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Posts Tagged ‘With Folded Hands’

Sexual predation by police officers happens far more often than people in the business are willing to admit.  –  Norm Stamper

Above the Law  

Note what this “official’s” last job was:

Khristen Sellers needed a home…So when Four-County Community Services – a local housing agency – offered her an opportunity to move into a white panelled, three-bedroom trailer home on the outskirts of town, she readily accepted.  That’s when the trouble started…She had applied for the federally subsidised Housing Choice Voucher Program…Section 8…the agency’s inspector, a former North Carolina state [cop] named Eric Pender, came to the property with a clipboard in hand…Pender asked her if she “gives head” or if she’d ever been paid for sex, implying that his signature on the inspection was the only thing standing between her and a place to live…it was the first in a string of incidents…”He would never sign.  Each time he came, it was like, ‘You owe me before I sign this paper.  And you gotta make a decision’…”

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine 

A documentary on the Swedish state’s complicity in the murder of Petite Jasmine:

On July 11, 2013, Eva-Marree, aka 27-year-old Jasmine Petite, was killed by the father of her two…children in the Swedish social services offices.  This…was the culmination of a nightmare that began three years earlier, after the young woman, having left her partner for repeated domestic violence…Eva-Marree was deprived of her daughter and her son, then 1 and 2 years old, without discussion or preliminary investigation, the social services in attributing sole custody to their father, a man they had themselves recognized as violent.  After…finally [obtaining] a right of visit with her children…she was murdered during the first appointment fixed with the [father] and their son…this is the story of a woman…deprived of her children [and ultimately her life]…so that a puritanical and repressive society could sleep soundly…

With Folded Hands (#584)

Margaret Atwood on the asininity of women giving away autonomy for “safety”:

…women are human beings, with the full range of saintly and demonic behaviours this entails, including criminal ones.  They’re not angels, incapable of wrongdoing.  If they were, we wouldn’t need a legal system.  Nor do I believe that women are children, incapable of agency or of making moral decisions.  If they were, we’re back to the 19th century, and women should not own property, have credit cards, have access to higher education, control their own reproduction or vote.  There are powerful groups in North America pushing this agenda, but they are not usually considered feminists…in order to have civil and human rights for women there have to be civil and human rights, period, including the right to fundamental justice, just as for women to have the vote, there has to be a vote.  Do Good Feminists believe that only women should have such rights?  Surely not.  That would be to flip the coin on the old state of affairs in which only men had such rights…

The Rape Question (#630) 

Why do people not get that an informal contract without a lawyer witness would offer no protection?

…a Dutch tech company…called LegalThings is developing an app called LegalFlings that allows potential partners to essentially sign a legally binding document that enumerates which sexual acts they consent to…there are obviously NUMEROUS flaws with the practicality of this app.  At any point during sex, someone can change their mind.  You can’t just anally penetrate someone who is scared or screaming in pain just because they said “yeah we can try that” prior to sex.  Consent doesn’t work that way…

Scrupleless in Seattle

Cops are on the same intellectual level as monkeys; that’s why they ape each other’s “sting” tactics:

The Phoenix Police Department…announced…their completion of a recent vice operation [which they pretended was aimed at]…human trafficking…86 [people’s lives were damaged by pervert cops who]…opened a [fake] massage parlor and arrested patrons…

Elephant in the Parlor (#705)  

Politician pays whore for discretion.  Yawn.

A lawyer for President Donald Trump arranged a $130,000 payment to…former adult-film star [Stephanie Clifford] a month before the 2016 election as part of an agreement that precluded her from publicly discussing an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the matter…

License to Rape (#706)

US prisons are hotbeds of rape in every form:

In an effort to avoid newly-installed surveillance cameras in search areas, Rikers Island [screws] take female visitors to nearby bathrooms to strip-search them, according to several women and a new report by the Jails Action Coalition.  Five women have now filed notices of claim (which signal an intention to sue the city) with the city’s comptroller…[after screws] sexually abused them…[under the excuse of] body cavity and strip searches.  In the wake of the allegations, the city placed surveillance cameras in the Rikers Island search area in late 2016.  But the cameras didn’t stop the abuse…[even though] Department of Correction policy expressly prohibits strip searches or body cavity searches of visitors to city jails…

A Woman’s Point of View (#791) 

At least they’re talking about it:

State Rep. Elizabeth Edwards…co-sponsored…a bill to establish a committee to study decriminalizing sex work, something adamantly opposed by Gov. Chris Sununu, Republican leadership in the Legislature and [cops]…”There are those in the Legislature who want to explore legalizing prostitution.  I am 100 percent against it, and would veto the bill if it reaches my desk,” he said.  On Jan. 9, the House snubbed that warning and with little debate passed the bill in a bipartisan 177-134 vote…

To Molest and Rape (#797) 

It’s good to see this problem finally getting attention outside of libertarian and sex worker circles:

…as someone who has studied police sexual violence for more than a decade…[the recent rape of a teenager by NYPD cops] didn’t surprise me.  In fact, it is representative of national patterns of sexual violence by officers during traffic stops and handling of minor offenses, drug arrests and police interactions with teenagers.  Research on “police sexual misconduct” — a term used to describe actions from sexual harassment and extortion to forcible rape by officers — overwhelmingly concludes that it is a systemic problem…The vast majority of incidents…involve motorists, young people in job-shadowing programs, students, victims of violence and informants…half of arrests for sexual misconduct were for incidents involving minors….sexual misconduct is the second-most-frequently reported form of police misconduct, after excessive force…

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A prison might be defined as any place you’ve been put into against your will and can’t get out of, and where you are entirely at the mercy of the authorities, whoever they may be.  –  Margaret Atwood

Bad Jobs

You’ll notice that sex workers are immune to most of these factors:

People often like to groan about how their job is “killing” them.  Tragically, for some groups of people in the U.S., that statement appears to be true.  A new study by researchers at Harvard and Stanford has quantified just how much a stressful workplace may be shaving off of Americans’ life spans.  It suggests that the amount of life lost to stress varies significantly for people of different races, educational levels and genders, and ranges up to nearly three years of life lost for some groups…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

There are about 40,000 girls aged 13-17 in San Diego; this “study” claims that 30% of them become “victims of sex trafficking” every year:

A new study released by the University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University revealed that the dark and secret world of sex trafficking in San Diego is the second largest underground economy locally after drugs…sex trafficking is an estimated $810 million-a-year industry and it is run mostly by gangs.  The study revealed that as many as 11,773 become victims to human trafficking in San Diego alone on a yearly basis…Victims are primarily underage…The study was funded by the Department of Justice, and found that more than 100 gangs are involved in the local sex trafficking operations…next to schools, other recruitment hot spots include:  trolley and bus stops, house parties, social media, tattoo parlors, churches, malls…about 1,776 victims/survivors come in contact with law enforcement…

That last is larger than the total number of “sex trafficking victims” that have ever been identified as such in the entire US.

With Folded Hands

Margaret Atwood on the asininity of giving away freedom for “security”:

…Governments know our desire for safety all too well, and like to play on our fears.  How often have we been told that this or that new rule or law or snooping activity on the part of officialdom is to keep us “safe”?  We aren’t safe, anyway:  many of us die in weather events – tornados, floods, blizzards – but governments, in those cases, limit their roles to finger-pointing, blame-dodging, expressions of sympathy or a dribble of emergency aid.  Many more of us die in car accidents or from slipping in the bathtub than are likely to be done in by enemy agents, but those kinds of deaths are not easy to leverage into panic…

Above the Law Patrick Quinn coercive cop

Sometimes sexually-exploitative cops stop short of rape:

In August Patrick Quinn, a 27-year-old…Texas [cop]…pulled over a driver and [claimed he] spotted marijuana paraphernalia in her car.  He told her he would not arrest her if she would let him lick her feet or give him her underwear.  He…was [fired and] sentenced to a year in jail…

Parting of the Ways

Peter Barbey is wasting no time as the new owner of the Village Voice.  Per an interview with [the] Wall Street Journal…he’s nixed the thought of changing the print edition size, pitched to staff the concept of special themed inserts and decided it’s time for a major ad dollar shift:  “Barbey plans to get rid of escort ads, a racy fixture of many an alt-weekly.  ‘Adult women can be escorts, that’s fine with me’, Mr. Barbey said, ‘but it’s not the kind of advertising that fits where we want go’.

Monsters 

Beyoncé Karungi, a 35-year-old campaigner…is in hospital following [a] horrific attack.  The activist had recently penned an article on surviving in Uganda as a trans sex worker, an occupation that can be dangerous and occasionally deadly.  After recieving several hate threats, she went into hiding.  When she emerged, she was attacked by a group of five unknown men.  She sustained several serious facial and bodily injuries…This is not the first time Beyoncé has been attacked…one time police undressed her, took her bag, money and phone and then cut her hair to make her “masculine”…

Frequently Told Lies

The title is “Feminism’s Sex Work Problem“, but this thorough article contains a large section debunking the usual lies prohibitionists employ:

I’m not going to make the pro-decriminalization case here.  Others have made it far more eloquently than I could…However, there are some elephants in the room that simply have to be addressed before a real conversation can occur.  These are mistruths that seem to have become cemented as fact through sheer force of mindless repetition, and unfortunately they severely derail any objective discussion of sex work…

Wise Investment (#440)

Much more of this, please:

Las Vegas police will pay more than $80,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who said officers detained her for two hours in The Cosmopolitan after falsely accusing her of being a prostitute.  A federal judge wrote that the case showed…prostitution sweeps in casinos were overly broad and threatened people’s constitutional rights.  Chentile Goodman was released without charge after the 2011 incident and filed a lawsuit later that year…

The Camel’s Nose (#504)

Meet CISA, formerly known as CISPA, AKA SOPA, alias PIPA, née COICA:

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) passed the Senate today by a vote of 74 to 21.  A different version passed the House earlier in the year, so they’re going to have to conference to hammer out differences.  Retail business interests supported the legislation.  Major Internet and tech firms like Google, Apple, Yahoo, and Twitter…opposed it…”CISA…allows companies to monitor users and share their information with the government without a warrant, while offering a backdoor that circumvents any laws that might protect users’ privacy“…Attempts to add amendments to narrow the bill’s focus all failed…The Sunlight Foundation…notes that CISA creates a new exemption from the Freedom of Information Act…”That means if they overstep and share the wrong information — as this bill seems to intend — the public won’t know, and even if it did, it would have no legal recourse…CISA guarantees the public will have no ability to see what information is going from companies to the government“…

What Were You All Waiting For? Richard Branson

I’m glad Richard Branson is speaking out against criminalization, but I wish he’d talk to sex workers so as to avoid gaffes like this:

…There are good Catholic countries like Chile that have legalised prostitution.  And I know its very controversial.  Most people would put their arms up in horror.  But by legalising it, they got rid of the pimps.  The girls are monitored properly to make sure that they are healthy, to make sure they can come forward if they’ve got a problem.  And they believe a lot of the illegal trafficking of young girls has gone away…

Now They Notice

One of the more loathsome uses of asset seizure:  stealing all of the victim’s bank accounts so he can’t pay for a legal defense.

Things aren’t looking good for rentboy.com…The company’s bank accounts containing millions of dollars were frozen and its website was seized by Homeland Security…Now, the company is selling its office supplies and furniture on Craigslist in an effort to raise money to pay for its mounting legal fees…Some of these “goodies” include glass desks, chairs, filing cabinets, and video monitors.  Other items for sale include cables, software, books, magazines, artwork, lamps, a copy machine, and “a lot of special, one of a kind rentboy.com ephemera”…

Seizing Power (#574)

The Cato institute supports sex workers’ right to advertise:

Prior restraints—legal prohibitions on disseminating information before publication—are an odious burden on the freedom of expression and come with a “heavy presumption” against their constitutionality.  Indeed, they are so disfavored in the law as to be virtually impossible to obtain outside of wartime.  Informal prior restraints—government pressure without formal sanction—are even more unconstitutional than formal ones, as the Supreme Court noted in Bantam Books v. Sullivan (1963)…But that strong precedent didn’t stop…Thomas Dart and his crusade against Backpage…As Cato, Reason Foundation, and DKT Liberty Project point out in our amicus brief before that court, Dart’s claimed “epidemic” of sex trafficking has evaded any sort of empirical verification for over two decades.  Indeed, State Department data indicate that the opposite may be true.  Nevertheless, Sheriff Dart, along with a new-age Baptist-and-bootleggers coalition matching the religious right and radical feminists, have raised the human-trafficking bugaboo to rally against prostitution—mimicking the drug war and all of its worst legal mechanisms…

Welcome To Our World (#578)

Here’s the first part of an in-depth look at how the New York Times callously maligned an entire industry – one that, like sex work, provides income for undocumented migrants with little money to squander on bureaucratically-imposed startup costs:

Sarah Maslin…Nir’s coverage broadly [mischaracterized] the nail salon industry, [and] several of the men and women she spoke with say she misquoted or misrepresented them.  In some cases, she interviewed sources without translators despite their poor English skills.  When her sources’ testimonies ran counter to her narrative, she omitted them altogether.  The second article lent the Times’ imprimatur to unproven theories, while committing science journalism’s cardinal sin of highlighting alarmist anecdotes that aren’t representative of systematic research.  If it hadn’t had real-world consequences, the series—and subsequent attempt by Nir and her editors to parry criticism—wouldn’t be worth such intense scrutiny.  But the day after the first article appeared in the print edition of the Times, Gov. Andrew Cuomo…announced a new multi-agency task force to inspect nail salons…The rush to legislate based solely on the Times’ shoddy reporting has hurt the industry.  New nail salons, “which used to open every week in New York,” have stopped appearing…Salons once provided a steady source of jobs for undocumented immigrants; now many owners say they’ll hire only legal workers who’ve completed an occupational licensing program because they’re afraid of getting in trouble…

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What is wrong with a contract to sell sexual services between consenting adults who enter voluntarily into the transaction, neither of whom is harmed by the exchange?…nothing at all.  No harm is done here, so why should this be regarded as a crime?  –  Charles Hill 

Subtle Pimping

Two “artists” thought it would be “artistic” to exploit the poorest, most tragic, heroin-addicted Russian streetwalkers they could cajole by photographing them as fashion models:  “Loral Amir and Gigi Ben Artzi constructed studio portraits of heroin-addicted prostitutes…adorning their subjects in [designer] clothing…[removes] them from the context of their daily lives…”  The results are predictably horrifying.

Crying for Nanny

Nick Kristof knows these lawsuits haven’t got a leg to stand on, and can’t be so ignorant that he doesn’t recognize the havoc which would result should one succeed.  But as with Somaly Mam, he pretends that he’s not responsible for promoting lies and myths which harm many thousands of people, and washes his hands when they blow up in his face:

Two young women who say they were…sold on Backpage at age 15…are suing the company in Boston in federal court.  Another suit is winding its way through Washington State courts, pursued by three girls who say they…were sold for sex…when they were 13…The suit charges that Backpage has “perfected a business model that profits substantially from aiding…pimps and traffickers in the sexual exploitation of children”…

Surplus Women

A British financier has been arrested on suspicion of murder after two [sex workers] were found dead inside the bloodied walls of his luxury apartment in Hong Kong…The body of one was heavily decomposed, stuffed inside a large suitcase left on the balcony…She was nearly decapitated and her hands and legs were bound with ropes…The other…was found with her throat cut, lying naked in the living room.  She had been stabbed multiple times…

With Folded Hands

Cowardice disguised as class warfare:

A brave test pilot is dead and another one critically injured—in the service of a millionaire boondoggle thrill ride…in the wake of this tragedy out at Mojave—not even the first time a SpaceShipTwo test has killed someone—we’re going to hear a lot about exploration, about pioneers and frontiers…and we should call bullshit on thatSpaceship Two crash…Virgin Galactic is building the world’s most expensive roller coaster…When it costs the lives of the workers building that system, we should stop accepting it…

Except neither Wired writers (nor those at Time or The Guardian) nor politicians nor rich people get to decide what any given individual thinks is worth risking his life for; the only person who gets to decide that is the individual himself.  And it doesn’t matter how stupid or pointless anyone else thinks it is, because his life is not theirs to manage.

Divided We Fall

When will Gay, Inc finally admit prostitution laws disproportionately affect its constituency?

…an Egyptian court convicted eight men for…their appearance in a video…depicting…the country’s first same-sex wedding party…Egypt…has no laws against homosexuality…the law that was used to prosecute the men is one…meant to rid the newly independent Egypt of the licensed brothels that had existed under British rule…it banned prostitution of all forms…and…also prohibited what it called “debauchery”—without actually defining [it]…

Enabling Oppression

Even some who believe in the “sex trafficking” myth are beginning to place the blame where it belongs:

…human trafficking is a parasite of legal prohibitionism…It is time for students of trafficking to call out states for creating the conditions that enable this crime…legislative and police efforts to suppress the sex trade are counterproductive.  They drive sex-for-money…further underground…You would think that Americans would know better.  Their first experiment in prohibition…should have brought home the message that prohibitionism cannot kill…commerce.  It only cordons it off inside a zone of non-regulated trade…The link between prohibitionism and trafficking has been most clearly documented in America’s war on undocumented immigration

The Rape Question Latiqwa Mayes

Neofeminists claim that false rape accusations are too rare to even consider, and that we live in a “rape culture” where rapists get away with it:

…Latiqwa Mayes was walking down [a Baltimore] street…when she saw…Donald Robinson…[who] had reportedly once assaulted her friend…Mayes was not happy that he didn’t receive a harsher sentence, so…in retaliation [she screamed] “He raped me!  He’s a sex offender!” …Almost immediately, a mob lead by Mayes’ father proceeded to beat Robinson and…pepper spray [him]…hours later, he died…Mayes and her father…have been sentenced to…six years…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Though my opinion on “sex robot” nonsense is well-known, this critic of it reveals that he’s just as ignorant about human sexuality (and sex work) as those he attacks, not to mention incredibly prudish and anti-whore:

David…Levy’s vision in Love and Sex With Robots is…profoundly creepy, and has troublesome implications now that sex robots are quickly becoming a reality.  He…[presents] sex robots as…the inevitable and desirable future…and it won’t just be the lonely men who are the usual clientele of prostitutes…he…even retrieves the long-discredited defense of pornography as a marital aid…Levy’s understanding of sex is almost entirely degraded…it’s the view of the chronic masturbator and porn addict…healthy sexual desire does not take as its object a mere sensation or state, but a person …the recognition of pornography addiction as a serious problem…is…evidence that something goes wrong when sexual desire is directed away from people…Just as with prostitution, the more sophisticated their illusions become, the more intense will be the guilt that comes after their mechanical gimmickry has done the job…

Show and Tell

It’s Ashley Madison’s turn next:

The Federal Trade Commission has fined UK-based JDI Dating for using fake, computer-generated profiles to trick users into upgrading to paid memberships.  JDI…must pay a $616,165 fine and reform its practices.  The case is the first for the FTC against an online dating site.  JDI allowed users to set up profiles on its sites for free, and then sent them fake messages purportedly from people living nearby who wanted to meet…The users were unable to respond without setting up paid memberships…

Something Rotten in Sweden (TW3 #36)

demand in the sex work marketEconomist Charles Hill explains why “end demand” strategies are not only morally bankrupt, but have the opposite effect their proponents claim:  “Economic analysis suggests that this policy may not have the desired effect.  In fact, I contend that it might actually have the perverse effect of increasing the supply of sex services…”  I’m not even going to try to synopsize this, but it’s definitely worth your time even if your eyes glaze over once the  statistical analysis starts.

King of the Hill

This is mostly about another rescue industry gimmick, but it contains the announcement that “San Diego is the 13th highest child prostitution area in the country, according to the FBI…1.2 million children are trafficked every year

Think of the Children! (TW3 #40)

[before] Arbor Day this year, Pornhub launched its “Give America Wood” campaign…to plant a tree for every 100 videos watched in the “Big Dick” category…[the NGO which got the check] “politely requested” not to be identified.  Pornhub ran into the same reluctance when they ran their  “Save the Boobs” campaign…in 2012…Komen…publicly rejected the money…Pornhub split the cash between three smaller unidentified organizations…this month, James Deen…was rejected by…a slew of major breast cancer organizations.  Instead, he’ll donate 50 percent of all profits from his website during…October to smaller organizations like The Rose and Living Beyond Breast Cancer…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake

the state Supreme Court decided that dancers at one Las Vegas club are employees, not independent contractors, and are entitled to be paid minimum wage.  The unanimous ruling…was issued in a class-action lawsuit filed…on behalf of dancers at Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club…Clark County District Court…hearings [will] determine how much more than 6,600 current and former dancers at the club are owed…the amount could reach $40 million, including back wages, plus the return of “house fees” the dancers paid the club to be allowed to work…

Original Sin

Yvonne Zimmerman & Letitia Campbell on “sex trafficking” mythology’s roots in the evangelical/neofeminist alliance:

…As the members of the alliance worked together to combat pornography, some Christian groups began to incorporate [feminist] rhetoric …Soon…members of religiously conservative groups were rehearsing arguments about the degradation of women, violence against women, and even women’s inequality…the feminist-evangelical anti-pornography alliance was instrumental in setting the stage for the contemporary…anti-trafficking movement…the rhetoric of “sexual slavery”…appears much earlier (and with different meaning) in radical feminist critiques…[and] concerns about the media’s sexualization of ever-younger girls…remain a staple of the contemporary anti-trafficking movement…

Whither Canada?

As vile as any similar badge-lickery from the US:

Since three key prostitution laws were overturned nearly a year ago, Ottawa police have struggled with how to [harass sex workers and clients]…Insp. Mike Laviolette…[pretends] he wants to…keep an eye out for human trafficking…[and lied that] the average age of sex slaves…was 18 years old…

The rest includes a leering, lip-smacking description of a sleazy female cop used to trick men so they can be abducted and forced into “john school” and subjected to propaganda about “the dark and dangerous aspects of prostitution“.

Whither Canada? (TW3 #423)

A Liberal senator will propose more amendments to the Conservative government’s controversial anti-prostitution bill as the clock ticks down on a court-imposed deadline…George Baker said…he intends to introduce 15 amendments…seeking to remove provisions which would criminalize those who sell sex…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (TW3 #429) 

Feminist T-shirts proudly worn by [British celebrities and politicians] are made in “sweatshop” conditions by migrant women paid just 62p [99¢] an hour…on…Mauritius…[the workers] sleep 16 to a room – and earn much less than the average wage on the island.  The £45 [$72] T-shirts carry the defiant slogan “This is what a feminist looks like”.  But one of the thousands of machinists declared:  “We do not see ourselves as feminists.  We see ourselves as trapped”…

Dysphemisms Galore (Traffic Updates) 

It’s good I got out of owning an escort service when I did, but how can even cops mouth these ridiculous dysphemisms with a straight face?

Dunwoody [Georgia] police said… they have busted a prostitution ring masquerading as high-end modeling outfits where clients paid $300 or more an hour.  Police have charged the owners and operators of Atlanta Fantasies and Ashley’s of Atlanta with human trafficking for sexual servitude, keeping a place of prostitution and racketeering.  Charged so far are Robert Tyler…and Donna Allen…Some 26 women — all adults — were identified as “victims” of the organization…

Imaginary Crises (TW3 #441) 

Mike Siegel corrects bad “campus rape crisis” math:

…the…0.2 percent rate touted in a recent op-ed…misses the mark because it uses the wrong numbers and some poor assumptions…The…National Crime Victimization Survey…indicates about a 10% lifetime risk or about 3% college-age risk…the one-in-five stat is inconsistent with another number claimed by advocates of new policies:  a reporting rate of 12%.  If you assume a reporting rate near that and use the actual number of reporting assaults on major campuses, you get a rate between 3% and 5%…Further research is consistent with this rate…Mark Perry finds 3-5%.  Texas schools show 5-6%.  NCVS and RAINN stats indicate 2-5%.  Basically, any time we use actual numbers based on objectives surveys, we find the number of women who are in danger of sexual violence during their time on campus is 1-in-20, not 1-in-5…if one in five women on college campuses are being sexually assaulted…we should shut down every college in the country since they are the most dangerous places for women in the entire United States…

Lack of Evidence (TW3 #444) Tim Osrin

This isn’t the first time that South African swim coach has beat up a woman:

Tim Osrin claimed that he had never assaulted anyone before but had mistaken [Cynthia] Joni for a “prostitute” and “snapped”.  Now, a…sex-worker has come forward to claim that earlier this year, Osrin told her to “fuck off out of my street”, before hitting her so hard that he knocked a tooth out of her mouth.  The woman laid a charge of assault against Osrin…At least five sex-workers who operate in the area attested to [her] injuries and alleged they had also been harassed…

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The Constitution tells us that…the state may not use a butcher knife on a problem that requires a scalpel to fix.  –  Judge John T. Nixon

No Other Option

A former madam…[will] open the UK’s first brothel…for disabled clients.  Becky Adams…said:  “People have the same sexual urges whether they’re disabled or not…A soldier who comes home from war disabled doesn’t stop being a normal, healthy person with normal, healthy needs…Our new brothel will be kitted out with ramps and hoists for wheelchair access, just like any other service for disabled people.”  The two-roomed establishment, called Para Doxies from the old English word for prostitutes, will be sufficient for two sex workers…and staff to assist clients…the brothel will provide transport to collect clientsIrene Norton born Adler by Allen St. John and take them home afterwards…

Heroines

As I’ve mentioned before, Irene Adler was one of my favorite fictional heroines, yet a number of people seemed surprised when I was displeased with the BBC turning her from a courtesan into a dominatrix in its “updated” Sherlock Holmes series.  This recent io9 article by Esther Inglis-Arkell explores the problems of modern Adler adaptations at some length:

Irene Adler only appeared in one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, but she’s considered a pivotal figure in the Holmes canon, nonetheless.  And we’ve seen several of the latest…interpretations debut their own versions of Irene Adler in recent years…Why is Arthur Conan Doyle’s Irene Adler so much better than the versions crafted by Steven Moffat and Guy Ritchie?…In both…Irene Adler is not simply an admirable person with a taste for sleuthery and adventure.  In the movie series, she’s both a woman who marries rich men for a living and a thief…In the TV series, she’s a dominatrix who dabbles in blackmail and international terrorist intrigue (on the side of the terrorists).  Both characters lean very heavily on sexuality and criminality…and…while the original Adler was independent, they’re both pawns of Moriarty…

Secret Squirrel

Intra-family spying gets ever more intrusive:

…KidTrack™…monitors text messages, incoming and outgoing phone log, each web site visited, location and media…“We see this as being no different than a parent examining the contents of a backpack…” said Ernie Rush of Rush Software…[customer] Rebecca Quesada [said] “As a mother, I feel much safer knowing that I have access to every single text message my daughter sends and receives…I can know where she is at all times, know who she is calling and who she is being called by and have access to every picture that she takes, as well as every single web site that she visits”…KidTrack silently captures this information and periodically uploads it to…servers where it can be viewed by the parent via a web browser…

“Silently” = “without the kid’s knowledge”.  And that means it can just as easily be loaded onto a spouse’s or employee’s phone.  My mother was incredibly overprotective by ‘70s standards, but you know what?  She respected my privacy, and never once (to my knowledge) snooped in my purse, read my mail or censored my reading material.

Droit du Seigneur

Normally I’m against lynch mobs, but in the case of “authorities” I make an exception because it’s often the only way they will face any consequences for their actions:  “…a politician in northeast India accused of rape was stripped and beaten by a crowd of women.  Bikram Singh Brahma is a member of the Congress Party in Assam…He was arrested…[after attacking] the woman…while he was staying at her family’s house…

The New Victorianism

Apparently, the average age of Xactware board members is 12:

The Lehi [Utah] City Council has renamed Morning Glory Road after a technology company planning to relocate to the street raised concerns about the name’s sexual connotation…”Morning glory” is the name of a flower…but…is sometimes used to describe male arousal.  Councilman Johnny Revill…[said] he didn’t know about the term’s slang meaning previously but was happy to appease Xactware officials…

With Folded Hands

This reaction to a terrible freak accident is, apparently, not a parody:

22 year old stripper in Cleveland, OH [died]…after a freak lap dance accident.  She apparently launched herself over a railing, falling head first to the floor 15 feet below…she should have been provided with adequate safety gear.  Safety straps and fall netting should have been an absolute minimum protection…something clearly needs to be done.  Better equipment and improved training are clearly called for…drug testing might also be in order…

The Punitive Mindset

Time tries to glorify the controlling behavior of a pathologically-entitled prude:

Administrators let offenders at one of Iowa’s most dangerous prison units watch violent and sexually explicit movies and TV shows…despite repeated complaints from a female officer who said it encouraged inmates to sexually harass her…administrators told [Kristine Sink] not to turn off the…shows.  When she did, they accused her of insubordination…Sink said she has fought a lonely battle under four wardens against movies that caused inmates to become sexually aggressive — through “10 years of misery.”  She filed a lawsuit…against prison officials alleging sexual harassment, discrimination and workplace retaliation, seeking an unspecified amount of damages…

I have a solution for you, Kristine.  If you are too prissy to handle the sort of raw behavior any sane person would expect from male prisoners, why don’t you get a job someplace other than a FUCKING MEN’S PRISON?

Presents, Presents, Presents!

BullshitI receivedSex Power two more generous presents this week:  the whole series of Bullshit! from Paul Reinerfelt, and the Sex Power soundtrack from Pat Murphy.  Also, I’ve discovered that it was Gumdeo who sent the copy of Crisis and Leviathan last week.  My sincere thanks to all of you!

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

Notice that “feminists” aren’t too concerned with “stereotyped gender roles” when it comes to “rescuing” sex workers:

…in an endeavor as far removed from their former lives as the gleaming banks and trendy boutiques of Tel Aviv are from the city’s sleazy subculture…former prostitutes…have received…training in dress design and sewing…[and] are now aiming to find a place in the world of fashion…

One later passage is absurd even by lawhead standards:

Up until a few years ago Israel was a prime destination for traffickers of women.  An estimated 3,000 women per year were smuggled in, mostly from Eastern Europe, to work in the sex industry.  That number has declined since Israel passed an antitrafficking law in 2006…and most of the prostitutes here are now said to be Israelis.

3000 per year for, say, 10 or 15 years…where did they all go?  Obviously, they must have obediently vanished into Sheol when the magical law was passed.

The Prudish Giant (TW3 #9)

Paypal is at it again; they’ve blocked the account of regular reader Frank Adamo for distributing “sexually oriented material” involving a minor.  Girl Becomes Woman is a photo-documentary of breast development, starting at age 9; Frank said, “[It’s] no more ‘sexually oriented’ than a documentary about pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding…I used Paypal to process donations to create the Breast Pride Education Foundation, and after a year…[and] approximately 100 donations Paypal suddenly decides to protect itself from possible scandal by blocking my account and holding my money for six months!”  He filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, but they closed the complaint without action.  Frank notes that the sudden condemnation of his work as porn conveniently came just after he tried to transfer $1000 from Paypal into his bank account.

Above the Law

Yet again:  As long as government actors have excessive power over individuals, this will keep happening:

Two Los Angeles Police…officers…allegedly [preyed] on women…[for] five years, luring them into an unmarked car and forcing them to perform sex acts…Luis Valenzuela and James Nichols targeted at least four women whom they had arrested previously or who worked for them as informants…The pair repeatedly used the threat of jail to get women into their car and drove them to secluded areas where one…demanded sex while the other kept watch…Larry Heyward

And keep happening:  “…[South Carolina cop] Larry Heyward [has been arrested and charged with sexual] offenses on a child between the ages of 11 and 14 years [while assigned to the child’s school]…

And keep happening:

[Washington, D.C. cop] Wendel Palmer…pleaded not guilty…to charges of first-degree child sexual abuse…Wendel Palmer[which] occurred while Palmer directed [a church] youth choir…Palmer would tell the girl to stay with him…while the rest of the choir members went to a store.  The assaults began in August 2004 when the girl was 11…[and] ran through August 2006…she told investigators there were “too many incidents to count”…

Much Ado About Nothing

Foreign officials visiting Colombia:  Pay your damned hookers!  Colombian hookers:  Please start charging your damned clients in advance!  “prostitutes stole numerous items from the Honduras embassy in Bogota, Colombia…an employee of the Ambassador…organized a party with alcohol and sex at the facility…[but] they were not paid for their services…[and retaliated by stealing phones, computers and national security documents]…”  And just in case you thought American media had let go of the story featured in the original column of this name:  “Two [DEA] agents ‘facilitated a sexual encounter’ between a prostitute and a U.S. Secret Service agent…in April 2012…a third DEA agent present on the night of the incident was not involved…”  Translation:  two guys helped a co-worker find someone to provide a legal service he wanted.  Oh, be still my heart.

The Immunity Syndrome (TW3 #19)

In the past year, cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhea has become five times as common in North America:

drug resistance has now reached North America in sizable numbers…of 133 patients [in a Toronto study]…6.77 percent…failed to respond to treatment…experts…call “its arrival deeply troubling; clinicians now face the emergence of cephalosporin-resistant N. gonorrhoeae without any well-studied, effective backup treatment options”…

First They Came for the Hookers…

Texas just won’t stop until it makes all sex work as dangerous as criminalized streetwalking:

After years of battling in court, the City of Houston and the popular…strip club, Treasures, have reached an agreement…in exchange for dropping three separate lawsuits against each other, Treasures will pay $100,000 into City-administered Nuisance Abatement Fund to help combat human trafficking.  Additionally, the club must post signs at every table stating no illegal activities, including lewdness, prostitution or drug use are permitted…The agreement effectively ends a court battle stretching back to 1983…attorneys for Harris County continue to move ahead with a lawsuit alleging Treasures is a haven for drug trafficking and prostitution…

Peeping Bill ZedlerMeanwhile, in Dallas:

State Representative Bill Zedler first gained attention…when he led a…crusade to block a Hooters from opening near his neighborhood in Arlington…claiming it would serve as a magnet for sexual predators…[he has] [continued] the fight against Hooters while expanding his focus to battle…other sexually oriented businesses.  His latest salvo…HB 337…would…license [strippers]…New York considered a similar measure several years ago.  And Alabama apparently passed one…But Zedler’s bill…would…require [dancers] to “conspicuously display the…license on his or her person when conducting business…” The bill’s stated purpose is to prevent human trafficking and protect public health…More likely, it will be used as a pretext for hassling businesses Zedler disapproves of…

Wise Investment (TW3 #31)

“Sex trafficking” is already criminal; what this law actually intends to do is wipe out inexpensive escort advertising:  “A federal judge has temporarily barred [Tennessee] officials from enforcing a law…intended to criminalize sex trafficking of minors, after a challenge by…Backpage.com…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #37)

While “authorities” in Rio de Janeiro try to persecute sex workers into hiding before the World Cup, other cities are instead helping them:

Prostitutes in one of Brazil’s biggest cities are beginning to sign up for free English classes ahead of this year’s Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup.  Cida Vieira, president of the Association of Prostitutes in the city of Belo Horizonte, said…”It will be important for the girls who will be able to use English to let their clients know what they are charging and learn about what turns them on…for the same reasons we are also thinking of offering free French and Italian classes”…

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They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.  –  Benjamin Franklin

In the classic 1947 science fiction novelette whose title this column shares, Jack Williamson predicted the perils of the nanny state by depicting a future world infiltrated by self-replicating robots who volunteer to do every dangerous job free of charge; only after the lazy humans have allowed the “humanoids” to take over all police and other “protective” functions do they discover that the machines have their own standards of “safety” and will not allow humans to do anything which carries even the slightest risk.

The problem, of course, is that nearly everything worth doing carries some danger, and ofttimes the greater the risk, the greater the reward.  When we allow others to absorb the peril we gradually lose the nerve to take exciting, profitable or even necessary chances for ourselves, and when we allow “authorities” using the excuse of “safety” to dictate what we can and cannot do we lose the greater part of what it means to be human and become nothing but domestic animals owned and controlled by the State.  Big Brother says that some activities are just too dangerous, so they are prohibited and those caught doing them are punished by having their goods stolen and their bodies violated or confined, but kept biologically alive in a condition the State defines as “safe”.  And if some people are killed in the process of establishing this worldwide nursery, well, you know how it is with omelettes.

The War on Drugs is the most widespread and monstrous realization of the campaign to “protect” adults from their own choices, but the War on Whores is nearly as bad.  Once we were branded as “degenerates”, but for the last century (especially the last two decades) there is a growing tendency to characterize laws which restrict the sexual freedom of adult women as attempts to “rescue” us from our own choices; trafficking fanatics, neofeminists and proponents of the “Swedish Model” paint us as imbeciles and emotional basket cases who suffer from “false consciousness” and are unable to make decisions for ourselves.  Self-proclaimed moral authorities even demand that porn actors be protected from their own informed decisions.  And in a world of smoking bans, seat belt laws, gun control, Gestapo-like “child protective service” tactics and lawsuits based in the idea that individuals are not responsible for their own safety, paternalistic anti-sex work arguments seem very credible to the average spineless American.

In the ‘40s, the watchword was “victory”. In the ’60s, it was “freedom”. But by the ’90s, it had degenerated into “safety”.  Americans once recognized that there are some things worth dying for; now we encase our children in bubble-wrap and cry like little girls at the slightest risk.  Our great-grandparents dared unknown frontiers, while we sit in our playpens content to watch the world go by on television, or to waste endless hours in “virtual worlds” when there’s a wonderful REAL universe waiting to be discovered.  People aren’t like this naturally; most of us are born with a yearning to explore the world, a zest for adventure and a thirst for knowledge, but these are ground out of children in factory schools, frightened out of them by “authorities” trying to create a race of docile, frightened sheep and squeezed out of them by overprotective parents who imagine “child traffickers” and “sexual predators” around every corner, despite the rarity of these criminals.  One of my favorite non-sex-work bloggers, Lenore Skenazy of Free-Range Kids, uses the term “helicopter parents” for those who are always hovering over their kids, watching to ensure that nothing “happens to them”…and in the process squelching their growth and destroying their ability to act or even think independently.

Skenazy understands that safety is not and should not be such a paramount issue that it instantly trumps everything else, and though her concern is primarily with the mollycoddling of children into dull-witted, complacent obesity, she does occasionally touch on the way the “Safety First” mantra affects adults as well.  She recently mentioned this 2009 essay by Mike Rowe of the TV series Dirty Jobs, and it impressed me so much I’d like to share it:

My husband works on the oilrigs as a well tester.  We watched you folks do so without any eye protection!  Are you crazy?  Drilling a hole with no protective eyewear?  Between him, a well tester, and me, a workers’ compensation lawyer, we’re cringing!  Somebody could LOSE AN EYE!  Seriously – Safety First, fellas!  I would expect better from the Discovery Channel!! — suzemommy

I sincerely appreciate your concern for me, and agree that stupidity plays an ongoing role in my professional and personal life.  But believe me, I have no wish to be injured on the job.  However, it is not the objective of Dirty Jobs to conform to any particular set of safety standards, other than those dictated by the people for whom I happen to be working at the time.  I take my cues from them, and I assume whatever risk they assume, for the most part.  In the end, we hope to capture an honest look at what life is like for the workers in a particular venue.  We do not aspire to set an example, or be a poster child for OSHA or any particular industry.  I realize that my sound controversial, but it’s the truth, and not nearly as inflammatory as what I’m going to say next.

Ready?

Of all the platitudes automatically embraced in the workplace – and there are many – there is none more pervasive, erroneous, overused, and dangerous, than “Safety First!” in my opinion.  I have heard this slogan countless times.  I have seen it emblazoned on banners, T-shirts and hats.  I have sat through mandatory briefings and slideshows and presentations designed to “protect me from the hazards at hand.”  And I have listened as safety officers and foremen have run down list after list of OSHA requirements, all apparently construed to remind me that nothing is more important to the employer than my own well-being.  What a load of unmitigated nonsense.  In the jobs I have seen thus far, I can tell you with certainty, that safety, while always a major consideration, is never the priority.

Never.
Never, ever.
Not even once.

Is it important?  Of course.  But is it more important than getting the job done?  No.  Not even close.  Making money is more important than safety – always – and it’s very dangerous in my opinion to ignore that.  When we start to believe that someone else is more concerned about our own safety than we are, we become complacent, and then, we get careless.  When a business tells you that they are more concerned with your safety than anything else, beware.  They are not being honest.  They are hedging their own bets, and following the advice of lawyers hired to protect them from lawsuits arising from accidents.

You are correct to suggest that wearing safety glasses would have made the task at hand safer.  But why stop there?  Wearing a helmet would have made it safer still.  And wearing a steel mesh shark-suit would have made it really, super safe.  I know that sounds glib, and I know that many will wish to scold me for appearing cavalier.  But really, I’m not.  In a car, I wear a safety belt.  On a motorcycle, I wear a helmet.  Not because it’s the law, but because it seems a reasonable precaution.  And ultimately, the only one responsible for my own safety is me.  (Besides, if the government were really concerned with my safety above all else, wouldn’t they drop the legal speed limit to 30 miles an hour and make cars out of rubber?)

Again, you’re right – I probably should have been wearing safety glasses, not because safety is first, but because I like to hedge my bets.  We can always be safer.  We can always assume less risk.  But if safety were really first, I wouldn’t travel at all, or engage in any activity that required me to assume any risk.  And I certainly wouldn’t be hosting Dirty Jobs.

Thank you so much for saying that, Mr. Rowe.  The same goes for hookers; though we would like the government to stop making our jobs more dangerous than they have to be, and though we take all the reasonable precautions (such as condoms, screening and call-ins) we can, in the end making money is more important or else we’d all just be working at “safe”, boring, low-income jobs.  Each person must determine how safe is safe enough for himself, and each person has to decide whether he will go forth into the world as an active adult or just sit in the nursery with folded hands.

One Year Ago Today

The Love-Hate Relationship” attempts to explain why Americans seem to love whores as fictional characters, while persecuting us in reality.

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