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Posts Tagged ‘True Colors’

Project ROSE is a diversion program like a person who pushes ten people onto the train tracks and pulls three off is a hero.  –  Ryan Beck Turner

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

It’s especially satisfying when a vice cop is the victim:

…Denver police detective…Michael Ryan…[is under] investigation [for] solicitation of a prostitute…Ryan works in DPD’s Vice and Narcotics unit and was instrumental in the investigation that led to federal judge Edward Nottingham resigning in the face of accusations he had patronized prostitutes.  Ryan…also served on a human trafficking task force…

A False Dichotomy 

Another good essay from Belle Knox:

…The concept of the desperate exchange permeates discussions about sex work…People assume that my support for sex workers and porn is somehow invalidated because I chose to do porn for the money rather than for love.  They act as though this is some shocking victory for them because being a sex worker wasn’t my dream job…it now somehow reverts to being morally wrong, and I become another pitiable whore to be dismissed at leisure…of course I do porn for money.  It’s a job, not a summer retreat…The majority of people don’t work every day for fun; they do it because they want…something in exchange.  Do you honestly think that the people working at McDonald’s flipping burgers and responding to rude customers on a daily basis would come to work every day if they weren’t getting paid?  Moreover, do you think as a child their dream job was to do this?…

Rooted in Racism

Police in southern France have been accused of racism after asking local hotel owners to report the arrival of Eastern European guests, in a bid to crackdown on certain crimes like pimping…a national police union official [pretended]…”(It) would not violate the values of the Republic by advocating snitching…in the fight against pimping speed is essential”…French authorities have taken a hard line against the presence of Roma people from Romania and Bulgaria, repeatedly bulldozing their unsanctioned settlements and expelling them from France…

For more examples of “sex trafficking” and “the fight against prostitution” as excuses for racism and xenophobia, see here, here, here and here.

Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong

It takes a special kind of stupidity for a reporter to call for censorship:

Young girls are being sold online for sex…but not much is being done to stop…the most popular websites…Backpage.com…makes millions of dollars each month from “escort” and “body rub” listings.  Portland police…said it’s frustrating to know Backpage.com makes money off illegal activity, but if it went away, another similar site that is less cooperative with law enforcement would likely pop up…

Divided We Fall

when…Queer Strike “named and shamed” LGBTI organizations who they said were refusing to help decriminalize sex work in the [UK], the picture they gave was misleading…in most cases it simply wasn’t part of those organizations’ remits.  This is a particular issue under British charity law, which means they have to stick to their stated “charitable aims”…

Feet of Clay

I’m really pleased to see Reason doing a lot more on sex worker rights these days, and doubly glad to see “sex trafficking” in scare quotes:

…If you could put a date on when modern-day progressives fully re-inhabited the moral rigidity of their…forebears, it might be September 24, 2012.  That’s when Village Voice Media…split off…Backpage.com after a years-long, progressive-led campaign to shutter the site over claims that it facilitates “sex trafficking”.  “If street pimps go to jail for profiteering on under-age girls, should…Village Voice Media really get a pass?”  New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, the country’s most prominent progressive scold, wrote in a March 2012 column that blamed Backpage for the 2003 peddling of a 16-year-old prostitute, even though the site didn’t exist in 2003.  “Paradoxically, Village Voice began as an alternative newspaper to speak truth to power.  So it’s sad to see it accept business from pimps”…Kristof had the paradox almost exactly backward.  It is he and his fellow crusaders, not the buyers and sellers of controversial products and services, who are aggrandizing power at the expense of the little guy and mangling truth in the service of that unseemly goal…

True Colors

This title of this New Yorker article would seem to indicate a general piece about HIV in the American South, but it’s really much more about Deon Haywood, Women With a Vision and the arson which destroyed their offices on May 24th, 2012.  The responsible party was never caught, but here’s a clue:  the fire was started by piling up all the reproductive health models and posters in one room and setting them ablaze.

Think of the Children! (TW3 #23) Christy Mack

Sex rays can apparently enter one Lego construction and be randomly emitted from other Legos elsewhere, presumably via quantum tunneling:

[In January]…Christy Mack…tweeted [“Whoever builds me the best Lego creation to put in my house gets a blow job”]… The response on Twitter was enthusiastic, to say the least…Unfortunately for Mack’s fans, and toy store proprietors nationwide…the Lego challenge drew to an abrupt close…[when] lawyers for the company had contacted her, objecting to her usage of the Lego name…

Broken Record

They won’t stop until they extend the “gypsy whores” myth to every possible event:  “An undercover sting operation targeting prostitution and child sex trafficking netted five arrests in Augusta [Georgia]…because of the Masters Golf Tournament…

Another Example of Swedish “Feminism” (TW3 #36)

Who cares that a woman was stabbed?  The sadfeelz of naïve prudes are much more newsworthy!

Hookers are using…Airbnb…to turn prime Manhattan apartments into temporary brothels…One apartment…belongs to publicist Jessica Penzari…But when a hooker got slashed by a client in the…apartment over the price…Penzari got a call from cops…Airbnb put her up in the swanky InterContinental hotel in Times Square for two nights…and also paid to change her door locks, clean her apartment and replace her pillows and other belongings…Airbnb said…“we have zero tolerance for this activity”…

According to the Post, having a snack at your desk is “turning prime office space into a temporary restaurant”.

Under Every Bed

The underworld of prostitution and human trafficking is a dark one, often hidden from the public eye, but it exists in [Alabama] a lot more than one may think…”We used to be just a pass through state,” said Pat McCay with the Madison County Human Trafficking Task Force.  “They would come from Atlanta to Memphis…Now they are staying”…

The event which sparked all this portentous talk of vast criminal cartels?  A cop arrested a massage girl.  Of course the reporter has to get the usual self-important bile from a “legitimate” masseuse.

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #314) 

As the days pass with no sign of [missing 8-year-old] Relisha [Rudd], some…believe she may have been sold into a child sex trafficking operation.  They point to the wads of cash and expensive items Relisha’s mother and boyfriend flaunted on Facebook in the days following the little girl’s disappearance…Andrea Powell…of FAIR Girls…says, “There’s kids as young as 5, 6, 7.”  The average age of entry into this dark and devastating underworld is 13…Relisha RuddIn Washington, D.C. alone, the trafficking of children is a $100-million industry…

Given that the population of the Washington metro area is 5.8 million, that would make the “trafficking of children” worth over $5 billion in the US as a whole.  The level of mathematical illiteracy required to believe such a blatant absurdity constitutes a national crisis vastly greater than “sex trafficking” could ever be.

I Saw My Brain

Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, Fla…brought felony charges…in October 2013 against two girls, 12 and 14, after the suicide a month earlier of a third girl, Rebecca Sedwick…[Judd] charged the two girls, Katelyn Roman and Guadalupe Shaw, with aggravated stalking and released their names and mugshots…He made it sound like they posed an urgent risk…A month later, prosecutors dropped the charges after…failing to find evidence of [Judd’s claims]…Judd’s tendency to overdo it isn’t news to the voters who elected him…a…suspect [was shot]…68 times…he boasted of arresting a man for running an Internet pornography site out of his home…[he] took the basketball hoops out of the local jail and stopped supplying inmates with underwear…[he uses] pepper spray on detained juveniles

Micromanagement

Is there anything more worthless than an “authority’s” promise?

French investigators began taking DNA samples…from 527 male students and staff at a high school…as they searched for the assailant who raped a teenage girl on the closed campus…All those who received summonses…were warned that any refusal could land them in police custody…Authorities have promised to discard the DNA collected once a donor is eliminated as a suspect…

One Born Every Minute (TW3 #338)

A French fundamentalist priest repeatedly raped three teachers at the school he ran in…Paris during so-called exorcisms…[he] was indicted this week on charges of rape, cruelty and torture…he had first raped one teacher during an exorcism to purge her of the “evil” from a previous sexual assault…[then] used his “spiritual influence” to convince two [others]…to undergo similar exorcisms…[which included torture with] a broom, a toothbrush and scissors…Police became involved only last year when two of the women reported the rapes to authorities…[but] several years ago the…society of St. Pius X tried him in a religious hearing and sentenced him to two years in a monastery…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #343)

A strong criticism of the ethical bankruptcy of Project ROSE from academics studying “human trafficking”:

This program is ostensibly designed to “rescue” victims…of sexual exploitation, yet there is no form of victim identification at any point in the process.  Rather than attempting to assess whether someone is being coerced…they threaten the arrested person with prosecution…If sex trafficking victims/survivors do not meet the “perfect victim” criteria and are convicted, they will face mandatory minimum sentencing in Arizona’s particularly brutal prison system…It…bears little resemblance to anything that could be considered an anti-sex trafficking program…and…is a tragically absurd version of a “diversion” program.  Instead of keeping people out of the criminal justice system, it sweeps them up and funnels them in…Project ROSE is responsible for at least 100 percent more incarcerations than “diversions”…ASU social workers…are acting like colonial missionaries – they offer to “save” the sex workers they perceive as helpless and damaged, but should [they] not gratefully accept…“help,” then armed…men are at the ready – “for their own good.”

Crumbling House

We are aware of certain allegations that have surfaced…regarding Somaly’s history…We are treating these accusations with the utmost seriousness…the Foundation has recently launched an independent, third party investigation to further examine these claims …

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #349)

According to STRASS, sex workers are increasingly marginalized and insecure since the parliamentary debate on the criminalization of clients…attacks against prostitutes have increased…On the night of March 31…a Chinese prostitute was stabbed to death…“Her assailant was known to be a bad customer so she would have refused him if she had the means.  But she had been unable to work for several days, due to constant police operations targeting Chinese women, and was therefore unable to take the time to choose her customers” said a STRASS statement…The police harassment has been repeatedly denounced by Doctors of the World…

Surplus Women (TW3 #413)

Remember, three weeks ago they were saying there was no serial killer.

Two registered sex offenders have been arrested in connection with killing four women in Orange County…[targeting them] because of their ties to prostitution or escort services, and investigators suspect there are more victims yet to be identified…Franc Cano…and Steven Dean Gordon…were arrested Friday evening…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #415)

the Upper House of the German Parliament, the Bundesrat, passed a resolution calling for an objective debate…amid plans by the ruling coalition of Conservatives and Social Democrats to reform the German Prostitution Act of 2002…The Bundesrat found that debates in the public sphere and in the media were still based on prejudices, a lack of knowledge and sensationalism.  The Bundesrat particularly opposed the blanket equation of prostitution and human trafficking…[and] opposed the introduction of mandatory health checks, judging them as unreasonable and hardly expedient…

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Be the sort of victim people want, swallow the crap about not really choosing sex work, tell a few stories about bad clients and pray with the fervor of a convert at the altar of end demand and all the support you want is there, on their terms.  –  Jemima

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine

Petite JasmineA Swedish sex worker rights activist was stabbed to death by her ex-husband on Thursday.  Swedish “feminists” pretend to care so very much for sex workers that they’re willing to destroy our lives to “save” us from imaginary “degradation”; selling sex is not illegal, but if a sex worker dares to speak openly about her choice she will be punished in many ways other than imprisonment, such as by expulsion, eviction, police harassment and more:

Several years ago she lost custody of her children as she was considered to be an unfit parent due to being a sex worker.  The children were placed with their father regardless of him being abusive towards Jasmine.  They told her she didn’t know what was good for her and that she was “romantisizing” prostitution, they said she lacked insight and didn’t realise sex work was a form of self-harm.  He threatened and stalked her on numerous occasions, she was never offered any protection…

Activist Jemima pointed out that “Jasmine could have been listened too, could have had custody of her kids, could have been flying off to international conferences and doing TV shows, instead of being prepared for burial, all she had to do was lie…be good little puppets who trot out the party line like defendants at a Stalin era Russian show trial and then the doors of rape crisis centers, domestic refuges and conferences open wide to you…

Third Party

Another refutation of the myth that the presence of a camera magically protects sex workers from arrest:  “Phoenix police arrested seven people at…a self-serve porn studio allegedly used to front a prostitution business…William James Hartwell…and six women were arrested during a raid on the studio…[after] a six-month investigation…

Another Example of Swedish “Feminism”

This was a real banner week for Swedish “feminists”; besides enabling the murder of a sex worker, we also got this:

A professor in law at Stockholm University has called for legislation prohibiting parents from drinking alcohol in the company of their children.  “It is a parent’s responsibility to be sober when they are with their children,” said Professor Madeleine Leijonhufvud…She compared the offence to minor assault which…carries a penalty of up to six months imprisonment.  While the proposal is aimed at “everyday drunkenness” it in effect suggests that parents would not be able to share a glass of wine at dinner.  “If you have a sick child and need to drive them to hospital then you can’t drink wine”…

Perhaps Sweden should just confiscate all children at birth and raise them in crèches?  But then, of course, people would stop having them.  And the feminists want even criticism of their tyrannical insanity to be criminal: “the Nordic Council of Ministers…[suggested]…the government…take action against…‘anti-feminist attitudes’…expressed in public…Heavy Hand of Justice by Kevin Moore

Saving Them From Themselves

A 15-year-old Florida girl was arrested…for shooting and possessing a photo of another teen girl engaged in oral sex with a teen boy…She was charged with a felony child porn count.  “The two girls were friends, and one of them was dating the guy,” Detective William Lindsey [said]…”Possession of child pornography is [a crime] no matter what age they are… If she had taken a picture of herself in sexual conduct, she could be charged with child pornography”…

Wholesale Hypocrisy (TW3 #25)

The rather dull-witted and credulous Bonnie Erbe seems to genuinely believe in mathematically and sociologically impossible nonsense, but more shocking is her support for censorship despite her pretense of being a journalist:

…The Internet…provides an almost unfettered platform for…pimps to find, track and enslave girls and women in sex trafficking…local and federal authorities seem powerless to ban the sale of commercial sex online.  Nor do they seem able to keep up with and control the horrendous amount of trafficking the Internet generates…experts point mainly to laws that predate the Internet and define places where criminal commercial sex acts take places as “houses of prostitution” or “brothels.”  Today, no such places exist.  Pimps — mainly men — find customers online and direct them to meet prostitutes, who work out of different motels or apartments or sometimes even their own homes…[in] a New Mexico case…two men…were [cleared of] running “an extensive multistate, online prostitution ring”…after a judge ruled that…their website did not constitute a house of prostitution, though it was used to recruit prostitutes and promote prostitution…It would seem easy to amend anti-prostitution laws to include a ban on websites for procuring commercial sex…

Because when governments ban things, they magically vanish!

Shift in the Wind

Those who were surprised at seeing an anti-criminalization article in The National Review must not remember that A) many “conservatives” at least claim to be for smaller government, and B) the magazine’s founder, William F. Buckley, was a vocal opponent of drug criminalization.

…the proscription of prostitution…continues to be a mystery to me.  Sex remains one of the few things that a free person may give away gratis but which he is forbidden from selling.  It is perfectly legal to sleep around in the United States — subsidized and panegyrized, even — and, as the growing parade of octogenarian billionaires’ wives demonstrates, it is both permissible and socially acceptable to sleep with someone in pursuit of regular material comfort…While the laws surrounding the issue remain such a dizzy and irrational mess, drawing a clear moral line through the morass remains nigh on impossible…To broach this topic in polite company is to invite someone…to parrot the banal old line that “nobody grows up wanting to be a prostitute.”  At best, this is a red herring.  Certainly, few people grow up wishing to be prostitutes.  But there are an awful lot of careers that escape the dreams of children…It is no accident that prostitution, which was almost uniformly legal in the United States from the period of colonization up until the start of the 20th century, was banned in almost every state within the same five-year period during which the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union managed to convince the nation that alcohol should be constitutionally outlawed…

Of course the comments are full of Puritans and trafficking fetishists, but there are a surprising number of truth-tellers there as well.Eliot Spitzer

Legitimate Outrage

Eliot Spitzer said he hopes he has changed since he was caught in a prostitution scandal that led to his resignation, as he attempts to revive his political career with a run for New York City comptroller.  “I think the public will have to ask itself the question, ‘can we forgive him?’  I’ve asked for the forgiveness, I hope the public says ‘yes,’ based upon the record I have, based upon qualities I can bring to the office,” Spitzer told reporters…

Politicians are usually forgiven; those whose lives they destroy, not so much.

The Naked Anthropologist

Though New Scientist published only a very small part of what Dr. Laura Agustín says was a much, much longer interview, it’s still good to see mainstream magazines presenting her views and debunking the “sex trafficking” hysteria and anti-whore tyranny.

Unclean Situation

You know how the Magdalene Laundry orders (through their modern front, Ruhama) like to pretend that sex work is “human trafficking”

Despite being funded by the HSE annually, including over €126,000 last year, St Patrick’s Guild informed the Adoption Authority last week that it no longer has the resources to staff the organisation.  The agency, run by the Religious Sisters of Charity, had been accredited by the Adoption Authority to assist adopted people and natural parents through tracing, counselling and mediating…Between 1947 and 1967, St Patrick’s Guild…arranged for the export of 572 “illegitimate” children from Ireland to the US for adoption…Despite the agency’s admitted involvement in facilitating illegal adoptions, the Adoption Authority again reiterated its stance that it will not inspect the files to ascertain the extent of the agency’s involvement in such activity…

In other words, the nuns abducted children from their Irish mothers and sold them to Americans; if that’s not “human trafficking”, I don’t know what is.Laetitia Rebord

Skin To Skin (TW3 #313)

The New York Times seems unable to write about sex work without dysphemisms like “so-called”:

…in France…disabled people struggle to have a sex life.  But their desires are often disregarded, and while prostitution is legal here, soliciting potential clients and serving as an intermediary between prostitutes and clients are not.  The issue of sexual surrogates came up in March, after the National Ethics Committee…issued a report criticizing the practice as the “unethical use of the human body for commercial purposes”…but…some legislators and associations of disabled people are demanding the legalization of sexual surrogates.  “Prostitution is a fake debate; the goals are different,” said Pascale Ribes…[of] the Disabilities and Sexualities Group, an association defending sexual surrogates in France.  “Sexual assistance is about allowing a disabled person who can’t access sexuality in a satisfying way to reconnect with the body”…

Advice to disabilities advocates: foolish reinforcement of whorearchy is not the way to go about winning your right to employ sex workers.

Flush Criminalization

More sophomoric “humor” from New York “authorities” working assiduously to destroy as many people’s lives as possible:

Police shut down…12 massage parlors…for alleged prostitution…arresting owners, managers and workers.  The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office is investigating whether workers were “victims of human trafficking, being manipulated or held against their will”…and whether a central organization was controlling…the operations.  According to DA Charles Hynes, all of the women…gave very similar stories about having children in Asia they needed to support.  NYPD Commissioner was typically…tone-deaf in his assessment of the case.  “We know people in Bay Ridge have back pain…but we don’t think that’s enough to sustain 19 massage parlors”…

That the DA seems to perceive the fantasy of a huge “sex trafficking” conspiracy as more credible than the simple fact that most sex workers have children to support, speaks volumes about his warped view of humanity.

Still a Child

This is no more ridiculous than defining a minimum age above that of majority for any other legal activity, such as drinking or sex work:  “Somalia…has set the minimum age at 40 for anyone intending to practice as a journalist in the country…

True Colors (TW3 #327)

Authorities in southern China have left…Ye Haiyan…homeless…Guangdong security agents abandoned her on the side of the road with her boyfriend…and 14-year-old daughter…”Zhongshan does not welcome you; Guangzhou does not welcome you either. I will break your legs if I ever see you again in Zhongshan,” one of the security agents said…

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We need to listen to [sex workers]…rather than feeling sorry for them…and then actually take what they say seriously.  –  Jeanett Bjønness

Japanese Prostitution

Japanese cops’ increasing adoption of American whore-harassing tactics is extremely troubling: “Tokyo Metropolitan Police…cracked down on a prostitution club…specializing in senior citizens…Officers arrested the 63-year-old manager of club Silk…and one other employee for dispatching a woman, 64, to…an 82-year-old man…”  That’s right, Japanese cops now think persecuting old people for consensual sex is an appropriate use of resources.pearl clutching

Welcome To Our World

Pearl-clutching, bigoted prudery is especially revolting in young men:

There’s a brand new, ultra-creepy fad in China…”Increasing numbers of adults have been hiring wet nurses so they can consume breast milk for its nutritional value”…it’s revolting.  Everything about this scenario should appall the reader, from the very idea of an adult suckling from another adult to the possibility that someone should be so desperate for money that they have to sell their services in this manner.  It’s every bit as wrong as prostitution…

Actually, I agree with his last sentence 100%; it’s exactly as wrong as prostitution, which is to say not at all.

Shifting the Blame

There was a somewhat uneven piece in the New York Times last week; on the one hand, it portrays the victims of the Long Island Killer as individual women, correctly names many of the reasons women do sex work and (best of all) recognizes that “Escorts face danger not because of the Internet but because they’re still forced to work underground.”  But on the other hand, it does not quote even a single sex worker activist, yet does refer to the questionable ideas of Scott “Women Never Lie About their Weight or Take Out Multiple Ads” Cunningham (including his stunningly stupid belief that before the internet most whores were streetwalkers, and his unsupported and false belief that there are more of us now than in the 1990s).  After I mentioned my problems with the piece on Twitter, author Robert Kolker contacted me and I expressed my concerns; it turns out he did interview several activists, but didn’t realize that not specifically quoting them would be perceived as a slight.  His publisher is also sending me an advance copy of his book about the murders, Lost Girls; I’ll let y’all know what I think about it.

Feminine Pragmatism

Wow, what a surprise!

…Jeanett Bjønness of Aarhus University…interviewed 40 Danish women who sell sex on the streets, and it turns out that the women do not regard their sex trading as the biggest problem in their lives…”Sex trading…is perceived as a solution to some problems,” says Bjønness…the people whose job it is to help sex workers…[regard] the women as victims.  This rigid view…has the consequence that the women feel walked over, because they do not see themselves as victims…[but rather] as independent women who make rational choices based on the options available to them…

See how easy it is when you actually bother to TALK to us?

Something Rotten in Sweden (July Updates, Part One)Casey the Rabbit

Wendy McElroy on the government’s attempts to exert total control by regulating even the smallest economic activity:

…[In his act] a magician named Marty Hahne…pulls a three-pound rabbit out of a top hat…“I just received an 8-page letter from the USDA, telling me that by July 29 I need to have in place a written disaster plan, detailing all the steps I would take to help get my rabbit through a disaster, such as a tornado, fire, flood, etc.”  Hahne and his wife must be specially trained to implement the rabbit plan, which USDA inspectors will review…new [EPA] regulations define ditches, gullies and other property features that catch water as part of America’s navigable waterways under the Clean Water Act…the EPA…would become the de facto  owner of people’s ditches and gullies…The Lemonade Freedom  group knows that the ridiculous regulations need to be taken seriously…the group…[protests] police actions…to close down children’s lemonade stands…

Size Matters

Yes, this is in the United States, a country which supposedly guarantees freedom of religion:

Pahokee [Florida] residents, church members, and pastors are outraged over…the…first Lake Okeechobee Summer Solstice Festival…The crowd cheered in agreement as…pastors from around the area admonished city officials for allowing festivals containing witchcraft and occult practices into the city…“We are opening ourselves up to things we should not, like belly dancing and magic spells,” said Daniel Mondragon…“God cannot heal our land if we have witches and warlocks violating our community,” said Evangelist Lillian Brown…

Schadenfreude

White saviors go on a fun trip to Asia, where they “rescue” brown urchins by teaching them to sew, wait table and draw with crayons:

Destiny Rescue, an organization whose mission is to rescue sexually exploited children…hunts through Cambodia and Thailand to find these girls…Indiana State University graduate students played with the rescued girls, visited the sex tourism capital of the world and wondered at the hope with which victims create new lives…More than 2 million children are forced into the sex trade every year, according to the 2012 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report…Destiny Rescue is…[addressing] the problem….by…training in jewelry making, sewing, working in a café, hair dressing or pursuing an education…Vanessa Granger-Belcher…led the girls through an art activity…in which they drew pictures of their dreams for their lives…

It may amuse you to know that most UN agencies estimate the “annual flow of trafficked people” of all ages into all industries at 0.5 – 1.9 million people, of which 2 million are supposedly “sex trafficked children”.  Perhaps the UN should start hiring people with at least 3rd-grade math skills.

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received The Sexual History of London from Sasha and Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop from Kevin Wilson.  Thank you both very much!

The Immunity Syndrome

As I’ve mentioned before, teens who make “virginity pledges” are much more likely than others to engage in anal sex in order to remain what we used to call “technical virgins”.  The hilarious Garfunkel and Oates have written a song about it; if you enjoy it, you may also like their earlier lampoon of Christian anti-sex weirdness, “Sex With Ducks”.

Subtle Pimping (TW3 #13)

In Michelle Visage’s Hooker Makeover, a judge from RuPaul’s Drag Race and her drag queen sidekick turn ordinary women into cartoonish streetwalker stereotypes.  Visage was at first defensive when confronted with this on Twitter last Sunday, but within hours she issued a public apology and announced that the show would be cancelled.  It’s good to know that at least some people really are listening.

Ruined Maids

Regular reader Isolde Holland discovered this poem and shared it with me:

“An Old Whorehouse” by Mary Oliver (born 1935)

We climbed through a broken window,
walked through every room.

Out of business for years,
the mattresses held only

rainwater, and one
woman’s black shoe. Downstairs

spiders had wrapped up
the crystal chandelier.

A cracked cup lay in the sink.
But we were fourteen,

and no way dust could hide
the expected glamour from us,

or teach us anything.
We whispered, we imagined.

It would be years before
we’d learn how effortlessly

sin blooms, then softens,
like any bed of flowers.

Little Boxes

A Chinese court has declared that “happy endings” aren’t prostitution:

…in July 2011…a massage parlour owner and two associates were arrested…for “organising prostitution”…and…handed a five-year sentence…But [in] appeal…the defendants were found “not criminally responsible” and…acquitted due to “unclear facts and improper application of the law”.  The court said manual stimulation did not belong in the realm of prostitution…

Naked Truth
Unsurprisingly, the cops insist that they know the law better than judges.

First They Came for the Hookers

Dr. Marty Klein’s review of Dr. Judith Hanna’s book Naked Truth: Strip Clubs, Democracy, And A Christian Right discusses the war against strip clubs we’ve mentioned so many times before, and the book itself debunks the usual mythology about “negative secondary effects”, “sex trafficking”, etc. I do have to wonder if Hanna ignores the neofeminist contribution as Klein does in his book, though.

Check Your Premises (TW3 #26)

Ohio wants to criminalize obtaining clear consent:

…the Ohio House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill ostensibly aimed at fighting “human trafficking” that makes it a crime to “solicit” a legal act:  sex with someone who is 16 or 17 years old.  The age of consent in Ohio is 16.  Yet under H.B. 130, a 20-year-old who asks a 16-year-old to have sex with him, or a 21-year-old who does the same with a 17-year-old, thereby commits a…felony…and…has to register as a sex offender.  But if the teenager broaches the subject, or if the sex proceeds without any explicit verbal reference to it, no crime has been committed…Having sex is fine, as long as you don’t talk about it beforehand… Legislators already define “human trafficking” broadly enough to include consensual sex…Now Ohio is poised to [add] merely talking about consensual sex…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #27)

Another small country stands up to American bullying:  “Cambodia…lashed out at the U.S. State Department for downgrading the country’s ranking in its annual report on human trafficking, saying cultural barriers were hampering government efforts to combat the problem…

Celebrities (TW3 #31)Anwar Al-Awlaki

The fact that the FBI thought a dude paying for sex was somehow noteworthy says a lot about the FBI.  The fact that CNN misunderstands what the newsworthy aspect of this is says even more about CNN.

In the months after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, FBI agents conducted surveillance of…Anwar al-Awlaki and uncovered detailed information about his…use of prostitutes…Al-Awlaki lived in a Washington suburb at the time…he visited prostitutes at least seven times and paid up to $400 for sex…[for] a total of $2,320 …agents interviewed the escorts, obtained detailed information about the encounters, and…even reviewed the possible legal charges that might be brought against him…

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #49)

This article is a few months old, but its hysterical pearl-clutching is so hilarious I just had to share it:

If you think the wait to find out if your kids got the…results needed to get into uni is stressful, dream on…It’s what happens next that you REALLY should be worrying about…Darling Daughter could easily end up hawking her body to keep her university finances afloat…poverty is pushing students to sell their souls and get jobs in the sex trade.  Six per cent could be working as lap-dancers, strippers, escorts or prostitutes to pay their way through studies.  Yet more could be manning sex chat-lines…the sex industry is a dark, grubby scene that irrevocably changes people on the inside…No degree is worth it…

So either Jo Davison is speaking from personal experience, or she’s a bigoted ignoramus.  Which is it, Jo?  Do tell.

Uncharted Seas (TW3 #316)

Another mainstream pro-polygamy article, in The Economist no less:

…DOMA was struck down in no small part because it picks out a certain class of people and, by denying them recognition of their marriages, denies their families equal freedom and dignity.  Can it be denied that polygamous families, whose marital arrangements are illegal, much less unrecognized, are denied equal liberty and are made to suffer the indignity [of] active discrimination?…If the state lacks a legitimate rationale for imposing on Americans a heterosexual definition of marriage, it seems pretty likely that it likewise lacks a legitimate rationale for imposing on Americans a monogamous definition of marriage…

True Colors (TW3 #323)

Activist Ye Haiyan…was released from 13 days of detention on June 12 after she scared off three trespassers to her home…Ye first became famous in 2005, when she posted a nude photo of herself online. Under the pen name Hooligan Swallow, Ye raised eyebrows with her bold articles on sex.  But she really caught the public’s attention in 2010 when the…NGO she set up…[called] for the legalisation of prostitution…”Pushing for [this]…contradicts the government’s ideology,” she said. “The government does not wish to see this topic being promoted and the mainland media are banned from discussing it”…

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We whores are sure these politicians are not our sons.  –  sign carried by protesters in Istanbul

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

The FBI seized and ran a child pornography website for two weeks in November 2012…in an attempt to identify its more than 5,000 customers…

The Leading Players in the Field, Not

Nepal’s Supreme Court has accused a prominent anti-trafficking group of detaining a woman against her will so she could undergo counselling for being a lesbian…The court ordered the release of the woman from a centre run by…Maiti Nepal…which has been championed by…Joanna Lumley and…Demi Moore…The group’s founder, Anuradha Koirala, was awarded a “CNN Heroes Award”…in 2010…and Moore hosted a television programme called “Nepal’s Stolen Children” highlighting the organisation’s work…

Amanda McGillIt Looks Good On Paper

When “whore as criminal” and “whore as victim” collide:  “…a [Nebraska] human trafficking bill…would [have given] immunity from prosecution to [minors]…arrested for prostitution…Amanda McGill…offered an amendment that…would place [them]…under the jurisdiction of a juvenile court…[for] treatment…”  Because indefinite commitment is so much better than a criminal charge.

Dirty Amateurs

Sweden…[is] the…STD…capital of Europe…half of young Swedes don’t use condoms when having sex with a new partner and…30 percent…use no contraceptive…at all…

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

A woman…in Connecticut [called] police to complain about how she was being treated by a pimp…they did not find the pimp…but…did find…Jennifer Lowery with a…customer.  Police charged Lowery with prostitution and 60-year-old Ricard Burford…with patronizing a prostitute…Lowery told them she…decided to conduct some business while waiting…

See No Evil

Melbourne artist Paul Yore is likely to be charged with producing child pornography following the seizure of several of his art works…which allegedly depicted sexual acts with children’s faces superimposed on them…Yore described the…seizure as “very small fragments of a collage of…thousands of different objects…basically junk I’ve been collecting”…

Not To Be Taken Internally

Apryl Michelle Brown had black-market silicone injections which turned out to be BATHROOM SEALANT…“My body had a massive allergic reaction…the only way doctors could save my life was to amputate my buttocks…hands and feet”…

Mary SetterholmA Whore in Church

A profile of a former sex worker who’s assisted me with research on a number of occasions:

…Mary Setterholm…was a teenaged prostitute…[she] will graduate from Harvard Divinity School (HDS) with…a plan to help others find their way back from the edge of despair…She married young and had five children.  The union was rocky and abusive.  Once divorced, she returned to prostitution as a…way to take back some control…In 2003, a meeting with an inspiring nun named Sheila McNiff helped Setterholm to confront the abuse she had suffered as a child at the hands of clergy, and guide her back to education…Setterholm…[founded] Serenity Sisters…[a] support group…for exploited women and recovering prostitutes…She hopes to enter a Ph.D. program…expanding on her…thesis work, which explored the way prostitutes have been used in religious teachings as a stand-in for deviant or disbelieving members of society…

A War for Peace (TW3 #11)

Over the last 30 years…Iran is…moving in the [sexual] direction of Britain and the United States…Declining birth rates…signal a wider acceptance of contraceptives…the country has experienced the fastest drop in fertility ever recorded in human history…the average marriage age for men has gone up from 20 to 28 years old…and…women…five years later than a decade ago…The rate of divorce…has also skyrocketed…[previously] sex workers were virtually invisible…Now…there [are] close to 85,000…in Tehran alone…

Bullies With Badges

…Adam was, until recently, making a living as a self-employed web designer in South Carolina…he was hired to make a porn site…[with male] masturbation videos…after the site had been online for…24 days, Adam’s home was raided by [a SWAT team] and all of his computer equipment was seized…Adam [said] “the [customer] was [allegedly]…paying guys to let him give them blowjobs and film it…it definitely wasn’t…on the site…I wasn’t expecting four armed guys to bust into my mother’s home and steal all of my assets.  They’ve…ruined me…”

street lounger
Note that Adam wasn’t charged with anything; the police stole his entire business to be indefinitely held as “evidence” of someone else’s misdemeanor.

Whorearchy (TW3 #19)

This story about yet another Spanish city’s war on streetwalkers is not really noteworthy, but I love this picture which illustrates it.

Traffic Jam

Remember the supposed “child sex trafficking ring” run by “Somali gangs” that federal prosecutors were all puffed up about last year?

…every defendant who has gone to trial has either been acquitted or had their conviction thrown out.  The government’s case was weakened when…a key witness…refused to testify, saying he is afraid for himself and for his family.  So prosecutors charged Abdullahi Farah with two counts of contempt of court and obstruction of a child sex trafficking case.  He was convicted…in April…and…is facing a maximum of 20 years…for the obstruction conviction…and…life in prison [for contempt]…Legal experts say…it’s almost unheard of for prosecutors to come down so hard on one of their own witnesses…

Considering that “agents said Farah gave conflicting accounts and sketchy details” and the judge “said he had problems with Farah’s credibility”, I think the truth is obvious:  sleazebag prosecutor Van Vincent tried to pretend a bunch of petty thugs were a gigantic conspiracy, but drew a judge who wouldn’t roll over for him and is taking it out on the only available scapegoat.  Consider the prospect of life in prison for a contempt charge, and then tell me the US isn’t a police state yet.

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #21)

An American alibi-ya:

Paladin Deception Services, the self-proclaimed…”Leading Fictitious Reference Provider,” can “put together almost any fictitious scenario that you require”…Our agency can provide you with…testimonials over the phone in the local area code that you require.  We’re confidential, professional, innovative, and affordable.  Most importantly, we keep it legal…For only $54 (and $19.95 for each additional month), you get set up with a phone number, alibi verification and even options including…creation of a fictitious boss…

Backwards Into the Future (TW3 #21)

A United Nations Special Rapporteur has recommended that provisions relating to sex work in Namibia be repealed, stating that the “stigma, discrimination and violence” suffered by sex workers…often discourages them from accessing public services…[and hampers] efforts to reduce the spread of HIV-AIDS…Magdalena Sepúlveda states that…criminalisation of sex work…creates a climate…that fosters further violence and discrimination…

hijos putas
Birth of a Movement

Melissa Gira Grant published a short photoessay on sex worker participation in the current demonstrations in Istanbul, in earlier demonstrations in Madrid, New York and Mexico City, and in the Lyon church-occupation that launched the sex worker rights movement.

True Colors

On 30 May 2013…Ye Haiyan was detained by police after being assaulted at her home…[she] is an advocate for the rights of sex workers and people living with HIV/AIDS…[who] has been consistently targeted…because of her work…[she] managed to send out a series of messages on Twitter appealing for help…

Bone of Contention (TW3 #29)

Once again:  aren’t the late-night noise and public sex to which residents object illegal even if no money is exchanged?

…politicians have called a roundtable meeting…to look for ways to control street prostitution in South Auckland.  The meeting…may lead to amending or abandoning a bill…to give…the Auckland…police powers to arrest both prostitutes and clients who engage in commercial sex in a banned area…

The Scarlet Letter (TW3 #52)

Marc Randazza thinks of a clever way to attack “revenge porn” sites:

Adult entertainment attorney Marc Randazza filed two civil cases against revenge porn site UGotPosted.com on counts of distributing child pornography and failing to comply with 18 U.S.C. § 2257…the site posted…“sexually explicit images” of 14-year-old Abigail Talley’s [genitals]…2257 requires individuals or entities hosting adult content to inspect a government-issued form of ID to determine the name and age of every performer featured and to keep records of such information…had the defendants complied, it would have been apparent that the plaintiff was a minor…Despite the ongoing case, and intervention by an FBI agent…the defendants have yet to…remove the photos…

Sex Workers Against Trafficking (TW3 #139)

The main tip-off on…two sisters kidnapped from Dhaka…came from a sex worker in Pune, who contacted one of her relatives in Kolkata, who in turn contacted the girls’ relatives in Bangladesh…these girls had allegedly been lured with false promises and kidnapped by a…close acquaintance…[who] sold them to a brothel…

Regal InnBanishment

Government actors issue a warning of a problem created entirely by government actions:

…Kyle Evans with the Murfreesboro [Tennessee] Police Department…said sex offenders tend to congregate at hotels…”It meets the statutory requirements for them when they can’t live elsewhere”…The TBI confirmed 16 convicted sex offenders listed their home address at the Regal Inn…[and] said there is nothing illegal about hotels renting to sex offenders…

Absolute Corruption

Twenty-five years after it first indicted [Jesse] Friedman, the Nassau County [New York] District Attorney’s Office…could completely exonerate him.  Out of a dozen major child-sex-ring cases that roiled the country between 1984 and 2005, Jesse’s is one of the last convictions still standing…in November of 1987…postal inspectors intercepted…child pornography addressed to [his father]…police admitted that not one of the 30 children they…interviewed…reported any kind of abuse.  But…they kept re-interviewing the children—some as many as 15 times, and often for hours at a stretch…The children began to buckle, telling tales of extraordinary abuse…the Friedmans’ computer class was [claimed to be] a nonstop nightmare of coerced sex acts, where Arnold and Jesse abused kids…in plain view of other students…playing “naked leapfrog,” sodomizing kids as they jumped from one to the next…[children were supposedly] molested an average of six times during every one of the 20 90-minute classes they took…

Natural Processes

Of those who report their rapes, around 4–5% also describe experiencing orgasm. But the true numbers are likely much higher…[one] child therapist…[wrote on Reddit]…“There have been very few studies on orgasm during rape, but the research so far shows numbers from 10% to over 50% having this experience…In professional discussions, colleagues report similar numbers”…Despite what many rapists would like to believe, arousal does not mean that an assault was enjoyable or that a victim was asking for it…our bodies respond to sex…entirely without our permission or intention.  Orgasm during rape isn’t an…expression of pleasure.  It’s…a physical response…like breathing, sweating, or an adrenaline rush.  Therapists commonly use the analogy of tickling.  While tickling can be pleasurable, when it is done against someone’s wishes it can be very unpleasant experience…[yet] the one being tickled will continue laughing…

Under Every Bed

The supposed penetration of “sex trafficking” into every nook and cranny of the U.S. continues; notice the Profession of Faith in the first one:

Sex trafficking is real in South Dakota and won’t…be tolerated…”I still think there are a lot of naive people…who don’t feel it happens in their community but it is happening in their community,” Dawn Stenberg…of the Junior League of Sioux Falls…said…awareness…includes…hotel employees watching for young women who frequently come through their doors, and banks watching for suspicious transactions…[such as] “backpage.com transactions.  They see a lot of that illegal activity through that,” Stenberg said…

Orlando pervert conventionIf that kind of surveillance state doesn’t scare you, consider instead the rather disgusting sexual fantasies of Florida cops and bureaucrats:  “Orange County announced the creation of a task force aimed at stopping human trafficking in central Florida…Some of the victims…forced into prostitution are as young as 12 years old…most of the victims are children…Kathy…was 11 when she was sold to sex traffickers before being rescued by the FBI…

Obfuscation via Dysphemisms (TW3 #319)

Tulsa, OK continues its wicked crusade to charge whores with felonies via “use of a computer to violate state statute”.  And just for good measure, they also charged one of them with the “crime” of owning a house.  Don’t read the comments unless you want to feel ill.

Guest Columnist:  Kelly Michaels

Kelly appeared on the Sex With Timaree podcast to speak about her “Whoremom” project; please give it a listen and spread the link around!

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The supposition that all women…engaged in sex work…are the victims of trafficking and under the control of criminal gangmasters is, at best, delusional.  –  Paul Maginn and Graham Ellison

ViagraBetween the Ears

Dr. Marty Klein explains that it isn’t only women who are ill-served by the medicalization of sexual dysfunction:

As a sex therapist, I see men…who…describe themselves as having…erectile dysfunction.  I say, “So, you don’t get erect when you want to.  Let’s call it that.”  Conceptualizing their situation as ED is frequently part of the problem.  They think their penis is suffering some pathology; more often, the pathology is in their expectations…I ask these men lots…of questions…and…we [often] discover that their uncooperative penis is actually behaving in an understandable, fairly reasonable way…Sometimes Viagra is part of the problem—it reinforces the idea that there’s something wrong with their penis…but if there isn’t…Viagra can’t fix it…

What the Hell Were You Thinking?

Judgy Bitch asks why it’s OK to advise people on how to protect themselves from robbery or worse while travelling (“Pay attention to how you are dressed, Don’t be drunk, Don’t flash your valuables, Keep an eye on who is watching you, Travel with friends, Use your body language to let predators know you are not easy prey [and] If you sense a problem, get the hell out of there”), but giving the exact same advice to young women is “victim blaming”.  Because obviously it’s far more important to sacrifice naïve young women on the altar of feminist politics than to actually help them protect themselves in the real world.

Neither Cold nor Hot

It’s sometimes amusing to watch the debutantes at Jezebel getting the vapors over sex work; this article by Madeleine Davies about sex workers coming to North Dakota in order to fill the woman shortage caused by an oil boom can’t make up its mind whether the men are “Neanderthals” and “criminals”, or the helpless victims of scarlet women “filtering in from across the country to profit off the needs of the desperate male residents.”

Feminine Pragmatism

Lindsay LohanYou’d almost think gossip reporters were historical ignoramuses who didn’t know that up until a century ago, the professions of actress and whore were indistinguishable:

Desperate for money, troubled actress Lindsay Lohan is…working as a professional escort, [said] her father…and other insiders…“The dates last for days, and the guys pay for everything…as well as jewelry and other gifts”… One of Lindsay’s most high profile clients is…Prince Haji Abdul Azim [of Brunei]…and wealthy…painter Domingo Zapata reportedly supported…[her] for months…

It’s That Time Again

Super Bowl time, that is; this year it’s in New Orleans, and though the “authorities” haven’t quite learned not to humiliate themselves with ludicrous “gypsy whore” fantasies, you may have noticed there was a lot less hype about it than before:

…The NOPD…[arrested] two suspected prostitutes and their alleged pimp, while also rescuing [the] 4-year-old…son of one of the suspected prostitutes…Detectives say the group placed ads on…backpage.com, which…is expected to be buzzing with sex solicitation during the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras…[State] Trooper Melissa Matey…said…”We do know those human trafficking cells are attracted to those large scale events, where…there’s gonna be a lot of tourists and…a lot of money to be made”…

I literally laughed out loud at “human trafficking cells”; apparently hookers are equated with terrorists and revolutionaries now.

Don’t Buy It (TW3 #6)

In reference to the “gypsy whores” myth, the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women asked, “What’s the Cost of a Rumour?”  In the case of the London Olympics, we can now provide an answer:

Scare-mongering over an outbreak of sex trafficking during the Olympics resulted in half a million pounds being wasted…London Assembly Member…Andrew Boff said that just four cases of trafficking were discovered last year – despite an extra £500,000 being diverted to police…“a huge amount of time, money and resources was poured into this search, which turned out to be nothing more than tilting at windmills”…

The Sky is Falling!

Seekingarrangement.com has a clever advertising department; every so often they come out with a “press release” which announces that “more coeds than ever” are signing up as sugar babies.  Of course, the only thing vaguely “new” about this is they’re doing it on a website, but people like to pretend otherwise.  At least these two examples are refreshingly free of moral censure.

The Immunity Syndrome

Alabama state Rep. Patricia Todd…is trying yet again to delete a particularly idiotic provision of Alabama’s sex education law…[which] requires…classes to teach…that gay sex…is a “criminal offense”…[though] that law was invalidated in 2003 by…Lawrence vs. Texas

Another Small Victory (TW3 #18)

Supreme Court buildingMany sex worker rights activists seem to have misunderstood the implications of the news that “the Supreme Court has agreed to review a First Amendment dispute over whether the United States can force private health organizations to denounce prostitution as a condition to get AIDS funding”; had the Supreme Court refused to hear the government’s appeal, the lower court’s ruling overturning the pledge would have stood.  And while it’s certainly possible that the SCOTUS may leave the ruling intact or even expand it by striking down the ban for international organizations as well (which the first ruling did not), neither outcome is likely considering that this court has firmly established itself as the handmaiden and apologist for the excesses of the executive and legislative branches.  One very odd aspect of the linked article is that the call for total decriminalization by WHO and other UN agencies is described as “support[ing] lesser penalties for prostitution”, which is rather like describing the eradication of smallpox as “lessening the symptoms of the disease”.

Whorearchy

Here’s another woman who does not see herself as supporting state control of women’s lives, bodies and choices:

…I recently told my hairdresser that I was a go-go dancer and she replied by telling me that she would have totally stripped if she were my age but that she “didn’t have the body for it”…Even people at…the club where I primarily work…will put money on my platform as if it’s going to get them a lap dance or something…I’m not trying to be condescending towards strippers…but I…take pride in the fact that while strippers are ultimately hired to give guys boners, I was at least semi-hired for my talent…I don’t deny…that it takes some level of sexuality to be a successful club dancer, but there’s a big difference between wearing a push-up bra…and shoving my tits in some grandpa’s face…

For one who’s “not trying to be condescending”, she sure does a good job.

True Colors

Women With A Vision has purchased a new building to replace the office destroyed by arson, but it’s going to need “massive repairs” and renovation; that’s going to be very expensive, so please consider contributing to further their work in helping poor and marginalized women, including sex workers.Sarah Tressler

First They Came For the Hookers…

News on two of the ladies from this column who were fired for past sex work:

…Sarah Tressler…[lost] her reporting gig at the Houston Chronicle after…[being] exposed…[as the blogger] “Angry Stripper”…[but] she just landed a new job at The San Antonio Express-News as a breaking news reporter…Stacie HalasStacie Halas, a California…teacher who was fired for her porn star past [and recently lost her appeal] was [also]…offered a new job…[by] Dennis Hof of…[the] Moonlite Bunny Ranch…

Even if Halas is interested in going back to sex work she could do a lot better as an independent escort than by allowing herself to be exploited by Hof or others like him.

Prudish Pedants (TW3 #37)

A federal judge in California thinks it’s a wise use of public funds to lock up a 61-year-old filmmaker for four years for the “crime” of grossing out a cherry-picked group of a dozen people in Los Angeles.  Future law students will marvel at the self-destructive absurdity of our era.

An Example To the West (TW3 #39)

In September, I reported that a Korean whore had submitted a constitutional challenge to her country’s prostitution law; it has now been accepted:

…Judge Oh Won-chan…filed the case with the Constitutional Court after accepting a petition from a 41-year-old prostitute on trial for violating the law…the judge’s request doesn’t question the part of the law that punishes buyers of sex.  “We don’t punish a woman acting as a concubine or a wife for hire,” Oh said…[he] also questioned the effectiveness of the law, saying authorities should focus on punishing brothel owners and pimps…

Let’s hope the Korean government doesn’t respond with Swedish-style legislation, which only makes the struggle for rights more difficult.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #42)

Criminologist Graham Ellison has written another excellent editorial against criminalization in Northern Ireland, this time with the help of Dr. Paul Maginn of the University of Western Australia:

…The…proposals…are…premised more on ideological and religious beliefs…than a concrete evidence-base…History tells us that prohibition is an ineffective policy remedy…a few simple facts…dispel the stereotypes about sex work…only an exceptionally small proportion [are street workers]…there is no evidence to suggest that sex workers’ drug dependency is greater than the general population…[they] come from all manner of social class and educational backgrounds…the majority…are there because…the pay is…better than what they could get in other occupations…If Lord Morrow is sincere about his intentions to help womenPaying For It in French involved in ‘prostitution’, he should consider decriminalisation.

Book Reviews (October 2012)

The French edition of Chester Brown’s Paying For It has been chosen by the Angoulême International Comics Festival as an official selection, which will undoubtedly give it more well-deserved attention.  Congratulations, Chester!

Election Day (TW3 #45)

A judge has granted a preliminary injunction against the narrow portion of California’s tyrannical CASE Act which was challenged by the EFF and ACLU:

…Prop 35 is…beset with problems.  The biggest was its requirement that registrants turn over a list of all their Internet identifiers and service providers to law enforcement…the court found that there was a clear chilling effect on speech because registrants would have to disclose their identity either before they speak, or within 24 hours after speaking somewhere online…Allowing the government to monitor and record a wide swath of innocent Internet activity…is a dangerous trend that can easily expand, as law enforcement’s inevitable thirst for information fails to be quenched…

Unfortunately, there is as yet no organized challenge against the aspects of the law which criminalize a wide variety of normal sexual behaviors and virtually any association with sex workers.

Tyranny By Consensus (TW3 #51)

A leading adult film producer has launched a lawsuit against Los Angeles County over a…measure requiring porn actors to wear condoms, saying the law infringes on first amendment rights and was driving the industry out of Southern California.  Vivid Entertainment, which was joined in the lawsuit by porn stars Kayden Kross and Logan Pierce, claims the mandate was both an unconstitutional prior restraint on freedom of expression and a financial burden that studios could not bear…lead plaintiffs’ attorney Paul Cambria said…it was not economically feasible to digitally remove the condoms in post-production because the studios were competing with rivals elsewhere who had no such restrictions.

It’s interesting that the lawsuit doesn’t bring up the very real physical harm condoms can inflict on actresses under porn-filming conditions.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #52)

Those who wish to inflict the Swedish model on England and Wales have set up a fake “consultation” on the matter which is designed to trick the unwary into providing them ammunition via leading questions and outright lies about decriminalization.  The survey is referred to as a “call for evidence”, but as Laura Agustín points out this is “a misnomer as they are just asking for opinions and feelings – no evidence at all.”  Go ahead and respond to the survey (it’s fairly short), but follow Aspasia’s example by phrasing your answers carefully, since most are of the “have you stopped beating your wife?” variety.  The deadline is February 4th at 16:00 GMT.

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She was not sold to a brothel like they said…the people here always pitied and loved her.  –  Men Voeun

Safe Targets

How would this have played out if prostitution were fully legal in Canada?

Calgary police have arrested an Ontario man accused of making fake emergency calls…claiming that distraught women were being held against their will, either at gunpoint or knifepoint.  “It is alleged two individuals were responsible for numerous calls to police in an attempt to reveal and disrupt competition in the escort business.  These same individuals are also believed responsible for extorting escorts by calling or threatening to call police if the women refused to work for the two accused”…

Backwards into the Future

Add Rwanda to the list:

Commercial sex workers must be protected from assault and any other kind of mistreatment, lawmakers said…criminalisation of prostitution denies sex workers easy access to crucial services, with devastating consequences on their health, their clients and partners of their clients…The legislators called for more support to sex workers by encouraging and facilitating them to form and join cooperatives…[and] called for the review of the Penal Code…to avoid cases where the law might…be a liability to society…

Down Under

Dr. Marty Klein’s post about his trip to Australia discusses the absurdity of prohibitionism, properly brands “sex trafficking” a moral panic and starts by teaching me something I actually did not know:

…in Australia…it [became] legal to PURCHASE and POSSESS adult porn in 1983.  But all Australian states ban the SALE of X-rated video…Enforcement…is very low, so there is a gray market…[and] Australians buy it anyway…the government loses tax revenue, as well as respect.  The foolishness of attempting to ban a popular, victimless activity like watching adult porn is even more obvious when considered in light of Australia’s decriminalizing of most adult prostitution in 1992…

It’s Different Because It Involves Sex, Part Umpteen

Predictably, the New York state appeals court agreed with tax officials against a strip club.  Unpredictably, the dissenting judges clearly “get it”:

…A very divided New York Court of Appeals has ruled that lap dances are not art…“The court split 4-3, with the dissenting judges saying there’s no distinction in state law between ‘highbrow dance and lowbrow dance’”…Judge Robert Smith pointed out…that the majority ruling here does not actually comply with the…state’s legislation… “[T]he only question…is whether the admission charges that the State seeks to tax were paid for dance performances.  There is not the slightest doubt that they were…It does not matter if the dance was artistic or crude, boring or erotic.  Under New York’s Tax Law, a dance is a dance…I do not read Hustler magazine; I would rather read the New Yorker.  I would be appalled, however, if the State were to exact from Hustler a tax that the New Yorker did not have to pay, on the ground that what appears in Hustler is insufficiently “cultural and artistic”…discrimination on the basis of content would surely be unconstitutional”…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

I enjoyed Chester Brown’s Paying For It so much I asked him which of his other books I should read next, and he responded by generously sending me four of them:  Louis Riel, I Never Liked You and two short works which are not commercially available.  Thank you so much, Chester; I’m very much looking forward to reading them!

Above the Law

…Tacoma police said when Sylvester Haliburton tried to convince a prostitute he was an undercover police officer, she didn’t believe him, and when she tried to get out of his car, Haliburton wouldn’t let her…police…are looking into the possibility that he committed similar crimes before…

Much Ado About Nothing

I don’t think I can adequately explain how ridiculous this looks to any experienced escort; there’s about a 70% chance that the “shocked” officials have done the same thing themselves, and a better than 95% chance they knew others who did:

An investigation into the U.S. Secret Service prostitution scandal…contradicts Secret Service director Mark Sullivan’s adamant assertion before Congress that “this just is not part of our culture”…The report…revealed that one of the agents who was in Cartagena…admitted to soliciting a prostitute on two previous occasions…and…mentioned allegations of similar misconduct by agents on trips to Romania and China…

Meanwhile, Dania Londoño (her last name was previously reported as “Suarez”) is writing a book.

Naked Truth

Melissa Gira Grant on how the equation of “human trafficking” with prostitution harms the more than 75% of people whose exploitative labor conditions are not sex-related; I strongly suspect it won’t be long before The Guardian officially adopts an anti-trafficking hysteria editorial position.

True Colors

On May 24th the offices of New Orleans activist group Women With a Vision were destroyed by arson, but you can’t keep good women down:

As of October 1, 2012, we are well on our way to securing a new home for WWAV, and have a targeted reopening date of January 1, 2013.  In anticipation…we have officially closed our temporary office location…Please call 504.301.0428 for further information on how to access services while we are rebuilding.

You can also call that number to donate, or just go to their website.

First They Came for the Hookers…

The extension of “sex trafficking” hysteria to stripping continues:

Albuquerque city councilors…adopted a host of new regulations for strip clubs aimed at discouraging human trafficking, prostitution and other crimes.  The ordinance sets out record-keeping requirements on the identity of performers and calls for signs to be posted telling employees how to report human trafficking.  It also prohibits “adult cabaret entertainment” in private areas of the club that aren’t open and visible to others…Voting “no” were…Rey Garduño…[who] repeatedly questioned whether anyone had actually been arrested for human trafficking in an Albuquerque strip club…[and Trudy] Jones…[who] asked why other businesses that might involving the trafficking of minors weren’t covered by the bill.  She mentioned hotel maids and landscaping workers…

Though I’m disgusted by the registration, infantilization and attacks on women’s livelihood, I’m encouraged by the questions asked by the two dissenters.

Imagination Pinned Down

What, no UFOs or Satanists?

…a British woman has claimed that she spent five years being raised by monkeys in a Colombian forest…Marina Chapman says the colony of capuchins cared for her after she was kidnapped and then abandoned…[she] survived by catching birds and rabbits with her bare hands until hunters found her…took [her] to a nearby city and sold her to a brothel.  However, she managed to escape to Britain and…worked as a housemaid…[her] story has been made into a book…and TV crews plan to make a documentary…Chapman believes she was born…about 1950 and…was kidnapped when she was five before being abandoned in the jungle.

Shift in the Wind

Three UN agencies have officially called for total decriminalization across Asia, specifically naming New Zealand and New South Wales as examples:

…[A] study issued…by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)…examines 48 countries in Asia and the Pacific to assess laws, legal policies and law enforcement practices that affect the human rights of sex workers and…effectiveness of HIV responses.  Where sex work has been decriminalized, there is a greater chance for safer sex practices… “evidence from the jurisdictions…that have decriminalized sex work – New Zealand and New South Wales (Australia) – indicates that the approach of defining sex work as legitimate labour empowers sex workers, increases their access to HIV and sexual health services and is associated with very high condom use rates”…

Metaupdates

Welcome To Our World in February Updates (Part Two)

From Ireland, another example of the inevitable result of the idea that sex is a horrible thing from which the “innocent” must be “protected”:

…One would assume that [40-year-old Mandy Finlay]…is entitled to enjoy an intimate sexual life with her partner…[but] not only is [that] socially unacceptable…it is also a crime…the…Sexual Offences…Act, 1993, criminalises sexual relations between two adults with intellectual disability…who are not married.  This includes mild disability and autism…

Schadenfreude in TW3 (#17)

Somaly Mam has been caught in another huge lie:

For years now, the scarred face of Long Pros has symbolized…sex slavery in Cambodia…“My eye was stabbed by a brothel owner,” Ms. Pros recounted in [Nicholas Kristof’s documentary] Half the Sky…with blood still flowing from the destroyed eye socket, Ms. Pros said that she was still forced to have sex with clients…”when I returned home, my mother and father didn’t want me around”…[but] Pros’ parents…denied that their daughter was ever a victim of human trafficking, had ever been enslaved in a brothel, or had lost her right eye at the hands of a savage brothel owner.  Long Hon, 60, and Sok Hang, 56, described…their daughter’s…eye condition:  a non-malignant tumor that had developed when she was just 7 years old…[and] was…removed by an eye surgeon…in 2005 when she was 13…Te Sereybonn, the…director of the…hospital…said that…medical staff…contacted [Somaly Mam’s organization] to…admit Ms. Pros to one of their vocational training programs…it had nothing to do with the sex industry…

The parents’ statement was confirmed by doctors and medical records.  Brandee Baker of the Somaly Mam Foundation insisted that the girls’ parents, doctors and medical records were all wrong and wrote in an October 21st email to reporters, “you are now bullying victims of sex slavery…”  Furthermore, Keo Thea, chief of Phnom Penh’s anti-human trafficking police bureau, said he had no record of any complaint about a brothel girl stabbed in the eye, and even the type of the supposed attack has changed; in its first published form in 2008, Pros claimed to have “lost her eye after a pimp kicked her in the face.”

Neither Addiction nor Epidemic in TW3 (#20)

As I’ve stated before, “sex addiction” is not the same thing as hypersexuality; the latter is a real disorder which may be included in DSM-V, while the former isn’t and won’t be.  But since “sex addiction” is too good a myth to discard just yet, we’ll just lie by redefining the former to mean the latter:  “…New research shows that sex addiction is indeed a mental health disorder–one that can be easily and accurately diagnosed…It’s formally called ‘hypersexual disorder,’ and it’s much more than enjoying sex a little too much…”  I shall now prove the existence of the Tooth Fairy by redefining the word “fairy” to mean “ache”.

The Course of a Disease in TW3 (#26)

Here’s something rather unusual:  a short anti-Swedish model play.  I have included it not for its dramatic qualities (which are, I’m sorry to say, essentially nonexistent), but rather as evidence of the fact that there is considerable anger toward the model in Norway, home of those who inspired the play.  Furthermore, its central philosophical point is that since all sex is transactional in some way, the Swedish model technically outlaws sex completely.

Change of Heart in TW3 (#41)

This article about the journalistic ethics of outing Alexis Wright’s clients is an excellent example of a journalist just starting to wake up.  Though he recognizes “end demand” as bunk and rightfully compares persecution of sex work to persecution of homosexuals, he doesn’t actually challenge the morality of the laws per se; furthermore, though he understands that stigma can harm families, he thinks only of the clients’ families rather than those of the hookers.  Still, this is a big improvement over most of the American journalistic establishment, and therefore deserves recognition.

This Week in 2010 and 2011

Three of these columns were about Japan:  there was a brief history of Japanese prostitution, my husband’s experience at a “soapland” bath house, and a study of Filipinas working at hostess bars.  I also presented the stories of two eccentric New Orleans characters, two columns full of hooker songs, and two columns in which I answered questions about anonymity, the fraction of men who hire us, hotels, STDs, female sex tourists, pimps, parents, spam and circumcision.  Finally, we looked at the “pedophilia” heffalump and the prostitution elephant, a thorny BDSM case, the ethics of egg-selling and short articles on Bob Guccione, Clarence Thomas, Gardasil, funny album covers, horror comics and vampire whores.

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The wicked envy and hate; it is their way of admiring.  –  Victor Hugo

One new item, eight updates and two metaupdates.

True Colors

New Orleans charity Women With A Vision has been fighting for the rights of poor women, including sex workers, for years; their efforts were instrumental in bringing down Louisiana’s monstrous “Crime Against Nature by Solicitation” law which was used to place whores (especially black or transsexual ones) on the “sex offender” registry.  Apparently some hateful person was angry about this or their other work, because on the night of May 24th he broke into their office and set a fire which destroyed it and virtually everything in it.

There’s no way to know whether the arsonist was motivated by hatred of prostitutes, black people, transsexuals, or some other disadvantaged group for which WWAV fights, but this action demonstrates the true colors of those who would deny rights to others, no matter what rhetoric they use to rationalize their position.  WWAV is desperately in need of help:  New Orleans area readers could donate time, women’s clothing, computer equipment, office supplies, etc (call 504-301-0428 to volunteer), and readers anywhere in the world can donate to WWAV at their site.  My readers have been very generous to me with presents, but for the next few months I ask that you spend that money helping WWAV instead; if you want it to be a present for me, just make the donation in my name.  Any help you can give will mean a great deal to me!

A similar incident occurred in China last week:

An outspoken advocate for sex workers reopened her office…after it was trashed by eight men who punched and threatened her life last week.  Ye Haiyan, 37, is the founder of Chinese Women’s Rights Workshops, an NGO that promotes sex workers’ rights and helps raise awareness of HIV/AIDS…Ye said the men did not look like gang members and she suspects that local authorities might have had a role in the attack…Earlier this year, she was also threatened over the phone and told to shut her office…

Updates

Lying Down With Dogs (November 24th, 2010)

Another example of an African country whose anti-whore rhetoric strongly resembles that of the US, right down to the ludicrous euphemisms:

The Liberian government…disclosed that a campaign named…“Operation Save Our Future” has been launched…[to] minimize prostitution as well as sexual exploitation and abuse against girls…the operation will also tackle indecent dressing…Minister [Julia] Cassell said the prostitutes will be rehabilitated through basic skills including baking, sewing, hair dressing, and pastry…She urged the public to dress appropriately because the “government is now after them.”  She called on those involved into commercial sex working to desist from the illegal act and put their hands to use in a positive direction.

Because working independently for good pay isn’t a “positive direction”, but working in a sweatshop or doing other low-paid work for someone else is; that’s especially loathsome rhetoric in a country founded by freed slaves.  Note also that Liberian “feminists”, like their American sisters, are unable to recognize that the road from criminalization of prostitution to criminalization of “indecent dress” is a very short one.

Neither Cold nor Hot (April 6th, 2011)

Jezebel has attacked evolutionary psychologists like Satoshi Kanazawa (who, incidentally, has a new book out) on a number of occasions, and now they’re fighting back:  Kanazwa’s colleague Barry Kuhle sharply criticizes the site for embracing the neofeminist “social construction of gender” dogma in his article “Giving Feminism a Bad Name”.  He examines the logical fallacies used by “gender feminists” (Christina Sommers’ term for neofeminists) to attack scientific findings, and blames them for the word “feminist” having become an insult.  Kuhle’s an interesting writer; I also enjoyed his recent column on why the ever-increasing alphabet soup used to describe sexual minorities (now LGBTQIH and still growing) is ridiculous and should be replaced by a more manageable acronym.

Welcome To Our World Again (January 20th, 2012)

Too bad Zimbabwe isn’t the only country so Bizarro that it’s willing to cut off its nose to spite its face on the issue of sex laws which cause higher rates of HIV:

President Robert Mugabe yesterday clashed with visiting UN human rights chief Navi Pillay after she appeared to suggest that legalising prostitution and homosexuality could go a long way in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS…Mugabe…swore that this would happen OVER HIS DEAD BODY…police in Harare have intensified a blitz on prostitutes and women found in pubs claiming they are trying to stop crime which is being promoted by prostitution…Mugabe…has previously described homosexuality as “worse than dogs and pigs”…MP Tabitha Khumalo…[said] “[Prostitution] is here to stay and we need to bite the bullet.  PLEASURE ENGINEERING…did not begin in…Zimbabwe.  It all began in the Garden of Eden and one of those PLEASURE ENGINEERS was Eve”…

In a sense, bigots like Mugabe are more consistent and less hypocritical than certain Americans who are very vocal in demanding their own sexual rights, yet support persecution of whores.  Also, I think I’m going to write MP Khumalo a fan letter.

The Rape Question (April 4th, 2012)

This article about “brothel” raids in Ireland (actually, most were private flats in which women worked together for safety) is full of the usual agency denial and “sex trafficking” mythology, but I was especially struck by one passage:  “Mary Crilly, Director of the Sexual Violence Centre (SVC) in Cork [said], ‘I welcome the raids.  We need to end the demand for prostitution, as long as there are men who are paying for sex there will be a demand.  Prostitution isn’t about sex, it’s about money and exploitation’.”  This is of course the old “rape is asexual” dogma, but it does demonstrate how completely out of touch with reality these women are.

Feet of Clay (April 5th, 2012)

The death-spiral of Nicholas Kristof’s reputation continues:

The Brooklyn prosecutor who had a starring role in…Nicholas Kristof’s expose of Backpage…has resigned amid charges she sat on evidence that would have saved a sex-crimes suspect from spending 11 months in jail.  The New York Daily News reported this week that  prosecutor Lauren Hersh quit after two black men charged with serially raping an Orthodox Jewish girl since she was 13 were released because the alleged victim had recanted her claims the day after she made them.  Hersh…failed to share [the recantation] with the grand jury or defense lawyers…Hersh was also cited in Kristof’s story about Backpage back in January, “How Pimps Use the Web to Sell Girls”…Kristof cited a case prosecuted by Hersh involving an underage prostitute, without disclosing the fact that Hersh only was able to track down the perpetrators because Backpage turned over identifying information…

Unfortunately, Fisher is a mealy-mouthed moralist who denies women’s right to sex on our own terms; he seems more concerned with the fact that Backpage is singled out than the fact that whores are persecuted.  But that makes his attacks on Kristof (his natural ally in moralism) all the more indicative of the latter’s fall from grace.

This poster for my favorite perfume was the most complained-about advert in the UK since 1995.

Little Boxes
(April 29th, 2012)

As I’ve pointed out many times, it is impossible to draw clear lines between female sexual behaviors, and sugar babies are part of a continuum stretching from wives to professional harlots.  But while I usually demonstrate the strong resemblance between sugar babies and hookers, Helen Croydon makes the equally valid point that they are a lot like traditional “low maintenance” lovers, and defends such arrangements as sensible and rewarding:

…These models of relationships are an honest way of withholding commitment…That may not be appealing to everyone.  It certainly isn’t the route to finding a soul mate.  But not everyone wants one of those at every stage in their life.  Is it so wrong to underpin the foundations of a relationship with something other than 100% devotion and exclusivity?…payment…doesn’t necessarily have to exclude affection…“compensated relationships” are far more honorable and rewarding than meaningless, vulgar, no-strings sex encounters.  Yet we give more respect to the latter.  These days relationships can only be rubber stamped if they are all encompassing, full-time, cohabiting and long-term…

Whorearchy (May 10th, 2012)

Until the mid-19th century prostitutes and actresses were members of a single profession, and we still haven’t diverged much.  But one wouldn’t know that from listening to actresses – including those who have played sex workers – insisting that they’re better than we are:

Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi is demanding an apology from a Hong Kong newspaper after it published claims she had sex with disgraced Communist party official Bo Xilai for huge sums of money…the star of ” Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Memoirs of a Geisha” [allegedly] slept with Bo at least ten times between 2007 and 2011…[and] negotiated similar deals with several other powerful men…she [supposedly] earned around $110 million from prostituting herself…

Traffic Jam (May 20th, 2012)

Reason posted a video of 20/20‘s 1985 report “The Devil Worshippers”:

…It may help, as you watch this, to know that the bodies of the alleged sacrifice victims never materialized, that the statistic of two million missing kids was a wild exaggeration, and that Mike Warnke, presented here as an expert on Satanic rites, was later exposed as a fraud.  But really, anyone able to think critically should be able to see through this without the benefit of hindsight.  What’s interesting is that so many people took it seriously at the time…Even if you ignore the actual misinformation in the program, this is as pure an example as you’ll find of how a scattered group of unconnected crimes can be presented as a grand, malevolent movement, particularly when they’re combined with anxieties about the influence of popular culture…

Here are the links for Part Two and Part Three.

Metaupdates

What a Week! in October Updates (Part One) (October 2nd, 2011)

Another advantage to decriminalization:  access to the legal system.

A plan to build Australia’s largest brothel is poised to overcome local government opposition in a victory for Sydney’s sex industry over creeping regulation.  The $12 million, three-storey extension to the Stiletto brothel…can be approved once client numbers are capped…Even after being decriminalised in 1995, NSW brothel owners are increasingly turning to courts to reverse rejections by councils opposed to the industry…”Research usually shows brothels are not a problem in a community,” said Wayne Morgan, a lecturer specialising in sexuality-related law at the Australian National University.  “Staff are usually very discreet, and clients, by their very nature, are very discreet.  This was partly the point of legalising brothels in the first place – to take out the criminal aspect”…

Counterfeit Comfort in TW3 (#8) (February 26th, 2012)

Louisiana’s recent attempt to further destroy the lives of people who urinated in public or had consensual sex with their high-school girlfriends is not the only one to be defeated lately; those condemned to the American pariah caste are fighting back:

Registered sex offenders who have been banned from social networking websites are…successfully challenging many of the restrictions as infringements on free speech…Courts have long allowed states to place restrictions on convicted sex offenders who have completed their sentences…but the increasing use of social networks for everyday communication raises new, untested issues…Ruthann Robson, a professor of constitutional law at the City University of New York, said the bans could eventually be taken up by the Supreme Court…”If we think that the government can curtail sex offenders’ rights without any connection to the actual crime, then it could become a blanket prohibition against anyone who is accused of a crime, no matter what the crime is”…

One Year Ago Today

June Updates (Part Two)” reports on San Diego’s excuses for rapist cops, Mira Sorvino’s declaring Sacramento the “leading destination for sex traffickers”, and yet another guy playing BDSM games with strangers without a signed contract.

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