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Posts Tagged ‘To Protect and Serve’

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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After breaking down doors and waving…guns around, it’s gratifying [for cops]…to pacify terrified slaves by tasering them.  –  Joyce Arthur

Recognition

An elderly Italian man got a rather unwelcome surprise when he ordered an escort – and his…40-year-old son’s South American girlfriend…arrived at his house…the pair declined to take the encounter further and swiftly parted ways.  The man [decided]…to tell his son…prompting a bitter fight between the pair…the son [sued] his father for injuries…Barbie and Lammily

Barbie

While whitebread feminists wet themselves over the newest version of “Happy To Be Me”, Virginia Postrel isn’t having any of it:

…All right-thinking people  seem convinced that Barbie instills in her pre-school fans a false and remarkably detailed standard of beauty.  Hence the widespread  praise for Lammily, the latest anti-Barbie concept doll.  A crowd-funded project from artist Nickolay Lamm (the source of her ungainly moniker), Lammily is based on the average proportions for a 19-year-old…[but] the average 19-year-old female American stands 5 feet 4 inches tall.  She has a 33.6-inch waist and…weighs 150 pounds…If Lammily were true to life…she’d have rolls of fat, not a firm plastic tummy…Celebrating one version of average as “normal” and “realistic” implicitly stigmatizes everyone who doesn’t meet that standard.  Barbie doesn’t pretend to do that; Lammily does…

A Narrow View

This NPR article on diversion programs is full of the usual “sex trafficking” nonsense and dishonest platitudes about the programs’ effectiveness, but one section was especially troubling:

…Judge Pratt says that initially her treatment-focused approach…improved the ability to prosecute the traffickers.  But…a lot of the boys…were becoming pimps.  “The foster care system and juvenile justice system is creating both sides of this market, the suppliers and the goods,” she says…

Her revolting dehumanization of girls as “goods” is bad enough, but her willful mischaracterization of young male sex workers as “pimps” in order to prop up the vile “pimps and hos” myth is utterly reprehensible.

To Protect and Serve (August Updates)

San Diego cops use “sex trafficking” as an excuse to send a SWAT team to a strip club:

A manager at Cheetahs strip club says his dancers felt violated by police who photographed them almost nude…10 officers swarmed the building with guns and bulletproof vests, interrupting business for a couple of hours…to make sure all 30 dancers had proper permits and were in compliance…

Don’t Take My Word For It

Male delusions about sex work start extra-early in Sweden:  “Swedish police have received a report that three underage boys [as young as ten] speaking bad German tried to sell sex to women at a busy commuter hub in central Sweden…

Not for Everybody

Though Meg Munoz had a very bad time as a sex worker and for a while supported prohibition, she eventually recognized the harm it creates:

…Poorly conducted, [biased]…research needs to stop being used as the foundation for fundraising…the refusal to have sex work acknowledged as real work…has all but halted any civil discourse…Allowing moral biases to dictate policy is dangerous for those who are there by choice and force…

Above the Law Deon Nunlee

No, you lying asshole, it’s exactly what police officers do, which is why this is the second most common subtitle on the blog:

…while police responded to [a] domestic violence call, one of the officers allegedly took the woman into an upstairs bedroom and sexually assaulted her…Deon Nunlee has been charged…Detroit Police Chief James Craig said…“This is an anomaly.  This is not what our police officers do”…

In fact, here’s another in the same city:Geoffrey Townsend

A former Detroit police officer who was convicted of criminal sexual conduct involving participants in his boot camp for misbehaving teens is being sued by two of the victims…Geoffrey Townsend…began making unwelcome sexual advances [eventually culminating in rape when one]…victim was 13 years old…and…the…[other] 16…

And it’s not limited to the US, eitherScott Andrew Terry

[Durham, Ontario police Constable Scott Andrew Terry] sexually exploited [a 16-year-old girl] …with whom he first came into contact after she was busted for shoplifting in May of 2000.  Instead of filing charges…he…[offered] her a rental room in his house…[then] began making advances which…escalated to nude photos, sexual touching and eventually rape…“in exchange for the rent”…

First They Came for the Hookers… 

This dumb story about dumb strip-club restrictions in Chicago is, as you might expect, mostly just dumb.  But these comments from anti-whore zealot Bob Fioretti venture into a higher realm of dumbness:  “we have an underlying social problem.  Between 15,000 and 25,000 women a day engage in prostitution…in this city.  That underground activity undermines us a city — a world-class city…”  I’ll bet you didn’t know we were so dangerous, or that roughly 4% of the adult female population of Chicago were whores.

Higher Education (TW3 #23)

Unlike the last time we saw this, these teachers are actually qualified:

An enterprising association of sex workers in Barcelona has angered some of Spain’s most prominent feminists by offering an “intro to prostitution” course…at a cost of €45…the four-hour intensive course for aspiring sex workers was held last month by the Asociación de Profesionales del Sexo…Lidia Falcón…[who] has spent years fighting to have prostitution [criminalized] in Spain…said…the problem with the course lies in its underlying suggestion that some women are working in the profession out of their own free will…

So Falcón wants the course banned because it blatantly disproves her lies.

Imagination Pinned Down

Though the social climate which led to the Satanic Panic had been building for years, it was the McMartin Preschool hysteria that really launched it.  Now that it’s a generation in the past, even media outlets like the New York Times which fully embrace “sex trafficking” hysteria recognize its earlier incarnation for what it was.  Here’s a good retrospective called “McMartin Preschool: Anatomy of a Panic”; watch it with the current hysteria in mind and note the many parallels.

The Widening Gyre

If “authorities” don’t want stupid myths about women being abducted spreading around, they sure have a strange way of showing it:

[A rumor] warns of attempts to abduct women and girls in broad daylight at crowded shopping centers.  It warns that a new gang initiation requires members to kidnap, rape and beat womenBig Pimp and then dump them in parking lots.  For years, authorities have tried to keep such messages from spreading, debunking their claims as urban myths…

To clarify:  Women being abducted by gangs for quick rape = “right up there with Bigfoot”, but women abducted by gangs for years of captivity and sexual slavery = 100% credible.

South of the Border

In Mexico, a respected advocate is arrested as a “pimp” for helping sex workers organize:

…the recent arrest of Alejandra Gil…[is due to] new legislation, which…conflates sex work with human trafficking…Gil has worked tirelessly for the human rights of sex workers for many years…Laws and policies that target “third parties” under the premise of “protecting” sex workers, increase our vulnerability to abuse and exploitation, and create real barriers for sex workers organising…

Bottleneck

Considering that more than 90% of whores prefer to work illegally than submit to licensing, how well do you think this colossally stupid Italian law will work?

…prostitution will be permitted in private houses, subject to certain conditions, including the use of condoms…the draft law, which was presented…by…Maria Spillabotte…includes the issuance of a licence, stating that the holder is free of sexually transmitted diseases and confirming that a payment has been made…of €6,000 for a full-time licence or half that amount for part-time work…Prostitutes will also be required to get a certificate of mental fitness.  “This is a fundamental way of getting women away from coercion,” says Spillabotte.  “During an interview, the specialist will be able to tell if the girl is being forced into prostitution or if it is her free choice”…

That Old Black Magic

Patrick RockThe Sharjah Police…arrested an Arab woman and a man for forcing women into prostitution and engaging in black magic…

Buried Truth

When a politician obsesses about “protecting children from porn”, this is usually the reason:  “A senior aide to David Cameron resigned…the day before being arrested on allegations relating to child abuse images.  Patrick Rock…was involved in drawing up the government’s policy for…online pornography filters…

Between the Ears (TW3 #133)

This article on “Why Viagra Ruined Sex Work” quotes a few ladies whose names regular readers may recognize:

…“I wouldn’t say ED drugs are the worst thing, but they are really annoying,” laughed…Jolene Parton…“it…makes it harder for the client to come.”  Anna Gristina…dubbed [it]…“The working girl’s worst nightmare come true…It went from wham-bam, thank you ma’am,’ to ‘Oh my god, can you just finish, man’”…Amanda Brooks…says…men become obsessed with having an erection at the expense of any enjoyment for anyone…

It Looks Good On Paper (TW3 #311)

Texas joins the states arresting people to force them into “diversion” programs:  “The Corpus Christi Police…conducted a ‘Jane Sting’…in conjunction with the Red Cord Diversion Program…all six arrested persons were signed up to participate…rather than have criminal charges immediately applied.”  Yes, they actually referred to sex workers as “janes”.

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #315)

Joyce Arthur hits it out of the park with this satire:

In a bold move aimed at protecting workers from exploitation while on the job, the government today passed a new law that criminalizes most employers and customers…Law and Order Minister Punter MacCunny…pointed out that 95 per cent of people hate their jobs and want out, according to a new government-commissioned study…Police welcomed the new law, which gives them sweeping new enforcement powers to target the huge increase in organized crime.  According to Det. Sgt. Billy Clubber, head of the RCMP’s new Slave Save Squad, “We’ll be cracking down on slavery rings, basically any place where workers are bribed with wages to provide services”…The law now designates employers and customers as “pimps” and “johns,” respectively…

Long Spoon (TW3 #351)

Reason’s video on condom criminalization specifically refers to the Human Rights Watch report condemning the practice in New Orleans:

Ladies of the Night

Saith Dr. Brooke Magnanti in The Telegraph:

It’s an unusual move to go from policy and social commentary to fiction, especially as the stories cover a range of genres from romance to crime to sci-fi.  And yet it works.  The eye for detail that fans of Maggie’s non-fiction writing appreciate is well played here.  She invents worlds with ease and populates them with thought-provoking, yet never two-dimensional, women and men.  If you love plots with twists, she has them to spare.  (If you’re not into twists, or women who aren’t always whiter than white, probably best to stay away.)  And the cover art by acclaimed cartoonist and Louis Riel author Chester Brown is wonderful.

She also reviews Daddy by Madison Young and Playing the Whore by Melissa Gira Grant.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #410)

Sex columnist Suzi Godson presents “10 Things You Need to Know Before You Support the Swedish Model of Sex Work” in response to the new push by UK prohibitionists.  It’s not anything new for readers of this blog, but it’s possible ammo for online discussions you may get involved in.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #410)

Dominique Roe-Sepowitz answers the many criticisms of Project ROSE by denying them to Christian Post after refusing interviews with mainstream reporters.  And if you imagine the denials are substantive or backed by facts, think again:  her entire rationale for cooperating with cops to railroad people and deny them lawyers is, “sex-work…is against the law.”  Meanwhile, in last week’s other installment of “Traffic Jam”, a demonstration of the motivation behind the fakery:

A study of advertising placed during the recent Super Bowl in New Jersey suggests the volume of sex trafficking that will occur when the event comes to Arizona in 2015 will likely exceed the ability of any one law enforcement agency to address.  Phoenix Police Lt. James Gallagher, who co-authored the study…said law enforcement must coordinate to combat sex trafficking during major events…

In other words, “give us more money and power!”  Here’s a Storify of the fun several of us had with this mess last Saturday.

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We don’t know what sex workers themselves think about [the Swedish model] because nobody, it seems, bothered to ask them.  –  Fionola Meredith

R.I.P. Andrew Hunter Andrew Hunter

The president of the Global Network of Sex Work Projects and founder of the Asia-Pacific Network of Sex Workers died suddenly on Boxing Day at the age of 47.  There is very little information available for a fitting tribute to this amazing and tireless activist, but I am in contact with his partner, Dale, and hope to get a proper full-length obituary ready in the next few days.

Out of Control (The Camel’s Nose)

It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen a creepy rapist doctor:

An [Ohio] emergency room doctor was sentenced to 35 years…after pleading guilty to raping and killing a pregnant prostitute…Deanna Ballman…died of a fatal overdose of heroin, which Salim [Ali] gave her at his home…Salim acknowledged that…he dumped her body.  However, he only intended to have sex and not harm her or the unborn child…

License to Rape

Another serial rapist cop protected by his department and given a slap on the wrist when caught:

…Michael Vagnini…had a thing he liked to do when he busted someone.  He liked to do it a lot.  “The complaint lays out in graphic detail how…Vagnini…conducted searches of men’s anal and scrotal areas, often inserting his [ungloved] fingers into their rectums”…when the complaints piled up so high that even…Police Chief Edward Flynn couldn’t come up with an excuse for ignoring it, Vagnini’s pleasure at humiliating and physically violating his victims was finally subject to prosecution…Of course, arrest and prosecution for serial anal rape is one thing.  What comes of it is another.  A deal was cut…“that would not require him to become a registered sex offender”…he [only]…got…a sentence of 26 monthsfat Barbie

I first reported this in “Links #119”.

Barbie 

More adults badly in need of lives:  “Plus-Size-Modeling.com is suggesting Mattel create a plus-size Barbie.  While some say more realistic curves would be a better role model for girls, others say an overly large Barbie would be an unhealthy example…

To Protect and Serve

Another casualty of the War on Whores:

A dog owner is demanding a [Florida] police officer’s badge, after that officer shot his dog while…[trying] to serve a woman with a warrant for prostitution charges…the woman doesn’t live there anymore. [Richard] Stotler moved in after her, and said he has no idea who the woman is…[but the cops] didn’t listen…[and trespassed] through the gate around the back of the house, where they found Lady…She’s…[now] on three different pain medications, with part of a bullet still lodged in her ear canal, and other wounds Stotler isn’t sure will heal…police…haven’t released the officer’s name or whether he will face any disciplinary action…

Subtle Pimping

Tragedy pornographer Erin Healy claims to have “investigated sex trafficking” for her latest novel, yet somehow she didn’t find any of the numerous debunkings of the myth which would have invalidated her premise.  To quote this plug piece Fox News published for her, “Go ahead, please cringe with me.”

Why Not Teach Them Critical Thinking Instead?
lurking traffickers

The New Jersey…Attorney General will sponsor assemblies statewide…to warn students about the dangers of human trafficking…surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII…the “Say Something Assembly” program…[says] traffickers may target minors through social media, telephone chat lines and after-school programs, and at shopping malls and bus depots.

Droit du Seigneur

Rebecca Woodard says…in her new tell-all tome that prosecutors forced her to continue to turn tricks after she agreed to wear a wire to help snare…Anna Gristina in 2008…“The [Assistant District Attorney] told me to work…and then turn over to his office the money and any gifts that clients gave me…this ADA was my pimp”…Woodard does not name the ADA…but gave several clues to his identity.  Sources…confirmed…that she is referring to former ADA Mark Crooks…[now working] as an assistant federal prosecutor in Maryland.  Woodard…says she didn’t tell prosecutors about all her gigs.  “Obviously, if I did this with every client I saw, I would have been broke”…prosecutors [threatened to]…arrest her for prostitution if she didn’t [work for them]…

Woodard also claims that while working earlier for Kristin Davis she was hired by Eliot Spitzer, who liked to choke escorts during sex.

The Crumbling Dam

The number of charges for prostitution-related offences in Toronto courts has dropped by 90 per cent over a five-year period, as the constitutional challenge against Canada’s prostitution laws [went on]…Toronto courts received 1,088 charges…in 2006.  In 2011, the number of charges was a tenth of that, just 110…Alan Young, the lawyer who argued the case, said…Prostitution-related offences have been low priority for enforcement…“The government kept asserting that when the laws were invalidated, there would be…chaos…and my position was, we’re charging so little, the community wouldn’t notice much difference”…Cartoon History of the Modern World 2

Presents, Presents, Presents!

The mails were a bit slow during Christmas, so I got a few cards and one present at the end of last week: The Cartoon History of the Modern World, Part 2 from Kevin Wilson.  Thank you, Kevin!

Legal Is As Legal Does (TW3 #7)

Prostitutes [in New Zealand] are hitting back at a bill that aims to restrict where they can work, saying it’s unnecessary and could put their safety at risk…The bill…would give police the ability to arrest and fine them and clients if they break the rules…Another…bill [proposes] to recriminalise street prostitution and confine the trade to brothels…

Useful Idiots

“Feminists” never, ever think of the implications of laws they push:

Domestic abuse involving “emotional blackmail” – but no violence – could become a criminal offence carrying a heavy jail term…the…bill…proposes making it illegal to…“intend to control or coerce” their spouse.  Anyone found guilty…would face up to 14 years’ imprisonment…its definition of abuse includes…“[depriving] them of the means needed for independence”…

As Tim Worstall points out, the definitions criminalize the normal behavior of most British wives.

Naked Truth

Melissa Gira Grant presents a long list of her picks for the best sex work writing of the year, including journalism which treats sex work rationally.  Many of these were linked here when they appeared, and you may enjoy reading the others.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #34)

A rare Irish denunciation of the Swedish Model:

…the planned introduction of new laws criminalising the purchase of sex in Ireland, north and south…conflates sex workers and targets of human trafficking, treating them…as…one homogeneous group of oppressed and distressed victims…destroyed by the abhorrent appetites of men…[supporters] are wilfully blind to the consequences of their sanctimonious stance for the very individuals they say they want to rescue and protect:  the sex workers themselves, some of whom, inconveniently enough, refuse to allow themselves to be saved…criminalising clients does not wipe out prostitution, or even substantially reduce demand.  But it does hurt sex workers, placing them at increased risk of violence, exposing them to stress and ill-health, making them feel stigmatised and hunted…Where buying sex is outlawed, it is the people selling it who pay the price…Laura Lee

The Public Eye (TW3 #324)

Douglas Fox is retiring as the editor of Harlot’s Parlour, and handing the reins to our friend Laura Lee:

…I am handing harlots to Laura with the assurance that she will continue to encourage a wide and diverse opinion within sex work to be heard.  There is not, after all, only one message about what or who is a sex worker.  Despite our disagreements what unites us is a desire that our work is recognised and that we are provided the full protection of the law…

Sold Out

This at first seems to be just another of the inane “libertarians are bad because of this strawman I made!” articles we’ve seen so many of this year, but it contains this gem:  “Libertarians…called for the abolishment of ‘victimless crime’, which lumped homosexuality with prostitution, polygamy, recreational drugs, abortion, and gambling…certainly not a ringing endorsement of the LGBTQ community…”  How dare they include wonderful gays with that riff-raff!

Dirty Laundry (TW3 #326)

This is another long, horrifying article on the Magdalene laundries; it covers ground that will be mostly familiar to those who have studied the history of these monstrous slave-labor camps, but includes a fact I did not know before:  “Australia had eight Magdalene laundries – all at Sisters of the Good Shepherd convents – from the 1940s until the ’70s.  There is no firm data on how many girls they held but it’s estimated to be several thousand…[they] were for girls who were wards of the state or deemed delinquents but often were victims themselves who had committed no crimes…

Innocence Never Had

Let's Talk About TouchingImagine that you’re a young sex worker (say, 16-19) who’s just been arrested in a “sting”, manhandled by leering cops and pressured by scary perverts to reveal a “pimp” you don’t have.  Then a creepy middle-class woman comes in to see you in your cage and gives you… crayons and a coloring book:  “The Human Trafficking Coalition of the Palm Beaches…provides backpacks for immediate needs to those rescued from sex traffickers…items needed are:  travel size toiletries,  toothpaste and tooth brushes, small blankets, flip-flops…notebooks, pencils and cases, erasers, crayons and coloring books…

Bootlickers (TW3 #345)

More totalitarian prudery from Everett, Washington:

Everett police updated the boundaries of zones used to designate high-prostitution areas…The newly zoned areas include some of the bikini barista stands that have made headlines in recent months…and…are used to enforce court orders given to those convicted of prostitution activity, including people who buy sex…Offenders can be arrested on the spot for violating the court order…

Note that many people accused of “prostitution” in Everett are the aforementioned bikini baristas, so these “orders” deprive them of their jobs.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #351)

An excerpt from Mindy Chateauvert’s Sex Workers Unite:

…despite the acceptance of “sluts,” the “prostitute” remains a deeply embedded symbolic marker between decency and disrespect.  The “ethical slut” engages in sex of her or his own “free” will, while the “dirty whore” insists on getting paid…Sex-positive feminists and other “sluts” believe there is nothing morally wrong with consensual sex between two (or more) people…but money changes everything…That cognitive dissonance — the deep chasm filled with stereotypes and prejudices — interferes with the capacity…to hear sex workers speak about their experiences.  Stories that don’t conform to the “superhappyfunsexysexwork!” narrative tend to flummox pro-sex feminists; they can identify with privileged exotic dancers, porn performers and professional dominants…but think “junkie whores” need to be rescued and should be prevented from working in their…neighborhoods…

Opting Out (TW3 #352)

A few more examples of the dirty, nasty porn Cameron’s filters are “protecting” British women and children from:

…One of your ISPs blocked access to the website for Glasgow’s St. Mary’s Cathedral [and] the blog of its provost.  A second ISP blocked access to charity sites including ChildLine, the NSPCC and the Samaritans.  Other websites blocked include the British Library, National Library of Scotland [and] your Parliament…best…of all is the site of Claire Perry, the Member of Parliament who campaigned so prominently for the new law.  How’s it feel, Claire?  Oh, your site is legitimate and shouldn’t be censored?  That’s how the owners of every single other site being blocked feel…

Cops and RobbersPot Noodle

A…police officer refused to deal with a harassment complaint from murdered Bijan Ebrahimi because it would mean his Pot Noodle would get cold…On a separate occasion…Mr Ebrahimi had banged on a police station door to make a complaint but no-one had answered, despite there being staff inside.  A…police spokesman…was unable to comment on the claims…until the conclusion of the [Independent Police Complaints Commission]  investigation…[Lee] James, 24, was jailed for life, with a minimum sentence of 18 years…for beating and stamping …Ebrahimi to death.  Stephen Norley, 25, was jailed for four years after helping James to set Mr Ebrahimi’s body on fire…

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Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom: it is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.  –  William Pitt

Nine updates and two meta-updates; two other news stories from this week will be treated in greater depth in my columns for April 29th and May 6th.

The Camel’s Nose (October 2nd, 2010)

Meet CISPA, formerly known as SOPA, alias PIPA, née COICA:

…some people are calling it “worse than SOPA,” and it’s sponsored by a congressman who thinks the death penalty should be considered for Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking military information to Wikileaks.  Be worried:  they think we stopped paying attention after SOPA — so they made…the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (PDF) (aka H.R. 3523)…[which] has the support of companies such as AT&T, Facebook, IBM, Intel, Microsoft…and many more.  A full list of all 28 corporate supporters is here.  The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), is also trying to get tech press to tell you…CISPA is “nothing like SOPA.”  Don’t believe it.  CISPA’s primary function is to remove legal barriers that might keep Internet companies from giving all your communication and information to the government.  It allows “cyber entities” (such as Internet service providers, social networks like Facebook and cell phone companies like AT&T) to circumvent Internet privacy laws when they’re pressured by Homeland Security to hand over or shut down — well, almost anything of yours online that the government wants, no warrant needed…

Here’s a handy graphic (click to enlarge) you can download or link and spread everywhere, and here’s a very comprehensive “tool kit” from Anonymous.  Don’t ignore this, y’all; the fascists figured out they needed to give more to the big tech companies, so this time we have to defeat it without corporate support.

To Protect and Serve (February 9th, 2011)

Another sex worker murdered by cops, and another victim of so-called “non-lethal” tasers:

Adult performer Sledge Hammer…[whose legal name was Marland Anderson, died on April 13th] after…police…shot [him numerous times] with a Taser…Anderson…“had a mild form of schizophrenia, and it wasn’t a problem until he started smoking pot and taking various things for depression,” [friend and film director Stoney] Curtis explained…On Sunday night…Anderson suffered a severe anxiety attack and his girlfriend, adult performer Alexa Cruz, called 911 to prevent him from harming himself…police showed up with an ambulance and…“instead of trying to talk to him or grab him and get him to the ground, or the paramedics giving him a sedative, they decided to break out their tasers and just tasered him excessively until the point where he went into cardiac arrest,” Curtis said…

Once again:  never, ever call the cops for any reason, not even if you think you’re dying.  Because once you do, they think you are their personal property to dispose of in any way they wish.

Not the Same Tree (February 18th, 2011)

This article about a Scottish escort service owner convicted of “human trafficking” is a perfect illustration of how the warped minds of police, prosecutors and prohibitionists project crime and evil into everything they see, and how they and their media lackeys use dysphemisms, distortion and exaggeration to create monsters out of businesspeople:

Scotland’s first convicted sex trafficker…revealed the secrets of the seedy vice empire that raked in a fortune – before landing him in jail.  Stephen Craig…described how he and…Sarah Beukan…ran their infamous Scottish Elite Escorts and recruited girls to join their prostitution ring.  Craig also claimed that footballers, actors and comedians were among the biggest clients…and…admitted taking a third of the money paid by punters to his girls…Craig denied making threats to girls or forcing them to sell their bodies…a police officer claimed one witness said Craig threatened to pour boiling water down her throat…But Sheriff Sam Clark said there was “no pressure, force or threat” on women who worked for him.  Craig now faces a proceeds of crime investigation.  He said…“Police say Sarah and I made £20,000 a week…[but actually] we probably split about £5000 on a good week”…

“Seedy vice empire”.  “Infamous”. “Prostitution ring”.  “Sell their bodies”.  “Taking money” to mean “charging fees”.  The lurid accusations totally unsupported by fact, and the wild exaggeration of his income so the cops can steal more of his property and savings.  I wish there were some way to make these asses fully cognizant of how  ridiculous they’re going to look once Western society fully awakens from “sex trafficking” hysteria.

Give It a Rest (August 18th, 2011)

Remember the Texas strip club which cops were trying to destroy via harassment of dancers and customers?  Apparently, they either succeeded in driving the owner over the edge or else just decided to get rid of him by the time-honored method of framing:

Ryan Walker Grant, co-owner of Flashdancer topless club in Arlington, was arrested after an FBI investigation revealed he tried to hire Mexican hitmen to kill two Arlington city officials whom he blamed for the closure of his business…Grant [allegedly told the FBI plant that]…he stood to lose $800,000 a year if Flashdancers closed for good…

Follow Your Bliss (November 29th, 2011)

Though most “child sex slave” fetishists restrict themselves to writing lurid newspaper stories, this one sought the opportunity for “hands-on” experience “helping” underage hookers:

A counselor at a new…shelter for prostituted children groped and propositioned a girl there…prosecutors in Seattle contend Ralph Nathaniel Wells accosted the then-16-year-old girl in late January.  Wells, 32, had been employed by the shelter as an overnight counselor…the girl said Wells called her out of her room several times…[and] made inappropriate comments and sexual advances, pulled on her clothing and touched her.  Wells was suspended without pay immediately…

Obviously Wells bought his own organization’s propaganda that the girl was “prostituted” (i.e. a passive object without volition) and a “child”, and therefore too stupid and helpless to turn him down and report his sleazy behavior.

Presents, Presents, Presents! (December 29th, 2011)

I got two new presents this week!  On Monday I received a copy of Never On Sunday from Martin English, and on Tuesday a new book named The Origins of Sex from another reader who prefers to remain anonymous.  Thank you both so very much!

An Angel of Mercy (January 25th, 2012)

You don’t have to be a Catholic nun to do outreach to streetwalkers; Cyndee Clay is a lapsed Mormon who heads Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS) in Washington, DC.  In this interview with Metro Weekly she talks about sex work stigma, “prostitution-free zones”, police harassment, harm reduction and the services HIPS provides, including “weekly support groups…daily maintenance groups for active drug users…case management, linkage to care and services, including HIV testing and drop-in syringe access…our bad-date sheet” and condom distribution.

Much Ado About Nothing (April 18th, 2012)

Well, the story’s beginning to make a lot more sense now; it turns out the argument wasn’t over $47 as initially reported, but rather $770 (the difference between the $800 fee Agent Asshole agreed to and the $30 he tried to give her instead).  Some of the agents are now making the sophomoric claim that they didn’t know their dates were whores, which is not only unbelievable to anyone in the know, but also flies in the face of reports that they met the women in a brothel.  And Dania (the lady who was cheated) insists that contrary to what the bouncer and cops claim, the agents were very discreet and she had no idea they were Secret Service.

But despite media efforts to sex up the story and to overdramatize its importance (“Eleven Secret Service agents…and nine military servicemen are under investigation for hiring 20 or 21 hookers”) the American people seem refreshingly unmoved.  My own perceptions and those of several of my sources indicate that more people are concerned with the agent’s trying to cheat a sex worker than the fact that he hired her.  A reporter who interviewed me yesterday (I’m not sure when it will appear) felt that the real story was that Colombia’s system protects women by allowing them access to police, and a Vanity Fair article which quotes yours truly points out that the whole scandal is a convenient misdirection from the issues of the Cartagena summit, which Washington doesn’t want the public thinking too hard about.  Spirit Airlines mocked the scandal in a promotion, and Dennis Hof of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch opined that Secret Service agents should only hire American whores.  But most interesting (and heartening) of all is the reaction in many mainstream media sources (including Forbes), which might be synopsized in the words used by Reason’s J.D. Tuccille: “Maybe, just maybe, we could stop pretending that exchanging money for sex is such a terrible thing.”

Hard Numbers (April 20th, 2012)

Brazil follows the example of our friends Down Under in recognizing that it is attempts to ban or regulate prostitution that cause the problems “authorities” associate with it, and that decriminalization is the best way to eliminate those issues:

A proposal before the Senate…[eliminates] criminal penalties for owners of brothels.  The legal experts…want to end what they call the moral “cynicism” of the current legislation.  In practice, they say, the ban on brothels only serves to corrupt police who extort money and services from the owners of the establishments…Prostitution itself is not illegal in Brazil, nor is it regulated by the government…the change will…permit labor unions to establish a link between the employees and the employer as is the norm in countries such as Germany and Holland.  ”It is a historical claim to the movement for prostitutes,” [said] Roberto Dominguez…legal advisor to the Brazilian Network of Prostitutes…

Metaupdates

Counterfeit Comfort in That Was the Week That Was (#8) (February 26th, 2012)

In their quest for absolute power over the lives of their subjects, politicians can’t let little things like justice, decency or the law stop them.  After a federal judge overturned a Louisiana law banning victims of the “sex offender” registry from social media, tyrants in New York realized the same thing would probably happen if they enacted a similar law, so they used political pressure to force online companies to do their dirty work for them:

Back in 2008, New York passed a law requiring…sex offenders to register all email addresses and social network accounts with the government…[now] Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has  announced the first wave of an initiative called “Operation: Game Over”…[in which] over 3500 sex offenders’ online gaming accounts with companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Blizzard have been banned completely.  AG Schneiderman applauds the effort with “We must ensure online video game systems do not become a digital playground for dangerous predators. That means doing everything possible to block sex offenders from using gaming networks as a vehicle to prey on underage victims”…[But as] the New York Civil Liberties Union [points out]…“the problem…is almost non-existent. Children are almost always abused by people they know – a friend or family member – not by people they interact with while playing video games online.

…Not only are these people blocked from playing with children through these services, they are also blocked from playing with friends and family members.  We are further eroding the ability for these people to reintegrate themselves with society, and for what?  While New York and those gaming companies that partnered with the state continue the witch hunt, they will surely earn some brownie points with parents.  After all, that is really what matters in an election year…Who cares if justice is actually being served?  Sex offenders are expendable.  They aren’t real people.  At least you can keep telling yourself that if it helps you sleep at night.

A Manufactured War in That Was the Week That Was (#15) (April 14th, 2012)

While I contended myself with dispatching the New York Times’ scare story on “sex trafficking” in Spain via a quick shotgun blast, Dr. Laura Agustín preferred to vivisect it instead.  I think you’ll find the result well worth your time.

One Year Ago Today

Faerie Tale” is exactly that…but probably not in the way you’re thinking.

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How idiotic civilization is!  Why be given a body if you have to keep it shut up in a case like a rare, rare fiddle?  –  Katherine Mansfield

Several stories about society’s obsession with regulating and controlling women’s bodies and sexuality.

All Shapes and Sizes (September 8th, 2010)

In this column I wrote:

Porn…tends to make inexperienced young men think that women’s external genitalia are more alike than they actually are.  As a bisexual woman and a call girl who did hundreds of couple calls I can tell you that there is as much variation in vulvas as in penises…some labia are quite wrinkly, others smoother, and they vary in color and appearance…but none of this can be explained to jackasses; girls with unusually-shaped genitalia are sometimes insulted by rude clients, and I’ve even heard of ignoramuses accusing girls of being post-operative transsexuals because their vulvas don’t “look right” to these (usually young) men, who obviously consider themselves some sort of sex experts because they’ve been with a couple of dozen women.  Fortunately, older men have more experience and therefore realize that the genitalia of women, like those of men, come in all shapes and sizes.

For young men who wish to understand how much genital variation there really is, and for women who feel like their genitalia are odd-looking, I present I’ll Show You Mine, a book containing pictures of 60 different women’s vulvas and a little text written by the subjects.  Here’s an illustrated review posted by Story of Tits and Sass on July 15th.

To Protect and Serve (February 9th, 2011)

Police the world over seem to believe that one of the perks of their job is the privilege of using sex workers for their own gratification under guise of law, but it’s pretty rare to see a judge slap them down for it as this one did.  The story is paraphrased from one in the Orlando Sentinel of July 8th:

Six employees of a Daytona Beach Shores nightclub agreed to a total of $195,000 to settle a lawsuit against the city’s police department for a September 2009 incident in which “Public Safety Director” Stephan Dembinsky and 19 other male cops stood around ogling four exotic dancers and two female bartenders while a policewoman felt inside their bikinis for weed.  Dembinsky claimed he had no idea that cops sticking their hands into women’s underwear amounted to a strip search under Florida statutes, which clearly state that strip searches must be conducted by a person of the same sex and any observers must also be of the same sex as the person being searched.  But U.S. District Judge Mary E. Scriven said Dembinsky should have known; in an order she signed in May that denied a motion to have the case dismissed, she wrote “Even if he was unsure of the existence of probable cause, Chief Dembinsky knew that the manner and means of the execution of the strip searches was unlawful, yet, as final policymaker he concedes he did nothing.”

Dembinsky apparently felt he needed 20 cops to serve a search warrant at Biggins Gentleman’s Club after undercover vice cops bought drugs in the club.  None of the six employees in the suit was arrested, but they were searched anyway and one of the women had a single joint; misdemeanor marijuana possession charges against her were later dropped.  Most of the settlement money went to pay legal fees, leaving only $5,000 each for the victims; the decision to pay up was made by the city’s insurance carrier because it was cheaper to settle than to fight the suit.

Some badge-licking editorial comments on other versions of the story mocked the idea that it was possible to strip-search strippers, ignoring both the intimidation factor of 20 cops standing around leering and the fact that no strip club I know of allows patrons to stick their hands inside girls’ bikini bottoms.

Crime Against Society (February 26th, 2011)

One would think that since New Orleans gave cops the option of writing prostitution as a minor offense back in December, and the state recently reduced “crime against nature by solicitation” to a misdemeanor, that New Orleans cops wouldn’t be wasting time and money in prostitution “stings” any more.  Unfortunately, one would be wrong; apparently they wanted to destroy a few more lives with “sex offender” penalties before the change goes into effect.  According to the Times-Picayune:

New Orleans’ narcotics and vice police units conducted a prostitution sting in Mid-City this month, and arrested nine people over two separate occasions.  The New Orleans Police Department arrested four people…at the Rose Motel, in the 3500 block of Tulane Avenue, June 15 for soliciting an undercover officer for crimes against nature.  They also arrested five people…June 21 for the same crime at the same motel…

But this pales beside the mass arrests of three weeks prior, when a total of 51 people were arrested on prostitution or drug-related charges:

Promising an “aggressive” fight to rid the city’s neighborhoods of illegal activity, New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas…said 51 people were arrested on drug and prostitution charges during undercover stings set up during the past three weeks…”People try to destroy the quality of life in neighborhoods” with drug dealing and other illegal activities, Serpas said.  “We’re not going stand for it.  We’re going to be aggressive”…

Of course, the easiest way to rid the city of illegal activity would be to imprison every member of the NOPD, but instead we get this:

For the second time in a month, the New Orleans Police Department has launched a blitz on vice, this time arresting 29 men who allegedly agreed to pay for sex with undercover…female officers…Superintendent Ronal Serpas said police arrested the men in the 9300 block of Airline Drive, the 3500 block of Tulane Avenue and the 7800 block of Chef Menteur Highway during the daytime operation, which took place between June 14 and June 22.  The men were booked with the solicitation of prostitutes and crimes against nature…the targeted areas were chosen because of neighbors’ complaints about illegal activity and information provided by individual districts.  “They (citizens) have children and families and want to use their neighborhoods,” Serpas said…[he] added that prostitution can result in the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and is often linked to other crimes, such as carjackings or robbery.  “Prostitution is a crime of addiction and violence,” Serpas said…

…as opposed to being a cop, which is a crime of being addicted to violence.  Just so you know, none of those three blocks are “neighborhoods”; they’re industrial areas whose only inhabitants are rats and the residents of cheap motels.  And of course no story of police persecution of whores would be complete without the obligatory lies about disease and violent crime.  I guess Chief Serpas didn’t get the memo about us all being “trafficking victims” now.

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (March 22nd, 2011)

While the United States slips further into barbarism and oppression, it’s nice to see that older, more civilized countries understand concepts like “adult agency” and “human rights”.  According to a July 21st story from Samay Live:

There will be no further arrest of any sex workers as prostitution is going to be regularized in India.  The new law will allow sex workers to live with dignity in…the country.  The Supreme Court holds that the right to live with dignity was a constitutional right of sex workers.  A bench presided over by Justice Markandey Katju on Tuesday sought suggestions on formulating conditions which would enable those who wished to “continue working as sex workers” to do so “with dignity.”  The bench constituted a panel comprising senior advocates and NGOs to look into the problems faced by sex workers and give suggestions to protect their fundamental rights…there are over 3 million female commercial sex workers in India and are often harassed by the police in the absence of proper regulation.  However, the prostitution is not illegal but the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 makes certain acts relating to prostitution an offence, which does not create conducive atmosphere for the sex workers and [they] often become victims of police action.

I’m looking forward to the day when India, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and other countries which treat prostitutes like human beings issue a “human rights report” condemning the United States for its abominable brutality against whores and our clients.

One Year Ago Today

The first part of “The Only Working Girl in New Orleans”, in which I describe my experiences as the only available escort after Hurricane Katrina.

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However low a man sinks he never reaches the level of the police. –  Quentin Crisp

The title of today’s column is the motto of many police departments across the United States, and is often painted on the doors of their cars.  Unfortunately, what this usually translated into in real life is “To harass and control”, or as written on the police cars in South Park, “To patronize and annoy.”  And where whores are concerned, it’s often “to victimize and rape.”  We’ve discussed this subject at length before on a number of occasions, so I won’t repeat myself here; it’s just by way of introduction to two news stories involving police abuse of hookers.  The first was published last Thursday, February 3rd in the Orlando Sentinel, and is paraphrased here both to update it with Friday’s events and to correct the bizarre bias of the author, who seems to believe that the cop’s shooting of a hooker was a less important story detail than his serious traffic accident in 1995.

Sheri Carter, a 29-year-old escort from Boynton Beach, Florida, died about 8:30 AM Friday (February 4th) after being shot on Monday by Jimmy Dac Ho, a 47-year-old police officer.  Ho was arrested on Tuesday and tried to kill himself on Thursday; jail deputies found him hanging in his cell about 5 a.m. and he was taken to Wellington Regional Medical Center in serious condition, where he is being held under guard.

Ho was being held without bail on attempted murder and false imprisonment charges in the January 31st shooting, and with Carter’s death the charge has now been increased to murder.  Carter’s boyfriend told police he got a text message from her about 4:21 p.m. Monday, saying that a client was acting “weird and scary”; either he or someone else [the story is unclear] called the police, who found Carter shot in her home and took her to Delray Medical Center in critical condition.  She had been shot twice, in the stomach and in the neck, and was paralyzed below the waist until her death.  Phone records showed that Ho had contacted Carter prior to her boyfriend’s text message, so detectives went to his home and told him Carter had survived.  According to the arrest report Ho appeared nervous, changing his story a few times and claiming to have shot Carter in “self defense”.  He said he planned to pay her for sex, but they didn’t have sex; Carter then wanted money and supposedly tried to rob him, and he claimed to have shot her in the struggle.

His employer, Florida Atlantic University, placed Ho on paid administrative leave Tuesday morning, and that afternoon he quit for “personal reasons.”  Ho was previously a deputy with the Broward Sheriff’s Office between 2002 and 2004, but was fired in September of 2004 for violating “moral character standards” after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor “disorderly conduct” charge resulting from a domestic battery charge filed by his then-wife, Wendy Jane Ho.  According to his Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs file, Mrs. Ho also said that Ho had threatened suicide during the same general time period.  Ho worked for the university police since 2006 and had disciplinary actions in his file that included a two-day suspension in November 2009 for making a student lick clean an elevator security camera lens that he admitted to spitting on.

“Well,” you might say, “clearly this guy was a bad egg.  And the shooting was investigated, after all.”  And to a degree, you would be right, though I must point out that many cops consider former colleagues who disgraced the force to be fair game.  But the second story involves not just one cop but the entire police department of Surrey, England; this is excerpted and slightly paraphrased from an article which appeared last Friday (February 4th) in Harlot’s Parlour:

An abuse of process suit against Surrey Police was filed today at 2pm in Guildford Crown Court on behalf of Hanna Morris; the case aims to stop the prosecution of Ms Morris who reported a violent attack and now faces charges for brothel-keeping and money laundering.

On 16 September 2009, Ms Morris dialed 999 when two identifiable men, one who appeared to have a sawn-off shotgun up his sleeve, barged into a flat used by her escort agency, threw petrol around and threatened to torch the place.  Anxious to protect the women who work for the agency, Ms Morris innocently helped the police investigation.  Since then, the investigation against the dangerous men has been dropped, but Ms Morris is being prosecuted.  Ms Morris gave the Surrey Police information on the understanding that it was needed to pursue the attackers; she was never at any point cautioned that what she was telling the police would be used as evidence against her, and without it they would have no evidence whatsoever.  If the judge rules that there has been no abuse of process, Ms Morris will instead ask the court to exclude evidence obtained from her at any proceedings which result from the incident.

Ms Morris’ solicitor Nigel Richardson wrote to Surrey Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to ask for the prosecution to be dropped as it is “completely contrary to the stated aims of trying to improve the safety of sex workers” and that “it is hard to see how a prosecution in this case can do anything but . . . make would-be attackers more confident in their actions and increase the dangers for working women. . . the prosecution of this offence is likely to directly discourage the reporting of crimes against potentially vulnerable women and thus increase risks to their safety.”

It is possible that profiteering by Surrey Police and CPS is behind this and other recent prosecutions; under the “Proceeds of Crime” law the police keep 50% of assets confiscated during raids and 25% from subsequent prosecutions, with the CPS keeping another 25% and the Inland Revenue the rest.  Ms Morris’s home and life savings have been frozen pending confiscation if she is found guilty.

Most Americans know that the federal government has given itself the power to steal the property of those accused of drug offenses, but the parent nation has exceeded its offspring in the tyranny department twofold:  Once, by extending license for larceny on the excuse of any “crime” (rather than limiting it to drug “crimes”); and Twice, by giving the power directly to the police so they can more easily case potential victims and thereby concentrate on the fattest.  After all, we couldn’t have the Surrey Police chasing hooligans who are very likely poor when they could instead rob a reasonably well-off madam, now could we?

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