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In the News (#675)

I am an adult, and how I choose to spend my time and money is MY FUCKING BUSINESS.  –  Rick Pettit

Broken Record 

Sex workers on Twitter agreed we couldn’t think of a venue less conducive to selling sex than a state fair:

The New Mexico State Fair draws a huge crowd each year, but Street Safe New Mexico knows it’s not all about fun and games.  “You notice during the state fair, there’s new girls out here, right?” Executive Director Christine Barber said.  “They’re being brought in by the gangs and being forced to work…(The victims are) 15, 16 years old to anything older…I met a lady yesterday who was 47.”  The group says the victims’ pimps like to use the state fair as a hunting ground for willing johns…”Forty-two percent of them are beaten every single day by their pimps or their sex traffickers”…

Coincidentally, 42% of all “sex trafficking” statistics are made up on the spot, and 100% of them are bullshit.

Original Sin

I could also have filed this one under “Paint By Numbers”, since they “fight trafficking” by just standing around silently:

Since last December, activists have gathered monthly in front of St. André Bessette Parish in Northwest Portland in silent witness to the horror of human trafficking…Called modern slavery, it’s just one of the present attacks on the dignity of human life…Among them are abortion, euthanasia, cloning, the destruction of human embryos, genocide, torture, and the direct and intentional targeting of noncombatants in war or terrorist attacks…

I’m not sure it’s proper to use the term ACTIVist for someone who literally stands around, doing and saying nothing.crystal-edmonds

Monsters 

The body count continues to rise:

Just five days ago I wrote about a Black trans woman named T.T. who was viciously murdered in Chicago…Now, a…Black trans woman [named]  Crystal Edmonds has been shot in the back of the head and murdered in Baltimore.  She’s the 21st trans person that we know of who has been murdered in the United States this year…Police say…they have no suspects and very few leads…[but] reports are saying that people in the neighborhood are complaining about sex workers in their area, which makes me even more worried that this case will not be given the attention it deserves…

Paint By Numbers

“Dumb ‘awareness-raising’ stunts” is going to be the funniest appendix in my history of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Fifty people in teams of five…[followed] clues through various historic landmarks [in Lexington, Kentucky]…to raise money to help women..caught up in the human trafficking industry.  Participants raised money to support “Un-Shackled By Love Ministries”…the first group of women to join the program will stay for four months where they will receive counseling.  Eventually they will move on to a facility in Lexington the ministry [has not actually opened yet]…

Traffic Circle

Debunking of prohibitionist lies is spreading:

Denise Charlton of the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign…claimed the [new Swedish model] legislation [in Ireland] would protect sex workers by decriminalising them.  Does the bill really do that?  A group called Ugly Mugs, which facilitates information-sharing between sex workers, argues that the claim is false, and brought it to our attention on Twitter.  Claim: The new Sexual Offences Bill would decriminalise sex workers  Verdict: Mostly FALSE

  • The new bill would decriminalise public solicitation by sex workers, but…
  • It would retain the criminalisation of loitering by sex workers, and increase the penalties for it
  • It would retain the effective criminalisation of sex workers, under a provision on brothels, and increase the penalties for it.

Served Cold 

For a change, it only took the mainstream media two years to catch up with me:

…Operation Underground Railroad…was founded by self-proclaimed “Man of God,” former CIA and Homeland Security official Tim Bollard…The organization receives allocated funding…and makes contact with local law enforcement.  An elaborate sting follows…All this is filmed so the [backer]…can watch, in real time and from the comfort of his or her office or home…From the perspective of a victim’s right to privacy, such actions are reprehensible…from a criminal justice perspective, there are even more pressing concerns…Why are police in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Colombia not arresting child sex traffickers if they are so easy to find?…Why is OUR not…raiding the brothels of Amsterdam or London?…Bollard and his rag-tag team would be arrested on the spot.  And any court in any [developed nation] would not hesitate to throw out a case that rests on the evidence of an OUR-type raid because of the failure to meet even the most basic standards of supervision and accountability.  It’s no surprise that the organization and its fellow travellers limit their activities to countries burdened by dysfunctional criminal justice systems that…in response to pressure from the U.S. government…agree to cooperate…Bollard’s operations say much about the man: they are arrogant, unethical and illegal.

The Last Shall Be First (#624)

Expect a lot more cases like this before potty hysteria is over:

Security attempted to escort a lesbian woman…out of toilets at a music venue after because they thought she was a man.  Mary Looper was at a Carrie Underwood concert with her aunt when security attempted to escort her out of the women’s restroom.  A female security officer stood outside Looper’s stall demanding…proof she was a woman…She took to Facebook to share her dismay…

SWOP Behind Bars

My friend Mistress Matisse has been applying her indomitable (see what I did there?) efforts to support SWOP Behind Bars, most recently by talking about them on Dan Savage’s Savage Love podcast.  Go have a listen!  And if you haven’t yet sent a book to one of the incarcerated sex workers in the program, hie thee thither and do so posthaste!

Sales Pitch (#642) ingeborg-kraus-tampon-collector-simon-haggstrom

Remember the creepy Swedish cop who collects used tampons?  He’s teaming up with a German neofeminist to spread the Gospel of Violent Busybodiness to Canada:

…Ingeborg Kraus, a [prohibitionist who pretends that]…Germany decriminalized the sex industry…[claims that legalization there has] fuelled human trafficking [and lies that literally]…”No German woman will work in those conditions anymore”…[pervert cop Simon Haggstrom pretends that] Sweden…decriminalize[d] the sale of sex…[fantasizes about a] connection between prostitution and organized crime…[and lies that sex workers who demand our rights] are a small minority within the sex industry…

Allied for Change

I truly hope many more clients are inspired to speak out like this:

My name is Rick Pettit, and I am a client of sex workers.  I am in my 60s, divorced, and unattached.  I run my own moderately-unsuccessful service business in a small town in New England.  I’m just an ordinary person…not particularly well-off financially, and certainly not a hub of criminal activity.  I am well-liked by my customers and in my town.  I am NOT a “pervert”…I do NOT abuse the women I spend time with.  Most importantly, I DO NOT “BUY” ANYONE’S BODY. (There’s not enough room in my closet)…

Pimps Ahoy

You can’t keep a bad organization down:

Courage Worldwide said today that after the appeal process…the organization is in good standing with state regulators and plans to rehire and train new staff to reopen Courage House immediately…“We are gratified that the state has…agreed cell phones pose a real danger to the girls in our care since they link these vulnerable children back to the people who trafficked them.  The cell phone is the preferred mechanism of the trafficker to market and sell under-age girls on the internet”…

Pimps Ahoy

jenny-williamsonAlmost a month ago, I featured the story of yet another “rescue” scam shut down.  But as sometimes happens in such cases, the con artist behind it refused to cut her losses and move on; instead, she’s decided to fight to keep the gravy train coming in.  And it appears that her motivation is not solely monetary, though given her hefty salary that’s obviously a large part of it; no, it seems that a large portion of what’s driving this is a sick need to control other people without their consent.  The unsinkable Liz Brown tells it like this:

Once girls arrived at the house, they were expected to hand over their cellphones.  Internet access was also strictly limited—Jenny’s rules.  For “her girls” to stay in good graces, they were expected to do as she said, go where she told them to, and be available when she wanted to show them off in photos or at events.  It’s the kind of controlling, exploitative situation police warn us that runaway teens are likely to end up in at the hands of…traffickers.  But in this case, control came via the people ostensibly helping…under the auspices of an organization called Courage Worldwide…founded in 2011 by Jenny T. Williamson (on direct orders from God, or so she claims)…the girls were supposed to be able to heal in comfort and privacy.  Instead, they found themselves cut off from the outside world, with services and staff lacking (one former employee said she was told there was only money for two of the six girls per month to see a psychiatrist), while being subjected to the invasive publicity demands of Williamson…”who micromanaged her trained staff and…frequently…fired [staff] for raising questions about ‘the vision’“…Williamson acted more like the proverbial controlling pimp or madam than someone truly dedicated to helping exploited teenagers…the people who “rescued” them are employing the same sort of isolating and controlling techniques they [supposedly] escaped, treating them more like Courage Worldwide products than people, and publicizing their images and past horror stories to the whole community.  DeAnne Brining, a licensed therapist who had contracted with Courage House, described the situation as “abusive” and said Williamson routinely “paraded the girls around” for marketing purposes…

It seems like Williamson’s greed may have been more an extension of her narcissism and control-freakishness than a specimen of garden-variety avarice:

…For her work as CEO of the nonprofit, Williamson paid herself $115,000 in 2015…The group reported net assets of $1.4 million that year.  In addition to accepting donations from numerous local businesses, it received about $9,100 in government support per month per girl it took in……[yet] services and staff [were] lacking (one former employee said she was told there was only money for two of the six girls per month to see a psychiatrist)…”state inspections that found numerous violations, including inadequate staffing levels and no current administrator“…Courage Worldwide’s website still touts the organization’s expansion plan, which includes opening 10 new cottages for underage [girls labeled as] sex-trafficking victims…

threadbareIn keeping with her usual thoroughness, Liz doesn’t merely quote and comment upon the original Sacramento Bee expose as I did last month; instead, she also links another commentary on the item from Broadly, quotes Dr. Laura Agustín, reminds readers about arch-fraudsters Somaly Mam and Chong Kim, and calls attention both to Anne Elizabeth Moore’s Threadbare: Clothes, Sex, and Trafficking, and to her report in Truthout on the incredible amount of money taken in by US anti-prostitution organizations.  As I mentioned last Friday, I’m incredibly grateful for Liz’s hard work; she and other journalists like Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post have relieved me of the burden of debunking “that up until recently I was conducting almost solo, and have brought…anti-whore bullshit to the attention of far more people than this blog ever could.”  But apparently, some other writers on this topic are more concerned with something other than winning the war authoritarians have relentlessly waged against us for over a decade now; how else can one explain a tweet from a fairly well-known journalist (who was a sex worker herself years ago) in which she appears to accuse Liz of near-plagiarism (from Broadly), or at least laziness?  Part of this may be due to the fact as one of the (former) sex workers who has a weird and inexplicable attraction to socialism (despite that ideology’s consistent attacks on whores and whoring), the critic I speak of has issues with Reason (despite the fact that she herself has been published there).  However, given that Reason has consistently supported sex worker rights for years (and in theory, for its entire existence), while Vice (Broadly‘s parent publication) has been happy to enrich itself by frequently publishing anti-whore propaganda, this makes even less sense than the idea that said critic is simply envious that Brown is doing a better and more consistent job of reporting on sex worker rights than she’s ever done.  If we’re going to win this war, we’re going to have to set aside petty jealousies and foolish devotion to pie-in-the-sky ideologies; the only important thing is demolishing criminalization and the edifice of lies that’s been constructed to further it, and absurd criticisms of our strongest warriors only work against that goal.

Mabon 2016

mabon-2016-by-samantha-leyThe apparent path of the sun crossed (or will cross, depending on when you read this) the celestial equator at 14:21 UTC today, marking this as the first day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and the first of spring in the Southern.  Our beautiful Mabon art is by Samantha Candelaria-Ley, daughter of my friend Dr. David Ley (whom I mention often in this blog).  I saw him tweet one of her earlier works and I was so impressed I asked if she could do one for me, and as you can see she graciously assented.

Blessed Be!

In the News (#674)

The courts, instead of keeping our lawmakers honest, have instead opted to craft ostensibly thoughtful and well-reasoned opinions allowing the legislature to do whatever ridiculous and often horrible things pop into their heads.  –  Matt Brown

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#12)

Criminalization always makes sex work conditions shittier:

…the International Labor Organization interviewed…sex workers…and local authorities in Vietnam, and strongly suggested that the country do something about the occupational safety and health risks that come with the industry.  Most workers had casual jobs before they chose to enter the sex industry, after considering it a better option.  Out of the 73 workers surveyed, only one reported to having been deceived into selling sex, but many workers had their movements controlled by employers and some had their identity papers held…According to the workers, conditions would be better in well-maintained, expensive bars, discotheques, spas, massage parlors and restaurants, while brothels and cheap cafés, restaurants, karaoke bars and parlors are dirty and do not guarantee security and safety.  However, no matter where they work, there is always the threat of violence and police raids, especially for women working on the streets…

Too Young To Know

Despite the emphasis on asinine dysphemisms like “resorting to sex work” and “selling their body” [sic], at least this article understands that young people nearly always sell sex out of necessity, and not because they’re abducted by bogeyman “pimps”:

Teenagers in America are resorting to sex work because they cannot afford food, according to a study…by the Urban Institute…Evidence of teenage girls turning to “transactional dating” with older men is likely to cause particular alarm…The consistency of the findings across gender, race and geography was a surprise…Teens would overwhelmingly prefer to earn money through a formal job but prospects for youth employment are extremely limited…

The two red flags I see here are 1) the Urban Institute has produced shoddy sex work studies in the recent past; and 2) the study seems to rely more heavily on anecdotes told by teens about other, unidentified teens, rather than on reports given by teens about their own behavior.

Still a Child 

It’s shocking & saddening to see how low the journalistic standards of PBS and the New York Times have dropped:

An exposé on the shocking number of girls who continue to be forced into marriage in the United States will air…as part of a two-part special for PBS NewsHour….“This is a story so few know is happening right down their street,” [Gayle] Lemmon [said]…in an email…Among the stories featured will be that of a New Jersey girl named Jada, whose father brought her with him to live in Saudi Arabia.  At the age of 12, her father decided to marry her off…he…forced her to walk on his right side while they were together in public — so other Saudi men would know that she was for sale.  Apparently, it’s a cultural signal there.  Another woman…is Nina, a 33-year-old Michigan woman, who said she was seeking an annulment because she had been married against her will at the age of 19.  The case is perhaps the first of its kind in the U.S., and could shape future legal precedent…Nina…talks about [how] sex with her “husband” came to feel like imprisonment and tantamount to rape…

“Right down their street” sounds like something borrowed from “sex trafficking” hysteria, which this whole story resembles. “Apparently, it’s a cultural signal…” “Apparently“?  Didn’t y’all bother to fucking find out, like by consulting an expert on Saudi culture?  And as for Nina, last I checked, 19 was not considered a “child” anywhere in the US, at least not yet.  I’m certainly sympathetic to women who may feel economically trapped in a bad marriage, or feel unable to leave due to threats of violence, but this seems to be conflating adult women with 12-year-old girls, and that’s an extremely dangerous road for self-respecting women to be allowing our culture & media to follow without speaking up.

Policing for Profit 

This excuse is pathetic, even by cop standards:

NYPD brass testified before the…City Council…that it has no idea how much money it [steals] from citizens each year…and an attempt to collect the data would crash its computer systems…NYC councilmember Ritchie Torres introduced legislation this year that would require annual reports from the police department about how much money it [steals], but at Thursday’s hearing, the NYPD said it has no technologically feasible way to track [thefts that were]…not [challenged by the rightful owners in court]…Bronx Defenders…is suing the NYPD for public records on its asset forfeiture program, which rakes in millions in seized cash and property…every year.  According to the scant records Bronx Defenders did manage to get back, the NYPD reported more than $6 million in revenue in 2013 from seized cash, forfeitures, and property sold at auction, and it had a balance of more than $68 million in seized currency in any given month of that year…the vast majority of [stolen] assets are simply forfeited…after the…property owner fails to go through the burdensome and Byzantine process of trying to retrieve them by the deadline…

Nice While It Lasted

Now that the precedent’s firmly established, you’re going to see an increasing number of laws that presume guilt:

In Arizona, the legislature…decided to define sexual abuse and molestation of a child in such a way that intentionally or knowingly touching the genitals or anus of a child or the breast of a female younger than fifteen is a felony.  That should come as no surprise to anyone who is remotely familiar with Arizona, as the one thing the legislature is good at is passing the broadest and most Draconian criminal laws they can imagine…thanks to the Supreme Court of Arizona’s opinion in State v. Holle, the terms of the statute are to be applied literally…the defense that there was no sexual motivation is one the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence…the court justifies making every parent in Arizona a sex offender tasked with proving his or her innocence should a prosecutor decide to ruin his or her life with charges…

Vendetta (Traffic Updates)

More anti-sex violence and attempted brainwashing funded by the sociopathic Swanee Hunt:

[Boston] is stepping up efforts to shame prostitution customers — including the prospect of sending them off to “john school” to [indoctrinate them in the religion of] human trafficking.  It’s all part of a police [fantasy that they can] reduce the online sex trade in the city by 20 percent over the next year…Police are set to receive a $30,000 grant from Demand Abolition…

Between the Ears (#545) 

Have a device that connects to the internet? Assume it can be used to spy on you:

…in a class-action lawsuit representing…tens of thousands of users, [an] Illinois woman has…[sued] sex-toy company Standard Innovation.  She accuses the company, which is based in Ottawa, Canada, of consumer fraud, unjust enrichment, intrusion upon seclusion, and violating the Federal Wiretap Act and the Illinois Eavesdropping Statute…The woman reportedly bought her We-Vibe Rave for $130 in May and proceeded to use it several times before learning via a Defcon hacking convention talk…that her extremely personal usage was being scrutinized for marketing purposes by its maker…the toy can connect to a smartphone for such activities as adjusting vibration type…and intensity…not to mention allowing someone else to be at the controls from afar…

The Widening Gyre (#545) sex-trafficking-flyer

I guess that “outside agency” never heard of Snopes:

The Boys and Girls Club in Chico [California] was notified…about a suspicious job flyer…Devon Saul says these flyers are raising some serious questions.  “For very minimal work it does through [sic] up a red flag to say okay what’s the catch…It promises great pay. 60, 80, 100 dollars a day.  Great trips, great gifts and bonuses and things like that”…His concerns were solidified when an outside agency in Tehama County notified then non-profit that this may be a sex trafficking scam…the club decided education on human trafficking was needed for staff…

Actually, it says $60 to $100 a week, which is about $12-$20 a day; not exactly a fortune.  But I guess we can’t expect literacy from a man who mixes metaphors so egregiously and thinks that if two people are both hysterical, that “solidifies” their fantasies.  And I guess it’s too much to expect these people to actually call the number to investigate what it’s about instead of jumping at their own shadows.

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#594)

I encourage residents to use public computers to report every police car and other official vehicle they can find:

Oakland is…introducing a website…[where busybodies can report] the license plate numbers of suspected johns’ vehicles and describe the specific activity they witnessed.  The sightings are uploaded to the police, who will send a letter to the address where the vehicle is registered…The predecessor…was a program called Dear John, introduced in 2013, which allowed residents to fill out a form that they submitted to the police.  That program generated more than 300 “Dear John” letters mailed to the owners of the vehicles spotted by residents…[cops pretend that] there had been no signs of false reporting in [that] program…

The crowning hypocrisy?  This is Oakland.

To Molest and Rape 

Another woman raped by cops answers headline: “Almost certainly.”

A woman who was…raped by a [cop] said much of which she recalled from that night was “blurry,” but that at one point she woke up and “he was on top of me”…an acquaintance…[drove] her [home from a bar] because she wasn’t in a condition to drive…[Erich] Fritz pulled the man over…and arrested him for operating while intoxicated…Fritz [then] took her to…a hotel room [and raped her]…

Turning Point

Tina Horn uses the New York Times Magazine cover story as a jumping-off point for an article entitled “10 Reasons Decriminalizing Sex Work Is A Feminist Issue“.  And though I think there are much better arguments to be made than most of these, every little bit helps and it’s great to see the number of articles like this one ever increasing.

Too Close To Home (#672)

Read Liz Brown’s fantastic expose, then understand that this is talking about the same events through an anti-sex filter:

The men didn’t know that Hillman, the man they had invited into their elite circle, was actually an undercover detective.  Law enforcement is beginning to take notice of so-called “John boards” — review sites where customers rate prostitutes.  The men busted in this Seattle group earlier this year exposed a secretive world where online sex buyers are treading on a whole new level of criminal behavior…Hillman wrote fake reviews and was invited to join a subgroup that called itself “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”…The League attracted the attention of law enforcement not because its members bought a lot of sex, but because of how they worked together…After six months of undercover surveillance, law enforcement closed in.  They busted eight brothels.  A dozen Korean women were offered human trafficking victim services and released…

Hillman didn’t write “fake reviews”; he paid and wrote reviews just like the others, which (considering he used the acts to harm us) makes him a serial rapist.  And no, those women weren’t “offered” anything, nor were they “released”, because the cops never got their filthy hands on them; they were tipped off and fled.  But because that would ruin the narrative of “exploited victims”, this story was invented so the “authorities” could look benevolent to ignoramuses.  Also note this story doesn’t bother to mention the ruined lives and the suicide this ham-fisted pogrom left in its ugly wake.

Of Course It Is (#673)

I hope she gets every damned penny:

…a lawsuit was filed against the city of Oakland [by] attorneys for Jasmine Abuslin, formerly known as Celeste Guap…her attorneys expect to file similar suits against other jurisdictions involved in this sex scandal.  So far, only two [cops] have been formally charged…

Diary #325

selfie-9-11-16Since I’m back to actually writing my columns a few days in advance, I wrote last week’s before a weekend which actually turned out to be very lovely.  I spent the evening of Saturday the 10th with Abby May, who’s been busy with life the past few months; it was so wonderful to hang out with her, catch up, relax and just enjoy that special energy that exists only between close friends.  And I really needed it; that week had been just plain yucchy, so an evening with someone dear to me was just what the doctor ordered.  And as it turned out, Abby wasn’t my only medicine for melancholy that weekend; when I took this picture on the afternoon of Sunday the 11th (still a teensy bit hung over, thank you very much) I was only a few hours away from dinner with the beautiful and fascinating Lorelei Rivers, followed by watching musicals on her sofa (last time we got together I shared Jesus Christ Superstar with her, and this time it was her turn to introduce me to Hamilton).  The week that followed in the wake of those two joyful, relaxing evenings wasn’t really much better than the one that preceded it, but my head was in a completely different space going into it.  And that made all the difference in the world.

A Very Special Special

Most of you probably know what a “special” is in escort parlance; it’s the same thing as the term would mean in any other business.  For a limited time, an escort may offer a discount on her price, or extra time, or some other bonus as a way of drumming up business, testing the effectiveness of a new advertising medium or the like.  Well, for a while now I’ve been noticing that I’m getting a lot more clients from this blog and from Twitter than I used to, but I’ve never really made a formal effort to figure out just how many (i.e., what fraction of my business).  Also, I’ve been trying to think of ways to reward my subscribers and patrons, something I could give them to really demonstrate my gratitude in a real and concrete fashion.  And I think I’ve come up with something on both fronts!  So from today until Thanksgiving Day (November 24th), I’m running a double special; I’m not going to spell out the particulars because I’m still much too paranoid about directly using this space to advertise, and frankly I don’t think it’s very ladylike (no smartass comments from the Peanut Gallery, y’all).  But if you read this and you’re actually serious (not simply curious, please) about seeing me, please email me at this address and I’ll give you a special discount from my usual rates.  And yes, that even applies if I have to travel to see you, though the particulars are a bit different in that case.  Furthermore, if you’re a subscriber or patron (i.e. a person who doesn’t actually subscribe but has given me large and/or frequent gifts), I’ll give you an even BETTER discount than the other one.  No fair subscribing just to get the special; this only applies to people who were already subscribers or patrons when I went to bed last night.  However, I am seriously considering a permanent subscriber discount, so subscribing now could help you if and when I implement that (which would probably be in the new year).  Now, I’m aware that many of you won’t be interested, or don’t want to spend this kind of money, or simply can’t take advantage due to logistical impediments.  So to reward you for reading anyhow, here’s a selfie I took two weeks ago; if you follow me on Twitter you’ve already seen it, but I sincerely doubt any on you is going to complain.selfie-9-3-16

Links #324

I will never try to go out and try to do anything nice for anyone again.  –  Ken Cronkhite

I probably should’ve posted this video last week, but I already had something there & it honestly didn’t occur to me to switch them.  Given the reaction to this sophomoric ad online, I would say it’s still too soon for this kind of humor.  The video was provided by Nun Ya, and the links above it by Mike Siegel (“fascism”),  Popehat (“reason” & “drunk”), Mistress Matisse (“queen”), Radley Balko (“hate”),  Lucy Steigerwald (“OD”), Emma Evans (“flirt”), Molly Crabapple (“doctor”), Jesse Walker (“clown”), and Scott Greenfield (“gypsy”).

From the Archives