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Posts Tagged ‘Watershed’

We wanted to show the world that we are not the image they have of us.  –  Maria Elena Davila

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

Liz Brown tackles the myth that porn has become mostly violent & “misogynistic”:

…the ostensible rise of rough porn is just a symptom of a larger truth: that there’s more porn of all kinds out there.  More female-produced and women-friendly porn.  More lesbian porn aimed at lesbians, not straight men.  More “radical transgender kink.”  More political porn parodies.  More “amateur” porn studios.  More web-camming sites.  More web-savvy women making money on their own websites and social media accounts.  More virtual reality porn and gadgets.  More fetish porn of all sorts.  And so on.  This not only means that there’s more erotic entertainment out there for a diverse range of tastes, it means we see a much more diverse range of people represented in erotic entertainment…

Crying for Nanny

Another attempt to rob a business using “sex trafficking” hysteria as a weapon:

…a…The teen’s lawyers are using Pennsylvania’s human trafficking law to sue the motel where they say their client was sexually exploited, marking the first civil suit under the law since it was enacted in 2014…Lawyers [fantasize] employees at the Roosevelt Inn in northeast Philadelphia knew that a 14-year-old girl was being held against her will for two years.  She was forced to have sex with more than 1,000 men for as little as $50, they said…The lawsuit demands $50,000 in damages…the girl managed to escape and…those responsible…were convicted…[yet] her attorneys…declined to identify her captors, [supposedly] fearing retaliation…prosecutors [fantasize the motel is]…“the epicenter of human trafficking” in the city…“You have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to know that 100 men are showing up over a period of a couple days,” says [shyster] Tom Kline…“You have a cleaning crew that comes into the room and oftentimes finds boxes or waste cans full of use condoms…You can’t have a line of johns out the front door and around the room waiting without them knowing,” Kline said…

So 1000 over 2 years (about 1.4/day) comes to “100 men…over…a couple days”, 1 constitutes a “line out the front door”, 2 condoms makes “a waste can full” and and average of $70/day is enough to pay for a hotel room, food & other expenses and still leave enough profit to justify the kind of risk involved in pimping a minor. Gee, math is hard.

The Last Shall Be First 

Badass woman uses her badassery for justice:

Anti-trans activists in Washington State have been trying to tell cisgender women for more than a year that we ought to be afraid of transgender people using the bathroom.  This is the main marketing behind I-1552, a proposed ballot initiative from anti-trans group Just Want Privacy that attempts to repeal state anti-discrimination protections for trans people and mandate that public schools keep trans students out of bathrooms that correspond with their gender.  But it appears that Just Want Privacy’s latest fear-mongering effort has backfired.  Last week, the group tried to use the story of Kelly Herron…who was allegedly attacked by a man in a Golden Gardens bathroom, to promote their anti-trans ballot measure in a fundraising e-mail and on Facebook.  Unfortunately for Just Want Privacy, Herron has now spoken out against their campaign.  “To the people behind I-1552, I say ‘not today, mutherfuckers,'” Herron said in a public statement…”I refuse to allow anyone to use me…to cause harm and discrimination to others”…Herron was attacked in a public…bathroom on March 5 by Gary Steiner, a 40-year-old registered sex offender from Arizona [who as the picture shows is neither trans nor dressed as a woman to get into the bathroom]…

I saw these sleazy fucks trying to trick people into signing their trash several times last year.

Watershed

To the coming generation, bigotry against sex workers will be as vile as bigotry against queer people is to the young people of today and bigotry vs racial minorities was to the previous generation:

…We can’t forget that those who make decisions about female sex workers’ rights are often powerful, privileged men.  They paternalistically presume to know what’s best for women…[they] quip that “women deserve better” while simultaneously being the ones who oppose legislation funding education, job training, welfare and other programs to uplift poor women…the issue is…also that the mainstream media have seized the narrative around sex work from the workers themselves and failed to include their real concerns…those who claim to be feminists…argue that discussions of sex work disempower women.  But frankly, who gets to define empowerment to women without your same economic privilege and access to education, whose sole means of survival are a profession you would rather turn a blind eye to?…

Whimsical Notions

Wait, you mean healthy young men in an ultra-masculine profession can’t merely be ordered to be asexual?  Who’d have thunk it?

The head of the US Marines has vowed to hold service members accountable for sharing nude photos of their female colleagues online.  Gen Robert Neller promised to change the Marine culture while testifying before a Senate committee.  Last week, reports emerged that current and former Marines were sharing [nude] photos [of women] on Facebook and on message boards, triggering a Navy investigation…The [Facebook] group, which included around 30,000 active and retire male marines, has now been closed down…The Marine Corps has the lowest percentage of female members among the five military services.  Women make up about 7 to 8% of all Marines…

An Example to the West (#544)

A new documentary about the Nicaraguan sex workers accredited by the government as “judicial facilitators”:

In most countries around the world, sex workers are criminalized by police…In…Nicaragua, sex workers are replacing police…French filmmaker Florence Jaugey released a documentary about the Sunflowers of Nicaragua, a woman-led sex worker collective serving as community mediators…In 2009, members of the Sunflowers…began organizing against discrimination and violence within their communities…with the intention of gaining…trust…in order to win mass support for their primary demand:  the judicial integration and unionization of sex workers across the country.  Their strategy worked.  In 2015, Nicaragua’s Supreme Court of Justice asked members of the collective if they wanted to work as judicial facilitators in Managua…Now, the sex workers are accredited and have licenses signed by the Supreme Court of Justice to mediate small conflicts in their communities…The Sunflowers…has also been accepted by the socialist government’s Confederation of Self-Employed Workers, granting them legal union status.  The collective, which aims to organize Nicaragua’s estimated 14,000 sex workers, has recruited 2,300 thus far…

Between the Lines

The amazing Liz Brown, queen of sex worker allies, delivers up a long and thorough takedown of the FBI’s annual “Operation Cross-Country” pogroms, backing up what I’ve been saying for years about these skeevy, prurient, horrifyingly-wasteful intimidation theatrics with facts, statistics and detailed analysis:

…sensationalized montages of footage from the stings, which the FBI has been proudly posting to YouTube since Operation Cross Country launched in 2008…show authorities handcuffing young people, mostly women and girls, and parading them down dim hallways, thick gloved hands gripping skinny arms on either side, or pushing them up against cop cars, the camera lingering on cuffed wrists clasped tightly over baggy jeans or long, bare legs.  The latest iteration of the initiative—Operation Cross Country X—took place across 103 U.S. cities from October 13 to 16…it involved the efforts of 74 federally led Human Trafficking Task Forces, comprised of officers from 55 FBI field offices and more than 400 federal, state, and local law-enforcement agencies…the operation identified 82 “children” engaged in prostitution, an average of about 0.88 per city, or one for every five agencies participating.  All were teenagers—mostly 16- and 17-year-olds—and a number of cities where they were found made no simultaneous pimping or sex trafficking arrests…only five men stand accused of federal crimes—with only two accused of crimes against actual minors.  None of these suspects was part of anything even remotely resembling an organized criminal enterprise…

The Lesser of Two Evils (#589) 

Presumably, those who are “outraged” would prefer boys be molested instead:

Lurid accusations of priests involved in sex orgies, porn videos and prostitution have emerged from several parishes in Italy recently, sending shock waves all the way to the Vatican…In…Naples…[Rev. Mario D’Orlando] was recently suspended…over claims he held gay orgies and [paid male sex workers]…In…Padua…Rev. Andrea Contin, is facing defrocking…amid accusations he had up to 30 lovers, some of whom he took to a swingers’ resort in France…One woman…claimed the priest carried sex toys and bondage equipment, prostituted his lovers on wife-swapping websites and also invited other priests from the area to sex parties…

New flash: humans have sexual urges.  Deprive them of socially-sanctioned ways to meet their needs, and they’ll find other ways.  It really is that simple.

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#626)

If it happened in a Cambodian brothel, the story is never too shocking for Westerners to believe“:

…Don and Bridget are the founders of Agape International Missions, or AIM, a Christian missionary group on the front lines of the war against child sex trafficking in Cambodia…They have made it their life’s work to stop men…from abusing children…Human trafficking was once endemic in Cambodia…Anecdotal…tales of pimps and profiteers openly selling women and children on the streets are commonplace…According to surveys of sex workers…the number of child prostitutes has reportedly been dropping for years.  Survey estimates once reported nearly 35 percent of Cambodian prostitutes…were minors.  Recent estimates pegged that number closer to 1 to 2 percent…But Don Brewster [pretends] the falling estimates are misleading…

To Molest and Rape 

Try to imagine a non-cop getting just three years for this. Go on, try.

An NYPD [cop] who raped and sexually abused a 13-year-old girl scored a soft sentence…of only three years in prison — just a year for each attack.  Vladimir Krull…raped the victim in her home and in his car during two separate incidents…Krull…was also convicted of [orally raping] the victim…in June 2014 after a father-daughter breakfast for her eighth-grade class…

Still a Child (#674) 

Despite the pearl-clutching, I actually agree with this:

For nearly 90 years, an uncelebrated New York State law has largely escaped attention, allowing what would seem to be unfathomable in this day and age…child marriages, by the thousands.  Since 1929, New York has allowed children as young as 14 to marry; 14- and 15-year-olds can do so with judicial and parental approval, and 16- and 17-year-olds can marry with mere parental consent…Most states allow 16- and 17-year-olds to marry, and more than two dozen other states have no statutory minimum age at all…Between 2000 and 2010, nearly 3,900 minors were wed in the state, mostly in marriages arranged by parents whose religious or cultural traditions embrace the practice.  State lawmakers and Governor Cuomo are now trying to put an end to so-called child marriages, and have introduced similar bills to end marriage altogether for 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds, joining a number of states from New Jersey to Missouri that are working to change similar laws…

Once all the sex-magic mumbo-jumbo is stripped away, marriage is simply a contract; no more, no less.  It’s illegal for minors to enter into contracts, therefore it should be illegal for them to marry. Q.E.D.  Furthermore, the State forbids even taking pictures of nude minors, yet it allows them to make binding lifelong contracts for sexual services?  Really?

Between the Ears (#674) 

Have a device that connects to the internet? Assume it can be used to spy on you:

Canadian “smart” sex toy manufacturer We-Vibe recently felt the long, hard, stiff arm of the law when it was fined $4 million CAD (about $3 million USD) after it tracked users’ use without their consent.  The money will go to compensate those who bought the device.  Owners of the We-Vibe 4 Plus who used the app are entitled to claim C$10,000 (about $7,500), while those who just bought the vibrator can claim up to $199, less legal fees…This follows a successful class-action lawsuit that was brought before an Illinois federal court…

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[“End demand” makes sex work] less safe, [it makes] it harder to make money; how would you help any individual with that approach?  –  Sola

The Swedish Pimpocracy 

The key to understanding Swedish law: the government thinks it owns the citizens:

Sweden’s government…backed the reintroduction of compulsory military service for men and women born in or after 1999.  The country’s armed forces is planning to add 4,000 recruits a year in 2018 and 2019…“We have had a difficult time manning the war units on a voluntary basis and it has to be addressed in some way.  Therefore, it is necessary to reactivate conscription,” Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist [said]…

And yest Sweden calls sex work “slavery”.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic soi-disant-addict-michael-wilson

So why can’t drug addicts get out of 20-year prison sentences for “possession”?

…Michael Wilson…[was]  sentenced…on four counts of possession of child pornography…to 20 years in prison, with all but three years and six months suspended…Testimony from defense witnesses centered around Wilson’s decades-long struggle with pornography addiction and the steps he has taken for treatment and medication…psychiatrist  James Sellman…has seen Wilson as a patient since July 2016…Sellman described the changes in brain chemistry that occurs in pornography addicts, including…abnormal levels of dopamine in the brain…Wilson previously attended group therapy in Florida for sex addiction, but Sellman said pornography addiction differs from sex addiction…

Just so you understand: everything Sellman says here is pure quackery, especially the pretense that high dopamine levels mean something other than the fact that the person really enjoys whatever he’s experiencing. That’s not a pathology, except in the minds of puritans for whom pleasure is an evil.

Watershed

When even an article that feels compelled to quote a violent prohibitionist ends up sounding pretty sympathetic to sex workers, you know things are changing:

A council of 160 current and retired sex workers from the Seattle Sex Workers Outreach Project…[is] joining other regional chapters of the organization in pushing for decriminalization of sex work…[which] would mean less stigma for sex workers, and allow them and their clients to inform police about sex trafficking without fear of prosecution.  The demand for sex workers’ rights is hardly unique to the United States.  Ever since more than 25,000 sex workers gathered in India on March 3rd, 2001, sex worker communities around the world celebrate March 3rd as “Sex Workers’ Rights Day”…Increasingly, movement to decriminalize sex work also has the support of major global organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), Amnesty International and UNAIDS…

Paint By Numbers

Do whatever it was you were going to do anyway, but declare that you’re doing it to “fight sex trafficking”; stupid people will believe you and give you money:

Fly Fishing Collaborative provides sustainable livelihood that prevents children from entering sex-slavery through the building of Aquaponics Farms globally and justice initiatives locally. We’re able to build Aquaponics Farms globally and fund local justice initiatives through the purchase of our FFC Branded gear and guided Fly Fishing Trips.

Property of the State 

I don’t think legislators can make a law immune to judicial review or subsequent repeal:

A “personhood” measure that aims to criminalize abortion…in Iowa could be on its way to the state senate floor.  The bill…would give a fetus “the same rights and protections guaranteed to all persons by the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Iowa,” and the laws of Iowa…The bill…would prohibit the Iowa Supreme Court from having appellate jurisdiction over its provisions, if it becomes the law.  Iowa lawmakers would not be able to modify the law to “to create or recognize a right to an abortion”…

Business As Usual 

Journalists love to pretend that this is somehow unusual, when in fact it’s the norm:

Michigan has a law on the books that grants the police immunity from prosecution if they…[rape] a prostitute during an investigation.  Michigan is the only remaining state we know of which still grants that immunity, but that might change….Bridgette Carr…of the…University of Michigan Law School, is working with Rep. Gary Glenn…to draft a bill that would get rid of that exemption.  Carr first became aware of the exemption a couple of years ago, when Hawaii was “phasing out their exemption”…[because] Carr [is a badge-licker]…she does not believe the law was created with any bad intent…

As I’ve explained before, the only thing unusual about this “exception” is that it’s actually spelled out in law.  In fact, cops routinely rape, molest or sexually assault sex workers during stings, and are almost never disciplined for it much less prosecuted.

Between the Ears (#545) 

There is literally no information, absolutely none, that this stupid gimmick could record which could conceivably improve anybody’s sexual enjoyment in any way:

The i.Con Smart Condom, which markets itself as the “world’s first smart condom,” is actually a ring that fits over a boring, dumb condom and claims to track the exercise of your man bits, as well as detect chlamydia and syphilis.  The ring, first announced last July, is currently available for preorder on British Condoms for £59.99 (about $74, AU$97) with an unknown release date.  But…the company says it won’t take your money until the product has a firm release…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#573)

Does anyone else find it deeply ironic that sociopathic anti-sex control freak Kathleen Richardson had to PAY to get someone to publish this deeply disturbed screed? (That’s what “sponsored feature” means.)

…men are routinely encouraged through pornography, prostitution and popular culture to view women as sexual objects.  In turn male technologists do not produce neutral technologies, but ones that are shaped by their privileges and preferences…sex robots [are] a further extension of this dehumanised idea of women.  With sex dolls, women are reduced to their sexual attractiveness…That’s why I founded the Campaign Against Sex Robots…One of the horrors of 21st century is the decriminalised and growing commercial sex trade…Prostitution and even rape are involved in the marketing strategies of sex dolls and robots…

To Molest and Rape 

“Gain access to” = “break in”.  “Seek the services of” = “attempt to rape”.

Two gardaí have failed to get High Court orders halting an internal Garda disciplinary investigation against them over an incident where they allegedly attempted to gain access to an apartment seeking the services of a prostitute…David Naughton and…Wesley Kenny…became involved in a fracas with two [men] and the dispute was broken up by other gardaí…the plaintiff[s]…had attempted to force entry to an apartment allegedly looking for prostitutes [and the men stopped them]…

Guinea Pigs (#690) 

Palantir is the same company which is helping cops spy on sex workers, and gave California cops a facial recognition database of black and Latino men:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is deploying a new intelligence system called Investigative Case Management (ICM), created by Palantir Technologies, that will assist in President Donald Trump’s efforts to deport millions of immigrants…Palantir…[was] founded by billionaire Trump advisor Peter Thiel…ICM allows ICE…to access a vast “ecosystem” of data to facilitate immigration officials in both discovering targets and then creating and administering cases against them.  The system provides its users access to intelligence platforms maintained by the [DEA, ATF, FBI]…and an array of other…law enforcement entities.  It can provide ICE agents access to information on a subject’s schooling, family relationships, employment information, phone records, immigration history, foreign exchange program status, personal connections, biometric traits, criminal records, and home and work addresses…

The Public Eye (#718) 

Have I ever mentioned that besides being a top-notch whore, friend and activist, Savannah Sly is also a very talented musician?

Monsters (#718) 

What the hell is going on in my native state?

Just one day after we reported on the murder of Ciara McElveen…Mic is reporting on the murder of Jaquarius Holland, another Black trans woman in Louisiana…Holland was only 18 years old. 18 years old…[and] is the sixth Black trans woman reported murdered this year…all of them…women of color…Holland’s friend Chesna Littleberry has set up a GoFundMe to pay for funeral expenses…The GoFundMe uses both “she” and “he” to describe Holland because her family still used “he” pronouns for her…

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Vice cops are…clowns…[whose] idea of entertainment is depriving people of their liberty and livelihoods…then inviting people…to watch the show.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Check Your Premises

They’re literally just making this garbage up now:

Janice Figueroa and Nathaniel Lee Thompson are now facing human trafficking and prostitution charges…[for bringing] this 17 year old girl across state lines…”one of the traffickers is a 19 year old girl…she didn’t just one day wake up and decide she wanted to start selling another woman,” [vomited] Melissa Yao…[prohibitionist in a group called] The Samaritan Women…”We’re the fourth destination country in the world.  Meaning we’re the fourth most popular place for people to travel to to participate in sexual exploitation…there is study after study that has shown there is a direct correlation between pornography and sexual exploitation because you start to view another human being as a commodity instead of an actual person…There is an expectation within your first week of working at a strip club that you will participate in some type of prostitution.  Otherwise you cannot work there,” Yao said…

Above the Law  

Because every woman “consensually” gives head to whatever random cop stops her on the highway:

A [Georgia] Sheriff’s deputy has been fired after a Valentine’s Day incident during a traffic stop…[he] pulled over a woman for a speeding violation…[then] again about 4-5 miles down the road.  The deputy turned off his camera and [orally raped the woman]…The woman reported the incident was not consensual.  The deputy says it was consensual…

It can take literally years for these “investigations” to lead to charges:rapist cop Marty Rainey

A rural Missouri sheriff’s deputy was a predator with a badge, sexually abusing four women and luring an underage girl into prostitution…Marty Rainey…resigned under fire from the Gasconade County Sheriff’s Office in 2012 after a mental health counselor claimed Rainey and a buddy had engaged in some suspect sexual relations with one of the counselor’s clients.  He was finally charged in January 2015…after other women came forward with horror stories of coercion, abuse and rape…a woman…described a long-running nightmare in a civil lawsuit filed last year…[she said] Rainey got her phone number and address in 2012 when she contacted the sheriff’s office…Rainey called the woman 87 times and sent her 1,288 text messages, many of which were sexually explicit…he threatened to arrest her husband on bogus charges if she didn’t sleep with him.  Rainey, wearing his deputy uniform, eventually picked her up and took her to a motel, where…he drugged her, laid his pistol on a nightstand with the barrel facing her and…[raped] her…

Stand-Up Guys 

This is a very uneven article marred by false equivalencies, but its central point is true:

Jeremy Corbyn is about to find out what happens when you take a stance on sex work…The response of those who believe in banning prostitution is ferocious and highly personal.  He will be told he has betrayed women, that he supports pimps, that he doesn’t care about trafficking and human slavery.  Labour’s parliamentary meeting tonight is expected to see Harriet Harman, Caroline Flint, Jess Phillips and others attack Corbyn for [saying]…he wants to decriminalise the sex industry…Corbyn…used to support the Nordic model…His shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, is a long-time supporter of sex worker rights, and will be urging him to stand firm…The attack started the moment his words were reported…

Broken Record

This is impossible to parody, because the reality is so ludicrous:

As the City of Austin prepares for the thousands of people expected in town for the South by Southwest Interactive, Film and Music Festivals, police are preparing for a spike in crimes.  “You see a lot of these female escorts doing this not of their own volition.  They’re underaged minors, they’ve been put into a position where they have no choice. These guys will take them and literally go from city to city, post ads in the classified, have a hotel room,” [fantasized]…Steve Deaton, head of the Organized Crime Division…

Monkey Business

Occasionally, chimps throw rocks in displays of strength to establish their position in a community.  But what we discovered…was a repeated activity with no clear link to gaining food or status…We…found many more sites where trees had similar markings and in many places piles of rocks had accumulated inside hollow tree trunks…We found the same mysterious behaviour in small pockets of Guinea Bissau, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire but nothing east of this…The behaviour could be part of a male display…If some trees produce an impressive bang, this could accompany or replace feet drumming in a display…On the other hand, it could be more symbolic than that – and more reminiscent of our own past.  Marking pathways and territories with signposts such as piles of rocks is an important step in human history…maybe we found the first evidence of chimpanzees creating a kind of shrine that could indicate sacred trees…

Watershed

More and more women who identify as feminists now support sex workers:

As the signatories of this manifesto, we – women’s rights, feminist, and sex workers’ rights organisations and collectives – express our support for sex workers’ self-determination and the recognition of sex work as work…we ask all feminists to concentrate their resources on including and amplifying sex workers’ voices in the movement and to stop promoting legal frameworks that have been shown to be detrimental to sex workers’ rights.  We call for a feminist movement that…is inclusive of trans people and sex workers.  Our criminal justice systems are oppressive, and therefore we do not see increased policing, prosecution, and imprisonment as the only solution to violence against women…

Under Every Bed

Most of this is just the typical small-city cop “sex trafficking” puffery and “gang” propaganda, but this bit was pretty jaw-dropping: “…the Spokane Police Department created a unit dedicated to fighting human trafficking…and have decided to pull a detective from the Major Crimes Unit to work specifically on these cases…” Because obviously, investigating murder, rape and armed robbery isn’t as fun or profitable as ruining people’s lives for seeking consensual sex.blue hair

Paint By Numbers

Tired of hard stuff like standing, getting dressed & making paper airplanes?  Just sit still instead!

…human trafficking…is getting some support in southern Wisconsin…woman [sic]…are now trying a new do’, blue [hair] extensions, the color for human trafficking awareness…college roommates Camille Guenther and Rachel Eckmann created Beautiful Blue 2016 and have joined forces with Cuttin’ Up salon for the cause…they say spreading the message, right now, is more important than donations…

Innocence Never Had

Laws are more important than people:

In Bloomington, Indiana, a 14-year-old girl was arrested…on prostitution charges after texting older men and offering sex for a fee…Bloomington detectives began looking into the case after a woman reported seeing texts from the girl, who had claimed to be 17, on her husband’s phone…Under federal and some state laws, teens selling sexual services are defined as “sex trafficking victims” whether they’re working for/with anybody or not…law-enforcement agents are more than willing to refer to 17-year-old as “child victims” and charge anyone in their vicinity with human trafficking.  But while it’s refreshing (if surprising) to see police…acknowledge that teen girls do have agency and avoid the typical sex-trafficking scaremongering…Couldn’t cops have simply talked to the girl’s guardians?  How will she possibly be helped by having a criminal record…

Bread and Circuses

The unsinkable Liz Brown does it again:

A Houston-area prostitution sting with the inexplicable name “Operation Traveling Circus” led to more than 400 arrests in the first two months of 2016…Like most vice stings disguised as victim-centered investigations, this “traveling circus” featured the identification of no actual sex-trafficking victims and zero arrests of human traffickers.  But the January 4 through Feburary 26 operation did yield hundreds of men who sought to pay what they thought was a willing, adult sex worker for company.  To spin this as somehow related to sex trafficking, officials trotted out the much-debunked idea that sporting events are catnip to human-traffickers…Making men afraid to pay for prostitution now is simply an effort to deprive these mythical future sex traffickers of their client base, officials explained…Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman [lied that pigs]…had to arrest [sex workers]…so those selling sex on their own could be prosecuted, while victims would have the charges dropped and gain access to some sort of nebulous social services…more than 200 of the 400 people arrested were “johns” who tried to solicit sex from an undercover officer…It’s unclear if the rest of the arrests were of sex workers or not.  These sorts of stings frequently lead to arrests for things like outstanding warrants, drug possession, or unauthorized gun possession, as well…

Above the Law (#591)

A British social justice campaigner has flown from London to Australia to confront a former police spy who deceived her into having a two-year relationship and is now involved in directing police training courses in Australia.  Helen Steel…tracked down John Dines after spending years piecing together clues to uncover his real identity.  It was the first time Steel had contacted the former undercover officer after he disappeared from her life more than two decades ago claiming to be having a mental breakdown…he was resettled in Australia by British police who feared Steel was on the verge of finding him…

Still a Child (#604) 

Giving fanatics what they want only encourages them to want more:

New Orleans…City Council…could move to set a cap on the number of strip clubs allowed to operate in the city.  In the meantime, the Planning Commission is considering the imposition of a soft moratorium on new…clubs on Bourbon Street, the only zoning district where strip clubs…didn’t need special permission from the City Council in order to open…Robert Watters, owner of Rick’s Cabaret…said that, although he’s always nervous about government attempts to legislate morality, he thinks there are enough clubs in the area already…Jim Kelly…of…Covenant House…[fantasizes that] strip clubs…can act as recruiting grounds for pimps…Kelly successfully lobbied the City Council in January to raise the minimum age for dancers to 21…

It’s disgusting how often sex business owners like Watters and Dennis Hof side with prohibitionists in order to more effectively line their own pockets.

Under Review

The British press, partying like it’s 1999 and nobody’s heard of escort reviews yet:

Call girls and rentboys openly offer themselves for sex online, while customers leave seedy reviews of the services on offer. ..Seedy websites list the services available from vice girls and even give their hourly rate.  The Paisley Daily Express has seen X-rated pages that are filled with pictures of scantily-clad sex workers, with details of how to arrange a meeting.  Local punters even use the Trip Advisor-style portals on the sites…to give star-rated reviews of the men and women they bed…perverts even discuss the parking amenities…

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Have we not learned by now that increased law enforcement is not the answer to social questions?  –  Mistress Matisse

Rough Trade Andrew Charles Ferrall

Of course they were dropped; she was jut a whore, after all:

Charges have been dismissed against [Andrew Charles Ferrall]…on accusations that he raped, slapped and strangled a woman…[who] met up with Ferrall at the Devils Point strip club…they engaged in consensual sex…[and] Ferrall suddenly began to choke her…she told him to stop having sex with her, but he wouldn’t stop.  The woman told police that Ferrall slapped her, bit her and pushed her down some stairs…

Lying Down With Dogs

Destroying families is OK as long as you pray for them and invoke nebulosities like “the good of society”:

A [Kuala Lumpur] woman broke down in tears…and begged not to be jailed over prostitution as her seven-year-old child needed her…The woman, who suffers from asthma, pleaded to be punished with fine rather than jail time as she also had to look after her elderly parents…However, magistrate Ashraf Rezal Abdul Manan told her that a custodial sentence must be meted out as the welfare of society takes precedence over that of the individual.  “I pray that your son be well taken care of by your neighbour,” Ashraf said before ordering the woman to serve her six-month jail term…

Lack of Evidence

She won’t tolerate ordinary men looking at women, but she’s fine with enabling cops to brutalize them:

…solicitation of sex…“is…a disaster for decent families and children”…Councilor-At-Large Debora Coelho said…they are not distinguishable by the clothes they wear, but in how they walk and are “constantly looking at cars…It creates an environment where any woman walking in the neighborhoods will be looked at differently. I won’t tolerate it”…

One Size Fits All

Is there anything that isn’t “trafficking”?

As CEO of one of the world’s most famous model agencies, Katie Ford traveled the globe searching for fresh-faced young men and women and turning them into stars…Now she’s using the skills she developed…to help fight human trafficking and slavery…Ford admits she’d never even heard of trafficking until [a little after the moral panic began]…eight years ago.  She was stunned to discover the similarities to her own industry…”How people are trafficked, it was parallel to how we scouted models around the world…the hope and the dream that a model has for a better life is the same thing as a field worker who comes here from Mexico…and then they get duped into situations that aren’t what they expected”…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

They just won’t give up their sex doll fantasy:

…Dr Helen Driscoll said advances in technology mean the way in which humans interact with robots is set to change drastically in the coming years.  Dr Driscoll, a leading authority on the psychology of sex and relationships [but not artificial intelligence], said “sex tech” was already advancing at a fast pace and by 2070, physical relationships will seem primitive…robotic, interactive, motion-sensing technology is likely to become more and more central to the sex industry in the next few years.  “It could really start to enable mannequin partners to ‘come to life'”, according to Dr Driscoll…

Blunt Instrument

All gyms, spas, martial-arts schools, massage studios and health clubs looking to set up shop in New York City must get something called a physical culture establishment permit, which was created in the late 1970s to stem the rise of seedy massage parlors in Times Square…the process of obtaining [this] permit can take nearly six months and cost up to $50,000 in fees and payments to lawyers.  Not only does the city’s Department of Investigation run a limited background check on the applicants, but the obscure city agency that processes the applications—called the Board of Standards and Appeals—also takes into account the opinions of neighbors.  At several public hearings, they can inveigh against a company in a formal process few businesses outside of bars or liquor stores are subjected to…

Watershed

Under Every Bed 

You’ve got to love the way “human trafficking” is plainly used as a synonym for “prostitution” here:

West Homewood [Alabama] residents are taking it upon themselves to investigate the prostitution problem in the area…Victoria Dinges…is planning to go undercover this weekend to hopefully catch someone involved in the alleged prostitution…This…comes just off the heels of Homewood’s third community meeting about the issue of local sex trafficking…Residents also feel that human trafficking is leading to a slew of other crimes that have been littering the neighborhood lately…

A Procrustean Bed (#502)

Good article by Noah Berlatsky, but the consequences of these laws are not by any means “unintended”; they are intentionally designed to harm sex workers:

…Trafficking laws are used…not to arrest pimps and traffickers but to reclassify and police sex workers.  The most high profile example is in New York, where new trafficking courts were established in 2013…“Anyone who is arrested for prostitution they call ‘trafficked,’ according to Alison Bass…author of the forthcoming book Getting Screwed: Sex Workers and the Law.  “The police are going after women and men who are selling sex by choice,” Bass told me. “It’s much easier [to arrest them]—because they’re out in the open, they’re advertising on the Internet, they’re on the street.”  Traffickers, on the other hand, are very careful.  And, Bass adds, there aren’t very many of them…

Moving Pictures 

Notice the way “sex trafficking” cinema represents pure fantasy as faux reality?

Sande Alessi Casting is looking for East Indian men and women to work on the upcoming feature film Trafficked filming in Malibu, California….[it] is based on…Siddharth Kara’s best-selling book, Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery.  Kara [pretends to be] one of the world’s foremost experts on human trafficking and contemporary slavery.   Trafficked features Patrick Duffy, Anne Archer…and Ashley Judd

Gorged With Meaning (#526)

Is the Swansea sports team called the Pearl Clutchers?

In the absence of any institutional policies on student sex work, some professional staff and students’ union staff interviewed by researchers from Swansea University and Kingston University said that they would take action against student sex workers in case they put the university’s reputation at risk…other staff interviewed for the study, published in the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management this month, said that they would take a more [patronizing] approach by referring student sex workers to their health, counselling or financial support teams…

Amnesty At Last

I suspected the Amnesty position would embolden a few politicians:

D.C. Council member David Grosso said he is considering introducing legislation this fall that would decriminalize prostitution in the city and provide sex workers with resources to be safe and get out of the business if they want to.  Grosso’s announcement comes on the heels of Amnesty International’s controversial recommendation…calling for “full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work”…Grosso…said…“Once the Amnesty report came out, it validated a lot of the concerns that I have of how we handle this in the District”…Grosso similarly said this policy move would “respect the fact that sex workers are human beings, too”…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#563)

Mistress Matisse gives both barrels to prohibitionist Seattle politicians:

The Seattle Times recently ran an op-ed condemning Amnesty’s proposed policy changes…the piece is striking in its presentation of opinions as fact and its use of utterly bogus “statistics.”  For example, it trots out the completely false statement that “The average age of entry (into sex work) is 12 to 14.”  This statement has been debunked multiple times, and even Polaris Project…has publicly disclaimed it…It states, “Decriminalization and legalization are failed experiments”…This is in flat contradiction to detailed reports from two countries, Australia and New Zealand, that have decriminalized sex work successfully…statements about the “US sex economy”…are most likely drawn from a recent Urban Institute report, based on conversations with 73 men convicted as “pimps,” and only 36 incarcerated street workers.  To even call such a limited examination a “study” does it far too much credit; it is a handpicked collection of anecdotes designed to support a previously-arrived-at conclusion.  Researchers in fact-based studies of sex work have stated that there is no evidence to support the idea that forced sex work is a hugely ballooning problem…There is hardly a single sentence…that is factually true.  It is manufactured moral-panic hysteria, designed to prop up the continuing arrest and incarceration of sex workers…

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Anti-prostitution activists need to get up off the ignorance couch and look at science.  –  Dinsa Sachan

R.I.P. Blaze Starr Famous pin-up Blaze Starr (real name Fannie Belle Fleming) in 1950

Blaze Starr, the voluptuous stripper who was billed as the Queen of Burlesque and whose affair with…Louisiana governor [Earl K. Long] was the basis of a 1989 movie, died on Monday…[at the age of] 83…the Ron Shelton film Blaze, starring Lolita Davidovich in the title role alongside Paul Newman as the governor…drew on her memoir, Blaze Starr: My Life as Told to Huey Perry, published in 1974.  Ms. Starr said that she and Mr. Long were engaged to be married when he died in 1960, two months before his divorce was to become final.  She continued to wear a five-carat diamond ring that she said he had given her…

Safe Targets

An article about women who sell panties on Reddit ends with the following paragraph:

…While sex work is still criminalized, its sellers are relegated to the dark outposts of the digital universe, where unsavory clients moderate the forums and self-employed workers walk on eggshells just to keep their business afloat…Until the laws surrounding sex work change, communities like Sex Sells are the last bastion of defense against the Internet’s faceless antagonists.

Harm Reduction

From the “no shit” department:

Sexual relationships that involve the exchange of money cannot be considered adultery, according to a Tokyo District Court ruling involving a couple and a bar hostess…No damages were rewarded to the plaintiff – the wife of a man who was allegedly sleeping with a hostess for more than seven years…she had sought more than $32,000 in compensation.  Judge Masamitsu Shiseki of the Tokyo District Court ruled…the sex between the plaintiff’s husband and the hostess was strictly business, and therefore did not harm the marriage…”such conduct does not damage peaceful marital life,” Shiseki…said.  “Even if the wife is disgusted by the act, it does not constitute a legal offense”…

Check Your Premises

Here’s another case exposing who really gets targeted under U.S. sex trafficking statutes.  Far from the cartoonishly evil kingpins or sociopathic perverts of political lore, it’s people like Oregon resident Julie Haner, who as a 19-year-old drove her 17-year-old friend across state lines so they could both make money via sex work.  Haner and the girl has previously attended high-school together and been on the same cheerleading squad…

Gateway

The sheriff of Charlotte County, Florida is adamant that sex work brings evil in its wake:  “There are obvious health risks, not only to the defendants, but also to their innocent family members, because of this type of activity…”  Obviously the sheriff must also believe that people who eat too much fatty food or work long hours should be arrested due to the “obvious health risks”.  But the head of vice for Charleston, West Virginia, isn’t so sure:

To people who say prostitution is a victimless crime and a waste of police resources, Young said the department is urged to make the arrests by members of the community…He conceded that the crime tends to have a “revolving door” of new offenders…officers don’t have reason to believe the women were trafficked or otherwise forced into the work…Young advocates for incarceration for the crimes so that arrests will be more of a deterrent…the women just make more deals to be able to pay the fines, he said…

Subtle Pimping

Looking for new vices to tax, Nevada lawmakers have turned their sights on escort services and massive music-and-light festivals in the desert.  Lawmakers…eliminated loopholes in Nevada’s live-entertainment tax, a lounge-lizard levy that had covered cabaret performances and burlesque dancing.  It now includes a 9 percent charge on tickets for events such as Burning Man…The tax…also would apply to “pickup fees” for escort services, but not prostitutes at Nevada’s 24 legal brothels…

Gorged With Meaning

Leave it to the Daily Fail to reverse the “sugar babies are exploited” narrative:  “Students lure online sugar daddies into paying their tuition fees: How young women are using the internet to find rich men who will give them cash in exchange for relationships” San Francisco Chronicle 1-20-1917

Hooker Humor (#31)

Miranda Kane uses her good reviews to catch reporters’ attention:

…her frank and funny one-woman show, The Coin Operated Girl, has won rave reviews…billed as “the cheapest hour you’ll ever spend with a prostitute”, it has drawn comparisons with the tell-all blog Belle de Jour…“There are a lot of people saying we should ban the buying of sex because all these women are being forced into it, but the only reason they are being forced into it are things like the Government cutting benefits and that there aren’t enough facilities out there to help with drug and mental health problems…we need to look at the base reasons why they are doing it”…

Watershed

After being drawn to the dynamic and outspoken prostitutes…at [a] conference…I met Ishtar Lakhani…who has been advocating for the decriminalization of prostitution in [South Africa]…“(Steinem’s) argument is that we live in a patriarchy.  All women are oppressed; all women are victims…a woman…[should] decide what [she wants] to choose…If you want to do sex work, it is your choice and should be respected”…The Nordic model is often touted as the solution to the prostitution problem.  However…the Nordic model has not helped women or reduced women in sex work or increased women’s safety…the model [also] affects the women’s ability to make money because of reduced number of clients…It is time for feminist activists and governments around the globe to recognize that New Zealand’s decriminalization model works.  Anti-prostitution activists argue that decriminalization expands the industry, but New Zealand’s government has found that not to be the case…

Full of Themselves (#418)

One can always tell a story influenced by the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC):

…Unlike street walkers who ply their trade in motel rooms, those selling their bodies are doing so by intermingling with a legitimate business…Those using massage therapy as a front operate out of clean buildings indistinguishable from legitimate massage parlors…Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion…[lied] that [sex work] doesn’t qualify as a victimless crime…[because of] human trafficking…[even though his cops have never] found [any women who] said they were being forced into prostitution…[he pretends that] Human trafficking…is a growing problem in…Manteca [anyway and his DA crony] Tori Verber Salazar [tells old men lurid wanking fantasies of]…victims as young as 11 years old that are forced to do tricks…

Held Together With Lies (#542)

Remember that ridiculous probitionist “study” that pretended sex work “costs” France €1.6 billion a year?  Well, Mark Draughn took the time to work out the economic actualities, and it’s very interesting reading (and, as you might expect, completely different from what the prohibitionists pretend).  Like Gaul it’s divided into three parts, but it’s well worth your time.

Traffic Circle (#546)

Glenn Kessler isn’t the only one at the Washington Post who’s attacking “sex trafficking” mythology:

…At times, various government agencies have estimated that there were as many as 50,000 victims a year in this country.  Then, in 2004, another estimate came in at about 14,500 to 17,500, and then lowered it to 1,362, our colleague Jerry Markon wrote in a lengthy article in 2007…The FBI on April 6 put out its first report on human trafficking…The numbers were from just 13 states reporting…Even so, the total number of human trafficking offenses reported for either “commercial sex acts” or “involuntary servitude” in those 13 states was 14.  There were a total of four arrests…

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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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I’ve been dismayed at the condescension toward and willful ignorance of the experiences of sex workers that is prevalent among…those…who…try to impose their values through criminalizing their work.  –  Peter Shafer

Barbie

Every once in a while, it’s nice to see a woman whose name isn’t Maggie McNeill attacking mainstream feminist claptrap:

Barbie is a safe way for girls to explore dangerously adult concepts like sexuality…says [psychoanalyst] Joyce McFadden…she likens young girls’ play-acting Barbie sex with them trying on their mothers’ makeup or bras…Anti-Barbie arguments have a tired ring to them…when I look back at my own Barbie-influenced youth, I have a hard time pointing to anything but positive effects.  “The feminist perspective is she has this unattainable figure,” McFadden says. “But Barbie was the only doll that had breasts, the only one to create a space where girls could start to fantasize about that”…Barbie is sexualized by adults, not kids…

Maggie in the Media

For those who couldn’t catch it live, the podcast version of my February 16th appearance on The Bob Zadek Show is now available.

Legislators Gone Wild

Harry ReidHarry Reid is on his anti-whore hobby horse again:  “Las Vegas is one of the cities in contention to host the 2016 Republican National Convention, but Nevada’s prostitution laws may jeopardize the city’s chances of winning its bid…” The idea of a convention-rich state criminalizing a whole industry to win one single convention would be hilarious if it didn’t display such a blatant disregard for his constituents’ lives.

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through

Unfortunately, it’s the sex workers who suffered from this idiocy:  “A disgruntled punter made a complaint to Harrow Council…after a prostitute refused to have sex with him…at a brothel in the borough…The brothel is now being closed…

Follow Your Bliss

The officer in charge of a police pilot project created to combat human trafficking and rescue sex trade workers…[engaged] in sexual acts and [sent] lewd messages and photos of his penis to sex workers and colleagues.  Sgt. Derek Mellor…once the lead of Hamilton [Ontario] Police’s…“Project Rescue”…[pleaded guilty] to [nine] charges…

Good News, Bad News (TW3 #10)

Western Australia politicians keep playing with this diseased carcass:

Professor Catharine MacKinnon said Perth was perfectly placed to prevent human trafficking from Asia…because it was used as a gateway…by criminals.  However…the…Government would have to…overhaul prostitution laws to target the people who pay for sexual services rather than the prostitutes…

By “carcass” I mean the Swedish model; MacKinnon is still alive and flapping around belfries for the time being.

The Rape Question

Cherry 2000 sex contractConsidering the doctrine that consent can be retroactively revoked months or years after the fact, I sincerely doubt an informal contract without  a lawyer witness  would really offer much protection against future rape charges, but I guess it couldn’t hurt.  It’s just sad we’ve come to this.

Welcome To Our World (TW3 #15)

Everything is magically right and moral when state actors do it:

…[Washington state] prosecutors had [a rape and kidnapping victim] arrested…The 43-year-old woman…has not been charged with any crime.  She just wasn’t showing up for pre-trial meetings with prosecutors…[in other words] the woman [is being held] against her will so she can help convict someone else of holding her against her will…

And just in case you think I tend to exaggerate about neofeminists:  Amanda Marcotte approves of the state’s actions.

Bullies With Badges

Big masked heroes in riot gear prove their manhood by attacking Asian women:

Birmingham [Alabama] police raided an Asian massage parlor…taking four women and three patrons into custody.  Police, along with FBI and ICE agents [pretended] the raid was in response to complaints of prostitution and possible human trafficking…

Her poster
The Pygmalion Fallacy

In the entire history of futurism, has any futurist ever been right about anything?

…a prominent futurologist has claimed that AI girlfriends…like the one…in the…film Her could become a reality by 2029.  Ray Kurzweil…claims…a virtual body with a tactile sense…“will…certainly be completely convincing by the time an AI of the level of Samantha is feasible”…

Femme Fatale

A man died of a heart attack while in the embrace of a prostitute at a brothel in Ticino [Switzerland]…police confirmed that…there were no third parties involved and no criminal case…seven customers have died in brothels in the canton in the past ten years…

Imagination Pinned Down

This is just a typical lurid “survivor” narrative, but contains an unusually telling passage near the end:  “For 17 years, Lloyd told no one what she had been through…Six years ago, she contacted the Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado and met people who convinced her that she was dragged into a life of prostitution — and that it wasn’t her fault…” As usual, all events are conveniently decades in the past, with no witnesses, and she only came out with it after others convinced her that it happened.

Broken Record

You should’ve known we wouldn’t get through an Olympics without at least ONE “sex trafficking” scare story, and here it is courtesy of XO Jane.  I’m sure we can all think of more credible explanations for this scam that don’t involve the Russian Mafia and sentences like “The Olympics is a huge draw for trafficking…and American women are typically sold for more in foreign countries.” Peter Schafer Whores & Madonnas

Real People (TW3 #36)

Photographer and regular reader Peter Schafer on his project Whores and Madonnas:

Opportunities are extremely limited in the Dominican Republic for women to make a decent living…After reading about how central the responsibility of being a mother was to their motivation to pursue sex work, it got my mind going as these women seemed to explode the well-worn dichotomy that classifies women as either Madonnas or Whores…I became their client…explained I was working on a photo project and showed them some of my other work…I paid them for their time being photographed…because prostitutes in Sosúa are the economic drivers, with all other businesses…dependent on them, they enjoy…status and respect…

Not To Be Taken Internally (TW3 #39)

An adult entertainer was sentenced in Mississippi…to seven years in prison for helping set up an illegal silicone buttocks injection that killed…Karima Gordon.  Stewart, who goes by the…[stage] name…Pebbelz Da Model, took $200 to refer Gordon to the injector and falsely claimed the person was a nurse…Tracey Lynn Garner, the one suspected of administering the injections, is charged with depraved-heart murder in the deaths of Gordon and another woman, Marilyn Hale…She has pleaded not guilty, with her trial scheduled for March…

With Friends Like These…

The title is, “For Smart Prostitution Laws, Ask a Prostitute”.  The first couple of paragraphs sharply criticize the Canadian laws which were struck down, and the middle section discusses misconceptions about sex workers and implies we need to be consulted on new laws…then the author rapidly descends into evil pimps and helpless victims, and concludes by advocating the Swedish model.

Watershed

Slowly but surely, it’s becoming acceptable for female public figures to declare their support for something other than criminalization of sex work. Legal journalist and former assistant district attorney Robin Baton recently published “Why Prostitution Should Be Legalized in the U.S.”, and while she fails to see the problems with the license-and-regulate view that’s probably just because she hasn’t thought it through; she uses arguments based on the principle of self-ownership, the lack of a bright, clear line between prostitution and other female behaviors, and the sports analogy.  And though (as Scott Greenfield expressed it) “she’s no Maggie McNeill”,50 Canadians Who Changed The World it’s still good to see this in a US medium.

Book Reviews (TW3 #339)

Another honor for Chester Brown, the acclaimed cartoonist (and friend, and reader) who drew the cover for my book:  he’s been included in a new book entitled “50 Canadians Who Changed the World”.  Chester says the book isn’t very good and downplays his hiring of sex workers (depicted in Paying For It), but I still think it’s great that he was picked out of the many notable Canadians the author could’ve written about.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #345)

On March 14, 2014 human rights defender and transgender advocate Monica Jones will…go…to trial…for “manifestation of prostitution”…after she [was arrested for protesting]…Project ROSE …Two members of SWOP Phoenix and the Best Practices Policy Project intend to travel to Geneva to…educate the United Nation’s Human Rights Committee about human rights violations perpetrated by Project ROSE and the Phoenix police…and call on the Committee to pressure the U.S. government…This unique opportunity has emerged because the United Nations Human Rights Committee will review the U.S.’s human rights record…on…the same date as Monica’s trial…

Deafening Silence (TW3 #407)

This Hong Kong reporter seems to be trying out for a job in Beijing’s propaganda ministry:

Hong Kong police are planning to focus special attention on illegal sex trade operations in response to a wide scale crackdown on prostitution…in…Dongguan…Commissioner of Police Andy Tsang Wai-hung has expressed concern about a likely increase of prostitution in Hong Kong, but also expects additional criminal activity to accompany this vice…Prostitution was banned in China after the Communist revolution in 1949.  However, it reappeared three decades ago…and…is greatly responsible for a significant increase in sexually transmitted diseases…

Though the talk of criminality and disease is typical in the West, I simply cannot fathom why so many people whose minds were not broken by Mao are nevertheless happy to repeat the ludicrous propaganda that prostitution magically ceased to exist after his official proclamation.

Drawing Lines

[At the turn of the century]…an adult performer openly escorting was relatively rare…[but in the past few years] the industry…changed drastically: the talent pool [is] larger, the number of available roles much smaller, and the advent of digital piracy [has] driven performers’ rates down.  Escorting…has become one of the most lucrative ways for adult performers to supplement their flagging incomes…up to thousands of dollars for a single booking…The issue…is fairly divisive among performers…[and] was largely stigmatized within the adult film community until recently…

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #408) yay for sisterhood!

After all the attacks, the Duke porn actress decided to speak for herself:

…I couldn’t afford $60,000 in tuition, my family has undergone significant financial burden, and I saw a way to graduate from my dream school free of debt, doing something I…love…my experience in porn has been nothing but supportive, exciting, thrilling and empowering.  The next question is always:  “But when you graduate, you won’t be able to get a job, will you?  I mean, who would hire you?”  I simply shrug and say, “I wouldn’t want to work for someone who discriminates against sex workers”…

Whatever They Need To Say (TW3 #408)

Two sex workers’ flats in Soho, central London were…re-opened by a judge…[who] rejected police evidence that women…were being controlled or incited into prostitution for gain…Judge Kingston’s decision brought for the first time some common sense to legal cases, which have been rumbling through the courts since mass raids at the beginning of December…

What Next? (TW3 #408) 

If you’d like to answer the Canadian consultation but aren’t confident in your ability to make good points, Maggie’s (the Toronto Sex Workers Action Project) is here to help with simple guidelines (both general and question-by-question) which will help you not to get tripped up the way the government wants you to with its “when did you stop beating your wife?” phraseology.  Read them, get your own answers ready and submit them in the next sixteen days.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #408)

Mary Honeyball, desperate to smear the 549 organizations (it has since grown to 560) who spoke out against her revolting scheme which this week imposed the Swedish model as a non-binding standard for all of Europe, fell back on the usual ridiculous neofeminist ad hominem by branding them all “pimps” (savor the absurdity of that for a moment before proceeding).  The ICRSE naturally had an answer to that, and here our friend Laura Lee and ally Dr. Belinda Brooks-Gordon confront Honeyball on Newsnight.

The Swedish model’s detachment from reality is so profound even Time magazine can’t miss it, despite the reporter’s belief in “sex trafficking” myths.

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