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Archive for February, 2016

It’s important that we look at data and try to shed our assumptions about what we expect and actually pay attention to what the data is actually telling us.  –  Emily Kennedy

It’s been a while since I demolished a bogus anti-whore study, and one of these days I may get around to doing it again.  But today I’m going to do the next best thing, which is to demolish a mainstream article about an anti-whore study and mock its utterly ridiculous assumptions…of which it has many, despite today’s epigram being pulled from the very end of the article.  But writer Emmanuelle Saliba isn’t shy; she starts with the stupid from the very first line:

It’s long been debated whether the Super Bowl is the biggest single driver of sex trafficking in the U.S…

My Little PonyNo, actually it hasn’t; a conflict between actual facts and a myth which flies in the face of such facts, including data collected by the believers themselves, cannot be dignified by the word “debate”.  One might as well speak of a “debate” between those who say My Little Pony is a kid’s show and toy franchise, and those who claim it’s a depiction of real beings and events.

…the focus on football’s marquee event may be disguising the extent to which other major public gatherings and events contribute to the problem, according to a first-of-its-kind study…which…examined patterns in more than 32 million online personals ads published around the time of 33 major public events in the U.S. and Canada since October 2011.  By identifying “new-to-town” or “first-appearance” ads for female escorts and related services, the researchers sought to determine what percentage of the ads appeared to be linked to sex trafficking…

This not only isn’t “first-of-its-kind”, it’s been done to death.  Every clueless economist and opportunistic “sex trafficking” academic in the country imagines they can cull mystical information from escort ads like a gypsy reading tea leaves, and the magical algorithms are all based on the half-witted assumptions that A) the claims made in escort ads are truthful; B) that every escort has only one ad; and C) that “pimps” write and place the ads because whores are much too stupid to advertise or plan tours for ourselves.  Since none of those is true except in a minority of cases, any methodology based on them is approximately as valuable as the paper hanging from a roll next to your toilet.  And any “study” based on that methodology is approximately as valuable as the matter that paper is intended to remove.

The results found that while there was a considerable increase in the number of such ads surrounding the Super Bowl, other events like a Memorial Day motorcycle rally…and various industry conferences had a bigger impact than expected, suggesting that resources devoted to combating the problem of forced prostitution have been misdirected…

We’ve been telling these idiots that their efforts are misdirected for over a decade now, but never mind that.

“It is possible that lawmakers, researchers, law enforcement and first responders who overcommit to Super Bowl are missing other events or occurrences of large-scale activity related to sex trafficking,” said Emily Kennedy, one of the report’s researchers…Previous research has shown that traffickers and pimps use online classified services like Backpage.com to advertise their victim’s sexual services…

No, “research” has shown no such thing; prohibitionist propaganda has repeatedly claimed it, but the actual evidence is that coerced prostitution is a phenomenon representing a single-digit percentage of sex workers.  Of course, cops and other profiteers won’t accept that because it’s much more lucrative to pretend otherwise:

To the untrained eye these ads are nothing more than escorts looking to offer services.  But to law enforcement agents, keywords like “young” and “no pimps” can be indicators that the person in the photo is a trafficking victim rather that someone who knowingly entered the illicit trade.

OthelloRead that again, slowly.  Once a cop is “trained” (i.e. indoctrinated), any word in any ad can be an “indicator”.  When the only tool you have is a hammer, every pic in a hooker ad is really the person who placed the ad, and “no pimp” means “pimp”.  I’m also reliably informed by “sex trafficking experts” that “mature” means “underage”, “downtown” means “suburbs” and “no drama” means the escort and her “pimp” will entertain you with a performance of the climactic scene of Othello.

One previous study surrounding the 2014 Super Bowl in New Jersey concluded that more than 83.7 percent of the ads screened likely involved sex trafficking victims, including 5 percent who were minors…

That would be this ridiculous farce by Dominique “Body Fluids” Sepowitz, which Saliba claimed didn’t exist back in the first sentence of this fiasco.  Sepowitz, like Kennedy, found exactly what she was paid to find:  lots and lots of “trafficked sex slaves”, despite the dearth of such creatures in the real world.  The way they do it is simple: design a “study” to find whatever it is they want to find, and then ignore all data that tends to disprove the hypothesis:

…one finding from the study was especially puzzling.  Data showed that the biggest unexpected increase in ad activity during the study period occurred on May 23, 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia, when the incidence of “new-to-town” sex ads skyrocketed even though there was no major event occurring in the city.  Kennedy said researchers had no explanation for the spike, but “hope to tease out some of these things” in a future study.  In the meantime, Kennedy said she hopes the study will open eyes about the extent of sex trafficking in the U.S…

Sure, honey, and I hope the fact that you just blew off a finding that invalidated your methodological assumptions will “open eyes” about the junk science used to invent big, scary numbers about the “extent of sex trafficking in the U.S.”  But I’m not holding my breath.

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Lopsided Deal

What if a woman was offered a lucrative, plum position in a particular field – let’s say engineering – for which she was required and expected to perform said tasks and critiqued accordingly.  To finalize the mix, her supervisor expected an ongoing sexual relationship.  But the woman employee would be expected to perform the job requirement tasks and subjected to the same performance reviews as any other employee.  So, is this prostitution or is its removal from the direct exchange of sex for money take it out of that category?  The situation has a very murky feel to it IMO.

Yeah, it’s murky all right.  If the employee initiated the deal, it would certainly be a form of prostitution (though kind of a dumb one for reasons we’ll go over in a minute).  But if the employer initiated it – which is what I assume you’re proposing due to the phrase “expected an ongoing sexual relationship” – it would be sexual harassment in the purest form.  Such arrangements were at one time not at all uncommon; I’m sure you’ve heard of the Hollywood “casting couch”.  In the days when men pretty much ran everything and women were hard-pressed to break into decent jobs, many women felt as though they had little choice but to accept such lopsided deals when they were offered; it wasn’t until women as a group had gained enough clout in the marketplace that individual women felt secure enough to call attention to this kind of extortion when it happened.  But since the language you use seems to indicate that you don’t see the fundamentally coercive nature of these work conditions, let me spell it out for you:  the employee would be expected to perform two jobs for one paycheck, and as you describe it she wouldn’t be getting any kind of slack in the “official” job.  So not only would she have to put out for her sleazy boss without any guarantee of job security, she’d also have to labor under the Damoclean sword of the Coolidge Effect.  Sooner or later he’d get tired of her, and then what?  Would he let her keep the job and stop pestering her for sex, or (as seems much more likely) would he begin to find fault with her, sabotage her efforts so she gets bad performance reviews, write her up for bullshit infractions, and the like so he could fire her and bring in a new honey in her place?  Only a desperate woman would accept such a crappy arrangement, and because Western society now recognizes just how exploitative sex-for-job deals are, any man who would still propose one would have to be a total fool who deserved everything he got.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s actually human trafficking these days.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Halfway Whores

A profession as old as human civilization, but it’s somehow always “growing”:

…a growing army of men…hire beautiful young women to accompany them on dates and public appearances.  Sometimes they are businessmen, both foreign and [from Thailand], who require a pretty woman to be on hand when a contract is signed.  On other occasions they are hired to fill in as girlfriends at family functions and have even been employed by psychologists to go on dates to build a person’s self esteem.  There are thousands of young women taking advantage of the new trend, supplementing their daytime incomes and paying off student debt with part-time work as non-sexual escorts.  Some of these women come from successful families and act as contact points to get their dates introductions to the right business people…

Saving Them From Themselves

This is kind of like “legalizing” prostitution; as long as a consensual act is criminalized to any degree, the cops have power to annoy, harass, brutalize and otherwise harm that person via arrest, publishing mug shots, stealing property or even murdering him for “resisting arrest”:

A bill making its way through the Kansas legislature would change most sexting offenses involving teenagers from felonies to misdemeanors…Any defendant obviously would prefer the lighter penalties, but their availability might make prosecution more likely.  Forced to choose between felony charges and no charges at all in a case involving teenagers sharing pictures of themselves…any decent prosecutor would pick the latter option, as prosecutors in Colorado and Michigan recently did.  But when a misdemeanor option is available, it may be tempting for prosecutors intent on teaching kids a lesson.  The Topeka Capital-Journal paraphrases an author of the Kansas bill as saying “the moderated sanctions would permit prosecutors to intervene with young people who commit these acts”…

Surplus Women missing Anchorage sex workers

The idea that an unknown serial killer might be terrorizing the women of Anchorage [Alaska] was raised in a 2009 story by Andrew Holland of America’s Most Wanted, who wrote of the horrific murder and dismemberment of [sex workers] Desiree Lekanoff and Michelle Rothe…Robin Vansickel, Jeri BrommelsSamantha Kent, Tracie Vicent and Kelly Sue Dunn–are [other missing sex workers]…each of these unsolved cases [may be] unrelated, but the possibility that these women have disappeared at the hands of…someone who sees sex workers as easy targets…must not be discounted…Robert Hansen and Robert Pickton…flew under the radar as they killed scores of women…[because] they were held up as…above reproach, while the women they murdered were…denigrated, devalued and dismissed…the monsters were believed and excused because society considered them upstanding businessmen, whereas sex workers they hunted and preyed upon were dehumanized…

Above the Law 

Cops sexually assault domestic violence victims almost as often as they do whores:

Portland [cop] Jeromie Palaoro has resigned from the force and pleaded guilty to official misconduct, eight months after a woman visiting from Las Vegas said he arrived at her…hotel room to follow up on her domestic assault complaint, stripped naked and ordered her to give him a massage…He will receive 18 months of probation…Roni Reid-James…[said] Palaoro [threatened her with] his [gun] before taking off his clothes…[he] groped her and [demanded] sexual favors, then warned her not to tell anyone because he was writing the report on her assault complaint…

First They Came for the Hookers…

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?

Ted Cruz’s…campaign…pulled a commercial…because one of the actresses had previously appeared in pornographic films…Amy Lindsay…described herself as a Christian conservative and a Republican…[and] tweeted her displeasure that the video was pulled from the airwaves…campaign spokesman Rick Tyler said Lindsay had responded to an open casting call for the ad…”Had the campaign known of her full filmography, we obviously would not have let her appear in the ad”…

A Whore in Church (#134) 

Another sex worker who subverts hijab:

Nadia Ali, a 24-year-old porn star and first-generation American from Pakistan…doesn’t mind pushing religious boundaries in the name of XXX entertainment.  Oh, and she’s also a practicing Muslim.  Ali is often filmed wearing her hijab—and little else—while engaged in various hardcore sexual activities…And since homosexuality is technically illegal in Pakistan, which is trying its damnedest to ban online porn altogether, she intends to film plenty of girl-on-girl action this year, too…

Under Every Bed

Population 467,026.

Child sex trafficking is a growing problem in Onondaga County [New York.  Prohibitionist]…Erin Yeager…says it’s crucial to break the stereotype of what we think human sex trafficking is.  The basic definition is exchanging sex for something with value; that could be anything from clothing to a place to stay…

Actually, that’s a basic definition of prostitution, demonstrating how utterly devoid of meaning the term “sex trafficking” has become.

The Missing Word

The magic word appears herein only in a description of a phone number:

For two years, a 38-year-old nanny wasn’t allowed to wash her hair, take hot baths, or eat anything but leftover scraps…If her bosses didn’t like how she dressed their children, she was slapped and dragged by the hair.  Now a Texas couple is facing prison time for allegedly holding their Nigerian nursemaid hostage, forcing her to work 20 hours a day and tormenting her in…suburban Houston…Chudy [and Sandra] Nsobundu…[face] charges of forced labor, visa fraud, withholding documents, and conspiracy to harbor an alien.  If convicted, they face up to 60 years in prison…the Nigerian-born husband and wife—both naturalized U.S citizens—allegedly lured their nanny into household slavery and physically and verbally abused her before she escaped by calling a human-trafficking hotline…

Cooties

It’s always “gangs”.  Because you know women are too stupid to use AirBnB for ourselves:

…Human traffickers are using hotels and guest houses across the Lake District as “pop-up brothels”…Crime gangs have trafficked refugees to use as illegal sex workers…and…exploiting “human misery for financial gain”…[pig mouthpiece] Nick Coughlan…[fantasized that] most of the women involved are victims of human trafficking who have been forced into prostitution…Hoteliers, apartment owners and cleaners were being asked to [spy on renters] and [snitch] to the police…

Vendetta (#512)

Liz Brown tries to assess the toll in human lives from Swanee Hunt’s latest pogrom:

…FBI and vice cops nationwide conducted a coordinated series of prostitution stings in conjunction with the latest Super Bowl, yielding hundreds of arrests for “would-be sex buyers.”  Known as the National John Suppression Initiative, the stings—which took place in 14 states and involved 23 different law-enforcement units this year—start with police decoys offering commercial sex…At the end of the January 17 through February 7 operation, 552 people were arrested for trying to purchase sex, and officials expect to collect a minimum of $187,000 in fines from them…Across all operations, 10 teens were discovered…Though almost exclusively referred to as “children” by police and press, one recovered juvenile was 14 years old and the other nine ranged from ages 15 to 17…the Contra Costa Timesreports that “sex workers who were arrested were offered a wide array of services, such as food, clothing and shelter”…

But of course they were: food and shelter in a jail, and a lovely new orange jumpsuit.

Sex Rays (#560)

Swanee’s brother.  Need I say more?

Billionaire oilman Ray Hunt, one of [Dallas’] highest-profile property owners, emailed the…City Council…asking them to vote…against allowing a porn convention to open shop at the city-owned convention center…Hunt, who owns more than 30 acres downtown…says he believes Exxxotica “constitutes an activity that runs totally counter to the values, mores and beliefs of the vast majority of the citizens of the City of Dallas.”  And, he [pretends]…allowing porn stars to peddle their wares on city property is a violation of the section of the Dallas City Code that licenses sexually oriented businesses [even though city attorneys have told the council that law does not apply to conventions]…Exxotica came to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center last August over the objections of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and several women’s advocacy groups, chief among them the Dallas Women’s Foundation…Rawlings said at the time he was “particularly worried about the message that our playing host to this convention might send regarding our city’s position on the sexual exploitation of women”…

The Mote and the Beam (#591) 

You’d think people would remember the targets of previous Senate censorship “hearings” of this sort:  comic books, “dirty” song lyrics, communists

The United States Senate and the online advertising site Backpage.com are headed for a legal showdown, after a Senate committee voted unanimously…to hold the site in civil contempt for not cooperating with a probe into how it screens sex ads for illegal trafficking of minors*…it would be the first civil contempt declaration by the Senate in more than 20 years, according to its sponsors, Sens. Claire McCaskill…and Rob Portman…A lawyer for Backpage said the company welcomes the contempt citation, and that the company has been for months calling on McCaskill and Portman for a legal test of Congress’s authority to probe the actions of a company that…has First Amendment protections…another lawyer for Backpage – Liz McDougall – last year accused McCaskill and Portman of engaging in the same tactics of the Cold War era Sen. Joe McCarthy…

*As opposed to what, legal trafficking of minors?

Blunt Instrument (#596)

Due to their visibility, massage parlors are taking the brunt of the “sex trafficking” hysteria in smaller cities:

The owner of a [Wichita, Kansas] massage parlor…is facing federal sex trafficking charges…60-year-old Samir F. Elias employed and provided housing for a Chinese woman working as a prostitute…the woman…worked daily with no formal massage training and has been convicted of selling sex…She paid Elias a portion of the fees collected for giving massages to patrons — $10 or $20, depending on the length of the appointments…Elias is charged with transporting and harboring an unlawful alien, harboring an alien for prostitution, and two counts of money laundering…

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Two weeks ago, I wrote “my friends [and I]…are being quoted in the mainstream media so often now, the week doesn’t pass that one can’t see one or the other of us (and often more than one) in a news article.  Our clout has increased so dramatically that at least one news outlet will interview sex workers for any given story involving sex work…”  Well, just in case you thought I was exaggerating, here are links to three articles published since that diary entry appeared, and only the first one is for a current event story (debunking Super Bowl “gypsy whores” nonsense, in case you couldn’t guess).  It’s in the form of a round table with Violet McLeanTara Burns, Blanche Almendras, Margaret Corvid and me, and shorter statements from ESPLERP and Kate D’Adamo.  The second one was a general article on the Law Street site which not only quoted me, but embedded my Reason video and linked both this blog and my Cato Unbound series. But in a way I liked the third one best, because it wasn’t a debunking or a legal analysis, but just a straightforward piece about one of the mundane aspects of sex work, namely how do we deal with taxes, retirement and other personal finance stuff?  Tracy Clark-Flory wrote that one, consulting my pals Mistress Matisse and Savannah Sly besides me (plus Kate D’Adamo and the Tax Domme).  In the long run, I think it’s that kind of article – the sort which demonstrates that we’re just people and our work is just work – which is going to do the most for sex worker rights.  Debunking can win over well-meaning but ignorant folks who are misled by prohibitionist lies, and legal arguments may sway well-meaning but ignorant lawyers (about which the less said, the better).  But articles which normalize us and demystify our trade in the public mind will help to break down the us vs them wall in the public mind which politicians and cops use to justify treating us like criminals and/or imbeciles, and once that happens laws against sex work, like laws against queer sex before them, will be recognized by the majority of the population as the moral abominations they are.

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It’s not clear why WhatsApp settled on such an oddly specific number.  –  Doug Boulton

This week’s seasonal video was contributed by my friend Frank, who has a knack for finding such things but won’t get on Twitter.  The links above it were provided by Nun YaTim CushingMistress MatisseRadley BalkoEmma Evans, and  Clarissa, in that order.

From the Archives

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Valentine’s Day 2016


Most Valentine’s Day pinups aren’t much better than most valentine cards, but this Gil Elvgren piece from 50 years ago is a notable exception.  The only other thing I’d like to say, I already said last year: “I don’t care much for Valentine’s Day…I like the classical Roman Lupercalia much better; dudes running around naked and hitting women with whips seems to me a much more exciting way to celebrate than being given a box of chocolates I can’t eat without worrying about my waistline.

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This is like consulting the school bully on how to make the schoolyard safer.  –  anonymous Toronto resident, on consulting cops about harm reduction

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

If you’re raped by a cop, accuse him of offering to pay you for sex instead; that, they’ll fire him for:

…Fairview [Tennessee] Police Chief Terry Harris and assistant chief Mark Sutton have both been suspended…after one of their officers, Ronnie Williams, was arrested by…Nashville police in a prostitution sting…Williams was allowed to resign rather than be fired, which would be notated on his post certification possibly preventing him from going to another department…

Harm Magnification

Naturally, because it’s cops’ job to cause harm, not reduce it:

When word got out in mid-December that undercover [cops] had arrested two men accessing Toronto Public Health’s (TPH) needle exchange program…TPH’s own harm reduction workers scrambled to warn the drug user community…harm reduction workers [wondered]…Were plainclothes police riding in…mobile outreach vans?  Were they present during the highly sensitive and confidential process of rapid HIV/AIDS testing?…The Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance says police participation in the program has fractured the trust the harm reduction community has cultivated over decades with street-involved people…Zoe Dodd, a long-time harm reduction worker and community activist [said] “I don’t recall drug users ever saying they wanted -police to be involved.  This really just shows me that these agencies are more committed to their relationship with police than they are to their relationship with drug users”…

Saving Them From Themselves

Apparently, this stupid pig doesn’t think a lifetime on the “sex offender” registry is a “real severe thing”:

A Three Rivers, Michigan, teenager is both the victim and perpetrator of a sex crime.  He might land on the sex offender registry, and face criminal charges, all because he took…a nude photo of himself on a girl’s cell phone.  That girl sent the picture to another girl, who sent it to another.  Preliminary charges are pending for all three—the boy was charged with manufacturing child porn, and the girls with distributing it.  A prosecutor is still weighing whether to pursue the charges.  Police Detective Mike Mohney…[bloviated] that sexting is a serious crime because it leads to “bullying,” and “real severe things like people committing suicide or violent crimes against others because they’re so embarrassed about it”…

Scapegoats

Actually, the truth is worse.  The bill doesn’t add a new sodomy law, because Michigan never repealed its old one.  Politicians are just too spineless to repeal a blatantly-unconstitutional (an therefore unenforceable) law:

The Michigan Senate just passed a bill that makes sodomy a felony, despite the U.S. Supreme Court declaring such a law unconstitutional.  The…law…makes anal sex punishable by up to 15 years in prison…[and] is directly linked to a law against bestiality…saying…it is a felony for anyone to commit “the abominable and detestable crime against nature with mankind or with any animal”…Senator Rick Jones says [changing the wording] could put the entire bill, created to protect animals, in jeopardy.  “The minute I cross that line and I start talking about the other stuff, I won’t even get another hearing.  It’ll be done…Nobody wants to touch it.  I would rather not even bring up the topic, because I know what would happen.  You’d get…a big fight that’s not needed because it’s unconstitutional.”  Jones believes that the sodomy ban can only be repealed if a bill is created to strike all unconstitutional laws from the state’s books, but he is not willing to do it at the expense of his dog bill…

Above the Law 

US cops don’t have a monopoly on raping whores:  “David Gibson…is on trial [in] Liverpool…after [raping]…a…sex worker [under threat of arrest]“…And this other arsehole was a serial offender:

A [rapist cop] has pleaded guilty to voyeurism after secretly filming himself [raping] prostitutes – but he was cleared of stalking them.  Irshad Kamal, 47, made dozens of films between 2010 and 2012 without informing the women involved.  His video library was discovered [after he attacked a sex worker]…by tearing her clothes off and grabbing her by the throat…Kamal was arrested when she posted his details on “Ugly Mugs” – a sex industry site for dangerous punters…

Naturally, neither was charged with rape.

First They Came for the Hookers…

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?

When Cheryl’s manager discovered…[she] used to work in the sex trade…he joked that a name plate on her desk read “pubic relations.”  Kayla…was in a new job too when she says a [cop] informed a colleague she had formerly been a “prostitute and a junkie.”  She lost the job and saw no option but returning to the sex industry.  Both women encountered the degrading treatment when they attempted to leave sex work for new occupations, an obstacle that a recently published study calls the “whore stigma”…The women, whose names were changed in the study to protect their identities, reported  challenges from name calling to violence, identifying the stigma they faced as the most challenging barrier to leaving the sex trade…

Checklist

Is there any profession that the fetishists don’t think requires “signs of trafficking” training?

Cosmetologists all over Ohio have begun training to spot signs of human trafficking in their clients.  The new educational push was a requirement passed by the State Cosmetology Board for licensing…Director Christopher Logsdon said when Ohio’s more than 108,000 cosmetologists are trained; they will collectively touch tens-of-thousands of lives.  “Trafficking is a reality in Ohio and Ohio agencies are engaged to train as many as possible on identifying the signs of human trafficking,” Logsdon said. “We hope and pray that one day this Human tragedy will no longer plague our state and the nation”…

Birth of a Movement (#312)

It only starts with us:

Racial profiling, arbitrary house arrests, detentions, and deportation threats—they’re all too common in France these days as part of the “state of emergency” declared to fight terrorists.  But they’ve been familiar to France’s sex workers for quite a while, which is why they have joined those fighting to try to stop an extension of what some people have called the French “Patriot Act,” only worse…Authorities may search homes and place suspects under house arrest without a judicial warrant…and the government can set curfews and forbid large demonstrations…Morgane Merteuil…joined [a protest vs the “emergency” powers] on behalf of STRASS, France’s only sex-worker-led labor union…”The state of emergency doesn’t really change things for sex workers,” [said] Merteuil…”But it’s an extension of police practices that are already in effect for certain segments of the population, including sex workers”…

Available Weapon nuisance abatement map

Weapons forged for use against whores will work on anyone:

…The nuisance abatement law was created in the 1970’s to combat the sex industry in Times Square.  Since then, its use has been vastly expanded, commonly targeting apartments and mom-and-pop bodegas even as the city’s crime rate has reached historic lows.  The NYPD files upward of 1,000 such cases a year, nearly half of them against residences…The process has remarkably few protections for people facing the loss of their homes.  Three-quarters of the cases begin with secret court orders that lock residents out until the case is resolved.  The police need a judge’s signoff, but residents aren’t notified and thus have no chance to tell their side of the story until they’ve already been locked out for days.  And because these are civil actions, residents also have no right to an attorney…residents can be permanently barred from their homes without being convicted or even charged with a crime…

Cooties

Swedes just can’t admit that whores can do things for ourselves:

Police in Stockholm say the rise of Airbnb…has resulted in pimps booking apartments by using fake profiles…growing numbers of prostitutes [use] sublet apartments to charge for sexual services…prostitutes are active at around 200 addresses on a typical day in the city, with hotels no longer their accommodation of choice…pimps [create] fake profiles of respectable couples…

Dirty Laundry (#452)

Apparently, there’s at least one decent judge in Ireland:

A judge has rejected a State application to confiscate the “hard earned” income of two prostitutes which was stolen and later recovered.  Judge Patrick McCartan…praised the courage of the two women in attempting to stop…Mantas Grazevicius…until gardaí arrived…prosecuting counsel Tony McGillicuddy BL [had tried to steal] the € 2,675…for…the state as the proceeds of prostitution…

Fallen Idol

only three months have passed since the horrifying allegations and James Deen appears to have been welcomed back with open arms…Deen walked the red carpets of the XBIZ and AVN Awards, smiling and posing as if it were business as usual…Though Deen received a whopping 33 XBIZ nominations between him and his company, the popular porn star left without a single award.  AVN was a different story.  There, at the “Oscars of Porn,” Deen was awarded two statues as part of ensembles…While prominent companies Evil Angel and Kink were applauded for cutting ties with Deen in the wake of the sexual assault allegations, the scenes he has done for them will continue to be available for purchase…As his work continues to sell, companies will be inclined to hire him.  This is the nature of the business (and reliable male performers are hard to come by)…There is a clear divide within the industry among those who believe the allegations and those who do not, but few on either side…are willing to comment publicly, since he still carries considerable weight within porn…

The Course of a Disease (#606) 

It’s always so great to see academics stand up for us in print:

…MP Fiona Bruce published an article…urging the home affairs select committee…to criminalise the purchase of sex.  Her core argument…[is] fundamentally flawed.  The laws she so vociferously calls for are likely to have disastrous consequences for the safety of sex workers…Fueled by dogmatic radical feminists and ideologues from the religious-right, anti-prostitution sentiment transcends traditional party politics…Bruce’s piece offers an oversimplified and paternalistic argument in favour of the Swedish model.  She argues that prostitution – the sale of sex between two consenting adults – represents “sexual exploitation”.  In so doing, she dismisses a wealth of evidence that many women choose to sell sex and enjoy their sex working.  It is not uncommon for advocates of the Swedish model to argue that sex workers who claim to sell sex of their own volition suffer from “false consciousness” – they hold a distorted image of their own social situation.  They are victims without knowing it…

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There are no good numbers on where the problem exists in the first place.  –  Emily Deruy

Cyrano going to the MoonThe most fascinating and infuriating thing about belief is its ability to sustain itself by feeding on nothing other than pure faith.  No matter how little evidence there is for the existence of the cherished notion; no matter how egregiously it violates all the laws of nature, human behavior and math; no matter how ludicrous the very premise is; and no matter how many of its supporting tenets are debunked, the belief just keeps on going, held aloft by nothing other than the feelings it engenders in its adherents.  The “sex trafficking” cult is certainly no exception; its adherents gather together on lawns and highway ramps, engage in their sacred rituals like getting dressed and making paper airplanes, and mumble their profession of faith over and over again.  Cult leaders invent new nonsense “statistics” all the time, but the rank and file just content themselves with reciting the old ones like Ave Marias on a rosary and making obeisance to their sacred 13 totem.  The fact that the cops and “rescue” groups they revere can’t produce even a minuscule fraction of the millions of “victims” who crowd their lurid myths merely strengthens their faith; like Biblical literalists searching for the remains of Noah’s Ark they continue their quixotic crusades to find victims and “pimps”, and they’re never daunted by the fact that the few who turn up aren’t actually very much like the characters in their scriptures.

As I’ve reported over the past few years, the number of public figures who recognize “sex trafficking” as the moral panic it is has been slowly growing over the past couple of years, and responsible journalists like the Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler now routinely debunk the “trafficking” cult’s dogma.  But apparently, Emily Deruy of The Atlantic is not among their number; she just keeps on believing like it’s 2012 and the hysteria is still at its apex, Saint Somaly Mam has not been dethroned, the gypsy whores myth is still unquestioned and “victims” are still being claimed to have dozens or scores of clients a day.  And all this despite the fact that a simple Google search (or a search of The Atlantic’s own archives) would’ve revealed the truth about these fairy tales in mere minutes; here, Emily, let me show you an example, featuring one myth you prominently featured.  The best part?  She quotes it right below mentioning the arch-prohibitionist Polaris Project, who themselves deny the myth on their own website.  Other than that embarrassing oversight, the rest of the article is a pretty typical example of parrot-the-cops, cut-and-paste stenographic journalism of the sort one might find in any local advertising rag, albeit without the sentence fragments and idiosyncratic punctuation; the fact that it’s in a major magazine just underscores how much of a cancer this hysteria has become.

There’s one really interesting thing about the article, though it requires a bit of reading between the lines.  It’s visible in Deruy’s closing line (which appears as today’s epigram) and also in the lede: “Authorities…are finding it increasingly difficult to identify victims and perpetrators of sex trafficking.”  Deruy dutifully repeats the claims of Nevada cops and “rescue” groups, which as I’ve pointed out before are among the most aggressively stupid in the country on this subject, but in fact the inability to find “victims and perpetrators of sex trafficking” isn’t confined to Reno, or even to Nevada; it applies to the entire US, and the reason is simple:  the “sex trafficking” gravy train is the victim of its own outrageous success.  When the panic was young, cultists and cops alike could pretend that there were thousands of “victims” and “pimps” just ripe for the picking in every city, “hub” and hamlet from sea to shining sea, if only the cops had enough money and the populace had enough “awareness” of the “signs of trafficking” to catch them.  But after years of panic and hundreds of millions flushed down the “anti-trafficking” toilet, this is the typical “trafficking” bust:

The Santa Clara County Human Trafficking Task Force reports a busy time during its recent prostitution crackdown prior to Super Bowl 50…42 potential human trafficking victims were contacted during the three weeks leading up to the big game…More than half of the victims were put in direct contact with an advocate or support group and…the task force arrested or cited 30…alleged clients of possible prostitutes…one “girl” was arrested for prostitution and resisting arrest…another “girl” was cited for prostitution…four people were cited for aiding in prostitution, two were cited for loitering with intent for prostitution, one potential victim disclosed other sex crimes and kidnapping, and two human trafficking cases involved a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old from Sacramento which resulted in a human trafficking arrest…one arrest for violation of a domestic violence restraining order and three arrests for other warrants…

Vast amounts of hype, blanketing an entire metropolis with pigs, spooks and g-men, millions wasted, thousands of words of anti-whore propaganda bloviated out, and for what?  21 women were given a phone number, 30 guys were tricked by cops with fake ads, two adult and two underage sex workers were arrested, six other people were arrested on bullshit charges, and four people arrested on warrants.  The other 21 women were essentially just made up; “potential trafficking victims”?  Really?  Yeah, well every sex worker in the Bay Area is a potential police brutality and police rape victim, but I don’t see them counting that statistic.  The one “human trafficking arrest” was for a slightly-older friend of the 17-year-old; in other words she was defined as a “trafficker” because underage sex work is defined as “trafficking”, whether there is coercion or not.  Note how scarce this story is on details; they need some wriggle room so as to redefine this into “86 trafficking arrests” later on.  But even when there are details, they fail to substantiate the narrative:

I read through a case file that…details the ordeal of a 15-year-old girl, diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression, who ran away from her home…[and] soon crossed paths with a man and a woman who lured her to a hotel room. She was photographed and a classified ad, promoting her availability, was posted…men continued to show up at the hotel room, night after night, for nearly a week, until finally her mother was able to find her and secure her freedom…

A mentally ill runaway, found inside a week.  Not a happy teen abducted from her happy home and spirited into the underworld, never to be found again; even the number of clients per day, though probably still exaggerated, is “as many as 11”, a paltry number compared to the grandiose claims common from 2012 to 2014 before they started dropping last year.  And even that is a rare case; this type of report is far more common:

A missing 14-year-old girl from [the Montreal area], who was feared by her mother to have been recruited into a prostitution ring, has been found safe and sound…The girl disappeared Feb. 1 from the group home where she’d been living for the past few weeks…the girl’s  mother…said she…had reason to fear the teenager may have joined a gang or a prostitution ring in Ontario…Police would not say where the girl was, or whom she was with, when they found her…

ghost girlsNaturally they wouldn’t say, but you can bet they’d have been crowing had they “rescued” her from anybody they could’ve remotely pretended was a “pimp”.  After 12 years of panic, thousands of ruined lives, scores of new and even more tyrannical laws, badly-eroded civil liberties and unscrupulous liars enriched on tax dollars and donations from well-meaning naifs, what do the “trafficking victim” hunters have to show for their efforts?  “Potential victims”, jailed sex workers, runaways with hysterical parents, and a few petty thugs.  Yeah, Emily, it’s true that “authorities” can’t find any “victims” to rescue or villains to prosecute.  But it isn’t because “online social media has formed a beautiful platform for trafficking”, or because “pimps” are “experts at evading authorities“, or because “victims…[are] reluctant to say anything negative“, or because “pimps move victims from city to city“, or because “casinos and hotels gain customers from the practice“, or because “pimps are retreating from public view behind apps and websites“; it’s because this whole machinery of deceit, surveillance, violence and incarceration was constructed to battle a phantasm, a constellation of people, organizations and events who never existed in the forms “sex trafficking” cultists so fervently wish to believe they do.

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Every so often “Something in the Milk” gets a boost in attention again, either because I retweet it or someone posts it on a review board or something like that.  And oddly, whenever it happens there is often some new weirdness going on at P411.  This time, for example, P411 has just made a number of new demands of escorts; it has demanded the right to “approve” their personal websites, even charging them for that “approval” until Gina realized that was too transparent a money-grab.  The conditions for approval include “A [linked] P411 badge or banner…must appear in a prominent position on a Main/Front page of your website” and “Sites that present a conflict of interest due to close affiliation with competitors, will not be approved (ie: a site/page hosted by EscortDesign/PureVIP, Date-Check, etc.). Links and banners to legitimate competitors, are fine.”  The accusation has previously been made that Gina’s trying to cash in before she cashes out, and this looks like yet another example of that.  And then just a few days ago, I got this letter from a reader; I have no way to directly verify these statements, so I’m presenting the letter without any further comment.  If you have information which would tend to corroborate this, however, please email me.

This is in regard to Preferred411. I just finished reading your article on another woman who has traced P411 members back to a police department. The same thing has happened to me…and it has happened when another local woman sent me a questionable scheduling request to help her double check it. Both men were hiding behind computer jobs. Both times were reported to Gina and it was just brushed off that cops do enjoy visiting with ladies…but she did end up closing down their accounts. Both findings happened within the past 3 months. After this happened, I’ve suspected an owner assisted infiltration within P411 & I have been on high alert ever since.

I had p411 member visit 2x with me and at the end of December he tried to schedule a 3rd time. I was already suspicious of him because though he went into my bathroom every 15 min during his visits, there was no running of water, no flushing of the toilet, no tissues in the garbage can, no towels touched, no water drops in the sink…in each of the 5-8 minutes he spent in there. Nothing at all. I found this to be very strange…after both times he left, I searched every nook and cranny, including underneath my sink with a mag light, to make sure that there were no eavesdropping devices or similar implanted. On the 3rd time he tried to schedule with me, he told me very slowly that our next appointment “would be full of unexpected surprises & a new year that I would not soon forget.” It made my skin go cold. Luckily, I had already told another local escort about this man & his odd behavior, and when he later tried to schedule with her he grew very angry and agitated with her when she declined him.

There has been a lot of other weird activity coming from p411 since mid-September, and not just for me & the others I’ve already mentioned. I have to screen p411 requests harder than I have to screen the regular ones lately; I don’t trust p411 right now & believe something’s up with it.  How many others might there be who aren’t saying anything?

So, escort readers; have you experienced anything odd and iffy from P411 in the past few months?  I haven’t heard anything similar from gentlemen, but if any of y’all have anything to report I would certainly be interested in hearing it.

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One of the biggest challenges facing the anti-trafficking movement today is a near-constant acceptance of baseless, inaccurate, and even grossly exaggerated information.  –  Benjamin Corey

Celebrities Denver Broncos logo

Man is shamed and disgraced for seeking consensual sex:

The Denver Broncos are sending practice squad safety Ryan Murphy home…after he was questioned in a prostitution sting…and released…his brother and a suspected prostitute received citations…“We decided it was best if we continued our preparation for Super Bowl 50 without him,” head coach Gary Kubiak said…Murphy’s status as a practice squad player had not changed, only his participation in Super Bowl week…

Naturally, this humiliation was not enough for “sex trafficking” fetishists:

…The National Center on Sexual Exploitation specifically notes the Murphy situation in…[propaganda] declaring that “the normalized culture of commercial sex is a leading contributor to the spike in sex trafficking during the Super Bowl and other large sporting events…Just days before the Super Bowl, we see a prominent sports figure contributing to the demand for prostitution and sex trafficking,” [whore-hater] Dawn Hawkins [vomited out]…“Prostitution is an inherently exploitive and damaging institution, and is intrinsically linked to sex trafficking”…

Droit du Seigneur 

Notice: not “sex trafficking”.  Cops nearly always get the least-possible charges:

Eduardo Cornejo had been a…[New York cop]…for more than a decade…But investigators…had been tracking his movements for months after an anonymous tipster said Mr. Cornejo was a pimp…[who] had employed at least 10 prostitutes…Cornejo…was charged…with transporting women in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution, a federal offense…

Try not to choke when the FBI stooge says “Police officers, like all public servants, are held to a higher standard.”

Law of the Instrument

Baboons define consensual sex as “trafficking”, then scratch their arses in wonderment when they find an unending stream of “traffickers”:

A monthlong [prostitution] sting ended with the arrest of 46 people…in McLennan County [Texas]…This was the fourth sting in the past year…“It shocked me…” [Chief Ape Parnell] McNamara said. “To think, every sting gets a little bit bigger . . . and it doesn’t seem to stop.”  In the past year, 139 people have been arrested in McLennan County undercover stings….including members of an alleged human trafficking ring…[paid perverts] said they logged hundreds of man- hours in the past month visiting online ads…

Gorged With Meaning

Hey Australia, can the US import some of your journalists?

…some have dubbed [sugar dating]…prostitution.  So?  The only surprise about the news hundreds of…young women are signing up to be spoiled on their own terms by older men is that it’s raising eyebrows at all.  If no one in the arrangement is being exploited or coerced, just where does the problem lie?  These are mature adults; any judgment of their choices says more about the person doing the judging.  This is not sex slavery or sex trafficking, it’s not even a case of desperate girls doing something they feel is degrading just to stay alive.  More than a third of the women who responded to the Seeking Arrangement website survey were of middle or upper middle class (comfortable) status…

Deborah Jeane Palfrey

I’ll just leave this right here:

The former lawyer of Deborah Jeane Palfrey…has filed a motion to allow the release of her escort services’ records, saying they “may contain information relevant to the upcoming presidential election.”  Palfrey [supposedly] committed suicide in 2008 following a racketeering conviction.  Montgomery Blair Sibley, whose legal strategies and motions often included antagonizing opposing counsel and judge…remains under several 2007 restraining orders, which prohibited him from releasing Palfrey’s records.  Sibley won’t say how the records could affect the election…

The Widening Gyre

Observable fact: man talks to young women in public, in broad daylight.  Conclusion:  SEX TRAFFICKING!!!

A case of stranger danger at Catalina High School has administrators taking action.  Two girls said they were approached by the same man near campus a few weeks ago, so a meeting to talk about safety…There have been no new incidents…But with no suspects and no arrests, the school doesn’t want to wait for a third…According to the girls, the man told them he was from Pima Community College and wanted to interview them…Council member Steve Kozachik is worried the man may have been up to something much more sinister.  “It might be…some guy putting the young girls in jeopardy as to being trafficked”…

The Free Speech Mafia Marc Randazza

Marc Randazza, the noted First Amendment lawyer, has written a paper which, I think, would be of interest to many of my readers, especially (but not limited to) those who are yourselves lawyers.  Skeptical?  Here’s the abstract in its entirety:

In the case of intellectual property rights (IPRs), some nations erect barriers to the protection of IPRs on the basis of “morality”.  This paper will examine the implications of morality-based impediments to the enforcement of IPRs and their supportability under international agreements.  There are significant freedom of expression issues to consider when we think about “morality” getting in the way of intellectual property rights.  If that description doesn’t make you run to download it, it manages to include an academic discussion of “Cumfiesta”, “Screw You”, “Nut Sack Ale”, and Japanese porn being stolen in Taiwan.  Beat that.

Stupor Bowl

Given that “sex trafficking” myth is largely derived from evangelical Christian dogma, you’d think they’d listen when a theologian tells them it’s bunk:

…Regardless of who published it, the article is likely to have a shocking headline similar to: “Super Bowl is Largest Human Trafficking Event”, or something to that effect.  However, that claim is completely untrue…Whereas other social movements are often born out of a desire to correct stereotypes and misinformation…the modern anti-trafficking movement…perpetuates misinformation…the annual claim that the Super Bowl will be a major human trafficking event…is simply untrue…this results in increased attention from law enforcement (which is often misdirected and harmful)…most arrests are local sex workers, and…cases of human trafficking can often be counted on one hand…anti-trafficking organizations…[perpetuate] bad data, unproven claims, and harmful stereotypes about trafficking and sex workers…I can’t count the times I’ve heard:  “My city is in the top 5 biggest human trafficking destinations!”, “Did you know the average trafficking victim is 14 years old?”, “90% of sex workers are forced into it!”, or, “Pornography is what’s fueling human trafficking!”…As my therapist often tells me: when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

The Mote and the Beam (#422)

Buried in this huge mound of bullshit is its astonishingly stupid and imperialistic premise: the author believes the US government can and should criminalize sex work in other countries:

…the State Department…sidesteps the most critical aspect of determining whether nations are truly “making serious and sustained efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex,” as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act mandates.  Punishing those who seek to purchase commercial sex is the one proven indicator of whether a country is making efforts to reduce demand…Enough is enough.  Any national government having the authority to criminalize the purchase of commercial sex should do so.  It’s time for Congress to pass pending legislation sponsored by Rep. Randy Hultgren…that would…require future TIP reports to assess sex-purchase laws when determining whether nations are making serious efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex…

Rhinoceros (#509)

COAST is still pretending that pigs, bureaucrats and other busybodies know more about our profession than we do:

Dwayne Angebrandt…of Homeland Security…put together a public presentation on how to spot the signs of [“sex trafficking”]…a group of strip-club operators.  For years, law enforcement had [pretended] such a group would likely be made up of some of the very people who are quietly selling women into prostitution…But…many of the club operators and their dancers he met were surprisingly clueless [about government propaganda declaring them “pimps” and “victims”]…an unlikely alliance has formed between his agency and a group called Club Organizers Against Sex Trafficking…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#563)

I predict this will be lousy with cops within a few months:

New Yorkers sick of the uncertainties of the urban dating scene can now turn to a new app designed to reduce the complexities of dating to dollars and cents.  Ohlala, a controversial on-demand escort dating  app popular in Germany, is launching its services today in its first American market…Pia Poppenreiter…[describes] her app as one that “connects people to go on instant, paid dates…But what happens on the date is actually a private matter”…The app, which launched in Germany this past August, has already facilitated over 25,000 paid connections…[and] is also adding three new cities (Stuttgart, Cologne and Dusseldorf) to its German market, which already includes Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg…

Ashley Madison (#567) 

If this is real, it’s hilariously pathetic:

Isn’t it creepy when your husband/boyfriend leaves the room for a second, and then a stranger with a mask over his eyes enters it right after, and you’re like, “Whoa! Who are you and what have you done with my husband/boyfriend?!” Because everyone knows that disguises that only cover half your face can fool loved ones into thinking you’re a total stranger, Ashley Madison is offering…the option of a brown or black mask that can be slapped on a profile photo; four levels of photo blurring (for those who can’t use Photoshop themselves); and a black bar that can be placed over a user’s eyes in a photo…It’s unclear whether this is intended to be an actual extra layer of security or someone has been watching too many romantic comedies involving masquerade balls and mixed up identities.

Choke Point (#603) 

Much more of this, please:

If you or your company had an active PayPal account frozen or terminated between April 19, 2006, and Nov. 5, 2015, you may eligible for a settlement payment of up to $440 per account.  In the five-year-old class action case of Zepeda v. PayPal, both parties have agreed to a settlement with regards to…improper account holds PayPal placed on some of its customers.  PayPal recently released a notice of settlement, directing users to AccountHoldSettlement.com to file a claim and learn more about the case itself.  A May 10 deadline has been set…PayPal and its partner at the time, eBay…placed inappropriate holds or reserves on sellers’ funds…PayPal has denied all allegations but has agreed to the terms of the settlement to “avoid the costs and uncertainty of a trial.”

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