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Posts Tagged ‘So Close and Yet So Far’

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

Check Your Premises

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

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

Public Service Announcement 

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

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

Shift in the Wind

Another health organization issues a pro-decrim report:

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

So Close and Yet So Far

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

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

Smoke and Mirrors

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

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

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

Under Every Bed

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

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

The End of the Beginning

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

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

Drawing Lines

Not a bad introduction to the concept of whorearchy:

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

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#526) 

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

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

Turning Point

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

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

Uncommon Sense (#650)

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

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

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

Cooties (#650)

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

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

A Procrustean Bed (#651)

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

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

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

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You can only really help people if you respect them.  –  Emily Bazelon

Broken Record pizza girl

Canadian prohibitionists are desperate to cash in before the panic implodes:

…Ernie Allen…[helped to write] a new [wanking fantasy] study…The study refers to increased prostitution, some of it involving minors, during the annual Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal…“During (the Grand Prix) weekend, many adolescent girls run away from youth centres…because their traffickers need them to cater to tourist demand,” the study [fantasizes]…many of the girls are threatened, beaten up and enslaved…Atlanta and Las Vegas are also highlighted in the report.  “These are hub cities, magnet cities where people go for sporting events, for conventions, for trade shows…These are people who travel to a location for another purpose and while there encounter a situation where there’s an opportunity to have sex with a child and they do it…The purchaser doesn’t have to go to a city street. He can shop online for a child for sex from the safety of his home or hotel room”…

I’m disappointed that Ernie didn’t compare these “slave children” to pizza.

Bogeymen

Because women are passive dolls without volition who never make any decision without male coercion:

A New Port Richey [Florida] man is accused of being at the center of a human trafficking ring and targeting some of the most vulnerable women…Clent Ruffin…was already in jail on major drug charges…Melanie Snow, a spokesperson for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office [claimed] Ruffin would target women in strip clubs…and convince them to come back to his house…then get them hooked on drugs, like heroin, and force them to do sexual favors for his customers…

Obviously, women never decide to take drugs on our own; there’s always some Svengali with magical pimp mind-control powers “getting then hooked”.

Worse Than I Thought

Missouri wants to define escort ads as “sex trafficking”:

The Missouri legislature has passed…a…bill [which] would add advertising sex with trafficking victims to the state’s definition of the crime of trafficking.  Trafficking is a felony punishable by 5 to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or 10-years in prison or life, depending on the age of the victim…

Bottleneck

Susan Shepard of Tits and Sass compares the persecution of ridesharing companies to the absurdity of stripper licensing:

…Stripper licensing [in Texas] is, like cab licensing, done on a city or county basis.  There isn’t yet any state-level licensing, although…representative Bill Zedler proposed one in 2013 that would have required strippers to take a training course on human trafficking, and in 2015 a Pennsylvania proposal to create a statewide stripper registry stalled out.  In both cases, the legislators were fairly transparent that they wanted to use the proposed licenses as disincentives…Like most laws around the industry, what is touted as protecting women and children is actually about controlling women’s movements and policing nonwhites.  The licensing process in most jurisdictions only looks for drug- and prostitution-related charges and convictions…a felony—even a homicide charge—isn’t going to disqualify someone from a stripper license, but a mere arrest on one of the specified charges can be enough to prevent the granting of a license even if the applicant was found not guilty…

So Close and Yet So Far

Protip: If you’re writing an article about “feminist” reasons to support decriminalization, do NOT get your definition of it from a prominent prohibitionist who led a successful re-criminalization campaign: “…decriminalization…essentially ‘eliminates all laws’ regulating sex work, according to Professor Donna Hughes at the University of Rhode Island…”  This is a common prohibitionist lie intended to frighten & confuse law-and-order types and progressives who think people shouldn’t be allowed to blow their own noses without some sort of government regulation.  Decriminalization is the removal of criminal laws intended to control or “regulate” sex work, hence that word “decriminalization”.  Hughes’ statement is exactly as true as the statement, “there are no laws regulating food service”; of course there are, but they’re not criminal laws. This is about the highest level of rhetoric of which prohibitionists are capable, yet the naive and ignorant just keep lapping it up.

Dutch Threat 

The Dutch seem determined to slowly throttle sex work to death:

…The leader of our Christian Party…wants to make it illegal to pay for the services of a sex worker when you should have been able to know she’s a victim of exploitation.  “For example, when she’s working from a cellar somewhere, bruised, with two big Bulgarian guys at the door”…Politicians often paint this picture of the perfect victim…many fall into a semi-pornographic style when describing their fantasies…In the last couple of years, over half of legal working places for prostitutes have been closed.  Brothels are shut down, windows are closed, and no new licences to work are given to anyone…Those who still work from a licenced location are harassed by police, their workplaces broken into, their homes smashed up and their belongings taken.  They are subject to random semi-arrests, where they’re put into police vans and taken to the station for questioning because they’re suspected of being a victim…Many hotels no longer accept escorts or try to keep them out.  Renting an apartment to work from is all but impossible, and working from home means your landlord can kick you out.  So voluntary workers are pushed into basements and sheds and caravans.  Regular security companies will not work with prostitutes…So if you’re working from a shed somewhere and you want some big guys to keep you safe, you’re forced to work with people who will do it.  You know, off the record.  Two big Bulgarian guys, perhaps.  And there you have it: the girl working from a shed with two big guys at the door…

Dysphemisms Galore 

It’s like they’re competing to see who can write the most cop-fellatory article imaginable:

Nothing shocks Sgt. Torrey Kennedy anymore…“We’re going after John’s [sic] and pimps, and calling them what they are — pedophiles and sex offenders,” he says…“Finding sex trafficking in Atlanta is easier than shooting fish in a barrel”…inviting CBS46 on a wild and exclusive ride into the city’s naked underbelly, teeming with predators…Thousands of women in Atlanta are sold for sex every day, including an estimated 200-300 underage girls a month…Kennedy straps on a bullet proof vest, and we head to a shopping center to join his backup; a squad of patrol cars circle a giant dumpster and hatch a plan take out the human trash…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#410)

Anyone who is “shocked” by this should probably consider moving to a remote farm without television or internet:

A female garda has allegedly been accused of working as an escort in her spare time…after gardai at a Dublin station allegedly received a tip-off…Gardai are allegedly probing whether the woman in question only started working as a call girl in the last two months.  If the claims are true, she will be facing the sack…A garda representative source also confirmed that they are aware of the shocking claims…

A Procrustean Bed (#502) Portrait of Love by Molly Crabapple (2016)

Molly Crabapple profiles a woman who fought New York’s agency-denying “trafficking courts”:

…Love…had once been a sex worker…but by the time she was arrested on the charge that brought her to the courtroom, she was out of the business and pursuing a degree as a surgical technician.  The problem was, the cops still knew her face, and…figured she was…an easy stat-padding arrest.  They snatched her, threw her in a cell, then charged her with misdemeanor prostitution…Love…demanded a trial…the prosecutor offered no hard proof any crime had been committed.  Instead he had only her prostitution record and an undercover officer’s word…the judge declared her not guilty.  Love wasn’t content just to prove her innocence.  She…hired an attorney to sue the city for false arrest.  The case was settled out of court for $15,000, and, exactly a year after the initial trial, in November 2015, Love had the money in hand…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

Though this editorial is a bit too accepting of “end demand” rhetoric, it’s a good counter to the Seattle Times‘ nauseating bootlicking & pompous prohibitionism:

The title of a powerful feature published in The New York Times Magazine on Sunday posed the question: “Should Prostitution Be a Crime?”  Reporter Emily Bazelon spoke with dozens of sex workers around the world, including several from Seattle, to draw a nuanced portrait of the underground sex economy…Many of Bazelon’s subjects (much like Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch) want to decriminalize sex work.  She describes the health benefits of removing criminal sanctions from in New Zealand and part of Australia, achieved without any discernible increase in the overall sex trade.  She lists the harms that well-intentioned crusaders have wrought upon their rescue targets.  She details the unholy alliance between the Christian right and…“carceral feminists” to turn the abolition of sold sex into a moral crusade.  She describes an influential abolitionist casually dismissing sex workers’ very capacity for consent. And she raises questions about…the extent to which violence and coercion influence people’s choices about whether to do sex work…

End Demand (#576)

KIRO, you have my phone number; next time call it before printing this kind of ludicrous garbage:

…the Washington Technology Industry Association…has teamed up with [fascist organ] Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking to try and eliminate sex trafficking in the tech industry…“It’s predominantly white men exploiting women of color” [lied] Michael Schutzler of the WTIA…Schutzler said 75 percent of sex trafficking transactions happen at about 2 p.m., and 62 percent of prostituted people meet clients on company property…

Since “trafficking” is used to mean “sex work” these days, just let the absurdity of this claim sink in; I can assure you that there is no way anything like even 6% of outcalls are to clients’ offices, and not even restaurants do 75% of their business in such a narrow window. Yet idiots lap up this shit like a dog eating its own vomit.

Checklist (#599)

Why do people just accept these ridiculous made-up numbers?

A new app tracks vulnerable girls in India and Bangladesh so nonprofits can help prevent trafficking and child marriage…Girl Power…has already helped save more than 200 girls from being exploited, NDTV reported.  Community facilitators and teachers are given tablets or Android phones, which have the app installed, and are tasked with registering young girls in 20 villages…

“Maggie McNeill’s providing a sexual outlet to frustrated husbands has already saved over 2000 marriages, Maggie McNeill reported.”  That statement is exactly as credible as the one in the story, and based on exactly the same type of “evidence”.

Under Every Bed (#631)

Spokane guys, please be careful; your local cops are on a fanatical crusade targeting YOU:

…Local law enforcement and federal agents teamed up for what is called, [sic] Operation Cross Country…It is a problem that…unfortunately exists in the Spokane area…FBI leaders said they are currently looking into participating in the operation again in 2016 to help rescue even more victims.  Before the operation in 2015, the FBI brought [pigs] over from Seattle from the Child Exploitation Task Force to [indoctrinate pigs] in the Inland Northwest on the [newest popular anti-whore propaganda]…

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What if a different attitude about pornography were the “alternative to pornography”?  –  Tina Horn

Rough Trade Brandon Cole Reed

I suspect they have the right guy this time:

King County prosecutors have charged a 31-year-old Kent man with three counts of rape, and Seattle police continue to investigate…in connection with five more sexual assaults, all involving women working as prostitutes on Aurora Avenue North.  Brandon Cole Reed was arrested…one day after prosecutors dismissed a second-degree-rape charge against…Andrew Tatum, who was arrested in February…[for] the rapes Reed is now suspected of committing…Reed “picks up prostitutes on Aurora Avenue, drives to a nearby location, and then rapes them, by brandishing a knife, threatening to hurt or kill them, handcuffing them or brandishing mace,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom wrote…Reed was 11 and his brother was 12 in 1995 when they dragged a 12-year-old girl into their house…and took turns raping her…[they] were found guilty of second-degree rape…and sentenced to 21 to 28 weeks in juvenile detention…Both were required to register as sex offenders for 15 years…Reed was also convicted in 2009 of second-degree malicious mischief for throwing rocks and damaging his ex-girlfriend’s car after she refused to get back together with him…

Lying Down With Dogs

This interactive map characterizes countries according to 11 different legal approaches to laws regarding prostitution, and 9 different legal characteristics, for the most complex and accurate analysis of the subject yet.  Please bookmark!

Check Your Premises 

I realize that idiots don’t actually understand what the word “average” means, but one would think they at least know it doesn’t mean “absolute minimum”:

The Canadian Women’s Foundation says…the average age for new recruits was 13…A 14-year-old at the centre of a human trafficking case is among the youngest girls allegedly forced into prostitution…in decades…Staff Sgt. Darrell Gaudet said…such cases are rare…in…more than 20 years, Gaudet said he has dealt with four cases of 14-year-olds…[and one] 13…

Moloch

Is this idiotic enough yet?  Can we stop now?

Police arrested a Longwood, Florida, 12-year-old girl for pinching a male classmate’s butt…Breana Evans has been charged with misdemeanor battery and was temporarily placed in juvenile detention.  Everybody involved…thinks the arrest is an overreaction…except the boy’s mom, who alerted police and demanded that they prosecute…police [pretend] that…they had no choice but to arrest Breana…[who] will have to complete community service, submit to drug tests, and [endure indoctrination sessions].  If she does all those things, the charges will eventually be dismissed…

Pity the poor “authorities”, who had “no choice”.  Because “prosecutorial discretion” is only for cops who rape or murder people, not for kids being kids.

The Last Shall Be First

Potty obsession is rotting politicians’ brains:

Fayetteville [Arkansas] councilman John La Tour is being accused of confronting a woman he assumed was transgender and threatening to wave his penis at her at a crowded restaurant…After the incident, a manager apparently asked La Tour to leave [the] restaurant…According to a Facebook post by…Gavin Smith: “la tour [sic]…[demanded my friend] pick a gender declaiming loudly that he couldn’t tell if she was a man or a woman.  She is not transgendered and does not in any way present any ambiguity about gender in any way.  She’s a woman.  He then explained that he was a man and could prove it by dropping his pants and showing his penis”…La Tour subsequently [pretended] he’d merely asked the woman — who is employed at the restaurant — to dance…

Above the Law  

Probably a longer sentence than he would’ve received in the US:

Derren Tomlinson, 44, with the West Mercia Police department was sentenced to 11 years in prison this week for…raping a girl under 13-years-old, sexual assault on a child, and bestiality.  His offensively short sentence is likely due to the fact that he was a [cop]…The department found out…after looking through his phone which revealed a number of photos showing him raping a child…[and] engaging in sexual intercourse with a dog…

Prudish Pedants

Steinem’s been peddling this malarkey since 1978, and I’ve been mocking it since at least 1984:

…one of the most vocal proponents of [the] damaging dichotomy [between “bad porn” and “good erotica”] is feminist icon Gloria Steinem.  And every time I hear her or someone else trot out this tired trope, I recoil—because it is indicative of our culture’s persistent stigmatization of sex work, classist attitudes about sexual morality, and suppression of healthy sexual expression.  It’s a dichotomy that demands to be not only challenged, but dismantled…Steinem has been repeating some version of this baseless definition game since 1978, when she published the Ms. magazine article, “Erotica and pornography: Do You Know the Difference?”  The answer to this question is:  No, we don’t, Gloria, because neither you nor anyone else has ever managed to provide a useful or convincing distinction…

Gingerbread House

And how does the judge plan to “keep” these “children” in the “safe house” to endure “therapy”?  Oh, yeah:

There are more than 3,000 minors in [Nevada’s] juvenile justice system, and many are victims of human trafficking.  “For…10 years, I’ve been advocating…for a safe house for our sexually exploited youth,” said Judge William Voy…”We have to identify better which kids really need to be locked up…with the kids who don’t”…the state needs a therapeutic…secured facility to keep these children.  He said if the state doesn’t get this kind of facility it risks losing the kids to the streets all over again…

So Close and Yet So Far

This article could’ve been so much better; it quotes a number of sex workers, including my close friend Savannah Sly and my acquaintances Chelsea Lane & Jill Brenneman.  It presents some pretty good arguments, and talks about Amnesty’s research.  But it also quotes prohibitionists, repeats bad data, confuses legalization and decriminalization, does not discuss the failure of the Swedish model, and sets up a false equivalence between those who want to be free to make their own choices and those who want to control others’ choices with state violence (as though they were two equal sides in an academic “debate”).  It’s also mind-numbingly boring; I sincerely doubt anyone will read the whole thing.  I know I couldn’t.

Hard Numbers (#340)

Whores in the so-called “developing world” are so much better at activism than those of us in the US:

…Gabriela Leite and Lourdes Barreto founded the Brazilian Network of Prostitutes (BNP) in the mid 1980s in response to police violence in the red light districts where they worked…The BNP earned seats at the policy-making table and was fundamental in developing peer-led HIV prevention initiatives.  Their partnership with the country’s National AIDS Programme gained international attention in 2005 when Brazil refused more than $40 million in US funds because USAID…demanded that organisations receiving funds condemn prostitution…[Prohibitionism] gained strength in Brazil at the start of the new millennium, fuelled by moral panic and by the growth of carceral feminism…and Christian conservatism…The prostitutes’ movement has responded with a two-prong strategy: on the one hand, it is engaging in street politics, guerrilla theatre, and practical initiatives; on the other, it is entering the forums and institutions that sprung up around human trafficking…

He Said, She Said (#448)

A lot of people are going to be really unhappy about this:

The chorus outside Old City Hall hit its peak once a judge acquitted former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi on all charges of sexual assault and choking, the outraged shouts of “I believe survivors” reverberating off the courthouse steps and in more than 10,000 posts online…Ontario Court of Justice Judge William Horkins said he simply could not trust the three complainants, given their shifting memories and evidence that at times strayed into outright lies…he said the 5,000 messages exchanged between actress Lucy DeCoutere and another complainant sounded like they could be plotting to ruin the former broadcaster… “Ms. DeCoutere and S.D. considered themselves to be a ‘team’ and the goal was to bring down Mr. Ghomeshi”…As Crown prosecutor Michael Callaghan stood in front of a stand of microphones giving reporters his reaction, a topless female protester jumped in front of him, yelling “Ghomeshi guilty!” knocking over the stand.  Police tackled the woman to the ground and took her back inside the courthouse as she struggled and kicked the door.  She was handcuffed by police and led into the back of a police cruiser…

As a woman who’s endured several rapes myself, I understand the anger.  But what do the protesters actually want, for the state to be able to convict people on shoddy evidence?  I simply can’t side with people who believe that locking up as many people as possible to prevent some bad guys getting away with crimes is a good idea.  The carceral state is a far greater threat than any one rapist, or even than all unconvicted rapists put together.

False Witness

Anyone who understands the dynamics of group psychology should already have known this:

You would think securing a conviction against a suspected criminal would have to be helped if all the witnesses…independently identify the same culprit.  But new…research suggests that unanimity of witnesses should trigger a warning that perhaps police have the wrong person…the probability of a large number of people all agreeing in [difficult observation] circumstances [is] small…the error rate among [crime] witnesses…[is] around 47 per cent.  “So if…20 people all agree it is the same guy you should be now more suspicious of their agreement,” [lead researcher Professor Derek Abbott] said.  Their modelling showed even with just a 1 per cent error rate, confidence in a police line-up result would decrease after three unanimous identifications…

If you don’t understand this, please take the time to read my paper, “Mind-witness Testimony“.

Moving Pictures 

You know you’re living in a fascist state when there’s a whole industry glamorizing government actors who use violence to suppress consensual activity:

[US deportation agent] Keith Owens…[was featured in a] television series, Web of Lies…The episode [inanely] titled “Stolen Youth”…aired on March 2…being involved in this documentary is in line with his commitment to combating human trafficking…“This film will definitely wake the public up in regards to human trafficking that should be named modern-day slavery,” Owens said.  “These predators take possession of [their victims], and force and coerce people to do things they don’t want to do”…

You mean, like cops and other government agents do? Or do you mean a different kind of taking possession of people and forcing & coercing them to do things they don’t want to do?

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Equating the temporary, paid provision of sexual services to the “buying and selling of human beings”…only makes sense if you also think paying your hairdresser, landscaper, and barista are forms of slavery.
–  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality

I don’t think this is as much a “subculture” as it is a few isolated psychos inspired and encouraged by “sex trafficking” hysteria, and perhaps in some cases even created by it:

In March 2014, Steven Currence gave undercover agents a grand tour of the dungeon hidden inside his Montana home.  The subterranean hellhole contained a heavy wooden cross…The walls were covered in whips, chains, and torture devices.  Currence boasted of blacking out the windows to dash any hopes of escape…One kidnapped woman would sleep in the basement torture chamber, while the other would be chained to his bed—with a chain long enough to reach the bathroom…Currence believed he would soon purchase the women from the agents, who posed as human traffickers…the feds cuffed him two months later when he traveled to Arizona to buy two women at what he believed was a slave auction…he was one of four men nabbed in an FBI sting operation targeting an extreme slice of the human trafficking underworld: people seeking sexual and domestic slaves…The goal was to find any victims who might need to be rescued. “We didn’t find any victims…but the market is definitely there”…

If the market is “definitely there”, why didn’t they find any victims?

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

Gary Mariner, the son of a one-time…police chief, used his dead father’s badge and a gun to intimidate a prostitute in Portland last month into [submitting to rape]…Mariner…picked up the 25-year-old [woman] in his car…and told her, “It’s not (your) lucky day,” as he showed her the…badge…He allegedly told the woman that he had been called back from retirement to work for the Maine State Police as part of a special prostitution unit…

Real People 

The title and lede say it all: “Escorts describe first day at work in Reddit thread that dispels misconceptions about sex work…The vast majority on the thread describe their experiences as positive”.  Naturally, this surprises stupid people despite the fact that women like me have been saying exactly the same thing forever.

Higher Education

An Italian porn actor and director is starting an academy to teach aspiring adult film actors and actresses the tricks of the trade…Rocco Siffredi…will document his training in the reality show, Universita del Porno to air in Italy…Classes will be in session on the set of “Siffredi Hard Academy,” in which the porn veteran will instruct a group of 21 hopefuls on different techniques and tactics on how to be a believeable porn actor on screen…

The Course of a Disease

One can never have too many anti-Swedish model editorials:

…the Nordic approach has been packaged as “progressive” and “woman-friendly”.  However, it is completely untenable on three grounds:  first, the evidence of Sweden’s “success” at stopping prostitution is deeply suspect; second, the dangers to women’s health and well-being are ignored; and third, “gender equality” becomes an imposition on people’s rights, namely, those established through contractual agreements…Prohibitionists have lauded the act’s achievements, claiming that it has reduced prostitution…deterred male clients and changed societal attitudes toward prostitution.  In reality, however, sex workers in Sweden have begun using other means to find clients, and vice versa…Sweden’s claim of “successfully” decreasing the demand for sexual services appears highly unlikely since it is impossible to monitor every transaction or sexual encounter…

Above the Law 

Fake rapist cops like the one in “License to Rape” above are often convicted; real ones usually aren’t:

A South Florida cop accused of raping a woman at gunpoint while on duty was acquitted…after a jury determined she had asked for it and was merely acting out a fantasy by allowing the cop to penetrate her as she bent over the hood of his car.  After all, defense attorneys argued, the woman had posed for a photo back in high school where she bent over the hood of a car with her hands behind her back in a “strikingly similar position” to how…Stephen Maiorino…raped her…it is not clear how the photo was even admitted as evidence…Maiorino [claimed] the sex was consensual.  And his attorneys said that he even gave her his business card, indicating that he wanted to continue having sex with her.  They also said that because he did not bother cleaning up the DNA evidence from his uniform after they had sex – or try to hide the used condom later found at the scene – then it was obviously consensual.  However, the woman denies receiving his business card and said she was afraid for her life…

So Close and Yet So Far

I guess Dick Cady is pretty credible, for what he is:

The veteran journalist who co-authored a book filled with explosive allegations against the University of Louisville men’s basketball program said…that the escort he wrote with is “pretty damn credible.”  Dick Cady, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist based in Indianapolis, insisted that Katina Powell — a Louisville prostitute who claims a former Louisville staff member paid thousands of dollars and gave game tickets to her and other escorts…to provide sexual services to players and recruits — “never tried to back down or amplify or gussy something up…Every time we hit her with a new question or an explanation, she came through…I thought she was pretty damn credible for what she was”…

Dutch Threat

What’s Dutch for “bottleneck effect”?

Sex workers without brothel licenses will soon risk a prison sentence of up to six months…the Act Regulating Prostitution (WRP)…[will] criminalize all sex workers without a license, including independent prostitutes and camgirls/camboys. This is the first time that the Netherlands has criminalized sex workers…Many prostitutes are willing to work legally, but…because municipalities refuse to issue permits to them, more and more sex workers choose to work without a permit, often from their own homes.  The WRP considers these…brothel owners (operators) without a permit and allows them to be punished as such…

Monsters 

Nope, no hate here:

A transgender woman…was attacked by a group of men before being fatally shot…Police are treating the case as a homicide — not a hate crime — though that could change as the investigation continues…[Kiesha] Jenkins was jumped by five to six men, physically assaulted, then shot in the back…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#555) 

Take a good, hard look at who the “feminists” are in bed with:

The anti-porn activists at Morality in Media, recently rechristened the “National Center on Sexual Exploitation” (NCOSE), are launching a coordinated attack on human-rights organization Amnesty International (AI) for its support of decriminalizing prostitution…It’s also urging supporters to email, tweet at, and otherwise contact AI with the message: No Amnesty for Pimps…In NCOSE’s ideal world, protecting the “human rights or persons in prostitution” would involve throwing them, their employers, and their customers in prison…When not trying to diminish the human rights of sex workers, NCOSE also enjoys chastising the Department of Justice for not enforcing federal obscenity laws more aggressively, accusing shitty erotica of normalizing domestic violence, and calling out the American Library Association as a conduit for sexual exploitation…

Welcome To Our World (#559)

I’m awaiting apologies from those of you who doubted me:

…New York City nail salon owners and employees mobbed The New York Times’ office in protest of the paper’s coverage of their industry…Reporter Sarah Maslin Nir said she wanted to highlight the pervasive worker exploitation she [claimed] took place in the city’s Asian nail salons…New York authorities had been on a crusade since at least year to regulate nail salons more tightly…Nir’s article provided the impetus and public support enabling the city to do just that.  But you know who hasn’t been so psyched about the new worker “protections?”  The people who actually work at nail salons.  Because of citations and new regulations, some salons have been forced to close, costing the women who worked there their jobs.  Because of rules mandating extra pay for overtime work, manicurists saw hours cut back…

Business As Usual (#566)

Rapists sue because their names were revealed, thus warning potential victims:

Three [vice pigs] whose names were made public after prostitution busts at massage parlors are suing the city, county and state.  The [rapists]…claim that data on undercover officers is private and the defendants violated the Minnesota Data Practices Act…The prostitution busts got media attention when they were dismissed…after the judges said the [cops] went too far when they [raped] the [sex workers].  The police department has since suspended its use of undercover details in massage parlors.  The lawsuit says that since the [rapists’] names were disclosed, [they] and their families have received negative comments and have suffered “stress, anxiety, and emotional damage.”  [They] have also been harassed at work and their reputations have been damaged, the lawsuit claims…one of the [rapists] has been shamed because of [his committing rape] and “has been excluded from the ability to practice his religion [because rape is a sin]”…

FYI, the suppressed names of the three rapists are Steven Lecy, Christopher Reiter and Abubakar Muridi.

Where Are the Protests? (#576)

Well, that didn’t take long:

Motorists visiting car washes across North Wales are being “offered sex” by migrant gangs using them as a front for brothels…Such incidents are [claimed] to have occurred at three garages across the region with migrant workers allegedly inviting drivers to “go inside” and see two waiting women.  The head of a task force set up to crack down on human trafficking and modern-day slavery said there was a risk vulnerable people…could be targeted by unscrupulous traffickers who would force them into sex work…

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[As a sex worker] you either have so much agency that you can never be raped or you’re raped, in the abstract, every night.  –  Melissa Petro

Well, At Least They’re Consistent

Any charge, no matter how ridiculous and outmoded, will be pressed into service in the War on Whores:

Two [Wisconsn]…women face criminal charges as part of what Oshkosh police call an online prostitution ring.  Bailey M. Feustel, 20…and…Michelle J. Wescher, 23, [are] charged with prostitution by engaging in non-marital sexual intercourse, which carries a maximum sentence of nine months in prison…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

In January…Joshua Grubbs of Case Western, published…powerful research showing that seeing oneself as a porn addict was predicted not by how much porn one views, but by the degree of religiosity and moral attitudes towards sex….believing oneself is addicted to porn actually causes pain and psychological problems, in contrast to the idea that identifying as a porn addict is a part of a road to recovery…seeing oneself as a porn addict was strongly correlated with depression, anxiety, anger and stress…

The Pygmalion Fallacygynoids

Some people just can’t stand the idea of others having sex on their own terms:

According to a new paper, having intercourse with sex robots — a technology that’s not quite there yet, but easy to imagine in the decades to come — is unethical.  “I started thinking, ‘Oh, no, something needs to be said about this,’” Kathleen Richardson…said of her early research into sex robots that recreated what she called the “prostitute-john” relationship. “This is not right…extending relations of prostitution into machines is neither ethical, nor is it safe…the development of sex robots will further reinforce relations of power that do not recognise both parties as human subjects”…Richardson — with Erik Billing of the University of Skövde in Sweden, the co-creator of the Campaign Against Sex Robots — [pretends] that she is not anti-sex…

First They Came for the Hookers…

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?

A high school teacher in Ohio resigned…after her second life as an Internet porn star was exposed…Kristin Sundman worked as an assistant band teacher at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Kent.  But in her free time, the 31-year-old was better known online as “melodyXXXtune”…

Worse Than I Thought

I just love Elizabeth N. Brown:

Indiana’s attorney general…Greg Zoeller [pretends] that the demand for adult sex workers “fuels” child sexual exploitation somehow.  Nevermind the fact that most people seeking consensual sex with adults wouldn’t dream of raping children; they’re all deviants in Zoeller’s mind…”We need something that sends [a] message”…said Zoeller, who is proposing the creation of a mandatory minimum sentencing requirement for those who attempt to pay for sex in any way…the tougher penalties…may also include…[stealing the accused’s] cars…Expect to see more of this nonsense around the country, soon—the folks at the National Association of Attorneys General have been salivating at the chance to throw more people in our already-overcrowded jails…Florida last year became the first to stipulate a mandatory minimum sentencing requirement for solicitation.  Anyone convicted of a second solicitation offense must be sentenced to at least 10 days in jail and attend classes where they will receive counseling for sex addiction and be reeducated to see the evils of consensual commercial sex.

So Close and Yet So Far

Why must so many otherwise-decent pro-decriminalization essays contain asinine, insulting, female-agency-denying passages like this one?  “Beyond a doubt most women who enter into sex work are driven into it, either by desperation, coercion, or both…”  No, you asshole, that assertion is not “beyond a doubt”, as you’d know if you spent more time talking to sex workers than about us.

Checklist (#345)dumb trafficking app

I can’t help laughing at how seriously people take this drivel:

…The Lifeboat Project in Central Florida designed the ACT (Awareness Combats Trafficking) app.  It’s designed as a fun game directed mainly to 11 to 14 year olds.  But within the very interactive game lies a very serious message.  One part of the app asks the user to go through and identify potentially dangerous people in a mall…“For me as a survivor I was triggered so I had to leave the room while they were presenting it, because the examples were so real life,” said [“rescue” shill Katarina] Rosenblatt…State leaders like the app so much, they want to make it part of the curriculum in Florida schools…“I think it’s an excellent idea that very [sic] child should automatically have built into their phone,” said Rosenblatt…

Devil’s Advocate

It’s rare to see “authorities” admit that no actual crime was committed right in the official accusation: “A [California man] is scheduled to be arraigned today for using social media in pandering and attempted human trafficking and pimping of a fictitious minor girl…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#420) 

Politicians can’t keep their hands off of golden geese:

…Jack Williams of Alabama, where it is technically illegal to sell sex toys except under special circumstances, is trying to do with a bill that would levy a whopping 40 percent tax on “sexually-oriented materials” restricted for sale to adults in the state…Williams [pretends] the legislation…could bring in as much as $20 million…

Bread and Circuses 

“Authorities” literally destroy a man’s life because his wife sent him money she earned via consensual business transactions:

A woman in Hawaii is pleading guilty to sending her husband in New Jersey more than half a million dollars she earned working as a prostitute.  Khemwika Ernst pleaded guilty…to…conspiracy…and filing false tax returns…Ernst and her husband were indicted in March…Michael Ernst shot and killed himself a month later…

False Witness

Whether it’s a witness who wants to be helpful or one who has something to hide, the bottom line is that eyewitness statements are inherently unreliable and erratic.  Sometimes it depends on conditions …Other times, it comes…from police pressure.  We know that witnesses get it wrong, and that it convicts the innocent.  But once they are locked into a statement it’s even more difficult to get them admit any error.  In fact, they become more adamant about what they saw, heard, or said when none of it may be remotely true…while there are studies and experts on these innate problems, many courts won’t allow that testimony…because they have have determined that juries “should know” that eyewitnesses can be untrustworthy…Eyewitness testimony is outrageously inaccurate and biased, even under very controlled circumstances…

The Course of a Disease (#510)

Ireland is set to publish a bill…which will criminalise the purchase of sex, despite the recent vote by Amnesty International that sex work and prostitution should be decriminalised…The new legislation…has been described as a “huge step backwards” and likened to Ireland’s controversial blasphemy laws, which were enacted in 2009…

Rough Trade (#572) 

Melissa Petro on what some vile women refer to as “theft of services”:

…the man paid me what I was owed— $2,500—in bank checks.  I’d never even seen a bank check before.  I was so tired that I didn’t argue…Needless to say, the checks bounced…I felt humiliated that night, that morning—so I kept what had happened to myself…It took me four hours after reading Mitchell’s article to connect the disgust I felt to the fact that I’d experienced what she called “theft of services” …suddenly thinking of some random stranger who had ripped me off nearly a decade ago—someone I felt less strongly towards than I felt towards some random writer named Mary Mitchell, because I have always expected more from women than I have men…

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Crowding what I do into the larger umbrella of “sex work,” without its own name, makes it seem as if I’m supposed to experience what I do as shameful.  –  Charlotte Shane

What’s In a Name?

I agree with Charlotte Shane on words like “prostitute”:

I’ve called myself a prostitute for about as long as I’ve been one…it felt like the most accurate term given the service I provide, and I like the solidarity of it, the refusal to kowtow to class-related stigma or what is sometimes called the “whorearchy”…I believe the difference between “escort” and “prostitute” is that one term relies on euphemistic window dressing while the other is unapologetic and unashamed…I’m at odds with the party line in this stance, though…Increasingly, prostitute is…regarded as a slur…Taking euphemisms on permanently and in a political context, outside of marketing material or work-related correspondence, feels to me like ceding way too much power.  The state forces me to use certain language to protect myself in some contexts; I don’t want to willingly employ that language in all others…

Rough Trade MARY MITCHELL

One rather nasty side-effect of prohibition is that it gives moral retards like Mary Mitchell leave to vomit their odious bigotry all over the pages of major newspapers:

Authorities say Roy Akins went to Backpage.com and agreed to pay a prostitute $180 for sex.  When the unidentified woman showed up at his…home…Akins…pulled a gun.  I imagine most prostitutes in this situation would have run straight to a pimp.  But after leaving Akins’ home…the…woman called the police…I’m grateful [Akins] isn’t being accused of snatching an innocent woman off the street…the way this case is being handled makes it look like sex trafficking is a legitimate business…because this incident is being charged as a criminal sexual assault — when it’s actually more like theft of services — it minimizes the act of rape…For law enforcement to put what happened to a Backpage.com prostitute on a par with [real] rape victims…is an insult.

A few observations:

  • “I imagine most prostitutes…would have run straight to a pimp.” I’ll leave you to imagine what she’s doing while she “imagines” this.
  • Note the conflation of sex work and sex trafficking, and the badge-licking idolization of the clownish tyrant Tom Dart.
  • For another example of a woman using the “theft of services” slur, see the original of this title.
  • Given that last line, would Mitchell be more sympathetic toward the rape of a prostitute like me, who advertises somewhere other than Backpage?

Lack of Evidence

It’s rare to see someone attempt this defense with a straight face:

Lisa Marie Carroll, 34, was charged with one misdemeanor count of prostitution…Police [pretend] that she offered to perform various sex acts…for [specific] pricing…”I did not agree to have sex with that cop…I’m an escort companion and go on dates and sometimes clients make a donation and that doesn’t have to do with sex”…[a sleazebag cop accompanied her] to her room where…they both undressed and laid in bed.  The [cop then tried to get her to commit to specific prices for specific acts] “And I said, ‘No, honey.  This is not how this works'”…A little while later, [the cops invaded] her house…

She’s lucky; many Pennsylvania cops rape women in order to arrest them.

Harm Magnification

Kerry Porth discusses the Harper government’s campaign to harm as many people as possible via increased prohibition:

…After winning a majority government in 2011, the Harper government quickly…introduced mandatory minimum sentencing for drug possession…despite warnings from current and former law enforcement from the United States…and respected Canadian drug policy experts…the Harper government has waged a costly war against Insite…[and] established 26 new requirements…that are costly, onerous and designed to prevent future sites from opening.  Then…the…government…reintroduced the old laws [that the Supreme Court had struck down] and introduced a prohibition on the purchase of sex and the explicit advertising of sexual services for the first time in Canadian history.  Despite a great deal of florid rhetoric about the government’s desire to ensure the safety of sex workers, the real intent behind the new laws was memorably stated by Senator Donald Plett: “Of course we don’t want to make life safe for prostitutes; we want to do away with prostitution. That’s the intent of the bill”…

The Proper Study

a…new Canadian study…concludes the average porn user holds, if anything, more egalitarian views regarding women than non-users.  Many pornography aficionados might even be “useful allies” in women’s struggles for equality in work, income and public office, the researchers…argue…Taylor Kohut…and his colleagues analyzed data from 35 years of the General Social Survey…the 23 per cent who reported having watched an “X-rated” movie in the previous year were no more or less likely than porn abstainers to identify as feminists, or voice support for the traditional family.  And the blue-movie watchers expressed on average more positive attitudes toward women in positions of power, and less negative attitudes toward abortion and women in the workforce than those who refrained from pornography…

Divided We Fall

Unfortunately, this revolting attitude is not unusual among picket-fence queers:

…had there been a sequel to [Pretty Woman], it would have been salacious. We would watch Richard Gere struggle with the fact that his girlfriend was a confirmed whore and had been with hundreds, maybe even thousands of men…There would be a scene at a dinner party when other women were whispering about Julia Roberts, all of them knowing that she could be found at one time on Hollywood Boulevard spreading her legs for any man with $200 in his pocket…I have been poor…and never once was selling my ass an option…When you make a choice to work in the sex industry…you are immediately shrinking your dating pool…I would never subject myself to a How-was-your-day,-honey? conversation with a partner who took anonymous loads for a living…

Moloch

The robed simian who presided over this case planned to use this young man to “send a message” about having sex without a state license to do so; he should be caged for several years and then put on the “sex offender” registry for life.

A young man from Indiana who had consensual sex with a 14-year-old girl who told him she was [17] has been removed from Michigan’s sex offender registry pending his resentencing.  Zach Anderson [who was 19 at the time]…spent 75 days in jail after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.  He was given a five-year probation that banned him from using computers or the Internet and also had faced 25 years on Michigan’s sex-offender registry.  But…Anderson’s lawyer successfully argued prosecutors failed to remain neutral on a key part of the plea deal, which would have erased Anderson’s record if he stayed out of trouble…Anderson’s resentencing will be Oct. 21…

What “crime”? He had consensual sex with a physically-adult woman he believed to be a peer.  The concept of strict liability is an abomination in any civilized society.

They Still Don’t Get It

The jaw-dropping stupidity of this article takes precedence over the FBI money grab it talks about:

At the click of a mouse, almost anyone can buy a girl online, anytime…ads with identical phone numbers can be traced to other cities…a sign, police say, that the women are on the move with their traffickers.  Some ads even state “only in town for three days, special.”  That’s the pattern of traffickers, always on the move, according to…Charlie Benton, who is known locally as the foremost law enforcement expert on sex trafficking.  The ads give no clue, though, which women are being forced to sell themselves or are under 18.  And the men who often answer the phone aren’t about to volunteer that information…

Yes, that’s what touring looks like to the warped mind of a pig obsessed with BDSM masturbatory fantasies involving adolescents.  Guys, have you EVER called an independent escort’s ad and had a man answer?  Ever?  It’s almost idiotic enough to distract the reader from the FBI agent asking for more money to fulfill his sick dream of attempting to entrap and cage literally every single escort on Backpage.

Reframing

So Close and Yet So Far

Why do so many would-be allies insist on including vile, insulting garbage like this in otherwise-supportive essays?

…You may not approve of prostitution, and many quite reasonably do not.  It raises serious, ethical questions.  Having sex with people for money is degrading.  It transforms an intimate and private act into a commercial transaction.  It can pose a threat to those involved, especially women…

Torture Chamber 

This is what our society refers to as “correction”:

…Gesnerson Louisius…was slammed in the back of his head with a bar of soap stuffed inside a sock.  Six inmates pinned him down, and one grabbed him by his throat, as two others dragged him across the carpeted floor by his ankles…The young prisoners, between the ages of 18 and 20, kept demanding that he pay them money to stop the beating, but Louisius refused…The extortion ritual is so common and well known by both inmates and corrections officers that it has a name.  It’s called a “test of heart”…Hakiem Blount, 18, grabbed a broom and began pushing it into Louisius rectum…as far up as he could push it…there were no video cameras in the room, and the one corrections officer assigned to the dorm that afternoon was inexplicably nowhere to be found…Louisius…lost a lot of blood.  His rectum was ruptured and he underwent an emergency colostomy…he…served out the rest of his three-year prison term while wearing a colostomy bag, and had five or six surgeries in prison that likely cost Florida taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars…

Uncommon Sense (#557)

The Professional Association Erotic and Sexual Services [of Germany] (BesD) criticises the draft bill by the Ministry for Family Affairs for a “Prostitutes Protection Law” in the strongest terms…the BesD concludes, “A law that pretends to aim at strengthening the right to self-determination of a group of people but then denies them the maturity to make their own decisions, attempts to paternalistically ‘protect’ them from those decision, needlessly interferes with their basic rights, and that, quasi in passing, also creates regulations to save society from this group of people, allegedly in need of protection, via arbitrarily expandable ordinances…should be rejected in its entirety.”  Instead, the association calls for a complete decriminalisation of sex work…

R.I.P. Candida Royalle 

Elizabeth N. Brown on Candida’s legacy:

Candida Royalle is the kind of sex positive, free-speech-friendly artist and advocate that…is…relatively rare in feminist circles…[she] founded the (now defunct) nonprofit Feminists for Free Expression (FFE), which described its mission as “working to preserve the individual’s right to read, hear, view and produce materials of her choice without the intervention of the state ‘for her own good'”…The group opposed speech-censoring legislation; defended free speech in court cases, on college campuses, and in the media; and opposed the book, movie, and music banning efforts that were popular at the time.  Royalle and FFE’s other leaders believed that “freedom of expression is especially important for women’s rights” and that the suppression of sexist messages “will neither reduce harm to women nor further women’s goals”…

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The enforcement of anti-trafficking laws…[has always grown] the power of the state while criminalising the behaviour of migrating women.  –  Jessica Pliley

Whore Madonnas

Social wisdom would have us believe that sex industry workers are terrible parents who routinely jeopardize their children’s safety by bringing “perverts” around, leaving them to raise themselves, and setting an example of depravity.  Social wisdom is INCORRECT.  Children of sex workers…are more likely to be level-headed, socially aware, critical thinkers.  Rather than putting their parents through a lot of grief, they are strong allies of their parents.  Gutsy, confident, young people who speak their minds and care about others…

The Red Umbrella 

Gail Brown…worked as a private escort and [Warren] Mann, a long haul truck driver, was a regular client.  But Mann fell in love and wanted a relationship.  When she wouldn’t give him that, he flew into a cold rage and tried to kill her July 26, 2012.  Brown’s teenaged daughter, Kayla…ran into her mother’s room…as Mann straddled her and repeatedly smashed her head on the floor…she ran for help while Mann made an eerie 911 call…to report [himself]…Brown’s liver was busted into multiple pieces, she suffered severe head trauma, her throat and larynx were crushed…For two months, Brown lay in coma…her memory is poor, her health is bad, and she suffers permanent physical and emotional pain, she can still walk, although with a limp…

My Readers Write Kirsten Gillibrand

Absolute genius from Mark Draughn:

Last summer, on June 28th, I saw Arizona Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand place an 8-week old calico kitten in a DeWalt 5-quart blender and press the start button, killing it instantly. She then feasted hungrily on the bloody remains, consuming the poor creature, scales and all. It is the single most vile act of animal cruelty I have ever witnessed, and by coming forward now, I hope to put a spotlight on the problem of animal cruelty…

And it gets much, much better from there.

Full of Themselves (#4)

One of the latest examples of shaming strippers comes from a community that appropriates stripper traditions, but vehemently denies any association with the sex industry. Many pole dance hobbyists, or women who practice the pole dancing fitness trend, are on a mission to distance themselves from exotic dancers.  That’s what happened last weekend in Beijing, when competitive pole athletes at the World Pole Dance Championships set the record straight to the AFP that their sport is inspired by ancient Indian and Chinese dance traditions and has absolutely no relationship to strippers who might claim otherwise…

Above the Law 

This article is no surprise to regular readers, who know that cops commit rape at a rate several times that of men in the general population.  But it’s nice to see SOMEBODY in the media acknowledging that rapist cops aren’t “a few bad apples” engaging in “isolated incidents”:

…sexual misconduct is the nation’s second most reported allegation of officer misconduct, according to a 2013 report by the Cato Institute.  Nevertheless, broad narratives of police brutality tend to ignore both female victims and the often specific nature of the violence leveled against them in favor of focusing on the highly visible use of weapons to kill men…Women are subject not only to differential forms of violence by police, but also to entrenched stereotypes surrounding sexual assault, which may further inhibit their seeking justice for this abuse…

The Widening Gyre 

This rather ordinary anti-streetwalker nonsense bears clear signs of infection by “sex trafficking” tropes:

…[Luton] residents who say the area has become a “designated hub” for prostitution…The police, who are two years into a five-year anti-prostitution strategy, said they have seen “significant improvements” in ending the trade…Mr Khadam said:  “The new girls are teenagers and one of them I saw was quite short only about 5’2” and I am quite concerned about that”…Matt Ryan said:  “High Town has become a processing hub/centre for street prostitution”…Wendy Walker…said…”You get kerb crawlers stopping and asking if you want business, even if you are a disabled, old pensioner or a pregnant woman.”  A Bedfordshire Police spokeswoman said…”The operation has also resulted in the detection of other criminality…including alcohol and drug-related crime and anti-social behaviour…Our multi-agency approach aims to support women to leave sex work and to lead crime free, healthy and happy lives.”

busybodiesIt’s hard to pick the funniest part of this; is it the cop pretense that the world’s oldest profession can be “ended” by cop violence, and in 5 years no less? Is it the old lady’s sexual fantasy that punters still find her desirable? Or is it the notion that a woman who’s 5’2″ tall must be a teenager?

So Close and Yet So Far

Dear would-be allies, please talk to the actual experts on sex work – sex workers ourselves – before belching up a bunch of asinine myths, bogus statistics and wrongheaded opinions in an attempt to speak up for us:

It often feels like the only barrier is a society of puritanical simpletons, but there are legitimate concerns…If legalized, the unsafe, archetypal pattern of pimp and hooker and trick could be readily dissolved.  In a study of 854 street prostitutes, 95 percent had been physically assaulted and 75 percent raped.  This exploitative model could be easily transformed to the healthier brothel system.  Nevada is already ahead of its time with 19 legal brothels, all requiring condoms and weekly tests for sexual transmitted diseases…pragmatic legalization could end the unhealthy reality of street hooking…

Bread and Circuses 

The “sex trafficking” circus needs victims to die for the crowd’s satisfaction:

…the FBI…trumpeted the federal jury conviction of “sex trafficking ring leader” Hortencia Medeles-Arguello, a 71-year-old Houston woman…was…found…guilty of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, conspiracy to harbor aliens, aiding and abetting to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  She…faces life in prison.  The feds also seized $2.5 million in assets…So who is this apparent criminal mastermind, and how did she oversee an enterprise involving at least 13 sex-traffickers and countless trafficking victims?  Well, she owned a bar. And she didn’t ask too many questions about what people were doing in rented rooms upstairs…The FBI contends that Arguello “should have known” that some of those selling sex in her establishment “were either underage or victims of the beatings by their pimps”…

There will be many more such travesties before this is over, and they’ll rot in prison for about two decades until their convictions are reversed as those of Satanic panic victims have been.

Here We Go Again (#504)

The more of Jessica Pliley’s work I read, the more I like her:

In its 140-year history of fighting sex trafficking, the United States has always prioritised law enforcement, border control, and national security over aid to victims or concerns about privacy…the Immigration Bureau sought to build a stronger moral wall at the border in order to better identify sex workers who were evading the law.  It asked Congress to fortify the 1875 law with the Immigration Acts of 1903, 1907, 1910, and 1917.  Combined, these outlawed the importation of sex workers, women coming for other “immoral” purposes, and men demonstrating “moral turpitude”.  They also made the acts of procuring, pimping, and sex work deportable offences.  With each additional law, the Immigration Bureau found itself in need of more manpower to carry out its mandate, surveilling the borders and the interior of the country in order to ensure both remained secure…

Marching Up Their Own Arses (#525)

The truth about the anti-whore “reality” show, 8 Minutes:

…one woman, who goes by Kamylla…received a call on her work number from the producers of the show, who immediately identified themselves as such (this is in contrast to the premise of the show, which implies that the women believe they are coming to a normal appointment)…She agreed to tape a segment for the show, in which she said she wanted help getting out of the business…She never heard back from them, and instead reached out herself, but no meaningful help was to come.  Kamylla found herself broke and needing to work again.  She posted an ad…and was arrested in a sting.  Now she was broke, frightened, and facing criminal charges, and when she reached out for help from 8 Minutes, Brown offered to pray for her…Kamylla wrote to Dan Savage after seeing a mention of the program on The Stranger’s blog, and Savage put her in touch with prominent Seattle sex worker activist Mistress Matisse.  Matisse leapt into action and began soliciting donations from trusted friends to help Kamylla with her immediate crisis.  Other members of the community soon followed: Domina Elle and Tara Burns helped create a website to tell her story…Kamylla’s own description of her experience in this Storify…[makes] it clear how little help she received in exchange for being fodder for reality TV…

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If sex has no value, how can prostitution be illegal?  –  Beaufort Observer

The Biggest Whores

Quite possibly the stupidest statement ever made about sex:

North Carolina government officials who are having secret sex with lobbyists need fear no more:  The state’s ethics commission has decided such illicit relationships are completely fine…The opinion…essentially says that…Sex has no value…and so it doesn’t need to be disclosed…In an editorial published under the headline “Has the State Ethics Commission made prostitution legal in North Carolina?” the Beaufort Observer denounced the…idea that sex has no monetary value….[and] suggested that the latter idea may lead to the legalization of prostitution…

Surplus Women 

Dominick Everson admitted to police that he hired Ezrhea Danyell Cherry…[and claimed he] paid [her] before…sex…[but when] he pulled out “a wad of money” to tip [her, she] pulled a gun on him and told him to give it up.  Everson [claims]…he [then] pulled a gun of his own and opened fire, striking the woman once in the front and three times in the back.  He then fled from the scene in Cherry’s car…During a different interview, Everson told authorities that he didn’t kill the woman at all, and that another man [did]…When prosecutors pressed Everson about why the gun supposedly carried by Cherry wasn’t found, Everson replied that the police had not done a thorough enough investigation.

Gorged With Meaning

The idea that men paying for women’s company is “unconventional” is so naive it’s hilarious:

A controversial website is connecting…men with young women for cash…is it safe?  Is it even legal?…the average sugar baby receives about $3,000 in monthly allowances…legal analyst Gil Soffer…says this is a legal grey area…It’s fulfilling unconventional needs in a 21st century way.

These articles all contain quotes from “experts” pontificating on the obvious:

…“I absolutely think this is prostitution,” says Laura Killinger, a…former prosecutor…“They have sugar-coated this type of prostitution so that it seems so much more socially acceptable…As a prosecutor, I wanted to take legal action against this activity…but it would take tremendous resources…to make…a misdemeanour case”…

Above the Law 

Sometimes “authorities” completely get away with serial rape:

A prison doctor in New Mexico sexually assaults inmates with rectal exams for everything from tooth pain to toenail fungus, seven inmates claim in lawsuits…Dr. Mark Walden regularly performed “digital rectal exams” for no legitimate medical reason, sometimes without wearing gloves, and fondled them inappropriately…When…asked the doctor…”claimed he was milking the plaintiff’s prostate and other medically nonsensical responses”…wardens and prison staff knew about the sexual assaults but did nothing to stop them…complaints and reports…were either ignored, “lost,” or met with retaliation…

And sometimes they only mostly get away with it:rapist cop Jonathan Bleiweiss

A…Florida [cop] has admitted to [raping] undocumented immigrants…Jonathan Bleiweiss…pleaded guilty to…14 counts of armed false imprisonment, 15 counts of battery and four counts of stalking.  However, he avoided all of the charges with [the word] “sex” in them…and as such will not be required…to register as a sex offender…

Profound Ignorance

Clueless academic makes stupid, ignorant statements about sex work; Elizabeth N. Brown calls him on them:

…In a new Iowa Law Review article, “Prostitution 3.0“, University of Colorado law professor Scott Peppet…[lays] out the myriad benefits of a “technology-enabled sex market” as well as the legal barriers that “inhibit prostitution-related innovation” in America…the legal climate prevents innovation that could make the industry safer and more socially acceptable, and then this danger and stigma is used to justify continued prohibition…Unfortunately, Peppet’s ultimate vision here is “legalizing Prostitution 3.0 while criminalizing the purchase of sex outside of Prostitution 3.0’s parameters”—which seems far from the lofty liberalism and freedom-of-contract ideas Peppet pays lip service to…It’s a vision that seems predicated on a strange sort of techno-utopian statism, and a disappointing one for those of us who believe prostitution problems stem from black markets and state interference.  In a nice response article…Scott Cunningham and Todd D. Kendall argue similarly, writing that “most of the social problems associated with prostitution are not inherent to the industry, but they are the logical result of the prohibition itself, a conclusion supported by the fact that other, similar, markets not subject to a prohibition experience few of the problems associated with prostitution”…

So Close and Yet So Far

If you’re going to argue against bad sex work laws, it’s probably best if you eschew language like this:

Selling sex is clearly not a job many people would care to have…If you criminalize the pimps, then it means women cannot be compelled into selling their bodies for sex, right?  Wrong…Some prostitutes will be people who freely choose to engage in prostitution; many, however, “have no meaningful choice…Whether because of financial desperation, drug addictions, mental illness, or compulsion from pimps, they often have little choice but to sell their bodies for money”…The new laws…do not protect women from violent johns…

Blunt Instrument

Three massage parlors were shut down in Lomita [California using the excuse of]…exploitation of women and human trafficking.  Although no violations of that nature were found, each business was cited for poor record keeping on matters [of red tape]…Fines could cost the businesses thousands of dollars.  They will remain closed until they [fork over the tribute]…Deputies [pretended that]…the operation [was] in response to complaints from residents…

Shame, Shame

Tracy Clark-Flory interviewed sex workers, including me, for this article on police body cameras:

…Naming and shaming…has a long history in sex work policing.  Police departments have routinely published sex worker photos in local newspapers…”I can’t help but wonder what would have been done with the footage had such a camera been rolling at the time of my arrest,” says Maggie McNeill, who was caught in a sex work sting in 2005…”The potential for shaming is staggering, especially given that sex workers are very often nude or nearly so when the police spring the trap—I was…It’s one of the reasons stings so often employ such huge mobs of cops—15 in my case—when two or three would do…The mentality in play is like a low-level version of a gang rape, a group of thugs bonding over sexual humiliation of a woman…I have absolutely no doubt that particularly juicy video clips will end up in cops’ private collections to be traded between them, even if some authority decides that such clips will not be publicly released,” she says…Audacia Ray…of the…Red Umbrella Project…is worried about body cameras being “used as a tool to shame people who are being arrested…police often make sexual or degrading comments at women as they are arresting them”…”We have strong concerns about what malicious third-party content producers might do with records of police encounters,” said Matt Kellegrew, the lead staff attorney for Red Light Legal…”My worst fear is some type of sex-worker-shaming-meets-Cops-style slander/shock videos popping up”…

Drawing Lines Sheri's Ranch

a press release…from…Sheri’s Ranch, a licensed brothel in Nevada…was…incredibly vile, self-serving (even by PR standards) and stigmatizing to sex workers…We’re used to seeing efforts to deride and harm sex workers, and ugly, flagrant whorephobia, from radical feminist and anti-sex nut jobs like Melissa Farley and Gail Dines, but this one came from a business…that profits off the efforts of sex workers…“We’re concerned that sugar dating websites, platforms promoting prostitution and operating without interference from law enforcement, may one day negatively impact our legal prostitution business.”  This is what our friend Maggie McNeill calls “badge-licking”.  What sex worker on the planet — and what individual citizen, for that matter — thinks that increased interference in their lives or business by law enforcement is a good thing?  While, I give them points for honesty on the “we’re concerned” this will hurt our business bit, the whole thing sounds as though Sheri’s is trying to smear its  competition.  And by “competition” we mean, other sex workers…

Deafening Silence (#415)

End result of prohibitionism: more women are pushed into sex work:

The sex industry that once thrived in Dongguan [China]…has now scurried underground after the hammering of official raids and crackdowns seeking to eradicate the industry last year…Shops and parlors closed down; people were arrested by the hundreds…though places which once provided sex services were forced to close and all the businesses attached to them [were] damaged…sex workers remain…and work at home…[or on] the streets…some female residents who used to work at the region’s bars or catering businesses that failed to survive have become sex workers “for the better pay”…

BDSM (#505)

Just in case you think BDSM isn’t still heavily stigmatized, take a look at this remarkably stupid, impressively ignorant hate-screed:

Dr. Miriam Grossman…[says that] Fifty Shades of Grey teaches your daughter that pain and humiliation are erotic, and your son, that girls want a guy who controls, intimidates and threatens…The first thing you’ll hear from advocates of BDSM is that consent makes it all A-Okay.  That’s bullshit, folks.  Domestic violence shelters are filled to the gills with women who deluded themselves into thinking that intimacy involved consent to being abused…Somewhere along the way, it ends up like the bonding with one’s captor that occurs in Stockholm Syndrome…Young people…especially females, grossly underestimate the effect of sexual activity on their emotions…Men who habitually indulge in BDSM can also end up thinking that a woman’s “consent” to be abused excuses every abusive thing they might say or do to her…indulgence in…BDSM acts as an addictive drug.  It can render such men incapable of any sex that is not BDSM…

Harm Reduction (#506)

Another wake-up call to wives:

Monogamy is against most men’s biological nature.  But nest-building and settling down with one primary woman to raise a family is not.  He’s chosen you, not me.  He might see me as more fun, vivacious or sexual, but he sees you as the best candidate for wife, mother and life companion.  He takes you seriously; not me…he…would rather seek out a willing mistress than rock the boat with you by expressing his frustration at your loss of interest in sex…I’m basically a young, good-looking version of a therapist…[whom] he gets to fuck…

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Adults should be able to make their own choices—even if that adult is a woman.  –  Marty Klein

Rough Trade 

This would, of course, make prostitution stings legally rape (not that a cop would ever actually be prosecuted for it):

A man woos a woman to bed with tales of his riches, fast cars and a vacation home in Monaco.  But he actually lives in his mother’s basement…Under a bill recently proposed by a south Jersey lawmaker, such actions…could prompt charges of rape…Troy Singleton…introduced the bill…which would create the crime of “sexual assault by fraud,” which it defines as “an act of sexual penetration to which a person has given consent because the actor has misrepresented the purpose of the act or has represented he is someone he is not”…

License to Rape garbageman Trent Barker

As long as any aspect of sex work is criminal, whores will be vulnerable to cops and impersonators:

A Melbourne garbage inspector has been fined $1500 for impersonating a police officer in what a magistrate has described as an “amateurish” attempt to have sex with a prostitute…Trent Barker..told [her] he was a police officer investigating crime and prostitution…then showed the woman a radio, a binder and his council badge, which he claimed was a police badge…He then left the hotel after she refused to have sex.  Barker was arrested a fortnight later and sacked…

Welcome To Our World

[Georgia] Police raided an elderly woman’s home because they suspected that she was allowing people to play cards and bet money inside without government permission — an “illegal gambling house”…90-year-old Mary Helen…Morgan’s guests were [also] allegedly…paying [her] to serve them beverages…without government permission, oversight, or licenses.  [She] was charged with multiple crimes, including…disorderly house…and illegal alcohol sales.  Police charged or cited sixteen other adults with an array of other victimless crimes…[and seized] loot…[including] a gun, drugs, a 2004 Chevy Silverado…a 2003 GMC Yukon and trailer containing miscellaneous lawn care equipment…$4,100 in cash…alcohol, tobacco products, snacks and drinks…

Sales Pitch

Advocates for the Swedish Model claim that the law has led to declining numbers of buyers and sellers of sexual services.  However, according to Ann Jordan…the Swedish government doesn’t actually know…claims of its ‘success’ lack reliable evidence, and the source of such claims “is primarily the government’s initial and short English-language summary”…[which] cites a survey…[suggesting] that fewer men had bought sex compared to a 1996 study, but crucially omits the reservations expressed by the very person who conducted it:  Jari Kuosmanen…[who] explains…the lack of evidence…”There is nothing to support the claim that prostitution in Sweden has decreased…the problem is that politicians didn’t base the legislative change on research…

Profound Mental Disabilities

Funny how often relatives seeking revenge for BDSM relationships of which they disapprove focus on mental illness:

A [Connecticut] jury has awarded about $638,000 to a woman who sued a man she said had a sadomasochistic sexual relationship with her adult daughter…Mary Kortner…filed a civil sexual battery and assault lawsuit in 2006 against Craig Martise…saying her daughter wasn’t able to consent…because of her mental condition…In 2009, a jury found in favor of Martise.  In June, the state Supreme Court overturned that verdict and ordered a new trial…Kortner’s daughter…died in 2010 at age 39 from an undisclosed illness.  She was diagnosed with clinical depression, borderline personality disorder, bulimia and anorexia, and she twice tried to commit suicide…the state Supreme Court ruled that people don’t necessarily give up their ability to consent to sex, including sadomasochistic encounters, when they are placed under the legal conservatorship of others.  The court also said it is up to juries to decide if people are able to consent to sex…

Surplus Women

A Swazi sex worker has been killed in…South Africa by a client during payment at her residence.  Nomsa Dlamini (25)…was strangled and…robbed…The man is said to have paid with a R200 ($18) note…and asked for change.  [He attacked her when she]  took out her moneybag which contained a sum of R2000 ($180)…over eight…sex workers [were] killed in South Africa this year…

Profit from Panic Love146 profiting from panic

Rob Morris…established [Love146]…In its early years, the organization gained a certain amount of attention by building its marketing around [bogus] statistics, such as the [lie] that two children are sold into prostitution every minute.  But Morris knew that they were capable of much, much more.  So he started telling a [bullshit trafficking] story…[about one imaginary child “victim”]…The story went viral, sparking a grassroots campaign that generated worldwide awareness and hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.  Between 2007 and 2012, the organization’s total revenue grew from $1.1 to more than $2.6 million, and it now has permanent offices in the UK, Cambodia, and the Philippines…[bogus] statistics can make an impression, but [bogus] stories raise emotion …and emotion leads to action.

Profound Ignorance

Any study which equates sex work with “crime” is flawed from the forge:

Gina Neff…of…the University of Washington…noticed [that] “Uber took down data science blog post showing correlation between prostitution and ridership…“…The blog post in question…takes a somewhat lighthearted look at how Uber’s own ride data mashes up with local crime statistics…the team [found that]…“Areas of San Francisco with the most prostitution, alcohol, theft, and burglary also have the most Uber rides…

So Close and Yet So Far

I get that Alison Phipps really believes she’s on our side, but writing like this supports the fallacy that sex work derives from an “evil” which would not exist in an imaginary Utopia:

Sex workers are part of an industry which…is profoundly gendered and based on the commodification of sex and desire…they have unique insights into how gendered power relations and sexual scripts work.  Some…may tell us how these can be reworked and resisted…Others may have harrowing stories about being the target of the worst misogynist impulses of our culture

The “commodification of sex and desire” is not a bad thing, but a good one; it anchors sex solidly in reality instead of consigning it to the Rainbow Unicorn Candyland of “romance”.

Sex Work is Work

Prohibitionists are terrified of people realizing that sex work really is work:

The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) recently published an open letter to Associated Press Stylebook editor David Minthorn in response to an online campaign to replace the word “prostitute” with “sex worker” in AP’s 2015 Stylebook.  CATW and its allies oppose the phrases “sex work” and “sex worker” because they feel “these terms…legitimize prostitution as an acceptable form of work”…CATW’s letter also deploys…a litany of unreferenced statistics…[including the] statement:  “The average age of mortality of a person in prostitution is 34 years old”…[which was debunked by] Maggie McNeill…in 2011

It Looks Good On Paper (TW3 #340)

Here’s a little more on that religious brainwashing program to which Florida sex workers can be sentenced:

…“Turn Your Life Around” [is] a diversion program…[run by religious NGO] Selah Freedom…[and subsidized by the] Sarasota Police Department…[and] State Attorney’s Office…State Attorney Ed Brodsky [pretends this program is]…unprecedented…Selah Freedom recently moved into a larger [facility in which]…even more women [can be confined after being labeled as victims of]…sex trafficking…

Another Fine Mess (TW3 #435) fake base station setup

Though the technical aspect of this story is newsworthy in itself, the reporter seems to feel that sex businesses’ use of a new spamming technique transforms it from sleazy and annoying to sinister and frightening:

Spam text messages advertising prostitution are a nuisance to many people in…[China]…They have not disclosed their phone number to any strangers, but their phones are still mysteriously reached by unknown people…a fake mobile base station…is a device that can send out a powerful signal which forces all mobile phones in an area to disconnect from the legitimate base station…and connect to it without the owners’ consent…Most…can affect phones within a radius of around a kilometer and can send more than 20,000 messages per hour.  “We can send out all kinds of messages, such as adverts for property, private tutoring, financial services, stocks and [illegal businesses]”…[said] a cellphone spammer based in Shanghai…

Prudesville (TW3 #436)

If it weren’t for the fact that real women are harmed by Everett, Washington’s ridiculous crusade against coffee stands, the language deployed by cops and reporters in these stories would be hilarious.  The dark hints in this first one seem like something out of a film noir thriller, as though owner Carmela Panico was conducting an assassination business rather than just allowing tit-flashing:  “Everett PD says looking into Panico’s crime ring was one of their largest investigations.  ‘It was very important to…stop the criminal activity’, says Captain Bill Deckard…”  One can almost hear the reporter clutching her pearls as she informs us that “the sex acts are continuing” and her satisfied smugness when she informs us that the Everett Pimp Department is going to enrich itself by stealing both the coffee-making equipment and the money the women earned from their sexual labor.

Book Review:  America’s War on Sex (TW3 #440)

It looks like Dr. Marty Klein may be trying to make up for his long silence on sex worker rights:

…providers of erotic services…face enormous criticism and discrimination over their choice of work. One of the worst kinds…is the assumption that escorts are either coerced into doing their work, or that they’re too stupid to realize how bad it is for them.  That’s the basis for…so-called “rescue” operations…There’s some serious sexism in the idea that “escorts can’t be trusted to make adult decisions”…So it’s especially ironic that many would-be rescuers (including Gloria Steinem herself) call themselves feminists…Today’s coalition of feminists, conservatives, and even human rights activists are attempting to impoverish escorts’ lives as a way of defending “women’s rights.”  Their critiques are translated into criminalization, exclusion from social systems such as child daycare, and the prospect of discrimination in child custody battles or allegations of sexual violence…

A Procrustean Bed (TW3 #441)

For the second time since SeptemberThe New York Times profiles one of the state’s…”human trafficking intervention courts”.  This one, in Queens, sees…a large number of undocumented immigrants…This is…precisely the cohort that gets white-savior boners popping.  All those American-born sex workers on Twitter may insist they want rights not rescue, but surely these low-income, low-skill women are victims.  Surely they’ll appreciate state power being used to help rend them from their wretched lives.  Yeah, no.  The women the Times talked to…”said…that they did not feel like trafficking victims, but victims of the police…

He Said, She Said (TW3 #444)

Jian Ghomeshi, 47, former host of the internationally syndicated music and arts program Q…surrendered to police and was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one of choking…The charges follow a month-long police investigation into allegations that Ghomeshi…sexually assaulted and harassed several women…Ghomeshi [claimed]…it was…consensual [BDSM]…

 

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Morality cannot be determined by genitals.  –  Masruchah

Here We Go Again

“The Inside of the White Slave Traffic”, from 1913.  Enjoy, and marvel at how little the “sex trafficking” narrative has changed in a century.

Terminology

Here’s a glossary of the many types of sex workers in 1920s Berlin, including streetwalking dominatrices with extremely specific specializations:

The very first thing foreigners noticed in Berlin was its thousands of prostitutes, on the streets, in hotel lobbies, and seated at cafés and clubs.  How many women made their living selling sex in Berlin during the Golden Twenties is impossible to calculate, but estimates range from a low of 5,000 to the oft-published figure of 120,000 (not including the city’s estimated 35,000 male prostitutes).  It all depended on one’s definition of the term…Altogether there were seventeen distinct varieties…

License to Rape

A New Orleans police officer who was…booked with forcible rape was indicted…on additional sex crimes…Desmond Pratt Sr., a longtime homicide detective, was indicted on one count of sexual battery of a 15-year-old in 2001 and one count of carnal knowledge of a juvenile in 1997 or 1998…

Acting and Activism

Rape for ProfitHere’s actress Jada Pinkett Smith’s entry into the clueless celebrity division of “sex trafficking” fandom:  “Rape for Profit”, a “documentary” based on the premise that “there is a growing problem in major U.S. cities where girls as young as 12 years old are bought and sold as many as 15 times a night to service the desires of men.  Experience the shocking truth and follow several heroes as they fight this modern-day slavery and stop the next generation of buyers…” Yes, this was released in 2013, not 1913; I know it’s hard to tell.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

You’ve got to admire his chutzpah:

The…mayor [of Salvador Mazza, Argentina]…Carlos Villalba…was arrested…during a raid on a brothel as part of a case investigating human trafficking…[protestors] demanding that the mayor resign…threw eggs at the building where the town officials were meeting, and even traded blows with a group of municipal employees…the mayor said he believed he was at a family home…not in a brothel…

Lack of Evidence (April Updates)

A plan by the Education Agency of Prabumulih, South Sumatra, to include virginity tests as part of its high school admission requirements has drawn the ire of legislators and education experts, who say that such an exam is a violation of personal space and an obstruction to a student’s right to an education.  H.M. Rasyid, the chief of Prabumulih’s Education Agency…[said] increasing instances of premarital sex and prostitution among female students prompted the move…

Public Service Announcement

Michael Brooks sextingKansas City FBI agents have scrutinized allegations that an online relationship led to Councilman Michael Brooks being blackmailed into getting city tax dollars for a community event that never occurred…Brooks is a married father of four and a Baptist minister…[who] went to the FBI to report…[that a] woman he was involved with tried to extort $60,000 from him…[after] they…exchanged lurid pictures…

Nasty Words

Regular readers know that I dislike grotesque euphemisms for genitalia and sex acts, but love the history of language; apparently the latter is stronger than the former, because I thought y’all might appreciate these two charts of slang terms for both male and female genitalia over the past 800 years.  The Timeglider platform takes a bit of getting used to, but I figured it out in a few minutes so I’m sure you can as well.

Big Sister

Emasculated Icelandic journalist is absolutely shocked to discover that prohibition of consensual behavior doesn’t work any better in Iceland than it does anywhere else; he goes to a “champagne club” and pays for a stripper, then when he leaves claims to have been “flooded with a range of emotions from disgust, anger and shame, but they settle at simply feeling sullied.”  Retired call girl and blogger tells him that he isn’t fooling anyone but his neofeminist overlords, and maybe not even them.

Girls, Girls, Girls!

San Francisco’s celebrated, unionized and worker-owned peep show the Lusty Lady will close its doors…on September 2nd…due to a lease dispute…the group had negotiated a lower rent…months ago.  A new lease was signed and notarized by the co-op but not immediately returned by the landlord.  After a few months paying the lower rent, the landlord apparently reneged and went back to the higher rent, which the club didn’t have room for in their budget.  The landlord put off new negotiations until [August 19th, then]…notified [them that] they had to be out…[in] two weeks…”if someone out there has a miracle up their butt” they are encouraged to reach out to the Lusties at LustyLadyPR@gmail.com

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #11)German sex box

Zurich…unveiled a sex drive-in which local authorities say will enable them to keep closer tabs on prostitution…the nine so-called “sex boxes” are located in a former industrial zone…[and] will be open daily from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am, and only to drivers, who must be alone in their vehicle if they want to pass the gate…they will have to follow a marked route along which up to 40 prostitutes will be stationed.  Once they have negotiated a rate, they will drive to one of the…boxes…[which] will be equipped with alarms, allowing the prostitutes to make rapid contact with police if they are in danger…Zurich has spared no effort to encourage the prostitutes and their clients to leave the city centre and use the new site, making it as pleasant as possible…To avoid putting off clients, city authorities said they had no plans to install video surveillance or deploy police at the site permanently.  Social workers and security guards will be on hand, however…

Older press releases say most local hookers support the plan; as Laura Agustín points out, however, any attempt at regulation creates some bottleneck:

…whenever this sort of plan arises…numerous street workers simply refuse to transfer their activities to the regulated zones, which are always far away from bustling areas if not in downright deserted ones.  Instead, they move into some other commercial/residential neighbourhood, where the cycle begins again…

An Example To the West (TW3 #39)

over…100…teenage boys…whose mothers are [sex workers]…will be part of 14 [soccer] teams [in Kolkata]…the winners of the tournament, organised by DMSC, will receive soccer-related gear.  Surojit Bhattacharya and Bishwajit Nandi, two children of sex workers left August 2 for Poznan, Poland to represent India in the Homeless World Cup that began August 10…

So Close and Yet So Far

I don’t know if anyone at the American Jewish World Service read my critique of Ruth Messinger’s statements about sex work and “trafficking”, but they’ve prepared a splendid document called “Sex Worker Rights: (Almost) Everything You Wanted To Know But Were Afraid To Ask”, in which neither I nor several other activists could find a single fault (and believe me, we were looking).  Bravo, AJWS; welcome to the ranks of true allies!

Backwards Into the Future (TW3 #41)

Malawian lawyers recognize “avails” laws as relics of the “white slavery” hysteria; why can’t American ones get that?

…no provision in the Malawi Penal Code criminalises the selling of sexual services…yet…some police officers in Malawi appear to be operating under the assumption that sex work is illegal…based on an interpretation of [a] section…which prohibits a woman from living on the earnings of prostitution…The [law]…can be traced back to 1912…[and] unsubstantiated allegations of women being trafficked to colonies for the purpose of prostitution…

Tyranny By Consensus (TW3 #51)condoms

There has been a development in the porn industry’s lawsuit to overturn the Los Angeles “condoms in porn” law:

…Judge Pregerson has decided that condoms in porn do not violate the First Amendment…[but] much of Measure B does violate the Constitution…he has…[removed] the County’s ability to [charge a fee for,] suspend or revoke [a filming] permit…[or] conduct warrantless searches of producers…a fine or criminal penalties could not be imposed without a judicial hearing.  The Court also…[found] that Measure B does not define adult films sufficiently since…activities such as kissing…could possibly transmit disease…

Skin To Skin

Tauriq Moosa on sex workers and the disabled:

…sex workers’ services shouldn’t only be recognised in the light of people with disabilities, but people with, say, psychological hangups, and so on…This doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with people who choose sex workers because they “can’t get” anyone without paying for it – just as people don’t “resort” to online dating…seeking out sex workers is nothing to be ashamed of; it’s not wrong, or indicative of being a failure, deviant or a slightly off human being. However we find fulfilment, as long as we are not harming others, shouldn’t be an issue and we should celebrate that there are people, like sex workers, helping and facilitating this…

The End of the Beginning

The North Carolina law banning registered sex offenders from commercial social networking sites…that children can use is unconstitutional because it’s vague and violates free speech, the state Court of Appeals ruled…unanimously in vacating the additional felony conviction of a registered offender…[who] created a profile…on Facebook…

A War for Peace (TW3 #321)Amina doesn't need dimocracy

First she had no last name, then we were told it was “Tyler”; now as the Topless Tunisian announces she’s leaving Femen, I think we’re at last getting the real one:

Amina Sboui…was arrested in Kairouan [on] May 19…after she tagged the word FEMEN on the wall of a cemetery.  The group then held several protests to support her…but now that she’s been released after more than two months in prison, Amina has decided to leave FEMEN, calling it “Islamophobic”…[she also said] “I do not know the movement’s sources of funding.  I repeatedly asked Inna [Shevchenko]…but she refused to give clear answers…What if it was Israel that funded it?”…

Ad Absurdum

I find the repeated usage of the word “victim” herein to be especially grating:

Kaitlyn Hunt…was arrested again…Under the conditions of a pretrial court order, Hunt was forbidden from contacting the victim…[and] was offered a plea deal to lesser, nonsexual charges…[but] the state attorney’s office withdrew that offer…following allegations that Hunt repeatedly met with the victim and sent sexually explicit photos via the Internet…

More Harm Than Good

Given that Sam Woolfe believes that sex workers are dominated by “pimps, drug dealers and traffickers”, that we’re diseased and too stupid to care for our own health, that our work is “degrading”, and that legalization increases “sex trafficking”, one has to wonder what the “legalization” he advocates would look like.  And given that he apparently had the time and inclination to fill his head with bogus studies and made-up statistics, one is at a total loss to understand why he wasn’t able to locate the readily-available debunking of the garbage he spouts in this asinine article, or to simply consult with someone who actually knows something about the subject before writing it.

Cuckoo Advertising
Ashley Madison 36 hours of bullshit

Ashley Madison is at it again, and the credulous media are still swallowing their ads as “press releases”.  This time it’s ABC-TV’s Good Morning America show, opening wide for the claim that the average woman who joins the site is in bed with some “lucky” dude about 36 hours after joining; hiding in that comparatively-minor assertion’s shadow is the whopper that 40% of the site’s members are female (though in all fairness, we don’t know how Ashley Madison defines the words “member” and “female”).

But Brandon Wade of Seeking Arrangement is not to be outdone; he wrote a “press release” touting the claim that 40,000 of the aspiring sugar babies on his site are teachers, and got the Daily Caller to buy it…thus plugging into the teacher fantasies of many a would-be sugar daddy, of whom there are undoubtedly more than a few among the Caller’s readers.

Zurvivor (TW3 #334)

Alexis Wright…doesn’t have to answer questions from prosecutors at the trial of alleged client…Donald Hill…Justice Roland Cole ruled Wright didn’t have to testify after her attorney argued her testimony could open her up to prosecution on new charges, including federal crimes and perjury…

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