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Archive for October, 2017

Halloween 2017

Happy Halloween, dear readers, and Blessed Be!

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Diary #383

Hoo boy, what a weekend!  My friend Angela Keaton flew in on Thursday for my birthday weekend, which has basically consisted of eating, drinking and being merry with her, Grace, and a bunch of my other friends in various combinations since then until late last night, when I brought her back to the airport.  Some of you may have noticed I was conspicuously absent from Twitter since Friday, and others that there was no Who night pic last night; the former was due to my being busy carousing and otherwise spending as little time sober as possible, and the latter to Lorelei’s and my moving our weekly date to tomorrow for my birthday (it’ll be back to Sunday next week).  Of course, that means I let my usual three to five day lead on this blog (remember when it was weeks?) kinda run out, and I’m writing this only about 90 minutes before it publishes.  But it was worth it (as were the hangovers), and I’ll catch up again by next weekend or so.  And I hope you’ll understand if I keep this one short and sweet, so I can catch up on something else: my sleep.

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Ain’t that a shame.  –  Fats Domino

I’m so fucking annoyed by the state of short horror video.  I watched over a dozen short horror films on YouTube to find one for this column, and what did I find? Predictable and not-at-all-scary jump scares.  Over and over again.  So I threw up my hands in despair and featured a video by the late Fats Domino.  The links above it were contributed by Elizabeth N. Brown (“faking”), Angela Keaton  (“period”), Emma Evans (“want”), Tushy Galore (“language”), Radley Balko  (“laws” and “together”).

From the Archives

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SESTA…is an invitation to drive an awful lot of important speech from the Internet.  –  Cathy Gellis

If It Were Legal

The only reason this was necessary was because of idiotic laws against sex businesses:

…Helena Berkyova, 29, pretended customers were paying for gourmet food including king crab soup and soufflé when she charged them for [escort] services.  She set up sham catering firm Fine Dining Catering Services to conceal the illegal operation…Berkyova pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manage or assist in the management of brothels, keeping a brothel for prostitution, and money laundering…Berkyova [was s sex worker]…before moving up to management…She admitted managing the brothels between January 2013 and October 2015, raking in around £350,000 from paying customers…

Only a twit who’s never owned or run a business would think £350,000 (about $460,000) over a three-year period constitutes “raking it in”.

So Close and Yet So Far

When anyone not a sex worker uses the term “decriminalization”, read carefully:

…it is easy [for very stupid people who know nothing about economics and black markets] to assume that decriminalizing prostitution will embolden sex traffickers and increase victimization…Research I conducted for my book…shows that decriminalization of sex work is an evidenced-based approach to combating sex trafficking…Decriminalizing sex work does not make prostitution legal; it just empowers victims to come forward…I’ve gone to “the track” in the District, where women are sold for sex on the street…

“Decriminalizing sex work does not make prostitution legal” is total bullshit; of course it does, it just doesn’t make it legalized (i.e., subjected to a repressive regulatory regime or bound in so many special laws it might as well still be illegal).  Note also the agency-negating phrase, “women are sold for sex”, which no sex worker advocate would use.  I smell a supporter of the Swedish model, which is often dishonestly represented as decriminalization by its proponents due to the false claim that it “decriminalizes” sex workers (which it actually doesn’t).

Under Every Bed (#350)

I just can’t help laughing every time “authorities” pretend that North Dakota is a “sex trafficking hub”:

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp [vomited out a lot of stupid anti-sex propaganda]…at [a] panel hosted by the University of North Dakota Law School…Thomasine Heitkamp, a social work professor at UND and Sen. Heitkamp’s sister, recently completed a study on domestic, dating and sexual violence in the Bakken oil fields.  She said the amount of concerns heard about sex trafficking during the study was stunning…Sen. Heitkamp said legislators need to take on Backpage.com, and other sites [she fantasizes as being] known for sex trafficking and called the Communications Decency Act a “barrier”…

A politician calls a law intended to protect people from government tyranny a “barrier”.  Yes, it is, and we need many more such barriers.  Also, what the fuck does “the amount of concerns heard about sex trafficking” actually mean?

If Men Were Angels 

I wonder what fraction of his rhetoric is directed toward “perverts”?

…72-year-old Garry Evans, pastor of Baptist Temple in Rushville [Indiana], is accused of molesting several girls in his congregation…a three-year-old girl reported…that Evans lured her into his office with the promise of candy, then pulled his pants down and made her touch his genitals.  He then told her not to tell anyone what happened.  After the investigation into Evans’ behavior began…another mother brought her five- and seven-year-old daughters to police.  Both girls told investigators that Evans had forced his hands down their pants when they were alone with him in his office…

Harm Magnification (#612)

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

The Lawrence County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning opted to discontinue its contract with Indiana Recovery Alliance to operate a needle exchange program…the program is free to the county…but…[the county] prosecutor [vomited out evil crap about how] she could not support a program that facilitates…the illegal use of drugs…[two politicians] remained silent…[one of them, Rodney] Fish [suggested drug users]…”pray and…turn from their wicked ways”…[the other evil fuckhead, Dustin] Gabhart [vomited out]…“I don’t like the get-out-of-jail card for paraphernalia.  To me, those…make us a sanctuary…for addicts”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#649)

I always feel dirty when prohibitionists salivate over their masturbatory fantasies in public:

A [rogue’s gallery] of state and local lawmakers in San Diego…[fantasized publicly about] young military men and…sex trafficking in California…[they fantasized that] eight thousand to 11,000 victims are trafficked in San Diego County every year, an $810 million business, according to a [bogus] 2016 study…[politician Juan] Vargas [masturbated openly to the fantasy that] gangs have moved from selling drugs to selling people…[while politician Xavier] Becerra [drooled while saying]…prosecutors must struggle to over[throw] internet privacy laws that make extremely difficult to prosecute [consenting adults for private sexual behavior]…[he also sexually fantasized in public about] girls who are 12 or 13 years old.  Maggy Krell…a…prosecutor…[cackled about] going after…hotels and motels [to enrich the state using the excuse of “sex trafficking”]…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#695)

Pearl-clutching is both funnier and sadder when a young man does it:

If not for its debaucherous reputation, you might not blink an eye passing the Fuji Building.  From the outside, it looks no different to the skyscrapers that surround it…But inside tells a different story:  Eighteen floors of “one woman brothels”…Signs on the doors read “welcome”, or “wait” in various languages… Strange anime cartoons accompany the messages…“The Fuji Building may be full of prostitutes, but so long as each individual flat can be shown to be a separate unit from all the rest — that it has its own water connection, electricity meter and no one else can access it — it is above board”…the scourge of human trafficking [is] “bubbling beneath the surface of the Hong Kong sex scene”…who’s really in charge?…Terrifying stuff.

Buildings are terrifying! Or is it young women? Sex? Anime cartoons?

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#714)

Indonesia is trying to criminalize all sex outside of marriage:

…Indonesia…is in the midst of a two-year crack down on sexuality and gender rights; last week, police arrested 58 people in a raid on a “gay sauna” in Jakarta, some of whom now face 10 years in prison.  Human rights defenders protecting the community have been threatened, attacked, slandered and threatened with death.  Sex worker rights defenders say their night-time profession multiplies the threats they receive as activists…Sex work regulations in Yogyakarta are vague.  “Flattery,” “seduction with words, gestures, signs” or other indications that one plans to “carry out indecent acts” are all criminal.  The regulations say sex work will “reduce a person’s honor” and conflict with Indonesian values…Workers who speak up for one another during the day are often the ones targeted by police at night…

Cooties (#766) 

Despite the popularity of this masturbatory fantasy with UK cops, not one has ever been found:

MPs investigating the sex trade…launched [an inquiry] into organised crime gangs using temporary addresses to sexually exploit women…Police issued warnings to holiday let owners…that their properties were at risk of being used as pop-up brothels.  The cross-party group will [attempt to shore up a narrative so cops can harass and persecute]…vulnerable women.  [Politician] Gavin Shuker…said…“It is vital that we uncover how these criminals operate – and how we stop them”…

I know it’s hard to tell through the layers of “sex slave” fantasy and women’s agency negation, but what they’re actually talking about are rentals used by touring escorts and those who don’t want to risk “pimping” charges by splitting the cost of a long-term rental with friends.

The Mote and the Beam (#771)

The government’s latest sleazy trick: attacking with civil suits rather than criminal charges, because the burden of proof is reversed:

Harris County has filed a lawsuit against [a] Motel 6 [location, claiming]…the motel is a nuisance and has failed to abate criminal activity…The lawsuit said, “Officers have made numerous arrests for prostitution at this location as well as arrests for possession of illegal drugs, weapons, and violent crime.”  The lawsuit [demands]…Motel 6 maintain surveillance video, install and maintain electronic gates, prohibit cash only customers and hourly rates for stay…

The Widening Gyre (#778) 

Lenore Skenazy compares “sex trafficking” moral panic to an older form of bigotry-spawned hysteria:

…Facebook posts about fiends snatching innocent children are eerily reminiscent of an older, more pernicious scare:  a corrosive lie called the “blood libel,” in which Jews during medieval times were said to be killing Christian children and using their blood to make matzah…medieval scholar Emily Rose…describes the most famous blood libel of all:  the 1475 abduction and murder of a young Italian boy, Simon of Trent.  A Jew was accused of killing him for his blood.  It was not the first such story, but this one spread like wildfire thanks to a brand new social medium: print.  Posters and poems disseminated the allegations…Across the continent, people started claiming that a Christian child had been murdered by a Jew in their town, too.  “Most of these kids didn’t even exist,” Rose says, “and if they did exist, they weren’t killed.”  But that didn’t stop the stories from catching on.  And the people repeating them were no longer just plain peasants in a two-bit town…Today’s panicked moms probably don’t see themselves playing a role that goes back centuries.  But the only thing new is the medium they’re using to spread fear.

The Mote and the Beam (#780)

Just in case you think it’s only sex workers who will be harmed by SESTA:

…”ICE has recently re-defined the crime of human trafficking to include assistance, like housing and employment, that adults provide to juveniles who come to the United States without their parents.  In many cases, the adults being investigated and charged are close relatives of the minors who are supposedly being trafficked“…SESTA is drafted with language that…[allows] the government, both federal and state…to come after the platforms hosting any and all speech related to the assistance of immigrants, if any and all assistance can be considered trafficking.  The scope of what they could target is enormous: tweets warning about plain-clothed ICE agents at courthousessearch engine results for articles indicating whether evacuation centers will be checking immigration status, online ads for DACA enrollment assistance, or even discussion about sanctuary cities…If SESTA passes, platforms will either have to presumptively censor all such online speech, or risk prosecution by any government or state entity…

Between the Lines (#784)

“Operation Cross Country” is well-known for reinforcing the “sex trafficking” narrative by omitting figures for adult sex workers arrested, charging male sex workers as “pimps”, and listing arrested 16- and 17-year-old sex workers as “rescued children”.  But their most vile trick is abducting sex workers’ children, then claiming they were “rescued” or, even worse, “recovered”:  “An 18-month-old child was recovered in Baton Rouge and the child’s mother was arrested amid an FBI-led sex trafficking sweep that recovered 84 children and netted 120 trafficking suspects nationwide“…The word “recovered” refers to someone getting back something that rightfully belongs to them; for cops to use it about someone’s child is a blatant statement that the State views all children as its property.

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Back Issue: October 2014

People who believe that the human psyche and human culture are both the products of Divine ordination have either never fallen in love, or else they think God is a sadist.  –  “Since the Model Came Out

October is of course Halloween  season, and though I don’t feature as many seasonal columns as I once did, this month still saw “More Trick or Treat” and “Unreal Horrors“, the latter being a Cliterati reprint along with “Whore Detection“,  “The Face of Trafficking” and “Intersectionality“.  The creepy fictional interlude was “The Company of Strangers“, the harlotography “Lady Castlemaine” and the guest columnist Dave Krueger; the Q&A columns were “Typically Flawed“, “Wardrobe Choices“,  “Desperately Seeking” and “Since the Model Came Out“.  “Change in the Air” tracked the way sex workers are winning more approval in the media while government continues to use “sex trafficking” as an “All-Purpose Excuse“; “Still More Stand-Up Guys” profiles men who dare to stand up for sex worker rights, while “Served Cold” exposes those who profit from our persecution. And “A Look at the Works” explains why I won’t leave a hole in my blog just because somebody haz a sadfeelz. 

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A couple of years ago, I was busted in a high-profile client sting.  Now that my case is over and I’m a free citizen again, I am looking for ways to be part of the counter-narrative, to argue against criminalization and for civil rights and justice reform and so many of the surrounding issues.  How can I contribute?

It all depends on how brave you want to be, how “out” you want to be as a client, and how much you stand to lose.  I think joining COSWAC would be a good start; another good move is financially supporting outspoken sex workers like me (either by booking dates with us or by donations).  Doing either of those doesn’t require you to be “out”, and they’d allow you to help while considering how much you really want to expose yourself.  Because I’ll tell you this: choosing to come out as a sex worker or client is not a decision to be made lightly.  It’s a one-way street, and could potentially affect your life for years to come if not indefinitely.  Though it’s absurd to make such a big deal about one person’s private, consensual sexual choices, the fact is we live in an authoritarian society which presumes to claim the “right” to control everyone’s sexuality; to represent personal choices as some sort of grave issue affecting all of society (especially women and “children” who aren’t involved in the choice and don’t even know the parties who were actually involved); and to treat sexual issues as though they were worse than mayhem and murder (where’s the “murder offense registry”? How about the “abusive cop registry”?)  I’m definitely not trying to talk you out of speaking out as a client; in fact, I celebrate men who do so.  But I want you to make the decision carefully and with all due consideration, so that when the inevitable repercussions appear (and they will, trust me), you have the courage of your convictions and can stand firmly against the storm.

(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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Why should it be illegal to sell something that you can give away for free?  –  Judge Consuelo Callahan

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through 

The idea that this constitutes “slavery” is almost as stupid as calling the cops was:

Kansas police arrested a man…and charged him with human trafficking, among other crimes…Joseph Stevenson Glenn…allegedly offered young homeless women a place to stay, then plied them with drugs until he received sexual favors, thus creating a cycle of sexual servitude…Glenn [precipitated] his own arrest by calling police and telling them that an unwanted guest was banging on his door…[cops] discovered drugs in plain view, along with two young girls who later were found to be homeless…[cops] allegedly found an assortment of illegal drugs, including cocaine, marijuana and meth….[plus] paraphernalia and scales to weigh the drugs…

The Enlightenment Police

This was inevitable; politicians everywhere are obsessed with regulating women’s bodies:

This week, Quebec banned people working in public service or using public services from wearing veils or any sort of facial covering, the first such ban in North America, one echoing “burqa ban” policies  passed across Europe.  Ushered in by Quebec’s Liberal Party as a way to “foster social cohesion” and “religious neutrality”…the law largely takes aim at Muslim women who veil their faces in public….women  can apply for exemptions—essentially a special license to wear a burqa or niqab that they would have to display to public officials…Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, called it “an unnecessary law with a made-up solution to an invented problem.  We don’t have hordes of women in niqabs trying to access or work in public services”…

Pyrrhic Victory

When an Eastern totalitarian state isn’t much more repressive than the “free” ones of the West, the world is in trouble:

[In] Kashgar…growing a beard can get you reported to the police.  So can inviting too many people to your wedding, or naming your child  Muhammad or Medina.  Driving or taking a bus to a neighboring town, you’d hit checkpoints where armed police officers might search your phone for banned apps like Facebook or Twitter, and scroll through your text messages to see if you had used any religious language.  You would be particularly worried about making phone calls to friends and family abroad.  Hours later, you might find police…knocking at your door and asking questions that make you suspect they were listening in the whole time…China, which has already deployed the world’s most sophisticated internet censorship system, is building a surveillance state in Xinjiang…that uses both the newest technology and human policing to keep tabs on every aspect of citizens’ daily lives.  The region is home to a Muslim ethnic minority called the Uighurs, who China has blamed for forming separatist groups and fueling terrorism.  Since this spring, thousands of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities have disappeared into so-called political education centers…

First They Came for the Hookers…

Just in case you think being a “legal” sex worker protects you:

Bourbon Street has become an epicenter of the New Orleans sex trade, according to a yearlong investigation by…The Times-Picayune.  [Pig] records…and interviews with dozens of officials, club representatives, human trafficking experts and trafficking victims reveal how a patchwork of strip clubs featuring private rooms have continued to be plagued by prostitution and drug use…Bourbon Street has become a playground for pimps – the kingpins of a brutal and sadistic underworld that hides in plain sight…Even when authorities have compiled evidence that pimps on Bourbon are exploiting women, recruiting new sex trafficking victims and more recently using the women to rob customers, the sex trade has continued to fester…Covenant House [claims]…dozens of women – some younger than 18 – have reported falling victim to trafficking and sexual exploitation in clubs…there has been no evidence that clubs knowingly employed dancers who were victims of human trafficking [but prohibitionists fantasize]…the trafficking opportunity arises from a constant presence of pimps…

I don’t think I have to tell you just how much reeking bullshit this is. Yes, things have changed since Katrina, but not this much.  When I remind you that Covenant House was also behind the defeated law to ban women under 21 from working as strippers, and tell you that a number of New Orleans “officials” harbor really stupid fantasies of making Bourbon Street “family friendly”, does the picture become more clear?

If Men Were Angels 

A few more cases like this may spell the beginning of the end for the “sex addiction” scam:

A therapist accused of sexually assaulting a former juvenile patient numerous times at a youth treatment center told the girl that “he was a sex addict”…Jason Scott Calder…[manipulated the girl] from March until June…During one therapy session, Calder had the girl take off her clothes, but told her he couldn’t touch her…”Things progressed rather quickly and the therapist suggested they go for a walk up in the mountains alone for their next therapy session…the therapist would have special therapy sessions with her late into the night.  He would call her at the treatment facility to discuss, ‘keeping their story straight, when he was off shift'”…Other staff members noticed the late therapy sessions and mountain walks, which he did not do with any other female patient, and he was soon fired…

The Last Shall Be First (#625) 

The politicians knew this would happen; they don’t care because the law was nothing more than political theater intended to win votes:

Transgender people would be allowed to use public restrooms in North Carolina that match their gender identity under a settlement agreement filed [last] Wednesday that aims to resolve the federal lawsuit over the state’s widely criticized bathroom law…North Carolina has been mired in litigation about transgender rights since Republican lawmakers enacted a law in 2016 that restricted bathroom choice in state-run buildings to the sex on people’s birth certificates rather than their gender identity.  A measure passed in March rescinded the so-called bathroom bill…but activists said transgender people still faced discrimination under the new law, which left state lawmakers in control of bathroom policies…

To Molest and Rape 

Sex workers know this is cops’ idea of “community support”:

A police community support officer raped and sexually assaulted women he met while investigating crimes…Orhan Yigit…paraded naked in front of a victim of domestic violence, asked her for sexual favours in return for help to escape her marriage and [then raped] her…another [woman] who [foolishly] answered the door to him dressed in a nightie was “cuddled”, kissed on the shoulder and inappropriately touched…[he repeatedly raped] a third woman [and gained her silence by threatening her with information]…he discovered…by doing illegal checks on the police computer…

The Widening Gyre (#699)

Moral panics never end until they start harming middle-class white women:

Alex McDaniel, a writer for the blog Magnolia State Live, tweets a lot…usually it’s for laughs…a couple weeks ago, after tweeting about her son using the potty and the funny things he said, she added: “3-year-old for sale. $12 or best offer.”  Which kicked off a human trafficking investigation…”They told me an anonymous male tipster called Mississippi’s child abuse hotline days earlier to report me for attempting to sell my 3-year-old son, citing a history of mental illness that probably drove me to do it…The most hellish week of my life [followed]…All because enough people believed I was actually trying to sell my son on Twitter for $12″…with the help of an attorney, McDaniel got the charges dropped within days.  Not everyone is as lucky.

I Saw My Brain (#725)

Yet another pogrom in the pocket police-state that is Polk County, Florida:

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office [victimized] 277 [people] in a weeklong undercover sting [using] human trafficking [as a pretext for harassing people involved in]…online prostitution, which the agency is calling “Operation No Tricks, No Treats.”…51 were arrested on charges of advertising as prostitutes online, 209 under suspicion of soliciting undercover detectives posing as prostitutes and 17 under suspicion of deriving proceeds from prostitution…

O, Canada! (#755)

The outcry against the grotesque “Operation Northern Spotlight” is growing:

Newfoundland and Labrador groups are adding their voice to a national chorus calling for an end to a sting operation targeting sex [workers]…Heather Jarvis, project coordinator of the Safe Harbour Outreach Project (S.H.O.P.) [spoke against]…Operation Northern Spotlight…which…involves [cops] posing as potential clients…”These women are being lied to by police,” she said.  “They come to a hotel room expecting to meet a client and expecting to gain income…and instead are met with a team of [cops] who [interrogate] them.  They feel very condescended to, they feel incredibly frightened”…Sex worker advocacy groups in British Columbia and Ontario have also asked for the operation to end…

Challenge (#769)

During oral arguments before Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges…ESPLERP attorney Louis Sirkin stressed that the case “is not about sex trafficking, it’s not about the abuse of women, and it’s not about the abuse of minors.  It is about consenting adults that voluntary want to work in the sex for hire industry.”  Dozens of civil rights, public health, and LGBTQ groups have filed briefs in support of ESPLERP’s challenge, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern and Northern California, the California Women’s Law Center, the anti–sex trafficking group Children of the Night, the First Amendment Lawyers Association, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, and Lambda Legal…Judge Carlos Bea suggested that the state’s arguments for why it could ban prostitution also would allow California to ban one-night stands…The U.S. District Court that heard ESPLERP’s challenge last year [pre]tended that only “intimate personal relationships,” not purely sexual ones, were protected from state interference per the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Lawrence [but] Sirkin pointed out…that, in fact, the men who had been arrested in Lawrence were not in an ongoing relationship.  He said that the fundamental right implicated here, as in Lawrence, concerns sexual privacy…

The Widening Gyre (#774)

Once they expanded the panic by adding male “sex slaves”, it was inevitable they’d get to transwomen:

Spanish police said…that they had broken up a ring that was forcing young transvestites and transsexuals into prostitution, including at least one minor.  Police [claimed]…a man and a woman [were]…forcing the youths into selling their bodies at a Madrid flat where they were kept against their will.  “They were controlled 24 hours a day, lived jammed into small rooms and their exploiters forced them to pay abusive prices for any food, drink or product which they consumed,” police [claimed]…they…did not say how many prostitutes had been freed…saying only that one of them was just 17 years old…

One man and one woman guarded multiple captives in a single flat 24 hours a day? Really?

The Widening Gyre (#783) 

Watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control is deeply gratifying:

Despite a Canton man’s claims that his wife and daughter were nearly abducted from a Michigan…Target store for human trafficking purposes last month, township police say his story doesn’t appear credible.  The man made the claim in a Facebook live video over the weekend…in [which] he said he was trying to bring awareness about human trafficking…he said.  “This is a real, real thing going on in Michigan.  We are the No. 2 state for human trafficking and it’s happening all over”…

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