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    OtherOur host did some upgrading, which required us to do some upgrading. Please be patient as we clean things up. So far I notice Genderberg Resources is not working. The public forum may have what you're looking for http://genderberg.com/boards/viewforum.php?f=10 , or if you have a question, contact me at sam {at} Genderberg{dot}com Last updated 4-21-2014

    Posted by p2r9s on Monday, April 21 @ 22:38:55 EDT (3468 reads)
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     News: New research shows violence decreases under Nordic model: Why the radio silence?

    Porn, Prostitution, Sex Industry published at Feminist Current January 22, 2013

    You probably haven’t heard about the newest prostitution research from Norway. It has been available in Norwegian since last summer when a tiny handful of pro-prostitution peeps wrote about it, but almost no one has noted the report’s English release. Now that I’ve read it I understand the silence from pro-sex work lobbyists and the liberal media that usually loves press releases that hate on anti-pornstitution activists. “Dangerous Liaisons: A report on the violence women in prostitution are exposed to” was presented to me as proof that criminalizing johns has increased violence against prostitutes in Oslo. Norwegian newspaper The Local reported on the research and dutifully presented the results highlighted by the harm reduction researchers at ProSentret.
    “Anniken Hauglie (Conservative Party) called for the law to be scrapped after the city’s official help centre for prostitutes, ProSentret, released a report on Friday detailing deteriorating conditions for sex workers in the capital. ‘The reality is that the law has made it more difficult for women in prostitution,’ Hauglie said.”
    The 2012 research is compared to 2008 research and the conclusion drawn is that in 2008 52% of prostitutes in Oslo said they had experienced violence compared to 59% in 2012. An increase of 7% isn’t a huge jump but any increase in violence against women should be taken seriously. Fortunately, the increase in violence against prostituted women is a lie. LIARS! Several obfuscations and omissions were employed to concoct the lie, but the primary manipulation was accepting a definition of violence that equated each act of verbal abuse (up 17% from 2008) and hair pulling (up 167%) the same as being struck with a fist (down 38%) and rape (down 48%). Did I just write that since the Nordic model rapes of prostituted women were down BY HALF in Oslo? Oh yes I did. ProSentret did not consider the halving of rape to be worth pointing out, but I think that’s terrific news. I also think that pimp violence being down BY HALF since 2008 should be shouted from the rooftops along with violence from regular clients going down 65% and violence from an unfamiliar man in a car declining 60%.
    Visible injury has decreased from a third of the sample to a fourth. One thing that has changed is that the number that experienced violence from someone unfamiliar in a car has declined from 27% to 11%. We also see a decline in violence from regular clients from 20% to 7%, and 14% to 7% from boss/pimp.
    With the dramatic reductions in serious violence within the research you might be wondering from whence came the claimed 7% rise. The answer is mostly verbal harassment and minor physical assaults because no distinction is made between nasty words and being punched. Harm reductionists love to thump about how indoor prostitution is safer than streetwalking, and in some aspects it is, but the research paints a contrary picture about indoor violence. Feminists have been on a long mission to raise awareness that women are more often attacked in their homes by men they know than in public by strange men. Why would being in a brothel with a john suddenly become a place to expect less rape when inside is never safer for women? The research supports the known feminist truth of how women are harmed when trapped indoors with men engorged on their perceived right to control women. The most violent men are “unfamiliar clients” and the women they inflict the worst sexual violence on are the indoor Thai women, also the only group to report violence from pimps (11%).
    In this group we find the largest amount of respondents who say they have been threatened/forced into sex that was not agreed to. While 27% of the entire sample said they had been exposed to this form of violence, as many as 45% of this group have experienced it. In this group we also see the highest amount of robbery (30%) and threats with weapons (40%) Additionally 20% of this group said they had been raped.
    Indoor prostitutes are being sexually assaulted by their clients more than streetwalkers, who are ultimately abused more frequently but not raped or robbed more. The information about indoor versus outdoor violence also disproves the common refrain that because it’s now a “buyer’s market” prostituted women are harmed by the lack of negotiation time. Streetwalkers mostly suffer verbal abuse and minor physical assaults that aren’t violations of sex act negotiations, whereas indoor prostitutes with the supposed luxuries of pre-screening and unlimited time to negotiate are much less capable of keeping their johns from robbing, raping, and threatening/forcing them into sex that was not agreed upon. Placing all the focus on how prostituted women negotiate distracts us from questioning the varying motivations of negotiation-inducing men. It is common sense that a man who wants a quick blowjob from a streetwalker would be less invested financially and emotionally in his sexual entitlement to a prostitute than a man who pre-arranges to pay for an hour alone with a prostitute and brings a sixty minute gameplan of fantasy fulfillment with him. BITERS! Allow me to turn your attention to some freaky shit you might have missed in the statistics tsumani above: Biting nearly tripled (6% to 15%)
    Hair pulling nearly tripled (12% to 32%) I’ve lived in New York City and San Jose, Costa Rica, which is to say I’ve been verbally harassed and suffered unwanted touching from unfamiliar male passerby more times than I can count. Never have I been bitten or had my hair pulled. That’s not passerby harasser behavior, it’s john behavior. Information originally reported in the 2008 study but repeated in the 2012 report provides a clue to why minor, sex act-specific violence jumped.
    “Most of the women who said they would seek help to protect against violence said that they called or threatened to call the police when they found themselves in a dangerous or threatening situation. This would often scare the customers, or others, who were acting threatening/violent away.”
    Pro-prostitution lobbyists say men are paying for the right to sex and not the right to abuse women. Johns don’t exhibit an understanding of that difference, which is why letting men pay for sex and then trying to draw a line at abuse is doomed to failure. Men paying for the right to abuse women have crossed that line, no takesees-backsees halfway through the series of abuses paid for, especially not when BDSM inflicted on women is culturally approved as sex and not abuse. Radical feminists know prostitution is coerced sex, aka rape. We notice that most rape victims are teenage girls abused by older men and recognize the same demographic patterns in prostitution. As with rape, the sexual aspect of the crime triggers so many cultural prejudices that the core of the crime being male violence is often left on the cutting room floor. Oslo’s reduction in severe violence combined with the increase in more personal boundary violence like biting and hair pulling is a reminder that, as with other kinds of rape, sex is the preferred tool of violation but violation itself is the main point. Prostituted women in Oslo are effectively altering violent johns’ behaviors by threatening to call police, and johns are responding by lowering their violence to under the threshold that would trigger that response. Instead of rape and aggravated assault, johns have moved to getting more of their violation kicks though biting and hair pulling knowing these won’t result in a call to the cops. On that note, let’s segue into what the report tells us about police and prostitutes. COPPERS! Police abuse of prostituted women is a problem. Some studies have found that as much as 30% of violence against prostituted women can come from police officers. Police abusiveness is frequently cited by harm reductioners as a reason to legalize men’s prostitution use. ProSentret makes a big deal of the fact that prostituted women are reporting less violence because they claim it as a consequence of prostitutes trusting police less, but it’s more accurately attributed to the large drop in severe violence.
    “If we look at assistance from police, emergency care, Pro Sentret, and Nadheim, we see  approximately half the number that have received support in the 2012 study compared with the 2007/08  study.”
    Approximately half the number receiving support matches up quite well with rape being down by half and pimp violence being down by half. According to their own numbers, since adoption of the Nordic model prostitutes are 41% less likely to seek help from police, but they are 54% less likely to seek help from ProSentret! And apparently prostituted women are suddenly terrified of emergency care personnel because seeking help from them is down a whopping 79%. If you don’t acknowledge the enormous reductions in severe violence then these changes are as alarming as ProSentret makes them out to be. Combined with street prostitution going down at least 50% from 2008 to 2009 and indoor prostitution going down by 16% in the same year, the sharp drop in prostituted women reporting violence is actually something to celebrate. ProSentret’s ideological constipation won’t allow them to admit the enormous reduction in severe violence their data shows.
    “Many of the women’s actions are probably due to a fear of prejudice from the police, the justice system, and health services. The double stigma as both victim of violence and prostitute can be a heavy burden to bear. Other reasons could be among other things a lack of knowledge of the police and reporting violence in Norway, fear that the police will enforce other laws against the prostitute, a lack of trust in the police, or that the women for some other reason does not wish to press charges.”
    Persons who make police abuse of sex workers their bailiwick may find it instructional that none of the violence reported by the 123 prostituted women was pinned on Norwegian police, not so much as one instance of verbal abuse. Score yet another point for the Nordic model. Rarely does a group of pro-prostitution activists make their choice to be ignorant so evident as to ignore the data from their own research. Mind you, it’s not unheard of; New Zealand research collected by the prostitution lobby claimed no changes to street prostitution in their official summary but buried in Section 8 one finds the truth that street prostitutes in Auckland more than doubled since legalization. It is a bald lie to take the information presented in “Dangerous Liaisons” and come to this conclusion:
    “Nothing in the studies we have conducted among the women and the support services suggests that the criminalization of the customers have protected the women from violence from their customers, rather the women are protecting the customers from the police.”

    The final words of the report declare:
    This will be done by the Pro Sentret: • Organize drop-in courses about violence in prostitution and violence in close relations with a  focus on knowledge about violence, practical tips and information about offers of aid. The  courses will be organized in cooperation with Oslo Crisis Center and a provider of self-defense courses. • Work out and distribute information material adapted to the users of Pro Sentret about violence,  rights, and tips about maintaining their own safety.
    In other words, ProSentret’s goal is to build better hookers. I prefer other solutions. The Nordic model works and should keep on keeping on. If ProSentret and other sex worker rights groups refuse to get on board the abolition of sex-based slavery they’re fools, but they’re fools who can still be doing more for prostituted women from within their belief system. The first thing they can do is actively track prostitution clients more effectively. Unfamiliar clients commit the most violence and passively relying on bad date reports from survivors of john violence is not enough. There’s room for both police and nonprofits to be collecting information about unfamiliar johns in their own way. Next they can work to achieve reliable amnesty for foreign victims. I am unfamiliar with how Norway treats trafficked immigrants but I have no trouble believing more can be done to protect them from discrimination and deportation. My third and final suggestion is for harm reduction organizations to teach prostituted women that any violence inflicted on them matters. Biting and hair pulling have almost tripled but reporting them hasn’t. Johns will be as violent as they can get away with so we need to keep pushing back the bar of acceptability. Credit where due, the researchers sincerely attempted to honor prostituted women’s psychological defenses by distinguishing the categories of “rape” and “threatened/forced into sex that was not agreed upon” in recognition that many don’t call it rape if there’s no assault accompanying the sexual violence. They include this comment about cultural differences in defining violence.
    “Pro Sentret have experienced that in general many foreign women express both physical and psychological pain differently than Norwegian women. It is possible that some did not recognize their way to express pain in the options in the study.”
    It’s obvious the researchers at ProSentret care about the women they serve, I just wish they could project that concern to the millions of women they will never see and the generations of prostitutes that will come after the current one if we don’t take a stand now. Like I said in the beginning, the Oslo research has barely made a blip in pro-prostitution media channels. The usual loudmouthed prostitution lobbyists have seen it and kept their lips zipped. You better believe if the report contained solid proof that the Nordic model leads to more violence then it would be as popularized as that bunk study purporting career pornstitutes are happier than the average woman. Now you know about it, and now you know why the prostitution lobby prefers to pretend it doesn’t exist. It exists and it proves abolitionists right. Now don’t let them forget it.

    Posted by smberg on Wednesday, June 12 @ 13:19:54 EDT (3993 reads)
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    Sexual ViolenceThe Irish Examiner
    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    A former Dublin prostitute speaks about her seven years working in the Irish sex trade and argues against the idea that legalisation can make the work any safer

    FOLLOWING the latest revelations about Ireland’s booming prostitution rackets, a former Dublin prostitute has written a stark account of her seven year ordeal in the industry which began when she was just 15.

    At that young age, circumstances no child should ever experience forced her to sell her body to elderly men, who would openly be aroused by abusing a child. Before she managed to extricate herself from a life in which she says she was "raped for a living", she admits she even contemplated suicide...

    "The nation is finally beginning to take a look at the intrinsic harm of prostitution. I welcome this because it is a harm I have understood since I was a 15-year-old prostitute, being used by up to 10 men a day. The one thing that linked those men together, besides their urges to pay to abuse my young body, was that they all knew just how young I was. They all knew because I told them, and I told them because it had the near-universal effect of causing them to become very aroused.

    "When a man is very aroused in street prostitution that is a good thing, because it means he’ll climax quickly and the whole ordeal will be over fairly fast. I learned that on my very first day while sitting in the car of an elderly man who repeated over and over the thing that was causing him such sexual joy: ‘Oh, you’re very young — aren’t you? Aren’t you?’

    "That is the true, sleazy and debased face of prostitution — the face that pro-prostitution lobby groups hysterically deny and attempt to conceal. Well, they cannot conceal it from me. I spent too long looking at it, too long being abused by it, and too long trying to recover from the soul-level injury it left behind.

    "Many of the girls I worked alongside were not much older than I was, and one was only 13-years-old — and there was no shortage of grown men paying to abuse her. Most of the older women had been working since they were our age or younger, and many of them had histories of sexual abuse that predated their prostitution lives. When a person looks at a 30- or 40-something prostitute what they forget is that they are looking, in most cases, at a woman who has been inured to bodily invasion since she was a prepubescent child.

    "I didn’t just work outdoors. When the Sexual Offences Act of 1993 came into force it drove me and many others indoors, where we had even less autonomy over the conditions of our own lives. In the brothels and the ‘escort’ agencies, we had to endure the same things we did on the streets, but we had to endure them for longer, and with no screening process as to who would pay to abuse us.

    "You might wonder, ‘if you were a prostitute, what did it matter who it was?’ That is an innocent question, and it is deserving of an answer. It mattered because, far from being unaware of the abusive nature of prostitution, a lot of men were not only aware of it but actively got off on it. The misogyny from a lot of men was so potent and so deliberate it could cause nothing but trauma. And we, as the prostituted class that we were, could do nothing to protect ourselves other than try to avoid its most potent manifestations. This had been at least somewhat possible on the streets, where we could do our best to discern whether or not a man had hatred and the desire to hurt us seeping out of every pore. It was not at all possible once we’d gotten run indoors, and the immediate effect was a rapid escalation in violence and murder.

    "Irish prostitution has been mainly conducted indoors since then, and nothing about this ugliness has abated because it’s been concealed from the public view. In fact the opposite has been true. We were abused more thoroughly, not less, with the only difference being that now there was the secrecy of closed doors to conceal it.

    "There is no doubt that many of these men had daughters older than I was, yet the abuse they unleashed on me was devastating, violent, humiliating and degrading. It was paid sexual abuse. It was ritualistic, and I experienced it in every area of prostitution.

    "Do not for a moment think that the men paying to abuse here are not ‘ordinary men’. I could not count the number of wedding rings and babies car seats I encountered. The men who pay to debase and degrade women and girls in prostitution are the same men who play out the pretence of being happily married family men. I wonder sometimes at the amount of women who would be shocked, not only to know their husbands are visiting prostitutes, but also to know the depth of their own husbands’ contempt and misogynistic hatred of women.

    "Under Irish law, the abusive nature of prostitution has been allowed to flourish unhindered and it is a living hell for the women struggling to survive within it. It is primarily for the sake of these women, but also for all of us who want to live in a gender-equal society, that I am gladdened to see the Irish Government finally pledge to tackle this issue.

    "I only hope that they go the right way about it, which is to criminalise the purchase of sex, because nothing will change for prostituted women and girls until the commercialisation of female bodies is dealt the hammer-blow it so richly deserves.

    "To those who would say legalisation would make prostitution safer: I think the same thing any former prostitute I’ve ever spoken to thinks, which is that you may as well legalise rape and battery to try to make them safer. You cannot legislate away the dehumanising, degrading trauma of prostitution, and if you try to, you are accepting a separate class of women should exist who have no access to the human rights everyone else takes for granted."

    Posted by SMBerg on Friday, March 02 @ 11:07:27 EST (4436 reads)
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     News: Sex Trafficking of Americans: The Girls Next Door

    Human TraffickingSex Trafficking of Americans: The Girls Next Door
    Vanity Fair

    Even as celebrity activists such as Emma Thompson, Demi Moore, and Mira Sorvino raise awareness about commercial sex trafficking, survivor Rachel Lloyd publishes her memoir Girls Like Us, and the Senate introduces a new bipartisan bill for victim support, the problem proliferates across continents, in casinos, on streets, and directly into your mobile device. And, as Amy Fine Collins shows, human trafficking is much closer to home than you think; victims, younger than ever, are just as likely to be the homegrown American girl next door as illegally imported foreigners. Having gained access to victims, law-enforcement officials, and a convicted trafficker, Collins follows a major case that put to the test the federal government’s Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

    The names of all victims and their relatives have been changed. Quotes from Dennis Paris, Gwen, and Alicia are taken from court testimony.

    “He called me a stupid bitch … a worthless piece of shit.… I had to tell people I fell off stage because I had so many bruises on my ribs face and legs.… I have a permanent twitch in my eye from him hitting me in my face so much. I have none of my irreplaceable things from my youth.”
    —From the victim-impact statement of Felicia, minor prostitute-stripper enslaved by trafficker Corey Davis.

    “Prostitution is renting an organ for ten minutes.”
    —A john, interviewed by research psychologist Melissa Farley.

    “Would you please write down the type of person you think I am, given all that you’ve heard and read?… I’ve been called the worst of the worst by the government and it’s going to be hard for you to top that.”
    —Letter postmarked June 27, 2008, to Amy Fine Collins, from Dennis Paris, a.k.a. “Rahmyti,” then inmate at the Wyatt Detention Facility, in Central Falls, Rhode Island, now at a high-security federal penitentiary in Arizona.

    The Little Barbies

    In the Sex Crimes Bureau of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, in the pediatric division of Fort Bragg’s Womack Army Medical Center, in the back alleys of Waterbury, Connecticut, and in the hallways of Hartford’s Community Court, Assistant D.A. Rhonnie Jaus, forensic pediatrician Dr. Sharon Cooper, ex-streetwalker Louise, and Judge Curtissa Cofield have all simultaneously and independently noted the same disturbing phenomenon. There are more young American girls entering the commercial sex industry—an estimated 300,000 at this moment—and their ages have been dropping drastically. “The average starting age for prostitution is now 13,” says Rachel Lloyd, executive director of Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (gems), a Harlem-based organization that rescues young women from “the life.” Says Judge Cofield, who formerly presided over Hartford’s Prostitution Protocol, a court-ordered rehabilitation program, “I call them the Little Barbies.”

    The explanations offered for these downwardly expanding demographics are various, and not at all mutually exclusive. Dr. Sharon Cooper believes that the anti-intellectual, consumerist, hyper-violent, and super-eroticized content of movies (Hustle & Flow), reality TV (Cathouse), video games (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City), gangsta rap (Nelly’s “Tip Drill”), and cyber sites (Second Life: Jail Bait) has normalized sexual harm. “History is repeating itself, and we’re back to treating women and children as chattel,” she says. “It’s a sexually toxic era of ‘pimpfantwear’ for your newborn son and thongs for your five-year-old daughter.” Additionally, Cooper cites the breakdown of the family unit (statistically, absent or abusive parents compounds risk) and the emergence of vast cyber-communities of like-minded deviant individuals, who no longer have disincentives to act on their most destructive predatory fantasies. Krishna Patel, assistant U.S. attorney in Bridgeport, Connecticut, invokes the easy money. Criminals have learned, often in prison—where “macking” memoirs such as Iceberg Slim’s Pimp are best-sellers—that it’s become more lucrative and much safer to sell malleable teens than drugs or guns. A pound of heroin or an AK-47 can be retailed once, but a young girl can be sold 10 to 15 times a day—and a “righteous” pimp confiscates 100 percent of her earnings.

    read the rest at http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2011/05/sex-trafficking-201105

    Posted by SMBerg on Tuesday, June 14 @ 13:46:04 EDT (52426 reads)
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     News: Prostitution, abolition of victims, and postmodernist defence of the status quo

    Sexual PoliticsProstitution, the abolition of the victim, and post-modernism's defence of the status quo
    Posted by Stuart at Scottish Socialist Youth on September 25, 2010


    I’ve just finished reading a book by the Swedish socialist, anarchist and feminist Kajsa Ekis Ekman which she primarily devotes to debunking the arguments used to justify prostitution and the surrogate-mothering industry. Her book was written as a response to the media’s misrepresentation of prostitution as some sort of smart and glamorous career choice for young women to make and at the increasing number of post-modernist academics and ‘queer-theorists’ who have been questioning Sweden’s prostitution laws by, among other things, ludicrously trying to frame prostitution as something ‘transgressive’ and which ‘challenges gender norms’. The abolition of the victim Ekis Ekman highlights at length the tactics which the supporters of prostitution have adopted in recent years and exposes how false, absurd and damaging their arguments really are. Particularly interesting I think is when she writes about the attempts that have been made to abolish the term ‘victim’ from the debate around prostitution. To be a victim has come to be seen as something shameful and to refer to someone as a victim is, according to the post-modernists, to deny them their ‘agency’. Ekman exposes why this lie has come about and what wider political consequences it has. Her point here is summed up in a review of the book in Dagens Nyheter:
    “To be able to defend that women sell their bodies (and that men buy them) one must first abolish the victim and instead redefine the prostitute as a sex worker, a strong woman who knows what she wants, a businesswoman. The sex worker becomes a sort of new version of the ‘happy hooker’. “Ekis Ekman shows in a convincing way how this happens through a rhetoric which portrays the victim position as a trait of character instead of using the correct definition of a victim: someone who is affected by something. In such a way the terrible reality in which women in prostitution find themselves is concealed. The fear of the ‘victim’ in the prostitution debate … is something which mirrors neo-liberalism’s general victim hate – since all talk of the vulnerable person immediately reveals an unjust society. Through making the victim taboo can one legitimise class inequalities and gender discrimination, for if there is no victim there is no perpetrator.”
    Those who defend prostitution, as Ekis Ekman points out in an interview in the socialist newspaper Flamman, “have a contempt for weakness, a cold and cynical view of humanity, which has the consequence that you only have yourself to blame”. To see evidence of this we need look no further than the works of ‘academics’ such as Laura Agustin, someone who has gone as far as to deny the existence of human trafficking. Victims of pimps and human traffickers are referred to, in her language, as “migrant sex workers” who actively choose their situation. Discussing women brought into western countries by criminal gangs and locked into flats and prostituted for months at a time, Agustin writes:
    “These circumstances where women live in sex establishments and seldom leave them before, without being asked, moved elsewhere receive great attention in the media and it’s taken as a given that this involves a complete denial of freedom. But in many cases migrant workers prefer this arrangement for a number of reasons. If they don’t leave the area they don’t waste any money and, if they have no work permit, they feel safer in a controlled environment. If someone else finds the meeting places for them and books their appointments it means they don’t have to do it themselves. If they have come on a 3 month tourist visa they want to devote as much time as possible to making money”.
    Another sickening example from Ekman’s book is that in Australia, a country which has long championed legalised prostitution, victims of child abuse have came to be referred to as “child sex workers”. An official report there talks about a 9 year old abuse victim having been “offered a warm bed and a nice meal” by his abusers and of “thinking it was fantastic” when the men who raped him gave him $50. Any details of the crime he was subjected to are on the other hand almost completely absent, apart from the words: “sex took place”. What these examples all have in common is that they remove the focus from the perpetrator. They make it sound like the abused, prostitutes, children, the victims of poverty, drug abuse and economic exploitation, have themselves chosen the situation in which they find themselves. By changing the definition of the victim so as to turn it into a personal trait, by turning ‘victim’ and ’subject’ into the opposite of each other, the post-modernists lift away all talk of the deeper structures and power differences which affect people’s lives, something which of course suits perfectly the interests of the rich and powerful by masking the oppressive and unjust nature of the society in which we live.Transgression of divisions as opposed to their abolition In another section of the book she talks about what she describes as ‘the cult of the whore’, about the district of Raval in Barcelona, the people there who wear T-shirts with the slogan ‘Yo també soc puta’ (‘I am also a whore’). The cultural admiration of the prostitute is, in Ekman’s view, just contempt from another perspective: “It is still not a recognition of women’s humanity, rather a love of all that is nasty and low which the prostitute is associated with.” Those who wear the T-shirts in Barcelona think they’re being radical, that they’re transgressing norms. But “what they don’t understand is that the whore is not a whore, she is a person”. As Ekman writes:
    “White ‘wiggers’ absorb hip-hop, backpackers and travellers absorb third-world cultures, male transvestites and drag-queens absorb the female and the femme absorbs the prostitute. The ‘transgressing’ of divisions anticipates that the divisions remain. When the white play black or when academics declare themselves whores and drug addicts, they are mocking those people who are black, who are prostitutes and who are drug addicts”.
    They are, she points out, acting from a position of power and have a complete lack of understanding for what life is actually like for those whom they imitate and shower with false admiration. The difference couldn’t be starker between, on the one hand, the post-modernist’s ‘transgression’ of norms and divisions between people and, on the other, the revolutionary’s desire to abolish them. As Ekman concludes:
    “In the absolute meaning there are no whores. There are people in prostitution for a longer or shorter period of time. There are no ‘types’ of people, no characters. They are people who have ended up in a certain situation. The fetishised ‘transgressing’ of divisions separates itself from the the revolutionary ‘abolition’ of them. The abolition of divisions arises from seeing the human being, the humanity in everyone, everyone’s equal needs … It is an objective solidarity which is built on a subjective understanding. One puts themselves in another’s place and imagines themselves under different circumstances. It is to look into someone else’s eyes and see yourself. And with this insight comes also an insight into the cruelty of the system which has made her into a ‘type’.”
    Fiction of unions for ’sex workers’ I also liked the section where Ekis Ekman highlighted the fiction of so-called ’sex worker’ unions. The International Union of Sex Workers (IUSW), for example, which is affiliated to the GMB and has spoken at conferences of the Labour Party and the Green Party, is run by a man called Douglas Fox. Fox claims to be a ’sex worker’ and accuses radical feminists of being big meanies out to silence him. Yet on closer inspection it becomes clear that Mr Fox is a liar. Sex worker he most certainly is not, rather he is a pimp who runs one of the UK’s largest escort firms. The IUSW’s membership, you see, is open to anyone, to pimps, to men who buy sex, to sympathetic academics. Of its minute membership of 150 (which compares to the 100,000 plus women and men who work in the UK’s sex industry) only a tiny minority are actual prostitutes. It’s the same all over Europe where similar organisations exist (such as ‘de Rode Draad’ in the Netherlands) – their membership is tiny, most aren’t even prostitutes, and they have never succeeded in pushing any independent union demands. Those who support prostitution though have of course never been ones for the facts. We see this idea of ‘unions’ coming from both the left and the right because it’s convenient, it gives prostitution a certain false legitimacy. It doesn’t work and it never will work, but it successfully diverts attention away from the deeper questions around prostitution and why it exists in our society. Related to this is the growth of the so-called ‘harm reduction’ lobby who have gained influence in recent years within a number of governments and international institutions. Ekman shows how this influence grew particularly around the time of the HIV/Aids epidemic of the 80s and 90s when the lobby was asked in by a number of organisations to determine policy on the issue. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) have, for example, both come out in favour of legalising prostitution on the grounds that it will increase state revenues and make it easier to fight the spread of Aids. Both organisations, Ekman writes, have started using phrases such as “she is not a victim, but a subject” and have called prostitution “a women’s job which should be recognised”. The effect of this lobby gaining strength has of course been to further legitimise prostitution and make it harder to fight. When Ekman visited the offices of the organisation TAMPEP in Amsterdam, a group for HIV prevention among ‘migrant sex workers’, and asked if they couldn’t do anything to help women leave prostitution the reply she got was “But why would we do that? Our goal is to teach women to be better prostitutes” (ie. using condoms so as to protect the men who abuse them from infection). This aim (of teaching women to be better prostitutes) is supported with millions of euros of EU Commission money each year. Similarly an official pamphlet produced with the backing of the Australian government instructs prostituted women to “look like you’re enjoying it all the time” and tells the women how to turn down a violent man’s demands without “making him lose his lust”. In addition the pamphlet points out that it might be a good idea to try to avoid bruises because it “can force you to take time off work and as a result lose more money”.
    for the rest click "Read More" bolded below

    Posted by SMBerg on Tuesday, November 09 @ 12:11:19 EST (6384 reads)
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    Human TraffickingPublished in The Portland Alliance, February 2010

    I have been a feminist a long time. First just a feminist, then a liberal feminist, then a sex-positive feminist by my early 20s. To my life-changing joy, I discovered radical feminism and I'm still in that camp, but traipsing through my early 30s brought me to a new way of working for women's rights. I am now a soroptimist. Since last week I have been asking people if they know who the Soroptimists are and what they do. Some folks had vague recollections of community do-gooders, but most externalized the dialogue that ran through my brain upon receiving word of the conference, “Sorop-wha?” Soroptimist means “best for women.” They are an international volunteer organization of professional women comprising more than 1,400 clubs in 19 countries who work to improve the lives of women and girls. From microcredit to funding media projects and more, throughout the day I heard astonishing success stories that convinced me they're not bragging about that “best for women” declaration. Soroptimists are the key constituents behind the Northwest Coalition Against Trafficking (NWCAT), the official sponsor of the anti-trafficking conference that drew a crowd of 500 to Portland's Red Lion Hotel on January 9. Soroptimist International Northwestern Region is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that has formed a coalition of agencies, political leaders, community organizers, media and business contacts throughout the Northwest to work against trafficking. And mama mia is there trafficking in the Northwest. Deputy Keith Bickford, director of the Oregon State Human Trafficking Task Force, explained why Portland is a major slave hub in the United States, “Lots of pimps have come to Portland because there have been few prosecutions.” One pimp told him “schools are buffets” where slavers can find teen girls to turn out by the bunch. Bickford blamed the city's legal sex industry, lax trafficking enforcement, large numbers of homeless youths, proximity to two interstate freeways and seasonal farmwork, but highlighted the fact that pimps only provide what johns demand. Research on Scottish johns from 2008 revealed twice as many prostitute-using men identified themselves as politically left than politically right (32% versus 17%). Portland progressives need to stop smirking at the sexual capitalism that has masqueraded under liberalism's aegis for too long. Talk of building a shelter for prostituted girls has been buzzing for about two years, but little headway has been made into the enormous project. Greg Moawad of the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office used his session “Prosecution 101” to explain the critical role of a safe haven in seeing traffickers brought to justice. Prosecution is almost impossible without victim testimony, but these girls are scared for their lives. “The very reasons she was selected as a victim makes it hard for her to effectively prosecute them,” Moawad reported. Between the arrest date and the court date, girls often run away rather than go to court and face their enslavers. A shelter will provide victims with the security and social assistances they need to put these career criminals in jail. It is easy to be against trafficking, tantamount as it is with slavery. More difficult by far is to take issue with the trafficker's propaganda machine: the porn industry. Criticisms of pornography that go beyond jokes about bad music, fake breasts, and other purely aesthetic offenses are anathema in Portland. I have reported on many anti-trafficking events over the years and very rarely have the educational sessions or speakers broached the topic of pornography's influence on sexual slavery. Imagine my delight when I walked into Esther Nelson's workshop and encountered a slide depicting pornography as a form of sex trafficking. Nelson was there representing the Sexual Assault Resource Center (SARC) and she did a bang-up job explaining how porn stimulates men's desire to use prostitutes. To separate pornography from prostitution is to deny that women and children are often exploited by pimps who can operate camaras. Men who pay to watch prostitutes be prostituted on film are long-distance johns, and many move on to buying sex locally. An increasingly pornified culture was Nelson's target and she criticized the current valorization of all things pimp; television shows like “Pimp My Ride”, feature movies like “Hustle & Flow,” and songs like 50 Cent's career-making “P.I.M.P”:
    I let em' do as they please, as long as they get my cheese
    Even if they gotta freeze, or if it's a hundred degrees
    I keep em' on they knees, take a look under my sleeve
    I ain't gotta give em' much, they happy with Mickey D's
    Later that afternoon, Soroptimist International of the Americas President Cathy Standiford made a soroptimist out of me when she also pointed a finger-o'-blame at pornography, “80 percent of prostitutes say johns have shown them porn to illustrate what they want.” Read the rest

    Posted by smberg on Tuesday, February 09 @ 11:34:30 EST (10912 reads)
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     News: Carnival of Radical Feminists #22

    Genderberg wasn't supposed to host a Carnival of Radical Feminists, but I made my trap and walked into it.

    See, months ago I emailed Heart (aka Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff) for permission to put a call for future hosts on the forum with the hope that some blogging members who are radical feminists would volunteer; not all are radfems. Her reply unmistakably identified the next open slot as Genderberg's and my inner stepchild cracked a wry smile at the realization Heart had misunderstood (or did she? hmm) my intention. She was thrilled with the idea and then I was stuck.

    The pulse-quickening risk of pushing into unknown internet territories to explore for material was mostly pleasant. The same will not be said for sifting through the official carnival entries, but offenders were usually apparent.

    After the carnival host concept solidified in my noggin, my second thought was that I wanted to see my favorite essay on prostitution in the next edition. The problem was that the essay didn't live anywhere online, only in the book Not for Sale. I am thrilled to announce author De Clarke has sent me an electronic version to share, because I have read hundreds of essays on prostitution and this one stands out for its singular round-up of crisscrossing issues delivered in mellifluous prose. The addendum on Abu Ghraib is not only eerily relevant today but a spectacular explanation for why men make and use pornography.

    "Prostitution for everyone: Feminism, globalisation, and the 'sex' industry'" by D.A. Clarke
    http://genderberg.com/docs/Prostitution ... ifinal.pdf

    "First, the prevailing Market-worship mocks and devalues any suggestion of altruism; if women fortunate enough to have escaped sexual exploitation in their own lives demonstrate concern and caring for prostituted women, they are dismissed as naive, unrealistic idealists and (of course) 'ideologues.' The 'sexual liberation' pseudo-progressive ideology then serves to cast women who object to exploitation, profiteering, coercion and other routine practises of the sex industry as 'crypto-conservatives,' 'neo-Victorians,' 'anti-sex,' and so forth. Should either of those barriers fail to discourage the feminist social critic, the neoliberal dogma is trotted out to prove that, for example, the woman eating dog food on the floor of Stern's studio is exactly where she wants to be. Any woman who expresses disgust at the men who enacted and enjoyed this ritual of humiliation is actually an anti-feminist: she is denying the agency and choice exercised by this 'liberated' female, the 'good sport' who is 'tough enough to take it' and needs no sympathy or interference from well-meaning nannies. Just as, of course, the poor are quite capable of pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps and need no insulting assistance from the smothering hands of Big Government."
    from addendum:
    "Why did the Nazis take pictures and meticulously document the atrocities committed in the camps? Why did a generation of white hunters take pictures of themselves standing on wild animals they had shot? Why do hunters hang trophy heads on their walls? Why did white people take pictures of lynchings and make them into postcards that were then collected and traded? Why did GIs in Vietnam collect ears and other more private body parts from their victims? Why did ‘Indian fighters’ and bounty hunters in the old American West collect body parts from dead Indians? And – lastly – why do men make documentary pornography?"
    Here's what else me and contributors (thank you!) culled together for your reading pleasure.


    Posted by smberg on Wednesday, July 01 @ 14:18:57 EDT (5441 reads)
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     News: A Crime That Should Shame Us All

    Porn, Prostitution, Sex Industry A Crime That Should Shame Us All
    Eighty percent of trafficking victims are sold for sex.
    February 25, 2009
    By Swanee Hunt

    In the midst of the bitter winter of a failing global economy, the United Nations is calling the world's citizens to recognize the plight of the most vulnerable: slaves.

    It's fitting that on the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) launched its first assessment of the scope of human trafficking, the modern-day form of slavery.

    The findings are grim. Based on data from 155 states, the "Global Report on Trafficking in Persons" includes country-specific information on legislation and criminal-justice responses to global patterns and criminal network flows. While the number of countries that have moved toward implementing the UN Protocol Against Trafficking in Persons (2000) has doubled since 2006, two of every five countries in the study have not convicted a single person on trafficking charges -- that's more than half of the UN member states.

    True, the number of convictions worldwide is increasing each year, but not in proportion to the growing incidence of the crime. Governments are either unequipped or, worse, unwilling to attack the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world.

    One of the greatest barriers to progress is the misleading term "trafficking," which implies movement. There's nothing magic about moving a girl from Kyiv to Paris, or from Dallas to Boston. In either case, when children are exploited for pornography, or terrified adults work for miniscule pay, it's enslavement.

    Troubling Figures

    The UNODC study estimates that 80 percent of slaves are sold for sex, while the remaining 20 percent are forced to toil in fields, homes, and sweatshops. Worldwide, children make up 20 percent of victims, with estimates as high as 100 percent in some areas of West Africa.

    The report provides much-needed data and brings us closer to understanding the depth, breadth, and scope of trafficking; but as UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa admits, "We don't know much about the size of the iceberg that lies beneath." No UNODC figures for the total number of victims exist, but the International Labor Organization estimates that it is growing by 2 million people every year -- if you don't count those who have died or been rescued. Countries documented only 22,500 victims rescued in 2006. That means that only one in 100 victims is freed from bondage.

    "Are we making some progress? I wish we were," Costa lamented during the New York release of the report. "Twenty-two thousand rescued; 2 million in the pool; 99 percent of the victims are still victimized -- I would like member states to take this more seriously. This is a very strong message." It's a message the United States and Europe, in particular, must not ignore.

    I've just returned from a six-city swing, mostly in Eastern Europe, examining antitrafficking strategies. So I was not surprised by the finding that, although European countries (with the exception of Estonia) have legislation against trafficking, there is a decrease in the number of investigations in Western and Central Europe. The number of people being trafficked within and between European countries is growing, but it seems political interest is declining.

    On a positive note, Eastern Europe and Central Asia registered a steady increase in convictions between 2003 and 2007. Although this could be attributed to pressure from the international community, countries such as Moldova, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine should be commended for taking tangible steps to root out trafficking. During my travels, I was amazed to discover that the government of Ukraine has created a unit within the Interior Ministry to target trafficking, with no less than 600 personnel.

    Negative Trends

    Perhaps the most troubling finding from the report was that a significant number of arrested members of trafficking networks are women. And often, women trafficking victims accept an offer of greater freedom and less abuse in exchange for trapping others. Has Europe failed its women twice over, creating appalling situations where women are compelled to be both victims and victimizers?

    Perhaps the real picture is that male criminals in the upper echelons of the hierarchy use women to carry out the most visible tasks, in the same way that drug lords use women as "mules." As terrorists may use female suicide bombers because they seem less threatening, women recruiters can more easily build trust with the young women they're luring into the sex trade. And once caught, women don't have the same "boys' networks" that allow them to buy off corrupt police and judges as easily as their male counterparts.

    After the Iron Curtain fell, rural villages in Eastern Europe were emptied of their women, who were shipped like chattels to the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. Although European children, women, and men are still being exported and exploited, the UN identified Europe as the destination for victims from other parts of Europe, but also Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Prague is one of the 20 top sex-tourism destinations in the world, and the infamous red-light district of Amsterdam has become a den of illegal trade in flesh. The economic crisis will probably push more women to desperation as the only thing they have left to sell is themselves.

    Attacking Demand

    We need to find ways to attack the problem at its core -- by eradicating demand. Yes, it's crucial to help rescue victims of trafficking. However, unless we deal with the market, trafficking will continue to grow. It's more likely that we can curb the demand for commercial sex and labor before we solve the social inequities that contribute to the supply.

    Although Europe overall is a leading driver of demand, individual countries are taking the lead in tackling demand, at least for commercial sex. Last year, I traveled to Scandinavia with Lina Sidrys Nealon, manager of the modern-day slavery project at Hunt Alternatives Fund, to examine the innovative ways in which Sweden and Norway are fighting the sex trade. Originally ridiculed yet now lauded around the world, Sweden's 1999 "Sex Purchase Law," which criminalized buying sex and decriminalized selling sex, is rendering trafficking almost nonexistent in that country.

    Norway recently made it illegal for its citizens to purchase any sex act anywhere in the world. In Lithuania, Greece, Ireland, and Finland, it's a crime to buy sex from trafficked persons. Britain's Home Office has taken it one step further, introducing a law in December that made it an offense to pay for sex with someone "controlled for another person's gain," including pimps, traffickers, and drug dealers who force addicts into prostitution to repay them.

    Even in Amsterdam, a third of the red-light-district brothels were closed in 2008 due to their involvement in illicit trafficking. Communities in the Czech Republic, Italy, and England have shifted law enforcement energies to arresting customers, while providing the sellers of sex with social services rather than taking them to court, in contrast to the ineffective practice we see in the United States of arresting women and girls in the sex trade, while ignoring the men.

    The UN calls trafficking "a crime that shames us all." When our fellow human beings are treated as commodities, our own humanity is diminished. Let us turn shame into action and remove this stain from our soil, from our souls.

    Swanee Hunt served as U.S. ambassador to Austria from 1993 to 1997. She is Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and president of Hunt Alternatives Fund, which includes a project focused on fighting the demand for sex trafficking.

    Posted by smberg on Tuesday, March 03 @ 15:50:22 EST (4922 reads)
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     News: Revealed: the truth about brothels

    Porn, Prostitution, Sex IndustryRevealed: the truth about brothels

    A survey into London's off-street sex industry has exposed just how widespread it is - and documents in disturbing detail the plight of the women trapped in it.

    Julie Bindel
    The Guardian
    Wednesday, Sept 10, 2008

    When Frank rang a brothel in Enfield, he could hear a baby crying in the background. When Alan called one in Southwark, he could make out the sound of a child asking for his tea. And when Mick called another to inquire about their services, he was told that he could have a "dirty Oriental bitch who will do stag nights, anal, and the rest."The men were undertaking research for Big Brothel: a Survey of the Off-Street Sex Industry in London, the most comprehensive study ever conducted into brothels in the UK. The project, which gathered information from 921 brothels in the capital, was commissioned by the Poppy Project, the only British organisation that offers support for women trafficked into prostitution.My co-author Helen Atkins and I recruited male friends and colleagues to help with the research, and warned them that the work might be upsetting. They were to telephone brothels, posing as potential punters, with a list of questions including "What nationalities are on offer tonight?", "Do the girls do anal?", "How about oral without a condom?", and "What age are they?" We wanted to look at what really goes on in brothels - how much control the women really have; whether there is evidence of trafficking; if local councils are giving licences for saunas and massage parlours when it is clear that they are brothels; and how the sex industry is growing and evolving. During 120 hours of telephone calls, we established the following: at least 1,933 women are currently at work in London's brothels; ages range from 18 to 55 (with a number of premises offering "very, very young girls"); prices for full sex start at £15, and go up to £250; and more than a third of the brothels offer unprotected sex - including, in some cases, anal penetration. The lowest price quoted for anal sex was £15. "Come along and bring your mates," said one brothel owner. "We have a Greek girl who is very, very young." While kissing used to be off-limits for women selling sex, it can now be bought for an extra tenner. Of the brothels researched, 85% operate in residential areas. Almost two-thirds are located in flats and more than one-fifth are in a house. Wherever you are in the city, the likelihood is that buying and selling women is going on under your nose.Our researchers contacted only brothels that advertised in local newspapers - not those that advertise on websites or on cards in telephone boxes. Because of this we only uncovered the tiniest corner of the trade. But we still encountered brothels in every London borough, with Enfield (a typical residential area of north London) having a minimum of 54, and Westminster at least 71. We estimated that the brothels we surveyed made anything from £86m to £209.5m in total per year through newspaper advertisements alone. Although it is a criminal offence to advertise prostitution services, the law is not enforced, and this "blind eye" approach serves the pimps and punters well. Researchers also interviewed women who have worked in London brothels, and all reported having felt degraded and violated while selling sex. This tallies with previous research: one large US study on prostitution and violence found that 82% of women had been physically assaulted since entering the trade, with many having been raped. More than 80% were homeless, and a majority, on and off-street, were addicted to illegal drugs and/or alcohol. UK research published in 2000 found that prostitutes routinely face sexual and physical violence from pimps and punters, but have little or no "workplace" protection. One of the women we spoke to was Naomi, who, like many prostitutes, has a history of childhood sexual abuse. When she ran away from home, she met a man who pimped her - first into hostess clubs, then from a private flat. "It's an unsettling, unhealthy experience seeing 20 guys a day," she says, "and you don't know what the next person will be like".A common assumption is that brothels are safer than the street, and while it seems that women are more likely to be murdered if they are working on the streets, the prevalence of rape and other attacks from pimps and punters is also high in brothels. "The men have up to an hour to do what they like to you," says Janet, who was pimped into a Leeds brothel when she was 15, "whereas at least on the street you can always try to run away."Rachel told us about the reality of how much money the women make, as well as the inherent danger in the off-street trade. "Flats are set up to be a rip-off, to be truthful with you, because you're not going to make money for yourself." Rachel made about £200 a day, but after paying card boys, rent, the maid, and her "protector" (pimp), she came out with next to nothing. "And you're not guaranteed security at the end of the day."Alice brought it home to us just how accepted and normalised prostitution has
    become. "You sit in a basque, in a window with your red light on. When you get a client you close your curtains and turn your red light off. That starts from eight in the morning."The minister for women, Harriet Harman, is determined to curb the massive trade in women's bodies. Last week she released findings from a Mori poll of more than 1,000 British adults on attitudes to paying for sex. It found that the vast majority of both men and women polled would think it "unacceptable" if a partner paid for sex; the majority would support a law that criminalised paying for sex; and around half would back a law that decreased the number of women being trafficked into the UK.As our researchers discovered, brothels market women merely as merchandise. Frank was offered "two for the price of one" if he visited during "happy hour" (any time before 5pm). One brothel owner offered to send two women to the punter's home for a £50 delivery charge; another offered free oral sex without a condom if more than £50 was spent; and at one suburban sauna, first-time buyers were offered a voucher which entitled them to 50% off the next visit.We primed the telephone researchers to look for evidence of trafficking. There was plenty. Brothels offered women of 77 different nationalities and ethnicities, including many from known-source countries for trafficking. One researcher was told by a brothel owner, "For no condom and anal, call tomorrow. Eastern Europeans promised later in the week."One punter I interviewed for another research project told me that in choosing a woman, "I made a list in my mind. I told myself that I'll be with different races eg Japanese, Indian, Chinese. Once I have been with them I tick them off the list."Many people are unhappy that this research has been done at all. The pro-legalisation lobby do not seem to want the horrors of what goes on in brothels exposed, preferring to present such places as being similar to an office environment; simple, clean, consensual workplaces. Punters are also unhappy about public exposure of brothels. One frequent customer at a Soho brothel told me, "I don't know why people have to research prostitution - the army shoots innocent people, fast food poisons people; no one wants to research them. It's the only job that has no downside. It only brings pleasure to the customer."Some of the male researchers had previously been liberal about prostitution. Frank had thought that legalisation would be beneficial to the women, and Mick believed that some would be happy earning good money. By the end of the project, all the men considered prostitution to be a violent and abusive industry, and perceived the punters as harmful misogynists. Nigel said that after weeks of talking about sex to third parties in a cold, clinical way he realised that the women were being used as nothing more than a product. "The idea of sex started to be devalued and demeaned, its sanctity lost," he says. Tony was shocked at the number of brothels. "They're on high streets, down alleyways and in suburban two-up two-downs."Unless we think about sustainable and substantive solutions that will eventually eradicate prostitution, it will continue to grow at an alarming rate - research published last year found that in just 10 years, the number of men paying for sex in the UK almost doubled. What Big Brothel shows is that commercial sex is becoming as normalised as stopping off for a McDonald's. There are two key ways that the UK can respond. We can legalise the trade, make the women pay taxes, and declare the pimps to be legitimate businessmen. Where brothels have been legalised- in Amsterdam, for instance - the illegal sector continues to flourish. Since brothels were legalised in Melbourne, Australia, more than 20 years ago, the number of unlicensed brothels has trebled. Few prostitutes will pay tax, as the act of registering their trade is too stigmatised, and their lives are often too chaotic. There is no evidence that legalisation keeps women safe, but there is plenty that shows it results in an increase in demand for the sex trade. In Australia, $11.3bn was spent on prostitutes and strippers last year, and the trade is growing at approximately 8% a year. The other option is to bring in a law that makes paying for sex illegal, while helping to educate the public that prostitution is not a victimless crime. This has worked in Sweden, where such a law was introduced nine years ago, and 80% of Swedes now support it. Trafficking into the country is now lower than in any other EU nation. This is the approach that government ministers Harriet Harman and Vera Baird support.Most men do not pay for sex. Those who do need educating about the harm that prostitution causes to women and society in general. Some will only stop if they are frightened of the consequences, such as one charmer who told me, "If she isn't crying but says no, I keep on. I only stop if she is really crying."Others are able to justify to themselves what they do, simply because it is not against the law. When I asked why he pays for sex, one regular punter told me: "It's like going for a drink. You are not doing anything illegal." At the moment, he is right. Let's hope the government has the courage to change that.

    Posted by smberg on Thursday, September 11 @ 13:15:20 EDT (7157 reads)
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    Porn, Prostitution, Sex IndustryA new report published by Scotland’s Women’s Support Project is titled Challenging Men’s Demand for Prostitution in Scotland: A research report based on interviews with 110 men who bought women in prostitution”. Here is the beginning of entry from UK radical feminist blog At The Root that puts some of the report's findings about johns (aka punters) into context. -Sam
    "Nothing is going to deter me from masturbation, and prostitution is an extention of that.” by Debs

    Thanks to Jennifer Drew for emailing me information about a report published recently by Scotland’s Women’s Support Project. It is entitled Challenging Men’s Demand for Prostitution in Scotland, and is “A research report based on interviews with 110 men who bought women in prostitution,” by Jan MacLeod, Melissa Farley, Lynn Anderson and Jacqueline Golding.
    Reading the report, and especially the quotes from some of the men (a particularly telling example of which I have used as the title for this post), I was reminded very much of another post I wrote some time ago, after I had had the misfortune to stumble upon a site called Punternet, where men who bought women for sex across the UK gave reviews of those women, as though they were talking about a used car or a microwave oven. I mention this not least to show that the types of attitudes expressed by the men questioned for this report are not peculiar to Scotland. Also, the “masturbation” quote I have used as a title is extremely resonant with a comment made by Kiuku in this comment thread, saying, “It is rape because it is basically men masturbating into your body,” except the quote in this study is from a man, a punter himself, unwittingly admitting to the rape of prostituted women. Here is the quote, along with some others from the report: “Nothing is going to deter me from masturbation and prostitution is an extension of that.” “If a guy wants his hole, go and get it done with, get it out your system.” “They know what they’re there for. You get what you pay for without the ‘no.’” “It depends on if the woman has track marks on her vagina. That’s a real turn off.” “I was with a group of pals. We’d been talking about it for years, I think all blokes do. 8 of us specifically went to get the puff and prostitutes… It was a rite of passage. We went to prostitutes three times a day. We were like pigs in shit…” Another punter was a frequent prostitution tourist in Asia. He detailed the harsh conditions women were subject to in Thai and Cambodian prostitution. Exposing his narcissism and his sadism, he rationalised the commission of sexual violence against women and children.
    “I don’t get pleasure from other people’s suffering. I struggle with it but I can’t deny my own pleasures. In Cambodia I knocked back a lot of children; it makes it hard to sleep at night. But I don’t see the point in making a moral stance.”
    “I think it would help a couple if they weren’t happy and the husband was going with a prostitute now and then – may help cement the relationship. If the wife doesn’t know, it might make him happy.” Just in case anyone was under the illusion that men who use prostituted women see them as human beings, or something. These quotes are followed in the report by a woman speaking from the other side of the ‘transaction’. “Every day I was witness to the worst of men. Their carelessness and grand entitlement. The way they can so profoundly disconnect from what it is they’re having sex with, the way they think they own the world, watch them purchase a female. I was witness to their deep delusions. Spoiled babies all of them, and so many of them called [telephoned] prostitutes. I thought,maybe all men called prostitutes. It was a terrible thought, but really, what did I care. There was a system in place that was older and stronger than I could begin to imagine. Who was I? I was just a girl. What was I going to do about it? If I had any power I would make it so that nobody was ever bought or sold or rented,” Michelle Tea, 2004 These men’s contempt for the women they are paying for (and by extention, all women) could not be clearer. They are deluded, self-important pricks. They are also rapists, but, hey, let’s not be too inflammatory here. No, let’s. They are rapists, and “masturbation man”, who just came right out and said if he’s fed up of masturbating on his own, he’ll go out and buy a woman to masturbate into, admits it, whether he knows it or not. I’m going to spin wildly off-topic for a moment, and bring Johnny Vegas into the discussion. Except it’s not off-topic at all - it’s pretty much the same thing, and exactly the same attitude towards women. Unless you live in a cave half-way up a mountain, you will be aware that lovable, fat oaf Johnny has distinguished himself this week by sexually assaulting a woman live on stage as part of his side-splitting act.* Apparently, this is okay, because Johnny is “funny” and some sycophants in the audience laughed whilst he did it. According to eye-witness accounts, he actually fingered the woman through her clothes, which, as Cruella rightly points out, means penetration, which means rape.So, well-known comedian rapes woman live on stage, with, presumably, several hundred eye-witnesses, but it’s okay because…why? He’s funny? He’s ‘just a normal bloke’? He lost control for a minute? What? Rape is a criminal offence (as is the “lesser” offence of sexual assault, which definitely took place), so, why has Johnny not been charged? Why is he not being questioned by the police? Why are most people acting like this is perfectly normal and acceptable behaviour? Because, we live in a rapist society, that’s why. Because the majority of men hold attitudes towards women reflected by the johns who took part in this research, and would cheer Johnny on from the audience, and laugh and think it was a really good night out. And just as Johnny walks free, and receives pats on the back from other men, so do the men who use prostituted women walk free, and are congratulated by their friends for proving what great men they are. So, again this proves these types of attitudes are not specific to the particular men who took part in this study. It is prevelant, it is the norm - if you are a man and you don’t hold those attitudes, you are in the minority.Read the rest of the post by clicking here

    Posted by smberg on Friday, May 02 @ 17:54:16 EDT (15084 reads)
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