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Posts Tagged ‘Which I Doubt’

It’s much harder to usurp someone’s voice when she’s out there saying you’re wrong.  –  Maggie McNeill

Rough Trade Charles Oliver

A [Chicago area] man accused of raping eight [sex workers] was sentenced…to 36 years in prison.  Charles Oliver…forced the women to perform acts to which they had not agreed [and] often videotaped…In one video, Oliver…could be heard saying, “I don’t have to listen to you.  I paid you”…Oliver also stole women’s IDs and threatened to expose them as prostitutes if they reported what he had done…Oliver…[has] herpes and [raped the women without]…condoms…Prosecutors also played recorded jailhouse phone calls where Oliver is heard saying…”I should have killed them it would have been easier”…

Maggie in the Media

Noah Berlatsky quoted me and other activists in his Salon piece about how sex workers are using social media to attract attention to our cause.  As a result of that piece, I was interviewed on the Between the Synapse radio show on Thursday.  I apologize for quoting myself in the epigram, but this quote proved very popular on Twitter.

Surplus Women

Police in Italy believe that a murdered prostitute…could have been the victim of a serial killer…Andrea Cristina Zamfir, was…naked except for her shoes and…bound with tape to an iron bar in a position similar to crucifixion…a year ago [another] prostitute was found in the same place and in a similar state…though…still alive…

Presents, Presents, Presents! The Herring and the Brine

This week I received two music CDs:  The Herring and the Brine from Dave Curran of Inspireland, and Whirlygig from a reader whose screen name I don’t know; please email me so I can thank you properly!

Harm Magnification (The Beat Goes On)

They just can’t let it go:

Montreal…is considered a hub for…human trafficking, with police saying women and teenaged girls are brought into the city and forced into…sexual slavery…Mayor Denis Coderre said he wanted the crack down [sic] on massage parlours…Stella Outreach Worker Robin Maynard…[said] “The negative effects of arresting women in the sex industry have been widely documented”…

Above the Law

Cops don’t only rape adult women:

A…Colville [Washington] Police Officer has been arrested…and charged with Rape of a Child…the…victim…[said] she was “very fearful…since [rapist Scott] Arms was a police officer”…the girl…[finally] came forward…because she found out Arms was quitting his job in Colville and was going to be in [her home town] more often…Arms told  investigators…she…[made] these allegations…”Because she has a crush on me”…

Nor only females:

A [Minnesota] sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to 33 years in prison for sexually abusing several boys on a fishing trip.  Aaron Heuer…admitted he inappropriately touched four boys, ages 8 to 10, while volunteering as a fishing guide…Heuer threatened to throw the boys into the lake if they told…

Oscillation

First the once-respected Southern Poverty Law Center pronounced pickup artists a “hate group”, then branded everyone (including women) who doesn’t want to be groped by government thugs a “far-right homophobe”.  Then “…the SPLC tried its hand at painting anarcho-capitalists as a rising new threat through a convoluted chain of logic that somehow sought to link voluntaryists to the Patriot movement…now the scaremonger group cautions that some people who oppose Common Core education standards are right-wing extremists…Tasha Yar seduces Data

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Sure, I’d have sex with an android; their money’s as good as anyone else’s:

…nearly one-in-five people [polled] said they were “willing to have sex with an android”…11 percent [said] they want a robot child similar to David in the movie A.I…41 percent said…the concept of sexual intimacy with a robot is “creepy” and an additional 14 percent said they don’t think robots should be used in such a manner.  Nearly one-fifth of pet owners said they would replace a cherished animal with a robot…

First They Came for the Hookers… (TW3 #27)

The Texas Third Court of Appeals has upheld a punitive $5 tax levied on anyone who patronizes a strip club in Texas…ruling that the fee was not an occupation tax, a violation of free speech, or an unfair assault on live nude entertainment…The court went on to explicitly cite the alleged “secondary effects” and “social harms” brought by adult entertainment venues as a justification…Funds extorted from strip clubs and their patrons will go to pay for programs for sexual assault victims, under the nonsensical theory that the mere existence of strip clubs drives up rape…”The primary purpose of the sexually-oriented-business tax is…to discourage this type of business activity altogether…”

Follow Your Bliss (TW3 #44)

A TSA Supervisor was arrested at Kennedy Airport…Vernon Lythcott …[raped] two 15-year-old girls…[in] the Dominican Republic [after luring them]…from the beach into a van [with promises of] money and gifts…Lythcott and two other men [also] forced one of the girls [into] a room where they all sexually assaulted her…

No Other Option (TW3 #132) Scarlet Harem logo

In the US, this business would be violently suppressed and its customers and workers shamed, robbed and caged:  “A brothel is showing other businesses how to…provide disability access on the Sunshine Coast…Scarlet Harem…will receive an award…from the Sunshine Coast Access Advisory Network for going above and beyond in providing accessibility and customer service…

The End of the Beginning

Sharie Keil…is…at the forefront of a growing fight against sex offender registries, a shame-free alliance of offenders and their families, supported by researchers and some advocates who helped pass stringent…laws in the first place.  They…claim…a steady patter of legal and legislative victories…[mostly] limited to…juvenile offenders …but [Keil]…wants to abolish the…registry altogether…

Which I Doubt

On top of the other flaws it’s just a policy, rescindable at a moment’s notice:

The New York Police Department will no longer confiscate…condoms …as evidence of prostitution…[but will] continue to seize condoms…in sex-trafficking and promotion of prostitution cases…Civil rights groups and advocates for sex workers…argue that…police may continue to seize condoms from sex workers and teen runaways under the pretense of investigating pimps and traffickers…

Micromanagement

The free market provides a defense to a particularly nasty tool of the fascist panopticon:

…Erase deletes 99.5% of DNA left behind.  Replace obfuscates the remaining .5%…Don’t let DNA spill your secrets.  Protect your image and be invisible.  Spend the night somewhere you shouldn’t have?  Erase your mistake and be invisible…Exercising your freedom of speech?  Be invisible and never get tracked…

Counterfeit Comfort (TW3 #330)Jeremy & Christine Moody

If you’re a fan of “sex offender” registration, meet your bedfellows:

A couple who…[murdered] a registered sex offender and his wife…were sentenced to life in prison…Initially, Jeremy and Christine Moody apologized…and asked for a 30-year sentence so they could see their children and grow old together.  But after…[the] Judge…handed down the maximum punishment, they…showed how they really felt.  “See you perverts later,” Jeremy Moody shouted at [his victim’s] family…”That’s what child molesters get.”  And…Christine Moody…told reporters: “Killing that pedophile was the best day of my life”…

Cuckoo Advertising

A recent email from a listserv for sex researchers:

In my role as Chief Science Officer for AshleyMadison, I’m looking to pay sexologists…to represent/interpret academic infidelities research — without bias — to the media.  You would be commenting on affairs/cheating research by other academics, or by our own AshleyMadison surveys…You do not have to say that AshleyMadison is paying you.  You simply speak as a sexologist…

I was pleased to see that one of the researchers immediately answered with an email on Ashley Madison’s deceptive practices.

Policing for Profit

400 cops to arrest 19 masseuses.  Need I mention the motive?

Sixteen women and two men accused of running a Bay Area prostitution operation…have been arrested.  One suspect…remains at large…There are 111 counts against the group including pimping, pandering, and tax evasion…The massive sweep involved some 400 law enforcement officers in 6 counties…[who] seized cash, drugs, weapons, cars, assets, and marijuana…

Broken Record (TW3 #338)

With just under three months…until the Glasgow [Commonwealth Games] begins, a strategy designed to tackle sex trafficking and prostitution is being put in place…High-profile sporting events, such as the World Cup and the Olympics, have historically resulted in a spike in sex crimes…and…human trafficking…

No, they haven’t, “historically” or otherwise.

Cops and Robbers Kim Lengle

Another example of Dateline’s revolting practice of luring men to be fodder for their televised Roman circus:

A…TV news producer slapped NBC with a lawsuit…claiming her Dateline boss used her as “sexual bait” to lure targets for a hidden-camera series about drug-related prostitution, sex trafficking & sadomasochism.  Kimberly Lengle…[says] Dan Slepian…criticized [her] for not dressing provocatively enough and even asked why she didn’t have any nude photos…to send to men looking for…sexual playthings…Slepian threatened her job when she didn’t…[post] her photo in response to a Craigslist ad by a sexual deviant looking for a “human punching bag”…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #405)

[German] sex workers…are asking…politicians not to put obstacles in the way of…their profession…[Johanna Weber of the sex workers’ professional association said] “Many politicians…are working on a problem that does not exist as such…so…90 percent of women we represent…are worse off under these changes…in New Zealand…prostitutes have all the rights of workers.  And fears that the country would be a hotbed of international human trafficking did not materialize…a pure policy of prohibition couldn’t win a flower pot in Germany…so [prohibitionists] say they want to do something good for the oh-so-poor prostitutes instead.  I would recommend politicians go to a brothel and ask who would like to be taken out of there…we do not want to be rescued…”

Under Every Bed (TW3 #418)

Remember, the “authorities” even admit there isn’t a shred of proof for any of this; much of it seems to be the product of one woman’s BDSM fantasies:

…where there are men and money, there are prostitutes.  And…some reports estimate that about 70 percent of “prostitutes” are actually human trafficking victims…it’s no secret that human trafficking victims are being bought and sold every day in…the oil-rich Bakken region of North Dakota…Windie Jo Lazenko is…investigating rumors of rampant human trafficking in the state…[including] visits to…hotels where entire floors have been purchased by pimps…state law enforcement officials [say]…the…human trafficking epidemic could be helped by national efforts

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #419)

Lawheads amazed that their barricades did not magically abolish the need to earn money for bills and food:

Residents of [Cincinnati] worry that a recent crackdown on streetwalkers…has rerouted prostitution problems to their [neighborhood].  Cincinnati police recently set up barricades in hopes of cutting back on johns cruising the streets…”Instantly we’ve seen an increase in streetwalker prostitution,” Pete Witte said…

Little Boxes (TW3 #419) Elizabeth Raine

Given that she lies like a rug about her education and weight, the back-out was totally predictable:

…Elizabeth Raine…launched an online auction for her virginity…[which] concluded on May 7…at $801,000.  However, Raine backed out…She claims to have biology and engineering bachelor’s degrees and to be in school to finish a combined Masters and PhD program.  She expressed her concern that the auction might kick her out of college…Raine listed her height as 5’10” and her weight at 130 pounds

Property of the State

Dr. Brooke Magnanti on efforts to control women using pregnancy as an excuse:

…in Utah, a woman was charged with…felony child endangerment after accusations that she used meth while pregnant.  The police  report wrote…”Being that her child was only 39 weeks gestational age, it was surmised that the use of methamphetamine caused [her] to go into labour”…39 weeks is considered full term and a large proportion of women experience the start of labour at that stage…Meanwhile in Alabama, a state Supreme Court decision ruled  that a mother could be convicted of endangerment for testing positive for cocaine use during pregnancy, even though her child was born healthy…a…new law in Tennessee went against the recommendations of many major medical associations…drug tests for some substances are unreliable after a surprisingly short time…so…false accusations of endangerment could easily be made by others, and considering the high rate of miscarriage that occurs naturally, how would police know the difference?…

Of course, the cops don’t care; in fact, the lack of definitive proof is a feature rather than a bug for those who make and enforce these laws.

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The quick blow job is for [affluent white women’s] husbands…So in your mind it doesn’t affect you, but the wrong mouth on your husband’s dick could affect you.  –  Deon Haywood

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

He went home; she’s locked in a cage.

An on-duty Oregon State Police detective was caught…with a prostitute in a bush…Richard Narvaez, 50…was placed on suspended leave without pay…cited and released, the…woman…was arrested on probation violation warrants and on suspicion of public indecency and prostitution…

A Working System

Note the bottleneck effect:

Armed robbers posing as clients…have launched a series of raids on brothels [in Sydney], targeting eight premises in the past three weeks…one of the gang enters…to book a…session…then…[is] joined by up to three others armed with guns or knives…Police…believe the number of attacks might be even greater because [unlicensed] brothels were reluctant to report crimes…

Crime Against Society (August Updates)UNeasy Street

Women With A Vision responds to anti-whore propaganda:

The Times-Picayune’s…articles…dubbed “Uneasy Street”, are an…example of…[sensationalism]…that leads to increased criminalization of marginalized communities…The video…claims that once sun sets…“An even darker world emerges”…There is a darker side to Tulane Avenue.  But it’s not the one shown.  It’s the stories of mothers, daughters, friends, and wives struggling to survive in a city that has offered them little resources.  It’s women dealing with substance abuse or addiction.  It’s women who cannot be hired by traditional employers simply because they are transgender.  It’s the women who have been too busy struggling to be able to get a formal education to make them employable.  It’s the stories of human beings, worthy of dignity, respect, and far more than this series of articles has afforded them…

See “The Public Eye” for an interview with WWAV’s director, Deon Haywood.

Oops

 

Tumi Megalane, 32, of Tshwane, South Africa, said she had the shock of her life when she found her boyfriend [Ronny Mokoena], who is a pastor, at a brothel…[then] learned that he was married…the pastor told his wife that Megalane was a prophet, who was helping him with spiritual guidance.

Surplus Women

A…37-year-old [Detroit woman]…is in critical condition after she was discovered beaten…burned and possibly sexually assaulted…less than 24 hours before and…a mile away…a 22-year-old woman was discovered in the same condition…Both women are prostitutes…

A third woman was found in the same condition a few days later, on August 3rd.  Interestingly, Fox News did not feel compelled to identify the victims as sex workers in the headline, and the New York Daily News doesn’t mention the third victim’s profession at all.goofy chick in money

TANSTAAFL

 

a trio of Bay Area teens [Nazario Cruz and Jose Urias, both 19, and an underage girl]…posed as a young woman whose fantasy was to have sex while rolling around in…cash…When the victims would arrive…the suspects…would rob themThree robberies have been confirmed so far…One of the victims allegedly stole $2,000…from his job in order to roll around with the fictitious woman…

The Immunity Syndrome

American hypocrisy says it’s fine to pay people not to have sex:

2010 study in Malawi, supported by the…Gates Foundation, shows…conditional cash transfers successfully reduced sexual activity amongst teenagers…Mississippi…[resembles] Malawi…in its high rate of teenage sex and pregnancy…partly…[because] sex education in Mississippi is oriented around abstinence…Can we pay Mississippi teenagers to stop having sex…And to have safe sex if they do?…

Above the Law

Police forces are being ordered to face up to corruption by officers who commit sexual offences against vulnerable women and young people…169 officers…are under investigation for predatory sexual behaviour…ranging from rape to voyeurism…the former partner of…[one] who was jailed last year…speaks out against his actions

That cops rape women, especially sex workers, isn’t news because it happens constantly; such stories only become newsworthy when the cops are held accountable to some degree, as in this item from Cape Town: “A…police captain will appear in…court…for allegedly raping a prostitute…[she] managed to escape from [his] vehicle and took down the registration number…pseudo sex traffick

The Widening Gyre

Another bizarre “sex trafficking” rumor debunked by Snopes:

In August 2013 [a] warning about sex traffickers with Slavic…accents posing as door-to-door booksellers was spread via social media sites such as Facebook …The story was false.  That there are ”pushy” door-to-door book and magazine sellers about doesn’t mean those vendors are looking for children to abduct…into the sex trade, nor is it suspicious that such salespeople might ask…questions about children in the area.  The latter is simply a…sales technique for locating potential customers for children’s books, and being ”pushy” is hardly an unusual quality for those who engage in…door-to-door sales…

Snopes reports that the story appeared in Gilbert, Arizona, Winona, Minnesota and all over Missouri.  The company running the sales program believes the rumor started in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; since that’s a suburb of Tulsa, this should surprise nobody.

Wise Investment (TW3 #31)

Do politicians really just not get it?

…a federal judge ruled [that a New Jersey law]…conflicts with federal law and likely is unconstitutional as well…[the] law…[would have penalized] anyone who knowingly publishes or disseminates any ad for a commercial sex act that includes the depiction of a minor.  The law was challenged…by Backpage.com…[which] notes that federal courts in Tennessee and Washington have issued permanent injunctions against similar laws in those states…

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #131)

New evidence [demonstrates]…that Japan’s…army directly managed Asian women for sexual slavery, dealing a fresh blow to Tokyo’s denials of responsibility…a diary that a Korean manager of Japanese brothels wrote…between August 1942 and December 1944…shows that the Japanese army received revenue-related reports from military brothels, examined the bodies of sex slaves and regulated the relocations of sexual entertainment facilities…[Professor] Park Han-yong…[said] “This diary is a historical record that shows the Japanese military…[was] involved in the forced mobilisation of Korean women for sexual slavery”…

Under Every Bed

If real freedoms weren’t being endangered by these yokels, this absurd language and looking-glass logic would be hilarious:

Human flesh is being sold for sex…and it’s happening online…”It was a rarity to see a prostitution case anywhere in North Dakota.  Now, my agents are telling me they’re beginning to see it with some regularity,” says…Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.  There’s no way to tell exactly how many people are involved in human trafficking.  The best estimates say about 100,000 children may be victims in the U.S.  And…there’s no reason to believe it’s not happening here…

Dwayne Jones

Monsters

Dwayne Jones was relentlessly teased in high school for being effeminate until he dropped out.  His father not only kicked him out…at…14 but also helped jeering neighbors push the youngster from the rough Jamaican slum where he grew up.  [On July 22nd Dwayne, now 16]…was…beaten, stabbed, shot and run over by a car when he showed up at a street party dressed as a woman…

The Public Eye (TW3 #318)

Here’s another interview with Carol Leigh, this time in a small but mainstream publication; the more interviews like this Americans see, the harder it will be for the prohibitionists to spread lies about us.  And here’s one in Tits and Sass with Deon Haywood of Women With a Vision, talking about activism, human rights and whorearchy.

Which I Doubt

Remember how I’ve said that prosecutors ignore women’s statements that they don’t have pimps so they can repackage ordinary hooking as “sex trafficking”?

The Brooklyn DA…[told] prosecutors…not to make written records of early interviews with sex-trafficking victims…so the information could be withheld from defense attorneys…“When these girls first come in, they often deny they have been hit or pimped.  We were told not to write down those statements,” a law-enforcement source said…

Israel Opera Traviata

Marie Duplessis

Dr. Laura Agustín on imagery of the “fallen woman” in La Traviata, a topic she has discussed more generally before:  “…Violetta always has a scene on the floor to drive home her moral abjection…People who fall get back up right away; if they can’t, they are too injured.  In Violetta’s case the injury is moral…

Sold Out

A gay therapist explains “Why Queers Should Care About Sex Offenders”:

…sex offenders are referred to as participating in deviant sexual behavior, having deviant sexual fantasies, and being inherently “deviant” themselves…The same methods historically used by the government to imprison and pathologize homosexuality and gender variation are being used today to justify the extreme marginalization, lifetime institutionalization, and oppression of people who have violated sex laws…[including] public nudity, [urination or] masturbation, peeping, photographing or videotaping without consent, consensual sex with a 17-year-old, sexting, and downloading unlawful pornography…At one point, the idea of the predatory, untamable homosexual was…widely held…the very fact that a man…[desired] another man was reason enough to criminalize his existence…While mainstream…perception of queer people is shifting, it affirms monogamous sex between married…gay and lesbian adults.  Gender variation and other forms of sexual desire and behavior…still face condemnation…

To really drive the point home, read the comment thread as well.

Puppet Show (TW3 #329)

Laura Lee explains why Ruhama shill Rachel Moran could never have been a Dublin sex worker:

…Moran and I worked in Dublin at the same time, the early nineties.  I worked in the same brothels, for the same escort agencies and had regular contact…with the same women, she says she stood on street corners with.  One of those…is now a prominent activist…[who swears]…that she has never set eyes on Moran until her book launch…Moran…should know…[the names of brothel owners, but doesn’t; she] says that in seven years of sex work she never met one client who showed her a shred of empathy or kindness.  That’s incredible.  Because in all of my time there, I met some lovely guys…the language employed by Moran…is literally like she is reading from a script…a…co-activist…confirmed that Ruhama…offered her money to “turn” and campaign for their side.  In fact, they offered her a book deal and a tour too, exactly as Moran has now…

The activist Laura speaks of (who prefers to remain anonymous) also told me the same thing over a year ago.

Across the Pond (TW3 #330)

Anyone who actually professes to believe that laws can make a major city “brothel-free” should be disqualified from office on grounds of stupidity:

…officials are putting together “exit” services to help the dozens of sex workers who face having their place of work closed down…Edinburgh’s decades-old policy of licensing saunas…appears to be coming to an end.  A police raid in June led to seven individuals being charged with brothel-keeping and living off immoral earnings…A local newspaper…[quoted] one prostitute…[as] saying:  “I just can’t get my head around why they want to close us.  The police could end up putting women at risk of getting raped, or murdered like in Ipswich”…

Don’t be afraid, unnamed sex worker; Ipswitch claims to have “eradicated” street prostitution!

More than 220 teenagers…at risk of slipping into the dangerous world of the sex trade have had their lives rescued since the launch of Ipswich’s prostitution strategy…street prostitution and kerb crawling has been eradicated from the town…however off-street prostitution and sexual exploitation remains an issue…

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #10In truth, of course, they’ve merely pushed it so far underground that the danger has been increased even more, which is the only thing prohibition ever accomplishes.

Broken Record (TW3 #332)

It’s even worse than I suspected; the victims of the Sturgis “sting” were entrapped by “age-regressed photographs of women who now are adults”.  The state has charged people with imaginary crimes against nonexistent people for years, but this kind of pseudoscientific quackery is a new low.

Mumbo Jumbo

“Trafficking” mythology gets more farfetched all the time; embedded in this mixture of agency denial porn, arse-backward bootlicking and cheerleading for bullshit “safe harbor” laws is the claim that many of the underage sex workers arrested in the vast “Innocence Lost” boondoggle “may also be charged for possessing the cocktail of drugs that traffickers use to create dependency and compliance in the children they sell.”  This is the first I’ve heard of this magical mind-control philter, but I’m sure it won’t be the last.

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To God, there is no zero.  –  Richard Matheson, The Shrinking Man

Richard MathesonR.I.P. Richard Matheson

Another of the greats has passed on.  Though his name is less familiar to the general public than those of many far less talented and far less influential authors, virtually everyone has seen and appreciated screen versions of his work; he wrote almost half of the best Twilight Zone episodes, most of the Vincent Price “Poe” movies of the early ‘60s and many other films you may know (including the thrice-filmed I Am Legend).  And since I can’t possibly do his memory justice in this small space, here’s a proper tribute from regular reader Franklin Harris.

Meretrices and Prostibulae

Archaeologists recently uncovered an ancient brothel attached to a gymnasium and restaurant in northern Greece…It was likely built in the second century BCE, which means it had been a going concern for about 250 years when an earthquake…shut [it] down forever.  Put another way, this brothel operated longer than the United States has so far…

N.B.:  I used this title because Greece was under Roman rule at that time.

License To Rape

Tanzanian police torture, rape and assault sex workers, sexual minorities and drug users, while medical staff deny them healthcare…Human Rights Watch…said in a report…[they] were [also] arrested and detained for days on end…Officers gang raped children as young as 12 years old…One drug user had his eyes burned out with acid…

Jezebel (January Updates)

hotel maidsNordic Choice Hotels…has announced the removal of pornography from its television channels.  ‘We believe it is a natural part of our social responsibility to not support an industry that contributes to…trafficking,’ said [CEO] Torgeir Silseth…”  There was no statement from Nordic Choice about shutting down their whole chain because many so-called “trafficking” victims work in hotels, but I guess one has to have priorities.

Old Men and Young Women

Silvio Berlusconi was given a seven-year prison sentence and banned from holding public office for life…after an Italian court found him guilty of abuse of office and paying for sex with…underage prostitute…Karima El Mahroug…” Berlusconi and the girl both deny having had sex, and even if they had it would’ve been completely legal had no money changed hands because she was 17 at the time.

Neither Cold nor Hot

The Miami New Times does an article on sugar babies; frantic pearl-clutching ensues at Jezebel:

…What really sucks about sugar baby relationships is that most of the arrangements don’t seem like they’re entered into freely; they’re a desperate response to a shitty set of circumstances — a lack of job opportunities, lack of job abilities, and last, but not least, the insanely high cost of college education…the site even targets advertising to women who search “help with college tuition”…

The Author Formerly Known as Morning Gloria has a history of this sort of neofeminist prohibitionism disguised under a thin veneer of sex-positive platitudes, and that’s not even counting her apparent belief that the law of conservation of energy somehow proves that “America is…fucked up.”

May Q & A

Veteran Brazilian activist Gabriela Leite on why she likes the word “whore”:

Bootlickers

How will historians judge a culture that spent many man-months and tens of thousands of dollars on this?

A bikini-barista stand owner who twice before has been accused of lewd conduct recently managed to get a…[cop] to warn her of any undercover surveillance…Carmela A. Panico, and Sgt. Darrell L. O’Neill…were charged with conspiracy to promote prostitution…at seven Java Juggs and Twin Peaks espresso stands…The FBI assisted with the investigation…

Yes, the FBI actually helped bluenoses harass coffee shops because the waitresses wear bikinis.

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

Julie Ann Carey, 41, not only was robbed at knife point after providing sex to a customer, police then arrested her for solicitation after she reported the crime…

The Crumbling Dam

Try to imagine an editorial like this in an American newspaper:

…In…[the] Globe & Mail, paid typist and self-confessed plagiarist  Margaret Wente [published]…”Legal Prostitution? Are We Nuts?”, [in which she] brings her swollen puritanism to bear on the current Supreme Court case…Calling prostitution, “the most exploitative, degrading work on Earth” Wente opposes the “feminists and other progressive types”…who are endeavoring to make it less exploitative and degrading…What she doesn’t acknowledge…is that prostitution is already legal in Canada

It’s That Time Again

New Jersey is getting an early start on the annual campaign to look really stupid and transfer a lot of money to cops’ pockets:

New Jersey law enforcement officials expecting a rise in forced prostitution leading up to the 2014 Super Bowl said…efforts to crack down on criminals and help victims will span the entire state…New Jersey is believed to be a major entry point for human trafficking due to its dense and diverse population and convenient access from New York to Philadelphia…Selling Sex

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Joyce Arthur sent me a copy of the new anthology Selling Sex:  Experience, Advocacy and Research on Sex Work in Canada, to which she contributed an essay.  Thank you!

Naked Truth

Laura Lee published “Sex Workers Don’t Deserve to be Stigmatised – and We Don’t Want Your Pity Either” in The Independent:

…I can go out…get hopelessly drunk and jump into bed with Mr. A. Random…the chances are any form of protection will go out the window, as will any form of valid consent.  As a society, we deem that okay, because everyone does it, right?  If I go to a hotel, meet Mr. A. Random in the middle of an afternoon, spend a couple of pleasant protected hours and get paid for it – pearls everywhere are clutched and horror levels soar.  But in my second example, I’m safer.  I know his name, his phone number, where he is staying and I am…surrounded by people…

Bottleneck

The Prague Assembly has approved a bill to regulate prostitution…[both brothels and individual] prostitutes would have to apply for a licence…prostitutes would have to be over 18, without criminal record and…would have to undergo regular medical check-ups…”  The bill’s author claims its intent is “to divide legal prostitution from the illegal.”  It’ll do that, all right, but not in the way he seems to think.

Dirty Laundry

There were a few Magdalene Laundries in the United States as well:

…at…fourteen, Diana [O’Hara] entered the gates of the Good Shepherd Laundry in Buffalo, New York with the label of “incorrigible”…talking was allowed only when the nuns clapped their hands…[a misbehaving girl would be]…locked inside [a] closet…[or] an old [rat-infested] shower room with stone benches [sometimes for days]…followed [by] a severe beating…to “make her strong”…

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #52)

While jobs are difficult to find and money is tight, should the Welsh Government be helping women find extremely lucrative and flexible work?”  Yes, someone actually asked that.Johnny Depp & Amber Heard

False Target (TW3 #135)

Hugo Schwyzer is still pretending that men’s preference for young women is “socially constructed”; Christopher Ryan corrects him:

In a recent column at The Atlantic…Hugo Schwyzer asks us to consider, “What would happen if men stopped chasing much younger women?”…he’s not talking about pedophiles…[but rather] men like Johnny Depp, who is apparently dating a woman in her late 20s, while he’s just hit the big 5-0…Schwyzer argues…that this isn’t…happening in response to…innate biological desire…despite the overwhelming…evidence…Schwyzer cites [only] a 2007 study done in Sweden…[which] actually says the opposite of what he thinks it does…Schwyzer somehow knows Depp’s…attracted to his 27 year-old girlfriend because…she’s powerless and he’s intimidated by less “malleable” women of his own age….[this] attempt to shame consenting adults out of what he considers to be inappropriate relationships strikes me as quite the opposite of an informed feminist perspective…

The Auctioneer Effect

If you thought ultrasound requirements for abortion were bad…

…a last-minute amendment to Ohio’s budget…requires an ultrasound and 24-hour wait before birth control… “Pregnancy” in the context of the informed-consent requirements now means “any fertilized egg”…so…“the disruption of implantation of a fertilized egg” now counts as an abortion.  Prescribing birth control is, in Ohio, a ticking time-abortion…

Comfort Zone (TW3 #320)

Usually, the equation of migration with “trafficking” as an excuse to restrict it isn’t quite this transparent:

At least 200 Nigerian girls are trafficked every month to Russia…the crime…declined in Western Europe following strict laws on illegal migration…to curb the menace…[so] attention…shifted to Eastern Europe…you will be shocked at the extent of resistance [to being “rescued”] from the girls. We tell them Russia is not a destination for prostitutes yet they still come…the parents of those trafficked encourage…their children…Casey Kids Playhouse

Think of the Children! (TW3 #321)

More hysteria over structural sex ray contamination:

Parents’ outrage at an advertisement for a swingers party at a [Victoria] children’s play centre has forced the local council to close the business…the centre’s owners [had] said they would repeat the event every month at Casey Kids Playhouse once they found six other couples…a local mother…[who] had booked her son’s fourth birthday party there…[said] ”I am disgusted…This is so morally wrong, not to mention unhygienic”…

I just can’t stop laughing at the word “unhygienic” in that context.

Absolute Corruption (TW3 #323)

The inevitable result of allowing “authorities” to “investigate” themselves:

Jesse Friedman…was properly convicted and should not have his status as a sexual predator overturned…[claims] Nassau County district attorney…Kathleen M. Rice…Mr. Friedman’s lawyer, Ron Kuby, and…Andrew Jarecki, [director of Capturing the Friedmans]…[said] the report was a biased whitewash by the office that originally botched the case…“Rice has made a craven, but not surprising, political decision in failing to admit to the wrongdoing of the…D.A.’s office and former sex crimes chief Fran Galasso, in the face of overwhelming evidence of Jesse’s innocence,” Mr. Jarecki said.  Mr. Kuby said that the district attorney’s office had fought Mr. Friedman’s efforts at every turn and that this was just more of the same…“Fortunately, the conclusion of this bogus reinvestigation clears the way for the Friedman team to return to court”…

Rotten to the Core

This is how service disputes are handled when the profession is legal:  “Sunset Thomas…the…onetime cast member of…Cathouse…and [retired] porn star…[who works] at the Chicken Ranch in Pahrump [Nevada, is being sued by regular client Robert Proffitt for]…$2,200 for services he alleges were not rendered…

Which I Doubt

Tracy Quan considers the connection between the recent Supreme Court decision and the New York “condoms as evidence” bill, and discusses the rather unpleasant bedfellows the sex worker rights movement picked up in both cases, quoting yours truly in the process.

Across the Pond (TW3 #324)Jack Vettriano painting

Gee, I can’t imagine why the police took these paintings:

Jack Vettriano paintings worth £500,000 were seized from a former brothel boss in a police crackdown on vice…detectives…smashed into the home of Ian Haig, 70, whose brother Charles, 73, runs a…sauna in Edinburgh.  Vettriano…regularly visited Scorpio sauna…in the 1990s and painted…girls working there.  He gave paintings to Ian Haig as a thank-you before he became one of Britain’s most successful artists…Police [claim the paintings are]…potential evidence…

Number Puzzle (TW3 #324)

Why is it that people just don’t get that sex work follows the same rules of economics as any other business?

The presence of thousands of brothels and hundreds of thousands of prostitutes has heightened competition and pushed prices down steeply in the German sex trade…Prostitution became legal in Germany in 2002, and the open sex trade has taken off in the years since…It’s been estimated that more than 1 million men pay for sex in Germany every day.  One of the classic arguments for legalizing prostitution is that recognizing and regulating the world’s oldest profession would improve the conditions of sex workers.  Instead, recent reports paint legalized prostitution in Germany largely as a failure…Despite the critics’ claims of atrocious conditions brought on by legalized prostitution in Germany, there are many who don’t want to go back to the days when the trade was cordoned off in the black market…

This is a prime example of American criminal ignorance about sex work; consult the title link for a thorough debunking.

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“Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good morning,” he said. “Which I doubt.”  –  A.A. Milne,  Winnie-the-Pooh

EeyoreI sometimes feel as though I’m becoming the Eeyore of the sex worker rights movement, the resident wet blanket who reacts to every bit of seemingly good news cheered by other advocates by letting them know exactly why it’s not as good as they think it is.  Now, that’s not really true because my overall outlook is that sex worker rights are inevitable; however, there are bound to be a huge number of individual developments between now and then, both good and bad, and I think it’s important to recognize which are which.  Take this one, for example:

…In a letter…to Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, the Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, said his office would not use possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution or loitering for the purpose of prostitution.  “Accordingly…the collection and vouchering of condoms as evidence by members of your department…should immediately cease.”  Advocates for sex workers have argued that officers’ use of condoms to support their arrests discouraged prostitutes from using condoms, presenting a public health risk.  A 2012 report by…Human Rights Watch found that such arrests sowed a fear of carrying condoms among sex workers…the Police Department’s chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said the department agreed that “it is not necessary to seize condoms as evidence of the intent of an individual to engage in prostitution.”  But…[he] added:  “We do not rule out their evidentiary value when going after pimps and sex traffickers.  If there is a bowlful of condoms in a massage parlor, we want our officers to be able to seize them as evidence against the trafficker.”  While prosecutors are generally wary of excluding whole categories of evidence, there is a growing consensus that condoms should not be part of prostitution cases that do not involve sex trafficking…Nassau County…prosecutors already reject condoms as evidence, even in more serious cases.  “It was very important to me to also extend the ban to traffickers,” said Kathleen M. Rice, the…district attorney.  Without it, she said, “traffickers will refuse to hand out condoms to their workers and in fact prohibit their use”…

While advocates were cheering this two weeks ago, my immediate reaction was “In other words, they’re just going to label more cases as ‘trafficking’ now.”  That’s already happening all over the country, not just New York; what was once recognized at simple prostitution is now being shoehorned into the “trafficking” narrative so cops can brag about heroically “rescuing” women, prosecutors can score the bigger points inherent in felony convictions and both can steal money and goods from those so accused.  Nor does a lack of evidence have any effect; even when sex workers testify that they were not coerced, prosecutors simply discount their testimony as “false consciousness”.  Most hookers are not idiots; we can read what is plainly written on the wall.  When prosecutors say they will continue to use condoms as evidence of “trafficking” and then demonstrate that they intend to call most if not all sex work “trafficking”, the net effect is no change whatsoever.

And that’s not even the worst of it.  This action is a classic political dodge, exactly the same as the one used in San Francisco two months ago; making this a policy rather than a law allows it to be suspended at any time, which will be as soon as the heat is off.  Once the media forgets about the issue, the policies will quietly be rescinded as needed.  Of course, they don’t even need to do that; both San Francisco and New York still pretend that cops arresting whores is for our “protection” from those evil “traffickers” we’re too weak and childlike to “escape”.  Even the Nassau County DA quoted in the story, who might seem sympathetic, refuses to get it; she has aggressively pursued an “end demand” strategy which casts sex workers as the “victims” of evil clients rather than rational actors in a business transaction, and pretends big, bad “traffickers” are forcing workers to do bareback, when it’s actually their personal decision.  I predict a lot more district attorneys will make similar announcements this year; it’s an easy way for them to feign concern for us while conducting business as usual and getting the feds to pay for it.

Eeyore's houseThere’s one small glimmer in this gloom:  apparently, the American media pay enough attention to Human Rights Watch for its reports to become big news, and that news exerts sufficient PR pressure for governments to at least make a show of changing their policies; besides the condom report, a recent one on the dreadful harm the sex offender registry inflicts upon young people has likewise attracted considerable media attention and may soon result in a few of the braver politicians making displays of concern.  But while HRW is officially pro-decriminalization and last month openly called for it in China, the only thing it has so far asked of American “authorities” is a restriction of the sort of evidence they use to harass us; that will be changing soon, and I am told a full report on the injustices inflicted on sex workers in this country is forthcoming (complete with an explicit demand for decriminalization in the US).  Media coverage of that might engender a political pretense of looking at decriminalization which would be, as Eeyore put it, “Amusing in a quiet way…but not really helpful”; however, the resulting public discourse would help to shine light on matters the prohibitionists would prefer to remain obscure…and that would be a cause for optimism.

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