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Archive for December, 2018

Endings to be useful must be inconclusive.  –  Samuel R. Delany

It’s a good thing that this year wasn’t nearly as hard for me personally as the past three were, because it has been absolutely catastrophic for sex workers as a group.  And since we’re the canaries in the civil liberties coal mine, that presages bad times on the horizon for everyone, especially (but not limited to) marginalized communities, who always suffer most when government declares war on human rights.  When FOSTA was enacted and a full-scale attack on Backpage was launched back in the spring, whores and our allies warned the rest of y’all that it was only the beginning of an all-out assault on the internet, which politicians in the US and Europe have been trying to bring under government control for a quarter-century now.  And if FOSTA isn’t reversed, that assault will succeed; its censorship provisions have already frightened dozens of web platforms into shutting down, and those which haven’t are either self-lobotomizing or attempting to turn their sites into massive walled gardens, like AOL writ large across what was once a free and open internet.  It’s inevitable that new platforms will appear in countries which are interested in neither US sex hysteria nor European attempts to police human emotions, suppress speech and enrich corporate copyright holders, but in the meantime things may get a lot worse before they get better.  So I suggest you enjoy your parties tonight and resolve to persevere in the coming year, because I don’t think it’s going to be very much fun for anybody.

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The carpet was just pulled out underneath us.  –  Tammy Marie Kruwell

Oops

300 texts does not equate to 300 men, since many guys send a barrage:

A Michigan woman says hundreds of men solicited her for sex within just a couple days…because her number ended up on an escort [advertising] website…Her phone holds nearly 300 texts and some voicemails from men looking for attention.  Susan said she didn’t even know most of the sexual lingo in the texts…one of the texts referenced a website called “Skip the Games”…the family emailed the site administrator numerous times and asked them to take the number down.  They had no success [until they copied a TV station in]…on an email…

First They Came for the Hookers… 

Just in case you think being a “legal” sex worker protects you from the lies of cops and prudes:

The Providence [Rhode Island] Board of Licenses revoked the [Foxy Lady] strip club’s licenses [less than a week before Christmas because] Providence Police arrested three dancers at the club last week [for refusing to give pigs sex]…at least 200…employees are suddenly out of work…Mayor Jorge Elorza [slandered] the club [claiming it was] running a “full-on prostitution ring”.  The attorney for the club, Fausto Anguilla, has [pointed out that] police…never proved that sex was occurring inside the club’s private rooms.  Several dancers…[told reporters] management at the club is strict with its no-prostitution rules, and cut ties with dancers who were caught having sex in the private rooms…

Torture Chamber 

Our government refers to this as “correction”:

A [privately-owned prison for] juvenile [prisoners]…in northern Minnesota is accused of failing to stop the sexual abuse of minors in its care, according to two federal lawsuits…[which] detail two separate [coercive] sexual relationships between teenage girls and employees dating back to 2014, both resulting in criminal convictions…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#412) 

New items of this type appear under the heading “Permanent Record”:

“LEGAL ‘NYMPH’,” blared the front page of [the December 13thToronto Sun. “Law student faces good character hearing over double life as an escort.”  Except — as the story about prospective lawyer Nadia Guo made clear near its top — what the headline described was not the case at all…No one complained about her escort job.  Instead, the complaints made to the Law Society of Ontario concerned Guo’s conduct as an articling student in the latter half of 2015…the piece by courts reporter Sam Pazzano…[also revealed her stage name], “Dawn Lee”…the Sun ran a correction to its front-page headline [the next day]…But Toronto Star columnist Rosie DiManno ran her own piece …that led with Guo’s sex work, printed her work name in its first sentence, and expressed apparent surprise and disappointment that the Law Society chose not to [persecute] her…for [doing work to pay for school]…

Traffic Jam (#680)

Looks like Minnesota’s second attempt to imprison a bunch of migrants as “sex traffickers” fared better than its first:

A federal jury in St. Paul has convicted all five people charged with conspiring to traffic hundreds of Thai women for sex…nearly three dozen other [people were charged]…all but five [made] plea…[bargains]…Prosecutors said victims, some of whom testified during the trial, were misled as to how much they truly owed and were threatened if they tried to leave the business…U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald described the case as one of the largest trafficking networks ever dismantled…

I’d be a lot more inclined to believe there was serious exploitation here if we hadn’t heard all this before, especially the practically-impossible claims of client numbers.  Remember, migrant sex workers are far less likely to be deported if the agree to sing the state’s song, so there’s no real way to know how much of this is true and how much hype.

The Mote and the Beam (#776)

Just in case you though FOSTA was as bad as it would get:

…Congress…authorized a [bipartisan] national [crusade to] arrest…sex [workers’ clients] and approved the use of secret wiretaps in misdemeanor prostitution cases…as part of the massive “Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act“…through a secret vote of the sort civil libertarians have long opposed…based on the false idea that customers of…adult sex workers [magically] drive demand for minors.  All state and local cops, prosecutors, and judges are to be [encouraged]…to [steal the] asset[s of sex workers and clients]…In addition, Congress “clarif[ies] that commercial sexual exploitation is a form of gender-based violence,” whatever that means…The House…passed the bill via “voice vote,” a process under which there’s neither a record of how members voted, whether they were present for a vote, nor how many total members actually voted…One provision essentially creates a new federal crime initiative by directing resources and money to fight “sextortion”…

Lack of Evidence (#859) 

If sex work weren’t illegal laws like this would be easily overturned:

Jessica, a 23-year-old transgender woman living in Queens…[was arrested on] July 8…and charged…with “loitering for the purpose of engaging in a prostitution act”…[the “evidence” cops listed was that she] was wearing “a mini skirt and a blouse which showed cleavage”…Loitering arrests increased more than 180 percent between January and October…last year…More than half of the…arrests occurred in Queens, where attorneys say they’re concentrated in…immigrant-heavy neighborhoods…This increase in loitering arrests follows a class action lawsuit backed by the Legal Aid Society of New York that challenges the constitutionality of New York’s law on loitering for the purposes of prostitution…recent loitering complaints noted that defendants were wearing “black cowboy boots” and “light blue short [sic], a red tank top and tan sandals”…

See also “Business As Usual” below.

Rescued To Death (#869)

“Abatement”.  A term used for inhuman things, especially nuisances:

A new unit that San Francisco police created to [harass sex workers]…is facing opposition from advocates…the Sex Workers Abatement Unit…has resulted in an uptick in the number of sex workers who have been arrested in the Mission…[and reinforces] a hostile environment where “women are forced into more isolated, unfamiliar areas where attacks are more likely…sex workers who are victims of violence are intimidated and running from police,” [Rachel] West [of US PROS] said.  West argued that the unit undermines a police policy from last December that [supposedly] prevents sex workers who are the victims of certain crimes from being arrested for performing sex work.  The policy [gives lip service to the fact] that “the criminalization of sex work is one of the primary barriers to reporting violence to law enforcement”…

I’ve spoken out against these hollow “policies” before; they are not binding and can be reversed as easily as they were granted.  They’re not a serious effort to respond to sex workers’ concerns; they’re just meant to shut us up.

Business As Usual (#895)

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

Mariatu was 15 years old when her widowed mother died and she ended up sleeping rough on the streets of Freetown where she fell into commercial sex work.  Not long after, she was arrested for “loitering” and, unable to pay a police bribe, spent six months in an adult jail.  Now 22, she is desperate to escape a life marked by suffering, violence and exploitation and is appealing to the state to provide more support to Sierra Leone’s sex workers who are stigmatised by society and suffer unfair treatment at the hands of the legal system.  She spoke to the Guardian before the online launch of a documentary to mark the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers which…examines their treatment by [cops]…who…exploit…them for sex and money…

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You’re learning today boy.  –  Crystal Towns

This early animated film, with a very aptly-chosen modern soundtrack, was called to my attention by Jesse Walker, who also provided the second link.  The first was provided by Jillian Keenan, and the others by PopehatLenore SkenazyScott Greenfield, and Franklin Harris, in that order.

From the Archives

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Diary #443

Last Saturday I drove out to Sunset for Christmas, and didn’t return until early Wednesday evening; normally I don’t like doing things on Boxing Day, but Grace and Chekhov had some things to do starting early yesterday so I didn’t want to get in their way.  It was a lovely, relaxing holiday; on Sunday evening we got blissfully high and just lay around talking and listening to Christmas music, then on Monday I cleaned up the house while the others went to town for last-minute supplies.  We had several guests for Christmas dinner, and one brought some lovely spiced rum infused with THC (which delivered quite a kick when added to eggnog and I will definitely be asking for more when this bottle is done).  My mood was so positive it wasn’t even disrupted by having to chase a certain naughty pony who found a weak spot in the fence and decided to make it her personal escape hatch (the spot was patched and I’ve asked Chekhov to do a more permanent repair this week).  Grace is also about to start on the floor repair, and after that the next project is building bookshelves so my collection can finally be properly displayed for the first time since we left New Orleans.  Sunset isn’t my dream home, and we still have a lot of work to do before I can really be proud of it.  But it’s all mine with nothing owed, and it’s a cozy place I can retreat to as often as I like.  And that’s worth more than all the silly dreams I’ve ever wasted tears over.

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Facial recognition…will turn members of the public into walking ID cards.  –  Silkie Carlo

The Red Umbrella 

As tourists shopped for Christmas gifts in the brightly lit Westlake Center, sex worker and performance artist Vee Chattie sat half-naked in the rain on a towel…[covered in] fake blood…poured…from a vessel marked “FOSTA-SESTA“…A few bicycle cops rode up to make sure they weren’t actually bleeding.  A passerby asked if they were okay.  Another stopped by to voice his agreement…these Seattleites showed more human concern for Chattie than many show for sex workers on a regular basis.  It was effective performance art…

Real People 

A good profile of veteran trans & sex worker rights activist Ceyenne Doroshow:

…As a Black trans woman I see progress, but not that much…we have a government fighting against our very existence…Are we gonna go back to the Stonewall days where you need to have on two male articles [of clothing]?…I will never go back to those times, I’m sorry.  When I had to be Eddie Morales, it was for survival.  When I had to do sex work, it was definitely survival.  Because even working a part-time job for a non-profit where I’m saving lives was not paying me enough to sustain in life…And we’re still seeing that today in not-for-profits.  We’re being tokenized…We can systematically turn people off when we let a government ordain what femininity looks like, what women’s rights looks like, what protection looks like…

Above the Law  

Even being related to a cop may be enough:

Rape and sodomy charges against the son of Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton were dismissed by a…grand jury…Patrick Melton…[raped the drunk] victim on July 7 at his residence on University Avenue in Lexington [Kentucky]…The woman…tried to squirm, push and kick Melton…[and] multiple witnesses confirmed the victim’s statements that she was intoxicated and passed out prior to the [rape]…

Watershed

When the magazine founded by Gloria “Body Invasion” Steinem publishes an anti-Swedish model article, the handwriting is on the wall for “feminist” prohibitionism:

…the “Nordic Model”…is often touted as a compromise between the criminalization or decriminalization of sex work, and one that decreases prosecution against sex workers—but, like all criminalization approaches to the regulation of sex work, the Nordic Model is underpinned by a moralistic framing of sex work that is inherently harmful, to sex workers and to society at-large…it applies an oversimplified macro-economic framing of supply and demand to an industry that consists of fundamentally discrete, personal and often isolated or irregular interactions.  December 17 is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers—and we’re demanding an end to “End Demand”.  Here are three reasons why…

Japanese Prostitution (#435) 

More accurate headline: “Enjo kosai girls get better at protecting themselves from busybodies”:

More than half of youths involved in [what is now labeled] child prostitution in Japan’s three biggest metropolitan areas last year had shown no signs of delinquency, attending schools normally and having never had criminal records, a survey shows.  The finding suggests it has been increasingly difficult for parents and teachers to detect a change in the attitude of juveniles, the National Police Agency said…[yet still insisted on describing them as]…victimized…[even though] most…were involved in [sex work]…for financial reasons, with 84.5 percent saying they wanted “money for leisure and other activities,” while 5.7 percent and 2.6 percent pointed to “living expenses” and “tuition,” respectively.  Other reasons included “out of curiosity” and “invited by friends”…

“Compensated dating” has existed in Japan for decades, but Japanese “authorities” have only started imposing a “crime and victimization” narrative on the activity within this decade.

The Prudish Giant (#789)

People sometimes ask why I’m not on Facebook:

Facebook gave more than 150 companies, including Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, and Yahoo, unprecedented access to users’ personal data…[the] New York Times…obtained hundreds of pages of Facebook documents, generated in 2017, that show that the social network considered these companies business partners and effectively exempted them from its privacy rules.  Facebook allowed Microsoft’s search engine Bing to see the names of nearly all users’ friends without their consent, and allowed Spotify, Netflix, and the Royal Bank of Canada to read, write, and delete users’ private messages, and see participants on a thread.  It also allowed Amazon to get users’ names and contact information through their friends, let Apple access users’ Facebook contacts and calendars even if users had disabled data sharing, and let Yahoo view streams of friends’ posts “as recently as this summer,” despite publicly claiming it had stopped sharing such information a year ago…

The article then goes on to list the denials & prevarications of Facebook and many of its “partners”.

Stupor Bowl (#811)

Prohibitionists are trying to subvert our debunking of the gypsy whores myth by pretending the reason there’s no surge is that the “demand” for “victims” is always sky-high:

[Prohibitionist profiteer] Bob Rodgers [said] “The Super Bowl doesn’t cause sex trafficking…Conferences and conventions, like so many we have in Atlanta, don’t cause sex trafficking.  It is already occurring in every metro Atlanta county and it will still be happening when the Super Bowl leaves”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#871)

The biggest problem with this ridiculous failure rate is that it won’t stay inaccurate for much longer:

London cops have been slammed for using unmarked vans to test controversial and inaccurate automated facial recognition technology on Christmas shoppers…in…Soho, Piccadilly Circus, and Leicester Square…the tech will be attached to vans and run for eight hours on each day…In May, a Freedom of Information request from Big Brother Watch showed the Met’s facial recog had a 98 per cent false positive rate…a subsequent request found that 100 per cent of the so-called matches since May have been incorrect.  A recent report from Cardiff University questioned the technology’s abilities in low light and crowds – which doesn’t bode well for a trial in some of the busiest streets in London just days before the winter solstice…

Disaster (#895) 

Never forget that “filter” is merely a euphemism for “censor”:

According to Tumblr, its new adult content ban doesn’t effect [sic] images of “female-presenting nipples” that involve medical situations, are related to political speech, or appear in artwork.  Tumblr itself, however, apparently can’t come up with four examples of [nipple pictures]…its porn filter actually allows…Tumblr’s staff account published a message  aimed at “clarify[ing]” the new policy…[including] a gif providing several examples of nudity that is “still permitted within our policy”…but…when Gizmodo posted the gif to Tumblr ourselves, it was immediately flagged as a potential violation and hidden by the…filter.  When the images…were uploaded individually, two of the four examples…were similarly flagged and hidden…In recent days, the platform has allegedly flagged a picture of a finger, historical bus photos, and Great British Bake-Off gifs…

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Boxing Day 2018

Just a reminder of what this day is for:  relaxing and sharing with the less fortunate.  And they needn’t be strangers.  Happy Holidays, and Blessed Be.

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Christmas Day 2018


A Very Merry Christmas to all my readers, and Blessed Be!

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