Leigh Ann Arthur’s desk while she was making required…rounds between classes…he went through Arthur’s photos, eventually finding some sexually oriented shots that Arthur says she took for her husband.  By the time she returned to the classroom, the student was texting the photos to other students.  According to Arthur, he told her: “Your day of reckoning is coming.”  One might think that the student would at least face disciplinary action…if not criminal charges of some sort.  But thus far, the school has not moved to hold the 16-year-old student accountable at all.  Arthur, however, is another story…she resigned when district officials gave her the choice to do so immediately or start the firing process…More than 1,600 people have signed an online petition created by students…in support of their former teacher…

Rooted in Racism

Mainstream anti-trafficking and abolitionist discourses construct the image of the victim by channelling “white slavery” myths.  Eastern European women (along with other women from the ex-peripheries of global capital) are attributed a central role…Apart from the restrictions faced by most migrants from the former “eastern bloc” in so-called developed states, eastern European migrant sex workers encounter even tougher barriers…Even when legally residing and working, simply owning a Romanian or Russian passport can make female sex workers the target of rescue, detention, and re-socialisation and/or deportation programmes implemented by governmental agencies and carceral NGOs…The imaginary [status] of [these] countries as sources of “forced prostitution”…coincides with a Cold War hangover and…serve to doubly vilify and infantilise European women sex workers…

Peeping Toms

The late Justice Scalia was of course right about this; Lawrence vs. Texas actually overturned all laws against consensual adult sex, including those against prostitution.  But now that picket-fence gays have their seat at the big table, they’re not going to say much while further court decisions attempt to turn Lawrence into a “monogamous vanilla amateurs only” club:

Uh-oh, kinksters:  sex cops could be coming for you next.  According to a new federal court decision, Americans have no constitutional right to engage in consensual BDSM because “sexual activity that involves binding and gagging or the use of physical force such as spanking or choking poses certain inherent risks to personal safety.”  Thus officials could constitutionally ban or regulate such activity in the interest of “the protection of vulnerable persons,” the court held.  In striking down bans on things like sodomy and adultery, U.S. courts have repeatedly said that citizens have a right to engage in whatever sort of consensual sexual activity they choose within the privacy of their own rooms (that is, as long as money isn’t involved).  But federal judges now say that the Constitution “does not prohibit the regulation of BDSM conduct”…

Wise Investment

Every decision like this, in any country, brings us closer to the goal:

…sex workers in Macedonia…have been awarded protection…against the unlawful treatment of the police and the criminal court.  On a November night in 2008, the police carried out [a pogrom]…in which 32 individuals, 23 of whom sex workers, were deprived of liberty.  The police unlawfully detained the sex workers longer than 20 hours in inhuman and degrading conditions…without food, water or any possibility for sanitary hygiene.  Some of them were left without medical help…The following day, all of them were taken for [involuntary STI] testing without any explanation…fourteen (14) sex workers filed a lawsuit…against the…Ministry of Interior…Seven years [later]…the Primary Court…partially granted the lawsuit of the sex workers and again established that…the police action “Suppression of Street Prostitution” violated the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, i.e. violated the…sex workers’ rights…

Universal Criminality

When a cop wants to destroy someone, universal criminality makes it so easy:

A [Florida] sheriff’s deputy was fired and likely will face charges of obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence after he tried to plant [drugs] on a [man cops considered a troublemaker]…Stephen LeBlanc…is accused of persuading a man in [what police call] a known drug neighborhood to help [him]…plant evidence on Thomas Parisi, who LeBlanc in November arrested for spray-painting…“Sex workers are people, too,” and an anti-law enforcement sentiment [on a wall]…LeBlanc then began [stalking] Parisi…to “get him jammed up on more charges,” the sheriff said…

Above the Law 

Just imagine any non-cop getting a deal like this for aggravated rape:

[An] Alabama State Trooper who was…charged with rape and sodomy of an accident victim…has reached a deal with prosecutors that will see him plead guilty to misdemeanor sexual misconduct…Samuel McHenry…put the woman…in his patrol car before [vaginally and anally raping her]…under threat of jail time…McHenry [must] serve six months in the Butler County Jail…in increments at his own discretion…within the next year…pay a $500 fine and restitution, and is ordered not to contact the victim…state law requires he register as a sex offender.

The Birth of a Movement

Yesterday, an English version of Eurydice Aroney’s French radio documentary “The Revolt of the Prostitutes” was broadcast on Australia’s ABC network.  To promote it, she wrote this article on the occupation of the Church of St. Nizier in 1975, the event which gave birth to the international sex worker rights movement.  I was especially touched by this passage:

…Little has changed for these workers since the strike in 1975.  I spoke to…one of the original St Nizier strikers who now works in her van in Gerland.  I asked if she knew that the St Nizier Church occupation was commemorated in Australia and across the world as International Whores’ Day.  “No, I didn’t know that.  Really?” she said. “And in Australia, are there lots of sex workers?  And they aren’t being hassled by the police?”  I told her that no, sex work is decriminalised in NSW…

Traffic Jam (#323)

See the resemblance to the “Satanic Panic” yet?

In the press, it was a “wide-reaching sex-trafficking operation” run by Somali Muslim gangs who forced “girls as young as 12” to sell sex in Minnesota and Tennessee.  In reality, the operation—which led to charges against 30 individuals, sex-trafficking convictions for three, and an eight year legal battle—was a fiction crafted by two troubled teenagers, a member of the FBI’s human-trafficking task force, and an array of overzealous officials…federal prosecuters had no evidence whatsoever to support their “child sex trafficking conspiracy” case outside the seriously flawed testimony of two teenagers, one of whom had “been diagnosed as insane and was off her medication”…The [cop] was…caught lying to the grand jury and lying during a detention hearing, while Doe and the state’s other primary witness were, according to the court, almost entirely “unworthy of belief”…

Size Matters (#337)

Sadly, this was a foregone conclusion:

The leader of the Phoenix Goddess Temple that offered spiritual and touch-based healing services in exchange for donations has been convicted of operating a house of prostitution…Tracy Elise [was pronounced] guilty…on all 22 counts including 12 of money laundering.  She also was convicted of six counts of pandering and one count each of conspiracy to commit illegal control of an enterprise, illegal control of an enterprise, prostitution and operating a house of prostitution…Elise is scheduled to be sentenced on April 8…

Imagine the Sky

The most interesting part of this article for me isn’t the location of historical New York brothels {yawn}, but rather the dogged persistence with which ignoramuses cling to the myth that prostitution was criminalized in the US before the 20th century:

…Sex workers have been operating illegally in New York since before the Revolutionary War.  In the early 19th century, prostitutes worked in Five Points — above present day City Hall Park — and along the East River.  But it wasn’t until the middle of that century that prostitution concentrated in SoHo and formed the city’s first sex district.  While the districts moved northward over time…the manner in which johns found out about the districts remained consistent for decades: cheaply printed guidebooks…patrons needed help finding the city’s illicit brothels that law enforcement mostly turned a blind eye to…

New Excuse

Sometimes politicians’ rhetorical devices are blatantly transparent:

At a hearing on new measures to address human trafficking, California Assemblyman Reggie-Jones Sawyer [said]…”the last time we’ve had this kind of emergency was…the crack-cocaine epidemic.”  Sadly, Sawyer was not referencing the ways in which the current popular panic about sex trafficking and governmental responses to it mirror the outlandish, hysteria-based, and detrimental state approach to the war on drugs.  Rather, Sawyer sees our attention to the “crack-cocaine epidemic” as something we should now strive to emulate…In many, many respects…officials already are treating sex trafficking in the same way they did the drug war.  The dominant legislative response has been increased criminalization of all sorts of commercial sexual activity…

Checklist (#514) 

So about a month ago, this ridiculous air hostess person who’s hawking a book started tweeting nonsense about “sex trafficking” (because her wonderful “signs of trafficking” training makes her an expert, donchaknow).  And she just couldn’t understand why all us mean hookers attacked her when all she wants to do is rescue people!  So she wrote about it, and of course some ass published it:

As a flight attendant, I’ve been trained to spot trafficking in the air…It’s made me take a special interest in the topic, and I was even motivated to speak to my City Council…You…might think human trafficking is a topic we would all agree on. Right? Wrong. I recently learned there are a lot of people who disagree…some sex worker advocates argue we’re creating more victims:  That when I speak out against human trafficking, that I’m contributing to the mass incarceration of sex workers…I met a woman in my neighborhood who works with a nonprofit organization that fights trafficking…so trafficking, in my town of Redondo Beach, has become an off-duty interest for me.  On the drive to my son’s school, we pass 18 massage parlors — in less than two miles.  Every single day I look at these massage parlors, and wonder what might be going on behind those covered up windows surrounded by security cameras…The average person hasn’t had their employer teach them how to stop human trafficking like mine has.  The average person doesn’t have a daily reminder that trafficking is going on in the world the way I do…

Poor Heather; the weight of the world is on her shoulders!  If she doesn’t defend “sex trafficking” victims in Redondo Beach against us bad ol’ whores, who will?

Uncommon Sense (#557)

If any job indicates a need for “counseling”, it’s politician:

…A group of sex workers protested…in Hamburg against a new government bill that would force sex workers to register with the state [every two years or, for women ages 18 to 21, every year] and receive counseling.  The protesters held symbolic “prostitute cards” to illustrate what it would mean for them to be forced to carry with them registration, said Friederike Strack of the Berlin-based consulting center Hydra…

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The forms of “rescue” and “victim rehabilitation” promoted by…NGOs often contradict their benevolent positions, because the labour requirements of such minimum wage work perpetuate the…restriction and coercion that they associate…with sex work.  –  Elena Shih

Think of the Children! 

The City of West Linn [Oregon] has ordered a local man to stop operating a bondage and discipline-sadomasochism room out of his home…Mead Hall Dungeon is advertised as a private play space available for rental.  David Levine said he hosts parties at the space twice a month…after a neighbor complained about several cars parking along West A Street…police determined no criminal activity was taking place, but the city then issued a cease and desist letter when they learned Levine did not have a business permit…The dungeon is in a soundproofed, converted garage that sits off a long driveway…[a pearl-clutching busybody] said she was shocked when she found out about Mead Hall, especially because it’s located a few blocks down from West Linn High School.  “I just find it just totally inappropriate…in a neighborhood”…

For Their Own Safety

Prostitutes in Italy will now be forced to replace their miniskirts and revealing tops for a reflective jacket and trousers worn by road workers…sex workers gathering on a main road into Milan…face a 500 euro fine if they refuse to wear the unappealing high-visibility attire.  Authorities…[pretend] the prostitutes caused a road-safety problem…and should be treated as construction workers…

A Moral Cancer

The crypto-moralists have been relatively quiet for a while:

People with a family history of cancer should seriously consider stopping drinking alcohol altogether experts have warned…The study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) concludes that drinking just a small amounts of alcohol increases the risk of cancer in women and men who smoke…After allowing for other risk factors…they found that light to moderate drinking – less than two drinks a day for women, and three to four drinks daily for men – is linked to…a 13 percent increased risk of cancer regardless…no association was found in men who had never smoked…

13%!  Why, that’s a virtual CERTAINTY!!!!!!

Against Their Will

In India, the…[law] equates prostitution with commercial sexual exploitation.  [Arrested adult] women…ostensibly…victims, are then placed in institutions from which they are forbidden to leave until released by a court.  The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (ITPA) of 1956 prescribes state…custody for them until the suitability of their families or guardians to “take charge of them” is verified…activists have long questioned the constitutionality of this provision vis-a-vis the fundamental rights to life and liberty…After verification, courts can either order their release to a suitable guardian’s custody, or commit them to be detained in the protective home for one to three years for “care and protection”.  To appeal against detention orders, women must approach an appellate court, for which they seldom have the resources…Rainbow Love

Size Matters

The Seattle prosecutor claims that whores “have nothing to fear from us”:

Rainbow Love…dodged jail time in 2010 when she was caught running “temples” in Seattle and the suburbs.  Now, though, the Marysville woman could see prison as King County prosecutors accuse her of operating a string of brothels out of apartments in and around Seattle…Love is alleged to have admitted…to taking thousands of dollars in prostitution earnings from women she managed…Love has now been charged with three counts of second-degree promoting prostitution related to a sting operation conducted in May 2014…Last prosecuted five years ago, Love had been caught in mid-2008 running a chain of “goddess temples” deemed to be brothels by investigators…Prosecutors claim Love was again operating brothels presented as religious spaces…

I’ve never met Rainbow, but some of my friends have (some have even worked for her). The idea that she’s some sort of criminal, and that her beliefs are insincere, is evil coppery of the highest magnitude; note the dysphemistic phraseology here such as “taking thousands of dollars” (in other words, receiving thousands in fees like any agent would).  This is the “new and improved” regime of sex work policing we aren’t supposed to fear.

Schadenfreude 

The only “training” women receive at Prey Speu is in how to be beaten, robbed, gang-raped and starved:

Authorities in the capital’s Daun Penh district rounded up dozens of sex workers…before sending them..for “re-education” at the notorious Prey Speu detention centre…43 sex workers and 10 homeless people were arrested…as part of ongoing efforts to rid Phnom Penh of its so-called “undesirables”…Since it opened in 2004, Prey Speu has been plagued with allegations of abuse.  Staff and former detainees have [reported] that it is ill-equipped to offer any of the advertised training…

The Public Eye

This story on Seattle sex workers’ reactions to the pompous posturing of prohibitionist politicians quotes three friends of mine:  Maggie McMuffin, Vignette Velo & Savannah Sly; the show mentioned in the text was this one, and in the recording you can hear a tiny bit of my attempt at emceeing at the very end.  Unfortunately, the ignoramuses get to vomit out their lies and agency-negating myths in the story, too.

Skin To Skin

Deliciously Disabled held its first official event…at Toronto’s Oasis Aqualounge…it was not an “orgy” like so many media outlets had purported it to be…the event was there to allow people with disabilities of all forms to interact with each other in a space where they felt both comfortable enough to express themselves and safe enough to retract and just watch the show….[it] was designed to be fully accessible, with gadgets like hydraulic lifts and harnesses being set up to allow participants to explore each other sexually and, if they want to, even get some good ol’ banging going on.  There was also booze—lots of booze—along with various forms of entertainment, from DJs to burlesque dancers, all for the reasonable price of $20…

Little Boxes (#138)

It amazes me how worked up some people can get about tits:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is promising to take action against women who pose nearly naked for photos in Times Square in exchange for cash.  The practice seems to be on the rise…many…wear only body paint and a thong.  They charge a few dollars to pose for photos with tourists.  Police say they can do little to stop it, and some local politicians and newspaper editorials are calling for a ban of the practice.  De Blasio says…he believes the practice is “wrong”…

Tamara Dominguez
Ever notice that consensual transactions prudes want to ban are always claimed to be “on the rise”?

Monsters 

Gee, I can’t imagine why they think this was done hatefully: “Kansas City police say they still cannot say if the murder of a transgender woman was a hate crime.  Tamara Dominguez, 36, was hit by a truck early Saturday morning, then driven over by that truck again and again…

Business As Usual

What makes this newsworthy is that the cases were actually thrown out:

Three prostitution cases have been thrown out this month by…judges and the Minneapolis city attorney, who said Minneapolis undercover police investigators went too far.  The officers’ [rape of sex workers] also drew a sharp denunciation from the county’s chief public defender, Mary Moriarty…two of the cases were dismissed…in rulings that found the officers’ actions constituted “outrageous government conduct”…Minneapolis police said the department has discontinued such undercover investigations pending a full review of its policies…[but] none of the three officers involved in the cases is [being charged]…

Unfortunately, Moriarty then rudely follows up her denunciation of the cops by vomiting prohibitionist filth all over the reporter.

Schadenfreude (#434) 

anti-trafficking NGOs have created a cottage industry of “victim repair” through vocational training…Numerous faith-based and secular NGOs…focus on selling wares made by the women they employ…Jewellery, tote bags, blankets, and placemats are among the many products sold online and at anti-trafficking conferences and fairs..for most of the women [their wages] represents only one-third to one-fifth of their previous monthly earnings as sex workers…NGOs rely heavily on moral rehabilitation to “repair the victim”.  The NGO employing [one Chinese intervewee] requires workers to contractually agree to neither sell sex nor patronise their former entertainment establishments in the future.  They are also required to live in mandatory shelter housing, have a nightly curfew, and are forbidden from receiving male visitors during the weekdays.  There is also optional daily Bible study, but if they choose not to attend, they must work through the hour making jewelry…

Worse Than I Thought (#532)

Under the new Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA)…anyone who solicits or engages in prostitution with a person under age 18 is subject to federal sex-trafficking charges…So why wasn’t former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle booked on federal sex trafficking charges?  In addition to Fogle’s alleged child-porn collection, he is accused of traveling to New York City on two occassions to pay for sex with 16- and 17-year-old girls.  Whether these girls were forced into the sexual activity is irrelevant as far as federal law is concerned; the JVTA makes very clear that anyone paying for sex with a teen is…guilty of the crime of human trafficking…But the feds didn’t even attempt to book Fogle on sex trafficking charges, instead charging him with “traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor”…not even the media have been throwing around the words “sex trafficking” in conjunction to Jared, though they seldom miss an opportunity to work the phrase into coverage of consensual sex work of any kind…

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To force through a bad law you seize on a convenient…victim, and declare that its sufferings trump all the traditions and rights of free citizenship.  –  Lloyd Evans

The Red Umbrella Hardeep Sandhu

A man who raped a prostitute for TWO HOURS after knocking her unconscious with a brick has been jailed for 15 years.  Hardeep Sandhu, 39, beat his victim with a brick until she passed out and then repeatedly raped her for two hours as she went in and out of consciousness.  She suffered multiple injuries to her head, face, arms and hands during the prolonged attack in a garden near Hartington Street in Derby…

Size Matters

This ain’t gonna work, y’all:

Last fall, The Social Club of Nashville left its current quarters for an isolated office park a few miles away.  Owners spent $750,000 on the building and began renovations fit for “a private club for the enjoyment” of sexual activity.  But when neighbors figured out the nature of club members’ intended socializing, they packed the city council in support of a zoning change which would prevent The Social Club from opening…So…it will now open as the United Fellowship Center, a house of unorthodox religious worship.  The dance floor is now a “sanctuary.”  The dungeon is now a choir room.  And dozens of small, private spaces have been designated “prayer rooms.”  The United Fellowship Center has even gotten a city permit to meet as a church…

Stand-Up Guys 

We need a LOT more men to write like this rather than licking neofeminist boots:

What strikes men about feminism’s approach to the sex trade is that it relies on a simplistic dichotomy: victims/abusers.  Female victims…and male abusers…Feminists like to promote the “predator myth”…which argues that porn and prostitution…encourage men to attack women.  However, the most basic statistic overturns this theory.  How many men use porn?  All men.  How many men assault women?  Few men…I’ve never seen a single erotic scenario featuring coerced or battered women…the idea that porn converts men into rapists…sends…the individual [sex worker]…the message…”Dressed like that you’re asking for it”.  Quite a familiar line.  But not often heard from women’s rights campaigners…the law’s supporters…say [it] is part of the war against slavery…Trafficked people…pick lettuces, but we don’t ban salad.  They hoover carpets, but we don’t outlaw rugs and vacuum cleaners.  They care for children, but should we all sterilise ourselves?…

The Scarlet Letter (#19)

Greece’s government announced…the abolition of a controversial health and hygiene regulation that allowed authorities to publish the details, including photographs, of workers that had tested HIV positive.  This is the second time the regulation has been abolished since its first introduction in 2012…the law led to the publication of women’s photographs in the press, arrested as prostitutes, as a means to “protect” public health.  Its implementation had led to a storm of protests and reactions over the public humiliation of the women involved, as well as for trampling their fundamental rights and the patient-doctor confidentiality…

The Widening Gyre 

This is extra-stupid and dishonest even by prohibitionist standards:

Women rent their bodies as a choice: a myth. Pornography is a harmless spectator sport: a lie. Both enable slavery, often with teenagers plucked from American neighborhoods. Sex trafficking is a $32 billion dollar industry worldwide. That only marginalized women fall prey is another false assumption…Pimps will recruit anyone, and white girls are more profitable,” said Audrey Morrissey…of My Life, My Choice…American culture lifts up female independence, which includes personal sexual choices…Many argue that stripping, for example, is a way to pay for college or to support a family. Fact: only 5 percent of female sex workers make and keep their money. The rest are prostituted through force and coercion in an industry led by men…

The Day of the Dead (#44) we don't buy it

China is cracking down on exotic dancers at funerals, the Ministry of Culture said April 23.  Although such entertainment is not widespread, strippers are thought to attract more people to a funeral, which is a sign of respect for the dead. Two recent cases “have been punished”…

The Public Eye (#324)

Another good profile of my friend Laura Lee:

Dubliner Laura Lee has the self-assurance of someone who has packed several lifetimes into her 40 years.  After a couple of cul-de-sacs in law and banking, Lee has returned to the job that funded her first law degree: sex work…“I’m not going to say, ‘I love my job’.  I don’t know any of my friends who leap out of bed on Monday morning and go, ‘Yes, work!’ ” she says.  “But I do choose to do it.  I enjoy the freedom is gives me in terms of managing my finances, spending time with my family and studying”…

Traffic Circle

As I predicted, articles questioning “sex trafficking” are now becoming more common in mainstream media:

…the Global Slavery Index (GSI), which received fawning publicity, including in The Washington Post….estimated that there were 29.8 million people in “modern slavery” around the world.  In November 2014, the GSI unveiled what it described as a more precise estimate: 35.8 million people.  That’s an increase of 6 million people!  What’s going on here?…there is a large gulf between the estimates of tens of millions of victims and the actual number of identified “survivors” — 44,000 at last count.  (This number is also a bit dubious)…the GSI figure has come under attack from other researchers for having a murky, inconsistent and questionable methodology…Clearly there is a problem with the numbers when the U.S. government cites a figure of 20 million and a well-funded, media-savvy organization touts a figure of “slaves” that is almost twice as high.  Media organizations are complicit in fostering misperceptions by often citing these figures as established fact, without even an explanation or examination of the methodology…these Pinocchios are for all-too-credulous acceptance of them…

Business As Usual

On 30 January, a mesmerizing report was launched at the Asia-Pacific Intergovernmental Meeting on HIV in Bangkok:  The Right(s) Evidence—Sex Work, Violence And HIV In Asia: A Multi-Country Qualitative Study.  It is a ground-breaking piece of work for several reasons.  It involved an unusual collaboration among governments, sex-worker organizations, communities, UN agencies, and regional agencies in Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka.  It is full of fascinating insights into the lives of women, men and transgender people in the sex industry.  It finds compelling evidence of widespread violence…and…points to a culture of impunity among the police, doctors, and other powerful players that in turn increases the threats of violence, trauma, disease and despair among sex workers, and by extension their families, communities, and customers…you’ve never heard of it…[because] it was greeted with “absolute and total silence”…the media is scared to touch it [because] the data is very clearly saying that the police are the biggest violators…

Worse Than I Thought (#531)

“…even if they appear to have been staked and beheaded“:

With an agreement now reached on (not) funding abortions for trafficking victims, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously…to pass the “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act” (JVTA)…with little fanfare or discussion, Senators tacked on a late amendment to the legislation which radically alters the rules for Internet publishers.  Known as the “Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation” (SAVE) Act, the change is vehemently opposed by a broad coalition of free speech, web publishing, and civil liberties advocates.  If the SAVE amendment ultimately passes…it would go against decades of precedent related to web publishers and user-generated content.  In general, the owners of websites and online publications cannot be held criminally liable for the things that random people post. Under the new rules, however, these entities could be charged as sex traffickers if it turns out any trafficking victims are advertised on the site.  Sponsors have specifically stated that their intent is to shut down, or at least seriously cripple…Backpage.com…

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Hating on models, sex workers, and similar seems to be a significant subtext of what [feminist] groups support…yet they are often the first to ask why young women don’t want to call themselves feminists.  –  Brooke Magnanti

Rough Trade

California has a crime victims’ compensation program

…which helps people out with expenses like medical treatment or mental health care…you’re ineligible…if you have any other means of getting them, whether that’s insurance, a wealthy aunt, or a court ruling.  The program’s…regulations [also] disqualify anyone who was hurt while “involved” in an act of prostitution…

BDSMNaked Bear-type Man Chopping Wood by Charlie Goodwin

A 35-year-old [Austrian] woman advertizing herself as a dominatrix promised strict discipline to paying clients on her farm…[but] the men found themselves consigned to farm labor such as chopping wood in the nude and mowing the lawn while wearing black fetish masks…in effect, they were paying for the privilege of doing farm work…

License to Rape

One wonders what his “informal training” consisted of:

A…San Bernardino police officer was arrested…on charges that he forced two prostitutes to have sex with him while he was on duty…Jose Jesus Perez, 46, was indicted on four civil rights offenses that involved aggravated sexual abuse “while acting under the color of law”…If convicted, Perez faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison…Perez…had informally trained other officers on how to interact with prostitutes…

The Swedish Pimpocracy

The Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) has a close partnership with the US National Security Agency (NSA) and British GCHQ, according to information provided to the European Parliament…investigative journalist Duncan Campbell…told the committee that…Sweden was the third major partner in the surveillance cooperation…

Decentralization

We don’t know if Birmingham, UK-based Passion VIP is…the first escort agency to add bitcoin to its…payment options, but…we have not heard of another one…Tracy Elise

Size Matters

Tracy Elise has fired her attorney and has chosen to represent herself in court…she also filed six motions ranging from being allowed to travel to being allowed to use the internet.  Two years ago, police raided…the Phoenix Goddess Temple…[claiming] it was a house of prostitution, but parishioners said they were just practicing their religion…

The Punitive Mindset

The balance between crackdowns that play to punitive public sentiment and a public health approach that will actually reduce harm and prove most effective in protecting communities is one [Lord Chancellor] Chris Grayling should bear in mind, as he considers a crackdown on sex in prison…The prison service instruction manual states:  “there is no rule specifically prohibiting sexual acts between prisoners, but if they are observed by someone who finds (or could potentially find) their behaviour offensive, a charge…may be appropriate”…this results in…a system ripe for abuse…A blanket ban on sex in prison leads to prisoners failing to report rape or sexual assault for fear of punishment…[some] prisons refuse to issue barrier protection…some prisoners are sanctioned for requesting too many condoms.  One prison governor even said they had no need to issue…[them] as his prison contained no homosexuals…

Where Are the Protests?

As usual when sex isn’t involved, the word “trafficking” is entirely absent:

…America…[has an] underground market for adopted children, a loose Internet network where desperate parents seek new homes for kids they regret adopting…Through Yahoo and Facebook groups… the unwanted children [are passed]…to strangers with little or no government scrutiny, sometimes illegally…The practice is called “private re-homing,” a term typically used by [pet] owners…most of the children ranged in age from 6 to 14 and had been adopted from abroad…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

Except for the predictable whorearchy (“dancers resort to prostitution”, etc) this is a decent article about how the summer slump in New Orleans affects the stripping business.  It affects escorts as well, of course, though in my experience it tends to recover more quickly in September for escorts than for strippers.  Since I don’t write much about my stripping days, readers may find it interesting that the first club mentioned in the story was the first one I ever danced at, though it had a different name back then.illegal anti-whore sign

Legal Is As Legal Does (TW3 #7)

Outspoken Christchurch [New Zealand] city councillor Aaron Keown has taken matters into his own hands to ban sex workers from Manchester St.  Residents woke on [August 27th] to find the street plastered with “No Street Workers” signs…Two days later…council workers removed them, saying [they] were illegal.  Keown, who paid for and installed the signs himself…said…police and council bylaws had failed to keep prostitutes out of the residential area…[he] plans to create another set of signs next week…

Held Together With Lies (TW3 #14)

Even with new and vastly-broadened definitions, UNODC still only claims that “40,000 people…came into contact with the authorities as trafficking victims in 2012”, very similar to the 24,000 it claimed had been “rescued” last year.  Is anyone seeing a pattern here?

First They Came for the Hookers…

Lap dancing clubs could soon be banned in Glasgow under plans for a tough new licensing regime…new criteria for sexual ­entertainment venues…will allow councils…to set the number of sexual entertainment licences they permit…at zero.  Glasgow City Council has called for the power, which would effectively ban lap dancing bars in the city…Currently lap dancing clubs only need a public entertainment licence, which cannot take into ­account the type of entertainment being offered…

Because obviously, bans on stripping are always 100% effective.

Reframing

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #34)

The man in charge of tackling human trafficking and organised prostitution in Northern Ireland has come out against proposals to make it an offence to pay for sex…PSNI Detective Superintendent Philip Marshall has denied that human trafficking is a bigger problem here than elsewhere and revealed that men purchasing sex have sometimes reported human trafficking to the police…Lord Morrow has argued that similar legislation in Sweden led to a big decrease in human trafficking and street prostitution.  These assumptions have been challenged by DS Marshall, who…fears that Lord Morrow’s proposal would not help matters and would prevent men…reporting any suspicions they had…

Enough is Enough

The powerful story of a woman who understood the difference “between saving a life and prolonging a dying”:

My mother died shortly before her 85th birthday, in a quiet hospital room in Connecticut…She slept in her own bed until the night before…[and] was lucid and conscious to the end.  She avoided what most fear and many ultimately suffer:  dying mute, unconscious and “plugged into machines”…or…demented in a nursing home.  She died well because she was willing to die too soon rather than too late…

Poe Folks

Jemima ably mocks a recent anti-whore article by casting it as self-parody:

The New Statesman isn’t known for its sense of humour so it was a great surprise to see this amazing parody piece by Sarah Ditum  showing other journalists how not to write about…sex workers.  First…she shows how [headlines] can set the entire tone for a piece, cleverly creating straw man questions:  Can a feminist ever support the sex industry? followed by insinuations about the mental state of any sex worker with…what kind of society is it that makes that a rational choice for women? Fabulously done, a question that is meaningless…[followed by] a “have you stopped beating your wife yet” question…The Two Paths

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #38)

Criminalizing things makes them magically vanish!

Switzerland has raised the legal age of prostitution…[to fall] in line with an international convention it signed in 2010…it [is now] a criminal act to pay for sex with anyone who is under 18…[instead of] 16…People who pay for sex with [illegal workers or look at pictures of them]…face up to three years in prison…brothels or escort services that hire anyone under 18 could face up to 10 years…

The Public Eye (TW3 #49)

Here’s a long-form review of American Courtesans by a marriage therapist:

American Courtesans [is] an invaluable resource for therapists, clients, sex workers…[and] the general public…it’s important to call attention to the sex-negative view our society holds…anyone who is open about their needs, desires…and…sex can become a target for judgment, criticism, and even violence…Society wants to “invisibilize” these needs and desires and sex work makes them explicit…

Dirty Laundry (TW3 #135)

Sadistic Irish judges apparently think it’s funny to rob sex workers and give their money to an organization dedicated to destroying their entire profession: “Two Romanian nationals have been given custodial sentences after gardai raided a brothel…A substantial amount of cash was seized…along with paraphernalia linked to prostitution…Judge Conal Gibbons…instructed that the money…be donated to Ruhama…

An Ounce of Prevention (TW3 #312)

An HIV vaccine created by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University may be able to completely wipe out the…virus from the body…[it] is being tested…in monkeys [and] researchers hope…[it] will soon be able to be tested in humans…The approach uses cytomegalovirus, or CMV…a common virus…carried by a large percentage of the population…researchers found…infected cells were sought out and destroyed…

Real People (TW3 #316)Fish Girl

Here’s a nice little profile of Siouxsie Q of The WhoreCast, who’s currently performing in a play she wrote called Fish Girl (in which she portrays a mermaid).  The article also mentions the legal difficulties to which I alluded in the last paragraph of “The Free Speech Mafia”.

An Example to the West (TW3 #316)

Sex workers in Jamaica gathered…to demand rights, respect and dignity…the Caribbean Sex Workers Collective are ‘advocating for equal rights, and an end to stigma and discrimination’…

Policing for Profit

Sam Leino was ultimately convicted on a single charge of possessing prescription drugs…For that, his wife and their three children are homeless…“the Philadelphia DA has made civil forfeiture into a vast, unaudited revenue stream, profiting from an upside-down legal process through which the DA has the power to bleed property owners dry of financial resources…with minimal or no evidence of criminal wrongdoing”…Because the owner of a piece of property…needn’t even be charged…the Leinos had already lost their home by the time Sam Leino was convicted…In fact, the government can actually freeze your assets before any proceedings begin, making it difficult to hire legal representation for either your criminal trial, or to…reclaim your property.  In this case, the Philadelphia DA’s office actually evicted…[the family] from their home…The office…eventually withdrew the claim…[because] the family had fallen behind on their mortgage payments and the bank foreclosed, meaning that the home was no longer theirs for the government to take…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes

After publishers of Front, Nuts, Zoo and the Sunday Sport…refused to put their titles into sealed modesty bags, the Co-op has [announced it]…will no longer stock those titles.  It is unclear which lads’ mags will remain on the shelves in modesty bags – but…(physical) lad’s mag sales were falling anyway…if major retailers were making the money they used to from carrying the magazines, this campaign wouldn’t have had any traction at all…[model] Jodie Marsh blasted the Co-op’s decision on Twitter, suggesting that the groups involved with the campaign to ban lad’s mags “need to turn their attentions to areas where women really need help”…

Whatever They Need To Say (TW3 #336)vandalized brothel

The outrage continues in Bangladesh:

Hundreds of Islamists  vandalized and looted  a 250-year-old brothel in…Madaripur…and…threatened to harm the remaining workers further if they did not leave the area…the local leaders of both main political parties…are not only competing to buy Muslims’ votes…but are also interested in ejecting the sex workers from the downtown area in order to seize the valuable two-acre lot…

And to add insult to injury:

The…attack…rendered at least 500 sex workers shelterless…the infirmaries in the district refuse them essential treatments…[after] the attackers…warned the hospital authorities not to give [them] any healthcare…Some of them have had their ears and noses cut when attackers whisked their ornaments away…The attack…was a clear violation of a High Court order…Mahmuda Akhter – district Women Affairs Officer – was tasked with investigation into the incident, but…allegedly joined hands with the attackers…[saying] “I am with the majority.  No one wants a brothel in the city centre”…

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We need to listen to [sex workers]…rather than feeling sorry for them…and then actually take what they say seriously.  –  Jeanett Bjønness

Japanese Prostitution

Japanese cops’ increasing adoption of American whore-harassing tactics is extremely troubling: “Tokyo Metropolitan Police…cracked down on a prostitution club…specializing in senior citizens…Officers arrested the 63-year-old manager of club Silk…and one other employee for dispatching a woman, 64, to…an 82-year-old man…”  That’s right, Japanese cops now think persecuting old people for consensual sex is an appropriate use of resources.pearl clutching

Welcome To Our World

Pearl-clutching, bigoted prudery is especially revolting in young men:

There’s a brand new, ultra-creepy fad in China…”Increasing numbers of adults have been hiring wet nurses so they can consume breast milk for its nutritional value”…it’s revolting.  Everything about this scenario should appall the reader, from the very idea of an adult suckling from another adult to the possibility that someone should be so desperate for money that they have to sell their services in this manner.  It’s every bit as wrong as prostitution…

Actually, I agree with his last sentence 100%; it’s exactly as wrong as prostitution, which is to say not at all.

Shifting the Blame

There was a somewhat uneven piece in the New York Times last week; on the one hand, it portrays the victims of the Long Island Killer as individual women, correctly names many of the reasons women do sex work and (best of all) recognizes that “Escorts face danger not because of the Internet but because they’re still forced to work underground.”  But on the other hand, it does not quote even a single sex worker activist, yet does refer to the questionable ideas of Scott “Women Never Lie About their Weight or Take Out Multiple Ads” Cunningham (including his stunningly stupid belief that before the internet most whores were streetwalkers, and his unsupported and false belief that there are more of us now than in the 1990s).  After I mentioned my problems with the piece on Twitter, author Robert Kolker contacted me and I expressed my concerns; it turns out he did interview several activists, but didn’t realize that not specifically quoting them would be perceived as a slight.  His publisher is also sending me an advance copy of his book about the murders, Lost Girls; I’ll let y’all know what I think about it.

Feminine Pragmatism

Wow, what a surprise!

…Jeanett Bjønness of Aarhus University…interviewed 40 Danish women who sell sex on the streets, and it turns out that the women do not regard their sex trading as the biggest problem in their lives…”Sex trading…is perceived as a solution to some problems,” says Bjønness…the people whose job it is to help sex workers…[regard] the women as victims.  This rigid view…has the consequence that the women feel walked over, because they do not see themselves as victims…[but rather] as independent women who make rational choices based on the options available to them…

See how easy it is when you actually bother to TALK to us?

Something Rotten in Sweden (July Updates, Part One)Casey the Rabbit

Wendy McElroy on the government’s attempts to exert total control by regulating even the smallest economic activity:

…[In his act] a magician named Marty Hahne…pulls a three-pound rabbit out of a top hat…“I just received an 8-page letter from the USDA, telling me that by July 29 I need to have in place a written disaster plan, detailing all the steps I would take to help get my rabbit through a disaster, such as a tornado, fire, flood, etc.”  Hahne and his wife must be specially trained to implement the rabbit plan, which USDA inspectors will review…new [EPA] regulations define ditches, gullies and other property features that catch water as part of America’s navigable waterways under the Clean Water Act…the EPA…would become the de facto  owner of people’s ditches and gullies…The Lemonade Freedom  group knows that the ridiculous regulations need to be taken seriously…the group…[protests] police actions…to close down children’s lemonade stands…

Size Matters

Yes, this is in the United States, a country which supposedly guarantees freedom of religion:

Pahokee [Florida] residents, church members, and pastors are outraged over…the…first Lake Okeechobee Summer Solstice Festival…The crowd cheered in agreement as…pastors from around the area admonished city officials for allowing festivals containing witchcraft and occult practices into the city…“We are opening ourselves up to things we should not, like belly dancing and magic spells,” said Daniel Mondragon…“God cannot heal our land if we have witches and warlocks violating our community,” said Evangelist Lillian Brown…

Schadenfreude

White saviors go on a fun trip to Asia, where they “rescue” brown urchins by teaching them to sew, wait table and draw with crayons:

Destiny Rescue, an organization whose mission is to rescue sexually exploited children…hunts through Cambodia and Thailand to find these girls…Indiana State University graduate students played with the rescued girls, visited the sex tourism capital of the world and wondered at the hope with which victims create new lives…More than 2 million children are forced into the sex trade every year, according to the 2012 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report…Destiny Rescue is…[addressing] the problem….by…training in jewelry making, sewing, working in a café, hair dressing or pursuing an education…Vanessa Granger-Belcher…led the girls through an art activity…in which they drew pictures of their dreams for their lives…

It may amuse you to know that most UN agencies estimate the “annual flow of trafficked people” of all ages into all industries at 0.5 – 1.9 million people, of which 2 million are supposedly “sex trafficked children”.  Perhaps the UN should start hiring people with at least 3rd-grade math skills.

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received The Sexual History of London from Sasha and Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop from Kevin Wilson.  Thank you both very much!

The Immunity Syndrome

As I’ve mentioned before, teens who make “virginity pledges” are much more likely than others to engage in anal sex in order to remain what we used to call “technical virgins”.  The hilarious Garfunkel and Oates have written a song about it; if you enjoy it, you may also like their earlier lampoon of Christian anti-sex weirdness, “Sex With Ducks”.

Subtle Pimping (TW3 #13)

In Michelle Visage’s Hooker Makeover, a judge from RuPaul’s Drag Race and her drag queen sidekick turn ordinary women into cartoonish streetwalker stereotypes.  Visage was at first defensive when confronted with this on Twitter last Sunday, but within hours she issued a public apology and announced that the show would be cancelled.  It’s good to know that at least some people really are listening.

Ruined Maids

Regular reader Isolde Holland discovered this poem and shared it with me:

“An Old Whorehouse” by Mary Oliver (born 1935)

We climbed through a broken window,
walked through every room.

Out of business for years,
the mattresses held only

rainwater, and one
woman’s black shoe. Downstairs

spiders had wrapped up
the crystal chandelier.

A cracked cup lay in the sink.
But we were fourteen,

and no way dust could hide
the expected glamour from us,

or teach us anything.
We whispered, we imagined.

It would be years before
we’d learn how effortlessly

sin blooms, then softens,
like any bed of flowers.

Little Boxes

A Chinese court has declared that “happy endings” aren’t prostitution:

…in July 2011…a massage parlour owner and two associates were arrested…for “organising prostitution”…and…handed a five-year sentence…But [in] appeal…the defendants were found “not criminally responsible” and…acquitted due to “unclear facts and improper application of the law”.  The court said manual stimulation did not belong in the realm of prostitution…

Naked Truth
Unsurprisingly, the cops insist that they know the law better than judges.

First They Came for the Hookers

Dr. Marty Klein’s review of Dr. Judith Hanna’s book Naked Truth: Strip Clubs, Democracy, And A Christian Right discusses the war against strip clubs we’ve mentioned so many times before, and the book itself debunks the usual mythology about “negative secondary effects”, “sex trafficking”, etc. I do have to wonder if Hanna ignores the neofeminist contribution as Klein does in his book, though.

Check Your Premises (TW3 #26)

Ohio wants to criminalize obtaining clear consent:

…the Ohio House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill ostensibly aimed at fighting “human trafficking” that makes it a crime to “solicit” a legal act:  sex with someone who is 16 or 17 years old.  The age of consent in Ohio is 16.  Yet under H.B. 130, a 20-year-old who asks a 16-year-old to have sex with him, or a 21-year-old who does the same with a 17-year-old, thereby commits a…felony…and…has to register as a sex offender.  But if the teenager broaches the subject, or if the sex proceeds without any explicit verbal reference to it, no crime has been committed…Having sex is fine, as long as you don’t talk about it beforehand… Legislators already define “human trafficking” broadly enough to include consensual sex…Now Ohio is poised to [add] merely talking about consensual sex…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #27)

Another small country stands up to American bullying:  “Cambodia…lashed out at the U.S. State Department for downgrading the country’s ranking in its annual report on human trafficking, saying cultural barriers were hampering government efforts to combat the problem…

Celebrities (TW3 #31)Anwar Al-Awlaki

The fact that the FBI thought a dude paying for sex was somehow noteworthy says a lot about the FBI.  The fact that CNN misunderstands what the newsworthy aspect of this is says even more about CNN.

In the months after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, FBI agents conducted surveillance of…Anwar al-Awlaki and uncovered detailed information about his…use of prostitutes…Al-Awlaki lived in a Washington suburb at the time…he visited prostitutes at least seven times and paid up to $400 for sex…[for] a total of $2,320 …agents interviewed the escorts, obtained detailed information about the encounters, and…even reviewed the possible legal charges that might be brought against him…

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #49)

This article is a few months old, but its hysterical pearl-clutching is so hilarious I just had to share it:

If you think the wait to find out if your kids got the…results needed to get into uni is stressful, dream on…It’s what happens next that you REALLY should be worrying about…Darling Daughter could easily end up hawking her body to keep her university finances afloat…poverty is pushing students to sell their souls and get jobs in the sex trade.  Six per cent could be working as lap-dancers, strippers, escorts or prostitutes to pay their way through studies.  Yet more could be manning sex chat-lines…the sex industry is a dark, grubby scene that irrevocably changes people on the inside…No degree is worth it…

So either Jo Davison is speaking from personal experience, or she’s a bigoted ignoramus.  Which is it, Jo?  Do tell.

Uncharted Seas (TW3 #316)

Another mainstream pro-polygamy article, in The Economist no less:

…DOMA was struck down in no small part because it picks out a certain class of people and, by denying them recognition of their marriages, denies their families equal freedom and dignity.  Can it be denied that polygamous families, whose marital arrangements are illegal, much less unrecognized, are denied equal liberty and are made to suffer the indignity [of] active discrimination?…If the state lacks a legitimate rationale for imposing on Americans a heterosexual definition of marriage, it seems pretty likely that it likewise lacks a legitimate rationale for imposing on Americans a monogamous definition of marriage…

True Colors (TW3 #323)

Activist Ye Haiyan…was released from 13 days of detention on June 12 after she scared off three trespassers to her home…Ye first became famous in 2005, when she posted a nude photo of herself online. Under the pen name Hooligan Swallow, Ye raised eyebrows with her bold articles on sex.  But she really caught the public’s attention in 2010 when the…NGO she set up…[called] for the legalisation of prostitution…”Pushing for [this]…contradicts the government’s ideology,” she said. “The government does not wish to see this topic being promoted and the mainland media are banned from discussing it”…

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