From Emi Koyama :
At that point, an audience member who is a representative from the U.S. Attorney’s Office was invited to make a statement, which she was completely unprepared for.
But it is then she slipped the information that confirmed what many activists knew was the case but most government experts were smart enough to conceal: that the U.S. Attorney’s Office views domestic minor sex trafficking as “primarily gang-related,” and has moved the issue to its “gang unit”; transnational human trafficking on the other hand was moved to the civil rights unit.
The admission that the U.S. Attorney’s Office views domestic minor sex trafficking as a “gang-related” problem is significant. While right-wing anti-trafficking groups such as Shared Hope International has always insinuated racial overtones to the issue (e.g. urban Black men kidnapping suburban white schoolgirls), government officials tended to be more careful in how they communicate the issue. With the admission, however, it should now be a public knowledge that human trafficking is becoming yet another way for young men of color to be criminalized and imprisoned, while leaving behind many economic and social circumstances that lead many youth to engage in the sex trade.
This is a couple of minutes cut out of the Day 2 link on this page If you’re so inclined, this particular discussion starts @ 155:18. – yep that’s 155 minutes in. It was frustrating to listen to, especially when another woman said that it sounded like she was, in a way, re-objectifying or re-victimizing the trafficked women. Argh.
Yesterday was “Human Trafficking Awareness DAY” – and I was totally unawares. I’m calling it political protest – take that! you awareness pushing theocrats! I will be unaware! Just try and stop me, you fuckers!
This is just fucked up. It’s a bit of Christmas “satire” from Amanda Kloer of change.org‘s human trafficking section about Santa’s slaves, otherwise known as “Elves”. I have a great sense of humor, and because my sense of humor is so great, I am able to recognize that this shit ain’t funny. Now, I make sex trafficking jokes all the time, like when my buddy said they found an asteroid allegedly from mars and I asked if it was sex trafficked here – but you see that’s how SATIRE works… here’s some wiki definitionism:
The video isn’t embeddable you can watch it here (update: maybe you can watch it, the page is giving me trouble now, says it has errors) It’s 51:24 in duration, including introduction and question and answer portion. I’ve transcribed only Ms. Dworkin’s prepared speech, beginning at 3:30, below, and my thoughts on what she said follow:
(In part 1 I looked at Polaris Project CEO Mark Lagon’s career history) Here I am talking about a recent post by Lagon on the Polaris Project blog that shows how he shamelessly panders to feminists:
I submitted this post to Feministing.com’s community page, it was not approved.
I’ve decided to join the efforts to expose the motivations of the “anti-sex trafficking” movement which uses an “end the demand” approach to the sex-work industry. They say that as long as prostitution is seen as “acceptable” there will be women and children victimized by it. Because it’s too difficult (they say) to combat the actual abuses that may happen in a decriminalized or regulated industry, it’s more sensible to “end the demand” (which we all know has worked wonders for the Drug War). The practice of “ending demand” means shaming and imprisoning those who do not conform.
Today I’m writing about Linda Smith, former Republican Congresswoman, a social conservative who founded Shared Hope International, an “anti-sex trafficking” organization that now makes policy recommendations on how governments should legislate the sexuality of women. A couple weeks ago Ms. Smith spoke in front of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs pushing her “women are natural victims” and “nobody normal chooses to be a dirty whore” and “dirty women make men want to fuck kids” bullshit. The text of what she said is linked further down, but first you should read the bold parts of this excerpted description of her time in congress:
When I started this blog and said “it won’t have a constant stream of sex worker’s rights stuff”, apparently I lied. Sorry ’bout that.
To tell you the truth, I don’t even really think of it as sex-worker’s rights stuff, I think of it as general human rights stuff. It’s similar to when I would rail against the drug war; that wasn’t because I wanted to do drugs, it was because I’d seen so many people’s lives ruined by the attempted legislation of morality and I wanted it to stop. It wasn’t about the dope smokers and line snorters who got thrown in jail either, it was mostly about mandatory minimums being applied to drug offenses, which resulted in violent criminals being released, and the forfieture laws that violate the right to presumption of innocence and cost truly innocent people their homes, land and savings. I had been sentenced under mandatory minimum guidelines, and not too long after I’d been released a cop was shot and killed by a violent repeat offender named Robert “Mudman” Simon who’d been granted early parole:
In May 1995, Robert “Mudman” Simon, a motorcycle gang member, shot and killed a New Jersey police officer during a routine traffic stop. 4 Mudman had been paroled from a Pennsylvania prison only months before the attack. (source)
between 1970 and 1982, “Mudman” Simon was convicted nine times for crimes that included things such as murder; robbery, rape, weapons charges, receiving stolen property, larceny, issuing worthless checks, forgery, and many other things. [...]Even though he was at one time charged with murdering an inmate, on February 18, 1995, he was released from the State Correctional Institute at Graterford, and on May 6, 1995, just several months later, he shot a policeofficer on a routine traffic stop. (source p264)
When the Mudman story broke I felt compelled to write my first-ever letter to the editor of my local paper. I ranted about the mandadory minimums on drug offenses that had sent prison population skyrocketing up to 130%~ capacity and resulted in violent offenders - who were not covered under mandatory minimum laws – being released far, far too soon and with horrific results. They printed it, I was happy, and I still have a copy of it stashed away somewhere on a shelf in a box of memories.
Tom Ridge was the Governor of Pennsylvania at the time: ”He was elected in 1993 on a campaign stressing fighting crime. He sought and won new anti-crime laws early on, though some were ruled unconstitutional. During his two terms, Ridge pursued a get-tough agenda using all the police-related branches of state government. He’s had little patience for critics, from death penalty opponents to civil libertarians.” Of course, mandatory minimums are a federal sentencing guideline, so the governor had no power to override them, Ridge served as Pa.’s tough on crime governor right up until Bush appointed him director of Homeland Security - and we all know how well that worked out.
Now, when I read about the anti-trafficking organizations targeting the commercial sex industry I have the same worries; that a lot of truly innocent people are being put in far worse situations than they need to be. It seems so simple that decriminalization, or legalization and regulation of sex work is the only way to truly help the people who have been trafficked against their will. It’s the illicite nature of the sex industry as it is now that makes autonomous sex-workers as well as those who have been forced into servitude extremely vulnerable.
Sometimes I am plagued by self-doubt and get worried that I am too harsh or angry or quick to judge. Recently I was complaining about the anti sex-trafficking organizations and how so many of them are ignorant do-gooders who are actively doing-bad and I started to feel like a big ol’ jerk, and I was just about to write a post about how I shouldn’t be so angry about it and how they all just wanna do good and don’t know how – but then I came across this petition to force erotic services ads off of craigslist again and it reminded me of how my anger usually turns out to be well founded.
Sigh. Anyone who wants the erotic services section of craigslist shut down is someone who wants women to be killed.
This was originally a reply on this post about Emma Thompson signing the Polanski protest paper while also acting as an advocate on behalf of women forced into sexual servitude. Since I can’t control my urge to link and quote reams of stuff I’ve put the longer version here:
Well. Doesn’t seem all that hypocritical to me.
It’s my belief that what makes a person like Emma Thompson fail to comprehend the Polanski situation is the very same thing that makes her fail to comprehend that victims of trafficking are being used as scapegoats to enable governments to implement unwanted and unwarrented tracking of “free” human movement while strict border control policies are put in place.