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2006: Jan-March

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27th March

    Another bad brothel bylaw bites the dust

From Scoop

Christchurch City Council's decision to abandon a case before the Court of Appeal regarding a restrictive bylaw limiting the legal location of brothels is the right one, According to Green Party Social Development Spokesperson Sue Bradford.

The decision not to appeal follows a High Court ruling quashing a similarly restrictive bylaw in Auckland last week. The bylaws sought to severely restrict the legal locations of brothels, making it virtually impossible for prostitutes to run small, single-owner/operator brothels.

This is important because the ability of sex workers to separate themselves from exploitative brothel owners was an important aspect of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003.

I am very pleased that the Christchurch City Council has seen sense on this matter and decided not to pursue any further legal action, Bradford says. As I said last week after the High Court decision on the Auckland bylaw, it was never Parliament's intention that local bodies would be able to make such restrictive rules as to make it impossible to operate small private brothels. I am glad Christchurch City council will not waste any more resources on a futile legal battle, and hope instead that this decision, and the High Court ruling in Auckland, will lead to the develop of more sensible and safe rules around the operation of brothels.


26th March

    Texas Sex Shop Harrassment

From AVN

Police in this Forth Worth suburb raided an adult store, confiscating various sex toys and pornography, forcing it to shut down.

Police officers acting on a search warrant at the Log Cabin Books and Movies, searched the business and confiscated sex toys and pornography deemed obscene by a judge.

Scott Raven, public safety chief, said the 10:30 a.m. operation lasted six to eight hours mostly due to the confiscation and cataloguing of nearly all of the shop's materials which he said "filled a police van two times."

The police action came after District Judge James Wilson examined material purchased from the store by undercover officers and deemed them to be obscene.

Under Texas law, obscenity is material which "the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest in sex."


16th March

    Stringing Along the Nutters

Based on an article from Bloomberg

Peter Stringfellow, whose London nightclubs have hosted A-list celebrities and executives for almost three decades, is dealing with crowds of a different kind outside his new Dublin venue: protesters.

Europe's third Stringfellows strip club opened 200 meters from the Irish capital's main shopping street last month after winning a license in January. Nutters claim it may encourage prostitution and hurt efforts to revitalize the inner city. As many as 40 people picket outside three nights a week.

Stringfellow said: On their moral concerns I just can't help them: we just disagree about what's moral and what's not.

The best-known club in London, Stringfellows has become a household name by attracting bankers from the financial district. In Ireland, where 80% of the population is Catholic, lap-dancers aren't as welcome, and the furor has prompted city lawmakers to lobby the government for increased powers in blocking sex shops and strip clubs.

While campaigners have no legal recourse to close the club down, they're threatening to damage the business by taking photographs of customers and posting them on a Web site.

The protests may be hurting business. By 10:30 p.m. on a Wednesday night, most of the tables by the stage area in the club are empty and 15 patrons sit at the bar. Dancers are leaving the club because of a lack of business, the Daily Mirror reported.

Six years ago, Dublin city officials abandoned a legal fight to stop UK sex-shop operator Ann Summers opening up. Judge Ann Watkin on Jan. 9 granted Stringfellows a license in Dublin. Conditions included a limit on signs outside the club to take into account mounting opposition from lawmakers and residents.

Attempts to block both projects weren't successful because Ireland's planning legislation doesn't specify what an outlet can sell or give a category for strip clubs or adult shops, meaning venues need only general dance or retail licenses rather than specific planning permission.

Members of the Association of County & City Councils are seeking a meeting with Environment Minister Dick Roche this month to expand their powers of veto. We're not calling for a ban, but that they would be brought within the planning framework, said Liam Kenny, the Laois-based director of the association.

The Irish venue is a joint venture with local businessman Tom Butler. Entry to the two-floor Stringfellows club costs 20 euros. Customers pay 30 euros for a private dance, according to the Stringfellows Web site.

Stringfellow denies the protests are damaging the business and says he's hiring. He's planning a weekly gay night with male dancers: Stand by for more placards, he said.


15th March

    Auckland Council Caught Putting their Morality Above the Law

From New Zealand Herald

The New Zealand High Court has quashed Auckland City Council's brothels bylaw, saying it was too restrictive.

A challenge from the owners of a brothel known as Club 574, which operated from an address in the leafy suburb of Epsom, brought about the decision, released today by Justice Paul Heath.

The council said this afternoon that it was considering its next move following the decision.

Parliament legalised prostitution in June 2003, but it was left to local authorities to makes decisions about the locations at which brothels could operate and the signage they could use. Auckland's bylaw lists many restrictions on the siting of a brothel, including that they not set up business in a residential area, close to a place of worship, school, or community facility.

Justice Heath found that the bylaw was invalid partly because it prohibited sex workers from plying their lawful trade from small owner-operated brothels, most of which would be likely operate to from residential properties. It is scarcely conceivable that Parliament intended virtually no brothels, whether small or large, to operate on the Auckland isthmus, " Justice Heath said in his finding. To that extent, the bylaw conflicts with and undermines the purposes of the (Prostitution Law Reform) Act.

It was understandable that many ratepayers did not want to live close to a brothel, he said, but the council's bylaws must be made on legal rather than moral grounds. Justice Heath said the same sort of business had been carried out at the Epsom address for many years, without any real evidence of public nuisance or safety concerns.

Club 574 had applied for a dispensation from the bylaw in February last year, but was turned down by commissioners. Lawyers for Club 574 maintained that the commissioners did not give enough consideration to the fact that the club was carrying out a lawful activity, that it had been doing so for some time, and that its business was carried out behind high walls and trees and without signage identifying the nature of the business.

Club 574 was awarded costs by Justice Heath.

Councillor Glenda Fryer, chair of the council's Planning and Regulatory Committee, said: This decision has major ramifications and the council will clearly have to examine the decision carefully and consider all the options available. One of those options is to lodge an appeal against this decision, but another option is to draft a new bylaw which takes into account the points raised by Justice Heath.

Update: Auckland council have decided not to appeal and are now considering their options to change the bylaw.


9th March

    Dignified Protest

Based on an article from Zee News

Demanding the right to dignified life, about 4000 Indian sex workers, transgender and sexual minorities staged a protest march in Delhi on the occasion of International Women's Day.

Representatives from 16 states came together under the aegis of National Network of Sex Workers (NNSW) for the march.

National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) director Sujatha Rao unflured the NNSW flag and kicked off the event. With the community of women taking control over their life, I see this massive celebration as a positive sign, she said.

NNSW has been strongly opposing the proposed amendment in the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Amendment Bill 2005 and demanding that the government consult all stakeholders as it adversely impacted lives of scores of transgender, sexual minorities and sex workers in the country.

The proposed amendment in the bill seeks criminalisation of clients who go to brothels, increased penalties for brothel keeping and lowering rank of police officials who raid the brothels.

Programme convenor Swapna Gayen said that the 'public event' was held to protest against the ITPA Bill and to draw the attention towards the problems of sex workers and sexual minorities. The event highlights the innovative work we are doing in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. We are like any other citizen of India and we also have a right to live a dignified life..., said Gayen.

Demanding that the ITPA Bill reflect their concerns, Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee member Mala Singh said that the proposed amendments will do more harm than good for the community. By penalising a client, our livelihood will be destroyed and we will only end up doing our work on the sly, neglect our health and this will result in HIV/AIDS spreading even further, Mala said.

Kerala Sex Workers Forum member Nalini Jamila said that the government was confusing consensual sex with trafficking: We are not against laws to check trafficking but the government's sole focus has been on pulling people out of sex work, while ignoring the very factor that pushes individuals and communities in the business.

Speaking on behalf of transgenders, the most marginalised among these minorities, Ashodaya Mahila Samanwaya Committee member Girija, said 'Hijras' faced the worst oppression: We are criminalised by both the laws - ITPA and Section 377 IPC. Also since our gender has no legal recognition we do not have an identity . We are in this profession not just out of choice but by default... We can only do this work or beg. If this amendment comes into force, our only option is death... The government might have good intentions but they are misplaced,'' she added.


5th March

    Wind Up Butt Plugs

Based on an article from AVN

Divine Productions, a US web-based adult production company, has recently been winding up nutters by offering sex toys modeled after religious icons. The toys include a "baby Jesus butt plug," a "jackhammer Jesus," and a "diving nun."

In a recent conservative report, Gene McConnell, director of Authentic Relationships International, an organization that fights against what it calls "addictions to pornography," said: it is clear that [porn] providers like this have to expose their customers to more destructive ideas to get their customers to come back for more. McConnell believes Divine Productions is using sex to communicate hate to the religious community.

James L. Lambert's story in Agape Press, a Christian news media source, went on to explain that the distributor sells its products by using religious imagery and terminology to make fun of biblical characters, among them Jesus, the Virgin Mary, Judas, and Moses. Company advertising employs slogans such as: Let Judas make a martyr out of you ; or find out what it means to be truly touched by God .

Ultra conservative Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of Liberty University and senior pastor of a Baptist Church says ridicule of the Church is something that has happened since the time of Christ.


2nd March

    Booth Bother

From AVN

A recent story noted that changes in the Scottsdale's Sexually Oriented Business Ordinance is having an impact. Zorba's adult video store may have to undergo a complete overhaul in order to comply with the ordinance.

The new rules, said the report, require adult store managers to have unobstructed views of the entire building, except for bathrooms, with the space illuminated by at least a 40-watt light bulb. No "doors, curtains, walls, merchandise, display racks or other materials" can obscure any part of the business under the rules.

The East Valley Tribune reported that Mayor Mary Manross said the video store rules are necessary to prevent sexual activity at Zorba's: There are many known, documented secondary impacts of those kinds of businesses, especially when you have them configured with private booths.

The new ordinance also targets exotic dance clubs. Changes would ban nude dancing and restrict dancers from coming within four feet of patrons. However, the owners and employees of the city's two dance clubs, Babe's - which has been purchased by adult star and AVN Hall of Famer, Jenna Jameson and will be renamed Club Jenna after remodeling - and Skin Cabaret, led a referendum drive that gathered more than 8,000 voter signatures, putting the issue on the September ballot.

The report concluded by saying that if passed, the ballot measure would repeal the nudity and distance rules for the clubs, which will enjoy a reprieve from the ordinance until the public vote. Video store provisions in the ordinance, however, were left off the referendum.


1st March    Europe's Brothel...
Sponsore Melon Farmers vis Patreon
Spain seeks solutions to prostitution
Spanish flagIs prostitution a form of slavery and sexual violence, a job like any other, or just an unavoidable human phenomenon?

A Europe-wide debate has reached Spain, dubbed "Europe's brothel", where a parliamentary commission has been established to study possible approaches to prostitution after the northeastern region of Catalonia made controversial plans to regulate it. Prostitution is booming in Spain, where up to 400,000 women are estimated to be sex workers. A 2003 study said a quarter of men aged between 18 and 49 years had bought their services.

Spain has about 1,000 roadside brothels known as "clubs", but prostitutes also look for clients on the streets, in parks, even parking lots and industrial areas.

The proliferation of prostitution in recent years has led to a situation in which we can find it everywhere, said Catalan regional interior minister Montserrat Tura.

Voluntary prostitution is not a crime in Spain, but pimping and coercion are.

Spain's relatively liberal prostitution laws and a late 1990s economic boom have helped to turn it into one of the top international centres for the trade, drawing prostitutes and sex tourists, according to press reports.

Nobody knows how much money the trade turns, but the sum amounts to billions of euros annually.

Because prostitution is not illegal per se, Madrid authorities trying to reduce it have found no other way than making traffic police harass motorists who pick up prostitutes in certain neighbourhoods and the Casa de Campo Park.

Such measures usually just prompt prostitutes to move elsewhere, and Catalonia now intends to try a novel approach.

The region is making plans to remove prostitutes from the streets to indoors, turning them into businesswomen running their own premises or hiring rooms.

The arrangement would increase prostitutes' independence from pimps and allow the authorities to watch over the hygiene and other conditions in brothels, the rationale goes.

I would also like a world without prostitution, said Tura, who has promoted the plan. But if we insist on an extreme debate about its total abolition, we will end up doing nothing.

Police in the Catalan capital Barcelona have already started imposing fines of up to 750 euros (890 dollars) on prostitutes or their clients in an attempt to chase them from the streets.

Yet the Woman's Institute, an organ dependent on the central government, blasted the Catalan plan, saying prostitution was a "degrading" practice "incompatible with democratic values" and that Catalonia did not have the authority to regulate it independently.

Feminists and trade unions are divided between the Dutch approach of clearly legalizing prostitution and the Swedish approach of trying to eliminate it by penalizing the clients.

Those supporting legalization say prostitutes have the right to do what they like with their bodies, in the same way as a woman may decide to have an abortion.

Opponents say prostitution is based on the same kind of disregard for women as domestic violence. One of the opponents' main arguments is that around 80% of prostitutes working in Spain are immigrants, many of them illegal, from Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa.

There is little doubt that many of the foreign prostitutes have been coerced into the trade by criminals who have lured them to Spain with false promises of other jobs. In 2004, police freed 1,700 women who had been forced to work as prostitutes in brothels, flats or on the street.

Yet there is also evidence that some immigrant prostitutes practice the trade voluntarily to multiply their meagre incomes as house servants and to send money to their families at home. I don't like this life, I would prefer to clean the streets, but how much would I then earn? one Madrid prostitute said.

Prostitutes dislike the Catalan plan, which, they say would diminish their independence instead of increasing it. On the street, we are free to choose the client and to agree on the time and price, a Barcelona prostitute said. But indoors, prostitutes would be "coerced or watched over" by the owners of the premises, she added.

The problem of prostitution has not been solved anywhere over thousands of years, historian Henry Kamen observed. It will not be easy to reach a consensus, but the serious situation in which thousands of women find themselves makes it necessary to take decisions soon, the daily El Pais concluded.


1st March

    Handcuffed to Restricted Freedom

From AVN & the Sacrameto Bee

A Sacramento Superior Court Judge has ruled that a Folsom, California ordinance restricting the sale of sex toys does not violate a business owner's First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

The challenge to the ordinance was brought by Sam and Misty Dufour, owners of Ms. Teaz, a lingerie shop in Folsom's Historic District.

A November, 2004, emergency ordinance was passed by the city shortly before Ms. Teaz opened its doors, transparently targeting the store. The ordinance, which prohibited the sale of explicit items such as bondage paraphernalia, as well as requiring blinders on displays of adult magazines, was made permanent in January 2005.

Dufour's attorney, Greg Garrison, argued that the city's ordinance was vague and contradictory. For example, said Garrison, the ordinance prohibits devices with non-sex-related utility being marketed ... in a manner promoting sexual or sadomasochistic uses. Garrison said that language unfairly allows Target or Wal-Mart, for instance, to sell toy handcuffs, while similar handcuffs could not be sold at Ms. Teaz, because, in that context, they would be marketed for their "sexual utility."

However, Judge Connelly rejected that line of reasoning, said the report. A marketing restriction can't be "bootstrapped" into a free-speech issue: If you follow that to its logical conclusion, then every product would fall under the First Amendment.


1st March

    Sex Tourism... in the Philippines...Enjoy!

From Manilla Standard Today by Roderick T. dela Cruz

The owner of a travel agency concedes that the sex industry is beyond the control of the Department of Tourism (DoT). He also admits that when tourists are looking for sex, travel agencies have no choice but to tell them where it can be found. And it can be found in many places.

Along Quezon Avenue, it can be found fastest at massage parlors, where customers choose who to have sex with from a roomful of girls. All this in the guise of getting a massage for P1,500 to P2,000. (P1000 = £11.20, $19.50)

One of the oldest massage parlors in the area had to bring down its charges and offer promo rates to lure back customers who have found a wider selection of girls from the salon. One that has been getting a lot of attention lately is an exclusive massage parlor where politicians, businessmen, actors, foreigners and moneyed individuals have been sighted. 

Casas (brothels), which are not considered legitimate establishments, offer sex services at more affordable rates. Then, there are also clubs, bars and KTVs where customers and GROs (guest relation officers) or bar girls can spend an hour or more at the VIP room with their customers for P1,500 to P2,000 and have sex for another P2,000 to P2,500. Outside the VIP room, a lady's drink would cost the customer P500 to P600 every 30 minutes. One of these clubs in Quezon City is getting a lot of Japanese and Korean customers, because it is known for employing really young girls.

Another form of prostitution is the so-called escort service, where the call girl accompanies the tourist to the places he wants to visit, including the hotel room where he stays. This has also evolved into a sex tour. In Makati City, some expatriates recruit girls to join them in a party where sex is open to everyone who is present. The escort service trade is highly popular in Puerto Galera, Palawan and Boracay.

It is estimated that there are more than 100,000 sex workers in the Philippines. A search for the word Filipina or Filipino woman at global search engine would most likely result in links to pornography sites. One site promotes mail order brides; another, video clips of sex for a fee and another, sex tours in the Philippines. Meet some sweet Filipina girls from small Philippine towns , one Web site says in its header.

Amid the spread of prostitution in the Philippines, women's group Gabriela blames the tourism program of the government as a contributory factor to the growing problem of prostitution: The tourism program of the government which aims to project the Philippines as a major tourist destination has increased the number of prostituted women. As more and more areas of the country are targeted for tourism, more and more women are driven to prostitution in desperation to ensure their family's survival.

The Philippines used to send many 'entertainers' to Japan, but with the stricter immigration and working policies in the world's second largest economy and the growth in international tourism in the Philippines, many girls actually decided to work in local bars and KTVs while waiting for their working visas.

As expected, the DoT is quick to deny any link between prostitution and tourism. But not all officials are singing the same tune. One DoT official, who has been stripped of his previous functions, has criticized the present focus on Korea, Japan and China without sustaining the promotion efforts in the more sophisticated markets of Germany and the United Kingdom. Senator Richard Gordon, a former tourism secretary, admits that quality tourists still come from Western and Northern Europe.

Eduardo Jarque Jr., assistant secretary for tourism planning and promotion at DoT, says prostitution is not exclusive to the Philippines. Other countries have the same problem. We just can't control it, he says pragmatically. He admits that foreigners are attracted to the caring attitude of the Filipinos. Foreigners find us friendly. With such a short time of stay in the country, foreigners' quality of enjoyment here is very high.

For his part, Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano insists that nobody is selling the country as a sex tourism destination. We welcome everyone as long as they are legitimate tourists, but we do not condone prostitution, he says. Prostitution, according to him, is not just a tourism issue, but a social issue that needs to be addressed by everyone, not only by the DoT. We even discourage it. Families are the type of tourists we are bringing into the country, he says.

Two economists from the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P), however, caution the DoT against following the Thailand model. Prof. Winston Padojinog and Prof. Maria Cherry Lyn Rodolfo say the country should move away from sex tourism and toward quality tourism in order to get quality tourists.

Instead of attracting male-dominated tourist groups, the two economists say the country will do better by drawing in family vacationers to the country's tourist destinations, which are really among the best in the world. Data shows that the average age of foreign tourists in the Philippines was 38 as of 2004, which means it is not getting a lot of its desired tourists - families on vacation.

Industry players cite the need for the government to sell these tourist spots and the entire archipelago as a wholesome family destination, where foreign tourists can enjoy the best of nature with their families. They say this can truly offer a wonderful travel experience, and not just satisfy a few carnal desires.


27th February

    Information Society

From asahi

Despite the Japanese city's best efforts to drive them underground, Osaka's sex shop information booths are doing a thriving trade.

As part of a campaign against sex shops, the Osaka prefectural government recently imposed new restrictions on the booths, the first such effort in the country. But operators have found ways to work around the rules, and they show no signs of losing business.

Since the ordinance went into effect Feb. 1, the booths are no longer allowed to show provocative pictures that are visible to passers-by. They must not admit anyone under 18, and they are required to abide by new restrictions on operating hours.

Sex shops pay between 40,000 and 50,000 yen a month to advertise their services in the booths, according to operators. A typical information booth displays ads for between 30 and 50 sex shops.

Since another ordinance went into effect in December cracking down on touts working in the red-light district of Minami, more sex shops have come to depend on the booths to drum up trade. The booths have been increasing in numbers, according to police, with the last tally putting the number at 141 in Osaka Prefecture. In Minami in January, there were 60, an increase of 30% over six months earlier.

There are now 20 booths in a 500-meter stretch of Minami's Soemoncho shopping district. The new rules require them to shut by 1 a.m., and most booths have complied. In a few, lights are still visible at 1:30 a.m.

When a reporter peeked inside one, a young worker said, "We can show you a good place." The employee explained, Although we have closed for the day, since you showed up we have to provide you with information.

To work around rules forbidding the booths from displaying explicit posters that can be seen from the sidewalk, many shops now use computers instead. One establishment advertised itself as a "free Internet cafe," and had about 10 computers in the glass-lined outlet.

Others have taken the words "sex shop" off their signs, and instead advertise themselves as offering free information about restaurants and bars.

Despite the ordinance, there are no signs that the booths are declining in popularity. It's convenient because I won't run into rip-off joints, said a company employee who visited an information booth. I will continue to use them in the future.

As soon as a shop goes out of business or becomes vacant, it is usually snapped up by someone who wants to open an information booth.

Toshitsugu Okamoto, who heads the Soemoncho shopping district association, said: We have no intention of forcing the booths to leave. We just want them to abide by the rules so this district will be one that women and families can visit with ease.


22nd February

    Cheerless Songs

from Thanhnien News

Karaoke bars in Vietnam will no longer be allowed to sell or have alcohol on their premises as part of the country's continued campaign against "social ills,"

Under a decree that took effect Thursday, karaoke bars, along with discotheques, would also be required to close down at midnight, Le Anh Tuyen, director of the Legal Department at the Ministry of Culture and Information said: The decree will definitely help reduce negative activities in karaoke bars and discotheques.

Phan An Sa, chief inspector at the Ministry of Culture and Information, told Thanh Nien authorities had discovered 600 people using the drug ecstasy and 60 women offering striptease dances to customers at karaoke bars and discos over the past nine months.

Karaoke was introduced into Vietnam in the late 1980s and mushroomed in the late 1990s, with more than 10,000 establishments licensed to operate in the country.


19th February

    Red Light for Red Lights

Based on an article from The Observer

The notable sex district could be shut down if a clean-up campaigner wins Amsterdam's elections. Politicians expected to win power in next month's municipal elections have said that if the De Wallen quarter cannot be cleaned up, it should be shut down.

If we have a choice of losing a tourist attraction or helping to end the abuse of women, I would rather lose the tourist attraction, said Lodewijk Asscher, new chief of the city's ruling Social Democrat Party. It should not be closed immediately but, if there is no reform, we should gradually try to diminish it.

Asscher's policies, part of a manifesto for what is likely to be a successful election campaign, have sparked a fierce reaction. Opponents of the plan include defenders of Amsterdam's famous 'tolerance', while experts on human trafficking and representatives of sex workers are - perhaps predictably - divided.

The problem itself is complicated. First, it depends on which elements of the red-light district are being discussed. Since a change in the law five years ago, many of the brothels are entirely legal. There are 180 official 'sex businesses' in the De Wallen quarter, which employ around 2,000 prostitutes who are registered, inspected and, at least theoretically, pay tax.

Petra Timmerman, of the Prostitutes Information Centre, an association based in the red-light district, told The Observer that 'most of those working in legal establishments are working voluntarily. There is an assumption that everybody is exploited and needs "saving". That is not necessarily true.'

Timmerman said she herself had made a rational decision to work as a prostitute. At that stage I wanted more time and this was a way I could earn lots of money in less time. I had an aspiration that I decided to fulfil like anyone else.

The Prostitutes Information Centre was last week distributing leaflets advertising a 'sex industry open day' aimed, Timmerman said, at countering 'the bad press we have been getting'.

Yet beyond the legalised sector are less well-regulated areas. One problem is European Union labour laws which do not permit non-EU citizens to work. The result is that Eastern European and African women, who make up 47% and 26% respectively of Amsterdam-based prostitutes according to recent government figures, are vulnerable to violent abuse, blackmail and extortion. If they go to the police, as more than 500 did last year, they risk being deported. In Belgium and Italy, residency permits are offered to prostitutes who denounce abuses in the sex industry. There is no such system in Holland.

In 2000 the annual turnover of the prostitutes in Amsterdam was estimated at €80 million (£55 million). 'It's a huge market,' said one police source. It used to be just Dutch gangs and relatively easy to keep an eye on Now it is more international and very hard to monitor. You have dangerous and armed criminals involved in trafficking very large numbers of girls from poor areas. There is a limit to what the authorities can do without massive resources.

The police priorities are elsewhere, said Ruth Hopkins, a researcher based in Holland who has published a book on human trafficking in Europe. It makes no sense to shut down the red-light district. They are looking at the symptoms, not the cause. Dutch politics is all about what looks good on the outside, not about an in-depth approach.

Bas Heijne, a columnist for the NRC-Handelsblad newspaper, said Asscher was part of a wave of Dutch politicians who are moral, or at least using morality, in a highly dubious sense. They are trying to overcompensate for a lack of moral values over a long period. They have ideas that are not very well thought-out but that they think should be implemented immediately.


16th February

    Lapping up New Freedoms

From The Moscow Times

Strip clubs and gambling -- banned until a decade ago under apartheid -- are now big business in South Africa, thanks to a booming economy and the more liberal attitudes that came with the dawn of democracy and an end to international isolation.

And decadence is the name of the game as companies battle to entice a nouveau riche clientele swollen by the growing ranks of the black middle class.

The old Dutchmen in power had very narrow minds, said Lolly Jackson, chief executive and founder of South Africa's most famous chain of strip clubs, Teazers. When we got democracy, people realized this is what they want to do.

Under stringent apartheid-era censorship laws, magazines were forced to cover breasts with stars, bare legs on a packet of stockings were branded pornographic, and casinos were banned by a government dominated by conservative Afrikaners, descendants of Dutch and French settlers.

South Africans wanting a naughty weekend of sex and gambling had to travel to neighboring Swaziland or to one of the nominally independent "homelands" for blacks.

Censorship collapsed with South Africa's transition to democracy in 1994. Twelve years on, sex is a commodity like any other and 80 percent of the population gambles regularly if you include playing the national lottery.

We have the most liberal constitution in the world, so people are simply doing what they like to do , said Derek Auret, chief executive of the Casino Association of South Africa.

Hard figures are difficult to come by, but anecdotal evidence shows that the number of strip clubs and amount of pornography is growing fast.

The biggest boom appears to be at the top end of the market, as the once-illicit trade formerly confined to the seedy underground joins the mainstream economy and businessmen seek to capitalize on surging consumer spending.

Under the slogan the teaze without the sleaze, Teazers prides itself on its upmarket clientele and inhabits prime real estate in affluent suburbs of the major cities. It has just launched an aggressive ad campaign in key business hubs aimed at high earners.

Teazers is not alone. Newspapers feature advertisements from a plethora of establishments billed as "executive" or "private clubs for gentlemen," and a recent magazine survey showed that almost nine out of 10 executives had visited a strip club.

As strip clubs shed their seedy image and move upmarket, South African women are increasingly opting to accompany their boyfriends or husbands when they go out to ogle other women.


13th February

    Sex Mall

From The Herald

In some ways, the new Sex Capital in Mexico City´s Historic Center looks like any other modern shopping mall. Unlike most other shopping malls, however, it also has a table dance club, a gay discotheque, peep shows and an 18-and-over age limit. Its shops sell exclusively sex-themed products - marital aids, lingerie, condoms, adult videos and books - and the dining area features a stage where young men and women dance and strip down to their undies.

But Sex Capital also has entire passageways of unoccupied shop fronts and a customer flow that most vendors describe unenthusiastically as "so-so." Four months after opening, Mexico´s first sex-themed shopping mall, a symbol of the nation´s increasing openness toward sexuality, is struggling to attract business.

Alberto Kibrit, the mall´s owner acknowledged that promotion had been subdued, and said he was holding back on an advertising blitz until the complex was closer to full capacity.

Another factor that may help to explain the mall´s slow start: in this predominantly Catholic and traditionally conservative society, many people are still just beginning to feel comfortable with the open discussion of sex.

The Mexico of today would certainly not appear to be a sex-shy nation. Mexican films often feature sex scenes that would likely earn an NC-17 rating in the United States. In Mexico City, magazine stands prominently display adult magazines and unlicensed sidewalk vendors set up graphic displays of pirated porn movies. A five-day sex expo - another brainchild of Kibrit and the inspiration for the sex mall project - attracted 80,000 visitors to the capital´s Sports Palace in 2004 and another 100,000 in 2005.

But cinematic sex scenes, openly displayed pornography and sex expos are relatively new phenomena here. And not everyone is comfortable with their arrival.

What we are seeing is a continuous process of openness for Mexico as a culture and as a society, said Rodolfo Hernández, director of the Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas. We see how Mexican society is facing secularization, and how people have a stronger sense of self-identity with which to decide the way they pursue satisfaction."

The city found itself under mounting pressure as Sex Capital prepared to open. Neighboring business owners protested that the plaza would scare away their customers and attract crime and prostitution, while others argued that the project was inappropriate for the city´s monument- and museum-filled Historic Center.

In the end, the city granted Kibrit his operating permit, but only after he agreed to implement tight security measures and scuttle his plan to offer live sex shows.

Kibrit acknowledges the concerns of the mall´s critics, but insists that his project is ultimately good for the community. It´s better that this is happening here, in an enclosed, controlled space, than out on the Eje Central where little kids can see it, he said, in reference to an avenue around the corner from Sex Capital where the sidewalk sale of hardcore pornography is widespread.

While the majority of the mall´s customers are men, the clientele is still noticeably diverse. Couples are common, as are groups or pairs of women. And while most patrons fall in the 18-to-40 age demographic, visitors in their 50s and 60s can be seen strolling the passageways as well.

As part of its effort to attract a diverse customer base, Sex Capital recently opened the "Woman´s Club," which features male strippers, and the gay-friendly "Arubis" dance club. Many of the mall´s shops offer products geared toward both straight and gay patrons, and the bookstore has an educational section for parents who want to talk to their children about sex.

Kibrit hopes that such inclusiveness - along with his planned publicity barrage - will help to boost the mall´s current average of 20,000 weekly visitors to 50-60,000.

Kibrit said, in Mexico, it is not that difficult to get people interested in sex. But getting people to patronize a sex-themed shopping center may prove to be a more difficult proposition.


7th February

    Zero Tolerance in Brussels

Based on an article from Expatica

Brussels claimed this week it is winning the battle against street prostitution, but some city residents stress the problem persists.

Brussels' street prostitution is primarily centered around the Handels or Alhambra city district.

Brussels is adopting a policy of zero tolerance against street prostitution. Deciding to sharply increase the number of patrols, Brussels now conducts inspections twice per month. It also set up a mobile commissionership to study the problem.

And according to city Mayor Freddy Thielemans, the policy is succeeding. Brussels expelled 173 street prostitutes last year, 126 of whom were repatriated to their country of origin. A further 47 were ordered to leave the city. In light of these figures, Thielemans also said at the end of January the number of street prostitutes in the Belgian capital is gradually declining.

Despite the city's zero tolerance policy on street prostitution, residents still complain that problems around the Royal Flemish Theatre in the Alhambra city district persist.

Residents claim the measures that have already been imposed do not offer a permanent solution. They are urging instead a detailed prostitution plan, similar to that drawn up by the Antwerp City Council.

In Antwerp, city authorities have concentrated all prostitution into three streets and are clamping down strictly on the sex industry elsewhere in the city. One of the city's newest methods is to fine the clients of prostitutes who work outside of the tolerated sex zone.

The Alhambra district committee has suggested that Brussels introduce a similar prostitution zone. Not only would prostitution be concentrated within that zone but other services such as police could also be relocated there.

Brussels announced in November 2005 a crackdown against human smuggling, promising to specifically target street prostitution and pimps. It also said it would combat street prostitution by imposing a severe tax on so-called rendezvous houses, where prostitutes perform their work after being picked up from the street by their clients.

Brussels will impose a tax of EUR 2,500 per room in the rendezvous houses. The amount will quickly increase to become a powerful capital impact on the pimps. In total, there are 14 hotels that are designated as rendezvous houses.

But like some city residents and in spite of the city's intensified battle, mayor Thielemans is not 100% satisfied.

He says debate is still needed about a statute for prostitutes and hopes to introduce a legislative initiative which will indicate to local authorities how they should combat prostitution. Currently, street prostitution is not outlawed.


2nd February

    After Hours Fun and Games

From The Telegraph

A family doctor who has closed his medical practice in a small New Zealand town will reopen for business next month as a brothel-keeper.

Neil Benson wound up his general practice in the seaside settlement of Coopers Beach, 220 miles north of Auckland, in a bitter row with his local health authority over after-hours rostering.

Licensed brothels are legal under New Zealand law and last week a court granted him an operator's certificate for his former surgery.

Coopers Beach, with a population of only a few hundred, is a popular stopping-off point for yachts and pleasure boats. Dr Benson said his brothel would employ "beautiful, experienced professional girls" from outside the district and cater for tourists and locals: Running a brothel is about providing a private service and maintaining confidentiality. That is what my medical practice was about, so it's not a big leap really. The standards of my medical practice were high and that will cross over to the brothel environment. Prostitution already exists in the community. At least this way it gives sex workers a quality working environment where they are treated well.


31st January

    Mail Order Brides Only by Recorded Delivery

Spotted on Pattaya Talk

The US Congress just passed a poorly thought out law, based on the FALSE assumption that American men who seek foreign romance are mostly criminals and abusers. This law then takes away the privacy rights of these American men forcing them to jump throught hoops before they can even say "Hi" to a foreign woman. Those that manage to get to the stage of betrothal and marriage face additional road blocks at USCIS.

We fully believe this law to be unconstitutional and hope that if enough attention and action occurs, ie: letters to your Congressman, class action lawsuits, etc, that eventually it will be overturned. Please follow the links below to get more information and to contact your representatives. In the mean time we have to deal with it.

How this Law Affects Heart of Asia Romance Network.

This unfair law takes effect on March 7, 2006. As you know, Heart of Asia provides contact information of mostly Foreign Ladies to men worldwide who wish to communicate with them and hopefully start up a relationship. Currently, as a client you may purchase the address of any woman shown at our website. With her address in hand you contact her directly. If she likes you she responds. Thousands of happy couples and marriages have occured. The new law requires that before a foreign woman's address can be sold to an American Citizen or resident, the following must occur.

A. The American man must complete a questionaire on his criminal and marital background.

B. Heart of Asia must obtain his record from the National Sex Offenders database.

C. Both questionaire and record must be translated to the womans native language.

D. The translated questionaire and record must be provided to the woman.

E. The woman must then certify that she agrees to permit communication.

(she already has, by the way, when she signed up)

F. Only then is the American man allowed to say "Hi".


30th January

    American Nutters Abstain from Charitable Work

From the National Secular Society

The BBC World Service Trust has abandoned an HIV prevention project it conducts in Tanzania with U.S. AIDS funds rather than comply with a U.S. directive requiring all agencies receiving U.S. funds to sign a pledge opposing sex work.

The Trust had received a million dollar grant from USAID to produce radio programs, public service announcements, and telephone hotlines to promote HIV awareness and safer sex in the African nation. But the Bush administration now requires all recipients of U.S. funds to sign a pledge opposing sex work and sex trafficking, a move the BBC trust says could have hampered its work in Africa.

Trust officials say the pledge would have required them to portray sex workers in a negative light in their radio programs and public service announcements and that they were unwilling to do so. They also say that had they signed the pledge, they would have been required to promote abstinence and to highlight the failure rates of condoms in protecting against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The Trust is now looking for other agencies to support their HIV prevention efforts in Africa.


29th January

    US Lawmakers Prostitute themselves to the Ludicrous

What a load of bollox, one hardly needs an organised tour to visit Thailand. Just buy a scheduled air ticket to Bangkok and make an Internet hotel booking in Pattaya. Job Done. Sit back and count down the days to cheap sex with some stunning young women.

From Asian Sex Gazette

Travel agents wouldn't be able to book or sell "sex tours" under a measure US lawmakers are considering, following the lead of Hawaii, which signed a similar bill into law two years ago.

Arranging such tours would be a Class C felony, intended to crack down on sex tours to such places as Thailand. Violators would face maximum penalties of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Senator Karen Fraser, the main sponsor, said she wants to help reduce the demand for such trips. While she said she wasn't aware of any Washington state travel agents offering such tours, she said the state needs to take a pre-emptive stand.

It is a global moral issue, and we should take every step we can to try and reduce sex slavery, she spouted.

Fraser, D-Olympia, said she got the idea for the bill after Hawaii adopted a similar measure in 2004. The law there was prompted by a complaint to state officials by Equality Now, a New York-based women's rights organization that said a Honolulu travel agency had placed explicit advertisements on a Web site that offered the "Ultimate Asian Sex Tour" to Thailand twice a year.

Kenneth Franzblau, the trafficking campaign director for Equality Now, said a similar measure is pending in New York. New Jersey also is considering a bill banning sex tours, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, a co-sponsor of the bill, said it would have a public hearing on Monday in the Senate Labor, Commerce, Research & Development Committee, which she chairs. The sex tourism bill is Senate Bill 6731.


26th January

    Planning on Rejecting Planning Permission

From the Irish Post

Local authorities across Ireland are joining together to prevent the spread of strip clubs.

County and City Councilors hope to change existing planning laws to make it more difficult for the adult venues to operate. They want the Minister for the Environment to regulate the planning aspects of the adult entertainment industry. It would mean that any prospective strip club owner would have to apply for planning permission before they could open. At present operators merely need to apply for an entertainment license.

The councils' move is intended to limit the growth of adult entertainment facilities in Ireland as permission would not to be granted in many councils outside the capital.

The Association of City and County Councils will debate a motion tabled by Dublin City Councilor Emer Costello who says she has received support from councillors up and down the county: This is becoming an issue right across the country. The adult entertainment industry is growing and it is totally unregulated.


23rd January

    Alcohol = No Rights

From KRON 4

A Daytona Beach strip club has scored a win in federal court.

A judge has struck down the Florida resort town's anti-nudity laws, saying they're unconstitutional.

The judge says laws banning public nudity and nudity in places that sell alcohol violate freedoms of speech and equal protection.

He ruled the city also didn't prove its claim that gentlemen's clubs impact levels of crime, prostitution and drug activity.

The lawyer representing Lollipops Gentlemen's Club in its suit against the city says it won "on every single issue."

City officials say they'll look into appealing.


17th January

    Calling on Public Assistance

Well at least the people most likely to have suspicions can actually inform the police. The UK approach of saying the customer is a rapist will hardly encourage them to come forward.

From the BBC

Dutch police have launched an appeal for clients who visit prostitutes to report any concerns that the women are being coerced into selling themselves.

The Netherlands has thousands of self-employed prostitutes and some of the most liberal sex laws in the world. But each year about 3,500 women are trafficked to the Netherlands to work in brothels or illegal escort agencies.

The Dutch legalised prostitution in 2000, but many sex workers still operate illegally - many against their will. They are beyond the reach of prostitutes' help centres, like the one in The Hague, that can offer support.

Petra Houwing, an adviser at the centre, said: There are always some groups excluded from the legal brothels and if they work on the streets, for some women it's too difficult to go to a brothel, because of all sorts of problems.

The huge public-awareness campaign to fight forced prostitution was launched with a series of television appeals. Last year, the Dutch police received more than 600 tip-offs about women who may have been forced into prostitution. Most of these women come from Eastern Europe and Asia.

Now the police have set up an anonymous phone line and put up large posters around the red light districts, where prostitutes sit behind windows.

The mayor of Amsterdam also voiced concern. But the tourist authorities admit the city's famous red-light district is as much an attraction as the art galleries and cannabis coffee shops.


16th January

    Mandatory and Free Condoms


New regulations passed Tuesday by the Los Angeles County board of supervisors bans unprotected sex in all county commercial sex venues (such as bathhouses and sex clubs) and requires them to pay $1,088 in annual licensing fees and undergo quarterly health inspections, the Los Angeles Times reports. All sex clubs and bathhouses will be required to display signs and posters stating that unprotected sex is prohibited by patrons, and they must provide free condoms, lubricant, and information on HIV prevention and safer sex. Owners of sex venues also are now required to prohibit entry to anyone appearing to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The measure, passed 3–0 by county supervisors, also requires commercial sex venues to offer HIV antibody testing and counseling. County health officials are expected to begin issuing permits in mid February. Sex clubs and bathhouses must begin offering at least 20 hours of HIV testing and counseling availability per week beginning March 1, according to the new rules. Venues that don't comply with all new regulations can be shut down.

The new regulations were passed by supervisors following studies showing that patrons of commercial sex venues were significantly more likely to be HIV-positive than the general population and were more likely to engage in unprotected sex, often with multiple partners during a single visit to a sex club or bathhouse.

Scott Campbell, president of a firm that runs three bathhouses in Los Angeles, told the Times he believes the new regulations unfairly target sex clubs as primary facilitators of unprotected sex and of placing gay men at risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. He notes that many gay men meet and engage in unprotected sex with partners they meet through Internet sites or at area bars and nightclubs. He also said his three commercial sex venues already spent $200,000 annually on safer-sex materials and HIV prevention information before the new regulations were approved.

The Times did not mention what county supervisors and health officials consider to be unprotected sex—whether the definition applies specifically to anal sex or includes oral sex.


13th January

    Shitty Bank

From AVN

The Chatsworth, California branch of Citibank has recently, proactively closed some of its accounts because they were operated by organizations that Citibank deemed "not within their target market."

Kimberly Wilson, founder and CEO of Inpulse TV, told AVN that three of her accounts with Citibank - Inpulse Pictures, Inpulse TV and Inpulse Digital - have all been picked to be closed, as of January 9.

Wilson was notified by letter that the accounts she has had with Citibank since 2003 will soon be terminated. When Wilson pressed Citibank to find out why the accounts were being closed, she was reportedly told by the Chatsworth Citibank financial center manager that since Wilson's companies are associated with the Adult Entertainment Industry (Inpulse TV is an Adult cable network created by women, for women), they were not within Citibank's target audience, and thus her bank accounts were being terminated.

Wilson said that Citibank employees also alluded to her that Inpulse accounts were not the only ones that the bank would be closing. I explained to Citibank that Inpulse is a completely legitimate company run completely by women, and that I've had these accounts since 2003. She plans on taking further action on the matter.


12th January

    No More Recreation for the US Military


Patronizing a prostitute is now a specific crime for the US armed forces

For the first time, the Department of Defense has specifically made it a crime for a servicemember to patronize a prostitute. The punishment: up to a year in prison, forfeiture of pay and dishonorable discharge.

The formal order came in a presidential executive order signed without fanfare Oct. 14, directing changes in the Manual for Courts-Martial. It is part of an assault the military has been waging supposedly against human trafficking. A Defense Department spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, said in an e-mailed response to questions that "prostitution" and "pandering" will now be among the offenses covered by Article 134 of the courts-martial manual.

Paying for sex used to fall under the "Solicitation of Another to Commit an Offense" listed as part of Article 134, which executes the corresponding section in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Krenke said. It prohibits "all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces" and "all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.

But the October executive order makes prostitution and pandering specific offenses she said. Krenke said that the DOD made the change as part of its effort to combat human trafficking by taking on the sex exploitation industry, as set forth in a December 2002 National Security Presidential Directive that says in part: Our policy is based on an abolitionist approach to trafficking in persons, and our efforts must involve a comprehensive attack on such trafficking, which is a modern day of slavery.

In this regard, the U.S. Government opposes prostitution and any related activities, including pimping, pandering, or maintaining brothels as contributing to the phenomenon of trafficking in persons.

The military needs to change its general mind-set that tolerates prostitution , said Sara Mendelson, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.Mendelson, author of a report on human trafficking and peacekeeping in the Balkans, said the military needs to get the word out about the change on prostitution to make it effective.

Krenke said it teaches that you don't have to be a professional criminal to contribute to the trafficking industry. You aid and encourage trafficking in persons without engaging in it directly, by hiring a prostitute.

While the change to the courts-martial manual makes it clearer that prostitution is illegal, Marine commanders from the top down already know that prostitution is a punishable offense and have taken steps to combat it, wrote Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Douglas Powell via e-mail. Marines are briefed by their commanders, especially those who are deploying overseas, that they should not engage in prostitution, Powell said.


10th January

    Grenade Attack

From The Local

An explosive device was detonated in a sex shop on Gothenburg's Andra Långgatan early on Monday morning.

The whole apartment block shook and windows in the building shattered. One man in the shop was slightly injured, said police. The property houses 149 apartments.

The bomb exploded at about 1.30am and witnesses reported seeing one or two people running from the scene. There was considerable water damage to the property's garage, cellar and store room.

Both the heating and water pipes which run along the ceiling were burst in the explosion and a lot of water leaked out before we could get a plumber in , said one of the residents. The resident said that just one window was broken in the explosion, which is thought to have been caused by a hand grenade being thrown into the shop.

He explained that there are several sex shops on the street and despite protests against their presence in the area, nothing like this had ever happened before.

However, police are taking the incident seriously and while the motive was still unclear at lunchtime on Monday, investigators had not ruled out a disagreement between gangs linked to the local sex trade.Indeed, in the summer there was a shooting incident at a similar shop in the same street.


7th January

    Indian State Converts Bar Girls into Prostitutes

From Asian Sex Gazette

Late Thursday night, Munbai's Andheri police arrested 23 former bar dancers, who had allegedly taken to prostitution, from an Andheri (East) bar.

In all, 45 persons, 23 former bar dancers, the bar owner, 11 employees and 10 customers, were arrested at around 11 pm in Mayuri bar.

They were booked under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act, on charges of prostitution and soliciting prostitution.

Initial investigations have revealed that the women are Mumbai residents who worked as bar girls in the same bar, before the ban on dance bars. Jointly owned by Harishprasad and Yashoda Shetty, Mayuri was a popular dance bar.

I had received a tip-off that these bar girls were involved in a prostitution racket under the guise of being singers and waitresses at the bar , said Deputy Commissioner of Police R P Sengaonkar. At about 10.30 pm, we sent a dummy customer with Rs 1,000 to check if prostitution was on. He was instructed to come out within 10 minutes if there was no such activity inside, he added.

According to the police, when the 'customer' did not do so, they raided the bar. We found the dummy customer with a girl inside a bedroom on the first floor. Other customers were also found in compromising positions with the women, said Sengaonkar.

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