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Archive for the ‘Tyranny’ Category

In the past few weeks I’ve seen my name and my work all over the place!  The War on Whores is starting to get more attention, and this coming weekend I’ll be doing three screenings in Florida with the help of SWOP Behind Bars:  Friday at 5 PM at the LGBT Center in Orlando; Saturday at 11 AM for an academic audience in St. Petersburg; and Sunday at 5 PM at a pub in Tampa (contact SWOP Behind Bars for details).  Thank y’all so much for responding to my request for more reviews, and Stephen Lemmons of Frontpage Confidential wrote a long-form review here:

Sex worker, writer and savant Maggie McNeill’s new documentary, The War on Whores, should be required viewing for all journalists covering the movement to decriminalize sex work…The film is part autobiography, part exposé  on the deceitfulness of the so-called “rescue industry,” a cabal of nonprofits, talking heads and cops that has created a nationwide moral panic over “sex trafficking”…[which] these fascistic do-gooder types [conflate with]…garden-variety prostitution…to [further] the rescue industry’s long con…McNeill has an intellect sharper than a diamond cutter, possesses more than one college degree, and is a brilliant writer whose work has appeared in Reason magazine, the Cato Institute’s Cato Unbound, and the Washington Post,  where a 2014 column of hers, “Lies, damned lies and sex work statistics”, remains part of the requisite syllabus for anyone following the fight for decrim, one of the great civil rights struggles of our age…

As it happens, I’ve got an article in the current issue of Reason, “Consenting To Be Paid for Sex Is Still Consenting!“; it inspired this essay on Patheos:

…If a man…believes that women are resources to be bartered among men, resources who control access to sex but don’t actually deserve control over their own bodies, then we have a problem.  Because, as McNeill points out…“sex is an exchange, whether you like it or not.”  It’s just that when the relationship is coded as intimate, monogamous, mutually affectionate, and non-transactional, there seems to be no cost to either party (despite the bartering around chores and such that obviously happens between some long-term monogamous couples).  But thinking of sex in these terms does not negate the importance of consent…if you firmly, utterly believe that women are capable of giving consent in intimate relationships but not in sex work, then you need to reexamine your assumptions about what it’s like to live and work under capitalism.  If you believe that women “owe” men sex, and that sex is thus a resource that the government can step in to redistribute through “enforced monogamy” or whatever nonsense of the day is being spouted, then you need to examine your internalized misogyny.  People can and do give consent under conditions that are not always of their choosing – but hey, welcome to life…

And even though I’m not directly quoted in this one from the Chicago Tribune, I did assist author Steve Chapman in finding the sources he needed (note that Steve understands the difference between legalization & decriminalization even i the editor who wrote that headline doesn’t):

…Most commodities and services that may be legally given away may also be bought and sold.  But not sex.  A person can use all sorts of persuasive means to get another person to go to bed with them.  And a person can consent to do so for a vast range of motives.  When money changes hands for that explicit purpose, though, the law suddenly intrudes…Tens of thousands of men and women are arrested each year for their role in it…We have long since embraced the idea that what adults choose to do for sexual gratification is not the business of the government.  One day we may accept that the same is true for whether they pay for it…

After ten years of very public activism, it looks like my message is finally beginning to sink into enough heads to attract even politicians’ attention.  And given how big and loud the sex worker rights movement is becoming, it’ll just go up from here.

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Something is broken in our society when millions feel the need to self-medicate in this way.

Two weeks ago I featured “Popcorn”, and now here’s another instrumental favorite from my chidhood: “Telstar” by The Tornados.  Obviously it was no longer being played on pop stations, but it could still be heard often enough in various contexts for me to become familiar with it sometime in the late ’60s or early ’70s.  The links above it were provided by Scott Greenfield, Jesse Walker, Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Carol Fenton, Jesse Walker again, and Clarissa, in that order.

From the Archives

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I usually assign 1984 to my students; now we will be living it.  –  a teacher in Lockport, NY

Dysphemisms Galore 

If this headline had been written by a normal adult sane person, it would be something like “Border Controls Expose Migrant Women to Exploitation”.  But because “sex trafficking” hysteria has not yet imploded, this interview about the difficulties encountered by migrant sex workers under repressive criminalization regimes such as China and Middle-Eastern countries (bribes, rape by cops, deportation, etc) is capped with a ridiculous headline about “sex slavery” despite the fact that the interviewee clearly discusses three-month contracts, visiting home, girls going back once they know how to game the system without middlemen, etc, with nary a “slave” in sight.

If Men Were Angels 

You mean he wasn’t a “youth pastor”?

Bobby J. Blackburn, pastor of the Elevate Church in Prestonsburg, [Kentucky] was arrested…and charged with using an electronic communication system to get a minor to commit a sex act…Blackburn also owns a local Giovanni’s pizza place, which plays Christian music and puts Bible verses on receipts…Blackburn’s business employs the girls, one of whom showed [cops] the sexual messages from Blackburn…[who] also…threaten[ed] to fire a third girl if she didn’t take the blame for sending the messages…

Where Are the Protests? (#596)

The US is too busy forcing African “authorities” to keep their people from migrating to bother policing its own food supply chains:

…The world’s chocolate companies have missed deadlines to uproot child labor from their cocoa supply chains in 2005, 2008 and 2010.  Next year, they face another target date and…they…will miss that, too…the odds are substantial that a chocolate bar bought in the United States is the product of child labor.  About two-thirds of the world’s cocoa supply comes from West Africa where…more than 2 million children [a]re engaged in dangerous labor in cocoa-growing regions.  When asked this spring, representatives of some of the biggest and best-known brands — Hershey, Mars and Nestlé — could not guarantee that any of their chocolates were produced without child labor…Mars…can trace only 24 percent of its cocoa…Hershey…less than half; Nestlé can trace 49 percent of its global cocoa supply to farms…Other companies…such as Mondelez and [white bourgeois American woman favorite] Godiva…likewise would not guarantee that any of their products were free of child labor…

Naturally, American women are only concerned about how other women have sex; they don’t actually want to know where the candy they stuff into their faces comes from.  Besides, imaginary enslaved white girls take precedence over real enslaved black boys, dontchaknow.

Unchristian Nation (#838)

Government thugs continue their crusade against Christian charity:

…Scott Warren, on trial for providing humanitarian aid to two migrants…faces a possible 20-year prison sentence for two counts of harboring undocumented immigrants and one count of conspiracy…his alleged crimes amount to nothing more than basic human kindness.  On January 14, 2018…two Central American migrants—Kristian Perez-Villanueva and Jose Arnaldo Sacaria-Goday—arrived unexpectedly at “the Barn,” a building in Ajo, Arizona, used by No More Deaths and other aid groups…the migrants…were suffering from blisters, dehydration, and exhaustion…[so] Warren…arranged a check-up by a doctor, who advised that the two migrants stay off their feet.  Warren allowed the men to remain in the Barn for the next three days…Nate Walters, the [prosecutor, characterizes]…humanitarian aid…[as] a nefarious plot “to shield illegal aliens from [thugs who would have murdered or caged them] for several days”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#857) 

Putting young people into a facial recognition database will help the government to analyze how people’s faces change over time, so nobody can ever escape surveillance:

Western New York’s Lockport City School District…[has begun] a wasteful and dangerous experiment…the district’s eight public schools began testing a system called Aegis, which includes facial recognition technology, that could eventually be used to track and map student movements…in 2015, in the wake of Sandy Hook and other high-profile school shootings, our district was approached by Tony Olivo, a [soi-disant] security consultant, who [made a sales pitch he sold to paranoid officials as]…a free threat assessment of our schools…he encouraged the school district to purchase and install…[Aegis, and received a] $95,450 annual…[commission from its makers] for five years…the…district held only one public meeting to discuss the purchase…on a Wednesday afternoon in mid-August 2016, when most parents were away or at work…the system…[has] the capacity to go back and create a map of the movements and associations of any student or teacher the district might choose.  It can tell them who has been seen with whom, where and how often.  District officials pledge that they would never deploy the software in that way, but…what matters is not what those in charge promise but what an intrusive technology has the capacity to do…Thanks to the efforts of the New York Civil Liberties Union, state officials have finally begun to ask the kinds of questions they should have asked before the project was approved…[but] the school district is forging ahead with its testing and its plans to make the cameras fully operational when school starts up again in the fall…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#885)

Why are politicians so enamored of violent Disnification campaigns that virtually never work?

A Bangkok red light district is set to be remodelled – in the style of the…region of England known as the Cotswolds.  The Rattanakosin Island area…has been…for decades…[an] area [where sex workers] cater to local Thai men rather than…foreigners in the country’s tourist hotspots.  But…military [dictator] Prayut Chan-o-cha now wants to [Disnify] the…district [by painting things]…yellow [and blanketing the area with mass surveillance to facilitate police violence.  Bureaucrats fantasize they can force sex workers into menial labor that earns about 1/10 as much]…

Lack of Evidence (#900) 

Most of these “settlements” are just dodges that force cops to find a different excuse for harassing women:

The NYPD is changing the [excuses] it [uses when wielding] the loitering law [as a weapon against citizens] after it was sued for illegally profiling and arresting women, transgender people and others on prostitution charges that were based largely on looks…The Legal Aid Society sued the department on behalf of people who[m cops] had arrested…[under the evidence-free claim] they were working as prostitutes.  One cop admitted in a deposition that he would look for “Adam’s apples” when…[hunting victims] to detain…Under the settlement, the NYPD is amending the Patrol Guide to [force cops to use a different excuse other than]…gender, gender identity, clothing and location to enforce the loitering law.  The change also requires [cops] to provide more [elaborate excuses]…for why they detained someone…Loitering arrests will also be audited by the NYPD’s Legal Bureau [after the victim has sat in a filthy, dangerous jail for a few months. Legal Aid Society chief Tina]…Luongo called on the state Legislature to repeal the loitering law…

Where Are the Victims? (#906)

This is exactly the outcome prohibitionists wanted:

Two women who were [working together for safety]…in Newbridge, [Ireland] have been [sentenced to] jail…for nine months…Adrina Podaru…and Ana Tomascu…were [peacefully minding their own business]…when [they were attacked by state-employed thugs] on November 18, 2018…following [a report from a snitch]…the women admitted that they were [legally] working as prostitutes, [which is not against the law.  Luckily it was early so]…no significant money was [ar]ound [for the pigs to steal]…Ms Podaru is currently expecting a child with her partner…but Judge Desmond Zaidan…sentenced the pair to nine months in prison…Ms Podaru has lodged an appeal and has been released on bail…

It might be better for my mental health if I actually believed there was a Hell to punish evil people who cage pregnant women for peacefully supporting themselves because they broke a moronic, arbitrary rule imposed by sociopaths who have never actually done the work.  But since I know there isn’t, I’ll just have to deal with it.

The Course of a Disease (#932)

In which perennial drunk, incompetent liar, sloppy fabulist and serial lawsuit-abuser Julie Bindel shares her fantasies of what sex is like:

Julie Bindel, the [plagiar]ist and author of the book The Pimping of Prostitution [recently the subject of a libel suit which Bindel lost]…appeared before the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party group on commercial sexual exploitation this week, and [fantasized] that “decriminalising sex work means decriminalising violence against women and children”…Bindel [also fantasized that in] sex work… “women are…vessels for men to masturbate into”…

Disaster (#941)

Facebook’s policies make harassing and exploiting women easy:

…Omid…has…claimed responsibility for shutting down hundreds of Instagram accounts by reporting performers for violating the company’s [censorship rules]…driven by a moralistic anti-porn agenda…[one of his victims, Bella] Bathory…[heard] about a…social media management company that purported to have the ability to restore shuttered Instagram accounts...she agreed to pay…the $450 they quoted her…Within hours of the agency telling her that her account was about to be restored, it was.  Then, when Bathory declined to follow through with payment, the…account…once again disappeared…an…Instagram…spokesperson said that there is no evidence that a single entity was behind the restoration or deletion of her account…[but] the agency that Bathory contacted…provided purported evidence via screenshot…If the agency’s allegations are true, it shows how a third party can profit handsomely from Instagram’s opaque and convoluted moderation policies.  And if [not]…it shows how a shadow economy can thrive on desperation.  Either way, it’s sex workers who suffer…

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Those who engage in sex work are our constituents.  –  Brianne Nadeau

Surplus Women

The only way pigs want to “make sure you’re safe” is by locking you in a cell:

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said they are looking for a potential serial killer and rapist that is operating on the city’s east side…the investigation…started several months ago…on March 19…Nancy Harrison…was [found naked and cops tried to pass it off as]…a drug overdose…[even though] she [had] suffered blunt force trauma…The body of the second victim, Travesene Ellis, was found on May 24…[then on June 5th] a woman’s decomposed naked body was found inside a vacant [house.  Cops]…believe…the suspect is targeting women in their early 50s and luring them to vacant dwellings…all three victims are believed to be sex workers…Police are asking sex workers to come forward with any information.  “We’re not here to arrest you, we’re going to make sure you’re safe,” he [lied]…

King of the Hill

There is exactly one highway which runs from Halifax, Nova Scotia to the mainland:

[Cops and “rescue” profiteers fantasize that] human traffickers are moving…[passive, doll-like] young girls — from Nova Scotia…to Montreal and Toronto, but it’s difficult to analyze the pattern in those stories as there is no [actual] data…on [the imaginary phenomenon]…the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking (CCEHT)…is working on a study of the “high-incident” human trafficking corridor…between Halifax and Toronto…One stop on the road…is the town of Truro, N.S. (population 12,261), where the staff at the Colchester Sexual Assault Centre have started to [brainwash women into thinking they]…have been sexually trafficked…[prohibitionist] Margaret Mauger said…”Truro has become…a hub for human trafficking”…She said most [women] don’t think of [their jobs]…as sexual trafficking, so she tries to [convince them otherwise]…

Buried Truth 

Accurate headline: “Man Loses Job After Refusing to Pay His Tab While Drunk”:

A Catholic school principal from Louisiana has resigned from his job after he was arrested at a Washington D.C. strip club…Michael Comeau…principal at Holy Family School near Baton Rouge, refused to pay his bill at Archibald’s Gentlemen’s Club…[while] blocking a roadway outside and refusing to move.  He was…arrested…[for] public intoxication and possession of an open container…

Pyrrhic Victory (#683)

When they smash down your door in the middle of the night, murder your dogs, terrorize your family and embroil you in a decade-long court battle which will utterly bankrupt you because some computer decided you look like somebody who supposedly broke some law, don’t say I didn’t warn you:

The FBI cops to the fact that its database of mugshots…has about 36 million entries…But that’s the tip of the iceberg.  Gretta Goodwin…[of] the Government Accountability Office (GAO), told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee…that the FBI can scan about 640 million pictures, including not just mugshots but driver’s licenses and passport photos…the FBI has “strict policies” governing the use of such technology, [claimed] a spokesman for an agency that is exceedingly well-known for what the American Civil Liberties Union calls an “unchecked abuse of authority“…Kimberly Del Greco, a [boss spook]…at the FBI, said…facial recognition…is used only when there is an active FBI investigation or an assessment, which can [basically mean whatever they want it to mean]…

Remember, the FBI classes all sex workers as “criminals” and defines our ads as “probable cause for sex trafficking investigation”.

Out of Control (#767)

When the sexual need to control others is frustrated, some really weird behavior can result:

Boise Police…arrested Jonathan Parker — a lobbyist and former Idaho Republican Party chairman…on a felony first-degree stalking charge…on or between May 16 and May 30, Parker “did knowingly and maliciously engage” in conduct that “seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed (his [estranged] wife) Kelly Parker”…[his] conduct included “repeatedly hiding in bushes, masturbating, disguising himself with a wig” at or near her apartment complex…

An Example to the West (#776) 

The areas Americans dismiss as the “third world” are far ahead of the US in sex worker rights:

Casa Roja…is…the new centre for Ammar – the Argentina’s Women’s Sex Workers’ Union…Dramatic inflation (which reached nearly 50% last year), combined with a reduction in subsidies…have sent the cost of basic foodstuffs, electricity and water spiralling.  A third of the population are living in poverty…almost 50% of women are either unemployed or working informally without labour protection or a security net, and cuts to public sector jobs have been most pernicious in feminised occupations…To try to improve conditions for sex workers, Ammar opened the doors of the Casa Roja on 2 June, International [Whores’] Day.  The centre will offer health and mental health services and a place to drink coffee as winter draws in…“There will also be legal assistance…in the face of increasingly punitive policing in the area…Ammar has been one of the most successful sex workers’ organisations in the world.  Across Argentina it has integrated itself into the mainstream labour movement, decriminalised sex work in some provinces, and provided peer-to-peer support for more than 20 years…[by contrast] feminists in the UK have been slow to embrace sex workers as sisters in the struggle against gender and economic injustice.  A small number of groups have stood shoulder to shoulder with sex workers, but the story has largely been one of violence and exclusion…

Amnesty At Last (#831)

Grosso has consistently pursued this course for four years now:

A bill that would decriminalize sex work in Washington D.C. will be reintroduced at the D.C. Council…this time with four councilmembers in support…Councilmembers David Grosso and Robert White…are now joined by…Anita Bonds and…Brianne Nadeau…last term, the original bill was sent to the Judiciary Committee, where it never got a hearing…Grosso modeled the bill after efforts in New Zealand…The legislation comes at a time when sex work-related charges have more than doubled…[from] 228 [in 2017]…to…551 [in 2018]…

Devil’s Advocate (#832) 

Your periodic reminder that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

Florida has banned childlike sex dolls…[anti-sex politician] Lauren Book, who introduced the bill, [also created a bill to put sex workers and clients on a public registry.  She fantasized that]…“Just as viewing child pornography [magically] lowers the inhibitions of child predators [via invisible sex rays emitted from the images], so do these childlike sex dolls”…opponents of the measure [correctly] argued that the dolls deter pedophilia by preventing child predators from acting out on their impulses with real children…

The worst part of these laws isn’t the ban itself, but rather the institutionalization of the dangerous and unscientific dogma that human beings are tabulae rasae who can be “perverted” by external stimuli and thereby “re-educated” via such brainwashing schemes as “john schools” and “gay conversion therapy”.

Pyrrhic Victory (#857) 

{Insert Ben Franklin quote about liberty and safety}:

The…Brazosport [Texas] Independent School District…hired a company called Social Sentinel to monitor public posts from all users, including adults, on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.  The company’s algorithms flagged [a woman’s comical] tweet [about her cats] as a potential threat…Among the other “threats” flagged by Social Sentinel [were]…tweets about the movie “Shooter,” the “shooting clinic” put on by…a…university…basketball team, and someone apparently pleased their credit score was “shooting up”…America’s schools…are hastily erecting a massive digital surveillance infrastructure…with [total and intentional dis]regard for either its effectiveness or its impact on civil liberties…Florida offers a glimpse of where it all may head: [politicians] there are pushing for a state database that would [make the childhood nightmare of a “permanent record” reality by] combin[ing] individuals’ educational, criminal justice, and social-service records with their social media data, then [handing] it all [to the pigs]…Gary Margolis, the CEO of Social Sentinel…claims “thousands” of K-12 schools in 30 states are using its [police-state boosting] service…[another company name] Securly…offer[s] “sentiment analysis” of students’ social media posts…[via] an “emotionally intelligent” app [like Facebook censorship algorithms] that sends parents weekly reports and automated push notifications detailing their children’s internet searches and browsing histories…

Censor Chic (#904)

Corporations are becoming the favored tool of censors around the world:

Three days before the most sensitive political anniversary on the Chinese calendar, Twitter suspended the accounts of Chinese political commentators in what it [pretended] was an accident…it…affected more than 100 users…[including] human rights lawyers, activists, college students and nationalists, who use workarounds to get access to Twitter, which is banned in China…The accounts began rapidly disappearing just days before the 30th anniversary of the crackdown on a student-led pro-democracy demonstration in Tiananmen Square…In a statement, Twitter [claimed] that as a part of its routine efforts to stop spam and inauthentic behavior, it had [conveniently] gone after a number of legitimate Chinese-language accounts [at exactly the best time to demonstrate to the Chinese government that it could be counted on to censor as ordered if it were allowed to operate in the country]…

Safe Position (#928)

Ordinarily, I don’t even bother to call attention to prohibitionist screeds unless there’s something interesting about them; what’s interesting about this one is the absolute reek of desperation wafting from it.  Prohibitionists are terrified at the speed with which decriminalization has become a safe position for politicians to take, especially in New York, but because they’re disgusting authoritarians the best way they can think of to make a lame attempt at forcing back the tide is to get two fucking prosecutors (notice how much prohibitionists love them?) to vomit out all the usual prohibitionist lies.  Blah blah “pimps”, blah blah “violence and exploitation”, blah blah “male power”, blah blah “PTSD”, blah blah “Swedish model” dicksuckery, and of course “we must remember that money cannot buy consent“.  Their stupid lies and bullshit claims about women’s helplessness aren’t working any more, and they know it.  Hey, prohibitionists:  we’re winning.  And if the best you can do is to pull out two police-state operatives, some professional “survivors” and a clutch of old hags mouthing weird fantasies about “orifices”, you’d better get used to the idea.

Top Cop (#938)

Even if you already despise this power-hungry sociopath, Liz Brown’s deep dive will give you more to hate:

Kamala Harris is a cop.  The phrase, which the candidate’s critics use frequently, is meant to conjure more than just Harris’ history as a hard-nosed San Francisco prosecutor.  It’s colloquial.  To label someone a cop in this way…implies the person is a bully, a bootlicker, a professional tattler—the sort of person who shuts down un-authorized lemonade stands run by kids.  A cop, in this context, is someone who will always defer to authority and the status quo, someone who is unaccountable and not to be trusted.  Calling someone a cop invokes the worst sorts of police overreach, a legalistic authoritarianism that exists for its own sake…

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It’s a good day for a chokehold.  –  “Officer” Reuben Carver

Dr. John, the legendary New Orleans musician, died this week.  Actually, “institution” would be a more apt term; in many Crescent City circles, saying you didn’t like his music would be fighting words.  Those of you who never lived there will probably recognize this song (suggested by Jesse Walker), which was his biggest hit.  The links above it were provided by Kevin Wilson, Furrygirl, Christian Britschgi, Mirriam Seddiq, Cathy Reisenwitz, and Amy Alkon, in that order.

From the Archives

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The[se] cops were nothing but video voyeurs.  –  John Wesley Hall

Where Are the Victims?

In which renting rooms to people in a legal trade is pretended to be a “crime”:

Angus Binnie took out…leases o[n] flats in Dundee…then advertised them for short term rental on various websites – and charged itinerant prostitutes massive fees of up to £600 a week…He said he took no part in the administration of the sex workers and therefore had no control over them or their finances…

While that’s a high rate, the women weren’t forced to take it.  Most decent hotels charge more than £600 a week, ask lots of nosy questions and spy on guests; are they to be criminally charged and slurred by the media as “raking it in” as well?  And naturally the reporter couldn’t be bothered to interview any sex workers, who would’ve pointed out that it’s the government’s own busybody “regulations” that enable such jacked-up rates by making “legitimate” landlords afraid to rent to sex workers.

So Close and Yet So Far

The New York Times has been prohibitionist for so long, it can’t write an article about decriminalization without filling it with errors, lies and stupid anti-sex tropes.  While the article starts with some solid facts and good quotes from activists like my friend Kaytlin Bailey and a pro-decrim politician, it then goes on to equate decriminalization with legalization and the Swedish model (as prohibitionists so often do); prominently quotes prohibitionist propaganda under the pretense that supporters of a powerful, violent police state deserve “equal time” with supporters of human rights; and repeats outright lies about sex work, decriminalization and the Swedish model.  In Professor McNeill’s journalism class, this might squeak by with a D minus.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake

Given the success of strippers’ lawsuits against clubs, this was inevitable:

Two former sex workers filed a class-action lawsuit…against Sheri’s Ranch in Pahrump, claiming that the brothel should have treated them and other women as employees instead of independent contractors…The plaintiffs…also claim that Sheri’s Ranch is violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by taking 50 percent of the workers’ tips…[they are also charged for] expenses, including the cost of meals, daily rent at the houses and the cost of a mandatory weekly medical exam, among other things…Many former brothel workers…complain that deducting the cost of rent and meals from their pay causes them to quickly end up in debt…As evidence of the brothel’s control over sex workers [one of the federal tests for whether a worker is an employee] the lawsuit cites a requirement by Sheri’s Ranch that the women remain locked down on the property for one to three weeks at a time, unable to leave the premises…

Sheri’s is also notorious for taking away women’s laptop computers and personal medications, dispensing the meds at dose times as though it were a hospital.

Guinea Pigs (#634) 

Don’t feel left out, amateurs; they’ll get around to you next:

…a Chinese programmer based in Germany [claims to have] created an elaborate facial recognition system to identify performers in adult films…he claims…the system…can now successfully recognize the faces of nearly 100,000 adult performers…[by] cross-check[ing] porn performers’ images…with those of women on…social media platforms…the system was developed specifically so [loser dudes] could identify whether their female partners were performing in these films…

The anonymous busybody soon recanted:

An anonymous programmer based in Germany…says he’s…deleted the project and all its data, but that’s not an act of altruism.  Such a project would have violated European…GDPR privacy law [which] prevents this kind of situation…just collecting the data is illegal if the women didn’t consent…Women in the US have some protections too…California has strong privacy legislation that would block this type of data collection…

Is Angela Chen honestly so hopelessly naive that she believes these laws magically “protect” anyone?  People who invest hundreds of hours in inventing systems to doxx sex workers don’t give a shit what the “law” says; furthermore, in the US, it’s the government which has built gigantic databases of sex workers’ private information (yes, even in that magic wonderland of “privacy protection” which Google and Facebook call home).

An Example to the West (#699)

More than five years after filing suit against this bad law, Mexico City’s whores may finally win:

…Mexico City…[politicians]…voted 38-0, with eight abstentions, in favor of a bill to remove a line in the civic culture law which said prostitutes and their clients can be fined or arrested if neighbors complained…the new law recognize[s] that people had the right to engage in sex work…exploitation and trafficking by crime gangs…subjected to sex trafficking…Trafficking in Persons Report [blah blah blah]…

I’m sure the prohibitionists are not going to be happy that their artificial moral panic is starting to be used to justify the exact opposite of what they intended it to accomplish, further criminalization and persecution of sex workers.

Soap Opera (#746) 

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

…Bars of [magical anti-pimp] soap with red stickers that list information and the national human trafficking hotline phone number…aimed at [imaginary] adolescents [too stupid to remember the numbers 9-1-1], will be distributed to every hotel and motel in New Jersey on June 15.  The Church and Community Abolition Network has joined the SOAP Project, or Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution, and together are working to get information to the [imaginary] teens enslaved as sex workers.  They have chosen to target hotels because [that gives them the best publicity]…One of the sessions will be held in Wayne, where SOAP was launched 10 years ago by [fabulist and opportunistic profiteer] Theresa Flores…

Amsterdam (#812)

I’ve been trying to figure out why the Dutch government has been pretending it wants to protect sex workers from gawking tourists:

Walking tours of the Red Light District in Amsterdam are set to cease come January 1, 2020.  According to the translated official statement from the Dutch government, “Tours along the prostitution windows cause a lot of bustle in the Red Light District and are not respectful towards sex workers”…The Prostitution Information Center (PIC) doesn’t agree and hopes to stave off the attempt to shut down their community-led walking tours…Founded in 1994 by Mariska Majoor, a former sex worker, the organization’s mission is to inform the public about the realities of the industry and the concerns of its workers…For over a decade, the PIC has organized educational walking tours in which former sex workers lead small groups around the Red Light District.  They once hosted around 22,000 visitors annually but attendance has reduced in recent years due to steep competition from commercial tour companies.  Unlike other tours of the Red Light District, the PIC experience is an informative and heartfelt tour rooted in respect for sex workers and the community…

European governments love silencing sex workers by pretending to be “concerned” for our welfare.

Spotlight (#847)

Violet Blue on the real purpose of Asstoon’s fascist organ, Thorn:

Silicon Valley’s biggest companies have partnered with a single organization to fight sex [work] — one that maintains a data collection pipeline, is partnered with Palantir, and helps [cops] profile and track sex workers without their consent…Thorn (“digital defenders of children”)…[uses] dubious [methods]…Of Thorn’s 31…partners, 27 target adults and vow to abolish consensual sex work under the banner of saving children from sex trafficking…Thorn’s…product…Spotlight scrapes [escort ad] websites and forums [and hands all the data it collects to the pigs]…Spotlight is terrifying and practically purpose-made for abuse.  And Thorn supported FOSTA…Thorn and its partners like Polaris Project are working closely with companies like Palantir to nonconsensually track sex workers and everyone they come in contact with…”Civil liberties lawyers are seeking a case to challenge the constitutionality of Palantir’s use,” Bloomberg wrote, “but prosecutors and immigration agents have been careful not to cite the software in evidentiary documents.”  Paromita Shah, associate director of the National Lawyers Guild’s National Immigration Project told Bloomberg, “Palantir lives on that secrecy.”  And so, by extension, do Thorn and Polaris Project…

The article also discusses the increasing damage from FOSTA and also Prostasia’s plans to act as a watchdog of Thorn, Polaris and others of their ilk.  It’s well worth reading in its entirety.

Guinea Pigs (#919) 

Keep licking those boots, local media; legal expert analysis is downplayed as “critics say”:

…[clear] misuse of a “sneak-and-peek” arrest warrant may end up clearing [Robert] Kraft…of two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution.  The warrants have been around since the 1970s but became an increasingly popular [end-run around the 4th amendment due to courts completely abdicating their duty to protect civil rights] following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  They allow [cops] to do [unconstitutional] searches without notifying the occupant of a home, business or other private space [while courts pretend not to see]…“It’s completely uncalled for,” said John Wesley Hall, former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers…”the[se] cops were nothing but video voyeurs.  They have no justification…This was an abuse of prosecutorial power and an abuse of police power.”  At least two Palm Beach County judges have concurred…

O, Canada! (#934)

Canadian cops now want to get the public to help them spy on sex workers, as US cops do:

A new national…toll-free phone line, launched…by [a prohibitionist group calling itself] the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, [claims to] offers support to…victims…[but in reality] the information collected through the hotline w[ill] be shared [with cops] and used…for raids that may lead to arrests and possible deportations…“We are concerned the hotline will become a tip line for law enforcement,” said Elene Lam of Toronto-based Butterfly…Jenny Duffy of Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project said human trafficking and sex work have been so widely conflated that sex workers and racialized groups are already targeted by law enforcement agencies under the guise of anti-trafficking initiatives.  “This hotline encourages the public to now surveil the movements of this group and report them…putting them in further harm, and further hindering workers from accessing key public services”…

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I’ve got an article on sex work, money and consent in the new print edition of Reason, and I think y’all should show your support by picking one up!  But if you have neither subscription nor newsstand handy, here it is online.  A sample to get you started: 

…In the realm of sex, consent has been elevated to the level of a sacred word.  But in practice, most of us believe in a host of exceptions…Many if not most of these exceptions involve sex, money, or power, so it’s not surprising that sex work—which involves all three—inspires some truly absurd mental gymnastics on and around the concept of consent.  Statists, both in and out of government, like to play Kafkaesque games with the idea of consent.  We are told by a certain type of feminist that consent must be explicitly verbal, ongoing, and “enthusiastic”.  They say it must be tiresomely re-ascertained over and over and over again, no matter how clearly it was expressed in the first place.  Modern Puritans, meanwhile, claim that people who engage in “deviant” sexual behavior (including sex work, BDSM, and—until very recently—homosexuality) are suffering from “Stockholm syndrome,” “trauma bonding,” or “false consciousness” and thus cannot consent to things they claim to enjoy because they are not in their right minds.

But the most bizarre of these tortuous mind games, popular among radical feminists for years but gaining momentum today among “progressives,” is the idea that if a person is paid to do something he wouldn’t do for free, that constitutes “coercion” or even “violence”.  As Reason‘s Elizabeth Nolan Brown pointed out a few years ago, “In Seattle, sex must be a ‘leisure activity’ for both parties or it’s nonconsensual, according to one area prosecutor.”  Brown was writing about Val Richey, a senior deputy prosecuting attorney for King County, Washington, who argued that all sex workers are victims of rape because someone paid them “essentially to turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes.'”  This dogma is deranged.  Richey doesn’t do his job for free; does that mean he is coerced, too?  This contradiction doesn’t seem to occur to anti–sex work crusaders, because they’re unwilling to accept that sex, like every other part of the material world, is not distributed “evenly” or “fairly”…

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