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Posts Tagged ‘New York’

This is a moral crusade, dressed up as concern for women.  –  RCMP Superintendent John Ferguson

The Scarlet Letter

In Anaheim, California, anyone convicted of buying sexual services will have their names and mug shots indefinitely posted to a city web page…The Anaheim district attorney’s office says the scarlet HTML is meant to deter sex traffickers, which makes about as much sense as posting jaywalker mugshots in order to deter car thieves…”Public shaming as a form of punishment goes back to the days of Puritan colonists,” writes Los Angeles Times‘ Emily Foxhall…even…Melissa Farley…[admits] she’s unaware of any evidence that this kind of shaming results in long-term behavior change…

Follow the Leader

In September 2012, President Obama issued an executive order asserting a zero tolerance policy for government contractors who violated human trafficking laws.  He specifically targeted recruitment fees that workers in southeast Asia frequently pay for work with military contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq…recruitment fees essentially create a system of indentured servitude.  Workers usually take out high-interest loans in their home country to pay the fee, and the payments can trap them in their new jobs.  Recruiters often mislead workers about their salary and the location of their job—promises of high-paying jobs in Jordanian hotels turn into custodial positions on U.S. military bases in warzones…The government says it has a zero tolerance policy, and yet there’s fairly credible allegations that these guys have been involved in trafficking and they continue to win government contracts,” says Steven Watt…at the ACLU…

See No Evil confused Pooh

Do Polish stuffed animal toys usually come with genitals?

Winnie the Pooh…has been banned from a Polish playground because of confusion about his sexuality and consternation at his attire.  Council members were debating which character should become the face of a new playground in the small town of Tuszyn, and…some on the board raised questions about Pooh’s “dubious sexuality” and “inappropriate” attire, and one even condemned the fictional character as a “hermaphrodite”…Ryszard Cichy…[said] “It is half naked which is wholly inappropriate for children…Pooh who is only dressed from the waist up”…[another council member fantasized that A.A. Milne]…”cut [Pooh’s] testicles off with a razor blade because he had a problem with his identity”…

Scapegoats

Maybe this guy thought it was a genital-equipped Polish stuffed horse?

[Florida] police have arrested and charged a 19-year-old man in a troubling case of alleged indecent exposure. Police accuse Sean Johnson of entering a Walmart…and committing a sex act on a stuffed horse…[then] putting [it] back on the shelf…

Above the Law 

A woman says she was raped in jail by a Ferguson [jail guard] while she was pregnant last year, according to a federal lawsuit…against the city and…Jaris Hayden…[who] now faces four felony charges…[the victim had been arrested because her] license plates were expired…and…During [her] booking, Hayden said to her, “You smell good,” and, “This will teach you a lesson”…

Useful Idiots 

Sen. Dianne Feinstein…is once again attempting to swell federal power and erode civil liberties by preying on fears about sexual exploitation….[with] the Combat Human Trafficking Act, a bill that would expand federal and state wiretapping authority, mandate that the Department of Justice…spend more time investigating and prosecuting [sex workers’ clients]…and increase criminal penalties for buyers by legally defining them as human traffickers…this is going to lead to increased harassment of…sex workers and enhanced monitoring of any space where they congregate…the bill also provides a potential direct mandate for DOJ to target sex workers and their clients…Dianne FeinsteinFeinstein’s press [pretends that] “83 percent of sex trafficking victims are American citizens, and the average victim is first trafficked between ages 12 and 14″…Yes, they’re actually claiming that American citizens make up all but 13 percent of global sex trafficking victims. It’s a bold move even within the typically-dubious realm of sex-trafficking statistics (the idea that the average victim is first-trafficked at 12-years-old is also suspect)…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

This stinks on ice:

Little Rock Police have arrested a…[fireman] at a massage parlor after an undercover sting. Edwin Harris…worked at a business called Asian Massage…a female undercover detective paid for a massage in which she says Harris engaged in sexual contact…Harris was the only person charged at the business…

Social Construction of Eunuchs (TW3 #48)

Dataspelsbranchen, a Swedish games industry organization, has been given a 272,000 kronor (roughly $36,672) grant by the state…to study and create a system that would provide ratings for games released in Sweden indicating the level of sexism and/or whether or not the game promotes gender equality…their study…will also include analysis of developers already working to promote diversity and gender-equality in order to help others learn from their experience.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (TW3 #338)

Dancers at a strip club are due more than $10 million in back wages and tips, a federal judge ruled…And additional claims are headed for trial in the class action case, meaning there ultimately could be further awards to roughly 1,900 women who worked at Rick’s Cabaret in Manhattan between 2005 and 2012…Houston-based RCI Hospitality Holdings Inc., said it planned to appeal…

Held Together With Lies (Hysteria on Parade)

How much higher can this nonsense go?bogus trafficking map

Nearly 36 million people worldwide, or 0.5% of the world’s population, live as slaves, a survey by…Walk Free says…India has the most slaves overall and Mauritania has the highest percentage. The total is 20% higher than for 2013 because of [broader] methodology. The report…uses slavery in [the inflammatory] modern [misuse] of the term, rather than [correctly]…

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #346)

A 14-year-old [South African] girl could be charged with perjury after lying about being held against her will and sold as a sex slave by her aunt…following her mother’s death…The teen alleged that her aunt later locked her in a room with six old men and one of them raped her…it was later established that the teenager had fabricated the story…

Welcome To Our World (TW3 #405)

Would anyone but a modern American “journalist” portray intercourse as a new and novel way to get pregnant?

Once upon a time, when single women and infertile couples wanted a baby, they would pay a sperm bank…thousands of dollars…But now…donors make their sperm available by offering to have sex for free. It’s a surprising — and some say unconventional — method of making a baby called “natural insemination”…

Finding What Isn’t There (TW3 #413) John Ferguson

few can agree on how widespread [sex trafficking] is, or how best to address it.  This troubles former RCMP superintendent John Ferguson:  “Are there victims?  Yes.  Is this a systemic problem?  The evidence tells us no.”  (Between 2005 and 2009, the RCMP reviewed 242 potential international human-trafficking cases, but made no convictions.)  He points to the absence of information:  Canada has no standardized system for the collection of such data.  Ferguson also points to a 2003 RCMP report that claimed each year 600 women and girls are trafficked into the country for forced sex work; the report has since been discarded by the RCMP itself…

The Mote and the Beam (TW3 #419)

The use of Backpage.com as a tool to catch criminals represents an interesting paradox.  While its critics deplore the ease and visibility the site offers to [sex workers]…those exact qualities make the site invaluable for people looking to [persecute them]…A small but growing number of law enforcement…begrudgingly defend Backpage…Three states have tried to take down [the site with unconstitutional] laws that…Backpage.com successfully [challenged]…and…the SAVE Act is almost certainly not legally viable for the same reasons…

Not What They Expected

Prince George’s County bucks the trend by claiming its “sex trafficking” rate has gone down…which is, of course, as much of a lie as the “King of the Hill” idiocy:

For the second consecutive year, Prince George’s County should see a reduction in human trafficking and prostitution, according to…police…Sgt. David Coleman…attributes the downward trend to the work of his unit and cross-agency initiatives like the county’s Human Trafficking Task force…“When we create a hostile business environment, it moves elsewhere.”

Divided We Fall (TW3 #427)

Bill C-36…has everything to do with moralism and pearl-clutching white saviours in Ottawa forcing a socially conservative agenda through…This is the same government trying to kill C-279, a bill that would ensure trans people are protected under…hate crimes provisions…Sex workers have started a letter-writing campaign to ask [Ontario Premier Kathleen] Wynne to refer the law to the Ontario Court of Appeal for a constitutional reference…[and] to instruct provincial Crown Attorneys not to enforce the new law until the Ontario court has ruled on its constitutionality.  Terri-Jean Bedford was the first to ask Wynne to intervene last month.  Next, sex worker rights advocate Nikki Thomas posted her own open letter.  And another.  And another.  Legal experts across Canada call the law blatantly unconstitutional…[Manitoba] actually plans to send sex workers to “camps” for “educational workshops”  hosted by the evangelical Salvation Army…Handing over our most vulnerable citizens to questionable religious groups has not ended well historically…Gay men and women should be the most vocal allies of sex workers. There was a time when the same arguments were made to keep being gay a criminal offence…

The Mote and the Beam (TW3 #428)

A coalition of civil liberties, publishing, and online commerce groups are asking Congress to oppose a piece of anti-speech, anti-sex work legislation known as as the “Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation” (SAVE) Act…[which] would create harsh new criminal liabilities for websites and publishers, allow federal agents to censor online ads, make it harder for adult sex workers of all sorts to safely connect with clients…and…expose anyone advertising online to new privacy infringements…The SAVE Act would…create extensive record-keeping requirements for any…service…that hosts adult advertisements…require anyone posting an adult ad to submit photo identification…enable the Department of Justice…to ban certain “euphemisms” or “code words” from online advertising entirely, and…make websites that host user-generated ads criminally liable…even if they do not have actual knowledge that an ad for illegal activity appears on their sites…

Check Your Premises (TW3 #432)

It’s astonishing that supposedly rational adults in the Canadian government need this explained to them:

One of the lead detectives in the teen pimping investigation wants men who [hire] women for sex to ensure their clients [sic] are over 18 and are willing participants, but an advocate for sex workers warns doing so might put johns in an legal quandary…Carolyn Botting [imagines that sex workers will show clients their drivers’ licenses, but]…Chris Bruckert, a criminology professor at the University of Ottawa, said…the federal government’s new prostitution laws…will put johns in an awkward situation…“If in fact they do call police because they suspect someone is underage or in a situation of exploitation, they’re actually setting themselves up to be criminally charged”…

Soap Opera (TW3 #441) not a brand

In which a common type of tattoo is recast as a “brand”.

…Reliable statistics are [nonexistent], but [trafficking fanatics pretend that] hundreds of thousands of women and girls…are sold for sexual exploitation in America’s $9.5bn human-trafficking industry. According to the US Department of Justice, 300,000 of those at risk are children. Branding, whether by tattoo or intentional scarring, has become a disturbing characteristic of…Pimp-led prostitution…Polaris Project [pretends to have]…come across hundreds of women and children who have had their arms, backs, legs, faces, breasts and even eyelids and gums marked with pimp’s names and gang tags or with barcodes, sexual slang words or dollar signs…it is now systemic in America…

Whither Canada? (TW3 #446)

My beloved partner “Isabelle”…is a sex worker in Toronto…[who] lives in my home about half of the time…We occasionally buy things together.  We sometimes pool money for grocery trips.  Occasionally, one of us picks up something for the other at the corner store…A couple months ago, I had some unanticipated emergency expenses resulting in negative cash flow.  Isabelle jumped right in to save me, contributing her money to my monthly housing expense…In short, we’re partners…It’s…against the law as of Dec. 6.  Section 286.2 subsection 1 of the code specifically criminalizes “everyone who receives a financial or other material benefit, knowing that it is obtained by or derived directly or indirectly from (sex work).”  It’s an indictable offence, subject to a prison term of up to 10 years…

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Is this a joke?  –  Nathan Robinson

This week I wasn’t on a train and I’m not sick, so I had no trouble getting everything straight on time (except for the abundant distractions provided by my wonderful friends here in Seattle).  Both videos this week are reactions to that heavily-edited “catcalling” viral thing; the first was provided by Rick Horowitz and the second by Mike Siegel (who also gave us “ghouls” and “shoplifting”).  Everything above the first video is from Radley Balko, and the links between the videos from Clarissa (“recycling” and “mistake”), Grace  (“resisting”), Jesse Walker (“music”), Mistress Matisse (“never call”), Cop Block  (“first aid”), and  Joyce Arthur (“together”).

From the Archives

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As you plan your child’s Halloween costume, you must consider the district’s Zero Tolerance Policy.

The increasing trend of people saving Halloween links for the last three days before the holiday results in my not having any until the Links column after Halloween.  It’ll be just as bad next year, but the year after that Halloween’s on a Monday so that should be better.  Ah, well.  This week’s top contributor was Lenore Skenazy, with the first video and everything above it; the second video is from Franklin Harris, and the links between the two were provided by Cop Block (“protect”), Popehat (“clowns” and “chili”), Tauriq Moosa (“layout”), Kevin Wilson (“investors”), David Ley (“plastic”), Michael Whiteacre (“show”), Radley Balko (“sequel”), Molly Crabapple (“seizure”), Clarissa (“accidentally”), and Molli Desi (“together”).

From the Archives

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From what you’ve told me you don’t need an ambulance…You could try a warm bath but if you collapse, become unconscious [or] unresponsive…it’s 999.  –  Heidi Nicholls

I’m very disappointed at the tardiness of Halloween spirit the last few years; there’s only one more Links column before the big day, yet I’ve seen virtually no seasonal links and only one seasonal video (the first one below, contributed by Aspasia).  I had to go looking for the second one myself, though I’m quite pleased with it.  Everything above the first video is from Rick Horowitz, and the links between the videos from Brooke Magnanti (“colon”), ManCrack (“Dick”),  Clarissa (“hammer”), Jesse Walker (“clowns”), Molli Desi (“medicine”), Saladin Ahmed (“authoritarian”), Radley Balko (“prohibition” & “bicycle”), and Mistress Matisse (“plug”).

From the Archives

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[To a prohibitionist California judge] “help”…means keeping a pregnant teen locked up in juvenile jail because she accepted payment for sex, but still talking to her in really nice tones.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Think of the Children! Moongoyle

I’m sure this sleazebag reporter is proud of himself:

…Slicing Beauty is a fairly typical…slasher flick, featuring gratuitous nudity…[which] was produced and directed, under an alias, by the principal of [a Connecticut] Middle School.  And the film’s script…was written, also under an alias, by a guidance counselor at [another] Middle School…Mark D. Foley…[and] Aaron Vnuk…have been making movies together since at least 2008…the pair formed a company that became Moongoyle Entertainment…in movie credits, they use the names Mark Daniel and Aaron Thomas Howell…[but busybody Matthew Kauffman] determined their identities by comparing information in state corporation records…to state educator records…

And this, kiddies, is why Maggie McNeill, LLC is registered in Delaware.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

A…Dallas…vice detective accused of giving a prostitute protection in exchange for sexual favors coached the woman to say she was his confidential informant if questioned about the relationship…Jose Luis Bedoy…was…charged with…obstruction of…justice…Bedoy met the woman…in early 2009 during a raid…[he] alerted her to police investigations and sought sex in return…

Sales Pitch

At least a few Swedish politicians seem to get it:

Sweden’s new coalition government is trying to make it an offence for Swedes to use prostitutes when they are…in other countries…But their plans look set to be blocked by the centre-right parties that made up the former governing Alliance…Some argue that making it illegal for Swedes to pay for sex in places where prostitution is…legal, could lead to other countries starting to punish their citizens for activities that are allowed in Sweden…”It would be terrible if people got punished because they had a homosexual relationship…or…an abortion in Sweden,” [said] Moderate party Justice spokesperson Beatrice Ask…

Schadenfreude 

Yet another rescue industry fraud:

…Frits Rouvoet regularly walks in Amsterdam’s Red Light District…most prostitutes see [him] as “this idiot that always brings flowers”, and often try to get rid of him by pretending to be on the phone…[he] regularly claims to have “saved” a woman…and has been doing so for years, while I still see the same girls at work every day…how come nobody has noticed the women that have gone missing, because he has “saved” them?…It also makes one wonder [why]…these “oh so violent pimps”…let Frits…take away “their girls” without a fight…Does Frits Rouvoet possess some kind of supernatural…powers, that [protect] him…?

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

Somaly Mam and Uncle Sam will not be happy:

New [Cambodian] government regulations for the entertainment industry…aim to offer sex workers…increased protection under the Labor Law…Chan Dyna…of the National Entertainment Workers’ Network, said…“The government has finally recognized that entertainment workers are actually workers, like all others”…

Above the Law 

Rapist cops come in two main types, the sleazy:  “Florida sheriff’s deputy [Ted Arboleda] was arrested…after he was accused of allowing a woman to avoid arrest in exchange for oral sex…”…and the openly brutal:

Authorities have arrested a…[Colorado] sheriff’s deputy…The woman told investigators she was driving [Timothy Joseph] Hay home after drinking at a bar…when Hay asked her to pull over at a warehouse…[he then slammed] the woman’s head to the ground and [raped] her…

Finding What Isn’t There

This story makes much more sense when one realizes that the word “evidence” was substituted for the proper term, “propaganda”.  Here, I’ll demonstrate:

New figures…which…show a continuing decline here are “very alarming”…said the Immigrant Council of Ireland.  The figures are contrary to European [propaganda]…There was…just one reported case of a trafficked child, compared to 16 last year…[Denise] Charlton said…“It is worrying that the figures have come down…There is so much [propaganda] that those who enter the sex trade do so as teenagers.  Why are we not finding these children?”…

Damned If You Don’t

New York…Port Authority police…have arrested more than 60 [men] this year in the bus terminal on public lewdness charges…Most…were accused of masturbating in the second-floor bathroom…by plainclothes officers…[spying on] them at an adjacent urinal…the Port Authority’s interpretation of the law [seems] to criminalize the use of public urinals…

Enough is Enough

Monkey Business

They certainly deserve it more than zygotes:

…a New York court will decide whether or not Tommy the Chimpanzee qualifies as a legal person…late last year…lawyer Steven Wise discovered him being held in a small, unclean cage and receiving inadequate care…if Tommy is declared a legal person, it does not mean he is human…it would just afford him protection beyond existing animal cruelty laws.  Personhood would give him rights pertaining to his self interest that would hold up in a court of law, similar to a parent or guardian acting on behalf of a child or disabled adult…The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP)…acts on behalf of nonhuman animals who are intelligent, self-aware and autonomous, including great apes, elephants, and dolphins…

That Old Black Magic

Scotland Yard has received 27 allegations of ritual child abuse linked to witchcraft in the past year, with police believing many more remain “hidden” by families…one child was swung round before being smacked over the head in order to “drive out the devil”.  The Telegraph reported instances of children having chili rubbed into their eyes…[or] dunked in baths and forced to drink noxious liquids in exorcism ceremonies…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (TW3 #316)

Watching pornography could soon be banned in Telangana…as a means to reduce crimes against [women]…state police said they have been asked to…use technology similar to the one used by the Chinese government to block content on search engines…banning pornography may not have any effect in ensuring security of women as several studies have shown that such content does not instigate…rape…

In fact, studies show it has exactly the opposite effect, but prohibitionists never care about little things like facts.

Monsters

This has been a month of horrible violence against transwomen, from Australia:

…Marcus Volke worked around the world as a male prostitute before moving to Brisbane just weeks before he murdered his wife and cooked her on their…apartment’s stovetop.  Volke, who was found with Mayang Prasetyo’s dismembered body…the couple had both worked in a Melbourne brothel and Volke had also made a living from sex work in Copenhagen.  After moving to Brisbane he was working under the name of Heath XL while his wife was [working] as a “top high class Asian shemale”…Volke took his own life while fleeing police…

To the Philippines:  “A US Marine has been detained over the murder of a transgender woman…26-year-old Jennifer Laude Sueselbeck was found dead by strangulation…with her head in the toilet…”  To New York:  “A 28-year-old trans woman was beaten by four men on a Bushwick street…with a 2 X 4…She is…in stable condition…but [may]…have permanent brain damage…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #318)

Another stupid “sex trafficking” play:

It’s Not Fair is a collection of tales taken from all over the world…from the cocoa farms of the Ivory Coast to the dingy bars of the back streets of Thailand, behind the respectable facade of a London home and into the offices of an anti-trafficking organisation…Using a unique blend of theatre, storytelling and music, the performance brings these stories to life in an entertaining, powerful and moving way…that raises awareness of the problem…

Hussies

The horror of good customer service:

…Anna Burgese…says she was attacked early last year in the lobby of a South Beach W Hotel by drunken hookers who mistakenly believed she was competition…As a result…[she] hired undercover agents to visit W Hotels all over the country…[and] claims that they found…prostitution runs rampant in the hotels…The filing also alleges that The W…provides guests with free condoms and that its website advertises sex toys.  “These agents engaged…employees who openly, and without hesitation, procured the services of prostitutes for the agents…”

In other words, these supposed agents “found” that a W concierge does exactly what the concierge in any expensive hotel will do.

Broken Record (TW3 #333)

The lies in this article are outrageous even by “sex trafficking” standards.  First, cops’ arrest of 25 underage sex workers and 45 other people (labelled “pimps”) magically transmogrified into “[NGO members] successfully rescued 66 children, and made more than 120 arrests.”  But the second claim was even more egregious:  “a group of experts went to Sturgis, SD during the large motor cycle rally and were successful in rescuing more than a dozen young girls.”  In fact, no sex workers were arrested (“rescued”) at all; photos of adult women were supposedly “age-regressed” and the results were used to entrap seven men.fat prat

Innocence Never Had

Because people don’t like the idea of teens engaging in sex work…they want the government to do something about it, and the way to get people under state jurisdiction is to define them as either criminals or helpless victims.  So if teen sex workers aren’t criminals, they must be children whom the state has an obligation to protect coercively…”to prevent them from returning to their pimps”…Teenagers may not have the full capacity to consent…but they’re not mentally incapacitated.  The government shouldn’t be able to lock up a 15-year-old girl ’til her 18th birthday to stop her from having sex in a way of which it disapproves…

O, Canada! (All Traffick, All the Time)

The idea that women might have minds and agency is unacceptable to Canadian Cops:

…Called Operation Northern Spotlight, the officers in each city used ads on the Web to book “dates” with escorts over two nights last week — then met to [harass and intimidate them]…“Almost all the girls we meet, they say they’re independent,” said Sgt. Rob Huber…Despite denials…Huber suspects most are turned out by someone who reaps the bulk of the lucrative profits.  “But until that girl basically tells us, we don’t have a victim”…

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #416) 

Most of this article is the usual ludicrous nonsense from one of the usual suspects (in this case, Washington DC “rescue” opportunists FAIR Girls), but it does have one notable line:  “…the average victim is sold three to five times per night…”  Not 50 or 100?  Very interesting.

Business As UsualThissera's victim

a video showing a policeman beating a young woman…in…Sri Lanka…has generated heated discussion in the media…the police…first…[pretended that] the video [was] unreliable…[then admitted] that the particular policeman…has been identified…but that [the sex worker he beat] appeared to be in hiding…[meanwhile] the woman…began to reveal her ordeal in public…The [attacker’s] name has now been revealed as P.P. Thissera…he…has not been arrested or charged with a criminal offence…

Bad Girls (TW3 #438)

Remember the sex worker who killed the cop, and I said there was more to it? 

…the 29-year-old woman told the police that she killed the constable as an act of revenge as it was he who had pushed her into prostitution and ruined her life…although she could have easily escaped after the murder, she chose to…set the body on fire [as]…a warning to corrupt cops…the deceased constable…sold her to a brothel [in 2002, then] three years ago, the woman again met…him…and [he] would often visit her…When she refused to give in to his demands, the constable would…threaten to arrest her…

Wise Investment (TW3 #440)

I’ve heard this woman is actually kind of a nasty character, but it’s still good news if her lawyer can get a raid thrown out:  “The defense attorney for a Salem, N.H., woman accused of running a…brothel wants a police search of his client’s home and vehicle tossed out as evidence in the criminal sex-trafficking and prostitution case.  Lori Barron…is accused of hiring young women [to work in an ordinary massage parlor]…

The Roof Caves In (TW3 #440)

Somaly…Mam’s ex-husband Pierre Legros [said]…”Simon Marks…did his job as a journalist and verified the facts.  I have not met Abigail Pesta who wrote the Marie-Claire story and I…doubtful…[of] her version…Somaly has at least two different versions of her biography …you know fabricated stories are used by everyone to get funding.  But I received death threats from Somaly and her entourage, telling me not to speak”…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on September 28th; I have modified it slightly for time references and to fit the format of this blog.

Tyrannical laws, especially those against consensual behaviors, are supported by many people suffering from the delusion that these laws (or other, subsequent laws based on the precedent of the laws they supported) will never, ever be used against them or anyone they care about.  Of course, this is nothing but a naïve fantasy; the fact of the matter is that, as I have written many times before, a weapon once forged can be used by anyone who cares to pick it up; furthermore, once its pattern has been invented there is nothing to stop other tyrants from forging similar weapons to use against those they wish to oppress…which might very well include those who supported the first law.  Over and over again we see examples of prostitution laws being used to arrest women who have never been paid for sex in their lives; because a whore looks exactly like any other woman, and her “criminality” derives entirely from taboo motives for an activity which is completely legal otherwise, cops routinely arrest  “women who carry condoms, answer personal ads, wear sexy lingerie, go without lingerie, fail forced ‘virginity tests’ask a cop if he’s a cop, ‘act sexy’, go out after dark without a male chaperone, or even just ‘look like a prostitute’.”  In some parts of the US, some of these acts are themselves criminalized, leading to a bizarre and evil regime in which a woman can be arrested and convicted for “acting like a hooker” even if everyone agrees that no “act of prostitution” took place.

I’m sure most of you heard about this incident last month:

[Hollywood actress] Daniele Watts…has claimed she was “handcuffed and detained” by Los Angeles police officers because of her race.  Two police officers approached Watts and her white boyfriend Brian James Lucas when they were seen showing affection in public, the actress said…she refused to produce her photo ID…and was then handcuffed and held in a police car as the officers tried to figure out who she was…

Daniele Watts arrestNaturally, the police chief insisted that the cops acted properly (as police chiefs always do, even when an unarmed person is shot in the back or an autistic teenager is tased to death):  “Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck is defending the actions of officers who briefly detained and questioned an actress…following reports that she was ‘involved in a lewd act’ in a parked car…”  Setting aside for a moment that the initial reports said she was suspected of prostitution, not “indecent exposure”, it seems disingenuous to claim that their being an interracial couple had nothing to do with the harassment.  Here’s an account from a woman who, though she was eventually arrested for having the same name as someone for whom there was a warrant, was initially stopped merely for being a black woman in a vehicle with a white man, despite the lack of “indecency”:

…I rode shotgun in a pickup truck with…my friend, Nathan…On the way to the restaurant we drove too far and had to turn into the entrance of a very wealthy, very white neighborhood to get back on track.  Suddenly we heard a police siren coming from an unmarked SUV, signaling for us to pull over.  Before the arresting officer made it to Nathan’s car, two more unmarked SUVs and a police car joined them…Their first question was addressed to Nathan: “How do you know this woman?”…

In other words, prostitution laws provided a useful pretext for a stop.  Certainly, there are many such pretexts, including the hundreds of inane traffic regulations that actually exist and the dozens of others cops just invent on the spot.  But it’s telling how often prostitution laws are used as that pretext when it’s black women the “authorities” want to harass:

…Kantaki…Washington, Cydney Madlock and J. Lyn Thomas say a member of the [Standard] hotel’s security team accused them of being hookers.  The women had just come down from…[the] bar…and settled in the lobby when several men approached them and offered to buy them drinks…a security guard from the hotel whispered something in the man’s ear and ushered him away.  “After…he comes over to me and my friends and says, ‘Come on, ladies.  You can buy a drink but you can’t be soliciting,’…We were like, soliciting?  He said, ‘Don’t act stupid with me, ladies.  You know what you’re doing’…Dude, I’m a lawyer and these women are educators…Why the hell would I be in here soliciting prostitution?”  Outraged, Washington demanded that the guard give her his name and the name of his manager…When she and her friends approached the manager…they were met with indifference…Several weeks later, Washington received an email from…the hotel inviting her and “three guests back to The Standard for a bottle of champagne…followed by dinner…”  None of the emails…addressed the prostitution accusation…

Of course, they’re lucky he was only a rent-a-cop; otherwise it might’ve gone more like this:

A Galveston couple is suing three police officers who they say arrested and beat their 12-year-old daughter after mistaking her for a prostitute…Named as defendants are…Gilbert Gomez…David Roark and Sean Stewart…Dymond Larae Milburn went outside her home…to flip a circuit breaker about 7:45 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2006.  Responding to a call that three white prostitutes were soliciting in the neighborhood, the plainsclothes officers jumped out of an unmarked van…and one of them grabbed the girl, who is black…the officers did not identify themselves as police and…the officer who grabbed her, later identified as Roark, told her, “You’re a prostitute.  You’re coming with me.”  Her parents, Wilfred and Emily Milburn, heard her cries for help and came outside to see the hysterical girl hanging on to a tree and screaming “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” while two officers hit her in the head, face and throat…Two hours later…emergency room…doctors found she had a sprained wrist, two black eyes, a bloody nose and blood in an ear…Weeks later, the girl was arrested during classes at…school, where she was an honors student…She was tried a year later on a charge of resisting arrest, but the judge declared a mistrial on the first day…Wilfred Milburn was arrested the…day [after the initial incident] for interfering with police and assaulting an officer…

super cop mind probing machineThe systemic racism of the American “justice” system is hardly a secret, and only a fool would pretend that the removal of any one law would do much to stop police abuse of black people; they would simply use another of the many laws available to them under universal criminality.  But just as legislative precedent can be used to build new laws, so can judicial precedent be used to overturn old ones.  The vast majority of the laws used to harass all people, but especially minorities, are those against consensual activities because they allow cops to stop, annoy, question, beat, chain and cage peaceful people who have done nothing to anyone else, based purely on cops’ whims and feelings.  To accuse someone of prostitution, a cop need not even produce drugs to plant upon his victim; all he needs is a prejudice or a wanking fantasy.  And the eradication of any such vile law is a step toward eradicating all of them.

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And they’re like, “Uhhhh. Who gave this to you?”
“The King of Sweden.”
“Why did he give this to you?”
“Because I helped discover the expansion rate of the universe was accelerating.”
 –  Brian Schmidt

Lots of links this week but only one Halloween item so far; I’m hoping to see more this week.  The first video is a German Volkswagen commercial from  Grace (who also provided “home while black”); the second is from Dave Barry (I especially love the way Apostle Emeka is unable to prevent eye-rolling).  Everything above the first video is from Radley Balko, and the links between the videos from Clarissa (“your way”), Angela Keaton (“consequences”), Nick Tolman (“tombstone”), Lenore Skenazy (“precaution”),  Rick Horowitz (“another day” & “seat belt”), Mistress Matisse (“peasants”),  Michael Whiteacre  (“bureaucrats”), Jesse Walker (“distrust” & “combination”),  Jason Kuznicki  (“smartphone”), Cop Block (“vegetable”), and Paul Murray (“hysterically”).

From the Archives

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