Snitch and Snatch

The video above was posted as a response to the Happy Endings? trailer on youtube.

I checked it out and it looks to be all true.  The State Police in Pennsylvania paid for a John to have sex with women in a Allentown Massage Parlor.  The local news channel 7 reported:

 An appeals court has ruled Pennsylvania State Police botched a prostitution investigation in which troopers gave an informant money to pay for sex four times at a massage parlor, along with a total of $180 for the man’s trouble.The Superior Court opinion issued Thursday upheld a Lehigh County judge’s ruling that threw out prostitution charges against (name redacted) in suburban Allentown on the grounds that the government had acted outrageously.

Very interesting!  Not only did the man get money to pay for the sex, he also got paid $180 for his trouble.  I would say it is a waste of taxpayers money, but I don’t need to be redundant.  This is just another example of how prostitution laws are only used to send women to prison.

International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

On Thursday December 17, Sex Workers Outreach Project Boston held a memorial and a march in honor of International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

I gave a short speech about my experiences making the film “Happy Endings?”  When I began the film, the “Rhody Ripper” Jeffery Mailhot was on trial for murdering 3 women in Woonsocket.  12 women escaped.  It is unfortunate that none had gone to the police, it is possible that Mailhot could have been stopped before graduating to murder.

After I spoke, there was a presentation from the Sex Worker’s Internet Radio Library (or SWIRL) with recordings of people who work in all forms of sex work, from phone sex operators to erotic dancers.

Some people came out of the audience of over 20 to speak.  One transgendered woman spoke about her experiences.  She said that between 40-60% of all transgendered women have been a sex worker at some point of their lives.  She told of the violence she had faced as a sex worker, she had been robbed, beaten, and even raped three times.  She also spoke of  more nuanced violence, like housing discrimination.  While she spoke, I sat and came to the realization that sex worker rights are just a natural extension of gay, lesbian, transexual rights.  I believe all glbt rights, woman’s rights, and sex worker rights fall under the same umbrella.  Maybe the red umbrella is a perfect symbol for these rights, as they all are HUMAN RIGHTS.

A man also spoke, for the first time in his life he stated he was a sex worker.  He had given erotic massages.

One African American woman spoke as well.  She said that only recently had she been able to come to terms with the “Nice white man who would visit her mom once in a while was actually a John” and her mom was a  sex worker.

After 5 speakers, names of sex workers who had been victims of murder were read.  The names were followed by the country, a few victims were listed as “Unknown”.  4 of the victims were pregnant.

After the memorial, participants grabbed red umbrellas and marched in the frigid cold to the Copley Marriott where a moment of silence was observed for the most notable victim, Julissa Brisman.

Dirty Money

Two stories were published this past weekend in the Providence Journal.  The first, RI sex lobby weeks larger voice at the General Assembly, went into how there is big money in the sex industry, and some of that money ends up in the hands of RI’s politicians.  I don’t know how this is any different from the story a few months ago on the Asian massage parlors “donating” to the State and local police.

I guess the politicians and the police are not much different, taking money with one hand and shaking a condemning finger with the other.

The second story was “New prostitution law buttons up the Strip Clubs” The main point of this story was how tax revenue was down and the clubs were changing the way they do business.

Revenues at adult entertainment clubs already had been declining along with the economy. Sales tax revenues fell to $11.1 million last year, from $12.1 million in 2004, according to the state tax office. Even The Foxy Lady, the state’s oldest and best known strip club, has seen its business decline to about $4 million a year, down from as high as $5 million during the late 1990s, said the club’s manager, Richard Angell.

Club managers aren’t the only ones feeling anxious. Since indoor prostitution was outlawed, customer traffic — already down 25 percent to 30 percent since the economy tanked — has slipped further. Business fell another 7 percent after the new law took effect, said H. Charles Tapalian, the property owner for two strip clubs — Cheaters and Club Balloons — on Allens Avenue.

These stories come just a few days after the police release info on the first stings. The front page of the PROJO on Sunday,  just a few inches away from a the Strip Club story, was a story on how charities are struggling with finances, and today the Governor cut $100 MILLION from cities and towns budgets.  I guess we don’t really care about the poor or the budgets of the cities and towns, we spend money on police overtime, placing ads in the Phoenix and craigslist, and even more money on hotel rooms so we can set up a sting to catch Pat Patriot!  Way to go RI! Now those are some interesting priorities!

The first rounds of arrests

In the first round of arrests there is one notable name.  “Pat Patriot” the mascot of the New England patriots was among those arrested. I can almost hear the Colts, Dolphins, and Jets fans now.  The ” Revolutionary Minute Man” was one of the 14 arrested during the first sting with the new prostitution law in Rhode Island.

14 Arrests with RI’s new prostitution law


The State Police have made their first arrests with the new prostitution law in RI.  14 men and women have been arrested.  From Projo:

The state police say they have arrested six women and eight men under the state’s new prostitution law, which bans indoor solicitation.

The arrests come from several undercover operations in the last two months. In some cases, detectives posed as customers who agreed to meet women in hotels in Providence and Warwick to engage in sex for money.

In at least two other undercover operations, a state police detective posed as a prostitute and attracted eight men to “hotels in the Johnston area.”

During the investigations, the detectives answered or placed advertisements on the adult section of Craigs List or in various newspapers to set up their rendezvous.

It will be interesting to see what will come of these cases.  I think it is a first for RI to actually arrest Johns.  When the State House was taking testimony it was discovered that there was over 300 women arrested, and not one John or Pimp was in prison.  One thing that I wonder about, but I know will probably  not going to have a bearing on these arrests is the section of the law about the landlords.  The law stated that is would punish landlords, they could face up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 fines.  I suppose that a hotel would be considered a landlord.  Besides the landlord point, I think that most of this would be considered entrapment, but most of the people will probably plea out before it goes that far.

I have to agree with most of the posters on the Projo story that this is a waste of money.  Providence’s violent crime rate has gone up 19.5% in 2008, and the 2 murders in a drive by shooting last weekend put the murder rate at almost twice what is was last year.  I would really like to see the police go after real criminals, but they probably have to show that they are doing something with the new law.  The police are holding a press conference later today, so you can see that these arrests are driven by the media.  I never knew of police holding press conferences when they arrest someone for a misdemeanor crime.

Hopefully this will be the last arrests for a while.

Get out your red umbrella

SWOP Boston will be having an event for “International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers” on December 17 at the Lucy Parson’s Center.

It is believed that 200 sex workers have been murdered this year.  The most notable victim is Julissa Brisman.  Brisman, victim of the “Craigslist Killer”, was an erotic masseuse and became a victim of arm robbery, kidnapping, and murder.

Speakers will begin the event (starting at 7pm), then the names of all sex workers murdered this year will be read, followed by a little walk with our red umbrellas around the neighborhood.

Pawtucket doesn’t want “Education”

Last night I went to the Zoning Board hearing on the CPSH.  I got there at 6:00, and watched 5 people go before the board for variances.  (One was for Regal Reptile, a cool pet shop that wants to move to Pawtucket.  I have been to their Providence location a bunch of times, and the owner does shows for elementary schools and this past summer gave a demo on a campground that my sister was visiting.  Hopefully they will get approval)

But I was not there for the zoning variances, I was there for the hearing to repeal a zoning decision for CSHP.  Unfortunately  that hearing was moved to last on the docket.  I wanted to testify (since I am a Pawtucket resident I hoped it would help) but I left a little after 10:00 p.m..  I got to watch the beginning of the hearing, and the main argument from the city official was the Grant building was not zoned for education.  The official agreed that there were people in this “multi-use” building that were doing education, like the Chess Club, and said he had fined them.  I had to wonder, as a resident of Pawtucket, why are  we trying to fine and or close down businesses that are keeping the downtown area open?  Downtown has been a ghost town for years, is it really prudent to fine a chess club and not allow the opening of CSPH?  Is Pawtucket that anti-education they can’t even see a commercial or even a taxable value to these businesses?

It was obvious that CSPH was targeted for what they were teaching…Sex.  The zoning official was very upset that he was portrayed as using the zoning codes to keep out a business that he disagrees with.  It was also obvious that the board was using zoning codes to keep out this business out.  Repeatedly the official said this has nothing to do with sex, but I wonder how many businesses that go for a license have the zoning board call the police? (Police were testifying as I left).  This particular zone allows counseling and reproductive centers, but officials say that they will not allow for education.

I wonder, as a tax payer, how much this war on semantics is going to cost me?   Steve Brown of the ACLU was there, and it is obvious that if the board does not allow for this Center to open, a lengthy legal battle will begin.

This whole battle began when Donna Hughes sent an email to the members of Pawtucket’s city council.  Donna Hughes is anti-sex (mostly anti-heterosexual sex, you can draw your own conclusions on that).  It is sad that one woman’s radical agenda is costing the tax payers money to fight this in court, and she doesn’t even live in Pawtucket.  For a brief moment I thought she would show up to the hearing, but she didn’t.  It looks like she might be basking in the glory of passing a prostitution law (albeit so far unenforced prostitution law), and leaving the mess she caused to unfold at it’s own pace and direction.  I guess it doesn’t really matter if she was there or not, I am sure she will have to testify if and when this goes to court.  I wonder if Hughes thinks it was worth it?  I guess this is one of those “cutting off the nose to spite your face” deals.  Who is this really hurting?  I know the publicity that the CSPH has received is probably worth the aggravation.  There were many media outlets there last night; tv, newspapers, magazines, and bloggers, you can’t pay for publicity like that!