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It’s a line by Alexander Pope:

Let Sporus tremble –”What? that thing of silk,

Sporus, that mere white curd of ass’s milk?

Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel?

Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?

Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,

This painted child of dirt that stinks and stings;

Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys,

Yet wit ne’er tastes, and beauty ne’er enjoys…


Sporus was a male sex-slave favoured by the Roman Emperor Nero, who also personally castrated him. The wheel is an excruciatingly painful instrument of torture and death.


Whenever you hear of politicians banning prostitution it’s always either due to feeble-mindedness or because elections are nigh. You can take your pick with the US Congress’s recent fantastically imbecilic and heartlessly cruel piece of legislation, which targets sex-workers, websites and newspapers running “escort” ads. Habitually gutless and unprincipled, these media immediately jumped when the ringmaster’s whip cracked down, dumping all such personal ads. Who cares? Such is the expected reaction from the housewives of America. Their hypocritical spouses know when to remain silent, even in the face of a monstrous injustice – well, most accept these as quotidian: after all,  they’re Americans. No one cares about the media losing ad-revenues, of course. Why would they? What we all should care about profoundly, however, are the many thousands of women whose livelihood has just been trashed, whose means of safeguarding themselves against psycho johns and intemperate weather has been ripped from under them, and who will now be forced to ply their trade under conditions of substantial danger, ill-health and chronic anxiety. Serves them right; they should get themselves proper jobs, you say. If you do say this, though, you’re a fucking bestial moron, unfeeling and mindless.


Prostitution may not be the oldest profession, but it’s definitely been around longer than politics – and it will be thriving long after the greed-heads in their suits and ties are scrambling over the world’s edge to flee society’s wrath. This current fool’s errand is largely an attempt by Republicans to play to their base among the trenchantly unchristian Christians and the immoral yapping moralists. Half the escort clientele in Washington are congressmen and senators – and you can be sure their female stables will be unaffected by the current bitch-hunt.


The new laws need to be examined closely, however, because they’re really not very new and of questionable legality. There are States’ Rights and Constitutional issues here, which we’ll leave to the Civil Liberties’ people. The two main prongs of this pincer attack are just anachronistic sheep in 21st-century wolves’ clothing – the garb being what it usually is: semantics, or language-harassment. Pimping, or “living off the avails of prostitution”, has always been illegal, just as brothel-keeping has in the majority of states. The same is true for sex acts involving minors. These three antiques are now cloaked in the new sex-crime tag that involves something called “sex-trafficking”. This makes it sound like the slave trade, of course, hides it under a cowl of more-frightening darkness; whereas in reality – apart from a few exceptions, statistically very few in fact – these villainous “traffickers” are just the same old low-rent pimps and specious petty criminals we’ve always had. And this is another time-honoured line of work, one that may seem repugnant and objectionable, yet also one that has its indisputable advantages and value for the women involved.


Accepting money for sex per se cannot be made illegal without potentially making every housewife a criminal. So what these laws have done is frighten a lot of often desperate, downtrodden women, removing the means by which they conducted business in reasonable safety. We can understand why the media fled in fear. You run a thousand sex ads daily and get charged with “facilitating sex-trafficking”, you’re facing a thousand very tricky law suits. Because you have no way of knowing what lies behind each ad – and you’ll have to prove in court that none involve any so-called trafficking. A nightmare – ruinously expensive too. So you have to shut them all down. Common sense and pragmatism demand it.


But a woman charged under this same act only has to convince a court she’s not being trafficked (or pimped) – case closed. Some 85 percent of sex-workers say they have no pimp or coercer. Yet the fear generated by these laws makes it all seem so much worse than it this. The really sad thing is that when you persecute the outcasts and underdogs of any society hardly anyone will step up to defend them. It’s the same with smoking and the “vice Taxes” (e.g. booze and tobacco).


These women are thus being scapegoated in exactly the same way as the Jews, gays and gypsies were in Nazi Germany. A conspiracy of silence was the enabler then, and it is now. No one has the guts to stand up in defense of these oppressed ladies. And all it’s about, most disgracefully of all, is winning votes from the prurient, the priggish, the hypocrites, and those self-righteous Sunday-Christians whose knowledge of scripture can be engraved on an eyelash and certainly doesn’t involve the frequent and compassionate attitude toward prostitutes Jesus is recorded displaying. As he says of the woman taken in adultery: “Let he who is without sin among you throw the first stone…”


I don’t know what American “fundamentalist” Christians believe, but it’s scarcely fundamental and seems contrary to every core teaching allotted to Christ. “Blessed are… Do unto others as you would have others do unto you…” In all the ranting hyperbole and twisted hellfire nonsense, I don’t see much Jesus at all. Hypocrisy may not be listed by Thomas Acquinas as a “deadly sin”, but it sure as hell is one. And hate is the worst one of all. These church-going, Bible-thumping sinners have another woeful strike against them too: How sad is it that they’re unable to perceive the self-serving machinations of their alleged representatives in the capital? How pathetic is it that these pious prudes think Donald Trump is on their side? God assuredly isn’t.


To all those women whose trade is their own flesh, I say: Chin up, ladies. It isn’t as bad as it seems. When I was a kid we saw postcards in doorways: FRENCH LESSONS FIRST FLOOR, or SWEDISH MODEL – RING BELL. No one thought it was about linguistics or Scandinavia. There never were, or ever will be laws prohibiting advertisements for language-tutoring and freelance modelling. An escort agency only providing dinner companions for ladies or gents alone in a strange city is not responsible for whatsoever their escorts do by themselves on their own initiative, and agents cannot be prosecuted for it. There can also never be a law against anyone in any occupation receiving gifts from and/or having a brief fling with someone they meet during the course of their work or leisure.


This most ancient of professions has always found a way – and it always will. But it would help now if someone courageous and principled, ideally a lawyer or legal authority, stood up and fought these two-faced, duplicitous scumbags back into the rank sty where they belong. But when the Mid-Terms are over in November it will all fade away… until the next halfwit or the next election comes around, naturally. In the meantime, America, try a little tenderness, thought and compassion – they work wonders. History attests to the fact.