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Posts Tagged ‘Swedish model’

An adult who chooses to engage in sexual activity, whether for recreation, procreation or in exchange for something of value, makes a private, individual choice that should not be subject to criminal sanctions.  –  Jeanne LoCicero and Udi Ofer

Something Rotten in Sweden

The 5th installment of the Tits and Sass series “Big Mother is Watching You” profiles notable American proponents of “end demand” and the Swedish model, namely  Rachel Durchslag, Tom DartBeth Klein, Shirley Franklin, Yasmin Vafa and  Dominique Roe-Sepowitz.

A False Dichotomy 

They “see it as a business transaction” because that’s exactly what it is:

…in recent interviews conducted to understand what is driving [migrants] into the hands of human traffickers, it is clear that those involved see the risk they are taking as a business transaction, not a crime.  Malick Traore of Mali…said…“It is even more risky to live in misery in my own home country with a family always having tears in their eyes from hungers…the traffickers…do not call the migrant from their homes, or force them to cross the sea.  It is just an agreement between shipman and client”…Mariam Camara…is a widow with two daughters…[she said] “the criminal is Malian government but not the traffickers.”  Hamidou Thierro…says:  “I do not see those traffickers as criminals, because they are helping the poor migrants who are sacrificing their life to get into Europe to help back their families and plan better life for their children.  The traffickers are not human life protection agent but normal transporter as air plane or train”…

Lawheads just can’t get that normal people don’t really give a shit about their bullshit regulations.

Gorged With Meaning

Just about everything you need to know about this craptastic mixture of the obvious, the pearl-clutching and the dead wrong is that the author interviews the sociopathic narcissist Meghan Murphy instead of one of the many sex workers who write on the subject (such as, oh, ME for example), and approvingly quotes her as saying that raping a sex worker is no big deal.  That, and the fact that it’s named “The New Prostitution Economy” because it pretends that young women trading sex to older men for resources is some kind of new thing.

Follow Your Bliss 

Again, don’t think this is unique to Oakland:

When Leneka Pendergrass’ seventeen-year-old daughter…escaped…a pimp…Pendergrass turned to an organization that had previously helped.  She called Patrick Mims…of the Sexually Exploited Minors program at Bay Area Women Against Rape…the lead East Bay nonprofit organization in the state’s Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force…BAWAR works closely with Oakland police…to [indoctrinate] them about child sex trafficking.  And BAWAR employees…accompany Oakland cops on their anti-[sex worker] sting operations…Pendergrass…and Mims frequently texted the first few nights after she and her daughter escaped…Then…less than a week [later]…Mims came to her apartment and they had sex…[this continued for six weeks, then] Mims suddenly stopped responding to her calls and texts…[and] her daughter’s case was no longer a priority for BAWAR.  She felt Mims abused his position of power.  Feelings of confusion and remorse grew intense, she said.  She worried that her access to OPD and the DA was being curtailed, too…Pendergrass also wrote a letter to the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, an umbrella organization of rape-crisis centers like BAWAR…nothing ever came of her letter, or the police report…BAWAR…appears to never have acknowledged what happened…Jacqueline Montero

The Public Eye 

It’s always heartening to see a sex worker run for office, especially when she wins:

…Jacqueline Montero…worked as a prostitute for years to feed her children.  Now, after a decade of activism for women’s rights in the Dominican Republic, she hopes to put her life experience to work following her election to the Chamber of Deputies as part of an opposition coalition…The 46-year-old wants to focus on improving opportunities for women, a significant challenge in a country where about 35 percent of households are led by single mothers in poverty…She plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit discrimination against…LGBT, sex workers, people with AIDS and the elderly.  The walls of her office are adorned with diplomas and posters from international conferences dealing with sex work…Activists say the significance of her election transcends her relatively minor legislative position because she will be a powerful voice for largely unrepresented people…

Cops and Condoms (#313)

Remember Bill Gates’ $100,000 grant to develop “the next generation of condom”?  Well, the first results are in:

…After weeding through 953 applications, the foundation awarded grants to 26 applicants.  Among them was Richard Chartoff, a polymer scientist at Oregon State University, who developed an idea for ultra-thin condoms made from polyurethane elastic polymers that respond to body heat and conform to the penis’s shape…the HEX condom, developed by luxury sex toy company LELO…[features a] “hexagonal net design [which] effectively holds together the condom,” [founder Filip] Sedic explains, “so we were able to make the majority of the condom’s surface very thin without forfeiting strength”…the hexagonal design gripped his penis without squeezing it.  My husband’s sensations were less dulled than usual, too, since it was the thinnest traditionally shaped condom we used…myONE Perfect Fit from ONE Condoms will bring 56 different sizes to the market, allowing men to use a kit…to measure their penis length and width to determine the best size for them…

Devil’s Advocate

This guy seems like a real scumbag…so why isn’t Thailand asking for Norway to extradite him for prosecution there? Do you really want a precedent that people can be prosecuted in one jurisdiction for things they did in another jurisdiction where their actions weren’t illegal?

A 34-year-old Swedish businessman based in Oslo is facing trial in Norway accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in Thailand for several years – including making her pregnant…the girl…is from a poor family and had started working as a prostitute straight after finishing school…at the age of 14 she gave birth to the baby…DNA records have shown that the man is the child’s biological father…Police launched their investigation after he was arrested for…drugs two years ago.  During a search of his home in Oslo officers found indecent images…and 51 movies showing children being sexually abused.  They also found pictures of the Thai girl…

Guinea Pigs 

This is one of those potpourris of hysteria that could fit into any of several headings, but I think the most important one is yet another surveillance tool for hunting down sex workers:

…Tim Wedge, a Forensics Science professor…in Defiance, Ohio…[created] FAGIN, Facial Analysis to Gain Information Now, a basic crude prototype…[which] is designed to take…pictures of missing children, run it through the facial analysis software by comparing them to pictures in ads for people being sold for sex online, and produce a report whenever there’s a match…Wedge says FAGIN has the possibility of rescuing a shocking amount of victims…800,000 children are reported missing each year.  One in five of them are sex trafficking victims…

Can this “science professor” even do math?  Because the reporter sure can’t.  But more importantly: the same program could also compare pics from ads to, say, a driver’s license database, thus giving cops an escort’s legal name and address.

Aloha, Oy!

Hawaii was the last state to criminalize prostitution, and now it’s become the last state to fully rebrand it as “sex trafficking”:

Hawaii has become the last state in the nation to explicitly ban sex trafficking.  Gov. David Ige signed the bill…[which] makes [acts that were already illegal illegal again], expands the statewide witness protection program to include sex trafficking and provides victims access to criminal injury compensation.  “It’s a historic day for Hawaii.  Now, from sea to sea, the United States can say it [criminalized some crimes twice],” said Kris Coffield…[a “sex trafficking” profiteer]…

What Were You All Waiting For? (#622) 

Is the ACLU finally beginning to do the right thing, at long last?

In honor of International [Whores’] Day, activists marched on Atlantic City on June 3 to call for the decriminalization of sex work…This is a goal the American Civil Liberties Union…strongly supports.  Since 1975, the ACLU has believed that prostitution…should be decriminalized…It’s time to stop sweeping consenting adult sex workers into the criminal justice system.  We need models that protect their rights, their health and their safety…Amnesty International adopted a policy advocating the decriminalization of adult consensual sex work in its efforts to prevent human rights violations.  Amnesty isn’t alone.  They joined the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, Human Rights Watch, the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects and many other…groups in calling for the decriminalization of sex work to stem the abuse, discrimination and violence that too frequently plague the lives of sex workers…

King of the Hill (#623) The Keep

One of the more amusing tropes of this moral panic: labeling a particular street a “hotbed” of sex work or “trafficking”:

For more than three decades now, the corner of Cypress Avenue and Starr Street has been known as one of the old-school New York prostitution hotbeds.  Even as gentrification of the area rapidly progresses, prostitution as a symptom of the “bad old times” continues…Unbeknownst to the owners at the time of the opening, [a bar named] The Keep became somewhat of a local epicenter for…“Operation Losing Proposition,” the goal of which is to lock up johns as they solicit sex from undercover [sows who use]…the bathrooms at The Keep [without permission] to change into their [costumes]…Eli B. Silverman explains that the initiative was designed by CEU attorneys who researched the law that allows for [asset seizure]…In this case, johns’ cars could be seized…the operation has been yielding incredible [profits]…and [Silverman pretends] prostitution has been greatly reduced…the operation has been consistently dubbed a success, but 26 years later, one has to wonder whether the number of arrested johns is the correct indicator of success, or whether the operation opened a bottomless well of meaningless arrests…

To Molest and Rape (#651)

No, you fucking filthy liar, it’s not “unique” and you fucking know it:

Alameda County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Ray Kelly, a former sex crimes investigator who serves as the agency’s spokesman, said several members of his department were investigated but a review showed none had done anything illegal or against policy. Kelly would not say if the deputies had sex with [Celeste Guap]…“This case is unique, and it’s not a good example of the relationships between sex crimes victims and police officers,” he said…

In typical tone-deaf LA Times fashion, the reporter concludes a story about people abusing women under the guise of “rescuing” them from their choices by praising someone who abuses women under the guise of “rescuing” them from their choices:

…[Sylvia] Vigil…has been preaching to the girls she [condescendingly dehumanizes] as “twilight treasures” since 1982…when she founded the Oakland branch of Victory Outreach…On [a] recent visit to International Boulevard, Vigil shook her head as she watched [a] young woman enter [a client’s] car, said a prayer, then brought her van’s engine to life and hit the gas…As the man in the Cutlass attempted to drive away, Vigil pulled her van in front of his car, blocking him in.  A colleague from the ministry who sat in Vigil’s van held up a Victory Outreach business card and shouted “not tonight” at the man…

Naturally, Vigil didn’t offer to pay the girl for the client she scared away, so the girl probably didn’t eat that night. But I’m sure the knowledge that she had been “saved” from dirty, filthy sex assuaged her hunger.

The End of the Beginning (#653)

Another in an anti-registry series from Vox:

When I first became a public defender, I believed the worst punishment that my clients would face would be time in jail.  Since then, I’ve learned that incarceration is not the…worst…punishment the criminal justice system can impose.  The registration requirements imposed on those convicted of sex offenses are unfairly harsh and punitive…I had always assumed that sex offender registration was limited to those who committed the most egregious and dangerous offenses.  I had also trusted that the Supreme Court was right when, in 2003, it stated that sex offender registration laws are not punishments but merely administrative requirements to protect public safety.  But I realize now that many of my clients would choose…anything to avoid being labeled a sex offender for life…because our current…laws apply an…inhumane one-size-fits-all approach that does not prevent future sex crimes and in fact makes us all less safe…The registration process appears designed to make people fail.  The rules are so complicated that few non-attorneys can keep up with them…

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The criminalisation of sex workers should…end.  –  MP Keith Vaz

Japanese Prostitution

I’d be a lot more inclined to believe this as reported if A) it were in a more credible publication than the LA Times; and B) it didn’t quote a “sex trafficking” NGO:

Japan’s pornography industry has come under greater scrutiny after Tokyo Metro Police arrested executives of a well-known talent agency on suspicion of coercing an actress to engage in sex on camera.  Human rights groups had been calling for action for months.  Police announced…they had arrested the president of Marks Japan and two others on suspicion that they forced a woman into appearing in adult films by threatening to punish her financially…the Tokyo-based advocacy group Human Rights Now issued a report…charging that Japan’s pornography industry…violated the human rights of women and girls by blackmailing them…into work they didn’t want to do.  Shihoko Fujiwara…of…Lighthouse: Center for Human Trafficking Victims, said…her group had received more than 100 complaints regarding forced participation in porn — and that the industry uses tactics similar to human traffickers…

Reaction Formation ElSurveillance

This guy claims to be “religious”, so he’s spending a lot of time gawking at escort websites & then defacing them:

A religiously-motivated hacker using the title “ElSurveillance” has defaced nearly 40 websites that offer escort services and claims to be on the verge of leaking data on 100,000 registered users…ElSurveillance, who claims on social media to be from Morocco…asserted…”I strongly believe that our bodies are gifted from Allah (God) to us to look after and not to destroy.  I always hated the idea of people selling their bodies for money which it gives a chance for the escort agencies to take advantage of these people who are in need”…

License to Rape

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by cops at will:

…police in South Dakota have resorted to using catheters to extract urine samples from uncooperative [DUI] suspects.  This procedure, while endorsed by the state’s top prosecutor, has been decried by critics as a potential violation of suspects’ constitutional rights…police performing the procedure don’t even anesthetize them beforehand…Courtney Bowie, legal director for ACLU South Dakota[said]…“It would be completely improper for people to place a catheter on an individual of the opposite gender…That would border on an unlawful assault, battery or rape.”

The cops are practicing medicine without a license, literally shoving tubes up people’s genitals, and the most the ACLU will say is that it’s a “potential” violation that “borders” on assault or rape, but only if the attacker were of the opposite sex.  Because obviously, rapists never rape victims of their own sex, and even if they did it would be “proper”.

The Proper Study

This actually looks like a fairly decent study, but I can’t help being amused by the reporter’s apparent belief that many clients being married is some kind of surprise:

Almost half of men who paid for sex are in a relationship, including marriage…a quarter earned more than €60,000 a year…The findings are based on an online survey of 446 men as well as a smaller number of face-to-face interviews…the vast majority of respondents used the services of internet-advertised “escorts”…46.1% said they had bought sex a few times a year while almost 31% said they paid for sex once or twice a month.  Just under 3% said they paid for sex every week.  While some men reported paying for sex due to lack of self-confidence and shyness around women, others said…“they were living in ‘sexless’ or ‘loveless’ marriages with no physical contact, or because their relationship with their partners had broken down…Some respondents stated that sex with a sex worker is the easier, but also a ‘more honest’ and safer option than affairs or one-night stands…They worry about the possible negative effects of selling sex and state that they would not pay for sex with somebody who appears coerced or forced.  This constitutes a stark contradiction to the image painted in the public discourse…where clients are described as sexual predators who do not care whether the person they pay for sex is an independent sex worker or a victim of trafficking.”

Surplus Women 

And her police record is important…why, exactly?

…Anchorage police found [Jacqueline] Goodwin’s body in a Subaru after it crashed into a light pole…they charged the driver…Benjamin Wilkins, with murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, tampering with evidence and DUI…they…don’t know how long Wilkins had been driving around with the body…Goodwin’s past was riddled with…convictions related to drugs and prostitution…Wilkins…has a history of charges for driving violations…

A False Dichotomy (The Beat Goes On)

You’d think that Australian journalists would have the sense to go to Scarlet Alliance for commentary on sex work, but you’d be wrong; they lap up the noxious idiocy vomited out by “rescue” fetishists, just as they do in the US:

Dan…[is] an undercover rescue worker, searching for underage girls and trafficking victims…we talk of the girls he has seen rescued and the men who travel to Thailand to purchase them…research has shown Australian men to be among the largest contributors to sex tourism in southeast Asia…“These men…they’ve all got the same story…They think coming to Thailand for sex is going to fill a void in their lives…then they realise that the lifestyle they’ve chosen is empty and meaningless”…It’s easy to understand the emotional toll that such work takes on rescue workers…like Dan…“When we first meet…[the girls] they hate themselves…these girls were raped and abused”…Dan feels deeply for each of these girls, and his voice is often drenched with emotion as he talks about the damage done to young women at the hands of men looking to satisfy their own lust…“The more men that have had sex with them, the harder it is and the less worth they feel”…Dan can’t help but feel sadness for the men he meets…“They’re hurting men, they’re lost men, they’re men who’ve made decisions that have set them on a path of destruction”…Dan…understands that sex tourists need help to overcome their addictions — which in some cases, are killing them…

Boo hoo hoo, the clients are victims too!  And the “rescue” fetishists!  We’re ALL victims of evil, evil sex!

The Widening Gyre

Ever wonder where all those supposed “sex trafficking victims” are?

Due to the NYPD not updating their missing person’s list, City Councilman Andy King of The Bronx [negligently claimed] that 14 Bronx girls were missing since July of 2014 and [fantasized] that they were smuggled into a prostitution ring.  NYPD and family members of the formerly missing girls came forward and stared that 11 of the 14 girls had been found or had returned home…publications like the Daily News and New York Magazine, ran with the story without verifying the details…

The Scarlet Letter (#576) Susan Kang Schroeder

Why does a publication named Vice insist on publishing so much twisted, ignorant, anti-whore propaganda?  This collection of prohibitionist lies, mostly from a prosecutor, reads like something one would find on a prohibitionist website:

Susan Kang Schroeder, prosecutor…for…Orange County [California, vomits out all kind of disgusting filth and writer Cole Kazdin eagerly licked it up]…public shaming is part of a larger program to prosecute sex trafficking…by limiting the supply of men willing to purchase sex…Southern California…draws a lot of sex traffickers…Most prostitutes…have a pimp and are trafficked.  Very few are working as free agents…Some traffickers have social media pages…and they complain to each other, posting, “Don’t go to Orange County, they have a task force”…Schroeder says decriminalization…would backfire because then the DA wouldn’t be able to go after the traffickers.  She says that many men who traffic women over 18 also have underage girls they force to work for them…Some of the girls are as young as 13…some have been “branded” by the men who traffic them: their names are tattooed on the girls’ faces…

Can’t you just hear Schroeder’s Hitachi going while she recounts her sick fantasies?  Someone needs to be locked up, shamed, and put on a “sex offender” registry, all right, but it isn’t sex workers’ clients; it’s perverts like Schroeder.  And please, Ms. Kazdin, of there are “sex traffickers” with social media pages, please share them; I for one would love to see that.

The Course of a Disease (#637) 

This is not “decriminalization” as some sources are reporting; note that it still leaves the door open for the horror of client criminalization.  But I’m cautiously optimistic, as the committee rejected a lot of prohibitionist lies out of hand:

The criminalisation of sex workers in England and Wales should come to an end, a cross-party committee of influential MPs has recommended…the home affairs select committee…said the Home Office should immediately change existing legislation so that soliciting is no longer an offence and brothel-keeping laws allow sex workers to share premises…the Home Office should legislate to delete previous convictions and cautions for prostitution from the record of sex workers, to make it easier for them to move into other forms of work should they wish to do so.  It added, however, that those who use brothels to control or exploit sex workers should continue to be prosecuted.  With regards to changing the laws on buying sex, the inquiry will continue, and the committee will seek further evidence on the impacts of recently introduced laws in Northern Ireland and France, as well the model of regulation used in New Zealand…

To Molest and Rape 

If this is the way cops treat other cops, what hope do whores have?

In a lawsuit…Miami-Dade Police Officer Krystal Spence says her supervisor…Anthony Collins…routinely made lewd comments to her, grabbed her face multiple times and kissed her, followed her into the women’s bathroom, emailed Spence’s mother asking to date her daughter, and at one point trapped her in his office and touched her [vulva]…as early as 2011, she told her sergeant, Terry Williams, that Collins was making her feel uncomfortable.  Williams “never addressed the situation”…Instead, she claims the harassment only got worse…On November 1, 2014, Spence says the incident was reported to the department’s Professional Compliance Bureau — Spence claims Internal Affairs told her “not to discuss the case”…[and] actively tried to “undermine” her complaint…in order to prevent [her] from contacting the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission or trying to sue…

In Texas, the victims of rapist cops are at least offered food, if not actual help:

According to a pending lawsuit, a woman who was sexually assaulted by a La Joya [Texas cop] while in custody was offered a taco instead of medical assistance after his supervisors watched the surveillance video….after “Autumn Renee” was booked and brought to her cell, [Felipe Santiago Peralez III] “began an all-night invasion” of her body…Peralez assaulted [her] for hours with his fingers and hands…[orally raped] her…and left her with severe bruises.  According to a report from the Texas Rangers, Peralez is seen “engaging” with the victim 49 times while she was in custody…Peñitas [cop] Elizabeth Garza…tried to silence the victim with threats, telling her that “she should forget all about the incident and go on with her life, because ‘people come up missing all the time in the valley’.”  Peralez was arrested a year later, after Texas Ranger Robert Garcia got wind of the assault and got his hands on the incriminating surveillance video…

To Molest and Rape (#651)

It’s good to see all this coming out, but I hope people don’t get the idea that this is unique to Oakland:

Rory Keller-Dean, [a sex worker] who was trying to keep her boyfriend’s car from being impounded, said…she was forced to perform oral sex on [Gary] Romero and six other Oakland [pigs].  “I thought I was gonna be dead.  I thought they were gonna kill me…But then he hands me the keys to the Cadillac and tells me goodbye and not to say a damn thing.”  Keller-Dean, who sued and was awarded $350,000 by the city, said that night in 1997 started two years of forced sex with Romero while he was on duty.  In 2002, after the settlement, then Deputy City Attorney Barbara Parker said the city’s internal investigation corroborated many of Keller-Dean’s claims.  Romero denied the allegations throughout, calling the sex consensual.  Although she has tried to put her past behind her, Keller-Dean decided to share her story to support Celeste Guap…

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How does it feel, how does it feel?
To be on your own, with no direction home
A complete unknown, like a rolling stone.  –  Bob Dylan

Rolling Stone 6-16-16Rolling Stone magazine was born in the autumn of 1967, and for years was an icon of music and counterculture.  But sometime in the 1980s its reputation began to wane; it was repeatedly criticized as being stuck in the ’70s, and the political views it espoused, which once seemed to speak for so many, faded into irrelevance and self-parody.  In 2014 the sinking of its fortunes was accelerated by the publication of a badly-flawed, libelous piece of yellow journalism about a supposed gang rape that never actually happened, and the tone of anti-sex moral panic set by that fiasco has apparently become one of the dying rag’s editorial lodestars because last week it published a dreary recitation of prohibitionist bullshit from a lawyer for the US Department of “Justice”.  Let that sink in for a moment: the former champion of sex, drugs and rock & roll has been reduced to printing a hysterical anti-sex screed written by a mouthpiece for the US government which not only praises prohibition, defends the police state and attacks the world’s most respected human rights organization (which Rolling Stone has always lionized in the past), but does so via a tissue of lies so dense that I was literally able to find only four basically-truthful sentences in the whole thing (the 1st sentence, the ones starting “Amnesty argues” & “Amnesty also claims” under #2, and the sentence beginning “In discussions with Amnesty” under #5).

It would be pointless to attempt to deconstruct this mess; most of it is such blatantly false, repeatedly-debunked propaganda that nearly any of you could tear it apart as easily as I could, especially if you kept “Frequently Told Lies” open while doing so.  It opens by arguing that dysphemisms describe our profession more accurately than objective terms; quickly progresses to confusing legalization and decriminalization while mis-defining the latter; quotes debunked prohibitionist “research” while arguing that sex work magically violates every known economic principle; argues that the problems with legalization are actually problems with decriminalization; states that women who are poor or who have suffered sexual trauma are forever incapable of giving sexual consent; trots out the “age of entry” myth; descends into asinine navel-gazing about “rape culture” and “objectification” while simultaneously giving credence to the grossly-misogynistic “raping a whore is theft of services” trope; and winds up with a blatant argument that economic freedom is bad and women are moral imbeciles who need a paternalistic government to “regulate” our lives, sexualities and economic activities, concluded with an appeal to the Swedish model and a bunch of meaningless prohibitionist mottoes.  As the young people would say, “Go home, Rolling Stone, you’re drunk.”

If this, along with the trotting out of senile nonagenarian Christian evangelical politicians with white savior complexes, is the best the prohibitionist movement has to offer, its days are numbered.  These arguments are so obviously false and intrinsically unconvincing, even people who have never before heard of the Swedish model are able to immediately recognize them as tripe.  Of course, authoritarians don’t actually care about either truth or public opinion; they’re perfectly happy to demand people comply with their bizarre and evil notions upon pain of violence inflicted by armed thugs.  But the period in which the War on Whores, like its sibling the War on Drugs, could be seen by anyone without an agenda to enforce as anything other than a moral abomination, is rapidly drawing to a close.  It will be interesting to see which cultural institutions see the writing on the wall and take the side of human rights, and which line up with cops, moralists and profiteers on the side of repression.  And though I was never really a fan of Rolling Stone, I must say I’m disappointed (though not actually surprised) that it has chosen the latter.

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[Emotional] manipulation is where censorship pulls its strength, and keeps the discussion of porn within the realm of saving women and children.  –  Violet Blue

Mea Culpa

I don’t often make errors worth noting in the blog, which may be why I never had this heading before.  But when I do, they’re usually because my VEWWY SEEWEEUSS thought processes failed to recognize a joke or parody as such; that was the case in Sunday’s “Links #308“.  Author Christopher Seaton explains:

When I write at Fault Lines I usually do so from a very serious perspective. This is because keeping the cracks in our criminal justice system visible and educating the public about the law is serious. When the weekend comes, we usually loosen our belts, let our hair down, and have fun. My mischief caught the attention of Maggie McNeill this week, and the whole story is a great lesson in communication…Maggie McNeill is one of the most interesting people on the web, if you don’t read her work regularly.  She’s a writer, an academic, and a sex worker.  This is not someone you want to get into a fight with when it comes to criminalization of conduct in any way, shape, or form.  It’s not that I’m afraid of a good verbal spar with Maggie, I just know my limits…so I tweeted Maggie and told her it was a joke…she replies with an apology and says she had no idea Fault Lines posted anything but 100% dead serious content…I also appreciate Maggie letting her readership know I’m not on the side of over-criminalization…

Aversions

Margaret Corvid asked several sex workers what made their favorite clients special:

…sex work is work, and my favorite clients are like a writer’s, or a plumber’s: they’re the ones who treat me with respect…our favorite clients are the ones that respect our screening processes, that pay us, that don’t bully us or stalk us or subject us to their racist rants while we, on the clock, smile and nod.  My favorites read my website properly, learning my hours, fees, services and how I prefer to be contacted.  They don’t whinge if I ask for a deposit, and they don’t request services I don’t provide.  They respect my time.  They don’t call with cocks in hand for free sexy chat, or show up early while I’m still lacing myself into my corset…

The New Victorianism

So this happened to my friend Maggie McMuffin:

A burlesque dancer from Seattle, Washington, was informed that she would need to change her clothing if she wanted to board a flight from Boston to Seattle because her shorts were deemed “too short” by the flight crew.  The crew felt that the shorts may be deemed inappropriate by families on the flight and should be changed as not to offend anyone…Maggie McMuffin says that she had successfully flown on a JetBlue flight from New York To Boston without incident in the same pair of “too short” black and white shorts earlier in the day.  However, when she approached the gate to fly her second leg of her flight back home to Seattle, she was informed the shorts were not appropriate and that she needed to cover up more, as there were families on the flight that may find the attire inappropriate.  JetBlue says they personally called and apologized to Maggie about the incident and refunded her for the shorts she was forced to purchase in the terminal while also providing the woman with a $200 credit to use on future flights as a “goodwill gesture”…

Mentoring

Paint By Numbers

Why hike or stand when you can motorcycle?

[An Oregon] woman is using her love for motorcycling to spread awareness about child sex trafficking.  Gwen Feero is a special education teacher who is preparing to bike to all four corners of the United States for what she calls the Freedom Ride.  She decided to make the more than 11,000-mile ride after overhearing a sex trafficking conversation in Portland…

I think my profession must be the only one in the world that people think they’re “experts” in after eavesdropping on a conversation between two other lackwits.

Thou Shalt Not (#413)

Because prohibition always works so well:

Six out of ten Norwegians support a proposal from the Norwegian Medical Association…to ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after 2000…NMA [fantasized] in January that Norway [could] create “a tobacco-free generation” by 2035…NMA president Marit Hermansen said in January that it is not a basic human right to begin using tobacco…Health Minister Bent Høie [said]…the government has no plans to take up any legislation that would lead to a ban of tobacco sales.

Broken Record (#579) 

I’m not sure which part is more pathetic: this ass insisting that there’s rampant “sex trafficking” in South Dakota, or thinking a vacation in Southeast Asia makes her an “expert”:

…you’d be surprised how many people don’t think sex trafficking is a thing that happens here…in South Dakota…one of my favorite things we have done so far is our work with Whittier Middle School…This is how sex trafficking numbers go down. These kids need a reason to believe that they are worth more than a number some trafficker puts on them.  Traffickers only have power when they find those that believe their worth is so small that it can be bought…

Sales Pitch (#626) 

Aphrodite bless Wendy Lyon for enduring Swedish cops’ self-congratulatory pig porn to bring us the parts that most show up their “model” for what it is:

Swedish super cop Simon Haggstrom – you’ll know him from his frequent visits to other countries to proselytise for the sex purchase ban – has now published his memoirs.  Only in Swedish, alas, but that’s why God made Google Translate.  Here are some of his views on how the law actually functions in practice…it provides the cops with “excitement” and plenty of wank material, in which they themselves play a starring role in the action…it hasn’t changed men’s attitudes.  It isn’t deterring them from paying for sex.  It isn’t stopping women from selling sex (indeed, they have to engage in a sexual act before enforcement will take place at all).  It is subjecting them to unwanted interactions with the police, up to and including detention, and deportation for those who refuse to accept the cops’ “help”…even Amnesty might be surprised at the clumsy, cringeworthy porn that Haggstrom illustrates his accounts with..Is it any wonder he’s such an advocate for the law?  Without it, he’d have to get off with only his imagination again.

Among other lovely bits, Haggstrom reveals that Swedish cops harvest sex workers’ used tampons as “evidence”; he includes a photo of such in the book.  Hooray for “feminism”!

Gorged With Meaning (#639)

Articles on sugar dating appear to be starting to shed the moral panic:

“Sugar Daddy” arrangements have existed for ages, and it’s unclear if they are becoming more common because the phenomenon is not well studied.  But experts say at the very least the internet has made these transactions far easier to arrange and negotiate…U.S. undergraduate students last year finished school with an average of $35,000 in student debt — a figure that has risen steadily every year…The average graduate debt load is $75,000, and some longer programs force students into much deeper debt.  Many students say their loans don’t cover the cost of living, and with rent skyrocketing in most major cities, they are left scrambling to make up the difference.  One graduate student at Columbia University in New York had a scholarship that covered almost all of her tuition, but not her living expenses.  She spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the potential impact on her job prospects…she plans to continue “sugaring” after she graduates to buy herself time to find a more traditional job and remain officially unemployed so she can defer repaying the roughly $70,000 in loans she had already racked up.  “There is a lot of moral panic about it,” she said. “But what are the real estate and academic funding situations that led to this?”…

Almost the only negative statement is a quote near the end from a fanatic who claims that violence magically arises from money.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#641) 

Violet Blue exposes the connection between a number of recent anti-sex op-eds:

…under the guise of demonstrating objectivity and presenting a range of opposing views on pornography, the [Washington] Post ran its “In Theory” porn series…Out of seven articles, only one presents an opposing viewpoint…When the two essays that could be considered positive or neutral viewpoints were published, they were simultaneously published with anti-porn essays…The Washington Post not only deceived readers about the agenda of its “In Theory” porn series, the outlet also deceived readers about the sources of these writings.  For instance, its final day in the series featured an article by Haley Halverson which depicts the anti-porn movement as a cultural zeitgeist brought on by public common sense, thanks to the good efforts of The National Center on Sexual Exploitation.  What readers are not told is that NCSE is the re-branded faith-based group Morality In Media, Inc., which changed its name in 2015.  Halverson runs its PR department.  This organization is a thread connecting most of the Post’s authors…

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No one has said…that we want prostitutes to have a good time while we also try to stamp out prostitution.  –  an “expert adviser” to Norway

A Tale That Grew in the Telling 

Elizabeth Nolan Brown has become a force to be reckoned with:

Every year some 1,000 new children are trafficked for sex in Ohio, while an additional 3,000 remain “at risk” of being trafficked, according to U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty [of] Ohio…[who claimed the figure] came from a report commissioned by the Ohio Attorney General’s office.  The only such report comes from 2010…At the root is an FBI-led operation that took place in Toledo and its surrounding county between 2005 and 2009, called “Operation Innocence Lost”…Toledo…[is] a city with a decaying economy and one of the highest crime rates in the region…number one in Ohio, and 49th in the entire United States.  In the course of Operation Innocence Lost…60 [young people were labeled] “minor victims of sex trafficking.”  Forty-five—an average of 15 per year—came from Lucas County.  It’s this number from which the committee extrapolated for all of Ohio.  Using Lucas County population data, the researchers arrive at the conclusion that 15 per 24,965 Ohio girls ages 12 through 17—or 0.06 percent—are “successfully recruited into the sex trade from Ohio each year.”  With 337,961 Ohio girls in this age group overall, that 0.06 percent rate yields an estimate of… 202 per year…[another] study claims that every minor…knew an average of 5 more underage minors “that were not known to law enforcement, but who were engaging in the sex trade”…[so they multiplied the “estimate” by 5]…

It gets worse from there; the article is well worth reading in its entirety.

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

Dude argues that censorship is OK because Donald Trump is running for president. I am not making this up:

It is time to ban pornography…We find it perfectly acceptable that smut, no matter how [much I personally dislike it], should be widely available…“Ban” strikes us as a nasty word…But are bans really so terrifying and impossible?  We are not averse to banning something when we think it is really wrong.  We are happy to “ban” murder, rape and even certain types of speech (try yelling “Fire!” in a theater)…Gail Dines…has found [exactly what she wanted to find]…Happily, the left appears ready to take up the censor’s task…pornography…serves as an instruction manual for the subjection of women…the rise of Donald Trump provides evidence of pornography’s social harm…If you cringe at Trump’s sneering misogyny, then join me in calling for a ban on the thing that made his crude appeal possible…

Droit du Seigneur 

The people prohibitionists want to “rescue” us:

A “disabled” ex-cop with ties to the mob has been accused of…running dozens of prostitution Web sites…Michael Rizzi…who retired in 2000 on a disability pension…[owned] nearly 60…Web sites…Between 2012 and 2016, the operation processed more than $2 million in credit-card transactions…Rizzi’s wife, Jill, is the daughter of Gambino family muscle Richard Juliano…

Notice it’s never called “sex trafficking” when cops are involved:

A “prostitution ring” in  Kentucky’s capitol city may have shared a lot more than proximity with powerful state officials. The operation, allegedly run by former Franklin County constable Thomas Banta, is accused of servicing a roster of local legislators and police officers…He’s charged with five felonies, including promoting prostitution, kidnapping, and impersonating a peace officer…The case does contain a few red-flag details, such as a claim by one woman that, under Banta’s direction, she had appointments with 15 to 20 clients per day, twice a week, and was once offered $500 to have sex with a dog…one claims she was in eighth grade when Banta first started paying her to have sex with him and others.  Interestingly, none of the Ketucky media that have reported on the story have been throwing around terms like “sex trafficking,” despite the possible link to at least one underage woman.  I guess it’s only sex trafficking when former government officials aren’t involved.

The Prudish Giant

The original article of this title referred to Google, but Facebook long ago surpassed it in prudishness by at least an order or magnitude:

…The spaces in which we interact online are largely controlled today by corporations…these unelected “sovereigns of cyberspace” operate without accountability, and often with little respect to our hard-won freedoms.  On today’s Internet, those making the rules aren’t elected officials but technocrats — mostly male and mostly American.  And those making day-to-day decisions about what we can and cannot see aren’t judges with years of training but low-wage workers at outsourcing firms in places like the Philippines…Facebook…has created its own set of “community standards” that are intended to be globally applicable…Under Facebook’s rules, sexual content is banned, as is most nudity (though exceptions exist for works of famous art, photos of mothers breastfeeding and post-mastectomy images).  Shirtless photos of women are forbidden, while shirtless photos of men are fine…The human body is not inherently sexual, nor are all depictions of sexual acts pornography.  By lumping together porn with all other sexual content — and lumping sexual content with nudity — Facebook is setting a new standard, one that is far more restrictive than our Constitution, and one that treats women’s bodies as shameful…

Above the Law  

Since I have a new subtitle for rapist cops, I’m now going to use this one for other kinds of officials:

An Iowa Department of Transportation driving instructor forced a customer to view sexually explicit photos and videos of himself during an exam and then threatened her to keep quiet…John Wayne Alexander…is charged with felonious misconduct…and harassment…The 60-year-old abruptly retired from the DOT in March amid a disciplinary investigation…A…woman seeking to have her license reinstated told police that Alexander instructed her to pull into [a] parking lot…saying he wanted to smoke a cigarette…then gave [her] his phone…and said that he needed her to delete several photos, which showed him “in various forms of self-pleasure and undress”…Fearing for her safety and license status, the woman says she deleted the images as told.  She gave the phone back to Alexander, who then forced her to watch a video of himself masturbating and using a sex toy…

Guinea Pigs 

Don’t be fooled by this article’s appearance in Forbes; if you look closely you’ll realize it’s a “guest post”, which is to say a sponsored article like paid ads in newspapers made to look like actual articles.  One telling sign of that?  Forbes now blocks users with adblockers, yet I have no trouble accessing this because it is an ad, just presented as news.  Anyhow, much of this is the usual mixture of incredibly bad numerical charlatanry (such as the painfully stupid claim that fewer than 0.6% of the male population somehow manages to support the entire 0.3% of the female population which are full-time sex workers) and intensely moronic “solutions” such as magical apps that “children” can activate for “rescue” if they’re suddenly “trafficked” by “pimps” jumping out of bushes at them.  But if you can last that long without your eyes rolling entirely out of your head, look at all the calls for mass surveillance in this.  Yikes.

Fever Dream (#541)

I don’t give a damn what the cops’ victims did for a living; it’s the article’s language that’s horrifying:

…the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) [arrested] 32 people…in Knoxville…Human traffickers all around us [sic].  If you’re buying or selling, you are part of the $150 billion business — and part of the crime…Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch calls human trafficking the “scourge on society” and [masturbates while claiming] his department is committed to doing all that’s necessary to protect victims…

Despite all the “trafficking” talk, the sex workers were arrested and charged with the clients and all charges are ordinary prostitution-related ones.

Crying for Nanny (#570)

A long, revolting exercise in bootlicking intended to raise support for an idiotic lawsuit which every sane person understands cannot win:

…every lawsuit filed by…[an] underage [prostitute] against Backpage has been dismissed because of a law called the Communications Decency Act of 1996.  The law protects [websites]…from being held legally responsible for what users post…“If someone publishes a faulty motorcycle [ad on Backpage.com], the buyer of that motorcycle shouldn’t be able to sue Backpage merely for posting the ad, that doesn’t make sense,” said ABC News’ senior legal correspondent Sunny Hostin…Backpage [said]…”making online service providers responsible for millions of posts by third-party users…[would] inevitably [result in] highly restrictive censorship or the total banning of certain categories of online content so that online service providers are not in constant anxiety about potential liability for the one ad that slipped through their moderation systems”…

Of course, censorship is exactly what prohibitionists want.  Don’t read this unless you have a strong stomach for graphic depictions of cop worship & bootlicking.

Saving Them From Themselves (#597)

I hope he wins and establishes a precedent:

The investigation of a “sexting” case involving a…teenager, and the desire by prosecutors and police to repeatedly obtain photos of his genitalia, sparked a national uproar in the summer of 2014.  Authorities backed down from their second search warrant for explicit photos, and the teen was placed on probation.  The case took a further turn last December when the detective, David E. Abbott Jr., was accused of molesting two young boys and killed himself as police moved to arrest him…The teenager, Trey Sims, 19, filed a federal civil rights suit…against both Abbott’s estate and Claiborne Richardson II, the…[district] attorney who [colluded with] Abbott to [manufacture “child” porn by photographing]…Sims’ genitalia…Sims was then charged with manufacturing and distributing child pornography, but the girl was not…Richardson and Abbott only charged Sims because he is male, a violation of his equal protection rights…

Turning Point

Emily Bazelon pisses the prohibitionists off even more by promoting Amnesty International’s pro-decriminalization platform:

On Wednesday night, Amnesty International released its long-awaited policy…calling on governments around the world to “decriminalize consensual sex work.”  Amnesty also wants countries to “include sex workers in the development of laws that affect their lives and safety”…Amnesty’s researchers spoke to 54 people in Norway, including police officers, prosecutors, academics, social science providers and 30 sex workers, including three victims of trafficking…Amnesty’s basic finding is that Norway’s laws punish people who sell sex — not through arrest but in a variety of other ways.  One researcher told Amnesty that police forces in Oslo “often use terms like they are going to ‘crush’ or ‘choke’ the [prostitution] market, and unsettle, pressure and stress the people in the market”…

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If you criminalise buying sex, the prostitute knows she becomes the evidence.  –  Brooke Magnanti

Whore Madonnas

South Africa is another country with awesome sex worker activists:

Mothers for the Future is an initiative of the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT).  It provides support groups, outreach and home visits.  Mothers discuss difficulties such as domestic violence, child grants, and the challenges that they face when their children are targeted as a result of their mother’s work.  Duduzile Dlamini, the programme coordinator, says that some mothers even have their children taken away from them by social services and that their children, like their mothers, are criminalised…Porcia, who is a member of Mothers for the Future, has two children and…makes donations to the church from the money that she earns as a sex worker.  Sometimes she is arrested on a Friday night and kept at the police station for the whole weekend.  Her children are then at home alone and without any food…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Guys, please do your research, and let the pigs hunt each other:

Dayton Police arrested ten men for solicitation….[including] Todd Pultz of the North Hampton Police Department…“if you are sworn to uphold the law the last thing you want to do is break it, especially in this fashion” [oinked a spokespig]…“These women have sex hundreds of times–that’s hundreds of men that could be infected and take it back to their family”…

“Especially in this fashion”, as opposed to acceptable crimes like robbery, rape, mayhem and murder.

Droit du Seigneur 

Sometimes “authorities” prefer to rape vulnerable men instead:

An East Arkansas judge accused of trading sex with defendants in exchange for reduced sentences is resigning after…sexually explicit photos [were] recovered from his computer…District Judge Joe Boeckmann was…accused of having sex with defendants…[and] demanding [they] take sexually explicit photos…the photos also depicted evidence the young men had been paddled and…the judge…was instructed not to destroy the paddle depicted in the photos…investigators believe…the judge’s sexual misconduct extended to more than 30 years ago to his time as a deputy prosecuting attorney…in…one scenario…Boeckmann took [a young man] to the courthouse after hours, forced him to strip inside the district courtroom, put him in handcuffs and took naked pictures of him in the courtroom.  The man said Boeckmann paid him $50 and told him “case dismissed” at the conclusion of the photo shoot…

See No Evil

All censorship seems this futile and ridiculous to me:

…New regulations mean that live-streaming sites must monitor all their output round-the-clock to ensure nothing untoward is going on, keeping an eye out for any “erotic” banana-eating…wearing stockings and suspenders while hosting a live stream is now also forbidden.  The move is the authorities’ latest attempt to clamp down on “inappropriate and erotic” online content…that “harms social morality”…such sites are attracting more and more users in China…News of the banana ban has prompted thousands of users to chime in on Chinese social media…”How do they decide what’s provocative when eating a banana?”…”Can male live-streamers still eat them?”…”They will all start eating cucumbers, and if that’s no good, yams”…

Above the Law  

Anyone who actually believes that a rape is worse if a cop commits it “in uniform”, “on duty” or “on police property” is part of the problem:  “A [Newark, New Jersey cop] was charged with sexually assaulting a woman on police property…Kenneth Gaulette…[raped] the…woman…Nov. 29, 2015…”  And that problem is far more extensive than “authorities” want you to know:

The young victim of a [rapist cop]…in Kern County, California, has settled a civil lawsuit for $1m, marking the second violent misconduct case the beleaguered sheriff’s office has settled in just five days…a Guardian investigation…identified law enforcement in the county as the deadliest in the US and revealed a program of attempted cash payoffs to vulnerable women who had been [raped] by Kern County deputies…Gabriel Lopez in March 2013…forced the young woman to strip naked…and then [raped] her [mere hours after arresting her] boyfriend at the same house…another…young woman Lopez was convicted of [raping] accepted a cash payment of $5,000 from the sheriff’s office…

Hall of Shame

Outing a famous non-prohibitionist client just to make money?  Instant ticket to my Hall of Shame:

While the debate over the UK gagging order preventing publication of the identity of an A-list actor who allegedly slept with an escort continues, Sydney-based sex worker Amanda Goff said…Helen Wood, the prostitute who claims she was paid $380 for sexual services with the British thespian, “committed the number one crime…An escort never talks about names…It has ruined someone’s life…The details she gave to the press about what they did in bed is appalling.  Why would she do that?  How can she sleep at night?”…

The Schizoid State

If a woman under 18 chooses to be a whore she’s automatically a victim because she’s a “child”, but if she helps someone else to do it she’s a “criminal” because she’s old enough to know better.  Yet she still can’t be named because she’s a “child”. Got that?

Toronto police say they have charged a 17-year-old girl after a 16-year-old girl was forced into the sex trade last year.  [Cops] allege the suspect…introduced the victim to two men, who told her she could make a lot of money working for them…Police allege the victim was “controlled through intimidation and threats,” and forced to work in the sex trade.  The 17-year-old suspect allegedly took photos of the victim in various states of undress and posted them on backpage.com…She cannot be identified per the terms of the Youth Criminal Justice Act…

The Widening Gyre

Fact: woman with drug problem goes missing.  Conclusion: sex trafficking!

For the last six months, Michael Fusaro, 33, has repeatedly traversed a shadowy criminal underworld, all in the hopes of finding his 27-year-old sister, Jamie Nastali…Fusaro was convinced his sister…was being held by human traffickers based on one of the last conversations he had with her late last year.  Nastali, who Fusaro acknowledges has a drug problem, called him with a cloak-and-dagger story of being kidnapped and taken to San Diego…[on May 7th] his sister…was [arrested and jailed]…for drug and identity theft charges…Fusaro said he believes there may also be a prostitution charge…[but] no prostitution offense shows up on her booking record…[prohibitionist] Dianne Amato…said…“One of the biggest misconceptions is that women who are 24, 25, 26 years old are adults”…

Obviously the belief that adult women are not adults is “feminist”.

Sexual Predators (#449)

Police chief decides to destroy a few lives to give bored cops some fun:

…Terre Haute [Indiana] Police…Chief Ed Tompkins…[used a] sting…[to arrest five people as] “a way to give the detectives something different to do other than work property crimes, arsons and burglaries”…The objective of Operation Back Page to Front Page was…to…make an arrest.  Detecting human trafficking was also a goal…

Repeat Offenders (#563) bra drive

Why do prohibitionists who want to “rescue” sex workers invariably push them into menial garment-related work?

University of Georgia students…Emily Wilhoit…and Joshua Dunn…to support their first annual bra drive for Free The Girls.  The…drive…brought in 1,239 bras…Free The Girls is a nonprofit organization based out of Denver, whose mission is to “provide jobs to survivors of sex trafficking in developing countries by helping them set up micro enterprises selling bras”…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

This would’ve been better without her moral signalling at the beginning, but still:

The rationale for making prostitution illegal while protecting the filming and selling of pornography as protected speech under the First Amendment eludes me.  Morally I’m opposed to both, but criminalizing one and not the other hurts people more than it helps and lacks intellectual cohesion.  But who cares what I think?  The question is, what do the candidates think?  While Americans have been fixated on the surreal primary contests between Republican and Democratic gladiators, a huge international movement has been heating up that touches upon the lives of millions and millions of people and involves billions and billions of dollars…Next month the board of Amnesty International is slated to approve its final policy in support of the full decriminalization of consensual sex work…And Amnesty is not alone; other groups, including the World Health Organization, Human Rights Watch and the Open Society Foundation, are on board…

Eternal Vigilance (#587)

Decriminalization in New South Wales is safe for now:

The Baird government has rejected a call to more strictly regulate brothels through licensing and a specialist police unit, arguing it would recriminalise prostitution and put the health of sex workers at risk…A government response…rejects the inquiry’s call for a special police unit, similar to that which exists in Victoria, to be created to ensure brothels are licensed, comply with planning laws and don’t have foreign nationals working in violation of their visas.  The licensing of brothel managers has also been rejected on the advice of NSW Health.  Minister for Better Regulation, Victor Dominello, said: “Introducing a licensing regime for brothels may drive more operators underground, which could adversely affect the health and protection of sex workers. The evidence from other jurisdictions is that licensing simply doesn’t work”…

The Course of a Disease (#606) 

My friend Brooke Magnanti schools politicians on their latest attempt to persecute adults for wanting sex:

The criminalisation of payment for sex would dissuade sex workers from reporting violence against them, Brooke Magnanti…has told a group of MPs…looking into the way prostitution is dealt with in legislation…Magnanti appeared alongside Paris Lees, a journalist and equality campaigner who has also previously been a sex worker.  Both were critical of the witnesses the select committee had called to question as part of the inquiry. “Of the four sex workers you’ve spoken [to] face to face, three of us aren’t doing it any more…Who are the people who should have been asked here instead of us?  People from the Sex Worker Open University, people from the English Collective of Prostitutes, current sex workers.  They weren’t asked because me and Paris come with great media platforms, we bring attention, so you can tick a box and say we spoke to some ex-sex workers”…Both witnesses…warned against trusting reduced crime statistics from countries such as Sweden and Northern Ireland…“Part of the problem with statistics being currently produced by Sweden is they don’t have statistics [from] before the law came into place,” Magnanti said…“When you look at the countries most affected by trafficking such as India, Cambodia, which also have very strong sex worker-led organisations, the percentage of people who are actively trafficked are comfortably under 5%”…

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America is a complicated, conflicted country founded by Puritans, constituted by libertarians and built by salesmen.  –  Mark Simpson

An Older Profession Than You May Have Thought

It’s impossible to state this too often:

While, on the surface, discussion of sex has become far more acceptable in recent years, in practise, many facts are still considered unpalatable.  And no subject arouses more emotion than the evolution of sex as a tradeable commodity: the biology of prostitution.  The idea that prostitution might be a biological impulse can deeply upset those with dogmatic viewpoints.  For religious people, the thought of a God that created prostitution is too much to take…But revulsion at the thought of sex trade goes far beyond religion.  As the political left has become increasingly conservative in its attitudes, it has become common to blame the existence of prostitution on Patriarchy or Capitalism.  Thus, for some feminists, banning prostitution is a part of their war on Patriarchy. And for socialists, attacking prostitution is part of a righteous war against Capital.  But the history of sex trade goes back many millions of years before humanity…

The Pro-Rape Coalition John Harvey Kellogg

This excellent article about anti-porn hysteria is also very droll at points:

PORN HORROR! headlines zoom repeatedly into our sightlines, warning us that pornography is “addictive” (despite an inconvenient lack of evidence), “ruins relationships” and “rewires men’s brains“, turning them into sex zombie automatons…The UK Government…is currently in the sweaty grip of…this hysteria.  With David Cameron’s controversial (and somewhat porous) ISP porn filters only recently installed, MPs are now turning their attention to the popularity of anal sex in online pornography…it’s important to note that the religious and legal definition of “sodomy” is not restricted to anal sex – it is essentially any non-procreative naughtiness, whatever the shape of the genitals involved…porn today is basically broadband sodomy – non-procreative sex acts piped into people’s hands for them to commit non-procreative sex acts over.  Current porn panics represent a digital-age, socially-concerned update of warnings about the terrible fate of Sodom and Gomorrah…The crusade against “fapping” is eerily reminiscent of the anti-masturbation movements of the 19th century …Dr John Harvey Kellogg…was one of the most famous foes of the “solitary vice”.  His bland cornflakes were supposed to save you from it – like porn today, an exciting diet was thought to lead to overstimulation…

Rooted in Racism

How can people not see that “sex trafficking” hysteria is firmly rooted in xenophobia?

…Although freedom of movement is guaranteed within the European Union, the right to stay – after the first three months – is dependent on new arrivals “exercising their treaty rights”, for example, by working or studying.  Operation Nexus, a combined police and immigration initiative…has been targeting [European migrants] …since 2012.  Among those detained and served with deportation papers are an increasing number of [sex workers] from…Romania…Several women fighting deportation are now being supported by the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP)…Previous EU law cases have established that prostitution constitutes self-employment…

Saving Them From Themselves

Another teen’s life destroyed for flirting:

Another male teenager’s future is in jeopardy after police charged him with possession of child pornography…because he swapped sexy photos and videos with a girl.  Levar Allen, a 17-year-old athlete at his Louisiana public school, is black.  The girl, a 16-year-old, is white.  Local news stories note that she initiated the sexting, and he reciprocated…For what it’s worth, the girl was also charged with sexting.  But since she’s under the age of 17, it’s a misdemeanor.  Since Allen is a year older, he’s technically guilty of a felony…

Surplus Women

A prisoner is seeking an early release after having spent 15 years out of a life imprisonment…the Dubai Court of First Instance jailed the Uzbek convict, K.S., for life for trying to kidnap [a] Russian [sex worker], asphyxiating her and throwing her body from the balcony of [a] seven-storey flat…in 2001.  The 59-year-old petitioner has been…at Dubai Central Jail since his arrest on March 19, 2001…

Maier’s Law

Fanatic finds data disproves “sex trafficking” theory, concludes we need new data:

Sarah Godoy…has now authored a new comprehensive literature review of sex trafficking in the United States, with components of global human trafficking as well…Godoy included more than 135 pieces of [prohibitionist] literature [based] on [the] sex trafficking [narrative], dating from 1999 to 2016…While she found some enlightening and often horrific statistics…what she didn’t find was equally disturbing.  “Weak methodologies in empirical evidence, and small data sets that urge readers to not republish as…representative…That’s what we found.  We don’t really have a comprehensive, representative sample of what sex trafficking in the U.S. really is”…the [made-up] numbers compiled by Godoy are daunting.  According to the study, human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world…21 million…”I think it shows that not enough resources are being put into adequately capturing data…We have [myths about] what traffickers look like, but in every single capacity, there are a lot of gaps”…

Across the Pond

The main laws governing prostitution in the UK are still the 1956 Sexual Offences Act, which makes brothel-keeping an offence, and the 1959 Street Offences Act, which criminalises solicitation.  The Street Offences Act was created on the back of a 1957 document called the Wolfenden Report…[which] didn’t include testimony from a single working prostitute…Since sex workers began to demand a voice in law-making, there have been victories – the 1984 defeat of a dangerous bill; 2014’s quashing of another – but the pattern of legislating over their heads continued…And here we are in 2016, discussion raging once more.  Sex workers sidelined, once more.  When the current UK inquiry gathered oral evidence there [was]…just one current sex worker, Laura Lee…

The Last Shall Be First 

the Marion County [Florida] School Board approved a North Carolina-style Gender Inspection resolution that will prohibit transgender students from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.  Over 100 people showed up to the School Board meeting…where this resolution was brought forward as an “emergency” agenda item just six days after it was introduced.  Forty-six people testified at the hearing, and the majority of testimony was in strong opposition…

The Course of a Disease

As I’ve said before, there can never be too many anti-Swedish model articles:

…What adherents to [the Swedish model pretend they]…don’t understand is that such laws only make working conditions much more dangerous for sex workers and do very little to curb the demand for commercial sex…laws criminalizing buyers…make…screening much more difficult…Since 2000, studies show, [Swedish] sex workers…have a much more difficult time negotiating safe sex (i.e. sex with condoms) and assessing dangerous clients…Sweden’s approach has actually increased the overall number of sex workers in that country and did not reduce trafficking in the region at all, according to the Swedish government’s own reports.  By contrast, countries that have decriminalized sex work…report no increase in…trafficking…and…sex workers in those countries are better able to protect themselves…

Soap Opera Trump hand sanitizer

For some reason, “sex trafficking” fetishists seem to trot out even more lurid masturbatory fantasies than usual for the Republican convention:

Both law enforcement and advocacy groups are predicting an increase in sex trafficking during Cleveland’s Republican National Convention in July…the Renee Jones Empowerment Center and the Collaborative Initiative to End Human Trafficking are actively working to [spread hysteria about] human trafficking in the weeks leading up to the convention.  “We know that it will occur,” said founder Renee Jones. “There’s no question in my mind”…Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution…visit…local motels to [harass]…employees [with nonsense about]…potential trafficking victims.  S.O.A.P volunteers…handed out…small bars of soap with a national trafficking hotline number.  The group’s founder, Therese Flores, [has made a career out of claims she] was once herself a trafficking victim and [repeats masturbatory fantasies about being] auctioned off at Detroit motel…

Original Sin

Officials invite religious fanatic to speak about her dogma, then feign surprise when she does:

…guest speaker Tajuan McCarty…told…roughly 300 people who attended…[an] event [at the US Army’s Redstone Arsenal] that “the only way to truly overcome the horrors of rape and sex trafficking is to have Jesus as your ‘King'”…McCarty is director of The Wellhouse in Birmingham, Alabama, often described as “a Christian home” for women rescued from the sex industry…[and] has told her [tragedy porn]…[on] 700 Club...

Under Every Bed

Another ridiculous tale of spineless women & pimps with magical powers:

…Yarmouth [Massachusetts] police raided a…house…and arrested a man on charges of running a prostitution operation…Police Chief Frank Frederickson [bloviated about] “Bringing women into this seedy atmosphere”…Kenneth E. Silva Jr…pleaded not guilty…Police…searched the house [and claimed] they found evidence of human trafficking…At least three women were working for Silva…Police did not arrest them because they were considered victims…pimps…control women through…a…”mind shift” [fantasized prohibitionist Stacy Gallagher]…”just like at major sporting events, women and kids are being sold.”

Paint By Numbers

“Anti-trafficking” publicity stunts are growing ever more bizarre:

Eddie Quann [imagines changes in propaganda represent changes in reality]…“Two years ago, 13-15 million people a year were being trafficked…Now…it’s 30-35 million.  It’s doubled.”  Human Trafficking — a modern-day form of slavery — is the second largest organized crime in the world next to drug trafficking…The workshop is a hands-on craft that runs about two-and-a-half hours.  Everyone is given a partially-made cloth doll, and with needle and thread, ribbon, yarn and so on, they stuff their doll and decorate it…As the dolls are sewn, participants learn all about human trafficking…“You can decorate it everywhere but the face,” said Gina. “The faceless doll represents all those sold into trafficking as faceless people.  To the ones selling them, who they are doesn’t matter.”  The doll goes home, hopefully to a prominent place in the house, as a reminder to pray daily for the millions of victims trapped in a degrading, powerless life…

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