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Posts Tagged ‘The Slave-Whore Fantasy’

Given…that criminalization discourages us from helping, trusting, or even communicating with each other…creating a community of people who reject the stigma surrounding this work is an act of rebellion in itself.  –  Annie Calhoun

The Slave-Whore Fantasy IS slavery app

It’s been a while, so here’s another example of what real sex slavery looks like:

The advertisement on the Telegram app is as chilling as it is incongruous:  A girl for sale is “Virgin. Beautiful. 12 years old…. Her price has reached $12,500 and she will be sold soon.”  The posting in Arabic appeared on an encrypted conversation along with ads for kittens, weapons and tactical gear.  It was shared with the Associated Press by an activist with the minority Yazidi community, whose women and children are being held as sex slaves by the extremists.  While the Islamic State group is losing territory in its self-styled caliphate, it is tightening its grip on the estimated 3,000 women and girls held as sex slaves.  In a fusion of ancient barbaric practices and modern technology, IS sells the women like chattel on smartphone apps and shares databases that contain their photographs and the names of their “owners” to prevent their escape through IS checkpoints.  The fighters are assassinating smugglers who rescue the captives, just as funds to buy the women out of slavery are drying up…

Check Your Premises

I’m not going to expedite cops’ shaming people, but this jewel of self-contradiction was too good to pass up:

…Narcotics Detective Kim Lippincott…says prostitution is a huge issue in Monroe County. She has a message for any “john” paying for sex.  “The sex you are engaging in, the sex you are paying for, may not be as consensual as you think it is”…Detective Lippincott says the three women arrested for prostitution worked independently.  No traffickers were arrested…The Monroe County District Attorney’s Office says the big bust is part of a larger effort to combat human trafficking…

Across the Pond

While Parliament contemplates repealing some of the laws cops use to persecute sex workers, some UK “authorities” are demonstrating how ineffective that will be without full decriminalization:

…[Funding for] Open Doors, a pioneering NHS sex worker support service…has been cut substantially and…National Ugly Mugs (NUM)…has expressed “grave concern for the safety of sex workers in Hackney,” describing the changes as a “seismic shift towards criminalisation … recklessly compromising [sex workers’] safety and ignoring national guidelines.”  Until 2014, Hackney authorities worked in partnership with Open Doors to keep street sex workers out of the criminal justice system…As a result, sex workers had more trust in the police…The picture now is very different. NUM data shows a “startling decrease in the numbers of Hackney sex workers willing to report crimes to the police,” says Alex Feis-Bryce…of NUM…Sex workers are increasingly subject to enforcement by the police and local authorities in the form of dispersal orders, fines and even prosecution…local authorities have asked Open Doors to hand over their clients’ names to an “enforcement panel”…[Georgina] Perry, Open Doors’ manager of 13 years, has announced her resignation…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#27)

Another small country stands up to American bullying:

Sudan…criticized being placed by the United States on the blacklist countries involved in human trafficking, saying the report [was] “biased and intentionally distorting [sic]” Sudan’s efforts to combat human trafficking…The report mentioned unverified reports about South Sudanese children sold for agricultural work…[and] accused the Sudanese army of recruiting children aged between 16-17 years…It further said that asylum seekers from African and Arab countries are “highly vulnerable” to sex trafficking and forced labor…Sudanese law enforcement agencies are accused of being involved in this criminal activity…

And other kinds of small jurisdictions, too:

…the government is whole-heartedly rejecting…a recent report from the U.S. Department of State regarding the condition of human trafficking globally.  The report, which gave Macau a serious “Tier 2” rating…was criticized for its “wrongful conclusions” by Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak…“Findings in the report are not based on fact and involve groundless speculation”…

Against Their Will (#310)

The Philippine government has carried out a weird crusade against “cybersex” since it was criminalized four years ago; some stories cast the sex workers as depraved and some as “victims” or even “children”, so it’s very difficult to discern what the truth might be in a story like this:

A British national was charged…with large-scale human trafficking involving seven women and for having in his possession pornographic materials that he produced and created, with intent to publish and distribute them to online customers…The Prosecutor’s Office also indicted [Wade] Allsopp for cybersex…Two laptops that contained photos of women in different age brackets who were either posing nude or clad in skimpy attires were also found in the scene, along with several sex toys, pieces of lingerie, gadgets, and instruments apparently used for pornography.  The rescued victims…claimed they met Allsopp through Facebook and that he allegedly recruited and offered them a deal where he would assist them in finding foreigner husbands allegedly on the condition that they would submit sexy and nude photos of themselves…[to be] downloaded and viewed in a dating website…

The End of the Beginning

More articles like this, please:

…the sex offender registry…was designed for “sexual predators” who repeatedly preyed on children (at least according to the fears of 1990s policymakers).  The purpose was supposed to be not punishment but prevention.  The theory:  Sexual predators” were unable or unwilling to control their urges, and the government could not do enough to keep them away from children, so the job of avoiding “sexual predators” needed to fall to parents…Twenty years later, the focus on sex crimes has shifted from sexual abuse of children to sexual assault and rape…Yet the…registry is still going strong.  It hasn’t worked as a preventive tool.  Instead, it’s caught up thousands of people in a tightly woven net of legal sanctions and social stigma.  Registered sex offenders are constrained by where, with whom, and how they can live — then further constrained by harassment or shunning from neighbors and prejudice from employers.  Some of the people on the…registry have had their lives ruined for relatively minor or harmless offenses; for example, a statutory rape case in which the victim is a high school grade younger than the offender…

Rubbing Elbows

A nice article on the Desiree Alliance conference, which starts tomorrow in New Orleans, in the local alternative paper:

…This will be the first time the Desiree Alliance convenes in the South…Organizers see the…conference as vital to a region and city with social justice issues that pertain significantly to sex workers.  Local escort Annie Calhoun…[of] SWOP-NOLA…says, “I hope that sex workers of all types from the area are present, and that they see the amazing community of people who are on our side”…What has steadily driven sex workers’ rights before the public eye…is the persistent efforts of sex workers to make their voices heard, their humanity acknowledged and their civil and labor rights honored.  Calhoun believes some of the progress made is, ironically, a response to journalists like New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof, “who have built careers on the idea that sex work can be reduced to the idea of big bad men exploiting poor women — a classic evil villain/innocent victim dichotomy”…

Ashley Madison (#571) 

Sweet, sweet schadenfreude:

The parent company of infidelity dating site Ashley Madison, hit by a devastating hack last year, is now the target of a U.S. Federal Trade Commission investigation…the closely held company is spending millions to improve security and looking at payment options that offer more privacy.  But it faces a mountain of problems, including U.S. and Canadian class action lawsuits filed on behalf of customers whose personal information was posted online, and allegations that it used fake profiles to manipulate some customers…An Ernst & Young report…confirmed that Avid used computer programs, dubbed fembots, that impersonated real women, striking up conversations with paying male customers.  Avid shut down the fake profiles in the United States, Canada and Australia in 2014 and by late 2015 in the rest of the world, but some U.S. users had message exchanges with foreign fembots until late in 2015, according to the report…

O, Canada! (#617)

Most of this is the creepy, US-style “sex trafficking hub” bullshit we’ve come to expect from Ontario government, but note this especially nasty little bit of agency-negation:

In many cases of trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, trafficked persons may develop “trauma bonds” with their traffickers, and may not view themselves as victims.  As such, human trafficking is believed to be a vastly underreported crime.

How convenient; it basically translates to “anybody we claim is a victim is one, regardless of what she says.”

To Molest and Rape rapist cop Tramaine McCray

There’s a short, concise word for “forced to have sex”; funny how reporters can’t seem to remember it when cops are the perpetrators:

[Orange County, Florida sheriff’s deputy] Tramaine McCray was arrested…after a male prostitute said he felt forced to have sex with McCray and feared he would be arrested if he did not…McCray…admitted to having multiple sexual encounters with prostitutes…A second prostitute came forward and said…McCray showed up at his apartment several times and asked for sex, deputies said.  At one point he said McCray said, “I am the police and nobody would believe you over the police.”  During questioning, McCray [admitted to raping]…multiple…male and female prostitutes between March 2014 and June 2015…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#642) 

Dr. Marty Klein on the recent upsurge in anti-porn hysteria:

Marty Klein likens the current moral panic around online porn to the epidemics of fear and suspicion that sprung up around satanic cults in the 1980s, and even around comic books in the 1950s.  Pornography, he argues, is simply a catalogue of human sexual fantasies, and for most people, those fantasies have very little predictive value when it comes to real desire.  The most crucial thing people can do when it comes to protecting their children, according to Klein, is to inform them that porn is fictional…Klein issued a list of porn literacy checkpoints for parents to go over with their kids that includes emphasizing that most people don’t have bodies like porn performers, that many recurring images in porn…are theatrical devices and don’t reflect what many men and women want from sexual encounters, and that most women don’t want violence or rough play during sex.  But he decried common assumptions that watching pornography leads to sex addiction, or cheating, or degrading and abusive treatment of women…

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From a financial perspective, the American rescue industry may be the third most popular sports franchise in the world.  –  Anne Elizabeth Moore

The Slave-Whore Fantasy 

Yet another example of what real sex slavery looks like:

Peter Hamilton…[was walking his dog when] he heard a woman’s voice coming from across the street…The woman was lying on the porch floor, her hands and feet bound by cloth restraints, duct tape, and handcuffs.  Her pants and underpants were pulled down around her ankles, tangled up in her leg restraints.  She was shaking quite a bit, and had bruises on her arms and legs.  “She said, ‘Help me, I’ve been kidnapped and held hostage for five days.”  She told him that her captor was still in the house — she had managed to wriggle down the stairs while he slept — and that he had a gun and a knife…he began trying to free her from her restraints, using the only tool in his pocket, a nail clipper, to snip away at the duct tape on her hands to get it to tear…That’s when her captor emerged from the doorway…leapt over the woman, and ran past…Later…police would arrest Rejean Perron, and charge him with repeatedly sexually assaulting the woman…between March 31 and April 5…the accused picked up the 27-year-old woman, a sex worker…when she tried to leave, he allegedly threatened her, bound her, and held her captive…

Gateway

Using one consensual “crime” as an excuse to persecute another is like building a house of cards:

The prostitution sting last week…marked at least the third organized crackdown this year by [New Hampshire] police departments in response to complaints about ongoing prostitution in their communities…it was part of a weeks-long enforcement campaign prompted by reports of salacious behavior in an area frequented by young children on their way to school…it points to a trend that has at least remained constant as the state continues to buckle from opiate addiction.  “We’ve been getting a lot more street complaints than before, and we relate that directly to heroin,” said Nick Willard, assistant chief of police in Manchester…

Tyranny By Consensus

One of the nation’s largest suppliers of HIV and AIDS medical care is accused of bilking Medicare and Medicaid in an elaborate $20 million dollar scam that spanned 12 states, according to a lawsuit filed in South Florida federal court.  Three former managers of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed a suit…alleging the company paid employees and patients kickbacks for patient referrals in an effort to boost funding from federal health programs…The referrals were key to the company’s business model and touted by AHF President Michael Weinstein at a 2013 leadership summit…

An Example To the West (#133)

Some 900 [Korean] sex workers…submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court to repeal the prostitution law, which they say infringes on their rights…In December of 2012, the Seoul Northern District Court asked the Constitutional Court for a constitutional review of the law after a prostitute who was charged made the request.  The crux of the issue is whether prostitution is a profession and cracking down on it violates sex workers’ rights or whether the practice is a public hazard and exposes minors to danger…Chung Kwan-young, a lawyer representing prostitutes, said the law goes against the “principle of minimal intervention” as it punishes a voluntary choice made by adults.  Critics of the law also point out that crackdowns have failed to eradicate prostitution.  Kim Kang-ja, a former chief at the Jongam Police Station who spearheaded crackdowns in the 2000s, said her operations only exacerbated the situation of sex workers…stop closing our windows

Dutch Threat

Hundreds of Amsterdam’s window prostitutes took to the streets yesterday in protest against the city authorities’ attempts to clean up the red light district.  Sex workers say they have been targeted over the years as local politicians try to reinvigorate the area, under the guise of stopping human trafficking.  Some 250 prostitutes and their supporters marched against the latest proposals to shut down more of the city’s brothels.  Since 2008 115 of the 500 windows…have been closed…

Confined and Controlled (#335)

Italian law allows [Rome] to issue an ordinance banning the solicitation of sex on certain streets…Rome City Hall has agreed to…a pilot program that would include greater police surveillance and fines of up to $500…for men caught with a sex worker on a prostitution-free street…the idea is vehemently opposed by Catholic organizations that say it legitimizes the exploitation of women.  Father Aldo Buonaiuto [wants imposition of the Swedish model]…

Uncommon Sense (#404)

The Assembly of Sex Work Pro-rights Activists of Catalonia, is made up of sex workers and allies…“We are the most stigmatised and criminalised group of women in society,” said Montse Neira, one of the group’s founders…“From now on, nobody else is going to speak for us”…Paula Vip from…Asociación de Profesionales del Sexo (Aprosex) [said] “The violence we face doesn’t come from our clients, but from the institutions that govern based on the interest of a moral minority.  From now on, we prostitutes will be organised, convinced, ready to fight and ready for war”…

Prudesville

Yes, these are actual adults panicking over coffee stands:

…From the way…bikini baristas have been in the firing line of [Washington state] officials, you’d think this was the first time anyone combined nearly nude women and food.  But practically the same controversy continues to pop up in headlines across America:  Girls want to serve coffee mostly naked, people want to buy it, someone wants to stop it…Buxom girls and fast food have been lumped together since topless servers started waiting on San Franciscans in the 60s…and Hooters…has been around since 1983…To Mike Fagan, a Spokane city councilman who just saw a voter-led initiative to restrict bikini baristas flop…[the] model is too risqué not to regulate.  But he says he’s taken heat for trying to impose a moral code on local businesses…If they’re not offensive, he wonders, why then are school-buses being rerouted so kids won’t see the coffee stands?…“I think bikini baristas are sex workers, because their work involves using sexual appeal,” says…Savannah Sly…“Because they may be stigmatized or their place of employment scrutinized due to the erotic nature of the work, I deem it worthy of the label of sex work.”  Sly says some might argue that bikini baristas aren’t sex workers because they don’t strip, touch customers, or explicitly talk about sex.  But…“a lot of people who do phone sex and cam work…also don’t do sexual stuff for a lot of their clients”…

We Told You So (#509)

Another great article from Anne Elizabeth Moore:

The images are compelling:  young, White women, bound and bedraggled, alone and vulnerable.  The first-person tales are equally attention-grabbing:  rape, emotional abuse, graft, torture…Yet what we can definitively state about [the rescue industry]…makes for a much less satisfying narrative…the 50 most prominent anti-trafficking organizations in the United States…command over half a billion dollars every year, and focus primarily on sex trafficking, as opposed to the far more pressing global concern of labor trafficking.  Fundraising pitches for these groups rest largely on the recitation of widely disputed statistics, many of which have been entirely disproven…The claims are ludicrous.  Even if the number of rescues was believable, it represents approximately a quarter of all the cases of sex trafficking worldwide reported to the US Department of State…This would make the United States the global hotbed of sex slavery…

Broken Record (#519)

sex workers’ safety could be at risk if police launch sweeps to clean up city streets heading into this summer’s Pan Am Games…fears over potential trafficking during sports competitions are typically overblown and sometimes serve as excuses to round up local and foreign sex workers…a stronger police presence could have a “harsh impact” on street-based sex workers, who would be forced to work in more isolated — and potentially unsafe — conditions…a study examining the impact of the Vancouver Olympics suggests there was no significant influx of sex workers or reports of a spike in trafficking there.  The survey of sex workers found there was less demand for their services, possibly due to the difficulty in meeting clients…

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If you believe that selling sex means selling women, you believe that a woman’s value equals her capacity to have sex.  –  Kate Heartfield

The Slave-Whore Fantasy Timothy Jay Vafeades

Yet another example of what  real sex slavery looks like:

A Utah truck driver kept sex slaves in his semitrailer for months at a time while he traveled the country, filing down their teeth, forcing them to alter their appearance and beating them until they nearly passed out…The charges against [Timothy Jay Vafeades] include kidnapping, [Mann Act violations] and possession of child pornography, and could bring a life sentence if he is convicted…

Sisters in Arms

When I miscarried at 22 weeks in 1994, the cops weren’t even informed, much less involved.  If that happened today, it might be very different (especially if I weren’t white).  This detailed article on the Rennie Gibbs case touches on other, similar travesties, but also establishes the case as part of the pattern of willful incompetence perpetrated by Steven Hayne, Mississippi prosecutors’ go-to medical examiner for over 20 years because he was willing to declare just about anything a murder without the slightest scrap of valid scientific basis.  Veteran Agitator readers will no doubt remember Hayne, whom Radley Balko wrote about many times.

Surplus Women

Prohibitionists use a young woman’s murder as an excuse to deny her agency and talk about short skirts:

A…nonprofit that works with sex workers is holding a candlelight vigil for a 21-year-old woman whose naked body was found last week on a conveyor belt inside an Anaheim [California] trash-sorting facility…No Boundaries International…said they had frequent contact with Jarrae Nykkole Estepp in Oklahoma City in 2012, when she was featured in several videos…on…JohnTV.com…Detectives believe the woman was probably [murdered, then] dumped in a garbage bin and…delivered to the plant by a trash truck…

See No Evil

Graphic illustrations of child molestation in a vintage book have landed librarians in…Sweden in…trouble with police…I Last Och Lust…contains illustrations…to show how sexuality has been depicted historically…head librarian [Anna-Karin Axelsson said]…”We cannot go back and clean up history…that’s not what libraries are meant to do”…the title [will now] be kept for…research only…

Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do BarkFree To Be You and Me

On March 11, 1974, ABC aired Marlo Thomas’ “Free to Be…You and Me” — a musical program celebrating gender-free children…and…[envisioning] a world…[of] non-gendered human persons…But, after 40 years of gender activism, boys and girls show few signs of liking to do the same things.  From the earliest age, boys show a distinct preference for active outdoor play…with…clearly defined winners and losers…[while] girls…are more drawn to imaginative theatrical games…the…preferences…hold cross-culturally and even cross-species…ignoring differences between boys and girls can be just as damaging as creating differences where none exist…

Above the Law 

Another week, another rapist cop:

A San Jose [California] police officer has been arrested and charged with raping a woman…after she had argued with her husband…  Geoffrey Graves…and three other…officers responded to a [domestic violence call]…the woman…[said] she wanted to spend the night at a hotel…Graves…[followed her] to her room…and…[forcibly] raped her…Police Chief Larry Esquivel called the case…”an isolated incident”…

It’s so very isolated that I have another one right here:

Sheriff’s deputies arrested [an]…Irwindale police sergeant on suspicion of sexually assaulting a woman…David Paul Fraijo…stopped [a newspaper carrier on her route, then groped and orally raped her]…the [resulting] lawsuit…was [settled] in January…for $400,000…Fraijo faces a maximum penalty of life in…prison…

Some cops don’t even “isolate” their attentions to one woman at a time:

A U.S. Border Patrol agent [who raped] three undocumented immigrants was found dead in his Texas home, likely by his own hand…a…woman…told officials that [Esteban Manzanares] had attacked her, her 14-year-old daughter, and another 14-year-old girl…She and [her daughter] had been raped and left for dead…[Manzanares tied up the other girl in his home] until he finished his shift…then returned…raped her, and committed suicide…

An Example to the West 

Megan Schmidt-Sane and Meena Seshu respond to rescue industry types:

In a CNN piece…last year…Jane Wells and John-Keith Wasson…blatantly ignore the voices of sex workers…As representatives of two of the largest sex worker rights organizations in India and Uganda, we hope to ensure that [their] voices…are heard…Wells and Wasson…cite imaginary statistics…[and] falsely state that a “small percentage of voluntary sex workers” are somehow condemning a vast number of women into sexual slavery…

Broken Record

The latest gypsy whore tale is among the funniest yet:  “High school tournament season in Des Moines…[has] a dark side…human trafficking victimizes over 25 million…worldwide each year…The state of Iowa is not immune to this crime…”  Yes, 4% of the world’s population has been “sex trafficked” since the hysteria started, many at high school football games.

Pull the String!

Turns out Ed Wood made a few commercials in the late ‘40s, before he embarked on his movie career; note that these are generic so the local sponsor could insert a card for his specific business.  Look for Wood himself as the magician in the last one.

King of the Hill

Two for one!

…the film Chosen…was produced by Shared Hope International…and portrays true experiences of two young All American girls who were lured into sex trafficking…Oregon and Washington along the Interstate 5 corridor leads the nation in the number of victims…

Lying Down With Dogs (TW3 #44)

A group of Tunisian sex workers have demanded to be allowed to return to work, 18 months after their brothel in the coastal town of Sousse was attacked by Salafists and closed down.  A delegation …[presented] a petition signed by 120 women calling for their brothel…to be allowed to reopen…

Skin To Skin

The Netherlands is known for its social subsidies on everything from education to housing, but it’s also subsidizing sex for the disabled…While there is no direct “sex grant” per se…benefits…can be spent however they like…social workers, caretakers and affected individuals are calling for increased access to sex services for citizens with disabilities…

First They Came for the Hookers… (TW3 #322) Reema Bajaj

The spectacle of lawyers censuring other lawyers for lying probably exceeds safe levels of irony for a public facility:

The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to a three-year suspension for a solo lawyer who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of prostitution and failed to disclose her illegal work history on her bar application.  Reema Nicki Bajaj…was suspended [for not mentioning sex work she did to put herself through law school]…in response to a question about jobs she held in the last 10 years…

Wise Investment (TW3 #335)

An agreement has been reached with the City of Vancouver and the provincial and federal governments to pay $50,000 to each of 11 families whose relatives were victimized by serial killer Robert Pickton…The civil suit was launched last May by the children of four women whose remains…were found on  Pickton’s…farm after his arrest in 2002.  Other families had since joined…The lawsuit claimed police…failed to warn women on the Downtown Eastside that a serial killer may have been on the loose…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes

Jerry Barnett…of…Sex & Censorship, said he was “delighted” with the turnout at the “Don’t Censor Me!” protest…against the Stop Porn Culture conference, including representatives from the English Collective of Prostitutes, the Sex Worker Open University and Queer Strike campaign groups…Stop Porn Culture [leaders]…Gail Dines and…Julie Bindel…aim…to expand the “antipornography feminist movement” in the U.K…Dines and Bindel appeared outside…to debate with the…crowd…for about 15 minutes…

Catastrophic Consequences (TW3 #406)

Police carried out inspections of Edinburgh’s…saunas hours before a new system came into force that is likely to make brothel raids more difficult…police will [now] need a warrant to search premises…Margo MacDonald MSP said…”Last year’s raids have backfired badly on the police…There was a successful policy in place for 30 years, but now the women have less protection and police will have less access to intelligence.  Trust has been shattered”…

Gingerbread House (All Traffick, All the Time) arrested teen girl

If a sex worker doesn’t see herself as a victim, the state must victimize her to prove her wrong:

A [Florida] bill…was temporarily postponed after senators determined that placing human trafficking victims in a locked facility is not a good idea…The…bill…was created by the House Healthy Families Subcommittee, where…[its sponsor] said…[it] was designed to break young trafficking victims away from former lives…“So many of [them] don’t see themselves as victims”…

An earlier version of the story informs us that “Florida [has] the third-highest rate of child sex-trafficking in the country.  Jacksonville is third in the state…

Traffic Jam (All Traffick, All the Time)

More busybodies who want to help cops brutalize and cage women:

…three St. Louis area women…are developing a website of hotel room photographs that can be accessed by police…hoping to track down…victims of sex trafficking…and their pimps…millions of [sex workers post]…pictures of [themselves in] their rooms [in their Backpage ads]…the website is in initial development and needs about $200,000 in funding.  When it is ready, images…will be cataloged by hotel name, city and date taken and possibly made searchable by room color or other basic decor…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #408)

The European Parliament recently recommended that its member states should criminalise sex work.  This has prompted 26 Danish researchers to sign a protest letter against the proposal, as they believe that…politicians have ignored the majority of the research in this field, including reports from the UN, WHO and Human Rights Watch, who all recommend a decriminalisation of sex work…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #409)

The ACLU actually did something for sex workers for a change:

Dozens of supporters packed the courtroom…in support of…activist Monica Jones…[whose] lawyer filed a motion to challenge [the law] on constitutional grounds, resulting in the trial being postponed until April 11th.  Ms. Jones [stated], “We will be back with twice as many people”…Sex Workers’ Outreach Project (SWOP) of Phoenix is continuing to build momentum for Monica Jones’ case with the support of the ACLU motion…

The Public Eye (TW3 #410)

Noah Berlatsky proves himself a valuable ally to sex workers with another good article in The Atlantic, this one using the hubbub surrounding Belle Knox to launch a sensible and well-informed discussion of student sex workers which also quotes Melissa Gira Grant and regular reader Christina Parreira.

Whither Canada?

The Canadian government’s consultation on prostitution laws ended on Monday, but it hardly seems likely to have much influence over politicians, who have already decided to pursue some form of criminalization instead of listening to the sensible advice of sex workers, human rights advocates and even many criminologists.  By the public discourse, one would think the New Zealand model didn’t even exist; editorials like that in the Globe and Mail pretend that the only two legislative models in the world are the Dutch and Swedish modelsdisguised cop (which criminalize either some or all sales of sex, respectively).  And though a sizeable fraction of the members of the Liberal Party (whose past leader Pierre Trudeau famously said, “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation”) support decriminalization, a motion to adopt that as official policy was pulled in the name of political expediency.  So though most of the Canadian media oppose blanket criminalization (even under its fake-moustache Swedish disguise), only the Ottawa Citizen has come out in favor of full decriminalization:

…supporters of the Nordic model…say [prostitution] is a commodity sale [that] is inherently objectifying and exploitative…A woman who believes she is freely choosing her job…is a victim whether she knows it or not…that same notion underpins many of the world’s most sexist ideas — including the idea…that rape is a property crime.  We in Canada don’t generally talk about rape that way any more, but we still use that language when we talk about prostitution.  We use phrases like “selling her body” or even “selling herself” — rather than “selling sex”…We don’t say that a hairstylist “sells her hands” or that a doctor “sells herself”…a woman’s value as a human being has nothing to do with whom she chooses to have sex with or how often or what conditions she imposes on that choice…sex is merely the service she sells…

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The “Super Bowl = prostitutes” story begins to look more and more like a lazy journalistic trope…an urban legend…or…a cheap attempt by some local politician…to score points by standing up to the menace of sex work.  –  Alexander Abad-Santos

The Slave-Whore Fantasy

Because male sex workers don’t threaten insecure men’s belief that men are always in control of sex, and don’t interfere with neofeminists’ desire to control all heterosexual activity, they are conspicuously absent from “trafficking” mythology, Swedish-flavored dogma and other anti-whore garbage.  But it’s still pretty galling to see the BBC, which has embraced the catechism that all female sex workers are pathetic victims, publish something like this:

Most people think of male prostitution as dangerous, degrading and exploitative work.  But there are some who are attempting to reinvent it as a profession free of stigma by using all the tools of modern business…There has been a slow societal shift in the acceptability of sex work, says Del Campbell from the Terence Higgins Trust.  “There is a lot less stigma for men who sell sex,” he says.  “Often, the women are still seen as victims but for some gay men, escorting is now a normal job”…

NY maidsWhen male escorts use online ads, they’re “using the tools of modern business”.  But we women are too stupid to do that, so our ads must all be placed for us by male “pimps”.

Hooters, Japanese Style

In this interview with one of the girls at the first Japanese “maid café” in New York City, she denies that she’s a sex worker four times in only eight short answers.  Who is she trying to convince, us or herself?

Surplus Women

He made sure we’ll never hear her side of the story:

…Tannu Chawla, 27, and his friend, Yogesh, 30…[murdered a sex worker]…in…Delhi [because he was in love with her but she refused]…to marry…him…Chawla said that [he sold his] property and [took] loans to help the woman [pay her heavy debts, and that] her betrayal forced him to commit the murder…”Yogesh…had a loan of Rs.1.5 lakh [$2411] to repay.  He agreed to help Chawla for the same amount,” said [police].

Above the Law

A Payson, Ariz. police officer entered a woman’s house and raped her the day after he got her address from an incident report in which she had been a victim…Emily Morton sued the Town of Payson and Joshua Corey LaManna…[who broke into] her home…and raped her…while he was on duty – then told her it was OK because he loved her…

Somebody’s Daughter

Would you want your daughter working as a stripper/prostitute?”  A common refrain from people who are anti sex work, and who see it as the ultimate argument…Well…my short, rather unpopular answer is:  Yes.  If my daughter is over 18…she is entitled to do whatever she wants with her body…when you have children, you are raising individuals with their own personalities and characters, who will have their own quirks and abilities, and whose choices will differ from your own.  If you don’t like that idea, perhaps having children is not a good idea…

King of the Hill Spanish anti-Swedish model ad

A pair of real howlers introduce North Carolina’s latest bid in the “sex trafficking” race for the bottom; the first claims it’s “in the top eight states” while also admitting that “the true number of sex trafficking victims is unknown,” which would of course preclude any estimate of rank.  This one is a typical paint-by-numbers “trafficking” screed, taking the Profession of Faith as its headline and then quoting all the usual nonsense.  The second story specifically claims that North Carolina “ranks eighth”, but what makes it most interesting (in a horrifying sort of way) is the interview with a sadistic cop who gloats that he “can’t wait to use” the state’s new and draconian “sex trafficking” law to subject his victims to a “lifetime of difficulties” for consensual sex.

Number Puzzle

The indispensable Wendy Lyon does it again:

…what the Swedes say internally about their sex industry is often very different to the impression they give abroad…This is a good…example…only issued in Swedish…police [admit they]… “are not engaged in continuous or structured reconnaissance” [of sex workers]…we normally hear…absolute confidence and certainty that their sex industry has declined since clients were criminalized…if you aren’t monitoring something…you can’t reach a definitive conclusion as to whether or not it has declined…the admission that Sweden remains attractive to “human traffickers and pimps”…is totally contrary to the propaganda we hear about it all. the. Time.  A genuine jaw-dropper follows a few paragraphs later:  “In 2009…there were about 90 Thai massage parlours in Stockholm…at the turn of 2011/2012, the number…was estimated to be about 250”… what kind of “successful ban” leads to an almost threefold increase in one type of provider of the banned thing in less than three years?  If the estimate is accurate, this statistic alone ought to put paid to any claim that the law is an effective deterrent.  An industry that has lost a lot of its customers couldn’t possibly expand at a rate like that…

What a Week! (TW3 #322)

A Baghdad brothel was the scene of a violent attack…as gunmen shot and killed seven women and five men – presumably prostitutes and their clients…By coincidence, (or is it?) a similar attack took place in the same area on May 22 last year, killing the same number of people…

Surplus Women (TW3 #335)

Police have made an arrest in the case of two sex workers who lived in the same building and were found dead two weeks apart – and…say they have linked the accused to the killing of a third person…Sarbjit Bains…is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Karen Nabors and Jill Lyons, and second-degree murder in the death of Amritpal Saran…

Peeping Toms (TW3 #341) Cuccinelli & Garrett, two crimes against nature

A new…bill would bring back much of Virginia’s infamous “Crimes Against Nature” law, months after federal courts struck [it] down  as unconstitutional.  The proposal, which ostensibly would change the law to make clear that “engaging in consensual sodomy is not a crime if all persons participating are adults, are not in a public place, and are not committing, attempting to commit, conspiring to commit, aiding, or abetting any act in furtherance of prostitution,” would restore felony penalties for minors engaging in oral sex and treat public sodomy differently from other public sex acts…

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #342)

Truly horrible rescue industry organization Apne Aap is trying to pressure UN groups who support decriminalization to instead support laws which criminalize sex workers’ employees, spouses, dependent family members and co-workers, and to adopt the infantilizing and stigmatizing term “prostituted woman” in place of “sex worker”.  Since it’s extremely unlikely the UN organizations will give this lobbying (supported by a petition signed by prohibitionists and shills) any more attention than it is due, the most interesting part of the article is a new lowering of the “average age of debut” myth to 11 (see also “The Leading Players…” below).

Pyrrhic Victory (Hysteria on Parade)

Demonstrating that Bales is completely bereft of the faculty of introspection:

…Kevin Bales…announced a proposal to use…drones…to identify and film forced labour in remote areas of India and Bangladesh…Local authorities and non-governmental organizations could also use the images…to rescue slaves…But some Indian human rights activists…say it is a misguided publicity stunt that will do little to eradicate the practice…Vrinda Grover [said]…“I thought India was still a sovereign country.  So we now have the Westerners coming into rescue us all over again?”…Bales…hopes this “novel approach” will inject a fresh perspective into the standard slavery narrative that “we’ve been hearing over and over for about 15 years…This has got a little more excitement, movement, exotic locations”…

Traffic Circle

As I predicted, we’re beginning to see more evidence of the impending implosion of “sex trafficking” hysteria; while major media organizations like the AP continue to parrot myths about the “menace” of gypsy whores (complete with moronic assertions like “One Super Bowl after another after another has shown itself to be one of the largest events in the world where the cruelty of human trafficking goes on for several weeks“), smaller organizations are starting to feature articles like this one:

…it’s…time for the annual “here come the prostitutes” story…The premise is…[that] prostitutes…will be shipped into the city…by sex traffickers trying to meet the demand…In 2012, The Houston Press‘s Peter Kotz thoroughly tore apart that story, explaining that law enforcement officials in the cities where past Super Bowls occurred never actually saw increases…despite increased efforts…Further, the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW)…said in a report that there’s no correlation between sporting events and a rise in prostitution…The history of those events make this year’s claims of trafficking even harder to believe and bring up questions of the gullibility of the media…

Challenge (TW3 #345) Joanne Giannini

One of the anti-sex crusaders behind re-criminalizing prostitution in Rhode Island brags about how she ignored sex worker activists because she is more qualified to make decisions for adult women than they are about their own lives:

…I remember being in an elegant beauty spa one day…when a white stretch limousine pulled up out front and about eight young Asian girls got out.  They were going into the spa for a day of beauty.  They were laughing and giggling and…seemed very excited.  They looked so young and naïve…the saleswoman…told me…these girls were brought…from the massage parlors…the managers paid well and the tips were good…I was accused of wanting to hurt women by stopping them from making a living.  The fact is, I was trying to protect them from sexual predators who had deceived them with promised lives of hope, but gave them short lives filled with pain, sexual abuse, drugs, diseases and deplorable living conditions…

Pain so horrible it made them laugh and giggle, and deplorable conditions like days at a luxury spa.  What I see is a nasty, racist old white woman who didn’t like seeing young Asian women in what she viewed as her domain.

Lack of Evidence (TW3 #346)

More of this, please:  “The Oregon Court of Appeals…threw out the conviction of a woman arrested for doing little more than walking down [the] Avenue and glancing over her shoulder…The case drew applause from defense attorneys who say police often overstep their bounds in…their quest to fight prostitution…” The cops claimed that the woman exhibited “tell-tale signs”, like wearing high-heeled boots and talking to a “known prostitute”.

King of the Hill (TW3 #347)

I’m always glad to see the truly ludicrous “sex trafficking” claims repeated, because they hasten the whole myth’s downfall.  Here’s a repetition of the claim that Texas has 25% of all American “sex trafficking victims”; it includes the portentous statement that Houston is a “hub within a hub” (This Means Something!) and claims that “victims” are “as young as 12”, which rather contradicts the idea that the “average” is 13 or 11.

Shame, Shame (TW3 #348)

[Missouri] State Representative Kevin Engler…filed legislation that would criminalize…revenge porn…Engler said he was working with [Mary Anne] Franks in development of the bill…

Under Every Bed (TW3 #350)

yuk yuk yukNorth Dakota “State Sen. Elsie Arntzen…said that human trafficking is not a laughing matter…”  I disagree.  When I see creepy politicians and sleazy cops trying desperately to pretend that businesswomen are actually either “criminals” or “victims” (but can’t seem to decide which), and portentously declaring “sex trafficking” to be a “serious problem” while simultaneously admitting that “no one has yet found any evidence of the existence of a prostitution ring,” that is indeed a laughing matter.  And the joke is on the politicians and cops.

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (TW3 #351)

A…film featuring…Mira Sorvino’s fight against sex slavery in Cambodia made its US debut at Bayside Church in…Sacramento, Calif…Freedom Project: Every day in Cambodia was produced in partnership with CNN…Girls as young as four years old are sold into slavery and the sex trade by their own parents…the church…[donated] $400,000 to raid brothels…

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Slavery works as a public fantasy through which the real problems of the world can be pushed to one side and replaced with…“evil slave-owners” who allegedly lurk behind such phenomena.  –  Frank FurediSWAT thugs

The Slave-Whore Fantasy

Many organizations…receive inquiries from potential volunteers whose primary desire is to kick in doors and rescue…victims…once a potential volunteer learns that the organization does not have a covert SWAT team…they seem shocked and in disbelief.  The concept of private entities using…armed…[“rescue”] teams…is fueled by Hollywood and…non-governmental organizations…who play DVDs at anti-human trafficking events indicating their organization uses [such] teams…some even indicate their activities are unhindered by the bureaucracy of governments…

Handy Figures

I find this number very credible, given that 1% of comparatively-prudish Western women have worked as whores, plus an unknown (but certainly larger) number in other kinds of sex work:

…economist Yasuyuki Iida…says that five percent of women in Japan have [done some kind of sex work.  He]…begins by estimating that there are 10,000 clubs, bars and parlors offering sex nationwide… “each employs 30 women on average…That puts the number of women…at 300,000”…Iida settles on 10 years as the average tenure…based on data from the Ministry of Justice…the average woman enters the biz between the age of 25 and 29.  Census data…indicates that a total of 700,000 women fall within…that…group.  If 30,000 women [per year]…enter the fuzoku trade, that would represent…4.29[%] of that total…

The Course of a Disease

The Vietnamese government has just passed a decree under which clients of prostitutes will be punished more severely than the call girls…sex buyers will be fined VND500,000-VND1 million (US$23.7-$47.4)…prostitutes…will be issued a warning…in less severe cases or a monetary fine of VND100,000-VND300,000 (up to $14)…If the prostitutes are foreigners, they can be deported from Vietnam…

Legal Is As Legal Does (TW3 #7)

Another example of the need for eternal vigilance:

A delegation of former prostitutes…[and] advocates have appeared before…Parliament calling for a change to prostitution laws…the organisation Freedom from Sexual Exploitation (FFSE)…says…”the Prostitution Reform Act…not only encouraged more men to buy sex, but transformed prostitution into an acceptable, even attractive job for young, poor woman in New Zealand”…FFSE is asking the government to…[criminalize] the purchase of sexual services…

Above the Law

Three more “isolated incidents”:

Nearly twenty years after two young women were shot and stabbed to death at a Kentucky massage parlor…former [cops]…Edward Carter and Leslie Duncan are among three men charged…Tammy Papler, the woman who once ran the parlor, claimed years ago that she had been bribing police…and that the killings took place after she stopped paying.

Of course, it isn’t only whores they target:

A…San Antonio [cop raped a young woman]…Jackie Len Neal pulled [her] over…[on the pretext] that her car was reported stolen.  Even though [she] produced a sales slip…Neal insisted on patting her down…[then] placed [her] in handcuffs…[in] the back of his patrol car…[and raped her]…video cameras mounted in Neal’s cruiser were not functioning…[but] a GPS tracking system did corroborate that…[it] was parked for 18 minutes…as the woman had claimed…

And an update from the original “Above the Law”:  “A victim of a…Pittsburgh police officer…filed a federal lawsuit…Adam Skweres…failed his psychological examination before [hiring and]…the city [allowed him to keep working]…after it received complaints against him…[for] three years…Frankenstein - angry mob

The Widening Gyre

You know a moral panic is nearing its zenith when you start seeing mobs with torches:

Hundreds of people [gathered]…on Long Beach Boulevard in Compton to march against the sex trafficking of children and teenagers along the notorious strip.  The march…[followed] the route often used by johns and pimps in buying and selling young victims…”We are marching tonight to shine a light in the darkness and let these men know we see them,” [politician Mark] Ridley-Thomas said…”And to let businesses that profit from this vile trade…know that we’re coming for them”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #34)

Don’t believe our data; believe our dogma instead!

In Maine…its hotline netted 19 of what Polaris Project defines as high- or moderate-level indicators of trafficking in the most recent year…Destie Sprague…[of] the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said…Mainers should not reach the conclusion that only 19 people in the state were victims of trafficking in the past year…the number is in reality much higher…

Lower Education

The federal government is backing away from the nationwide “blueprint” for campus speech restrictions issued this May…the new head of the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR)…said that “the agreement in the Montana case represents the resolution of that particular case and not OCR or DOJ policy”…the Montana agreement included an overly broad definition of punishable sexual harassment: “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including “verbal conduct” (i.e., speech)…Serious First Amendment and due process problems remain with…other recent OCR pronouncements…

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #326)

Wouldn’t you love to see articles like this in the US?

Media organizations worldwide have been busy crucifying Rob Ford for his alleged crimes and intoxicated buffoonery…but mainstream outlets in Canada…need to apologize for repeatedly presenting Ford’s crimes in conjunction with allegations of “prostitution”…Having sex for money is not a crime in this country.  Even though many activities associated with it remain illegal, having sex for money…is a job…Every major mainstream media source in the city latched onto the “hanging out with suspected prostitutes” allegations…what makes someone a “suspected prostitute,” anyway?  Fishnets?…

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #329)

Though registration is a poor idea because of the inevitable bottleneck, the general tone of this article is far more sensible than anything from the US:

…Swaziland’s sex workers are not a major contributor to the spread of HIV…[it] is spread widely by people in [unpaid] sexual encounters …However…if HIV is to be contained in any country the need to protect sex workers from HIV is a requirement…Identification of sex workers is the first step, allowing a registry of sex workers for contact and communication.  Thus reachable, these individuals can receive advice on health issues, HIV testing…counselling…treatment …and a supply of condoms…public health crises require realism…

Migliorini in PlayboyLittle Boxes (TW3 #332)

A woman who sold her virginity…for $780,000 but was unable to consummate the transaction has decided to put herself back on the market…Catarina Migliorini  was initially promised to a 53-year-old Japanese millionaire, but the deal fell through after Natsu ended up being a 21-year-old who looked nothing like his online profile.  She also had a falling out with the documentary filmmaker who recruited her…

Decentralization (TW3 #334)

Another example of “sex trafficking” as default bogeyman:

…bitcoin…is not backed by any central bank or government and can be transferred “peer to peer” between any two people anywhere…By largely eliminating intermediaries, bitcoin allows individuals to conduct transactions without being subject to anti-money laundering controls, which makes it an attractive currency to criminals — particularly those who prey on the weak.  Sex slavery and human trafficking generate $9.5 billion yearly in the United States alone, with each trafficked child yielding between $150,000 to $200,000 to her pimp, who controls four to six girls on average…

It’s That Time Again (TW3 #334)

The cuckoo clock is striking 13:

Cindy McCain slammed the National Football League…for not being “willing to deal” with the issue of sex trafficking at the Super Bowl…McCain…said the Super Bowl is the “largest human-trafficking venue on the planet,” but she will be working to tackle the issue in [Arizona] in 2015…McCain emphasized the necessity of bringing the issue to…Congress.  “This issue’s not sexy on Capitol Hill yet, but we’re going to make it sexy”…

Given all the one-handed writing politicians do about “child sex slaves”, I’d say they already find it plenty sexy.  But McCain’s comments, however idiotic, are at least coherent, which is more than I can say for those of her sidekick:

…Saada Saar spoke about her involvement in shutting down “adult services” ads on Craigslist in 2010…“I will never forget that morning getting calls from some of the girls who were still out there saying, ‘Oh my God!  The pimp’s [sic] are losing their minds because they can’t put us up for sale.  We are no longer for sale’…”

Imaginary Evils

Slaves found in London 'tip of the iceberg' Daily MailI knew this would turn out to be bogus, but I’m very pleased that it came apart so quickly:

The first stories in the London slavery reports…all gave the same horrifying account:  three women had been rescued by police after thirty years held against their will…But as details emerged, it seemed to be an entirely different affair…after contacting the charity, the women were encouraged to leave the house, which they did…with no dramatic police raid…[they] had joined a radical Marxist collective…which…was like a microcosm of a Soviet state- workers toil unrewarded for the benefit of the leader…”social services, education and housing departments had all had contact with the household” and…both the leaders had been previously arrested.  The presence of these women in the house was not a new discovery by any means…

And in Spiked, Frank Furedi uses the incident as a springboard for a strong criticism of the way the word “slavery” is used to describe phenomena which are absolutely nothing like chattel slavery.

Everything Old is New Again

Here are two more stories in which “sex trafficking” is described using ludicrous Victorian phraseology; this one from Ohio tells us that the mustache-twirling villains behind the “perfidious crime” are not usually stopped by “swift apprehension”, and that arresting sex workers “[fights] the vexing scourge” by “helping to restore a semblance of normalcy to [their] lives”.  The other, from California, gasps in horror at the idea of “children…at risk” from people having sex “in a home right across the street from an elementary school,” opines that “the horror of human trafficking…has destroyed the meaning of what it means to be ‘safe’ in a free world,”  and tells us that “expanding shackles” (presumably, a technology related to “invisible handcuffs”) are “fueled” by “assumptions that these are consensual interactions with women flaunting their sexual desire alongside pimps in outlandish suits with expensive cars.”

Meanwhile, if you click back to the original column by this name you’ll see something about how New Port Richey, Florida has a scheme to allow “authorities” to persecute “known prostitutes” at will.  Well, here’s an open letter to the town from its most famous daughter, Dr. Brooke Magnanti:

…Profiling has a false positive rate greater than zero, and some of those false positives will no doubt lawyer up.  Also, picking up people because you think they might possibly commit a crime in the future is not the same as detecting people who are actually breaking the law.  It is – hm, how you say? – oh yeah, now I remember the word.  “Unconstitutional.”  (My time in Florida’s schools did not go to waste, as you can see)…

Think of the Children! (TW3 #346)

Buried down near the bottom of this farrago of pearl-clutching nonsense about a persecuted Calgary massage parlor:  “Human trafficking is not a widespread problem among sex workers in Calgary massage parlours, police say…Mary Ann Franks threatens to beat up website owners

Shame, Shame

Activists seeking to criminalize “revenge porn” say they are…[preparing] federal legislation that would force Internet companies to take [it] down…law professor Mary Anne Franks…is helping draft the bill…”Going after intermediaries is a really bad idea,” says Matt Zimmerman…[of] the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  “The entire speech ecosystem…[suffers] because those service providers…decide what people can and cannot post”…Internet companies would likely respond to such a law by removing content any time there’s a complaint, to reduce their liability and…save time…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #347)

This ugly exercise in arse-backwardness repeats lurid nonsense about “sex tourism” in Brazil using Justin Bieber clickbait while describing dry stories about sex workers’ language lessons and business improvements as “titillating”; it then dismisses UN recommendations for decriminalization in a flurry of “sex trafficking” hoo-hah (describing the fringe group Equality Now as “many NGOs”), and adds insult to injury by mentioning Gabriela Leite’s Davida without stating that it’s a sex worker rights organization.  Compare it with this one, which despite being fixated on “grittiness” is at least basically honest.

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Denying that sex work is work means…talking over the very people who are most knowledgeable about their industry.  –  Tara Msiska

The Slave-Whore Fantasy

Methinks Mr. Hendricks typed this one-handed:

…David Hendricks [said]…”we see…torture that we would see at a POW camp…the tattooing of victims…sends a message to other pimps, ‘This is my property’…”  Hendricks went onto explain that every facet of a…trafficking [victim’s life] is controlled, including if they can eat, when they can return home, and who they can communicate with.  A growing sector of the sex workers in Long Beach—largely affiliated with gangs…are usually in a group of about a half-dozen women under one dominating male, who then requires a set amount of dollars to be made per female, typically in the range of $500 to $700 per day…

A False Dichotomy

Take a look at the claims above, and compare with the reality:  “The 24-year-old Hungarian woman [willingly worked but]…when she told Istvan Toth she wanted to return to Hungary he…threatened her, causing her to fear for her family’s safety.  So she began recording conversations and taking photographs, and…confided in two of her clients,The Weird who offered to pay for her to stay in a hostel…”  So much for barcode tattoos, evil clients and “controlled communication”.

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received Christopher Lee’s Omnibus of Evil as a late birthday present (delayed in customs) from Kevin Wilson, and The Weird as an early Christmas present from Daz.  Thank you both so much!

Because We Say So (TW3 #19)

Remember those low-caste Nepalese women who were criminalized at the urging of prohibitionists in order to “save” them?

…The government-pledged alternative livelihood programme…was never implemented…Badi women continue to work as sex workers.  Many of them go to India…“If the government cannot provide us jobs, education and health services then it could at least lift the ban on prostitution,” said Soni Badi, adding that they would vote [for] the candidate ready to legalise…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #36)

If only American celebrities were so principled:

The singer Antoine brought together over seventy [French] celebrities around a “simple statement to moderate tone…Without condoning or promoting prostitution, we reject the criminalization of…prostitutes and those who use their services, and ask to open a real debate without ideological bias…Why does the Special Committee…include so many abolitionists?  Why do they not consider…prostitutes’ choice?…It is time to give them the same rights as other workers”…

Here’s more criticism of the proposed law from Reason and Al-Jazeera.

Hard Numbers (TW3 #37)

on June 14, 2012, Rio’s…Police…rounded up prostitutes, staff and the owner [of Centaurus, and]…seized $150,000 in cash…police filmed the raid, threatening to leak the footage to the local media thereby exposing the women’s identities unless they handed over more money.  Thaddeus Blanchette, an anthropologist who has documented prostitution in Rio since 2004, is not surprised by this.  “Blackmail accompanying raids is not uncommon,” he reveals.  “It is one of the reasons why I am skeptical of using the police as neutral agents in the combating of trafficking.”  Centaurus was one of over 20 popular sex venues to be shut down in the period surrounding the Rio+20 Conference…Raids continue…as Brazil steps up its image-cleansing campaign ahead of the World Cup…despite the fact that exchanging sex for money is legal in Brazil and prostitution has been recognized as an official occupation…since 2002…

King of the Hill

Texas is so angry at claims it’s behind Georgia, California and New York in “sex trafficking” that it’s unveiled a new strategy to ensure its #1 position: claiming a bogus fraction of all “sex trafficking victims” rather than a mere ranking:

With an estimated 25 percent of the nation’s sex trafficking victims hailing from the Lone Star State, Texas [congressmen] John Cornyn and…Ted Poe led an effort…to punish “Johns” as harshly as “pimps”…proposed legislation…would impose penalties of 15 years to life on convicted customers…of sex slaves younger than 14 years old…Poe…[claimed] 300,000 sex trafficking cases [are] prosecuted each year….the proposal would [net the government] $15 million…a year from convicted traffickers’ seized assets and fines…

gold star for effortThere haven’t even been 300,000 “trafficking” prosecutions in the entire world since the panic started a decade ago; of course the reporter couldn’t be bothered to fact-check that.  An Illinois politician is also on the bandwagon, but all he can say is that his state is “a hub”, which is pretty pathetic if you ask me.  Still, he did inflate 3% to 33% and 14% to 62%, and insert a bogus “safe harbor” provision into the bill, so I suppose we should award him a little gold star for effort.

Misdirection (TW3 #40)

[American] public schools—even ones that teach comprehensive sex education—invite religious abstinence speakers to come in…and…spread [disinformation]…one…said, “If you take birth control, your mother probably hates you” and claimed she could tell which teenagers are promiscuous by looking at them…she also asserts that the HPV vaccine “only works on virgins”…[another] said…that if a guy gets sperm anywhere near a girl’s vagina, it will turn into a “little Hoover vacuum” and she will become pregnant…

Parasites

More anti-guest-post-spammer genius from Popehat:

…[Teaching] children…to love and cherish and squeal over ponies…is like teaching [them] that whirling sawblades taste like Strawberry Quik…Children love games, particularly video games with eerie bug-eyed avatars and art styles out of the methadone nightmares of Japanese pornographers, so…in…our proposed dress-up game — tentatively titled PONIES LAUGH WHILE THEY KILL EVERYONE YOU LOVE…players could choose amongst different outfits suitable for a post-pony-apocalypse, including gnawed tatters, wretched tear-stained shifts, and gowns slick and dark with the blood of their cherished grandparents…

Lack of Evidence (TW3 #51) Alyssa Brame

no criminal charges [will] be filed in the death of Alyssa Brame, who was arrested…for allegedly offering to perform a sex act…for $40 and died of alcohol poisoning in a jail cell.  The five [Massachusetts cops] who [arrested]…her…claimed she did not appear…overly intoxicated, but by the time she was taken to the police station she couldn’t walk on her own, and cops there debated whether she was too drunk to be accused of offering sex for money…

Little Boxes (TW3 #135)

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

…”We’ve been able to identify in excess of 200 victims of human trafficking…in the massage parlors”…said Sgt. Curt Chastain…the new ordinance would…[force them] to provide a…license from the California Massage Therapy Council…it would also limit hours of operation from 7am to 9pm, prohibit doors from being locked during business hours and require visibility from the street into the massage parlor…

The City of Fresno claims to have “identified” more “sex trafficking victims” than several huge operations were able to find in the entire United Kingdom.

Science!

Another claim that disasters cause harlotry:

…an aide to…Britain’s international development secretary…said…”After previous emergencies…we have seen an increase in…the trafficking of girls”…after the earthquake in Haiti…sexual abuse and exploitation were widespread…because women and girls could not obtain the goods and services they needed to survive…during the 2011 drought in…Africa, families married off daughters…as young as nine to pay their dowries…before their livestock died…

So we have the conflation of survival sex with rape and child marriage, all boxed up together and tied with a “trafficking” ribbon.

Big Sister (Extra Edition)

The lawyer…for the…champagne club…closed…on suspicion of procurement of prostitution…has accused the Reykjavík police of entrapment…police reportedly spent ISK 800,000…in champagne and time with the women and offered them money and cocaine in return for sex but to no avail…

Remember, taking money for sex isn’t illegal in Iceland, but offering money is.  So the cops broke the law and spent $6,600 (€4,900) trying to entrap women into doing something that isn’t illegal.Daily Mail 11-18-13 (cheering for censorship)

Opting Out

Husbands who like to watch pornography on the internet will have to confess to their wives and ask for permission, David Cameron said today.  Under Tory “moral guidelines”, people who want to view pornography…will need to actively “opt-in” with their internet service providers…It is not just pornography…but also…material related to alcohol, drugs, smoking, and politically extremist material – in what many are describing as the Great Firewall of Britain…politicians and civil servants will decide what is pornography and…what political views are “extremist”…In order to push…censorship, Cameron has continually conflated…child pornography with legal adult material…[despite the fact that child porn is] shared on the “dark web”…and therefore…this erosion of digital freedoms will have no effect on the very problem it is being proposed to solve…

The worst part about loathsome ideas, though, is that politicians learn from one another:  “Joy Smith hopes to emulate…David Cameron’s web censor plan…and…is…suggesting a great Canadian internet filter…

Bad Girls (TW3 #339)

When will guys learn cheating hookers is a really bad idea?  And when will hookers learn to get the money up front?

…a…[Malaga] man…went to a…brothel…[and] decided to engage in an orgy with three prostitutes…[Afterward] the women demanded €70 each…but the man refused to pay one of them…[she then] pulled out a knife and slashed the man’s genitalia…“Everything went well but doctors told me I was very close to dying or being impotent for the rest of my life…”

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #341)

Another example of the real and ugly motive behind the Swedish model’s pretense of “protecting” women:  “The mayor of Oslo has called on the Norway’s new government to look at making prostitution illegal, after women were reported to be selling sex outside the parliament building…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (TW3 #342)

In Sanford, Florida, police are already sending…notices…[to] owners of cars that cops see ‘lingering in areas known for prostitution.’   The goal here isn’t to arrest would-be Johns…[but] to embarrass these guys should their wives open the letters.  That gets a lot easier with license plate scanners…”  And as Radley Balko explains, it gets much worse from there. San Antonio 4

Traffic Jam (TW3 #343)

The San Antonio Four are free at last:

Three women who served more than a decade in prison for allegedly molesting two girls were set…free…after…recent scientific advances undermined medical testimony pivotal to their convictions.  Kristie Mayhugh, Cassandra Rivera and Elizabeth Ramirez were…released on bond…pending a decision…on whether to grant them a new trial.  If that happens, the…District Attorney…will decline to prosecute them, and their convictions would be overturned…

The fourth, Anna Vasquez, was already out on parole.

Across the Pond (TW3 #343)

Delusional Scottish officials imagine that raiding saunas will force dirty whores to take menial jobs:  “A job club for sauna workers is being launched – to help women find work…the…proposal…is designed to cater [to] an expected flood of women away from the industry…

Think of the Children! (TW3 #345)

Another criticism of “sex ray” idiocy:

…For every…case…in…the press, there are many [former sex workers] who are fired…without us ever hearing about it…people…have been fired for camming, pro-domming, stripping and] phone sex [work]…people…[don’t list] sex work…on their CVs…because employers…don’t see sex work as work…by firing people for previous or current sex work, employers are making them unemployable, and actually forcing them to return to the very industry they have moral scruples against…

The More the Better (TW3 #345)

This follow-up to Business Insider’s quasi-review of Sheri’s Ranch is about as awful and tone-deaf as it’s possible for an anti-criminalization article to be; it leads off with the usual “heavily regulated” garbageArizona's tenacious laws against sex workers that (as regular readers know) never works as intended, continues with the vile “whores are too stupid and criminal to take care of their own health without being forced to by their betters” trope, and even throws in a “rent out their bodies” for good measure.  But at least they’re trying, and I suppose that’s something.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #346)

By the time last week’s TW3 had posted, Al-Jazeera had censored the article which was harshly critical of Arizona’s horrible treatment of sex workers; it was later replaced with this puff piece dishonestly back-dated to pretend it was the original.  Fortunately, nothing ever completely vanishes from the internet; I found a cached copy of the original and took this screenshot of it for posterity.  I guess it’s one thing to criticize bad data and a wholly different thing to question a police state, unless it’s France.

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If we [can’t] get the prohibition on sex work repealed, we [will] never end up hanging on to our abortion rights…it’s the same piece of property.  –  Margo St. James

Amsterdam

Dutch “authorities” narrow the bottleneck again and will no doubt be surprised when illegal prostitution increases:  “The city of Amsterdam…will raise the legal age of prostitutes from 18 to 21 and…close brothels during the early morning hours…Amsterdam says it wants to decrease the number of sex workers…to fight crime generated by prostitution…

The Slave-Whore Fantasy

Yet another example of what real sex slavery looks like:

A sex worker who was…held hostage for two…days broke her legs and back when she jumped out a sixth-floor window…Benjamin Gaston and Johnny Jackson have been charged with kidnapping and raping the…woman…Gaston…stole her cellphone, money and identification…hit her and held a pillow over her face, telling her, “You’re…working for me and making me money.”  The next day, [she] was taken to another apartment…where there were six or seven additional men waiting to have sex with her, including Jackson…The woman tried to escape…by using her jacket as a rope…[but] fell to the ground…Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco Goya (c 1820)

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I just love it when they feed on one another.  In Stockholm, “Police…were surprised…to find that a man they had arrested for buying sex from a prostitute was the duty prosecutor to whom they were obliged to report the crime…”, and in New York, “Officer Luis Gutierrez…was on duty when he allegedly offered a prostitute money…[but she] was an undercover cop…

Decentralization

Bitcoin is now the world’s best-performing currency:

…The number of coins in circulation grows very slowly–there are about 10.8 million…now, and that will increase to 21 million by 2140…growth…[can’t] keep up with demand and so the value of the currency [grows]…The U.S. dollar value of a Bitcoin is up from…$4.87 [a year ago]…to $31.09 today.  It has appreciated by over 100% from the end of 2012 alone, when the quoted price was $13.48…And it’s also going mainstream, reports in the Guardian and Forbes  suggest…

The Forbes article reports that “Silicon Valley Bank…and…Coinlab….will [soon] allow North America-based…users to directly convert money from dollars to bitcoin, without having to pay the hefty transaction fees associated with transferring money abroad…

Against Their Will

Spanish police were puzzled when thirty Romanian whores they “rescued from exploitation by a network of pimps” immediately returned to work; “none of [them] asked for protection or availed themselves of assistance…to return to their country” despite police claims of beatings and debt bondage.  Meanwhile, Filipino “authorities” continued their weird crusade against “cybersex”:  “…police raided…[an] alleged…cybersex den…[and] rescued 12 [young men]…“They referred to themselves as ‘chatters’ because they chat online…as they perform sexual acts in front of the web cam,” said…officer…Romano Cardiño…

Peeping Toms

Dennis Green admits he offered another man $20…for sex…[but his] defense…could have a far-reaching impact…legalizing prostitution in Ohio…Scott Nazzarine, Green’s public defender…believes there’s no way what Green did can be deemed a crime in today’s society.  He compares it to other acts that at one time were illegal – premarital sex, the sale of sex toys, abortion, contraception…but now are legal, protected rights…“It’s about privacy rights and constitutional rights and the government’s intrusion into them…Any justification for prostitution laws is just a pretext for morality”…

Nazzarine is of course totally right and the judges know it, but I don’t think this is the case that will do the job because there’s still too much hypocrisy afoot.  Still, this won’t be the last one, and eventually individual rights must triumph just as they have in other sexual matters.

We Told You So

Who victimizes sex workersThe Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women is the only large “anti-trafficking” organization which fights the use of bogus statistics and conflation of sex work with exploitation; it’s calling for papers for its Anti-Trafficking Review on the topic “Following the Money: Spending on Anti-Trafficking” …“Lacking is analysis of…anti-trafficking funds – where they come from, who they go to, what they are meant to do, what they actually achieve, and indeed whether they are needed.”  Two of the suggested topics are analysis of the motives behind “anti-trafficking” funding and questioning ties to law enforcement.

An Ounce of Prevention

A baby…who got immediate treatment now has no detectable [HIV] in her blood…within 30 hours of birth…she…got a cocktail of three drugs at a dose normally reserved for more advanced cases…There is still virus in [her] body.  But…it doesn’t seem to be able to spread from one cell to another…[or damage her] immune system…

The Law of Averages

Emi Koyama exposes journalists who knew the falsity of the “average age of debut in prostitution is 13” myth for three years, yet kept repeating it anyhow:  “While I was glad to see that The Oregonian now officially acknowledges that there is no basis for this…everything…Janie Har…wrote…was already in my three-year old blog post…[written after] I first read the claim…in [Oregonian reporter Elizabeth] Hovde’s column…” Emi details her July 2010 correspondence with Hovde, in which the reporter acknowledged her analysis but made excuses rather than issuing a retraction.  Then finally, last Saturday,

The Oregonian acknowledges that the claim is baseless! (But why is it rated “half-truth”…and why did they not mention any other study that contradict 12-14 claim?)  I have a feeling that Janie Har read my blog post…she mentions the same Shared Hope report and points out the same problems…If she did read my blog, why did she not speak with me or give me credit…The Oregonian had the opportunity to stop perpetuating the myth for almost three years, and yet failed to do so as recently as this January.Secret Lives  While Janie Har’s column is to be commended, The Oregonian and Hovde need to take responsibility for their part in the falsehood…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

While I was in New York last week, Secret Lives and A Natural History of Rape arrived as gifts from reader “M”.  Thank you very much, both for the books and the good wishes!

Little Boxes

When Melissa King [aged out of] the Delaware foster care system at 18, she did some porn, entered some pageants, and enrolled in college…Last November, King was crowned Miss Delaware Teen USA…[but] she gave up her crown after an explicit video…surfaced on an amateur porn website…Now she’s being publicly shamed by former friends and international news organizations…Pageants and porn are…two sides of a very thin sexual boundary.  And for a young, pretty girl who’s strapped for cash…only one of [them offers it] up-front…

Naked Truth

Melissa Gira Grant continues a strong run of good articles with “Unpacking the Sex Trafficking Panic” in Contemporary Sexuality, the newsletter of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT).  When sex-worker-penned items criticizing a popular narrative appear under the imprimatur of a relatively-conservative organization, it’s clear the tide has begun to turn.  Also, here’s a good interview with veteran activist Tracy Quan by Caty Simon on Tits and Sass; I promise, I’m not just linking it because it mentions me.Margo St. James in Washington

The Birth of a Movement

In this interview with Bitch magazine, Margo St. James discusses the beginning of the sex worker rights movement, how the neofeminists turned mainstream feminism against us, “sex trafficking” hysteria and the future of sex worker activism.

Coming Out

Dear Prudence” gives what I think is a reasonable response to an unconsciously-bigoted man wondering if he should “out” a sex worker friend to his other friends.  Unfortunately, the graphics give the impression that the woman goes around looking like a Hollywood streetwalker when in reality, the uptight questioner’s issue is that she looks just like any other woman.

Much Ado About Nothing (TW3 #44)

An escort who appeared on a video claiming that Sen. Robert Menendez…paid her for sex has told Dominican authorities that she was instead paid to make up the claims and has never met or seen the senator…a local lawyer had approached her and a fellow escort and asked them to help frame Menendez…That lawyer has in turn identified a second Dominican lawyer who he said gave the woman a script and paid her to read the claims aloud…

Texas Tall Tales

Facebook PimpThe “Facebook pimps” myth just keeps growing and growing, which really isn’t a surprise since it combines three of the moral panics du jour: “sex trafficking”, gangs and the evil, evil internet.  This sort of thing has been happening for as long as there have been exploitative men and naive, sheltered girls with romantic delusions; it’s not a “trend”, not limited to Facebook and not an international conspiracy.  CNN also fails to understand that three cases in a country of 300 million do not an epidemic make, and that 18 isn’t “underage”.

Genetic Fallacy

Yet another example of judges ignoring a law’s unconstitutionality on the grounds that those challenging it have not been sufficiently harmed by it:

The Supreme Court…[dismissed] a challenge to a…federal law that allows…interception of electronic communications…[on the grounds] that the lawyers, journalists and human rights organizations that brought the suit cannot prove they have been caught up in the surveillance and thus may not challenge [it]…the 5 to 4 ruling did not touch on…constitutionality…and challengers said it will be almost impossible now to get that issue before a court…

Profound Ignorance (TW3 #51)

An even more thorough refutation of the moronic prohibitionist claim that sex is somehow different from every other human activity:

The assumption that liberal prostitution laws lead to an increase in human trafficking is refuted.  On the contrary…since…liberalisation, there has been more police activity but…significantly less suspects, convicts and victims.  That’s…an indicator that…disentanglement of prostitution from criminal environments is increasingly successful.” – Volker Beck, MP…“In the year 2000…[German officials] registered…926 victims.  In the year 2011, there were 640.  This equates to a decrease of just under 31 per cent.  If one compares the figures…in 2003 [a year after the prostitution law was passed] and 2011, one sees a certifiable decline of just above 48 per cent”…The…German government thus refutes the claim by Neumayer, Cho and Dreher  that legalised prostitution increases human trafficking…

Déjà Vu (TW3 #135)

More evidence of the evangelical Christian basis for “sex trafficking” mythology and a look inside the perverted minds of prohibitionists:

In the fight against sex trafficking, the Church needs to address the root causes – the ideas…that break the linkage sex has to love, responsibility and children, [said] Lisa Thompson…of…the Salvation Army…Thompson asked [her audience] not [to] divorce…sex trafficking from…prostitution [because]…all prostitution dehumanizes women…”God did not create any woman for the purpose…that she be a cum receptacle.  God did not create the female to be a human being that [johns] are basically masturbating into…sex was never intended to be a job, so let’s not use the language of ‘sex work'”…

That Thompson had to deny that sex work is work is a very good sign indeed.

Caring Professionals

lone red umbrellaI have long held that professional sex workers need to develop a code of ethics just as other professions have, not only for moral reasons but in order to push back against “authorities” who think they are more qualified than we are to set standards for work they’ve never done.  So I was pleased to hear that the Australian Sex-Positive Sex Industry Association (ASPaSIA) is working on just such a code, and I’ll report on it at full length once it’s finalized later this month.

Unclean Situation (TW3 #138)

Labour TD, Eamonn Maloney, said he did not accept the [claims] in the report on the [Magdalene] laundries…“They…made lots of money,” he said…adding that most commercial laundries in the 1940s and 1950s closed because of competition from the Magdalenes.  “Not only has the church as yet to apologise for their role in operating these prisons, they do also have a role…in compensating people,” he said…The Government has so far refused to say what contribution, if any, it will seek from the orders…

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