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Posts Tagged ‘Swedish model’

Once [the cops] put you in that [sex worker] box…they don’t care.  –  unnamed victim of Oluwatobi Boyede

Bad Girls 

I don’t know who this chick is, and none of the Seattle whores I’ve talked to do either.  But we all know the “oral sex” thing is bullshit:

An escort was arrested on accusations she shot a Washington state man in the head because she thought he was bad at oral sex – and she wasn’t sure how to tell him.  Marissa Wallen, 21, allegedly admitted to shooting her 36-year-old client at his North Everett home last month…she then stole the victim’s wallet, left him for dead and went on a $12,000 shopping spree…Wallen told a detective that the man was “performing oral sex wrong and she did not know how to tell him that” so she grabbed a gun and shot him…He was found alive but unresponsive on Oct. 24, three days after he was shot, when his employer asked police to perform a welfare check…

In recent years, cops have developed a nasty game of tricking sex workers into saying or doing weird things so the story is more sensational.

Gateway

Leave it to the authoritarian mentality to imagine a link between sex work and barroom brawls:

…the Arctic Ranger…pub was at the centre of an investigation into claims a group of Hungarian women were being forced to work as prostitutes inside the bar…no one was prosecuted [but]…the claims [were used as grounds]…for closing the pub in June 2013 [anyway].  A licensing committee hearing was told the pub had become almost lawless after a spate of violent attacks…problems included…a victim suffering injuries to his eye and nose…[and] a fractured jaw…a [cop] suffering leg injuries after being struck by a thrown glass…a woman being assaulted…A fight involving 20 people…a man having his head stamped on…

Surplus Women 

Cops threaten and harass sex workers, and disbelieve us when we try to give them information, then they disclaim responsibility when this happens:

A London [Ontario] sex worker says she warned police someone could die after she was choked, sexually assaulted and held against her will in the home of [Oluwatobi Boyede, who is] now accused of murder.  But police didn’t believe her…and as a result…a second woman was assaulted and a third is dead.  “I told them everything.  They did nothing,” she said…“The cops treated me like I brought it on myself…They didn’t charge him.  They treated me like a piece of shit…They did not want to hear what I was saying.  What happened to the second girl and (homicide victim) Josie Glenn didn’t have to happen.”  Her story may be the most damning indictment of police as questions grow about how…they approach violence against women, especially sex workers…

The Sky is Falling!

I find it difficult to believe that so many women made it through university without knowing anyone who did some kind of sex work:

The student debt crisis in the US has gotten so bad, there’s a growing group of young women…who are taking an unconventional approach to paying for college.  Through…websites like SeekingArrangement, Sugar Babies…partner up with wealthy, often older, men who want to spend money on them.  Some 2.5 million Sugar Babies identified as students in 2016 on SeekingArrangement.com…Sugar Babies go to dinners, attend events, or accompany their Sugar Daddy, or daddies, on trips.  In some cases, they provide companionship or foster a mentor-mentee relationship.  In other situations, the terms of the agreement include physical intimacy…

“Unconventional”?  Really?  Young women having sex with older men in exchange for support is practically the definition of “conventional”.  If anything, it’s the pretense that this is something new and unusual that is “unconventional”.

A Broker in Pillage (#508)

The quaint non-“law enforcement” term for this is “blackmail”:

Denver cab driver Semere Fremichael got caught up in an undercover prostitution sting.  He was innocent—he thought she wanted a ride, not sex for pay—and was acquitted by a judge.  His taxi, however, got taken for a rough ride.  Denver’s Fox affiliate has an excellent two-part investigation showing how the city attorney’s office is using civil asset forfeiture to cash in by snatching vehicles…for…low-level crimes…even when their owners aren’t convicted.  In 2016, Denver made more than $2.4 million, seizing more than 1,800 vehicles…Denver put the screws to Fremichael…offering him a civil version of a plea deal:  He could get the car back in 30 days if he gave them $1,000.  Or he could demand a civil hearing.  If he lost, it would cost him $6,000 and he could lose the car for a year.  He took the deal, and says he probably lost an additional $2,500 because he couldn’t use his cab for a month, even though he committed no crime…

Subtle Pimping (#587)

When it comes to profiting from sex workers’ images while giving us nothing, fashion designers are among the worst offenders:

…The very prevalence of [stereotyped sex worker] images, overworked as they may be, is a testament to their durability…the clothes we wear, or might like to wear, owe a very real debt to the world’s most ancient profession.  “Fashion…is influenced by hookers,” said Anna Terrazas, costume designer of The Deuce.  “It’s not the other way around”…“There is an untold history of the relationship between sex workers and fashion,” said Rebecca Arnold, a fashion historian…working women routinely took up what their respectable contemporaries shunned as too showy, tasteless or new…

The Prudish Giant (#703) 

Facebook can’t even follow its own “standards”:

Facebook has blocked the sale of a pack of Christmas cards featuring a robin redbreast because of its “sexual” and “adult” nature.  The artist, Jackie Charley, said she “could not stop laughing” when she discovered the reason the social media company would not approve the product…The bird…was one of three designs painted by Charley of animals in the snow…The others were a stag and a squirrel…Charley said she was sent the message: “It looks like we didn’t approve your item because we don’t allow the sale of adult items or services”…Charley said…“There’s obviously nothing in the images themselves which is inappropriate.  Similarly, there were no ‘trigger’ words used in the cards’ descriptions that I’m aware of.  For instance, the robin card was simply called ‘Robin’, not ‘Robin Redbreast’ as some people have wondered”…she [has] not had any direct response from Facebook, but the interest generated from the gaffe had led to a lifting of the initial ban…

A Woman’s Point of View (#706) 

Don’t get too excited that the New Hampshire legislature is “Establishing a committee to study decriminalizing sex work“; one of the sponsors has made comments in which the unmistakable stench of the Swedish rot is clearly present.  But we’ll see.

Between the Ears (#722) 

Have a device that connects to the internet? Assume it can be used to spy on you:

…a Reddit user pointed out that Hong Kong-based sex toy company Lovense’s remote control vibrator app…recorded a use session without their knowledge.  An audio file lasting six minutes was stored in the app’s local folder.  The user says he or she gave the app access to the mic and camera but only to use with the in-app chat function and to send voice clips on command — not constant recording when in use.  Other users confirmed this app behavior, too.  A user claiming to represent Lovense responded and called this recording a “minor bug” that only affects Android users.  Lovense also says no information or data was sent to the company’s servers, and that this audio file exists only temporarily.  An update issued [last week] should fix the bug…

The Mote and the Beam (#789)

Another probable casualty of the War on Whores:

…The Wikipedia we know today simply would not exist without Section 230.  User-driven projects could not thrive if websites were subject to greater liability for user content, and certainly could not be supported by a small nonprofit organization like the Wikimedia Foundation.  For that reason, we have…serious concerns about…SESTA and other amendments to Section 230.  That’s why our Executive Director emphasized Section 230’s importance for Wikipedia’s hundreds of thousands of volunteer contributors in a recent campaign by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and why we submitted a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee expressing the importance of Section 230 for the Wikimedia projects.  The current bill does not reflect the careful balance that preserves small, nonprofit community projects like Wikipedia…

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The best way I can think of to honor veterans is to stop making so goddamned many of them.  –  Maggie McNeill

99 years ago today, the armistice which ended the First World War – optimistically referred to by many at the time as “The War to End All Wars” – went into effect, and the occasion was thereafter celebrated as Armistice Day.  But because the idea of commemorating the end of a war doesn’t sit well with warmongering politicians in the world’s only remaining empire, it was eventually changed to “Veterans Day”.  However, as I wrote last year,

…designating the day as “Veterans Day” is, frankly, somewhat jingoistic and uncomfortably fascist.  As longtime readers know, I have nothing against military men; if anything, I have kind of a thing for them.  But respecting individuals isn’t at all the same as participating in the creepy mandatory obeisance we’ve seen growing over the past few decades, and dedicating a day to the end of a war is a far different thing from using it to glorify the machinery of war…Every year on this day, I’ve paid homage to the ancient and powerful relationship between warriors and whores, and I invite you to click on that link; the essay you’ll find contains more links to the earlier columns.  But given that after the end of the Cold War, the US government decided to instead devote itself to endless and mindless warfare against both its own people and those of foreign lands, I decided this year to make note of another bond between whores and military men:  our own government’s mad and evil campaign to destroy as many of our lives as possible for no reason whatsoever except the enrichment of the military/police-industrial complex and the self-aggrandizement of the evil sociopaths who declare themselves our rulers and believe they have the right to dispose of us as they will.

Though hipster progressives now like to refer to themselves as “The Resistance”, the truth is that they’re only upset because the orange-utang beat the animatronic harpy in the high-school popularity contest; they were perfectly content when “their” guy Obama was empire-building, setting new records for mass deportation, murdering children with flying war robots and using strips of the shredded Constitution to wipe his arse with.  And they’d have been ecstatic had Clinton been able to continue that, even had she done exactly what Trump is now doing (though in the “right” political way) because obviously murdered kids are happier when taking the last ferry ride if they were shipped down to the Styx by order of a woman; this is what extremely stupid people call “feminism”.  But in reality, it’s whores who are the real feminists and the real Resistance.  All authoritarians hate us, and all who hate us are authoritarians no matter what they want you to believe; there is no other valid term for someone who actually believes that government has both the power and the right to control women’s bodies, right down to criminalizing motives for sex that the Establishment disapproves of.  Well, I do not consent, and neither do other sex workers; we dare to continue to work and make our living in the face of disapproval from both religions and pearl-clutching housewives, and we defy the State which sends thugs to literally rape us in order to “teach us our place”.  Authoritarian regimes have always hated whores, and the US is no exception.  Hitler sent us to concentration camps; Mussolini confined us in psychiatric hospitals; Mao tried to brainwash us out of our harlotry; “Swedish model” regimes define women as moral imbeciles literally unable to resist the sight of money; and US politicians justify sending thug cops to “rescue” us (by raping, arresting and caging us) by public recitation of wild, disgusting wanking fantasies in which we’re all “children” or near-vegetables chained to beds by “pimps” with actual magic powers for repeated rape by every single adult male in the US every week.

And yet we resist, and carry on, and live and love and prosper.  And we and our trade will still be here long after both prohibitionism and authoritarianism exist only in history books, alongside wars fought for the aggrandizement and profit of “leaders” slavishly worshiped by people more concerned about their tribal affiliations than about the health, happiness and liberty of actual human beings.

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SESTA…is an invitation to drive an awful lot of important speech from the Internet.  –  Cathy Gellis

If It Were Legal

The only reason this was necessary was because of idiotic laws against sex businesses:

…Helena Berkyova, 29, pretended customers were paying for gourmet food including king crab soup and soufflé when she charged them for [escort] services.  She set up sham catering firm Fine Dining Catering Services to conceal the illegal operation…Berkyova pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manage or assist in the management of brothels, keeping a brothel for prostitution, and money laundering…Berkyova [was s sex worker]…before moving up to management…She admitted managing the brothels between January 2013 and October 2015, raking in around £350,000 from paying customers…

Only a twit who’s never owned or run a business would think £350,000 (about $460,000) over a three-year period constitutes “raking it in”.

So Close and Yet So Far

When anyone not a sex worker uses the term “decriminalization”, read carefully:

…it is easy [for very stupid people who know nothing about economics and black markets] to assume that decriminalizing prostitution will embolden sex traffickers and increase victimization…Research I conducted for my book…shows that decriminalization of sex work is an evidenced-based approach to combating sex trafficking…Decriminalizing sex work does not make prostitution legal; it just empowers victims to come forward…I’ve gone to “the track” in the District, where women are sold for sex on the street…

“Decriminalizing sex work does not make prostitution legal” is total bullshit; of course it does, it just doesn’t make it legalized (i.e., subjected to a repressive regulatory regime or bound in so many special laws it might as well still be illegal).  Note also the agency-negating phrase, “women are sold for sex”, which no sex worker advocate would use.  I smell a supporter of the Swedish model, which is often dishonestly represented as decriminalization by its proponents due to the false claim that it “decriminalizes” sex workers (which it actually doesn’t).

Under Every Bed (#350)

I just can’t help laughing every time “authorities” pretend that North Dakota is a “sex trafficking hub”:

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp [vomited out a lot of stupid anti-sex propaganda]…at [a] panel hosted by the University of North Dakota Law School…Thomasine Heitkamp, a social work professor at UND and Sen. Heitkamp’s sister, recently completed a study on domestic, dating and sexual violence in the Bakken oil fields.  She said the amount of concerns heard about sex trafficking during the study was stunning…Sen. Heitkamp said legislators need to take on Backpage.com, and other sites [she fantasizes as being] known for sex trafficking and called the Communications Decency Act a “barrier”…

A politician calls a law intended to protect people from government tyranny a “barrier”.  Yes, it is, and we need many more such barriers.  Also, what the fuck does “the amount of concerns heard about sex trafficking” actually mean?

If Men Were Angels 

I wonder what fraction of his rhetoric is directed toward “perverts”?

…72-year-old Garry Evans, pastor of Baptist Temple in Rushville [Indiana], is accused of molesting several girls in his congregation…a three-year-old girl reported…that Evans lured her into his office with the promise of candy, then pulled his pants down and made her touch his genitals.  He then told her not to tell anyone what happened.  After the investigation into Evans’ behavior began…another mother brought her five- and seven-year-old daughters to police.  Both girls told investigators that Evans had forced his hands down their pants when they were alone with him in his office…

Harm Magnification (#612)

Naturally, because it’s politicians’ job to cause harm, not reduce it:

The Lawrence County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning opted to discontinue its contract with Indiana Recovery Alliance to operate a needle exchange program…the program is free to the county…but…[the county] prosecutor [vomited out evil crap about how] she could not support a program that facilitates…the illegal use of drugs…[two politicians] remained silent…[one of them, Rodney] Fish [suggested drug users]…”pray and…turn from their wicked ways”…[the other evil fuckhead, Dustin] Gabhart [vomited out]…“I don’t like the get-out-of-jail card for paraphernalia.  To me, those…make us a sanctuary…for addicts”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#649)

I always feel dirty when prohibitionists salivate over their masturbatory fantasies in public:

A [rogue’s gallery] of state and local lawmakers in San Diego…[fantasized publicly about] young military men and…sex trafficking in California…[they fantasized that] eight thousand to 11,000 victims are trafficked in San Diego County every year, an $810 million business, according to a [bogus] 2016 study…[politician Juan] Vargas [masturbated openly to the fantasy that] gangs have moved from selling drugs to selling people…[while politician Xavier] Becerra [drooled while saying]…prosecutors must struggle to over[throw] internet privacy laws that make extremely difficult to prosecute [consenting adults for private sexual behavior]…[he also sexually fantasized in public about] girls who are 12 or 13 years old.  Maggy Krell…a…prosecutor…[cackled about] going after…hotels and motels [to enrich the state using the excuse of “sex trafficking”]…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#695)

Pearl-clutching is both funnier and sadder when a young man does it:

If not for its debaucherous reputation, you might not blink an eye passing the Fuji Building.  From the outside, it looks no different to the skyscrapers that surround it…But inside tells a different story:  Eighteen floors of “one woman brothels”…Signs on the doors read “welcome”, or “wait” in various languages… Strange anime cartoons accompany the messages…“The Fuji Building may be full of prostitutes, but so long as each individual flat can be shown to be a separate unit from all the rest — that it has its own water connection, electricity meter and no one else can access it — it is above board”…the scourge of human trafficking [is] “bubbling beneath the surface of the Hong Kong sex scene”…who’s really in charge?…Terrifying stuff.

Buildings are terrifying! Or is it young women? Sex? Anime cartoons?

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#714)

Indonesia is trying to criminalize all sex outside of marriage:

…Indonesia…is in the midst of a two-year crack down on sexuality and gender rights; last week, police arrested 58 people in a raid on a “gay sauna” in Jakarta, some of whom now face 10 years in prison.  Human rights defenders protecting the community have been threatened, attacked, slandered and threatened with death.  Sex worker rights defenders say their night-time profession multiplies the threats they receive as activists…Sex work regulations in Yogyakarta are vague.  “Flattery,” “seduction with words, gestures, signs” or other indications that one plans to “carry out indecent acts” are all criminal.  The regulations say sex work will “reduce a person’s honor” and conflict with Indonesian values…Workers who speak up for one another during the day are often the ones targeted by police at night…

Cooties (#766) 

Despite the popularity of this masturbatory fantasy with UK cops, not one has ever been found:

MPs investigating the sex trade…launched [an inquiry] into organised crime gangs using temporary addresses to sexually exploit women…Police issued warnings to holiday let owners…that their properties were at risk of being used as pop-up brothels.  The cross-party group will [attempt to shore up a narrative so cops can harass and persecute]…vulnerable women.  [Politician] Gavin Shuker…said…“It is vital that we uncover how these criminals operate – and how we stop them”…

I know it’s hard to tell through the layers of “sex slave” fantasy and women’s agency negation, but what they’re actually talking about are rentals used by touring escorts and those who don’t want to risk “pimping” charges by splitting the cost of a long-term rental with friends.

The Mote and the Beam (#771)

The government’s latest sleazy trick: attacking with civil suits rather than criminal charges, because the burden of proof is reversed:

Harris County has filed a lawsuit against [a] Motel 6 [location, claiming]…the motel is a nuisance and has failed to abate criminal activity…The lawsuit said, “Officers have made numerous arrests for prostitution at this location as well as arrests for possession of illegal drugs, weapons, and violent crime.”  The lawsuit [demands]…Motel 6 maintain surveillance video, install and maintain electronic gates, prohibit cash only customers and hourly rates for stay…

The Widening Gyre (#778) 

Lenore Skenazy compares “sex trafficking” moral panic to an older form of bigotry-spawned hysteria:

…Facebook posts about fiends snatching innocent children are eerily reminiscent of an older, more pernicious scare:  a corrosive lie called the “blood libel,” in which Jews during medieval times were said to be killing Christian children and using their blood to make matzah…medieval scholar Emily Rose…describes the most famous blood libel of all:  the 1475 abduction and murder of a young Italian boy, Simon of Trent.  A Jew was accused of killing him for his blood.  It was not the first such story, but this one spread like wildfire thanks to a brand new social medium: print.  Posters and poems disseminated the allegations…Across the continent, people started claiming that a Christian child had been murdered by a Jew in their town, too.  “Most of these kids didn’t even exist,” Rose says, “and if they did exist, they weren’t killed.”  But that didn’t stop the stories from catching on.  And the people repeating them were no longer just plain peasants in a two-bit town…Today’s panicked moms probably don’t see themselves playing a role that goes back centuries.  But the only thing new is the medium they’re using to spread fear.

The Mote and the Beam (#780)

Just in case you think it’s only sex workers who will be harmed by SESTA:

…”ICE has recently re-defined the crime of human trafficking to include assistance, like housing and employment, that adults provide to juveniles who come to the United States without their parents.  In many cases, the adults being investigated and charged are close relatives of the minors who are supposedly being trafficked“…SESTA is drafted with language that…[allows] the government, both federal and state…to come after the platforms hosting any and all speech related to the assistance of immigrants, if any and all assistance can be considered trafficking.  The scope of what they could target is enormous: tweets warning about plain-clothed ICE agents at courthousessearch engine results for articles indicating whether evacuation centers will be checking immigration status, online ads for DACA enrollment assistance, or even discussion about sanctuary cities…If SESTA passes, platforms will either have to presumptively censor all such online speech, or risk prosecution by any government or state entity…

Between the Lines (#784)

“Operation Cross Country” is well-known for reinforcing the “sex trafficking” narrative by omitting figures for adult sex workers arrested, charging male sex workers as “pimps”, and listing arrested 16- and 17-year-old sex workers as “rescued children”.  But their most vile trick is abducting sex workers’ children, then claiming they were “rescued” or, even worse, “recovered”:  “An 18-month-old child was recovered in Baton Rouge and the child’s mother was arrested amid an FBI-led sex trafficking sweep that recovered 84 children and netted 120 trafficking suspects nationwide“…The word “recovered” refers to someone getting back something that rightfully belongs to them; for cops to use it about someone’s child is a blatant statement that the State views all children as its property.

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When you’ve been a sex worker for as long as I have, you begin to notice that the stigma against us isn’t just limited to cops, anti-sex fundamentalists, politicians, Puritans, busybodies and the Great Unwashed who swallow every lie they’re spoon-fed by all of those other groups; it extends to many, many people who should know better.  The ACLU, which in former times even stood up for the rights of despised groups like Nazis and the KKK, largely remains silent on the topic of sex work; oh, they’ll throw us a bone now and again, like a low-effort editorial, an amicus brief in a case somebody else is struggling to pay for, or the signing of a group letter in opposition to an insanely anti-whore law which just happens to create fallout that will hurt good people and not just dirty whores.  But most of the time, despite decriminalization being part of the group’s official platform since 1975, when an ACLU member opens her mouth on the subject in public it’s to vomit out prohibitionist shit like “people don’t choose to become prostitutes” that they need to have their faces forcibly rubbed in until they learn better.  The rest of the time, they’re too busy with Very Important Issues like the “right” of wealthy white queers to force bigots to bake $500 cakes for their displays of conspicuous consumption, or the “right” of women to beat, rob & murder people with impunity by putting on a magic costume.  But when it comes to the actual civil rights of people to have consensual sex and do the work of their choice without interference from armed thugs trying to stalk, entrap, rob, rape, brutalize and cage them, and otherwise destroy their lives?  Crickets.

And then there’s Gay, Inc, my term for the coalition of powerful organizations that have been instrumental in winning rights for queer people.  One would think, given that a very large fraction of sex workers are GLBT in one way or another; that more than 10% of transwomen admit to having done sex work (the real number is probably much higher); that in the early days of gay rights transactional sex was not only accepted, but celebrated; that before the ’90s many closeted gay men’s only sexual outlet was with sex workers; that even a very large fraction of female sex workers are lesbian or bisexual; and that the fucking riots which started the whole fucking gay rights movement in the first goddamned place were started by black trans sex workers, that Gay, Inc would be not only duty-bound but enthusiastic to support sex worker rights.  And one would be wrong; with the exception of a short-lived, chauvinistic and breathtakingly ignorant explosion of anger after the Rentboy raid, picket-fence gay boys and buttoned-up-to-the-neck lesbians have devoted all their energy and money to causes most gender and sexual minorities don’t give a flying fuck about, such as government-issued fucking licenses; the “right” to be a pig, screw or grunt; corporate sponsorship of “Pride parades” that cost enough to feed a small impoverished nation for a month; or the “right” to force bigots to bake the aforementioned overpriced cakes (one wonders what kind of unexamined privilege is necessary to trust eating food prepared by someone who hates you and is only complying at virtual gunpoint).  Oh, and let’s not forget the “right” to send the pigs after streetwalkers who dare to enter their gentrified neighborhoods; you know, the same pigs that used to raid their fucking nightclubs, back when they used to go to nightclubs to pick up guys (including, oh yeah, rentboys & hustlers).  The “leaders” of Gay Inc even openly compare sex workers to “killers or psychopaths”, and participate in the demonization of our clients.

And then there are “feminists”, whose idea of supporting women’s rights is infantilizing us, getting us evicted from our homes and killing us by slow starvation, when they’re not openly advocating for us to be murdered.  And I don’t just mean the mainstream ones, who have always been religious fundamentalists since the beginning; I mean whitebread feminists like Jill Filipovic with no real agenda intellectually more complex than the average Sex and the City episode.

To be sure, there are yellow, lily-livered followers in all of these groups who absolutely know that it’s wrong to persecute people for consensual sex; some of them were even given a little bit of the courage they otherwise totally lack by the announcement of Amnesty International’s backing of decriminalization.  But until the majority of the members of these groups grow a spine and start standing up for what they absolutely know in their hearts to be right, their deafening silence is just as damaging to us as are the cops and the laws which enable their depredations.

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It’s a wonder they lived to tell the tale.  A car.  A mumbler. More than one person in the parking garage at once.  It is all just overwhelming.  –  Lenore Skenazy

Feminine Pragmatism 

Anyone surprised by this knows nothing about women:

…Gabriel Sánchez rattled off the previous jobs of the women who now [work] at his [brothel] for $25 an hour.  “We’ve got lots of teachers, some doctors, many professional women and one petroleum engineer…All of them showed up with their degrees in hand.”  And all of them came from Venezuela.  As Venezuela’s economy continues to collapse amid food shortages, hyperinflation and U.S. sanctions, waves of economic refugees have fled the country.  Those with the means have gone to places like Miami, Santiago and Panama.  The less fortunate find themselves walking across the border into Colombia looking for a way, any way, to keep themselves and their families fed…But with jobs scarce, many…women are turning to the world’s oldest profession to make ends meet…

Socialism, the way of the future.

Finding What Isn’t There

As I keep saying over and over and over:

Human trafficking arrests are almost nonexistent in most states, according to the FBI’s newly released U.S. crime statistics for 2016…Florida reported 105 investigations into human-trafficking offenses in 2016 but zero human trafficking arrests…Nevada worked on 140 human-trafficking investigations but made only 40 arrests on trafficking charges.  Louisiana looked into 123 potential cases of human trafficking but only arrested 16 people for it…this report only includes arrests recorded by state and local law enforcement on human trafficking charges, which allows us to look beyond police propaganda about what they’re doing and see what it is they’re actually doing….the data do little to support the idea that the U.S. is experiencing unprecedented levels of labor and sex trafficking or that we are in the midst of some sort of “modern slavery” epidemic.  This is probably why you don’t see UCR trafficking statistics quoted in congressional reports, “awareness” materials, or law enforcement statements to the media on the topic…

Backwards into the Future (#629) 

Zimbabwean sex workers demonstrate their clout:

…sex workers in Chiredzi, a small sugar cane growing town in south-eastern Zimbabwe, have forced the reopening of Chigarapasi beer hall, the country’s largest, after threatening to stage a week-long naked vigil at the entrance in protest over its closure.  The beer hall…was closed early this year [after] the…Chiredzi council…[claimed] the bar was no longer making a profit – much to the surprise of…sex workers whose livelihood depends on [it]…

Public Service Announcement (#669)

If your candidate’s campaign can be derailed by the peccadilloes of a virtual stranger, you have a shitty candidate:

Anthony Weiner is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday in a sexting scandal that some blame for Hillary Clinton’s presidential loss.  The former New York congressman faces up to 27 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to one charge of transferring obscene material to a minor…by having illicit contact with a 15-year-old girl, including asking her to “sexually perform” for him in conversations on Skype and Snapchat…

Also: the word “illicit” makes anyone who uses it sound like a pearl-clutching schoolmarm.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#718) 

Because nothing makes authoritarians lose their shit faster than sex:

…Chinese company Taqu (or “Touch” in English)…launch[ed] their “Shared Girlfriend” app online, which allowed users to rent a silicone sex doll for a daily fee of 298 yuan (US$45.15) or 1,298 yuan per week…news of the service quickly went viral…Two days after its 14 September launch in Beijing, the authorities shut the service down after…a police investigation [called the rental] it to be a “vulgar act that disrupts social order“…

The Widening Gyre (#726) 

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

These “close encounters” with near sex-traffickers are like alien abductions.  They are shared wildly — gleefully — by people seemingly thrilled to know this horrible scourge is out there…This latest story, from Reno, involves a mom and dad who noticed every detail about a night that sounds outrageously ordinary.  They passed by some people they didn’t know!  They went into the parking garage and there was a car — with people in it!  They felt scared for their kids and compelled to write a Facebook post warning people everywhere about this terrible thing that…didn’t happen…I, too, walked outside last night and literally every single person I encountered may have “possibly” been involved in a child sex trafficking ring.  Each and every person I saw might “possibly” have also been a Satanist.  Or the owner of a Segway they’re trying to get rid of.  Or been related to the Royal Family…there’s no way to say they AREN’T sex traffickers.  So it’s best to just assume they are…”Holland…described [one man] as looking disheveled and wearing a bodyguard-type earpiece“…I’m sure that “bodyguard type earpiece” couldn’t possibly be an earbud.  It is so much more likely that the man was being commanded from Sex Trafficking HQ than listening to Beyonce…

Saving Them From Themselves (#735)

Lowered penalties for teen sexting may sound like a step in the right direction, but in actuality they simply encourage prosecutors to file more charges for behavior that isn’t even criminal in the first place:

Ohio state lawmakers have proposed a bill that would ban sexting between teenagers, potentially turning thousands of ordinary young Ohioans into sex offenders…Legislators could instead amend state statute to exempt teens exchanging pics between themselves, and people a few years over 18 texting with those a few years younger, from laws that treat them as child-porn producers and consumers.  Prosecutors could decline to bring these charges against sexting minors, and schools could decline to hand these cases over to cops.  Instead, this bill would create the new misdemeanor crime of “possession of sexually explicit digital material”…by anyone under age 21…So sexting teenagers might not get labeled child pornographers, but they could still wind up with a criminal record or, at the very least, a lot of court dates and a bullshit DARE-style class on how sexting will ruin their lives.  Worse yet, the legislation doesn’t actually change the state’s child pornography laws.  If it passes, prosecutors can still bring child porn charges against minors…or…use the threat of that charge to coerce kids to consent to searches, take plea deals on the lesser charge, and so on.  The sexting offense would simply be an additional tool at authorities’ disposal…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#759) 

The concept that men can’t tell the difference between a hunk of plastic and a woman insults all humans:

A sex robot with a “resistance setting” that allows men to simulate rape should be banned…[says anti-sex] lawyer…Kate Parker, who…warned the “uniquely sinister” technology normalised sexual assault…

Beware of authoritarians who disguise their deeply pathological need to control others’ sexuality by using words like “normalize” to describe sexual fantasies which are already so normal they’re almost vanilla.  For a deeper analysis of why this woman’s beliefs are deeply offensive, see also “Vile Insinuation“.

The Course of a Disease (#772)

It took a few weeks for Irish prohibitionists to figure out how to celebrate the increase in violence vs sex workers directly resulting from their laws without revealing their sociopathy to everyone:

More sex workers have reported rapes to gardai since new laws on prostitution laws were introduced, a [prohibitionist] group has claimed…Sarah Benson, head of Ruhama, which [persecutes sex workers]…said she is hopeful the laws make a positive difference…

Lower Education (#773)

Go on, keep telling me how the slippery slope is a “fallacy”:

Gov. Jerry Brown of California is poised to sign a worrisome bill that…explicitly applies to children in public kindergarten, elementary and high schools.  So a first grader could face dire consequences if found to have committed an act of “sexual violence,” which is broadly defined to include any “physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person” without their consent.  California lawmakers quickly passed the bill last week after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced on Sept. 7 that she will roll back the [due-process-banning] guidelines set forth by the Obama administration in 2011…[which] have led to bad outcomes…In case after case, young men were expelled on the basis of allegations that they were not allowed to challenge by seeing the evidence against them or cross-examining witnesses…Put aside for a moment whether a 6-year-old is capable of forming the intent to commit a sexual assault when she plants kisses on an unenthusiastic classmate, or whether it makes sense to bring sexual assault charges against an eighth grader who hugs the girl he has a crush on but who does not reciprocate his feelings.  Put aside for a moment whether school administrators should be branding children sexual assailants even if they are 49.99 percent sure the allegations are not true…Heavy-handed disciplinary policies fall disproportionately on students of color.  Because of the stereotypes associated with them, including the noxious but persistent trope that black males are inherently sexually predatory, black kids are presumed guilty…

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The…big problem is dealing with middle class saviours trying to save me from my job.  –  Sarah from Bristol

Advice for Clients

Ignore step two, because you’ll almost certainly be breaking some law. But the rest of this is pretty good:

So you’ve decided to spend time with an escort, but now what?  Your first call can be nerve-wracking, and you don’t want to creep the woman out!  Start with Step 1 below to learn how to make things easier on yourself, and on your potential date…

Hey prohibitionists: we’re winning, and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

Jezebel 

The owner has since taken down all the pirated porn and apologized:

Bellesa.co is essentially a piracy curator.  This site subsists…off of pirated videos.  Those videos have been uploaded to other piracy-based tube sites, and then a person or persons at Bellesa.co curates them into the single biggest piracy site focused entirely on female-centric videos.  This site is absolutely no more ethical than The Pirate Bay or any number of piracy sites designed to exploit producers and performers for financial gain…it…puts ZERO DOLLARS into the pockets of female producers or performers…

Rooted in Racism

Hmmm, I wonder why they accused this particular restaurateur?

A few weeks ago, RÚV (The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service)  reported on the Chinese restaurant Sjanghæ in Akureyri, claiming its owner, a Chinese born woman, was suspected of human trafficking…RÚV [accused] the owner…of paying her Chinese staff a monthly salary of 30.000 kr ($285)…[when actually] the staff’s monthly salary was 465 thousand krónas ($4355), which is well over the Icelandic minimum wage of 300 thousand ($2810)…the restaurant has been closed since RÚV’s report, as no customers have wanted to show up…[Jóhannes Sigurðarson, Sjanghæ’s lawyer] believes the restaurant will open again, although it’s unclear when exactly.  He and the owner will be determining shortly whether or not to press charges…

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere!

Prohibitionists are desperate to make New Zealand look bad:

A report, released by University of Auckland researcher Natalie Thorburn, claims child sex trafficking is prevalent in New Zealand and children as young as 12 were being exploited for money and drugs…Counsellor Tania Blomfield [claimed] that she knew of a child as young as nine being forced into the sex trade by her mother…Blomfield [fantasizes] child sex trafficking is “a growth industry, sadly.  I think it’s getting worse and worse because we are not dealing with it”.  However National Coordinator for the Prostitutes’ Collective Catherine Healy says sex trafficking is a catch all phrase that does not fully describe the situation…”Let’s not conflate it with sex work and say ‘oh they’ve been trafficked into sex work’ when actually they’re being abused by family members”…

The Prudish Giant

Though this is about coerced labor, Wal-mart is notoriously anti-sex and IJM is one of the sleaziest of the rescue industry groups; I suspect this will soon turn to whore persecution:

International Justice Mission…announced support from the Walmart Foundation to address human trafficking, also known as modern slavery, in the Thai fishing industry…there has not yet been a comprehensive study documenting the prevalence of forced labor and exploitation of fishermen on Thai fishing vessels.  With funding from the Walmart Foundation, IJM commissioned Issara Institute to conduct groundbreaking research in Thailand documenting the prevalence of forced labor…

Law of the Instrument (#560)

It’s not the number of “human trafficking victims” that’s increased, but the number of “human trafficking” charges:

The numbers of victims of human trafficking in Ireland has almost doubled in four years, with 94 [claimed] to have been children…The majority of…persons [labeled by “authorities” as “trafficked”] between 2012-2016 were women, with most subject to sexual exploitation…The authors of the report, however, [fantasize] that the true scale of trafficking could be much higher…

Remember, Ireland charges people with “human trafficking” for crimes ranging from undocumented immigration to rape.

An Example To the West (#582) 

Not so long ago, most US brothels were owned by sex workers:

…Dennis Hof…is offering the 540 women who work in his brothels the chance to buy shares.  He first wants to see if they would help buy the famous Chicken Ranch, which is for sale in Nye County.  “I want to give the girls the opportunity to not only invest in it and be shareholders but also have input in the management style…we want a $25,000 minimum investment.  The purchase price is $4.5 million”…Barb Brents, a UNLV sociology professor who researches the adult industry in Nevada, said some brothels in other countries share ownership with sex workers.  But to do it in Nevada would be a sweeping change…There are still some hurdles for Hof’s plan.  The biggest might be the background checks for brothel investors…

Check Your Premises (#773) 

Though “debating” prohibitionists is a bad idea, attacking their statements is a good one:

…Sarah…accused [politician] Thangam [Debbonaire] of “prejudice and hatred” towards sex workers and questioned whether the MP had met many…”Client criminalisation leads to sex workers having less time to suss out potential clients…because the client is keen to give the worker less info about himself, and to move the interaction into more private spaces where he is less in danger of being arrested…when the criminalisation of kerb-crawling was introduced in Scotland in 2008…violence against street sex workers went up by 50 per cent in just the first six months…sex workers are arrested all the time for brothel-keeping offences, which can mean sharing a workspace with other sex workers for safety.  Of course, having a criminal record relating to prostitution would make it almost impossible for me to ever leave sex work.  When the police raid premises they take everybody’s money – all the money I had earned that day, and probably my phone too – no receipt, no way of getting it back…

Lower Education (#773)

Anti-sex crusaders love their pseudoscience:

…Journalist Emily Yoffe dove into the “neurobiology of trauma”  nonsense last week as part of her series of articles at The Atlantic on campus rape.  This phrase has appeared in federal legislation, state legislation, Department of Education guidance to colleges, and campus sexual assault proceedings.  It is used to explain why victims of sexual assault might not resist or even say no at all; why their memories of the incident might be spotty; and why changes to their stories over time are normal.  Under this theory, hormones and other neurotransmitters go mad and can cause temporary brain damage; memories of an assault are stored perfectly somewhere in the brain but are “fragmented” at first, so it might take victims time to piece together the true story of what happened…But…these claims…fly in the face of almost all recent research on memory and trauma…We have been here before.  In the 1980s, the idea that childhood sexual abuse caused…repressed memories grew quite popular…

The Mote and the Beam (#774)

Some tech companies are willing to destroy the internet to secure a temporary business advantage:

Since the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 was introduced in the Senate in August, tech companies and advocacy groups have…called it “disastrous for free speech online,” asking its members to call their representatives in Congress.  Meanwhile, supporters of the bill have emerged from unlikely quarters — including tech giant Oracle and Hollywood studio 21st Century Fox — and are using the legislation as an opportunity to take shots at Google…

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Brooke Magnanti has released a new, revised edition of her book The Sex Myth, retitled Sex, Lies and Statistics.  This was adapted by Brooke from her afterword (the foreword was written by yours truly), and I hope it will serve to encourage you to buy the book, which demolishes the shoddy garbage prohibitionists hold up in place of actual facts.  And it’s on sale now!

Media are obsessed with promoting a view we would previously have dismissed as Victorian.  There are indeed parallels.  The end of the 19th century and start of the 20th brought new technologies to add to the dissemination of ideas through mass media (much like the Internet today)…with the predictable horror and blame that brought then, just like now.  The political class made some unexpected alliances as a result; again, we see this happening.  Feminism has joined the anti-sex bandwagon in a big way.  Not just by blaming men for inequality between the sexes, but perhaps more profitably and successfully by blaming other women.  Many mainstream feminist critiques gloss over old “man-hating” attitudes and place blame squarely on other women.  Instead of embracing women who challenge convention, the preoccupation is with shooting them down.  On the one hand, we’re told that anyone who believes women and men should have equal rights under the law is a feminist, whether they know it or not.  On the other, we are told that one or another group of women are traitors.  It’s the feminists who have taken up the finger-wagging role of the patriarchy.  Take, for example, this quote by Julie Burchill:  “When the sex war is won prostitutes should be shot as collaborators for their terrible betrayal of all women.”  Advocating the murder of large numbers of women is such a great way to win supporters to the cause, no?

The more you look at the key players behind some of the stories, the more you notice odd pairings.  A group working closely with the anti-gay, anti-abortion US lobbying group using a female MP as the mouthpiece of their opinions on porn.  The well-known feminists signing up to work with far right groups.  Celebrities lending star power to issues they don’t understand at all.  Almost all approaches to these issues fail to consider the diversity of factors involved.  The “Swedish model” of sex work is an example of this.  Lots of hype, not a lot of data on whether paid sex work has stopped or whether anyone’s life has been improved as a result.  Columnists like Joan Smith can gush about jumping in to a cop car to see how the law is panning out, all while ignoring the fact that sex workers repeatedly confirm that the police are their greatest source of harassment, assault, and rape.  Proponents of the Swedish approach mention how “pressure” is ramping up on this topic – pressure that they themselves have generated through unchallenging media coverage.  When in doubt, follow the money.  Over and over again the people fronting these campaigns are connected to industries with vested interests, radical right-wing think tanks, or anti-LGBT lobbyists.  The deputy editor for the New Statesman previously worked at the Mail and is rumoured to have subedited Jan Moir when she wrote a viciously homophobic column about Stephen Gately’s death.  Arch-feminists like Julie Bindel write for staunchly right wing, regressive magazines like the Spectator.  There’s a saying where I come from:  you got to dance with the one who brung you.  I wonder, when everyone gets to the end of their dance cards, what promises feminists have made and what obligations they’ll have to honor.

Before 2009, when I wrote books under a pseudonym about my experiences as a sex worker, there was no small amount of grumbling in the press.  After I won the Guardian Best British Weblog award in 2003, a number of female contributors to that paper signed a letter vowing that if I was commissioned to write for the paper, they would quit.  Yet I continued to believe that if they knew I was real, they would feel differently.  It’s probably not a surprise to you that I was unprepared for what any fool could have predicted would happen.  Since coming out as a former sex worker, I have been criticized for being too middle class, too well educated, too independent.  As if my very existence in sex work was, somehow, unique.  But data across the spectrum of sex work shows this not to be true.  In any case, if I admitted to a drug addiction instead, or had been homeless?  That would have been used to write me off, too.  It is bizarre to read articles by people who’ve never met me attempting to dissect this or that bit of my life.  Some lazy commentators “blame” me for the existence of other call girls, or whatever new student sex worker is uncovered by the tabloids.  As flattering as that is, it is not true.  Prostitution is called “the oldest profession” for a reason.

After a while all such nonsense became background noise.  I assumed the combined forces of feminists and the Rescue Industry had nothing worse up their sleeves.  I was wrong.  When the first edition of this book was published in Britain in 2012, it was embargoed before publication day and available to fewer than 20 people to review.  Journalists who saw the book signed confidentiality agreements.  So it was a great surprise to wake up on the morning of publication slapped with a libel lawsuit from Eaves For Women, the domestic violence charity whose hapless forays into research are touched on in this book.  If their work had been published in academic journals, anyone writing to correct their numbers would have been treated professionally, but this was not academia I was dealing with.  Obviously, I did not write anything about Eaves that could not be verified, and just as obviously, they had not been sent a pre-publication copy of the book by my publisher but had been given one by book reviewer – and Eaves board member – Julie Bindel.  The firm representing Eaves in this lawsuit threat?  The one with Bindel’s wife as a founding partner.  The Eaves claims would have been hilarious if they had not been so ludicrous.  They claimed I “hacked their servers” to get information about their income and expenditures (as with all UK charities, it’s public information available on government websites) and “broken confidentiality agreements” to discuss their research (I looked up their publications from conferences, also available online).  Their arguments depended on evidence so far-fetched it could have served as a bad science example in the book itself.  I later learned this was not the first time this had happened.  Eaves had threatened to sue so many people, so often, they even served legal threats on Bindel’s own employer at the time, the Guardian newspaper for an article by Belinda Brooks-Gordon (Bindel is no longer on Guardian staff, but freelances for them).  The intellectual dishonesty of someone like Bindel, who claims to be “silenced” and a “free speech” advocate yet uses archaic laws to try to silence opposition, is staggering.  Unsurprisingly the threatened suit was without merit and quickly dropped.

Meanwhile, the media feminists of the UK rounded on me.  Julie Burchill wrote one article claiming I was a “sex addict”, another calling me a “human toilet”, and compared me to a convicted (and executed) Nazi war criminal; this was especially offensive as I am of Jewish heritage.  The “feminist” literature magazine that published those last two tidbits claimed they did not know what the words meant.  Sorry, Mslexia, but ignorance is no excuse.  They did not apologize.  One feminist turned up at a talk in Edinburgh to shout to the audience that I was a pedophile and claim my screenshots of the Glasgow City Council’s website (showing how much they paid for anti-strip club consultations) were faked.  Others picketed talks and book signings, sent death threats, and harassed me so frequently by phone that I gave up on carrying a mobile altogether.  They contacted my former editor at the Telegraph in an attempt to get me fired – long after I’d already quit.  Few in journalism seem to care that the people doing this are all a couple of degrees of separation from known anti-LGBT and white supremacist orgs in the US.  All anyone wants is to see the naughty, naughty sex lady be punished.  They don’t care how it’s done or who does it.  This, I was told, was the price of being a sex worker in public.

Writers with the left-leaning New Statesman magazine, many of whom launched careers by harassing trans women and sex workers, also got the boot in.  Their assistant editor, Helen Lewis, sits on the board of a charity that is anti-sex work and anti-trans women.  She and other feminists joked on social media when a former partner tried to sue me for reporting his abuse (he later dropped the suit to much less fanfare).  They encouraged Breitbart to run a week-long campaign of harassment and abuse.  They egged on nasty “investigative journalist” Jeremy Duns who made sexual threats against me and my husband.  They examined photos from my escorting days, speculating on whether I was “hot enough” have been a sex worker, and speculating about what diseases I might have.  They circulated a list at public events suggesting that I and others were employed by a shadowy “Pimp Lobby” and financially benefitting from trafficking (if that’s the case, I have yet to receive a paycheck).  The laughable list, compiled by Julie Bindel, included a number of people uninvolved with sex work at all, including an artist who died in 2010, so it’s clear fact-checking is not a valued quality among these people.  The abuse peaked when they outed a trans camgirl whose Twitter account they thought had been written by me.  It wasn’t – but in the process they humiliated a woman who was not yet out to her family.  Their supposed evidence?  We both supported Scottish independence, and both, at different times, used the phrase “snake oil”.  In spite of having got it drastically wrong, no apology to the woman they doxxed was forthcoming.  Why would anyone do this?  In short, to control the narrative.

It would be unthinkable – to most people, anyway – to have a discussion about women’s rights that did not involve any women.  Or a discussion about race that did not include people of color.  But time and again when the topic is sex work, sex workers themselves are not simply ignored, they are actively excluded.  What do sex workers want?  A seat at the table.  To be able to work together for safety.  To report crimes against them without fear of arrest.  For services to be made available that are not dependent on them giving evidence against others.  To not live in fear of deportation or abuse by police.  In short:  they want the same protection under the law that any other worker can expect.  And not only is this what sex workers want, it’s what the evidence supports as best practice.  We’ve seen the benefits of decriminalization in New Zealand, in New South Wales Australia.  We’ve also seen what goes wrong in Sweden, in the Netherlands, and in the US.  International agencies from the WHO to Amnesty agree.  But this evidence-driven support for decrim hasn’t come out of thin air.  Much has been written on the disruptive effects of social media, but this much is true:  if not for the internet, people like me would never have been able to challenge the stereotypes with facts.  Marginalized people with multiple oppressions – black trans sex workers, drug using sex workers – who would otherwise fear being outed, are being taken seriously by a mainstream that otherwise would never have known they existed.  The infantilized victims who need rich white ladies to save them, it turns out, are fully capable adults who can make their own decisions and won’t hesitate to tell you that.  And that makes some folks with vested interests very upset indeed.

What happened to me was not the first nor even worst example.  Entrenched second-wave feminists in media have harassed trans politicians out of their jobs, driven black cultural commentators off of social media, and consistently outed and trashed any sex worker who crosses their paths.  Heaven help you if you happen to belong to more than one of these groups.  They reserve the worst treatment for the most marginalized, secure in the knowledge that society does not care because they told society not to.  The disinformation campaign used to sustain sex myths was a glimpse into a post-truth world where what matters is not what is right, but who can get the most money.  Some of those folks were so threatened by one woman and one book that they tried to bankrupt, discredit, and silence one blogger.  A movement backed by billions of dollars in international grants is so susceptible to people seeing the real data, they will stop at nothing to keep the truth from getting out.  And they are not interested in ethical debate; they demand that their point of view be bowed to in any discussion, even (and especially) if that means keeping the discussion centered on their feelings rather than other people’s right to exist.  They use the media not to understand, but to bludgeon.  They simply do not care if their information is incorrect.  I started off believing that open debate was the best way to win hearts and minds; I ended up realizing that some people will use that to drown out anyone who does not agree with their own intolerant, hate-filled views.  There simply is no way to have a debate with people who characterize you as an “orifice” who “should be dead in a ditch.”  There is no common ground to be found with people who willingly promote your abusers.

And yet, in all the negativity, there are signs of light.  In the years from when I was a sex worker in 2003, since I came out in 2009, and after the first edition of this book in 2012, the ground has rapidly shifted.  When Amnesty International rejected threats from famous feminists and backed the decriminalization of sex work based on the evidence, it was a win for a sex workers’ movement that far predates and will long outlast any one person.  When I gave evidence to UK Parliament in 2016, the MPs – to my surprise – took the suggestions of sex workers on board in their report, rather that listening to entrenched and well-funded special interests.  In Scottish Parliament, Rhoda Grant (who receives funding from the anti-gay, anti-abortion charity Care) has tried three times to introduce criminalization of sex work, and been defeated all three times.  Evidence really does win out from time to time; it might not seem that way in the moment, but things are changing, slowly and surely.  In 2009 and 2012, it felt as if every week brought new abuse from a media obsessed with surfaces instead of content.  So-called progressives shame and reject us, even when sex workers were early supporters of feminism, gay rights, and other movements that have since gained public acceptance on the back of that effort.  In particular, the most marginalized sex workers from black and trans communities were the ones most likely to be erased, people like Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P Johnson, and many more.  Slowly and surely their legacy is being reclaimed, too.  The pendulum of attitudes about sex and sexuality is always in motion.  I hope that in my lifetime the burden of shame felt by so many for so long will be lifted.  With evidence and hard work we can reclaim the narrative – and take back our lives from the playground bullies of shame and fear.

Brooke doesn’t pull any punches in this new, US edition; it’s a vital debunking resource for those who support sex worker rights, and you really, really, REALLY ought to read it!

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