Tag Archives: human trafficking

Censorship by Apple!

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Censorship sucks! Especially when it is for no reason at all!

This summer, I decided to enter the “new wave” and have “Happy Endings?” enter the Ipad/Iphone application market.  I contacted Stonehenge Productions and developed an app for both devices.

The FREE app included trailers, reviews, an in app purchase of the film, wikipedia links, and information for the viewer to reach out if they needed help if they were victims of human trafficking.  The app was truly a social activism app.

Stonehenge has build many of these apps for independent films, and never has had one denied.  Until now.

Apple has denied publication of the Happy Endings? app, and no reason was given.  I have contacted Apple, and received no response. The following letter was sent:

Dear Mr. Lammerding,

I am contacting you regarding your recent denial for the iphone and ipad app for the film “Happy Endings?” App # 460056533.  

I understand that Apple does not want pornography on the app store, but this film is not a pornographic film.  This is a documentary that covers both prostitution and human trafficking.  Human trafficking is a very important issue, and within this app, people will be able to get help if they are victims.  This app includes “Resources” for those who need help.

This film does not take a position, and is neutral on the subject of prostitution.  I can only assume that Apple does not have a position on prostitution either, seeing that there are two TV shows  available on ipads and iphones that are on the topic of prostitution.  “Hung” is a fiction show, and “Cat House” is a reality show. Both shows are shows based on prostitution and available on HBO Go.

This film has not been controversial, and I do not believe that it will bring controversy to the app store.  The film has been shown at community centers and museums.  I have even been invited and presented this film to college students.  

“Happy Endings?” is also being sold on Amazon.com and been streaming on Video On Demand  for over a year without one complaint. The Video On Demand site even allows the viewer to watch the first few minutes for free before purchasing the film.

 The trailer has over 340,000 hits on youtube.

This app should be approved with a 17+ rating.  

Please let me know why you have denied this application, and if there a possibility I can resubmit the app for approval with changes? 

I look forward to hearing from you.


Sincerely,

Tara Hurley


P.S. I am a big Apple fan, a user since the 90’s. The first computer I bought with my own money was a Mac. This film and all of the films I have ever made have been made on a Mac 🙂


 

OMG moment of the day

Oh My God.  I have been out of commission for a few days doing my civic duty…Jury Duty!  So I haven’t been blogging.  Actually I haven’t been blogging or saying much on this topic lately because not much has been going on.  The law passed last November with pressure to “Help the Women and Children” and this past week we helped them…by arresting them.

Nick Horton has an excellent article at the Providence Daily Dose about the Raids

Until the details of the arrests come out, it will be impossible to say for certain whether there is any evidence of human trafficking in the spas where the arrests occurred.  All three of the women were released by the judge on bail, meaning that the state did not hold any of them for interrogation as part of a human trafficking investigation or place them in protective custody as potential victims of trafficking.  Proponents of the legislation previously argued that arresting women for indoor sex work would allow the state to remove them and protect them from dangerous situations.

Details of the arrests came out today in the Providence Journal.  Previously I was incorrect when I said there were no translators.  That was what I had heard “through the grapevine”, but the Journal reports:

Federal immigration officials and advocates from Day One, a sexual assault and trauma resource center in Providence, also interviewed the women who were working at the spas to determine if they are victims of sex-trafficking, Correia said. The law allows victims of sex trafficking to be granted immunity from prosecution.

“We weren’t able to get any information to lead us to think they were being held against their will,” Correia said.

As for the OMG moment of today, I decided to see what the men were saying about what was going on in the spas.  I went back to a website where they rate the women.  Think of this website is the 21 century version of a men’s bathroom wall.  You can’t believe half of what is said on this website,  it is not for those who value women as more than sexual objects.  On www.usasexguide.info if you check the forums in Rhode Island you will see a very interesting conversation going on started by one user named “Donna Hughes”.  Now, I don’t believe this is the real Donna Hughes, but some of the people in the site did believe that it was and what followed was crazy.  What is very ironic is the fact that the real Donna Hughes uses this board for her primary if not only source for research on the AMPS in Rhode Island.  I guess this should teach both sides one very valuable lesson…always check your sources!

Anti-Sex Crusade

no_sexThere are radicals in every group.  Radical Republicans, Radical Liberals, Radical Feminists.  What is unfortunate is when the media decides to focus on those groups and alludes to  them representing the larger majority.   For some reason these radicals are vocal minorities, sometimes bullying people in their own group who even share some but not 100% of the same views.

Donna Hughes is the perfect example of radicalism, taking over groups and media with scare tactics and propaganda.  As the force behind the “close the prostitution loophole” drive, she bullied women out of Rhode Island Coalition Against Human Trafficking, falsely promoted the idea that the Senate  did not pass an anti prostitution law (and they did as Senator Jabour and Senator McCaffery stated), she has attacked the 50 academics that support keeping indoor prostitution decriminalized, and she even attacked the women in the massage parlors (these are the women she is trying to help).

I understand that prostitution is a heated and controversial issue, but I have always been taught that time is  better spent  promoting your own ideas rather than tearing down the people that may have different ideas, and I find it incredulous that she would spend time attacking women that share some of her ideas but are not in complete lock step with her.

Now, it seems that Hughes has gone and attacked another women, this time not for prostitution or human trafficking, but for wanting to open a Center for Sexual Pleasure and Education.  The Phoenix reports

The trouble started with an e-mail sent a couple of weeks back by University of Rhode Island professor Donna Hughes, best known for her crusade to close the state’s prostitution loophole, to members of the city council. Utilizing the suggestive power of well-placed quotation marks, the missive read, simply: “Hello, A center for ‘sexual rights’ and ‘sexual pleasure’ is opening in Pawtucket,” and included the web site for the center. Deputy City Clerk Michelle Hardy said Hughes’ e-mail was the first time any of the council members had heard of the center.

The Providence Journal reports that

She (Megan) and her husband went to City Hall. They met with Mayor James Doyle and his chief of staff Harvey Goulet. Goulet says they seem like very nice people. He just doesn’t like what they want to do.

“You have elderly living near there,” says Goulet. “And, usually, the elderly are not too much in favor of stuff like that.”

Education?  The elderly are not in favor of education?  Good thing we have Donna Hughes an educator keeping us away from education!!!  How ironic.  Also ironic is the city not supporting a center for education when the state of Rhode Island is #1 in New England for teen birth rate, with Pawtucket being the 3 in the state.  The ironies are piling up when you figure in the fact that businesses are leaving RI at a record pace, one would think a city would welcome a new business.

With this attack on a business that A) is not a brothel B) is not part of human trafficking and C) women owned, I truly believe that Donna Hughes should not be able to cast herself as anything more than an anti-sex zealot.

I am sad as a feminist that this women is able to harm so many.  I will pray for her 😉

(Also for your information all links are included to the articles so you can read user reactions, if you visit the CAT website, you will notice that articles are written anonymously, or if they are newspaper articles they are in pdf form so viewers will not get to see the readers comments, another great way of censoring the public!)

Breaking the law!

breaking the law!This weekend the Providence Journal released an excellent report RI Police charities solicit from “spas”.  In this report we find out how over the past years many of the spas, believed to be fronts for prostitution, have been donating to the Faternal Order of Police.  One of the spas even had what looks like 30 stickers from all of their donations wallpapered on the door of the spa.  Other spas  advertised in the police booklets.

 “COME TREAT YOUR BODY…” reads an ad for Lily Spa in the most recent 2008 issue of Cranston Police Union’s Public Safety Guide, a booklet of safety tips thick with ads from a variety of businesses….Spa ads also have turned up in The Rhode Island Trooper, the official publication of the non-profit Rhode Island Troopers Association, a membership organization of state troopers “dedicated to the improvement of the law enforcement profession…” The magazine’s spring/summer 2009 edition features articles on topics such as state police promotions, construction of a new state police headquarters and investigating fraud. The back of the magazine contains a directory filled with ads for area businesses. Under “pools & spas” is a thumbprint-sized listing for “Lily’s Spa.”

There are many things that I would like to point out about this article. 

  1. It is illegal for police to use a third party to collect donations.  RIGL 11-18-31 “No professional solicitor shall solicit money from any individual or business in the name of any law enforcement agency or any organization which would reasonably appear to be affiliated in any way with any law enforcement agency or personnel.”   
  2. The article also states “Police questioned three Korean women at the spa and concluded there was no evidence that they were victims of human trafficking and made no arrests.”  I hope people read this sentence and realised that the police have been in many of these spas (not only collecting donations) and have never found evidence human trafficking.  
  3. Spas gave donations and kept the receipts for tax purposes.  This would mean they are legit businesses.  How many criminal entities give to charities?
  4. A reported went in a spoke to women in the spas, she didn’t need to arrest them to get them to talk.  The police have said they need to arrest the women in order to get them to speak.  

 

Right now Rhode Island is working on a new prostitution law.  There are two bills, but  for a bill to become law there must be one bill that everyone in the House and Senate can agree on.  Because there is a disagreement on the bills, the State Police and the Attorney General have come in to create a compromise bill.  One question I have is how can the State Police be in charge of creating a bill about prostitution when they have been receiving money from the places they have been and will be targeting?  Usually politicians will recuse themselves when a bill comes up and it involves someone they have represented or received money from.  I wonder if the same thing will happen here?

Censorship

CensorshipDonna Hughes doesn’t like some censorship.  She doesn’t like it when she is told not to do or say some things, even if those things are not based in science or fact. ( As Senator Levesque says, Donna M. Hughes has a “slender relationship with truth” and “Professor Hughes has clearly left behind any concept of the academic pursuit of knowledge and is in the employ of propaganda and advocacy.”)

In 2004 the ACLU defended Hughes when the University of Rhode Island made Hughes remove her writings from her website.  These writings were libelous, and prompted a lawsuit for defamation, yet in the vein of free speech and against censorship, the writings were put back up on the website.

One would think that someone who was attacked for their free speech would be less likely to try and censor others.  Well that is not the case here.

Hughes has now began a new attack on Megan Andelloux.  You might remember Hughes’ first attack on Ms. Andelloux for testifying at the Senate hearing.  That attack Ms. Andelloux responded to quite well with her own letter to the editor.  Now Hughes has stepped up her attack, sending letters to Pawtucket City Hall because Megan is planning to open a Center for Sexual Health and Pleasure in Pawtucket.

Just a few things to remember about this.

1.  Donna Hughes does not live in Pawtucket.  Remember Hughes said that the 50 College professors that were advising the General Assembly against passing the prostitution law should not be taken into account because they are not in state.  Hughes should not be taken into consideration because she is not in the city.  (FYI I am a Pawtucket resident)

2.  Donna Hughes complained about Freedom of speech and the free flow of ideas when her writings were taken down from the URI website, now she wants a certified instructor not to be able to open an office that will house a library and workshops?  That seems a little one sided to me.

3.  Hughes claims that her main focus is Human Trafficking.  Does any one with one functioning brain cell actually believe that a Center for Sexual Health and Pleasure  will be trafficking human beings for sex?  This blatant action of aggression shows that Hughes has left the human trafficking realm and gone straight to the hatred of all sex-forced or not.

4.  I still find it amazing that Hughes gets to call herself a feminist when she attacks all these WOMEN!!!  Not to mention that this particular woman is a graduate of University of Rhode Island, the school where Donna Hughes teaches.  I wonder how many women graduates of this University are sending the school money to pay for this professor to attack women?

Why am I getting involved?

FeministThis really isn’t my fight.  Or is it?  Sometimes I sit back and think why am I involved in the fight to stop the General Assembly in Rhode Island from passing a law against prostitution?

I am not a sex worker.  I am not a customer.  I do not make a living off of the sex industry.  I am just a chubby tattooed lesbian who made a film on the Asian massage parlors.  Surely I should be fighting for something else, something that matters more directly in my life?!?  (Maybe Gay Marriage, RI is the only New England State that doesn’t allow for Gay Marriage.)  How ironic it is that I am one of the leading voices to stop the prostitution law, a law that is really targeting consenting heterosexual adult sex.

So why am I getting involved?

Sure, I would have liked to have moved on to my next film by now.  But I feel an obligation to speak for the women I met when I made the film.  There are three things in life that aggravate me more than anything else.  Lying, picking on defenseless people, and lying.

I think it is horrible that the women in the spas have been targeted.  With indoor prostitution being legal, the police have gone above and beyond the call of duty to go after these women.  Even though there are many other places in RI that can be called “brothels”, the only ones that have faced raids have been the Asian spas.

These raids on the spas have all been in efforts to “help the women”.  That brings up number 1 and 3 on my list, LYING!

Even in the most recent raid, the police claimed Human Trafficking.  In a raid on a spa in Warwick, where 3 women were working (two of whom were sisters) the police came in and took the women’s cell phones, laptops, and money.  If these women were victims of trafficking, don’t you think you would not take their money and all forms of communication so they could call for help?

So yes, this isn’t my fight.  I wish the women would speak for themselves, but until they do I am going to speak.  I am going to shine a light on what I think is not right. It might not be my fight, and people might think I am strange for being involved, but when I see such wrongs committed based on lies, I can not bite my tongue.

The “Sex Radicals” Respond

On Friday, Donna Hughes and Citizens Against Trafficking put out a letter titled “International Sex Radicals Campaign to keep Prostitution Decriminalized in Rhode Island” .  I responded to this pile of propaganda here, and I was not the only one.

Here is a couple of the “Radicals” that responded to Hughes’ lies. (I have included some excerpts, but click on the links to read the full articles)  The interesting part is that Hughes says this is Part One of her attack on the 50 Academics that signed a letter to the RI General Assembly against the proposed prostitution law.

Starting locally at ProvidenceDailyDose.com check out Sex Radical’s International Conspiracy Afoot in RI, Apparently. Beside the article being great, check out the comments by local Rhode Islanders.

Now lets check out the woman who was actually attacked.  Elizabeth Woods responds with this: Don’t Lets Personal Attacks Distract Us, where she tries to keep people focused on issues, and also reprints the letter I sent to the General Assembly.  The next day Norma Jean Almodovar also wrote a excellent letter to the RI lawmakers.

The people who also responded to attacks by Donna Hughes who could hardly be labeled as a “Sex Radical” were Senator Paul Jabour and Senator Michael McCaffery.  In their Guest Opinion in the Boston Herald they write :

“The Rhode Island State Senate passed bill S596A on June 25, closing a “loophole” by making indoor prostitution unlawful in the state. Reports to the contrary are inaccurate…We must delineate the lines that have been blurred among the problems of indoor prostitution, outdoor prostitution, human sex-trafficking and strip-club dancing by minors. Each of these issues has an appropriate legal and moral response and confusing them will lead to ineffective policies and political responses.”   I wonder if they think that Hughes is the one “blurring the lines”

A great response to this letter can be read at Rhode Island’s Future.  Brian Hull does an incredible job disecting this opinion piece in “More About Prostitution”

But, back to the “Radical’s” response.

Renegade Evolution wrote “Donna Hughes & The War Against Whores”

Amber Rhea wrote “Notes To Self” where she points out one of the many major flaws in Hughes letter.

Wood isn’t a sex worker and is in no way affiliated w/ $pread (I also love your cute little comment about how, OMG, the “S” is a dollar sign! tee-hee!) other than as a subscriber – but why should that matter? We’re all a monolith to you.”

If you just want a good laugh, (not that this is a laughing matter) check out Looser Dust.  Radical Feminist gets facts wrong shock (among other things)

The best account of disecting Hughe’s letter is on A Feminist View.  In The Battle for Rhode Island’s Sex Life

In Bust Out Your Pepto, Jane Brazen makes the excelent point:

What I find most interesting is that of the two main signers of the letter (Elizabeth Woods and Ronald Weitzner), Hughes personally attacked Dr Wood. The woman of the two. Sexism for the win!

By the way, it is usual for Hughes to go attack the women and side with the men.  I wrote about that in a previous post when she attacked the women she was “trying to save” when they testified, and sided with the cops and judges who testified (all of whom were men) that they want to put them in prison.

I know I missed a bunch of blogs, if I missed yours, sorry.  Please let me know in the comments section if you know about anyone else responding to Hughes and her fear mongering.