Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Van Badham’s freedom of speech for some?

Recent twitter comments on 6th April from Guardian Australia columnist Van Badham in support of the sextrade’s campaign to derail the [i]World’s Oldest Oppression[/i] conference being held at RMIT this weekend, have many people questioning if Van Badham has any genuine commitment to freedom of speech or not.

Van Badham has joined a twitter feed about the coming conference best described by Survivors as one of the most misogynist and vicious twitter feeds they’ve seen. That many attending this conference will be speaking of their experiences as Survivors of the sextrade seems to be lost on Van Badham. It seems that many of Van Badham’s fellow twitterers are suggesting that Survivor’s are [i]”hate mongering, poisonous, disingenuous, murderous and a damage to academic independence and credibility”[/i]. Yet Van Badham’s previous tirades against misogynist hate speech have been unrelenting:

[i]If the things said by men to women on the internet were said by men to their female colleagues in workplaces, they would be fired. If they were said by men to women in public spaces, they would be removed.

If they were said by men to women in front of peers, one hopes – one hopes – they would be socially excoriated.

Fairfax columnist Clementine Ford has published a blog of all the misogynistic comments she’s received on social media, and it’s receiving much attention. Not only for the tenor of the comments, but because Ford pursued a complaint against one of her harassers (who called Ford a slut on her Facebook page) to that man’s employer, and he was fired as a result.

Good. About time and more of this. As another female journalist on the internet, it is a relief to finally see someone, somewhere held to account for their abusive and woman-hating behaviour.

The belittling and bullying, threats and harassment, cyberstalking and outright hate speech directed to women on the internet every day is real-world behaviour with real-world consequence and it should oblige real-world punishments.

They deserve it. Misogynistic hate speech on the internet directed towards women is debilitating, demobilising, often emotionally exhausting, always time-consuming and if the chemicals in a brand of paint or type of varnish provoked the same physical effects in a worker, it would be banned.[/i]


Yet we have not read anything from Van Badham about the hate speech on [b]Invisible Men of tumblr[/b] such as:

[i]” No real lookers just a herd of seasoned tarts that have been round the track a bit.”

“She lay there motionless on her back while I pounded away till I came. It was the equivalent of paying 150 pounds for sex with a blow up doll except the doll would not have made me feel so crap.”

“I eventually come no help from her. She mouths off afterwards about cervical cancer etc if she’s worried about that she is in the wrong job”.

“Yes she will endure hard penetration. I say endure because she does not engage with you on any level.”

“She used her hands frequently to block deep penetration on the blow job, I eventually got tired of trying to move them, penetration was good in doggie, she failed to swallow the money shot. ”

“A certain amount of blame for this disaster lies with the Agency pressuring her. She is young and inexperienced, but I maintain that she is predominately to blame.”[/i]

Maybe Van Badham needs to interview some of these silenced women currently in the sextrade and certainly not writing on the twitterfeed, when she next writes about freedom of speech.

Further, Van Badham would do well to exercise some investigative skills and report on the numerous cases of false representation by pimps and traffickers who claim to be [i]”sex workers”[/i] or their [i]”front groups”[/i].

The facebook page of Abolish Prostitution Now has an astonishing expose with a compilation of who some of the ‘sex worker’ unions represent some of whom also advised Amnesty International on their “sex work” policy and some funded by UNAIDS:

The author says –

[i]”Sex Worker’ Projects are not unions for prostituted people, they are propaganda machines orchestrated by convicted pimps and traffickers. Please, well meaning ‘supporters’ of ‘sex workers’, actually support us not our exploiters.

Douglas Fox, UK, founder of the International Union of Sex Workers and co-manager of an escort agency. Fox was arrested for living off the earnings of prostitution in a police sting at the escort agency Christony Companions. Fox was an advisor to Amnesty International. Investigative journalist Julie Bindel concludes that the purpose of the International Union of Sex Workers appears to be ‘to normalise pimping, lobby for an end to laws that criminalise the exploiters in the sex industry, and ultimately to sugar-coat prostitution and present it as a job like any other’.

Eliana Gil, Mexico, Global Network of Sex Work Projects, Latin American-Caribbean Female Sex Workers Network, in 2015 was convicted of sex trafficking. According to victim testimony, with her son she pimped about 200 women in Mexico City. The Latin American-Caribbean Female Sex Workers Network was affiliated with and funded by United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, affiliated with World Health Organization, and cited by Amnesty International.

Claudia Brizuela, a former leader of the Association of Women Prostitutes of Argentina and a founder of the Latin American-Caribbean Female Sex Workers Network, was arrested and charged for sex trafficking in 2014. Both sexworker groups were funded by UNAIDS and referenced by Amnesty International in support of its decriminalization advocacy.

Pye Jakobsson, Sweden, of the Rose Alliance, and Global Network of Sex Work Projects, is a decade-long board member of a Stockholm strip club where she was also paid to organise and place new women into the club’s schedule. She engaged in similar scheduling of women and quasi-management activities at a second club Erostop.

Tanja Sommer, Germany, sex worker advocate with (BesD), Business Association of Erotic and Sexual services. Tanja manages a dominatrix sex studio and rents out rooms to others in prostitution. She has a leading position at the BesD and also runs her own dominatrix studio, in which other women prostitute. Her colleague Holger Rettig is leader of the UEGD – Association of Erotic Business – in Germany. This organization, consisting only of brothel-owning pimps, helped to found and works closely with the BesD.

Jackie McMillan, Australia, Sex Workers Outreach Project, pornography producer, dungeon club manager and promoter. Jackie McMillan stated that she produced pornography for 10 years. McMillan also manages a fetish club in Sydney with her husband Craig Donarski – the Hellfire Club – where employees provide a dungeon/kink experience with bondage, domination, sadism and submission. Donarski and McMillan received a business award for the Hellfire Club in 2014

Norma Jean Almodovar, USA, International Sex Worker Foundation for Art, Culture, and Education, Executive Director of COYOTE /Los Angeles (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics), convicted of pandering.

Terri Jean Bedford, Canada, sex worker advocate, convicted of running a brothel. Bedford was one of three applicants, describing themselves as sex workers, who challenged the Canadian laws on prostitution with the goal of decriminalizing prostitution in Canada. In the Toronto Star, September 1994, Paul Moloney wrote – ‘Sexual bondage parlor raided in Thornhill. York Region police have seized an astonishing array of sexual bondage paraphernalia in a raid on a modest Thornhill bungalow advertised as Madame de Sade’s House of Erotica. Along with assorted whips, chains, spanking paddles, handcuffs, masks, wigs and boots, police seized a tall throne, stocks, spanking benches, and a black wooden cross with tie-downs for head, arms and feet’.

Maxine Doogan, USA, Erotic Service Providers Union, charged with felony prostitution and money laundering.

Robyn Few, USA, founded the Sex Workers Outreach Project, convicted of conspiracy to promote interstate prostitution.
Maggie McNeil, USA, Sex Workers Outreach Project, Madam of a New Orleans escort prostitution agency “the best” .

Margo St James, USA, COYOTE, arrested for running a brothel.”[/i]

Van Badham like many people attempting to silence Survivors of the sextrade need to answer the question whether they would attempt to silence Survivors of domestic violence or child sex abuse. Many women in prostitution have been victims of child sex abuse and domestic violence and what has happened to them in the sex trade is just part of a much bigger global epidemic of violence to women.

Organisations like Vixen and the Scarlet Alliance would be the first to defend their right to Freedom of Association and do in fact exclude anyone from their organisation who they think holds views contrary to their aims. In addition, Van Badham along with her fellow twitterers, are ignoring the fundamental human right of freedom of association.

Further info …

A great compilation of who the "Sex Worker Unions" represent, posted by a great and brave woman. (via C.G.)And a list…

Posted by Abolish Prostitution Now on Tuesday, 23 February 2016



  1. Isla MacGregor

    April 7, 2016 at 11:22 am

    RMIT’s reply to people who have contacted them in an attempt to derail the conference …from the Secretary

    [i]The Chancellor has passed on to me your email of ……. In relation to conferences held at RMIT University, the following general principles apply:

    · A core value of the University is academic freedom. This means that academics are allowed and encouraged to organize and participate in conferences and other public events on topics over which they hold an academic expertise, either actual or emerging. It also means that they may invite others to such events, based on their own record of publication or contribution to thinking on the topic to be discussed.

    · The University does not endorse the content of such conferences, or support the views of those who attend conferences. The University’s purpose is to enable those views to be expressed; not to say whether they are right or wrong.

    · Under RMIT’s Code of Conduct: “Staff have a general right to intellectual freedom of enquiry and expression. This applies to areas of intellectual life over which the academic can demonstrate that they possess a level of expertise. In particular, staff should…support the role of the University as a place of independent learning and thought, where ideas may be put forward and reasoned opinion expressed freely while maintaining respect for and openness to others”.

    · In exercising this right, it is expected that staff and the University generally will do all that they can to ensure that others are not offended. Unfortunately it is not always possible to do this, particularly when they focus on contentious issues involving contested values. Providing that the ideas to be expressed are not based on principles of hatred, do not incite violence against others and so forth, it is generally accepted that Universities will uphold the principle of academic freedom as the ultimate value

    Thank you for engaging with RMIT.[/i]

  2. Isla MacGregor

    April 7, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    The French abolitionist group [i]Ressources Prostitution[/i] explain the violence,exploitation and trafficking of women in the sextrade in their statement after the adoption of Nordic model laws by the French parliament yesterday:

    [i]‘After years of citizenship initiatives and civil actions, French law makers took a critical step to establish gender equality in France by adopting The Nordic Model. On April 6th 2016, the French National Assembly recognized prostitution as one of the worst forms of violence against women and voted the criminalization of the purchase of sex. This vote in favor of criminalization is the fourth and the final draft submitted between 2013 and 2016 (overthrowing three rejections by the Senate), reinforcing the country will to fight sexual exploitation of women in prostitution. Under this law, prostituted women, children and men will not be criminalized. They will receive social support and benefits to exit prostitution while men buying sex will be fined and liable to prosecution.

    By adopting this law, France complied with its international and national commitments, including the national law on rape (1981) and the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (1949). French law defines rape as “any act of penetration imposed on someone by violence, surprise or coercion” and the French National Assembly acknowledges that buying access to a human body via a financial transaction is inherently an act of coercion.

    Further, the French National Assembly recognized that prostitution harms all women (in prostitution or not) by undermining their emotional and physical wellbeing, security, health, and fundamental rights as human beings, harming society as a whole. More than a quick-fix to prostitution, the law is ambitious to offer a way-out to women trapped into sexual exploitation and the possibility to prosecute the offenders.

    More specifically, when it comes to sexual violence against women, the French National Assembly recognized the tremendous level of violence in prostitution, including assault, rape, physical and psychological torture. The French National Assembly also recognized that the existence of prostitution encourages the transnational trafficking of women and children. This has been demonstrated in countries such as Germany, Spain and New Zealand which tried full regularization of prostitution and yet witnessed sex trafficking surge, with underage and disenfranchised women imported by the thousands to meet the ever increasing demand of sex buyers.

    Indeed, while admitting the failure of regularization at an international scale, the Assembly recognized the need to urgently address the demand-side in prostitution. It has been established that sex buyers are responsible for the ever-increasing number of women and children brought into prostitution, as well as the worst form of violence perpetrated against them. Their forums, where they evaluate their preys as goods, details explicitly the hatred, domination and violence they impose on women.

    By this historical decision, French law makers confirmed that they heard the voices of hundreds of survivors, as well as women still trapped in the sex industry. They acknowledged that most women in prostitution were groomed while still underage, and that all attempts of legalization led to even more exploitation while failing to offer them any form of safety. Indeed, it is impossible, let alone human, to regularize and streamline pedocriminality, slavery, torture and murder. All countries must take all the steps in their power in order to fight such human rights abuses.

    It is with pride and the greatest enthusiasm that we, French feminists and abolitionists, welcome the new legislation, as an effective tool to achieve gender equality. To us, it is more than a step in the right direction: it’s the beginning of a new world.’[/i]

    Bring on that new world!

  3. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    April 7, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Encore! Vive La France!

  4. andrea

    April 7, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    The hypocrisy is stunning. Van Badham won’t respond to survivors about her comments.(I’ve checked Twitter for interest) She has a right to protest, as do we all, but when she says she is capable of ‘multi-directional solidarity’ one wonders what that means. She didn’t answer those who asked if her ‘multi-directional solidarity’ included prostitution survivors. Not a good look is it? I think she can do better. You care about free speech and freedom of association or you don’t.

  5. Isla MacGregor

    April 7, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    Abolish Prostitution Now Facebook Page was cited from a list of pimps posing as sex workers: Farley, M. (2016) Very inconvenient truths: sex buyers, sexual coercion, and prostitution-harm-denial. Logos: a journal of modern society and culture 15 (1) http://logosjournal.com/2016/farley-2/

    See footnote #47.

  6. Anonymous

    April 8, 2016 at 2:10 am

    Was Jane Green, Vixen Collective Media Liaison and former Scarlet Alliance Board Member, previously known as Mistress Gala, manager of Sydney BDSM brothel The Kastle?

    Ed:TT has no to time check facts presented anonymously …

  7. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    April 8, 2016 at 3:40 am

    What is particularly interesting about the current crop of sex traders is the way that they have exploited the yawning gaps that have appeared in libertarian humanist practice.

    The conflation of liberal utilitarianism, the privatization of the social commons and the cult of the individual on the one hand, and the consumerist cult of indulgent disinhibiton of egoistic customers on the other, has led to a corrupt loss of moral agency.

    Rights get thrown around like confetti, but the disciplines and responsibilities that underpin them mysteriously disappear. Human rights conflate with the customer is always right.

    Liberty becomes disinhibition. Rights become indulgences.

    Critical moral consciousness becomes so blunted and undermined it is hard to differentiate between opportunistic sectional interest and justice. The whole fabric of discourse becomes a playground for slippers and sliders, weavers and duckers, who turn honest argument into sloganeering marketspeak and keyword placement.

    The sex industry has had a field day. It doesn’t matter how rotten the sexual politics are and what they do to women. A corrupt trade becomes ‘an industry’. Pimps and panderers become respectable ‘business people’. ‘Freedom’ is the ability to exploit, enslave and destroy the vulnerable. ‘Johns’ are ‘just customers’ who have needs that are met by ‘a market’. Prostitutes are ‘service providers’, just as if they were selling insurance.

    It is all made to sound so economically ‘rational’; even a social good…

    People are so helpless before before their sexuality and its fantasies, which somehow graduate into needs and even rights!

    Consumer satisfaction is a universal given, whether it be beer or sex.

    This of course is all bollocks. There is a social commons worth defending. The standing and dignity of women is worth fighting for. They are not merely objects of desire. Their humanity and value as the bringers of life, mentors to it, nurturers, lovers, thinkers and contributors across the entire spectrum of human effort, is beyond compare.

    How could anyone consent to the abuse of that treasure that is to be found in every woman on the planet? How could we ever lose sight of that? How could we possibly give the scum that would reduce them to nothing the slightest quarter or let?

    We will never get rid of the blight of prostitution, but we can drive it into the deepest caverns and back alleys of our culture, so that it never shows its face in decent company and only exists for the most recalcitrant and risk tolerant.

  8. Tessa

    April 8, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Van Badham’s solidarity is with ‘sex workers protesting a right to be heard’ – solidarity by joining a campaign to shut down a conference for those voices? What planet am I on?

  9. Nick

    April 8, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    This opinion piece is entirely based on the false assertion that there is an attack on freedom of speech, a “campaign to derail the World’s Oldest Oppression conference”. It’s simply not true. There is a social media protest campaign for the voices of sex workers to be heard. That’s it. It’s not an attack on anyone’s freedom of speech, it’s an exercise in free speech from people who are marginalised and silenced by the media darlings, academics and christian conservatives who enjoy the power of access to media to dominate the public discussion. Sex workers are calling for their voices and their politics to be represented in public discussions about their rights, legal status, income and safety. It has nothing to do with Van Badham’s commitment to free speech, and there is nothing inconsistent in her solidarity with sex workers’ rights. There is no threat to free speech to be concerned about, just a stigmatised and marginalised group advocating for their rights.

  10. Isla MacGregor

    April 8, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    #8 What planet indeed Tessa! The same mantra used by the pro sextrade lobby on tt over the [i]NorMAC nastiness[/i] at the Parliament House forum.

    I can’t see any nastiness in this video of Simone Watson speaking at the Hobart forum:


  11. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    April 9, 2016 at 2:21 am

    The hijack of humanist libertarian language of ‘protest’ on behalf of ‘sex workers’ by apologists for the consumer sex ‘industry’ is beautifully exemplified by Nick’s comment 9. It is worthy of the the kind of publicrelationspeak we have had to get used to with the fossil fuel industry’s climate change denialism and attempts to shut down or discredit criticism and opposition.

    Ms van B has been sprung trying to shut down a conference that threatened the interests of the commercial sex lobby. And that is just ‘a protest’? Give me a break Nick.

    It is a measure of how blunted discourse has become that an industry built around laundering money, pushing drugs, human trafficking and sexual/drug enslavement; that thrives on the very scummiest sexual politics and exploits the worst of our humanity, would have the brassy nerve to pretend to humanitarian concern for peoples’ rights and safety. Spare me!

    It is an awful reflection on what is happening in Western societies that anyone would try to pass off such grotesque blather and reasonably expect to get away with it!

  12. Tessa

    April 9, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Nick, you said “It’s not an attack on anyone’s freedom of speech”. You appear to not be aware of the nature of the campaign which did indeed attempt to “derail the World’s Oldest Oppression conference” – the campaign goal was to have RMIT CANCEL the event.

    This is quite clearly, an attack on a point of view, an attack on speech. In fact, the conference was open to survivors of the sex trade to attend for free! What an opportunity for speech!

    Who is really trying to control who has a voice here?

  13. nick

    April 10, 2016 at 11:55 am

    If you read the original protest notice instead of just making things up you’ll see there was never a call to shut down the conference. It is a call to protest, and to express another point of view. Nowhere did Van Badham call for the conference to be shut down, or those at it to be silenced. She expressed solidarity with sex workers. Those are the facts. To assert anything else is to intentionally misrepresent it – or to lie. The protest was run by current sex workers as individuals, not some shadowy ‘industry’ or ‘pimp lobby’. Discussion is one thing publishing lies is another. Search twitter for the original protest notice, the link to it is “blacklisted” here and won’t submit. Free speech?

  14. Barbara Mitchell

    April 10, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    I just listened to a 2SER podcast from 9 April featuring Ms Badham and two other young ‘feminists’ – go to the 2SER website, Saturday Breakfast program, No Feminism Before 9: Cupcakes and Sex Work segment.

    The ‘World’s Oldest Oppression’ conference at RMIT was described as an anti-sex work event organised by abolitionist academics and Collective Shout.

    The conference was roundly criticised by Ms Badham for seeking credibility and the imprimatur of RMIT by locating on the university campus, and for failing to include the voices of sex workers.

    There was NO mention of the fact that the speakers at the conference were former sex workers from around the world – it seems the trauma they suffered in the sex trade and their efforts to successfully leave prostitution somehow render them unworthy of acknowledgment.

    And, the same tired old comparisons between sex work and boring factory work, or domestic work were aired yet again. Ms Badham even argued that her work in the theatre was, until recently, considered by society in general to be in the same league as prostitution.

    Apparently, these three young women discuss feminists issues on 2SER every Saturday. If they are the future of feminists thought and action, then we are surely doomed.

    And there’s no way a commentator like Ms Badham can criticise others for being one-sided and then present a totally biased account herself, and hope to be considered a serious journalist.

  15. Isla MacGregor

    April 10, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    #14 Barbara, extraordinary expose of the double standards from Van Badham. Next we might hear from Van Badham that an essential part of working in the theatre is the necessity for repeated applications of vaginal anaesthetic to dull the pain of multiple daily paid rapes on stage.

    Do 75% of theatre workers need tranquillisers to get through every day?

    There is a big difference between a serious journalist and a person obviously too cautious about potential repercussions from [i]choice[/i] politics ideologues to do some proper investigative journalism.

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