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Archive for the ‘The Dark Side’ Category

It is apparent that the attenuated causal chain proposed by [those suing Backpage] is forged entirely out of surmise.  –  Justice Bruce Selya

Rough Trade 

Just imagine this ridiculous defense working for anyone in another profession:

A Melbourne real estate agent…was cleared of raping and imprisoning a sex worker in a vacant house…Henry Jiang…was accused of binding the woman with cable ties and raping her repeatedly…after…his booking with her had ended.  His defence barrister [Con Heliotis] said everything that happened was consensual, and the woman had agreed to extend her time with Mr Jiang after he offered her more money and drugs…[but] didn’t tell her escort agency she was staying later…because she didn’t want to pay them a higher commission.  Mr Jiang admitted taking money from the woman, because he calculated he was owed it for the drugs…Heliotis said the sex worker was concerned she had been robbed and only claimed she had been raped…when asked directly by police…In explaining the woman’s…screams as she [fled] the house, Mr Heliotis said: “She would be extremely distressed if she had lost her money and couldn’t buy drugs”…

Lying Down With Dogs

Another US-style “prostitution crackdown” in a country the US should be proud to resemble:

Tanzanian authorities are holding some 800 people suspected of involvement in prostitution…around 500 suspected sex workers and almost 300 alleged customers have been arrested…Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who was elected in October…[on a] law and order [platform has not]…banned…miniskirts [as reported in January]…though…the president and his government [say they are] are “strong proponents of decent dressing”…

Do be sure to click that link to see what Tanzanian ideas of “law and order” entail.

St. James Infirmary

St. James Infirmary, San Francisco’s health care organization for sex workers, cut the ribbon on its new Tenderloin clinic Monday, March 14.  St. James shares the space, located at 234 Eddy Street, with the Transgender Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project…In addition to primary medical care, the peer-based organization also offers HIV testing and prevention services, including PrEP; sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment; transgender hormone therapy; mental health care; harm reduction services, including needle exchange and naloxone; case management; support groups; food and clothing; and other assistance to people of all genders involved in the sex trade and their families.  All services are free and confidential…

Above the Law  

Some rapist cops go out and look for victims:

A [New Jersey cop] has pleaded guilty to using his badge [and a loaded gun] to [rape] a prostitute…Dinis Oliveira…pleaded guilty…to…third-degree criminal coercion……[he] is expected to be sentenced to probation and…must give up his job and forfeit his pension…Oliveira had been charged with sexual assault, official misconduct and criminal coercion [but of course not aggravated rape as anyone else would’ve been]…

And some just wait for victims to be brought to them:

A Philadelphia-area [cop] is accused of [raping] three women [locked up] inside the police department…Roosevelt Turner is charged with official oppression, indecent exposure and indecent assault.  The charges are based on separate encounters in 2015…

It’s amazing how reporters are seemingly unable to use a simple word like “rape” when the rapist, even one who rapes a woman at gunpoint, is a fucking pig.

Change of Heart

As far as I’m concerned, any sex worker who outs a prohibitionist politician has not violated professional ethics; it’s just too bad this woman waited until the day Rubio pulled out of the race:

Marco Rubio…just suspended his campaign after Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump won [Florida] in a landslide victory.  Adding to his problems, his personal life is being shopped around by a dominatrix who alleges she had a kinky sex romp with Rubio…

First They Came for the Hookers…

It doesn’t matter what a sex worker does with her life after leaving sex work; to the media, she’ll always be a whore:

An ex-stripper who went on to law school and later was elected a judge was found dead inside her Nevada home [on March 13th]…authorities do not suspect foul play.  Municipal Judge Diana Hampton, who was 50…appeared to be the perfect picture of health…Hampton, who served as a municipal judge for more than a decade, worked with youth in the community to discourage them from crime…

Buried Truth 

Vociferous opposition to anything sexual is nearly always strong evidence of an attraction to it:

…As the prosecuting attorney for Ingham County, Michigan, since 1997, Stuart Dunnings III spend decades helping to put people behind bars for commercial sexual activity.  But at the same time, Dunnings was routinely shelling out money for sexual services…Dunnings…instituted tougher penalties and a program of impounding johns’ vehicles…Now…authorities allege that Dunnings “paid for commercial sex… hundreds of times…between 2010-2015.”  For five years, Dunnings met with one sex worker up to four times per week, in addition to his encounters with others.  For what it’s worth, the arrest affidavit paints Dunning as considerate client who tipped well and acted more like a “sugar daddy” to some of the women, taking them out to dinners and paying their rent, cellphone bills, and other expenses…After one woman confessed to a heroin habit, Dunnings paid for her weekly methadone treatments and attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings with her…the feds went after Dunnings under the guise of stopping “human trafficking”, because that’s what law enforcement calls all prostitution circa 2016.  Most of the charges actually brought against him, however, are misdemeanor charges for “engaging in the services of prostitution” (10 counts) and “willful neglect of duty” (4 counts).  The one felony charge is because Dunnings…allegedly coerced a domestic violence victim…into having sex with him, then paid her for it…about $600 every two weeks as well as…some of her bills…

The Washington Post coverage that first broke the story preferred to soak in dysphemisms and libel the sex workers that to actually cover the facts.

Backwards into the Future (#334)

UNAIDS welcomes the roll-out of South Africa’s National Sex Worker HIV Plan, 2016–2019.  Launched by the Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, in his role as the Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), this unique plan will ensure equitable access to health and legal services for sex workers in South Africa…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (All Traffick, All the Time)

Here’s another “rescue” scam designed to recruit unhappy whores into the anti-whore brigade; it resembles a “crisis pregnancy center”, which is not surprising since a number of “anti-trafficking” NGOs also operate (or formerly operated) such schemes.  What makes it interesting to me is that it’s the highest claimed number of clients per day (60) we’ve seen in a while, since the high-lunacy mark of 110 current from 2012-2014.  With the exception of a brief requote of that figure (which actually seems to have originated among prohibitionists in 2001) a few months ago, most of the claims have returned to the pre-June 2012 typical claim of 15/day, which is high but not literally impossible.Lake Pahoe

King of the Hill (Traffic Updates)

These moral crusades labeling one particular thoroughfare a “hotbed of sex trafficking” remind me of the Monty Python episode in which there is an entire lake in a basement flat:

Jillian Gilchrest, chairwoman of the [Connecticut] Trafficking in Persons Council, says the Berlin Turnpike is a hotbed for sex trafficking, often involving minors who are exploited…The Underground, a faith-based organization…[identified]…27 of which offer hourly rates…“For far too long, state laws and culture accepted that the purchase of sex will happen,” said Gilchrest…The Judiciary Committee advanced two bills…to attempt to address the issue…[one] would mandate additional training for law enforcement and employees at hotels and motels to identify victims of sex trafficking.  It would also require businesses that offer lodging to maintain detailed records of [cash] transactions for at least six months…[Gilchrest] said… “It was shocking to me [that people are allowed to conduct business with legal tender]”…The bill initially included a provision that would make it illegal to charge hourly for a room at a hotel or motel…But the Judiciary Committee voted…to strike the measure from the bill in response to testimony…[that] hourly rates are often used by truck drivers and travelers seeking a break from the road…

Sex Work is Work (#517)

Bureaucrats can turn anything into a hassle:

New tax laws in Austria is [sic] causing problems for sex workers as rules now dictate that all customers need to be issued with an itemised bill listing all services rendered…As services provided by sex workers covers a wide spectrum, bosses ask how, for example, a two-hour chat with no sexual contact should be written down…others questioned how a self-employed sex worker would issue receipts…

Guinea Pigs 

Americans are so ovine, all one needs do is say “THE CHILDREN!” and everyone cheers while big tech companies give cops horrifying new surveillance tools:

Palantir Technologies…isn’t unique in its efforts to turn its software toward social good—plenty of tech companies do that.  But unlike most, Palantir says it treats nonprofits like any other customer..in 2012, Polaris’ chief executive, Bradley Myles, heard Palantir’s CEO, Alex Karp, speak at a White House event…Myles knew it was something his [corporation]—which is dedicated to eradicating [sex work]—needed but couldn’t afford…Just a few weeks later, Palantir engineers were integrating data from thousands of [sex worker arrest] records, public tips and financial networks…The…company [also] integrates tips, case reports, public records, videos, social media feeds and other data sources and helps draw connections…To help…law enforcement [spy on adult sex workers and clients in the name of fighting] the abduction and sexual exploitation of children…

Crying for Nanny (#539)

The outcome was a foregone conclusion; the lawyers who orchestrated this shitshow were only appealing to cover their arses:

Backpage.com…has been sued a bunch of times, almost always by people [deliberately] misunderstanding Section 230 of the CDA which, as we’ve discussed hundreds of times, says that sites are not liable for the actions of their users…the appeal on [a] Massachusetts case has brought another good Section 230 win, saying that Backpage.com is not liable…The crux of the argument…is that…the way Backpage is set up…makes it different from a standard “publishing” platform.  This is a pretty common attack on Section 230, claiming that it does more than a publisher and thus isn’t protected.  Courts have almost universally rejected that, unless those additional actions themselves could be seen to break the law…the court rejects this argument, saying that everything Backpage.com does is a traditional publisher activity…

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Such is the extent of the harm caused by anti-prostitution zealots that we must question whether their actions are fundamentally any less harmful than those they are seeking to “save” women from.  –  Laura Connelly

The Rescuers

the UK has a rapidly-growing “rescue industry”…that makes its living from identifying and creating victims of “sexual slavery”.  It is in its interest to find them.  Lots of them.  In a sort of sex industry “neighbourhood watch” scheme, some Christian organisations send their congregation out on to the streets to search for sex workers that they can impose victim status upon.  Other organisations have infiltrated university campuses.  There’s even a “Slave Detective” offering anti-trafficking consultancy.  In the face of mounting evidence that they’re doing more harm than good, people recklessly continue on their rescue missions…many do not wish to be saved.  If they’re a migrant sex worker, their “rescue” can result in deportation…back to communities where they are shunned or worse still, put to death for bringing shame to their family.  Far from helping…the actions of the rescue industry limit the freedom of sex workers.  I’ve heard about women having their mobile phones confiscated in trafficking safe houses, to ensure they can’t sell any more sex…

Something Rotten in Sweden

After they succeed in defining all whores as mindless vegetables, who’s next?

…the…Western Massachusetts Human Trafficking Task Force…is striving to embody…a “paradigm shift” in moving away from law enforcement’s traditional view of those who sell their bodies as criminals or prostitutes and viewing them as victims moved by “force, threat, coercion or all of the above…Now we understand correctly and view them as as vulnerable victims”…

O, Canada!

As one reads these fetishist politicians’ words, one can practically hear the fapping:

[Rescue industry] organizations…are urging the Ontario government to adopt a private member’s bill to take immediate action to address what they [fantasize is] a crisis.  “Sex trafficking is a growing and significant issue in Ontario,” said Cynthia Bland, founder of Voice Found…“The average age when most girls are trafficked into prostitution is 14, and many don’t even recognize that they’ve been trafficked until it’s too late”…Laurie Scott has a private member’s bill that would give police the power to enforce protection orders against traffickers on behalf of the victims…The bill would also allow victims to seek compensation in court and add convicted traffickers to the province’s sex offender registry…Scott’s bill…[is] called the “Saving The Girl Next Door Act”…Ontario has become a “major hub” for human trafficking…

Above the Law 

Some police departments hesitate to protect rapist cops when their victims are underage:

[Typical] Ohio cop…Justin Bentz was found guilty of [rape]…kidnapping and sexual battery.  Hours before he raped the girl in June 2015, Bentz had taken a class warning of the dangers of underage sexual assault.  But that didn’t stop him from making sexual advances towards the 16-year-old girl after handing her a bottle of 80-proof alcohol, allowing her to get drunk to the point where she could barely stand.  However, Bentz insisted the girl had come on to him…She was found by her sister in a closet wearing only a tank top, curled up in the fetal position.  Her blood alcohol content was up to .19, more than twice the .08 legal limit.  A nurse determined she suffered blunt force trauma to her vaginal area.  A DNA test found his semen on her stomach…

The Widening Gyre trafficking app

No, Snopes, it isn’t “odd” at all; this is the typical pattern of “sex trafficking” rumors.  So when are you going to stop pruning leaves and go for the trunk?

On 25 February 2016, multiple high-volume Twitter [advertising] accounts published warnings claiming that the meetup app “Down to Lunch” was a tool for human traffickers…It was an odd claim, since purpose of Down to Lunch was well documented, the app was hugely popular, and there was no information available to substantiate the allegations…on 24 February 2016, a tweet shared a screenshot of an App Store review from a few weeks earlier.  The review claimed that Down to Lunch was a covert trafficking app, but the story that it offered (which featured strangers in sunglasses and trench coats, random middle-aged people crashing lunches and talking about photography, and — of course — a creepy van) wasn’t substantiated by any evidence…

Worse Than I Thought

The oppression committed in the name of “fighting sex trafficking” rolls on:

A comprehensive bill that would significantly expand Rhode Island’s human-trafficking law was well received by [authoritarians]…Human trafficking is considered to be the world’s fastest-growing criminal enterprise…the legislation has already been adopted by six states, and four others have enacted partial provisions…The bill…imposes substantial penalties on traffickers and those who pay for sex with someone who is trafficked…and forfeiture of property from people involved in trafficking.  That could include places that rent to massage parlors…The bill also would establish a permanent council on human trafficking to work on prevention and public awareness…The committee also heard a bill that would require sex traffickers to register as sex offenders…

And just in case you think that’s nothing to worry about, remember that all prostitution is increasingly defined as “trafficking”, and that the definition of “prostitution” is expanding:

…Under a measure passed unanimously by [Oregon] Senators…the offense of “promoting prostitution” will include…receiving goods, services, or anything of value in exchange for aiding, promoting, or “caus(ing) someone to engage” in prostitution…Lawmakers [pretend] the measure is needed in order to prosecute sex traffickers, who [they fantasize] often receive things other than cash…[even though] no one has any evidence of this happening at all, let alone frequently…Sex-worker advocates…say the measure will harm…homeless young people [who] wind up exchanging sexual favors for shelter, food, and other basic needs…Criminalizing these attempts to survive…will just make survival that much harder.  While we haven’t gotten dystopian enough quite yet for cops to target conventional dating under this statute, it seems plenty plausible that it would be used to go after…”sugar baby” relationships…

The Public Eye

My friend Caroline handled this interview like a champ; I just wish they hadn’t sullied her words by surrounding them with prohibitionist lies:

…“There are a lot more of us than you think,” said Caroline McLeod…43 and a single mother of two.  And, for the last eight years, she’s been a sex worker.  “It is illegal and I’m doing it and it’s all good, for me…So I made a leap of faith and it’s been fabulous”…McLeod got tired of her long workweek at a startup tech job while her daughter spent the day in day care.  She said she needed to find a way to provide for her kids and be there as they grew up…However, McLeod doesn’t look for her clients on the street and she doesn’t come from an abusive home like so many of the women who turn to street prostitution…She says she’s never been hurt or had problems with any of her clients, but many women in the sex trade do get roughed up.  In fact, law enforcement has shifted its focus to combat prostitution…

Monsters 

Just a couple short days after Veronica Banks Cano, a Black trans woman from San Antonio, was found dead in her hotel room, another Black trans woman is dead. Maya Young was pronounced dead after being stabbed multiple times in Philadelphia on February 21st

Unintentional Hilarity

Remember the imbecile who gave a strange man all her savings, then claimed she had “escaped sex trafficking” because he told her strippers make more money than waitresses?  Well, she’s still clucking about her non-experiences as though they meant something:

Brianna Myers…told an audience of more than 80 the story of how she nearly became a victim of human trafficking…“We’re not here to share fear and paranoia,” said Jo Lembo…for Shared Hope International…[sow] Ariana Ridgely…[oinked that] “Small towns can be even more dangerous than a big city”…Myers offered warning signs that might identify a potential trafficker.  “A guy who is always available to you is…just preying on your vulnerabilities”…someone who will [offer a girl compliments] buy her new clothes, make her salon appointments, drive nice cars or take her to big cities…is someone to be wary of, Myers said…Strip clubs are like the minor league baseball equivalent to major league prostitution, Ridgely said.  And with the plethora of nude dance clubs in Portland, the city is a “hotbed for trafficking”…

So according to Myers, the only safe boyfriend is a loser who never takes you anywhere or spends any money on you.  And the baseball simile may quite possibly be among the ten stupidest things ever said about sex work in the entire history of the profession.

A Mound of Filth

“Cuckoo Clock” McCain now wants to vomit her poison all over the entire world:

Cindy McCain told a Senate committee…that the U.S. should be the leader in the global fight against human trafficking.  “We need to recognize that we have a global problem and it calls for a global solution,” McCain said…She is…[also seeking] to [impose a “sex trafficking” propaganda regime]…in [Arizona] schools…

New Excuse

Eternal Vigilance (#610)

Perhaps it’s just because I’m a born whore, but I honestly don’t get why this is considered news at all:

Sex-for-rent advertisements continue to appear online in southeast Queensland…The advertisements, some subtle, others more overt , target vulnerable women, students and backpackers…Exchanging sex for rent is not illegal in Australia provided it is consensual and does not involve coercion or violence…Gold Coast centre against sexual violence director Di Macleod said the issue had existed for many years…

They “target vulnerable women”?  How, exactly?  Do the ads say, “Vulnerable women only need apply”, or are prospective tenants required to pass (fail?) some sort of vulnerability test?  And most importantly, when will Western society stop treating adult women as if they were wayward kindergarteners?

Phantasm

WTF, Atlantic?  Have you lost your collective mind, or is some wealthy prohibitionist like Swanee Hunt paying y’all to run this kind of garbage?

How do you identify sex-trafficking victims when such cases go largely undetected or unreported?…human trafficking is a lucrative industry that around the globe rakes in $150 billion…victims might be fearful of going to law enforcement and being charged with a crime…Women can be pulled in to commercial sex through gangs or pimps—the former function as delivery services, taking women to houses in the area they control, while the latter focus on hotels and street level prostitution…law enforcement…[works] to identify victims who are afraid to identify themselves.

The portrayal of cops as heroes that sex workers need to be brainwashed into being wary of is enough to make anyone who lives in the real world vomit.

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If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s actually human trafficking these days.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Halfway Whores

A profession as old as human civilization, but it’s somehow always “growing”:

…a growing army of men…hire beautiful young women to accompany them on dates and public appearances.  Sometimes they are businessmen, both foreign and [from Thailand], who require a pretty woman to be on hand when a contract is signed.  On other occasions they are hired to fill in as girlfriends at family functions and have even been employed by psychologists to go on dates to build a person’s self esteem.  There are thousands of young women taking advantage of the new trend, supplementing their daytime incomes and paying off student debt with part-time work as non-sexual escorts.  Some of these women come from successful families and act as contact points to get their dates introductions to the right business people…

Saving Them From Themselves

This is kind of like “legalizing” prostitution; as long as a consensual act is criminalized to any degree, the cops have power to annoy, harass, brutalize and otherwise harm that person via arrest, publishing mug shots, stealing property or even murdering him for “resisting arrest”:

A bill making its way through the Kansas legislature would change most sexting offenses involving teenagers from felonies to misdemeanors…Any defendant obviously would prefer the lighter penalties, but their availability might make prosecution more likely.  Forced to choose between felony charges and no charges at all in a case involving teenagers sharing pictures of themselves…any decent prosecutor would pick the latter option, as prosecutors in Colorado and Michigan recently did.  But when a misdemeanor option is available, it may be tempting for prosecutors intent on teaching kids a lesson.  The Topeka Capital-Journal paraphrases an author of the Kansas bill as saying “the moderated sanctions would permit prosecutors to intervene with young people who commit these acts”…

Surplus Women missing Anchorage sex workers

The idea that an unknown serial killer might be terrorizing the women of Anchorage [Alaska] was raised in a 2009 story by Andrew Holland of America’s Most Wanted, who wrote of the horrific murder and dismemberment of [sex workers] Desiree Lekanoff and Michelle Rothe…Robin Vansickel, Jeri BrommelsSamantha Kent, Tracie Vicent and Kelly Sue Dunn–are [other missing sex workers]…each of these unsolved cases [may be] unrelated, but the possibility that these women have disappeared at the hands of…someone who sees sex workers as easy targets…must not be discounted…Robert Hansen and Robert Pickton…flew under the radar as they killed scores of women…[because] they were held up as…above reproach, while the women they murdered were…denigrated, devalued and dismissed…the monsters were believed and excused because society considered them upstanding businessmen, whereas sex workers they hunted and preyed upon were dehumanized…

Above the Law 

Cops sexually assault domestic violence victims almost as often as they do whores:

Portland [cop] Jeromie Palaoro has resigned from the force and pleaded guilty to official misconduct, eight months after a woman visiting from Las Vegas said he arrived at her…hotel room to follow up on her domestic assault complaint, stripped naked and ordered her to give him a massage…He will receive 18 months of probation…Roni Reid-James…[said] Palaoro [threatened her with] his [gun] before taking off his clothes…[he] groped her and [demanded] sexual favors, then warned her not to tell anyone because he was writing the report on her assault complaint…

First They Came for the Hookers…

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?

Ted Cruz’s…campaign…pulled a commercial…because one of the actresses had previously appeared in pornographic films…Amy Lindsay…described herself as a Christian conservative and a Republican…[and] tweeted her displeasure that the video was pulled from the airwaves…campaign spokesman Rick Tyler said Lindsay had responded to an open casting call for the ad…”Had the campaign known of her full filmography, we obviously would not have let her appear in the ad”…

A Whore in Church (#134) 

Another sex worker who subverts hijab:

Nadia Ali, a 24-year-old porn star and first-generation American from Pakistan…doesn’t mind pushing religious boundaries in the name of XXX entertainment.  Oh, and she’s also a practicing Muslim.  Ali is often filmed wearing her hijab—and little else—while engaged in various hardcore sexual activities…And since homosexuality is technically illegal in Pakistan, which is trying its damnedest to ban online porn altogether, she intends to film plenty of girl-on-girl action this year, too…

Under Every Bed

Population 467,026.

Child sex trafficking is a growing problem in Onondaga County [New York.  Prohibitionist]…Erin Yeager…says it’s crucial to break the stereotype of what we think human sex trafficking is.  The basic definition is exchanging sex for something with value; that could be anything from clothing to a place to stay…

Actually, that’s a basic definition of prostitution, demonstrating how utterly devoid of meaning the term “sex trafficking” has become.

The Missing Word

The magic word appears herein only in a description of a phone number:

For two years, a 38-year-old nanny wasn’t allowed to wash her hair, take hot baths, or eat anything but leftover scraps…If her bosses didn’t like how she dressed their children, she was slapped and dragged by the hair.  Now a Texas couple is facing prison time for allegedly holding their Nigerian nursemaid hostage, forcing her to work 20 hours a day and tormenting her in…suburban Houston…Chudy [and Sandra] Nsobundu…[face] charges of forced labor, visa fraud, withholding documents, and conspiracy to harbor an alien.  If convicted, they face up to 60 years in prison…the Nigerian-born husband and wife—both naturalized U.S citizens—allegedly lured their nanny into household slavery and physically and verbally abused her before she escaped by calling a human-trafficking hotline…

Cooties

It’s always “gangs”.  Because you know women are too stupid to use AirBnB for ourselves:

…Human traffickers are using hotels and guest houses across the Lake District as “pop-up brothels”…Crime gangs have trafficked refugees to use as illegal sex workers…and…exploiting “human misery for financial gain”…[pig mouthpiece] Nick Coughlan…[fantasized that] most of the women involved are victims of human trafficking who have been forced into prostitution…Hoteliers, apartment owners and cleaners were being asked to [spy on renters] and [snitch] to the police…

Vendetta (#512)

Liz Brown tries to assess the toll in human lives from Swanee Hunt’s latest pogrom:

…FBI and vice cops nationwide conducted a coordinated series of prostitution stings in conjunction with the latest Super Bowl, yielding hundreds of arrests for “would-be sex buyers.”  Known as the National John Suppression Initiative, the stings—which took place in 14 states and involved 23 different law-enforcement units this year—start with police decoys offering commercial sex…At the end of the January 17 through February 7 operation, 552 people were arrested for trying to purchase sex, and officials expect to collect a minimum of $187,000 in fines from them…Across all operations, 10 teens were discovered…Though almost exclusively referred to as “children” by police and press, one recovered juvenile was 14 years old and the other nine ranged from ages 15 to 17…the Contra Costa Timesreports that “sex workers who were arrested were offered a wide array of services, such as food, clothing and shelter”…

But of course they were: food and shelter in a jail, and a lovely new orange jumpsuit.

Sex Rays (#560)

Swanee’s brother.  Need I say more?

Billionaire oilman Ray Hunt, one of [Dallas’] highest-profile property owners, emailed the…City Council…asking them to vote…against allowing a porn convention to open shop at the city-owned convention center…Hunt, who owns more than 30 acres downtown…says he believes Exxxotica “constitutes an activity that runs totally counter to the values, mores and beliefs of the vast majority of the citizens of the City of Dallas.”  And, he [pretends]…allowing porn stars to peddle their wares on city property is a violation of the section of the Dallas City Code that licenses sexually oriented businesses [even though city attorneys have told the council that law does not apply to conventions]…Exxotica came to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center last August over the objections of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and several women’s advocacy groups, chief among them the Dallas Women’s Foundation…Rawlings said at the time he was “particularly worried about the message that our playing host to this convention might send regarding our city’s position on the sexual exploitation of women”…

The Mote and the Beam (#591) 

You’d think people would remember the targets of previous Senate censorship “hearings” of this sort:  comic books, “dirty” song lyrics, communists

The United States Senate and the online advertising site Backpage.com are headed for a legal showdown, after a Senate committee voted unanimously…to hold the site in civil contempt for not cooperating with a probe into how it screens sex ads for illegal trafficking of minors*…it would be the first civil contempt declaration by the Senate in more than 20 years, according to its sponsors, Sens. Claire McCaskill…and Rob Portman…A lawyer for Backpage said the company welcomes the contempt citation, and that the company has been for months calling on McCaskill and Portman for a legal test of Congress’s authority to probe the actions of a company that…has First Amendment protections…another lawyer for Backpage – Liz McDougall – last year accused McCaskill and Portman of engaging in the same tactics of the Cold War era Sen. Joe McCarthy…

*As opposed to what, legal trafficking of minors?

Blunt Instrument (#596)

Due to their visibility, massage parlors are taking the brunt of the “sex trafficking” hysteria in smaller cities:

The owner of a [Wichita, Kansas] massage parlor…is facing federal sex trafficking charges…60-year-old Samir F. Elias employed and provided housing for a Chinese woman working as a prostitute…the woman…worked daily with no formal massage training and has been convicted of selling sex…She paid Elias a portion of the fees collected for giving massages to patrons — $10 or $20, depending on the length of the appointments…Elias is charged with transporting and harboring an unlawful alien, harboring an alien for prostitution, and two counts of money laundering…

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This is like consulting the school bully on how to make the schoolyard safer.  –  anonymous Toronto resident, on consulting cops about harm reduction

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

If you’re raped by a cop, accuse him of offering to pay you for sex instead; that, they’ll fire him for:

…Fairview [Tennessee] Police Chief Terry Harris and assistant chief Mark Sutton have both been suspended…after one of their officers, Ronnie Williams, was arrested by…Nashville police in a prostitution sting…Williams was allowed to resign rather than be fired, which would be notated on his post certification possibly preventing him from going to another department…

Harm Magnification

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

When word got out in mid-December that undercover [cops] had arrested two men accessing Toronto Public Health’s (TPH) needle exchange program…TPH’s own harm reduction workers scrambled to warn the drug user community…harm reduction workers [wondered]…Were plainclothes police riding in…mobile outreach vans?  Were they present during the highly sensitive and confidential process of rapid HIV/AIDS testing?…The Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance says police participation in the program has fractured the trust the harm reduction community has cultivated over decades with street-involved people…Zoe Dodd, a long-time harm reduction worker and community activist [said] “I don’t recall drug users ever saying they wanted -police to be involved.  This really just shows me that these agencies are more committed to their relationship with police than they are to their relationship with drug users”…

Saving Them From Themselves

Apparently, this stupid pig doesn’t think a lifetime on the “sex offender” registry is a “real severe thing”:

A Three Rivers, Michigan, teenager is both the victim and perpetrator of a sex crime.  He might land on the sex offender registry, and face criminal charges, all because he took…a nude photo of himself on a girl’s cell phone.  That girl sent the picture to another girl, who sent it to another.  Preliminary charges are pending for all three—the boy was charged with manufacturing child porn, and the girls with distributing it.  A prosecutor is still weighing whether to pursue the charges.  Police Detective Mike Mohney…[bloviated] that sexting is a serious crime because it leads to “bullying,” and “real severe things like people committing suicide or violent crimes against others because they’re so embarrassed about it”…

Scapegoats

Actually, the truth is worse.  The bill doesn’t add a new sodomy law, because Michigan never repealed its old one.  Politicians are just too spineless to repeal a blatantly-unconstitutional (an therefore unenforceable) law:

The Michigan Senate just passed a bill that makes sodomy a felony, despite the U.S. Supreme Court declaring such a law unconstitutional.  The…law…makes anal sex punishable by up to 15 years in prison…[and] is directly linked to a law against bestiality…saying…it is a felony for anyone to commit “the abominable and detestable crime against nature with mankind or with any animal”…Senator Rick Jones says [changing the wording] could put the entire bill, created to protect animals, in jeopardy.  “The minute I cross that line and I start talking about the other stuff, I won’t even get another hearing.  It’ll be done…Nobody wants to touch it.  I would rather not even bring up the topic, because I know what would happen.  You’d get…a big fight that’s not needed because it’s unconstitutional.”  Jones believes that the sodomy ban can only be repealed if a bill is created to strike all unconstitutional laws from the state’s books, but he is not willing to do it at the expense of his dog bill…

Above the Law 

US cops don’t have a monopoly on raping whores:  “David Gibson…is on trial [in] Liverpool…after [raping]…a…sex worker [under threat of arrest]“…And this other arsehole was a serial offender:

A [rapist cop] has pleaded guilty to voyeurism after secretly filming himself [raping] prostitutes – but he was cleared of stalking them.  Irshad Kamal, 47, made dozens of films between 2010 and 2012 without informing the women involved.  His video library was discovered [after he attacked a sex worker]…by tearing her clothes off and grabbing her by the throat…Kamal was arrested when she posted his details on “Ugly Mugs” – a sex industry site for dangerous punters…

Naturally, neither was charged with rape.

First They Came for the Hookers…

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?

When Cheryl’s manager discovered…[she] used to work in the sex trade…he joked that a name plate on her desk read “pubic relations.”  Kayla…was in a new job too when she says a [cop] informed a colleague she had formerly been a “prostitute and a junkie.”  She lost the job and saw no option but returning to the sex industry.  Both women encountered the degrading treatment when they attempted to leave sex work for new occupations, an obstacle that a recently published study calls the “whore stigma”…The women, whose names were changed in the study to protect their identities, reported  challenges from name calling to violence, identifying the stigma they faced as the most challenging barrier to leaving the sex trade…

Checklist

Is there any profession that the fetishists don’t think requires “signs of trafficking” training?

Cosmetologists all over Ohio have begun training to spot signs of human trafficking in their clients.  The new educational push was a requirement passed by the State Cosmetology Board for licensing…Director Christopher Logsdon said when Ohio’s more than 108,000 cosmetologists are trained; they will collectively touch tens-of-thousands of lives.  “Trafficking is a reality in Ohio and Ohio agencies are engaged to train as many as possible on identifying the signs of human trafficking,” Logsdon said. “We hope and pray that one day this Human tragedy will no longer plague our state and the nation”…

Birth of a Movement (#312)

It only starts with us:

Racial profiling, arbitrary house arrests, detentions, and deportation threats—they’re all too common in France these days as part of the “state of emergency” declared to fight terrorists.  But they’ve been familiar to France’s sex workers for quite a while, which is why they have joined those fighting to try to stop an extension of what some people have called the French “Patriot Act,” only worse…Authorities may search homes and place suspects under house arrest without a judicial warrant…and the government can set curfews and forbid large demonstrations…Morgane Merteuil…joined [a protest vs the “emergency” powers] on behalf of STRASS, France’s only sex-worker-led labor union…”The state of emergency doesn’t really change things for sex workers,” [said] Merteuil…”But it’s an extension of police practices that are already in effect for certain segments of the population, including sex workers”…

Available Weapon nuisance abatement map

Weapons forged for use against whores will work on anyone:

…The nuisance abatement law was created in the 1970’s to combat the sex industry in Times Square.  Since then, its use has been vastly expanded, commonly targeting apartments and mom-and-pop bodegas even as the city’s crime rate has reached historic lows.  The NYPD files upward of 1,000 such cases a year, nearly half of them against residences…The process has remarkably few protections for people facing the loss of their homes.  Three-quarters of the cases begin with secret court orders that lock residents out until the case is resolved.  The police need a judge’s signoff, but residents aren’t notified and thus have no chance to tell their side of the story until they’ve already been locked out for days.  And because these are civil actions, residents also have no right to an attorney…residents can be permanently barred from their homes without being convicted or even charged with a crime…

Cooties

Swedes just can’t admit that whores can do things for ourselves:

Police in Stockholm say the rise of Airbnb…has resulted in pimps booking apartments by using fake profiles…growing numbers of prostitutes [use] sublet apartments to charge for sexual services…prostitutes are active at around 200 addresses on a typical day in the city, with hotels no longer their accommodation of choice…pimps [create] fake profiles of respectable couples…

Dirty Laundry (#452)

Apparently, there’s at least one decent judge in Ireland:

A judge has rejected a State application to confiscate the “hard earned” income of two prostitutes which was stolen and later recovered.  Judge Patrick McCartan…praised the courage of the two women in attempting to stop…Mantas Grazevicius…until gardaí arrived…prosecuting counsel Tony McGillicuddy BL [had tried to steal] the € 2,675…for…the state as the proceeds of prostitution…

Fallen Idol

only three months have passed since the horrifying allegations and James Deen appears to have been welcomed back with open arms…Deen walked the red carpets of the XBIZ and AVN Awards, smiling and posing as if it were business as usual…Though Deen received a whopping 33 XBIZ nominations between him and his company, the popular porn star left without a single award.  AVN was a different story.  There, at the “Oscars of Porn,” Deen was awarded two statues as part of ensembles…While prominent companies Evil Angel and Kink were applauded for cutting ties with Deen in the wake of the sexual assault allegations, the scenes he has done for them will continue to be available for purchase…As his work continues to sell, companies will be inclined to hire him.  This is the nature of the business (and reliable male performers are hard to come by)…There is a clear divide within the industry among those who believe the allegations and those who do not, but few on either side…are willing to comment publicly, since he still carries considerable weight within porn…

The Course of a Disease (#606) 

It’s always so great to see academics stand up for us in print:

…MP Fiona Bruce published an article…urging the home affairs select committee…to criminalise the purchase of sex.  Her core argument…[is] fundamentally flawed.  The laws she so vociferously calls for are likely to have disastrous consequences for the safety of sex workers…Fueled by dogmatic radical feminists and ideologues from the religious-right, anti-prostitution sentiment transcends traditional party politics…Bruce’s piece offers an oversimplified and paternalistic argument in favour of the Swedish model.  She argues that prostitution – the sale of sex between two consenting adults – represents “sexual exploitation”.  In so doing, she dismisses a wealth of evidence that many women choose to sell sex and enjoy their sex working.  It is not uncommon for advocates of the Swedish model to argue that sex workers who claim to sell sex of their own volition suffer from “false consciousness” – they hold a distorted image of their own social situation.  They are victims without knowing it…

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Every so often “Something in the Milk” gets a boost in attention again, either because I retweet it or someone posts it on a review board or something like that.  And oddly, whenever it happens there is often some new weirdness going on at P411.  This time, for example, P411 has just made a number of new demands of escorts; it has demanded the right to “approve” their personal websites, even charging them for that “approval” until Gina realized that was too transparent a money-grab.  The conditions for approval include “A [linked] P411 badge or banner…must appear in a prominent position on a Main/Front page of your website” and “Sites that present a conflict of interest due to close affiliation with competitors, will not be approved (ie: a site/page hosted by EscortDesign/PureVIP, Date-Check, etc.). Links and banners to legitimate competitors, are fine.”  The accusation has previously been made that Gina’s trying to cash in before she cashes out, and this looks like yet another example of that.  And then just a few days ago, I got this letter from a reader; I have no way to directly verify these statements, so I’m presenting the letter without any further comment.  If you have information which would tend to corroborate this, however, please email me.

This is in regard to Preferred411. I just finished reading your article on another woman who has traced P411 members back to a police department. The same thing has happened to me…and it has happened when another local woman sent me a questionable scheduling request to help her double check it. Both men were hiding behind computer jobs. Both times were reported to Gina and it was just brushed off that cops do enjoy visiting with ladies…but she did end up closing down their accounts. Both findings happened within the past 3 months. After this happened, I’ve suspected an owner assisted infiltration within P411 & I have been on high alert ever since.

I had p411 member visit 2x with me and at the end of December he tried to schedule a 3rd time. I was already suspicious of him because though he went into my bathroom every 15 min during his visits, there was no running of water, no flushing of the toilet, no tissues in the garbage can, no towels touched, no water drops in the sink…in each of the 5-8 minutes he spent in there. Nothing at all. I found this to be very strange…after both times he left, I searched every nook and cranny, including underneath my sink with a mag light, to make sure that there were no eavesdropping devices or similar implanted. On the 3rd time he tried to schedule with me, he told me very slowly that our next appointment “would be full of unexpected surprises & a new year that I would not soon forget.” It made my skin go cold. Luckily, I had already told another local escort about this man & his odd behavior, and when he later tried to schedule with her he grew very angry and agitated with her when she declined him.

There has been a lot of other weird activity coming from p411 since mid-September, and not just for me & the others I’ve already mentioned. I have to screen p411 requests harder than I have to screen the regular ones lately; I don’t trust p411 right now & believe something’s up with it.  How many others might there be who aren’t saying anything?

So, escort readers; have you experienced anything odd and iffy from P411 in the past few months?  I haven’t heard anything similar from gentlemen, but if any of y’all have anything to report I would certainly be interested in hearing it.

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Siren

I’ve been a hobbyist since 2007 and have been with many ladies, but a year ago I started seeing a young woman less than half my age and became utterly intoxicated with her.  I see her about twice a week now, always paying more than her full posted rate; despite this she never stays longer than the time we agreed on, even though she sees other people at a lower rate.  She does, however, text with me every day, though most of them are rather short.  I take her shopping, bring her many presents, and loaned her a lot of money; I have also told her I love her and even proposed.  She has never said she loves me, but she says she has more feelings for me than she does other clients; she gets a little angry if I push her to explain her feelings, and says she’s not in the same place I am.  Last autumn I was in alcohol rehab for a while, and she was very annoyed that I did not keep in contact while I was in the facility (because I couldn’t use my cell phone there).  After that I started getting very obsessed with her and have figured out her real name, where she lives and other personal information.  She won’t commit to a relationship, but says anything is possible.  It’s beginning to get around the local escort/client community that I’m infatuated with her, and the other providers I know tell me I’m not the only one, and that she’s known for using people.  One of my hobbyist friends tells me I should stop seeing her for at least six months, and see other providers instead; I’ve tried that, but no other woman makes me feel like she does.  Help!

I’m afraid I have to echo what everyone else is telling you:  you need to walk away from this if at all possible.  You are completely infatuated with her, and though I won’t say she’s using you because she isn’t lying to you, that doesn’t make this a healthy relationship.  There’s absolutely nothing morally wrong with her refusing to overstay her time, or insisting on full rate; though I do think it’s a bit strange that she gives other people a cheaper rate than her most regular client, on the other hand she also gives you a lot of “off the clock” interaction via texting and the like.  What makes it unhealthy is your level of emotional investment in something that isn’t going to go where it’s obvious you desperately want it to go.

We like to believe that we have complete free will, but the truth is that chemicals dramatically affect our thinking and emotions.  People with mental illnesses caused by chemical imbalances can find their whole lives thrown into turmoil for no apparent reason, and the right medication can make them feel dramatically better.  Recreational drugs can profoundly affect the way we feel or view the world, and can even lead to powerful insights or religious experiences.  And given that you have suffered from alcoholism yourself, I don’t think I need to remind you of the powerful effect that chemical has on the brain.  Well, the feeling of being in love is also caused by chemicals, though they’re ones which originate within the body rather than outside of it; the primary culprit is dopamine, but norepinephrine and phenylethylamine are also important, not to mention the “love hormone” oxytocin (which is released during skin-to-skin contact, including cuddling, even in situations where no sex or erotic attraction is involved).  So while it’s not possible to be addicted to sex (as I have explained many times in my blog), it is indeed possible to be addicted (in a way) to the feeling of being in love.  And just as the compelling need for alcohol or other drugs can cause erratic or even dangerous behavior in the addict, so can the compelling need for the “fix” provided by that potent neurochemical mixture one’s brain releases during interaction with the subject of one’s infatuation.  The good news is that, as with any other addiction, the hold of love can be broken; the bad news is that I don’t know of any way to do it other than cold turkey withdrawal.  I would strongly counsel you to take your friends’ advice:  stop seeing your siren and try to distract yourself with other ladies and other pastimes, before you go broke and/or get yourself arrested for doing something you will regret, which I fear is a very strong possibility in this situation.brain in love

(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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Given the takedown of MyRedbook and Rentboy, and the repeated assaults on Backpage, I couldn’t say that the seizure of Seattle’s The Review Board by local cops in conjunction with the FBI was shocking; in fact, as I told the first reporter I talked to about it, my initial reaction was “Here we go again.”  Of course, there’s one big difference between this case and the earlier ones:  I was currently advertising on TRB, and in fact the screenshot of the board which was included in the cops’ press release included the headline of my most recent ad, with my name right there for anyone to read.TRB seizure

From my point of view, the way the news unfolded was this:  I had just arrived home on Wednesday afternoon to prepare for a date when one of my sex worker friends texted me to tell me she had tried to sign onto the board and was confronted with the ugly, threatening sight of police badges.  I in turn texted another close friend, who informed me that she had just emailed me the news herself; when my gentleman arrived he asked me if I had heard, and I said yes.  By the time he left two hours later my phone was full of texts and my computer full of emails, and a strategy meeting had been called for that evening.  I told SWOP-Seattle’s media director that I would be available for on-camera interviews if needed, since I’m out; by the time the meeting was convened I had already talked to a reporter from TV station KING 5 and was on the way to meet him for an interview.  When I got back I was almost immediately sent back out to talk to a reporter from KIRO, this time in the company of another sex worker friend, Caroline McLeod.  And when I checked Twitter yesterday morning after awakening to another flurry of text messages and emails, I discovered something that was news to my non-TV-news-watching self:  those two interviews were virtually unprecedented.  Nobody who tweeted at me had ever seen a local news station ask sex workers for their opinions on a bust before, and certainly not in as respectful a fashion as KIRO did.

By the time of the press conference held late yesterday morning so cops and prosecutors could congratulate themselves and deliver their warped view of events to reporters, we had a pretty good idea of what was going on; predictably, the seven SWOP members (including Caroline and I) who went to the press conference were excluded, so we waited in the lobby and handed cards to every reporter who walked in. letting them know we’d be available for interviews afterward.  As we had suspected, the allegations involved “K-girls”, immigrant Korean sex workers, who were portrayed as helpless, enslaved victims despite the fact that officials fully admitted that they hadn’t interviewed any of these “rescued” women (and refused to tell reporters where they were being held).  So far, it appears the entire case was built on the statement of a single K-girl, and I don’t need to explain how cops and prosecutors go about extracting such “testimony” by intimidation and threats of dire consequences unless the victim “co-operates”.  One other weird feature of the accusations is that TRB is being represented as a nationwide site, when in fact it is strictly limited to the Seattle area.

my boots 1-7-16After the press conference, though, something amazing happened:  reporters from two TV stations, two radio stations and two newspapers stopped to ask for our input.  We split up to talk to those reporters; I handled another reporter from KING 5 and one of the radio interviews (in which I got to respond directly to the sheriff, who interestingly tried to “head me off” by negating what he assumed I would say).  The KING 5 reporter seemed weirdly obsessed with the word “prostitute” (and his cameraman seemed fascinated by my snakeskin boots); he asked me if all of us there were prostitutes, and I stated that we were all sex workers.  I further explained that sex workers included strippers, porn actresses, phone sex operators, etc, and that one of our criticisms of prostitution law was that it attempts to draw artificial lines between consensual sexual behavior which the state allows and that which it doesn’t.  He then asked if I was a prostitute, and on camera in the hall of a courthouse, within earshot of at least half a dozen cops, I said “yes”.  As I wrote on Twitter last night, “I felt a sense of great pride, power and even triumph in openly and clearly stating on camera that I am a prostitute.”  When I started this blog, I cloaked my identity, and now I’m almost as out as I can be.  Though the state has just thrown yet another obstacle in the way of my making a living, it can’t ever take that supremely badass moment away from me.  And though there will no doubt be a lot more detail forthcoming as this story develops, the fact that reporters are at least beginning to allow sex workers a say is a huge step forward.

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