Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Being lonely is hardly a crime.  –  Jake Adelstein

The Rescuers 

Harassing streetwalkers to scare away their clients has become a popular rescue industry pastime:

Friday afternoon, a group called “Code Red” gathered their efforts to stop prostitution throughout the Bay Area and across the country.  “We love people and we know sometimes you just have to keep working and working because they are going to come,” said Sylvia Vigil, who…spent hours out on the streets of Oakland looking for sex workers.  She says she saw ten girls out there and tried to reach as many of them as she could…The girls were all invited to a special dinner Friday night and from there Operation Code Red will offer them places to stay in recovery homes.

“Love” = “pathologically need to control”.  “Reach” = “steal income from”. “All invited…offer them places” = the girls were all too smart to walk into that trap, so nobody actually showed up.

It Looks Good On Paper

Another story credulously touting bullshit “safe harbor” laws:

Ohio…Senate Bill 4…would allow trafficking victims to apply to have records removed of some guilty convictions, dismissed charges or findings of not guilty…prosecuting attorneys…successfully pushed for changes that require the person seeking expungement of…felonies to [somehow] prove the degree of duress they were under…

Surplus Women 

Cops threaten and harass sex workers, yet believe we’ll come to them when we need help:  “…a prostitute was found stabbed to death in her north London flat…[on] May 29…Detectives have warned other sex workers in the capital to be “extra vigilant” as they hunt the killer…

Elephant in the Parlor 

Quite possibly the most ridiculous excuse any politician has ever used:

On May 22, the Yomiuri Shimbun…alleged that [Japanese politician Kihei] Maekawa frequented a shady dating bar…for a few years until around the end of last year.  The article implied that many of the women who come to the bar…offer sex for money…At a news conference on May 25, Maekawa admitted he used to go to a dating bar but said he went there to talk to the women and learn about poverty in the country…after watching a TV documentary that said many women going to such bars are barely getting by.  “Sometimes I had meals with women and gave them some pocket money,” Maekawa said.  “Talking to them, I have learned that child poverty is connected to the poverty of women”…

Can we please all grow up now and recognize that it’s not merely normal but common for men to pay for sex, and that many women accept money for sex either directly or indirectly?

Welcome To Our World (#15)

Another rape victim caged to force her participation in the state’s morality play:

…in June 2015, Angela Cardinal was led into an Edmonton courtroom handcuffed and in leg shackles…She was not the accused, but rather a victim — called to testify at a preliminary hearing after she was savagely attacked and sexually assaulted by a notorious sexual predator…Cardinal was forced to spend a total of five nights in [jail]…during her testimony…Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley was appalled when…told…of Cardinal’s treatment…she has…formed a special committee to look at the case to review policies, with an eye to making what she calls “aggressive changes”…

Bottleneck 

No, they aren’t “forced” to work without a license; in every place where sex work is legalized, the vast majority prefer not to be registered by politicians and “supervised” by pigs.  Just look at the headline and tone of this article and you may understand why:

In Singapore, prostitution is legal, but [related activities are not]…The government regulates prostitution…but nevertheless illegal sex workers saturate the industry…There are an estimated 1,000…licensed sex workers in Singapore…Yet thousands more choose – or are forced – to work without a license.  Unable to access the same protection the state offers licensed workers, illegal sex workers will either work from massage or beauty parlours or…set up a profile online…Dr. Thein Than Win explains, “In the licensed brothels, everything is in place: mandatory health screenings, condoms.  But for the illegal sex workers…there are no [compulsory government-ordained restrictions]…As police stepped up their efforts by increasing surveillance…and…lawmakers [banned online advertising]…sex workers used websites hosted outside of Singapore to circumvent it…

Pyrrhic Victory (#139)

Some readers implied I was a crank when I predicted this exact development four years ago:

After the Freddie Gray riots in 2015, Baltimore residents began noticing small planes circling the city.  As reporters later uncovered, Baltimore Police had quietly begun using a “wide-area surveillance” system, which deploys Cessna planes to constantly record the movements of an entire metro area.  Police never bothered to tell the public they were using the invasive technology, which had been developed by the U.S. Air Force…Now Miami-Dade Police are quietly trying to deploy the same system.  In a county document posted online Tuesday, MDPD revealed the force has applied for Department of Justice funds to begin using wide-area surveillance (WAS) tools throughout the county…Civil liberty groups say they have major concerns about police using such a system, especially without telling the public about it…

Worse Than I Thought (#433)

I’m surprised this has taken so long to catch on, given the considerable overlap between anti-whore & anti-abortion busybodies:

There are only 13 states in the U.S. where it is possible for a minor to obtain an abortion without either notifying or explicitly receiving permission from either one or both parents.  For those who get pregnant in such states there is the option of continuing the pregnancy, finding a judge…willing to grant a judicial bypass…or [traveling]…to one of the few states that allows minors unrestricted…abortion…In 2006…the Child Custody Protection Act was proposed…[to make] crossing the borders a crime…it…died in committee a few times since then, but now it has once more reared its head…Ohio Senator Rob Portman reintroduced the Child Custody Protection Act in May, putting the restriction back on the table as a means of allegedly combating human sex trafficking.  “Human traffickers and child molesters don’t want parents involved in abortion decisions, so they take underage girls across state lines for abortions to avoid laws in the victim’s home state,” writes the conservative news site OneNewsNow

Are you satisfied, feminists?  Helping the anti-sex loons spread their “sex trafficking” myth sure was a good strategy, wasn’t it?

Soap Opera (#553) 

I wonder where Theresa Flores will get a real job once “sex trafficking” hysteria collapses?

…Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution…gathered a couple of dozen volunteers in Arlington, Virginia…to…deliver…[bars of magic anti-pimp soap] to hotels and motels around the D.C. Metro area…S.O.A.P. Founder Theresa Flores [claims she] recently received a text message from someone…[who was saved by] one of these [soap bars]…The volunteers…also gave…hotels…a list of warning signs for desk clerks to watch out for, and also photos of missing girls…Flores [also claimed she happened to be] around when a photo of a missing girl put in the hands of a desk clerk [happened to be someone in the hotel that specific clerk had checked in]…

Flores’ entire shtick derives from TV cop shows, right down to the convenient coincidences.

What Were You All Waiting For? 

The ACLU still has a long way to go if it wants to help sex workers:

…For sex workers…[prohibitionists’] view of “help” is paternalistic.  Most of us probably don’t think much about sex workers, and when we do, we tend to immediately assume the worst stereotypes…Criminalizing sex work just allows the dark side to flourish.  When sex-work is driven underground, victims of violence and exploitation feel the need to hide…Sex workers facing criminal sanction are less likely to report rape and violence committed by their customers, and they are more likely to take risks like unprotected sex when they operate entirely outside the law.  If we were really concerned with protecting [those]…who engage in sex work, we would set up a legitimate legal framework in which they could operate…

Eli Baumwell clearly needs some education; legalization (which is what he’s advocating here) doesn’t really work because in the same paternalism he himself says doesn’t work, and the chief danger we face isn’t violent customers but violent cops who lose no power over sex workers under the legalization model he’s advocating.  But this very flawed effort is still better than the ACLU’s long silence on sex worker rights.

Full of Themselves (#650)

Massage parlor licensing is widely touted as a way to “fight prostitution”; let’s see how that actually works:

Last month, Venice [Florida] police arrested three women for prostitution after raiding three massage parlors…[all three] still have “clear and active” massage therapy licenses issued by the DOH…all three have prior histories of prostitution arrests or convictions…Spotty enforcement and regulation of sex crimes in the massage profession happen all the time…Until 2015, the DOH operated on the honor system by requiring massage therapists to report their own arrests.  Now there is fingerprinting, that in theory, will automatically catch arrests of licensees for prostitution and other crimes…[the DOH] insists the state’s $6.5 million a year massage regulatory program that You Paid For is doing well…

I love it when authoritarian busybodies feed on each other.

Storyville (#697)

Some parts of the American west tolerated prostitution long after it was criminalized in the rest of Puritanland:

…When the discovery of gold and silver turned [Wallace, Idaho]…into the center of the mining universe, men moved [there]…by the thousands…Dr. Heather Branstetter….has literally written the book on the history of the sex trade here…”The madams contributed so much in anonymous ways that people don’t know about,” Dr. Brantsetter explained.  “They would leave money at the grocery store for people who couldn’t afford food.”  Many in Wallace say they don’t remember ever having to do a school fundraiser; what they needed was always provided.  In 1972, the state of Idaho no longer allowed cities to legalize prostitution.  But…in Wallace, it was [tolerated as long as] madams…follow[ed police] regulations, like not hiring local girls and keeping the women off the streets in their off hours.  But, over time, the [mining] industry declined.  By the mid-1980’s, only a few houses were left.  The AIDS epidemic…shut down [the last one]…in 1988…

The Widening Gyre (#738)

Still more infantilization of migrant Nigerian sex workers:

Although no fewer than 1, 594 illegal migrants from Nigeria have so far returned from Libya from January through May this year, many more are still stranded outside the country, having been deceived of a better life by traffickers, so said a representative from International Organisation for Migration (IOM)…Dr. Nahashon Thuo…Mrs. Winnie Aideyan, said…“There is nothing wrong with travelling, but people need to travel the correct way.”  Aideyan called on Nigerian youth to stop illegal migration, stressing, “Women need to be empowered so they will not be tempted by these traffickers”…

Because “empowered” women will obey self-appointed nannies and only travel in the “correct”, government-approved way, sitting with folded hands until they get permission. Naturally.

Read Full Post »

I could see planes circling in mid-air.  They grew in number and hummed, darted and dipped low.  I could hear something like hail falling upon the top of my office building.  –  Buck Colbert Franklin

If you’re phobic of snakes or just easily disgusted, you probably don’t want to watch this video, contributed by Scott Greenfield; the links above it were provided by Mike Siegel, Walter Olson, Amy Alkon, David Ley, and Lenore Skenazy (in that order, skipping the first link).

From the Archives

Read Full Post »

Government…persecutions [of sex workers]…are nothing but the temper tantrums of frustrated authoritarians.  –  “Whores’ Day 2016

42 years ago today, French sex workers occupied the Church of St. Nizier in Lyon to protest the depredations inflicted on them by the police; the event garnered worldwide attention and is considered the beginning of the sex worker rights movement.  For a long time, not much changed; the early successes of the movement were suppressed within a decade by the growing anti-sex coalition of fundamentalist Christians & fundamentalist feminists, fueled by the AIDS panic (which also choked the Sexual Revolution).  But slowly, sex workers won rights in many countries, and public opinion slowly turned in our favor; by 2004 the only way prohibitionists could effectively fight us was to intentionally launch a moral panic by recycling the century-old “white slavery” hysteria.  Governments found the myth of sex workers as passive, “voiceless” victims a useful one for expanding their police states and restricting immigration while pretending not to be racist, and so applied themselves to spreading the panic on a scale unprecedented since the witch panics of the 15th to 18th centuries.

But even though governments continue to pour money and manpower into anti-whore propaganda and campaigns intended to terrorize sex workers, our clients and our families, and police abuse of sex workers is at least as bad as it was in 1975, the rise of social media has allowed sex workers to interact with the public on an unprecedented scale.  Every day, sex workers of all backgrounds, all around the world, work to debunk prohibitionist lies and expose the ugly truth about government persecution of individuals for the “crime” of consensual sex.  All reputable human rights and health organizations, and every academic and journalist who has actually taken the time to objectively research the subject, now support sex workers’ demands for decriminalization; the foundation of lies on which prohibition is built is now crumbling, and soon everyone not blinded by their own sick need to control others’ private behavior will see the prohibition of sex work as the destructive evil it is.  This does not mean the War on Whores will end soon; the War on Drugs is now recognized as a tyrannical abomination by the majority of people both in and out of government, and yet its demise will still take years due to the fact that powerful interests profit from it both monetarily and in increased power.  But any cultural change requires a victory in the court of public opinion, and we’re slowly winning that; we’ve already passed the turning point in this war, and all that is required for eventual victory is that we keep relentlessly hammering at the lies, fighting bad laws and policies, and sharing the truth.

Read Full Post »

Sex work is a highly complex experience and must not be reduced to sensationalised fictions that do nothing to capture the lives of the very people being depicted.  –  Kate Lister

Profit from Panic 

Nice lady goes to slums and is horrified by poor sex workers; guess why she stayed:

…I set out to write a sex worker diary…out of [lurid] curiosity.  I had heard stories that in Bwaise, a slum in northern Kampala, women were selling themselves for as little as 500 Uganda shillings (US$0.14).  I wanted to get a first-hand view of the situation…Some…questioned my motive…I almost gave up…It was the encouragement I received from [“rescue”] organisations that…propelled me to continue writing.  Not for Sale Uganda…[blathered about “providing] them with alternative dignified work”…Divine Hearts, a Christian organisation…pledged…[to] pay school fees for two of the sex workers’ children…

I would be interested in seeing a comparison of these NGO executives’ salaries with the cost of sending a child to school in Uganda.

The Widening Gyre 

It’s really hilarious that cops are now starting to believe their own wanking fantasies:

Seattle police are investigating a purported prostitution ring said by one escort to service “persons in positions of power” in the city.  Detectives have searched a Capitol Hill home belonging to the suspected pimp…one former escort told investigators the Capitol Hill man named notable Seattle community members as his clients.  Police now have custody of electronic devices and records that may prove that claim…

In other words, a chickenshit pimp brags to somebody to make himself look good, Seattle’s Keystone Kops think they’ve stumbled upon an escort service catering to big wheels, and reporters breathlessly repeat the cops’ fantasies.  If you made this a TV show plot, people would say it was unbelievable.

Fever Dream

Tennessee “authorities” say it isn’t important what sex workers think; we’re “victims” whether we say so or not:

Law enforcement in Tennessee has altered the way it describes prostitution.  Now the preferred language is “sex trafficking”…[even though] big [pogroms]…have yielded few trafficking charges…Josh DeVine, a spokesman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, [denies sex workers’ agency & vomits out a lot of propaganda]…Vanderbilt University professor Jill Robinson sees both sides of the argument, recognizing that it can “be problematic to expand the term so much that it includes everything”…[but she hates whores so she’s happy with policies that infantilize us & deprive us of income]…

Moloch (#342)

Is this enough blood yet? Can we please stop now?

Corey [Walgren] was at lunch…in his high school this past January when he was called into the office.  Waiting for him was the campus dean and a [cop].  They questioned him about what was alleged to be an image on his phone of a consensual sexual encounter with a female classmate, also 16.  The accusation was possession of and possibly sharing “child pornography.”  Evidence strongly suggests that [they threatened him with] being registered as a sexual offender…Only at that point were attempts made to contact his parents.  Corey was told that his mother was on the way to the school, and he was left alone to wait for her.  At some point before she arrived, Corey left…walked a mile and threw himself off of a six-story parking garage.  His death was not instantaneous, but it came before his mother could get to him…the images on the phone were so black that nothing could be seen.  Even though audio of the encounter was discernible, police records indicate that they would not have pressed charges after all…

A pig and a prude though it was a good idea to threaten a boy with a lifetime of ostracism because he had sex with a girl.  I hope the image of his shattered body is indelibly impressed on their brains; I hope it tortures them both until they end it the same way he did.  And I hope this story comes up every time some self-important wanker of a judge declares that the “sex offender” registry isn’t a punishment.

Innocence Never Had

So much fantasy, so many contradictions:

A 17-year-old girl has allegedly been used as bait to ensnare younger girls in a human trafficking ring operating out of [Johannesburg, South Africa]…This is according to the mother of a 14-year-old…girl whom police took from a barber’s shop that allegedly doubled as a brothel…five girls were [supposedly] found drugged…The 17-year-old and the [shop owner] were both arrested and…charged with human trafficking, kidnapping, rape, sexual exploitation and possession of drugs and pornographic material…the 17-year-old…was a “problem child” who had repeatedly run away from home since the age of 15…Prostitutes working in the area are not convinced that…the girls the police have taken from the premises were forced into the trade…

The Monsters Are Due 

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs:

In the last photographs taken of him, Mohammed Naeem is pleading to a group of villagers as blood trickles down from his head.  Half of his body is soaked in red.  His shirt presumably ripped away, and dirt marks on his pants suggest he was kicked repeatedly…Naeem was the last of four people to be beaten to death…by villagers in Sobhapur, [India]…Naeem’s last moments became the face of a string of attacks…triggered by rumours…that child abduction gangs are on the prowl.  Villagers…picked up weapons such as sticks and bats, and were attacking strangers…Two people were killed over similar suspicions earlier in the week.  None of the victims were involved in kidnapping…Naeem and his cattle trader companions were passing through Sobhapur early in the morning on [May 18th when]…Villagers…stopped their SUV, dragged the four people out and tortured them for four hours before killing them…

This is the price of inventing myths to justify controlling other people’s private sexual behavior.

Broken Record (#643) 

Canadian prohibitionists are still desperate to cash in before the panic implodes:

The recruitment of young women in the weeks surrounding Montreal’s Formula 1 weekend isn’t new, according to [prohibitionists]…“We plan to…gather the already-existing information from various organisms [sic] who fight the human trafficking of women and girls,” said [prohibitionist] Cathy Wong…demand is so high during the Grand Prix, that women and girls are brought in from Ontario, and even the U.S…“In the end, it’s prostitution,” said Martine B. Côté, [another prohibitionist]…“You can pay for sexual services just by clicking your fingers”…

I’d like to reassure Martine that A) touring escorts are able to make their own travel plans without having to be “brought in” like cargo; B) escorts already know that what we do is prostitution, but thanks for telling us; and C) I’m afraid it takes just a bit more to pay for sex than just “clicking your fingers”, even if the escort accepts online payments.  But please, let Cathy tell us more about these organisms who “fight sex trafficking”.

Too Close To Home (#664)

This is especially ignorant in Seattle, where nobody can claim they don’t know of any sex workers to consult on the subject:

…as human trafficking rates continue to soar and the demand for paid sex grows…Seattle…decided to adopt the “Nordic Model”…It seems to be working well for Sweden, which has seen a dramatic drop in sex work since the law was implemented in 1999…an overwhelming amount of [sex] workers are poor women with few alternatives…[who] are lured or forced into “the life” through a history of sexual abuse, substance addiction, and severe poverty…the alternative, making prostitution legal, has failed time and time again…

Nearly every single sentence in this pile of shit is wrong; it’s actually quite an achievement.

Send In the Clowns 

Now, this is an interesting twist:

A 29-year-old man was slashed to death in the parking lot of Torchy’s Tacos in downtown Denver…[very early] Tuesday morning.  Witnesses referred to the suspect as a man in “white, clown-type makeup with black streaks on his face…[wearing] a glove with blades on the end of each finger”…the clown-faced man was seen hopping aboard a scooter and riding away into the night.  Shortly thereafter…the attacker…was spotted on a [surveillance]…camera a few blocks away…throwing what looked to be a knife in the bushes…police discovered that knife covered in blood…[the suspect] was subsequently arrested…[and] identified…as…Christian Lee Gulzow, a local death metal vocalist…[who] frequently posts photos and videos of himself wearing makeup and sporting gloves with extended and pointed fingertips—both of which seem to match the descriptions made by the witnesses…

The Notorious Badge (#726)

Kate Lister of Whores of Yore on the background history of the Harlots TV show:

Harlots has gone beyond simply dusting off the tit crushing corsets and has deftly woven historical facts into the warp and weft of this bloomer dropping, gin swilling, cinematic trupenny upright, and I love it.  But, I’m not here to tell you how much fun the show is (and it really is!) I’m here for the history.  Harlots tells a hell of a story, but there is more to consider here than a corseted dose of how’s your father in a sepia filter.  That Harlots so clearly uses historical truth to embellish the show is what really piques my interest… 

Read Full Post »

We have been so brainwashed by talk of trafficking that we imagine we see it everywhere.  –  Lenore Skenazy

Enabling Oppression

It’s hard to get more vile and disgusting than white prohibitionists using the names of dead black icons to support campaigns of oppression that disproportionately affect black people.  Most of this is a typical Julie Bindel smear screed, referring to sex worker rights advocates as “pimps” and “pro-prostitution pressure groups” (Bindel, you may remember, is the one who says Brooke Magnanti and I, along with Amnesty International and a corpse, are the heads of the imaginary “pimp lobby”).  But here’s the money quote, edited for clarity and truth:

…The [prohibitionists fantasize about an imaginary Utopia]…free from prostitution.  Many are keen to campaign for the introduction of a law to criminalise the demand.  “These men [sex buyers] have a comfortable life,” says one of the women, “after they [complete a mundane business transaction] they go back to their homes and their wives.  We want them to be exposed [as people who conduct business transactions]”…”Mandela would understand,” says [one prohibitionist] “I seriously believe that if we had gone to him …he would have [supported police violence against peaceful people having consensual sex]”…

The Notorious Badge

I’d be interested in hearing what actual sex workers think of this show:

Somewhere in the vast terrain between the hooker-as-fairytale-princess fantasy of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and the prim, grim Victorian sociology of Stephen Crane’s Maggie: A Woman of the Streets lies Harlots, Hulu’s odd but engrossing new drama about life inside an 18th-century London brothel.  Screenwriter Moira Buffini, one of the five British women who produce, write, and direct Harlots, said in unveiling the project that the goal was “everything from the whore’s-eye view.”  The result is that the women in Harlots are neither glamorous courtesans nor broken flowers, and their depiction is never erotic…

A Narrow View (#25)

Mark Draughn on the hypocrisy of arresting underage sex workers under guise of “helping” them:

Is it really necessary to send cops with guns to forcibly “help” people?  And even if you think it’s necessary to coerce child victims of sex trafficking into accepting social services, can’t you do it without giving them a criminal record?…There are better alternatives. We know this because non-governmental organizations like the Sex Work Outreach Project (SWOP) don’t have arrest powers, and they’ve been doing outreach to sex workers for years…Here in Chicago, the Young Women’s Empowerment Project spent years studying ways to help young women in the sex trade, and they had some useful observations, especially about what they call institutional violence

Profound Ignorance 

This is at least less harmful than the usual ignorance-based sex work “study”, though no less stupid:

To get a feel for what a certain dollar amount can get someone seeking escort services, we averaged 277 images of Las Vegas escorts using face-morphing software and organized them by price point…beauty is not only affected by our personal preferences but is also shaped by our culture…When looking at the women in our composite comparison, the most expensive female escort seems to have more refined features…She also has lighter skin and looks much younger than the woman charging $10 to $99 per hour for her services…

More beautiful escorts are more in demand and can therefore charge more. Gee, who’d have guessed?

Micromanagement

Please, ladies, don’t be so stupid as to give cops evidence they can & will use against you:

Sara Katsanis, a bioethicist at Duke University…was surprised to hear of a program initiated by Dallas [cops] to collect DNA from truck-stop sex workers to solve hypothetical future crimes…Voluntarily give a DNA sample now, the program promised, and if it’s your dead body, at least your family will know.  Can sex workers truly consent when it’s police doing the asking?…The program, which was first proposed in 2007, had done a very small survey and found women universally willing to contribute their DNA with no major concerns.  “So the ethicist [part of me] said, ‘Oh really, no concerns?,’’ recounted Katsanis.  “And who asked?  Oh the police”…So she and a colleague, Jennifer Wagner, went down to Dallas, to talk to the sex workers themselves, without [Porky Pig] in the room…

Case Study

Dysphemisms and gawking abound in UK articles about sex work:

A Fulham brothel operator and head of a London sex empire is facing jail after he admitted a series of crimes including making money from prostitution and human trafficking.  David Archer…pleaded guilty…to running a string of brothels, trafficking women and controlling their profiles on adult websites…Detective Sergeant John Kirby [drooled]…”Archer exploited vulnerable women to build his lucrative empire in the sex industry over a number of years…once he lured the women, they were instructed to pose for explicit photos, and in some cases forced to engage in sexual activity…Neighbours describe seeing women as young as 18 “dancing naked in the garden” before [one] brothel was shut…

Nice While It Lasted

What could possibly go wrong?

Senior council figures have backed plans to give officials the power to dish out £100 [trial-free] fines for drinking, begging and urinating…[the due-process-free penalties are to be euphemistically labeled] Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)…the orders would allow police…and council officers to issue instant £100 fines for anyone [they claim committed] one of several anti-social behaviour offences in the areas…deputy council leader…Clyde Loakes [lied]…“This is not an attack on homeless people…this is not infringing human rights”…A third PSPO, aimed at curbing street prostitution, has also been proposed for the Lea Bridge area of Leyton…

Signs 

This woman calls bruises and rope burns “signs of trafficking”. I call them “signs of a fun evening”:

…the Southwest Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force recently unveiled two training mannequins that exhibit common physical signs of human trafficking, including bruising, rope burns and possessive tattoos, said Cathy Knauf…She said the tattoos are usually not professionally done and say “Daddy” or are a UPC bar code.  “It shows ownership by the trafficker that this is his property,” she said.  She said the task force started collecting money for Freethem Ink, which will pay to have a survivor’s tattoo changed into something beautiful or removed…

Lies Piled on Lies

Nebraska is vying with Washington, Arizona and Florida to be the state which produces the stupidest “sex trafficking” nonsense:

Seven score and 14 years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, a different form of slavery lingers in the United States…human trafficking…ensnares children as young as 13 in the sex industry…Glen Parks [a pig mouthpiece, bloviated while secretly masturbating]…“It’s treating someone like you own them, like they’re an object”…The [pig] who pulls over a suspect transporting three inappropriately dressed and unrelated teenage girls, needs [to lock the girls up]…he said…“We can train motel workers to spot the signs of sex trafficking.  These victims get sick more than most, and must be taken to a clinic or a hospital, where if nurses are trained to spot the signs they can [rat them out]”…Connie Lofgreen, a sex addiction [profiteer] in Omaha, [pearl-clutched] that pornography is a “theater” of trafficking…“You don’t know when you look at pornography if that person is participating as a willing participant.  You don’t know that they’re not a minor or that they haven’t been trafficked in from another country.”  Lofgreen said an entire generation of men has developed an addiction to pornography, and that like all addicts they need increasingly stronger doses, a process that sometimes causes them to drift into child pornography…

Under Every Bed (#669)

We’ve heard all these lies before; this is only notable for the sheer density of bullshit, and the fact that it’s claimed to take place in a state with a smaller population than Greater Seattle:

Amber Lawrence…travels…Iowa [for] Teens Against Human Trafficking…trying to protect young people from being “Taken” down a heartbreaking road in which life expectancy is a stark seven years…an educational exhibit…features art of young women in a cage, an empty pair of silver high heels, and an abandoned teddy bear symbolizing loss of innocence…as a college freshman at 19, she had been the target of an attempted human trafficking incident…

An “attempted human trafficking incident”.  You know, like in “The Widening Gyre” below.

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#714)

Politicians the world over promise the same evil, impossible things, and stupid people just keep believing them:

With mascots dressed as smiling fish and a police rock band, Thai authorities launched a “Happy Zone”…to [sanitize] the image of a city [known] for sex tourism…the…sex…industry…remains economically vital while being officially excoriated…The latest of many crackdowns in Pattaya happened…last month…A handful of bars were raided.  Bar owners and working women were fined.  Scared to venture out, tourists…stayed in hotels.  Street vendors and shops saw sales tumble.  The money which flows to all levels in the city – including law enforcement agencies – fell off.  The Happy Zone approach is a softer way to try to [pretend] that something is being done…Apichai Krobpetch, chief of Pattaya city police, [said] “We will also stamp out prostitution in the area”…

Guinea Pigs (#723) 

More on the “banks looking for whores to rat out to the pigs” evil from last week:

…banks have become adept at mining data to comply with anti-money-laundering regulations.  Much of that same data can also be used to detect signs of human trafficking…Some financial patterns that could potentially indicate human trafficking include credit card purchases on some classified-ad sites, several individuals with a common address depositing money into the same account, or multiple accounts transferring money to the same beneficiary…analytics tools can also cross-reference customer phone numbers to see if those same numbers appear on classified-ad pages where illegal services might be sold…

“Multiple accounts transferring money to the same beneficiary”.  You know, like when different people pay for purchases from one company.

The Widening Gyre (#723) 

Lenore Skenazy’s take on yet another hysterical “sex trafficking” fantasy:

89,000 shares of this piece from ForEveryMom…”Diandra Toyos is a Southern California mom of three kiddos aged 4, 1.5, and 7 weeks.  Looking for a fun outing, she and her mom decided to take the kids to their local IKEA recently to do some couch shopping…But Toyos never could have imagined that their lighthearted shopping trip was about to take a sinister turn“…This “My kids were about to be trafficked, I just KNOW it” post is so shockingly similar to last week’s “My kids were about to be trafficked, I just KNOW it” post that it feels…creepy.  A lot creepier than being at Ikea where a couple of men glance at my kids…What, two men are going to grab two or three kids, all under age 7, IN PUBLIC, in a camera-filled IKEA, with the MOM and the GRANDMA right there, not to mention a zillion other fans of Swedish furnishings?…You can TELL nothing happened, because the whole thing was described as an “incident”.  And Lenore’s #1 Rule of Reporting is: When something is called an “incident,” it’s because nothing happened…

Read Full Post »

No amount of intuition from one’s training and experience is a substitute for the basic laws of light and physics.

The absurdity of malum prohibitum “crimes” is amply demonstrated in this WWII propaganda video, in which the US government encourages farmers to grow cannabis (specifically hemp, but even that was illegal for decades).  The video was contributed by Jesse Walker and the links above it by Emma Evans (“porn”),  Charles Hill (“works”), Mike Chase (“clone”), Tim Cushing (“taunts”), Kevin Wilson  (“Australia”), and Mike Siegel (“water”).

From the Archives

Read Full Post »

I’m going to assume most of you, even those with English degrees, are unfamiliar with the term “counter word”.  It’s a linguistic term; a counter word is a word or phrase with no current intrinsic meaning, which is used to signal one’s membership in the in-group who use that word.  “Counter” in this sense means a counter used in a game, such as a poker chip; it has no actual value outside of the game, but it is used to participate in the game.  Two examples from my younger days both came from television commercials for hamburger chains; one was from this 1992 commercial for Rally’s:

The ad was so popular that soon everyone (at least on the Gulf Coast) was running around yelling “Cha-ching!” at every available opportunity.  At first it was mostly used appropriately, as a way of saying something was expensive (“I paid $100 for these sneakers.” “Whoa, cha-ching!”) but it soon turned into an exclamation of victory or appreciation for an insult (something like the way people use “Oh, snap!” now), and within months, due to somehow becoming associated with the New Orleans Saints football team, it meant nothing at all; it was just something people would randomly exclaim to show that they were “cool” and in on the joke.  At the nadir of this absurdity, a local used car dealer actually exclaimed “Cha-ching!” at the end of one of his television commercials, apparently unaware that to anyone who remembered the original ad he was implying that his autos were badly overpriced!  The other example, which perhaps more of you may recognize, was from a 1984 Wendy’s ad:

As with “cha-ching!” it didn’t take “Where’s the beef?” long to go from an expression people used to mean something like, “What’s going on?” or “Are you kidding me?” to signifying nothing more than, “Hey, I’ve heard other people saying this, aren’t I cool?”  This isn’t a phenomenon of my lifetime; soon after the turn of the 20th century the phrase “23 skidoo!” went from meaning something like “let’s make tracks” or “scram!” to meaning, as in the other examples, essentially nothing; it was printed on buttons and pennants and people would shout it at each other in greeting as they did with “Cha-ching” over 80 years later.

If you’re wondering why I’m bringing this up now, it’s because the phrase “human trafficking” has become nothing more than a political counter word.  In the ’90s, it was generally used to mean the smuggling of people across borders in defiance of immigration restrictions, but by the turn of the century governments and anti-immigration groups had subtly twisted it to mean only exploitative smuggling practices (which they of course represented as all of them), and it didn’t take long for the exploitative labor situations migrants often ended up in to be rolled into the term.  Prohibitionists started representing all migrant sex work as a form of “human trafficking”, and the US government soon obligingly negated the agency of all underage sex workers by defining them as “human trafficking victims” whether they actually migrated, were coerced or were treated in any way which could even tangentially intersect the previously-understood meaning of the term “trafficking”.  Certainly, the shift in meaning of the term “drug trafficking” from meaning “drug smuggling” to mere “drug selling” is parallel and probably intertwined with this broadening and thinning of the meaning of “human trafficking”, but the latter became far more nebulous than the former ever did; by 2012 I had identified 23 different meanings of the phrase “human trafficking”, 11 of the phrase “trafficking victim” and 12 of the slur “human trafficker”.  In the past five years those related phrases have become broader and far more vague, and are applied willy-nilly to anyone and anything “authorities” or prohibitionists want to restrict, censor, spy on, interfere in, attempt to ban, or inflict violence upon.

“Human trafficking” (and especially “sex trafficking”) have become nothing but authoritarian counter words; they have lost their original meanings as surely as “23 skidoo” and “Where’s the beef?” did.  I therefore call upon all activists, allies, and well-meaning people in the so-called “anti-trafficking” movement (and yes, there are some, such as GAATW) to stop using the term unless there is no other alternative.  If you mean “exploitative labor conditions”, say that.  If you mean “forced prostitution”, say that.  If you mean “underage survival sex”, say that.  If you mean “smuggling undocumented migrants”, say that.  A phrase used to mean everything means nothing at all, and a phrase that means nothing isn’t a useful term for serious adults; it’s a fad for the immature and silly.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »