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Links #355

Please don’t touch me.  –  John Benji Haygood

Like nearly everything these days, this parody of the “your brain on drugs” video (provided by Lucy Steigerwald) is overdone and unnecessarily verbose.  But it features the same woman who did the original, and that makes it worth a watch.  The links above it are from Radley Balko (“fascism” and “together”), Glenn Kessler (“boxes”), Jesse Walker (“pinball”), Jillian Keenan (“autistic”), and Mistress Matisse (“prohibition”).

From the Archives

How can we dial back the obsession with sex trafficking?  –  Lenore Skenazy

Check Your Premises

Step One: Define people who make choices the law refuses to recognize as “victims”.  Step Two: Define the decisions of 21-year-olds as legally invalid. Step Three:

…researchers have found that roughly one-fifth of all homeless youth in the U.S. are victims of human trafficking, often for purposes of sex…Covenant House funded the report…The youths who spoke with researchers were all 21 and under…

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (#351) 

Has this histrionic now made a rotting moral panic her whole career?

The horror the victims suffer is almost too much to contemplate.  And yet, we can’t combat the abomination that is human trafficking unless we first acknowledge that it exists.  That’s why [has-been] actress and [moral panic profiteer] Mira Sorvino came to Bakersfield…According to Sorvino…the trafficking of human beings claims some 40 million victims and generates obscene annual profits, making it one of the most lucrative criminal enterprises in history.  One young woman Sorvino interviewed estimated she was raped 43,000 times between the ages of 12 and 16…

Nice While It Lasted

Buried in the usual pap about “signs of trafficking” and masturbatory fantasy about passive, doll-like 12-year-olds being “sold for sex” is this horrific proposal:

…Assemblyman Brian Maienschein held a news conference in San Diego…to push his bill, the Commercial Child Rape Prevention Act, which aims to give governments tools they can use to target sex trafficking in civil court…This would mean that district attorneys, attorney generals, some city attorneys and the victims would be able to sue the perpetrators, hitting them where it might hurt the most — their profits…State Sen. Toni Atkins…has two bills pending…one…would allow prosecutors in criminal trials to introduce evidence of past illegal acts…that would typically be excluded at trial…

In civil court, the burden of proof is reversed; this would allow prosecutors, backed by the vast resources of the state, to levy charges that presumed guilt.  I wonder how much longer before presumption of innocence is nothing more than a mere historical relic?

Traffic in Nonsense (#508)

Despite its name, The Libertarian Republic is Republican, not libertarian; that explains why it’s printing pro-surveillance, anti-body autonomy “sex trafficking” propaganda:

Human trafficking has become…the third largest criminally ran [sic] industry in the entire world, generating estimated revenues of $32 billion a year…the average age a person is abducted/coerced into this horrendous trade is 12-14…resilience against law enforcement…trying to shut down this insidious industry…[snitching on sex workers to the pigs] can help combat human trafficking at the source, on the street level…truckers have found themselves leading the charge against this industry…Commonly known as a lot lizard, prostitutes often wait around truck stops to solicit sex to the drivers who are passing through…truckers are exposed to the largest portion of prostitutes…it is vitally important for news outlets to [uncritically parrot police-state propaganda]…

The idea that truck-stop hookers make up the largest fraction of sex workers is probably the stupidest statement in this reeking pile of stupidity.

Checklist (#523)

Arizona wants hospitals to rat sex workers out to the pigs:

A hospital network with several facilities in Arizona said it was taking steps to counter human trafficking.  Dignity Health said it has trained staff at three hospitals…to look for indicators of possible human trafficking and that it has implemented mandatory screening in emergency rooms and obstetrics departments…so-called “red flags” of trafficking include homelessness, discrepancies between reported and apparent ages, lack of identification and a dominating or controlling companion who refuses to leave the patient alone…

Signs 

How many resources will our society waste in trying to stop an omnipresent voluntary activity older than the human species?

…The Palm Beach County Commission…approved additional training for several groups of its employees to spot signs of [“sex trafficking”], which has been described as modern-day slavery.  Employees who are out in field — code enforcement, youth services and parks and recreation workers, for example — will be among those receiving the training…Among other signs, victims of trafficking may exhibit poor health, show signs of physical abuse or restraint, and lack control over personal documents or the ability to speak for themselves…

Rooted in Racism (#605) 

It’s no longer safe for men to travel with their children:

A dad returning from Mexico with his 3-year-old daughter who has lighter skin than his is suspected of sex trafficking her…despite papa having her passport, his passport, AND a notarized letter from the mom saying that she gave them her permission to travel, the authorities felt compelled to act upon a “tip”…that was nothing more than a passenger’s hunch fueled by the hysteria of the moment:  That 3-year-olds are being trafficked right and left in the USA…

Where are the Victims? (#634)

We’re so lucky to have cops qualified to diagnose us as “victims” no matter what we may think:

Seven men and a woman have been arrested as part of a nationwide crackdown on…prostitution.  Dawn raids were carried out out across Lancashire, Gateshead and Evesham in relation to a…[so-called] “Romanian crime group” centred on Blackburn.  [Cops fantasize] the gang netted up to £1.3million…Eight women, aged between 18 and 26, were found inside the suspected brothels and are [pretended] to have been trafficked to the UK from Romania for the purposes of prostitution.  Police [used euphemisms to cloak the fact that the women were being held without charge pending deportation]…

Peeping Toms (#662)

The larger implications of anti-sex toy laws:

An ordinance of the City of Sandy Springs, Georgia, prohibits the sale of sex toys.  Businesses and individuals have challenged this statute as unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause in controlling their consensual, sexual behavior in the privacy of their homes.  The district court and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld the ordinance given the Eleventh Circuit precedent of Williams v. Attorney General (2004), which upheld an Alabama sex-toy-sales ban…Williams…is inconsistent with more recent Supreme Court precedent in United States v. Windsor (2013) and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)…Windsor and Obergefell… raised the protection of rights concerning private sexual intimacy and Obergefell described this right as “fundamental”…Williams also misinterpreted Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which in striking down a ban on homosexual sodomy made clear that it wasn’t merely the right to perform “a particular sexual act” that was in question in these intimacy cases, but the infringement of rights regulating “the most private human conduct, sexual behavior, in the most private of places, the home.”  Lawrence also made clear that state assertion of a “morality” interest isn’t a sufficient justification for limiting the right to adult sexual intimacy…

Eternal Vigilance (#667)

Puritans are still upset about the fact that some women are comfortable paying our rent (and other expenses) with sex:

…despite the fact that [sex for rent] ads have been around for more than a decade and tend to transparently describe the (consensual) relationships they’re after, a gaggle of outraged internet activists are suddenly convinced it’s “abusive” behavior that must be stamped out.  The issue has been getting attention this week because of U.K. columnist Vonny Moyes, who covered it in Scottish newspaper The National…The ads she shared ranged from requests for household labor from a hot girl in exchange for free rent to fetish-related requests…ongoing mistress or “sugar baby” type situations…and people looking for short-term sex-for-housing arrangements…But the Twitter outrage brigade can’t conceive of these varied individual ads as anything but a big patriarchal plot to extort sex from homeless women…

Learning To Relax

For many years, people have been urging me to relax; I always replied that I’d relax when I was dead, or something to that general effect.  But then I came to Seattle, and under the influence of some if the best, most loving women I’ve ever known, and over the past year and a half I’ve slowly, gradually come to accept that relaxation really is OK.  I’ve learned to set aside large blocks of time for just doing things that are fun and help me shed stress, such as getting high, reading for pleasure and my regular Sunday night Doctor Who binge with Lorelei Rivers.  And the practice seems to be therapeutic; though a number of things have gone very, irritatingly wrong in my traveling this week, I’ve simply taken it all in stride rather than having my usual conniption.  Now, I don’t think this is the beginning of some new general imperturbability, but even the occasional episode of calm in the face of chaos would be an improvement over my usual reaction to disruptions in my plans.  So here’s to relaxation; may Aphrodite grant I learn to do it myself as well as I promote it in others.

Did you miss your chance to get one of these awesome parody campaign shirts, to support SWOP Behind Bars?  Are you kicking yourself now that you’re seeing how good they look?  Well, I have great news for you; they’re still available!  If you go to the website on which the shirts are sold and enter your email address, they’ll email you when enough people have expressed interest to justify another run (we think it’s about 30 orders).  So please, please go there and sign up right away!  Not only will you help support activists doing very important work for incarcerated sex workers, you’ll also get one of these snazzy (and extremely comfortable) tees!  The women’s sizes run very small; this is a large, and as you can see it’s pretty tight across my ample bosom (I’m a 34DDD).  So order accordingly!  The men’s sizes are, as far as I’ve heard from guys who got them, pretty standard.  But anyway, don’t delay!  Sign up for yours today, and please Tweet, Facebook & otherwise advertise this campaign far and wide!

If living my life on my own terms is being a feminist…then I am a feminist.  –  Vidya Balan

Bad Girls 

Men: pay your whores!  Ladies: get the money up front!

…a 64-year-old man surnamed Lau hired a prostitute surnamed Kong in [Hong Kong]…after having sex…Lau…refused to settle up and, upon hearing Kong threaten to call the police, took her phone and ran out of the room.  Kong chased him, yelling for help along the way, and eventually caught the [rapist]…with the help of passersby…Kong reportedly took off one of her high-heeled shoes and hit the man with it until pulled off him by witnesses.  [Cops] arrived…to arrest the pair for fighting in a public place…

License to Rape 

“Authorities” now claim the right to rape toddlers if shamans declare their parents ritually unclean:

Imagine the Department of Social Services threatens to [abduct] your child from your custody unless you agree to have his urine collected.  Under duress, you consent— only to watch hospital staff pin your three-year-old down and forcibly catheterize him as he screams in pain.  Two days later, he is still in pain.  You take him back to the hospital, where he is diagnosed with a staph infection in his penis…police in Pierre, South Dakota, [raided] a home to arrest a man…because he tested positive for drugs…his girlfriend was told her children would be [abducted by the state] if she did not consent to having their urine tested.  Because of that threat, she agreed to the test, but since her youngest child is not toilet-trained, they forced him to undergo the catheterization…

See No Evil

Once again, a person whose computer contained taboo pictures is condemned to a far worse sentence than if he had actually raped a child:

A 36-year-old [Florida] man…[was sentenced by] Judge Howard Maltz…to 100 years in prison…after a jury found Jesse Graham Berben guilty on 20 counts of possession of child pornography…Berben…denied knowing anything about the files…While he admitted to having a peer-to-peer file-sharing program that he used to download music, he denied using his computer to keep or download child porn…Berben had been offered a plea agreement…that would have netted him a prison sentence of about 5 years, “but he refused…because he said…he wasn’t going to plead guilty to something he didn’t do and become a registered sex offender”…The sentence…was more than four times the “lowest permissible” sentence Maltz could have handed down…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

“Rescuers” swoop in to “regulate” women’s jobs out of existence:

Minneapolis [politicians] are taking steps to crack down on downtown strip clubs after two recent [fishing expeditions manufactured] health and safety risks at…11 venues.  Shortly afterward, a report from the University of Minnesota’s Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), commissioned and co-funded by the health department, showed that strip club employees face on-the-job health and safety hazards but have few protections.  Both investigations zeroed in on VIP rooms…the venues where bodily fluids were identified were declared a public health nuisance under state law…

Train Wreck

It looks like articles about sex workers in Ghana can be just as weirdly stupid as Nigerian ones:

Commercial Sex workers at the Uhuru Electoral Area have added robbery to their trade, Ebenezer Cudjoe, [a prohibitionist politician, claimed]…The sex workers, commonly called “Ashawo”…suggest a pub…”While she leads her clients to the suggested pub, the ashawo alerts her male guards, who, then, pounce on the male sex client and rob him of any valuables,” Ebenezer Cudjoe [fantasized]…that a lot of residents feared coming out of their homes in the night.  “A few years ago, I personally reported these ungodly activities of the commercial sex workers to the police, however, the police told me that they could not effect any arrest, unless they caught the ladies in the act,” he said…about three years ago, he tried to woo some of the sex workers to start some vocational training to [do menial jobs at which they couldn’t possibly] earn a decent living [but unsurprisingly, they refused and now he’s making up stories to make life difficult for them]…

Capricious Lusts (#52)

While Hollywood figures are lining up to climb on the “sex trafficking” bandwagon, Bollywood figures support sex worker rights:

…there have been some realistic representations of bar dancers and courtesans, prostitutes…Women are a marginalised section of society even though we are 50% of the society.  Within that, prostitutes are what, a trickle?  But, they are the ones who are standing up on their feet, putting up a fight and saying this is not acceptable to us.  They are staking their claims to their share of the sky, which is incredible.  That’s what I found most powerful, because you don’t expect the so-called weaker sections of society to stand up…

Micromanagement

I’d really like to be wrong once in a while:

A State panel of scientists is considering a controversial DNA testing policy that would allow police to [harass] the relatives of New Yorkers whose DNA closely matches DNA recovered from a crime scene…police would be able to pull close DNA matches in certain criminal investigations, generating a list of people with prior convictions, including low-level broken windows convictions like [turnstile jumping or loitering]…police would then have leeway to [harass] close relatives of those near matches (son, father, etc.), in hopes of turning up the exact match…In other words, the New York Civil Liberties Union has testified, “criminal suspicion will attach to innocent persons merely because of their biological relation to a person whose DNA is in the state’s databank”…

To Molest and Rape 

Reporters, please stop perpetuating cops’ dehumanizing habit of referring to women as “females”:

…Kenneth Bolton Jr. sexually assaulted two females with a sex toy during an illegal traffic stop in February.  The East Cleveland [cop] was fired by the department last month after he…pulled over the two women, both in their early 20s, about 30 minutes after he heard that they’d been pulled over and cited by another officer.  During the illegal stop, Bolton allegedly found a sex toy in the car and used it to sexually assault both women.  A Cuyahoga County grand jury brought charges of gross sexual imposition, abduction, and civil rights charges…

“He heard they’d been pulled over and cited” means the first pig called him and described their looks to him. “Found a sex toy” means he rooted through other people’s private possessions like the filthy swine he is.

Imaginary Evils (#699)

The UK Home Office is really dedicated to competing with the US in using “sex trafficking” as an excuse to destroy civil liberties:

The Home Secretary has announced…a multi-agency team of analytical experts who will be embedded in the National Crime Agency to help tackle cross-border and domestic slavery…The Home Secretary said “It is exactly this kind of co-operation between the police, Border Force, the National Crime Agency and others that will be our way of getting at the people traffickers.  The Centre will enable us to have a co-ordinated push against the organised crime groups that are at the heart of the trade in human beings and human misery.  Our message to the perpetrators is clear; we are coming after you, and there is nowhere to hide”…

The War Goes On (#711) 

Notice how the narrative is changing; prohibitionists now claim Backpage was “barred” from publishing sex work ads, when in fact it chose to do so to end its persecution by “authorities”:

A…prostitution sting in Delaware County resulted in the arrests of five women in one night.  Deputies found them on a website that’s supposed to be barred from posting sex ads…prostitutes and pimps are finding ways around the rules and posting ads on other parts of the site, through tabs like…”women seeking men”…[pigs oinked that] prostitutes…will travel from anywhere in central Indiana to Muncie to make some money and often times, buy drugs.  “You don’t just get the prostitutes that show up.  You might get pimps.  There might be robberies…” the [pig drooled while masturbating]…

Diary #355

Today I’m flying off to Oklahoma, doped up enough to make it through without trouble (I hope).  We’re down to the last bit of my super secret project, so I hope to be able to announce that in the next few weeks.  But I’ll be back for the weekend and a few day after, then next week it’s off to San Francisco to speak at the Libertarian party convention there on April 29th.  What that means for you, gentlemen, is that if you’re in Tulsa or Oklahoma City and want to book me for a least two hours, or if you’re in the Bay Area and want to book me for an appointment of any length, do let me know soon so we can get that set up.  I’ve got the proof of The Forms of Things Unknown, so if I can get it all checked out we’ll be aiming for an April 26th book launch…and that means you’ll be able to sneakily get me to visit your city by the simple expedient of setting up a book event for me!  I’ll have details in the official launch column, but do keep that in mind, and if you have bookstore connections you may want to start planning.  One more thing: someone sent me a lovely brown sweater dress, but the package contained no info about who sent it.  So if that was you, please let me know so I can thank you!

Links #354

He had had prior run-ins with local authorities.  –  Alexandra Petri

Guitarist J Geils, who founded the band that bore his name, died this week; a lot of sex workers dislike the band’s most famous song, “Centerfold”, for what seems to be acceptance of the Madonna/whore dichotomy.  But the narrative persona in a song does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the songwriter (were the Rolling Stones advocating for war & genocide in “Sympathy for the Devil”?) and in this case, I’ve always felt the last line of the song indicates the writer’s real feelings about people who express the dichotomy.  The links above the video were provided by Rick HorowitzJesse Walker (x2), PopehatMike SiegelRadley Balko, and Mike Chase (in that order).

From the Archives