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We did this now to protect her for now and in the future, because this could get worse.  She could be taken.  –  one of the worst mothers ever

I’m on my way to New Orleans today, and will be home Thursday night; it’s been a wonderful tour, but it’s a good thing it didn’t go on much longer because I’m only barely on schedule now and I really need to catch back up.  Today’s first video is from Gideon and is one example of what is probably a very typical situation that, before video, always went undiscovered.  The second video is from Jesse Walker  (who also contributed “supervillains”), and though I don’t usually like “cute kid” videos I thought this little guy’s “logical” arguments were very funny.  Everything above the first video is from Grace, and the links between the videos are from Dave Barry (“headline”), Jemima (“Hello Kitty”), Popehat (“no reason”), Franklin Harris  (“texting”), Nun Ya (“lucky”), Michael Whiteacre (“Chelsea”), and Mike Riggs (“life sentence”).

From the Archives

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There’s a collective American fixation on the creepy image of a sex offender salivating just beyond the playground fence, but that’s just not how things usually work.  –  Jesse Singal

Decentralization

For the first time…a country will officially adopt bitcoin as its currency: Dominica…[made] an agreement…[with] Coinapult, Aspen Assurance, Bitcoin Beauties, and the College Cryptocurrency Network (CCN)…[to] send a small of amount of bitcoin to every island resident via text message…[turning] Dominica…into the most densely concentrated bitcoin community in the world…The launch date…March 15, 2015, at 9:26 a.m., coincides with Pi Day, a global celebration of the mathematical constant…

Above the Law Erasmo Mata

A grand jury indicted a former [Texas cop]…after he…sexually assaulted an underage girl multiple times…Erasmo Mata Jr., 25, is accused of [raping] a 17-year-old girl during work hours [in] five separate incidents…other [cops] watched Mata commit the sexual assaults and…Pharr Police Chief Ruben Villescas met with the victim’s family…and told them not to hire an attorney…

Legal Is as Legal Does (TW3 #34)

As I’ve stated many times, any artificial bottleneck in the legality of sex work (such as licensing, venue restrictions or immigration controls) inevitably creates problems in the restricted sector:

Police are investigating five illegal brothels across the Geelong [Victoria] region…[with] a new specialist investigation unit dedicated to prosecuting unregistered sex operators.  Sergeant Aaron Riches said…“We’re not the moral police but…you’ve been committing a crime by soliciting an illegal sex worker”…Registered brothel Lorraine Starr boss David…welcomed the police crackdown on illegals…“We’ve seen illegal ones open up next to the homes of mums and dads and last year even a school”…

No one is safe from the horror of sex rays!

Under Every Bed 

I’m sure every reader has seen 12-year-old strippers and websites where they can “purchase” girls:

…[a "sex trafficking" fetishist publicly fantasized about]…how young at-risk girls fall prey to older “pimps”…victims are typically girls 12 to 14 years of age who encounter older men on the Internet…and are…forced to work as prostitutes, strippers or massage parlor workers in large cities like Atlanta…while there has not yet been a confirmed human trafficking raid in Albany, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation strongly suspects the activity exists…“There are online sites where ‘customers’ can go to ask for a 12-year-old blond, for example and then purchase that girl. Unfortunately, those sites aren’t being shut down”…potential [victims are] more likely to have unsupervised access to a smart phone or…computer…and may walk alone to school or to the local mall…communities can help guard against the threat of human trafficking by…summer lunch programs…and homeless shelters…

An Example to the West (TW3 #316)

Over a dozen Sex Workers…are getting set to travel to Guyana in October where a meeting of Sex Workers from across the Caribbean will take place…Among the countries from which Sex Workers are expected are: Trinidad and Tobago (2), Jamaica (4), Suriname (2), Grenada (3), Antigua (2), and Dominican Republic (3).  Some ten Sex Workers from Guyana are also expected to participate…

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #327) enjo kosai

New to Japan, maybe, but not to the Americans they’re emulating:

Police in Japan have adopted a new tactic in the apparently unending struggle against the under-age sex industry, introducing sting operations against minors offering sexual services…In the first six months of this year, officers using these tactics took into custody 220 girls under the age of 18.  Instead of arresting first-time offenders, however, the police are providing “cyber correctional guidance”, which warns them of the crimes they are committing and the potential dangers.  After a dose of moral re-education, the girls are then taken home and their parents informed…The phenomenon of enjo kosai – which literally means compensated dating…first emerged in Japan in the 1990s.  Concerned at the number of men eager to pay for the company of a teenage girl, as well as the appetite of minors for brand-name goods and…the funds to buy them, Japanese authorities passed strict new laws…

Enjo kosai didn’t start in the ’90s, though the term dates to that time; anyone who thinks young girls trading sex for cash is something new is an historical illiterate.  As is anyone who isn’t disgusted by the phrase “moral re-education”.

Check Your Premises (TW3 #327)

The University of Missouri has banned obtaining clear consent:

…MU Title IX Coordinator Linda Bennett provided…students…an all-university memo a few weeks ago.  Elaborating on an already-overbroad sexual harassment policy, Bennett’s memo seems to prohibit asking for consent for sexual activities.  “Examples of behavior that will not be tolerated,” the letter says, include “Requesting another person to engage in a behavior with a sexual body part or enacting a sexual behavior.”  (Emphasis added.)  How is a student supposed to engage in any sexual activity, except by first requesting that the other person engage in it?  Maybe MU doesn’t think consent is sexy, after all…

Be Careful Who You Rape

Maybe if the doctor’s victims had been “good” women, they’d have been investigated in a timely fashion:

A highly paid neurosurgeon who indulged his cocaine addiction…and was directly linked to the death of two prostitutes avoided detection and continued to practise…Dr Suresh Nair worked at the Nepean Private Hospital in Sydney’s western suburbs…He would eventually be charged in connection with the deaths of two sex workers from cocaine toxicity and have his medical licence revoked…many of his patients were horrified to learn…[that] Dr Nair had botched their operations and left them with life-long ailments…Victoria McIntyre…died of a cocaine overdose after a booking at Dr Nair’s apartment…the NSW Medical Board…was not informed…another young escort, Suellen Domingues-Zaupa…[later] suffered a cardiac arrest, but Dr Nair left her for dead as he went elsewhere to continue partying with other escorts.  Many questions have been raised about how the doctor was allowed to continue practising…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #335)

Once again: No, this was NOT the first tippelzone in Europe:

…Zürich…opened Europe’s first municipal drive-in brothel in an old industrial area…Sex workers who agreed to relocate from their traditional…haunts were allowed to ply their trade…with a minimum of fuss…they had to obtain permits and pay tax…”The first year of the service has been positive,” Zurich social services said…authorities admit that not everyone is happy.  Some sex workers complain that their earnings have fallen and that they are too far from city-centre bars and nightclubs…

Peeping Toms (TW3 #351) Brown Family of Sister Wives

Last December, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups struck down a central part of the Utah law banning polygamy. [Wednesday]  he issued the rest of his ruling…Waddoups found the Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman violated the Browns’ constitutional rights when he oversaw a 2010 investigation into whether [they were] committing bigamy…Buhman eventually decided not to file criminal charges, but Waddoups said the investigation stifled the Browns’ rights to free speech, religion and equal protection.  Waddoups ordered Utah to pay the Browns’ attorney fees…Utah’s attorney general says he plans to appeal the case…

Flush Criminalization (TW3 #352)

A…doctor who was among the 104 men swept up in the “Flush the Johns” sting last year has been acquitted of patronizing a prostitute, and his attorney is considering suing Nassau County.  Richard Obedian…was the fifth defendant…to take his case to a bench trial.  Four of those trials have resulted in acquittals.  The doctor was the only defendant to continue to trial since District Attorney Kathleen Rice…began allowing the men to plead guilty to…disorderly conduct…At least one other man arrested in the sting has filed a notice of claim…against the county for false arrest and false imprisonment.  Asked for comment…Rice’s office [vomited out disgusting "end demand" propaganda]…

Cops and Robbers 

While “sex offender” hysteria appears to have peaked in the US, it’s still ramping up in Canada:

…sex offender Keith Constantin was released from prison in July after five years, but in…a few weeks he was run out of town twice…Constantin, convicted of sexually assaulting a seven-year-old boy and a 45-year-old blind woman, faced a concerted backlash orchestrated by 200 angry mothers; his face and crimes plastered on posters on every pole in town.  In the end…he [was accused of breaking] his curfew and [re-arrested]…growing numbers of grassroots activists…use…posters, taking pictures, pestering to the point of harassment, anything to send the message that sex offenders are not wanted…Organizations like this say they are not vigilantes, but their messaging is questionable.  In a promotional video, [one group] uses graphic images with slogans like: “Hurt my kid and I’ll bury you where they’ll never find the body”…

Cuckoo Advertising (TW3 #420)

These “findings” absurdly presume that a woman planning to cheat on her spouse will be totally honest with everyone else:

…According to a new study, women who cheat on their husbands are looking for passion and sex, but they have no desire to end their marriages.  Using data from AshleyMadison.com…Eric Anderson…the [business's] chief science officer…[eavesdropped on] 100 women between the ages of 35 and 45 on the site.  After [unethically] reading their conversations with potential lovers, Anderson found that 67 percent of these married ladies were specifically looking for more “romantic passion,” aka sex.  None wanted to actually leave their husbands and most even painted their clueless spouses in a positive light…this sample isn’t quite representative — the findings are only generalizable to the women using AshleyMadison…

Nice While It Lasted

Britain’s most senior police chief has called for wide-ranging new powers to tackle…terrorism, including a “rebuttable presumption” that anyone who visits Syria without prior notice should be treated as a terror suspect.  Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe…also called for a return of control orders and…[backed] Boris Johnson’s proposal for the presumption of innocence to be overturned for Britons who travel to warzones…”If we can get an assumption that when people come back and have been to Syria they’ve been involved in terrorism.  If they can prove they haven’t then that’s up to them.  It’s pretty hard for us sometimes to prove what they were doing in Syria…”

Above the Law (TW3 #434) Eric Roberts

OHP Trooper Eric Roberts also sexually assaulted [a second woman who has come forward]…Roberts pulled over her car on July 8…and made inappropriate sexual comments to her.  She texted a friend with the Trooper’s tag number because she was afraid she might die when he instructed her to follow him…he drove her to a secluded location and sexually assaulted her.  The woman…didn’t report it initially because she…thought no one would believe her…

Banishment (TW3 #434)

Dozens of sex offenders who have satisfied their sentences in New York State are being held in prison beyond their release dates because of a new interpretation of a state law that governs where they can live”…The unfortunate thing about this situation is that laws designed to restrict where sex offenders can live are really and truly useless, except as a means of politicians scoring easy political points by ratcheting up hysteria.  There are many tricky social-scientific issues on which there are a range of opinions…among experts, but this isn’t one of them.  Among those whose job it is to figure out how to reduce the rate at which sex offenders commit crimes (as opposed to those whose job it is to get reelected, in part by hammering away at phantom threats), there is zero controversy:  These laws don’t work, and may actually increase sexual offenders’ recidivism rates…

Bait and Switch

If you believe this, you didn’t read Monday’s column:

A three month investigation ends with more than two dozen arrests for prostitution offenses in Rochester [Minnesota].  The police…posted ads to…backpage.com…Of the 29 arrested, close to half wanted someone underage.  Experts say this sting highlights a problem bigger than prostitution…

Another Fine Mess

It’s really gratifying to see an amateur who recognizes that ordinary business practices don’t magically become newsworthy because hookers use them:

It seems that every few years, some intrepid reporter…[makes] the game-changing discovery that a lot of people use the Internet to conduct their business.  Though this sounds like an absolute non-story, when the people in question are sex workers…editors are bound to green-light…stories that all essentially reveal…that sex workers advertise and network online…Some of the stories appear to just be comically out-of-touch…and…many such non-stories perpetuate the myth that sex workers are coming for civilians where they least suspect it!  They browse among us…better hide the husbands!…

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Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.  –  Thomas Jefferson

To hear the cops tell it, they’re the “thin blue line” that stands between civilization and a species of chaos resembling Mad Max meets Lord of the Flies in the midst of an immense drunken free-for-all in Somalia.  Never mind the fact that full-time police are a comparatively recent social development, that violent crime was  declining for centuries before their invention, and that police spend the majority of their time collecting revenue and harassing people for consensual behaviors; we’re just supposed to accept their word for the fact that they do a vital, dangerous,  thankless job, and that those of us who criticize them would be on our knees kissing their boots and thanking the gods for their timely arrival were we to be menaced by keyboard-wielding perverts, pimps with broken taillights or drug dealers thumbing their nose at the social order via “rolling stops”.

Groundskeeper WillieAs in so many other cases, the myth police want you to believe is almost nothing like the truth.  Despite dramatically-increased armament and out-of-control “officer safety” policies justified by the pretense that police work is incredibly dangerous, the truth is that mechanics, commercial drivers, farmers, linemen, garbage men, steelworkers, roofers and pilots all have more dangerous jobs than cops.  Logging and fishing are dramatically more dangerous; cops’ level of on-the-job peril is roughly equivalent to that of groundskeepers and professional athletes.  Moreover, the “lawbreakers” they supposedly “protect” society from are mostly productive members of that society who are robbed at gunpoint for breaking arbitrary rules, violently attacked for amusing themselves in ways the “authorities” have forbidden, and tricked into breaking laws which carry lifelong penalties for “crimes” that didn’t actually happen and which the cops’ targets had no intention of committing in the first place.  The reason for this evil fuckery?  To continue the myth of the “thin blue line”, naturally; since there aren’t enough actual criminals to justify the existence of even a fifth of the cops we have (and not a hundredth of their weaponry & equipment), they have to manufacture “dangerous criminals” in order to convince the Great Unwashed that they are not merely a necessary evil but heroic defenders of “innocent children.”  Here’s a recent example:

…Jason Lee…maintains that there is a stark difference between intending to buy sex and intending to buy sex from a minor…After a few text messages with his chosen escort, Lee was told that she was [supposedly] a 16-year-old runaway.  The ensuing scenario is familiar to many of the men whose sullen mugshots are posted online and featured in media reports…Phoenix-area officers have used similar tactics to net dozens of suspects who police [pretend] were ready and willing to exploit young girls…But many child-prostitution defendants say police’s use of the adults-only section of the site is bait-and-switch technique that makes felons of those guilty of misdemeanor intent and no actual crime.  Media attention is typically quick to follow the arrests, unjustly branding average “johns” as pedophiles…Lee admits he planned to pay for sex with an adult and said several factors led him to believe the woman at the other end of the text message was 18 or over, despite her claims.  How else would she book a hotel room?  If she was really a runaway, wouldn’t her parents track her down by her cell phone or credit card?…Lee believed the woman was just…lying…about her age to squeeze more money from him, he said.  Further…the age of consent in Maryland, where Lee was visiting from, is 16…police [pretend that magical] code words in their [fake] ads…are…searched by those who aim for the young.  Defense attorneys say the opposite is true — their clients don’t know to weed out these words.  [But] few suspects, even those with a reasonably strong defense, opt to fight the charges at trial…

Nor is it only in Phoenix that such sleazy con games are played; Polk County, Florida, home to another Neanderthal Nazi of the same noxious mold as Phoenix’s Joe Arpaio, is in some ways even worse:

…While detectives used to post ads suggesting an underage teen or child was available for sex, they now routinely post more innocuous personal ads of adults on traditional dating sites.  When men – many of them under 25 with no criminal history – respond, officers switch the bait and typically indicate their age is really 14 or 15 years old…law enforcement is also now routinely making first contact with men…responding to their ads on dating sites…after men start conversing with what they think are adults, officers change the age they claim to be, but try to convince the men to continue the conversation anyway…If the men indicate they [aren't] interested, they [are] still often arrested for just talking to [a cop]…

Even if the men have the resources to hire a good lawyer, the damage is already done because Judd splashes their pictures across the media and insists that they’re “perverts” even after they’re exonerated by a court:

…Judd…either didn’t realize – or didn’t care – that a number of the 132 men whose faces appeared on his mugshot “big board” had already been cleared of committing crimes…”It’s fair…Because…when we arrest them as ‘sexual perverts on children,’ I’m going to call them [that]…”

Sooner or later, people are going to start waking up to the fact that cops are not their friends and nothing like their servants; they lie constantly, are willing to do anything to enrich themselves and can arrest, jail and destroy anyone they take a dislike to as easily as they pick their noses. They can do all these things without oversight, checks or consequences because the majority have willfully eaten their shit for several generations; our only hope is that they stop swallowing and making “nom nom nom” noises before every last one of us is condemned to prison, probation or some registry of artificial “offenses”.

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O sweet and noble lad, be not aggrieved!
Pray, lift thyself from off the cursed ground!
Thy travels long have left thee most deceived;
there is a sanctuary to be found.
 –  Pop Sonnets, “YMCA”

Police militarization has finally entered the sleepy consciousness of mainstream America due to the Ferguson, Missouri protests, but of course libertarians have been talking about it for decades; nobody has talked about it more, nor more eloquently, than Radley Balko.  Today’s first video is from a tiny town in Georgia and was, until Radley called attention to it, posted on the front page of the official police website; it’s a short, disturbing look at the modern police mindset and the image they want to project to the public.  Radley also provided the links above it.  The second video is a satire of out-of-control “sex offender” laws contributed by Robert King, and the links between the videos are from Scott Greenfield (“enough”), Michael Whiteacre (“RIP” and “hobby”), Rick Horowitz (“koinkydink”),  Mark Draughn (“perspective”), Saladin Ahmed (“sonnets”), Clarkhat (“Vikings”),  Lenore Skenazy (“farmers”), Popehat (“never call”), and Cop Block (“seriously”).

From the Archives

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I don’t want to put myself out of business as a storyteller; I just want to tell less painful stories.  –  Melissa Gira Grant

Maggie in the Media LiberTea 8-17-14

Here are a couple of conversations I’ve had in the past few weeks; the How We Talk About Sex podcast with Eric Leviton (recorded the morning after I arrived in New York City), and the LiberTea spreecast (recorded last Sunday night within minutes of my arrival from Washington DC).  These are both very loose, informal conversations, about two hours each, with a lot more laughter and joking around than you might be used to from me.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Try not to throw up when you read the name cops gave their entrapment scheme:

…[Florida] police detective…Reno Chevelle Fells resigned…after his arrest at a St. Augustine Beach hotel [after responding] to an online ad offering sex for money…”Operation Summer Lovin'” resulted in 14 arrests…

Law of the Instrument

Another cop helpfully explains that “sex trafficking” is everywhere, that “victims” don’t know that they’re victims and that women are so stupid and passive they have to be “taught” and “coached” to fear and distrust thugs who deceive, molest, chain and cage them. Words fall utterly short.

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through

[William McDaniel] reported he did not get the sex act he requested as part of his $350 private dance at Sagebrush Sam’s Exotic Dance Club…west of Butte [Montana].  Officers informed him asking an exotic dancer for a sexual gratification is illegal and put him in jail for solicitation of prostitution…

Schadenfreude 

In “Unraveling”, Anne Elizabeth Moore discusses the deep connections between the “rescue” and garment industries (in comic strip form, drawn by Melissa Mendes).  There are also links to other strips in the series.  If you’re ever wondered why “rehabilitation” for sex workers so often seems to involve working in sweatshops, and why Somaly Mam was sponsored by fashion companies, you need to read this.

Scapegoats

An Albuquerque woman was arrested…after…she tried to poison her roommates when they discovered she had been having sex with two German shepherds.  Shari Walters…was…caught…having sex with both her roommates’ dogs…the night after…both roommates noticed their food tasted different…Walters…admitted to putting rubbing alcohol in both roommates’ waters, as well as toilet bowl cleaner in their food…

Above the Law

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper…Eric Roberts…pulled [a woman] over without probable cause…then…forced the victim to perform sexual acts in his patrol car, before driving to another location where he…raped her…”  But Roberts is just a piker compared to his “brother officer” Daniel Holtzclaw:

…Daniel Ken Holtzclaw, 27, was arrested…on complaints of rape, forcible oral sodomy, sexual battery and indecent exposure…Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty said…Holtzclaw stopped women while he was working and forced them to expose themselves, fondled them and in at least one instance [raped] a woman.  Authorities have statements from six victims and expect a statement from a seventh…investigators believe there are additional victims…

The Lion and the Ox

There’s an awful lot of “suppose” and “maybe” here:

…The link between surrogacy and human trafficking is currently under investigation.  It is unequivocal that any child conceived to be sold constitutes a trafficked human…A clause in [UN protocol]…states that “references to slavery and similar practices may include illegal adoption in some circumstances”…it is unlikely, but possible, that the babies or embryos were envisaged for exploitation in the sex industry, on the illegal donor market, for slavery or the labour market.  This, de facto, constitutes a human trafficking case…Exploring links between…surrogacy and illegal adoption…automatically leads to organised crime…we may infer that the children were to be sold into an illegal adoption scheme…Suppose the children were conceived to be enslaved or exploited in the sex industry…

Somebody’s Daughter

Stalwart ally Elizabeth N. Brown on the “Would you want your daughter to be a whore?” fallacy:

…Using his apparent mind-reading powers, [Damon Linker] asserts that no one could honestly be okay with having a child in porn…Linker knows that nearly everyone must feel appalled because… he thought about it and was appalled?  That’s some pretty shaky logic…I would sure as shit rather have a porn star daughter (or son) than one who thinks, as Linker does, that being in porn makes someone “low, base, and degraded”…There’s nothing wrong with having certain expectations for your children…But…Our best laid plans mean jack…Proponents of decriminalization aren’t asking you to become pro prostitution, to encourage your kids to go into sex work, or even to abandon thinking it’s morally wrong, if that’s what you think…All we’re asking is for you to consider that criminalizing prostitution does more harm than good.  If — gasp! horror! disgust! — your daughter did happen to become a sex worker, wouldn’t you want to make it as safe and non-ruinous for her as possible?

Profound Ignorance

The “before the internet most whores were streetwalkers” and “each whore has only one ad” tropes just won’t die no matter how many times we kill them:

…A snapshot as recently as last week found 2,253 individuals advertising sex for sale [in Scotland] on a series of escort and other websites…However, sources stressed numbers have been close to 3,000 in recent months as the market – largely featuring foreign women who move around or are moved around – ebbed and flowed.  The sex trade has moved off the streets in recent years as women working in flats replaced traditional streetwalkers, most of whom were Scots with addiction or debt problems…Detective Chief Inspector Ruth Gilfillan…said she believed “well over 90 per cent” of sex work was now carried out from flats or brothels…

Texas Tall Tales Facebook Pimp

Texas just loves the “Facebook pimps” myth:

…pimps, hiding behind fake identities, increasingly use social media to lure young girls into the trade.  Unscrupulous predators and the popularity of online networking have made it tougher for authorities to crack down on sex trafficking.  Police estimate that 100 adolescents are trafficked every year in Dallas…

The article also claims that the undefined “illicit sex market” in Dallas is worth $99 million (per year? per day? as a purchase price?) and that 1 in 7 (14%) of the “children” reported missing are “probably victims of sex trafficking”…which would be a good trick, since only 0.014% of all “missing children” are abducted by strangers.

Banishment

But officials claim “sex offender” registration isn’t a punishment.

Dozens of sex offenders who have satisfied their sentences in New York…are being held in prison beyond their release dates because of a new interpretation of a state law that…restricts many sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school.  Those unable to find such accommodations often end up in homeless shelters.  But in February…["authorities" proclaimed] the 1,000-foot restriction also extended from homeless shelters, making most of them off limits…in New York City…only 14 of the 270 shelters…have been deemed eligible to receive sex offenders.  But with [these] often filled to capacity, the state has opted to keep certain categories of sex offenders in custody…Some have begun filing habeas corpus petitions…demanding to be released…The state’s [pretense] is that it has the legal authority to continue holding [them]…because they are largely subject to post-release supervision by the state…[such as] unannounced home visits…as well as restrictions on Internet use and interactions with minors…

Under Every Bed 

As in the Chanel Island of Jersey, population < 100,000:  “Jersey Police…are investigating a sex trafficking ring.  The force say they have received information about a growing sex trade in the island, with women potentially being trafficked and exploited…

Monsters

The parents of an eight-year-old beat “every inch” of him, until he was dead, because he played with dolls…Pearl Fernandez, 30, and Isauro Aguirre, 34, beat their son Gabriel…“for eight straight months”, and he was “tortured more severely than many prisoners of war”…According to statements given by his two siblings, he was forced to eat cat faeces and rotten spinach and was not allowed to use the toilet…He was beaten with a metal hanger, a belt buckle and lost multiple teeth when he was hit with a bat…

Lower Education 

Northern Illinois University is restricting students’ access to certain websites.  For their own good, of course…Students who attempt to visit an unauthorized site through the campus network are redirected to a creepy “Web Page Access Warning”…[which] one student reported…to Reddit after he received a warning for trying to access the Westboro  Bapist Church’s Wikipedia page…NIU cites “common sense, decency, ethical use, civility, and security,” as its various rationales for…[trying] to dissuade students from visiting websites deemed harmful by administrators…

web page censorship threat

Mumbo Jumbo

When an article is this shockingly stupid, it’s hard to decide how to file it.  Is the most important factor the hilarious “Harvard of sex trafficking” label, or the use of the word “literally” to describe something that isn’t literal?  Is it a woman’s changed, then recanted, then re-sworn testimony being described as “her true story” because it agrees with prosecutors’ claims?  Is it yet another woman being caged to compel her testimony?  I was tempted to give precedence to the statements made by “trafficking expert” Donna Sabella, who said that domestic violence is “like” domestic violence (yep); that “prostitution…often results in arrested development — young women with the social or emotional age of someone 12 or 13″; and that “trafficking…has become somewhat normalized through…music, pimp costumes and shows like Pimp My Ride“.  But I eventually decided that it had to be Milwaukee cop Dawn Jones’ claim that “girls are…property of one pimp or another” but can change this supposed “ownership” to a new pimp by “looking one in the eye”.  It is unclear whether the magical “ownership”-changing force proceeds from the eye of the whore or the “pimp”.

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #409)

Pamela Stubbart is a libertarian who resigned from an organization called Young Voices because it allowed Belle Knox, who is also a libertarian, to join.  While I totally support the right of any person to associate or disassociate with others as she sees fit, and to like or dislike people (including me) or activities (including mine) as her psyche dictates, I do rather wish she hadn’t laced her resignation letter with prudishness draped in faux-reason.  Anyhow, Cliterati writer Slut O’Crat has penned an in-depth look at what’s wrong with Stubbart’s behavior, and more generally at the weird aversion some sex worker activists have to many sex workers’ wholly-natural and eminently-predictable embrace of libertarian ideas.

Worse Than I Thought (Traffic Updates)

the [Arkansas] Task Force for the Prevention of Human Trafficking…presented findings and recommendations to the Judiciary Committee…It…[wants] to add human trafficking convictions to those requiring registration as a sex offender.  Other recommendations include posting a hotline number at all rest stops, state parks, and schools with grades 6-12.  This is an extension of legislation already passed which requires the hotline number to be posted at sexually oriented businesses and truck stops…

A Whore in Church (TW3 #433) Patrick Johnson

[After] bare-breasted women…marched in front of the New Beginnings Ministries church in [Ohio]…Patrick Johnson…of the anti-abortion group Personhood Ohio, responded…by asking Ohioans to call the legislature in support of banning “all public nudity in the state,” according to WSYX.  “I am sick that women can legally bare their breasts to children and to married men against their will in Ohio…what they did was an offense to God, was an offense to the public morality, and the legislature should act to criminalize what they did”…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #433)

The proposed new law to “protect” German sex workers is very, very bad:

…the underlying spirit of this bill appears to be the perception of sex work as a social evil the government cannot rid society of and feels therefore obligated to impose regulations on it to such an extent where completely adhering to them is rendered virtually impossible, which in turn will enable law enforcement agencies to persecute sex workers and operators of prostitution businesses.  Hence, the title of this bill is utterly misleading and an insult to sex workers fighting for equal rights under the law…the bill will not protect sex workers, but instead…aims to protect society from the imaginary evil of prostitution…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on July 13th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

massage parlor raidAfter generations of ignoring the violence against sex workers which is directly or indirectly caused by either full (as in the US) or partial (as in the UK) criminalization, the public is slowly beginning to wake up to the reality: most of it is perpetrated by the police.  Prohibitionists and “authorities” want everyone to believe the opposite, that clients and “pimps” inflict the most violence, and that the police are welcome “rescuers” from it.  Nothing could be farther from the truth; in every study of violence against sex workers ever done (such as this one from India), police are the largest victimizers and clients and pimps the least, with domestic partners and people empowered or emboldened by the marginalization of sex workers in the middle.  And despite the best efforts of those who need the public to support ever more criminalization in order to punish men for being men or to enlarge the police state, the truth is beginning to leak out, and we see new stories of police violence against sex workers almost every month.  Some of this is due to the efforts of sex workers ourselves; some is due to the diligent efforts of allies and ethical journalists; some is due to the stupidity and hubris of the police; and some is simply the natural result of omnipresent surveillance, the internet and a 24-hour news cycle always hungry for lurid stories.

In just the past few months, there have been a number of incidents that provoked public outcry on sex workers’ behalf against the heavy-handed behavior of governments and the violence of police.  In December, sex workers in Soho were subjected to a pogrom in which they were manhandled, robbed and dragged out into the street in freezing weather in their underwear; the public learned about it first from news photographers the police had themselves invited along.  In March, the world was scandalized to hear that cops in Hawaii wanted the explicit legal right to rape sex workers before arresting them.  In April, the general public finally began to notice Phoenix, Arizona’s Project ROSE, in which women profiled as sex workers are arrested in mass sweeps, denied legal representation and forced into religious brainwashing programs under threat of incarceration in Arizona’s brutal prison system; later that month, the world heard of the US government’s threats against financial institutions to get them to “voluntarily” cut off services to sex workers and other target groups.  In May non-sex workers were shocked to see the surveillance video of a Chicago massage parlor raid in which a handcuffed, kneeling woman was beaten and subjected to racist insults and death threats; only a week later, Newsweek published an article exposing the lies and fabrications of Somaly Mam, who pays Cambodian police to abduct sex workers and lock them in filthy, crowded cells at her “rescue centers”, where they are beaten, robbed, gang-raped and starved while their “savior” hobnobs with celebrities and receives accolades from anti-whore fanatics.

These stories all have two things in common.  The first is that, while they are shocking to the general public, sex workers and those who work closely with us have known about them (or in the case of single-instance atrocities, many others like them) for years or decades; it’s simply that until recently, nobody wanted to listen.  The second is that those who shocked by them generally believe them to be isolated incidents rather than recognizing them as business as usual, merely visible outcroppings of the police violence that underlies the entire landscape of criminalization.  While I was glad to see people upsetcop rapes sex worker about Somaly Mam’s torture porn and abusive practices, they need to understand that these are endemic to the rescue industry everywhere.  Though I was grateful at the outcry over Project ROSE, I am frustrated at the media’s cover-up of similar rights-violating programs which are merely less obvious because they lack that special Arizona lunacy.  Though I was relieved at the disgust people expressed toward the racist Chicago thugs, I am sad that most of them seem to think this was unusual, when in fact it is wholly typical behavior during any massage parlor raid.  And despite the apparent public belief that the situation in Hawaii was unique,

…This is standard operating procedure everywhere in the United States, and the only thing unusual about Hawaii is that it’s spelled out in law.  Just in case you’re a new reader or have a short memory, here are three examples from just last year:  Indiana,  Florida and Pennsylvania are all especially shameless in their defense of government-authorized rape, excusing it by claiming that sex workers are “sophisticated” (while simultaneously being pathetic, infantile victims)…

The sad fact is that none of these scandals is unusual in any way, except for the fact that they came to the attention of the public.  And they will continue to be business as usual until that public stops pretending otherwise and demands the abolition of prohibition.

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[We] invent without scruple a new principle to every new phenomenon…we only desire, by a number of falsehoods, to cover our ignorance of the truth.  –  David Hume

The states of Arizona and Washington appear to be competing for the dubious distinction of most prolific font of “sex trafficking” rhetoric.  While Arizona tends to lead in terms of pure vileness of the filth it spews, Washington is the clear leader in the areas of deep absurdity and unintentional hilarity.  Here are some choice excerpts from Washington’s latest bizarre anti-whore screed:

Bellevue has been in the spotlight…regarding a perceived uptick in sex trafficking and prostitution, but the police here say current events only highlight an issue that has long been prevalent in the…region…a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation of a Bellevue anesthesiologist for alleged sex trafficking and money laundering just [scratches] the surface of the regional problem with prostitution, said Bellevue Police Lt. Lisa Patricelli…”We can’t arrest our way out of this problem,” she said.  [But] former Bellevue Police Chief Linda Pillo created the Vice Unit three years ago, to address complaints…regarding the influx of illegal Asian massage parlors…

asian massageThe contradictions and nonsense are apparent right from the beginning.  Prostitution is defined as a “problem”, and since it exits everywhere in the world and always has, the statement that it has “long been prevalent in the region” is a bit like saying “air has long been prevalent in the region”.  Anywhere there are humans there will be sex work, and it only becomes a “problem” when officials define it as such.  I love the way the cop’s truthful declaration that prostitution can’t be stopped by arresting people is immediately followed by the statement that the vice department in this supposedly whore-infested region is only three years old.

…the greater problem the Bellevue Police Department now faces are the multiple listings for sexual services on popular online ad sites, the most prominent being Backpage.com.  Without a known strip in Bellevue where prostitutes are seen visually enticing customers, most transactions are happening online and behind closed doors…

As usual, we have the dogged refusal to comprehend that street work is not and never has been the majority of sex work, but it’s especially ridiculous here when we’re told that the lack of the issues which incense most middle-class people against street work (noise, litter, loitering, etc) constitutes a “problem”.  Perhaps Bellevue is jealous of larger cities that have streetwalkers to persecute?

…the Bellevue anesthesiologist…is alleged to have aided his Thai girlfriend’s sex trafficking enterprise, renting out apartments and condos for prostitution and using backpage.com to advertise the women being used…Bellevue…offers a number of high-end hotels, upscale high-rise apartments and condominiums that are being used for…prostitutes, who charged up to $200 an hour for their services…a…vice detective said…”These are the ones where we would most likely see the foreign trafficked gals.”  Prostitution is also a transient problem, he said, as many sex workers travel in circuits, staying a few days in one city before heading to another…

There’s so much to unpack here:  the mention of the girlfriend’s national origin so as to evoke racist stereotypes and “sex trafficking” tropes;  the clumsy dysphemisms like “circuits” and “women being used”; the apparent belief that $200/hour is a high fee; the inversion of the usual “sex trafficking” trope of “slaves” confined in cheap motels; and the startlingly xenophobic claim that businesspeople passing through a town for a few days on business constitutes a problem in and of itself.  Yet in the very next paragraph this bigot with a badge expects the reader to believe he’s concerned with sex workers’ safety.

…Johns, known on the streets these days as “hobbyists”…

Yes, that’s the reporter once again assuming all sex work to be street work despite saying earlier that in this town virtually none is.  Compared to the magnitude of ignorance implicit in this line, the “end demand” pap which follows is practically lucid.

…Carol Loya said she’s using her business, Truce Spa at the Westin Bellevue Hotel, to champion the healing side for sex trafficking victims…Escape to Peace is a global mission to end human trafficking…[that holds] workshops with high school students to decorate flip-flops for victims…Truce Spa also issues clients puzzle pieces – the symbol for human trafficking — for donations of three…bottles that are used to create candles to aid victims in relaxing their troubled bodies and minds.  Loya said she hopes to put informative puzzle pieces up in storefront windows and other businesses around the area where traffickers are known to recruit…

puzzleThe story goes out with a bang, assaulting our minds with a veritable cornucopia of stupidity.  The idea that whores who make $200 per hour need donated flip-flops and don’t know how to relax would seem self-evidently ridiculous, but it’s very popular right now (especially among groups like the “Cupcake Girls“); donation of cheap, nasty used clothes is another recurring theme.  But to me the crowning idiocy of this generous collection of doltishness is the claim that puzzle pieces are “the symbol for human trafficking”.  Since when?  I’ve been covering this beat for four years now, and that’s the first I’ve ever heard of it.  But this sort of off-the-cuff confabulation is the rule rather than the exception in the rescue industry; while many of the fetishists are happy to regurgitate the same mildewed myths and tired tropes, those who seek to distinguish themselves often do so by inventing some new “fact” or at least embroidering on an old one.  And none of the ersatz “journalists” who cover this rubbish ever notice that the so-called “experts” are just making it up as they go along.

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