Nobody Asked

  I answered this reader’s question on my own blog a year ago, but since it addresses issues that arise periodically I felt it would be worthwhile to revisit it here: I’m passionately against sex-trafficking, and on the whole I do not support sex work.  If the existence of the sex industry hides trafficked victims,

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Guinea Pigs

As I’ve written many times, tyranny always starts with unpopular minorities, but it absolutely never stops with them.  Every time a new kind of law, legal procedure or police tactic is dreamed up by those with the sick need to control others, it is invariably tested first on some group that the “authorities” know few

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Doubling Down

As I’ve pointed out many times, moral panics do not slowly decline until they vanish; rather, they continue to grow until they begin to rot from within like an overripe fruit, then they burst and spread their noxious juices everywhere.  Seen from some angles, though, the panic may seem as robust as ever right up until

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Column: Rotting Fruit

After a moral panic ripens into its fullest development, it quickly begins to rot and ferment, producing noxious spirits which seep into the body politic and cause all manner of aberrations for years; sometimes the aftereffects can last for decades.  The odious fruit of “sex trafficking” hysteria is no exception; it reached its peak last

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Feminists and Other Puritans

Every time one reads an article that doesn’t mindlessly parrot “sex trafficking” hysteria or some other aspect of the anti-sex movement, yet isn’t written by a sex worker or ally, one can be sure there will be an obligatory sentence about how it’s “surprising” or “paradoxical” or whatever that anti-sex carceral feminists (to use my

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Traffic in Nonsense

I’ve previously predicted that the “sex trafficking” moral panic will start to fall apart in about three more years: …skepticism about “trafficking” (especially in regard to its conflation with sex work) will slowly increase, and by about 2015 it will be possible for a major media outlet to publish articles critical of both the statistics

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Gift Horse

I am often asked by interviewers if I think the majority of sex work prohibitionists truly wish us harm, or if they’re just misguided.  I answer that while the leaders of the prohibition movement are evil, duplicitous and fully aware of the harm they’re causing both to whores and to our clients and families, most of the

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Crippling Thought

The danger of crippling thought, the danger of obstructing the formation of the public mind by specially suppressing…representations is far greater than any real danger…from such representations. –  George Bernard Shaw Today is the first day of Banned Books Week, an occasion which interests me as a librarian, as a sex worker and as a steadfast supporter

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Cardboard Cutouts

To those who aren’t sex workers and don’t make a full-time job out of following the developments in our  persecution, it must sometimes seem as though I’m exaggerating the awfulness of the situation.  Furthermore, those same people may not think the difference between decriminalization (as practiced in New Zealand) and legalization (as practiced in The

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Let Me Help

Last November a reader asked me to explain my view on “sex trafficking”.  She wrote, “I…understand your disdain for people who assert that no educated person could ever choose the life of a prostitute, and I understand that most people who work for anti-human trafficking orgs assert that every single sex worker needs to be saved from herself,

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Thought Experiment

The dignity of man is in free choice.  –  Max Frisch One of the most important negative effects of the popular concept that sex is somehow magically different from all other behaviors is the modern fixation on pimps.  The nightmares of neofeminists and the masturbatory fantasies of trafficking fetishists teem with brutal (and usually dark-skinned)

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Business As Usual

After generations of ignoring the violence against sex workers which is directly or indirectly caused by either full (as in the US) or partial (as in the UK) criminalization, the public is slowly beginning to wake up to the reality: most of it is perpetrated by the police.  Prohibitionists and “authorities” want everyone to believe the opposite, that clients

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Not What They Expected

Back in January I wrote, Until the advent of the internet, those who suffer from the sick need to control other people’s sexuality…must have felt that…they would always be able to suppress sex workers…But…the arrival of…social media gave…widely-scattered sex worker rights groups a way to connect easily and cheaply in real time, resulting in an explosion

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Rescued To Death

Though it’s wrapped in layers of feminist and “anti-crime” rhetoric, the truth of the matter is that the war on sex workers (whether in its pure form or disguised as concern over “sex trafficking”) is “deeply rooted in Protestant Christianity’s obsession with ‘pure and pious womanhood’, and even when there is no Christian group involved in

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Helping Themselves

For most of the Twentieth Century, “authorities” in many Western countries (especially the United States) chose to portray sex workers as either criminals to be jailed or “problems” to be solved, “social evils” as the Victorians had termed us.  But by the 1970s, that narrative was wearing thin:  the sexual revolution had opened many people’s

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Whither Canada?

As you probably know unless you’ve been living in a cave, two months ago the Supreme Court of Canada overturned the laws which made the legal activity of selling sex much more difficult and dangerous, just as similar laws in the UK, India, parts of Australia and many other countries do.  As I wrote in

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Year’s End

I’ve been writing for Cliterati for a year now, and have covered a plethora of topics.  In my own blog, I always do a year’s-end retrospective of the top stories, but since I only do one column per week here versus seven for mine (and none of these are multiple-item news columns), I think I

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Honoring Our Dead

I know who held the knife, but they might as well have put it in his hands.  –  the mother of murdered sex worker Petite Jasmine Several days a year sex workers and our allies get together, either in person or in spirit, to observe certain occasions.  On March 3rd, we agitate for our rights and

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Case Study

In the process of writing my blog and these essays for Cliterati, I read and scan a tremendous number of news stories every week, from websites based all over the world.  I get many of them from links on Twitter, and my readers send many others; some of them I stumble onto by chance while

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Range of Experience

Freedom and whores are the most cosmopolitan items under the sun. – Georg Büchner In order to get around the “consenting adults” argument and negate the obvious symmetry between arguments for abortion rights and those for the right to have sex on one’s own terms, modern prohibitionists often argue that whores are incapable of rational adult

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Columns: Innocence Never Had

I’ve often written about the Cult of the Child, that strange remnant of the Victorian Era which teaches that children (and their definition of the term extends far beyond that Nature uses) exist in what cultists term “innocence”, a state which they seem to equate with “purity” and Divine grace, but which in actuality means ignorance

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Columns: Everything Old is New Again

History, it is said, repeats itself.  And while the parallels are never exact, they are often pretty damned close.  Witness, for example, the new Victorianism which has engulfed Western society: …we have become shockingly hypocritical about sex and grant our governments tremendous power to suppress it while simultaneously spending tremendous amounts of time and money

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