essay, human right, human rights, human trafficking, prostitution, rants, sex industry, sex worker rights, Uncategorized

I re-wrote a previous post of mine as a cause and effect essay for school. I have edited it for grammar and some content, and think its a better read than before.

 

18 October 2016

Cause and Effects of the War on Sex Trafficking

Hollywood’s contribution to causing this war can be most obviously seen in the movie, “Taken,” in which we see a beautiful innocent girl kidnapped and sold as some kind of sex slave. Then Lifetime picked up the torch, creating made-for-television afterschool specials about human trafficking, watched by millions. The stereotypes sex workers have been fighting against for years are easy to accept, to pick up and embellish, which of course the media and politicians wasted little time in doing, although this is not a new issue. However, the hype was encouraged, the media became outraged, and stopping this horrific crime became the darling project of political activists, prostitution and pornography abolitionists, police departments, and religious groups around the globe.

The war on sex trafficking has become a modern day crusade, with politicians and lawmakers riding into war to fight a battle that is often of their own creation, and driven by ideals that are rooted in personal moral values now being forced upon others. These people have created an industry that may have begun with good intentions but has grown into a monster. This is not to say that trafficking and exploitation in the sex industry does not exist, it certainly does, but this so called war has forgotten or willfully cast aside the variable that is individual human thought.

This war has created a rescue industry hell bent on “saving” women that may not in fact need saving. These crusading knights in shining armor arrest those they claim to save, and then label them “victim”, ignoring any opposition they may attempt. As a woman, this is a direct violation of the rights my sex fought so hard for, to be treated equal, to be assumed unless proven otherwise to possess the mental capacity to be aware of my own victimization, or lack thereof. The war that police and anti-prostitution activists claim is saving women from coercion and exploitation is itself coercing and exploiting these women, yet believing itself justified, because the women in question are not viewed as human beings with capacity for individual choice, but as victims.

This over-hyped crusade has created even more dangerous working conditions, and has imprisoned hundreds if not thousands of innocent people in our country alone, simply for being associated with a prostitute, and has denied millions of women’s rights as citizens of this free country.

The police and the prosecutors are potentially wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money and distorting facts while trying to find the elusive “victims” of a crime that is being grossly over prosecuted: promoting prostitution (which can mean profit of any amount being in the possession of anyone other than the sex worker, or providing any assistance whatsoever to the sex worker, including transportation). Boyfriends, friends, anyone that a girl might have depended on to be able to call in an emergency, are now being charged with a heinous crime, which in turn causes the sex worker to work alone, or without any resource should she run into a dangerous situation.

Police departments around the country receive grants from the federal government to fight sex trafficking. So it stands to reason, that when they don’t find any “forced against their will” prostitute victims, they make them up, so that they won’t lose funding. Many women are not forced into prostitution, they are willing and want to do this type of work, and some go out of their way to do it. It is a vast sum of fast, easy money, and you don’t need a degree or a green card to earn it.
But the government has created an enticing incentive for a demographic that is often preconditioned to accept victimization, especially when it can be so obviously beneficial. All a girl has to do is say someone forced her to do it (a favorite excuse since we were children, but not a valid one until now) and she can avoid criminal charges. This is often the beginning of the end of an innocent person’s freedom.
For example, if an illegal alien is the “victim”, all she has to do is lie and, based on the U.S. anti-traffic prostitution laws: She does not have to go to jail or be arrested; she gets to stay and live in America; the U.S. government will provide her with housing, food, and education;
she will be considered a victimed refugee, and can become an American citizen.

And for the independent, self-sufficient, smart, working girl in the world, trying to stay safe as she tries to put food in her belly, there is no one to whom she can turn should a client become violent, without putting that person at risk of prison. She cannot give her mother money for groceries or to help her pay rent, without jeopardizing her mother’s freedom. She must drive herself to any appointments, alone, or risk the other person in the car going to jail. If she does not want to risk the danger in driving alone to a strange man’s home, she must still receive her client somewhere without anyone else present, even another working girl, or risk the other person potentially being charged with a crime.

Prostitution is already the second most dangerous job in our country, second only in death rate to a convenience store clerk. Yet since this war has become nearly a hysteria, whatever minimal security may have saved her in the past, is no longer a viable option if nobody she knows is willing to take the risk involved by any association with her. So how long until the sex industry takes first place?

The effects of this war continue to grow, and the coercion and injustice is unceasing. Its underlying causes are truly tragic, and those involved should be punished accordingly, but there absolutely must be a better way to investigate and separate them from the rest. This modern day crusade is a clear violation of the freedom that our country stands for.

 

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essay, human right, human rights, personal musings, prostitution, rants, Uncategorized

renegāre meaning to renounce; from Latin re- + negāre meaning to deny.

Renegade…I love the way it rolls off the tongue. I enjoy the state of being….Renegade. It makes me think of a wild and rebellious woman, maybe an outlaw in the wild west, the reckless beauty that is the stuff of legend, or is at the very least, a source of fierce independence, strength of body, strength of mind. The definition of a renegade, the dictionary definition, was perhaps the inspiration behind the term being applied by pimps to label an independent/unrepresented hooker. Webster’s defines a renegade as a  traitor, deserter, betrayer, dissenter. Any outlaw or rebel. Well, I would tend to agree that in the mind of some chauvinistic pimp, a woman with the audacity to promote her own body as a means of financial gain, would need to be discredited as a traitor, to dissuade her from being imitated.

 

I personally prefer the original meaning from Spanish renegado; from Medieval Latin renegāre meaning to renounce; from Latin re- + negāre meaning to deny. Renegade, renegado, or renegare, all have an implicit theme of rebellion, independent thought or actions, and the willingness to be scorned, ignored, or attacked in defense of your independance, and your unwillingness to be victimized, or manipulated.

      My personal experience is rather limited on the subject of pimps, mostly because, I think, they don’t really like me, or they figure I’d be too much work to keep in check. There have been a few who thought they might throw a line or two in my direction, just fishing. There have been none who came back a second time, at least not with any serious intent. I mean, I can’t be entirely positive, of course, but a girl learns to be on guard for the treacherous little fucks, or they will pounce when you are unaware, and then your future gets a little sketchy.

        Me personally, I have one very solid, unwavering, immutable reason to not mess around with a pimp, in any way, shape, or context. Girls like me, we don’t last long in male dominated situations, especially masochistic/chauvinist types who demand abject subservience, obedience, and believe that their’s is the only functioning brain  and therefore the only brain that is needed.

        I had a pimp once. It was a rather short lived experience, but not entirely unpleasant, mostly due to this particular gent and his particular preference for me. I thought of it as a game, where I was the  porcelain doll, who was to be petted and admired for being pretty and good. I would do “me” things like take off with the car to renew my driver’s license , and show up 6 hours later in a new outfit without my DL, and everyone would tell each other how badly he would beat me, which presented me with a new and exciting challenge in my acting skills. I played the game, and I played it superbly. I was ever the “star”, driving “daddy” and his pals around, always sweet and when in trouble, always contrite and in desperate need of “daddy” to explain to me what I had done wrong, and how ever could I make it up to him? Ugh, the retelling is making me throw up in the back of my throat just a bit.

        I was entertained for the most part, never really doing anything productive which did not do much to foster any warmth from my “wives-in-law” who saw me as a lazy mooch, just living off of their work, and getting away with it because I was pretty and good. They hated me. However, it all came to a crushing end one sunny afternoon in spring, with the whole “family” assembled haphazardly in the living room upon our return from some seedy chain motel, everyone talking at once about some non-sense that one girl had done. I could not tell you for the life of me what it was she had said or done, but what spewed forth from his mouth offended me on an intellectual level that had heretofore been unmolested.

           He starts yelling, at all of us, in general, that we are absolutely neither required to, or expected to think. That why any of us would assume that our brains were of any use whatsoever was a mystery, that we should quit attempting the use of our own brains and for any decisions or thoughts needed, we should be grateful to be able to defer to him. I paraphrase, of course, his grammar was atrocious.

      In a righteously indignant fit of anger, I stood up, looking in horror around a room full of blank faces and vacant expressions. Not a single one of them seemed angry, or even mildly offended. That total want of any will to be an intelligent, self reliant human being was astounding. I hadn’t even considered that I might be the only one to whom this was a game, an acting exercise. My own opinions, thoughts, and feelings had been casually disregarded as part of a group of non-thinking, brainless, empty bodies, unworthy to contribute thought? This was unacceptable to me, it went against every belief, every standard of decency, and every aspect of who I believe myself to be.

 

            My feminist notions were  scandalized in the wake of this blatant attack on my until that point uncontested belief that as women, we were stronger mentally and intellectually than men.  The propaganda necessary to condition women to accept this total dehumanization is astounding, and can even be conveyed in such a subtle manner that they are drawn in and caught without any idea what sort of monster they serve.  I agree wholeheartedly with any group working to end what is nothing less than a disgrace.

Do not misunderstand me- I am not singling out pimps.  The anti-prostitution rescue crusader’s attitudes towards prostitutes, and their determination to label any woman in the sex trade a victim, is that not also dehumanization? Is that not also a disgraceful lack of basic human rights, to further degrade the group of people that you claim to be rescuing? Is it not also exploitative to gather up women and force them to assume the necessary roles to further a cause that dismisses their choices as a deluded product of someone else’s propaganda?

 We are human beings. Intellectual beings, with brains that produce independent thought, whether the choices we make are morally distasteful or totally incomprehensible to society’s social norm’s, we should be afforded the right to be treated as equal to any one of your “crusaders”.

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human right, human rights, human trafficking, prostitution, sex industry, sex worker rights, Uncategorized

crime victim impact letter

 

Hello, Your Honor, my name is **Karmin** and would like to speak regarding sentencing, and the impact of a crime. At the time of his arrest, I was engaged to be married.. And while my life, my relationship, and the life of the man I intended to marry have been torn to bloody pieces, I’d like to state, for the record, that I still have every intention of making this man my husband, in spite of the valiant efforts of a twisted system to dissuade me from doing so.

 

  These last 13, almost 14 months of my life have been the most stressful and frightening of my life. Stressful because I wanted to fight these lies, and frightening because nobody would listen to me.

Steve Webb may not mean much more that just another name on a paper to a crowded court system, but to me and to the rest of his family, he is everything. He is a fiance, he is a son, he is a father, he is a brother.

He is loved and he is needed.

He is not perfect, his mistakes are not secret, and for those crimes in which he participated, he has faced consequences, and deservedly so. But how long must we all be punished for a crime that never happened, and now one that is a result of that incarceration? This unnecessary theft of almost 14 months of life is a tragedy in itself,

 

The arrest that began it all was literally where it all began. My initial confusion, trying to figure out why these detectives were asking me questions and accusing me of lies . My confusion became utter disbelief 3 days later, after I downloaded the probable cause from the internet, thinking to find out what exactly was going on. But those were not my words, those allegations were untrue, the honest denials I had given to the police were not there but had been replaced.

 As time progressed and I came to the realization that this nightmare was in fact being accepted as truth, and I and my feelings and reputation were defamed and drug through the mud by lies. My disbelief turned to outrage, which in turned was tempered by helplessness and fear, as weeks became months, and my world continued upside down and unsteady.

 I replayed all of those moments between us that his insistance that I stop working, that I needed to come home had been met with my senseless need to thwart any possible threat to my independance. The times that I would yell and scream in stubborn spiteful fury at the audacity of a fiance who loved me and wanted me at home with him.

It never occurred to me that my lifestyle choice would affect anyone else. Nor do I believe that it should have.

  I immersed myself in research, writing letters to news stations and the governor, and the department of justice. I created a website, a facebook page, and a blog, detailing this case and downloading every available document online. I tried to explain that my choices were mine, that I am independant  and intelligent, and my fiance had no part in my work. I tried to explain that I am very passionate about what I do, and that I am entirely my own boss. All this to no avail. My letters were ignored, my pages of little interest to anyone but me.

 In a vain attempt at what I had been led to believe was a chance to explain all this to the prosecutor, I described my personal opinions, my awareness of and heartfelt sympathy to those girls who were in fact the victims that I absolutely am not. I stated facts, explained and defended both my choice and whether I am even capable of making it when it was implied that i was not. I was called a liar, and told that not one word out of my mouth would be believed. That the state of mind causing me to believe that I chose this was understandable and probably a result of trauma. I was so far stereotyped that I was also informed that I am no different than any other prostitute, that he’s seen it all, that he knew that I am simply damaged, abused, or the victim of poor parenting.

    To insist that any and all women who trade sex for money are always “victims” who are being “exploited” by men is simply a way to dehumanize women, as it presumes women to lack agency and capacity to consent. I ask you, should I be treated differently, or as someone inferior, by an officer of the law, simply because my lifestyle choice is deviating from that individuals notion of“decent” female sexual norms? Am I so morally offensive as to be unworthy of fair treatment?Is this prejudice and degradation to be expected all around, or just for lowly prostitutes that have the nerve to think for themselves?

  I recently recieved a letter informing me that I may attend this sentencing and speak regarding sentencing  and this case’s impact upon my life. This is the most accurate summary of the crime who’s prejudice and caprice knows no bounds, the crime who’s victim is the man in the defendents chair, who’s victim is the assumption of equality and justice. Who’s victim is my naive illusions of world where liars are ridiculed and honesty is rewarded.

To conclude, my thoughts regarding sentencing are these.

14 months in a county jail is a challenge even if you’re guilty, even if you have a solid freedom date.

14 months in a county jail, fighting for the right to take part in the rest of your life, being forced to acknowledge the fragility of it, the real possibility that even though you were trying to do right, everything can be taken from you, in the blink of an eye.

I personally have never experienced that kind of trauma, my experiences are limited to 3 months at a time for stuff I was absolutely guilty of.

My heart aches for the man I love, and I am desperately impatient to wrap my arms around him. I am ready for him to come home, I am ready for this nightmare to end. I would ask, no beg, that you take a moment to really see us all.

I am a whore, but is it such a crime for whore to be loved?

**I wrote this letter to the prosecutor’s office of Pierce County Washington, regarding the unlawful and unfounded arrest of my fiance, and their charges against him of human trafficking, as well as their arrogant and dehumanizing insistence that I am a victim, incapable of making a concious choice about my own body. He very nearly lost his entire life because of this prejudice and stigma.

#notyourrescueproject

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human right, human trafficking, sex industry

my first letter regarding human trafficking as it is affecting me personally

Wrote a letter to the News Tribune and the Seattle Times today- if you happen to give a fuck about the sex industry, read it. Let me know what u think~

My fiance has made mistakes, and plenty of bad choices, as have I and millions of people every day. On April 8, Lakewood police organized a prostitution sting that resulted in the arrest of Steven Webb, my fiance, for the crimes of human trafficking & promoting prostitution. 47 years is the sentencing range he is looking at, and he’s 44 years old now. The rash and impulsive panicked lie of a 21-year-old scared to spend a week in jail has already cost him 7 months of his life. In exchange for saying she was forced to work by a pimp, she was given special treatment and allowed to go free. She had an incentive to allege force or coercion to avoid charges herself. Faced with the alternative of jail time, obviously such a practice openly encourages the creation of fictional stories about imaginary pimps. Or, to quote a Denver post article, “Prostitutes often avoid charges if they cooperate”.

This is not a case where any force or coercion was involved, nor is there even a hint of evidence that he ever received a penny from any of it. There is clear evidence and sworn statements that both alleged victims voluntarily and independently engage in sex work. These have been ignored, with the prosecution going forward with not the slightest hesitation. Other cases across the country have been dropped because it is the ethical obligation of the D.A.’s office to pursue only those charges which are supported by the evidence. The evidence in this case, the only evidence, was the alleged statements the Lakewood police detectives claimed were made by the alleged victims.
This begs the question. Why? Police departments around the country receive grants from the federal government to fight sex trafficking. So it stands to reason, that when they don’t find any “forced against their will” prostitute victims, they make them up, so that they won’t lose funding. That’s one theory, anyway. And a scary one.
Most (if not all) of the women I have met were not forced into prostitution, they were willing and wanted to do this type of work, and some went out of their way to do it. It is a lot of fast, easy money, and you don’t need a degree or a green card.
But the government has created an enticing incentive for a demographic that is often preconditioned to accept victimization, especially when it can be so obviously beneficial. All they have to do is lie and say someone forced them to do it (a favorite excuse since we were children, but not a valid one until now).

For example, if an illegal alien is the victim, all they have to do is lie and , based on the USA anti-traffic prostitution laws:

They don’t have to go to jail or be arrested
They get to stay and live in America
The U.S. government will provide them with housing, food, and education
They will be considered victimed refugees, and can can become American citizens.
The police and the prosecutor’s are potentially wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money and distorting facts while trying to find the elusive “victims” of a crime that is being grossly over prosecuted. Boyfriends, friends, anyone that a girl might have depended on to be able to call in an emergency, are being charged with a heinous crime, while the real criminals are free. Police are so determined to justify their actions that they openly refuse to believe people who claim they’re not victims and are just trying to make a living in today’s post-recession world. To claim insistently that all sex workers are simply brainwashed and manipulated by pimps is another paternalistic way to deny her collective voice. It is a common accusation and a subjugation strategy that has been used before and against many groups. It is eerily similar to women being accused of being manipulated by the church to be deprived their right to vote. Why can’t I just be an adult involved in sex work of her own free will?
What so many well-meaning people don’t seem to understand is that the “tough-on-crime” approach being applied to sex-trafficking is not legitimately helping sex trafficking victims, or any sex worker at all). Arresting an adult woman for prostitution, and calling it a “rescue” (involuntary rescue?) does not justify perpetuating the exploitation. If someone with a badge says she does not have the ability to make decisions for herself about sex , whereby the oh so humanitarian government steps in to “help” you realize that you are whatever they tell her, with added threats of criminal charges if she dares to proclaim her independence, how exactly is that any different from the theoretical “coercion” and “exploitation” from which she was supposedly just rescued? Exploiting a person for a good cause is still exploitation.

This is unconstrained and misplaced enthusiasm fueling the decision to prosecute a case in which the so-called victims have submitted signed declarations for the defense, effectively destroying the very basis of a case where by definition, there must be a victim.

People suspected of a crime have extensive due process rights in dealing with the police,and people charged with a crime have even more extensive due process rights in court. The decision whether or not to charge a person with a crime or dismiss them is possibly and probably the single most important event in the chain of criminal procedure, and it rests solely with the prosecutor. The unsuspecting boyfriend of any working girl could have his whole life, in a matter of moments, reduced to a prayer resting on the whim of an office that has become permeated by a culture of self righteousness that leads inexorably down a road where a conviction rate serves as a proxy for real justice.

Cases like this are a thinly disguised witch hunt , an unethical and unreliable narrow view of the sex trade, and leaving legitimate sex trafficking victims wide open and unprotected.

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essay, human rights, human trafficking, prostitution, sex industry

Addressing the matter of Human Trafficking …near me

I am a lifetime resident of our county, and am writing to express my concern about the way that the Pierce County District Attorney’s office is handling the issue of human trafficking, and specifically its charges against my fiance. I am involved directly in this case, as a voluntary witness for the defense, and involuntarily as one of the alleged “victims”. The lack of objectivity on the part of the law enforcement officials and the prosecution as a whole is a matter of concern that I feel is a clear violation of the basic understanding that an American citizen has a right to the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise.

The Washington State code of ethics states that a prosecuting attorney’s duty to be fair is as important as his duty to the general public to actively prosecute violators of the law. Charlton, 90 Wn.2d 657. 110

What so many well-meaning people don’t seem to understand is that the tough-on-crime approach to sex-trafficking is not legitimately helping sex trafficking victims (legitimately helping people means paying attention to what they actually need, not threatening them with arrest if they don’t testify against others.) Law enforcement, with the cooperation and financial backing of anti prostitution activists and our elected officials,  have become the new entity that is now also exploiting these women to further their moral crusade. Freedom is supposed to be what this country is about. Not forcing our moral values on each other.

This issue has directly lead to the arrest and charges filed against Steven Webb.  The police and prosecution as a whole, simply refuse to acknowledge sworn and signed statements that both alleged victims are in fact independently and voluntarily working in the sex industry, and that he is not nor was he ever their pimp.  Instead of acknowledging that these girls have the right to decide whether or not they believe themselves to be victims, these officers of our justice system insisted that they must simply be deluded into believing themselves independent. A victim’s advocate for Pierce County Ms. Dougherty, when asked by the alleged victim she is intended to advocate for, why her own statements were being ignored, asked, “So, are you telling me that you are not a victim here? That you do this work voluntarily?” To which the reply was a vehement yes, that is exactly right, and to which reply she then advised this alleged victim that it is the job of the prosecution to prove she is a victim, and any issues she has with that should be taken up with her own attorney.

How is that in any way furthering the rights of any woman in this so called free country? Lawmakers in our own state have stated the opinion that prostitution is an inherent form of gender based violence and they  accuse anybody who acknowledges the existence of consensual sex work of denying the existence of human trafficking altogether. The issue of human trafficking is real but has become contaminated by moral panic and misguided heroism. This may protect a few victims, but how many will they create? It is crucial to distinguish prostitutes who work of their own free will from victims of sex trafficking. And it is even more crucial that in prosecuting these cases, the law is followed to the letter, and that the investigation be meticulous.

A prostitute is not a victim automatically just because she is in fact a prostitute. Abortion is legal because a woman has a right to decide what to do or not to do with her own body. Should a prostitute not also have the right to do or not do what she wishes with her own body? Is the moral high-mindedness in our country so above reproach that human rights are violated without question, as long as it’s a prostitute who’s rights are being ignored? But only when said prostitute has the audacity to declare herself as independent, and therefore having no need of rescue or information or knowledge that can be used to find any real instance of human trafficking.

What actions are being taken to address issues that have already and will continue to be created by the government’s fanatic lack of planning, investigation, or time? The sex worker community, ranging from affluent and successful high end escorts to street walkers and drug addicts, has been given a solid “get out of jail free” card, which considering that the most often targeted and therefore in need of which would be the drug addicts, street walkers, and various others at the lower end of the totem pole, can and does result in a violation of the freedom of innocent lives, being named because of a grudge, or borrowed money , maybe an unrequited crush or one night stand – who knows?

From a girl living on the fringes of society, addicted to drugs, or just trying to survive, handcuffed alone in a room full of cops and facing jail, a lie, even one of great magnitude, is not entirely surprising. Particularly if she knows by her own experience this has worked before. What is surprising, what is disturbing and should chill the average American citizen right to the core, is the enthusiasm with which this lie is received, and the speed with which a subsequent arrest is made and charges filed.

Why was there no investigative police work? Why didn’t they believe another prostitute, the same day, who said it was not true? The information available by simply purchasing a few court documents online is more than adequate to convince even the most casual observer that there is nothing in this case against Steven Webb that conveys even the faintest idea that he should be prosecuted, but more that the state’s witnesses should in fact be investigated for misleading and contradictory statements, and the state itself should perhaps be questioned for it’s foolish reliance on the statements of two girls who allegedly gave two completely different statements and one who obviously stood to gain directly from her statements, and subsequently also contradicted herself, after of course, she was no longer in jeopardy of losing her own life to prison.

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