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Posts Tagged ‘Thou Shalt Not’

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

Mea Culpa

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

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

Aversions

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

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

The New Victorianism

So this happened to my friend Maggie McMuffin:

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

Mentoring

Paint By Numbers

Why hike or stand when you can motorcycle?

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

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

Thou Shalt Not (#413)

Because prohibition always works so well:

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

Broken Record (#579) 

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

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

Sales Pitch (#626) 

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

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

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

Gorged With Meaning (#639)

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

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

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

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#641) 

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

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

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We call on the Government of Canada to join with global leaders, community, researchers and legal experts in rejecting criminalization regimes, including those that criminalize the purchase of sexual services, and instead support the decriminalization of sex work…as scientifically-grounded and necessary to ensuring the safety, health, and human rights of sex workers.  –  The Gender & Sexual Health Initiative

Maggie in the Media

Here’s an interview with me on the Euvoluntary Exchange podcast, and a guest column I did for Radley Balko’s blog at the Washington Post.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do Steve Smith

The Robbinsdale [Minnesota] police chief resigned from his position…after…he was arrested in a prostitution sting…ten people were arrested…including…Steven Smith…

The Scarlet Letter

Richmond, California’s…police department…plans to…post…photos of men arrested in prostitution stings to Facebook and Twitter…even though these men might not ever be convicted of any crime…

And Speaking of Victim Blaming…

It’s blessedly absent from this story:

Two…thugs bound and gagged a prostitute after robbing her — thinking that she wouldn’t call the police.  Jason Barton…and John Coulter…were joined by David Coulter from Northern Ireland, in a sickening attack on the 27-year-old Polish woman…[who] was found in her flat after her muffled cries for help were heard.  She pleaded with the tower block caretaker not to call the police but he ignored her protests…the vile trio…[was] found guilty… Book of Legendary Lands

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received Playing the Whore and The Book of Legendary Lands from Korhomme and The Pink Panther Classic Cartoon Collection from Gumdeo.  Thank you both so much!

The Sky is Falling!

The arrival of…Seeking Arrangement…has caused…consternation in France…40,000 French “sugar babies” have already signed up…“Seeking Arrangement takes advantage of the financial misery of students.  The site hides violence against women in beautiful wrapping paper,” said Anne-Cecile Mailfert…[of] Osez le Feminisme…“We hope lawmakers will [ban] websites when they…adopt…the law criminalizing the purchasing of sex”…

Thou Shalt Not

Because prohibition always works so well:

Leading doctors have called for a ban on cigarette sales to those born after 2000 in a programme of “progressive prohibition”…They urged the British Medical Association to lobby for a complete ban on the sale of cigarettes to anyone born in this century…

Above the Law 

Maryland Transit Administration Officer Martez Johnson…[gave a woman] a ride…after an MTA bus hit her car about 3 a.m. March 13…Martez walked the woman to the front door of her home…[then] forced his way inside…pushed her onto her couch and raped her…After he left, she called 911…Earlier this week, a Baltimore City police officer was charged…[with buying sex from] a 14-year-old girl advertising prostitution services online…

Finding What Isn’t There

In science, theories change to fit facts.  In politics, facts change to fit beliefs:

…a law designed to catch human traffickers…has netted few charges and even fewer convictions in Canada, anti-trafficking advocates complain.  There have been [only] 35…convictions since new laws…came into effect in 2005…MP Joy Smith…says more charges and convictions [must be created]…Jennifer Mann, a…Crown attorney, said…it’s…under-reported…But…John Ferguson, a retired RCMP superintendent, says the lack of convictions…may indicate that it is not that widespread…

Only one man is willing to accept that women have agency; all the women interviewed insist that childlike women are “controlled” by evil men.

An Example To the West (TW3 #39) Rajib Boy

The impoverished son of a sex worker in Calcutta…has been selected to participate in a Manchester United soccer training camp…Rajib Boy, 16…will head to the U.K. in April…amid hopes that the sport will liberate them both from poverty…”I am not ashamed of being a sex worker’s son…She is my main source of inspiration.  But I want to take her out of the red-light district as early as possible”…

Buried Truth

[Illinois] State Rep. Keith Farnham stepped down…after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided his home and his state office [for child porn]…Farnham…has…co-sponsored two laws cracking down child pornography [including] one…stiffening penalties for its possession…

Prudish Pedants (TW3 #133)

A federal appeals court…upheld the convictions of…fetish filmmaker…Ira Isaacs…A three-judge panel of the…9th Circuit Court of Appeals…rejected Isaacs’ arguments that the lower court…abused its discretion by excluding [his] proposed expert testimony.  Defense attorney Roger Jon Diamond said he would discuss with Isaacs whether to file a petition for rehearing before the full 11-judge appeals panel…

The Proper Study (TW3 #319)

Porn Studies has released its first issue:

…In the introduction…editors-in-chief – Feona Attwood…and Clarissa Smith…write:  “Recent years have seen a resurgence of public discussions (and scares) about…pornography-related topics, perhaps most notably the expansions of pornography across the internet, its putative links to rape and sexual violence, and erotic life-styling or the oft-cited ‘sexualisation of culture’”…

Predictably, Gail Dines used the occasion to bark at the moon.

FearusOscillation (TW3 #321)

You’ve probably seen this image floating around the internet, and since it contains the address of a long-abandoned website someone bought that domain in order to debunk the image.  The nutshell version: in the original 1979 survey, students were given a five-point range from “always” to “never”, and this chart counts all responses except “never” as a “yes” response.  It certainly changes one’s impression to know that the “yes” percentages are actually four different gradations of agreement added together, doesn’t it?

Unmentionables

Chase Paymentech…told Lovability founder Tiffany Gaines…that the company considers it a “reputational risk” to handle online payments for condoms, which it classifies as an “adult-oriented product”…Gaines…created Lovability with the goal of making it less awkward for women to buy condoms

Micromanagement

Dr. Feelsad wants DNA surveillance of sex workers because of his sadfeelz:

…DNA…can be a powerful tool in combating human trafficking, according to forensic scientist Timothy Palmbach…[who] set out…to…develop…a DNA database of victims and at-risk persons…Palmbach ventured to a number of places, including Costa Rica, Nepal and Djibouti to see if he could successfully identify and obtain DNA samples from victims and possible perpetrators…in Costa Rica…police asked for help investigating a hotel known for sex tourism… he eventually found himself alone with a 14-year-old girl…[who would have charged him] $400 an hour…Palmbach [said] “I really almost started to cry…I just saw the depravity of the situation and how much it’s all driven by money and demand”…

O, Canada! (TW3 #405)

More harassment of legal sex workers in Canada:

…CEASE, the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation…[is harassing sex workers with offensive] texts…Any sex worker with a phone number listed in the Edmonton…Backpage.com has likely received one of [the]…messages…Project Backpage [is] a new collaboration between the University of Alberta, Chrysalis Network…and CEASE…Because the sex industry has mostly moved from the streets to the Internet, [rescue industry] groups are finding it more difficult to [annoy] women…Susan Davis…[of] the West Coast Cooperative of Sex Industry Professionals…takes the view that the texting tactic is a preferable alternative to police raids and sting operations, such as Operation Spotlight…

ritual shaming
Deafening Silence (TW3 #407) 

China aims to prove it can be at least as stupid and brutal as the US when it comes to destroying businesses and hurting the economy through liberal use of cops and dysphemisms:

The vice crackdown that began in Dongguan last month has resulted in the arrest of more than 850 suspects and will expand across Guangdong before it wraps up in May…the three-month campaign against the illegal sex trade has already led to the break-up of more than 60 criminal gangs…[and] cost more than 3,000 hotels, saunas and massage parlours their licences…In addition, some 854 websites and more than 96,000 public instant-messaging accounts have been closed for promoting sex services online…

Imaginary Crises (TW3 #410)

Articles like this give me hope that we’ll eventually start seeing similar ones about “sex trafficking” hysteria:

The nation’s largest and most influential anti-sexual-violence organization is rejecting the idea that culture — as opposed to the actions of individuals — is responsible for rape…Recently, rape-culture theory has migrated from the lonely corners of the feminist blogosphere into the mainstream.  In January, the White House  asserted that we need to combat campus rape by “[changing] a culture of passivity and tolerance in this country, which too often allows this type of violence to persist.”  Tolerance for rape?  Rape is a horrific crime, and rapists are despised…there’s no evidence that it’s considered a cultural norm…Rape-culture theory is doing little to help victims, but its power to poison the minds of young women and lead to hostile environments for innocent males is immense…But now…RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)…repudiates the rhetoric…and…is especially critical of the idea that we need to focus on teaching men not to rape…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #410)

A poll…shows that over half the population of the UK is opposed to the criminalisation of prostitution.  Only three in ten nationwide were in favour.  In London it was only one in four…The exact wording for the poll was:  Currently in the UK under certain circumstances, it is legal for men and women to pay for sex.  There are some people that wish to make it illegal for the user to pay for sex.  Do you think such a criminalisation is a good idea or not?…51% agreed that “No, paying for sex should not be criminalized.”  31% agreed that “Yes, it should be illegal to pay for sex.”  The other 18% had no opinion.  There was little difference between the sexes with 53% of men and 49% of women opposing criminalisation.  Under a third of both sexes were in favour…

To Protect and Serve (TW3 #411)

25 exotic dancers filed suit against the [San Diego Police] Department for violating their civil rights…during a routine permit inspection…10 unidentified officers detained the dancers under no stated suspicion and began photographing…[them] against their will for roughly one hour…

Whither Canada? Joy Smith

It’s good to see real information in the public discussion of sex work in Canada:

The Conservatives say they are listening to all the submissions they receive before they draw up Canada’s new prostitution law…But the…government [is using] a report by Conservative MP Joy Smith, titled The Tipping Point, as the intellectual underpinning for…the so-called Nordic model…The problem is much of the research cited in The Tipping Point is highly selective — ignoring truths that are inconvenient or cast the Swedish model in a poor light…The…report contends that countries like New Zealand that have decriminalized…have seen a dramatic increase in sexual exploitation and violence.  But anyone who reads the Prostitution Law Review Committee report assessing New Zealand’s legislation comes away with a very different impression…

And here’s one from the Ottawa Citizen:

…In Canada, we’ve been sold a false dilemma that presents only the possibility of a “Nordic”…regime or…“Dutch” approach…But Canadian sex workers…know that New Zealand’s model…merits much closer consideration…Sex workers in New Zealand are now covered by labour laws…the Prostitution Reform Act has not resulted in any growth of the sex industry or increase in number of sex workers, nor has the sky fallen.  The Prostitution Law Review Committee…found that there has been a marked improvement in employment conditions and a decrease in violence…

And an open letter signed by 300 academics:

We…are profoundly concerned that the Government…is considering …new legislation to criminalize the purchasing of sex.  The proposed legislation is not scientifically grounded and evidence strongly suggests that it would recreate the same…harms of current criminalization.  We join other sex worker, research, and legal experts across the country and urge the Government of Canada to follow the Supreme Court…decision and support decriminalization of sex work as a critical evidence-based approach to ensuring the safety, health, and human rights of sex workers…

Surplus Women (TW3 #412)

What if…Orange County [California is] dealing with a serial killer preying on prostitutes?…Orange County…formed a multi-agency task force when homeless men were being fatally stabbed over a few months…but [are] not doing so now when the victims [are] female prostitutes…Are cops making a judgment call on which type of victims are worthy of their attention?  Anaheim Police Lt. Tim Schmidt…[says] “We don’t have the evidence to say they’re connected”…of the cases involving missing persons Kianna Jackson, Josephine Vargas…Martha Anaya…Tina Hoang and Jarrae Estepp…[rescue industry figure] Lois Lee…of Children of the Night…[says] “It’s just a high-risk job”…

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Do we really need to create a black market for burgers and fries?  –  Jeff Stier

Coming and Going

Texas is finally beginning to realize that it has better ways to spend millions per year than locking up whores:

…a 2001 Texas law…allowed prosecutors to charge prostitutes with a felony…after three misdemeanor prostitution convictions…but now, with more than 350 prostitutes…occupying bunks in the state prison system, and dozens more serving time for drug and theft charges…questions are being raised about…the…waste of money.  For about one-fourth the cost, such nonviolent, low-level criminals could be rehabilitated in community-based programs aimed at curing their addictions to alcohol and drugs…

The tone of the article can be judged by the fact that it describes Melissa Farley as “a recognized national expert on prostitution.”  This Agitator guest post on the subject by Eric Sterling of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is far more satisfying:

…Consider the utterly unseemly entrapment of women by members of a vice squad.  Think of the state of mind of the undercover police officer doing this work.  Actually don’t think on this too long, it is disgusting…Assume that many prostitutes don’t like the work.  So what?  I know lots of lawyers who don’t like the work, too — renting their mind for thousands of hours a year for clients they find disgusting…Why do we judge this work to be illegal, other than on the basis of legal tradition?  How are these women…[their] families…[or] society benefited by sending prostitutes to prison?  How are their…employment prospects improved by arresting them?…

Thinking With the Wrong Head

Actually, I do believe they’re telling the truth; pathetic attempts to get it for free aren’t Vitter’s style:

Sen. David Vitter’s spokesman…denied the Louisiana Republican was responsible for sending and quickly deleting a message from the senator’s official Twitter account to a young woman…Joel DiGrado [said]…Vitter “never personally tweets — in fact, he doesn’t even have the Twitter account set up on his Blackberry…The only explanation would seem to be an inadvertent staff button hit, perhaps related to the fact that, at various times the senator’s account has automatically followed whoever follows his account”…

Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark

Second sign that a human behavior is natural rather than cultural:  it’s observed in other primate species:

When offered the choice of playing with either a doll or a toy truck, girls will typically pick the doll and boys will opt for the truck.  This isn’t just because society encourages girls to be nurturing and boys to be active, as people once thought.  In experiments, male adolescent monkeys also prefer to play with wheeled vehicles while the females prefer dolls — and their societies say nothing on the matter.  The monkey research, conducted with two different species in 2002 and 2008, strongly suggested a biological explanation for children’s toy preferences…

The article goes on to discuss other studies which demonstrate that infant testosterone levels correlate with the amount of time they spend looking at balls or trucks vs. dolls, and even baby girls exposed to abnormally-high androgen levels in utero (a condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia) prefer the “male-typical” toys.

Thou Shalt Not

Clearly, prohibitionism is a kind of mental illness:

…Deborah Cohen…suggests that some of the policies we use to control alcohol consumption could help beat back obesity.  “People realized…that alcohol was a problem…so they developed all kinds of regulations to make it less convenient…Perhaps now it’s time to rein in our easy access to food,” Cohen said…[measures] could include warning labels for foods high in fat and sugar, or maybe restrictions on where in the grocery store foods are displayed to curb impulse buying…Cohen [also] likes New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to ban the sale of large-sized sugary drinks…

Lysistrata

There’s nothing wrong with this in theory, but it will take much more than a week to have any effect:

The female wing of a civil rights group is urging women in Togo to stage a week-long sex strike to demand the resignation of the country’s president…Isabelle Ameganvi, leader of the women’s wing of the group Let’s Save Togo…said…her group is following the example of Liberia’s women, who used a sex strike in 2003 to campaign for peace…

The Rape Question

A Swedish booklet from 2007 (described in Oscar Swartz’  A Brief History of Swedish Sex) helpfully explains that begging equals rape:

…The…144 page booklet…gave a message that could not be misunderstood:  Girls should always and only think of themselves…[and] boys…should only think of the girl and her emotions and wishes and never of themselves.  Girls are encouraged to put on provocative clothing, drink, flirt, fool around, join boys from the pub, lie down in their bed, excite them – but at the last second say no.  She must never question whether…[it is OK] to act in such ways, since it is her legal right…If something did not feel good, girls are reassured that they must report their boyfriends, dates or lovers to the police…“If sex is achieved through begging and pleading…then it is rape”, says…psycho-therapist Monica Mardell…

In other words, if a Swedish man does anything other than mutely and passively submit to a woman’s sexual advances, he is a rapist.

Feet of Clay

Welcome to our world, chemists:

Last May, Deborah Blum…published a column pleading with…Nick Kristof to stop writing about chemical risk…[now] Kristof is at it again, [claiming]…“Big Chem” is preventing the Federal Government from protecting Americans from dangerous, endocrine disrupting chemicals…it appears that [Kristof] only reads [research] produced by a very, very small group of scientists – all on the farthest reaches of the environmental left.  He applies no statistical or experimental criticism to these studies:  they always “really” find what they claim to have found; and he seems unaware of the many non-industry funded studies or regulatory agency assessments that contradict them…

Naked Truth

If you’re anything like me, one Kristof-bashing session is never enough; so, here’s Melissa Gira Grant in Jacobin:

…“True, many of the prostitution ads on Backpage are placed by adult women acting on their own without coercion,” writesprofessional prostitute savior Nicholas Kristof.  But, he continues…“they’re not my concern.”  He would like us to join him in separating women into those who chose prostitution and those who were forced into it; those who view it as business and those who view it as exploitation; those who are workers and those who are victims; those who are irremediable and those who can be saved.  These categories…fail to explain the reality of one woman’s work, let alone a class of women’s labor…But happy hookers, says Kristof, don’t despair, this isn’t about women like you – we don’t really mean to put you out of work.  Never mind that shutting down the businesses people in the sex trade depend on for safety and survival only exposes all of them to danger and poverty, no matter how much choice they have…

Metaupdates

A Tale That Grew in the Telling in October Updates (Part Three)

The claims of “sex trafficking” fanatics get more outlandish all the time:

The Internet has created the golden age of the sex industry.  It’s an $87 million a day business and it’s growing…Working in the commercial sex industry is the most dangerous job in the world.  Most of us think we understand the business of sex:  what it is and what (if anything) should be done to control it.  But the reality is complex and sinister.  Caught up in it are young men and women who are trafficked…Some opt in by choice.  But most don’t.  Unsuspecting victims fall prey to the elaborate schemes of predatory pimps who…know that a girl can generate upwards of $300,000 a year…

For perspective:  I used to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and I owned an escort service in addition to my own work, yet I still never made $300,000 in one year.  In fact, I think that all the living whores who can reliably exceed that every year could comfortably fit in my house.  But I guess for a mind stupid enough to believe that a hooker can see 50 men a night, $300,000 a year is quite reasonable.

The Crumbling Dam in TW3 (#20)

All over Canada, support for decriminalization continues to grow:

Giving the children of Vancouver’s missing women financial compensation and decriminalizing sex work, heroin and cocaine are just some of 37 recommendations set out by a new Missing Women inquiry report…the Independent Counsel recommendations detail a comprehensive list aimed at stopping another serial killer from preying on marginalized sex workers…“At the core of the difficulty is a set of police attitudes that are influenced by the unlawful status of sex work and drug use,” said the report’s author, lawyer Jason Gratl…“Sex workers and drug users are afraid to approach police because they fear persecution and arrest, even if they’re victims of serious physical or sexual crimes.”  When investigating the missing women, police rarely interviewed victims’ friends or family because…[they believed] the sex workers didn’t have friends or neighbours…

Reading Between the Lines in TW3 (#26)

Oklahoma City police joined with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and the FBI to arrest 44 people in a prostitution and human trafficking sting.  The arrests include people accused of prostituting themselves, aiding a prostitute and soliciting the services of a prostitute. This is part of an ongoing nationwide investigation into human trafficking called Operation Cross Country…”  Total number of minors or “trafficked persons” arrested:  zero.

The Pro-Rape Coalition in TW3 (#30)

This was already a done deal, but now it’s official:

A Monday press release from faith-based advocacy group Morality in Media celebrates the Republican Party’s platform as now targeting all…pornography, not just illegal child pornography…“Distribution of obscene or hardcore pornography on the Internet is a violation of current federal law,” explained MIM’s President Patrick A. Trueman.  “Yet, most children in America have free access to obscene pornography as soon as they learn how to use a computer.  The average age of first exposure to obscene Internet pornography is now eleven.”  Trueman also suggested that…the federal government should police “obscenity,” not only…on the Internet, but also on hotel…TVs, cable or satellite television, and in retail shops…

Eleven as the average age of first exposure to the sex industry…now, where have I heard that before?

The Course of a Disease in TW3 (#31)

Apparently, prohibitionists have a very weird idea of what words like “support” and “help” mean, and have learned absolutely nothing from the catastrophic failure of the “War on Drugs”:

A new poll…has indicated that only 20 percent of the Danish population supports the government’s proposal to outlaw sex purchases, while a full 67 percent…are against it…But despite [this] politicians like Rasmus Horn Langhoff…contend that it must be done in order to support the women in the sex industry.  “…We must send a clear message that it is not okay to buy sex because of how negative it is for the women,” Langhoff [said]…“If we target the customers then we help the prostitutes who don’t need to go underground”…But…law group Gadejuristen (the Street Lawyer)…painted a…different picture.  “It’s completely wrong if you think that you can solve serious social issues by criminalising them.  Doing this will only worsen the situation,” [said] Nanna Gottfredsen…“You push the sex workers further into a grey zone.  They will hide themselves and their activities and social workers will no longer be able to contact those in need of help.”

This Week in 2011

Maslow’s Hammer; the inevitability of Nature getting her way; the counterfeit comfort of “sex offender” registries; how reality can only be fit into simplistic belief systems by ignoring most of it; questions on polyamory, penis size and racial preferenceslanguage patterns of New Orleans; and Michael Weinstein’s campaign to turn porn movies into commercials for his product.

This Week in 2010

Several of my most unusual calls and my favorite New Orleans eateries; three columns about very special girls who touched my heart; the original “sex trafficking” hysteria of a century ago; and my first column on the “condoms in porn” controversy.

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Censors tend to do what only psychotics do: they confuse reality with illusion.  –  David Cronenberg

Eleven updates and two metaupdates.

Japanese Prostitution (October 21st, 2010)

This is just so awesome:

alibi-ya provide women in the…sex industry with a reputable but totally fictitious identity…[using] things like fake business cards, references and employment certificates…[and] even…fake [bosses] for birthday speeches and other family events…Shintaro Sakamoto runs an alibi-ya in Tokyo.  “We provide assistance to mainly hostesses and prostitutes,” he said.  “We help them to rent apartments, and we help them get their kids into nursery schools”…[if] parents ring the office their daughter supposedly works at, the alibi-ya will be ready with the deception, explaining their daughter is in a meeting and will call back shortly.  The alibi-ya will then ring the woman’s mobile and tell her to call home.  Even the caller ID is fixed so it looks like the woman is calling from the landline in her fake office.  There is nothing illegal about the service…

Real People (February 6th, 2011)

Louise and Martine Fokkens are 69-year-old identical twins in Amsterdam who have worked as whores since the age of 19, owned their own brothel for a time and set up the first trade union for prostitutes.  A new documentary, Meet the Fokkens, looks at the colorful lives of these very unconventional ladies.

See No Evil (November 26th, 2011)

I only wish lunacy like this was confined to Sweden; unfortunately, it happens all over the West now:

…Simon Lundström was convicted of possessing child pornography…despite the fact the “manga images” used to convict him featured no real children…The punishment Lundström faces is relatively minor – a fine of around $780…but…still marks him as a sex offender…[plus he lost] his job [as a manga translator and]…can no longer offer his services as a “manga expert”…the prosecution…argued that the images could be used to entice children…and even went as far as to suggest the artists…could have used real children as models…

Sex, Lies and Busybodies (January 27th, 2012)

The Los Angeles City council has apparently begun to recognize that its stupid condom law is unenforceable:

The city administrative officer has asked for a 90-day extension…[citing] “complexities”…In recent weeks the…panel has heard from a contingent of vocal…industry officials who say the ordinance is faulty and unneeded…adult industry attorney…Allan Gelbard…[said] the…extension may give the panel more time to logically think things through.  “Perhaps, if they take a more thorough look at the constitutional issues involved…they will realize what a mistake…this ordinance truly was”…

The Immunity Syndrome (March 5th, 2012)

It now appears the damage done by “abstinence-only sex education” may be even worse than previously believed:

Sixty percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 may not truly understand how proper use of contraception can prevent pregnancy, according to a new study from the Guttmacher Institute, which reports abstinence-only sex education may be leaving young adults with a subpar understanding of sexual health.  Forty percent of respondents…said birth control was not important because “when it is your time to get pregnant, it will happen”…Although…69 percent of women and almost half of the men… agreed they were “committed to avoiding pregnancy,” they seemed to question whether contraceptive devices such as condoms or birth control pills were an effective way to achieve that goal…

Thou Shalt Not (March 6th, 2012)

Alas, the US does not have a monopoly on crypto-moralism:

…according to a study…in the…journal Pediatrics…young adults who listen to…music…with ear buds are almost twice as likely as non-listeners to smoke pot…And those who attend concerts or frequent dance clubs are nearly six times as likely as homebodies to go on a binge-drinking bender.  These findings are based on survey results collected from 944 low-income students…in the Netherlands…[who] ranged in age from 15 to 25…Risky music-listening behavior was defined as listening to music at 89 dBA for at least an hour per day…That music exposure can cause noise-induced hearing loss…[and] “increased feelings of isolation, depression, loneliness, anger, and fear”…But that’s not where the health risks end.  The researchers found that…those who put themselves at risk…were:

* 1.99 times more likely to [have] used cannabis in the last four weeks;
* 1.19 times more likely to smoke cigarettes daily; and
* 1.10 times more likely to have sex without using a condom every time.

…those who put themselves at risk by attending noisy concerts and clubs were:

* 5.94 times more likely to have consumed five or more alcoholic drinks in a row at some point in the last four weeks;
* 2.03 times more likely to have sex without using a condom every time; and
* 1.12 times more likely to smoke cigarettes every day.

…The researchers…say…public health officials…could design practical interventions, such as handing out condoms along with earplugs at concert venues, or by printing messages about alcohol abuse on concert ticket stubs…

Remember, kids, rock and roll is dangerous!  But at least it can’t make you as clueless as people who actually get paid to write rubbish like this, or who publish articles about adult behavior in a magazine for pediatricians.

Feet of Clay (April 5th, 2012)

Walter Olson on Nick Kristof’s latest exercise in fatuity:

Is there a New York Times columnist as insufferably moralistic, or as neglectful of facts that contradict his argument, as Nicholas Kristof?  Last week Kristof mounted yet another of his high-horse save-the-children campaigns, this time against…Anheuser-Busch.  Kristof asks readers to join his boycott of the leading brewer for…permitting its output to be sold…just across the state line from the Oglala Sioux’s Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  Though notionally dry, the reservation is in practice wracked with alcoholism…Unlike Kristof’s  column and blog post, the Times‘ earlier reporting on the dispute at least makes a few concessions about how the tribe’s alcoholism…has more complicated origins than [a new] lawsuit would make it seem.  For example, it quotes Oglala members who say the unusual Pine Ridge policy of complete alcohol prohibition…has been a failure…Kristof by contrast appears to have swallowed the lawsuit’s contentions in one hearty draft…

Olson goes on to point out that under Nebraska law, brewers have no control over distribution of their product by state-licensed wholesalers; in other words Anheuser-Busch couldn’t stop beer from being sold near the reservation even if it shared Kristof’s belief that “enlightened” white people should “protect” childlike non-whites from their own choices.

Much Ado About Nothing (April 18th, 2012)

I hope this keeps up; if they fire every government operative who has ever hired a whore, the few remaining bureaucrats will be too busy filling out forms to have any time to intrude in the private lives of citizens:

Three Drug Enforcement Administration agents are under investigation for allegedly hiring prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia…Sen. Susan Collins…[said] “It’s disturbing that we may be uncovering a troubling culture that spans more than one law enforcement agency…the evidence…indicates that this likely was not just a one-time incident”…

Senator Collins, that is the understatement of the century.

Little Boxes (April 29th, 2012)

Amanda Brooks has a knack for discovering oddities like “Fake Internet Girlfriend”, which describes itself as “a service that allows our clients to discreet [sic] employ real females to pretend to be their girlfriend online and communicate with them as if they were dating the person on various social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter or in some cases in gaming communities like World of Warcraft.”  So if it’s more important to you to look like you have a girlfriend than to just use that money to actually have sex (which could potentially relax you enough that you might actually attract a real girlfriend), this is for you.  Of course they insist that they aren’t an escort service, and I‘ll grant that…but honestly, isn’t this on the periphery of sex work?  It’s not at all unusual for a client to pay a girl just to have someone to talk to or to be seen with in public, with no sex involved; is this so different?

Pyrrhic Victory (May 17th, 2012)

For those who felt I was being an alarmist about drones:

…Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Texas…is considering using rubber bullets and tear gas on its drone…“It’s simply not appropriate to use any of force, lethal or non-lethal, on a drone,” [said] Catherine Crump [of the ACLU]…“An officer at a remote location…[Tasing or targeting] people…[could be considered] unconstitutional force…”

Today, remotely-piloted aircraft armed with tasers and tear gas; tomorrow autonomous killer robots with machine guns.  And y’all thought that was just dystopian science fiction.

Traffic Jam
(May 20th, 2012)

Phoenix, Arizona joins the “major sex trafficking hotspot” competition, implements a version of the Swedish Model and violates the separation of church and state in one fell swoop:  “…Phoenix has become a hot spot for sex trafficking in part because we’re a destination point and our major highways…Rather than arrest sex trafficking victims, Project Rose enables officers to bring them to Bethany Bible Church…” where they get all these wonderful services as long as they claim to be “trafficked” and invent a bunch of “leads” to keep the police happy.  Look for the creative claim that “trafficked children” are kept in “dog crates” to show up in more trafficking porn over the next few months.

In this article I also pointed out that the practice of young female gang members contributing to gang finances via prostitution is now being called “sex trafficking”, and as Emi Koyama explained in a recent post about a public forum on the topic, the government recognizes the truth:

…a [government] representative…was invited to make a statement, which she was completely unprepared for…she slipped the information that confirmed what many activists knew was the case but most government experts were smart enough to conceal:  that the U.S. Attorney’s Office views domestic minor sex trafficking as “primarily gang-related,” and has moved the issue to its “gang unit”; transnational human trafficking on the other hand was moved to the civil rights unit…human trafficking is becoming yet another way for young men of color to be criminalized and imprisoned…

Metaupdates

Backwards into the Future in TW3 (#6) (February 19th, 2012)

Once again, Namibians prove that they understand human rights better than Americans do:

The Executive Director of…Rights Not Rescue, Nicodemus ‘Mama Africa’ Aochamub says…”we are thankful that Kazenambo Kazenambo [a government minister who called for legalization of sex work] is brave to stand up for us, but we…prefer that sex work be decriminalised…With legalising, we will work under municipal laws such as registration…red-light districts and [forced]…medical checks [and] identification cards…Time has come for sex work to be regarded like any other employment”…

Sales Pitch in TW3 (#9) (March 4th, 2012)

Wendy Lyon on what a “sex trafficking” trial reveals about the “Swedish Model”:

…last week several men were convicted for what Swedish prosecutors have called one of the largest trafficking rings of its kind…You can read…about it herehere and here…but there are a couple things…worth drawing attention to.  The first is…[that “there was no lack of buyers”]…one of the women…[said] she had seven or eight customers on her very first night.  This doesn’t say much for the supposed deterrent effect of the sex purchase ban.  The second is the breakdown of [clients’] ages…36% were born in the 1960s, 21% in the 1970s and 30% in the 1980s…nearly a third…were teenagers when the ban was introduced in 1999:  further evidence (as I discussed here) that it hasn’t had the normative effect it was supposed to have on younger men.  The 17-year-old’s conviction is interesting for another reason…Sweden’s age of majority is 18, which means that he is legally still a child…The ideology underlying the sex purchase ban is that women cannot choose to sell sex; evidently, however, Swedish law considers that male children…can choose to buy it.  In other words, when it comes to trading sex for money, adult women are less competent than male children.  Could there be any clearer illustration of how this law infantilises women?

One Year Ago Today

Chupacabra” compares the truth about pimps to their oversized legend.

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Say what you will about the Ten Commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them.  –  H.L. Mencken

As I wrote in “Change a Few Words”, “all prohibitionism is the same.  Oh, they’ll throw out all sorts of bogus reasons such as “morality”, “decency”, “health”, “public order”, “national security” and of course “the children”, but in reality they’re all based in one thing:  a busybody desire to control the private behaviors of others because they make individual prohibitionists uncomfortable.”  The most dangerous prohibitionists, however, are those who oppose no particular behavior or thing, but rather the very freedom of choice itself; these wannabe world-emperors demand control of everything and everyone they can see or know about.  They are motivated by a deep mental illness some refer to as Anti-Life, the unnatural and perverted need to see all free will extinguished everywhere.  Fortunately, they’re in the minority, so they can’t reveal their naked desire to rule the universe without being locked up as the madmen they are; instead they have to disguise it as a more typically-human obsession with something like “morality”, “safety” or “health”.  But unfortunately, most people aren’t skeptical or perceptive enough to see through the excuses to the underlying lust for power, and therefore accept the rationalizations at face value.

One tried-and-true way to frighten the hoi-polloi out of undesirable behavior, whether you’re an archetypal sky-god or just a little tin one, is to threaten them with plagues.  One year ago today I reported on an attempt to scare people out of having oral sex by claiming it causes cancer, but since there was neither widespread panic nor politicians vowing to “do something”, I guess the crypto-moralists felt compelled to try again:

A new study showing an estimated 7% of American teens and adults carry the human papillomavirus in their mouths may help health experts finally understand why rates of mouth and throat cancer have been climbing for nearly 25 years…The findings indicate that the virus is not likely to spread through kissing or casual contact and that most cases of oral HPV can be traced to oral sex, which many Americans mistakenly view as a safe practice…A survey released last year…found that about 90% of adults have had oral sex, along with 27% of 15-year-old boys and 23% of 15-year-old girls.  “I don’t think people think of oral sex in the same way they do with traditional intercourse,” said Fred Wyand, director of the HPV Resource Center…”Sometimes younger people engage in oral sex so they don’t have to worry about pregnancy.  They may not even make the link between oral sex and STDs.”

…Most oral HPV infections are harmless, and oral cancers are still relatively uncommon.  But given the new information, doctors should encourage their patients to use protection during oral sex, Dr. Hans Schlecht…wrote in an editorial accompanying the study…HPV is best known as the cause of cervical cancer, which kills 4,220 women in the U.S. each year…The virus can also cause vulvar, anal, penile and various head and neck cancers.  A study published in October…traced more than 70% of new cases of oral cancers to HPV infection, putting it ahead of tobacco use as the leading cause…an estimated 80% of Americans have contracted the virus…It usually produces no symptoms and is typically cleared from the body through natural processes…the overall prevalence of oral HPV was 6.9% — far less than the rate of genital HPV infection in reproductive-age women, which can be as high as 42% among women in their 20s…Among people who had more than 20 sexual partners, the prevalence of oral HPV was 20%.  But the researchers found it in fewer than 1% of people who said they were virgins and in fewer than 4% of people who said they had never performed oral sex…

The sky is falling!  Everybody panic! 7% of people have a common virus that we have a vaccine for and might, maybe lead to a comparatively rare type of cancer that kills 0.0027% of Americans a year.  Call the Marines!  Criminalize oral sex!  Well, what if I told you that 100% of people are exposed almost every day to radiation that can cause a form of cancer which kills over 0.003% of Americans a year?  It’s called “sunlight”.  Fortunately, we don’t yet have the technology to attempt a ban on that. fake diabetes ad

Busybodies aren’t only against sex, though; they also oppose what the average man considers the second-greatest pleasure in life and the average woman considers the greatest:  food.  Since people have a distressing tendency to drop dead when “authorities” stop them from eating entirely, it’s a bit harder to control than sex.  But that doesn’t stop the professional busybodies from trying, even if they have to lie to do so:

Mayor Bloomberg’s New York City health department has come in for repeated criticism…for crusading against salty and fattening foods through ad campaigns that manipulate viewer reactions in ways that border on the misleading and deceptive (“What can we get away with?” famously asked one official).  They’re at it again.  On January 9, Gotham’s for-your-own-good crew unveiled a new ad warning “Portions have grown.  So has Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to amputations,” dramatically illustrated with a photo of an obese man with a stump where his leg had been.  But as the New York Times reports, city officials “did not let on that the man shown — whose photo came from a company that supplies stock images to advertising firms and others — was not an amputee and may not have had diabetes.”  Instead, they just Photoshopped his leg off, which certainly got the effect they were looking for…

Even the basic claim that yummy food leads to obesity and diabetes is suspect; a growing body of evidence suggests it isn’t the food, but the containers it comes in:

…Exposure to even minuscule amounts of synthesized substances…can scramble hormone signals…[tricking] fat cells into taking in more fat or [misleading] the pancreas into secreting excess insulin…Among the most ubiquitous…of these…endocrine disruptors is bisphenol A, better known as BPA…a common ingredient in plastics and food-can linings.  “When you eat something with BPA, it’s like telling your organs that you are eating more than you are really eating,” says Angel Nadal, a BPA expert at the Miguel Hernandez University in Spain…the chemical triggers the release of almost double the insulin actually needed to break down food.  High insulin levels can desensitize the body to the hormone over time, which in some people may then lead to weight gain and Type 2 diabetes…An estimated 90 percent of people in developed countries have [dangerously high levels of] BPA circulating in their blood…due…to exposures from leaching food packages…cash register receipts, dental sealants and toilet paper

But banning a harmful chemical isn’t satisfying for control freaks, so we get this sort of insanity instead:

Sugar is so toxic it should be controlled like alcohol, according to new report that goes so far as to suggest setting an age limit of 17 years to buy soda pop.  It points to sugar as a culprit behind many of the world’s major killers — heart disease, cancer and diabetes…A little sugar “is not a problem, but a lot kills — slowly,” says the report…by Dr. Robert Lustig, a [longtime anti-sugar alarmist]…and two U.S. colleagues specializing in health policy…”If international bodies are truly concerned about public health, they must consider limiting fructose — and its main delivery vehicles, the added sugars HFCS and sucrose — which pose dangers to individuals and to society as a whole,” they say.  “We recognize that societal intervention to reduce the supply and demand for sugar faces an uphill political battle against a powerful sugar lobby…and will require active engagement from all stakeholders”…The report suggests governments introduce zoning rules to control the number of fast-food outlets and convenience stores in low-income communities and around schools.  “Another option would be to limit sales during school operation, or to designate an age limit (such as 17) for the purchase of drinks with added sugar, particularly soda”…

Because “health experts” always know what’s best for everybody, especially those stupid poor folks, and as we know “end demand” laws work so well to program the masses…oops, I mean “educate” them.  Luckily, most people recognize Lustig’s ilk for the lunatics they are, but stupid, unenforceable laws against consensual behavior get enacted all the time:

The Philippines Senate has passed a bill penalizing cybersex…defined as people engaged in “the willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system.”  Violators can be imprisoned for 6-12 years, or fined between $4,500 and $23,000…

I’ll bet you feel safer knowing that while you sleep, self-appointed guardians of health and morality all over the world are working hard to protect you from blow jobs, soda and dirty talk.

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