Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Hunting PunterNet

In her speech to the Labour conference today, Harriet Harman announced a new, shocking development in the world of online vice:

And there is a very sinister development which we are determined to stop. You know trip advisor – a website where guests put their comments on line for others to see. There is now a website, like that, where pimps put women on sale for sex and then men who’ve had sex with them put their comments on line. It is ‘Punternet’ and fuels the demand for prostitutes. It is truly degrading and puts women at risk.

Punternet has pages and pages of women for sale in London. But Punternet is based in California so I’ve raised it with the US Ambassador to London and I’ve called on California’s governor Arnie Schwarzenegger to close it down. Surely it can’t be too difficult for the Terminator to terminate Punternet and that’s what I am demanding that he does.

And I’ve got news for him: if he doesn’t, I’ll be back.

Actually, according to its front-page PunterNet has been going for more than ten years. There are no pimps in sight - though women working in the sex trade are active in the site's forum pages. Several have left messages today mocking Harriet's hopelessly naive comments. There's a lively thread here. One of the contributors points out that PunterNet is actually registered in Ohio! From what I've seen, PunterNet is, as its name implies, entirely client-driven. It's basically a modern version of Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies, though rather less well-written.

Alix Mortimer, now gloriously restored to blogging life, pulls Hattie to pieces here.

Also up on the site today was an open letter from the site's proprietor, who goes by the name of Galahad:

Dear Mrs. Harman,

I have a few points to make regarding your recent remarks regarding my website and your fantastic demand that the Governor of California close it down.

Firstly, PunterNet is not violating any laws. If it were, then surely the many websites catering to the US prostitution scene (where sex for pay is almost completely illegal) would already have been closed down.

In the USA, there is a concept called "freedom of speech" which is considered the most important personal right guaranteed by the Constitution. It exists specifically to prevent the sort of abuse of power that you are attempting. The Governor (indeed, even the President) has no authority with which to shut down a perfectly lawful enterprise such as PunterNet.

PunterNet was not the first, and is certainly not the only, website in the UK with the same subject matter. Rather than creating the demand for commercial sex, sites like PunterNet are a response to that demand, which has existed since the dawn of mankind and certainly long before the advent of the Internet!

One of the missions of PunterNet is education - to provide information and guidance in hopes that the commercial sex scene is limited to consenting adults and those who choose of their own free will to engage in it.

If sites like this one did not exist, and if prostitution were outlawed, then it would effectively be handed to organised crime on a platter - just as happened with liquor during Prohibition. If, on the other hand, sex-work is recognised as a legitimate, honourable profession, then there will be no market for the criminal elements, and the truly despicable aspects of the scene such as sex slavery and trafficking will die out. Surely that is a far more desirable goal than driving it back underground where it will then consist only of criminals and victims?

In closing, I would like to thank you for the huge influx of traffic to my website which your actions have caused. I am sure that the ladies who are a part of the PunterNet community thank you as well, as they will no doubt benefit financially from the many new clients who might otherwise never have found them.

The last point is, of course, the most pertinent. In delivering her scoop about the existence of a ten-year old website, Harman has triggered a predictable Streisand effect. But she got her Terminator gag in, so she's probably happy. Read the rest of this article

Double standards

From the Agnes Poirier thread:

A priest and Roman Polanski walk into a Hollywood bar.

The priest says to the bartender, "I just molested one of my altar boys." The bartender says, "Get out of my bar you creepy pervert before I call the police!" The priest leaves.

Roman Polanski says to the bartender, "Thirty years ago, I drugged and sodomized a 13-year-old girl." The bartender says, "Man, I loved Chinatown!"


Read the rest of this article

Monday, 7 September 2009

Bad girls really bad

The Heresiarch's longer standing readers may remember the Satanic Sluts, a Gothicky softcore performance troupe briefly rescued from obscurity last October when one of their number featured in one of the year's most ridiculous scandals. That was the delectable Georgina Baillie, aka Voluptua, a granddaughter of actor Andrew Sachs and a one (or possibly two) time paramour of Russell Brand - I think she's the one in the middle. Ah, yes, those Satanic Sluts.

They've hardly been seen since, but apparently they're still going. A source spotted them on the bill at the Dark Mills Festival in SW19 on Saturday. Dark Mills describes itself as "the Premier celebration of the alternative scene in London, bringing together cabaret, burlesque, art, music and theatre from the Gothic scene". Apparently, Les Filles Sluts did not impress. They were"execrably bad", reports my source. "Describing them as 'burlesque' is paying them far too high a compliment. 'Cover themselves in stage blood and wriggle' seems to be the content of their act."

Mind you, Russell Brand has never been renowned for being fussy.
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Sunday, 6 September 2009

The Face of Jaycee?

One of the strangest facts to emerge from the deeply weird (as well as horrifying) story of Jaycee Lee Dugard is that her deranged abductor Philip Garrido allowed her face to appear on some of his business cards. The Telegraph ran with the story a few days ago, quoting one of Garrido's clients, Cheyvonne Molino: "Her picture was all over his business cards for the last 10 years". The paper speculated, bizarrely, that this may have been a "cry for help" on the kidnap victim's part.

Today, we learn that

The Sunday Telegraph was shown a card advertising the business that featured her in a glamorous pose, head resting on her hands, blonde hair falling across her made-up face.

She looks just like a happy young woman, even an aspiring model. That she could have appeared so contented is another mystifying twist to a near-inexplicable story.

The cards, if genuine, must now be quite valuable collectors' items - though I couldn't, yet, find any available for sale. I did however track down what seems to be the picture described in the Telegraph report. It's hard to tell if it's the real thing. It certainly looks a lot like her last known childhood photo (above), but it's so blurred it's impossible to be sure. The hair and make up have rather an Eighties feel to them, though it must have been taken no more than ten years ago - but then Garrido did inhabit a time-warp of his own creation. Read the rest of this article