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Archive for the ‘The Dark Side’ Category

In Sweden…the fact that [sex workers] are more vulnerable is considered a success.  –  Luca Stevenson

R.I.P. Charles GatewoodCharles Gatewood

Famed photographer, videographer and cultural anthropologist Charles Gatewood passed away peacefully [on April 28th]…at San Francisco General Hospital.  The prolific 73-year-old was known as the “anthropologist of the forbidden” for his exploration of subcultures like BDSM, body modification, fringe fetishes and more.  Gatewood photographed numerous celebrities…and…worked on assignment for [major] publications…Among his more erotic works, Gatewood produced Tales of Submission and his photos were also frequently exhibited…A memorial service is currently being scheduled to be held at the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco…

Rough Trade 

Oscar Luis Urbina was…charged with rape as King County prosecutors contend he brutally raped [a sex worker] at his home.  Investigators took a DNA sample from Urbina as part of that investigation.  Now, prosecutors contend that DNA test solved another violent sexual assault that saw a 25-year-old woman bitten, beaten and raped…on April 13, 2014…

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

A New Jersey man was convicted…of impersonating a [pig] and raping two prostitutes on the Las Vegas Strip…Mark Picozzi…somehow sneaked into a room not registered in his name on the 32nd floor of The Cosmopolitan and called the Las Vegas Dream Girls escort agency…After the woman arrived, Picozzi…told her he was with the police…and…raped…[her]…as she left the hotel…she was arrested [by an actual pig on bullshit charges]…and [since] she had [nothing to lose she reported the rape]…another woman…contacted police after seeing news coverage of the allegation against Picozzi…[and] told police Picozzi arranged a date with her on Jan. 18, 2014…then claimed he was a police officer before [orally raping] her…and [stealing] $2,000 from her safe…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I really love it when they feed on each other:

…[Los Angeles school cop] Mauricio Edgardo Estrada..surrendered to federal authorities following his indictment…by a…grand jury…[on] charges…[of] attempted sex trafficking of a child and use of the Internet to induce a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity.  The case against Estrada is the result of an undercover operation by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force…[Estrada replied to a fake] Craigslist advertisement…and subsequently engaged in a series of text messages with a [cop pretending to be]…a 15-year-old girl…

Surplus Women 

Call me cynical, but I wonder what these prosecutors and cops would’ve said about Ashley Masi if she had been arrested instead of murdered:

Daniel Tejeda might have thought Ashley Masi didn’t matter, but to the 30-plus family, friends, prosecutors and Providence police on hand…to see him be found guilty of strangling her to death, she sure did…Tejeda…[murdered] Masi, an escort and mother of three…by pulling a zip-tie so tightly around her neck that its diameter shrunk by more than three inches…prosecutor…Daniel Carr Guglielmo…called Tejeda “the face of danger to prostitutes. “A prostitute dies … Who cares?…Maybe that’s what the defendant thought.  Who cares?”…

The Course of a Disease

A basic primer on the fight for sex worker rights, focusing on France and Belgium:

…on 6 April, the French National Assembly, not without difficulty, adopted the Scandinavian model of [criminalization]…Whilst many [prohibitionists]…rejoiced…the move…represents a real threat for sex workers.  As denounced by the French sex workers’ union, the STRASS, in a declaration co-signed by around a hundred associations, including Médecins du Monde and the French human rights league, LDH, these workers risk finding themselves being driven underground and into danger…In Sweden and Norway, where this model has been in place for several years, the results are not as encouraging as the governments would have us believe…

Above the Law  

If only there were a short, specific word for the cumbersome phrase “coerced into having sex”:

A lawsuit by 10 women says they were coerced into having sex while they were inmates at a jail in southwestern Michigan…the federal lawsuit…names Berrien County and four current or former sheriff’s deputies who worked at the jail…two of the deputies resigned and one was fired after an investigation started in September into misconduct by jail employees while they were off-duty.  The fourth deputy named in the lawsuit remains employed by the department…

Let’s see; it should be more specific than the umbrella phrase “sex crimes”:

…Santa Clara police Sgt. Thomas Leipelt…was sentenced to 45 days in jail and will have to register as a sex offender after being convicted of exposing himself in front of his girlfriend’s co-worker…San Mateo County Sheriff’s Deputy Galen Underwood was [convicted of]…molesting a female relative…for 6 years, starting when she was 11.  Underwood…was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison plus 38 years…

Oh, I know just the word!

[Memphis cop] Michael Smith…has been arrested and indicted for raping a…woman…on April 16…at a parking garage.  The victim was leaving the Purple Haze night club…and…part of the [rape]…was caught on security camera footage…

Gee, I wonder why the mainstream media won’t use it when the criminals are cops?

Buried Truth 

In 2003, Dennis Hastert urged Congress to “Put repeat child molesters into jail for the rest of their lives”:

Former House speaker Dennis Hastert…was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison…for a bank fraud case linked to allegations he sexually abused teen boys more than 30 years ago.  Federal Judge Thomas Durkin called Hastert, 74, a “serial child molester” and…also fined Hastert $250,000 and sentenced him to two years of supervised release after leaving prison.  Hastert must register as a sex offender…Hastert…admitted for the first time [molesting] some athletes when he was a high school wrestling coach in Illinois before he began a political career that saw him become the top Republican in Congress…Zachary Fardon, the U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois, said…Hastert would have faced more serious charges for sex abuse had the statutes of limitation for the criminal sexual misconduct not expired years ago…

Hastert is best known for the so-called “Hastert Rule”, but I’d like to remind you of the McNeill Rule:  “Any man who crusades against any sex act is almost certainly a practitioner.”

Where are the Victims? (#325)

We’re so lucky to have cops qualified to diagnose us as “victims” no matter what we may think:

Blackburn [Lancashire] Police…said despite the best efforts of officers, both victims found at the property refused to provide statements to confirm they had been trafficked…Det Sgt Tony Atkins…said…“This intervention resulted in the safeguarding of the two females, who, although not making complaints as victims, clearly were, but could not see it”…

I hope Atkins fails to see one of the 4000 holes in his vicinity, and falls into it.

Whimsical Notions

Retired Gen. Charles C. Krulak, a former commandant of the U.S. Marines and president of Birmingham-Southern College, is calling on the next president of the United States to ramp up spending on fighting human trafficking…Krulak complains in a CNN op-ed that “each year the federal government dedicates less than $150 million to combating human trafficking—compared to $30.5 billion for the War on Drugs.”  Considering that the War on Drugs is now roundly viewed as one of biggest boondoggles in U.S. history—a fiscal and humanitarian disaster of such scope that even conservative Republicans and many former Drug Warriors can’t deny that it’s not working—I’m not sure why that’s supposed to serve as an endorsement.  But consider this one more clue that America’s war on human trafficking—which in practice is seldom more than a war on adults consenting to commercial sex—is indeed the next target of all that displaced Drug War effort…Citing the same bad statistics that have routinely been debunked by myriad sources, Krulak announces the launch of Generation Freedom.  This coalition of more than 70 organizations has come together to [lobby] for greater “financial investment [in the rescue industry] by the U.S. government”…

Cops and Robbers

Another sleazebag takes it upon himself to persecute strangers for consensual sex:

Amit Prakash…had no idea what [he and his brother] were getting themselves into.  The prostitution.  The johns.  The pimps…For decades, human trafficking has existed in a shadowy world.  That has started to change, though, as authorities at all levels of government have taken up the issue, shining a light on it, even as solutions to stop people from being bought and sold and forced into work as prostitutes have remained largely elusive…As criminal enterprises go, it’s growing faster than the drug trade…women start in the sex trade as teenagers, forced into prostitution by their fathers, brothers or uncles.  Others are coerced by their boyfriends…Prakash says he is determined to find a way stop prostitution – not just at a single hotel, but at hotels and motels throughout the Sacramento region…“The goal isn’t to go after the girls,” he said. “The goal is to go after the guys. The johns. We want to let them know we’re watching you”…Security guards are a must.  So are cameras, preferably ones that cover every inch of a property, so workers can see if unregistered guests enter rooms…Prakash also is a big advocate of…a universal Do Not Rent list…

Guinea Pigs 

Even when the perpetrators are loser guys rather than cops and other government actors, new surveillance weapons are usually used against sex workers first:

The developers behind “FindFace”, which uses facial recognition software to match random photographs to people’s social media pages on Vkontakte, say the service is designed to facilitate making new friends [by stalking them]…On April 9…users of the Russian imageboard “Dvach” (2chan) launched a campaign to [out]…actresses who appear in pornography.  After identifying these women with FindFace, Dvach users shared archived copies of their Vkontakte pages, and spammed the women’s families and friends with messages informing them about the discovery.  The effort also targeted women registered on the [escort] website “Intimcity”…The [losers] behind the doxing campaign say their motivation is moral outrage, claiming that women in the sex industry are “corrupt and deceptive.”  (Tellingly, Dvach users also complained that such women typically ignore the kind of men who make up Dvach’s audience)…

Vendetta (#607)

Another group of technically competent but woefully naive kids is exploited by the police state to attack sex workers:

Human Trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that enslaves nearly 21 million people around the world.  Reliable data remains a major challenge at the heart of anti-human trafficking efforts…Our inaugural ATHackathon will create innovative tools to track & analyze data related to trafficking…

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Tracy’s community…turned away from her in an inane focus on protecting the look of the gates rather than the garden that thrives beyond them.  –  Maya Yonika

Couples David & Jenni Heckendorf

A disabled Australian couple gets help from a sex worker:

…a…fall had long-lasting consequences on Jenni’s health generally and on our sex lives.  Her prolonged and mostly unsuccessful recovery resulted in Jen having further reduced mobility in and out of bed.  It meant we had to take extreme care not to touch or bump her foot…We tried different toys and different positions without joy.  Two years after the fall we were at a point where we had to make a decision to either give up on enjoying sex or to investigate the possibility of allowing a third person into our bed…we arranged for sex worker, Joanne, to begin working with us.  With each visit we had to remind ourselves that she wasn’t there to make “love” to us.  Rather, in the same way that our support staff ensure that we remain in good physical health – by showering, feeding, and dressing us – Joanne helps us to maintain good sexual health…we successfully approached the ACT government to extend the funding of our disability care support to cover these conjugal support services.  In December 2015, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) agreed that, in our situation, a modest allowance for conjugal support service would be reasonable and necessary…

Lack of Evidence

It appears to me that the cops have no actual evidence:

A North Augusta [South Carolina] woman has been arrested on multiple charges of Prostitution.  Kristen Perry…was arrested [April 6th and]…is facing 21 charges of Sex/Prostitution 1st Offense.  She is accused of placing ads on Backpage.com between December 2015 and February 2016 offering sex for money…The ads contained sexually suggestive photos and language…The ads were accompanied by a phone number confirmed to belong to Perry…The IP address from which the ads were posted was traced back to her residence…

A good lawyer should be able to beat this easily; if anyone knows her please ask her to call me (email me for the number).  I definitely want to help her if possible.  Arresting escorts based solely on ads is an extremely dangerous precedent that cannot be allowed to stand.

Where Are the Victims?

There weren’t any actual victims, but we just have to cage people, because SEEWEEUSS UFFENSE!

Chunjie Wang…of…Dublin…organised four brothels…for seven months..[in] 2011…Judge Melanie Greally noted the case did not involve the trafficking or exploitation of prostitutes…but…said the seriousness of the offence meant a custodial sentence was unavoidable and sentenced Wang to 18 months imprisonment…

It Looks Good On Paper

Adult sex trafficking victims who get caught working as prostitutes could receive immunity from prostitution under a new Nebraska law…Nebraska already provides legal immunity to juvenile sex trafficking victims…”  Except that as I’ve explained many times, these laws are nothing but Potemkin villages, empty legal husks designed to please the ignorant while actually sparing virtually nobody from the injustice system:

…Wisconsin…advocacy groups…want to pass what is known as “safe harbor” legislation, which prohibits prosecuting individuals under 18 for prostitution…Republican legislators who fear it will hinder law enforcement’s ability to intervene and help trafficking victims…Minors can complete a program or other requirements in exchange for a dismissal of the charge, or they can admit to charges but assert they were being trafficked at the time…Proponents believe that by refusing to prosecute minors, law enforcement will be able to establish trust and gain access to information that will allow them to more successfully prosecute traffickers…Custody may also be necessary to ensure the child does not return to his or her trafficker…

Translation of that last part: “Authorities” want to be able to lock up minors indefinitely and subject them to coercive interrogation tactics in order to prosecute others in their place.

Big Sister

The Swedish model is based in xenophobia, and it shows in rhetoric designed to rationalize its failure:

Ever greater numbers of tourists in Iceland…are feeding into the market for prostitution…Snorri Birgisson of the Reykjavik Metropolitan Police [pretends] “It is usually foreigners visiting Iceland for a short time”…It is [fantasized] that prostitutes who come to Iceland are “managed” by somebody and transported from country to country…

The Last Shall Be First 

One battle in the bathroom wars has just ended.  Or maybe a truce has been hammered out for the time being.  The U.S. 4th Circuit Court has ruled in favor of a female-to-male trans student who was banned from using his school’s boys bathroom…the…Court, whose rulings also cover North Carolina (site of a contentious new law covering similar issues)…has ordered the lower court to hear his discrimination lawsuit…Go here to read recent Reason musings on North Carolina’s new bathroom law…I’m willing to bet the farm that even within a few years, if not sooner, we will all look back on the absolute panic evinced over the issue of unisex bathrooms and wonder just what the fuck we were all smoking…

Above the Law  

Roanoke [Virginia cop Francisco Alberto Duarte] is awaiting trial on a felony count of forcible sodomy“, and in Louisiana, “A Calcasieu Parish sheriff’s deputy has been fired [and criminally charged] after he was accused of inappropriately touching a woman…Cody Onxley…called the woman and went to her house under false pretenses.

Broken Record

Farm machinery causes “sex trafficking”!

…[cops] have also found victims at this year’s National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville and expect to find others at the Kentucky Derby…traffickers…stay mobile, moving victims from city to city to major sporting and entertainment events…truckers are getting the word out through the national campaign Truckers Against Trafficking, with an event this weekend at the Kentucky Exposition Center…the truckers…are in a position to spot victims at convenience stores and truck stops, popular spots for traffickers…

Under Every Bed

It’s weirdly fascinating to watch small cities insist that they’re just as infested with bogeymen and imaginary victims as cities with much larger populations:

…slavery…still exists.  Even in Spokane.  The reasons for this, [prohibitionists pretend], include Washington having an international border and a large seaport [and] many diverse immigrant communities…Because of the I-90 corridor, Spokane gets a lot of traffic and homeless in the area…former madam Cheryl Larson [lied that]…one girl could make $10,000 in a weekend during Bloomsday…

Note the racism, interstate highway nonsense and outlandish claims about income.  That article ends with an appeal for amateur surveillance, as does this one:

…[Cops] in Springfield say the western Massachusetts city is beginning to see a noticeable rise in human trafficking…Jamie Bruno spoke before the Springfield Violence Prevention Task Force…to [pretend] that human trafficking has become a problem in the city and is expanding…Bruno says it’s pivotal that parents are aware of what their children are doing with friends…

Business As Usual

I smell a rat.  What probably happened here is that some cop raped a sex worker in a particularly violent and/or loathsome way and they’re trying to paper it over with a “policy”:

…Cleveland Police have been told to temporarily stop making prostitution arrests…[because] the Department is suddenly developing a new policy.  The memo says, “All prostitution (sex for money) related Vice enforcement shall cease immediately…Advise your Detectives under no circumstances shall they have a suspected prostitute get into a vehicle with them or have any physical contact with…Police…We are formulating a policy that will cover procedures for these types of details”…

Remember, the actual policies don’t make a difference because even when raping whores is expressly forbidden, cops just do it anyway and then claim they didn’t.

All-Purpose Excuse

It’s especially good for money grabs:

Nine hundred police officers have taken part in a raid on one of Germany’s biggest brothels in Berlin, making six arrests over alleged human trafficking and tax fraud.  The operation follows months of investigation into the Artemis brothel…[whose] managers are accused of evading some €17.5m (£14m; $19.7m) in social security payments since 2006.  Prosecutors allege that staff at Artemis were forced to pretend to be self-employed to avoid the payments…

In case you’re bad at math, that’s 150 cops per arrest, ten times the number NOPD used to arrest me.

The Face of Trafficking

What a large-scale, organized forced prostitution scheme actually looks like:

In a case involving 75 female victims, Syrian women who were promised well-paid jobs in restaurants and hotels in Lebanon were locked up upon arrival in two hotels north of Beirut and forced into prostitution.  Some of the women reported being forced to have sex with up to 20 clients a day, and those that refused to work as prostitutes were repeatedly raped and tortured until they submitted…On March 27, Lebanese security forces raided the hotels, detaining eight guards and setting the women free from the Chez Maurice and Silver Hotel in Maamelteine.  The three-story Chez Maurice had the look of a prison, with bars on the balconies and windows, and a whip lying visible on one of the guards’ tables.  The health ministry has also sealed a clinic belonging to gynecologist Riad al-Alam, who authorities say performed abortions for the trafficked women who got pregnant.  The women have said they were not allowed to leave the clinic except to have an abortion…

Remember, fetishists pretend this sort of thing is common worldwide, even where there isn’t social chaos precipitated by war.

Size Matters (#619)

An excellent essay on the Tracy Elise case:

…Five years ago, Tracy was…the [focus] of a six-month long undercover prostitution investigation of what was then known as the Tantric Temple of Phoenix Arizona.  [Cops] fully armed with riot gear and machine guns, raided the space and arrested Elise along with several other women…Tracy was thrown into jail without trial for the following two years, her bail set at a million dollars…Tracy’s case is inexorably woven into some of the most pressing and cutthroat social biases of our day when it come to sex and relationship.  These biases hold us so powerfully within their grip that if one so much appears to cross the line, we’re perfectly content to quietly dismiss a woman like Tracy while she faces a potentially lifelong jail sentence…the…need to belong innately necessitates an “other”… that thing that separates “me” from “them”…as news of the Phoenix raids came to light, the bulk of western Tantrics, in order to uphold their personal ideals and image, turned away from Tracy and her case.  A woman who calls herself a “Tantric master” even spoke out against Tracy on a major news channel in her effort to “protect Tantra’s name”…

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The unhealthy alliance of medicine and government…blesses all sorts of unjustified limits on liberty.  –  Thomas Szasz

bootlickerEven though I live in the same world as the bootlickers, they are somehow unable to see what’s going on all around them, or else they see it but can’t correlate it.  To them, this news story (for example) appears as something other than an abomination:

…once every three weeks, [Marziya] won’t be working the streets of Qurgon-Teppa as a prostitute…Those days are reserved for the morality classes she was recently enrolled in by local police…to turn…sex workers away from their profession.  The main goal…is to “help these women to get themselves on the right path”…The speakers…lecture…their audience on moral values…

Yes, this is Tajikistan rather than the US, but the US-based website for which the story was written is clearly blind to the mind-boggling hypocrisy of  women being forcibly subjected to “morality lessons” from the police.  You know, the same people who do this kind of thing, also in the name of “morality”:

…Kimberlee Carbone was pulled over by [Pennsylvania] police in November 2013, ostensibly because “she did not apply her turn signal at least 100 feet before the intersection.”  She was then subjected to a degrading five-hour ordeal that included a bogus DUI arrest, a search of her person and her car, a strip search at the county jail, and multiple probings of her anus and vagina at a hospital…Carbone was forced to remove her clothing, “bend over, spread her buttocks, and cough”…two [jailers], April Brightsue and Niesha Savage, [pretended] they saw a plastic bag protruding from her vagina, so they repeatedly instructed her to “prod her personal areas by inserting her fingers into her vagina” in the hope of dislodging the imaginary item.  Then they…[took her] to Jameson Hospital in New Castle for “an internal examination of her body cavities”…the cops found a doctor, Bernard Geiser, who [played along]…Carbone “was restrained to a bed by her wrists and ankles” as Geiser “performed an internal inspection of her vagina and rectum.”  He did not find anything…she was [then] subjected to an involuntary CT scan, which found no foreign objects…[District Attorney Joshua] Lamancusa…told her the ordeal would end “if she helped him by provid[ing] information regarding drug-related activity.”  He also asked her “if she knew what prison felt like.”  The lawsuit says Lamanusca and…cops [David Maiella & Chief Robert Salem] added insult to assault by making “derogatory remarks about her compromised position”…

Naturally, Carbone is suing, and naturally, a judge has already dismissed the majority of her claims.  I hope this other woman fares better, though I sincerely doubt she will because “sex trafficking”:

A Minnesota woman who spent four years in jail after she was accused of participating in a sex trafficking ring has filed a lawsuit against the city of St. Paul and a key police investigator…Hamdi Ali Osman [reports that]…Heather Weyker framed [her] as the “madam” in the sex ring of mostly Somali-American immigrants and refugees…in 2010.  Last month, a federal judge reversed convictions for several people…after concluding that Weyker was repeatedly caught lying, and that the sex trafficking claims by…the alleged victims…were fictitious…Osman…and other inmates spent 23 hours a day locked in their cells…for four years and on home arrest for two years…She’s also suing three unnamed supervisors who…allowed Weyker to continue fabricating facts…

I’ll be very surprised if Weyker and the other monsters involved in this suffer any consequences at all; the function of modern judges is to lend a veneer of legitimacy to the arbitrary brutality of “authorities”, while shielding them from the consequences of their behavior:

A Cook County judge…cleared a…[cop] of the sexual assault of a colleague’s young daughter, convicting him instead of misdemeanor battery…[and ordering him] to undergo up to two years of sex offender counseling…Judge Charles Burns [pretended] prosecutors had failed…to prove…that Dennis Barnes fondled the girl for his own sexual arousal…The girl was 9 at the time of the…assault in [which]…he…reached into her shorts and attempted to sexually assault her…When her mother entered the room, the girl began crying and told her what had happened.  “(Barnes) told the victim that he was her mother’s boss,” Assistant State’s Attorney Tracy Senica told the judge. “And…she didn’t scream because she didn’t want to get her mom into trouble”…

I suspect the prosecutors in that case weren’t trying any harder than they absolutely had to in order to maintain the illusion that they weren’t all on the same side; take this other prosecutor, for example:

Stuart Dunnings III…remains a crafty lawyer already planning for what will likely be a plea bargain on multiple prostitution and pandering charges.  For those with resources…the “seeking treatment” tactic is widely practiced as a way to lessen fines or jail time…For Dunnings, establishing an “I’m in treatment defense” is no less calculating than his very public get-tough on prostitution proclamations…One of the oddities in this case…is the ease with which Dunnings has managed to delay court proceedings so that he can seek out treatment.  Prosecutors usually aren’t so willing to let [defendants] enroll in programs to buttress their defense…The very notion of sex-addiction treatment has a hollow ring.  Unlike drug, alcohol and even gambling, sex addiction seems more a punch line than a serious condition…

Though that reporter does seem to get that “sex addiction” is bogus, he spouts the usual anti-whore nonsense and seems remarkably naive about the way “authorities” all scratch each others’ backs while slamming everyone else as hard as they can.  He also misses the bigger picture, the way in which the medical and psychiatric bureaucracies have become part of the machinery of oppression, in what dissident psychiatrist Thomas Szasz referred to as the “therapeutic state”.  Doctors and hospitals assist pervert cops in sexually violating people on the grounds that they might be using substances the State has decided are not permitted.  Sex crimes are redefined as psychopathologies, allowing the well-connected to substitute “treatment” for prison while simultaneously providing an excuse for indefinite detention of the marginalized; meanwhile ordinary, non-problematic sexual behaviors are defined as both crimes and pathologies, thereby allowing the state to choose between various control strategies as it pleases.  One of the most terrifying ways in which this is being done is by redefining behaviors once considered “vices”, “crimes” or “moral turpitude” into “public health issues”, allowing religious fanatics to don the white coats of doctors and disguise their Puritanism as something akin to epidemiology.  So while just about everyone recognizes this as absolute barking madness:

A Christian author is warning women that “masturbation is a direct path to Satan.”  Mack Major of Eden Decoded wrote on Facebook that “too many Christian women are losing their salvation because they masturbate…Dildos and all of those other sex toys have been used for thousands of years in demonic sex rituals…those sex toys are an open portal between the demonic realm and your own life”…Another post…warned…“The danger in masturbating is that one could inadvertently summon a sex demon…And once that demon attaches, it…will drive you to masturbate, even when you don’t want to.  You’ll be hit with urges to play with yourself so powerful that only an orgasm will allow you some temporary relief”…

…most don’t recognize this lunacy from Gail Dines as the exact same “sin, degradation and possession” rhetoric dressed up in modern psychobabble:

…As the evidence piles up, a coalition of academics, health professionals, educators, feminist activists and caregivers has decided that they can no longer allow the porn industry to hijack the physical and emotional well-being of our culture…Culture Reframed, an organization I founded and currently chair, is pioneering a strategy to address porn as the public health crisis of the digital age…if porn is not discussed in a research-based, age-appropriate sexual health curriculum, its effects will surely show up as sexual harassment, dating violence and inadvertent “child pornography” on students’ phones.  Pornography can cause lifelong problems if young people are not taught to distinguish between exploitative porn sex and healthy, safe sex.  As the research shows, porn is not merely a moral nuisance and subject for culture-war debates.  It’s a threat to our public health.

Note that Dines doesn’t disavow the idea of porn as sinful (“a moral nuisance”); in fact, it’s central to her narrative.  Dines, like other authoritarians, wants human sexuality to be defined as both a moral and a psychiatric/medical problem, so the police state can feel thoroughly justified in violently subjecting individuals to whatever “therapy” or “morality lessons” it wishes in order to “correct” them.

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SWOP Behind Bars is a new project, which attracted my attention soon after its formation; I think it’s incredibly important so I asked the organizer, Alex, to explain the project herself.  I’ve already donated a copy of my book (and will donate more to other prisons as the project expands), and I’ve given Alex carte blanche to use any of my columns in the newsletter she compiles for our incarcerated sisters.  As a former librarian, I well know the power books have to change lives, yet they’re so inexpensive; please consider donating at least one book to this program, and read on for other ways you can help. 

prison art 955No one really knows how many women who are imprisoned have done some form of sex work, but guesstimates from prison and probation officials run as high as 70%, and it’s difficult to ignore the probability that the criminalization of sex work has a major impact on the prison population.  According to the Florida Department of Corrections almost 6800 women are currently serving a sentence in Florida prisons, and another 38,000 are on state-supervised probation.  Women make up approximately 7% of the Florida prison population, with 144 under the age of 21; black and Hispanic women outnumber white women 3 to 1.  Programs for women behind bars are very limited, inadequately funded and mostly faith based, and re-entry services are pretty much limited to $50 and a bus ticket home, wherever that might be.  While the biggest fear for a sex worker might be arrest, the biggest fear for imprisoned women is what will happen to them when they are released.  These women return to their communities desperate and defined by their experience;  their families are disconnected and they must find their own way to rebuild their lives.  There is virtually no housing for those recently released, and they will be denied almost all public benefits because of their criminal records; they can’t get decent employment and they won’t be able to get a student loan in order to advance their education if they can’t or don’t want to engage in sex work.  When this discrimination is combined with whore stigma and the ever-present shaming of current or former sex workers, those who have been incarcerated have virtually no opportunity to thrive on release.

The SWOP Behind Bars project at Lowell Correctional Institution is working to reach out to sex workers behind bars by donating books to the prison library, sending newsletters to those currently incarcerated and building a nationwide network of sex worker-supported letter writing.  Women in prison who receive regular mail are perceived as “highly valued”, and it is the hope of SWOP Behind Bars to flood our incarcerated sisters with mail.  We are currently working to integrate with other prison book donation organizations to duplicate our efforts nationwide, in the hope that over time we can create a sense of community and support that will help them cope while imprisoned and rebuild their lives once released.

This didn’t happen overnight and it’s not even an original idea.  In the early days of sex work activism, Margo St James sued the state of California to improve programs and services for women in prison.  As the sex worker rights movement grew over the next 20 years and the Amnesty decision support decriminalization thrust sex worker rights into mainstream discourse, we still loudly protested the criminalization of sex work and have worked diligently to minimize the danger of being arrested; however, there are still so many sex workers in prison and they need to know we are here for them.  Many do not identify as sex workers, yet it only takes a cursory investigative search of the Department of Corrections websites to recognize that there is a large incidence of previous convictions for prostitution.  Women in prison do not know about the vibrant sex worker community that is rising up in the US, and we think they should.  Those of us who live in the free world have connected with each other via social media and through the organized efforts of Sex Worker Rights Organizations.  We have shared our experiences and our knowledge with each other on Facebook, Instagram, Tumbr and Twitter.  We have Art Shows and Operas and International Days we recognize together.  We have at last created our own community that – for the most part – has given us all a solidarity that is unprecedented.  We even have our own insignia…the Red Umbrella.  Now we need to get back to our roots and reach out to those behind bars because that is where those who have suffered the most from criminalization reside.

prison art 969Reading books is a popular prison pastime and unless one has somebody sending reading material inside, she is limited to what is in the prison library.  But prison libraries are limited to what was left behind by others, legal books and a flurry of faith based material; our goal is to provide books to improve the lives of prisoners, to provide educational resources, and to help reduce the likelihood of their returning to the prison system.  Our communities fare better when prisoners returning to society have had an opportunity to learn, grow, and mature as individuals, and books can provide inspiration and knowledge for that growth.  We believe that books about sex workers, provided by sex workers, for sex workers, and to sex workers are the greatest way we can invite them to participate in our community and let them tell us how we can improve our efforts to make sure that they have the tools to develop the best version of themselves.  Already the Lowell Correctional Facility for Women has been inundated with books donated by authors and individuals that tell about our history, our stories and our hopes for the future.  The generosity of the sex worker community has been overwhelming.  Each book donated will have a label placed inside that will identify our community and let them know how to reach out to us by phone and by mail.  The SWOP Community Support has been activated with a new flock of enthusiastic volunteers to answer calls.  Our first newsletter will be sent to more than 100 incarcerated recipients in the next few weeks, and we will be asking them to write to us and tell us their stories, and to organize support groups inside.  We will be providing evidence-based material for them to learn more about us and about themselves.  We have been invited to participate in the creation of a program that will launch this summer, in which we’ll have the opportunity to provide trauma informed, sex work positive training to corrections officers and other prison officials in the State of Florida.  We are also working to create re-entry support services that are available to assist those who have recently been released find the resources they need to accomplish the goals they set for themselves.

Our call to the sex worker community is to join us in reaching out to sex workers behind bars.  Here are 10 ways you can help.

  1. If you know someone who is in prison whom we could include in our monthly newsletter, send their mailing information to swopbehindbars@gmail.com.
  2. If you are the AUTHOR or PUBLISHER of a book you would like to donate, instructions are listed here.
  3. If you have your own newsletter or if you want to start writing to sex workers behind bars, we can send you our current list of sex workers.  We are not publishing an online list of incarcerated sex workers until they request us to do so.
  4. If you want to send a book to a specific resident of a jail or prison, you MUST send it using Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. There are no exceptions to this requirement in any US jail or prison.
  5. If you want to submit a story to the monthly newsletter, please send it to us at newsletter@swopbehindbars.org.
  6. If you want to donate NEW BOOKS to the Lowell Corrections Institution Library, we have a wish list on Amazon.com.
  7. If you want to donate USED BOOKS to the prison library, please send an email to swopbehindbars@gmail.com and we will tell you how this works and send you instructions.
  8. If you want to start your own book donation program in your state prison or county jail, let us know and we will be happy to share our tips and tricks.  We want to keep a record of books that are donated and a list of facilities where they are going so we know how to face future challenges with Books Behind Bars projects.
  9. We are building a toolkit for sex workers to use to reach out to recently arrested sex workers, and we will publish that information on the website and on Facebook and Twitter when it is complete.
  10. Finally, if you have ideas or resource material that you think would advance this project or assist in the creation of re-entry resources, please let us know about it.  We are particularly interested in people who are willing to engage directly by phone, mail or email with recently released sex workers who need a sex worker friendly, non-judgmental mentor.

prison art 956
The books most often requested are biographies, short stories and self-help books, particularly those that assist with addiction and trauma related issues.  SWOPUSA will be happy to send you a tax deductible receipt for the published price of the books, the cost of printing newsletters and any shipping or mailing costs you incur.  You do not have to use your own return address for mailing books or newsletters; you may use the SWOP USA return address:

SWOP-USA
340 S LEMON AVE #7566
WALNUT CA 91789

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Women who trade sex within marriage [may one day] realise they are the ones undervaluing what they have to offer.  –  Jemima

R.I.P. Amber Rayne Amber Rayne

…adult performer Amber Rayne, an industry veteran of more than 10 years, has died…she passed away peacefully in her sleep at home either late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, though the exact cause of death will not be known until autopsy reports are completed…She was 31.  Rayne…racked up close to 500 credits over the course of her career.  She was known for both her wild, no-holds-barred sexual performances and her commanding acting chops…the Detroit native had a background in professional acting before turning to adult, and those skills…[earned] multiple AVN Award nominations…

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

…Blake Lawrence Anderson…[raped a sex worker on]…March 29…she got into his car and he drove her to an industrial area…where he parked…[then] pulled a small black semi-automatic firearm and pointed it at her head, telling her he was a police officer.  Using duct tape to bind her wrists, she said Anderson sexually assaulted her several times…He eventually cut the tape off her, cutting her wrist. He let her go and drove away…[but] she got his license plate number…

Real People 

The more first-person accounts of sex work, the harder it will be for prohibitionist lies to survive:

…There is no “cookie cutter” ideal of beauty and character.  Men…want to enjoy the company of an authentic, independent woman simply basking in who she is.  Once I understood this my self-confidence exploded and so did my career…I’ve come to think of escorting as a helping, healing, and entertainment profession — not just for my clients but also for me.  Yes, I worked for money, and I loved every single gift and tip I got on top of it, but I worked just as much for the life that came with it. It took me to a better place, where I could recognize, embrace, and cultivate my own uniqueness…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I hope they keep feeding on each other:

A…Melbourne [Florida cop] was arrested…after officials said he offered cash to a [fake] prostitute who actually turned out to be a [female cop]…The arrest of…Shawn Archbold is the latest in a series of investigations into…the 169-[pig] agency…Melbourne Police Chief Steve Mimbs talked [a lot of childish nonsense about]…good [guys and]…bad guys…

Housewife Harlotry

Jemima on transactional sex:

…transactional sex is still the basis of many relationships.  Men are rewarded with blow jobs for good behaviour, and sex is seen as something points need to be earned for…this…is part of why, I believe, that so many women are harsher towards sex work than men (as this poll reports)…When you have a commodity that to you has a certain value, it will be perceived as a threat if others offer that same commodity for a different value…we are seen to devalue the transactional sex they have to offer, or, to put it another way, why would a man put up the shelves in exchange for a blow job when he can pay me straight cash for it?…

Monsters 

How long will Gay, Inc pretend that decriminalization isn’t a GLBT issue?

…At least 2,016 trans and gender diverse people were killed between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2015 across 65 countries, according to a research initiative started by Transgender Europe (TGEU)…The report did not state why they were killed, or if they were murdered because they were transgender.  It did, however, say that 65 percent of the victims were sex workers…

Challenge

This was, of course, expected; next stop, the 9th Circuit:

Americans may have a constitutional right to engage in consensual, intimate relationships, but that doesn’t mean they have a right to buy or sell sex, a Bay Area federal judge ruled…in upholding California’s 144-year-old ban on prostitution.  In a lawsuit filed a year ago, the plaintiffs…invoked the…2003 [Lawrence v Texas] ruling…U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White…[pretended] that the court was referring to intimate relationships and not merely to sexual activity…He said the high court, in the 2003 ruling, disavowed any intention to legalize prostitution…White also…[spouted nonsense about]…violence against women…sexually transmitted diseases and…human trafficking…

And no, California’s current prostitution law doesn’t date back to 1872; that was an anti-streetwalking law specifically.  Private prostitution wasn’t technically banned in the state until 1961, though other laws date back to the last “sex trafficking” hysteria of a century ago.

To Protect and Serve (#413)

The strippers who were molested by San Diego pigs can proceed with their lawsuit, despite attempts by pig lawyers to quash it:

Exotic dancers who…were held against their will and photographed by San Diego [pigs under the pretense of] a compliance raid can move forward with their lawsuit, a federal judge ruled…five to 15 [pigs] went to the clubs during the early-evening hours and ordered the dancers into a dressing room, where they were told to wait until…[isolated from one another, interrogated]…and photographed [in an invasive manner]…the [pigs] “made arrogant and demeaning comments to the entertainers and ordered them to expose body parts so that they could ostensibly photograph their tattoos”…when several asked if they could leave…[they were] threatened…with arrest…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#422)

Cops busting kids’ lemonade stands isn’t news any more, but this is a new low:Austin lemonade laws

…the Austin [Texas] City Council approved an ordinance to spare young lemonade sellers from parts of the city’s mind-numbing bureaucracy.  On Lemonade Day [May 7th]—and only on Lemonade Day—registered participants do not have to spend $35 to obtain a “temporary food permit,” and are also exempt from spending a staggering $425 on “a license agreement and fees” to use public property.  Unfortunately, the city’s friendliness to budding entrepreneurs ends there.  Lemonade stands run by kids must comply with Austin’s “temporary food service guidelines”…Parent…must also sign a waiver, and “agree to release, indemnify, defend and hold harmless the organizers of Lemonade Day and anyone associated with it or Lemonade Day from any and all claims for personal injuries or property damage resulting from my child/ren’s participation in Lemonade Day”…

Soap Opera (#547) 

Fetishists trade the costs of tattoo removal for the right to distort women’s bad choices into “sex trafficking” propaganda:

…[tattoos are] being removed for free…through a new project…[for supposed] human trafficking victims…from the Traffick Stop project…local [cops and prohibitionists fantasize that] the “overwhelming majority” of human trafficking victims are branded and that Fresno is a major hub for the sex trade…Of 2,700 to 3,000 children who run away from home in Fresno every year, an estimated 10 percent to 12 percent are lured into human trafficking.  [Pervert cop Curt] Chastain [related his masturbatory fantasy that] the actual number is much higher…Chastain [lied], “I’ve never personally met someone in prostitution who hasn’t started out as a victim”…

The idea that Fresno, California, which isn’t on the way to anything else, could possibly be a “major hub” for any kind of business is so utterly stupid one wonders how even cops can believe it.

Out of Control (#554) 

Looks like the creeps are progressing from spooge sneaking to spooge throwing:

New York City officials have revealed new proposals that would ban taxi and hire car drivers from flirting with passengers or initiating any kind of unwanted physical contact.  The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) has set out specific rules that include taking away licenses and imposing fines for drivers who touch or ejaculate on their passengers, and recommends fines and suspensions for drivers who comment on their passengers’ appearance or even talk about their own or their passengers’ love lives…

It’s probably for the best; after all, the line between flirting with a woman and ejaculating on her is such a subtle one, it’s just too much to leave it to individual judgment.

All-Purpose Excuse (#608)

If the government has its way, phone privacy will soon be gone completely:

…“pre-paid phones,”are often bought anonymously and without registration.  It was burner phones, not encryption, that were primarily used to plot the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris last November…H.R. 4886…would ban anonymous pre-paid phones in the United States…Jackie Speier (D-CA14)…[wants] purchasers of these devices to provide identification showing name, address, and date of birth…“This bill would close one of the most significant gaps in our ability to track and prevent acts of terror, drug trafficking, and modern-day slavery“…

Deborah Jeane Palfrey (#611)

Probably a wise precaution:

The [attorney] who represented the late “D.C. madam” Deborah Palfrey…Montgomery Blair Sibley says the [escort service’s] records will become public if he fails to reset a 72-hour countdown clock, which could cut short his soft two-week ultimatum for federal courts to consider lifting a 2007 gag order that covers the records, lest he deem that order void.  The countdown clock is a safeguard, Sibley says, that ensures that if he disappears the records will be published.  Inevitable release, he says, may also disincentivize violent acts against him to prevent their disclosure.  The records are stored on four servers around the world…and dozens of reporters will receive a website link if the clock is not reset…

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This is an important article by my friend Mistress Matisse, cross-posted from Medium.

Notorious MGGIt’s ironic that journalist Melissa Gira Grant decided to write an article on how media attention can cause chaos in someone’s life, because in the life of a West Virginia woman named Heather, Melissa Gira Grant has become an agent of exactly that sort of chaos.

It began late last summer, when serial killer Neal Falls contacted Heather through her escort ad, and when they met, he tried to murder her. Heather fought back against Neal Falls and killed him. In doing so, she removed a dangerous predator from the world. Charleston police say she almost certainly saved the lives of other women Neal Falls would have gone on to kill.

At some point, a few weeks after the attack (she does not specify when), Grant says she came to Heather’s house and spoke with her. A lot of reporters came to Heather’s door after the attack, and many of them were vague about details such as to exactly what publication they wrote for, or when any piece they wrote about her would be published.

Fast forward to March 30th, almost seven months later, when Grant published a meandering and somewhat confusing Buzzfeed story about Heather. Part of it touches on the sex worker community’s peer outreach to Heather and our ongoing support for her. Grant portrays our efforts as problematic, and singles me out in particular as having questionable motivations for offering Heather my friendship. Bafflingly, she also chooses to spotlight the voices of three other people who, while they only had contact with Heather briefly, caused her further distress in that time: Kathy Brown, Laura Gandee, and a man known as Nostra-Thomas Koenig, aka Charles de Koenig. Brown and Gandee’s behavior towards Heather could be described as “well-intentioned but coercive”. Koenig, on the other hand, was openly controlling and abusive to Heather from the start, and quickly escalated into public harassment and threats aimed at not only Heather, but at the group of sex worker/activists who were supporting her, and all sex workers in general.

The hard truth is: sex workers (and sex worker’s rights activists) expect biased treatment from journalists who have no ties to the sex work community. But people could be forgiven for thinking Melissa Gira Grant was different. In her past, she did sex work herself, and since then she’s written extensively on sex workers’s rights. She uses that position to get insider-information about sex worker-centered stories as they develop. She watches such journalism closely and often critiques it in a territorial manner, calling such stories “her beat”.

Grant focuses exclusively on the weeks immediately following the attack, but she does not present a sharp timeline. Here is how the first stages of sex worker rights activists community’s outreach to Heather occurred.

The attack on Heather occurred July 18th.

July 29th, I talked to Kathy Brown and Laura Gandee, and also to the man calling himself Nostra-Thomas Koenig/Charles de Koenig, who were doing the already-existing fundraiser.

On July 31st, I talked to Heather personally for the first time. I was the third member of the sex work community to have direct contact with her.

Around Aug 2nd, desperate because money raised by Gandee, Brown and Koenig was not being released to her for rent and utilities, Heather asked sex work activist Tara Burns to set up a Crowdrise fundraiser that she could have direct and sole control over. A group of sex worker/activists coalesced to promote Heather’s fundraiser and offer her support: Tara Burns, Meg Munoz, Marisa Anne, Lily Fury, and myself. Kristen D’Angelo had also reached out to Heather in this time and was in frequent contact with our group.

On Aug 5th, an article was published in Cosmopolitan about Heather’s fundraiser, and the sex worker community outreach to her. “Meg Vallee Munoz, a former sex worker and co-founder of Abeni, an organization that offers individuals with experiences in the sex trades practical services and holistic support, is the spokeswoman for the new campaign.”

So for Melissa Gira Grant to say “Seattle dominatrix Mistress Matisse…led her own effort to help Heather” is incorrect. Grant either didn’t bother to research this, or she excluded these activists from the narrative for reasons of her own.

But more trouble arose in August, when Koenig began posting extremely abusive statements about Heather, and about sex workers in general, on the Facebook page he made about Heather. He began harassing and threatening her. He said repeatedly that anyone who contributed to Heather’s fundraiser instead of his would be arrested, and that Heather herself would be too. There was an article documenting this on Tits and Sass. (This article also documents the incident of Brown and Gandee calling the police to force Heather to see them.)

Upon getting Heather’s agreement, and after discussion of the group of SW/activists, I went to West Virginia on August 3rd and spent four days with Heather, to offer her coercion-free support. On this visit, we accomplished the following: we negotiated that Brown, Gandee, and Koenig would turn over all funds collected to her immediately. We opened a bank account (in Heather’s name only) that linked to her fundraiser, so that all funds would be transferred directly to her. We also bought her a new phone. During this period, I observed Koenig constantly harassing and threatening Heather and her mother by phone, and I related this to Maryclaire Akers, assistant prosecuting attorney for Kanawha County, who agreed to contact Koenig and warn him off.

In Grant’s presentation of the narrative, these behaviors are somehow suspicious. I think that says more about how she approaches Heather than how I do. There are many kinds of predators in the world, but they all have one thing in common: predators take, they don’t give. Neal Falls was a predator of the most extreme variety. Nostra-Thomas Koenig was a different type of predator in Heather’s life. But what about Melissa Gira Grant? Grant came into Heather’s life to get something of value to herself and her career. She gave nothing whatsoever to Heather. She certainly did not offer her friendship or support. At no time has she donated to Heather’s fundraiser, or promoted it using her platform. One might say that she could not have done so before she published her story, for fear of seeming to display journalistic bias. But she hasn’t done so since the article was published, either.

The other feature of predators is: they don’t get consent for what they do. There’s a lot of good discussion of what the word consent means, and who can give clear, fully informed, and unimpaired consent. I myself am a strong believer that consent in any interaction is crucial, and that the person who has the most control over the situation is morally bound to make absolutely sure they have fully-informed consent at all times. Consent cannot be assumed by silence, and it can be revoked at any point in the process. Melissa Gira Grant did not have Heather’s consent to publish their interview.

You may think, “But the question of consent doesn’t apply to someone who gives an interview to the media.” I would say perhaps it doesn’t apply to someone who has power equal to (or even greater than) the journalist, and who has put themselves forward to the press. For example, someone running for public office has given blanket consent to being asked questions, and to be quoted in ways that may or may not reflect what they think they said.

Heather SaulHeather is not such a person. She is a private individual, leading a quiet life, who was thrust into the spotlight because she was the victim of a terrible crime. Heather had never dealt with the media before the attack. I think it highly likely that when Grant approached Heather, she mentioned the names of sex workers who’d already befriended her, in order to gain Heather’s trust and make the visit seem more like friendly outreach, not an actual interview. Once Grant left her house that day, Heather was never given any further say over where, when, or how her words would be used.

After such a violent attack, a victim could be in a state of emotional and intellectual shock for weeks, and Heather was. Grant clearly describes Heather’s intense post-traumatic stress symptoms. She also notes that Heather was injured in the accident and has impaired movement, and that she’s in pain. So she knew that Heather was in shock, injured, in pain, and thus probably taking pain medication. No one can give meaningful, informed consent in that situation. To ignore that, and make use of someone’s extreme fragility and media inexperience like that is breathtakingly predatory.

Grant also knew that Heather was battling an addiction issue. Notice: Heather chose not to speak of it to Grant — Grant calls this “talking around it” — so Grant tells us about it in through the words of her abusers, with their shaming and stigmatization of her. This is what troubles me the most about this article: Melissa Gira Grant gives a platform to Heather’s known abusers. Nostra-Thomas Koenig harassed, insulted, and threatened Heather and her mother both online and by phone for months. His voice has absolutely no place in this article. To have him quoted talking about Heather’s life is intensely re-traumatizing to her.

Reporting the opinions of Laura Gandee and Kathy Brown is also highly questionable. They literally called the police to force Heather to see them. That’s a blatant abuse of social power. Why are the opinions of these people being reported as if they had value? And why would Grant then juxtapose non-violent peer outreach with the actions of an abuser and two carcerally-inclined ladies? To call this a false equivalency is to do it far too much justice. This article lends credence and legitimacy to the non-consensual brands of “help” that for Heather, ranged from controlling and coercive all the way to violent.

In that way, Heather’s experience is unfortunately not unique. For a sex worker who wants to exit the industry, especially women as isolated as Heather, there is almost no non-violent peer support available. Many anti-sex workers openly support the idea that arresting sex workers is a good way to get them services and protection — but statistically, police are the worst perpetrators of violence against sex workers, and being arrested makes any situation worse, not better. Grant does not go quite so far, but she does lend authority to the idea that sex workers offering non-coercive peer support to other sex workers is something to be viewed with suspicion, and discouraged. This is not acceptable to the sex work community.

I navigate consent for a living, and judging by the quotes of mine she pulled from another story, perhaps Grant took exception to my comparison of how that’s done within a BDSM scene to how I practice obtaining consent when I do outreach? Regardless of how you frame it, you either have someone’s consent or you don’t, and there are very clear steps that must be taken if you get this wrong. Heather has made her statement. Now Melissa Gira Grant needs to acknowledge that she violated Heather’s consent. She needs to take total responsibility for how her actions re-traumatized Heather. She needs to reach out to Heather, publicly, apologize to her, and do whatever Heather feels is appropriate to atone for her violation. Only then can she ethically continue to report on sex worker issues.

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

Bad Girls 

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

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

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

The Last Shall Be First 

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

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

*Exactly in the way monkeys fling poop.

Change a Few Words

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

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

Above the Law  

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

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

First They Came for the Hookers…

It never stops with us, ladies:

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

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

The Widening Gyre

Another “stripping causes sex trafficking” wankfest:

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

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

Lower Education

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

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

Paint By Numbers

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

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

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

False Witness

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

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

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#450) 

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

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

Birth of a Movement (#526)

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

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

Lying Down With Dogs (#539) 

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

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

Too Close To Home

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

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

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

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