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Posts Tagged ‘Storyville’

Being lonely is hardly a crime.  –  Jake Adelstein

The Rescuers 

Harassing streetwalkers to scare away their clients has become a popular rescue industry pastime:

Friday afternoon, a group called “Code Red” gathered their efforts to stop prostitution throughout the Bay Area and across the country.  “We love people and we know sometimes you just have to keep working and working because they are going to come,” said Sylvia Vigil, who…spent hours out on the streets of Oakland looking for sex workers.  She says she saw ten girls out there and tried to reach as many of them as she could…The girls were all invited to a special dinner Friday night and from there Operation Code Red will offer them places to stay in recovery homes.

“Love” = “pathologically need to control”.  “Reach” = “steal income from”. “All invited…offer them places” = the girls were all too smart to walk into that trap, so nobody actually showed up.

It Looks Good On Paper

Another story credulously touting bullshit “safe harbor” laws:

Ohio…Senate Bill 4…would allow trafficking victims to apply to have records removed of some guilty convictions, dismissed charges or findings of not guilty…prosecuting attorneys…successfully pushed for changes that require the person seeking expungement of…felonies to [somehow] prove the degree of duress they were under…

Surplus Women 

Cops threaten and harass sex workers, yet believe we’ll come to them when we need help:  “…a prostitute was found stabbed to death in her north London flat…[on] May 29…Detectives have warned other sex workers in the capital to be “extra vigilant” as they hunt the killer…

Elephant in the Parlor 

Quite possibly the most ridiculous excuse any politician has ever used:

On May 22, the Yomiuri Shimbun…alleged that [Japanese politician Kihei] Maekawa frequented a shady dating bar…for a few years until around the end of last year.  The article implied that many of the women who come to the bar…offer sex for money…At a news conference on May 25, Maekawa admitted he used to go to a dating bar but said he went there to talk to the women and learn about poverty in the country…after watching a TV documentary that said many women going to such bars are barely getting by.  “Sometimes I had meals with women and gave them some pocket money,” Maekawa said.  “Talking to them, I have learned that child poverty is connected to the poverty of women”…

Can we please all grow up now and recognize that it’s not merely normal but common for men to pay for sex, and that many women accept money for sex either directly or indirectly?

Welcome To Our World (#15)

Another rape victim caged to force her participation in the state’s morality play:

…in June 2015, Angela Cardinal was led into an Edmonton courtroom handcuffed and in leg shackles…She was not the accused, but rather a victim — called to testify at a preliminary hearing after she was savagely attacked and sexually assaulted by a notorious sexual predator…Cardinal was forced to spend a total of five nights in [jail]…during her testimony…Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley was appalled when…told…of Cardinal’s treatment…she has…formed a special committee to look at the case to review policies, with an eye to making what she calls “aggressive changes”…

Bottleneck 

No, they aren’t “forced” to work without a license; in every place where sex work is legalized, the vast majority prefer not to be registered by politicians and “supervised” by pigs.  Just look at the headline and tone of this article and you may understand why:

In Singapore, prostitution is legal, but [related activities are not]…The government regulates prostitution…but nevertheless illegal sex workers saturate the industry…There are an estimated 1,000…licensed sex workers in Singapore…Yet thousands more choose – or are forced – to work without a license.  Unable to access the same protection the state offers licensed workers, illegal sex workers will either work from massage or beauty parlours or…set up a profile online…Dr. Thein Than Win explains, “In the licensed brothels, everything is in place: mandatory health screenings, condoms.  But for the illegal sex workers…there are no [compulsory government-ordained restrictions]…As police stepped up their efforts by increasing surveillance…and…lawmakers [banned online advertising]…sex workers used websites hosted outside of Singapore to circumvent it…

Pyrrhic Victory (#139)

Some readers implied I was a crank when I predicted this exact development four years ago:

After the Freddie Gray riots in 2015, Baltimore residents began noticing small planes circling the city.  As reporters later uncovered, Baltimore Police had quietly begun using a “wide-area surveillance” system, which deploys Cessna planes to constantly record the movements of an entire metro area.  Police never bothered to tell the public they were using the invasive technology, which had been developed by the U.S. Air Force…Now Miami-Dade Police are quietly trying to deploy the same system.  In a county document posted online Tuesday, MDPD revealed the force has applied for Department of Justice funds to begin using wide-area surveillance (WAS) tools throughout the county…Civil liberty groups say they have major concerns about police using such a system, especially without telling the public about it…

Worse Than I Thought (#433)

I’m surprised this has taken so long to catch on, given the considerable overlap between anti-whore & anti-abortion busybodies:

There are only 13 states in the U.S. where it is possible for a minor to obtain an abortion without either notifying or explicitly receiving permission from either one or both parents.  For those who get pregnant in such states there is the option of continuing the pregnancy, finding a judge…willing to grant a judicial bypass…or [traveling]…to one of the few states that allows minors unrestricted…abortion…In 2006…the Child Custody Protection Act was proposed…[to make] crossing the borders a crime…it…died in committee a few times since then, but now it has once more reared its head…Ohio Senator Rob Portman reintroduced the Child Custody Protection Act in May, putting the restriction back on the table as a means of allegedly combating human sex trafficking.  “Human traffickers and child molesters don’t want parents involved in abortion decisions, so they take underage girls across state lines for abortions to avoid laws in the victim’s home state,” writes the conservative news site OneNewsNow

Are you satisfied, feminists?  Helping the anti-sex loons spread their “sex trafficking” myth sure was a good strategy, wasn’t it?

Soap Opera (#553) 

I wonder where Theresa Flores will get a real job once “sex trafficking” hysteria collapses?

…Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution…gathered a couple of dozen volunteers in Arlington, Virginia…to…deliver…[bars of magic anti-pimp soap] to hotels and motels around the D.C. Metro area…S.O.A.P. Founder Theresa Flores [claims she] recently received a text message from someone…[who was saved by] one of these [soap bars]…The volunteers…also gave…hotels…a list of warning signs for desk clerks to watch out for, and also photos of missing girls…Flores [also claimed she happened to be] around when a photo of a missing girl put in the hands of a desk clerk [happened to be someone in the hotel that specific clerk had checked in]…

Flores’ entire shtick derives from TV cop shows, right down to the convenient coincidences.

What Were You All Waiting For? 

The ACLU still has a long way to go if it wants to help sex workers:

…For sex workers…[prohibitionists’] view of “help” is paternalistic.  Most of us probably don’t think much about sex workers, and when we do, we tend to immediately assume the worst stereotypes…Criminalizing sex work just allows the dark side to flourish.  When sex-work is driven underground, victims of violence and exploitation feel the need to hide…Sex workers facing criminal sanction are less likely to report rape and violence committed by their customers, and they are more likely to take risks like unprotected sex when they operate entirely outside the law.  If we were really concerned with protecting [those]…who engage in sex work, we would set up a legitimate legal framework in which they could operate…

Eli Baumwell clearly needs some education; legalization (which is what he’s advocating here) doesn’t really work because in the same paternalism he himself says doesn’t work, and the chief danger we face isn’t violent customers but violent cops who lose no power over sex workers under the legalization model he’s advocating.  But this very flawed effort is still better than the ACLU’s long silence on sex worker rights.

Full of Themselves (#650)

Massage parlor licensing is widely touted as a way to “fight prostitution”; let’s see how that actually works:

Last month, Venice [Florida] police arrested three women for prostitution after raiding three massage parlors…[all three] still have “clear and active” massage therapy licenses issued by the DOH…all three have prior histories of prostitution arrests or convictions…Spotty enforcement and regulation of sex crimes in the massage profession happen all the time…Until 2015, the DOH operated on the honor system by requiring massage therapists to report their own arrests.  Now there is fingerprinting, that in theory, will automatically catch arrests of licensees for prostitution and other crimes…[the DOH] insists the state’s $6.5 million a year massage regulatory program that You Paid For is doing well…

I love it when authoritarian busybodies feed on each other.

Storyville (#697)

Some parts of the American west tolerated prostitution long after it was criminalized in the rest of Puritanland:

…When the discovery of gold and silver turned [Wallace, Idaho]…into the center of the mining universe, men moved [there]…by the thousands…Dr. Heather Branstetter….has literally written the book on the history of the sex trade here…”The madams contributed so much in anonymous ways that people don’t know about,” Dr. Brantsetter explained.  “They would leave money at the grocery store for people who couldn’t afford food.”  Many in Wallace say they don’t remember ever having to do a school fundraiser; what they needed was always provided.  In 1972, the state of Idaho no longer allowed cities to legalize prostitution.  But…in Wallace, it was [tolerated as long as] madams…follow[ed police] regulations, like not hiring local girls and keeping the women off the streets in their off hours.  But, over time, the [mining] industry declined.  By the mid-1980’s, only a few houses were left.  The AIDS epidemic…shut down [the last one]…in 1988…

The Widening Gyre (#738)

Still more infantilization of migrant Nigerian sex workers:

Although no fewer than 1, 594 illegal migrants from Nigeria have so far returned from Libya from January through May this year, many more are still stranded outside the country, having been deceived of a better life by traffickers, so said a representative from International Organisation for Migration (IOM)…Dr. Nahashon Thuo…Mrs. Winnie Aideyan, said…“There is nothing wrong with travelling, but people need to travel the correct way.”  Aideyan called on Nigerian youth to stop illegal migration, stressing, “Women need to be empowered so they will not be tempted by these traffickers”…

Because “empowered” women will obey self-appointed nannies and only travel in the “correct”, government-approved way, sitting with folded hands until they get permission. Naturally.

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Crushing people’s freedom is fine…until it happens to the elites or their friends.  –  Mike Siegel

Storyville

Cute little video explaining how sex workers brought civilization to the Wild West:

Scapegoats

Because obviously pigs still don’t have enough excuses to cage people yet:

Having sex with an animal is one step closer to being banned in Ohio after the state Senate unanimously approved an anti-bestiality bill.  The…law…will…require an offender to undergo “psychological evaluation or counselling”.  Ohio is one of a dozen US states that does not have a law banning bestiality…Jim Hughes, a state Senator, branded the lack of…[another excuse to cage people] “sickening”…

Above the Law  

“It’s hard to imagine a more predictable abuse of authority,” Maggie McNeill said:

…Lamont King…[is] an assistant family services worker in the…[New Jersey] Department of Children and Families, where his duties included transporting parents and children to and from court-ordered visits and supervising them.  He faces charges…after a State Police investigation found he was pressuring vulnerable women into sex acts by threatening their custody of their children…”It’s hard to imagine a more offensive abuse of authority,” the attorney general said…

Buried Truth

Vanillas who can’t recognize repressed kink when they see it are hilarious:

Garrett Jonsson ran 30 marathons in 30 days, handcuffed during each one of them, and then biked 3,800 miles across the United States dragging chains behind him–all to raise awareness about the harms of pornography addiction…29-year-old Jonsson explained that his first exposure to pornography was at age nine.  Pornography became a regular habit for him throughout adolescence…Everything changed when Jonsson discovered Fight the New Drug, [an anti-porn propaganda campaign]…”Handcuffs for me represented the addictive nature of pornography”…

Policing for Profit

A rare victory for victims of legalized robbery:

Iowa officials have agreed to settle a lawsuit by two California poker players who were robbed of $100,000 after they were pulled over by state police in 2013.  The state, which [pretended] that the poker winnings were…connected to [imaginary] drug trafficking, will pay William Davis and John Newmer­zhycky $60,000 in addition to the $90,000 that was returned before they filed their lawsuit.  Meanwhile, the Iowa State Patrol has disbanded the [official robbery gang] that was responsible for the traffic stop…

Little Boxes (#347)

Another example of the “limited hours for massage parlors” fad:

Massage businesses in Tacoma will no longer be able to operate in the late night and early morning hours.  The…City Council passed an ordinance…that limits their hours from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.  The move came at the suggestion of Councilman Marty Campbell…as a way to cut down on illegal sex trafficking and prostitution.  Campbell [vomited up a lot of nonsense about]…“human trafficking operations masquerading as massage parlors”…

The Widening Gyre (#348)

No torches, but a mob nonetheless:

One woman has been killed and some 40 people were arrested in a Peruvian shantytown after an angry mob tried to lynch two pollsters whom residents believed were butchering local children to take their organs…[“human trafficking”] rumors on social media claiming dead children had been found with their organs missing fanned mass hysteria in the shantytown Huaycan on the outskirts of Lima…

Wise Investment (#442)

Sex workers need to keep fighting prostitution charges, especially those resulting from “sting” operations:

A…jury has acquitted a [woman]…of prostitution charges that stemmed from a 2015 sting at a [Minnesota] massage parlor.  Yuanfen…Liu’s defense attorney Randall Tigue called the situation a “tragedy” for Liu…“It ruined her life…She wound up losing her business here and moving to Kansas”…[the vindictive and evil] prosecutor Rebecca Christensen [said she was]…“disappointed that” [she couldn’t destroy Liu’s life even more]…a [lying pig claimed]…she…grabbed his genitals…Liu denied that…Tigue also argued in court that even if Liu had agreed to a price and touched the detective’s genitals, it still wouldn’t amount to “sexual contact” as defined in state statute, because she didn’t act to satisfy her own sexual impulses…and, therefore, couldn’t amount to prostitution under the statute…

Lawyers:  this seems like a pretty silly defense to me, since whores act to make money, not for our own sexual gratification.  Is this actually an element in some state laws?

A Year Later

Unlike the US media,the Canadians are willing to call anti-whore bullshit what it is:

Sex workers are still not protected from exploitation and violence in Canada and their Charter rights are ignored, says a new report…by the Pivot Legal Society…[which] is calling for an appeal of the two-year-old Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act…the new legislation regarding sex workers makes it illegal to communicate to exchange sexual services, profit as a third party from someone else’s sexual services, procure someone to provide sexual services, and provide third party advertising for sexual services…“The PCEPA has been mischaracterized as targeting only those who harm or exploit sex workers, without criminalizing sex workers and others who may enhance their safety.  Analysis of the Criminal Code provisions in the PCEPA shows that the legislation has resulted in sweeping criminalization of the sex industry”…

To Molest and Rape molester-cop-charles-logan-abernathy

Go on, keep putting costumed rapist thugs where they can prey on your kids:  “Charles Logan Abernathy, a [cop] at East Robertson High School was arrested in Portland, Tennessee…He’s facing five counts of sexual battery by an authority figure…

Pyrrhic Victory (#683)

The dystopian future of Minority Report has arrived:

…Biometrica Systems describes its business as “creating software and systems…with the intention of minimizing…events that could lead to crime.”  The company’s encrypted Security & Surveillance Information Network (SSIN) is already used by law-enforcement and gaming, retail, and hospitality businesses to share real-time information about…individuals.  Now, the network’s newest iteration will give clients “the ability to run facial recognition scans of any individual or group on their properties and match them against a law enforcement verified database of criminals numbering in the millions, including more than one million registered sex offenders”—all using a convenient mobile app…Initially focused on the casino…sector, Biometrica has since expanded SSIN to serve “shopping centers, stores, malls, and movie theaters”…

The End of the Beginning (#686) 

Dare we hope this is a trend?

Last week federal courts overturned…unconstitutionally vague [“sex offender” laws from]…Hartford City…Indiana…[and the state of] North Carolina…Like last summer’s 6th Circuit decision against Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act, last week’s rulings go beyond the usual hand waving about child protection to ask whether the restrictions imposed by such laws can be justified by their purported public safety benefits…the 6th Circuit said…that there was “no evidence in the record that the difficulties the statute imposes on registrants are counterbalanced by any positive effects…the punitive effects of these blanket restrictions…far exceed even a generous assessment of their salutary effects”…

The Widening Gyre (#696)

The awesome Glenn Kessler won’t let partisans forget that the “Pizzagate” lunacy springs from the “sex trafficking” hysteria they’ve enthusiastically promoted, and demonstrates the ghoulish lengths to which prohibitionists will go to promote their narrative:

…The easy acceptance of [“Pizzagate”] underscores how bogus facts about sex trafficking – which The Fact Checker has examined extensively — are so easily spread.  Now…conspiracy theorists [are] speculating that Monica Petersen, an activist for sex-worker rights, was killed because she was investigating links between the Clinton Foundation and sex trafficking in Haiti…Petersen…passed away on Nov. 13, in Haiti…[apparently from] suicide but the circumstances are not clear…Petersen was active in promoting sex-worker rights.  Her last interview before her death was for a two-hour podcast, which aired in September…titled “Fighting the Trafficking Narrative from Alaska to Rhode Island”…she…was an advocate for sex workers who disdained the rhetoric of…anti-trafficking zealots.  Yet some people are so quick to promote and share false narratives that they tragically turned her professional focus into the polar opposite…

My friend Mike Siegel also had this to say:

…Unlike the Pizzagate business…[“sex trafficking”] myths are pushed by mainstream politicians and the mainstream media…These myths serve to support a “War on Sex Trafficking” that, in many ways, is replacing the “War on Drugs” as a way to seize money and put people in prison.  None of this is ever questioned…The media has invested more resources in debunking one crazy 4Chan theory than an entire massive law enforcement structure designed to crush people voluntarily exchanging money for sex.  As my friend Maggie McNeill said, here is the real story: our national hysteria over sex trafficking finally hurt a friend of the powerful.  This war is damaging the lives of thousands of consenting adults every day.  But they don’t matter because they’re not politically connected.  The owner of this pizzeria is a friend and fund-raiser for Clinton.  So suddenly, miraculously, it’s a national crisis…

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Mainstream feminism rejects sex work as an acceptable choice.  So…I don’t describe myself as an adherent to a political philosophy that wants to eliminate me.  –  Mistress Matisse

Five Women in Whitechapel 

Almost certainly not:

They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper [is] more than 800 pages in length…Michael Maybrick was a hugely popular singer and composer in the Victorian era, who is virtually forgotten today – for reasons that Robinson believes are no accident…Maybrick was close friends with Sir Arthur Sullivan and the painter Frederick Leighton, among many other prominent public figures.  Both Sullivan and Leighton were Freemasons, as was Michael Maybrick.  He was…on the Supreme Grand Council of Freemasons, whose members also included the Prince of Wales…Maybrick was 47 at the time of the murders; a bachelor and, [author Bruce] Robinson believes, homosexual…

Yes, it’s a new version of the Masonic theory.

Above the Law rapist cop Jeff Sowers

When you’re a cop, rape becomes “official misconduct”:

A [Tennessee cop]…who resigned amid allegations of [raping prisoners]…pleaded guilty…to one count of official misconduct…Judge John Dugger sentenced Jeff Sowers to 18 months in jail…Dugger denied a request by Sowers’ attorneys for judicial diversion, which would have allowed for Sowers’ record to be expunged after his sentence…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Such a lot of stupid writing on something that not only doesn’t exist, but will never exist in the way and on the timescale these idiots are wanking to the fantasy of:

…a recent report claims intimacy between robots and humans will be more common than that between two people by 2050.  The work, written by futurologist Dr. Ian Pearson, purports that engaging in virtual sex acts will be as prevalent in 2030 as our engagement with porn today, and that the majority of people will own sex toys that employ an alternate reality in some way come 2035…

Storyville (#139)

Over the last 150 years, rights for sex workers have…diminished, according to West Virginia University journalism professor Alison Bass.  In her book Getting Screwed: Sex Workers and the Law…Bass surveys the history of laws regulating prostitution in America and abroad.  In the past and today, Bass finds, sex workers have been marginalized by stigma that portrays them as immoral, dangerous, even diseased figures. But while the stigma hasn’t changed, the laws have—in many cases…for the worse…

Dutch Threat

Lawheads are completely unable to comprehend the bottleneck effect:

Entrepreneurs in Amsterdam who want to open a brothel must speak at least one common language with the sex workers they rent space to, according to a…ruling handed down by the European Court of Justice.  The court [claimed] the decision as…a way to guarantee the safety of the women, [reduce] human trafficking, and…help prevent pimping…and [pretended it] was…not discriminatory in any way…the court also noted the Council of State’s notion that the seeming overreach in authority was meant as a protection of public order, and that being able to converse with a sex worker allows a brothel owner the possibility of stopping child prostitution…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Because nobody would care about a headline reading, “Man minds his daughter while mother works”:

A Michigan man held his 9-month-old daughter in a motel room while the baby’s mother had sex with another man for money…Derohn Wilburn…is charged with…felony promoting prostitution and misdemeanor child endangering…Melissa Coleman…is charged with misdemeanor child endangering and prostitution…police released the baby to a family member.  She was unharmed…

Played Out

I don’t know who Robert Fullinwider is, but I thank him for taking the time to read through Moran’s drek so as to be able to rip it to shreds:

…Moran is not content to offer her particular life-story…She also sets herself up as the Universal Prostitute, a woman whose experiences define prostitution and trump the “experiences” of anyone else — sex worker, academic, or otherwise — who views prostitution differently than she does. She is not content to let her story speak for itself but instructs the reader on the proper conclusions to draw, and engages in arguments based on her experiences and “research”…Moran writes: prostitutes are “coerced” into prostitution (pp. 49, 227); they have no “choice” (p. 161); they have no “free will” (p. 201); they act out of “desperation” and “destitution” (pp. 43, 96)…Moran…[claims] she didn’t consent to prostitution because “it is not possible to consent to a lifestyle you don’t comprehend” (p. 50).  Yes it is.  People do it all the time.  “I didn’t know marriage was going to be like this!”  “I didn’t know how stressful being a parent would be!”  “I didn’t know military life would be this tough!”  [She claims] she didn’t consent to prostitution because she wasn’t an adult and children can’t consent (pp. 50-51).  Yes they can.  Society frames laws that say people below certain ages can’t “consent” – to contracts, to mortgages, to sexual relations, and the like – but the “no consent” here is a legal fiction…a sixteen year-old girl who finds prostitution utterly repulsive, revolting, and disgusting, and who is “desperate to escape,” yet who passes up on an opportunity to get out of the trade because she’s unwilling to be bound by any rules, is a person who’s made a choice— a bad choice, to be sure, but a real choice…Moran…speaks of allowing herself to be coerced (an odd locution) into prostitution by her boyfriend.  What did her boyfriend do?  Did he beat her?  Did he threaten her?  No, he “suggested” that she turn tricks; he “encouraged” her (pp. 47, 186)…Moran seems to think you haven’t acted freely unless you are as happy as a lark with what you’ve chosen (p. 227); that you are not self-determining unless you are “controlling the totality of your life” (p. 175).  These are just fundamentally unserious engagements with the notions of freedom and self-determination.  We always act under constraints, we never control the totality of our lives, and we are often unhappy with what we’ve chosen, just less unhappy than with the alternatives…

Rooted in Racism (#429)

Sweden’s “liberal reputation” is bullshit:

…a recent report by the United Nations…concludes that a rising level of racist violence and “Afrophobic” hate crimes in Sweden are “an extensive social problem”.  “There continues to be a general Swedish self-perception of being a tolerant and humane society, which makes it difficult to accept that there could be structural and institutional racism faced by people of African descent,” says the report…The country’s official [lie] of equality and respect for human rights “blinds” it to the racism faced by African-Swedes, it says.  Hate crimes against the 200,000 or so black people…in Sweden increased by more than 40% between 2008 and 2014…with more than a fifth of incidents last year involving violence…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#505)

On Working It, the magazine at the center of the stripper labor rights movement in Portland:

…Each magazine brings together about 50 pages of writing and art by sex workers from around the country.  In addition to permanent sections including “Client Hall of Shame” “Best/Worst Tip$” “Tales from your Shift” and art, each volume of Working It has a theme…After Danzine went dormant, [Matilda] Bickers and Portland’s sex worker activism also went relatively dormant.  [SWOP] took over Danzine’s bad date list.  In 2005, Bickers and her friends tried to start a dancer union — “but that failed miserably, and I was really burnt out for a while,” Bickers says.  In the following years, Bickers worked at strip clubs and…graduated from Portland State University.  “I kind of never stopped doing sex worker activism,” Bickers says…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#550)

The history of the concept of sex addiction is a complex, somewhat contentious one…I’ve often cited the concept back to the initial writings of Patrick Carnes…Now, three New Zealand historians have contributed a wealth of astounding, rich and often surprising information to the issue…Sex Addiction, A Critical History…represents a remarkable detailing of the troubling, often hidden, history of this concept…Reay and his coauthors found powerful writings by Hatterer from the 1960’s and 70’s, where he blamed a sexually addictive process for sexual excesses. Powerfully, they detail [Dr. Lawrence] Hatterer’s disturbing history of treating homosexuality as an illness, and the way he treated homosexuality “like an alcoholic”…in his writings…from its inception, the concept of sex addiction has been applied to treatment of homosexuality as an illness…

If You Want Something Done Right…

I have the most awesome friends:

…Mistress Matisse…heard about Heather’s experience and was determined to help.  Through other sex workers she tracked Heather down, called her and booked a flight to West Virginia.  She showed up at Heather’s door…organized fund-raising, lined up medical assistance and connected Heather with nonprofit help.  This isn’t a new role for Matisse.  She’s worked as a sex worker in various capacities since she was 19.  But as she’s gotten established in Seattle, she says, “I have gotten to the point in my career where it is in many ways self-sustaining.”  As a result, she’s had more time to devote to activism.  Matisse was there to help Heather because she’s made it her business to help sex workers who are in crises.  I talked to Matisse about her activism, her work with Heather and why sex workers are the best ones to help sex workers…

Amnesty At Last

Here’s an NPR show which purports to present a “discussion” of the Amnesty International position statement on decriminalization, but which was designed from the get-go to promote prohibitionist propaganda by stacking the panel three to one (Swanee Hunt, Rachel Moran and Andrea Powell) vs. Maxine Doogan.  Unfortunately for the antis, Maxine had logic and facts on her side and acquitted herself quite well.  What you won’t hear:  Sol Finer of SWOP-Seattle called into the live show and Moran absolutely lost her mind, screaming and shouting at Sol in such a clearly unbalanced manner that the tirade was edited out of the archived version of the show.  So much for NPR’s commitment to the truth.

New Excuse (#576)

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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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Your typical “good feminist” engages in “sex-positive activism” by assuring one another that they are bold “revolutionaries” for watching punk porn or buying buttplugs…mainstream feminists know that you don’t change the world with a Hitachi Magic Wand.  –  Furry Girl

Marguerite Griffin (c 1911)Storyville

Melissa Gira Grant presents an excellent short history of the first 200 years of prostitution in America, “When Prostitution Wasn’t a Crime”; New Orleans is of course prominently featured, but is by no means the only city covered.  Grant looks at how whores were often the first women in colonies, how cops and politicians harassed us before our trade itself was criminalized, and how the social purity movement established criminalization as the American norm.

Grow the Hell Up!

Most California cities can no longer afford to persecute hookers, so San José has had to fall on that reliable fund-raising technique, lying:  “…San Jose Police…acquired a human trafficking grant from the federal government…[which funded] a very successful…sting operation…[arresting] johns and pimps…is extremely important, because they are the ones who…force these women [into] illicit activity…

Sex Workers Against Trafficking

sex workers from Nashik [Maharashtra] saved a 14-year-old girl from being sold by…an acquaintance…Vijay Dive…lured her with a trip…[and] told her that he would buy her new clothes…Dive [instead tried to sell her to]…some brothels…[but] sex workers…[informed] police…

Life Imitates Artifice (March Updates)

It’s good to see Russians using “sex trafficking” hysteria as propaganda; let’s hope the Islamic theocracies follow their lead:

The US Department of Justice reported that every two minutes a child is trafficked for…sexual exploitation in the United States…Parents, stepparents or guardians force their children to perform sex acts in exchange for money or items of value…a sex victim who was abused throughout her childhood [says] “Normally it’s in places where there’s lots of people, anytime when there’s a ball game”…child sex [traffickers] are ordinary people…[but] force their children to take addictive drugs and usually threaten them…In 2011 the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) revealed a study that showed there were more than 100 cases reported of child sex trafficking in Knox County…Tennessee…

A Fantasy of Hate

Night of the DemonsI described reading neofeminist hate-sites as “like opening the viewing window into a padded cell.”  Well, a Tweeter named Caprica collected this group interaction from the recent “RadFem 2013” convention; the specific focus of this malice is transgender people, but there’s plenty for men as well.  Warning: don’t look if you are easily disturbed by vile, psychopathic, literally genocidal hatred.

Imaginary Lines

Interestingly, the phrase “sex trafficking” appears nowhere in this story:

The madam of a nationwide Korean prostitution ring…was sentenced to [two years for] immigration fraud…Miyoung Roberts, 42…arranged illegal immigration for more than 24 Korean women who…[worked] at…nightclubs…[and] counseled…[them] on how to avoid detection by immigration authorities.  She set up apartments…and supervised some of [their] prostitution…Roberts…gained U.S. citizenship through a fake marriage…

Bootlickers

Washington state puritans continue their bizarre persecution of coffee stands:  “…Three bikini baristas have been arrested…in Everett…for allegedly selling strip shows to customers…at two Grab-N-Go stands, which is where several baristas were charged with prostitution…in 2009…The arrests came after a two-month undercover investigation…

Under a Rock

The redoubtable Furry Girl presents a devastating critique of sex-positive feminists’ insistence that theirs is the only true feminism:

…sex-positive, pro-autonomy, anti-victimhood feminists are a small minority compared to all the other feminists they…dismiss as “not real feminists.”  Large national feminist organizations and women’s studies departments are not run on “good feminist” principles, they are run by the oppressive and anti-sexuality feminists who represent mainstream feminist values.  “Good feminists” aren’t the ones being brought in as experts by governments to write new anti-sex worker and anti-porn laws…Feminists who have any shred of influence invariably use it to be “bad feminists,” whether it’s criminalizing indoor prostitution in Rhode Island or holding tenured women’s studies jobs so they can terrorize impressionable young women into feeling victimized by the world around them…

screaming loony
Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark

A new study suggests that the possible reason women tend to be more talkative than men (20,000 words per day vs. the male average of 7000) is that our brains tend to “have higher levels of a ‘language protein’ called FOXP2”.  Jezebel, of course, exists in a different reality than the rest of us and so DENIES that women tend to be more talkative than men, going on and on and on about it…

Repeat Offenders

The unholy alliance of nuns and SOAP fanatics continues to harass hoteliers in the American Midwest while spreading its extreme version of the “gypsy whores” myth:

…the Dominican Sisters of Peace in Columbus [Ohio] have joined forces with SOAP…[in claiming that] human traffickers…flock to major sporting and other public events.  Their current focus is the Arnold Sports Festival and Fitness Expo…[they] call and visit hotels to alert them to the potential for prostitution and trafficking…and…distribute bars of soap…with the phone number of a…trafficking hot line…

A Broker in Pillage

What could possibly go wrong?

A new bill…in Hawaii’s state senate would  expand asset forfeiture to include petty misdemeanors…the Hawaii…ACLU posits that [this]…could lead to all sorts of ridiculously-cruel consequences.  Homeless people could lose their property if they camp out in a park after hours.  Protestors could have their signs, petitions and other assets seized—a chilling effect on the First Amendment.  The bill is backed by Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources as a way to protect “natural, cultural, historical and recreational resources”…Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth has lambasted [SB 1342] as “draconian“…state Sen. Russell Ruderman called [it] “outrageous,” [saying] “we should have more safeguards, not less, to protect people from forfeiture abuses.”  The Institute for Justice gave Hawaii a D for its atrocious…forfeiture laws

You’ll be shocked at the identity of one of the biggest supporters of this tyranny:

The Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery (PASS) supports SB1342…[as part of a campaign to] stiffen penalties for patrons of prostitution…This bill…would be very beneficial in ending the demand for prostitution in Hawaii and would provide another deterrent for patrons who buy humans for sex…

An Example to the West

This letter from a group of Indian feminists in response to the incredibly patronizing behavior of Harvard do-gooders is a perfect example of what Southern ladies call “vinegar pie”: a dish so sweet it makes your teeth hurt.  I have read it three times now and enjoy it more each time.

Pyrrhic Victory

The ACLU’s “nightmare scenario” of drone-enabled universal surveillance is about to become a reality:  “ARGUS-IS…is…a super-high, 1.8 gigapixel resolution camera that can be mounted on a drone.  As demonstrated in this clip, the system is capable of high-resolution monitoring and recording of an entire city”:

ARGUS produces a high-resolution video image that covers 15 square miles.  It’s all streamed to the ground and stored, and operators can zoom in upon any small area and watch the footage of that spot…it’s the culmination of the trend towards ever-more-pervasive surveillance cameras in American life.  We’ve been  objecting to that trend for years, and many of our public spaces are now under 24/7 video surveillance—often by cameras owned and operated by the police.  But even in our most pessimistic moments, I don’t think we thought that every street, empty lot, garden, and field would be subject to video monitoring anytime soon.  But that is precisely what this technology could enable.  We’ve speculated  about self-organizing swarms of drones being used to blanket entire cities with surveillance, but this technology makes it clear that nothing that complicated is required…

Legal Is as Legal Does (TW3 #20)

The gradual closure of…state-run brothels is emerging as a controversial tactic in Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s declared war on prostitution.  While Erdoğan’s supporters denounce brothels as a form of “slavery,” sex workers fear the campaign poses risks to their health and safety.  Closing…brothels “will not keep men from visiting prostitutes,” explained 48-year-old Istanbul sex worker Berna, “but it will push even more women into illegality and the back streets, where they will be without protection, and without any rights”…Several state-run brothels around the country reportedly already have been closed down – with official reasons including proximity to a new mosque and the nearby discovery of historical artifacts – and others should soon follow…

The Notorious Badge (TW3 #27)

Johanna in Tits and Sass on “Why Anne Hathaway Should Go-Away”:

In last year’s Les Miserables…Anne Hathaway plays Fantine, a single mother [who]…turns to prostitution…Hathaway…[made] various comments…[about] “the lives of sex slaves”… and her attempts to “honor” the experiences of women who are “forced to sell sex”…Much media attention has also been given to the work on her own body Hathaway did to prepare for the role…[including] hair-cutting and drastic weight loss…What seems strange to me…is that Hathaway and the lady bloggers who love her apparently can’t see any similarities between her use of her body in work…and the experiences of sex workers.  Like sex workers, Hathaway’s physicality is central to her job.  Like sex workers, Hathaway has to make decisions about how to deploy her body…but somehow, when she diets to the point of frailness (her words), we call that work; when women in a film give hand jobs, we call it “the darkest place imaginable.”  Fantine cuts off her hair for money and we cry.  Hathaway cuts off her hair (also for money) and we nod admiringly…

Saudi cashierThe Lion and the Ox

The logical end result of “human trafficking” rhetoric:

Employing females as cashiers is a form of human trafficking like sexual exploitation, forced labor and organ trafficking…Objectifying women comes in different forms, such as exploitation in media, advertising, flight attendants, receptionists, and supermarket clerks or cashiers, argues…a graduate research paper at the Imam Mohammad bin Saud Islamic University…Mohammad al-Bogami…writes that Muslim scholars consider it human trafficking if the goal of hiring women is to use their looks to attract customers…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #43)

The view on the Swedish model from inside Norway, with references to Penny Gelder and the play I linked before:

An increasing number of people in Norway are starting to see through the evil…It is in the nature of a moralist a desire to remove something he or she doesn’t like.  Recently, this moralistic mind game has become more and more unmasked…Did you know that children and young people in Norway grow up in a society in which they learn that consensual sex is prohibited?…More and more people are becoming extremely angry and feel that their private sphere is violated.  It is very easy to explain, in a factual and logical way, why this law is one of the greatest assaults on humanity ever…So, why doesn´t Amnesty International or the United Nations take solid action, demanding the Sex Purchase Law to be removed immediately?…The Sex Purchase Law violates absolutely all citizens in a country where it is in effect.  Not only sex workers, because any kind of sex is in fact a trade or transaction.  Thus, any consensual sex would logically be illegal…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (TW3 #136)

Indian sex workers triumph over an attempt at back-door criminalization:

The government has decided not to treat voluntary sex workers above the age of 18 years as victims of trafficking…Following objections by human rights and women organisations, the government is set to delete the term “prostitution” as one of the forms of exploitation which constitutes the offence of trafficking…which…stated that “…the consent of the victim is immaterial”…Justice JS Verma panel…clarified that amended law ought not to be interpreted to permit law enforcement agencies to harass sex workers…and their clients…

Big Sister

Dr. Brooke Magnanti on the fantasy that porn prohibition via internet censorship will somehow work in Iceland (despite the fact that it can’t even stop physical contraband like drugs), and the even more farfetched fantasy that it could work in the UK (because, like Iceland, it’s a magical island kingdom separated from the evil, evil world by floating rings of fire).

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In reality, sex work isn’t stigmatised because it is dangerous. Sex work is dangerous because it is stigmatized.  –  Laurie Penny

Storyville

This is a pretty good introduction to Storyville, though it has a few errors and two really odd misinterpretations:  she refers to “not on the first floor of any building” as a “district”, and she only counts business owners (rather than individual whores) when discussing income.  Worth watching for the pictures.

Since young colonies rarely have anything to recommend them to women, they often have a pronounced gender imbalance; King Louis XV solved the problem in New Orleans by sending a boatload of whores, and George III did the same thing 68 years later for Australia.  The ship was named the Lady Juliana, and this recent article draws on a recently-unearthed jail log to tell a little about the ship and its passengers.

License To Rape

…a former Eatontown [New Jersey] detective accepted a plea agreement…[for raping] an informant.  His victim…explained to the court…how [Philip] Emanuele used the threat of prison for a theft charge…to coerce her into performing oral sex…When she refused, he raped her…Emanuele acknowledged what he had done in open court, and was sentenced to 5 years of probation for criminal coercion, and 3 years of probation for tampering with evidence…

Lack of Evidence

A New York district attorney has dropped a prostitution charge against former reality TV star Alicia Guastaferro…after further investigation revealed it was unmerited…The D.A. still plans to pursue [other] charges…Guastaferro…[and] attorney James D. Doyle [were found unconscious in Doyle’s car after]…a…motorist…[reported] a car being driven erratically…Guastaferro …told police Doyle pays her $500 to $700 to perform sexual acts and spend the night with him…

Yes, the cops actually filed a prostitution charge on the word of a semi-conscious drunk.

The Red Umbrella

This San Francisco Weekly op-ed by Chris Hall is the best December 17th article by a non-sex worker I have ever seen.  It deserves to be read in its entirety, but its tone is illustrated by the statement “…there really is no conversation about sex work…only a monologue by media and politicians with the workers themselves meant to stay silent.  December 17 events represent a concerted effort to break that silence.”

The New Victorianism

Another Christmas present to sex workers from a journalist who isn’t one of us, but gets it; this one was published in The New Statesman by repentant neofeminist Laurie Penny:

…Laws regulating sex work are written…by people who have never done sex work and who have no sustained contact with those who do.  The most well-meaning legislation…often backfires, pushing the sex trade further underground and giving the police licence to punish and victimise women…feminist author Ellen Willis termed this handkerchief-clutching zeal to “save” prostitutes, porn actresses and other “fallen” women “neo-Victorianism”…It’s a school of so-called women’s liberation that [believes]…work can’t possibly be the problem, so…If sex workers are victimised by the police and…face higher levels of violence and assault at work, then it can only be because of their dirty moral choice to have sex for money…This isn’t about evidence…It’s about morality, just as it was…when…women organised charity centres to ‘save’ street prostitutes from sin by finding them alternative employment as charwomen, in workhouses or scrubbing the streets…any kind of work, however exploitative and badly paid, must be better than sex work because it doesn’t involve sex, wicked sex, sinful sex…

Remy CoutureSee No Evil

The equation of images and reality claims another victim:

…Rémy Couture [is a]…Canadian special-effects artist charged  with “corrupting morals” by illegally combining sex and gore…[in] two short films depicting the crimes of a necrophiliac serial killer and various photographs of simulated torture and dismemberment that were posted on Couture’s now-defunct website…The prosecution argues that Couture’s work is obscene under Canadian law because “a dominant characteristic” of it is “the undue exploitation of sex” combined with “crime, horror, cruelty and violence.”  He faces up to two years in prison for this prohibited mixture

Where Are the Protests?

The word “trafficking” is not to be found in this article, nor are calls for paving to be abolished:

…William Connors…his wife Mary…[and] their sons…were all convicted of conspiracy to require a person to perform forced…labour…the Connors would pick up…homeless drifters or addicts…[who then] lived in squalid caravans…as they moved around the country working on the Connors’ paving and patio businesses…and…were controlled by discipline and violence…[they] were beaten, hit with broom handles, belts, a rake and shovel, and punched and kicked…[they] were often made to strip for a “hosing down session” with freezing water…[and] were paid as little as £5 for a day’s hard labour on jobs that would earn the family several thousand pounds.  They were given so little food they resorted to scavenging from dustbins…

And as Furry Girl points out, nobody seems to care if children are forced to act in movies for their parents’ profit, either:  “Imagine if anti-sex worker activists treated all forms of entertainment the same way they treat [sex work]…Where are the Nick Kristof-led raids of acting classes for children, the protests against movie studios that utilize under-18 performers, and the arrests of live studio audiences at the taping of TV family sitcoms?

The More the Better

Furry Girl writes about the way people’s acceptance of unfamiliar things like marijuana use, homosexuality and sex work tends to grow as they get to know real people who are involved with those things, and she proposes an experiment for those shy about coming out:

Go to a bar in the next city over, or a music festival out of town, or just tell the person sitting next to you on the bus or subway.  Try openness on for just a day, or even 15 minutes.  You will get some bad reactions, but I think it will surprise you how many people won’t be an asshole to you.  Be prepared for questions, which you can choose to answer or not.

Traffic Jam

Susana Trimarco and claimsAmazingly, all 13 victims of an Argentinean “sex trafficking” witch hunt were acquitted of all charges last week:  “…the judges said there was no way to prove that Marita, a 23-year-old mother and wife who vanished on…April 3, 2002, was kidnapped and forced into a prostitution ring…For the last decade Marita’s mother, Susana Trimarco, has waged an uphill battle [against]…the people she believed were responsible for her daughter’s disappearance into the netherworld of human trafficking…”  Trimarco has insisted from the beginning that her daughter was abducted by “sex traffickers”, despite a total lack of evidence for such an outlandish interpretation of the meager facts.  The article points out that Trimarco “almost single-handedly changed the way that human trafficking is viewed…across much of Latin America,” and this is true:  with the help of cops and prohibitionists she has succeeded in introducing American-style “sex trafficking” mythology to a culture which has a much healthier view of sex work than that of the US.

Legitimate Outrage

Being an ignoramus is no impediment to a career in law:

The California Commission on Judicial Performance…[admonished] Judge Derek Johnson…[for] comments [made] in the case of a man who threatened to mutilate the face and genitals of his former girlfriend with a heated screwdriver, beat her with a metal baton and made other violent threats…Johnson, a former prosecutor in the Orange County district attorney’s sex crimes unit, said…”I’m not a gynecologist but I can tell you something:  if someone doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse the body shuts down…[and] will not permit that to happen unless a lot of damage is inflicted, and we heard nothing about that in this case”…since 1980, California law has not required rape victims to prove they resisted or were prevented from resisting.

Profound Ignorance

Several people called to my attention a recent paper claiming that legalizing prostitution increased human trafficking; I pointed out to them that without good data and clear definitions, a prohibitionist can “prove” whatever he likes.  But Dr. Laura Agustín said it much better than I did:

I’ve been asked several times to comment on a recently published article, Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking?…This study belongs to a trend to use econometric concepts and techniques in a (vain) attempt to prove this or that about prostitution…fancy modelling and sophisticated analysis cannot help when the data being analysed is next to useless…Any critique of this work has to begin by asking how the authors define human trafficking, inflows, legalised prostitution, the prostitution market, trafficked women and legal prostitutes.  None of these terms is self-explaining.  After more than 15 years, we do not even have agreement about what the fundamental terms mean, so anyone writing in the field has to tell us which definitions they are using and they have to make sure they compare and contrast categories using the same definitions…The best way to understand this work is Garbage in, garbage out…

Metaupdates

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #35)

Wally Oppal says the scores of women missing and presumed murdered by Robert Pickton and others in the Vancouver area were doubly forsaken – by society and by police.  In fact, they were triply forsaken…The law itself forsook many of them, by criminalizing them for selling sex and driving them to the extreme margins…“I cannot ignore the reality that this legal regime played an important role in shaping the relationship between the police and women…potentially affecting…investigations…” Mr. Oppal writes…The report is a death knell for prostitution laws in their current form.

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #43)

More and more UN officials are coming out in favor of decriminalization:

The UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health – yes, that’s his full title…has…come down firmly on the side of decriminalising the sex industry.  In fact, a 2010 report of his is one of the strongest statements I’ve ever seen in this regard by a UN official…

Tyranny By Consensus (TW3 #47)danger wear goggles sign

A group of adult industry leaders announced…their intent to file a lawsuit soon against Los Angeles County over Measure B…an ill-conceived law that makes it mandatory for adult actors to wear lab coats, goggles and gloves as well as condoms while shooting adult films in the County.  The law was funded solely by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)…The attorneys plan to challenge the law on the [grounds that]…health and safety…issues…fall under…State regulation…[they also] plan to challenge…on constitutional grounds…

One Born Every Minute (TW3 #48)

Detectives investigating a website offering to pay the tuition fees of female students in return for sex have arrested [Mark Lancaster] on suspicion of inciting prostitution…”  WTF?  “Inciting prostitution”?  How about fraud and sexual assault?

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #49)

It’s astonishing that these people just can’t understand and accept that nothing has to “be done”, and that student sex workers will get along without their “help” just as they always have:  “…ex-brothel madam [Becky Adams] has been enlisted to help…Swansea University…research…what motivates [students] to [do] sex work…”  I’ll save them the trouble:  the answer is “good money and flexible hours”.  Now, where’s my £500,000?

This Week in 2010 and 2011

Beside my two previous columns for December 17th, my two previous columns  for Yule, my two previous yuletide fictional interludes and a history of Hanukkah, this week also featured a look at what passes for “evidence of prostitution”, a look at the truth of Swedish “feminism”, a statement of some of my principles, a thought experiment about coercion vs. free choice and a biography of Edith Piaf.  Finally, there were also short items on Craigslist, the UK attempt to block all internet porn, PC celebrities, “john schools”, Bronte sister action figures, nanny-state dating advice, Julian Assange, hate crime, an awkward call, men’s magazines, a fatal BDSM accident, Barbie hate, a begging ban, another hooker-hiring politician and religious persecution.

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All you old-time queens, from New Orleans, who lived in Storyville
You sang the blues, try to amuse, here’s how they pay the bill
The law step in and call it sin to have a little fun
The police car has made a stop and Storyville is done.
  –  Clarence Williams, “Farewell To Storyville”

Storyville postcard, circa 1910

The story “Painted Devil” (which appeared in my column of August 23rd) took place in New Orleans of the early 1880s, as most of you probably surmised; in it I alluded to a few historical details which would be familiar to educated New Orleanians but may have left others scratching their heads, especially my mention of Storyville in a reply at the end.  I therefore decided to give you a quick history of prostitution in the Crescent City, culminating in the history of Storyville.

New Orleans was founded on May 7, 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville and named for Philippe, Duke of Orléans, who was Regent of France at the time.  Besides being terribly primitive like all new colonies, New Orleans was hot, mosquito-infested and disease-ridden and therefore had nothing to recommend it to women, so Bienville petitioned King Louis XV for help in 1721.  The monarch responded by releasing all the prostitutes in La Salpêtrière prison and deporting them to New Orleans, where they of course resumed their trade.  So many of the early female inhabitants of the city were whores that when a priest suggested to one of the first governors of Louisiana that he banish all “disreputable women”, the governor replied, “If I send away all the loose females, there will be no women left here at all.”  In 1728, the Ursuline nuns started to import convent-raised middle-class French girls as wives for the middle and upper-class male colonists and continued to do so until 1751; these were called “casket girls” (filles à la cassette) because the French government issued them small chests of clothing.

Most of the female population were still either whores or former whores, but this concerned few people other than the priests; prostitution in New Orleans was neither regulated nor suppressed at any time during the 18th century.  The colony was ceded to Spain by the Treaty of Paris (1763) and remained Spanish territory until 1801, when Napoleon reclaimed it, then sold it to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.  Obviously, the puritanical Americans could not allow things to stand as they were, so though prostitution was still legal a series of regulations were imposed to allow the police to arrest streetwalkers for “vagrancy” or harass madams for “brothel keeping”.  Most of these cases were dropped long before trial because the men who owned brothels or rented rooms to streetwalkers wanted their tenants back at work, and paid bribes or hired lawyers to ensure that outcome.  New Orleans’ first actual anti-prostitution law was the 1857 Lorette ordinance which prohibited prostitution on the first floor of buildings; it was soon declared unconstitutional, but the advent of the American Civil War gave the city fathers more important things to worry about.

New Orleans was captured by the Union Navy in May of 1862 and placed under martial law with General Benjamin Butler in command; he was known as “Beast Butler” for his tyrannical orders and “Spoons Butler” for his habit of stealing the silverware of every Southern house he stayed in during the war.  Butler seized $800,000 from the Dutch consulate, imprisoned French and English citizens (including diplomats), arrested clergymen for refusing to pray for President Lincoln, and within days of occupying the city issued his infamous General Order #28, which stated that if any woman should “…show contempt for any officer or soldier of the United States, she shall be regarded and shall be held liable to be treated as a woman of the town plying her avocation”, in other words a prostitute.  This order provoked widespread outcry even in the North and was officially protested by both England and France; it was almost certainly the cause of Butler’s dismissal from the post only seven months later.

Mansions housing expensive brothels on Basin Street, circa 1900

After Butler’s removal the lower-class whores of New Orleans thrived on the business generated by lonely soldiers far from home, and by the end of the war a whole string of brothels had opened along the old Basin Canal; the road which connected them was named Basin Street after the canal, and the brothels there and all over the city continued to thrive during the Reconstruction on the money brought in by the Carpetbaggers, unscrupulous Northern businessmen who flocked to the South to take advantage of its weakened economic condition.  Most of these merchants built their mansions along Nyades Road to the nearby town of Carrolton; the road was renamed St. Charles Avenue and the railway which ran along it was eventually converted to a streetcar line which is still used today.

By 1897 there were brothels all over the city, so Alderman Sidney Story proposed to limit the trade to one district specifically zoned for the purpose.  The district chosen was the Basin Street area where most of the larger and better bordellos had grown up during the Occupation and Reconstruction; specifically, it was the zone bounded by Iberville, Basin, St. Louis, and N. Robertson streets.  Residents simply referred to the area as “The District”; only contemporary newspapers and later historians called it “Storyville” after the official who had proposed it.  The brothels ranged from 50¢ “cribs” (originally a San Francisco term) to mid-range houses charging $1-$5, up to a row of elegant mansions along Basin Street where the girls charged $10, a great deal of money in a day when the average workman earned 22¢/hour.  The most expensive fee was probably that charged by Madame Kate Townsend, who though she had long retired from active whoring would still agree to see an important client if he was willing to pay her exorbitant fee of $50/hour!

A catalog named The Blue Book was published periodically by the wealthier brothels; its title page was inscribed with the motto of the Order of the Garter (honi soit qui mal y pense, “shame to him who evil thinks”) and its interior contained descriptions of each house and its featured girls, a price list and a description of any special services offered.  The most lavish of the mansions was probably the Arlington (named for its owner, Josie Arlington) at 225 Basin Street, described in The Blue Book as “absolutely and unquestionably the most decorative and costly fitted-out sporting palace ever placed before the American public.”  The Arlington was a four-story edifice with a distinctive onion-domed cupola, crammed with expensive paintings and statuary and featuring various parlors decorated in the styles of foreign countries.  Josie Arlington herself was a remarkably ethical woman; in a day when verifiable virgin whores brought a whopping $200 or more and previously-wealthy Creole families who had fallen on hard times often sent their beautiful, cultured daughters to the best brothels, she absolutely refused to allow virgins to be “defiled or exploited” by her business.  In fact, the tomb in which she was originally buried (though her body was later moved to foil curiosity-seekers and the structure was sold to the Morales family) features a bronze figure of a young girl who is thought to symbolize a virgin being turned away from the door of the Arlington.

Black, white and Creole brothels (the latter staffed by beautiful “quadroon” or “octoroon” girls, 1/4 or 1/8 black respectively) coexisted in Storyville, but these were all for white clients; black men were legally barred from hiring any girl in the District.  However, brothels where black girls accepted black clients were tolerated in a separate district nearby; they were technically illegal but neither the police nor the regulators ever harassed them.  And though Jazz did not originate in Storyville as is commonly believed, it was played by musicians in the more expensive houses and was therefore first heard in Storyville by many out-of-town clients, becoming inextricably associated with it in those gentlemen’s minds.  “Jelly Roll” Morton and “Pops” Foster started out as musicians in Storyville brothels, and Louis Armstrong’s mother worked in one of the houses after she was abandoned by his father.

Considering its success and the amount of revenue it brought to the city, Storyville might still exist today if not for the prudery of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, a teetotaler who considered the district as a “bad influence” on the sailors at the nearby Naval base during World War I.  The District was therefore closed by federal order in 1917 over the strong objections of the New Orleans city government and Mayor Martin Behrman, who said “You can make prostitution illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular.”  The closing of the District is dramatized in this scene from the movie New Orleans (1947), in which Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong perform the haunting “Farewell to Storyville”; though most of the working girls were forcibly evicted, new brothels opened in secret both there and in other parts of the city, streetwalkers proliferated and some of the earliest call girls appeared.  Many of the old houses were converted into dance halls, cabarets and restaurants, and after the beginning of Prohibition many speakeasies and gambling dens joined the clandestine brothels.  Frequent police and federal raids failed to hinder operations, so in the early 1930s the city government (at federal urging) bought or seized most of the area and leveled every building (even the beautiful mansions on Basin Street) to make room for the squalid Iberville Housing Project, which remains a blight on the city to this day.  Basin Street was even renamed “North Saratoga”, though the original name was restored by popular demand in the 1950s.

Sadly, the current political establishment in New Orleans prefers to pretend that Storyville never existed; even an historical marker at the site mentions several jazz musicians who were “on the scene here”, but glosses over the industry which employed them with the vague and inaccurate phrase “legalized red light district” (as we have seen, prostitution was not illegal there before so it could not be “legalized”).  Though New Orleans cannot contravene state law, city government is allowed to determine police department policy and could certainly order that prostitution is to be tolerated; instead they play the kind of sleazy games I described in my columns of August 4th, 5th and 6th, and thereby dishonor the memory of thousands of women who helped build the city.

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