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Posts Tagged ‘We Told You So’

From a financial perspective, the American rescue industry may be the third most popular sports franchise in the world.  –  Anne Elizabeth Moore

The Slave-Whore Fantasy 

Yet another example of what real sex slavery looks like:

Peter Hamilton…[was walking his dog when] he heard a woman’s voice coming from across the street…The woman was lying on the porch floor, her hands and feet bound by cloth restraints, duct tape, and handcuffs.  Her pants and underpants were pulled down around her ankles, tangled up in her leg restraints.  She was shaking quite a bit, and had bruises on her arms and legs.  “She said, ‘Help me, I’ve been kidnapped and held hostage for five days.”  She told him that her captor was still in the house — she had managed to wriggle down the stairs while he slept — and that he had a gun and a knife…he began trying to free her from her restraints, using the only tool in his pocket, a nail clipper, to snip away at the duct tape on her hands to get it to tear…That’s when her captor emerged from the doorway…leapt over the woman, and ran past…Later…police would arrest Rejean Perron, and charge him with repeatedly sexually assaulting the woman…between March 31 and April 5…the accused picked up the 27-year-old woman, a sex worker…when she tried to leave, he allegedly threatened her, bound her, and held her captive…

Gateway

Using one consensual “crime” as an excuse to persecute another is like building a house of cards:

The prostitution sting last week…marked at least the third organized crackdown this year by [New Hampshire] police departments in response to complaints about ongoing prostitution in their communities…it was part of a weeks-long enforcement campaign prompted by reports of salacious behavior in an area frequented by young children on their way to school…it points to a trend that has at least remained constant as the state continues to buckle from opiate addiction.  “We’ve been getting a lot more street complaints than before, and we relate that directly to heroin,” said Nick Willard, assistant chief of police in Manchester…

Tyranny By Consensus

One of the nation’s largest suppliers of HIV and AIDS medical care is accused of bilking Medicare and Medicaid in an elaborate $20 million dollar scam that spanned 12 states, according to a lawsuit filed in South Florida federal court.  Three former managers of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed a suit…alleging the company paid employees and patients kickbacks for patient referrals in an effort to boost funding from federal health programs…The referrals were key to the company’s business model and touted by AHF President Michael Weinstein at a 2013 leadership summit…

An Example To the West (#133)

Some 900 [Korean] sex workers…submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court to repeal the prostitution law, which they say infringes on their rights…In December of 2012, the Seoul Northern District Court asked the Constitutional Court for a constitutional review of the law after a prostitute who was charged made the request.  The crux of the issue is whether prostitution is a profession and cracking down on it violates sex workers’ rights or whether the practice is a public hazard and exposes minors to danger…Chung Kwan-young, a lawyer representing prostitutes, said the law goes against the “principle of minimal intervention” as it punishes a voluntary choice made by adults.  Critics of the law also point out that crackdowns have failed to eradicate prostitution.  Kim Kang-ja, a former chief at the Jongam Police Station who spearheaded crackdowns in the 2000s, said her operations only exacerbated the situation of sex workers…stop closing our windows

Dutch Threat

Hundreds of Amsterdam’s window prostitutes took to the streets yesterday in protest against the city authorities’ attempts to clean up the red light district.  Sex workers say they have been targeted over the years as local politicians try to reinvigorate the area, under the guise of stopping human trafficking.  Some 250 prostitutes and their supporters marched against the latest proposals to shut down more of the city’s brothels.  Since 2008 115 of the 500 windows…have been closed…

Confined and Controlled (#335)

Italian law allows [Rome] to issue an ordinance banning the solicitation of sex on certain streets…Rome City Hall has agreed to…a pilot program that would include greater police surveillance and fines of up to $500…for men caught with a sex worker on a prostitution-free street…the idea is vehemently opposed by Catholic organizations that say it legitimizes the exploitation of women.  Father Aldo Buonaiuto [wants imposition of the Swedish model]…

Uncommon Sense (#404)

The Assembly of Sex Work Pro-rights Activists of Catalonia, is made up of sex workers and allies…“We are the most stigmatised and criminalised group of women in society,” said Montse Neira, one of the group’s founders…“From now on, nobody else is going to speak for us”…Paula Vip from…Asociación de Profesionales del Sexo (Aprosex) [said] “The violence we face doesn’t come from our clients, but from the institutions that govern based on the interest of a moral minority.  From now on, we prostitutes will be organised, convinced, ready to fight and ready for war”…

Prudesville

Yes, these are actual adults panicking over coffee stands:

…From the way…bikini baristas have been in the firing line of [Washington state] officials, you’d think this was the first time anyone combined nearly nude women and food.  But practically the same controversy continues to pop up in headlines across America:  Girls want to serve coffee mostly naked, people want to buy it, someone wants to stop it…Buxom girls and fast food have been lumped together since topless servers started waiting on San Franciscans in the 60s…and Hooters…has been around since 1983…To Mike Fagan, a Spokane city councilman who just saw a voter-led initiative to restrict bikini baristas flop…[the] model is too risqué not to regulate.  But he says he’s taken heat for trying to impose a moral code on local businesses…If they’re not offensive, he wonders, why then are school-buses being rerouted so kids won’t see the coffee stands?…“I think bikini baristas are sex workers, because their work involves using sexual appeal,” says…Savannah Sly…“Because they may be stigmatized or their place of employment scrutinized due to the erotic nature of the work, I deem it worthy of the label of sex work.”  Sly says some might argue that bikini baristas aren’t sex workers because they don’t strip, touch customers, or explicitly talk about sex.  But…“a lot of people who do phone sex and cam work…also don’t do sexual stuff for a lot of their clients”…

We Told You So (#509)

Another great article from Anne Elizabeth Moore:

The images are compelling:  young, White women, bound and bedraggled, alone and vulnerable.  The first-person tales are equally attention-grabbing:  rape, emotional abuse, graft, torture…Yet what we can definitively state about [the rescue industry]…makes for a much less satisfying narrative…the 50 most prominent anti-trafficking organizations in the United States…command over half a billion dollars every year, and focus primarily on sex trafficking, as opposed to the far more pressing global concern of labor trafficking.  Fundraising pitches for these groups rest largely on the recitation of widely disputed statistics, many of which have been entirely disproven…The claims are ludicrous.  Even if the number of rescues was believable, it represents approximately a quarter of all the cases of sex trafficking worldwide reported to the US Department of State…This would make the United States the global hotbed of sex slavery…

Broken Record (#519)

sex workers’ safety could be at risk if police launch sweeps to clean up city streets heading into this summer’s Pan Am Games…fears over potential trafficking during sports competitions are typically overblown and sometimes serve as excuses to round up local and foreign sex workers…a stronger police presence could have a “harsh impact” on street-based sex workers, who would be forced to work in more isolated — and potentially unsafe — conditions…a study examining the impact of the Vancouver Olympics suggests there was no significant influx of sex workers or reports of a spike in trafficking there.  The survey of sex workers found there was less demand for their services, possibly due to the difficulty in meeting clients…

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In the world of anti-trafficking organizations, money and lies are deeply – perhaps inextricably – tied.  –  Anne Elizabeth Moore

Secret Squirrel

there are growing numbers of women…for whom the opportunities offered by smartphones for tracking and surveillance are nothing short of terrifying…“For women experiencing domestic violence, these technologies can be used to further terrorise and intimidate them,” says Sandra Horley, the chief executive of Refuge…Refuges, whose locations are kept closely guarded for the safety of their users, now often warn women fleeing abuse to check their phones for apps that might be spyware, and to switch off location services before they arrive…Jennifer Perry…of the Digital Trust [said]…“The easiest thing is to access the woman in the cloud.  A man might buy a phone and set it up for his partner to be ‘helpful’.  He knows the username and password.  You have women who don’t even realise they have a cloud account in their smartphone…The man can just sit at his computer and watch everything that happens on the phone”…

We Told You So

Super ally Anne Elizabeth Moore published a long, thorough report on the incredible amount of money “anti-trafficking” organizations make despite their total lack of any sort of quantifiable results:

…Considering their common mythical enemy – the nameless and faceless men portrayed in TV dramas who trade in nubile human girl stock – one would hope anti-trafficking organizations would unite in an effort to be less shady.  With names reliant on metaphors of recovery, light and sanctuary, anti-trafficking groups project an image of transparency.  Yet these groups have shown a remarkable lack of fiscal accountability and organizational consistency…anti-trafficking groups fold, move, restructure and reappear under new names with alarming frequency, making them almost as difficult to track as their supposed foes…

The Sky is Falling!

Great news!  There is no actual crime in Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania State Police are going undercover to root out potential prostitution arranged through dating websites…Troopers work with vice, computer crimes and neighboring municipal police units to coordinate stings and monitor…“sugar daddy” websites…

Broken Record 

Most parroting of “gypsy whores” myth now contains a disclaimer.*  Note also that the writer slips and says “arrested” rather than “rescued”:

Catholic Charities of Arizona is preparing to serve an increased number of sex-trafficking victims arrested by local police in the days surrounding Super Bowl Sunday…The Phoenix metro area was bracing for a surge in visitors as it got ready to host a triad of large sporting events within an eight-day period.  The NFL’s Pro Bowl and Super Bowl XLIX and the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament were all set to take place there Jan. 25 through Feb. 1…Although firm evidence of a correlation between the Super Bowl and an uptick in prostitution is lacking, a 2014 study by Arizona State University’s School of Social Work found that the game produces conditions that traffickers seek to exploit…

The ASU School of Social Work is nothing but a factory for generating bogus prohibitionist studies; it’s the academic leg of the awful Project ROSE.

*For another modified “gypsy whore” iteration, see “Soap Opera” below.

Soap Opera

First-magnitude fabulist Theresa Flores’ maudlin comedy act, distributing soap bars to fight “pimps” hiding in hotel lavatories, continues:

…the Grosse Pointe Soroptimists…offered [hoteliers]…bars of soap…wrapped in labels that feature the National Human Trafficking Hotline Number…A similar effort is under way this week at motels in Phoenix, in advance of the…Super Bowl.  Special events…provide an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the issue of human trafficking…Theresa Flores, 49…started the S.O.A.P. program…because she thought hard about what might have helped escape her torture…in the early 1980s…new Michigan laws designed to thwart human trafficking…[removes] the statute of limitations for people who were forced into prostitution as minors.  The new law is named the Theresa Flores Act…

Bottleneck

Another demonstration of how regulation of sex work hurts sex workers:

…There are…an estimated 20,000 prostitutes in Greece…of which fewer than 1,000 are…registered…There are brothels (or ‘studios’) where women can register to work legally…Each is granted a licence, issued by the state…There’s a list of…stipulations that must be met before a woman is allowed to work in one of these studios.  She must be over 18; have the right to live and work in Greece; be free from STI’s or other infectious illnesses; not suffer from mental illness or drug addiction; and not have been convicted of homicide, pimping, child porn, trafficking, robbery or blackmail.  Oh, and she must be unmarried, too…the law isn’t stopping married women from working as prostitutes.  It’s simply preventing them from operating in regulated environments and forcing them on to the streets, something which is both illegal and dangerous…

Rhinoceros (#403)

COAST isn’t mentioned here, but this is the same sort of insulting, patronizing bullshit they peddle, pretending that pigs, bureaucrats and other busybodies know more about our profession than we do:

…representatives from Homeland Security met with valley strip club workers to show them what to…look for [in] signs that women are being forced to strip or are underage.  The average age of girls entering the sex trade is 13…It’s something authorities worry could increase in Phoenix leading up to the Super Bowl…

Stupor Bowl

The first few paragraphs of this story look like typical “gypsy whores” idiocy and police puffery, then it makes a sharp turn to the right:

…The Phoenix vice squad’s order and earnest claims by [prohibitionists]…are odd in one very important respect:  Actual empirical evidence fails to support the claim that the Super Bowl is related to a prostitution spike.  “No data actually support the notion that increased sex trafficking accompanies the Super Bowl,” observes Snopes.comThe Village Voice succinctly busted the myth around this time last year…The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women released a report in 2011 confirming that the “sporting events bring sex slaves” story was a myth…and relied on extremely negative imagery about women…In city after city, there has been no Super Bowl prostitution spike…

O, Canada! (All Traffick, All the Time) sex worker map

Click on the subtitle link above to see what Canadian cops do when they get their hands on information like this:

For two months, women involved in the sex trade in London [Ontario] have been marking places on a map…they’re noting where they live, work, buy drugs, get health care, experience violence, visit social service agencies, spend time and avoid trouble…The final map will be shared with social agencies in London, but not before the women themselves have been asked about their comfort level with the information released…The map will show concentrations of activities, but not identify what any individual woman — all of them anonymous — is doing and where…

Yellow Fever (#426) 

Remember Tenancingo, the Mexican town which was supposedly infested with “pimps” and derived “virtually its entire living from sex trafficking”?  Remember the hundreds of victims, tens of thousands of clients and millions of dollars?  Well, here’s a new story about the prosecution of some of those “pimps” which contains a few clear facts buried in the yellow garbage.  Actual number of “traffickers”?  Two, plus their employees.  Actual number of “victims”?  26.  And what was presented as an ongoing operation ended in 2011.

The Notorious Badge (#452) 

Given that what’s portrayed in 50 Shades isn’t anything like a healthy BDSM relationship, and that there is no sex work in the book, one must wonder what this is about:  “…The movie’s director was determined to make sure the kinky drama was portrayed as realistically as possible so she and [Jamie Dornan] spoke to real-life sex workers to gain an insight into their world…’so that we in no way portrayed it incorrectly’…”

The More the Better (#502)

Cracked appears to be positioning itself as solidly pro-sex worker; the latest is an article entitled “5 Things You Don’t Know About Strippers (Until You Are One)“, written with input from 7 actual strippers, which ends with this:

…we’ve done a few articles on sex workers and porn stars (including a woman who has sex with a ventriloquist dummy on camera) and we keep coming to the same conclusion:

A) The demand for these people’s services is enormous;
B) The vast majority of us partake in some form or another (by consuming porn, if nothing else);
C) They thus fulfill a basic need in a way that the world would sorely miss if they stopped; and
D) We fucking hate them for it.  Like, to the point of violence.

Why? We’re honestly asking. Someone let us know.

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The truth doesn’t have a sound bite.  –  Hadil Habiba

A Whore in the Bedroom

While working as a high-class escort for nine years, Rebecca Dakin saw hundreds of married men turn to her to fulfill sexual needs not being met by their wives.  In 2009, she…became an infidelity counselor, using her experience…to teach women about how to satisfy their husbands…Dakin says that the number one reason men look outside of their relationships for sex is because they’re not getting enough of it at home…other reasons…include…feeling bored by the sex they receive…or feeling hesitant to share their intimate desires and fantasies with their spouse…

November Book Reviews

Thaddeus Russell lectures on A Renegade History of the United States at the recent New Hampshire Liberty Forum:

Barbie

The pathetic losers who believe young girls can perform complex calculations in their heads are at it again, informing us that if Barbie were both alive and life-sized she wouldn’t have room for intestines.  That’s ironic, because it’s obvious that doofuses who obsess about plastic dolls have no room in their heads for comprehending that the smaller any animal is, the more slender its proportions tend to be, and that kids don’t actually notice this kind of stuff in any case.

Real People

It’s surprising that this article on Bay Area sex workers (including Kitty Stryker and Siouxsie Q) who cater to the tech sector appeared on CNN, of all places; the phrase “human trafficking” occurs only once, in a very short passage about a vice cop.  Maybe a few people over there are starting to wake up (or just seeing the writing on the wall).  The same holds true in the next item:

Feminine Pragmatism

The anti-whore rhetoric in this New York Times piece about Afghan sex workers is minimal, and the word “trafficking” entirely absent:

…Mazar…is…Afghanistan’s unofficial capital of prostitution…[this is] partly [due]…to the city’s culture, which is considerably more forgiving of vice than is the rest of the country.  Alcohol, though still illegal, can be found without too much trouble.  Women…can be seen socializing with men in…public parks, a rare sight even in Kabul…In recent years, the city’s economy has flourished as its proximity to Central Asia and its relative peace and stability have transformed it into a trading hub…The sex trade has [always] existed in one form or another…even under the ultraconservative rule of the Taliban.  But officials here say the rapid spread of mobile technology has made the business easier to manage and harder to detect…Women…host clients in a series of apartments…The point of contact is typically a man who orchestrates the meet-ups by cellphone.  This has made the business tough to infiltrate for those police officials eager to crack down…[sex workers] are almost always impoverished and typically divorced or widowed, struggling to support a family…they risk death if they are discovered…

The Pro-Rape Coalition

Kamlesh VaswaniThe Supreme Court [of India] sought response from the government on a plea to block and ban porn sites on the internet, particularly those showing child pornography…The petition filed by Indore-based advocate Kamlesh Vaswani said watching obscene videos is not an offence but it is one of the major causes for crime against women…”  As we know, this is the exact opposite of the truth.

Where Are the Victims?

Even the police state seems unable to explain what legitimate public interest is served by jailing a 69-year-old quadriplegic polio victim who breathes through a ventilator for the “crime” of having sexual feelings.  In 2011 he was “convicted” of helping sex workers find safe clients by running a screening service, and apparently the terms of his probation demand he not be sexual in any way; unsurprisingly, he has been caught violating that condition twice so far.

We Told You So

…As part of a legal settlement, Tennessee-based Stop Child Trafficking Now…will agree to follow a list of requirements if it returns to Missouri…some of the stipulations include [detailing] how donated funds will be spent in the Kansas City area…[and] an accurate depiction of the organization’s accomplishments.  A 41 Action News investigation…followed the money trail and fact-checked some of SCTNow’s bold claims made on its website…hundreds of thousands of dollars [went] to fund private “special operatives” teams to gather undercover intelligence about child sex trafficking…[but] when pressed for more details, SCTNow could not point to a single case in the country where information lead to an arrest or prosecution…

Divided We Fall

The Gambia introduced…new laws…criminalising male prostitution [and] cross-dressing…Any man or boy who solicits, is “attired in the fashion of a woman” in a public place or who “practises sodomy as a means of livelihood or as a profession” now faces a hefty fine and jail term of up to five years…

Where’s the outcry from picket-fence gay activists? {sound of crickets}  I reckon they don’t want to be soil their newfound respectability by speaking up for drag hookers any more.prohibition beer raid

Change a Few Words

Dr. Laura Agustín on how all prohibitionism is the same:

…outlawing activities accomplishes only one thing…It tells citizens that government has decided something is Wrong…Sending A Message is the principle …behind the Swedish state’s…law against buying sex, and…behind all the [others]…who want the law for their countries.  Everyone wants to be seen to be Taking a Stand against immoral behaviour.  Try bringing evidence into the conversation and you will quickly learn how irrelevant it is; you can find Swedish promoters themselves saying things like We know it doesn’t work but we want to be in the forefront of Gender Justice…Any other claim about what prohibitionist laws achieve when they outlaw social activities like sex, drinking and drugs is not supported by evidence.  That’s because, after the law is passed and the message is sent, individuals deal with prohibition deviously…So buyers and sellers of drugs, alcohol and sex become creative, some of them maintaining a disapproving stance in public at the same time…

This is, of course, why self-reporting about paying for sex has become so absurdly inaccurate.

The Immunity Syndrome

A new Ohio law bans teachers from discussing “any gateway sexual activity or health message that encourages students to experiment with sexual activity” and allows parents to sue for “damages” if they claim a teacher has done so.  What exactly are “gateway sexual activities”, you ask?  The law doesn’t say, but we know that in Tennessee they include hand-holding.

An Example to the West

Add Latin America to the list of regions that do sex work activism more effectively than the US:

A new study, designed and carried out by the network of female sex workers in Latin America and Caribbean (REDTRASEX), has documented legislation that affects sex work – as well as detailing what this means in practice…independent sex work is not prohibited in any of the countries studied.  What is criminalized…is proxenetism (or ‘pimping’) and…“immoral” behaviours or disturbances to the peace or public order are applied in relation to sex work.  Furthermore…confusing sex workers…with trafficked persons…silences the legitimate voices of sex workers and actually blocks discussions on how to end human trafficking.  This creates a framework of legitimacy for police repression and state violence…[and] results in a culture of secrecy around sex work, increasing stigma and the vulnerability of sex workers…

The study is available in Spanish, and I’ll provide the English translation as soon as it’s available.

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (TW3 #14)

Gloria Steinem is at it again, now in collusion with rescue industry NGO Apne Aap:  “On April 18, human rights activists Gloria Steinem and Ruchira Gupta will kick off a two-day symposium at Smith College, ‘Trafficking Sex: Politics, Policy, Personhood’…”  Note the unintentional irony of prohibitionists borrowing the term “personhood” from their anti-abortion rights soulmates.

Held Together With Lies (TW3 #28)

Chicken Licken and company meet Foxy LoxyDespite a total lack of evidence (“[trafficking] convictions [declined] 13 percent”), Chicken Licken and other overly-excitable barnyard fowl ordered EU member states “to get a move on with adopting tough new rules against human trafficking or face sanctions as a first report on the problem showed ‘modern-day slavery’ worsening”.  Obviously math isn’t the typical politician’s strong suit, but one would think even they could comprehend that the larger estimates might have something to do with the fact that they “[broadened] the definition of the crime” two years ago; now they’re claiming “the trafficking business is second-only in illegal activity to the weapons trade”, up from the equally-bogus assertion that it was third.  Anyone want to take bets on whether it will rise to first before the hysteria collapses?

Wise Investment (TW3 #31)

Texas lawmakers…[want to criminalize] advertisements soliciting prostitution…‘the Backpage Bill’…would make it a felony to buy such advertising and might press Backpage.com to get out of the business.”  It will do nothing of the kind and these politicians know it.  But because they don’t pay the cost of defending tyrannical and patently-unconstitutional laws, they’re perfectly happy to buy votes from control freaks at taxpayer expense.

Lack of Evidence (TW3 #41)

The news that “San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has agreed to make a ban on using condoms as evidence of prostitution permanent” is good (though as a policy rather than a law it could be revoked at a moment’s notice), but dig Gascón’s bizarre and Orwellian claim around mid-article that criminalization and police harassment of women are for our “protection”.

Uncharted Seas

we’ve been hearing it for yearsGay marriage is a slippery slope!  A gateway drug!  If we legalize it, then what’s next?  Legalized polygamy?  We can only hope…let’s not forget that the fight doesn’t end with same-sex marriage…Legalized polygamy in the United States is…constitutional, feminist, and sex-positive…we really can make our own choices.  We just might choose things people don’t like…Arguments about whether a woman’s consensual sexual and romantic choices are “healthy” should have no bearing on the legal process…It’s condescending, not supportive, to minimize them as mere “victims” without considering the possibility that some of them have simply made a different choice…

A Working System (TW3 #136)

A Sydney madam has been found guilty of keeping young Malaysian students in sexual servitude…Chee Mei Wong, 39, forced the six young women to work up to 20 hours a day in the Diamonds brothel…and ordered them to perform unusual sex acts against their will so they could pay ”debts”…

Something Rotten in Sweden (TW3 #138)ugly end demand propaganda

More on the ugly campaign of disinformation currently being waged by “End Demand Illinois”:

…Who are the organizers of this campaign trying to communicate with?  My suspicion is…people who already have a soft analysis of prostitution gleaned from watching 20/20…or true crime TV shows about sex trafficking busts…who is going to step up and be “in favor” of “modern day slavery” or “sex trafficking?” …I really want to know what it’s going to take for people to actually think about how complicated the sex trade is, and that it’s not all the same, and that ads that make us all the victims of overwhelming violence don’t do anything to actually improve our circumstances…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (TW3 #313)

Remember, prostitution was recently re-confirmed as legal in India, but brothels are still illegal; it’s therefore a simple matter for cops to redefine a business as a “ring”, label women of 20 to 25 as “girls”, call their arrest a “rescue” and describe imprisonment under psychological torture as “rehabilitation”.  That way the money from the US and NGOs keeps rolling in.

The Story Behind the Story

Fox 2000…[is] adapting Go the Fuck to Sleep for the big screen…the bedtime-story parody, written by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Ricardo Cortés, has become something of a viral hit…It is unclear how the filmmakers plan to turn what is essentially a nursery rhyme with one punchline…into an entire feature- length film…

I hope this proves lucrative for Ricardo and also opens more doors for him.

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If we [can’t] get the prohibition on sex work repealed, we [will] never end up hanging on to our abortion rights…it’s the same piece of property.  –  Margo St. James

Amsterdam

Dutch “authorities” narrow the bottleneck again and will no doubt be surprised when illegal prostitution increases:  “The city of Amsterdam…will raise the legal age of prostitutes from 18 to 21 and…close brothels during the early morning hours…Amsterdam says it wants to decrease the number of sex workers…to fight crime generated by prostitution…

The Slave-Whore Fantasy

Yet another example of what real sex slavery looks like:

A sex worker who was…held hostage for two…days broke her legs and back when she jumped out a sixth-floor window…Benjamin Gaston and Johnny Jackson have been charged with kidnapping and raping the…woman…Gaston…stole her cellphone, money and identification…hit her and held a pillow over her face, telling her, “You’re…working for me and making me money.”  The next day, [she] was taken to another apartment…where there were six or seven additional men waiting to have sex with her, including Jackson…The woman tried to escape…by using her jacket as a rope…[but] fell to the ground…Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco Goya (c 1820)

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I just love it when they feed on one another.  In Stockholm, “Police…were surprised…to find that a man they had arrested for buying sex from a prostitute was the duty prosecutor to whom they were obliged to report the crime…”, and in New York, “Officer Luis Gutierrez…was on duty when he allegedly offered a prostitute money…[but she] was an undercover cop…

Decentralization

Bitcoin is now the world’s best-performing currency:

…The number of coins in circulation grows very slowly–there are about 10.8 million…now, and that will increase to 21 million by 2140…growth…[can’t] keep up with demand and so the value of the currency [grows]…The U.S. dollar value of a Bitcoin is up from…$4.87 [a year ago]…to $31.09 today.  It has appreciated by over 100% from the end of 2012 alone, when the quoted price was $13.48…And it’s also going mainstream, reports in the Guardian and Forbes  suggest…

The Forbes article reports that “Silicon Valley Bank…and…Coinlab….will [soon] allow North America-based…users to directly convert money from dollars to bitcoin, without having to pay the hefty transaction fees associated with transferring money abroad…

Against Their Will

Spanish police were puzzled when thirty Romanian whores they “rescued from exploitation by a network of pimps” immediately returned to work; “none of [them] asked for protection or availed themselves of assistance…to return to their country” despite police claims of beatings and debt bondage.  Meanwhile, Filipino “authorities” continued their weird crusade against “cybersex”:  “…police raided…[an] alleged…cybersex den…[and] rescued 12 [young men]…“They referred to themselves as ‘chatters’ because they chat online…as they perform sexual acts in front of the web cam,” said…officer…Romano Cardiño…

Peeping Toms

Dennis Green admits he offered another man $20…for sex…[but his] defense…could have a far-reaching impact…legalizing prostitution in Ohio…Scott Nazzarine, Green’s public defender…believes there’s no way what Green did can be deemed a crime in today’s society.  He compares it to other acts that at one time were illegal – premarital sex, the sale of sex toys, abortion, contraception…but now are legal, protected rights…“It’s about privacy rights and constitutional rights and the government’s intrusion into them…Any justification for prostitution laws is just a pretext for morality”…

Nazzarine is of course totally right and the judges know it, but I don’t think this is the case that will do the job because there’s still too much hypocrisy afoot.  Still, this won’t be the last one, and eventually individual rights must triumph just as they have in other sexual matters.

We Told You So

Who victimizes sex workersThe Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women is the only large “anti-trafficking” organization which fights the use of bogus statistics and conflation of sex work with exploitation; it’s calling for papers for its Anti-Trafficking Review on the topic “Following the Money: Spending on Anti-Trafficking” …“Lacking is analysis of…anti-trafficking funds – where they come from, who they go to, what they are meant to do, what they actually achieve, and indeed whether they are needed.”  Two of the suggested topics are analysis of the motives behind “anti-trafficking” funding and questioning ties to law enforcement.

An Ounce of Prevention

A baby…who got immediate treatment now has no detectable [HIV] in her blood…within 30 hours of birth…she…got a cocktail of three drugs at a dose normally reserved for more advanced cases…There is still virus in [her] body.  But…it doesn’t seem to be able to spread from one cell to another…[or damage her] immune system…

The Law of Averages

Emi Koyama exposes journalists who knew the falsity of the “average age of debut in prostitution is 13” myth for three years, yet kept repeating it anyhow:  “While I was glad to see that The Oregonian now officially acknowledges that there is no basis for this…everything…Janie Har…wrote…was already in my three-year old blog post…[written after] I first read the claim…in [Oregonian reporter Elizabeth] Hovde’s column…” Emi details her July 2010 correspondence with Hovde, in which the reporter acknowledged her analysis but made excuses rather than issuing a retraction.  Then finally, last Saturday,

The Oregonian acknowledges that the claim is baseless! (But why is it rated “half-truth”…and why did they not mention any other study that contradict 12-14 claim?)  I have a feeling that Janie Har read my blog post…she mentions the same Shared Hope report and points out the same problems…If she did read my blog, why did she not speak with me or give me credit…The Oregonian had the opportunity to stop perpetuating the myth for almost three years, and yet failed to do so as recently as this January.Secret Lives  While Janie Har’s column is to be commended, The Oregonian and Hovde need to take responsibility for their part in the falsehood…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

While I was in New York last week, Secret Lives and A Natural History of Rape arrived as gifts from reader “M”.  Thank you very much, both for the books and the good wishes!

Little Boxes

When Melissa King [aged out of] the Delaware foster care system at 18, she did some porn, entered some pageants, and enrolled in college…Last November, King was crowned Miss Delaware Teen USA…[but] she gave up her crown after an explicit video…surfaced on an amateur porn website…Now she’s being publicly shamed by former friends and international news organizations…Pageants and porn are…two sides of a very thin sexual boundary.  And for a young, pretty girl who’s strapped for cash…only one of [them offers it] up-front…

Naked Truth

Melissa Gira Grant continues a strong run of good articles with “Unpacking the Sex Trafficking Panic” in Contemporary Sexuality, the newsletter of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT).  When sex-worker-penned items criticizing a popular narrative appear under the imprimatur of a relatively-conservative organization, it’s clear the tide has begun to turn.  Also, here’s a good interview with veteran activist Tracy Quan by Caty Simon on Tits and Sass; I promise, I’m not just linking it because it mentions me.Margo St. James in Washington

The Birth of a Movement

In this interview with Bitch magazine, Margo St. James discusses the beginning of the sex worker rights movement, how the neofeminists turned mainstream feminism against us, “sex trafficking” hysteria and the future of sex worker activism.

Coming Out

Dear Prudence” gives what I think is a reasonable response to an unconsciously-bigoted man wondering if he should “out” a sex worker friend to his other friends.  Unfortunately, the graphics give the impression that the woman goes around looking like a Hollywood streetwalker when in reality, the uptight questioner’s issue is that she looks just like any other woman.

Much Ado About Nothing (TW3 #44)

An escort who appeared on a video claiming that Sen. Robert Menendez…paid her for sex has told Dominican authorities that she was instead paid to make up the claims and has never met or seen the senator…a local lawyer had approached her and a fellow escort and asked them to help frame Menendez…That lawyer has in turn identified a second Dominican lawyer who he said gave the woman a script and paid her to read the claims aloud…

Texas Tall Tales

Facebook PimpThe “Facebook pimps” myth just keeps growing and growing, which really isn’t a surprise since it combines three of the moral panics du jour: “sex trafficking”, gangs and the evil, evil internet.  This sort of thing has been happening for as long as there have been exploitative men and naive, sheltered girls with romantic delusions; it’s not a “trend”, not limited to Facebook and not an international conspiracy.  CNN also fails to understand that three cases in a country of 300 million do not an epidemic make, and that 18 isn’t “underage”.

Genetic Fallacy

Yet another example of judges ignoring a law’s unconstitutionality on the grounds that those challenging it have not been sufficiently harmed by it:

The Supreme Court…[dismissed] a challenge to a…federal law that allows…interception of electronic communications…[on the grounds] that the lawyers, journalists and human rights organizations that brought the suit cannot prove they have been caught up in the surveillance and thus may not challenge [it]…the 5 to 4 ruling did not touch on…constitutionality…and challengers said it will be almost impossible now to get that issue before a court…

Profound Ignorance (TW3 #51)

An even more thorough refutation of the moronic prohibitionist claim that sex is somehow different from every other human activity:

The assumption that liberal prostitution laws lead to an increase in human trafficking is refuted.  On the contrary…since…liberalisation, there has been more police activity but…significantly less suspects, convicts and victims.  That’s…an indicator that…disentanglement of prostitution from criminal environments is increasingly successful.” – Volker Beck, MP…“In the year 2000…[German officials] registered…926 victims.  In the year 2011, there were 640.  This equates to a decrease of just under 31 per cent.  If one compares the figures…in 2003 [a year after the prostitution law was passed] and 2011, one sees a certifiable decline of just above 48 per cent”…The…German government thus refutes the claim by Neumayer, Cho and Dreher  that legalised prostitution increases human trafficking…

Déjà Vu (TW3 #135)

More evidence of the evangelical Christian basis for “sex trafficking” mythology and a look inside the perverted minds of prohibitionists:

In the fight against sex trafficking, the Church needs to address the root causes – the ideas…that break the linkage sex has to love, responsibility and children, [said] Lisa Thompson…of…the Salvation Army…Thompson asked [her audience] not [to] divorce…sex trafficking from…prostitution [because]…all prostitution dehumanizes women…”God did not create any woman for the purpose…that she be a cum receptacle.  God did not create the female to be a human being that [johns] are basically masturbating into…sex was never intended to be a job, so let’s not use the language of ‘sex work'”…

That Thompson had to deny that sex work is work is a very good sign indeed.

Caring Professionals

lone red umbrellaI have long held that professional sex workers need to develop a code of ethics just as other professions have, not only for moral reasons but in order to push back against “authorities” who think they are more qualified than we are to set standards for work they’ve never done.  So I was pleased to hear that the Australian Sex-Positive Sex Industry Association (ASPaSIA) is working on just such a code, and I’ll report on it at full length once it’s finalized later this month.

Unclean Situation (TW3 #138)

Labour TD, Eamonn Maloney, said he did not accept the [claims] in the report on the [Magdalene] laundries…“They…made lots of money,” he said…adding that most commercial laundries in the 1940s and 1950s closed because of competition from the Magdalenes.  “Not only has the church as yet to apologise for their role in operating these prisons, they do also have a role…in compensating people,” he said…The Government has so far refused to say what contribution, if any, it will seek from the orders…

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Sex workers have a special place in society that is never rewarded or recognised.  –  Derek Freedman

No Other Option

Vrbas wheelchair basketball clubMy Cliterati article for last Sunday was “Skin To Skin”, a strong criticism of the cruelty of denying commercial sex to men who can’t experience physical intimacy in any other way; the very next day an English council provided a perfect example of that cruelty by announcing an “investigation” of a nursing home which allowed residents to hire sex workers, and I explained what was wrong with that in this week’s essay, “Caring Professionals”.  Then there was this item from Bosnia:

Members of a…wheelchair basketball club are launching a campaign to legalize prostitution…to help disabled people “achieve their right to love.”  Marinko Umicevic, president of the club Vrbas, said Wednesday that Bosnia had to catch up with 21st century Europe, where…some people with disabilities “even get state subsidies to pay for sex.”  Umicevic said some of his players had never had sex and legalizing the sex trade would help people like them achieve their basic rights…

Something Rotten in Sweden

Prostitution stings are disgusting no matter how they’re justified, but there’s something particularly vile about using “sex trafficking” as an excuse and then arresting hookers as well:

A multi-agency prostitution sting conducted earlier this month on behalf of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month has netted the arrests of…46 [people]…most for misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution…[but] five [for] women alleged to have posted sex ads…Sen. Leticia Van de Putte…[says] she intends to propose…a bill that would pave the way for victims of human trafficking to sue websites that make money off prostitution ads…

Senator Van de Putte could save the state of Texas a lot of money by simply researching the fate of similar ideas.

Decentralization

Bitcoin has become so popular, and its value has risen so much against that of national currencies, that Bloomberg is concerned that “virtual money could undermine the role of central banks”, which as Reason explains is exactly the point.  The end of governments’ ability to directly meddle with the world economy can’t possibly come soon enough to suit me.

Dirty Whores

Dr Derek Freedman told the Irish Sun:  “People from all strands of society use prostitutes from time to time.  It ranges from [politicians], the clergy, the judiciary to people who are socially deprived, physically disabled and people who may be regarded as unattractive and may not be able to meet people”…while people often feel anxious about contracting infections after visiting a prostitute, he believes that “you’re probably safer with a professional than with a gifted amateur”…he added:  “What we forget is that often sex workers give great comfort to people who are lonely”…Other Dreams of Freedom

Déjà Vu

When even Christians are starting to see this, “trafficking” hysteria’s days are numbered:

…In her new book Other Dreams of Freedom, Yvonne Zimmerman, a professor of Christian Ethics, argues that the theoretical basis of US government anti-trafficking efforts derives directly from Protestant theology and traditional ideas of what she calls “sexually pure and pious womanhood”.  Zimmerman challenges this basis for anti-trafficking efforts, saying that it ends up limiting the freedom of trafficked people, especially women, by conceiving of their “rescue” as them ending up in traditional, heterosexual marriages – or at least refraining from sexual relations outside of marriage…

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (We’re Not Done Yet)

A big improvement on the phone “app” described previously:

…a team [of students]…has invented a mobile panic button for street…sex…workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.  A voice or text message is first recorded onto a SIM card, which is inserted into a GPS-enabled device such as a pager…Pressing a button…activates the GPS and sends an emergency message and GPS location to a contact who can get help.  Because the GPS is not activated until the device is activated, the anonymity of the user is preserved…Once prototype devices are ordered, the three students will hold focus groups to determine which type of device is more useful…[then] will launch a six-month pilot project by giving devices to 100 women…The group is currently holding a fundraising initiative online…$8,140 [will] cover…the entire pilot project…

Change a Few Words

Arch-prohibitionist Paul Chabot helpfully explains not only that prohibitionism really works, but that all prohibitions are equally valid:  “When asked…why we keep marijuana illegal, Chabot responded:  “Why do we keep heroin, LSD, prostitution, child pornography illegal?’”  As Matthew Feeney points out, “Comparing marijuana to child pornography is a great way to insult millions of people by comparing them to pedophiles.  Chabot is a free gift to those of us who would like to see drugs legalized.”  And of course, the same goes for prostitution.

The More the Better (TW3 #4)

Sheri's RanchOn Monday I received a press release from Sheri’s Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada, a brothel resort on 20 acres (8 hectares) with a swimming pool, spa and tennis court which actively markets itself to couples as well as single men.  It’s now added “Sheri’s Playland”, a group of bungalows fitted out like movie sets so clients can enact any of six different sexual fantasies with working girls.  As I’ve said before, this is a very positive trend; “it was after Vegas casinos started ‘gentrifying’ in the ‘80s that people from other states dropped their prejudices against gambling, and now casinos are everywhere in the US.”

The Course of a Disease

Sex workers fight an attempt to impose the Swedish model on Indonesia:

Prostitutes and activists…are calling on the government not to prosecute men who pay for sex…The chairwoman of Yogyakarta Women’s Sex Workers Association (P3SY)…said…that [client] criminalization…would decrease the bargaining power and income of sex workers…[and] drive prostitution further underground…[hindering] HIV/AIDS education and mitigation programs…arresting customers would lead to the closure of brothels…and force sex workers to seek customers on the streets…Ignatius Praptoharjono of the Atma Jaya Catholic University’s HIV/AIDS Research Center in Jakarta…cited the cases of Sweden, Canada and other Asia-Pacific nations, where a crackdown on [clients] led to the decline of red-light districts and reduced fees…forcing sex workers to charge less and work more.  “Such a regulation will not protect women, but instead expose them to even higher risk,” [he] said…

Bullies With Badges

Heroic cops display their courage and fortitude by saving the helpless citizens of Connecticut from the menace of a 71-year-old whore: “an undercover cop…met her inside a room…[after] Sygun Liebhart placed a backpage.com ad…

Little Boxes (TW3 #25)

Forcing massage parlors to close at 10 PM is the latest anti-whore fad:

…a new [Florida] bill…would ban massage establishments from operating between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m…to crack down on human trafficking and sexual exploitation…[it] also would make it illegal for massage establishments to allow anybody to live on the premises…the Florida State Massage Therapy Association questioned the hours restriction…[because] there are legitimate late-night clients including airline pilots and theatrical performers…[bill sponsor Dave] Kerner, a former…police officer, said…late-night massage establishments are a “hotbed” of illicit sexual activity…

Anyone who actually uses the phrase “illicit sexual activity” with a straight face should be barred from public office as a delusional busybody.

I Swear To God

Here’s another article on the PEPFAR “anti-prostitution pledge”, the efforts to overturn it and the importance of doing so from a health perspective, a human rights perspective and a free speech perspective.  It really is beginning to seem like now that the gay rights culture war has essentially been won, many activists are starting to at last turn their attention toward the persecution of sex workers.

Shift in the Wind

Here’s a cute little promo video made at the Sex Worker Freedom Festival, the parallel AIDS conference held in Kolkata last summer by sex workers who were excluded from the US:

False Target

My fellow hot smart chick Amy Alkon wrote this week about that Jezebel favorite, social constructionist and penis apologist Hugo Schwyzer; his latest absurd claim (one which I called him to task about on Twitter a few months ago) is that older men are only attracted to young women because of “social construction”, and that before the advent of television guys were lining up to date old hags (presumably when they weren’t burning them as witches).  In the process Amy discusses the evolutionary basis of lust, debunks the “rape is asexual” myth and quotes good sense from Dr. Gad Saad.

Bottleneck

The story of New York City’s “cabaret card”, an artificial bottleneck imposed on nightclub performers from 1926-1966, is an excellent example of why prostitution licensing doesn’t work; the corruption such a system engenders and the destructive consequences to individuals are virtually the same.

Dirty Laundry

A divorced couple involved in running a brothel in north Dublin have avoided jail with fines and suspended sentences…Judge Mary Ellen Ring…ordered [Istvan Zeffer] to pay €1,000 to prostitute-support group Ruhama…Bernadette Kiss…is to pay €3,000…”  Ruhama is the new frontTom the Dancing Bug 1-31-13 for the orders of nuns who ran the Magdalene laundries which enslaved whores and many other women; calling them a “prostitute support group” is equivalent to referring to the Nazis as a “Jewish support group”.

King of the Hill

Most of this story is the typical credulous stenography of an evangelical “rescue” organization’s claims, but this passage stood out:  “The United States is the No. 1 destination for human sexual trafficking, with Oklahoma near the top of the most-active state list, the State Department reports…”  As you probably know, the State Department “reports” nothing of the kind.

Change of Heart (TW3 #41)

Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills…threw out 46 of the 59 counts against the alleged co-conspirator in the high-profile Kennebunk prostitution case, setting the stage for another appeal to the state’s highest court.  Mills’ decision…dealt prosecutors a…blow hours before opening arguments…were expected to begin…jury selection…[has already taken four days though] Mills said…it has never taken her longer than one day to seat a jury in her 19 years on the Superior Court…[charges were dropped after defense attorney Daniel] Lilley [argued]…that the notion that Maine privacy laws protect individuals engaged in criminal activity is “ludicrous.”  The invasion of privacy charges are tied to the fact that the alleged sexual interactions…were videotaped without the [clients] knowing…the defense…is [also] free to pursue its…argument that Strong was the subject of police retaliation…

We Told You So (TW3 #131)

Slowly but surely, the press is waking up:

The sad tale of a prostitute being held captive in Chattanooga highlights a problem that appears overstated…it is the only one ever reported, according to area police.  Meanwhile, a 2011 report co-produced by Vanderbilt University and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation estimated there were more than 100 cases of human sex trafficking in Hamilton County.  The study is, apparently, based on erroneous surveys and severely lacking in verifiable facts…

First They Came for the Hookers… (TW3 #132)

More “stripper licensing” idiocy, complete with “sex trafficking” nonsense:

…officials in Moorhead, Minn., are expected to pass an anti-prostitution measure requiring erotic dancers, nude models and adult escorts to obtain licenses and submit to background checks…North Dakota counterparts across the Red River in Fargo and West Fargo are pushing similar ordinances and the regional approach will attempt to stem “a fairly prominent problem here” with prostitution trafficking between their cities and the oil fields…[police hope] the regulations will reduce “a huge problem of runaways and minors trafficked into the sex trade”…adult entertainers would likely have to pay $150 to $250, carry a photo ID and divulge their real names, aliases and criminal histories.  Background checks revealing prostitution or drug convictions would disqualify applicants from receiving permits…

Pompous “authorities” just love creating bottlenecks that turn businesswomen into criminals, don’t they?

Due Consideration

It never takes control freaks very long to prove my points:

A…lawmaker in New Mexico introduced a bill…that would…require victims of rape to carry their pregnancies to term…as evidence for a sexual assault trial.  House Bill 206, introduced by state Rep. Cathrynn Brown…would charge…[violators]…with a third-degree felony for “tampering with evidence”…

The bill is unlikely to pass, but only due to partisanism rather than because it’s a total abomination.

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The actual number of people trafficked is so much less than the targets [governments] are supposed to meet, so they end up running around and accusing people of being victims of traffickers and sticking them in cages to try to satisfy this US hysteria.  –  Liz Hilton, EMPOWER Foundation

Shinzo AbeJapanese Prostitution

The highly dishonorable Prime Liar of Japan is at it again: “…Shinzo Abe…may revise Japan’s 1993 apology  for forcing thousands of women to be sex slaves in the service of Japanese soldiers during World War II…an assertive, unapologetic Japan could antagonize much of Asia, especially South Korea…

In a Similar Vein…

This woman takes the term “cougar” much too literally:

Police in Florida arrested an “extremely intoxicated” woman after she allegedly beat her boyfriend over bad oral sex…Jennie Scott, 50, assaulted her 32-year-old boyfriend, Jilberto Deleon…following a joint-oral sex encounter that ended…after Deleon “finished first and stopped pleasuring her”…In November, Raquel Gonzalez, also of Manatee County, was charged…after beating her boyfriend following a sexual encounter during which he climaxed and she did not…

Convenient and Inconvenient Victims

Another example of how prohibition harms all women: it allows “authorities” to claim prostitutes can’t be raped, then to accuse rape victims of prostitution:  “…Trinamool Congress MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar came the nearest to calling the Park Street rape victim a sex worker when she described the February 5 incident not as a rape but as a ‘misunderstanding between a lady and her client’…

Against Their Will

Take especial note of the un-ironic use of the word “rescue” in this context:

At least 11 woman inmates…[who] were trafficked to Mumbai…[then] rescued and brought to [a destitute] home [escaped on New Year’s Eve]…West Bengal Minister for Women and Child Development…Sabitri Mitra denied any lapse of security at the home…”Inmates…have a tendency to escape…They have been trying to escape ever since they were brought here…”

We Told You So

As I predicted they would, members of the mainstream media are slowly beginning to wake up:

The situation was dire, police warned.  The City of Atlanta was under siege by human traffickers.  Some 1,000 Asian women and girls ages 13 to 25 were being “forced to prostitute themselves” in the city…To free them, police forged ahead with a $600,000 task force.  Had agency leaders questioned the estimate, they would have found it defied common sense.  If it were true, one in eight of the city’s Asians would have been sex slaves…it’s little wonder that the program had such poor results that it drew scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice.  An initial report said Atlanta police had found more than 200 victims, but auditors could only confirm four…

Instead of quoting Polaris Project, Melissa Farley and the other usual suspects, this reporter went to “trafficking” skeptics Ronald Weitzer, Elzbieta Gozdziak, Charles Grassley and Meredith Dank.  And while he still buys into the cops’ convoluted paradigm (for example, “Girls confuse investigators by calling pimps their boyfriends” instead of recognizing that the so-called “pimps” are their boyfriends), he also recognizes that Atlanta is the norm, not an exception: “Los Angeles…identified 49 victims and…Washington, D.C., found 51.  Auditors confirmed none of them…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Flute of SandI received twoCrisis and Leviathan more Christmas presents this week; Krulac sent me Flute of Sand, and another  reader sent me Crisis and Leviathan.  Alas, the seller neglected to include a card or packing slip with the latter, so I have no idea who sent it; if it was anyone reading this, please let me know via email or in the comments.  Thanks very much to both of you!

First They Came for the Hookers…

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?  “Reality star Olivia Black has been fired from the cast of the History Channel’s Pawn Stars after…her…past on the soft-core site SuicideGirls.com was revealed in the National Enquirer

Imagination Pinned Down

In the process of reviewing a new book on hallucinations by the brilliant Dr. Oliver Sacks, Michael Roth shows just how easily false memories are formed:

As a young professor, I traveled to Vienna…and…[visited] Freud’s old apartment and office, which had been converted to a museum.  One rang a doorbell to be admitted, and I was shocked when the museum attendant greeted me by name…in German, calling me “Professor Doktor Roth” — or so I thought.  My wife was right beside me, and she later told me that nothing of the kind had happened.  The museum employee had merely told me the price of admission…I realized that what I’d heard so clearly was probably an auditory hallucination.  I so very much wanted to be recognized in the house of Freud that I’d perceived something that wasn’t there at all…our brains call up simulated realities that are almost indistinguishable from normal perceptions…[and construct] a world that nobody else can see, hear or touch…

Monica Foster has a website dedicated to outing and shaming sex workers, but was recently discovered to have placed this escort ad.  Do as I say, not as I do?

Ex-porn actress Monica Foster outs sex workers on her website, yet she recently placed this escort ad.

Wholesale Hypocrisy (TW3 #25)

Prosecutors never hesitate to appeal when there’s political coin to be made at others’ expense:  “The New Mexico Supreme Court has agreed to take up [the] case [of] ‘Southwest Companions,’ linked to former University of New Mexico president F. Chris Garcia and retired Fairleigh Dickinson University physics professor David C. Flory…prosecutors [appealed after]…District Judge Stan Whitaker found that an online message board is not a house of prostitution under state law…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #26)

Unsurprisingly, the woman who thinks other women must be “protected” from free will also believes free speech to be “dangerous”:  “France’s women’s rights minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem… [demands] that Twitter help the French government criminalize ideas it dislikes…by [installing] ‘alerts and security measures’ to prevent tweets which French officials deem hateful…

The Widening Gyre

New York’s new video helpfully explains that the law doesn’t say what it says, but does require cabbies to magically divine whether a woman is “helpless”:

…Taxi officials yesterday released an anti-sex-trafficking video — mandatory viewing for all cabbies — that explains when it is and is not OK to transport a working girl.  Picking up street walkers is fine, but driving helpless women around for pimps is not…The nine-minute video was created after the City Council approved an anti-sex-trafficking bill…and…prostitutes worried that the measure meant that cabbies would be too scared to pick them up…“Suspecting or knowing that someone is a prostitute does not give you the right to refuse that person a ride,” the video says…

Red Umbrella FundShift in the Wind

This is incredibly good news:

“Save us from saviours” is the piercing refrain of a growing human rights movement demanding that sex workers be recognised as more than victims to be rescued…”Sex workers are discriminated against and their human rights unrecognised around the world, even where sex work isn’t illegal,” says Nadia van der Linde, co-ordinator of the Red Umbrella Fund, the first global grant-making mechanism set up to give sex workers more control of projects that directly concern them…The fund, which was launched in April 2012…will announce this month who will receive its first grants…Embracing a philosophy of “nothing for us without us”, the innovative fund is governed by sex workers, who sit alongside donor representatives on the committees that oversee and manage its work…

Hooker Humor (TW3 #31)

Miranda Kane, the escort turned stand-up comedienne, has written a new piece on “Selling Comedy vs. Selling Sex” which compares preparation, advertising, reviews and much more:  “I get asked a lot about my security.  In 7 years of escorting, I was never threatened, robbed, or found myself in any danger.  In 7 months of comedy, I had two iphones nicked from my bag when I was on stage, venues and promoters not paying my pitiful fee, and several parking tickets…

That Old Black Magic

Spain’s Interior Ministry says police have arrested 17 people on suspicion of smuggling Nigerian women into Spain and forcing them into prostitution using threats including claims they would cast Voodoo spells on them if they didn’t comply…around 10 women had been brought into the country illegally using a small boat…

Little Boxes (TW3 #40)

Rebecca Bernardo…posted a video on YouTube…[in which]…she…announces…”Hi, my name is Rebecca.  I’m here to auction off my virginity”…she made the offer because she was desperate to help her ailing mother.  She heard about Catarina Migliorini, a Brazilian woman who reportedly sold her virginity for $780,000…Migliorini has reportedly yet to finalize the deal and receive the money…[but] has received widespread publicity and modeling contracts — including a spread in Brazil’s version of Playboy…”I made up my mind right after my 18th birthday…when my mother suffered a stroke”…[which] left her…bed-ridden, unable to feed herself or go to the bathroom alone.  Bernardo said she looked for jobs…but…the pay was minimal…A Brazilian TV network offered to pay for her mother’s medical expenses if Bernardo called off the auction.  While she initially accepted…during a television interview, she later rejected it because the network would not pay for a house in a different town where she could “start a new life”…

CNN doubts the girl because she’d rather do a few hours of work than sign an exclusive (and probably sleazy) agreement with a TV network, which goes to show how perverse and dishonest CNN is on the subject of sex.

With Friends Like These…

Radio Netherlands recently published an article called “China Can’t Duck the Issue of Prostitution” which correctly and concisely demolished every model of prostitution law except decriminalization, including the Dutch model; it even recognizes that a prostitute is no different from an economically dependent wife.  However, the argument then bizarrely self-destructs in the conclusion:

…Free and consensual sexual relationships are obviously the ideal, but in reality there are many paid and involuntary sexual relationships between the sexes…if people choose to have an immoral lifestyle, they should not be punished by the law, regardless of how morally wrong they might be…The only effective means to curb…prostitution is…to make [it] socially unacceptable…

The Public Eye (TW3 #49)

As Kristen di Angelo expressed it, “This is just how it is… but it shouldn’t be”.  One of the women who appeared in the film American Courtesans went to the police after being terrified by an abusive stalker; they told her they could do nothing, but instead subjected her to a sting in which five cops in riot gear trashed her home and robbed her.  Because obviously an escort who primarily works with the disabled is a dangerous criminal, but a possibly-deranged stalker is just a good citizen doing his civic duty.

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #52)

Though the Burmese government’s anti-sex work policies mimic those of Washington, Burmese journalists are not content to parrot those policies as their American counterparts do:

…Over 10,000 prostitutes…work in Rangoon, mainly in informal settings such as karaoke bars, nightclubs and guesthouses…they are among the most vulnerable citizens in Burma, facing widespread discrimination and abuse, often at the hands of authorities…Those who refuse or are unable to bribe the police face arrest and incarceration, sometimes in so-called “rehabilitation centres” intended to reform immoral behaviour…rape and sexual assault are a daily occurrence…police often use condoms as evidence of prostitution, even though the government formally banned the practice in 2011.  Unsurprisingly, Burma has one of the highest HIV rates in Asia, with as many as one in three sex workers infected.  Campaigners on HIV prevention have long called for harm reduction strategies to replace prohibitionist measures…But…some key actors are lagging behind.  The US government, which recently earmarked $170 million in development aid to Burma, continues to enforce its so-called “anti-prostitution” pledge…It means that any organisations that refuse to condemn sex work – even though they often have the best access to vulnerable persons – are systematically excluded…

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Beware of billionaires who want to save your life.  –  Mark Leno

Modern Marriage

Brooke Magnanti on Catherine Hakim’s new book:

…people are still marrying, still making that leap into the conceptual and statistical improbability of ’til death do us part.  And where does that leave affairs, clients of sex workers, enjoyers of porn and the rest of us?…When many couples choose to remain childless, or have no familial wealth to pass on, why are we still doing this, anyway?  Those questions and a lot more are what drives the narrative of…The New Rules: Internet Dating, Playfairs, and Erotic Power.  In it, [Catherine Hakim]…calmly dissects the differences between the cultures where it’s okay to throw a strop at the first sign of relationships going off piste, and those where adultery is not only usual but expected…

Aversions

In a way, this is one of those “dog bites man” things, unless I’m the only one who’s ever noticed that most women are more sexually open when they’re very turned on:

A small Dutch study…indicate[s] that arousal overrides feelings of disgust and facilitates a woman’s desire to do something that a woman who is not aroused might find flat-out repulsive…Daniel R. Kelly, an associate professor of philosophy at Purdue…explained that disgust is an “extension of our immune system” that helps prevent people from getting infected by making them wary of things, like bodily fluids, that…make people vulnerable…David Buss, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas…[said] “Women show far more disgust and especially sexual disgust, than men…It helps to protect women from having sex with the wrong men, such as men who might communicate diseases…show signs of a high ‘parasite load’…have poor hygiene and so on,” he said.  What is interesting about the new Dutch paper, the two experts agreed, is that it suggests the mission to avoid the potentially “dangerous” parts of sex takes a backseat when women are aroused…

Who Did Your Tits?

Color me unsurprised:  “Letting women ‘test drive’ larger breasts before a boob job…[by] wearing a heavily padded bra for two weeks while doing ordinary tasks…[has led to them picking] 30 per cent larger [implants] than they first planned – at least one additional cup size.”  Despite claims from insecure women that they hate having big tits, the fact is that many women wish they had gone bigger, and most do so if the implants need to be replaced.

My Readers Write

This could be considered an update to “Welcome To Our World”, “Neither Cold nor Hot” or the “All in the Family” update in last week’s TW3, but the fact that it was written by regular reader Aspasia (in her own blog) trumps all that:

Jezebel ran two articles…that…highlight the hypocrisy of much of their readership…The first…“How to Tell Your Parents You’re A Prostitute”…[is followed by a] comment thread…rife with the moralizing pearl-clutching of feminists who claim to be supportive of women’s choices…Three days later, came [another] article…[which] criticizes certain choices made by women…and…[was] roundly condemned in thecomment thread…but…[the second author]…merely [did] what the average Jezebel reader does whenever sex workers…are discussed:  stripped a whole group of women of their autonomy, projected her own standards onto them, and criticized their choices…

Uncommon Sense

Prostitutes in…Geneva have formed [Switzerland’s] first sex workers’ union, citing foreign competition and the high cost of rent…[it will be] called…the Sex Workers’ Syndicate [and]…aims to operate alongside the organisation Aspasie, which has advocated for prostitutes in Geneva since 1982.  Aspasie primarily concerns itself with the health and well-being of sex workers, while STTS was mainly founded to address prostitutes’ financial concerns and working conditions…

I reckon that’s good news, though I’m a bit wary of the protectionism implied in that first line; if foreign women are excluded, it could potentially create a  bottleneck.  Of course, the government is working on one of its own:

Switzerland has long been criticised by the international community for allowing prostitution by teens as young as 16.  The government has proposed changes to the criminal code which would make it a crime to hire or sell the services of a prostitute who is younger than 18…[due to] a Council of Europe convention it signed in 2010…young sex workers would not be prosecuted for their actions – only those who seek or sell their services would be held responsible…

The age of consent in Switzerland is 16, but once again we see the magical thinking that money somehow taints sex and the complete lack of consideration about what will happen to those girls once their agency is denied and their once-legal trade is semi-criminalized.

We Told You So

More of this, please:

[A Philippine “anti-trafficking” NGO named] the Visayan Forum Foundation (VF) [has been] accused of fraud by…USAID…At least…$5 million…meant to fund the group’s projects…[is] missing…the warrant that led to the search…said…the foundation…may be in possession or control of “falsified private documents which were used and are being used to defraud…donors”…

Scapegoats

…Carlos Romero…was arrested…and charged with misdemeanor sexual activity with an animal, by officials in Ocala, Fla., but believes the real outrage is that the Sunshine State is ‘backwards’ towards zoophilia…The victimized animal is a 21-month-old miniature donkey named Doodle he purchased two months ago…”  Whatever you may think of Romero’s preferences, ascribing human sexual hang-ups to a donkey in heat is beyond absurd.

The Last Shall Be First

It’s good to see bigots like this criticized by peers and spotlighted by the media:

An Oklahoma County judge is refusing to let men planning sex-change operations switch to feminine names.  District Judge Bill Graves has denied name changes in two such cases so far…[ruling] both times the requests were made for a fraudulent purpose…His position…has generated criticism of him at the courthouse.  Five other Oklahoma County judges who handle name change requests…routinely grant them in transgender cases.

His reason for this prejudice?  Science!

Graves…has concluded a person cannot really change…sex because the person’s DNA stays the same…“A so-called sex-change surgery can make one appear to be the opposite sex, but in fact they are nothing more than an imitation…petitioner has not even had the surgery…To grant a name change in this case would be to assist that which is fraudulent…Genesis 1:27-28 states: ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth …’  The DNA code shows God meant for them to stay male and female.”

You can always tell a legitimate scientific argument by its quotation of Genesis.

Above the Law

As long as bureaucrats have excessive power over individuals, this will keep happening:

[An]…investigator with Florida’s Department of Children and Families has been arrested for “bribery by a public servant, official misconduct, and falsifying records” after he told a woman under his supervision that he would hide the results of her drug-positive urine test if she would have sex with him.  When [she] refused…Andrew Thomas threatened to report her to her probation officer…[he] is the third Florida DCF employee to be charged this year with a sex-related crime.  In August…Peter Crane…was charged with…molesting two five-year-old girls.  In June…Jean Lacroix…was charged with having sex with a teen who was part of a prostitution ring composed exclusively of foster children…

Naked Truth

Fortunately, most of the journalists who contact me are looking for informed commentary on issues rather than a sex-work story they can twist to fit their own agenda, but Charlotte Shane does an excellent job of skewering the twits who pester non-activist sex workers to “get their real stories”.  If you’re not a journalist or academic you’ll enjoy reading this, but if you are either of those you need to read it.

Worse Than I Thought

California’s “Proposition 35” defines virtually all normal sex as “prostitution” and a lot of normal behavior as “coercion”, lists anyone who has anything at all to do with “coerced prostitution” as a “sex trafficker”, and condemns individuals so labeled to decades of prison, lifetime “sex offender” registration and theft of all their property by the state.  It’s so awful, in fact, that even bona fide coerced prostitutes are against it:  “Anabelle sees herself as a victim of sex trafficking. Stories like hers are driving Proposition 35…But Anabelle isn’t supporting [it]…and her arguments — and those of sex workers and their supporters — paint a very different picture of a law that could hurt the people it’s supposed to protect.”  And if that article’s not enough to convince you, how about this slide show?

Metaupdates

Follow Your Bliss
in TW3 (#16)

Another pervert claims to “help” teenage runaways so he can help himself to their sexual favors:

The founder of [a charity for homeless youth named “Stand Up For Kids”] has been charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting a child over a three year period.  Richard Koca, Sr., 69…faces seven felony charges of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust…The charges…were…sealed…by court order…after KMGH’s report…investigators are preparing for the possibility that more potential victims could come forwarding the case…the organization’s website was no longer accessible online today, and calls to the headquarters went unreturned…

The Pro-Rape Coalition in TW3 (#30)

Sex work-positive journalist Susannah Breslin interviews two porn producers (one of them Ira Isaacs), two actresses and a lawyer about the potential effects of the ramped-up porn prosecutions promised by Mitt Romney should he be the winner of the quadrennial popularity contest.

Feminine Pragmatism in TW3 (#32)

No matter how carefully and thoroughly I scan for items of interest, a few things always slip through the cracks.  While reading about Nadya Suleman using the money from her porn flick to lease a new house, I encountered the sentence “She spent the summer begging for money from fans and offering dates for cash.”  Wait, what?  Sure enough; the linked article is from August 6th:

…Nadya Suleman…has opened a profile on the dating website  WhatsYourPrice.com, TMZ reports…Although some would consider Suleman’s latest venture a dip into the prostitution pool, Gawker’s Louis Peitzman outlines, “yes, there’s something a little sketchy about selling yourself online, but it’s not prostitution unless they’re paying for sex…”

You’ve got to laugh at the moronic mental gymnastics with which some people justify their childish attempts to draw sharp, static lines between complex, fluid behaviors.  Octomom’s done stripping, porn and sugar baby work, but she’s not a whore, noooooo.  And neither is she a pathetic victim like the rest of us “prostituted women”; according to the house-leasing article,

“It has been the most empowering, liberating thing I have ever done,” Suleman told…Dr. Drew about doing porn.  “There is nothing I won’t do to take care of my family…I had full control and power over my choice.  I take full accountability and I’m proud of it.”

So there you are, ladies; in order for your equally-pragmatic choices to be considered valid, you first have to have 14 fatherless kids you can’t support.

This Week in 2011

A two-part guest column from veteran sex worker rights activist Norma Jean Almodovar was followed by criticisms of people who ask questions but refuse to accept the answers and sex workers who waste energy in internecine squabbles.  “Uncommon Sense” (linked above) was then followed by a look at clueless neofeminist whining and a tale of the Ouled Nail.

This Week in 2010

The week began with my three-part column on the intersection of BDSM and whoring, which was followed by columns on why many escorts shun black clients and the physiological differences between genetic women and post-op transsexuals.  I also told the sad story of an escort I called “April” and published my very first (two-part) Q & A column.

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