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Archive for the ‘The Dark Side’ Category

Nothing about the human animal is absolute; we’re all complicated organisms with the ability to feel several conflicting things at once.  So even though I’m among the most cynical creatures you’ll ever encounter, there is still a part of me that wants to believe that there is a limit to the stupidity of most of the creatures I encounter.  Alas, I am disappointed in that respect on the order of several times a day, with the result that my cynicism increases still more.  It is my fervent hope that sometime in the next three years I will achieve such a high density of cynicism that no hope of any kind will be able to resist it, and I will collapse into a sort of black hole of cynicism, from whose event horizon not even the slightest particle of faith in humanity is able to escape.  Then and only then will I be able to resist the urge to either beat my head against a wall or actually strangle every yahoo endowed with a one-dimensional sense of ethics who brays that the current sorry state of the American empire is the fault of whichever “wing” of the US Fascist Party he does not identify with.  The idiocy of this tribalism has only increased with the waxing of this century, and despite the fact that the venue in which most of it is displayed happens to be the greatest research tool ever devised by Man, we are still forced to endure deeply, deeply stupid pronouncements from deeply, deeply stupid people that it’s all the fault of Clinton Bush Obama Trump despite the fact that most of what’s wrong is the predictable result of processes going on at least since the Adams administration, picking up speed during and after the American Civil War, exploding during the Progressive Era and New Deal, and coalescing into the basis for their current form during the Reagan administration.  The latest example (and as most of you have probably surmised, the one which inspired this rant) is seeing apparent humans with the attention span of a goldfish and the research skills of a ficus tree blaming FOSTA (the 100% predictable end product of a War on Whores with its roots in the Clinton administration, midwifed by the Bush administration and raised to sturdy adolescence by the Obama administration) on a man who couldn’t find his own moral center with both hands, Google maps and a burning dumpster full of advisors.  No, this scheme for purging all sexual content from the internet is not the product of Trump, the GOP or even “Trump’s America” (whatever the fuck that intensely-moronic phrase means); it is a wholly bipartisan tyranny, and the only difference is that the Republicans are slightly more apt to claim that sex is “immoral” while the Democrats are somewhat more apt to claim it’s “demeaning to women”.  Don’t fucking take my fucking word for it; go fucking look at the fucking vote totals for every fucking “sex trafficking” law ever fucking passed, up to and including fucking FOSTA.  You will find overwhelming numbers of members of both official parties lining up to shred the Constitution, censor the internet, grow the power of police and other government functionaries, and heap every harm and indignity imaginable upon sex workers, our clients, or anyone else who dares to be openly sexual.  Hell, we’ve already got the concentration camps (though we now call them “correctional institutions”); all that remains is to see what final solution they dream up to “help” us.  And whatever it is, you can bet it will be passed with near-unanimity while a vast chorus of toadies cacophonously croak that it’s all the other party’s fault.

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Today is Friday the 13th, when I ask non-sex workers to stand up for us.  So when Stacey Swimme, one of the founders of SWOP-USA, started discussing this on Twitter a few days ago, I asked her to elaborate for this column.  This is the result.

Come out only to the people you know, and who know you, not to anyone else…Once they realize that we are indeed their children and we are indeed everywhere- every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and for all…. And when you do, you will feel so much better.  –  Harvey Milk, 1978

When I told my mom in 2008 that I was an escort, she was accepting, but she told me it’s not something she wants me to discuss with other family members.  I agreed, but later when I joined Facebook for a brief period, my personal and activism lives collided.  Any one of my extended family members could see my posts about International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, posts vehemently opposing the censorship of the Craigslist Erotic Services section, and if they chose to, they could read through commentary left on posts by me and my sex work friends.  I’m sure they have gossiped about it over the years, but nobody ever says anything to me about it.

It’s a strange sort of in-between place for me.  “Everyone” in my life knows that I’m a sex worker.  I am “accepted” by my family in a way that I can appreciate, but I don’t call them allies.  There’s no talk of disowning me, no exclusion of me or my son or my intimate partners from family occasions, but they won’t voluntarily make it known that someone they love is a sex worker.  It’s just another weird thing I do that they don’t understand and don’t want to understand, but they love me anyway.  I’m generally at peace with how this has played out with my family.  I have a compartment in life where I can keep feelings, priorities and responsibilities associated with my birth family neatly tucked away to pull out for holidays and birthdays.  Then I have a larger compartment, a space preserved for my Found Family, the people I get to share my full identity with.  This doesn’t mean that while we are together I am constantly in “sex work mode”; it’s more that these people don’t need me to suppress any part of my identity in order to keep them comfortable.

Prohibition forces most of us to keep our activities and our whereabouts a secret from those who care for us the most.  That secrecy makes sex workers more vulnerable to abuse; opportunistic predators seek out victims who are least likely to be reported missing by loved ones.  The fear our loved ones have of shame-by-association is an asset to those who aim to harm us- predators and politicians alike.  The Green River Killer said he targeted sex workers because “….they were easy to pick up without being noticed.  I knew they would not be reported missing right away and might never be reported missing.  I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught.”  Sex workers need the world to know that we have people who care about us in our lives, in our communities, in our families.  Below is a micro-Call-To-Action for different communities who intersect with sex workers.  Find your own way; there’s something small and meaningful you can do for the sex worker in your life, something you can do within your own comfort zone.  No matter who you are, if you care about sex workers, please start with educating yourself.  There’s been plenty of writing on how to be an ally to sex workers.  This article from psychologist Marijke Vonk covers essential tips for allies plus links to even more resources for you; also go over to Black Girl Dangerous for a piece on allyship written by a sex worker.

Micro-Call to Actions:

Parents of sex workers:  Tell your child that you love them, no matter who finds out what they do; bonus points if you attend a sex work community event with them.  Get to know the area of their life that they traditionally hide from you; you’ll be relieved to find that the people you meet are just ordinary humans with an extraordinary job- and your child is not the one sane, stable exception in an industry reputed to be unsavory.

Partners of sex workers:  Support each other!  Yes, I’m sure you were expecting me to say, “go talk to media” or “post on social media” or “reveal to your parents that your partner is a sex worker.”  And yes, I do want you to do every single one of those things.  However, I don’t believe that you all, at this time, collectively have enough support, information and expertise to minimize the harms and maximize the benefits of coming out as a partner.  Please get there.  Figure it out, folks.  This needs to be peer-led; you all need each other.  Maybe a live twitter discussion by and for partners to kick it off?  Start with something small and achievable.

Friends of sex workers:  In recent weeks my friends have done some amazing things!  Several have made bold statements in support of sex worker rights on social media for all of their friends and family to see.  One friend of mine asked how she and her husband can help sex workers right now, so I sent her over to Red Light Legal to sponsor legal research for sex workers impacted by record seizures at BackPage and other ad sites.  Yes!  Married feminists can be allies to sex workers!  Donate if you can, make calls to lawmakers when we ask for it, correct misinformation when you hear it within your social networks.

Clients of sex workers:  Be good clients.  Donate to funds that support the most marginalized workers in the aftermath of FOSTA/SESTA.  If you are wealthy and can make a substantial contribution, do it!  If you’re paranoid about your financial statements showing something sex work related, give to SWOP Behind Bars or Desiree Alliance because their fiscal sponsors’ totally un-sexy name will appear on your statements.

Cannabis Industry:  It is time to retire the strain name “Jack The Ripper”.  This is insulting because it reveres a name that is infamous due to the brutal murders of sex workers in London.  It does not give due reverence to the long struggle of cannabis legalization and the healing properties of this wonderful plant.  In 2009, I pointed this out to a dispensary operator in San Fernando Valley; he said, “You’re right, I’m sorry to offend, I’ll change the name and let me hook you up with a free eighth, I didn’t mean to offend you ma’am.”  Boom!  Ally in action.  Nine years later, I have a new Call To Action for California’s cannabis industry:  Let’s collectively change the name of the Jack the Ripper strain to Jacq The Stripper, a true hero who deserves to have her name glorified in weed.  Also- hire sex workers for legal cannabis jobs!  As the legal cannabis industry booms, prison mongers are moving to recover lost profits by increasing legal penalties against sex workers.  It’s not a coincidence.

There are dozens of ways to actively support the sex worker in your life.  Ask your loved one what they need as an individual.  Be there for them first, then look at how you can support our community as a whole.  The next opportunity to both educate yourself and help us raise awareness is June 2, 2018 for International Whore’s Day; follow Survivors Against SESTA for organizing updates.  Sex workers have struggled for decades to build the peer-led resources, safety networks and community spaces that reduce the harms we face.  These resources are now under direct attack by policy-makers, law enforcement and misinformed advocates who believe that eliminating our safety resources will make sex work disappear from the world.  We will not disappear, but we need our allies to ensure that we are not silenced and excluded.  Please stand with us so we are not alone in this fight.

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Forbidding the promotion of prostitution on the Internet…would be “to burn the house to roast the pig.”  –  Alex F. Levy

Unless you were overseas, deeply inebriated or in a coma for the past two days, I’m sure you’ve heard that the massive internet censorship bill known as FOSTA passed the US Senate Wednesday as unanimously as bad laws based on moral panic always do; all it lacks is Trump’s signature to become law, and unless he pulls one of his bizarre reversals that’s pretty much a given.  The law is so blatantly unconstitutional (on several grounds, including flagrant violations of the first and tenth amendments, and article 1’s ban on ex post facto laws) that even the DoJ (which never saw an expansion of federal power it didn’t like) recognizes that, and it will indubitably be challenged as soon as it hits the ground; unless the judge who hears that challenge is some kind of incompetent lunatic he’ll issue an injunction against enforcing it until the case is settled, which could take years.  But that doesn’t mean we can relax; the big businesses which control the internet are so risk-averse many of them are unlikely to wait for the outcome of that ruling, and will simply start pre-emptively censoring sex work content as Reddit already has:

Sometime around 2 a.m. [yesterday], Reddit banned several long-running sex worker forums from the platform.  The move comes just hours after the Senate passed a bill making digital facilitation of prostitution a federal crime.  Under the new law, social media sites and other hubs of user-generated content can be held criminally liable…Even if individuals aren’t targeted by law enforcement for placing ads, and even if individual cases brought by state prosecutors are struck down as unconstitutional, a lot of platforms will preemptively ban anything remotely related to sex work rather than risk it.  So far, four subreddits related to sex have banned:  Escorts, Male Escorts, Hookers, and SugarDaddy. None were what could accurately be described as advertising forums…The escort forums were largely used by sex workers to communicate with one another…

Craigslist followed last night, removing its US personals ad section and posting this apology:

US Congress just passed HR 1865, “FOSTA”, seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.  Any tool or service can be misused.  We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline.  Hopefully we can bring them back some day.  To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!

I and many others have explained why this law is so uniquely awful, but let’s just sum it up once more:

  1. It allows US government censorship of the entire internet, destroys social media in all but the most neutered form, and creates a de facto internet cartel controlled entirely by the wealthiest and most powerful media corporations;
  2. It criminalizes all sex work advertising and creates a new federal prostitution crime;
  3. It allows both ambitious DAs and greedy opportunists to attack any internet entity with either criminal charges or civil suits for activity that was perfectly legal when it occurred.

Even if you aren’t a sex worker or civil libertarian, you should be able to see the issues with this, and so should all of the politicians who voted for it, who are guilty of nothing short of criminal incompetence:

Notre Dame law instructor Alex F. Levy:

The law relies on the unsubstantiated idea that reducing prostitution will reduce trafficking.  Indeed, the legislative report defends the regulation by proclaiming, without citation, that “[p]rostitution and sex trafficking are inextricably linked, and where prostitution is legalized or tolerated, there is a greater demand for human trafficking victims and nearly always an increase in the number of women and children trafficked into commercial sex slavery”…But the claim that legalizing (or decriminalizing) prostitution leads to sex trafficking is widely controverted by scholars…Congress does not even inquire into the basic reliability of the premise that undergirds this sweeping content-based speech restriction…it…restricts Constitutionally protected speech, yet fails under both strict and intermediate scrutiny standards.  It is unconstitutional and should not be passed into law…

Tech law journalist Mike Masnick:

…Senator Richard Blumenthal — who has spent years attacking the internet, and who has already stated that if SESTA kills small internet businesses he would consider that a good thing…sent out a letter…[in which] almost everything stated…is 100% factually wrong…so wrong that it raises serious questions about whether Blumenthal understands some fairly fundamental issues in the bill he’s backing.  Professor Eric Goldman has a pretty concise explanation of everything that’s wrong with the statement, noting that it…shows that SESTA’s main sponsors don’t even understand the very basic aspects of CDA 230…you have to start wondering what the hell is happening in the Senate, and in particular in Senator Blumenthal’s office.  He is not just doing a big thing badly — he is gleefully spouting the exact opposite of basic facts about both the existing law, and the bill he sponsored.  I know that politicians aren’t exactly known for their honesty, but he seems to be taking this to new levels…

Even economist Scott Cunningham, whom I’ve castigated more than once for not grasping basic facts about the demimonde, sure understands this one:

…This bill claims to be all about sex trafficking, but it seems to have a deep ignorance about how these markets work and a deep ignorance about the benefits of these technologies.  The people who support it don’t know about the client screening, they don’t know about the movement indoors and they don’t know that women are using these online platforms in order to avoid danger.  They don’t know or they don’t care…

Though Cunningham is perhaps being cautious and/or polite in his last statement, I think it’s pretty obvious that the latter clause is far more likely than the former.  Don’t you?

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Last summer I saw a client whom I have good reason to believe is quite capable of violence, and he is now stalking me.  For about a month now he has parked in front of my house and watched almost every night; it may have been longer, because it took me longer than I am comfortable with to notice.  Last week he switched up his game: he got out of his car, prowled around my house, and left much sooner than he usually does.  Then later, I found a ladder and a flashlight near the easiest entry point to my home.  I called my attorney to tell him I wanted a restraining order, but he told me to first file a police report; I stalled a bit, but when I finally went to the cops they refused to take a report.  After that, I immediately fled town in terror and am writing to you from several states away from my home.  I want to return as soon as I can and get a restraining order, but is there a way to file such an order under a stage name?  Please tell me you have some advice.

I’m so sorry to hear about this horrible situation.  I’m not at all surprised the cops wouldn’t do anything to help you; cops don’t give a damn what happens to sex workers, and commonly write “NHI” (“No Humans Involved”) on reports about violence toward us.  I would also advise against putting faith in restraining orders; they don’t have magic powers, and can’t stop violent people from being violent even when the cops are willing to enforce them (which in your case they won’t be).

I think it was a very good idea to leave town for a while; that won’t get rid of him, but it may put him off your scent temporarily.  You’re going to need help from friends and associates to deal with this, and if I were in your place I’d contact the local SWOP chapter (I know there is one in your city) right away in addition to informing all the friends you can trust.  I think it would be best if you find another place to live; if possible, get a friend, family member or trusted client to sign the lease for you, and you may want to consider not living alone for a while.  In fact, if you’re not especially tied to the city you’re “currently based in” (that sounds like you might not plan to live there permanently), you might consider moving to another city entirely (one where you have friends).  If your stalker has a regular job (it sounds like he might if he only sits outside your place at night), send your friends (do NOT go yourself) to move your stuff while he’s at work; if you can’t be sure when he’ll be tied up, you’ll have to be sneaky about this because you CANNOT risk his following them.  And even after you move, I would suggest being very watchful for at least a year; he’s already proven he’s obsessed enough to follow you for over half that long.

Once you’ve ensured your physical safety as best you can, I suggest being extra-cautious with new clients from here on out.  If you’ve been a loose screener before, it’s definitely time to change that; he knows your stage name and contact info, and once he can’t find where you live he’ll almost certainly try contacting you through work, possibly pretending to be someone else.  So it’s absolutely imperative that you get good references from every new client, that you make sure you know his name & job so you can be ABSOLUTELY sure it isn’t the stalker, and that you talk to every new client on the phone so you can hear his voice before meeting him, to be sure in your mind that it really is a new person.  Finally, if you can afford it, you might also consider renting a separate place to be your incall, so that even if this dangerous person figures out where you work, it won’t automatically let him know where you live.

I’m going to publish this on Thursday (with identifying details removed for your safety) and ask readers for input as well; please look at my blog and Twitter feed on Thursday, because one of my readers may have been through something like this before, and may have some good advice.  That’s all I can think of at the moment, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not go home until you have a plan in place, and friends on alert who will come to you instantly if called.

(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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Though Laura Lee is gone, her friends will not let her be forgotten; there were many awful people who hurt her for her work, from Catholic nuns to “feminist” crusaders to pompous politicians.  But there is one we have kept silent about for years; no more.  Brooke Magnanti obtained permission from Laura’s surviving family to write this; she published it on Medium, and asked me to mirror it here as a signal-boost.

I first met activist Laura Lee at a signing for my book The Sex Myth in 2012.  We became friends instantly, united by our belief that no activism is more powerful than being honest to people about sex work.  That showing our faces is the only way to speak truth to power.  Both of us experienced the ups and downs of going public with our pasts.  From Laura Lee’s grilling in Stormont, or how we were spoken about and treated by the press, it’s safe to say that being known as a sex worker invites vicious criticism, to the extent that we both received threats of death and violence.  We bitched and bonded over it behind the scenes, but got on with life, because some things were more important than cowering while cowards raged.  Laura was always keen to show as full a picture of sex work as possible.  She had worked at almost every level of the industry and knew the business inside out.  As she liked to say, she’d been everywhere from chicken sheds to five-star hotels.  Laura had a knack of telling her story in a way that was relatable, especially to other single mothers and concerned parents.  She had a gift.

Unfortunately that producer was not successful in developing a show featuring Laura, so the plans were put on the back burner.  But he did have other media connections, and it was his acquaintance with a music journalist in Dublin that convinced Laura to give an in-depth interview to well-known Irish writer Olaf Tyaransen.  You already know the kind of man Olaf is:  middle aged but refuses to wear ties, brags about going backstage with Bono, tweets “edgy” comments about drugs.  But he was the friend of a friend, so we figured he was probably alright.  The interview happened in October of 2014.  With so much interest in Laura’s activism, I hardly paid attention to what surely would be just one of the many positive and impactful interviews she gave that year.  When she messaged me shortly after, I was stunned by what she said.  After the interview, Laura told me, Olaf had invited himself back to her room for more chat.  And it was there he drugged her, beat her, and sexually assaulted her.  Now, for those who didn’t know Laura: she was not only formidable in activism, she was just as formidable in person.  A tall, strong woman whose physical presence served her well in domination — the part of sex work that comprised the majority of her appointments.  She was no meek submissive, and experienced enough to follow her instincts on who was potentially dangerous.  In a business that is never risk-free, she handled herself.  He still beat her black and blue.

Laura was not the kind to throw around false accusations.  I believed her as soon as she told me.  But she even shared pictures of a chat with another friend describing what he had done.  She didn’t report it, not right away.  Sex workers know that feminist solidarity rarely if ever applies to us.  Laura was a strong person but also realistic.  What power does a sex worker, even a well-known one, have against a journalist?  Who would be believed?  Sex workers are the “surplus women” who absorb men’s violence, in the view of the mainstream press.  When attacks happen we do not expect to be cared for or supported.  At worst we can expect to be disbelieved; at best, to be told that we deserve it.  Take for example the case of Morgan Marquis-Boire, a hacker from New Zealand.  The violent abuse he perpetrated was covered up not only because of who he was, but because of who his victims were, including sex workers.  It is exactly this kind of stigma that Laura spent years fighting.  The stigma that is heightened by the Swedish Model and other anti-sex worker propaganda.  The stigma that suggests it’s “feminist” for sex workers to operate in the shadows and be victimised.  The stigma that says women are only valuable if they are sweet and virginal and blameless.  The kind that makes it difficult for sex workers who are attacked to go to the police.

The Hotpress piece by Tyaransen ran in December 2014, and eventually what she told me about the interview left my mind.  Laura continued to follow Olaf on Twitter after the assault, which was no surprise if you knew her.  She followed a lot of accounts she disagreed with, from Irish anti-sex work campaigners Ruhama to Abolition Scotland to Human Trafficking News.  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer as the saying goes.  Life went on.  Or seemed to.  Then 2017 happened, and so did #MeToo.  The movement began with Hollywood and Weinstein but it didn’t end there.  Suddenly the floodgates were opening.  Powerful men in media who for decades had gotten away with harassment, abuse, and rape were being called out by their victims.  Some were even being held to account, losing projects and positions.  #MeToo gave Laura hope.  Hope that finally she would be able to go to the Gardaí and be believed.  Hope that she could tell her story and, if not put her abuser in jail, at least prevent any other woman from going through what she went through.  Now, there are all kinds of men who abuse.  In the case of people such as Harvey Weinstein, power covers their tracks.  But others are more insidious.  They lurk in the shadows, picking off the vulnerable, the liminal, the unlikely to be believed.  They attack people with complicated pasts such as sex workers.  And they present a blameless face to the world.  Consider, for example, this tweet from Tyransen in December 2017:

My tweet (now deleted) asked if there was a reason he in particular might be afraid of the ground shifting.  I wanted to let him know, if he was self-aware enough to realise it, that what he had done would not stay secret for much longer.  Rape is more than an edgy lifestyle choice for sad middle aged journos on a Hunter S Thompson trip.  It’s fair to say he either didn’t get the hint or was still confident a man’s insistence would win out over a sex worker’s evidence.  This was his response:

Twitter spats count for very little; what matters is holding abusers to account.  In November 2017, Laura, supported by Wendy Lyon, gave a statement of evidence to the police at Store Street Station in Dublin.  The weight of what had happened troubled her in the years since it happened.  In particular the thought that with no one speaking out, he might have been able to do the same thing to someone else.  With police and papers suddenly interested in exposing abusers, Laura felt that — regardless of the stress it would cause her, with so much else going on — it was time to speak up.  Wendy stayed with her on that day, while Laura gave her statement for over six hours.  Laura was a strong person, almost unimaginably so.  And this took every bit of strength she had.  We waited for something to happen.  And waited.  And waited.  Meanwhile, her attacker went about his life as if nothing happened, because for him, it probably was nothing.  We continued to keep tabs on him, noting how dismissive he was of the Presidents Club dinner wait staff who had been abused.  A subtweet meant for Laura?  Maybe.  A shudder-inducing insight into the mind of a predator?  Definitely. 

And then everything changed, again.  I wish I could say this is the part where the guards kick in a door, cuff the guy, and justice prevails but many readers will already know how this story ends.  It ends with Laura Lee’s sudden death.  It ends with Gardaí closing the case because the main witness is gone.  It ends with a man who preyed on someone he thought would never speak out just…getting away with it.  Now it is over three years since Olaf Tyaransen sexually assaulted Laura Lee in a hotel room, drugged her, beat her black and blue.  For far too long we watched and waited and hoped for something to be done only to be told, now, there will never be justice.  But I am alive.  And I don’t give a shit about legal threats and bluster and the egos of violent men.  Laura would have done the same for any sex worker.  In fact she did: staying on social media all night to make sure a friend who was raped on tour was OK.  Lambasting journalists for how they reported on the trial of Bala Chinda, who murdered sex worker Jessica McGraa.  She was not one to let violence against sex workers by cowardly men be brushed under the rug.  Laura Lee tried, in a world that little cared for our lives and safety, to be an advocate.  She tried to put her abuser behind bars.  She can’t carry that on anymore, and between the indifference of the #MeToo movement to the stories of sex workers and the failure of the police to move forward as soon as they had evidence, perhaps this will go nowhere.  Perhaps I am just pissing in the wind.  But I don’t think I am, and I don’t think Laura would believe I was either.  It matters for people to know her struggle and her pain.  It matters for people to know who the predators are, the ones who bide their time so they can attack women they perceive as vulnerable and sneer about it all later.  Olaf Tyaransen drugged and raped Laura Lee.  He beat her.  And he went on with his life as if nothing happened.  He did it because of who she was, counting on her never being able to tell her side of the story.  She tried to fight the stigma and use the system to her advantage, but now she is gone, and he wins.  Just the way they always did and always do.

Beware this man Olaf Tyaransen, abuser, vile slime in journalist’s clothing.  And never let him do this to anyone ever again.

Laura left behind a teenage daughter on her own; please consider donating to the ongoing fundraiser to help Cat, which runs until the first week of March.

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I believe my goldfish is having an affair with my oven mitt.
–  Lenore Skenazy, mocking “sex trafficking” hysteria

Follow Your Bliss 

The naive believe the government propaganda that “child predators” are creepy dudes who hang out at playgrounds; in reality, they are largely people in positions of authority over their preferred targets:

A[n]…administrator on Bradford Safeguarding Children Board has been jailed for five years for a series of sex offences involving young boys.  Heathcliffe Bowen…was convicted of six offences which happened between 2013 and 2015.  Judge Jonathan Durham Hall…said Bowen…was a “predatory paedophile”…[who] had a “deep and entrenched interest” in underage boys and said he had “never shown any shame or remorse”…

Profound Mental Disabilities (#562)

Naturally, my skepticism about this case was wholly warranted:

A legal fight has reached the end of the line between a Florida dominatrix and a former client who claimed she drained his bank account and credit cards of more than $500,000 and took over ownership of his townhouse.  Orange County, Fla., Judge Keith White recently ruled in favor of Goddess Jude, who was sued by client Alex Abrams, granting her motion to dismiss and paving the way for her to recoup legal costs of defending herself.  Abrams…alleged that Goddess Jude should have been found liable for civil theft, unjust enrichment and conversion, as well of abuse, neglect and exploitation of elderly persons because he was above 60 years old when he first called on for her services…he…opened new joint financial accounts…and made her an authorized user on his credit card accounts…[then] transferred a…townhouse worth $100,000 to her.  After an apparent change of heart and claims of dementia, Abrams sought to recoup all the material assets he had given her…In November, a judge made a ruling…dismissing Abrams claims against Goddess Jude entirely — after Abrams and his attorney, who later withdrew from the case, failed to attend several depositions…A court hearing…over recovery of attorney’s fees and court-imposed sanctions has been set for March…

To Molest and Rape 

Typical cop engaging in typical and representative cop behavior:

The Bexar County [San Antonio, Texas] Sheriff’s Office…arrested a county deputy on an aggravated sexual assault of a child charge…[jailer] Clayton Saunders was placed on administrative leave…and a no-contact order was issued.  Further investigation led his formal arrest on [January 27th]…

Divided We Fall (#672)

Why does Gay, Inc never speak up for sex worker rights until it’s too late?

At a town hall meeting last summer, members of Toronto’s gay community, worried that a serial killer was operating in their midst, warned that the city’s sex workers might be particularly at risk.  That fear proved prescient…Dean Lisowick, a common face in the Gay Village and long-time sex worker, is believed to be the last known victim of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur…[who] is also facing four other charges of first-degree murder for the deaths of Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen, Majeed Kayhan and Soroush Mahmudi…

Checklist (#702)

Ladies, please stop using Uber.  They are training drivers to spy on us and rat us out to the pigs:

Uber wants its drivers to [spy on passengers and]…to alert [cops] if they [suspect a passenger is a sex worker]…over the past few years, Uber has enlisted its drivers in local and regional efforts to [persecute sex workers]…But the new initiative…targets all 750,000 active U.S. drivers and eventually will expand to other countries…Among Uber’s partners in the U.S. initiative are The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children[Asstoon Kutcher’s vanity project] Thorn, and The McCain Institute…whose efforts to [hound sex workers to death] are led by [anti-human rights crusader “Cuckoo Clock”] McCain

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#718) 

If this is a “brothel”, then a room with a foosball table in it is a “stadium”:

France’s first ever sex doll brothel has been opened in Paris and it has three silicone sex dolls ready for…rent…France changed its laws in 2016 to make paying for sex illegal, but the laws didn’t say anything about paying for sex with a silicone doll…The official XDolls site advertises that it has three different dolls on offer – Lily, Sofia, and Kim – complete with pictures of each.  The whole operation is shrouded in secrecy.  In fact, the official website doesn’t even offer an address for the brothel – other than to say it’s “somewhere in the 14th arrondissement” of Paris.  To find the location, would-be customers have to pay for a session with a doll, which comes at a cost of €89 for an hour, €149 for two hours, and €19 for the optional virtual reality addition…

Morality Lessons (#730) 

Moral panic + censorship = profit:

…a new bill being proposed in Virginia…would [try to] lock all pornographic sites from your phones and computers, and the only way to [legally] unlock them is to pay the state $20…[politicians] who proposed the bill [pretend] that by making pornography less accessible on the internet it will reduce the amount of human trafficking…

The huckster behind this legislation [is an]…anti-porn crusader named Chris Sevier who tried to marry his computer in protest of same-sex marriage, was released early from an Iraq tour for mental-health issues, sued Apple over the dissolution of his marriage, and has been charged with harassing a teen girl as well as country singer John Rich.”

It Looks Good On Paper (#736)

What these “safe harbor” laws actually do is empower the cops to indefinitely  detain underage sex workers in “safe locations”, i.e. euphemized jails:

[Underage sex workers whom “authorities” deign to label] child sex trafficking victims would no longer be criminally charged for prostitution offenses under a proposed bill introduced this session in the [Washington] state House of Representatives…[cops] would be required to bring minors to one of…two “receiving centers,” or another safe location — instead of booking youth into detention for prostitution offenses…the proposed bill stops short of decriminalizing prostitution for minors, maintaining [cops’] ability to arrest youth [who don’t submit to rape or otherwise displease the pigs]…“But we’re not expecting that (the youth) would be put in handcuffs,” [lied] Val Richey, a senior deputy prosecutor in King County, who [relies on voter ignorance to advance his schemes]…

Stupor Bowl (#765)

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:

As the Twin Cities prepares to host Super Bowl LII, planning has long been underway to address any accompanying uptick in prostitution or sex trafficking.  While people elsewhere have made claims that the Super Bowl is the biggest time for sex trafficking, a University of Minnesota report noted “the Super Bowl does not appear to have the largest impact.”  Different types of events — such as trade shows, holiday weekends and other sporting events — also generate an increase…with the public’s attention on the Super Bowl, those who work to help trafficked people in Minnesota are seizing the opportunity to get the word out about an issue that endures year-round…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#786) 

Under a “legalization” regime, sex workers are still persecuted using idiotic and arbitrary nonsense like “illegally subdividing a building”:

Police have arrested nearly 100 suspected sex workers…in one of Hong Kong’s biggest anti-vice crackdowns, raiding a building where flats had been illegally subdivided into more than 100 cubicles converted into brothel rooms…[they arrested] two women from Ukraine, one from Kazakhstan, 13 from Thailand and 59 female visitors from the mainland…at least two [criminal]…syndicates had arranged for the 99 suspects to work and provide sex services in the “one-woman” brothels…

Cooties (#787) 

It looks like at least some UK reporters are realizing that so-called “pop-up brothels” are just ordinary, mundane escort touring incalls rather than the tools of “sex trafficking” from cop wanking fantasies:

Sex workers…are behind…”pop-up brothels”…[they] tour the country and work out of short-term rental accommodation…For sex workers, there’s no manager taking a cut of their earnings like there is in a conventional brothel.  For clients, there’s no walking through the doors of a known brothel.  When [a sex worker] decides where she’s going, she either gets in touch with…friends she’s worked with in the past, or she gets in touch with other sex workers via private internet forums, looking for people who might be up for joining her on a trip…the pair then hire an apartment together for a long weekend…Then, they’ll use social media to find new clients in the area…Once they’ve got clients, they set up a rota (or work as a “duo” offering threesomes)…

Shame, Shame (#798) 

A culture more worried about the sexual applications of this than about the government’s ability to fabricate evidence with it is a culture overdue for collapse:

The grosser parts of the internet have a new trick: Using machine learning and AI to swap celebrities’ faces onto porn performers’.  The result?  Fake celebrity porn seamless enough to be mistaken for the real thing…And now that someone has made an app—drastically lowering the technical threshold would-be creators have to clear— it’s presumably about to become much more prevalent.  For reasons that are eye-poppingly obvious, these videos…are terrible…It’s a new frontier for nonconsensual pornography and fake news alike…And…If you live in the United States and someone does this with your face, the law can’t really help you.  To many [privileged] people on the internet [who have nothing more important to worry about], especially women, this looks a whole lot like the end times.  “I share your sense of doom,” [said pro-censorship activist] Mary Anne Franks

The Widening Gyre (#801) 

I love Lenore Skenazy’s snarky treatment of these absurd stories:

A worried South Bend [Indiana] mother thought two men might be trying to abduct her daughter at a local store. [Who cares? End of story.]  Police investigated it as a suspicious persons report.  [Because it wasn’t an attempted crime.]  Haley Craig says…“Was just at the T.J.Maxx in Mishawaka and there were men in there who attempted to steal Eva.  I believe there were multiple men inside the store who were in on it together. [And I believe my goldfish is having an affair with my oven mitt.]…Police can’t confirm the mom’s fears of an attempted abduction, but they say it’s still a worrisome situation. [No it’s not.]  What Craig said she experienced inside of T.J. Maxx definitely sounds scary. A strange man comes up to her and starts bombarding her with questions. [“Definitely scary” indeed. Never have I been spoken to by a strange person, EVER.]…“[He was] trying to divert my attention away from my daughter”…Craig said. [Because the easiest way to snatch a child is in public, indoors, steps from its mom, who, distracted by questions about the price of Progresso Lentil Soup, doesn’t notice her child is being dragged screaming down the aisle, past the customers and cashiers, into a parking lot filled with people, and off to sex traffic land]

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Much of [Kamala] Harris’ worst work has come from her fake-feminist agenda to “help” women and girls by throwing them in jail for having sex.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Most cops busted for fraternizing with whores haven’t committed any other known crimes.  Here’s an exception:

A San Antonio [cop] who was fired last year for dating a woman convicted of prostitution was investigated for…possession of child pornography and a possible illegal substance…Mark Walaski…used his job…to control his then-girlfriend, check on her whereabouts, and possibly try to thwart an investigation…Walaski’s girlfriend [said]…Walaski had watched through a hole in a wall in his house while [her daughter] teenager showered…She also alleged that Walaski had hit her twice…

Rooted in Racism

A woman is arrested for helping black people get into Europe, but the cops’ motive for doing so is “unclear”:

Helena Maleno…is a Spanish journalist and charity worker based in…Tangier whose NGO, Walking Borders, is dedicated to helping migrants.  For the past decade, many of them have told Maleno of their travel plans and noted down her phone number before they set off for Spain.  If they got into trouble while at sea they would call her and she in turn would inform Salvamento Marítimo, the government agency that carries out sea rescues.  Last year she issued hundreds of detailed alerts…but the Moroccan authorities view her with suspicion and claim she…is essentially a people trafficker…In 2012 the Spanish police looked into her activities to find out if they included abetting illegal migration.  In April last year the Spanish high court shelved the case against her. But the Moroccan police, which works closely with Spain on controlling migration, continued to probe…“My phones have been tapped for several years,” Maleno wrote on Twitter in December…“Both police forces acknowledge that I have never profited at any time despite being accused of being a trafficker.  What would the logic be, then, behind my supposedly criminal motivation to help save lives?”  The Moroccan authorities’ answer to that is unclear…

Follow Your Bliss 

What better way to gain access to a vulnerable person to exploit and abuse?

A[n Oregon] couple known for their human rights activism…were arrested in December and are now facing charges of sexual abuse, child abuse and assault.  Matthew McDaniel…is accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl over the course of several years…he would tie her up and hit her if she refused to touch him sexually.  His wife, Michu Uaiyue…repeatedly beat…and tortured [her]…In one instance, Uaiyue allegedly melted a plastic bottle and dripped the hot, liquid plastic onto the girl’s bare hands and legs…Uaiyue would [also] cut her with glass and heated metal, hit her with a stick and tie her up in the garage several days at a time to punish her.  A doctor evaluated the girl’s injuries and stated they were consistent with the descriptions of the abuse…McDaniel…has been…campaigning against the Thai government’s treatment of the Akha hill tribe…

Lack of Evidence (#316)

San Francisco seems fond of placating activists with non-binding “policies” that can be revoked at any time without warning:

San Francisco sex workers who come forward to say they’ve been assaulted, raped, robbed or extorted — or that they’ve witnessed such crimes — [will] not then be arrested for prostitution or petty drug crimes under policies adopted by city police and prosecutors.  The new guidelines…were described by advocates as the first of their kind in the nation.  They seek to encourage sex workers…to cooperate with [pigs]…Police Chief Bill Scott said in a department bulletin that…[cops] “will not arrest persons for involvement in sex work…when [the cops decide to recognize them as]…victims or witnesses of sexual assault, human trafficking, stalking, robbery, assault, kidnapping, threats, blackmail, extortion, burglary or other violent crime…Our policy is written in the spirit of [deceiving] sex workers [into feeling] safe coming forward to law enforcement, [under] the [misapprehension] that they will be treated with respect and their concerns will be taken seriously”…

Remember, there’s nothing in non-legislative “policies” like this that prevent pigs from collecting information on sex workers and then rounding them up later when the policy inevitably changes.  Calling the cops remains a spectacularly bad idea for anyone, but especially whores.

Moving Pictures 

“Pizza”. “Boys and girls”.  “Bought and sold for sex”.  “Backpage”.  Can’t these idiots get a new phrasebook?

[Has-been] celebrities like Amy Schumer, Seth Meyers, and Josh Charles, alongside many other actors and public figures, have teamed up for a PSA against sex trafficking…“Today you can go online and buy a child for sex,” Schumer says. “It’s as easy as ordering a pizza.”  The PSA ties into a documentary released last year, I Am Jane Doe, which follows several American mothers as they fight for their daughters who were bought and sold for sex…the film specifically targets Backpage, a classifieds site that [prohibitionists claim is] one of the most popular ways sex traffickers advertise underage girls and boys online…

To Molest and Rape

Fired AND arrested? This dude must’ve pissed off somebody in the department:

A San Francisco [cop] was arrested on sexual assault charges…Justin McCall [drugged a woman and raped her while she was unconscious]…he…was suspended without pay…

A Woman’s Point of View (#711) 

The push for decrim in Hawaii isn’t dead yet:

Kristen DiAngelo has worked in many aspects of the sex trade since the 1970s.  She knows the stigma that trails those who’ve chosen prostitution as a profession.  “Society doesn’t view us as human,” she said matter-of-factly.  DiAngelo co-founded SWOP Sacramento, an organization that advocates for labor rights for sex workers.  She travels the country urging states to decriminalize prostitution.  “We’re just like everybody else.  This is a work choice…People don’t often hear our voices because of the backlash we encounter when we are vocal,” she said…decriminalization would simply set labor standards and enable sex workers to earn a living without fear of breaking the law…

Power Play (#761)

Liz Brown takes a look at the vile monster being celebrated as a “feminist” heroine:

…Kamala Harris has long positioned herself as a feminist crusader.  But both as attorney general of California and now as a member of the U.S. Senate, she has actively championed policies that deny women’s agency, ratchet up female incarceration, and endanger those most vulnerable to sexual abuse.  Along the way, she has shown an utter disregard for civil liberties and constitutional law—a tendency she will now get to take to the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee…Harris [has often exhibited]…a willingness to skirt constitutional protections when it suits her agenda, and a public orientation toward high-profile “social justice” causes that masks behind-the-scenes moves that betray them. (From the beginning of her career, she’s portrayed herself as a tough-on-crime progressive.) These habits are easiest to see when the issue involves sex work, but they extend far outside that realm.  Take the time Harris fought back against a California court ruling saying the state couldn’t keep prisoners in overcrowded conditions and deny them medical care [because]…the state needed the slave labor provided by mass incarceration…she sponsored legislation to ban sex offenders from using all social media…went to bat to keep Lonny Leon Rivera on the sex offender registry…[because] when he was 19, he had sex with the 17-year-old who is now his wife.  For all her big talk now on criminal justice reform, Harris fought to keep marijuana criminalized in California and resisted efforts to deprioritize the arrest of nonviolent drug offenders.  She also pushed to send high school students to jail for having more than three unexcused absences in a year, intervened myriad times on behalf of dirty prosecutors, and lobbied to keep using an execution method that the courts had deemed unconstitutional…

Pyrrhic Victory (#785)

Tyranny always starts with despised minorities, but it never stops with them:

…Facial recognition is the new hot tech topic in China.  Banks, airports, hotels and even public toilets are all trying to verify people’s identities by analyzing their faces.  But the police and security state have been the most enthusiastic about embracing this new technology.  The…ambitious plan, known as “Xue Liang,” which can be translated as “Sharp Eyes”…[intends] to connect the security cameras that already scan roads, shopping malls and transport hubs with private cameras on compounds and buildings, and integrate them into one nationwide surveillance and data-sharing platform.  It will use facial recognition and artificial intelligence to…monitor the comings and goings of the country’s 1.4 billion people…[and] to scoop up such data as criminal and medical records, travel bookings, online purchase and even social media comments — and link it to everyone’s identity card and face…

Americans under about 70 can expect to see this implemented here in their lifetimes. Welcome to the “safe” future you keep voting for.

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