Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Trafficking Everywhere!’

Removing all references to sex trafficking will hurt our ability to grab reporters’ attention.  –  Sydney Asbury of “Demand Abolition”

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn 

It’s been a long time since I’ve used this heading, but an even longer time since we’ve seen anything like this:

…lifelong civil rights attorney Larry Krasner was elected in a landslide…to become the new district attorney of Philadelphia…and…He’s doing something I’ve never quite seen before in present-day politics…keeping his word…In his first week on the job, he fired 31 prosecutors…because they weren’t committed to the changes he intended to make…Next, Krasner…release[d] a list of 29 [bad cops]…that…had lied…filed false reports, used excessive force, driven drunk, and burgled…but nothing is as essential and revolutionary as the internal five-page guiding document of new policies that Krasner sent to his staff…The first sentence says it all:  “These policies are an effort to end mass incarcerations and bring balance back to sentencing”…Krasner immediately instructs prosecutors to stop prosecuting marijuana possession regardless of the weight…[and] to stop charging …with any paraphernalia crimes…to stop charging sex workers that have fewer than three convictions with any crime and drop all current cases against sex workers who also fit that description.  All sex workers with three or more convictions are to be referred to Dawn Court…a…diversion…program created in 2010…Krasner instructed prosecutors to stop the wide-ranging practice of beginning plea deals with the highest possible sentencing and instead, begin those plea deals at the bottom end of the available range…Krasner instructed his prosecutors to now add up and justify the exact costs of every single person sentenced to a crime in Philadelphia…Stating that it costs between $42,000 and $60,000 per year to incarcerate a person, he reminded the prosecutors that the…annual cost of incarceration…is…more per year than the beginning salary of teachers, police officers, firefighters, social workers, addiction counselors, and even prosecutors in his office…

Pyrrhic Victory

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

In at least four investigations last year…Raleigh [North Carolina] police used search warrants to demand Google accounts not of specific suspects, but from any mobile devices that veered too close to the scene of a crime…These warrants often prevent the technology giant for months from disclosing information about the searches not just to potential suspects, but to any users swept up in the search…[“authorities” pretend] the practice is a natural evolution of criminal investigative techniques.  They [lie] that, by seeking search warrants, they’re carefully balancing civil rights with public safety [because most of the public is too stupid to know about the horrible “third-party doctrine”].  Defense attorneys and privacy advocates…are…[concerned about] how law enforcement turns to Google’s massive cache of user data, especially without a clear target in mind.  And they’re concerned about the potential to snag innocent users, many of whom might not know just how closely the company tracks their every move…

Under Duress 

The New York Times finally discovers what marginalized people have always known:

An investigation by The New York Times has found that on more than 25 occasions since January 2015, judges or prosecutors determined that a key aspect of a New York City [cop’s] testimony was…untrue…[they lie] about the whereabouts of guns…They…barge…into apartments and conduct…searches, only to testify otherwise later… they…give…firsthand accounts of crimes or arrests that they did not in fact witness…No detail, seemingly, is too minor to embellish…In many instances, the motive for lying was…to skirt constitutional restrictions against unreasonable searches and stops.  In other cases, the falsehoods appear aimed at convicting people…with trumped-up evidence…

Bogeymen

Read this ludicrous exercise in pearl-clutching, then the item under the same heading two items down:

…illicit prostitution businesses are thriving in a surprising place: the legitimate corporate world.  And, we’ve found that the inequities of that world…contribute to that sex trade…we interviewed 44 pimps…in Chicago…fewer than half…fit the pop culture stereotype of a pimp.  The other half did not: a full third had four-year college degrees, primarily in business administration…and most…were white.  In addition to their pimping work, nearly half worked in legitimate companies, not in massage parlors or erotica businesses…these illegal businesses grew directly from the misogynistic culture of the legitimate ones that housed them.  Some became pimps after learning of demand for paid sex through informal bantering about sexual conquests over lunch or beers with the bros.  Half of the pimps started out as customers of sex workers, and several arranged “entertainment” for business clients as part of their job…

Huffington Post needs to exercise more diligence on its contributors; these two fantasists [44 interviews of self-proclaimed “pimps” in one city is not anything like a representative sample] have been recycling this same bogeyman tale on the strength of their supposed academic credentials for years.

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere! (#314)

The only sex workers exploited in New Zealand are those who were intentionally excluded from decriminalization in order to appease prohibitionists:

Migrant prostitutes working illegally on temporary visas are “terrified” they will be deported if they report exploitative pimps and abusive clients…In the past year, 136 migrants suspected of coming here to carry out sex work were denied entry into New Zealand…Sex work is the only occupation migrants on temporary visas are not legally allowed to take up…However, migrants who have entered the country on temporary work, visitor, holiday or international student visas and work as prostitutes are being forced to carry out sexual acts without protection and often work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week…They would not speak to police because they would be deported…

Bogeymen (#317)

I’m glad to see Bruckert has expanded her study into a book:

“The sex industry, like mainstream businesses, rarely depends exclusively on clients and workers to operate efficiently and safely,” professor Chris Bruckert [said]…”Contrary to prevailing stereotypes that portray third parties [like pimps] as inherently abusive and controlling, these workers fulfill important roles and provide vital services.”  Bruckert and her team of researchers conducted interviews with 75 pimps — or “third-party” workers, as she prefers to call them — as well as 52 sex workers for her new book Getting Past ‘the Pimp’: Management in the Sex Industry…Bruckert said little research has been conducted on the role of pimps in the industry, adding that many people’s opinions are based on stereotypes…Most of the third-party workers Bruckert’s team spoke to were women — both surprising and understandable, she said, since the industry is female-dominated and the line between sex work and management is thin…

Torture Chamber

The PREA is just feel-good nonsense as long as screws have absolute power over their victims:

…the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)…frequently fails to either address or eliminate sexual abuse.  In jails and prisons across the country, incarcerated people are subject to sexual harassment, abuse and assault, frequently at the hands of staff.  If they report these assaults, they risk retaliation, including greater violence…”Prisons are the worst distillation of toxic masculinity,” said Alan Mills [of the Uptown People’s Law Center (UPLC)]…”It’s all about inflicting punishment on people.  It’s about the use of force in order to force compliance to an arbitrary set of rules.  It’s about dehumanizing people.  It’s not surprising that this translates to harassment and abuse”…

Business As Usual

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

Sex workers in South Africa will be arrested at least four times and will spend an average of 40 hours in custody if they are charged…one third of sex worker arrests never make it to a police station or courthouse‚ instead often ending in sex workers being abused by police or forced to pay bribes.  These were just some of the findings of The Policing of Sex Work In South Africa survey compiled by NGO’s Sonke Gender Justice and the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)…Advocacy officer at Sonke Donna Evans said that the most shocking thing to emerge from the report was the extreme levels of violence at the hands of police that were reported by sex workers.  “They were extremely disturbing and included incidents of torture‚ assault‚ rape and even permanent disability‚” Evans said…

Original Sin (#762) 

I guess this makes sense coming from a man who imagines condoms to be weapons of mass destruction:

Pope Francis asked forgiveness…for all Christians who buy sex from women, saying men who frequent prostitutes are criminals with a “sick mentality” who think that women exist to be exploited.  “This isn’t making love.  This is torturing a woman.  Let’s not confuse the terms,” Francis insisted…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#795)

At least Wyoming had the sense to vote this nonsense down:

A Wyoming bill that would have recognized porn as a “public health crisis” failed in the 2018 session of the state Legislature…HJ1 was typical of various “public health crisis” bills that have made their way across the nation.  Wyoming’s bill, introduced by…Lars O. Lone, would have made official language stating porn increases the demand for sex trafficking, impacts brain development and functioning, diminishes the interest of young men in getting married and creates infidelity, among other [evidence-free] statements.  Another porn bill…sponsored by Lone, failed to win support, as well.  HB 127 would have ordered the installation of porn blocking software on all computers sold in the state to prevent the viewing of “obscene” material as defined by the state Attorney General’s office…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#811) 

SAVE THE TOASTERS!!!!

French activists are campaigning to shut down a new “sex doll brothel” on the grounds that it degrades women—and silicone.  Or something…Xdolls is registered as a gaming center, which makes sense if you consider doll-sex a form of escapist make-believe or wish-fullfilment akin to playing Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto.  But Paris Council communists and other activists argue that Xdolls amounts to a brothel, which are illegal in France.  Nicolas Bonnet Oulaldj, head of the Paris council’s communist group…compared the business to “prostitution” and the owner to “a pimp.”  Sounds like someone just started watching Westworld.  The rhetoric only gets more extreme from there.  Lorraine Questiaux, spokesperson for the anti-sex work organization Mouvement du Nid…[said] “It’s a place…where you rape a woman”…You can’t rape a non-sentient silicone doll any more than you can rape a vibrator or a Fleshlight…but apparently not even lifeless dolls are immune to…rescue attempts…

I’m so glad Tracy Clark-Flory is writing again; I’ve missed her good sense.

Disaster

The fallout will continue until there’s some legal action against this horrific law:

…SESTA’s passage by the U.S. Senate has had an immediate chilling effect on those working in the adult industry…stories of a fallout are being heard, with adult performers finding their content being flagged and blocked…escort site [Cityvibe]…suddenly becoming “not available,” Craigslist shutting down its “personals” sections and Reddit closing down some of its communities, among other tales.  SESTA…targets scores of adult sites that consensual sex workers use to advertise their work.  And now, before SESTA reaches President Trump’s desk for his guaranteed signature, those sites are scrambling to prevent themselves from being charged under sex trafficking laws.  “It’s not surprising that we’re seeing an immediate chilling effect on protected speech,” industry attorney Lawrence Walters [said]…”This was predicted as the likely impact of the bill, as online intermediaries over-censor content in the attempt to mitigate their own risks.  The damage to the First Amendment appears palpable”…

Too Close To Home (#823)

It’s great to see a spotlight on this ugly scheme to sell human lives to a sociopathic billionaire:

There is no mention in [propaganda about Seattle’s high-profile sex work stings] of the fact that [prosecutor Val] Richey’s work was handsomely supported by Demand Abolition, a nonprofit group whose stated mission is to end demand for sex work by going after buyers, or that the cost of some of his travels around the country has been defrayed by the same group.  Nor is there any mention of the fact that Demand Abolition, in exchange for providing approximately $191,667 in funding to the King County prosecutor’s office over four years, asked Seattle-area law enforcement to carry out regular arrests and prosecutions of buyers…As part of signed agreements for the funding, Richey and other law enforcement officials in King County were required to frame the activities of sex buyers and men involved with The Review Board as sex trafficking…even though there was no evidence of trafficking…and…none of the men arrested…were charged with trafficking — only with promoting prostitution…

Read Full Post »

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

Advice for Clients

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

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

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

Jezebel 

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

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

Rooted in Racism

Hmmm, I wonder why they accused this particular restaurateur?

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

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere!

Prohibitionists are desperate to make New Zealand look bad:

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

The Prudish Giant

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

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

Law of the Instrument (#560)

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

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

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

An Example To the West (#582) 

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

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

Check Your Premises (#773) 

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

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

Lower Education (#773)

Anti-sex crusaders love their pseudoscience:

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

The Mote and the Beam (#774)

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

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

Read Full Post »

Sex workers have very special qualities.  They are skilled at giving pleasure in whatever way is required.  –  Tuppy Owens

All Shapes and Sizes

Why don’t journalists actually read what they’re writing about?

…In a study of 105 heterosexual Australian women, flaccid penis size, height, and shoulder-to-hip ratio all affected the women’s attractiveness ratings of life-size, computer-generated male figures…The penis effect was so strong that that the study’s authors…[theorized] that it may have driven the evolution of bigger penises in humans…Shoulder-to-hip ratio mattered the most, while both penis size and height mattered about the same amount…there were diminishing returns for everything.  That is, how much more attractiveness the figures gained for added height, penis size and shoulder-to-hip ratio decreased as those traits increased.  So the attractiveness difference between at 6’1″ man and a 6’2″ man is less than the difference between a 5’1″ man and a 5’2″ man.  For penis size, the dropoff in attractiveness gains started at about 7.6 centimeters, or three inches…

In other words, the study doesn’t show that most women are attracted to really big cocks; it shows that they tend to find really small ones unattractive, which isn’t at all the same thing.  And BTB, the theory that the comparatively-large human penis is a product of artificial selection is not remotely new; it’s also probable that the same process resulted in human women having prominent tits when we aren’t pregnant or nursing.

License To Rape

A small-town North Carolina cop raped a 13-year-old girl while on duty, and the town hired him without any…screening after he had raped an 11-year-old…Jaymin Lenwood Murphy was sentenced in December 2010 to 41 years in prison for sexual offenses against the two girls…The [13-year-old, who is suing the town]…says that Murphy “threatened her mother and herself with jail” so she “was too terrified…to report it to anyone”…

A War for Peace

Femen demonstrates how deeply it cares about women by physically attacking them at work:

I’ve previously pointed out Femen’s deep hypocrisy in claiming that it’s noble for a woman to use her sexuality for politics, but not as a means of earning a living.  But it’s actually worse than that:  “Each new recruit…has to show off her breasts to audition for the role…each member’s salary allegedly comes to around $1,000…”  In other words, they’re paid for using their sexuality; they’re sex workers dedicated to stopping other women from doing sex work.

Against Their Will

Yesterday, Pak Kret police found the bodies of two girls floating near a pier in front of Kredtrakarn Protection and Occupational Development Center…the…girls…reportedly attempted to escape the Center by swimming across the Chao Phraya River…”  What this story does not make clear is that this was actually a prison for girls “rescued” from sex work, which explains why they were desperate to escape despite the absurd claims of “authorities”.

The Crumbling Dam

Joyce Arthur of FIRST shows what an anti-criminalization article by a non-sex worker should look like:

Within the next year, our Supreme Court may very well strike down Canada’s prostitution laws as unconstitutional because they place sex workers at risk of violence and abuse.  Are we ready for full decriminalization?  Or will society’s fear of the legal vacuum lead to a panicked rush to pass new legislation to criminalize or control sex work?  Most people know little or nothing about actual sex workers…because they’ve been fed negative and false stereotypes from movies and TV, sensationalistic news stories, “do-gooder” organizations that purport to rescue trafficked sex slaves, and various self-appointed “experts” whose views are informed mostly by shoddy research and propaganda.  The true experts on sex work have been speaking out more and more, however, and people are finally starting to listen to them…

The Course of a Disease

The Swedish rot reaches South America:

…the Argentine Congress started discussing…[a bill] to penalize anyone who buys sex…regardless of whether the person providing the sex is a consenting adult…No one would contest that actual sex trafficking is a problem in Argentina and that something should be done about it…

SexWorker Open UniversityJust call me nobody, then.  Coercion into commercial sex is rare everywhere, and the rare individuals who are so victimized aren’t helped by wrongheaded “something should be done” legislation.  Meanwhile, half a world away, the Scottish Trade Union Conference decided to screw a sex worker outreach event called “Sex Worker Open University” by cancelling the facilities it had agreed to provide at (almost literally) the last minute:

…the Scottish Trades Union conference…issued this statement:  “…the specific title of the event…was…“The Scottish Context:  Opposing Criminalisation of Clients”…a number of individuals and organisations contacted us to ask why we were taking this view…[which] is diametrically opposed to the position STUC…reached as a consequence of its democratic process…”  This suggests that a public meeting was somehow hidden, or that SWOU attempted to keep this information private…If a LGBTQ group wants to hold an event and homophobic groups phone to complain will they cancel the booking?  If a Muslim group hosts [an] event and…Islamaphobes demonstrate will the STUC refuse to offer support and solidarity?  Will their position always be with the oppressors rather than the oppressed?…[and] why does the STUC have a position that is against the best interests of the workers?  They say it was democratically reached but it was not voted for by the full membership, nor were the workers who would be effected consulted…

A False Dichotomy (TW3 #8)

Runaway maids are turning to prostitution in order to support themselves during their illegal stay in…Sharjah…518 prostitution cases and 10 human trafficking cases were recorded…[in the emirate]…in 2012.  Absconding maids topped the prostitution cases…[but] some…came to the country on a visit visa…to work illegally in the sex worker industry…

Handy Figures (TW3 #17)

As I’ve pointed out before, the tendency of recent studies to “find” that impossibly-low numbers of men hire whores has a lot more to do with social stigma and poor question phrasing than with reality; the General Social Survey‘s claim that only 14% of American men have ever paid for sex could only be true if the number of sex workers were a tenth what it is and we each only had two clients per week!  But though I respectfully disagree with Dr. Milrod about that survey’s data being credible, I have no respect for those who technically agree with me not because of logic or experience, but because the finding contradicts “trafficking” dogma!

Naked Truth

Laura Lee in the Independent on why the Swedish model is a bad idea:

…Rhoda Grant…is pushing…this measure because she believes that prostitution is…inherently harmful and dangerous.  I know from years of experience that for the vast majority of sex workers…that simply isn’t true…they made an informed choice to enter the industry and enjoy their work…Grant [stated] in…Glasgow Evening Times  [that] “People that use prostitutes are people who would rape and abuse.”  Not only is that statement false, it is also offensive in the extreme to every client I have ever met…the solution to the protection of those in the sex industry is complete decriminalisation …any further criminalisation of the sex industry will cost lives.

The Young and the Brainless

Judgy Bitch’s excellent take on the “teen girl pimp” case:

…some newbie traffickers scouted and groomed vulnerable girls on social media sites, lured them to a rough part of town, stripped them naked, took nude photos and then blackmailed the young victims into working as escorts.  And then took their money.  The girls who resisted were physically beaten.  The traffickers?  Two fifteen year old girls, and one sixteen year old girl…It doesn’t appear that any men, let alone black men, were involved on the pimping side of the equation in Ottawa, but that hasn’t stopped the media from trying to associate any instance of pimping with black men…and…who stepped in to help the girls being victimized?  Who took a stand and put a stop to what was going on?…Yeah, that would be the johns.  Men called up an escort service, looking for sex in exchange for money, and when they realized the girls were desperately underage and deeply emotionally upset, they intervened.  In [two cases] the john drove the young girl home…In a third case, the john flat out refused to have sexual contact with someone who was clearly a minor…

Mark LancasterOne Born Every Minute (TW3 #51)

Remember Mark Lancaster, the guy who tried to trick naïve coeds into having sex with him as a supposed “audition” for a sugar daddy referral service?  He’s being charged with…wait for it…”sex trafficking”.  Add that to your list of bizarre uses for this ever-expanding umbrella term.

Skin To Skin

It’s wonderful to see so many articles arguing that disabled people have the right to see sex workers  even if prohibitionists are upset by the idea:

A forthcoming Channel 4 documentary, Can Have Sex Will Have Sex…has been labelled “controversial“, but many mothers call the sex and disability helpline, which I run, worried that their disabled son is physically unable to masturbate and desperately needs an outlet…I really love the idea of sex workers giving disabled people the chance to be touched in a non-medical way, perhaps for the first time in their lives, to be held in a warm pair of arms and have their sexual dreams respected and lived out.

Number Puzzle

Another prohibitionist screed masquerading as reasoned argument is debunked by Feminist Ire:

In early March…the Huffington Post published…“Debunking The Myths: Why Legalising Prostitution Is A Terrible Idea”…by Jacqui Hunt, London director of Equality Now…despite its title, its scope is not limited to legalisation:  she believes decriminalisation is an equally bad idea.  At first glance, her article looks fairly reasonable and well researched, citing studies from various countries in which sex work has been legalised or decriminalised…[but] the ways in which…her claims have been made…undermine her credibility…because the primary source for her observations on New Zealand reveals a markedly different picture from the one she has chosen to paint, I’m given to feel that all of her claims ought to be thoroughly investigated…

Lack of Evidence (TW3 #314)

Clay Nikiforuk, the young woman harassed by US customs officials because they thought she was an escort, appears to “get it”:

There’s no doubt in my mind that one reason my story gained the attention it did was that it screamed “sexy” at every juncture…But another reason…is that…when bad things start happening to innocent, educated white people, they could happen to anyone — or rather, other privileged people…when sex and sexuality are criminalized, people are made illegal and their rights made moot…If I were a sex worker, I might have “deserved” the treatment I received, or my detainment might have “made sense.”  If I were from a minority group or were not as educated in the English language, my story might not have provoked the shock and outrage that it did.  And rather than receiving the reaction “That should never happen to anyone,” often the reaction I still get is “That should never have happened to you”…

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere! (TW3 #314)

What a sane, agenda-free sex work study looks like:

Migrant prostitutes…are in the sex trade for the money…research…in New Zealand has found…Catherine Healy…said…”The findings suggests there are no signs that migrant sex workers here are victims of trafficking” [despite US claims]…

57%: On student, work or visitor visa
86%: From Asia
26%: Came to New Zealand “to study”
35%: Knew someone living here
76%: Did sex work to pay household bills
5%: Could not refuse clients and did not have access to their passports

In other words, only 5% of migrant whores (themselves a minority of the sex worker population) could be described as “coerced” in any valid way.

Terrilyn MonetteThe Widening Gyre (TW3 #314)

All over Lakeview, you’ll find signs asking people to be on the lookout for missing teacher Terrilyn Monette…[rumors claim] that the Russian Mafia moved into New Orleans shortly before the Super Bowl…to abduct women for human trafficking…NOPD…is trying to squelch the rumor…

If the NOPD didn’t want a stupid “sex trafficking” panic, it shouldn’t have participated in spreading one.

Read Full Post »

There are people who believe that migrant women who sell sex need to be saved; that they must want to go home; that they must want another job and they have 200-year-old ideas about what those jobs should be.  –
Laura Agustín

Carmine InfantinoR.I.P. Carmine Infantino

My favorite comic book artist of all time has passed away at the age of 87.  It’s impossible to overstate his influence on the industry, nor how iconic his style was for those of us who grew up with Silver Age comics.  If you’re unfamiliar with his work, take a moment to look at this portrait of one of my favorite heroines and this 8-page story (written by Gardner Fox).

Anatomy of a Boondoggle

Cops do this all the time, but Pittsburgh-area cops are especially shameless:

Homestead Officer Ronald DePellegrin, 48, admits that he allowed Diana Gross, 26, to give him oral sex before he informed her that he was actually a cop…attorney…Michael Waltman…says DePellegrin’s conduct is unacceptable…”The police…are engaging in the exact type of…activity that they’re…[allegedly] trying to protect the community from”…

Lack of Evidence

You know how I keep pointing out that prostitution laws harm all women?

What do you do when you’re detained by powerful officials, everything you say is presumed deceptive, arbitrary “evidence” is held against you, and you’re treated like a moral deviant?…It happened three times in two weeks — being detained by U.S. border officials…my…“sexy underwear” were mentioned…[and my] condoms…were looked upon scathingly…[one official told me] that adultery was a crime in America — a crime that he could deny me entry for…I was detained, yelled at, patted down, fingerprinted, interrogated, searched, moved from room to room…without food, water or being told what was going on…

The Pro-Rape Coalition

Furry Girl explains how laws supposedly intended to “protect children” were really intended to harass the porn industry:

…”2257″ is shorthand for the…irritatingly-named Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act…when you appear in adult productions in the US, you as the performer/model must give the production company/photographer two forms of identification and sign…paperwork promising that you are over 18…fake IDs [exist]…and any contract a minor signs is void anyway [so this]…doesn’t do a thing to guarantee age…Any random person can search for companies reselling and licensing adult content, and with a purchase, buy performer’s legal names, social security numbers, and addresses…a determined stalker can comb through enough adult content resellers and have a good shot at finding their target…Independent pornographers…have to choose between a fear of federal prosecutions and prison time…and a fear of…stalkers coming to our homes to rape or assault us…

Subnormality #138 (Possible Future Salvage)Where Are the Victims?

A man convicted of crimes related to promoting prostitution was sentenced…to…eight years in prison.  Kevin J. Barker…had about 35 women working for him…Barker would get $80 and women would get $80 per call and…anything after that was negotiable…

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere!

One of the few concessions New Zealand has made to “sex trafficking” hysteria (and one of the few things that keep it from absolute decriminalization) is its ban on international students in sex work.  Of course this creates a bottleneck which leads, predictably, to the very type of exploitation the law is supposedly intended to prevent.  The New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective of course understands this and is calling on the government to end the restriction; Catherine Healy explains:

Just recently I was dealing with a case of a young woman who…had gone into this agreement with a brothel operator who said…I’ll look after your money until you need it to pay for your student fees, and of course when that time arrived, the money wasn’t handed over…She couldn’t stomp off to the police, she couldn’t talk to…the university, so really…the law…contributed to her exploitation…back in 2003…the then minister of immigration had hatched this dopey clause in the 11th hour, and we said look, this will have the opposite effect of what you’re intending…

None So Blind

Funny how religious fanatics are always ready to make convenient exceptions:

A Kuwaiti woman who once ran for parliament  has called for sex slavery to be legalized – and suggested that non-Muslim  prisoners from war-torn countries would make suitable concubines.  Salwa al Mutairi argued buying a sex-slave would protect decent, devout and “virile” Kuwaiti men from adultery because  buying an imported sex partner would be tantamount to marriage…[she] even suggested that it would be…better…for women in warring countries as they might die of starvation…offices could be opened to run the sex trade in the same way that recruitment agencies provide  housemaids…

To sum up:  prostitution under individual control = sin.  Compulsory prostitution under government control = good.

Counterfeit Comfort

…If Governor Bryant [of Mississippi] signs “Lenora’s Law,” sex offenders who violate the state’s registry system will wear a GPS tracking device…[the law] also [extends] the residence buffer for sex offenders to 3,000 feet from a school…”These are people who have proven they won’t obey the law,” said [bill sponsor Will] Longwitz.  “Now…we will know where sex offenders are at all times, and can prevent them from striking again”…

No, these are usually people who can’t obey the law because its requirements have become increasingly-difficult to comply with:

Michael Byars’ effort to modify [Iowa] sex offender laws was a case study for effective citizen activism…until…he was arrested and fired from his job…[because] he didn’t update the state sex offender registry to reflect his voluntary, unpaid and, so far, largely successful attempt to persuade lawmakers to change the law…Byars…was convicted in 2008 of lascivious acts with a child…[for] a short, consensual relationship with a 13-year-old high school freshman while he was an 18-year-old high school senior.  The conviction…saddled him with a lifetime…sentence that requires him to check in regularly with a parole officer and stringently limits his interaction with children, including his own son…

24-year-old Byars was such an amazingly successful lobbyist that an opponent called the cops, claiming that his advocacy is a “job” and demanding he be arrested for failing to register it (despite the fact that when he tried to do so he was told it was unnecessary).  The cops were of course happy to comply, because we can’t have those dirty girlfriend-daters demanding their rights.

Naked Truth

Via Reason TV, Tracy Quan speaks with Shereen El Feki in “Sex and the Citadel: Does the Arab Spring need a Summer of Love?

The Widening Gyre

Observable fact:  16-year-old leaves home.  Conclusion: sex trafficking!

…Vancouver police are investigating the disappearance of 16-year-old Isabella Castillo, and her family…thinks she’s caught up in sex trafficking because one of her friends told them they’d seen her around with another girl who is known in the local sex-trafficking world.  That girl is used by sex traffickers to recruit other girls by befriending them.  She then lures them in, grooms them and gets them to run away.  The girls are never heard from again…

“The local sex trafficking world?”  Was it really necessary for cops and fanatics to fill the family’s head full of this kind of nonsense?  Young women don’t leave home because they’re induced to run away by “traffickers”; they leave because home has become intolerable for some reason, often sexual abuse.  And if they enter the sex trade it’s because the laws have made that their only means of support, not because they’re “trafficked”.

Zimbabwe

I wish I had all the magical powers Zimbabwean harlots do:

A prostitute in Bulowayo, Zimbabwe…[apparently] died during an encounter with a customer…[but] came back to life just as officials placed her in a metal coffin…she suddenly woke up in a panic screaming, “You want to kill me!” at the officers…Seeing a woman presumed to be dead spring back to life shocked onlookers, many of whom ran away in fear…

The More the Better (TW3 #32)

Apparently the word “legal” is not part of this reporter’s vocabulary: “Vicksburg [Mississippi] mayoral candidate Linda Fondren and her husband once owned a [brothel] in Nevada…it’s not clear…if the Fondrens are still involved…[and] Linda…denies she ever was…”  After the actual evidence, the fact that Mr. Fondren once publicly defended adults’ right to have consensual sex with other people is presented (presumably on the “only a witch…” principle).

Monkey Business

…chimpanzees…have the ability to “think about thinking”…according to new research…researchers…required them to…name what food was hidden in a location…chimpanzees named items immediately and directly when they knew what was there, but…Laura Agustinsought out more information before naming when they did not already know…

The Naked Anthropologist

Dr. Laura Agustín is currently in Ireland (speaking at the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair today), and gave this short interview about “trafficking” hysteria and related prohibitionist schemes.

Change of Heart (TW3 #41)

Alexis Wright…has reached a plea deal with prosecutors in the Kennebunk prostitution case…[agreeing] to plead guilty to theft, tax evasion and prostitution…clients…who have been charged so far include a former mayor, a…hockey coach, a minister, a lawyer and a firefighter…

No Other Option (TW3 #132)

Another interview (this one in Reveal) with Becky Adams about her plans for a brothel for the disabled:  “More than 700 people have already agreed to work for a reduced price…’We’re expecting the local council to object, but we are prepared to take the argument all the way to the European Court of Human Rights‘”…

Dutch Threat

A similar prohibitionist deception from a decade ago:

[In November 2000]…a Swedish radical feminist named Alexa Wolf…showed her “documentary”…Shocking Truth…[which]…shows what seems to be a rape scene…Wolf…[slowed] down the film making it appear as the woman was helpless and drugged…[thus creating] a moral panic…The pay per view-channels promised that there would be no “violent porn”…Video stores removed porn from the shelves.  57% of the Swedish population wanted to ban ALL porn…in conservative Norway we had more or less the same reaction…The woman seen “drugged and raped” in the film…is…award winning porn actress…Mila Shegol [who stated in an interview that] she was not on drugs, she was not raped, it was all acting, she actually took part in directing the scenes…she was not a suffering, oppressed or exploited woman, and she had no idea there had been made a documentary about her alleged rape…

A Broker in Pillage (TW3 #312)

Here’s that weird “pay back” euphemism again:  “A…brothel owner who made thousands exploiting vulnerable women was…ordered to pay back…£75,000 of his sordid gains within six months [or] he [will] be locked up for…two years…”  Because money gained via business is “sordid”, but that gained via extortion is “just”.

Birth of a Movement (TW3 #312)

Muslimah PrideThe French senate has voted to repeal a law banning ‘passive’ soliciting for sex… opponents said it put sex workers in a precarious situation…and…[led] to police abuse…

A War for Peace (TW3 #313)

Muslim women have launched a campaign to send a message to “sextremist” collective Femen.  “Muslimah Pride Day” was organised in response to Femen’s self-declared “Topless Jihad Day”, a day of topless protests around the world to support Tunisian Femen activist Amina Tyler

Under Every Bed

Montana lawmakers are looking at ways to prevent and punish human trafficking in response to reports of increased prostitution [among]…people who have come to find work in the Bakken oil boom…there is no actual proof that trafficking is a problem in Montana, said…Rep. Sarah Laszloffy…But without the language on the books…authorities [lack] the tools needed to track it…

And more importantly, the way to clean up on “trafficking” grants!  Already, selfless volunteers are working to make sure “authorities” have sufficient disinformation to block out real facts:

…Melissa Woodward…helps train law enforcement about how to spot a child that may have been sold into prostitution…”Does she have physical markings on her?  Tattoos that are often visible…things like wearing very provocative clothes…”

You heard it here first, kids!  Tattoos, sexy clothes and looking for work are all signs of “sex trafficking”!  If you see a woman with any of those telltale signs, call the cops immediately so she can be “rescued” into the nearest jail!

Read Full Post »

A man hears what he wants to hear/And disregards the rest.  –  Paul Simon, “The Boxer”

Several stories about “authorities” seeing and hearing exactly what they want to see and hear.

Give It a Rest

I guess the cops in Arlington, Texas aren’t satisfied with just going “booga-booga, I see you!” to escorts and shaming clients any more, especially since what they imagined would be their big chance to look like big shots fizzled exactly as I and other rational people predicted it would.  So now they’re resorting to harassing strippers and strip-club patrons instead:

Dozens of employees and patrons were arrested late Friday during a raid at the Flashdancer strip club.  In all, 44 people were arrested on narcotic warrants, charges of possession of controlled substances or outstanding felony or misdemeanor warrants, police spokeswoman Tiara Richard said…Richard said the location had a history of illegal drugs and prostitution.  Recently, undercover officers had been at the nightclub where they bought drugs from employees and saw prostitution, Richard said.  No arrests Friday were related to prostitution.  “Based on what they saw, there was a need to take action,” Richard said…

Don’t you just love Copese?  They “saw prostitution”; obviously their Super Police Vision allows them to see other abstractions such as “criminality” and “guilt” as well, which is why their testimony is so much more credible in court than that of us ordinary mortals who lack super powers.  Of course, that raises the question of why such gifted beings are wasting their time bullying strippers instead of pursuing international gangsters or something, but we’re not supposed to think about that.

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere!

The American desire to be the world’s moral arbiter, combined with its simple-minded view of reality, has resulted in its attempting to impose “trafficking” mythology on countries which have heretofore largely ignored this largely Euro-American moral panic.  Note the subtly sardonic tone of this July 24th story from New Zealand:

New Zealand is risking an American rebuke over one of this country’s pet aid projects, which brings hundreds of Pacific Islanders here to work for minimum wages picking fruit and grapes, warn high-level US sources.  Wellington sees the recognised seasonal employer scheme as charity, but Washington views it as verging on human trafficking and debt-bonded labour…Last week US Human Trafficking Ambassador Luis CdeBaca came with a delegation to talk with government officials, unions and lobby groups.  No statement followed, but sources say the Americans were alarmed at a lack of recognition of trafficking in New Zealand.  The Americans are investigating bonds used to bring minimum wage workers from Tonga, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.  “The burden of illegal costs and debts on these labourers in the source country, often with the support of labour agencies and employers in the destination country, can contribute to a situation of debt bondage,” a source said.

…The Americans also believe trafficking of sex workers – especially from Asia – is taking place.  But Catherine Healy of the Prostitutes Collective told them the collective does not believe this.  “We haven’t come across sex workers who are victims of trafficking yet,” she said, adding the word trafficking was “such a dramatic catch-all…What we are asking for is old-fashioned labour rights.  We explained that sometimes sex workers are made to work exceptionally long shifts and have their money withheld by some brothel operators.”  Healy said some managers and operators are “dreadful to work for” and the Department of Labour should deal with them.  The collective told the Americans it was pleased sex workers had the right to say yes to sex work and that this was getting rid of exploitation.  “[CdeBaca] acknowledged it was important to not conflate prostitution and trafficking, as has been our recent experience in dealing with the American administration and their overall response to sex work”…

I’ve heard several US government officials claim lately that they believe it’s important not to conflate prostitution with trafficking, yet they keep doing it both in this country and in others.  The success of decriminalization in New Zealand must drive prudish American officials bats.  But as for Americans chiding New Zealand about the use of migrant labor in harvesting crops…

{ring! ring! ring!}

“Hello?”

Hi, Kettle?  This is Pot.  You’re black.

Waking Up

It’s good to see so many educated people beginning to recognize the truth about sex work, though it’s rather sad to think so many of them (including the self-described “sexologist” who wrote this July 27th Huffington Post article) were ignorant enough to believe all the lies and stereotypes in the first place:

Think “sex worker,” and “affluent,” “educated,” and having a “strong family background” and “access to resources” are not the descriptors that come to mind.  But a University of Arkansas study recently found that many U.S. women joining the “high quality,” illegal prostitution market encompass all of those qualities…Far from desperately trying to fund their next drug high, childrearing expenses, or bills, they bare their wares for the very same reasons most people look for work — for money, stability, autonomy, and job satisfaction.  Such research joins a string of flabbergasting findings on who would consider joining the “world’s oldest profession.”  A British study, published in the journal Sex Education, found that 16.5% of undergraduates would consider sex work, with 93% pointing to money as the primary incentive.  Another Leeds University study, involving over 200 lap-dancers, reported that one in three participants engaged in such work to fund their schooling…a Berlin Studies Centre study has reported that one in three university students in Berlin would consider sex work as a way to pay for their education.  (It further found that over 29% of university students in Paris and 18.5% in Kiev would contemplate such.)  Some 4% of the 3,200 Berlin participants reported already having engaged in some type of sex work, like erotic dancing, Internet performances, or prostitution.  Researchers speculated that greater student workloads and higher fees have made sex work’s high hourly wages quite attractive.

While many people can’t wrap their head around a person’s desire to engage in sex work, this field’s potential to become your “average day job” changes depending on what the sexual exchanges involve.  With the term “sex work” encompassing a wide range of jobs, like erotic modeling, stripping, lap dancing, erotic massage, being a dominatrix, and webcam work, a person can make money doing ‘tamer’ activities than prostitution…Often involving zero physical contact, those sorts of jobs seem much less demeaning and threatening, hence, in some realms, become more socially acceptable.  These “artistic performers,” as they’ll often call themselves, often don’t feel victimized…

Dr. Fulbright, if you consider these findings “flabberga­sting” it’s because you were previously reading anti-sex work propaganda instead of talking to real women (which causes me to question your credibility as a sexologist).  For intelligen­t, educated women to choose sex work is nothing new; we’ve been doing it at least since ancient Sumer, and the Golden-Age Greek hetaerae and Renaissanc­e courtesans were the most educated, accomplish­ed women of their times.  The idea that sex work of any kind, even prostituti­on, is “demeaning and threatenin­g” exists largely in the minds of ignorant outsiders like yourself, not in the minds of the free adult women who make up the vast majority of our profession and always have.

If You Want Something Done Right…

The families of several of the women who were murdered by the Long Island Killer are (unsurprisingly) dissatisfied by the lackluster efforts of police, who (unsurprisingly) don’t appear too anxious to catch what appears to be a cop raping and murdering hookers.  So (as described in this July 30th article from CNN), they’ve decided to hire private detectives and to place Craigslist ads looking for information from other working girls who are too smart to trust cops; as Amber Costello’s sister put it, “I worked for a service when I was younger…We knew we had to protect ourselves. Police were not an option.”  Don’t expect CNN to understand this; they’re too busy pumping up their ratings by advocating further criminalization so more girls like Costello will be murdered in the future.

One Year Ago Today

The Empress Theodora” is a short biography of the woman who was inarguably the most successful whore of all time; she rose to become a Byzantine empress in life, and an Eastern Orthodox saint after her death.

Read Full Post »