World Sex Sells News

 2004



29th December

    Fun in Peru

From Kansas.com

After receiving complaints from residents about streetwalkers in their neighbourhoods, one Lima area mayor had an idea: Put them in discreet hotels.

Traffic on a recent Saturday night here at one of the two legal bordellos in metropolitan Lima was a fraction of the business 10 to 15 years ago, however, and that may hold an important lesson for authorities trying to move the city's thriving prostitution trade off the streets.

César González, mayor of the Lima neighborhood Lince, began calling two months ago for the creation of a "red zone" that would feature legal brothels, sex shops and porn theaters.

But the day after visiting the Trocadero bordello here, González has discarded this idea for another. I learned that you can't do a red zone, it would fail.There was no one there last night. The men simply visit prostitutes in their neighborhoods. Why travel to a red zone when you've got what you need in your neighborhood?

So González has hit upon another solution that he hopes to sell to the other 41 mayors in Lima: Create legal brothels throughout the city in hotel-like buildings. The first floor would feature strip clubs where men could choose women who caught their fancy and then transact their business in upstairs rooms.

González heard about the idea from a group of Spanish lawmakers from Catalonia and saw it in action first-hand in Barcelona. I'd like to convert some of the regular hotels into sex hotels with municipal licenses. Hotels would give greater security and stronger medical controls.

González has a reason for wanting to crack down on street prostitution: He has received about 3,000 signed requests that he address the problem in Lince, which has a population of 75,000.

González is hardly alone. Just about every neighborhood mayor in this metropolis is facing similar complaints.

Lucio Campos, the mayor of another neighborhood, San Martín de Porres, has even offered a large undeveloped tract as a potential site for a red zone. He, González and a third neighborhood mayor have formed a task force to study the proposal and report back to their colleagues.

Today, Lima has 20,000 prostitutes -- 30 percent of them are transvestites -- among its eight million inhabitants.

Many residents in lower income neighborhoods complain that they have to walk among the prostitutes and their would-be clients while shopping or on their way home from work.

For a time, González had his police officers arrest the prostitutes in Lince and deposit them miles away on the beach. The women had to climb a steep dirt hill to get within hailing distance of a passing bus or taxi.

Their attorneys raised such a fuss that González stopped. Now he has a special police unit called the "Panther Command" that swoops down on suspected whorehouses. He said he discovered the locations by looking at classified sex ads in Lima's El Comercio newspaper until the prostitutes wised up to him and stopped advertising their addresses. The Panther Command now relies on tips.

The idea of creating sex hotels throughout Lima gets a favorable reaction from the madam of the Little Boat bordello, which adjoins Trocadero and a third brothel, Wild, in a windowless two-story building in Lima's port city, Callao. The customers like to stop by after work, They are tired, they want to be distracted. They don't want sex immediately. They want to sit down, have a drink, watch a bit of TV and then look for a girl.

 

21st December

    Friction in Frisco Strip Clubs

From The Belfast Telegraph

In the city synonymous with sexual freedom, San Francisco's strippers are using labour laws to combat exploitative club owners they claim are driving more and more girls to prostitution.

Business is booming in the back rooms and private booths of the city's sex trade, but a district attorney's decision this year not to prosecute lap-dancers for soliciting in strip clubs has prompted girls to turn for support to the same city and police officials they have previously hidden from.

About 200 strippers have complained to the California Labour Commission that the fees the clubs charge strippers are exorbitant. Some say these fees, coupled with the growing popularity of private booths, have compelled strippers to turn to prostitution, with encouragement - tacit or direct - from management. They also say the secluded booths provide cover for sexual assaults.

Daisy Anarchy, who has formed a union-backed organisation, Sex Workers Organised for Labour, Human and Civil Rights, says many dancers must prostitute themselves to make the $150 (£70) to $500 in fees they have to pay the club owners each shift.

The most vulnerable women end up doing the most for the least amount of money in the most dangerous conditions, said Ms Anarchy, a former dancer.

Not every stripper agrees with her and some are vehemently opposed to any change in the system. Nancy Banks, a stripper and lap-dancer who says she earns $400,000 a year, has formed a group to counter Ms Anarchy. She believes eliminating private rooms would limit the women's earning potential. We would not be able to make money just with lap dancing. That's not what customers come for.They come for a one-on-one experience with a beautiful showgirl.

Banks, who pays a fee of $150 per shift to the New Century Theatre, where she works, likens the charge to a barber shop's fee for the freelance use of a chair. Anybody who boo-hoos about, 'I only brought home so much' is not exerting themselves, she said.

Since the 1990s, Ms Anarchy and seven other women felt things were getting out of hand. The group made statements about coerced prostitution and assaults when private booths became popular eight years ago. They met the mayor, Willie Brown, and the district attorney, Terence Hallinan.

But nothing happened and Ms Anarchy blames the inaction on the fact that Brown had once served as a lawyer to a strip-club owner. Hallinan, who lost his re-election bid last year, now works for Mitchell Brothers, which owns sex clubs and theatres.

Because San Francisco is proud of its attitude of sexual tolerance, city officials have tended to stay out of the debate - and rarely pursue prostitution charges against dancers arrested in vice raids.

But now, at the urging of the strippers themselves, state labour officials and the city's board of supervisors plan to audit the industry, while the attorney's office and police are looking into the safety of private booths, as well as whether the city can regulate the fees the women are charged.

We have to make sure that every woman feels safe, no matter what her occupation said commission president, Andrea Shorter. There's a whole politic around how we discuss these issues in San Francisco. The history is deep and complex.

 

30th November

    Sex. Chocolates and flowers not required

From The Courier

An Australian billboard featuring the word "sex" has been taken down. The Little Bridge St sign was removed by the City of Ballarat yesterday in consultation with the billboard owners.

The council threatened to call in the police after it received more than 50 complaints about the sign, advertising a Brunswick brothel. The brothel owner yesterday vowed to fight the move, saying the sign did not breach any laws.

The sign, featuring the slogan: Sex. Chocolates and flowers not required , has been on display since early November.

The council sought legal advice and was advised that the sign breached the 1994 Prostitution Control Act. Section 17 of the Act states that a person must not publish an advertisement for prostitution describing the services offered.

City of Ballarat chief executive officer Richard Hancock said mediation talks between the council and billboard owner Australian Posters led to the removal of the sign.

But furious brothel owner Andrew Hewinson denied that the sign breached the Act and has set aside a fighting fund to challenge both the council and Australian Posters.

William Albon, spokesman for the Australian Adult Entertainment Industry Association, labelled the City of Ballarat position as "outrageous". It's time Ballarat shed itself of its conservative image and started sharing the thinking of progressive councils in Melbourne , Albon said. It's clearly discriminatory, as this advert complies with all governing regulation in Australia.

 

30th October

    Half Baked Breen

From Fairfax Digital Adult bookshops in Sydney are illegally selling hardcore porn films over the counter even though it is an offence that carries a maximum fine of $11,000 or 12 months' jail.

Upper house independent MP Peter Breen said the multimillion-dollar industry was allowed to flourish because NSW laws were out of date and rarely enforced.

Breen said his survey of porn outlets in George Street and Darlinghurst revealed that hundreds of X-rated titles were being sold, including films depicting sexual violence and sadism. Every adult shop, every sex shop, every secondhand bookshop stocks this material and it is highly illegal, he said. It is material that is freely available and is, in my opinion, beyond the pale Three million of these videos are sold in NSW every year at a cost of between $20 and $50 each, which means someone is making a huge profit from this trade. It is a scandal that the State Government would allow this kind of open breach of the law without taking any steps at all to enforce the law. I

Under Commonwealth law, customers may buy approved titles from the ACT by mail order, but it is illegal under NSW law to sell unclassified hardcore porn over the counter.

 

12th October

    Toying with the Constitution

From AVN

An El Paso, Texas, judge on  Monday ruled the state's ban on the sale of "obscene devices" unconstitutional, unconditionally freeing a man who had faced jail time since his arrest in September, 2003. Sergio Acosta, an Adult bookstore manager, had been arrested and charged last year with obscenity by the El Paso police department as part of a campaign directed against sexually oriented businesses. The charge carries potential penalties of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.  

The judge, Alma Trejo, dismissed all charges against Acosta, without commenting further on the basis for her ruling. Marcos Lizarraga, an El Paso assistant district attorney, was quoted as telling the El Paso Times that the ruling would be appealed: We are going to appeal it because the statute is in the books … It is illegal to sell or purchase [obscene devices], he said.

Acosta's attorney, Roger Jon Diamond of Santa Monica, CA, said the Texas statute defines an "obscene device" as "a dildo or artificial vagina designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs."

According to the El Paso Times article , Diamond said: The principal argument is that sexual privacy is part of the liberty of the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. In other words, there are certain things you can do in private that the government has no right to impose on.

Similar charges against Joann Webb, a woman who was arrested in Burleson, Texas for selling undercover officers two dildos, were dismissed in July after the District Attorney decided the case was a "waste of resources."

A federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the relevant law has been filed by eight women, including Webb, who are consultants for Passion Parties, a home party company that is billed as an Adult version of Tupperware.  

Last week the owner of a general video store in Louisiana and one of his clerks were arrested for selling adult novelties out a back room.

Other states with laws banning sex toys include Alabama and Georgia.

 

20th September

    A Cover Up

From The Guardian Two adult film companies have been fined for allowing actors to have sex on screen without using condoms.

The $30,560 (£17,000) fines are the first time that California's lucrative porn industry has been charged for contravening the state's health and safety guidelines, despite repeated promises of regulation.

A local health official, Susan Gard, said "barriers" had to be used to prevent infection. Any employer whose workers are exposed to any potentially infectious material, such as semen or vaginal fluids, must follow state regulations covering workplaces. Any bodily fluid is considered infectious. That means barrier equipment must be used.

The fines come after the industry shut down in the spring, when five actors tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes Aids.

The porn industry, based in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, employs 6,000 people in 200 companies. It is thought that only 17% of actors regularly use condoms.

Sharon Mitchell, who runs a voluntary HIV screening programme for the industry, said the fines would have a significant impact. This is a huge departure. I think the industry will contest this. [It] will be a test case."

Industry observers say it is impossible to enforce the use of condoms on screen. Producers say films in which condoms are used do not sell as well, and claim any attempt to regulate the industry would push production underground, or to another state.

Jeffrey Douglas, a lawyer and the chairman of the Free Speech Coalition, said the objection was artificial. Penetration without condoms is unnecessary, he told the industry's paper, Adult Video News. That is, it can be filmed in such a way that nobody is aware that there's a condom on, and that should be the standard. If it's without condom, then you are increasing the risk."

The two fined companies, Evasive Angles and TTB Productions, are owned by the same person, Phillip Rivera. They have 15 days to appeal.

 

13th September

    Fighting Back

From The Daily Times

A large crowd beat back a Pakistani government team from Lahore that tried to close shops selling pornography on Hall Road.

Some city government employees ended up in hospital with minor injuries and members of the crowd fired in the air, forcing the raiding team to retreat, according to official sources.

A city government official, who was part of the raiding team and was injured by the mob, alleged that the Hall Road Traders Union (HRTU) was behind the action. A complaint from the city government has reached Qila Gujjar Singh police station against the union on charges of attempted murder, terrorism and interfering in official matters.

The official said union members had approached the city government a couple of weeks ago and asked it to remove encroachments, resolve a row over parking stands and close porn shops.

The encroachment and parking problems were resolved, and a team of community development officials and Civil Defence policemen gathered at Hall Road on Saturday to tackle the porn problem. However, when the team started raiding shops in a Hall Road plaza, around 300 people gathered and started shouting slogans against the local government.

We tried to talk to them, but the mob attacked us , the official said. The mob smashed the windows of cars and attacked some of the raiding party members, some of whom landed in Services Hospital. Some members of the crowd fired in the air, forcing the raiding team to retreat.

The official said the union had asked Sultan, the DCO, to clear Hall Road of porn CDs, but the union was hoping only for action against the porn sellers who had set up stalls on footpaths. They wanted the crackdown because the vendors outside were taking customers from the plazas. Once the team started raiding porn shops inside the two plazas, the union immediately turned against us because it damaged their own business.

Pornographic CDs are available for less than a hundred rupees each at Hall Road. Some of the shops are just behind schools and colleges. A porn CD vendor said his customers were mostly young boys, but included college-going girls.

 

31st July

    High Society Nutters

From The Galway Advertiser

Last night's third emergency meeting of the Bohermore residents' association is unlikely to produce any resolution to the ongoing protest outside the High Society sex shop in Bohermore, according to city councillor and local resident Michael J Crowe.

Locals were unaware until last week that the premises in the heart of their community was due to open as a sex shop selling sex toys, and adult material and since Tuesday have been staging an ongoing protest outside the shop.

High Society's proprietor Michael Fitzgerald yesterday offered to provide the residents' association a written guarantee that the business would relocate before the end of September but this offer seems unlikely put an end to the protest which has been ongoing since Tuesday.

I will take his offer to the residents but I would personally not be very optimistic, said Crowe. The residents are adamant that this sort of business doesn't belong in our area and I have to say that I agree with them.

The protest began after Fitzgerald's offer to relocate within eight weeks or as soon as an agreement for an alternate premises could be finalised was soundly rejected at a meeting of Bohermore residents presided over by Crowe.

At the meeting a large and vocal crowd made their feelings known that any concession to Fitzgerald would leave them in a more vulnerable position once the business was properly established, and with no legal guarantee that he would relocate. The meeting was a lively affair with one cry of "Don't give him nothing. Out! Goodbye!" receiving cheers and applause from the assembled residents.

 

18th July

    Signs of Closure

From The Las Vegas Sun

Brothels in Nye County, Nevada,  will survive without being put to a popular vote, and the suggestive signs that caused a rumpus in Pahrump are coming down.

In a contentious session, the county commission voted 3-2 not to put a question on the November ballot asking voters whether brothel prostitution should continue to be legal in Nye County, which has the state's largest concentration of brothels.

The commissioners also voted to have the district attorney formulate revisions to the ordinance that governs the brothels, citing concerns that it is vague on crucial questions of advertising and enforcement.

Commission Chairman Henry Neth alarmed the brothel industry last month when he put an item on the agenda that could have led to an outright ban by commission vote. He admitted that the move was a tactic to pressure brothel owner Joe Richards to remove signs at the gateway to Pahrump that show scantily clad women in suggestive poses.

The whole issue was about the signs , Neth said in an interview after the vote. I used the only legal tactic that I had to bring pressure to bear to get the signs down. He added, The issue was never the brothels. I did what every responsible elected official should do, which is get something done.

While everyone involved wants a tighter rein on advertising related to the brothels, Kent told the commission that might be difficult because of First Amendment guarantees on commercial speech.

The offending signs in Pahrump do not directly advertise Richards' two brothels, the Cherry Patch and Mabel's Ranch, but rather the nude club and a "brothel art museum" and "bathhouse" that are attached to the brothels.

The revised ordinance will also likely raise the fees the brothels pay to county coffers, which have not been hiked for 12 years. Flint said brothel owners were amenable to an increase.

 

27th June

    Working for a Professional Service

From Reuters

Voters in Berkeley, California, will vote in November on whether to allow prostitutes to go about their business with little fear of arrest.

A measure has qualified for the city's November ballot that would make enforcing prostitution laws as low a priority for police as arresting marijuana smokers, the measure's organizers said on Thursday.

If voters approve the measure, the Berkeley City Council also would be required to lobby for a statewide repeal of prostitution laws.

Robyn Few, a former prostitute and founder of the Sex Workers Outreach Project, said that enforcing the current law wastes tax dollars. The money can be better spent in helping women than in entrapping people , Few said. Additionally, women should be able to hold jobs as prostitutes, said Few, who was arrested in 2002 in a federal bust of a multi-state prostitution ring. I believe we have the right to choose what we do in work and to have occupational rights,"

Measure organizers gathered almost 3,200 signatures to qualify their proposal for the ballot, well above the 2,077 the city requires.

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates said he opposes the measure because of criminal activity that would appear in the wake of open prostitution. I don't favor decriminalization. I favor legalization, Bates said. It would mean certain people would be licensed and regulated and we would know they would meet health standards and it would cut out the people making money off prostitutes.

 

26th June

    Escape from Cypriot Nutterdom

From The Guardian

An inquiry was launched in Cyprus last night after an undercover police operation exposed a group of up to 100 tourists, including Britons, taking part in what was described a mass orgy aboard a cruise ship off the island.

The scenes, shown on local TV and described as "debauched", were broadcast after being caught on camera in the police sting. Arrests are expected in the coming days. These scenes are not just graphic, they go beyond every conceivable limit, the island's deputy chief of police, Sotiris Haralambous, said. We are talking about 50, 100 people involved in acts of total debauchery. It's hard to even describe. (Sounds fun to me )

The still pictures, leaked to the privately owned Mega TV channel and broadcast in suitably edited form, show the ferrygoers during the night cruise in international waters off the island. Some revellers are seen nude and taking part in various sex acts; others appear clothed, gawping from around the deck. One man is wearing a T-shirt clearly emblazoned with the words "100% Brummie".

To say these pictures are shocking is to put it mildly, said an employee at the TV station. They're outrageous, very wild. Whether dressed or not, it very clear that everyone in them is, how shall I put it, in the mood.

The ferry, which could take up to 200 passengers, is believed to have started out from the resort of Ayia Napa.

They're all quite young, under 30, and from the look of it tourists from Britain and Scandinavia, Mr Haralambous said. The unnamed vessel, which is believed to be owned by a foreigner, was skippered by a Greek Cypriot operating on a licence from the Cyprus Tourism Organisation.

The captain was being questioned last night about the trip, which was billed as a £30 night cruise with meal.

Because the scenes took place in international waters, beyond Cypriot jurisdiction, authorities will have to request arrest warrants from Interpol. The owner obviously knew a thing or two about the law because, as far as we know, these acts did not happen in Cyprus' territorial waters, the police officer added.

But the Greek Cypriot government said yesterday it would not be deterred, particularly as drugs appear to have been consumed on the boat. The scenes had blighted "the good image of Cyprus" and provoked "great shock," the island's minister of tourism and commerce, Giorgos Lalikas, told Mega's primetime news.

 

16th June

    New Found Tolerance Gone

From Yahoo News

Chia Ka Keong, a night market trader was fined 1,670 dollars for trying to sell sex toys in Singapore in April.

According to The Straits Times, Keong, 35, pleaded guilty to the charge of attempting to sell four dildos and a rubber doll in the shape of a nude woman in front of a gaming outlet.

Keong told the court that he was unaware of the fact that it is illegal to possess sex toys. I am not educated. I did not know it is wrong to have these things. I beg your forgiveness, he said.

 

15th June

    Dreaming of Freedom in Kentucky

The owner of a new porn shop in Knox County has enlisted one of Greater Cincinnati's most prominent legal experts on freedom of speech and pornography to help him test Kentucky's obscenity law.

H. Louis Sirkin will defend Jeree Mills, owner of Dreamworld, and Belinda K. Brown, a store employee against misdemeanor charges that they violated the state law banning distribution of obscene matter.

Sirkin, who has represented Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt in his effort to open a Hustler store in Lexington, said he will seek to have the charges dismissed.

Most of our local laws are based on Supreme Court decisions on how you can regulate adult entertainment. They're not based on the state definition of obscenity, said Boone County Administrator Jim Parsons, who crafted regulations in Newport that have successfully repressed adult businesses.

He said the main times state attorneys use the state obscenity statute have been to stop video stores from selling or renting materials that may be obscene. You haven't seen too many prosecutions based on state obscenity statutes, Parsons said.

Parsons isn't worried about Sirkin's challenge to the definition of obscenity. I doubt that they would be successful. There have been several prosecutions based on that, and they have all failed. I don't think we have anything to worry about.

In Knox County, Mills is determined to keep the store -- which sells pornographic magazines, sex toys and graphic movies -- open, said store manager Leanna Philpot. Philpot said Dreamworld shut down for more than three weeks after the arrests, but it was reopened June 3 after Mills consulted with Sirkin.

Carl Bolton, chief deputy for the sheriff's office, said he did not anticipate more arrests until the courts provide some answers about whether the store's products are obscene.

The fiscal court put a 90-day moratorium on new adult-oriented businesses, but there's a question about whether that would stand up to a challenge, Deputy Judge-Executive Bruce Murphy said. As a practical matter, he said, If there was not a demand, there would be no supply.

Opponents of the store say they object to the store for a number of reasons, including concerns that it will drive down property values and draw sexual predators to the neighborhood. There are homes and businesses near the store, including a day-care center. It's going to bring what I consider bad elements into the community,   said Darrell Warren, a Baptist nutter who operates an auto-body repair shop next door.

Paul Frederick, who owns the day-care center and is also a Baptist nutter, said there are sex criminals in the county already. He is concerned that having pornography more readily available could put women and children at risk.

The state law at issue sets up a three-part test on what is obscene:

  • To the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the predominant appeal of the material, taken as a whole, is to prurient interest in sexual conduct.
  • The material depicts the sexual conduct in a "patently offensive" way.
  • The material, taken as a whole, has no serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

You really don't know what's obscene until five justices of the (U.S.) Supreme Court say it is, Sirkin said. With explicit sexual material available on television and the Internet, defining contemporary community standards has gotten more complex.

 

18th May

    Screwed in Ontario

From AVN

Lax regulation by authorities in Ontario is indirectly causing a glut of adult DVDs to flood the market in Canada and come back to the U.S., according to Richard Arnold, CEO of Pure Play Media.

Arnold, who is Canadian, has owned distribution companies in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia since 1992. He told AVN.com that he wants to call attention to the difficulty of being an adult distributor in Canada.  If you look at how we have to do business up there, it's very difficult: all the approvals, all the areas. We have three regulatory boards plus other little areas, and we have 30 million people. It's not fun. "

In Ontario, the most populous province, the law stipulates that adult video imports must be edited and licensed before they can be sold. The distributor has to make required changes and wait for the approval of the Ontario Film Review Board. Then they get a sticker to affix to the product and are allowed to distribute it.

Arnold said that the editing, usually minor, has to be done "three out of four times." The upside of the process is that "if it's an approved title, we don't have any legal liability."

But unregulated product started to be imported a few years ago and to flood the video stores. These are not bootlegs but legitimate product sold in a gray market without proper certification. By the time I've gone through all my process, six to eight weeks, it's already been on the street for a good portion of that time. I then go to release a product and I can't sell it. The customer says, 'Hey, I've already got it.' Or Store A has it, and Store B says, well, Store A has it, I don't want it, or I'll take less quantity.

The crux of the problem, Arnold said, is that enforcement of the rules in Ontario is practically nonexistent—in stark contrast to Quebec, where regulations are strictly enforced and no unlicensed product can be sold.

The advent of the DVD, Arnold said, only made things worse. In order for us to get approved in all the territories, we actually have to manufacture our own DVDs. The laws of economics say that you really can't manufacture less than a thousand DVDs. We produce 1000 DVDs and by the time we get them on the street we've lost 400-500 sales in Ontario. The net result is now there's a glut of DVDs on the market. What happens is people start lowering their price, and the price gets so low that people start shipping it into the U.S. A lot of Canadian product is ending up back in the U.S., because of the whole collapse of the pricing structure.

 

11th May

    Euros Only Accepted

From Sign On San Diego

The Czech government took a first step toward legalizing prostitution Wednesday when the cabinet approved a proposal to license the sex trade.

A government spokesman said the next move was approval by parliament, although no timeframe had been set, to make prostitution subject to the control of doctors and the taxman.

The assumption is that it is unrealistic to effectively ban prostitution, the ministry proposal said. It is only possible ... to set rules so the public does not perceive prostitution as a serious public order problem or health risk.

The plan calls for prostitutes to buy licenses, undergo monthly health checks, pay taxes and health insurance. At present, prostitutes work in a legal gray area, which makes it tough for the state to control disease, the sex slave trade and underage prostitution.

Brothels line the EU accession country's roads to Austria and Germany, the source of many customers. Weekend trips to Prague for some tourists also include visits to erotic clubs.

The proposal said only Czechs and other European Union nationals would get licenses, which non-governmental organizations say would push many other women into illegality.

From the point of view of security and protection of the Czech Republic's interests, it appears most suitable that only EU citizens can become prostitutes, the ministry said.

About 60 percent of the country's estimated 10,000 to 25,000 sex workers come from non-EU states.

The Czech Statistical Bureau in 2002 estimated the trade to be worth six billion crowns ($217 million) a year.

 

2nd May

    No Cover Up in Porn Production

From The Mercury News

Adult movie actors said they are willing to keep working in the multibillion-dollar industry despite an HIV scare, even as more producers joined a voluntary moratorium that has shut down many sets.

About a dozen porn production companies have halted shooting until at least June 8. Hustler Video and VCA Pictures announced Friday that they were halting work indefinitely.

The main concern of both companies right now is for the health and well-being of the talent they work with, VCA publicist Mischa Allen said in a statement. A day earlier, Vivid Entertainment Group, the industry's largest studio, reversed a previous decision to continue shooting.

Meanwhile, the number of people potentially exposed to the AIDS virus grew to 65, said Sharon Mitchell, executive director of the nonprofit Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation. Their names were posted on industry quarantine sites that effectively prevent them from working for two months until their next HIV tests are completed.

The scare began this week when it was announced that actor Darren James had tested positive for HIV, which he apparently contracted while shooting a porn film last month in Brazil. Laura Roxx, a 22-year-old Canadian actress he worked with after returning to the United States, also has tested positive for HIV.

Some 80 actors and actresses flocked to the health foundation's Sherman Oaks headquarters Friday to get blood tests, up from 60 on a normal day, Mitchell said.

Many of those associated with the adult film industry said condom-free shoots will remain commonplace despite the HIV scare. In the heterosexual porn industry, movies with unprotected sex sell better, and that means the performers sometimes are paid more for such scenes. Actors in gay porn films routinely use condoms.

Vivid Entertainment Group makes condom-only movies. But for smaller niche market producers, if condoms are used, "their product doesn't sell," said Kat Sunlove, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, a San Fernando Valley-based trade association for the adult entertainment industry. "It kills the fantasy," she said. "It's a dollars and cents issue."

The last industry HIV scare was in 1999, when a male actor tested positive for the disease. He no longer performs and no other actors were infected at the time.

Pornography, a $4 billion to $13 billion annual industry based largely in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles, differs from the heavily regulated sex industry in nearby Nevada, where prostitutes are required to have regular HIV testing.

The porn industry polices itself, with most major production companies refusing to hire actors unless they can produce a clean blood test taken within the past month.

 

5th April

    Alcohol Problems

The ban on alcohol sounds more like Iraq than the 'land of the free'

From AVN

A proposed Ohio law to ban liquor sales at nude dance clubs was blocked by a federal judge April 1.

This is a major victory for freedom of expression in Ohio , said J. Michael Murray, representing several clubs challenging the proposal, to Columbus's NBC affiliate. Three Christie's Cabaret clubs - in Brunswick, Cleveland, and Youngstown - were joined by the Buckeye Association of Club Executives in arguing the new version was too broad, the affiliate said.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aldrich held the proposed rule was too broad and unconstitutional, said to be the third time in five years she ruled that way about that kind of rule.

State attorneys argued the rule's aim was stopping what they called "undesirable secondary effects" from combining liquor and adult entertainment, including drugs, prostitution, and fights. State officials have not yet decided whether to appeal, said NBC 4 Columbus.

Christie's Cabarets in Brunswick, Cleveland and Youngstown and the nonprofit Buckeye Association of Club Executives organization claimed the new version was overly broad.

State officials said they were reviewing Aldrich's order to decide whether to appeal.

 

1st April

    Hollywood Horror: Nudity and Sex Doesn't Sell

From The Telegraph by Elizabeth Day

It is the news that a particular kind of movie mogul has been dreading: sex no longer sells. A new study has found that films containing explicit sex or nudity do much worse at the box office, earning nearly 40 per cent less on average than more wholesome movies.

An analysis of 1,120 cinematic releases over the past four years has shown that films without sex scenes, such as Disney's Finding Nemo or Toy Story 2, earned an average of $41.1 million (£22.3 million), while films with sex have grossed 38 per cent less with an average of $16.7 million.

In 2003, the final year of the study, the gap was even wider, with films without sex earning more than double those with explicit scenes. The survey also demonstrated that an increasing number of films carry a moral message, with 63 per cent of the top-grossing films since 2001 portraying edifying storylines that follow uplifting and redemptive plots.

In contrast, films with an "immoral or negative content" such as Hannibal, the 2001 horror sequel to The Silence of the Lambs, or the bawdy American Pie teen-trilogy, experience far lower box office returns.

The findings, taken from an analysis of box office earnings in the US, were compiled for the Christian Film and Television Commission, a viewers' campaign group, and published in its monthly magazine Movieguide.

The figures show that in 2003, for example, 78 films with no sex averaged $37.6 million; 95 films with implied sex averaged $32.1 million; 71 films with briefly depicted sex averaged $25 million and 35 films with extensive, excessive or graphic sex averaged only $17.1 million.

Films from 2003 that did not depict nudity also fared better, garnering an average of $34.6 million at the box office compared with the $11.8 million raised by films which did include nude scenes. Similar patterns also emerged for the box office returns for the previous three years.

Dr Ted Baehr, the chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, said: "This is a worldwide phenomenon. We found that international figures followed the same logic, that the good guys finish first. Clearly, sex does not sell as well as the mass media wants us to believe.

"We've shown that there are big audiences for films that meet the family criteria. The other attraction for movie makers is that it costs less to make a character-driven drama than a big blow-up starring Arnold Schwarzenegger."

Although some of the disparity can be explained by the ratings given to films - for example, an "18" rating would substantially limit the size of the audience by excluding younger cinema-goers or family groups - there is considerable overlap.

Even family films that imply sex or depict it briefly are trounced by their no-sex rivals at the box office. For example, the 2002 release My Big Fat Greek Wedding, was rated "PG" for Parental Guidance and featured passionate kissing, a naked couple in bed and several allusions to sex.

Despite being marketed as a family-friendly film, it grossed £13 million in the UK, approximately 46 per cent less than Spiderman, which contained no sex scenes but was given a "12" certificate. It grossed £28 million in the UK.

The rise in popularity of films that are moral in tone looks set to continue after the success of Mel Gibson's film of Jesus Christ's last days, The Passion. Despite the dialogue being entirely in Latin and Aramaic, it has grossed more than $300 million since its release last month in America. It opened in UK cinemas on March 14.

Sheridan Morley, the broadcaster and critic, believes that British audiences were tiring of action thrillers. "I am surprised by these findings because they go against all the wisdom of recent Hollywood," he said. "It just shows, once again, how out of touch Hollywood is with what the audience wants.

"They are still making Schwarzenegger-type epics when it is quite clear that we would much rather be looking at Merchant Ivory films. The audience is usually ahead of the film makers and I would think that the American audience is representative of the world audience.

"Films have been totally mechanised in recent years and are no longer about people. Now we've got so hi-tech that we've lost the sense of real human relationships. Cinema needs to get back to people."

Will Self, a film critic and columnist for London's Evening Standard, dismissed the findings as "politically tendentious. The 'moral' films that they examine tend to be films with huge publicity campaigns, merchandising tie-ins and largely aimed at family audiences, so that is far more likely to explain their box office success", he said.

Mr Self added that Americans were more likely to enjoy films with a religious or moral content because Christian belief remained much more entrenched in the US. "We've certainly seen that with the box office success of The Passion in America, which is unlikely to be repeated here," he said. "We are a secular country, thank God.

 

22nd February

    Student Bodies

From The Yale Herald

Getting bored by professors' faces in classrooms? Then enjoy the beauty of your classmates' bodies—at least, this activity is one Harvard students can do now. Harvard's Committee on College Life (CCL) recently voted to approve a student-run magazine that will feature nude pictures of Harvard undergraduate students, as well as many articles on sexual issues.

The magazine, dubbed "H-Bomb" by the Harvard Crimson, was proposed in early December by two female students, Katharina Baldegg and Camilla Hrdy who were then confident about the approval of their proposal.

Baldegg told the Crimson, I don't think we faced any opposition; people have been very open about it. Hrdy said that initially, there was some concern about the nudity aspect, but that CCL members, comprised of students, faculty, and administrators, eventually got past the fear of porn .

Many Yale students took a negative or neutral stance on CCL's decision. We are here to make a difference, not to make nude pictures, a female junior student said. We can also make it without Yale-made porn magazines, a male senior student wrote in an E-mail.

The H-Bomb creators are optimistic about the future of their newborn magazine, whose first distribution is expected coincide with University Commencement in May. " It's a sex magazine that will hopefully be run by students of all sexual orientations and backgrounds, Baldegg said. The magazine will also include art and fiction articles.

Several regulations will be imposed on the magazine. One restricts the pool of people who can pose for photographs to Harvard College students over 18 years of age. Another University regulation forbids the magazine from taking nude pictures in Harvard buildings.

 

17th February

    Offensive Legislators

Based on an an article from AVN

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the Utah House of Representatives behaved like primary school students headed for their first sex ed class, blushing and giggling as they approved a 10 percent tax on nude dancing and escort services last Friday.

The new tax is expected to provide the state with an estimated $500,000 the first year and $1 million annually.

We're not saying we want to shut these businesses down , said sponsoring Rep. Duane Bourdeaux, D-Salt Lake City. We're saying we want them to pay for" costs associated with treating sex offenders .

Most of the money would go for treatment programs for convicted sex offenders, although some will be reserved for the Attorney General's Office to investigate child pornography– perhaps even to bring back the "porn czar" that was let go last year because the State could no longer afford to keep her.

The bill passed 51-16, with those voting againt the bill suggesting the new tax would likely be challenged in court.

I do personally believe we're overstepping First Amendment rights, said Rep. Dave Ure. I think it will come back to haunt us and it will cost us some money.

 

16th February

    Tokyo Curfews

Based on an a biased article from the Guardian

It is the destination of choice in Tokyo but there is a dark side to the district of Shibuya home of assage parlours, and sex shops.

After years of inaction, Tokyo's leaders, under pressure from nutters and the police, have promised to take measures to protect minors from "unwholesome" influences. Next month the city assembly will debate a series of unprecedented proposals, which have been given the seal of approval of Tokyo's right-wing populist governor, Shintaro Ishihara. The measures include curfews preventing those under 18 from visiting 24-hour karaoke parlours and internet and manga cafes between 11pm and 4am.

Shops will be asked to put covers on pornographic magazines and manga - comic books with often adult themes - and vending machines selling adult videos will require buyers to insert their driving licences. There will also be a crackdown on the burusera trade in schoolgirls' used underwear, for which fetishists pay hundreds of pounds.

The new regulations are expected to be introduced by the spring despite pockets of opposition from councillors who view them as draconian. But Tatsuo Mizuno, head of child welfare at the Tokyo metropolitan government, says the regulations will not restrict freedom of movement.

Last month two men were arrested for allegedly running a prostitution ring in central Tokyo of more than 30 girls. Local press reports said the girls, some of whom were still at school, were promised a cut of between £150 and £250 for each client. They were threatened with violence if they tried to leave.

The girls had been approached through online dating sites and on the street. For some the prospect of earning extra cash or receiving gifts - called compensated dating - is hard to resist. Although sex with under-18s was made illegal in Japan in 1999 after pressure from the UN and child advocates, the law has had little success.

Other forms of exploitation are even harder to legislate against. To the frustration of child welfare officials, the regulations will make it illegal only for girls to sell items of clothing directly to buyers. They will need written parental consent to sell their clothes to secondhand shops.

Measures such as those planned for Tokyo are untested, but the authorities agree that curfews alone are not enough. "This is a problem for adults, not children," said one Tokyo policeman.

 

10th February

    Taiwan Sex Workers Unite

From The Taipei Times

About 200 sex workers and their supporters paraded through heavy rain in Taiwan's capital, Taipei, yesterday, demanding that anti-prostitution laws be changed.

The activists, many wearing headbands that read "decriminalize sex workers," said it was unfair to penalize sex workers but not their customers. Foreign supporters were among those in the parade.

Prostitution is banned on the island, but widely tolerated.

Wearing a pink-and-red feather boa and long black gloves, Ruth Ross of the British-based International Union of Sex Workers said Taiwan could learn from her group's experience in forming unions. We believe sex workers all around the world must unite and stand up for their rights, Ross said. She led the crowd in shouting "sex workers unite," waved a Union Jack and performed a partial striptease dance. Other marchers were more discrete, covering their faces with masks and caps.

With Taiwan's March 20 presidential elections in mind, the activists marched from an upmarket shopping district to the campaign headquarters of the two presidential candidates.

Yesterday's parade was part of a four-day cultural festival sponsored by a local activist group, the Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters. It included seminars on the experiences of sex workers in various countries, and erotic dance workshops.

 

7th February

    Tasmanian Tigers in Bed

From The News Courier

Brothels will be legalised in Tasmania under legislation released for comment by the State Government recently.

The proposed laws come after more than three years of consultation. Brothels would be required to be licensed, and would have to go through the same local planning processes as all other businesses. The draft laws require sex workers to register their name and business, even if they work independently from their home.

Brothels will not be permitted to operate within 200m of a church, hospital or school, and will be required to pay tax. And local councils will have the final say on whether a brothel should be allowed to operate in a particular location.

Attorney-General Judy Jackson said the laws would protect children, public health and the health and welfare of sex workers. It's a fact of life that prostitution exists in Tasmania, Ms Jackson said. This is not about legalising it, it's about regulating what's already there.

The key points of the draft Sex Industry Regulation Bill 2004 include:

  • Making it illegal for people convicted of offences including drug dealing to be a licensed brothel operator.
  • Restricting clients or sex workers from soliciting in public.
  • Establishing a legal requirement for brothel operators, sex workers and clients to use condoms.
  • Banning brothels from residential areas.
  • Fines of up to $50,000 for brothel owners who operate illegally.
  • Prohibiting children from being in brothels.
  • Allowing independent sex workers to work from their homes in residential areas.

Tasmanian law had never outlawed prostitution, but it had been illegal for brothel operators or pimps to live off the earnings of prostitution. The draft legislation will see those crimes and offences - and a similar one of procuring a person to be a prostitute - repealed.

Ms Jackson said it was believed about 30 brothels already operated in Tasmania. She also said that she believed local councils would be mostly supportive of the move.

The draft legislation is available at www.justice.tas.gov.au and will be open for public comment until March 12.

 

2nd February

    The United States of Holier-than-thou Warmongers

From The Korea Herald

The U.S. military has taken on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now it is leading the charge against lap dancing in South Korea. The U.S. 2nd Infantry Division this week will ask the Korean Special Tourist Association and local mayors to put pressure on night clubs near barracks north of Seoul to ban lap dancing, the Stars and Stripes military newspaper reported.

The tactic would appear to be an about-face from the division's stance last year when lap dancing was authorized under a vague policy. The military apparently had to come up with a definition suitable enough to ban lap dancing entirely.

Now the military has its definition, which reads  when a club dancer is approached by or offers to dance for a soldier' typically of the opposite sex. This interaction between dancer and soldier is typically done at close quarters. This type of behavior does not honor either individual involved , the division said in a statement about lap dancing. Since soldiers are soldiers 24/7, they are not at liberty to lower their professional bearing after hours.

The statement was made in line with the division's "Good Commerce Practices Guide," which sets out standards expected of nearby clubs frequented by its soldiers.

Club owners and mayors will have 30 days to respond to the Korean Special Tourist Association and 2nd Infantry Division proposal to rid bars of lap dancing near camps. It is unclear how the military would enforce such a ban other than to forbid its members from visiting clubs that allow such activities. The military already publishes a list of establishments across Asia that are off-limits to its personnel.

The division's new guidelines suggest that dances involving soldiers and bar employees be free of any physical contact and be visible by any military police inspecting the club. The proposal also calls for a ban on customers placing money in dancers' "G-strings, bras, garters or other apparel."

The 15,000-strong 2nd Division is stationed in border areas with North Korea. Bars are often located close to military main gates, such as at Camp Casey. We are following trends in the U.S., said Col. Chris Bailey who wrote the guideline. Lap dancing has taken on a new level of interest in the American media. It is outlawed in Los Angeles and Las Vegas."

 

1st February

    Expensive Cologne

From the Ananova

The German city of Cologne is to introduce a sex tax on brothels, erotic sauna clubs and massage salons from next year.

For brothels, the tax will work out at 150 euros per bed per month, a city spokesperson said. I would not be surprised if the costs are passed on to customers, she added.

The tax will also apply to circuses and funfairs, but it is the sex business which could help most to help fill Cologne's coffers. We are a big city and because of this have a lot of these type of offers. We estimate revenue of up to two million euros, the city spokesperson said.

Jens Metzger, from the North Rhine-Westphalia state Staedtetag, said many German cities had already imposed taxes on sex trade fairs and strip clubs. However, an entertainment tax on prostitutes is new to me, he said. Metzger believes other local authorities will be looking closely at Cologne's "sex tax".

In a change in the law, municipal authorities are now able to decide themselves how they impose entertainment taxes.

 

31st January

    Top Shelf Top Floor Battle

From the Guardian

Bob Guccione is facing a battle for control of Penthouse, the magazine he founded in the 1960s as a rival to Hugh Hefner's Playboy.  Beate Uhse, the publicly quoted German company that owns a string of sex shops, has tabled a $62m (£34m) bid for General Media, which publishes the magazine. Beate Uhse has about 300 shops in 13 countries as well as its mail order operation.

The offer comes at a time when General Media, of which Guccione is chairman and chief executive, is seeking backing for its own reorganisation plan. At least one other investor is also thought to be interested in developments at the American company.

General Media filed for Chapter 11 protection from its creditors last August as it struggled to compete against new, more celebrity-orientated, magazines and the increasing availability of pornography on the internet. A court is expected to decide on the restructuring plan - reported to include a deal that would keep Guccione as Penthouse's publisher emeritus for the next 10 years - next month.

Yesterday a spokeswoman for Beate Uhse confirmed the German company had made a $62m offer. Beate Uhse, which has been quoted on the German stock market since 1999, is keen to use the Penthouse name to expand its mail order business internationally.

The spokeswoman said: Penthouse is a very, very, well known brand in the world, especially in the US. Beate Uhse is more a German brand. Since we came to the stock exchange we have really been looking to expand internationally. We started our own mail order business in the US in 2002, but it is really very small. It is very difficult to build up something from nothing as a European company."

 

27th January

    D-Vice Minister

Based on an article from the New Zealand Herald

Most people prefer not to attract undue attention when visiting sex shops. Marian Hobbs, on the other hand, has invited the media to accompany her. The Environment Minister will visit Wellington manufacturer and designer sex gear retailer, D-Vice, this morning as the first in a series of Government events focusing on small business.

Dubbed the Small Business Day Series, Small Business Minister John Tamihere said the aim was to support small businesses and strengthen communication between them and the Government. Small business success is crucial to the New Zealand economy and we're committed to growing relationships with this sector. We want to visit a diverse range of businesses so we can explore the broad spectrum of issues affecting New Zealand businesses.

 

18th January

    Swatch out for Mainstream Porn

Based on an article from the Edmonton Sun

When Jenna Jameson is wearing more than the Swatch girl in their respective Times Square billboards, it's a pretty sure sign that porn has landed squarely in the middle of the cultural mainstream.

The mainstreaming of porn is everywhere: Jenna Jameson in Times Square (and guest starring on TV shows like Mister Sterling), references to porn on everything from Nip/Tuck to The King of Queens and Girl Next Door, an upcoming feature film about a teen (24 star and Canuck sweetheart Elisha Cuthbert) moving in next to a porn star and bonding with the woman.

Just ask Savanna Samson and Sunrise Adams, the two Vivid Video adult film stars appearing at a recent Porn Star Ball at the west-end Cowboys nightclub, where they'll meet and greet fans and judge a dress-as-your-favourite-porn-star contest for cash prizes.

I'm viewed as a celebrity in places that I go, Samson said. One reason I was skeptical about going into porn, even though I really wanted to, was my reputation and people looking at me a certain way. Instead, I find people are interested and admire me for doing something that I always wanted to do.

Samson has been with Vivid Video for a couple of years, though she had no designs on becoming a celebrity in the adult film business. That is, until she wrote to famed porn star Rocco Siffredi to declare her admiration, and was invited to Paris to co-star in Rocco Meats An American Angel in Paris.