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Posts Tagged ‘Small Choice’

There are no reliable statistics on which Sheriff Dart could base a judgment that sex trafficking has been increasing in the United States.  –  Richard Posner

Surplus Women 

Why do reporters either focus on or try to entirely avoid saying a crime victim was a sex worker?

A Missouri man has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a woman he allegedly met on Facebook…Stassie Greer also faces charges of first-degree robbery and two counts of armed criminal action in the death of 25-year-old Sharae Bradford…she was shot in the head.  Money and a cellphone were taken.  Court documents say Greer arranged through social media to meet Bradford at the apartment to have sex in exchange for money…video surveillance helped lead police to Greer, and Bradford’s phone was found at his home.  Bradford was a single mother with a 6-year-old daughter.

Small Choice

Imagine the headline “Many NK defectors resort to better-paying jobs in South“:

A considerable number of female defectors from North Korea have become sex workers here after experiencing difficulties adjusting to life in the South…KBS…aired a program…about the plight of some 40 to 50 female defectors who work at…coffee shops that illegally sell sex…The women said that they used to work at normal companies or work as waitresses in restaurants after they defected, but their monthly salaries of some 1.3 to 1.7 million won was not enough to maintain their livelihood and support their family members left behind in the North.  “It is much better to earn some 3 to 4 million won here,” a woman told the program…

Checklist

Proving that stupidity & gullibility are no barriers to becoming a physician, two gynecologists wrote an exceedingly dumb and inflammatory article about – you guessed it – “signs” of “sex trafficking”, in which they suggest their fellows should waste their valuable time asking patients about their tattoos and prying into their privacy instead of actually treating their gynecological complaints.  Among the “signs” they list: “Often, there may not be a concrete sign at all – just the counter-transference of a feeling…of…sadness throughout your conversation“…Yes, “sadness” is now considered evidence of “sex trafficking”.

Leviathan

Any government so big, sluggish and cumbersome that it does this, is too big to be allowed to exist:

A militant who fought for the Taliban in Afghanistan and has been held without charge at Guantanamo Bay for 13 years was largely the victim of mistaken identity, according to U.S. defense officials.  Mustafa Abd-al-Qawi Abd-al-Aziz al-Shamiri was captured in 2002 and believed to be an al Qaeda facilitator or courier, and trainer…”We now judge that these activities were carried out by other known extremists” with similar names or aliases, the profile of the Yemeni detainee dated Sept. 25 added…

I Spy

Cathy Reisenwitz interviewed sex workers for their tips on maintaining privacy:

There are lots of reasons a sex worker might need to keep their sex worker identity separate from the rest of their lives.  Society is still extremely anti-sex-worker…in a custody dispute an allegation that a mother is engaging in sex work will prejudice a judge against her and may result in her losing even unsupervised visitation rights.  Even without a custody fight, Child Protective Services can take your children because you engage in sex work…And forget some forms of future employment if you’re out as a sex worker.  You will never, ever be allowed to work with children if you’ve ever engaged in any sex work.  And, last but not least, there’s always the remote threat of criminal prosecution…no matter what you do, there is a point at which enough skill, money, and time will reveal everything you want to keep secret.  So your only hope is to make it more difficult to hack you than it is rewarding.  These tips will keep your difficulty level higher than default…

Paint By Numbers

Why bother doing anything extraordinary to “fight sex trafficking”, when you can just get dressed in the morning?

…This month isn’t just December, for some, it’s Dressember…a call, not only to wear a dress for 31 days in a row, but to give attention and funds to [rescue industry group] the International Justice Mission…Participants in Dressember are looking for sponsors who will donate funds…Wearing dresses is a tribute to the dignity of women…There will also be a 24 hour Stand for Freedom at Fountain Mall…

Choke Point 

Here’s Violet Blue on the federal campaign to suppress sex businesses by pressuring financial institutions to choke off our air:

For nearly a decade, PayPal, JPMorgan Chase, Visa/MasterCard, and now Square, have systematically denied or closed accounts of small businesses, artists and independent contractors whose business happens to be about sex.  These payment processing authorities have also coerced websites to cease featuring sexual content under threat of service withdrawal, all while blaming ambiguous rules or pressure from one another…a federal appeals court ruled that pressuring credit card companies…to stop doing business with speech-protected websites violates their First Amendment rights…and in June, the FDIC clarified that it’s against the rules for businesses like PayPal, Chase and Square to refuse business or close accounts based on “high risk” assessments related to human sexuality.  But it may not be enough to stop what’s become an entrenched pattern of systematic discrimination by payment processors…Redlining, outlawed in 1968, is the practice of refusing to do business with…applicants from “high risk” neighborhoods who are otherwise completely qualified.  Since the 1930s, actual maps with red lines were used by banks to demarcate black and hispanic neighborhoods…To redline a community was to cut it off from equal financial access, rights and opportunities….there are no literal lines on a map here, but it appears there are virtual ones around an entire section of the internet.  So let’s call this “weblining”…

Welcome to the Future radicalization leaflet

The party will be very displeased if your children question diktats, comrade:

Child protection officials [in the UK] been criticised after warning parents that young people who take issue with government policy or question what they are told in the media may have been radicalised by extremists.  A leaflet drawn up by a…child safeguarding board warns that “appearing angry about government policies, especially foreign policies” is a sign “specific to radicalisation…showing a mistrust of mainstream media reports and a belief in conspiracy theories” could be a sign that children are being groomed by extremists…

Sexcrime

[Last December the UK’s new] Audio Visual Media Services regulations (AVMS) banned sex acts that were deemed morally damaging or life-threatening, including strangulation, face-sitting and fisting.   Spanking beyond what was deemed to be a gentle level, humiliation, full bondage and restraint…female ejaculation, and depictions of non-consensual sex were also forbidden…Campaigners slammed the rules as subjective, and said they unfairly targeted women…Myles Jackman, a UK-based obscenity lawyer, warned that the ban would pose an unnecessary trade barrier to beleaguered UK pornography producers.  It is now clear their fears were founded…customers with “tastes that are not mainstream enough to fit with the draconian limits of the new regulations” have simply taken their business to overseas websites and producers…

The Public Eye (#532)

A short profile of Laura Lee:

…When she is not working as a dominatrix, she offers her services as a “standard” sex worker to the terminally ill and physically disabled…Lee is also working to change society’s “polarised” perception of sex workers.  While there are glamorous escorts who jet around the world and curb-crawling girls battling addiction, she says the truth is far more boring. “Seventy per cent of sex workers right now are mothers working from flats quite discreetly…You could be standing in a queue…next to a sex worker and you wouldn’t know it”…

Checklist (#542)

Strip clubs and massage parlors in Orange County [Florida] will be required next year to post…signs displaying the hotline for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center…Florida ranks behind only California and Texas in the number of reported human-trafficking cases in the U.S., a [myth] cited by state legislators who passed a law requiring warnings signs in rest areas, truck stops, airports and emergency rooms…Adult entertainment clubs and massage parlors are [fantasized to be] venues that tend to serve as recruitment centers for human traffickers…

Stupor Bowl (#581)

It’s really kind of pathetic to watch the crippled remains of the “gypsy whores” myth gasping for air:

Santa Clara County officials launched a campaign…calling on the public to be on the lookout for human trafficking victims…The campaign will feature ads on…Valley Transportation Agency buses, bus shelters and light-rail vehicles with images provided through the National Human Trafficking Resource Center…The campaign comes ahead of Super Bowl 50…on Feb. 7…“These large events have a tragic consequence of attracting and increasing human trafficking,” VTA general manager Nuria Fernandez said…“I’m really confident that with the county working together, we’re going to find more victims in our area”…Supervisor Cindy Chavez said…

Cindy sounds almost ecstatic about the fantasy of tens of thousands of sexually enslaved children.

Seizing Power (#589)

Cathy Reisenwitz on Backpage’s win against Swanee Hunt crony Tom Dart:

…the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals told…Dart…that his misplaced fear of sex work doesn’t trump…free speech…The lawsuit describes a man obsessed with censoring adult-oriented ads.  Dart spent six years harassing Visa and Mastercard with threatening letters demanding they stop doing business with Backpage…Judge Posner…wrote…“A public official who tries to shut down an avenue of expression of ideas and opinions through ‘actual or threatened imposition of government power or sanction’ is violating the First Amendment…Actually, as explained in an amicus curiae brief filed by the Cato Institute, Reason Foundation, and DKT Liberty Project, citing voluminous governmental and academic studies, there are no reliable statistics on which Sheriff Dart could base a judgment that sex trafficking has been increasing in the United States”…

Yes, an important federal judge just officially declared that “sex trafficking” hysteria is bullshit.  And here’s Glenn Greenwald on some of the larger implications of the case:

…Beyond the positive outcome in this specific case — What kind of person would become sheriff of Chicago and then choose to spend his time worrying about adult sex ads? — the…ruling is crucial for protecting free speech rights generally.  That’s because corrupt public officials have realized that they can abuse their power to pressure corporations to “suffocate” private actors whom they dislike but who are breaking no laws.  The most notorious, most dangerous case was in late 2010, when Joe Lieberman blatantly abused his power as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee to implicitly threaten and coerce companies like Amazon to terminate website hosting and payment processing services to WikiLeaks…That quickly led other companies, including Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America and PayPal, to terminate credit card processing for the group, driving them close to bankruptcy.  In other words, Joe Lieberman almost completely destroyed a media and political organization group he disliked not through prosecution but with nothing more than thuggish threats to the companies that serviced it…This new ruling…highlights how dangerous such extra-judicial pressure campaigns can be, and makes them much more difficult by clearly ruling them to be unconstitutional…

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The only difference between an escort and, say, your sister is probably that an escort charges money.  –  Felix Clay

Rough Trade

Reporter casts violent rapist as a victim of prostitution:

…The havoc prostitution can wreak on lives played out in a London [Ontario] courtroom…when [Nelson] Martinez…was sentenced for what was described as a “callous and dangerous” attack on a sex worker…Martinez received a sentence of [merely] 38 months…[because] Justice Peter Hockin [was] impressed by Martinez’s promise to take counselling for his anger and sexual problems…[his] marriage was healthy until…Martinez turned away from his wife and children, and to pornography and prostitution…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd EverPeppr

Actually, the author of this particular article isn’t uptight; he seems accepting, though he’s a bit ill-informed about screening and seems to believe streetwalking is the norm:

…the Berlin-based Peppr app uses GPS to connect potential clients with prostitutes in their immediate area…to save prostitutes from having to pound sidewalks for customers.  It was created by…Pia Poppenreiter…after seeing sex workers out of doors on a cold night…To help make sure that its sex workers don’t become part of any human trafficking chain, Peppr interviews its advertisers over the phone before they sign them up…The company will also not work with brothels, only individuals and escort agencies…

Full of Themselves

Megalomaniac speaks for thousands of people, claiming they all want celibacy:

Massage parlors…have multiplied over the past decade, and city leaders don’t believe the boom is based on increased demand for back rubs…South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez said…“That is something I believe is exploitation of women…it’s promoting sex, and that’s not what we want in South Pasadena”…

The rest of the article lays the blame for this terrifying invasion of peaceful businesswomen on the incompetence of the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC), an organization which claims to be such an efficient investigative body that it “did what the FBI couldn’t:  uncover PROOF of a “vast network” of traffickers!”  The law which created the CAMTC contained a “sunset clause” which will expire next year, and many politicians want it to do just that; however, CAMTC director Richard McElroy warns of dire consequences if his crack team of super-massage-cops is dissolved:  “The human trafficking cartel…are [sic] praying we sunset because we are the biggest thorn in their side”…

Don’t Take My Word For It

Men just can’t let go of the pathetic fantasy of the high-income heterosexual male prostitute with gorgeous customers:

…in…Fading Gigolo…John Turturro…plays…a gentle bookstore employee who loses his part-time job…For his first trick – a passionate one-on-one with [Sharon Stone] – Fioravante earns $2,500…A string of satisfied clients follow…and the money rolls in…

Follow Your Bliss

A [Washington state cop]…involved in fighting…sex trafficking was arrested…on child porn charges…Donald Glunt…described himself on his LinkedIn page as being a training coordinator for the church-based group Hope4Justice…officials…discovered images on Glunt’s city-owned cell phone while conducting an internal administrative investigation…

Gullible’s Travels

Just when you thought fake teen drug scares couldn’t get any stupider, Ohio local news brings us beezin, in which kids rub Burt’s Bees lip balm on their eyelids…If I had to guess, I’d say beezin is probably most popular at rainbow parties after drinking hand sanitizer and butt-chugging some vodka…”The peppermint oil in the lip balm is a very strong irritant and can cause inflammation in the eye”…[said] Dr. Brett Cauthen

The scare appears to have been touched off by this parody video:

Three Steps Back

Panhandling…in Louisiana would be banned if a bill the House unanimously [approved] …gets signed into law…[sponsor] Austin Badon…proposed the bill…[in] answer to a call by [cops] to help…break up obvious patterns of prostitution…The legislation would allow for prostitutes to be “hassled by the cops,” he said…it would also apply to hitchhikers…

Above the Law 

Four French police officers are being held in custody on suspicion of raping a 34-year-old Canadian woman at their Paris headquarters…[after she met them] during a night of heavy drinking at a nearby Irish pub…

Scapegoats (TW3 #10)

Given that politicians who obsess about certain kinks are nearly always practitioners of those same kinks, what are we to make of Joe Arpaio’s crusade against zoophiliac women?

Once again, deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office have busted someone who went to Craigslist looking for sex with an animal.  This time, a 22-year-old Phoenix man went to…Craigslist seeking a male horse “on which to commit the act of fellatio”…Detectives were able to identify the poster as…Donald Waelde…

It takes a truly sick mind to vomit out the phrase “commit fellatio”, and unless I miss my guess that’s not a man but a transwoman; of course, Arizona’s pretty intolerant of them as well.

Stand-Up Guys sexy clown

Once again, Cracked demonstrates it has the smartest talent pool in journalism today:

…I feel that if an adult woman…wants to charge money for sexual services, it’s not a lot different from anyone else charging for massage services, or to be a clown at your birthday party, except the balloon animals are way more fun.  They have an ability others are interested in that they have monetized.  If that upsets you, it’s probably because you have an issue, not them.  Naturally, I’m opposed to human trafficking, sex slavery, underage prostitution, violence, and substance abuse, but I really believe a person can sell sex and not be involved in any of that, just as you can be a pot smoker and maybe not be involved in Mexican drug cartels, the beheading of civilians, organized crime, robbery, and meth-related buggery…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

At least this particular iteration of “robot hooker” idiocy recognizes the possibility that sex work is here to stay:

John Danaher…published a paper that…lays out two contrasting hypotheses: one in which robots dominate the sex industry; and another in which robot use actually leads to an increase in human sex work…The displacement hypothesis says sex robots will eventually push human sex workers out of a job…The resiliency hypothesis…[argues] that human prostitutes are here to stay…[because] humans will overwhelmingly prefer a human-on-human encounter to one with a robot…and…somewhat humorously suggests that there will be a spike in human prostitution because robots will edge people out of otherwise conventional jobs…

Yes, women turning to sex work because they can’t find any other profitable work is “humorous”.  Naturally, the first hypothesis is “supported” with nonsense about “exploitation”, “sex trafficking” and “diseases”.

Small Choice

“Sex trafficking” is caused by abortion!

The one-child policy in China has resulted in more than just forced abortions and sterilizations — it has led to massive cases of child trafficking as families attempt to buy children.  It’s also leading to international sex slavery rings and selling women as brides…

The Public Eye

SWOP [Chicago held a]…public event…called, “Understanding Sex Work and Allyship”…on…the…social misperceptions surrounding sex work, and the services that SWOP provides…including…the need for decriminalization and basic labor rights as a way of countering isolation and shame…SWOP should be respected as a union organization, and equally as fighting an important civil-rights battle…

Buried Truth Martin Ssempa

“Eat the Poo Poo” sounds like the title of a punk album:

A Ugandan pastor who has spent years calling for a stricter anti-gay law could now be charged under that very same law…Martin Ssempa is notorious for screening gay porn in church and claiming it is common for gay men to “eat the poo-poo”…Paul Kaliisa, from Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)…[suggests Ssempa] is almost “obsessed” with [gay porn].  “He moves everywhere with clips of gay men”…

Original Sin

Melissa Gira Grant has a good article about the evangelical Christian basis of “sex trafficking” hysteria, focusing especially on Sold No More (the ones who claimed a mineral show was a hotbed of “trafficking”) and Shared Hope International.  One interesting point:  Sold No More began as a “crisis pregnancy center”, one of those scams that trick women seeking abortions into anti-abortion propaganda sessions.

Dutch Threat

I’m Felicia Anna, a 27 year old prostitute from Romania working in the heart of the Red Light District in Amsterdam.  I’ve been working there now for more than 4 years, unforced, unexploited and completely on my own free will…Before I got in touch with my boyfriend, I had no idea of the stories, witch hunt and simply false facts…about my work place…and prostitution in general…most of the prostitutes don’t speak out…because they’re scarred of a pimp, or because what people are saying is true, but simply because they just don’t know what’s going on…almost nobody does anything to debunk these false stories and bring out the truth, and the people who did hardly got heard…

Race to the Bottom

What the hell is going on in Washington state?  These recent anti-whore editorials read more like something one might expect from a small-town paper in the Bible Belt than from a major newspaper in a supposedly “liberal” state.  This one urges the government to grant itself censorship powers over the internet and includes pearl-clutching sentences like “The Internet empowers pimps to post an endless stream of titillating photos of sex workers, many of whom are forced into the trade as children” (gotta love the juxtaposition of the term “sex worker” with blatant anti-agency propaganda).  Another one infantilizes women even further with prudish arsehole-clenching about “illicit ads that reduce people’s daughters to faceless bodyshots…body measurements…and suggestive pseudonyms.”  Yes, a grown woman with a university education wrote that.  A third one from Olympia quotes the usual idiocy, calls strip clubs “hotbeds of human trafficking” and cheers the enacting of a new law which “makes it a felony to coerce someone into involuntary servitude” (apparently, they’ve never heard of the 13th Amendment up there).  All I can say is, I know a lot of people who will be very disappointed when this moral panic collapses and they need to find a new way to sell papers.

Held Together With Lies (Hysteria on Parade)

This article is an odd hybrid; it admits that the majority of “trafficking” is for manual labor rather than sex, yet inflates the Bales number to 32 million, then claims that exploitative sweatshops aren’t exploitative if they’re owned and operated by “rescue” organizations. 

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #348)

Another mob-with-torches story from Los Angeles, containing this gem:

“We’ve got to swarm these girls with love,” said the Rev. Deborah Manns, who…works with police, probation officers and parents to reclaim runaway girls…”We go to parties, we go to parks, we go to malls…I will chase a girl down the street, grab her, hold her, fight her…whatever it takes to keep her from going back to the track”…where trafficking victims are often forced to sell their bodies…

Ignoring people’s choices, spying on them, tackling them and betraying them to cops is “love”.

Case Study

This Random Brothel Exposé Generator is pure brilliance.    

Worse Than I Thought (TW3 #403)

It’s really good to see Reason expressing such strong opposition to sex work criminalization lately, especially when they quote me in the process; I just wish they wouldn’t give quite so much time to the awful Dennis Hof.

Under Every Bed (All Traffick, All the Time)

The grandiosity of these delusions increases by the day:

Windie Jo Lazenko …went  to [North Dakota]…to fight the sex trafficking…that…is a direct result of the oil boom…she said…she has helped 10 trafficked girls escape the sex trade…“Some…hotels…actually have floors that are bought out by pimps…and it operates pretty much like a brothel”…

Marching Up Their Own Arses (TW3 #414)

You should’ve known that Arizona, which is trying to market itself as whore-hater central, would be the next to jump on the “escort licensing” fad:

Gov. Jan Brewer…signed sweeping legislation that…[forces]  businesses such as massage parlors and escort services that advertise online…to post their license numbers…[and] have written permission of any women they depict and have evidence they are not minors.  Cindy McCain…said the…law will help close off the state to…traffickers…[it] received unanimous support in…the…Legislature…

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Rhoda Grant…believes sex workers are imbeciles who should be denied the right to earn a living and subjected to state-sanctioned sexual assault to ensure that they comply with the dictates imposed upon their profession.  –  Kate Gould

New Book Reviews
Xaviera Hollander at 69

An interview with Xaviera Hollander, now a 69-year-old hotelier in Amsterdam.  Here’s my favorite bit:

It’s not as if she became a prostitute through lack of options. She speaks five languages. She was once voted Holland’s best secretary. She reads Philip Roth and Dostoyevsky. She…calls herself “a theatrical entrepreneur.” Yet she has never regretted her main career choice. “To get paid for what you enjoy? Is good, no?”

Think of the Children!

[Carol Ann Eastman,] an English teacher…in North Canton, Ohio…[published] a raunchy erotic novel [entitled Schooled] under the pseudonym Deena Bright…According to The Repository…Eastman’s students are responsible for outing [her]… the novel follows a teacher who has steamy sexual encounters with fellow teachers…[and] former students…to get revenge on her two-timing husband…many local parents feel Eastman shouldn’t teach high school…if she also publishes bawdy fiction…[she] agreed to a five-day suspension without pay for violating the…computer use policy…

License To Rape

It’s a sad statement about our society that this was necessary:

…jurors…won’t hear about [the] prostitution conviction…[of a woman who] says [Denver cop Hector] Paez arrested her…in May 2010, drove her to a secluded spot and coerced her into performing oral sex by threatening to take her to jail.  Paez’s defense…asked to question the woman about…a prostitution charge…[but] Judge John Madden said…”The information is highly unfairly prejudicial and (runs) a significant risk of confusing the issue”…The woman…has told jurors about her history of theft and heroin addiction.  Prosecutor Doug Jackson said it is precisely that troubled past that…made her an appealing target…

Meanwhile, in Ireland: “A [policeman was]…arrested…after a woman alleged he had raped her…he…was among a number of gardaí working on a…brothel…raid…[he later] went to one ofLucius Crawford the properties…and committed the alleged rape…

Shifting the Blame

Lucius Crawford, 60, was arrested for stabbing a woman and has now “confessed to three murders, including the slaying of a Bronx prostitute…Long Island authorities are investigating if he is connected to the mass murder of sex workers in Suffolk County…

Not an Addiction

In a word:  No.

Confessed serial killer Israel Keyes was a murder addict…”Israel Keyes didn’t kidnap and kill people because he was crazy…[or] because his deity told him to or because he had a bad childhood.  Israel Keyes did this because he got an immense amount of enjoyment out of it, much like an addict gets…out of drugs,” said Anchorage, Alaska, police Detective Monique Doll…

Against Their Will

Careful reading finds the most interesting details tucked away in news stories: “Senators [in the Philippines support]…strengthening the law against human trafficking… the bill…[would] ensure added protection for…law enforcers, who have been recipients of harassment suits for ‘lawful acts done in good faith during authorized rescue operations’…”  In other words, it makes cops and bureaucrats immune to lawsuits filed by sex workers who were “rescued”Fuck you, traitor against their will.

My Readers Write

Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon just can’t understand why some women prefer not to identify as feminist, so Aspasia brilliantly explains it to her.  Of course Williams won’t read it and wouldn’t understand if she did, but I’m sure you’ll appreciate it.

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through

…[Scott Pipher was] charged with hiring a prostitute…[after] he called police to complain that the woman “shorted him 10 minutes”…[the] investigation…[also] led to the arrests of two alleged prostitutes…Pipher is named on the Web sites National Blacklist and Bad Boy Client List as…being “notorious for booking out-calls and then not answering his door or phone”…

Though the author uses phrases like “so-called escort”, it’s interesting that she thought to consult those sites and didn’t bother to define “out-call” [sic].

Guest Columnist:  Norma Jean Almodovar

On an information page prepared by Norma Jean for the students of Dr. Rhacel Parrenas, I encountered the following chart: examine it and consider the amount of money, manpower and press devoted to “human trafficking” in comparison with the vastly more common (and real) violent crimes.US criminal statistics for 2011

Follow Your Bliss

Moon Tae-Hwa stares at his computer, dizzy and nauseous from the hours of porn he’s viewed…He feels no shame — only a righteous sense of mission…Moon is among the most successful members of the “Nuri Cops”…a squad of nearly 800 volunteers who help…censors by patrolling the Internet for pornography in their spare time…pornography is illegal in South Korea, though…easy…to find…”It’s like shoveling snow in a blizzard,” Moon conceded…

The Nuri Cops:  selflessly devoting their lives to watching porn so others can’t.

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week Korhomme sent me a copy of Sex and Punishment, a history of attempts to regulate sexual activity (see picture below).  Thank you very much!

The Immunity Syndrome

Compare and contrast with similar kerfuffles in the US:

Ganz schön intim (“Really Quite Intimate”) is a 152-page…[sex education] publication…[which] includes detailed…information on masturbation, homosexuality and intersexuality…[conservative and religious groups]…called it “disturbing” and “a discredit to the so-called core family”…[and] called for [it] to be withdrawn…the government in Vienna and the pamphlet’s producers…[are] largely unmoved by the brouhaha…

Above the Law

How police privilege and anti-prostitution laws endanger all women:

…Forest Park [Georgia] police arrested Omar Shannondoah Chester…[after he] forced [a woman] into his apartment…beat her…[and] stated, “I am an FBI agent and you are under arrest for prostitution”…When she said she was not a prostitute, and her children were outside, he…[let her] go…[she] then ran out…and called police…

Sex & Punishment
Small Choice

If this article had been published in the US, you can bet it would be warped to fit the “trafficking” paradigm.  But since it’s from Al Jazeera, the problems are discussed without denying the women’s agency or the advantages of their arrangement:

…commercial brokers fly Korean men into Vietnam to meet women, and many tie the knot within a week.  The South Korean government is concerned these marriages could breed greater social problems. So it is investing to increase these couples’ success rates [via] “orientation” classes [for Vietnamese women]…some marriages crumble [if] Vietnamese women [marry] for money only.  Another factor is the…average 17 years’ difference [between spouses], according to researchers Daniele Belanger and Tran Giang Linh…there have been reports of South Korean men beating and killing their foreign wives…[and] migrant wives committing suicide…International marriages, however, have worked out for many couples in South Korea.  Belanger and Linh have written that “marriage migration” has empowered Vietnamese women.  Girls who once served their families have now become decision-makers thanks to the [economic] leverage granted to them…

Uncharted Seas

Gay activist Alex Andreou on “Why I’m Conflicted About Marriage Equality”:

I…fear that it will create an added pressure to conform.  I recall fighting…in…the late eighties…hand-in-hand with transsexual prostitutes and militant dykes…being chased by police and beaten with clubs.  What we were fighting for was an acceptance of all different ways of expressing love and sexuality; it was a desire for more, not less, sexual liberation…What we have instead is an attempt to absorb that sexual freedom into conformism.  Instead of dragging the world into liberation, we have somehow managed to drag the LGBT community into neo-Puritanism…

Longtime readers will remember I made the same point in “Divided We Fall”.

Metaupdates

Creeping Rot (July Updates, Part Two)

The European Women’s Lobby (a group so detached from reality that it believes a video of a dude performing cunnilingus on a bunch of women will somehow turn men off to paying for sex), claiming to represent over 200 (unnamed) women’s groups, last week “demanded” the European Union impose the Swedish model on member states despite the fact that it does not actually have that power.  The English Collective of Prostitutes responded with a well-linked nine-point refutation of the EWL’s absurd, unsupported claims; guess which one got worldwide media coverage?

Toys for Tots (First Updates of the Year, Part Two)

The Platinum Cabaret…in Fayetteville, Ark…is…offering free lap dances in exchange for donations to Toys for Tots…“As long as it’s done in a legal manner, as long as people are bringing us new, unwrapped toys, we don’t get into how they were gathered and what the process was,” [said] John Staples, coordinator for Toys for Tots…But another Toys for Tots chapter wasn’t quite as forgiving when…Pleasures — an adult toy store in Huntsville [Alabama] –- [offered] any customer who brings in a gift for Toys for Tots their choice of a complimentary sex toy…”Toys for Tots should not be advertised at an adult store,” [said] Ret. Major Brian A. Murray…

Considering how much money US Marines collectively spend on sex workers every year, it’s absurd for some Marines to make nonsensical anti-sex work statements just to please prudes.

Crime Against Society (TW3 #14)

sex offender licenseAs I reported, people who were on Louisiana’s “sex offender” registry due to the overturned “crime against nature by solicitation” law can petition to be removed.  According to Deon Haywood of WWAV, “around 75 people have already had themselves removed from the registry, and around 100 people are waiting for a judge to hear their motions…We haven’t had one person that’s been rejected…

What a Week! (TW3 #22)

I’m sure this had absolutely nothing to do with the owner’s winning a judgment against the city a few months ago:  “State and federal police have raided inner-city Sydney brothel Stiletto, owned by gambling identity Eddie Hayson…A spokeswoman for NSW police said the search warrant was attached to a joint operation codenamed Polaris making investigations ‘into a drug and money laundering syndicate’…”  Unsurprisingly, they found absolutely nothing.

Wise Investment (TW3 #31)

Officials admit that they knew their law to hold websites criminally liable for third-party content was unconstitutional:

The state of Washington has abandoned its defense of legislation…that could have exposed website operators to legal liability…The Internet Archive, represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation…worried that [the law] could effectively make its archives of the Web illegal…so it joined a lawsuit by Backpage.com…now Washington state officials have…[agreed] to permanently block the law…[and] will pay $200,000 to defray the plaintiffs’ legal expenses, and Washington state attorney general Rob McKenna will “work with the…legislature to repeal the current unconstitutional version” of the law.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #35)Sunitha Krishnan

You’d think that in the age of ultra-realistic digital effects, people would recognize that just because someone made a movie doesn’t mean the subject is real:  “[Sunitha Krishnan] has rescued thousands of women from prostitution and [has taken]…her advocacy to films, through [Ente,] a depiction of a real life sex-trafficking story…The activist…says she has received death threats and been targeted by acid attacks and even beaten up over a dozen times…”  All the beatings have succeeded, yet not one of the acid attacks or death threats have?  How convenient!

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #49)

Kate Gould is not a sex worker, but she’s done her homework and clearly “gets it”.  Her attack on Rhoda Grant’s Swedish model campaign, “Why I’m Opposed to Criminalising the Purchase of Sex”, is excellent, but the comment thread is suffering from the usual influx of lie-vomiting trafficking fanatics and deserves input from rational sex worker supporters (hint, hint).  Meanwhile, here’s Dr. Brooke Magnanti on how the proposed law as written will actually (like California’s Proposition 35) criminalize many human interactions virtually nobody would call “prostitution”.

This Week in 2010 and 2011

This week I exploded lots of lies, including ones about adolescents, the Super Bowl, decriminalization, STIs in porn, the purpose of a law, prostitution terminology and “sex trafficking”, and Julian Assange.  We also looked at bad jobs and the meaning of “legalization”, and saw a sleighful of short articles on HIV, halfway whores, maid cafes, sex rays, spiders, Rachel Wotton, Jill Brenneman, an important “trafficking” study, pompous masseuses, politician sex crimes, France, a pervert prosecutor, lethal butt injections, “sex school”, schadenfreude, Pedobear and strippers.

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There’s small choice in rotten apples.  –  William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew (I,i)

Newsweek magazine, like its rival/soul sister Time, has been degenerating into yellow journalism at least since the term “moral panic” was coined in 1972; the primary reason is probably the rise of television news in the 1960s.  By the 1980s several of my English teachers were declaring it was no longer a credible source, and by the early ‘90s its main function seemed to be supporting prohibitionism by publishing disinformation-laden scare stories about sex, drugs, kids, stuff kids like, and drug-using kids having sex.  One favorite target is the internet, but that’s not surprising considering it’s the reason for the plummeting revenues of the past few years, which eventually resulted in the magazine’s sale to an entrepreneur on August 2nd, 2010 for the price of $1.  Not long after that it merged with the Daily Beast, which considering the latter’s own credibility issues hasn’t exactly helped.  Case in point, this recent article which claims to be about “human trafficking” in China, but actually appears to be an extended ad for the rescue industry.  It’s not the worst thing Newsweek has published lately, but it lies somewhere in the space between “Why Are Obama’s Critics so Dumb?” from January and “The John Next Door” from July of last year.

Steven Kim, an American businessman…may be the world’s leading expert on the market for North Korean brides…[while] living in China, overseeing the manufacture of chairs…he heard about a secret church that catered to…South Korean businessmen…Kim…became a regular attendee…and…began to assist North Korean refugees…[by providing] safe houses, food, clothing, and money; eventually he organized secret passage across China to third countries…Many of them turned out to be women fleeing from the Chinese men who had purchased them…

If the rest of the story continued like that you wouldn’t be reading it here.  But apparently Kim’s religious devotion, the four years he spent in a Chinese prison after he was caught, and the potential for massive profits in the rescue industry drove him to shift his focus from helping people who wanted to escape, to interfering in the lives of those who don’t:

Today he runs 318 Partners, a U.S.-based nonprofit dedicated to rescuing trafficked women in China…The only practical escape route for fugitives from North Korea is through China, and…roughly 80 percent of those thousands of refugees are women and girls who have become “commodities for purchase”…Ever since the one-child policy went into effect in 1979, Beijing has enforced it through fines, imprisonment, forced abortion, sterilization, and…infanticide.  The policy has had its intended effect of slowing the rate of expansion of China’s population.  But there has been an unwelcome side effect:  an unnaturally high male-to-female ratio…The result is an epic surplus of bachelors…[who] are often desperate—for companionship, for sex, for household help…

Chinese men want wives; North Korean women want to escape North Korea to the relatively-better conditions of China.  Therefore marriage brokers have arisen to put them together; the system is no more foolproof at making good matches than the biochemical-infatuation system prevalent in America, but nobody’s proposing that women be “rescued” from that.  When observed through the distorting lens of “trafficking” rhetoric, however, it becomes something else entirely:

…a chain of “suppliers,” “wholesale providers,” and “retail sellers” has developed…suppliers lure women from their homes with promises of a lucrative trip to China…if trickery fails, recruiters have been known to resort to kidnapping…wholesaler[s]…escort the women past Chinese ID checks to a safer place farther from the border…some of the women are sold directly to Korean-Chinese men who live in the region.  From the woman’s point of view, this is usually the better option.  Life with a Korean-Chinese man, in a community where the Korean language is spoken, is preferable to life with a Han Chinese man who speaks only Mandarin and whose culture and food will be unfamiliar.  Other brides…are resold to retailers…[who] in turn sell the women to their clients…for between $1,200 and $1,500…depending upon her age and appearance.

As I pointed out in “Creating the Crisis”, horrible political situations (such as North Korean tyranny or the government-created gender imbalance in China) are bound to create brutal, coercive environments where bona fide human trafficking or even chattel slavery can thrive, and I have no doubt that crimes such as those described here really are committed in some instances.  But how many of these transactions are based in fraud or violence and how many in women taking a calculated risk to get out of North Korea?  Does denying women agency and applying slave-trade dysphemisms really help outsiders to understand why men might conduct this sort of business and women go along with it?  The next paragraph struggles valiantly to make the women look like helpless victims, but careful reading reveals the truth:

At some point the woman realizes what is happening to her.  She then has two choices:  go through with the marriage or try to escape.  This is not really a choice.  The woman is on her own in a strange country…Most accept the inevitable and agree to be sold.  They reason, not illogically, that life with a Chinese husband, even an abusive one, is preferable to arrest, repatriation, and automatic imprisonment in a North Korean labor camp for illegally leaving the country…

Why does a “slave” need to “agree to be sold”?

…Because the woman has no official identity papers, the marriage cannot be legally registered.  Such pseudomarriages may be voluntary—at least in the sense that the woman has the theoretical option of turning down a man’s offer.  But it is wrong to consider it a true choice.  It is “a means of survival or livelihood,” says Lee Keum-soon, a senior researcher with the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul…In many cases, she says, a voluntary marriage is indistinguishable from a forced marriage.  The woman’s few alternatives may include prostitution or online stripping.  A woman who cannot speak Chinese would not be able to work in a restaurant or a store.  The North Korean woman “would quickly realize that there was no alternative but to establish a live-in relationship with a Chinese man…as a relatively safe means of staying in China.”  If a woman has relatives in China, they often urge her, not without reason, to strike a bargain with a Chinese man who will feed and house her in exchange for her labor and sexual favors…

If you can’t see the problem here, you need to reread “A False Dichotomy”.  By these standards, how many life-choices are “true” ones?  Do Chinese farmers “choose” to live in a country with no available women?  Do the so-called “traffickers” choose to live in government-destroyed countries with few means of getting ahead?  Obviously these women feel that staying in China, even under these conditions, is preferable to returning to North Korea, just as many people consider working in a sweatshop preferable to working on a farm.  It doesn’t help poor, disadvantaged people when educated, successful ones try to shut down some of their extremely limited options for the “crime” of failure to rise to Utopian levels.

As is typical for this type of article, it then descends into a long, lurid personal narrative designed to appeal to the reader’s emotions; in this case the writer willfully conflates the actions of “traffickers” with the brutality and corruption perpetrated by police and government officials in both countries.  It then returns to Kim, who admits that many of the “trafficked” women he endangers by his meddling tell him to get lost, but when he does manage to talk one of them into leaving with him he “sometimes asks the rescued women to pledge to pay back $1,000 of the costs once they get to Seoul and receive financial help from the South Korean government.”  In other words, he convinces them to allow him to illegally smuggle them out of their current situations and into another country, then charges them for the privilege.  Sound familiar?

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