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Archive for the ‘The Dark Side’ Category

In raids…police and media objectify women in order to publicise state action.  –  Annie Hill

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Enjoy the rest of your life on the “sex offender” registry, “officer”:

Charles County [Maryland] Sheriff’s Deputy Alexander C. Sullivan…has been charged federally with possession of child pornography…the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received four [snitches] from a company that provides cloud security concerning suspected child pornography being uploaded to a specific telephone number in October and November…A [cop] from the Charles County Sheriff’s Department conducted a search on the telephone number and…recognized Sullivan’s name…A state search warrant for Sullivan and his telephone was executed in Charles County on November 17…[finding] more than 200 images and five videos containing child pornography…If convicted, Sullivan faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison…

Wise Investment

Much more of this, please:

…three suburban teenagers are suing six Detroit police officers over accusations of arresting and mistreating them during a summer prostitution sting that ended with the teens getting dropped off in an unfamiliar area of the city and ordered to walk home to Dearborn…the [pigs] drove the boys through neighborhoods at “reckless speeds” without activating emergency lights or sirens; impounded their car and said it would cost “thousands of dollars” to get it back; took a photo of one of the handcuffed boys and broadcast it on the Internet using the Snapchat app, and laughed and joked about the arrest…All of this…because the…teens were trying to flag down a relative and stop him from approaching a [lying pig pretending to be a sex worker]…The teens were charged with interfering with police activity, but the charges were later dismissed…

Surplus Women 

The Daily News is so dedicated to its sleazy language, it won’t even skip it when reporting the brutal murder of a young woman:

A Long Island woman hired for sex via Craigslist was bludgeoned to death with a hammer when her unhinged client didn’t want to pay…At some point during the carnal quid-pro-quo, an argument over compensation led [Raphael] Oyague to attack the victim…Two delivery workers found the woman’s battered body in the weeds behind Oyague’s apartment building [the next day]…Detectives later found a trail of blood leading from the body to the vicinity of Oyague’s back door…

The Shape of the Spoon

Even if the mother is angry at what she obviously sees as interference in her family, does she actually believe suing her own offspring will result in some positive outcome for their relationship, especially given that the most she could accomplish is delaying the transition by a few months (until the magical Moment of Shazam)?

A Minnesota mother is suing her teenage child for transitioning from male to female without her permission.  Anmarie Calgaro is also suing the 17-year-old’s doctors and public health and school officials…Calgaro says the St. Louis County school district, where the teen is a student, has taken away her parental rights and refused to release records to her.  The lawsuit includes a copy of a letter of emancipation the teen obtained from a lawyer, but notes that the letter doesn’t constitute a court order.  Calgaro is asking the court to halt all medical services…

This kind of nonsense will continue until the law recognizes “teenage child” as an oxymoron.

Imaginary Evils

Huge police operations have never found more than a single-digit number of “sex trafficking” cases in the UK:

On Sept. 30, 2005, UK West Midlands police raided a massage parlour called Cuddles…”As we anticipated that there would be a lot of half-dressed ladies…25 female [cops] went in…first, to ensure that the women were decent before the male officers went in”…[bragged  Inspector Mark] Nevitt…[of course] male [cops] had already seen “half-dressed ladies” when they entered Cuddles posing as clients.  The difference on this day was that police had invited the media to record the rescue of “sex slaves”…[so] millions of people in Britain and beyond would view these women via media coverage…Within days, police [admitted] they had not discovered victims of trafficking, but women engaging in sex work…Although police raids operate on the premise that they make the invisible visible – exposing the hidden world of trafficking – the[y actually render]…the visible invisible.  That is, the raid hides the repression of sex workers in plain sight by framing it as the rescue of “sex slaves”.  Raids thus appear to produce happy endings…but…cloak…rights violations against sex workers…

Sex Rays

Our descendants will be confused about why we thought this sort of thing was noteworthy:

Cheetah Gentlemen’s Club in [Florida] has again partnered with Rodriguez Charities to host their annual 1,000 Free Turkeys event to help families in need this Thanksgiving holiday…The free birds are limited to one per family on a first come, first served basis…

Traffic Jam (#347)

Look for similar headlines 22 years from now about people railroaded on “sex trafficking” charges:

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals…ruled in favor the “San Antonio Four”…who have fought to clear their names after being convicted…in 1994 of sexually assaulting Ramirez’s young nieces…Seven of the nine judges heard the case.  All agreed that the women should get a new trial, and five said the women are actually innocent, a move that paves the way for them to seek state compensation for their imprisonment…Their case was the subject of a documentarySouthwest of SalemThe women…said the toughest part of prison was serving time in solitary for refusing to take part in the sex offender program…attending was a condition for early parole, but it required inmates to admit deviant behavior, which they couldn’t do…

The Widening Gyre (#546)

The New York Times piously decries the harm caused to dozens of “real people” by “fake news sites” spreading exaggerated lies about “sex trafficking”, while ignoring the damage to millions of real people caused by its OWN spreading of exaggerated lies on the exact same topic:

Days before the presidential election, James Alefantis, owner of a…pizza restaurant called Comet Ping Pong, noticed an unusual spike in the number of his Instagram followers.  Within hours, menacing messages like “we’re on to you” began appearing in his…feed.  In the ensuing days, hundreds of death threats…started arriving via texts, Facebook and Twitter.  All of them alleged…that Comet Ping Pong was the home base of a child abuse ring led by Hillary Clinton…Alefantis discovered…dozens of made-up articles about Mrs. Clinton kidnapping, molesting and trafficking children in the restaurant’s back rooms.  The articles appeared on Facebook and on websites such as The New Nationalist and The Vigilant Citizen, with one headline blaring: “Pizzagate: How 4Chan Uncovered the Sick World of Washington’s Occult Elite”…Alefantis…and his 40 employees had unwittingly become real people caught in the middle of a storm of fake news…

Dysphemisms Galore (#577) 

Because nobody would care about a headline reading, “Co-workers mind woman’s children while she works”:

Sixteen people were arrested after a prostitution ring came to Knoxville [Tennessee.  Pigs]…discovered that one of the women had two…young children, a one-year-old and a three-year-old, [who] were found returning to a hotel with two non-related men.  The children [were abducted from their mother and given to]…the Department of Children’s Services…

To Molest and Rape 

Because “improper sexual activity” sounds so much nicer than “rape with a club”:

Investigators have arrested a Hidalgo County jailer accused of [raping] an inmate with a baton…At about 7 a.m. on Nov. 1, [the victim] was sleeping on a bench…Jailers attempted to wake [him] so they could fingerprint and photograph him…A jailer who witnessed the incident filed a sworn statement “confirming that he observed…Michael Hinojosa push his ASP Baton into [the victim’s] anus…at least four to five times”…Several jailers confirmed the [report]…

I’m really pleased to see pigs turning on one another; they’ve begun to realize that surveillance works against their lies.

Opting Out (#639)

Only three years from the time I predicted this to actual implementation:

Web users in the UK will be banned from accessing websites portraying a range of non-conventional sexual acts, under a little discussed clause…of the digital economy bill, [which] would force internet service providers to block sites hosting content that would not be certified for commercial DVD sale by the British Board of Film Classification…It is contained within provisions…designed to enforce strict age verification checks to stop [legal minors] accessing adult websites…many mainstream adult websites would have to render whole sections inaccessible to UK audiences…despite the acts shown being legal for consenting over-16s to perform and for adults in almost all other liberal countries to film, distribute and watch…The censorship regime has led to bizarre understandings between the producers and regulators…[such as] the “four-finger rule”, which limits the number of digits that can be inserted into an orifice…

British readers: here you go.

Too Close To Home (#672)

Note that this reporter, who resisted the truth when Liz Brown called it to her attention, has now dropped all talk of “sex trafficking” and “slaves” from her reporting on the matter:

Two men arrested in the sex-solicitation bust…in January were sentenced…to 240 hours of community service, a [propaganda program]…and fines…Another man connected to the case…was sentenced…to 60 days in jail, 12 months probation, community service and…the same [propaganda sessions].  They were arrested along with more than a dozen others for…discuss[ing consensual adult sex]…Several court cases related to the bust are ongoing…

Wise Investment (#673)

A better memorial to this woman would be eradicating the horrible laws she fought so hard against:

Hamburg recently announced that it would name one of its streets after a famous German activist who was once a prostitute.  Domenica Anita Niehoff, who passed away in February 2009 due to a lung disease, was a fierce advocate for the rights of sex workers…and made efforts in appearing on television shows in order to re-sculpt social attitudes towards sex and prostitution.  She also worked towards helping [drug-addicted sex workers]…Niehoff gradually began starring in feature films like Desperado City (1981) and Messalina – Kaiserin und Hure (1977) and became an increasingly known figure in mainstream conversations…she was laid to rest in the Garden of Women at the Ohlsdorf Cemetery…among honoured women (many of whom died opposing the Nazi regime)…

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The state should be extremely reluctant to criminalize activities freely entered into by consenting adults.  –  Peter Singer

An Older Profession Than You May Have Thought shrike-whore

This article doesn’t cover any new ground, but I just love the pictures of the little animal whores holding their cash.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

She publicly humiliated him and forced him into a brainwashing program designed to shame him for his sex drive and convince him it’s pathological, and now he doesn’t want to fuck her?  Why, who could ever have predicted that?

Katie Price has hinted her sex life with Kieran Hayler is lacking after he went into therapy…to help overcome his sex addiction after…[she] discovered he’d been sleeping with two of her friends…when asked if therapy had changed him, she instantly replied: “Completely, from him wanting to fuck everything to me being like ‘do you want it?’”…The former glamour model even made crude gestures to prove her point, pretending to grab an imaginary penis with her hand before dropping it and laughing…

What kind of “friends” do glamour models have?  And regarding Hayler, obviously, not all sex workers (he was a male stripper) have the goddamned sense to actually get what sex workers are for.

They Still Don’t Get It

The bizarre illogic, the self-defined “evidence”, the weird 19th-century language…are these people for real?

An alleged sex trafficking operation based out of a [Massachusetts] home — in which police said johns used Backpage.com to set up appointments with three woman made to work 14 hours a day — is not unusual, a sex trafficking expert said.  “Yes, it’s happening next door,” said Kate Nace Day…”This is part of our society, part of our neighborhood — that’s how bad it is”…Boston police raided the house…and rescued three women…Wong, Tang and Xu were each charged with…keeping a house of ill fame…

She thinks the fact that sex work is common & mundane “proves” it’s bad?  What?

Shift in the Wind (#36)

The bioethicists are now on our side as well:

…feminist organizations…argue…we should “end the demand for paid sex” – but without explaining how this is to be done.  In species that reproduce sexually, sex is, for obvious reasons, one of the strongest and most pervasive desires.  Humans are no exception…In every modern society, humans exchange money or other valued items for things that they desire and could not otherwise obtain.  For various reasons, a significant number of people cannot get sex, or sufficient sex, or the kind of sex they want, freely.  Unless at least one of these conditions changes, demand for paid sex will continue…Another response to proposals to decriminalize sex work is that we should instead change the conditions that lead people to [work]…This assumes that only those who lack any other means of supporting themselves would engage in sex for money.  That assumption is a myth…Faced with the prospect of monotonous, repetitive work for eight hours a day on an assembly line or flipping hamburgers, [some] prefer the higher pay and shorter hours that the sex industry offers.  Many may not make that choice, but should we make criminals of those who do?…

Monsters 

Niurkeli, a 33-year-old transgender sex worker, was murdered by a client in Nantes, France.  Niurkeli was [a] migrant sex worker of Ecuadorian origin…Since [France started moving toward the Swedish model in] 2014 her work conditions have deteriorated…many sex workers have lost income…[and] moved to more remote and dangerous areas to work because that is where their clients feel more secure…

Not What They Expected

Cops are no doubt disappointed that the media can’t be counted on to mindlessly parrot their “sex trafficking” propaganda any more, and that sex workers are finally being heard:

New Haven [Connecticut] Police…said they have placed prostitution stings on hold as city and department personnel rework their strategy for addressing sex workers in the city…[spokespig] David Hartman confirmed…that stings like the Oct. 25 operation that led to the arrest of 13 women on prostitution charges will not be conducted as the department mulls other practices and possible alternatives to arrest…[on November 18th] a demonstration took place in front of City Hall that included some 50 people voicing concerns about the Police Department’s [abominable] treatment of sex workers…Demonstrators want New Haven police to stop targeting workers in the sex industry and provide more resources for their rehabilitation…They also asked the state’s attorney’s office to drop all pending prostitution charges and ask that local press not publish booking photos for those arrested and charged with prostitution, which they said adds to “public shaming”…

We need to keep this up; if we keep loudly protesting every fucking “sting”, and making sure reporters are there to cover our protests, it’s going to be a lot harder for prohibitionists to sell their snake oil to the public.  That having been said, I’m not sure if this “rehabilitation” bullshit came from the protesters, a cop description of them or the reporter’s own mind; if it did come from the protesters themselves, someone needs to reach out to them about avoiding that sort of stigmatizing rhetoric that treats sex work as a failing from which we need to be “rehabilitated”.

All-Purpose Excuse

Dianne Feinstein, who never met a police-state law she didn’t like, crows about her efforts to hound sex workers’ clients and cut off our advertising; in the process she praises the flatly-illegal prosecution of Backpage officials and even brings up “sex trafficking” as an excuse for Washington’s imperialist meddling in the Middle East.  But none of this is really surprising because Feinstein is one of the sleaziest, most loathsome and disgusting examples of her entire vile breed ever to crawl the face of the Earth.

The Widening Gyre (#441) possibly-samantha-azzopardi-again

It looks like Samantha Azzopardi is back to her usual tricks:

** DOES ANYONE RECOGNISE THIS GIRL? **  She is very confused and currently detained in Italy.  She answers in English only to any questions asked so may be from an English speaking country…She sleeps outside and has mental problems I think…she has said that her name is Maria and she may be Ukrainian…

Because Ukrainians are known for only speaking English.

Banishment (#446)

Politicians are again working to get sex workers evicted and enrich the state:

New legislation in Prince George’s County aims to [railroad] landlords and property managers…for [sex work]…at their rental properties…[politician] Deni Taveras…proposed the bill after [pretending] complaints from several…mothers [because THE CHILDREN!!!!TM]…The bill makes it a misdemeanor to “knowingly” allow use of an apartment or home for prostitution or trafficking, punishable with a $1,000 fine…It passed the council unanimously…

There’s also a lot of silly nonsense about “pimps”, “snakes” and “roots” before a pig vomits up a lot of filth about “sending a message”.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#511)

Really, guys?  Is it really so hard to just hire an escort?

Despite many years of hype, teledildonics have largely existed in the realm of disappointment and “one day this might be a thing” hypotheticals.  But camming company CamSoda is investing in trying to actually make them a thing this time around with Blowcast, its new online marketplace for virtual blow jobs.  It lets…any penis-haver…browse through a library of pre-recorded blow jobs performed by professionals and amateurs alike.  A woman performs oral sex on-camera on a tricked out, touch-sensitive vibrator known as the Kiiroo Pearl.  It records the performer’s movements and translates them into sensations that can be experienced on-demand through a masturbatory sleeve known as the Kiiroo Onyx.  Blowcast syncs these sensations with a video of the woman performing said blow job to create the illusion —at least in theory — of receiving a blow job…the creators acknowledge that these virtual blow jobs will not be confused for the real thing…

To Molest and Rape 

When putting this column together I thought for a moment these were the same case:  “…sergeant [Thomas Pederson of] the Wayne County [Michigan] Sheriff’s department is facing sexual assault charges involving a child…under 13 years of age…” But nope, it’s two different young-relative-molesting cops:

…Indian River County [Florida] Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Peek was arrested…for…[groping his] step-daughter…The victim, now 20, told police that…Peek…began touching her when she was 14 years old, and it stopped at age 17 when she started dating.  She never told police because…[she] didn’t think anyone would believe her…during her senior year of high school, she would have to allow “Steve to touch her for 10 minutes if she wanted to go out and do something”…The victim’s current boyfriend…saw a text message…when she was 17 years old…asking…“for his 10 minutes.”  Peek also sent another text asking her when he could see her body…

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I want people to realize…how truly common sexual abuses of power by police are.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

You’ve probably noticed that though cops rape women on a regular basis, and always have since the first warlord called himself a “king” and recruited brutal thugs to enforce his whims with violence, the number of reports of such incidents has absolutely soared this year.  Beside the usual “To Molest and Rape” feature (formerly “Above the Law“) and other related features such as “License To Rape” (rapists pretending to be cops and cops raping under the guise of “searching” or the like), “Droit du Seigneur” (cops pimping and otherwise sexually exploiting women), and “If Men Were Angels” (religious & other non-cop “authorities” coercing women into sex), we’ve had several other special features like “Morality Lessons”, “The Public Moralsand a previous extra edition of “To Molest and Rape” back in June…all chock full of cops raping people.  And if you’ll look at my Links columns, you’ll note that “rapist cop of the week” is not an exaggeration; in a few weeks I’m going to count them up for my year-end column, and I expect the number to be well over 100.  So it didn’t surprise me in the least when Liz Brown reported that

Nearly 1,000 U.S. police officers lost their badges over sexual misconduct between 2009 and 2014, according to a new analysis from the Associated Press—which calls this number “unquestionably an undercount.”  And around one-third of these incidents involved children or teenagers under 18-years-old, the news agency found.  Since the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics [intentionally] doesn’t keep track, AP turned to state-by-state police decertification records.  Forty-one states returned data on officers whose licenses were revoked for sexual assault or other forms of sexual misconduct.  But among these, some “reported no officers removed for sexual misdeeds even though cases were identified via news stories or court records.”  And California and New York—states with some of the largest law-enforcement agencies in America—were among the nine states (plus the District of Columbia) that either didn’t respond or did not revoke the licenses of officers fired for sex offenses…

“Unquestionably an undercount” is a gross understatement; 1000 in 6 years is only about 3/week, and given that for most of that period about two/week on average have been reported widely enough for me to catch them, the number has to be several times that high…and remember, it only includes the ones who were caught and fired, not the much larger number who either totally got away with it or were protected from consequences by the cop establishment.  As Liz mentions later, “A Bowling Green State University analysis of officer-arrest data from 2005 and 2011 found sex-related cases were the third-most prevalent.  A Cato Institute study of 2009 and 2010 data found sexual misconduct was the second most-common complaint against cops, behind excessive force…”  She then goes on to mention Jacksonville, Florida cop Michael Eugene Williams’ arrest for child porn after a 16-year history of complaints which somehow never resulted in his being prosecuted or even fired until November of 2010, and this:

Milwaukee [cop] Dominique Heaggan-Brown…is accused of sexually assaulting an incapacitated man, taking naked photos of people without their consent, and trying to pay for sex.  Heaggan-Brown also made headlines over the summer after fatally shooting…Sylville Smith as the man fled from a traffic stop, sparking protests around the city.  Heaggan-Brown has been suspended from the Milwaukee Police Department…

The sickness of our society is spotlighted by the fact that Heaggan-Brown was fired for the sex charges but not for shooting a man in the back, similar to the way that so-called “sex offenders” are turned into pariahs but people convicted of murder and mayhem are not, no matter how horrifying their crimes.  I’ve also noticed that rapist cops are raping more males lately, or else they’re being reported more; in addition to Heaggan-Brown there was this one:

A Salem [Massachusetts cop] who is the husband of the city’s police chief was [arrested]…after…[raping] a man in a station closet…Brian Butler was arraigned on charges of rape and indecent assault and battery…[after he raped] an intoxicated man who had been taken into protective [sic] custody in the early morning hours of Oct. 31…

And this one:

A Gwinnett County [Georgia] sheriff’s deputy resigned after he was arrested…on aggravated child molestation and sodomy charges…Michael Lomax is accused of engaging in a sex act with a 13-year-old he met on Grindr…Thirteen-year-olds can’t consent, even if they seek you out on Grindr…It’s…refreshing to note that the sheriff…didn’t try and equivocate on behalf of his deputy.  Part of the reason may be that Gwinnett County has seen a surprising number of its deputies – six, counting Lomax – arrested in the past five years.  Of the six, four were jailers accused of [raping] inmates…Duone Clark, who was charged with [raping] a transgender inmate, was sent to prison in 2014…

And this one, which is highly unusual:

[in] Michigan…a man who served time at…Parnall [prison] claims that a baby-mad female prison counselor with whom he fathered a child used him as “a virtual sex slave, demanding sexual gratification at her whim”…Steven Moerman, was imprisoned on drug charges and receiving counseling for undisclosed mental-health issues.  Now out on parole, he’s suing the Michigan Department of Corrections, prison officials, and Gov. Rick Snyder over what he claims was repeated rape by prison counselor Susan Lee Clingerman…whom he says was undergoing fertility treatments in order to conceive a child with him…Moerman claims prison officials knew what was happening or should have known because another prison counselor acted as a lookout for Clingerman—who was banned from prison property in September 2014 and fired the following January…Clingerman claims she was having a consensual sexual relationship with Moerman, who fathered the child she gave birth to in April 2015…but…prisoners cannot legally consent to sex with prison employees because of the inherent power imbalance.  Thus, any prison guard, counselor, or other employee who has sex with a prisoner, no matter how theoretically willing that prisoner is, opens themselves up to liability for sexual assault.  Clingerman has already…[plead] guilty to a felony charge of misconduct in office as part of a deal that allowed her to stay off the sex-offender registry…

I wish there were some sort of pithy conclusion I could close with, but there isn’t; as long as violent, unaccountable thugs are given virtually limitless power over others to “enforce” moronic dictates against consensual behavior handed down by megalomaniac sociopaths with too much time on their hands, this will never stop or even be reduced in even the most minimal fashion.

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When the government shuts down sites like Rentboy, they’re really taking away tools for folks to be safe.  –  Becky Barryte

Dirty Amateurs

Amateurs are a menace to public health; they should be licensed and heavily regulated:

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a recent spike in STIs such as chlamydia (up nearly 6 percent since 2014), gonorrhea (up nearly 13 percent) and syphilis (up 19 percent) among young people…between the ages of 15 and 24…A 2015 CDC study found that condom use among sexually active high schoolers dropped from 63 percent in 2003 to 57 percent in 2015.  A study that same year by Skyn condoms found that 48 percent of millennials use condoms “never” or “rarely”…

Surplus Women 

Good riddance to bad rubbish:

A man serving a life sentence for killing three prostitutes in their one-woman brothels in 2008 hanged himself in…[a Hong Kong] Prison…on Thursday morning.  Nadeem Razaq…a Hong Kong resident of Pakistani origin, was found hanging with his pullover tied to the bars of his single-person cell at about 6.44am…

“One-woman brothels” are a fiction of the lawhead mind; what they mean are “incalls”.

The Punitive Mindset dungeon-by-aaron-klug

Given the petty vindictiveness of US prison officials, I’m amazed that any of them allow this:

…Sterling…is…a maximum security prison 130 miles northeast of Denver…every afternoon, half a dozen inmates gather around a table in the common room to join forces against imaginary foes in a…game of Dungeons and Dragons…Dice…aren’t allowed…so the inmates…use a set of 20 playing cards to make “rolls”…most of the guards…tolerate the game, even looking on with bemused curiosity and asking questions…Some even go so far as to encourage it…However, over the years, there has been the occasional guard who read sinister motives into the game…Back in 2004, at Waupun [prison] in Wisconsin, inmates were banned from playing D&D, and Dungeon Master, Kevin T. Singer’s, gaming materials were confiscated, including a 96-page handwritten manuscript outlining a campaign he was developing…Singer sued the prison, claiming the seizure and ban violated his free speech and due process rights.  At the trial, Captain Bruce C. Muraski, the prison’s security supervisor and also the man responsible for the confiscation, attempted to justify the prison’s decision.  He testi[l]ied that role-playing games like D&D “promote competitive hostility, violence, and addictive escape behavior, which can compromise not only the inmate’s rehabilitation and effects of positive programming, but endanger the public and jeopardize the safety and security of the institution.”  Singer appealed the decision and six years later, it escalated to the United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.  There, Singer presented testimony to show that D&D—and roleplaying games in general—were effective tools for rehabilitating inmates, yet the appeals court upheld the ban…

Legal Is as Legal Does 

Why sex workers keep telling you that legalization isn’t much better than criminalization:

…at the end of 2014 Holbeck [in Leeds] was thrust into the limelight by a trial scheme: the UK’s first “managed prostitution zone”…Elsewhere in the UK, while selling sex is legal, soliciting is not.  In the managed area, however, this law no longer applies between 7PM and 7AM.  The basic premise is that, as long as you’re over 18 – police may ask to see ID – you can work as a sex worker without fear of arrest.  On Friday the 21st of October, however, the truce appears to have broken.  Women working in the area were shocked as police and UK Border Agency (UKBA) officials poured out of vans and cars and began to round up whoever they could find.  Anyone from outside the UK…found themselves detained and questioned…six women, all from EU countries, were taken straight to Yarl’s Wood and are now waiting to be deported.  Others have been given 30 days to provide paperwork proving their legitimacy to stay in the UK…

Another Fine Mess

This one’s more of a mess than usual; though it starts with the usual “OMG whores use the internet!” it quickly devolves into nonsense about sexbots, then veers off into idiotic prohibitionist claims like “Because there’s such high demand for [commercial] sex, that is what is creating sex trafficking, because a majority of people don’t want to go into commercial sex work willingly…because there’s this gap in supply, trafficking victims are filling that gap…”  If that were true, sex workers wouldn’t be working as hard as we do to attract clients and I wouldn’t be posting fucking specials.  The truth is that it’s a rare whore who has enough clients these days, and if prohibitionists’ moronic claims about clients they attack “generating demand” were true, we’d all be a lot wealthier.

Drawing Lines (#446)

Marc Randazza explains once again why attempts to prosecute porn as prostitution are doomed to fail:

…The industry has threatened to leave California, en masse, if [the mandatory condom bill] does pass.  Those who support the measure…claim that the industry can’t leave….[because] the only states where you can shoot porn legally are California and New Hampshire…I finally got sick enough of hearing this stupid shit that I wrote a law review article on it:  This will explain to you why porn is not prostitution, and why you can shoot anywhere in America.  It also tells you a bit about the Condom Wars…Download it, read it, study it, and tell the next idiot who tells you that you can only shoot porn in CA and NH that they’re full of shit.  Or, the next time someone asks “why isn’t porn prostitution?” explain this shit to them — because I’m sick of explaining it.

Shifting the Blame (#597)

Though the article doesn’t mention it, Burke was the man who derailed the hunt for the Long Island Killer:

The once popular and swaggering chief of the Suffolk County Police Department, James Burke, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison…for a series of misdeeds that began after a duffel bag belonging to him was stolen from his [truck]…The duffel bag contained pornography and sex toys.  Its disappearance in December 2012 set Mr. Burke off on a furious effort to find the thief, teach him a lesson, recover the bag and make sure the episode stayed quiet.  It did not.  Mr. Burke’s efforts at a cover-up set in motion a scandal that reverberated through Long Island politics…

Public Service Announcement (#669)

Admit it; you knew he’d claim to be a “sex addict”:

…serial sexter Anthony Weiner has checked into a sex addiction clinic…days after [his]…texting jolted the presidential race.  Weiner has dropped out of sight after an FBI investigation into his latest sexting scandal led the feds to reopen a probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#679) 

I had a feeling he’d extend this fantasy nonsense to his Swiss endeavor as well:

A Swiss café offering robot sex services to accompany your hot drink wants to open in Geneva by the end of the year.  Owner Bradley Charvet…had originally planned to employ sex workers to entertain clients, but legal issues meant he now wanted to use high-tech robots [that do not actually exist]…[because] Geneva’s department of security and economy told Le Matin “paid-for sexual services are banned in public establishments under the law on catering and the sale of drinks.”  Charvet…[pretends] he’s in talks with a U.S. sex robot manufacturing company to buy several “lifelike robot-women” for a cost ranging between $1,800-$3,000…

talky-tinaIf you can’t quite see how absurd this all is, read the next item below.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#685) 

This is what robo-fetishist David Levy was fantasizing about when he claimed “sex robots” will be available next year:  “Fifteen grand…as of next year…will get you a talking sex doll with heated genitals….physical responses to touch, verbal capabilities allowing them to speak in sultry voices…and synthetic skin…”  IOW, a cross between an adult-sized Talky Tina and a fleshlight.  Not what I’d consider competition.

The Course of a Disease (#686)

A very interesting development in Ireland:

Sex workers have called for a new law making it illegal to pay for sex to be reconsidered after several TDs raised concerns about its impact on vulnerable women.  The Sexual Offences Bill includes an amendment criminalising the purchase of sex…[which] would make sex workers’ lives more dangerous by driving the trade underground.  The legislation was criticised by Amnesty International, the World Health Organisation, HIV Ireland, the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland…

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We see no constitutionally adequate basis to criminalize sex solely because one consenting adult pays another.  –   Hayley Gorenberg  and Richard Saenz of Lambda Legal

Rough Trade 

Be careful out there, my sisters in Philadelphia:

Philadelphia police say a predator who’s attacked female prostitutes earlier this year may be responsible for two more recent attacks…the most recent incident occurred Oct. 1 when a man on a bike propositioned [a street worker] for sex…the man choked her until she lost consciousness…Police believe the same man also accosted another prostitute at gunpoint Sept. 19.  He took her to an alley and [raped] her while holding a knife to her face.  Police believe the same man attacked a prostitute with a brick then stabbed [to death]…on July 16. She died.  The same man, often arriving on a bike, is believed to have attacked at least one other prostitute, slashing her throat April 19.

The Lesser of Two Evils

As I’ve pointed out before, most laws governing sex work prior to the late 19th century were aimed at drawing lines between harlots and “good” women, rather than at advancing a quixotic crusade to “eradicate” the ineradicable.  Here’s a list of garments prostitutes were required to wear in various medieval European cities:

Beaucaire: a mark on the left arm…
Berne: red cap.
Bristol: striped hoods.
Castres: a man’s hat and a scarlet belt.
Florence: gloves and bells on the head…and high-heeled slippers.
Languedoc: a cord belt.
Leipzig: yellow cloak trimmed with blue.
London: striped hoods.
Mantua: white cloak and badge on chest…
Marseilles: striped tunic.
Milan: black cloak.
Nimes: a sleeve of a special colour.
Pisa: a yellow headband.
Strasbourg: black and white sugarloaf hat.
Toulouse: a mark on their sleeve.
Venice: yellow scarf.
Vienna: yellow scarf.
Zurich: red cap.

Saving Them From Themselves

Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever:

A man [in Australia] who found out that his 15-year-old stepdaughter was sexting her boyfriend proceeded to download the evidence to bring it to the school and the police to ask them to intervene…Now [Ashan Ortell] has been convicted on child pornography charges and placed on the sex offender registry…for eight years…

Frankly, I’m glad this idiot got what he deserved.  If anything, anyone who would report his own daughter to the pigs for the “crime” of having a sexual relationship deserves much worse than 8 years on the registry.

Gullible’s Travels

Even if this were true (which it isn’t), it’s a testament to the entrenched stupidity of authoritarians that they refuse to see that binge drinking on US university campuses only became common after the drinking age was raised to 21:

A growing number of college are banning hard liquor on campus in a move to curb extreme drinking — but students are still getting their party on, and some are adding an extra element of risk to their binges…the phenomenon dubbed “drunkorexia”…University of Houston Professor Dipali Rinker said in a study of 1,200 students, he found up to 80 percent were restricting calories, overexercising, purging or using laxatives in combination with binge drinking…

Bogeymen

No, the sex trade in Ireland is no more “controlled” by “gangs” than it is in the US.  This is little more than a cop wanking fantasy of there being “bad guys” to target, aided and abetted by the pathological liars at Ruhama:

Five major vice gang members are behind three-quarters of the sex-for-sale business in Ireland, according to data taken from the most popular website used to advertise prostitution.  One gang this week has links to 80 advertised women and more than 10 transgender prostitutes, who can each make €1,000 a day.  Ireland’s multi-million euro vice trade is set for a massive blow as a new law to make it illegal to buy sex is due before the Dáil this week…

But just for fun, ask yourself:  If there really were mobsters behind all the sex work in Ireland, would they want decriminalization or increased criminalization?  Did the Mafia like the end of Prohibition?  And what happened to Mexican drug cartels’ profits when Washington & Colorado legalized cannabis?

The End of the Beginning 

This is what happens when you don’t fight tyrannical laws from the beginning:

A federal class action…challenges a Mississippi statute that requires people convicted of having anal sex to register as sex offenders.  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five Mississippi residents who say they were convicted under various sodomy prohibitions, including the “unnatural intercourse” law, and Louisiana’s “crime against nature by solicitation” law…the [registration requirement] is discriminatory and unenforceable in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas invalidating all state laws against gay sex as unconstitutional…

You know why they can get away with this despite Lawrence?  Because the Great Unwashed said nothing when federal courts established the precedent that the horrific persecution and ostracism inflicted on “sex offenders” are not punishments, but merely side effects of a record-keeping process.

Torture Chamber

Stop faking!

[In 1993] Anthony Gay…pled out to violating probation because of a “strong arm robbery.”  Gay was convicted of the robbery and hence the violation after nicking a hat and $1, resulting in a sentence of 7 years in prison…he was warehoused at the notorious…Tamms Correctional Center in Illinois [where]…”his actions…driven by his mental illness, resulted in years of solitary confinement and additional criminal convictions, chiefly due to a series of assaults on guards, including throwing feces and urine out of the food slot in his cell door.  By 2013, his sentence had been increased to 97 years and his release date pushed back to around 2091…he practiced self-mutilation, even to the point of cutting out one of his testicles and hanging it on a cell door in 2010“…He was literally crying out for help, and no one listened, save for his lawyers who managed to…convince…the court that the sentences Gay racked up while at Tamms had been improperly stacked…his new release date is set for August of 2018…Tamms has closed shop because its blatant incompetence and overindulgence in costly solitary confinement of people like Gay…

Making It Up As They Go 

Seattle pretends to be “liberal”, but it’s home to vile bullshit like this:

Escape to Peace launched…a…center for survivors of sex trafficking in Bellevue on Oct. 6….Carol Loya was inspired to create the non-profit after a 2012 mission to Thailand, during which she was shocked to see and talk to young…sex work[ers]…At any given time in King County, 300-500 underage girls are being trafficked.  The average age of entry is 12-14 years old, with some as young as 8 or 9…

Yes, they’re actually claiming that Greater Seattle has 20% of all coerced underage prostitutes in the entire US.

Checklist (#612)

More “beauty salon sex trafficking” idiocy from Ohio:

…100,000…cosmetologists throughout the state of Ohio…are now the latest allies in the fight against human trafficking…In Ohio alone, it is estimated that more than 1,000 girls and boys, between the ages of 12 and 17, are involved in the sex trade.  Last year, Ohio’s state cosmetology board approved a requirement that human-trafficking awareness training become a mandatory part of obtaining a cosmetology license…[fetishists fantasize that] traffickers or so-called pimps may take a victim to a hair salon in order to change their appearance to avoid detection…If stylists see anything suspicious, there are things they can do like get a license plate number and call police…

In a police state, even your hairdresser may be spying on you.

One Born Every Minute (#645) 

I’m pleased for the very small part I played in helping to expose this rapist:

Matt Hickey…has been charged by the King County Prosecuting Attorney with three counts of rape in the second degree.  The charges…contain allegations from three women, including two women The Stranger wrote about earlier this year…who said Hickey told them he was working with a female porn recruiter, and asked them to audition for them…Not long after the first piece came out, three more women came forward to accuse Matt Hickey of rape.  These women told The Stranger that Hickey got them blackout drunk and raped them while they were unable to consent.  Hickey denied all of the allegations…

Vendetta (#664)

A look at the aftermath of one of the private pogroms bankrolled by billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt:

Cory Walcott, was chair of the Military Science Department at the University of Nebraska Kearney until he was busted in a highly-publicized national sting…Prosecutors have now announced they are dropping the charge against Walcott and another man, Maurice Briggs…Their arrests were both part of the “National John Suppression Initiative”…[in which] police departments across the country pose undercover as either sex workers or their clients, arrest a lot of adult men and women for things like prostitution and solicitation, then put out splashy press releases about all the “sex trafficking arrests” they’ve made…the ultimate arrest/rescue breakdown for Lincoln?

  • no underage or adult sex-trafficking victims discovered
  • no force, fraud, or coercion discovered
  • four women, ages 23 to 36, charged with misdemeanor prostitution
  • five men charged with misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution
  • one man charged with felony solicitation of prostitution
  • one man charged with marijuana possession…

Send In the Clowns

The most interesting part of the clown panic isn’t the hysteria itself (which is kind of a yawn to anyone who’s studied such panics before), nor the copycats trying to get attention by mimicking the imaginary bogeys (ditto), but the bizarre things one finds in news stories about clown incidents.  One story says “Three ‘juvenile clowns’ were taken into custody in Albuquerque, New Mexico, under the influence of marijuana“; Holy Reefer Madness, Batman!  One wonders what the Kentucky man who “fired a semi-automatic rifle at a woman walking her dog because he thought she was a clown” was under the influence of; like some others, this story tries to blame the clown hysteria on Stephen King, specifically a new production of It which I doubt has anything to do with the panic.  Then there’s this Massachusetts Halloween haunted house which features “scary clowns” among its attractions, reassuring the public that “they would know if there was a clown impersonator among them.”  Self-important Australian “experts” pronounced the hysteria “dangerous” and “sinister” after it spread to Perth and to cities in Victoria (one wonders why they haven’t opined on the far-more-serious “sex trafficking” hysteria).  But those all pale beside the horrifying statements made by cops in (wait for it) Arizona:

The Phoenix Police Department reports five juveniles ages 14 and 15 were charged with scary clown threats. Mesa police [arrested]  two juveniles…[one maniac said] “I would call it a hate crime.”  To prevent copycats, [pigs] and county prosecutors are taking a zero tolerance approach.  “Every image, every text, every mention will be investigated,” said [Commissar] Nik Rasheta…prosecutors plan to prosecute anyone else making scary clown threats to the full extent…[propaganda operatives] say don’t think social media will be a shield to make scary clown threats. Authorities have the technology to see who’s posting and spreading them…

Challenge (#679)

Lambda Legal has honored the commitment it made to sex worker rights last year by filing an amicus brief in the ESPLERP case:

…At the heart of Lambda Legal’s most groundbreaking victories and continuing mission is self-determination, including bodily autonomy.  When the Supreme Court struck down laws criminalizing same-sex relationships and gay identity in Lawrence v. Texas, it rightly rejected assertions against us that “public health” justified sodomy laws.  The movement for reproductive justice, from which we draw key legal precedents, similarly fights for facts over fiction when government tries to limit the right to contraception, abortion, or other similar personal decision-making.  Lawrence explained that the constitutional right to liberty protects all of us when we make our own decisions about adult, consensual sexual intimacy…sometimes relationships are transactional…consider prenuptial agreements, surrogacy, and hook-up websites; the fact that money is involved does not obliterate constitutional protections for marriage, parenting or sexual intimacy.  All of these truths animate Lambda Legal’s position that the government may not constitutionally criminalize consensual adult sex solely because it is bought and sold.

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Sex workers are getting paid for what we do – you ain’t.  –  Miranda Kane

Aversions

The older I get, the more deeply weird (and frankly, kind of disgusting) the idea of giving strangers sex for free seems to me.  So I’m fascinated by the looking-glass prohibitionist notion that being paid for sex is somehow degrading, especially when I read stuff like this about what amateur dating (which I’ve never really engaged in per se) is like:

…It is not, in fact, sex-work that puts me off men.  It’s dating them.  When I was a sex worker, when a client came to see me, he knew I was a luxury item.  My Dos and Do Nots were clear from the start, and if he asked me to do something I didn’t want to, I said no and that’s as far as it went…sex workers see the best part of men – they’re polite, friendly…On a date I’m just one click away from rejection…The sex workers of Twitter created the hashtag of #banfreebies, an ironic take on what people expect of us as obviously being so “oppressed and exploited”.  Remember that, won’t you, the next time he rolls over and starts snoring and you have to bring out the Rampant Rabbit…

And since I’m bisexual, I feel it needs to be noted that women aren’t really much better.

Check Your Premises

It’s pretty bad when they can’t even maintain their own paradigm for more than a sentence:

Nine people were arrested in Suisun City [California] in a human trafficking operation…Detectives posed online as would-be ‘johns’ to contact prostitutes [that they pretended to believe to be] underage…Once the…sex workers arrived, they were [arrested] and [cops tried to pressure them into claiming to be]…victims of sex trafficking…Seven women…between the ages of 18 and 28 were arrested…

Uncommon Sense natalie-hot

Is there any other kind of work that is so consistently treated as a subject for abstract “debate” by outsiders?

German porn star Natalie Hot will appear in court…to defend her right to work as a “webcam girl”…from her detached house in Ampfing, Bavaria.  The town is home to 6,000 residents, several of whom have lodged legal complaints over their neighbour’s chosen profession.  Hot is challenging a decision by local authorities that prevented her from undressing on camera, threatening a penalty of €2,000 if she doesn’t adhere to the ban.  Their reasoning is that her house is in a specific land-use area, which does not allow for commercial use…A judge will now rule whether the room Hot uses for her work could be considered a “home office”, a label which would allow her to continue her work…

Finding What Isn’t There

You know how freshwater crabs wave their claws around and foam at the mouth when one throws them in salt water to purge them?  Picture that:

There are no statistics to back up her claims, but the country’s Chief Immigration Officer Annette Mark believes the sex trafficking problem in Antigua & Barbuda is more prevalent than perceived…Mark [fantasizes that] nightclubs and strip clubs…are to be blamed for the [nonexistent epidemic]…She said…“what is unfortunate is that the women who come seem to be willing participants, so it’s difficult to [force them to pretend] that they are victims of trafficking”.  According to Mark, while women [use sex work]…as a means of income, it is part of a slave trade…

Pyrrhic Victory

Not a police state, no sirree:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an ambitious plan to [equip]…10 bridges and tunnels leading into the city…with facial recognition and license plate reading technology, giving police a comprehensive record of every car making the crossing…

I Saw My Brain

More terrifying insanity from the pocket police-state that is Polk County, Florida:

If you happen to be heading over to Polk County Florida, be sure to check to see if you have anything on or about your person that may have someone’s business name on it…That’s what Tim Troller found out when an ever vigilant deputy saw a Sunshine State Dairy Farms milk crate strapped to his BMX bike.  Polk County takes broken windows policing to the extreme, a milk crate strapped to your bike is a major indicator that you are a career criminal, or as the Polk County Sheriff’s Office spokes-prevaricator Debbie Horstman put it, undoubtedly with a straight face… “Deputies are…looking for people who are doing even the smallest crime, because, what we’ve learned is, those who will go out and steal a milk crate, for example, are the same people who are probably breaking into cars, breaking into your house”…

Frequently Told Lies

Caty Simon on the “sex work leads to drug use” myth:

You’ve heard the story:  A troubled woman prostitutes herself.  To numb the pain of belonging to this sordid underground world, she begins to use drugs…and her life continues to spiral out of control…“Multiple studies repeatedly and consistently … refute this narrative,” [says] Melbourne-based sex worker Fae Adams…In a study conducted in Sydney in the 1990s, for example, a sample group of 120 sex workers were found to be lighter drinkers than a sample group of women health care workers.  They were only 15 percent less likely to abstain from illegal drugs than the control groups of students and health workers.  And a 2002 British study correlated “problematic” drug use among sex workers with teenage drug use pre-dating entry into the industry, as well as homelessness and convictions…Yet the trope about using drugs to make sex work tolerable persists—and many drug-using sex workers find it infuriating because of how it reduces and flattens their lives and strips them of their choices…

Feminine Pragmatism (#553) 

Stupid assumptions about sex work often result in incredibly stupid concepts like the idea that working independently is somehow noteworthy, or that making a law against one aspect of the work is the same as criminalization:

Italy has yet to exit from…the worst [recession] in its postwar history — and the protracted crisis has seen the number of Italian sex workers surge more than 26 percent from 2007 to 2015…The extended downturn also has fueled a proliferation of “good” women generating badly needed income by engaging in prostitution on the side as “house practitioners”…35 percent of the 20,000 prostitutes in Italy, or some 7,000 women, are house practitioners…Michel Venturelli, a criminologist who has researched the issue…[says] “It’s do-it-yourself domestic sex work”…The Italian parliament banned prostitution in 1958, shuttering brothels.  Since then it’s been chaotic in the sex-for-sale industry…

No, the parliament didn’t “ban prostitution”, as the article itself mentions later; it banned brothels, but even while those were legal many if not most sex workers worked outside of them.  The only “chaos” is in the minds of cops, prohibitionists and reporters who listen to them.

Traffic Jam (#619)

Remember what happened the last time Minnesota “authorities” claimed they had busted a “sex trafficking gang”?

About a dozen people were arrested in cities across the U.S…for running what authorities [pretend is] a sophisticated sex trafficking operation in which hundreds of women were brought from Thailand to America under fraudulent visas and forced to work as prostitutes to pay off tens of thousands of dollars in bondage debts.  The women – including one who was forced to have sex with strangers for 12 hours a day, six or seven days a week- were not allowed to move about freely and were “effectively modern day sex slaves”…The arrests, along with the recent arrest of the organization’s boss in Belgium, will effectively dismantle the operation, said Alex Khu, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Minneapolis…


You may also recall that “sophisticated operations” is the excuse pigs use to rape sex workers.  And if you haven’t yet read Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s analysis of very similar claims made against Seattle-area Korean sex workers and clients, now would be the time.  See more of Liz’s work below.

To Molest and Rape 

The ever-vigilant Liz Brown looks at several cases of rape & sexual abuse by cops, several of which I haven’t yet covered:

…Allen Large…of the Horry County [South Carolina] Sheriff’s Office…was recently indicted by a grand jury on five counts of…[raping] multiple victims…Large…is also the subject of multiple civil lawsuits accusing him of activity such as sexual assaulting a woman who came to him to report a sexual assault, sexual harassment, and threatening to interfere with a woman’s child-visitation rights if she wouldn’t participate in nude “catfight” videos…Horry County [cop] Luke Green was indicted for [raping a sex worker]…during a prostitution arrest and the same with a confidential police informant…On September 21, New Jersey [cop] Ed Leopardi [committed]…suicide…[because he] was under investigation for [anally raping] a sex worker at a Trenton police K-9 training facility…”then allegedly wiped his penis on the headquarters’ curtains”…

The Prudish Giant (#641) 

It’s impossible to express how much this delights me:

On [October 4th]  Facebook introduced Marketplace, a new section on its mobile app that allowed its users to buy and sell things with their friends and strangers.  By the evening, the social giant was apologizing for an issue with the section, which featured some posts that would not have been out of place on the…Silk Road…Illegal drugs.  Dogs.  Guns.  Sexual services.  Baby hedgehogs…Mary Ku, a director for product management…who had cheerfully introduced the Marketplace app in a blog post earlier in the day, issued a statement saying that a technical issue had prevented Facebook’s reviewing system from identifying posts that violated its commerce policies and community standards…

Now They Notice (#666)

Note that we aren’t hearing a peep out of Gay, Inc about this any more:

The chief executive officer of a once-popular male escort website pleaded guilty…to promoting prostitution in a federal case that prompted accusations of anti-gay bias…Under a plea deal, Hurant agreed not to appeal a sentence of two years or less in prison.  His company also cannot appeal a penalty of $10 million or less…

Send In the Clowns

Watching how the clown panic develops is an example of a moral panic in miniature.  For example, note how the skateboard carried by this hoaxer myseteriously transformed itself into an “ax” for a more imaginative witness.   Everybody wants to get into the act; sales of clown masks have soared by 300% from this month last year, and the website Atlas Obscura has produced this interactive map of sightings which they say will be regularly updated.  They’ll need to expand it, though; the hysteria has spread to Canada and also the UK:

A masked man carrying a knife left a group of children aged 11 and 12 “upset and distressed” when he jumped out on their way to [school in]…County Durham…in Suffolk, a boy “younger than a teenager” was chased by “several people dressed as clowns”…Tom Jackson…a first year student at Leeds Beckett University [said]…he was “very scared” when he saw a man dressed as a clown near an underpass…Northumbria Police issued an appeal and warning after a series of incidents in Newcastle involving people dressed as clowns jumping out and scaring schoolchildren.  A 13-year-old boy was arrested…following [the] reports…In Essex, two…schoolgirls were approached by two people dressed as clowns who asked them if they wanted to attend a birthday party…People on social media have also reported clown sightings in Cheshire, North Wales, Dundee, Norwich, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.  A man dressed as a clown “wearing a hockey mask and a blood-stained poncho” was captured on camera in…Greater Manchester…

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I was wondering if it might be to big a jump for Americans to go from fearing sex to seeing it as a normal human activity; might not the Swedish model be a shorter step?  Decriminalization is best of course, but is it to much of a shift from criminalization to make all at once?

false-compromiseProponents of the Swedish model want you to see it as a sort of compromise position; that’s how it was sold in Canada, where the Middle of the Road is practically the national symbol.  But it’s actually nothing of the kind.  First of all, the Swedish model has never been adopted any place where sex work was already criminalized; it always results in the criminalization of behavior that was not previously criminalized.  Even if it were to be adopted in some US jurisdiction, the oft-heard claim that the model “decriminalizes the seller” is a blatant lie.  Because prostitution is a misdemeanor, arrested sex workers are usually charged with whatever the cops and DAs can think of to get a more serious crime, such as “promotion of prostitution” (ie pimping) or even “sex trafficking” if the cops’ victim was working with another whore; these laws are still in place under the Swedish model (described therein as “going after the pimps and traffickers”), and because there is no lesser prostitution charge the impetus for cops to level such serious charges against ordinary sex workers is actually increased.  But there’s another, more insidious and dangerous effect of the model: it establishes the legal precedent that adult women who behave in a way of which the state disapproves are not merely criminal, but incompetent.  As I explained in my essay, “Treating Sex Work as Work”:

[The Swedish model] is solidly rooted in an archaic and sexist view of women as particularly fragile and vulnerable, and…posits that paying for sex is a form of male violence against women.  This is why only the act of payment is de jure prohibited: the woman is legally defined as being unable to give valid consent, just as an adolescent girl is in the crime of statutory rape.  The man is thus defined as morally superior to the woman; he is criminally culpable for his decisions, but she is not…the law has been demonstrated to increase both violence and stigma against sex workers, to make it more difficult for public health workers to contact them, to subject them to increased police harassment and surveillance, to shut them out of the country’s much-vaunted social welfare system, and to dramatically decrease the number of clients willing to report suspected exploitation to the police (due to informants’ justified fear of prosecution).  Furthermore, these laws don’t even do what they were supposed to do; neither the incidence of sex work (voluntary or coerced) nor the attitude of the public toward it has changed measurably in any country (Sweden, Norway and Iceland) where they have been enacted…a Norwegian study found that banning the purchase of sex had actually resulted in an increase in coercion)…and…despite the hype, the truth is that even operations framed as “john stings” or “child sex slave rescues” end up with the arrest and conviction of huge numbers of women; for example, 97% of prostitution-related felony convictions in Chicago are of women, and 93% of women arrested in the FBI’s “Innocence Lost” initiatives are consensual adult sex workers rather than the coerced underage ones the program pretends to target…

And we haven’t even touched on things like Norway’s “Operation Homeless” (in which the cops sent letters to sex workers’ landlords, telling them they could be prosecuted as “pimps”, so as to get the women evicted); the forcible collection of “evidence” from the “crime scene” (i.e. sex workers’ vaginas); and the expulsion of student sex workers who refuse to pretend that they’re “victims”.

Tl;dr version of the preceding: “No”.

(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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