Prince Andrew: I didn’t have sex with teenager, I was at home after Pizza Express in Woking
Behind darkened doors, barred windows, or surveilled entrances, thousands of massage parlors hiding exploited sex workers are operating across the country. But lately, in some cities, more of the visitors knocking on their doors are inspectors.
In San Francisco, 150 illicit massage businesses have been shut down since 2015 largely thanks to enforcement of a new municipal code. A toughened ordinance led to the shutdown of 38 businesses in Houston within a year.
And nationwide, at least 13 cities have proposed new ordinances since a report in January documented the operation of more than 9,000 illicit massage businesses in the U.S. — establishments that are commonly used as fronts for sex trafficking of vulnerable women.
Philadelphia could be next to join; on Thursday, Councilman William K. Greenlee introduced a bill to add regulations aimed at making a dent in the number of such businesses here.
In several cities, recently enacted measures have successfully shut down illicit businesses without penalizing the workers, who are often victims of trafficking. The approach is a far cry from the traditional police busts that result in prostitution arrests for the workers but do little to stop the owners from reopening a week later with a new name or new employees.
“We want to make sure that these places aren’t just fronts for human trafficking,” said Greenlee, who plans to talk with stakeholders about the proposal over the summer. “Human trafficking is clearly a problem and it’s happening, at least to some [extent], in our city. … We need to try to address it.”
The bill would create licensing and registration requirements that would put burdens on owners opening illegitimate shops. Violations could shut down businesses and discourage new ones from opening.
“We need to make it harder for these businesses to just pop up and go down and pop up,” said Shea Rhodes, director of the Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation, whom Greenlee’s office consulted.
Since January, 46 illicit massage businesses have been shut down across the country in part or completely because of code enforcement, according to Polaris, an advocacy group that runs the national human-trafficking hotline and that released the January report.
About 260 illicit massage businesses are in Pennsylvania and 370 in New Jersey. They operate in the city and neighboring counties, the Inquirer and Daily News has reported.
The businesses are most commonly staffed by female immigrants from Asian countries who come here under false promises of visas, good pay, or a new life, according to Polaris. They are then forced into sex work by massage-business owners, who add on debt after debt to keep the women in servitude.
Greenlee’s bill would require every massage establishment to be licensed with the city in addition to the state, display certificates and prices publicly, keep detailed records of services, and not operate outside the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Under the bill, violations found during inspections could result in fines of $200 to $2,000, which can add up daily, and possible license suspension or revocation. It also includes a proposed $500 annual license fee.
Code enforcement can cause businesses to shut down through several paths: The owner’s license is revoked, the number of violations add up and the operation can successfully be closed down as a nuisance, or the violations are used as evidence in a criminal case. Plus, the owner may decide to close up shop when facing fines.
“The owners just say, ‘This isn’t worth it,’ ” said Meghan Carton, strategic initiatives specialist with Polaris. “In Philadelphia, where they haven’t had a civil enforcement tool, this will be a shock to [owners].”
The bill would hold owners accountable for any violations by the business, thus protecting the workers from fines. It also requires workers to be fully clothed.
Greenlee’s draft bill could change after conversations with experts and other stakeholders, his office said. Key provisions in other cities have included a regulation against anyone living or sleeping on business premises, which can prevent workers from being held captive inside, and against internal locks, so that workers cannot be confined in rooms with clients and inspectors can open the door unannounced.
Other ordinances have aimed to keep the businesses from cropping up after being shut down by prohibiting another massage business from opening in the same location or by barring an owner from opening another business. Those provisions aren’t yet in Philadelphia’s bill.
Villanova’s Rhodes said there also needs to be more awareness that paying for sex is a crime.
“Who’s buying sex in Center City on their lunch break?” she asked. “What businesses do they work for? And how are they finding the locations to go and buy sex? Are they using their desk phones and desk computers to search for it?”
As part of its strategic plan against human trafficking, Houston in 2016 strengthened its massage-business ordinance, created a municipal court diversion program to connect potential victims with legal services, and set up a program to find them care and temporary shelter.
And in San Francisco, health department officials have used a mix of citations, penalties, permit suspensions and revocations, local zoning regulations, and discerning review of new permit applications to reduce the number of permitted massage establishments in the city from 350 to 193.
“The employees are generally viewed as the victims, so the fines and penalties are largely directed toward the owners,” said Patrick Fosdahl, an assistant director in the city’s Department of Public Health.
Officials and experts have one other group in mind when crafting these laws: real massage therapists. The bill is crafted to put a minimal burden on aboveboard businesses.
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Sarah went on Tinder for the same reason lots of women our age do – to find out how many single guys there were in her local area and to have an easy, safe way to get in contact with them. But, unlike lots of girls, Sarah doesn’t want to find single men because she looking for a boyfriend. She doesn’t even want a no-strings hookup – at least not in the way you’d think. Unlike you’re average user, when Sarah sleeps with a guy she meets on Tinder she leaves with much more than new number in her a phone and a funny sex story to tell her mates – she leaves with a pocketful of cash. Because unlike most 24-year-old girls using Tinder, Sarah’s a prostitute and she’s using the hookup app to lure in clients.
‘Tinder has at least doubled my business,’ Sarah, who had a job in a strip bar before becoming a prostitute four years ago, explains to The Debrief. ‘In the last week alone, I’ve seen 12 clients all from Tinder and have earned over £1,000. I got the idea from a friend of mine who’s also on the game. I think she actually joined Tinder to find a boyfriend or whatever, but was sent dozens of messages from guys asking for no-strings sex, threesomes or naked pictures – there was basically no romance there at all. She just thought to herself “I’m not getting anywhere using Tinder to find a bloke, why don’t I just use it to boost business?” It made so much sense – where else do you basically have a database of all the down to fuck men in your area? – and she found it so easy I thought I might as well give it a go. I just made a profile, wrote caption that made it kind of obvious what I do for a living, matched everyone who I was OK sleeping with and then waited for matches to get in contact with me. I know more and more prostitutes are cottoning on as well – it’s made my job insanely easy.’
There have been reports for some time that Tinder has been being used this way over the globe. New Mexico State Senator Jacob Candelaria specifically blasted the app in his attempt to ‘clean up’ dating websites which allow the soliciting of sex. He told KOB Eyewitness News 4, ‘Our laws can’t and don’t keep pace with technological advancement and there will always be people looking to exploit those loopholes. We’re weak. Our courts have said our pimping laws are not applicable to the internet.’
And it looks like the same thing’s happening here, but should we be surprised? The dating app’s anonymity and pure reach make it a natural fit for sex workers. If you’ve ever borrowed your male mate’s phone to ‘play’ Tinder from the other side of the fence, you’ve no doubt come across a few of the profiles yourself. In between the ordinary profiles, you’ll find one or two pictures of lingerie-clad women provactively posing for selfies. That in itself isn’t exactly unusual, but what sets these profiles apart is what the women are offering in their ‘about’ section.
The ‘kind of obvious’ messages that prostitutes use to distinguish themselves from other girls’ profiles are easy to spot once you know the (admittedly, not hugely subtle) code. In London, at least, they’re easily identifiable by a proclivity for using rose emojis. Descriptions I have come across when I was researching this feature include ‘[rose emoji] 80 roses for the best night of your life’, ‘90 [rose emoji] for BBBJ’ [meaning bare back blowjob – blowjobs without a condom – according to Sarah] and ‘80 roses for an hour, GFE [Sarah says this is for a girlfriend experience] [rose emoji].’ In case you still haven’t figured it out – ‘roses’ mean ‘pounds sterling’.
Using my male housemate’s Tinder account, I was able to chat to three prostitues in one day and was blown away by how quick, easy and transparent it could be to buy sex over Tinder. On all three occasions, the process was the same – match with the girl, chat to them over Tinder about what I wanted and how much they would charge and then they’d send me a mobile number to ring and an address to go to. The price ranged from £70 for an hour with, extras such as blowjobs or anal increasing the price to over £100, to £300 for the entire evening and a full ‘girlfriend experience’. I was able to negotiate these prices without leaving my sofa or even speaking to the girl and that seems to be the point – it’s remarkable how easy Tinder makes it for users to skip the chit-chat and just pay a stranger for sex – all without deviating away from their iPhone.
For Sarah, the appeal seems to be that Tinder allows her to sell sex for cash while remaining anonymous and slipping past any interference from the police. ‘I had always worked at brothels or kerb-crawled before I started using Tinder, which was a nightmare, because you’d have to deal with hassle from the police. I’ve been in a brothel once when it was raided and it’s not an experience I’d like to repeat. And being shooed away by police on street corners is fucking boring. I’ve tried Gumtree and other websites, but they’re now really hot on closing down profiles that are soliciting sex. Tinder lets me get on with it completely privately – they message me, we chat, they come round, I shag them – or sometimes even just chat because it’s not always about the sex – and then they leave. It’s not traceable.’
The laws around prostitution in England and Wales are far from simple. The act of prostitution is not in itself illegal – but there are certain laws that criminalise activities around it. Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, it is an offence to cause or incite prostitution or control it for personal gain, and the 1956 Sexual Offences Act prohibits running a brothel and it’s against the law to loiter or solicit sex on the street. So selling sex on Tinder is not only completely within the parameters of the law, it allows these women to bypass any legal issues they might have selling sex through ‘traditional means’. No wonder Sarah finds it so appealing. For their part, Tinder is clear that such activities are against the app’s terms of service, which forbids commercial solicitation of any kind including ‘advertising or soliciting any user to buy or sell any products or services not offered by the Company’. Not that that’s had any affect on Sarah – when anyone reports her profile and Tinder shuts it down, all she does is make another Facebook profile and get right back on. It’s difficult to see how Tinder can keep on top of policing it.
So it certainly seems to be functional for Sarah, but what affect is it having on her emotionally? Using Tinder to solicit clients strips away what little face-to-face communication Sarah had with the people she’s about to have sex with so it becomes completely transactional – almost like doing a supermarket shop. Is she worried about what emotional damage she might be doing to herself? ‘Sometimes I think they forget that there’s an actual human behind the profile and there are times when it hasn’t been ideal,’ she admits. ‘People troll you a bit, but it comes with the territory and I just block them, because it’s a waste of my time. But even in person, people aren’t always very nice. When you meet with clients in the brothel or on the street, they obviously know what you look like in “real life”, but I admit that the pictures I used on my Tinder profile show me looking at my absolute best and, sometimes, the guys are disappointed with what they see when they arrive. Mainly all that people do is make a unkind joke about my appearance – which I can handle – but on one occasion someone actually left, which was obviously a bit shitty. And I do worry about my safety, but if I’m concerned, my male neighbor – who is a good mate – has a key to my house and I just text him if I feel intimidated and he gets rid of them.’
Interestingly, Sarah says that the sex she has through Tinder tends to be more ‘vanilla’ than some of the requests she had when she was working in a brothel. ‘I used to get people asking for weird stuff – one guy wanted me to wank him off into his own mouth– when I was in a brothel, but because the users on Tinder tend to be predominantly men in their twenties and thirties, they usually don’t want anything that niche. The most bizarre request I’ve had from Tinder was from a banker in his late twenties who wanted a classic sub-dom scenario and for me to urinate on him, but that’s not really a big deal to me. I got into this because I love sex and I have a really high sex drive. I get to have sex for a living and I absolutely love my job. Anyway, most of my friends on Tinder have sex with guys who then disappear off the face of the planet. The only difference between me and them is that I’m charging.’
Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.
Almost one in seven young Australians believe a man would be justified in raping a woman if she initiated sex but changed her mind, while almost one-quarter of young men think women find it flattering to be persistently pursued, even if they are not interested.
The findings from the National Community Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women Survey (NCAS) youth report released on Wednesday reveal that while young people increasingly believe in equality in the workplace and in leadership, they are less likely to recognise sexism, coercion or other problematic behaviours in their own relationships.
Of 1,761 people aged between 16 and 24 surveyed, 43% supported the statement: “I think it’s natural for a man to want to appear in control of his partner in front of his male friends.”
The survey, commissioned by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women and Safety (Anrows) and VicHealth, is conducted every four years. The latest analysis comes from data collected in 2017.
While the proportion of young people agreeing that men make better political leaders than women declined from 24% in 2013 to 13% in 2017, almost one in three young people still believe that women prefer a man to be in charge of a relationship. Young men (36%) were more likely to support this statement than young women (26%).
More than one in five young people (22%) believe there is no harm in making sexist jokes about women when among their male friends, and young men (30%) are more than two times as likely than young women to agree with this statement (14%). While attitudes towards women in leadership had improved, young men (17%) were more likely than young women (8%) to say men make more capable bosses than women.
“A large proportion of young people support attitudes that deny gender inequality is a problem,” the report found. “Young men are substantially more likely to express these attitudes than young women across all questions in this theme.” For example, 45% of young people believe that many women exaggerate gender inequality in Australia, with young men (52%) more likely to hold this belief than young women (37%).
Nearly three in five young men believe that many women mistakenly interpret innocent remarks or acts as being sexist. Meanwhile, 37% agreed that women make up or exaggerate claims of violence to secure advantage in custody battles. The same proportion agreed with the statement “It is common for sexual assault accusations to be used as a way of getting back at men”, with young men (45%) more likely to agree than young women (29%).
Lead researcher Dr Anastasia Powell from RMIT University said the good news was that young people’s understanding of the nature of violence against women had improved over time, and so had their support for gender equality.
But an area where understanding has backtracked was around the unequal nature of domestic and family violence, she said.
“A lot of young people believe it’s a gender-neutral issue where men and women are equally using violence, but we know from police statistics and surveys this is largely a problem of men’s violence against women.”
Also concerning was that 20% of young men did not understand that repeatedly keeping track of a partner’s location was a form of violence against women, she said, while 11% did not think stalking is a form of violence.
“We must continue to invest in prevention strategies to continue to make ground on these attitudes and to make this the generation that ends violence against women,” Powell said.
The principal program officer for mental wellbeing at VicHealth, Renee Imbesi, said: “We can’t sit back just because women’s role in public life has improved.
“Many people still hold outdated views of women in the home, and it is clear that many young men and women are going into relationships with different expectations around things like gender roles and consent.
“We need to get the message out there that control in relationships can be a precursor to violence. The other aspect is if young people see more respect and equality in their own families and workplaces, then they will start to see that as the norm.
“If we don’t change our world to make it more gender equal, we can’t expect young people to be on board with equality.”
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At the time, wild horses couldn’t drag him away — but now former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman admits regret over marrying Mandy Smith in 1989 when she was just 18 and he was 52.
In the controversial documentary “The Quiet One,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival Thursday night, Wyman, now 82, says he was “stupid to ever think it could possibly work.”
The film, which makes use of the meticulously kept photos, film footage and memorabilia from the rocker’s personal archives, was pulled from England’s Sheffield Doc/Fest next month because of his scandalous relationship with Smith. The pair met when she was 13 and he was 47 in the mid-80s. And though Smith was of legal age when they married, following their divorce a few years later, she claimed they first had sex when she was just 14.
Rock star Bill Wyman (52) of The Rolling Stones pop group, kisses his new bride, the former Mandy Smith (19) outside St. John’s church, London, England on June 5, 1989. The couple were married in secret on June 2 at a civil service and the second ceremony was to bless the marriage in church. (AP Photo/David Caulkin) (D. Caulkin)
Wyman and Smith split in 1991 just two years after their marriage, and then finalized their divorce two years later.
In “The Quiet One,” Wyman defends the relationship, saying, “It was from the heart. It wasn’t lust, which people were seeing it as.”
But he also admits, “I was really stupid to ever think it could possibly work. She was too young. I felt she had to go out and see life for a bit.”
In 2013, following other prominent sex scandals in England, Wyman said that he offered to be interviewed by authorities about his relationship with Smith. “I went to the police and I went to the public prosecutor and said, ‘Do you want to talk to me? Do you want to meet up with me, or anything like that?’ And I got a message back, ‘No.’”
Wyman, a founding member of the Rolling Stones, played bass guitar for the legendary rock band from 1962 until 1993.
“The Quiet One,” written and directed by British filmmaker Oliver Murray, features plenty of footage and photos from his years with the Stones. But it also touches on his family life growing up in working-class London, including the tension he had with his father who pulled him out of school to work for a bookie to help support the family.
Wyman also expresses the love he had for his grandmother, who he lived with on and off as an adolescent, and was the only family member who showed him affection, he says.
In the film, the bass player addresses his womanizing in the early days of the Stones’ success and admits that was partially to blame for the split from his first wife, Diane, who he was married to between 1959 and 1969. He and Diane had a son Stephen, who Wyman won custody of when he felt that his ex wasn’t properly taking care of him, he says.
Wyman married his third and current wife Suzanne Accosta in 1993 and they share three daughters.
Jerry Hall, the former longtime romantic partner of Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, was in the audience at the film’s premiere, along with her husband, media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Also in the house at the SVA Theatre in Chelsea were Wyman’s wife, Suzanne Accosta, and their youngest daughter, Matilda.
Last Sunday at 5 a.m., a trans woman named Michelle Washington — who also went by “Tamika” — was found shot in the head and left for dead in North Philadelphia. Coming just a day after another trans woman, Muhlaysia Booker, was found shot and killed in Dallas, this homicide marked the fifth trans woman violently killed in the United States this year. Last year, we lost more than two dozen trans women to violence. More than half of those women were African American, and this year, all five recorded trans victims of homicide are African American women as well.
In April, a video surfaced in which a man named Edward Thomas savagely beat Booker until she was unconscious, while a crowd of people watched and other men joined. Eventually a group of women intervened and pulled her to safety, possibly saving her life at that moment. But a month later, the same woman would be found dead due to homicidal violence, without a suspect identified.
With two trans women of color found dead within 24 hours in different parts of the country, and 2018 being one of the deadliest years on record for trans women — especially black and Latino trans women — it’s past time we address this violence. This includes adding measures to combat anti-trans violence to the top of the page on progressive agendas. In particular, we need to end shoddy legal defenses used to justify this violence.
The gay and trans “panic” defense is “a legal strategy which asks a jury to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant’s violent reaction, including murder,” as the National LGBT Bar Association defines it. This strategy can include arguments that the gay or trans victim of violence made a sexual advance that caused “panic” in the attacker, or that the victim’s identity was reasonably viewed as “threatening” by the attacker, who then acted in self-defense. These defenses may even be employed when the attacker and the victim had a prior relationship, and the attacker wants to claim that they were “tricked” regarding the victim’s identity.
These arguments wrongly suggest that gay or trans identities pose an inherent safety risk, and that violence against LGBTQ people is justifiable simply when another person objects to their identities. Such an excuse for violence is flat-out wrong — yet it succeeds in some cases, reducing the sentences of those who commit hate crimes. This defense was put forth to justify, for example, the 1998 beating and killing of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard in Wyoming.
In recent years, lawmakers have pushed back against this line of defense. Here in Pennsylvania, State Rep. Michael Schlossberg (D., Lehigh) introduced a bill addressing gay and trans panic defense, but the bill didn’t make it out of the Judiciary Committee. In July of last year, State Sen. Larry Farnese (D., Philadelphia) began to lobby his colleagues to pass similar legislation, but we have yet to have anything for the governor to sign.
Pennsylvania — which still does not include LGBTQ people in its laws protecting against hate crimes — needs to step up on this issue. It’s time to start protecting women like Michelle Washington, and like Shantee Tucker, a 30-year-old black trans woman shot and killed in Philadelphia last year. Those are two lives we cannot bring back. But we can do more for the trans community in the future.
A federal judge blocked a Mississippi law on Friday that forbids abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
In issuing a preliminary injunction, Judge Carlton Reeves said the law “threatens immediate harm to women’s rights, especially considering most women do not seek abortions services until after six weeks.”
“Allowing the law to take effect would force the clinic to stop providing most abortion care,” wrote Reeves, adding that “by banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, the law prevents a woman’s free choice, which is central to personal dignity and autonomy.”
The law was set to take effect in July.
Supporters of abortion rights argue the law collides with Supreme Court precedent, violating a woman’s right to seek an abortion prior to viability.
The law is part of a new wave of restrictions introduced by Republican-led states — emboldened by President Donald Trump — to introduce legislation that calls into question Supreme Court precedent. The laws, none of which have gone into effect in 2019, triggered protests across the country on Tuesday, the same day Reeves heard arguments in Mississippi.
Critics worry that with the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to take the seat of swing vote retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court might eventually move to cut back on its landmark opinion Roe V. Wade, if not gut the 1973 decision.
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