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Posts Tagged ‘Spain’

All logic and reason supports the notion that decriminalization…would serve society better than continuing to force the industry to operate in black markets.  –  Gill Sperlein

Bad Girls 

How to be a stupid, greedy whore:

Two women have been arrested and charged by the Guardia Civil for blackmail and threatening behaviour after they extracted over 90,000 euros from a [Spanish]…man [who] paid one of the women…for sex…she [then began] threatening…[to tell] his wife…he is understood to have given the woman two cars and over 90,000 euros in cash…[before he] finally chose to denounce the situation to the San Miguel Guardia Civil…

Whore Madonnas 

A former sex worker has written a children’s book:

As I started pursuing courses in sociology and anthropology, I started thinking more about representation, and how I knew all these women who were sex workers and mothers, but they were hardly ever represented in popular culture…even self- proclaimed progressive people think that sex work is antithetical to having children.  Or that if we do have children, our work is so reprehensible that we should protect our children from knowledge of it.  And this has really harmful consequences for sex workers and for their kids…So, I wanted to provide better images of sex workers who are also mamas.  That was the main inspiration behind How Mamas Love Their Babies.  I could have written a book specifically about a mama who is a sex worker, I suppose.  But instead, I decided to show sex working mothers as one of the many kinds of working mothers…

Lack of Evidence

Think anti-whore policies don’t affect you?  Think again:

A New Jersey man is now on the hook for promoting prostitution after buying multiple gift cards from a CVS Pharmacy…Craig Nakonechny had “repeatedly” entered and exited the store and ultimately purchased several gift cards.  This was somehow enough to trigger a call to the police (it’s not clear from whom) and a visit from Officer Anthony Gardner.  When Gardner arrived, Nakonechny’s car was still parked in the CVS parking lot and he was seated inside…Then Nakonechny—who has done nothing thus far except purchase several gift cards from CVS and return to his car—allegedly just offered up the fact that he planned to take the gift cards and exchange them directly for sex…it’s hard to buy someone basically blurting out to a cop, “hey, I’m going to take this totally mundane purchase here and use it to engage in illegal activity!”…this wouldn’t be the first time Gardner has gone after someone on dubious premises.  In 2016, the city settled for $60,000 in a false arrest and excessive force suit  stemming from a traffic stop by Gardner in 2012…

The Mote and the Beam

The “progressive” New York Times publishes a racist, police-state-worshiping op-ed from Jeff Sessions’ henchman.  But please, tell me how the two political parties are completely different:

Too many cities in the United States are infested with criminal gangs.  In 2015, the F.B.I. estimated that more than one million members of approximately 33,000 gangs prey upon American neighborhoods.  The gangs have one thing in common: They commit violent crimes that terrorize our communities.  And gangs increasingly rely on sex trafficking to support themselves…President Trump has declared this National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month…The F.B.I. leads the Justice Department’s law enforcement efforts against human trafficking, with support from trafficking prosecutors and coordinators from our program to fight child pornography…

Whither Canada? (#729)

Edmonton has a long history of abusing & dehumanizing sex workers:

Edmonton [Alberta] police say they will broaden their use of social media as part of an “aggressive'” online campaign to [harass sex workers]…Being lured into the sex trade [by magical ninja pimps with mind-control powers] can happen to anyone, said [prohibitionist] Amy Wilson…[pig mouthpiece Scott] Pattison [ludicrously oinked that pigs lying to women is]…”about building…trust with workers in an effort to keep them safe”…Wilson said [women are so stupid they can’t book travel themselves, so] a high number of out-of-province sex workers could be an indication of a possible human trafficking network in the province, where pimps try to disorient women by sending them from one place to the next…

The End of the Beginning (#740) 

Perhaps we may soon see the end of the egregious lie that the “sex offender” registry isn’t a punishment:

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a challenge to a recent state court ruling that determined part of Pennsylvania’s sex offender registration law was unconstitutional.  The high court denied a petition from the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office to review a July decision from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that found the state’s current sex offender registration law was punishment and thus could not be imposed retroactively…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#785) 

Just in case you think being a “legal” sex worker protects you:

New Orleans police and state officials suspended the alcohol permits of four French Quarter strip clubs after raids…found “multiple violations,” officials [claimed]…But…an advocacy organization for those working at the clubs said the operation was a waste of resources that put employees in jeopardy and forced them to undress in front of male officers…Officials suspended the permits of Dixie Divas on Iberville Street and Temptations, Scores and Rick’s Sports Bar on Bourbon Street…The raids were condemned Saturday by Michelle Rutherford, a civil rights lawyer working with the Bourbon Association of Responsible Entertainers…“It’s unfortunate that sensationalized claims of sex trafficking in the clubs have turned NOPD and the ATC into political pawns,” Rutherford said in an email.  “As with prior raids, not a single trafficking victim was uncovered”…during the raid, [cops] put employees at risk by reading out their full names in front of customers as the workers provided their identification…male [cops leered at dancers]…in the dressing room as the women changed, despite loud protests from the women…[cops also] made several derogatory references suggesting all the dancers were drug users…

Full of Themselves (#807) 

When the word “illicit” is used to describe sex, you can safely assume you’re reading prohibitionist propaganda:

Hundreds of illicit massage parlors in our area are involved in human trafficking, according to a new report…[from the anti-sex worker group] Polaris…The report [fantasizes] that more than 9,000 illicit massage parlors…are actually fronts for human trafficking…and [are] creating a total revenue of approximately $2.5 billion a year.  Of the 9,000 businesses, 700 are operating in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware…

Challenge (#807)

The next step in the ESPLERP challenge:

Counsel for the ESPLER Project have vowed to ask for a rehearing in an appellate case decided last week that upheld the constitutionality of California’s prostitution statute.  The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected the contention that states are precluded from criminalizing prostitution based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas…ESPLER Project…will be filing a request for rehearing en banc, or in front of the full court, by its deadline, Thursday, Feb. 1…

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Much of [Kamala] Harris’ worst work has come from her fake-feminist agenda to “help” women and girls by throwing them in jail for having sex.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Most cops busted for fraternizing with whores haven’t committed any other known crimes.  Here’s an exception:

A San Antonio [cop] who was fired last year for dating a woman convicted of prostitution was investigated for…possession of child pornography and a possible illegal substance…Mark Walaski…used his job…to control his then-girlfriend, check on her whereabouts, and possibly try to thwart an investigation…Walaski’s girlfriend [said]…Walaski had watched through a hole in a wall in his house while [her daughter] teenager showered…She also alleged that Walaski had hit her twice…

Rooted in Racism

A woman is arrested for helping black people get into Europe, but the cops’ motive for doing so is “unclear”:

Helena Maleno…is a Spanish journalist and charity worker based in…Tangier whose NGO, Walking Borders, is dedicated to helping migrants.  For the past decade, many of them have told Maleno of their travel plans and noted down her phone number before they set off for Spain.  If they got into trouble while at sea they would call her and she in turn would inform Salvamento Marítimo, the government agency that carries out sea rescues.  Last year she issued hundreds of detailed alerts…but the Moroccan authorities view her with suspicion and claim she…is essentially a people trafficker…In 2012 the Spanish police looked into her activities to find out if they included abetting illegal migration.  In April last year the Spanish high court shelved the case against her. But the Moroccan police, which works closely with Spain on controlling migration, continued to probe…“My phones have been tapped for several years,” Maleno wrote on Twitter in December…“Both police forces acknowledge that I have never profited at any time despite being accused of being a trafficker.  What would the logic be, then, behind my supposedly criminal motivation to help save lives?”  The Moroccan authorities’ answer to that is unclear…

Follow Your Bliss 

What better way to gain access to a vulnerable person to exploit and abuse?

A[n Oregon] couple known for their human rights activism…were arrested in December and are now facing charges of sexual abuse, child abuse and assault.  Matthew McDaniel…is accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl over the course of several years…he would tie her up and hit her if she refused to touch him sexually.  His wife, Michu Uaiyue…repeatedly beat…and tortured [her]…In one instance, Uaiyue allegedly melted a plastic bottle and dripped the hot, liquid plastic onto the girl’s bare hands and legs…Uaiyue would [also] cut her with glass and heated metal, hit her with a stick and tie her up in the garage several days at a time to punish her.  A doctor evaluated the girl’s injuries and stated they were consistent with the descriptions of the abuse…McDaniel…has been…campaigning against the Thai government’s treatment of the Akha hill tribe…

Lack of Evidence (#316)

San Francisco seems fond of placating activists with non-binding “policies” that can be revoked at any time without warning:

San Francisco sex workers who come forward to say they’ve been assaulted, raped, robbed or extorted — or that they’ve witnessed such crimes — [will] not then be arrested for prostitution or petty drug crimes under policies adopted by city police and prosecutors.  The new guidelines…were described by advocates as the first of their kind in the nation.  They seek to encourage sex workers…to cooperate with [pigs]…Police Chief Bill Scott said in a department bulletin that…[cops] “will not arrest persons for involvement in sex work…when [the cops decide to recognize them as]…victims or witnesses of sexual assault, human trafficking, stalking, robbery, assault, kidnapping, threats, blackmail, extortion, burglary or other violent crime…Our policy is written in the spirit of [deceiving] sex workers [into feeling] safe coming forward to law enforcement, [under] the [misapprehension] that they will be treated with respect and their concerns will be taken seriously”…

Remember, there’s nothing in non-legislative “policies” like this that prevent pigs from collecting information on sex workers and then rounding them up later when the policy inevitably changes.  Calling the cops remains a spectacularly bad idea for anyone, but especially whores.

Moving Pictures 

“Pizza”. “Boys and girls”.  “Bought and sold for sex”.  “Backpage”.  Can’t these idiots get a new phrasebook?

[Has-been] celebrities like Amy Schumer, Seth Meyers, and Josh Charles, alongside many other actors and public figures, have teamed up for a PSA against sex trafficking…“Today you can go online and buy a child for sex,” Schumer says. “It’s as easy as ordering a pizza.”  The PSA ties into a documentary released last year, I Am Jane Doe, which follows several American mothers as they fight for their daughters who were bought and sold for sex…the film specifically targets Backpage, a classifieds site that [prohibitionists claim is] one of the most popular ways sex traffickers advertise underage girls and boys online…

To Molest and Rape

Fired AND arrested? This dude must’ve pissed off somebody in the department:

A San Francisco [cop] was arrested on sexual assault charges…Justin McCall [drugged a woman and raped her while she was unconscious]…he…was suspended without pay…

A Woman’s Point of View (#711) 

The push for decrim in Hawaii isn’t dead yet:

Kristen DiAngelo has worked in many aspects of the sex trade since the 1970s.  She knows the stigma that trails those who’ve chosen prostitution as a profession.  “Society doesn’t view us as human,” she said matter-of-factly.  DiAngelo co-founded SWOP Sacramento, an organization that advocates for labor rights for sex workers.  She travels the country urging states to decriminalize prostitution.  “We’re just like everybody else.  This is a work choice…People don’t often hear our voices because of the backlash we encounter when we are vocal,” she said…decriminalization would simply set labor standards and enable sex workers to earn a living without fear of breaking the law…

Power Play (#761)

Liz Brown takes a look at the vile monster being celebrated as a “feminist” heroine:

…Kamala Harris has long positioned herself as a feminist crusader.  But both as attorney general of California and now as a member of the U.S. Senate, she has actively championed policies that deny women’s agency, ratchet up female incarceration, and endanger those most vulnerable to sexual abuse.  Along the way, she has shown an utter disregard for civil liberties and constitutional law—a tendency she will now get to take to the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee…Harris [has often exhibited]…a willingness to skirt constitutional protections when it suits her agenda, and a public orientation toward high-profile “social justice” causes that masks behind-the-scenes moves that betray them. (From the beginning of her career, she’s portrayed herself as a tough-on-crime progressive.) These habits are easiest to see when the issue involves sex work, but they extend far outside that realm.  Take the time Harris fought back against a California court ruling saying the state couldn’t keep prisoners in overcrowded conditions and deny them medical care [because]…the state needed the slave labor provided by mass incarceration…she sponsored legislation to ban sex offenders from using all social media…went to bat to keep Lonny Leon Rivera on the sex offender registry…[because] when he was 19, he had sex with the 17-year-old who is now his wife.  For all her big talk now on criminal justice reform, Harris fought to keep marijuana criminalized in California and resisted efforts to deprioritize the arrest of nonviolent drug offenders.  She also pushed to send high school students to jail for having more than three unexcused absences in a year, intervened myriad times on behalf of dirty prosecutors, and lobbied to keep using an execution method that the courts had deemed unconstitutional…

Pyrrhic Victory (#785)

Tyranny always starts with despised minorities, but it never stops with them:

…Facial recognition is the new hot tech topic in China.  Banks, airports, hotels and even public toilets are all trying to verify people’s identities by analyzing their faces.  But the police and security state have been the most enthusiastic about embracing this new technology.  The…ambitious plan, known as “Xue Liang,” which can be translated as “Sharp Eyes”…[intends] to connect the security cameras that already scan roads, shopping malls and transport hubs with private cameras on compounds and buildings, and integrate them into one nationwide surveillance and data-sharing platform.  It will use facial recognition and artificial intelligence to…monitor the comings and goings of the country’s 1.4 billion people…[and] to scoop up such data as criminal and medical records, travel bookings, online purchase and even social media comments — and link it to everyone’s identity card and face…

Americans under about 70 can expect to see this implemented here in their lifetimes. Welcome to the “safe” future you keep voting for.

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Why should it be illegal to sell something that you can give away for free?  –  Judge Consuelo Callahan

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through 

The idea that this constitutes “slavery” is almost as stupid as calling the cops was:

Kansas police arrested a man…and charged him with human trafficking, among other crimes…Joseph Stevenson Glenn…allegedly offered young homeless women a place to stay, then plied them with drugs until he received sexual favors, thus creating a cycle of sexual servitude…Glenn [precipitated] his own arrest by calling police and telling them that an unwanted guest was banging on his door…[cops] discovered drugs in plain view, along with two young girls who later were found to be homeless…[cops] allegedly found an assortment of illegal drugs, including cocaine, marijuana and meth….[plus] paraphernalia and scales to weigh the drugs…

The Enlightenment Police

This was inevitable; politicians everywhere are obsessed with regulating women’s bodies:

This week, Quebec banned people working in public service or using public services from wearing veils or any sort of facial covering, the first such ban in North America, one echoing “burqa ban” policies  passed across Europe.  Ushered in by Quebec’s Liberal Party as a way to “foster social cohesion” and “religious neutrality”…the law largely takes aim at Muslim women who veil their faces in public….women  can apply for exemptions—essentially a special license to wear a burqa or niqab that they would have to display to public officials…Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, called it “an unnecessary law with a made-up solution to an invented problem.  We don’t have hordes of women in niqabs trying to access or work in public services”…

Pyrrhic Victory

When an Eastern totalitarian state isn’t much more repressive than the “free” ones of the West, the world is in trouble:

[In] Kashgar…growing a beard can get you reported to the police.  So can inviting too many people to your wedding, or naming your child  Muhammad or Medina.  Driving or taking a bus to a neighboring town, you’d hit checkpoints where armed police officers might search your phone for banned apps like Facebook or Twitter, and scroll through your text messages to see if you had used any religious language.  You would be particularly worried about making phone calls to friends and family abroad.  Hours later, you might find police…knocking at your door and asking questions that make you suspect they were listening in the whole time…China, which has already deployed the world’s most sophisticated internet censorship system, is building a surveillance state in Xinjiang…that uses both the newest technology and human policing to keep tabs on every aspect of citizens’ daily lives.  The region is home to a Muslim ethnic minority called the Uighurs, who China has blamed for forming separatist groups and fueling terrorism.  Since this spring, thousands of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities have disappeared into so-called political education centers…

First They Came for the Hookers…

Just in case you think being a “legal” sex worker protects you:

Bourbon Street has become an epicenter of the New Orleans sex trade, according to a yearlong investigation by…The Times-Picayune.  [Pig] records…and interviews with dozens of officials, club representatives, human trafficking experts and trafficking victims reveal how a patchwork of strip clubs featuring private rooms have continued to be plagued by prostitution and drug use…Bourbon Street has become a playground for pimps – the kingpins of a brutal and sadistic underworld that hides in plain sight…Even when authorities have compiled evidence that pimps on Bourbon are exploiting women, recruiting new sex trafficking victims and more recently using the women to rob customers, the sex trade has continued to fester…Covenant House [claims]…dozens of women – some younger than 18 – have reported falling victim to trafficking and sexual exploitation in clubs…there has been no evidence that clubs knowingly employed dancers who were victims of human trafficking [but prohibitionists fantasize]…the trafficking opportunity arises from a constant presence of pimps…

I don’t think I have to tell you just how much reeking bullshit this is. Yes, things have changed since Katrina, but not this much.  When I remind you that Covenant House was also behind the defeated law to ban women under 21 from working as strippers, and tell you that a number of New Orleans “officials” harbor really stupid fantasies of making Bourbon Street “family friendly”, does the picture become more clear?

If Men Were Angels 

A few more cases like this may spell the beginning of the end for the “sex addiction” scam:

A therapist accused of sexually assaulting a former juvenile patient numerous times at a youth treatment center told the girl that “he was a sex addict”…Jason Scott Calder…[manipulated the girl] from March until June…During one therapy session, Calder had the girl take off her clothes, but told her he couldn’t touch her…”Things progressed rather quickly and the therapist suggested they go for a walk up in the mountains alone for their next therapy session…the therapist would have special therapy sessions with her late into the night.  He would call her at the treatment facility to discuss, ‘keeping their story straight, when he was off shift'”…Other staff members noticed the late therapy sessions and mountain walks, which he did not do with any other female patient, and he was soon fired…

The Last Shall Be First (#625) 

The politicians knew this would happen; they don’t care because the law was nothing more than political theater intended to win votes:

Transgender people would be allowed to use public restrooms in North Carolina that match their gender identity under a settlement agreement filed [last] Wednesday that aims to resolve the federal lawsuit over the state’s widely criticized bathroom law…North Carolina has been mired in litigation about transgender rights since Republican lawmakers enacted a law in 2016 that restricted bathroom choice in state-run buildings to the sex on people’s birth certificates rather than their gender identity.  A measure passed in March rescinded the so-called bathroom bill…but activists said transgender people still faced discrimination under the new law, which left state lawmakers in control of bathroom policies…

To Molest and Rape 

Sex workers know this is cops’ idea of “community support”:

A police community support officer raped and sexually assaulted women he met while investigating crimes…Orhan Yigit…paraded naked in front of a victim of domestic violence, asked her for sexual favours in return for help to escape her marriage and [then raped] her…another [woman] who [foolishly] answered the door to him dressed in a nightie was “cuddled”, kissed on the shoulder and inappropriately touched…[he repeatedly raped] a third woman [and gained her silence by threatening her with information]…he discovered…by doing illegal checks on the police computer…

The Widening Gyre (#699)

Moral panics never end until they start harming middle-class white women:

Alex McDaniel, a writer for the blog Magnolia State Live, tweets a lot…usually it’s for laughs…a couple weeks ago, after tweeting about her son using the potty and the funny things he said, she added: “3-year-old for sale. $12 or best offer.”  Which kicked off a human trafficking investigation…”They told me an anonymous male tipster called Mississippi’s child abuse hotline days earlier to report me for attempting to sell my 3-year-old son, citing a history of mental illness that probably drove me to do it…The most hellish week of my life [followed]…All because enough people believed I was actually trying to sell my son on Twitter for $12″…with the help of an attorney, McDaniel got the charges dropped within days.  Not everyone is as lucky.

I Saw My Brain (#725)

Yet another pogrom in the pocket police-state that is Polk County, Florida:

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office [victimized] 277 [people] in a weeklong undercover sting [using] human trafficking [as a pretext for harassing people involved in]…online prostitution, which the agency is calling “Operation No Tricks, No Treats.”…51 were arrested on charges of advertising as prostitutes online, 209 under suspicion of soliciting undercover detectives posing as prostitutes and 17 under suspicion of deriving proceeds from prostitution…

O, Canada! (#755)

The outcry against the grotesque “Operation Northern Spotlight” is growing:

Newfoundland and Labrador groups are adding their voice to a national chorus calling for an end to a sting operation targeting sex [workers]…Heather Jarvis, project coordinator of the Safe Harbour Outreach Project (S.H.O.P.) [spoke against]…Operation Northern Spotlight…which…involves [cops] posing as potential clients…”These women are being lied to by police,” she said.  “They come to a hotel room expecting to meet a client and expecting to gain income…and instead are met with a team of [cops] who [interrogate] them.  They feel very condescended to, they feel incredibly frightened”…Sex worker advocacy groups in British Columbia and Ontario have also asked for the operation to end…

Challenge (#769)

During oral arguments before Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges…ESPLERP attorney Louis Sirkin stressed that the case “is not about sex trafficking, it’s not about the abuse of women, and it’s not about the abuse of minors.  It is about consenting adults that voluntary want to work in the sex for hire industry.”  Dozens of civil rights, public health, and LGBTQ groups have filed briefs in support of ESPLERP’s challenge, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern and Northern California, the California Women’s Law Center, the anti–sex trafficking group Children of the Night, the First Amendment Lawyers Association, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, and Lambda Legal…Judge Carlos Bea suggested that the state’s arguments for why it could ban prostitution also would allow California to ban one-night stands…The U.S. District Court that heard ESPLERP’s challenge last year [pre]tended that only “intimate personal relationships,” not purely sexual ones, were protected from state interference per the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Lawrence [but] Sirkin pointed out…that, in fact, the men who had been arrested in Lawrence were not in an ongoing relationship.  He said that the fundamental right implicated here, as in Lawrence, concerns sexual privacy…

The Widening Gyre (#774)

Once they expanded the panic by adding male “sex slaves”, it was inevitable they’d get to transwomen:

Spanish police said…that they had broken up a ring that was forcing young transvestites and transsexuals into prostitution, including at least one minor.  Police [claimed]…a man and a woman [were]…forcing the youths into selling their bodies at a Madrid flat where they were kept against their will.  “They were controlled 24 hours a day, lived jammed into small rooms and their exploiters forced them to pay abusive prices for any food, drink or product which they consumed,” police [claimed]…they…did not say how many prostitutes had been freed…saying only that one of them was just 17 years old…

One man and one woman guarded multiple captives in a single flat 24 hours a day? Really?

The Widening Gyre (#783) 

Watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control is deeply gratifying:

Despite a Canton man’s claims that his wife and daughter were nearly abducted from a Michigan…Target store for human trafficking purposes last month, township police say his story doesn’t appear credible.  The man made the claim in a Facebook live video over the weekend…in [which] he said he was trying to bring awareness about human trafficking…he said.  “This is a real, real thing going on in Michigan.  We are the No. 2 state for human trafficking and it’s happening all over”…

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Instead of raising children in an adult world…we prefer to live much of our lives in a make-believe children’s world.  –  Hugh Hefner

R.I.P. Hugh Hefner 

The founder and embodiment of Playboy magazine died a week ago today at the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles; he was 91.  Love him, hate him or indifferent to him, it’s undeniable that Hefner and his magazine were among the most important driving forces of the sexual revolution and, to a lesser but still important degree, of the popularization of liberal (in the original sense of the word) political ideas such as LGBT rights; in a world where homosexuality was illegal Hef published Charles Beaumont’s “The Crooked Man“, and years before Roe v Wade he was bankrolling abortion rights activism.  Naturally, he was despised by narrow-minded feminists who think that a woman can be sexy or intellectual but never both (despite his support of female authors and thinkers), and he was even controversial among sex workers (including yours truly) for his rather odd home life with his playmate “girlfriends”, but by most accounts he was an ethical businessman whose legacy of support for both his contributors and for individual rights would have been more universally lauded had his magazine and life not featured sex in such a central role.

An Enormous Big Nothing

More hysterics who can’t tell the difference between adults and children:

The headline reads Spanish brothel’s “back to school” party sparks outrage in Andalusia.  El Bosque is a legal club de alterne where sex workers drink, dance and chat with customers with the option to retire to private rooms for paid sex.  The party-poster was called an incitement to paedophilia…despite the obvious age of women (and their clothing) in the poster.  The club’s owner removed the posters and cancelled the party…

Dirty Amateurs

Amateurs are a menace to public health; they should be licensed and heavily regulated:

In 2016, Americans were infected with more than 2 million new cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia, the highest number of these sexually transmitted diseases ever reported…the…CDC’s…annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report shows that more than 1.6 million of the new cases were from chlamydia, 470,000 were from gonorrhea and nearly 28,000 cases were primary and secondary syphilis…While all of these can be cured by antibiotics, many [amateurs] go undiagnosed and untreated…When you include herpes and more of the dozens of diseases which can be transmitted sexually but which are not tracked, the CDC estimates there are more than 20 million new cases of STDs in the United States each year.  At least half occur in young [amateurs] ages 15 to 24…

The Lion and the Ox

Talking is now defined as “sex trafficking”:

Two people were arrested…after using Snapchat to recruit a woman into prostitution…she was contacted in January by [her] friend…Wynter Fowler…[who] told her that she “was pretty and could make a lot of money” if she moved to Las Vegas to work as an exotic dancer and escort…Fowler[‘s]…boyfriend, Ezekiel Gilbert…persuaded [the complainant] to work as a prostitute for him…she said Gilbert threatened her when she tried to quit in February…he…bragged that he “had already gotten away with murder” before…Gilbert [had been previously] arrested in Texas after an escort was shot and killed, but was later acquitted…Police arrested Gilbert and Fowler on Sept. 12…Both were booked…on sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking…

I can think of several better, less tyrannical things to charge the thoroughly-nasty Gilbert with than simply talking to someone.

So Close and Yet So Far

A good little article despite a truly stupid statement in the third sentence:

I am not a pimp or a trafficker.  I am neither a rape apologist nor someone who excuses violence against women.  I do not believe men have a right to buy sex, or that anyone, of any gender, should be forced to sell sex.  One might have thought these things go without saying, and yet they are examples of some of the vitriol levied at us – those that advocate for the decriminalisation of the sex industry.  In recent weeks…establishment media has provided…an “everywhere-you-turn” kind of platform…to anti-prostitution feminists.  Julie Bindel does, after all, have a new book to publicise. Underpinning the arguments of many anti-prostitution feminists is the idea that the purchase of sex ought to be criminalised and sex workers [cast] as victims of male violence.  They argue we should be doing more to eradicate the sex industry and rescue the sex workers within it…

Of course men have the right to buy sex from someone offering to sell it, just as women (or men) have the right to sell it.  Any claim to the contrary reflects the irrational and authoritarian mindset of a prohibitionist.

Banishment

Remember:  these people have already served their sentences:

Scores of sex offenders ordered to live on a secluded island in Washington state say the often-cloudy, brown water there is making them sick…About 200 [inmates] of the Special Commitment Center have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the facility is…forcing them to drink contaminated water that causes stomach pain and skin rashes and has been blamed for unexplained deaths.  The executive who oversees the center [claims] the water [which he needn’t drink] turns brown…when the pipes are flushed, and…the cloudiness is only an aesthetic effect that causes no harm.  But…Department of Health records shows that the water has repeatedly exceeded standards for various chlorine-related chemicals and has been cited for violations dating back to 2006…a former [treatment] plant operator told health officials in 2015 that the water’s cloudiness readings were being manipulated to make the water look cleaner than it was…The Special Commitment Center [imprisons]…sex offenders…[that] the state convinced a judge…were too dangerous to be released…

The Sky is Falling! (#415)

The Francophone world seems to be in especially deep denial about compensated dating:

Belgian ministers have said they will take legal action in an attempt to force a [sugar dating] website…to remove…adverts near the country’s universities.  Trucks bearing large posters promoting Rich Meet Beautiful…have appeared on the outskirts of campuses in Brussels in recent days…the Norwegian company behind the website says it hopes to recruit 300,000 Belgian registrations by the end of 2018…The site, however, has been accused of encouraging prostitution and playing on the financial insecurity of the young [by offering them an option to get out of financial insecurity.  Two pearl-clutching ministers]…have declared they intend to launch a criminal proceeding against the firm for inciting debauchery and prostitution, and to force the suspension of its campaign on public order grounds…

Feminine Pragmatism (#518) 

This isn’t “remarkable” or even “unusual”; women have done part-time sex work to supplement meager earnings at least since Roman times:

…after supplementing her career with tutoring and proofreading, the university lecturer decided to go to remarkable lengths to make her career financially viable.  She first opted for her side gig during a particularly rough patch…when her course load was suddenly cut in half and her income plunged, putting her on the brink of eviction.  “In my mind I was like, I’ve had one-night stands, how bad can it be?” she said. “And it wasn’t that bad”…Sex work is one of the more unusual ways that adjuncts have avoided living in poverty, and perhaps even homelessness…

Under Review (#733)

Escort advertising is already illegal in Ireland, which is why Irish sex workers have such limited advertising options:

The government is being urged [by prohibitionists] to ban a website that facilitates the advertising of prostitution services – and invites customers to review the women they hire…Over 7,000 [ignorant busybodies] have now signed a petition urging the Department of Justice to step in and [magically] remove the website [despite its being hosted in Spain] and ban others like it [again, but magically this time so the sex rays can’t cross into Irish cyberspace]…

I Saw My Brain (#773)

Authoritarian idiots will probably keep re-electing this lunatic no matter how much his antics cost them:

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd garnered widespread scorn for blathering and boasting on social media, threatening to arrest people with outstanding warrants if they sought public shelter while Hurricane Irma battered Florida…Now Judd has been hit with a lawsuit for allegedly denying entry to a man seeking shelter, saying he had to go through a background check first…Judd [doubled down on his moronic rhetoric, claiming the man] wasn’t denied shelter…[but] offered accommodations in jail…

Wise Investment (#775)

Sex workers, clients & everyone else harmed by “prostitution stings” needs to keep suing over them:

One year later, cases from the Euro Spa sting of June 2016 are still slowly making their way through Seattle’s Municipal Court.  Some men…have pled guilty to “sexual exploitation,” the city’s recently modified term for the misdemeanor of patronizing a prostitute.  Others have requested trials…But one accused john—we’ll call him John—adopted a different legal strategy…John’s lawyer, Bob Goldsmith, filed a motion in July challenging City Attorney Pete Holmes…[who] directed prosecutors to rule out pre-trial diversion…[and] instead…push for guilty pleas that will result in a criminal record…Holmes…[pretends] the policy…will reduce prostitution overall [and imagines that would be a good thing]…Anita Khandelwal, policy director for the Department of Public Defense, called Holmes’ tactic on sexual exploitation charges “unusual and illegal”.  While johns are often cast as sexual predators by law enforcement and the media, Khandelwal says the clients her office sees are “incredibly poor and marginalized and caught up in police stings.”  She added, “Mr. Holmes’ statement that criminalizing buyers results in changed behavior is not supported by the evidence.  The war on drugs did not reduce drug use but it filled prisons”…

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The satanic panic…reached a fever pitch…and like most hysterias, it thereafter died away.  –  Keith Hampton

Rough Trade

In the US, the victims would’ve been arrested when they reported the attacks:

Two brothers who threatened and raped sex workers in violent attacks in Canberra…will each spend at least five years behind bars…Ahmed Al Abbasi…and his younger brother Mohammad Alabbasi…pleaded guilty to offences arising from two terrifying ordeals against three sex workers…in early 2016.  One…was dragged into a bedroom, stripped of her clothes, threatened with a knife and raped [by] Ahmed…his brother also showed up [and orally raped her incall mate]…The men fled when two people arrived at the door to help.  In the second attack…Ahmed raped the woman…[after] his brother had driven him [there]…

Harm Reduction

Dan Savage answers a letter from a young woman who regrets cutting off contact with her father for getting caught in a prostitution sting:

…It is possible for someone to be a good dad and a shitty husband.  The good dad you knew your dad to be?  That wasn’t a lie.  It was one of your father’s truths.  That he failed as a husband and hurt your mom—with an assist from laws criminalizing sex work—is another of your father’s truths.  You don’t say why your dad was seeking sex outside the marriage, PH, and I can’t imagine that was a conversation you wanted to have with your dad in your mid-teens—and it may not be one you ever want to have.  But it’s possible your parents’ marriage was more complicated than you know.  (“The victim of an affair is not always the victim of the marriage,” as Esther Perel says)…

To Protect and Serve

The cops took two months to “investigate” a massage parlor. I wonder how many hand jobs that was?

A two-month investigation by Reedley [California] police resulted in a prostitution arrest at a massage parlor…assisted by the Fresno Police Department’s vice unit…Jiang Bing…was cited and released from police custody following her arrest…

Dirty Amateurs

Even though the facts here clearly specify that the disease is spreading among drug users and gang members, the reporter feels compelled to blame sex workers anyhow (without any cited evidence for that):

Syphilis…is returning [in Oklahoma City] and around the country…Syphilis has led [health officials] to members of 17 gangs; to drug dealers; to prostitutes, pimps and johns; and to their spouses and lovers, all caught in the disease’s undertow…in February, a prison inmate tested positive.  In interviews, he listed 24 sex partners — some his own, others the so-called pass-around girls for gangs, usually in exchange for heroin or methamphetamine.  Contact information from the Entertainment Manager, as he called himself, pointed the way to a syphilis spread that, by March, led health officials to declare an outbreak, one of the largest in the country…

Follow Your Bliss 

Yet another example of the McNeill Rule:

A…[cop] and karate instructor pled guilty…to multiple charges of sex crimes…Bruce Arlie Harvey of Reva, Virginia was assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force prior to his arrest.  “Harvey abused his positions of trust…to sexually exploit two of his female karate students beginning when each was approximately 13 years old,” said acting United States Attorney Rick A. Mountcastle.  “This case shows that child predators”…flock to jobs that put them in close contact with kids [or give them power over people, such as police work]…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Funny how even when the real reason is clear, “authorities” and reporters prefer to blame sex workers instead:

…The Französisches Gymnasium highschool lies on a sidestreet of the German capital’s notorious Kurfürstenstraße.  The street is…also the center of the city’s street prostitution scene.  Prostitutes can be seen soliciting clients at all hours of the day there.  A build-up of discarded condoms and syringes, as well as excrement, were evidence that the school grounds were being used in unsavory ways.  “There were always complaints about unscrupulous characters including prostitutes walking shamelessly and illegally into school grounds even during the day,” the district school inspector Carsten Spallek [said]…City officials spent 57,000 euros ($67,000) to build a fence to keep such characters off school grounds…Residential developments are increasingly pushing sex workers out of the areas they used to ply their trade, forcing the business into the sidestreets…district coordinator Michael Klinnert [said] “The women have no stations to wash themselves…And they relieve themselves wherever they please”…In 2016 the German parliament, the Bundestag, passed legislation that further [imposed bottlenecks on] sex work in a bid to [force more sex workers onto the street]…

The Immunity Syndrome (#666)

There’s a long US tradition of harmful policies that fly in the face of evidence:

…a few years ago, Congress began to shift funding for sex education to focus on evidence-based outcomes, letting effectiveness determine which programs would get money.  But…the Trump administration recently canceled funding for 81 projects that are part of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, saying grants would end in June 2018, two years early — a decision made without consulting Congress…

Challenge (#679)

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

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has slated oral arguments for mid-October in ESPLER Project’s challenge to California’s prostitution law…Earlier this year, industry attorneys D. Gill Sperlein and H. Louis Sirkin asked the appeals panel to toss a lower court’s judgment, remand the case to the lower court and declare the anti-prostitution law unconstitutionality.  In the appeal, ESPLER Project also is seeking a permanent injunction…

That Old Black Magic (#714)

Europeans just adore the masturbatory fantasy of helpless Nigerian women enslaved by black magic:

Policia Nacional have busted an international sex trafficking ring operating out of Malaga and Benidorm.  Some 25 people were arrested…Some 16 [sex workers] were [also arrested]…The ring…was present at every stage of the journey of the trafficked sex slaves…The investigation began when agents of the Madrid Asylum and Refuge Office detected [with their magic powers] two young Nigerian women suspected of being victims of trafficking…The victims were forced to submit to various voodoo rituals to “ensure their absolute fidelity”…

Stupor Bowl (#749) 

A lot of reporters are still masturbating to this thoroughly-debunked fantasy:

Minnesota authorities and…profit[eer] organizations are [spreading propaganda about an imaginary] criminal sexual enterprise that has taken hold of the state.  These new efforts are intended to increase programs focused on “keeping teens out of the sex trade” and stopping…prostitution customers…Minneapolis…[is] the host of Super Bowl 2018.  The annual U.S. event attracts…“a small surge in sex trafficking”…The Super Bowl plan led by the anti-sex-trafficking committee is set to work together with…“Minnesota Girls Are Not For Sale,” a campaign aimed at [profiting from]…sex-traffic [hysteria]…by [spreading anti-sex propaganda]…

Absolute Corruption (#751) 

At last, a very small measure of justice for Fran & Dan Keller:

Texas will pay $3.4 million to a couple who were wrongfully imprisoned for more than two decades on prosecutors’ [fantasies] that they sexually abused children as part of satanic rituals at a day care they operated…The Kellers were freed in 2013 after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found a doctor was mistaken in determining there was physical evidence of assault…the doctor himself also recanted it…[and] the alleged victim…acknowledged having no memory of being abused…The determination of outright innocence made Dan Keller, 75, and Fran Keller, 67, each eligible for $80,000 in compensation for every year they were wrongfully imprisoned.  They’ll also receive a matching annuity that provides annual payments of 5 percent interest for as long as they’re alive…

Checklist (#755)

The scheme to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system spreads to the UK:

Nurses, social workers and [cops] are being [indoctrinated in ways to brand sex workers as]…victims of human trafficking…Some 180 frontline public sector staff in London have attended [indoctrination] sessions over the past two months designed to [fill their heads with ridiculous & meaningless] clues.  They will be expected to return to their organisations and [indoctrinate] colleagues…people [will now be harangued rather than helped by staff]…in particular in maternity units…

Comfort Zone (#765)

Sometimes the attempt to hide migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative is especially apparent:

A…Border Force team at Glasgow Airport has returned almost 100 [migrants]…to their home countries since last November [using the excuse that they were supposedly “potential victims”]…of modern-day slavery or sexual exploitation…Some…were [not even] going into the sex industry…some [were sex workers]…in the country to make better money…more than 250 were Romanians and less than 50 were male…

The rest is a nauseating exercise in cop masturbatory fantasy and pretending that women are mindless, helpless vegetables.

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The time [for decriminalization] is now.  In fact, the time was long ago.  –  Sandeep Prasad

Whore Madonnas

Melissa Petro on working while pregnant:

Moonlite Bunny Ranch sex worker…Summer Sebastian…recently announced that she’s pregnant and that she plans to keep working…for “as long as [she’s] healthy” and her doctor tells her there are no problems…Predictably, comments on her blog and on provocative articles about her suggest the move is selfish and a bid for attention, and that she ought to “put the needs of the child first”—as if financial security while furthering her education isn’t in the best interest of her and her kid.  People criticize Sebastian for exposing herself to risks…but…sex work—with its flexible hours and good pay—is a job that makes sense for an expectant mother…[absurdly] (considering how babies are made) some people just can’t imagine a woman being both a mother and a whore.  The idea that female sexuality and serious work, including the serious work of motherhood, are somehow incompatible is sadly outdated…

Lack of Evidence

Americans like to imagine themselves as ahead of India on women’s rights, but this would never happen in the US:

Observing that the mere presence of women and condoms in a place doesn’t necessarily mean that a brothel was being run there, a [Mumbai] court acquitted and set aside the two-year sentence [a lower court had inflicted on] a…woman accused of running a brothel…The court pointed to the fact that the…women found at the scene, were not examined as prosecution witnesses and neither were any customers found.  “There is nothing to show that victims were exploited or abused”…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

I could’ve filed this one under “To Molest and Rape”, but take a look at this monster’s “defense”:

…NYPD [pig]…Alberto Randazzo…sought out mothers on websites such as Match.com and Ashley Madison and…”persuaded them to sexually abuse their children and had them send him pictures and videos of the acts”…Three of the women involved have also been arrested on federal charges…Randazzo received a 28-year sentence, plus eight years of supervised release afterward and a sex-offender registration requirement…he had not only requested pornographic images of children—actual children, not teenagers—but also flew to meet mothers of young children to abuse the kids in person.  “He showed no qualms about drugging a child so that he could watch the child be molested,” wrote U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Rohde…Randazzo’s shameless defense [was] that he developed an addiction to child pornography following the death of his former police partner…

Under Every Bed

All you really need to know about this article is that it un-ironically includes the phrase “an increase in sex trafficking in northwestern Montana“.  What it actually describes is the typical sadistic cops getting their jollies by entrapping horny guys; no “sex slaves” were rescued, no “pimps” were discovered an there was nary a “trafficked child” in sight…which is unsurprising, because Kalispell, Montana has a population of only 22,000.

Paint By Numbers

We’re all familiar with the prohibitionist myth that sex workers are “voiceless”, but these fetishists appear to take that literally:

Advertising students at Portland State University School of Business…In collaboration with the…police…developed a way to help victims of what [fetishists] call modern slavery…their “Red Means Help” campaign launched this month…Signs inside 36 Portland metro area buses tell trafficking victims…to use a red object such as lipstick, toys or sunglasses to signal and [sic] officer or emergency working [sic] that they need help…PSU students plan to place red origami objects around the city at transit stops to spread the word and give victims something red they can use…

Seriously?  These people honestly think that if someone were actually being victimized in some way, they’d sit mutely instead of trying to make themselves understood by gestures?  And that this paralyzing fear would suddenly be lifted because of a magical sign, and the supposed “victims” will jump up and start waving red paper birds around like a semaphore flag?  Who comes up with this infantile rubbish?  This is like something a kindergartener would think of, not an actual design to help people fashioned by sane adults.

Whither Canada?

The kind of essay that’s common in the Canadian press, but rare in the US:

The Trudeau government has a moral obligation to address the public health and safety of all…people in Canada, including sex workers…this human rights issue is intentionally being left off the legislative agenda, which is a serious concern…the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health has condemned the criminalization, full or asymmetrical, of sex work as a violation of the right to health by creating barriers to sex worker’s access to health services…In December 2013…The Supreme Court’s Bedford decision marked a huge step in recognizing sex workers’ rights…Almost immediately, the Harper government communicated their intention to…justify the continued aggressive regulation of…sex workers…Like the laws struck down in 2013, this new regulatory regime fails to comply with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms…The Trudeau government has touted itself as one that promotes, respects and fights for Charter rights; yet, their response to sex workers’ Charter rights is dismal…

Nothing New

Remember how I told you that the (very recently-concocted) tale of Victorian ladies being masturbated by doctors because they didn’t know what orgasms were was a huge pile of elephant excrement?  Here’s a little more evidence for you:

…Matthews auctioneers in County Meath, Ireland, is offering for sale an “antique carved ivory ladies’ companion”…auctioneer Damien Matthews [said]…“We believe the ivory dates back to the 1840s…in India”…The well-travelled man later fought in the Boxer Rebellion in China from 1899 to 1901, which is where it is thought he had the ivory shaped into something more useful…“This…would have been a very loving gift from a husband to wife.  You can see that because the level of detail is incredible, down to the folds of the skin.  There’s a heart carved at the base of it, where her finger would have been, and a receptacle in which she could keep a lock of his hair”…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#545)

Once again, prohibitionists demonstrate their total contempt for the sex workers they pretend to want to “rescue”:

Netflix’s new documentary Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On is…[a diatribe against] the porn industry.  Now, at least four sex workers feel the show itself has exploited them — by allegedly featuring them without their consent and, in one case, outing a performer’s real name…Gia Paige…initially agreed to appear and did sign a participant release, but changed her mind after…the [“feminist”] directors kept pushing her boundaries and pressuring her into talking about her family…the show revealed her legal name.  During one scene, her Facebook profile is displayed on-screen along with her real first name…Effy Elizabeth, a cam performer, only found out that she was featured…when a friend told her on Twitter.  The series used a publicly available Periscope clip of her with fellow cam performer Autumn Kayy.  Both women are upset the show…used the footage without their permission and did not warn them that it would appear in the series…

Signs 

This is mostly just a hodgepodge of the usual “sex trafficking” nonsense, lies and disinformation:  the exaggerated numbers, the agency denial, the pretense that individual thugs are organized into international cartels, the infantilization of African people & fetishization of Asian & Eastern European women, the pearl-clutching, the calls for greater surveillance & more police power, the anti-sex and “end demand” poison, the myth of female asexuality, and so on.  But what makes it interesting is the first picture I’ve seen of the one and only case of an actual barcode tattoo, found on the wrist of a Romanian woman in Spain in 2012.

To Molest and Rape 

Even though this rapist cop costs taxpayers millions, a newspaper felt compelled to portray him as a hero:

Irwindale [California] paid a $2.75 million settlement…to a young woman who was molested as a teenager by an Irwindale [cop]…for more than a year while she served as a police Explorer Scout…Daniel R. Camerano…pleaded “no contest” in late-2014 to a series of sex crimes for his molestation of the then-14-year-old girl…between May of 2009 and December of 2010.  Camerano, who…also [sent]…sexually suggestive texts messages to another 17-year-old female Explorer Scout in 2012, was sentenced to two years and eight months in state prison and ordered to register as a sex offender for life…the sexual abuse…took place during “ride-alongs” with the [pig]…who served as an advisor to the…Explorer program…department officials were aware…that Camerano was sexually abusing the…[girl] but did not stop his access to [her]…

Instead of the mugshot which would’ve been used for someone murdered by a cop, the paper printed a staged portrait with a caption about what a brave hero this rapist was. I am not making this up.

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Dr. Laura Agustín, author of the blog The Naked Anthropologist and the book Sex at the Margins, the seminal work on “sex trafficking” hysteria (in which she coined the term “rescue industry”), has written The Three-Headed Dog, a novel  dramatizing the problems faced by migrants.  It’s another way of introducing readers to the issues the “sex trafficking” paradigm attempts to paper over, which Dr. Agustín has studied for over 20 years and understands in a way very few others do.  I recently read the novel, and Dr. Agustín graciously agreed to answer some questions about it.

MM:  Sex at the Margins has been and continues to be a work of major importance to the sex workers’ rights movement; I know it really helped me to shake off the dualistic thinking about “willing” vs “coerced” sex work, and it’s invaluable in getting people to look at their preconceptions around why people (especially women) leave their original home countries to work.  So why did you decide to write fiction instead of a 10th-anniversary edition?

LA:  The essence of Sex at the Margins doesn’t need updating, by which I mean women’s migration to work as maids or to sell sex, the use of smugglers, the rise of the Rescue Industry.  Someone else can document the growth and proliferation of that last, if they can stomach it, but the core ideas haven’t changed.  I wanted to write stories to reach people who don’t read books like Sex at the Margins and who only hear about the issues from mainstream media reports.  The Three-Headed Dog provides a way to learn about social realities and be gripped by stories at the same time.

MM:  I write fiction myself, so that makes sense to me.  But what made you choose the crime genre?  Why not do a “straight” novel?

LA:  Crime seemed like the right frame, because everyone thinks smuggling and undocumented migration are at least technically crimes – leaving the idea of trafficking out of it.  I am a fan of some kinds of mystery writing, and the formula of a detective who searches for missing migrants provides infinite opportunities for all sorts of stories and characters.

MM:  I think you just started to answer one of my questions!  At the end of the book several questions are unresolved, and I would have liked to know more about Félix, the detective.  Is this the first of a series?

LA:  I’ve got too many stories to tell for one book.  The Dog was getting long and complicated, so I decided to make it the first in a series.  In the detective genre it’s common for some questions to remain dangling, and readers know they can learn more in the next installment.  If I’d been writing 150 years ago I might have done weekly installments in a magazine, as Dickens did with The Pickwick Papers.  In the next book, which I’ve started, Félix’s search takes her to Calais and London.

MM:  I was very intrigued by Félix, and it seems to me that she might be based on you.  Would I be correct?  And are any other characters based on people you know?

LA:  The characters created themselves in my mind out of the many thousands of migrant friends and acquaintances I’ve had in my life.  Including myself.  But they sprang forth and told me who they were.  I identify with much of Félix’s character, but I identify with much of the smuggler Sarac’s character, too.

MM:  I like that Félix has some history of sex work, and that she still seems to be comfortable taking gigs that dip into the edges of sex work.

LA:  She certainly was a sex worker during the European tour she did when younger with her friend Leila, who now lives in Tangier.  I think she still takes sexwork gigs when it suits her. I expect she’ll tell us more about that in the future.

MM:  Not many novels have well-developed and nuanced sex workers as major characters, and when we appear as minor characters we’re mostly there to be rescued or murdered.  But these characters, even the minor ones, are much more developed than that.  There was one character, Marina, who was clearly intending to do sex work, but what about the others?  I couldn’t be sure.

LA:  This is Marina’s second time sexworking in Spain.  Félix looks for two other characters in spas (massage joints) in Madrid, and one of those is adamant about not intending to be a maid.  They’re Latin Americans who belong to a long tradition of working in indoor businesses like bars and flats, or sometimes in the street.  They arrive with contacts and some prior knowledge of what they’re getting into, so it’s a serious problem when the smuggler makes them de-plane in Madrid instead of Málaga.  Of the other characters, Promise, the Nigerian, planned to sexwork in the street, and Eddy, the boy who goes missing, doesn’t intend anything but is moving in that direction.

MM: It seemed to me that their ending up in Madrid was a very big issue, even beyond the lack of connections.  Is Madrid so very different from Málaga?

LA:  Yes, Madrid is a harder place, a capital city and centre of echt-Spanish culture.  Málaga is on the Costa del Sol, crossroads for many kinds of migration, smuggling, tourism and crime.  It’s a long stretch of coast that ends in a point only 32 kilometres from Africa across the Mediterranean Sea.  Nowadays many non-Spanish Europeans from colder climates have homes there in quasi-closed communities.  The coast is by no means a piece of cake, but it’s not a cold, self-important northern city.  Personally I feel a great sense of history there and lived in Granada during the years I worked on Sex at the Margins.

MM:  So it’s a good place to find jobs that aren’t strictly legal?

LA:  This is about informal economies that exist in parallel to formal ones (which means they’re included in government accounting).  Informal economies are even larger than the formal in some developing countries.  In Spain it is not illegal to sell sex, but undocumented migrants have no right to be in the country at all, much less work there.  The same is true when they get jobs in restaurant kitchens, on construction sites, picking fruit and working as maids and cleaners.  The informal economy rolls along, the jobs are available and migrants are more or less glad to get them despite the clandestinity.

MM:  And as you discussed in Sex at the Margins, it’s this informal economy that’s depicted as “trafficking” nowadays, even when there’s no coercion involved per se.

LA:  The group that arrives by plane at the beginning are undocumented migrants.  They’ve got papers to show at the border: passports and tourist visas.  Fakery was involved, and these young people are planning to get paid work, so they’re going to misuse the visas.  A guy who’s part of the smuggling travels with them.  The project is based on the migrants getting jobs and income so they can pay back debts they or their families took on when they bought travel-agency-type services (known in crime-circles as smuggling).  Technically they’re all committing crimes, but to the migrants they feel like minor crimes, given the well-known availability of jobs when they arrive.  Everyone knows people who’ve done it and sent money home.  Do smugglers sometimes resort to nefarious practices?  Of course; it’s an unregulated economy.  But if smugglers want to stay in the business they guard their reputation.  Word spreads.

MM:  I’m sure the rescue industry folks would find fault with the fact that the book isn’t about people “rescuing” these migrants from their smugglers.

LA:  I wrote this book out of love, not as polemic.  I’d have to get paid very well to devote myself for long to analysing moral entrepreneurship; I don’t find crusader-figures interesting.  I don’t see the world in black-and-white, I like ambiguity and shifting ground.  In Félix’s interior life, questions of helping and saving play a part, but she refuses the rescuer-role.

MM:  And really, even the villains aren’t the mustache-twirling cardboard characters so beloved by those who promote the “sex trafficking” narrative.  I’m thinking about Sarac, the smuggler, and Carlos, the sex club owner.

LA:  The smugglers are squabbling amongst themselves and not very appealing, but they aren’t monsters or driving anyone into bondage.  They charge for their services.  Sarac worked as a soldier/mercenary, now does “security” and is involved in people-smuggling.  He wants to do something new, but not pimping.  Carlos operates hostess clubs in Madrid.  Those are not illegal, but he may employ illegal migrants.  He’s part of an established tradition, and he makes good money on the women’s work.

MM:  I think American readers have some very confused ideas about the sex industry and migration in Europe.  Do you think The Three-Headed Dog will appeal to them and help clear up some of those misconceptions?

LA:  Undocumented migration and working in underground economies are worldwide phenomena no matter what local culture or national laws prevail.  Ways to earn money by selling sex vary in the details, but sex workers recognise each other across national borders and talk about the same problems and solutions everywhere.  Sometimes places where laws are uglier provide more opportunities.  Since the migrants are working illegally in Spain they have a lot in common with all sex workers in the USA, right?

MM:  True; all of us are illegal here, whether we were born here or not.  Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers that I haven’t thought of?

LA:  Yes, I want to point out that even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can still buy the Kindle version of The Three-Headed Dog and download a free reading app right there.  And you can read more about sex industry jobs here at my blog.

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