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Archive for March, 2016

Back Issue: March 2013

“Problematic”…basically means “forcing me to think about things I’d rather not think about”.  – “Watershed

Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco Goya (c 1820)You’ve probably noticed that these “back issue” columns have grown much shorter; it’s because three years ago, my procedures were changing so that a large fraction of each week was taken up by columns of a predetermined type.  The weekends, of course, were news and links columns; Wednesdays featured Q&A columns (this month’s were “Second Look” and “Quack, Quack“) and Fridays reprints from my columns in Cliterati (this month’s were “Vulnerability” and “A Fate Worse Than Death“).  You’ll notice that there are only two of each of those rather than four; that’s because holidays (in this case International Sex Worker Rights Daythe Vernal Equinox and  Easter) and monthly features (in this case the harlotography “Tullia d’Aragona” and the fictional interlude “Mercy“) pre-empted them.  Gumby brain specialistDiaries wouldn’t become a weekly feature for another year, but this month had one in “Comfort Zone“; there were also representatives of one regular (“My Favorite Short Stories“) and two semi-regular (“Struttin’ My Stuff” and “Book Review:  SuperFreakonomics“) features.  And once all that’s out of the way, there aren’t a lot left to describe.  “Puppet Show” reveals the prohibitionist use of shills and sock puppets to make themselves seem more numerous; “No Friend of Ours” explodes the myth of Nevada’s whore-friendliness; “Checklist” looks at the absurdity of “signs of sex trafficking”; “Banishment” discusses the return of an old punishment for “sex offenses”; “Watershed” speculates about the possibility of a reversal of the anti-sex worker trend; “Original Sin” explores the origin of “sex trafficking” hysteria in religious beliefs; “Absolute Corruption” profiles one tragic victim of the last major moral panic, and “Dutch Threat” examines Dutch politicians’ attempt to undermine the sex industry there.Victorian faint

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[Prohibition] directly and indirectly contribute[s] to lethal violence, disease, discrimination, forced displacement, injustice and the undermining of [human] right[s].  –  Johns Hopkins/Lancet Commission

Bad Girls 

Better headline: “Sex worker kills drunk, violent client who tried to fuck her bareback“:

A Cook County [Illinois] judge sentenced a 23-year-old prostitute…to 15 years in [prison]…for the murder of…Al Filan…[Alisha] Walker and another woman who was not charged went to Filan’s home on Jan. 18, 2014…It was Walker’s third encounter with Filan…[but this time he was drunk and] insisted on unprotected sex, the women refused and the three got into a heated argument…Filan punched [Walker] when she tried to retrieve [her] $300 [fee]…Filan’s autopsy reports revealed him to have a .208 blood-alcohol content.  She…stabbed him in self-defense and left his bloody body on his kitchen floor without calling for help…

I’m not going to defend killing somebody (she stabbed him 14 times) over $300, but this kind of violence is the inevitable result of all criminalization of consensual behavior.

The Last Shall Be First 

There are so many of these toilet bills being flung about now*, it’s hard to keep track of them all:

The American Civil Liberties Union…Lambda Legal, and Equality NC…[announced] a federal lawsuit…challenging North Carolina’s HB 2…passed…last week in a rushed special session…[to]…ban…all…nondiscrimination ordinances statewideThe…measure…[also]  requires restroom access in public facilities…[be] based on birth assigned sex regardless of a person’s gender identity and lived gender.  It also jeopardizes the more than $4.5 billion in federal funding that North Carolina receives for…schools under Title IX, which prohibits…discrimination against transgender individuals…The North Carolina League of Municipalities, Attorney General Roy Cooper, and [a number of] major companies…have announced their opposition to the law

*Exactly in the way monkeys fling poop.

Change a Few Words

They’re advising a “gradual” shift.  Because it wouldn’t do to stop murdering and caging people and destroying lives all at once:

A group of 22 medical experts convened by Johns Hopkins University and The Lancet have called…for the decriminalization of all nonviolent drug use and possession.  Citing a growing scientific consensus on the failures of the global war on drugs, the experts further encourage countries and U.S. states to “move gradually toward regulated drug markets”…Their report comes ahead of a special UN General Assembly Session on drugs to be held next month, where the world’s countries will re-evaluate the past half-century of drug policy and, in the hope of many experts, chart a more public health-centered approach going forward…the last time the UN held a special session on drugs, in 1998, it set itself the goal of a “drug-free world” by 2008…The commissioners cite research showing that “of an estimated 246 million people who used an illicit drug in the past year, [only] 27 million (around 11%) experienced problem drug use..The idea that all drug use is necessarily ‘abuse’ means that immediate and complete abstinence has been seen as the only acceptable approach”…

Above the Law  

A pig rapes an extremely-drunk woman, but journalists still won’t call it rape:

A Baton Rouge [cop] has been [given a paid vacation]…after a woman accused him of [raping] her in August following a traffic stop…Brad Bennett…[pulled] the victim and her roommate…over…[and arrested] the…roommate…on a DWI…the victim was not allowed to drive herself home [because she was drunk, so]…Bennett drove…her home…[and raped her while] she was impaired…she [was drunk so she] remembers little of what happened…

First They Came for the Hookers…

It never stops with us, ladies:

A teaching assistant has been sacked by a primary school after parents discovered photographs of her modelling underwear.  Gemma Laird, 21, says she was told the school did not want pupils “thinking it is acceptable to be a model”…the headmistress said…”people would lose respect for the school if they found out…She made me feel dirty and like I was a prostitute.  It’s ridiculous”…

Still think it’s a good idea to draw those lines between you and us?  Because once you do, there’s nothing to stop somebody else from moving them so you’re on the “bad girl” side.

The Widening Gyre

Another “stripping causes sex trafficking” wankfest:

…The Portland metro area has become a hub of child sex trafficking in part due to the large volume of legal adult entertainment venues…Northwest Family Services’ “Deceptions” curriculum was created at the request of law enforcement in Vancouver, Wash.  Vancouver Police realized that sex trafficking had become an epidemic in Pacific Northwest…middle and high schools…

This is modern policing: scaring kids with bogeymen and lies, and representing their sexual fantasies as “realizations” about objective reality.

Lower Education

The indispensable Liz Brown takes a long, thorough look at how the US government is attempting to regulate sex under the guise of “fighting discrimination”:

…Not so long ago, the U.S. criminalized pretty much all sex outside of marriage.  As these laws have been struck down by courts or allowed to settle into obsolescence, it would seem that sexual liberty has been vindicated as an important American value.  But while the courts have been busy ushering the government out of our bedrooms, it’s been creeping right back in under new pretenses.  Gone is the language of morals, tradition, and order—the state now intervenes in our sex lives bearing the mantles of safety, exploitation, and sex discrimination…

Paint By Numbers

Even in the world of stupid “sex trafficking” publicity stunts, this one is painfully stupid:

Models were walking and dancing down the aisle, each wearing shirts that said “One less,” as lively tunes played…Foundations for Freedom [founder] Dana World-Patterson…said she…felt the show is a fun way to raise money for eradicating human trafficking…She explained the meaning behind the “One Less” t-shirts they wore, saying children enter the sex trade as young as age 10…journalist Eric Von also emceed, saying…Milwaukee has experienced a large increase in child sex trafficking cases and the average age is 13.  “An article recently described Milwaukee as the ‘Harvard school of pimpism’”…

From “the Harvard of sex trafficking” to “the Harvard of pimp school” to “the Harvard school of pimpism”.  “Sex trafficking” tropes just get more and more hilarious with each iteration.

False Witness

Still think you don’t live in a police state?

…teachers and school administrators [are being taught]…an abbreviated version of the Reid Technique, which is used across the country by [cops, rent-a-cops]…insurance-fraud investigators, and other people for whom [accusing people of crimes] is part of the job…trainees [are taught that] patterns of body language—including slumping, failing to look directly at the interviewer, offering “evasive” responses, and showing generally “guarded” behaviors…supposedly reveal whether a suspect [is] lying…Reid teaching materials [never] refer to “students” or “kids.”  They [are] always “suspects” or “subjects”…The training [includes] tricks to provoke a response that might [be interpreted as] guilt…John E. Reid and Associates has been marketing its methods to school systems…in eight states…Young people tend to be…vulnerable to false confession…[a study showed]  forty-two per cent of the juveniles who were exonerated had falsely confessed, compared with only eight per cent of adults.  Nearly twice as many eleven- to fourteen-year-olds falsely confessed as did fifteen- to seventeen-year-olds.police misconduct poster  Other research has shown that Reid training influences the perception of juveniles by the people who use it…Reid-trained police [are] less aware of the developmental differences between adolescents and adults than police who did not receive the training…Reid-trained [cops] tend…to believe that adolescents [are] just as capable as adults of withstanding psychologically coercive questioning, including deceit…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#450) 

“Sex addiction” is the defense of choice for upskirt photo takers who get caught:

[Steven Johanowicz]…was convicted of felony crimes…for recording an upskirt video, and secretly videotaping a woman in a shower, and was sentenced to three years probation…[cops] also found three hundred [self-recorded] upskirt videos in Johanowicz’s apartment…Johanowicz says he lost his long-time position at Chazen Museum as a result of his actions.  He’s in therapy for…sex addiction…

Birth of a Movement (#526)

An Italian city copies France by criminalizing “looking like a whore”:

Scantily-clad prostitutes in Salerno will now face fines of up to €500 for “violating urban decorum”, a move ushered in by mayor Enzo Napoli following a spike in the number of sex workers in the city centre…The fines are also a way of trying to deter prostitutes…By encouraging the scantily dressed women to cover up, it is hoped that they will become less attractive to clients and be less visible to citizens and tourists…

Lying Down With Dogs (#539) 

All the most enlightened, free countries use US-type anti-sex work rhetoric:

Several provinces and cities where prostitution is popular were chosen for a pilot project that aims to prevent the crime and reduce its effects on the community…all establishments that traditionally draw prostitution – hotels, bars, dance halls and massage parlors – will be relegated to a specific area.  Lê Văn Quý, deputy director of the HCM City Social Evils Prevention Department…[said] it made the businesses easier to manage, and would help ensure public order…The intent of the project was not to encourage prostitution, but to gradually eliminate it…

Too Close To Home

King County prosecutors aren’t yet done destroying people’s lives for having consensual sex:

King County prosecutors contend…Phillip “Skip” Dehennis was an active member of [TRB]…Investigators contend hundreds of women brought to the United States to work as prostitutes…[an undercover pig paid sex workers, then wrote reviews cops now claim were] fake…[in order to get] himself invited to “meet and greet” parties…

So now 12 supposed “victims” have mushroomed into “hundreds”; I guess the cops figure that since they can’t produce even one “victim”, they might as well go for broke.  They’re also now claiming the reviews used to get into good standing on the boards were fake, an impossibility on this particular board because the ladies in the fake reviews would’ve raised the alarm.  No, this rapist just fucked escorts under false pretenses in order to exploit them in an evil scheme to harm their customers and destroy their livelihoods, and all with the blessings of the sheriff’s office.

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Diary #300

Mary Wept Over the Feet of JesusI have to admit that it still really tickles me to be mentioned in other people’s books.  Last week I received my copy of Brooke Magnanti’s new one, The Turning Tide, and when I started reading I discovered that I’m kindly named in the acknowledgements.  Then this past week my copy of Chester Brown’s latest, Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus, arrived, and there was my blurb anchoring the back cover.  Yes, I already knew it was going to be there; besides the fact that I was told it would be, I already had an advance copy.  But there’s just something extra-nice about holding the actual finished thing in one’s hand.  And it reminded me of what I consider to be the best and coolest part of (relative) celebrity: getting to meet, know and become friends with other cool, awesome, creative people.  It opens the door to being able to help others, too; my network of connections has on many occasions allowed me to make a phone call or shot out an email to get specialized help for someone who needs it, or to connect two cool, awesome people who haven’t yet met to each other (thereby magnifying the level of coolness and awesomeness in the world).  The internet being what it is, I’m friends with a number of people I’ve never met in person, but I’m always excited to have the opportunity to meet them later; Brooke and I are already discussing the possibility of meeting on her next trip to the States, and I have a firm date for my first in-person meeting with Chester: he will be speaking and signing books at 7 PM on Saturday, April 16th, at Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave in Seattle.  And I’ve been invited to introduce him to the audience!  Besides that, I was able to help his publisher find other people to introduce him in several other cities; see how those connections work?  So if you would like to hear Chester speak and get a signed copy of the book, but you’re not in Seattle, consult this tour schedule; he’s appearing in Berkeley, San Francisco & Los Angeles before the 16th, and Toronto, New York City, Washington DC, Winnipeg, Montreal and Chicago after it.  And don’t worry; I haven’t forgotten my promise to get working on my own books, and I think I can wedge a few short tours into my schedule once they’re out.

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Raymond Surratt will die in prison because of a sentence that the government and the district court agree is undeserved and unjust.  –  Judge Roger Gregory

Every so often I see a “how-to” video that reminds me of my old friend Walter, who was a walking encyclopedia of these kinds of things; if anyone could be trusted to do something like start a fire with a lemon, it was Walter.  Alas, I haven’t seen him in years, so this video had to be provided by Radley Balko (who also gave us “banality”, “reason” and “burn”).  The other links above the video are from Tim Cushing (“consent”, “2001” and “drugs”), Popehat (“nope”), Thaddeus Russell  (“crossing”), and Dave Krueger (“laws”).

From the Archives

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Easter 2016

Ostara by Johannes Gehrts

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What if a different attitude about pornography were the “alternative to pornography”?  –  Tina Horn

Rough Trade Brandon Cole Reed

I suspect they have the right guy this time:

King County prosecutors have charged a 31-year-old Kent man with three counts of rape, and Seattle police continue to investigate…in connection with five more sexual assaults, all involving women working as prostitutes on Aurora Avenue North.  Brandon Cole Reed was arrested…one day after prosecutors dismissed a second-degree-rape charge against…Andrew Tatum, who was arrested in February…[for] the rapes Reed is now suspected of committing…Reed “picks up prostitutes on Aurora Avenue, drives to a nearby location, and then rapes them, by brandishing a knife, threatening to hurt or kill them, handcuffing them or brandishing mace,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom wrote…Reed was 11 and his brother was 12 in 1995 when they dragged a 12-year-old girl into their house…and took turns raping her…[they] were found guilty of second-degree rape…and sentenced to 21 to 28 weeks in juvenile detention…Both were required to register as sex offenders for 15 years…Reed was also convicted in 2009 of second-degree malicious mischief for throwing rocks and damaging his ex-girlfriend’s car after she refused to get back together with him…

Lying Down With Dogs

This interactive map characterizes countries according to 11 different legal approaches to laws regarding prostitution, and 9 different legal characteristics, for the most complex and accurate analysis of the subject yet.  Please bookmark!

Check Your Premises 

I realize that idiots don’t actually understand what the word “average” means, but one would think they at least know it doesn’t mean “absolute minimum”:

The Canadian Women’s Foundation says…the average age for new recruits was 13…A 14-year-old at the centre of a human trafficking case is among the youngest girls allegedly forced into prostitution…in decades…Staff Sgt. Darrell Gaudet said…such cases are rare…in…more than 20 years, Gaudet said he has dealt with four cases of 14-year-olds…[and one] 13…

Moloch

Is this idiotic enough yet?  Can we stop now?

Police arrested a Longwood, Florida, 12-year-old girl for pinching a male classmate’s butt…Breana Evans has been charged with misdemeanor battery and was temporarily placed in juvenile detention.  Everybody involved…thinks the arrest is an overreaction…except the boy’s mom, who alerted police and demanded that they prosecute…police [pretend] that…they had no choice but to arrest Breana…[who] will have to complete community service, submit to drug tests, and [endure indoctrination sessions].  If she does all those things, the charges will eventually be dismissed…

Pity the poor “authorities”, who had “no choice”.  Because “prosecutorial discretion” is only for cops who rape or murder people, not for kids being kids.

The Last Shall Be First

Potty obsession is rotting politicians’ brains:

Fayetteville [Arkansas] councilman John La Tour is being accused of confronting a woman he assumed was transgender and threatening to wave his penis at her at a crowded restaurant…After the incident, a manager apparently asked La Tour to leave [the] restaurant…According to a Facebook post by…Gavin Smith: “la tour [sic]…[demanded my friend] pick a gender declaiming loudly that he couldn’t tell if she was a man or a woman.  She is not transgendered and does not in any way present any ambiguity about gender in any way.  She’s a woman.  He then explained that he was a man and could prove it by dropping his pants and showing his penis”…La Tour subsequently [pretended] he’d merely asked the woman — who is employed at the restaurant — to dance…

Above the Law  

Probably a longer sentence than he would’ve received in the US:

Derren Tomlinson, 44, with the West Mercia Police department was sentenced to 11 years in prison this week for…raping a girl under 13-years-old, sexual assault on a child, and bestiality.  His offensively short sentence is likely due to the fact that he was a [cop]…The department found out…after looking through his phone which revealed a number of photos showing him raping a child…[and] engaging in sexual intercourse with a dog…

Prudish Pedants

Steinem’s been peddling this malarkey since 1978, and I’ve been mocking it since at least 1984:

…one of the most vocal proponents of [the] damaging dichotomy [between “bad porn” and “good erotica”] is feminist icon Gloria Steinem.  And every time I hear her or someone else trot out this tired trope, I recoil—because it is indicative of our culture’s persistent stigmatization of sex work, classist attitudes about sexual morality, and suppression of healthy sexual expression.  It’s a dichotomy that demands to be not only challenged, but dismantled…Steinem has been repeating some version of this baseless definition game since 1978, when she published the Ms. magazine article, “Erotica and pornography: Do You Know the Difference?”  The answer to this question is:  No, we don’t, Gloria, because neither you nor anyone else has ever managed to provide a useful or convincing distinction…

Gingerbread House

And how does the judge plan to “keep” these “children” in the “safe house” to endure “therapy”?  Oh, yeah:

There are more than 3,000 minors in [Nevada’s] juvenile justice system, and many are victims of human trafficking.  “For…10 years, I’ve been advocating…for a safe house for our sexually exploited youth,” said Judge William Voy…”We have to identify better which kids really need to be locked up…with the kids who don’t”…the state needs a therapeutic…secured facility to keep these children.  He said if the state doesn’t get this kind of facility it risks losing the kids to the streets all over again…

So Close and Yet So Far

This article could’ve been so much better; it quotes a number of sex workers, including my close friend Savannah Sly and my acquaintances Chelsea Lane & Jill Brenneman.  It presents some pretty good arguments, and talks about Amnesty’s research.  But it also quotes prohibitionists, repeats bad data, confuses legalization and decriminalization, does not discuss the failure of the Swedish model, and sets up a false equivalence between those who want to be free to make their own choices and those who want to control others’ choices with state violence (as though they were two equal sides in an academic “debate”).  It’s also mind-numbingly boring; I sincerely doubt anyone will read the whole thing.  I know I couldn’t.

Hard Numbers (#340)

Whores in the so-called “developing world” are so much better at activism than those of us in the US:

…Gabriela Leite and Lourdes Barreto founded the Brazilian Network of Prostitutes (BNP) in the mid 1980s in response to police violence in the red light districts where they worked…The BNP earned seats at the policy-making table and was fundamental in developing peer-led HIV prevention initiatives.  Their partnership with the country’s National AIDS Programme gained international attention in 2005 when Brazil refused more than $40 million in US funds because USAID…demanded that organisations receiving funds condemn prostitution…[Prohibitionism] gained strength in Brazil at the start of the new millennium, fuelled by moral panic and by the growth of carceral feminism…and Christian conservatism…The prostitutes’ movement has responded with a two-prong strategy: on the one hand, it is engaging in street politics, guerrilla theatre, and practical initiatives; on the other, it is entering the forums and institutions that sprung up around human trafficking…

He Said, She Said (#448)

A lot of people are going to be really unhappy about this:

The chorus outside Old City Hall hit its peak once a judge acquitted former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi on all charges of sexual assault and choking, the outraged shouts of “I believe survivors” reverberating off the courthouse steps and in more than 10,000 posts online…Ontario Court of Justice Judge William Horkins said he simply could not trust the three complainants, given their shifting memories and evidence that at times strayed into outright lies…he said the 5,000 messages exchanged between actress Lucy DeCoutere and another complainant sounded like they could be plotting to ruin the former broadcaster… “Ms. DeCoutere and S.D. considered themselves to be a ‘team’ and the goal was to bring down Mr. Ghomeshi”…As Crown prosecutor Michael Callaghan stood in front of a stand of microphones giving reporters his reaction, a topless female protester jumped in front of him, yelling “Ghomeshi guilty!” knocking over the stand.  Police tackled the woman to the ground and took her back inside the courthouse as she struggled and kicked the door.  She was handcuffed by police and led into the back of a police cruiser…

As a woman who’s endured several rapes myself, I understand the anger.  But what do the protesters actually want, for the state to be able to convict people on shoddy evidence?  I simply can’t side with people who believe that locking up as many people as possible to prevent some bad guys getting away with crimes is a good idea.  The carceral state is a far greater threat than any one rapist, or even than all unconvicted rapists put together.

False Witness

Anyone who understands the dynamics of group psychology should already have known this:

You would think securing a conviction against a suspected criminal would have to be helped if all the witnesses…independently identify the same culprit.  But new…research suggests that unanimity of witnesses should trigger a warning that perhaps police have the wrong person…the probability of a large number of people all agreeing in [difficult observation] circumstances [is] small…the error rate among [crime] witnesses…[is] around 47 per cent.  “So if…20 people all agree it is the same guy you should be now more suspicious of their agreement,” [lead researcher Professor Derek Abbott] said.  Their modelling showed even with just a 1 per cent error rate, confidence in a police line-up result would decrease after three unanimous identifications…

If you don’t understand this, please take the time to read my paper, “Mind-witness Testimony“.

Moving Pictures 

You know you’re living in a fascist state when there’s a whole industry glamorizing government actors who use violence to suppress consensual activity:

[US deportation agent] Keith Owens…[was featured in a] television series, Web of Lies…The episode [inanely] titled “Stolen Youth”…aired on March 2…being involved in this documentary is in line with his commitment to combating human trafficking…“This film will definitely wake the public up in regards to human trafficking that should be named modern-day slavery,” Owens said.  “These predators take possession of [their victims], and force and coerce people to do things they don’t want to do”…

You mean, like cops and other government agents do? Or do you mean a different kind of taking possession of people and forcing & coercing them to do things they don’t want to do?

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Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight.  –  Proverbs 12:22

dunghillI go through lots of news items every week.  Most end up in one of the two news columns or the links column; others end up not being interesting enough to feature; still others inspire me to write whole columns around them.  But a few are such monumental aggregations of bullshit, with lies heaped atop other lies, that I feel compelled to blow them up with dynamite; this is one of them, made subtly more ludicrous by the fact that some editor apparently thought it was an outstanding piece of journalism (see that little “editor’s pick” label above the headline?)

…Linda Burkle…[of] the Salvation Army, shared [a tragedy porn] story with state lawmakers in the hopes of sparking new legislation against human trafficking.  She read the woman’s story from a paper, telling it in the first person, as if she was the victim…

It’s rare that a prohibitionist literally speaks for a sex worker, but that’s what we see here.  Whether the supposed victim actually exists or is just a figment of Burkle’s masturbatory fantasies is immaterial; it’s a total abomination for an amateur to actually represent herself as a sex worker, even in the guise of a [melo]dramatic recitation, in a naked attempt to urge more criminalization of the people she’s temporarily representing herself to be one of.  This is no different from what Rachel Moran does, except that Moran at least pretends to be an ex-whore full time; this nasty bitch will set down the burden of whore stigma as soon as she finishes her appeal for greater police violence against us.

…In January, Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks introduced a bill that would protect juvenile sex workers from prosecution…

Except that it won’t.  “Safe harbor” laws are total bullshit; they’re nothing but worthless “feel-good” legislation that help nobody but very rare “perfect victims”.  The majority of underage sex workers, such as Latesha Clay, do not qualify as “victims” under the laws and are still prosecuted while the pigs and DAs trumpet their “victimhood” as an excuse to ratchet criminal penalties for consensual behavior up yet another notch.

An estimated 300,000 American men, women and children are victims of…trafficking, according to the Polaris Project…Sex trafficking is a $9.5 billion industry in the U.S…Police are finding that some dealers have switched from trafficking drugs to trafficking people because the “product” can be sold over and over…From 2010 to 2015, the Omaha Child Exploitation Task Force rescued more than 100 women and girls from sex trafficking.  Their average age was 20 — the youngest 13, the oldest 40.  In a survey done by the Women’s Fund of Omaha…agencies in Nebraska reported they identified sex trafficking victims younger than 17 at least 176 times in the past year…

I’m sure you’ll recognize these tired lies, but if you don’t that’s what the embedded links are for.  One interesting thing about these lies is the way they change shape; for example, the usual “300,000 sex trafficked children” has here transmogrified into the much-more-conservative (though still bogus) “300,000 men, women and children”.  Those “task force” numbers?  More bullshit; they probably represent arrested sex workers, but there’s no way to know because there’s no link to any data.  It’s just an unsupported claim from those paragons of honesty, the cops.  And that last sentence is even more absurd; they “identified” 176 “trafficking victims”?  Using “signs” like this, perhaps?  We’re not even told what happened to these supposedly “identified victims”; we’re just supposed to take it on faith that they exist.

…Nikki Siegel, outreach director for The Bay…outreach program for at-risk youth, said she’s encountered trafficked teenagers, but until recent years, she didn’t realize that’s what they were…

If the only tool you have is a hammer

“I found a lot of girls who were exploiting themselves”…

May the gods save us from idiots.  Any definition of “exploitation” which includes things one chooses for oneself is utterly meaningless, because it must encompass all volitional activity someone else dislikes.

…In September, the Lincoln Police Department was involved in a national sex trafficking sting by invitation from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois. In all, 1,032 people were arrested. Of those, 961 were would-be sex buyers, and the rest traffickers…

That would be Swanee Hunt’s privately-funded pogrom, which results in dramatic increases in police violence against sex workers while referring to them as “victims”.

…It wasn’t until 2010 that Congress expanded the definition of trafficking to include mental punishment by traffickers as well as physical…

More reeking bullshit.  “Force, fraud or coercion” has been the accepted definition since the TVPA in 2000.  Where did this “fact” come from?  Who knows?  Maybe the reporter just thought it sounded good.

…Cindy Hultine…of…the…Set Me Free Project…described the relationship between a trafficker and victim as “mental bondage.”  Many young girls don’t understand what is happening to them…

In other words, women don’t get to define our own relationships; “authorities” get to say what our relationships are, and if we disagree we’re in “mental bondage”, AKA “false consciousness”.

…Many people…wonder why they don’t run away or ask someone for help…“It’s called survival sex,” [political appointee Stephen] O’Meara said…

No, that isn’t what survival sex is.  Survival sex means trading sex for basic necessities like food or shelter, or for just enough cash to acquire those things.ivory tower

…[Prohibitionist Sriyani] Tidball…[says] buying sex should come with harsher punishments…“I have never met a woman who wanted to sell themselves”…

This is a common but incredibly venomous prohibitionist lie.  It isn’t just the moronic dysphemism “sell themselves”, though that’s bad enough; it’s the total negation of the agency of all sex workers everywhere, with the implication that anyone who disagrees is dysfunctional.  Either Tidball is consciously lying, or she’s delusional, or she’s never actually climbed down from her ivory tower to talk to any whores.

…Former state Sen. Amanda McGill, who helped pass legislation to decriminalize prostitution of minors…

No, she didn’t; she gave courts the power to commit them to “treatment” of indefinite duration.

…“We definitely need to help (the public) understand that these are really victims, that these women, even if they’re 25, the trafficking probably started when they were 12 or 13 with sexual abuse,” she said…

McGill says that any woman who was ever raped, molested or otherwise sexually violated should forever be a ward of the state, unable to make sexual decisions for herself.  That’s what prohibitionists call “decriminalization”.

…The Omaha project visited…middle and high school students about trafficking.  “Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery,” Cindy Hultine told them. “Pimps are slave owners.”  She also spoke directly to their parents, telling them to continue the “stranger danger” education…and to monitor social media accounts

And so we close with a representative of the Establishment appropriating the imagery of historical black slavery for a campaign to breed paranoia, encourage mass surveillance and give more power to the cops who beat, murder, cage and otherwise destroy the lives of so many black citizens.  This is the real face of “anti-trafficking”:  yet another means by which the ruling class tricks the peasantry into giving it more power to oppress minorities…power which will then, inevitably, be extended to oppress everyone, including the useful idiots who thought the government would keep them “safe” from the imaginary menaces it told them were lurking among us.

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Under Construction

minkFor over a year now, people have been asking when my next book is coming out.  And for almost that long, I’ve been saying “soon”.  Of course, I was wrong; it hasn’t been anything like soon, and I’m sorry about that.  It’s just that, as everyone following for the past year and a half knows, real life intervened.  In spades.  With brass knuckles on, after she had already drugged my drink, tied my shoelaces together and stolen my distributor cap.  Since arriving it Seattle, it’s a miracle I’ve even managed to get a column out every day, much less do any other writing.  But I am beginning to dare to think that phase might finally be coming to an end.  I’ve had a lot more time for myself recently, and though I’ve had to use a lot of it to play catch-up, that can’t last forever.  I honestly think I might finally be reaching a point where I’ll have both the time and the energy to start putting books together again, which would be sort of nice on a number of levels; I’ll let you know how that progresses, but I’m not going to humiliate myself again by announcing yet another probable release date and then failing spectacularly to meet it.  I’ve also been thinking about having a portfolio of nudes done; if I do, I’ll send them for the asking (and postage) to any subscriber or patron, and they’ll be available for purchase to anyone else.  Because what’s the use of being a sex symbol if one can’t monetize it?

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It is apparent that the attenuated causal chain proposed by [those suing Backpage] is forged entirely out of surmise.  –  Justice Bruce Selya

Rough Trade 

Just imagine this ridiculous defense working for anyone in another profession:

A Melbourne real estate agent…was cleared of raping and imprisoning a sex worker in a vacant house…Henry Jiang…was accused of binding the woman with cable ties and raping her repeatedly…after…his booking with her had ended.  His defence barrister [Con Heliotis] said everything that happened was consensual, and the woman had agreed to extend her time with Mr Jiang after he offered her more money and drugs…[but] didn’t tell her escort agency she was staying later…because she didn’t want to pay them a higher commission.  Mr Jiang admitted taking money from the woman, because he calculated he was owed it for the drugs…Heliotis said the sex worker was concerned she had been robbed and only claimed she had been raped…when asked directly by police…In explaining the woman’s…screams as she [fled] the house, Mr Heliotis said: “She would be extremely distressed if she had lost her money and couldn’t buy drugs”…

Lying Down With Dogs

Another US-style “prostitution crackdown” in a country the US should be proud to resemble:

Tanzanian authorities are holding some 800 people suspected of involvement in prostitution…around 500 suspected sex workers and almost 300 alleged customers have been arrested…Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who was elected in October…[on a] law and order [platform has not]…banned…miniskirts [as reported in January]…though…the president and his government [say they are] are “strong proponents of decent dressing”…

Do be sure to click that link to see what Tanzanian ideas of “law and order” entail.

St. James Infirmary

St. James Infirmary, San Francisco’s health care organization for sex workers, cut the ribbon on its new Tenderloin clinic Monday, March 14.  St. James shares the space, located at 234 Eddy Street, with the Transgender Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project…In addition to primary medical care, the peer-based organization also offers HIV testing and prevention services, including PrEP; sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment; transgender hormone therapy; mental health care; harm reduction services, including needle exchange and naloxone; case management; support groups; food and clothing; and other assistance to people of all genders involved in the sex trade and their families.  All services are free and confidential…

Above the Law  

Some rapist cops go out and look for victims:

A [New Jersey cop] has pleaded guilty to using his badge [and a loaded gun] to [rape] a prostitute…Dinis Oliveira…pleaded guilty…to…third-degree criminal coercion……[he] is expected to be sentenced to probation and…must give up his job and forfeit his pension…Oliveira had been charged with sexual assault, official misconduct and criminal coercion [but of course not aggravated rape as anyone else would’ve been]…

And some just wait for victims to be brought to them:

A Philadelphia-area [cop] is accused of [raping] three women [locked up] inside the police department…Roosevelt Turner is charged with official oppression, indecent exposure and indecent assault.  The charges are based on separate encounters in 2015…

It’s amazing how reporters are seemingly unable to use a simple word like “rape” when the rapist, even one who rapes a woman at gunpoint, is a fucking pig.

Change of Heart

As far as I’m concerned, any sex worker who outs a prohibitionist politician has not violated professional ethics; it’s just too bad this woman waited until the day Rubio pulled out of the race:

Marco Rubio…just suspended his campaign after Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump won [Florida] in a landslide victory.  Adding to his problems, his personal life is being shopped around by a dominatrix who alleges she had a kinky sex romp with Rubio…

First They Came for the Hookers…

It doesn’t matter what a sex worker does with her life after leaving sex work; to the media, she’ll always be a whore:

An ex-stripper who went on to law school and later was elected a judge was found dead inside her Nevada home [on March 13th]…authorities do not suspect foul play.  Municipal Judge Diana Hampton, who was 50…appeared to be the perfect picture of health…Hampton, who served as a municipal judge for more than a decade, worked with youth in the community to discourage them from crime…

Buried Truth 

Vociferous opposition to anything sexual is nearly always strong evidence of an attraction to it:

…As the prosecuting attorney for Ingham County, Michigan, since 1997, Stuart Dunnings III spend decades helping to put people behind bars for commercial sexual activity.  But at the same time, Dunnings was routinely shelling out money for sexual services…Dunnings…instituted tougher penalties and a program of impounding johns’ vehicles…Now…authorities allege that Dunnings “paid for commercial sex… hundreds of times…between 2010-2015.”  For five years, Dunnings met with one sex worker up to four times per week, in addition to his encounters with others.  For what it’s worth, the arrest affidavit paints Dunning as considerate client who tipped well and acted more like a “sugar daddy” to some of the women, taking them out to dinners and paying their rent, cellphone bills, and other expenses…After one woman confessed to a heroin habit, Dunnings paid for her weekly methadone treatments and attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings with her…the feds went after Dunnings under the guise of stopping “human trafficking”, because that’s what law enforcement calls all prostitution circa 2016.  Most of the charges actually brought against him, however, are misdemeanor charges for “engaging in the services of prostitution” (10 counts) and “willful neglect of duty” (4 counts).  The one felony charge is because Dunnings…allegedly coerced a domestic violence victim…into having sex with him, then paid her for it…about $600 every two weeks as well as…some of her bills…

The Washington Post coverage that first broke the story preferred to soak in dysphemisms and libel the sex workers that to actually cover the facts.

Backwards into the Future (#334)

UNAIDS welcomes the roll-out of South Africa’s National Sex Worker HIV Plan, 2016–2019.  Launched by the Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, in his role as the Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), this unique plan will ensure equitable access to health and legal services for sex workers in South Africa…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (All Traffick, All the Time)

Here’s another “rescue” scam designed to recruit unhappy whores into the anti-whore brigade; it resembles a “crisis pregnancy center”, which is not surprising since a number of “anti-trafficking” NGOs also operate (or formerly operated) such schemes.  What makes it interesting to me is that it’s the highest claimed number of clients per day (60) we’ve seen in a while, since the high-lunacy mark of 110 current from 2012-2014.  With the exception of a brief requote of that figure (which actually seems to have originated among prohibitionists in 2001) a few months ago, most of the claims have returned to the pre-June 2012 typical claim of 15/day, which is high but not literally impossible.Lake Pahoe

King of the Hill (Traffic Updates)

These moral crusades labeling one particular thoroughfare a “hotbed of sex trafficking” remind me of the Monty Python episode in which there is an entire lake in a basement flat:

Jillian Gilchrest, chairwoman of the [Connecticut] Trafficking in Persons Council, says the Berlin Turnpike is a hotbed for sex trafficking, often involving minors who are exploited…The Underground, a faith-based organization…[identified]…27 of which offer hourly rates…“For far too long, state laws and culture accepted that the purchase of sex will happen,” said Gilchrest…The Judiciary Committee advanced two bills…to attempt to address the issue…[one] would mandate additional training for law enforcement and employees at hotels and motels to identify victims of sex trafficking.  It would also require businesses that offer lodging to maintain detailed records of [cash] transactions for at least six months…[Gilchrest] said… “It was shocking to me [that people are allowed to conduct business with legal tender]”…The bill initially included a provision that would make it illegal to charge hourly for a room at a hotel or motel…But the Judiciary Committee voted…to strike the measure from the bill in response to testimony…[that] hourly rates are often used by truck drivers and travelers seeking a break from the road…

Sex Work is Work (#517)

Bureaucrats can turn anything into a hassle:

New tax laws in Austria is [sic] causing problems for sex workers as rules now dictate that all customers need to be issued with an itemised bill listing all services rendered…As services provided by sex workers covers a wide spectrum, bosses ask how, for example, a two-hour chat with no sexual contact should be written down…others questioned how a self-employed sex worker would issue receipts…

Guinea Pigs 

Americans are so ovine, all one needs do is say “THE CHILDREN!” and everyone cheers while big tech companies give cops horrifying new surveillance tools:

Palantir Technologies…isn’t unique in its efforts to turn its software toward social good—plenty of tech companies do that.  But unlike most, Palantir says it treats nonprofits like any other customer..in 2012, Polaris’ chief executive, Bradley Myles, heard Palantir’s CEO, Alex Karp, speak at a White House event…Myles knew it was something his [corporation]—which is dedicated to eradicating [sex work]—needed but couldn’t afford…Just a few weeks later, Palantir engineers were integrating data from thousands of [sex worker arrest] records, public tips and financial networks…The…company [also] integrates tips, case reports, public records, videos, social media feeds and other data sources and helps draw connections…To help…law enforcement [spy on adult sex workers and clients in the name of fighting] the abduction and sexual exploitation of children…

Crying for Nanny (#539)

The outcome was a foregone conclusion; the lawyers who orchestrated this shitshow were only appealing to cover their arses:

Backpage.com…has been sued a bunch of times, almost always by people [deliberately] misunderstanding Section 230 of the CDA which, as we’ve discussed hundreds of times, says that sites are not liable for the actions of their users…the appeal on [a] Massachusetts case has brought another good Section 230 win, saying that Backpage.com is not liable…The crux of the argument…is that…the way Backpage is set up…makes it different from a standard “publishing” platform.  This is a pretty common attack on Section 230, claiming that it does more than a publisher and thus isn’t protected.  Courts have almost universally rejected that, unless those additional actions themselves could be seen to break the law…the court rejects this argument, saying that everything Backpage.com does is a traditional publisher activity…

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Diary #299

Turning TideUnfortunately, the unpleasant things I alluded to last week did not let up as the week continued; if anything, they got even worse, and I’m still not really at liberty to discuss them.  Plus, the necessity of discussing taxes with my CPA reared its ugly head, and since it seems they’ve assigned a new girl to the account, I’m going to have to hurt her feelings pretty soon by telling her I’m a whore.  On the bright side, I did have a couple of especially-enjoyable sessions, made a new friend, added a few new things to my Amazon wishlist, received my copy of my friend Brooke Magnanti’s new book, and saw the release of a podcast I did a few weeks ago with attorney Mirriam Seddiq.  Mirriam was a lot of fun to work with, and though I haven’t listened to the recording yet, I’m told that fun comes through to the listener.  That’s really all I have to share for now, but don’t worry; as those who’ve been reading this blog for a while know, things absolutely never stay quiet for long.

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