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Posts Tagged ‘Somewhere in the Middle’

There is no “[sex trafficking] marketplace”, but rather all sorts of people selling and buying sex for their own reasons, some of them miserable.  –  Laura Agustín

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

San Diego County may not remove children from their homes and subject them to highly intrusive physical examinations without parental permission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled…The case stems from an April 2010 incident involving Michael and Melissa Mann and their four young children.  The Manns had apparently spanked at least one of the kids with a wooden spoon as a form of punishment…The county [abducted] the children…and [held] them in [custody]…while the parents went to court to regain custody…a doctor performed a 22-step medical exam requiring “blood samples and a gynecological and rectal exam…[including] separat[ing] the labia and look[ing] at the hymen”…County officials did not obtain a court order authorizing these examinations, nor did the parents sign off.  Indeed, the Manns didn’t even know [that]…their kids [had been molested] until one of them said something about it later…

Real People 

Universities are very slowly beginning to turn toward sex worker rights:

…Lady Lola Lightning…a 23-year-old [NYU] sophomore and Salem, Massachusetts native started playing with Periscope just five months ago….[and has] gathered a loyal following as a webcam model…she doesn’t use toys or do too many tricks; she just strips down and has a raw chat with viewers…along with her new job as a stripper in Brooklyn, she is able to pay for her entire tuition and living expenses without support from her family…

Not To Be Taken Internally (First Updates of the Year)

Please, y’all, do NOT let non-doctors inject liquid silicone into your bodies, unless you want to die:

On October 15, 2018, a 28-year-old Australian-born Seattle resident named Jack Chapman, also known as Pup Tank, died…he…was…romantically linked to Dylan Ray Hafertepen, a well-known member of the Dom/sub pup play communities in San Francisco and, later, Seattle…Hafertepen[‘s]…Tumblr (as well as the Tumblr accounts of several of his pups) contained numerous images of their engorged scrotums, dramatically increased in size due to liquid silicone injections.  In one picture, Tank’s testicles dangle outside of his basketball shorts, his nuts roughly the size of two dodgeballs…Since World War II, cosmetic surgeons and back-alley “pumpers” have offered liquid silicone injections as a quick and dirty form of plastic surgery…But such injections aren’t approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for cosmetic procedures because of adverse reactions.  Sometimes they harden into painful masses that appear like wormy tumors under the skin.  Sometimes the surrounding tissue gets infected…Other times, stray bits can travel through the bloodstream, causing [fatal] embolisms…Numerous articles have discussed trans women who end up disfigured or dead because of silicone injections by unlicensed pumpers.  But few mention the pumpers who offer silicone injections for gay men…Tank died from “silicone embolism syndrome”…[which] led to “pneumonitis”…bleeding in the lungs…and eventually…death…

The article is very long and very detailed, and describes what looks to me like a very abusive BDSM relationship.  But it wasn’t the emotional & psychological abuse which killed Chapman/Tank; it was misuse of a substance which has caused the deaths of many seeking quick, cheap body modification without proper medical safeguards.

The Notorious Badge

Looks like I’m not the only sex worker writing horror with sex worker characters:

Award-winning screenwriter Isa Mazzei did not have a welcoming introduction to the movie industry.  “I’ve…never been more sexually harassed than trying to sell this film in Hollywood,” she [said]…Mazzei, a former cam girl, has written one of the hottest horror movies on this year’s genre festival circuit.  Cam, which will debut on Netflix later this month, drags the audience inside the paranoia and perils of being an internet star.  Her success in creating a believable yet terrifying online dystopia was bolstered by its roots in Mazzei’s real fears, including the risks of being harassed, hacked, doxxed or assaulted…Mazzei had to endure the sleaze of movie execs who believed they could harass and belittle her because of her previous  sex work.  Lots of them asked her to share details from her past life, some suggested she was only credited as the screenwriter as a gimmick to help the pitch, while one owner of a Hollywood agency went so far as to write an alternate ending to the semi-biographical movie that included himself and Mazzei inserted into the script…

No Difference

African campaigns against homosexuality are a lot like US campaigns against sex work:

The governor of…Dar es Salaam…launched an anti-gay crackdown…calling on [collaborators] to begin reporting homosexuals for round-ups to begin next week…homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania, with same-sex acts between men punishable by a maximum life sentence.  “These homosexuals boast on social networks,” said [governor Paul] Makonda, a fervent Christian and loyal ally of President John Magufuli.  “Give me their names,” he demanded. “My ad hoc team will begin to get their hands on them”…Anti-homosexual sentiment is rife in Tanzania…and…has increased since Magufuli’s 2015 election…AIDS clinics have also been shut down under Magafuli, accused of “promoting” homosexuality, while he has encouraged women to abandon birth control and have more babies…

Somewhere in the Middle (#425)

Kate Iselin on myths about clients:

…Films and television shows cast clients as either sinister perverts who slither around in the darkness…or drug-addled millionaires looking for more Barbie-lookalikes to fill their yachts with for the weekend…Sure, not every client is perfect.  Some are far from it.  I could share a horror story or two about some who…disregard [hygiene or] boundaries…But clients like these are, thankfully, rare.  The majority of people who visit sex workers — whether they visit strip clubs, brothels, see private workers, or simply download some good, old-fashioned porn — are as normal and average as you and me.  They have jobs, and hobbies, and families, and social lives, just like anyone else…I believe it’s the heavy stigma around sex work that carries over to our clients, too: it makes sense that someone who thinks sex workers are immoral and disgusting would also feel the same about the people who pay to spend time with us…the belief that our clients are bad people is damaging not only to our clients themselves, but to the sex industry as a whole…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

This is what a moral panic looks like:

The Drug Enforcement Administration [worked to drum up hysteria over] candy laced with marijuana and methamphetamine this Halloween.  The DEA St. Louis Division says there has been no [actual] threat, but [authoritarians are using the existence] of drug-laced edibles [in states where cannabis is legal to frighten the ignorant]…signs of marijuana or meth-laced candy include unusual wrapping, appearance, unusual colors, odd smell…candy…that is unwrapped or unmarked…

There has literally never been a case of a kid getting drugged candy in his trick-or-treat bag. Not a single one.  Every time the claim has been made, it turns out to be either an intentional hoax or some nefarious shit by the parents.

Full of Themselves (#787)

Puritanical language is an intrinsic part of any story about cops raiding massage parlors:

Police have posted notices at 18 massage parlors in Kent [Washington] saying that they will be shut down…after a monthslong [escapade involving vice cops getting happy endings at] businesses that they say were fronts for prostitution…some of the massage-parlor owners and employees have been charged with crimes and…[prosecutors] plan…to bring charges against any customers who engaged in prostitution…many of the businesses…were not licensed by the state and failed to follow regulations to protect the health and privacy of patrons…

“Fronts”.  “Prostitution”.  “Crimes”.  “Engaged in prostitution”.  “Regulations”.  And it’s pretty hilarious to see thugs pretending to give a shit about people’s privacy while simultaneously plotting to destroy their lives.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

It’s good to see “sex addiction” collapsing as an excuse for bad behavior:

A former WAFB employee who secretly recorded two female station employees using the restroom in 2017 was sentenced to four months in prison…Morgan McDermitt…must also register as a sex offender for 15 years. His wife, upon hearing the sentence…ran from the courtroom sobbing…Judge Beau Higginbotham initially sentenced McDermitt…to four years in prison…but then suspended all but four months of the sentence. In July, Higginbotham refused to accept a proposed plea bargain in the case that would have only placed McDermitt on probation…The judge asked McDermitt, who sought sex addiction therapy after his arrest, why he did not seek help before he was caught…

Damned Lies (#866)

It’s good to see fact checkers demolishing politicians’ grandiose claims about Backpage:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton…[claimed to have] “shut down the world’s largest human trafficking marketplace”…The Texas attorney general’s office helped shut down the Backpage website, which is what another Paxton ad says.  However, the federal government led the shutdown and officials in other states pitched in.  Significantly too, we otherwise landed no confirmation that the Backpage site, which profited from ads about sex, also was the world’s largest trafficking marketplace–a classification that experts found dubious and unverifiable.  All told, we rate this statement Mostly False…

Suppression

This is especially important because other states are trying the same scam:

…Pennsylvania [prisons will]…allow…book orders to resume through a new centralized processing center…The [censorship plan] was…[pretended] to eliminate drug smuggling into the prisons, [when in actuality all contraband comes in via screws]…[Chief Screw] John Wetzel said the new procedure was a response to criticisms by book-donation groups…The new policy…allows family and friends to order books to be shipped directly from publishers or bookstores to a secure processing center in Bellefonte, Pa., where staff will screen books five days per week.  It also enables inmates to place orders directly from a hard-copy catalog…the book-donation groups still have concerns about how the new process will play out, including how the [prison system] will ensure the packages reach the inmates who requested them, intact with all supplemental materials…Sean Damon of Amistad Law Project, which led protests over the book prohibition…[is] not satisfied, as other new security measures — including the scanning and surveillance of incoming mail, and the photocopying of inmate legal mail — remain in place…

Traffic Jam (#877)

Remember that “threat” a Hawaiian prohibitionist claimed to have received from “pimps”?

The recent publication of a hyperbolic study that purported to show an “astronomical” level of demand for sex workers in the Hawaii was punctuated by…Police…respond[ing] to a call regarding a purported threat of physical violence against [prohibitionist politician] Khara Jabola-Carolus…police concluded that there had been no physical threat…[what actually happened was that during] a conference call…one [prohibitionist claimed to]…hav[e] received a…text message [from Dominique Roe-Sepowitz which in turn claimed] that…some person or persons were “trying to get Jabola-Carolus fired”…

Signs (#878) 

Another state mandates indoctrinating hotel workers into being anti-whore snitches:

A state mandate now aims to [harass] sex [workers] in Minnesota through the state’s hotel industry.  The law requires all hotel and motel employees to be [indoctrinated] in [anti-whore propaganda].  The training must be completed by Nov. 28.  After that date, all new employees must be [indoctrinated] within 90 days of hire…the signs to look for [include] guest[s traveling light]…or [with their children]…“There might be signs in the room – for example, that they…request extra sheets and extra towels, [and enjoy their privacy]” said Minnesota [prohibitionist]…Beatriz Menanteau…

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I’m hungry, I don’t need respect, I don’t need honour, I just want three meals a day.  –  Elderly Korean sex worker

Think of the Children! 

A teacher who describes note-passing as “scary”?  The jokes write themselves.

A…woman has been charged with prostitution at the Tewksbury [Massachusetts] Public Library…a…plain clothes detective claimed Brittany Macintyre…handed him a pen and…paper.  The two passed notes back and forth until she allegedly asked for $60 in exchange for a sex act…one library patron [said] “I’m quite shocked because a lot of kids come here and I’m a teacher, so it’s pretty scary”…

Feminine Pragmatism Bacchus-D

Koreans could once be sure that their children would look after them in their old age, but no longer…As a result, some elderly women are turning to prostitution…”Bacchus Ladies” [are] older women who make a living by selling tiny bottles of the popular Bacchus energy drink to male customers.  But often that’s not all they’re selling.  At an age when Korean grandmothers are supposed to be venerated as matriarchs, some are selling sex…they invested their savings in the next generation.  In a Confucian society, successful children are the best form of pension.  But attitudes here have changed just as fast as living standards, and now many young people say they can’t afford to support themselves and their parents…The government…is scrambling to provide a welfare system that works [but] in the meantime…[the elderly] have no savings, no realistic pension, and no family to rely on…

One Born Every Minute

A neuroscientist who claimed to have fathered 58 children while running [an]…insemination service preyed on three women desperate to become mothers by sexually assaulting them…during the…process…[Professor Gennadij] Raivich told one alleged victim she had to give him oral sex repeatedly in order to get a sperm sample.  He told another she was more likely to get pregnant if she orgasmed…

Tyranny By Consensus

Michael Weinstein [spoke to]…the press…on the…condom mandate bill…armed with what he claimed to be the smoking gun that justified his campaign to force condoms down performers’ throats…a survey done by the UCLA School of Public Health which, according to Weinstein, proved that there was a “public health danger” involving porn performers…Weinstein presented this “pictographic”AHF Porn Study Propaganda Graphic which attempted to…paint a picture of porn performers as oppressed, drugged out, abused, exploited, and basically unable to think for themselves…[so] the state absolutely had to step in and rescue them with condoms…Both AVN’s Mark Kernes  and The Real Porn Wikileaks  have done fine efforts to debunk this agitprop, but there are some points that even their efforts do manage to miss which deserve additional attention…

A Procrustean Bed (First Updates of the Year)

The evil clownishness continues:

[Rhode Island Senator] Gayle Goldin…is urging her…colleagues to…reject [a “sex trafficking” bill which]…conflates sex trafficking with prostitution…the bill as written could mean that [a] cab driver [who carries a whore to a call could be convicted of] sex trafficking…Goldin said [a] slight change [to her original wording] has fouled the intent of the legislation.  It “would mean that the penalties intended specifically for the traffickers could also be used to penalize sex workers themselves,” she [wrote]…

A Whore in Church

This is absurd on so many levels:

The Roman Catholic sisters whose convent fence-line is mere inches from a flashy new strip club…were unable to prevent the business from opening last year.  But they haven’t given up…and…the Village Board of Melrose Park voted to join the nuns…in a lawsuit against…Club Allure…and the Village of Stone Park, which granted its license to operate…One of the main arguments in the lawsuit is expected to center on a provision of state law that…prohibits such businesses from operating within 1,000 feet of a place of worship…

Broken Record

I don’t know what’s more pathetic, Rachel’s idea of “big events” or her mathematical illiteracy:

Soon hundreds of thousands will pack [Omaha, Nebraska] for the College World Series…any big event…creates a bigger opportunity for…prostitution…Rachel Davis escaped such a life 15 years ago…[and] now helps others get out…“During…the world series…the Olympic Swim Trials, the Berkshire meeting…quotas…go up to $2,000 a night”…

Damned If You Don’t

Among those arrested [in a Sacramento, California sting] was the Rev. John Oselsky…who…stopped at a fast food parking lot…to purchase a meal when he was approached by two women who knocked on his vehicle window…Oselsky…speaks fluent Russian, Ukrainian and Romanian.  But his English is not good…Oselsky never…offered money [and] had [only] $13 in his wallet…

An Example To the West (TW3 #39) Naked Football Club

Brazilian prostitutes…played a football match …in World Cup host city Belo Horizonte…to raise awareness about sex workers’ rights…the women set up an impromptu pitch using traffic cones for goalposts and played to the enthusiastic cheers of onlookers.  The prostitutes, calling themselves the Naked Football Club — though in fact they played in the green and yellow uniforms of Brazil — teamed up with the visiting evangelicals from the United States to take on a local university team…

Libertarianism Happens To People

Mark Shurtleff…Utah attorney general…set up a unit…[which] sent armed police to raid businesses that were suspected of employing undocumented workers…Shurtleff…also…[over]saw a dramatic increase in the use of SWAT teams and…opposed an important ballot initiative  to rein in the abuse of civil asset forfeiture…[now] Shurtleff…[is] under investigation for allegedly violating campaign finance law…and…”accused law enforcement agents of using ‘Dirty Harry’ tactics when they searched his house, breaking through his door and pointing automatic weapons at his children…

Somewhere in the Middle

Chris Atchison…[has] been studying [sex workers’ clients] for about 20 years…[and] doesn’t think…there is…such a thing as a “typical john”…”People who purchase sexual services come from all walks of life…[and] all racial and ethnic categories…they don’t all [have]…identical reasons or…identical needs…Some…are physically disabled.  Some of these individuals have great social stigmas, social-anxiety disorders.  And some are individuals who…just…are lacking a partner, a widower, and so on and so forth…most [clients] would never hurt their escorts, from whom they mainly seek “companionship”…

Check Your Premises (Hysteria on Parade)

Another warped view of touring:

…Taken from one hotel to the next, she’s been forced to have sex with men for money again and again.  And there are many more like her.  Hundreds of young women and girls are coerced into doing this on any given day, police…say.  Most are…sent along what’s commonly described as The Pipeline, which takes them to cities such as Montreal, here to Ottawa and all the way to Windsor.  Shipping girls along circuits such as The Pipeline is a crucial component to a trafficker’s success.  The constant movement helps pimps avoid police detection, isolates the women and girls from their family and friends, and attracts a larger clientele by offering up fresh-faced girls…

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #352) ritual shaming

dozens of prominent legal experts…are calling for the abolition of the police-run “custody and education” system, which…resembles the “re-education through labor” system in all but name, and has no basis in Chinese law…which forbids the state to deprive citizens of their freedom without any basis in legislation.  The first…facilities began to be built in 2002, in line with a 1993 directive from…the State Council, which ordered that those found engaging in sex work should be given “legal and moral” education, subjected to tests for sexually transmitted diseases and organized to take part in productive work…a person can be incarcerated by police for up to two years without trial for involvement in the sex industry, whether as a sex worker or a client…

Dutch Threat (TW3 #418)

Another excellent essay from Felicia Anna:

…the [Dutch] minister of Justice Ivo Opstelten presented…the government’s…new campaign against human trafficking…[with] an overview of the results of the last campaign…[which] got 392 anonymous tips…[this was] 93% more…then the years before…[but] 392 reports out of 20,000 estimated legal working prostitutes in Holland isn’t very much.  In fact, it’s only about 2%…while the police [claimed] in their own ‘report’ “Schone Schijn“…that it was somewhere between 50 and 90%…of those 392 reports…the police only decided to investigate 250…a whopping 28 arrests where made, which comes down to about 7% of the total amount of reports…This means that only 7% of the reports leads to an actual arrest, and…93% of the cases are false alarm…In short, people report it much more then before, but the actual number of people arrested has not changed at all…

Choke Point 

A mysterious group of business people will spend up to $5 million campaigning against…”Operation Choke Point”…The United States Consumer Coalition says the…operation unfairly targets legal businesses by choking off their access to banks and third-party payment processors…Brian Wise, a partner in the Washington strategic communications shop Wise Public Affairs, began forming USCC at the beginning of the year.  A Facebook site was launched in March, and the group has stepped up its media campaign…[to] highlight…business that…have been hurt by Choke Point…

Property of the State

Tennessee moves to criminalize smoking during pregnancy:

When newborn babies begin to withdraw from powerful drugs, they shriek at a high, telltale pitch.  Cut off from the substances they ingested through their mothers, they convulse, projectile vomit or writhe from skin-scorching diarrhea.  Their tiny bodies shudder violently…Tennessee…has made its mark in trying to understand what triggers the painful symptoms in babies going through nicotine and opioid withdrawal.  Researchers and insurers alike are looking for ways to reach out to and treat pregnant women with addictions…

The Roof Caves In

The Somaly Mam Foundation has pledged to change its name following the resignation of its founder…executive director Gina Reiss-Wilchins says the organisation has ‘been working tirelessly to chart the best path for…rebranding, renaming, and re-launching our organisation’…”  Meanwhile, there’s a petition for the New York Times to fire Nick Kristof for his lies and his perpetuation of Mam’s scam.  But as Dr. Laura Agustin points out, it’s a mistake to concentrate on Mam and Kristof:government money machine

…if some [donors] do stop funding SMF, they will simply shift support to other similar institutions engaged in the same cause…And some new figure with the ability to stir feelings will eventually emerge from the hundreds of groups now dedicated to sex trafficking…The current fuss about Kristof and Mam reproduces the cult of personality that caused trouble in the first place.  To focus on individuals is to avoid addressing structures.  A couple of self-promoting showoffs pale beside proliferating government machinery that now churns out salaries and prestige for thousands worldwide caught up in a movement based on fraud.

Whither Canada? (TW3 #423)

In what was billed as a national day of action, rallies against the government’s new prostitution legislation were [held] in several cities…Dozens of demonstrators gathered around red umbrellas…in a downtown Toronto park to speak out against the proposed law, which would…”simply move sex workers out into more isolated and more marginalized areas of the city”…said Jean McDonald, head of…Maggie’s …She said that…the Conservatives are “spitting in the face” of the Supreme Court’s landmark prostitution decision and ignoring the vital input of sex workers…

Schadenfreude (TW3 #424) 

Noah Berlatsky on Chong Kim and Eden:

…Breaking Out, an anti-trafficking organization, announced that [it]…had been unable to confirm [her tale and]…is contemplating legal action against her.  Kim’s supposedly true story was the basis for a 2012 film, Eden…the…exploitation tropes…are clustered about so densely and insistently that it’s hard to believe anyone missed them.  There are women-in-prison shower scenes…The trope of giving prisoners kittens to love is straight out of Caged from 1950…There’s also some S&M fetish (again a staple of the genre), and…stylized violence a la Tarantino…To just point out the most obvious issue, the movie details a copious number of murders, several of them committed by the main character herself.  This is standard issue for a Hollywood film, but in real life, this amounts to mass murder, including the killing of multiple law-enforcement personnel…where’s the massive investigation?  Why is this being covered in an entertainment review, rather than on the front page?…

TRPWL presented a catalog of the many inconsistencies in Kim’s story, including her omission of the fact that she was convicted of fraud in 2009.

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I escorted briefly after college…[as did] several friends…None of us felt exploited; we were self-employed men and women, working where and when we wanted.  –  Matthew Lawrence

Rough Trade

Pennsylvania activists…campaign…against…Judge Teresa Carr Deni in…next week’s…election…six years ago…[Deni] reduced charges of a…gang rape of a sex worker to theft of services…

Celebrities

Justin Bieber…was caught trying to sneak out of popular Brazilian brothel Centaurus with the help of his burly minders who covered him in a white sheet…[he] then jumped into the back of a waiting car and was joined by two females from the club…” I presume it was two female humans, but the report didn’t specify.

Storyville

In the Baton Rouge Advocate, an interesting article on the three Storyville buildings which are still standing.  One small quibble:  the statement “Mayor Martin Behrman shut down the district…under pressure from the U.S. Secretary of the Navy” is like a bully forcing a child’s hand into his face while shouting “Stop hitting yourself!”  When Secretary Daniels’ pressure on Behrman failed, he got President Wilson to issue the executive order which shuttered the district over Behrman’s strenuous objections.Christy Deweese

Think of the Children!

Well, this is different:

…[People think] if you were once…in the sex industry you…are never qualified to do any [other] work…Over and over again…a…teacher discovered to have…posed nude is not only fired, but propped up for public scorn.  Cristy Nicole Deweese…in Dallas, Texas, is the most recent…after it was revealed that she had posed for Playboy in 2011… What about posing nude makes her unfit to teach children?…is [she] going to be more sexualized by her…male students, who would have never discovered her pictures if they had not been searching for pornography anyway?…

Unfortunately, the author degenerates into idiocy about sex work “exploiting and harming women”, but it’s a start.

An Enormous Big Nothing

Another life destroyed by powerful, sadistic fanatics unclear on the meaning of the word “child”:

A man whose life was ruined when he was charged with child sex offences…has accused the police and Crown Prosecution Service of a “homophobic witch-hunt”…The CPS…offered no evidence…His lawyers…gave…conclusive documentary evidence…that all models…were of legal age…his…nightmare began during a business trip in September 2011 when he viewed images on a website specialising in “twink” pornography…gay slang for young-looking men who are aged 18 or over.  When a female guest who [later] stayed in the same room…saw the computer’s browsing history she complained…and staff called the police…

Of course, the ignorant busybody who went digging into a stranger’s business will suffer no consequences.

The Swedish Pimpocracy

…a 17-year-old [Swedish] girl…reported [her foster father] for rape.  Police found traces of the man’s sperm…in her vagina…The man explained…he had been “erection training” in the bathroom and had left a piece of paper with his sperm on it…The district court ruled that [this] was feasible and he was acquitted…the girl…claimed…that the man had offered her 20,000 kronor…if she declined to report [him]…

She should’ve reported him for offering payment for sex; that they would’ve convicted him on.

Bootlickersdedicated cops investigate

The latest episode in Everett, Washington’s freakish war on coffee stands:  “Three scantily dressed baristas were arrested…at an espresso stand…after public complaints about inappropriate conduct…”  For those unfamiliar with copese, “public complaints” means “cop accusations”.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (October Updates)

Mathematical illiterates in California want young girls to fear boys:

Human trafficking is an underreported problem…in…Orange County…[District Attorney] Tony Rackauckas said…the average sex slave is 12 years old…“In the schools, create awareness,” [Rep Ed] Royce said.  “So that 12-year-old, 13-year-old girls understand that…when these Romeos approach them…they have some inkling of what could be down the road”…

Don’t Confuse Us With Facts

Fanatics want to destroy 1000 people for trying to talk dirty to a robot:

A Dutch…group said…it had identified over 1,000 paedophiles…by offering online sex with a computer-generated 10-year-old Filipina girl called Sweetie.  Terre des Hommes Netherlands has now handed over to police the identities of…[those] who were willing to pay children in developing countries for online sex…The group said it wanted to raise the alarm about a largely unknown but quickly spreading new form of child exploitation that has tens of thousands of victims in the Philippines alone…webcam child sex tourism…

Ever notice that every single new hysteria is always “secret” or “unknown” despite being “on the rise” and having “tens of thousands of victims”?The Egyptian

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received The Egyptian (a favorite from my teen years), but I’m unsure of the giver’s screen name; please identify yourself so I can thank you properly!

Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark

Dr Victor Strasburger of…the American Academy of Pediatrics  claimed that all 14-year-old boys with an internet connection in their bedroom would be looking at pornography online…”  Dr. Strasburger further went on to explain that water is wet, the sky is blue and the Pope is Catholic.

Above the Law

Have you noticed the number and frequency of these is increasing?

An Alabama jail guard raped an inmate repeatedly, and the…warden told her there was nothing she could do about it…Olivia Osborne…sued her…rapist, Vincent Cheatham, [and] warden Shirley Smith…in Federal Court…Cheatham began [by] watching her shower…[then] escalated to [sexual] assault…and…when she filed a report…prison officials changed it to say that Cheatham only tried to kiss her…Cheatham…[later] brutally [raped her vaginally and anally]…Smith ordered [Osborne] placed on birth control…to prevent…pregnancy…

And in Arkansas:  “A…cop…chased a woman through her workplace, shooting a Taser at her, because she refused to show him her breasts…Ashlea Bennett sued the City of Haskell…and…Officer Brandon Carter, in Federal Court…before this Dec. 13, 2011 incident, Carter had made ‘inappropriate sexual comments’ to her on multiple occasions…

An Example to the West

Citing increasing instances of violence and harassment, a sex workers’ collective has…[asked] the state government to designate an area for them in…Chennai…the only city…besides Bangalore…that doesn’t have a…red-light area…sex workers said having [this] would ensure more effective policing and minimise abuse.  “We will be able to prevent children from entering the trade…[and] protect [workers] from clients who misbehave”…it could also help in improving [STI] awareness programmes…

Welcome To Our World (TW3 #28)William Marotta

A Kansas…court heard arguments…in the case of a man who is being sued for…child support by the state after donating his sperm…through a Craigslist ad.  William Marotta…drew up a contract with the two female partners without a physician’s supervision.  The agreement…said that Marotta would not assume parental obligations…attorney Benoit Swinnen said…the state was persecuting Marotta to send a message about…family values…

This case was previously noted in “Links #130”.

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #38)

Johanna Weber has founded Germany’s first professional association for sex workers…Weber [said]…“Anyone working in the sex industry can [join, including]…brothel owners…[if] they themselves…have worked as a prostitute…There is currently the public perception that thousands of women…are being forced into prostitution…it’s simply not true…most of the women do these jobs independently and voluntarily…[feminist] human trafficking [campaigns have]…nothing to do with reality…we want to make politicians aware of our interests”…

King of the Hill

“Sex trafficking home” is my new favorite “trafficking” idiocy:

Florida has more people forced into human trafficking than just about any state in the country…Detectives…received a tip about a sex trafficking home…“Within an hour you would see…ten to 15 different men walking in and out”…Deputies put everyone in handcuffs…

10 to 15 men an hour!  Good thing the number of clients is decreasing.

Something Rotten in Sweden (TW3 #44)

Compare and contrast with Swedish rhetoric:

Ninety-nine percent of the men arrested in [Wisconsin] for patronizing a prostitute will never face criminal charges, but…nearly 40 percent of [prostitutes] are charged…Edgar Lin…argues that since a john and a prostitute must agree to exchange money for sexual contact, both are equally responsible…Prosecutors justify the discrepancy…by saying patronizing a prostitute and providing the service are on different levels of criminality…Assistant District Attorney Andrew Maier…likened the situation to a drug deal, where prosecutors…go after the dealer…as opposed to a consumer…

The More the Better (TW3 #135)

A review (of sorts) of Sheri’s Ranch, in Business Insider.  The writer makes a few errors and missteps, but all in all it’s positive; now we just need to start getting write-ups like this for escorts.rat app

Checklist

What could be worse than one of those awful “checklists” which pretend to diagnose all sex workers (and many other women) as “sex trafficking victims”?  How about an “app” which allows busybodies to report their “suspicions” to the cops?

After [two Seattle cops]…gave a 20-minute presentation on sex trafficking to a…Kiwanis Club luncheon…Amin Haq…decided to…[start] a…project…called Redlight Traffic…[which is] launching a [phone] app…that will funnel citizens’ anonymous tips on suspected prostitution activities to law enforcement…The idea…is to…teach citizens how to identify signs of sex-trafficking and give them an easy way to do something about it…citizens will be able to report their suspicions, upload photos and GPS locations, and provide information on…a suspected prostitute, pimp or buyer…

Short version: after a 20-minute propaganda session, self-appointed savior creates a way for prudes to subject anyone they dislike to cop harassment.

Under Every Bed

Sex slaves!  40 clients a day!  Ice cream!

There is a multi-million-dollar sex slave trade taking place [in Trinidad and Tobago]…there were [also] cases of Trinidadians being forced to work in ice cream companies for low wages…Venezuelans [are] brought to this country under false pretences and…forced into prostitution…“These girls are locked in basements…and transported at gunpoint to brothels where they are forced to have sex with 30 to 40 men a day”…

Challenge

For 29 years, indoor prostitution was legal in Rhode Island.  Streetwalking, pimping and underage prostitution were illegal, but that was the extent of the legislation on the matter.  Unfortunately, Coyote vs. Rhode Island was resolved by a deal rather than a judicial decision, so there was nothing to stop an unholy cabal of cops, neofeminists and “trafficking” fetishists from getting it re-criminalized on November 3rd, 2009.  This article by a former Rhode Island male escort talks about how it happened, and how the only real effect of re-criminalization was – as any sane person could have predicted – to make sex work more dangerous.

Somewhere in the Middle

You know that study that claims fewer men are paying for sex?  Read the truth about it in this essay I wrote for Slixa.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #321)

In May 2013…transgender rights activist Monica Jones was falsely arrested for “manifestation of prostitution”…The police claim that they don’t arrest anyone during Project ROSE, that all they are doing is offering people a ride in a police car in handcuffs.  So, people transported to a participating church are prevented from accessing legal counsel…Monica…is pleading NOT GUILTY and taking this to trial…If [she] wins…this will be a significant victory for all people targeted by anti-prostitution and related laws in Arizona…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #329)Gamera

If something’s in a movie, it must be true!  So let’s summon Gamera, friend of all children, to rescue all of the “child sex slaves”!

Edmonton’s dirty little secret is that sex trafficking and sexual exploitation are…worse…than in other Canadian cities…[and have] permeated into all fabrics of Edmonton society, with children…between the ages of 12 and 14, states the film entitled “Dirty Little Secret”…most sex workers were forced into the trade and that 75 per cent of them were forced into it as children…

Dysphemisms Galore (TW3 #340)

More “sex trafficking” hentai!  A Virginia cop absurdly styled a “colonel” calls women “commodities” and says traffickers have “large tentacles”.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #342)

A group of French clients wrote a manifesto opposing the criminalization of clients, patterned on a 1971 abortion rights manifesto.  Predictably, neofeminists refused to see the parallel between sex worker rights and abortion, while some sex worker activists objected to people speaking out on a law which will criminalize them on the grounds that activists hadn’t given them permission, and others quibbled over the possessive pronoun “my” in the phrase “my whore”…you know, that same one widely used in such popular phrases as “my doctor”, “my representative” and even “my client”.  One would think sex workers would understand the idea of “strange bedfellows”.

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The Swedish model, in its mission to eradicate sex work, is by definition an unapologetic mission to eradicate sex workers.  –  Nine

A War for PeaceUkraine is Not a Brothel

a new documentary screening at the Venice Film Festival has revealed that Femen was founded and is controlled by a manUkraine is not a Brothel…by…Kitty Green, has “outed” Victor Svyatski as the mastermind behind the group.  Mr Syvatski is known as a “consultant” …[but]…“It’s his movement and he hand-picked the…prettiest girls because…[they] get on the front page… that became…the way they sold the brand,” [Green] says… “These girls are weak,” [Syvatski] says in the film…“They show submissiveness, spinelessness…and many other factors which prevent them from becoming political activists”…

Harm Magnification

PEERS Victoria Resource Society quietly closed the doors to its drop-in centre and shut down its most incremental program…PEERS will continue its daytime and nighttime outreach services, but only 10 per cent of its current 515 clientele have been matched with service providers…executive director Marion Little…says the decision …[is] due to the…new [British Columbia] provincial integrated case management system…[which requires] many more administrative steps…clients…would now be required to issue a full name and social insurance number just to access services…“we were losing so much staff time to administrative roles…we could…no longer afford our own services,” said Little…

Elephant in the Parlor

OK, now this politician/hooker story is news:

An investigation into a fire that gutted the home of a former escort…[focused on]…Sutter County District Attorney Carl Adams…Sarah Garibay…showed police text messages from Adams saying he was jealous of her other lovers…Yet she said she does not believe Adams set fire to her home…“Someone is trying to smear him and they’re using my name to do it”…

Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark

Their next study will attempt to determine if water is really wet:

…married men are more likely than women to have extramarital affairs, as well as to seduce someone else’s partnerNew research published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin…suggests men’s ability to resist temptation is no stronger or weaker than that of the ladies.  But it gets overridden more often because of the intensity of men’s desire…

Stand-Up GuysDave Barry

In a column on humorist Dave Barry’s surprising depth and wisdom, Lucy Steigerwald quotes a 1994 interview he gave to Reason magazine:

…I saw one of these real-life cop drama shows…[where] the whole show consisted of this [undercover cop entrapping]…prostitutes…Meanwhile…the other cops, these fat men with walkie-talkies, are laughing…because…they are about to enforce the law and protect society…This poor woman–I don’t know whether she’s feeding her drug habit or feeding her kids or whatever.  And the cops are so proud of themselves…It just made me sick to see this.  To treat these people who are trying to make a living…this way, and to be proud of it…we’re all supposed to watch this and feel good about it.  It’s just disgusting…

Confined and Controlled

St. Louis [Missouri]…Alderman Jeffrey Boyd…posted this tweet…“A constituent suggested legalizing…Brothels What do you think?”  The woman who made that suggestion said she wanted to be taken seriously and offered it as a way to protect women in her community.  “These are human beings, and you can do something to help them,” said Joyce Glaspy…[she] conceded that most folks in St. Louis won’t agree with her, but said a brothel would provide security for these women and get them off the streets…

Whatever They Need To Say

In Bangladesh, as in the Netherlands, “morality” is being used as an excuse to evict sex workers so developers and their government cronies can profit:

…“If anybody thinks that these evictions took place out of some moral issues and that we are doing some criminal activities, then they are wrong…[it was] to grab our land”…[said] Joya Shikder…of the Sex Workers Network…“Usually after evicting, the government hands over Tk10,000 and a sewing machine…in the name of rehabilitation…the department does not even bother to know whether we can sew or not”…

Worse Than I Thought

The cancer keeps spreading:  “[Virginia state] Sen. Mark Obenshain…wants to make human trafficking a standalone felony offense…add offenders engaging in commercial sex with a minor to the sex offender registry and extend asset forfeiture laws to human trafficking…” Saving in the Name of Scrub

Dirty Laundry

This excellent article about Ruhama’s efforts to persecute Irish sex workers was transcribed (in English) from the print edition of Rabble by the Spanish-language blog El Estante de la Citi:

…According to [Ruhama]…it’s “prostituted women” and never “work”…they’re [not] very concerned with trafficking…when it’s young Asian men…[sitting] in weed growhouses…but they’re not having sex so it doesn’t matter right?  They believe all sex workers are abused and…only Ruhama…can represent [them]…Ruhama…[says] prostitution is…violence against women and the Swedish law has been great at reducing prostitution and trafficking…[but] the Swedish government admitted…that they actually hadn’t a clue how much prostitution there was…and the Swedish police have reported that trafficking has grown significantly since that…law was brought in…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #42)

Dr. Graham Ellison continues his fight against the imposition of the Swedish disease on Northern Ireland:

…Dr Graham Ellison…is working on a research project on sex work regulations in Berlin, Manchester, Prague and Belfast…one of his co-researchers is Dr Susan Dodillet…[who says] Sweden’s sex purchase law has made sex workers more vulnerable…like Dr Ellison, she favours…decriminalising prostitution…in 2002 new [German] laws put the sex trade almost on a par with other work.  One exception…is that the unemployed cannot be penalised for refusing [sex] work…However, prostitutes can claim  unemployment  and sickness benefit and brothel owners must provide the same…rights as other employers…Dr Ellision added…”a senior officer in the Berlin Kriminalpolizei who [investigates] organised crime…was emphatic that trafficking for sexual exploitation [is] not a significant problem.  Generally, the more you criminalise something the more you drive it underground and into the hands of gangsters”…

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #43)

Laws and interventions aimed at reducing human trafficking by targeting commercial sex workers can…actually endanger their health and result in human rights violations, experts say…Part of the problem…is that anti-trafficking programmes often take the form of “raid and rescue” missions…[which] invade privacy and…scatter…networks of sex workers who, in some cases, had implemented successful sex worker-led health programming…“rescue raids of sex establishments have exacerbated violence against sex workers and compromised their safety,” say the World Health Organization  (WHO) and the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cakemany many rules

Four exotic dancers are suing Fantasy Gentlemen’s Club in Grand Junction, Colo., claiming the club’s owner violated…minimum-wage laws…Fantasy…took such a large cut of…tips that dancers sometimes made less than $7.25 per hour…“The case is fundamentally one of…exploiting workers that are vulnerable because of the stigma that’s attached to what they do,” Mari Newman, the [dancers’] attorney [said]…Kevin Eardly, the owner of the club…characterized the suit as a shakedown by a group of disgruntled strippers…

Absolute Corruption

Fran Keller and her husband Dan…are each serving 48 years on multiple sexual abuse charges…“We were supposed to have buried children…or flown them to Vegas, California and Japan…we had an airstrip in back of the house, dinosaurs and sharks in the pool.  It was just so farfetched that I had no idea anyone could believe such stories.”  The Kellers were caught up in the 1980s-era hysteria surrounding satanic [sic] ritual abuse…popularized on daytime talk shows [and] lurid paperbacks…Nearly two dozen years after their conviction, [they] have filed a Writ of Habeus Corpus that could lead to the end of their prison sentences…

Theatrics

Fraudulent recruitment, debt bondage, abusive conditions, threatening workers with deportation…but it’s never called “trafficking” when politically-connected companies do it:

…twice this summer…more than 150 Jamaican guest workers who clean luxury Florida hotels and condos walked off the job…They…borrowed to pay recruitment fees of $2,000 to $2,500, counting on promises of full-time work and good housing.  But…the cleaning company packed as many as 15 people into unfurnished two-bedroom apartments, for…as much as $5,000 a month.  Charges for rent and required extras like $70 for a T-shirt “uniform” reduced the workers’ net pay to subminimum levels, sometimes even zero, and…paychecks repeatedly bounced…Guest workers…are tied by law to the employer who sponsored their visas, which means that if they are found too “difficult” for any reason — including asking that their rights be respected — the employer can…deport them and blacklist them from receiving future work visas…

MonstersIslan Nettles

Islan Nettles was out…with friends when a group of young men…learned she was a transgender woman and began taunting and maliciously beating her—right in front of a police precinct in Harlem…[the 21-year-old] was punched in the face, knocked to the ground and beaten until she lost consciousness…she…fell into a coma…[and later] died…Nettles’ alleged assailant, Paris Wilson, was booked on a misdemeanor assault charge and freed on $2,000 bail…Nettles’ death was officially ruled a murder…[but] Wilson has not yet been arraigned on any murder charges…

Somewhere in the Middle

The mainstream media touted another bogus client study last week; this one used a single Backpage ad placed twice in each city, and thus (unsurprisingly) generated wildly-varying figures for their “estimate” of the fraction of men who buy sex.  The design presumes that all clients use Backpage and that all men will respond to a generic ad for one particular type worded by ignorant amateurs; it’s like counting the pigeons near one statue at some random time and using it to estimate the number of all birds in the whole city.  The academic behind this is the ethically-retarded Dominique Sepowitz of Arizona State, who has a history of reporting her survey subjects to the cops; her department is also involved in “Project ROSE”, which entraps streetwalkers and then offers them a “choice” of jail or Bible-based brainwashing.  And who funded this bogus “study”?  Try the Phoenix Police Department, Arizona State’s “Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention”, and Asstoon & Dumi’s THORN.  In other words, it’s about as trustworthy and reliable as anything from Melissa Farley or the Schapiro Group.

What a Week! (TW3 #322)

As bad as things are in the US, at least sex workers aren’t executed here:

Kim Jong-un’s ex-girlfriend was among a dozen well-known North Korean performers who were executed by firing squad…Hyon Song-wol…a singer with the Unhasu Orchestra, was among those arrested on August 17 for [selling pornographic videos of themselves]…All 12 were machine-gunned three days later, with other members of North Korea’s most famous pop groups and their immediate families forced to watch.  The onlookers were then sent to prison camps…

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine

Here’s a good introduction to the horrors of the Swedish model by Nine of Feminist Ire, illustrated by the way the policies led to Petite Jasmine’s death:

…Prohibitionist campaigners…portray Sweden’s stance on sex work as progressive, and assert that sex workers themselves are not targeted…They’re painted as victims to be pitied and rescued…[but] as with religion-cloaked homophobia, this distinction makes little difference to those on the receiving end…Police stake out sex workers’ homes and workplaces, clandestinely film them, and subject them to invasive searches.  Sex workers are often forced to testify in court, but have the rights of neither victim nor accused…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #329)

imaginary trafficking victimA film by three students in Plymouth is being used nationally to teach people about child sexual exploitation…the film…is the fictional story of…a 13-year-old sex trafficking victim, who is kidnapped and forced into prostitution after being groomed online”…UK authorities have little choice but to use a film about fictional “sex trafficking” victims, because they can’t seem to find any real ones.

Opting Out

Parliamentary servers have registered tens of thousands of attempts to access porn every month with over 100,000 attempts last November alone…A…spokesperson said…the figures may have been enlarged by “automatic links” and “pop up” windows.  “We are not going to restrict Parliamentarians’ ability to carry out research,” they added.

But restricting the citizens’ ability to carry out similar “research” is A-OK.

King of the Hill (TW3 #335)

According to Homeland Security, Texas is the second largest human trafficking state…” Because third place ain’t good enough for Texas!

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Feminism still feels like someone rescuing me from the patriarchy so that I may be told what to do by “sisters” who need to get their opinions out of my knickers.  –  Sarah Woolley

Lack of Evidence

The Fourth District Court of Appeal…deemed West Palm Beach’s “loitering with intent to commit prostitution” ordinance unconstitutional…[because it was] “overbroad and vague”   It… cited a 1993 Florida Supreme Court ruling [striking down]…a similar law [in Tampa for discriminating]…against previously convicted prostitutes.  [The earlier decision stated that]…“All Florida citizens enjoy the inherent right to window shop, saunter down a sidewalk, and wave to friends and passerby with no fear of arrest”…

Meanwhile, in California, “Two women suspected of loitering with the intent to commit prostitution were arrested at a Burbank hotel…after officers reportedly discovered incriminating text messages, condoms and oils in their possession…

Check Your Premises

…Baltimore City police officer [Lamin Manneh]…and his…wife [Marissa Braun were]…charged with human trafficking…19-year-old [Braun was caught in a sting]…and…investigators charged the pair with human trafficking because Braun looked so young…”  You read that correctly; she’s been charged with “trafficking” herself.RedTraSex street art

Feminine Pragmatism

Justice minister Francisco Dominguez’s warning…that…men…who seek [paid] sex…will be…[prosecuted] has roiled [Dominican] workers… “There are customers who’ve called us to tell us that they won’t come”…said Carla Matos…who…said she had to become a prostitute…to raise her children…”What we’ll have to do in a couple of days will be to go out and rob and kill people, because imagine, we can’t do nothing else.  I will not let my children starve,” [Jennifer] Paniagua said.

The Prudish Giant

From the “progressive” Huffington Post:

Not only is “prostitution” a tagged skill you can select on LinkedIn, there are actually escorts who advertise their services [there]…[but] LinkedIn…now explicitly bans escorts from using the site…The new user agreement states that you must not:  “Create profiles or provide content that promotes escort services or prostitution” even if [they are] legal where you live…Not only can you list “prostitution” as a skill, you can list a whole lot of other unsavory skills like “rape,” “shoplifting,” “gangs,” “manslaughter,” and “drug trafficking”…

Yes, the writer did seriously equate consensual sex with rape and murder.  Dr. Brooke Magnanti comments on the absurdity and futility of the whole thing.

An Angel of Mercy

Shona Langley, a street sex worker support officer, and Charlotte Crossland, a harm reduction nurse…[work for] the Harm Reduction project…[in] Lancashire…twice a week…they load their van with…condoms, panic alarms, needles and bank note checker pens, while Charlotte offers Hepatitis B and other vaccinations…[and] treatment for minor health issues…Shona said:  “We don’t judge.  We are not here to criticise or bully them into stopping what they do”…

Scapegoats

[David Beckman of Illinois]…faces a charge of misdemeanor animal cruelty after police said he sexually abused his pet peacock…police learned the bird died while they were investigating Beckman about an alleged case of indecent solicitation of a child…

jelly wrestlingObjectification Overruled

Feminists at Cambridge University lead such privileged, unchallenging lives that they imagine jelly wrestling (girls grappling in gelatin in front of male spectators) has “a significant role to play in the degradation and abuse of women,” and imagine they’ve won a great victory for womankind via a petition which caused the event to be cancelled.  Sarah Woolley explains why this is pure bollocks:

…”objectification” is a herd word used by women who can rarely recall the name of their last waitress…If a person sees a woman arse-deep in jelly and regards her as subhuman because of it, then that shit is on them…it takes more than nudity to cancel out a man’s regard for a woman as a human being.  There will be misogynists in any crowd but –newsflash- a true woman hater will dehumanise you no matter how you behave or what you wear…Cambridge feminists …[are affiliated] with Object…a group known for lobbying against sex worker rights and for spreading irresponsible misinformation -particularly the fantasy that the Olympics would usher in an “explosion of prostitution.”  Also on the list is “Smash Miss Contest”  who “set off stink bombs”…at beauty pageants…

Worms in the Apple

New York City’s wallowing in the “end demand” sewer produced this grotesque display of political pandering:

…mayoral candidates…argued for tougher penalties.  Joseph J. Lhota…[called] for “a john list every day in the newspaper”…Adolfo Carrión Jr…went further, saying he would publish their license plate numbers…the moderator…took note of Edward I. Koch’s controversial directive…to read the names of convicted male customers on air…Christine C. Quinn…said she disagreed with publicizing the names…[but] favored an “incredibly effective” program in Brooklyn…that forces “johns” to sit through a program intended to deter bad behavior…

And no, “john schools” are not “incredibly effective”.

Finding What Isn’t There

police admit they do not know the scale of trafficking in Victoria’s illegal brothels and cannot say how many…there are.  The cloak of anonymity and secrecy surrounding the industry makes it hard for police to investigate, Senior Sergeant Marilynn Ross told [a parliamentary] inquiry…”we suspect that in a small number of…licensed brothels human trafficking is occurring…on a…larger scale”…

Translation:  “There’s no evidence whatsoever and the real experts say otherwise, but this makes a perfect excuse to ask for more power to stick our noses into people’s private business.”

Whorearchy (TW3 #19)

Prostitutes helped clean up the streets of Murcia, Spain, in an effort to draw attention to…[a] proposed bylaw…aimed at curbing prostitution and sexual exploitation [which] would damage [their] livelihood…”We’ve spoken with neighbors and local business owners and…they’ve told us that there’s no problem as long as we follow some of the requests that they’ve made, such as sticking to a timetable and keeping the streets clean…That’s why we decided to hold a clean-up day.  We wanted to show that we…want to get on well with everyone”…

Worse Than I ThoughtTraffic in Souls

As I predicted, the cancer of incredibly-broad “sex trafficking” laws based on the CASE Act is spreading, now to Pennsylvania:

House Bill 663, which was unanimously passed 195-0…expands what the state considers “commercial sex acts” and raises the crime of buying or selling people for sex work from a third-degree to a…first-degree felony.  Under the new bill, the definition of commercial sex includes being forced to perform “any sexual activity…in which anything of value is given…or received”…

The bill’s sponsor complains that the “current law is vague”, but what he actually means is that it isn’t vague enough.

So Close and Yet So Far

Another would-be ally misses the bus by not bothering to check with sex workers first; though she makes several very good arguments against criminalization and recognizes from the title on that sex work is work, she also overestimates the role of pimps and the prevalence of street work, accepts the false “sex trafficking” dichotomy, supports regulation and licensing and ends by undermining her own argument with the typical mealy-mouthed disclaimer, “I am not endorsing the act of selling sex.”

Schadenfreude (TW3 #43)

Another rescue industry icon is exposed as a con artist:

Cecilia Flores-Oebanda has…become the face of the Philippines anti-trafficking movement…but now she is fighting a battle that could truly ruin her.  Fraud allegations made by Philippine investigators threaten to destroy her reputation and the anti-trafficking organization she’s run for more than two decades…

Nonetheless, the credulous CNN reporters spends about 95% of the story lauding her and repeating her bullshit stories, apparently forgetting about that word “fraud”.

Across the Pond (TW3 #45)

Scottish local governments seem unusually resistant to anti-sex business hype:

The owners of an over-21s nightclub in Inverness have been issued a licence to introduce lap dancing…Rhoda Grant…said…“The commodification of woman in society is damaging and I would have hoped the objections raised by the Highland Violence Against Women Strategy Group would have been listened to”…

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #131)Toru Hashimoto

A perfect demonstration of how the “sex trafficking” paradigm confuses those whose minds it pollutes:

…Osaka Mayor…Toru Hashimoto…told reporters…that Japan’s wartime sex slave system… “were necessary in order to provide relaxation for those brave soldiers who had been in the line of fire”…Hours later [he said]…he’d…told [U.S. military brass] that…there were legal facilities for releasing sexual energy, and that unless soldiers in Okinawa made more use of similar facilities, it would be difficult to control the sexual energy of the marines…

The media have conflated two totally different statements.  What Hashimoto said about military personnel needing whores is true and every experienced commander knows it, no matter what political crap the Pentagon may emit.  But that isn’t the same as his disgusting rationalization of the enslavement of the comfort women, who were neither professional sex workers nor volunteers.

Skin To Skin

A centre in Nuremberg is offering a course to sex industry professionals on how to cater to the sexual needs of disabled clients.  Those who complete training successfully attain a certificate in “sexual accompaniment and assistance”…

Comfort Zone

It’s great to see ever-larger numbers of academics openly declaring that the “trafficking” narrative is largely an excuse for restricting migration:

“anti-trafficking”…essentialises gender and childhood, it confuses and obfuscates, and…it…acts against the interests of many that it purports to serve…the state is directly and inescapably the source of vulnerability…those formally excluded are given…the right NOT to enter, to be protected from movement.  The [victim of “trafficking”]…is supposed to return home.  Indeed the narrative is that she wants to return home, and part of her innocence and victimhood is that she never wanted to move in the first place…immigration controls are claimed to be a mechanism of protection for migrants, rather than a mechanism of oppression…

And here’s a UN official on bogus data and bad definitions:

…data is often taken from methodologies that are not…estimates…media…have often reported that 79% of trafficking is for sexual exploitation, based on the “Global Report on Trafficking in Persons” by UNODC…[but] the data is of victims identified by state authorities and of convicted traffickers…The internationally recognized definition of human trafficking states the purpose of human trafficking is for exploitation…yet [it] is…equated with sex work or irregular…migration…as a result…data on trafficked persons almost exclusively focused on women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation…

Cops and Condoms (TW3 #313)

If we’re honest, many of us do see condoms as robbing us of pleasure, stealing some excitement and spontaneity…and dulling the intensity of sexuality…These factors are the primary reasons that still only 60 percent of teenagers claim to use condoms…[and] usage declines as people grow older.  The number one reason…is the reduction of pleasure…[but] criticism of the condom opens one to…demonization…Bill Gates’…plans to make a condom that “is felt to enhance pleasure”…came under ideological fireGawker called the argument that condoms reduce sensitivity one for “creeps” and “pervs,” while Popular Science reacted by concluding “men are idiots.”  Salon likened any criticism of the condom’s detrimental effect on sexuality to “whining“…

The Naked Anthropologist (TW3 #314)

The Proper Study (TW3 #319)

The feminist antiporn group Stop Porn Culture has sponsored a petition…to change the editorial board and title of Routledge’s forthcoming…publicationPorn Studies…Constance Penley…co-editor of The Feminist Porn Book…[said] “[The petition] reveals a total lack of understanding about academic freedom, academic integrity and the nature of scholarship…and…how desperate the antiporn people are to prevent any research being done that might not support their ideological position”…

Somewhere in the Middle

St. John’s, Newfoundland has just over 200,000 people, which means fewer than 100,000 males.  The escort interviewed for this article (“Iris”) says there are about 30 escorts working there full-time, and doing such good business travelling girls are stopping in as well.  Now, ask yourself:  is it credible that only about 14,000 of those men have ever paid, that the majority of those who did are now regulars and that those working girls are doing well on an average of 1 client per day?  Or is it more likely that the claim few men ever pay for sex is completely absurd?  As Iris said, “We wouldn’t be doing this well if your husbands and boyfriends and friends weren’t coming to see us.  It’s that simple.”

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on April 14th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

Man Choosing Between Virtue and Vice by Frans Francken the Younger (c. 1633)Intellectual laziness can manifest itself in many ways, of which one of the most common (and irrational) is black and white thinking.  Humans are highly variable creatures whose characteristics, behaviors, beliefs, preferences, tastes, etc are often very different from one another; between the two most extreme points on any scale there are an incalculable number of different positions, and in any population one is likely to find as many different opinions on any given subject as there are people.  But one would never know this from talking to the dualist; he insists on pretending that everyone is clustered near the endpoints, and willfully ignores every shade of grey in between.  But this view of human reality is not only limited, it’s wrong; on most subjects, only a small minority of individuals can be found in those extreme endpoints, and the great majority fall somewhere in the middle.

What makes this fallacious dichotomization even worse is that people who might not be inclined to think that way often fall into it as a response to someone else’s extreme viewpoint.  For example, when faced with the bogus claim that some drug (cannabis, for instance) is universally horrible, destructive and addictive, some supporters of drug decriminalization respond with equally-spurious claims that the drug is a physical or spiritual panacea.  The truth is not only in between those two points, but also varies with individuals; any given drug has both beneficial effects and harmful effects, and the proportion of one to the other can vary considerably between individuals.  Each individual must decide whether the drug is right for him, and in a free society he is allowed to make that decision for himself without fear of authoritarian violence.  And though there are ample moral reasons to support the principle of self-determination, there are practical reasons as well:  criminalizing consensual behavior adds artificial harmful effects to those inherent in it, and makes it much more difficult for anyone to make an informed choice because data about criminalized activities is often hidden or distorted.

Sex work provides good examples of this syndrome on both sides of the transaction, worker and client.  Under criminalization and even quasi-criminalization (i.e. legalization schemes which criminalize some actions such as solicitation, kerb crawling, brothel-keeping, etc) prostitution is pushed into the shadows due to fear of arrest or other police harassment, thus creating dangers not inherent in the work itself.  It also becomes impossible to collect comprehensive and reliable data on the subject, and as a result prohibitionists are free to make the sort of outlandish claims with which everyone is familiar (all sex workers have pimps, we were all abused as children and/or suffer from PTSD, the average age at debut is 13, most of us are coerced, etc, etc, ad nauseam).  Unfortunately, in reacting to these lies many sex workers espouse a false dichotomy; as I explained in my column of that name,

…they believe there are two and only two kinds of prostitutes, free-willed high-dollar independent escorts and pimped, coerced slaves.  This, of course, is pure poppycock…The only people who…have…absolutely free choice to do any kind of work are the Paris Hiltons of the world, those who have a guaranteed inheritance, income and secured future no matter what they choose to do with the present.  Every other person has no choice but to work in some fashion; the choice not to work at all simply doesn’t exist unless one considers starvation an option.  At that point, then, the choice boils down to what kind of work one is able and willing to do.

Some harlots absolutely adore their work; others like it but don’t love it; others tolerate it for the high income and flexibility; still others dislike it but prefer it to their other options; and some dislike or hate it but have no other options (due sometimes to literal coercion, but more often to conditions such as drug addiction or a criminal record).  The distribution may be fairly even along the spectrum, or it may be a classic bell curve; it’s difficult to be sure because of the issues discussed above.  But one thing is certain; the majority lie not on the ends, but somewhere in the middle.

mystery manClients are, if anything, even harder to get data on than sex workers; after all, even in countries where prostitution is decriminalized most men have good reasons to be discreet (including wives and social stigma).  In the 19th century nearly every man paid for sex from time to time, but as sexual mores progressively relaxed decade by decade in the 20th, that fraction undoubtedly dropped because at least some men could obtain casual sex without direct payment.  In the 1940s Kinsey found that 69% of men had paid for sex at least once in their lives, and though it’s probably lower now (due, again, to the increased availability of “free” sex), it still gives us a reasonable baseline to work from.  But when we look at modern claims about this percentage, we find them all over the map.  A few studies still produce reasonable figures, but most go wildly in one direction or another due mostly to questions and categorization criteria specifically designed to give the “researcher” exactly what she’s looking for.  On the one extreme, early in 2011 the well-known prohibitionist Melissa Farley defined “paying for sex” so broadly she literally couldn’t find any men who hadn’t (and therefore had to redesign the parameters to produce a less-obviously-bogus result).  On the other, the General Social Survey claims only 14% have ever paid, a figure so ludicrously low the industry would collapse; reader Kevin Wilson (a research consultant) showed that when taken with other claims from the survey, this would mean the average American sex worker only has about 10 clients per year (a number I exceeded every week of my career).

Obviously, neither of these extreme claims can be true; logic dictates that the fraction of men paying for sex now could neither be higher than it was before the sexual revolution made casual sex socially acceptable, nor too low to support the observable economic reality.  The most credible studies I’ve seen indicate that though a slight majority of men have directly paid for sex at least once, most don’t repeat the experience; about 20% of all men do it occasionally and 6% regularly.  So once again, we see the same pattern; sex-worker-hiring is neither ubiquitous nor rare but, like most other human behaviors, somewhere in the middle.

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