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Posts Tagged ‘Umpteen Thousand People’

Shouldn’t we help [sex workers] instead of further marginalising them?  –  Christina Cannon

The Red Umbrella 

Because NHI is so feminist:

Last week, we were treated to the release of the trailer for Rough Night, a female-led buddy comedy that sees Scarlett Johannson, Kate McKinnon, Illana Glazer, Zoe Kravitz, and Jillian Bell team up for a wild bachelorette weekend.  The girls drink, go dancing, take photos with selfie sticks, and hire a stripper.  Yay!  And then they accidentally kill him.  Not yay.  And then, for reasons as-yet-unknown to the audience, they arrange his dead body in a sex swing before hanging him out of the sunroof of a Jeep, driving him shirtless through a busy street, and – I can’t believe I’m about to write what I’m about to write – making jokes about his corpse’s erection.  Decidedly not yay…

Elephant in the Parlor 

Politicians hiring male sex workers isn’t much less common than their hiring female ones:

[Oklahoma] State Senator Ralph Shortey…was discovered at a Super 8 in Moore…with an unidentified boy under the age of 18…police have recommended the politician be charged with soliciting a minor for prostitution, prostitution within 1000 feet of a church and transporting someone for prostitution.  The exact age of the boy involved is unclear. Police have said that he is a juvenile, though the age of consent in Oklahoma is 16…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake 

Given that dancers win every one of these suits, the old strip club business model is a dead duck:

Attorneys in Denver have filed a national lawsuit against a chain of strip clubs.  The class action suit accuses PT’s Show Club, PT’s All Nude, Diamond Cabaret, La Boheme and The Penthouse Club of exploiting their exotic dancers.  The…suit…involves hundreds of dancers in 20 strip clubs across eight states…Mari Newman, the attorney who filed the suit, said that the company’s lack of fair compensation for the dancers’ work is illegal…

Watershed

Even in Ireland, the truth is dawning on many feminists:

Gillian Wylie…and Eilis Ward…state that they are “weary” after several years of fighting the perceived definition of sex work in Ireland…“We did a piece of research…on the…extent of trafficking for sexual exploitation of women into Ireland”, explains Wylie….the number of people being trafficked in Ireland was being quoted as being in the hundreds.  Wylie and Ward’s “rigorous piece of research” came up with a figure of 76…For both women, a critical turning point in their opinions on sex work came from talking to people involved in the industry.  When met with a roomful of sex workers, Ward listened as they explained that they “didn’t consider themselves to be victims of violence”…and this limiting definition “didn’t capture the reality of their work”…

Not To Be Taken Internally (#325)

Ladies, please don’t let people who aren’t doctors inject who-knows-what into your butts:

On the internet, she goes by the name Vanessa Luna, starring in porn videos that highlight her ample rear end…she used her real name, Ruth Planas, to…operat[e]…an unlicensed clinic in a West Miami-Dade strip mall…Cuerpos Health and Aestheticwas shuttered after…Suyima Torres, died following a botched butt lift performed there.  Prosecutors have charged Jose Robusto, a purported medical doctor in Venezuela, who they believe injected Torres with illegal and dangerous liquid silicone at the facility.  But nearly a year after his arrest, authorities have been unable to build a case against clinic owner Planas, who claimed no injections were ever done at the business.  Planas insisted she only used the clinic to sell cosmetic products, pitch Herbalife nutritional supplements and, a couple times a week, perform on live X-rated web videos…witnesses say that Planas arranged and helped carry out illegal cosmetic surgeries there…Robusto…is awaiting trial for manslaughter, one of many high-profile cases involving botched cosmetic surgeries in South Florida — a hub for sham doctors who offer cheap cosmetic procedures performed in homes, warehouses and pseudo clinics.  Just last week, a Miami man was arrested after police said he gave butt injections to a woman who wound up in the hospital because of the procedure…

If Men Were Angels

Is anyone actually still surprised when this happens?

Ottawa police have laid four new charges against a retired Catholic priest in connection with alleged sexual assaults at two local churches in the 1960s.  Rev. Barry McGrory, 82, has been charged with two counts of indecent assault on a male, and two counts of gross indecency…McGrory was first arrested in November in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy in the 1960s…the Archdiocese of Ottawa…settled out of court with two women who said they were abused as adolescents by McGrory in the 1970s…One of the victims was paid $300,000 in one of the largest settlements of its kind in the history of the Ottawa diocese.  In an interview last year, McGrory said he was a sex addict…

Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong (#546)

Prohibitionist Scottish politicians exhume the rotting corpse of the “Scottish model” (ie the Swedish model) yet again:

…SNP members [backed] a motion for a Scottish model for [oppressing sex workers]…MSP Ash Denham proposed the motion, based…on the Nordic model of [prohibition]…Denham [drooled]…that “a girl who enters prostitution at 14 will service the sexual demands of more than 4000 men before she’s old enough to drive a car”…Christina Cannon, who is standing to be an SNP councillor…argued against the model, and told delegates to be mindful of the motion in front them…Women in the trade, she argued, were opposed to the criminalisation of the purchase of sex, pointing delegates to a consultation held when Labour’s Rhoda Grant put forward a similar proposal in 2012…

Property of the State (#561) 

Still another abomination from Alabama:

…new moms in Alabama…[are subjected to] hospital drug tests [without their permission] after birth and [the results are] passed along to police.  Dozens of women have been charged with felony chemical endangerment of a child since 2006 for using marijuana during pregnancy…Although Alabama isn’t the only state with laws against drug use during pregnancy, its prosecutors have been the most zealous – bringing charges against hundreds of women, even those with low levels of THC and no criminal history.  State lawmakers [recklessly passed] the chemical endangerment law in 2006 [supposedly] to protect children from exposure to chemicals and fumes from home-based meth-labs…[but] prosecutors immediately began applying it to women who used drugs during pregnancy, a practice that increased after being upheld by the Alabama State Supreme Court in 2013…

Bell, Hook and Kettle (#615)

There’s a word for collaboration between government and private corporations; it’s “fascism”:

…Philadelphia’s Special Victim’s Unit…[has] joined forces with Federal Homeland Security investigations, the FBI, the Salvation Army, the U.S. Attorney’s office and the District Attorney on a new task force charged with cracking down on sex trafficking, thanks to a $1.3 million federal grant…Investigators…[pretend to] work hard to get young women out of the sex trade and on a better path in life.  The Salvation Army plays a vital role in helping women break the vicious cycle of sex trafficking…

Is that anything like “the dangerous cycle of prostitution“?

To Molest and Rape

“Errors”.  You know, like turning a blind eye to cops raping teens:

Louisville’s mayor announced that he has asked the FBI to investigate…the…sexual abuse of children in the police department’s Youth Explorer program.  Mayor Greg Fischer also said he had hired former U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey to review an investigation conducted by Louisville Metro Police and determine whether “errors were made,” including by police Chief Steve Conrad…A lawsuit…on behalf of a former scout identified as N.C. charges that his alleged rape by Officers Kenneth Betts and Brandon Wood was “concealed” by department officials.  Betts and Wood are accused of sexually assaulting the former scout from 2011 through 2013 and recording the incidents to make porn…

Leaving the Life (#657)

This is a lot better than Vice‘s last article on leaving sex work:

…sex workers are able to…pick up transferable skills that they can use in their future careers.  Few sex workers stay in the industry for their whole working lives, and they leave for diverse reasons—often returning for short or extended stints from time to time…Raven Bowen of the University of York [said]…”If people get pregnant or fall in love, they often leave right away.  Middle-class sex workers might be able to make a plan when they transition out—dabble in some square jobs, then gradually leave.”  Another common motivator is a child approaching their teenage years…Rarest of all are [those]…who…settle down with a client, although Bowen [says] this isn’t unheard of…Many sex workers view the industry as a short-term stepping stone to a…straight…career, and aim to retire from sex work when they’ve amassed enough money to fund tuition or open a small business…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#688) 

This is what robo-fetishists want you to believe will take my job soon:

Sergi Santos…wants to make sure robotic sex dolls…enjoy the sex as much as the humans ― or at least act like they do.  The Barcelona-based engineer has just created a sex doll named “Samantha,” who…responds when the user touches her hands and hips by saying positive statements like “I love this” and “Nice and gentle” in a singsong voice…she is programmed to want romance first, then get comfortable before getting sexual.  “The…final objective of the sexual mode is to give her an orgasm,” said Santos…Santos is now selling Samantha…for around $5,374…

One Born Every Minute (#717) 

I’d be much happier if the money went to Hickey’s victims instead of the State:

Things are not looking good for Matt Hickey.  The former tech journalist, who is currently being held in King County jail on four separate charges of second-degree rape, failed to respond to the Attorney General Office’s lawsuit against his fake porn scam.  As a result…Judge Ken Schubert issue[d] a ruling finding that Hickey did, indeed, scam at least six women by pretending to be a fake female porn recruiter online since 2006; Schubert also ruled that Hickey owes the state $300,000 in penalties that represent 150 violations of state consumer protection laws…[and] must pay $32,201 in court fees…

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It’s not like prostitution is ever going to go away, or it would have gone by now.  –  Suzanne Harrington

R.I.P. Christopher Lee Christopher Lee

Lee strode like a titan through the favorite movies of my life; he starred in four of the movies I’ve listed as among my favorites, and pops up in various places in other columns as well (search his name and see).  So though he isn’t a sex industry figure, he joins others such as Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson and Carmine Infantino whose influence on the landscape of my fancy cannot possibly be credited enough.  Rest in peace, Sir Christopher, though I won’t be at all surprised if you’re still observed stalking about foggy London streets in a cape from time to time.

Lack of Evidence

This will continue for as long as our work is criminalized:

A Tempe bar issued a public apology…to a transgender woman whose claims of discrimination by workers ignited an online firestorm…bar manager Rob Tasso said Briana Sandy, 55, should not have been asked to leave…”We welcome all kinds of people in this business.  We have many gay customers, we have transgender performers.  In no way did we ever mean to discriminate against you”…Tasso…pointed out that Tempe Tavern…neighbors an adult bookstore.  “Unfortunately, there’s a male prostitution problem that’s around here that’s unique to our situation”…

In other words, “We welcome all kinds of people, but prostitutes aren’t people.”

It Looks Good On Paper

The asinine dysphemism “prostitution ring” (used to mean one underage sex worker, her boyfriend and his mother) is bad enough, but the real story here is that Washington is one of the states with so-called “safe harbor” laws, which are hawked as “protecting the victims” by blaming their “crime” of consensual sex on a pimp instead of the arrested girl.  But as I’ve written before, the laws only apply to lily-white “perfect victims” with no prior arrests who are willing to rat out a supposed “pimp”; the great majority of underage whores have neither a pimp nor a spotless arrest record, and just go to jail like any other victim of the police.  The idea that listening in on a teenager’s jailhouse phone call like a nosy parent picking up the extension constitutes some sort of brilliant detective work, however, is a great moment in badge-licking.

Broken Record 

“Gypsy whores” idiocy with a revolting new Swedish-Canadian police-state flavor:

…Grand Prix weekend…is the busiest time of year for escorts in Montreal.  This year, local police are warning tourists that they may spend more time in jail than at the racetrack if caught trying to buy sexual services…Chief Insp. Johanne Paquin…said a specialized squad will be on patrol in strip clubs, hotels, motels and massage parlours, as well as on all the sites in the city related to the Grand Prix festivities…Canada’s new prostitution laws…”give us more tools in our tool box,” Paquin said…Hobby Lobby

The Widening Gyre

If cops don’t want people spreading stupid rumors, they need to stop spreading such rumors themselves first:

Lest you need any further indication that sex trafficking has become a genuine Moral Panic, I bring you the tale of Emily Stringer…[who] was shopping at…Hobby Lobby in Oklahoma City when she noticed “a middle aged lady” following her around the craft store.  Stringer “stuck with (her) instinct” and left abruptly, calling local police afterward to report the incident.  “The policeman said that this is unfortunately a common thing,” Stringer posted in a subsequent Facebook warning.  “They are abducting people for sex trafficking.”  Except…. of course not.  There have been no cases of anyone, of any age, being stalked and abducted by sex traffickers at Hobby Lobby or any other Oklahoma City chain store.  Outlets from Snopes to The Washington Post tore holes in Stringer’s story, and the Oklahoma City police even distanced themselves from the apocryphal anecdote—but…Stringer’s sex-trafficking warning had received 147,000 shares. The police rebuttal, meanwhile, was shared less than 500 times

That Old Black Magic

The “juju sex slaves” myth just keeps going like a battered zombie:

Spanish National Police announced on Monday that they broke up a ring of human traffickers who used juju voodoo and animal sacrifices to coerce women into prostitution…The traffickers had put the women through a juju voodoo ritual that used the victims’ finger nails or public hair and involved animal sacrifice in front of idols in a temple in order to “guarantee that the women complied with everything they demanded, under threat of death to them and their families”.  Juju…has commonly been used to drive Nigerian women into sex trafficking…by exploiting the women’s fears of the powerful “magic”…

A few points of interest:

  • Most people in Spain practice Catholicism, a sect in which a woman can undergo a ritual involving sacred rings and magic water in front of idols in a temple in order to guarantee that she be bound to obey one man under threat of eternal torture by demons in a pit of damned fire.
  • There is no such thing as “juju voodoo”; Voodoo is a New-World syncretism of Catholicism and traditional African religion which is practiced in neither Nigeria nor Spain.
  • The readers of this article are being asked to believe without evidence in the word of “authorities” that powerful and unseen evil forces are lurking about to abduct their children unless they give these “authorities” greater power over their lives.

But obviously, Europeans and Americans are so much more sophisticated than the superstitious women who can be controlled by “magic”.

It’s Different Because It Involves Sex, Part Umpteen (#43)

Pole dancing is artistic expression — but lap dancing is not, a…[New York] judge has ruled…“There is a stage for the performers illuminated by spotlights; a dressing room for the dancers, who, at times, wear an array of different costumes; (and) tables and seating that are oriented towards the stage to focus audience attention on the performances;” and featured “choreographed dances,” [Judge] Pinto wrote…But the…more lucrative private dances were another story.  The auditor “credibly testified that in his 10 or 15 visits to Nite Moves over the course of years he purchased one or two private dances a night.  He said the private dances were very similar…He admitted he was not an expert in choreography but did not think what he experienced in the private dance was choreographed”…

Watershed

It’s so nice to see a few public intellectuals actually saying this:

…prostitution [has] been around as long as humanity itself, but…we don’t talk about it…Either it’s something glamorously Belle du Jour-ish, all swanning around five star hotels earning more cash per horizontal hour than the rest of us do in a vertical week, or it’s trafficked slaves, drugged and abused and held against their will in conditions so appalling we cannot bear to even think about it.  But what if in between these two extremes there’s a more mundane middle ground?…it’s a job.  It’s work…Dr Jane Pitcher…interviewed 36 self employed prostitutes…and…found that they all worked indoors, chose their own hours and clients, and set their own rates of pay.  None had been coerced into the work, and many were registered as self-employed.  They had good relationships with their clients.  It was far from the glamour/misery dichotomy…The obvious solution is to decriminalise all sex work, making it safer, more regulated, and not driven underground…

Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong (#513)

Control freaks just can’t get that the Swedish model is unwelcome in Scotland:

The End Prostitution Now campaign…will call on the Scottish public, MSPs, charities and public bodies, to put pressure on the Scottish Government to [impose the Swedish model]…The campaign launch coincides with Labour MSP Rhoda Grant’s announcement yesterday of her amendments to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill…She said…“I fear that if Scotland does not follow [Northern Ireland], it could become a haven for sex traffickers moving out of Northern Ireland“…

Fortunately, Grant’s attempt to circumvent the parliamentary process was immediately quashed.

The Course of a Disease (#515)

Activist Molly Smith on the problems with the Swedish model:

…Instead of focusing on creating bureaucratic hoops for sex workers to jump through, decriminalization prioritizes sex workers’ safety and health…While sex workers are not prosecuted simply for selling sex under the Swedish model, various laws continue to be used against them in punitive ways.  “Operation Homeless,” the memorably-named Norwegian police initiative, evicted people suspected of selling sex—a law aimed at “pimps,” but used against sex workers’ landlords…People who claim sex workers are “decriminalized” under the Swedish model tend to be…feminist…yet it’s hard to imagine the same feminists would consider abortion “decriminalized” if people suspected of seeking abortions were subject to deportation and extra-judicial (yet perfectly legal) eviction.  In fact, Sweden’s policymakers are remarkably open about the extent to which the law is supposed to harm people who sell sex.  The head of Sweden’s anti-trafficking unit told a journalist last year, “of course the law has negative consequences for women in prostitution, but that’s also some of the effect that we want to achieve”…

A Year Later (#515)

NO NO NO! This is absolutely awful!

…Under the old law, SNUG regularly partnered with Edmonton Police Service to run operations in which sex workers were taken into custody.  But instead of pressing charges, women were brought to SNUG offices, given some food and offered services.  When the law changed, police weren’t able to charge sex workers anymore and SNUG lost a crucial outreach opportunity…

Subjecting sex workers to violence in order to “outreach” to them is an absolutely terrible, dehumanizing, agency-negating idea; what next, shooting them with tranquilizer darts and RF tagging them for study?Primates of Park Avenue

Housewife Harlotry (#540)

Welcome to our world, New York housewives:

…is Primates of Park Avenue, an exposé on the moneyed mommies of Manhattan, really true?…Author Wednesday Martin…claims in the memoir to have spent six years “doing field work” with her two kids on the Upper East Side…But Martin only lived there for three years, with one kid, and mentions stores and services that didn’t exist, calling into question the scenes and ­behaviors she describes…Primates includes eyebrow-raising anecdotes, such as the claim that some women receive yearly “wife bonuses.”  After readers expressed doubt, Martin backpedaled, telling New York magazine:  “I don’t necessarily think it’s a trend or widespread.  It was just one of the many strange-seeming cultural practices that some women told me about.”  Although the book includes no such disclaimer and is advertised as a “memoir,” Martin [said] she “telescoped certain parts of the narrative in order to protect the privacy of friends, neighbors, associates and family.”  That “telescoping” seems to have moved events that happened in different neighborhoods and put them on the Upper East Side…

Traffic Circle (#544)

Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post “Fact Checker”, continues to hammer at “sex trafficking” myths:

…if you think about it for half a minute, [the “average debut at 13”] statistic makes little sense…if it is the “average,” then for all those who entered trafficking at age 16 or 17, there have to be nearly equivalent numbers who entered at age 9 or 10.  But no one seriously believes that.  Upon investigation, this claim crumbles to dust…FBI spokesmen say this is not their figure.  The Justice Department also says it is not a DOJ figure…Yet somehow this figure lives on in the echo chamber of Washington discourse.  The worst example we found was a Department of Homeland Security pamphlet for school administrators that boldly displayed both the claim about 300,000 children and the average age of 13.  It listed two sources:  The Department of Justice and the congressionally mandated Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  But the DOJ reference was to another opinion article that cited the Estes/Weiner report, not an official DOJ finding.  And the CMEC fact sheet referred to a report by Shared Hope International…which in turn relied on…the same Estes/Weiner report…in the end the source of the data is the same discredited and out-of-date academic paper.  It would be amusing if it were not so sad…The Washington Post and other news organizations also failed by allowing [the] claim to be published as an actual fact…This is a Four-Pinocchio statistic and should no longer be cited.

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It is…easier to characterize sex work activists as traffickers and pimps than what they really are: vulnerable women advocating for themselves within a system that is set up to marginalize and dehumanize them.  –  Alana Massey

Amsterdam

What the fuck is this patronizing bullshit?

Amsterdam may open a brothel where fifty women will get a chance to do their work without pimps. The municipality proposes five buildings with a total of 19 windows available…A feasibility study has been launched to see what all is involved in a prostitution business that is run by prostitutes. The municipality believes that a company which sex workers themselves are responsible for the affairs, will contribute to a prostitution industry with good working conditions without abuses…

If Dutch politicians would stop mistaking their masturbatory fantasies for reality, they’d know that most prostitutes already run their businesses without the dubious “help” of pimps or politicians.

Real People Bella Robinson

Here’s a good profile of Bella Robinson, written by fellow activist Tara Burns:

Bella Robinson entered the sex industry as a homeless 18-year-old fleeing an abusive marriage that had rescued her from the foster care system.  She’s exactly the sort of “victim” for whom sex trafficking laws were invented.  But Robinson—now a human rights activist who has been a hooker (her preferred term) for 30 years—doesn’t think of herself as a victim of the sex industry.  She says she’s been sex trafficked by the state and victimized by laws intended to help people like her…

One Size Fits All

Because Shazam!

51-year-old Robert Edward Neves, an American National arrested in the Philippines, will face trial for [dating] a 17-year-old [woman]…Neves is also being charged with [sex trafficking]…it is illegal for any person…to keep or have in their company a minor which is 12 years or under – or who is 10 years or more his junior in any public place…The [young woman said she]…and Neves…met in an online date site…eventually becoming lovers…after they met in person…

Follow the Leader

Costumed hooligans with titles like “officer” abduct and abuse people in much the same way every day:

A 6-year-old boy in Missouri endured an emotional four-hour staged kidnapping because his family thought he was being too nice to people he didn’t know…the boy’s mother, grandmother, aunt and a co-worker of the aunt…have been charged with kidnapping and other felonies…the boy was lured…into a pickup after getting off his school bus, tied up, threatened with a gun, taken to a basement where his pants were removed, and told he could be sold into sex slavery…that he would never “see his mommy again,” and he would be “nailed to the wall of a shed”…[he was bound] in the basement for some time before he was unbound and…lectured…about stranger danger…

Uncommon Sense

Ticino has always been considered a haven of the Swiss sex industry.  Dozens of Italian sex workers, both women and men – regularly commute…there…roughly 600 registered sex workers [work] in Ticino out of a total population of 340,000 residents…But…the local government is trying to push through a new law aimed at cracking down on unregulated prostitution by confining the oldest trade to just licensed brothels, apartments and authorised sex districts…

Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong

Dear clergymen:  STOP STICKING YOUR DAMNED NOSES INTO OUR BUSINESS.  Love, sex workers everywhere.

Representatives of the Church of Scotland have joined other churches and faith groups, including Catholics, Anglicans, Muslims, Sikhs, Quakers and the Free Church, in urging the First Minister to…follow the kind of prostitution law adopted in Nordic countries…Sex worker-led charity Scot-Pep said laws criminalising the buyer exposed sex workers to HIV and violence and had been rejected by UNAIDS, the World Health Organisation and Human Rights Watch…a Swedish report on the issue published this week had concluded that the law made sex workers more vulnerable.  Fiona Gilbertson…of Scot-Pep…said…”This is clearly a subject about which the Church has been misinformed, and I would invite them…to read the evidence and to speak to sex workers before proceeding any further with this campaign…”

Here’s my friend Laura Lee on the subject.

The Last Shall Be First

A bill…in the Florida Legislature…would make it a crime for transgender people to use single-sex public facilities…including restrooms…that correspond with their gender identity.  Violators would be [subject to]…a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.  The bill would also empower people in a…restroom during any “unlawful entry” to sue the alleged interloper and owner of the facility…single-sex facilities…would be restricted to those with a corresponding “biological sex…at birth”…

Yellow Fever

Lauren HershMost of this reads like a script for a really lurid TV cop show, because reporters nowadays believe everything cops tell them as though it were engraved on stone tablets.  There’s also infantilization of young people, agency denial, bogus statistics, conflation of all “missing child” cases with stranger abduction and all stranger abduction with “sex trafficking”, the evocation of imaginary “criminal gangs”, pro-criminalization propaganda and a special guest appearance by the vile Lauren Hersh, the prohibitionist who was a prosecutor until she was forced out in disgrace for railroading two innocent men for rape.

Policing for Profit 

Here’s another prohibitionist badge-licker who is so busy wanking to his fantasies of “slave ships” that he is unable to comprehend that expanded state power to steal private property will eventually come back to bite him:

Tim Heffer [fantasizes] so strongly that sex [work] is…slavery that he compares the cars…owned by [clients] to slave ships…he testified in support of HB 1558, which would allow [cops to steal]…the cars and money of people arrested for soliciting a prostitute, even if they are never convicted.  “Rather than one large ship, they’re smaller vessels…we need to take these ships away from traffickers and buyers”…

Rough Trade (#339)

Who else but a sociopath could “appear to be in disbelief” when he is convicted for the same kind of rape he’s been convicted for at least twice before?

Akis Livas, 52, appeared to be in disbelief when his lawyer explained to him that he would be locked up for…[booking a sex worker] for four hours, and [bringing] an envelope stuffed with paper which he pretended was the $850 to pay her.  The woman said when she discovered there was no money, she became scared…she has suffered from a lack of trust in others and [is] still receiving counselling…Livas continued to minimise his responsibility and had not shown remorse…

Shame, Shame

A mugshot…is a photo designed to tell the state’s side of a story.  The subject of the photo, taken at one of the lowest points in their life, has no voice, but the language of the form – the unflattering bright light, the drab background, the name and prisoner ID at the bottom – tells us we are looking at a “criminal”.  With the internet, that “we” has expanded to the far reaches of the globe…before the subject can mount a defense, a 1,000-word photo pronouncing their guilt may have already gone viral.  Stacking the deck in favor of the already advantaged police, the photos discourage empathy in favor of judgment…this humiliation becomes just another manifestation of punishment…The press partakes readily in this ritual debasement, the most respectable of media outlets eagerly distributing the state’s unflattering photos, of people who have yet to be convicted of anything, on the front page and on the evening news and on dedicated websites that feature nothing but mugshots…

Uncommon Sense (#420)

After months of negotiations, [German politicians]…agreed the final details of a new law governing sex work…but prostitutes say it isn’t fit for [the] purpose…Undine de Rivière…[of the] sex workers’ union BeSD…[said] the rule requiring sex workers to be registered with the authorities…was unacceptable…[as is] requiring prostitutes to have a doctor’s note…while sex workers are happy to discuss measures that can help them practice their profession and maintain their health, they want them on their terms…

Wise Investment (#440)

Much more of this, please:

A metro Atlanta dominatrix…is suing a…private investigator for secretly filming their…session…Lakenya Monfort…contends Reginald Walker…posed as…[a] client…[and used a] hidden…video-camera to record the session without Monfort’s knowledge…[to use] as evidence against Monfort in her child-custody case…Georgia law…prohibits secretly…video-recording someone in a place where he or she has a reasonable expectation of privacy…

The Notorious Badge (#452) 

50 shades of clusterfuck:

…the press tour for…50 Shades of Grey [is] now firmly established as among the most disastrous of the past decade…The most glaring problem…is [that]…romantic leads Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan do not like each other…A routine visit to TODAY takes on the excruciating air of a court-ordered couples therapy session…It is not difficult to picture Dornan and Johnson luring one another into a “Red Room of Pain.”  It stretches the capacity of the imagination to think that both would emerge alive…[both]…routinely display discomfort…when talking about sex…Dornan [said]…”I had to do stuff to her that I’d never choose to do to a woman…The first day…was kind of an out-of-body experience…I’m like, ‘What the fuck is happening?  I’m a dad.  What?’…

The way Dornan repeatedly mentions his child, as if to provide a ward against evil, is fascinating in a Victorian kind of way.

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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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Prostitution has a social value, and it’s necessary in a city.  –  Daniël Termont

Without Let or Hindrance

Those who have dealt with “Child Protective Services” know that they are granted powers of which the Inquisition would have been envious.  They routinely abduct people’s children on the flimsiest of pretexts, often on hearsay and without even a warrant, and once this happens parents may never regain custody; if they do it is after years of jumping through ridiculous and ever-changing hoops, playing endless games of “Mother May I?” with power-mad bureaucrats, submission to outlandish violations of their rights and privacy, hundreds of hours in court and total financial ruin…and that’s not even counting the emotional damage to the children.  On Wednesday, an activist named Kathi Duran began a hunger strike on the steps of the California state capitol to call attention to these abuses; as expected, she was arrested almost immediately.  She asked me to call attention to her protest and share this press release, and I’m happy to do so and will provide updates as I get them.

Updates

License To Rape

This result doesn’t happen nearly often enough:

An ex-Houston police officer [named Abraham Joseph]…was sentenced to life in prison…for raping a waitress…Joseph could have received as little as five years…but jurors chose the maximum sentence instead.

News articles always refer to criminal cops as “ex-cops”, implying they had already been fired when they committed the crimes.

Lack of Evidence

The San Francisco Police Department announced…that [it] will [temporarily] stop using condoms as evidence in prostitution cases…Under current city policy, police cannot confiscate condoms…But…police sometimes broke the policy…A July report from Human Rights Watch criticized San Francisco, along with New York, Washington, DC and Los Angeles, for [the practice]…

Spam received by a reader; if this isn’t a hoax, the cops, voyeurs or pimp wannabes who set it up labor under truly mythic levels of ignorance and disinformation.

December Q & A

Sex educator Debby Herbenick on the need for more research on anal sex:  “…In an incredibly short period of time, anal sex has become a common part of Americans’ sex lives.  As of the 1990s, only about one-quarter to one-third of young [Americans]…had tried anal sex at least once.  Less than 20 years later, my research team’s 2009 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior found that as many as 40-45 percent…in some age groups had…[yet] taboos persist and…the list of what we don’t know about anal sex is far longer than the list of what we do.  This makes it difficult for sex educators to feel truly confident in answering people’s very real and important questions…

Backwards into the Future

Add Malawi to the list of countries whose legal experts understand human rights better than those in the US; one of them said thatDespite the fact that Malawi has not outlawed sex work…police officers on night patrols pounce on sex workers and…charge…[them] with rogue and vagabond…This is a clear violation of rights of sex workers…”  He also commented on the unsanctioned compulsory HIV testing I reported in TW3 (#24), stating that it “is not recommended by…UNAIDS” and “it is impractical and unworkable and more effective results can be reached by supporting sex workers’…access [to] testing, prevention, and support…

Housewife Harlotry

No, marriage isn’t prostitution; not at all:

…Several [New York] attorneys have shared the craziest [prenuptial agreements] they’ve penned…[including] items like “no piano playing while the husband is home”, cash bonuses…if either is caught cheating and an agreement to terminate a pregnancy if one should occur…[some include]a weight clause…[another] said [the wife] would never wear green and if she did, her husband [could]…destroy the item…One husband demanded “wife not allowed to cut her hair”…

The article also mentions the wives’ demands, including husbands being home by a certain time and (surprise!) being paid for sex.

Saving Them From Themselves

Amanda Hess adds to our list of good articles about “sexting” hysteria:

When Polaroid inventor Edwin Land introduced the first commercial instant camera…in 1948, he ushered in what Christopher Bonanos …in The Atlantic calls a “magnificent new era” in photography…for “instant, shareable nudie pics”…The new…format for…nude photographs—sexting—[is]…basically the same:  instant explicit photographs, taken under the radar, shared between lovers and friends.  In a recent report on a new study of teen sexting…dating “expert” Dr. Wendy Walsh favored terms like “embarrassment,” “shame,” “risky,” and “pressure” to describe the photographic form.  And negative terms like those permeate the…discussion around teen photo sharing, though for years research has shown that the media-wide concern-trolling is overblown…

Tyranny By Consensus

On November 6th Los Angeles county will decide whether to impose AHF’s “condoms in porn” measure; this video explains the real motive behind the whole thing:

Uncommon Sense

…In Ghent’s red-light district, as in many other cities, prostitutes sit in windows to attract potential clients.  According to the new law in Ghent, women must wear something in addition to lingerie and may not dance or make suggestive gestures…[Mayor Daniël] Termont…stressed that the measures were intended to reduce the nuisance caused by customers…rather than to victimise the workers.

Saint Death

This US Army report on the Santa Muerte belief refers to it as a “death cult” (technically true, but the phrase has false and pejorative connotations), declares that it isn’t a “true” religion and states that “Although not all members of the cult are criminals, all live an existence that is dominated by crime.”  I’m sure that bartenders, taxi drivers and prostitutes (who are not criminalized in Mexico) might disagree that their lives are “dominated by crime”, though cops (another large segment of her devotees) probably wouldn’t.

Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong

It’s good to see some journalists finally starting to listen to us:

…Backpage’s critics say they are facilitating sex slavery…[but] all the figures quoted in the media come from a single source, a consultancy called AIM Group…[whose] methodology is shaky at best…they ignore major adult ad networks and mainstream ad networks that accept adult ads…and traffic, revenue and share-of-market numbers, even accurate ones, are no indication of how many…ads…actually convert into…transaction[s]…nor what subset of those…are with a minor or…coerced [person]…Backpage publishes about 3.2 million…ads a month…about 11 percent…are listed in…Adult Services…Backpage removes over a million ads a month…[mostly] for spam and fraud…Only 1.6 percent of the [removed] ads…are from the Adult Category…Only 2 percent of that 1.6 percent, or about 400…a month, are suspected of advertising a minor.  Backpage reports those…immediately (and under no legal obligation) to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).  In other words, about 1/25 of 1 percent (.04 percent) of the ads Backpage removes…are suspected of advertising a minor for sexual services, a number that represents 1/100 of one percent (.01 percent) of its…ad volume…

Instead of the usual prohibitionists, the article interviewed folks like researcher Ron Weitzer and Kate D’Adamo of SWOP.

The More the Better

Diary of a Rookie Phone Sex Floozie…Lucinda Latimer…whose real name is Jan…was…broke, isolated and almost suicidal…  she had sold her car and had no idea where her next penny was coming from when she saw a documentary on former career women who turned to the sex industry to make a living.  Previously, she had [earned] up to £1000 a night as a graphologist…but ill health and the break-up of her marriage forced her back to Perthshire…[she now does phone sex work and] what has struck her about the men is how normal and pleasant most are and how well educated…Trying to hide her work would have made it shameful and sordid…[so] Jan decided to speak out…she has written…The Diary of a Rookie Phone Sex Floozie, and is about to launch volume two…

The Rape Question

Jezebel’s “sex advice” columnist gives a reader advice on how to shove her finger up a guy’s arse without his consent because she wants “to massage someone’s prostate goddamnit!”.  Take note of the tepid protests to the columnist’s suggestions on how to trick and bully him into it, then imagine the firestorm if a male writer gave a man advice on how to pressure a woman into something because he wants “to fuck some chick in the arse goddamnit!

Change of Heart

I’m never happy to see a sister pilloried, but I suspect the police decision to expose her customers is going to backfire so badly that this may have some positive results in the long run:

[Alexis Wright has]…been charged with running a prostitution business out of her Zumba dance studio [in Kennebunk, Maine] and secretly videotaping her encounters…Police have begun issuing summons to Wright’s customers and will release the names in the weeks ahead.  Townspeople say they’ve heard that lawyers, doctors, law enforcement officials, a television personality and other well-known people in town are included in a detailed clientele list police found.  A lot of people would rather not see the names made public because it will hurt families, children and careers…

So Close and Yet So Far

Another would-be ally undermines her own case by accepting the false claims of prohibitionists:

…In the Netherlands, prostitution is legal.  Nonetheless, over 60% of the women involved in prostitution are involved in the sex trade illegally.  The Mayor [of Amsterdam] and others refer to these as ‘trafficked’ – either because they are exploited and involved in the sex trade against their will…or because they are illegal workers brought to the country to work voluntarily in conditions different from those they expect…the argument for legalization included belief that it would…decrease trafficking, it has had the opposite effect…prostitution has gone from a predominantly home-grown industry to one very heavily dependent on illegal foreign workers…a [recent law criminalizes hiring]…a prostitute who is not registered with the government…But…this…means that…[the] information must be public so that…[clients] can verify that the sex worker is…licensed…[this] invades the privacy of both…prostitutes and…customers…

Prohibitionists intentionally confuse legalization and decriminalization, ignore the bottleneck effect of registration, pretend that correlation equals causation and conflate “unregistered” with “trafficked”, and the author, Dr. Nancy Darling, fails to question any of it.

Metaupdates

See No Evil in TW3 (#24)

Ilfracombe, the English town which claims to be unique in the world by being absolutely whore-free, proves it can be as prudish about lumps of bronze as anyplace in the Bible Belt:  “Damien Hirst refers to ‘Verity’ as a ‘modern-day allegory for truth and justice’…[but hundreds of local residents and law officials]…call the 66-foot bronze statue of a half-exposed pregnant woman ‘soft porn masqueraded as art’…

Down Under in TW3 (#40)

Australian sex worker activist Christian Vega has more to say on that “end demand” story from St. Kilda:

…As I read through [the article] the stench of bovine excrement almost made my eyes water…street sex work doesn’t relocate itself to another suburb on the other side of town…there is not an itinerant population of these workers who move en masse from one place to the next like migrating wildebeest across the African savannah…It’s more comfortable for people to think that sex work doesn’t happen in their community…and…that street sex workers must board a shuttle from planet Whore to our neighbourhoods under the cover of darkness before disappearing as the sun rises…

I think I like that imagery at least as much as my own.

This Week in 2010 and 2011

A federal judge enjoyed pleasures he persecuted others for and escaped with a slap on the wrist because officials always have different rules for their own class than for others; they’re also hilariously clueless about sex work and are only beginning to realize what a scam the “anti-trafficking” industry is.  I discussed America’s weird love-hate relationship with prostitutes, what a 1947 sci-fi story can teach us about the nanny state, how sex workers arrive at our prices and how prostitution is a much older profession than most people think, and I related the story of a famous whore-obsessed preacher, told some hooker jokes, shared my answers to some amazingly stupid prohibitionist statements and presented two spooky stories for the Halloween season.

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“That is no excuse,” replied Mr. Brownlow…”the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction.”

“If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is a ass – a idiot.”  –  Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

Two new stories, nine updates and three metaupdates.

The Law is an Ass

Today in “Never call the police for any reason whatsoever”:

…Christina Marie Lopez [of Oregon]…pleaded guilty…to attempted use of a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct…in December…Lopez complained to police and media that a strip club had hired her…[then 17-year-old] daughter…Investigators later obtained surveillance video…”that showed Lopez in the club watching her daughter dance and providing her money”…[but] now 18-year-old Nicole Madril, said…”It’s not like she came in there and got 50 lap dances from me…She came in and gave me money so I could get myself something to eat”…Lopez was sentenced to 3 years in prison, 3 years of post-prison supervision, and must register as a sex offender.  Lopez’s daughter told the judge the sentence was unfair and that it was her own choice to strip.

Lopez obviously forgot about the Law of Shazam; even if her daughter was at most four months shy of her 18th birthday, she was still the exact legal, moral and intellectual equivalent of a newborn infant, and therefore easily controllable by any adult.

Bullies With Badges

Police in riot gear and masks saved Houston from evil harlots Thursday:  “At least six women were in custody…after prostitution stings at three…massage parlors…Investigators said most of the women who were arrested appeared to be under the age of 30 – some as young as teenagers…Investigators said…they were looking into whether any of the women may be victims of human trafficking.”  News flash:  Many Asian women look younger than most white women; those who “looked like teenagers” may have been much older.  The “trafficking” claims were obviously to head off valid criticism of the incredible waste  of this “raid”, but if they were sincere their actions are even more reprehensible, as pointed out in this must-read column from Radley Balko.

Updates

They Just Don’t Get It (April 12th, 2011)

What is wrong with journalists in Pennsylvania?  Their fawning treatment of cops and other “authorities” reads like fellatio porn, and their feigned ignorance of anything whore-related is astonishingly stupid:

Prostitution has plagued any number of internet sites in recent years – notably Craigslist – but now the CBS 3 I-Team has found a new hideout for hookers on…Twitter…used by call girls all the time as a free way to advertise…some prostitutes right in your backyard are even setting up appointments over Twitter, which is used by kids of all ages…“It gives…that ability to reach their customers immediately,” says Rob D’Ovidio, a cyber crime expert at Drexel University.  “If it’s a slow day, and they want to lure in customers, they can quickly get that blurb out there”…

Reading stories like this feels like looking into a dirty toilet; one wonders what sort of filthy mind could write it, despite the fact that “kids of all ages” could see it on TV.  Apparently nobody told Mr. “Cyber Crime Expert” that we’re all “victims” now and that we’re the ones who are “lured” rather than vice-versa.  Except, obviously, in Pennsylvania (where we’re still criminals) and Texas (where they ain’t sure).

Another Small Victory (July 16th, 2011)

A group of US Representatives petitioned the Supreme Court to reverse a lower-court ruling striking down the anti-prostitution pledge; Congressman Chris Smith characterized agencies who provide condoms and testing to all women (without excluding sex workers) as “international groups that promote and enable prostitution and sex trafficking”.  The mindless self-destructiveness of this position becomes evident when one realizes that people like Smith wrongly believe whores to be the major vectors of STIs, yet want us excluded from health programs anyway.  He’s also ignorant on the ruling, which only freed domestic agencies from the ridiculous “pledge”; international ones are still bound by it, which leads me to wonder how this group keeps its funding:

A new NGO in Nicaragua aims to protect the rights of women who voluntarily work in the sex trade, raising the question of whether sex work should be seen as a legitimate job, or should be treated as a component of organized crime that is inherently linked to problems like human trafficking.  Girasoles de Nicaragua…is backed by USAID [and] formed…to fight “stigma, discrimination and violence”…the organization has…deployed 25 employees across the country, reportedly providing some 500 women with health aid, literacy training, and legal support.  It plans to partner with the police in investigating crimes related to the sex trade, and form alliances with other international organizations that promote sex workers’ rights, including Argentina-based network RedTraSex.  The group argues that sex work should be recognized as a respectable form of self-employment…that allows women to support themselves and their families…

The rest of the article, as should be evident from the lede, devolves into the usual “human trafficking cartel” nonsense, branding the group’s statements to reporters “confused” and implying that they know less about their own field than lay people who read “trafficking” propaganda.

Elephant in the Parlor (October 23rd, 2012)

Politician.  Whores.  Yawn.

Michael Wiener, a…[New Mexico] county commissioner …is being asked to resign after a picture of him posing with scantily clad women in a well-known red light district in the Philippines…[was posted by] photographer John Keatley…on his blog.  Wiener…[wrote] that…”NOTHING untoward ever happened…The pictures taken are as innocent as any that could be taken at Twin Peaks or Hooters here“…[but] Keatley said “…It was very obvious to me that he was not respectful to women.  He was there to have a good time”…

Because to the neofeminism-addled mind, “respectful to women” and “good time” are mutually exclusive.

Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong (November 12th, 2011)

A group of senators has introduced a resolution urging Village Voice Media to take down the ‘adult entertainment’ section of its classified-ads site, Backpage.com.”  Blah, blah, blah.  You know the rest.

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

Darren Thompson sent me an Amazon gift certificate this week, which I used to get several small items:  The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb, Pretty Baby and two discs of Warner Brothers cartoons that weren’t on my wish list.  Thank you so much!

Sleazier Than Thou (January 30th, 2012)

Ashley Madison is well known for its lies, deception and sleazy advertising, but this is slimy even for them:

For the past four years, infidelity-based matchmaking site AshleyMadison.com has seen an influx of married women signing up for its services on…the day after Mother’s Day.  According to the site’s founder, Noel Biderman, more married women join the site on that day than on any other…”If that day comes to pass, and once again what [women] experience is a lack of appreciation, affection and respect, that is when the idea of taking on a potential lover takes full form,” Biderman said…

Note found by an amateur on her door.

Guys, very few actual living women sign up for Ashley Madison on ANY day.  The majority of those who do are whores, and the rest aren’t being truthful about their age or weight; Biderman is a lying shyster out to take your money.  That having been said, it’s probably best to be extra-sweet to your wife on Mother’s Day; yes, I know she isn’t your mother, and I agree…but she may not, and that could mean trouble.

Prudish Pedants (March 22nd, 2012)

And all it took was triple jeopardy and lying to the jury about the legality of nullification:

A jury today found fetish filmmaker Ira Isaacs guilty on five counts of violating federal obscenity laws.  He’ll be sentenced on Aug. 6.  It was the third…trial…The first two ended with mistrials…[the] federal prosecutor…said…that Isaacs’ goal…was solely to make money, but Isaacs’ attorney…said…that the case is about testing the First Amendment… Judge George King…told [the jury] that it’s their duty to weigh and evaluate all the evidence and decide the facts based solely on the law, reason and common sense and not their opinion or speculation…

Much Ado About Nothing (April 18th, 2012)

Agent Cheapskate has finally been unmasked as Arthur Huntington, who “lives in Saverna Park, Md. [and] is a married father of two whose wife leads Bible study in the neighborhood…the Secret Service has created new rules forbidding all foreigners but hotel staff in agents’ rooms and barring them from visiting ‘seedy establishments’.”  In other news, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee admitted that the whores were just whores, not spies or international gangsters:  “It does not appear that these guys were targeted.  [It wasn’t] a foreign organization attempting to seduce Secret Service agents…There’s no evidence that any of the women have any involvement with narco-terrorists or any type of terrorist organization.  Basically, they’re prostitutes.”

Which, of course, every hooker in the world already knew.

My Favorite Books (April 26th, 2012)

I think these folks are reading far too much into a discarded first draft, but it’s still interesting:

Newly-discovered draft pages of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince“…will be auctioned off later this month after a rare public viewing…The first page contains a piece of text that’s partly retained in chapter 19 of the published work. But the second leaf of the work is completely original…In 1943, the text turned from a scribbled manuscript by a relatively unknown author, into a literary phenomenon that has since sold 140 million copies, in about 260 languages.  After The Bible, “The Little Prince” is the most translated book in history, according to the…Saint-Exupery Foundation.  Sadly, the author would never know the extent of his book’s success:  he died shortly after its first publication in a mysterious plane crash in 1944 while on active service in World War II…

Metaupdates

Shifting the Blame in The Beat Goes On (Part One) (January 18th, 2012)

Two men were held for questioning Tuesday as part of an investigation into the slayings of four Detroit women whose bodies were found in car trunks after three of them placed online escort ads…

Feminine Pragmatism in TW3 (#13) (March 31st, 2012)

“Octomom” Nadya Suleman, who filed for bankruptcy this week with $1 million in debts and $50,000 in assets, has agreed to do a masturbation video for Vivid for $100,000.  She insists it isn’t really porn (which she has sworn never to do) because it’s a solo act; do you think I should send her a copy of “Little Boxes”?

Good News, Bad News in TW3 (#14) (April 6th, 2012)

Elena Jeffreys explains the probable effects of the sleazy political deal which could impose a version of the Swedish Model on Western Australia:

Adele Carles is no friend of the HIV sector, no friend of STI prevention, and her $5.5 million sex worker ‘rescue’ centre is going to cost the WA Liberals, and any future government, that friendship as well.  What will it cost sex workers?  Our ability to protect ourselves.  Our health.  And our dignity…The…centre is being horse-traded in Western Australia…for votes over Christian Porter’s anti-sex work Prostitution Bill.  Doomed from the start, Porter authored the Bill by not listening to his own policy staff, ignoring sex workers and the sex worker movement, and thumbing his nose at the Liberal’s own ‘numbers people’…With a lack of buy-in from the industry, total opposition from the churches and zero support from both the ALP and the Greens, suddenly Independent MP…Adele Carles, has the power to call the shots…[Carles’ scheme would be funded by] gutting the existing sex worker service and building a new service geared towards the redemption, exit and retraining of sex workers out of the industry rather than the current approach of harm reduction for current sex workers…

One Year Ago Today

May Updates (Part Two)” reports on harm reduction for untreatable alcoholics, junk science equating a vital food component with hard drugs, and government busybodies trying to “protect” babies from the scourge of mother’s milk.

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Any law which violates the indefeasible rights of man is essentially unjust and tyrannical; it is not a law at all.  –  Maximilien Robespierre

Some of you may have noticed that my columns are posting earlier as of this week; I realized that if I posted them at 10:01 UTC every day, all my readers would be able to see (or at least be notified) of them on the proper date (even though it ranges from late evening in New Zealand to one minute past midnight in Hawaii).  That probably won’t matter to most of you, but it corrects a deficiency that’s been annoying me for some time.

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

The brave police of Manatee, Florida have announced their heroic capture of a dangerous criminal …a street woman so desperate she offered sex in exchange for two McDonald’s dollar-menu cheeseburgers.  I’m sure my Floridian readers will sleep more soundly tonight knowing this menace was removed from the streets.

Updates

Crime Against Society (February 26th, 2011)

Though Louisiana’s oppressive “Crime Against Nature By Solicitation” law was reduced to a misdemeanor last year (thus removing the requirement for sex offender registration), Doe vs. Jindal continued because the state refused to release those previously condemned.  On March 29th the judge decided in favor of the sex workers:

…U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman said state lawmakers had no “rational basis” for requiring people to register as sex offenders if they were convicted of a “crime against nature by solicitation”… “The defendants fail to credibly serve up even one unique legitimating governmental interest that can rationally explain the registration requirement imposed on those convicted of Crime Against Nature by Solicitation,” Feldman wrote.  “The Court is left with no other conclusion but that the relationship between the classification is so shallow as to render the distinction wholly arbitrary”…

This is a victory not only for the approximately 400 people released from the tyrannical regime of “sex offender” registration, but for all those fighting to get armed busybodies out of people’s personal lives.

The Soft Weapon (March 24th, 2011)

I exposed the Schapiro Group’s lies twice before the Village Voice did last March, but their voice is much louder than mine, and apparently quite a few heard it because a new petition on Change.org has called for criminal investigation of both the Schapiro Group and the “Women’s Funding Network” (one of billionaire prohibitionist Swanee Hunt’s fronts):

Recently the Village Voice exposed the Schapiro Group…and the Women’s Funding Network…for knowingly deceiving both congress and the public using false data manufactured through fraudulent research…[when] legitimate organizations that serve exploited…minors…are not able to report that they have reached numbers of youth comparable to the inflated numbers of victims…it jeopardizes their credibility and funding…[also] increased funding for law enforcement efforts to combat a vastly inflated threat…is channeled instead into police actions directed not at traffickers, but rather against consenting adult sex workers…We reject the concept that criminalizing members of any population is an effective way to rescue them…Therefore, we, the undersigned, call on the United States Dept. of Justice to investigate the Schapiro Group and the Women’s Funding Network for conspiracy to commit fraud against their donors, the public and the US government…

Needless to say, I urge you all to sign!

Sales Pitch (May 22nd, 2011)

Here’s another study which proves that the “Swedish Model” doesn’t work; this one is from human trafficking expert Ann Jordan, who called the law “a failed experiment in social engineering” and pointed out that “the Swedish government has been unable to prove that the law has reduced the number of sex buyers or sellers or stopped trafficking.”

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (June 15th, 2011)

This was forwarded to me by an academic correspondent; I think it speaks for itself.

Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong (November 12th, 2011)

The New York Times continues its crusade against sex workers, this time via a slanted article which refers to a 17-year-old as a “child” and blames Backpage (rather than the unexamined conditions at home which caused her to run away twice) for her becoming an underage prostitute.  Apparently the Times is hoping that Village Voice loses its nerve and backs down on the Backpage adult ads, because it would be forced to reverse course and oppose the fanatics (rather than getting in bed with them) if they succeed in enacting laws that make websites (like that run by the Times) responsible for user-generated content.

Held Together With Lies (April 2nd, 2012)

The UN has released its latest “estimate” of “human trafficking victims”, and though it’s less than 9% of the popular figure popularized by fanatics, it’s still both unsubstantiated and inflated by at least two orders of magnitude:

The U.N. crime-fighting office said Tuesday that 2.4 million people across the globe are victims of human trafficking at any one time, and 80 percent of them are being exploited as sexual slaves.  Yuri Fedotov, the head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime…said $32 billion is being earned every year by unscrupulous criminals running human trafficking networks, and two out of every three victims are women…According to Fedotov’s Vienna-based office, only one out of 100 victims of trafficking is ever rescued…

In other words, Fedotov can only support 1% of his claim, or 24,000 people in the entire world.  That’s a lot more believable, but it wouldn’t generate the necessary panic so fanatics multiply it by over 1000x, then refuse to produce even the most tenuous evidence in support of the exaggerated claim.

An Example To the West (April 3rd, 2012)

This article by researcher Matthias Lehmann on the harm criminalization does to Korean sex workers largely covers familiar ground, but also mentions that the prohibitionist Korean laws enacted in 2004 were strongly influenced by the “Swedish Model” and linked this strong criticism of the laws by two Swedish legislators.  Lehmann points out that “sex workers…remain criminalised unless they claim to be victims”, dividing women into “’good women who are worthy of help’ and ‘bad ones who need to be punished’, thus continuing the stigmatisation of women who sell sex.”  Unsurprisingly, this is the version of Swedish legislation now infiltrating the US as well.  The article quotes many of the same sources and developments I’ve reported previously, but I found this announcement very intriguing:

Sex workers often rightly criticise researchers, politicians or the media for distorting the reality of the sex industry.  I am therefore working together with Woo Yun Jin, a Korean visual artist, to develop a graphic novel entirely based on experiences shared with us by sex workers in Korea…[it] will be made available [later this year] in both English and Korean…we [hope this helps] people to better understand that sex workers are part of their communities and deserve the same rights just as everyone else.

Lehmann also provides links to “Research Project Korea” and a number of news articles and resources.

The Rape Question (April 4th, 2012)

More information is better than less, but I’m concerned this could make rape trials even more of a “he said/she said” affair than they already are:

…An in-depth study comparing rape victims with nursing students at the University of Southern Denmark reveals that vaginal injuries are just as likely to result from consensual sex as rape.  [Researcher] Birgitte Schmidt Astrup [said] ‘…The nursing students experience just as frequent vaginal injuries as rape victims, and so these injuries cannot be used for much more than to establish that intercourse has taken place.’  She added that in cases of convictions based on evidence of vaginal injuries, there could now be discussions as to whether there have been miscarriages of justice…all [of the subjects] were examined less than 28 hours after sexual intercourse…vaginal injuries were found in 36 per cent of rape victims and in 34 per cent of the nursing students.  The…students’ results were not affected by whether they had engaged in rough or gentle sex, or whether they had used condoms or sex toys…

Feet of Clay (April 5th, 2012)

The outcry against Nicholas Kristof and his anti-whore crusade continues to grow and generalize; this week I discovered a well-written article from a member of the Occupy movement denouncing Kristof’s transparent attempt to call attention away from his own lies and exaggerations by branding the much-hated Goldman-Sachs “financiers of sex trafficking”:

…It was with some horror…that…I observed several Occupy-affiliated Twitter accounts sharing a link to an op-ed by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, entitled “Financiers and Sex Trafficking”…It’s easy to see how this could appear to fit in the widespread populist anger against the financial sector that powers Occupy Wall Street…[but] Backpage is mostly used by consenting adults, and Nicholas D. Kristof is a man with a history of trying to use the specters of trafficking and child prostitution as leverage for a campaign that seeks ultimately to further criminalize sex workers…his “rescue” work in developing countries has basically involved riding along with law enforcement and live-tweeting brothel raids, writing himself into the story as the white savior (consequences be damned).  In other words, he is a buffoon, a prime member of the Liberal Class that preserves the status quo by defining the acceptable limits of dissent…Meg…[of] SWOP Chicago…[explained that] “The anti-trafficking crusade is a top-down movement, led by (among others) two right-wing religious conservatives from the Bush Administration (Laura Lederer, Swanee Hunt)…if Occupy Wall Street jumps on the anti-trafficking bandwagon, they’re really just swallowing rhetoric designed by one of the nation’s best consulting firms to further the particular agenda of a few members of the top .0001%”…Trafficking and child prostitution have been invoked to justify criminalizing…sex work since at least the end of the last century…Demand Abolition’s own material [confirms] this…[its] Nation Strategy emphasizes that “Framing the Campaign’s key target as sexual slavery might garner more support and less resistance, while framing the Campaign as combating prostitution may be less likely to mobilize similar levels of support and to stimulate stronger opposition.”

…If Occupy wants to add justice for sex workers to its cause (and it should), then it can carry on doing what the movement has generally done very well:  Don’t pay much attention at all to the self-appointed pundit class at the likes of the New York Times.  Listen to actual workers, the people for whom these issues are an everyday reality, not a hot topic…

Metaupdates

Good News, Bad News in That Was the Week That Was (#10) (March 10th, 2012)

It turn out that the push to impose the Swedish Model on Western Australia is largely a one-woman campaign enabled by a sleazy political deal:

…The government’s prostitution bill proposes to make sex work in residential areas illegal and requires brothel owners, managers and sex workers…to register…Labor is opposed to the legislation…[along with two prominent] Liberal MPs…[so] the government will need [the support of] independent MPs Janet Woollard and Adele Carles…[who] wants…three amendments…[which] would [shift] the criminal focus…to clients…Carles said she had visited Sweden…”They determined that prostitution is not a job.  Prostitution is violence against women”…

But while Carles is the typical neofeminist Swedish dupe , Woollard refuses to back the law unless it bans brothels entirely in five years.  Since that won’t happen, the law probably won’t pass, but I’ll report as the situation develops.

The Crumbling Dam in That Was the Week That Was (#13) (March 31st, 2012)

Ron Weitzer’s article on the recent Canadian decision clarifies a detail I had missed:  “The court gave the government 12 months to appeal the decision allowing bawdy houses, 30 days to rewrite the ‘living off the avails’ law to restrict it to exploitation, and allowed the parties 60 days to appeal the decision to uphold the solicitation/communication law.”  Obviously the government will appeal to keep its brothel ban and these workers will appeal the upholding of the “communicating” law, but as I understand it the avails law is a dead duck in its present form, which is certainly good news.

One Year Ago Today

Neither Cold Nor Hot” looks at Jezebel’s weird ambivalence about sex work.

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